Can’t get enough information about horses? You’re not alone. Luckily, there are many great resources out there, on all sorts of horse-related topics. Let our resource guide direct you to this wealth of information.
Selecting a Horse
The University of Maine provides this extensive guide about selecting and caring for your first horse.
Selecting a horse requires prospective owners to identify their intended horse use, to be able to evaluate horse value, and to be familiar with the different outlets for horse purchase. People own horses for a variety of hobby- and business-related reasons. When surveyed, horse owners indicate several reasons for owning a horse for a hobby, including
- pleasure and enjoyment,
- a desire to compete in horse events, and
- participation in youth development projects.
Your reason for wanting a horse will be the initial guide in determining what type of horse will best meet your needs.
Identifying Horse Uses: Before buying, define the types of activities in which you want to become involved. Common horse activities indicated by Maine horse owners include
- pleasure riding,
- therapeutic riding,
- participating in horse shows,
- farming or logging work,
- breeding, and
- harness racing.
It is advisable to attend different horse related activities and observe the requirements for participation. Interacting with horse owners at these activities will help you meet others with similar interests and therefore help you enjoy your horse. This interaction will also clarify which attributes enable a horse to excel in an activity and may provide a source of horses to buy.
On our website you can see information about the main breeds of horses. How they differ and the pros and cons of each breed.
On our website you can already find full information about how to ride horses. In this article, I will talk about common mistakes made by beginners.
- Hands too high and reins too long
It’s often human nature for us to use our hands and arms to balance, and for this reason many beginner riders balance on the reins when things get a little wobbly. To maintain balance without relying on the reins, work on ‘following’ the horse with your seat and core. Your hands should remain at hip level, and should maintain a light, even tension on the reins.
- Gripping too tightly with your legs
Gripping with your legs isn’t what keeps you in the saddle — instead, it’s all about balance and core strength. When sitting in the saddle, take a deep breath and then breathe out, letting yourself sink down into the saddle (while still sitting up straight of course!). Let your leg hang from you hip, with your weight falling down through your heel (without jamming your heel down). Your leg should remain beneath you, so there is an imaginary straight line through your ear, shoulder, hip and heel.
- Holding your breath
This is common — and not just with beginners! Riders often don’t realise they are holding their breath when nervous or learning something new. The trouble is, this can make you tense. Hum a tune, breathe in and out with your horse’s strides, smile — anything that will make sure you keep breathing!
- Some beginner riders look down when learning to ride — often they’ll focus in the horse’s head or neck, or their hands.
Look up, and focus on where you’re going. This not only helps to ensure you sit up straight but also keeps you in better balance. This also applies when turning — look around the corner to where you’re heading!
- MidAtlantic Horse Rescue: This organization helps save healthy thoroughbreds from slaughter, once their racing careers are over. Check out their website to learn how you can adopt one.
- Adopt-a-Horse: This group rescues and rehabilitates standardbred racehorses, and prepares them for adoption.
- The International Museum of the Horse: Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the International Museum of the Horse chronicles the horse’s place in history. On its website, you can look through interactive exhibits and view other educational resources.
- American Association of Equine Practitioners: This is a professional organization for veterinarians and others who work in horse medicine.