Clearing up some questions

     Here at the blog HQ, we sometimes field comments and questions from our readers. It looks like many of the regular readers are friends of Robert or myself, and some may not have a horsey background. So today I want to define some terms that I have been using, and address some of the other comments I have received. As always feel free to comment and share your opinions!

What is Tack?
Tack is any equipment used on the horse. It can include saddle, bridle, and pad and also things as fancy as dressage whips and ear bonnets (those cool crocheted ear covers jumpers use)

Why do we use boots?
There are LOTS of opinions, and I don’t claim to have the answer. Jellybean wears boots mostly because I acquired them. The type of boots I have been using act as protection against hooves hitting her legs. They also provide additional support when she is traveling in the round pen. The smaller boots on her front hooves are to guard against over-reaching (that is, the rear hooves striking the backs of the front hooves). These are more useful working in smaller spaces.

What is ground driving and why do we care?
Ground driving refers to directing the movement of the horse by walking (or running) behind the horse, usually with “long lines” or driving reins. These reins are much longer than those for riding and allow the driver to stand at a “safe” distance from the horse. The person usually carries a whip (or incentive to more forward). I ground drive Jellybean to help her understand turning and stopping. As I continue riding her, I want her to respond immediately when I tell her left/right/stop with minimal confusion. This lesson serves to focus her energy on the bridle, instead of worrying about why someone is sitting on her.

In this photo, Jellybean is also wearing a lunging surcingle around her girth, which gives the reins a ring to go through to prevent her stepping through the line or the line dragging around her legs.
What is a dressage whip?
A dressage whip is a sturdy plastic (fiberglass??) stick about 36 inches long. It is used behind the leg of the rider, or on the ground for corrective purposes 😉

What is the time scale to “break” or “finish” a horse?
This is a controversial question based on a lot of factors. I wont talk much about the controversies, but I will outline my plan. I started riding Jellybean about two years old. We have been riding once a week or less for 30 minutes or less. I plan to continue this until she turns three. Depending on how she has grown, I will increase her riding to multiple times a week or she will continue on the once a week plan. I will then work on her basics (turning, being responsive, desensitizing to weird situations, etc). When she is 4-5, we will start working on jumping. So by this plan, Jellybean should be broke around 3 and finished around 5.

When can I meet Jellybean and take a photo?
Call or text me 🙂


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