Special Announcement-The Backyard Horse Blog Summer 2020 Contest!

Announcing the first ever contest for The Backyard Horse Blog email subscribers!

I previously mentioned that a little side-hobby of mine is entering contests to try to win prizes. I started this blog in January. Today marks post #100 on The Backyard Horse Blog. Who knew quiet little me had that much to share? As a celebration of this accomplishment, in the quest to find more email subscribers and in appreciation of all my current subscribers, I am hosting this contest for a horse-related prize box.

The Backyard Horse Blog Summer 2020 Contest Entry and Prize Information:

All current The Backyard Horse Blog email followers already have one entry in the contest.

Anyone who signs up to follow this blog via email between today and Thursday, August 20th, also gets one entry in the contest. Sign up to follow the blog via email at https://thebackyardhorseblog.wordpress.com/the-backyard-horse-blog/.

For additional entries, please repost this post to your own blog and/or share this post on your social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Email me at thebackyardhorseblog@gmail.com with the link to each blog/social media post that you upload. You will get one additional entry for each of your post links with a maximum of five total entries possible.

Prize Box Items:
Harrison Howard Fly Mask ( 2019 model in silver, Horse Size, with nose flap and no ears- These are the fly masks sold by the Great British Equinery of Indiana at https://greatbritishequinery.com/– Reviewed and approved by The Backyard Horse Blog!)
Medium Tee From The Cinchy Cowgirl “Livin’ on Prayer and Good Horses”
Horse Illustrated Magazine July 2020 Issue
Equus Magazine navy ballcap
Two pairs of Awst Int’L socks
Purina boot bag
Assorted Horse Stickers
Tough-1 Home Decor Horse Keyrack
2021 Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Calendar

Friday, August 21st I will randomly draw the winning email address (I will email the winner that day and must receive a reply email within one week that includes an address to where I should mail the prize box or else prize box is forfeited).

If you have a domestic USPS address (which includes addresses in the 50 US States plus Puerto Rico, AFO addresses, etc . . .), I am giving away a horse-fun-box filled with equine-related items. Shipping is free to the winner.

Unfortunately for those of you who would fall under an international address, international shipping costs/customs issues makes mailing prohibitive. So if the winner is in that situation (or if the winner is in the US but doesn’t want the box for whatever reason), I will mail the box to a horse rescue with a US address of your choice in your name. If your chosen rescue can’t use the items in their day-to-day operations, perhaps they could use the box to generate money for their rescue via using it as a raffle prize, silent auction item, etc . . . or use it as a reward to their volunteer of the month or something along those lines.

I will announce the prize winner on this blog, but only if I have permission to use your name/part of your name. Otherwise, the winner will remain anonymous since I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy.

Horse-Life Fragrances: What are your favorites?

I love this quickie quiz from the Beyond The Saddle Podcast Facebook page. I think horses smell fantastic. This quiz reminded me that there are all sorts of other scents associated with horse life too.

I had a hard time narrowing down the list to just two. But for me, number 5 (freshly cut alfalfa in the field) and number 11 (pine on a mountain trail ride) take the carrot cake. 🙂

Let me know what your own answers are in the comments section!

Find the Beyond The Saddle Podcast at https://equuquismagazine.com/podcasts/beyond-the-saddle-podcast. As quoted from their website “Beyond the Saddle Podcast focuses on careers in the equine industry. Hear from professionals across the horse industry about their career path and how horses remain a part of their everyday lives. Podcast interviews offer insight on a variety of careers, from digital marketing to riding center management to agricultural law, and more. Tune in bi-weekly for advice and life lessons anywhere you listen to podcasts.”

Thought For The Day: The Joys of Donkey Grooming

One of my favorite authors is Rachel Anne Ridge. I really enjoyed her two books “Flash: The homeless donkey who taught me about life, faith and second chances” and “Walking With Henry: Big lessons from a little donkey on faith, friendship and finding your path”. She also wrote a children’s book entitled “Flash The Donkey Makes New Friends”.

Rachel has a way of describing normal, everyday events with introspection that is sweet and refreshing. For example, grooming as a form of care is a common-place event among horse, donkey and mule people alike. But Rachel reminds us that it can be much more than that if we allow it. Below is a quote from the book “Walking With Henry” that reflects the author’s style and makes for great contemplation.

“There is something therapeutic about the grooming process. Working a curry over an appreciative donkey gives you a chance to let your mind rest. In a world filled with distractions and loud voices, the rhythmic sound of a brush comforts me. I enjoy watching the donkeys’ reactions- exhaling contentedly and gently shaking their long ears. In these moments, all is right with the world. Worries lesson with every stroke, and anxious thoughts are dispelled with each burr and mud pellet that falls to the ground.”

Four Equine-Related Infographics

A horse infographic featured on http://www.horseillustrated.com

It is surprising how much basic information an infographic can contain. They aren’t going to provide a deep-dive into a subject, but sometimes all we have time for is a quick primer. Below are links to three equine infographics that I particularly like (and I thought the infographic featured in the photo above was too cute not to share). If you have a favorite horse-related infographic that you like, please include a link to it in the comments.

https://thehorse.com/113354/infographic-handling-hoof-abscesses/

https://thehorse.com/112929/infographic-signs-of-stress-in-horses/

https://thehorse.com/149029/infographic-equine-allergies/

Shiloh is “too cool to be schooled” and Bear is “back in black” thanks to the Great British Equinery!

Shiloh is “too cool to be schooled” and Bear is “back in black” thanks to the new fly masks given to them by the Great British Equinery of Indiana.

In previous years, I purchased both Bear and Shiloh the Harrison Howard fly masks from the Great British Equinery of Indiana. Recently, the Great British Equinery kindly sent me two 2020 edition Harrison Howard fly masks to try.

The design of the 2020 fly masks is not significantly different from previous years. They fit my horses really well and still claim to block out 60% of UV light, but these new ones come with the option of flashy colors (blue, teal, red, amethyst, flamingo). They also sport extra lining on the noseband portion. I am fine with the plain colors of the previous years, but the flashy colors are fun. The extra colors might also make the fly masks easier to locate should they come off or if you have multiple horses and want to keep their fly masks separated while easy to identify. My horses never got nose rubs with the previous masks, but the extra lining is a nice touch.

On the left is the new 2020 fly mask with the additional noseband lining. The older model sports the lining near the ears but not the noseband.

Near as I can tell, the 2020 masks fit the same as the others. My older model masks stay on and are still in excellent condition even after frequent washing so I am expecting the same performance for the 2020 masks. If you’d like to read my review of the older version masks, please go to https://thebackyardhorseblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/got-fly-mask/.

Below are photos of Shiloh in his cool teal 2020 Harrison Howard fly mask with ears, and Bear in a classic black version without ears. Shiloh sports the Large (horse size) version while Bear takes the Medium (cob size).

Thank you so very much to the Great British Equinery of Indiana for providing Shiloh and Bear with some extra fly protection this Summer. If you are looking for new fly masks, please check out the Great British Equinery of Indiana at https://greatbritishequinery.com/!

Bear and Shiloh give the Hilton Herbs Herballs a five-star rating!

Thank you Great British Equinery of Indiana at http://greatbritishequinery.com!

Bear and Shiloh recently got to sample some free treats via the generosity of the Great British Equinery of Indiana. Both Bear and Shiloh gave the Hilton Herbs Herballs a five-star rating!

Hilton Herbs Herballs, according to their product information, are made with wheat four, alfalfa, flax seed, spearmint, garlic, oregano and rosemary. Yes, you read that right. The treats smell like something that might be perfectly at home in say an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. Unusual for a horse treat, these ingredients certainly make them stand out from most.

The Hilton Herbs Herballs are shaped in little round nuggets as the name implies. They are crunchy and don’t seem to crumble easily. They are large enough to not lose them in a pocket but yet not so bulky that you couldn’t fit in a few. Hilton Herbs notes that the Herballs have no added sugar. This could make them a more appropriate choice for the metabolically challenged horse than a more sugar/calories laden treat (as with any food stuff with a metabolically challenged horse, always use caution with the types/amounts of treats that you provide).

Both Bear and Shiloh took one sniff of the Herballs and snarffed them right up. Both continued to lick their feed pans long after the treats were gone. Bear and Shiloh made eye contact with me, sharing that “I am pleased to eat more if you would be so kind as to give me another one” look.

Full disclosure, I do remember buying a bag of theses treats from a different vendor in the past. I recall that both Bear and the other pony I had at the time, Pumpkin Spice, liked them. Bear, always an “I’m up for anything” in the food department, has become more finicky in his old age at twenty-five. I wasn’t sure if he would still enjoy the Herballs like he did in the past. Clearly he still does! As for Shiloh, I have not purchased these treats since Shiloh came to me almost two years ago. This was the first time that he had sampled them with me as treat giver. In any case, I don’t think prior exposure or lack thereof tarnishes the review. Definitely a five-star rating on smell and taste of the Hilton Herbs Herballs from these two equines!

Something else that stood out to me about the Hilton Herbs company is that when I inquired about animal testing, I was told that they don’t test their products on laboratory animals. To quote a sentence from an email I received from Hilton Herbs, “We do not test on laboratory animals; our business ethos is based in health, not harm”.

Lord willing for my next post, I will write about the 2020 Harrison Howard fly masks that the Great British Equinery also mailed to me. Bear and Shiloh send many thanks to the Great British Equinery of Indiana for the treat samples. I know that the Great British Equinery would be happy to have your business if you would like to purchase some for the horses in your life. Please visit them at https://greatbritishequinery.com/.

Warm- Hot- Hotter

Horse popsicles, anyone?

Phew! July is turning out to be one hot potato of a month for many of us.

My travel plans with the horses are on hold as we sweat out some extreme weather patterns. I don’t think that asking them to get in a hot box will help them develop more positive associations with traveling considering we are still inconsistent in the loading department. I am waiting for better long-term weather forecast before planning another field trip.

At home, I’ve been sticking to my “we ride at dawn” routine on the worst days. We even did a “we ride at dawn bareback” on a day where it was miserably humid even before the sun rose. As the Summer continues, I might need to title a future post as “we ride at midnight bareback in a bathing suit”.

When I’m not riding or doing horse chores, I am giving the horses baths to help cool them. I worry about Bear in the heat because of his thicker coat thanks to his Cushing’s Disease. He doesn’t yet have the type of long hair coat that is sometimes characteristic of the PPID, but when I run my hands along and through his coat, I can feel how his hair quality has changed.

I wanted to get pictures of my bathing the horses, but I can’t figure out how not to risk ruining my phone/camera as I am often as wet as the horses by the time it is all over. But if I did have pictures, you would see that I usually bath them loose. I just ask them to walk with me to where I have strung out the hose into their paddock over a pile of pea gravel for drainage. Then I start the bath on the nozzle’s mist setting as they get used to the coolness of the water (my well water comes out of the ground VERY cold) before going to the shower setting for a better soaking. Bear and Shiloh seem to really enjoy both the bath itself and drinking from the hose. Even after I turn off the water, they often stand around, enjoying a moment of reliefe from feeling hot and sticky.

Watching the horses relax into a recent bath gave me material for another poem. Entitled “Water Respite”, you can read it on my Medium page at https://medium.com/any-writers/water-respite-f60af442e6fc.

Besides the baths, Bear and Shiloh also enjoyed trying an idea I got from Reese with the Horses of the Ozark Hills blog. You may recall a previous post of mine where I recreated a treat idea from her blog (https://thebackyardhorseblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/fun-idea-from-a-fellow-equine-blogger/). This new idea is for horse popsicles!

Reese’s horses seemed to understand what to do with the popsicles, but both Bear and Shiloh acted flummoxed when I put the frozen disks into their feed dishes. I ended up hand-holding the disks so they could bite into the sides and get the idea. Then I placed the disks back in their feed dishes and tossed some of their ration balancer pellets on top. By that time, the disks had begun seriously melting and made a nice wet slurry with the melting ice, the pellets and the little pieces of fruit. Of course, I have to be mindful of the amount and types of treats that Bear gets due to his EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) and PPID (Cushing’s Disease), but it was a neat treat to try on a hot afternoon.

Thank you to Reese for this fun and easy to make Summer- time treat variation! Check out her blog post for directions on how to make them at https://horsesoftheozarkhills.com/keeping-cool-horse-popsicle-recipe/!

Hoping you and your horses stay cool out there!

Breyerfest Day 1

I am reblogging this post from a fellow equestrian blogger, Kristian with the blog Kristian Beverly-Books.Horses.Plastic Ponies. Kristian is a rider AND model horse collector. Her newest post reminded me that Breyerfest, an annual event, is this weekend but with a new twist. Rather than taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park as usual, Breyerfest is all online this year with the theme “Celtic Fling”. I spent many years collecting and showing model horses, only selling my collection in order to afford my first “in the flesh” horse because I couldn’t support both habits at the same time. I so enjoyed my models and the model horse world so thank you to Kristian for this reminder about Breyerfest and everything model horse!

Kristian Beverly

It’s Breyerfest week and the weather feels like it is. It’s been in the 90s in Pennsylvania with no end in sight. The feeling of melting in the sweltering sun feels right for Breyerfest week.

This year, I only have to make sure my laptop is charged or my desktop is on. There’s no traveling and hoping that the Clarion has parking spots. There’s no getting up before the sun rises and feeling the wet dew as you walk into the show hall.

I’m going to miss seeing everyone in person. 2020 has been quite the year.

In past years, on Thursday, I would’ve been on my way to Kentucky or already there. Instead I participated in a Studio Thornrose’s live sale. I snagged a Tucker and a Tripod. I love Tucker so much!

Photo by Studio Thornrose

Today, I’ve snagged one of Maggie Bennett Sculpture’s miniature skulls. They’re…

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Great British Equinery Sends Bear and Shiloh a Care Package!

A big shout out here to Debbie at the Great British Equinery of Indiana! Debbie generously sent Bear and Shiloh some swag to sample. How cool is that!?

Included in the care package is a baggie of Hilton Herb Herballs treats (no added sugars for metabolically-challenged horses like Bear!), a Hilton Herbs product booklet (they produce a slew of products in addition to the treats), a set of very attractive John Whitaker leg wraps and a storage bag (conveniently matching the red western saddle pad I currently use), and two 2020 Harrison Howard fly masks. You may know from previous posts how much I like the Harrison Howard fly masks I purchased in previous years so I am interested to try out the updates models!

I plan to incorporate the care package items into future post material so stay tuned. Bear and Shiloh told me they’d like to start with the treats please . . .

In the mean time, please check out the Great British Equinery of Indiana at https://greatbritishequinery.com/.

I met Debbie in person at a horse show last year and have purchased products from her website. In my experience, Debbie is super-friendly, ships items quickly and carries fun, useful products from the UK. I also learned that she has donated products to the Indiana Horse Rescue (the same organization that I previously fostered horses for)- something that I really appreciate. Gotta love it when businesses help support horses in need, right?

Two Fun Obstacle Ideas

Looking for fun obstacle ideas to try at home? Check these out.

While my horse, Shiloh, still had his stitches, I attended a clinic hosted by a riding club. Originally I was signed up to take Shiloh to ride in the clinic, but I canceled when I realized he wouldn’t have his stitches out by the clinic date. Instead, I offered to arrive a little bit early and help set up the obstacles. I was disappointed to not ride in the clinic, but I still got to see all the obstacle ideas and watch how the horses/riders navigate them, something I find fascinating. If you have never hosted an obstacle clinic, you may not appreciate how much effort is involved in selecting the obstacles (including buying, making or borrowing), transporting them to the clinic location, setting them up, tearing them down and then storing the obstacles until the next clinic and/or returning everything to their various owners. Extra hands are generally appreciated come clinic day!

The obstacle above was so clever and yet so simple. I took this photo early before a little divot was made in the tarp (made possible by the soft sand footing underneath) and water added on top. Many of the horses initially balked at the obstacle, making it one of the more challenging of the day. I actually thought that the blow-up dragon would cause the most spooks, but I was surprised at how many horses took one look at it and walked right up and put their noses on it.

I have not tried making the “water obstacle” at home yet, but it looks like something that is very “doable”. I really like the dragon too, but I probably won’t be spending the money on one anytime soon. Post-Halloween sale maybe?

Farnam SuperMask Supermodel Contest 2020

Folks who know me have probably heard me talk about my enjoyment of entering contests. Essay contests, photo contests, trivia contests, “put your name in a hat “contests. I love them all. It is exciting trying to win prizes.

I have had some pretty good success winning small things over the years- a box of dewormer, a custom grooming tote, a show-garment bag, a horse book, a saddle pad, bags of horse feed and buckets of supplements and treats. Prizes are mostly useful stuff that help me save a little bit of money here and there.

I have to say though that I am still waiting to win something life changing. Maybe a house, a car, fancy horse trailer or large cash prize. I’m flexible!

I am always on the hunt for new contests to enter and figure I am not the only fan of contest entering. So on that note, I thought I’d point out Farnam is hosting its annual SuperMask Supermodel contest. Take a halter photo of your horse and enter by July 17th for a chance to have your horse featured as this year’s SuperMask model AND win $1,000 in fly control products. The link to enter is https://a.pgtb.me/6HFWdC.

If you read my previous post “Got Fly Mask?”, you will know that my favorite fly masks are those sold by the Great British Equinery of Indiana at https://greatbritishequinery.com/.

Read the post here at : https://thebackyardhorseblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/got-fly-mask/.

Having said all that, I also like many of Farnam’s fly control products. I do keep a Farnam fly mask in my horse’s mask rotation for when the other masks are dirty. I also like the Farnam Endure fly spray , especially the roll on bottle for ears and faces. $1,000 worth of Farnam fly control products would come in handy this Summer so I am planning on entering the contest. If I don’t win, it would be fun to know someone who did, so let me know if your horse is selected as the winner so I can be famous by association. 🙂

Shiloh sporting a Farnam fly mask, a grazing muzzle and some extra energy.

We Ride At Dawn

So what do we equestrians do when we want to ride, but it is ten thousand degrees outside with 100% percent humidity and there is almost no shade? We ride at dawn! Or at least I do.

The older I get, the less tolerant I am of temperature extremes. I get completely stiff and achy in the dead of Winter. I feel dizzy, faint and nauseous in the heat of Summer. Neither state is conducive to riding. For his part, Shiloh seems to be like “If you must ride me at all, I do best in 70 degree weather with a few clouds and a light breeze” kind of horse.

Long story short, riding early on a hot day works for both of us.

Starting the ride at the beginning of a sun rise this week

Nearing the end of the ride as the sun is high enough to leave some LONG shadows

This leaves Shiloh with just enough energy to kick up his heels with Bear when they are turned out with their muzzles for some grazing outside their paddock before the worst heat of the day. Wheeeeee!



Latest Field Trip

In my previous post, I mentioned that last week I took Bear and Shiloh over to a local training/boarding barn for another field trip. I thought I would share in this post about what I am working on with Shiloh when we ride.

The field trips allow me to work on several things at once including trailer loading/unloading, riding in a new location and using some different riding facilities to help us in our training goals. Not to mention I get to have someone to keep an eye on Bear, take photos and be some eyes on the ground to what I am feeling in the saddle. And it is fun!

When I brought Shiloh home (in August 2018), he had spent the previous five years as a pasture companion to other horses and had barely been ridden during that time. He was out of riding shape, both physically and mentally. A lot of my early work with him was getting him re-accustomed to being a riding horse again. Long Winters in my area and higher than usual rain fall the last couple of years really slowed down our progress. It wasn’t really until very recently that I felt like we were more on the same page.

He tends towards the pace, which puts his body in awkward and unhealthy postures, so I have been trying instead to encourage a four-beat walk and then a fox trot when he gaits (he is a Missouri Fox Trotter, but like most gaited horses, he can do several different gaits). This year we also added canter work (but only on a lunge-line not undersaddle yet). Obstacle work is part of most rides, both to add interest and variety as well as to work on certain skills. Even simple things like walking over a couple of ground poles help him practice lifting and placing his legs. Both help him with using his body more effectively (plus it is really hard to pace over ground poles without getting all tripped up so it encourages that four-beat walk).

Keep in mind that I am trying to do all this with Shiloh largely without an adequate place to ride at home (so we constantly have to work around the weather), without eyes on the ground (to help guide our work) and within my own physical riding abilities, mental fitness and conceptual understanding of riding principles (which are all admittedly limited). A horse can really only do as well as his rider can do. I am well aware that he may show more brillance/better self-carriage with someone else in the saddle. Figuring out how to carry myself better so he can carry himself better is a work in progress.

I enjoy working on all these kinds of riding details, but at the same time it is disappointing to always be riding with both arms tied behind my back with all the impediments in my way to my own self-improvement. But it is either work with what I’ve got or not ride at all, so I chose to ride. I feel like we are headed in the right direction. As long as Shiloh continues to humor me in allowing me to ride him, we will keep slowly marching forward. I’d like eventually do to with Shiloh all the things I was able to do with Bear like trail riding, attending clinics, working with cows, going swimming and competing in some fun/local shows.

My overall goal that underpins everything else is building a positive relationship with him. I want him to feel safe with me and trusting of me, to enjoy our time together. In many ways it is a more illusive goal than gaining his obedience. Sure, I would like him to go along with my ideas, but how he feels about those ideas and the ways in which we accomplish them are equally if not more important to me too. How can I shape his body and his mind in a way that is effective, fair and humane? These are the things that are constantly running through my mind as I work with him at home and as we go on little adventures off the property.