How to properly prepare a horse for training is an important question for new private owners, athletes, horse breeders. Every year there are new products for horse care, new technologies that allow the equipment to lie perfectly – this is what we will introduce you to.
Preparation: Cleaning the horse
The horse must be thoroughly cleaned before saddling. The process of cleaning plays an important role in maintaining the health of the horse – it is a good warming massage that prepares muscles for the upcoming work, and hygiene – removing dead skin particles and hair, removing dirt that, once under the saddle, could lead to wounds and abrasions.
It is accepted to start cleaning with a scraper, its task is to bring to the surface all the dirt accumulated under the wool. You can achieve this by starting circular movements along the horse’s body.
Please pay attention to the choice of brushes! Hard types of scrapers – metal, plastic and soft – are suitable for cleaning muscle-covered areas. But areas with particularly thin skin: belly, legs, maclocks – only need to be treated with a rubber scraper! It is also worth looking at the horse’s condition: are its back and croup well plasticized so that the movements of the brush do not cause much discomfort?
2. Scraper + soft brush
The core layer of dirt is then brushed with a stiff brush and the scraper is used again. You need to take the scraper in your right hand and a soft brush in your left hand: your right hand makes a strong pushing movement against the wool, lifting it, and the left brush of natural or artificial lint abruptly extracts all the accumulated dust. At the end of the treatment, the result can be fixed with air conditioning.
Like wool, mane and tail require regular combing, with one big difference: the mane can be combed with special combs, and the tail, in order not to hurt the hair, it is recommended to use your hands or a soft brush.
4. Hoof brushing
The final stage of cleaning is hoof care. The rider has to take turns knocking out all four legs. This is done with the hoof hook: its stiff side cleans the hoof from sticking pieces of dirt, finer dirt and the arrow-shaped vulnerable areas should be cleaned with a brush.
Stages of the saddle
Once the rider has made sure that the wool is perfectly clean in the area of contact between the ammunition and the horse’s skin, he can proceed to the saddle. At the moment, there are a number of leading riders who use correction tools (such as gels and fur) directly on the horse’s back, but in this article we will consider the more classic saddle variant, where the first “layer” is the waltrap.
The Waltrap should be placed “house” above the hill, paying attention to the fact that all “strips” – the straps of the attachment to the saddle and girth – should be in the direction of the horse’s head.
- A gel or a fur trap
Next, following the waltrap lines, there’s a gel or a fur trap. This point can be considered optional, as a well-matched saddle eliminates the need for any additional mitigation.
Most often, in order to save time and prevent the skin from being broken, athletes leave their girlfriends strapped on one side, but there are also those who completely unbuckle them. In any case, the girlfriend should lie firmly on top of the saddle before the saddle so as not to frighten the horse. The stirrups should also be tightened and fixed.
How do you put the saddle correctly?
Initially, the saddle should be placed on the left side so that its front bow is flush with the crest. Afterwards, the saddle, together with the waltrap, is moved so that..:
- The fork of the saddle lies behind the scapula…
- There’s a distance of one palm between the horse’s arm and front foot.
These are signs of the working position of the saddle, in which it is fixed by the underside. Most of these are anatomically shaped today so it is important to fasten the seatbelts so that the middle of the seatbelts is exactly under the horse’s belly – so that the pressure spreads evenly and the saddle doesn’t make it difficult for the horse to breathe.
As long as the horse is standing in the stables, the girdles must be fastened freely – exactly so that the saddle does not move out as the horse moves in steps. In the working position at which two fingers pass between a girlfriend and a stomach, it is tightened directly in a manege or on a platform.
Protection of the horse’s toes
Not every kind of work and not every horse needs the support of joints and ligaments, but if the need arises, the rider has to deal with:
- Combination of bandage + cotton wool.
Wide parts of the leg should follow the joint line and the buckles should be placed strictly on the outside.
The bandage is applied starting from the upper third of the heel and, overlapping, is lowered to the track joint, after which it is raised to the jump joint, under which it is fastened with Velcro. The wadding increases the protective function of the bandage as well as protects the legs from possible tightening. The process of bandaging “on a cotton wool” is no different from bandaging over a bare leg.