Author: Anna

Summer Sizzler

All photos from the Summer Sizzler Show in Winona, MN are posted! To view them click the menu above or click this link Summer Sizzler Photos.

National Area VI Show

All photos from the National Area VI Show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa are posted! To view them click the menu above or follow this link National Area VI Show Page.

National Area VI Show

Photos from the National Area VI Show are continuously being posted and can be viewed on the National Area VI Show page in the menu above.

How to Clean Your Horse’s Bits

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After every time you use your bit wipe it with a damp cloth or dunk it completely into a pail of water. When you’re done be sure to completely dry it with a cloth to prevent rusting. If you dunk your bit into water, remove it from the bridle first to prevent the leather from getting wet which will cause mold and mildew.

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Every couple weeks you should clean your bit well with a cleaner. Be careful not to use any harsh chemical cleaners, remember that it’s going to be going into your horses mouth! The best cleaner to use is human toothpaste. It kills bacteria and is safe for the horse to ingest. It’ll even give the bit a minty taste which most horses enjoy.

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You can use a toothbrush to remove dirt and grime from the bit. Be sure to clean the joint of the bit where the two metal pieces hook together.
Proper cleaning and care of your bits will make them last for many years without rusting.

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How to Deworm a Miniature Horse

Your miniature horse should be dewormed often to remove internal parasites. Equine paste dewormers come in many different shapes and sizes. The brand of dewormer you use will depend on your location and the time of year, because different types of dewormer will kill different parasites.
You can buy dewormers from tack and feed stores or from your veterinarian. You should worm your horse every 6 – 8 weeks. Consult with your veterinarian to design a proper deworming schedule for your horses.
Signs that a horse is infested with worms are coughing, rolling, weight loss, tail rubbing, lethargy, dull coat, and diarrhea.
Products containing Ivermectin, Fenbendazole, and Pyrantel Pamoate are all safe to use with miniature horses. Most brands of dewormer can be used in  pregnant and lactating mares, and foals, but always read the package to make sure.
Dewormers containing Moxidectrin, used in the product Quest, should never be used in miniature horses. If Moxidectrin is over dosed just slightly it can be fatal to miniature horses.

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First, turn the dial ring to the weight of your horse to select the correct dosage.

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Once the dial is locked in the correct position, remove the cap from the tip of the dewormer nozzle.

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Ensure that your horse’s mouth is free of any food. Then insert the dewormer nozzle into the horse’s mouth through the gap in its teeth where the bit would go. Make sure the tube is on top of the horse’s tongue and aimed towards the back of the mouth.

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Once it is in the correct position in the horse’s mouth, push the plunger all the way until it is stopped by the dial. Once all the paste has been extinguished remove the tube from the horse’s mouth.

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Immediately after you’ve finished deworming your horse hold up its head for 10-15 seconds to ensure that the horse swallows all the paste. If you allow them to lower their head immediately after being dewormed they could spit out all the dewormer.
The dewormer may take a while to remove all the parasites, so don’t be alarmed if symptoms continue for a few days.

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Leather Tack Care

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When was the last time you cleaned your tack? A few days ago, weeks, months, years? If you answered months or years, chances are that it’s dry, hard, and cracked. To be kept in good condition your tack should be checked over and wiped down after every use and thoroughly cleaned and conditioned often.

Anyone who has horses is bound to find some leather in their tack room, and its important that you know how to properly care for it. Leather bridles, saddles, halters, and harnesses will last you for decades if they are cleaned regularly.

Every time you use a piece of leather tack, run over the entire piece with your hands to check for any cracks or stitching that is tearing.  Check all the buckles and screws to ensure that they are is in safe condition. You wouldn’t want something to brake or tear while you’re riding. Checking them every time you use them will prevent an accident and extend the life of your tack.

What tack needs to be cleaned? It’s not just your saddle and bridle that needs to be cleaned. It’s everything thats leather. You would be surprised at all the places you can find leather hiding in your barn. Leather whips, gloves, leads, boots, etc. There are many different types of leather and they should all be cleaned on a regular basis.

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How Often

How often you clean your tack will depend on how frequently you use it. You should always check over your leather tack when you’re finished using it. Use a damp clothe to remove any dirt and mud.  Use a dry clothe to remove any moisture such as sweat or rain before you put your tack in storage to prevent the growth of mold. 

If you use your tack daily or every other day, you should do a quick cleaning after every use and perform a thorough cleaning once every 1-2 weeks.  If you use your tack once every 1-2 weeks, do a quick clean after every use and perform a thorough cleaning once every 1-2 months.

If you have tack in storage that you don’t use very often, such as a show tack or tack stored for the winter months, it’s important to take it out of storage about every 1-3 months for a cleaning and to check for mold or mildew. You should check over all the tack for any signs of rodents or insects that may have gotten into the storage container.

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Cleaning Routine

Step 1. If you are cleaning a halter, bridle, or harness, disassemble it and clean each piece separately. Remove all the screws, conchos, metal plates and hardware. Before you disassemble your tack, however, take photos or write down how each piece fits back together and where all the buckles and screws belong. Then if you forget exactly how each piece fits together you can look back at your photos. Use a small scissors to trim any fraying threads to prevent the stitching from coming undone any farther

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Step. 2 Clean the leather with tack soap. I use two types of saddle soap, Fiebing’s Liquid Glycerine Saddle Soap and Fiebing’s Saddle Soap. Use an old rag to remove any dirt, dust, or mud from the leather. Next, use a rag or a tack cleaning sponge to apply the saddle soap. You can use liquid leather cleaner for large areas or cracks. Make sure to give special attention to areas that touch the horse, which can be exposed to sweat and dirt. Don’t be to gentle, put some elbow grease into it to ensure that all the dirt and mud that has worked its way into the leathers pores is removed. If the buckle holes become filled with leather cleaner be sure to use the buckle prong to clean them out. You can use a toothbrush to remove dirt from from the stitching of the leather. 

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Step 3. Next, after you have finished cleaning the leather with leather soap, use leather conditioner to preserve the leather and protect it from dirt and mud. Use leather oil to condition and soften the leather. Rub the leather vigorously,  the heat from the friction will cause it to absorb the oil better and give it a shiny appearance. When you’re finished, place the leather in the sun to dry. The protective oil doesn’t last forever and the leather will have to be cleaned and the oil replenished often. 

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Step 4. You can use silver or metal polish to shine the metal hardware that you removed earlier. Metal plates from show halters especially. Once the leather has dried completely, reattach any metal pieces and ensure that all the screws are tight.

Conditioning 

Why do you need to oil the leather? Leather tack is a natural product and has natural oils. Over time the natural oils are diminished and need replenishing. The leather oil I’m using is called the Original Outback Leather Seal. It naturally repels water and mold and won’t rot the stitching. It’s completely organic with no chemicals.

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Leather Storage

Always store your leather in a cool, dry area, such as a large plastic trunk. Places that are too warm or damp will cause mold and mildew to grow. Be sure that insects and rodents don’t have access to any of your tack. Storing leather in direct sunlight will dry it out and make it brittle. Make sure your tack is completely dry before putting it into storage to prevent the growth of mold. Properly cleaning and storing your tack will add years to it’s life.

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Proper Fit of a Halter

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One of the largest factors that can contribute to a horse pulling back on the lead or refusing to go forward is improper fit of the halter. Like any other piece of tack it needs to fit properly in order to do its job. If the halter is too tight or loose and not positioned properly on the horse’s head it can cause pain or discomfort which can lead to behavior issues. By correctly fitting and positioning your horse’s halter you could find him to be much more accepting to being caught and lead.

The main pieces of the halter are

  • Crownpiece – Runs over the top of the horse’s head across the poll. It should be slightly behind the horse’s ears, but not touching or rubbing against them.
  • Throatlatch – Passes underneath the horse’s head. You should be able to slide 2-3 fingers between the halter and throat to ensure it is loose enough the horse can still swallow and breath, but tight enough that it won’t catch on something.
  • Cheek piece – Should run parallel to the check bones, across the side of the horse’s face.
  • Noseband – Goes around the horse’s muzzle. Should lay half way between the horse’s eyes and nostrils.

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In this picture the noseband is to far down on the horse’s muzzle and he could easily rub on the fence and slide it off over his nose. Also the crownpeice is too far back from the horses ears. When you pull the lead the noseband will force down on the horses sensitive muzzle.

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This halter is too high up on the horse’s face. The crownpeice was buckled too tight which pulled the nose band upwards.

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If your horse wears his halter outside all the time it’s best to use a breakaway halter. A breakaway halter has a small piece of leather underneath the side buckle which will break under pressure. So if horse the catches his halter on a branch or post the leather will snap and the halter will slide off his head, opposed to him fighting and pulling which will most likely lead to injury.

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Finally, in this last picture the halter is fitted properly. It is halfway between the eye and nostril, and close to the horse’s ears, but not touching. The throatlatch isn’t too tight or loose and the cheekpieces are positioned correctly.

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Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!

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How to Tie a Quick Release Knot

Anyone dealing with horses of any size should know how to tie a quick release knot. If your horse starts to rear or pull aggressively against the rope  you can quickly remove it from the post without fiddling with untying a knot.

 

1. Start by wrapping the lead rope once around the post.

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2. Next cross one rope over the other.

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3. Then take that rope and pull it half way up between the other rope and the post, making a loop.

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4. Next make another loop through your first loop with that same piece of rope. The other end of your rope you will not be doing anything with, as it will be tied to your horse.

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5. Pull it tight until you have a nice sized loop, being careful not to pull the rope all the way through.

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6. Then you can make yet another loop through that loop.

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7. Keep going until your reach the end of your rope or the desired amount of loops.

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After you practice it many times you should be able to do it quite fast without even thinking about. To see if you have correctly tied the knot, pull on the end your horse would be tied to. No mater how hard you pull the knot should not budge. Now if you pull on the other end of the rope, the side you made your loops on, the rope should instantly unravel very quickly and you should not have to do any untangling.

 

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How to do a Running Braid on your Horse’s Mane

Braiding is among one of my favorite things to do with my horses. Here I’ll show you how to do a Running Braid.

  • Start with a clean brushed mane.

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1. Begin at the top of the mane behind the ears and separate out three equal sized pieces of hair.

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2. First, take the piece of hair on the right and cross it over the middle strand.

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3. Next, take the piece of hair on the left and cross it over the middle.

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4. Take the piece on the right and cross it over the middle again.

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5. Then take the piece on the left and cross it over the middle and next separate out a new piece of hair from the mane and add it to the middle.

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6. Next take the piece on the right and cross it over the middle.

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7. Then repeat steps 5-6 until you reach the end of the mane where you can tie it off with a rubber band that matches the color of your horse’s hair.

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