Blog Archives

Powering transformations

As the new year moves forward, many of us are reviewing our training goals with our horses for 2017. Trainer Sienna Hawk of Longmont, Colo. has a particularly large task in front of her with Tucker. Sienna and Tucker are preparing for the Equine Comeback Challenge, which gives them 120 days to turn Tucker from a green rescue horse to a horse with a solid start on his next career.

Tucker came to Sienna from Harmony Equine Center after he was seized as part of a rescue situation by the New Mexico state veterinarian’s office. He’s a 4-year-old Quarter Horse and is excelling at his training in Western tack so far despite his young age.

Tucker is still learning to find his feet and collect himself, but Sienna said despite his history he is incredibly friendly with people. He’ll soon meet cows for the first time and may even have a propensity for jumping, too.

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Sienna and Tucker hard at work

This is Sienna’s second year participating in the Equine Comeback Challenge, and it sounds like she’s really an up-and-coming young trainer in her local area.

“Over one summer, I began teaching children’s lessons and loved it! After a while the lessons expanded to teaching adults as well, and then I transitioned into training just the horses,” she said. “I really enjoy the one-on-one time spent working with a horse, both on the ground and under saddle. You can learn so much from each one that comes along, and being able to help them through difficult areas in their training is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever felt.”

Sienna has worked with young horses of several different breeds. She has two personal horses, a Paint named Jet who has done everything working cows, to trail riding, to agility,
jumping, and even endurance. Her other horse is a Miniature named Bron who is mostly a farm pet but is learning to drive. Sienna tells us she has really found her true love in Mustangs.

“I fell in love with Mustangs early in life, and now I’m totally hooked on them! Working at so many different barns, I met many Mustangs and always enjoyed time spent with them,” she said. “What I really love about them is their diversity. There are so many colors, sizes, builds, personalities, and attitudes. Each one is so unique! Mustangs are like working with a different animal too, they have a different way of communicating and learning. But once you bond with one, it is such a strong and meaningful relationship.”

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We’re proud to support Tucker and Sienna as they work towards their big finale at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in early March. Sienna tells us Two Horse products are a great option for her work with Tucker because of their durability.

“When I first found Two Horse Tack I got so excited,” she said. “My barn color is blue, so I was thrilled to be able to order any piece of tack to match! The beta biothane is so easy to use, and it doesn’t fade or have to be broken in. The first bridle I ordered a couple years ago is still the same vibrant blue that came out of the box! I use beta biothane every day in my training and riding. It’s the perfect equipment for a busy trainer!”

Luckily for Sienna and Tucker, beta holds up well to sweat and sun, so even with their busy training schedule, Tucker’s Western bridle with his snap-on blue browband will stay smooth and pliable.

Love Tucker’s bridle? You can get your own, in your very own colors! And follow his journey at the Hawk Horsemanship Facebook page.

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What’s that? Explaining lunge lines

(also known as longe lines, depending upon your sense of phonetic spelling)

 

If you grew up riding in the English style, you are probably familiar with the lunge line, but if you came to horses through trail riding or Western disciplines, it may be something of a foreign concept.

Lunging sends horses in a circle around their handler, who holds the excess line and sometimes a lunge whip. The whip does not typically touch the horse, but is carried in the right hand, trailing behind the horse to create noise that lets the horse know he needs to keep moving.

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Lunging horses has lots of different applications; it can be a controlled setting to work a horse lightly back from an injury, or provide a chance for someone on the ground to watch a horse at work to look for lameness. Lunging is also a way of letting a horse blow off some steam before beginning a ride, and it can also be a good way to help a horse build condition or muscle (especially if you’re also using side reins or other equipment). We’ve also found it a good way to teach horses voice commands, which can transfer nicely to other groundwork or riding.

Many English riders also begin their riding instruction riding a lunged horse, because it enables them to focus on their legs and position before they need to worry about also directing the horse around the arena.

No matter how you use lunging, there are a few important things to remember. If you’re lunging for more than a couple of minutes, it’s considered good practice to send the horse in both directions before finishing up for the day. That’s because turning in a circle unevenly stretches and loads the two sides of a horse’s body. It’s also important not to lunge too often or for too long at a time to avoid stress-related injury. Another good way to avoid putting too much strain on the horse is to avoid making the circle he travels in too small. Circles measuring 20-30 meters in diameter are considered a good size.

While lunging your horse, don’t wrap the line around your hand. If the horse should spook, you’ll end up losing some skin on your palms. Instead, loop excess line and grab the loop around the center.

Two Horse Tack offers all the equipment you need to get your horse lunging. Our lunge lines come in lengths from 10 to 40 feet in your choice of 14 colors. Our lunging cavesson includes hardware sewn into the noseband, giving you all kinds of options for line placement. Cavessons are available in sizes mini to draft, in matching colors to our lines.

Shop now!

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In Memory of Sampson

We’re happy to get emails from satisfied customers from time to time, but this one was bittersweet. We got these great pictures of Sampson the registered Saddlebred modeling his set of Two Horse Tack in the show ring.

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Sampson and his family showed in Western gear but practiced in English from time to time. Blue was his signature color, and as you can see, it really brings out the golden color of his coat.

Sampson’s tack sparkled a little more thanks to some bling on his reins. If you’re really a glitter fanatic, you can get an entire set of tack with bling, but we also enjoy the balanced look Sampson has going here with just a little bit of shine. Our bling tack is also rugged enough to hold up to everyday use, with each rhinestone riveted into place for maximum durability.

Sadly, his people told us Sampson passed away in 2014, but we are proud we were able to help him stand out in the show ring during his time there. Our condolences go out the humans who loved him. It looks like he brought them lots of joy in their time together, which is the greatest gift of all.

Meet Our Customers: If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It

In our work with different breeds, we’ve seen some pretty amazing manes and forelocks … but we have to admit, when we got a look at Scout, we became sure hers takes the cake.

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Scout shows off her new bridle

Meet Scout and her person, Laura, who are aspiring endurance riders who met us through Green Bean Endurance, which is an online community where current and aspiring endurance riders can meet and learn more about the sport. Scout, whose registered name is Katrina May, is a 15-year-old Morgan. Scout and Laura have only been together for a few months after finding each other on an online message board advertising Morgans for sale.

When it comes to that fabulous forelock, Laura says she’s always had an appreciation for fantastic hair, and when it comes to a ‘do like this one, she believes that ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it!’ And it would seem Scout agrees.

The pair are currently trail riding and Laura is hopeful that they will dabble in endurance riding, where she hopes the Morgan sturdiness and Scout’s small size will ben an asset. They’re still getting to know each other, so there are a lot of question marks about Scout’s greatest strengths and biggest challenges under saddle, but Laura said they did have a great “bonding moment” recently when Scout needed some medication.

“Well, I haven’t had too many moments – we are still bonding. And she is very independent. But she had a sinus infection recently and she put her head in my arms while she got a shot. It was a connection moment when she seemed to look to me for comfort and safety. It made me happy,” Laura told us.

Laura and Scout have been test driving our traditional halter bridle in eye-catching green and royal blue. Laura told us she likes the colors and appreciated how perfectly-sized the bridle was to Scout’s head, which has been a little hard to fit. The cob size ended up working best for Scout, but our tack makers can adjust any of our sizes (which range from mini horse to draft) to fit a particular horse if we have the horse’s breed, age, and size.

We also think the beta biothane will be a great option for Laura and Scout if and when they begin their endurance career–beta is a favorite among endurance riders since it’s both light and gentle on sensitive skin for long rides. Thinking about making a switch from leather? Order a free sample kit to see what you think.

Snowed in? Then it’s time to shop, obviously

Snow is piling up outside our windows, all over the arenas and all over our water tanks (grumble, grumble), and with this latest winter storm, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing the same.

That makes this a good weekend to grab a cup of coffee, stay under the blankets, and dream of warmer times–which for us, inevitably leads to tack shopping in preparation for the next (defrosted) riding adventure. That’s why we thought this was the perfect weekend to launch another sale on Two Horse Tack.com!

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Now through Friday, Jan. 22, get free shipping on orders of $100 or more on TwoHorseTack.com when you enter the promo code FreeShip2016THT at checkout! At our shop, $100 can go a long way towards a customized bitless bridle or spread out over a bunch of smaller must-haves like a new turnout halter, stirrup leathers, and a sweatproof breastcollar. Love the bridle in the photo above? Get your own here.

Meet Our Models: Bentley The Wunderkind

Today, we continue our Meet Our Models series, which will help introduce readers and customers to the horses who show off our tack on our online shop, and who use our products every day. Find our first piece in the series, in which we meet a young girl’s hard-earned first horse here.

Bentley is one of our youngest models at the age of two. The Percheron/Quarter Horse cross is a fantastic example of a ‘gentle giant,’ according to his person Marissa. The two have been together about a year now, since Marissa found the gelding online and fell in love with him when they met in person.

Because he’s so young, Bentley is just starting out under saddle, but Marissa hopes that one day, he will be an all-around horse, which will mostly incorporate trail riding. He started work in April, got a break over the summer, and started back this September. Already, Marissa says he has a sense of confidence that even borders on sleepiness.

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Bentley showing off one our newest products, a rope halter: 

“Nothing seems to phase this horse,” she said. “Tarps, bags, and other obstacles do not even seem to phase this boy. he is such a calm, lazy horse, which is going to be great when he finishes growing.”

Marissa expects Bentley will one day be an intimidating 17 hands, which is why one of their training challenges for now is teaching him about personal space. He’s so eager to cuddle that he tends to invite himself right over, which is sweet but could prove risky if Marissa didn’t address the behavior now.

“So far our proudest moment was walk, trot, loping smoothly and stopping off my seat!” Marissa tells us. Bentley is also learning some trick training (which, by the way, is a great boredom buster during cold weather) and within just two minutes, he learned how to lie down on command.

Many mounted police units around the country use draft crosses (especially draft x Quarter Horse crosses) like Bentley for all the reasons Marissa loves him–the size, combined with a quick mind and easygoing personality, make draft crosses awesome for all kinds of endeavors, but one area where we’ve really heard of them growing is in police departments. Police horses give officers a better vantage point in crowd situations, and serve as friendly ambassadors in urban environments, helping to foster comfort and trust between officers and community members.

See Bentley in action at his modeling gig on our online shop.

Product Review from Trail Horse Adventures

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.

Cole in halter

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.

Bring a little more color to your ride!

Stirrup leather collageIn case you hadn’t noticed, we believe in color. While conventional blacks and browns might be perfect in some settings, we think every day rides should be a little more…fun.

That’s why we offer our stirrup leathers in the same colors as our halters and bridles – from reds to lime greens to pinks, add a pop of color to your saddle. If you haven’t worked with beta biothane, it’s smooth to the touch and very soft, so it won’t rub your leg or your saddle. They also don’t stretch like conventional leather.

So what are you waiting for? Give ’em a try.

Great news, free tack fiends!

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We’re extending our giveaway of a custom two-color English bridle over on our Facebook page! Check it out and enter now–all you have to do is LIKE the page, SHARE the photo, and LEAVE a comment.

Love that rollercoaster weather…

We don’t know about you, but here in central Kentucky, we’re hoping the weatherman is kidding us about this next week’s predictions. From balmy temperatures and rain on Saturday to cooler winds in the early part of the week to single digit lows projected for later in the week, we have no idea what season it’s supposed to be.

Several years in this rollercoaster winter weather has taught us with a few tricks for surviving the months between December and February. 5 clean snow

  • When the ground is too frozen to ride, keep your horse’s mind active with trick training. One of the most popular methods for cueing horses to do this is using a clicker; you teach the horse to associate the click with getting a treat, then use the clicker to reward correct reactions to cues.There are some great books out there on the subject.
  • Even if the arena has become a slushy mess, you might be able to safely go for a walk. Walking can do more to keep you and your horse in condition than it may seem, especially if you work your horse in a frame related to the type of riding you do–dressage, Western, whatever.
  • Sometimes it’s tempting to venture out of the ring for a hack across the field. With the freezing, thawing, and raining, it’s hard to know whether there’s too much slip and slide out there for a ride. Try watching your horse’s movements when he’s on his own in the pasture. Does he feel comfortable jogging across the field to accept a cookie? Are he and his herdmates bucking or running upon turnout (if that’s their usual routine)? If he’s being atypically careful with himself, that could be a cue that adding your weight into the equation could be more challenging than usual.
  • Windy winter days make even our calmest horses much more feisty than usual. No matter what type of riding you do, it’s a good time to teach yourself and your horse to lunge or ground drive as an alternative or prelude to your ride. Both exercises can help either blow off steam or draw a horse’s focus away from the whistling winds and on to your cues.
  • Take advantage of the warm days when you can get them! We use above-freezing days to scrub out buckets and tubs, sweep, and clean/condition tack and halters. Of course, if you’ve got beta biothane equipment, that can save you some serious time–just toss it in a bucket of soapy water, rinse and go!

    Beta can save you some time when things get cold, too. Leather and even nylon get stiff when temperatures plunge, and the last thing you want to deal with in single digits is fiddling with a stubborn halter strap. Beta biothane doesn’t harden, even during the polar vortex winter we had last year.

    Learn more about this super-durable material here.

Now it’s your turn–how do you deal with roller coaster weather?