Could a Co-op Barn Work for You?

October 30th, 2014

Could a Co-op Barn Work for You

Among the many forms of horse care are co-op (cooperative) barns in which all horse owners split responsibility for the barn chores and care of all of the horses. Co-op barns provide an alternative to the standard rough, semi-rough, and full boarding options for horse owners who don’t yet own horse barns of their own. Could a co-op situation work for you and your horse? You’ll want to consider these aspects of co-op barns when making your decision.

Lower Cost

Because horse owners all work together to care for all of the horses at a co-op, the cost of boarding your horse at a co-op tends to be less than full care (and sometimes even rough) board cost at another barn. However, the cost of a co-op (and the specific care, such as blanket changes) that is included depends on the individual barn.

Control of Horse’s Individualized Care

At a co-op barn you will be caring for your horse at least part of the time, which gives you more control over his individualized care. Being involved in your horse’s care has its advantages, since you will be better able to monitor his health and make decisions to help keep him healthy and safe.

Membership in a Small Group of Dedicated Horse Owners

At a co-op barn, horse owners tend to be dedicated and very involved in their horses’ care. By boarding your horse at a co-op you may have the chance to make good friends and learn from other experienced horse people.

Increased Workload and Time Demand

Co-ops depend on horse owners caring for the horses, so your workload and time demand will be greater than they would be if you full boarded your horse at another barn. Chores like cleaning a horse stall and feeding will become regular occurrences. Remember, though, that working in a barn is very physical and can help to keep you in shape.

Less Access to Large Lesson or Training Programs

Because co-op barns tend to be small, access to large lesson or training programs may be limited. If you have a trailer, trailering your horse out to other farms for lessons and training might be a good option.

Potential Clash Over Horse Care Opinions

In any group of horse people, differences in opinion when it comes to horse care and training are bound to occur. Horse owners of a co-op do need to be able to agree on the general approach to horse care, but be prepared for differences of opinion.

Uneven Distribution of Duties

Just how effective a co-op barn is will depend on how it is run. In some cases, owners may shirk away from duties and you might find yourself doing more work than others. In well-managed co-op barns, duties are evenly distributed and all horse owners take on their share of the work, or they will be told that they need to move their horse to a new barn.

Do you think a co-op is right for you? Along with building a barn of your own or boarding at a facility, co-ops provide an alternative way to care for your horse.

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Helping Your Horse Lose Weight During the Fall and Winter

October 29th, 2014

Helping Your Horse Lose Weight During the Fall and Winter

Is your horse looking a little overly plump thanks to the summer pastures? While many horse owners prefer their horses to have a little extra weight on them going into the winter, a horse that is carrying too much weight will need to lose some in order to stay healthy during the additional time in the horse stall this winter. Here are some tips to help your horse lose weight safely during the fall and the winter.

Avoid Fall Pastures

Fall pastures can be deceiving – the grass is short and not as green or lush as it is in the summer, so it can’t provide your horse with too many calories, right? Wrong. Fall grass is actually rich in sugars, and grazing on fall pastures won’t help your horse lose any weight. Limit your horse’s time on pasture, and consider using a grazing muzzle to slow his grass consumption.

Slow Your Horse’s Eating

In addition to limiting the amount of food that your horse consumes, it’s a good idea to slow down how quickly he eats. Horses who bolt their food are at risk of issues like choke, and a horse who eats quickly in a group of other horses will likely consume more than his share.

Small hole hay nets and hay feeders provide a great way to slow your horse’s consumption of hay. Additionally, putting large rocks into your horse’s feed pan can help to slow how quickly he eats his grain. Using a corner feeder can also help to slow your horse’s eating.

Keep Your Horse in Work

Working your horse during the winter can be a challenge, depending on your climate and whether or not you have access to an indoor riding arena. However, it’s particularly important that your horse still receive plenty of exercise, even in colder temperatures.

A horse exerciser can provide an excellent solution for a horse who needs to lose weight. The exerciser can help to keep your horse in motion over whatever period of time you desire, and it eliminates the need for you to walk alongside your horse. If you plan to use an exerciser, discuss a conditioning program with your vet to be sure that you start your horse at a speed and duration appropriate for his fitness level.

Monitor Your Horse Closely

As you help your horse to lose weight, keep a close eye on his body condition – you don’t want him to lose too much weight too quickly. Winter horse coats can be deceiving, making your horse look fatter than he is, so be sure to put your hands on your horse’s barrel at least a few times a week to check for his ribs. Additionally, if your horse wears blankets then you should remove them every few days to monitor his condition.

With a little effort, you can help your horse to lose weight during the fall and the winter.

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Pimlico Race Course Opened for the First Time – October 25, 1870

October 27th, 2014

 Jockeys racing thoroughbred horses on a turf racetrack

On October 25, 1870, Pimlico Race Course, located in Baltimore, Maryland, opened its doors for the first time. Pimlico Race Course is the second oldest racetrack in the United States – Saratoga is the first, having opened in 1864.

The idea for creating Pimlico originated with Maryland’s Governor, Oden Bowie. Governor Bowie was highly involved in racing, and suggested the idea of a race to his friends over dinner one night. Governor Bowie wanted to build a racetrack in his home state of Maryland to host the race, and Pimlico Race Course was constructed for $25,000. The area in which the racetrack was built was called “Pimlico” by the Colonial settlers, and the name stuck for the racetrack.

During the 1800’s and early 1900’s, racing fans attended the races in horse-drawn carriages. Trainers and spectators began to gather on a small hill in the track’s infield for a close view of the races. The hill became so popular that Pimlico Race Course gained its nickname of “Old Hilltop,” which is still used today. The hill itself was removed in the early 1900’s because it interfered with the grandstand’s view of the backstretch, but the name has stuck.

Pimlico is rich in history, having hosted some of the best racehorses ever, including Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, War Admiral, Secretariat, and Cigar. Pimlico was the first racetrack in the United States to use an electronic starting gate. It has survived the Great Depression, the 1904 Great Fire of Baltimore, and an anti-gambling movement. Since 1904, Pimlico Race Course has offered racing every year.

The first race run at Pimlico, the 1870 Dinner Party Stakes, was won by a Thoroughbred named Preakness. The 1873 Preakness Stakes was named in honor of Preakness, and the race became the second leg of the Triple Crown. Today the Preakness Stakes still calls Pimlico Race Course home, and on Preakness day, crowds of 60,000 pack the infield to watch the famous race.

Additional historical highlights include the “Great Race” run on October 24, 1877. The United States Congress shut down for the day to attend the match race between champion Thoroughbreds Ten Broeck, Parole, and Tom Ochiltree. Parole won the 2 ½-mile race, making history in front of a crowd of 20,000.

Pimlico is also the site of the famous match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. The Pimlico Special, run on November 1, 1938, was won by Seabiscuit before a crowd of 43,000.

Pimlico Race Track continues to draw crowds today, especially for the ever-famous Preakness Stakes. To learn more about Pimlico, visit its website.

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The Inside Scoop on Volunteering for a Therapeutic Riding Center

October 24th, 2014

The Inside Scoop on Volunteering for a Therapeutic Riding Center

Have you ever been tempted to volunteer for a therapeutic riding center? Do you wonder what exactly is involved? Volunteering in any area of life can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Putting your horse knowledge to good use by volunteering at a therapeutic riding center will mean that you’ll not only feel good about offering your services, but you’ll also have the chance to spend some extra time around horses.

Typical Volunteer Opportunities

While every therapeutic riding center is different, some volunteer opportunities are fairly standard. One of the most well-known volunteer positions among horseback riders is the horse handler or lead walker position. Horse handlers are responsible for walking near the horse’s head and holding a lead line that is attached to the horse’s halter or bridle. Depending on the rider’s level, horse handlers generally allow the rider to proceed unassisted, but are ready to step in to help guide the horse if the rider runs into trouble. Sometimes the horse handler is also responsible for tacking up and untacking the horse.

Another popular position is that of the side walker. Side walkers walk alongside the rider during the lesson and help to keep the rider centered in the saddle. Depending on the rider’s abilities, a side walker may remain alongside ready to assist only when needed, or they may maintain more active roles of continuously supporting or securing the rider’s legs or body. The number and role of side walkers necessary during a lesson depends on the rider’s security in the saddle.

Often overlooked, many other volunteer opportunities frequently exist at therapeutic riding centers. Riders with horse knowledge and strong writing skills may assist with writing grants. Horse people can volunteer their time to feed, clean out stalls, groom horses, or clean tack. Depending on the therapeutic riding center, additional volunteer opportunities may exist, so it’s best that you contact the center to see how you can help.

The Rewards of Volunteering

Volunteering at a therapeutic riding center means that you’ll be dedicating your valuable time. While any volunteer opportunity is generally rewarding, since you’ll know that you’re doing a good service for the world, volunteering at a therapeutic riding center can be particularly rewarding.

The emotional rewards that stem from therapeutic riding volunteering are countless. By regularly volunteering at a facility, you will have a sense of accomplishment, seeing your work going to a great cause. Since you already know the healing and therapeutic powers of horses, you will get to see new riders discover those same benefits. If you volunteer at a therapeutic riding center over time, then you may get to see riders progress through each riding session.

For more information on therapeutic horseback riding, and to locate a center near you, visit the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International’s website.

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Original Source: The Inside Scoop on Volunteering for a Therapeutic Riding Center

Preparing a Horse for Sale

October 23rd, 2014

baby horse

When it comes to selling your horse, making him stand out from the crowd of other horses for sale is important in finding him a new home. When you prepare to show your horse to potential buyers, there are a few major tasks that you’ll want to be sure to do.

Get the Horse in Regular Work

If you’re selling a horse that is intended to be a riding or competition mount, then it’s best to get the horse fit before you advertise him. Restarting a horse under saddle is likely to attract more potential buyers than advertising a horse who has been on pasture rest for the past year. Additionally, a horse who can be presented under saddle will likely fetch a higher purchase price than that same horse would if not started back into work. Regular work also makes a horse fitter and more eye-catching, a fact which may help to draw the attention of multiple buyers.

Have Paperwork Ready

Before you advertise your horse, take the time to locate his registration papers and proof of ownership. In the event that there is immediate interest in your horse, you will want to be sure that all of the paperwork is in order. Locate records of his most recent vaccination history, and if your horse has any sort of a medical condition, you may also want to locate veterinary records pertaining to its diagnosis and treatment.

Additionally, prepare a list of any major awards or achievements that your horse has earned. If you’re selling a show horse, having a comprehensive show record on hand can help to drive interest. You may also want to include highlights of your horse’s achievements in his for sale ad.

Style the Horse Appropriately

Before you list your horse, take the time to make sure that he is styled appropriately for both his intended discipline and for his breed. If your horse would be shown with a pulled mane and clipped whiskers, take the time to replicate that show ring appearance.

Get Quality Photos

Once you have your horse styled and groomed, take the time to get high-quality photos. Your horse’s photo will be the first impression he makes on a potential buyer, so you want to be sure that the horse is displayed well. The same goes for taking video – if you plan to include video of your horse in his sale ads, then take the time to get a great video of your horse.

When you list your horse for sale, you’ll want to be prepared in case there’s quick interest in him. Take the time to make sure that you’re ready to go, so any potential sale can run smoothly.

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Planning to Say Goodbye

October 22nd, 2014

Planning to Say Goodbye

No one likes to talk about the day when we have to put our horses down, but facing euthanasia is often a very real and necessary part of horse ownership. If your horse is moving into his senior years, planning and discussing euthanasia and aftercare can help to make the difficult time a bit easier. If you own a horse, you will want to give these specifics some consideration.

Holding the Horse for Euthanasia

One of the most pressing decisions you will face is whether or not you want to hold your horse as the euthanasia takes place. Euthanizing a horse can be startling and shocking for owners, mainly due to the horse’s size and the initial fall after the sedative takes effect.

You should give some thought about how you want to handle the euthanasia. Some owners don’t want the euthanasia to be their last memory of their horse, and choose to leave beforehand. Other owners choose to stay with their horses for the process. If you opt to not be present at the euthanasia, asking a trusted horse friend to be present instead can be a reassuring approach.

Burial versus Cremation

Burial and cremation are the two most popular aftercare methods for horses. Before you decide on burial, make sure that you can legally do so in your town. Restrictions on burial, especially of horses who are euthanized, are common, and burying a euthanized horse may pose a threat to local groundwater.

Cremation offers an alternative to burial and is becoming increasingly popular. The costs of cremation, compared to burial, can be prohibitive. If you are considering cremation for your horse, it is best to locate a facility that offers the service and approach them for a rough cost estimate ahead of time.

Having your horse’s body removed from the property is another option. Though difficult to stomach, renderers can come and remove your horse’s body if burial and cremation do not work for your situation.

Whichever method you choose, it’s best to make the choice in advance so that you can have a plan laid out ahead of time. Be sure to have contact information for any services that you might need, whether it’s pickup for cremation or removal, or a backhoe for burial.

Memorial Ideas

When the day comes that you must say goodbye to your horse, you probably won’t be thinking about ways to memorialize him after he’s gone. But after a few days, weeks, or months pass, you may want to create a special keepsake to remember your horse by.

There are countless ways to memorialize your horse, from horsehair bracelets to ceramic pots with your horse’s hair baked into them, to shadow boxes framing mementos from your horse’s life. When planning to say goodbye to your horse, it’s a good idea to decide what mementos you might want to keep around the barn, near his stall, or around the tack room, such as his halter, a pair of his shoes, or a bit of his mane or tail hair.

Saying that final goodbye to your horse is heartbreaking, but planning ahead can help to make that sad day a little bit easier.

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The Trakehner

October 20th, 2014

dressage horse

The Trakehner, one of the most popular sport horse breeds today, originated almost 1,000 years ago. This warmblood breed makes an excellent dressage and jumper today. Have you ever ridden a Trakehner?


The Trakehner’s origin begins with the horses owned by Lithuanians and Old Prussians during the Middle Ages. These horses were used to breed military horses during the 1300s, and in the 1500s and 1600s the offspring were used to breed horses for cavalry and stud uses.

The descendants of these horses were used to establish the Trakehner breed. In 1732 King Frederick William I of Prussia created the Trakehnen Stud in East Prussia, which later became state property. Over the next century, Arabian, Thoroughbred, and Turkish blood was added to the breed. One stallion, the Thoroughbred stallion Perfectionist, sired the Trakehner stallion Tempelhuter. Most Trakehners today can be traced back to Perfectionist and Tempelhuter.

Breeding to the stud horses was encouraged, and the breeding of local mares resulted in sure-footed, athletic horses that were sought after as cavalry mounts. In the early 1900s the breeding focus turned to producing horses that could perform farm work, resulting in a movement towards Trakehners that featured a more solid build.

In addition to being useful for farm work, the Trakehner proved a competitive sport horse mount. In 1936, Trakehners won six Gold medals in the Olympics. Breeding and demand for the Trakehner further increased and became refined, resulting in the powerful and impressive horse that we know today.

Breed Characteristics

The Trakehner typically stands between 16 and 17 hands. It is a refined breed with a natural elegance, but it also sports good bone structure and a strong overall build. It is known for its springy and light trot. The Trakehner features strong hindquarters that make it a powerful jumper, and it is known for its excellent temperament, heart, and intelligence. The Trakehner is regarded as being willing, trainable, and eager to please.

The Breed Today

Much of the modern Trakehner breeding takes place in Germany. Rigorous stallion inspections are held in Germany each October and critique the stallion’s temperament, movement, jumping ability, and cross country abilities. To be approved for breeding, a stallion must be the best of the best.

Today the Trakehner is widely popular as a dressage horse. It also excels in show jumping and eventing. Famous Trakehners include the show jumper Abdullah, the eventer Windfall *PG* 2, and the show jumper Heuriger.

If you would like to learn more about the Trakehner, visit the American Trakehner Association’s website.

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Tips to Make Your Horse’s Long Trailer Ride Go Smoothly

October 17th, 2014


Shipping your horse over long distances can be stressful on you both. You want to ensure that the trip is minimally stressful for your horse, and you’ll also want to be sure that he stays safe and healthy. Here are some ways you can help to make sure that your horse’s trailer ride goes smoothly.

Choose a Shipper Carefully

If you opt to use a professional shipper, then choose the shipper carefully. Be sure to consider how comfortable the rig will be for your horse – for long-distance rides, air ride trailers are far more forgiving than traditional trailers are. Check out our blog post on choosing a cross-country shipper.

Invest in Quality Equipment

Shipping boots and a shipping halter are standard equipment to keep your horse safe on long rides. Be sure to invest in quality equipment to help protect your horse. Sheepskin halter tubes can help to prevent rubs and can cushion your horse’s face. A head bumper may also be a wise investment.

Sign Up for a Roadside Assistance Program

Whenever you’re transporting your horse, enrolling in a horse trailer roadside assistance program can give you additional peace of mind. Passenger vehicle roadside assistance programs typically don’t have the resources to service horse trailers, so if you run into a problem with your rig, you could be stuck. If you’re planning a long trip with your horse, consider looking into programs designed for horse trailers, like USRider.

Give Your Horse Plenty of Rest

Trailering is stressful on your horse’s body, so it’s important to make sure that he has plenty of time to rest during his trip. Schedule your trip so that your horse has regular time out of the trailer, and try to limit the time he spends in the trailer to no more than 10 hours per day. Look into horse stables and barns that offer overnight stalling along your route. The chance to lie down in a well-bedded stall will help to keep your horse rested and ready for the next day of travel.

Monitor Your Horse’s Temperature

Horse trailers can heat up quickly when in motion, so even if you’re traveling during the winter, stop frequently to check on your horse. Make sure that your horse is comfortable underneath any blanket that you have put on him, and offer him water on a regular basis.

If you plan ahead of time, you can help make your long trip with your horse safe and comfortable.

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Amenities You Will Want to Include in a Boarding Barn

October 16th, 2014

When horse owners look for a potential boarding barn, there are certain amenities that they tend to seek out. Including these features in your barn can help to increase its demand as a boarding facility. Are you planning a barn that you intend to use for boarding? Then you’ll want to give serious thought to including these features.

Horse_Stalls_Barn_Classic_Equine_Equipment_Amenities You Will Want to Include in a Boarding Barn

Generously Sized Stalls with Windows

Any horse owner wants their horse to have the best, and you can establish that in your facility by installing generously sized stalls with individual windows. Most horse owners will want a stall that measures at least 12’ x 12’, especially if their horses will be spending a large amount of time in their stalls. Stall windows can pay off in a number of waysbarn windows help to break up equine boredom, reducing cribbing and wood chewing. Stall windows also increase ventilation and allow for more natural light to enter your barn.

Indoor Arena

Depending on the climate in which you live, an indoor arena may be a much sought after asset. In areas plagued by inclement weather and cold winter climates, indoor arenas can lengthen the amount of the year that boarders can ride and train. If you will be offering boarding to riders who plan to regularly show their horses, having an indoor arena is recommended.

Indoor Wash Stall

An indoor wash stall is also an excellent feature to offer your boarders. Consider heating the wash stall, and also make sure that hot water is accessible. Having access to a wash stall during all seasons can make caring for horses and treating medical issues far easier than hauling buckets of water can be.

Tack Storage Space

Make your tack room a safe, pleasant, and well-organized area. Offer plenty of space for riders to store their tack, and consider using one of the many tack organization systems offered by Classic Equine Equipment. Remember that riders will have lots of equipment in addition to their tack, so maximize the use of your available space to allow boarders excellent storage capabilities.

Safe Aisle Footing

Give careful thought to the footing of your horse stable, since it can be a major safety issue if you choose poorly. Concrete aisles can be hard on joints and slippery, while dirt aisles require regular maintenance and can stir up dust. Consider using rubber aisle pavers for superior shock absorption and protection with easy installation and little maintenance around the horse. Rubber aisle pavers also provide your barn with a stylish, classic finish similar to brick but without the maintenance and safety issues of brick.

If you want to establish your boarding barn as an in-demand facility and drive business, consider adding some or all of these features to your barn.

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When Horse Emergencies Arise (And You’re Not There)

October 15th, 2014

With horses as injury-prone as they are, medical emergencies are almost certain to arise. And while you would hope that the barn manager would be able to reach you if your horse were to ever have a medical emergency, unfortunately that’s not always the case. What would happen if your horse needed treatment and you weren’t available?

When Horse Emergencies Arise (And You're Not There)

Identify Your Preferred Vet and Farrier

It’s a good idea to post the contact information of your horse’s vet and farrier on his stall door for use in emergencies. In the event that your vet and farrier aren’t available, though, it’s also advisable to provide your barn manager with contact information for a second choice vet and farrier.

Provide Permission to Treat

If your horse needs immediate treatment but you are unavailable, your barn manager needs to be able to approve veterinary or hospital treatment. Many barn managers incorporate permission to treat in their boarding contracts. If you haven’t yet granted your barn manager with permission to treat your horse in an emergency when you can’t be reached, consider doing so.

Specify a Treatment Limit

In addition to granting permission to treat, you should also specify a treatment limit so that your horse’s treatment doesn’t go further than you intended. Treatment limits can be financial cutoff points at which treatment ceases, but they can also be specific treatments that are to either be given or avoided. For instance, opting to provide or decline colic surgery is a common issue that horse owners face when colic emergencies arise. You may also want to consider putting limits on whether, or for how long, your horse is to be hospitalized in an emergency.

Insure Your Horse

Specifying treatment limits is difficult to do, but it can be made easier by insuring your horse. Major medical insurance can mean that you will have greater financial freedom to treat your horse in medical emergencies. If you opt for insurance, be sure that you fully understand the policy and what is and is not covered.

Leave a Credit Card on File

If you grant your barn manager permission to treat your horse, it can be a good idea to leave a credit card on file with your veterinarian’s office. Having a card on file can take stress off of your barn manager in an emergency, and can help to ensure that your horse can receive timely treatment. When putting a credit card on file with your vet’s office, you can specify a limit and can note that it is to be used for emergency use.

When medical emergencies in horses arise, fast treatment can often lead to an improved prognosis. Be sure that you have measures in place so that your horse can be treated, even if you can’t be reached.

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