The season is upon us and whether you show locally for fun or you’re chasing points to qualify, what you get out of your horse largely depends on what you put in. While there is no substitute for hard work and training, supplements can be a big part of your horse’s successful program. The right supplements can help support his health and well-being and tip top health fuels better performance so you can bring home those blue ribbons! Continue reading
Category Archives: Horse Training Tips
Training Your Horse in Rainy Weather
So it’s that time of year again. Winter. If your not one of the blessed- to have a covered arena or the funds to be bon voyaging to a sunny and mild climate- winter can seriously mess with your regular training regime. If you live North you deal with snow and ice, if you live South you deal with rain and mud. But no matter where you live there are some ways to get the most out of your riding time. Continue reading
To Turnout or Not to Turnout: A Million Dollar Question
Maybe you don’t have a million dollar horse, but if you are like me, every horse in your barn is worth way more to you than you could really put a price tag on. So what is best for your horse: To Turnout or Not To Turnout? Ask this question to 10 different horse people and you’ll get 10 different answers, with footnotes and references attached.
Horses are Made to Move
The bottom line about horses is that they are animals that are made to move. We can justify how we keep them – our convenience, their safety. Because if you live in arid, ground-critter living climates or rain bogged muddy climates it can be risky. And if you live where the price of your zip code makes extra space impossible it can be, well, impossible.
A Labor of Love
Horse people are a culture of sacrifice; I say be true to our nature! Horses are not meant to be confined. We designed a horse rotation program which requires huge sacrifices of our time to provide a sense of normalcy for our horses. And it still isn’t good enough.
Yes, our zip code does make it difficult to afford space. It also puts us in a situation where we choose space over proximity to a larger client base. And we still have the ground critter problem! We have learned to be at constant war with all kinds of hole-making nuisances. Not to mention the four-year drought we are in. And the labor it takes to rotate all of the horses daily into appropriate turnouts.
Staying Stretched and Social
Let’s talk about why we choose. Not only is it better for a horse’s mental state to be able to be turned out even for short periods of time, it is really important for them to be socialized. Keeping horses confined and depriving them of the integral ability to interact within a herd, even if it is only with one other pasture buddy and the ability to visit across fences or observe other groups in nearby areas, is, for a herd animal, natural. Add to that the ability to graze, or mimic grazing, helps keep the horse stretching its neck and back muscles like nature intended. If you do have access to natural, native grass, that is best. But even irrigated grass, provided it is not too rich, is good in small doses.
Dry lot turnouts with natural free choice feeders installed around them on a walking path gives horses something to do. The movement is great for older, arthritic horses, sometimes making the difference of one being able to continue a useful career instead of an early retirement.
It is not always practical or possible to provide 24/7 turnout, but consider a few hours to let your horse be what they are meant to be: a horse.
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
The Legend of Lady Godiva
Did you know that the legend of Lady Godiva comes from the 11th Century? She was married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia, and she felt pity for the people of Coventry who were suffering grievously under her husband’s oppressive taxation.
Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to stop the taxes. At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride on a horse through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word, and after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair.
Now you may have heard parts or all of that story before, but this part may be new: just one person in the town, a tailor, bore a hole in his shutter so he could gaze upon Lady Godiva as she trotted past and he was known ever after as Peeping Tom!
Peter Claydon and Jazzi at the 2015 Tevis Cup
Guest article from Peter Claydon, Endurance Rider.
Jazzi, (also known as Islandian Jazzi), an 11-year-old Arabian and I just completed the 100-mile Tevis Cup trail together, earning high marks at each vet check exam. This is my fourth Tevis Cup. The first one I completed in 2004 aboard Remy, where we also finished in the top 16 in 2012 and 2013 with equally high vet marks.
The Tevis Cup is the most demanding and challenging endurance race in the world, and typically fewer than 50% of horse and rider teams finish. Vets throughout the trail pull any horse that has even the slightest lameness or metabolic problem.
This year was the 60th anniversary, and it was no exception. Of 200 horses at the start, only 90 finished. Jazzi came in 31st place, which was in itself a tremendous achievement. But even more impressive were the high vet scores he was given at every vet check throughout the day and through the night. Jazzi also “pulsed down” to criteria heart rates set by the race veterinarians, typically much faster than other horses, and was thus released quickly to continue down the trail. By the way, this trail has approximately 42,000 ft. of elevation change.
Jazzi has been taking Grand Meadow supplements since I acquired him three years ago. Last year he earned second place for our regional “Best Condition” award. I know his success at the Tevis Cup, like the “Best Condition” award, is in large part due to the quality and effectiveness of Grand Meadow supplements. His pasture mate, Remy, has three Tevis Cup completions for the same good reason!
Thank you Grand Meadows team for your support of all our horse’s wellbeing in one of the toughest tests of equine ability.