MOST WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS GIFT
I received the most wonderful Christmas
present from my talented husband Richard Klimesh. Two years ago on Valentine's
Day, he surprised me with a hand-forged horse sculpture which he named "wild
Sparky". I loved that little iron horse so much that Richard developed variations
of the original sculpture: Spunky Sparky, southwest Sparky, Grand Prix Sparky,
Lonesome Sparky, and Trojan Sparky. (Since friends have fallen in love with Sparky,
I encouraged Richard to offer reproductions of Sparky on his web pages.)
this Christmas I was hoping to receive another Sparky for my precious collection
and sure-enough, in the last package I opened, there was a Sparky so special that
I have to show her to you. (The other Sparkys have all been "boys" to
me, but this one is definitely a filly.) My new Sparky embodies the magic that
horses hold for many of us - she is a Unicorn Sparky.
1 IS YOUR HORSE'S BIRTHDAY
January 1 is a special date for horse
owners because it is the universal birthday of most of our horses. It doesn't
matter if your horse was born in January or December or anywhere in between, when
January 1st rolls around, your horse becomes one year older.
example, Sherlock was born May, 2000 and becomes a yearling on January 1, 2001,
even though he will only be 7 months old. Similarly, on January 1, 2001, Zinger
(AQHA Miss Debbie Hill) born March, 1975 becomes 26 and Aria born September, 1993
custom makes record-keeping easier for breed associations and makes the operation
of equine competitions run more smoothly. However, you can see where two foals,
one born in February and one born in October would look quite different in a Yearling
Halter class! The size disparity evens out by the time a horse is five or so.
BETWEEN HORSES AND HUMANS
is sometimes interesting to think of our horses in terms of their age in human
terms. It helps us understand their needs and behavior and it is fun to say how
old they are in relation to our age.
really isn't any standard scientific formula of horse to human years so I am going
to just give you an approximation.
is the way I view of human - horse equivalency. Read more about this in detail
How to Think Like
"Approximate Human Equivalents
to Young Horses:
Birth: physically 2 years; emotionally newborn.
4 months: physically 4 years;
emotionally 2 years.
6 months: physically 5 years; emotionally 3 years.
1 year: physically 8 years; emotionally 5 years.
2 years: physically 15 years;
emotionally 8 years.
"The foal is born with needs equivalent to a
human infant's: it is preoccupied with hunger, thirst, sleep, and comfort.
However, within hours of birth, the foal has the physical ability and mechanical
skills of a two-year-old human. Twenty-four hours after birth the foal is
able to run, using legs that are 90% of the length of an adult horse's.
Coupled with keen instincts, this physical advantage has helped the young horse
survive over the millennia. Sometimes this physical strength and vigor is
expressed too exuberantly and foals over-stress themselves, especially when they
are turned out following extended confinement. In spite of their apparent
vigor, foals are fragile, both mentally and physically, and need close contact
and security from their dam.
"The suckling foal is characteristically inquisitive yet timid; fractious
yet vulnerable; feisty yet fearful. Although it is advantageous to handle
the youngster before he gets unwieldy, it is best to make the sessions short,
firm, fair, and to the point.
weaning time at 4 to 6 months of age, the horse has reached the human physical
equivalent of about a four to five-year-old child and the emotional equivalent
of a two to three-year-old. With a short attention span and unpredictable
outbursts, weanlings are best left to be horses, keeping necessary lessons safe
"The weanling can experience deep emotional and physical trauma and is very
impressionable. Care must be taken to preserve his interest in eating and
other routines so that he does not become unnecessarily depressed. The young
horse separated from his mother is uncertain about his safety. In addition,
he is being asked to form his own behavior patterns for the first time.
yearling spends much of his time experimenting with his skills and finding his
place in equine and human society. The equivalent emotionally of a five-year-old
human and physically of an eight-year-old, the yearling horse is testy, and can
be rambunctious or moody. Fillies and colts are beginning to experience
the effects of the hormones of puberty and sexually oriented games are incorporated
"It is imperative that the lessons started as a foal be thoroughly reviewed
with the yearling. Although sessions are still short, they can be more frequent
and cover a wider variety of handling. The yearling is receptive and capable
of learning all of the ground rules.
"With the two-year-old year comes serious sex drive and its subsequent effect
on attention during training. Although only a physical equivalent of a 14-15
year-old human and a mental equivalent of an eight-year-old, the two- year-old
horse is too often treated as a mature horse.
"Many of the epiphyseal closures in the two-year-old's joints have
matured, but he should not be made to accept the work load of an adult.
He lacks the stamina and strength to perform under a rigorous schedule.
His skeletal immaturity also leaves him prone to injury.
"The two-year-old has lost much of the silliness of his yearling year, generally
pays attention, and will show the trainer his potential."
your horse matures......
age 2-5, you can think of your horse as being in his late teens and twenties.
5-6 is considered
"adult" in the horse so would be the equivalent of 21-30.
horse is said to be in his "prime" from age 5-15 which would correlate
to the thirties and forties.
15-20 year old horse is in late middle aged, like the late 40's and 50's in humans.
a horse reaches his twenties, he is considered a senior, an equivalent of the
60's and 70's in humans.
horses, like all humans, age differently. That's why one horse might be tired
and "used up" in it's teens while another in its mid-twenties is still
sound, active, and shows no signs of aging other than a bit of grey hair.
best way to overcome fear is to have a very solid knowledge and skills in the
"basics". The basics are the "how-to" of handling horses from
the ground and riding. It includes everything from how to tie, how to use your
aids, how various tack is fitted and used, how horses see, why they flee when
they perceive danger, how to stop a runaway, and so on. The more experience you
have and the more skills you develop, the more secure you (and your horse!) will
be. The more you have learned, have experienced, and know how to do, the more
confident you will be, even in the face of real danger.
Read more about overcoming the fear of spooking.
it comes to horses and people working together, I've observed several types of
Read more about fear.
young horse bucks during longeing, it can be due to youth, exuberance, and lack
of exercise. The best way to PREVENT your horse from bucking is to turn her out
with other active horses directly before her longeing lesson. This way she will
burn off excess energy in a natural horse way. If you take your horse out of a
stall or small pen or paddock and take her to the longeing area, it is no wonder
she will kick up her heels. If you let her take the edge off with turnout prior
to training, you will have a more profitable session.
more about bucking while longeing.
the four main types of legwraps:
Wraps (also called shipping wraps)
Stable Wraps (also called Standing bandages)
more about leg wraps.
farrier Richard Klimesh, generously shares information about hoof care with us
in a detailed article about the type of pads and packing that he recommends for
the treatment of thrush and white line disease.
more about pads and packing.
about Cherry Hill's riding and writing career over the last 25 years in the article
"Words of Wisdom" beginning on page 38 in the January 2001 issue of
"Horse Illustrated" magazine.
To read the transcript of a live chat
with Richard Klimesh about winter shoeing, log on to www.equisearch.com
Up Before You Mount Up", Part One and Two
December 2000, January
2001 Western Horseman
December 2000, Horse & Rider
Him a Peel" (Ergot Removal), p. 35
Winning Ways, "Ride Forward with
Finesse" Horsemanship Pattern, p. 46
"Trailer Shopping Made Easy",
November 2000, Horse & Rider
"Riding a horse is not a gentle
hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion." - Ralph
Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.
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