My local news keeps reporting that cold and flu season has officially started, but I have not had a cold since 2004 and I have never had the flu. My lifestyle gives me plenty of interaction with germs (8 years as a waitress put me in direct contact with lots of germs!) but I stay healthy. My daughter attended daycare for the first 2.5 years of her life, and she has had ONE cold ever. Some of this might be good genetics, but I believe our good health comes from good habits.
As equestrians, we get so little time to ride in the winter, so do not let illness slow you down. These are my tips and tricks to staying healthy through cold and flu season so you can spend more time at the barn.
Ever since I rode my first pony, a horse was at the top of my holiday wish list, and every year my parents shot down my idea. Now I am a mother to a horse-crazy kid, and even though I would happily buy her a horse every year for her birthday AND Christmas, my husband is not quite on board with that idea. So, instead, I find horse-themed gifts for her, and she loves them almost as much as a real horse.
For the horse-crazy kid in your life, here are 21 gift ideas to fuel their passion for all-things equestrian.
When I was five years old, my great-grandmother took a trip to Arizona and sent me a postcard. On the front was a Navajo girl with her horse and dog, and my great-grandmother wrote to me that kids here are very poor and may only have a horse and dog and few other material things. She said this was very sad, but I looked at that postcard and thought that the girl on the front was very lucky because she had a horse AND a dog, and I wanted a horse more than anything.
My parents always gave me the line that I could not have a horse because we could not afford one, but I really think I they did not let me have one because they were not horse people. They never denied me ways to fill my love of horses, and I had regular opportunities to ride and fuel my passion. I was one of those kids who traded chores in exchange for riding lessons, so I learned early on how much care a horse requires. What I did not learn until I bought my first horse in 2003 is how much a horse actually costs.
This is what I spend on my horses each year and the costs you should budget for before you buy your first horse.
With shorter days and cooler temperatures, my farm dogs are spending more time inside. My dogs have always been allowed in the house, and this was fine when I had low-energy couch potato dogs. Now my pack consists of three high-energy dogs, and, quite honestly, they drive me batty when they are inside. They bounce off the furniture. They wrestle with each other. They bring me toy after toy after toy and want me to play with them all day long. We go for a 1.5-mile walk morning and evening, but that is not enough to bleed off the excessive energy.
High-energy smart dogs are the hardest to live with because they need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. After much trial-and-error, I have finally come up with a solution. This is how I survive living with three high-energy dogs without losing my mind.
When I moved to Tucson to open my horse boarding facility last spring, I found all my riding journals from college. Reading through these reminded me how far I journeyed during my four years at Rocky Mountain College and how much my riding improved. I grew from a girl who could ride any rank ranch horse but had never been in the show ring to a woman who could clear a four-foot hunter course with class and style. I documented Okie’s journey from an unstarted colt to a mostly-finished hunter, and I am thankful I still have these records.
After college, I fell out of the habit of keeping a riding journal. I trained a few horses and gave a few lessons, but never really did anything formal. Now, I am in the horse business professionally, and I have started a riding journal for each of my horses and will add another when I find the right project horse. Regardless of whether you are a beginner rider or a professional trainer, a riding journal helps you set specific goals, which keeps your training sessions on-track and improves your equitation. These are the steps I take to keep a thorough riding journal.
How you spend the first five minutes after you wake up sets the tone for the rest of your day – including your time in the saddle. Modern technology has made it easy to turn off our alarm clocks and reach for our smartphones. Studies show that checking social media in the first half hour of your day leads to an increase in depression.
Rather than reaching for your phone and mindlessly scrolling through other people’s lives, what if five minutes could change the whole outcome of your day? What if you suddenly had abundant energy first thing in the morning – even if you are not a morning person?
Now that I have ample space for more equines at my Tucson horse boarding facility, I am starting my search for my next horse. My two current horses are both well-broke, so I have the extra time to take on a project this winter. As a stable owner, I am always looking for more ways to make money, and a project horse gives me the opportunity to improve my riding skills, get in shape, and connect with other horse people in my local community.
Choosing a project horse requires more than picking one out of a pasture, especially if you want to make a profit with your project. I trained my first project horse in 2005 and turned a $125 horse into a $5,000 horse in only 60 days. I have taken on a few others over the years, and some have been great money makers, while others have been money pits. To make a profit, these are the steps to take when choosing your next project horse.
Fall is the beginning of horse blanket season, but which blanket is right for your horse? Does he need a stable blanket? A turnout? A sheet? What is denier, and what is fill level? The options can be overwhelming. The right blanket for your horse fits his body type, lifestyle, and climate. These are the points to consider when finding the right blanket for your horse.
Once you find the perfect blanket, be sure to care for it properly. Find all the steps in Wash and Waterproof Your Horse Blankets the Right Way.
Fall is tough season for horse blankets. In some parts of the country, the weather varies from rain to snow, and this creates mud. So. Much. Mud. You turn your perfectly clean, blanketed horse out in the morning and he comes back in the afternoon looking like the Swamp Thing.
I owned a horse blanket repair business for almost four years, and I met many equestrians who were terrified of washing their horse blankets, no matter how dirty they got. The myth is that washing the blanket will ruin the waterproofing, but I promise, after washing thousands of horse blankets, this is not true. Mud, urine, manure, and exposure to a heat-cold cycle will break down your waterproofing faster than properly washing your blanket.
Follow these easy steps to properly wash your horse blanket and re-waterproof it if needed.
Since ancient Roman times, equestrians have understood the importance of maintaining healthy hooves for their horses. Unhealthy or unbalanced hooves cause strain on the leg joints and ligaments, which can lead to more severe problems.
Quality hoof care year-round is the foundation for keeping your horse sound and comfortable. Your farrier and vet are excellent resources for creating a hoof-care plan that best fits your horse, but you are responsible for the day-to-day implementation. These five easy steps will improve your horse’s hoof health and keep him sound.
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.