I have been an employee of Big Dee's Tack since 1999 and an at-home horse owner since 1992. I was immersion trained into horsemanship at the age of 11 by my parents, when we moved from our suburban home to a 5 acre hobby farm. They purchased a 3 month old Clydesdale filly, handed me her lead rope and a couple of books on horse training and care. It became my responsibility to raise, train and care for her. Though I don't think I would ever choose this method of teaching horsemanship to my own son, I am ever thankful for their foresight in requiring me to find my own way. I absolutely love the challenge of bringing along a foal, weanling or young horse from the very foundations of training, through to successful competition. Over the years I have been competitive in showing draft horses, open pleasure shows, hunter under saddle, hunter breeding, USEA future event horse, USDF sport horse in-hand, local mini trials and for the first time this year USEA a recognized event. I had aspired to qualify for and compete at the American Eventing Championships with my current event horse Paladin, however after a rough spring we are currently enjoying foxhunting.
In nearly 25 years of riding and numerous unplanned dismounts; I can cite only 4 incidents in which I was actually hurt beyond just shaking it off and moving on. Up until just last year I never understood that there really can just be a riding “accident”. I had always just thought a fall was a fall, regardless of what the ultimate cause was. My two most recent experiences redefined the term “riding accident” for me. I now refer to a riding accident as one of which neither you, nor your horse has any control over the ultimate outcome. The lack of control fundamentally changed the way I feel about riding. It is not just the rather rude introduction to fear on a level that I am not particularly familiar with, but also one of enlightenment in better understanding that a riding accident really can happen at any time for any reason.
A learning experience
In both occasions two well trained and obedient horses, which had been in regular work suddenly wiped out while working at the canter. Last year’s fall was with my then 6 year old horse. I never had falling while competing in the dressage phase on my radar. My anxiety always surrounded the possibility of a fall out on cross country. It was a great example for rule book roulette. It turns out that in USEA eventing dressage you can choose to continue if your horse falls (EV136.1.d). The fall was dramatic but it was on grass and I did not take a direct hit to my head. I was scared more so than hurt and worried more that my horse may have suffered any injury than myself. In the next few rides I felt anxiety to canter on a 20 meter circle and was hyper aware that my horse just did not seem quite right. He underwent a full lameness evaluation with the veterinarian and we came up with a plan based on his individual needs which included corrective shoeing, a change in primary discipline and additional therapies to help him gain strength in areas where he was lacking.
A bad fall
I have never had anxiety on hunting mornings, the way that I had experienced anxiety running cross country. Just three weeks ago I suffered another fall at the canter. I had been learning some of the ins and outs of Whipping-in for foxhunting and wanted to train my aged mare as a backup should my primary horse be unable to hunt. The hounds hit a line and we were cantering down a trail keeping an ideal position along with them. The trail was hard packed dry dirt. There was a very gentle curve but I did not notice any roots, rocks or other obstructions that would raise any sort of concern. My horse was balanced and comfortable when out of nowhere Continue reading The Fledgling Foxhunter’s Riding Accident→
Is it time to consider an all-in-one multi-system supplement?
Do you find yourself adding scoop after scoop of specialty nutritional supplements to your horses daily feed rations? Is your feed room storage solution bursting at the seams? If you are using 3 or more supplements, perhaps it is time to consider a multi-system supplement for your horse.
Not to be confused with multi-vitamins or ration balancers. All-in-one supplements are nutritional supplements that are formulated to cover more than one of your horses specialty needs. The greatest benefit is being able to feed a single supplement that contains all of the ingredients for joint support, gastric health, strong hooves, a shining coat and more! No matter if you keep horses for business or pleasure, any change in your supplementation routine should be met with facts and figures. Will the change be of benefit to your horse, your wallet or both? Let’s take a look at how to evaluate a change in supplements with some choices available at Big Dee’s Tack.
Let’s face it the night before traveling with your horse is always a bit hectic. Between tracking down tack for your horse and clothes for your self then filling hay nets, bathing and braiding; saving time wherever possible will ensure you get a good night’s rest. Horse trailer organization can take the stress out of travel. Stocking up your trailer with the basic items that you know you will always need while on the road increases efficiency. Having a place for everything and everything in its place will ensure that you can head out in confidence when it is time to hit the road.
Horse Trailer Annual Maintenance and Safety Stock Up
If you are planning on traveling with your horses this year and own your own trailer, now is a great time to plan your annual trailer cleaning and maintenance. It is also a great time to restock your road side hazard kit and trailer first aid kit. Check out this handy guide to ensure that you have all you need on the road for stress-free and safe travels.
I was recently blessed with an opportunity to have my horse Paladin clipped by Natasha from A Pampered Pony for a facebook live demo. Even though I have been body clipping my own horses for years I really enjoyed the tips and pointers that Natasha was able to provide. I am so very thankful to both Wahl and Lister for helping to arrange this fabulous event. The response to the demo was overwhelmingly positive. Though I did see a number of questions surrounding the general practice of body clipping. I hope to be able to offer a little more information, about the purpose and goals of body clipping. From the perspective of a performance horse owner.
A little bit about my horse
My horse Paladin is and always has been a show horse, eventer and most recently a field hunter. In an effort to help prepare my horse for his performance career I chose to show him extensively his first
three years of life. Regardless of if the show was local or recognized, I always take pride in producing a well turned out horse. I strongly believe that quality show turnout starts in the stable. Providing quality food and forage, regularly scheduled vet, farrier and dental care and allowing ample turnout helps to promote a strong body and sound mind. Everything that you do at home to benefit your horses overall health will be obvious in the show ring or out working in the field. I feel that clipping further enhances all of that hard work you put into your horse on a daily basis.
The efficiency of feeding time is reliant on how well organized and accessible your grain and supplements are stored. From a small back-yard barn to the largest boarding facilities the ultimate goal should be the same: ease of use, maintaining feed quality, accuracy of feeding and minimizing unnecessary footsteps. I hope to offer some great ideas on how to handle feed room storage and feed room organization.
Having a safe and secure feed storage area will aid in ensuring the overall health and well-being of your horse. While we never wish for a horse to get loose, it is always a possibility and as such all grain should be kept in an area off-limits to horses. If your facility does not have a separate stall or room that can be secured from the threat of a loose horse you will need to source feed storage containers that horses are unable to break into. Do not be fooled by that reassuring click of a trash can, horses can get into them successfully and the results of a horse overeating can be devastating.
Grain stored in bags can be susceptible moisture and rodent damage and could easily be damaged by a loose horse. Grain maintains it freshness best in cool, dry conditions. An ideal feed storage container should offer a tight seal to keep the freshness of the feed in while keeping pests, contaminants and moisture out. Continue reading Horse Feed Room Storage and Organization→
The Scoop on Custom Tall Riding Boots – Fitting and Selection
With Big Dee’s Custom Boot Event kicking into full swing this week, I thought it would be a great time to give your the scoop on custom tall riding boots and my recent ordering experience!
Why are Tall Boots Important?
Regardless of your riding interests and style, everyone has that perfect picture in their mind of how we would love to look and feel in the saddle. I envision myself in a classic ensemble that includes a tweed hacking jacket, rich brown boots and a smart brown helmet. Beyond the obvious fashion aspect there is more to a good quality boot. For me, my boots and helmet are the only two things that I really must have in order to feel safe and confident while riding a horse. Tall boots are a key transmitter in the language between you and your horse through your leg aids. Undoubtedly the comfort and fit of your tall riding boots can make or break your ride all together. Whether they are too tall, too tight, too small in the foot, too sloppy in the leg, or perhaps just too old, battered and broken; we’ve all been there, that moment when you decide enough is enough and you’ve got to find something better.
Why choose custom?
Last spring my schooling boots failed beyond repair, and I started wearing my Tredstep Field Boots. They are beautiful, fit me like a glove and had previously been reserved for use only while showing and foxhunting. In an effort to ensure their continuing good looks I knew I should get another pair of tall boots to take up the brunt of my daily wear. Despite being able to shop through an extensive offering of top name brand tall boots in both brown and black, finding an off-the shelfContinue reading The Scoop on Custom Tall Riding Boots→
With a busy shopping week ahead, I thought I would share out some great gift giving ideas for foxhunting enthusiasts just in time for the sales to start over at www.bigdweb.com. There are many items essential to foxhunting that can be really quite difficult to acquire. More specifically, specialty appointments such as vintage stag handled hunting whips, tweed hacking jackets, sandwich cases and flasks. It takes time and skill to find these in good condition. However, time is of the essence and the gift still has to be great. Don’t despair, I’ve put together a hand picked selection of ready to ship items that are sure to be used and appreciated. A gift guide fill of ideas that will actually contribute to the enjoyment of life before, during and after the hunt. Shop the Entire Collection Now or read on!
Ride along with me, The Fledgling Foxhunter, with each adventure I hope to share with you some insight from the beginners’ perspective of subjects including what to expect while out foxhunting, foxhunting fashion, etiquette in the field, pre-and-post hunt realities and socializing for the anti-social.
My first soiree with foxhunting was a single ride two years ago. The second first time was SO much easier, but since this is all about the first time out I will openly admit that I had no idea what to expect. I luckily found an acquaintance that had hunted before and she put me in contact with The Chagrin Valley Hunt. I sent a cordial email to the main email address, requesting permission to ride along. I eagerly awaited a response that would assure my participation, and was invited to an “open day” by Joint Master Laura Mock. I was so excited to hear back with a date, time and a “fixture” which is the land on which the meet takes place. Some fixtures are regarded as more beginner friendly, if you can’t make it to an open day, be forthcoming with the masters or secretary about your level of experience and make arrangements to ride a fixture that is most suitable for your first time out. I inquired back as to the appropriate attire and turnout for an open day and was instructed that casual riding attire was expected (think clinic attire), tall boots or paddocks and half chaps, helmet, any sort of saddle and a clean unbraided horse.