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Should I Buy A Heynet or Haybag   27th Aug 2014
Should I Buy A Heynet or Haybag
General One thing I see consistently no matter where I go to horse shows or other events is horses and hay bags tied so low, they’re in danger of becoming a tangling hazard. I was recently amazed to see a very seasoned competitor tie their horse so low the rope was hanging on the ground. This was someone who should have known better. I’ve also witnessed what happens when a horse gets tangled in a hay net that was tied too low. Luckily, no one was hurt when the horse panicked and started to throw itself around.

When it comes to tying your horse, the rule is ‘tie high’. Tie to a solid object like your trailer, a sturdy hitching post or fence post. If you’ve disconnected the trailer from your towing vehicle, chock the wheels. Two horses can drag a
What Makes Horse People Happy   25th Aug 2014
What Makes Horse People Happy
General I recently asked the question of some of my Facebook friends - do you have your winter hay yet? One person, answered yes, and it makes me so happy. Which left me wondering, what things make a horse person happy?

Of course, being on your horse, or spending time with your horse usually makes you happy. Not a lot of us begrudge things like riding and grooming time. Training something new, especially when your horse (or you) ‘gets it’ is particularly satisfying. Competing, although it can be stressful can make you happy, although you might not realize it until it’s all over, and you can go over the ‘post mortems’ as my dad used to call our after-show analysis.
How Horses Spend Their Time   22nd Aug 2014
How Horses Spend Their Time
General The average riding horse, with a single owner is probably only ridden about an hour a day. A lesson horse, or a horse used for working cattle, racing, carriage rides, police work, or trail guiding may work considerably more. Many horses are ridden or driven much less, and some rarely, if at all. So, what does a horse do when we are not riding or driving or actively caring for it in some way?

Horses spend most of their time eating. The length of a horse's digestive system is about seventy feet on average. This depends on the horse’s size of course. The horse’s stomach is very small in comparison to the rest of its digestive system. The stomach is designed to slowly digest
Tricks Horses Play on Novice Riders   20th Aug 2014
Tricks Horses Play on Novice Riders
Horse Training Camp week is always good for me, because it reminds me of how really difficult and sometimes frustrating learning to ride can be for beginners. Those of us who know how to ride forget the struggles we had starting out. And often, lesson horses don’t really help matters.

This year, I’m happy to report, only two girls cried. One, because someone said something to embarrass her, and another, because she couldn’t make her horse stop. That horse was mine, and her favorite trick is to slowly pull the reins out of her rider’s hand, then wander to the middle of the arena, where she puts her head down and closes her eyes. As she wanders, the rider usually ineffectually hauls on the reins with her hands up around her ears as we shout, use your legs! Shorten your reins!
Horse Camp Week 2014   18th Aug 2014
Horse Camp Week 2014
General Another week of camp has ended and for some reason, it felt much less stressful than previous years. We had a really great group of girls from age 12 to 16, that tried hard to learn all they could. Over the five mornings, the twenty-five girls took a half-hour lesson and spent the rest of the time learning about horses. There were five horses, so the groups riding were kept small.

The first morning always feels a bit chaotic as everyone fits helmets and saddles and gets matched with a horse. It’s also the first time many of the girls will have ever touched a horse. They are shown which brushes to use and how to groom. It’s funny to see how tentatively they run the brushes over the horse’s hair. Picking out hooves is a real challenge.
Reasons for Sudden Death in Horses   16th Aug 2014
Reasons for Sudden Death in Horses
General Del Mar Racetrack has had a run of bad luck this summer. Some are looking to the new track footing as a reason for several of the breakdowns, but it appears two of the unusually high number of deaths so far could have nothing to do with the footing. One horse died before racing began, the other collapsed without cause as it approached the finish line.

Few of us can forget the heart-rending images of Eric Lamaze’s horse Hickstead, collapsing just as he finished an almost perfect thirteen fence World Cup stadium jumping course in Italy. Lamaze was just circling the ring when the 15-year-old stallion crumpled to the ground. In news headlines, the explanation for deaths like these is ‘heart attack’.
Why Horses Cant Barf or Burp   13th Aug 2014
Why Horses Cant Barf or Burp
General So we’ve been told that horses can’t barf or burp. But why? The first part of the horse’s digestive system is similar to ours. We have teeth to chew food, we get it into a manageable lump and then we send it down our esophagus tube to the stomach. Behind the area we call the “Adam’s apple” are strong muscles that form the Upper Esophageal Sphincter. This is what you activate when you choose to swallow, and it’s also activated when you breathe, burp or sick up. There’s a similar band of muscles right where your esophagus enters your stomach called the Lower Esophageal (also called cardiac or gastroesophageal) Sphincter. We don’t have any control over that valve. It keeps the contents of your stomach from going back up your esophagus - usually.
Top Horse Raffle Websites To Win A Horse   11th Aug 2014
Top Horse Raffle Websites To Win A Horse
General Who wouldn’t want to win a horse? Here are contests and raffles that can give you a chance to do just that. Win a warmblood foal, donated to Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program by Avalon Equine. Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program helps horse owners hit by things like flooding and storms. This year’s foal will be inspected and registered. The raffle draw takes place on December 31, and tickets start at $5 each or by multiples from their website. Tickets can also be purchased by snail mail from the address on the raffle page.
Three Places to Adopt Wild Horses   9th Aug 2014
Three Places to Adopt Wild Horses
General The last Wednesday of July marked the 89th Chincoteague Pony Swim. This event was made famous by Marguerite Henry’s book “Misty of Chincoteague Island." A few days before the swim, the ponies of Assateague Island were rounded up and moved to pens on the south end of the island. The swim itself is carefully timed so that it occurs during ‘slack tide’, a brief lapse before the tide creates a current either towards or away from Chincoteague Island. This makes the swim easier for the ponies.
Two Things to Unlearn About Horses   8th Aug 2014
Two Things to Unlearn About Horses
General I came across an article on ice harvesting in an old book that was written locally. One of the benefits of living in the cold and snowy north is that normally our lakes freeze over solidly in the winter. Before there were electric-powered refrigerators, the winter months, when there can be a foot or more of ice on the water, was the perfect time to cut large blocks of ice and store them for use in the summer. Teams of horses would pull the huge cut blocks off of the lake on sledges, to an ice house, where it would be packed in sawdust. Then, during the warmer months, a horse and wagon would be used to deliver smaller blocks to households for use in their ice boxes - a refrigerator cooled by the ice.

While the ice on a river or lake can be thick enough to hold up a team and sledge of ice, weak spots can occur, hidden by a blanket of snow. There may be a pressure crack that is only thinly iced over, or a soft spot where there is a bit of a current. And into these unseen areas of thin ice, teams might fall through.
Backyard Breeders Blamed For Spike In Equine Population   6th Aug 2014
Backyard Breeders Blamed For Spike In Equine Population
General After the economic downturn a few years ago, and laws being put in place to prevent meat processing plants from slaughtering horses, the problem of what to do with unwanted horses came to the forefront. Many argued, and rightly so in my opinion, that the problem isn't what to do with unwanted horses, but to prevent the production of horses that would formerly have ended up going for meat. Besides the many horses that end up on trucks headed north or south of the border, many horses are ending up staying long-term in rescues and private farms because, for whatever reason, permanent homes can't be found for them.
Is It Too Hot To Ride   5th Aug 2014
Is It Too Hot To Ride
Care and Grooming I wonder if those of you in the southern hemisphere get tired of hearing we in the north complain about being too hot? After all, it's approaching mid-winter season, while those of us north of the equator are in the midst the hottest weather of the year. This morning, I was at the barn because the farrier came to trim my mare's feet. When I brought her in, I found she was in a sweat just standing in the paddock. Because she's nervous for the farrier, she was soon drenched, despite being out of the sun and in the cool barn.

It's almost easier for horses to stay warm than it is to stay cool. That same internal furnace, fueled by pounds of digesting fibre, that keeps them warm in the cold weather doesn't do the opposite in the hot weather. On hot days, a horse's internal body temperature can rise a few degrees, even if it isn't working. Add even a moderate workload, and a horse can quickly heat up.
Odd Companions For Horses   3rd Aug 2014
Odd Companions For Horses
General Some horses like cattle, some hate them and chase them. However, keeping your horse in a field of cattle might be the next-best thing to living with a herd of horses. There can be problems with keeping a horse with cattle though, and as mentioned some will pester them. One day, a friend of mine called me in a panic, because someone had cut off her horse's tail hair right below the tail bone. She was stumped as to how it had happened, as there were no tire tracks, or footprints in the pasture. I then remembered that cattle will chew horse's tails. Yes, she had been keeping two young steers in the same pasture, and the mystery was solved.
To Breed or Not to Breed   2nd Aug 2014
To Breed or Not to Breed
General One of the problems with owning a mare is that there is always a temptation to raise a foal. Recently, my daughter suggested that I send my mare to her, so she could ride her, and have her bred. For a few brief moments, I found myself wondering what sort of stallion should she be bred to. I’m not a big fan of color breeds, even though my mare is supposed to be a Paint. I’ve never pursued getting her registration papers because it never seemed important to have them. Breeding to a Paint stallion really wouldn’t be my first choice anyway. However, a few years ago, I did come across a beautiful warmblood stallion that had such eye-popping color, he could have had three legs, and I might not have noticed. She might have a really nice foal, bred to the right stallion.
Leading Your Horse Through Gates and Doors   29th Jul 2014
Leading Your Horse Through Gates and Doors
General It sounds simple right? And you may do it almost every day. But leading your horse through a gate takes a bit more attention than you might first think. Holding a horse while fiddling with a gate latch, having other horses crowd around or having the gate get caught in the wind, among other things, can make this supposedly easy maneuver riskier than it first appears. Oddly enough, people do get hurt doing this every-day, commonplace thing. That doesn’t mean you should feel at all apprehensive about going through gates, because when you have a horse and a pasture, chances are it’s something you’ll be doing a lot. You just need to know how to handle your horse and that gate.
How Much Does It Cost to Own a Horse
 by Saferaphus on 27th Jul 2014
How Much Does It Cost to Own a Horse Care and Grooming  Every now and again, I’ll sit down and figure out just how much it costs to own a horse. It’s good to know to budget ahead. If you want a horse, you’ll want to make sure you can actually afford one, because the purchase price is usually the tip of the iceberg.

If you don’t board your horse, you’ll probably spend money on other necessities like feed. Few of us have pasture to support grazing our horses full time, so hay may be necessary.. Horse owners can expect to pay around $4 a bale and up or $35 for a 4x4 round bale. Hay prices can fluctuate wildly. After bad weather round bales can exceed $75 per bale. A full-grown horse can eat a half a bale per day. A low estimate of hay cost would be about $2 per day. That’s $730 per year. You might get away with cheaper, but a lot of horse owners will pay much more.
How Many Riders Does It Take To Write An Essay   26th Jul 2014
How Many Riders Does It Take To Write An Essay
General Any of us who have ever been forced to attend some kind of educational institution have most likely encountered, at some point, that horrendous piece of mental strain that we call ‘the essay’. Essays may seem easy in theory, but who among us has not sat up all night with an energy drink and a pen-cramped hand, screaming through tears that there’s just NO WAY we could write 1800 words on how the world would be different if platypuses wore hats? The point is, essays are an unfortunate part of educational life, and each of us must develop our own unique approach to churn out essay after essay whilst keeping our sanity intact.
Quick Tips To Sell Your Horse Fast - What Not to Do   23rd Jul 2014
Quick Tips To Sell Your Horse Fast - What Not to Do
General Most people are looking for horses that are quiet and easy to handle. The best way to demonstrate the steadiness of any horse, especially a young one, is to put a small child on its back. Have the child go without a helmet, and possibly barefoot, to confirm your faith in the horse. The younger the child the better and don’t let any adult photo-bomb the picture.
Horses and Dogs Needed for The Sunday Horse Movie
 by Saferaphus on 21st Jul 2014
Horses and Dogs Needed for The Sunday Horse Movie Horse Stories  Good news for horse lovers. There’s another horse movie currently being filmed. In the spirit of such ‘underdog’ stories as Dreamer, Secretariat and Seabiscuit, The Sunday Horse is based on the true story of Debbie Connor, a young rider from the wrong side of the tracks who overcomes prejudice, and a near-fatal accident that left her wheelchair bound. The injury meant she was forced to watch
A New Flame - Chapter Ten - The End of the Beginning   20th Jul 2014
A New Flame - Chapter Ten - The End of the Beginning
Horse Fiction Elijah sat down on the couch beside her and took a sip. He felt Jane sigh and set the mug down on the coffee table in front of them. She turned to him and her sleepy blue eyes met his. Her wild blonde curls were a mess, but yet completely perfect at the same time. A few stray hairs framed her sweet, freckled face as she stared up at him.

'Doesn’t it always seem like when one thing ends, another begins?' Jane asked, breaking the silence.

'This isn’t the end, Jane.' Elijah replied gently, 'I know it feels like you’re shutting a door, but it’s not the end. And it’s not the beginning of the end. This is just the end of the beginning.'
A New Flame - Chapter Nine - Rising From the Ashes   19th Jul 2014
A New Flame - Chapter Nine - Rising From the Ashes
Horse Fiction He took the stirrup, slid into the familiar, soft leather of the saddle and bumped the gelding’s sides with his boots. Aquillo broke into a jog, then a canter, then a gallop. Elijah felt the rush of cold air on his face as Aquillo thundered down the path towards Noah’s tree. When he reached the river and slowed to a stop, he noticed the trail change. The trees became bare. They hung over the river like sad, lonely figures in the dark. Gray ashes covered the ground like a blanket of snow. As they crossed the river to the other side, Elijah felt his heart strings pulled. Just hours ago he walked down this trail in awe. The trees stood so tall and proud. They towered over him and seemed to scrape the sky with their magnificent branches. Now all that was left was their weak, broken skeletons.
Cruel Modifications to Correct Horse Tail Positions   18th Jul 2014
Cruel Modifications to Correct Horse Tail Positions
General Soaring, rollkur and rapping are considered abusive training methods by many people, but there are other practices that don’t get as much attention, because the methods give results that are not as obvious, especially to the non-horse person. Many of these methods are used on show horses in pursuit of the ideal performance or look. Here’s a look at a few not so obvious practices that are still in use.

Horse’s tails are very useful for swatting away flies and other biting insects. Horses also use their tails to express their reactions, and the tail being the end of the spine, is used to help the horse balance. Using the tail to help re-balance is often seen on dressage horses, when they give a single swish during transitions, or changing directions. This swish used to be regarded as an indication of resistance, but judges may be less likely to penalize the horse if they see that it is re-balancing itself. There are times when a tail swish is not tolerated at all.
How Horseback Riding Affects My Driving   16th Jul 2014
How Horseback Riding Affects My Driving
General When you have a horse, it means you’ve chosen a lifestyle that is a little different than most. Owning a horse can affect how you think, and your behavior in other situations. I’ve found that horseback riding has profoundly affected how I drive.

Being a horse owner, it just feels right to drive a truck. Most people who own a horse, aspire to own a truck. I had to convince my husband to buy a truck, as he’s not a horse owner. Once we got a truck he ‘got it’. If you have a horse, you need a truck. A truck can haul hay, manure, trailers, and get through muddy fields where horse events are held much
A New Flame - Chapter Eight - Uncovering Old Feelings   14th Jul 2014
A New Flame - Chapter Eight - Uncovering Old Feelings
Horse Fiction A few moments passed before Jane glanced up at the stairs. She heard the familiar creak of the shower as the water turned on. Her heart pounded a little quicker in her chest. She found herself standing and heading towards the door. Her bare feet hit the weathered wood of the porch as she stepped out into the chilling night. Jane’s pale blue eyes squinted into the darkness, scanning the yard for that familiar figure of Elijah’s. Her feet padded against the steps and into the cold grass.

She looked to the sky. A distant, soft orange glow peeked over the trees. The smell of smoke lingered in the air, making Jane cringe.

Goosebumps shot up her bare arms as the light of the house became farther away and she neared the barn. One square of light on the ground came through the small window of the barn office. The faint sounds of men’s voices were muffled out by the thin door between them and her. She stepped into the light and peered into the window, where she observed Gale and her father, deep in conversation.
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Retraining a Racehorse - Moonfire (Week 4) I began by free jumping Moony, working him until he was jumping decent height fences in good form and with loads of spring. We introduced a few spreads as well, and Moony popped over everything comfortably. Once I was sa . . .
Saddle Up Series - Understanding Your Horse's Back - Part Six Now, as this series has taught us, it really isn't possible to completely ‘prevent’ back pain in horses. Any athlete – equine or otherwise – will take strain, and as riders, it is our responsibility to maintain the physi . . .
The Nature of the Not-So-Sane Show Rider Anybody who has done showing must know that you can’t be completely sane to choose to wake up at 4AM, and work for a good three hours getting your horse to look its best for a few boring minutes, just so that somebody el . . .
Saddle Up Series - Understanding Your Horse's Back - Part Five We now know how to identify and diagnose back pain in horses, but once you know what the problem is, what are you supposed to do about it? Luckily, there are a number of treatment options available to horses with sore ba . . .
Improving The Seat We can ride. Ask yourself now: Are you a passenger, or are you a rider? If your horse makes a mistake, can you help it out of trouble? If your horse takes a big jump, can you trust yourself not to be left behind, and if . . .
Retraining a Racehorse - Moonfire (Week 2) Before I begin, let me make something clear. These are my methods. Methods that have worked for me in the past as well as new methods that I have decided will work for Moony in the future. These methods might not work fo . . .
Retraining A Racehorse – Moonfire – Cross Country - Part 3 I stabilized my lower leg to get my hands looser and softer and keep my balance in my seat, then rode Moony up and down the hills again. He was certainly more forward and eager uphill now that I was riding properly, but . . .
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 2 Suddenly, from amongst the herd of stallions, one came charging toward me. He was a huge, bright bay creature – standing at least a hand over any of the others, and double the size of most in bulk. He hardly seemed like . . .
Crazy Stunts with Olop - Jumping Backwards - Part 2 Let me begin with a note to any of you who scorn this idea: I first got this idea from seeing a photo of Rodrgio Pessoa, an undeniably brilliant rider, trying the exact same stunt: Jumping his horse backwards. It isn’t j . . .
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 5 Fill a plastic bottle with stones, and shake it. This, according to our neighbour, would make Bronze ‘Go’. So, the next day I mounted Bronze – bottle in hand – and hoped desperately for results. I booted him into a walk, . . .
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