Tag: horseback riding

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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.


This Years Equestrian Winner

First off, we would like to thank everyone for their support this year. We had a fantastic turn out and received enough donations to get us through another year. If you did not attend this years equestrian event, be sure to sign up to our mailing list so that you know when we will be holding our next one.

This years winner was Michelle Spencer. She is a first time competitor and therefore winner and did a fantastic job finishing in a record time. Stan Burger spoke to Michelle after shortly after her win, and she was happy to answer a few questions. You can read these below.

Congratulations… how are you feeling right now?

I am full of energy. It must be the adrenaline pumping through my body. I am so thankful to everyone that support me this year and I can’t put into words how happy I am to have won.

Who exactly are you thankful towards?

My husband has supported my interest in horses and I have spent many weekends away from home training. I am very grateful for his support. My dad is also an avid horse enthusiastic and rider and I suppose I am grateful towards him for sharing his passion with me and exposing me to horses when I was quite young.

How long have you been training?

As I said I have been riding horses since I was quite young. I first started when I was about 7 years old, but I did not do anything advanced until I was about 16. All up, my equestrian training is about 10 years. This has been on and off though and it is not like riding a bike. You really need to be comfortable with what you are doing otherwise you won’t push yourself to your limit.

Was the competition this year difficult?

I do not know about other years, but this year the competition was very difficult. There were a lot of fantastic riders some who I know personally. I want to thank Sara Cooper for her assistance this year and want to give her a big shout out. She was a fantastic rider this year and I wish her the best of luck next year.

Have you ever been involved in an equestrian competition before? 

Yes. I used to live in California and was a member of a club out there that would regularly schedule competitions. They never had the turnout of this one though. I was very impressed to see the amount of people here and it was great to see how welcoming they were of my family. I had also never won before, and I felt that I did them proud.

Will we be seeing you next year?

Absolutely! I had an excellent time this year and will be training hard to improve my own skill next year. I think the guys know they are in for some competition, so everyone will be training hard this year ready for another event.

Any advice for those who are just starting out?

Yes. Be patient. Practice. Do not do more than you are able to do. It can be tempting to want to push yourself beyond your limits, but with horse riding you must be careful. It can be dangerous but incredibly rewarding. Also, ensure you work on your relationship with your horse. It is just as important that they like you as you like them.

Congratulations and best of luck in the future Michelle. 

Thank you.


Be sure to keep updated with events this year to continue to support the local community. If you are not yet signed up to our mailing list, please sign up here.


ETI Corral 2

Please join us for our annual Christmas Breakfast Ride on Sunday, December 11 at the Hahamongna ETI staging area! For more details contact us by mail or by phone at 626_644_4112.

County Supervisor Mike Antonovich sponsored a ride on June 13 on La Canada and Pasadena trails. Thanks Mike for coming to our neighborhood!

ASPCA published some photos and descriptions of plants toxic to horses here.

mapETI Corral 2 promotes horsemanship and safe, enjoyable riding. Based in the west San Gabriel Valley, we are involved with trail-related issues such as equestrian access, trail maintenance, and equine advocacy.

Current issues include the Arroyo Seco Master Plan, closure of Ernie Debs Park to equestrian use, Altadena Crest Trail and other trail issues in that area, and the San Gabriel River Corridor Master Plan. Our ongoing projects include representing the equestrian community with local governments including the Cities of Pasadena and South Pasadena.

We have an open email list for equestrian related topics, and do occasional surface mailings to our ETI members.

Our general meeting is the second Thursday of the month. Recent meetings have been held at Burger Continental on Lake Street in Pasadena.

ETI is a national organization founded in 1944. Corral 2, founded in 1948, is the oldest active chapter in the organization, and we are proud of our long history of service to the equestrian community.

Keep informed with upcoming events.