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Choosing the Correct Horse Stirrups for Safety

Horse stirrups are a vital part of the horse riding equipment that is needed before the rider heads off on their horse. Although they are a very simple design, the stirrups are an essential part of the saddle and safety equipment that is needed. There are several different designs of stirrups to choose from depending on the style of the saddle and rider. Western stirrups are different in design to stand stirrups; however, they have the same function.

Although horse riding is a sport that makes the rider feel very free, there are aspects of safety that have to be followed. Staying safe whilst out riding is essential, and having the right equipment will help. Alongside good quality tack using the correct horse stirrups is essential; as they will support the rider's feet. Although it may be tempting for the rider to simply let their feet dangle, this can be very dangerous.

All riders want to feel that they are safe and secure whilst out on their horses, and using the right horse stirrups can help achieve this. Although the stirrups are designed to support the rider, they will also need to be designed with safety in mind. Traditionally the stirrups would have been one design, which tended to get the riders feet stuck if they feel.

This could result in the rider suffering from broken bones, or serious injury as they were dragged by the horse stirrups. However, today the latest designs of the horse stirrups ensure that the rider is kept safe and that their foot is easily released if they fall. Western stirrups are designed wider than typical stirrups for safety reasons. They also have larger treads to ensure that the boots that are worn cannot be caught in the stirrups.

Some horse stirrups are designed with a tapedero, which is placed over the front of the stirrup to ensure that the rider's foot cannot be pushed too far forward. Other designs of stirrups can be found that have wider, bent sides to ensure there is no danger of trapping the riders foot inside. Although the western stirrups are great in design, they will look strange on any other saddle other than a western saddle.

Once the correct style of horse stirrups have been chosen they will need to be fitted onto the saddle correctly, this will ensure that the rider is comfortable. If the stirrups are too high, the rider will find that their position on the horse is compromised. Every time before taking the horse out the rider will need to ensure that they check the length and condition of the stirrups.

The horse stirrups are a piece of equipment that is often taken for granted, however, they need to be the correct design. If the rider takes the time to ensure that the right safety aspects are considered when they're riding, they will remain safe at all times. If something does happen and the rider falls, their feet will be free of the stirrups, and all that will be hurt will be their pride.


Percherons - Very Adaptable Draft Horses

Although the exact origins of the Percheron have been lost over the years, there are several different beliefs about their roots. There are those who believe that this large draft horse is descended from the original horses of the Ice Age. Still others think that it's closely related to the Boulonnais horse that the Romans used to invade Brittany. And a third group maintains that the horse is from a herd of Arabians, or some of the horses used by the Moors during the battle of Poitiers. Whatever one chooses to believe, the consensus among all is that the Percheron can be traced to Normandy at an area called La Perche. Once again, a draft breed has at its roots the Belgian-Flemish blood.

While modern-day Percherons are notable for their heavy draft work, during the 8th century the heavier native and cob stock were crossbred with Arabians and other Oriental horses. The Percheron produced by this breeding made the horses more suitable for riding and lighter draft work. As time passed, the use of a Percheron as a carriage horse developed into the more practical need as a heavier draft animal. The smaller-boned breed of the late 1800s was crossed with the heavier mares of Brittany, resulting in the stockier Percheron that is most familiar today.

Description and Conformation

The preferred Percherons are black or grey but browns, sorrels, and bays are acceptable for registration. Due to the Oriental-type blood throughout their history, while a heavy horse, the elegance of the heritage shows. The Percheron is not as choppy in its movements as other heavy draft horses tend to be. The head is ideally medium sized, has a lean, clean cut, and a broad width between the eyes. While the chest is deep and wide, the shoulders of the Percheron should not stand out prominently, as they tend to do on other drafts. The back is straight and strong in proportion to the neck length and shoulder height.

Today's average Percheron measures 17 to 18 hands (68 to 72 in. , or 173 to 183 cm. ) at the shoulder. Mature Percherons can weigh from 1600 pounds (113. 6 stones) up to, and in excess of, 2400 pounds (170. 4 stones).

This breed of draft horse has been acclaimed as being very adaptable in any environment And it is characterized by a long smooth stride which shows determination and willingness. It is also known for its intelligence, affable temperament, willingness to work, and reputation for ease of handling.

Draft (Draught) Horses - The Shire

The last of six articles about Draft (Draught) Horses, this one is about the Shire, and English draft horse which can be traced back as far as the Roman Conquest.


The Shire, an English draft horse, can be traced back to the days of the Roman Conquest. The horse has been depicted in paintings, as far back as the 15th century, in full war regalia. There are those who do not doubt that this heavy draft was used by knights in battle. Others, however, do not share this belief. In any event, once the tournaments and heavily armored knights passed into history, the ancestors of the Shire were put to use pulling wagons on the roads and ploughs in the fields. It soon became the largest and most powerful horse in Britain. Still today, brewers in English cities use the Shire to pull beer wagons and, they are used for weight-pulling and ploughing competitions.

Although the Shire was found and developed throughout England, what is know today as the Midlands (Lincoln, Huntington, Derby, Norfolk, Leicester, Cambridge, and Norfolk shires) were where the highest concentration of this draft could be found. As with other draft horses, the Shire bloodline was improved with the mixture of other breeds throughout history. There are relatively accurate records, which date back about 1000 years, that show when the Belgian and Flanders breeds were crossed with the Shire.

The Shire was first imported to America in 1853. In the early 1900s it seemed that the Shire might overshadow the Percheron as America's favored draft horse. However, the Percheron prevailed.

Description and Conformation

The typical colors for the modern Shire includes grey, brown, bay, and black. There is the occasional white, but it is a rarity. The mature stallion stand 16. 2 to 17. 2 hands (165 to 175 cm. , or 65 to 69 in. ) at the shoulder and weighs up to 2200 pounds (156 stones). The mares and geldings are slightly smaller.

This draft has the convex, or "Roman", nose. Its eyes are large, wide-spread, and intelligently expressive. The shoulders are large and prominent. The body is relatively thick. And the legs are long with a good deal of feathering around the feet.


Finding the Perfect Style of Horse Riding Chaps

Horse riding chaps are a vital part of riding clothes that can make the riding experience far more comfortable. The chaps are ideal to keep the riders legs dry in bad weather and make riding an enjoyable experience. Whether the rider is simply a weekend rider or is on a horse every day the week, chaps can make all of the difference. They can be worn very easily over the top of jodhpurs or other types of riding trousers.

There are several different styles, colors and materials of riding chaps to choose from and the process can be daunting. There are full length and half leg pants to decide between and which ones are chosen are often due to the rider's preference. Although there are some very traditional horse riding chaps, today it is possible to find them in some great colors and styles.

With any form of clothing fashion is as important as the other details and horse chaps are no different. Although they need to be safe, functional and the right fit they can also be very trendy and colorful. Whether full length or half leg riding pants, they will help to protect the rider's legs. These Pants are often associated with cowboys and western riders; however, they are now very popular all over the world.

The original style of horse chaps were known as Batwing chaps due to the wide cut and the flare at the bottom. The design of these pants are perfect for riding and being able to move freely on the horse. They allow the rider to remain cooler during the summer months, and provide the most comfort. Another popular design of riding pants is shotgun chaps these are far straighter and more restrictive.

There are some very elaborate styles of horse riding apnts available, which are excellent if the rider wants to make a statement. If the budget will stretch to more than one pair, it may be possible to have a very stylish pair and a practical pair for everyday wear. Horse chaps can be found with tassels and very decorative wings; however, these may not be the best ones to wear when riding daily. The chaps are very personal to the rider, and there is a huge selection to choose.

Typically, horse riding chaps are made from leather or synthetic leather material, making them ideal for wet weather. Leather horse pants will last for many years and remain in excellent condition. Although leather riding pants are more expensive, they are far better quality.

The horse chaps will need to endure a lot of work, so they need to be durable and tough. Not only will the pants protect the rider's legs from the bad weather, but they will also protect them from injury if they fall. Having a second layer on the rider's legs is always a bonus in the event of a knock or fall. Whatever horse riding chaps are chosen, they should never be restricting in anyway. Although fashion is great, it should never take precedence over safety when riding.


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