Friday, July 26, 2013

Annual Post: When is it too hot to ride?

With the heat & high humidity wave we are having in Alabama, I thought this was a good time to remind everyone to be careful with their horses. As all of us Southerners know, its not just the heat, its the humidity! When the humidity is over 75%, a horse's ability to cool itself is greatly reduced, no matter what the temperature. When making the decision if its to hot to ride, you have to consider the temperature, humidity & wind. To figure out if its safe to ride use this simple formula...

The Formula:
air temperature + relative humidity - wind speed = answer

Less than 130: All go-horses can function to cool themselves assuming adequate hydration.
130 - 170: Caution-a horse’s cooling mechanisms can only partially function as intended. Some cooling management procedures will need to be performed.
180 or above: Stop-a horse’s cooling systems cannot and will not function adequately. All cooling procedures will need to be utilized to keep the horse out of serious trouble.

For example
Temperature (F) + relative humidity (%) - wind speed
This morning (7/11/11) at 10:00 am in Oneonta, AL:
Temperature (F) 84 (so not that hot)
Relative Humidity (%) 80 (but VERY humid!)
Wind Speed 1 (MPH) (and no wind)
Answer = 163- use caution! As someone who has had heat exhaustion more than once, if I decided to ride, I would opt to go on a leisurely trail ride & not work my horse in these conditions, even though my ArabX handles the heat better than I do :)

Of course, you should consider both your & your horses level of conditioning, level of work & heat tolerance when making these decisions. And make sure you are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion in both horses & people!

If your horse does get overheated, remember that research at the Atlanta Olympics showed that the best way to cool a horse down quickly is to use cold water (ice water) with the sponge & scrape method. Do not leave the water on the horse since it heats up quickly & can actually slow down the cooling process- scrape the water off and apply more- repeat till the horse is cooled off.

For more information check out - this one covers the signs of heat illness in humans and equines, well worth a quick read

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Salespeople *sigh*

I think it can be rather telling what people think of you when they try to sell you something. For example, one tack shop owner loaned me a $2200 saddle package for my saddle fitting today and didn't blink an eye. She didn't indicate she had any doubts as to whether I could spring for it or not, and trusted me to take care of it. Another tack shop owner whose shop I visited afterward looked me up and down and loaned me a $200 saddle.  She also kept trying to tell me I don't know what size saddle I should really be in, and still tried to tell me I should be in a smaller saddle when the 16.5" Passier she had me sit in was pressing so hard up against my derriere that it made my tush look like it had rolls. Somebody doesn't know how to properly fit a client to a saddle... At any rate, I was a bit miffed over the second experience. Just proves that my favorite tack shop in town is my favorite tack shop for a very good reason. Many thanks to the people who work there who are always so friendly and helpful :)

New Ponies!

Swiss Miss has joined my motley crew! Swiss Miss is a 2009 rose gray Thoroughbred/pony cross who belongs to my friend Danielle of Mardi Gras Time Stables in Pensacola, FL. She is up with me for training for the next year or so, unless she becomes a longer term resident ;)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Husband

The husband makes me laugh. Some days, the husband makes me want to tear my hair out (and his eyes, too), but most days he just makes me laugh :) I think every wife can understand these sentiments.

Yesterday, it was a two part day. We won't go into the details, but we'll suffice it to say that he survived the errors of his ways and made it to the next part, the fun part. On the way to dinner, he starts telling me how he thinks it would be a really great thing if we had a hundred or so acres of land and made a real working farm out of our place. He said he thought he would finally get on board with me having as many animals as I wanted. He started going on about goats, dairy cows and beef cattle, sheep, poultry and water fowl, and making our own hay. A big barn with an indoor arena, and farm hands. I couldn't help but laugh a little, but I love how my city-bred husband is so adaptable to my farm ideas. I think in order to make something like that work,  we'd have to start with either something already established or just the land and a cabin, and cultivate from there. He's cool with my gardening ideas, and supports my desire for a large tractor with a front loader.

Now if I can just talk him into however many dogs, cats, and horses I want, we'll be good...

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Daily Rant - You Can't Even Call These People Equestrians

Erika Folse: "The lack of sense some people display amazes me sometimes. For example, earlier today, a woman on a public horse forum on Facebook commented on a sale ad for a broodmare. The ad very specifically states that the mare has been a broodmare and has not been ridden in a number of years, and that if you wish to ride her then an experienced horse professional should possibly retrain her first. The interested party asked the following, "Beginner safe if warmed up first?" I literally facepalmed over it. Do people just leave their brains in a box for safekeeping before they start trolling the internet? What part of BROODMARE and HASN'T BEEN RIDDEN FOR YEARS makes you think that a beginner could ride this horse after the current owner specifically states needs an experienced rider.

Your daily rant over local idiots. I feel better now, thanks. Don't be brain dead and ride."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Miss Sassy Pants Pippa

My Pippa is getting so BIG! I need to measure her again. Little Miss Sassypants is getting really big bodied and has really shot up since I first got her. A year ago, she was only around 13.1hh when I got her in early August. And now only 11 months later, she's around 15hh. I need to measure her to be certain, but she was 14.3 and change a couple of months ago. She's really starting to calm down, too, and has really become even more lovey dovey as the months have gone by. I'm itching to start her, but we're going to keep waiting till next spring as she only just turned 2 a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half: World's Best Relationship Tips

Hyperbole and a Half: World's Best Relationship Tips:

'via Blog this'

Oh. Dear. God.

FUNNIEST thing I've read all day! From a blog I checked out. This can reply to human relationships and new relationships with a colt in training, too ;)

"If you're in a relationship, sometimes you probably feel like you're fighting a caged death-match with an invisible spider monkey. And the monkey is rabid. And you don't have any legs. And then a buffalo jumps in there and starts head-butting everything and your face catches on fire and there is a general atmosphere of chaos."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Baby Horse Blues | The Chronicle of the Horse

I loved this article!

The Baby Horse Blues | The Chronicle of the Horse

The Baby Horse Blues

Careful preparation helps Paige Cade turn nervous young off-the-track Thoroughbreds like Stonecrest into confident performers. Photo by RideOn Sports Photography

Not showing at the Upperville Horse Show (Va.) this year was a victory. It meant one thing; that I’d sold the horses that were ready to compete at 1.0-meter and above. And that’s the point of this exercise, right? But as I stood on the sidelines, I couldn’t help but be bummed that I wasn’t galloping around the grassy ring. Success can sometimes mean sitting out some shows.
Selling horses is both exciting and stressful, but once everything’s said and done there’s a bit of a slump that accompanies starting up the next batch of greenies. I jokingly call it the “Baby Horse Blues.” Because, yes, the newbies could be the next Donner or Touch Of Class, but in the beginning, riding them around at a show feels a lot like rowing a leaky boat across the Atlantic. I find that I have to recalibrate my riding whenever I start a new horse. I have to remind myself to ride this horse on this day and not get hung up comparing new horses to sold horses. And that’s not easy.
An early phase of the baby horse blues is what I call “the abandonment of ego.” It happens, whether you want it to or not. You’d gotten pretty comfortable; riding around on something reasonably broke in public. You’d even been able to stand still at the in-gate to learn a course. You hadn’t unintentionally cleared a warm-up area in at least a month. And then the natural thing happens, the right customer meets this well-tamed creature that you’d become so fond of and buys him. And you, the picture of sophistication (his mane had even started to lay down on the right side of his neck!) are jolted unceremoniously back into the unplanned dressage movement, romping ridiculousness of baby horse blues. Show reports change from, “great trips, bringing home primary colored ribbons!” to “kept all four feet on the ground.” Humility is an undervalued trait in riding. If you ever feel you’re lacking it, just take a baby thoroughbred to his first public outing.
And this is not for lack of preparation. Don’t think that I just go out and throw the kids in the deep end of the pool without a few rudimentary swimming lessons. Those early lessons, frequent field trips and daily training help prepare the young horses for the busy show environment. But nothing compares to the warm-up area at Culpeper during the Level 0s and 1s. Because, the heck with the deep end of the pool, you’re chucking the kids out in the open ocean with 30 or so others just learning to swim themselves.
So how do they go from kangaroo-hopping, trembling time bombs to child-safe mounts? Simple, practice. Lots and lots of practice. Make mayhem their new normal. The next phase of the baby horse blues is “going and doing.” The only way to teach them to go and do is to go and do. And yes, leave your ego behind. People underestimate just how much time and sweat equity goes into civilizing these horses. It’s not about having the nicest, fanciest facility or the biggest show budget; it’s about devoting the time and energy to make it happen. Most of the fundamental off-the-reservation training takes place not in the show ring, but in the warm-up ring. That’s where they really learn to exist at a horse show. That’s where they get broke.
Generally, my horses don’t show on their first outing. They go along for the ride and learn how to function in the show environment without the added pressure of competition. And taking that pressure away is key to their success. The only way to teach them to take a breath and relax in a stressful situation is if you can do it yourself. That might mean not competing.
If you’re devoted to the success of your young horse, you know that sitting out this show and focusing on the basics will better prepare him to compete at his next outing. I spent a thrilling four days at HITS Culpeper (Va.) this spring on a horse that couldn’t trot. In the beginning of the week he had two speeds—stationary trembling and romping. He was totally overwhelmed by the environment. Yes, I could have longed him into exhaustion, but that’s not training. Don’t get me wrong, longeing has its place. But this horse wasn’t wild; he was terrified, so making him tired wasn’t the answer. Four days of methodical training in the ticketed warm-up area was. And no, he wasn’t perfect at his next show, but he could trot. And the show after that, he laid down a double-clear round at the Loudoun Benefit in the .95-meter class and walked around the grounds flat-footed. A week late for Upperville, but a huge accomplishment for my baby horse. I walked out of the ring grinning; I could see the baby horse blues ebbing away.
Hunter/jumper trainer Paige Cade works at Tebogo Sport Horses, a facility in Delaplane, Va., devoted to the re-training and sales of off-the-track Thoroughbreds.