Obviously I am new to dressage. My horse has schooled and competed to level 2-3. But I want to do a dressage schooling show in October. I see that I can buy the tests for $25 online, but when I watch You Tube it looks like there is no difference between 2007 and 2008 tests. (At least for the Intro Level B test). Does anyone know? Thanks!
PMU Owner asked:
I finally found an extra wide dressage saddle for my moose horse but it is so slippery. I haven’t had a new saddle in years and can’t remember how to break them in.
Ethan R asked:
My mother recently sold my dressage horse partner of 5 years. He was a Belgian Warmblood gelding trained to third level and ready to move to fourth. His father was Fraval, a very prominent sire. He was 17.1 and was a beautiful mover, top level quality for sure!! Years of professional training and was 9 years old. TOP LEVEL PROSPECT!
Emily J asked:
Hey, so I am goingto start Dressage, I do not plan on buying a horse right away, but in a few years I am. Once I do get more experince. What things should I look for in them?
I am in search of a dressage saddle for my new horse since my old saddle does not fit her, She has a medium wide gullet, she is around 15.2hh and weighs about 827 lbs. She is a thoroughbred type appaloosa. I am 5’1″ with a long femur and usually ride in a 16- 16.5″ saddle.
Please tell me what do you consider to be the benefits of dressage? I’m considering learning it.
Most of your answers were great; it’s been difficult to pick a best answer. Thanks for all the info.
Dressage Girl asked:
I want to get a good dressage horse, and I am thinking of a German Warmblood, like a Hanoverian. Anybody have some other good breeds for upper-level dressage?
Kayla F asked:
My horse is a 48 in my saddle, but i just got a dressage saddle and I want to buy the right girth. What size dressage girth should i get if my horse is a 48?
Buying a used western saddle is often a great choice. Quality saddles maintain their value over time, so you can buy top brand previously owned saddle for the same price as you would a lower quality new one. Your dollar goes a lot farther in the used market and a good quality saddle fits both you and your horse better than something cheaply manufactured.
High quality leather western saddles are usually well cared for, so when they’re sold they’re often in great shape. Sure, most used saddles will have a scuff here and there, but that adds to their character. It shows they’ve been put to the test and they’ve held up to the rigors of riding, unlike some of the poorly constructed new saddles out there.
During your search, take the opportunity to try as many different types, brands, and models of saddles as you can. This will help you narrow down the choice of what will suit you best. Of course, a saddle needs to fit the horse too, so keep that in mind.
So where should you start looking? Start anywhere there are horses. Horse owners and stables may be thinking of changing a saddle they have or making space by selling one they’re not using. You’d be amazed what you can find just by asking. If the place or person you visit doesn’t have a used saddle for sale, they may know someone who does.
Look first for used western saddles in places where you can see, touch, and inspect them. Look in tack shops or stores selling western tack. Just because a store sells new items doesn’t mean that they don’t have used tack. Plenty of people upgrade their western saddles and many tack shops will take a used saddle in as a trade in. Some tack stores also have used saddles for sale on consignment.
Local used tack sales can be a great source for used saddles. Keep an eye out for sale announcements by local horse groups and at horse shows and other events. Check the newspapers and the local classified publications.
The Internet is also a fantastic place to find a quality used western saddle. On the Internet you’re not limited to just your local area which significantly opens up your potential choices. Online sales sites such as eBay, TackTrader.com, and Equine.com provide a wide selection in the used market. Many tack stores also have websites and list their used tack for sale online.
In the online world, a picture says a thousand words, reading the small print matters, and asking questions is a must. You usually won’t be able to inspect the saddle before you buy, so make sure you have detailed photos and find out as much as you can prior to buying. Some sellers will give you a try-out period so make sure to ask. Watch out for shipping costs as well – you could get a great bargain on a top-of-the-line saddle but pay a pretty penny to get it from there to here.
When trying to track down the perfect used saddle, take your time. Figure out what you need and don’t buy on impulse or because something is a bargain. Your main goal is to get a durable, solid quality western saddle that fits you and your horse the best. You’ll save money in the long run, and your horse will thank you for taking the time to pick the perfect saddle.
Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures. Horses require not only understanding and patience to have a horse as a pet, it also requires a whole lot of care.
Observe horses in the herd system, each horse’s welfare in the wild depends upon an instinctive submission to the discipline of the herd. The instinct is for immediate action. To the horse, action is survival. When horses live in an herd environment, they often take turns sleeping and standing guard for any predators. When the leader of the herd signals danger they take flight.
Learning respect and ascending to authority starts on the first day of life for the foals, there is a distinct pecking order in herds of horses.
It is important to keep a quiet profile around horses. Horses naturally do not like unnecessary noise because in the wild their survival depends on detection of predators with their hearing. Extraneous noise interferes with this predator detection. This predator detection is tightly coupled with a horse’s flight reflex. Due to these survival genetics, horses have a physiological wiring in their brains that predisposes them to prefer quietness and to become bothered by unnecessary noise. Many horses can get startled easily from abrupt noises and this could result in injury to the horse, the rider, or people around the horse. Talk to your horse in a quiet, reassuring voice.
Relationship With Horses:
A horse will love you if, first and foremost, you treat it fairly, and secondly, if you allow yourself to develop a relationship with it in the same way you would a human partner. There are too many who will look after the horse’s material needs but put nothing back into the partnership itself. The horse born in captivity will identify with an alternative provider and companion, resulting in a healthy relationship from the beginning. A healthy relationship with your horse requires: trust, coupled with respect, fondness with compliance, and a desire to please.
Check Your Horse:
Examine your horse every day and especially prior to riding the horse. Carefully examine the horse’s legs and back for any unusual heat or lumps. Make sure that the horse’s eyes are alert and not glazy. Listen for any excessive noise or gurgling sounds coming from your horse’s stomach. Catching problems before they become serious is critical to keeping a show horse sound and alive.
Exercise caution and discretion when around stallions and mares when they are in heat. They are dealing with hormones on an order of magnitude that you probably can not comprehend. Stallions typically bite and some may be easily triggered into violent behavior.
Keep your horse clean. Keep your horse’s entire coat free from dirt, mud, sand, and sweat. Brush your horse every day. Pick out your horse’s feet every day. Wash out any sweat residue from the saddle pad or girth every day. Wash out any dirt or sand residue, as from the riding arena, on your horses legs every day. A number of different problems can result if a horse’s coat is not kept clean.
Keep your horse’s stall clean. Make sure that your horse’s stall is cleaned every day. Be sure that any wetness is removed with the manure. Replace the removed bedding with fresh, clean, dry bedding. Water should be dumped from buckets every day without exception. Unhealthy dirt and bacteria can build up in a bucket if it is not cleaned on a daily basis. Clean water is essential to maintaining a healthy horse. Make sure your horse always has clean, fresh water available.
Training A Horse:
The intelligence of the horse increases rapidly with education. An intelligent trainer can make an intelligent horse. A kind but firm trainer will result in a disciplined but pleasing horse.
Feed your horse(s) at the same times every day. A horse may get upset and colic or injure themselves by kicking the stall or pawing, if not fed when feeding is expected. You should not make radical changes in a horse’s feed program. If you must make a change in the feed program, make the change gradually. Drastic changes in a horse’s feed program can cause the horse to colic and in some cases, may die. Your horse’s stomach is a highly sensitive bio-reactor that maintains a delicate balance of the organisms that digest food in your horse’s digestive track.
Visitors should not feed a horse that you do not own without the owner’s permission; no carrots, no apples, no treats, nothing. The horse could potentially, get sick if they have an allergy or sickness.
Pay attention to everything that goes into your horse; that means all feed, all hay, all water, all treats, all supplements, all pills, and all shots. This knowledge could save your horse’s life in an emergency situation. Post this information on your horse’s stall door so that it is available to a vet if you are not around in an emergency. Make sure that your horse gets high-quality feed and hay. Your horse’s health and soundness depends on the nutrition that you provide for them. Take good care of your horse. A rider without a horse is no rider at all.
Make sure that you have a good equine veterinarian. A good vet will save you money in the long run and may save your horse’s life some day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure your horse has all the vaccinations that are normal for your geographical location. All horses should be on a good worming program to control intestinal parasites. A horse should be wormed by a vet at least twice a year.
In the summer spray your horse trailer down with fly spray about 10 minutes before you load the horses. The flies should leave, and your horses will be without those pesky flies!
Never spray a hot, sweaty horse with cold water immediately after working the horse. This can cause muscle spasms and binding, or shock that can lead to death. Wait until the horse is breathing regularly, and use warm water if it is available. If a horse has heat shock, consult your vet and the vet may instruct you to cold hose the horse, even if still hot and sweaty. Never put a horse in a stall or confined area while sweaty or while they are still breathing heavily. This can result in shock and/or colic that can lead to death. Walk the horse until the horse is cooled out and the breathing is normal.
Horses’ hooves generally grow approximately 1 cm in a month, and take nearly a year to grow from the coronet band to the ground. Horse’s hooves need to be trimmed regularly (about every 6-8 weeks). Shoeing a horse does not hurt them. If you were to grow out your finger nail, you could put an earring/pin through it without causing discomfort; however, if you pushed the pin through the part of your nail that is attached to the soft tissue of your finger, it would hurt. When horse shoes are nailed in, they are nailed at an angle so which the horse doesn’t feel it.
Make sure that you have a good farrier, especially if you show your horse over jumps. The concussion from landing from jumps amplifies any problems in a horse’s shoeing. If a horse gets sore feet or legs from bad angles or bad shoeing, the horse can not just take his shoes off, sit back on a couch, and rub their feet, or find another pair of shoes like you can. Bad shoeing can result in your horse becoming lame due to a number of problems including: bowed tendons, popped splints, or shoulder/back soreness or spasms. Bad shoeing can ruin a good horse, so don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish where shoeing is concerned. A laid-up horse is far more expensive to maintain than a good farrier. And remember not all horses need to have shoes, only if they are competing, walking on hard/rocky surfaces, or have hoof problems.
Horses do lay down to sleep, but only if they feel completely comfortable in their environment. It is not enough to provide a dry stable, food and water. Horses will often sleep standing up by locking their knees. Horses are one of the few animals that can put one half of their body asleep while the other half is wide awake. Emotionally and mentally, all horses need to feel they have and be comfortable in their own space!
To fully enjoy a horse’s finer qualities you must treat them with both kindness and quality care. In the end, a happy horse will mean a nicer ride and a happier rider.