Category Archives: Horsey Fun

Love of horses keeps Solhaug coming back

Days are long for Marte Solhaug — she’s up at 5:30 a.m. and feeding hungry Thoroughbreds at the racetrack and she doesn’t finish until 5 p.m. each day.

Solhaug, 24, started riding as a child, playing around on borrowed ponies before getting her own and dabbling in show jumping and dressage. When she had outgrown ponies and needed a larger horse, she became fascinated with Thoroughbreds and acquired one.

“It might not have been the best decision at that point for a 13-year-old girl, but I figured it out,” she joked.

Marte Solhaug

A native of Norway, Solhaug spent her first week on the racetrack at the age of 14 and was instantly hooked on horse racing. She attended Ridskolan Stromsholm (the Stromsholm Riding Academy) in Sweden, giving her a chance to perfect her equine education while remaining on track academically.

Two years into high school, Solhaug got her National Steeplechase Association rider’s license and rode her first race. She took a job in Australia working with 2-year-olds and young horses, then spent six months with international racing operation Darley. Seeing horses at different life stages and in different contexts gave Solhaug a unique perspective on raising them. When she was ready to work in the States, that international background made her a hot commodity.

“The first day I was here I got a job with Jimmy Corrigan,” she said. “Two months later I was an assistant trainer for Jimmy and I got to saddle my first winner [a horse called Elmor] at Turfway Park. I saddled my first stakes horse the same year at Churchill Downs, and another one at Ellis Park in the summer finished second.”

Solhaug said one of her best moments thus far in her career was saddling Impeached ahead of a win at Churchill Downs in June 2015.

“It was a childhood dream come true,” she said. “Getting to saddle out a horse at a track like that, where all the greatest horses have run.”

Solhaug is a jill of all trades for Corrigan — she gallops horses on the track, walks them after exercise to cool down. She handles communication for Corrigan between veterinarians, farriers, and owners. She enters horses in races and deals with the paperwork in the track’s racing office — and that’s all before lunch. Then, she’s off to Corrigan’s farm in Central Kentucky, exercising young horses, cleaning stalls, checking on mares, and whatever else needs to be done. Then, it’s back to the track to feed the racehorses. During foaling season, she’ll jump in to help mares deliver their babies, and in the fall she puts the first training on young yearlings.

“i’ve been v fortunate to try out everything,” she said. “It’s incredible watching babies when they’re born, then two years old starting on the racetrack. Then we had one go to the Thoroughbred Makeover [for retired racehorses] and he did really well there. It’s the job of the lifetime.”

In future, Solhaug wants to continue in a dual role like this one — enjoying the buzz of the racetrack and the relaxation of the farm. It’s the variety that keeps her going through the long work days — that, and her devotion to the animals.

“I love the horses,” she said. “I love knowing they’re always there when I come in in the morning. A horse won’t judge you. He’ll love you for who you are.”

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Throwback to the Two Horse Tango

On this #ThrowbackThursday, we’re taking a look back to last summer, when we sponsored the Two Horse Tango, a competitive mounted orienteering ride we sponsored in Central Kentucky.

Our course took us through Versailles State Park, the site of 26 miles of trail and some fascinating Civil War history.

Read an account of the Two Horse Tango CMO from Jacke Reynolds, our friend over at the Endurance Granny blog.

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Congratulations to Elizabeth and Titan!

Congratulations to Elizabeth and her 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Titan! Elizabeth and Titan are the winners of our July tack giveaway for a neoprene English saddle pad like this one.

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Just like our beta biothane tack, our neoprene saddle pads are water-proof and sun-proof, which makes them easy to clean and air dry. Elizabeth and Titan compete in dressage, and we’re hoping this pad can help them get ready for the next show.

turnout halter

In August, we’re giving away a two-color beta biothane turnout halter in your choice of size or color. Our turnout halters are rugged enough for everyday use and won’t crack, fade, or freeze, no matter what the weather. Adjustable at nose and headstall with chin clip for easy on/off.

You’ll get a $5 off coupon just for entering our giveaway! Put your name in the hat here.

Ready, aim, shoot!

Isn’t this the coolest thing? Kim and Tadpole look fantastic in our bridle, reins, and breastcollar at the recent Horseback Field Archery Spring Championships.

Who doesn’t love a mini foal?

Nicole over at the blog Equinpilot has teamed up with Two Horse Tack for a really cool giveaway. A foal by her stallion Roscoe is expected in the next few weeks, and Nicole is running a pool to see who can guess the baby’s arrival date and gender! Winner gets their choice of a custom Two Horse Tack bridle/halter/reins/stirrup leathers. How cool is that?

That is going to be one adorable baby!

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Roscoe, Nicole’s stallion

Check it out at Equinpilot

Indiana Fans: Join Us For A Ride!

Ever wanted to go on a treasure hunt with your horse? If you live in Indiana, we’d like to give you the chance. Two Horse Tack is proud to announce the Two Horse Tango, a Competitive Mounted Orienteering Ride, coming to the Versailles State Park June 10 and 11.

Five and ten plate rides happen both days, and you can enter for a fee of $12 per rider per ride.

More details and contact information for entry here: CMO FLYER

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Alison Bennett, 30, of Comstock Park reads her map to find the next clue along with two other team members as a part of the Michigan Competitive Mounted Orienteering at the Ionia Recreation Area in Ionia. The group rides horseback and uses compasses and maps to discover clues similar to geocaching. (Jessica Scott | The Grand Rapids Press)

Wondering what competitive mounted orienteering is? According to the National Association for Competitive Mounted Orienteering–

Competitive Mounted Orienteering (CMO) is one of the most challenging and exciting equestrian sports – for the competitive as well as family horse rider! CMO is like a mounted treasure hunt, which tests your horsemanship, your map reading ability, and your compass skills – all while having great fun with your horse!

The object of the sport is to ride out as an individual or a team on a prescribed course and find as many of the hidden Objective Stations as you can and get back in the least amount of time, on either a ten station long or 5 station short course.

The long course can be anywhere from around 8 to as long as 25 miles. The terrain depends on the ride manager’s choice of area – but CMO rides are held all over the country from the high forests of Washington State to the rolling hills of Indiana!

Want to learn more? Check out the NACMO’s website here.

Jump inside a world from your childhood

So many horse lovers spent days at the barn and evenings curled up with a book about equine adventures. Depending on what era you grew up in, you may have had a few books in the Pony Pals series stacked by your bedside. Did you ever wish you could live in the fictional town where the stories take place?

Apparently you can.

Check out Club Pony Pals, a virtual horse world that’s fully complaint with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Club Pony Pals also does a regular newsletter, which is how we found out about them; they’ll be featuring horse archery in their April edition.

Check it out!

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Meet Our Breeds: Pony of the Americas

We continue our Meet Our Breeds series this week with Max, who is a Pony of the Americas. The Meet Our Breeds series is designed to help you meet the many horses and ponies of different shapes and sizes who model our tack in our online shop.

The Pony of the Americas is one of the relatively few breeds that originated here in the United States. According to the Pony of Americas Club Inc., the POA traces its roots to a Shetland stallion crossed with an Appaloosa/Arab mare. Breeder Les Boomhower was fascinated with the idea of a pony with the spotted pattern of the Appaloosa.

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Here, Max models our turnout halter with camouflage overlay. Starts at just $55

POAs vary in physical appearance, similarly to Appaloosas; they may have a blanket coat pattern or a full-spotted leopard pattern. They also have the mottled skin on their nose characteristic of Appaloosas. POAs range in height from 11.2 hands to 14 hands high. Their physical structure is often akin to a small Quarter Horse with some marks of Arabians.

The POA is known as an excellent children’s and family horse due to its size and temperament. Most of them are used for Western riding disciplines, but are sometimes found in driving harness or under English tack.

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Our halter bridles are great for trail riders, and come in bright colors for added safety. This variety starts at $70.

Max is one of the horses at the Asbury University Equine Center in central Kentucky, where he helps prepare students for careers in the equine industry or for veterinary school. Two Horse Tack appreciates Asbury’s generosity in letting us photograph their horses with our products!

Congratulations to Jayden and Smokey!

Two Horse Tack is pleased to extend congratulations to Jayden and Smokey, winners of our December/January tack giveaway! Jayden and Smokey have won a custom-made buckle nose safety halter in their choice of size and color. Besides having a European style flair, the buckle nose safety halter makes it easy and safe for a beginner rider or green horse to safely switch from halter to bridle, and back again.

Although we didn’t realize it when Jayden’s email address was randomly selected as the winner in our system, Smokey is exactly the kind of horse who deserves a comfortable, brand new halter. Smokey is a 20-year-old neglect case and was being cared for on and off by boarders at the barn where he’d been left. When Jayden moved in, she tells us she instantly fell in love with him.

After Jayden started caring for Smokey, he was dealt some more bad luck–he was kicked by a pasturemate, tearing his esophagus and creating an infection in his throat.

“It gained so much pressure that he had a high fever, wouldn’t eat, and could barely move his head, as his entire body was so swollen,” said Jayden. “We were about to put him down when his neck literally popped. He can’t eat hay as a fistula has formed where the tear was, but he’s now fully healed and is my competition horse!”

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Jayden and Smokey have been competing in entry level eventing, and plan to move up to beginner novice soon. What a transformation! We think they look great, and look forward to following their journey on Instagram.

Didn’t win our December/January giveaway? We’re running another through the end of February for a Sidepull Bitless Headstall. Always wanted to try the freedom of a bitless bridle? This could be your chance. Fully adjustable at the chin, cheeks, throat, and noseband, our bitless bridles may be more comfortable for super sensitive horses. Enter to win and you’ll get a $5 off coupon for your next purchase.

Seedlings ‘In The Pod’

rowynbickinggreenbeanseedlinginthepodWe got this fantastic note from Jacke Reynolds of Green Bean Endurance about one of our youngest customers, Rowyn, who just got a pony bridle as part of our giveaways with Green Bean. We work closely with Green Bean to meet the needs of upcoming endurance riders, and even designed a line of tack specifically for them. Green Bean is a group designed to educate and assist new endurance riders:

Rowyn rides in our “Seedling” division.  In seedling we have “in the pod” riders and “out of the pod” riders.  Rowyn is in the pod, meaning she is learning about endurance riding, taking riding lessons, crewing, clinics, or intro rides.  This year Rowyn sprouted her way to an intro ride and completed on her pony.  She has earned 165 points in the seedling division.  Rowyn is a great example of how our children can learn responsibility and achieve measurable goals in endurance riding.   She looks forward to riding in her new official Green Bean Endurance bridle from Two Horse Tack.
Thanks Natasha and crew for planting the seeds that make these kids grow ♥
Jacke Reynolds
Co-Director, Green Bean Endurance
Keep at it, Rowyn!