Meet the hoof

The hoof is one of the most important parts of the horse, without a good hoof, we have no horse "no hoof, no horse". So it is important to understand what comprises the hoof, as well as some potential issues you may face with your horse's hooves. A hoof (/ˈhuːf/ or /ˈhʊf/), plural hooves (/ˈhuːvz/ or /ˈhʊvz/) or hoofs /ˈhʊfs/, is the tip of a toe of an ungulate mammal, strengthened by a thick, horny, keratin covering. A horse hoof is a structure surrounding the distal phalanx of the 3rd digit (digit III of the basic pentadactyl limb of vertebrates,...

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What is English Pleasure?

English Pleasure

English pleasure can trace its roots to the bygone era when horses represented the primary mode of transportation to and from town. Society members prided themselves with showing off their elegant and finely-trained saddle mounts as they rode through the parks and into town, dressed in their finest hacking attire. These horses exemplified smooth-gaited movement, impeccable manners and superior tractability, making them a true pleasure to ride. In today’s show ring, English pleasure is divided into three distinct categories: hunter seat, saddle seat, and driving. English pleasure horses can be of any breed, but all horses must exhibit impeccable manners,...

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What is Vaulting?

America Vaulting Association

Vaulting enjoys an ancient heritage and can probably be described as one of the oldest known forms of equestrian sport. Often described as gymnastics performed on horseback, vaulting’s origins can be traced back to Roman games which included acrobatic displays performed on cantering horses. Tracing history through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, many references to vaulting are made, and it was during this time that the practice of “La Voltige” (drill riding and agility exercises performed on horseback by knights and noblemen) gave the sport its present name. Modern vaulting was developed in postwar Germany as a means to...

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Getting the most out of your lessons

Riding Lessons

If you are anything like me, I work hard for my lessons, and want to get as much out of them as possible. Here are just a few tricks to help you get the most out of your time with your trainer: Come to the lesson prepared. Bring any equipment you might need to the arena (lunging equipment, riding whip, spurs, cooler, side reins, etc.), be on the horse and ready to start your lesson on time. Be honest with your trainer. This includes goals, fears, apprehensions, strengths, weaknesses, limitations, previous injuries, etc. This helps your trainer build a constructive...

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What is Dressage?

United States Dressage Federation

In today’s world, competitive dressage is recognized as one of the three equestrian Olympic disciplines, and as well, is a method for showcasing all levels of training in a competitive format. Currently, there are nine progressive levels of competition, open to any breed of horse and available for all levels of riders, in which the horse and rider perform compulsory exercises. Special classes such as musical freestyle offer creativity and individual expression for the exhibitors and have become spectator favorites. The United States Dressage Federation is the only national membership organization dedicated to dressage, a method of horse training in...

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What is impulsion?

We hear the term "impulsion" in the horse world a lot, but what does it ACTUALLY mean? The USDF rule book defines it as "...Thrust. Releasing of the energy stored by engagement. The energy is transmitted through a back that is free from negative tension and is manifested in the horse's elastic, whole-body movement. The classical dressage trainer Nuno Oliveira described impulsion as, "...a mental and physical state of the horse to obey the rider's demands as fast as possible, to move forward, and to maintain his forward impulsion without support from the aids..." and "Impulsion means to maintain the...

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What is Western Dressage?

Western Dressage

Western Dressage integrates the historically validated principles of dressage with the best of western stock horse tradition. It is a systematic and progressive system of training for the western horse and rider in traditional stock tack with the purpose of enjoying a safe, pleasurable, versatile, and useful working horse. The hallmarks of the Western Dressage Horse are usefulness, rideability, willingness, safety, pure gaits, lightness, calmness, and steadiness. A Western Dressage Rider should be attentive and tactful. They should use clear, effective, subtle aids coupled with a confident seat and light, responsive hands in communication with their horse. A Western Dressage...

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Cold Weather, Hydration, & Your Horse’s Health

Most of the year it is pretty easy to keep your horse drinking to stay healthy & hydrated, just provide clean water. But getting a horse to drink the approximate 10 gallons of water they need per day, during cold weather, can be quite a challenge at times. Not only is clean water important in winter, now you have to factor in freezing water, and even the lack of interest in water sometimes due to the horse being cold. Most owners feed more forage during winter, to keep their horse warm (digestion aids in keeping a horse warm). Due to...

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Confident Horse Buying

Shopping for a horse can be very exciting, and very nerve racking at the same time. There are many things to consider before making the commitment to purchase your new equine partner. Here are some tips to make you feel more confident about your purchase decision. If you have any suggestions, be sure to comment below! Don't be color-blind. Yes, it is OK to have a favorite color horse. No, it is not OK to make the horse's color one of your top criteria (unless you have some major funds when shopping and can afford to turn down the perfect...

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What is the United States Dressage Federation?

If you are a dressage rider in the United States, you are probably familiar with the USDF (United States Dressage Federation). But if you aren't a dressage rider or are new to the sport, you might not be as familiar. The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) is the only national membership organization dedicated to classical dressage, a method of horse training in existence since ancient Greece and an Olympic sport since the inception of the modern Olympics in the late 1800’s. Dedicated to education, the recognition of achievement and promotion of dressage, USDF is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization with more than...

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