Falling off is a part of riding. Although some falls can be pretty scary, sometimes they are just plain funny.
Whether you are trying to play down the seriousness of a fall (my boyfriend goes into panic mode if I tell him I fell off!) or you are just trying to be witty, try one of these lines next time you have an unplanned dismount from your horse:
- I performed an equine-assisted aerial maneuver
- I’m flying Air Equestrian
- My horse and I went our own way
- I dismounted with style
- I didn’t fall down. I just got off really fast
- I was playing lawn darts
- I just wanted to test the dirt in the arena
- I wanted to make sand angels
- I fought the lawn and the lawn won.
Let’s see your pictures of epic falls and tell us the story of what happened! Or let us know what phrases you use!
April 22, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
The Tottenham Equestrians Club (http://www.tottenhamequestrians.ca/) organizes and runs horse shows for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders who wish to compete in English Hunter & Jumper classes, and Western Performance & Speed Event classes.
The mandate of Tottenham Equestrians is to provide a horse show series with subsidized entry fees making the shows affordable for everyone. Classes are very affordable and are completely volunteer run to help keep costs low so help out when you can! Although you do not have to be a member to participate, members are eligible for awards which are handed out at the year end banquet.
Dates for this year: May 29th, June 26th, July 24th, Aug 28th and Sept 25th and all shows held at Orangeville Fairgrounds.
Rules and regulations can be found here: http://www.tottenhamequestrians.ca/images/pdfs/RulesandRegulationsManual.pdf and class lists can be found here: http://www.tottenhamequestrians.ca/index.php/forms-class-lists
If you would like your show or show series to be featured, please comment below or contact us through our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/horseontario/?fref=ts
April 19, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
Reposted by permission from usedsaddles.ca
Myth #1: One size fits all.
There are many factors that come into play when selecting the right saddle for you and your horse. You will often hear people say that they love a certain brand of saddle because they fit every horse. It is next to impossible to have one single saddle that fits every horse. Depending on the size of your horse’s withers, the width of their spinal column, the shape of their back, the length of their back, the amount of muscle definition in their back or lack thereof. That being said many saddle brands do offer different models of saddles within their brands to fit a variety of different horse shapes and sizes. Knowing which particular model within saddle brand that will work best for you and your horse is most important step when looking at specific saddle brands.
Myth #2: I’ll be able to buy a saddle that fits two different horses.
Finding a saddle that will work well for more than one horse is a difficult task. If you have two horses that are extremely similar in weight, back width, back length, and wither shape you may be able to find a saddle that will work perfectly for both horses. But a mere 25 pounds in the wrong spot, a 3 inch shorter back, or a slightly higher wither can mean a saddle fitting one horse and hurting another. Sometimes it is possible to have corrective saddle pads that will help to have a saddle that works perfectly for one horse and fit the other horse better.
Myth #3: A good saddle pad will solve my saddle fitting problems.
Using a good quality corrective saddle pad can help the saddle to fit better in some minor saddle fitting cases.There is much technology in the pad industry to help a saddle fit better and you should take advantage of that technology. Using a pad with shims to lift the front or back of the saddle on one or both sides can help to fix slight saddle fit issues. Padding-up to help eliminate sores from a poor fitting saddle is not a good choice. Using a corrective pad under an ill-fitting saddle will not alleviate pinching, slipping, or uneven pressure. It is important to remember if a saddle is too narrow, padding up to buffer the pressure will make the horse wider which will cause even more pressure.
Myth #4: All saddles that claim to be a medium tree have the same gullet width.
The truth is that the saddle industry uses terms loosely. One saddle companies medium tree can be another company’s medium wide or medium narrow. Since there is no universal sized medium tree it is best to know which brands tend to run wider or narrower than average.
Myth #5: You have to spend a lot of money or get a custom-made saddle to find one that fits properly.
Having a saddle that fits properly is not an impossible task that has to involve a brand new custom made saddle. Even if you have a hard to fit horse there are many saddle brands that have adjustable panels and trees that can be fitted to your horse. By purchasing a used saddle you can afford to buy a much higher quality saddle at a lower price and it is even possible to find saddles that have been custom ordered by someone else that can be adapted to fit your horse if needed.
Myth #6: A saddle with a changeable gullet system means it will fit every horse.
Saddles with changeable gullet systems do offer a wider variety in fit than a non adjustable saddle. However it is important to remember that the gullet width is only one factor in saddle fit. The changeable gullet does not change the width of the saddle channel or the width or shape of the tress itself which limits its ability to be used on all the different shapes and sizes of various horses.
Usedsaddles.ca is an online retail store based in Acton, Ontario specializing in saddle consignment and new high end tack and accessories. Their online store can be found at www.usedsaddles.ca
April 15, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
Impress your friends and rock Trivial Pursuit with this list of fun horse facts!
- One horse equals 14.9 horse power (Source)
- Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal (Source)
- Equestrian events (under saddle and chariot racing) were a part of the first Olympic games (Source
- Like fingerprints, each zebra’s stripe pattern is unique (Source)
- Horse teeth never stop growing (Source)
- Horses have 10 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees (Source)
- Horses have 8 common blood types (Source)
- When cantering, a horse takes a breath with every stride. (Source)
- Horses breath through their nose, not their mouth (Source)
- Horses use more energy when they lay down than when they stand up (Source)
- Horses cannot throw up (Source)
- When horses look like they’re “laughing”, they’re actually displaying a “flehmen” response (Source)
- A horse’s teeth take up a larger amount of space in their head than their brain (Source)
- The first cloned horse was a Haflinger mare in Italy in 2003 (Source)
- The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 70.76 kph (43.97 mph) (Source)
- Equinophobia is the fear of horses (Source)
- Horses do not have a gallbladder (Source)
- It is extremely unlikely to see all horses in a herd lying down simultaneously. This is because at least one horse will stand as a look-out in order to be able to alert the others of any potential dangers (Source)
- The longest lived horse on record was Old Billy who lived to be 62 (Source)
April 11, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
Music is all around us. We put on music when cleaning the house, having a party or driving the car so why not while we’re riding? Playing music while riding has a number of benefits such as providing a sort of “white noise” so that the horse isn’t distracted by every little creak and bump (or at this time of the year, snow sliding off of the roof of the indoor arena!) It is also great background noise for those who ride alone. If you do not have a radio close by, there are a number of devices you can use to take music wherever you go, be it on your phone or mp3 player, or through portable speakers.
For myself, having music make the time go by quicker when I’m putting conditioning miles on my horse. It also shakes things up a bit as I try to ride in time to the music. Although I’m a die-hard country fan, my ideal riding playlist includes a bit of rock and pop too, just because they have great beats to ride to.
My Riding Playlist
Luke Bryan – Country Girl (Shake It For Me)
U2 – Vertigo
Garth Brooks – Ain’t Goin Down (Til The Sun Comes Up)
Europe – The Final Countdown
Tim Hicks – Here Comes the Thunder
Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
Ariana Grande – Break Free
AC/DC – Thunderstruck
Jimmy Eat World – The Middle
Avicii – Wake Me Up
Kip Moore – Wild Ones
Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)
Macklemore – Can’t Hold Us
DJ Khalid – All I Do Is Win
Saliva – Click Click Boom
Missy Elliot – Lose Control
Eric Church – The Outsiders
Sam Hunt – House Party
Chase Rice – Ready Set Let’s Roll
Lady Gaga – Applause
Andy Grammer – Honey, I’m Good
What would you include on your riding playlist?
April 5, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
Like many riders, I have to balance time at the barn with work, family, friends, and everything else life throws at me. It’s not an easy feat to be able to be able to find time for it all. Aside from my full time job, I also write for a number of blogs and am training for a number of endurance rides with my horse this year, one of them being my first FEI ride. I’ve put together a few of the tips and tricks I use when trying to find that perfect balance. I hope you find them helpful and please feel free to comment and share any things you do to manage your busy schedule.
- Time Management. This is the big one. Time management is a great skill to have and will help you in any part of your life. Purchase a day planner (or use the calendar app on your phone) and write down everything you schedule. Start with the non-negotiable items that cannot be moved such as school exams, work deadlines, etc. Then add any big events you would like to attend such as horse shows, weddings, or vacations. Lastly, add the things that are flexible such as gym days or riding time. Learn to be flexible. Things are not going to always go according to plan so you may have to skip a task in favour of something else.
- Relaxing is important too! It sounds silly but I schedule my downtime too. You are not superhuman and need time to recharge after going full speed. It all comes back to that one word: balance. Take a nap, watch some tv, hang out with friends. It’s needed for your health and sanity!
- Use your horse as your motivation. Have a dreadful task at hand? In order to power through it, make your reward for completing it a trip to the barn, or going tack shopping!
- Get help. Help can come in many forms. Recruit a friend or find a part-boarder to help keep your horse in shape. Hire a babysitter a few nights here and there to give you some time off to yourself. If possible, share work responsibilities with a co-worker. Finding help that you trust is also important as you don’t want to be worrying about that as well. This also carries over to coaching and barn care. You don’t want to be worrying about a work project or an exam while stressing over whether or not the barn owner is taking care of your horse properly or if the person riding your horse is following your instructions.
- Know your limits and have fun! Saying no is ok. You cannot do everything, even less so when your mental or physical health is suffering because you are pushing yourself too hard. Remember, horses are supposed to be fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re doing it wrong! . From time to time you will have to look at your schedule and perhaps find something that you need to cut out in order for the balance to be there.
March 30, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
Photo credit to Barry Chadbolt
What horse doesn’t enjoy horse treats?! My horse Splash will eat pretty much anything; she does not discriminate. This makes her the perfect taste tester for different horse treat recipes because if she won’t eat it, nobody will! Here are a few of my tried and true (and very easy to make!) horse treat recipes.
After Ride Cookies
What You’ll Need:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup beer
2 cups molasses
1 pound oats
1/2 cup raisins
What To Do:
- Mix the flour, beer, and molasses thoroughly. Add oats to mixture slowly and mix well. Finally, mix in raisins.
- Pour this mixture into an oiled 12-by-15-inch pan, and place in a 250°F oven.
- When the mixture starts to firm up (about 25 minutes), remove the pan and cut the contents into bite-sized pieces. Then, return the pan to the over and bake until the treats are mostly dry and fairly firm (roughly 40 minutes).
- After removing the pan from the oven, let it cool before removing the treats.
- Place the treats on cooling racks overnight.
*Just a side note, these are also delicious for human consumption too!
No Bake Peppermint Thumbprints
What You’ll Need:
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup water
1 to 2 tbsp. molasses
What To Do:
- Mix the oats and water until the oats are damp.
- Add molasses by the tablespoon until the mixture is sticky.
- Roll into balls and press peppermint in the middle of each cookie.
- Put in refrigerator (uncovered) to harden.
CARROT AND APPLE HORSE COOKIES
What You’ll Need:
1 cup sweet feed
2 cups bran
1 cup flax seed
4 large carrots, shredded
1 cup molasses
½ cup brown sugar (one half cup)
1 cup applesauce
What to Do:
March 23, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
- Mix molasses, brown sugar, carrots and applesauce in one bowl. In another mix the dry ingredients.
- Slowly combine the molasses mixture with the dry ingredients. Add only enough molasses mixture to form a thick dough, add more bran if necessary.
- Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Using a tablespoon, drop batter onto cookie sheet and flatten slightly to form portions about the size of a silver dollar.
- Bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour. Flip and bake for an additional 45 minutes until they are dried out. Keep checking to make sure they don’t burn.
If you’ve ever wanted to go camping with your horse, there’s no better time than now! Many people are looking to get away from the stress of the show ring and just enjoy the trails with their horse. Just like choosing a campground to go to with your friends or family, you need to consider what campground offers what you are looking for. Do you just want to ride trails or do you want to partake in other activities besides riding? Are you camping under the stars in a tent or do you need space for a large trailer? Do the campsites have permanent stalls or corrals or do you have to provide your own containment for your horse?
In addition to answering these questions, here are a few more things to consider when deciding to go horse camping:
- Ensure your horse has the correct papers and vaccines. Some campsites may require all horses on site to have a current negative Coggins test. With unfamiliar horses around and more insects to contend with, consider discussing with your veterinarian what vaccines they recommend as well.
- Is whatever you are using to contain your horse overnight sufficient and safe? Is your horse used to being high tied/hobbled/respectful of electric fencing. These are good things to test at home before you travel somewhere unfamiliar.
- Have you packed enough hay and food for your horse (and yourself!). Some places will have hay/feed/bedding for purchase. Others will require you to bring your own. Also, depending on where you are going to camp, are you able to properly store feed (for both human and horse) to avoid any visits from forest animals.
- Is your horse adequately prepared to handle the physical demand of your outing. It is unfair to pull a horse out of pasture who hasn’t been in regular work and ask him to go for a 10 mile trail ride. If you’ve been a couch potato for weeks or months, you would probably find it difficult to go for a 10 mile hike too! Also do some research on the terrain you will be crossing. Consider putting shoes on your horse or getting a pair of horse boots.
- Prepare a first aid kit for both horse and human in the event of any injuries on trail.
- Don’t forget to review the rules of the campground. Be prepared to take home anything you bring (including manure) and always clean up your campsite before leaving.
Horse corral set up at Sandaraska Park
Here is a list of some horse campgrounds in Ontario. If you have any more to add, please let us know!
Sandaraska Park – http://www.sandaraskapark.ca/equestrian-camping
Horse Country Campground – http://www.horsecountrycampground.com/
Douglas Equestrian Campground – http://www.douglasequestriancampground.ca/
Quardream – http://www.quardream.com/
Saugeen Bluffs – http://www.svca.on.ca/ca.php?page=horsecamping
South Algonquin Trails – http://www.southalgonquintrails.com/
March 21, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
This past December, DMF Productions hosted an Ingrid Klimke clinic at the newly built indoor arena at the Caledon Equestrian Park. Klimke, a German eventing rider, is a very accomplished equestrian. She is a gold medal Olympian as well as the second woman ever to receive the title of “Reitmeister (Riding Master) from the German Equestrian Federation. Her list of accomplishments include:
- 1992, member of the elite team from which riders were chosen to represent Germany at the Olympics in Barcelona.
- 1998, winner of the World Championship for young 3-day event horses in Le Lion d’Angers, France.
- 1999, 2000 and 2001, German champion in 3-day eventing.
- 2000, member of the 4th place 3-day eventing team at the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. Had the current rules been in effect, her personal result would have earned her the silver medal in individual competition.
- 1998, 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2007, champion of German professional riders.
- 2002, competed in the World Cup Final in dressage at s’Hertogenbosch and achieved an outstanding 7th place finish.
- 2004, competed in her second Olympics in Athens, Greece as a member of the 4th placed 3-day eventing team.
- 2005, won the individual bronze medal in eventing at the European championships in Blenheim, GB.
- 2006, 2nd at the CCI**** Badminton, GB; the best result ever for a German rider.
- 2006, won the World Championship for six year old dressage horses.
- 2006, member of the gold medal winning 3-day eventing team at Aachen.
- 2007, the highest placed rider on the German 3 day eventing team finishing 10th in the individual standings at the European championships in Rome, Italy.
- 2008 As a member of the Eventing Team won Gold at the Hong Kong Olympic Games and came second in the Final of the Nuernberger Cup. She was presented the Silver Laurel Leaf award for the second time, by the State President, Horst Koehler.
- 2009 She was second place in the Final of the Medien Cup
- 2011 Won team Gold at the European Championships, 2012 In conjunction with the K+K Cup in Münster she was awarded the Title“ Riding Master“At the Olympic Games in London won Gold as a part of the Eventing Team. In November State President Joachim Gauck presented her with my third Silver Laurel Leaf award.
The clinic attracted approximately 200-250 auditors each day and attracted top riders, such as Canadian Olympic eventer, Selena O’Hanlon. In this video, you will get to hear from some of the riders as they discuss their experiences with the clinic and what their plans for the show season are. The January/February 2016 issue of On The Horse (https://issuu.com/onthehorsemag/docs/othjan2016) has a fantastic clinic recap that covers tips and exercises if you wish to try them at home.
We also get a chance to talk with DMF Productions Founder and CEO, Danny Forbes and hear who he would love to bring in for a clinic if time and money were no object. Stay tuned to the DMF Productions website for announcements and to purchase riding or auditing spots for upcoming clinics. http://dmfpro.com/.
March 18, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski
While our horses’ fitness is a high priority for most riders, not all of us take our own fitness so seriously. We’ve all heard “Riding isn’t a sport. You just sit there and the horse does all the work” but watch anyone try and walk around after riding if they have been out of the saddle for a long period of time. All riders should have a strong core, good balance and good general flexibility. Lack of fitness not only results in soreness and muscle strain at a time when you need to be performing at your best, but it can contribute to lower scores or even accidents when your body doesn’t respond precisely when you need it to, or starts to collapse with fatigue throwing off your horse’s balance.
After a number of accidents in the eventing discipline, the United States Eventing Association and the United States Equestrian Federation examined rider fitness and how it was connected to horse performance at their annual safety summit. One of the speakers, Hilary Clayton, BVMs, PhD, MRCVS, Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University, said “a horse performs better with a physically fit rider who controls his or her positioning. A tired, unfit rider’s lack of balance or unpredictable movement disrupts a horse’s rhythm and balance, and it requires the horse to use more energy.” http://www.thehorse.com/articles/21323/eventing-safety-the-question-of-rider-fitness.
Rider fitness can also affect the soundness of your horse. Most people are generally asymmetrical and although this can be corrected through training programs, when we are tired we naturally revert back to old habits. Reducing uneven pressure points on the horse’s back allows the horse to work more freely through his body and achieve a longer, more reaching stride.
A study performed in 2015 examined the effects of an 8-week unmounted rider core fitness program on rider symmetry (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/uwic/ujpa/2015/00000015/00000003/art00031). Although the researchers noted that further larger scale studies were needed, there was sufficient evidence to support the development of evidence-based, sport-specific equestrian rider fitness programs.
Equine Canada is in the process of creating an Equine Long Term Athlete Development Guide, whose goal is to develop a systemic approach to maximize participants’/athletes’ potential and involvement in equestrian sport. They currently have draft guides published for the sports of dressage, eventing, and hunter/jumper and are currently working on creating guides for most of the disciplines. http://canadiansportforlife.ca/resources/equestrian-ltad-equine-canada
There are many articles out there to give you ideas on different exercises that you can do to help improve your fitness. Remember to start slow and it would be wise to consult with a doctor or fitness expert to help create a program tailored to you and your needs.
To get you started, here are a few stretching exercises that you can do prior to hopping in the saddle: http://trailridermag.com/article/three-stretches-to-prevent-horseback-riding-injuries.
“Get fit to ride, not ride to get fit.”
March 14, 2016 | Ashley Tomaszewski