equine news

Ready to ride? Condition your horse first

September 9, 2009

Leslie NicholsAhhhh, relief is on the way. Of course, I’m talking about temperatures. You can feel it just before the sun goes down, which means fall riding is right around the corner.

It’s tempting to dive back into your arena work with Ms. Something Special or saddle up ole’ Goldie and head out for the hills. But to prevent injury or just plain muscle soreness (and cranky attitudes), it’s important you take a few weeks or more to condition your mount to get him or her ready for the fall fun you have in store.

horseThe number one practice to implement in conditioning horses is the “48 hour muscle recovery rule.” When you start riding your horse, give your horse two days off between riding activities. That’s one day on, two days off. As you condition your horse, increase the consecutive days, but don’t reduce the days off yet. Move on to two days on, two days off. Then three days on, two days off.

You will know your horse is becoming conditioned when he or she is able to work longer and more easily. In a surprising short period of time, your horse will go from becoming winded easily, to breathing more steadily for longer periods.

If your horse is breaking gait, slowing down a lot, and his gaits are generally “falling apart,” these may be signs he is not conditioned yet.

After three to four weeks at this schedule, you can then begin to cut down to one day off.

However, anytime you work your horse particularly hard, always give him a minimum two days off to let his muscles recover. And a good rub, is always nice as well!

See you on the trail!

Leslie Nichols is a progressive horsemanship professional and innovator of the Leslie Nichols Relaxation Program for horses and their owners, and The Fusion Method for Starting Horses. Contact her at leslienicholshorsemanship@gmail.com
Courtesy photo

Local youth wins her second Youth World Title at the Ford AQHYA

September 9, 2009

Monica HammTwelve-year-old Monica K. Hamm of Cave Creek won her second Youth World Championship in as many years at the 2009 Ford American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City on Aug. 8, 2009.

She showed her 5 year-old bay gelding named “RPL My Te Cheerful” in the Aged Gelding Youth Halter class to take home the coveted “Gold” trophy. Monica also showed her bay mare named “Existing” in the Aged Mares Youth Halter class and placed third place in the nation, taking home the “Bronze” trophy. There were 883 other exhibitors from around the nation and the world who competed for 33 world championship titles. The winners in each of the 33 classes took home a custom-designed trophy, Montana Silversmiths custom belt buckle, neck wreath, gold medallion, logoed Cripple Creek leather jacket, Professional Choice product, WeatherBeeta embroidered blanket and the honor of being named a youth world champion.

Monica is a seventh grader at Sonoran Trails Middle School and her sister, Kaylee, is a fourth grader at Desert Willow Elementary School. The girl’s grandparents, Vern and Rita Habighorst owners of Blue Ribbon Awards and Tack, take the girls to the horse shows around the country. They were very pleased with the results at this year’s Youth World Championship Show. Their horse trainer, Ted Turner of Turner/Bradshaw Ranch in Oklahoma, had both Monica and the two horses conditioned to be top contenders. Besides enjoying showing horses, Monica is also a member of her school’s volleyball team and student government.

Some of the other Arizona Youth Quarter Horse Association team that placed at the Youth World Championships show were: Erin Gillette in the Horsemanship class placed 9th with Radical By Choice and she also place 7th with the same horse in the Western Riding class.
Chantz Stewart in the Working Cowhorse class won 3rd place with Bayou Shiner and 6th place with Shining Cielo, in the Heeling class she won 9th place with Im Tuff N Happy and in the Breakaway Roping class she was a finalist with Haides Honda. Wyatt Hershberger placed 9th in the Working Cow Horse class with Barnies Bro. Sam Oden placed 10th with Topless Valentine in the Heading class and Courtny Cline was a finalist in the Stake Race with Col Doc O Peppers.

The Arizona team had 16 youth members on their team for this year. The other members who earned their spot on the Arizona team and showed with their heart and soul at the Youth World Championships show were: Taylor Searles, Anna Abbott, Alex Bianchi, Courtney Dawe, Taylor Gillette, Megan Goacher, Brittany McLellan, Maureen Murray, Gabriella Salamone and Taylor Bargenquast.

Congratulations to the entire Arizona Youth Quarter Horse Association’s team for their fantastic accomplishments. A big thank you goes out to their youth advisor, Kristin Mangosing, for all of her hard work for the entire team.