Sunday, November 20, 2011

Horses and Mechanics

     Horses & mechanics?  Yes, they do mix.  Many amateurs don't consider how their choice of equipment works and what it is designed to do.  This is particulary true of bits. Remember that bits are divided into two categories:  snaffles and curbs.  A good way of thinking about it is: direct leverage vs indirect leverage.
     One must consider how and why each bit is made and how it's designed to work.  Each design has its own purpose and some designs, of course, are better than others.  Also remember that a horse's mouth changes as he or she becomes accustomed to carrying a snaffle or a curb, and they become educated and understand the bit (i.e. "giving to the bridle"). Importantly, their mouths also change as their teeth continue to grow.  Be sure to include good dental care for your horse in your routine - this will insure they can carry the bit without discomfort.  Other factors that have to be taken into account when considering bits are:  thickness of tongue, depth of palate and thickness of lips.  A rule of thumb is that horses with thinner lips tend to be softer mouthed.. but back to mechanics....
     No one piece of tack does everything.  An owner must consider what he or she is trying to accomplish, what needs "fixing", or perhaps just fine tuning.  Choose the bit and equipment that was designed for the work you are asking your horse to do and the stage of training it's at. Other things to consider is that some pieces of tack work well together and others do not.  Horses certainly do have preferences and will show you, if you "listen".  Remember to move on as your horse progresses but that it's also ok to temporarily go backwards if need be.  I personally like to change my horses up occasionally as it keeps them fresh - for instance: I don't over-school them in their show bit.   
        One last word: read everything you can find about bits.  Books and catalogues (which have lots of info) and articles in magazines - you will be a better horseman for it.  If you have any questions about bits or equipment or any subject I've written about, please feel free to email me!  Talk to you next week.  JD

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Next Generation

     I firmly believe in passing on knowledge to the next generation.  In the past I have taught some fine young people who have long since grown up.  Now I watch them become wonderful parents.  They are passing on the lessons of responsibility, hard work, respect, discipline and love of animals.  All the while, instilling confidence in their children.  In short, skills than will help them throughout their lives. It is now my priviledge to work with this new generation.  Teaching them these lessons through horsemanship.
     Horsemanshp is one of the oldest skills and traditions in the world.  It encompasses so much more than just riding.  The "art" of horsemanship has been developed over many centuries and continues to evolve today.  I love this tradition and the dedication it takes to truly understand and respect the work, knowledge and thought that has gone into making horsemanship what it is now.  We who are horsemen need always to be cognizant of who and what has preceded us.  We must now pass this knowledge onward.
     It is my fervent desire to teach this wonderful thing called horsemanship!   See you next week.  JD    

Sunday, November 6, 2011


     I love horses, I always have and always will.  I believe the best relationship you can have with a horse is a partnership.  A partnership is formed from the teamwork it takes to get the job done and do it well.  Remember, horses are working animals, not pasture decorations.  I know in my heart that horses take pride in doing a job well, whatever that job may be so I encourage you to take that time to find what your horse is suitable for and enjoys doing. 
     Do not expect more of you horse than your horse is capable of doing.  Be fair in judging your horse's abilities, it will make a better relationship for both of you.  A happy horse is a horse that is capable and enjoys his job. 
     Talk to you next week.  JD