Ode to My Barn Swallows

1:35 am

I had the most joyous of experiences last night, as I was cleaning stalls. 

The barn swallows were putting on a show above the paddocks and pasture as the sun was setting.  There must have been over fifty of them, swooping and soaring as they put on a show, it seemed, just for me.  I found myself laughing out loud and clapping.  I had to reach for the fence to keep my balance as my head tipped back to watch their wild flight.

Oh, how I love my swallows.  I start looking forward to their arrival every year […]

Your Last Ride

A situation came up this week that really got me thinking about making the difficult decision of retiring a horse.

When is enough, enough? When have these generous animals given us enough so that it is now our turn to be generous with them?

Some horse owners deal with the end of usefulness pragmatically by delivering their faithful steeds to an auction for the few dollars they might bring, and the many dollars saved on the care of a horse deemed no longer useful.

Others go above and beyond in geriatric care, as a friend of mine has […]

Meet our new guest blogger: FarmGirl

4:58 pm

Horsekeeping on four different properties over 31 years, the author has her feet firmly planted on her forever home, Freestyle Farm, in Wilsonville Oregon, where her farm motto is “It’s always something”.

Cindy is an avid dressage and trail rider and the owner of an interesting assortment of horses who each have their own story to tell.  Besides being a part owner of a successful manufacturing business and a garden enthusiast, she is also a former Reserve Portland Mounted Police Officer and monthly columnist, “Trails by Tyree” for the regional publication, Northwest Rider. She is a member […]


First of all, I must admit that I love the way uniform fencing – one style – looks running throughout a property or even a neighborhood.

Love it! But like so many things in life, horses and horse fencing included, pretty is as pretty does, so looks sometimes has to come secondary on the list of priorities.

And those priorities, other than good looks, are first and foremost: safety for horse and human. Practicality and utility have to outweigh human esthetics and vanity. The other issue at hand is that almost any fencing will work for some horses most of […]

Equilates: Improve Your Riding & Your Mind

6:56 pm

The first time I heard the term “equilates,” I thought it might be Pilates for horses.

In fact, it is Pilates developed specifically for those who ride horses.

It seems a couple of people claim to have coined the term and developed the system, but dressage champion, Betsy Steiner, has trademarked the term. Her website, Equilates, describes the method as:

“…the sport-specific training method developed by Betsy Steiner using the basic premises of Pilates: promoting elongation of the spine, muscular flexibility and balance, strengthening the core resulting in the relaxed concentration and flow needed to create the […]

Horse Barn Fire Prevention

9:21 pm

On the night of February 10, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln was awakened by a fire alarm outside the White House.

His bodyguard, Robert McBride, saw Lincoln dash across the space between the residence and the Treasury building—the stables containing the Lincoln family horses was on fire.

With the horses still inside, Lincoln “with his own hands burst open the stable door.” McBride reported that others standing nearby prevented Lincoln from entering the hopelessly-engulfed stables. Six horses died, and when McBride returned to the White House, he found Lincoln in tears.

Though that fire was determined to […]

Getting Horses Ready for Summer

6:54 pm

Have you ever spent time standing in one place in the cold for an extended period? Did you notice how when you moved again, your muscles felt stiff?

Multiply this by a winter’s length of time standing in a stall or moving slowly around a wet field. Now you know how your horse feels when you want to start riding more consistently with summer on the way.

Even if you ride year-round, if you’re in an area with highly changeable weather you probably ride indoors in the winter and less frequently. So how do you […]

Safe Stalls Program for Horses

5:41 pm

Everyone who loves animals is heartbroken by images of neglect or cruelty.

We most often think of this in regards to dogs and cats or other household pets. Many don’t realize this is also a problem in the equine community.

But the Humane Society has stepped up with a program to build a network to address the problem. Watch this:

With these bigger animals comes a need for bigger solutions. By creating a network of providers across the nation, resources like pasture, hay, and stalls can be ready on an emergency basis.

If you love horses and […]

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