Archive for July, 2011

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will commence on July 27th in London, England, and end on August 12th. The games will be the 30th Olympiad, and the third time London hosted the world event during its modern history. The equestrian competitions will take place at Greenwich Park, one of the oldest Royal Parks in London and the largest single green space in the south east area of the city. There are six main events scheduled to take place at Greenwich Park: individual dressage, team dressage, individual jumping, team jumping, individual eventing and team eventing.

The venue chosen for the equestrian events was first developed during the 15th century, and handed over to the British Crown in 1427 as a gift to Henry VI. The land was used for hunting and hawking by the Royal family for hundreds of years, but not before being enclosed in 1433. Today the 180 acres of forest and grassland includes structures such as Greenwich Castle, the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Vanbrugh Castle, Blackheath and Ranger’s House. Greenwich Park is an ideal location for such ancient sports as equestrian jumping and dressage. There are incredible examples of medieval architecture and landscaping for athletes, organizers and fans to enjoy along with watching the competitions.

There are disadvantages to using historical surroundings for these types of events; most importantly is the lack of ambient control. London may have a reputation for being cold, but in July and August the average temperature can reach between 22 and 32 degrees Celsius (70 to 90 F). Now take into account the fact that horses feel the heat of summer ten times faster than humans. According to Professor Michael Lindinger of the University of Guelph, it only takes 17 minutes of moderate exercise in a hot environment for a horse’s temperature to increase to dangerous, even fatal, levels.

The normal body temperature for a healthy horse is anywhere from 37 to 41 C (98.6 to 105.8 F). When exercise or ambient heat causes their body temperature to rise just two degrees, proteins within the muscle begin to cook. The higher the number goes, even in small increments, the more damage is done. First there is slowing of heart rate and blood pressure, then colic, and eventually renal failure. Obviously the natural biology of the horse provides an instinctive method of cooling the body, sweat. However, for such a large body it takes an incredible amount of sweat to cool it. Even in a relatively cool environment, a horse can sweat up to 20 liters (five gallons) per hour and 30 liters (eight gallons) per hour on a hot day.

When we sweat, 50% of the liquid evaporates and cools our body down. For horses, there is such a large quantity of sweat being produced that only about 30% of it evaporates and in turn has a cooling effect. The rest just pours off. Additionally, the sweat from horses is four times more concentrated with salt than ours. Losing that many electrolytes through sweating on an hourly basis can be fatal. Thus, rehydrating a dehydrated horse means using more than just water. Ideally a solution of electrolyte-rich water will keep the horse hydrated and replace vital nutrients. So, we have a beautiful and powerful creature that gets hotter faster, secretes a massive amount of bodily fluids per hour and is in constant need of electrolyte rich hydration.

Considering these facts, it is absolutely imperative the stables for the equestrian Olympic teams (and any horse stable for that matter) have a successful method of cooling for their horses. Up until recently the most frequently used method of cooling horses was restricted to using fans. Water for cooling was avoided because it led to wet hay, and wet hay led to mold. We now know environmental cooling is the best method for keeping horses comfortable, and ideally in a manner that can allow the animals to move about freely. The Olympic equestrian team has chosen a state of the art misting fan system that not only cools the horses most effectively; it has been customized to accommodate the unique features of the venue.

Misting fans work on the principal of water moving past air at an incredibly high rate of speed in the form of a mist that evaporates almost immediately upon release from the high pressure nozzle. The evaporating droplets of water have an instantaneous cooling effect on the immediate environment, without leaving puddles or getting the surroundings wet. Since misting systems are so pliable in design, they can be used in a multitude of ways. For example, the Olympic equestrian team can dress and saddle their horses under misting fans without everything and everyone getting wet, or cool the horses down after a rigorous event. After all, a horse that is isolated from the heat of summer most certainly performs with greater success.

The Olympic Games are always an important event. Although, it does seem as though having the equestrian competitions placed in Greenwich Park, where there is already such a long history of horsemanship, seems to demand a greater focus on the majestic power and beauty of the horse. Yet even amid that power there is a gentleness of spirit, and as we have learned here, a delicate constitution which must be attended with great care.

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A happy horse is one that has had the right attention given to it’s health. Proper horse care is a very important matter. There are a few things that should be done regularly to make sure that a horse is happy, and healthy.

Veterinarian visits are the number one priority. These should be done at least once a year. There are special vets just for equines. Stables that boards horses keep a list of vets on hand. It would be worth it to the horse’s health to get the name of a trusted doctor for it.

Some owners keep their horses on their property. This is a bit more of a responsibility. In this case, they are responsible for all of their care. They are in charge of making sure that their horse gets regular vet check ups, and arranging for other services that may need to be performed in order to ensure a healthy, well-kept horse.

Owners can do some simple things to care for their friends. Grooming and feeding are two basic things they can do. Grooming keeps their coat free of dead fur, and keeps their mane from getting tangled. Of course, feeding keeps their strength up.

If the boarding stable does not offer it, the stable the horse is staying in needs to be cleaned out. Horses like clean hay to lay on. It should be done on a regular basis. Commonly, it should be done once or twice a week.

Other things that need to be taken care of on a regular basis are the horse’s hooves, and dental hygiene. Hooves have various degrees of care that should be taken regularly. Horse shoes should be replaced or repaired when necessary. They should also be cleaned if the need arises. Barefoot horses need to have their hooves picked free of dirt. This can be done by the owner, once a bond has been built between them and their horse.

Perhaps the most important aspect of horse care is spending time with the horse. They will not be able to learn their owner if he or she does not take out the time to bond with their new friend. This is especially true if the horse is just coming into their possession. An easy method to bond with a new horse friend is to take it out for walks and runs. Do this once a day to build up a bond of trust between each other.

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Equestrian saddles include both the Western and English style. There are many people who use one or the other exclusively and more than a few who have occasion to switch. It depends on the breed of horse owned and whether they are riding for pleasure or competing in events.

The English style saddle is a smaller version of saddle, usually being also much lighter, comprised of fewer pieces of leather. It is of a very simple construction. Among English saddles, there are also different styles for a variety of uses. Dressage saddles have straight flaps with stirrups hanging down from the seat. The seat itself has taller pommel and cantle making it deep, as compared to the jumping saddle which has a shallow seat and shorter stirrups to allow correct position for jumping.

For competitive events at non-professional levels, the all purpose saddle, which is a combination of the dressage and jumping style, would most likely be used. When competing with a Tennessee Walking Horse the Lane Fox saddle might be used because it is a saddle used only for gaited horses. This is a good saddle but it is not as comfortable for someone just pleasure riding. They are mostly for keeping the rider in a position of control during competitions.

Many years ago, the side saddle was popular with women as it allowed them to ride attired in their long dresses. Being dressed so, they cold not ride astride the horse and remain and demure. The saddle was made with two horns, one for placing the knee around to provide security. Used rarely in these days, it can still be found utilized by folks who cannot sit on top of a horse with their legs on each side because of their particular handicaps.

Used often by pleasure riders is the Western style saddle, with a larger and more comfortable seat. In years past, cowboys used their horses to herd cattle and so forth, making a sturdy saddle a necessity. The cantle was slanted back farther, allowing a more comfortable position to be attained. The prominent horn was constructed in such a way as to secure the rope used to capture critters at branding time. After the cowboy lassoed the calf or yearling, they would wrap the rope around the horn and the horse would back up to take up the slack in the rope as the cowboy jumped off to tie up the struggling animal. Saddles were truly indispensable items.

Supposing all men who rode horses were cowboys, bad guys could use their saddle horn as a place to hang the bag of gold or money they stole from the bank or merchant! Saddle bags were two leather bags connected by more leather and hung across the haunches of the horse, behind the saddle. This could store stolen goods as well as the legal belongings and supplies of anyone riding.

As important as the saddle is to horse back riding, so also is the pad, (called a blanket, too) placed under the saddle to protect the horses back from uncomfortable rubbing of the leather. Side flaps or fenders, as they are sometimes referred to, kept the brambles from injuring the horses withers as they plunged through the undergrowth after errant cows.

The leather straps hanging from the four corners of the back of the saddle were used to tie rolls of bedding and other equipment or even extra food. The Equestrian saddle was a very important part of our history, both the Western and English style.

Discover inside info on explanations why saddles are significant for safety now in our help guide to all you have to know about how and where to get the best horse saddles in the UK.

Have you always dreamed of owning horses of your own? Making sure you are able to fulfill that dream is important, but choosing a horse may be more complicated than you dreamed about. Think about these facts before making a decision for purchasing horses for sale.

No matter if you want horses to put out to pasture or to ride in barrel racing competition, there are the same rules to follow when making the purchase. You do not want to make a mistake with horses you choose and the one you might spend a good amount of money on.

Your foremost concern when choosing horses is how healthy he or she is. You may want to discuss with a vet the kinds of things you should look for in a sick horse. Many time, however, you can have the vet come along with you to check a horse you are serious about purchasing. Think about making sure you have this option before making a final purchase.

The healthy and well taken care of horse will be easy to spot. The coat will shine and look like silk. Mane and tail will be sleek and untangled. There will be no eye or nose discharge. Before stepping into a permanent purchase, be sure you have a chosen a healthy animal.

Many people selling horses use drugs to calm down a tyrant or to perk up a sick horse. One way to see if this the situation with a horse you would like to buy is to go home after your initial visit, think it over and if you still think that is the only horse for you, go back. You might be able to see the horse the way it really is health and temperament wise. Having a vet along is always a good idea for this very reason.

Think about exactly what breed of horse you would like to have. That breed may not be the suitable choice for you. Never choose a horse because of its color or breed. You should choose one that has a temperament that will be good for your experience with horses and riding them. This is ever so true for those parents wanting to buy a horse for their children, the choice of an older horse with less tantrums and more rising time will be a lot safer than a younger and more energetic choice.

Looking at horses for sale is fun and exciting, however try to keep a level head and make the right choices. When you make sure to do this, you and your horse will be a lot happier with your choice. Taking home a horse that is not suitable will certainly be a huge challenge.

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