Tips About Horse Supplies Tips

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What do I need for a horse show?

Prepare for Shows

Horse shows take preparation, are you ready for yours? If you're uncertain about what kinds of horse show supplies you need, read and learn. Here's a checklist that you should always refer to:

• Hay

• Hay net

• Grain (measure out all meals and supplements and put them in labeled individual baggies)

• 2 water buckets per horse

• Bucket hook per bucket

• Stall guard

• A bunch of screw eyes

• Small tool kit: screwdriver, string, thumbtacks, bungie cords, WD 40, flashlight, 3x5 cards for posting emergency information on stall, double end snaps, Vaseline (for greasing trailer hitch ball), adjustable wrench, hammer and nails

• Feed dish

• Muck bucket

• Stall picker

• Fan for hotter weather

• Blanket for colder weather

• Sweat sheet or cooler in winter

• Portable chairs

• Hose and nozzle

• Walkie talkies to turn to stay in touch with assistants

• 2 leads

• 2 halters

• Saddle holder

• Bridle/halter holder that is capable of hanging on a stall door

• Horse treats

• Lunging gear

• Usual iding gear - saddle, bridle, girth, pad, whip, etc.

• Show clothes

• Rain Gear

• Cold weather gear

• Grooming gear

• Sponge and wash bucket

• Saddle/boot cleaning products

• Helmet

• Hairclips, hair clips, and mirror

• Wheel chocks for trailer if disconnecting

• Proof of memberships - copies of GMO and USDF cards for both horse and rider, AHSA/USA Equestrian card for rider

• USA Equestrian horse recording document, coggins

• Dressage tests

What should I look for in a bit?

Guide, Don't Gag!

In case you are unfamiliar with the term, the bit is the metal mouthpiece of a bridle that is used to control, curb, and guide an animal.

Often times people are confused by bits and the correct manner in which they should be used. Just because a horse is a large animal, however, does not mean that the amount of pressure that the bit creates should be as large. This is a very incorrect assumption. You are trying to lead, not gag, the horse!

The truth is that there are not that many surfaces in a horse's mouth where pressure can be applied. Instead of focusing on covering a large area, a bit focuses on complex applications that allow pressure to be directed to the few places of the mouth where complex communication can be created.

When shopping for a bit, don't focus on size. Instead, look for a quality, well-constructed pieces of equipment. Keep in mind that the bit must be shaped in a way that will allow it to fit correctly in the mouth—this will better help the animal to understand what is being communicated to him during training.

Is my blanketed horse too hot?

Don't Sweat It!

When the temperature drops and the nasty weather rolls in, it's a good idea to protect your equine with a good blanket (like a Weatherbeeta blanket). Do not, however, overdo it. Just like you or I, a horse can become hot and uncomfortable. You wouldn't wear a down jacket in fall weather would you? Of course not, so why would you put a thick blanket on your horse in moderately cold weather?

Is your horse too hot? Sweating is the most obvious sign that a horse is too hot. A blanketed horse will start sweating under the blanket but soon the sweat will spread to the neck and ears so check these areas. Generally, overheating will occur when turned-out horses are covered at night and are still blanketed during the increasing temperatures that the day brings.

Blanketed horses that romp or are spooked into a run are also likely to become sweaty, which will eventually make them cool and clammy under those blankets when they stand still. Keep an eye on your horses and see that they are kept comfortable.

How can I eliminate flies and keep my horses cool in the summertime?

Put an End to Your Horse's Summertime Blues

Summer is the time for some fun in the sun! The days are longer, the temperature is warmer and everyone is in a better mood. Everyone that is, except for your turned out horses. Extreme heat and humidity can really take a toll on your horses as they graze in the pasture. Additionally, flies tend to be more plentiful in the summer months, making for an uncomfortable situation for those equines. You can, however, help them feel more at ease.

Try setting up some garden sprinklers on the outskirts of the pasture—horses love this. Before long you will notice that your horses will gather near the areas where the sprinklers are set up and enjoy the pleasant mist of water. The best part is that the flies hate the constant mist of water and will basically fade out of the picture. It is in your horses better interest, however, to use a good fly spray for horses as well—the horses will, of course, venture out of the sprinkler mist on occasion.

How should I choose a helmet?

Protect Your Noggin

Nobody ever said that headgear was stylish or sexy. That does not mean, however, that you should skip out on wearing a riding helmet. Regardless of your expertise, every rider is bound to take a spill once in a while. And, for this reason, a good helmet should be at the top of your horse supplies list! Owning a helmet, however, is only half the battle. Here are some tips to help you use it correctly:

Always check to see if your helmet is level—the visor should never tilt in any direction. If your hair is lengthy, don't attempt to bunch it under your helmet. Instead, pull it into a ponytail at the nape of your neck.

Make sure it fits correctly! It should feel snug all over. To test the snugness of a riding helmet, move it from side to side. Do your eyebrows and scalp move with it? They should! If they do not, get a smaller size.

Shape matters! If a helmet fits tightly on your brow but you are still able to move it from side to side, it is likely too round for the shape of your head. Along the same lines, if it is snug on the sides of your head but rocks on the brow, it's too much of an oval shape for your head. If you have a problem fitting correctly into a helmet, use fitting pads to help adjust the helmet.

How's the brim on that thing? The brim of a helmet should sit ½ to one inch above the eyebrows. If it doesn't, adjust accordingly.

How can I prevent my horse from fleeing when I remove the halter?

Put an End to Halter Problems

One key component of your horse supplies collection is a halter. Depending on the horse, however, removing a halter while turning a horse out can be difficult. Some horses will tear away as soon as the halter is taken off. Here's a tip to alleviate this problem.

Put two halters on the horse (one on top of one another) when turning the horse out. Put a chain shank over her nose on the bottom halter. When you unbuckle the top halter, the horse will hit the chain shank if he tries to bolt, when he realizes that he's not really free he will be shocked. Then, he should stand still while you remove the second halter. The next time you go to remove the halter it's likely that the horse will think twice before trying to run away.

How should I selsct a bit for my horse?

Bit by Bit

You can buy bits anywhere from online discount equine supply stores to local high-end tack stores. The truth is, however, that unless you get a bit that is a correct fit for your horse, you're wasting your time and money. You will need to take into consideration your horse's specific facial conformation before deciding what bit width you'll need:

• Bits range anywhere from 3 ½ ‘' to 5 ½ ‘' in width and can be found to accommodate any horse from a tiny pony to a towering Clydesdale. Keep in mind that some horses will have much more narrow muzzles that others and will need a much narrower bit.

• Single jointed snaffles should be fitted in such a way that they leave ¼ ‘' between the animal's lips and the bit ring. If the bit is too narrow, it may pinch the lips as soon as the reins are used—this will be painful for the horse. On the other hand, if a bit is too wide it will slide around and cause bruising in the horse's mouth and on his lips.

• Loosening or tightening the cheek pieces of the bridle can adjust the height of a bit. If they are perfectly adjusted, a few small wrinkles will appear in the corner of the horse's mouth.

How can I protect my horse from the cold?

Protect Your Horse From the Elements

Freezing wind can be very uncomfortable for a horse. In fact, cold wind can drain a horse's body heat more quickly than anything else. The second most uncomfortable condition for a horse is freezing rain. Cold rain will saturate the animal, causing his hairs to become pressed flat. As a result, he loses valuable insulation. Generally, cold temperatures without wind or rain aren't hard on horses that are used to them. Snow, while cold, is not particularly uncomfortable to a horse that is used to such elements. Snow will not penetrate the animal's coat. Instead, it will gather on top of it and provide an additional layer of insulation.

If you are aware of severe weather conditions approaching, protecting your horse is the best thing that you can do for him. If there is shelter available (stable, barn, shed, etc.) that is optimal. If these things are not available, however, use multiple garments to protect your horse. If you blanket your horse make sure you choose a blanket that is waterproof (like a Weatherbeeta blanket) so that the rain will not be able to make its way to the horse's skin.

How soon after a workout can I blanket my horse?

Don't Jump the Gun on Blanketing

Winter can be a harsh time for your horse and it is a good idea to protect him. If your horse is often exposed to frigid temperatures, cold winds, or freezing rain, it's a good idea to blanket him with a quality blanket, like a Weatherbeeta. Do not, however, jump the gun. If you have just ridden your horse or he has been working himself is not completely cooled down, DO NOT blanket him yet. It is best to blanket your horse only after he has had a chance to cool down completely. Additionally, his hair should be completely dry before you cover it with any kind of material—unless a blanket is permeable, it will catch moisture and trap it next to the animal's skin.

To help your horse dry more quickly; wipe him with a clean, dry towel. Another idea is to throw q wool or acrylic cooler over the horse when walking him after a workout—this will absorb some of the moisture.

How should I upkeep a blonde saddle?

Blondes are Hard to Maintain!

When it comes to Western horse show supplies, blonde is all of the rage. If you go to any Western horse show today, you will notice that blonde is abundant.

Blonde is becoming one of the most popular hues in show saddles. They are neutral, blending nicely with most tack and rider attire. Additionally, blond saddles give off a certain air of sophistication. While blonde is fast becoming the most popular shade in show saddles, they can be tricky to upkeep. It takes great care to preserve the look and condition of light-colored tack. Are you up for the challenge? Ask yourself that question before investing in blonde tack.

Keep in mind that any type of cleaning or conditioning will alter the appearance of a blonde saddle, making it increasingly darker in hue. If possible, you should only condition your show saddle a few times a year—at most. If you go crazy with the cleaning regimen, you'll end up with a dark saddle.

What is a martingale?


If your horse is continuously tossing his head, he might be trying to tell you something. Often times a horse that has taken to head tossing has a physical affliction (a saddle that is pinching, a sore back, teeth that need to be floated, etc.). If your horse displays this behavior, see to it that he has a full physical and dental check-up to assess the problem.

A common misconception is that a Martingale, a piece of equipment available at any horse supplies store, can train a horse to keep his head down—this IS NOT true. A Martingale can, however, help prevent a horse from throwing his head.
If you choose to use one of these, it is essential that you use the correct bit and that your horse is trained to use it. If not, you are wasting your time and money becaue it will not do any good in the long run.

A Martingale will run from the girth to the noseband and limit how high the animal can lift its head. There are 2 basic types: the standing martingale and the running martingale, which is used for sports with movement. You can probably purchase them at the store where you purchase your usual horse supplies.

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Sherril Steele-Carlin