The Teeth of a Horse

When a bit goes into a horse’s mouth it’s not between their teeth. There is a space in between the teeth where it’s just the gum. And in between there is where you put the bit to control the horse easier, rather than just the bridle and without the bit.

You can even tell what the age of a horse is by its teeth. 
(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Lena and Peppy would represent the 10 year old teeth in the image above.

For more information on how a bit fits in a horse's mouth, click here:

The basics of riding

When I first learned to ride, I brushed the horse before I put the saddle and blanket on. I would brush, starting at the head of the horse and then down toward the tail. I brushed the mane and tail. Then I cleaned the horse’s hooves out with a hoof pick.  I put the blanket on, making sure it didn't have more blanket on one side than the other. When I picked the saddle up it was heavy. I made sure all the straps were nice and tight, but not too tight. I then checked the girth (The girth is a strap that goes under the horse and it keeps the saddle in place) and made sure it was tight.

(Picture by Noelle Harris)


Next, I led the horse into the arena and lunged him before getting on. (Lunging is when a horse walks, trots, lopes or gallops around you in a circle). Then I put the bridle on and started riding!

Here are some basics when riding:

To stop: pull on the reins

To go: nudge with your foot onto the horse’s sides 

To turn: lift your rein to the right if you want to go to the right and push your left foot into the horse’s sides. Do the opposite if you want to go left.

To back up: pull on the reins and push both of your heels on the side of the horse. 

To slow down: pull on the reins but stop pulling when the horse has gone the speed you want him to go.

To trot:  when walking, give a nudge with your feet until he trots. (Trotting is very bouncy! So be ready!)


Riding Raleigh

On Saturday I got to ride Raleigh for the first time! I found out that he doesn’t stop very well when you want him to, and he likes to trot when you didn’t ask him. Also, he doesn’t like to be far away from his paddock.

(Picture took by Noelle Harris)

I have gotten used to every one of his problems and really don’t mind them that much. After riding him for awhile the ‘trotting problem’ wasn’t that bad. In fact it might have been my fault sometimes. Trigger (the horse I was learning how to ride on), was more difficult to get going than Raleigh was. With the slightest nudge or touch with your foot on his sides, Raleigh will walk right away. But I have to give a little harder nudge on Trigger. I can stop Raleigh, but most of the time he doesn’t stop. He stops better when I am not facing the direction of his paddock or the right path to it. Sometimes I have to put him a circle to get him to stop. "Putting him in a circle" means making him walk in a circle.

The trotting problem isn’t too bad. If we’re near the fence of the arena I can pull his head to the fence to make him stop trotting. Or I can put him in a circle if he doesn’t listen when I pull on the reins. 

But other than those problems, he’s the best horse to ride! I don’t mind that much when he fights me. He's not actually ‘fighting’ me; he's doing nothing to hurt me. Sometimes he'll stop if we stray too far from his paddock. Or he will zig zag on the path sometimes. But I just turn him in a circle until he obeys. Once he goes, I like to talk to him the whole way. And I really think he’s a super nice horse! Trigger may be really good at having people ride him but I prefer Raleigh. I like to wrestle with my brothers sometimes so it’s almost fun "fighting" with Raleigh when he doesn’t want to go somewhere.

And I got to ride him a lot on Sunday, as well! Most of the time I rode him out of the arena next to the EQ center where there’s a flat open place that my family calls ‘Parade grounds’.  This whole time I ride without Mrs. Elliot with me. I would even stop by Cole’s paddock to say hi. And stop by Trek’s paddock where Raleigh likes to say hi. Trek is Raleigh’s best friend! And Cole is my best friend but as a horse! If you didn’t read my other posts, Cole is a small fuzzy black mustang I love! He seems young and always joyful! He always greets everyone who goes by. And he gallops and bucks to show his pride and joy! In fact I see and hear other people watch and talk about Cole. But I like to talk to him then rather about him. 

So that is what I have learned from Raleigh and a little talk about one of my favorite horses! I love the different personalities of each horse. 

Trek is shy but always has a warm welcome for Raleigh. 

A kind funny horse who is loving and likes to play with me. And even has a favorite jacket and he likes to nubble the wooden buttons on it (Also my favorite jacket).

A bright, smart horse.

A kind-hearted girl who seems to be afraid of nothing.

Lively and joyful and shows his joy to everyone! 

American Quarter horse colors

So far I mostly have been riding Quarter horses. Trigger is a also a Quarter horse! Quarter horses are mostly used for barrel racing or cutting. There the more western kind of horse, there also one of the most popular horse breed in the United States today. But I am going to show you there different colors.  

(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Peppy is a chestnut, Lena a gray, and Raleigh is a dun. They are all Quarter horses! You can find them on the color chart!

How to clean a horse's hoof

When you clean a hoof you have to make sure you use the tool and scrape down, not up towards the frog of the hoof. The horse can get very hurt by that. 

(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Sometimes it’s very hard to clean a horse’s hoof. It depends on the ground or what the horse steps on. Like: If it rained earlier and the horse has been stepping in mud. Well the bud will dry and it will get crusty and very hard to clean. Or many other ways. Sometimes all the dirt comes out at the same time. Like one big piece and then your done with that hoof. 

I don’t really like cleaning horse’s hoofs very much. It’s hard sometimes and hurts your back when bending down, but at least it’s not for long and the job would be done fast. 

I start with the left hoof, clean it, then go down the left hind hoof. Then I go all the way to the right front hoof and then back to the last right hind hoof. And the hind hoofs are much harder to do! It’s hard for me to hold the hoof so I could clean it. And hurts my back more then the front hoofs!
(Picture took by Renee Harris)

Hoof Abscess

I found out from Mrs. Fenwick that Lena has an abscess in her hoof. I learned how to treat an abscess from 

Abscess made Lena very lame and she couldn’t walk very well. I saw that Mrs Fenwick put tape around her hoof. From what I heard Lena had abscess after she had her shoes taken off. Then she must have got it from the dirt and it infected her hoof. 
What ou need is a flexible shallow bucket or tub. Animalintex pads and Iodine.
When bandaging you will need sheet cotton or a diaper, elastic bandage and duct tape. 

With the tub or bucket add warm water, than put salt in until no more of the salt will dissolve. The hoof goes in the water until the point of the coronary band and it will need to soak for 10 minutes. It helps the infection go away.
(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Then soak the Animalintex pad in hot water, than place the pad on the sole of the hoof. 
If you don’t have Animalintex pads, you can make a poultice with Epsom salts and iodine. Than pack the paste into the hoof so it covers the sole of the hoof. 
(Picture by Noelle Harris)
Wrap the hoof with the sheet cotton or diaper. Then secure the Sheet cotton/diaper by tightly wrapping it with the elastic bandage. Cover the entire bandage with the dict tape. If the horse tries to get the bandage off you might want to use a hoof boot.
After it is better you can keep the hoof bandaged up to keep it from the dirt for a few days or so. 

My second lesson

On my second riding lesson I got to trot! It did look easy if you see other people do it, but it’s much harder than I thought. At every step you feel like you are going to fall out of the saddle, unless you hop up and down to the rhythm of the trot. The rider goes up and down. You push yourself up by standing in the saddle and go back sitting down. Up and down at the rhythm of the trot. For me it’s very difficult! 

(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Steering is also difficult when you're trotting. But my teacher said that it would be easier when I get used to it. It would be like riding a bike! So I can’t wait until my last lesson and that’s when I would be able to trot easily and I know it will be fun! 

I have also learned how to turn more easily, as well as to go straight. I have being "working on the rail”. By that I mean I'm keeping the horse by the side of the arena.  I have also being working on turning more sharply. I had done a full turn around a couple of times. 

But when I trot it’s hard for me to do everything at the same time. In fact I could only do short trots because I keep forgetting to make sure my hand is down to “give him head”, or else I stop him. My teacher said I could hold on the horn if I wanted to, and that really makes me feel better. I have to make sure my hand is down just enough so I wouldn’t pull on the reins, and do up and down in the saddle (which really makes the whole ride much more comfortably in the saddle). Also I have make sure my heels are down and toes up, and I need to steer with my legs and hands.

Before I got on the horse, I made a mistake when I led Trigger into the arena. I went between my mother’s car (she parked it there when we started) and I half went over a log when I went into the arena.  Instead, I should have led him around the car where there was more space. The horse could have tripped over the log and ether bucked at the car (that might damage both the car and the horse). Or the horse could have bucked and might have hit me! Or he could have just tripped and madly hurt himself. 

And also the last thing I also learned today is what makes the horse more upset. There are many ways, but this is one way: the weather. People also have changing moods in the weather. It’s either you hate the kind of weather or the weather changes you. Like sometimes when it’s hot, it makes you mad or it could make you happy.  Summer always makes me happy. I love it when it’s hot because of what it reminds me of: swimming, lazy days, clear skies and being outside with friends. I like the sound of lawn mowing because it reminds me of summer.

Horses have the same feelings as well. The hot sun makes them feel: lazy, annoyed, or tired. Not all the time are they are like this but they are mostly lazy in summer and sometimes it makes them annoyed because of the heat. They can be annoyed especially when it’s hot because they have thick coats. Their coats come handy in many things but they can get hot in them very easily and it will make them unhappy about it.

In colder days they might run around more. They will show their happiness by running, bucking and making warm greetings to the horses around. By this the other horse might follow and also run and buck with happiness. They would do more of this in colder days because they have nice thick coats to keep them perfectly warm. The reason other horse might follow another horse’s acts will be because they are herd animals. If one horse runs in a herd the whole herd will run. That will be usually the leader who controls the others.  

I would have never known this until I saw Cole (my dream horse) show me. On a fall day when it was cold but not too cold or too hot I went over to Cole’s paddock. He came friskily to the fence. Then after greeting him I was about to leave when he start galloping around in his paddock. And then he would start bucking. I thought I must have scared him, but when I went up to the fence he came to me happily. So I watched him as he showed off by galloping, jumping and bucking. He did scare a horse next to his paddock who seemed grumpy, but there were two horses who started to follow Cole’s acts. And they did seem very happy.  

How to hold the lead rope

You have to be carful on how you hold the lead rope. If the rope is around your hand it could be dangerous. If the horse pulls on the lead the rope will be tightened and will squeeze around your hand very hard.

You have to hold both loops on the rope. And always walk on the left side of the horse. And to make sure to stay just enough away so that the horse does not step on you. 
(Picture by Noelle Harris)
And also not to walk in front of the horse or too far behind. And don’t let the horse do the same. You two should walk side by side shoulder to shoulder. 

Riding lessons

I got riding lessons a few days ago and it was really fun! I rode on a horse named Trigger, the name was from a famous cow boy’s horse.  I even got new cow girl boots too! 

Anyway the riding wasn’t that hard. But I think putting on the saddle and stuff was hard for me to remember! But learning how to ride wasn’t that hard at all! I thought it was going to be very hard for me to get into the saddle, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I just put my left foot in the stirrup and swing my right foot over and onto the horse. You have to swing your right high over. It’s hard to remember that and do it, but my teacher told me to think of it as the saddle was on fire and you had to pull your leg high over the fire. 

Before I started riding, my teacher took me out to the arena and showed me how to “Lunge." Lunging is to warm up the horse and make it a bit tired before I got into the saddle so he wouldn’t be too wild. Lunging is when a horse circles around you. (I saw Mrs. Fenwick do this often with Peppy or Lena). You have different commands for the horse to understand how fast you want him to go. And I knew from Mrs. Fenwick that you always have to stay at the shoulder of the horse. 

Making a clicking sound tells the horse to trot around you. If you say “woah!” It tells the horse to stop. And if you make a kissing with your lips the horse will ‘lope’. Loping is a little faster than trotting. It goes from ‘Walk’ ‘Trot’ ‘Lope’ and ‘Gallop’. So when that was finished I got to ride!

Then when I was on the horse, it was high but not as scary as I thought it would be. 

First I rode with the lead that my teacher held while telling me how to ride. I first learned how to go and stop. I kick my boots into Trigger’s sides to make him go. And the more I do it the faster he goes. To stop, I pull on the reins until he stopped. By now I had no lead so my teacher told me to ride five steps and then make him stop. I did but sometimes I wasn’t very good at it. 
Then she made me ride backwards by pulling on the reins and pressing my boots onto his sides hard until he walked backwards. She had me ride five steps and then stop. 

(Picture took by Renee Harris)

A picture of me, my teacher and Trigger. (about to start the lunging)