Monthly Archives: November 2015
We’re proud that our Two Horse Tack models come from so many different breed backgrounds. It’s fun for us to learn more about various breeds of horse, and fun for us to meet the challenge of fitting tack to a wide range of needs. But we’re just as proud to outfit those horses whose heritage is a bit..less clear.
One of our tack models is Solly, who his person Miranda thinks is probably some mixture of Appaloosa, Quarter Horse, and may have some type of gaited breed thrown in. Miranda found Solly back home in Alabama, and knew very quickly she needed to get him out of his living situation.
“He was extremely skinny and was very weary of people,” she told us. “He wasn’t fond of people touching him.”
Miranda took him home with a few question marks. Besides his breed, she had to take a guess at his age, which at the time was probably four or five years old.
Now, four years later, Miranda says Solly has turned around.
“We began to build trust and put weight on. He was the best decision of my life thus far,” she told us.
Solly, short for ‘Solitaire,’ is a versatile horse who loves trail riding, jumping, and running barrels. He also does tricks–Miranda has taught him how to lie down on command, which was a big moment for the pair in terms of building trust. As prey animals, horses are putting their full trust in their humans when they agree to lie down on command because it renders them unable to flee in the event of some unexpected danger.
Next on Miranda and Solly’s list: riding bareback and bridleless. Solly is happy to work with Miranda, but she says he’s even happier to do so when she shares some of her snack with him. He’ll eat potato chips, pizza, apples, and even sweet tea!
Solly may not be registered anywhere, but for Miranda, his kind heart, his love of his work, and his determination to please means more than any paperwork. We’re proud to have Solly sporting Two Horse Tack!
Many of us adult amateur riders can’t help but long for the bygone days of Pony Club every time we see a Welsh cross go jogging by at the barn or at a horse show. You may not be able to turn back the clock, but you can still join in some of the fun by hooking up with your local mounted games club. Why should you dabble in a completely foreign discipline? We’re glad you asked.
- Adults welcome Mounted games are not just “kid stuff.” Most local competitions have adult divisions too, and there’s no need to have participated in mounted games before.
- Tall horse? No problem It’s also a myth that you have to have a 13-hand Shetland to be able to enjoy yourself. Although it does help to have a lower center of gravity, the beginner divisions designed for adults don’t require you to pick items up of the ground or do those running dismounts/remounts you may have seen younger riders doing.
- Come as you are There’s no special tack or equipment required to compete in mounted games. Many people ride in English saddles, but there are usually a few sets of Western or trail tack in the group, too. If you want to practice at home, you can usually set up the obstacles with items you have on hand, especially if you have a few traffic cones lying around.
- Color coordinate! Of course, if you’re looking for an excuse to buy new tack, mounted games are an opportunity to have some fun with color. Many teams dress up their bridles, breastcollars, reins, saddle pads, polos, and anything else you can think of with their favorite color combination.
- It’s cheaper than a clinic Horses participating in the games have to get used to a lot of weird stuff going on around them. You have the chance to teach them to let you carry small flags, ride them around barrels, and even pop balloons within earshot. In many ways, it’s not that different from a desensitization clinic, at a lower price. And don’t worry—you can start slow and simple and work your way up if your horse needs some help adjusting.
- Cross training for your horse Even if mounted games aren’t the full-time gig for you and your horse, there are a lot of skills he will develop that cross over to other disciplines. Mounted games horses develop a keen sense of the rider’s weight and with some practice, become very good at moving “off the seat,” with slight signals from your legs and hands. Western riders find the games are a good chance to develop or brush up on the horse’s neck-reining. Also for Western riders, there are even elements of the games that may show up in a trail class like precisely-timed transitions and navigating around a small area or obstacle, similar to opening a gate.Regardless of what type of riding you do outside mounted games, horses learn a greater sense of “tuning in” to their riders, as many games require them to both trot or canter quickly and to stand perfectly still, depending upon the rider’s request. It’s like fine-tuning the “on/off” switch in the horse; many sports just ask them to be “on” as they move forward to jump or ride a pattern, but mounted games will remind them when to ‘turn it off,’ too.
- Work those muscles Mounted games are good for developing your mind and body, too. You’ll learn to be both physically flexible in the saddle and to be confident enough about your seat and balance to lean out of the tack. This is especially beneficial for beginning riders, who can learn to develop their balance even though they’re not n the midst of a lesson.
- Newfound bravery When it comes down to it, it’s pretty cool to be able to say you and your horse can weave in and out of barrels while carrying a fluttering flag. Conquering new territory can give you both a confidence boost.
- Team spirit! Mounted games are one of very few true team activities you can do on horseback, besides team penning. It’s fun to cheer your friends on at competition, but wouldn’t it be more fun face the challenge of the egg-and-spoon race together? It’s also a great chance to make new friends, if you’re looking to join a team.
A lot of our customers switch between disciplines at some point during their riding journey. Here in central Kentucky, there are eventers everywhere you look, but in other areas of the country, there are fewer events available and the prospect of “testing the waters” with a three-phase competition can sound a little daunting.
If you’ve been curious about trying the sport, you’ll be pleased to hear some good news from the U.S. Eventing Association this month. The USEA Membership Committee has been looking for ways to encourage riders to give eventing a whirl, and are introducing a new division where riders (both children and adults) can receive instruction from their trainers as they ride their dressage tests or courses. This will be called the Beginner Novice – Assistance Allowed division, which will be an unrecognized division but available at recognized events that choose to host it.
Beginner Novice is the lowest recognized level of eventing (though a lot of events include “starter” or “greenie” divisions with smaller fences for newcomers, too).Maximum height for beginner novice fences is 2’7. The USEA’s idea is that this is a great fit for children who are rapidly moving up from the greenie or equivalent levels, but who aren’t quite ready to ride a full trial independently. It’s also a great confidence-booster for adults who are just beginning in the sport, or who may have had a negative experience and want to try again.
Want to learn more? Check out USEA’s press release on the new division.
This week on our blog, we’re beginning a series helping our customers and readers get to know the many and various horses and ponies who model our tack over at www.twohorsetack.com. Since our tack fits a wide variety of sizes and breeds of horse, we’ve developed a portfolio of different models to show off our products. We’re fortunate to be based in central Kentucky, where there are a wide variety of breeds available to wear colorful tack, and we’re also thankful that our models’ owners have been so gracious to let us photograph them over the years.
Meet Flash, a 22-year-old Missouri Foxtrotter gelding. Flash and his human Marissa have been together for 12 years. Like many youngsters, Marissa tells us she grew up dreaming of owning a horse and bought Flash with money she saved up from petsitting in her neighborhood when she and Flash were both 10 years old. She found him in an online sale ad.
In twelve years, Flash has carried not just Marissa but her friends and family members, and even one of her professors at Asbury University in central Kentucky. He’s mostly a trail horse, but Marissa introduced him to ranch and cow work–which was initially a little intimidating for Flash.
“When working cows for the first time he was so nervous, but once he realized that if he pushed towards the cows they would move away from him he had a blast,” Marissa told us. “He loves having a job and always strives to do his best in whatever he does.”
Marissa thinks of Flash as Mr. Reliable, her right hand man, who will put up with just about anything–even as he has begun losing his eyesight due to cataracts.
“Scary obstacles are now our biggest challenge,” she said. “Him trusting me with new scary obstacles is very hard for him sometimes but he pushes through.”
Missouri Foxtrotters are a breed that many people may not have heard of, and Marissa says they’re a blast to work with, and extremely versatile.
“They have, in my opinion, the smoothest gait to ride out on the trails all day that actually covers ground,” she said.
See Flash’s work in action on our online shop.
Back by popular demand, we have chosen the Australian or barcoo-style bridle as our giveaway item for November–so if you’ve been craving downunder style, this is your time to strike!
Our Australian-style bridle is rugged yet simply elegant, letting your horse’s facial structure shine through without a noseband. This bridle is simple and light, making it a great option for Western or trail riders, or even a good back-up bridle to have with you in a pinch.
As with all our bridles, it’s double-stitched for added depth and strength, and the industry-tested beta biothane is tough enough to deal with whatever your horse can throw at it without so much as a single crack or sun faded spot.
Entering our tack giveaway is so simple–we don’t demand that you share the contest on your every social media profile (although if you want to, we’d appreciate it). All you have to do is fill out a short form and–BONUS–you automatically get a $5 coupon code after form submission just for entering. Check it out.
If you regularly show your horse at United States Equestrian Federation-recognized events, you have one more thing to take care of before you load up the trailer next season (besides the extra leadline, of course–you did remember to order an extra one, right?).
In case you haven’t already heard, USEF has declared that beginning December 1, all horses at sanctioned shows must be vaccinated against equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus within the past six months. If you’re shipping into a show grounds for one of these events you’ll need to have proof of vaccination for your horse.
The guidelines are in line with the recommendations of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, which suggests twice annual boosters for both these diseases for horses leaving the farm frequently.
The philosophy is that both influenza and herpesvirus can spread rapidly when horses are housed close together, and both can become serious medical conditions very quickly.
If you have a horse with a history of adverse reactions to these shots, you’ll be exempt from the requirement, but will need to bring documentation from your veterinarian attesting to the reaction.
Read more at Practical Horseman
As we’ve continued our fantastic relationship with the Endurance Granny Blog, we offer giveaways exclusive to their readership from time to time. That’s why we’re pleased to congratulate Theresa and Breezy for their win of the October contest for a Western breastcollar!
Breezy, age 16, was a broodmare for six years before Teresa purchased her and decided to give endurance riding a try.
“Now she has a new job and loves it!” Theresa told us.
Theresa and Breezy’s first endurance ride together will be the Gold Rush Shuffle on November 29.
It’s great to hear about horses who can switch vocations at the drop of a hat–especially when they have to wait for us humans to catch up. A lot of our customers are adult amateur riders just like Theresa, and we try to make their lives as fuss-free as possible by providing quality tack at a reasonable price and without the fuss of upkeep that you face with traditional leather.
Happy trails, Theresa and Breezy! We’ll be thinking about you on November 29 (and hoping that the area hosting your ride is nice and warm that time of year).
Don’t forget to check back to the Endurance Granny blog for more insight into the world of endurance riding, and keep your eyes peeled for the occasional exclusive giveaway.
We are proud to offer gear that’s not only durable and great-looking, but also helps our customers ride more safely. One of our customers recently sent us this note along with a photo of her horse all decked out in their hunting season attire:
“I just wanted to say thank you again for all the help you have given to my horse DuVessa and I. I felt that hunters had no problem seeing us in the woods this weekend. Thank you for all of your suggestions on purchasing the right track. Also I’m very impressed with how quickly you had everything sent to me. I have some friends that will be ordering from you soon! Thanks again!”
Brenda here opted with an orange ensemble, which can be seen from a long ways off. All of our beta tack comes with the option of an orange base or solid orange color, and most of our pieces also have the option of orange camouflage overlays, which can increase visibility if you’re likely to be riding near hunters, as well.
We also offer reflective Day-Glo tack that will help you and your horse shine even as the light gets low…and yes, the Day-Glo overlays come in a range of colors, including neon orange.
So what are you waiting for? Start your custom safety tack today!
Here at Two Horse Tack, we love seeing horses excel in disciplines that are off the beaten path for their breed. That’s why we were excited to meet Harley, the winner of one of our September tack giveaways.
Harley is seven years old and together with her person Bobbie, competes in Western dressage and will soon be making the leap into endurance riding. Many people think of endurance riding as primarily made up of Arabians or Arab crosses, and Western riding is usually dominated by Quarter Horses or Paints. A lot of people had their breed stereotypes adjusted at the Retired Racehorse Training Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover Event in late October, however.
The event, which was designed to showcase the versatility of off-track Thoroughbreds, featured horses (who had not been off the track for long) competing in barrel racing, working ranch, and competitive trail classes. Some 350 horses from 44 states and three countries competed at the multi-discipline show, which demonstrated among other things that horses and their talents often reach beyond stereotypes.
Congratulations to Harley and Bobbie for going their own way, and for winning a free Australian/barcoo style bridle. This rugged yet simple design will show off Harley’s gorgeous face, whether they are on the trail or working at home, and like all our beta biothane tack, is incredibly easy to clean.
Want free tack of your own? Check back on our giveaway page for your chance to enter our next contest.
We were psyched to read a recent review of one of our turnout halters from the Trail Horse Adventures blog, written by Judi Daly (with help from her horse Cole). Cole and Judi ordered a bling turnout halter from our website as part of an offer to review our products. We didn’t tell our tackmakers that Judi was a reviewer, so she got the same treatment as any other customer, and we were proud to read that she was impressed at how quickly Cole’s halter got to her door (just about a week) despite being custom-sized and in her choice of color.
Turns out, one of Judi’s friends had already ordered from us before, and Judi mentioned in her review that her trail buddy really loved our stirrup leathers. We offer a custom option for holes to come in half-sizes so you can adjust your stirrups to just the right height.
If you’re a trail rider yourself, we highly recommend Judi’s blog. Judi is the author of two books: “Trail Training for the Horse and Rider” and “Trail Adventures and Advice” that may be of interest to you as well. We especially loved her post about the process of clicker-training Cole, having dabbled in the practice a bit ourselves.
If you’re a blogger yourself and would like to review one of our products for free, please let us know! The easiest way to do this by sending a private message to our company’s Facebook page.