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Plan Ahead

Winter time is a great time to plan for the next riding season. Maybe you are lucky enough to live somewhere that the water has not frozen in the buckets and there is not two feet of snow and you can ride all year around. Many of us have to wait for sunshine and warm weather to venture out with our equine friends. Horses generally do not mind the cold weather. They are the most happy at temperatures around the 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Horses will grow a thick under coat of fur to keep them warm and can often be seen running around the pasture and rolling in the snow on sunny days. This special “winter coat” acts like a big solar collector when the sun shines. It absorbs the heat of the sun so much that you can put your hand on the horse and feel a temperature difference. The wind and freezing rain that sometime comes in the winter is hard on even the healthiest horses. Horses need some sort of shelter either natural or manmade to get out of this type of weather.

Older horses will grow a longer coat to help with the cold and the wind. Some horses may need a blanket to help them stay warm if they are living in really cold places, or if they have job in which they have to perform in the show ring all winter long. Of course everyone needs plenty of water in the winter to stay warm. If you are cold try drinking a glass of warm water before reaching for the hot chocolate. The water will help your body warm up quicker. But of course it is not as tasty as Hot Cocoa!

Take time this winter and write down goals for yourself and maybe your equine partner.
Are there things you can be doing to get ready for the next show season? What will be your next 4-H project? How are you going to get in shape for riding? How are you going to get your horse in shape for the next season? You could practice Reining or Jumping Patterns by trotting a stick horse around your living room. Have you out grown your riding clothes, and tack? Maybe you could get together with friends and have a clothes and tack sale or swap. Money is tight for many people these days; you could help out fellow equestrians and may earn some money in the long run.


“How Much is That Horse in the Window?”

In 2006 a Thoroughbred named the Green Monkey was purchased for $16 million dollars. He was two years old at the time and had not even been on a race track yet. The horse’s potential for making money has yet to be seen. Another Thoroughbred sire named Storm Cat has made much money off the track also. To breed a mare to this big horse would have cost the owner one million dollars. Storm Cat is the grandson of the great race horse Secretariat and has sired many other successful horses.


Why Do Horse Wear Blinkers?

Horses would like to see what is going on around them. Sometimes blinkers or blinders are used to block the horse’s vision to the side. Since their eyes are on the sides of their heads blocking the vision to the side puts the horse’s attention out in front of him. Horses with certain jobs that need to focus on what is out front will wear blinkers. Race horses and horses that pull wagons need to pay attention to their jockey or driver to do their job safely. Sometimes the jockey may pull the horse’s head to the side so the horse can see the other horse racing next to him. This may help the horse go just a little bit faster and win the race.


How Can you Tell if a Horse is Happy?

Horses have different ways of talking to us. If you can learn their language you can be safer around them. A happy horse may nicker at you if they think you are bringing dinner. Their ears will be forward listening to the sound of the feed bag. A relaxed horse is happy with life. They may be hanging with their buddies eating grass or soaking up the sun taking a nap. Horses can nap lying down or standing up. Since horses are prey animals they spend most of their day looking for danger. Anytime they can relax and “chill” is a happy time. Angry, scared horses may put their ears flat back on their head, swish their tails or snort. It would be best to stay away from horses doing this type of behavior. The horse may be angry at their buddy or afraid of the new blanket. It may have nothing to do with you. Be safe and keep your distance.


Horse Lingo


A “bomb proof” horse is one that is thought to be “unshakable,” but since horses are living, breathing, thinking beings no horse is ever 100% guaranteed bombproof.

If they say someone is “mounted” that means they are someone who is “horseback.”

Quidding” is the dropping of partially chewed feed from the mouth, which can happen with a horse that is missing teeth.



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Did You Know?

  • A horse has no muscle below the knees and hocks.
  • A horse’s front legs bear 60 to 65 percent of its weight.
  • A horse’s skeleton does not reach maturity until four years of age or older.
  • Stallions will have a slightly larger, more defined jaw than a mare or gelding.
  • Conformation (appearance) should always be considered before buying and using a horse as what the horse is built like will determine what it can be used for.


word play

Change just one letter in the words below to create
a new word that describes a part of the horse.

Answers at bottom :)


It Sounds Like…

Each of the words below has a horse homonym; a word that sounds the same but is spelled differently and means something different. Can you guess what they are?



Hawk _ _ _ _
Main _ _ _ _
Tale _ _ _ _
Heard _ _ _ _
Gate _ _ _ _
Pole _ _ _ _
Hey _ _ _





Q. What runs around the barn but stays still?
A. A fence

Q. What time would it be if a horse sat on your fence?
A. Time to get a new fence.

Q. How can you tell if a horse has been in the refrigerator?
A. By the hoof prints in the butter.

Q. Why did the horse wear tennies?
A. The eighties were too small and the elevenies were too big.

Q. Why did the boy take hay to bed with him?
A. To feed his night mare.


Breed Spotlight:


The Brumby is the wild horse of Australia. They came from the domesticated horses and ponies that were abandoned or ran away from home. They are very hardy and can live in the harshest conditions of the environment of Australia. They come in a variety of colors and tend to be small around 15 hands and shorter. The Brumby has caused some problems for the native plants in Australia by producing too many animals for the land to support. The government has conducted some programs to decrease the number of the herds. Brumbies are not caught and tamed for work due to their rebellious and willful natures. There are plenty of other good riding horses in the country so they are not needed. They are classified as a feral species which means that they run free in small herds.




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Copyright Certified Horsemanship Association, 2007 - All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue expressly forbidden without written permission of the publisher/editor: Certified Horsemanship Association, 4037 Iron Works Parkway Suite 180, Lexington, KY 40511, 859-259-3399.