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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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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Constructing A Colorado Horse Stall

horse stall

When it comes to constructing a horse stall in Colorado, lighting and air flow two of the most important things to get right. For more information on Colorado horse stalls, check out our articles on “Planning Your Colorado Horse Stall” and “How To Design A Colorado Horse Stall.” Proper lighting in your horse stall is essential for observing your horses any time of the day or night. Also, cleaning your horse stall because exponentially more difficult with poor lighting. Though natural lighting is a good option, you should keep any glass out of your horse’s reach for their safety. Glass windows should be either out of reach, above seven feet, or protected by sturdy bars or mesh. Plexiglas is a good option for window glazing.

Besides using the standard glass window, another lighting option for horse stalls is using a light fixture. If you place your lighting fixtures along the front or side walls, you are more likely to decrease shadows. One fixture above the center will always create shadows. This occurs as the horse comes to the front of the stall for observation. Similar to the placement of windows, you should place your fixtures at least seven feet high to minimize contact with the horse. You can also consider putting a shatterproof cage around the light bulb. Shatterproof cages are generally available at most lighting supply stores. Now that you have decided on the lighting for your stall, now it is time to think about air flow.

Fresh air promotes good respiratory health for every horse that you have constructed a stall for. A window, which opens for each booth, eave and ridge vents, and no ceiling (or at least a high ceiling), will enhance fresh air exchange. Many older stalls, typically found in restored barns, have hay storage above the stalls. Storing hay and bedding over the top of the stalls is not a good idea in respect to air flow. These items can also carry allergens that could harm your horse’s respiratory system. For more information on horse stalls or finding horse stalls for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today.

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How To Design A Colorado Horse Stall

Colorado horse stall

The Colorado horse stall is the most basic unit of a horse stable. When designing your Colorado horse stall, safety for you and your horses should be your primary concern. After safety, comfort for your horse and convenience for you are the next priorities. If you keep these things in mind when planning and constructing your horse stall, then you’ll have nothing to lose. If you are using a contractor, then make sure to speak with them every step of the process. For more information, contact Colorado Horse Property today. The first two things you’ll need to consider when constructing your horse stall is the size and the walls.

The size of your horse and the amount of time your horse spends in the stall will determine the size of your stall. Larger horses require more square footage than smaller horses. Your horse will need space to turn around, lie down, and get up comfortably. A 12-foot by 12-foot stall is the standard recommendation for a 1,000-pound horse. Though you can go smaller than this, walls less than 10-feet in length are not recommended. The stall’s wall length is one-and-a-half times the horse’s length. Consider a larger stall size if the horse spends more time in the stall. You’ll also need to account for more space if your hose is more active than others.

Though this is used often, stall walls do not have to be completely enclosed. An open panel design at the top allows for better ventilation. You will also be able to observe your horse better this way. An open panel partition has solid materials along the bottom 48 to 60 inches, with an open panel on top. Bars of three-quarters to one-inch diameter pipe, or equivalent, are standard. Place bars no more than three inches apart or uses a heavy-gauge wire mesh with approximately two-inch openings. Follow this link for more on Planning Your Colorado Horse Stall.

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Planning Your Colorado Horse Stall

Colorado horse stall

There are many things to consider when in the early stages of planning to build your first Colorado horse stall. What type of things will you need to be stored within hands reach of the stall? Hay racks, hay bags, and hay nets? If so, these items should be stored near at chest height. If they are stored too low, your horse may become tangled. Planning these things out in advance will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. You should also think about how your horse feeds and what type of floor to use.

What type of feeding method do you use with your horse and how can that affect the way your horse stall should be constructed? A hay rack or net will require different specifications than using a hay manger. Many horse owners use mangers because they let the horse eat in a more natural position. Mangers are also less prone to trap the horse and reduce dust fall. Similar to racks or nets, mangers start flush with the floor and ends above horse chest height. Dust can accumulate in the bottom of the manger so you’ll need to make sure there is enough room in your Colorado horse stall for a person to remove the debris manually.

What will you use on the floor of your stall? Horses have their heads close to the ground for most of the day. Most horse owners use an odorless material on the floor and is also non-absorbant. Not all floorings are the same. Dirt is pliable, but concrete is more stable. The stiffness of concrete can be overcome by using rubber mats or deep bedding. Sufficient bedding helps prevent sores or abrasions. Avoid flooring that can be slippery when wet. For more information, contact Colorado Horse Property today.

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Preparing Your Horses For Emergencies

horse emergency

Emergency Planning

No one wants to think about what would happen during a natural disaster. And yet being prepared for the worst is something that every Colorado horse property owner should be doing. If you are a Colorado horse owner, make sure to have a contingency plan in place for your home first. Then prepare a plan for your horses. Your horses are very important, but you have to have your own home in order first. Here is a list (provided by the Redcross) of items that you should have available in case of a horse emergency.

    • Water
    • Non-perishable food
    • Manual can opener
    • Crank or battery-operated flashlight and radio
    • Extra batteries
    • Extra keys for house and vehicles
    • First aid kit
    • Cash in small bills
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Important family documents
    • A copy of your Home Emergency Plan

Horse Emergency

After you have taken care of your own needs, now it’s time to prepare your animals. All of your horses should have a halter and lead rope near their stall. Think about adding extra halters and lead ropes in multiple locations in your stables. Other things that you can do is store extra feed buckets, bedding, pitchforks, shovels, and wheelbarrows. You don’t want to clutter your barn, but having these extra items could come in handy in an emergency. Consider bringing the following:

    • Horse ID papers
    • Horse insurance papers
    • Photographs of your horse with your and your vet’s information
    • Luggage tags with the same information
    • Spray paint or etch the hooves
    • Auction crayons for tagging

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How To Breathe When Colorado Horseback Riding

Colorado horseback riding

Colorado Horseback Riding

Colorado Horse Property would like to expand on our previous article “Effective Breathing When Horseback Riding.” Stress is the worst thing a rider can experience while Colorado horseback riding. Nerves and anxiety can sap a rider and their horse of energy. If you reset your breathing, a few beautiful things will happen. First of all, you will replenish your oxygen stores. Eventually, your mind will become less clouded, and you will be able to make better decisions. When you regain your confidence in the saddle, your riding potential will skyrocket.

The communication between you and your horse comes through your physical connection. If your body becomes impacted by stress, your horse will pick up on that emotion immediately. The more confidence you have while Colorado horseback riding, the more confident your horse will be as well. Learning to breathe correctly is the best tool for regulating stress in the saddle. Effective breathing can reverse the fight-or-flight response, and relax your body. The exact same can be said of your horse. With you and your horse back in control, you can both focus on what’s important.

Stress is known to riddle the mind with unnecessary doubt. That voice in your head, when infested with anxiety, will turn on you quickly. Instead of focusing on what is important, you will worry about everything excessively. When you reset your breath and replenish the oxygen to your brain, it will be easier to think more clearly and purposefully. You will be able to direct your thoughts back to your riding and your goals. This will give you a greater sense of control, which in turn will lead to greater feelings of confidence for you and your horse. For more information, contact a horse-person realtor at Colorado Horse Property.

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Effective Breathing When Horseback Riding

horseback riding

Horseback Riding and Breathing

Breathing is an essential aspect of horseback riding that often gets overlooked. Click the link for trail riding tips and tips on how to saddle a horse; things to know before you get to this stage. After these steps, practice breathing at home before getting into the saddle. First, practice dropping your breathing low. Inhale deeply and then exhale. Your shoulders and chest will drop as you exhale. You are now ready to try while horseback riding.

While on horseback, drop your breathing low. You will feel a better connection with your horse as your body relaxes. With each breath, this connection will become stronger. You can do this exercise at a halt or a slow walk. There are many signs that the activity is helping your horse. Your horse will lower their neck, blow out their nostrils, and the ears will relax. This is known as connecting breathing. This technique is a great tool to add to your routine. When this technique is followed correctly, you and your horse will be starting from a calming place.

Take the time to build up your confidence. Practice makes perfect! Eventually, you will be able to influence your body when you need to the most. Now that you have gained your confidence with the connecting breath, you are ready for the breath reboot. First, slowly inhale and count to six. In turn, slowly exhale for a count of eight. Repeat two to four times. This technique will help you refocus while horseback riding.  Use it at a show when you begin to feel nervous. You will quickly see those nerves fly out the window! For more information contact a horse-person realtor at Colorado Horse Property.

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