How to Utilize Horse Jumps

horse jumps

Once you are at the point where you and your horse have developed your foundation of flat work and are ready to start successfully jumping, you and your trainer may want to explore putting different jump patterns together to create a full course.  Setting a jump course is a great opportunity to allow yourself to be creative and come up with new ways to challenge your horse that are rewarding for both of you.

Horse jumps can be used and set up in a variety of ways, from the most basic set up with jumps on the outside lines and diagonals to the more complicated roll backs and bending lines. Some common elements you can include are:

  • Single Fence – place on the long sides, center line, diagonals or anywhere else your horse will have a good approach and landing.vertical horse jump
  • Straight Line – typically placed along long sides, but can go anywhere there is enough room for multiple fences. Set with any number of strides between fences, from three-stride lines and up.
  • In-and-Out – two fences set with one or two strides in between.
  • Bending Line – same as the straight line, but set on a gradual curve .
  • Bounce – two fences set with no strides between them, so the horse just touches down after the first fence before taking off over the second.
  • Rollback – set so a horse can jump into a line and then turn out, heading back towards where they came from to jump another fence. Should not have the first fence be part of a line less than 4 strides.

You can create these elements using a variety of types of horse jumps such as crossrails, verticals, oxers and other more unique types like Swedish oxers, triple bars and even walls and liverpools.oxer

Once you have an idea of how you want to set up your jump course, knowing how to measure the distance between horse jumps is crucial. Having the right distance measured between lines of fences will help you and your horse be able to jump through successfully. The average horse stride length is twelve feet, which is equivalent to four, three-foot long human steps. To get a feel of how long your step should be as you walk lines, place a twelve foot pole on the ground and take four, even steps alongside it. Typically you should allow two human steps for takeoff and two for landing. A three stride line, for example, would be 16, three-foot, human steps. The first time you set distances between jumps, it would be beneficial to get advice from a seasoned course designer.

Being able to correctly walk a line of horse jumps and set up a course is a valuable skill and will expand your ability to create and execute a variety of exercises with your horse. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a career in course design in your future!

Let us know in the comments what your favorite jump course element is!

William Micklem: The Surprises and Delights of Life


We are pleased to have recently added two new bridles from William Micklem to our collection- the Micklem Deluxe Competition Bridle for jumping and eventing and the Micklem Diamante Competition Bridle for dressage. Learn more about William Micklem as he speaks about his recent Lifetime Achievement Award, Irish jumping greats, what is to come and the value of a small horse in this guest post straight from his pen: Continue reading

Make Your Horse Look Rolex Ready with Mane ‘n Tail

mane 'n tail

With Rolex coming up, your plans for competition and success with your horse may be ignited. Along with practice, skill and determination, a winning appearance can go a long way in making you feel like you’re performing at your peak. Some of our favorite products from Mane ‘n Tail® will do the perfect job of cleaning up your horse this spring. Whether you want to look your best for a big show or just a day in the pasture, here is what you’ll need:

  • Shampoo – Mane ‘n Tail shampoo has a micro-enriched proteimane 'n tail pro-tect shampoon, pH balanced formula, which makes it successful at cleaning your horse’s coat without stripping away natural oils. This high lather shampoo is gentle and non-irritating. As a bonus, it can be used on your dogs and even yourself as well! It’s a popular shampoo choice found in many bathing kits and showers. If your horse struggles with any skin problems, the Mane ‘n Tail Pro-Tect shampoo is antimicrobial and medicated. It is successful fighting against skin problems related to bacteria, yeast, mold, fungi and viruses.
  • Detangler – Working through the knots in your horse’s mane and tail can be frustrating. Make the task easy and help keep hairs from being pulled out by using the Mane ‘n Tail Detangler spray. This detangler is also a conditioner, helping to make your horse’s hair stronger while you brush through it. It can be used on wet or dry hair.
  • Whitening Spray – If your horse is light colored or has white areas, you know how hard it can be to get truly clean. Mane mane 'n tail spray 'n whiten’ Tail Spray ‘n White is a color-enhancing shampoo and conditioner that will deep clean your horse’s coat easily. Since it is a spray on, it is perfect for spot cleaning grass, manure, urine and dirt stains from socks and targeted stained areas without the need for a full bath. Just spray it on where you need it and wash it off to leave white, grey or gold hair glowing. Bleach and peroxide free for gentle cleaning.
  • Hoof Dressing – Once your horse’s coat, mane and tail aremane 'n tail hoofmaker spotless and shiny, don’t forget to give the hooves a little TLC. Mane ‘n Tail Hoofmaker dressing will help moisturize hooves, preventing brittleness. This hoof dressing can be used on the entire hoof, including walls, coronary band, frog and sole. It’s not sticky or greasy, so is easy to just pump out and massage onto the hoof with your hands.

Let us know in the comments what your favorite product to use when trying to look your best is!


Types of Common Horse Vaccines

Spring is right around the corner, and in between dreaming about riding outside in beautiful weather most riders are also thinking about taking care of their horse’s spring vaccines. There are a range of common horse vaccines available that owners can select from to help protect their horses. Here is a list of the most common horse vaccines that you may be considering for your horse this spring. As always, be sure to consult with your veterinarian on what is appropriate for your specific horse, especially in cases where a mare may be pregnant and with young horses.

  • Tetanus – Horses can be somewhat accident prone. The tetanus vaccine will help protect your horse from bacteria that can cause lockjaw and muscle spasms if he suffers a puncture wound or other deep wound that could become contaminated. Usually given annually in a two-dose series with a booster at time of injury.
  • Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis – Also known as “sleeping sickness,” encephalomyelitis causes brain and spinal cord inflammation and is passed through mosquitoes. The vaccine is usually given once a year with a two-dose series in the spring before the insects emerge.
  • West Nile Virus – Also spread through mosquitoes, this disease can be deadly to horses and is fairly widespread. Typically the horse vaccine for West Nile is given twice a year, although is sometimes just given annually with a two-dose series.
  • Rhino (EHV) – Caused by the herpes virus, this disease is contagious and affects the horse’s respiratory tract, as well as inducing abortion in pregnant mares. The horse vaccine series is generally given twice a year, but should be done more often for horses that travel to shows frequently.
  • Influenza – Both intranasal and injectable horse vaccines are available for this, and your veterinarian can recommend what will be best for your horse. Influenza causes a contagious, viral respiratory-tract inflammation, and should be vaccinated against twice a year in most cases.
  • Strangles- One of the most common respiratory infections in horses, it causes fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and abscesses in the head and neck regions. If your horse travels often to compete, it is important to vaccinate against this disease as it is contagious. Typically Strangles is vaccinated against twice a year in a multi-dose series.

When selecting horse vaccines this year, keep in mind that we also offer needles and syringes for your equine medical supplies kit. Always discuss horse vaccinations and other medical treatments with your veterinarian or a knowledgeable professional before treating your horse.

Winter Blues? Stock up for Spring with CoolBlast!


If you are in the cold parts of the country right now, it may be hard to imagine the weather warming up and spring arriving. Do not fret- spring is on the way! As the weather warms up, the time to hang up your winter barn jacket and warm layers will arrive, and you’ll need to make sure you have the right clothes for the warmer weather. Take a break from the frigid temperatures for a moment, pretend it is spring and stock up on one of our most popular brands. Continue reading

Brands We Love: Back on Track®

infrared heat radiation

Both you and your horse are athletes and should take care of your bodies as such. Products from Back on Track can help support joints and muscles and keep you and your horse active and comfortable. These products generate infrared heat radiation, which increases blood flow, helping to relieve sore muscles while decreasing chances of injury.  Back on Track makes their products with textiles that have ceramic particles fused into the fibers. When these fabrics are worn, the body heats up the fabric and the ceramic particles radiate that heat back onto the person or animal wearing it. Because the ceramic particles are part of the fabric, they never wash out and the product never becomes less effective, even with daily use. Continue reading

Developing a Horse Deworming Schedule

horse deworming scheduleParasites, including varying types of worms and bots, are present in your horse’s paddocks and living areas and can make their way inside your horse, affecting him throughout their life cycles. Left untreated, internal parasites can cause weight loss, itching, lethargy, digestive and gastro-intestinal problems, malnourishment and even colic. Fortunately, controlling internal parasites in your horse is fairly easy with an appropriate horse deworming schedule developed with the help of your veterinarian. Continue reading

Does it Fit Right? – Horse Blanket Sizing Tips

horse blanket sizing

Similar to people, horses have different body types and therefore various styles, types and brands of blankets may fit different horses in different ways. Horse blanket sizing can be tricky, and having a horse blanket that fits properly is important for a variety of reasons. A blanket that is too small can restrict movement, cause rubs and be generally uncomfortable for the horse. A blanket that is too loose can increase the risk of getting caught up in straps, allow rain and snow in around the neck area and not stay in place very well causing rubs and chafing. Here are the key areas to inspect closely when fitting a blanket and what to look for to spot an incorrect fit. Continue reading

5 Tips to Keep Your Feet Warm with Winter Riding Boots

winter riding boots

With the arctic, winter weather that arrives in January and February, keeping your feet and toes warm can be difficult during long hours outside while you take care of barn chores and spend time with your horse. The right pair of riding boots is the place to start with ensuring warm feet, but if you have a hard time keeping toes warm, these tips can help get you through the winter comfortably. Continue reading

Brands We Love: Charles Owen

charles owen

Many riders have proudly worn a Charles Owen helmet during their riding careers. With over 100 years of producing top-of-the-line helmets, it’s no surprise that Charles Owen has become one of the most popular helmet brands on the market. Starting with the development of better military helmets, then moving to motorcycle helmet production, and finally to jockey racing helmets and horseback riding helmets, Charles Owen is clearly a master of helmet development. Continue reading