Monday, April 30

Somebody, please explain...

... why in the heck you need would ever need to put this on a horse's head?!

This device is called a Horsewyse Hackamore. The patent for this contraption is held by Patrick Wyse. Although, it is not mentioned or pictured anywhere on his website. It's actually pretty difficult to find anything further about. I wonder if they maybe.. I dunno... caused horses to flip over and kill people? The combination of extreme leverage from the hackamore and a tie down spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

Thursday, April 12

Tack Addict Shopping Guide v. 2

It's time for another installment for all you tack addicts like me. For today's post, I'd like to show you one of my favorite bits. It's the Professional's Choice Bob Avila signature snaffle.

This bit's appealing in several ways. First off, it won't break the bank at right around $50. It's got copper inlay in the mouthpiece and it's little wide, so it doesn't have the pinching problem I've seen with a lot of loose rings; I still use bit guards just in case though. I ride just about every horse in this bit, and I love the feel. It's got heavier rings... although not the super heavy weighted kind. It's just heavy enough to give it a nice substantial feel that helps the horses pick it up and hold it, which gives you a connected feel even on a loose rein.

Monday, April 9

Pet Peeve: Mouthy Horses

It's time for another installment of pet peeves! On the agenda to discuss today is mouthy horses. Horses are curious critters, and, lacking hands, they use their prehensile lips for checking things out. Youngsters usually learn not to put their mouth on things during "work time" in the course of their early trianing, as it can lead to a lot of trouble in the future. Horses who grow accustomed to putting their mouth on things (including chewing, lipping, touching, etc) can grab the shank of a bit and flip themself over, pull down something and spook themself, damage other people's equipment and the list goes on and on.

So, what's the deal with owners who let their horses put their mouth on anything and everything they encounter? Often times, when asked about their horse's behavior, the owner will make excuses like, "Oh, fluffy just has to check everything out to make sure it's ok." or "I just want to let him be a horse." Listen here folks, your horse has all day and night when you're not working him to check things out and be a horse. When I have my horse out, I want him paying attention to me. Not searching for things he can "check out". In my opinion, there's a big difference between letting your horse check out something and letting them look for things to play with. When I expect my horse to interact with something, they are allowed to touch it with their nose as part of their safety check, but they are never ever under any circumstances to put any object in their mouth. It's a safety hazard, and, in my opinion, shows an overall lack of discipline. When I have my horses out, they should be paying attention to what I am doing so that they don't miss a cue. If their attention is split between me and their search for entertainment, we are not going to have very good communication with one another.

Ultimately, like most of my pet peeves, it comes down to a safety issue. A horse who is constantly putting items in his mouth is eventually going to cause trouble. Should the unthinkable happen and Fluffy ends up for sale, how will prospective buyers feel about a horse with an oral fixation? Are you setting your horse up for long term success? Or avoiding a training issue?

Wednesday, April 4

Writer's Block

So, I have a bunch of half finished posts... that just refuse to let me finish them all the way. So while I fight off this writer's block junk... here are some links to some of my favorite reads...

Sustainable Dressage has both great explanations and illustrations of collection and the horse's balance in general. If you like what you see, I also recommend checking out the tack section.

Mugwump Chronicles Sonita stories are both true and riveting. Mugs also writes about training and other general horsey topics from a western trainer's point of view.

Dressage Curmudgeon (pg 14 language on occasion) writes about buying a baby and turning her into a dressage horse.

These should keep you entertained for a while until I get my act together ;) If you have any favorites for me to check out link to them in the comments!