© 2006 Cherry
Ask Cherry -
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help. I ride western. I am a professional Cowboy trying to become a horseman.
I barrel race. I do not show. I purchased your 101 Arena Exercises to help me
help my horses to relax, listen, loosen up, help them learn to use themselves
and become more responsive I am not familiar with the term half halt and can't
seem to find a helpful definition in the book. My best guess was that it was a
transition to a slower gait but in looking at the exercises this does not make
sense to me. I know you are awfully busy but I'm feeling a bit desperate. For
the sake of Reuben, Foxy, Sister, Miss Mess, and Hooch, Please help.
It is great to hear from you and to hear
of your goals. Have you read Exercise 14 "Half Halt or Check"
Arena Exercises? It describes in detail what a Half Halt (or Check as it is
called in Western riding) is and how to apply it. But it is such a good question
and I'm sure there are some readers out there who don't have 101 Arena Exercises,
that I'm going to print an excerpt from that book below.
Before I get
to the excerpt, though, here are some other ways to think of a Half Halt......a
pause, a moment in suspended animation, a compacting of form, flexing in every
joint. Although half halts are traditionally associated with dressage, they are
used in all kinds of riding. Western riders "pick up" on the reins and
"check" their horses to "rate" them or get them to slow down
or get more rhythmic in their gaits. When a horse "falls on his forehand"
he is traveling with bad balance and rhythm, so we try to energize him from the
hindquarters forward and elevate his forehand somewhat so he can move in balance.
When a horse is not in balance (heavy on the forehand) he first has to pick up
his forehand and then turn.The more in balance a horse is, the quicker he can
change directions (especially important for a barrel horse) and at a moment's
notice - he doesn't need a lot of advance notice. Half Halts or checks help to
balance and energize a horse.
The following is excerpted from
half halt is a preparatory set of aids that simultaneously drives and checks the
horse. In essence you are "capturing" your horse momentarily between
the aids. A calling to attention and organizer used before all transitions and
during all movements as a means of momentarily re-balancing the horse, elevating
the forehand, increasing hindquarter engagement, evening an erratic rhythm, slowing
a pace, and reminding the horse not to lean on the bit or rush. A momentary holding
(a non-allowing in contrast to a pulling or taking), immediately followed by a
yielding (within one stride or a few seconds). This results in a moment of energized
suspension with a listening and light horse. Once a horse has learned to respect
half halts, they serve as a reminder that encourages self-carriage.
TO APPLY A HALF HALT
sequence, grossly oversimplified, goes something like this:
Mental message: "Hello,
is anybody home?" OR "Attention!!" OR "Let's get organized"
OR "Let's halt. No I changed my mind."
An almost simultaneous application of the following aids with an emphasis
on the seat and legs and a de-emphasis on the hands:
Upper body straight or slightly back with elevated sternum.
Deep, still contact of seat bones on saddle from flexed abdominals and a flattened
lower back which brings seat bones forward.
Both lower legs on horse's side at the girth or cinch. Light tap with the whip
or spurs if necessary, depending on the horse's level and response.
A non-allowing of appropriate intensity with both hands. The following is a list
in increasing intensity of that non-allowing. Use only as much as necessary.
- roll hands inward
move arm backward from shoulder
lean upper body back
Yield aids without throwing away what you have gained.
do you apply the half halt? Long enough (a second or two) ahead of the transition
or maneuver to allow the horse to respond but not prolonged (through several strides)
or it will result in tension.
strong a half halt should you use? Tinker Bell or Industrial Strength? Occasionally
an industrial strength half halt is necessary to be sure it "goes through".
After using a major half-halt, confidently use light ones or half halts will begin
to lose their effect for you.
Often you should give more than you take. The timing of the yield is often more
important than the driving and non-allowing.
Did you feel a positive response...even a hint of compliance? If you wait so long
that you can feel the full effects of the half halt, it would be way past time
to yield. The yield is what encourages self-carriage. No yield leads to stiffness
you use more than one half halt at a time? Sometimes it takes a series, one each
stride, to accomplish the necessary re-balancing.
Balance, collection, essential pieces of the riding puzzle.
Treated Wood for Stalls
did purchase your book Stablekeeping
, and there is only one question I have that was not covered in the book, can
or should I use pressure treated wood to build my horse stalls? Thank you in advance
if you decide to answer my question.
Gee, we were glad to hear that this was the only question that
was not covered in Stablekeeping
Hmmmmmmm.........pressure treated wood is a rather broad category and it
depends on what type of chemical treatment the wood received.
I did cover
this subject in detail in the 2nd edition of Horsekeeping
on a Small Acreage on pages 170-171 as it relates to wood fences and Richard
covered it in regards to barn materials in our book Horse
Housing on page 88. In our barn we used pressure treated wood anywhere the
wood was in the ground or within 8 inches of the ground, like the lower board
on stall linings (kick boards). You will have to make your own decision as to
what is appropriate in terms of function, esthetics and color for the interior
of your barn in conjunction with what is available on the market.
that this topic is constantly changing because of laws related to toxicity for
humans - that's why I went through the history of pressure treated wood in the
book. By the time I finish writing this email, there will probably be a new wood
preservative out on the market!
I'm going to paste the excerpt from the
book below to get you started on your quest and decision-making process.
following is from Horsekeeping
on a Small Acreage, 2nd edition, 2005 by Cherry Hill http://www.horsekeeping.com/horse_books/Horsekeeping_on_a_Small_Acreage.htm
fences must be protected from chewing hoses with special anti-chew products that
are painted or sprayed on the wood, by metal strips fastened to the edges of the
wood, or by the addition of electric fence wires to keep horses away from the
is needed for wood that will be in contact with the ground, where conditions are
ideal for rotting, termite damage and fungus, and for wood that will be subjected
to extreme conditions above ground. Wood deteriorates not just from moisture,
but because an organism is eating it. Preservatives work by making the food source
poisonous to these organisms.
preservatives will NOT prevent horses from chewing the wood. Most preservatives
will not protect wood from exposure to sunlight you still have to use paint,
stain, or sealers. Not all preservatives provide protection against termites.
can be forced into the wood using pressure (pressure-treated wood) or applied
to the wood by dipping, spray, brush, or roller.
main wood preservatives used in the US include creosote, Penta,
and CCA, with a host of new generation preservatives on the horizon that
might be more environmentally friendly.
tar creosote (a distillate of coal tar) has been used as a wood preservative
since 1889 in the United States and is still used for treating railroad ties.
It is a dark brown or black, thick oily substance with a pungent smoky odor so
although it is not suitable for application inside a barn, creosote-treated railroad
ties are ideal for the base of a round pen or arena. Because creosote contains
strong acids and can burn the skin, care must be taken when handling creosote
treated wood. Due to the dangerous nature of the product, the US government banned
the use of creosote without a license in 1986. Creosote-treated wood is not paintable.
It does resist termites and chewing horses.
This thick brown oily blend is derived from coal tar creosotes and is available
for application without a license. It can be used safely on trees that are at
least 2-inches in diameter, fences, and other exterior applications. It is marketed
as an anti-chew products as well as a preservative.
(pentachlorophenol) is a manufactured crystalline organic compound developed specifically
for the wood preservation industry. Penta is normally dissolved in petroleum oil
and forced into the wood with pressure or applied topically giving the wood the
dark brown color that you see on telephone poles. Penta chemicals can slowly volatize
into the surrounding air, so would not be appropriate for indoor application.
Purchase and use has been limited to certified applicators since 1986. Penta-treated
wood is not paintable. It should not be used where a horse can lick or chew it.
occur naturally in soil, water, plants and animals. Borate wood treatments are
used for protection against termites, beetles, carpenter ants, rot, and fungi.
Borate pressure treatment penetrates to heartwood so end cuts on treated wood
do not need re-treating. Borates are water-soluble, however, and will leach out
if used in contact with ground or water, reducing their effectiveness. Borate
wood preservatives are odorless, non-irritating to skin and eyes, and considered
safe to use around people and horses.
treated with borate or CCA is harmful more because of splinters a horse might
get from chewing than from the chemicals.
copper arsenate or CCA, is a waterborne chemical preservative that contains
arsenic, chromium and copper and is the most widely used preservative for pressure-treating
posts and fence lumber. It gives the wood a greenish color and the wood is paintable.
The chemicals in CCA are bonded tightly to the wood, so leaching from the wood
should be minimal when used properly. Therefore, CCA-treated wood is EPA approved
for use around people, pets and plants and continues to be widely used in agricultural,
marine, highway and industrial applications. CCA-treated wood emits no vapors
so is suitable to be used inside the barn as well as for fences.
there may not be an EPA requirement to wear gloves when handling a particular
treated wood, it is a good idea to protect your hands from splinters when handling
treated or untreated wood of any kind. When cutting treated wood, avoid inhaling
sawdust or getting dust or wood chips in your eyes. Wash your exposed body parts
well after working with treated wood. NEVER burn treated or other manufactured
wood. Not only are the vapors and ash harmful to your health, but they will pollute
the environment. Keep treated wood away from waterways and out of the groundwater.
Whether or not you can haul treated wood to your local landfill will depend on
your area regulations and whether the landfill is lined. How to properly dispose
of treated wood is a growing concern and there is no simple answer. Here at Long
Tail Ranch, we use scraps of treated posts and lumber as gate props, as building
blocks for small retaining walls, and for edging between gravel and grass in non-traffic
looking for information about the amount of weight a horse should carry. From
what I have read and been told, 20% of horses weight is what person and tack should
weigh. Any related articles???
I've written about all sorts of interesting and useful things related
to horses in my new book How
to Think Like a Horse.
Here is an excerpt from that book
that should answer your question.
horses body isnt really designed to carry extra weight, but it can
by virtue of its suspension-bridge features.
much weight can a horse carry? This will depend on several factors including the
horses weight, bone, conformation, breed, condition, type of riding, riders
skill, and type of saddle used.
often quoted thumb rule is that a horse can carry 20% of his weight. This would
mean a 1200 pound horse could carry 240 pounds which would include rider plus
tack. Horses with denser, larger bone might be able to carry more than the 20%.
Bone is determined by measuring the circumference of the foreleg just below the
knee. Average is about 8 ½ inches for a 1200 pound riding horse. If a horse
has lighter bone, he would likely be able to carry less than 20%. If he has heavier
bone, he would likely be able to carry more than 20%. Horses with short strong
backs, short strong loins and tight coupling tend to be able to carry more weight
than average. Thats why Icelandic, Arabian and some Quarter Horses are suited
to carry higher weights. A horse in peak condition will be able to support weight
better than a thin, poorly conditioned horse. A horse used for walking and posting
trot work might be able to carry more weight than a horse that is used for galloping
or jumping. But even that depends on the skill of the rider. A skilled rider sits
in balance and moves in harmony with the horse. A loose, crooked or imbalanced
rider continually throws the horse off balance and thus makes his work more difficult.
Therefore a skilled rider might be able to ride a smaller horse while a novice
rider might require a larger, more solid horse to compensate for the erratic movements
of the rider. Finally, the type of saddle can affect the weight carrying capacity
of a horses back. A riders weight as well as the weight of the saddle
itself, is distributed on the horses back by the bearing surface of an English
saddles panels or the tree of a Western saddle. An average English saddle
has a bearing surface of about 120 square inches and an average Western saddle
has a bearing surface of about 180 inches. So when using a Western saddle, a riders
weight will be borne by an area that is 1 ½ times the size of the bearing
surface of an English saddle. When comparing, you will also need to take into
consideration that a Western saddle might weigh 15-40 pounds while an English
saddle would weigh between 10-20 pounds.
the back ligaments weaken with age and use, we need to fit saddles well and learn
to ride effectively in order to preserve our horses comfort and usefulness.
I am a multiple
horse owner and former farm owner. I am 54 years old and looking for an equine
community where I can purchase a home that is part of an equine community. I visited
one in Florida that didn't even come close to my expectations. My vision was one
of custom homes...according to need, with a community area which included pastures,
shared barn and indoor/outdoor arenas, plus trails. I know that this concept is
developing as we speak, and I am sincerely interested for my retirement. I sold
my farm and currently board my two personal horses for a mere sum of $1500/month.
Of course they are both in some training, but when I retire I would like to have
them in my back yard in a more affordable venue. I know that land is not cheap,
but I am sure that there are more people like myself who wish to continue to own
their horses after they retire without paying someone else to keep them. Any leads?
Thank you for your letter. Yes,
this seems to the wave of the future, yet we are in that phase where many of these
communities are in the planning stages. I'm picturing baby boomers who, in the
future, want to keep their horses but don't want to have to maintain a facility.
Developers see that too.
I know of several equestrian communities here
in the Rocky Mountain region that are in the infant stage of planning so are still
years away from selling homes. Commercial real estate agents are often the ones
that handle those types of parcels, so one way to find out what exists or what
is in the works would be to select an area in which you want to live and then
contact a commercial real estate agent or appraiser in that area.
easier still is to just type "equine community real estate" into www.google.com
and you will get many leads of already existing equine communities. I did that
just now and found links to communities in Georgia, North Carolina, California,
and Virginia on the first page and, well you know google, there are more than
10 more pages to browse through.
Happy hunting !