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Bits, Saddle Fitting & Hoof Balance
ES 150

Instructor: Eleanor Blazer, PhT



  Bits are designed to create discomfort in the hope the horse, to avoid the discomfort, will respond in particular way—a response which satisfies the rider. There is no other way to explain how a bit works.  All the fancy names for bits, all the claims for gentle, kind bits cannot change the facts.  So the key is in choosing a bit which is most comfortable for your horse, and knowing how to use the bit. One of the most surprising things students will learn is that there are only two kinds of bits—snaffles and curbs.

        It would be hard to over-emphasize the importance of the correct fit and placement of saddles.  Horses suffer sore and injured backs more frequently due to saddles that rub or apply uneven pressure than for any other reason; this lesson teaches the student how to determine proper saddle fit for any discipline.

        The shoeing of a horse is a necessity born from our horse management practices and modern life. The goal is to balance the horse’s hoof in relationship to his conformation, and to protect the hoof from damage. Students will learn how to measure the hoof, determine hoof balance and select the shoe and the shoe placement which is of most benefit to the horse.  Various horse shoes and their uses are explained.  Shoeing horses in an attempt to overcome lameness and hoof damage are discussed.

               I. Bits
                     A. Types
                     B. Severe or Mild?
                     C. Mouth Conformation
                     D. Types of Mouth Pieces

              II. Saddle Fitting
                      A.  Determine proper placement
                      B.  Check for correct fit
                      C.  Types of pads and blankets

              III. The Hoof
                      A. Balance
                      B. Anatomy of the Hoof
                      C. Assessment of the Hoof
                      D. Types of Shoes

               IV. Hoof Problems
                      A. Do Supplements Work?
                      B. Long Toes, Low Heels
                      C. Navicular
                      D. Cracks
                      E. Club Feet
                      F. Laminitis

There is one suggested book/DVD for this course:
           • The Level Best For Your Horse, Dale,Ron & Bob Myler (which includes a DVD)

         Available at the College Book Store:

There is no completion deadline for the course.  The student works at his or her own pace.  The student will not be "locked-out". 

The grading scale for this course is as follows:
                 90-100%  =    A
                 80-89%    =    B
                 70-79%    =    C
                 Below 70%     Fail

You are strongly encouraged to communicate via email with the instructor. Ms. Vonada is available as an instructor and mentor to assist you in meeting your goals for this course.  If at any time during this course you change your email address, please be sure to notify the instructor and office right away.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms when communicating with the instructor.
        Please include full name and address in all correspondence.  

  Many lessons require written assignments or essays.  They should be submitted as an attachment to an email using Word or a similar word processing software.
        Please be sure to include full name and email address on all documents - not just in the email message. 
        Proper grammar and spelling will be graded.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms - this is college level work.

  Access to a horse is required.
        All assignments and quizzes must be completed.

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