- Horses have binocular and monocular vision, which means they can focus both eyes on one thing, or use both eyes independently.
- Horse can’t vomit. Their biology doesn’t allow it; the muscles that close off the stomach are too strong.
- The French word for horse, cheval, is the root of the English word chivalry. To be horse-like.
- Horses have 26 muscles in each ear.
- A small indent on a horse’s skin is called a ‘prophet’s thumb mark’ – and is considered good luck.
- The oldest horse on record lived to be 62 years old.
- A 1,100 year old carving of an enormous horse is set into the side of a mountain in Westbury, England.
- ‘Flehmen’ is the term given to the face horses make when sniffing out a new smell that makes them look like they’re laughing.
- The horse’s closest relative is the rhino.
- There are 58 million horses in the world today.
Indoor Arena Etiquette
Quick note: People ride because they love it. Intentions are always good, so try to be kind and understanding if errors are made.
Always wear a helmet
Even if you aren’t riding. If you step into the arena, you need to have a helmet on.
Mount outside the arena or in the very middle
Otherwise, you risk getting in everyone’s way – which is dangerous. This is the same for making adjustments to your stirrups etc.
Ride in the direction of the other horses
Don’t ride against the flow, it will make things more difficult for everyone.
Close the gate behind you
Don’t leave any gaps open through which horses could escape.
Let faster horses/riders travel on the outside of the track
Fast outside, slower inside. This helps things flow best.
Don’t leave horses unattended
Sharing an indoor requires everyone to be aware and cautious of their horses at all times.
Announce your intentions
If you’re about to pass someone from behind, say ‘passing on your left’. Do this for all actions that it would benefit others to know.
Maintain a horse length from the horse in front of you
This allows everyone time to react to anything unplanned.
Don’t talk over the rail
Doing this will put you in the way of other horses and riders. If you need to talk to your trainer, make sure you’re out of others’ path.
No dogs on the arena
This could spook other horses. Dogs can also get in the way of riders.
Give your commands quietly
Don’t shout or yell when commanding your horse. This makes the arena more difficult for everyone to enjoy.
Clean up afterwards
Make sure that any mess you’ve made is cleaned up when your session is over.
Warm of any loud noises
If you’re going to do something you know will cause a loud noise, let others know. A loud sliding door could spook other horses.
Read more: 16 equestrian tips and tricks
Download: Dressage arena dimension sheet
Activities for You and Your Horse Besides Riding
Go For a Walk
Take your horse for a walk with you to lazily explore surroundings outside your property. Let your horse enjoy the exploration and different atmosphere.
Hang out with your horse like two old friends. Go to your horse’s pasture and sit down and relax. Your horse could enjoy this and come over and join you for some bonding time.
Treat Your Horse
Find a treat that your horse particularly enjoys. By doing this you can show your horse just how much you love him/her. The treat can be used for a variety of purposes: for training, a reward, or just a special treat.
Find your horse’s favorite scratching spot. Everyone knows that most horses love to be scratched in a certain spot. It is usually somewhere they can’t reach, such as the top of their neck or their withers. There is scientific research that proves scratching a horse on it’s withers has a calming effect.
Enjoy a picnic with your horse. Take a picnic to your horse’s pasture and bring along with you some of your horse’s favorite treats so he/she can enjoy the occasion as much as you.
Play in the Water
Let your horse play in water. Find a pond or river that is safe for your horse to splash around in. Bring your horse into the water on a long lead line and let them get wet. Most horses will enjoy this, especially in warm weather.
Training Without Restraints
Try training your horse without any restraints, at liberty. To achieve this your training must be fun to make your horse want to stay with you.
Braid The Mane
Braid your horse’s mane. If you are gentle and careful your horse will most likely enjoy this, as most horses enjoy their mane being stroked or brushed.