Nicole's Horse Whispers 

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Parts Of The Horse's Body

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 24, 2014 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (232)

1. Muzzle - The part of the head which includes the nostrils, lips, and the bones, gums, and teeth covered by latter.
2. Nostril -  Large nostrils allow for the intake of large quantities of air, especially while running. Horse also use scent to help identify people, animals and objects. Objects that are too close to a horse’s face to see will probably get a thorough sniffing. Some horses display their              emotions with the nostrils. Some horses will wrinkle their nose in disgust. Entrance to the respiratory system.
3. Cheek - The wide flat area on the side of the face is the cheek, with the rim of the bone curved along the bottom. Also Known As: cheek bone, jowl.
4. Face - The front part of the head.
5. Eye - In which a horse can see. Horses have dichromic vision, meaning they have a fundamentally different view of the world to people.
6. Forelock - A lock of hair that grows from or falls on the forehead,  the part of a horse's mane that falls forward between the ears.
7. Ears - In which to hear. Is a primary sourse of noticing a horses behavior in also, what it is thinking or listening towards something.
8. Poll - The poll is the area immediately behind the ears and the underlying bones are the top of the skull bone and the atlas bones of the neck. In this area are many nerve endings and acupressure points. The poll area is where the bridle path, if one is clipped, begins. On some     horses the poll is quite flat, while on others it may be more prominent.
9. Mane -  The long coarse hair that grows from the crest of the neck.
10. Crest - The crest is the topline of the neck. Ideally the crest should be a gentle convex curve from the poll to the withers. On a very fat horse the crest can be very thick, and almost seem to flop over. On a very thin horse the crest will be straight and thin. Some breeds like Morgans,       Arabians, some warmbloods and draft horses and ponies have a more distinctively crest than breeds like Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.
11. Withers - The withers are at the top of the shoulder where the neck joins the body. The ‘lump’ seen on many horses is the top of the spiny process of the tallest thoracic vertebrae. This part of the vertebrae is quite high on some horses and shallow on others.
12. Back - Part of the horse where the saddle is laid upon.
13. Loin - The region where the back ends is the loin. This can be a very sensitive area on some horses. The horse would buck if you slid back and sat on its loins.
14. Croup - The croup is the area from the highest point of the hindquarters to top of the tail.
15. Dock - The area at the top of the tail is called the dock. Below the skin are muscles and the extension of the vertebrae from the spine. There are about 15 small vertebrae that make up the bone structure of the tail. The muscles through the dock and tail make the tail very mobile for       both expressing mood, balancing, and swishing away insects.
16. Buttock -  Fleshy part under the tail. 
17. Thigh - Upper part of the rear leg.
18. Tail - Extension of the spinal column in which long hair grows from.
19. Stifle - Part of the leg of a horse between the thigh and the kneecap. The stifle joint is both very large and very complex in structure.
20. Gaskin - The part of the hind leg of a horse or related animal between the stifle and the hock.
21. Hock - Point of the part of the gaskin behind the knee.
22. Chestnuts - Also known as a night eye, is a callousity on the body of a horse or other equine, found on the inner side of the leg above the  knee on the foreleg and, if present, below the hock on the hind leg.
23. Cannon Bone - The greatly developed middle metacarpal or metatarsal bone of hoofed quadruped mammals, extending from the hock to the fetlock.
24. Fetlock - The fetlock is formed by the joint between the canon bone and the longer pastern bone. At the back of the fetlock lies a small bone called the sesamoid. Occasionally, you may hear the fetlock joint referred to as the pastern joint or ankle.
25. Pastern - Part of the horse that corresponds to the first phalange. The pastern is made up of two bones that extend downwards from the fetlock. The upper bone is longer and the shorter lower bone extends into the hoof where it joins to the pedal bone inside.
26. Coronet Band -  Upper part of a horse's hoof. The ring of soft tissue just above the horny hoof that blends into the skin of the leg
27. Hoof - Developed nail that enclosed the end of the toes of a horse.
28. Point Of Hip - Joint connecting the rear leg to the pelvis.
29. Sheath - The pocket of skin that protects the penis of the horse.
30. Flank - The slightly indented area behind the area of the barrel is the flank. This is the area you watch to count your horse’s respiration. If the flank appears unusually sunken this can mean your horse is dehydrated.
31. Ribs - Integral to the back structure is the rib cage, which also provides support to the horse and rider. Here you can tell if a horse is underweight by thier ribs showing.
32. Heart Girth - The measurement taken around the horse's barrel just behind the front legs.
33. Elbow - The joint of the front leg at the point where the belly of the horse meets the leg.
34. Shoulder -  Made up of the scapula and associated muscles, runs from the withers to the point of shoulder (the joint at the front of the chest, i.e. the glenoid); the angle of the shoulder has a great effect on the horse's movement and jumping ability, and is an important aspect      of equine conformation.
35. Point Of Shoulder - The shoulder should be long, sloping, and muscular. It should extend well into the back.
36. Arm - Front leg coming from the shoulder.
37. Forearm - The area of the front leg between the knee and elbow, consisting of the fused radius and ulna, and all the tissue around these bones; anatomically, the antebrachium. 
38. Knee - The carpus of the horse (equivalent to the human wrist), the large joint in the front legs, above the cannon bone.
39. Chest - When viewed from the front the chest of the horse should be well defined and not blend into the bottom of the neck. The width of the      chest is defined by the structure of the bone beneath it.
40. Throat Latch - The point at which the windpipe meets the head at the underside of the jaw, corresponding to where the eponymous part of a bridle goes.
41. Chin Groove - The part of the horse's head behind the lower lip and chin, the area that dips down slightly on the lower jaw; area where the curb chain of certain bits is fastened.
42. Neck - Part of the horse between the head, the withers and the chest.


Beaning A Horse

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 24, 2014 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (5)

Beaning A Horse

I personaly have never done this method, but thought it should be brought up. Beaning a horse is an old trick of horse copers who, when an animal is lame on one front foot, place a small piece of metal or sharp stone between the shoe and the wall of the sound hoof in order to cause temporary pain, so that the horse, being tender in both feet, will appear to go sound.

The Barb Horse

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 24, 2014 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (3)

The Barb Horse

In many respects the Barb resembles the Arab, but he does not posses the latter's quality and is plainer about the head. His bone, however, is of first-rate texture, and as a saddle-hack his merits stand high, but he, like the Arab, is not tall enough to suit adult riders, who are particular regarding appearances.


Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 24, 2014 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (47)


Bandages are ordinarily used for two purposes- firstly, for keeping the limbs warm, and secondly, with the object of keeping the legs fine; of course, too, they afford support to injured ligaments and muscles in cases of injury. For the first of these purposes flannel bandages should be used, but for the two latter linen are the best. In all cases the legs should be rubbed before the bandages are applied, in order that proper circulation of blood is ensured and that the limbs are comfortably warm. It frequently occurs that they are put on too tight, in which case the circulation is impeded, and should the legs swell or the bandages shrink, the skin may be cut by the tapes and the horse marked for life. If applied wet, as in cases of inflamation, they should be kept damp by repeated attention, for when they become dry they are apt to get very hot. Consequently, it is best to use a cool, dry bandage the last thing at night, reserving the wet ones for day treatment, when the horse can be better attended to; but it may be added that an outter layer of oiled silk will assist in keeping them moist for several hours. Bandages should never be put on too tight, because of the above-mentioned tendency of the legs to swell a little, and besides this, it must be remembered that every subsequent layer of bandage after the first exercises increased pressure upon those beneath it. They should be kept rolled up with the tapes inside, and when put on, a bandage should lie along the outside of the cannon bone with the end pointing towards the knee. The lower part of the leg above the fetlock should be first dealt with and the bandage wound round it in an upward direction, until the end near the knee is almost reached. This end should then be turned down and the bandage wound round it and tied a few inches below the knee or hock. In cases of emergency a good temporary bandage can be made out of stockings split down lengthways at each side so as to form a long narrow strip.

Backing A Horse

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 20, 2014 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (1)


Every horse should be taught to back. If he is not, his course of schooling is incomplete. Nothing looks worse than seeing a horse backing in a zig-zag fashion, and even if the movement is accomplished in this style, its object may be defeated by the horse or vehicle coming into collision with something behind it. Most horses can easily be schooled to back, the way to proceed being to let the horse stand with the reins fairly tight. Then the reins should be very gently tightened, the movement being accompanied by commands to "back", delivered in gentle, persuassive tones. The ordinary horse will soon associate the tightening of the reins with the driver's words, and after a few lessons will be perfect ; but he should not be allowed to forget what he has learned, and hence should be practiced at backing, and after he has backed a few steps his head may be loosed and the lesson repeated. In the case of saddle horses, the pressure of the rider's legs will assist in keeping him straight. A young horse is said to have been backed when he has been mounted a few times.

Artillery Horse

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 14, 2014 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (240)

The Artillery Horse 

The class of horse that was required for artillery purposes had to be a short-legged, heavy-boned animal, with plenty of substance about him, exspecially in the case of the wheelers, as the work of stopping the guns falls upon them. In addition to their strenghth the artillery horses was also capable of getting over the ground quickly, a cross-bred hackney being as useful an animal for the purposes of the Service as any.

  Artillery was as dependant on the horse as the cavalry if not more so. As the principle motive power for the guns, they were a prime target for the opposing force; disabling the horses meant that the guns were at risk of capture. Horses, like the soldiers who depended upon them, were also subject to the rigors of disease, poor rations, and the too-often squalid living conditions of an army camp. The death toll has never been calculated, but the cost of the War in horse flesh was surely enormous.

The large number of horses posed a logistical challenge for the artillery, because they had to be fed, maintained, and replaced when worn out or injured. Artillery horses were generally selected second from the pool of high quality animals; cavalry mounts were the best horses. The life expectancy of an artillery horse was under eight months. They suffered from disease, exhaustion from long marches (typically 16 miles in 10 hours), and battle injuries. As their lives and guns so often depended upon their horses, artillerymen were disposed to accept without excessive grumbling the regulations for their care. The trumpeter would sound stable call after reveille and roll, and water call after breakfast.


The same routine for the horses would be repeated late in the afternoon. Morning and afternoon drill also meant a workout for the horses, after which they needed to be walked to cool down, curried, and probably watered again. There were always sick horses requiring care, and those who died requiring burial.


One driver was assigned to each pair of horses, riding the on (left) horse and holding reins for it and the off horse. Skilled riders were required for this service, which combined the daring of the cavalry troopers, with the precision teamwork expected of the artilleryman and compassion and care for the horses in their charge. Drivers were could be issued with a leg-guard, an iron plate encased in leather and strapped to the right leg to prevent the limber pole from injuring them. Each driver had two horses and their harness under his care.


Each rode the left horse of his team and was held responsible for the feeding, watering, and grooming of the team. They were usually picked for this duty because of their knowledge or skill with the animals. During battle they brought the ordnance into position under the direction of the Sergeant, who was the platoon guide and was mounted individually. The caisson drivers were directed into position by the chief of line of caissons, frequently taking position under hostile fire. Keeping the horses calm during battle and removing harness from downed horses was a skill of the drivers often used. The drivers had to be alert at all times in case the ordnance had to be removed from its position in haste, the ear ever waiting for the trumpet call to marche. However, once the foot artillery battery line was established the drivers would often dismount and lay on the ground with their reins in their hands, depending on the amount of hostile fire being received. This was not possible with horse artillery which would change positions rapidly, and in some cases so did foot artillery batteries.

Though they were not 'up front', the drivers and horses were still killed and wounded, and rounds shots passing close to a battery would cause consternation among the drivers trying to control horses just in rear of the main battery line. The only drivers that were not usually with the battery in battle were those that drove the traveling forge and battery wagon. This equipment was usually in the rear of the army on the march.


The horses were worked hard and long, but it had to be so. A battery racing to catch up with a retreating enemy or to gain a position of advantage had no room for gentle treatment. The stakes were high, and the horses paid the price. The alternative might be defeat. A man on a long, hot march, pushed beyond what his body could bear, might drop out temporarily and catch up with his company later. Horses had no such choice. Harnessed to the limbers, they pulled until they fell or, as happened in most instances, until they harmed their bodies beyond healing, and then were shot becoming the drivers and artilleryman’s next meal.


Mud or dust seemed to plague every movement of troops. Of the two, mud was the greater problem for the artillery. Dust created great discomfort, but little more. While an artilleryman might find it difficult to breathe and intolerably itchy in the suffocating dust, the guns and caissons could still be moved. Mud, on the other hand, often made movement impossible. Sinking below their axles in holes full of clinging muck, guns and caissons could be moved only with superhuman effort, the men pushing at the wheels and extra horses pulling on the traces. Sometimes guns and caissons were simply abandoned to the mud. During the 1812 and 1813/14 campaign, teams were often doubled to draw guns into position.

Pulling Potential


The capacity of a healthy horse to pull a load was affected by a number of factors. Chief among these was the nature of the surface over which the load was being hauled.


A single horse can pull 900 kg on a smooth road and 1500 kg 20 to 23 miles a day over a hard-paved road. At the trot, on a good road, this is reduced to 420 kg . Gassendi noted that on a road a convoy of artillery could cover 0.94miles in roughly an hour, and that a horse carrying 75.6 kg and drawing 315 kg could travel on average 20miles a day.


Drawing capacity is based on each horse in the team drawing 900 kg . The offside horses drawing 450 kg . This is for both wheelers and leaders. The third pair of horses in a 6 horse team, not being directly attached to the gun only provide 3/4 of their potential drawing capacity.Weight of system from d'Urtubie 1786.


The pulling ability was further reduced by one-half if a horse carried a rider on its back. Finally, as the number of horses in a team increased, the pulling capacity of each horse was further reduced. The capacity of a healthy horse to pull a load was affected by the nature of the surface over which the load was being hauled. A single horse can pull 1360- kg at 32-37 km per day over a hard-paved road. The weight dropped to 860- kg on hard ground, and reduced to 500- kg over rough ground. This was further reduced to half the horse carried a rider on its back. As the number of horses in a team increased, the pulling capacity of each extra horse is reduced. A horse in a team of six had only seven-ninths (78%) the pulling capacity it would have had in a team of two. The goal was that each horse's share of the load should be no more than 318- kg thought this was seldom achieved. A battery moved at the same speed and covered the same distance as did the troops to which it was attached. This distance could be anywhere from a few km to a forced march of 32-48 km per day.


The goal was that each horse's share of the load should be no more than 350 kg . This was less than what a healthy horse, even carrying a rider and hitched into a team of six, could pull, but it furnished a very important safety factor that allowed for fatigue and losses, resulting that a team of four could draw a fully loaded Girbeauval 12-pdr. The above table clearly shows that the French artillery equipment of Gribeauval had ample horse power to move the equipment over smooth hard roads. Indeed a 12-pdr is able to be moved by a pair of horses, as demonstrated by the recreated horse train of L’association Britannique de la Garde Imperiale. Of interest the table shows that the 8-pdr was as mobile as the 4-pdr in terms of weight per horse, which probably influenced the guns adoption as the principle weapon of horse artillery in favour of the 4-pdr.



In order to apply the tractive force of the team to the gun, the horse had to be connected to it with a harness.


Horse teams consisted either of four or six horses. The two horses at the front of the team were called leaders’, the two attached to the limber the wheelers. In a team of 6, the middle pair of horses were called the centre horses. All the horses to the right of the toungue or shaft were called off horses and carried a light pad saddle in the English artillery apparently, or in the case of Prussian artillery in the 1813 a riding saddle on which gunners could ride. The horses to the left of the toungue or shaft were near horses, and each were ridden by a postillion driver. The harness for the off and near horses were the same, but differed for leader/centre horses and wheelers.


It was recommended that all possible liberty should be allowed the horses when harnessed, in order that the action of one may not shackle the others, that accidents may be as rare as possible, and that killed and wounded horses may be replaced easily and promptly.

Single Draught (tandem)


The horses are arranged in single file and is well suited to drawing heavy loads over narrow roads. However it is not suited for rapid movement over ordinary roads as much of the tractive force is lost by the continued change in line of traction incident a long column. Also, in this mode of attachment using shafts, only one horse is coupled directly to the limber, thus the remaining are attached to each other, so that the second horse in line applies only ¾ of its drawing potential, the next ½, thence ¼, so in a single line of more than 4 horses, the remaining horses provide little or no potential draw to the team. The horse in the shafts, which by constant fatigue is quickly rendered unserviceable.

Double Draught:


In the second method, the horses are attached to the gun in pairs, in double file, a wheel horse being placed either side of the central shaft or tounge, which is attached to the axel tree of the limber. The tounge is supported and kept steady by the pressure of the body of the carriage on the sweep bar, which projects beyond the rear of the limber axel tree. The centre pair in a team or six or leaders in a team of four are attached to a splinter bar at the end of the tounge.

The Argentine Horse

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM Comments comments (21)

The Argentine Horse



So much improvement has been effected in this horse of late years by the importation of the best Thoroughbred, Hackney, and Shire blood from this country, that the horses of South America are rapidly becoming British breeds. They are hardy, and capable of enduring great fatigue, as our calvary dicovered during the Boer War, but many of them are light and short of quality; owing, too, to the extensive ranges of land over which they are raised, they are not for the most part easy to break, though regarding their future improvement there can be no doubt.


Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 9, 2014 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (21)




Cutting is a sport that has its origins on the cattle ranches of the Southwest in the 1880s. Ranchers found that individual cows occasionally had to be separated from the rest of the herd for branding, because of sickness, or to sell.


The cutting horse was crucial to performing this task because of the natural inclination of the cow to return to the herd. The horse had to be alert and anticipate the cow's moves.


Cowboys soon began contests to test the abilities of their horses, and these competitions grew and became more structured with rules and prizes given away. These competitions are now called "cuttings".


The most desirable cow to cut is one that is energetic and responsive, but respects the horse. A calm, docile cow does not challenge the horse or allow it to show the judges its true potential.

The judges credit a horse when it shows aggressiveness, courage, determination, style and grace when cutting a cow.

The rider may not cue the horse in any visible way after the cow has been cut from the herd. This includes certain kinds of spurring and using the reins.


A rider should have a loose posture when working a cow. his or her back should be relaxed and bent, never rigid. This is called the cutter's slump.

The rider can hold the reins only with one hand. The second hand can be used only to straighten the reins.

10 Interesting Facts About Arabian Horses

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (71)

10 Interesting Facts About Arabian Horses


Arabians are a very popular breed of horse for many equestrians. Many people ride Arabians for show, pleasure and competition. The physical characteristics of the Arabian breed include a dish face, large, wide-set eyes, broad forehead, small, curved ears and large nostrils. Here are ten interesting facts about Arabian horses that you may not know.


1.) The Arabian breed is over 5,000 years old and is known as the oldest breed and the first domesticated breed of horse.


2.) Arabians were originally bred in the Middle East.


3.) Arabians were bred by the Bedouins, a desert tribe in the Arabian Peninsula. This tribe used them as war horses because they could travel far distances in harsh desert conditions due to their large lung capacity and incredible endurance.


4.) A Virginian, Nathan Harrison, imported the first Arabian stallion to North America in 1725.


5.) An Arabian was the horse of choice for Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great and President George Washington. Napoleon’s horse was named Marengo and George Washington’s mount was called Blueskin.


6.) All Arabian horses have black skin underneath their coats, except underneath any white hair. When these horses lived in the desert, the black skin would help to protect them from the hot sun.


7.) The most common coat color of Arabians is bay. You will also see many chestnuts, grey, blacks and roans.


8.) The skeleton of a pure Arabian is different from that of other horse breeds. An Arabian has 17 pairs of ribs, instead of 18 and 5 vertebrae instead of 6.


9.) The average height of an Arabian is 14.1 to 15.1 hands (57 to 61 inches) tall and the average weight is 850 to 1,000 pounds.


10.) The horse in the movie “The Black Stallion” was an Arabian stallion named Cass Ole.

Horses Teeth Tell Their Age

Posted by Nicole Nauss on January 7, 2014 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (76)

How To Tell The Age Of A Horse


As probably everbody is aware, the age of a horse can be ascertained by an inspection of the teeth on his lower jaw, from which information can be derived by remembering the following facts. The first set of teeth are known as milk teeth, which are gradually shed and replaced by permanent ones, which alter in apperance as the horse grows older.


The two middle teeth appear at two weeks old, the next pair at eight weeks, and the two outside ones at eight months. At about two and a half years old the two middle teeth are shed, at about three and a half years the center two, and at about four and a half the outside ones, the horse thus getting his "full mouth" developed at the age of five years. Of course the process of shedding these teeth is a gradual one, and until they have been shed, the permanent ones cannot appear, still less develop. It must, therefore, be understood that the changes take place about the periods when the horse arrives at the ages stated, as it would be absurd to imagine that as soon as he becomes a two-year-old the center milk teeth are shed, or that the permanent ones forthwith assume their full size. It may be added that the first set of teeth are perfectly smooth in front, but ridged in thier insides and very white, whereas the later ones show grooves on thier surface and are of a more yellow color. It is necessary to allude to this fact in order to distiguish between a two-year-old mouth of milk teeth and a five-year-old mouth of permanent ones. The shallow grooves alluded to are on the front of the teeth, not on the tops, and can therefore be seen when the mouth is closed if the lips are held apart by the fingers. When he reaches the age of six the black marks in the upper surface of the two middle teeth will begin to fade away through rubbing against the upper ones, the marks on the next pair dissapearing at seven years, and those on the outside or corner ones at eight years. At nine the marks on the middle pair on the upper jaw become lost, those on the center pair following at ten, and on the corner ones at eleven. It may be added that as a horse becomes older his teeth grow longer and develope a tendency to acquire a three-cornered shape. Exsperience is, of course, necessary to estimate the age of an animal accuretly, but the above rules may be relied upon as accurate, though occasionally, but rarely, a strangely abnormal mouth may be found. It must be remembered too, that unprincipled persons are in the habit of tampering with the teeth of horses with the object of making thier animals appear either older or younger than they actually are.




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