Breed Profile: The Majestic Arabian Horse

Arabian Horse

Arabian Horses are believed to be the oldest of horse breeds. They have a noble, majestic carriage that makes them distinctive in the horse world, including a finely chiseled bone structure, high tail and arched neck. Nearly every modern breed of riding horse has some type of Arabian bloodline.

Arabians remain popular horses for racing, for riding long distances, and simply for admiring at horse shows. Here are some more details on this incredible and incredibly popular breed of horse.

Origin Story

Arabian Horses date back thousands of years to the Bedouin tribe, a nomadic group who lived in Arabia and kept horses as both workers and companions. They considered them noble beasts and treated them extremely well, sharing their food, water and shelter with the horses.

It wasn't until the Crusades began that the Arabian Horse began to migrate to Europe and beyond. European fighters returned to their homes with horses as one of the spoils of war. Europeans subsequently cross-bred the animals with their horses, which were much heavier than the Arabians. Later these lightened-up horses were used in European cavalry to engage in warfare during the 20th century.

In 1725 the Arabian Horse came to America, with Nathan Harrison importing them to Virginia. But they soon became hugely popular in the United States, including in New York, Ohio, parts of the West and Southwest, and New England. In fact, the U.S. now boasts more Arabian Horses than all the other countries in the world combined.

Distinctive Characteristics

Arabian horses have incredible stamina, and they’re ideal for long rides in difficult conditions. They measure 14 to 15.3 hands high and come in a variety of colors, including chestnut, black, bay, gray and roan. They’re also capable of carrying very heavy riders.

In ancient times, the Bedouins bred their Arabians carefully, allowing only those with the best of dispositions to reproduce. This has led to a very even temperament among today’s horses, which are also known for being very intelligent compared to other breeds. There are, however, six genetic disorders among Arabians, two of which can be fatal.

Folklore and Legends

As you’d expect for a breed that’s been around for more than 4,500 years, there are a lot of legends and stories surrounding Arabian Horses. The prophet Muhammad was said to have chosen five Arabian horses as his foundation mares, and the Bedouins claimed that all Arabians were descended from those mighty beasts.

Another legend claims that the Arabian Horses were descendants of a mare owned by King Solomon, and yet another credits Ishmael, Abraham’s son, with starting the breed. Finally, another story credits Allah with creating the Arabian horse from wind.

What You Need to Know About the American Saddlebred

American Saddlebred

Not many animals are closely tied to a particular nation, but the American saddlebred is an exception, and not just because of its name.

The American saddlebred is the descendant of the Galloway and hobby horse, both of which were brought to the Americas in the 1600s. In the 1700s, these horses were bred with stallions from the Middle East to create the thoroughbred, and this became known as the American horse. The breed went on to become a standard mount in the American Revolution, so its history is intrinsically linked to the history of America.

American Saddlebred Basics

The American saddlebred stands out in large part because of its regal stance and aura of nobility. The horse stands between 15 and 16 hands high and comes in a variety of colors, including chestnut, gray and black. They have a small head resting on a long neck, and they carry their lithe bodies on a set of especially long legs.

In addition to providing a striking officer’s mount, their long features allow for a high gait, which makes them ideal show horses. They’re also as personable as they are physically distinguished; they get along well with other horses and with people, and they take instruction easily.

Caring for the American Saddlebred

Although the American saddlebred seems to be ideal for everything from shows to everyday riding, they also require a lot of attention and special care. Their diet, temperament and grooming needs can be time-consuming, but the results are worth it.

Food: Horses require lots of roughage and an open pasture is the best possible source. If a pasture isn’t available – for instance, if the horse is confined – then hay is the next best thing. However, the hay should be fresh and dry. Dusty hay or hay containing mold and/or water damage should never be fed to an American saddlebred.

Grooming: A shiny, healthy coat keeps the American saddlebred looking like a prize horse at all times. Check their coats every day for ticks and cuts, and check their hooves for pebbles and signs of infection. A good brushing keeps the coat shiny, while regular trimming of the mane and tail keeps them looking lean. For an even leaner look, let them run every day.

Temperament: While the American saddlebred is relatively even-tempered and friendly, it can also be sensitive to its surroundings. If you hire someone to handle gopher removal in the stable, for example, tell them to move slowly and not make any sudden movements. Also, avoid walking underneath their bellies; you don’t want to risk getting caught up in their startled reaction.

The American saddlebred is part of our proud national history, but even without the patriotic zeal it can still be a wonderful show horse and family friend.

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HART

9.27.2007 – Blogging For A Cause – Over on PetLvr.com Blog

I'm Looking For Amazing Stories How You Saved One Animal's Life

Having many blogs in my network, I feel completely justified in promoting this event on every domain and blog that I have at my disposal! Please help me pass the word around the internet, and if you can contribute .. please do!

9.27.2007 Blogging For A Cause - Stop Animal Cruelty and Pet Abuse On September 27, 2007 .. a wonderful thing will happen. Bloggers from all around the world will be “Blogging For A Cause”. I will be participating with my fellow bloggers, and am asking you to help me participate in this event. I will be blogging to .. Stop Animal Cruelty and Pet Abuse - over at PetLvr.com - [The Blog]

I've done three posts so far for this event

1) An Introduction Post

2) A Clarification Post

3) How we rescued Zeus the Cat

To paraphrase from the PetLvr Site ...

You Too Can Participate on September 27, 2007

I will be posting letters from “PetLvr Readers” around the world that have rescued an animal and made a positive difference in the life of one animal. YOU are the hero! I would like you to email me your story. Every story I receive on and before this Thursday will be published and permanently maintained on the PetLvr website, under a new page called “PetLvr Rescue Stories”. I will also link your website if you have one, and post a picture of your pet if you provide it to me.

* Did you rescue an animal from the humane society?
* Did you take a stray dog in and give it a home?
* Did you know any animal being abused and reported its owners to the authorities?
* Did you save any animal from natural disasters, such as Katrina or the Peru Earthquake?
* Do you work for any non-profit agency and helped save the life of an animal?
* If you are a non-profit agency and would like to be linked to your website 9.27.2007

Then … PLEASE! Email me your stories to: hart (at) PetLvr (dot) com with the subject: 9.27.2007

* If you have a blog, you too can join in with thousand’s of other blogs around the world. You can stop the abuse about any topic (elder abuse, children abuse, spousal abuse, environmental abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, abuse in the workplace, etc) .. it’s up to you!
Just follow the link from clicking the above graphic, and if you are not already a member of BlogCatalog.com .. well, join in and add me (PetLvr) as your friend! and you will be able to see your image in the widget in the sidebar when you come back here on September 27, 2007!

* If you do NOT have a blog .. feel free to start a *FREE* blog at PetLvr.com/mypet/ made available by PetLvr.com and start blogging! I will link all participating posts from there back over onto the main PetLvr blog ... so start blogging!

cc'ed around the HART-Empire Network!

The Horse – Breed Overview Part II

While most people who want a horse opt for one of the light horse breeds, there are other options. Heavy horse breeds were once used to fight wars, to farm or to pull large loads. Of course, if you are looking for a first horse for your child, you may want to look for a much smaller horse, the pony. Ponies are the ideal choice for children.

Heavy Horse Breed Overview

There are two types of heavy horses, draft horses and horses that were once used as war horses. Draft horses are often used to help out on the farm or pull wagons. The former war horses often are trained in dressage, a complicated routine that challenges both the rider and the horse.

If you've ever seen the Budweiser wagon in parades, you already know what one of the most popular draft horses, the Clydesdale, looks like. Although the Clydesdale was originally used to pull heavy loads, this horse breed is so sweet natured and gentle that it can be ridden, as well.

Another popular draft horse is the Percheron. This horse may be smaller than the Clydesdale, but is just as powerful. The breed's placid nature makes it a great choice for people who want a calm cart horse, while its intelligence means that it is easily trainable. However, you may want to consider a different breed if you don't care for gray or black colors, since the Percheron only comes in these colors.

If neither of these draft horse breeds is right for you, there are several other excellent choices, including the Belgian, the Shire and the Suffolk Punch. Shires and Suffolk horses are a bit more rare than other draft horse breeds. However, the Belgian horse is more readily available, since these horses are frequently used by Amish farmers.

The most popular descendent of the war horse is probably the Lipizzaner. This breed is known for its spectacular dressage performances. The Vienna Lipizzaners travel the world to perform for audiences ranging from royalty to school children. Despite its popularity, the breed is rare and you can find very few of these horses in countries other than Austria.

Pony Overview

When you think of a pony, you probably imagine the placid, stocky little Shetland Pony. This breed has been the first pony for generations of children. The Shetland is easy going and sweet tempered, although younger ponies often have some ornery tendencies.

When a child outgrows his Shetland Pony, he will probably move up to a Welsh or Connemara Pony. While several types of Welsh Ponies are fairly small, the Cob type is large enough to easily carry teens and adults. The Connemara is a bit smaller, but is a good choice for shorter teens or adults.

Whether you decide you want a pony, a light horse or one of the heavy horses, you will have plenty of breeds to choose from. To be sure you pick the right breed, you may want to see a few horses in person before you make the final choice.

The Horse – Breed Overview Part I

The horse has been one of the most popular domesticated animals for centuries. While most people today ride horses to relax or compete in a variety of equestrian sports, these animals were once a primary mode of transportation. For the knights of the Middle Ages, the feared Ghengis Khan and cowboys throughout the world, horses were essential.

With the many ways in which horses are used, it is no surprise that many different breeds have been developed. However, all of these breeds can be placed into several categories. These categories are the light, heavy and pony classifications. Some people prefer to further divide some of these categories with classifications such as warmbloods, draft and gaited horse varieties.

While each horse breed has its own breed association, there is no overall horse breed registry, as there is for dogs and cats. However, there are national horse associations for the different horse sports and competitions, such as the United States Equestrian Federation and the British Equestrian Federation.

Light Horse Breed Overview

One of the oldest light horse breeds is the graceful, speedy Arabian. This horse breed is known for its stamina and endurance and has been competing in desert races for hundreds of years. However, this breed is also popular for being beautiful inside and out. Unlike some other breeds, most Arabian horses are known for being sweet natured and loving.

Another popular light horse breed is a descendant of the Arabian, the Thoroughbred. These horses command some of the highest prices in the world, since horse racing has become a big business. If you are looking for a safe family horse, you may want to think twice about buying a Thoroughbred, since this breed is often a bit high strung and likely to run away when being ridden by less experienced riders.

If you are looking for a horse that is versatile enough to help you round up cattle, compete in races, complete grueling trail competitions or just go for a leisurely ride, you may want to look at a breed that started as an American cow horse, the Quarter Horse. This breed was named for its ability to race at high speeds for a quarter mile.

For people looking for a family friendly, hard working horse on the small side, the Morgan horse is probably the perfect choice. The Morgan was developed by a man named Justin Morgan, who was amazed by the strength and sweet nature of his little horse. It was simple to create a breed from this single animal, because all of the Morgan's foals had his characteristics. As the breed was refined, the Morgan became a bit more elegant looking, but kept its powerful, compact body and gentle disposition.

Of course, the tiny Miniature Horse is also extremely popular today. Although some people think this breed is a pony, it is classified as a horse because it does not have pony characteristics. This breed is kept as a companion animal and is sometimes used as a guide horse by blind or disabled people.

Other popular light horse breeds include the Appaloosa, the Standardbred, the Saddlebred, the Tennessee Walking Horse, the Paint and the Paso Fino.

Miniature Horses Are Just Smaller Versions Of A Horse

By Riley Hendersen

There is no one breed of horses that are called miniature-this is just a term that is used to describe a horse that meets certain height requirements. Most breeds are measured in hands-where one hand equals four inches. However, minis are measured in inches or centimeters. They are measured from the ground to the base of the hairs on their mane.

Miniature horses are less than half the size of a regular horse and breeders select the smallest stallions and mares for breeding. This way, they hope to ensure that they have even smaller foals the following spring. A new foal weights about 18-22 pounds and stands 16 to 21 inches at birth-making it about the same size as a medium-sized dog.

They are basically the same as their larger relatives in their shape, appearance and personality. They come in every color a horse can be-black, bay, sorrel, palomino, solid colors, mixed or pintos. They have very long manes and tails and some of them even have tails that can touch the ground.

Miniature horses have been around for over 400 years; however, their origin is unknown. In olden days, they were pets in the palaces and revered by nobility. Throughout the decades, their popularity grew among the rich mostly because they were not useful as a worker-they were too small to carry a rider or a heavy load.

Eventually, the miniature horse found a job. They were used to pull loads of coal from mines since they were small enough to move safely through the tunnels where they gained the nickname of pit ponies. All was not lost on them because when they too old to work, they were often taken home as pets by the miners.

Breeders became interested in the miniature horses in the mid-1900s and several different herds were cultivated and the breed increased in size, popularity and value. The first registry was called the American Miniature Horse Registry and was created in 1972. They helped develop and document pedigrees for the miniature horses, some of them going back to the early 1940's.

Today, they are maintained as the result of careful breeding. Their gentle personalities make them good pets for children, elderly people and even for people with disabilities. In several communities, they are taken directly into schools rooms, nursing homes and hospital wards to help cheer up patients and to educate the children.

How often can children today spend a day on a farm and interact with the animals? There are miniature horse farms around the country that open their doors to visitors as one way to help finance their hobby of breeding these animals. Many of them even have special barns with a show rink where the miniature horses can demonstrate their skills to the public.

Think about spending a day visiting one of these farms and give your children an opportunity to see and interact with these beautiful animals. You may start a love affair with your children wanting to breed these lovely creatures when they grow up.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on the miniature horse.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Riley_Hendersen

A Paint Horse’s History

By Riley Hendersen

You are now wondering what in the world is a paint horse. Where did it come from and who has them? You have never heard of them before and now your curiosity has been spiked and you want to learn everything you can about this special breed.

The American Paint Horse is a breed of horse that combines both the characteristics of a western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors. It is now one of the fastest-growing breeds in the United States. The paint horse is a descendant from the Spanish horses that were exported to the Americas in the 16th century and it became part of the herds of wild horses that roamed the Western deserts and plains.

They are found around the world and are distinguished by their coloring-which includes spots, stripes, barred legs or splashes of color on a dark or light background-something similar to the camouflage used by soldiers. Their markings can be of any shape or size and are located virtually anywhere on their body. There are three specific coat patterns associated with them:

Overo-The white usually does not cross the back of the horse; at least one and often all four legs are dark; the white is irregular, and is rather scattered or splashy; head markings are distinctive, often bald, apron or bonnet-faced. They may be either primarily dark or white.

Tobiano-The dark color usually covers one or both flanks; usually all four legs are white, at least below the knees; the spots are regular and distinct as ovals or round patterns that extend down over the neck and chest; head markings are like those of a solid-colored horse-solid, or with a blaze, strip, star or snip. They can be either primarily dark or white.

Tovero-There is dark pigmentation around the ears, which may expand to cover the forehead and/or eyes; one or both eyes are blue; there is dark pigmentation around the mouth that may extend up the side of the face; chest spots vary in size and may also extend up the neck; flank spots range in size and are often accompanied by smaller spots; there are spots of various sizes at the base of the tail.

The paint horse was cherished by cowboys for work with buffalo and livestock. Native Americans revered it because they believed it possessed magical powers. Both the cowboys and Native Americans would add color and decorations to themselves and to their horses to make stand out and be different from others. This horse is loved by many and is a dependable, hard worker that is known for its easy, comfortable paces that could be maintained over very long distances-this was, of course, very important to the people in the Old West that rode them.

Over the years, the athletic ability of these animals has been improved by breeding conditions. The unusual coat patters and coloring are still the same and they are intelligent and wonderful animals to ride. They are excellent for the afternoon jaunt, working on a ranch, in a rodeo, riding a trail, or just as a friendly horse for the children to love and enjoy.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on the paint horse.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Riley_Hendersen

The Mystique Of Arabian Horses

By Samantha Davis

Few breeds of horse have captured the imagination like the Arabian horse has. Since the dawn of history, Arabian horses have inspired and influenced many people.

In the days of early history, Arabian horses were prized as warhorses and mounts for royalty. The Old Testament in the Bible contains many references and descriptions to these horses, the most notable being in the book of Job, where a horse "rejoices in his strength" and "is not frightened - he devours the distance with fierceness."

Artwork of the time depicts these chariot horses with many of the physical attributes of modern Arabian horses, such as the dished face and high-set tail. The most prized warhorses were bred in Egypt, and it was indicative of the great wealth of King Solomon that he built entire cities to house Egyptian-bred warhorses and their handlers. These attributes of courage and speed are still prized in Arab horses today.

Arising much later, Islamic legend recounts how Allah made the first Arab horse from the four winds (or the south wind, depending on which version of the myth the teller uses), gifting it and all Arabian horses with "flight without wings" and naming it, "Lord of the other animals" and one of the "Glories of the Earth."

The Bedouin people in particular bred Arabian horses with great care for the purity of the bloodline, which they called Asil. They took this purity of the blood so seriously that if a mare was ever bred to a non-asil stallion, both she and all future offspring would be "contaminated."

Legend has it that the Asil strain are descended from the five favourite mares of the prophet Mohammed. It is ironic today that some Bedouin-bred Arabian horses are not considered or registered as purebreds, because the breeders do not see the need for paperwork to guarantee a horse’s breeding and do not register their horses.

Arab horses have also played a vital role in the development of Thoroughbred racehorses. All modern Thoroughbreds can trace their ancestry back to one of three founding Arabian stallions, known as the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Barb ("Turk" and "Barb" were synonymous with "Arabian" at that time).

Arabian horses today are creatures of great beauty. Although they are not tall horses - some measure only 14 hands - they are never called ponies, even though they technically fall into this definition. The distinctive features of the breed are the dished or concave face (as opposed to the more Roman nose of, for example, the Shire horse), the flowing high-set tail, the large expressive eyes and a dark skin colour. The most common colours for an Arabian horse are grey (which includes white), chestnut and bay. Black is a rare color, though not completely unheard of.

It may have been a more common colour in antiquity; the Old Testament lists black horses alongside "white", "red" and "dappled." Arab horses are surprisingly strong and tough for their size, and these qualities mean that they are popular choices when breeding cross-breeds.

There is very little work that the Arabian horse cannot do. Their powers of stamina make them very suitable for endurance work. Their intelligence and beauty gives them a competitive edge in the show ring, and for show jumping and eventing. Speed makes the Arab horse an excellent racer - their role in developing the Thoroughbred has already been mentioned.

Intelligence also makes Arab horses suitable for stock work - one modern tale tells of how the owner of an Arabian stock horse was mocked by fellow-workers because of his "fancy show-pony" until they saw just what the horse could do. And as they have a willingness to please and a great capacity for affection - a result of millennia of close contact with humans - Arab horses are popular as pleasure horses and companion animals.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on arabian horse.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Samantha_Davis

Beautiful Pintos and Paint Horses

By Samantha Davis

Broken colored horses are associated in the popular imagination with the old American west. In particular, they are associated with Native Americans, with whom they were a popular choice, as the pattern of broken colors made the horses hard to see, either during a hunt or during war.

Broken colored horses - also known as pintos - continue to be popular today, both in the American west and around the world. However, even though "pinto" is the Spanish word for "paint", pinto horses are not quite the same thing as paint horses.

To be registered with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA), a horse must not only have the classic broken-colored coat, it must also have either the sire or the dam registered as an American Paint Horse and have Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred blood somewhere in its background, Quarter Horse for preference.

Thus, while all paint horses are pintos, not every pinto is a paint horse - for example, a chestnut-and-white Shetland pony, while it certainly fits the description of a pinto, is not a paint horse. The same is also true, for obvious reasons, for parti-colored donkeys and mules.

Appaloosa horses, while they were also developed by Native American tribes for a similar purpose, are not classified as pintos, even though an Appaloosa can do much of the work that a paint can. The Appaloosa spots and "blanket pattern" are unique to that breed alone. The same applies to other spotted breeds.

Those not familiar with the term "paint horse" or "pinto" may be uncertain as to what the terms actually mean and what all the fuss is about. In general, paint horses are bi-colored horses, having a coat that is a mixture of white patches and patches of another colour. This should not be confused with the color known as roan, where individual white hairs are interspersed with either chestnut (red roan) or black/grey (blue roan).

A horse with black and white patches is often referred to as a "piebald" and a horse with patches of white and another color is known as a "skewbald." The most common patch colors in skewbalds are brown and chestnut, but patches of palomino (gold) and buckskin are also possible.

Among paint horses, further distinctions are made, tobiano and overo being the main ones. A horse classified as a tobiano is predominantly dark on the belly and neck with the white markings being smaller, while an overo is the reverse. Paint horses are often bred for the beauty of their markings.

Why choose a paint horse? As they have Quarter Horse ancestry, paint horses can take on a number of working roles with ease. They make excellent mounts for stock work, combining beauty with practicality, and perform well on the rodeo circuit in cutting competitions and barrel racing.

Paint horses also make good trail horses or general hacks. They also do well in the show ring, their distinctive coats making them particularly eye-catching. And, of course, many are kept as companion animals by those who admire the beauty and history of the breed.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on the paint horse.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Samantha_Davis

Miniature Horses, Ponies – What’s The Difference?

By Candice Sabrina

When most of us start out learning about horses, we are told that a horse is a member of Equus " caballus that is over 14 hands high (a hand, we quickly learned, is 10 cm). A pony, on the other hand, was defined as a member of the same species that was less than 14 hands. Now, miniature horses are always much smaller than 14 hands, so why are they called miniature horses rather than ponies?

The answer lies in the proportions. Most ponies are cobby in build (rounded and stocky - think of drawings by the cartoonist Thelwell), while many breeders of miniature horses (often affectionately referred to as "minis") prefer to breed for proportions that are more like that of a "regular" horse. The American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) suggests that a "mini" is ideally "a small, sound well-balanced horsethat, if photographed without anything to give a sense of size, should look identical to a full-sized horse.

As expected, size matters. The AMHR recognizes two categories of miniature horses: those in the "A" division are less than 82 cm (34 inches) at the withers, which is defined as being the last hair of the mane, while the “B” category covers horses 34–38 inches at the withers. The American Miniature Horse Association, however, does not recognize horses over 34 inches. A miniature horse is always measured in centimeters or inches, but never in hands. If they were measured in hands, the largest "minis" would be around 8 or 9 hands (by way of comparison, an average Shetland pony measures 10 hands). "Minis" come in all color types, including the more exotic types like pinto and palomino as well as the more mundane bays, greys and chestnuts. Whatever size of color they are, miniature horses have been in the world for a surprisingly long time.

In the Renaissance and Restoration periods, they were occasionally found in private menageries as curiosities. At the other end of the economic spectrum, miniature horses also had their uses as pit ponies hauling coal in the mines. There are also some who hold the view that some of the fossilized horse remains classified as ancestors of Equus caballus are actually the fossilized remains of "minis." There may be some uncertainty about the dating, but the fossils certainly have the right size and skeleton structure.

Since the 20th century, miniature horses have been developed as a breed and refined to the animals that they are today, and this work is ongoing. The most widely known breed of miniature horse is the Falabella, which originated in Argentina.

"Minis" are still kept as curiosities in petting zoos and farm parks, but they also have a wider range of roles. They are, of course, unsuited as riding animals, because of their size, but are often shown competitively and can be used for light harness work. Their most noteworthy work is therapeutic, as they are often used to provide interaction and comfort to the elderly, and in working with autistic children.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on the miniature horse

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Candice_Sabrina

Arabian Horses Are Generations Old

By Riley Hendersen

The Arabian horse has been called the most beautiful of all and he is unmistakable in character and appearance. It is the purest and oldest of all breeds and this variety has been carefully bred for thousands of years and there is evidence that dates them back over 4,500 years.

Take the time to read a book on the history of the Arabian horse and you will see how it has influenced other horses around the world. They spread their bloodline all over the world during the Muslim conquests in the 7th century.

The Arabian horse has a reputation for being intelligent, high spirited, very strong, and is one of the most easy to recognize horse breeds. As with most breeds, it was traded throughout its history and cross breeding occurred as they intermingled with other horses. It is believed that the other less desirable breeds were improved upon when their speed and endurance was introduced into the bloodline. In fact, their influence is most obvious when looking at the blood lines in the majority of the thoroughbreds in the world.

These horses are highly sought after by breeders today and great efforts have been made to ensure the purity of the breed. They possess dense, strong bones, and solid hoof walls; that enhances their ability to maneuver well in the desert sand.

The Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance was created to help breeders through education, competition and by making others realize the potential and beauty of this animal. They also want to unite the breeders to ensure that these unique animals will continue being valued for generations.

The Breeders World Cup first Annual horse show has scheduled an event for April 19-22, 2007. The main goal of this group is to become one of the premier purebred Arabian horse shows in the world. The show will be an opportunity for owners, breeders and enthusiasts to come and talk to their peers and compare notes. It will be a showcase for the natural beauty, nobility, excitement, and unique characteristics of the horse breed and will provide a lively and entertaining experience for existing breeders and those new to Arabian horses.

If you are interested in learning more about this horse, you do not have to go far. There are horse farms in every region of the United States and throughout the world dedicated to the breeding of this magnificent creature. In addition, there are shows throughout the country and the world that focus on this one horse.

While you may never own an Arabian horse, that does not mean that you can not truly appreciate the splendor and beauty of this animal. If you are a horse lover, consider attending one of the many shows where you will have an opportunity to see hundreds of these horses. This can also be an opportunity to introduce your children to these animals-their care, breeding, and overall appearance will truly enchant every child that has an opportunity to see them.

But watch out, they will probably want one of their very own as a pet.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on Arabian horse.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Riley_Hendersen

Structure of the Foot and Hoof

By Roger Bourdon

You call the Vet because your horse has a hoof problem, and he asks for some information. What do you say? Do you know how to describe the parts of the hoof so that he might recognise the problem before he even gets there – thus saving a call out fee?

An army may march on its stomach but a horse definitely marches on its hooves.

I had the vet out the other day doing a routine check on my old boy and he had a good poke around in the hooves. Although he said they were in good shape for the horse’s age, it did make me wonder how much I knew about the hoof, because he started using terms that I didn’t recognise. So I had a little anatomy lesson on the spot but he did mention that few private owners (and I’m not talking riding stables here) could describe a hoof problem in other than the simplest terms, which meant he could seldom diagnose without a visit.

I have since put a new free bonus book up on my site on hoof related problems, so I thought I’d cover a few of the basic terms here, and then do a follow on article about hoof problems and diseases.

What are the different parts of the hoof called.

The Wall

The walls are the protection for the softer internal tissues of the hoof- it’s like the human toe nail. They also provide grip on different terrains. They are elastic and very tough keratin-based substance, similar to a Teflon layer, the thickness is approximately 6 mm - 12 mm. It takes 9-12 months for the hoof to grow from the coronary band to the toe. In order for the horn to grow correctly and form a healthy foot, the horse must be provided with a good diet and be in good health. These factors must be checked if the horn starts to become brittle and weak or if the foot looks badly formed. A feed supplement of biotin may be helpful to promote good horn growth.

Three different layers make up the Wall: the pigmented layer, the water line and the white line.

The coronet band at the top of the hoof wall actually grows this pigmented (colored) layer of horn that makes up the outer wall of the hoof. Although this layer is for protection it does not like sustained contact with the ground, which can cause it to break and flake away.

The water line is built up by the coronet and by the wall's corium (the living tissue immediately beneath the walls). It is thicker than the pigmented layer and increases its thickness, as it gets further down and away from the coronet band. Unlike the pigmented layer, this one is much hardier and is very resistant to contact to the ground so it is for support and protection of the underside of the hoof.

The white line is the inner layer of the wall. It is softer and fibrous in structure. Its color is yellowish. You can see it, in the underside of the healthy hoof, as a thin line, joining the sole and the walls. Since the white line is softer than both the walls and the sole, it wears fast where it appears on the surface and it appears as a subtle groove between the sole and the walls, with some debris or sand inside.

The three layers of the wall merge in a single mass and they grow downwards together. If the wall doesn't wear naturally, from sufficient movement on rough ground, then it will over-grow, much like a toenail that is not filed down and it then becomes prone to breakage. This means that a healthy hoof will self-trim, by breaking or chipping off. When a horseshoe is applied, it is fixed to the wall. The nails that are used to hold the shoe in place are hammered in at an angle so that the points come out of the front of the hoof wall.

The Frog

The frog is a triangular structure clearly visible if you look at the underside of the hoof- it’s like the human fingertip. It extends forwards across about two-thirds of the sole. Its thickness grows from the front to the back and, at the back; it merges with the heel periople. Down its middle, it has a groove, the central groove (sulcus) that extends up between the bulbs.

It is dark gray-blackish in color and of a rubbery consistency, which makes it great to act as a shock absorber and grip tool, on hard, smooth ground. In the stabled horse, it doesn't wear but it degrades with bacterial and fungal activity to an irregular, soft, slashed surface. In the free-roaming horse, it hardens into a callous consistency, with a near-smooth surface.

The Sole

The sole has a whitish-yellowish, sometimes grayish color. It covers the whole space from the perimeter of the wall to the bars and the frog, on the underside of the hoof. Its deep layer has a compact, waxy character and is called the 'live’ sole. Its surface will vary according to the type of ground the horse spends his time on. If there is no contact, as in shod hooves or when the walls are too long or the movement poor, the lower surface of the sole has a crumbly consistency and it is easily abraded (scratched off) it with a hoof pick. However, it has a very hard consistency, with a smooth, bright surface, when there is a consistent, active contact with the ground. The front portion, beneath the front of the pedal bone, is called the 'sole callus'.

The Bars

They are inward folds of the wall, starting from the heels at an abrupt angle. The strong structure built up by the extremity of the heel and of the bar is named the 'heel buttress'. The sole between the heel walls and the bars is called the 'seat of corn' and it is a very important landmark used by natural hoof trimmers to evaluate the correct heel height. The bars have a three-layer structure, just like the walls. When overgrown, they bend outwards and cover the lower surface of the sole.

Coronary band

You’ll recall this is found at the top of the hoof and is responsible for creating the horn that makes up the hoof wall.

Periople

This is the outer layer of the hoof that forms a protective covering on the hoof wall. It is responsible for regulating moisture content in the horn, secreted from the perioplic ring above the coronet.

Sensitive sole:

This is found underneath the pedal bone, within the insensitive sole. It produces the new cells that replace lost layers of the insensitive sole.

Digital cushion:

The digital cushion is found between the pedal bone and deep flexor tendon. An elastic, fibrous pad absorbs concussion from ground impact. It also helps to push blood back up the leg.

Lateral cartilages

These are attached to the pedal bone and serve to protect the coffin joint. They also help absorb concussion.

Laminae:

The insensitive laminae are supportive structures that attach to the hoof wall and interlock with the sensitive laminae. The sensitive laminae then attach and support the pedal bone. The divide between sensitive and insensitive laminae can been seen as a white line on the sole of the foot.

Conformation

This is term for the basic shape and size for a hoof and how fit it is for its purpose. It’s extremely important, as the feet are obviously essential to the horse

They should be even and round in shape and in proportion with the rest of the horse. The fronts should be of equal size and shape and so should the hinds.

The front feet should slope forwards and be at a 45 degree angle to the ground, and on through the fetlock and pastern. The hind feet should be at an angle of 50-55 degrees to the ground. The hoof wall should be smooth and free from cracks. Any lines could indicate poor nutrition or past cases of laminitis.

Poor conformation in the feet can result in strains to tendons and ligaments, tripping and bruising. Many such problems can be improved by a good farrier and over a period of time.

In respect of horse's health, prevention is the best cure. If you are regularly checking your horse to see that he’s in tip top condition then at least you will know that any accident has not been caused or worsened by an existing health issue.

Roger Bourdon has written a number of books dedicated to horseback riding, horses and the health of horses. His site www.anyhorsebackriding.com is dedicated to lovers of horses. It contains plenty of free information in newsletters, articles and contains loads of resources all about horses. Products such as books and DVD's are also available for purchase

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Paint Horses As A Part Of American History

By Riley Hendersen

When it comes to American history, no other animal is more closely associated with the story of this country than the horse. Inseparable from the Wild West, and indistinguishable from the image of the American cowboy, horses will be forever identified with the picture of early Americana. But no breed of horse is more interconnected with this cherished history than Paint horses.

But as closely associated with American history as they are, ironically, Paint horses had their start in America via Spain. When Spanish explorers came to the New World in 1519, they brought with them an enormous amount of supplies and a number of horses. These Paint horses eventually dotted the landscape in wild herds, and by the 1800s tribes of American Indians were using the breed for riding.

There were a variety of names attached to these spot covered horses throughout the 1800s and 1900s, but the name that seemed to stick was the Pinto horse. However, a group of horse enthusiasts, dedicated to preserving more than just the unique color patterns of this particular breed, formed in the 1960s calling themselves the American Paint Stock Horse Association - a group that went on to eventually identify and classify the different varieties of Paint horses.

Paint horses - under this strict classification system - must not only adhere to strident color pattern regulations but must have at least one parent that is a registered Paint horse in order to be identified as part of the breed.

The color patterns specific to paint horses include any combination of the color white and another color standard to horses such as brown, gray or black. Their distinctive coloring often looks like splashings of paint - or markings - over the horse's body but actually fall into three color classifications that a horse must have in order to be considered a Paint horse.

The three color patterns are: tobiano, which generally features four white legs, round or oval spots across the chest and neck area, and a two-toned tail; the overo pattern wherein the prominent color is either white or dark, four dark legs, white head coloring, and single colored tail; and a combination of tobiano and overo that is referred to as tovero and used to describe those Paint horses that have common qualities of both.

Paint horses today are often seen in modern day rodeos, as well as in horse competitions such as racing and showing. The American Paint Horse is a naturally intelligent breed that is extremely amiable and easily trained. As such, they are also often used for trail riding and as a temperate ride for children.

The image of paint horses conjure up thoughts of the American frontier where battles were waged on open land and under endless skies. This particular breed of horse encapsulates all the romanticism of these primitive beginnings. But the modern paint horses stay true to their history while taking their place in modern times both as a competitor and as a companion.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on the paint horse.

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Riding Instructor Certification and Licensing

By Ron Petracek

Marie has been teaching hunt seat for almost 10 years. As a junior rider, she had a successful show career with her two horses. As an adult rider, she has ridden in advanced lessons and clinics with well-known and talented professionals. She is an excellent teacher of both children and adults, and she certainly has the experience and knowledge to teach beginner riders; however, she is not licensed or certified.

Some states, like Massachusetts, require horseback riding instructors to be state licensed. To gain a license in Massachusetts, an instructor hopeful must perform a 6-month apprenticeship with a licensed riding instructor, 60 hours of which must be teaching mounted students under direct supervision of that licensed instructor. Instructor apprentices must also pass a written exam.

“There should be some sort of license or certification program for riding instructors,” said Paula, mother of a riding student. “We put our kids’ lives in their hands. We should have something that says they’re capable of that responsibility.”

Certification programs exist in the United States including the American Riding Instructor’s Association (ARIA) and the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). These associations offer clinics and testing sites.

So if the opportunity is there, why wouldn’t someone like Marie not be licensed or certified? First, her state doesn’t have a licensing program. And second, in a word—cost.

“I would love to be certified,” Marie explains. “But I can’t afford the cost involved.” Marie teaches at a riding school, like most riding instructors in the area. And, like most instructors like her, she doesn’t have change to spare.

Both ARIA and CHA charge close to $600 for certification testing. Additionally, they require yearly membership fees and yearly renewal fees. “That’s like a week a half’s pay for me,” Marie explains.

In contrast, the Massachusetts license application is $20. If a state license program were available to Marie for a minimal cost, such as that of Massachusetts, would she do it? “Of course! I think it would be great for instructors, students and the industry,” she said.

In addition to riding instructors, riding stables in Massachusetts must be licensed as well at a cost of about $100.

Similar to Massachusetts, Maryland requires state license of riding stables. According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, “Licensing helps ensure that animals in commercial stables are cared for in a safe, sanitary manner and that horses used in the riding stable are fit for that purpose.” The Maryland Department of Agriculture inspects licensed riding stables annually.

Ron Petracek - Idaho Raised Horseman, Equine Article Directory HorseChitChat.com Looking for more equine information or services? Try our vast network Click here => www.Click4equine.com/network.php

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Protecting Our Horses With Horse Insurance

By Riley Hendersen

Insurance of all kinds has become endemic in our society today; car insurance, home owners insurance, health insurance, and everything in between. The role of insurance in our lives is the protection of our assets. And when it comes to horse insurance, the goals are the same. For those who own one or more horses, horse insurance provides them with the same peace of mind as any other insurance policy.

Just as a serious collector of antique cars would think nothing of purchasing a comprehensive insurance policy to protect his financial interests, the owners of horses must similarly protect their interests. Horse insurance policies are purchased just like any other insurance policy - through reputable underwriters that specialize in this particular type of insurance. The breadth and subsequent price of the insurance policy depends on the type and level of coverage that the horse owner chooses to purchase.

In most cases, horse insurance is purchased because the livelihood of the horse owner depends on the functionality of the horse. For instance, those horses that are used for racing or breeding - and subsequently bring their owners a financial return - are often considered to be prime candidates for horse insurance.

There are a number of different options when it comes to horse insurance and each owner must examine the policies as they relate to their particular situation. Insurance policies can often be customized to fit the owner's particular situation and needs but there is some common practices standard to most policies.

One such horse insurance policy includes coverage for the death of the animal. In this case, the owner receives a pre-determined lump sum payout in the event of an untimely death of the horse.

In the event of permanent incapacitation, due to injury or illness, the horse insurance policy will often pay the owner a percentage of the amount the horse would have earned throughout a healthy lifetime. This coverage is often extended to race or show horses.

For horse breeders, a horse insurance policy that covers infertility is often necessary, as the inability to breed particular horses could result in a significant loss of revenue.

In some cases, owners will purchase a horse insurance policy that acts much like a health insurance policy for humans, covering major medical care in the event of illness, and even specific surgical procedures should the animal require surgical intervention.

There are often caveats placed on a particular horse insurance policy that extends coverage for injury or death to the horse as a result of particular risk factors such as lightening or during the transportation of the horse. These are factors that are spelled out in detail in the policy and are often pricey add-ons. But, depending on the particular situation, it may be well worth the cost.

Most importantly, it is essential that anyone interested in purchasing a horse insurance policy do so through a knowledgeable and trustworthy underwriter. If you are unclear about a particular company's reputation, you should be sure to do your homework. Just as you do with any other insurance policy, get a variety of quotes and comparison shop. In so doing, you can find horse insurance that makes significant allowances for the care of your horse and subsequently protects your financial interests.

For more information on horses, try visiting www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on horse insurance.

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The History of The Modern Horse

The History of The Modern Horse

By Ray Cunningham

This is the first of several articles, tracing the history of the horse, as we know it, from the mists of antiquity, to modern times from research, the horse was known to the Aryans.

First, we shall, as a preamble, present a condensed version of the horse; then cover its fascinating history in depth.

The horse, is one of the most useful and intelligent of domestic animals, belong­ing to the same class as the ass and zebra. Distinguished from other animals by their single hoofs, the senses of the horse are very acute, and its faculties of observation and memory are highly developed. A place once visited seems never to be forgot­ten. With patience and kind treat­ment it can be trained in many direc­tions, and is one of man's most useful servants in peace, or war, in days of yore.

It dates back to a very early period, figures of horses cut on bones having been found in cave dwellings, and in the Swiss lake dwellings. In Scripture references, it is always connected with warfare. The war horses of the Britons are described by Caesar. Horses were introduced from Spain by the early English kings, and James II. imported the first Ara­bian horse. The horse is found wild in central and western Asia, and in North and South America, especially in the latter, great herds being found on the plains of Buenos Ayres, which are thought to be the descendants of horses brought into the country by the Span­iards.

The horses from Arabia, Barbary and Turkey are all called Arabian horses, and the modern race horse has come from these breeds. The American horses are of no distinct class, but re­semble those of England. The carriage horse, charger or war horse, dray horse, hunter, race horse and pony are differ­ent varieties of domestic horses. The race horse is most highly developed in England, where horse racing has been popular since the 10th century, when Hugh Capet, in return for the hand of King Athelstan's sister, sent a present of several " German running horses."

The fastest time made in England, at the beginning of the twenty first century was one mile in one minute, forty-three seconds.

In America most horse races were trotting instead of running matches, and a fast time would bes one mile trotted in two minutes and four seconds, and one mile paced in the same time. A horse has six different gaits, the walk, the trot, the pace, the amble, the canter and the gallop.

Horse lovers will be horrified to learn that, up to the early part of last century, horses were often eaten by humans. Hopefully, this barbaric habit will soon die out. The consumption of horses for food in mainly somewhat backward countries, such as Japan, France, Italy and Belgium and other parts of Europe.

America is, even now, considering the banning of horse meat, from export.

This from 'Save the Horses', at www.savethehorses.com/faqs.html: "Yet every year, a hundred thousand horses bred in the United States are purchased and slaughtered in the United States for human consumption in foreign countries. Although we do not eat OUR horses in this country and most American people find the practice offensive, 3 million American horses have been slaughtered here and sent to the countries of Japan, France, Italy and Belgium since 1986"

However, horse lovers, wherever you might live, should not lower your collective guard and take note of the following, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Action, by each and everyone of you, is needed now. Read on:

"Horse meat has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity in Europe and Canada in recent years, as horses are not susceptible to BSE (mad cow disease). As with beef and pork, in some societies there is a taboo regarding the consumption of horse meat.

Horse is commonly eaten in many countries in Europe and Asia. It is a taboo food in anglophone countries such as the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Australia; it is also taboo amongst the Romany people and in Brazil. It is illegal in some places. In many Islamic countries horse meat is generally considered clean but not halal, that is, permissible to eat, but not ideal. There are many instances, especially wars and famine, when horses were slaughtered and eaten by Muslims.

Like lobster and camel, it is forbidden by Jewish dietary laws and some Christian denominations. In 732, Pope Gregory III began an effort to stop the pagan practice of horse eating, calling it "abominable". His edicts are based on the same scripture as the Jewish prohibitions. The people of Iceland allegedly expressed reluctance to embrace Christianity for some time, largely over the issue of giving up horse meat"

The writer of this article, Ray Cunningham lives, at present, in central Florida. Learn much more about history of horses, go here: shmyl.com/minnson, then to his web site, "Horses? Of Course!" at: raygc1.com/horses This article may be used, free of charge, as long as it remains intact and this resource box is always included.

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HART-Empire Network II

HART-Empire Network II - RSS Feed

Listed above is the Site URL and RSS Feed URL to our "Network #2 Blog" .. over at the HART-Empire Network ... I hope you check it out!

HART-Empire Network II is our newest blog that reposts summaries and headlines from 100% of all blogs in our network. So, if you want to see it all in your Bloglines or other feed reader of choice ... now all you need to choose is just one combined feed!

(Oh .. you can keep this feed in there too :D)

Enjoy!

Finding the Perfect Horse

Finding the Perfect Horse

By Bonnie Marlewski-Probert

I recently received a letter over the Internet that addresses important horse buying issues that everyone who is thinking about buying their first or next horse should think about. Below is part of the letter:

“Hello, there. I am thinking about buying a western riding horse this summer because I'm saving up with my babysitting money. I just have one problem, I'm not sure what type of horse I should get? … I would like to know what breed or type of horse would be best for me? Do you have any suggestions, and if so, what might they be? Caya”

The PERFECT first horse for each person is going to be different, depending on what you want to do with your horse most of the time. For example, if you plan on showing your horse 99% of the time, you would buy one type of animal. If you are planning on trail riding with friends 99% of the time, you would buy a completely different type of horse; if you want to jump fences 99% of the time, still a different horse. So, the best thing to do FIRST is to decide what you will be doing with your horse most of the time (not what you would like to be doing with your horse 99% of the time, but what you will actually be doing). If you can get a really clear picture of the answer to that question, you can save a bunch of money on the purchase price and save a bunch of time trying to make a horse that was trained to do one thing, a horse that will do something completely different.

I'll give you an example of what I mean. I used to have a boarder who always dreamed of having a Quarter Horse show horse, but she owned an Appaloosa gelding who wasn't really beautiful, he wasn't really tall, he wasn't really fancy, but no matter what she asked her horse to do, he was kind, gentle and generous (including parades in town, trail riding, riding in the ring at home, bareback, riding double, games at the local fun play day horse shows, he was perfect when beginner friends of hers came over to ride and he was a perfect gentlemen to be handled by her 6 year old son). Best of all, that horse cost her 700.00!! So, one day she came to me and said that she was going to sell her horse and buy a REAL horse, as she called it. I strongly advised her to rethink her decision because in my eyes, for what she used her horse for 99% of the time, she already had the perfect companion. She wouldn't hear of it because she had been to a big time Quarter horse show and suddenly, her perfect backyard horse seemed not good enough - SO, she spent 2500.00 dollars to buy a young, green broke, full blooded, black quarter horse gelding. She couldn't afford to buy a finished, fully trained QH, so she bought a young, semi-trained one and figured she would save some money and finish the horse at home.

To make a long story short, because the horse was young and green broke, he was spooky on the trails, because he was so expensive (for her budget), she didn't dare turn him out in the fields with other horses because she was terrified he would get bitten or marked up in some way. She kept a blanket on him all the time so his coat wouldn't fade, she wouldn't let friends ride him because he was her show horse and in order to prepare him and her for the show ring, she hired a Quarter Horse trainer and started to pay huge amounts of money each month to get the horse ready for his first show and when it came time to go, she discovered that she couldn't afford to show at that level because you had to have a fancy saddle, fancy clothing, a fancy trainer, and your horse had to be able to compete against really expensive horses. Long story short, she never got to the show, never finished training the horse, lost money when she sold him AND soon discovered that she actually owned the perfect horse all along but now it was too late, she had sold her little appaloosa 700.00 horse.

I mention this story to you because that boarder hadn't really thought through what she would be doing with her horse 99% of the time. She just got stuck on the one thing she always dreamed of doing (1 big-time horse show) and ended up with a horse that was unsuitable for what she wanted to do 99% of the time and turned out not to be good enough to go to the fancy show anyway.

The moral of that story is two-fold: 1. the only way to really know which side of the fence the grass is greenest on, you have to really be clear about what you plan on doing with your new horse 99% of the time and only then can you make an informed decision. 2. Never judge a riding horse by his looks, size or fancy pedigree first– instead, judge a riding horse on his character, kindness, willingness and heart and only then should the other things come into play. This is no different than the selection process you would go through when choosing a home, a spouse, or your next car for that matter. Incidentally, I always thought the boarder’s small, Appaloosa horse was cute as a bug because I never looked at his outsides; I only looked at the things that really matter, his character, heart and willingness. Sadly, his owner got swept up in the “keeping up with the Jones’s” thing and had to have a bigger, cooler, slicker looking horse and gave no consideration to the suitability of the mount. The saddest part of the story is that the owner realized how beautiful her little Appy had been, only after it was too late. I want to hear from you! If you have any questions, comments or suggestions that you would like to share with the rest of us, drop me a line at:

Bonnie Marlewski-Probert
P.O. Box 548
Yellville, AR 72687

Or you can contact me directly on the Internet at BRMP@AOL.com or by visiting our web site, TheCompletePet.com

For more information on any of Bonnie’s books,

A Parent’s Guide to Buying That First Horse
Debugging Your Horse
The Animal Lover’s Guide to the Internet
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volumes 1 – 5
Dog Tales for the Soul, Volume 1

Or for her videos,

Debugging Your Horse and
Trail Riding, Rules of the road
Visit, TheCompletePet.com

Bonnie Marlewski-Probert is an internationally respected writer and speaker. In addition to her work in the horse industry, Bonnie has also written for some of the top magazines in the world including Good Housekeeping, Science Journals, RV and Travel publications and a variety of Animal-related publications. She taught college courses on the art of writing and getting published and wrote a teaching guide called, "If I Can Do It, So Can You!" Bonnie has published more than 1000 magazine articles, ten books, two how-to videos and two syndicated columns. She is an internationally respected speaker for her content and for her humorous presentations. For more information on Bonnie, her work and her books/videos, visit her website at TheCompletePet.com or e-mail her at brmp@aol.com. Bonnie is also the founder of Whitehall Publishing. You can learn more about that by visiting Whitehallpublishing.com.

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Horse Breeds: Which Types of Horses Would Suit You Best?

Horse Breeds: Which Types of Horses Would Suit You Best?

By Katya Coen

For centuries, horses have been one of the most popular domesticated animals. While today, people enjoy riding and racing them, in the past they were domesticated because they were the primary mode of transportation for many.

People from almost every corner of the globe have owned horses for one reason or another, and it is for this reason that there are now so many different breeds. However, all horses fall into one of three main categories: pony, light, and heavy classifications. If you are unfamiliar with horse breeds, this is a good starting place.

From this point, some people like to further classify horses into the subcategories such as draft horses, gaited horses, and warmbloods. So these are terms that you might hear when people talk of horse breeds. But for all intents and purposes, we will stick with the three main categories for this article.

Knowing about these different breeds might give you an idea of what kind of horse will be best for your situation – and will let you in on which horses are good for children, which are good for the whole family to ride, which ones are good for racing, and which ones will help out on the ranch.

Pony Breeds

The smallest of the popular pony breeds is the Shetland Pony, and for this reason, it is often the first horse given to children. While the Shetland is usually sweet and relaxed, this breed can, on occasion, get feisty. So no matter what breed of pony, children need to be supervised with horses of any kind.

The Connemara Pony, is larger than the Shetland, and for this reason, often makes a great pony for older children. Another good breed for this young adults and young teens is the Welsh Pony, which is just a little bit larger than the Connemara.

Light Breeds

People often mistake the Miniature Horse for a pony, but it is not classified as one because it does not have the same characteristics as those of the pony breed. This light breed horse is often a companion for children as well as a guide for the disabled.

One of the most loved horse breeds around falls into the category of Light Horses – the Arabian. These horses are not only attractive, but in general, are also known for being sweet, loving, graceful, and speedy. Everything about this horse seems to be perfect – from its kind nature to its speed and endurance while racing.

A descendent of the Arabian, the Thoroughbred, is another popular light breed. This horse is quite fast, so it makes for a great racing horse. Because of this, this breed of horse can be quite expensive. If you are looking for a horse for the family, though, this might not be the best choice since these can be too fast and dangerous for inexperienced riders.

If you are looking for a horse that could help out on a farm or a ranch rounding up cattle, or for a tough horse that can compete in races and competitions, then you may want a Quarter Horse. This is an American horse breed that got its name for being able to race at a good pace for a quarter of a mile. It is a pretty tough breed, but also good for taking on a leisurely ride.

A smaller horse that is also family-friendly as well as hard working is the Morgan Horse. A man named Justin Morgan, who was amazed by the strength and loving nature of his little horse, developed the Morgan breed. This breed has a strong body with a friendly disposition.

Other popular light horse breeds include the Paint, the Standardbred, the Appaloosa, the Saddlebred, the Tennessee Walking Horse, and the Paso Fino.

Heavy Breeds

There are two types of heavy horses: horses that were once used in battle and draft horses. The warhorses went through tough training to ready them for battle, while the draft horses were used to work on farms or to pull carts and wagons.

The Percheron is a smaller heavy horse, but still quite powerful. This horse breed is intelligent and has a friendly nature, so it is easier to train than others, and can be a good animal for the family or the farm. However, if color is important to you, you might note that it only comes in gray or black.

The most famous of the draft horses is probably the Clydesdale. This attractive horse has been bred to do hard work, but it also has a friendly nature, so it makes for a good horse to ride on, too.

Some other popular draft breeds include the Belgian, and then the rarer Shire and Suffolk Punch breeds.

Of the war horse breeds, the Lipizzaner is the probably most famous. This is most likely because these horses often travel around doing performances for Austrian events.

As you can see, there are many breeds to choose from, and hopefully this will give you some idea of what type you are looking for. The best thing to do, however, is to see how different horses interact with you individually when shopping for a horse for you and possibly for your family.

Katya Coen is a regular contributor to All Horses, where you can find a wealth of information on everything pertaining to horses and you can even browse our gallery of horse pictures.

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62-151 Media Group – Directory Listing

We have just opened up for public submissions additions to our *NEW* and *FREE* Directory Listing ... sponsored by our newest addition to the HART-Empire Network ... 62-151 Media Group.

All submissions are manually accepted and approved by a human being [by me .. HART (1-800-HART)], to avoid spam and splogs from appearing in the list.

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Top 10 Things to Do Before You Buy a Horse

Top 10 Things to Do Before You Buy a Horse

By Carol Bertrand

Buying a horse is a big commitment in both time and money. The emotional energy spent is a large factor as well. With so many horses for sale, how do you choose?

If you buy a horse before you lay the correct groundwork, you run the risk of coming home with one that isn't suitable for you. At the worst, he could be dangerous and at best, you could easily spend a thousand dollars or more to get professional trainer to correct the problems.

Make a plan before you look at horses for sale and do these 10 basic steps first.

1. Take riding lessons for at least six months.

Horse riding lessons will teach you the basics of control and the foundation for correct horsemanship. In addition to learning to ride a horse, you’ll also learn how to safely groom and handle one. You'll establish a relationship with a professional horse person in your area who knows you and who you can turn to for help if you need it.

2. Decide on the type of riding you want to do.

There are many types of horse riding styles. The most basic are Western or English. Then you can break down those two styles into many subcategories. You don't have to make one choice exclusive of all others. Many people enjoy riding both styles and compete in both.

Decide if you want a horse to trail ride and just enjoy having him or if you want to be competitive and show.

3. Horse's personality

The type of personality you want for your horse depends a lot on the type of riding you want to do and also your personality. Some riders want a horse with a big engine and a lot of fire. Others like a horse to be quiet and laid back.

It’s usually easier to get the laid back one to rev his engine than to get a hot horse to relax.

4. Decide on what breed of horse you most want.

Once you’ve decided on the type of riding you’re interested in and the type of personality you want your horse to have, the breed choice will become easier. Some breeds are associated with certain types of riding. For instance, a Thoroughbred or Warmblood breed are usually thought of for the Hunter/Jumper circuit or dressage. In the past, the Quarter Horse, Appaloosas and Paints were thought of for Western riding. Today, these breeds can successfully compete at all levels with the more traditional hunter type horse.

If you want a very smooth ride, look at the gaited breeds such as Missouri Foxtrotters, Tennessee Walkers or Paso Finos.

5. Decide on how big a horse you need.

If you’re looking for a horse for a child, buy a pony that your child can groom and handle now. A too big horse is intimidating for a young child to deal with.

If you’re looking for one for yourself, consider the type of riding you want to do. Western styles of riding do not require a large horse and most of the stock type horses can carry a large adult even if the horse is 15 hands or smaller.

If you want to show in hunter/jumper classes, a 16+ hand horse is necessary to be competitive. However, if your plans are to learn to jump and go to small local shows, you’ll save money by buying a smaller horse.

6. Decide on the gender of the horse.

A gelding or a mare should be your only consideration. A stallion is difficult to handle and can be downright dangerous even if you are a very experienced rider. He isn’t suitable unless you’re in the breeding business.

Geldings make great riding horses and companions. Preferably he was gelded before his second birthday so that he never learned stallion behavior.

Mares sometimes get a bad rap for being difficult every time she comes into heat. Perhaps some are, but there are many wonderful mares with very stable personalities.

7. Decide where you will keep your horse.

If you plan to board, check out several boarding stables. Your first choice is probably the barn where you’ve been taking riding lessons. Look at some others to have for back-up choices and as a general comparison.

If you plan to keep your horse on your own property, be sure to have safe fencing, a solid barn and know your time schedule will allow you to feed your horse at least twice a day – every day – rain or shine. Find out any local and state liability laws for a horse property before you bring your new horse home.

8. Figure how much you can afford for the initial price of a horse.

The original purchase price of a horse is a large upfront expense. Obviously, the more you can afford to spend on a horse, the more choices you’ll have to look at when shopping. If you have this money saved up in advance, you’ll have better leverage with a seller. If you have to buy your horse on payments, you’ll limit your bargaining power and choices because many sellers won’t want to take payments.

9. Figure out your monthly expenses.

Monthly expenses include board, lessons and supplements if you keep your horse at a boarding stable. If you keep your horse at home, you’ll be buying feed, hay and stall bedding instead of a board bill.

There are reoccurring expenses that don’t come every month but still need to be added up for a year’s cost and averaged as a monthly expense. These include farrier visits, worming, vaccinations and vet care such as floating teeth and a yearly Coggins test.

10. Tack and Supplies

Purchase the basic supplies before you get your horse so that you’ll be all set when you bring him home. Brushes, shampoo, liniment, leg wraps, buckets and a first aid kit are a good start on supplies to have ready.

An all purpose headstall and a few bits, saddle pads, a saddle, halter and a long lead rope with a stout snap are your basic tack supplies.

If you follow these 10 steps before you begin horse shopping, you’ll have a clear idea of the horse that will be the best choice for you when you do begin your search.

Carol Bertrand has been a horse lover since she was a little girl. She raised and trained Quarter Horses and Paint Horses for 25 years. Her riding students have won many USDF regional titles on horses she helped them purchase. For her free horse shopping blueprint, go to BuyaHorse101.com/download-blueprint.html.

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What is Round Pen Training?

What is Round Pen Training?

By E. Landers

In recent years, “natural” horsemanship trainers have brought round pen training into forefront when it comes to training horses. This type of training employs the round pen to build a basic foundation or to re-train an older horse instead of using traditional methods.

What’s the basis of this type of training? Well, round pen training is actually derived from behavior modification principles used in training any type of animal, including horses. On a side note, these techniques also work with people.

Round Pen training uses rewards in the form of body language that mimic the horse’s natural herd instincts to encourage the desired behavior. Results are usually seen very quickly and a strong bond is often formed between horse and human through these training methods.

A study at Michigan State University shows that by the seventh training session in a round pen, horses react with a predictable response in as little as six repetitions rather than the 60 it took in the first session (Nielson, B & A. Zanella). Once the behavior is learned, it is embedded for life as long as the horse receives the same consistent human responses.

Round pen training is an invaluable tool to teach a basic education for beginning horses or remedial work for older horses.

Horses have a natural instinct called “fight or flight”. Using a round pen, a handler can avoid the dangers of the fight response and maximize the benefits of the flight response.

Round pens allow the horse to mentally escape from the pressure of the human, giving them time to think over what response they should be giving. If the handler were to use a lounge line in a pasture or arena, the scene often appears to be a struggle, while in reality, the horse is simply trying the flee.

The design of the round pen is yet another advantage in that it maximizes the horse’s thinking capacity. There are no corners for the horse to “hide” in which limits his options for controlling the situation. This focuses the horse’s behavior on the trainer.

By having enough room to move away (flee) and think about what is being asked, the horse will learn that cooperating with people is the easier decision to make. The trainer must keep in mind, however, that there should be specific lesson plans for each session since mindless running of laps will actually give the horse time to “tune out” the human.

Using round pen training with a calm focused plan, can afford a trainer and horse a safe environment for establishing a line of clear communication. Of course, every horse is different, but round pen training consistently produces positive results in a relatively short amount of time.

Learning the appropriate techniques and working your horse in a properly built round pen are the keys to fast results and long term success.

© 2006 E. Landers

E. Landers
Round Pen

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Where The Rubber Meets The Road: Alternatives to Metal Horseshoes

Where The Rubber Meets The Road: Alternatives to Metal Horseshoes

By Carole Herder

The idea that horses can be barefoot is not new. Horses have a long history of barefoot performance and have carried fully armoured, full sized men into battle. They have been used for fieldwork, war and performance in their natural barefoot state. When the horse's weight descends, the hoof is sandwiched between that load and the ground. It is meant to spread apart upon weight bearing, with the coffin bone dropping down like a trampoline. This is the natural shock-absorbing feature of the hoof. The walls spread apart (up to 10mm from side to side) and the sole draws flat. Horses with this elasticity and hoof function are most adequately prepared to absorb shock and concussion. When metal is nailed in all around, how does the hoof perform its duty? Where is the shock absorbed? Perhaps it's absorbed in the sensitive tissue of the hoof or further up the structure of the leg. Perhaps the market proliferation of products containing glucosamines, MSM and anti inflammatories are really an indication of our inadequate understanding of the shock-absorbing features of the hoof. Perhaps if we allow our horses to function naturally they would not be showing increasing symptoms of pain and discomfort.

The metal shoe is nailed on when the hoof is in the air. It is at its smallest, most contracted shape. It is not weight-bearing or in movement, and is held firm in this state by the metal - no expansion and nowhere for the coffin bone to descend. As the coffin bone pushes down under the horse's weight, it is then bruising the solar corium which cannot expand and draw flat to get out of the way.

Can Navicular Syndrome be the pain caused as a result of the bruising of the solar corium? Is it the pressure from the descending coffin bone or is it the damaged bone that is painful? Under X-rays the bone is shown to be deteriorating. These enlarged areas and lack of bone structure could be a result of congested blood, and lack of circulation causing the arteries to swell. When the arteries swell, can they then push against the bone and be the cause of deterioration to bone spongiosa? Coupled with the stress on ligaments and tendons, and the irritation of connective tissue, pain results. The horse is diagnosed Navicular. We have bar shoes applied and the horse walks off sound. We think the bar shoes are a fabulous cure for Navicular, when what is really happening may be just the opposite. Even less circulation! In a normal horseshoe shape the frog still was making some contact with the ground and blood was flowing through. Now with a bar across the heel circulation is further limited. The horse walks off sound, because he cannot feel. His hoof is numb and the damage continues.

Horses were first shod before we understood the physiology of the hoof and certainly before we had our current level of technology. Today's compounds have far greater shock absorbing features than metal. If you take a metal shoe and bang it against a rock, you will feel the reverberation all the way up your arm. Horse boots can absorb concussion, rather than transmit it, so that the sensitive Lamellae of the hoof is not compromised but supported. The main support system of the coffin bone can remain strong and integral when the high frequency vibration of impact on metal is not constantly jarring.

Circulation is imperative to the distribution of nutrients throughout the system. Healthy blood flow aids in prevention and facilitates healing. When flow is limited degeneration takes place. Encourage the blood to circulate with ease through the proper channels; carrying a host of nutrients; and you will have a healthy hoof. Allow the hoof to expand as it is meant to, and the strain to extensor tendons and lateral cartilage will be relieved. Support proper hoof function and alleviate the devastating results of ossification. Keep your horse barefoot for at least a portion of the year, use horse boots when you ride, and you will have taken the first steps in utilizing the fruits of technology towards a better understanding of our long time servant and companion. We now have an opportunity to re-examine the way we treat our horse's feet. Call your farrier in to discuss the possibilities. Your farrier should be your best friend as you will need him to trim and visit more frequently once your horse has fully functioning, growing and alive feet.

For information: www.cavallo-inc.com or Contact: info@cavallo-inc.com Phone (Toll Free) 1-877-818-0037

Carole Herder has been involved in horse health since 1994. She speaks and lectures publicly on the benefits of keeping horses barefoot and as close to their natural state as possible. Her Company Cavallo Horse & Rider manufactures and distributes horse products in 16 countries world wide.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carole_Herder

Horse Tack

Horse Tack

By Richard Romando

Horse tack refers to the accessories worn by domesticated horses. Tacking a horse is the act of fitting a horse with a wide range of equipment before the horse is taken for a ride. Tacking up a horse requires expertise, since any discomfort for the horse causes a lot of strain for both the horse and the rider. The tack also has to be of the exact size and fit to make the horse comfortable.

Horse tack is basically of two kinds: English and western. Horse tack consists of a halter, saddle, saddle pad, stirrup, bridle, Girth (English) / Cinches (Western), lead ropes, martingale, harnesses, and breastplates. The bridle consists of the headstall, chin strap, bits and reins. There are three kinds of bridles: single, double and hackamore. The girths are of four kinds: webbing, leather, string and nylon. Saddles are of many kinds: jumping saddles, dressage saddles, polo saddles, park saddles, racing saddles, show saddles, all-purpose saddles, roping saddles, barrel racing saddles, endurance saddles, trail saddles, pleasure saddles, English side saddles and western side saddles, and military saddles. Similarly, there are different kinds of other equipment as well, based on the rider.

Horse tack has to be cleaned regularly to increase the life of the equipment. Wipe the tack with a wet sponge and then with a horse tack cleaner that is available on the market. Today, tack is made of synthetic materials instead of leather. This tack is lighter, less expensive and easier to maintain, as it can even be washed in the washing machine. Leather tack, on the other hand, is expensive and needs a lot of care. Tack can be stored in exclusive tack boxes which have built-in compartments for holding all the equipment.

Horse tack can be very expensive, depending on the quality and the material used. Leather tack is very costly. A headstall can cost as much as $170, while a martingale may be priced at around $90. A cinch can cost around $40, a rope halter $26, a pulling collar $105, an aluminum barrel stirrup $80, aluminum stirrup $50, noseband $135, and harness leather loping hackamore $225. However, there is also discount horse tack available at some stores. For instance, a whole nylon tack set is priced at $125. Some companies also offer custom-made horse tack. Rod’s, Farnam, Pro Choice, Tom Balding, Big D and Reinsman are some of the top brands of horse tack.

Horse Tack provides detailed information on Horse Tack, Discount Horse Tack, Horse Tack for Sale, Miniature Horse Tack and more. Horse Tack is affiliated with Cartoon Penguins.

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How to Sell a Horse Online – Top Ten Tips

How to Sell a Horse Online - Top Ten Tips

By Jennifer McCleary

Selling horses online is quickly becoming a very common and profitable practice in the equine world. Listing your horse online is often times much less expensive than listing in newspapers and magazines, and you are able to reach a much broader audience. Practically anyone can view a listing online so you don’t have to rely strictly on the publications subscription list.

Although selling your horse online can be very easy, it is an intimidating process if you’ve never done it before. How do I list my horse? Is it safe? How much does it cost? How do I sell to out of town buyers? You may have many questions like these. Below I have listed the ten most useful tips for selling your horse online.

1. List your ads on multiple high traffic equine websites.
Most list a 2-3 line ad for less than $20 and the ads will run for 3-12 months. There are even a few websites that will list your ad for free and only charge if you sell your horse through there adds.

2. Utilize photo and video options.
If the ad site offers photo or video insertions, use them. Even if it costs a little extra money, it is well worth it. Photos and videos give the buyer instant gratification, something that you want them to have!

If you can, post more than one photo. Post photos with an up close head view, a side view, rear view, and a picture of the horse moving, or being ridden. If you are only allowed to post one photo, make sure it is a good quality, professional if you have one, photo showcasing what the horse does best. (If you’re selling a halter horse, show it standing for halter. If you’re selling a performance horse, get a picture of it being ridden)

When shooting a video, make sure to show the horse doing a variety of things. Video it loading, standing tied, tacking, mounting, riding (each discipline if the horse does more than one performance class) and even playing in a pen would be appropriate. The more you can show your horse doing, the more likely you will get an interested buyer.

3. If you cannot post a video on the website, offer to send a video to any serious buyers.
There are some buyers that won’t look at a horse until they have seen a video. By offering a video, you can get more interest from out of state buyers. Video’s can be costly, so send a self addressed envelope and ask the prospective buyer to send it back if they are not interested.

4. Title your ad with your horses best selling points.
Exp. “ ’03 AQHA bay gelding, Top Ten ’05 AQHA World Show” this tells your reader a lot of information, without a lot of words. If there is a second line, use it. Use all the space that you have and fill it with as much information as possible. If there is enough room, it is a good idea to list the selling price. This keeps uninterested buyers from contacting you.

5. Be honest.
It is very important to advertise your horse honestly. It is a waste of everyone’s time if you promise a horse that you can’t deliver!

6. Make sure your contact info is listed correctly!
If your contact info is not listed correctly, you will not get any buyers. Have a home phone, cell phone, and if possible a work phone along with home address. Plus, it is an excellent idea (practically a necessity) to have a well working e-mail address that you check often. This is the easiest way for people to send inquiries about your horse.

7. Be patient.
Sometimes it can take a few months, or even a year to sell a horse. Don’t give up, just make sure that your ads are running and all the info is correct and you will sell!

8. Renew and Rewrite.
If your ad is expiring and you haven’t sold your horse yet, rewrite your ads and post them again. Try changing the wordage, add new photos, and revise your price. If you find you are not getting enough response from a site, try a different one.

9. When you do receive requests about your horse, respond quickly.
Make sure that you are checking your e-mails and messages consistently and responding as soon as possible. Many people are looking to buy there dream horse now. If you drag your heals, they will find another one.

10. When you do sell your horse, require a purchase agreement.
Make sure that both parties understand and agree to the product. Detail who is responsible for what (hauling, vet check, etc.). Also make sure to include what type of payment you will accept (cash, cashiers check, money order). It’s generally a good idea not to accept a personal check if you do not know the person. Also, if you accept a deposit to hold the horse, make sure that you write up a separate agreement for the terms of the deposit. Make sure that you have the original, signed copies of the document. Do not accept a fax or copy.

Overall, selling your horse online can be a very rewarding experience. I have sold over 15 horses and have been pleased with the outcome of all. My horses went to good homes, and I got a good price for them. I have researched many advertising sites and have found what I consider to be the best. Visit www.we-review-for-you.com/redirecthorse.html for more information.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jennifer_McCleary

Buying Your First Horse – a Practical Guide

Buying Your First Horse - a Practical Guide

By Trish Haill

Spring is here, and the warmer weather is on the way. As the grass starts to grow, the sun appears and nothing seems so attractive as meandering down those country lanes or cantering up the bridle paths on your own horse.

If you have only ever ridden at a riding school before, buying your first horse will be a real experience for you – and one you shouldn’t go without doing some careful thinking and planning first. A horse should be your trusted companion for some time – you owe it to him to make sure you pick the right one for you. There is nothing worse for a horse than to be sold on time and time again because he was bought by the wrong person.

The person selling your ideal horse will be keen to make sure you are right for him and may even seem reluctant to part with him – if you ever feel you are being pressured into making a decision it is probably not the right horse to buy!

This article tries to give the first time buyer some tips.

Where should I look for my perfect horse?

Horses are advertised in magazines, both local and national, and in many local outlets such as notice boards in livery yards and tack shops.

Horse and Hound is a very popular source, and has a large number of horses for sale. However you do need to be quick off the mark - if you wait a couple of days you will find the best ones have been sold. Horse and Hound do carry their adverts on their internet site, and there are also many other sites offering horses for sale.

For a first horse or pony word of mouth is always a good option - your local riding school or livery yard may know of ponies or horses in the locality which may suit you and which are going to be sold, however this may not be the quickest option.

Be prepared for it to take some time to find your right partner.

Before you start looking at the adverts and especially before you go to see that first horse, be absolutely clear in your own mind:

- What is an honest assessment of your riding ability?
- What do you want to do with your horse?
- What is your budget?

When you start going out to see horses bear in mind that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince! Finding your ideal partner for the next few years will take time and cannot be rushed. Make sure you are totally honest and keep the answers to the questions in your mind – many a person has been led astray by falling in love with a totally unsuitable mount. Remember, it is not fair on either you or the horse if you end up with an animal you cannot control or if you want to jump and the horse has a total aversion to it!

And remember, keeping a horse is an expensive business – there is no point overstretching yourself to buy him if you are going to need to buy tack as well.

Keep a clear head – and let it rule your heart!

When I go to see a horse, what should I look for?

Make sure you see the horse in the stable - don’t rely on any statement that he has ‘perfect stable manners’, ask to see for yourself. Ideally watch him being tacked up - does he stand quietly? Horses which behave well when being ridden sometimes try to kick or bite in the stable, when being tacked up, having rugs put on or off or just when you go to fill a hay net. A horse which is difficult in the stable will make your life difficult as the owner, and if you are going to keep your horse at livery will not make you popular!

Look carefully at the horse for any signs of sweat marks. Some sellers lunge or vigorously exercise their horses just before a prospective owner turns up at the yard making them seem a much quieter ride than they really are. You can also ask about the level of exercise he has been used to - if he is used to being exercised more than you will have time for you may find you have a more excitable horse on your hands than you really want.

I have never bought a horse before – what should I do when I try it out?

If you have only had lessons before you may find yourself at a loss without an instructor standing in the middle telling you what to do. It is therefore best to decide before you go a short routine you will use that will test the horse you are trying, and allow you to assess whether it is the one for you or not.

A routine might be, walk round the ménage, halting at least once to make the horse is listening to you. Walk a 20 metre circle, watching out for the horse leaning in or out. Does he listen to your corrections? Change rein and repeat the walk exercises. Try to assess whether he bends easier on one rein or the other – not necessarily a fault as horses do tend to have a stronger rein, but it is more important that he is attentive to you!

Now put the horse into trot – watching for whether he goes forward eagerly or is reluctant. Use little leg at first – if you have been used to riding school horses they may have become ‘dead to the leg’. You can always increase the leg aid, but it is preferable to do this than having the horse shoot off with you! As in walk work a circle on both reins. Does he drop out of trot as he bends? Does he try to go forward into canter? Would you be happy with this behaviour? If he is very strong, be prepared for him to be even stronger when you get him home – an energetic horse may well have been lunged before you came to see him and may be even fresher on other days!

If you are happy with the trot try a canter on each rein. He should make the upward transition smoothly when you ask him to do so.

If you want a jumping horse make sure you try him over a fence. Is he eager or does he need a lot of encouragement?

Try to decide before you visit the horse exactly what you are looking for, and what you are prepared to work with. And try to keep sensible. There is no point falling in love at first sight with a beautiful animal you cannot control – or one which is reluctant to jump when that is your reason for buying!

This is a partnership which you will have for some time – your partner should be chosen very carefully to make sure he is compatible with your level of riding, and what you want to do. Common sense should rule here – not your heart!

When I go to see a horse, should I see him ridden first?

DEFINITELY YES! If the owner says there is no one available to ride him be very wary. It may be that he is too difficult for anyone there to ride. Only attempt this is you are a very experienced rider – otherwise be prepared to walk away, or at the very least try and arrange to come back when you can see him ridden.

The current owner should ride a routine similar to the one described above to enable you to assess the horse’s way of going, and how he responds. If he makes upwards transitions easily for someone else, but not for you, this could be something that can be addressed with some lessons. However, be aware – there is a saying that a horse’s ability sinks to match those of its rider. Just because the horse you have fallen in love with makes flying changes on demand for its current owner, it may not make them for you if you cannot ride at that level! Your new perfectly schooled dressage horse cannot be depended on to teach

And finally

It may take a few months to find the right horse, but be assured that the wait will be worth it. One thing is probably certain – that palomino mare you had pictured yourself riding away on into the sunset may well turn out to be a bay gelding! But whatever size, colour or sex you end up with, if you have taken your time choosing you will have a wonderful partnership.

Trish Haill is the Webmaster for Limebrook Farm Riding School and Livery Yard. This ever growing website is a great resource for riders and horse lovers everywhere. Check out the site at www.limebrook.com.

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Akhal-Teke

achaltekas.jpg

Akhal-Teke - Read all about this horse breed at the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Akhal-Teke, 'Ahalteke' in turkmen language, horse breed (pronounced Ah-cull Tek-y) is a breed from Turkmenistan, where they are the national emblem. It is named after the nomadic tribe that bred them. They are racehorses, noted for their endurance on long marches and are thought to be the predecessors of the Arabian and English thoroughbred breeds. These beautiful "golden-horses" are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest surviving breeds. There are currently about 3,500 Akhal-Tekes in the world, mostly in Turkmenistan and Russia, although they are also found in Germany and the United States.

Alexander the Great's horse, Bucephalus, is said to have been an Akhal-Teke.