Giving Tuesday: 2021 Horse Edition

Yes, today is Cyber Monday. But I want to give a shout out to tomorrow’s 2021 Giving Tuesday.

Created in 2012, #Givingtuesday refers to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. Wikipedia defines it as “a global movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.” Giving Tuesday reminds us to look beyond our own backyards.

While giving to a cause can certainly be about donating your time through volunteering, donating money is what usually comes to mind on Giving Tuesday.

Not sure where to donate? Read on for several horse-related suggestions.

And in case you wonder about why I’ve selected these particular listings out of thousands of worthy organizations, I include links to previous posts I’ve written that relate to each one in an effort to add a personal touch.

YOUR LOCAL HORSE RESCUE OR SANCTUARY
Every dollar counts in a big way when running a horse rescue or sanctuary. There are so many organizations, large and small, doing the ongoing work of helping horses in need. If you don’t know of any local horse rescues off the top of your head, a quick Google search should give you some ideas. In addition to cash, many need donations of items like hay, feed and horse-care products. Giving Tuesday is a great time to get in contact with your local rescue. If you aren’t already aware, you might be surprised to learn about the equine rescue-work that goes on in your own community.

Beyond donating money, have you ever thought of fostering or adopting a rescue horse? Read about my own experience at https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2020/02/26/looking-for-another-horse-this-spring-consider-fostering-or-adopting-your-next-horse/.

WILD HORSE EDUCATION
https://wildhorseeducation.org/
Wild Horse Education(WHE) continues to be my favorite mustang advocacy organization. WHE works to film and document horses on the range as well as those controversial government round ups. As part of their ongoing public education efforts, WHE explains to the public why it is important to keep wild horses and burros on the range instead of removing them. WHE also advocates for wild horses and burros on a national level working with government law makers to try to improve protections for these animals. Right now, a generous donor is matching all donations up to a particular amount so your donation dollars can go farther!

Read about my own experience with mustangs by checking out my post “For The Wild Ones,” at https://thebackyardhorseblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/for-the-wild-ones/.

SADDLE UP AND READ
https://www.saddleupandread.org/
Have you heard the podcast Young Black Equestrians? One of the YBE co-hosts, Caitlin Gooch, is also the founder of Saddle Up And Read, a literacy program that combines the wonderful worlds of reading and horses. From the Saddle Up and Read website, “Saddle Up and Read is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based out of Wendell, NC. Saddle Up And Read is on a mission to encourage youth to achieve literary excellence through equine activities.” I personally love to read and would have been excited about a program like this as a child. I’ve posted about Saddle Up and Read more than once on this blog. See the most recent mention at https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/05/14/musings-all-roads-lead-to-horses/.

HORSE AND MAN BLOG’s THE BUCKET FUND
https://www.horseandman.com/the-drop-in-the-bucket-fund/
The Bucket Fund is proof that one blogger can make a difference for horses in need. I know that The Bucket Fund works because my local horse rescue once received much appreciated help from the fund!

“Each Month, HORSE AND MAN has a Drop in the Bucket Fund for a specific equine charity. My theory is that sometimes it is easier to give anonymously in a very small amount than not give at all because one feels embarrassed to give just a little. Well, many of us feel that way. But, if we put all the drops in one bucket, it makes a difference in some horse’s life. So, that is what this page is about. If you feel moved by our monthly Bucket Fund story but only have a few dollars to spare, we are happy to help it grow bigger.” – From the Horse and Man website

In addition to running The Bucket Fund, Horse and Man has recently added a separate fun called the “Keep them off the truck” donation fund. This fund is being built to raise money for horse rescues to purchase horses, donkeys and mules when they are in danger of going to slaughter via auction. You can find more information on the Horse and Man website.

To read my previous post about The Bucket Fund, go to https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/09/15/the-bucket-fund/.

THE BROOKE USA: Empowering Equines, Empowering People
http://www.BrookeUSA.org/givingtuesday
Did you know that 600 million of the world’s financially poorest people use 100 Million horses, donkeys and mules to make money and otherwise survive? The Brooke USA (and the long-standing UK based The Brooke) seek to support these folks by helping them help their working animals. This Giving Tuesday, your donations will go farther due to a current matching-donation program. From their website, “Giving Tuesday is a great time to show your passion for equines and people, so do not forget to #BrookeUSA #Women4Donkeys #GivingTuesday #DonkeyHideCrisis.”

I have mentioned them and the UK-based Brooke several times on this blog, most recently at https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/07/26/equine-non-profit-spotlight-the-brooke-and-brookeusa/.

Horse-Related Shopping: Black Friday 2021 Edition

What a weekend! We have Black Friday and Small Business Saturday followed by Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. Get your wallets ready.

After posting a “pre-Black Friday shopping” post recently, I am posting a list of discount offers that I came across since (and even a couple of rumors of offers that I wasn’t able to confirm but thought were worth noting).

Please note that offer details may vary. If you see something that peaks your interest, I highly suggest popping over to the corresponding website immediately to read the exact offer and all the fine print. Sometimes time limits, quantities, etc . . . are very specific.

If the details I list below are different than what you see on the company’s website, take the website’s word for it. Make sure the discount actually shows up in your shopping cart total before you press “buy”. If not, you can call the company and try to recoup your money, but that’s not always possible. Shop with caution.

Alright, let’s get started . . .

Big D’s Tack and Vet Supply
https://www.bigdweb.com/
10% Off sitewide on Black Friday with some notable exceptions such as feed, shaving, vet wrap, vaccines and dewormers. In addition, check out their Black Friday Doorbusters on their website.

Cheshire Horse
http://www.cheshirehorse.com
15% OFF plus free shipping with orders $75+ with code HOLIDAY2021. Good through Cyber Monday.

Chewy
https://www.chewy.com/b/horse-2971
Chewy has listed quite a few horse-related Black Friday deals. I saw A LOT of “buy two-get one free” offers on everything from liniment to horse feed! Click on the Chewy link above to see the offers.

Remember, too, that Chewy has a donation program where you can place a Chewy order and have the items mailed directly to a rescue of your choice. A wonderful Black Friday gift for the lucky animal rescue you select! Find more info at https://www.chewy.com/g/animal-shelters-and-rescues.

Corro
https://corroshop.com/collections/black-friday-cyber-monday
Now through November 29th, 2021 at 11:59 pm EST, take 15%-20% off select brands and receive free shipping on all orders.

Dover Saddlery
http://www.doversaddlery.com
BOGO 50% OFF Dover Saddlery & Noble Shirts, Breeches & Tights with promo code: CMXBOGOBF. Offer expires 11/28/21 at 11:59pm EST. As quoted from their website: “Excludes outerwear and sweaters. Purchase an item from the BOGO 50% Off Dover Saddlery & Noble Equestrian Shirts, Breeches & Tights promotion, and get another item from the BOGO 50% Off Dover Saddlery & Noble Equestrian Shirts, Breeches & Tights promotion, 50% off its list price.” Also, Dover is offering numerous additional discounts on specific equestrian brands, all advertised on their home page now.

Five Star
http://www.5starequineproducts.com
Buy 1 pair of patriot boots-Get 1 pair half off with code BFBOOTS. Black Friday 2021 only. Ends at midnight.

HayChix
https://haychix.com/collections/thanks2you-sale
20% off all single products, 2fer hay nets deals and free shipping from 11/26-11/29.

Horse Class
https://www.horseclass.com/
Horse Class announced that it will be offering a large discount on one or more online-learning courses, but I am not privy to exactly what it is. I am guessing it will be announced on their website sometime today.

Ice Horse
http://www.icehorse.com
Twenty percent off purchases using HOLIDAY20

Ivy’s Glide Gait
https://www.ivyshorses.com
Special offer on Ivy’s “Train A Smooth Gait- Complete Guide DVD Set”. From Ivy’s website, “Train a smooth gait, whether you have a trotty gaited horse or a pacey horse. Learn the most important exercise to get your horse calm. Watch multiple horses learn to gait using these techniques. Over 9 hours of footage.” Black Friday deal is 50% off the normal price of this set so was $199 and is now $99. Personal note here- I have not seen this particular training set, but I enjoy watching and have benefited from Ivy’s Youtube training videos that feature horse-friendly riding and training techniques.

Jeffers Pet
https://www.jefferspet.com/pages/horse
10% off sitewide on Black Friday with some notable exceptions listed on their website. Use code: GOBBLE21.

Joyful Equestrian
https://joyfulequestrian.com/
20% off everything. Discount automatically provided at checkout. Offer only on Black Friday.

Kong Equine (horse toys!)
https://kongequine.com/
Offering $50 off a Kong Equine through 11/29. Go to the website, wait for the pop up square and enter your email address. Kong will then send you a coupon code to get the $50 off.

Majesty’s Animal Nutrition
https://majestys.com/
30% off on Black Friday, November 26, 2021 only using code: BLACKFRIDAY30. Remember that if you happen to miss shopping with them on Black Friday, you can still get 25% off on orders through December 31st, 2021 using coupon code HOLIDAY2021.

Redmone Equine
https://redmondequine.com/
Buy two products get one for free. Mix and match. Free item will be least expensive one. Offer is for now through December 1st, 2021. Here’s my personal note- Be aware that you must add three items to your cart and then have to go all the way through to the last page of the checkout process before you will see the discounted price of the free item show up.

Retired Racehorse Project Store
https://www.retiredracehorseproject.org/about-rrp/shop-rrp 20% off storewide, free boot socks on orders $75+ and free shipping on orders $75+ now through Cyber Monday. Buy one, get any additional 20% of on subscriptions to OTTB Magazine through end of year.

Riding Warehouse at https://www.ridingwarehouse.com
Generally, Riding Warehouse features a certain percentage off your shopping cart on Black Friday, but I didn’t see an offer pre-advertised yet for this year. I DO see a 20% off discount on Kerrits, Horze and BVeritgo apparel right now on their website.

If you’d like to have a portion of your Riding Warehouse purchases go towards helping horses in need, please go to the blog http://www.horseandman.com and click on their affiliate link with Riding Warehouse. You can do this all year round, not just Black Friday. A portion of your sales will then go to help horses in need through the Horse and Man Bucket Fund!

Smart Pak Equine
https://www.smartpakequine.com/
Save 15% on your order through 11/29/21. Use coupon code BF2021. Plus, for folks placing larger orders (like $200 worth), they are offering a free gift with purchase that changes each day, but they are not announcing ahead of time what those free gifts are (last year, they ranged from a free hay net to a free pair of paddock boots). You will have to look at their website each day to see each day’s offer.

The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care
https://shop.thehorse.com/products/digital-subscription-5
$5 DIGITAL subscription offer now through Cyber Monday. I personally really enjoy reading The Horse each month. A great source of solid, reliable horse information.

The Narrow Trail: Inspire, Learn & Grow in Horses and Faith
https://thenarrowtrail.com/shop/
25% off now through Cyber Monday. Use code: BLACK.

Total Saddle Fit
https://www.totalsaddlefit.com
20% off site-wide when you use promo code: BLACK.
Offer valid on Black Friday November 26, 2021 only.

Trafalgar Square Books
https://www.horseandriderbooks.com OR you can click on the affiliate link on The Backyard Horse Blog website where you see the photo of a woman reading a book to a horse. The blog will then receive a much appreciated portion of your sales without it costing you anything extra.
20% off sitewide now through Cyber Monday.

Vintage Western Wear
https://www.vintagewesternwear.com/
Save 15% at checkout. Use coupon code: BLACK FRIDAY. Discount is site wide on non-sale items over $50. Expires 12/1/21.

Not enough discounts and offers listed here for your tastes? Amanda at the Breed Ride Event blog posts a huge annual list of equestrian Black Friday discounts. Find this year’s list at https://breedrideevent.com/.

Finally, don’t forget to set aside some money for Giving Tuesday! I’ll have more to say about that on Monday’s blog. I also plan to post a list of horse-related non-profits that could benefit from your support!

If Wishes Were Saddles

Are you familiar with the phrase, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride?” If not, you might enjoy reading about its history on Wikipedia at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_wishes_were_horses,_beggars_would_ride

The phrase and rhyme from which it comes definitely have a wistful quality. When it comes to horses, “wistful” could have been my middle name as a child. As a young girl with no horse of my own, I always envisioned myself with a stable full of steeds one day.

Reality has been decidedly different. Not too bad, mind you. But definitely different. As an adult, I have yet to keep more than four horses at a time. I never did get that stable with the indoor arena. While in theory I would still love to have a bigger herd, I have my hands full at the moment with my current set of three geldings.

But if wishes were saddles? Well then. Let me wish away.

I am especially interested in acquiring a couple of western dressage saddles. I’ve written previous posts about my interest in using basic dressage principals as I ride my gaited horses in western tack. I would like one saddle to fit my horse, Shiloh. The other to fit my horse, Piper. Bear, as you may recall, is retired. But if we are dreaming here, can we make Bear young and sound again?

While most plain old saddles work fine for my level of pursuit, Western dressage saddles tend to put the rider in a more classic dressage position, rather than more of a chair seat as happens with many western saddle varieties. They also allow the rider to feel their horse’s back, something that can be difficult to do through the bulk of many regular western saddles. The goal with the western dressage saddle is to help the rider help their horse find a more balanced way of going in keeping with the tenants of dressage.

But . . . quality western dressage saddles are few and far between. And quite expensive. And almost impossible for me to find on the used market. There is also the issue of fantasy meeting reality. A fancy saddle won’t magically make you a better rider. Even worse, sometimes that fantasy saddle does not end up fitting your horse.

How often do we make the mistake of thinking that some shiny new thing is going to dramatically improve our lives? Over the years, I have sat is some very expensive saddles across several disciplines. Usually when taking lessons or test-riding a horse for sale. I can’t say I instantly rode better because of those saddles. The feedback I received during some of those lessons definitely reflected that reality unfortunately.

At the same time, I do believe a quality saddle has the potential to help a rider get farther faster in their horsemanship. It is hard enough to “ride well” in any kind of saddle. But when we are constantly fighting to reposition ourselves due to some fault of the saddle design? Or struggle to feel what our horse is doing underneath us? It makes riding ten times more difficult.

So I keep having this saddle fantasy. I dream of wonderful quality saddles. That fit each of my horses like a glove. That look handsome with a beautiful finish and intricate tooling. That allows me to happily gait my horses off into the sunset. With my horses reflecting a deep comfort as they glide over the ground. Relaxed. Engaged. Forward.

Photo taken from the Lilly Tay website

What is my fantasy saddle of the moment? It is a DP Saddlery Quantum Short and Light Western saddle with a Dressage Seat #5028, sold through the company Lilly Tay for about $4,000. I have never sat in one, but I would sure would like to give it a try and see if reality matches my fantasy.

“This saddle is a true hybrid built on an English tree, it works for those difficult to fit horses with short backs, wide, and round horses and has wool flocked panels for extra comfort for horse and rider and is fabulous for those seeking comfort for their horse and themselves.

It also features DP Saddlery’s famous adjustable gullet so that you can change the gullet from narrow to extra wide, providing superior spine clearance for the horse.

As if it couldn’t get any better, with the added Western Dressage seat and fender style, the rider is automatically placed in a correctly balanced seat. And the stirrup bars are set back to encourage a proper leg position and discourage a chair seat.

With a softly padded seat, this saddle is ideal for long trail rides, gaited horses, and endurance riders.”

-From the Lilly Tay website at http://www.lillytay.com.

How about you, dear reader? Do you have a fantasy saddle? If so, let me know in the comments section. And by the way! Do you plan to do any shopping, saddle or otherwise, this weekend? If so, please stop by The Backyard Horse Blog on Friday morning. Assuming my computer is firing on all cylinders, I expect to have a list of horse-related shopping discounts for you to hopefully make all those Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases more affordable.

I Am Getting Prepared For Winter- How about you?

What season is it in your part of the world? I am technically in the later part of Fall. But it sure is feeling like Winter. Cold, wet, windy. Pretty soon, my backyard will look like the photo above, taken on the last day of December in 2017.

It may not be official yet on the calendar, but when my horse-water tubs start to freeze at night, I know the coldest, darkest days are just around the corner. I spent last week and weekend doing Winter preparation.

To start things off on the right hoof, I got in an enjoyable and productive ride on both Shiloh and Piper. It was a cold but mercifully sunny day. We had something new to look at during our rides as the harvest was in full swing with all the combines/trucks out and about.

I am happy to report that neither Shiloh nor Piper seemed upset by the commotion. I recall that Bear used to be very difficult to ride during harvest time as he was afraid of the large vehicles and all the related noise. Those repeated previous experiences now leave me wondering how any horse that I ride will handle those situations.

While it may not be my final at-home-ride day of the year, it was likely one of the last. The combination of cold-wind-clouds-frozen/muddy ground in my area typically makes regular riding outside painfully uncomfortable for me. I usually am not able to ride at home again with any consistency until almost May.

Since the rest of the week didn’t look promising for backyard riding, I then tackled other items on my Winter prep list:

Item #1 Move horse trailer to its Winter storage position

I don’t think I’ve ever hauled a horse between December and February. In an emergency, though, I might decide to take the horse(s) to the vet clinic rather than wait for a vet to arrive to my property. I want the trailer easy to access but somewhat protected from weather and out of the way for visitors. In good weather, it’s easy to run outside and move the horse trailer at the last minute so the farrier can easily park his truck. In bad weather, when I have to wade through snow drifts to get to the trailer, moving it becomes a major chore. Better to move it out of the way now. And lookie here, I got the ball lined up just right on the first try! Why doesn’t that happen on a warm Summer day when I am excited to hook up the trailer and go for a ride?

Item #2 Take all liquid barn products into the house

Those of you with a more traditional barn may not have this issue. But I have to bring all those bottles of liquid into my house so they don’t freeze in my open air barn. Tack cleaner, fly sprays, mane detangler and shampoo can all freeze and bust out of their containers. It creates a wasteful mess that I learned to avoid by organizing an annual migration for all my barn potions and lotions.

Item #3 Organize Barn Area and Count Supplies

The end of my at-home-riding season is a great time to dig through my tack and equipment bins. It reminds me of items I previously set aside to be repaired or replaced. It allows me to count what I still have left over. And to realize what I need to restock. I take special note of items that I use more often during Winter, trying to make sure I have enough on hand to last through a Winter weather storm. Sometimes getting to my local feed store or Tractor Supply Store is difficult or downright dangerous during those times. Having enough hay on hand is an absolute must. Also things like bedding and stall deodorizer for my run-in-shed. In good weather, the horses tend to do their business away from the run-in shed. But in cold, snowy, windy weather, I am regularly cleaning up big messes in and around the shed as they spend more time around the shelter.

Item #4 Set up water tank with heater

Without a way to heat my water tanks, my horses’ water consumption would plummet. Unheated water tanks will freeze over in December and not thaw out until March in my area. Read almost any literature about colic in horses during Winter, and it will inevitably mention lack of water as a major contributing factor.

The one situation that I have not been able to resolve to my satisfaction yet? My on-again-off-again quest to buy a second run-in-shed before Winter. I’ve been fortunate that after almost twenty years, I’ve had up to four horses all be able to use the one run-in-shed equitably. But my newest horse, Piper, is not as apt to share. I’ve been waffling about whether or not to get a second shed. Piper’s resource guarding behavior has waxed and waned since he arrived, leading me to wonder if a second shed is actually necessary or not. Another complicating factor is that all the recent wet weather is not conducive to bringing in large equipment to prep a site and bring in a heavy shed. Way too much soft ground and mud. So my plans are still in limbo and may realistically need to wait until next year.

What about you? Do you live in an area with formidable Winters? Are you ready? Preparation doesn’t help us avoid all disasters. All the same, doing as much as you can ahead of time will give you the peace of having some resources in place and at the ready for what can be a long and harsh season around the barn.

Enter Tribute Equine’s Constant Comfort™ Sweepstakes- Now through December 31st, 2021!

I know I am not the only one who enjoys entering horse-related contests, right? Well, here’s another one for interested readers to enter.

I found out about the sweepstakes after signing up to receive emails from Tribute Equine. Readers may recall my post about taking advantage of a BOGO free offer of Tribute Equine’s Constant Comfort blocks.

I used the photo you see above for that post too (in case you are wondering why the picture looks familiar). If you missed the post, you may read it at

Have you seen the Constant Comfort Block?

This particular sweepstakes is giving away a bunch of useful stuff for some lucky human and their horse(s). I noticed that one of the prizes is a Constant Comfort block holder. I didn’t even realize they made block holders especially for the Constant Comfort blocks!

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Constant Comfort Sweepstakes event! Sign up before December 31st for a chance to win a prize valued at $1,000. A random winner will be drawn January 3rd, 2022. Winner will win 1 men’s or women’s Tribute Cinch jacket, a Dover Saddlery custom leather halter, a Constant Comfort block holder, and a 1 year supply of Constant Comfort Plus (12 bags) and Constant Comfort blocks (24 blocks), shipped on a monthly basis.”

– From a Tribute Equine sweepstakes email announcement

The sweepstakes is open to residents 18 and older in most of the USA (Alaska and Hawaii excluded, probably because of the monthly shipping compenent of the contest prize).

If you’d like to enter the contest, click on the link below and let me know later if you win!

https://tributeequinenutrition.com/content/constant-comfort-sweepstakes

Equine Illustrated Inspiration

“When I can’t ride anymore, I shall keep horses as long as I can hobble around with a bucket and a wheelbarrow. When I can’t hobble, I shall roll my wheelchair out to the fence of the field where my horses graze and watch them. Whether by wheelbarrow or wheelchair, I will do likewise to keep alive-as long as I can do as best I can-my connection with horses.”
― Monica Enid Dickens, Talking of Horses (1973)

I love this quote from Monica Enid Dickens. This great-granddaughter of famous British author Charles Dickens was clearly acquainted with horses. She spoke to that longing that so many of us have, to maintain some involvement with horses no matter our circumstances. Such is this magnificent creature’s hold on our hearts.

Pairing inspiring quotes and horse pictures, Equine Illustrated Inspiration is a periodic feature on The Backyard Horse Blog. Sending out thanks to my horse, Shiloh, for posing to let me take this nifty shadow shot from the saddle.

The Tack Change and Exchange Game

No one is going to mistake me for a professional horse trainer, but I definitely subscribe to the idea that anyone who interacts with a horse is stepping into the role of an educator. We teach our horses how to behave around us, in part, by the behaviors we reinforce. The following quote jumped out at me in that regard.

“The overall goal in educating a horse is not only to teach him what we expect him to do, but to cause him to want to do it- with enthusiasm, enjoyment, and even a kind of commitment, as if he felt himself to be a partner in important work.” – Dr. Deb Bennett

If you are wondering that in the world that has to do with the title of this blog post, please stay with me here while I explain.

The “important work” of my horses, as I see it for my situation, is keeping me safe. Whether I am on the ground or sitting on their backs. Safety is always on my mind.

I can’t avoid all disasters, but I can try to help my horses help keep me safe. One way I can do this is by finding tack suited and comfortable to each horse.

After all, how can I expect my horses to consistently do things “with enthusiasm, enjoyment and a kind of commitment” if they are constantly distracted-constricted-hurting in some way by what they are wearing?

All this has been on my mind as I get to know my newest horse, Piper. My tack options are limited by price and access, but my goal is still Piper’s comfort.

In his former home, Piper was ridden in a Western trail-type saddle and curb bit. So I started off riding him in my own Western trail-type saddle and a Myler curb bit I had in my tack bin.

Unfortunately, my Western saddle seems too wide for Piper. It slopes down somewhat towards his withers rather than sitting level on his back. With the curb bit, he seemed to carry it comfortably in his mouth, but any rein pressure accentuated his tendency to get behind the vertical.

Then I bought a quality Circle Y Western saddle on sale. But Piper flinched when I mounted as though the saddle dug in and pinched him. And while the saddle was couch-comfortable underneath me, as soon as Piper started gaiting, I was in a chair seat. I struggled constantly to put my feet back underneath me with every stride.

After returning the Circle Y, I borrowed a saddle-seat saddle from my riding instructor. This saddle seemed to fit Piper well. But the slick, flat seat didn’t give me the most secure feeling. Especially when riding a horse that I am just getting to know.

So when I saw an Australian-looking-type saddle for sale at a second-hand tack sale, I decided to give it a go. I say “looking-type” because it doesn’t sport all of the details that I normally associate with Australian saddles. My uneducated identification may very well be inaccurate. Maybe some of the blog’s Australian readers could set me straight on that?

In any case, what I like most about this saddle is that the saddle tree is similar to the saddle-seat saddle that seemed to fit Piper well. I really appreciated being able to borrow the saddle-seat saddle, because I don’t think I would have thought about trying a saddle with an English tree without that experience of seeing how Piper seemed to like the saddle-seat saddle. He just seemed to feel more relaxed in it than the two Western saddles that I tried.

I also sampled several saddle pads and girth styles. I got the impression Piper preferred my five star saddle pad paired with a traditional English girth. He consistently flinched when girthed up with the wider Total Saddle Fit girths that my other horses seem to like and that I happily gave a positive review to on this blog.

After riding Piper in both a curb bit and a snaffle bit, I have recently settled on a Dr. Cook’s bitless bridle for the moment. Piper’s tendency to over flex is more pronounced in the curb bit than the eggbutt snaffle, but I feel like he relaxes and stretches out even more with the bitless bridle. I may switch back and forth for awhile between the snaffle and the bitless bridle until I get a better feel of him.

So long story short, we’ve got a bit of an eclectic tack situation going on. The Australian-looking-type saddle, the Western saddle pad, the English girth and the bitless bridle (with the eggbutt snaffle a close second). Winter (the end of my backyard-riding season) is fast approaching so this is likely how we will finish the year.

I know I am not the only one who has struggled with finding the right tack combo. How about you? What is the most unusual tack combination you’ve ever tried? Let me know in the comments section.

2021 Equestrian Pre-Black Friday/Cyber Monday Discounts (plus bonus horse-treat recipe)

Last year, I wrote a post about pre-planning for Black Friday/Cyber Monday horse-related shopping. Taking advantage of discounts and BOGO offers features prominently in my ability to better afford my horses and the entire horse lifestyle. You can read the post here at

Master Plan For Cyber Monday: prepping for all that horse shopping 🙂

As the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic and the resulting supply chain issues, I notice that many retailers are starting to advertise deals earlier than usual. Equestrian retailers included.

Here are a few of the horse-related early deals that I found online. Please be aware that offer details are sometimes quite specific and can change. I suggest visiting the corresponding websites and reading the terms/conditions of offers thoroughly.

SmartPak Equine 12 Days of Deals
http://www.smartpakequine.com
SmartPak, best known for their supplements, carries a huge line of tack, gear and clothing for the horse and rider. Each day’s deals ends at Midnight. Check back daily through November 19th, 2021.

Majesty’s Animal Nutrition 25% OFF Holiday Shopping
http://www.majestys.com
Majesty’s Animal Nutrition carries a line of tasty treats/supplements for horses and dogs. Use the code HOLIDAY2021 now through December 31st, 2021 to get 25% off your order.

Trafalgar Square Books 25% OFF
Trafalgar Square Books carries a wonderful line of horse books (both hardcopy and digital) and DVD’s for a range of equestrian interests and disciplines. The Backyard Horse Blog likes Trafalgar Square Books so much that it became an affiliate. The blog can earn a much appreciated portion of your book sales when you shop through the affiliate link on The Backyard Horse Blog website (look for the photo of the woman reading a book to a horse). Using the affiliate link doesn’t cost you anything extra, but if you don’t want to use it, you can also access TSB directly through their website at http://www.horseandriderbooks.com. Either way, use code TSBFAN for 25% off during the month of November 2021.

Dover Saddlery BOGO 50% off select clothing
http://www.doversaddlery.com
Dover Saddlery, catering to the English rider, carries a full line of equestrian products. Currently, for a limited time (through 11/14/21 11:59pm EST), they offer a BOGO 50% off Dover Saddlery and Noble shirts, breeches and tights with code CMXGET2.

What if you live outside the USA and it’s not practical to shop these US based stores? Or what about if you prefer home-made gifts for yourself, your horses or barn friends? Try out a horse-treat recipe from fellow horse-blogger, Reese, at Horses of The Ozark Hills! Made with pumpkin puree, these make a terrific fall/holiday treat to gift to your own horses, friends’ horses, lesson horses or for all those upcoming holiday-themed barn parties. See her recipe at

Hopefully as Black Friday/Cyber Monday approaches, I can offer up one more post listing even more options. All depends on what I come across as I surf the web. If you are aware of a horse-related discount that you’d like to share, help your fellow readers out by including it in the comments section below!

Winner Announcement of The $50 GiftECard to Great British Equinery!

Congratulations to Tracie N., our latest winner of a contest hosted by The Backyard Horse Blog!

The contest was announced in last Friday’s post. Powered by the platform Rafflecopter, the winner was randomly selected. Thank you to Rafflecopter for the assistance in running the contest and to Great British Equinery for providing the goods! Thank you also to everyone who took the time to participate in the contest!

Remember, even if you didn’t win, readers can still use the special coupon code BYHB to receive 10% off at Great British Equinery!

https://greatbritishequinery.com/

Speaking of shopping, I notice that more than one equestrian retailer is offering some early holiday deals ahead of Black Friday/Cyber Monday. I wrote previously about how I usually save up money all year so I can take advantage of the many discounts and free offers. See the post at

Master Plan For Cyber Monday: prepping for all that horse shopping 🙂

It’s definitley part of my budgeting strategy to better afford the things that I want but yet are normally out of my price range. I notice this year that some of the deals are starting early so between now and Cyber Monday 2021, I plan to do a couple of posts listing the horse-related shopping deals that I am coming across as I comb the internet. Stay tuned . . .

Congrats again to our latest blog contest winner!

Horse On The Mend But Human Dwindling

In a post last week, I wrote about a very rainy October interfering with my riding plans. Then my horse, Bear, developing a painful abscess.

Bear is on the mend. He was still somewhat gimpy a week after his vet visit, often wearing his Soft Ride boots for added comfort. He’s been about a day and half without his boots now. Looking good. Bear’s farrier comes out this week so it will be interesting to get his input too.

I have also been somewhat gimpy. Also pretty exhausted from all the extra work of keeping Bear separated from the other horses during his treatment and recuperation. All this coming on the edge of adding a third horse, Piper, to my backyard herd.

Even before Bear’s abscess, my body acknowledged the increased work load in distributing all that extra hay and shoveling all that resulting extra manure. My mind acknowledged the increased band-width it takes to make room for this new creature. All the plans, hopes, concerns. Expected and unexpected.

My body was hurting. My mind was busy. And then I thought I saw the first signs of Bear becoming foot sore. I wondered if the addition of Piper, who is now top of the pecking order, was still causing Bear to move around more than his old hooves could accommodate.

Their interactions seemed much more cordial to me than when Piper first arrived, but I couldn’t deny that Bear was now looking uncomfortable.

So I split the run-in shed and the rest of their paddock down the middle using plastic step-in posts and electric tape. Piper on one side. Bear and Shiloh on the other. I breathed a sigh of relief. I told myself this set-up would give Bear time to heal.

And then Bear quickly went three-legged lame, holding out his left front hoof like it was on fire. I called the veterinarian and reconfigured the paddock set up again. Now using an ever evolving configuration of the electric-fencing tape, depending upon how much space I feel is appropriate for the level of activity I want to discourage or encourage in Bear through the healing process. Bear in a small pen. Shiloh and Piper in the rest of paddock.

Since I don’t have actual stalls, I turned half of the run-in-shed into something resembling a bedded stall with shavings for a soft place for Bear to stand and lay down. Good for Bear. More work for me to keep it clean and fluffy.

Through all this, I kept up with my lesson-horse riding lessons. But due to my exhaustion level, Shiloh and Piper likely thought that their upcoming Winter riding break had started early. Finally after not riding either horse for two weeks, I got in a ride with each of them yesterday. Then promptly took a nap. I loved looking down at those now fuzzy-wuzzy ears, all prepped for a long and cold Winter.

By the way, if you have a horse with lameness issues of any kind, I highly recommend talking with your veterinarian and/or farrier about whether the Soft Ride boots would be appropriate for your horse.

They have been instrumental in Bear recovering from previous episodes of laminitis and abscesses (also in emptying my bank account- the boots are pricey as is expedited shipping if you need them overnighted for emergency lameness- just a warning).

You can read about the boots at http://www.softrideboots.com (this recommendation by me is unsolicited and uncompensated by Soft Ride).

So long story short, I’m still feeling run-down. But here’s something more fun to share with you as I wrap up my tired tale. While laying on the floor trying to keep my aching back from seizing up, I did some web surfing about various lameness issues. I came across the following interactive quizzes. Two are specifically regarding horse hooves. The other regarding general horse anatomy.

https://horseandrider.com/horse-health-care/trivia-challenge-equine-hoof-foot-facts

https://horseandrider.com/horse-health-care/trivia-challenge-quarter-cracks-horizontal-cracks-horses-hooves

I enjoy the entertainment aspect of quizzes, but I also find that sometimes I retain the information presented more readily than if it had just been given in didactic form.

How about you? If you have some time, take a minute to check out the quizzes and let me know which one(s) you like best!

Still got a minute? Don’t forget to enter the latest The Backyard Horse Blog contest! Go here to find out more and get the entry link https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/11/05/enter-now-to-win-a-50-e-gift-certificate-to-great-british-equinery/

Entries close tomorrow, Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 at 11:59pm!

Enter Now to Win a $50 E-Gift Certificate to Great British Equinery!

Today marks my 300th post at The Backyard Horse Blog. Thank you to each person out there for your reads, likes and comments!

The occasion seems like a good time to announce another contest. Thank you to Great British Equinery for making this blog’s third contest possible!

Why Great British Equinery? My first review on The Backyard Horse Blog was of a set of fly masks I bought from Great British Equinery of Indiana. Since that time, Great British Equinery has periodically sent me products to test and review on this blog. While Great British Equinery caters to the English rider, there are plenty of products for all equestrians to use and enjoy. Just because you don’t ride in an English saddle, don’t let that stop you from checking them out. For a recap of those blog reviews, use this link at

Shout Out To Great British Equinery of Indiana!

But back to the contest! I decided to try my hand at using the platform Rafflecopter to run this particular contest for a $50 E-Gift Certificate to Great British Equinery. Due to the selected Rafflecopter contest parameters, this contest is open only to USA residents who are thirteen years of age or older. My apologies to my valued readers who live elsewhere in this wonderful world of ours.

Since this is my first experience with Rafflecopter, there may be bugs to work out. If you have trouble entering, please contact me via email at thebackyardhorseblog@gmail.com so I can try to resolve the issue for you.

Hurry! Contest ends soon on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember too that the Backyard Horse Blog readers (if you are reading this, that’s you!) can now get a 10% discount when you shop at Great British Equinery with a special coupon code! Even on sale items! Go to https://greatbritishequinery.com/. Shop and then enter this coupon code at checkout: BYHB

Free For Young Horse-Lovers Everywhere

Did you know that Horse Illustrated has a sister magazine called Young Rider?

“For over 20 years, it has delivered a fun-filled mixture of English and Western riding instruction, horse care tips, contests, beautiful color posters and stories about real kids. Young Rider continues to encourage and inspire kids to pursue their passion for better riding and horsemanship.”

Taken from the Young Rider website at http://www.youngrider.com

You have to pay to subscribe to the main Young Rider magazine, but they also offer a FREE digital-only extra publication named YR MINI! Who doesn’t love free?

Go to https://www.horseillustrated.com/mini-digital-library to see all the issues available to read for free online. Enter your email address (with permission from your parents/guardian, please, if you are under 13) and then a link to the issue will be sent to your inbox.

I have not read all the issues cover to cover, but I enjoy scrolling through them. Coloring pages, word searches, quizzes, horse care and riding articles. Fun and informative stuff.

While the issues are geared to readers age eight to fifteen, I actually think the magazine would be of interest to horse lovers of any age due to the engaging content and layout. Sharing the issues would also be a fun way to connect with the horse-loving youth in your family. I know there are a few horse-owning grandmothers out there looking at this right now, right?

Happy reading!

*Please note this post was unsolicited and uncompensated by Young Rider or Horse Illustrated magazine.

The Trouble With All That Rain

Yikes! The rain just kept coming down in my area for most of October. In unusual amounts. With surprising frequency.

Before I continue my grousing, I want to declare that I actually like rainy weather. The cool feel to the air. The cloud cover. The sense of cleansing and renewal. The way rain makes me appreciate the sun’s rays when they reappear. Rain has life-giving power both to the body and the spirit.

But just like anything else out of balance, too much rain can cause problems. The weather in my area during this recent period was definitely unbalanced.

Without an indoor arena in my backyard, I lose precious riding days during these seasons. Even after the rain stops, I often have to get creative to work around soggy footing conditions. Here I am getting a quick ride in with Piper between storms.

My creative riding helps me accumulate more saddle time than I would otherwise. But at a certain point, I usually have to cry uncle and post-pone all riding plans. This happened to me last week.

Even just general horse-keeping is complicated by the rain and all the ensuing mud. My run-in-shed is surrounded by an ag-lime footing base, but the rest of the paddock is not.

Despite the benefits of having a small area of solid footing, I still end up schlepping through a certain amount of mud to do horse chores. Worse still, the horses drag and squash the mud into the ag-lime footing and use the area as a restroom when they don’t feel like trudging through the mud to reach their usual lavatory locations.

It all creates a huge mess. Everything takes longer to clean. The footing gets worn down. My entire body hurts. It is me, my muck bucket and pitch fork against the world.

But could it be worse, you ask? Well, yes, as a matter of fact. What is more serious than my riding plans being derailed? Then all the extra chore- work? The increased likelihood of a horse developing a hoof abscess during periods of wet, muddy weather. Especially for a horse with a history of hoof problems.

This sadly was my horse, Bear, at the end of last week. Hoof abscesses (while generally not life threatening) are incredibly painful. It is very stressful to see your horse, particularly an older horse with multiple health issues, in so much discomfort.

With the support of his veterinarian (who did that beautiful leg wrap to address leg swelling above the affected hoof), I am in the middle of trying to nurse Bear through this episode. Hopefully I will be able to write an update in the near future. Even better would be a positive update.

Curious to learn more about hoof abscesses? I found the following resources, written by veterinarians, to be helpful:

https://aaep.org/horsehealth/hoof-abscesses
https://vet.purdue.edu/vth/large-animal/equine-health-tip-equine-hoof-abscesses.php
https://horsesidevetguide.com/Sole+Abscesses+in+Horses+What+You+Need+To+Know

Here’s looking forward to what the weatherman says will be a drier and sunnier change in the forecast this week.