A Halter for Every Horse!

There are many great options for which halter best suits your horse’s needs – read about them below!

Quiet Creek Triple Stitched Leather Halter
Quiet Creek Triple Stitched Leather Halter

Leather

Leather halters are a timeless classic to have in the barn.  They are so versatile and sturdy for all of your needs. Fancy stitched halters look great with for shows and pictures. Triple stitch halters are durable for training and trailering and showcase nameplates beautifully. Even a basic leather halter can be used for everyday turnout while still being durable and attractive! Leather allows them to be breakaway, so when a horse pulls back, the crown piece will pull out of the hardware so they can escape from injury. If you are shipping, check out the wool and acrylic fleece lining to provide extra comfort for the ride!

Nylon

Nylon halters are as versatile as they are fun to match with other tack! The options are just about endless on finding fun, classic and thoroughbred style halters. These halter are fairly inexpensive. Use them for walking horses to and from pastures, as a backup when trail riding, bathing and more!

Padded Nylon

Padded nylon halters  have all the perks of a traditional nylon halter, with the added benefit of padding on the crown and noseband. Sensitive skinned horses benefit from the additional padding.

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Rope

Rope halters are a great tool for both natural horsemanship and day-to-day wear. Due to special placed pressure points, the horse learns what is being asked while still being humane and comfortable. They  halters come in an array of colors, with varying nose bands from leather wrapped to beaded designs.

Breakaway

Breakaway halters are perfect for turnout and using with a grazing muzzle. The leather crown piece allows the horse to slip out of their halter with pressure, avoiding injury or worse when a horse gets caught. Any halter can be turned into a breakaway by simply adding a leather crown piece.

Beta

Beta Halters are soft, durable and very easy to clean! In addition, they come in a wide range of colors to match both tack and barn colors. The beta material is sleek and easily adjustable to get the right fit.

Dale Chavez Show Halter with Floral Swirl Silver
Dale Chavez Show Halter with Floral Swirl Silver

Show

Stock horse show halters are of the highest quality leather, silver accents and hardware. Designs  highlight the horse’s best features and be memorable to the judges. The leather is supple and the silver plates are just pliable enough to fit the halter just perfectly to your horse. While dark leather is traditional, but you can also rock a lighter oil (link) on the right horse! Quality leather leads with a chain (link)are also a crucial part of the showmanship and halter horse presentation. Brands like Dale Chavez andTory Leather offer great options for the show ring!

Miniature Horse Products

Miniature Horse Products

Having miniature horses means there is  always a struggle to find items that fit. Most are too small or way too big. Below are some products that I have tried and LOVE for my miniature horses. All of my minis are 34” and under.

Wahl KM10 2 Speed Horse Clipper

I have always struggled with finding clippers that will work on minis thick winter hair. Getting ready for show season takes a lot of time and effort. Why not have clippers that work! I really like the Wahl KM 10 clippers for this job! They are light and easy to handle with a really long cord. I have had my pair for a couple years now and they are still going strong! As for clipper blades, I like the Wahl  Ultimate Competition Series Blades If taken care of and oiled every ten minutes, these last me about 5-10 horses doing a full body clip.

600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket with Bellyband
600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket Bellyband
Horse Wear

Another problem I have is finding a blanket and halter that fit these little guys. My favorite blanket is the 600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket Bellyband Style. These fit really well and do not slide around on the horse and I love the belly band. As for halters, I like the Country Tack Miniature Horse Nylon Halter.  Most of mine wear the average mini size.

Tough 1 Miniature Surcingle
Tough 1 Miniature Surcingle

The Miniature Training Surcingle and the Miniature Side Reins are what I use when teaching how to ground. Both are a must have for breaking a mini to drive! My favorite bit is the Weaver  Driving Snaffle. This bit is great for starting out a driving horse.

Mini Biothane Driving Harness
Mini Biothane Driving Harness

As for a harness I use the Biothane Mini Harness. This fits your A and B type minis very well and is approved for show with both AMHA and AMHR shows. The Mini Hay Bag by Tough 1 is the perfect size for using in the trailer. It is durable and my horses really enjoy eating from it.

I have experience with all of these items and use then all the time on my minis!

Written by Custom Service Representative – Jennifer Williamson

New Dressage Items at Big Dee’s

Anyone else Dressage junkies like me? This year we are introducing a lot of new Dressage items into our already large repertoire. Let’s looks a bit deeper into the new items that we are offering you this show and training season.

Equla Vert Unit
Equla Vert Unit

First of all – coolest invention ever. Not only does the Equla Vert Unit sensor keep track of your speed on a Cross Country course telling you to slow down or speed up, it also alerts you on when your horse is correctly and incorrectly using its head on the vertical. A Dressage riders dream!  This unit is ideal for training and cross country, allowing the rider to glance at the unit indicator lights without lowering their gaze on the course or arena.

HKM Rose Gold English Stirrups
HKM Rose Gold English Stirrups

Two words. Rose. Gold. And they are beautiful!

These HKM stirrups are not only affordable, but modern and stylish. You can now match your iPhone. No need to replace the rubber grips anymore as they are built into the stirrup, which is easy cleaning for you! These gorgeous new stirrups are aluminum, which also means they are rust free.

And here is another great thing…matching rose gold spurs!

One K Defender Avannce with Rose Gold Stripe
One K Defender Avance with Rose Gold Stripe

Not to mention the new One-K Defender helmets with the rose gold stripe. Ride in style!

Kavalkade Dressage Saddle Pad

These new pads were made with the horse in mind. Complete with a mesh strip down the spine for ventilation while riding, and a large quilted square wave pattern for padding. The contoured style allows a better fit on the horses withers. This pad has 300g of padding and 9 mm of foam. Whoa. Comfort! I guarantee your horse will feel the difference and thank you. And even better, Kavalkade has  fly veils too!

HKM Dressage Glitter Boots

These boots right here are why dressage is my passion. Glitter boots and bell boots. They are another flashy new product by HKM. The leg boots are anatomically formed to fit your horses’ legs with a soft shock absorbing fill and 3 strong elastic bands for a secure hold. Both the bell boots and leg boots are lined with a faux fur to add another layer of protection and comfort for your horse!

C4 Bit Pattern Belt

The C4 belts have come out with another cute style – bits! They come in navy, grey, hunter, and black. These belts are one size fits most, even kids! You just size to where you need it, and cut off the extra for an easy fit, 100% recyclable and no animal products used to make them. There are endless combinations as you can switch out the buckles! The C4 belt comes in solids and patterns. They even have a dressage horse pattern and one that looks like leather! Wear with breeches, or just your everyday jeans.

Shires Leatherette Bag Collection
Shires Leatherette Bag Collection

 

     Shires Leatherette Bag Collection

It’s almost show season! Our new 9 piece storage and carrying bags by Shires are exactly what you need to keep everything clean and stored properly. This navy collection accented with leather handles and straps and has a features “wipe clean” outer shell. Simple and sophisticated. There is a tall boot bag, bridle bag, carry all bag, saddle bag, garment bag, grooming tote, helmet bag,  tote bag, and a matching saddle cover. Arrive at your horse shows in style and organized

Written by Customer Service Representative –Laura Brubaker

 

Are you show ready?

 

The popular saying “you never get a second chance at making a good first impression,” is very true when it comes to showing your horse. Whether you are showing in halter ot under saddle, your entrance into the arena is the moment that the judge gives you his/her undivided attention to make his initial assessment. When you come into the ring, the first thing the judge will notice is your horse’s overall appearance and presentation. This is your wow moment.

Grooming pays a huge part in overall eye appeal, no matter what the class is. Getting a horse ready for the show ring is not something that can be done in a few minutes. Grooming for the show ring should begin long before show day. It s as much a part of a horse’s everyday routine as is feeding!

Here are a couple of my favorites available right here at Big Dee’s!

Wahl BrushesA Good Quality Show Brush: Wahl carries a series of mane and tail brushes, soft to stiff body brushes and face brushes! They come in different affordable colors and maintain good quality!

Horse Shavers are perfect for on the go at a show

Horse Shavers:  We do all we can to prepare for the show ring but let’s be honest, we forget things! Thankfully Big Dee’s has already thought of that! A popular last minute touch up is our little handy dandy Horse Shavers! They will fit easily in a grooming tote or even in your pocket. You slowly glide over the area with unwanted hairs and they vanish!

Shapley's Show Touchups

Shapleys Touch Up Spray: Need to cover up scars, stains, flaws & blemishes? Shapley’s touch up spray is your friend! It comes in many different colors to match up to your horse. Shapley’s also works well to keep in case of a last minute spill on show clothes too!

World Champion Pepi for a brilliant shine!

World Champion Pepi Coat Shine:  This coat conditioner defiantly lives up to its name! Easy to use, gentle on the skin and leaves coat looking show ready! Brings our superior shine!  

Lycra Hoods - Keep your horse clean!

Lycra Hoods:  Night before the show and everything is done, but what to do to keep those braids in-tact, flyaways – away, and keep horse as clean as possible? A Sleazy! Full body or head and shoulder hoods work amazing in favor of the showing equestrian! Big Dee’s carries all sorts of colors and options for every horse & rider combo. Just be sure not to keep it too tight, it may rub on horse.

There are so many products to assist you and your horse to get ready for the show ring but the most important is to remember to smile and have fun!

Written by Customer Service Representitive – Jasmyn Bethune

New Bates Advanta Monoflap Saddle Now Available!

I was privy to an exciting unveiling of the Bates Advanta Monoflap saddle the other night. It has stuck in with me since then. Their new saddle has so many thoughtful changes in comparison to previous models. As an eventer, I cannot wait for the opportunity to sit in this saddle over a few fences and get the feel of what it has to offer.

From first glance the saddle is attractive and luxurious. The calfskin leather is velvety and tacky for grip and provides a soft yet durable feel.

Bates Monoflap Advanta Eventing SaddleThe knee and thigh blocks are adjustable with a simple turn of a screw! This is such a nice feature that I am sure plenty will take advantage of it.

New Bates Advanta Eventing SaddleAnother great addition to this saddle is the adjustable stirrup bar that allows you to choose your setting and where you want your stirrup leathers to fall below your leg. This is great to help with your position over fences and center of gravity. I also enjoy the recessed stirrup bar because it allows my leg to lay closer to saddle.

The Advanta Saddle "Sweet Spot"

The Advanta sports a more narrow twist than their other saddles. I have a Bates DS+ Elevation close contact and I could immediate tell the difference in the twist. The seat definitely puts you in a great place and you feel like you are in the “sweet spot”. My leg closely wrapped around the saddle stand when I decided to take a seat in the Advanta.

More Flap in the Bates Advanta Saddle

Because of the monoflap design eliminating the additional panel my leg fell into a nice secure place where you can really feel close with your horses body. The Advanta has done a lot to bring you closer to your horses body by removing the bulk of additional material between you and your horse.

Synergy Panel on the Bates Advanta

The SynergyPanel underneath the saddle has been streamlined and contoured to allow more freedom in your horses shoulders as they move. Complete with the CAIR panel system like their other saddles, you are able to eliminate pressure points and encourage blood flow and muscle movement beneath the Advanta. The changeable gullet system has also seen some improvements with steel hardware and updated tapering of the tree points which provides an easier change of gullets. The girthing system on this saddle encourages a balanced placement of pressure as they lay over the tree in the front and rear portions.

If you are in the market for a new saddle, this is definitely one to consider. Bates spent over 3 years developing this saddle and make over 60 prototypes based on rider feedback. These saddles were ridden by professionals and tested to the limits. Their result is second to none. I am really excited to give this saddle a try. At Big Dee’s we do offer an a demo saddle that can be tried by our local clients. Please set up an appointment Lisa in or showroom and she can get you started! The Advanta is available in 2 color options of black and two tone brown and black. Seat sizes are available in 16.5″, 17″, and 17.5″.

Greener Pastures?

Spring Pasture | Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supplies

After a long winter, and I do mean long, probably nowhere else in the country but northeast Ohio can you have an 80-degree day followed by tornados the next day to a snowstorm all in 72 hours in April! Perhaps our neighbor to the south will see a dry Kentucky Derby this year but only Mother Nature truly knows. Then again horse people are hearty and resilient and we persevere!

Scheduling spring training, and turnout on new grass can be challenging. Have you seen the iconic photo of a horse grazing in green, green grass up to its belly, on a spring morning with the sunbeams shining through the dew and thought how great? I have seen a similar image or two but have a different dream crushing thought. Not to be an alarmist but YIKES, that horse is going to develop laminitis or colic if he is not brought in soon! Hoof inflammation after excess grazing may damage the hoof laminae, which is the sensitive portion of the hoof. Inflammation causes a painful debilitating condition called laminitis. Inside the hoof, the laminae suspend and attach the coffin bone to the hoof wall. Two-thirds of a horse’s body weight is carried up front. Put in context a 1200-pound horse will carry roughly 800-pounds of their weight on the front legs. Imagine standing and supporting that weight when your hooves are inflamed and painful.

Monitor your equine partner’s pasture time

Use a graduated turnout schedule to avoid initial extended turnout time on new lush spring grasses. Spring grass contains higher sugar content and over-doing it may cause changes in your horse’s metabolism compromising hooves to laminitis. Gradually offering spring grass intake may curtail the chances of laminitis or colic. Many factors will determine the length of turnout time such as the size of the pasture, how lush the grass, size of your horse and the herd he is turned out with. Using a grazing muzzle can be useful to allow your horse to acclimate more slowly.

Wet pastures and exercise areas create a problem for turnout and training.  Conditions of racetracks and outdoor training areas may be less than ideal for morning breezing and workouts. This creates a watchful situation as you manage spring turnout and training schedules. Take precautions to add bell boots for turnout as horses may overreach running and playing during pasture time. If you are riding outside, consider using splint and tendon boots. Muddy pastures can be a magnet for horseshoes. If your horse is shod it may be wise to keep an easy boot on hand for use when your horse comes in from pasture shoeless!

Begin legging up your horse slowly

Tendon injuries and muscle pulls can be common in the spring. If you have not ridden much this winter give your horse a chance to build endurance and leg strength slowly and avoid associated soreness.  Injury therapy has come a long way. As technology improves, so do equine injury treatment options. Traditional injury solutions might be used alongside new treatment apparatuses such as ice wraps, whirlpool therapy boots and tubs,  leg soakers, laser wraps and ceramic and magnetic therapies. If injuries occur, discuss treatment options with your veterinarian. Save your veterinarians number in your phone and post it in your barn for quick access.

These tips will get you started on a great showing, trail riding, fox hunting or racing season! Make a trip to Big Dee’s or order online to stock up on liniment and leg care items, polo wraps, leg quilts, wound care and vet wrap. It is also a good time to check your tack for serviceability and wear and tear. Give your tack a thorough cleaning before your riding season begins. Enjoy your chosen equine sport and be safe!

This article was written by Kathy Kilbane – Big Dee’s Web Products Specialist

What you should know about West Nile

The West Nile Virus is a flavivirus that infects the central nervous system and may cause inflammation of the brain, lining of the brain and spinal cord.

The first case of West Nile in a horse was reported in Queens, New York in 1999. Since then all but Alaska, Maine and Hawaii have reported cases of WNV.

West Nile  must be inside a host to replicate. Mosquitoes infect birds, the infected birds are fed on by more mosquitoes, and those mosquitoes then feed on and infect a horse.

The Spread of West Nile Virus

There are numerous symptoms of West Nile in horses. The horse may have a combination of symptoms or show none at all. It typically takes 5 to 15 days to show signs of West Nile.

The West Nile Virus can look like Eastern equine encephalitis, equine protozoal, myeloencephalitis, equine herpesvirus-1, Rabies, botulism, EPM and other neurological illnesses.

Below are the most common symptoms that may show if your horse has contracted WNV

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness in the hind end
  • Droopy lip (paralysis of lower lip)
  • Disorientation, circling, or wandering
  • Inability to swallow
  • Muscle twitching
  • Excessive sweating
  • Convulsions
  • Partial or total paralysis

What should you do if you suspect the disease?

If infection is suspected, it is imperative that you have a veterinarian out as soon as possible! Your veterinarian will test to confirm that you are dealing with West Nile as many of the symptoms closely resemble other equine neurological diseases.

What will happen next?

There is not a specific treatment for West Nile. Your veterinarian will determine the best approach which may include anti-inflammatory drugs, intravenous fluids and nutritional support.

How can you help prevent the disease?

Vaccinating your horses annually is recommended.
WNV vaccine prices start at $25.95 from Big Dee’s. These are all killed virus vaccines. These are all inactive vaccines that consist of virus particles grown in culture and then killed.

Other ways to deter mosquitoes?

  • Remove stagnant water sources: Empty buckets & stock tanks regularly, clean gutters, and grade areas of the field where water pools.
  • Use barn safe electric fans
  • Remove manure regularly and control weeds
  • Keep horses in the barn during peak mosquito hours
  • Fly sheets and/or fly masks
  • Insect repellants that work on mosquitoes.

To shop all West Nile Vaccines click here 

For more information visit the American Association of Equine Practitioners or contact your veterinarian

Curb the Destructive Seasonal Boredom

Curb the Destructive Seasonal Boredom

When horses are stuck in their stalls for extended periods of time, either from injury rehab or uncooperative weather – we all know how bored and destructive they can become. Sometimes towards the end of winter, we also experience “winter boredom”. I have  dealt with both of these. I rehabbed a  leg wound on a horse that spends most of his life outside. And both of my geldings started getting destructive a few weeks ago as the temperatures rose.

One gelding that is used to freedom and turnout for a large portion of the day was restricted to hand-walking twice a day. He soon became unhappy and started chewing on his stall, buckets and anything he could find (and he is not a cribber). I had to come up with some ways to keep him occupied for large periods of time for two weeks and luckily, there’s a lot of options out there!

I also needed to be ready for the winter blues from both of my horses and provide enrichment when training and riding was limited. If not completely halted during waves of frozen, flooded or muddy ground.

Slow Feed Hay Nets
Slow feed hay nets are a great addition for your barn, trailer and show routine!

Slow Feed Nets

My go-to answer was of course slow feed hay nets. This would not only slow them down and conserve hay, but also keep them  from trashing their stalls. I can also set up a second hay bag on the opposite side of the stall for longer days. This not only keeps them moving if they get bored. But also ensures endless hay for both a happy attitude and healthy gut.

Salt and Treats
Salt and stall snacks offer a fun and engaging way for horses to pass the time.

Salt and Treats

Another option I have used is attaching either a Himalayan salt rock, Redmond Rock on a Rope or a stall snack like Licky Things. I usually lean towards the salt or mineral blocks on a rope rather than treats. One of my geldings is not exactly gentle with sweet goodies. He hasn’t quite mastered the simple lick on stall treats like his off-track brother has. With a mineral or salt block he can access it at leisure. And he doesn’t feel the need to gobble it down in a day.

Jolly Balls
Jolly Balls come in many different sizes and colors!

Jolly Balls

One great remedy for pasture boredom (when all that delicious hay just doesn’t strike their fancy) is adding Jolly Balls! I have two in their pasture now, and every day they move from their previous location so I know they play with them! This helps keep them occupied on the right items to chew and toss around, rather than the trees in the pasture or blankets! Bonus, dogs love them too! If my horses stay inside I can also hang one of the smaller Jolly Balls so they can unleash their energy on that and not their nice stalls!

 

Break Winter Boredom

The bottom line is – keep your horse engaged! Sometimes things come up and we can’t keep our horses in a working routine for a little while. Keeping forage in front of them at all times to encourage a healthy mind and gut is essential. Having your horse on a digestive health supplement is also beneficial. For those of use with extra sassy horses, a few extra horse toys are crucial for keeping them happy!

It Happens Every Spring

It Happens Every Spring

I heard a colleague say today that spring was about 30 days away! My inner child immediately surfaced as I remembered this passage of time to bring all things green and blooming, AND continuing in that state of mind a thought bubble appeared of me riding my pony again for hours on end without freezing!

Oh, sorry, back to reality. Indeed spring means warm temperatures, longer days and the joy of being outside with our horses in much more conducive weather. Horse shows, racing, fox hunting, trail riding and all our horse activities will be in full swing before we know it. The older I get the faster the seasons change. I think that’s a good thing?

Spring Changes

Spring also brings the need to evaluate our horses’ health including hoof care, teeth floating, deworming and vaccinations. Hoof care and the mud that comes along with spring can be a concern. Through the winter months you may have your horse on a longer trimming schedule to allow the frog to grow cushion and protect the hoof from the uneven dry frozen ground conditions. Going into spring hooves begin to grow more quickly so be sure to get back to a regular trimming schedule with your farrier and be sure to schedule a spring wellness check-up with your veterinarian.

Thrush can rear its head this time of year and mud can be a culprit. Symptoms of this bacterial and sometimes fungal infection are black ooze at the frog and a distinct rotting odor that gives a whole new meaning to stinky feet! Wet stabling conditions or muddy low lying pastures can be breeding grounds for the bacteria that cause thrush.

Mud alone does not cause thrush but if the organism that does get packed in the hoof under mud an infection could begin.  Daily inspection is a must on the road to healthy hooves. Trimming the frog, making sure to clear out the clefts or crannies beside the frog will help relieve the condition. There are many remedies available over the counter specifically developed to treat thrush. Keeping hooves dry and clean is a key component in alleviating the infection. Try to give your horse a dry area to get out of the mud through the day.

No Hoof, No Horse

As a horsewoman I heard the saying “no hoof, no horse” many, many times. This common sense phase rings true and is proven over time. Our horses’ hooves are the foundation of restoring soundness. Abscesses, thrush, white line disease and side wall separation are all costly side effects of un-healthy hooves. A balanced diet that includes a hoof supplement and a dry mud-free turnout can go a long way to preventing spring hoof aliments. Topical hoof dressing can also be used to bolster hoof integrity.

We will soon be seeing flowers and roses, and even the Run for the Roses! Make plans now for a stress free spring for your horses’ hooves. Visit www.bigdweb.com for all your spring horse care needs!

 

This article was written by Kathy Kilbane – Big Dee’s Web Products Specialist

For the love of custom tall boots.

Friends and clients had been telling me for years about the virtues of custom riding boots.  I always just thought that a boot is a boot, right? After having a need for a particular boot that was not offered in my size off the shelf ordering custom was my last remaining option. I was concerned about a number of aspects surrounding custom boots. Beyond just the difference in price between a stock boot and custom I was also worried about if they would really fit. Now that I have received my custom boots I would like to tell my story in an effort to put some of your apprehension at ease. Continue reading For the love of custom tall boots.

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