Ideally, we’d all be in Ocala or Wellington throughout the winter months, far from the snow and ice that make trailering our horses more difficult in the winter. However, the reality is that we do have to deal with winter weather – breeding season is late winter and early spring for many horse industries, competitions continue through the winter in most horse sports, and emergencies do come up at all times of the year. By taking a few extra steps and planning carefully, trailering horses in winter weather does not have to be a very difficult thing to do.
Check your vehicle and your tires. First of all, always make sure your truck and trailer are ready for the season. Test your heater and lights every time you hook up your truck, as well as checking that all of your trailer’s lights work as they should. Tire pressure is more volatile in cold weather, and good tread is even more important to have when you travel on snow and ice, so keep an eye on your wheels and keep them in good shape. Tire pressure becomes even more important when you’re traveling from cold weather into warmer weather, or vice-versa. Tire blowouts occur due to pressure changes, so be safe and carry a tire gauge to be sure your tires properly inflated. Vehicle batteries are another part that often falls victim to cold weather, so if you’ve got an older battery, be sure to check it occasionally.
Know the rules of the road. In some states and on many major highways, heavy trucks and trailers must have snow chains for their tires throughout the winter months. Be sure you know the rules from your home state and in any states you may be traveling. Even if you don’t anticipate trailering in winter, be sure to know the rules for the roads that would take you to the nearest emergency vet clinic, should the need arise.
Headlights – clean and on. While it may seem like a large truck and trailer are very visible to other drivers, keeping your headlights clean and on whenever you’re on the road is one thing you can do to help increase your visibility on the road. At the very least, be sure your headlights are on in any questionable weather, and always follow the wipers on, lights on rule.
Drive cautiously. While we’re all extra careful when we’re hauling horses, in winter weather, it pays to be extra extra careful. Allow more time to stop and be sure you brake gently, especially in bad conditions. Keep extra following distance and slow down well in advance of lights, curves, or bumpy roads. Driving carefully also means keeping your gas tank full – because you can never be sure of road conditions in winter weather, don’t let it come down to hoping the next gas station you see is open and running at full capacity.
Carry ice scrapers! We all remember the pictures from Aiken in 2014, when a rare ice storm took everyone by surprise. In addition to pictures of firetrucks filling water troughs, there was an image of four star eventer Will Coleman scraping his windshield with a cookie tray! That could have been avoided by having the right equipment in the vehicle.
Keep your trailer ventilated. While it may be tough to open a few windows when it’s very cold outside, remember that horses thrive in cold weather, and a stuffy, damp trailer environment can cause more problems for your horse than letting some air in. Stock trailers may be too open and windy, though, so if you’re hauling in a stock trailer, be sure your horses are dressed appropriately and able to stay warm.
We know that trailering in bad weather is not fun, but if you take your time and remember to check on your truck and be prepared the weather, you’ll increase your chances of having a worry-free trip. And hey, it might help to remember that even the equestrians who fly south for warmer weather have their winter weather struggles!
Have you wrapped all of your presents yet? We certainly have not – between watching Leg Up contest entries and sending out all of the Equiflexsleeves that our customers are ordering for themselves or as gifts, we’ve been so busy! Thank you all again for a wonderful year!
However, the holidays are really about spending time with those you love, and we encourage you to snuggle up with your pets and your family this weekend to watch one of these Christmas movies we’ve dug up. There are a lot of “Top Christmas Movie” lists on the internet, but we’d like to think we know how much our fans love their pets, so here’s Equiflexsleeve’s movie list – Top Christmas Movies Featuring Animals!
Annabelle’s Wish – This cute animated family film came out in 1997. It takes place in a rural Tennessee farming town and stars a young calf named Annabelle and her best friend, Billy, who is the farmer’s grandson. Annabelle is born on Christmas Eve, meets Santa Claus, and wants to become one of his flying reindeer. Her friendship helps young Billy, who became mute after a traumatic barn fire. This is a heartwarming Christmas movie featuring animals that portrays an animal friendship that us horse people can really relate to!
Gremlins – This 1984 comedy-horror movie all starts when a well-meaning father purchases a strange mogwai named Gizmo as a Christmas gift for his son, Billy. The shopkeeper who sells Gizmo warns the man to never get him wet, never feed him after midnight, and never expose Gizmo to strong sunlight. Billy’s friend accidentally spills a glass of water on Gizmo, starting a chain of reactions that leads to the sweet little mogwai turning into an army of Gremlins, who wreak havoc on the town. While this isn’t a traditional Christmas movie featuring animals shrouded in morals and family matters, it is absolutely a cult classic and one of the most fun movies of all time.
A Charlie Brown Christmas – This wonderful movie has been appearing on TV since 1965. Backed up by a wonderful Jazz soundtrack, Charlie Brown sets off on a quest to remind the rest of the Peanuts gang about the true meaning of Christmas. While at first his friends laugh at his attempt at directing a school play, they come together at the end to support Charlie Brown. It may be a bit of a stretch to call this a Christmas movie featuring animals, but Snoopy and Woodstock are key characters in this classic Christmas special.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Perhaps the very first movie that comes to mind when you think about Christmas movies featuring animals is this TV special from 1964. Rudolph sets out to prove to his Reindeer friends that he should not be judged by his red nose alone. However, he’s mocked by the other reindeer, and runs away to the island of Misfit toys. In the end, Rudolph saves the day when Santa needs a beacon of light to guide his sleigh!
The Grinch – This feature-length film is the second highest grossing Christmas movie of all time! Based on the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the movie expands on the book’s plot and explains why the Grinch is so heartless and mean. Cindy Lou Who is determined to help the Grinch find the true meaning of Christmas. By their side the whole time is the Grinch’s dog, Max, who dresses up the reindeer to help the Grinch’s evil plan, and who also learns to have a heart when Cindy Lou Who finally gets through to the Grinch!
Bonus: Maybe you’ve seen all of the movies above too many times, or you’re looking for something new. If you’ve got a good sense of humor and a bit of an open mind, we’ve got one last suggestion for you…
Bojack Horseman Christmas Special – This Netflix special deserves a spot on the list, being that it is a recent Christmas movie featuring animals almost exclusively in the lead roles. It’s animated, and we’ll warn you now, that it may not be everbody’s cup of tea. The dry humor in Bojack’s entire series is present throughout the Christmas Special, when washed-up former sitcom star Bojack revisits his sitcom’s Christmas special with his roomate, Todd. In the episode, a young orphan named Sabrina discovers Santa and wishes for her parents to be alive again. While the strange ending leads Todd to be very confused, it reignites Bojack’s passion for watching himself act on screen, and he insists to Todd that they continue to watch the series’ eight other Christmas specials.
If you’re a member of the United States Equestrian Federation or other Equestrian show organizations, chances are you’ve been getting e-mails and letters about renewing your membership. If you’re new to the world of recognized competition, you may be overwhelmed with the options and requirements for your specific discipline. Don’t worry, we here at Equiflexsleeve have got your back! We’re all about making your life easier and saving you time, so enjoy our breakdown of the major memberships you need to compete in 2016!
All USEF disciplines:
If you’re looking to compete in recognized competitions in 2016, you need to have a USEF and USDF membership for yourself and your horse. There are a few different individual membership options:
- Senior Member – This is for anyone over the age of 18, whether they be an amateur (AA) or professional rider, or if they own a horse who will be competing in USEF competitions. A one year membership costs $55 and runs from 12/1/2015-11/30/2016
- Junior Member – This is for anyone under the age of 18 who will be competing, or owns a horse who will be competing, in USEF competitions. A one year membership costs $55 and runs from 12/1/2015-11/30/2016.
- Noncompeting Member – This is for anyone who wants to support USEF but does not own a horse who will be competing, and does not plan on competing, in USEF competitions. A non-competing membership is also valid for high school equestrian varsity atheletes. A one year membership costs $25, and runs from 12/12015-11/30/2016
You will also need to be sure your horse has either a Horse ID or a Horse Record, depending on your goals. If you are just starting out and want to get a feel for USEF competition, you can request a free Horse ID number online. However, having only a horse ID number will make you ineligible for certain year end awards. Horses must be RECORDED (and incur an annual cost of $75, or $200 for a lifetime membership) in order to be eligible for USEF Awards and Championship programs, to compete in a Ranking List class, to qualify for USEF/USDF championship classes, or to acquire an FEI passport or registration number.
As with most organizations, if you choose to buy a multi-year (3) or lifetime membership, you will get a reduced yearly rate.
You can find information about Membership and Horse Recording services on the United States Equestrian Federation website.
For competing in recognized dressage competitions, you must be sure that you have a USDF membership, and that your horse is recorded with USDF as well. USDF’s membership options can be confusing, particularly if you’re already a member of a GMO, or group member organization. If you’ve been competing at schooling shows locally, chances are you know which GMO is your local club – for example, in New Jersey, we have ECRDA, EDSCTA, SGSDS and a few others. With a membership to any of these clubs, you’re automatically granted a Group Membership to USDF.
That’s great! If you’re looking to show at local USEF/USDF recognized competitions, your Group Membership may be all that you need. You’ll be able to compete in these competitions and you will be able to submit scores for USDF rider awards. However, if you dream of participating in the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships or Breeders’ Championship Finals, or you plan to declare for an Adequan/USDF Year-End Awards, you’ll need to get yourself a full, participating USDF membership. If you’re under 21 years old, you’re still able to get a youth membership, which will cost $60 for the year. Anyone older than 21 will get a senior “PM”, for $75. There are also discounts for 5 year and lifetime memberships.
Your horse will also need a USDF membership. As with USEF, you can request a cheaper ($25) Horse ID number, and be eligible to compete, but not eligible for Year End awards or Championship shows. For full benefits, you’ll need to get your horse a lifetime registration with USDF, for $95.
If you’re an eventer, you’ll need to join the United States Eventing Association (USEA) to participate in recognized USEA Horse Trials at all levels. Your USEA membership will also allow you to compete in USEA Event Series Programs for Young, New, and Future event horses, as well as the USEA Classic Series, Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, Charles Owen Technical Merit Award Events, and the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships.
A senior membership costs $85, and a junior membership is discounted to $60. If you’re a college student attending an affiliated college, you’ll continue to be eligible for a $60 membership until you graduate.
There are also scores of local organizations – again I point to ESDCTA in my neck of the woods – that support members in a smaller atmosphere than on the national stage, and host year end awards and championship shows on their own. It is absolutely worth joining these organizations, as they help you network with like-minded equestrians in your area.
To compete in any hunter, jumper, equitation or hunter breeding classes at recognized competitions you need to have an active membership of the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), unless it is a restricted breed show, or a designated “Local” competition. A one year membership for 2016 costs $85, plus an additional $2 or $7 USHJA Fee, depending on the level you compete.
You’ll need to register your horse, too. A lifetime USHJA membership for your horse costs $75. You can submit your Active registration and your horse registration along with your USEF membership forms, and your association number and horse recording numbers will be the same across both organizations.
Breed organization costs and requirements vary significantly, but most require breed papers and an annual recording fee of anywhere from $30-$75. Breed organization memberships are required if you would like to declare your horse for an All-Breeds award with USEF, or for various awards within the organization. For example, a Paint horse registered with APHA whose owner has an active membership will earn Certificate of Achievement points for scores in recognized USEF competition. Check with your horses’ breed assocation to find out what great benefits they can offer you and your horse!
A note on volunteers:
At first, these fees often give a new participant a sort of sticker shock – “it costs WHAT to join the organization?!”. But, when you think about all that these organizations do to enhance and support our sports, it’s really a great bargain. We get newsletters, Championship shows, clinics, seminars, banquets, etc. While rising entry fees are a discussion with supporters and critics, one thing is absolutely certain in the world of horse showing – none of this would be possible without wonderful show volunteers. The ring stewards, the bit-check crew, jump judges and score runners – We at Equiflexsleeve THANK YOU! We encourage every one reading this blog to go out of their way to thank a horse show volunteer this show season, and to dedicate a few hours on a weekend afternoon to helping your local show organization run a great event. Without volunteers, we would not be able to enjoy the sports that we love so much.
We’d also like to make a special note of TWO contests we at Equiflexsleeve are hosting this December. This month is your best chance to win Equiflexsleeves all year.
First, check out our “Leg Up with Equiflexsleeve” Contests: Share your Youtube, Vine, or Instagram video here for your chance to win a set of Equiflexsleeves!: http://woobox.com/hgnzwn
Then, head on over to the Equiflexsleeve online store where, for the entire month of December, we will be GIVING AWAY a free pair of Equiflexsleeves to 1 OUT OF EVERY 6 online purchasers at www.equiflexsleeve.com! Your can keep the extra pair for yourself OR have us send a Secret Santa directly to the person of your choice. This is a great way to say “Thank You” to your trainer or someone special at the barn.
We are so thankful for such a great year, we want to pass it along!!
Winter presents a challenge for horse owners, particularly those of us who continue to pack up the horse trailer and travel to indoor shows when the weather turns cold. Showing in winter requires more thorough grooming due to thick coats, or more thorough blanketing due to clipped coats. Regardless of your horse’s hair, there are a few winter horse show tips things to keep in mind that will make your winter show days much easier.
Winter Horse Show Tips
- Always carry a cooler, and an anti-sweat sheet
While bringing two layers might seem like a bit much, it’s hard to predict the weather and in many show venues are in big, open fields. Not only will a wool or fleece cooler help keep your horse warm while he dries, but layering it over top of an anti-sweat sheet will help speed up the process and ensure your horse does not get a chill.
- Bring extra hay
Have extra hay ready to keep your hay bags filled. Digesting hay constantly will keep your horse warm and happy while they stand in their stalls or on the trainer, even in the chilliest weather.
- Bring extra layers of clothes for you, too.
There’s nothing worse than standing around at a show with numb toes, wishing you had brought an extra pair of socks, or warmer boots to change into when your divisions were done for the day.
- Pack hand/toe warmers
Toe warmers and hand warmers are not just useful for keeping yourself warm in cold weather, but they also make fantastic bit warmers, too!
- Water is important
Make sure your horse is drinking water – oftentimes in colder weather, horses don’t want to drink as much. It is very important to keep encouraging them to drink. Sometimes warmer water will help, so if your horse does like warm water, you can bring an electric kettle or find hot water in the show barn to mix in.
- Support your horse’s legs
Make sure to pack something to support your horse’s legs when trailering, after the show, and especially if you have long breaks between classes. While traditional standing wraps can work, we love our Equiflexsleeves (of course!) as a quick and easy way to add and remove support in a flash.
- Enjoy company of family and friends
Thank your trainer, and if you have friends and family there, be sure to thank them, too! It’s one thing to stand around all day at a typical “hurry up and wait” show during pleasant weather, but to stick it out through frostbitten cheeks and frozen fingers is a sure way to see how much these people care about you and your horses’ success!
Good luck this winter, and don’t get too discouraged – spring and 60-70 degree days will be here before you know it!
Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and this year we celebrated by dressing up and trick or treating – with our horses, of course! We always have so much fun making our horses’ costumes and particpating in costume classes that we decided to have our own costume class this year – with an online contest. We had 99 equine costumes submitted and over 2,500 votes cast for all of our entrants – thank you to all who participated. One winner and one runner-up in each of our categories – Funniest, Scariest and Most Creative – won Equiflexsleeves – a full set of four for the grand prize winners, and a pair for each runner up.
Oh, we couldn’t help ourselves – we had to pick some of our staff favorites, too! Staff picks also win a pair of Equiflexsleeves. Congrats to all! We’re thrilled to be sending your Equiflexsleeves, and hope your costumed best friends enjoy them! We’re sure they will – after all, they’re the best thing to happen for equine leg support, because nothing is scarier than having to unroll and re-roll standing bandages multiple times a day!
Check out our winners below.
Our runners up and staff picks are below, so click to read more! Read More
Hey there, Equiflexsleeve fans! Equiflexsleeve team member Kim checking in here. I was at Dressage at Devon earlier this month, and despite the freezing rain and wind, had a wonderful time watching all of the classes. As I mentioned in our previous blog post about ponies, I am one of a growing number of riders with ponies in dressage, so I loved watching the FEI Pony class. I tweeted the below messaged to see what kind of response we’d get, and lucky for us, we got a great connection as a result!
— Equiflexsleeve (@Equiflexsleeve) October 3, 2015
I was able to connect with the winner of the FEI Pony Team and Individual test, Hannah Irons. Hannah agreed to write a guest blog for us about her experience at Devon and with ponies in dressage. Congrats on your wins, and take it away, Hannah…
My name is Hannah Irons and I am a 15 year old youth dressage rider from Queenstown, Maryland. With my pony Bohdjan (BoBo), I recently competed in the FEI Pony classes at Dressage at Devon. Competing at Devon for the first time was such a great experience. The highlight of the cold and soggy weekend was winning both the FEI Pony Team and Individual tests. Bobo was well behaved and I am very proud of him for trusting me to ride through some spooky scenarios at such a big venue. On our second day, for the individual test, BoBo was much more relaxed and ridable resulting in an improved score of 66.4%.
Competing at Devon has always been a dream and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to compete in such a major competition. It was inspiring to watch top horses and riders from all over the world riding at one of the most prestigious competitions in America. It’s not every day that I get to warmup in the arena with Olympians! Dressage at Devon, celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2015, combines world class international dressage competition with the world’s largest open breed show. The historic Devon Horse Show grounds, in Devon, Pennsylvania, provide a great venue for this exciting event. One of the highlights was watching the amazing Temple Lipizzaners perform!
BoBo is a 16 year old, gray, Dutch Sport Pony gelding that I am leasing from Dressage 4-Kids Inc. BoBo was generously donated to Dressage 4-Kids by the Davis Family. I am thankful for the opportunity to ride such an amazing pony and gain the experience of competing at the FEI levels. Dressage 4-Kids is a fabulous organization that promotes youth dressage in the United States. They offer clinics and competitions throughout the United States providing opportunities for youth riders to train with 2-time Olympian Lendon Gray, who is the president of Dressage 4-Kids, and other top professionals.
BoBo and I have been together for four months and our bond and trust continues to grow. He can be challenging to ride and sometimes has a mind of his own…After all, he is one smart pony! BoBo knows the FEI Pony test from all of his years of FEI competition and anticipates the movements…he likes to take charge. My focus during a test is maintaining suppleness and keeping him ridable.
Bobo and I recently competed at the National Dressage Pony Cup in Kentucky and were top in the FEI Pony division. Dressage at Devon was our final competition for the season and another step towards my goal of qualifying for the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions in 2016. We will travel to Wellington, Florida this winter to train with Olympian Lendon Gray in her Dressage 4-Kids Winter Intensive Training Program. We will also compete in a few CDI’s and hope to earn more qualifying scores for Festival.
We at Equiflexsleeve LOVE sport ponies, and we can’t wait to see what Hannah and Bobo will do in the future! We’ll certianly be keeping an eye out fo rthem at the 2016 Dressage Festival of Champions!
Leanna Billie from Okeechobee, Florida is a big Equiflexsleeve fan and a big time rodeo star. She’s spent this year campaigning on three horses that she’s trained herself in Team Roping and Barrel Racing, and all three of her horses helped her win this year’s Women’s Year-End All Around Champion. We wanted to feature Leanna’s success in our first guest blog as our featured fan.
Leanna’s 10 year old quarter horse, Matt Dillon, has been in her barn since he was 4 years old. She trained him in barrel racing, team roping, hazing, and breakaway roping. They’re regulars at Indian Rodeo and PRCA rodeo. This past weekend they competed in Team Roping and Barrel racing at their regional finals, placing well in both events.
Doc Holiday, a grade gelding, is her back up head horse, main heel horse, and also a fine breakaway horse. This year, the pair placed 2nd in heeling and 3rd on heading. He’s also a hazing horse – talk about an all-around roper!
Burtons Triple Five, or Tex, is Leanna’s main calf roping and breakway horse, as well as her husband’s main PRCA tie-down horse. Leanna and her husband have had Tex since he was 5 years old, and trained him in barrels and team roping as a heeler. At their regional finals this past weekend he won both the calf roping and the breakaway roping. Burtons Triple Five has qualified for the Indian Rodeo National Finals, in Las Vegas – congrats and we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for Leanna and Tex at Nationals!
All of her horses have one thing in common – they all love their Equiflexsleeves. Each horse has their own pair – but Tex has really benefitted from Leanna’s decision to move away from bulky standing wraps.
“Tex is a bit stubborn – his legs would swell some when we were travelling. He doesn’t like to have bulky wraps on his legs, he will rub them and grab them with his teeth to try to pull them off. Then I got him a pair of Equiflexsleeves – the first time I put them on him was at a rodeo, and to my surprise he never even tried rubbing them off! His legs didn’t swell at all. I highly recommend the Equiflexsleeve to everyone that asks about mine – they’re easy to put on and take off, and I don’t have to worry about leaving them on. Thank you Equiflexsleeve – Me and my lil red rope horse have will be going to Las Vegas for the Indian Finals and we’ll be taking our Equiflexsleeves along!”
You can follow Leanna’s progress on her facebook page. Best of luck at Indian Finals!
When Equiflexsleeve sponsored rider Laine Ashker launched a campaign to get herself and her incredibly talented OTTB Anthony Patch (known as Al) to Burghley, we knew she would meet her goal and get to the Burghley House. And when they arrived, we knew that Al would safely take her through all three phases. It came as no surprise to us, then, when Laine and Al completed one of the biggest and toughest three day events in the entire world.
We loved following all of their progress on Laine’s facebook page and got her permission to share some of the highlights with our followers!
Of course, Laine and Al were among the best dressed at the jog, and they passed with flying colors, ready to move onto dressage. Al looked amazing as he jogged down the asphalt in front of an international crowd, while Laine proudly trotted her off track thoroughbred in front of the judge.
Al and Laine were all smiles coming out of the sandbox, as they put on a wonderful test to start their Burghley trip off with a solid 48.8 to lead them into cross country the next day!
The cross country course at Bughley is no joke. It’s widely considered the toughest in the world, and it’s certainly among the largest. When the famous Cottesmore Leap isn’t your biggest question of the day, you KNOW it’s a challenging course! Al and Laine made it through safely, and heading into show jumping meant that they only had one more phase before the incredible feat of completing at Burghley would be, well, complete!
Show Jumping at Burghley started off on a bad note, with the first ride in the ring falling with her horse. Luckily, both horse and rider were okay, but following an accident like that makes an already trickier course even tougher. As he does, Al came through and he and Laine put together a nice course to do what they had set out to do, and what we knew they’d be able to do – complete at Burghley! What a huge moment for Laine Ashker Eventing!
Laine posted the following message on her Facebook after her show jumping round:
We did what we set out to do: Complete. The next time I return I’ll be all the more wiser from this opportunity of a lifetime that each and every one of you helped me pursue. THANK YOU! -Lainey & Al
Now that she’s settled back into the states, Laine is continuing with her life at Laine Ashker Eventing, teaching lessons and schooling the other horses in her string. We love getting updates via social media, and we’re excited to see what her new Retired Racehorse Project thoroughbred, Call Him Paddy, will do this fall! Good luck Laine, and congratulations!
Hi, Equiflexsleeve fans! This is Kim, the pony wrangler of the Equiflexsleeve team. I am SO excited about our Equiflexsleeves for Ponies line that I had to write out an ode to ponies – we all know them, we all love them, and most riders have a great pony story to share!
If you hang around a barn long enough, you’ll inevitably hear someone proclaim that “PONY” is a four letter word. The tiny equines get a bad rap for being tricksters, because they KNOW that they’re so cute that they can get away with nearly anything. Whether it be a kid covered in mud walking back with a cheeky shetland, a little girl sitting through sass from a small white welsh mare, or an adult rider turning out her paint horse after a bath to watch him cover himself in dirt by rolling not one, but THREE times – that first reaction of “Oh no you didn’t!” is quickly converted to “…but oh my goodness, how cute are you?”
At my own barn, we have a solid staff of ponies for every level of rider, and as good as they are, they’ve all got their “pony attitude” reserves, ready to tap into their true pony soul whenever they feel the need.
The staple of our entire lesson program is Dory. She’s a 13 hand halflinger rescued from an auction lot about five years ago. She’s the world’s best pony – and I say that with confidence. Dory will tolerate anything – and I really mean ANYTHING – and do it all with her ears perked. She can teach anyone how to ride, she’ll play mounted games, she’ll go to shows or on trails, and everybody absolutely loves her. So… what’s the catch? Well, someone must have told her that she was, in fact, a pony – because every once in a while, when the work gets just a little too tough for Ms. Lazyhooves, she’ll happily trot or canter her kids right back up to the barn, as if to say “Lesson’s over! Time for dinner.”
Tater Tot is another barn favorite. He’s a 13 hand “mixed parts” pony – with tiny legs, a round belly, a short croup and a long head. What he lacks in, uh, style, he makes up for in every other way. Tater is a big confidence builder for our riders, and he’s mostly good. Mostly. Sometimes, after weeks of jumping crossrails, logs, and small verticals without an issue, he’ll decide that he just does. not. jump. Nope, not Tater. Not a jumping pony this week! Other times, he’ll be soaring over cross country jumps like he’s never had an issue. Oh, pony!
Our pony Rowdy is the cutest of the bunch, even though he earned his name by opening the trailer door on his way home. He was another killpen rescue who came to us because we were looking for a bigger Dory. Instead, we got a horse the exact same size as Dory, and rather than being the do-it-all pony that Dory is, Rowdy is a little, well, rowdy. We figured out that his canter was mostly a series of hops and poorly timed bucks while he tried to figure out how to put his legs in the right spot, and though he’s quite a handful some days, he’s got great brakes and will jump nearly anything you point him at. Even though he’s not an easy ride, he’s loved by many of our kids because he’s just so darn cute!
You know… maybe ponies get an unfair reputation for being bratty. Each of our ponies teaches our riders something different – Dory is our ‘posting machine’, Tater Tot keeps our intermediate riders on their toes, teaches them not to jump ahead, and the importance of riding straight and forward, and Rowdy teaches everybody how to have a sense of humor when you’re working with a green horse. As a smaller adult rider, I am a huge fan of the rise of sport ponies (and clumsy ponies!) in this country, because they’ve been showing off what us pony riders have known all along – that for what ponies lack in height they make up for in heart. Much like horses, there are a few bad apples, but overall my pony experience has been so pleasant. After all, while there always going to be some ponies that refuse jumps, there are others that make it to the top levels of eventing, show jumping and dressage. Every year, young riders work hard to qualify for the USEF Pony Finals, the most prestigious pony hunter, jumper and equitation test in the country. Pony Finals is a blast – so many tiny, neatly turned out children and ponies in a very professional environment – it’s a great stepping stone for young riders who want to rise up the ranks!
Sport ponies, lesson ponies, and backyard ponies all work just as hard as their larger equine counterparts, and they deserve the same care as horses do. However, pony wraps are notoriously hard to size. I have spent many hours wrapping, unwrapping, and rewrapping standing bandages and pillow wraps around small legs, only to give up, frustrated because either the pillow wrap was too large or the bandage had miles left, no matter how carefully I wrapped it! That’s why I am so happy with Equiflexsleeve’s pony sizes. No more juggling long wraps and small legs, and the peace of mind I have when I walk away from the stalls knowing that my ponies won’t stock up after a hard workout or at a show is the best part. Little legs deserve to be protected and supported just as well as big legs, and thanks to Equiflexsleeve, now it’s easy to care for those snarky little pony legs, too!
What’s your pony story? Do you have memories of learning to ride on a shaggy bay shetland, or have you competed around the country with your connemara cross? Share your story in the comments below, and you may be selected to be our next guest blogger, and win a pair of Equiflexsleeves for ponies! Need a pair now? You can order your own Equiflexsleeves for ponies online today.
Just in time for the beginning of the Fall Hunter shows, we’ve finished up our Hunter horse show packing list! Hunters are known for being stylish and well turned out, for we all fear George Morris appearing out of the blue to comment on a poorly placed hair net, an untraditional girth, or an unbraided horse. If you’re competing in recognized and rated USHJA shows, there are some regulations you need to be aware of – so be sure to browse their incredibly helpful and well put-together Rules & Regulations website and make yourself aware of the rules that apply to your classes. Much like in Dressage, whip lengths are regulated in USEF/USHJA shows (not to exceed 30″) and horse boots of any type are not permitted in the show rings. Martingales are regulated, breeches must be buff or cream colored, and in many divisions stirrups must be metal or silver – those trendy black wide-treads are grounds for elimination.
Of course, in such a traditional show ring, it’s very important to make sure your horse is looking shiny, happy and healthy! While good nutrition and a good training program is the only way to truly get a horse to shine, a curry comb and some coat spray does a great job at bringing out the best in your horse’s coat. Be sure to check out our other great horse show tips, collected by Equiflexsleeve fans from around the country!
You can right click on the image below to bring up a full size checklist to print off and keep in your trailer or show trunk. We hope you have a wonderful fall show season!