Choosing a Riding Instructor for Your Child

5:06 am
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Thinking of starting your child in horseback riding lessons?

Congratulations! Riding is a skill that your child will keep forever. Like riding a bike, riding a horse is something you just don’t forget how to do.

Choosing a riding instructor for your child isn’t always simple. It’s important to find a safe lesson program where education and horsemanship are always at the forefront. Blue ribbons are nice, but without a safety-first, horse-first mentality, your child won’t learn the fundamentals that will make him or her a true equestrian. Fortunately, even if you […]

Equine Disaster Plans

12:37 am
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Do you have a disaster plan for your horses?

Government agencies advocate having an emergency plan in place for your family, but if you own horses, you know: you have family members that you can’t just bundle into the backseat if a natural disaster is looming.

No matter where you and your horses live, there is the potential for a disaster that could force evacuation or the possibility of living without supplies or electricity for a period of time. Whether it’s a hurricane, a flood, a tornado, or a wildfire, it pays […]

Keeping Your Tack Clean and Healthy

11:14 pm
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Cleaning tack. It’s a dirty job, but we all have to do it.

Saddles, bridles, and all the other bits of leather that we use on our horses can cost a fortune. Luckily, with proper care and storage, tack can last, if not forever, a very, very long time.

Climate control: Leather is just like you: it hates humidity. Saddles in humid, sub-tropical climates like the Southeast are always at risk for mold and mildew. You know that wonderful scent of leather that comes wafting out of a clean tack room? The odor of […]

Book Review: Falling for Eli

How I Lost Heart, Then Gained Hope Through the Love of a Singular Horse

By Nancy Shulins,  258 pages, 2012 Da Capo Press

The author, an accomplished correspondent for the Associated Press, fills an unfulfilled need for children she is not biologically able to have, with of all things, a horse.  The story follows her angst from making peace with what cannot be, through her angst in the adventure of first time horse ownership from 1996 through 2008.

I found the book so relatable on many levels.  Her horse, a thoroughbred she names Eli […]

Preventing Dehydration in Horses

3:39 pm
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Well, the official kick-off to summer has come and gone, and although some spots in the country might still have snow on the ground, there’s no question that most of us will be seeing hot weather very soon — if not already!

It’s nice to put away the blankets and jackets, of course, but hot weather comes with its own set of challenges for equine health.

One problem that often crops up in the summertime is dehydration. Keeping horses hydrated can be quite the challenge. (You can lead a horse to water, but if the horse doesn’t […]

I Want to Ride Like a Child

1:20 am
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When I was a child I rode with no fear.

I would always ride without a saddle and sometimes even with just a halter. When I was a child I could ride with no hands. I rode with the wind. I would jump anything in my way. I was one with my best friend, my horse. With him I found my peace through the ups and downs of childhood and adolescence.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It seems so unfair, as we age, no matter how often or how much we ride, that our […]

Book Review: The Eighty-Dollar Champion

3:35 pm
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Snowman, the Horse that Inspired a Nation

By Elizabeth Letts  336 pages (includes notes, bibliography and index), 2012 Ballantine Books.

Much in the fashion of Secretariat and Seabiscuit, The Eighty Dollar Champion is a well documented historical non-fiction novel, this one written by an equestrienne.

I had originally read the original children’s book many years ago, Snowman by Rutherford Montgomery published in 1962.  So while I was familiar with the story, this adult version tells the comprehensive tale of the symbiotic relationship between a horse and a man with extensive detail of […]

Just a Barn Cat

6:02 pm
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His name was Jester.  Actually it was Chester when I got him, but he quickly earned the name Jester.

His perfect black and white markings, and his entertaining personality made me think of a court jester.

He came with the farm.  I didn’t want him, had too many cats already.  But the seller had to leave him behind.  He had come with the place when she bought it, and with her divorce, just one more thing she could not deal with.   She smoothed over my objections,  “He is just a barn cat, no trouble, doesn’t need […]