Monthly Archives: February 2016

Time for a new contest!

Calling all endurance riders! We’re trying a new kind of giveaway contest, just for you! We’re giving away a $25 giftcard to our website to the rider who logs the most conditioning miles between now and Friday, March 4. All you have to do is keep track of your miles with the Endomondo app on your phone, and email us the screenshot at 2horsetack@gmail.com.

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Photo courtesy, MAD Photography

We’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page. What’re you waiting for? Get riding!

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Want to get started as an endurance rider?

Have you been reading our blog posts on endurance riding and wondering how you can give it a try? Check out this calendar of endurance rides with intro divisions, where you can start off with as little as 25 miles or so. For entry information about the rides you see listed here, check out the AERC website.

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What’s that? Explaining the running martingale

If you’ve watched the Rolex CCI**** on television or YouTubed some grand prix jumping, it’s possible you’ve noticed a set of straps hanging down from some of the horses’ reins. You might have wondered–what are those things?

What you’re looking at might be a running martingale. The running martingale attaches to the girth and travels through the horse’s front legs, where it forks and loops onto each rein. Its purpose is to discourage horses from throwing their heads up in order to resist the bit.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.03.26 PMLike any other piece of equipment, it’s critical the running martingale be adjusted properly for it to be utilized safely and ethically. If the running martingale is correctly fitted, it has some slack while the horse has his head in a normal position, preventing any pressure on the reins. If the horse throws his head, he will reach the end of the slack in the martingale and the rings will place downward pressure on the reins.

The advantage of the running martingale over the standard, standing martingale is that the rider can loosen the reins to release the martingale’s tension if the horse trips after a fence. One additional safety consideration is adding rein stops to prevent the martingale rings from sliding forward and getting caught near the bit or on the rein buckles.

We appreciate running martingales for their ability to help keep feisty horses attentive to the bit. There are lots of options to address this issue, both with equipment and with training. Always work with your trainer to decide what’s best for your horse.

If you would like to try a running martingale, Two Horse Tack sells running attachments that clip on to our beta biothane breastcollars. You have your choice of single color, two-color, or bling running attachments, or you can add them on to your order of a custom breastcollar.

Show us your Two Horse Tack pride!

As part of our sponsorship between Two Horse Tack and Green Bean Endurance, we’re proud to offer a comfy, affordable t-shirt sporting our combined logo. Sport your Two Horse Tack pride on your next ride with your choice of colors and sizes (of course! that’s the THT way).

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We’re offering this shirt via Amazon for just $9.55. Prime members get free shipping and according to one of our buyers, it comes with a $1 digital credit.

That’s a great deal if ever we heard of one! Click here to order.

This partnership is one in our series of endurance-themed blogs celebrating the new partnership between Two Horse Tack and Green Bean Endurance. Want to learn more about the sport? Green Bean has some fantastic resources on its Education page here

Are your horses muddy messes, too?

We don’t know about you, but these days, our horses are coming in looking like this pretty much every day:

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The horses love it, and we…are less than thrilled. Especially when it comes to removing the encrusted mud layers from their cheeks and chin.

If you’re struggling with this also, we have the perfect tack giveaway for you this month. Two Horse Tack is giving away a free bling grooming halter during the month of February. Sign up to win (no purchase needed) here.

Grooming Halter

Our grooming halter has the cheek and chinpieces removed for easier access to the horse’s face while grooming, bathing, or clipping. And even better, our beta biothane washes clean with soap and water, so mud is no problem. It won’t crack or dry, no matter how many cycles of cleaning it goes through. Your choice of 14 base colors and 12 bling colors to best compliment your steed.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. And, if you enter now, you’ll also get a $5 off coupon for your next purchase of $40 or more at our online shop.

Endurance Riding 101: How Does This Work?

This post is one in our series of endurance-themed blogs celebrating the new partnership between Two Horse Tack and Green Bean Endurance. Want to learn more about the sport? Green Bean has some fantastic resources on its Education page here

Ok, so you’ve read our post about why endurance riding is a great endeavor for riders from other disciplines, but if you’re like us, you may not have the faintest idea how an endurance ride actually works.

If you’re looking to get into endurance riding as a sideline to help condition yourself and your horse, remember that there are short-distance rides available to you. The “turtle” division is usually the best place to start for newbies. The shortest rides recognized by the AERC are 25-mile rides, which you have six hours to complete. Competitors may be ranked both as individuals and as a team for shortest time taken to complete the course and for the horse’s pulse to return to an established threshold. There’s also a separate prize given out for the Best Conditioned horse, and this is greatly coveted among endurance riders because it reflects their preparation for the event and overall horsemanship moreso than their performance on a particular given day, as it’s available to the top ten finishers.

Competitors are separated into weight categories based on the weight of the rider plus their equipment.endurance

You will have several mandatory veterinary checks, of course–one before you begin the ride, and several along the way to ensure equine welfare. Among other things, vets will be looking for the horse’s heart rate to fall in a certain range before the horse is allowed to continue. If the heart rate does not return to the desired range, or if there are any other problems detected, a horse can be pulled from the competition.

Horses are offered water at various points through the ride, too, which is important whether it’s hot outside or not. Horses will usually start the ride at a trot, and their pace/gait from there can vary depending upon the horse/rider pair. Some spend most of the time in trot, while others will pick up the pace or slow things down, depending upon the course. The winner is the horse/rider who cross the finish line first, provided the horse is approved by the veterinarian as healthy and sound.

Newcomers should recognize that even for a short ride like the 25-miler, it can take months for a horse to fully develop not just their aerobic capacity, but their muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A thorough conditioning plan is needed to make sure you’re not asking too much of your horse before a ride like this.

One thing that’s really great about endurance is that, similarly to eventing, just finishing the competition is considered a real accomplishment and point of pride. And, there’s no shame in not finishing; the only really culturally unacceptable thing in the sport is pushing a horse too far, though of course the veterinary guidelines are in place to keep anything from getting out of hand. For that reason, Jacke over at Green Bean let us know that “race” is not a term that’s used in endurance riding; racing would imply a degree of risk to the horse that a well-prepared endurance rider wouldn’t take.

Green Bean is a great place to start for new riders because it awards points only for completion and miles per race, not for placement or speed. No pressure, more fun!

Want to learn more about the sport? Check out Green Bean Endurance’s Education page, or the Resources pages on the American Endurance Ride Conference’s First Ride page.

Why should you try endurance riding?

In honor of our new partnership with Green Bean Endurance, Two Horse Tack is continuing a series of endurance-themed posts here on our blog, which are aimed specifically at those who aren’t currently endurance riders. Enjoy!

If you’re not one of our many customers who participates in endurance riding with your horse, you might think that it’s a sport unto itself, or that it’s not possible to just “dabble” in an intense discipline like endurance riding. Maybe you’ve heard it’s only a sport for people with Arabians or half-Arabians, or that you have to own certain equipment to participate.

endurance-shagyaWe’re here to tell you that in fact, endurance riding is a great form of cross-training, it’s easy to find a starter ride near you, and there are lots of reasons you should give it a try!

  • Develop stamina: No matter what you and your horse do full-time, endurance riding is a good way to build condition so that you can better participate in your full-time sport. Green Bean has some great posts to get your horse started on a conditioning program. It’s also a great way to train yourself–all those miles in the saddle will definitely improve your muscles and aerobic capacity
  • New skills for your horse: Endurance riding requires you and your horse to deal with obstacles on the trail, different surfaces, and different weather condition. It will require the horse to learn to both lead and follow in a group. Endurance horses must trot in hand, stand well for the veterinarian, and become comfortable eating, drinking, and camping in various scenarios.
  • New skills for you: You’ll need to learn basically useful skills like taking your horse’s pulse and respiration to monitor their progress during training. You’ll also need to become proficient at checking saddle fit, as a well-fitting saddle is essential for even a short endurance ride, and you’ll learn about how horses build condition through their various body systems.
  • Friendship: Groups like Green Bean Endurance help you connect with other riders in your area, but even if you’re going it alone, endurance is a great way to meet other horsey people in your region.
  • A new sense of bonding with your horse: There’s nothing like crossing the finish line of a 15-mile ride, tired but accomplished, with your equine partner. There are a lot of ways to deepen your friendship with your horse, but pushing your own sense of what’s possible is a pretty incredible one.
  • No limits: Any breed can participate in endurance riding. Intro rides begin at 15 miles, which is attainable for most healthy, well-conditioned horses. There’s also a huge variance in human ages participating in endurance riding: entire families sometimes compete together as a team
  • Wide variety of goals: There’s always a new goal in endurance riding. Whether you’re looking to finish your first intro ride, move up to a 50-miler, or aiming for the Best Condition award, you can usually find something new to prepare for, even if it’s a long-range project.

Endurance riders love our beta biothane tack because it’s light, gentle on sensitive skin, and waterproof! We’ll be announcing special products for endurance riders soon, but in the meantime, check out our line of breastcollars, which are especially popular with the endurance set. 

 

Endurance Riding: Whose Idea Was This, Anyway?

In honor of our new partnership with Green Bean Endurance, Two Horse Tack is continuing a series of endurance-themed posts here on our blog, which are aimed specifically at those who aren’t currently endurance riders. Enjoy!

There’s no doubt about it–endurance riders and their horses are tough. Anyone who’s willing to saddle up, knowing they’ll be achey, hot, and tired before they’re halfway through the journey has got to be pretty determined. If you’ve ever gotten to the 20-mile marker in a beginner’s endurance ride and wondered, ‘Who in the world came up with this idea??’ well, we’ve got answers for you.

Eventers are proud of their sport’s heritage as a test of bravery and athletics for cavalry horses, but did you know that endurance riding also got its start in the cavalry? It began in the early 1900s with tests that spanned over 5 days and 300 miles, with horses carrying at least 200 pounds. That’s a lot to ask, especially when you consider that the average cavalry horse probably wasn’t a full-blooded Arabian, which are popular amongst high-level endurance riders today because of their propensity for long distance.

But lest you think of endurance riding as dominated by Arabians–the Morgan Horse Club actually helped stimulate the sport’s development in the early 1900s, starting its own endurance rides as a means of demonstrating the breed’s suitability for the cavalry. Those rides, too, went up to 300 miles.

Of course, speaking theoretically, people have been doing some sort of endurance riding for hundreds, if not thousands of years, since the domestication of the horse was largely based on the animal’s ability to carry people and objects great distances. The sport didn’t expand to include civilians until the 1950s. In 1955, the heralded Tevis Cup was organized, when Wendell Robie and a group of friends wanted to learn whether horses of that era could traverse the Western States Trail, from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California. The Tevis Cup has been held annually ever since (excepting 2008, when it was cancelled due to wildfire activity).

The American Endurance Ride Conference was established several years later in the early 1970s and is now the body responsible for tracking points, making rules for certified competitions, and promoting the sport. Endurance riding is part of the FEI World Equestrian Games and is part of the U.S. Equestrian Team.

Endurance riders love our beta biothane tack because it’s light, gentle on sensitive skin, and waterproof! We’ll be announcing special products for endurance riders soon, but in the meantime, check out our existing line of halter bridles, which are especially popular with the endurance set. 

Exciting news from Two Horse Tack and Green Bean Endurance!

Drumroll, please…

We are so very excited to announce a new partnership we’re beginning this year with Green Bean Endurance!

GBT Dk GreenIf you’re not familiar with Green Bean, it’s a group of volunteers who organize a sort of “competition within a competition” for newcomers to endurance riding. Green Bean’s goal is to help connect endurance newbies and encourage them in their goals as they begin the sport. Green Bean assigns point values to the competitions its riders are already in, and gives out awards based on those point values; they also help assemble interested riders into teams, where individual point values are averaged. If you’d rather not join a team, they will also track individual points (although the team option is the most popular). It’s a great way to have fun, meet fellow riders, and share resources, which is a big help if you and your horse are getting started in a new discipline.

One of the many things Green Bean Endurance does to keep things fun for its members is the occasional product giveaway, which is one of many areas that we realized we could help this great organization. We’ll also be designing a tack line specifically for Green Bean participants, which is pretty exciting! Look for more details on those items, the sale of which will benefit Green Bean Endurance, here on our blog or on our Facebook page.

In honor of this new partnership, we’ll be posting a series on endurance riding over the coming weeks, and will also point you to some great content on the Green Bean site for those interested in conditioning their horses, whether it’s for an endurance ride or for another equestrian sport.