Today it was all about learning how to properly tack up a horse and learning the parts of the bridle and saddle. We started off by braiding the mane and this time I even tried to braid the tail. The muscle located in between the tail made it difficult to braid, but I soon got the hang of it, afterwards we were told to put on the saddle, without any help from the instructors as a means to test our compatibility with the horse as well as good coordination with our partners. Once we were done, we took our horses out of the stables and lined them up next to each other in the paddock. We learnt how to trot. As my partner guided my horse (Star) with the lead, he started jogging, resulting in the horse to follow him and start trotting. At one point my horse became too jumpy and it slightly hurt my pelvic bone. However, we soon regained control of the horse and were able to successfully continue trotting. Once we were all able to fully stay in proper position on the horse, we learnt how to stand up by using the stirrups and the neck piece. After that, we once again trotted, while going up and down with the horse. After lunch we had a vet come to the stables to teach us how to recognise if a horse is ‘lame’, meaning if they are injured. She taught us that if a horse bends his/her head back while trotting, the pain is on the front two legs. She showed us the certain body parts of the horses pointing out which parts are more susceptible to injuries and which are not. The vet also told us what we should do under different circumstances. For instance, if a horse was in slight pain, try resting overnight and if the pain is still there in the morning, we should call a vet. She then brought out one of the horses (Monty) who had a newly discovered injury, and along with her, we all tried to guess which part of his body was in pain. She used a head cap which had a pad as well as a pad placed on the horse’s backside. The pads were connected to her iPad to monitor the changes in movement, which were displayed on a graph. We saw that the graph had more changes on the front right leg, meaning that that was the placed where he was injured. She then felt up and down that leg, looking for a swollen and warm spot, which would be the exact location of his injury and based on that she gave him proper medication and rest instructions to the instructors. We all felt pretty good about ourselves for being able to spot the injury so accurately! After that, we said goodbye to her and the day was over. It was time to go home.
-Amber and Arpita