My high-energy farm dogs crave routine. Lefty, my one-year-old heeler, and Sadie, my 12-year-old Australian Shepherd, are both very smart, and if we get off our routine, they are prone to anxiety. (See How to Live with High-Energy Farm Dogs Without Losing Your Mind for all of my tricks for keeping them mentally and physically stimulated – and myself sane!) Rylee, my six-year-old Dalmatian, is more laid back, but she participates in our evening routine too.
At my Tucson horse boarding facility, I can ride year-round, but I spent 16 years in the frozen white North of Montana, and I know how excited I was to start riding again after the snow was off the ground (in April…or May…or June). While it’s tempting to jump right into event-specific training, after a long break your horse needs conditioning to reach his peak fitness level, whether you are competing or riding for pleasure. Taking the time to properly condition your horse is your best prevention against injuries and creates a fit, willing partner for your riding season (bonus: you get fit as well!)
This is the fitness plan I used each Spring with my horses for eight weeks before we start working on the skills we need in the show ring.
When Okie was younger, she was a very easy keeper. Now, she is 19 and I notice that she cannot maintain her body weight on her old diet. She does not quite fall into the “hard keeper” category yet, but her dietary needs have definitely changed.
Feeding a hard keeper is very different than feeding the easy keeper. Every horse is an individual and needs his diet tailored to his specific needs, but these guidelines will help you create a plan to get your horse back to a healthy weight.
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My two mares have middle-of-the-road metabolisms. They are not easy keepers, but they maintain good body condition with quality hay and grain. My Tucson horse boarding facility recently welcomed a new boarder who definitely falls into the easy keeper category, so his owner and I are coming up with a nutrition plan that will help him lose the extra weight while getting fit and healthy.
Feeding any easy keeper is very different than feeding a hard keeper. If you have an easy keeper, these tips will help your horse lose the extra weight while meeting his protein, mineral, and vitamin requirements for optimal health.
I rarely set New Year’s resolutions, but every year I make a vision board so that I have a visual representation of what I want my life to look like one year from now. I am a very visual person, and I’ve found that a vision board really keeps me on track, heading towards my ideal lifestyle.
This year my vision board is geared more towards my business, but you can also use one to set your riding goals for the next 12 months. These are the steps I use to create my vision board. I print out two copies and keep one in the front page of my Live Whale Planner, and the other on the wall above my desk.
Welcome! I've been a freelance writer since 2002 and have numerous horse-related articles published in print and online publications. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Rocky Mountain College with a major in Equestrian Studies and a minor in Business Management. My current business ventures include High Plains Arena and real estate investing.