Get Your Horse Ready for Show Season With New Jumps

jump spiderOne of the best ways to succeed jumping at a show is to get your horse as familiar as possible with a variety of jumps in the safety of your own arena.  Most jumps at shows are fairly straightforward – vertical and oxer.  What so often scares horses are the bright colors, flags, flowers and other design elements.

And after a few years, your horse jumps looking a little tired and weathered? Jumps take quite a beating, and without regular care, their appearance can quickly deteriorate. If you’d like to put a little life back into your jumps or make them more of a challenge, we’ve come up with some great ways that you can refresh your jumps.

Sand and Paint

One of the simplest ways that you can revitalize your jumps is by sanding and repainting them. Pick a day when the weather is nice, gather up some friends, and have a jump painting party. Before you paint the jumps, take coarse sandpaper and sand off any existing loose paint and rough edges. Then, get to work with a paintbrush. When you’re painting, don’t forget to pay attention to your jump cups. Metal cups often rust and start to look worn within a few years. If this is the case, take some sandpaper to the jump cups and then follow up with a spray paint intended for metal use. To prolong the life of the cups, use a rust-inhibiting paint for a new finish and added protection. If painting really isn’t your thing, you can have your jump poles looking new again by adding store-bought pole covers. These covers slip easily over your jump poles, but work best with PVC poles.

Pick Up Paint for Cheap

Worried about your budget? Head to the “oops” section of your local hardware store or home improvement center. This is the section where paint colors were mixed and came out in the wrong shade. You can find some great paint colors in the “oops” section for an excellent discount. If you have particular colors in mind then you may be out of luck, but if you’re open-minded then you might find some color combinations that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

Add Flowers

Flowers can spruce up any jump. Whether working them into the base of the jump standards or creating an actual flowerbox jump, they instantly add life to your fences. Pick up fake flowers for cheap at your local dollar store, and keep an eye out for sales on flowers at craft stores. You’ll get the best bargains when you buy the fake flowers as they go out of season and the stores are making room for the next floral trend.

Add Other Natural Elements

Using logs or branches with a jump can make them more interesting for your horse.  And if you are considering doing a hunter pace, it’s good to get familiar with these natural elements.

Use a Tarp

No Liverpool? No problem. A blue tarp works just as well, and you can get a tarp for a fraction of the cost of an actual Liverpool jump. For an added challenge, try draping the tarp over jump poles to make scary fences. 

There are plenty of things you can probably find around the barn to make new and interesting jumps – railroad ties, barrels, tires, safety cones, etc. Don’t use any materials that are flimsy or that could break easily.  Make sure all jumps are safe and secure before using.

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The Origin of “Horse Whisperers” and other Irish Horse Legends

shamrock in horse shoeWith the Irish celebration of St. Patrick’s Day  just a few days from now, here is one of the many Celtic legends that include the horse.  Thank to “Symbolic Horse Education Resources” for the information.

Origins of horse whispering can be seen in Celtic belief and in the more recent “horseman’s word”, a magic word which if uttered gave one power over horses, and with claim going back to Britain.  This concept reached its culmination at the latter end of the 19th century with the formation of the “Secret Society of the Horseman’s Word”, prevalent down the north-eastern side of Britain.  The word was such a closely guarded secret that if it existed it was never divulged, and the society’s rituals also remain vague (only passed on through esoteric oral tradition), though it is still rumored to exist. 

Modern horse owners still tend to the belief that there may be a magical word that will give power over horses, and observe that some people do indeed appear to have better control over horses than others without apparently doing anything different.

Other Celtic horse legends include:

rhiannon celtic horse goddess

  • The horse was introduced into Ireland by the greatest of their native gods, Lugh, the sun god. 
  • Mannanan Mac Lir, the god of the sea, had a magical horse that could travel over land or sea.
  • Cuchulainn had two magnificent chariot horses which came to him from lakes.
  • Many riders emerged from the Otherworld astride a magnificent white horse.
  • Horses had the ability to see ghosts and refused to pass a haunted spot.
  • The “fíorláir” or ‘true mare’ – the seventh consecutive filly foal born to a dam, which was safe from all evil and its rider safe from all harm.
  • Celtic priests considered horses to understand the will of the gods more clearly than man and so could reveal divine secrets.  

10 More Things To Consider In Your Barn Design

CEE barn3Whether you are building a new barn or renovating an old one, the best way to get the barn you want is to remember the old adage, “form follows function.”  There are so many options for both the outside and the inside of your dream barn that you’ll have little trouble putting together the barn that’s right for you and your horses.  But before you start planning your barn, think about the following things:

  1. How will you use your barn?  Are you a boarding stable or breeding facility?  The size of your barn might need to be bigger than you thought to accommodate tack rooms, wash racks and/or foaling stalls.
  2. How many horses will you ultimately care for? You may just have a few horses now, but if you’re dream is to someday have a training facility, you should build a big enough barn to accommodate more horses. It’s always less expensive to build right the first time rather than trying to add on later. 
  3. Consider the weather. Are you planning to have attached paddocks?  Cold or wet weather may prompt you to be able to close doors leading to the paddock to keep horses warm and dry.  Also consider doors at the end of the barn to keep out inclement weather.  With either or both have an overhang or awning over them to keep everyone dry?
  4. Let there be light – and fresh air. Look at barn designs that will maximize the amount of fresh air and ventilation – both important to your horse’s health – to flow through the barn.   Look for designs that allow large amounts of natural light into your barn. 
  5. Consider your daily workflow. Will you use wheelbarrows to clean stalls or feed or will you need a barn with an aisle wide enough to drive a truck down the center aisle for these chores?  Will your hay be stored off site or do you want it close by in your barn’s hay loft?  Will you need additional room for a viewing area for parents or a kitchen or clubhouse area for boarder parties and relaxing? 
  6. Look at your proposed site location. Is it level?  Is the landscape such that water flows away from the barn?  From which direction will the wind come?  Sun?  Is there room for a driveway and parking area for boarders, the farrier and vet?  Will you offer trailer parking – will it be part of the barn structure so it can be covered?
  7. Consider utilities. How far is it to the nearest electrical and water sources? 
  8. Consider barn style. Do you have a preferred barn style that works best for your type of facility?  A Shed Row barn a good choice for warm climates as they maximize air flow and ventilation.  They can be configured in a straight line, an “L” shape or a “U” shape. The Full Monitor has a high center raised roof that lets hot air rise above the stalls and horses. The design also allows skylights and windows to be installed on each side of the center roofline, letting in more light and additional fresh air. The Monitor is good if you need to build a long row of stalls.  The Gambrel offers a large loft located above the stalls for added storage and increased headroom. Gambrel trusses eliminate the need for interior post and beam supports giving you more freedom in your floor plan.
  9. Look at legal considerations. What do the laws in your area allow you to build?  Are there restrictions on size or location?  In some areas, the barn must be a certain number of feet from your property line.
  10. Consider available construction materials. Do you want wood post and beam for the old-fashioned look of a barn?   Or do you want the low maintenance and fire-resistance of a steel modular building?

Take some time to day dream and visualize about your perfect barn.  Visit other barns to get additional ideas.  Now make a list of what you absolutely have to have.  Examples might be a wood barn with 12 stalls and paddocks with an overhang with each stall. 

Now think about what you’d like to have.  It might be enough room for a full kitchen and TV room for boarders.  Make sure you write everything down so you won’t forget anything when talking with your barn builder.

A final consideration when designing the outside of your barn is to make sure it’s horse friendly as well as people friendly.  Horses dislike dark, closed in places so design your barn with lots of room and plenty of natural light and air.

Be sure to visit the Classic Equine Equipment website for more ideas.

Photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment

 

Barn Styles

Cee barnOne of your toughest decisions – but many people feel the most fun – you’ll make when building your barn is the style. There are many to choose from and each style can have modifications. Things to consider are the style’s suitability to your climate, the function or “flow” of your horse CEE barn2work and, of course, your budget. The amount of time you can wait for a new barn is also a factor. A modular barn can be erected in a few days, while a pole barn building can take months.

A Pole Barn (Post Frame) framing utilizes posts and beams to minimize the number of framing elements in walls. It is economical, strong and relatively simple to build, making it the most popular framing method for custom barns. A pole barn frame consists of 6- to 8-inch round or rectangular pressure-treated wood posts set 3 to 6 feet below the ground. Poles are typically set at 8- to 12-foot intervals and rest on a pad of concrete at the bottom of each hole. Poles and trusses or rafters are generally visible inside the barn. Pole barns are easy to build in part because they require no trench work for a foundation, only holes; and these can be dug using a tractor auger or a hand posthole digger.

A Timber Frame (Post and Beam) is another type of post and beam construction, but rather than plugging into the ground like a pole barn, a timber frame barn sets on a concrete foundation. A properly constructed timber frame is incredibly sturdy–some have lasted for hundreds of years. It is typically composed of 8- and 10-inch square timbers for main members and smaller timbers for roof purlins and floor joists. Major joints are traditionally dovetails and mortise and tenon, often hand cut and secured with wooden pins, like fine furniture construction on a larger scale. Craftsmen using traditional timber frame methods don’t use nails or other metal fasteners unless they are required by local codes. Timber frame barns are sometimes built-in or near the builder’s shop and shipped to the site to be erected by the builder, a local contractor or the owner. Timber-frame kits that use metal connectors to secure joints are available

Modular barns generally consist of a steel framework with steel-framed panels fitted in between. The panels are typically composed of a plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) core with sheet steel laminated to the inside surface and steel, wood or other siding material laminated to the outside surface. An advantage of this framing is that damaged panels can be replaced relatively easily. Some modular barns have a “warehouse” appearance, but many manufacturers offer a variety of styles, siding and roofing materials. If you don’t see a plan you like, most manufacturers will modify an existing plan to suit your needs. Modular barns generally go up quicker and with less expense than custom barns. They are especially fire resistant because of the steel framing and steel-skinned wall panels.

A Shed Row barn is the most common type of modular (or prefabricated) barn.  It is a good choice for warm climates as they maximize air flow and ventilation.  They can vary in the size of the overhand and can be configured in a straight line, an “L” shape or a “U” shape, depending on the number of horses and your work flow.  A shed row is also an option for colder climates, but consider enclosing the overhand area and adding insulation to the walls and roofing. Shed row barns have a shed or pitched flat roof. The shed roof is all one plane and is often used for three-sided shelters or small stables. It is also commonly attached to the eaves of an existing gable roof or to the wall of a barn.

One pole barn (or post-frame) style is called the Full Monitor.  It has a high center raised roof that lets hot air rise above the stalls and horses.  The design also allows skylights and windows to be installed on each side of the center roofline, letting in more light and additional fresh air. The monitor has essentially two shed roofs with a gable in the middle. This is good for long rows of stalls.

Another popular pole barn style is called the Gambrel.  It offers the benefit of a large loft located above the stalls for added storage. The Gambrel has a double-pitched roof popular on two-story barns having a second floor because of the increased headroom and useable floor space it allows. Gambrel trusses eliminate the need for interior post and beam supports, which allows you to create any floor plan you wish.

With the right choice of barn for your size and type of equestrian activities, as well as the weather in your area will give you (and your horses) years of happy living.  Visit the Classic Equine Equipment website for more barn ideas.

Photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment

Boots and Bandages and Wraps – oh my!

boots and bandages weatherbeetaYou’ve probably noticed that some horses wear boots or bandages on their lower legs when ridden.  Although they can provide some minimal support to the horse’s tendons and ligaments, boots and bandages are primarily used for protection of the horse from himself.  If you want to use something on your horse’s legs, it can be confusing to figure out what to use and when.

Sometimes a horse needs to be protected from himself. Because of his conformation, his hind legs may brush against each other or he may even kick himself when he is cantering.  Or a horse with a long stride can accidentally step on the back of his front feet at the trot.  While a horse’s hoofs can cause damage, those shod with metal horse shoes can cause a severe gash or bruise.  And a horse does strenuous work that involves jumping or sudden stops and starts, boots or bandages may help protect the delicate tendons in his legs from stress or injury.

But, not all horses require wearing boots.  Many new riders put on wraps or boots because everyone else seems to be doing it.  If you don’t ride your horse in high-risk movements or if your horse doesn’t seem to have an issue with scrapes or cuts, you can leave off the protective wrapping.  If you don’t know if you should put protective gear on your horse’s legs, ask a knowledgeable instructor what she thinks. Explain the sort of work you do with your horse and let her take a look at his conformation. An experienced instructor will be able to tell if your horse needs boots or bandages.  And, more importantly, she will show you the proper way to put them on.  Improperly applied boots and bandages can actually do more damage than good.

Some of the more common wraps for legs are:

Splint Boots (Brushing Boots)

Splint boots have a thick and/or hard plate that covers the inside of a horse’s lower leg. The plate protects a horse when he hits the inside of one leg with the opposite hoof. When a horse hits himself with the other hoof, it can cause nasty cuts on the inside of the leg. These cuts may take a long time to heal. Splint boots are probably the most widely used boots by horse people.

When putting a splint boot on, fit it slightly higher around the leg, then slide it down so the leg hair doesn’t get ruffled up and cause rubs. Many people fasten the bottom strap first so the boot doesn’t slip while you are securing it.

Bell Boots (Over-Reach Boots)

Bell boots sit on the bottom of the horse’s foreleg, around the coronary band at the top of the hoof. They are designed to fit the contours of the pastern and heel area. Bell boots are used on the front hooves and they help protect the front heels from getting nicked by the back hooves. Bell boots are made of rubber or stretchy material. Some have to be pulled on over the hoof and others have Velcro fastenings. They should not be so long that your horse trips over them or they interfere with his movement.  Correct sizing is important.

Exercise Bandages or Polo Wraps

Exercise bandages are stretchy wraps that give support to the tendons in a horse’s lower legs. They tend to be used when a horse is in strenuous work, or if he has suffered from tendon problems in the past. They are wrapped around the lower leg, and are usually secured with a Velcro strap.

Putting on a bandage properly is a skill that takes time to learn. If the bandage is not stretched out properly with the right tension or if it is wrapped incorrectly, it could hurt your horse’s leg instead of supporting it. Ask an instructor to show you how to wrap a leg and then practice, practice, practice until you get it right.

Sports Medicine Boots

Sports Medicine boots were developed specifically to address the prevention of suspensory injuries while at the same time protecting the soft tissue from cuts, abrasions and contusions caused by impacts to the legs by hooves and various other hazards.  They can be used on all four legs and consist of a neoprene-type material to provide cushioning and are secured with a Velcro strap that helps provide support.

Remember to use the right support at the right time to keep your horse happy and healthy.

Photo credit:  Weatherbeeta

Creating/Improving Your Wash Bay

wash bayHaving a safe and functional wash bay is an essential element of any barn  It can be outside or inside, though of course most would prefer inside.  Here are some ideas to consider when building or upgrading your wash area.

Wash bays are typically the same size as a stall.  They can be used for many other tasks as well – grooming, tacking up, shoeing and vet visits.  One of the main things you’ll need for your wash bay is access to water.  While cold water is often sufficient, installing a tankless water heater for instant hot water will make your barn a big favorite with anyone who boards there.  There is nothing that says that a wash bay must be inside the barn.  In fact, in places with mild winters, most bathing is done in outside wash racks.  But whether you are indoors or outdoors, there are still some things you must consider.  If you are the handy do-it-yourself-er, much of the construction and plumbing can be done by you.  But it’s best to have a building contractor look at your plans first – once you get started, it’s much more difficult to correct any mistakes.

When creating the overall design for your barn, think ahead of time where you want to put your wash areas.  Since a quick rinse is often done on hot summer days after riding, the bay might be positioned near the tack room.  Or to help it dry out more quickly, you may want to put the bay at either ends of the stable.  One place NOT to put a wash bay is somewhere that is either too high traffic or too isolated.  When bathing your horse, you are basically tying him into a 12 x 12 dark, wet area and that can be intimidating for some areas.  Good lighting, which we’ll discuss later, is very important.

Once you’ve identified the space, now it’s time to make it as water-resistant as possible.  Using metal or water resistant wood or wood-like paneling will help keep the area dry between baths.  Other options are concrete blocks painted with a waterproof sealant or some sort of fiberglass panel.

A non-slip floor with a drain is an absolute necessity.  If you are making a wash rack outdoors, this can easily be done by putting several layers of crushed gravel down and allow the water to simply seep down through the layers and away.  However, for an indoor wash bay, there are more options.  While mats and concrete are the two most often used, both have their down sides.  Concrete is hard on a horse’s legs and can become slippery when wet.  Scoring the concrete with grooves will make it less slippery and direct the water more easily to the drain.  Stall mats in wash bays should be removed periodically and both the mats and the floor underneath be allowed to dry after cleaning with a disinfectant to eliminate mold or mildew and remove any mud or manure that may have collected there. Another option is to use rubber pavers in the wash bay

When putting in the flooring, make sure that the bay slopes to help keep your horse from standing in water.  A general rule of thumb is one inch of slope for every six feet of stall.  There are several places to install your drain.  One of the most common is right in the middle of the wash bay.  But some horses can be spooky and not want to step on that “thing” in the middle of the floor.  Be sure you add a removable trap for cleaning.  Another option is to put the drains near the back of the bay and use a removable grate.

Lights and radiant-heaters are great additions to your wash bay.  Infrared heaters can be wash bay heateradded to help take the chill off a wet horse in cool conditions. While heaters work best when installed directly over where the horse will be standing, lights should be installed on either side of the stall ceiling or on the side walls to prevent shadows that could spook a horse. Add shelves or cabinets for common grooming supplies like brushes and shampoo and/or medical supplies.  Look for cabinets made of plastic or metal – wood or laminate can fall apart too easily.

Hoses are a necessary part of any bath, but are often the most aggravating part of the process.  Some people coil them up after use; others leave them strewn around so your horse has to step over them to get into the bay.  The best solution is an “over-the-top washer.”  The wash unit keeps the hose above the animal’s head and off the floor, making it easy to move quietly and quickly through the bathing process.

Check out our web site for more wash bay ideas and accessories.

Photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment

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

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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.