Beginnings of Falls

  When deciding to ride, one thing is always guaranteed to come along with that decision; falling off. No one is immune to it. Some riders will fall more than others. But one thing is true with all riders, every fall will teach us valuable lessons.

  Falling can be dangerous. We've all seen and learnt about all of the bad falls some people have experienced, so we need to be careful. Every time you get into the saddle, you are taking risks. There are, however, different things you can do to minimise the risk of hurting yourself in case of a fall.

  I know some stables have made their students practice falling off a horse in a controlled environment. They'll have one person hold onto the horse and keep him from moving while the rider falls to the ground. I've never experienced this, but I do understand their logic behind it. If they can teach riders how to fall correctly in a controlled setting, then they hope that they'll fall safely when things were to go wrong.

  Unlike riding in a grass field or on gravel, you can modify a riding ring to make it better for you. For example, you can walk around the ring and look for stones and remove them before you ride. You could also change the jump course around or get rid of it all together depending on what you plan to do. 

  Of course wearing the right gear will also help you stay safe. The most obvious is wearing a helmet. Some will also wear protective vests. What's also good is to wear the right pants and boots. No one should ever ride in shorts. This exposes your legs to cuts and scrapes (not to mention that it is uncomfortable against the saddle). Wearing the right boots also helps. Riding boots allow you to have a good grip on the stirrup and they don't restrict the movement of your foot while riding. Other shoes weren't designed for riding. Some shoes will restrict movement or they will have too much grip on the stirrup that your foot may get caught in a fall. 

  The most important thing you can do to minimise your risk of falling is pay attention. I think it's safe to say that many of a rider's falls are due to them losing focus. It's natural to zone out or to be thinking of all the other things you have to do. The reason why this can be risky with horses is that you might miss all of his little cues that something wasn't right. When a rider is not prepared and is caught off guard, they won't be balanced in the saddle or quick enough to react. This is usually why someone will fall off.

  Granted, yes there are certain situations where you can't prevent a fall from happening. Your horse might decide to refuse at the last minute or trips on uneven ground. Sometimes falls will just happen. They teach us and improve us every time. But with every fall, a rider is always faced with a decision; to give up or to get back on.

  Until next time, happy riding!  

Blog Hop: Our Commercial Moment

  This is the first blog hop I have ever done so forgive me if I have done this wrong. I was reading Viva Carlos' post and figured this would be a fun one to do for this week's post.

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  This blog hop is all about your horse shopping list. As L said, "What are you buying next? Not your "Wish I could" list but your actual practical pony shopping list. And if its a high ticket item you are saving for what is it and when do you expect to order/get it?" 

  So here is my list...

  Since I haven't been riding for a while, as many of the regular Pure Horse Sense readers probably know, I need to buy quite a few of the basics to get me back in the saddle again.

  First off, both my tall boots and my paddock boots still fit me fine, but my half chaps are a little tight. They are leather so I have a feeling that they shrank because I wasn't using them for a while. I don't know if it's worth stretching them or buying a new pair. I'm worried that if I stretch them I'll just destroy them so if anyone has any suggestions on how to go about it, let me know.

  I'll also need some new riding pants. They don't need to be fancy, just ones that fit me so I can get ready for competition and then I'll get some good ones. The two pairs I have currently are well used and are too short for me now so a few new pairs are a must.

  If you've read about my most recent fall experience, then you'll know that getting a new helmet is going to be a priority for me. I've read somewhere that you should replace your helmet after every fall. I can't see everyone doing this because that could get quite expensive depending on your experience and the horse you are riding. I do agree, however, on replacing your helmet after every bad fall. I don't want to take my chances on riding with my helmet, falling again and it not protecting me like it should because it was cracked from the last fall and I wasn't aware. So, a new helmet is on the list. I'd like to get a Charles Owen or an IRH one.

  Those are my top shopping list items. After that, I'll probably buy little things like some new gloves. Because I don't lease or own a horse, I don't need to worry about tack and other horse supplies. Once I do get going again, I know that things like buying a saddle and bridle will be added onto the list. But for right now, the things I have listed are my priority.

  So, what's on your horse shopping list? If you're a horse blogger and you're new to the blog hop world like me, I encourage you to try it. It's a lot of fun. If this is your first time visiting Pure Horse Sense, welcome! If you'd like to subscribe to stay up to date on future posts, you can learn about all the ways to do so by clicking on the How to Stay Connected with Pure Horse Sense link on the left side of your screen.

  Also, check out the other bloggers who have participated in this blog hop by clicking the links below:

  I wish you all a wonderful weekend and thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense.

  Until next time, happy riding!

Things To Consider Before Buying

  To those of you living in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Though, here in Canada, we don't share the same Thanksgiving day as you, we have caught on to your Black Friday. So you can bet that I'll be out and about looking for some great deals.

  In the spirit of finding good deals, I thought today's post should be about finding deals when buying your tack which is something that all of us can take advantage of.

  When you are shopping for some new tack or riding gear for yourself, there are a few things you need to consider: level of experience, price, quality and information.

  Depending on your level of experience, you may not need to buy the top of the line. If you're just learning how to ride, chances are you can get away with things like some inexpensive rubber boots. They're easy to take care of and they won't hurt your bank as much if you decide that riding is not for you. You also probably won't need to buy any tack because you'll be riding a horse the school has and his tack is already purchased by the stable.

  If you're an intermediate rider, you're more likely to buy a good pair of leather boots (possibly two pairs if you are competing) and a nice helmet. If you're leasing or you have bought your own horse, you can spend some of your money on some good tack in the colours and styles of your choice.

  When you're an advanced rider, you understand that the quality can make a difference in your ride. You'll probably spend your money on a few great pairs of boots, helmets, pants and jackets. When it comes to your horse's tack, you can spend a little more to make sure it fits both him and you perfectly for a more comfortable ride.

  The price of your tack and apparel also comes into effect. Granted, a less experienced rider will pay less than an advanced rider would, but you can also find some great deals. Sometimes you'll find that some tack shops will carry different brands and different prices than others. There's no harm done with shopping around. If you find a saddle or a pair of boots that you really liked, take a note of them and see if you can find a better deal somewhere else. If you can't then you can always go back to where you found them in the first place.

  Remember not to compromise on quality because of the price. At a beginner level, there may not be as many options, but make sure to loot at the quality of the seams of a boot compared to another, for example. You don't want to save a couple of dollars just to have them last for a few months. Apart from riding gear, compromising quality for price is especially true for tack. Not all leather is treated equally. Some can take more abuse than others. You never want to be in a situation where your stirrup leather snaps in half while you are posting your trot. The trick is to find the right balance of quality and price that works for you.

  Finally the other thing you need to remember is information. You should know as much about what you are buying before you buy it. Take the time to research and ask questions. This is especially important if you are planning on buying things online. You want to make sure you are getting exactly what you want and not something else. You can find some great deals online that you may not find in stores if you start looking. 

  So that is it for this week. I wish you all a wonderful weekend and thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense. 

  Until next time, happy riding!