Newbie question re care and riding of Arabian/ half Arabian - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-23-2009, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Missouri (for now)
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For equipment...first off, regardless of what style she's riding, buy her a helmet. Make her wear it. I have quite literally have my life saved on two separate occasions because I had my helmet on. People might complain that it's hot, it makes your head sweat, it makes you look funny, it gives you helmet hair, but I would have been brain-damaged or died without my helmet. Let me put it this way - my first bad fall was when I was 17, my helmet was absolutely smashed, I drove myself home but still had a concussion, so my mom took me to the ER. She ran into the doctor that had seen me in the ER (for a light concussion, a fairly common event) a few months ago - five and a half years later, he still remembered me, based on my helmet that I'd brought in to show the ER. I just rode for the first time in about nine years without a helmet last weekend, because I was riding with a friend who had never been on a horse before and she was nervous, and since I knew the horse I was riding and trusted him, I loaned her my was one of the most nerve-wracking rides of my life. Once you're used to it, it's very weird to ride without one. A $40 investment sure beats the cost of an extended hospital stay or a funeral.

She might want some basic grooming tools. They don't have to be fancy - a hoofpick (I like the kind with a brush, but I also have the kind that's plain metal to stick in my pocket when I trail ride, in case of emergencies), a body brush, a soft brush, a rubber currycomb, that should be enough. The Oster tools are nice because they're more ergonomically design, but they're also about three times as expensive. Horsemen have been using the traditional tools for centuries, pretty much (I looked through a reprint of a tack catalog from the late 19th century once - it's amazing how little has changed).

Beyond that, it depends. Is she riding Western, English, or both? If she's not a very experienced rider, I suggest starting in English, if possible - much better for your balance. I started in Western and switched to English, and even though I like English better, if I haven't ridden in a while I'll do Western, because I know my balance will be terrible otherwise. I ride in jeans and a pair of basic cowboy boots - don't bother getting the super-fancy ones with rhinestones and pink leather and all that junk. My jeans and boots work for both Western and English, although when I get to the point where I can ride on a regular basis and I'm riding English more, I'm going to buy some breeches and boots. Beginning equipment doesn't have to be fancy - remember, a lot of girls her age will like horses for a while, until they discover there are far more fascinating creatures, boys. Not that this will necessarily happen (my mom thought it would with me, and fourteen years later, I'm about to graduate with a degree in Animal Science because I still like horses!), but it does happen quite a lot.

If I can help you out anymore, PM me. I'll send you my phone number and I can talk to you about it if you'd like.
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post #12 of 12 Old 10-23-2009, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Missouri (for now)
Posts: 49
• Horses: 0
Oh, and as far as finding an instructor goes - you want someone who's patient and has safety as the first priority. Take a look around the barn (any instructor who's worth hiring will let you do this) and make sure the aisles are clear. Look in the stalls and see if they look fairly clean. Check out the horses and see if they look happy and cared for. Look at the fences and make sure they're in good condition. Observe a lesson (again, a good instructor should have no problem with this) and see how the instructor treats students. Does he or she treat them calmly and with respect? Find out how many shows they attend every year, and how many students they take. Look at as much of the facility as possible - when I was 15, I traded work for lessons at a place that I wouldn't consider riding at now. The instructor was all right, but the owners were snobby and rude, the lesson horses were treated horribly (they were almost all mares, and they would breed them, ride them until they were two weeks to a month from foaling, and start using them again two weeks to a month after foaling) and their stalls were awful. The boarded horses on the other side of the barn had nicer stalls, but they didn't get nearly as much turnout time as I'm sure the barn owners were telling their owners - I know some of those horses would spend all day in their stalls, which had absolutely horrible lighting. I felt sorry for them, must have been like living in a hole. Ask around - talk to vets, feed and tack shop owners, people like that, and find out who they recommend and what the local grapevine has to say.
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