New! Ariat Fuse Athletic Shoe

Fall is approaching quickly and this means that we get to see some new products come in to our hungry little hands. The Ariat Fuse athletic shoe has just arrived at Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supply, and I simply could not wait to get my fingers on them. Were they everything the hype was leading them up to be? Let’s find out! Ariat Fuse Athletic ShoesAriat made the Fuse athletic shoe to be the go-to when you take your boots off. The Fuse athletic shoe is not a riding shoe as it does not have a heel, but they can be worn in the barn or in everyday casual life. This athletic shoe is great to change into before and after our rides so we aren’t stuck in our riding boots. Now lets get to the nitty gritty details about the Ariat Fuse!

Ariat Fuse Breathable Mesh The first thing I noticed about the Fuse was the breathable mesh material they are constructed of. Using a mesh material means that your feet won’t feel like they are suffocating inside a tiny cage all day. Also, your foot can expand and contract without feeling constricted and allows natural temperature control as well. My feet tend to swell by the end of the day and I don’t like shoes that make my feet feel they don’t have any wiggle room. That is not going to be an issue with these puppies!

Another thing I noticed about the Fuse is how light they are! I don’t even think they are more than a few ounces… it feels like I am tip-toeing on clouds! They are so light and airy that you feel as though you are not wearing shoes. This athletic shoe features Ariat’s 4LR Ariat Fuse Soletechnology that provides a four layer footbed, lightweight shank, while cushioning and stabilizing the foot for comfort and performance. The footbed in the Fuse is also contoured and removable. If you have a high arch I would recommend switching out the footbed, as I feel this fits more of a flat foot. The Fuse footbed lends itself to keeping your tired dogs kickin’. They feel really comfortable on, and act as though you have little massaging hands encouraging your feet to keep going. If you can’t tell, I am in love with these athletic shoes!

Other features of this athletic shoe are the heel and tongue pull tabs. The tongue pull tab also moonlights as a lace security factor. The Fuse sports a rubber outsole and an EVA midsole keeping them durable and easy to clean. The Fuse athletic shoe is available as a round toed shoe in sizes 5.5-10, 11.

Ariat Fuse SneakersLastly, I also like the color options available. There are four color choices ranging from Blue Leopard Mesh, Grey Snake Mesh, Pink Serape Mesh, and Purple Serape Mesh. The Fuse athletic shoe is a great cross-over shoe and Ariat has hit a home-run with them! I hope you can enjoy them as much as I plan to! Click here to view them on our website: Ariat Fuse Athletic Shoe

Ariat Fuse Grey SnakeAriat Fuse Grey Snake Bottom ViewAriat Fuse Serape Athletic Shoe Ariat Fuse Purple Serape Top View Ariat Fuse Blue Leopard Athletic Shoe Ariat Fuse Blue Leopard Back View Ariat Fuse Pink Serape Athletic Shoe Ariat Fuse Pink Serape Bottom View

Announcing our updated website!


Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supply is excited to announce the launch of a new, redesigned version of its website! Updated and new features include a cleaner look, easier way to shop products and enhanced navigation. New wish list features and a great new optimized design for mobile shopping customers!


“We are very proud of this new website. We know how busy everyone is and this site should make your shopping experience quick and easy”.


About Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supply

Founded in 1976 by Dennis Osterholt (Big D). Big Dee’s started off selling standardbred racing equipment out of a small building in Northfield, Ohio. Outgrowing a few buildings, Big Dee’s currently resides in Streetsboro, Ohio and has a 17,500 sq ft showroom and 80,000 sq foot warehouse! Filled with thousands of items for the horse and rider in every discipline – you’ll be sure to find what you are looking for. Visit us at 9440 St. Rt. 14, Streetsboro Ohio or online

Big Dee’s Featured on this week’s On The Road with Noble Outfitters!



Have you visited Big Dee’s in Streetsboro, Ohio? If not, now is your chance to get a look at our 17,500 square foot showroom and our 80,000 square foot warehouse!

Dan Costa, Noble Outfitters CEO, will visit with local horse enthusiast, pony clubber and entrepreneur, Lauren Mansky who makes and sells custom browbands and jewelry.

Dan will show you the massive showroom filled with every horse and pet product you can imagine.

Have you ever wondered how your order gets to you? Dan will walk you through the order picking process in our warehouse.

After all of that Dan needs breakfast! Watch as he samples Big Dee’s Belgium Waffles with local made, 100% pure Ohio Maple Syrup made at our marketing manager’s farm in Geauga County.

You’ll also get to meet Big Dee’s daughters – second generation owners Brenda Miavitz and Gail Linsley in a sit down one on one conversation!

Make sure to tune into RFD-TV on  Wednesday, May 11th at 9:30 PM, EST to watch!

Rambo Trade-In Event

The Big Rambo Trade-In Event!

Bring in your used, cleaned turnout blankets in any brand or style & receive $50 off a new Rambo Turnout! Your old turnout will be donated to a local equine charity. To get involved, just follow these steps:

1. Wash your old turnouts

2. Bring your old turnouts into the store, 9440 State Route 14 Streetsboro, OH 44241 or mail them to us.

3. Select your new Rambo turnout (any weight, any style)

4. Complete the trade-in vaucher and we will submit it for you.

5. Automatically receive $50 OFF each new Rambo Turnout for each turnout traded in!

Promotion valid October 1 – November 26, 2015.

The growing pains of eventing or How not to event – Jessica R.

Stone Gate Farm August Mini Trial Schooling Day – Tackling the growing pains of eventing
or “How not to event”.

How Not To Event
Employee and Team Big Dee’s Member Jess R demonstrating “How not to event” during cross country schooling at Stone Gate Farm in August

For those of you who have been following along with the progress of my 5 year old gelding Paladin – Despite a few growing pains we’ve had an enjoyable summer of eventing with lots of growth for both of us. The spring started out with placing 8th in the starter 2’ division at the Winona Horse Trials in May. After a brief tendon scare that put us a bit behind in June we moved up to the Beginner Novice division at the Hackamore Farm mini trial in July and scored a 4th place finish. Unfortunately due to the excessive rain the cross country course was shortened significantly and I was not able to get a good feel of his overall fitness to be able to go a full cross country course at our new level, but continued on with conditioning and entered the Stone Gate Farm mini trial which was held on August 2nd. Despite Paladins bravery at Winona, I chose to school Hackamore since we were moving up a level and in doing so I learned that my young guy still needs more miles and more exposure to the various obstacles that are found out on cross country at the 2’6” level. For this reason I also chose to school Stone Gate on the Saturday before the event.

Schooling day was a pleasant and sunny 82 degrees and as always Stone Gate Farm offered an enjoyable mix of people, horses and dogs to greet us. I had a couple close friends who were going to be competing in the starter division along to school their horses and we had a pup and two husbands to serve as our ground people. I flipped on the mycoursewalk app and we all set out to walk the courses and come up with our ride strategies. Upon walking the course I found jump number 2 to be a bit imposing, it was a cedar colored mulch top table that was set between two ponds. The terrain was a bit rolling and the approach was off of a bending line. I found the line I wanted to ride which would hug the right hand pond initially and knew that I would have to be committed to get him over it. The fence would be shared with the novice division with the addition of a rail on the back side, but the rail was down and I had my plan. The other fence I devised a strategy for was a very straight forward coop but it was positioned on the lower side of a gallop across a large hillside. I decided that for the coop I would to cross over the hill a bit early on then steady him up for a nice presentation over the fence prior to galloping on.

We tacked up and headed out to warm up and then set out to jump around the cross country course. I had changed bridles the night before and was not able to get the noseband snugged up and was learning straight away that he was significantly stronger and less sensitive when he is able to open his mouth and evade the bit. Fence 1, a welcoming hanging log (more like a robust branch) was easy enough, Paladin had already seen it when we had competed and winona and though the top would be raised a bit, he added a late step and got over it. On to fence two, the first of my questionable jumps, I found my line hugging the pond and got him moving forward to it. I remember thinking on my approach “boy this looks a lot bigger now!” and at the last stride Paladin spun himself sideways in an attempt to duck out the side and deposited me in a less than graceful heap on the ground in front of the jump. As I was falling I reached out in an effort to divert my head and body from hitting the jump itself and felt instant pain as my wrist accepted the brunt of the force from my fall. I got myself up and turned my attention to Paladin who had only walked a few steps before stopping with a “what gives mom?” look on his face. I took hold of his reins and walked over to where our convoy had congregated to witness my epic failure. After doing inventory of my limbs it was obvious that my wrist was injured but I could still hold the reins effectively and walked back over to the fence to get back on. After I got on I looked back down at the fence again and realized that the back rail had been added. I tried to lift it off from in the saddle but did not have enough strength in my hand to hang on and opted to just get him over it as is. With my confidence obviously rocked (always so much worse when we actually hurt after a fall) I rode him towards it again but in a more defensive position expecting a refusal and that is exactly what I got. I realized then that he is still such a baby, it is my job to be brave for him, and I need to ride it like I meant it. I quickly felt a sting of disappointment as I pictured our awesome weekend of camaraderie among so many friends was going to be over at the 2nd fence on schooling day. I bucked up and took him back again, spurred and cropped him on, yee-hawed and squalled at him and over he went.

Cross Country Jumping
Employee and Team Big Dee’s member Jess R successfully conquering the imposing fence #2

Everything in my being wanted to be “done” for the day, but the trainer and competitor in me knew that I needed to ask for that jump again and he sailed over with less apprehension the last time. As I approached fence 3 which was a bright blue brush box it was obvious that it was not just my confidence that had been rocked. Paladin ducked out again, and again, but we managed to get over it again and again (and again for good measure) and moved on. The next three fences were a hanging log, a tan and orange bench, then a little bit of tricky uneven terrain to a dark colored roll top with a slight bend that required a close ride along the edge of a planted crop. Those all went easy and I felt his confidence returning once again. We left the back field for the middle field via a shaded trail and arrived at fence 7 which was the palisades. This fence was also shared with the starter division but would have additional brush for added height on competition day. This was a cinch for him in the spring (not necessarily for me at that time) but was a non-event this day as well. On to our next questionable obstacle the big gallop over the hill and on towards the timber coop. He was feeling mighty fresh and was incredibly strong. I sat down, sat back, asked for a half halt in an attempt to collect and steady him over the coop, but he powered through my requests and sailed over at a much faster pace than I had been asking for. We continued on over a roundtop fence and after a few more strides I transitioned him down to a trot into the water. He went right in without hesitation, earning him a series of “good boy”pats! Out of the water there was a turn to the right then and up over a little log onto the bank complex.  Again he was really strong striding across the top of the complex and leapt off the drop without hesitation. I gave him another “atta boy” fot being so brave off the drop. Finally we had a long gallop back over a much less imposing mulchtop table which completed our course and I was so very relieved to be done!

Back at the trailer I was struggling to un-tack Paladin and my husband stepped in to help me get everything undone, cleaned and packed up to head back home. I was thankful that the day was over. I was looking forward to the next day but still feeling emotionally challenged to be brave at fence 2. My horse had been so very confident over jumps all summer that I started to forget that he was still just a youngster. I regressed to riding passively and letting the jumps come to me and being less technical about my position from approach to landing. This was my big mistake of the day. It is a subject that I struggle with, especially when trying to wear two hats (eventers vs hunters). Lesson learned. I need to focus on keeping my seat back, closing my hip angle, and keeping my leg just slightly ahead than that of the traditional ear, shoulder, hip and heel line on approach. I need to keep him energetic and forward to the fences and by no means let myself jump ahead of him. I had my game plan I knew what to expect and it was time to go home, bath him for the show, finish packing the trailer and then eventually work on doctoring my wrist. Stay tuned for my competition day blog!

Whats in my boo boo kit?
Regardless if you are hacking out on trail, going to a pleasure show or schooling cross country, cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises can happen (to both horses and humans). It is important to have some first aid basics at the trailer and ready for when the unexpected happens. These items really do not differ from the necessities that every barn(med)box should have, and if you do not travel frequently or do not leave other horses at home you might be able to get away with just having one kit that stays with your horse. For me though I have a barn box that has a much bigger selection of supplies and a trailer box just the necessities and that way I know I always have what I need when I need it.

In addition to those items that you can only obtain and use in accordance to your veterinarians instructions, such as Banamine, Bute and Dexamethasone (I take these along if I am going to be away for more than a day)
Your trailering(med)kit should have:
4×4 gauze pads – One package is plenty enough to stock your barn first aid box and your travel tote, just grab out a couple inches worth and put in a zip top sandwich bag to keep clean.
Latex Gloves – again grab a few out from your barn box and stick in a sandwich back to keep clean.
-A couple cohesive bandages such as CoFlex which you can tear by hand.
-a roll of Duct Tape
-A blood stop powder such as Wonder Dust, SuperH or new Celox Pads.
-An easy to use boo boo spray such as Vetericyn or Schreiners (watch this one stings a little)
-A digital thermometer
-A Stethoscope
-A small selection of your favorite People products including band-aids, triple-A creme, advil etc.
Keep it all clean and at the ready in a zippered bag or hard case like our Ascot Box you can even add a custom decal to make it easy to identify!

Big Dee’s and Formula 707 Love Giveaways!

Horse Supplements from Formula 707
Enter to win this basket from Formula 707 & Big Dee’s

Formula 707 has been making quality horse products in the USA since 1946! Legions of loyal user in the rodeo arena, in the show ring, on the track, around the ranch and on the trail.

Big Dee’s and Formula 707 have come together to offer an exciting basket giveaway!

Included in the $200 gift basket: 

  • 1 3lb. container of MuscleMx
  • 1 7lb. container of Weight Gain
  • 2 Restore Pastes (4 servings)
  • 2 Performance Mx Pastes (4 servings)
  • 3 Formula 707 chapsticks
  • 9 Formula 707 samples
  • 2 Formula 707 t-shirts
  • 2 Formula 707 hats

Click here to enter the giveaway!
Check out these great items –

MuscleMx – a natural dietary supplement to support muscle growth!

Building muscle can be a tricky business.

A horse’s body tends to add new muscle cells at its own pace, which is sometimes slower than horsemen would prefer. Even young, growing horses receiving plenty of exercise often need a little help to pack dense muscle onto their limber frames. And as horses mature—especially horses recovering from the trauma of injury, disease, or severe stress—growing new muscle becomes an uphill battle.

Feeding extra protein—even protein rich in essential amino acids—does little to correct the problem, since you can only push so many nutrients through a series of progressively constricted metabolic pathways. To continue to add muscle mass, a way has to be found to retool the metabolism to remain in, or return to, muscle-building mode.

This is the rationale behind MuscleMx: to encourage the body to do what it already knows how to do with remarkable efficiency. To accomplish this feat, we’ve combined four natural nutrients that work synergistically to encourage the metabolic reactions required for muscle growth and development.

Lysine, the most essential of the 11 essential amino acids, lays the foundation for the formation of muscle-building proteins. Gamma oryzanol, a natural plant extract, assists in weight gain and muscle formation in all classes of the horse. Creatine, a naturally occurring organic acid, helps supply energy to muscle cells by stepping up production of ATP, the body’s energy-transport molecule. And Ornithine Ketoglutarate (OKG), an organic salt based on the amino acids ornithine and glutamine, bypasses the inhibitory metabolic processes preventing new muscle development. For all horses challenged in the task of adding or simply maintaining muscle mass, MuscleMx is the real solution for real results.

* Weight Gain – Safe, effective weight gain for underweight horses

Use to achieve and maintain a healthy weight in horses of all ages

Some horses are hard keepers. No matter what or how much you feed them, they have trouble keeping on weight. Often the problem can be traced back to the first stage of digestion, the teeth. If the teeth have grown uneven, it’s just a matter of “floating” them back to a uniform height to facilitate mastication. For other horses, however—horses with good teeth and no other digestion-related ailments—failure to maintain a healthy weight can be a combination of genetics, age and workload.

Anyone who raises performance horses is familiar with the problem of keeping weight on their horses. Intense exercise and the stresses of boarding, hauling, and competing all take their toll. Feeding more hay and grain is not always a satisfactory solution. That’s because healthy weight gain is intimately tied to energy metabolism, which in turn is dependent upon the availability of certain nutrients. It’s not enough just to feed more calories if the calories being fed are not properly utilized.

Formula 707 LifeCare Weight Gain is a highly palatable, calorie-rich supplement specifically formulated to help all types of horses gain and maintain weight. Vegetable fat provides concentrated and easily digestible calories in a form that also increases a horse’s overall energy. High-quality protein provides all the essential amino acids a horse needs to rebuild lost muscle, and fiber keeps the digestive machinery working smoothly. Calcium and phosphorus have been added to assist in the important task of skeletal maintenance and, along with zinc and copper, energy metabolism.

Does it work? In informal studies, Formula 707 Weight Gain was shown to have a visible effect on underweight horses in just a few days, and a return to normal weight within weeks.


* Restore Paste– working horses need a balanced electrolyte to restore lost minerals after workouts
Human athletes have come to understand the importance of replacing electrolytes to restore minerals lost in a vigorous workout. Because the same is true for equine athletes, we designed Formula 707 LifeCare Restore to replace the sodium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium lost in a liter of sweat. Use Restore electrolyte paste during intense workouts, when you are travelling, or when feeding isn’t practical.


* PerformanceMX Paste– A powerful iron-rich supplement for peak performance in equine athletes
Performance horses are burdened with demands that nature never intended. The nutritional demands of a performance horse can be several times those of a horse grazing in the pasture. Apple flavored Formula 707 PerformanceMx Paste provides quick energy and supplies nutrients that are readily available for the equine athlete, even under demanding performance conditions. The easy to administer oral syringe provides an energy boost when feeding isn’t practical.

Click here to shop Formula 707 products!

Good luck and thank you for participating in our basket giveaway!

Click here to enter the giveaway!



Horse Show Mom


I’ve decided that being a horse show mom is not for the faint of heart!

As I packed my car with everything from horse treats to chaps I kept wondering how I was going to see out of my windows on the highway! Three hours and four stops later we arrived at the fairgrounds with game faces on.

Horse stalls were bedded, tack and dressing stalls were set up, we had all ridden at least once in the show ring, tack had been cleaned and the horses had been bathed and fed. I sat down for the first time in hours. My kids were still going strong. My 13 year old son was going to put on his hat and “look for ladies” and my 8 year daughter just wanted to ride “one more time”! I needed a cocktail. However, none of that was going to happen   if we don’t find our hotel – we might have been sleeping with the horses.

Show day started at 6:30am. Horses were fed, lunged, saddled and ready for the day. My son and I were first up; amateur to ride western pleasure.  I have been riding for at least thirty-nine years and somehow forget what to do every time I go through that gate (have you ever seen SpongeBob when he goes for a driving test? – that’s me).  There was also a HUGE flock of pigeons in this arena – I’m fairly certain that I had crossed into some kind of horror film. Thank goodness my son has a better head on his shoulders (and no fear of birds) – he placed first. I managed to stay astride my horse and got a second!

My daughter was up next; her first time in walk trot and I was a nervous wreck! I was sure that the pigeons were going to attack, she was going to fall off and I wouldn’t be able to get my plus size behind over the fence to get to her fast enough! I paced the entire time, so busy fretting, I didn’t even notice that she had done really well and placed second!

We showed throughout the ninety degree day. I had worn  so many hats  – I was a gopher (moommmm, I forgot my gloves), a doctor (moommm, I fell off my bike and scraped my knee), a groom, a competitor, a lunch go-getter (moommmm, I’m so hungry, I can’t make it!), a tough guy (get out of the mud – you have to show in a little while) and so many more. My head hurts just thinking about it.

Later in the evening at the hotel, with bellies full and clean smelling  – I looked over and found my kids laughing with each other. That is what it is all about. No matter how much I had sweat, how much money had been spent or how many times I had heard the word mom – I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything in the world!

New Giveaway Starting!


Oster Turbo A5 2-Speed Clipper offers faster blade speeds and wider blade sweeps, along with better airflow and less noise during grooming. Virtually unbreakable, these clippers glide through thick, coarse hair easily, managing over 4,000 strokes per minute. Its detachable blade system provides incredible versatility as well.

Product Details:
Turbo powered for higher strokes per minute
Up to 4000 SPM
Powerful Universal motor

See below to enter!

Rafflecopter giveaway

Webinar Series – Trailer Safety



Big Dee’s Webinar Series
Dale from DLMR Trailers in Chardon, OH, spoke during Big Dee’s Anniversary Event about horse trailer safety. Dale has been in business repairing trucks and trailers for over 30 years and has noticed the biggest trailer failures are seen in tires, brakes and lights. Bearings need cleaned and packed every 5,000 miles, tires need to be changed regularly to avoid cracks and loss of tread and light failure is normally due to a bad ground to a bulb, not a bad bulb.

Driving Safety Checklist
– Always have spray on lubricant for hinges, door latches and more.
– Check your safety chains, the S-hook without a clasp is illegal. Make sure the chains are several inches off of the road and are criss-crossed (so if the ball comes off it is caught by the chains).
– Check your breakaway switch, it is essential that is functions properly.
– The battery should be replaced every two to three years.
– Spray the seven wire plug with WD40, if you see white and green corroding on the plug – you’re probably not getting a good connection.
– Check to make sure your lights are working by hitting the hazard switch, if both are flashing, you have both turn signal lights and brake lights since they are connected.
– 90% of tire failure is from people running them too full of air. Start out 10 lbs below what the tire recommends and adjust air pressure based on the payload of weight. If a trailer is stored outside, get a tire cover to protect it from the elements.
– Check your spare tire, an emergency is the worst time to find out it doesn’t have air or is rotted through.
– Adjust the trailer brakes every time you get in your trailer, the amount will change based on the weight getting pulled.

Bearing Emergency
If you hear noise coming from one of your tires/wheels, STOP your vehicle. If you burn up a bearing, you have to buy a whole new axle, ranging in the upper hundreds. If you need to take off a tire in an emergency and don’t have a trailer aid try to find a wooden log to prop it up.

Trailer Flooring
Between aluminum, wood and plastic composite, aluminum is the most common that Dale at DLMR Trailers replaces. Check and remove mats from the floor of your trailer and clean the floor two or three times a year. Ultimately, wood flooring is considered best because it lets the moisture dry up from the undercarriage and from having slight gaps between each board for excess moisture to drip through.

Laws and Regulations
Pay attention to laws and regulations for your state and nationwide. Keep in mind how much you haul, it is recommended to not pull your truck and trailer at capacity every haul. It’s better to never pull full weight and ease the burden on both truck and trailer. Pulling 26,000 lbs or more requires a CDL license. It’s better to err on the side of caution and have your trailer inspected by a professional to avoid letting any damage worsen and avoid hefty fines.


Moving Up: Part II – Jessica R.

Hackamore Farms Horse Trial – Part II: Competition Day

Competition day had arrived for the Hackamore Farm Mini Trial held in North Jackson, Ohio which is part of the Northeast Ohio Mini Trail Series (NEOMTA). This was my competition of choice to make my move with Paladin up to the Beginner Novice 2’7” division, after completing the Winona Horse Trials in the Starter 2’ division successfully in May. My dressage ride was not until 12:48pm. I turned Paladin out at 6am with his barn buddies to get some pre-show grazing in while I finished up packing the truck and trailer and had breakfast with my family. At 10am I brought everyone in got busy bathing and grooming him for the show. After weeks of heavy rain we were very lucky to stay dry the 2 days preceding the event. Everyone was blessed as event day brought sunshine and temps right around 80 degrees. A forecast of afternoon storms had me hoping to stay dry, but expecting to get wet as I tossed an extra set of clothes, towels,  an umbrella and mud shoes in the truck. We loaded up and made the short 30 minute drive over to Hackamore Farm.

Upon checking in I was informed that the entire back half of the cross country course had been closed off due to the degrading footing and the optimum time had gone from around four and a half minutes down to 1 minute 59 seconds. With that news my stress level was reduced to no more than that of a normal schooling day. When I had schooled the course on Friday, both the fence that I deemed my “trash talk” fence and the water crossing that my horse was uninterested in making for me, were both in the back half of the course. I knew that I was no longer facing certain elimination which made for a much more enjoyable time on my part. I took a walk out on course to review the cutoff before fence 4 and the restart at fence 13. It was simply a u-turn with plenty of room. I had my optimum time watch and I would plan on taking a look after the 13th fence. I then headed over to take a look at the show jumping course (of which I completely forgot to review prior to leaving the farm on schooling day). It consisted of 10 elaborate and brightly colored jumps arranged with only a couple tight-ish turns, but otherwise quite straight forward and appeared to very ride able. I headed back to the trailer, made friends with my neighbors for the day and got busy pulling out tack for dressage. My husband (personal photographer), 2 year old son and my father (official toddler wrangler) were along for the day and were busy playing in the grass while I tacked up. I pointed them in the direction of the dressage ring and headed out to warm up.


Our dressage test went reasonably well for us. The right canter lead that eluded me at the Winona horse trials was a bit late but was at least correct. There were fewer instances of outright resistance and rushing then what I had experienced on our previous tests. I was disappointed that he did not relax and stretch during the free walk but was happy that I had gotten a nice square halt at the end. The judge was very gracious at the completion of our test. She came out to discuss our rough points and asked me to perform a 20 meter trot circle giving him an additional 3 inches of rein. After watching me struggle to get him settled into the circle, she inquired as to if he was typically strong and prone to rushing at which I replied yes. It is an issue we had been dealing with for quite some time. She also inquired as to who my trainer was, at which I was honest and let her know that I have not had a regular trainer to assist in my riding. I was happy to hear that she felt that we were due for some regular dressage lessons in order to help sort out my riding errors, which would in turn help Paladin to perform better. She felt that it would be well worth the time and cost associated with them. She also said that the talent is “there”, that Paladin has three very nice gaits and that we just need some direction to help him come into his own and shine. I was so happy and thankful that she took the time to talk with us regarding our ride. I have been struggling with his resistance to dressage for over a year and I know that my efficacy as a rider has been degraded as I struggle with him and with physical issues in myself. This was just the wakeup call I needed!

I got back to the trailer feeling that the toughest part of our day was over. While chatting with the neighbors I untacked Pal hung up his bridle, put away our dressage saddle and pulled out all of our jumping gear. I got him tacked and booted up for stadium and cross country. After warming up over the practice jumps, the stadium round went excellent. Paladin did not question any of the obstacles. He felt great and we only had a slight rub at one of the fences but thankfully the rail stayed up. I felt awesome since I had not schooled him over them and he had never seen them previously. He is so honest and all of our work last year with the hunter shows has certainly paid off. He seems 100% committed to going over whatever jumps I point him at.PaladinHackamoreDR

I allowed him a few minutes to breathe prior to checking in for our quick cross country jaunt. He stood quietly in the starting box and we waited for our countdown. “30 seconds… 15 seconds… 10, 9, 8… Have a great ride!” I started my optimum time watch which had been set at a whole 2 minutes and we cantered off to the first fence. He sailed over easy and we galloped on over a roll top and the log cabin. After the u-turn where they closed off fences 4 thru 12, we took fence 13 which was cowprint barrels and headed towards the wooden train that was fence 14. I took a look at my watch and seen that we had just under 30 seconds to go and pulled him up into a slower canter and kept him steady down the galloping lane and over the fruit stand to finish up the course. I had glanced at my watch at the finish and it looked like we were about 15 seconds under but by the time I bumped the stop button after pulling him up it read 6 seconds.

Back at the trailer I untacked him, sponged him down, offered him a drink and took him for a walk. When we got back from our walk I put I ice wraps on his front legs and took a quick look at startbox to see where I was in the standings. I had gotten a 40.0 in dressage and was in 8th place out of 9 entries. I knew that I went double clear in stadium and dressage and that we would only be in the ribbons due to another team’s bad luck as they award ribbons to 6th place. The storm clouds were starting to gather and I heard an announcement over the PA system that they wanted to push forward and if you were ready to start any of your phases to report to the respective steward and that they would start anyone who came regardless of order. I quickly packed up all of our tack and belongings, thanked my dad for coming along to watch my son and sent him on his way. I loaded up Paladin and hopped into the truck with the rest of my family as a steady drizzle started falling. I relaxed for a few moments before picking up an umbrella and heading up to the house to check the status of the scoring hoping to be able to pick up my dressage test. Nothing had been released and I headed back down to the truck. I zipped out a couple messages to friends and facebook and anxiously waited for the scores to be posted. I refreshed startbox scoring again and was excited to see that stadium scores had been posted. It looked like the third place competitor had a rail down which moved them all the way down to 8th and moved me up to 7th. Finally the XC results were posted, I was happy to see that I was only 10 seconds under and the closest to optimum time in our division. It was also evident that 3 competitors who had been ahead of me, had some issues on cross country and I was moved up to finish in 4th place.

All in all it was a good day for us. The move up in division was a non-issue, granted having a much shorter cross country course certainly helped with making it as easy as possible for Pal the first time out. Stadium jumping at the higher level was a blast and Dressage was very rewarding thanks to an excellent judge. It is one thing to lose your placing after dressage due to issues in jumping or cross country, I have been there on occasion and yes it is disappointing. However, it is nowhere nearly as rewarding to gain places due to others misfortunes, and I have no interest in relying on the mistakes of others to bring me better ribbons. I am incredibly competitive, and when I place I want for it to be because we were the best overall. It’s time to pick a dressage trainer, tackle my own riding deficiencies, and be a more effective rider so I can get those clean wins that I can really be proud of. We’ve got three weeks to work before our next event, which will be down at Stone Gate Farm in Hanoverton, Ohio on August 2nd!

What keeps Paladin going?
In addition to 12+ hours of daily turnout I feed:
Strategy Healthy Edge – Paladin is a high energy “easy keeper” this feed provides the balanced nutrition he needs, including higher fat and controlled sugar and starch that is commonly recommended for drafts and draft crosses.
Apple a Day Electrolyte – This salt-potassium based electrolyte is palatable and helps to ensure that my horse is getting the electrolytes he needs to keep him healthy during the hot summer months.
Wheat Germ Oil – Because Dapples don’t grow on tree’s!
Equi-Ferm XL – Promote a healthy gut and better nutrient absorption with pre-biotics and pro-biotics!
Luck & Love Alfalfa & Apple Cookies – Because I love him and he’s a good boy!