|Proprietors: Ruth Gilman & Mark Forkey
34 Cemetery Road, Willington, CT 06279
Tel: (860) 684-4849 -- Email us!
How to prepare your horse for a lesson:
Cleaning Your Horse Before a Lesson
Tacking Your Horse
Stand on the horse's left side (his head to your left). Start by placing the saddle pad or saddle blanket behind the withers on your horse. You can even place it on the withers and slide it down into place -- this ensures that none of the horse's hair is rubbed the wrong way. Next, add the rubber back-protector pad (if your horse uses this). Finally, place the saddle. One way to remember the order is by the function of the pads: The saddleblanket or saddlepad is to catch sweat as well as pad the horse. The rubber back pad is to cushion the horse's back. (We've had students sometimes put the rubber pad on first, and then the saddle pad. While this is harmless for one ride, it leads to a sweatier horse and would eventually lead to saddlesores.)
If the girth is already on the saddle, make sure it's flipped over the back of the saddle. Once the saddle is in place, go around the front of your horse and carefully lower the girth. Return to he left side, and reach underneath to pull the girth around your horse's barrel and up to the saddle. Cinch the girth or tie the bellyband so that it is snug but not too tight. You or your instructor will retighten it in the ring right before you mount.
Now's the time to put on your riding helmet. Once you have the horse bridled, it's much harder to put it on, so we recommend for riders to put the helmet on before you even take the horse off cross ties.
Grab your horse's bridle. Put the reins over your horse's head while he's still on cross-ties. Sling the bridle over your shoulder. Standing in front of your horse, release the cross ties and move to the horse's left (same side as you saddled the horse). Undo the clip near the horse's throatlatch and remove the bridle. Sling it over your other shoulder. Take the bridle and turn so that your shoulder is under or near the horse's throatlatch. Holding the bridle in your right hand, position the bit under the horse's mouth. Your right hand will be over his nose. This way, if the horse throws his head up to avoid the bit, you can use your right hand to pull his nose back down. Use your left hand to guide the bit in. Once you have the bit in the horse's mouth, slide the bridle up onto the forehead. Pull the ears forward into position and let the bridle settle. Next, on an English bridle, buckle the <name of part>. Then, do the cheek band. This is fitted properly when your hand can fit through along the cheek. (See illusration.) Flip the reins back off the neck, hang up the halter (usually on the same hook with the lead rope), and guide your horse to the ring.
It is customary when entering the ring at Willington Hills to call out 'Door' whenever the bar blocking the doorway is slid out of the way. This way riders are aware that there's an exit from the arena, and can be ready in case one of their horses decides to head for home unexpectedly, or is surprised by the entry of your horse into the ring.
You should then have your instructor check your tack and retighten your girth. Next, you need to let down your stirrups (for English riding). Flip your horses reins over his neck and loop your arm through the reins to approach the saddle. This way, you still have an arm on the reins if your horse decides to go for a walk while you're adusting your stirrups. Do this for both sides. Lead your horse toward the mounting block, so that the mounting block is on your horses's left side. (Your horse's head will face the door out of the ring and the block will be between the wall and your horse.) Move the block into position, and with your instructor's permission, mount the horse.
All contents 2004-2013 © Willington Hills Equestrian Center. All rights reserved worldwide. --- Problems with the website? Contact our web manager.
horses, horseback riding, horse riding, riding lessons, english lessons, western lessons, horse lessons, riding connecticut, connecticut riding academies, connecticut riding lessons, Willington Connecticut, CT, Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford, Ashford, Storrs, Mansfield, Eastford, Eagleville, Phoenixville, Stafford Springs, Stafford, Union, horse, horsemanship, equines, equine, walk, trot, canter, boarding, wash stalls, indoor ring, indoor arena, we love horses! :)