Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Engagement Party With A Little Country Flare

My Sister and Mother put together a great Engagement Party with a little country feel to it! Not to much horse and not too much cowgirl, just right! Thanks Mom and Kritters! Countdown to the wedding, 2 months away on May 17th!

They made these cute champagne glasses with lace, roses, and twing on a burlap piece.



Cute lace place mats, gerber daisies in mason jars, and little party favors in a little brown bag.

Adorable and yummy dairy free appetizers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Cleaning And Organization

For the life of me, I do not understand how you can have a big barn and not organizing the crap out of it. So many barns have stuff just laying around, especially boarding stables. I always have a sudden urge to organize things.

Organizing feed rooms is important to keep rodents out and preserve your horses health and the quality of the feed. If you are going to organize anything do it here!

Separate grain into their own containers that seal shut to keep the mice poop out. If you buy your grain in large quantities bins are an option.
Some grain bins are expensive, so creating your own may be the way to go. I like this one that uses muck buckets and a homemade system to hold the muck buckets. The lid slide down over the bucket. Tip: buy the buckets at Target, where you pay $7 a piece. Buying at the feed store usually averages $15/each.

For boarding stables, sometimes having the boarder separate the grain into baggies with the supplements is easier, especially if you require the boarder to buy their own grain. It also provides the horse owners with reassurance that you are feeding their horse the correct items, they can always go back and see how many bags are left. It is also easy for them to add supplements without the confusion of re-coordinating with the workers or manager.

Storage cubes found in Target, Home Depot, Lowes, etc are great for supplement organization. Just throw the Smartpaks or supplement baggies in a cube basket, each horse has their own.

Horse blankets always need organization. One hanging on a stall looks nice, more than that starts to look junky, things start falling down, and it's just annoying. If you do not want to spend the money on tons of expensive blanket holders, just get hooks from the hardware store that are large enough to hold the weight of a blanket and hang from the chest straps off the hook.
If you own a boarding stable, consider a room (rug room) where during the off season blankets may be properly stored.

Also consider placing blankets in plastic (save their original plastic cases) to avoid things falling all over the place.

Don't have a rug room, consider ceiling storage which you usually purchase for garages. That way you can store heavy blankets during the off season.
It doesn't take much to organize a tack room. You are hanging up bridle racks and saddle racks anyways, hand them up in a nice pattern. 

Great for private barns, schooling barns, and trainers to have all their saddles in one spot.

Add in cabinets and shelves to hide some stuff behind doors to make the appearance of a tidy tack room.


Give your boarders the option to lock up their tack. Lockers also hide their stuff...if you have some sloppy boarders you don't have to see their mess!

Want to save a few bucks then just give the boarders cubbyholes.

Have a place for everything by hanging racks on walls in grooming stalls or wash stalls.


Use a shoe organizer in your tack locker, over the door, or in your trailer for boots, wraps, grooming tools, etc.

Great cabinet mounts organization would work well in shelves and in boarder's lockers for fly spray, shampoo, boots, and other odds and ends.


Mesh stretchy trunk luggage can be used for boots, wraps, leadllines, or any lighter items. Typically only $13. Mountable on tack trunks, tack lockers, cabinets, and walls.
For lunge lines, tack, halters...we all know hooks can be expensive if you purchase through a tack store. I suggest hitting up the hardware store or Wal Mart and buying hooks there. You can get hooks for under $10.

For manure forks, shovels, brooms try yard storage hooks found at places like Lowes, hardware stores, Home Depot, etc. $8 and up.

Both of these are at Wal Mart from $8-$12


Happy Spring Cleaning!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Schnieders Blankets

I have had 2 Schnieder's blankets now and I absolutely love them. They are tough, well constructed, warm, and sharp looking. They come with a 2 year warranty, but I haven't had to use it yet. Not even a tear! They are incredibly waterproof. These things are tough!

They have different lines for different breeds, including warmblood!

The Vtek V Free Horse Blankets designed to fit the warmblood and TB. Especially those with high withers (which these breeds tend to have). They have great buckles, well constructed, not one has broken. Leg straps, belly straps, and double snap chest closure.

They have a pressure free wither design including a wither padding. They also have a strap to adjust the shoulder pressure. Both of these features have completely eliminated my horse's wither soreness which he suffers from wearing traditional blankets.

The Stormshield model is my favorite.


They come in multiple weights, all under $200. The Medium weight is $129 for 220g, the Light weight is $119 for 100g of fill, and the sheet (no insulation) is $109!

I have the Stormshield model in lightweight (100g) and medium weight (220g). I cannot stress how much I love them! I will only buy their blankets moving forward. The quality is way up there for the low price, I almost feel like I am robbing them. The Stormshield Light Weight is not incredibly light weight, it is still rather thick. I tend to have him wear it when it's in the 30s or in the 40s at night. He is half clipped and lives in a shed/run outside.

Tip: When measuring your horse stay true to the size or round up. I had a size 78 which fits well on my horse for awhile, but then I had it cleaned and it did shrink a little...his gut was hanging out of the bottom. :) So I graduated it to my smaller rescue horse and bought him a new one, size 80....it fits perfectly and a little room for shrink.

The Stormshield, perfect for TBs and Warmbloods. Buy at SStack.com
My next big purchase, the VTek Marathon Model which comes with a belly band and a heavy weight of 380grams! We have cold winter days of -15 here in Colorado with a clipped horse the leaves in a shed and run this is necessary.
$199.00 for the heavy weight! Buy Here.

Don't have a TB or WB? The V-free model is for Arabians, Quarterhorses, and similar confirmations. They also have the Cutback model for Morgans and other horses with upright necks.

They also have a great fly sheet model, which is probably worth a try this summer!

Friday, March 7, 2014

More people should be afraid to go down the stairs!

Falling down the stairs has hurt my sacrum so much more then any horse fall I have ever had. Why in the world have I every been nervous riding a horse? I mean, I am not a wimp, but there have been some rides jumping around where I feel a little nervous. But I can't think of any times I was nervous walking down the stairs. WTF?!

Maybe because I go up and down stairs everyday, multiple times a day, and it's second nature. That only means if I rode all day long I probably would be a much better rider and never be nervous.

More people should be afraid of walking down the stairs. Less people should be worried about riding a horse!

Trying to figure out how I am going to ride. I am totally willing to ride standing up in the stirrups the entire time, just got to figure it out this weekend.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Saddle Shopping Online

I feel like I am always in saddle shopping mode. One complaint I have about living in Colorado is the limited choices in tack stores, it makes it difficult to shop for saddles. It's hard to find a used saddle and give it a try, most of the saddle shopping needs to be performed online. Over the past 3 years I have tried 4 saddles (all purchased) for one horse before finding my saddle, which I love....the Amerigo Vega Jump!

Here are a few of my favorite places to shop (online) for saddles...

Smartpak. They have a trial program for saddles with free shipping on the trial saddle both ways. I think that is an excellent deal and from a business stand point a great way to encourage riders to trial a saddle and hopefully purchase.

Smartpak is also pretty awesome about a return policy. As long as the item isn't damaged, I do feel safe purchasing items from them knowing they will likely accept an exchange or return. Smartpak also provides some tips for saddle fitting and the customer service is great making it easy to do business with them.

SmartPak Trial Saddle: 17" Amerigo Vega Jump $3700
 
Maryland Tack Exchange. Not a big company like Smartpak but they have a great inventory of used higher end hunter/jumper saddles- CWDs, Butets, Antares, PJs, etc...they have a great selection.

All the saddles are available for trial via mail. They do charge shipping and a fee I believe for the trial, but the used selection is so good it's worth it. I have trialed a saddle with them before, they were very nice, easy to communicate with, and allowed me some flexibility with the saddle.

One thing I did notice is their saddles sell fast. So if you are looking to sell you may want to send it over to  them!
 
Maryland Tack Exchange on the inventory: 17" Antares $1800
 
High End Used Saddles. This is where I bought my Vega Jump. It has mojo, previous owner was a Grand Prix rider. I thought it was cute they had a little history about the saddle. The lady who runs  this operation really knows her saddles and she has some great suggestions on what works with different breeds. All of her saddles are upper end and also priced reasonably. She is select with the type of saddle she sells so you know what you purchase from her is quality.
 
High End Used Saddle on the inventory: 2008 Butet Long Flap Saddle $2695