Tips on How To Improve your Riding Seat

Image: Copyright © Ajit Chouhan http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajitchouhan/6746056725/lightbox/

By Susan P.

By Susan

Improving your riding seat will make you a better rider, help you horse better understand you, and give you goals to work toward. Here are some great tips for improving your seat.




Take lessons

Take some riding lessons from an experienced rider or trainer. Even if you have already taken lessons some fresh teaching won’t hurt. Also try to take lessons from several different trainers at a time if you can. Every instructor has their own method of teaching and each one can show you something different. Be sure to tell your instructors you want to improve your seat, and ask them for exercises you can do on your own. If you can’t take lessons right away, ask another experienced rider or friend to watch you ride and give you pointers on improving your seat.

Watch yourself

Take a video camera out with you and ask a friend to tape you while you ride, or set it up on a tripod. Watch yourself later and see what things you can do to improve your riding. Some indoor arenas have mirrors for this same purpose. Before using a mirror, make sure your horse is used to it and will not spook when he sees his reflection. Keep a log after each time you ride on the things you want to improve. Work on balance

Do everything you can to become more balanced. When you are balanced, your seat will improve. Ask someone to lunge your horse while you ride. Because you don’t have to worry about controlling your horse, you can work on improving your seat. Try balancing without stirrups, with your arms up, or your arms to the side. Ask the person longing to change gaits, stop,and turn your horse when you ask. This way, you can achieve balance at all speeds and directions. If possible, ride your horse bareback. bareback riding is one of the best exercises to improve your balance. Work on some non-equestrian balance. Things like yoga, ice skating, roller blading, skate boarding, and other balance-focused sports can help you become more balanced when you ride.

Get good feel

Developing good feel and timing is mandatory when developing a better seat. Work on some exercises in an enclosed arena with your eyes closed. Try to feel the horse at all gaits. Soon you will be able to feel when each hoof hits the ground. This will give you better timing for your seat. Do things like picking up a posting diagonal without looking down. Post a few strides then look down to see if you were correct. Ask your horse to canter and try to feel the lead he is on. Lunging exercises are also great for developing feel and timing.

How to Stay on the Trail

Image: Copyright © David Lewis http://www.flickr.com/photos/highwayoflife/4858110740/lightbox/

By Susan P.

By Susan

It’s a beautiful day, you and your horse are feeling great so why not head out on a trail? Trail riding is a great activity for any style of rider, and any horse. Here are some tips to stay safe while you are out on the trail:




  • Wear a helmet- Even if you are riding an old lesson horse than never spooks, wear a helmet. Anything could go wrong at any time, and a helmet can be your lifesaver. Never head down a trail without a safe, well-fitted, helmet on your head.

  • Do a little warm up- Before heading out on the trail do a little arena warm up to make sure your horse is responsive. You should easily be able to stop, turn, and have control at all gaits before trail riding. If your horse is not responding, take it back a few steps and work on these things before heading out.

  • Check your tack- Make sure you are using well-fitted good quality tack that is not going to break. There is nothing worse than tack breaking out on the trail.

  • Make sure you and your horse are in shape- If you have not ridden your horse in a month, chances are he is not capable of a 20 mile trail ride. Make sure the ride you choose is within both you and your horses current fitness level.

  • Wear bug and sun protection- You don’t wait to get stuck on the trail with sunburn and bug bites. Make sure you and your light colored horse have on sunscreen and insect repellant. Wear light colored, long sleeve shirts for best protection. If flies are really bad, consider putting a fly bonnet on your horse.

  • Check the weather before you ride- Never head out if there is a big chance for a thunderstorm, or other threatening weather.

  • Take a friend with you- never trail ride alone and always tell a third person where you are going and when you plan on coming back.

  • Stay a safe distance- when riding with other people it is important to stay a safe distance apart. When walking, stay 1 horse distance apart, 2 when trotting, and 3 when cantering.

  • Think things through- Before crossing any obstacles make sure to think it through. Are me and my horses physically fit enough to handle that, is my horse calm enough to cross that, is it safe if we cross that. never put you or your horse in a dangerous situation.

  • Pay attention to your horse- Be prepared for anything. although chatting with friends down a trail is fun, make sure you are in tune with your horse.

  • Do a proper warm up and cool down- Before heading out on a trail warm your horse up a little with light riding or longing. When you get back cool your horse off and let him relax a bit.

10 Diys For the Tack Room

Image: Copyright © Ron Paul http://500px.com/photo/28972671

By Susan P.

By Susan

Dress up your tack and equipment in style with your own personal touch. These great projects are fun to do and will make everyone at your barn want to try!





1Ribbon Lead rope- Thread a long piece of ribbon into a large plastic needle. Weave the needle in and out of a braided cotton horse lead. When you get to the end, tie it off at both ends. Add as many colors as you want for a fun looking lead.

2Saddle Charm- If you ride western, use a piece of ribbon to tie a cute keychain to your saddle horn. This makes for a fun saddle charm.

3Leg wraps- Cut pieces of felt into strips and decorate them with colorful fabric and ribbon. Add some velcros then, wrap your horse’s legs with them.

4Saddle pad decal- Purchase some iron-on fabric and cut out some fun shapes and designs. Iron the designs onto the back of your saddle pad where it can be seen when the saddle is on.

5Fun Helmet- Get a pack of large fun colored stickers and plaster your helmet with them. You will have the coolest look around. Try adding stickers to your riding crop to for a matching look.

6Funky Halter- Wrap your horse’s halter in fun colored duck tape. Polka-dot, zebra stripes, and plaid duck tape all look great.

7Fun fork- Wrap your pitch fork handle in duct tape to match your horse’s halter. This will make cleaning stalls much more fun.

8Dress up your grooming supplies- Get some dandy brushes with wooden handles and paint them with acrylic paint. Add designs, your horse’s name, or just your favorite colors.

9Paint buckets-Add some color to feed and water buckets with acrylic paint. Use stencils to make large designs, or paint them with stripes and dots.

10Make your horse a name plate- Get a small chalk board or dry erase board and decorate the edge with paint, stickers, tape, or all three! Use chalk or markers to write your horse’s name, feeding schedule, and vet number.

How to Make A Beaded Bridle

By Susan P.

By Susan

Dress up the the browband of your bridle using felt and beads. This super fun project is a great way to turn your boring bridle into a fun, colorful, and unique piece of art.





Things you need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Felt in desired color
  • Scissors
  • Velcro strips
  • Hot glue gun
  • Ribbon in desired color
  • Piece of paper and pencil
  • Beads of any shape, or color

Instructions:

1Measure the length of the browband in your horse’s bridle. This will be the length of the piece of felt you will need. Measure the width of the browband, and multiply it by 3. This will be the width of the piece of felt you will need.

2Using the measurements taken int he previous step, cut out a piece of felt. This will be the base for the beads.

This beaded decoration will be able to be removed with velcro. This will make it easier to take off to clean your bridle. Cut a strip of velcro with both sides on. Make is the same length as the width of the browband.

3Place a strip of velcro on each end of the length of the browband. Use a hot glue to attach the velcro in place. Allow the glue to dry before moving on to the next step.

4Cut a length of ribbon the same length as the browband. Place the ribbon across the front and center of the piece of felt and glue it in place. allow the glue to dry.

5Draw rectangle the same shape and size as the piece of felt on a piece of paper. arrange the beads on the paper rectangle the same way you want them to go on your browband. This will be your guide for attaching the beads. Try different styles before deciding which like best. try arranging the beads to spell your horse’s name or make different designs.

6Pick the beads on at a time of the paper and glue them on to the browband. Make sure to keep the same pattern you made on the paper. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

7To attach the beaded browand to your bridle, wrap the felt around your browband and velcro it in place. Adjust it so the beads are in front and viola it is ready to use!

America’s Top 5 Horse Breeds

Image: Copyright © Connie Fore http://500px.com/photo/3254842

By Susan P.

By Susan








1

American Quarter horse:

American quarter horse gazing

Image: Copyright © PrinsJordy http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r171/PrinsJordy/jzhel.jpg

The American quarter horse is the number one most popular breed in America. There are more than 5 million quarter horses registered in the world. The quarter horse was bred to sprint race for short distances in colonial America. The races were 1/4 mile long, thus the name of the breed. As settlers moved West, they took their racehorses with them and made them ranch horses. Today, quarter horses are still used as ranch work horses as well as race horses. Rodeos riding, English events, and even driving disciplines have taken off in the quarter horse world. There are several different quarter horse body types, and they come in almost all colors imaginable.

2

Arabian:

Two stunning arabian horses running

Image: Copyright © Olga5 http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/287/7/e/two_arabian_colts_by_olga5-d4ct8ut.jpg

The Arabian is thought to be one of the oldest known breeds of horses. Arabians are very recognizable with a high set tail, arching neck, and concave head. The Arabian breed originated in the Middle East thousand of years ago. The Bedouin people domesticated Arabians. Because Arabians originated in such a harsh desert climate, they are tough and make wonderful endurance horses. But Arabians are all used in all English, Western, and driving events. Arabians are gray, bay, chestnut, black, and roan. All arabians have black skin.

3

Thoroughbred:

Jumping thoroughbred horse

Image: Copyright © Fine Art America http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/galloping-thoroughbred-horse-the-irish-image-collection-.jpg

Thoroughbreds are known all across America as the great race horses. These hot-blooded equines are known for their agility, and speed that makes them such good racehorses. These horses were first brought to North America from Britain in the 1700s. This breed was the foundation for the Quarter horse. While Thoroughbreds are great racers, they are very popular in the English show ridding. Jumping, dressage, fox hunting, and polo are just a few of the areas where they excel. Thoroughbreds can come in many different colors but rarely have white on their bodies, except for leg markings.

4

Paint Horse:

Paint horses in lush green field

Image: Copyright © felton beasley http:[email protected]/3801205221/

The American Paint horse is the second largest breed registry in the US. Paint horses are bred from quarter horses and thoroughbreds and are known for their spotted coat patterns. Paint horses are sometimes confused with pintos. While these two breeds may look similar, they are very different. Paint horses are bred not just for color, but also for stock-horse type build. Pintos are bred only for color and can be based on any breed. Paint horses come in several different coat patterns the most popular being Tobiano, and Overo. In addition to these spotted markings, some paint horses can be born solid color, but still be paint horses. Paint horses are very versatile and used in all disciplines of riding.

5

Miniature horse:

Adorable white miniature horse running in stable

Image: Copyright © Michael Boox http://500px.com/photo/30305297

The miniature horse is a very small pony, but still considered a horse breed. These tiny equines are no larger than 38 inches high. Some breeders like their minis to have a stocky pony-like build, and others have more refined horse-like features. Miniature horses come in all colors, and styles and although they can only be ridden by very small children, they are showed in lots of other ways. Jumping in hand, driving, and halter classes are just a few of the things minis are great at.

The Importance of Longing Your Horse

Image: Copyright © Violetta Talley http://500px.com/photo/1134151

By Susan P.

By Susan

If you have been around a barn, or attended a horse show you have probably seen a horse being longed. Longeing is when the handles stands in the center of a ring or work area, and asks the horse to move out around him/her. The handler can then ask the horse to perform tasks like changing gaits, turning, stopping etc.. Longeing a horse has many purposes in the equestrian world:

  • Training young horses to understand cues.
  • Teaching a young horse to carry tack.
  • To exercising a horse who cannot be ridden.
  • Exercising a horse instead of riding.
  • Exercising a horse that has been in confinement.
  • Warming a horse up before riding.
  • Cooling a horse down after riding.
  • Teaching riders better position without controlling the horse.
  • Teaching a horse to cross obstacles.
  • Allowing vaulters to perform on a longing horse’s back.

How to Longe Your horse

It is best to learn how to longe a horse using an experienced horse who understands the cues.

1Outfit the horse in a well-fitted halter or lunging cavesson and a longe line. If your horse is wearing tack, make sure the stirrups will not be banging his sides. Take a lunge whip with you and lead your horse to a safe area for longing.

2Ask your horse to back away from you while you position yourself in the center of the working space with your belly button facing your horses hips. Point in either direction and tap the ground with the whip behind your horse. This will tell him to move in that direction.

3To speed your horse up, give a verbal cue, point, and tap the ground with the whip. Remember as soon as the horse does what you want, release the pressure.

4To ask your horse to slow down, say slowww, or whoaaa for a complete stop. Face your belly button in front of your horse and apply a little pressure to the line until your horse slows down or stops.

5To turn your horse, ask him to stop, point in the opposite direction and repeat all steps.


6As you and your horse get more comfortable with longing start to make it more fun, add obstacles like trot poles or small jumps. You can even try free longing in a round pen without a longe line.

How to Make Homemade Horse Treats

Image: Copyright © DePaolo Equine Concepts http://depaoloequineconcepts.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/sugary-grain-n-treats.jpg

By Susan P.

By Susan

Show your horse how much you love him by making your own homemade treats. Not only will your horse love them, but they also make great gifts for other horse lovers.





Sweet Feed Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of sweet feed
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 cups of molasses
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 2 grates apples
  • 1/2 a cup of flour
  • powdered sugar

Instructions:

Apple carrot cookies for horse

Copyright © Nifty Thirfy Me http://www.niftythriftyme.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/HorseCookies.jpg

1Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.


2Mix all of the ingredients except powdered sugar together well.


3Roll the dough into balls and roll in the powdered sugar. Place On A baking sheet and flatten out.


4Bake for 20 minutes. let cool before feeding to horses.



Apple Carrot Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups of oats
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Instructions:

Carrot and Oath muffins for horse

Copyright © Yummly http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Horse-Muffins-_oat-And-Carrot_-Recipezaar

1Preheat your oven to 300 degrees


2Grate the apple and carrot and mix them together.


3Mix the remaining ingredients in with the apple and carrot


4Put the the mixture in a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes


5Cool for several hours int he fridge before serving it



Apple Chews

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of applesauce
  • 1 cup of ground oats
  • 1/2 a cup of flour

Instructions:

Apple chew muffins for horses

Copyright © Horse-store.com

1Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.


2Mix all ingredients together and pour into a baking pan.


3Spread the batter evenly and bake for 30 minutes.


4When cool, cut into squares and serve. Store extras in the fridge.


Peppermint Treats

Ingredients:

  • 10 crushed peppermints
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 apples
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1/4 cup of molasses
  • water as needed
Peppermint treats for horses

Copyright © Pet Packs

Instructions:

1Mix all ingredients together, adding enough water to stir.


2Cook at 350 degrees until hardened.


3Serve when cooled.




Banana Stuffed Apple

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful of ice

Instructions:

Apple and banana feed

Copyright © Krista Kruger

1Peel and slice the banana.


2Put the banana slices and ice cubes int he blender and pulse until creamy.


3Cut the core out of the apple.


4Pour the banana mix into the apple center and serve.


The Well-Equipped Tack Room

Image: Copyright © Richard Kluczynski http://www.rkphoto.co.uk/images/hAndG/TackRoom.jpg

By Susan P.

By Susan

Does your tack room or locker seem empty when you are searching for something you need, or does so much stuff fall out you can't even find what you need? Most of the time we have too much or too little. Here is a list of essential items every tack room should have:



  • A halter that fits your horse well and has safe hardware.- A good nylon, leather, or rope halter will work. This would be your everyday halter.

  • A lead rope that is comfortable for leading your horse and works well for tying up.-does not have to be very long but needs to be sturdy. This would be your everyday lead rope.

  • A training halter and longer rope-A strong nylon halter, or rope halter works well. The study training rope should be at least 10 feet long. These tools would be used for ground work .

  • A longe line-needs to have safe hardware and can be used with your training halter. This will be what you use to lunge your horse.

  • Grooming supplies, you should have a curry comb, dandy brush, face brush, mane and tail comb, and a hoof pick at the least. These Important tools are needed to properly groom a horse.

  • A grooming tote-A tote that is large enough for your grooming supplies and is comfortable to carry.This will make it easier to keep your grooming supplies together and store them and carry them where you need to.

  • A longe whip. A long whip that is comfortable for you to hold. This is used to encourage forward movement when longing.

  • A soft comfortable saddle pad or blanket.-Needs to be off good quality and fit your horse and saddle well.

  • A well fitted saddle-Needs to fit you and your horse well. A good saddle for everyday use is what you are looking for

  • A well-fitted bridle-Needs to fit well, match you discipline, and be of good quality. This will be your bridle you use for everyday riding.

  • A change of bits.-It is a good idea to have a couple different bits then team one you have on your bridle. This way you can change them to make your horse more responsive, or more comfortable. Sometimes when you are teaching a horse something new, a different bit will help.

  • A riding crop-A small whip that is comfortable to hold while riding. This allows you to refine your cues while riding your horse.

  • A riding helmet-A well fitted helmet that is comfortable to wear for everyday riding is an essential piece of tack.

  • A saddle rack-It is important to keep your saddle of the ground and supported.

  • A bridle hook-To hang your bridle so it keeps it’s shape and stays in good condition.

  • Shelving-To hold your grooming supplies and other equipment.

How to Spend Quality Time with Your Horse Without Riding

Image: Copyright © Shelley Paulson Photography http://blog.shelleypaulson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/equestrian-portraits-minnesota-01.jpg

By Susan P.

By Susan

Sometimes riding may not be an option, or sometimes we don’t feel like riding. Injured horses, older horses, and young horses that are not yet trained to ride can all benefit from spending time with you. Maybe you just want to try something new with your riding horse. Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of ways for you and your horse to enjoy each others company without riding:


Go for a walk

Outfit your horse in a comfy halter, and use a rope that is a good feeling for you. Take your horse out for a stroll. This is great time to talk to your horse and develop a deeper bond, as well as explore new places.Walk a little ways down a trail, or just take a stroll through the pasture. Have fun with your horse and include some trotting to mix things up.

Hand graze

Put a halter and rope on your horse and take him out the tallest greenest grass you can find. Allow your horse to graze while you hold the rope. This will give you horse a treat and he will appreciate it. It gives you time to relax and just enjoy your horse.

Groom

Even if your horse does not have to be clean or look good, grooming is great. Grooming feels good to your horse, and helps relax both you and him. May him as clean as possible, or even give him a makeover. Groom him from head to hoof and braid his mane and tail.

Longe

If your horse is healthy, longing is a great activity instead of riding Outfit your horse in a quality halter or cavesson and a longe line. Practice your cues for turning and transitions. This will help improve your horse’s responsiveness and your training ability.

Teach your horse tricks

Tricks are fun to teach your horse and with a little time and patience anyone can do it. Read books and ask other horse owners about how to teach tricks before trying on your own. teach your horse things like shaking his head, counting, bowing, and even laying down. Remember to have fun and don't get upset if your horse does not learn something right away.

Work on crossing obstacles and de-spooking

Some time spent out of the saddle is a great way for you and your horse to practice crossing scary objects and staying calm when scared. Lead your horse, over tarps, under dangling branches, into a trailer, through water, over a bridge, over a jump, or anything you can think of. Will your horse stand when an umbrella opens, a flag waves around him, a plastic bag blows by, a dog runs past, or a noodle touches him? If not, work on those things until he accepts them. Your horse will learn to stay calm and trust you more.

How to properly saddle Your horse

Image: Copyright © Dave Hayward http://www.flickr.com/photos/davehayward/4945343157/

By Susan P.

By Susan

Your saddle is one of the most important pieces of tack you can use on a horse. An improperly fitted saddle can slip, rub your horse, or cause back pain to your horse. Make sure saddle fits well and is placed in the correct location for your horse’s comfort and your safety. When you are saddling your horse it is important to do it slowly and gently not rough and quick. This will keep your horse happy and prevent him from developing bad habits like biting when you are tacking up. Here is how to properly saddle your horse:

1Make sure you select a saddle that properly fits your horse. Check the saddle all over before you ride and tack up. Make sure everything is in its place and no leather is broken or brittle. Also check the saddle pad and cinch fro dirt, briers, or anything else that could rub and irritate your horse.

2Tie your horse up to a sturdy post or tie ring with a well-fitted halter and lead rope. If your horse is trained to use cross ties, this will make tacking up easier.

3Give your horse a quick groom before tacking up. This is not so your horse will look good, it is so the saddle does not rub dirt into the horse and cause discomfort. Pay special attention to the horse’s back and belly where the girth would sit.

4Place the saddle pad or blanket on the horse well in front of his withers. Slide the pad back so the front is resting on the withers. Sliding it back will make the horse’s hair lie flat which is more comfortable for them.

5If you are using a western saddle, flip the cinch and stirrups up onto the seat so they do not bang your horses sides. If you are using english tack, make sure your stirrups are pulled up.

6Stand on your horse’s left side and gently place the saddle on your horse’s back. Make sure it is resting just behind your horse’s withers and that it is center on your horse.

7Walk on the right side of the horse and pull the cinch or girth and stirrup down, then walk back to the left side.

8Reach your arm gently under your horse’s belly and grab the other end of the girth or cinch. slowly pull it up and gently tighten your saddle on. If you are using western tack, you may have to tie a knot instead of buckling it.

9Walk your horse forward a few steps then check the tightness of the saddle. Adjust as needed.


10Right before you get on, check the tightness again then pull down your left stirrup. You are ready to ride.

Picking the Right Saddle for Your Equestrian Sport

Image: Copyright © Marilyn Hunt - Fine Artist http://fineartamerica.com/featured/white-horse-and-saddle-marilyn-hunt

By Susan P.

By Susan

A horse and rider team can only be successful if using the proper equipment. The right saddle is crucial if you plan to excel in your equestrian sport. When you play online horse games you will see that the saddles for different events all look a little differently. By playing online horse games you will learn how to tell the difference between saddles. Here is a list of some of the different events and the saddles that should be used for each.


Eventing and Pleasure

English all-purpose saddles are used for eventing. This less expensive saddle option is also used by mature or pleasure riders. On fences or flat ground, an eventing or pleasure saddle provides plenty of support.

Show Jumping, Hunt Seat, Fox Hunting and Show Hunter

A jumping saddle or close contact saddle is used with jumping horses. The saddle, as the name implies, gives the rider closer contact to the horse for smooth jumps.

Dressage

A dressage saddle helps a rider stay in proper position by applying precise cues during competition. The pommel is higher than most saddles, and the seat is forward to allow the rider more leg reach.

Endurance Riding

The design of an endurance saddle makes is perfect for long distance riding. The saddle's main purpose is to provide comfort for both the rider and the horse over long distances and on rough terrain. The saddle often has rings to attach saddlebags and other items.

Roping

A roping saddle is a sturdy saddle design that helps a roper stay in place but still allows for rapid dismount. The horn is thick and forward to secure the lasso.

Cutting

Cutting requires a horse to make quick stops and sharp turns. A cutting saddle is heavy and designed with a deep seat that helps hold the rider in place. The swells of the saddle are often thicker.

Reining

Like the cutting saddle, a reining saddle has a deep seat for holding the rider in place. The fenders of the reining saddle move freely and give the rider ample us of their legs.

Barrel Racing

A barrel racing saddle has a high cantle to help keep the rider balanced. The saddle is often short to allow the horse to have quicker bursts of speed and sharper turns.

Western Showing

A western show saddle often resembles the build of a roping or cutting saddle. Show saddles, however, have lots of silver and leather detail to catch the judge’s eye.

Trail or Pleasure Saddle

Like an endurance saddle, a trail riding saddle provides comfort for horse and rider. The seat of a trail saddle is often longer to provide the horse with balance at slow gaits. These saddles frequently have strings or rings to hold trail gear.

How to Give a Horse a Bath

Image: Copyright © Julie Niemela - Fine Artist http://fineartamerica.com/featured/horse-bath-i-julie-niemela.html

By Susan P.

By Susan

You will find that many online horse games for girls allow you to groom and bathe your horse. Everything that you learn online can help you when the time comes to give a real horse a bath. Here are tips for bathing a horse properly.

Before beginning a bath, consider the following:


Water Desensitization

Some horse's that have never been bathed may be extremely frightened by the hose and spraying water. Take time to work with your horse before bathing so that it is comfortable with water.

Use a Properly Fitted Halter

A poorly fit halter is uncomfortable and dangerous. If the halter is too large, it could slip off of the horse if it panics. If the halter is too small, you will have little control over the horse.

Use a Cross-Tie or Have some Help

The safest option when bathing is to have an assistant hold the horse for you. You may, however, have to work alone. If this is the case, cross ties can be used but only for horses that are familiar with the bathing process. A horse that spooks, when tied, can pull back causing serious injury. Use panic straps on cross ties so the horse can break free if need be.

Be Careful of Slippery Surfaces

Un-textured concrete pads are exceedingly slippery when wet and can cause a handler or horse to slip and fall. Textured mats can be placed on concrete pads. The area should have suitable drainage. Standing water makes mud and a mess.

Bathing Steps

Brush your horse down lightly. You do not have to groom completely, just use a dandy brush to remove extra dust. Removing the dust will make bathing the horse an easier task.

Turn your hose on and let it run a while. The horse needs time to adjust to the water. Wet the horse down beginning at the hooves and slowly working your way up the legs. Starting at the hooves allows the horse to get used to the water temperature. Be careful not to spray the horse's face. Continue working your way up the horse's body until it is thoroughly wet. Keep your eye on the horse's feet. Most horses feel tickled by the water and sometimes kick out. The horse could accidentally kick, so you must work with caution. Use a sponge to wet the horses face down. Do not soak its face, as dripping water into a horse’s face is extremely irritating.

Squirt a small amount of equine shampoo on a sponge. Gently work the shampoo into the horse's coat. Scrub a little harder on stained areas. Apply a small amount of shampoo to the face using the sponge so that soap does not drip into the horse's eyes.

Rinse off the horse in the same way that you wet it, starting from the hooves and working your way up. Rinse off the horse's face carefully using a sponge. Do not leave the shampoo on the skin as it can cause irritation. You may have to rinse the horse several times in order to remove all of the suds. When the water dripping off the horse is suds-free, you know most of the shampoo is gone. Rub your hands over the horse to check for any shampoo you might have missed.

Use a sweat scraper to scrape excess water from the coat. When scraping do not press down so hard that the horse gets bothered but firm enough to remove the water. Do not use the scraper on the face or legs, only a clean and dry towel.

Lead the horse around to air dry a little bit. The best place to walk your horse is out in the sun. You can even hand graze your horse as it dries. Do not turn your horse outside after bathing as most horses will roll in the mud, ruining your hard work.

Try to bathe your horse as little as possible. Excess bathing dries the skin and strips away natural oils. An occasional bath, however, is well worth the time and effort.

Horse Riding Do’s and Don’ts

Image: Copyright © Lisa Dearing http://wildhorses.photoshelter.com/image/I00000xckBCEcQsQ

By Susan P.

By Susan

I really enjoy the online games where I can take my horse on a long trail ride. Trail rides are full of adventure and fun. Here are some tips to remember when you trail ride with a real horse.

Do-Remember Safety

No matter how bombproof your horse is, always protect your head with certified equestrian headgear. Practice emergency stops and dismounts with your horse at home. Knowing how to stop a horse and get of at all gaits is essential if your horse spooks. Bring the proper safety gear in your saddlebags including; a cell phone, GPS, emergency food, safety whistle, fire starter and extra rope. Never push you or your horse to far. If you feel the terrain is too hard, for you and your horse, you should stop. Take a short break or just lead your horse for a while.

Don't-Ruin the Trails

Make sure that you don’t leave any garbage behind when you go on a trail ride. Bring it back with you and throw it away. Don't injure trees by tying your horse improperly. Never tie a horse to a tree trunk for extended periods of time. If a horse circles the tree or paws, roots can be damaged. Tree saver straps should be used if you put your horse on a picket line. Bare rope can dig into the bark of a tree and permanently damage it. You should always pack light. Never bring more than you need on the trail ride.

Do- Prepare Your Horse for the Trail

Don't expect a green, unconditioned horse to carry you for miles and miles down a trail. Proper conditioning will give your horse the stamina it needs to tackle trails. If your horse is out of shape work, with it daily for at least 30 minutes until you notice an improvement. Begin taking the horse on short trail rides to get used to the changing terrain. Set up a small obstacle course with trail obstacles so that your horse becomes familiar with different things that you may come upon on the trail.

Don't-Be rude on the Trail

Remember your manners. Respect other equestrians, hikers or bikers that you pass. If your horse kicks or bites, use a ribbon on its tail as a warning to others to keep their distance. Remember to close any gates you open and hold them open if others are behind you. Do not pass other riders at a gallop, as many horses become overly excited. Be polite with your riding distance. If riding with others, allow lots of breathing room in between.

Reasons Why I like Virtual Horse Games

By Hope, 11

By Hope, 11

I started playing virtual horse games about three years ago and have been hooked ever since. I like that fact that I can play these games by myself or with my sisters or friends. I even play with friends that are far away and some that I have never met. There are many different types of virtual horse games to chose from. I play a lot of the free games but also have used some of my birthday money to upgrade a few games. You don’t have to spend money on these games to have fun. There are many reasons why I love to play virtual horse games, here are some of those reasons.

Virtual Horse Games are Exciting

I can take my horses on exciting trail rides or compete in some challenging events against other players. There are many exciting games to play online, as well. When I play, there is never a dull moment. Even making new horses, grooming and buying supplies for my virtual horses is exciting. There is always plenty to do in a virtual horse world.

Virtual Horse Games are Educational

My parents really like that I have learned a lot playing these online games. I did not know that much about horses before I started playing the games but now I can have a conversation with my friends at school who own their own horses. I have actually taught them a few things that I have learned from playing with my horses on line. I have also learned a lot about management and how to handle money from playing my online horse games.

Virtual Horse Games Allow me to Meet Knew People

I have met people from all over the world playing virtual horse games. I like to see what they are doing with their horses and visit their stables and let my horses play with their horses. I even met a girl who lives in my town but goes to a different school. We ended up becoming fast friends because we both love horses and virtual horse games so much.

Virtual Horse Games are not Expensive

Compared to owning a real horse, virtual horse games are a drop in the bucket. I play a lot of free online games, but my friends and family have also purchased some games for me for my birthday and Christmas. I know that my friends who own real horses spend a lot of money caring for them.

Virtual Horse Games are Easily Transported

I don’t have to worry about having a big trailer to take my horses with me when I travel. I like that I can take my horses with me wherever I go. I just slip my iPod in my bag and take my horses with me.

Virtual Horse Games are Safe

To tell you the truth, I am a little afraid of real horses. I guess I will get over that as I get older and spend more time around them. Right now, I feel very safe playing my online games. I think that playing these games will help give me confidence to ride a real horse very soon.

My 5 Favorite iPhone and iPad Horse Game apps

By Hope, 11

By Hope, 11

Ever since I got my iPad I have found many really cool virtual online horse games to play. I play alone, with my friends and also with people from all around the world who love horses, like me. The games are fun, but they also teach me a lot about horses that I did not know. Here are my top five favorite horse apps for my iPad, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


1My Horse: I have learned a whole lot about horse care from playing My Horse horse app. I usually get together with my friends to play this virtual horse game. The graphics in this game are really great, and the competitions are challenging but fun. I love that I can change into my cute riding outfit after a long day of training. This app also has a unique feature that lets me take pictures of my horse and send them to my friends on Facebook and Twitter.

2Derby Quest: When I play Derby Quest, I get to breed and race my own horse. I can choose a mother and a father after reading all of their racing statistics. Feeding and training my horse is a great experience. Racing the horse seems pretty real and I like that you can make the horse go faster by moving the whip form side to side. I also get to choose my own jockey outfit which is especially fun.

3Horse Racing Winner 3D: I love to go to the races with my Dad, and this horse racing game is so much fun. This game is not complex to play and is great for anyone who loves to race. By answering a few trivia questions, I am able to earn some more coins that help me to get a faster horse for the race. I can choose a basic horse or a really wild Pegasus flying horse or even a T-Rex dinosaur.

4Race Horse Champions: I like the way that this app lets me control my horse around the track like you would a car. You get some money to start and can earn money for placing in races. This game lets me manage my owns table and pick horses with certain attributes. I also like selling or breeding my horse for money and points. Training for the race is also pretty exciting.

5Horse Frenzy: This horse app feels like playing Skee Ball, which I really enjoy. Competing is fun as you have to slide your ball into particular pockets to get your horse to go faster. Even though, this app is pretty simple, it is loads of fun. I play when I am on the school bus or have some free time at home. My little sister also likes this app because it is easy to play and does not have a lot of instructions to follow. I really like carnival games, and I can play this game and have a lot of fun without having to think too hard.

What My Virtual Horse Teaches Me

By Hope, 11

By Hope, 11

I have a virtual horse whose name is Scramble. He is a beautiful Mustang with a shiny black coat and a long thick mane and tail. I am really attached to this horse mostly because I bred him and had to work very hard for him. He is spoiled, but that is ok because I love to give him my time and every day when I am away from him, I am always thinking of fun things that we can do together.

Scramble, even though he is not a real horse, has taught me a lot of things. When I first started playing virtual games, my parents were concerned that I would get “sucked” in and never come out. They had visions of kids sitting in a trance in front of the television, not doing their homework or even participating in the family. This is not how it has been with me at all. I only play with Scramble and a few other horses for about an hour each day. I always get my homework done first and then play so that my parents are pleased. My mom even loves to watch me play so, it is fun for more than just me. Here are a few things that my virtual horse Scramble has taught me.

Patience

It took a while to figure out how to have the most fun with Scramble. I have to work at some skills in the virtual horse game very hard before Scramble would do just what I wanted him to do. It is just like when I am taking riding lessons. I have to work very hard to get the horse to do what I want him to do, and it takes patience.

How to Be a Better Trainer

I love to train horses on the ground and in the saddle even though I am not very old. My virtual horse Scramble has taught me many things about training that I can apply to my own real horses one day. I keep a notebook and write all the things down that I have learned. The training tips and techniques in the virtual horse world are very useful in the real horse world, and I am gaining a lot of training experience.

Good Stewardship

One of the most important things that my virtual horse Scramble has taught me is how important good care is to a horse. We have a responsibility not only to feed them and groom them but also to love them. When you neglect your virtual horse things go very badly. I have seen many virtual horses that are in bad shape because owners forgot to look after their needs. I usually end up adopting these horses and caring for them, as well.

How to Have Fun Without Pressure

It may seem crazy to some people that I could get attached to a virtual horse, but it is true. Me, and thousands of other horse crazy gals get together every day to share stories, tips and laughs. The real horse world, especially the show world, can be full of pressure. In fact, I have seen friends of mine turn completely against horses because they have so much pressure. Playing with Scramble in the virtual horse world has shown me how to have great fun with a horse with very little pressure. It is fun just to hang out with other horse lovers without feeling judged or pressured.

My 5 Favorite Breeds of Horses and Ponies

Image: Copyright © Romona Robbins http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/myshot/gallery/202058#/gallery/619633/

By Susan P.

By Susan

Playing virtual online horse games has taught me a lot about different breeds of horses and ponies. I had no idea that there were so many types and that each has unique characteristics. When I play an online horse game, and I learn about a new breed I put it in a sketchbook with a picture and a few important facts. Here are five of my favorites and some neat information about each.


1Arabian Horse - Arabian horses originated in the Arabian Peninsula. They are very, very fast. They have short backs and very strong hindquarters. I love their arched necks and soft mane and tail. They are very elegant horses and are also quite strong. Although Arabians are small compared to some other horses, only 14 to 15.2 hands high. They can weigh weight between 800 and 1000 pounds when full grown. Arabians can be almost any color and can have cute white sock markings on their legs and white splotches on their face. I use my Arabian horses for dressage and long distance trail races when I play online horse games.

2Tennessee Walking Horse - Tennessee Walking Horses were bred in Tennessee by early American settlers. These horses have a very smooth fast walk that makes them really fun to ride. Walkers can go a long distance using their natural gait. They were bred for riding, light farm work and driving. Country doctors and preachers long ago often rode on Walkers because they were so smooth. There are many colors of Walkers; I like the brown, palomino and chestnut the best. Most Walkers are very well behaved and gentle. I like to groom my Walkers long manes and tails when I play online horse games.

3Paso Fino Horse - Paso Finos came from Spain and have an amazing natural lateral gait that is beautiful to watch. I learned that the name Paso Fino means “fine step.” This makes a lot of sense because they seem to glide when the move. I have three different Paso Finos that I play with online, and each of them is a little different. One is quite large, and the others are smaller. However, they are all very sweet and fun to play with. My favorite online horse activity to do with my Paso is to compete in barrel racing.

4Shetland Pony - Shetland ponies have a very long and heavy coat which was used to protect them from the cold and wind on the Shetland Islands where they come from. Shetlands are used for riding, plowing and also as pack ponies to carry heavy loads. Shetland ponies are the smallest breed of horse and a very popular horse for children because they are so gentle.

5Hackney Pony - Hackney ponies are about 12 to 14 hands high and are really fast. Most are bay-colored, but some are gray, brown or black. I love their small ears and bright eyes. This pony was first bred in England and is really calm and easy to work with. I learned, from an online horse game that the Hackney pony does not have its own breeding stud, that it is bred with a Hackney horse. Most of these fine ponies are used for harness racing.

How to Groom a Horse and the Perfect Grooming Kit

Image: Copyright © Pamela Ann Bevelhymer http://imagesbypamela.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post.html

By Susan P.

By Susan

When I first started playing virtual horse games I had no idea how to groom a horse. I did not know the names of the tools used to groom a horse, and I had no idea that grooming took such a long time or had to be done in a particular order. Not every horse likes to stand still to be groomed, especially young horses. It takes a lot of patience to groom an anxious horse. Grooming is important not just for horses looks but also for its health. Grooming removes dirt that gets ground into the coat and improves your horse’s circulatory system.

Grooming Kit

There are many supplies that need to be included in a grooming kit. It is important that all of the grooming supplies be in great working order and are kept clean and dry. Here is a list of the most important tools to have in a grooming kit.

  • Rubber curry comb
  • Stiff body brush
  • Plastic mane and tail comb Soft bristled finishing brush Hoof pick
  • Face brush
  • Sponges
  • Grooming spray
  • Bot knife
  • Detangler
  • Mane tamer
  • Sunscreen
  • Fly spray
  • Shine spray
  • Hoof ointment
  • Clippers or scissors
  • Wound ointment

Steps to Daily Grooming To keep your horse looking and feeling its best, follow these simple grooming steps. Don’t forget to reward a horse who does a good job during a grooming session.

Step One: Currying

Currying brings all of the dirt and dust in a horse’s coat to the surface so that you can brush it away. It is important to use circular motions when currying a horse and work from the head to the back end. Be very careful not to bus too hard on body areas or around the shoulder or hip. Some horses really like the curry brush while others think it is uncomfortable. Any good rubber curry comb will work. Never use a metal curry comb

Step Two: Dandy Brushing

A dandy brush is any medium- stiff brush that is used to get up addition brush from the skin and flick it off of the horse. Use flicking motions with a dandy brush working in short strokes from the head to the back. Be sure to include the upper part of the legs. Once you think you have gotten all the dirt off, use long strokes to finish the job.

Step Three: Finishing and Face Brush

The finishing brush helps to give the horse’s coat a shine and will distribute natural skin oils all over the coat. Carefully brush dried mud and dirt from the face with a face brush. Use a clean sponge and some water to wipe out the nostrils and eyes. Brush ears with a soft face brush. Put a cotton ball inside of the ear before brushing to keep the dirt from going inside of the ear. Be sure to reward your horse with a treat if he lets you do this as it may be uncomfortable. If you see mites in the ear you can apply a small amount of M-T-G, a grooming product found in equine supply stores.

Step Four: Mane and Tail

Spray a little bit of detangler on the horse’s tail and mane. Carefully brush the mane from the tips of the hair to the roots. Always hold the hair in your hand so that you do not pull any out. Groom the tail by hand first before using a mane and tail brush. Use a soft and clean sponge to wipe under the tail.

Step Five: Lower Legs and Feet

Remove the dirt from the lower legs with a stiff bristle brush. Check for lumps or swelling while you brush. Use a sponge to clean the outside of the hoof. Remove caked on mud with a stiff brush. Pick the feet from the frog to the front and brush off dirt with a stiff hoof brush. Apply some natural hoof conditioner to the outside of the hoof.

5 Reasons Why My Horse is My Best Friend

Image: Copyright © Tina M89 http:[email protected]/7894000244/

By Hope, 11

By Hope, 11

I love horses I always have. I grew up around horses as my best friend’s mother was a trainer. My friend and I would sit for hours on the fence and watch horses being trained. We would even pretend we were the horse and trainer and run around teaching each other things before we were old enough to work with horses. Just watching horses being trained when I was little taught me to have great respect for the animals. I knew that someday I would have a horse who would be my best friend. Some people say that a dog is man’s best friend I say that a horse is a girl’s best friend! Here are five reasons why my horse is my best friend.

1He Listens to Me: My horse listens to everything I say, well, most of the time. He comes when I call him and he stands still while I ramble on for a very long time, often about nothing at all. Some people say that I talk too much, but my horse does not really seem to mind how long I talk.

2He Makes me Feel Free: When I ride my horse, he makes me feel free. Sometimes there are so many restrictions in life that it gets confusing. When I just hop on for a long trail ride with my horse he lets me feel free from everything. If I have had a bad day at school, all the sad thoughts are gone the moment I start to ride.

3He Appreciates Me: There is nothing worse than feeling like you have a friend that does not appreciate you. There have been many times that I have felt this way and it makes me sad. My horse always seems to appreciate me, and he shows me by being glad to see me and working really hard for me when I need him to. When I go out to the pasture, he always follows me around until I scratch his ears and talk with him a while.

4He Makes me Happy: Nothing brightens a dull day than a trip to the pasture to see my horse. I love to watch him run and play with the other horses. When he is having fun, I am happy. Sometimes I take my homework outside and sit and watch him while I study. Well, I usually don’t get much studying done, so I have to go back inside so that I can concentrate!

5He Makes me Look Good: My horse makes me look like I know what I am doing even when I am not so sure. He helps me keep my balance when I feel like I am falling and he is so patient with me when I am giving him crazy instructions. Even when I am unsure of myself, my horse helps me find the confidence to try new things.

Just a Note for Horse Crazy Gals

Before my parents let me have a real horse I had a very nice virtual horse friend named Discover. Discover was a paint horse and a very smart one at that. I learned many things from Discover and from playing in the virtual horse world. I would encourage anyone who wants to learn about horses, to play virtual horse games before getting a real horse. I still play virtual horse games when I am not with my real horse and he is never jealous!

10 Reasons Why I Love Horses

Image: Copyright © Alexia Khruscheva http://500px.com/photo/2037559

By Hope, 11

By Hope, 11

Since I saw my first horse at the fair when I was four, (I am eleven now) I have always loved them. I beg my parents to take me anywhere there are horses. My room is full of horse stuff, horse pillows, horse blankets, horse posters, horse t-shirts and horse hats. Although I do take horse riding lessons, I do not own a horse. We travel a lot with my Dad's work, and he says that it would not be fair to own a horse if we could not five it our full attention. So, I am waiting on the day when my Dad’s job changes and we can get our own horse.

For now, I just find horses anywhere that I am and also play a lot of virtual horse games. They are fun and help keep me plugged in to the horse world. I can own as many horses as I want with my virtual games and have learned a lot about choosing and caring for a horse. Here are the top ten reasons why I love horses. If you love horses too I am sure that you will agree with at least a few of these.

1They are pretty: I have never seen another animal that I think is as pretty as a horse. They have beautiful, dark eyes, long eyelashes and their hair is out of this world. Their colors are awesome, and the way their coat shines in the sun is beautiful. When they trot or gallop their mane blows in the wind, and they look very majestic.

2They are graceful: Even though horses are very big they are very graceful. The way they can jump and go between very tight spots. They lift their head high and can walk very softly if they have to. Even when they lie down and get back up they are graceful.

3They are fast: There is nothing more fun than making your horse go fast or watching horses when they run fast. They scoot around corners and fly through the field. My favorite virtual horse games are ones where I can make my horse run really fast through miles of trails.

4They are strong: Even the smallest ponies are very, very strong. I have learned in the virtual horse world that all horses are built for some type of job, and they develop very strong muscles to help them with this job.

5They are loyal: When you treat a horse with respect it will respect you back and be your friend. The horses at my riding stable all run to greet me when I come because they know who I am. The more time you spend with your horse, the more loyal it will be.

6They are good teachers: Any horse that I have spent time with has taught me something. Mostly what I have learned from horses is how to be patient, and this is a good thing.

7They are smart: Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a horse is not smart. I have seen horses learn to do some really amazing things. I have even seen a horse play soccer before it was really amazing.

8They are fun: Although it takes hard work to look after a horse, even when I play online virtual horse games, horses are a lot of fun. All of the work is worth it when you can hop on and ride and even teach your horse how to do tricks.

9They are my friends: Sometimes when I don’t feel like playing with my friends from school or in the neighborhood, it is just fun to play online horse games or go visit some real horses. They are really good friends, and I just like spending time with them. They don’t bicker or make me feel sad, I am always happy when I am around horses.

10They always listen to me: I can stand at the fence with a horse and talk for hours. I don’t usually do that, but if I did, I know that they would listen to me. They act as if they can understand me and just sit patiently while I talk. Them seem to understand how I feel all the time.

A Perfect Day with My Unicorn

My unicorn is named Sassy. She is a beautiful light purple color and has a white star on her forehead and a great big long flowing mane and tail. Her eyes twinkle and she loves to lay in the sun and watch the birds play all around her. She has a long glistening horn that shoots straight out from her head. This is my perfect, imaginary unicorn that I have made online. I know that there really is not such a thing as unicorns, except in folktales, but I really love my virtual unicorn because she seems so real and is so much fun to play with. Here is how a perfect day with my unicorn looks.

Grooming

Sassy’s eyes light up when she sees me coming towards her stable. She gets so excited because she knows it is time for fun. She jumps up and down as I get closer, her long mane flies in the air. The first I do is to give Sally a warm bath. She loves to have a bath and to be groomed. I braid her pink mane and put in some dainty purple bows. After she is all dry and groomed, I take her by the mirror in the stable so that she can see how beautiful she is.

Riding

After grooming, I saddle up Sassy with her diamond and gem studded saddle. It has rainbow colors and purple tassels. Her bridle is bright pink and the reins purple. She looks quite lovely all dressed up. I also like to put on some pink and purple boots on her legs. We ride for hours through the friendly forest, stopping to visit with some birds and rabbits along the way. I stop by the river to let Sassy get a drink, and we have lunch on the grassy hill. Sassy loves the taste of the sweet clover on top of the hill, so I let her enjoy her lunch while I take a break in the sunshine.

Playing With Friends

I finish my perfect day with my unicorn by stopping at a friends stable to play. My friend has two lovely unicorns, Dreamer and Buzz. They are really sweet, and Sassy has so much fun playing with them. We set up an obstacle course with jumps and barrels and watch as our unicorns race and play. Before I leave to go home, we work on teaching our unicorns some really neat tricks. We taught Dreamer and Buzz to lay down while sassy stood on top of them, it looks really awesome. Sassy is quite a bit smaller, so she does not hurt either of them. We also taught them all to jump through giant hoops to music. All of our unicorns are so smart.

As I ride back to the stable with Sassy, I think about how much fun we had today. I love spending time with my unicorn and with my friends. It could not have been a better day!. What does your perfect day with your horse or unicorn look like?

Why online horse games are good for your children & their skill development

By Susan P.

By Susan

Gone are the days when hopscotch and jacks were the games of choice. Children these days seem to require more stimulating forms of entertainment then my generation did. Although I encourage my children to engage in all the “old timers” games as they call them, they still enjoy dabbling in the some of the latest technology. As a very cautious, homeschooling parent, I see no harm in some time spent enjoying the wonders of technology and the Internet as long as there is some sort of value to this type of engagement.

My Research

When my children approached me some time ago wanting to play online horse games I was very skeptical that I would find much good in this endeavor. However, through some very extensive and cautious research, I proved myself wrong. The virtual horse-related games were so real that I could hardly believe my eyes. After watching my children play several such games, I came to the conclusion that there were, in fact, many benefits to be reaped from high-quality virtual horse games, as oppose to small flash games. Below are a few of my findings.

Horse Education

Many online horse games provide an opportunity for children to learn a great deal about horse breeds, horse care and horse ownership without parents having to invest in a real horse. Many horse games on the internet, like Howrse, are based on real breeds and have very accurate animation and detailed information about each horse. If your child talks constantly about wanting a horse, introduce her first to an online virtual game. Even the youngest of horse lovers can benefit from simple virtual games where they will learn all the basics of selecting and caring for a horse.

Hand Eye Coordination and Racing Horses

Recent studies indicate that playing games improves children’s hand-eye coordination. Racing horses around barrels, over jumps and through the countryside all require a certain amount of dexterity and focus. Although some games may be challenging at first, encourage your children to stick with them, and the benefits will be great.

Money Management

A large number of virtual horse games involve making financial decisions and participating in virtual transactions. Games allow children to earn money and build a business while caring for the needs of their horses. In addition, players must learn how to solve problems, manage their resources and make quick decisions. I found that these were all skills that I wanted my children to learn and that participation in virtual worlds helped with this learning. The best part of all is that my children were having fun while learning.

Social Interaction

Video games have long been given a bad rap as encouraging antisocial behavior. With a strong interactive component, virtual horse games actually encourage children to be social. Playing virtual horse games is an excellent way for shy children to learn how to interact with other people. Developing online relationships with other kids that share similar hobbies is a great way for children to impart and gain knowledge. Some virtual games, like Star Stable, are set up to play as teams or even groups which help develop children’s ability to work as part of a team, usually referred as multi-player games. Children learn the importance of taking turns, being patient with others and sharing.

5 Things I Have Learned About Horses from Playing Horse Games

By Hope, 11

By Hope, 11

I started playing horse games last year when my parents bought me Horselife 2 for the Wii. I loved grooming my horse and how real it looked when all the dirt came off. I also enjoyed learning how to do all of the really hard dressage moves. Learning on the Wii has helped my own riding a whole lot. My riding instructor was amazed at how much my riding improved after playing on the Wii for a few weeks. After I understood how to play the game on the Wii, I began to play all sorts of other virtual horse games, and I just wanted to share with you five neat things I have learned from playing horse games.

1

There are so many different breeds of horses

Before I started playing horse games on the internet and on my Wii I did not know so much about all of the breeds. In fact, I have now learned about over 100 different types of ponies and horses and a little about where they came from, how they look and what makes them each special.

I keep a record of the breeds, and when I play an online horse game that teaches me something new I write it down. I enjoy sharing all of this information with other people. I now know that there are over 200 breeds of horses all around the world.

2

Horses are a lot of work to care for

Since I do not own my own horse and when I go for riding lessons the horse is already tacked and ready to ride, I had no idea of how much work horses are. They require a lot of care to keep happy and healthy. I have learned all about how to feed, groom, exercise and care for horses by playing online horse games. If you don't look after your horses right in many of the games you can not earn point or coins or advance to new levels.

3

Horses are very athletic

At first, when I started playing online horse games I did not think that a lot of the things that the horses were doing were real, but, I found out that they were. It is amazing how many different things you can teach a horse to do. As long as you keep a horse in shape it is very athletic.

4

There are a lot of horse lovers in the world

When I play these game I play with kids from all over the world. It is fun to chat and learn about other peoples interests in horses. I feel like all of these horse lovers are my friends even though we have never met.

5

How much fun it is to create magical horses

I love real horses that is for sure, but I really enjoy making up my own magical horses. This lets me use my imagination and creativity. I have all kinds of unicorns and other really need magical horses and ponies that I can train and who on my virtual horse games. They can do all kinds of neat things, and I can even breed them. My favorite magical horse is a grey and white unicorn that I named Jasper. Jasper can do amazing tricks and he is very, very sweet.

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