Paso Fino

The Paso Fino breed is a light horse and is born with a naturally even four-beat gait. This is a strange and amazing looking gait, to me it’s like a sped up trot but mainly it's just the bottom part of the legs that are moving. Here is a video of a Paso Fino doing this kind of ambling gait;  The horse in the video is for sale, but it shows the gait.  Some Paso Finos are born with this gait.

This breed is used for western classes such as trail, reining and cow penning.  They are also very commonly used for trail rides. The name Paso Fino means ‘fine step’. Paso Finos are a mix of a breed called barb, Spanish Jennet, and the Andalusian horse and were bred by Spanish land owners in Puerto Rico and Colombia. 

The Paso Fino breed has different body types, from pretty small to large and powerful. The Puerto Rican Paso Fino is known for its fine and delicate steps, as the Colombian Paso Fino has a fast, small step action.

Paso Finos are also used as rodeo horses as well as other western riding. I love their western riding abilities and they remind me a lot of an Appaloosa (besides the different markings).

Understanding and Commanding a Young Horse

As most people know, between a horse and his owner, the owner is always the leader. But not all people know how to be the right leader for their horse. They are either being bossed around by their own horse or they command their horse the wrong way. The real way to become the right leader is to start taking charge of the horse and telling him you're the general and he’s the the private.

Let’s say the horse’s name was Roger, and Roger is a young colt who is just getting used to being a nice trail riding horse. Everything starts with ground working even though Roger already has been ridden before and is already used to that. But Roger is a high spirited horse and is too playful, bossy and is not very well trusted near younger children. As months pass without any training Roger becomes more and more bossy and what used to be a playful and cute nibble becomes a dangerous bite. When Roger was younger it wasn’t much of a bother if the little colt got in the way or jumped around you or nibbled at your shirt.  In fact, the owner thought that was very cute and encouraged him. But what most owners don’t know is that this could turn into very bad habit and could hurt someone. So from the start it is not something to think is cute and encourage because this is a very bad habit and very hard to get rid of when the horse is older. Since the horse is bigger, the nibble becomes a bite, and getting in your path for attention or a treat becomes pushing you around and possible stepping on you which can lead to great injuries.

So it is very important to get rid of any of kind of habit that may seem cute at first but will frustrate you, hurt you, or allow the horse to become the leader of the two. 

Let's say Roger also has a problem of not stopping when asked, while leading. Actually when I was working with a real horse (Raleigh), that same horse used to walk over me which is the same behavior Roger shows. But I learned from Raleigh’s owner that whenever he starting walking in front of me when I had already asked him to stop, then I need to jerk the rope or halter back a couple of times. This is a punishment because in this case he’s challenging my leadership. So doing this goes for many horses and Roger is one of them. If any horse ever starts walking in front of you after the signal was already given to stop then jerking the rope back gives him a warning from you.

Other signs like this may usually mean the horse is been disrespectful, but it also may mean that something is bothering the horse. It’s always very important to understand and watch for signs that could mean many things that you could miss or misunderstand.

When lunging, Roger may sometimes cut part of the round pen across and won’t make a full circle like he’s supposed to. This is very simple to fix! Where ever he cut it’s best to put pressure where he cuts and release pressure where he doesn’t cut. Every time he cuts put pressure but if he doesn’t cut don’t put pressure, this will tell him that you want him to make the full circle. By putting pressure I mean start clicking, whipping the ground and come towards him so he would move and make the full circle again. You can also find out why he cuts across. In this case it’s because he cuts across the opposite side of the gate where he can exit the round pen and not have many more work to do. Which means he wants to skip the part where it’s farthest away from the exit and be nearer to the exit. In this case he’s been lazy. 

Here’s another problem I made up about Roger. He also won’t go very far away from his paddock when rode. He will only go to the arena where he does most of his ground work. Leading him away is fine, but riding him away is big problem. Where Roger is boarded there are many good trails to go trail riding but when he doesn’t go it isn’t fun for either the rider or Roger. The only time you can really enjoy a nice long trail ride is if he goes in a trailer and is driven some where else to go trail riding. But sometimes it’s easier and more fun to just ride around the hills meadows near home. Most people at this point would get upset with their horse when they have this problem. In fact a lot of people will blame the horse because they might think that the horse is dumb or disobedient. Almost always there’s a problem that the owner/rider ignores or doesn’t understand what’s happening because he or she is too busy being upset.

In this case Roger is a friendly young horse who enjoys and loves his neighboring horses, so that means he trusts them and his horse instinct is to stay near his herd where he thinks he’s safe. In fact Roger has always lived with many other horses and is almost always around them. 

Different Horse Training Tips, Starting Young Ending Perfect

If starting with a foal, the training isn't as hard as training and adult horse. And of course there isn't as much training either because they're much smaller and not ready yet. But it could start with just rubbing the foal all over.  This teaches the foal not to be afraid of you. After a few days of being with the foal and touching it, then halter training could also be mixed up with the first part. This is done by having the halter shown to the foal and letting him or her sniff at it. Then rub the halter all over his body to get him used to it. And finally, letting it loose or just placing it on his head. Taking it off and then on, etc, will help him know that this will be on his head and he knows not to be afraid of it. In the end when the foal is used to it and finally is okay having it completely on, let him wear the halter for a few days.  Taking it off and leaving it off and then putting it back on also helps. Then the leading training begins.  This is where the foal gets used to being led around and will very often be used to it its whole life. Not only lead training, but getting them used to everything around them. All of this will help and it's really good if children could be around without getting hurt. 

What scares them will no longer scare them if the training is done right. This kind of training is really easy and can be used for any age.  If a horse was scared of an object like a bucket or the whip, then having the horse still in a round pen and tossing the bucket around will make the horse jump, move away or if really frightened, buck. But keep moving it around until the horse stops and relaxes more. The horse will start to realize that after the bucket is being tossed around him and not hurting at all then why get scared of something that only makes noise and not harmful? As soon as the horse starts to relax, take away the pressure and the horse will also understand that if he doesn't react frightfully, then the bucket stops. This is used a lot because horses don't learn from the pressure, they learn when the pressure is taken away. I have heard this a lot from horse people, horse trainers, riding lesson teachers and of course, Clinton Anderson. Another thing horse people say is that horses are prey animals and don’t think like a dog or cat does, so they are not trained the same way.  In fact, training them that way is a big mistake! 

I gave two examples a bucket and a whip. The fear of the whip might be because the sound the whip makes frightens them. The whip isn’t actually used to whip the horse but the ground. The whip is your voice to communicate with the horse as is your body language as well. Even your own voice tells them things and your feelings. The whip is mainly used for ground work like lunging. The whip is to control the horse's speed and direction like the hand signals do. If the horse doesn’t react to the pointing or the clucking then the whip is used to whip the ground, which is to tell the horse that you mean it. Rarely the whip is used to whip a horse if the horse completely ignores you or bucks and tosses his head telling you that he’s challenging you or he saying for you to ‘get lost’. Then the whip is sometimes used or the horse or whipping the ground fiercely and getting into his space, which would tell the horse to back off and that you're in charge and you better listen up.

The whip in a horse’s mind could think that all whips are enemies which is not good. If a horse sees a whip then it could start in up in fright and could hurt itself or someone else. That’s why after a good lunge the whip is rubbed onto the horse’s face and all over his body lightly on his back, neck even between his legs to tell him that a whip is not to hurt him but only to teach him.

If a horse is really scared of the whip then trying to rub it on him will make him think you're going to whip him. But approaching calmly will tell him that you're not going to whip him. He still may be very scared and back away but don’t ever stop until he calms down, stands still and shows signs he’s relaxing and trusting you. Then holding onto the halter and whipping the ground near him is another thing that is useful. Same things happen, wait until he relaxes than take away the pressure. 

This is it for this blog post but I will be posting more about training, trusting and who’s in charge. 

Horse Gaits

A gait refers to different ways of movements and speeds a horse goes. Horse gaits are either naturally born or trained by humans. There are many different gaits.  Some horses are born with gliding steps or marching-like steps and others are trained for that.


Walk:
The walk has a four beat gait that is about 4 miles per hour. A horse’s legs: left hind leg, left front leg, right hind leg, right front leg in a 1-2-3-4 beats. 
(Gif from Wikipedia)

Trot:
The trot is a two-beat gait that can go different speeds. There is a ‘Jog trot’, ‘Collected trot’, 'Working trot’, ‘Medium trot’, 'Extended trot’, ‘Racing trot’, ‘Passage’ ‘Walking trot’ and ‘Piaffe’. And probably a few other kinds as well. A normal trot is about 8 miles per hour. A very slow trot is sometimes called a ‘jog’. This is a very balanced movement and does not need the head or neck to help balance while trotting.This gif below if a ‘walking trot’ but it is a little faster than a normal trot.
(Gif from Wikipedia) 

Canter:
The canter is a three-beat gait that is a bit faster than the average trot but slower than a gallop. The speed of a canter is about 10-17 mph depending on the length of the stride of the horse. The ‘lope’ is a western term for the canter. This is one of the fastest speeds I have ever ridden on a horse besides a little bit of a gallop. I rode Raleigh, the horse I used to ride, in a walk, trot, a pace, a canter, and a bit of a gallop. 
(Picture from Wikipedia)
Fact: A very interesting thing is that other than what people see in movies horses can only canter or gallop for a short time before they need rest and recover. So usually a horse rests before a another gallop in the next clip for a movie. Or sometimes, for example, if they have a pure white horse they could have a few other identical other horses if the first gets hurt or really tired out.  

Gallop:
(This is a gallop in slow motion)
(Gif from Wikipedia)
The gallop is very much like the canter but faster and longer strides, more ground covering, and the three-beat canter changes to a four-beat gait. The speed is about 25 to 30 miles per hour. Horses can keep at a gallop pretty long before they get winded and slow down. Other breeds like the thoroughbred can keep at a gallop longer than most breeds.
(Picture from wikipedia)
Pace:
The pace is a two-beat gait with two legs on the same side moving forward together while the other side moves opposite from the first side. In both the pace and trot, two feet are always off the ground. The trot is much more common but some horses prefer the pace (usually horses who do harness-racing). The pace when riding is more uncomfortable than most gaits because it’s harder to sit in. It's constantly being joggled around in the saddle which makes it hard stay in as if you're riding a camel or an animal that naturally goes at a pace. 
(Gif from Wikipedia)


There are other different kinds of gaits but these are more common than others that are usually used for different kinds of horse sports. 

Andalusian

Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse (or Pura Raza Española), is a horse breed from the Iberian Peninsula, where the breed Andalusian horses have lived for a very long time. Andalusians were used as war horses and were known for their bravery and nobleness. Kings across Europe rode and owned these Spanish horses.

(picture from wikipedia)
These Andalusian horses are strongly built but very elegant. Which makes them perfect for dressage, parades or elegant kinds of shows. Here is a video Andalusian horses doing different kinds of gaits and steps; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1jKRM4IiBM
(gif from wikipedia)
Andalusians’ coat colors mainly come in gray or white but they can be found in many other colors as well. These horses have long thick manes and tails that flow with each step. 
Andalusians breed is very similar to another breed called Lusitano of Portugal. Andalusian horses are used often to breed other breeds in Europe and America mainly. They even help to breed the Azteca horse which looks and sounds a lot like Andalusians them selfs. Andalusian horses are used for classical dressage, driving, bullfighting, and as stock horses ('stock horses' are horses that works with livestock, like cutting). Andalusians could do many compositions like show jumping, dressage and driving. Andalusians are also used a lot in movies mainly historical and fantasy movies.
The breed averages about 15.1 hands high (about 61 inches) and their weight is about 1,129 lb. Andalusians however do not have feathers and are a warmblooded breed.
Andalusians got their name from Andalusia in Spain. These horses have a beautiful body shape and I love their curved neck shape and their perfect gaits and steps! Although I’m sure I have never seen a Andalusian horse before I know in the future I might be able to see one of these elegant horses!

Black Forest Horse

(picture from Wikipedia)

Now here’s a new and rare breed! It kind of reminds me of the other blog I wrote about, Rocky Mountain horses. Black Forest horses have a very similar colors to the Rocky Mountain horses. Although theses Black forest horses (also known as Black Forest cold blood, Schwarzwälder Kaltblut) have a more draft look in their body. In fact, they are a small draft horse breed with a dark coat and what is called flaxen mane and tail. The breed came from southern Germany and were used to work in forests by pulling logs and carts to pulling carriages of people for transport through the thick woods and forests. They are very gentle, good-natured horses and today they are very good riding horses. Plowing and other farm work to parades and dressage compositions, they are always a beautiful and wonderful sight to see! Of course I have never seen one myself and probably never will, but I love to draw them as much as I love to draw other flowing beautiful breeds. 
They are a small to medium-sized breed to about 14.2 to 15.3 hands tall (58 inches to 63 inches from the hoof to their shoulder). Their back is long while the rest of their body such as their legs, neck and head are about average. Their body color is a dark chestnut to almost pure black color. Their mane and tail is a creamy white, white or a bit of a really light chestnut white color, but no other color unless they are a mixed breed. This breed does not have any markings on the main body but only on the face and bottom legs. Black Forest horses usually don’t have any feathers but sometimes you could find a little bit of rare fluff. 
(picture from wikipedia)

Fact: Schwarzwälder Kaltblut in german means Black Kaltblut horse which is also another name for Black forest horse. 

Rocky Mountain Horse

Rocky mountain horses are a really cool breed! I LOVE their colors! They have a beautiful body color which is very often called a chocolate coat. They have small bodies but beautiful colors! Most rocky mountain horses have a silver dappled colored coat along with the chocolate color. Also their mane and tail are almost always pure white or cream colored which is always lighter than their body colors. Sometimes the chocolate color and silver dappled would be mixed with a black look. In fact there are Rocky mountain horses that have pure black or black with silver dapples and sometimes a little trace of chocolate color. They also could have white markings on their face or legs.

(Picture from Wikipedia)
Rocky mountain horses originated in a place called the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky. They were used for different kinds of riding, driving, and and light draft horse work. Today they are used mainly for trail riding and cattle work. In competitions they could be used for dressage because of their light stepping that make them seem to glide. Sometimes they're used for different kinds of jumping but most are used for pleasure and trail riding. Rocky mountain horses are as tall as 14.2 to 16 hands high (which is 58 and 64 inches high, or about 4 to 5 feet high from the ground to their shoulder). These Rocky mountain horses are strong and born to survive through hard winters in rough mountains. They’re also born with a interesting kind of stepping called ambling that is faster than a walk but slower than a canter. 

There was a horse named Old Tobe who was a great descendant of Rocky mountain breed. Old Tobe was owned by a breeder named Sam Tuttle who lived through World War ll. Old Tobe was used as a breeding stallion and bred many Rocky mountain horses. Sam kept his herd after the war and kept breeding more of the breed. Before long the breed was well known and many rocky mountain horses were being bred and also bred with other mixed breeds. 

To show you a lively Rocky Mountain horse and to show the breed’s colors I found a video of a happy beautiful horse galloping; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y59wSDKgwmU


Fjord horse

The fjord or Norwegian fjord horse is really a pretty and one of my favorite breeds next to mustangs, rocky mountain horses and a few other breeds. (which I haven't talked about yet). One reason is for their looks, which is different from most horses. For example, their mane stands up like a zebra's mane and also (sometimes) has black and white stripes on their mane and tail or black mane with white mane hair on the outer side. Sometimes the outer lighter mane is cut into cubes for looks like this picture I drew here.

 They are small but strong horses that came from Western Norway. Their body is a form of a very light draft horse but strong one. Their color comes in a dun with different shades usually lighter mane and tails with streaks of black. If you don't know what a dun color is, it's a body color that comes in kind of tan or gold or other times darker like brown to almost black. Fjord horses always come in dun, 90% of fjord horses come in 'brown dun' (brown dun is called 'bay dun' in other breeds) the picture below is a fjord horse the color is brown dun.

The 10% left is usually 'red dun' or 'gray dun' (rarely gray dun). They even come in a cream color that also comes with blue eyes! They could even have a stripe down the middle of their back. The horse I used to ride, Raleigh, is a darker colored dun, black main and tail with a stripe down his back. Although he's definitely not a fjord horse, he has a lot of the same colors. Fjord horses could have this stripe and rarely a stripe across the withers. Fjord horses could have small brown spots on their head and body.

This picture of a fjord horse is a gray dun. This horse is really pretty!


Fjord horses are heavy enough to plow, pull timber or drive. They are even light enough for different kinds of riding. They are very sure footed in mountains and could climb rocky places very well. They are mainly used for driving and they're entered in different driving sports as well. And sometimes are dressage horses.


Thoroughbred

Thoroughbreds are known for their speed and racing abilities, although they could do other horse sports such as show jumping, dressage, polo, and fox hunting. The thoroughbred was first born in England and is called a hotblooded horse. Millions of thoroughbreds exist today and more than 118,000 thoroughbred foals are registered each year worldwide. They are known for either distance runners or sprinters.  

(Picture from wikipedia)
Thoroughbreds are known for their speed and wild spirit. They usually come in bay, dark bay or brown, chestnut, black or gray. It is rare to find them in as Pinto or Appaloosa and really rare in pure white. 
They are sometimes bred to make other breeds like Quarter horses, Standardbred, Anglo-Arabian, and other warmblooded breeds. Thoroughbreds also are sometimes bred from different kinds of warmblooded horses according to their abilities. 
Before I knew much about thoroughbreds, all I knew was that they were good for racing! Mainly they are used for racing but as I had said before they are also used for show jumping, dressage, polo, and fox hunting. But not only that but they could do all kinds of sports like different kinds of show hunters, steeplechasers and even western riding events like barrel racing. Although racing is their best ability they are very fast on their feet and thoroughbreds that do sports like show jumping or barrel racing usually are bred with quarter horses and other kinds of breeds that are really known for their kinds of sports.

As you can see they are not coldblooded like most draft horses. They are lighter but not as strong for pulling things like draft horses are. They have a short back, long neck, high withers, and a perfect head. They are spirited and light on their feet. I love how thoroughbreds are shaped. And love their usually bay color with dark mane and tail.
(Picture from wikipedia)
A interesting fact is that thoroughbreds are raced at a really young age of about 4 or even 3 when they are strong enough and just old enough to have a rider on their back. They are sometimes dangerously full of energy, which is good for racing. Since they’re usually pretty young they have light jockey riders during the racing. It helps to have a light rider because it not only is it better for a young horse but it’s better to have a lighter rider so they could go faster.  

There are even a few interesting famous race horses such as Man o’ War which is considered the most famous race horse. During his time (which was just after World War 1) he won 20 out of 21 races!  He was a chestnut stallion and was foaled (born) in 1917 and died when he was about 30. In fact the picture below of him is when he was the age of 3. The owner of Man o’ War is a man named Samuel D. Riddle. Man o’ War was really hard to beat in races and was only beaten once out of the 21 races he did!
(Picture from wikipedia)