Horsin’ Around 12-13-10
Fort Collins, Colo.
I don’t think I have taken proper care of my horses the way I should have until I wrote an article about Gail Meisner. When you grow up on a ranch and just go out, saddle up and ride out to do a day’s work, you don’t think about warming up the legs and muscles because I guess you are warming your horse up by riding out to where you are going to work.
However, we live on small horse farms and our horses do not have to run and walk far to get to feed, as they have to do when they are out on a large range of grass like a ranch. We keep our horses in a stable or a small pasture, then saddle them up, haul them in a trailer to a roping, barrel racing, or some other contest activity. We do warm them up by loping around in an arena and then go into the competition. However, I am not sure this is enough to protect the muscles and leg bones. So I am going to explain a maneuver that Gail pointed out to me that she used in developing the muscles in the legs of her racing horses.
She explained that you always use the Polo Wrap or a standard boot designed for that use. She explained that the boot was designed to work like a polo wrap and that it worked well. Now I intend on putting the boot on whenever I intend working my horses, whether just exercising them or riding in the pasture across the road.
I have had a problem exercising my horses the way I should because of the weather, as I don’t have an indoor arena to ride in and being an old man my toughness is fading. Nevertheless, here is what she coached me on: Saddle up and warm my horse up in the round pen. Then ride her out in an open field or arena and lope her ahead for about 25 to 50 yards then pull her to a stop. Do this a number of times. This not only works your horse out, it is also a good way to train her to stop when you pull on the reins.
I will be glad when the weather warms up so I can get out and work my new little mare.
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.