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Hoofbeats - The Blog 

Welcome to our blog page, HOOFBEATS, where we talk about the countryside with a main emphasis on training and caring for horses and ponies. If you would like to contribute ideas and information about your own experiences, we would be delighted to hear them. Please email to editor@horseandponyinfo.com or post to our Facebook Page, Horse and Pony Info. If you're into Twitter, you can contact us @horse_ponyinfo.

The opinions expressed here are from personal experience and we strongly advise you to contact your vet or your riding instructor if you are seriously worried about your horse.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Keeping a horse in an outline

Problems with keeping a horse in an outline are very common and, first, it's important to know what a correct outline is. Basically it's to do with a horse's head carriage and way of going. Young and untrained horses find it difficult to work in an outline and will take time to find the correct balance. Often they will try to work with a low head carriage or head high in the air, depending on the horse. As a horse's training progresses, he becomes less 'on the forehand' and learns to work more 'from behind' with power and impulsion coming from the hindquarters. No horse should be forced into an outline and his rhythm should be correct before worrying about this.

Flatwork and dressage will improve way of going and outline as the correct muscles build up. It is very tiring for a young horse to work in an outline for long periods of time so reward him with plenty of breaks in between exercises where he is allowed to walk on a long rein to relax his muscles.

I find lungeing with side reins a help to improve both rhythm and outline because you are on the ground and can see what the horse looks like but be careful not to overdo it with young or unfit horses and ponies as it is extremely tiring. Ten minutes on each rein is plenty in the beginning. They need to walk on the lunge without side reins at the beginning and end of each session to warm up and relax their muscles. More tips on improving outline here.

11:01 am gmt 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reminder about competitions to enter

WolfieandHal.JPGFirst, a result! We had a busy weekend competition which we ran for Curvy Fillies, a company which sells ladies' riding clothes for sizes 16-24. This took place through our competition page on this website and also on Facebook and Twitter. People were shown a photo of a lovely French filly and asked to think of a suitable name for her. We had over 400 entries and our congratulations go to Emmelene Knowles whose name DESERT SANDSTORM was picked as the winner. More info here.

Our January photo competition to find a 'Horse or Pony with Great Character' is still ongoing and there's still time to enter because entries don't close until 31st January, 2011. We'll be publishing some of the entries we've received already soon.
More info here.

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) has announced a new photo competition for pony lovers under the age of 16. Here are the details:

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) is launching ‘I Love My Pony’ photo competition for pony lovers under 16 years of age. The Wicklow-based charity is asking young pony and horse fans to send the IHWT a picture of their ponies. The best shot will be posted on the IHWT website and will win IHWT merchandise as Pony Club Winner. 

To enter, kids must sign up as a Junior Member of Saddle Up! IHWT Pony Club (with parental permission and free of charge) and then send their photos to the IHWT. “Kids love ponies but with ponies come responsibility and the care of the animal.  Through our newsletters and other material available to members, kids can learn about animal welfare and news related to their horses and ponies,” says co-founder Sharon Newsome. “By becoming members of our Junior Pony Club, youngsters can learn about equine welfare from an early age, in a collective and fun environment.” Raising animal welfare awareness is a key priority for the IHWT, who works rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing neglected horses and ponies from across Ireland. 

To enter ‘I Love My Pony’, visit http://www.ihwt.ie/site/?page_id=402

(Photo: Wolfie and Hal at the IHWT)

1:55 pm gmt 

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Online Shop where you can create your own mugs and gifts
How was New Year? It's hard to believe we're already 10 days into 2011 and our new resolutions are already getting a bit shaky! We've got one resolution at Horse and Pony Info that we've managed to keep and that was the promise to re-design our Online Shop.

We awarded prizes in our two last photo competitions of greetings cards and photo mugs and were delighted when the winners of them posted great compliments on our Facebook page. We promised to re-design the Online Shop so that everyone can now order their own mug, T-shirt, mouse mat or greetings cards with your favourite horse, pony, cat, dog or anything you like on them.

To save you wasting money, you can email the photo to editor@horseandponyinfo.com first to make sure it is of suitable size (at least 1MB) and quality. We'll check with the printers and send you confirmation by email. You can then go to our shop page and pay using PayPal or credit card.

If you'd like more info on this, go to our Online Shop.
9:27 am gmt 

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Horses racing on a frozen lake in Switzerland
copyright: Gilles Oster - Fotolia.com

Use this in kitchen, stable or garden - your choice!

Canine equivalent of Christmas sweater in three designs


Bitless riding is becoming more popular. Read our articles by three experienced bitless riders


Recommended books:

If you enjoy our online magazine and Facebook page, please support us by buying your Amazon.co.uk items by using this Search Box throughout our site. It doesn't cost you any extra and it earns us a small commission to help keep our website going. (Horse and Pony Info is a participant in the Amazon Europe S.à r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk/Javari.co.uk/Amazon.de/Amazon.fr/Javari.fr/Amazon.it.)

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Horsey Brain Teaser

Answer to Brain Teaser No. 3 is 80

Visit our KINDLE AND HORSES page for eBooks and a comprehensive list of horsey and non-horsey accessories

FURminator Equine - We recently bought one of these ourselves and have found it great. It effortlessly removed loose hair and the horses really seem to enjoy being groomed with it. We even tried it out on our dog! Obviously you need to take care not to use it on parts of the body where the bone is close to the surface, such as face and legs. (by Suzanne Lalor, Horse and Pony Info)

Please click below to join us on Facebook! TIP: Stay safe on Facebook - Horse and Pony Info recommend setting your Privacy Settings (under Accounts tab at top of your Facebook page) to 'Friends Only'.

Answer to Horse Breed Puzzle

There are 5 breeds mentioned: Shetland, New Forest, Welsh Mountain, Thoroughbred and Irish Draught.


Buy direct from an Irish grower
Plant hedging and trees now
We supply beech, laurel, hornbeam, box, hawthorn & yew.
Instant hedges a speciality. Ireland's premier grower of
beech hedging.

Bareback riding
Students come to Ireland to learn English and ride horses

Small ponies rarely need shoes
'Black Pony' available as a greeting card. Click photo to buy.
Take rugs off horses and ponies in April and May
'Equine Conversation' is available as greetings card. Click photo to buy.

Visit our page of cards of Cats and Dogs
Black Labrador in Deck Chair. Click photo to buy.

Watch a tame fox in West Cork eating food from human hands
(This file is 50mb so, if you have a slow internet connection, you might need to go off and make yourself a cup of coffee while it's getting itself organised on your computer).

Play video of tame fox in West Cork - 50mb

Horses load better if they enjoy going to shows
'Clearing the Last' - available as a Greetings Card. Click photo.

A pony who had been abused

Do you have ideas or a problem which would interest our readers? Please email to editor@horseandponyinfo.com .