December 16, 2013

Horse Portrait Contest

Okay my devoted bloggers. I have a challenge for those of you interested! I will be giving away one free  8" x 10" painting of your horse to one lucky reader. It will be acrylic on canvas. I cannot tell you when it will be finished, but sometime in January. But hey, it's free, so perhaps worth the wait?

Here is how you enter:

DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 30th

1. Email me a high resolution photo of your horse (no people). You may send in more than one submission.  Email is dock (dot) start (at) gmail (dot) com.
2. You must own full copyright privileges of the photo. This is easy if you took it yourself. However, if it is a professional photo you need to get permission from the photographer for me to make a painting of it. I need this in writing (email). I will likely be using a slide/scan of the finished painting in the future to advertise my work. Most photographers in my experience are okay with this so long as they are asked up front.
3. The photo must have a lot of contrast. Light/dark shadows, etc.

The winner will be chosen by what I deem to be the best photo to make a painting of and once it is done I will mail you your painting. You do however need to cover the cost of shipping. A small painting like this should cost less than $10 to ship safely. We will sort all that out later once the painting is finished and ready to go.

Okay, so now you are wondering what your painting might look like and if I'm any good at this? Well, before I got realistic about life and an income and went to grad school, I completed and undergrad degree in painting. So you can say that I do know how to paint, although it is not my profession these days. I've painted a few horse paintings over the years more or less during times when I was lacking inspiration to paint something "serious" (see below). Well, time has passed and I only paint for fun now. So I've decided that it doesn't matter to me any more if the art community considers horse paintings serious art or not. I want to paint horses so I'm going to!


What is new to me though is painting in acrylics.  I've always painted with oils. However, since I can only paint in my dining room with JR running around the house and the fact that there is lack of ventilation options due to it being winter, my only option is to paint in acrylics (non-toxic). One day when JR is older (or I have an art studio in my home) I will return to my beloved toxic fume laden oils. So, you my lucky blog contest winner will be the first horse painting I've done in acrylic. Don't fret, it isn't my first acrylic painting though. I think I'm up to about seven acrylic paintings now. Basically at some point I decided I can't just not paint because of JR, so I reluctantly decided to embrace acrylics. It's kinda like being a pick up rider instead of owning your own horse. You still get the horse fix but it's not quite as satisfying.

Now send in those entries!


Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

December 8, 2013

A christmas Beacon perhaps?

This adorable Gatstby colt is for sale. His asking price is completely beyond on the upper end of my budget, but every time I think about breeding I worry about what could go wrong in terms of  $$$ (granted there is broodmare insurance...which I recently learned about, but I don't yet know the ins and outs of that). This little guy is exactly what I want in terms of looks. The ONLY thing that is keeping me from really harassing my husband about driving to Maryland and hauling him home is the -19f weather fact that he's 3/4 TB.

Now, I am not an anti TB person. The best horse I've ever owned was an OTTB. However, not being an eventer, I prefer big broad horses to super fast ones. I worry that this guy will grow up to be too narrow for me despite the 1/4 Hanoverian. It's torture really, because otherwise he is perfect. He'll definitely be tall enough to take up my leg regardless of girth. So maybe it's not an issue. I think I would just prefer a horse that has no chrome but is 3/4 Hanovarian to chrome and 3/4 TB. In addition, I think about costs. If I am going the TB route it seems more sensible to pick up a OTTB project for 1/4 (or less) of the price. So, there is that too.

On a total side note, now that Gingham is in the motherly way, the thought did cross my mind to see if she'd agree to an embryo tranfer off her fabulous Hanoverian mare Prairie. Gatsby x Prairie...drool... Now that would be my dream horse!



But darn isn't Beacon cute? And he's a Gatsby baby. This horse is seriously drool worthy. Here's a link to his sales ad if you are in the market. He's going to make someone a really happy owner I just know it.

As for the property search it continues. We are just about ready to put our house on the market. At this rate I think we will wait until after the holidays. That should make staging the house a bit more simple. For now though we are finally hanging drapery. The house has needed them for so long. It is going to be hard to sell once all these little improvements are finished.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•


November 22, 2013

My Horsey Future

Being horseless makes it hard to keep up with regular posting due to lack of fodder. I do hope to have a lot to blog about again soon, and rest assured I'm not leaving the bloggosphere. This blog is staying right here, and staying alive. Until I have a new horse this blog will just be slow. I will still post when things come up, but my posts are likely to be few and far between for the rest of the winter.

The current game plan, in terms of my horsey future, is that we are currently listing our house and searching for horse property. Once we finally own a nice horse friendly plot of land the horse search will begin. I am very excited for the future, but for now I am trying to enjoy the perks of a horse free life. I've had a horse for so long now I had forgotten how much more you can do with your finances when you don't have board, feed, vet bill, tack, and equipment to pay for and maintain. It's been a bit of a (pleasant) shock really.

The main non-horse thing I'm working on at the most is doing little renovation and interior decorating projects around our house. These are things that I wanted to do three years ago when we moved back, but never got around to due to lack of time (horse) and finances (horse). So now I'm reveling in them. The house is starting to really look like a place that I want to live in, which when it is finished is going to make selling it rather bittersweet.

I will post about much of these domestic adventures on my other blog: http://suddenlysettled.blogspot.com/. So if you are interested in hearing my random tales of being a work/stay-at-home-mom coupled with house renovation/decoration topics, feel free to follow my other blog. I'll likely be posting there more regularly for the time being.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

November 20, 2013

Marketing a Horse For Sale

Most horses I've sold, I haven't had to market. Granted last time I sold a horse the internet had just been born and barely anyone used email frequently. Those that did had something call an AOL account. Yes, I am really dating myself. Things have changed in terms of marketing horses.

Anyhow....I've never had to market a horse before because I would generally just go to local shows, list the horse for sale on my entry, and eventually a buyer would come along. This is also easy to do with low price point horses. Not that it doesn't work with higher price point horses too, but you have to go to rated shows, which obviously ups your costs. If you are going to those shows anyway it's not really an added cost, but if you are showing only to sell the horse it can get expensive quick.

My initial intent was to show Rose on the circuit this past summer and sell her that way. Mostly because I really wanted to enjoy one show season my horse that I had poured nearly four years of blood sweat and tears into. I wanted to have that exhilarating experience showing her at least a couple more times before I sold her.

The problem with this most excellent show/sales plan? The baby of course. The baby meant lack of time to really ride regularly and prep for shows. I don't go to rated shows to loose, so I don't go if my horse isn't ready. There was no way to be ready.

That left me in a pickle. How do you market a horse these days without hitting the circuit? I may not have sold a horse since the internet was birthed, but I have window shopped as any good horse addict does. As such, I certainly had an idea where to start. The following list is my current guide to selling a horse in the age of the internet.

How to Market Your Horse for Sale

Option 1: This sales method has been around as long as horse trainers have existed (I assume) and requires little to no effort on the sellers part.

Have your trainer sell the horse for you. This option is good for busy people, who have a horse in training or are willing to put it in training, board at a trainer's barn, and don't mind losing about 10% of the sale price to the trainer. Because the trainer gets a commission on the sale, they generally try and get your horse sold quickly. Most will sell in barn so that they keep the horse as a client, but the horse could easily end up going out of barn.

Note that if you own a really expensive and awesome performance horse that your trainer often shows and wins on, they won't be inclined to lose the horse from their program. Because of this, some unscrupulous trainers will not put much effort into selling your horse. Bare this in mind if you are among the 1% with a grandprix horse in training. In the mean time, if you need your horse hacked give me a call!

Option 2: Sell the horse yourself.

There are a few things you must do to sell your horse yourself. Here is my little guideline.
Conformation Photo
  1. Price your horse. Consult a trainer(s) regarding the price you are asking and see what other people are asking for a horse of similar breeding and training. Be realistic about the price. I find it is good to ask a little more than what you want, because everyone wants to bargain when it comes to horse sales. However, don't expect to sell a young horse that has never been backed and has no performance record for much more than the costs involved in breeding said horse. If it has been inspected by a breed registry and got a premium score you can expect to get a little more. However, if you really want a good price for a baby you must be very well handled, have manners, tie, load, pick up feet, etc. AND have a performance record. Take it to schooling shows and rated shows and show in hand. Once your baby is bringing home ribbons you can realistically ask for more.

    If you have a started green horse, you can ask a bit more, since it's had some training. I have found that most people either buy foals or backed three year olds, but nothing in between. So don't expect to ask more for a 2 year old than you would be able to ask the same horse as a foal. Remember, you are not selling the horse based on what it might be worth in a few years. You are selling it for what it is worth now. For a green horse that has been started, calculate breeding costs and add in a bit more for training. Don't try and recoup boarding and vet costs. That's just the cost of your hobby, so don't even try to go there.

    If your horse is finished it's usually a bit easier to come up with an average cost based on the horse's training, health, temperament, breed, and performance record. This is where a trainer can really help you determine the horse's current market value.
  2. Quality photos. A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say. This is one of those times that saying couldn't be more true. A good photo will have your phone (or email) ringing off the hook with serious buyers. A bad or average photo will mostly send tire kickers your way. If you want your horse to sell for a good price and quickly, then invest the time and effort in taking good photos.

    Find a friend with a good camera (or hire a photographer). Do your prep work. Bath your horse, braid it if the main doesn't lay flat, oil or polish the hooves, and take the photos in the morning on a sunny day for the best light. There are two types of photos you will want to take, conformation and action.

    Note: You do not need a butt photo. Honestly, I don't actually understand why people do this. Even if you wanted to buy a horse based on the size of its rear, a photo from that angle is extremely distorted and will not tell you much in regard to how robust the rear is. Also, do not use photos of the horse grazing, dirty, standing uphill, or downhill.


    Conformation Photo: This is the one most important photo you will take, as it tells the buyer the most about the horse. In my experience, it is this photo will sell your horse. Find a nice bridle or leather halter with a leather or black lead rope. Locate an area of level ground with a good backdrop with nothing distracting in the distance. Standing the horse outside a dark barn isle way or arena works well as a backdrop, otherwise look for a plain wall, barn doors, or some decent shrubbery. Ideally you want the horse standing on asphalt or concrete so that all four hooves can easily be seen. When you take the photo you want to be square with the horse's body, see all four legs in the photo, with the legs closest to the camera on the outside and the other two on the inside. This allows the buyer to see all four legs and to see if there are any obvious injuries (i.e. bowed tendon). The horses' neck should be posed in its most flattering angle for the horse's build and you should not see the handler (or any appendage) in the photo.

    Action Shots: These should be good clear photos and are best done in an outdoor arena or paddock. You don't want to post warm fuzzy portraits of you and your horse. You want the buyer to envision owning that horse, not have a searing memory of you in pigtails on your beloved pony. To this end, wear a helmet, classic understated clothing like a plain polo shirt and beige britches, and proper footwear. Again, even if you don't normally wear a helmet, you don't want a buyer fixating on the fact that you aren't wearing one and that you once attended an AC/DC concert. Clean your tack and use clean coordinating and understated saddle pads, wraps, boots, etc. This is when a white saddle pad and white polo wraps really work well, for any discipline. In the absence of four white socks, the white wraps help to highlight the horse's movement (especially in video).

    Only bother taking action photos highlighting a good trot and the horses jumping abilities (if applicable), or whatever discipline it is the horse is trained in. Walk and canter photos don't tell a buyer much. Fewer excellent photos are better than lots of mediocre photos, so strive to get that one really great trot photo. Ideally, this will show all four feet off the ground and your bum down in the saddle (not up at the post).

    If your horse is super green and hasn't been started, you can still take action pictures in a round pen. Free longe your horse while the photographer takes photos. Get a good trot picture. If you can free jump your horse in an outdoor arena have a photographer on hand and get a photo of the horse at the crest of the jump with nice square knees (hopefully).
  3. Quality Video. Video is a better option if your only option is an indoor arena. Video obviously works well in an outdoor arena as well and is a nice addition to photos as most buyers these days expect a video of some sort.

    Keep the video short, remove all sound (talking etc.) and replace with an understated sound track ideally without vocals. Try to match the beat of the music to the pace of the horse. Again you don't want the buyer focusing on the music, but your horse. Video the horse at the walk, trot, canter in each direction, and over a couple jumps. If you have video of a nice jump round from a horse show that is a nice additional video to compliment your basic w/t/c/j video. If you horse doesn't jump under saddle but is a jumping prospect, take a video of the horse free jumping as well. When you've got all your video sorted, edit the video with something like windows movie maker, remove the sound, and keep it short. You can add music when you upload to YouTube if you don't have other means.
  4. Describe your horse. This sounds simple but it's not that easy for most people. Leave your feelings out of it. You want to describe your horse in a positive light, but keep it short and simple. State what skills your horse has, what its experience level is and rate its temperament. Buyers won't read a big drawn out description of everything your horse has ever done. Any additional info they may want they can ask over the phone or in person. Your goal with the description is to peak the buyer's interest enough that they will contact you. That is all.

    Note: Unless you are selling a foal, do not write a long winded explanation of the horse's breeding, that's what the pedigree is for. If the buyer wants to know more about a certain stallion they will look the horse up. If a buyer is interested in your horse because of the breeding, they already know what they want about the stallion or dam, which is likely what led them to your advertisement.
  5. YouTube. Upload your video(s) to YouTube.com. Make sure you provide some sort of contact info on the video description and key words that will help buyers find your horse's video. Good key words include your horse's registered name, age, lineage, and skills. For contact info, I like to link everything back to my sales website (see below).
  6. Website/Blog. Create a page just for selling your horse. I like to create a whole separate blog just as a sales site, simply because it is easier than buying a domain name and throwing together a website and sorting out hosting stuff. Blogger.com is great for this sort of thing. List your description of the horse, sales price, upload your photos and embed your YouTube video(s), etc. Link to your horse's pedigree on allbreedpedigree.com. If it's not already on there, add your horses pedigree (it's free and easy).
  7. Post on Sales Websites. There are a lot of free horse websites. Some are better than others. There are a few that are breed specific, and a few that cost a little bit to post on but are well worth the quality advertising. Sites I recommend are dreamhorse.com and warmbloods-for-sale.com. Clearly if you are selling a quarter horse you won't use warmbloods, but there may be other breed specific sites out there that will work well for you. Dreamhorse seems to have everyone covered, and is my go-to window shopping site. Post your photos and video, and again link to your sales website for more info.

    Posting on craigslist.com can work for lower price point horse sales, but it is rare to see higher price horses (5k +) posted. So, post on there if you like, just don't have high expectations if you are selling a higher end horse.
I hope this has helped you if you soon find yourself needing to market a horse. If anyone else has additional tips, I'd love to hear them.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

November 14, 2013

Preparing for the pre-purchase exam or vetting, Part 4

Ethics - Things in my opinion you should never do:

  1. Drug your horse
    Whether it is to calm the horse down (sedative) or to block pain (ie. Bute), doing this to fool a buyer is just unscrupulous. I personally couldn't live with myself if I tried to fool a buyer by drugging a horse.
  2. Ride/longe right before
    Again, some people do this because they have a horse with a physical issue and it might work the issue out before the vetting. This isn't as bad as drugging a horse, but is still a somewhat dodgy thing to do in my opinion.
So, that's what I learned. I'm curious if anyone has any additional suggestions of things to do/or not to do before a vetting to put your horses best hoof forward? Let hear it!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

November 12, 2013

Preparing for the pre-purchase exam or vetting, Part 3

How to prepare for the vetting:
  1. Vet the vet
    If the buyer wants to use a vet that you have never met/heard of, do your homework. Ask around if anyone has used them. If they have a bad reputation, do not agree for the buyer to use them. You have this right. A bad vet won't just miss something on the buyer's behalf, but could also imagine they see something is not there, drop some scary words, and send the buyer running for the hills, away from a perfectly sound animal. I also like to make sure that any equine vet that does a pre-purchase exam on a sport horse is an equestrian themselves. I guess I like my horse vets to have some street smarts, not just book smarts. Just a little personal preference.
  2. Plan your week prior
    Once the appointment is all set, look at your calendar and prepare how you will get your horse ready.
  3. Trot/flex the horse yourself
    For your own piece of mind it is good to have an idea if your horse is sound prior to the vetting. Most seasoned horseman and/or farriers can easily pick up on a lameness when being trotted out on concrete/asphalt. So, get a trusty observer and trot out your horse. If you have a few free moments you might even want to do a 60-second flex on each leg and trot out the horse to see if anything arthritic will show up. Always do a baseline trot before a flex. That way you know if a lameness is the cause of stress from the flex (ie. arthritis) or if it was there before (ie. sore hoof). If the horse bob's it's head up as it is trotting, the foot that hits the ground at the moment the head bobs up is the unsound leg. Remember "down on the sound" (ie. head goes up on the unsound foot).
  4. If horse is in work, keep it in work, but don't do anything strenuous or new
    By all means still enjoy riding your horse, but it is a good idea to consciously keep the rides relaxed and easy. Don't do anything new or very strenuous that would cause muscle soreness, which could present as a false lameness.
  5. Give the horse a couple days off before the exam
    Just to be certain that the horse does not have any sore muscles, from work or ill fitting tack, let them have a couple days off before the exam. If you have a high energy horse that needs to be worked in order to be safely handled during the exam, longeing them would probably be okay, so long as it's not a long strenuous longe. Most vets however prefer the horse not be longed the day of the exam.
  6. Day of the exam:
    Show up early enough to pull your horse, groom them, and calm your own nerves. If you are relaxed your horse is more likely to be and the exam will go more smoothly. After that, stand back, let the vet and their helper do their thing and hope for the best. If things do come up that are unexpected have the vet show you, explain it, and video tape it...especially if the buyer is not present for the vetting. A picture is worth a thousand words and seeing a minor lameness or positive flexion in person or on video is very different than how it might be conjured in one's imagination from a vet's technical description.
Rose being trotted on asphalt during her third vetting in August.
Where I mainly went wrong on the first go around is that I didn't research the vet that did the exam, and as I mentioned in my previous post I was trying to be nice and stupidly offered to haul her to the vet. That vet, as I later found out, has a horrendous reputation in town. Apparently he told one of my fellow boarders (after a full vet inspection) that her lame gelding was a hopeless case and on the bright side she could use him as a broodmare. Her GELDING! She promptly took her horse to another vet who gave her a recovery plan and that horse was sound within a month and has never been lame since. He still has yet to start his broodmare career.

My personal beef with this vet (because I know you want to juicy details)? He dropped a bunch of unfounded and scary words on the buyer like neurological, spinal, etc. There was absolutely nothing neurologically wrong with my horse. He even said that to me. So why the hell say those words to a buyer? Why plant a scary word like that in someone's head? Rose had a sore butt muscle, at most. In addition to that, I over heard him telling one of his vet tech's how much I was asking for her (I didn't tell them this info) and that it was a ridiculous price tag. This from a man that breeds cows and has never ridden a horse that I know of as he's a known non-equestrian. I doubt he knows the value difference between dude ranch trail horse and Totilas. End rant. Phew, I've been bottling that up for a LONG time.

So, yes, research the vet. Had I known anything about him previously, I never would have agreed to haul her out there in the first place. But now, I'll never haul a horse for a vet check again, period.

On the second go round, I had no idea Rose was lame on front. I knew she had been lame in March from the bad trim job, but she seemingly recovered form it. She was sound longeing and riding in the arena. However, once she was trotted on the asphalt the head bob showed up.

This is where flexing her and trotting her out myself ahead of time would have been a good thing to do. I would have known something was up. I probably would have put shoes on her right away and put the vetting off another week. However, as it turns out I decided to not sell her to buyer No. 2 regardless (they wanted me to follow up once she came sound again) due to the buyer's very apparent greenness. Rose was a good horse, but had too much personality and youthful sass for a beginner rider. I just wouldn't have been able to sleep at night had I sold her to that person. This is the same person that I had to explain negative flexions to.

Stay tuned for...

Part 4: Ethics-things in my opinion you should never do

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

November 7, 2013

Preparing for the pre-purchase exam or vetting, Part 2

When it comes to preparing for your horse to be vetted, you need to think ahead. Most vets won't be able to come out at a moment's notice, so you should have at least a few days to prepare for the exam. You want to prepare, that is if you want to sell your horse. I didn't realize this at first, and pretty much missed out on selling Rose to buyer No. 1 because of lack of preparation. The more preparation you have the better, so if you can get a week advanced notice do it!

Things to avoid before a vetting (3 days - 1 week), and why:
  1. Do not trim, shoe and/or change farriers
    God forbid a trim job ends up being too short, a toe or heel gets a new angle, or a nail hits a funny spot. The horse may come up lame, or present a false gate lameness. It's always best to make sure that you have at least one week between any farrier work and a vetting.
  2. Do not jump a horse that is not regularly jumped or increase workload
    If I do any new physical activities my muscles gets sore and will be sore for 2-3 days after. It is no different for a horse. Therefore you certainly do not want to do anything that will cause them to be sore, again possibly presenting as a lameness or gate lameness.
  3. Do not trailer anywhere
    It can be really tempting to want to go for a few last trail rides, a clinic, or one last schooling show before your horse possibly sells. It is also a really nice gesture as the seller to offer to take the horse to the preferred vet clinic for the vetting. However, the horse could easily tweak a pastern or worse in the trailer, and come up looking lame. Be smart, not nice, and have the vet do a farm call. Leaving the farm also increases the chance of anything else going wrong and causing potential injuries. Just don't do it!
  4. Do not change turnout/feed/routine, etc.
    Keep life predictable before the exam. This will reduce stress on the horse, and you, reducing the number of unknowns that could go wrong and will allow the horse to preform at it's best for the vetting.
Icy February schooling show.
As my story goes, I made several fatal errors the first go around. I took Rose to a horse show a week and a half before the vetting. A winter horse show. There was ice all over the place. At one point she fell really hard whilst freaking out about some baby calves that were jumping around in an adjoining pasture. Silly horse. She had seen cows so many times before and never cared about them at all. Long story short, she pulled a hamstring in the process. Granted, at the time I had no idea she was going to be vetted, but still it was stupid to take her to that show.

The second mistake I made was offering to trailer her more than an hour away to the chosen vet. So either her sore butt muscles were presenting as a very mild hind lameness or she tweaked something in the trailering process. I'll never really know, because I let the stupid vet and my husband (I wasn't trailering Rose on my own yet at this point) convince me to leave Rose and go back to town for a few hours because the vetting at this particular place would take many hours and Hubs wanted to get some work done.

After the first vetting, I learned a lot and was much wiser come June when Rose got vetted for the second time. However, that time around Rose was coming up a tad lame in the front. This was due to a really bad trim job she got by a "barefoot" quack trimmer in March. That person cut all her soles off, so short, that I eventually put shoes on Rose in July. Once the shoes were on she was sound again. So don't mess with your horse's feet if they are good. However, she was still barefoot for the vetting, so of course she wasn't completely sound that day.

Stay tuned for...

Part 3: How to prepare for the vetting

Part 4: Ethics -things in my opinion you should never do

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

November 5, 2013

Preparing for the pre-purchase exam or vetting, Part 1

In the past I have easily sold my horses simply by taking them to horse shows. I never had to worry much about the vetting process, because they were low price-point horses. They had known issues (arthritis in the hocks, etc.) that we knew would come up and that was disclosed ahead of time and a reflection of the sale price. At the low price-point X-rays never came into the picture, and/or the horse wouldn't be vetted at all. Yes, I am of the opinion that even a free horse should be vetted, but at the same time I understand why people see it as a waste of money. It happens, that's a reality, and as a seller I'm all for a buyer skipping that step. It certainly makes it easier on me, though I still think it is a bad idea from a buyer's standpoint.

Rose being worth quite a bit more than my previous horses, required vetting and X-ray's by all serious buyers. This is where I got a big education and it was also the part of the selling process that made me the most nervous. I was nervous because quite simply she'd never been vetted since I bought her and she hadn't ever had X-rays taken.

What is a vetting or pre-purchase exam? Quite simply it is a finding of the vet's opinion on the soundness and health of the horse on that day and it's suitability for the buyer's intended use. For example, a horse that is in its mid-teens and is intended for trail riding might have some arthritic issues but would still be completely appropriate at its soundness level for that purpose. If later on the new owner wanted to start jumping that horse they might have issues. So a good vet will inquire as to the intended use and workload of the horse and keep that in mind when discussing any soundness issues that come up on the exam with the buyer.

Sadly some buyers don't understand this because they are not experienced horsemen and think that all horses should vet "perfect" or be put down. These people drive me nuts, and I'm quite happy they get scared off so easily, because any time I have to explain to someone that a negative flexion is a good thing I've already made up my mind to not sell my horse to them. Yes this happened. That was potential buyer No. 2. Also if the horse is normally sound, but tweaked it's pastern that morning, it will be unsound for the vetting. This can lead the buyer and vet to wonder if the horse did just tweak something like the seller claims or if it is chronically lame and the seller is lying. Who's to say? And yes this happened too. With potential buyer No. 1.

However, that is all over now. So the following list is comprised of the pre-vetting topics and the subsequent posts which will discuss the specific issues that I had to deal with and caused me to learn my lesson the hard way. Luckily, after learning my lesson the third vetting was a charm and Rose was sold that day.

Part 2: Things to avoid before a vetting (3 days - 1 week), and why

Part 3: How to prepare for the vetting

Part 4: Ethics -things in my opinion you should never do

Stay tuned...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

November 4, 2013

Super Sweet Contest...hurry before it ends!

I don't usually enter these contests, because really I NEVER win anything. Not by luck anyway. Working my tail off and putting in a good day's work at something...that's how I've generally managed to eek out a win in my life, be it horses or my career. The irony? I am actually a pretty lucky person. I just never win contests. However, after reading SprinklerBandits' post about her new Dream Horse Studios patent leather jump boots, I decided to at least give it a shot. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a snow ball melting in hell with my name on it?

Now, now, I can hear you saying "but Renee, you are horseless, so why even bother?" Why? Because when it come to pretty shiny things made of leather I am a closet tack whore. Shhh...don't tell anyone. The only reason I ever get rid of any tack is generally to make room for more things, and I will at some point get another horse. So there. That's my justification.

If you haven't heard about the contest go to SprinklerBandits' post here: http://iamthesprinklerbandit.blogspot.com/2013/10/dream-horse-studios-contest-plus-review.html and enter yourself before Midnight tonight. Or actually, please don't. That might help my unlikely statistics of winning. So yeah, I guess forget all about this post. Definitely don't read about SprinklerBandits awesome new jump boots. Just don't.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

November 3, 2013

Hugo tests his ground

Disclaimer: If you are into Natural Horsemanship (NH) please don't take my ranting personally. I do believe in a lot of NH ideas and training techniques. However there are a lot of NH "people", who I refer to as back yard NH, who don't know a horse's dock from its pole. They read books and watch videos and don't have a clue how to train a horse or why or how to do whatever "training" technique it is they are doing. They subsequently really mess up otherwise perfectly good horses (granted with the best of intentions) and then end up paying a trainer to fix their mess. I have met a lot of these people over the years. I have no issue with good NH trainers and their clients who do it right and well and turn out really nicely trained happy horses. That's my perspective, and I hope this helps you all understand where my apparent dislike and ranting about NH's comes from. 

I went out to longe Hugo again this past Wednesday. Unfortunately, it had been two weeks since our first longe lesson. Why you might ask? Well, in the wonderful world of stay at home mommy-ness, JR and Hubs got a stomach virus and subsequently puked all over my house for a week, which was immediately followed by a 10-day "vacation" to visit friends and family in Portland and Seattle. Hubs of course mentioned that it was great that I didn't get sick. Ha. I felt that virus trying it's best to get at me, but I willed it away. After all, someone has to take care of JR and with Hubs down for the count that left little ole me. I couldn't get sick, bottom line. Anyway, I digress.

Hugo started out surprisingly good. Walking and trotting around on the longe, seemingly picking up right where we left off. Then, he got tired and decided to test me. I think. I asked for a walk transition, and he did the damn NH halt spin and face me thing. I asked him to walk on. He backed. I got my longe whip toward his haunches applying pressure to move forward. He kept spinning away from me, in a backward motion, doing his damndest to face me like he's been "taught". I HATE when horses do this. This poor horse has been mentally screwed really badly by some back yard "horse whisperer" to the point where he doesn't know how to go forward. I could physically see him shaking while he halted facing me worried about what I might do. What the hell did someone do to him? I stopped myself from going off on a mental deep end rant about back yard NH people and focused on how to fix this problem.

I had to get him going forward, but I also need him to trust that I was not going to do something unpleasant to him. He was refusing to even walk while being led, so we started there. Anytime he halted when not asked I would make him move his feet. Sideways, backward, I didn't care. He had to move when I asked. Quickly he figured that out and started walking on the lead on a big circle. We worked on this a while. Then I gave the longe another try and he started going around at the walk and trot again. Just when I was about to quit, asked for the walk and he halted and spun to look at me again. Damn! He immediately started doing the whole halt and back away from me in circles routine again. Every time I moved the whip toward his hind end he would spin away from it and face me. As such, I couldn't get the longewhip behind him and he refused to go forward again. So, we did some more leading at the walk. He was better this time and it was getting dark. I ended working on walk transitions while leading in hopes that it was enough of a success on my terms that next time he'll be more cooperative on the longe. We shall see.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

October 18, 2013

Reality Check

Thanks everyone for your comments about Holliday. I was really touched and encouraged by all your heartfelt enthusiasm. I was actually moving forward with the purchase, as the owner agreed to a two week trial, delivery, and a killer deal of a price. Then this morning at 6:30am while I was sitting on the living room area rug in front of the fireplace with JR and Bourke, I had a moment of clarity. This is all I have time for. Raising a toddler and grooming a dog. My his coat is looking really good these days and his nails that had long been neglected are in great shape again.

Then, as I walked to the coffee pot to make my morning cup of joe, I checked my blog and noticed a new comment. Ashley quite eloquently stated everything that my super-ego was trying to get through my consciousness and past my lala-land horse crazy id that had been running wild the past few days. My id hates when that happens. Sorry for the psycho babble, my dad is a shrink so it just kind of spews from time to time. If you haven't has psych 101 here is a link that explains the id, super-ego, and ego. When you go to college, take psych 101 it is fascinating stuff and a lot of it actually applies to horse training.

Holliday really is one of those awesome opportunities that don't come along often (very much like Rose was). I know I will be thinking about and regretting passing him up for some time. However, anyway I look at it the timing is bad. Bad timing all around. If any of you are in the market for a young prospect, I would really encourage you to contact his owner. She's really great and is in need of selling quite a few of her prospects, so she's really willing to work with the buyers. http://www.warmblood-sales.com/HorseDetail.asp?HorseID=33176&UserID=3399

At least I have Hugo to play with, and once the evenings get too dark too early for me to ride him I'm hoping that I might convince Hubs to take a long lunch on Wednesdays so that I can still at least go play with him on the longeline, if not ride. We'll see.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

October 16, 2013

Feedback/thoughts please!

First let me preface that I am NOT horse shopping at the moment. We ARE house/land shopping. Horse shopping should begin AFTER the land is purchased, ideally. Unfortunately though, when a good opportunity comes along I find it hard to let it pass buy. So...

I first learned about this guy last year when I had first put Rose up for sale. I thought he had sold, but recently found out he is still available. Right now what I need are lots of reason to not buy him! Hubs would be eternally grateful to you all for talking me out of this. But really, I would love to hear your thoughts on this guy in terms of conformation, etc.

Holliday -  August, 2 year old
Holliday - Early spring 2 year old

Holliday - August, 2 year old

He is a two year old Dutch warmblood by of the KWPN stallion Richard and out of an Irish Sporthorse Mare named Gotcha. The mare has Hanoverian lines that go back to Gotthard (the rock star jumping stallion that Gatsby comes from). Gotcha has no performance record due to injury, but she does have a killer free jump (see below). Richard, if you are unfamiliar, is an awesome jumper in his own right.

Richard
Richard
Gotcha
Gotcha
Holliday has a great trot and from the small amount of video I've seen looks like he will make a good lower level dressage horse and clearly he has the breeding to jump. My goals are to find a horse that I can do all around stuff with, much like Rose. Some dressage, adult ammy hunters (3' max likely...unless I suddenly get some kahunas again), field hunting, trail riding, etc. He's supposed to have a good mind, is calm, easy to handle, and already has all his basics down. So, what do you all think? I know his photos aren't the best for conformation critique but it's all they had on hand at the moment and he's a 4 hour drive from here. Certainly if I move forward I'll ask for a few more pictures, but for now TALK ME OUT IF IT!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

October 14, 2013

Revisiting Rope Halters...

Back in January 2012 I posted about Stud Chains vs. Rope Halters. I still stand by my feelings regarding the two. However, once Rose got going in full work back in January 2013 she also got a large dose of groundwork. I revisited using a rope halter at this time and I did become quite fond of it as a training tool when working on ground work. You may have noticed a lot of photos of her in a rope halter this past year. A lot of Rose's groundwork happened non-stop during while being handled. This included everything from hand grazing, tying (with blocker tie rings for safety), to actual in hand work. The rope halter was not used during longeing (bridle or longeing cavesson only) and if anyone else except for my trainer was riding her in my absence. I wanted them to cross tie her in her leather halter only.

In her rope halter, being a good girl for her first shoeing.
I did however cross tie her in the rope halter myself and under my constant supervision only. This was due to the fact that some of our groundwork consisted of getting her to stand quiet in the cross ties. I would need to frequently take her out of the cross ties, do some groundwork, put her back and repeat. Clearly switching halters was not an option, and stud chains in cross ties is an even worse idea than a rope halter. No harm ever came from her being cross tied in the rope halter, and under constant supervision with quick release cross ties, I felt that it was being done as safe as possible. Her groundwork got so good as a result that she behaved very well in flat halters.

The result of all this groundwork was astounding, and I now have a better understanding and somewhat affection for using rope halters as a training tool. I still don't like using them as a day in day out halter, especially on a mature and trained horse. I just don't think they should be used if there is no need for them. However, on a big opinionated youngster, they are definitely a very helpful tool.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

October 11, 2013

Hugo learns to longe

One of the things EB mentioned when I was meeting Hugo the first time was how she had to free longe him because he doesn't know how to longe and bolted on her. Since the outdoor arena at EB's barn is not lit, and daylight is quickly waning in the evenings, I have pretty much run out of time to free longe Hugo and ride. So I decided to forgo riding, and start teaching the boy how to longe property. Happily when I arrived at the barn no one else was riding so I could put my plan into action.

My assumption with all green horses is that they've never seen or done anything. This way they get introduced to things nice and slowly. If it's new they will have a positive relationship with said object/task, if it's not new and they have a previous fear of it then they will make it known and we will work on desensitization and correcting the fear, and if it is old news then we can just reinforce the proper training and move onto the next task.

  1. First I "free longed" him. This consisted of me chasing him from grass patch to grass patch around the very large arena. He exhibited very little interest in running around, so I threw in the towel on that rather quickly. At some point I lost my desire and steam to run around an arena chasing a horse. I figure if they don't run around on their own accord then they don't have that much energy to burn off.
  2. Second, I did a little bit of ground work to try and get his attention on me, rather than the grass patches under the fence line. 
  3. Third, I put on my helmet and gloves and I introduced him to the longing cavesson. He clearly hadn't had one on before and only showed a mild concern (ear twitch and hairy eyeball) about the metal loops rattling on his nose. Once it was properly fitted I lead him around by it for a few minutes. He didn't know really what to think of  the longeline being attached above his nose and defaulted to halting a few times. After a few minutes I got him to walk better.
  4. Then it was time to longe. Because I had no idea how he'd react, and I assume his only "longeing" has consisted of being chased around at the end of a 10' lead rope in a rope halter and being kissed or clucked at, I decided to leave the longe whip out of the equation until next time and use what he was likely familiar with to apply pressure. If he didn't respond then I would use the longe whip. So I swung the end of my longeline in a circular motion like the NH people do (assuming this is his prior experience with longeing). My only goal for this was to get him to walk/trot on a good sized circle and begin to listen for and recognize my vocal walk trot commands. 

To my surprise Hugo is a very good and willing student. He clearly had no idea what I was asking him to do initially. I had to lead him in a circle and associate the words walk and trot of course. I even had to kiss/cluck at first, gah. But we got passed that and he was going off my verbal commands rather quickly. He also initially did the annoying NH thing where at the halt he would spin and face me. I hate this when longing. People don't get how dangerous it is for the person on the ground if the horse decides to charge you. Unlikely to happen, yes, but still very possible. I do think it is a good ground work exercise for babies to get them to pay attention to you, I just don't like it having an association with longeing. He figured out to stop spinning quickly though, as I would send him right back off to the walk anytime he spun. We longed in both directions, quitting once he gave me good upward and downward transitions and halted perpendicular to the line. He was also licking and chewing like mad by the time we stopped. I was so pleased with him.

As for the bolting, only once early on did he pause at the trot and think about bolting. The second I applied a tiny bit of pressure on the cavesson he abandoned that idea and continued on at the trot. So, no bolting = win! Granted we did not canter yet, and in my experience that is when more of the bolting happens with the youngsters. My plan is to get him going well at the walk and trot, so he understands that he is to just keep going in circles, and then I will introducing cantering. I don't want to jinx myself, but I don't think it will be much of an issue. Once everything becomes a non-issue then I will try longeing him in tack.

It occurred to me on my drive home that my training and reaction skills have become extremely well honed. Rose did that for me. Early on I think it was a matter of survival, but then became a wonderful asset to my training abilities. I had to think one step a head of her, anticipate all possible outcomes, and react before she had time to act. Certainly I can always learn more in regards to training, but if I had the skills that I have now back when I first got Rose many things would have been much easier. It makes me excited for my next youngster. I'm glad I have Hugo to help EB with in the mean time so that I don't get rusty on the green horse front.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

October 6, 2013

Patience is a virtue

So what's next? The few people in my real life who cared knew that I owned a horse have asked me if and when I'm getting another. I haven't had a really good answer for anyone, or myself really, beyond "yes, at some point". It's just not a simple question to answer. There are a lot of moving pieces to that question. Here is a little bullet list summing them all up:
  • Hubs would be completely happy if he never saw another horse again (tough luck buddy). However, Hubs recognizes that his life is happier when I'm in a happy horse mood, so he recognizes the need for them in my our life. I have a personal theory that if I can get him his own horse that is small and not a crazy warmblood baby old ranch horse that he trusted and could take hunting he would enjoy and appreciate horses a bit more. If not, well then at least JR would have a horse if he wanted to ride.
  • Getting a riding age horse right now would be pointless. I don't have time to ride regularly, so I would be only creating the same problem that I sold Rose to fix. This will not change for at least another year and a half, until JR starts part time pre-school.
  • Getting a baby/youngster right now would be fine as they require much less time. 15 minute ground work and handling 3+ days a week is a lot less demanding than 3 hours at the barn 4+ days a week. However, I would still have to board said baby/youngster. Pasture board with no indoor arena is doable during this age/stage but it still isn't all that cheep, and although my last barn was a great place I stress a lot about the care of my horses and I am tired of putting up with things I don't agree with in terms of horse care. So searching for a different boarding situation, while it may be less expensive, is not at all appealing. I don't really care to board anywhere but at my last barn. This brings me to bullet #4.
  • Buy land. This is the current direction we are going and the main reason I've agreed to be horseless for a while. Once we trade in our lovely, yet pointless, 5 bedroom home on a golf course for 5+ acres we will have plenty of room for an outdoor arena, a baby/youngster, and a steady Eddie project/babysitter/husband/kid horse. This will also make doing regular ground work and riding easier now that JR is in the picture. Honestly if we lived on land to begin with I never would have sold Rose. Maybe bred her until I had time to ride again, but I wouldn't have had to justify the cost of upkeep on a show horse that I wasn't riding.
The last bullet point is the current plan. Once that happens then the baby/youngster shopping will begin. The hard part is waiting. I know it takes time to sell and buy property. It's not a fun process by any means, and moving is never fun...well with the possible exception of moving one's horses to one's own property. That I imagine would be good fun.

What makes it really hard though is that I'm regularly coming across in-utero foal options that I would love to jump on as well as OTTB project options that would be a lot of fun. Those are the two options I am considering for my next project(s). I really know nothing about breeding other than genetics/pedigree/and registration, so I'm not inclined to jump into the unknown world of breeding my own horse. Hense the in-utero consideration.

I would love to have another Gatsby baby for my forever horse. His babies have such good minds and wonderful talent and are such good all purpose show horses. While the baby is growing up I think it would be fun to flip a couple OTTB's. As for the husband/kid/babysitter horse there are so many dead broke ranch/hunting horses around here that I think the right one will be easy to come by....as a few have already. Now I just need land to put the ponies on. They say that patience is a virtue...one I'm working on.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

October 3, 2013

Hello there winter

It's official. Our two week period of "fall" weather has abruptly ended. It is all white and snowy outside. I'm feeling very happy with myself that I rode Hugo last night. The last night of fall as it turns out. Winter is good though. It means no rain and no mud. I'll take it. However, I don't have as much to celebrate about the season change without having a horse to incessantly worry about and fawn over anymore. I keep catching myself looking at the weather and habitually worry about Rose and blankets until I remember that she isn't here anymore. It's weird.

Due to the winter weather and EB's outdoor non-lit arena my riding time on Hugo will probably come to an end sometime this month, and certainly on November 3rd when daylight savings time ends. I wish they would just keep daylight savings time all year and stop this silly switch. Not only is it annoying for anyone who holds down a job (be it a legitimate paying one or a stay at home mom, ahem) that would like to ride after work, but now that I have a baby I find myself stressing non-stop about the upcoming time change and how it will effect JR's schedule and send his sleep pattern into a downward spiral of torture and torment once again. Gah.

So now what will I do for the winter withoug Hugo to ride? Hopefully it will be a good snow year and I can get lots of skiing in. I've said that for the last two years but there has been a noticeable lack of snow. I can always keep jogging I guess....

Or maybe, just maybe, the right youngster at the right time will come along sometime soon...

Happy trails and swooshing tails! 
•Renee•

September 30, 2013

Hugo Pics

As I mentioned earlier Hugo is a supposed five year old OTTB. He is tattooed but it is really faded, so looking it up hasn't happened yet. EB adopted him from a horse rescue who got him from the loose horse sale at a local auction house. He was very malnourished, but other wise a sweet heart. It's unknown why his previous owners who got him from the track dumped him at auction, but apparently all they used him for was trail riding. Reading between the lines my best guess is that he was a hard keeper and if all they did was walk on trail rides and he bolted and dumped/scared them then those two things would probably be enough for them to dump him. It would be great to get a read on that tattoo to try and fill in more info on his history. So that's all we know about him. He's a great find though and has a lot of potential, so I am really excited for EB and to see where they go.

Conformation photo. Built to jump not just to run!

On the go.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

September 28, 2013

Hugo learns to free jump

When I first met Hugo last weekend, EB casually mentioned that she wanted to free jump him to see if he can jump and how well. A plan was quickly hatched to free jump him this afternoon. With the help of EB's boyfriend E, we quickly got a shoot set up and went about introducing it to Hugo. It seems to me like he's never seen one before, which is always a good sign with a young horse that has a mysterious back ground. It tells me that it's unlikely he's ever jumped, or if he has it hasn't been anything big or strenuous. After watching him go through and figure out how the gymnastic line works I feel fairly certain that he's never jumped anything.

Hugo figuring it out. 2'3" vertical. Nice knees and well planted hind end!

I like to "teach" horses to free jump, rather than just chase them through the shoot. Sure, if you are only ever going to put them through the shoot once, video, and take pictures and never do it again, then it does save time to just force them through it. However, these horses inevitably have a rotten experience, thus making it harder the second time. It's pretty evident when they start running out, tearing down the shoot, and all around don't learn a dang thing except to avoid the shoot.

So how do I "teach" them to do the shoot and "enjoy it"? The jump set up is as follows: ground pole, 9' distance to 2' exe, 18' distance to 2' vertical, 21' distance to 2'3" vertical (eventually this would become an oxer and made larger as the horse becomes better at jumping). Our assumption was that Hugo had never been through a jump shoot, so we set it up, put all the jumps down leaving ground poles and walked him through it. After he came out we gave him a treat. We repeated this a couple time until he got the idea that going through meant treat. This also provides the bonus that the horse doesn't gallop around the arena afterward, but stops and seeks out the treat person. Then slowly, one trip through at a time we put up the jumps to small ex's, and then graduated the final two jumps to small verticals until the final jump was a whole 2'3".

Hugo did great and caught on. The first few trips were funny to watch since he didn't really know what to do with his legs, but he figured it out quickly and by the end had it down and finished on a really good note. EB was very happy and we all had quite a bit of fun, including Hugo. As for E, he is quite the curious fellow and had a fun time learning all about free jumping and was very helpful. There is certainly good horse hubby potential in that one. Wink wink EB.
Family pic. EB, Hugo, and E
EB will be out of town for the month of October, so I am going to try and ride the boy twice a week if I can swing it. We shall see.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

September 27, 2013

Return of the pick up rider

It's been four years since my last regular gig as a pick up rider. Four years since I regularly rode a different horse than Rose. It had also been one month since I last rode Rose. One LONG month of "jogging". Something needed to change, and something did.

A while back I mentioned that EB who used to hack Rose for me a couple days a week bought a rescue horse, and sadly I lost my spare help. However, EB needs a hand with her boy, so I will be riding him once a week for her. I wish I could ride more, but really that is all I have time for right now.

So, this past Wednesday I hurried to EB's barn in a race to beat the fall thunderheads that were threatening to open up and pour down a deluge of rain. I found a rather chill Hugo in his pen, having just finished dinner. Hugo is a 16.2h five year old bay OTTB. His body condition was really poor when she first got him, but he's put on a good 100lbs, and has probably another 100lbs to go and definitely needs muscle and a top-line. However he is a very chill OTTB and five year old in general. He happily and quietly stands tied for long periods of time, and most days does not need a longe before being ridden.  Really, all he needs are riding miles and a formal non-track education.

That means back to green baby 101. After getting a feel for him we worked on leg yielding, lots of circles/serpentines/change of directions and walk-trot transitions. He is super willing after he's tested you out and realizes that yes, the monkey on his back means business. He's also smart and figures out what is being asked of him quickly and tries really hard to do the right thing.

We had a great ride and finished up right before the downpour started. I have a feeling that I'm going to have a fun time hacking Hugo and seeing him develop. I'm so happy for EB as I think she's found a really sweet boy with a lot of potential. As for me, I came home with a huge smile on my face and a total post horse fix high. Just what the doctor ordered.

Happy trails and swooshing tails! 
•Renee•

September 20, 2013

The Grieving Process of Selling a Horse

When Rose first left I didn't really feel any one way about it. The only sensation I noticed was that of stress relief and a sudden awareness of a lot more time in my day. This was a bit odd, as it had gotten to the point that I only went to the barn twice a week. Clearly, although I wasn't at the barn that often, I had pleantly of horse "stuff" taking up time in my mind, of course my blog, etc. This was all (except the blog) suddenly gone. I had A LOT more time on my hands.

This started out great. I began jogging four times a week. The house got cleaned, the dog got A LOT of attention. I finally had time to venture forth into the world of water bath canning for the first time ever. This was spurred on by my sudden free time that allowed me to attend the final few local farmers markets of the season. They are of course held on Saturday mornings, when I would normally be at the barn. I made pickles, lemon confit, and for once I beat the deer to my rose bushes and made rose hip jelly (this is quite a feat let me tell you). It was a splendid and productive two week period.

Then, I got a really unpleasant cold.

Now I am better, but unfortunately sitting around on one's duff for a week leaves a lot of thinking time. All my energy for pursuing fun new adventures went out the window immediately. Any and all strength I could must up was expended to ensure the small human is fed, changed, loved, and played with. So I got to think, a lot.

I have entered the, I miss my horse stage. I'm not sad, it was still the best decision for everyone for her to move onto a new home at this time in my mommy hood life. And a great new home at that. But I miss her. There is definitely a horse void in my life. Hopefully jogging will fill it? Yeah right.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

September 17, 2013

Rambo Fly Protector Sheet...update.

Last winter I bought a Rambo Fly Protector sheet for Rose. It was a steal of a deal and I hoped with fingers crossed that it would hold up to the hype and solve the issues I've had with other fly sheets. I did a little first impression review at the beginning of the summer here: http://adventuresincoltstarting.blogspot.com/2013/07/product-reveiw-rambo-fly-protector-sheet.html

Our last day together.
Sadly, I completely forgot to take a full body photo of her wearing it before she left. But you can see it in the above photo. Regardless, I couldn't have been happier with it's performance and how well it held up. Thus it shall remain among my prized possessions as I do plan on having another large horse at some point in the not too far distant future.

Here were the issues I've had in the past that this sheet fixed:

  1. Where I board they don't take fly sheets off, just winter blankets. So it needed to hold up to 24/7 wear.
  2. It needed to not rub the hair off on the shoulder.
  3. It needed to protect the hair at the top of the tail from being rubbed due to annoying late summer mystery flies.
  4. It needed to actually do it's job so that she wouldn't loose half her tail again swatting at flies.
  5. It needed to not rip or tear easily.
  6. It needed to feel comfortable (oh so silky to the touch).
  7. It needed to make a mostly black horse feel not so dark in the hot summer heat or cause her to sweat.

These sheets are a pretty penny, but there is not one tear that needs to be mended on this sheet after three solid months of 24/7 wear by Miss Thing. In fact, one quick wash and it looks almost new again! Granted she had finally passed her blanket destruction days of her youth, but she could on occasion still be rough on things if she gets bored puts her mind to it. However, I have to say that I am solidly a Rambo blanket convert now. Let the bargain hunting continue...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

September 11, 2013

Tack For Sale

I decided that my tack sale should have it's own post, so here it is. I'll keep it updated as things sell.

Saddle For Sale:
Beautiful and comfortable 17.5" wide (5.5") Cardanel Capri close contact jumping saddle for sale. These are handmade in England and retail new for $2,500. The saddle features a spring tree, wide parallel gullet, wool flocking, and a 13" flap measured from the stirrup keepers down to the bottom of the flap. Serial number 402050302. The color is Australian Nut and had not been darkened with oil, although the saddle has been conditioned. This is a very comfortable and lovely saddle. Saddle only; saddle pad, stirrups, leathers, and girth NOT included. More info on Cardanel saddles here: http://www.cardanelsaddles.co.uk/s-capri-close-contact.htm. Asking $1200 (free shipping).












Blankets/Sheets:
  • (New) Rambo Wug Turnout 200g (Mid weight) in Navy/Silver, 81" - $250
  • Schneiders Stable Blanket, Navy, 78" - $50
  • Schneiders Dura-Mesh Original Fly Sheet: Size 80". Has one missing leg strap D ring - $25
  • White Cotton Sheet, 74" - $15







Pads:
Dover shaped saddle pad - $5
Roma Fleece Half Pad - $10 SOLD
1-Contoured Baby Pads with Black Piping - $5 ea
2-Square White Baby Pads - $5ea



Bits ($10 ea):
5" Loose Ring Snaffle
5" Egg Butt Snaffle SOLD
5" Copper Egg Butt Snaffle SOLD
5" Full Cheek Snaffle
5" Hollow Egg But Snaffle

Girths:
(New) M. Toulouse Shaped Girth w/Sheepskin: 48" - $95.
Paris Tack Fleece Lined Overlay Girth: 46" - $40.
Ovation™ Airform Dressage Girth: 26". Some loose stitching at billet keepers - $15.


Misc:
Leather and Cotton Web Halter, Hunter Green: Horse Size. Some damage on end of crown piece - $20
(New) Likit Tongue Twister and 3 Likit Re-fills - $45
(New) Likit Paddock - $15
Wrangler Fly Mask: Horse Size: $5
Black Leather Wrapped Plastic Roller Ball Spurs w/leather straps: $25
Chrome Roller Ball Spurs w/leather straps: $25







Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

September 6, 2013

Spring Cleaning & Tack For Sale

I love getting things organized and getting rid of things I do not use and likely will not have a use for again. Once Rose left, and all my barn things came home, it was time to clean out the trailer and organize all of my tack and equipment. First I like to assess everything at once. This requires locating everything and pulling it all out where I can meticulously go through it. To be honest, I am overly anal about being organized, so a lot of my things were already organized, but just needed to be gone through for the gleaning and re-organizing process.

The loot (not pictured is a closet in my home office that stores my saddles and girth):
Lots of stuff in and on the trunks to the left, piles of blankets to wash/repair and trash cans for feed filled with buckets, grain scoops and feed pans.

Messy tack room that hasn't been cleaned for (sigh) two years.

A tower of tack, horse vacuum, and equipment in tubs hiding in a corner of the garage and also exploding into the local vicinity.

 The final results:
Everything except the dirty blankets neatly stored and tubs labeled with detail lists of contents. The tubs will go up high on storage shelves and only contain things that I need once I have another horse. Sadly, I have a feeling that they will be collecting dust for a while. The trunks hold my riding gear, which I still plan on accessing regularly. 

Swept, dusted, and vacuumed tack room.

Dusted and swept out trailer (forgot the before pic, sorry. Basically it just had lots of hay dust and fine manure remnants).

My 8 (turning 9) year old English shadow Shepherd Bourke. He's kind of taken a back burner in the last four years, but is now being once again tortured spoiled with regular baths and constant grooming. I imagine he'll be a bit more a feature in my blog in the foreseeable future. So everyone, meet Bourke!

That's it. Spring cleaning galore. I've also ended up with a nice list of things for sale, which are featured on my next post here: http://adventuresincoltstarting.blogspot.com/2013/09/tack-for-sale.html

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
•Renee•

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