Musings: All Roads Lead to Horses

They say that you attract whatever you think about. I’m not sure this is entirely true. As an equestrian, I think about horses all the time. And yet I wake up everyday with the same two horses in my backyard instead of a pasture full of ponies.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with my horses, Bear and Shiloh. I’m just saying that thinking in and of itself doesn’t necessarily make something so. Results generally necessitate action of some kind. Thinking about a horse doesn’t make it appear.

While I may not have a sea of horses in my possession, I do seem to find the mention of horses in lots of unexpected places. In that sense, I guess I do end up attracting what I think about.

The most recent occurrence of the phenomenon happened while perusing an issue of Poets and Writers magazine. This isn’t a place I would expect to find an article related to horses. And yet, there it was.

The horse article I came a cross is titled “Saddle Up and Read.” It features equestrian Caitlin Gooch and her non-profit organization that pairs reading and horses. Last year, I mentioned Saddle Up and Read in my post about Giving Tuesday. If you’d like to learn more about Saddle Up and Read, please visit https://www.saddleupandread.org/.

I was delighted to see the organization featured in a literary magazine. Hopefully it will be good exposure to a wider audience outside the horse world. Although I must say that Caitlin has had no trouble attracting positive attention. I saw her featured on a national morning news segment. Oprah knows her name too. That is pretty good advertising, if you ask me.

My hunch is that I will keep thinking about horses until I die. Even if I develop a cognitive disorder as I age, I bet that horses will still figure prominently in my mind somewhere. I would venture to guess that the mention, sight, sound or scent of a horse will still evoke a visceral response in me. I will keep seeing horses everywhere.

In the mean time, I will keep finding horses in unexpected places. After all, for those of us afflicted by the horse bug, the roads we travel have a tendency to lead us to horses. The horse right in front of us or the horse we dream about. Real roads or imagined roads. I can’t think of any more scenic highways to drive.

Curious about your horse’s nutrition? Check Out The Online Horse Nutrition Calculator from FeedXL

Are you curious or concerned about your horse’s nutrition? Want ideas about how you can optimize what you feed your horse? If so, take a look at Feed XL.

“Simply tell FeedXL about your horse and what he is being fed and FeedXL will clearly show you if any nutrients are above or below the amount he needs to stay healthy.”

-From the FeedXL website

I will say upfront that I am not a current FeedXL member, but I have used the program in the past about seven years ago. I recently came across a piece of literature from them. It reminded me of their website. I then wondered how many other horse people are aware of their service. Thought it would be worth passing along to The Backyard Horse Blog readers.

FeedXL calculators allow you to input specific criteria about your horse (including specific medical conditions very much affected by nutrition like EMS and PSSM) to help analyze your current feed program and suggest the most appropriate diet.

This chart is from the FEEDXL website. It is a sample of the detailed information you will get with their calculator. The green bars show where this horse’s nutrition is sufficient, lacking and in excess.

There are other very handy calculators included such as a supplement finder and a comparative feed-cost calculator. FeedXL can do this because it keeps nutritional and price information from most USA feed and supplement manufacturers. For hay values, you can use their general calculations or input specific numbers from any hay analysis you might have performed on the hay you are currently feeding.

One of its best features is that it is independent of any feed company. It is refreshing to see information that is not tied specifically to wanting to sell you a particular product.

“FeedXL is totally, 100% independent from ALL feed and supplement companies. This means we don’t have any sort of vested interest in what you feed. All we care about is that your horse is getting everything he needs and that what you are feeding is truly what is best for him!”

– From the FeedXL website

FeedXl offers different pricing plans depending upon length of membership and number of horses. Plans start at $20 USD per month for one horse and increase from there. Not ready to plunk your money down yet for a membership? You can still access a ton of general horse nutrition information by signing up at the bottom of their website home page for their free enewsleter, browsing through their “Knowledge Hub” or downloading free ebooks on equine nutrition.

Please note that FeedXL plans are paid in US dollars. While you can sign up online and use their calculators from anywhere in the world, I am not sure how well the program would work for those based outside the US if you are feeding a product not manufactured in the USA or if you use a different metric system. If this is your situation, I would suggest contacting FeedXL directly for more information before signing up.

I am also aware that if you board your horse, you may not have control over what your horse is fed. Due to the issue of working with a volume of horses and owners, it is not always practical for a boarding barn to feed every horse in a highly individualized manner. If this is your situation, you’ll have to judge how much value you can get out of the program in relation to how much input you have over what your horse eats.

Fortunately, most horse people are able to feed their horses adequately throughout their lives without the help of a specialized calculator! But I remember finding it really interesting to play around with the calculator, inputting different types of hay and feed and supplements to see what combination seemed to provide the best nutrition for my horses. It also could help save you money if the calculator shows you are feeding multiple supplements that are unnecessary from a nutrition standpoint. And for some situations, like when you are feeding horses with certain health challenges, FeedXL could be especially helpful in formulating a safer feeding program along with your veterinarian’s input.

Go to https://feedxl.com/ to learn more.

***Please note this post was unsolicited and uncompensated by FeedXL.***

Riding in The Wind

Riding during Spring in my neck of the woods often means riding in the wind. I captured these mane-in-the-wind pictures on Shiloh recently.

On an otherwise warm and sunny day, I can cope with wind, but it doesn’t make for my favorite riding conditions.

It is also hard to work with obstacles in the wind, even if you are just doing groundwork with them.

Bear realizing all his toys are blowing away . . .

It got me to thinking about some “horses and wind” quotes that I have read. That led me to do a Google search on the topic.

My research found me taking a global time-travel trip. Apparently lots of folks over the centuries had plenty to say about horses and wind. Read below what I managed to unearth on the subject.

How about you? Do you have a favorite “horses and wind” quote you’d like to share?

“Through his mane and tail the high wind sings.” -Shakespeare

“When the Almighty put hoofs on the wind and a bridle on the lightening. He called it a horse.” -Unknown

“The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.” -Bedouin Proverb

“God made the horse from the breath of the wind, the beauty of the earth and the soul of the angel…May they forever run with our hearts….”-Bonnie Piper

“Horses are the dolphins of the plains, the spirits of the wind; yet we sit astride them for the sake of being well-groomed . . .”
-Lauren Salerno

“When God wanted to create the horse, he said to the South Wind, “I want to make a creature of you. Condense.” And the Wind condensed.”-Abdelkader El Djezairi

“Horses have hooves to carry them over frost and snow; hair to protect them from wind and cold. They eat grass and drink water, and fling up their heels… Such is the real nature of the horse.” -Chang Tzu

“Sailing is in the same vein as horse riding. There’s a beauty to it; it’s an elegant sport. You have to employ your intelligence. It’s technical, but you also have to take into account the natural elements – the wind, the water, the weather.” -Pier Luigi Loro Piana

“Ah, steeds, steeds, what steeds! Has the whirlwind a home in your manes? Is there a sensitive ear, alert as a flame, in your every fiber? Hearing the familiar song from above, all in one accord you strain your bronze chests and, hooves barely touching the ground, turn into straight lines cleaving the air, and all inspired by God it rushes on!” -Nikolai V. Gogol

Fun Idea From A Fellow Equine Blogger

Okay, folks. Today is the last day of “reblog week.”

Making horse treats for your own horse(s) or as gifts for others is just plain fun. Here is last year’s treat post with some help from a fellow equine blogger at Horses of The Ozark Hills.

Stay tuned for all new content coming your way next week from The Backyard Horse Blog. As always, thank you for visiting and reading!

The Backyard Horse Blog

I got the idea for this post from fellow equine blogger, Reese, and her Horses of the Ozark Hills blog at https://horsesoftheozarkhills.com.

Wouldn’t that be so cool to go trail riding in the Ozarks? I am jealous!

Reese recently designed a fun post about making horse & dog friendly treats at https://horsesoftheozarkhills.com/healthy-treats-for-horses-dogs/. She encouraged her readers to try the recipe out for themselves. So I did.

Here is the recipe ingredients as featured on the Horses of the Ozark Hills blog:
2 cups quick oats
1 cup flour
1 cup shredded carrots
¾ cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
¼ cup coconut oil

Here is my own version of the recipe based on what I already had in my pantry:
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup cinnamon apple sauce
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (I bet honey would be delicious too)

*Optional ingredient is ground cinnamon…

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Ten Ideas For Staying In The Saddle If You Struggle With Riding Alone

In case you missed my Monday announcement, this week I am reblogging some of my favorite posts with some updates.

Today’s recycled post is “Ten Ideas For Staying In The Saddle If You Struggle With Riding Alone.” I also created a fresh Pinterest pin to accompany the post.

At home with my horses, I am in a situation where I mostly ride by myself. While I actually largely enjoy riding alone, it does come with its own set of challenges and safety concerns. It is not always ideal.

I figure I can’t be the only one in this situation so I wanted to share what I do to try to stay in the saddle as much as possible. Even without horsey family nearby. Even without a barn full of friends in my backyard. I want to keep riding as often as I can, for as long as I can, no matter my circumstances.

***If you are an email subscriber to this blog, you may note that these reblogged posts show up really wonky in your inbox. I have not figured out yet how to fix that. BUT, if you simply click on the post’s title, you will be transported to The Backyard Horse Blog website. There you can read a more organized version of the post.***

The Backyard Horse Blog

In mypreviouspost, I mentioned some challenges of staying in the saddle as a backyard horse owner. Definitely among them is the issue of riding alone. While some preferthe experience ofriding solo, I venture to guess that many more find it difficult. If you want to ride at home, think about how you can either avoid riding alone in the first place or increase your personal skills/focus when you do chose to ride alone. The following is a list of ideas for tackling this very real problem.Iemploymany of these ideas in an ever rotating combination.

1. Find a ridingbuddy

Are you open to keeping a friend’s horse at your home so you can ride together? Can a friend trailer his horse over to your place or you theirs? If you have a friend who is willing to ride your horse, can you ride “together” by takingturns-you ride your horse the first…

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Want to Improve Your Horse Care? Use Your Senses!

During this week, I am reblogging some of my favorite old posts with some updates.

The Backyard Horse Blog recently welcomed a handful of new readers so I thought it would be fun to do some archival digging.

Even if you starting reading the blog early last year when it first appeared on the internet, you might have missed these posts.

In either case, I hope you will tune in today, Wednesday and Friday (my typical publishing schedule) to check them out.

Prefer new content instead? I hope to be back next week with all fresh posts.

We start today’s journey down memory lane with the post “Want to Improve Your Horse Care? Use Your Senses!”

I had a lot of fun creating a new mini-infographic to go with the post and its corresponding Pinterest pin.

The Backyard Horse Blog

When most equestrians think of senses, I imagine that the sense of sight first comes to mind. What is more gorgeous to look at than a horse, right? But a person who is sighted often forgets that people can and do absorb information in other ways.

Years ago, I volunteered at a therapeutic riding center. I later became a NARHA certified instructor (NARHA has since changed its name to PATH International- Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). I eventually worked at the center as a staff member. My experiences there gave me lots of exposure to folks with sensory differences. It made me think about the varied ways that many different kinds of people experience the world.

If you are sighted, you absorb a tremendous amount of information through your eyes. It is easy to forget that there are other senses that can give us “insight” into the world around us.

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