Some newbie soon-to-be-horse-owner questions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Some newbie soon-to-be-horse-owner questions

Hi, I've been riding and working with horses for 5-6 years and I've been obsessed with horses since I could talk. However, I seem to be missing education in a couple of areas

We bought the property across the street (4 acre woods, 2 acres longish strip of grazeable land, and an old barn)....I know some people who show their horses and keep them in good condition, they're stabled almost all day, and only have a small paddock (maybe 30-50 feet long) where they can hop around for rolling/stretching out their legs. The horses spend about 5hr there a day....but they ride the horse for about 2-ish hours. Is this okay? I don't want to jump into a huge paragraph here, but you can ask me for more details about this. I was taught that each horse should need 7 acres of grazing/running areas with a run-in shelter. I'd be keeping my horse on 2 acres of grass with free choice of going into its stall, free choice of hay, grain daily if needed. I'd ride it as much as it needs which is to be determined. Is this okay? Ask for more details if you need. Also I wouldn't be showing. I just want a hack horse that can take a couple of jumps.

1.) I adore the look of a horse without a noseband, and I know the need for a noseband ranges hugely on whatever animal it's used on, but let's say my horse doesn't evade the bit, and is on a regular eggbutt snaffle. Would he need a noseband?

2.) I love the look of a nylon bridle. I have no problem buying a leather bridle, but I tend to be very messy and clumsy and one way or another my bridles/halters/etc end up muddy and gross. Other than the obvious resistance to emergency breakage that a leather headpiece would have, are there other disadvantages? Does it rub on the horse's face badly? Do they wear away and do vermin have a tendency to destroy them?

3.) I can't stand thick reins. They make me clumsy and I'm less sensitive to the horse's mouth when I use one. I have a light hand and I'm good at feeling out the bit with a thin, more delicate rein. What are the thinnest reins I can buy? Can I get some really thin, supple leather? What material would I have to get for that?

4.) I'm confused about hay. My horse would overgraze the land he'd be in rather quickly, but I'd be okay feeding plenty of hay/grain/whatever other supplement he needs. However, is it okay to buy a round bale and take out only what the horse needs and store it in a hay loft until it slowly runs out? Can I just take out a regular small bale size for the horse daily and feed him that or will the round bale rot and get moldy/dusty quickly? If I kept the bale relatively dry and left it in the field, how long would it take a roughly 1200lb horse and a few pygmy goats to finish off the hay if they had that almost exclusively? Would it rot or get soggy very quickly (even with minimal rain)?

5.) A lot of the work I'd be doing with my horse would be hacking through the woods, long walks down the dirt road we live on (it's primarily dirt and some ancient tar that's left, some fine gravel over the top), and maybe I could get permission from my neighbor to have a long canter in her field a couple of times a month (she uses her field for haying every August), if I don't destroy the ground? If I'm doing so much roadwork would I need some kind of shoe studs or leather pads? I also plan on some home-made pole bending, some super beginner barrels, beginner trick training, and some mind-challenging games/playtime.

6.) How the heck do you measure for an English saddle? I'm relatively light. I'm 5'10" and 127lb, I measured my thigh and it is 20" but I'm not really sure what size seat I would need. I used to ride in a 16" saddle and have a 17.5" saddle that's quite comfy but it's not guaranteed to fit my new horse so I'm of course open to testing many other sizes of saddles just to get it to fit my horse. I'm still confused though.



That's all I can think of for now. You don't have to answer thoroughly if you want, maybe just a couple of links? If you read this far already I'm congratulating you for getting through the wall of text

Feel free to think I'm a dummy for not knowing this, but they're genuine questions I'm hoping to clear up!!

ANY help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!
PaintingPintos is offline  
post #2 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 12:45 AM
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I can answer the first one for you! lol

No, you don't need a noseband. In western riding, horses are broken in using a snaffle (usually) and western bridles don't generally come with a noseband. Heck, even on my English bridle, I don't "use" the noseband/cavesson, it's just there for looks.

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
I can answer the first one for you! lol

No, you don't need a noseband. In western riding, horses are broken in using a snaffle (usually) and western bridles don't generally come with a noseband. Heck, even on my English bridle, I don't "use" the noseband/cavesson, it's just there for looks.
So that being said a noseband is just another bit of leather to clean? Should I keep it around "just in case?"
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 01:31 AM
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I still have mine hanging around somewhere. When I was using my hackamore on my gelding, I took the noseband off because it was in the way.

Now, some bridles you can take it off. Others, it's completely attached. Personally, I'd just buy a western headstall if you don't want to use a noseband. Something like this, if you prefer the browband and since you like nylon: Western Poly Browband Headstall Set w/Reins - Horse.com

I haven't used nylon headstalls. I do have a pair of nylon barrel reins and I hate them, but only because they're so short (I have a big horse ). My favorite reins EVER are these: Royal King Braided Flat Cotton Split Reins - Horse.com A little thick, but super soft cotton and have a great feel (mine aren't Royal King, they're Weaver, I just couldn't find them in the quick search I did...the Royal King are basically the same thing, just not as nice quality).

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post #5 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 01:34 AM
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no noseband .
nylon vs leather depends on personal pref , nylon mainly for trails not showing
Hay .. depends on what type of hay .. protein levels etc etc etc
riding in a hay field.. No. not a good idea.
why would you need studs in the shoes, are you on total paved roads or mainly dirt ?
saddles go by seat size for the person, and you need to make sure it fits the horses back and withers correctly.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
I still have mine hanging around somewhere. When I was using my hackamore on my gelding, I took the noseband off because it was in the way.

Now, some bridles you can take it off. Others, it's completely attached. Personally, I'd just buy a western headstall if you don't want to use a noseband. Something like this, if you prefer the browband and since you like nylon: Western Poly Browband Headstall Set w/Reins - Horse.com

I haven't used nylon headstalls. I do have a pair of nylon barrel reins and I hate them, but only because they're so short (I have a big horse ). My favorite reins EVER are these: Royal King Braided Flat Cotton Split Reins - Horse.com A little thick, but super soft cotton and have a great feel (mine aren't Royal King, they're Weaver, I just couldn't find them in the quick search I did...the Royal King are basically the same thing, just not as nice quality).
Okay, the headstall you attached looks like the kind of bridle I'm looking for! The reins, maybe not so much. I feel more secure with attached reins but now I know what I'm looking for. Just curious, do cotton reins tend to break down easy? I remember having some pretty dingy cotton reins when I rode as a kid in lessons, but that was probably from years of heavy use from kids, right?

Thanks for the quick reply, much appreciated!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenson View Post
no noseband .
nylon vs leather depends on personal pref , nylon mainly for trails not showing
Hay .. depends on what type of hay .. protein levels etc etc etc
riding in a hay field.. No. not a good idea.
why would you need studs in the shoes, are you on total paved roads or mainly dirt ?
saddles go by seat size for the person, and you need to make sure it fits the horses back and withers correctly.
Only thing I'd like to point out here is that I wouldn't be riding on paved roads, I'd pretty much be on dirt 4/5 of the time unless I rode down to the country store to pick up a loaf of bread or something. I'm worried about the dirt road in the winter-- it gets very icy there and I'm not sure how I would go about keeping my horse in proper condition. I don't want to completely stop riding etc in the winter, but there would definitely be a week every month or so that I wouldn't be able to ride at all if it were too icy. Would studs help with ice or is it just much safer not to ride then?

Also, thank you for the advice!
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 02:10 AM
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Not sure what you mean by attached reins?

My BO has a pair of cotton reins like mine (which is what made me decide to get mine ) that are several years old and EVERYONE uses them. Mine are actually brown, so they don't show any dirt. :-D
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 03:45 AM
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You don't need a noseband and most English bridles have a removable one. You can get a nylon bridle if you like, I tend to think leather is better, less sweating and rubbing, but that is just my experience.

You can get reins however you like. The best bet might be to go see a saddler (who makes reins and bridles) and look through their reins. I used to ride with that thin rein that is just used on the second bit of a double bridle (don't know what the rein is called) but it's usually very thin and light. Cotton reins can be good if they are decent quality and you try not to get them too wet.

Roundbales can be made of any sort of hay, and provided that hay is suitable, and it's stored well, there should be no reason why you can't use that.

English saddles are based on thigh length, however I've always found it best to sit in a few and see what size feels right.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saskia View Post
You don't need a noseband and most English bridles have a removable one. You can get a nylon bridle if you like, I tend to think leather is better, less sweating and rubbing, but that is just my experience.

You can get reins however you like. The best bet might be to go see a saddler (who makes reins and bridles) and look through their reins. I used to ride with that thin rein that is just used on the second bit of a double bridle (don't know what the rein is called) but it's usually very thin and light. Cotton reins can be good if they are decent quality and you try not to get them too wet.

Roundbales can be made of any sort of hay, and provided that hay is suitable, and it's stored well, there should be no reason why you can't use that.

English saddles are based on thigh length, however I've always found it best to sit in a few and see what size feels right.
Hey thanks for the answer! I can't choose all my tack right now since we haven't even fully put up the fencing and I don't have a horse yet, but I'll definitely keep everyone's notes in mind when tack shopping.

Another thing, I've seen a lot of hay for sale in my area costing roughly $3.75 per bale (40lb bales). The most descriptive ads I've seen say things like "contains alfalfa and orchardgrass, minimal twiggy content" and that's all. Should I be able to tell if it's horse-quality just by inspecting it or should I inspect the pastures?

Lastly, for anyone else to answer, a large portion of one of the pastures we'll have is largely full of weeds. The weeds are mostly Queen Anne's Lace, broadleaf plantain, buttercups around the ditches (can just be pulled out?), and some thistle near the pond (but I don't plan on letting the horses have pond access since it's murky and gross)...there's also some ground ivy near the road. Is it okay to mow this all down and just offer hay/grain/supplement or are the horses going to go at it anyway? Is this unsuitable pasture or should I ask an expert about this?


Thank you for all the help so far
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-02-2014, 07:05 PM
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Horses will eat anything and often prefer grazing over hay, I'm not familiar with some of those weeds as we don't really have them all here, but if they're harmful to horses you have to get rid of them, especially in such a small pasture. Some might need to be pulled up, others may need to be sprayed. Mown grass can also be bad for horses.

The best thing to do is to research the weeds and find the best method of dealing with them.
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