Legendary Jockey Pat Day’s Horseracing Career

January 26th, 2015

jockey and horse on racetrack

On January 23, 1994, jockey Pat Day achieved a major milestone in his impressive racing career: While riding Miss Popsnorkle at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Day won his 6,000th race. In doing so, Day became the 10th Thoroughbred jockey to win 6,000 races during his career. Day went on to win two additional races that same day.

Day didn’t always know that riding racehorses would be his career. Born in Colorado, he wrestled during high school and went on to try bull riding locally after graduating. Eventually he began riding racehorses, where he found his niche.

The immensely talented Day began his career with his first win in 1973. Naturally small and lightweight, Day was also strong but patient. Day continued to win races, becoming a nationally renowned jockey by the end of the 1970s. Substance abuse threatened Day’s career, but in the 1980s Day proclaimed that he was a born-again Christian and overcame his substance abuse problem.

From there, Day’s career continued to accelerate. He rode famed horses such as Unbridled, Cat Thief, Summer Squall, Tabasco Cat, Menifee, and Easy Goer. Day won 12 Breeders’ Cup races in 112 rides, winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic 4 times. He also won nine Triple Crown races, including one Kentucky Derby, five Preakness Stakes, and three Belmont Stakes.

Though Day become the 10th jockey to win 6,000 races in 1994, he exceeded that achievement in 1997 when he became the 4th rider to ever win 7,000 races. Day would top that accomplishment again in May of 2001 when he won his 8,000th race at Churchill Downs. He later retired with 8,803 victories and total earnings of $297,941,912.

Day earned many prestigious awards for his incredible racing career. He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in 1984, 1986, 1987, and 1991, and was also inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1991. Thanks to his many victories, Day is the all-time leading rider at both Keeneland and Churchill Downs. Day won the 1985 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, and in 1995 he won the Mike Venizia Memorial Award for sportsmanship and citizenship.

Day retired from racing on August 3, 2005 after a hip surgery caused him to miss riding in the Kentucky Derby. The 2005 Derby would have been Day’s 21st consecutive Derby ride. Day retired to his home in Kentucky, but in October of 2008 he rode in the “Legends” race at Santa Anita Park designed to bring retired jockeys back to the saddle one more time.

To learn more about Pat Day’s career, visit the Derby Legends website or read this article.


Photo Source: www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/32127571_extInt0/02C24932-Ingimage-Jockey-riding-a-horse-in-a-horse-race.html

Original Source: Legendary Jockey Pat Day’s Horseracing Career

New Beginnings: Tips for First-Time Breeders

January 23rd, 2015

mare and foal in pastureIf you’re thinking of breeding your mare for the first time, you’ll be journeying into new territory. It can mean big changes for you, your finances, and your free time. If you’re thinking of breeding your mare, this advice can help you get started.

Choose a Mare Worth Being Bred

One of the most common mistakes that first-time breeders make is to breed a mare who really doesn’t have top qualities that you would want to pass on to a foal. There are so many great horses in this world and so many horses in need of homes, that breeding an “average” mare just for the sake of breeding really isn’t an advisable tactic. If you are going to invest the time and money necessary into breeding a foal, then find a mare who is special and talented enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Build a Large Emergency Fund

Breeding a mare costs far more than just the stud fee, and if you under-budget your breeding funds you may find yourself in a financial pinch before the foal is even born. When deciding how much you need to save for a breeding, remember to factor in the veterinary appointments, checkups, and cost of caring for the foal after he is born.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have a significant amount of money saved up for any emergencies that might arise. Troublesome pregnancies in mares can become staggeringly expensive before the foal is born, and if a foal is born with issues, your emergency vet fund may quickly run dry. Since even a brief hospital stay for a mare and foal can accumulate bills of multiple thousands of dollars, an emergency fund of $20,000 or more is not unreasonable when breeding a horse.

Use Foal-Safe Facilities

Your average boarding facilities are not set up to keep a foal safe. The design of any existing horse stalls must be carefully evaluated for safety, since protruding nails or gaps in stall boards or stall partitions can result in serious injury for a foal. You will also need to create a pasture that is safe for a foal, which may involve bringing in foal-safe fencing and blocking off particular areas like rivers, ponds, or dense brush. In some cases, it may be easier to move the mare to a breeding facility so that she can foal safely.

Have a Backup Plan for the Foal

When breeding horses, things don’t always go as planned. If the foal doesn’t measure up to your expectations, do you have a plan for him? What if the foal is injured early on, eliminating a riding career? If you need a horse of a certain height, you can breed strategically but can’t guarantee that the foal will grow to that desired height. Having a backup plan for the foal is important to any successful breeding.

When it comes to breeding your mare, preparation is key. Thorough research and enlisting the help of a knowledgeable breeder can help to make breeding your horse a positive experience.

Photo Source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/54591291_extInt0/02H14551-Ingimage-Close-up-of-horse-and-foal.html

Original Source: New Beginnings: Tips for First-Time Breeders

Transporting Your Horse in Winter Weather

January 22nd, 2015

horses traveling in a trailerSafety is always a consideration when transporting your horse, but winter weather adds an extra challenge to trailering your horse. When you have to transport your horse during the winter, you will have additional factors to consider with each trip.

Keep a Close Eye on the Weather

When scheduling your trip, closely monitor the weather along your route. If possible, get in touch with people at your destination barn to get a sense of the road conditions that you may be dealing with. If weather conditions or road conditions are poor, then it may be safest for everyone if you reschedule your trip.

Check Tire Inflation

Making sure that the tires on your truck and trailer are properly inflated is always important, but it’s particularly important in the winter. Cold winter temperatures can cause your tire pressure to deflate, so make it a point to carefully check the pressure of all of your tires, including the spare. In addition, don’t forget to perform your standard pre-transport safety check of the hitch, the lights, the brakes, and other important points in your rig. While you’re at it, check to make sure that you have supplies for roadside emergencies.

Bring Extra Feed

Winter weather can change unexpectedly, and you are more likely to run into delays when transporting your horse during the winter. In case you run into conditions that delay you or force you to make an unplanned overnight stay, you will want to be sure that you will have enough feed for your horse. Always bring along extra hay and grain when hauling your horse in the winter.

Open Trailer Windows

Though it might be tempting to close up your trailer to keep your horse warm, doing so is dangerous to his health and can result in the development of a fatal level of methane gas. Instead, be sure to open the horse trailer’s windows to allow for plenty of ventilation. The increased ventilation will keep your horse’s respiratory system healthier, too, especially on long trips. If you are worried about your horse being too cold, bring along a few blankets.

Check Your Horse Regularly

When transporting your horse in truly cold temperatures, he will probably need a blanket to keep him comfortable during the ride. However, horses can also become overheated quickly, so be sure to bring along a few blankets of different weights. Check on your horse regularly to make sure that he stays comfortable.

With some planning ahead, you can safely trailer your horse during the winter months.

Photo Source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/49161766_extInt0/ISS_4227_01758-Isignstock-Contributors-young-man-and-his-two-arabian-horses-in-a-horse-bo.html

Original Source: Transporting Your Horse in Winter Weather

How to Monitor a Horse Away in Training

January 21st, 2015

horse training in arena

When sending a horse away for training, that horse may be away for a few weeks or even a few months. And while you may have done your homework before sending your horse away for training, there’s still room for things to go wrong. Monitoring your horse when he’s not at home can be tricky, but it’s also important to ensure that he is safe and training is progressing as it should.

Take Trips to Visit

If at all possible, it is best to make some trips out to the trainer’s facilities to visit your horse and check on his condition and progress. You may wish to bring along a camera so that you can document and monitor your horse’s physical condition through the training. Seeing your horse in person will give you a sense of whether he is holding or losing weight, and you may need to discuss dietary changes with the trainer if your horse is losing weight. You will also want to keep an eye on the condition of his hooves, and may need to schedule farrier work.

Taking a trip to visit your horse can give you a sense of how well the training is progressing. Watch your horse’s attitude and behavior when you are with him – is he interested in the activity around him, and does his attitude seem to be the same as it is back home? If you find that your horse is unusually moody or if he appears significantly tired or sore, then you might want to ask that adjustments to your horse’s training schedule be made.

While most trainers welcome visits from owners, they can also be distracting. Make sure that you are courteous of the fact that the trainer is running a business and that his or her time is tight.

Schedule Lessons

If possible, schedule some lessons at the trainer’s facility with your horse. The trainer will be able to show you what your horse has learned, and can give you the chance to work with your horse yourself. Lessons can help you to understand the trainer’s methods and how your horse has been trained, so that you can replicate that training once you are home. The more consistent that you can be, the better, so scheduling a few lessons before your horse leaves the facility is a great idea.

Enlist Help

If your horse is so far from home that it’s difficult for you to get there, see if you can enlist the help of an impartial horse person who lives near the trainer. Ask the person to make a few visits to see your horse on your behalf. Request that they take photos or videos to send to you, so you can still monitor your horse even if you can’t physically get to the location.

Sending your horse away for training can be a positive experience, but you need to be vigilant about monitoring your horse throughout the process.

Photo Source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/31295405_extInt0/02B45676-Ingimage-Dressage-horse-in-round-arenas-with-rope-running.html

Original Source: How to Monitor a Horse Away in Training

The Process of Building a Miniature Horse Barn

January 20th, 2015

Frost Hill Farm Miniatures barn

When it comes to building a horse barn, there’s a lot to think about and many choices to make. For Karen Rudolph of Frost Hill Farm Miniatures in Hampstead, New Hampshire, building the miniature horse barn of her dreams was a project that she’d been planning for years. With Classic Equine Equipment, Karen’s dream came true.

Planning was a major factor in ensuring that Karen got the type of barn that she wanted and needed. Miniature horses have needs that are unique from other horse breeds. For instance, because they don’t tend to shed out completely, they require a full body clip before every show. For Karen, this meant that a separate wash stall with rubber floors and walls for bathing and grooming was an absolute must.

Karen took the needs of her horses into account when designing the stalls, too. She explains, “Classic Equine Equipment was exactly what I was looking for. Since minis are vertically challenged, the grill in the bottom of the stall door is IDEAL for them to be able to see and socialize with their neighbors while still giving them privacy. The finish work, edges and seams on the Classic Equine Equipment stalls are top quality and SAFE. And the price was very competitive.”

Having been planning her dream barn for years, Karen was able to create a list of features that she wanted. The list includes:

  • High-quality stall fronts
  • One larger “double” stall that could be split in two (Classic Equine Equipment built the stall with two doors so that if it is split, each horse has an individual entrance.)
  • Outside paddock space for every horse so they all have access to outdoor turnout 24/7, yet can be closed in during inclement weather
  • Super comfortable stall mattresses (The first morning that Karen walked out to the barn, every horse was sound asleep on the cushy mats.)
  • Rubber aisle pavers to provide safety from slipping and comfort while grooming
  • Electricity to each stall for fans in the summer and heated water buckets in the winter
  • Attached run-in shed so that Karen’s “pasture puff” horses (those without a job) can enjoy being out all the time
  • Wash stall with rubber floor and walls for bathing & grooming

All in all, the actual construction of the project took a little over a year. Karen ordered her stalls from Classic Equine Equipment in May of 2012, but didn’t have them delivered until the barn was ready for them in the summer of 2014. Site construction began with tree removal in May 2013 and progressed with the pouring of the foundation, the framing of the barn, the installation of the stalls, and eventually the finishing touches like installing the rubber aisle pavers and overhead fans.

Why was Karen’s barn building project a success? She performed excellent research and created a thorough plan for her barn, including the features that she wanted and didn’t want. She kept her horses’ safety in mind when designing the barn and choosing its components, and she knew what features she needed to make the barn safe for her minis.

Want to see the step-by-step build of the barn? Karen has chronicled the progress – with pictures – on her Frost Hill Farm Miniatures website.

Frost Hill Farm Miniatures cleared landFrost Hill Farm Miniatures barn framingFrost Hill Farm Miniatures barn near completion






Image Source: Frost Hill Farm Miniatures

Original Source: The Process of Building a Miniature Horse Barn

The Hackney Pony

January 19th, 2015

hackney pony breed profile

Are you lucky enough to have a Hackney Pony in your barn? This flashy, high-stepping pony has an intriguing history and makes a popular horse show competitor.


The Hackney originated from Norfolk, England. Norfolk Trotters, a popular breed of horse, were used in the region and were bred to emphasize both speed and style. Breeders wished to improve the breed, though, so they bred Norfolk mares with Thoroughbred stallions to add speed and a refined appearance to the Norfolk Trotter. Beginning in the late 1700s, the offspring of the Norfolk and Thoroughbred were further specialized, refined, and bred, creating the Hackney horse.

During the 19th century, large quantities of horses were being exported by ship. Since larger horses were more difficult to transport, smaller horses were in higher demand. Additionally, the continued development of roadways created demand for a horse that could trot quickly to provide faster transportation than that offered by larger draft horses. Thanks to the changing times, the Hackney’s breeding was once again refined to create the Hackney Pony, mainly by breeding Hackney horses to Fell Ponies.

Hackneys were imported to America beginning in 1878, and the Hackney Stud Book Society was created in 1883. Hackney Ponies served primarily as carriage horses, becoming popular as show ponies after World War II.

Breed Characteristics

Hackney Ponies typically stand between 12 and 14 hands high, and may not exceed 14.2 hands high. They have pony characteristics, meaning that they have a small head with large eyes. Hackney Ponies have muscular, arched necks, a light build, and fine bone. They carry their tails high and have exaggerated leg action, raising their knees high. Hackney Ponies are typically bay or black, though chestnut colors do occur.

Hackney Ponies are shown in a variety of divisions which depend on the physical characteristics of each pony. Roadster Ponies stand at 13 hands or less and are known for their speed. They are shown at three trotting speeds and pull a road bike. Cob Tail Ponies stand at 14.2 hands or less and are shown with a shortened tail and braided mane. Harness Ponies measure 12.2 hands or less and are shown with long manes and natural tails. Pleasure Ponies stand at 14.2 hands or less and are shown at three different gaits. Hand Ponies are young ponies that are shown in-hand.

The Breed Today

The Hackney Pony continues to make a popular show pony today. Hackney Ponies are most commonly driven, but can also be shown in-hand and under saddle.

If you would like to learn more about the Hackney Pony, visit the American Hackney Horse Society’s website.


Photo Source: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hackney_Pony_%287714709846%29.jpg

Original Source: The Hackney Pony

New Beginnings: Fostering a Rescue Horse

January 16th, 2015

fostering a horse

Continuing our theme of new beginnings, you could give a horse a new beginning this year! Fostering a rescue horse is a great way to help out a horse in need. If you think you’d like to give fostering a try, here are the basics that you will need to know.

Read the Fine Print

Every horse rescue has different expectations and needs of their foster homes. They also have their own individual home screening and approval processes. Before you get too far into your plans of fostering, ask the rescue for a detailed explanation of what duties, financial or otherwise, a foster home assumes. For instance, if the horse is injured while you are riding it, are you solely responsible for resulting vet bills?

Some expectations of a foster home are pretty standard – generally a home is expected to provide feed and day-to-day care for the fostered horse. Most rescues will want a situation where the horse has a stall available to him. Depending on the horse’s level of training, you may be able to ride him and enjoy him much in the same way that you would enjoy your own horse. Many rescues cover the cost of farrier work and vet visits for their fostered horses. Still, differences occur between each foster situation, so be sure that you have a thorough understanding of what your responsibilities will be.

Foster Through a Reputable Rescue

If you want to foster a horse, then you should take your time in finding the right rescue to work with. Horse rescues have a variety of outlooks in terms of horse care, riding, and training techniques, so find a rescue with an approach that you agree with. You will also want to make sure that the rescue is well-established and reputable, and that the rescue will continue to act as a resource for you during your time as a foster home.

Be Realistic About Your Situation

In fostering a horse, you may have that horse for a few weeks or a few years, depending on how quickly an adoptee is found or if your own situation changes. During that time you can bond strongly with the horse, which will make letting it go to its new home difficult. Many rescues give a foster home the first choice of adopting a horse, but before you set out to foster, you should decide if you can handle owning another horse. Knowing what your decision would be ahead of time can help to make the situation a bit easier if or when it does arise.

Fostering a horse is a great way to start off a new beginning, both for you and for the horse. If you’re interested in fostering, then chances are there is a nearby horse rescue which will be grateful for your generosity.


Photo Source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/27097963_extInt0/02A14MNS-Ingimage-Horses.html

Original Source: New Beginnings: Fostering a Rescue Horse

How to Keep Your Horse Healthy During Winter

January 15th, 2015

horse healthy during winter

Winter horse care requires a very different approach from summer care, and keeping your horse healthy can be more of a challenge. How do you keep your horse healthy in freezing temperatures when you’re not riding as often? These tips should help.

Monitor Weight

Weight loss is a common issue in winter, and it can happen quickly. Extra hay can help to keep your horse warm and at his desired weight. If your horse is out in cold weather frequently or if he is not blanketed, then it’s very important to provide additional forage.

When monitoring your horse’s weight, don’t simply rely on a glance at him out in his pasture or stall to suffice. A heavy winter coat can hide weight loss, so run your hands over your horse’s sides on a regular basis to feel for ribs. If your horse begins to lose weight, stay ahead of the issue by increasing his forage or supplementing his feed with added substance such as beet pulp.

Keep Your Horse Active

Keeping a horse active during the winter can be a challenge, especially if you live in a region that receives a lot of snow and ice. But it’s important to keep your horse moving – regular activity will help to prevent weight gain, while increasing circulation and helping to avoid colic.

If you have access to an indoor arena, you can ride, lunge, ground drive, and even turn out your horse to keep him fit and active. Giving your horse plenty of turnout time can also help to keep him healthy. If a nearby barn offers use of their indoor arena, then consider trailering your horse over for riding sessions. Heading out to local trails, as long as they are safe, can be a fun way to keep your horse active, and winter riding is great physical activity.

Encourage Drinking

Adequate water consumption becomes even more important during the winter. Encourage your horse to drink by providing clean water at a warmer temperature using heated waterers both in and out of the barn. Giving your horse free-choice access to salt can also encourage him to drink, and feeding his grain as a watery mash will help to ensure that he consumes water.

Leave the Barn Open

As tempting as it may be to close up all the barn windows and doors so that the barn stays warm, doing so isn’t actually in your horse’s best interest. Horses have sensitive respiratory systems, and when you think about all of the dust and ammonia fumes that are present in a barn, closing up the barn’s ventilation takes a toll on your horse’s respiratory system. If you’re worried about your horse being cold, then add on a blanket liner or an additional blanket layer, and provide him with plenty of hay. Leave the barn doors open so that air can circulate freely, especially if you are doing chores while horses are in the barn.

Winter provides some challenges to horse health and care, but by paying close attention to your horse’s health you can help him navigate the winter months.

Photo Source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/78234085_extInt0/ISS_9538_02379-Isignstock-Contributors-Horses-graze-near-the-base-of-Three-Sisters-in-Ore.html

Original Source: How to Keep Your Horse Healthy During Winter

Should You Send Your Horse Away for Training?

January 14th, 2015

young woman training horse outside in summer

Sending a horse away to a trainer requires a good deal of trust, since your horse’s care and wellbeing will be in the trainer’s hands. If you’re planning to send your horse away for training, you will want to make sure that the horse will be safe and that the training will be a positive experience. Here are some factors you’ll want to consider.

Find an Experienced Trainer

When choosing a trainer, look for one who is experienced and who trains horses full-time. A person who has made training their career should take their work seriously, and should also have plenty of success to show with the horses that they have previously trained. When someone trains full-time, you know that their focus and energy are on the horses in their care and their progress. Additionally, for a full-time trainer, training horses is a profession, so the operation is more likely to be managed professionally.

Make Sure the Training Facilities are Safe

Before you agree to send your horse out to a trainer, you should pay a visit to the training operation with an eye for the safety of the facilities themselves. Ask plenty of questions, such as how much time your horse will be spending in a stall and whether he will have access to turnout. Look for standard safety issues, such as the quality of arena footing, the condition of paddock fences, and that horse stalls are designed to provide adequate room for your horse to move around.

Additionally, watch to see the condition of the other horses on the property. Do they appear to be well-fed and in good physical condition? Look out for hoof issues, low body weight and the presence of saddle or girth rubs, all of which could signify that the horses aren’t receiving quite enough attention or care.

Hire a Trainer With Similar Training Methods and Approaches

When you send your horse away for training, it is important that the trainer you choose is someone who shares your same training methods and approaches to training. In order for training to be a success, both you and the trainer need to agree on the desired outcome and what training methods are acceptable to get there. You will also need to find a trainer who shares your view on horse care, and who will keep your horse in good health while he is away in training.

Get and Check References

Everything might look great at a facility, but you should absolutely still get and check references on the trainer. Call each reference and talk with them about their experience with the trainer. Ask them what they sent their horse to the trainer to learn, how long the horse was away in training, what the results were and whether they encountered any issues.

Sending your horse away for training is a big decision. In addition to following the above tips, be sure to fully read the training contract and ask any questions you may have before signing the agreement.

Photo Source: www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/68229166_extInt0/ISS_5520_08048-Isignstock-Contributors-young-woman-training-horse-outside-in-summer-chore.html

Original Source: Should You Send Your Horse Away for Training?

Bringing Your Horses Home

January 13th, 2015
Karen Rudolph and one of her miniature horses.

Karen Rudolph and one of her miniature horses.

For most horse owners, having their horses at home in their backyard is the ultimate dream come true. Finding good boarding barns can be a challenge, and nothing can beat the convenience of being able to walk into your backyard to tack up your horse. But for many people, building a barn on their own is a big, often years-long process when it comes to planning, saving, and finally starting construction.

For Karen Rudolph of Frost Hill Farm Miniatures in Hampstead, New Hampshire, the journey of building her own barn began years before actual construction started. Karen has owned horses for 38 years, starting with hunters and moving on to Quarter Horses, but has always had a “small equine” in the mix.  She has owned and shown miniatures for about 12 years, so she wanted her miniature horse barn to be comfortable and functional for both horses and people. Explains Karen, “I’ve kept volumes of magazine articles and clippings and photos and all the things I wanted to include in my ‘dream barn.’ The great thing about waiting so long is that I knew exactly what I wanted, and what I didn’t want, in my barn.”

When planning out your dream barn, the more research that you’ve done into barns, the better. This includes reading articles and blog posts on barn building, visiting friends’ barns to decide what features you like and don’t like, and talking with barn building professionals about the potential challenges and decisions that you will face. Just because you won’t be able to actually build your barn for a few years doesn’t mean that that time has to go to waste – use it for planning and deciding on just what you want to have in your barn.

If you’re still on the fence about whether building a barn is right for you at this time in your life, then be sure to talk to people who have made the decision to build their own barns. Find out what was difficult, what they enjoy, and what they wish they had done differently.

When you decide to begin the process of building your barn, nothing is more important than finding excellent people to work with. You will want your builder to be experienced in building horse barns, since they present their own unique set of necessities and challenges. Additionally, since you’re putting such effort and time into creating a barn that you want to last, you will also want to be sure that the stall components that you put into it are of the highest quality, are built to last, and, most importantly, are constructed with your horses’ safety as a top priority.

The Frost Hill Farm Miniatures horse barn.

The Frost Hill Farm Miniatures horse barn.

Karen’s barn building experience was made easier by working with Classic Equine Equipment. “Beautiful stall fronts were TOP on the list for me. Miniatures tend to find places to hurt themselves (rough edges, large ‘hoof-size’ openings), and I researched every stall maker on the market. Classic Equine Equipment was exactly what I was looking for.” If you know just what you want in your barn, you can ensure that the barn is built to match your dreams.

While actually building your barn might still be years away, you can start the process now. Dream, plan, and envision what your perfect barn would look like. Think about what you would want a day of caring for your horses to consist of – what would make it easier? What would make your horses healthier and more comfortable?

Have you been sketching out your dream barn on napkins and the backs of envelopes? Do you drool over a freshly swept barn aisle of clean, elegant horse stalls? Then it might be time to let Classic Equine Equipment help you bring your dream barn to life.


Image Source: www.frosthillfarmminiatures.com

Original Source: Bringing Your Horses Home