How many of us remember the days when the only way to find out the facts on a subject was to go to the library and look it up? Answers to questions we had about the care or feeding of our horses might have been found in one of the many reference books we all owned. Or, maybe we would find the information we were looking for by perusing the many equine magazines we kept “just in case.”
Due to its effectiveness in helping the horse carry his body with good form, the longe cavesson is arguably one of the most useful pieces of equipment to own. Yet, only a surprisingly small number of riders who know about it. While early depictions from the 16th century refer mostly to its value in lateral poll flexion, its benefits for groundwork extend to a horse’s entire body. For anyone who performs groundwork it is an indispensable tool, as I will explain. Common misalignments of horses during groundwork include a twisted poll that comes from a handler using a line attached under the chin, or one-sided pressure on the bit when using a bridle. The alignment and state of positive — or negative — tension in the poll directly affects the rest of the body.
Stallions have often been considered difficult or dangerous, but now it seems that mares are being tarred with the same brush. A study into riders’ perceptions of horse temperament and suitability for ridden work, based on horse sex, found that mares are also seen as “bossy” or “unreliable.” The research, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, has found horse riders are applying human gender stereotypes to horses - a form of anthropomorphism - which could lead them to overlook the merits of mares and fillies.
Horsemen and women around the world are enjoying horses in more unique ways than ever, especially here in Canada. From mounted archery to combat and tent pegging, cowboy mounted shooting to working equitation, and Indian relay racing to skijoring, there are challenging horse sports for everyone. Many of the seven sports described are relatively new, but the skills these sports require originated hundreds of years ago when good horsemanship meant staying alive during battle.
When we think about horses and equestrian sport, most of us conjure up images of the rural countryside: wide open spaces, lush green grazing fields, remote country roads. Rarely does horseback riding come to be associated with busy traffic thoroughfares, public transportation systems, and walkability to urban conveniences such as coffee shops, grocery stores, and retail shopping. But in Vancouver, British Columbia, there exists what is commonly referred to as a horse lover’s paradise, an urban oasis, and one of the city’s last hidden gems