4 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Barn

Have you started planning out your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you stumped on just what your goals for this next year should be? We’ve come up with some great ideas for barn-related New Year’s Resolutions. Take a look and see if one of these ideas might be right for you.

aisle 71. Upgrade Your Barn’s Stall Components This Year

Are your barn’s stalls in need of an upgrade? Using old, weakened, or deteriorating stalls can actually put your horse’s safety at risk. You don’t want to trust that a low-quality stall will keep your horse safely contained, so now is the perfect time to resolve to upgrade your barn’s stall components.

Make it your resolution to call Classic Equine Equipment to talk about the many stall choices that we offer. We’re sure to have an option which works for your barn. Classic Equine Equipment stalls are customizable so that you get the right fit, look, and atmosphere for your barn.

2. Perform a Barn Renovation

Have you been thinking about renovating your barn, but put the process off due to financials, planning, and the headache of the renovation itself? Then make a resolution to let Classic Equine Equipment help you plan your barn’s renovation. Working with a barn which you’ve outgrown or which just doesn’t fulfill your needs can make barn chores and horse care unpleasant. We can help you renovate your barn so that it suits your needs and looks great.

3. Finally Build That Indoor Arenaarena

Having an indoor arena can truly transform your property. There are countess advantages of an indoor arena that you can’t ignore, such as increased income from lessons that can continue year-round and the ability to charge a higher board rate when you have an indoor arena available.

Classic Equine Equipment offers pens and arenas in different sizes and designs; resolve to call us in the New Year to get a quote on your new indoor arena.

4. Install Automatic Feeders for Convenience

white-horse-with-feederYou can’t beat the convenience of having automatic horse feeders installed on your property. Automatic feeders can feed your horse smaller, frequent meals throughout the day without requiring you to be present. These feeders, like the iFeed feeder, can free up your schedule and improve your horse’s health.

If you’re thinking of installing automatic feeders, this might be the perfect time to also look into installing automatic waterers.

CEE NEW LOGO HI RES 75Whatever you decide for your New Year’s Resolution, Classic Equine Equipment can help. Give us a call and let us help you make your resolution a reality.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM CLASSIC EQUINE EQUIPMENT!

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Learning What Horses Can Teach Us

Equine Experiential Education

By Guest Blogger Cathy Mahon, Harmony and Healing with Horses

experientiall horse learning 2Equine Experiential Education-Guiding the Discovery Horses have been a part of my life for the last 30 years. In the beginning, I was a typical horse owner, hoping to ride my horse on a regular basis in and outside of the protected area of an arena. My plan early on was to learn from the advice of various horse owners. Even when it worked, though, I felt an uneasiness about creating fear in another creature, so I could have a cooperative, submissive partner.

horse human connection CATHY MAHONBecoming a Centered Riding instructor in 2009 changed my life. It put me on a journey of self-awareness and self- discovery that began with my own reflection on what it meant to be balanced and centered, not only with the horse, but in my life. The idea that I would consider the horse’s feelings and desires and be able to understand their nonverbal language put greater responsibility on my behavior instead of the horse’s. I learned that real contentment comes when you allow the experience of others to enhance and expand your own experience.

I then met Robin Gates as she shared her gift through Liberty Training. I knew I was seeing something spiritual. She approached with an openness that invited the horse into her space even as she asked permission to enter theirs. She called it a cord of connection and I found it magical. I had seen glimpses of this kind of interaction in my own work but only as a small part of my end goal in controlling the horse’s behavior. She created a sense of safety and comfort in their presence that tapped into a horse’s natural desire for a leader-not one who demands and controls a limited set of behaviors, but one who asks for a response, knowing how to reflect on the answer and adapt to it in the moment.

This approach to horses changed my behavior in and out of the arena. As a physician assistant, 25 years in practice, I was used to having the answers and giving what I thought was the best advice to patients who sought my services. I felt I knew what the best course of action was and when patients resisted my advice, I was content to move on to the next person, hoping to find someone who would find my answers sufficient, even brilliant. It was all about my needs, my ego, my choices.

I realized that I had been treating my horses the way I treated everyone in my life. I continued to explore the idea that horses, in their own natural state, will see the world as it is RIGHT NOW-no judgments, no comparisons, NO EGO! I listened and let them offer me their own suggestions as to how to best approach them. I learned to read their body language and interpret the physical, mental and emotional state that was reflected there. I accepted that I did not have all the answers and that it was okay to struggle in my search for one.

Experiential horse learning 1Experiential education is learning by doing with reflection from the horses. These sensitive, intelligent creatures respond to both positive and negative changes generated by a person’s body and behavior. People are more readily willing to accept feedback from a horse than they do from humans, as there is no judgment in the horse’s response. People trust the horse’s reflection as honest and direct. As we learn from the wisdom of the horse, we develop our intuition and create new possibilities for our lives. The activities are designed to highlight aspects of personal growth and turn it into a tool for empowerment to make things happen. You then have a chance to identify specific strategies for creating positive change that will benefit you today and in the future.

In 2015, I became a facilitator through the Equine Experiential Education Association. I have furthered my education through courses in personal coaching and by creating my own business Harmony and Healing with Horses offering classes and workshops here in the Pacific Northwest.  It is now my purpose and my passion to guide the discovery of each person’s authentic and best self with my teacher, the horse

ABOUT CATHY MAHON:  Cathy Mahon is a talented  horsewoman who brings her cathy mahonlifelong love of horses and her passion for teaching & healing together to create amazing educational experiences. After graduating from Rutgers Medical School over 30 years ago,Cathy’s first career as a physician assistant gave her the knowledge and skill to care for people at all stages of life. A natural teacher and healer, she then found her true calling in the work of equine experiential education (E3 certified) after discovering that her “free time” with the horses led to enormous strides in her own personal development. She is dedicated to offering extraordinary classes & workshops for empowering stronger and more confident individuals through the wisdom and guidance of the horse.

photo credit:  Hamony and Healing With Horses

The Holiday Horses

christmas horse santaBefore there was Santa Claus, there were Saint Nicholas and Sinterklaas.  And, before there were reindeer, these holiday gift-givers rode horses. 

Prior to Chistianity, people celebrated a midwinter event called Yule (the Winter Solstice).  During this period  supernatural and ghostly occurrences were said to increase in frequentcy, such the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky. The leader of the wild hunt is the god Odin, usually sleipner christmas horseseen with a long white beard.   He is also known by the  Old Norse names Jólnir, meaning “yule figure” and the name Langbarðr, meaning “long-beard.”  Odin rode his gray horse (the eight-footed steed called Sleipnir) on nightly rides and visiting people with gifts.  Years later, Odin’s white beard became part of the “new” Santa Claus, his blue robe was changed to red, and his eight-footed grey horse became eight reindeer!

christmas sinterklass and white horseIn the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg,  Santa Claus is called “Sinterklaas” and the holiday for giving gifts is December 6th. He traditionally rides the rooftops on a white horse, known by various names.  Sinterklass is an elderly, stately and serious man(unlike our jolly Santa Clause) but does have the transitional white hair and a long, full beard. Also like Santa, he wears a long red cape and a red hat, but holds a long, gold-colored ceremonial shepherd’s staff with a fancy curled top.  

To keep track of who should receive presents, Sinterklass writes in the book of Saint Nicholas notes on all children – the start of the legend of Santa’s list of who was naughty or nice.   Sinterklass’ solution to helping the poor by putting money in their shoes  later evolved with Santa Claus into giving presents. 

After going into hiding for a few centuries during the Reformation when public celebrations were banned, Sinterklass returned to ride over roof tops and deliver presents through chimneys to good girls and boys – but now his horse was grey.  Either people realized that whites often turned grey as they age or riding over all those roof tops turned the horse darker, but you’ll either hear Sinterklass has a white or gray horse.  Children leave a carrot, apple and/or hay as a treat for Sinterklaas’ horse.

Enjoy your holiday and remember that horses were the start of gift giving – and give  your horse a treat in return!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the new year!

CLASSIC EQUINE EQUIPMENT

Gifts To Your Horse You Can Give All Year Long

Christma horse WIDE OPEN PETSHopefully your horse has been on the nice and not Santa’s naughty list.  Finding a gift for the horse who has “everything” can sometimes be a challenge.  But here’s an idea – the perfect gift for your horse may be a little bit of pampering.  We know you already pamper your horse with good food, a great stall and lots of treats, but these are some extra ways to make him/her feel extra special.

If you don’t already, let him enjoy a nice long turnout.  Outside with grass to graze on would be ideal, but often difficult to find in the winter. But a turnout in the arena can be just as relaxing.  You may have to come at an odd hour to get access to it if you’re barn is as busy as mine.  And once you turn your horse out, don’t just abandon him and go about your business.  Spend time with him just hanging out, getting in touch with your own “inner horse.”

You can also take your horse to where to great grazing by handwalking your horse around your barn or on a nearby trail.  It’s a great way for both of you to relax and enjoy nature and the changing seasons. 

For extra relaxation, get your horse a massage by a trained equine massage therapist.  While much of what the massage therapist does can be to help with an injury or with muscle tightness, a general, gentle and overall massage can be just what your horse needs.  Be sure to tell the massage therapist if there are any problems with your horse and what exactly you’d like her to do. 

equine massage EQUINE JOURNALIf you can’t afford a massage therapist, you can do some gentle massaging yourself.  Stay away from the muscles on his back and legs and concentrate on his neck.  Many horses carry tension there.  Start at the top of the crest of the main and place your hands next to each other with your 4 fingers on one side of the crest and your thumb on the other.  Gently rock that small section of your horse’s neck back and forth.  After a few rocks, move down a bit on the crest.  When you get to the bottom, move back up again.  Click on this link to see a brief video on “jostling.

For a warm and wonderful treat for your horse, consider making him a bran mash at the end of his “spa day.”  While the occasional bran mash won’t hurt your horse, giving them too frequently can sometimes cause issues so check with your vet if you want to make a bran mash part of your horse’s daily routine. 

Basic Bran Mash

  • 6 cups of COB (COB is a mixture of corn, oats and barley, sometimes mixed with bran mash EQUISEARCHmolasses) OR use your horse’s regular feed
  • 1-1/2 cups bran
  • 1 apple cut in quarters or smaller
  • 3 carrots cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup of molasses (if your COB already has molasses, you can skip this or add less)
  • Hot water (this works best when made with hot water and then allowed to cool)

Place all the ingredients in the feed bucket. Pour on enough hot water to just cover all the ingredients.  Mix everything together. Cover the top of the bucket with a towel and let it steam until cool enough to eat, but still warm. Remove the towel and mix everything together.  If the mix seems to dry, you can add additional water and mix again.  Keeping your bran mash on the “soupy side” will help get extra water into your horse and help keep him from becoming dehydrated.

Finish up your horse’s “spa” day” with a pat or a kiss before you leave and he’ll have wonderful dreams of you.  Happy Holidays to you both!

Photo credits: Equine Journal, Wide Open Pets, Equisearch

Retirement Option For Your Horse

IMG_0491Your horse has been your partner and your friend for many years.  But now, for whatever reason, you have to find a new home for him.  You may have outgrown him.  Or it may be for financial reasons.  Or his age is catching up to him.  But don’t despair.  There are a lot of great homes and options out there for your equine friend.  Here are a few you can consider.

  1. If your horse is still sound, you may want to consider leasing him, especially to someone at your barn.  They will take care of the expenses and care, but you still retain ownership and are the ultimate decision maker.  If you think you’ve found a good home for your horse, you can lease him out for six months or so to make sure that it’s a good fit all the way around.
  2. Of course you can sell him to another rider. It may be a pony you’ve outgrown who’ll make the perfect first horse for a child.  Or you may be switching disciplines and your hunter/jumper doesn’t share your interest in dressage.  He’ll be much happier with an owner who jumps.
  3. You can donate him to a therapeutic riding program. These programs help at risk kids or children with disabilities by introducing them to horses and riding.  Your horse must be sound and totally calm.  But if he makes it as a therapy horse, you can be assured that he will have lots of brushing and tons of carrots.
  4. You can move him to a lower rent section of your barn. Many stables have stalls and pasture board.  If you’ve had your horse in a stall, consider moving him to one of the pastures for board.  This will cost you less and will let him walk around and hang out with his horse friends.   Or if your barn has daily turnout and if you can afford it, you can leave him right where he is.  As long as he gets out on a regular basis, many horses are happy in stalls.
  5. You may want to consider boarding at a retirement facility. As horses are living longer lives, many boarding stables are seeing the benefit of offering boarding of retired horses – no matter what their age.   Most often, they will offer a pasture with shelters where several horses live.   In this case, the barn manager assumes the majority of the responsibility for the care of your horse.  They will make sure that they are groomed and that they are up-to-date on shots, dewormed and have their feet done.  All of this, of course, will be billed to you in addition to your monthly board and feed.   They can also provide additional services such as blanketing, bathing and giving supplements.  Be sure to check with the barn manager on the cost of everything.KellyBrennaChelsea 112010

Also discuss with the barn manager how involved you want to be in the care of your horse.   Do you plan come out weekly?  Are you comfortable with the barn’s vet and farrier or do you prefer someone you’ve had as a vet care for your horse.? These are all things that should be negotiated before moving your horse.

If it’s an older horse you are retiring, be sure that the retirement barn is prepared to take care of senior horses.  Often, barns buy hay and feed in bulk and they are usually geared towards younger or active horses.  Older horses can require special senior feed and hay may need to be soaked before feeding to help older horses chew.   

Older horses may have special medical need such as joint medicine or may need extra blanketing in the winter.  Be sure anyone taking care of your retired horse is aware of any special needs.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners has a great publication, “AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities.” This will help  you know what questions to ask and what services you should expect. Click HERE to download a copy.

Photo credit: GreenGate Farm

Your Horse Called – Here’s How He Wants His Stall Designed

horse on phoneYour horse spends a lot of time in their stall.  Here are some things he wants you to know to keep him happy and safe.

  1. Take into account his size. While smaller horses or ponies can get by with a 10’x10’ stall, most horses need at least a 12’x12’ stall. Warmbloods or mares with foals may require larger stalls.  The “rule of thumb” is a stall length should be 1-1/2 times the length of the horse so he has room to turn around and lay down.
  2. At least an 8’ divider between his stall and his “neighbor.” A wall with an upper half grill at least part of the way across lets your horse see other horses without them annoying him. Open space at the top of the stall dividers help the air circulate within the stall interior.
  3. A stall made of strong materials so his neighbor’s hoof doesn’t come through if he decides to have a bout of kicking.
  4. A ceiling at least 11’ tall so he doesn’t have to worry about hitting his head if he should get the urge to rear in his stall.
  5. A stall with lots of light and fresh air. Windows and doors where he can see out will help keep him from being bored.  Plenty of fresh air will help eliminate respiratory problems. 
  6. Doors that are wide enough and open outward so he doesn’t get banged in the hip when he walks out. Doors with yokes or Dutch doors allow your horse to hang is head outside and watch what’s going on.
  7. Secure latches on the doors so he’s not tempted to play Houdini and escape.
  8. Sturdy hinges and hardware so that nothing in his stall breaks and becomes a danger.
  9. A floor that is comfortable to stand and lay on. Flooring with stall mats make for a happy horse.
  10. Plenty of clean water. While buckets may be fine, they require regular cleaning.  An automatic waterer ensures that you horse has plenty of fresh water.  Add a heater for warm water in the winter and your horse will be a happy camper.
  11. Easy feeding options – swing-out doors and hay racks so he can get his meals served quickly and easily.

Luckily, Classic Equine Equipment makes the Integrity Series that has all of the qualitieswood-barn-integrity your horse is looking for in his stall.  The Integrity Series is the ultimate component horse stall system. All grill sections and doors are solid welded, never any pieces to assemble. Constructed from heavy-duty galvanized steel tubing, the Integrity Series is available in any length. Mix and match door, feed or watering options to create the perfect horse stall. All components, including track and door hardware, sold separately.

The Integrity series is perfect for existing barn retrofits or new construction. Components are easy to install and virtually maintenance free. These products add value to your barn and security for your horses while being value engineered to fit all barn budgets.

For more information on the Integrity series and all stall options, visit the Classic Equine Equipment web site.

Photo credit: Mountain Rose Horsemanship Training, Classic Equine Equipment

Winter Hoof Care Tips

horses in snowWhen you think of preparing your horse for the winter, most of us think about getting blankets cleaned, laying in a good supply of hay and finding our warm riding clothes!  But winter has a significant affect on your horse’s hooves.  Being mindful of these changes can help your horse keep his hooves healthy.

Hooves grow slower in the winter.  Just how much slower depends on a variety of things, mostly how weather in your area affects your horse care.  If you can still turnout much of the time you may not notice much.  These changes come mostly from the circulation in the hoof.  When horses are ridden or are turned out less, there’s less circulation to the hooves. Slower hoof growth is good news for some people – this can mean fewer visits by the farrier.  But for others who are waiting for a crack or other hoof problem to grow out, this reduction in hoof growth can mean a long wait. 

But hoof growth isn’t the only issue to worry about this winter.  Ground that is frozen is unyielding and can cause hoof soreness or bruises.   Riding slowly on frozen ground is one way to prevent this.  Adding pads to your horse’s shoes is another way.

Abscesses seem to spring up any time of the year, but winter seems to be an especially popular time.  Often this is caused by the change in temperature – warm and muddy one day, cold and frozen the next.   The hoof wall expands and contracts to meet these conditions and can allow bacteria in.

Another method of entry for bacteria is through wet feet.  Excessive moisture from too much washing of legs to remove mud can soften the hoof and also allow bacteria in. This can also cause the problem of scratches or pastern dermatitis.  Scratches are a common problem of inflammation of the skin behind or around the pastern of the horse. 

Winter is one of thrush’s favorite times of year because it thrives in wet, dirty bedding and areas where mud, mixed with manure, is found.  Creating mud and manure free turnouts are also important.  Use stall mats, hog fuel or gravel in paddocks and sacrifice areas to help cut down on mud.  Clean areas at least once a day or so to prevent manure from causing problems.

If you’re thinking of removing your horse’s shoes for the winter, be sure to check with your farrier or veterinarian first.  Some horses might need the support and structure that shoes provide.  But even without shoes, don’t forget to get your horse’s hooves trimmed regularly.

Mud can cause another problem for hooves.  The suction power of mud as your horse walks in it can pull your horse’s shoes right off.  This is especially true if your horse has soft or shelly feet.  Creating mud-free area to ride, to turn out or just at entrances and exits for your horse can help keep your horse’s shoes where they belong – on his feet!

Two other areas that can cause concern during the winter months are snow turning into balls of ice and putting pressure on the center of the sole and icy surfaces on which your horse walks.  In both scenarios, your horse may simply stop moving.  The balls of ice can cause soreness or lead to tripping, and one slip on an icy surface and your horse will feel unsafe and not want to risk slipping again.  Both situations can be avoided by riding and walking your horse on safe ground,

Photo credit: Equine Ink, 

Assessing Your Barn Roof For Heavy Snow

 

snow on roof FREE PHOTOIf you live in an area which receives significant snowfall each winter, it’s important know how much snow weight that your barn roof can support. Barn collapses can be devastating, but they’re also usually avoidable. These tips can help you determine if  your barn is up to the challenge.

Do you Know Your Local Snow-Load Requirements?

Do your research and find out your local snow-load requirements. These requirements are based on the climate and past snowfall, and can better inform you about the conditions that your barn will need to be able to withstand. While it’s a good idea for your barn to meet these requirements, it’s an even better idea to make your barn stronger and able to withstand more rigorous requirements, just in case.

Did You Communicate With Your Barn Builder?

If you are just building your barn, make sure that you have a conversation with your barn builder about the importance of the barn being able to withstand heavy snow loads. Many local builders should be aware of this issue and should be able to advise you on building techniques to use.  They may also have advice on how to “beef up” your roof if your barn has already been completed. 

Did You Use A Metal Roof?

If you want to avoid snow sitting on your barn’s roof for long periods, then opt for a metal roof instead of a shingled roof. Snow melts off of metal roofs faster, reducing the amount of time that your barn will need to support the full weight of a snowstorm. Additionally, make sure that your roof is properly pitched to encourage the snow to slide off.

Did You Use Machine Stress-Rated Lumber?

If you want to ensure that your barn is strong, then use machine stress-rated lumber in its construction. Whereas most lumber is visually rated, machine stress-rated lumber is machine tested to identify its true strength. By using machine stress-rated lumber, you can avoid weak spots and will know the actual strength of the materials that you are using.

Did You Add Additional Bracing?

Adding extra bracing can further strengthen your barn so that it is able to withstand a major storm, or a series of storms. Consult with an engineer to determine what types of bracing would be most beneficial for your barn. 

Did You Incorporate Drainage Around Your Barn?gutter and downspout WALTERS BUILDINGS

Including proper drainage around your barn to help direct snow runoff away from the foundation is important to your barn’s overall strength. If runoff water is allowed to pool around your barn, it can actually affect the stability of your barn’s foundation.  Be sure to use gutters and drain pipes to move water away.

Whether you’re just planning your barn, have already started building or are using a previously built barn, there is still time to make sure your barn roof can withstand a heavy winter snow.

Photo Credit: Walters Buildings