If you horse’s ears are standing up, is usually indicates that they’re content. This is a relatively passive sign and occurs when the horse is relaxed, too.
2. Ears pointing forward.
When the ears are aimed forwards like little radars, your horse is attentive. Your horse is ready to work, or it may have spotted something that it wants to know more about.
3. Ears are back.
Your horse may be anxious or afraid if its ears are pointed backwards. You’ll notice ears in this position when a horse is spooked.
4. Ears pinned back and down.
When the ears are pinned back and against the head, your horse is in an aggressive mood. Horses like this are dangerous, and they’re trying to tell you that they’re ready to confront anyone that opposes them.
5. Snaking the head.
If your horse lowers its head and swings it side to side, they’re trying to intimidate something or someone else. This should be considered a warning flag; it may turn into more overt aggressive behaviour.
Horses sometimes lift a hoof and stomp it back into the ground. This indicated that the horse is irritated. The degree of irritation can by more difficult to know, sometimes a horse will stomp because is it being annoyed by a fly. Keep watch and make sure the behaviour doesn’t escalate.
7. Teeth clacking.
Submissive horse will push their heads forwards and click there teeth. This happens most often in foals, who are weaker than other horses and often try to avoid confrontation. The signal means that the horse doesn’t want a confrontation and is willing to accept the other horse’s leadership.
8. Flaring nostrils.
Horse flare their nostrils to breathe in more oxygen. It keeps them alert and allows them to be more responsive to situations. You’ll see this when your horse is being exercised, but you may also see it when the horse is being particularly attentive or thinks there may be a threat nearby.
READ MORE: Why Dressage Letters Are Those Letters.
GALLERY: Kids & Their Horses.
Indoor Riding Arena, 62 x 22, Arcadia, New South Wales
Full-sized indoor horse riding arena in Arcadia, in New South Wales.
Arcadia is 40 kilometres north-west of Sydney.
Five Biggest Mistakes When Building a Horse Arena
If building a horse arena is costly, making mistakes in the process can be painfully costly. A horse arena is a major investment, and getting it right in the earliest planning stages will save you a lot of time, money and heartache. Take the following points into consideration if you’re planning to construct your own arena, and remember than one mistake made can often lead to others.
1. Location by nature, not by aesthetics.
Obviously, drainage is a problem that looms large in arena construction. It is important to locate your arena on a high point of the property; never choose a site that is at the base of hills, or in the path of runoff water. Working with nature rather than against it can cut the drainage battle in half, and will probably reduce the costs as well.
2. Drainage; Get it right the first time.
Water pooling on your arena will lead to a breakdown in expensive arena surface and sub-layers, and create an unstable riding environment. Make sure you design a proper, realistic drainage system based on location, the lie of the land, anticipated annual rainfall, soil type and your own sub-layers. There are a number of methods used for arenas, take the time to investigate which will work best with the above factors. Obviously, building a covered over horse arena will eliminate a lot of the drainage problems, so long as surrounding run-off is properly drained, the arena surface itself won’t have to stand up to downpours and sodden surfaces. Another big advantage of a covered arena is that you can collect and store the water at little cost and with huge lasting benefits.
3. Use the right materials.
It is absolutely essential to spend time and money to ensure you use materials that will work for your arena. There is no across the board ‘rule book’ for sub layers, as materials vary from region to region. Skimping on base layers or choosing the wrong materials can undo the ultimate effectiveness and quality of your arena in a wink. Have a good idea how you want to use the arena when choosing materials, so you can make sure you have the right amount of each layer, and that one layer won’t become too thin after compacting to be effective.
4. Top layer is crucial.
Ideally, a “perfect” riding surface should be cushioned to minimise concussion on horse legs, firm enough to provide traction, not too slick, not too dusty, not overly abrasive to horse hooves, inexpensive to obtain, and easy to maintain. There is a wide range of top fill products available on the market, both natural and commercially produced, and your selection will depend largely on your budget and intended arena use. It would probably pay to make use of some local knowledge, talk to the people who have already done what you are seeking to do.
You can extend the lifetime of your arena by practicing some simple TLC. Harrow the topping regularly to prevent it compacting too much. Removing manure will preserve the quality of your top layer. Watering regularly will keep the dust down, and likewise if the surface is sodden after heavy rain, leave it to dry up a bit before riding. Ongoing maintenance not only saves you time in the long run, but will also save you money in lengthening the time between construction and when your arena is due for a renovation. Once again, building an arena cover will extend the life of your arena a lot by not exposing it to the weather and preserving the surface and below layers.