Driftwood Horses

Check it out! These are some amazing pictures. A quick Yahoo! search and I found the woman's website. She has some other great stuff as well.


I have had to do quite a bit of traveling the last two weeks, the last trip was short notice. The great things about traveling for work are my days usually go quickly, I eat great meals out, I sleep through the night (no puppy), but when I am gone I really miss Uriah, the dogs and the horses.

I get so behind with chores and just the daily aspects of horse life. Last week Zapa cut his lip really bad. I would have called a vet, but it was too late by the time I saw it. Now he isn't eating his hay. But because I wasn't seeing him every day, I feel like I am a couple of days behind in figuring out what is wrong (by the way he will eat other hay, so I think it is picky eater syndrome).

We are going to Portland this weekend too and I sure will be glad to be home all next week!

5 Reasons to wear a helmet

1. Horses are flight animals. The are bred to run and to flee. We do an amazing thing getting them to allow us on their backs.

2. Your brain is special. Dr. Frankenstein tried, but the brain replacement didn't work out so well for his monster. You can't replace your brain.

3. You can still earn a living if you can communicate. At least I can. With the amount of technology available today, as long as I can still think and communicate (even if only by blinking), I can still earn a living.

4. Unexpected things happen. Trails are steeper and slicker than you expected. People lean over the railing at shows and click and kiss to your horse. Wind blows the roof off of the arena you are riding in.

5. Horses buck. Hopefully not often and hopefully rarely, but even the most well trained horse can buck if you put on a saddle wrong that pinches (happened to me).

I'll leave more for another time, but please, wear a helmet. I do. Always.

Horse Breeding Information

Are you interested in breeding? Join Justin Hayna, DVM of Blue Mounds Equine Center on a call Wednesday May 2nd at 5PM PST for a call on The Art & Science of Equine Reproduction.

The Art & Science of Equine Reproduction: A Free Discussion on Fertility, Technology, and Your Horse.  Click Here to Learn More or To Sign Up!

Pre-register and you will have the opportunity to ask a burning question you have. The last call I was on by Equine Teleseminar was about Jane Savoie, it was an excellent hour and all it cost me was the long distance charges.

So whether you have been breeding for years or would like to get started, this call is for you! To register, click on the CD picture above or here. I'm not sure if I can make it, but I am dying to ask about breeding a mare with Equine Cushings. Can't attend? No worries, you can order an audio transcript of the call!


Supplement Immunall

With the recent recall of Pergolide for human usage and the possible limitation of the medication on the market, it is interesting to look at alternative treatments. Sherian Creek Tack is a distributor of Immunall, a supplement for humans and horses. The Immunal website is poorly designed with little user friendly information (it is a little to scientific for my tastes), but in a search of Immunall on the web I found the following positive response. We all know a good cure for rainrot in the Northwest can be a big seller!

Sheridan Creek Tack offers this video on their site, boasting that the 2nd place horse is using the supplement. A great testimonial, but the video is worth a view because the event is freaky! These horses are galloping, taking huge jumps and as you watch at each jump at least one horse looses a rider. The leading horse spends a good portion of the race without a jockey. Um, none of this racing for me thanks.

I'll be interested to see how the Immunall story unfolds, as I found nothing on the Yahoo! Equine Cushing's group. The Sheridan Creek Blog is just getting started, so I'll be watching for more posts and a to learn more about this product.


How to reward your horse

I remember the first time I watched a John Lyons video. He said the important things to remember about horses were . . .Well, I can't remember all of them, but I remember this one: lazy. He said horses are by nature, lazy. Owning a very energetic forward breed, I am not sure I always agree with that, however, I was reminded recently that sometimes it is good to stop as the reward.

When I was at Julie Fisher's place, her husband Craig was riding in the arena. He was riding a really pretty grey mare who was trained as a cutting horse (if I remember correctly). Craig was helping a young woman who had just purchased a horse from them and after her lesson he rode is mare a little (and had probably done some riding before, I just came in at the end). He rode up to Julie and said 'I'm getting off her, she did a good job'. What is funny is that this is only the 2nd time I have met Craig and he said the same thing the last time about the horse he was riding.

Craig has helped me remember that it is important to STOP and reward your horse. If you have achieved something good in 5 minutes, stop. If you accomplish something great, stop. I have a tendency to ask 1 more time. One more time often leads to two more times and so on. . .so then I find myself with tired and overworked mount who I struggle with during the next ride. This morning I rode Santana and when I got a good down transition, I stopped.


Pergolide: Effective Treatment for Equine Cushings

I posted in late March about Pergolide and the voluntary recall by the FDA. My friend Patricia sent me an email from a Yahoo! group for Equine Cushings. Pergolide is a commonly used medication for the treatment of Cushings.

First, the group is a great resource for anyone who has a horse with Cushings or Insulin Resistance. When you join, they send you a lot of great information, that I can tell you is hard to find by just searching the web. I am surprised that I didn't find this group (or this information) when I was going through my problems with Precious.

There are very active members on the panel who are researching the FDA recall and who have started petitions to bring attention to the drug manufactuerers that vetrinary compounding of Pergolide is a huge market and to not stop production of the drug.

A recent update is here, but you can find a good background on the story here. Sign the petition. I encourage you to do so, Pergolide saved my horse and I pay $40 a month to treat her to keep her sound and sane. Please support Precious and all of those who have horses with Equine Cushings.


Don't Forget: Ask for Help!

My lesson today with Julie was awesome. I am thrilled with my choice. My goal with lessons from Julie is to make Zapa really confident and fearless. I really have a good foundation with Zapa he does lots of things the average 3 year old doesn't. He crosses water, tarps, bridges, logs and will try hard at just about whatever he is asked.

But what he doesn't do well is stimulation. Bags, flags, bells, clapping, loud noises all make him jump (aka Spook). So Julie gave me some really good advice on how to work with this. We attached a plastic bag to the end of a stick. My job was to approach Zapa with it being busy, but still relaxed. I would rub him with the bag, when he was comfortable with that I would raise it higher over him, then back to rubbing him when he lost confidence. We made very big progress, in a short period of time. I feel that we can do a ton of work until our next lesson in two weeks. There were two elements to this I was missing. When I provided the stimulus, I needed to remain calm, but diligent. Second, when he relaxes, I need to stop the stimulus.
I need to practice for a few times, then I might be able to explain it better.

We also talked about refining movements. Asking for just one step at the shoulder, or one at the hip. I am often not creative in 'what comes next' and although this seems logical now that I think about it, it does make sense.

Zapa was really pooped when we got home (mentally), he had his head practically on the ground when I tried to take off his halter. Yipee, Progress!

It's Official, I'm STAFF

For those of you listed at Horsebloggers and those of you who receive her email, you have already heard the news. If you haven't, then the news is, I'm on STAFF! Yep, I'm joining the efforts to conquer the world, one horse blog at a time.

Horsebloggers is also having a poetry contest in honor of National Poetry Month. Don't worry, I won't be much competition, my dad is the poet in the family. You can read all the details at here.

Oh and if you haven't listed your horse on Horsebloggers, SHAME ON YOU! Time to join is now. :)


Zapa's getting lessons

In reality, I am getting lessons. Tomorrow, Zapa and I will head out to for a lesson with Julie Fisher. Julie is a great natural horsemanship woman and I went to her trail obsticle day last year to help out (trailer was broken, so I couldn't participate). Julie has a good calm sense about her and does pretty amazing things.

I want to get Zapa going again and under saddle for the summer, so my plan is to do a few lessons this month, then go back for a week's worth of lessons in early May. Our #1 focus is to make Zapa confident and fearless.

Also, if you live in the Eugene, OR area and are either looking for a horse to buy or have one to sell, Julie is offering a 'sale rail' event on April 21st, 2007. Visit her website for more information.

Love and Horses

Horses are a female dominated activity. I know, I know, there are men who are into horses, but the target audience is generally women. When I was single, I wanted so much to find a guy who loved horses as well so we could bond over paddock cleaning and trail rides.

Long before I met Uriah I gave www.equestriancupid.com a spin and actually had a date (or two). It was better than I did with match.com. Today they commented on my blog, so I was reminded of this resource. I am no longer single, but I'm even more horse crazy, so I'd probably give it another spin.

Here is something you may not know: In internet dating, WOMEN are a prized commodity. The number of men signing up is MUCH greater than the number of women. So I figure, if you combine the # of women in horses with the # of men in internet dating, you might have a decent chance of finding love!

I have many women friends who husbands/boyfriends have nothing to do with the horses. Although Uriah doesn't have passion about the horses, he supports them and enjoys trail riding, camping and going FAST. And I know, we haven't withstood the test of time, but having a partner who is even halfway interested is better than one who is not.

So ladies (and guys), take a look, maybe that next horse lover is yours to be found!

EquestrianCupid.com - the best horse-lover dating site!


Torpedo-ing the Trails!

We just got back from Silver Falls State Park. It was SO FUN! We arrived around 8 PM Friday night to find the horse camp closed (ugh). Luckily I have spent quite a bit of time at Silver Falls and I knew that there was a campsite accessible without going through the main gate. We got settled, figured out where to turn the water on and hunkered down for the night. Moments after we closed the doors to the van, the rain started.

The next morning we woke to rain, my horses soaking wet (poor things). I managed to make breakfast during a small break in the sky. The rain started pouring again, so Uriah and I headed to Silverton (the cutest little town). We perused the antique shops and had lunch at a cute cafe. We summoned the sun with all of our positive thinking and had a few hour break from the weather where we headed out on the trail.

A few of the trails were still closed, as it is early in the season, but we did at least 7 miles. Here is a little video clip of what we saw (apologies for the video of my shirt, I asked Tesoro to corto, but didn't have my reins right).

Tesoro was AWESOME in that he was afraid of nothing and just wanted to power through everything. Water, mud, bridges absolutely nothing phased him (except when I asked him to go slower). We even did some galloping towards the end of the trail when we wanted to make good time back. Precious was a good girl for Uriah, but was pretty pooped today. She doesn't have that 'energizer bunny' attitude that Tesoro does.

We had the trails to ourselves on Saturday, but on Sunday, some folks rolled in before we even finished breakfast. We took a shorter ride today, but the weather was nicer. Here is a great shot of Uriah and Precious on the 214 trail.

We quickly got everything packed up and drove back home. We got everything unloaded at the barn and came home for additional unloading. After showers we settled in.

We are looking forward to our next camping trip and think we will head to the coast next time!


Parelli does Dressage,with Walter Zettl

This was from last July, but is an interesting article about how the worlds of dressage and natural horsemanship can meet. It is a good read although not as in depth as I'd like. I would love to see more about this experience. If any of you know where I can find more information about this, please leave me a comment!

Parelli and Zettl


Horse Camping Here We Come!

Uriah and I are headed on Friday to Silver Falls State Park for our first horse camping trip. I am excited to get away and have some dedicated family time. But getting ready is a lot of work, so here are some of the things I have done to get ready for our first big outing of the season:

1. Rotate tires on my van. Good tire pressure is key to hauling with a trailer, so have your tires rotated and make sure you check your tire pressure before you head out on the road.

2. Oil change. The van was due, but this is one I always have done before a horse trip, even if I am not due for a little bit.

3. Front brakes done. I got my rear brakes done last fall and knew that the front brakes needed to be done. Uriah and his stepdad (ok, mostly his stepdad), put new front brake pads on.

4. Organized the trailer. My neighbor helped me hang up a rubbermaid pocket organizer (way cheaper than the horse trailer ones). Someone else helped me with an extra rack for misc stuff. I also bought a GIANT dustpan which is great for hay at big lots-$2.

5. Made sure I had all the spare tire changing accessories. Turns out I was missing some, so I'll be getting those today.

6. Checked all the camping equipment and refilled what was empty (like paper towels, toilet paper, etc)

7. Tarps and string in the van in case we have rain and need to give the horses some cover.

8. Trail bags ready with first aid kits, hoof picks, vet wrap and a little bit of grain.

9. Bought 2 way radios. We will each carry one when we ride, I will leave one at the van in case I ride by myself.

I'll post again soon about horse accessories to take with some pictures of the tack room of my trailer!

Reducing Horse Costs

Here are a few tips for reducing the costs associated with having a horse.

1. Audit clinics. Usually the cost of auditing a clinic is 10-20% (or less) of the cost of participating. I know that sometimes you need to be pushed, but you can audit several clinics if all you need is ideas and repetition.

2. Use the Library. My library has lots of great horse books. I have borrowed books by Sally Swift, Parelli, Monty Roberts, as well as videos.

3. Rent horse videos from the tack store. While still not cheap, it is way cheaper than investing $50 (or more) in a video.

4. Sell your unused equipment. You have some, you know it. Other people may want what you don't need. Get it out of your garage, barn, basement and put it up for sale.

5. Buy used. I am constantly amazed at how little horse stuff depreciates, but you can buy good quality used stuff for less than new. Make sure you are familiar with the price range you are spending in! This works great for clothes too. I bought used chaps of ebay for $10, not to mention other show clothes. I have found many of my show clothes (and many of my friends as well), at the goodwill. I even found a pair of riding boots for $10!


How to teach your horse to take the bit

This is a subject on which I am not an expert, but I will share with you the tips I got from other folks (and la internet) on getting Zapa to take to the bit.

First, make sure your horse knows how to lower his/her head. You should always bit your horse from this position. A low head = relaxed horse.

Before putting the bit in his mouth, remove the reins. They can get in the way, especially for a baby. If you have to remove them when he is on, it is adding pressure to something that is already pretty new.

Give him a treat, then show him you have a second one and put the bit in his mouth, give him the treat.

Note: I ride two of my horses in bit hangers (just a piece that goes behind the ears that is connected to the bit), but for Zapa I put it on a bridle. I had it fairly loose, but not so loose that it would bang his teeth. I did need to do a little adjustment. Also, NO cavesson. It needed to be as simple as possible to start.

After the bit is in his mouth, let him graze (or eat his dinner grain). I started with 5 minutes and now he can be in there for 30 minutes or so eating dinner. I started with a loose ring 3 piece snaffle, although I am going to start him in a level 1-2 Myler bit (as he is a super sensitive horse, he doesn't need quite so much as a snaffle I think).

After a few weeks of that, I started to lunge Zapa while he was carrying the bit, with the leadrope attached to his halter. The next step was side reins to help him learn to give to the pressure of the bit (which took him about 3 seconds to learn) without my hands getting in the way.

Next step is to drive him with the bit and lunge him with long lines (two lunge lines, one on each side), but we are still some time away from that. After that I will start to flex him each way with both the bosol (like a halter with reins) and bit rein together, but bit rein loose. I'll ride him that way for quite a while before just relying on the bit rein.

Some of these ways are specific to a Paso Fino but can work with all horses. If you are using a rope halter, you can ride with that and have the horse carry the bit for a while.

But remember, make it comfortable. Your relationship with your horses mouth will be a vital part of your relationship. So take the time to do it right!


Types of Bit Pressure

I was recently viewing the Myler DVD A Whole Bit Better (which for now is $9.99 and includes a copy of the book from www.toklat.com). This is an AWESOME video for anyone who wants to learn more about bits and how they work. The purpose of this video is to sell you Myler bits (which I personally like and use), but even more than that, it has great information.

There are six points of pressure that can be caused by a bit.

1. Tounge pressure. Either the bit pinches or restricts the tounge
2. Bar pressure. This is the area of the horses mouth between the teeth.
3. Curb pressure. The 'chin' of the horse, underneath their mouth.
4. Poll pressure. The pole is where the head pivots from the neck
5. Palate pressure. This is when the bit touches the roof of the mouth.
6. Nose pressure. Pressure on the nose, usually from a bit that combines nose pressure with some type of bit action or can be without a bit.

Different types of pressure can create different results. Don't forget, the bit you use is not just for your discipline and definately not a substitue for good training.

I can ride all my horses in a rope halter, but the bit is about refinement and communication. And as my friend Gina Gardner says 'The horse chooses the bit'. So true, so true.


How to afford a horse #1

Considering getting a horse? They are expensive (don't I know it), but there are a few things you can do to save money in the rest of your life that can help you afford horses. Some of these things I actively do, some not so much, but all have been part of my horse affording strategy (and I have 3 horses so it is important to have SOME kind of strategy).

1. Take your lunch to work. If you work outside of your home, bring your lunch with you every day. I can bring an awesome, healthy, filling lunch for about $2.00, but eating out costs a minimum of $6.00 (unless you have fast food, that that is terrible for you). 20 workdays x $4.00. Saved $80.00

2. Avoid/change/modify the coffee habit. If you are buying coffee, make it at home. Starbucks is an expensive habit. You can buy the syrups, grind your own beans, even make an investment in an espresso machine and it won't take long to counter the cost of Starbucks. But if you can avoid it all together, just 3 coffee's a week at $2.00 each adds up. Saved $24.00

3. Buy in bulk, responsibly. Costco is a great saving place, but not when you buy stuff you don't need or won't use. Believe it or not, Costco is not always the least expensive place, but convenient when you need lots of something. For my family, the only thing we used to buy there was meat, but now I buy from a local butcher (who is less expensive for better quality). I have seen plenty of people buy (including myself), things they don't need at places like Costco. Dollars drained at Costco are ones not spent on horses. Saved LOTS, but let's say $50.

4. Sneak your snacks into the movie theatre. Ack. Ok, I said it. I have developed a bad habit of buying popcorn, but the movie theatre doesn't offer any soda that is affine and sugar free, so I bring by own soda and candy bar. 2 movies a month. Saved $10.00

So, now we have saved $164.00. For me that would pay a month of board plus a bag of grain. And that is no April Fools joke.