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October 2008
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December 2008

November 2008

Grooming for (your) fitness

Physical fitness takes a hit in the winter unless you have a plan. The sun, limited by natural seasons and the imposition of Let’s Waste Energy (aka: Standard) Time in the United States, goes down Click to enlarge. depressingly early between late November and April. To cope, I try to integrate exercise into the regular work day. Fortunately, at my non-stable job, I can get up and move around in the course of the day. I wear an inexpensive Wal-Mart pedometer and try to get in about three "routine" miles. The pedometer inspired me to cut back on e-mail and voice messaging in favor of getting up to interract with people, which they seem to like. Stable chores at the beginning and end of the day make up the rest of the winter routine. Our barn is lighted, and routine barn work does keep a person fit. According to equivalents in the Mega Mileage Club brochure, 18 minutes of horse grooming equals about one mile of walking. If you have time to ride, 12 minutes at the gallop, 13 minutes at the trot, and 30 minutes at the walk each add up to about a mile of walking. (Trust me, if you survive 13 minutes at the posting trot, you’ll know you’ve had a workout. Super-duper challenge: Try posting at the trot for 13 minutes without stirrups!)

Sponsored by: Poudre River

Right for the job

As with humans, bone mass in horses is important. Case in point: The tragic death of Kentucky Derby filly Eight Belles. A measuring tape wrapped around the top of the cannon bone just below the knee of a 1,000-pound horse should measure seven to eight inches. Good bones go hand in hand with strong muscles and tendons, according to veterinarian Nancy S. Loving. Her book, Conformation and Performance,Text is a beautiful must-have for anyone serious about horses or considering buying a horse . I attended a talk by Dr. Loving at one of the Rocky Mountain Horse Expos in Denver many years ago. Her point: It is only fair to your horse to ask him to do the job for which he is properly built. I grabbed the book off of the table and bought it right then. I return to Dr. Loving’s book time after time for the top-notch photos alone. The heavy-duty spiral binding and glossy card stock pages make browsing a sensory delight. Inevitably, I find a new tidbit like the one above, which you too can find in the photo caption on page 101.

Sponsored by: Poudre River

Level III Hunt Seat: The complete picture

Pursuing the Level III Colorado 4-H Horse Project Hunt Seat test requires high-level skills from horse and rider. The problem is that a lot of times, not everybody is clear on what an ideal levels test looks like. Click here for a printable, expanded description of the Level III Hunt Seat test. The neat thing about the higher levels tests is that they build good horses in addition to good riders. In our family, the horse with the highest riding level next to its name is also the horse that everybody wants to ride. That makes a horse properly trained and graduated through the levels tests a more valuable animal.  So go ahead, give your horse a little job security, and push for that next level!

Sponsored by: Poudre River