No matter what activity is expected of your horse, it needs a healthy back to function properly. As people know, horses were not designed to be ridden and their backs need care and preparation before they are started under saddle as well as care during their ridden career. There are three things riders should consider to protect their horses back:
The old saying "No Hoof - No Horse" is so true and something we should never forget.
The Australian climate is particularly harsh on horses feet with often remarkable variation in moisture content in the environment over short spaces of time. When you add the hardness of the surfaces many horses work on to the equation, there is little wonder many horses have problems with their feet. But there are three simple things a horse owner can do to protect their horses feet:
Horses' joints are the springs of life... so protecting them is vital for longevity. Performance horses work particularly hard, so it is important to minimise wear and tear on their joints. Find out nine things riders should do to protect their horses' joints:
By Victoria Hamilton
Wow! It is hard to believe it was 20 years ago I competed in the FEI World Dressage Challenge Final in Hagen, Germany.
I can still remember the day I received the letter of invitation to compete from our EA. I was living in Victoria at the time and had competed with Asaachen in the Australian final at Werribee. That was third final I had attended and placed in as in 1998 I won with Ardtio in Queensland, in 1999 I came third with Asaachen in Sydney and then in 2000 he won the event when it was held in Victoria.
I was so naïve back then and had no idea that there even was a world final for the WDC, so receiving the letter was incredibly amazing and something I will never forget. To earn the right to represent your Nation internationally is something we all dream of.
BY JENNA SANTOS
What is it that’s makes us feel safer on a horse with limited get up and go? As a self-confessed nervous nelly, I certainly do not enjoy a horse than rushes around, as I feel less in control than I do when I must continually push them on. And I know I am not alone. You have all seen those wanted ads from people searching for more whoa than go. Why is this so common? Why do we feel safer?
By Jenna Santos
I am not a confident rider. If a dog barks, if a mouse sneezes, if a horse in the back paddock farts… I assume my completely sensible horse is going to suddenly turn into a fire breathing dragon, expand his great wings, throw me fiercely to the ground and fly away, burning villages as he goes. It’s never happened… but it could.
My fear began before I even owned a horse. After waiting my entire childhood, working my way through uni and squireling away every cent so I could finally realise my dream of owning my own horse, the very first one I trialled bolted while I clung on helplessly. I fell most ungracefully into a solid wooden fence which resulted in a broken arm, severed nerves, an 8-day vacation in hospital, three operations and a 12-month recovery. Suffice to say… things had not gone to plan.
A few years later, still adamant I was going to ride, I finally brought my first horse. But I was so utterly petrified I would shake uncontrollably just tacking her up. Slowly but surely, I built my confidence, but those fears still come creeping in from time to time… and this is how I deal with them.
By Jenna Santos
Presentation is not my strong suit. This not only applies to horse riding, but life in general. I do not enjoy shopping, so I wait until my clothes become so badly ripped, stained, or otherwise battered to the point I can’t possibly continue to wear them, before heading to the shop, grabbing whatever looks like it might fit and beelining for the checkout. I rarely wear make-up, my hair gets brushed once a week (at best) and I can’t even tell you last time I had it cut. I would like to say I give my horse the dignity of a decent presentation, but alas, I’d be lying. He’s constantly filthy. I used to blame the lovely red Wheatbelt dirt, but things have not improved since he took up residence at Victoria Hamilton’s property in the hills. Even with all that beautiful green grass he manages to bury dirt deep inside his coat where it will forever stay. My idea of grooming in running a brush over him a few times before a ride and calling it a job well done.
By Jenna Santos
Dressage is easy. Unless you’re the one doing it… in which case it is very difficult. As with most sports, and in fact most activities, if someone makes something look easy… it is because they are good at it. So don’t be fooled into thinking it is just a matter of prancing around in circles. Ironically, the better you get the harder it becomes, and not just because you start working your way through the grades (theoretically) but rather because you realise all the things you never knew you never knew. I shudder to think of the countless things I am yet to learn, which would be a far longer list than the list of things I already know.
I am not a professional rider. I am an average amateur rider. An amateur rider, for those who don’t know, is basically defined as a person who does not make a living out of riding or training horses or coaching other riders. Just because a person is an amateur rider does not make them a bad rider. In fact, many amateur riders are highly skilled and competitive at top levels. There are also many “professional” riders who have questionable riding or horsemanship skills. You know the old saying… those who cannot do… teach. It is sometimes true.
Dr Victoria Hamilton is an icon in the Australian Equestrian Community, with a wealth of experience as a veterinarian, coach, breeder and international dressage competitor. As one of Australia’s top dressage riders, her love of horses is contagious and apparent in everything she does.