Blog Hop: Continuation School

  Those who follow horse blogs are usually horse crazy. Riding is our sport, passion and obsession. We'll get back on no matter how many times we fall and we don't mind getting our hands dirty. We'll wake up extra early to go to the barn and we'll spend money on horse things when we could use some new clothes ourselves.

  So, why do we do it? Why do we ride?

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  This is my answer to the Viva Carlos' blog hop question...

  Just like any sport, the more you work at it, the more rewarding it gets. But horseback riding is different. Not only does it challenge you mentally, emotionally and physically, there's a new language you need to learn. We communicate through movements and emotion. The difficulty comes with communicating clearly with an animal that also has a mind of his own.

  So do I do it for the challenge? Not entirely...

  What I find the most rewarding part of riding is the partnership. Through all the training sessions filled with frustration, blood, sweat and tears, the two of you become a team. I think it's a relationship that you won't find anywhere else. To be able to communicate completely without the need for words and to be able to enter the ring not on an animal, but a good friend is a great feeling.

  I don't think you can find that kind of partnership in any other sport. You'd probably think I sound crazy if you've never experienced what I am talking about. It's something that's hard to explain because it's a relationship that is wordless, I guess. It's something that needs to be experienced rather than described.

  I think that's why riders become consumed in the horse world. It's hard for us to stay away because you won't really find anything like it anywhere else.

  Being in the saddle is a great place to think and clear your mind. You can unload all your worries without having anyone judging you. Horses can see who you really are the minute they see you. They are our mirrors. Though that might sound daunting to some, I find that liberating and refreshing. It's rewarding to be purely who you are and nothing more.

  In the end, I don't ride for the ribbons, the status or the challenge. What I truly ride for is the unique partnership.

  Well, this post has made me want to ride even more than I already do. I'm suffering from major riding withdrawal (haha). Hopefully, I'll be able to ride again sooner rather than later.

  But until then, thank you for reading. Be sure to check out the answers of other bloggers to L's question by clicking their links below. Also, tag yourself in this blog hop or write in the comments below why it is that you ride.  

  Until next time, happy riding!

Safety First! (Quick Release Knot)

  As you can tell by the title, this week's post will be about the quick release knot. I think it's important for all riders to know how to tie a horse with this type of knot because it keeps both you and the horse as safe as possible if any problems did occur.

  When it comes to tying a horse to a fence, a trailer or anywhere else that does not have cross ties, a quick release knot is usually the best solution. This knot allows the horse to pull on the lead rope without it coming undone. It also allow you to simply pull on the other end of the rope to untie the horse for a quick and easy release just in case your horse gets spooked or needs to be moved quickly. 

How to tie a quick release knot

When learning how to tie this knot, I suggest that you practice without a horse at the beginning. Find a rope and a tying point and get used to the steps. It can be a little tricky at first, but just like braiding your horse's mane, your hands will become used to the movements and it will become easy for you to do.

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  1. First, wrap your rope around your tying point.

  2. Decide which end of the rope will be the one where your horse will be tied to and let it go. You will not need to touch this rope to make the knot (it will be tied around this end)

  3. Make a loop with the end of the rope that the horse is not attached to

  4. With what is left of the rope, pass it under the end where the horse is attached as well as the first part of the loop, but make sure to pass it over the second part of the loop.

  5. Do not pull what is left of the rope through, leave it as another loop (so you should really have only two loops)

  6. Pull on the rope where the horse is attached to tighten the knot

  7. Your knot is completed and your horse is tied up.

  8. When you want to untie you horse, simply pull on the end of the rope where your horse isn't attached and the knot will unwind itself effortlessly. 

  I know that this may be a little confusing at first to understand. Try referring to the picture above and the step by step instructions. Like everything, practice makes perfect. If you tie the knot and then pull on the end of the rope that your horse is attached to and it unties itself, you have done something wrong. Keep trying and you will soon be able to do it with ease.

How to use the quick release knot properly

  1. Make sure that your horse is tied to something that is solid. If you are tying your horse to a fence, make sure to tie him to the post instead of the boards because the posts are less likely to break if a horse were to pull really hard on the fence.

  2. Never leave your horse unattended. Even though he is tied up, he can still get himself into trouble. Some horses are clever enough to know to to untie the knot themselves.

  3. Give your horse enough rope so that he can move his head and graze, but not enough for him to step on it or get his head caught around it. 

  4. Don't make your knot too small. If your loops are too small, your knot may just untie itself.

  Once you have become familiar with the quick release knot, try tying your horse with it. You may find that it is a very useful knot for not only tying your horse up, but that it can also be useful for tying a hay net up or your dog up when you want him outside with you without having to hold his leash.

  As you must of noticed by now, the blog website has undergone a few changes again. This time, there aren't any new functions, it just looks a little different. Certain font colours as well as the background picture have been changed. As this blog is not even a year old yet, more modifications may be made to make it more visually appealing and easy to use for you readers, so please be patient with me. 

  If you have any suggestions on certain improvements or would like to tell me whether you prefer this background more or less than the other one, please do not hesitate to comment, email or tweet me. 

  If you are new to my blog, welcome. If you would like to be notified every time there is a new blog post, you can do so by subscribing at the bottom of this page. You can also learn how to subscribe by clicking here. Please feel free to read previous posts as well as the Home and Contact Me pages too.

  As always, I hope you are all having a wonderful week and I thank you for reading my blog as it means a lot to me. Until the next post, take care and enjoy your horses.

Safety First! (Cross-Country Jumps)

   It's always nice to hear that new inventions are being used to help keep our beloved sport a little safer. FEI has allowed a new device to be used to keep our cross-country athletes a little bit more secure as they approach each jump. This new device is called the MIM Safe New Era Clip and Pin. It's the first jump fixing to get the FEI's approval since their new rules.

   This new device was designed in Sweden to give way when a strong force hits it. Now don't think that this means that cross-country is becoming more like show jumping where the jump gives way at the slightest nudge. This MIM Clip and Pin will only release the jump if the horse and rider are truly in trouble. It was designed so that a fall will happen safer. Instead of the horse and rider having a rotational fall (see picture below), the jump will move to allow the horse to stay more parallel to the ground. This means that the horse will less likely step or fall on the rider once they hit the ground. So, the MIM Clip and Pin is designed to reduce injury, not to reduce falls (though it does sometimes reduce falls too).

   Hopefully, this will keep our eventers a little safer and allow us to lower the number of deaths and injuries in this discipline every year. If you would like to read more about the MIM Clip and Pin, you can click here.

   I hope you have all enjoyed your week and look forward to your weekend. Feel free to comment or request any blog topics either on this blog site or by email (my email address can be found by clicking on the Contact Me tab). I will be writing again next week. Until then, I wish you all the best and that you all enjoy the time you have with your equine friends. Thank you for reading my blog.