The training or breaking of a young horse

The training or breaking of a young horse to saddle or harness consists in gradually accustoming the animal to wearing various pieces of tack and then to carrying or pulling a weight. The forcible breaking of older horses, in which a horse that has had no previous training is bridled, saddled, and ridden, is regarded as primitive and unsatisfactory training.

Advanced training

Advanced training, as with advanced equitation, takes many forms. The training of racehorses and cow ponies is a highly specialized art, best accomplished by professional trainers. The horseman or horsewoman who rides for pleasure, however, should have the knowledge necessary to exercise a choice in training a horse to jump, hunt, behave in a show ring, or learn the basic dressage maneuvers. Because these accomplishments are based on the natural movements of the horse, patience, skill, and repetition are the prime teaching factors.


In recent years interest in pleasure driving

In recent years interest in pleasure driving has undergone a revival. Horses or ponies are driven singly or in pairs to carts, buggies, or one of many varieties of carriages. Teams of four are put to large road coaches. Most horses adapt well to driving.


Horses are introduced to the harness

Horses are introduced to the harness, which comprises the bridle, long reins, saddle or back pad, and, around the horse`s neck or chest, a neck or breast collar to which are attached long straps, called "traces," that draw the vehicle. The breeching, which fits around the horse`s rump, is an aid in training the horse in stopping and backing.

The next step involves putting the horse

The next step involves putting the horse between the shafts of a training cart. The trainer then walks behind the vehicle, controlling the horse by means of ropes. When the horse becomes accustomed to pulling the weight of the vehicle, the trainer gets into the cart and drives the horse from the seat. Proper gaits include the walk, collected trot, and a faster, or park, trot. Horses that are to be driven with others are judged to see whether they work better on the left or right side or, in the case of four-in-hand teams, as the "leader" or the "wheel" horses.


The driver

The driver, sometimes called the "whip," sits erect, traditionally wearing an apron, as protection against road dust, and some form of headgear. The driver mounts the vehicle from the right side. The driver holds the reins in the left hand, leaving the right hand free to carry the whip and to help manipulate the reins during turns. The driver urges the horse forward with voice commands and signals with the reins or a touch of the whip.

Care and Grooming

One of the most important aspects of horsemanship

One of the most important aspects of horsemanship is the proper care of the horse, which includes its grooming, feeding, medical care, and shoeing. Grooming is a process designed to clean the horse and stimulate its skin. The first step in grooming is to rub, or "curry," the horse`s body with a rubber comb called a currycomb. The groomer should move the currycomb in small circles with emphasis on the direction of growth of the hair. The currying process loosens the hair and stimulates the flow of blood through the horse`s skin. The groomer then brushes the horse`s body, including its mane and tail, with a stiff brush, called a dandy brush. This action removes loose hair and mud and smoothes the horse`s coat. Finally, the groomer strokes the body and face of the horse with a soft brush that polishes the coat. Grooming also includes the cleaning of the horse`s feet before and after each ride and the periodic removal of excess hair from its tail and mane.

After exercising the horse

After exercising the horse, the rider must care for it. If the horse is still breathing hard after being bathed, the rider should walk it around, occasionally offering small drinks of water, until it is breathing normally again. In cold weather, the rider should rub the horse`s coat with a dry towel to absorb moisture and then cover the horse with a blanket so that it does not cool off too quickly. In cool weather, riders can use warm water to sponge the back, girth, and head of the horse, where sweat may have formed under the saddle or bridle. Riders should use a small amount of water and should scrape excess water off the coat. A light sheet or blanket can then be placed over the horse. In hot weather, riders should bathe the horse with a generous amount of cold water all over the body. When finished, riders should scrape excess water from the horse`s coat and then lead the horse to a shady area, or to a fan if the weather is extremely hot. Blanketing horses after exercise in hot weather is not recommended because it will prevent the horse from cooling off.

Horses spend much of their time grazing.

Horses spend much of their time grazing. Their basic nutritional needs are fresh, clean water; access to salt and other minerals; and plenty of grass or hay. They also eat grain but do not need it except at times when grass and hay do not supply enough energy, such as when foals are growing, when mares are nursing, or when horses are performing hard work. As a general rule of thumb, horses require 1.5 percent to 3 percent of their body weight in feed each day. Feed should be provided two or more times a day.

Any medical care given to a horse by its

Any medical care given to a horse by its owner should be limited to treatment for minor ailments; more serious illnesses should be treated by a veterinarian. A horse should be treated for intestinal worms three or four times a year.

Proper shoeing is a highly important aspect

Proper shoeing is a highly important aspect of horse care. The horse owner should choose a blacksmith with great care. The type of shoe used depends on such factors as the breed of horse, the type of work it does, and the way it habitually handles its feet.

Horsemanship 1 | Horsemanship 2 | Horsemanship 3 | Horsemanship 4 | Horsemanship 5 |

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