Arabians are also highly sensitive, which can be a plus or a minus depending on how you handle them. Crystal, a National Reining Horse Association top-20 professional, first jumped into the spotlight at the age of 9, when she was mentioned in Sports Illustrated for being the youngest person ever to win a U.S. Arabian Nationals Top-10 placing.
They’re bright, happy horses, totally tuned in to people and eager to please.” Their sensitivity and hotter temperament do require intelligent handling, she adds.
“Still,” she adds, “if you don’t skim over any steps and you never try to scare them into anything, Arabians learn just fine.” Crystal’s observations dovetail with what animal scientist Temple Gran din, PhD, told me when I wrote a feature with her a few years back on how horses think.
She grouped Arabian horses with other fine-boned, fear-prone animals that have a low tolerance for rough handling. “Most amateurs accustomed to stock breeds may find a Half-Arabian easier to ride in the beginning.
In the end, she says, it comes down to treating every horse as an individual and finding the approach that works best for each. Major Texas cattle ranches played a significant role in the development of the modern Quarter Horse.
To this day, the Quarter Horse dominates the sport both in speed events and in competition that emphasizes the handling of live cattle. The Quarter Horse has a small, short, refined head with a straight profile, and a strong, well-muscled body, featuring a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters.
With a calm, gentle demeanor, this breed is the ideal choice for families and beginning riders. Their intuitive nature makes them easy to train for ranch work or competition such as roping and cutting.
The same is true for more recreational purposes: They need very little guidance from riders once trained and tend to be easy keepers” that thrive on good pasture or hay. The breed's popularity stems from its many positive attributes, including its gentle nature, versatility, beauty, speed, agility, and loyalty.
Quarter horses are suitable for all levels of riders and owners, as they tend to be friendly with people and easy to train. They have a sturdy build and come in many colors; sorrel (brownish red) is the most common.
American quarter horses come in a variety of solid colors, roans, palominos, grays, grille, buckskins, and duns. Spotted patterns are accepted in the American Quarter Horse Association registry, as long as owners can prove both the sire and dam were registered quarter horses.
American quarter horses require a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water in their diet. They can sustain on fresh grass, hay, rolled oats, and other grains, such as barley and bran.
Daily grooming can help an American quarter horse maintain a healthy coat and clear skin. Before a ride, brush the legs, face, girth, and saddle areas to ensure the horse is comfortable and all the oils have been evenly distributed on its body.
Try a dangler to brush out the horse's tail, which will make it bushier and more adept at swatting away flies. In the winter, use a waterless shampoo to clean, condition, and rectangle the horse's mane and tail.
Visitors can view photos and paintings of famous quarter horses, as well as various displays showcasing the breed's history. Hall of Fame inductees include hundreds of horses and people who have been instrumental in shaping the breed.
Wimpy: The first stallion listed in the American Quarter Horse Association registry Polo Buena: The first quarter horse ever to be insured for $100,000 Doc Bar: Figured into prominent pedigrees around the world Easy Jet: Had a highly successful racing career With a calm, gentle demeanor, this breed is the ideal choice for families and beginning riders.
Their intuitive nature makes them easy to train for ranch work or competition, and the same is true for recreational purposes. They need very little guidance from riders once trained and tend to be easy keepers” that thrive on good pasture or hay.
The purchase price to adopt or buy an American quarter horse ranges widely from $1,000 to $4,000. Pricing is dependent on age, health, whether the horse is coming from a rescue or a breeder, and any notable characteristics, such as lineage.
Also, especially for breeders, makes sure you can receive documentation on where the horse was bred, its lineage, and any health history. Everyone has heard of the old stories of cowboys jumping on bucking broncos in order to “break” them.
If you’re interested in training a horse to be ridden, there are some steps to be aware of in order to make the process easier: In fact, if you master all these steps in one day, you probably missed something that you’re going to have to go back and correct later.
Catering to your horse and their acceptance of what you’re teaching them will benefit you in the long run. If a horse doesn’t trust you or feel comfortable around you, it’s going to be much harder to get them to do what you want them to do.
Giving your horse time to get to know you will make communication between the two of you much easier. As most of the training techniques I use mimic the natural behavior of horses in a herd, this is a great place to start.
Horses are creatures of routine and repetition, so the more you often you spend time with them, the more familiar and comfortable they may feel around you. In the wild, horses spend their entire day with their herd.
As you spend time with your horse, they’ll start to see you as part of the herd. There are many ways you can spend time with your horse; you can groom them, bathe them, braid their mane, let them graze on the lead rope; hand-walk them around the property.
The more time you spend with them and the more variety you add to your activities, the fondest of you the horse will become. This will encourage them to associate you with calm and peace compared to stress and frustration.
You want your horse to think of you as a calming presence rather than one that is always requiring work and frustration. Horses associate people with the atmosphere the person creates.
If you create an atmosphere of pressure and stress, the horse will get anxious. If you create one of safety, calm, and peace, the horse is less likely to get worked up.
A great way to create positive associations for your horse is to make things fun! Mix up your routine, include a challenge, and simply have fun with your horse.
When you take the time to get to know your horse, it will help you to prepare for what you make come across in training later on. Since I took the time to get to know him and bond with him in the beginning, I knew that when I started desensitizing him, it would probably be hard for him to handle.
Knowing this, when it came time for desensitizing, I worked extra hard to not only be rewarding and patient with him but also very thorough in my training. The time frame will be determined by your commitment as well as your horse’s personality and history.
The great news is that you can constantly be building a stronger bond with your horse, even after you can ride them. Groundwork is a great way to introduce new training to your horse.
A horse that can’t stand still is either not paying attention to you or they’re invading your personal space. Teaching your horse to stand still will encourage them to look to you for the next step to take.
Make your horse back-up a good few steps, so they understand that walking off is wrong. This exercise will not only teach your horse how to lead correctly but also establish that you’re the one in charge.
The correct position for the horse to be in is at your elbow on the side you’re leading them on. If the horse walks slower than you, encourage them to stay at your elbow by waving the lunge whip behind you.
Practice starting and stopping, increasing your speed, all the while requiring the horse to stay at your elbow at a steady pace. This groundwork exercise will teach your horse how to respond to the pressure applied by reins.
Your goal is to get your horse to turn its neck so its nose touches just behind its shoulder. As soon as you feel this in your hand, immediately stop asking and reward your horse.
Softening is when the horse lowers its head when pressure is either applied to the poll or to the lead rope. To teach your horse to soften, simply grab the base of the lead rope that clips to the halter and then apply slight pressure down to the ground.
As soon as the horse even drops their nose in the slightest, release the pressure. Moving a horse’s feet is the best way to teach them right and wrong.
You want to teach a horse that doing the wrong thing is hard and means more work. Encourage your horse to walk forward and to the end of the line.
When you can disengage the hind-end, you are taking away all the power from the horse; it’s basically like the emergency brake. As soon as the horse takes a step away from you and crosses one leg in front of the other, release the pressure.
By desensitizing them to things they’d otherwise what to flee from, you’re creating a more confident and trusting animal. Horses are flight animals and naturally want to flee things that scare them.
The best thing to do to help your horse gain trust it to reward them and make a fuss over them when they do good. Saddle pads, tarps, and plastic bags are great materials to use for desensitizing.
Another thing your horse will have to be introduced to when it comes time to start them under saddle is pressure on their sides, on their back, and on their mouth. This will teach the horse to move away from the “leg” pressure, just as they should when you’re riding.
As for desensitizing your horse to pressure on their face, go ahead and put a bridle on them and let them get used to the bit. Knowing how exactly to go about this part of the training will help to keep you and your horse from getting frustrated and overwhelmed.
Every horse I’ve ever worked with was somewhat nervous the first time tack was put on them. Spend time simply putting the saddle over your horse’s back and pulling it off.
Take all the time you need dropping the girth at the horse’s sides and pulling it around them. Let your horse canter around the round pen as long as it needs to get used to the stirrups at its side.
Next, put the saddle over the horse’s back, leave it there for just a few seconds, then pull it off. From there, start to increase the amount of time you leave the saddle on the horse’s back.
Make sure you practice throwing the saddle over the horse’s back from both sides. Once your horse can stand calmly with the saddle on its back, it’s time to add the girth or the cinch.
When you’re doing this, always have the horse’s nose pulled toward you so if they freak out, they’ll just disengage their hind-end, giving you all the power. This, however, teaches the horse to associate the girth tightening around them with freaking out.
Once you’re to the point with the horse that you can tighten the girth and have them stand quietly, then you can encourage then to move forward around the round pen. Yes, they might buck but at least they don’t associate the immediate feeling of the girth being tightened with bad behavior.
What I would do when I first put the stirrup on the saddle is I would make the horse move its feet. Allow very little time between the exercises in order to keep your horse’s mind preoccupied so that they can’t worry about the stirrup.
These exercises will not only keep your horse busy, but it will also get them used to the feeling of the stirrups on their side. When your horse is finally to the point where they are comfortable with the saddle on their back, the girth around their barrel, and the stirrups at their side, it’s time to start getting your horse used to weight in the saddle.
For many horses, this will be the first time they feel a substantial amount of weight on their back. Patience and caution will help you best when it comes time to add weight to your horse’s back.
I usually start desensitizing a horse to the weight being added to their back as soon as I get them simply by showing them affection. Simply start by putting your foot in the stirrup, applying weight but not swinging your leg over the horse’s back.
From there, swing your leg over, sit in the saddle a few seconds, then dismount. By giving the horse just a few seconds to process what’s happening, you’re not overwhelming them or causing them to get worked up.
Remember, you’ve already taught a lot to your horse when working on groundwork. Do this by bringing your rein to your hip and holding until the horse drops its nose and gives to the pressure.
Another easy exercise to practice in order to get your horse to start getting comfortable moving under saddle is by disengaging their hind-end. To do this, flex your horse’s neck by bringing your rein to your hip.
As soon as the horse takes a step with their back leg, release the pressure. Your horse will be able to get more comfortable with a person on their back all the while learning how to respond to a rider.
Ask for small first steps and reward your horse greatly so that they learn what the correct response is. This would include a person wiggling their foot to try and get it in the stirrup, getting in a tw0-point, standing and sitting in the saddle, even bending to the side of the horse to move a gate.
The first step to making this goal a reality is by getting them used to things happening in the saddle. The best way to go about desensitizing your horse to movement in the saddle is to repeatedly do the action.
If this is your first time training a horse, I always recommend having an instructor or trainer you can consult and get help from.