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Featured Story: Horses

Here is a healthy large horse running in a field!

Emma Weast, Contributor

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        Horses are amazing creatures that have been around for awhile now. They are used as pets, for competitions, and lots more! Horses are a lot of work if you decided to have one as a pet. They are not like a dog, or a cat because horses need much more supervision and help than a dog or cat. They also have tons more of feeding and poop picking up than a dog and cat. Horses are much more complex. Everyday, you have to get up, feed, muck, and water your horse. If you own horses, you will get some upper body strength from carrying the horse’s water buckets to and from their stalls. You have to hay them, and make sure they’re properly taken care of. Also, you have to groom your horse. Most people think that taking care of a horse is an easy job you can get done in a few minutes, but if you own horses, you know that this statement isn’t true in the slightest!

          You may be wondering why are horses important and why they’re on farms. Well, there are many reasons if you ask me. Back in the day when we didn’t have cars, horses (and many other horse-like animals) started pulling wagons and carriages. Horses pulled carriages to get the things inside to one place to another including humans. You might’ve heard that some people think that making horses pull carriages heavier than them is cruel. It is in fact cruel to make an animal your servant. Horses deserve to run free in fields and not be abused by pulling a carriage by themselves. “Making horses pull over sized loads like carriages is cruel. Horses are forced to toil in all weather extremes, dodge traffic, and pound the pavement all day long. They may develop respiratory ailments because they breathe in exhaust fumes, and they can suffer debilitating leg problems from walking on hard surfaces. Horses have dropped dead from heatstroke after working in scorching summer heat and humidity” says a passage on The Cruelty of Horse-Draw Carriages. If there are three other horses pulling a carriage, then that’s a bit more reasonable. In movies and shows, you always see horses pulling carriages of people. Sometimes the people are rich, royals, or the villains. You can also see they used different types of horses for the type of situation. If the vibe is dark and mysterious, the horse is almost always black or dark brown with reins and saddles that look like torture devices. This isn’t true; they don’t hurt the horses; but it gives a more dramatic setting for the show.

Here are two stallions pulling a carriage if there’s more than one horse pulling a carriage, that is better than just one horse pulling an overloaded one.

 

Picture provided by Jack Rowand
This is in Once Upon a Time; the mood is dark and scary. This is the Evil Queen’s carriage, so she need’s dark horses to cast the mood to make it more interesting and gloomy.

           Have you ever wondered how many horses there are in the world? Well, scientists suggest that there are about; “60 million horses in the world now” said Wikipedia on a blog about horses. Sure, this may not be fully true, but I think that it’s a close number of how many horses there are. You’re probably wondering how many horse and pony species are? There are over 350 species of horses and ponies in the world! The 350 species of horses actually fall into 4 groups: one of those groups are light horses; horses with small bones and thin legs which weigh less than 1,400 pounds! Another group of horses is called heavy horses which means they’re large horses, weighing over 2,000 pounds. A draft horse is a horse is a work horse. It could be classified as a large horse, but draft horses are used for labor such as pulling farm machines like plows. The fourth final group are ponies, which are not (usually) larger than 58 inches tall makes them smaller than a normal horse. Keep in mind that a pony is not a mini horse. If you’re thinking of having a horse or of a pony as a pet, you need to keep in mind that you need to know all about that species.

       Did you know that horses have been domesticated for over 5,000 years? If you ask me, that’s a pretty long time for horses to be in custody of humans. If you don’t know what domesticated means it means that horses have been kept on farms or for pets. This means that some time after people came up with the idea of keeping horses on farms, they soon thought of the idea of riding horses. Riding horses is definitely harder than it looks. It’s fun and relaxing, but you do have to prepare and train your horse if you want it to be a good riding horse. You also have to train yourself if you want to be a good rider. That is, unless, you buy a horse that is already fully trained. A horse that isn’t fully trained is a green horse. “Green horses” is a name for newly trained horses. It means they’ve haven’t been trained to their full potential, and you wouldn’t want a rider riding a green horse. The rider needs to know how to take care of the horse, which includes; feeding, grooming, mucking, and saddling. If you’ve ever been in a horse barn, you know it smells mostly of hay and horse dung. A horse’s neigh is loud and startling if you’ve never heard it before! Horses also get spooked really easily. Are you interested in learning about riding horses? Keep on reading!

         There are two types of horseback riding; English and western. There are even different saddles and reins, mouthpieces, and a whole bunch of different horse equipment. There’s also bareback horse riding, where you don’t use a saddle. To me, the idea of sitting uncomfortably on a horse for a few hours at a time without a saddle doesn’t sound satisfying, but other people in the world think that it’s fun and enjoyable! After awhile, even in the saddle; your lower area starts to hurt and get uncomfortable. This goes for English and Western horse riding! English horse riding is just a form of horse riding seen throughout the world. Western horse riding is a style of horseback riding which evolved from ranching traditions brought; “to the Americas by the Spanish Conquistadors; both equipment and riding style evolved to meet the working needs of the cowboy in the American West” said Wikipedia on western horseback riding techniques. English riding is different, it is more for fun and competitions, not for rounding up animals. You’re probably wondering: What’s the difference about the English and Western horse saddles and riding? The western saddle has a stirrup, a metal piece where you put your foot so you don’t fall of your horse. When your horse is galloping, the stirrup gives you more of a balance. As for English saddles, they don’t have a saddle horn. Sometimes English saddle horns have a stirrup [see below]. A saddle horn is a horn sticking out of the front of the saddle. Many beginner riders use this to hold onto the horse, but really it was used to tie rope on so cattle would follow the horse and it’s rider. Now, it’s not used like that as much. As for the position of the rider, English or not, you need to have a straight back and you need to keep your heels up if you do not used stirrups. If you do not have the proper footwear, like good cowboy boots with a heel, you should not use stirrups. Why? Well, if your foot slips and you fall, your shoe would probably would get stuck in the stirrup while the horse was still going, and that wouldn’t be that good for you and the horse!

Here is the english saddle.

 

Above is the western saddle. It has the saddle horn and stirrup!

             Well, I hope you enjoyed this article about horses! Personally, I love to ride and take care of horses, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, sadly. horses are important to humans because they give us so much. Even with cars, trucks, bikes, all of the new transportation technology, horses still gives us the freedom of riding in the country, completely free. You don’t have to follow a path, which is great! You want horses to be healthy, well fed horses. Horses love hay, although I don’t know why. I guess it’s just their nature! Once you feed the horse well, the horse with have enough energy to let you ride them, and you’ll see hills and country passing, it’s really nice and could be quiet therapy for some people! If you are interested in riding horses, here’s a place where you can ride horses. Camp Wood YMCA is a camp that offers horse riding over the summer. Of course there are other things like swimming, canoeing, mudslide and other fun opportunities to try! I’m sure that you have to pay, but it’s fun nonetheless.

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Featured Story: Horses