Eventing

horse saddle fit, properly fitting saddle, how to tell if my saddle fits, does my saddle fit correctly? schleese, saddlefit4life

By Jochen Schleese - Q: I ride a Thoroughbred with a moderately roached (convex or round) back. How should I determine if my saddle fits correctly? A: The nine main points of saddle fit are absolutely common to all saddles and all horses – if you want to determine whether and how well your saddle fits, these points should be considered, and each of these points has video instruction on our website at www.saddlesforwomen.com.

Lindsay Grice, prepare for horse show, prepare for equine show, showing a horse, how to show a horse, prepare for a dressage test, prepare for a horse jumper class, prepare for a Western horse class

Seated at the head of the quiet classroom, I watched the students in the classes I teach write their Equine Behaviour and Equine Business final exams, noting the happy faces of smug recognition (“Yes, I studied that!”) and the winces (“Rats, I’d hoped that material wouldn’t be on the test”). I empathize with them. I know what it’s like to sit in the “test seat” – as a student in university and, more recently, writing judging exams. And as a competitive rider, every horse show is a test.

jessica phoenix, eventing, off the track thoroubred, ottb, World Equestrian Games eventing, Pan American Games, Equestrian, Equine Canada

Born in Uxbridge, Ontario in 1983, Jessica Phoenix is a veteran Olympic, World Equestrian and Pan American Games competitor. She was named 2011 Equestrian of the Year by Equine Canada following a historic individual gold-medal finish at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico. “Probably my most successful off-the-track Thoroughbred was Exponential,” she says. “I rode him at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and the Summer Olympics in London in 2012. I’m trying to retire him because he’s 19 years old. But he’s such an incredible athlete that he prefers to be kept in some sort of work. He was seventh at Rolex at the Horse Fair in 2011 and he also went to Burghley (UK) and finished in the top 25.”

horse safety, horse helmet, riding helmet, riding safety, why wear horse helmet

There are many reasons, or rather, excuses for not wearing riding helmets. Yet research shows that a properly fitted, safety-approved riding helmet can drastically reduce the risk of head injury. When a rider falls, the head is usually the first thing to impact the ground. The human skull can be shattered on impacts of 7 to 10 kilometers per hour, and horses gallop at over 60 kph. According to the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, three out of every five equestrian accident deaths are caused by brain injuries, and there is four times the risk of mortality for non-helmeted riders who become injured.

Half Halt for Rhythm & Balance, Rhythm horses, equine rider position, Half Halt at Trot horses, increasing impulsion in trot, riding horse forward into lengthened trot, riding horse forward into medium trot, riding horse forward into extended trot, mastering half tro

With Lee Tubman - The simplest, most effective exercise to improve the horse's rhythm and balance, and thus improve the gaits themselves, is the half halt. A correctly ridden half halt encourages the hind legs to step further underneath the horse’s body.

winter horse, riding in winter, training in winter, conditioning horse, keep horse fit winter, horse stretches, carrot stretch

3 Rules to Maximize Time Off - Periods of downtime come as realistic parts of horse ownership, although how a rider uses these stretches of poor weather or busy schedules contributes profoundly to a horse’s long-term soundness and performance. Recent data from biomechanics researchers and veterinary schools shows that large vacillations in fitness can be detrimental to overall health, particularly for horses past their mid-teen years. Most notably, periods of lesser activity lasting over a month can weaken deep postural muscles and supporting soft tissue.

lori k. warren, fit horse, horse fitness, horse conditioning, horse schooling, equine conditioning, equine schooling, equine fitness, fit equine, equine interval, equine gymnastics, horse gymnastics, horse strength, equine strength

If you’ve ever been to a gym after a long absence or started up a new exercise routine as part of your New Year’s resolution, you have a good appreciation for the importance of gaining and maintaining fitness. The same concept applies to your horse when you put him back into training after giving him the winter off, after a layoff from an injury, or when starting a young horse under saddle. Unfortunately, many horse owners and trainers are concerned only with working their horses over obstacles or schooling maneuvers specific to their sport, rather than ensuring their horses are fit enough to perform such tasks.

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