December 15, 2017

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



A Day of Equine Education!

SEPTEMBER 21, 2013

“A Day of Equine Education”

DSC03565 DSC03538 DSC03773 DSC03546 078
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-

How To Clean An English Saddle

english saddle

            Every day we ride in our tack. We use and abuse our saddles, bridles, halters, pads, and bits. Unless you intend to replace these items every few years, you had better plan on taking care of them. Our saddles are our biggest investment next to the horses themselves. They are also the most used and often the least cared for. Our safety depends on the condition of our tack, so you should set aside time to clean and condition it. English saddles are not too complicated. They don’t have lots of hard to reach places and are usually made of good quality leather that can be easily cleaned. With some simple supplies and a little elbow grease you’ll have that saddle looking great in no time.

            I have spent many a morning at shows putting saddles back together after a student took them apart to clean. The students simply didn’t know what went where after it was scattered in pieces all around them. Therefore; you might want to begin by taking a picture of your saddle while it is still put together. That way you will have something to compare it to when you start putting all the clean pieces back together. Also, mark which stirrup leather is the right and left. You will want to switch them when you reassemble the saddle.

First gather all the materials you will need. IMG_0347

  1. A bucket filled with warm water. You will use this water to clean the leather.
  2. A soft brush
  3. Your favorite leather cleaner.
  4. Your favorite leather conditioner.
  5. Several small sponges.
  6. Several clean towels. Small ones work well.
  7. Optional- Silver cleaner or polish
  8. A saddle rack
  9. Industrial type vacuum cleaner such as a Shop-Vac or a household vacuum with attachments.  


     Next remove the saddle pad, stirrup leathers, irons and girth from the saddle. The saddle pad and girth should be removed every time you ride, but if you tend to leave them on, remove them now. Place the saddle on the saddle rack. Be sure to mark the stirrup leathers with a right and left sticker or label. I used painters tape in the picture.IMG_0349 Every time you clean the saddle, you should change which side the leathers are on. That will help them stretch out evenly and they will last longer. The saddle pad should be machine washable so you can do that while you work on the saddle.

            Use the vacuum with a brush attachment to remove all dust, sweat and hair from the entire saddle. Pay extra attention to the underside of the skirt, the stirrup bars, along the stitching and grooves. If dirt is still visible, use the soft brush to help remove it. You can also use the vacuum on the stirrup leathers and treads if they are caked with dirt. Take a moment to check that all the stitching is tight and intact, especially on the billets, girth and leathers. Loose stitching could come apart at the most inopportune moment resulting in a slipped saddle or lost stirrup. Also check for protruding nails. Most saddles are held together with some nails. Over time they can come loose and work their way to the surface, injuring a horse or rider. Finally, check for overly stretched elastic on girths or stretched out billets. These worn parts need to be replaced if you are going to continue to use the saddle safely.

 IMG_0350      Once you discern that the saddle is in good shape, you’re ready to clean. First dampen a sponge in the warm water. Now apply a small amount of leather cleaner to the sponge, not the saddle. Begin by cleaning both sides of the stirrup leathers. Work up a lather to remove all the dirt and metal residue. Use a clean, slightly damp towel to remove all the excess lather, thus removing the dirt as well. Make sure you get all the stitching clean. Soap residue can prematurely rot the stitching. If you have a leather girth, clean it as well. Set all pieces aside to dry. Now it’s time to focus on the saddle itself. Put it on the saddle rack. Using a damp sponge and leather cleaner begin at the pommel and work your way along the seat. Work up a good lather in each area. Use a clean towel to remove the lather before you move on to another area. It’s best to do one small section at a time, cleaning then wiping, until you have finished the entire top of the saddle. Next move to the flaps using the same technique. Make sure you get both sides of the flaps and the billets. Finally turn the saddle upside down and clean the panels and underside of the saddle.  IMG_0352

      Now it’s time for the conditioner. Starting with your leathers and girth, use another clean, dry sponge to apply conditioner to the piece. Rub it in well. Using your hands will help the conditioner penetrate. Repeat until the leather is no longer absorbing the conditioner. Several light applications works better than one heavy one. Use a dry towel to remove the excess and buff lightly to make it shine. Set that piece aside and continue with the next piece. Next, start at the top of the saddle and condition in the same order that you cleaned, working a small area at a time. Repeat until the entire saddle is conditioned, dry and buffed to a slight shine. Once it’s all clean and conditioned it’s time to put it all back together…

      Put the saddle right-side up on your saddle rack. Find the left stirrup leather. Run the leather through the stirrup iron and then put it on the right side of the saddle. Repeat with the other leather and iron. By changing the leathers from one side to the other, you assure they will stretch out evenly and keep the stress damage on the mounting side to a minimum. If only we could do this with western saddles…


      Make sure the irons are facing the correct direction if they have a front and back. Most irons can go either way, but some, such as peacock irons, have a front and back. On peacock irons, the open side or rubber band must go to the outside when the rider’s foot is properly placed in the iron. Therefore, that side would face the front of the saddle if the iron is hanging flat against the saddle.  Make sure to run up the stirrups. Now place your clean girth on top, run the ends through the irons and you’re ready to put it away. Or on your horse! Have a great 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 or post it on web sites are restricted. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to




CRK Training Times February 2013

CRK Training Times

Bits of News For Horse People

February 2013

Happy Valentines Day !

valentines horse

 Important January Dates~

January 31- Horse Expo Pomona

Important February Dates~

February 1-2- Horse Expo Pomona

February 3-Horse Care Class- Equine Nutrition- Feeds and Feeding

February 10- Horse Care Class-Routine Health and Hoof Care

February 14- Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 17-Horse Care Class- How to Buy The Right Horse

February 18- Presidents Day- Lessons as usual

February 22-Show Meeting 7:00 PM

Important March Dates~

March 10- Daylight Savings Time Begins

March 17- St. Patrick’s Day- Lessons as usual- Wear your CRK Green T-shirt!

March 29- Good Friday – Lessons as usual

March 31- Easter Sunday- No Lessons

No Lesson Days~

No lessons will be held on the following days. Your account will be credited. Please make a note of it. Thank You!

March 31- Easter Sunday- No Lessons


Chris graduation 045Chris Graduates from Air Force Boot Camp~

            Many of you have been following the long saga of Cheryl’s son Chris, in the Air Force. In case you didn’t know, here’s the short version. Chris left for Air Force Basic Training in late August. He arrived at Lackland Air Force Base and began his training. On the 5th day, he became ill and reported to medical. He was quickly transferred to a hospital where he spent the next 5 days. A viral infection of his heart was discovered to be the problem. Once he was stable enough, he was sent back to the base “Medical Hold” to recover. In Med Hold he was given many tests, medication and his activities were restricted.
            After almost 3 months, he was finally released back into basic training just after Thanksgiving. He graduated on January 17, 2013. Cheryl and Steve went to Texas to attend the festivities and celebrate his amazing accomplishment.
            At the conclusion of Basic Training, Chris was given a job in Knowledge Operations Management. To be trained for his new job, Chris will spend the next 10-12 weeks at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  He may be allowed to come home at the conclusion of this training before he has to report to his first (yet to be determined ) duty station. Congratulations Airman Chris Torrez!!!  It’s been a long hard road, but you are finally on your way!

 Horse Expo Pomona~

          All things horse invade Pomona! Horse Expo come to the Los Angeles Fairgrounds January 31- February  2, 2013. There will be speakers, demonstrations, food, riding and the most popular event- SHOPPING! You can buy your tickets online or at the door, just remember to bring cash. Use your AQHA membership card to get a $3.00 discount every day! Cheryl & Steve will be there on Thursday this year and not hanging out in a booth all day, so if you want to come along, just let us know! See you at the EXPO!

 Show Meeting~

            The Annual CRK Show Meeting will be held on Friday February 22th at 7:00PM. This informative meeting is open to all clients and will give you the information you need to show this season or just come and find out what it’s all about!  Show schedules and rates will be discussed, we will select which shows to attend this year and there are always free refreshments!  Please let us know if you plan to attend so we can be sure to have enough handouts and snacks!

 New Group Lessons & Make-up Opportunities ~

            New Group lesson has been postponed until March 2013 due to weather and a shortage of school horses. The new level 2+ group will be on Saturdays at 10:00am. If you have been approved to ride in a Level 2 group, here’s your chance! Cost for the month is only $180.00. Contact Cheryl before the end of January to reserve your space and horse. Ask to see the group lesson policy for more details.

            Group make-up lessons are offered on the last Sunday of the month at 11:00 am and/or 12:00 noon.  If you need to cancel your group lesson sometime during the month and are not able to make it up on another day, sign up for the “last day” make-up. The February make-up lesson will be held on Sunday,  February 24th.

            Riders should arrive 20 minutes early to begin grooming and be ready to ride at the start time of the lesson. Remember, you must sign up to ride in this lesson and all make-up lessons must be taken within 30 days of the cancelled lesson or be forfeited.  


lacey_smallLace Panties- February 27, 1993-January 2, 2013

            Lace recovered well from her surgery back in October. However, she developed a very persistent hoof abscess.  We very aggressively treated her with antibiotics but she is did not respond as hoped. When the damage to her hoof became too severe and recovery was no longer possible, she was humanely euthanized. Thank you Lace for being a part of our lives. You will be greatly missed!

  Quotable Quotes~

          “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” – Booker T. Washington   

          “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent van Gogh

That’s all folks!



What’s A Riding Style?

Which Style of Riding Should You Choose?

            Riders new to my facility are given the choice between English and Western riding. After some discussion most choose to start Western.  A smaller number will choose English. An even smaller number will choose one style only to switch to the other. Does it make a difference? What is the difference between the styles?  How do you choose? Here is some information to help you make your decision.


            Western style riding originated with the Vaqueros from Mexico. The American cowboy made necessary adaptations to the style and created what is now know as the western riding style. Western saddles are large, heavy and have a deep, comfortable seat. The stirrups are attached to the saddle with wide, leather fenders that protect the riders leg from rubbing on the horse. These fenders lack mobility which helps keep the riders leg still. However; it also limits the riders ability to move their leg and puts leather between the rider and the horse which prevents easy cueing of the horse.  Most western riders sit, rather than post, the trot which is easier to learn if the horse moves slow and smoothly. Western riders also sit the lope rather than riding standing in a half-seat.  While this will take some practice, it can be easier to learn.              

Western disciplines range from the fairly simple to the very complex. Western Pleasure is usually learned in the beginning and allows the rider to master the basics of moving their horse forward in the walk, jog, and lope. Backing-up is necessary to compete in this event along with an extended trot. More advanced forms of Western Riding include-

Barrel Racing,


Trail riding,



and Western Dressage.

            All these forms are best learned after you have a good grasp on the basics such as: Lengthen and shorten the stride of all gaits, recognition of leads and a good seat without stirrups. 




            It should come as no surprise to learn that English style riding came from England. The British nobility used horses for basic transportation and for sport, such as fox hunting. The Hunt Seat saddle was designed to be lightweight and easy to move around in. The saddle has a shallow seat for ease of movement either forward or backwards,  padded knee rolls for stability and loosely hanging stirrup irons for mounting and ease of leg movement. The riders wear knee-high, tall boots to protect their legs from rubbing against the stirrup leathers or horse. Due to the short stirrup length and the overall size of most English horses, most riders will post the trot i.e. moving forward (standing up) out of the saddle and back (sitting down) with the horses movement. Often the canter is ridden partially out of the saddle as well. This is called the “half-seat”, which is not to be confused with the “two-point” which is the very forward, out of the saddle position used while jumping.  Because the rider is often not in contact with the saddle, English riding requires more athleticism and energy then Western Style .


            English disciplines range from the simple to the very complex also. English Pleasure is usually learned in the beginning and allows the rider to master the basics of moving their horse forward while steering in the walk, trot, and canter. Backing-up is necessary to compete in this event along with an extended trot.  More advanced forms of English riding include-

Hunters & Jumpers,                                                                                 Dressage,                             

Saddle Seat 

and Trail Riding

            While Saddle Seat is considered an English Discipline, it is very different from Hunt Seat Style. Saddle Seat style originated in the U.S. and is often used while riding American born gaited horses such as the Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse or the National Show Horse. The basic Saddle Seat Saddle is still English but the seat is very flat and shallow. The stirrups are longer than Hunt Seat style, but the rider will post the trot, if the horse does indeed trot. (Many gaited horses do not have a true trot.) The Saddle Seat saddle does not have padded knee rolls because these saddles are not designed for jumping.

             No matter what style of riding your choose you will need time, patience, and practice before you and your horse can perform together. Whether that performance is at a national show or just in your own backyard. And remember just because you choose one style, there is always more to learn in this grand adventure we call Equestrian Sports. Perhaps later you will choose to learn another style also.  Enjoy The Ride!

Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish it are reserved by the author. Tell us about your favorite riding style. We’d love to hear your stories!

How To Buy A Horse

            You want a horse! Or your kid wants a horse. Or your husband/wife/partner/friend/ acquaintance wants a horse. What should you do to make sure the right one is purchased the first time? Or does it really matter what horse you get? Horses can be trained to do anything, right?  Wrong! Here’s some information to help you on your way to horse owner bliss.

1.         Decide what you want to do with your horse. This will tell you what kind of horse to buy. Pretend you were buying a car. Let’s say you want something large enough for the whole family, a 100 lb. dog and 10 bags of groceries. You certainly wouldn’t buy a 2-seater Porsche just because you liked the color!  You would probably look for a station wagon or SUV. The same principle applies to horses. If you want a Show Jumper you shouldn’t buy a 15 hand, 1200 lb quarter horse that’s lame on one leg. You would look for a 17 hand Warmblood that was already jumping at least 3-4 feet. 

            So decide what you want- Training style and level, size, gender, age, breed, color, registered or not, and what level of experience the horse requires. Then, make a checklist. Start with a list of things you must have, like must be good on trail or jump 3’6′. Then move on to things you want, like 16 hands tall or have a good flying lead change. Then lastly things that would be nice but you can live without such as color (Palomino, Black or Buckskin Overo).  

2.         Find horses- With the internet you have many, many places to look at horses before you buy them. YouTube is full of horses for sale along with web sites like DreamHorse,, and many more. You should also check with trainers, bulletin boards at stables, show arenas, feed and pet stores, equine vets and farriers. If you have friends who have horses, contact them as well. Put the word out on your Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social networks you may use. Make a list of potential horses to call about.

3.         How to make first contact with owners- Call the owner of any perspective horses on your list and ask about the items on your must have list.  If they don’t meet the minimum requirements pass and move on to the next one. If they do, ask about the want list. If they meet most of those requirements the go to the last part of your list. Rate the horse based on the information received over the phone and decide which ones you will go look at.

4.         Go Look at Horses- Make an appointment and give yourself at least 2 hours per horse. It will take that much time to properly  evaluate each horse. Bring your check list. You should  now have two lists- one that you used for the phone calls and one for the in-person evaluation. Watch the owner/trainer take the horse from the stall or pasture, lead, tie, groom, saddle and perhaps lunge or round-pen the horse. Evaluate the horses manners and conformation. If it’s all good watch the horse being ridden. Then ride the horse yourself. (If you don’t have enough experience to ride and properly evaluate your prospective horse, you aren’t ready to purchase one. Look into a good lesson program until you have the necessary skills.) It’s a good idea to take video or pictures of the horse because they will all become a blur after you have looked at a few (dozen). Video can be especially helpful because you can show it to your trainer or an experienced friend to help you make your decision.

5.         Narrow down the choices- If all went well the on the first look. Call the owner back and set up as second date to see the horse or perhaps a short-term lease if the owner is willing. Go see the horse again and bring a knowledgeable friend or trainer who has no vested interest in you buying the horse. They will be able to give you an impartial opinion about the horse. This is important because you already like this horse and will make excuses for its shortcomings. Your trainer should  discourage you from buying a horse that is clearly wrong for you. However, your trainer doesn’t have the final say, yes or no. Their job is to give you information about the horse you didn’t have. It is ultimately your decision.  

             If after the second look everyone likes the horse, confirm a price with the owner, pay a refundable deposit and sign a purchase agreement. The purchase agreement outlines the details such as description of the horse, price, etc. and gives you a set number of days/weeks to complete the agreed upon additional evaluations, vet checks and finalize the deal. It also requires the owner to maintain the current work, feed, and care program for an agreed upon length of time and effectively holds the horse for you. If the owner won’t agree to this, pass and move on to another horse.

               Now it’s time to set up a pre-purchase exam by your veterinarian. If the horse is too far away for your vet to do the exam, have them refer you to someone in the area. If possible, do not use the sellers vet. Most vets would not do a pre-purchase exam for their own client because it’s a conflict of interest. Remember, the vet check is not a pass or fail thing. Just like your trainer, the vet is there to give you information about the horse so you can make an informed decision.

6.         Finalize the deal- After the vet check is complete, contact the owner and finalize the agreement. If something came up during the vet check, you may need to change the terms, perhaps lowering your offer. Agree on the price, type of payment, who the payment should be made to, amounts paid to brokers, trainers or any third parties. Arrange a pick-up date and time. Make your transportation plans. Make sure you have a bill of sale along with all the necessary paperwork including- Copies of health certificates if the horse if being transported across state lines, registration papers, transfers, breeding certificates, complete health records, show records, Incentive Fund paperwork and copies of payments.  Make sure all the paperwork is signed by the appropriate parties. Also, pick up any tack that is being sold with the horse.

            Welcome to the world of horse ownership! It’s a crazy journey that will keep you on your toes, but it is well worth the time, energy and patience it took to get the right one. Have a great ride!

What do you do when you go looking for a new horse? Help us all be better owners by adding your tips and comments below!

We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article are restricted. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to


How To Clean A Western Bridle

            It’s show season and that often becomes a time when people begin cleaning their tack. They want it to be nice and clean before they step into the show ring. The beginning of summer is also a great time to check your tack over for safety before you clean it. As we all start riding more, it’s important to be sure your tack will perform when you need it to.

            I have spent many a morning at shows putting bridles back together after a student took it apart to clean. Therefore; you might want to begin by taking a picture of your bridle while it is still put together. That way you will have something to compare it to when you start putting all the clean pieces back together.

Next gather all the materials you will need. 

  1.  A bucket large enough to hold your bit, filled with hot water.
  2.  Another bucket filled with warm water. You will use this water to clean the leather.
  3.  Your favorite leather cleaner.
  4.  Your favorite leather conditioner.
  5.  Several small sponges.
  6.  Several clean towels. Small ones work well.
  7.  Optional- Silver cleaner or polish
  8.  Optional-Toothpaste (for bits)
  9.  Optional- Gentle, hand or dish soap (for silver)
  10. Optional- A small screwdriver for chicago screws


      Now, take the bridle apart. Remove every screw and all the metal pieces that comes off. Place all the metal pieces in the hot water to soak. If you have a curb chain without leather straps, you can put it in as well. If it has leather straps and chain, clean by hand.

      Continue taking the bridle apart by opening every buckle and pulling all the pieces apart. Lay them out where you can easily get to them. Dip a small sponge in the warm water and squeeze out the excess. Now add a small amount of cleaner to the sponge. Work up a lather and begin rubbing one piece of the bridle at a time. Rub until all the dirt is off the leather and into the lather. Be sure to check the stitching as lots of dirt and sweat build up there. This can cause the stitching to rot prematurely. You may need to rinse out your sponge and repeat the process if the leather is really dirty. Use a damp towel to remove the lather and thus the dirt. Set the clean pieces aside so you don’t get them mixed up with the dirty ones. Repeat with the next piece until all pieces are clean. Allow them to air dry or use a towel.

      Now start over with your first piece. Using another clean, dry sponge, apply conditioner to the piece. Rub it in well. Repeat until the leather is no longer absorbing the conditioner. Several light applications works better than one heavy one. Use a dry towel to remove the excess and buff lightly to make it shine. Set that piece aside and repeat until the entire bridle is conditioned.

      After all the leather is clean and conditioned it’s time to focus on the metal pieces. You should have a bit, perhaps some chicago screws or conway buckles and either conchos or small metal rectangles. You may also have trigger snaps if you use them on the reins. Start with the bit by using a stiff brush, scrub all the goo off. You can add some toothpaste if it is particularly stubborn. Be very careful about using abrasive materials on your bit. It could cause scratches that damage the bit or will injure your horse’s mouth. Rinse well and dry the bit with a clean towel. Check the bit carefully for deep scratches that may harm your horse. This is especially important with copper parts as this soft metal is easily chewed out of shape.  Repeat with the other metal pieces. If you have silver pieces, use silver cleaner on them only if they are tarnished. Silver cleaners will remove the protective coating the manufactures put on it, so make sure that is already off before you clean it. If the silver is dirty but not tarnished, just use soap and water. Dry all the metal pieces and set aside.

      Now it’s time to re-assemble the bridle. Using your picture if necessary, lay all the pieces down in the order they need to be put back together. Look at it carefully to be sure all the pieces are in the right place, order and right side up. Attach the browband to the crown piece first. If there are metal keepers or conchos between the browband and the throatlatch, slide them on next. Then put the throat latch through the browband being sure to get the buckle on the correct side. Next, attach the cheek pieces to the crown piece. Now attach your shiny, clean bit making sure it is right side up. The curb strap /chain is next and finally the reins. If you are using chicago screws you can put a drop of clear nail polish or Loc-tite on the treads to keep them from coming loose.


      Be sure to adjust the bridle when you put it back on your horse. It is very common to forget this step and then you may find you don’t have the control you are used to! As an easy reminder, you might want to put a piece of colorful yarn around the bridle. Or you could simply leave the reins un-attached. Once the bridle is properly adjusted, simply remove the yarn or re-attach the reins. For everyday care, keep a damp towel handy to wipe down the bridle before you put it away. This will keep the bridle cleaner, making your deep cleanings go much faster. Plus you will be adding years to your bridle and keep it safer to use. Have a great (and safe) ride!

      If you have any tack-related safety tips, please share them here!

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 are restricted. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to