Tune into Horse Week- Free Online Event

If you enjoying watching videos about horses, you may want to tune into Horse Week from October 3-9, 2021. It is free to anyone with an internet connection and streaming capabilities at http://www.horseweek.tv.

Brought to you by the Equine Network, Horse Week is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and includes organization partners from across a variety of horse breeds and disciplines. It looks like the content will include a little something for everyone.

Here are the FAQ’s From the Horse Week website:

“What is Horse Week?
Presented by the Equine Network and brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, Horse Week offers over 25 hours of fresh high-quality educational and inspiring video content that riders and horse lovers of every level and discipline will enjoy.

When is Horse Week?
October 3-9, 2021

How/where do I watch Horse Week?
Viewers can stream all Horse Week video content from any smart device by tuning into http://www.horseweek.tv

How much does it cost to watch?
Horse Week is 100% FREE! Viewers will have complete access to all Horse Week content for no charge.

What type of content can I expect?
Incredible and compelling stories of the impact horses have on the lives of others from all walks of life, clinics with industry leading professionals, profiles on both equine athletes and equestrians from across the different disciplines.

How can I stay up to date with all things Horse Week?
Subscribe to our Horse Week newsletter or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and #horseweektv.”

Mark your calendars!

Balancing and Shaping in Riding

I’ve recently been reading a book by Beth Baumert called “When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics.” You may recall that I previously read her book “How Two Minds Meet: The Mental Dynamics of Dressage” and wrote about it in a blog post titled The Wonder of Horses at https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/03/17/the-wonder-of-horses/. Here is a picture of the two books taken from the Trafalgar Square Books website:

It wasn’t too many years ago the idea dawned on me that some riders could actually improve their horse’s way of going. I’m not just talking about successfully accomplishing a task with a horse or getting it to calm down or speed up. Those things can be part of it. But it encompasses so much more.

I’m talking about actually improving our horses’ body shape, outline and movement. Actually improving their physique through exercise. Essentially turning riding into physical therapy for the horse. Much of dressage training is couched in these terms, but these goals are not exclusive to dressage.

Most of us just do good to stay upright on top of our horse, more or less at the mercy of what our horses do or don’t do. We follow our horses in and out of balance. Remarkably, it seems that most horses do okay with this arrangement. Otherwise, no one but the expert horseman would ever be able ride.

But there can also be a physical and mental cost to many of our horses when they are ridden without attention to their movement. We can end up wearing them down instead of building them up.

Unfortunately for me, actually improving a horse’s way of going in a consistent and measurable way at all gaits still eludes me. Even so, I think it’s a worthy goal to try to hone my eye on the ground and my feeling in the saddle. To seek balance in any horse I ride.

When I tune into how the horse that I am riding feels underneath me. When I continue to read riding literature, listen to podcasts, observe others riding. When I’m able to watch videos and view photos of my riding. All these things help me very slowly learn what I am supposed to be heading towards. What I should be thinking about, feeling for and observing in myself and any horse that I am riding.

It’s like a puzzle that sits on the top of a desk in various stages of completion, but never seems to ever get done. My riding often feels like a bunch of pieces, strewn all over the desk. I’ve been trying to fit them together for years and years.

I especially see it in the videos and photos I accumulate of my riding. I’m still often not able to match up well with what something looks like and what I’m feeling in the saddle. But when I am able to get it right- connect a moment where my horse looks beautiful to a particular sensation I remember at that moment in my ride- it’s a magical feeling that makes me want to keep chasing it.

If any of this resonates with you, I would highly recommend both of Beth Baumert’s books. No matter if you consider yourself a dressage rider or not. So many of her concepts are applicable to all types of riding.

While you can buy the book at a variety of stores or maybe find them in your local library, if you purchase them through the affiliate link to Trafalgar Square Book’s equestrian material on this blog, I will receive a portion of the book sales. If you are reading this from The Backyard Horse Blog website, you can find the affiliate link on either the right hand side of the website or at the bottom (where you see the picture of the woman reading a book to a horse).

Or, if watching videos is more your thing, you also may find the following clip from Horse Class to be helpful. It explains and demonstrates what is meant by the phrase “inside leg to outside rein,” an important concept used for shaping the horse’s body towards better movement.

As quoted from a September 2021 Horse Class Email:

“There are many terms in riding that are a bit vague. Commonly used, but rarely explained. Inside leg to outside rein is one of these vague terms. It is a concept, a key concept for encouraging balanced movement from a horse, but many riders don’t actually know what this means or more importantly, what this feels like.

When I teach riding, I prefer to give both explanations and exercises. When we understand what we are doing, why we are doing it, and can feel it this creates true confidence!

In today’s video, I will do just this with the inside leg to outside rein concept to demonstrate what this means with our school horse AppleJack, explain why this is important (even if you are a trail rider), and then teach you an exercise to feel this with your own horse.

Click Here to watch “Inside Leg to Outside Rein” – What this means and an exercise to finally FEEL it:” https://www.horseclass.com/blog/inside-leg-to-outside-rein/

While you are on the Horse Class website, check out the other free videos offered. I think many of them dovetail nicely with the information presented in Beth Baumert’s books. In my book, they are all different pieces to the same puzzle. 🙂

Something For My Canadian Horse Friends

While I am a horse-owner in the USA, I enjoy keeping tabs on how folks ride and care for horses across the globe. I recently learned through the Canadian Horse Journal that the company Boehringer Ingelheim is offering free PPID tests to eligible horses in Canada.

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) is a chronic endocrine disorder. You may know it by its more common name, Cushing’s Disease. My own horse, Bear, received this diagnosis several years ago. Boehringer Ingelheim is the maker of the medication, Prascend, that Bear’s veterinarian prescribes him to address PPID symptoms.

To find out if your horse may be eligible for the free PPID test, go to https://www.bicanadaequine.ca/ppid to take the quiz.

The offer for the free test runs through October 26th, 2021.

If you are curious about PPID and would like to learn more, you can click on that link above. Even if you aren’t a Canadian resident, you may still find their website material informative. It contains helpful information about PPID including sections on how PPID is diagnosed, what symptoms it can cause, treatment and outcomes.

I have not seen any similar offers for residents outside Canada, but I will keep my eyes open and let readers know if I do. Horses are expensive. A horse with a chronic disease potentially more so. Every free offer that I see is worth considering and posting if it can help someone else better afford to care for their horses. Whether they live near or far.

The Bucket Fund

Have you heard of the Horse and Man Blog? It has got to be one of the longest running horse blogs in existence. I have been reading it for about a decade.

Dawn, the creator and author of this well-established blog, is a friend to horses in need. Through the blog’s “Bucket Fund,” thousands of dollars have been distributed to help horses recover from abuse, neglect and natural disasters.

The idea behind The Bucket Fund is that each “drop in the bucket” can add up to large amounts of money to help each month’s selected recipient(s). For example, if one thousand of her readers each donated just $5 (price of one fancy coffee), that would provide $5,000!

I personally know the power of the Bucket Fund. The fund once helped support the care of a group of miniature horses from the Indiana Horse Rescue, after I nominated them for the honor of being a Bucket Fund recipient. That month, the fund raised over a $1,000 for the minis. The money was much needed and appreciated.

Dawn’s mother passed away recently, and in honor of her Mother, she is asking readers this month (September 2021) to donate money towards a group of ten neglected horses recently taken in by Falcon Ridge Rescue in California (http://falconridgerescue.org/). Many of the horses are seniors. All terribly thin.

If you would like to read the group’s story go to

You can also learn how to donate to The Bucket Fund through the above link. I know that Dawn, Falcon Ridge Rescue and of course the horses would really appreciate any and all contributions.

Equine Fun With Carrot Tops

Usually, when I go to the grocery store, I see carrots without their leafy-green tops. But did you know that many horses enjoy eating this part of the carrot plant? As you can see by the photos, my horses certainly do. Every once in a while, when I can find them, I grab a bundle of carrots complete with tops.

Bear likes them so much that he even performs tricks at liberty in exchange for another bite.

Apparently, most people can eat carrot tops too. I confess I have not tried any myself yet, but I am curious. If you are too, see a recipe for sautéed carrot tops at https://www.forkintheroad.co/sauteed-carrot-greens/.

Interestingly, conventional wisdom holds that there are some cautions for both horses and humans when it comes to carrots.

For example, it is thought that folks with sensitivities to alkaloids and nitrates may want to avoid them. Likewise, it is thought that horses with PSSM should not eat carrots due to the high potassium levels. And horses with EMS, like Bear, are cautioned to only eat them in very small portions (or not at all depending upon an individual horse’s current health status) due to sugar content.

If you’d like to read more about feeding carrots to horses, with or without tops, read this post from Helpful Horse Hints at

Most importantly, it is helpful to remember that even though watching our horses enjoy carrots is fun, treats are best given in moderation (for example, the above article recommends no more than one or two carrots per day for the average horse without any dietary restrictions).

Race on Over to Take These Quizzes . . .

Check out the link below to take just-for-fun quizzes. All horse-related, of course!

From my favorite horse magazine, Equus, comes six entertaining quizzes with titles like “What rare horse breed are you?” and “What do horses say in different languages?”.

For those of you who might be sensitive to what your answers reveal about yourself, please note that your results are not to be taken seriously. 🙂

Go to https://equusmagazine.com/quizzes to have a little horsey fun today!

Equus Magazine Barn Stories Episode 38: The Next Journey (Featuring My Horse, Bear)

Have you listened to Equus Magazine’s Barn Stories podcasts? Barn Story material is selected by the magazine’s editors from almost forty years of True Tale stories that appeared in the printed magazine.

I am thrilled to see that my previously published True Tale story was made into Barn Stories Podcast: Episode 38! Equus has long been my favorite horse magazine. I actually remember reading it as a child. To have the magazine publish an essay of mine was meaningful. To see it turned into a podcast episode is a pleasant surprise.

I wrote the essay a few years ago. I composed it not long after my horse, Bear, began to struggle with a variety of health issues. His problems eventually led me to retire him from riding.

I actually figured that I did not have much time left with him. I anticipated most likely having him euthanized within the year.

I also didn’t have another horse of my own at home. I was fostering a series of horses for a rescue to keep Bear company. But none of them stayed with me permanently. With Bear’s health deteriorating, I also saw the end of my time as a horse owner looming before me.

The essay vividly reflects my feelings during that period. It is sad. Full of grief. Both real and anticipatory. My writing charged by the emotional turmoil that can occur when one experiences unwelcome life transitions.

Those of you who read the blog regularly will recognize that Bear is still with me. He turned 26 this year. But, you know. He won’t live forever. One day, I will in fact be grieving his actual loss. And at some point, my time as a horse owner will come to an end too.

Knowing those things will come to pass? It is painful. At the same time, that knowledge makes me appreciate all the more what I still do have. It sharpens my appreciation for what is right in front of me. Right here. Right now.

While reading or listening to sad stories is not for everyone, some of us find it therapeutic to dive into the depths of human experience and emotion. At least on occasion. Especially when it comes to how we feel about horses. Sometimes it is affirming and comforting to know that someone else feels similarly.

If you are inclined, you can listen to the podcast or read its transcript at

https://equusmagazine.com/podcasts/barn-stories-ep-38-the-next-journy.

The podcast is about 10 minutes long, including the introduction, an ad read right in the middle of the podcast and the actual essay.

For those of you who prefer to listen to or read something a little different, check out the other Barn Stories podcast episodes. Some are sad or poignant like mine. Some are funny and more of a gentle read. I think they all do a beautiful job of capturing the range of experiences that equestrians have with horses. Find them at

https://equusmagazine.com/podcasts/barn-stories-podcast

This is the image that I chose to accompany my Equus True Tale story in the magazine. Bear and I are riding out on BLM land near the Little Bookcliffs mountain range in Western Colorado. I have long been drawn to the openness and stark beauty of the high desert. I thought the feeling of the picture captured the vastness of my relationship with Bear. The photographer is none other than my non-riding husband who was leading my other horse, Pumpkin Spice. You can see Spice’s ear sweetly peaking over the bottom corner of the picture.

Labor Day Horse-Shopping Discounts

Readers may know that I like to do the majority of my horse-related shopping when I can best take advantage of steep discounts. I do this by keeping a list of my equestrian needs/wants while setting aside money throughout the year. I then try to time as many purchases as possible to coincide with Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

But . . . there certainly are discounts during other holiday-related shopping times too.

Speaking of that, those of you in the USA may be enjoying your last day of the long Labor Day weekend. If you’d like to get in some last minute shopping, I’ve rounded up a list of Labor Day horse-shopping discounts that popped into my email inbox recently for your shopping pleasure.

The picture above was taken from the Big D website. Go to https://www.bigdweb.com to take advantage of the offer(s) shown.

I don’t have pictures for these other offers, but here is the pertinent information from several more shopping websites. Please visit the websites for exact offer details and exclusions.

Riding Warehouse
Free $25 RW gift card with any $150 purchase
Offers expires on 9/6/21
https://ridingwarehouse.com

Smartpak
15% off plus, if you place a $200 order, get a free $50 e-gift card.
Use promo code LaborDay21
Offer expires 9/10/21
http://www.smartpakequine.com

Cheshire Horse
20% off in store and online (with some exceptions)
Offer expires 09/08/21 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern
Code: LONGWKND
https://www.cheshirehorse.com

Hay Pillow
10% off Standard Hay Pillows
One Day Only – Monday September 6th
Use Coupon Code: Lbr10
http://www.thehaypillow.com

Majesty’s Animal Nutrition (supplements/treats for equines and canines)
25% off all products
Valid Sept. 3rd through Sept 13th, 2021
Promo Code:LABORDAY25
https://majestys.com

Beauty For Real
30% off site wide
Use Code: LABOR30
Not sure of expiration date but probably at the end of the day today 9/6/21
https://beautyforreal.com
(Please note that Beauty For Real is a makeup company. Not for horses. BUT, if you purchase their Lip Revival- Tinted Lip Balm, 20% of proceeds will benefit Brooke USA. This is an organization that helps working equids and their families worldwide. See my previous post at https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/07/26/equine-non-profit-spotlight-the-brooke-and-brookeusa/ to learn more about The Brooke and Brooke USA)

Very Short Story: Window To A Horse’s Soul

Led into the stable, he held his head low. He had never been here before and didn’t know these people. His instincts told him to run, but he felt too tired and sore. He just got off the trailer after a long ride. Throat dry from lack of water. Stomach tight from little food. Hoofs sore from lack of trimming. Whatever these new people wanted to do to him, he knew he would just have to stand there and take it. With eyes and ears at half-mast, he started to disappear into himself as he had done so many days and nights before. As he shuffled forward into the new barn, he suddenly felt the soft bedding beneath his hooves as he entered a stall. He caught the scent of fresh hay in the corner. He took note of the full bucket of clear, clean water. All these unexpected comforts captured his attention. Maybe, just maybe, he could come alive again. Today I think I saw hope in that horse’s eyes.

***This very short story is dedicated to all those horses-in-need out there, still waiting on their own soft place to land. ***

Wednesday Whinny

One of the many horse professionals that I enjoy learning from online is Barbra Schulte. I find her positive outlook on horses, riding and competition so inviting.

I referenced her in a previous post at

Mental Fitness in Riding

For today’s post, I share her words that appeared in one of her recent “Just For Today” emails.

“I think about the people in my horse world who inspire me.

I am so grateful for them.

Today, I realize that I too inspire others.

This makes me feel good.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just a smile or a kind word or a compliment about their horse.

And I will never know how I encourage someone else by never giving up, succeeding, and just being me – as I am.

I love knowing we all help each other in ways we will never know!”

By Barbra Schulte in her Just For Today Email Dated 8/16/21

Pursuing our horsemanship goals can bring out the Type A personality hidden (or maybe not so hidden) in some of us. This can lead to noticing every thing wrong about our own horsemanship and that of others.

Sure, in order to improve, it is helpful to notice and acknowledge what needs to change. But there’s a difference between that kind of awareness verses dwelling on the negative. It can be a delicate balancing act of perspectives as we seek to learn and grow our skills.

I like this reminder from Barbra Schule that we all have the power to look for the inspiration we gain from others. Barbra also shows us that sometimes just being ourselves, in all our human messiness and contradiction, allows us to connect with others in a way that a “perfect” version of ourselves never could. How refreshing is that!