Riding horseback often looks easy when a trained rider is at the reins, but it is actually one of the hardest activities to master. One of the biggest problems that new riders face is getting into their heads too much. However, there are some horse riding tips to circumvent overthinking in the saddle. Number one, make your focus more physical. Focus on the feel of your horse, or the way your body is moving. In other words, pay attention to your senses more than the voices in your head.
Get Out of Your Head
The point is to think less, but if you can’t stop your thoughts at least change what you’re thinking about. The second and third solutions are imagery. Imagery is a great way to improve your riding. Think about taking a leisurely walk when you want to ride slowly and think about running when you want to ride faster. Alternatively, imaging a song or sound bite can help. If you are practicing a light trot with your horse, think of a song with a slow and steady tempo. For more aggressive riding, think about a song with a quicker tempo.
Tip number four: use a catchphrase. This might sound a little silly, but thinking of a phrase that gets you in a specific mood could really help shape your confidence. The best part is you don’t have to say it out loud. Thinking “ride like the wind” or even “high-ho silver” is enough to get your head in the right place for riding. The last and most important tip is to think quicker. Doing any type of training at home, we have the space and time to make mistakes. We can stop what we’re doing and think about how we can do it better. When riding you often have to make quick, split decisions. You’ll still make mistakes. However, once your skills improve, being about to make quick decisions will be a very big asset. If you are looking to buy or sell horse property in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and talk to one of our horse-person realtors.
Defining Horse Separation Anxiety
By definition, separation anxiety is a disorder in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment. Horses are prey animals that feel more comfortable in herds instead of by themselves. Therefore, horses can experience separation anxiety from its herd. Most horses have some level of separation anxiety. In cases of mild anxiety, the situation rarely becomes more than a slight inconvenience. However, there are cases in which a horse is so bound to its herd that the separation anxiety is a serious issue. These cases are very dangerous for not only the rider but the horse as well.
Horses have been herd animals for hundreds of years. Because of this native behavior, it is common for your horse to feel safest when it is with a herd. Separation anxiety is also common. However, there are ways to change a reaction that is caused by your horse’s survival instinct. First, you will need to build a bond that is based on mutual trust and respect. You will also need to help your horse build confidence. Your horse needs to know that it is safe in your care.
Building that trust will start with pushing your horse around a round pen or on a lunge line. This then extends to everything you do with your horse when you are not riding. This includes grooming, hand walking, and just hanging out in the paddock. Every moment counts towards this conditioning. How you behave, what you ask your horse to do, and how you speak to it will establish whether or not your horse feels safe with you. Remember, trust and feeling safe cannot come when force or fear are used. Follow the link for 5 steps on how to reducing horse separation anxiety. For more information contact Colorado Horse Property today.
What is Horse Reining?
Horse reining is common in the world of Western horse training. In horse reining, the horses go through a precise pattern of circles, spins, and stops. All work is done at the lope, or the gallop. This form of riding originated from working with cattle. Reining is a Western version of dressage, as it requires the horse to be in sync with the rider. In horse reining, your aids should not be easily seen. Also, your horse is judged on its ability to perform spinning and stopping movement patterns.
But how do you get your horse to move in a specific way? Your horse needs to figure out that it will get freedom when he moves his neck and head away from the pressure of the rein. This is guaranteed to get a correct response, the desired movement, from your horse. Though it is not easy and takes a lot of practice. You will repeat the process of applying neck pressure and then softening it many times before everything is said and done. Patience is key on those long training days in the saddle.
Be cautious when applying neck pressure to your horse. If you neck rein too hard, your horse will counter bend his head to the outside. This can irritate and damage your horse’s neck muscles. Avoid this by using the direct rein in the initial stages to guide the horse’s nose away from outside rein pressure. Remember to release both the direct and neck rein when you get the correct response from your horse. A horse with a good handle, who is light and responsive to the neck rein’s slightest pressure, is a joy to ride. Looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado? Contact one of our horse-person realtors at Colorado Horse Property.
Flat Versus Raised Surfaces
Horse jumping is a highly skilled branch of English horse training. There is a big difference jumping your horse over the ground versus a raised surface like a fence. When working with flat surfaces, set a single ground pole first. Then ride various downward transitions and try a smooth rein-back in front of the pole. This type of training is called a zoning exercise. These exercises will allow you and your horse the chance to practice a rhythmical approach to horse jumping. Just like other sport training, practice makes perfect. Repeat your zoning exercises until you gain respect and focus before and after the pole.
Once you have gained some confidence, keeping adding on to the exercise. Set a line of poles and riding downward transitions in your riding path. Skilled riders practice a line of multiple pole at varying distances. Practice cantering over the line of poles, varying the number of strides in between the poles by adjusting the length of your stride. For the best results, try these exercises after your horse is warmed up and relaxed. But what about jumping surfaces that aren’t flat, like a trot pole?
Just like a flat surface, we recommend you start with a single trot pole. Then you can move on to more pole eventually. Your trot poles will regulate your horse’s pace and assist you and your horse in reaching the ideal jumping distance. Increase your difficulty when your work over the first cross-rail is successful. Try adding a second jump several strides away. Practice adding a stride down the line before you canter it on stride, and use downward transitions or circles in between the jumps to re-establish a quiet rhythm as needed. Check out our Horse Training page for more on English Horse Training. If you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today.
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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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.
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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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.
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.
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash.