December 15, 2017

How Parents Can Make The Most of Children’s Riding Lessons~

Imagine you are starting a new job with very complex skills, a demanding boss, and all new surroundings. Sounds pretty daunting. Now imagine you can only work on those new skills for an hour a week. Now add to the mix that you are a child with limited life skills. Seems downright impossible, doesn’t it? Yet that is exactly what parents expect when children are learning to ride horses.

Learning to ride is a complex and difficult process. It takes many, many years to master. How can a parent help their child master those skills without becoming discouraged along the way? Here are some helpful tips-

1. Schedule lessons more often. Riding once per week is the bare minimum needed in order to advance. Students who ride less than once per week will become just like the movie Groundhog Day, an oft repeated set of instructions while working on the same skills over and over again. The lessons will become recreational riding, not actual lessons. Riding requires creating muscle memory that can only be learned from repetition. Make it possible for your student to ride more often. If cost is a factor, move into less expensive group lessons. Allow the student to take practice rides if the stable offers them. Some facilities offer discounts when lessons are taken more than once per week. Inquire about those programs. Whatever you can do to get the rider on a horse more often will help.

2. Listen to and watch your child’s lesson. Resist the temptations of email, social media and phone calls. Technology is at our fingertips 24/7, but our children grow up and move away before you know it. You paid for the lesson, be a part of it! Learn some new terms. Ask the instructor questions (After the lesson please! When the student is un-tacking is a good time.). Be involved in your child’s instruction.

3. Video the lesson. Use your smart phone to replay the lesson to your child. Visual learners will greatly benefit from seeing themselves ride. They can better identify their weaknesses and strengths. Often students simply don’t believe they really are doing the things the instructor is telling them about. Seeing video evidence will support the instructors point of view, help the student understand the principles being taught, and identify where the student is falling short.

4. Ask for homework. Ask the instructor for a list of terms to look up and learn. (Use your smart phone to take notes.) Drill students on the parts of the horse, bridle or saddle. Learn the names and uses of grooming tools. Go over a riding principle learned during today’s lesson. Get some stretching or coordination exercises to do at home. Even posting can be practiced in a chair or on an exercise ball. Encourage your child to do some barn homework every day. If the barn offers books, buy them and read them with your child. Otherwise, good information is available on the internet. CRK Stable offers online worksheets for the CHA Manuals. Buy the books, go to, enter the password and get busy learning!

5. Review the lesson with your child. When you are back in the car, don’t just tick the lesson off your “to-do” list and focus on the next task at hand. Discuss what the student learned that day. Did the lesson go well? If so, comment on that, “Your posting was much better today!” (Don’t know what posting is? See #2) If the lesson didn’t go well, what did the student struggle with? How can you help them get past that difficulty? Always end the conversation on a good note. Remind them about the things that went well.

6. Review online videos and radio shows. If the barn has videos on their website, review them with your child. The Certified Horsemanship Association produces wonderful, informative videos that are available free on YouTube. Go to- for videos or Horse Radio Network for replays of radio shows-

Remember, a parents job is to raise their children. Not to simply make learning opportunities available to them. Be as involved in every aspect of their lives as you can. As a parent of grown children I can honestly say I never regretted sitting on cold, hard bleachers for hours on end, watching the hundreds of practices and competitions my children participated in. Now that those days are long past, I actually miss them…

  Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. She is also an AQHA Professional Horseman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 35 years. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article and photos, in whole or on part, in any medium including but not limited to, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, etc. are reserved. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to


Is Ground Work Really That Important?


Very often we hear the parents of our beginning students lament, “Why does my child spend so much time on the ground stuff? Don’t I pay you to teach them how to ride horses?”

At CRK Training Stable all students must learn to catch, lead, tie, groom, and saddle their school horse. They must also un-tack, groom and put the horse away. In the beginning of their riding careers, students often spend more time working with the horse on the ground than in the saddle. While we understand that this may not seem like what you signed up for, the ground work is a very important step to becoming an equestrian. Here’s why…

At CRK we teach horsemanship. Not just horse riding- Horsemanship. What is horsemanship? The definition is- Horsemanship- The art of riding, handling, and training horses. While riding is certainly part of horsemanship, it is not the only part. Handling and training is also part of the deal.

When do riders start training a horse? The very first time they step into that horse’s personal space. Every interaction a person has with a horse is affecting it’s training. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not. We want our students to be good horse trainers and that begins on the ground.

Students learn mastery of the horse from the ground up. By entering the horses space, putting on the halter and leading the horse out of the stall, they are taking control of the horse. The mastery has begun or at least it should have. Grooming, saddling and bridling takes the mastery further.  Making the horse move over, turn, back up or stand in a certain spot all improves the control. These skills help the student better understand the horse and become comfortable around them. Students learn and take ownership of their role as the horse’s trainer/leader. Without that mastery, the student will never advance.

Students must learn how to handle the equipment which is also called tack.  They need to learn what it is called, how to put it on, how it works, and its uses. Since horses are large, horse tack is also large, long and heavy. Having students carry the saddles helps them develop the strength needed to put the saddles on the horse. The more they handle the tack, the better acquainted they will become with it. The better their understanding of tack, the better they will be able to use it.

Horses are living, breathing, thinking, feeling creatures. Just like us, they have good days and bad days.  Working with the horse on the ground gives the rider insight into that particular horse’s mood on that particular day. While working with the horse on the ground we can figure out if they are feeling lazy, crazy, mad, tired, hurt, bored or whatever. This is very helpful knowledge to have before we put our foot in a stirrup. If my horse refused to stand still in the cross-ties, pawing, moving side to side and the like, I might need to work some of the wiggles out before I hop on. If I’m dragging the horse out of the stall, and he stands, head drooped, leaning on the cross-ties, perhaps a crop or some spurs might be in order. Or, more likely, the horse is sick or injured and shouldn’t be ridden at all. I may even need to place a call to the vet. While grooming, I may encounter a cut or other sore spot that needs to be addressed. If the horse is flinching and moving away when I curry his back,  perhaps the saddle isn’t fitting well causing a sore back. That would be very helpful to know before I swing my leg over and place my behind on that tender area.  All these issues and more come to light from the ground.

Many lesson barns will groom and saddle your horse for you. You do pay extra for that service, even though you may not recognize it. Your lesson may only be 30 minutes instead of an hour, for the same fee. Or you will be required to “tip” the groom. Not only are you paying extra for this service, but you are short-changing your education. It may seem like a good idea at first, after all, it’s less work and all you have to do is ride.  But think about all the things you’ll miss out on. All the things you didn’t learn. And then what happens when you decide to lease or purchase a horse? You’ll have to learn those ground skills anyway.

So remember, the best programs always start on the ground. Horsemanship is so much more than just keeping a leg on each side. Allow yourself the time and opportunity to learn all you can. And choose a facility and instructors that will teach it to you.

  Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. She is also an AQHA Professional Horseman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 35 years. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article and photos, in whole or on part, in any medium including but not limited to, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, etc. are reserved. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to



Equine Science Classes

Equine Science Level #1

horse colors aqhaSession One begins Jan. 16, 2016. Session Two Begins Feb. 27, 2016,  4:30-5:30 PM. $75.00/ 6 weeks or $135.00/12 weeks. (Session one is a pre-requisite for Session Two. Must register for 12 week class before taking session one to receive the discounted price.) Suitable for students 8 years and up. Adults welcome! (Students will not ride horses in these classes.)

One time textbook fee $40.00 (Textbook is good for all levels of Equine Science class and all riding classes.)

For more information go to-

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Horse?

061_cropNearly every day I’m asked, “How much does it cost to keep a horse?” Of course the variables are many, but here are some basics you can depend upon.

Feed– All horses need some sort of roughage daily. This can take the form of hay, pasture grass, pelleted or cubed hay. Hay costs vary greatly depending on your area. And of course, grass pasture is basically free if you own the pasture land and water isn’t an issue. Different types of hay will also differ in cost. Most horses eat either grass or alfalfa hay.

Alfalfa Hay- In our area, the average 100 lb. bale of alfalfa is about $18.00 plus tax. An average 1000 lb. horse eating 7-8 lbs of hay per feeing 2 X daily = 14-16 lbs per day. That equals 5 bales a month. 5 X $18.00 = $90.00 month. That’s about the least you can expect. Most horses will eat more than that. $1080.00/yr

Grass Hay- Orchard or Timothy grass is running about $25.00 per 90 lb. bale + tax. If feeding exclusively grass hay, figure an extra 3.5-5 pounds of hay per feeding over alfalfa due to the lower nutritional value of grass hay. That would be 10.5-13 lbs per feeding, 2 X daily= 8 bales per month @ $25.00 per bale=$200.00. per month. $2400.00/yr

Both these hays are very good feed. Most of my horses get a mix of alfalfa and orchard grass daily. We feed 1 feeding per day of Orchard Grass and 1 of Alfalfa. Our horses also work pretty hard and eat 21-28 lbs per day- Half of each type of hay. Alfalfa 10-11 lbs per day = $54.00 mo. +12-14 lbs. Orchard grass per day = $100.00 per month. Our total hay cost for one horse is about $154.00 + tax, give or take. $1848.00/yr

Grain and Supplements– Some horses can live quite well on just alfalfa hay or pellets. If you are feeding grass hay, supplements are probably needed. There really isn’t any good formula for grain and supplements since the needs are so varied. Suffice it to say that a 50# bag of grain costs about $25.00. If you feed 3# a day, the monthly cost would be about $50.00. Supplements are additional and can range up to several hundreds of dollars a month. $0.00-$600.00/yr.

Bedding– If you horse is kept in a stall, bedding will be required. Shavings are the usual type of bedding and are sold in a bale-sized bag. Most bales are about $10.00 each and you will need 4-6 per month depending on the size of the stall. $40.00-$60.00 month. $480.00-$720.00/yr

Farrier– The cost of 4 plain shoes is $120.00 per shoeing. Figure new shoes every 7 weeks. That’s 7-8 sets of shoes a year. $840.00 – $960.00 per year. This will go up if special shoes or pads are needed. It could go down if the horse is not shod year round. Some horses can go barefoot but will still need to be trimmed every 7 weeks or so. A trim is about $50.00 so figure about $350.00 per year for the barefoot horse.

Vet Expenses– Routine vet care includes- A general health exam, routine vaccinations, teeth floating and sheath cleaning if you own a gelding or stallion. Vaccinations are done twice annually at a cost of about $250.00 each time. Sheath cleaning is an annual cost. Including sedation, sheath cleaning runs about $100.00-$150.00. Teeth floating is also done annually and runs about $200.00 with an additional cost for sedation if needed. Total cost- $550.00-$600.00. It goes up if the horse gets sick or hurt. You can easily spend that amount on just one minor injury or illness.

Normal products– Fly spray, shampoo, hoof oil, basic first aid products. $200.00 year minimum.

Insurance– Liability coverage runs $200.00. Major medical and mortality will increase the cost.

Transportation– If you will be buying a truck and trailer figure $75,000.00 plus insurance, gas and oil. If you are going to hire a person to haul your horse- $50.00-$100.00 + mileage fees.

Tack repair/replacement– The initial cost to outfit a horse can be quite extensive- Halter, lead, brushes, bridle, saddle, saddle pads, leg boots, first aid kit, feed buckets, routine products (shampoo, fly spray, hoof oil, muck rake, muck bucket, etc). Figure $1000.00 and up if you are buying used tack. If you take good care of it, repair/replacement costs will be minimal. Perhaps only $50.00 per year for some good leather cleaner and conditioner. But, if you neglect your tack, especially leather tack, you will be replacing items more often.

Total cost to keep one horse, at home, on hay for one year is….

Hay- $1080.00-$2400.00+

Supplements- $0.00- $600.00+

Bedding- $480.00-$720.00+

Farrier- $350.00-$960.00+

Routine Vet- $400.00-$550.00+



Transportation costs- $50.00-$75,000.00 + gas & oil.

Tack repair/replacement- $50.00+

For a grand total of (drum roll please!) – $2810.00-$5730.00 (excluding truck & trailer purchase). Just remember, you must also provide all labor and utility costs! And, of course, there are the other expenses- Show entry fees, trainers, lessons, boarding, non-routine vet fees, special shoes, second horse, third horse, etc.

If you are boarding at CRK you can eliminate the bedding and hay costs in exchange for the $430.00 monthly boarding fee. Board- $5,160.00 + Other costs- $2,810.00-$5,730.00=

$ 7,970.00 – $10,890.00/yr.

The joy the horse gives you- Priceless!

            Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. She is also an AQHA Professional Horseman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 30 years. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article in any medium including newsletters, websites, blogs, etc. are restricted. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to



An Ounce Of Prevention…

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION: Why Wise People Wear Closed Shoes at the Barn

By Suzi Carragher – (Shared with permission)

Look around most reputable riding stables and you’ll likely see a rule “No Open Shoes.” Many folks assume that because they aren’t the ones riding the horse, the rule doesn’t apply to them. To quote that sage Bart Simpson, “Au contraire, mon frère!”

Without a why, many folks dismiss the rule. Real horse men and women know stuff happens at barns – unexpected, nasty, gnarly stuff. We know that an ounce of prevention will keep us out of the hospital and working with our beloved horses and clients. That’s why we suit up for the task at hand. Just so we’re all on the same page here, a closed shoe is one where both the toes and heel are covered, e.g., boots, athletic shoes, a sturdy walking shoe. The shoes should encapsulate your foot in a sturdy fabric or leather and offer foot and ankle support.

Injury Prevention: The most obvious thought that pops in people’s minds when they read the “Closed shoes only” rule is a hoof-on-foot injury. If you haven’t experienced this form of pain, let me tell you from personal experience – IT HURTS… A LOT! In my case, I was escorting a horse back to his stall, when I stopped to answer a quick question. He shifted his weight and lazily put his hoof directly on my right pinkie toe. POP! It was broken. Thankfully, I was wearing my boot, because without it, the toe likely would have been taken clean off. I was lucky.

Other reasons aren’t as obvious. Stables are busy places. Errant shoeing nails, carpentry nails, staples, thumb tacks, jump cups, hoof picks, improperly disposed needles, trash that didn’t quite make it to the bin, and other items are more likely to cause an injury if discovered by a foot in an open shoe than a closed shoe.

One of the most common forms of footwear is the flip flop sandal. They are wonderful things. They are summer, the beach, and popsicles! But, they are terrible for your feet. They lack arch support, which can lead to plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the thick band of tissue along the bottom of your foot. Riders: Try dropping your heel and feel the pain! Flip flops are also blamed for a number of other injuries, including: stress fractures of the metatarsals, stubbed toes, and broken toes. One Washington, D.C. podiatrist says he sees at least one flip-flop related injury weekly from May through September.

Infection Prevention: Remember, barns are busy work places. Vets are in and out treating patients. Dewormings are being administered. Machines are being used. Critters other than horses visit or take up residence in the feed area or shavings. Urine, manure, blood, pus, nasty week old beverages, and other stuff make their way onto the ground. In researching this section of the article, I found enough data on zoonosis, diseases that can be passed from animals to humans, to write quite a few articles. The fact is closed shoes provide more protection against picking up an infection than open shoes. There are a number of infections that can be picked up at a barn ranging from fungal infections, like ringworm, that will ruin your summer swimming plans to rabies.

Tetanus Tetanus is a bacterial infection that occurs when Clostridium tetani bacterial enters the body though a wound and produces toxins that impair your motor neurons. It gets transmitted through wounds like puncture wounds, crush wounds, splinters, and infected cuts. The risk is increased if the area is contaminated with dirt or manure, both of which are plentiful at barns. If you contract tetanus, you can look forward to spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, stiff neck, difficulty swallowing, abdominal muscle stiffness and ultimately painful body spasms. You may also endure fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure, and rapid heart rate.

Tetanus can be treated, but not cured, according to the Mayo Clinic article on the subject. Treatment includes the administration of antitoxin medication, antibiotics, vaccination, sedatives to control muscle spasm, other drugs to regulate involuntary muscles, and in some cases, people with tetanus get to stay in the hospital to receive respiratory support. Still think open shoes are okay at the barn?

Campylobacter Does your barn have a mare with a foal? Or kittens? Or bunnies? Do you stand closely to pet them? Campylobacter is a common infection in baby animals that when passed to humans can cause diarrhea. It’s important to know that animals shed the germs for up to seven weeks if untreated, and all it takes to enter your system is a small nick on your foot. “But, my sandals are so cute, and I’m just here to watch the lesson,” you say.

Worms I remember my friend dewormed her new horse, and we stood amazed by what came out of that gelding. It was spectacular! Now, had we not been wearing our boots we’d have been standing in a wide assortment of intestinal parasites, including hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms. It seems that little ones get the brunt of the worm invasion, because they’re not great at hygiene. Roundworms are intestinal parasites that infect 10,000 children annually. Untreated they can cause blindness. Hookworms attach themselves to the intestinal lining and can cause life threatening blood loss. Infections are treatable with anti-parasitic drugs, but you’re not going to like what happens until they’re cleared out. Are you reconsidering your footwear?

Leptospirosis Leptospirosis is caused by Leptospira interrogans, a spirochete. (Spirochete is such a cool word. It means spiral shaped bacteria, so now you can astound your friends at parties.) It is considered to be “the most widespread zoonosis in the world,” according to It is spread through contact with bodily fluids, like urine, as well as contaminated soil and water. It enters the body through minor cuts. Once inside, the spirochete heads for the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system where it multiplies and wreaks havoc. Symptoms include: rash, fever, chills, headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases are accompanied by kidney failure, liver failure, and meningitis. Pregnant women who become infected have a high rate of fetal mortality. Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics, though some cases require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.

If this doesn’t convince you to wear closed shoes to the barn, then consider that venomous snakes, spiders, mice, rats, staph, and other no-see-ums can also be present at horse facilities. The prevention steps for all these infections all include proper hygiene, e.g., hand washing, and avoiding the pathogen, e.g., wearing closed shoes.

Lastly, consider this message on the University of Connecticut’s Department of Animal Science webpage: Steel Toed Boots

  • If you are working at any of the livestock units, steel toed boots are a must! For individuals concerned about the risks of using steel toed boots, MythBusters Episode 42 has dispelled the myth that you can lose toes if something heavy actually lands on your reinforced boots. In any case, according to Federal Law it is still required.

**One Last Tip on Open Toed Shoes**

It’s the pet peeve of some professors in the department that students wear open toed shoes in laboratories. Closed toed shoes are actually required in all laboratories and at all livestock units even if you are “just visiting”. Let’s try to keep our professors and our toes happy! The bottomline: Your instructor cares about you and your well-being. They aren’t telling you to lose your sandals at the barn to cramp your style or be a cosmic killjoy, but to keep you and your family safe so you can continue having fun with the horses. Tip: Keep your sandals and clogs in your car, so you can change out of your boots after your time at the stable.

Sources that informed this article:

Certified Horsemanship Association Region 10 Conference


SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

“A Day of Equine Education”

Riding Lessons

Riding Lessons

Silent Auction Deals!

Silent Auction Deals!


What is it?- An Educational Event with Speakers, Riding Demonstrations, Silent Auction, Vendors and Private Riding Lessons

Where is it?- PepperGlen Farms 3563 Pedley Ave. Norco, CA 92860.

Who can attend?- Anyone who loves horses!

Who can ride in the lessons & demonstrations? Rider spots still available! Call today to reserve your slot!

Riders must be at least 9 yrs old, bring your own horse & tack and be able to ride a walk, jog/trot and lope/canter. For more info go to-

How much does it cost?-

Spectator Pre-sale tickets $40.00 w/lunch included.

Children 6-14 years $25.00.     Under 6- Free

Riders- $25.00 per session or $100.00 all day. (Private lessons excluded.) Riding spots still available! Sign up before they are all gone! Call today for more info- 714-693-4886.

Riders private lessons- $25.00/30 minutes. Available on Saturday or Sunday.

Dinner, Drinks, Dessert & Discounts- $18.00

At the gate tickets- Cash or Credit Card Only- $45.00/$30.00 no lunch.

How do I buy tickets?- Go to-

Spectators & Riders mail in registration form-

 See our Speaker Schedule for more information-

Stall Reservations-

ACTHA Arena Obstacle Challenge Sept. 21, 2014- For more info go to-

Bring a chair or blanket to sit on. NO DOGS PLEASE!

Mind Your Manners!

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Busy, Busy, Busy!

      It’s a busy day here at the barn. Several horses and riders are using the arena. One is lunging at one end. Another is a complete beginner working on just getting her horse to go where she wants it to. Still another is working on barrel racing while another is setting up a jump. What’s a rider to do? How can all these riders co-exist in the same arena without someone getting hurt? This is where simple arena etiquette comes into play. Many different riders and horses can co-exist in the same space if you all know the “rules of the road”. That along with some old fashioned good manners and we can all work in safely the same space.

  1. Lunging should not be allowed in the same arena with riders. Horses being lunged can be very volatile- bolting and bucking just because they can. This behavior can be contagious sending other horses off on a tangent or the horses being lunged may get loose and cause havoc for the riders in the arena. It’s best if a separate lunging arena or round pen is provided. If that’s not possible, make a rule that no one may lunge if anyone is riding in the same arena.
  2. Have separate arenas for specific purposes. One with jumps, another with barrels, yet another for beginners. If separate arenas isn’t an option, set aside separate space within one arena with cones or other barriers. I keep my beginner students at one end of the arena, leaving the opposite end available for my boarders to use. This practice keeps everyone safe and happy. The students don’t feel they have to try to avoid riders moving quickly and the boarders are free to practice their more advanced skills without interference.
  3. Left to left is best!

    Left to left is best!

    Left shoulder to left shoulder. This is the first rule I teach my riders. If I have more than a single person in a lesson this is taught as soon as I feel they can safely pass each other without getting in trouble. It’s a pretty simple one- the riders should pass each other with their left side toward the other rider. Another way to look at it is- the rider tracking left will stay on the rail while the rider tracking right will yield the rail and move to an inside track.

  4. Call your rail. If you are approaching another rider in the ring, call out to that rider where you intend to go- “Inside!” or “Outside!”. That way the other rider will know what track you will take and can change or not as needed. Just make sure you know the difference between Inside (toward the center of the arena) and Outside (toward the rail). Good intentions can quickly go awry if you make the wrong call. A mistaken call here can result in a collision or at the least some very quick stopping practice.
  5. Fastest on the inside. While this may be contrary to some barns arena rules, I feel it’s the safest. The faster rider will be able to change their direction more quickly than a slower rider. Also the rider on the rail has the least amount of flexibility when it comes to changing their course. If they are going slowly, say at a walk or very slow jog, they really won’t have much choice when it comes to making a change of direction. Those off the rail have more choices as to where to go if things get close.
  6. Claim your territory. If you are going to be working on a specific skill, such as jumping, let the other riders know your intended path. “I’m taking the outside line”. That way they know not to cut across in front of the jumps just as you are making your approach. The same goes for trail obstacles, barrels, etc. Just give a shout out and you’ll be all set.

So that’s it. If everyone keeps to the rules, a safer riding environment can be had for all. Now you just have to be sure everyone knows the rules. Post signs on the arena’s if you can, i.e. – This arena reserved for lunging or This arena for jumping practice only. If that’s not possible, just make sure you have taught the rules to your students. They will pass on the information and soon the entire barn will be well informed and riding safely. Have a magnificent and safe ride!


Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. Cheryl graduated from Rawhide Vocational College and Fullerton College. She is also an AQHA Professional Horsewoman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 30 years, training students from beginner up to world level competition. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article in any format including digital and print are restricted. You must have written permission from the author to use this material.  For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to


How To Clean A Horse Blanket

Lace-with-blanket-300x225Spring has sprung. Summer is nearly upon us. The cool days and nights of winter are just a memory. The horses are shedding with a vengeance and your daily ritual of taking blankets on and off is over for the season. So what do you do with those smelly, stiff, dirty blankets? Now is the time to get them cleaned, repaired and ready for next year. The first step is to wash them. If you don’t have access to an industrial washing machine, this could pose a bit of a problem. Of course you could always send them to a service that will clean them for a fee. That can be an expensive option, especially if you have a large collection of blankets. A good, inexpensive alternative is to simply wash them at home. It’s not that difficult. Here’s how-

Find a large enough area of cement or asphalt to spread out your blanket. The area will need to have access to both an electrical outlet and water, preferably hot water. An area of driveway, barn aisle or wash stall works well. Gather all the necessary materials.

  • Your dirty blanket
  • A broom
  • An industrial or shop-type vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Metal polish and small clean towel
  • Scrub brush
  • Horse shampoo or equine clothes washing soap/detergent
  • Hose with a sprayer attachment and lots of water, preferably hot.
  • A place to hang the wet blanket to dry, such as a fence rail tall and strong enough to keep a heavy, wet blanket off the ground.

Once you have gathered all your material, make sure the floor is clean before you spread out your blanket.  Take the blanket outside and give it a good shake to scare off the spiders. Next, lay it out as flat as you can, out-side up. Open all buckles and remove any straps that you can, such as chest and leg straps. If you can’t remove them, make sure they are unbuckled. Check all the straps and buckles to be sure they are in good shape and the buckles still work. If the straps are chewed, rotted or the stitching is torn, you will need to replace them. Make sure the blanket is worth saving before you put too much work into it. If it will cost more to repair than to purchase a new blanket, it’s best to just discard it.

With the blanket lying on the ground, use the broom to sweep off any remaining cob-webs, dust, horse hair or debris. Now go over the blanket with the vacuum to remove as much hair, dirt and mud as you can. You can switch to a short table or rail for this step. Make sure to clean well over stitching and around the grommets that the straps run through. Once you have finished with the top of the blanket, flip it over and do the other side. Use the broom or scrub brush to help loosen anything that is stuck to the blanket. Be diligent here and it will save you time later.

Hang the blanket over your fence rail and sweep or vacuum as much debris away from the cleaning area as possible. You don’t want it finding its way back on the blanket. When you once again have a clean work space, it’s time to wash. Lay the blanket back down, inside up. Fill your bucket with warm water and whatever cleaner you are using. Don’t put soap directly on the blanket as it will be very difficult to remove later. Using the hose with a sprayer attachment, completely wet down the blanket.  Now dip the scrub brush into the soapy water and begin scrubbing the blanket just like you would a floor. Start at the front and work your way toward the back. Take extra care over stitching, grommets, etc. Once you have completely scrubbed the underside, use the hose and sprayer to rinse off all the soap, hair and other debris. Now flip the blanket over and repeat on the other side. Now is also the time to clean the straps. Be sure to move the adjustments and buckles around so you can clean all parts of the straps completely. Use your small towel and a bit of metal polish on the buckles, being careful not to get any on the straps.

Once the blanket has been completely scrubbed, rinse until the water runs clear and all soap bubbles are gone. Make sure you don’t leave any soap in the blanket or straps as this can cause skin irritations when the blanket is on your horse. After the blanket is thoroughly rinsed, hang it up to dry. Hanging it in the sun will help it dry faster, but may cause fading so choose your drying spot accordingly. Depending on the weather, it will take several hours to a few days to completely dry. You may want to flip it over a few times so it will dry evenly.

After it is completely dry, reattach all the straps you removed, fold it carefully and put it away for next year. Make sure to store it where it will stay clean, dry and vermin can’t use it for nesting material.  Large, plastic storage boxes with lids work well and you can store several blankets per box. Label each blanket with its size and the outside of the box with the size/color/type of blankets stored in each box. When the weather turns cool again, you’ll be ready for it!

What’s Your Warm Up Routine?

DSC03809            Just the other day I asked a student to do the “usual” warm up. Now I didn’t think this to be a difficult task since I had instructed her through this same warm-up at the beginning of every lesson for nearly a year. However, since I had always told her what to do, she never understood that she was doing a warm up. This was my mistake. Therefore; a long conversation ensued about what the purpose of a warm up is, how it helped both the horse and rider and what you should do to ensure that everyone was ready for the task at hand. But it got me thinking. How many riders know how to do a good warm up? Do they even do one at all? Based on what I see in the “warm up” pen at shows, one could wonder.

            A good warm up will help prepare both the horse and rider for the work ahead. How much you include in your warm up will depend on your riding level and your horses training level. If you are a beginner, some simple stretches on the ground or in the saddle will suffice for the rider. Often just riding at a walk and trot is exercise enough for those who only ride once a week. I usually have my riders spend some time in “balance position” or “two-point position” during each ride. These positions help stretch muscles, increase strength and improve balance.

          My beginner school horses actually seldom get a complete warm up, since their riders aren’t capable of more than walk and a bit of trot. I believe everyone should do at least one circle at each gait and each direction. Frequent changes of direction will work both sides of horses and riders while keeping the lesson more interesting. Therefore; my level 2 riders (walk/trot beginning canter) warm up routine is- Ride one complete circuit of the arena at a walk each direction. One small, walking circle each direction. Ride one complete circuit of the arena at a sitting trot/jog each direction with a small circle. Finally, they will also do the same at posting trot. Once that is completed, the group will be brought together for the lesson to begin.

            If you and your horse are more advanced (Level 3 and up), some canter and/or lope will be in order. At least 2 times around the arena with a circle in each direction should be included. I always start in a faster canter before asking my horses to slow down, collect and lope. Reverses usually involve dropping out of the canter for the change of direction. Once the horse has worked on both leads, flying lead changes can be put in the warm up if the horse and rider are proficient in them. For advanced horses and riders, bending, leg yields, haunches in/out and shoulder in/out may also be part of the warm up routine.

            Whatever your routine is, be sure it uses your horses strengths to the best advantage. Only do what your horse can do well during the warm up. Wait until everyone is completely ready for new tasks before undertaking them. This is not the time to learn or practice a new skill. Save the weaker areas of your horses training for the actual work portion of the ride. If you are still struggling with a simple lead change, don’t include it in the warm up. Bring the horse back to a walk or trot, complete the reverse, then pick up the new lead after the direction has been changed.

            After you have completed your work for the day, be sure you cool your horse out before you put him away! How do you know if your horse is cooled out and ready to quit for the day? That is a conversation for another day…

A Day of Equine Education!

SEPTEMBER 21, 2013

“A Day of Equine Education”

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Great Speakers!
Group Riding Lessons
Private Lessons
Networking Opportunities!
Silent Auction

What is it?- An educational event with Speakers, Riding Demonstrations, Silent Auction, Vendors and Private Riding Lessons

Where Is It? PepperGlen Farms 3563 Pedley Ave. Norco, CA  92860.

Who Can Attend?- Anyone who loves horses!

Who can ride in the lessons & demonstrations? Riders must be at least 9 yrs old, bring your own horse & tack and be able to ride a walk, jog/trot and lope/canter.

How much does it cost?- Spectator Pre-sale tickets $40.00 w/lunch included. Children under 14 years $25.00. At the gate tickets $45.00/$30.00 no lunch. Riders are $25.00 per lesson or $110.00 all day in addition to spectator fee. Stalls $10.00-20.00 per day. Private lessons $25.00/30 min. Lunch tickets $8.00.

How do I sign up?- Spectators may purchase tickets at Search for “CHA Conference”. Pre-sale ends September 15, 2013 @ 6:00 pm or when sold out.

Riders must contact Cheryl R. Kronsberg directly. Rider spots and stalls must be paid in advance.

 For More Information-  714-693-4886    

Or to register-


“A Day of Equine Education”

Speaker and Demonstration Schedule

8:00 -8:30– Registration and Introductions.

       Silent Auction and Vendor Booths Open

Main Arena Riding Demonstrations-

8:30-9:30How to “Open the Doors” for Riding Success- Dallas McClemons- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

 9:45-10:45-“Sideways”-Teaching Sidepass and Pivot to riders and horses- Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg-CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

11:00-12:00Canter/Lope- From first time to lead changes-  Christy Landwehr- CHA Chief Executive Officer, Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

12:00-1:00- Lunch- Included in pre-sale ticket price!

1:00-2:00Extension and Collection at all gaits- Theresa Kackert- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

2:15-3:15How to Conduct a Safer Trail Ride– Dallas McClemons- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

3:30- 4:30Riding Hunter Courses– Theresa Kackert- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

All Day-  Private lessons– Sign up with your favorite instructor. Only $25.00 for 30 minutes.

Lecture Area-

8:30-9:30–   What Would You Do?- An Interactive First-Aid Experience-  Dr. David Treser, DVM-

9:45-10:45How to Save $$ on Your Taxes- Rebecca Bambarger E.A

11:00-12:00– California’s Dual Agency Law in Horse Transactions- Lisa Lerch, Esq.    

12:00-1:00- Lunch- Included in pre-sale ticket price! Keynote speaker- Christy Landwehr- Certified Horsemanship Association C.E.O., Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

1:00-2:00Bits & Bitting Demystified- Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

2:15-3:15Risk Management for All Equestrians- Christy Landwehr- CHA C.E.O.,  Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

3:30- 4:30How To Make Your Business Famous!- Suzi Carragher

4:30-5:00- Make your final silent auction bids!

5:00- Close Silent Auction & Award Trivia Contest Prizes

5:30- CHA Region 10 Meeting

For More Information-  714-693-4886    or

Or to register-