Riding a Legend!!!!

Mustang.  The word itself just excites me.  When I hear that word I think of the Wild West and of cowboys and Indians.  I think of the untamed spirit of an animal that runs free with the wind.  Recently I adopted a mustang.  My goal is to gentle and ride him.

If you are unfamiliar with what a mustang is, let me explain it to you.  A mustang is a feral horse.  Some people will refer to them as wild horses, but mustangs are technically feral horses.  Feral mean that the animal, a horse in this case, has escaped from its domestic home and it has been on its own long enough it is now living as a wild animal.

Mustangs are horses that are not native to the Americas.  All the wild horses that had lived in the Americas died out in the last ice age.  The mustangs that roam here are mainly derived from horses that escaped from the Spanish when they settled in Florida and Mexico.  Over time ranchers wanted to cultivate the herds to fit their preferences, so they would kill the dominate stallions of the herds and release their prize stallions out to breed the mustang mares.

Most of the original mustang were descendants of  Andalusian, Arabian, and Barb breeds of horses.  However over time many other breeds have been added to the mix, and various herds of mustangs show evidence of Thorough bred horses, draft horses, and several other light breeds of horses.

Over the years mustangs have been captured and used in various ways.  The Native Americans captured them and used them for hunting and transportation.  The military used them for food.  And at one point in U.S. history they were even captured and used to make pet food.

The mustangs today are protected under law, but they have disappeared from  several states where they once roamed.  Nevada is home to over half of all the mustangs in the U.S.  Other states that have significant populations of wild horses are Wyoming, Oregon, Montana, and California.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for controlling the number of animals that remain in the wild.  The country side can sustain only so many.  If they are allowed to over populate they will run themselves out of food and habitat.  The horses that the BLM gather from the wild are moved to holding facilities where they are put up for adoption.  Of coarse there are always more animals available for adoption than people willing to adopt, so the BLM is trying to decide what to do with the excess horses.

When I was 12 my dad bought me a horse that was out of a mustang mare.  I broke the horse myself, and it was the best horse I ever had.  I’m just starting on my adventure with my new little mustang.  I’m sure he’s going to be the second best horse ever.  You can follow my progress on here.  I will be posting photos and videos on my step by step process of gentling my mustang.

For more information on adopting a mustang check out the BLM’s website. You can adopt horses on line or go to a holding facility near you and pick one out today.

Getting in Rhythm with the Feet

To become an outstanding horse person, you need to understand how your horse’s body works and how your horse moves.  Each gate your horse travels on requires your horse’s feet to move with a different beat.  Along with this change in beat comes a difference in weight distribution on your horse’s front and hind ends.  Hopefully this article will help you better understand your horse’s movement and help you “Get in Rhythm with the Feet”.

Your horse basically has five gates in which it travels: walk, trot, canter (lope), gallop and back-up.  Now we are just talking about average horses here.  Gaited horses travel differently and we aren’t going to try to cover that here.  By knowing how where your horse’s feet are in each gate, you can become a better partner with your horse and help him better maintain his natural balance.

Walk

The walk is a four beat gait in which your horse will care 60% of his weight on his front end and 40% on his back end.  When riding at a walk I try not to lean forward and sit in the seat. Doing this will help your horse by not adding unnecessary weight to his front end.  Counting the beats of the walk go like this 1. right back, 2. right front, 3. left back, 4. left front.  (By the way you are not aloud to make fun of my drawings)

Trot

In the trot your horses feet work in diagonal pairs making it a two beat step.  The beat of this gait goes 1. right hind – left front 2. left hind –  right front.  In the trot your horse will carry his weight equally on his front and back ends.  To make it easier on myself and my horse I like to post when I trot.  I stand when the right hind foot lifts and sit when the left hind lifts.  If you show western style horses you will need to learn to sit a trot.  When I sit a trot I just try to let my hips rock with my horse’s back.  When he lifts his left hind leg my left hip slightly rises, and my right hip rises with his right leg. If your horse has a rough trot you may want to stand if you are trotting a distance.

Canter or Lope

When your horse canters, the majority of his weight, about 60%, shifts to the back end.  We count the lope  starting with the opposite hind leg than the lead we are in.  If we are going to be in the right lead, we start on the left hind leg. Our count will go like this 1. left back, 2. right front, 3. right hind and left front, then a pause while all feet are suspended.

Galloping

In a gallop your horse will be running pretty hard.  In this gait only one of his feet will be touching the ground at a time.  Then like the canter, he will have a moment of suspension.   Just to save you from more of my drawings, refer to the pictures of the canter,  but instead of his right hind and left front feet touching the ground at the same time they will hit the ground first the right hind then the left front.  Counting the beats of the gallop in the right lead go like this 1. left back, 2. right back, 3. left front, 4. right front, then a moment of suspension.

Backing

Like the trot, the back is a two beat gait.  As your horse backs the opposite front and back legs hit the grounds. Count in the beats of the trot will go 1. right front – left back 2. left front – right back.

As you progress as a rider, you will find more importance on knowing where your horse’s feet are.  By knowing where they are and how your horse’s body works, you will be better able to work as a partner with your horse when learning new maneuvers.  As you ride try to see if you are able to pick out the rhythm of your horse’s feet.Pictures is Emily Thompson riding her paint Nehi Charm.  They are on beat one of the canter.


Do It Yourself for the Average Horse Owner

Do It Yourself for the Average Horse Owner. What exactly does that mean? It means that this is a website designed to help normal people with their normal, day to day horse issues. The horses that I use are not professionally trained, show horses. My demonstrations are all done with horses that I or my friends own. In fact, the horse featured in most of the pictures and video, Dollar, is a horse that I acquired in a trade when he was only a yearling, and I have done all the training on him.  He’s not perfect, but he gets the job done.  I created this site, because most of the horse owners out there are just average people. They have their horses out in a pasture. They saddle and bridle their own horses. And for a many, they don’t do much with their horses except for the occasional weekend ride.

This site is designed to be easy to use.  It has step by step instructions with pictures that make it easy to follow.  Then many of my posts will also include a video showing how to do what was described in the post.  Eventually, the posts will also include links to other posts that tie in with what you are learning to do.  For example, the post on bridling will have a link to the post on how to train your horse to position his head while being bridled.  Right now the site is a work in progress, and I don’t have half the information on here that I want to get on here.  But as the weather gets better, I’ll be adding information day by day.

The training information that is going to be on this site is going to be broken down in very easy to follow step by step process.  The training videos will be performed using horses that don’t already know how to do the maneuver we are working on.  I know when I’m looking up “how to” information, it is very frustrating to watch a person explain how to train your horse to do something, and their horse does it perfectly in minutes.  For most of us in the real world, it doesn’t work like that.

Each post includes an area where you can comment.  All comments are welcome.  Please comment if there was something you found confusing or know of a way I can improve the information.  There is also a forum on here.  Hopefully that will take off and people will be able to ask questions or give tips, and get feed back from other horse owners.

So is this a site that is going to be useful to you?  This site is great for a new horse owner who is just learning how to do many of the tasks involved with horse owning.  This is also a great site for children that are just learning how to take care of their own horse.  Perhaps mom and dad are worn out from saddling and bridling their child’s horse for them.  This site is perfect for that.  Also if you are an experienced horse person and are stuck on how to get your horse to do a particular manuveor, this site could be for  you.  Not all horses respond the same to the same training.  I may offer a little different way of training the horse to do something, that may work on the horse your training.  Basically this site can be useful to anyone.

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Anna

Pictured is my daughter Mirandah and Dollar

Welcome

This is going to be a web site dedicated to educating people about horses.  This is going to be a fantastic website for beginning horsemen and for veterans looking for a different point of view on working with their horses.  This web site is going to include everything you want to know about horses from basic care to tip on training your horse.  I will constantly be adding new info and will cover almost every subject about horses.  I will have many typed articles on here, along with countless short videos.  If there is any subject that I have skipped or haven’t gotten to yet, please feel free to write in and let me know what you want me to cover.  All ideas are welcome.

I’m not a professional, but I have ridden and trained horses most of my life.  And as I go along I want you to remember that I’m presenting one way to do a certain thing and there are numerous ways to get the same result, this is just one way to get there.  Like people every horse is different, and what works with one might not work with another.

The pictures on this page are of my daughter and our horse Zan Pat Two (Dollar) at a local 4-H show.   You will probably be seeing them often.  Dollar is a horse I purchased as a yearling.  I’ve done all the training on him.  He’s a wonderful horse that just about anyone can ride.

Thanks for visiting  my site,

Anna