Monthly Archives: June 2014

Summer Reading List: Tales of a Newbie

We all remember when we were first starting out in the saddle or at the end of a set of driving reins. Many of us have been doing it our whole lives, but there’s a growing community of “re-riders” out there who rode as children, quit for awhile, and are getting back into horses as adults.

The Bit By Bit blog is about one such rider, Laura, who at age 39, has been back into taking lessons for the last three years. Laura said the process is a little tough to take, since you’re usually surrounded by younger students or instructors who have as much or more experience. We salute re-riders like Laura, and encourage you to follow her blog, where she anthologizes her horsemanship journey, and offers practical tips. Most recently, we enjoyed her entry on post-fall rituals (a medicinal cheeseburger is a must), and how to treat the bumps and bruises that come along with a tumble.

Your turn: what equine blogs are on your summer reading list?

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Summer Reading List: We Heart Halfies!

Here’s another item from our reading list: Adventures with Shyloh. Allison documents her journey with her 7-year-old Halflinger mare, Shyloh. It’s so cool to watch how a horse’s personality expands as their training expands, and Allison has done a fantastic job of illustrating the way their relationship has changed.

Allison and Shyloh recently took one of our halter bridles for a test drive. Allison, Shyloh, and Allison’s kids loved the feel of the bridle, and the easy grip of the reins. Shyloh can be difficult to fit, but Allison found that our range of sizing options made it easier to pick a choice that would work for her. Not only did their bridle fit perfectly, Allison is excited to use it when they begin trial riding.

Be sure to add Allison and Shyloh to your summer reading list!

Every rider has a journey

We’ve found that our products are popular with riders who are out in all types of weather, and who ride over all types of terrain. That’s why eventers love beta biothane–it’s fade-proof and crack-proof, no matter how many hours it spends in the sun or in the water.

We recently read a product review of one of our bridles and one of our breastcollars by the blogger who writes under the Equine Snob handle over at My Equine Odyssey blog. ES was surprised to find that of the two pieces, her favorite was the breastcollar. Our breastcollars have buckles on both shoulders, in addition to the girth loop, making them totally adjustable. Fancy Pony, ES’ mount, is a little narrow-chested and they found it particularly helpful that they could shorten the shoulder pieces to fit. Interestingly, she put a running martingale attachment onto the breastcollar to correct a training issue,and it worked very well for them.blogger-image--2098496509

We love following our customers’ journeys in the saddle. If you do too, check out My Equine Odyssey.

Tuesday Tips: Do-It-Yourself Driving Course

We love driving our horses, both as a cross-training exercise (it’s great lateral training for dressage horses in particular), and as an awesome way to get new people interested in horses.

Recently, we had the chance to go to a convention of carriage horses at a local park and enjoyed the opportunity to practice the finer points of our steering by moving through an obstacle course of cones. The small rubber cones are especially good for this because they can be run over without doing damage to the wheels or the cone itself, and they’re easy to move and store. horse-playing-frisbee

One of the instructors suggested using frisbees for a DIY course at home–what a great idea! Frisbees are of course, easier to find, just as durable, and simpler to store.

Bridles that are tough enough for Elby

Rebecca tells us that her mare Elby has a reputation for breaking bridles. We understand how that goes–our horses have a tidy pile of busted crossties between them. That’s why she was so glad to receive a bridle that not only fit Elby beautifully, but held up to her rigorous field testing.

“Received the new bitless bridle the other day and it seems to fit Elby perfectly! I love how sturdy it is, since she’s been known to break bridles before. Thanks for making such good quality tack for such a good price.” 

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Love Elby’s bridle? Buy it here.

Tips for training your trail horse

275_darkpinkAlthough we’ve been trail riding for several years, we still love learning new things about how to prepare a horse to hit the trails. That’s the great part about any type of riding–it’s really a lifetime of learning.

We were happy to meet Judi of Trail Horse Adventures last week, and this week we came across an article in Equus that outlines seven important skills for a horse who goes on regular trail rides, especially those away from home or in new environments.

One of our favorite tips? Teaching your horse, whether through natural horsemanship or other training, to resist his flight response and wait for your cue when he encounters something new or scary. So, so important in any new situation, but especially on the trails where a deer or fox might go streaking across your path.

Read more at Equus

Time for weekend cartoons!

CrupperCartoon2horsetack

Jacke of the Endurance Granny blog was excited to receive her new crupper from our shop…her Appy was a little less enthusiastic, as you can tell from her fabulous cartoon.

As it turned out, Jacke and Journey loved their crupper, and were especially delighted to find that the flax seed filling we use for the tail piece is both self-oiling and lubricating, making it comfortable for Journey and maintenance-free for Jacke.

If you’d like to give our cruppers a try, mosey on over to our online shop. Don’t forget to check out our summer sale!

 

Trailer Rider Tested, Trail Rider Approved!

We were excited to read a product review from Judi of the Trail Horse Adventures blog this week. Judi is a trail rider just like us, and takes her Morabs for adventures in the Cleveland Metro Parks. Judi is a trail riding veteran, and has lots of insight and anecdotes to share with fellow riders, especially those who are new to the pasttime. She is also the author of “Trail Training for the Horse and Rider” and “Trail Horse Adventures and Advice,” which we absolutely recommend.

Cole Train models his new bridle

Cole Train models his new bridle

Judi ordered our beta biothane English bridle with bling for her horse Cole Train, and we think he looks fantastic in it. She especially liked the feel of the bridle, having worked with alternative materials before and found synthetics a bit stiff. Actually, several other riders at the barn thought the bridle, which is black with pink bling, was leather.

Check out the full review here.

We love a horse with a sense of humor

We’re proud to announce that Jaymando (known to friends as “Jay”) is the winner of our tack giveaway via Behind the Bit Blog (which, incidentally, you should check out if you like reading about dressage, or general horse care).

Jay posted this fantastic photo to our Facebook page, indicating his joy at having been the winner of a new turnout halter:

Party time!

Party time!

What a character!

We learned that Jay is a 14-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse, and has worked with his human Diane since he was a month old. As you may guess, a horse with this much personality was a bit of a handful in his younger years according to Diane, who tells us he was very nippy and even broke someone’s arm(!) but thanks to consistent discipline and boundaries he has come a long way. He does still occasionally demonstrate an interest in opening gates–what a smart fellow.

Jay and Diane

Jay and Diane

Jay and Diane enjoy trail riding, especially trails that take them over challenging, rugged terrain. They also participate in hunter paces.

Diane told us that Jay has been a healing influence for her. She suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and having a reliable partner in Jay has helped her push through symptoms of the disease so she can still enjoy interacting with her horses. It’s amazing what our horses can do for us.

Jay models his brand new turnout halter. The colors look great, don't they?!

Jay models his brand new turnout halter. The colors look great, don’t they?!

The More You Know: Staying On Top of Equine Disease Outbreaks

If you trail ride or show your horses, it’s important to stay on top of contagious disease outbreaks in your geographic region. We received this release from the folks at Merial, informing you of ways you can stay on top of any issues in your area.

The recent outbreak of non-neuropathogenic Equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) in the midwestern U.S. has had horse owners and area veterinarians on high alert and in need of up-to-date information. EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus that can cause respiratory disease, abortion and sporadic occurrences of neurologic disease in horses.1

Clinical signs of EHV-1 include fever, lethargy, anorexia, nasal discharge and decreased fitness performance.And if the virus advances and becomes Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), lack of coordination, hindquarter weakness, recumbency and urine dribbling may occur.3

As of late April 2014, state authorities had confirmed 11 cases – seven in Minnesota,4 two in Wisconsin5 and one in both Iowa and Kansas.7 Horse owners are taking strict precautions – including quarantine – to prevent further spread of the virus. This outbreak of EHV-1 is believed to have first surfaced in barrel horses near the Twin Cities.8 After its initial detection, several equestrian events were canceled or postponed.

“Any time there is an EHV-1 outbreak horse owners should be extra vigilant while traveling considering the highly contagious nature and seriousness of the disease,” says Megan Green, DVM, manager, large animal veterinary services, Merial. “One way they can stay informed is through the Outbreak Alert program.”

The free program tracks confirmed cases of EHV-1, as well as West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, equine influenza, Potomac Horse Fever and rabies. Texts and/or e-mail messages are sent to alert horse owners of confirmed cases. Anyone can sign up to receive these alerts and those who travel with their horses can enter multiple ZIP codes in the site’s search field to help them stay abreast of disease threats throughout the country.

While current vaccines do not reliably protect horses against the neurologic form of EHV-1,1 horse owners can help defend their horses’ health by staying informed with Outbreak Alert. Veterinarians can also benefit from the site, which offers exclusive features, including communication tools that can be used in practices.

Wisconsin state veterinarians had suggested limiting travel and eliminating horse-to-horse contact as the best options for horses exhibiting neurological signs of the disease.1,5 Although humans can’t be infected, they can spread the disease through direct contact or through clothes and supplies.1,5  

1Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1). University of Minnesota. Center for Animal Health and Food Safety. Available at:http://www.cahfs.umn.edu/prod/groups/cvm/@pub/@cvm/@cahfs/documents/content/cvm_article_419930.pdf. Accessed April 3, 2014.
2Equine Herpes Virus. Pet Health & Nutrition Information & Questions. Available at: http://www.petmd.com/horse/conditions/reproductive/c_hr_equine_herpes_virus. Accessed April 7, 2014.
3California Department of Food and Agriculture. CDFA > AHFSS > AHB > Equine Herpes Virus. Available at:http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/animal_health/equine_herpes_virus.html. Accessed April 3, 2014.
4Equine Herpesvirus. Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Available at: http://mn.gov/bah/horses.html. Accessed April 3, 2014.
5Animal Diseases. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection. Available at: http://datcp.wi.gov/Animals/Animal_Diseases/index.aspx. Accessed April 3, 2014.
6Cedar Rapids Weather. KCRG-TV9. Available at:http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Case-of-EHV-1-Found-in-Eastern-Iowa-253418261.html. Accessed April 4, 2014.
7EHV-1 Case Confirmed in Kansas. Kansas Department of Agriculture. Available at: http://agriculture.ks.gov/news-events/news-releases/2014/04/29/ehv-1-case-confirmed-in-kansas. Accessed May 1, 2014.
8EHV-1 Information. University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Available at: http://www.cvm.umn.edu/umec/EHV1info/home.html. Accessed April 8, 2014.