Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A New View

I have spent 11 years (mostly) behind these ears.  

Together we have survived 14 years together and 10 years of business.  The good, the bad, and everything in between, you name it, Pie and I, have done it, and it has been the journey of a lifetime.  

And now I have a new view.

A new set of ears and new journey of a lifetime...

 ...just waiting to be ridden.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Practicing What You Peach 2: Branding

A few months ago I wrote about practicing what you preach, and being sure that any animal you have in your care has the equipment and basic life skills to safely evacuate in event of a emergency. 

 And before the end of the year I completed my personal list by branding Brillo (companion mule) and pulling his coggins (on the rest of the herd's schedule, ensuring he'd be done each year in the future).

For 30 bucks and using one of the clinic's brands I provided sweet little B a unique, life long, forever visible mark (freeze brand- an 8 sideways/infinity sign).

Branding greatly reduces his chance of theft, while greatly increasing his chances at recovery.  

Brillo is no longer just a little donkey looking mule, he is a little donkey looking mule with a brand (something anyone can look for).  And his brand also helps to prove my ownership (in addition to his veterinary paper work since he doesn't have registration papers).

Even if you don't want to shell out $100-$200 on a custom brand (like the one on my mare above) you can still provide your beloved horses a permanent mark of "peace of mind". 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

PSA-Sitting on a Tied Horse, Don't Do It

There are few things that make me cringe more, than to see or hear about someone getting on a tied horse.  

In my opinion it is absolutely one of the most dangerous things you can do (or let your kids do).

But why is it so dangerous?  


Life is unpredictable (I once had a tree fall out of nowhere while riding).  

Horses are very large, instinctive, and reactive prey animals (even you're bombproof 30 year old).

If and when a horse spooks, not being able to move freely often adds to the intensity of the original spook because not only are they scared but are now unable to get away.   

Physics.  When a 1000lb animal suddenly hits a rope tied to something solid you are in a position to be; rolled over on/stomped in the frenzy, or be thrown head first into a tree, trailer, etc on the rebound if the rope doesn't break. 

So the next time you consider getting on (or putting someone else on) a tied horse, remember that your horse needs you (to feed him) and you can't do that very well from the hospital bed or worse. 


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall Is Just Around The Corner- Prepping for Winter

It will be Fall in just a few days.

And while most of us are still feeling the dog days of summer, now is the perfect time to prepare for winter.  Here are a few things to do in the next few weeks to help make the seasonal transition smooth and easy on you and your best friends.

1.  Check your water heaters and be sure they are working.  And consider buying one if you don't have one, they are awesome for encouraging steady water consumption.  Even if you only have freezing temps few times a year like I do, you'll sleep much better at night knowing the tough is a drinking temp.

2.  Check your blankets, and confirm they are indeed still waterproof before it's miserable out.  And check blanket fit too, especially if you have young growing horse(s).

3.  Consider your horse/ herd's health.  Older and younger horses may need extra blanketing, feed, hay, and or separate feeding/housing arrangements.  If your horse is in less than ideal body condition take measures to correct it before the dead of winter strikes.

4.  Check your own personal gear.  Locate your jackets, long johns, and gloves and check there condition.  When the water line breaks in the first major storm you'll be happy to have your gear in ready to go shape.

5.  Check your trailer, truck, and coggins.  Since fall marks the start riding season now is a great time to go ready to go.  Keeping a copy of your coggins on your phone can

6.  Clean your brushes, saddle, and saddle blankets.  After a summer of sweat, grim, and fly spray they deserve it and your horse does too.  And regular cleaning throughout the year will help cut down on skin conditions especially if you groom/ride multiple animals.

How to clean your brushes.
How to clean your saddle pads.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What I Really Get Out Of A Clinic

I started the 3 year old Mozzie Man this month.  We are a few rides in due to life and rain but I am already seeing the foundation that attending clinics all his life has provided.

At 3 years of age he knows how to spook responsibly.

He knows how to spend the day tied, away from his friends, work around strange horses, and stay overnight in a pen or high tie.

Because of the clinics and the challenges they present (every time) he knows how to work through an obstacle.  

Because of clinics he has confidence in people and seeks/listens to their guidance.

Because of clinics he can quickly refocus on a task after an upset/distraction.

Because of clinics and his exposure to dozens of spooky things he is confident and bold approaching new challenges.

Because of clinics I have a fairly well seasoned horse for his age.

But what about clinics makes them so beneficial that I excitedly go back time and time again?

Because you get do it "all" at a clinic.

Because you get to catch, load, travel, arrive at a new location with lots of other unknown horses, log hours of riding time in a training environment, do group and solo exercises, take a lunch break and tie (or pen) for it, and do it all again in the afternoon. Stay for the night in a new place among new people and animals or haul home, and get up and do it all again for two days or more.

Because what I really get out of a clinic is a chance to do it "all" in a encouraging and understanding environment.

Because I've found that doing it "all" always makes a better horse.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Practicing What You Preach

Now even the little shetland john mule Brillo I picked up this year has a halter ID tag, microchip, and fly mask for the trailer (to protect his eyes from airborne debris). 

Even though Brillo is just a pet (at the moment) he is still my animal and he should be as prepared for life as the rest of herd. 

If you would want to take them with you in the event of fire, flood, or would want to treat them in an medical emergency, then it your job to be sure your pasture pets have the training (at least catch, lead, load, tie) and the gear to keep them safe before an situation occurs. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Ride with a Whisper

Remember that your horse's ultimate reward/ release under saddle is when you say nothing at all.

So keep your good horse honest and never pass up a good chance to reward his effort by being quiet in the saddle.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why I Won't Be Riding At The Beach This Summer

My friend was in town last week and was talking vacation plans when she asked me about riding at the beach as part of the fun.

And all I could think about was the numerous cases of flesh eating bacteria being reported from the Gulf of Mexico in the recent weeks.

I can only imagine the potentially life threatening damage and subsequent vet bill that would be involved for a horse.

Not to mention the summer crowds are a pain away with the 100 degree days, fishing lines, kids, and dogs to worry about.

So I will save my beach ride for the off season.  October is quite pleasant from the back of a horse.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Surviving Summer- Tricks and Tips for Keeping Your Horse Safe and Cool in Extreme Heat

Based in Texas, the summer heat is not something to be taken lightly.  But by knowing the signs of heat stress and following these tips you can keep your best friend safe and healthy this summer.

1.  Know the signs of heat stroke in horses.
  • Restlessness/Lethargy
  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • Heavy breathing
  • Increased sweating
  • Excessive salivation
  • Redness of the tongue and oral area
  • High body temperature
  • Erratic heart beat
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stumbling 
  • Collapse

2. Know your  horse's normal vital signs and how to read them. How to take a horse's heart raterespiration, and other vitals.

3.  Monitor water intake and be sure your troughs are not in direct sunlight as much a possible, and consider freezing some giant ice ice cubes and adding to your trough as a summer treat.

4.  Heat plus humidity equals sweat and too much sweating can quickly put your horse in danger.  Add minerals and electrolytes to your horse's daily ration.  If your horse will not to eat the electrolyte power try mixing it with apple sauce or other yummy disguises.

5.  Know your horse's daily habits/patterns.  When he naps and when he usually drinks.  Knowing your horse's regular schedule can help you to identify an issue early on and greatly aid in a complete recovery.

6.  Stay on top of possible dehydration with a daily skin test, and if you are concerned about dehydration speak with your veterinarian and withhold grain/feed (which could further dehydrate and cause colic).

7.  Monitor pink skinned horses for sunburn and apply sunscreen, diaper rash cream (zinc oxide), and or protective masks and sheets as needed.  In some cases a horse may do best stalled during the day and turned out overnight. All horses can be affected by photosensitivity caused by toxic plants.

8.  Give them a shower, but be sure to scrap the excess water off.

9.  Be sure your horse has access to shade.  In a barn environment install fans when ever possible but be sure that they designed for outdoor/barn use.  Misting systems are also great way to help keep your horse cool

And last of all.

10.  Listen to your body, and take proper measures to ensure you also stay safe this summer.

And for the barn buddies.

Image result for heat stroke in dogs

Image result for heat stroke in cats

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Insert Worst Case Scenario (Here)

We've all heard the saying, "Horse's are like potato chips, you just can't have one."  

And many equestrian households find themselves with an extra or few who don't do much more than look cute and panhandle for cookies.  The retired show horse, the unsound due to accident, the pity plea/ rescue, companion donkey, etc.  

These horses rarely see halter and often go years without stepping foot in a trailer, and this is completely fine 99.9% of the time until there is a...

Fire, flood, major injury...

Insert worst case scenario (here).
Could you quickly and safely catch (and have the equipment to do so), and load your less handled equines in the event of an emergency?

Do you have proof of ownership in the form of brands, coggins/vet bills, registration papers, microchip, and or photos of you and your equine together in the event they get lost, have to be left at a emergency shelter, etc?  

Disaster waits for no one.  So be proactive.

And be sure even your extra horses have basic handling skills (catch, lead, load) and practice them occasionally before calamity strikes.



Friday, June 10, 2016

Frustrated With Your Horse Life? PS: Your Horse Is Too

Frustrated: Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something, being prevented from progressing, succeeding, or being fulfilled.

If you are frustrated because your horse messed up on the 21st pivot, after 20 perfect pivots in a few min span. Your horse is frustrated that he gave you the 20 perfect pivots you asked for and his only reward was for you to ask for another. (Which now with his fumble has probably turned into a few dozen more).

If you are frustrated with your horse bucking at the canter.  Your horse may be frustrated that every time he picks up the canter your saddle digs unbearably into his shoulders and back and the only way he can get you to stop cantering is to start bucking.  

If you are frustrated your horse won't do (insert just about anything here).  Your horse is frustrated because he doesn't understand what you want,that you keep asking exactly the same way, and that when he does try to try you will not acknowledge his slightest effort in the right direction.

At the end of the day if you are frustrated, your horse is too.

And if you find yourself frustrated the best thing you can do is go to a trainer, clinic, very accomplished friend, and ask for a fresh set of eyes on the situation.