All posts by Cassie Hupric

Cross Country Schooling Safety

As part of safety awareness, I though it an opportune time to share the importance of safety cross country schooling. No, this isn’t just another article about helmet safety and wearing your body protector, or divulging all the recent trends in safety devices and scientific methods of calculating and mitigating risk (although I may touch on that!), but rather some “best practices” that are easy to overlook when we are in a hurry to “do all the things” and let’s face it, we are horse people so we are always in a hurry!

Speaking From Experience

First, a story. Recently, I had the occasion to be cross country schooling a horse that I had been riding for some time, has competed through Intermediate and 3* level, and was preparing to do its first Preliminary after a hiatus from the sport due to an injury. We had competed at several recognized Events already at Training level to get him back up and going, and he and I had schooled multiple times before and were “on the same page” as far as rideability and “seeing” the questions the same way.

My coach, with whom I have ridden with for many years, was putting us through various warmup exercises and the “wheels were on “… everyone was having fun and having a good school. On a downhill approach to a low wide roll top, my sometimes overly keen horse was in beast mode and as I worked to quietly steady him we ended up wrong and had a proper wipe out over the fence. I sat up and saw we were both
okay, albeit dirty, we checked over my horse, and I got back on and finished schooling and went on to successfully compete later that week.

Tack & Apparel Inspection

Back at the barn I inspected everything a bit more closely, as I do on a frequent basis, to ensure that all my equipment is safe and up to task, and found that there was a slight “fold” at the front of the skull of my UVEX Perfexxion helmet. My helmet was covered in dirt and grass was
stuck in it, and while I don’t believe I hit my head, there was a force great enough to crack the front of it. It was barely discernible and you could really only feel it with your finger.

When I removed the inner liner the helmet did not appear damaged anywhere else, but when I put pressure on it, there was a slight give. My helmet was definitely cracked, and it was so miniscule that a person would not even know it was there unless closely inspecting it. I immediately felt a sense of gratefulness that I was wearing a UVEX, because for one, it clearly prevented me from having a head injury, and two, that they have a replacement program for
instances such as this to help riders replace a damaged helmet in the event of a fall.

Rider Safety Practices

Everyone talks about “best practices” and had I not inspected my equipment after, I would have been riding around with a cracked helmet, putting myself at risk without even knowing I was doing so. Checking your equipment on a regular basis is of utmost importance, and I would
venture to guess that most of us don’t take the time to evaluate the wear and tear on all the tack we use on a daily basis.

We have all heard the stories of the rein or billet strap that broke mid ride, and how the rider inevitably made a miraculous escape from doom and kept their horse under control. I mean, all of us adrenaline junkies love a good story of wild chaos and how we thwarted disaster. But, maybe, just maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should check our bridles, stirrup straps, billets, helmets, boots (we’ve all had those zippers fail us time and again!), saddles, martingales and breastplates with the same care that we use when we go over our horse with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there is no bump, cut, swelling, or scrape on them.

Furthermore, we need to REPLACE these worn-out items because the cost of the replacement is much less than an injury that could be caused from a failed piece of equipment.

A few other best practices when cross country riding:
  1. Know your venue. Check the place out and look before you leap. Check the take offs and landings at the fences to make sure they are safe and inviting.
  2. Allow your horse time to relax. Event horses live for cross country. They love their jobs and most of them are looking for those goal posts at every fence. Give them time to settle down and get used to the area you are schooling in so that you are accessing their minds, and not using adrenaline to “get around”.
  3. Warm up sufficiently. Get your horse working forward and back, turning and moving off the leg so they are thinking of rideability and really on the aids before jumping your first fence.
  4. Jump smaller fences out of a normal canter and progressively work up to bigger jumps at a faster pace. Cross country jumps don’t need to be jumped at speed, and while we need to practice galloping and jumping, we also need to make sure that we are on the same page with our horse and work out any miscommunications or rideability issues over a smaller more forgiving obstacle at a normal rate of speed.
  5. Don’t be afraid to call it day. None of us are perfect, we all have “off” days, and so do our horses. If you are having “technical difficulties” and not seeing eye to eye with your horse, get a few good jumps and call it a day. Don’t press on and try to do “all the things” just because you are trying to get ready for a competition. Try to work through the issues and then when you have a positive result stop there. Moreover, when schooling we don’t have to jump every jump, question, or combination out there. Pick something you want to work on just like you would when riding in the ring and tackle that item for the day.
Science & Technology For Safety

Thankfully science and technology is doing a lot to increase safety in the sport of eventing with innovations to obstacles, helmet and body protector design, course design, and rules to help keep us all out there competing and having fun. If we also employ a few of the best practices I
have discussed, I believe we can mitigate accidents and become better riders with more well trained, confident horses. Let’s do our part to keep ourselves, our horses and the people around us safe. Check your equipment regularly, and have fun out there schooling in a
responsible and thoughtful manner. Cheers!

Written by Sponsored Rider, Therese

Helmet Certification Standards

Helmet Certification Standards

Riding helmets provide an indisputable reduction in the potential of traumatic injury.  While no helmet can prevent serious injury under select or all circumstances, the use of well-fitted protective headgear can greatly reduce the likelihood of serious head injury.  The use of certified SEI ASTM protective headgear is compulsory within many United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) sanctioned divisions including but not limited to Dressage, Eventing, Hunters, Jumpers and Driving.  In addition, the Federation Equestre International (FEI) also requires certified protective headgear to be worn.

What does it all mean?

But hard hats have been worn for decades across all horse sport disciplines, what is different about the now compulsory rules?  Well…the cornerstone of the protective headgear conversation comes down to the helmet’s certification.  More so, in order for a riding helmet to be deemed “protective” it must meet or exceed stringent certification standards, issued by national governing or 3rd party bodies such as SEI ASTM, CE, BSI and Snell.  If the alphabet soup of helmet certification standards is not confusing enough independent third-party certification such as MIPS are also thrown into the mix. 

While it is easy to presume that all helmets of today must be certified, such is not the case.  Our noggins need protection and USEF and the FEI think so too.  Most helmet companies have gone through significant research and design to ensure their helmets meet or exceed certification standards.  But what exactly are those standards and what do they mean? 


Often countries or regions such as the United States or European Union have standards by which safety protocol is defined.  Within the US, the SEI or Safety Equipment Institute, affiliate of ASTM International, is looked to as an independent third-party certification provider. USEF certified headgear must meet or exceed ASTM SEI standards.  The EU has a similar standard notated by a CE marking.  Helmets with the CE marking indicate they have been tested and meet or exceed EU safety protection requirements.  Regardless of where the helmet is manufactured, if it is to be marketed in the EU it must bear the CE certification. 

Additional Safety Standards

Some additional nationally and internationally recognized safety standards for equestrian headgear are the Snell E2016, GS, Kitmarked PAS 015 and Kitmarked VG1.  The Geprüfte Sicherheit or GS indicates that the helmet meets or exceeds German safety standards.  The Snell certification is internationally recognized and certifies that the helmet meets or exceeds what is commonly accepted as the most ridged safety standard.  Let’s not forget the British, the BSI or British Standards Institute will designate helmets, which meet or exceed their standards as VG1 or PAS015, a more stringent standard.  In addition to safety standards recognized by member organizations, regional and national governments, there are also popular industry-leading safety technologies such as MIPS or Multi Directional Impact System that can add additional protections to headgear.

We have introduced a variety of helmet safety standard certifications of varies organizations and regions but what is the difference between these standards and what criteria does each of these standards certify?  More so, how exactly are our heads protected when we wear a helmet with any of these certifications? 

Standard Measurements

Standards measure numerous impact types including Flat Impact, Hazard Edge Impact, Round Impact, Spike projectiles and Crush Resistance at a variety of levels.  For example, SEI certified helmets to ASTM standards require helmets to meet or exceed a 1.8m Flat Impact and 1.3m Hazard Edge Impact test. The Kitmarked VG1 standard requires helmets to meet or exceed a 1.8m Flat Impact, 50cm Spike projectile and 630N Crush Resistance test.  Kitmarked’s additional standard, PAS015, requires helmets to meet or exceed a 1.8m Flat Impact, 1.3m Hazard Edge Impact, 75cm Spike projectile and 800N Crush Resistance test.  The Snell certified helmets must meet or exceed the most extensive standards to the highest levels including 1.9m Flat Impact, 1.3m Hazard Edge Impact, 1.5m Round Impact, 100cm Spike projectile and 1000N Crush Resistance tests. 


MIPS is a bit different as it is not a certification standard but a notation of specific technology most easily understood as slip plane technology which mirrors and increases the natural protection provided by the dynamic relationship between the brain and skull.  Below are two diagrams that help outline the variety of safety certifications and MIPS technology.

While we can talk about the multitude of standards and helmet technologies available to consumers, often made compulsory by organizations; it is critical we remember fundamentals of helmet safety.  No helmet can protect its user from trauma all of the time in all scenarios however, the use of a certified well-fitting helmet will greatly reduce the chance of traumatic injury when compared to no helmet use in the same incident. 

Know the Terminology

Throughout this discussion a few terms are repeated when referencing certification and helmet fit, those are “meet or exceed” standards and a “well fitted” helmet.  It is important to note that helmets are tested in a controlled environment with a variety of drop and impact tests.  Certification standards do not test helmets in real-life horse-riding situations.  Maintaining uniformity in real life is a significant undertaking and the drop/impact standards used in the laboratory best simulate the real-life situations in a test environment. 

For a helmet to receive a specific certification, it will meet and often exceed standards.  More so, certified helmets will absolutely meet certified requirements but may also exceed them.  A well-fitted helmet with the chinstrap securely fastened is critical when assessing a helmets ability to protect its user.  While some innovative helmet technologies such as MIPS are great additions to helmets which third party tests have shown to reduce the likelihood of head trauma, MIPS is not currently evaluated or certified by any of the major international safety standard certifications.

Choosing Your Helmet

Choosing the correct certified riding helmet is a personal choice with numerous options that can be confusing at times.  However, it is important when making an educated decision to understand the criteria of helmet certifications.  Certified helmets will note their relevant safety certification standards on their helmets as well as make it available in literature, marketing and at time of purchase.  The above information does not make any expressly or implied claims that any safety headgear will protect its user in all situations.         

Written by Suzanne, Web Products Specialist

Vetoquinol Flexadin Advanced UC-II

Joint Health with Vetoquinol Flexadin Advanced

Flexadin Advanced’s unique formula helps to promote healthy cartilage as well as maintaining the integrity of joint overall. It is one of the few on the market that I can say has made a difference in my horse’s health. If you have picky eater when it comes to powdered supplements, the banana flavoring of this product is quite palatable! It’s also another unique ingredient that sets this product apart from the competitors.

A key ingredient used in this joint supplement is brand collagen (chicken cartilage). Through research and scientific studies chicken cartilage has been a proven and safe effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.   It also aids in the progression of pre-existing arthritis within the joint. Any horse can benefit from joint care supplements. Whether a show horse, broodmare or mature aging horse – supporting joint health is a common concern with many horse owners.

Most Unusual Art “Sunday”

Over the years I have probably tried close to 20 different joint products on my horses. I have a retired Quarter Horse that I had shown on the Quarter Horse circuit in Hunter Under Saddle as well as Jumping. I have owned him for 18 years of his life.  When he was only 8 years old, he was involved in a serious jumping accident that led him to 8 months of stall rest, lots of stitches and a lot of TLC along the way. Since he had so much trauma caused to his hind legs during his accident, I have always kept him on some type of joint supplement or anti-inflammatory. His one hind leg has quite a bit of scar tissue in it, and I’ve always battled a bit of swelling in it when he is stalled.

(Most Unusual Art) “Sunday” back in his showing days

Since I put him on Flexadin Advanced  I have noticed a tremendous amount of improvement in his overall health. Flexadin Advanced is the only product that I feel has made him 100 % sound in his old age. I have noticed him running and playing more in the pasture then he used to. I know not all 25-year-old horses do that, so seeing this has really made me happy to see him feeling and moving so much better! He is not nearly as stiff as he once was.

Sunday now age 25 enjoying the retirement that he has earned with the help of Flexadin Advanced

Overall, I am very pleased with all this product has done for my horse. I will continue to use this on my boy for many years to come!

Written by Customer Service Associate, Sam

Hoof Injury Recovery

We often hear the No Hoof, No Horse mantra, and it can apply to so many different aspects of the horse’s hoof. I have been lucky enough to never have a horse with “really awful feet”. I’ve had some that needed to be shod, ripped out shoes, cracked toes or grew too fast/too slow. A lot of those problems could be remedied with a better diet or supplement like Hoof Secret and a little extra topical and environmental care.

One issue I had not dealt with extensively prior to my horse’s recovery, was a serious injury to the hoof itself. My Quarter Horse, Copper, always had good feet. He managed to make a handful of not great choices in his life that left him a little banged up, but otherwise, is a very healthy horse that maintains barefoot year round exceptionally well. When I moved him onto my property a few years ago, he was officially retired from being a little Sport Show Pony and now enjoys leisurely trail rides with twelve hour days in the field.

Discovering the Injury

When I went out to the barn one brisk September morning in 2019, I immediately knew something was wrong. First, his gate was open. And second, he was actually standing in his stall. He is notoriously impatient and would live outside 24/7 to gorge himself if allowed. Seeing him remain in his stall, quiet and head down, I was extremely worried. First glance over he seemed spotless…. And then I saw the hoof. He had a deep gash in his coronary band that looked like it fully separated the hoof from his leg.

I will never known exactly what happened, but we think he got his leg stuck between logs from a tree we cut down in the pasture. He never had an interest in the logs prior, but if he escaped his stall at night, he might not have seen the logs before he stumbled into them.

A lot of cold hosing ensued, followed by vet and farrier calls. Initially, there was a lot of “well, we’ll see how this goes” and some tentative “he can recover, but he might have a weaker leg” which to me translated to – hope, but also the chance of never riding him again. While our days of showing were done, I had hoped we would have years of trail riding ahead of us.

I shelved my stress about his future to stay in there here and now. Following both vet and farrier advice, we simply had a long road ahead of us and it required patience, time and occasionally some extra help.

First Stage [ Rain Season ]

The first several months were the hardest, I had to keep his wound both clean and open to the air during the fall rain season. In Northeast Ohio, that rain turns the dry lots into mud. I was diligent in cleaning the wound every day using warm water and cotton pieces, I would wipe out the dirt and debris, pat dry, then spray with Alushield.

After the initial few days of heat in his leg, he never took a lame step, and he didn’t get an infection (thankfully). I kept his stall extra clean to give him the best environment for recovery (after a full day in a muddy pit followed by the cleaning routine above). This was the most touch and go time, with follow-up vet appointments and farrier care to make sure we caught any problems early.

Second Stage [ Spring ]

By the following Spring, I started noticing rapid growth, and that meant seeing just how deep his wound really went. It started peeling back in places to the point I used a stiff hoof brush to clean out the grass that got stuck in it every day.

I also bought Back on Track bell boots to assist with the blood flow and hoof growth. At that point, my farrier was surprised just how well the coronet band healed. She had prepared me for the possibility that there would be an indent in his coronet band, and that it could be very sensitive and weak. Despite this, he kept healing stronger each day – and I snuck in a few easy rides without issue!

Third Stage [ The Ugly Part ]

By far the most “gasp” worthy phase were the summer months. For a time, I wasn’t sure I would be able to ride him, but we plugged along anyway (with the approval of his equine professionals).

The hoof kept growing out, and with that, chips and chunks from the old wound were pealing away. I kept the hoof moisturized with Farrier’s Fix and kept thrush at bay with Koppertox. That combination along with his bell boots brought us to the final part of his healing journey.

Final Stage [ One Year Later ]

After a full year of meticulous care, treatments and regular trimmings – his old wound grew out and his new hoof growth was just as healthy as it had been prior.

I attribute a lot of his success to both the genetics of being a hardy breed as well as his diet. He has been fed Buckeye Gro N Win for years now, and he just glows. Without the proper nutrition, he wouldn’t have been able to grow out a new hoof. I fully expected a longer process with bigger bumps along the way. But his recovery is proof – sometimes you just have to give it time.

He’s back to his mostly retired life – looking sharp in his LeMieux!

Copper continues to have solid, healthy hooves, nearing the two year anniversary of “the day he decided to give his mom a near-heart attack”. It wasn’t always easy, sometimes it was downright terrible. But by following the guidance of his care team, using supplies as need and giving him time to heal, he came back better than ever! If someone were to take a peak at him in the field right now, they would have no idea what hoof had the injury!

Written by Marketing Associate, Cassie

Show Ready This Summer

Show season is in full swing and we want our horses looking their best! As someone who has been showing for over 20 years, I have tried a lot of products on the market. Below, please find my top picks for making your horse stand out and shine on show day:


My two favorite shampoos are the Cowboy Magic Rosewater Shampoo and the Eqyss Premier Horse Shampoo. Both shampoos work wonderfully removing dirt and prepping the coat for the conditioner! They also smell great and rinse out easily. I use these on the coat as well as manes and tails.


After shampooing, I stick with the same brands and use either the Cowboy Magic Rosewater Conditioner or the Eqyss Avocado Mist Conditioner. These products make the coat silky smooth, and I love the way they smell. They also work well to detangle and soften the tail. Both of my horses have tails that are at least a foot on the ground, so I appreciate having a conditioner that allows me to detangle without damaging the hair.

Whitening Shampoo

My go to for whitening is the Exhibitors Quic Silver Shampoo. I usually curry it into my horse’s white markings and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out. I have not had an issue with it turning the hair purple, but it could happen if you let it sit for too long.

Coat and Shine Spray

After I finish bathing, I always spray my horses with a shine spray while the coat, mane, and tail are still wet so it can moisturize and set in the hair before it dries. My favorites are the Vetrolin Shine as well as Laser Sheen. These keep my manes and tails tangle free as well as give the horse a healthy shine!


To complete the look, I sand their hooves and apply the Absorbine Supershine Hoof Polish. It is easy to use and a little goes a long way! It stays on for the show, makes their hooves shine, and it rarely needs any touch-ups.

Dry Shampoo

If you need extra shine on show day, my new favorite is the E3 Elite Argan Oil Waterless Shampoo. This product locks in moisture and makes your horse shine! It works perfectly to get any stains out of your horse’s white spots or anything else they might have gotten into the night before the show. Even though this is an oil-based product, it does not leave the horse greasy and really brings out the shine.

While these are my personal favorites, there are a lot of new products we are offering so please check them out and reach out if you have any questions. I know there are a few I have my eye on to try this show season!

Written by Customer Service Representative, Erica

Select And Mix A Bridle With Schockemohle

Some of us in the equestrian world are lucky to have a horse that fits within the parameters of standard horse sizing – this means you could just pick up a bridle from the showroom and walk out. You might need to make a few minor adjustments, but overall, it fits well! Others however, aren’t quite so lucky. Maybe you have a small horse with cob or pony sized cheeks but a massive jowl that always requires a longer throatlatch. Or maybe you have a petite horse that needs a smaller browband and noseband, but longer cheeks. It can be an absolute pain to fall in love with a bridle, only to realize you need to spend additional money to replace a piece or several.

Luckily, there is an answer! And it isn’t limited to just horses with unique facial structures – any horse can benefit from a custom mix and match bridle . Schockemohle’s Select & Mix line of bridle pieces offers an array of options, from browbands to nosebands, there is a way to get a custom fit bridle at a reasonable price!

Anatomic Curved Browband

The browband is a simple, yet important part of the bridle. The first step in selecting a browband is to measure your horse from the back edge of it’s ear, around it’s forehead and to the back side of it’s other ear. Schockemohle browbands come in cob, horse and large horse sizes as well as in brown or black leather. If you want to add a little more bling, check out the Diamond Browband options in cob and horse!

Anatomic Curved Crown Piece

The crown piece is an exceptional addition to this Select & Mix as it features soft padding and reduces pressure. The throat latch adjusts on both sides – which helps with that perfect custom fit! To measure the crown piece, you will need to take into account the cheek pieces, which also take into account the bit you use. To start, measure from the base of the ear, over the poll and to the bottom of the other ear. This is your first measurement. The second measurement will be from the corner of the horse’s mouth, all the way over the poll and down to the other side at the mouth. The final measurement is the throatlatch; start at the back of your horse’s ear, go under the throat and to the back of the other ear. These measurements will help you determine the right size to go with to accommodate both the cheek pieces as well as offer options for bit changes. Schockemohle crown pieces offer variety between cob, horse and large horse. Also available in black and brown leather.

Bridle Cheek Pieces

The cheek pieces come in cob, horse and large horse options to give wiggle room when selecting the other features of your bridle. It helps to know what bit you will be using so you can subtract the bit ring size from the measurement – however, we all know bits can change as a horse progresses in training. This is why measuring from the corner of the horse’s mouth to just level with the outside of their eye, will give you a starting point. From there, you can coordinate the crown piece, noseband and factor in the general size of the bit.

Stanton or Montreal Noseband

The Stanton Noseband is one of my favorites! Not only is the leather supple, its shaped in an anatomic design with slim, attractive flat cheeks. It gives a classy, quality turnout for your horse and offers black or brown leather to complete the overall look of the bridle. The Montreal is a great alternative if the Stanton is too much “bulk” for the shape of your horse’s face or you don’t want a flash. To measure the noseband, start two fingers below the cheekbone and wrap around to meet where you started – make sure you can fit two fingers under the tape, you do not want a super tight noseband! For the cheek hangers, measure from where you started the first measurement, to the outside of your horse’s eye. These measurements will help you in selecting cob, horse or large horse for the noseband.


Reins are the final part of making a bridle from scratch! While they are not a part of the Select & Mix lineup, Schockemohle does have a large variety of options. Choose between Neo Rubber with clips, Neo Web with clips, Durasoft with buckle ends or any of the other options offered at Big Dee’s!

Written by Marketing Associate, Cassie

Understanding Equine Joint Supplements

In the world of joint supplements, there are so many options it can be overwhelming to decide which one might work best for your horse! Joint supplements naturally support your horse’s joints against normal wear and tear that happens with activity, age, and breed. Just  like people, individual horses with similar conditions may respond differently to the same product and doses.

Horses are built for movement, but their size puts strain and pressure on the joints, which can lead to degeneration quicker than you realize. By the time your horse starts to show soreness, they may have been uncomfortable for a while. Joint supplements are great to use as preventative maintenance. They help by keeping joints lubricated to support shock absorption, block inflammatory reactions, prevent cartilage breakdown, and aid in new cartilage growth.

What Ingredient Should You Look For?

Equine joint supplements have been around for a long time with a variety of options. The best way to select one is by looking at the ingredients list. The most common ingredients in joint supplements are Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, MSM, Hyaluronic Acid, and Collagen Type II. By understanding what the ingredients are and their importance, that will help you make an educated decision on what may be the best option for your horse!


Glucosamine is one of the most common and well-studied ingredients in joint supplements. Glucosamine is the building block of all connective tissue and cartilage. When looking for glucosamine in supplements, it is best to stick with either the manufactured pure glucosamine or natural shellfish sources. Recommended doses of glucosamine range from 6,000 to 10,000 mg/day with the max dose being for a horse that is in heavy work.

Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin Sulfate works with Glucosamine to support healthy joints and promotes new cartilage growth while limiting cartilage breakdown. Chondroitin Sulfate helps with inflammation and is a key component in the body’s ability to produce hyaluronic acid. The pain-relieving effects are not as obvious as glucosamine, but it does help with cartilage breakdown. An effective dose is between 1,250 and 5,000 mg/day.

Glucosamine is shown to work synergistically with Chondroitin Sulfate, which is why you will often see them together in joint supplements. Studies have shown that these two ingredients seem to work better together than they do separately. The main thing to watch for is when these two ingredients are together in one product, they may contain lower dosages than the recommended amounts. There are no studies out there that confirm they are effective in the lower doses so I would recommend still using a supplement with the correct dose of Glucosamine and finding one that has close to the correct amount of Chondroitin. These are the two most popular joint supplements for a reason … they work great together and target each aspect of the joint.


Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a source of organic sulfur that acts as an anti-inflammatory. The amounts needed may vary which is why they recommend adding pure MSM product to your horse’s supplements and trying different amounts to see what may be effective.

Hylauronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid helps with lubrication and viscosity of the joint fluid. Dosage recommendations are 100 mg per day. Studies have shown that as little as 20 mg of Hyaluronic Acid added to Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate supplements may make a difference. But in other horses, they may need the full 100 mg dose. If your horse has not responded to the Glucosamine or Chondroitin sulfate, Hyaluronic Acid is a great next step to try with them.

Collagen Type II

Collagen Type II is the primary structural protein in connective tissue found in tendons, ligaments, bone cartilage, and skin. It represents 95% of the collage found in articular cartilage tissue.

Other Options

These are the main ingredients to look for when trying to find the best joint supplement for your horse. Other ingredients that aid in joint health are Avocado and Soy Unsaponifiable (ASU), Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, and Cetyl-M just to name a few.

With all of the joint supplements on the market, it is beneficial to know what you are looking at so you do not feel overwhelmed. As with any supplement, it may be beneficial to run bloodwork on your horse to make sure you are not over supplementing, which could cause more harm than good to your horse. Always remember, when giving your horse a joint supplement, make sure they are maintaining appropriate weight, have a balanced nutrition, regular hoof care, and regular exercise- these will aid in maintaining joint health as well.

It is important to buy from a reputable company and select a supplement formulated specifically for joint health to have the maximum effect. Supplements do take time to show results, give at least 30 days before determining if the supplement works best for your horse.

Below you will find a helpful comparison chart highlighting the top ingredients in joint supplements:

IngredientSourceEffectsDaily Dosage
GlucosamineBuilding block of all connective tissue and cartilageEncourages healing, growth, and slows cartilage breakdown6,000-10,000 mg
Chondroitin SulfateNatural building block of cartilage, bone, and tough connective tissues; also aids in production of hyaluronic acid  Primarily functions to prevent further cartilaginous breakdown1,250- 5,000 mg
MSMFound in the immune system and connective tissueEffective anti-inflammatoryVaries depending on horse
Hyaluronic AcidVital component of synovial fluid and cartilageControls swelling, heat, and pain; very effective in acute flare-ups20 – 100 mg
Collagen Type IIPrimary structural protein in connective tissues and found in tendons, ligaments, bone cartilage, and skinProvides lubrication, strength and stimulates growth of articular cartilage480 mg
Avocado Soy Unsaponifiable (ASU)Found in avocado and soybean oilsProtects against cartilaginous breakdown but not known to reduce pain; helps reduce inflammation1,200 mg
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsFound mainly in plant oils and fishHelps reduce inflammation6.75- 25 g
Cetyl-M (Cetyl Myristoleate)Found in fish oils, dairy products, butter, and animal fatHelps reduce inflammation5,500 mg
Vitamin CEssential for health of cartilage and other connective tissueMay help with oxidative stress induced by exerciseDo not exceed 4,000 mg/day

Written by Customer Service Representative, Erica

Which Grazing Muzzle Works Best For Your horse?

Do you suffer from grazing muzzle envy while watching other horses graze comfortably with their muzzle on? When you have a horse that requires a grazing muzzle due to sugar sensitivities or you just need to slow down their eating, it is hard finding the right muzzle that doesn’t rub and is comfortable on their face for extended periods of time.

Before grazing muzzles were created, owners were limited to dry lot turnout (if they had one) or keeping their horse locked in a stall for fear of causing health issues to their easy keepers! We all know this is not ideal as horses need movement, natural grazing, and social interactions with their herd.

A muzzle forces your horse to eat slowly and more deliberately and allows you to limit the amount of forage your horse can consume. Horses are meant to graze 16-18 hours per day, and grazing muzzles can be beneficial as they can consistently consume small amounts of grass while wearing the muzzle.

My horse, Gracie, is an 18-year-old Morgan who was diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and now has Insulin Resistance (IR). She absolutely loves food and was not happy watching all her pasture mates enjoying the grass while she was stuck in the dry lot. I decided it was time to do research on the available grazing muzzle options to see what would work best for her. My biggest concerns were if the muzzle would cause rubs/sores on her face, ability to access water, breathable material, and not being able to slip it off.  I was also concerned about the wear on her teeth that can happen from trying to graze with a muzzle on. After trying out a variety of muzzles, here are my findings:

I started with two canvas muzzles, the Best Friend Padded Leather Crown Grazing Muzzle and the Easy Breathe Adjustable Grazing Muzzle. While I did like the size of the grazing hole on these muzzles, the canvas material gave her sweat lines, however, these grazing muzzles provide a lot of adjustability to fit different horse head shapes!

Within the last few years, ThinLine came out with a Flexible Filly muzzle which was so different than the traditional canvas or cage-like grazing muzzles! It boasts UV resistance, antimicrobial properties, and durability with plenty of airflow. I tried this one on my horse two years ago and it has been my favorite so far. She can get small amounts of grass and the muzzle is much more flexible in its’ movement. She was able to drink water, eat through snow covered grass, and even groom her pasture mates with no issues! I also like that it doesn’t directly touch her face so there hasn’t been any rubbing.

Recently, Big Dee’s started carrying the GreenGuard muzzle which has received high ratings. I tried this muzzle and wanted to share my thoughts. I really like how open and breathable it is. The way it hangs on the halter leaves plenty of room for airflow. I have it attached to a nylon halter and I like that the muzzle attaches to the halter with breakaway straps.  This muzzle is known to be “anti-escape artist” and so far, she has managed to keep this on! Her other muzzles she slipped out of them rather quickly.

All in all, there are a variety of muzzles available on the market to fit each horse’s need. As they become more prevalent, new technologies are being created leading to great new products! If you are interested in trying a muzzle or are not sure which one might be the best fit for you, please reach out to us and we will be happy to help!

Written by Customer Service Representative, Erica

Are You Show Ready?

As some of us are hoping for a brighter show season ahead of us in 2021, one of the things we may not have practiced/thought of much in the last year is putting our hair up neatly for a show. But as spring has sprung, so has horse show season and its time to brush up on this all-important skill!

Classic Hair Up Process

Step 1: I place my hair net (I prefer the one knot) over the top half of my head (yes, it always gets in your eyes to start!). Pull the sides of your hair down over the tops of your ears while tucking the elastic under the hair. 

Step 2: Then pull your hair net snug over the top of your head, wrap it around the base of your ponytail and secure with a non-bulky elastic.  Now you can push the hairnet out of your eyes and up to your hairline, adjusting the hair over the top of your ears if needed. Depending on the length of your hair you can feed it into the hair net and flip that up on top of your head or if you have longer hair like I do, just flip your loose ponytail on top.

Step 3: Time to put on your helmet starting back to front. Place the elastic into the back pocket of the harness if you have a helmet with that option and rotate your helmet forward onto your head keeping a hand on the elastic to keep it outside of the actual helmet so it doesn’t interfere with fit.

Final step: Once your helmet is on your head securely tuck in any extra pieces to keep your look extra neat. Be sure the front of your helmet sits about 1” above your eye brows – too high and the helmet cannot protect you effectively, too low and you can’t see! 

Your helmet should feel like it’s giving your head a hug, not a headache!

It very important to have your helmet fitted for how you plan to wear your hair daily.  If you don’t want to wear your hair up everyday but plan to put it up for show and have medium/long length hair it would be best to invest in 2 helmets so you don’t compromise the fit and safety.


In the 4H ring or the dressage ring show bows or buns are appropriate (but don’t try to use one in the rated hunters!). If you plan to use a show bow, I would still use the hairnet to neatly contain your hair under your helmet and secure with an elastic.  Then clip the bow in the hair above the elastic (you may need to pull the elastic a bit lower so everything sits out of the way of the helmet). Tuck your hair into the remainder of the hair net and then into the show bow net for added security- having your hair flop out in the middle of your class is very distracting!

If you are using a bun cover start the same but twist/wind your hair into a bun at the base of your neck and secure with another elastic and some bobby pins before placing the cover over it.  If it doesn’t feel secure, tuck a few more bobby pins in until you can jump up and down without it moving.


Under 12 with long hair can show in braids.  As a kid who lived in French braids to keep my long hair contained at the barn I don’t recommend them under a helmet as I find they create pressure points and an uncomfortable fit.  If your kid is tougher then I am go for it! I personally like to do 2 braids starting just below where the helmet sits, secure with elastics at the bottom and add bows of your choice.

Regardless of your chosen style practice before show day! Wear your hair the way you will for the show and take a lesson.  This way you know if it will stay put for the whole show and you can avoid embarrassing/distracting flying hair incidents.  Let’s face it, shows are stressful enough, don’t let your hair be part of the worry!

Written by Sponsored Rider, Sarah Freeman from Serendipity Stable

Boredom Busters for 2021

Muddy paddocks and bored horses are right around the corner as the snow melts and rain begins in Northeastern Ohio. We all try to physically and mentally prepare for what this means – horses who start feeling those Spring weather vibes and turn simple turnout into a game of “which part of the pasture/stall/companion shall I chew on and destroy today”?

Of course we would love to turn them out in lush fields of summer grass, but right now is the waiting game for warmer weather. With that, means more time in sacrifice lots, arenas and stalls. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to try to re-direct that energy and encourage playfulness and mental stimulation in a safe way.

Shires Ball Feeder

I recently discovered the Shires Ball Feeder for my six month old Saddlebred colt. He was getting bored with his paddock twigs and started removing the water trough heater and other important farm essentials from their appropriate places. So I bought him this this ball to hopefully curb the mouthiness – and he loved it! I toss this out into his paddock filled with just a little bit of his Buckeye Growth feed and he’ll play off and on all day. When I turned my senior gelding out with the colt, he also played with this treat ball and was far more successful with getting the grain out, but still enjoyed nuzzling it around.

The Shires Ball Feeder is the choice for a rowdy colt!

Jolly Ball

A tried and true classic, the Jolly Ball was a great addition to my colt’s paddock. In fact, I have a Jolly Ball in every pasture so all of my horses have a fun, sturdy toy to maim in their spare time. I still have several that were bought years ago, and while some may have been deflated, they still can handle the energy of a playful horse. My colt has figured out how to grab the handle and parade it around for his pasture mates to watch.

Horse Quencher

While this may not fit in a traditional boredom buster checklist, I have found the single Horse Quencher packets (apple, peppermint, root beer and butterscotch) to be perfect for a once a week snack at night for my horses. Not only does it encourage them to drink a little extra while the weather fluctuates, it also gives them something new and fun to try out. So far I have established that my colt and grey gelding have a more refined palette for traditional flavors, while my chestnut gelding feasts on anything that resembles food. Overall, it’s a fun way to spend a few extra minutes at the barn.

Copper’s favorite is Root Beer!

Stall Essentials

I keep my horses turned out during the day and put them up at night. This serves many purposes including safety, paddock maintenance and it helps give each horse separate personal space to eat, sleep and relax. It is a lot easier to keep senior horses occupied, whereas my colt needed extra enrichment while stalled.

Chew Toys

My mother shared some useful knowledge when I got my colt – use dog toys for the “teething phase”. This phase is the time frame when a young horse wants to put just about everything it can in its mouth and chomp – sticks, muck buckets, feed buckets, human hands, you name it. She figured out that certain dog toys could cater to the biting and curiosity these young horses have, without risking injury to the handler. Of course, only appropriate and safe toys should be used and they should be checked daily. Her filly really liked squeaker toys. My colt prefers the Jolly Pets Romp N Roll Ball and Jolly Pets Treader Red. I tied them to his gate with bailing twine to give him a fun “enrichment” area in his stall.

Stall toys help keep Remington occupied through the night!

Redmond Rocks

I have a Redmond Rock on a Rope in every horse stall. This not only encourages more water intake, but also allows each horse to regulate their own body for minerals. They usually last several months, so they are a great investment long term!

Hay Bags and Nets

I keep hay bags in my older horse’s stalls in addition to hay on the ground. This helps regulate how quickly they eat, and ensures they have hay well into the evening and early morning. I will be adding the Burlingham Hay Ball Feeder to each stall soon, to get a little more play and movement in the stalls!

I have more exciting plans with my colt in the future (including the Jolly Mega Ball), but for now, he and his older buddies are happy with the toys and treats provided during the “mud season” we are about to have.

Written by Marketing Associate, Cassie