2005 Cherry Hill ©
This newsletter is a personal
letter from me to you, a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to answer
some of your questions and send you interesting stories
and helpful tips for
your horse care, training, and riding.
this whole issue to Ask-Cherry Q&A, some of which will be answered by my husband,
What is the best kind
of flooring to have in a stall? We are building a new horse barn and want to know
about the stall floor to make it as easy to keep clean as possible. The stalls
will be 10ft. by 16ft. the stalls will be used to feed and hold a horse for foaling.
Thanks for your time.
I prefer interlocking
rubber mats over decomposed granite or another well-draining, well packed base.
I bed with shavings normally but use straw for foaling.
Do you recommend a particular
type of hoof boot? My mare has a bad quarter crack (from coronary band to bottom
of hoof) that is just beginning to grow out. We had been shoeing her and using
clip type shoes. This season, we are trimming her every five weeks and using rainmaker.
She has about 1 1/2 inches of good hoof above her old crack. The most since she
was two. She is ouchy on the trails due to our parks putting stone on them.
I recommend a good set of steel shoes on
a well-balanced hoof, not only for protection while trail riding but to provide
support and stability for the cracked hoof until it grows out completely.
I have a question regarding building a barn. I am building a two stall
barn (12 x 24) and I was wondering how far apart I should put the 4 x 4's? I was
told by a local construction guy that I should put them every 4 feet, is that
Your construction guy is right,
4x4 vertical supports for a horse barn should be no farther apart than 4 feet.
But for portions of a barn that horse will contact, such as stalls, tie areas,
wash racks, I would use 6x6 posts spaced 4 feet.
I have a older
Arab gelding who has been ridden with a mechanical hackamore, I am assuming for
some time. (we bought him a month ago) But he tends to throw his head all around
when riding him or when giving him directions in reining. I was thinking that
maybe something wasn't right as a horse should not do this? So I decided to put
a bit in his mouth. He doesn't seem to mind although, I do not want to mess him
up (his mouth that is) so I am not sure what type of bit to use?
I have a friend
who told me to try a snaffle bit with a full cheek? So I tried it but it looks
ridiculous on him (he has a very small head) My tack shop owner asked if I had
tried a tom thumb snaffle? I said no, but willing to try. So I am trying it right
now and he seems to accept it. Is this an ok choice? He is not throwing his head
anymore nor is he shying away like he hates it either. Should I keep using this
or would you have another suggestion. Anything you or someone else can give me
would be appreciated. Thanks.
I like to introuduce
a horse to bits by using a simple true snaffle, like a D ring or eggbutt snaffle.
They are constructed so as to minimize skin pinching at the corners of the mouth
and provide lateral persuasion from the sidepieces without the full cheek look
that you mention. The reason that I don't use a Tom Thumb as an introductory bit
is that it is not really a snaffle - it is a jointed curb bit. Whenever you have
shanks, you have leverage, so the bit is no longer a snaffle. Just because a bit
has a broken mouth piece doesn't mean a bit is a snaffle. There are broken mouthed
curb bits and solid mouth snaffle bits. So, in summary, I like to start simple,
with a direct rein type of bit, which is a snaffle. I've written extensively on
this topic on the website and in my books. Here are some additional references:
When I'm riding Hunter,
my 9 year old off the track TB gelding, he lifts his head severely over the bit,
speeds up, and ignores my aids whenever I ask him to go in a frame, and especially
when he's on the tired side. I try to ride him 5 times a week in the least, alternating
between jumping and flat work. My flat lessons usually consist of a 5-10 minute
warm up of circles at the walk and trot, and then I focus on bending (he's not
very good at that but he's getting better!), and trying to keep him in a frame
at the walk, trot, and canter during the following 30-40 minutes for as long as
possible. He will go into a nice frame for about a minute or two, and then proceeds
to lift his head, take the bit, and accelerate to an almost unruly trot speed,
which he has never done until recently. I try lifting my hands to make a direct
line from the bit to my hands, and it works in slowing him down, but he lifts
his head and neck higher when I'm really aiming for him to lower his head and
accept the bridle. I also try softening my hands, and then using a "sponge"
technique I open and close my hands while simultaneously half halting, which works
for a moment, and then he continues with his speed demon streak until I give up
and make him walk. When I bought him about 7 months ago, he was used to a running
martingale, and when I switched him to a standing martingale, he improved dramatically.
However, recently he has been absolutely terrible even with the standing martingale,
and I don't know if I should change my tack arrangement, change my bit, change
his exercise schedule so his "dressage" muscles don't get as tired as
quickly, lunge him with side reins or something similar, or change anything at
all. I looked on your articles site and did not find anything of use for this
matter, and I haven't had the time to go to the library or book store to see your
books, so I would be indebted to you if you helped me with this dreadful dilemma.
Thank you so much.Sincerely,
like you are doing many things right and you have already thought of some of the
possible reasons for this behavior. Here is my take on the situation just reading
an e-mail. First of all, I am assuming you are using a snaffle bit, correct? I
would absolutely be sure that the bit is the proper width for the horse (too wide
is often as bad as too narrow) and that the horse does not react unfavorably when
you manipulate the bit in his mouth from the ground. Then I would be sure that
the horse does not have any back problems. When a horse starts out good then quickly
gets bad, it often signals me that pain could be an issue. Be sure the saddle
fits the horse well. With the horse saddled, have someone hold the horse for you
while you mount, then move forward and back and side to side in the saddle as
if you were stopping, turning, two point etc. and see what the horse's reaction
is. If he is uncomfortable at a standstill with your weight shifts, then the saddle
fit could be suspect. Once you are sure the bridle/mouth and back/saddle are OK,
then focus your work on two things: lots of varied longeing exercises and when
riding, lots of transitions. You can read about these things more in the following
articles on the website and in my books, some of which are devoted extensively
to these types of problems:
Longeing and Long Lining Exercises
Have a great training session and ride. See
you down the trail.