How To Jump Properly

Horse Jumping

Proper Horse Jumping Techniques

Horse jumping is a branch of English horse training that also includes dressage, eventing, hunters, and equitation. Follow our blog for more information on English horse training. Horse jumping can be found at horse shows throughout the world, even the Olympics. There are exclusively horse jumping shows. However, they are usually offered in conjunction with other English-style events. Sometimes show jumping is but one division of very large, all-breed competitions that include a very wide variety of disciplines. If you are a seasoned rider and looking to take part in jumping, here are a few tips.

At the beginning, hire a certified coach to get a ground-level perspective of your performance. Breathing and counting are the two most important things to practice when learning to jump. You will also need to be aware of your body position, and the increments in which you apply your aids. Remember to keep your head up and your eyes ahead at a focal point. This concentration will help in a number of ways. You will be able to keep a tall upper body with your shoulders back, a soft following arm, and a long supporting leg with a deep heel.

Mastering this position is ultimately what you want to achieve. This will assure that you are not encouraging your horse to speed up at the jump. Maintaining a steady pace that you are comfortable with is what you want. Consider removing any artificial aids that you may be using to make sure you aren’t using them involuntarily or incorrectly. Follow our blog for more information on this topic and other horse training related tips. Looking for a horse property in Colorado? Get help from one of our horse-person realtors at Colorado Horse Property.

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Are Riders Athletes?

Are Riders Athletes

And the answer is, without a shadow of a doubt, that horseback riders are athletes. Not only are riders athletes but they should train like athletes. Regardless of whether you are involved in English horse training or Western horse training, or if you just ride for fun, riders who incorporate cross-training working into their lifestyle achieve more success in the saddle.

Training Like Athletes

The benefits of cross-training are boundless. You will see improvements in feeling secure in the saddle and balance. With the help of a good fitness program, coupled with enthusiasm and discipline, you can reach your peak performance level in no time. Being balanced int he saddle is a key component to being a good rider. An equestrian strength training program that resolves imbalances in the rider’s body is paramount if you want to reach your goals of peak performance quickly. Developing muscular symmetry for self-carriage is also important. Exercises for muscular symmetry will increase muscular sensitivity for riding as well. Strengthen your muscular foundation, improve balance and core stability, and teach the body how to move more efficiently through a good fitness plan.

Keeping a written plan, no matter how detailed, will help you in the long run. In your plan, jot down where you will fit which activity into your schedule. You do not necessarily need to go to a gym. This can be a waste of time and money. Buying a few light weights could be all you need. Plan what weight sizes you will use, how many repetitions, and sets of strength exercises you will do. Split muscle groups into different days to make your workout work better for your lifestyle. If you are looking for Colorado horse property for sale, contact one of our horse-person realtors today at Colorado Horse Property.

 

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The Secondhand Saddle

The Secondhand Saddle

Used Saddles

The horse-person realtors here at Colorado Horse Property know that buying a new saddle can be an economic stretch. Buying a secondhand saddle is less expensive than buying a band new one, but there are a few caveats you should be aware of. Before taking a deal on a secondhand saddle, take a good hard look at the condition it is in. Are there any cracks in the saddle? Identifying weak or loose snaps, could prevent a serious injury down the road to you or your horse. It is also important to ensure the tack is really well cleaned.

Worst case scenario, it is possible to spread skin disease to your horse through a secondhand saddle. This is caused by leftover deposits of dirt, sweat, and moisture which can harbor all kinds of bad bugs and bacteria. So, if you are going to bring home any secondhand tack, be sure to fully scrub and clean it before bringing it near your horse. For more tips on how to clean your tack, check out our article Caring For Your Horse Tack. Failure to clean this tack properly could even introduce ringworm to your horse, a virus that can survive for weeks under the right conditions.

This is not only true for saddles, but for any horse tack that you buy used. Saddle pads, blankets, coolers, girths, and other equipment should be cleaned thoroughly. For sheepskin products, follow the directions on the label. Any tack composed on fabric that cannot be washed, should still be put in the dryer on hot. This will effectively kill germs as well as mites and lice. Even clean nylon and rope halters, lead ropes, lunge lines, and long lines. If you are looking for Colorado horse property for sale, contact one of our horse-person realtors today at Colorado Horse Property.

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Caring For Your Horse Tack

Caring For Your Horse Tack

Tack Care and You

In our previous article Colorado Horse Tack, we explained how important it is to take good care of your horse tack and equipment. Taking care of your horse tack is a big commitment that will need your focus all year round. When looking for horse tack for sale, consider how it will need to be cared for. Wipe and clean your saddle and bridle once a week if you ride regularly. You will want to use a good saddle soap from your local horse supplies store. Just like washing your hands, make sure to rinse off the soap with water after application. Saddle soaps can be harsh on your saddle and remove too much moisture, so make sure to apply a leather moisturizer when you’re done.

Not all soaps are created equal. Soap that has a basic pH level and sweat are the two greatest enemies when it comes to leather. Test out a small bottle of soap to see how well it works before invested in a large quantity. Read product reviews if your ordering online. These two factors affect the longevity and appearance of your tack if they are not washed off properly. Soaps that contain glycerin or include moisturizers are generally better for your horse tack than the more basic products.

Another thing you can do to care for your horse tack is to use leather oil. However, leather oil should be used sparingly and should not be allowed to soak into the seat. This could cause irreparable damage. Leather oil is notorious for leaving stains on clothing, so you’ll want to be wary for getting in on you. During the winter, consider keeping your leather tack in your home, especially if your tack room does not have any form of heating. Looking for a Colorado horse property for sale? Contact one of our horse-person realtors at Colorado Horse Property.

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Colorado Horse Tack

Colorado Horse Tack

Horse Tack for Sale

If you’ve ever spent a day on a ranch and aided in the care of horses, then you’ve probably been in a tack room. Inside would have been bridles, bits, halters, shanks, saddles, pads, wraps, fly masks, and blankets. Also, there are buckets and grooming tool organizers stuffed with brushes, combs, hoof pick, sponges, chamois, sprays, shampoo. This is horse tack. Anything used to dress or care for the horses nearby. Most of these items can by hung up on the wall, with a few items stored in cupboards. Cupboard items may include cleaners, conditioners, polishes, rags, and sponges to maintain all that tack and equipment.

Make sure to lock up your tack room at the end of the work day. The cost of all that tack and gear is astronomical. The comfort and safety of your horse is paramount. Therefore, it is essential to take extra steps,making sure that your tack and equipment is kept safe. Also, cleaning your tack is important. As much as tack should be cleaned regularly and the bit and stirrups washed and wiped dry, the challenges of keeping tack in perfect condition can be overcome by having them in a secure and dry place. Leaving your tack outside and in the elements will greatly reduce their lifespan.

A lot of your tack will be made out of leather. Leather is treated animal skin and has about 25 percent of its original moisture. Today’s tanning process, which takes about six weeks, permanently alters the protein structure in the skin, making it more durable and less susceptible to damage from bacteria. Knowing how to care for your leather products in your tack room is very important. Looking for Colorado horse property for sale? Contact one of our horse-person realtors today.

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Horse Stress from Noise

Horse Stress

Visual Signs of Stress In Horses

Horses are amazing animals that humans have been involved with for centuries. Like humans, horses can become stressed by many things. One of the biggest stressors for horses is noise. Horses have remarkably sensitive hearing—they can hear the sound of footsteps from a mile away. With this in mind, noisy horse trailers are very stressful to horses. Many trailer manufacturers have recently taken this into consideration. Within the past decade, makers have incorporated alternative fastening materials to reduce noise pollution. This makes for a safer and less stressful environment for our horses and a more appealing product.

However, no matter how well-designed and manufactured a trailer is, it will have normal wear and tear. Trailers develop squeaks, rattles, and other signs of age over time. Though you can fix problems when they occur, not much can be done to prevent them from happening. In short, your horse trailer will eventually cause noise stress in your horse. It is inevitable. Likewise, there are many visual signs of horse stress. If you see your horse displaying any of the following behavior then you should take steps into reducing your horse stress during long stints in trailers. Behavioral signs might include unwillingness to work, decreased appetite, flightiness, depression, or some other change in a horse’s usual demeanor. One of the best ways to help with trailer noise stress is to have your horse ride with another horse. Their is strength and confidence in numbers.

Noise is a primary stress factor for horses, as it is for most prey animals. Stress increases fatigue, reduces the effectiveness of their immune system, and long-term exposure to stressful situations can cause permanent psychological and physiological damage. So by managing the noise levels in our trailers we can effectively reduce the degree and amount of stress our horses experience during transport. For help with finding horse property for sale, contact one of our horse-person realtors at Colorado Horse Property.

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Judging Western Pleasure

horse judging

What the Judges Are Looking For

There are a lot of things that horse performance judges look for when judging a western pleasure competition. The aspect of Western pleasure that sets it apart from other equestrian competitions, there is no real winner. Riders are placed in an order of who performed the best to the worst, but the difference between first and second could be astronomical. How would you judge between a horse that doesn’t perform all three required gaits and one that tries to buck or run off with its rider? Which one should place over the other? It would be easier to judge a group of dressage performers than one without any real winner.

You will be judged on how true your horse’s gait is. Horse gaits are the various ways in which a horse can move, either naturally or as a result of specialized training by humans. To test your horse’s performance, ask yourself these questions when practicing. Is you horse exhibiting ‘lift’ in its shoulders? Is the performance consistent? Every stride that your horse takes should be the same as the one before and the one after. Does your horse have an easy, collected manner? Does the horse appear to present a pleasant picture? To present a good picture, your horse should have a consistent frame and natural head carriage.

Knowing the rules is important, but it isn’t enough to produce a win. One of the best things you can do it to remember to have fun. Do you want to become a Western pleasure judge? Go to a few practice shows, before trying to peruse a career. Offer to be a ring steward for an incumbent judge at a local open show. For more information on the nuances of Western Pleasure, read Colorado Western Pleasure. For help in finding Colorado horse property for sale, contact Colorado Horse Property and speak with a horse-person realtor today.

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Colorado Western Pleasure

Western Pleasure

Western Horse Training

Western Pleasure is a western style competition at horse shows that evaluates horses on their relaxed but collected gait. These types of competitions include nearly all breeds. However, breed restrictions apply in the highest levels of competition. Western pleasure classes are a big part of most open circuit horse shows in the state of Colorado. However, this does not mean that the Western horse training discipline is any easier than the others. Judges of Western Pleasure shows look for a plethora of skills. The two skills that beginners should start with is horsemanship and technical skills.

Just like other skilled performance sports, Western Pleasure is hard to judge. The riders compete as a group at the same time, traveling around the outer edge of the arena. Then, each horse and rider team performs three gaits going one direction in the arena. When the riders reverse direction, they will do the same three gaits the other way. If the performers aren’t tripped up by the direction change, they will also be required to back up. The three gaits are the walk, jog, and lope. This may sound easy to do at first, but that is not the case. The act of being judged can be a stressful thing to endure. That stress only goes away with practice and increased professionalism. 

Western pleasure is one of the most technical performance sports in the world today. Many riders compete in Western pleasure and never truly understand what the judge looks for when selecting a winner. In a pleasure class, the judgement occurs to the horse’s performance rather than the rider’s. Riders are judged in horsemanship and equitation classes. Knowing that you’ll be judged separately means that you and your horse must be at the top of their game. For help in finding Colorado horse property for sale, contact one of our horse-person realtors today at ColoradoHorseProperty.com.

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Improving Your Dressage Riding Skills

Dressage Riding Skills

Your Dressage Riding Skills

Dressage is an equestrian sport; it is a highly skilled form of riding performed in exhibition and competition. A big part of riding (and riding well) is keeping the right frame of mind when in the saddle. You should always be thinking about the rider position and function. This is especially true when trying to improve your riding skills relating to swiftness. If you are always thinking about what you should be doing to ride your horse the fastest, then you will already be ahead of the competition. For example, if I have really tight arms or wrists, or holding tension anywhere in your body, you will not be able to push the horse as fast as it can go.

There are exercises that can be used out of the saddle to help you. Wrap a long flexible cord around a helper’s upper chest and shoulders, and pretend the other end is the reins of your horse. Have your helper walk forward, turning left and right, while you try to maintain a steady contact with these makeshift reins. Then switch places and have your helper steer you. This will provide you with insight into what your horse experiences.

Following those steps, grasp one end of your test rope and have your helper grasp the other end. Have your helper move their hand. Follow their movements to keep a soft, even contact. Pay close attention to your wrists, forearms, and shoulders. Are your wrists locked? Forearms tight? Shoulders stiff? This is indicative of how you will be in the saddle and gives you a chance to correct them before straddling your horse. For more information on English horse training in Colorado, check out our Colorado Horse Training page. Looking for horse properties for sale in Colorado? Contact a horse-person realtor today.

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Colorado Horse Stall Doors

horse stall doors

The last piece of the puzzle when it comes to Colorado horse stalls is the type of door you should use in construction. For more information on Colorado horse stalls, check out our articles “Constructing A Colorado Horse Stall” and “How To Design A Colorado Horse Stall.” There are a plethora of door materials and configurations. The most common stall door types are swinging and sliding doors. Some doors cover the full length of the doorway while others are divided into two panels. Other doors partially cover half to three-quarters of the doorway, and other go all the way up. The type of door depends on your style. Work with your contractor in the kind of door that fits your style best.

Though the door style will differ from horse-owner to horse-owner, some things will be the same. First of all, the doors and doorjambs need to be durable. The average horse weighs upwards of a thousand pounds—not just any door will do to keep these animals inside their horse stall. You’ll need secure latches, and the door must be free of sharp edges or protrusions. Door guides on sliding doors should be rounded. Door latches should be operated with one hand. Keep door latches out of reach your horses, especially the escape artists.

Stall dividers should be at least two inches thick. Dividers are commonly composed of rough-cut oak or tongue-and-groove pine. Using anything softer than these wood types and you will be susceptible to kicking and chewing damage. Use pressure-treated lumber or plywood for the bottom boards. While boards may warp, plywood dissipates kicks and has a better strength-to-weight ratio. For information on horse properties for sale in Colorado, contact one of our horse-person realtors at Colorado Horse Property today.

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