Category Archives: General Topics

2010 WEG Reining Freestyle Love Like Crazy

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Originally posted 2012-06-24 13:44:27.

The Main Portuguese Horse Breeds at a Glance

The western-most Iberian country of mainland Europe, Portugal, is home to a handful of thoroughbreds that have become famous the world over. These are the Lusitano, Sorraia and Garrano Portuguese horse breeds. Each has a unique breeding history that essentially had their roots in the Iberian plains long before recorded history.

The Lusitano Breed

The most famous Portuguese horse is the Lusitano, named after Lusitania which the conquering Romans called Portugal in the first century BC. Modern Portuguese equestrian sports have been known to use the Lusitano horse exclusively for years. It is believed to have had its roots in a number of cross breeding between the local Berber pony and the Arabian horse that entered the country during the various waves of Carthaginian, Roman, Germanic and Arab Moorish conquests of the Iberian Peninsula.

But it was not until 1942 when veterinarians from the government’s National Stud officially christened the specific horse breed at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art as Lusitano, did the name finally entered the Portuguese Stud Book first published in 1889.

There have been other similar breeds found in Spain and in 1962, an agreement between Spanish and local breeders was reached on the specific traits that would distinguish the Portuguese Lusitano and Spain’s Espanhol breeds.

The Garrano Breed

With prehistoric roots, the Portuguese Garrano has it roots from the Iberian pony native to the northern mountainous regions of the country. Cave rock drawings in caves of Altamira and La Pasiega depict the ancestral Garrano origins used mainly as the main means for agriculture and transport needs of the early Portuguese.

Its subsequent breeding with foreign breed introduced over centuries of domination from various conquering peoples has produced other Portuguese horse breeds that now include the modern Garrano. Its straight head profile and short legs won’t give it equestrian qualities but they continue to be used in large rural farm communities.

The Sorraia Breed

In 1945, Dr Ruy D’Andrade discovered a unique horse that thrived in the valley where the Sorraia River flows through after getting merged from the Sor and Raia tributaries in the same northern regions of the country where the Garrano also roamed freely.

He aptly named it the Sorraia horse as one of the native Portuguese horse breeds of modern times. Like the Garrano, there have been rock engravings dating back to the Ice Age that reveal a prehistoric ancestral horse species resembling the character of the Sorraia horse. These are the least populous of the three breeds and are likewise used more for agricultural and transport needs of the rural communities.

For more information regarding Portuguese Horse Breeds, visit Portugal

Originally posted 2012-06-23 08:09:22.

Tips on How to Buy a Horse From An Equine Vet

Simple Tips on How to Buy a Horse

Tips on how to buy a horse can be very helpful to anyone who is thinking about taking this major step.

Buying a horse is a challenging proposition even when surrounded by the best of circumstances. Acquiring a pony, gelding, filly or thoroughbred stallion is also going to be a very expensive undertaking.

This is not the time to make such a decision lightly. You need to consider your choices and actions ahead of time. Find out all of the details, ask the right questions and look at all of the options before you pay the money and agree to make that new horse a part of your family.

Many people have rushed into ‘horse ownership’ only to find out that it really was more expensive and more involved than they first realized. Owning a horse requires a commitment of time, devotion, responsibility and money. If you are not prepared to give 110% then you are not quite ready to bring a new horse into your life.


It may sound rather simplistic, but you need to consider why you want the horse. Is this a lifelong dream that you are trying to satisfy? Did you read about an unfortunate equine and now you want to rush to the rescue? Could this be just a whim that has been voiced by a member of your family?

Have you seriously considered all of the expense and responsibility that will be involved? Are you ready to accept both the joys and challenges that horse ownership entails?

If you are fully prepared to care for this animal and understand the time and effort that will be required then you might be ready to move ahead with such an important decision.

Family Life or Boarding Stable?

Consider where the animal will be living? Is this horse going to be a true member of your immediate family and live in a stable on your land? Are you going to be boarding the animal at a nearby facility? Who is going to be responsible for the daily tasks that include feeding, exercising, riding, grooming and watering? How much time do you really have to devote to the care, maintenance and comfort of this new animal?

These are all questions that will have to be answered before you are ready to buy a horse.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

One of the most basic tips on how to buy a horse is the consideration of what the horse will be used for.

Are you planning to show the horse? Are you going to use the animal for trail rides, pleasure rides or do you hope to use him to help others learn how to ride?

Matching the horse to the proposed job will help make sure that you choose the right animal. A horse that loves to be out on the trail may not be well suited for some other uses. You need to make sure that you discuss your plans and aspirations with the seller before making a final decision.

Purchasing a horse that is not well matched to the rider’s level of skill and experience will almost certainly guarantee disastrous results. Getting ‘more horse’ for the money is not a bargain. “Too much horse” can even be dangerous.

You cannot just buy a horse because you like its gait, color or physical appearance. The best plan of action is to find a horse that is suited for your

  • Style of riding
  • Skill level
  • Experience
  • Size/Weight
  • Anticipated Use

If you plan to show this horse in the future then you want to be sure that the animal in question is going to be ready for the ring, or can at least be capable of transitioning to the show ring at a later date. You will also be paying additional money for these qualities. However it is better to make a correct decision now instead of trying to rectify a mistake later.

Make sure that you are buying the horse from someone who has experience and skill with these animals. This will allow you the opportunity to get some truthful information about the horse and its abilities. Unfortunately there are many people who are just trying to make a quick buck from the sale of horses and they can lead you down the wrong path in a matter of moments.

If you have little experience with horses you may want to bring along a friend who is more knowledgeable. You can even talk with local horse breeders, riding instructors or farriers and ask their opinion about the kind of horse best suited for your needs.

Cheap, Moderate or Expensive?

The money you are going to spend on a hose depends on your personal budget. A cheap horse can sometimes be a better deal than a more expensive one, but it all depends on the qualities you need in this animal and what qualities they possess.

An unbroken horse may cost less money but unless you are very skilled and know how to break and train a ‘bucking bronco’ you will be well advised to look elsewhere for a better bargain.

Many horses and ponies that are offered at ‘rock bottom’ prices have some sort of issues. The animal could have health or temperament issues. The age of the horse may even be a factor.

You need to consider what kind of animal you are purchasing and look at each factor carefully before you make an offer. A healthy, sound horse with a good temperament and calm disposition may cost a bit more than the younger horse with beautiful markings and foot trouble but you will know what you are getting. The younger horse with foot trouble may well be a ‘pig in a poke’ that could cost a fortune in vet bills during the immediate future.

Monetary Factors

On the average any normal horse will cost the owner/rider about $4000 or more per year in upkeep, vet bills, and maintenance. This figure does not include the cost of purchase and it does not take into account any unusual charges such as emergency medical care or special feed. The cost could be less than this if you are not boarding the animal but you are still going to be spending well over $2000 a year to care for a horse properly.

When you are trying to find tips on how to buy a horse one of the best suggestions is to stay within your budget. Do not attempt to buy a thoroughbred if you only have a couple of hundred dollars to spend. Remember that saying, ‘you get what you pay for’? This saying rings very true, especially where the cost of a horse is concerned.

Advice is Golden

Ask for help and advice from people you can trust. Go to your vet or ask a local riding academy for some help in finding a good, sound horse that you can afford. Breeders are always willing to talk with a prospective buyer but you need to remember that they are trying to ‘secure that sale’. This may make them a little too optimistic about the quality and character of the horse they are hoping you will buy.

Consider the Options

You can find horses advertised for sale on feed store bulletin boards and online. Craigslist has many farm animals and pets listed for sale each and every day.

Look in the local newspapers and check out the possibilities.

You may want to attend a horse show and find out what horses are being offered for sale. The advantage of this option is that you can actually watch the horses perform and see how they respond in the ring.

Livestock auctions are one avenue to pursue but there is a high level of risk involved. The health and temperament of the animal is usually not going to be guaranteed.

Riding academies and private riding instructors frequently offer horses for sale. Many times you can even co-own a horse if you purchase it through one of these facilities. An advantage to this purchase is that you may even be able to continue boarding the horse right at the same place where you bought the animal.

Right Horse Right Rider

Do not rush the decision should be the most important of any tips on how to buy a horse. Take your time so that you can be sure you are making the best possible choice.

Never buy a horse that you have not seen in person.

Never purchase a horse that you have not had the opportunity to ride and handle.

Do not buy a horse based solely on an emotional reaction.

Make 2-3 trips to visit and view any horse that you are seriously considering buying. This will help you discover if the horse is really the right one for you. Spend some time just being around the horse and find out how it reacts to grooming, feeding and other routine tasks.

Have at least one other person come and inspect the horse with you. Listen to their opinions and suggestions.

If you are sure that you are making a fully informed decision and you have the time, money and ability to love, train and care for this horse then you have most likely found the right one to buy.

Hugh Dillon is an Equine Surgeon at at Troytown equine hospital. He has produced a number of articles and videos which you can get at or you can view his youtube introduction at

Originally posted 2012-06-16 08:05:51.

Training Your Horse – Host a Horse Show

Hosting a horse show is a very rewarding thing. You get to showcase your place and you don’t have to trailer your own horses to the venue.

All you really need to host a show is:

  • ribbons
  • some prizes – easiest to get prizes from local businesses such as feed store or local veterinary clinic
  • a judge or local horse personality
  • insurance
  • of course people who are willing to take part.

It really doesn’t have to be too big of a deal. Entry forms can be simple or in some cases, for in – house training shows, sign up can be listing your name, your horses name and then checking the correct column of the class number that you would like to enter into on a posted sheet of cardboard.

More elaborate shows require significant organization and financial backing. Hosting a recognized show, sanctioned by your national governing horse body is the ultimate goal but to begin with, you must start somewhere and that place is at home at a local show.

The parents were happy to go and watch their children ride, but they didn’t know some of the fundamental basic rules or specifications of classes they were to show in. Or, for that matter, did the students. Jumper, hunter, equitation, they were all over fences so what’s the difference, I would often get asked. So I developed the Skill Builders series of show clinics to provide a safe professional, atmosphere at a reasonable cost to help promote shows and the showing experience.

The format is simple. You ride the course and when all the competitors in the class have finished their courses, comments are given as to why they placed and ways to improve. So it might be something like, “Equitation is judged on riding. Number 134, you are the best rider in this group and could have placed first, but because you rode on the wrong diagonal, your placing is lower. Next time correct your diagonal and your placing could be better”.

Often, as well, we would incorporate a short description of the class requirements is read over the loud speaker to let spectators and participants alike a chance to learn and know what is required. Road hack, Pleasure Horse/Pony, Equitation can be a bit confusing for first timers so clarifying it is helpful. Hosting you own development series is a great way to promote your stable and help your students understand the requirements of showing.

I host a special series of shows at my stable, Thistle Ridge Stables, called the Thistle Ridge Skill Builders. It is what I call a clinic with ribbons. I was finding that the parents of my students did not understand what was to happen at horse shows. I thought if my students really didn’t understand then there are a lot of other students who probably didn’t understand either. Visit for more information on how to host your own Skill Builder Show Clinic.

More information can be found by contacting me at (just remove the spaces). Also visit for more horsey related topics!

Originally posted 2012-06-11 08:03:32.

A Million Dollar Horse…

Meyerhoff also demonstrates the importance of practicing without stirrups (a bit of an understatement). He has commented on this ride (see text comments) saying

“This was his first Intermediate horse trial. He was more than ready. And I was quite confident he could do it. What I think happened was the horses cantered up the hill then when it was time to take off they then saw what was on the other side which caused a green horse to hesitate and loose their focus. Smooth Rider aka Odin saved us both. The rider in front of us fell and others before had problems. The fence was then removed. He got lots of cookies and kisses when we got home.”

Originally posted 2012-06-02 07:58:31.