If you’ve got a horse, you’ll probably want to take him somewhere at some point. And maybe you don’t want to ride him all that way! That means you’ll have to put your horse in a trailer. Getting a horse to willingly walk into a dark, closed, unnatural box can be a bit tricky. Check out this video on how to be safe with the trailer as well as with your horse, then look below for a checklist on what you should have in your trailer when you set out.
I’ve had some great questions about what to bring to a horse show. I’ve put together a list of all the stuff I manage to cram in our trailer and trusty Toyota Tundra. I’m sure other people or other types of riding may do things differently, but the following supplies and four pre-assembled kits have served me very well for the last ten years of showing.
So I had a great question from Alese about tips for jumping. To kick it off, here’s a quick “top ten” of my jumping advice. You’ll notice quite a few of these are from my “top-ten always said” list–jumping is a lot like dressage, just with bumps!
1. You go where you look. This law is true for good and bad. It means that your horse can tell which way to turn after a jump just because you’re looking at the next jump–or it can mean your horse comes to a skidding halt because you’re looking down at the jump! Picking a tree or building to look at that is directly beyond your jump can help you keep your eyes up and ride a straight line to your jump.
Horses are VERY big animals. Few of them are deliberately mean, but a sorry horse doesn’t make up for squished toes! Knowing how to move safely around a horse is a good way to protect those little piggies. This video walks you through the basics of moving around on the ground with a horse, as well as showing how to properly ask a horse to move for you.
Grooming is a very important part of getting a horse ready to ride, as well as putting him away for the day. Grooming accomplishes three important things:
1. It’s a great chance to look over your horse to see if he has any cuts, scrapes or swellings.
2. Grooming prevents the saddle, bridle or other tack from catching on something rough, like mud, on the horse’s skin and giving him a painful sore.
3. Grooming can make a horse’s coat healthier, as it “wakes up” the skin and encourages good blood flow.
I can only go in so many circles around the arena before I lose it and start squeaking like the hamster I feel like. It’s at that point that I prudently head out on a trail ride to give Noah and me a much-needed change in scenery.
Trail riding can be fun, relaxing or even competitive (yes, there are trail riding competitions…) But open trails can also add new elements that every rider needs to consider.
My golden rule is never ride outside without someone knowing where you’re going and when you’ll be back. This way, everyone back home knows when to start worrying, and can relax until then. On a similar note, I ALWAYS ride with a cell phone. This is a must if you are going to ride alone, and a good idea even if you have company.
Here are ten tips for staying safe and happy out on the trails:
- Practice makes perfect. If you can’t get your horse to stop in an arena, you can bet a pound of carrots he won’t stop out on the trail. So practice transitions, rein-backs (backing up), emergency dismounts, maybe even how to open and close a gate–all in the arena before you tally-ho out into the open. Read more on 10 Trail Riding Safety Tips – Happy Trails…