For Starters, Give Priority To Horse's Health

January 05, 1992|By Muphen Whitney

And you might want to resolve to:

* Review your horse's health routine with his veterinarian.

* Rethink your horse's diet. Tailor his feed and feeding routine to the work he does.

* Have your horse's teeth checked once a yearby his vet or by an equine dentist. Inspect your horse's feet beforeand after every ride. Set up a regular schedule with the farrier.

* Work on your horse's manners. He should stand and lead quietly. Heshould be cooperative when being handled.

* Think seriously abouthow you use your horse. Set definite goals for this year based on your

horse's age, experience, training, physical condition and temperament.

* Improve your riding. Even if you've been riding all yourlife, resolve to seek the help of a competent ground-person to checkyour position, use of the aids and your horse's way of going.

* Pay strict attention to all aspects of safety. Never, ever ride without protective headgear. Wear safe footwear each time you ride or work around your horse.

* Clean your tack regularly and have it inspected once a year by a professional. Before and after each ride inspect your

tack, especially the reins, girth, stirrup leathers, billet straps and bridle fittings. Have worn tack replaced or repaired.

* Have a good attitude toward competition, and be a good sport. Realizethat you can't win everything every time. Do the best job that you can, and be happy if you and your horse work well together. Competition should be a learning experience for you and your horse.

* See your horse as a valuable partner in your activities. Respect both his talents and his limitations. Never over-face him, and never use him asa tool for your ego.

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