Cool Aquarium Decor For Under $10

Almost anyone can keep a fish tank. What could be so difficult about filling a tank with water and dropping some fish inside? Well, there is actually more to it than that. You will have to replicate the environment from where the fish came from as best as you can. This would mean proper water filtration, the right temperature for your fish as well as the perfect water chemical balance.

But this alone would not ensure that your fish will be healthy and happy. Another important thing which a lot of new as well as experienced hobbyists fail to consider is tank decoration. If you think about it, the fish would probably never know that the lump of resin you dumped in with it is meant to represent a mermaid but aquarium decor do benefit the fish in a number of other ways. The decor create a boundary of sorts within the confines of the tank and this becomes especially important to the territorial fish. Also, the holes and gaps in the tank decor act as little caves for the fish to hide away in when they feel a need.

However, tank ornaments, especially the really cool intricate ones, can be expensive. All is not lost. There are still loads of other tank ornaments that we can get which will not burn a hole in your pocket. In this lens, we’ll look at some of the ornaments that are really cool which you can get for under $10.

Artificial Corals

Artificial corals are a good place to look for inexpensive yet beautiful tank decor. It is fairly easy to find corals and artificial anemone online and in the pet stores. The cool thing about it is that you do not have to worry about what items to match with what. This is because even in nature, there really is no proper matching. You will see corals and anemone of all shapes and colors side by side. You don’t even have to worry about positioning or proper arrangements. Just place them however you like.

A cool thing to do is to have a background of an underwater scene or a coral reef scene. By placing your artificial corals in front of it, it does create a 3D like effect in the tank, making it look like a vast ocean.

Plain Rocks And Aquatic Plants

This is another relatively cheap but excellent alternative when decorating your aquarium. And it really does not take much effort or creativity. All you need to do is arrange some rocks into a formation and place aquatic plants around it. A good idea is to arrange the rocks such that it provides the fish with at least a small cave. As for the plants, try arranging them in a cascading effect, with the tall ones at the back and the shorter ones in the front. And avoid blocking the rocks too much cos they are part of your decor.

For the background, you could use the same ones that I recommended for the Artificial Corals decor just now.

Do It Yourself Decor

One last suggestion is to just find stuff from around your house that you could use as tank ornaments. This can be almost anything such as unwanted china, old pottery and trinkets. But not everything can be put in the tank with fish. Avoid anything metal. They will oxidize and pollute the water. Also don’t have anything that is hand painted without a coat of varnish. The paint will leak into the water and poison it.

General Considerations When Raising Tadpoles

Frogs are fascinating amphibians which are increasingly being kept as pets by enthusiastic herpetoculturists. Caring for frogs in captivity naturally results in a desire to have a go at breeding them, providing other frog-keepers with captive born stock, making some money to recover the costs of buying the animals and equipment, and an amazing opportunity of observing the amphibian life cycle from egg to frog. Any successful frog breeding project must include research about, and a plan of how to raise the tadpoles.

Tadpoles are the larval form of frogs. The vast majority of amphibian species reproduce through externally developing eggs which result in aquatic tadpoles, and after a period of growth, undergo metamorphosis, which completely changes their morphology to froglets, which can live on both land and water. Because of the huge variety of types of frog that are bred in captivity, this article will not be able to provide detailed information about raising tadpoles of a specific species, but will discuss some universal considerations that are applicable to all tadpoles.

The vast majority of frog species start their life cycle as complete aquatic larvae, making the care of tadpoles is not dissimilar to that of aquarium fish and fish fry. Once the eggs are laid by the female they should be removed from the frog terrarium and placed in their own aquarium. The water in which the tadpoles will be reared must be dechlorinated, the easiest way to achieve that is by treating tap water with an aquarium fish water conditioner, which removes chlorines and chloramines. The water should be maintained at a temperature that is specific for the particular species of frog that you are breading, which might necessitate adding a heater to the aquarium.

It is best not to use gravel in the tadpole rearing tank, since it makes cleaning easier. Initially no filtration or aeration should be used, since the tiny tadpoles will find it hard to swim against the currents created and could be sucked up into the filter. It is easiest to start with a low water level, and gradually increase it by adding more dechlorinated water at the same temperature as the tank water, since water changes with tiny tadpoles are difficult. As the tadpoles grow in size and the rearing tank becomes filled with water, daily water changes of 50% of the water will become necessary to keep the water quality high. Gentle aeration with an airstone and an air pump should be added about 2 weeks after spawning. Biological filtration may be added using a simple sponge box filter driven by an air pump.

Feeding strategies for the tadpoles will depend on their species, and should be researched for each species that is raised. During the first few days after hatching, the embryos will not require food, since they will be absorbing their yolk sac. It is however preferable to start feeding too early, rather than too late, since starvation at this early stage in development can seriously delay growth and might lead to developmental abnormalities. Many frog species are herbivorous during their larval stages and can be fed on lettuce and other greens, which should be blanched under boiling water to soften them. Tadpoles of the African clawed frog are basically filter feeders and should be raised on infusoria, or powdered algae tablets. Providing some light over the tadpole tank will encourage the growth of algae and green water, providing a non-polluting and self-sustaining source of food. Carnivorous tadpoles such as those of the horned frogs, are perhaps the most difficult to feed, since they need live food and would probably do best on fish fry. They are often cannibalistic and will require isolating as they grow.

Choosing Among Several Reptile Cages and Terrariums

If you’re the type of pet owner who loves to raise cold-blooded animals as a hobby, then you should be familiar with the equipments that these species need, including a convenient home. However, with so many of these reptile cages and terrariums available in the market today, it will be harder for you to settle on a single brand, also considering that these products are often equipped with features, which satisfy a specific function. Fortunately, there are some helpful hints by which you can quickly go in and out of the store in record time, while still getting that prized furniture.

1. Reptile cages and terrariums come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and thus, you are required to take note of the body measurements of your pets, as well as its ability to crawl and climb from one place to another. If you feel like your pal needs more room to stretch its legs, or exercise its muscles, then a long vivarium should accommodate these needs. However, if your pal loves to attach itself to the glass walls, adjustments to the heights are required.

2. An ideal terrarium should already be equipped with a special fixture, where you can install your reptile lighting. It doesn’t matter whether the equipment is meant for fluorescent strips or small bulbs. What’s important is that there is an allocated space to accommodate these vital devices. If you’re having problems with locating these cages, then you’d be surprised to learn that you’re more likely to find the perfect pet home in the aquarium section of the store.

3. Your reptile supplies should also fit inside the terrarium. While this is one of the factors, which should be at the top of your priority list, it is surprising to know that many owners overlook this fact, resulting to an overcrowded home or a messy interior decoration.

4. Common reptile supplies, such as the terrarium, are always available in the market with a wide range in price that is meant to satisfy everyone’s budget. However, when picking the perfect home, you should also take the time to check every aspect of the house, without looking at the expenses. This way, you know that your decision will not be influenced by your savings. Instead, you will be more driven to settle on a product based on its quality.

Considering these few tips is sure to guarantee that you will bring home the perfect terrarium for your beloved friends.

The Right Way to Take Care of a Pet Parrot

Getting a pet parrot may turn out to be a highly worthwhile investment, in terms of time and money. Such a pet proves to be very fascinating to some people, especially with the numerous abilities they have. One can simply be entertained with the gesture of teaching their parrot a bunch of tricks, and a ton of time is to be dedicated into providing proper care for this type of bird. There are so many things, though, that one has to make sure of, such as cleaning its cage properly, changing its water supply as well as ensuring that it’s always provided enough company. Below are some additional things to ponder upon when it comes to taking care of a pet parrot.

  1. One has to decide carefully if they really want to have a parrot as a pet, and this includes looking into their cage’s size and getting it a perch, since it’s quite a sociable creature to have. One should also realize that its most unique trait is the ability to mimic any sound it hears, including how the owner talks. Owners should have enough time spent on schooling it and ensuring that it gets the proper training in order to develop into a well rounded pet that everyone can have fun with and appreciate.
  2. Getting them the right kind of food is also essential. Parrots are often fed seeds which contain a lot of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, all of which can help them grow and acquire healthy bodies. However, this isn’t always the most appropriate choice. Considering that most seeds are being commercially manufactured, and may even include all those various nutrients, there’s also a lot more freedom in choice. One can simply purchase pellets which these birds can chew on, and the owners won’t have to worry about husks of seeds scattered all over the cage.
  3. It would also be essential for the owner to take it out of its cage and be properly groomed. There needs to be utmost caution when doing so, since these creatures can be very fidgety, thus increasing the risk of injuring them. Their beaks must be properly cleaned in a delicate manner, toe nails should be trimmed carefully with the right sized trimmer, and wings have to be clipped properly to avoid nasty falls during flying play sessions.

A pet parrot may not be the least complicated type of birds to handle, yet they are pretty fun to have around the household. It also teaches owners how to be responsible in taking care of fragile creatures that will end up leading to a whole new experience.

Guide To Installing A Bird Cage

To protect your birds, you need a cage.

Best wires to use

There are many types of wires you can use with the most popular being:

Galvanized wires: A galvanized wire is one that is coated with zinc which is highly toxic. The main role of the coating is to prevent corrosion thus increasing durability. To protect your birds you should consider removing the coating. You do this by soaking or sandblasting the wire. To prevent the wire from corroding apply non-toxic paint to the wire.

PVC coated wire: From its name, this is the wire that has been coated using PVC. The coating is usually very thin and can be easily removed. Due to this, you are advised from installing it in a cage with chewing birds. You should use it in areas with non-chewing birds such as softbills and finches. If you want to use the wire in chewing birds, you should go for a powder coated wire. A powder coat is a cooked coat that is difficult for the birds to remove. The wire will be expensive but the coating will be sturdier thus the birds won’t be able to remove it from the wire.

Stainless steel mesh: This is the best material to use. It will protect your birds without rusting. It also doesn’t require a lot of care. To buy it you should head to your local hardware store.

Installing a bird cage

After you have settled on the right wire, you should go ahead and install the unit. To completely keep predators from your birds you should place an outer layer. As rule of thumb install a tough material. This calls for you to avoid plastic netting as predators can easily tear through it. Larger birds can also easily chew holes through it. For peace of mind, install a 14 gauge 1″ x 1″ grid wire.

You can install a cage with a wooden frame or go for an all-wire unit. It’s all about your preferences. If installing an all-wire cage, you should go for a mesh wire or chain-link fencing. You should go for a pattern that the birds can’t easily pass through. The pattern should also be able to hold the perches and bird toys.

Conclusion

This is what you need to know about bird caging. You should choose a material that is strong and durable. You can install the unit on your own but for ideal results, hire a professional to help you out.

Exotic Birds: All About Purple Martin Housing

Purple Martins are the largest breed of swallows that nest typically in North America. These beautiful and exotic birds mostly depend on man-made or artificial housing like wood and aluminum houses mounted on poles or natural and artificial bird house gourds.

If you are thinking of being a host to these species of exotic birds you will not be disappointed. Setting up individual houses or even a small colony in an open space near your house like the back yard can be a highly rewarding experience.

Here are some of the different housing options that Purple martins prefer to nest in.

Aluminum Houses:

As far as housing Purple martins go, selecting the right size house is essential. Aluminum houses for martins are not only heavy duty and durable but also have openings on all four corners. Providing spacious housing like this for the birds to perch on not only increases the potential of occupancy by them but also does away with territorial issues.

Wood Houses:

Many Martin hobbyists also prefer to go with wooden houses, mainly because it has two design features that help attract them. The first one is that wooden houses can be lowered or raised vertically without making it tip over. Secondly, the nesting spaces inside are easily accessible, which allows a person to remove any unwanted pests or other species of birds. This also allows the houses to be monitored without disturbing or damaging the nests.

PVC Plastic Houses:

For the first time their hobbyist, going with the plastic houses will be the perfect and cheapest way to start off your Bird’s colony. PVC houses are made out of hard plastic that is durable and pleasant to look at. They are also extremely easy to assemble and provide UV protection.

Gourds:

Bird house gourds have always been popular among Purple’s hobbyists. Today, you can easily grow natural gourds in your backyard with proper information. The advantage of having a gourd is that they do not attract other bird species like sparrows or starlings that can cause problems for the Purple martin colony.

Gourds are usually painted white to reflect heat and provide a cool environment for them to nest in. Plastic gourds enable the owners to access inner reaches of purple martin houses by way of a movable vent cap and extra access entrances for regular clean-ups and nest checks.

Most of the Purple Martin houses have Starling or round openings, door plugs, front porches and internal predator guards. By carefully reading and understanding the importance of getting the right kind of housing you can ensure that the Birds will come to nest in your colony every year.

Crested Gecko Care Made Easy

The crested gecko is a popular choice for reptile keepers. These geckos are great for beginners, but many experienced reptile keepers enjoy keeping these charming creatures as well.There is a large variety of patterns and colors that make this herp a distinguished favorite. Even though they are a cute pet, you should not purchase one before you know exactly how to care for them. Proper Crested gecko care is crucial to maintaining the health and general well-being of your pet.

The crested gecko is a nocturnal animal, i.e. most activity takes place at night. This may deter you from keeping them as pets as you may not see much of them during the day. There are advantages to this behavior too though; providing the right light is not a problem anymore. Most reptiles require light that contains UV rays to maintain their health. Installing a bulb that emits UV rays in a small cage can be a bit of a challenge. Crested geckos don’t require any significant amounts of UV rays and you therefore don’t have to worry about the light in the terrarium.

Unlike most reptiles, crested geckos are omnivorous, i.e. they eat both vegetables (actually berries and pureed fruit) as well as meat (mainly insects, though they may actually eat their own offspring).

Are you wondering how they got their name? They got their name from the fringe that is running down their back, starting right above their eyes. You may also hear people calling them the “eyelash gecko” because of that fringe. Their scientific name is Rhacodactylus ciliatus. Rhakos is Greek for spine, Dactylus means “finger” and Cilia is latin for “fringe”.

At one point in time, it was believed that this species was extinct, but then, in the year 1994, it was rediscovered off the coast of Australia in the islands of New Caledonia.

Breeding Crested Geckos

If you are thinking about breeding this species, you are in luck, because they are fairly easy to breed. Before you breed them, they should be at least fourteen months old, at least 35 grams and of course, healthy. In order to produce the eggs properly, the female will need to receive the right amount of calcium, it is therefore important to add supplements of calcium to your crested gecko’s diet. Calcium specifically produced for reptiles is readily available in pet shops and online. The gestation period for this species is between 30-35 days. During this time, the female crested gecko produces two eggs. Sperm can remain in the female for up to eight months after mating, so eggs can be fertilized even after males have been removed from the cage.

Size

The hatchlings are three inches long – the adults will range from 8-10 inches in length (this includes their tail).

Lifespan of Crested Geckos

The lifespan of this reptile is 15 to 20 years, as long as you properly take care of the creature.

Diet

The diet is always an important part of caring for any pet. Crested geckos feed on insects and fruits in the wild. Many people feed meal replacement powder, pureed fruit and live crickets when they have them as pets. You should never feed them citrus fruits as the acid may harm them. Calcium, nutritional supplements and vitamin D3 should be sprinkled lightly on their food in order to maintain their health. You can find these supplements in your local pet store or online.

Crested Gecko Cage

When you have one of these creatures as pets, it is important that you have the proper home for them. In the wild, they are arboreal, i.e. they live mainly in trees. They also like to have places to hide so that they feel secure. You should have only one male in the same enclosure. If you have two males, they will fight over the territory. You can, however, keep two females and one male in a 29-gallon aquarium without having problems. You should carefully consider the set-up and decoration of your crested gecko cage, as it needs to fulfil your pet’s needs for shelter, warmth and humidity.

Temperatures in your crested gecko cage: The gecko should be kept at temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You should mist their enclosure daily in order to keep them hydrated and supply them with humidity. In temperatures that are below 65 or above 80, the gecko will become stressed.

As for handling, this is something you should not do so much. When you first get them, you should let them adjust to their environment. They love to jump, so only handle them while you are sitting down and only handle them for fifteen minutes at a time.

Keeping Your Horse Happy In the Heat

I don’t know about you but so far Spring in Los Angeles has been pretty hot. It’s been reaching almost 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) in some parts of the city. The heat not only affects us but it affects our horses (and all our other animals).

Here are some simple ways to keep your horse happy and healthy during a heat wave.

  1. Water – Always make sure you have plenty of water available for your horse at all times. Keep an eye out for bugs and mosquitoes. Not unlike us horses are less likely to want to drink if there are a bunch of bugs in the water. It is also safer for them to drink clean water.
  2. Shade – Have a large enough area of shade for your horse to relax in when it starts to get too hot. No one likes to bake in the sun all day.
  3. Electrolytes – Horses lose electrolytes while they sweat. Replenish salt loss during excessive sweating with a suitable electrolyte supplement. They have them available at most places where you get your horse feed.
  4. Ventilation – When possible, leave barn doors and windows open and install misting fans near each stall if you can. Keep a hose near by for a quick splash.
  5. Baths – Bathe your horse! He/She will love you for it. Nothing feels better then having a nice cold bath on a hot day.
  6. Coat Care – Keep your horse’s mane and tail trimmed. Apply a zinc oxide sunscreen to pink noses to help prevent sunburn. There are shampoos available with UV protection added to help protect your horse’s coat. Horses can get sunburn too. It’s not just for us.

These tips will help keep your and your horse happy during the spring heat wave. Not only will they be happy but they will be healthy. Many of times we can’t tell when our animals are suffering, especially during the hotter times of the year. If we keep up with all the items listed below then you are more then likely to have a happy and healthy horse. Horses can suffer from heat stroke just like any human can. Only we can speak up for ourselves. For more information on how to keep your horse happy you can always look to Google. Information is limitless on the internet and it never hurts to do your research when it comes to those you love.

Handling Your Horse’s Hooves Safely

Starting out

Just because a horse refuses to lift its feet for you it does not always mean that it is being disobedient. For a horse to lift its feet, it must be taught how. The best time to train your horse is when it is still a foal, but if you are handling an adult horse do not assume that it knows how to lift its feet, as this training may have been missed. As cleaning hooves is an essential part of horse care, you need to teach your horse how to willingly lift its feet when asked.

Make It Rewarding!

Positive reinforcement, as well as consistent practise, is the most effective method in teaching any new behaviours or developing existing ones. Learning the right timingis essential if you want to teach your horse to pick up their feet easily when asked.

Initially, make sure to give the reward after a few seconds of picking up their feet for the horse to understand the process. After the horse is responding easily, you can make it longer between positive reinforcement actions.

You can choose any sound you want to prompt the foot being picked up as long as that sound does not startle the horse. However, it is best to just pick one sound and then stick with it. For example, you can choose to say “pick it up”, you can snap your fingers, whistle or cluck your tongue. Choose a sound that you can easily create and remember. Make the sound immediately before touching to pick up the foot. The sound draws your horse’s attention as well as allows it to associate the sound to whatever it is doing.

The rewards or positive reinforcement can be anything that your horse likes or enjoys. You can provide food such as horse cookies, carrot chunks, mints, bits of grain, or wisp of hay, though these may cause your horse to fidget if you don’t have the treats with you at some time in the future. You can also scratch its withers, a definite winner with most horses,or pat its neck and praise them.

Safety without Stress

You need to consider your safety and your horse’s happiness when caring for your horse’s feet. Below are some steps so you can care for your horse’s feet effectively, safely as well as stress free for both you and your horse.

1. No surprises – Make sure your horse is aware of your presence. Walk towards your horse in its line of sight and talk to your horse while approaching. Do not position yourself behind your horse since you put yourself at risk of being kicked. Position yourself beside your horse’s shoulder about two feet out. While talking, pet your horse’s neck and slide your hand down from its shoulder to its leg. This allows you to check the tendon area for any issues.

2. Just above your horse’s ankle, with your thumb close to your hand, grasp your horse’s leg at the back and tell it to “pick it up” or use the signal you decided on above. The horse will immediately comply if it’s used to lifting its feet upon your command.

3. If it doesn’t; you can lean into the shoulder with your hip to take the weight off the foot, while squeezing in your thumb and forefinger and asking it to lift its foot until it complies. Always state what you want and reward it when it complies. In time, your horse will lift its foot up himself when you tell it.

4. Move a bit closer and be careful not to move your feet under your horse’s feet. Move your hand gently down to grasp the foot and then flex the ankle slowly. This will allow you to view the sole as well as have complete control over your horse’s leg.

5. As you’re holding the foot of your horse with your one hand, use your other hand to use the hoof pick. A cheap hoof pick is normally just as effective as an expensive one. Make sure the hoof pick is fairly blunt as this reduces the risk of wounding your horse.

6. Insert the point of the pick inside the heel bulb next to the frog and run it down from one side of the frog to the other, from heel to toe in order to remove the caked debris. Gently clean the cleft in the frog’s centre, where a horse with a chronic thrush may be tender and sore. Pull off any loose pieces of frog skin that will come off by hand, but make sure not to tear anything that’s not already loose.

7. Lastly, arc the hoof pick around the shoe’s interior rim to remove anything that is clinging. Put your horse’s foot down and transfer the hoof pick in your pocket or somewhere easily accessible.

8. Next would be to work on your horse’s hind legs. Let your horse know that you are approaching its hind leg by patting its shoulder and running your hand along its side. Talk to your horse while moving and stay close while you position yourself beside its hindquarter.

9. Just like what you did in the earlier steps, lean into your horse as you bend down while keeping your feet out from under its feet. Using your elbow and forearm is not only for establishing contact, they allow you to easily push away if ever you sense your horse preparing to kick.

10. Lifting the hind foot is where you need to have the most control as this is where you are at the highest risk of being kicked. To be out of harm’s way, you need to position yourself in a way that your shoulders are roughly parallel to the horse’s hip bone with your head out of the line of fire. Move your hand down until you are slightly above the top of the ankle. Tell your horse to “pick it up” or use your chosen signal while giving a slight squeeze. If your horse does not respond right away, reinforce your message by pulling the ankle forward and up toward the front of the horse.

11. If your horse threatens to lift their leg before you ask, or appears to be threatening to kick you, hold the tail in one hand while you are reaching down to lift the leg. You can gently pull on the tail to over balance them and get them to think twice about lifting feet when not asked to.

How to Get and Keep Your Horse in Top Shape and Ready for Anything

The first thing you need to understand is that your horse is just like any other athlete. And just like an athlete, you cannot expect it to perform like an Olympian right off the bat if it has been parked in a stall for months on end, or if it has been lazily grazing in the fields. In our culture, horses have been romanticized in books and movies as creatures of unlimited power and capability. It is often just assumed that they are born with and always maintain the ability to carry a rider for miles upon miles at a full run. But the truth is that a horse must be carefully and methodically trained to perform at top levels, it is not something they are just born being able to do.

Just like you could not expect yourself to be able to run a marathon tomorrow if you had spent the last six months on the sofa with a bag of chips. So, before you start making high demands of your steed, you need to do for your horse what any good trainer would do for his athlete. You need to condition it.

Your horse’s age and the amount of work it has previously done, if any, will determine where you need to start as well as what you want him in shape for. Remember, you can injure a horse by taking him out of the stall or pasture and immediately start riding him if he has had little or no riding time in weeks or months. A horse that gets ridden once or twice a week needs a gradual training program that starts out with a half hour ride every other day-this ride does not need to be hard, simply walking for one or two miles a day is a good way to start out when conditioning any horse that has not been ridden very much previously. You want to do this walking for a couple miles about every other day for at least two weeks, then you can work up to a trot for a minute or so in between long periods of walking during your ride. This is similar to what athletes call “interval training.” The horse needs restricted to these slow paces; if he is not accustomed to being ridden often, you will injure him by trying to make him move at a pace that he is not capable of moving at. For two weeks you will want to do these walk/trot intervals as you ride, just to get him used to a riding schedule again. Then, you may build up to a canter; but again, no long canter periods, you must canter for just a few seconds and then have several walk/trot intervals, then take another canter. After about six weeks of this cumulative work, when the horse is used to being ridden for a good solid hour or more, you may begin more strenuous work, such as riding uphill and downhill at the trot and then gradually to the canter-riding downhill at the trot will improve your horse’s and your own balance-and the toughest part of the training program begins.

Once your horse is in great shape and is conditioned for more strenuous work, you can begin to train your horse for whatever specific task you want. I.e. jumping, dressage, barrel racing, cross country, etc.

All of these sports demand that your horse be in top shape before beginning to train for them. Thinking that you can just skip the conditioning and move right into the specific training is very dangerous and counterproductive. The idea that your horse will just get conditioned as it goes is a recipe for serious and even permanent injury to your horse. Do not risk your horse’s health or your safety in an attempt to speed up the process.

Once conditioned, you will want to find a good source of instruction in your particular discipline. While you are looking, here are a few things that you can do you get started.

If you are jumping you want to start out trotting over poles on the ground, then trotting over small jumps spaced a couple feet apart (a good rule of thumb is usually about four feet apart, but you may need to adjust it depending on your horse’s stride), and finally going over small jumps building up to whatever height jump you and your horse are ready for. You must always start out conditioning slowly or you can injure the horse to the point where it cannot be ridden anymore. Conditioning the barrel racer would involve setting up three barrels and trotting in the pattern around them, gradually building up to faster speeds. As you can see, any particular sport that you may want your horse conditioned for can be achieved pretty easily once the foundation for strength-building has been laid. Start out slowly when conditioning any horse. If you are not sure how to go about it, it is always better to ask an experienced horse person than to take unnecessary chances. You will find that most experienced horsemen are more than happy to help and offer advice.