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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.

IMPORTANT - The opinions expressed here are from personal experience and we strongly advise you to contact your veterinary surgeon or your riding instructor if you are seriously worried about your horse. Prompt action is important.

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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


More info: 

UK and Ireland


Reading on the beach or in the bath? - STAR PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

I'm addicted to reading and I love the NEW KINDLE OASIS because it's waterproof. Believe it or not, you can drop it into water and it will still work. No more worries about taking my Kindle to the beach or pool. It's ideal for my husband who likes to read - and fall asleep - in the bath! It's also got built-in Audible so I don't need to take two devices with me and can switch from reading to listening whenever I want.

(Suzanne - Editor of Horse and Pony Info) 

Watch out for laminitis in small ponies and Native Breeds. Keeping weight under control is vital.


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


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