Understanding Horses

Sometimes we forget how many different types of equines there are, and how many different things we do with them. As president of the Kentucky Horse Council (I needed something else to do), I was involved this past weekend with our Horse Fair. It is held each year in association with the Breyerfest model horse extravaganza at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The Horse Council wants to get new people involved with horses, so what better group to target than those who already love horses! We just give them a chance to see some of the real McCoys.

We have equine demonstrations not only for those people already coming for Breyerfest, but for horse enthusiasts from far and wide. (One couple with whom I spoke came to the Kentucky Horse Fair from Buffalo, N. Y., to see some different breeds up close and personal because they are trying to decide what kind of horse to get.)

We have various groups and organizations volunteer to showcase their breeds and disciplines over the weekend of the Horse Fair. The equine entertainers ranged from jumping, cart-pulling miniature mules to elegant dressage-touting Fresians. From versatile Morgans and Quarter Horses to mixed breeds used in the Civil War reenactment. There were Paints, Morabs, Saddlebreds, Standardbreds (and a few other-breds), as well as a host of miniature horses pulling, jumping, and strutting their stuff at halter and looking cute enough to load up in the back seat of your car and take home.

The horse enthusiasts and model collectors loved having the chance to touch the live animals. And Breyer brought in a few big guns, including Erin Go Bragh, the champion Connemara event stallion; Sacred Indian, the medicine hat Paint stallion; and Faithfully Dun, a champion cutting horse. These all are horses which had Breyer models released this year and which were in attendance at Breyerfest to promote the models.

Most of us are involved in one discipline, with maybe a trail ride thrown in for mental health. It's educational, as well as just plain fun, to see these other breeds doing their thing, or see other horses of our own breeds doing something different. These activities make me remember that I want to learn to drive, compete on a cutting horse, attempt a reining pattern, pack into the wilderness for a few days...there are lots of "horsy" things that would be great fun that are different from what I do at home.

Heart 6

Speaking of fun, I wanted to say a word of thanks to all the folks at Heart 6 Guest Ranch in Wyoming for an enjoyable week with my girls. It sure was exciting to see that beautiful Teton country from the back of a horse. Good people, good scenery, good horses, (a good hot tub for the end of the trail!), and plenty of homemade chocolate chip cookies made for a week we won't soon forget.

The wranglers, mostly college-age men and women, had various backgrounds that were well-disguised beneath their western garb. Some rode English at home, although most were involved in Western disciplines or ranch work from the time they started walking. Most of those going on to college wanted careers with horses.

The horses in the string were as varied as the ranch guests, and fortunately, were matched accordingly. From TyBob that my daughter Beth rode, who had sure feet and the patience of Job, to Stephie, who packed a little more punch for my teen-age daughter Barbara, to Heather, my mount, who looked like a cross of Appaloosa and mustang with a little draft thrown in for feathers and a stout hindquarters.

Most were Quarter Horses, or Quarter Horse crosses, with some Appys, Paints, Thoroughbreds, and a few Arabs in the mix. They all seemed content with their role of chauffering "dudes" around the trails. And when time came for a few arena games at the end of the week, some horses showed off a little of what they probably were before becoming trail horses. (One showed a special affinity for pole bending, calmly switching leads at each pole with little or no guidance from the rider.)


The latest in the series of books published by The Horse Health Care Library is Understanding Nutrition by Karen Briggs. Those of you familiar with The Horse will recognize Karen as our monthly Nutrition columnist. In the magazine, she has guided us through a maze of terminology and hype to help us better feed our horses, and know why we should or shouldn't be doing certain things in the feedtub and field. Now she has put together a reference to answer your everyday nutrition questions, and a few that you might have overlooked when trying to feed your horse right.

Other books in the Understanding series that currently are available include Laminitis, by Dr. Ric Redden;The Equine Foot, by Fran Jurga; Lameness, by Les Sellnow; EPM, by Dr. David Granstrom; and First Aid, by Dr. Michael Ball. Each is designed to be a reference to which you will return time and again, and a reference you will read to be prepared before problems arise.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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