Horses are incredible gifts to us in many ways. But outside of riding them on trails like we have at Middleton, what other resources do horses offer us?
Majestic, strong, beautiful creatures. Those are just a few words that describe these beautiful animals we call Horses. They have always given so much to us, and still continue to do so every day. They bring such joy to our riders who enjoy our trails every day, and for centuries have provided transportation and help to farmers, builders, businessmen, and more. But with the dawning of technology and their uses in transportation and daily life growing less and less - what have these beautiful creatures been doing to help us? A lot more than you would think! Every day they give back to us and the planet and are one of the biggest contributors to keeping our ecosystem and our planet healthy, clean, and functioning.
When it comes to trails and trail riding, horses automatically give back to the environment and your safety. For any park, nature preserve, or historical lands horseback riding saves the land from human damage. Horseback riding is low energy and a low impact on the world around you. People can trample through areas and destroy so much precious vegetation or delicate landmarks without even knowing it. Horses can be trained to walk around and guide their riders to see these beautiful areas without touching them - keeping them safe and intact. You can see the world around you without harming it, reducing any footprint a human leaves behind.
Horses are also much safer than hiking alone through the woods. The sounds and vibrations a horse makes naturally when walking are calming and common to many animals found in nature. Many dangerous animals to humans, including snakes and bears, will not react to their presence like they would a human. You are dramatically reducing the rate of getting bit, attacked, scratched, or put in danger all while riding a horse. Since these animals are not bothered or scared away from their natural habitats when we are on horseback - it keeps them in their environment and homes where they should be. This helps keep the ecosystem in balance and keep the wildlife intact. Wild horses give so much to the world around them too and they are known as nature's healers. Where ever they roam and graze, they help the world around them rebuild and continue to flourish, and help the ecosystem thrive just like owned horses. A wild horse can break through the ice of lakes and streams so animals who don't have the power to do so can reach a water source in the wintertime.
Horses are also one of the biggest contributors to renewable energy and resources. Horses produce up to 9.1 tons of manure every year, and this manure can be turned into green energy for the farms it's created on or for energy companies around these farms. If the farm itself doesn't want or doesn't have the resources to turn their manure into power - the manure can be sold off to companies that can, which brings revenue to the farm itself. But, if the farm does have these resources the power it creates can be sold off and become another form of revenue. Horse manure can also be turned into safe and clean fertilizers, much quicker and safer than factory-made fertilizers. A lot of farms have the resources to turn manure into fertilizers on their property and can get it to their fields and crops much faster than factory-made fertilizer. They also have the opportunity to sell it for yet another form of revenue for the farm.
Fertilizers made from horse manure have a lot of wonderful benefits for the world around it. It's made to prevent air and water pollution and can be used in fields close to water sources or in areas that have large amounts of runoff from fields into streams. It also improves soil quality and productivity. It increases the number of nutrients in the soil, keeping it healthier and creating a better ecosystem for plants to grow in. Higher productivity leads to more growth of grass and vegetation which prevents erosion and prevents the growth of brush. Without this brush, the chances of wildfires spreading or happening decreases dramatically.
Horses also help preserve grasslands. If a farmer practices rotational grazing, this prevents overgrazing and promotes grass to keep growing. With grass still in the grazing fields from rotational grazing, this also prevents erosion and promotes healthy growth of vegetation in these fields for years to come. Rotational grazing also allows manure to decompose. The broken-down manure provides incredible nutrients to the soil.
Other forms of grasslands like pastures, farms, trails, and other green spaces that horses call home are also home to a lot of other wildlife. Keeping these spaces healthy and safe for horses provides a healthy and safe home for other animals and vegetation. Habitats of many animals are maintained through horses grazing patterns. Tall grasses and plants left uneaten by a horse, hide and protect larger animals. Whereas shorter grasses eaten by horses protect smaller animals who need this grass to hide from predators. A well cared for pasture can retain at least 70% ground cover all year, unlike cropland. Rotating these lands and keeping them well cared for protects not only your horses but also your farm's well being, and the ecosystem around it.
Most horse farmers utilize trough watering for their animals. This promotes the protection and safety of natural water sources like lakes, streams, and ponds. It prevents erosion along the edges of these water sources and keeps them flowing naturally. Horses are being used to not only keep their farms and pastures healthy and flourishing, but they are also being used in the conservation of parks, green spaces, and rural landscapes. These horses are inspiring these areas to grow back or continue growing healthily. Horses also spread seeds while grazing just like birds do. Once they are passed through their digestive system, they are left behind to grow in very fertile land. Horses are also very picky about what they eat. They will eat grass and weeds, making way for other plants to grow and thrive and kill off weeds that are harmful to their growth. They will also naturally trample unwanted weeds and plants that are harmful to the growth of healthy grass and plants too.
Horses aren't just beautiful to watch and fun to ride, horses are helping the planet grow and stay healthy every day. From farms to trails like you can find at Middleton, horses are keeping your world healthy and safe. Come visit us and enjoy taking part in this wonderful circle of life.
How did one of the most majestic creatures get the term "hands" when they're measured and why is it still used today?
Horses are some of the most beautiful and magnificent creatures alive. They're regal, kind, hardworking, and such fun to ride. But do you know how these beautiful animals are measured? It's with a unit of measurement called a "Hand". Seriously, we aren't making this up! A "hand" is an ancient unit of measurement equal to four inches and is still commonly the breadth of a man's hand. It is used to measure the horse at the highest point of its withers, which is the highest part of its back that doesn't move. But this unit of measurement doesn't include its head and neck, so even if a horse is 15 hands tall, that's only from the ground to its withers - and it has a beautiful stoic neck and head sitting on top of this "hand" measurement.
The "hand" measurement is written by the whole number of hands followed by the remaining inches of the horse, ex: 15.4 hands. When using this measurement sometimes it takes on the form of a noun - so when referring to the horse, it becomes its number. So if a horse was measured at 15.4 hands it becomes a "Fifteen Four". But where did this unit of measurement come from and why has it stuck around for so long?
The first system of measurement appeared in Ancient Egypt. Their system of measurement was based on the Royal Cubit. A Cubit is the length of a man's arm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Units of various lengths like a Royal Cubit were used by the Hebrews, Greeks, and the Romans. The "Hand" used to include (confusingly) both the fist and the palm and was measured at 7.61cm. This changed in 1541 to clear up any confusion when King Henry VIII of England decided to change it to the breadth of the hand. This became the traditional measurement of 4 inches. The actual measurement was based on the palm of the King's hand from one of his statues. Once the unit was changed under the King's rule, it has been used to measure horses ever since.
Today the measurement of a "hand" isn't used for anything else except measuring horses. Almost everywhere in the world today still uses the "hand" unit except the FEI (International Federation of Equestrian Sports) and most European countries. They use meters and centimeters when measuring the horse. The "hand" measurement is still used today by so many because it has been used for so long. So much of a horse's common measurements are based off of the "hand" and have been for so long that it would be hard to implement a change. Even those countries who have changed it, that still took time to get used to. It is also still a practical way of measuring an animal where ever you might find yourself and is an easy form of measurement to communicate. At least for those who are used to measuring this way!
The largest horse ever to be recorded was named Sampson. He was a Shire Horse Gelding born in England in 1846. He stood at 21.2 1/2 hands high, standing at almost 7.5 feet. The biggest horse in the world today is Big Jake the Belgian Gelding horse. He became the tallest horse in the world on January 19, 2010 standing at 20 hands and 2.75 in tall, which is almost 7 feet tall!
The smallest horse ever to be recorded is Thumbelina, a Dwarf Miniature Horse who was born in 2001. She stands at 17 inches or 4.25 hands!
The next time you come and ride horses with us at Middleton, make sure you ask how many hands tall your horse stands! I bet it will still surprise you even after reading this!
While trail rides are fun for all family members, there are a few tips to take into consideration to make the experience even better for you and your horse! Remember, at Middleton Equestrian, we will go over the information you will need while riding your horse, before you mount.
During a trail ride, do not tailgate. Getting too close to another horse can cause them to be anxious and is therefore dangerous to the horse you are riding and yourself. Keep a horse length between you and the horse in front of you on your trail ride.
Experienced riders are usually placed in the front of the line on trail rides, and another at the end. This is to add a level of protection and safety for those riding who may be inexperienced.
If your horse is hungry, and goes to snack on shrubbery on the trail, instead of pulling straight back on the reins, pull to either side. This encourages your horse to shift attention in a relaxed way.
If your horse decides it wants to increase the pace, do not let it. The pace should be set by you.
Have fun and ask our trail leaders any questions you have!
We hope that these tips on trail riding come in handy during your scheduled trail ride! At Middleton Equestrian, our pride is to ensure your trail riding experience is a wonderful memory for you to cherish. We also want it to be a fun and engaging experience for all members of the family!
Horseback riding is a fun and interactive experience for anyone who decides to participate. Some are asking what the benefits are to this hobby, and our team at Middleton Equestrian wanted to answer.
There is a multitude of reasons why someone would want to participate in horseback riding, and some are very personal. Benefits of horseback riding span across emotional, social, and physical reasons.
One of the most important characteristics a person can learn through horseback riding is responsibility. Taking care of a horse is not easy and relies heavily on determination and dedication.
The act of riding a horse is physically demanding in of itself. The activity helps people stay in shape, develop better reflexes, and balance.
Not only physical, but horseback riding can also have a positive impact on a person’s mental health, causing them to feel relaxed, calm, and happy.
Horseback riding teaches an important lesson on the amazing human-animal bond that can be achieved.
There are many more reasons why horseback riding is so amazing and beneficial to those who participate in it! If you believe that you or your family would love to take a trail ride, please feel free to sign up today!
When looking to purchase a horse, there are quite a few things to consider. While we are not going to cover everything you need to consider before buying a horse, we do want to shed light on a few aspects that are often looked over.
Are you experienced enough? This question is often not asked when someone has the desire to buy a horse. However, it is perhaps one of the most important. If the experience of riding and caring for an aminal is not there, improper care arises. Before buying a horse, take riding lessons, do research, and learn as much as you can about horses and the care they need.
When looking, focus on temperament. Having a well-mannered and well-behaved horse trumps one who is ill-mannered. Especially if you are a first-time buyer and are just now taking on this responsibility. As with temperament, comes the question of gelding or mare. A stallion should not be on your list. Stallions are better handled by learned professionals who are seasonsed with training and caring for horses.
When you have settled on a horse, always contact a veterinarian to perform a wellness check before you purchase. Doing so will give you an idea of how healthy the horse is and how they have been treated within the custody of the seller.
There are many more aspects to buying a horse, yet the above mentioned are often overlooked when making the decisions. Here at Middleton Equestrian Place, while we do not sell horses, we know that our trail rides are fun and may intrigue your children, or yourself, on purchasing a horse.
If that is the case, join us for more trail rides! We can't wait to see you!
Before you arrive at Middleton Equestrian for your trail ride, we have a few tips on what attire you should don.
When horseback riding, it is best to wear pants that cover the entirety of your leg. This prevents hardware from your tack chafing or rubbing against your skin and causing irritation.
Close-toed shoes are also important because you want to protect your feet and toes from getting hurt by the stirrups or limbs that brush along the trail-line. Close-toes shoes also protect your foot if mistakenly stepped on by a horse.
Along with your shoes being close-toed, having a bit of a heel will also help you control your foot placement during the ride. We have discussed this importance in previous blogs, if you would like to learn more by reading those!
General Clothing Choices
When choosing what attire to wear, remember to avoid clothing that could tangle within the tack. These could be items such as scarfs, loose shirts, and even long loose sleeves.
We provide each rider the proper safety gear, such as helmets, before the trail ride begins.
We hope to see you in your close-toed shoes, pants, and comfortable shirt ready to go when you arrive for your trail ride soon!
When you ask your children what their favorite animal is, do they exclaim "horses!"? Does your son or daughter have a love for horses that they know just about every horse fact they can? If so, we have a few more facts about horses you and your kids should know!
Horses have the ability to sleep standing up! While it might not be fun if you try it, horses can get a great night's sleep standing as they can lying cozily on the ground!
Horses have roughly 205 bones that make up their skeleton. The skeletal system is known as the foundation of anatomy!
Have you ever looked a horse in the eyes? Did you notice how big they were? They are known to have the largest eyes out of all the mammals that live on land!
Because their eyes are located on the side of their head, horses are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at a single time!
Horses are interesting and lovely creatures! If your kids are obsessed with them, come and participate in our beautiful and fun trail rides!
When preparing for a trail ride, it is important to know some riding information before getting on a horse. In this blog, we will be discussing a general overview on a trail ride and what to expect from your experience.
Create the Outfit
Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes when preparing for your trail ride here at Middleton Equestrian Center, and we will provide the helmet.
Meet your Horse
We will provide you a moment to meet and greet the horse you will be riding on the guided tour. This will help familiarize the horse with who will be riding them.
Riding Lesson with Guide
Don't worry about not knowing how to ride, our guides provide a 5-10 minute instruction on how to ride. This instruction includes many important aspects such as turning, going forward, right, left, and halting. Our team at Middleton want to ensure your trail ride is as safe as possible.
For those who are not familiar with mounting a horse, this may be a stressful part of the riding process. There is no need to worry, our team will help you mount your horse with confidence.
Relax your body
Now that you have mounted your horse, there is a matter of sitting appropriately. Keep your back straight, yet relaxed while on your horse.
Use the Reins Gently
No matter the riding style, be sure to relax your arms and refrain from pulling in a manner that would hurt your horse. By forming your arms in a right angle, the reins will land appropriately with your horse.
Eye on the Prize
When riding a horse, it is best to look at the trail between your horse's ears. This will ensure that you are paying attention to where your horse is stepping.
Connect with your Horse
Riding, in a way, is forming a connection with your horse. By staying calm and moving your body along with the movement of your horse, your riding experience will be relaxing and enjoyable for both of you.
Time to Dismount
When the trail ride has completed the trail guide, or a member of the staff, will assist you in dismounting your horse. They will keep your horse still as you remove both feet out of the stirrups, lean forward, swing the appropriate foot and leg over the horse, and jump off. Keep in mind to dismount in a fashion that keeps your horse comfortable.
Thank your Horse
Nothing says you enjoyed your ride more than a sweet thank you to the horse who safely transported you from beginning to end.
If you are thinking about going for a trail ride, come and check out Middleton Equestrian Center!
In order to ride your horse safely, your tack equipment needs to be properly placed on your horse. To check this, there are a few steps to follow!
Take a look at your straps and billets. These are the elements of tack that you don't want to malfunction. If there are noticeable wear and tear clues such as holes or rips, this can cause a disaster during your ride.
Check places where metal and leather meet on your tack. These sections of the tack have a tendency to wear down quickly and should be checked.
Studs and screws hold tack together and are important in keeping things where they need to be. Check them to make sure they are tightly in place.
At Middleton Equestrian, we ensure the safety of all riders. Our tack is safe to use, and we will instruct you before your ride to keep you safe the entire time. This blog is simply to educate individual riders who ride their horses at home.
If you and your family are interested in our trail rides and learning more about horses, feel free to contact us!
When it comes to riding horses, there are right and wrong ways of going about it. The important aspect of riding a horse is to keep you and your horse safe and comfortable at all times. In this blog, we will cover some of the mistakes the first time riders make when riding their horse.
Gripping with Your Legs
While you do want to stay sturdy on your horse, you don't want your leg muscles constricting around the horse you are riding. In order to prevent this, allow your legs to hang from your hip when you are on top of the horse. Image a straight line from your ear down your body to the heel in the stirrup.
There are times during a ride where you have the desire to point your toes downward. If you do so, this will cause you to be out of rhythm with your horse, and you will bounce heavily. To prevent this, take some time to work on your leg position and use your core muscles.
Posture is important for horseback riding and is a way to keep in control of your horse safely. In order to not slouch, keep your back straight and relaxed with your chin up and look where you are going.
While these are the most common problems new riders face, there are more we did not cover. If you want to enjoy a trail ride, call and sign up today! We will give you a training lesson before the trail ride to ensure you are safe and riding well!