Riding a horse is fun, and everyone has to start somewhere! For that reason we wanted to have a beginners series showing the parts of a saddle, bridle and other tack used to get your horse ready to ride. Check out our diagram below showing you the parts of the Western Saddle (English Saddles have a few different parts and names). Have a question, leave it in the comments below. We will post parts of the bridle next week.
Today, I’d like to reflect a bit of the difference between a “broke’ horse, and a “trained” horse.” Often , the terms are used interchangeable, to denote a horse that can be ridden. There IS a difference, and it is often huge. The broke horse (usually) CAN be ridden, sometimes successfully. It moves (sometimes willingly, sometimes not) with a rider, but usually does no more than it wants . It has to be “muscled” or made to do things. It is a begrudging partner, not a willing one.
The trained horse works at the direction of its rider. It responds to commands often so subtle only the rider and the horse know they have been given. It responds to leg, rein and voice enthusiastically and often joyfully. Little effort is needed to get this horse, this “trained” horse to do what is requested. It is a willing partner.
So, the next time someone shows you a horse, and says “Sure, that one is broke.” You can now say….. “Yes, but is it trained?”
The vet was out a short time ago floating teeth. I thought this might be a good time to talk about horse’s teeth and their care. horse’s teeth are made for grinding the foods they eat (i.e. primarily hay and grain). They grow throughout most of their lives and the points at which they articulate (hit on each other) they wear the opposing teeth down. In places where they do NOT meet they continue to grow, in which case they need care. This should be done by a competent veterinary professional. The process is called “floating” and consists of grinding the points down to where they are consistent with the other teeth. Left untreated, long pointed teeth cause eating and bitting problems. This highlights the importance of good, regular equine dental care. Teeth should be checked yearly at least, and floated as needed. Additionally prior to bitting, young horses should be checked for ‘wolf teeth.’ Small teeth which need to be removed prior to serious bit work.
It’s been a busy but productive spring, with three Class A horse shows and a very successful show here at Holsman Stables under our belt. We are adding riders to the lesson program as well, and it all has added up to fun times ahead this summer.
All this horse activity brought to mind the other day the subject of communication including communication between horse and rider, between instructor and student/ rider, and communication between trainer and horse/trainee. Communication between horse and rider is key. Through the use of the various “aids” the rider tells the horse, “This is what we are going to do next.” That communication must be clear and consistent, the same way each time, just like learning any language. In the English language, turn left means, turn left. Turn right means turn right. It has to be expressed that way to be clear and the words have to retain their meaning. It’s no different in the language of horseback riding. The touch of the rein or leg, the change in seat, the command of the voice must be clear and consistent all the time. The acts retain their meaning that way and convey the message to the horse.
The same is true of the communication between instructor and rider/student. The instruction must be clear and concise. Not just, “do this,” but “this is HOW we do this, and this is the result.” Showing and explaining in understandable terms how we do things and why we do things, because of the horses nature and instincts and these are the positive results of these actions.
Lastly, the communication between trainer and horse/trainee. The trainer must understand horses and their nature so he or she came create a training process that causes positive responses within the horse, so that it begins to understand what is expected, and because of that understanding, cooperates more easily.
Communication is the key to having a great experience whether in the show ring, in the dressage arena or riding the trails. So, let’s go out, develop that relationship with our horses, and have a wonderful, fun summer.
See you soon
Holsman Stables blog is written by our instructors, boarders and staff.