Making the Leap to a New Discipline

September 10th, 2014

Do you find yourself wanting to give a new discipline a try? Making the leap to a new discipline is an exciting, and sometimes stressful, time. If you’re toying with the idea of changing to a new discipline, here are some ways to help make the transition go smoothly.

Making the Leap to a New Discipline

Evaluate Whether Your Horse Can Go With You

Do you dream of trying a new discipline with your horse? Depending on the discipline and the level at which you want to participate in it, your horse may well be able to make the leap with you. Cross-training is an excellent way to develop both a horse’s physical and mental strengths, so changing to a new discipline can actually be beneficial for your horse.

In some cases, you may find that a new discipline is simply too much for your horse. Some horses aren’t naturally suited to particular disciplines, such as a Tennessee Walking Horse attempting a hunter course. Other horses may have issues with the physical demands of a new discipline. If your horse can make the discipline transition, though, remember that the new discipline is new to him, too, so he will need additional training before he’ll understand what’s being asked of him.

Find a Reputable Trainer

A good trainer is your greatest ally in trying a new discipline, and he or she can help keep both you and your horse safe during this new adventure. Work with a trainer who is experienced in the new discipline, and who can act as a resource to guide you through this new world of riding.

Remember That You’re Starting at the Beginning

You may be a highly experienced rider, but when you make the change to a new discipline, you’re starting at the beginning. It may seem logical that your riding experience would mean that you could quickly compete at the higher levels of the discipline, but remember that you will still need to learn the basic discipline-specific skills that every rider has to acquire. Be patient, learn thoroughly, and enjoy the fact that you’re learning new things about horses.

Establish Important Connections

Along with working with a trainer, establishing other relevant connections will help to make your transition to a new discipline a smoother one. Look into whether there are local clubs or organizations dedicated to the discipline. There are countless clubs and organizations listed online, and joining one of these will mean that you’ll have access to great amounts of information, as well as other members. If you’re truly serious about your new discipline, you might consider moving your horse to a barn that focuses in that discipline to totally immerse yourself in that world.

Changing disciplines can be fun, and it’s something that you can do at any time. Want to give something new a try? Make the leap to a new discipline and see if it’s something that you enjoy.

Image Source:

Original Source: Making the Leap to a New Discipline


Tips for Selling Your Saddle

September 10th, 2014

Do you have an extra saddle sitting around in your tack room? Chances are there’s a rider out there who could put that saddle to good use while putting a little extra cash in your pocket. Thanks to the internet, selling a saddle online isn’t particularly difficult. These tips will get you started.

Tips_For_Selling _Your_Saddle

Clean and Evaluate Your Saddle

Before you list your saddle for sale, thoroughly clean and evaluate it. Look for flaws, damage, or other issues that you will need to disclose. Measure your saddle carefully. Be sure to check the saddle’s tree for soundness, and make note of whether or not your saddle has a serial number. If so, include that number in your ad.

As you evaluate your saddle, you will also want to compare it to other similar saddles that have sold recently. Checking Ebay listings can give you a sense of what prices riders are paying for the saddle in similar condition, and can help you decide on a fair price.

Write a Clear Listing

The text of your saddle’s ad should be detailed and clear. Include the saddle’s measurements and a detailed description of the saddle’s quality. You will want to specify any flaws, as well as any special features that a buyer might be interested in. State whether or not you are selling the stirrup leathers and/or the irons with the saddle, or if they are available for an additional fee. And don’t forget to mention your saddle’s price.

Get Good Photos

Always include high quality photos of your saddle with its ad. Take photos of the saddle from the side and the underside. Many buyers will also want to see photos of the saddle’s seat, underneath its flaps, the billets, and of the front of the saddle.

Use a Safe Payment Method

If you actually make the sale online, then use a safe payment method, like Paypal, to ensure that you get your funds. If you accept a check, tell the buyer ahead of time that you will be holding the saddle until the check has cleared the bank.

Always Ship With Insurance

When shipping a saddle, pack it carefully in a sturdy box. Always ship the saddle with insurance that is sufficient to cover the entire value of the saddle. This insurance should provide you with a tracking number, so you can monitor the saddle’s location and verify that it was received by the buyer.

Consider Consigning

Don’t have the time to deal with listing your saddle and responding to inquiries? Consider consigning your saddle with a local tack store or with a saddle consignment company. Consigning a saddle takes the responsibility for the sale out of your hands in exchange for a percentage of the saddle’s sale cost.

An unused saddle sitting in your tack room is just taking up space. Selling it can help out another rider and can put some extra money in your pocket.

Image Source:

Original Source: Tips for Selling Your Saddle

The Central Park Horse Show Brings Horses Back to NYC

September 8th, 2014

Olympic-caliber horses and riders will return to New York City this August for the first time since 2001. The first-ever Central Park Horse Show is scheduled to run from September 18th through September 21st. During that time the competition will feature a variety of disciplines, and exhibitions and showcases will also be held.

Closeup white obstacle with red flag for jumping horses. Riding competition.

Madison Square Garden was home to the National Horse Show from 1996 to 2001, when the show left the Garden. First begun in 1883, the National Horse Show became one of the top competitions in the United States, annually drawing top horses and riders to New York City. With the show’s departure, New York City lost its major equine competition.

The Central Park Horse Show could change all of that, though. The show offers a $200,000 Rolex Central Park Grand Prix on Thursday night, which draws top showjumpers. The Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC Sports from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Renowned riders including Beezie Madden, Kent Farrington, Georgina Bloomberg, and Jessica Springsteen are expected to compete during the Central Park Horse Show.

Held at the Trump Rink in Central Park, the Central Park Horse Show promises to have a distinct New York feel. Both Donald Trump and Mark Bellisimo, organizer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, are working together to organize and execute the Central Park Horse Show. Hoping to establish five-star status for the show by its 2015 run, a seven-year contract has been established to direct and encourage the show’s growth.

In addition to show jumping, the horse show will include a dressage freestyle demonstration. Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer and German rider Isabell Worth will participate in the demonstration, as will the United States’ Steffen Peters. Possibly most exciting of all is the fact that Steffen Peters will be bringing his Olympic mount Ravel out of retirement for this show. Ravel and Peters’ competition career ended in 2012, when the horse was retired to Four Winds Farm in Woodside, California. Peters will bring the sixteen-year-old Hanoverian gelding back to the show ring, though, and the pair are scheduled to ride their test on the night of Saturday, September 20th.

Seating is limited for this show, with only 1,000 total seats available. Pricing varies depending on the particular competition and exhibition, so be sure to visit the Central Park Horse Show’s website for additional information.

The 2014 Central Park Horse Show has the potential to be the first in a long series of top-rated shows. One thing’s for sure: New York City will welcome back these top-quality riders with open arms.

Image Source:

Original Source: The Central Park Horse Show Brings Horses Back to NYC

Top Reasons to Adopt a Horse From a Rescue

September 8th, 2014

Are you looking for a new horse? Adopting a horse from a horse rescue can be a great idea, depending on just what you’re looking for in your new horse. Have you considered adopting a rescue horse? Here are a few reasons why you might want to do just that.

Young lady stroking her horse

Help Horses in Need

When you adopt a horse from a rescue, you’re providing a good home to a horse in need. But you’re not just helping that horse – by adopting a horse, you’re opening up a stall in the rescue. That rescue can then help another horse in need to find a new home. Adopting a horse from a rescue creates a chain reaction: because you have helped that one horse, many other horses can also now be helped.

Lower Cost

Rescues typically offer horses for adoption fees that are much lower than what you would pay if you were to buy a horse. Because rescues want to encourage adoption of their horses, they strive to keep their fees reasonable. The adoption fees usually go towards covering the feed and veterinary care that the horse has required while he was at the rescue. Adopting a horse from a rescue means that you can still get a quality horse for a much lower price than you would pay to buy a similar horse from a private seller.

Strength of Emotional Bond and Partnership

Many riders will attest to the fact that rescue horses often form intense and deep bonds with their new owners. Rescue horses may require a bit of work and training, but in providing that you can also create an understanding and a partnership with your new horse.

Enjoyment of Working with a Rescue

Typically, horse rescues just want what is best for their horses. In adopting a horse from a rescue, the situation will be very different from what you would encounter if you were looking at horses offered for sale by private sellers. While each rescue has its own approach to its adoption program, often you will find dedicated horse people with a genuine desire to make sure that you and your adopted horse are a perfect match for each other.

Emotional Reward

There’s a significant emotional reward that comes with adopting a rescued horse. Knowing that you are helping an animal in need brings with it a sense of satisfaction and helpfulness. Your generosity in adopting a horse without a home and the effort that you put into your new horse’s training and continued care can result in a sense of accomplishment, pride, and an overall feeling of happiness.

These are just some of the many reasons that adopting a horse from a rescue can be a great experience. Have you ever adopted a horse?

Image Source:

Original Source: Top Reasons to Adopt a Horse From a Rescue

The Trait Du Nord

September 8th, 2014

The Trait Du Nord

Have you ever heard of the Trait du Nord? This beautiful draft breed originated in the 1800s, yet it is endangered today and its future remains uncertain.


The Trait du Nord originated in the grasslands of the southern Netherlands, northern France, and throughout Belgium. Its history is very closely linked to the Ardennes and the Belgian, as all three breeds are believed to have descended from the same group of breeds. Ancestors of these breeds lived in the Sambre and Scheldt valleys.

During the 1800s, farmers needed horses that could plow and work large areas of farmland. The horse also had to be able to deal with the frequently swampy ground that the farmlands consisted of. Belgian farmers did not have horses that could be used for plowing, so a draft breed had to be developed for that purpose. Through careful selection and breeding, farmers were able to create a draft horse that could easily handle the task. They bred Belgians, which could work on wet, swampy ground, with the Ardennes, which contributed size and strength.

The resulting breed, the Trait du Nord, was successful in plowing, farming, and even in lending transportation. It quickly became popular, and its population grew, rapidly spreading through Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Trait du Nords served in both World Wars I and II, but with the mechanization of the early 20th century, demand for the horses decreased. Like so many other breeds, the Trait du Nord’s numbers fell in the 1950s, and the breed was in danger of extinction by the 1970s.

Because the breed was large, it became popular as a source of meat. Breeders used the largest stallions they could find for breeding, increasing the average size of the breed. A revival of riding for pleasure during the late 20th century reduced the usage of horse meat, and eventually the Trait du Nord returned to its use as a workhorse and farm horse.


The Trait du Nord is an impressively large draft horse. It features a broad chest, a relatively short back, and heavy bones which give it excellent strength. The Trait du Nord comes in bay, chestnut, roan, and sometimes dark grey or black. Its broad chest, short back, and compact build with deep muscling allow it to pull heavy weights with ease, making it an excellent workhorse.

The Breed Today

The Trait du Nord today is a popular horse for logging and harness work. Some of the horses are used for riding and competitive driving. Team driving, a sport growing in popularity, has proven an ideal competition for the Trait du Nord. The breed can be shown in-hand, under saddle, or driven.

The breed is still endangered today, receiving relatively little media attention and facing the steady decline of farms. The number of pure Trait du Nord breeding horses in existence continues to decline, threatening the breed’s future. Crossbreeding may provide a way to preserve the horse, but at the expense of its true, pure bloodlines.

Image Source: By Eponimm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Original Source: The Trait Du Nord

Building a Barn on Small Acreage

September 4th, 2014

When you’re building a barn on limited acreage, planning the layout of your property is all the more important. You can keep horses on limited acreage, but you will need to be sure to make good use of the space. Working with a small piece of land? These tips will get you started.


Decide How Small Is Too Small

While you can certainly keep horses on small acreage, sometimes the space is just too limited to do so well or healthily. A general rule of thumb is that you should have one acre of land per horse. There may be some leeway in this figure, but remember to take your local zoning laws into account, too. You don’t want to plan out your dream barn only to discover that you aren’t permitted to house all of your horses because you don’t own enough land.

Evaluate How Much Land You Can Use

Just because you buy a 5-acre parcel of land doesn’t mean that all five acres can be developed for your farm. Natural limitations, like the presence of water and geographical challenges, can limit how you use your land. Make a thorough assessment of your land before you start planning the property layout so that you can avoid any surprises down the road.

Think Towards the Future

Limited space can make future expansions and alterations a challenge. You might only have two horses now, but will that be the case in a year or two? When planning your barn, think about what might happen down the road. Building a two-stall barn might suit your needs now, but if you want to increase the size of your herd in the near future, you might find that the amount of space and the layout of your land limits you. It’s best to decide on a barn and property design that can suit you for years, and then find a way to make that design work given your property size.

Decide On Necessities

When space is limited, it’s important to only include the elements that you really need to have on your property. A beautiful walkway and a circular driveway add elegance, but they also take up valuable space. Similarly, evaluate your barn plans to see if there are any areas where you can save space. If you have plans for a wash rack, evaluate just how much you would use it. Is it worth taking up the extra space? A large tack room can be a luxury, but a small, well-organized tack room can function just as well.

Be Prepared to Compensate

When building a barn on limited acreage, additional expenses and needs will come along. Horses in a small pasture will naturally lead to more mud during rainy weather, so you may need to install Stable-ity Grids to correct the issue. Manure management may be another problem you have to confront – do you have adequate space to compost manure on your property? If not, you will need to find a way to give it away, or potentially pay someone to regularly come and remove it.

Are you ready to start planning to build your barn? Give us a call; we’d be delighted to help you.

Original Source: Building a Barn on Small Acreage

The Advantages of Riding to Music

September 4th, 2014

Have you ever ridden to music? At first glance, riding to music might seem like an unnecessary distraction for the rider, but it actually has a number of advantages. So whether you have speakers in your arena or would have to rely on your iPod (use external speakers, not ear buds, when riding), here’s why you might want to start up the tunes when you mount up.

Young girl riding horse

Check Your Tempo

Music has a steady tempo, and most of the time that tempo doesn’t change. Riding your horse should be the same way – once you’ve established a tempo at a particular gait, your horse should continue on without varying his speed. Listening to music can serve as a reinforcement, since it provides you with a steady rhythm and can help you to monitor your horse’s rhythm.

Music can also present an excellent exercise for you and your horse. Create a playlist with songs that include a variety of different tempos. As each song comes on, ask your horse to move at the song’s tempo, and focus on keeping him at that tempo. This exercise can help you to gain better control over your horse’s speed, rhythm, and collection.

Calm Both Rider and Horse

Listening to music while riding is advantageous because of its excellent calming abilities. Repetitive, rhythmic, and familiar, music can help to soothe both a nervous horse and a nervous rider. If you’re riding on windy days or on days when there are audible distractions, music can help to keep both you and your horse focused and relaxed.

Music has additional physical effects on your body when you’re nervous. Singing along to music can help to further relax your body. Focusing on the words of the song serves as a distraction from your fear, and singing requires that you breathe and relax your upper body. As you breathe and move your upper body, this freedom of motion will also transfer to your seat and legs, helping to reassure your horse.

Distract Yourself

Recovering from a fall? Working on regaining your confidence after a scary incident? Sometimes we can become so fixated on our nerves that we get “stuck” in our riding. Music can provide just enough of a distraction that we can forget about the concerns that are holding us back.

Similarly, if you’re a super-focused rider, music can help to relax you and distract you, which can result in a better, more enjoyable ride. If you’re always focused on micromanaging yourself and your horse, it can be difficult to enjoy the ride and see the bigger picture. Listening to music can help to slightly distract you, letting you relax and let go for even just a few minutes.

So, think you’ll give it a try? There are a number of ways that listening to music can improve your ride. Just be sure to keep the volume low and stay safe.

Image Source:

Original Source: The Advantages of Riding to Music by Classic Equine Equipment

Breaking In Tall Boots

September 3rd, 2014

You’ve just purchased a new pair of tall boots – congratulations! Now the oh-so-fun process of breaking them in begins. Breaking in tall boots is uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and even a bit frustrating. It takes some time. However, there are a few things you can do to help speed the process along.

Breaking In Tall Boots s

Wear Heel Lifts

It’s generally recommended to purchase tall boots that are about an inch taller than you need them to be. While this accounts for the fact that most tall boots drop by one inch as they break in, it can also make initially wearing them very uncomfortable. Inserting heel lifts into the soles of your tall boots can give you the temporary added height that you need, minimizing the amount that the boot digs into the back of your leg as you break it in.

Condition Away

The trick to breaking in tall boots is to get the boots to soften up enough to mold to your legs. Using a quality cream boot conditioner can help to make the boots more supple and pliable, which will also make them more comfortable. Liberally apply conditioner to your tall boots, both inside and out. Repeat this process as you break your tall boots in.

Start Gradually

Put your tall boots on just for short amounts of time at first. Wear them around the house, or walk down the driveway to get the mail. Depending on how stiff your tall boots are, you’ll be able to wear them for longer and longer amounts of time. If you feel the boots rubbing or blistering your skin, take them off to give your legs and feet time to recover. You don’t have to break your tall boots in in one single marathon session. If you take the time to break them in gradually, you’ll be more comfortable – and able to walk the next day.

Wear Good Socks

When you start breaking in tall boots, wearing socks that offer you plenty of protection is important, or you’ll be facing rubs and blisters. Use a comfortable pair of boot socks, and consider supplementing them with a thin ankle wrap for additional protection.

Consider Water?

Some riders swear by the old tradition of standing in a bathtub or bucket while wearing a new pair of tall boots. The idea is that water helps to soften the leather. After getting the boots wet, riders wear them around the house all day until the boots dry. Supposedly as the boots dry, they contour themselves to the shape of your legs. Getting your brand new tall boots wet is a little hard to swallow, so we’ll leave the decision of whether this theory is worth it up to you.

Breaking in tall boots is never fun, but it’s a process that we’ve all gone through. Just be sure to take good care of your tall boots so that you don’t have to endure this process again anytime soon!

Image Source:

Original Source: Breaking In Tall Boots

Thoroughbred Racehorse Zippy Chippy Loses His 100th Race on September 10th, 2004

September 1st, 2014

Whereas many racehorses are renowned for their incredible winning careers, there’s one racehorse who is known for just the opposite. Zippy Chippy, a 1991 Thoroughbred gelding, lost an incredible 100 races during his racing career, the 100th race being at the Northampton Fair in Northampton, Massachusetts on September 10, 2004.

Jockeys racing thoroughbred horses on a turf racetrack

Zippy Chippy’s bloodlines are impressive. The New York-bred gelding’s pedigree can be traced back to famous racers including Buckpasser, Bold Ruler, Native Dancer, War Admiral, and even La Troienne. The gelding’s owner, Felix Monserrate, traded a 1988 Ford pickup in exchange for the horse.

And though Monserrate might have had dreams that the gelding could be a potential source of winnings, Zippy Chippy had other ideas. Zippy Chippy quickly developed an affinity for refusing to leave the starting gate, biting other horses during the race, and simply pulling himself up in the middle of the race. His losing streak began to build, and tracks started to ban him because of his behavior.

As Zippy Chippy’s losing streak grew, and the number of tracks that would allow him to enter dwindled, Monserrate turned to alternative types of races. Zippy Chippy challenged baseball players to 40-yard dashes, and in 2000, outfielder Jose Herrara won the race. Zippy Chippy just managed to win by a neck in a race against harness racer Paddy’s Laddy.

Following Zippy Chippy’s career became a source of entertainment for some racing enthusiasts. People Magazine noted Zippy Chippy as one of the most interesting personalities of 2000. Monserrate treated the horse as a member of his family, and though Zippy Chippy might have stood a chance at winning a claiming race, Monserrate refused to enter him for fear that the gelding might be claimed and taken away.

On September 10, 2004, Zippy Chippy entered a race at the Northampton Fair, one of the last tracks that would allow him to enter. Though his odds prior to the race were 7-2, Zippy Chippy stayed true to his habits and finished last in the race. Zippy Chippy was then retired and served as an outrider pony at Finger Lakes in Farmington, New York. During his career, Zippy Chippy raced 100 times, coming in second eight times and third twelve times. He earned $30,834.

Despite his unimpressive earnings and unusual career, Zippy Chippy retired with some of the finest racehorses to ever race in America. The Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Kentucky provides retirement for famous Thoroughbred racehorses, allowing the public to continue to visit with these inspiring animals after their time in the press’ spotlight has faded. An auxiliary site, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, is located just outside of Saratoga, New York, a hub for horse racing. Zippy Chippy joined Cabin Creek on April 22, 2010, and it is there that he will likely spend the rest of his life.

To learn more about Old Friends at Cabin Creek, visit their website.

Image Source:

Original Source:

Is an Equine Community Right for You?

August 29th, 2014

If you’re tired of having non-horsey neighbors, an equestrian community can solve that issue. But before you look into moving in, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of life in an equestrian community. Is an equestrian community right for you?

Is an Equine Community Right for You


One of the major advantages of living in an equestrian community is the safety that it provides for both owners and horses. Since most everyone in the community will be horse people, it’s easy to find someone knowledgeable to help you if your horse ever has an emergency. Drivers should know how to act safely when you and your horse are riding alongside the road. And rather than keeping your horse at a barn in a secluded spot, there will be plenty of people around to notice if your horse has an emergency while you’re not at home.


Living in an equestrian community means that you’ll always have your horses close by. Some communities also offer shared facilities, like groomed trails or cross country courses. You’ll be neighbors with other riders, so finding someone to ride or train with shouldn’t be a problem. And, if the community offers a central barn, you can full board your horse and not have to worry about his daily care.


Living in an equestrian community can be expensive, which is one of the major downfalls. In addition to purchasing the land and the house, you will have to pay annual fees to the community, which cover its upkeep and function. If you board your horse at a central barn, board will be in addition to these fees. When deciding if an equestrian community is right for you, be sure to list out all of the expenses involved.

Equestrian Network

While it can be great to build a network of equestrian connections, when you live in an equestrian community you are close neighbors with those people. There are bound to be differences of opinion, and some people might find the community setup stifling. Bringing in an outside trainer or attending an outside clinic are ways that you can circumnavigate the smallness that can arise from an equestrian community.

Community Restrictions

Equestrian communities usually have very strict restrictions on building, renovating, and other visual aspects of your property that you must agree to follow. It’s important to fully understand these restrictions before you move in. You may find that the renovations and changes you wanted to make to your barn or pastures are not allowed; if you’re someone who enjoys the total freedom to custom build your dream barn, life in an equestrian community might not be right for you.

So, what do you think? Does an equestrian community appeal to you?

Image Source:

Original Source: Is an Equine Community Right for You?  By Classic Equine Equipment