Hablo Español? A basic guide to Spanish horse terms

Written by Joscelyn Richards.

Throughout my career as an A/AA circuit groom I have encountered many colleagues and other grooms who speak Spanish in addition to English. I have been taking Spanish classes at school for the past 4 years of my education and have learned a lot. Being able to speak Spanish has increased my ability to communicate with other Spanish speaking grooms tremendously resulting in better work. I have comprised a list of Spanish words and phrases equestrians should know.

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

Gracias/ Por favor. Thank you and please are the most important things you can say to a person regardless of what language you or they speak. Grooms work very hard to make sure that your horse has the best care. My motto is “Happy Groom Happy Horse.”

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

“¿Se puede poner en…” (Can you put on…)
– La brida (the bridle)
– La silla de montar (the saddle)
– El cabestro (the halter)
– La Hoja de mosca (the fly sheet)
– La Cincha (the girth)
– La Martingala (martingale)

“Llame…” (Call…)
– El veterinario (the veterinarian)
– El herrador (the farrier)
– La dentista (the dentist)
– El entrenador (the trainer)

Grooming tools
– Desparmado – Hoof pick
– Duro Cepillo –  Hard brush
– Suave Cepillo – Soft brush
– Peine de curry – Curry comb

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

Basic Anatomy of the horse
– Orejas – Ears
– Ojos – Eyes
– Cabeza – Head
– Menudillo – Fetlock
– Casco – Hoof
– Cuello- Neck
– Cruz – Withers
-Caña – Cannon bone
– Pelo – Hair

Horse colors
– Castaño – Bay
– Negro – Black
– Blanco – White
– Bayo – Buckskin
– Alazán – Chestnut
– Tordo – Gray

Barn chores and feed
– Agua – Water
– Heno – Hay (some Spanish speakers call it hay)
– Grano – Grain
– Cubo de Agua – water bucket
– Estiércol – Manure
– Carretilla – Wheelbarrow
– Picar – to pick
– Limpiar – to clean

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

Photo Credit: Joscelyn Richards; @jlrequinephotography

– Establo – barn
– Pasto – pasture
– Enfermo – sick
– Cólico – colic
– Detener – to stop
– Ir – to go
– Trote – trot
– Medio Galope – canter
– Caminar – to walk
– Envolver – to wrap

Note: Keep in mind that just like English, Spanish has slang and other ways of saying things. This article was written to be politically correct. You can always ask your groom/stable hand how to say something in Spanish, and they will be happy to help you!

Part II: Budget Friendly Groom Tips

Written by Joscelyn Richards.

In Part I of this two part series I talked about some of my favorite grooming tips for the A/AA Circuit. Now in Part II I will tell you all about my favorite budget friendly tips. These tips keep your horse looking amazing without breaking the bank.

Spur rubs. If you’re one of the many equestrians who uses spurs on their horse chances are your horse has gotten spur rubs before. There are many ways to help prevent spurs rubs on your horse. The budget friendly way is to wrap a polo wrap around your horse’s barrel and safety pin it tight enough so that it doesn’t move. This costs around $5 instead of $137 for an EquiFit BellyBand™. Now that you’re preventing the spur rubs from happening, help the hair grow back by using Vitamin E capsules and/or M-T-G. Vitamin E capsules can be purchased at drug stores or supermarkets (or SmartPak, in pellet form, as linked above), simply break open the capsule where you want the hair to grow back. Before using any product on a horse’s coat, always test it out on a small patch of their coat to make sure they are not allergic to it or have a skin irritation from it.

Bathing tip. When you work at a big  barn with over 25 horses you are constantly giving horses baths. It gets very expensive using specialized shampoo for all the horses so we use an alternative at my barn… dish soap! Ecolicious Squeaky Green & Clean shampoo costs $31.95 for a 32 fl oz bottle. This comes out to $1 per ounce. Compare this to Dawn Original Dish Soap which is $8.98 for a 75 fl oz bottle, which is 11 cents per ounce. For shows I always use higher quality shampoo but when just hanging out at the barn dish soap works perfectly!

Fly prevention. Do you ever feel the need to spray an entire bottle of fly spray around the barn to get rid of those irritating flies? Well, before you waste $20+ a day on a bottle of fly spray, try this tip: First, sweep or use a blower to clean the barn aisle of all dirt and hay. Then, fill a water 3/4 of the way with warm water and combine with 1.5 cups of Pine-Sol. (It doesn’t have to be exact but should be enough to have sudsy water.) Once the mixture is done sway the watering can side to side as you walk down the aisle. The entire barn floor will be wet, but will dry within 5 minutes. Flies do not like the smell of Pine-Sol and therefore will not be setting up camp in the barn aisle. Prices for Pine-Sol range between $6-8 for a 48oz bottle, but Pine-Sol even makes a 175oz bottle!

Baby oil. Baby oil is always a must have in my grooming box because of it’s many functions and low price. (It is usually $2-4 a bottle depending on where you buy it.) Baby oil is great to use for sheath cleaning because it really helps with getting all the gunk up in there out.  ​At horse shows, I always take a rag with some baby oil and rub it over the horse’s muzzle and the tips of their ears to make its face really shine!

One junior’s take on being a competitive junior rider…

Guest post by Naya Shim of The Upward Transition. Check out my post about competing as an Amateur on her blog!

As I slowly creep up to the age 18, it’s starting to hit me that I will no longer be a Junior rider anymore. With two years under my belt, I periodically think about what it’d be like to ride and show after aging out. I have a handful of Amateur riders at my barn who I can watch at shows, and all I can think about is, “Is that what I’ll be like?”

Whether you’re chilling out in Hunterland, still turning and burning in the Jumper ring, or even riding for leisure and taking a break from the show ring, even though you might be on the younger side of the Amateur status, I feel like it still makes a lot of riders feel old. Why? Because the door with all of those opportunities open to you as a Junior rider has now closed behind you.

I can say I’ve only been a competitive Junior rider for a little less than two years now. But before that, my riding days as a Junior had been spent at lesson barns with lesson horses/ponies, in-house schooling shows, and camp. Riding once a week, wearing my animal-print gloves, and schooling tights (Absolutely no-shame in this phase though. I had a ton of fun!).

I started “pretty late” in my riding career. I never got the chance to do any pony divisions, wear the braids and bows, and follow that “Pony Finals Dream.” Though once I started competitively riding, I realized that opportunities are basically endless for Juniors.

From riding 5 times a week, to leasing, to buying one’s own horse after a year, owning multiple horses or one, catch-riding, being a working student; there are plenty of directions to go as a Junior. I’ve seen riders that have started later than I, who look flawless in the 1.25m Jumpers or getting started in the Big Eq after just doing the 2’6-3’ divisions for a year. I’ve also seen riders that have been riding ever since they were at the age of 5 who are competitive in the 3’ divisions. Everyone progressed at a different pace.

As a Junior in the showing world, though, it’s competitive. Like, very competitive. The equestrian sport is unique because most of your career is already built up during your youngest years. I’m not too familiar with the Western disciplines or Dressage, but in terms of the Hunter, Eq, and Jumpers, you have anything from Pony Finals, the Big Eq Finals, THIS Medal Finals, M&S Finals, Junior Hunter Finals, USHJA Derby Finals, Zone Finals, NAJYRC (Young Riders).. there are so many different goals you can set for yourself. But after you age out, that’s it. Most of these get crossed off the list.

In terms of training, I personally feel that Juniors have it the “roughest.” In other words, the business and competition within the Junior riders itself is at the max. From no-stirrup lessons, intense flat-work training, to different over fences exercises, it’s all about the practice. Time is something that is limited for most adults, which is something that us younger riders have a little more of.

But don’t we all wish we had a little more time?

Lesson Recap: August 23, 2015

Monte after our lesson and an EcoLicious Bath on Sunday!

Monte after our lesson and an EcoLicious Bath on Sunday!

Sunday’s lesson began with the usual walk/trot/canter warm-up. We did serpentines at the trot, again working on straightness which involved me keeping Monte out in front of my leg. A straight horse is a forward horse. After doing serpentines, we also did spiraling in and out on a circle in both directions, which was much improve from last time. After those warm-ups at the trot, we cantered in both directions and then got to work jumping.

First, I cantered a small cavaletti to warm up. Monte sometimes tends to over jump when he first begins jumping, and he was “wild” when my trainer rode him the day before, so we started small and simple. He was great for the first time, so we added another element. Going off the left we jumping the cavaletti and then went to a crossrail. He was perfect for both. My only issue was that I allowed him to open a bit too much to the crossrail so he got a little “quick.” However, I realized my mistake, which I tend to be very good at.

After that exercise, I picked up another cavaletti going off the right. Monte tends to pick up the wrong lead going off the right (we are still working on lead changes), so I started with an opening rein over the jump to help give him the idea that he needed to pick up the right lead coming off the jump. This got the message across and most of our jumps were good. He picked up the right lead, and we had good distances. One thing I have to say is that he was extremely quiet, so it was definitely a huge leg workout.

Finally, after taking a walk break to allow him and me to get a breather, we started the exercise we worked on last week which was the six stride line, trotting in and cantering out. This time, we worked on straightness, which was a slight issue last week. However, I am happy to say I was much straight this week, and we didn’t have any problems breaking to the trot in the middle.  First we took it off the left, and then we took it off the right. The right is Monte’s hard direction coming to this particular element because there are chickens that live in the upper corner of the ring by the back barn. He tends to get distracted by them (all baby stuff that will be worked out eventually), so I had to really work on keeping his attention. Although at one point, I did get 7 strides in the 6 stride line, my trainer said she was okay with that because the 7 strides was organized. Our last jump of the day, Monte was again a bit distracted because there were people walking around the ring while he was jumping, but we got the 6 strides and chose to end on that jump because I was able to get the job done despite his lack of being focused.

In an effort to remain positive, I am going to highlight what I did correct during my lesson.

  • My trainer has been extremely complimentary of how straight my upper body has been. I used to ride like a hunchback and with crotch hands. While it is not perfect, she continuously says every lesson how much better I’ve gotten since I started riding with her, which was only 4 months ago.
  • My trainer told me I had a beautiful trot, hack-winning trot at all times. Monte was really moving off my leg, staying straight, and lengthening/shortening when I asked him to. Additionally, he was really seeking the bit and coming into contact, which was fantastic.
  • I am finally not afraid to “ride at” my horse, which is a great thing, especially when I have a quiet, sometimes lazy, horse like Monte. I used to be afraid to really put my leg on and ride at my horse, but as time has gone on, and as Monte and I have become a team, we’ve begun to understand each other. Yes, we have work to do, but I feel us improving every time I ride.
  • One of my biggest issues is riding my best when I have an audience, which is hard especially because I show. However, at this particular lesson, I had a lot of on-lookers. Instead of staying focused outside the ring on who was watching me, I stayed focused on my job in the ring and on my horse. I did not have nerves or anxiety, and I rode my best, which is a personal best for me. One of my biggest reasons for never showing was because I had “stage fright,” and I really have begun to get over that problem.

Overall, I had a great lesson. Monte and I are really growing as a team, and I am extremely happy with the progress we made. We will be showing at a fair in Pennsylvania Labor Day weekend, and I am super excited to do both equitation and hunter classes on him! As always, I will keep you posted on our progress and how the show goes.

Five things a green horse has taught me

Guest post by Christa Myers.

Five years ago, I was first told “green and green, make black and blue.” Skip forward about 5 years and that statement never came to fruition, but I have learned lessons from training Ashira that are just important. Firstly I just want to say, a green rider and a green horse often times do not work out like my journey, and I highly recommend working with a trainer or your coach if you do have a green horse.

Ashira's first day trying to load to go home.

Ashira’s first day trying to load to go home.

Patience. Above all my mare has taught me patience. The first three days of owning her consisted of attempting to get her on a trailer. If there is one thing a chestnut mare can do is be stubborn. All. The. Time. When I first got Ashira , I planned to be showing the next year; however our training went slower than anticipated, and it was a couple years till we were ready.

Doing something right is better than doing something quick. Luckily I went into training Ashira thinking to take things slowly and that I needed to teach her something correctly before moving on. When doing anything in life, you need to finish something before moving onto the next step. (See mom and dad, horses did teach me something) Life is like Legos: You need a block underneath you before putting a new one on-top.

Third PhotoFood is the way to the heart. My mare loooooooves food. Put food in front of Ash, and she magically becomes the worlds best horse.

Need to give a shot? Give Food.

Want to get on the trailer? Food.

Wish to have cute photos? Hold food in hand while attempting to hide it from the camera.

Ultimately: when there is food, there is a way.

Fourth PhotoHard work pays off. While trying to teach something new to Ashira was always hard, when it finally clicked, the feeling was amazing. All the hours spent working hard is always rewarding, so never be afraid to work hard for what you want.

Fifth PhotoTraining is not a linear process. You may be thinking you teach walk, trot, and then canter, but that’s not how it goes. Often times when Ashira and I would try something new (like being in frame), something I taught before went out the window. Literally.. it went out the arena windows at the speed of sound. When I first asked Ash to be collected around a course, her leads disappeared for a while because she was so focused on using her body, she obviously couldn’t change leads too! Once she was using her body, she had to learn how to get her leads again while using body correctly.

Sixth PhotoTrust goes a long way. I whole-heartedly believe Ashira and I would be nowhere near where we are if we didn’t trust each other as much as we do. And I don’t mean putting her hoof on my head trust. I mean believing when I ask her to do something she will because I wouldn’t ask her to do something that could hurt trust. So take time to go brush your horse, walk around and love on them. It will totally reflect on your undersaddle work.

I absolutely loved training Ashira, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for a show-ready horse anyday. However there were days I came home from the barn in tears because I was so frustrated with myself. But the days that everything clicked were worth those days two times over.