The Best Horse Shows To Attend In 2018

2018-jumping-horse-new-year.jpgIf you’re ready for a vacation, especially one that includes a road trip and has great horse-stuff shopping, consider visiting one of these iconic horses show destinations.  Don’t forget your camera and autograph book – you never know what famous rider (or horse) you’ll be able to see compete!

January 1- April 1 – Palm Peach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, FL

The Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF, January 4 – March 31) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring seven CDI events. Included are four FEI World Cup qualifiers, one 4* and one 5*, the only non-championship CDIO Nations’ Cup in the Western Hemisphere, as well as weekly U.S. National events. The AGDF is offering more than $600,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The AGDF is also one of the few events in the United States to hold a CPEDI, a qualifying event for Para-Equestrian Dressage. 

The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF, January 10 – April 1) is the largest and longest-running circuit in horse sport, a 12-week show jumping competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation held annually. Riders from 42 countries and 50 U.S. states come to compete for more than $10 million in prize money, which is the largest amount distributed over 12 weeks in the world.  The event offers competition for children, junior, adult amateur, and professional equestrians

April 26 – 29 – Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event (formerly the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event), Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY

New title sponsor, same exciting event.  One of only six Four Star Three-Day Events in the world (the highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world) and the only one in the Western Hemisphere, the Kentucky Three-Day Event annually welcomes more than 80,000 spectators. Televised on NBC, the competition reaches more than 115 million households across the country. Each year the Kentucky Three-Day Event attracts the world’s best horse-and-rider combinations vying for their share of $400,000 of prize money

May 4 – Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Louisville KY

The Kentucky Derby is a top rank, Grade I stakes race for 3 year old Thoroughbred horses. It is the first race of the often elusive Triple Crown. The race distance is 1-1/4 miles long, and it is run on the dirt racetrack. Colts and geldings in the race carry 126 pounds (57 kg), and fillies in the race carry 121 pounds (55 kg).The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year and typically draws a crowd of 155,000 people. It is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and it is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. The winner receives $2 million.

May 24-June 3 – Devon Horse Show and County Fair, Devon, PA

The Devon Horse Show and County Fair is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse competition in the United States.  Fans come from all over the world to compete but it is also a great destination as the county fair portion allows families or horse lovers to interact with the competing riders and horses, tour the stables, enjoy delicious local treats and shop the many handicrafts and vendors that also attend. 

August 26-September 2  – The Hampton Classic, Bridgehampton, NY

As one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States, and a premier destination for horse people. If you relish the idea of horse showing as being an “elite sport,” then this is the show for you.  Now well into its third successful decade, the event is famous for its Hamptons Celebrity sightings.  It is also regarded as second to none in high end shopping boutiques, earning it the nickname “The Classic.” It is conveniently located near some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast, and amidst the fashionable Hamptons summer scene.

September 11-23 – World Equestrian Games, Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC

The FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) is held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining eight equestrian World Championship caliber events in a pre-determined location. The FEI disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining – are all included on the competition schedule so there’s something for everyone.  Over the 13-day event, there will be equestrian-focused demonstrations and exhibitions Spruce Meadows Masters

October 2-18, 2018 – Quarter Horse Congress, Ohio Expo Center/Ohio State Fairground, Columbus Ohio

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is the world’s largest breed registry with over 5 million horses registered, so it is fitting that the All American Quarter Horse Congress (AAQHC) be designated the largest single breed horse show in the world.  Lasting a full three weeks, there are over 23,500 show entries, more than 650,000 visitors and over $3 million in cash and prizes, including trucks, trailers, trophy saddles and sterling silver buckle

October 23-28 – Washington International Horse Show, Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center), Washington, DC

Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events in North America. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money.

October 27- November 4 – National Horse Show, Alltech Arena, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY

Founded in 1833, the National Horse Show offers over $810,000 in prize money. International Open Jumpers will compete for almost half a million dollars in prize money, while the top-rated hunter sections will vie for a total purse of $195,000. For six consecutive years, the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame has named the National Horse Show the Horse Show of the Year. Competition highlights include the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Championship for equitation.

Have a safe trip!  Happy shopping!


Minimize Your Stalled Horse’s Boredom


Bad weather and busy schedules can sometimes prevent you from getting out to exercise your horse or even having him turned out.  This can sometimes cause high levels of stress for horses. Stress can cause issues such as ulcers, but it can also create an unhappy horse. If you want to minimize the boredom and resulting stress in your horse’s life, consider the following ideas:

horse and stalls 1Buy Stalls with Open Front Designs

When building your barn, choosing stalls with open front designs over fully enclosed stalls can allow your horses to interact more with each other and their surroundings. Horses will be free to put their heads out into the aisle, giving them more entertainment and creating a more natural, less confined feel in your barn.

Design Stalls with Windows for Entertainmenthorses looking out window

In addition to using an open stall front design, make sure that you include a window in each stall for entertainment. Barn windows looking outside can help to reduce boredom in your horse, leading to reduced stress.

Use Privacy Panels in Stall Partitions

If your stall panels have grill work, then consider including privacy panels to reduce your horses’ stress. Privacy panels allow you to put a wood fill in about a third of the top grill work. By positioning the privacy panel in the area where your horse eats, your horse can eat without being disturbed by a horse in a neighboring stall. Privacy panels can keep your horses calmer, particularly when they’re eating.

Maximize Turnout Time

Turning your horse out gives him a chance to relax and be a horse. The more time that your horse can spend in his pasture, the better. While your horse is turned out, he is free to move about, play, graze, and interact with other horses. Additionally, turning a horse out helps to prevent boredom. Providing your horse with maximum turnout time can go a long ways in reducing his stress.

Use iFeed to Provide Small Meals Throughout the Day

white-horse-with-feederHorses are grazers by nature, but the grazing approach to eating often doesn’t work with our schedules. The iFeed can change all of that. When you install the iFeed in your horse’s stall or pasture, you can break down his two or three large meals into smaller meals which are fed more frequently throughout the day. Best of all, you don’t have to be present for the feedings – simply program and load the iFeed and it will take care of the rest. Small, frequent meals help to prevent boredom and stress in your horse.

There are many ways that you can minimize your horse’s stress and relieve boredom. If you would like to discuss how Classic Equine Equipment can change both your life and your horse’s life, please visit our web site.

Presidential Horses – George Washington

With the recent Presidents’ Day holiday and the popularity of “Hamilton”,  we thought it was time that the horse(s) of these historical heroes were honored as well.

George Washington BlueskinBlueskin was a gray horse (gone white later in life) ridden by George Washington and was one of Washington’s two primary mounts during the American Revolutionary War. The horse was a half-Arabian, sired by the stallion Ranger (also known as “Lindsay’s Arabian) and was said to have been obtained from the Sultan of Morocco.  Due to his then white coat, Blueskin was the horse most often portrayed in artwork depicting Washington on a horse.

George Washington NelsosnHowever, Washington’s  primary riding horse was Nelson, a chestnut gelding.  Thomas Nelson of Virginia sent the horse to General Washington in New York as a gift. Washington named the horse for his generous friend.  Better in the chaos of war time than Bluestone, it was Nelson who is said to have carried the General almost always during the American Revolution. Described as a “splendid charger,” the animal stood sixteen hands high, and was a light sorrel or chestnut (reddish-brown) in color, with white face and legs.

Both horses were retired after the Revolutionary War and  lived out their lives at Washington’s Mount Vernon home.

Thomas Jefferson once commented that George Washington was “the best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback.

Reducing Wasted Hay

horse eating hay truckChances are that your hay bill is one of your highest bills in caring for your horse. The last thing that anyone wants to do is to waste hay, especially when the cost of hay is so high. Luckily for you, we’ve got some great tips to minimize hay wastage in your barn.

Store Hay Correctly

Did you know that before you even feed hay, you may be wasting it? Storing hay properly in your hay loft is important to preventing mold or wastage. Your hay should always be placed up on pallets to keep it directly off of the floor. As you stack hay, alternate the orientation of the hay on each level to promote air circulation.

Additionally, make sure that you inspect each hay delivery before accepting it. Break open a few bales of hay and inspect the quality throughout the entire bale. Look for mold or darkened spots toward the center of the bale. If you find that the hay is poor quality, it is better to discover this before loading the entire delivery so that you can still easily send it back.

Use Hay Nets or Hay Feeders

Much of the hay that you feed in your horse’s stall may be wasted when it is trampled down into the bedding. To reduce the amount that this happens, use hay nets or corner feeders in your horse’s stall. The net or feeder holds the hay up off of the ground, requiring that the horse pull just a bit at a time out. This lessens the amount of hay that falls, uneaten, onto the floor, and it reduces your stall cleaning time as well.

Use Hay Nets or Bags in Pastures

Pastures are another area where hay wastage occurs. You may opt to use hay nets or hay bags in your pastures. If you are feeding round bales in the pasture, consider using a round bale feeder. Remember that the bale needs to be protected from the rain, so a specially designed hay feeder may be well worth the cost when it comes to keeping the hay protected and in edible condition.

Feed Only What Your Horse Will Eat


While it’s healthy for your horse to always have access to hay, remember to adjust your feedings so that you are only giving your horse about as much hay as he will eat. Overfeeding your horse will only result in uneaten hay, so adjust your feedings to how much hay your horse actually consumes.

Hay is a precious commodity in the horse world, and isn’t one that you will want to waste.  Try these tips to keep your horses happily in hay all year.

Keeping Multiple Horses Fit

multiple horses in pasture MOUNTAINVIEWSTOCKToo many horses?  Too little time?  While we’re firm believers in the fact that you can never have too many horses, keeping multiple horses fit at the same time can be a challenge. We’ve come up with some great tips to help you save time while keeping your horses conditioned and exercised.

Turn Horses Out in Large Pastures

Don’t forget that you can rely on large pastures to keep your horses moving about naturally. The more acreage that you can provide your horses with, the better. By locating your horse’s feed in various areas throughout his pasture, and by turning horses out together in herds, you can encourage them to move about naturally.

Pony a Horse

Want to kill two birds with one stone? Consider ponying a horse while riding another. Ponying a horse is an effective way to put mileage on two horses when you only have the time to ride one. Ponying is great for working younger horses not yet started under saddle, but it’s also a good way to bring an older horse back into work or into an improved condition.

When ponying a horse, start in an arena and ride a horse who you have ponied off of before. Remember to stay safe and take things slow until both horses are accustomed to the process.

Lease Out a Horse

If you’re truly having a hard time keeping all of your horses exercised, then consider leasing out one of your horses. Leasing a horse out, either for a partial or full lease, will take much of the responsibility for that horse’s conditioning off of your plate. Leasing out a horse can be a big timesaver, and you can even bring in some extra income from the lease.

Enlist a Working Student

If you have many horses to be ridden, and much work to be done around the barn, then enlisting the help of a working student may be an ideal situation for you. The caveat: Working students generally are paid low wages, if they receive any at all. Because of this, you should be able to provide the working student with quality instruction and rides on good horses to make the position worthwhile. If this won’t work for you, then consider paying someone to come ride your horses or offering up free rides to quality riders.

Photo credit: Mountain View Stock

Getting Through The Rest of Winter

As the cold weather drags on, it tends to feel like the end of winter is nowhere in sight. Luckily, we’ve come up with some fun activities for you to help beat the winter riding (or non-riding) blues.

horse watching movies HORSENATIONHost a Barn Movie Night

Bring together students, boarders, trainers, and everyone else in your barn for a barn movie night. Choose a horse-themed video to watch – clinic DVDs work great, but so do favorite horse movies like Secretariat and Seabiscuit – and make the night into a mini-party. Have attendees bring cozy blankets and pillows, as well as snacks, and settle into the heated lounge for a fun night of movie watching.

Bring in a Clinician

To change up the pace a little, have a clinician come to your barn for a day or for a weekend. Riders can participate in the clinic with their horses, and you can also open the clinic up to auditing by the public to bring in some income from the event. For an extra-fun challenge, bring in a clinician to work on a discipline or activity that your horses traditionally don’t participate in, like equine agility or Western dressage.

Audit a Clinic

If hosting a clinic at your own farm isn’t practical, you can always travel elsewhere to audit a clinic. Get your friends involved and make a day of it. Auditing a clinic is a great way to determine whether you would like to ride in a clinic with the clinician in the future, and you can learn a lot without having to pay the full clinic price.

Plan a Tack Sale

Spring really will be here before you know it, and what better way is there to kick the season off than with a tack sale? Start planning a barn tack sale, and invite riders from other barns to bring their own tack and participate in the fun. Holding a tack sale gives you the perfect opportunity to clean out and organize your tack room, as well as to find the riding supplies you really need at a good price.

Volunteer at a Horse Rescue

Horse rescues are often in need of volunteers, so if you have some free time during the winter because you’re not riding as often, look into volunteering at a local horse rescue. Volunteers can often help rescues in a number of ways, from caring for and grooming horses to performing more office-related tasks.

Take a Course in a New Horse-Related Skill

The winter is the perfect time to learn a new horse-related skill, such as massage or liberty training. Look for horse-related courses available and get some friends to enroll with you.

These activities should help you get through the rest of winter, and don’t fear – spring will be here soon!

photo credit:  HorseNation

Should You Use Music In Your Barn?

CARTOONRadios are common in many barns, and some barns even play music in riding arenas during rides. But does playing music actually benefit your horse? You’ll find differing opinions, but here are some factors to consider when making up your own mind.

Calming Nervous Horses

It is common belief that having background music can help to calm and soothe nervous horses while in their stalls. On racetracks, grooms whistle and sing to their horses as they care for them. You will often find barn radios playing softly, even when horses are left alone in the barn. Many horses seem to enjoy the music, as long as the setup is designed with a horse’s natural habits in mind.

If you want to play a radio in your barn, remember that horses are naturally sensitive animals. They have excellent hearing, and their hearing is a sense that they would use for self-preservation in the wild. Taking away their ability to hear threats by playing loud music may put horses on edge.

When playing a radio in the barn, keep the volume low enough to just establish a background sound. You will also want to carefully choose the music that you play. While hard rock or heavy metal might be your preference, your horse might not feel the same. According to a study by British researchers, horses seem to be relaxed when listening to classical or country music. On the other hand, jazz and rock music resulted in horses exhibiting stressful behaviors.

When you set up your barn radio, make sure that it is positioned well out of reach of any curious horses. You will also want to be sure that no horses can reach the electrical cord.

Riding to Music

Many riders also like to ride with music playing. While playing music through arena speakers is a popular option, some riders choose to play music by using their mp3 players or phones.

There are many advantages to riding to music. Music can help to relax a nervous rider, helping to relax a nervous horse in turn. Music also establishes a tempo, so you may have an improved sense of variations in your horse’s pace.

On the other hand, music can be a potential distraction while riding, leaving you less focused on your horse and the cues that you are transmitting to him. If you play music too loudly, you may miss out on important communication from other riders.

The decision to play music, whether in the barn or while riding, is one that only you can make given your individual situation.

photo credit: Horse & Hound

Keeping Horse Medications Safe

horse medication VETERINARAYPRACTICENEWSWhen you own horses, especially those who are injury prone or have a chronic condition, you will probably accumulate quite a bit of medication. Whether bought over the counter or from your veterinarian, medications need to be handled and stored properly. Here’s how:

Create a Medication Cabinet

One of the most important precautions you should take is to create a separate cabinet where medications can be stored. Storing medications away from other items like supplements and grooming supplies can help to avoid confusion and misuse.

The medication cabinet should be positioned up high, out of the reach of children. It’s also best to locate the cabinet in the back of a feed room. Don’t label the cabinet as containing medication – this will only draw attention to it, and can make it a desired object if anyone were to rob your barn.

Lastly, keep a lock on the medication cabinet. Share the key or combination only with barn managers and anyone else who may need to access the cabinet.

Keep Original Packaging

Always keep medications in their original packaging – if medication is ever accidentally ingested or if a horse is accidentally overdosed, the original packaging has information on it that is important for the Poison Control Center or for your veterinarian to know. Keeping medication in its original container also reduces the chance that it will be confused for a different medication.

Even if you have two types of the same medication, resist the temptation to combine them into a single container. All medications have expiration dates, and in combining two separate bottles of the same medication you will lose the accuracy of the expiration date information.

Identify Medication by Horse

If you have multiple horses, medications can quickly become confused. Keep each bottle clearly labeled with the horse who receives it. If the dosage information starts to wear off, use a permanent marker to rewrite the information so it stays accurate.

Dispose of Old Medication Properly

When you no longer need medication or it is past its expiration date, you need to properly dispose of the medication. Your vet can likely advise you about proper disposal of many medications. If you have used needles from injectable medication, many vets will dispose of them for you for a small fee.

Know the Poison Control Helpline Number

It’s a good idea to keep the number of the Poison Control Helpline in your medication cabinet, just in case medication is accidentally ingested. The Poison Control Helpline’s number is 1-800-222-1222.

When you store medication in your barn, proper handling is important to keep both horses and humans safe.

photo credit: Veterinary Practice News