Tack & Gear

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The Horse Habit located at Kemble, Ontario, was established 29 years ago by Ellen O’Reilly, with the mission “To bring quality equipment to the horse and their human.”

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A novel horse-riding simulator offers new possibilities for rider training and welfare of the ridden horse. The simulator was developed at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) in Finland, as part of a project to monitor body and brain behaviour of both professional and non-professional riders.

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Head injuries are the most common reason for admission to hospital or death among riders. Sobering statistics reveal the high percentage of equine-related accidents resulting in traumatic brain injury, and helmets have been associated with reducing the risk of traumatic brain injury by as much as 50 percent. Yet many riders still do not wear a helmet.

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If you ride far enough and often enough, the day will inevitably come when you're caught out in a drencher. When you get back to shelter, you'll scrape your horse and towel him down, then find yourself some dry clothes and something warm to drink. If you're smart, you'll also tend to your tack before the mud dries on and the leather dries out. Timely tack care can also prevent the blooming of mold and mildew problems which, once established, can become a major nuisance.

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There are many reasons, or rather, excuses for not wearing riding helmets. Yet research shows that a properly fitted, safety-approved riding helmet can drastically reduce the risk of head injury. When a rider falls, the head is usually the first thing to impact the ground. The human skull can be shattered on impacts of 7 to 10 kilometers per hour, and horses gallop at over 60 kph. According to the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, three out of every five equestrian accident deaths are caused by brain injuries, and there is four times the risk of mortality for non-helmeted riders who become injured.

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No blanket stays waterproof forever. After it's been well used for a few years, the waterproofing will wear off. You'll know it's time to re-waterproof when you notice wetness along the midline of the horse's back and croup.

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The perils of putting symmetrical saddles on asymmetrical horses - “We were not surprised to learn 60 percent of the horses in our 490-horse retrospective study had larger measurements on the left side of their withers,” says Dr. Katrina Merkies, researcher and associate professor at the University of Guelph.

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