Riding Alone Safely

August 3rd, 2015

Young rider with horse

At some point, almost any rider will have to ride alone. You may even ride alone on a regular basis. Riding alone can be a wonderful way to connect with your horse, but there’s also an element of danger to mounting up when you’re the only one on the property. Before you ride solo, think about putting some or all of these safety tips to use.

Wear a Helmet and Safety Gear

While you might not like wearing a riding helmet, it’s one of the best ways to keep yourself safe when riding. If you’re riding alone, carefully consider your decision of whether or not to wear a helmet. Additionally, wearing other safety equipment like a protective eventer vest will offer you further protection.

Let Someone Know Your Ride Time

It’s always a good idea to let someone know what time you will be mounting up and what time you plan to be done with your ride. You can text this information to a friend or loved one who knows your whereabouts. Then, text or call them once you’re finished your ride. If your friend or loved one doesn’t hear from you, they should attempt to get in touch with you and head out to the horse stables or call in help if they can’t reach you. This practice helps to reduce the chance that you could be injured and undiscovered for hours.

Program Emergency Information Into Your Phone

Before you mount up, take the time to enter some emergency contacts into your phone. If you label these as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone, then first responders will be able to contact these people if you are injured and unable to communicate.

Additionally, make sure that you carry your phone on your body, not in a saddle pad or saddle bag. In case you and your horse part ways, you will still want to be able to access your phone.

Know When to Forego a Ride

Sometimes, it’s better to be safe than to press forward during a ride. If you sense that your horse is not quite right or is highly excited, it may be better to forego your ride until you can work out the issues with someone else present. When you’re riding alone, you may want to keep the jumps lower or avoid jumping altogether. What adjustments you make will depend entirely on your comfort level and your trust in your horse.

The next time that you prepare to go for a ride alone, give some thought to these safety tips. Have a great and safe ride.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/riding-alone-safely

 

Tips for Advertising Your Horse Business

July 31st, 2015

Tips for Advertising Your Horse Business

Whether you’re running a boarding barn, a training operation, or a lesson program, marketing your horse business is integral to your overall success. While your exact advertising and marketing methods will vary depending on the type of business that you’re running, you can likely put most of these advertising tips to use.

Identify Appropriate Media Outlets

Good media is key to spreading word about your horse business. Whether you’re looking to place an ad in a media outlet, or want to contribute an article as an authority to build your reputation, knowing what media outlets are appropriate is an important first step.

When evaluating a media outlet, think about whether the media’s audience matches up with your intended audience. Look at factors like readership and geographical area covered, and compare that with the advertising rates or time investment that gaining space in that outlet will require. Compare the top media outlets on your list in this fashion to help identify which outlets are likely to give you the best return on your investment.

Hire a Professional

Whether you need to write a killer press release or need to put together a professional ad, it’s hard to do so yourself. Writing, photography, and graphic design are all necessary for any business, but they also require a good deal of skill and knowledge. It can become very evident when you try to create marketing and advertising materials yourself, without professional help, and this can detract from clients’ impression of your business. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, realize that it’s okay – and even wise – to hire a professional.

Host an Introductory Special

When you’re trying to bring in new clients, an introductory special or discount can be a great motivating factor. Consider offering a discount off of the first month of boarding or the first riding lesson. A barn open house can help to create interest. Additionally, referral programs can bring in new clients – think about what type of a reward you could offer current clients who refer new clients to your business.

Maintain Excellent Client Relations

Your current clients are one of your most powerful marketing resources. It’s important to make every effort to maintain good relations with your clients. The simple act of checking in with clients can give you an idea of their satisfaction, and you may even get ideas for areas in which you could expand or improve your business.

Marketing your horse business is an ongoing task, but it’s also an essential part of the success of your business.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/tips-for-advertising-your-horse-business/

What to Do If Your Horse Is Foundering

July 30th, 2015

What to Do If Your Horse Is Foundering

Founder is a serious condition that can have debilitating consequences if not quickly treated. The term “founder” refers to a condition where the coffin bone inside your horse’s hoof moves down inside the hoof capsule. Spring grasses put horses at a particularly high risk of founder, but founder is a condition that can really occur at any time. Do you know what to do if your horse founders?

Immediately Contact a Vet

The faster that you seek treatment for your horse, the better a chance he will have at recovery. Common signs of founder in your horse include heat in his hooves, a digital pulse, lameness and a reluctance to walk, and a pained stance in which your horse stretches himself out and holds more weight on his hind legs. If you notice these or other symptoms in your horse, call your vet immediately to begin treatment. It’s also important to note whether you know the possible cause of the founder – did your horse get into a grain bin, or has he been turned out on lush pasture recently?

Stand Your Horse in Ice Water

While you’re waiting for the vet to arrive, it’s important to start therapeutic care for your horse. Icing your horse’s hooves is the first step you should take in treating the condition. Immerse all four of your horse’s hooves in ice water. It is best to stand your horse in buckets so that the water travels up to the mid point of his cannon bone. Ice water helps to reduce swelling and slow blood flow, minimizing the damage that is done to the hooves.

Cushion the Hoof

Provide plenty of cushion for your horse’s hooves while waiting for the vet to arrive. Do not walk your horse over hard surfaces. Instead, stand him on a soft surface in his stall and put generous bedding down. Some horse owners recommend placing foam blocks under the affected hooves to further cushion the hooves.

Remove All Food

Don’t let your horse eat anything until you are given the okay from your vet. Remove all food from your horse’s stall. It’s also important that you don’t administer medication unless advised to do so by your vet. Large doses of pain medication can mask the severity of your horse’s pain, making it more difficult for your vet to make an accurate assessment of your horse’s condition.

Hopefully you will never have to deal with a case of founder, but if you do, knowing the proper actions to take can lead to a better prognosis for your horse.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/what-to-do-if-your-horse-is-foundering/

Ways to Work Show Horse Ribbons into Your Home Decor

July 29th, 2015

Gold trophy cups

As we work our way through show season, do you find that your ribbons are starting to take over, well, everything? You can only hang so many ribbons from your horse’s stall door or in your tack room. If you’d like to work some of your favorite ribbons into your home décor, we’ve got some creative ways that you can do just that.

Invest in a Ribbon Rack

Consider investing in a wooden ribbon rack to showcase your most important ribbons. A ribbon rack provides an attractive showing on your wall, and can make a great decoration for a den or office. While a single rack won’t hold a year’s worth of ribbons, it can make a beautiful display out of your favorites.

Create Ribbon Wreaths or Blankets

If you’re crafty and have many ribbons lying around, get out your scissors and sewing kit and make your ribbons into a wreath or a blanket. The rosette portions of your ribbons can be sewn or wire wrapped onto a wreath base. Making a blanket takes a bit more time and talent, but the tails of your ribbons can be sewn into patterns to make an impressive display blanket.

Not so crafty, or don’t have enough time? No problem – there are plenty of small businesses online who can convert your ribbons into wreaths, blankets, or other items for you.

Layer Ribbons Along Window Curtain Rods

For a super easy and fast solution, hang your ribbons along the top of your curtain rods. This can create a colorful tone for an office, and many children enjoy this effect in their bedrooms, too.

Invest in a Special Display Case

For those once in a lifetime ribbons, a display case may be in order. Whether you create a shadowbox to hang on your wall or opt for a curio cabinet, a display case of sorts can help to keep your most prized ribbons and awards safe.

Collect Rosettes in a Glass Lamp

Cut the rosettes off of your ribbon and layer them in the base of a glass lamp for an accent piece that can go just about anywhere in your house. You can also use this same technique with a clear glass vase or jar.

There are so many different ways that you can incorporate horse show ribbons into your home décor. And if you still have too many ribbons to put to use, then don’t forget you can always donate ribbons to 4H and Pony Club groups for use in shows and crafts.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/ways-to-work-show-horse-ribbons-into-your-home-decor/

What You Need to Know When Building a Barn for Draft Horses

July 27th, 2015

Stage Coach and Clydesdale Draught Horse

If you’re building a barn with plans of housing one or more draft horses, you will need to adjust your barn building plans to accommodate the large size of a draft. Here are some points to consider if you’re planning to bring a draft horse home.

Large Stalls

Large, spacious horse stalls are a necessity when building a barn to house draft horses. Most drafts cannot fit in standard 12’x12’ stalls. Instead, you will be looking at stalls that are at least 16’x16’. A 20’x20’ stall may even be necessary to house some larger draft breeds.

It’s important that you allow for the extra room needed for stalls when designing your barn. Many prefab stalls only come in standard sizes, meaning that you will probably need to explore customized stall options, or stalls built specifically for draft horses.

Wider Than Normal Stall Doorways

A draft horse is much broader than your standard riding horse, so in addition to building larger than normal stalls, you will need to make sure that the stall doorways are wider than typical. Just how wide the stall door opening needs to be will partially depend on the draft breed that you will be housing. However, make sure that any stall doorway provides more than enough room to accommodate the draft horse’s size with space to spare. A generously sized doorway helps to minimize the chance of your horse scraping his hip or catching himself on the door frame as he leaves or enters the stall.

High Ceilings

If you plan to house some of the larger draft breeds, then the heights of the ceilings in your barn will need to be increased as well. Some breeds, like the Clydesdale and Percheron, dwarf tall riding horses in comparison. Standard ceiling height starts at 12’, but higher is always better. In the case of your draft horse, ceiling heights beginning around 16’ are desirable.

Tall and Strong Fences

Don’t forget to adjust your pasture fencing to keep your draft horses safely contained. Standard horse fencing is a little short for containing drafts. If you will be building the fencing from scratch, then plan to build the fence high. If you’re working with existing fencing, you can add a line of electric fencing onto the top rail, building up the fence’s height.

Pairing electric fencing with a strong, solid fence is a good idea. The solid fence creates a strong barrier with excellent visibility, while the electric fence discourages your horses from leaning on or through the fencing. Just make sure that any electric fence that you use, especially if it’s a top line, is highly visible.

With a few modifications, you can build a barn ready to accommodate draft horses.

Original Source:  http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/what-you-need-to-know-when-building-a-barn-for-draft-horses/

Areas Where You Should Never Cut Costs When Owning a Horse

July 24th, 2015

Old Wooden Farm Fence

Owning a horse is an expensive venture, and it can be tempting to cut costs wherever you can. But cutting costs in the wrong area can lead to trouble. Here are some areas where you should never cut costs.

Feeding Low-Quality Feed and Hay

You are what you eat, and the same is true of horses. If you try to save money by feeding a cheaper, lower quality feed or hay, you are likely to see issues occur with your horse. Whether a lackluster coat and low energy, or more dire issues like colic, weight loss, and nutrient deficiencies, you won’t be facing a good outcome. Saving money by feeding cheap feed may cost you money in terms of vet bills, supplements, and an unhealthy horse.

Avoiding Vaccines or Regular Vet Care

It may be tempting to try to skip a routine vet appointment one year to save some money, but be careful if you do. Opting out of your horse’s vaccines and regular check-up may spell trouble down the road. An unvaccinated horse is at a higher risk of contracting a disease, which could be costly to treat. And don’t forget that routine care like teeth floating helps to keep your horse healthy, avoiding those expensive emergency vet visits.

Buying Cheap Tack

If you need to buy new tack, like a saddle, you know you’ll be in for an expensive purchase. Maybe you lucked out and found a used saddle for sale. But hold on – if that used saddle doesn’t fit your horse right, or if its panels are hardened from years of use, you could be damaging your horse’s back with every ride. It’s far better to avoid a back problem than it is to try to fix one, so your tack is one area where you should really make an investment and get quality equipment that fits your horse right.

Opting for Cheap Fencing

Don’t trust your horse’s safety to cheap horse fencing. Instead, make sure that your paddocks are fenced correctly, and that the fencing you choose is strong enough to contain your horses safely. Cheap fencing may lead to an escaped horse, which can lead to vet bills. Horse fencing is one area where you shouldn’t try to save money.

Using Low-Quality Stalls

You trust the stalls in your barn to keep your horse contained and safe. Low-quality stalls may cost less initially, but they can also put your horse’s safety at risk. Low-quality stalls may not be as strong as quality equine stalls are. Additionally, less attention to detail goes into the creation of low-quality stalls, meaning that welds may not be up to par and sharp edges may be present in the finish work. Remember, if you invest in quality stalls, you can rest assured that your horse is safe and you won’t have to replace the stalls within just a few years.

There are many ways to save money when owning a horse, but do so safely. Don’t cut costs in these five areas, since you may end up with more trouble than it’s worth.

Original Source:  http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/areas-where-you-should-never-cut-costs-when-owning-a-horse/

Tips for Creating the Ideal Viewing Room

July 23rd, 2015

woman jockey doing training at indoor arena

A viewing room often acts as the hub of a barn – it’s a place for riders and others to gather and relax while watching friends or family ride. Your viewing room may also double as a lounge or meeting place. Whatever its purpose, these tips for creating an ideal viewing room can ensure that the room is welcoming and functional.

Don’t Underestimate the Room’s Size

When planning out your viewing room, think about the largest events that your farm is likely to host. Will shows be fairly small, or do you anticipate significant attendance? Will you host popular clinicians?

It’s important not to underestimate the size of the viewing room that you will need. It’s best to build a spacious room that can accommodate a large audience. Remember, your viewing room may become the hub for parties and meetings. It never hurts to have extra space.

Select a Floor That Is Easy to Clean

Your viewing room is sure to receive lots of traffic, meaning that you will want a floor that is easy to clean. Wooden flooring offers a luxurious appearance, but it requires upkeep and cleaning to keep it looking great. Laminate flooring designed to resemble wood offers a lower-cost flooring alternative with easier maintenance.

While area rugs can warm up a viewing room considerably, remember that they will need regular vacuuming and cleaning, too. It’s wise to select a darker colored rug, which will not show dirt and stains as readily as a lighter colored rug will. Don’t forget to include doormats at both entrances to the viewing room.

Choose the Glass Carefully

If your viewing room is located at the same level as your indoor equine arena, then it’s vital to carefully choose the glass panels that will be used. You should absolutely install a kickboard, and set the viewing room back from the arena, if possible. Using safety glass can help to minimize the risk of a horse kicking the glass. Lexan is another excellent option.

Include a Small Fridge

Having a fridge – even a small one – in your viewing room will be well appreciated, especially on hot summer days. The fridge can also be used to keep cold packs and cooling vests and wraps at the ready.

Build in Bookcases and Display Areas

No viewing room is complete without some horse books and a place to display trophies and awards. Consider incorporating bookshelves and display areas into the room’s construction for a cohesive and stylish finish.

With a little planning, your viewing room can be a comfortable gathering place in your barn.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/tips-for-creating-the-ideal-viewing-room/

How to Design Your Barn to Save You Time

July 22nd, 2015

lifwo-pic-04

Do you find that you’re often busy and need to squeeze in time for riding? The way that you design your barn can save you time in the daily care of your horses. When you plan your barn, think about how the following elements can save you time when you take care of your horses every day.

Build Stalls That Open into the Pasture

Saving time begins with the very design and layout of your barn. If you have a choice between different locations for your barn on your property, try to opt for one which would allow for pastures to come directly off of the barn. Installing additional doors in the back of each stall allows you to simply open the door each morning to turn your horse out. This design saves you valuable time in walking horses to and from their pastures, and has the added benefit of allowing your horse to come and go freely.

Build Sheds in the Pasture for 24-Hour Turnout

Stall cleaning is one of the most time-consuming chores in your barn. The more that you can cut down on your stall cleaning duties, the better. Consider building sheds in your pastures, allowing for 24-hour turnout. You may have to clean out the sheds periodically, but chances are that your horses will spend a good amount of time grazing and moving around the pasture. Yourstalls will still be available for particularly bad weather days, but you’ll save a lot of time cleaning them.

Strategically Locate the Feed and Tack Room

When you plan the layout of your barn, locate your commonly used feed and tack rooms so that they are easily accessible and in a central part of the barn. You go into each of these rooms several times a day; if they’re centrally located, then you will save a bit of time with every trip. Over the course of a day, the time you’ve saved can really add up.

Install Automatic Waterers

Hauling water buckets and coiling and uncoiling hoses every day can quickly eat into your time. Installing automatic waterers in your horse’s stall, pasture, or both can save you lots of time. Classic Equine Equipment offers a variety of automatic waterers to suit your needs. Just be sure to clean and check them on a regular basis, and your days of hauling water will be over.

Include Swivel Hay and Grain Doors

When planning the design of your stalls, incorporating swivel hay and grain doors can save you time during feeding. When you feed your horses two to three times a day, unlatching and going into every stall slows you down. Swivel hay and grain doors mean that you can feed your horses from the barn aisle, simplifying and streamlining the process.

There are countless ways that you can design your barn to help save you time. Which of these methods do you plan to put to work in your barn?

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/how-to-design-your-barn-to-save-you-time/

Horse-Themed Summer Road Trips

July 20th, 2015

Horse-Themed Summer Road Trips

Summer is the perfect time to hit the road for a road trip, and what better idea than to make your road trip horse-themed? Looking for some great ideas for summertime horse road trips? We’ve come up with some perfect destinations for you.

Visit Kentucky Horse Park

There’s probably no better horse-themed destination than Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The park is home to the International Museum of the Horse, where even the expert horseperson is sure to learn something that they didn’t know. The Kentucky Horse Park offers daily activities including parades, presentations, and shows. Go on a tour of the barns or head out for a relaxing trail ride tour.

For extra excitement, time your trip so that you’re in town for one of the many competitions or events hosted at the park. The Bluegrass Classic, BreyerFest, and the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event are just some of the popular highlights offered at the park.

Head to Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is a town dedicated to horses. You’ll find horse-themed hotels, motels, restaurants, and gift shops. There are tack shops and a racing museum, and who can forget the historic Saratoga Racetrack? Head to the track where greats such as Man O’ War, Secretariat, and Gallant Fox have raced. To see the best of the best, time your road trip so that you’re in town for the Travers Stakes.

While you’re around, make time to head to Old Friends at Cabin Creek, located just a short drive away in Greenfield Center. Old Friends at Cabin Creek is home to famous retired racehorses including Thunder Rumble, Cool N Collective, Midnight Secret, Moonshadow Gold, and Roaring Lion.

Visit the UVM Morgan Horse Farm

The UVM Morgan Horse Farm, located in Weybridge, Vermont, is widely regarded as one of the most influential breeders of the Morgan Horse. The farm is open to visitors daily throughout the summer. See some of the top Morgan bloodlines, and make sure to visit the gift shop on your way home.

Attend the Montana Festival of the Horse

Want to head West and get some horse time in? The Montana Festival of the Horse offers three days of jam-packed equestrian fun. The expo, held in Billings, Montana, features clinicians, top-notch performers, a breed tent, a huge trade show, and much more. The festival is scheduled to take place in summer of 2016, so you have plenty of time to plan your trip.

There are so many great horse-themed road trips that you could take. What’s your favorite U.S. horse destination?

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/horse-themed-summer-road-trips/

Simple Changes That Can Make Your Barn More Desirable

July 17th, 2015

k-pic-03

Did you know that there are simple changes that you can make in your barn to make it more desirable? Whether you want to attract more boarders, create a more pleasing barn atmosphere for yourself, or improve your barn’s resale value and appeal, these simple changes can make big differences.

Add Windows and Skylights

You’d be amazed at the difference that adding a few windows and skylights to your barn can make. Windows and skylights allow you to take advantage of natural light, while also optimizing the ventilation in your barn. A barn that is well-lit by natural light will appear to be larger and roomier on the inside, and its lighter interior is more welcoming for both horses and humans. Installing windows and skylights can not only improve your barn’s atmosphere, but can also help to keep horses entertained, cutting down on boredom behaviors like weaving and wood chewing.

Install a Wash Stall with Warm Waters and Heaters

Having a wash stall in your barn is super convenient and is appealing to any serious rider. When you design your wash stall, make sure to equip it with warm water for year-round use. Installing heaters can allow you to use your wash stall in all sorts of weather, extending the functionality and usefulness of the stall. If you show year-round, being able to use heaters so that you can wash your horses can be a major advantage and a grooming time-saver.

Add a Round Pen

Round pens are highly useful for training, and the presence of one on your property creates many advantages. If you often train young horses, having a round pen is an absolute must. A round pen can also be used for turnout or quarantine, and a round pen increases the number of training and riding areas you have on your property.

Install an Entrance Gate

If you are trying to establish your horse barn as an elite, professional, or private operation, there’s no better way to do so than by installing an entrance gate. Entrance gates put a polishing touch on your property and help to make a great first impression on visitors. They can also help to keep loose horses contained on your property, serving as a valuable barrier between your horses and the road.

Upgrade the Quality of Your Stalls

Simply upgrading your stall quality can make a huge difference in your barn. Low-quality stalls may be weak, have grills created with spacing so large that a horse’s hoof could get caught, and may rust and be difficult to operate. Classic Equine Equipment offers multiple lines of top-quality stalls which can greatly enhance your barn’s appearance and safety.

If you want to make your barn more desirable, any one of the above changes can make a big difference in your barn.

Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2015/07/simple-changes-that-can-make-your-barn-more-desirable/