Horse people honor and celebrate just about everything, but with a wonderful horseman’s twist!
Horsemen and women are passionate about anything horse. Websites, facebook pages, and blogs dedicated to horse lovers are filled with pictures and quotes that embrace the finest qualities we each strive for.
Strength and courage, passion, love, hard work and endurance spread across the pages. But the simple everyday riches of life are also embraced like smiles, spring, horse shedding season, and even the fact that it’s a Friday! Quickly I find myself being drawn in, and loving it!
I was so fortunate to be raised in a family where horses were a big part of our activities. My father, raised on a ranch in Eastern Montana, felt horsemanship was a fundamental part of life. Trail riding, cattle herding, and rodeos were all part of our fare.
The short summer seasons were filled with exploring on horseback, heading out with a packed lunch, and swimming gear incase we chanced upon a stream or pond. During the long winter season, the horses were kept at a highland ranch, where moving cattle between pastures was an ongoing affair. With 10 children, local ranchers loved to have us show up at branding time. All those extra hands helped the work go smoothly and quickly. Then the arrival of springtime had my brothers trying their hands at bronco busting in local rodeos. All these wonderful parts of a young, blossoming horse person set the stage for my life as a passionate horse lover.
Owning a Horse… the ultimate passion
Horses are still used for ranching and other types of work, but the joy of riding and keeping them as companions is what stirs the hearts of even more people today. Each horse breed has its unique abilities and charm, and there’s a horse for every type of person.
Getting the right horse depends on what you imagine doing with it. There are many types of horses, each with their individual breed characteristics. They come in a variety of colors and vary greatly in height and size, as well as temperament. Be patient and take the time to determine what you want, because owning a horse is not only a fabulous experience, but a big responsibility.
Horses are commonly divided into three groups; Light Horses, Draft or Heavy Horses, and Ponies.
Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Maria Wahlberg of Sweden
- Light Horse Breeds – The majority of the riding horses are found in the light breeds. All Light Horses originally descended from the Arabian type. They have great strength and stamina, and depending on the breed, can be used in a variety of show disciplines, with some specialized as racing breeds.
- Heavy Horse Breeds – The heavier types, commonly known as Draft Horses were developed from the bulkier equines found in the northern hemisphere. They generally have a quiet calm temperament, but they are big and strong.
- Pony Breeds – Ponies on the other hand, are small. The Pony Breeds are durable horses that evolved smaller in stature, but strong and hardy, because they came from areas where there was often inferior nutrition and harsh environments. They are very durable and usually require less care than the other two groups, but they are also more independent.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy ken taylor
Horse paraphenalia… extending the passion
Whether you own a horse or not, once you become a horse lover you’ll find yourself drawn to anything that has to do with horses. I find myself perking up with interest when watching movies or television, whenever a horse comes onto the scene. The super bowl halftime is a favorite, just to see those beautiful Clydesdales in the Budweiser commercials. A recent episode of the fantasy drama “Da Vinci’s Demons” even includes an Andalusian, the beautiful Pure Spanish Horse.
The Internet is great for finding all sorts of tack, equipment, and riding gear. But it is also a great place to find all sorts of cool horse related accessories, knickknacks, and collectables.
I collect Painted Ponies from the popular “Trail of Painted Ponies” project. Rod Barkser, a writer who makes his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, started the project. He was actually prompted to begin the Trail of Painted Ponies project because of a public art exhibition entitled “Cow Parade” that he came across while passing through Chicago during a research trip. He was charmed by these artistically transformed cows, and took it to a new level. He was inspired by the ponies of Santa Fe, and today many artists submit designs for competition, and the results are wonderful pieces of collectable art!
There are too many different types of collectibles to even begin to outline them here. But if you are a horse lover and collector of horse related art, accessories, and collectables, you can check out the horse section of a website called The Collectionary.
The Horses Collectionary is a growing library of horse collectibles and nostalgic items that are fun to peruse, and you can join and share your collections as well.
Happy horse loving, enjoy your passion!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Congratulations on your new horse! Your new companion is a strong animal that will give you many years of joy in your life. Horses are expressive animals that adapt well and are quite sensitive to the emotional state of others. You’ll want to give him the best that you can.
Horses need comfortable bedding in their stalls. The type of bedding you choose depends on your budget. Straw is nice but it can get moldy. Store it where you store your hay to avoid any problems.
Another choice is wood shavings or shredded newspaper. Both are easy to muck out each day. If you or your horse has allergies to the wood, try peat moss or the newspaper.
Horses will need blankets at different times and for different uses at some point. In the winter months, a blanket can provide warmth in the stables, pasture, and when riding them. Here are a few choices:
1. Horse sheets – These are a lighter type of horse blanket that can be used more often than a heavier one. It is made of nylon and circulates air to prevent sweating and irritation in your horse. Use them in areas where pests like mosquitoes are prevalent in the summer. Heated barns make heavy blankets unnecessary in the winter but horse sheets would be ideal. Make sure they are secure so your horse can move without them slipping off.
2. Stable blankets – In winter months, your horse may need extra warmth. In barns that are not heated or areas where temperatures fall very low, a stable blanket can keep your horse comfortable. There are blankets that just cover the body and others that include a piece to cover the head as well.
3. Turnout blankets – These are used when riding your horse. These are thicker than the cotton blanket used for stables and they are waterproof. If you keep your horse in the pasture during the winter, these blankets will keep him dry and protected no matter what his movements.
Horse boots or wraps are used for a variety of reasons. Those who show jump or ride horses for polo can use different boots to protect their horse’s legs from injury. Other boots are used to protect a horse after an injury to help improve their gait and strengthen their joints. Here are a few that you may see:
- Shin boots
- Knee boots
- Polo boots
- Coronet boots
- Brushing boots
- Heel boots
- Poultice boots
This often includes everything you will need to groom your horse to perfection. Invest in a good one that you can use for a long time. Your kit needs but is not limited to:
- Mane and tail comb
- Body brush
- Hoof picks
- Petroleum jelly
- Hoof dressing
- Sun block
- Fly spray
Bridles are very important in allowing you to direct your horse! It used to be that bridles all came with bits that fit into the mouth, a sensitive area for horses. Nowadays you can buy bit-less bridles that don’t have to rub this sensitive area to guide your horse.
There are a host of other horse accessories that you can buy for your horse. These are just a few of the more common ones to have on hand.