Assyrian Royal Horse Bridle

Assyrian Royal Horse Bridle


A 2,000-Year-Old Golden Horse Head Suggests Romans Actually Got Along Wth German ‘Barbarians’

Some 2,000 years ago, a monumental bronze sculpture of the Roman emperor Augustus and his trusted steed welcomed visitors to the central marketplace of Waldgirmes, an ancient settlement near modern-day Frankfurt, Germany. Made of bronze covered in gold leaf and weighing an estimated 900 pounds, the equestrian statue was an imposing presence in the newly annexed province. It reminded viewers of imperial might with symbols like the Roman war god Mars affixed onto the horse’s bridle.

Today, a gilded horse head and miscellaneous small fragments are all that remain of the sculpture. But as Andrew Curry reports for National Geographic, the 55-pound head retains much of its majestic power. Now on view just north of Frankfurt at the Saalburg Roman Fort, the sculpture introduces a twist in the established story of Roman-Germanic relations.

Prior to the launch of excavations at Waldgirmes in 1993, historians believed the Roman Empire limited its engagement with German affairs to the occasional military raid, Science Magazine notes. Lacking evidence of early Roman settlements across Germany, researchers identified the Battle of Teutoburg Forest as the turning point in Rome’s empire-building trek across Europe. They speculated that the embarrassing defeat delineated the borders of the Roman frontier.

According to Karen Schousboe of Ancient History Encyclopedia, the battle took place late in the year 9 A.D. German warriors ambushed three legions of Roman soldiers led by general Publius Quinctilius Varus. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Germans annihilated their enemies. The battered Romans retreated, setting up a northern perimeter along the Rhine River.

The artifacts found at Waldgirmes suggest that Teutoburg Forest is only part of the story. They indicate the Romans lived next to and traded with the Germans peacefully for years, National Geographic’s Curry writes. Researchers have yet to find a barracks or any evidence of a large military presence at Waldgirmes.

The gilded horse head was discovered at the bottom of a well in 2009 (Gabriele Rasbach/German Archaeological Institute)

Wood buildings dated to around 4 B.C. reveal a surprisingly advanced town. It was filled with Roman-style residences, pottery and woodworking workshops, and classic Roman structures including a forum, or marketplace. Here, archaeologists identified five pedestals that once housed life-size equestrian sculptures—including the one of Augustus now represented solely by the horse’s head.

The head, which was discovered at the bottom of a 33-foot well in 2009, speaks to the previously underestimated presence of Roman settlements in Germany and the disastrous consequences of Teutoburg.

In a separate article for Archaeology, Curry writes that the sculpture fragment was wedged underneath eight millstones, as well as an array of everyday items such as wooden buckets, sticks and fence posts. Littered across the site were more than 160 bronze fragments, mainly consisting of minuscule splinters, indicating the Germans probably recycled bronze sculptures for their own use. As for the horse head, Siegmar von Schnurbein, an archaeologist and director of the German Archaeological Institute’s Romano-Germanic Commission, hypothesizes that it was thrown into the well as part of a ritualized water sacrifice commonly seen in Germanic areas.

Whatever the exact reasoning behind the sculpture’s ignominious end, Teutoburg precipitated the speedy decline of Waldgirmes and other German settlements. Within several years of the battle, the site was evacuated, likely voluntarily due to heightened Roman-Germanic tensions. T he buildings of Waldgirmes were torched, perhaps to prevent Germanic tribes from taking over the settlement.

“In the final fire, everything was wiped out, ground down to the earth,” lead researcher Gabriele Rasbach tells Curry. “You can see burning along the entire wall.”

According to a press release , the head has been extensively restored to highlight its gilded exterior and decorative details. Entangled in legal battles for nearly a decade, it is finally being exhibited to the public, enabling viewers to envision its former glory and immerse themselves in the forgotten 2,000-year-old world.


Early Days

The horse and cart played a prominent role in medieval European society. Generally, people who didn’t walk used horse-drawn carts as their primary mode of transport, and merchants used the carts to transport their wares. Those who owned at least two horses made sure to use the same two animals as a team when hauling heavy goods. It was not until the 1500s that European upper classes began to use a closed horse-drawn carriage for transportation.


Billy Royal® Classic Work Saddle

Q: Will this saddle fit my horse?
A: Billy Royal saddles have a custom tree that has been modified to fit the majority of breeds, from Arabians to QH&rsquos. All saddles are guaranteed to fit you and your horse or return it at our expense.

Q: What kind of tree does a Billy Royal saddle have?
A: Billy Royal saddle have wooden trees that are rawhide wrapped best fitting tree. They are custom designed to fit the modern conformations of today&rsquos horses. All of the Billy Royal saddle trees have a lifetime warranty.

Q: Will these saddles fit a draft?
A: Draft breeds typically need an extra wide gullet (Full QH bar or better). Billy Royal saddles have a wide gullet.

Q: Does the Billy Royal saddle have a full bar?
A: Yes, the bars in the Billy Royal saddles are considered full and will fit Quarter Horses, Arabians, Appaloosas, Paints and POA&rsquos.

Q: Where are the trees for Billy Royal saddles made?
A: The trees were designed by Schneider&rsquos and are made in Mexico.

Q: Where do I measure for the gullet to see if it fits my horse?
A: The gullet is measured where the pommel meets the skirt. The gullet measurement is taken on the outside edges going across that area.

Q: Does the gullet width have anything to do with the bars?
A: No.

Q: What are saddle bars?
A: The bars are the actual angles of each of the long internal pieces of the tree that go along the horses back. The function of the bar is to distribute the weight of the saddle evenly across the back of the horse.

Q: Where are the saddles made?
A: All Billy Royal saddles are made in Mexico.

Q: What is ralide?
A: Ralide trees are formed from molded polyethylene. Ralide trees are formed in a single unit with no seams or separate pieces that can come loose. Most ralide trees have a 5 year warranty.

Q: How short will the stirrups go?
A: Typically, if the rider has a 28&rdquo inseam, the saddles should fit nicely.

Q: Can I order shorter fenders?
A: We don&rsquot encourage it since the fenders will not match the saddle and the lead time is around 6 months.

Q: What kind of silver is on the show saddles?
A: The silver on all show saddles is sterling silver plate and all silver is hand engraved.

Q: What is the difference between the 3 work saddles?
A: The Classic Work saddle is a basic work saddle that has all the bells and whistles of the Billy Royal brand. This is our #1 seller. The Comfort Classic work saddle had oiled leather and feels broke in right away. The Pro Work saddle has finished, fully lined fenders and seat jockey to provide greater durability and comfort for you and your horse. It has double bound/layered cantle.

Q: How do I clean roughout saddles?
A: Roughout saddles are maintenance free. If the saddle is dusty or muddy, simply take a brush to remove the dust and mud.

Q: How do I take care of the silver?
A: Sterling Silver plate requires the same cleaning as Sterling Silver. We recommend Haggerty&rsquos Silver product or Goddard Silver products.

Q: My silver has turned yellow. Is it defective?
A: No. There is a thin coating of lacquer applied to the silver trim to keep the saddle free of tarnishing agents. As it ages, it needs to be removed. It will take a little elbow grease with Haggerty&rsquos or Goddard&rsquos silver products, but will clean up beautifully and maintain a bright shine.

Q: What is the difference between extended purchase and a lease?
A: A lease can be taken for a term of either 1 or 2 years and can be purchased at the end of the term or returned to us. Extended purchases allow you to take payments for a term of up to 3 years in which you own the saddle at the end of the term.

Q: What are the interest rates of the extended purchase terms?
A: 1 year is at 12.9%, 2 years is at 13.9% and the full 3 years is at 14.9%

Q: What saddles can be financed?
A: Any saddle or therapy product over 500.00 can be financed.

Silver Care

We use sterling silver plate on all of our Western show equipment. Sterling silver plate will keep its beautiful shine for years and years and requires the same amount of cleaning and care as sterling silver overlay.

All of the silver has a lacquer coating to protect the silver from air born tarnishing agents. If the silver should start to turn a yellow or gold color or becomes brittle and appears to flake, that is just aging lacquer. It is not defective. The lacquer just needs to be removed and is easily removed with silver polish or sprays. Once the lacquer is removed, routine cleaning is necessary.

Your silver should be wiped down after each use and polished on a regular basis to keep its beautiful high gloss shine. It is important to immediately wipe down any silver, such as Romel reins, that come in direct contact with the horse’s body, to eliminate the buildup of dirt and sweat. We highly recommend Schneider’s Silver sleeves to be used between use. The Silver Sleeves are infused with an anti-tarnishing agent and are wrapped around the silver pieces. Any brand of silver polish or spray can be used for routine cleaning.

Any brand of silver polish will quickly remove any built up tarnish. It is best to use sprays on larger areas and creams or wipes on smaller areas.

Q: Will this saddle fit my horse?
A: Billy Royal saddles have a custom tree that has been modified to fit the majority of breeds, from Arabians to QH&rsquos. All saddles are guaranteed to fit you and your horse or return it at our expense.

Q: What kind of tree does a Billy Royal saddle have?
A: Billy Royal saddle have wooden trees that are rawhide wrapped best fitting tree. They are custom designed to fit the modern conformations of today&rsquos horses. All of the Billy Royal saddle trees have a lifetime warranty.

Q: Will these saddles fit a draft?
A: Draft breeds typically need an extra wide gullet (Full QH bar or better). Billy Royal saddles have a wide gullet.

Q: Does the Billy Royal saddle have a full bar?
A: Yes, the bars in the Billy Royal saddles are considered full and will fit Quarter Horses, Arabians, Appaloosas, Paints and POA&rsquos.

Q: Where are the trees for Billy Royal saddles made?
A: The trees were designed by Schneider&rsquos and are made in Mexico.

Q: Where do I measure for the gullet to see if it fits my horse?
A: The gullet is measured where the pommel meets the skirt. The gullet measurement is taken on the outside edges going across that area.

Q: Does the gullet width have anything to do with the bars?
A: No.

Q: What are saddle bars?
A: The bars are the actual angles of each of the long internal pieces of the tree that go along the horses back. The function of the bar is to distribute the weight of the saddle evenly across the back of the horse.

Q: Where are the saddles made?
A: All Billy Royal saddles are made in Mexico.

Q: What is ralide?
A: Ralide trees are formed from molded polyethylene. Ralide trees are formed in a single unit with no seams or separate pieces that can come loose. Most ralide trees have a 5 year warranty.

Q: How short will the stirrups go?
A: Typically, if the rider has a 28&rdquo inseam, the saddles should fit nicely.

Q: Can I order shorter fenders?
A: We don&rsquot encourage it since the fenders will not match the saddle and the lead time is around 6 months.

Q: What kind of silver is on the show saddles?
A: The silver on all show saddles is sterling silver plate and all silver is hand engraved.

Q: What is the difference between the 3 work saddles?
A: The Classic Work saddle is a basic work saddle that has all the bells and whistles of the Billy Royal brand. This is our #1 seller. The Comfort Classic work saddle had oiled leather and feels broke in right away. The Pro Work saddle has finished, fully lined fenders and seat jockey to provide greater durability and comfort for you and your horse. It has double bound/layered cantle.

Q: How do I clean roughout saddles?
A: Roughout saddles are maintenance free. If the saddle is dusty or muddy, simply take a brush to remove the dust and mud.

Q: How do I take care of the silver?
A: Sterling Silver plate requires the same cleaning as Sterling Silver. We recommend Haggerty&rsquos Silver product or Goddard Silver products.

Q: My silver has turned yellow. Is it defective?
A: No. There is a thin coating of lacquer applied to the silver trim to keep the saddle free of tarnishing agents. As it ages, it needs to be removed. It will take a little elbow grease with Haggerty&rsquos or Goddard&rsquos silver products, but will clean up beautifully and maintain a bright shine.

Q: What is the difference between extended purchase and a lease?
A: A lease can be taken for a term of either 1 or 2 years and can be purchased at the end of the term or returned to us. Extended purchases allow you to take payments for a term of up to 3 years in which you own the saddle at the end of the term.

Q: What are the interest rates of the extended purchase terms?
A: 1 year is at 12.9%, 2 years is at 13.9% and the full 3 years is at 14.9%

Q: What saddles can be financed?
A: Any saddle or therapy product over 500.00 can be financed.

Silver Care

We use sterling silver plate on all of our Western show equipment. Sterling silver plate will keep its beautiful shine for years and years and requires the same amount of cleaning and care as sterling silver overlay.

All of the silver has a lacquer coating to protect the silver from air born tarnishing agents. If the silver should start to turn a yellow or gold color or becomes brittle and appears to flake, that is just aging lacquer. It is not defective. The lacquer just needs to be removed and is easily removed with silver polish or sprays. Once the lacquer is removed, routine cleaning is necessary.

Your silver should be wiped down after each use and polished on a regular basis to keep its beautiful high gloss shine. It is important to immediately wipe down any silver, such as Romel reins, that come in direct contact with the horse’s body, to eliminate the buildup of dirt and sweat. We highly recommend Schneider’s Silver sleeves to be used between use. The Silver Sleeves are infused with an anti-tarnishing agent and are wrapped around the silver pieces. Any brand of silver polish or spray can be used for routine cleaning.

Any brand of silver polish will quickly remove any built up tarnish. It is best to use sprays on larger areas and creams or wipes on smaller areas.

We offer several financing options on items over $500. To apply for financing, click here.

Extended Purchase
12, 18, 24, 30, and 36-month financing on items over $500. Credit worthy customers may choose any of 5 payment plans. Matching equipment may be included. The annual percentage rate varies from 12.9% to 14.99% depending on the terms of the plan. There is a $35 initial non-refundable processing fee. Any down payment reduces the amount to be financed.

Lease
Practically all our English and Western saddles are available for a 1- or 2-year lease. At the end of your lease, you have the option to purchase the saddle. The first month's payment and processing fees are due at signing.

Q: Will this saddle fit my horse?
A: Billy Royal saddles have a custom tree that has been modified to fit the majority of breeds, from Arabians to QH&rsquos. All saddles are guaranteed to fit you and your horse or return it at our expense.

Q: What kind of tree does a Billy Royal saddle have?
A: Billy Royal saddle have wooden trees that are rawhide wrapped best fitting tree. They are custom designed to fit the modern conformations of today&rsquos horses. All of the Billy Royal saddle trees have a lifetime warranty.

Q: Will these saddles fit a draft?
A: Draft breeds typically need an extra wide gullet (Full QH bar or better). Billy Royal saddles have a wide gullet.

Q: Does the Billy Royal saddle have a full bar?
A: Yes, the bars in the Billy Royal saddles are considered full and will fit Quarter Horses, Arabians, Appaloosas, Paints and POA&rsquos.

Q: Where are the trees for Billy Royal saddles made?
A: The trees were designed by Schneider&rsquos and are made in Mexico.

Q: Where do I measure for the gullet to see if it fits my horse?
A: The gullet is measured where the pommel meets the skirt. The gullet measurement is taken on the outside edges going across that area.

Q: Does the gullet width have anything to do with the bars?
A: No.

Q: What are saddle bars?
A: The bars are the actual angles of each of the long internal pieces of the tree that go along the horses back. The function of the bar is to distribute the weight of the saddle evenly across the back of the horse.

Q: Where are the saddles made?
A: All Billy Royal saddles are made in Mexico.

Q: What is ralide?
A: Ralide trees are formed from molded polyethylene. Ralide trees are formed in a single unit with no seams or separate pieces that can come loose. Most ralide trees have a 5 year warranty.

Q: How short will the stirrups go?
A: Typically, if the rider has a 28&rdquo inseam, the saddles should fit nicely.

Q: Can I order shorter fenders?
A: We don&rsquot encourage it since the fenders will not match the saddle and the lead time is around 6 months.

Q: What kind of silver is on the show saddles?
A: The silver on all show saddles is sterling silver plate and all silver is hand engraved.

Q: What is the difference between the 3 work saddles?
A: The Classic Work saddle is a basic work saddle that has all the bells and whistles of the Billy Royal brand. This is our #1 seller. The Comfort Classic work saddle had oiled leather and feels broke in right away. The Pro Work saddle has finished, fully lined fenders and seat jockey to provide greater durability and comfort for you and your horse. It has double bound/layered cantle.

Q: How do I clean roughout saddles?
A: Roughout saddles are maintenance free. If the saddle is dusty or muddy, simply take a brush to remove the dust and mud.

Q: How do I take care of the silver?
A: Sterling Silver plate requires the same cleaning as Sterling Silver. We recommend Haggerty&rsquos Silver product or Goddard Silver products.

Q: My silver has turned yellow. Is it defective?
A: No. There is a thin coating of lacquer applied to the silver trim to keep the saddle free of tarnishing agents. As it ages, it needs to be removed. It will take a little elbow grease with Haggerty&rsquos or Goddard&rsquos silver products, but will clean up beautifully and maintain a bright shine.

Q: What is the difference between extended purchase and a lease?
A: A lease can be taken for a term of either 1 or 2 years and can be purchased at the end of the term or returned to us. Extended purchases allow you to take payments for a term of up to 3 years in which you own the saddle at the end of the term.

Q: What are the interest rates of the extended purchase terms?
A: 1 year is at 12.9%, 2 years is at 13.9% and the full 3 years is at 14.9%

Q: What saddles can be financed?
A: Any saddle or therapy product over 500.00 can be financed.

Silver Care

We use sterling silver plate on all of our Western show equipment. Sterling silver plate will keep its beautiful shine for years and years and requires the same amount of cleaning and care as sterling silver overlay.

All of the silver has a lacquer coating to protect the silver from air born tarnishing agents. If the silver should start to turn a yellow or gold color or becomes brittle and appears to flake, that is just aging lacquer. It is not defective. The lacquer just needs to be removed and is easily removed with silver polish or sprays. Once the lacquer is removed, routine cleaning is necessary.

Your silver should be wiped down after each use and polished on a regular basis to keep its beautiful high gloss shine. It is important to immediately wipe down any silver, such as Romel reins, that come in direct contact with the horse’s body, to eliminate the buildup of dirt and sweat. We highly recommend Schneider’s Silver sleeves to be used between use. The Silver Sleeves are infused with an anti-tarnishing agent and are wrapped around the silver pieces. Any brand of silver polish or spray can be used for routine cleaning.

Any brand of silver polish will quickly remove any built up tarnish. It is best to use sprays on larger areas and creams or wipes on smaller areas.


Taloneras

Some South American spurs can be huge ( they are thought to have developed from the Spanish Colonial “Espuela Grande” after all ).
So how do they stay in position ?
Many gaucho spurs have large pierced heel plates or rodetes and arrangements of chains as well as straps which wrap around the rider’s foot.

A pair of spurs from Argentina

The spurs of the Chilean huaso can have very large, heavy rowels but they do not have heel plates and only have small slots at the end of each heel band which would hold relatively narrow straps :

Espuelas Chilenas or Chilean Huaso Spurs

So they are supported by extra heel straps or “Taloneras” – these are often made of rawhide with extra ridges or blocks of hide to take the weight of the spur. I recently found a pair with silver decoration :

A pair of taloneras - heel straps to support spurs

Spur supported by talonera (sorry, no straps on spur)

I also found a single strap with brightly coloured embroidery, it’s not in the greatest condition but still a fascinating thing :


Featured Books

An American widow&rsquos account of her travels in Ireland in 1844&ndash45 on the eve of the Great Famine:

Sailing from New York, she set out to determine the condition of the Irish poor and discover why so many were emigrating to her home country.

Mrs Nicholson&rsquos recollections of her tour among the peasantry are still revealing and gripping today.

The author returned to Ireland in 1847&ndash49 to help with famine relief and recorded those experiences in the rather harrowing:

Annals of the Famine in Ireland is Asenath Nicholson's sequel to Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger. The undaunted American widow returned to Ireland in the midst of the Great Famine and helped organise relief for the destitute and hungry. Her account is not a history of the famine, but personal eyewitness testimony to the suffering it caused. For that reason, it conveys the reality of the calamity in a much more telling way. The book is also available in Kindle.

The Ocean Plague: or, A Voyage to Quebec in an Irish Emigrant Vessel is based upon the diary of Robert Whyte who, in 1847, crossed the Atlantic from Dublin to Quebec in an Irish emigrant ship. His account of the journey provides invaluable eyewitness testimony to the trauma and tragedy that many emigrants had to face en route to their new lives in Canada and America. The book is also available in Kindle.

The Scotch-Irish in America tells the story of how the hardy breed of men and women, who in America came to be known as the &lsquoScotch-Irish&rsquo, was forged in the north of Ireland during the seventeenth century. It relates the circumstances under which the great exodus to the New World began, the trials and tribulations faced by these tough American pioneers and the enduring influence they came to exert on the politics, education and religion of the country.


Hackamores, Bosal Bridles & Macates

Many riders choose to ride in bridles with no bit like bosals and hackamores. These bridles work by using pressure on the horses face, poll, and nose to allow bitless communication. They are especially good for green horses, horses who respond well to gentle rein aids, or young riders who tug on their horse's mouth.

Bosal hackamores and mechanical hackamores are very similar types of bridles, however there are some major differences.

Bosal Hackamore

A bosal hackamore looks similar to a rope halter except the noseband is made of thicker, heavier, and harder cow hide material. Instead of reins, a mecate attaches to the bosal just under the horses chin. This bridle uses mainly nose pressure to control the horse however, they are often used by riders who neck rein. There are also horse training bosals that help teach green horses how to neck rein.

Mechanical Hackamore

A mechanical hackamore uses leverage on the nose to communicate with the horse. The noseband functions similarly to how a curb bit works in the horse's mouth by creating pressure using shanks that connect to the bridle where a bit would traditionally be placed. Some mechanical hackamores even have double reins.

English vs Western Hackamores or Bosals

Hackamore headstalls can come in western or English styles, and there are also show hackamores available that are suitable for certain competitions. However, bosal bridles are usually only made in western styles though English riders can definitely make use of training bosals for young horses.

Enhance your gentle communication today by selecting from our wide variety of hackamore and bosal bridles. Choose the perfect size, style, and color from one of our top-quality brands.


Bitless bridles: What, why and how

Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

From team chasing and showjumping to hacking and schooling, using bitless bridles is growing in popularity. However, if you’ve only ever ridden horse in a bit, it can feel daunting to go without. We speak to Wendy Wainwright of the World Bitless Association for her advice on going bitless.

The different kinds of bitless bridles

Bitless bridles take many forms, distributing pressure in varying places around a horse’s head. It’s often a case of trial and error to find a bitless bridle that suits you and your horse. Wendy Wainwright of the World Bitless Association explains that: “the different kinds of bitless bridles are defined by how they act upon the horse’s head. They vary from the mild to the very severe, and can act upon one or more of the following: nose, jaw, curb, cheek or poll.” Within this, different bridles can exert pressure either directly, with or without leverage, or indirectly using cross or running straps.

The World Bitless Association has a comprehensive guide for those looking for more information about the different kinds of bitless bridles available. However, the main variations tend to sit in the following categories:

• Cross-under
• Hackamore
• Bosal
• Halter
• Side-pull

Why should you try a bitless bridle?

There are many reasons behind trying a bitless bridle. Some horses need a bitless bridle due to physical issues in the mouth, from broken jaws and melanomas to tongue damage. Ridden behaviours like head shaking, spookiness, bucking, bolting, head nodding and excessive salivation also lead to riders exploring bitless options.

In addition to physical and behavioural issues, Wendy explains there’s a “growing paradigm shift” occurring in the equestrian world. There’s “a shift away from the traditional ways of the last 60-70 years of horse-keeping, to a more natural and enriching environment, to positive and science-based training methods.” Part of this, Wendy explains, is that more people “are questioning what has previously been accepted — and use of bits is a part of that.”

Bitless bridles have been observed to solve a number of issues, from head shaking and bridle lameness to napping, rearing and anxiety. Dr Cook’s Fear of the Bit publication shows in the detail the types of issues found and overcome — or at least improved — by using bitless bridles.

What to consider before going bitless

There are a great many positives to be found in going bitless. Wendy describes how the horses she’s worked with bitless “are often calmer, less anxious and spooky than bitted horses” and they “often move freer and more expressively”.

However, it’s key to remember that changing bridles and going bitless won’t solve all your problems.

“Bitless will never cover up poor training and riding, and will often uncover weaknesses that have previously been hidden by the bit,” Wendy states. She adds that: “some riders might think they are going backwards when going bitless.” So, if you try bitless and you don’t instantly succeed, don’t panic. Put more time into your training and addressing the areas you and your horse struggle with.

Wendy’s tips for introducing your horse to bitless bridles include:

• Introduce your horse to bitless in an enclosed space
• Include a period of groundwork to gauge understanding and response before riding
• Try long-reining, as it’s an excellent introduction (in-hand work is also useful)
• Use flexing to the left and right in-hand to introduce the feel of the bridle
• Follow this up with transitions and circles either in-hand or long-reining
• Help your horse understand how the bridle feels by using transitions in slow paces, circles and serpentines

You might also be interested in:

William Micklem holds onto Last Flight II Credit: Paul Quagliana

The Micklem bridle: what you need to know

Described as ‘a kind and sympathetic bridle for horses that are sensitive in the mouth’, Lottie Butler finds out how

Credit: Ti Media

Subscribe to Horse & Hound – save money and enjoy free delivery

If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription

What horses do bitless bridles tend to suit?

All horses can go bitless, as long as the correct training is done and the right bridle is found. As Wendy explains: “for some horses, the feel of a bitless bridle is very different from what they are used to, so it can take some time for them to understand and adjust to it.”

Finding a great trainer who understands the training process is key to achieving success in a bitless bridle.

For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine out every Thursday


Lipizzan Association of North America

LIPIZZAN HISTORY

Developed exclusively by the Hapsburg monarchy for its use during times of war and peace, the Lipizzan is the true horse of royalty. Four hundred years of selective breeding have made the Lipizzan one of Europe’s oldest breeds of horse. The Lipizzan’s historical and cultural development enhances its mystique. Physically capable of withstanding the demands of the Airs Above the Ground, this baroque mount was bred to perform haute ecole dressage at the Spanish Riding School and owes its survival to the intervention of American General George S. Patton during World War II.

BREED ORIGIN

The Hapsburg family controlled both Spain and Austria when the art of classical riding revived in Europe during the Renaissance. There was a need for light, fast horses for use in the military and the riding school. The Spanish horse, produced during Moorish rule by crossing Berber and Arab stallions with Iberian mares, was considered the most suitable mount because of its exceptional sturdiness, beauty, and intelligence. In 1562, Maximillian II brought the Spanish horse to Austria and founded the court stud at Kladrub. His brother Archduke Charles established a similar private imperial studfarm with Spanish stock in 1580 at Lippiza (nowadays: Lipizza [Italian], or Lipica [Slovenian]) near the Adriatic Sea. Here on the Karst plateau near Triest the type of horse which was bred in Lippiza was called the Lippizaner. Today in Europe the breed is called Lipizzaner or, in America, Lipizzan.

FOUNDATION LINES

The Kladrub and Lipizza stock were bred to the native Karst horses, and succeeding generations were crossed with the old Neapolitan breed and horses of Spanish descent obtained from Spain, Germany, and Denmark. The Kladrub stud produced heavy carriage horses. Riding horses and light carriage horses came from the Lipizza stud although breeding stock was exchanged between the studs. The Kladrub stud produced Maestoso and Favory, two of the foundation sires of today’s Lipizzan. Of the sires used during the 18th and 19th centuries, only six established sire lines: Conversano, black, a Neapolitan, born in 1767 Favory, dun, transferred from Kladrub, born in 1779 Maestoso, grey, a crossbred by a Neapolitan sire and out of a Spanish dam, transferred from Kladrub, born in 1819 Neapolitano, bay or brown, from another Neapolitan sire, born in 1790 Pluto, grey, of Spanish origin, from the Danish stud, born 1765 Siglavy, grey, an Arabian, born in 1810.

By the 1800s, there were no longer any original Spanish horses available, and Arabians were used to strengthen the lines. Of the seven Arabian stallions used, only Siglavy founded a separate dynasty. Two other stallion lines which did not find favor at the Lipizza stud were perpetuated at other studs within the boundaries of the Austrian empire. The Tulipan (Croatia) and Incitato (Transylvanian-Hungarian) lines are still found in Yugoslavia, Hungary, and other eastern European countries as well as North America. In addition to the sire lines, 35 mares established dominant families which are recognized today. Each country established traditions in naming, branding, and otherwise identifying Lipizzans.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Lipizzans are genetically a type of grey. Born dark, black-brown, brown, or mouse-grey, Lipizzans gradually lighten until the white coat for which they are noted is produced somewhere between the ages of 6 and 10. The white hair coat has become dominant in the breed, and only now and then is a black or brown adult produced. As late as two hundred years ago, black, browns, chestnuts, duns, piebalds, and skewbalds were found in the adult herd. Noted for his sturdy body and proud carriage, the Lipizzan’ head is remarkable for its large appealing eyes and small alert ears. The body presents a picture of strength with a crested neck, powerful shoulders, muscular hind quarters, and strong legs with well-defined tendons and joints. Not an exceedingly tall horse, the Lipizzan averages between 14.2 to 15.2 hands.

SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL

Named after the early Spanish horses imported in the 16th century, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna is the oldest surviving institution of its kind in the world. Its primary purpose has remained the same through its history: to perpetuate the art of classical horsemanship in its purest form and transmit it from generation to generation. To this end, the School has used the Lipizzan exclusively as a horse capable of performing all the steps and movements of dressage, including the Airs Above the Ground -- the Levade, the Courbette, and the Capriole.

BREED EXPANSION

Until 1916, the Lipizzan studfarm always remained a private possession of the Hapsburg monarchy. Up to this time, the expansion of the breed had been affected over the centuries by military conflicts. Whenever warfare threatened the Lipizza stud, the horses were moved away. During these moves, individual horses would occasionally be given or sold to other studs. From these horses came other small Lipizzan farms, usually within the boundaries of the Austrian empire.

During World War I, the breeding stock was relocated to Laxenburg near Vienna. The foals were placed in the other imperial studfarm, Kladrub. After World War I, central Europe was reorganized. The large Austrian-Hungarian empire was divided into several new republics, and every new state inherited the possessions of the former monarchy. The breeding stock of the imperial studfarm of Lippiza (1580-1916) itself was divided over three different countries. The main part went to Italy, to which the village of Lipizza and its surroundings were also awarded. The 1913-1915 foals remained at Kladrub, which was then owned by the Czechoslovakian state. In 1919, the republic of Austria became the owner of the rest of the breeding stock and the stallions of the Spanish Riding School. Following World War I, in addition to Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, other new states which continued the breeding of the Lipizzan horse were Hungary, Rumania, and Yugoslavia.

During World War II, the Lipizzan breed was again threatened with extinction when the mares and foals from Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia were transferred to Hostau in Czechoslovakia by the German High Command. Through the heroic efforts of the Spanish Riding School’s director, Alois Podhajsky, the school was saved. The perpetuation of the breed was guaranteed by the American army which retrieved the mares and returned them to Austrian soil.

Today Lipizzans are found beyond the borders of what was once the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Before 1930 the Lipizzan horse did not exist within the United States. Opera singer Countess Maria Jeritza was given several Lipizzans by the Austrian government and imported them in 1937. In October 1945, the U. S. Army Remount Service imported 9 Lipizzans (3 stallions and 6 mares, 1 in foal). It was not until the late 1950s that Lipizzans were imported in any great number. Between 1958 and 1969 Tempel and Ester Smith of Illinois imported 1 stallion and 13 mares (5 in foal) from Austria, 7 Lipizzaners from Hungary and 6 from Yugoslavia. In 1959, Evelyn Dreitzler of Snohomish, Washington, began negotiations with the Austrian government, and between 1959 and 1973, 3 stallions and 10 mares (1 in foal) arrived from Austria. Other importations have occurred during the past thirty years, each adding another dimension to the American Lipizzan genetic base.

With fewer than 3,000 purebred Lipizzans in the world, the breed is considered rare, and the number of foals born each year is correspondingly small. Extreme care is taken by those involved in the production of Lipizzan horses to insure that the purity of the breed is preserved. Much effort has been expended to develop educational programs in order to foster voluntary adherence to the traditional breed goals and objectives.

Now, in the early years of the 21st century, the Lipizzan has proven to be a successful competitor at all levels of competition dressage and driving, as well as continuing to be the ultimate mount for classical horsemanship. The breed has also proven to be suitable for other equestrian disciplines including pleasure riding. Owners and breeders are dedicated to the Lipizzan breed because they appreciate its rarity, cultural importance, romantic history, and its traits of intelligence, classic beauty, and harmonious, athletic way of moving.

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Nabopolassar Invades Assyria!

It has been suggested that Nabopolassar invaded Assyria to revert the land back to how it had been this had largely to do with redrawing the borders between Babylon and Assyria. Battles at the border became so frequent that Assyria started receiving help from the Egyptians and Mannaeans, and because of the strength of arms showing up for the fight, Nabopolassar most likely went on the offensive in order to hastily protect his interest.

Babylonian boundary stone. (Walters Art Museum/ CC BY-SA 3.0 )

In 616 BCE, Nabopolassar marched his forces out of Babylonia and into Assyria. Once in Assyria, Nabopolassar followed the Euphrates River, where he encountered the Suhi and Hindanu tribes who paid tribute to him.

Three months later the Assyrians prepared for battle in the city of Qablinu. Once Nabopolassar got word that the Assyrians were nearby in Qablinu, he gathered his forces and advanced towards the city where he would do battle against the combined forces of the Assyrians and Mannea. Nabopolassar defeated them and took captive many of the Mannai who had aided the Assyrians in battle. The outcome of this battle relieved pressure off the border of Babylon with Assyria and at the same time secured the city of Uruk.

Afterwards, Nabopolassar plundered and sacked the Mane, Sahiru, and Balihi, stealing their gods and goods, as well as the Hindanu who were deported back to Babylon. On the journey back to Babylon, the combined forces of Egypt and Assyria made an unsuccessful strike at the forces of Nabopolassar near Qablinu. Later that year, Nabopolassar led his forces back into Assyria, and did battle against them at Arraphu (modern day Kirkuk). Nabopolassar won the battle, pushed the remaining Assyrian forces back to the Zab River, and took many chariots and horses.

In 615 BCE, Nabopolassar attempted to take the old Assyrian capital of Ashur, only to fail and have to retreat to the city of Takrit. Thus, he was now under siege himself by the Assyrian forces that were in pursuit. The Assyrians, even though they were weak, were still able to field an army of considerable size.

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Top Image: A once-powerful lion is hunted and lies dead. Assyrian relief, Nineveh, north palace, 645-635 BCE ( Public Domain )


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