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Horse Riding: How to Start

As with all things, we have to start somewhere, right? The same goes with horseback riding. We know that you want to immediately become a great horseback rider but as all successes go, there are no shortcuts for a successful horseback riding.

Whether you intend to learn horse riding for the purposes of joining an equestrian competition or for pure pleasure and hobby, the fundamentals of learning it are pretty much the same and universal.

Before you start to ride

First of all though… before you proceed to the actual riding part, you need to have the proper and the necessary gear – for your horse and for yourself too. Invest on a good quality saddle, saddle blanket, bridle, as well as grooming kit. So, why is it important to groom your horse, anyway?

First, brushing your horse promotes good blood circulation. Second, grooming your horse allows you to bond with the animal. Third, it makes the horse looking clean and shiny, so it’s important that you should groom your horse before the ride, as well as after it.

Purchase a good riding attire. For a full list and detailed descriptions of horse riding gear and attire, you need to check out this link: “Equipment Needed to Start Riding Horses.” Then tie your horse safely and securely so that you can saddle it up for the ride.

Mounting

With your horse groomed and saddled up, then it’s time for you to do the mounting part. Understanding how to properly mount on a horse is very important, and it’s a first big step towards everything else that follows in horse riding.

Before you get on though, check the gear on your horse first to see if it’s properly fitted and snug. When everything’s in place, it’s time to do the mounting part. Hold both reins with your left hand then grasp the horse’s tuft of mane. Hold the back of the saddle with your right hand.

Next, lift your left foot and place it into the stirrup, then pull yourself up, throwing your right leg over your horse’s hindquarter. Be careful not to kick your horse’s rump or hit your leg at the back of the saddle.

Steering the horse

The reins are basically the “steering wheel” of your horse. So if you want your horse to turn left, pull the reins on your left; if you want to turn it right, pull the reins on your right.

Another style of steering consists of holding the reins by both hands, where one hand holds the reins steadily while the other hand applies gentle pressure straight backwards. This will cause the horse to react to the pressure, inciting a response in return.

You may also steer the horse by coaxing in a couple of ways. One is to gently press your leg into your horse’s sides; this will cause the horse to react and respond in turn. Another is to say verbal commands. Don’t forget that horses are extremely intelligent creatures, and most of them will respond to common verbal commands such as “Get up!” to move forward, and “Whoa!” to stop.

Riding and walking

As a first-time rider, it is not generally advisable to ride in places where there are things that get in the way or things that get close to your path, such as fences or tree branches.

Therefore, start your first ride by going to vast and open areas. This will help you concentrate on more important things such as balancing your posture while you’re on the saddle. Horse riding requires a considerable amount of concentration and balance, so the key here is practice.

In your first rides, you are likely to have an instructor who rides close to your side as you are still learning the basics, such as reining and cuing the horse to walk. If you have not taken horse riding before, it would take some time to get accustomed to your horse’s motion.

Eventually, with lots of practice, riding a horse will become much more easy and natural. Make sure to keep your horse under control – be careful not to excite the animal too much, or watch out for things that may alarm or frighten your horse and cause itself to rear.

Why Horseback Riding Is Good for You

Before motorized auto vehicles like cars and motorcycles, people widely used horses to get them to different places — whether by riding on a horse alone or riding inside horse-drawn vehicles like carts, coaches and buggies. Most people at the time used to ride on horse backs for many purposes, from commuting to hunting.

Nowadays though, horseback riding is mostly considered a sport and recreation. However, it doesn’t mean that it has lost its utilitarian value.

Moreover, horseback riding seems to have found a new purpose: providing health benefits to the body and mind. You won’t believe it? In that case, we are rolling out good reasons why you should take up this sport.

1) Physical exercise
Exercise? But it’s the horse that does most of the work, right? That’s right, but you may be surprised to find out that horseback riding also helps in burning calories. According to a recent research, a 30-minute light trotting burns about 360 calories, which is enough to qualify as a moderate-intensity exercise. It also helps in flattening and toning your stomach along the way.

Mounting on a horse, as well as alighting from it, provides some workout as well. Positioning yourself on a horse, and adjusting to the horse’s gait will help in toning your back, inner thigh and pelvic muscles. Riding on a horse for prolonged periods of time will also develop stronger legs and thighs.

2) Balance and coordination
For most people, horseback riding is just mounting on a horse and going off – that’s it. In fact, horseback riding is not as simple as you think. It requires good balance and coordination. For one, controlling your horse’s gait and speed will require you to coordinate your position on the horse, as well as rein pressure and leg pressure – all at the same time. As the horse makes its moves and turns (often quickly), you must be able to be “in harmony” with your horse’s moves as well as be able to support yourself.

3) Improved flexibility
When you have gotten used to horseback riding for some time, you will be able to see your flexibility considerably improving. Certain parts of your body, such as your pelvic and hip area, are most likely to improve in terms of flexibility. Flexibility is important – even crucial – in horseback riding, because it allows the rider to coordinate with the horse’s movements in a naturally agile and flowing motion.

4) Improved posture
Riding for a prolonged period of time allows you to sit in specific positions to keep yourself balanced while on the saddle. As a result, your posture will remarkably improve.

5) Mental exercise
It is definitely a challenge to become (and to stay) focused on yourself and your horse and that requires mental work and concentration – which, in turn, is a good exercise for your brain. Horseback riding is also known for its meditative and stress-relieving benefits. Plus, spending time with animals are supposed to increase levels of serotonin, a hormone which enhances your mood. So overall, horseback riding is not just good for your body, but it’s also good for your brain and your emotions.

Dealing with a large, powerful and intelligent animal such as a horse – which also tends to act independently – is both a full-body and a full-mental workout. It forces you to use your muscles you never knew existed and develop your quick thinking skills as you are constantly adjusting to your horse’s motion. Knowing and understanding more about horses and their attitude is also a key to a better riding experience. Read more about horses on this article: Interesting Facts about Horses.

Preparing for the Arrival of a New Horse

For many horse and horseback riding enthusiasts, bringing home a new horse is always a big event. But like with other pets, having a new horse requires care and responsibility, whether you are new to owning and taking care of horses or are experienced already in it.

This includes providing the horse with proper food and drink, as well as good shelter – in this last regard, if you have not prepared a good stable for your horse, then it’s time that you should.

As you await your horse’s arrival, make the necessary preparations. Have a pasture ready for your horse before it comes to its new home. Make sure that the pasture is free from litter and dangerous objects (such as wires and sharp objects) that can otherwise injure your horse or harm its health. Also, remove poisonous weeds. Do not let your horse to graze in locations where there is a possibility of heavy pollution and contamination, such as the the area by the roadside.

It’s good if there’s a nearby running stream or a natural pond for your horse to drink. But in case of absence of a stream or a pond, you can set up an old tank or construct a trough – horses drink about a whopping eight to ten gallons of water a day, so make sure that you supply fresh and clean water every day.

Before your horse arrives, you have to get the basic equipment ready such as a lead rope, a halter, as well as grooming tools and supplies like a curry comb, a body brush, a mane brush or comb, as well as buckets for food and water. Food basically consists of hay, chaff, grain and pellets, as well as supplements (don’t forget them!).

These preparations will keep you occupied and amused as you wait for your horse’s arrival. Read more about horses on this article “Interesting Facts about Horses” as a way of knowing more about this amazing animal.

Preparing a stable or barn for the new horse

Of course, another one of the things you should consider before your horse arrives to its new home, is preparing a stable. You won’t be called a responsible horse owner if you can’t provide it with a shelter. If you don’t have a stable yet, then you should build one, preferably several days or even weeks or months in advance, depending on how many new horses you would like to take home. Building a stable requires a great deal of time, planning, effort and resources. You want only the best for your horse. So, following the proper steps and having the proper tools will enable you to build an ideal stable for your horse

1) Location – Finding a location to build a new stable is important. See to it that the location is well away from places that might be a big source of dust (such as the ones coming from grain dryers) or pollution. Make sure that the the area is clear of trees, as fallen leaves can block the drainage.

2) Long-term planning – You are more likely to consider to have long-term plans for your horse’s stable before proceeding to the actual building part. It’s a fact that people who own a horse tend to add more horses. For instance, if you own one or two horses, you may want to add a couple more stalls to your new horse stable.

3) Stable type – Decide on which type of horse stable will work best for you. There are typically two types:

  • Interior column – consists of interior columns which hold up the rafters or beams (the ones which support the roof).
  • Clear span – it has no interior columns to support the roof.

4) Space – Space is also important when building a new stable. When you’re at it, you might as well build a bigger stable and higher ceilings and wider alleyways – at least build a 12” x 12” stall and a 14′ aisleway — these dimensions are ideal to provide plenty of space for your horse to comfortably move around.

5) Flooring – What your horse will be standing on is a critical consideration when planning a new stable. Horses that are kept inside have to stand still for long periods of time, which can put pressure on their legs. For this very reason, you have to choose the type of flooring carefully.

Floor upkeep is also a factor – some types of flooring are easier to clean and maintain than others. Concrete flooring is perhaps the most common type for stables – it is relatively inexpensive, durable, easy to maintain and resistant to damage. Textured concrete flooring is the most ideal for the stalls and aisles, as it also reduces the chances of slipping. This type of flooring is often covered with rubber mats for additional hoof comfort.

6) Wash stall – Allot a space to build a wash stall to clean and bathe your horse. In the wash stall, have an overhead hose as well as a hot/cold water system installed. A concrete flooring covered with a rubber mat is the ideal surface for this particular area.

7) Tack room – A tack room is a usual feature in horse barns and stables. This is where you can have immediate access to horse gear and equipment such as saddles, bridles, grooming tools, etc. and your own riding gear such as boots and helmets. Several tack rooms go beyond their basic function – some of them are really gorgeous and even feature a mini living room, washroom and/or kitchen.

8) Ventilation – Adequate airflow for the stable is also critical. Install fans and ventilation systems to maintain good air quality and to keep your horse healthy and happy.

9) Doors and windows – A sliding door is the best and most practical stable door option. It saves space and creates a less “creaky” noise which may otherwise disturb your horse. Add windows to let the natural daytime light into the stable.

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Manor Hill Is Complete! Come Visit Us Today

Firstly, we’d like to say thank you to everyone’s involvement in getting Manor Hill off the ground. It’s been a huge project, one of the biggest undertaken in the area and we are so pleased that we have been able to get through it.

Now for a big announcement…

Manor Hill is now open to the public!

The moment we have all been waiting for has arrived!

Manor Hill opened last month and has already seen 5000 guests during that time. If you attended the opening ceremony, you’ll know that the total cost of the project came in at just under a million dollars. This was significantly less than was forecast and we are sure that was due to all the contribution by the public. It’s amazing to see what people can do when a community gets together to better itself. Now, we can all enjoy the facilities Manor Hill offers.

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find…

A youth center

At Manor Hill, we had a vision to ensure that people of all ages felt included, including the group that is often left out – teenagers. This is why we have designed a youth center, complete with the best air hockey table we could find from air hockey table reviews, this is a space for the youth of our community to play, develop ideas and share their achievements with their peers in a safe and comfortable space all to themselves!

An onsite cafe

Manor Hill will eventually house 3 onsite cafes. Right now, there is just one – Romba Roast. Come and smell the aroma of fresh coffee beans and steamed milk from the cafe at the summit. The cafe is open daily from 10am to 3pm, and Kristen and Lulu will happily take your order and make you the best coffee you have ever had.

A children’s play area

We were not going to include a play area due to space limitations, but due to an overwhelming demand from the public and a rethink of the design, we finally agreed that this was the best thing to do. There is now a decent size play area for children from the ages of 3 to 12 located on the east side of Manor Hill. The park is open all day and free to enter.

Adult supervision is required at all times.

A running track

One of the most anticipated developments at Manor Hill was the running track – a 5km track that spans the development. It’s now complete! There’s also timers available free of charge so that you can test the time it takes you to run/walk/jog around the entire track.

We can’t wait for you to visit and share in the excitement that is now Manor Hill!

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Manor Hill is Nearly Complete – Update

You’ve been asking us for a while about how the progress of Manor Hill is going. It’s been a challenge gathering together resources in a community with limited funding from the government. Joan, the project manager, said yesterday that after being at a standstill for so long, progress is well underway and will set to be finished in August. She thanked everyone for their patience and assistance.

There is still several bits left to make the building complete. There is still several jobs left to complete to ensure the project is successfully completed on time. Joan has requested us to post the following on our website to help meet strict deadlines.

Seeking anyone with an electric chainsaw

We are looking for electric chainsaws ONLY – be aware Manor Hill has been a project of environmentalism. The community is actively doing it’s best the preserve the surrounding area and to create a safe and environmentally friendly spot. The team has been following the latest Green Tips and we hope that all future projects will involve this level of protection.

Stay out of Mayson’s Pond

For an disclosed amount of time, Mayson’s Pond will remain closed. Local authorities have claimed that the water is unsafe due to torrential downpour in the area and it will not risk the safety of the community by advising swimming. If you are looking for a spot to swim this summer to escape the heat, nearby Surrey Hill Reserve is another option. Be mindful that due to the shifting weather patterns, other reserves may close without warning. Also bring plenty of fresh water with you. Authorities have already responded to 22 cases of heat stroke this summer.

Join us for a final fundraiser

We will have one last fundraiser to secure funding for the final touches of Manor Hill. There will be raffle tickets and a rap off by local children. Entry will be $5 paid prior to entering the office (cash only) and the raffle tickles will cost $1 each of 10 for $5. Please join us!

An update on the transformation of Manor Hill

It has been a tough month for our workers at Manor Hill, transforming the course to become one of the communities best golf courses in the area. Our team have been doing endless amounts of research and I am sure they will agree with me when I say this has not been an easy feat. The team have been researching what makes the most popular golf courses around the world so great, and have taken specific inspiration from Cypress Point Club.

Some of their research has included just how many holes to offer players. Although this seems like an easy task it has involved extensive surveying of the area and a balancing of the amount of holes the land can offer without taking away the land that is required to play. Workers have also had to decide on important decisions such as where to place sand dunes, various types of hazards and other obstacles on the course. The amount of research required for such judgements is rather extensive and I congratulate the team on their work and findings.

There has been even more research going on too, ensuring we have the most advanced golf course, with the team researching sites so that the community will have the best golf rangefinder and the most advanced technology that is currently offered. As most will know, members will have free use of rangefinders at the course and so will not require their own. The team has decided that the Bushnell Pro X7 is the best golf rangefinder for our course, and have ordered it in bulk.

There is plenty more to be done, and we are thankful for the communities patience and involvement in this process. We will provide another update in a few months to keep the community informed of how things are going. If you can, feel free the pay a visit and check out the work that has already been completed.