Monday, 7 November 2011

Start a horseback riding academy

                   
(194) Start a  horseback riding academy

A horseback riding academy is a business that provides horseback riding lessons to children and adults. It is usually run by a riding instructor or a barn manager, and could have as many as several hundred students. If this sounds like a career you would enjoy, you will need plenty of start-up capital as well as equestrian knowledge.

  • Determine where you would like to open a horseback riding academy. For maximum potential, it should be located near a populous city or town
    Purchase sufficient land to contain a riding school. In most cases, 10 acres or more are required for this type of operation, though some riding schools have upwards of 100 acres.
  • Obtain the necessary licenses and inspections required to start an agricultural business. These requirements vary depending on where you live, so visit your local courthouse for more information.
  • Review building codes and ordinances for your city or county. These codes will determine where you can build certain structures, and how you must organize your horseback riding academy.
  • Hire a contractor to build the necessary structures for your riding school. A barn or stable, a riding arena, several paddocks, and a storage area are all important to this type of business, so plan wisely.
  • Acquire the necessary equipment for a horseback riding academy. You'll need saddles and stirrups for all ages of students, school horses for your students to ride, bridles and halters for each of the horses, and a host of other equipment.

             
    To begin with starting any business requires a high level of commitment and a passion for their chosen business and a horse riding centre is no exception. Hours will be long and irregular and include weekends and evenings. A key point that causes many emerging businesses to fail in their first few months is not treating it as a business, this is especially true of people attempting to turn their hobby or passion into their primary source of income. Making the mental leap from fun pastime to serious business can be a difficult one and quite disheartening but is very important in the initial start-up phase of your business. After all is this is your dream job then you may as well try everything possible to make it work.
    Caring For HorsesCentre managers running their own business have to constantly reinvest in buildings, stock and horses. Like most self-employed horse centre managers, income will depend on the volume of business generated. Well thought out, targeted advertising will help with this. Work out who your target group is or what type of user/customer you wish to attract and think of way to reach them, be imaginative in your approach and you can be far more effective in reaching people than wasting your precious start up budget on wasteful advertising.
    Hiring staff may or may not be necessary depending on the scale of your business, and these staff members can be key in the success or failure of your fledgling enterprise. Avoid hiring friends or family unless you are certain beyond reasonable doubt that they can do the job and do it well. When hiring staff there are many tips available online for interviewers, but at the end of the day just be observant and trust your judgement and you should make the right decision.
    Instructors can help you develop horse training programmes. They observe riders in order to spot and help correct problems and to ensure training is carried out safely.
    They may work with:
    • non-competitive riders of all ages
    • competitive riders, helping individual riders or teams to prepare for competitions such as show jumping, eventing and dressage.
    Instructors may also teach assistant horse instructors and be responsible for supervising the stable. Some horse instructors may combine teaching with work as a groom. Instructors may have to to live in.
    Instructors may travel with riders to competitions, which at the highest levels may be abroad. Freelance instructors travel between riding schools. A driving licence is useful, although not usually essential.

Attracting Clients


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    Ensure that your horseback riding academy is operating legally by having each new student sign a liability waiver. You'll also need to purchase liability insurance to cover yourself and your property.
  • Advertise horseback riding lessons, summer camps and other services in high-profile areas. Your local tack shop is a great place to start, but also consider advertising on the internet.
  • Offer a special to bring in new clients, such as free lessons for referrals or a free first lesson for new students. This demonstrates that you are committed to your career and that your stable cares about its clients.
  • Provide safe, knowledgeable riding instruction to all ages and levels of students. Take time out of your day to learn as much as you can about the sport you teach, and continually revise your policies and procedures to ensure the safety of both students and horses.
  • Purchase new school horses and equipment as your horseback riding academy continues to grow. Riding is a popular sport, and you may find that your clientèle quickly outgrows your facilities.

Horse training

          
Horse training refers to a wide variety of practices that teach horses to perform certain behaviors when asked to do so by humans. Horses are trained to be manageable by humans for everyday care as well as for equestrian activities from horse racing to therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities.
Training a horseHistorically, horses were trained for warfare, farm work, sport and transport. Today, most horse training is geared toward making horses useful for a variety of recreational and sporting equestrian pursuits. Horses are also trained for specialized jobs from movie stunt work to police and crowd control activities, circus entertainment, and equine-assisted psychotherapy.
There is tremendous controversy over various methods of horse training and even some of the words used to describe these methods. Some techniques are considered cruel, other methods are considered gentler and more humane. Some horse training techniques may appear violent to people unused to horse behavior, but in practice may not be as harsh as they appear. However, even a "humane" method of training can become abusive if used improperly or ineptly. It is beyond the scope of this article to go into the details of various training methodology, so general, basic principles are described below. The see also section of this article provides links to more specific information about various schools and techniques of horse training.
Most young domesticated horses are handled at birth or within the first few days of life, though some are only handled for the first time when they are weaned from their mothers, or dams. Advocates of handling horses from birth sometimes use the concept of imprinting to introduce a foal within its first few days and weeks of life to many of the activities they will see throughout their lives. Within a few hours of birth, a foal being imprinted will have a human touch it all over, pick up its feet, and introduce it to human touch and voice.
Others may leave a foal alone for its first few hours or days, arguing that it is more important to allow the foal to bond with its dam. However, even people who do not advocate imprinting often still place value on handling a foal a great deal while it is still nursing and too small to easily overpower a human. By doing so, the foal ideally will learn that humans will not harm it, but also that humans must be respected.
While a foal is far too young to be ridden, it is still able to learn skills it will need later in life. By the end of a foal's first year, it should be halter-broke, meaning that it allows a halter placed upon its head and has been taught to be led by a human at a walk and trot, to stop on command and to stand tied. The young horse needs to be calm for basic horse grooming, as well as veterinary care such as vaccinations and worming. A foal needs regular hoof care and can be taught to stand while having its feet picked up and trimmed by a farrier. Ideally a young horse should learn all the basic skills it will need throughout its life, including: being caught from a field, loaded into a trailer, and not to fear flapping or noisy objects. It also can be exposed to the noise and commotion of ordinary human activity, including seeing motor vehicles, hearing radios, and so on. More advanced skills sometimes taught in the first year include learning to accept blankets placed on it, to be trimmed with electric clippers, and to be given a bath with water from a hose. The foal may learn basic voice commands for starting and stopping, and sometimes will learn to square its feet up for showing in in-hand or conformation classes. If these tasks are completed, the young horse will have no fear of things placed on its back, around its belly or in its mouth.
For any rider the choice of riding schools can be difficult but particularly so for the first time rider wishing to take those first lessons.
There are two organisations that set standards for riding schools: the British Horse Society (BHS) and the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS). Any riding school approved by one or both of these organisations ensures that they meet the standard required by these organisations. Therefore it is always best to locate a school which has been approved by one or both of these organisations. Riding schools are inspected every year and so any approval should be current. The BHS and the ABRS both set riding instruction examinations.
Group Learning to RideOnce the riding school has been chosen and the lesson booked the next thing to consider is what to wear for that first lesson. Although riding wear can be bought from saddlery shops and online equestrian stores it is not wise to rush out and buy these items until you are sure that you enjoy riding and intend to continue for some time to come.
The riding school will have riding hats of varying sizes for beginners to hire for a lesson. Comfortable fitting trousers should be worn - overly tight trousers are not advised as these may restrict movement and prove uncomfortable for riding in, whilst baggy trouser may flap and alarm the horse or pony. Boots or shoes with a small heel should be worn and shoes with a chunky grip on the sole are best avoided.
It is not necessary to buy a full set of riding wear before starting horse riding as riding schools have riding hats of varying sizes available for beginners to hire for a lesson and this is the single most important item of equestrian clothing.
Once riding regularly though it is wise to invest in proper equestrian clothing to ensure maximum safety and comfort whilst riding.
It is always best to arrive at least 15 minutes early for the first lesson. This will give time to find a suitable hat to hire and also give the opportunity to meet the horse to be ridden and see it being prepared for the lesson, if it has not been prepared beforehand.
The first thing you will learn on your riding lesson is how to mount the horse or pony.
Before mounting it is always advisable to check that the girth is sufficiently tight. A loose girth will result in the saddle slipping to one side when mounting.
Mounting a horse or pony is done from the "near" side ie the horse's left side. (The horse's right side is known as the "off" side.) Facing the horse, the reins are held in the left hand and the left hand placed on the pommel of the saddle. The reins should be held tight enough to prevent the horse or pony from wandering off when you try to mount but not too tight that the horse or pony starts to walk backwards.
Then turning to face the rear of the horse, take the stirrup in your right hand, turn it clockwise to allow you to gently place your left foot in it so that the ball of your foot rests on the bottom of the stirrup. An important thing to note is that whilst mounting you should be careful not to inadvertedly kick the horse with your left foot as this will encourage the horse to walk forward.
With the reins held in the left hand, your left foot in the stirrup, the right hand should be placed over the back of the saddle (cantle). Then with a small spring, jump up straightening the left leg as you swing the right leg over the back of the horse, remembering to move your right hand forward as you do so, and then gently sit into the saddle.
To dismount from a horse or pony, first remove both feet from the stirrups. Then hold the reins in the left hand whilst holding the pommel of the saddle. In one flowing movement, lean foward, lift the right leg and swing it over the horse's hindquarters (being careful not to kick the horse in the process) and land on the ground beside the horse.
Once you have dismounted, take the stirrup leather and slide the iron up the back part of the leather and then take the folded bottom end of the leather and pass it through the centre of the Iron so that it falls behind it. This prevents the stirrup iron from falling and knocking against the horse.
Then reward your horse by lifting up the saddle flap and loosening the girth by one or two holes.
How to Prepare for a Horse Show
Horse Show JumpingAnyone who has ever shown a horse knows the thrilling but sometimes stressful times right before you enter the arena. This article will explain how to make you and your horse look like winners before those nerve racking moments.
Steps
  1. Give your horse a bath to get every part of him or her squeaky clean. It's best to give your horse a bath a few days before the show to allow time for the natural coat oils to return and make him or her gleam. However, if you are already running out of time, coat your horse in some shine-enhancing formula after he or she is dry.
  2. Clip the feathers on your horse's legs closely, as well as the longer hairs that grow on your horse's muzzle, face, ears, and throat. Also, always clip your horse a nice, clean bridle path - a few inches at the most. Clipping adds definition to your horse's body shape and improves the overall presentation before the judge. The judge will always choose a great performance over a mediocre one, and presentation is a key part in the judging process.
  3. Decide what to do with his or her mane. The style mainly depends on your horse's breed and the discipline (type) of the show or class, but here are the basic styles:
  4. For English events such as Hunter Under Saddle, English equitation, jumping, or Dressage, pull your horse's mane to around four inches (the width of your hand) and then braid it with yarn that matches you horses mane so it will blend in. The braid is then pulled upward to create a loop. Then, with the extra string (from braiding), tie off a little before the middle of the loop, creating a button. Whether or not to braid the tail also depends on the discipline. Typically, Hunter competitors do braid the tail but Eventing competitors do not, even for Dressage. FEI regulations do not require braiding. To braid the tail, simply do a French braid, taking very small sections from the sides, starting at the top. You should braid down to almost the end of the tail bone. Then, keep braiding regularly (no longer a French braid) and either loop it under and secure or pinwheel it. If you are showing your horse in western events such as Western Pleasure or Trail, banding your horse's mane is a good idea. Banding tends to make a thick neck appear thinner and makes your horse appear well-groomed and finished. To band a horse's mane, you must first shorten it to an appropriate length, probably around four and a half inches. Then you take about one inch sections of the hair and wrap a small braid binder of some sort tight around it. Be careful, however, not to wrap it too close to the neck as to it will stick up like a mohawk. Repeat the banding process until you have run out of mane. Try to keep the band even and laying flat. To make your banding job stand out, use a different color band than your horse's mane (such as white bands on a dark mane). A mane tamer would be an excellent idea in keeping the bands intact for a night or in the trailer ride over.
  5. Hunter and western riders often sand the horses hooves to make them smooth, then apply shoe polish. When the shoe polish dries, paint black hoof polish on your horse's clean black hooves (use clear polish on hooves that are not black). This should all be done on a clean hard surface. Once the hoof polish is dry, spray with black (or clear) paint right before entering the ring for a final touch.
  6. Make sure you look your best, now that your horse is all set to go. Dressage competitors should refer to the FEI regulations; Eventing competitors should refer to the USEF Rules for Eventing as well as the FEI regulations.
  7. For western competitions, always wear an outfit that makes your horse stand out and color coordinates with your saddle pad. This will add great style to your overall presentation. For a local show, a button up western shirt, nice show pants, boots, hat, and a belt may be very acceptable. But for more competitive horse shows, everyone will be wearing more elaborate garments such as form fitting silkies and vests, expensive chaps, etc. If your budget will not allow you to make these purchases, as long as your outfit complements yourself as well as your horse, then you have nothing to worry about. Dark colors on light horses, and lighter colors on dark horses tend to draw more attention to them. It's not recommended to wear an all-black outfit in the show ring. Most of your competition will also be wearing it and you will want to stand out among everyone else. A deep purple or midnight blue is a great alternative. Your chaps, boots, and hat will look very smooth if matched in the same color so it would be a good idea to do so. Once you have your outfit together, assemble a test drive to make sure everything matches, fits, and is comfortable so you have no surprises on show day. For huntseat you should be wearing a dark coat (navy, black or hunter green) and breeches that complement. Your shirt should also bring out any stiching details in your coat.
  8. Use the proper tack for your discipline. Dressage and Eventing riders should study the rules in detail, as you may be eliminated if your tack is incorrect.
  9. For the western events, use a complete leather bridle, western saddle, and saddle pad. Your outfit looks very put together if your reins, headstall, and saddle are in one leather color. Lighter oil colors make dark horses stand out but darker colors can look just as good depending on your particular horse's color.
  10. Load all grooming equipment, tack, and anything else you will need. Try to get to the show at least an hour before it's supposed the official opening or start. This way you will have time to accustom your horse to the surroundings and tend to little last minute touch-ups.
  11. Remember to warm up before your classes and make sure you have fun at the show. Good luck!


Horse riding holidays can be a great way of mixing relaxation with adventure as well as enjoying horse riding in different countries. There are many horse riding holiday destinations located all over the UK as well as a great many in other countries. So whether you want to go trail riding in Wales or take a horse back safari in Africa, you are sure to find the riding holiday you are looking for. There are however, several important considerations to be taken into account when making a decision regarding your holiday destination:
  • As with choosing any holiday, decide exactly what you want to do beforehand and select your destination accordingly.
  • Before booking, find out as much as possible about the surrounding areas, the facilities on offer, the standard of instruction and the type of horses available.
  • When booking, ensure your potential host knows what you expect and how experienced you are. Do NOT overstate your riding experience or you may arrive to find there are no suitable horses available.
  • Take your own riding hat to the current safety standard, plus suitable boots and clothes for riding - some establishments have strict dress codes to ensure your safety and comfort. Remember to ask before booking!
  • Find out what other activities are available - sightseeing, other sports etc. and what dress, equipment you might need to take.
  • Ensure you are insured - horse riding is not a risk-less sport and proper precautions should always be taken, if you are injured or become ill, you don't want to be left stranded.
Instructional horse riding breaks: One thing that even Olympic-class riders will happily admit, is that there's always room for improvement. An instructional horse riding break is ideal for those looking to improve their skill. Based at equitation centres, they vary from intensive 'learn to ride' courses to those that specialise in a particular discipline such as dressage or jumping. It's best to look for a centre that has some official recommendation. In the UK, the British Horse Society has a list of approved centers which will have well qualified instructors and a variety of well-schooled horsemasters.
Trekking holidays: Trekking or trail-riding varies depending on the standard of riding in the group and the terrain of the destination. There will be a holiday suitable for all standards but to truly enjoy a trail-riding holiday, beginners will benefit from having some lessons at home first. Some companies will ride out from a single base while others will transport your luggage for you and stop at a different accommodation each night. Accommodation varies dramatically and will often be reflected in the price. Holiday companies offer a range of accommodation from shared bunk rooms to the full luxury of a hotel or private mansion house. Expeditions: This is a trail-riding holiday taken to the extreme and a very appealling prospect for experienced riders offering true adventure as you travel across dramatic scenery, often camping. For the ultimate challenge, consider a charity expedition and tackle some fundraising too.
Horse Safari: For those who want to get a clearer view of wildlife, a horse safari offers an alternative to traditional safaris where game viewing is from a four-wheel vehicle. Mainly in south and north African countries where the most varied game can be found, safaris generally involve camping with camps moved several times during the holiday. But horse safaris are not just about viewing wildlife. In a broader sense the term means exploration and it is widely used in India to describe holidays that travel through remote regions and deserts, with the options of swapping your horse for a camel. Horse safaris are also available in Europe and in New Zealand and Australia where there is less wildlife but the scenery is wild and dramatic.
Ranch holiday: True ranching holidays take place in the wild expanses of America with Arizona, Montana, Utah and Mexico being typical destinations. Often called 'dude ranches', these outback cattle stations offer the city weary traveller an experience as far away from the city as they can dream of. Think 'Blazing Saddles' and you've got a clear idea of what a true ranching holiday is about. Learn from experienced cowhands how to work the cattle and take part in a round up or cattle drive. On this site, just as 'safari' sometimes means any equestrian exploration, ranch is used to describe holidays outside America which offer riding from a base.


Owning a horse is a huge responsibility. It means hard work and dirty chores for a long time, along with considerable expense. It is important to understand that the initial purchase of a horse is only the first step in your new experience with horses. You will have to consider whether the horse will be kept in a paddock, or whether it must be stabled. You need to discuss feeding costs with a reputable feed merchant. Paddock horses may need some supplementary feed when grass becomes eaten down, and stable horses will be fed continuously on procured feed.
Horse and FoalBasic necessities for a horse include a bridle, saddle, and saddle blanket, grooming brush, feed tin and water container. It is wise to enquire about these costs first as they can be very expensive items and time and care is needed in their selection. It's a good idea to have a safe storage area for your equipment when it is not being used on the horse. Your own riding outfit has to be purchased as well, and this should include a suitable hard hat and good quality riding boots.
There will also be costs for shoeing, veterinary attention for your horse's teeth, worm control, coughs and colds, and for vaccinations against diseases such as strangles and tetanus.
Most young people purchasing their first horse are strongly advised to join the local Pony Club where they will receive expert tuition on riding and advice on horse care.
Choosing a Horse
Buy your horse from a reputable source. Beware of choosing a horse from anyone who cannot provide a satisfactory history of the animal. Make sure the seller knows what you wish to use the horse for. It is important that you and your horse are well-matched so great care should be employed in its selection.
Find out all about it: age, background, vices (e.g. buck, kick, bite, and bolt). Make sure your first horse has a quiet temperament. Examine the horse and have an experienced friend ride it for you and ride it yourself. If it feels right ask for a one week trial, then ride and handle the horse daily. Have your own veterinary surgeon cheek the horse for fitness and suitability prior to purchase.
Responsibilities of Horse Ownership
All horses have certain basic needs irrespective of the husbandry system under which they are kept:
  • Ready access to food and fresh water to maintain health and vigour.
  • Freedom of movement to stand, stretch and lie down.
  • Regular exercise.
  • Social contact with other horses and people.
  • Accommodation that neither harms nor causes undue strain, and provides adequate protection.
  • Protection from disease and regular inspection to assess the need for attention to feet, teeth and worm control.
  • Rapid identification and treatment of lice, injury and disease.
All horse owners should be fully aware of the general and specific husbandry requirements of the horse. Many municipalities restrict the riding of horses in certain areas, prohibit taking horses to specific places (e.g. a beach or public park) and have regulations for keeping horses in their areas.



There are many basic routine tasks involved in taking care of your horse, here are just a few: -
Grooming a Horse
Grooming a horse is primarily carried out for appearance's sake, however, it has other objectives as well. Grooming cleans the skin so that it can work to maximum effect. Grooming and strapping, when the horse is rhythmically thumped with a pad on the shoulders, quarters and neck, also encourages muscle development and tone, and promotes circulation.
Stabled horses that are clipped, kept under artificial conditions, and fed quantities of heating food, create additional waste matter. Much of this waste is removed through an increased rate of breathing and through excrement, but much is also disposed of through the skin, the pores of which must be clean if the function is to be fulfilled.
Horses kept out at pasture should not be overly groomed since you remove the waterproofing layer of grease from the coat. It is sufficient to brush off the worst of the mud before going for a ride.
Grooming is best carried out from front to rear, starting high up on the horse's head behind the ears. Stand away from the horse, the secret of grooming lies in getting one's whole weight behind the brush, which cannot be done when too close to the horse.
Shoeing Horses
The object of shoeing is to protect the hoof of the working horse from being worn away more quickly than it could be replaced by natural growth, and it also improves the gripping property of the hoof.
The farrier's job is to preserve its natural function and the horse's natural action. He also seeks to remedy conformational defects resulting in faulty movement, and to counter the effect of disease.
The horn grows between 1/4" and 3/4" per month, therefore, the shoes need to be removed every four weeks so that the excess growth can be removed. A new set of shoes should be fitted if the old ones are unserviceable.
The shoe is fixed to the hoof either by hot or cold shoeing. Hot shoeing involves heating the shoe until it is red hot. It is then placed on the hoof for a few seconds, burning a brown rim where it touches. The object is to check the fit and to ensure the whole shoe is in perfect contact. If the brown rim is incomplete, the hoof must be rasped again until the surface is level. A well-made shoe follows the rim of the hoof wall and is neither too wide, too long nor too short. Hot shoeing allows the farrier to make adjustments to the shape of the shoe more easily and it should ensure a perfect fit. Cold shoeing is when the completed shoe is nailed to the prepared hoof without first being heated, and it is not thought to be as satisfactory.
Horse Hoof Care
HoofThe basic tools for cleaning your horse's hooves are a high-quality hoof dressing, hoof sealer and a hoof pick. Begin by holding the hoof in a comfortable position, with the hoof well supported by one hand. Holding the hoof pick in your other hand, loosen the mud, manure, and bedding by inserting the point of the hoof pick near the bulbs of the heels. Often you will be able to pop off a large disk of mud and manure with this technique. Next, make downward swipes with the hoof pick in the clefts of the frog. With practice, you will know exactly where the clefts are even if they are covered with mud. Now do a more thorough job of scraping all debris from around the inside edge of the shoe or hoof. Be sure to get any mud or material that has become lodged under the heels of the shoes near the opening of the clefts of the frog.




















































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