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Training Tips by Andrea

For Beginners

1) Buying your first horse

So many times a person wants to buy a foal or a very young horse for their first horse, although in my opinion this is NOT a great idea… I had one person say to me once, when they had NEVER owned a horse before, “yes, but you raise a dog from puppy hood and they can be the best dogs”. The problem with this statement is that the average horse is FAR bigger than even the largest dog! Horses are kind and of a gentle nature, however proper training is a MUST!!! Beginning with halter breaking to teaching them to pick up their feet and walking properly on the lead rope.  Not to mention babies tend to bite, strike, kick, and lunge forward (often times at or on the handler). They are NOT mean, just untrained and unsure!!! They need a lot of help to grow up and become a confident grown up horse.

So my advice for beginners is to NOT buy a foal (new baby, under a year), or a yearling, or a two year old. Unless you are with a professional trainer, that can teach you and help you along the way. Horses live a long life when cared for well, so my advice is for you to find a horse that is anywhere from 6 to 16 years of age. You want one that is past any baby stuff and well secure under saddle. Once you find a horse you are comfortable with, ride it before you buy it, if at all possible take someone with you that has the experience you do not!!! Have a vet come out to the person’s house and do a vet check, this will cost you a bit more money, however isn’t it better to know upfront if this horse has any problems and what they are?! Having this knowledge will also help you to determine if this horse’s problems are more than you can handle.

The three best questions to ask the Veterinarian:

1)   what is his/her overall opinion of this horse?

2)   If this horse does have problems, can the problems be worked with and what will it take to keep the horse sound ( healthy and without lameness)?

3)   Will these problems progress, and become worse?

If you remember to take advice from those around you and you find a horse you really like, then I would say buy this horse. Now remember, even if you do everything right, some things could still go wrong, at NO persons own fault, but if you follow these few simple steps, you should do pretty good… You will have a lot of fun with your new friend/ family member.

Remember to always ride with a safety helmet and most of all HAVE A BLAST!!!!

2) Grooming your horse

When grooming your horse, this is the time to really bond and get to know your horse. This not just for cleaning your horse… When I first take out a horse to groom, I always look the horse over to make sure there are no injuries or swelling, Once I have done this, I then tie/cross tie the horse… now I am ready to begin grooming… I first start with my currycomb, you do NOT use this on bony areas like their legs and face, but it is great for shedding them out and bringing out a natural shine. When using a currycomb, you begin at the top of the side of your horse’s neck and follow through around the entire horse. Go in small circular motions against the horse’s hair growth, with firm pressure. This will loosen any shedding hair and also dirt from your horse’s coat. And they LOVE it… next I am ready for a medium soft brush.

This should not be too soft as now you will need to rid your horse of the dirt and loose hair you have brought up by currying. Again, you start at the top side of your horse’s neck but this time you follow the hair the way it grows, brushing in straight, short strokes with firm pressure to rid your horse of any loose dirt or hair.  You also include your horses legs and brush downwards towards the hoof once you have made it all the way around your horse, I like to repeat this one more time just to get anything off that might have been left behind. Now you are ready for a soft brush.

This is best on the head of your horse. Start at the top of your horse’s head and brush downwards towards the muzzle DO NOT brush the eyes, but you can gently brush around the eyelids. Now your horse should be shiny and clean, but you are not done yet. You are now ready to pick out your horse’s hooves.

A good horse deserves good clean hooves. When picking up your horse’s feet you stand with your back to the horse’s head, next to it’s shoulder so you would be even with your horse’s leg. You then slide your hand down the back of your horse’s leg and stop at the bottom of the cannon bone. You can then squeeze gently and your horse should then pick up it’s foot. You then cradle the hoof itself with your free hand, and when picking out your horse’s hoof, never dig into the frog (the V shape in the center of the hoof). There will be a visible out lining of the “frog”, and then you  take your hoof pick and clean any and all debris from the bottom of the hoof. Once you have cleaned the hoof you set it down gently and go on to the next hoof until you have gotten them all. When doing the back leg, it is important to always stand next to your horse’s side and follow these instructions.

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Last Updatead 3/18/04