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Process Paper

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Preparing a Horse to Ride

(Informational)

Why does it take so long to get a horse ready to ride? Grooming is an essential part of the process. The whole purpose of cleaning the horse off before it is ridden is to make sure there is no dirt, cuts, or injuries on the skin and to keep your tack clean and well maintained. It isn’t healthy to wash a horse off with soap and water all the time, as it dries out the skin and hair. If the dirt is allowed to stay on the skin it will begin to look bad and may also cause crud. It’s not just about the ride, it’s about the proper care and health of your animal. It takes time to groom a horse and adjust the tack correctly, so the horse is comfortable and willing to work. Tack that is not properly adjusted can cause injuries to the horse and rider. The steps one takes in the process of preparing the horse to ride needs to flow in a specific order to save time in the long run. Following the steps that are prepared below will also help to create an everlasting bond between horse and rider.

Begin by gathering all the necessary supplies that are needed and bring them to the location where the horse will be stationed for the grooming and tacking process. It’s convenient to have all of the grooming supplies in one container, make making sure everything needed in is in the container to begin with so there won’t be a need to take the ever so annoying trip back to the tack room for forgotten items. The container should include: a hard and soft brush, a hoof pick, a curry comb, a mane and tail comb, detangler and fly spray;. unless of course it is winter, then it won’t be needed. During colder months, fly spray is not necessary. Now it’s time to bring out the tack. This should be placed in a convenient location at the grooming station. The daunting task of hauling a 50 pound saddle and numerous other items of tack across the barn can be made simpler by using a wheeled saddle rack,. The this way the pad, bridle, halter, splint boots, breast collar, and tie down can be placed on the rack and wheeled over at once where needed, this saves saving time and energy. ¶Grab the halter and lead rope because it’s time to get the horse! If the pasture is large or the horse is stubborn, comfortable boots and a lot of treats are a must! Once the halter is on the horse and the lead rope is hooked, lead them to the grooming station. Be safe and always use a slip knot while tying the horse to a solid structure. Now the fun begins! Beginning with the a curry comb and move it in small circles starting at the neck, removing any lose hair and dirt. It This process also massages the horse’s large muscles by putting mild pressure in areas such as the hind quarters. This is will be much appreciated by the horse. Go soft over the bony areas such as the spine and NEVER use a curry comb on a horse’s head or legs,. the The head and legs are extremely sensitive and the curry comb is too rough to use on them. Make sure the curry comb is cleaned off before placing it back in the container, this saves time for when it will be used next saving time for the next use. Next, grab the hard brush. Starting at the top of the neck, move the hard brush in the direction of the hair in long strokes ending with a flick of the wrist. This removes dust and hair that the curry comb brought to the surface; again, go gently on the bony areas. This brush may be used GENTLY on the legs if needed, but do not use this brush on the head because it is too harsh. A stiff board or the corner of a building is a great way to clean bristled brushes. Once done using the hard brush and it is cleaned and returned to the grooming container, select the soft brush. Use the soft brush all over the horse’s face and body, this grabs all the dirt and hair that the stiff brush could not. A stiff board or the corner of a building is a great way to clean bristled brushes. Replace the soft brush with the mane and tail comb. Use this to gently ease out any twigs, burrs, and tangles in the horse’s tail. Start at the bottom and slowly work up to the top. If it is the mane is completely tanglesd a mane and tale detangler, such as Cowboy Magic or Santafe can be used to make it smooth and tangle free. For safety purposes, Do do not stand directly behind the horse while doing the tail, as this is considered the blind spot and by the horse cannot see in this area,. instead Instead, stand off to the one side of the horse. Picking the horse’s hooves can be accomplished by slowly gliding the hand down the inside of the leg while leaning into the shoulder of the horse with a gentle pull upward on the ankle. Once the horse has lifted its foot take the pick and dig out the dirt, manure, and stone from the sides of the frog (what is the frog?). After cleaning each hoof, return Replace the hoof pick to the container, stand back and look at the horse from all angles making sure there weren’t any missed cuts, scratches, or dirt spots. And of course it’s always nice to while admire admiring the good work that was just done. Inspect the saddle pad making sure it is free from dirt, burs, or anything that could poke the horse. Place it on the horse’s back just above the withers. Be sure the saddle pad is symmetrical from left to right on the horse. While standing on the right side of the saddle place the girth over the seat and lift the stirrup up over the top of the horn, make making sure this it is secure so it doesn’t fall and hit anyone in the head (ouch!). While standing on the left side of the saddle place the left hand under the pommel and the right hand under the skirt. The saddle can now be lifted and placed GENTLY onto the horse’s back, centrally on the pad. Lower the right stirrup and girth to hanging position and gently push the saddle towards the horse’s rump,. it It should stop in the correct position. Lift the left stirrup over the horn, again make making sure this the saddle is secure. Reach under the horse’s belly running a hand over the fur, making sure no dirt or pokey things were left behind during the grooming process. Grab the girth from the other side and pull it up toward the saddle. Synch up the girth gently and slowly applying pressure to the horse’s barrel. Don’t worry about synching the girth to its maximum tightness, this will be done later. The breast collar can be hooked to the D rings on each side of the saddle,. hook Hook the right one and then the left one. While standing on the left side of the horse grab the third piece of the breast collar and hook it to the girth between the horse’s front legs. Pick up the bridle, and remove the halter from the horse’s head and place it on a hook (or throw it on the ground) or place it on the ground. to each their own! Grab the tie down and slip it on the horse’s head,. this This action is will be is required strongly recommended for any horse that likes to toss its head or rear. The clip that hangs from the tie down can be ran run through the circle in the center of the breast collar, between the front legs, and hooked to the circle on the girth. Stand on the left side of the horse, hold the top piece of the bridle in the right hand between the horse’s ears, so that the bridle dangles over the horse’s face. If the horse doesn’t take the bit right away insert the a thumb into the corner of the horse’s mouth and apply pressure. Lower the bit just beneath the lips as the horse’s mouth opens from the thumb pressure,. carefully Carefully place the bit in the mouth without banging the teeth. Put the top part of the bridle over the horse’s ears and hook the throat latch, if there is one. Clip one side of the rein on to the right bit shank making sure the rein is over the neck for safety. At this time splint boots can be put on the horse’s front legs. Place them between the knee and the ankle, these should be snug but not too tight. Take the rein and walk the horse out of the grooming area. Re-check the girth tightness as Now the girth will need to be re tightened, this is because horses tend to push their bellies out from the sensation of the girth when it is first placed around their belly. If this step is forgotten, the first step into the stirrup might result in the rider falling to the ground before even mounting the horse, which is not a good way to start (not a good way to start).

Much detail and knowledge is needed to own a horse. It takes years to learn everything one needs to know to be an experienced horse person. The information above is basic knowledge for generalized guidance and has left out specific details about fitting tack to the horse, the different types of tack, and the much intricated details. The steps above could be eliminated, but the care of the horse is just as important as the training. It’s not all about the ride, it’s about getting there from the ground up. This would be why it takes so long to get a horse ready to ride. Now it’s time to mount the horse and do some warm up circles (always remembering that the horse is an athlete and can’t have tight muscles). Take a deep breath and relax because it’s time to win (because let’s be honest, there’s no place like first).

Word Cited

1. (How to Prepare to Ride a Horse.) WikiHow. http://www.wikihow.com/prepare-to-ride-a-horse

2. Harris, Susan. Grooming To Win. Howell Books. 1991. Print.…...

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