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Kristen Kovatch

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Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Check Your Saddle Tree

How much do you think about your saddle when you tack up for a ride? Perhaps you get it professionally reflocked and fitted to your horse’s changing shape every few months, or perhaps it’s been much longer since another set of trained eyes and hands took a look and feel at that critical piece of tack you use every day.

This video shows how important it is to not only maintain your tack’s condition but to examine its overall structure, which should be a part of every saddle fitting. Luke McConnell, a UK Society of Master Saddlers qualified saddle fitter, shows us a saddle with an attempt at repairing a broken tree.

Yikes! We can only imagine how that would feel to the horse. Keep a close eye on your tack, and don’t forget to have a professional look over your saddles.

Best of HN: The One-Eyed $500 TB Carries Rider to USDF Gold Medal

Photo by PicsOfYou.com

In September of 2014, we first introduced Horse Nation readers to Bugsy, a one-eyed Thoroughbred that set adult amateur Elizabeth O’Connor back all of $500. At the time of purchase, he was just two years old, underweight, gangly, awkward and unbroke — and of course, only had one eye. The pair accomplished what many would have thought impossible, with O’Connor achieving her USDF Bronze and Silver Rider Medals, all with Bugsy. We were thrilled to learn of the partnership’s latest accomplishment after a roller coaster year. Elizabeth O’Connor tells the story in her own words.

I have discovered that we often limit both ourselves and our horses. When you believe in your horse, your horse will believe in you. In September of 2014, my one-eyed Thoroughbred that I paid $500 for as a two year old went down the centerline at I-1. Besides his first thirty days under saddle, where they did walk trot only, I had done all of his training all the way through the I-1 .

We had already earned our USDF Bronze medal in 2011 and our Silver in 2014. No one thought that he would ever make it that far. I had decided that he didn’t owe me anything but that we would keep going until he said he wasn’t in the game anymore. By October we had earned our first score toward our Gold medal. By May of 2015 we were halfway to our Gold!! Let me tell you, horses will keep you humble, Grand Prix will have you questioning if you need to take up golf. I decided we didn’t have anything to lose and there was no point in showing at I-1 or I-2 since we had our two scores that are required for the Gold medal. So we jumped in, feet first. Our scores were beyond humbling, but my trainer, Marija Trieschman reminded me that it was an accomplishment simply to be at Grand Prix.

Life is unpredictable: we lost a beloved dog to osteosarcoma in less than four months; we trained and regrouped, gave Grand Prix another go and received some respectable scores for a one-eyed $500 Thoroughbred. I rode and trained despite injuring my knee, which would require surgery; in September we rode a 61+ test! But our last show before my surgery in November, Bugsy was was horrible: everyone told me he had heard that I was going to retire him from showing after this show, whether or not we had gotten our last score and he wasn’t ready to retire. It was a horrible way to end the show season. Then I realized that I had been chasing a score, that it wasn’t fun anymore, that all I could see was that last score. It would’ve almost been better if I hadn’t gotten a score at Grand Prix, because it was so close, but so far away.

Life threw another curve ball — but a good one. Right before Christmas, my husband and I discovered that we finally had a little one on the way. Now what?! Bugsy was 18 and would be 19 in March. How many more seasons would we have at the top of the sport? How fair would it be to expect him to go much longer at this level? We had been trying to have a baby for several years.

Photo by PicsOfYou.com

I decided I would play it by ear. I continued riding through morning sickness and a rapidly changing body. I had told my husband that for Christmas I wanted horse show expenses (one away show and two one day shows). We went to Williamston, NC for a two day away show. I went left instead of right, and there went 2% off the score (FEI First Error: 2% off the total score, Second Error: Elimination). Bugsy was tense and behind my leg. Oh well — I was riding 19 weeks pregnant at Grand Prix. We went back out the next day and still not a 60. That was a LONG ride home to Maryland.

We gave it another go the second weekend in April. I realized that at this point that two days of showing back to back (I drive back and forth to save on stabling, hotel and food cost) was too much. I scratched one of the rides. I decide to have the ride videotaped. It was a good test for Bugsy; he tried. However, we fell short of the 60% — way short — so short that we hadn’t been that short since we had first tried Grand Prix in 2015.

Almost panicked, I decided to enter several more shows. I scratched one after feeling unwell (the little one was more important); the next, Bugsy felt like he had no energy at all and our score fell short. We had just two more shows left.

The morning of the next show, I had the whole “why do I do this again?” thought, but got up and drove the hour up to the barn, hooked up and drove the other hour and a half to the showgrounds. (My trainer, as well as my friend and her husband were already up there, so I wasn’t going alone per se.) Bugs was a bit full of himself when I had gotten to the barn, and when I gave him a bath, and when I loaded him up on the trailer, so I didn’t know what my 19 year old Grand Prix horse was going to do when I tacked him up.

I got on and he was jigging and tossing his head nervously. I had him passage the entire lap around the arena. After that I walked him on a loose rein, but I could tell he was amped. I decided to drop the curb chain to two and decided that he was either going to bulldoze through my pregnant butt or it would work to calm him down (like a typical Thoroughbred, sometimes less is more). My trainer went right in front of me with her I-2 horse and she went early, so I decided it’s now or never: we can’t fix this in the warm up.

We went early. Halfway through the test I thought to myself: “Man, you’re owning this test and you’re in your third trimester tomorrow and not even out of breath!” I looked to my trainer, standing on the rail and she smiled and gave me a thumbs up as I came around the corner. I smiled back: this is still my best memory from the test. I KNEW this was our best Grand Prix test EVER! I walked out of the ring patting my dance partner of 17 years with a big smile on my face.

Fifteen minutes later, my head was buried on my trainer’s shoulder and we were both crying: 61.3%! The fairytale was complete! From gangly underweight unbroken one eyed $500.00 two-year-old to every single score earned for USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold.

So for all of you out there who don’t have a lot of money, or a fancy dressage horse: hard work means more than talent. Aim for the moon, for if you miss, you will still be among the stars.

Go riding.

Photo by PicsOfYou.com

Waltzing Matilda Breathes New Life Into Leather

An old saddle finds a second life. Photo courtesy of Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda’s pop-up booth at the Devon Horse Show felt like an oasis tucked inside the maze of shops, all with their tables and walls decked in bright patterns and garish colors. Things were different here — the colors richer, more subtle. The heady aroma of top quality leather perfumed the air, more intoxicating than a favorite tack shop, as I browsed the one-of-a-kind pieces hanging on the walls. Simply by stepping under the canopy on a rainy morning, life felt a little slower, each detail more important.

And that’s exactly the way it should be. Waltzing Matilda is the dream brought to life of artisan, designer and craftsman Mike Balitsaris, celebrating the beauty and process of truly handmade pieces that tell a story. That’s not just fancy wording for marketing — Balitsaris showed me individual pieces, letting me feel each one. After all, leather is a tactile experience: for those of us used to holding reins, pulling on boots or running our hands over a saddle, leather is very much about feel.

Balitsaris traces his love for hand crafting leather goods to a experience while he was in college. “I went to Greece and I bought a pair of leather sandals, and I wore them all through Europe that summer. When I got back to school, some friends of mine wanted me to make them a pair, so I made two or three. I went back to Greece twenty years later and no one is making those sandals like they used to. It breaks your heart to see the ‘dumbing down’ of arts and crafts.”

Repurposed Navajo-pattern blanket. Photo courtesy of Waltzing Matilda.

Not only is Balitsaris still making things the old-fashioned way — that is, by hand, with attention to detail and the individual look of a particular piece of leather — his original pieces repurpose old leather goods, telling their story in a new way. He pointed out a bag that was part of an old Navajo-pattern saddle blanket and an old pair of chaps, and one of his most unique showcase originals was a bag made from ammunition cans from World War II.

“The only new commercial thing I use is a Riri zipper — it’s the best zipper in the world. I know how annoying it is to have something nice and the zipper doesn’t work!”

Waltzing Matilda’s line is twofold: original pieces of repurposed leather and fixed products of Balitsaris’ design. All products are hand cut and hand stitched, such as the Aspen tote: “These totes are all the same pattern with the same dimensions, but we still hand cut the leather. The rings for the handles are all forged by hand in bronze — I couldn’t find anything with the vintage look and the weight that I liked, so even though these cost a bit to make, they really make a difference.”

Waltzing Matilda produces out of three microfactories in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Brewer, Maine or Geneva, New York. “We can keep people in work in these towns that would otherwise have to go do something not quite as artistic.”

Waltzing Matilda’s logo and slogan. Photo courtesy of Waltzing Matilda.

Balitsaris’ favorite aspect of his work remains the original pieces made from repurposed leather: “I love the patina of old chaps. A lot of these pieces are different scraps of different things, whether they were saddles or chaps or just scrap leather from a shoe factory.

“I had someone come in with a saddle that had belonged to the grandfather — we ended up talking about what it meant to the grandfather, and how everyone in the family was fighting over it, and we talked into cutting up the saddle and making something out of it for every person in the family to have their own keepsake. I love commission work, when people give me the rein to just create.”

Photo courtesy of Waltzing Matilda.

Whether Waltzing Matilda designs an original piece or produces a fixed product, consumers can know that their bag, wallet, sandals or tote represents hours of skilled craftsmanship and handiwork. In a world where almost everything is increasingly machine- and mass-produced, it’s comforting to find a corner of the market that can truly breathe life back into old leather, letting your favorite piece of tack or a beloved but worn-out pair of boots tell their story all over again.

“If I had to characterize this as a brand,” Balitsaris described, “it’s stories.”

Check out the full Waltzing Matilda line of fixed products and get more information about how to commission your own work by visiting the website.

Best of HN: The Idea of Order: ‘I Love You!’

Presented by:

ideaoforderHN graphic NEW2016

I’m fairly certain my horses know they own me (The Husband certainly does). What I’m unsure of is just how totally insane this makes me. At least I can take solace in the fact that I’m not alone in Crazy Town.

Go Riding!

Morgane Schmidt Gabriel is a 33-year-old teacher/artist/dressage trainer/show announcer/ who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. A native Floridian, she now lives in Reno, NV, where she’s been able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless. Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She was recently able to complete her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently working on her gold. Generally speaking her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, a now beastly 7-year-old Dutch gelding, and Stormy, her friend’s nearly all white paint gelding with a penchant for finding every mud hole and pee spot in existence. Visit her website at www.theideaoforder.com.

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: One Way To Tackle a Bank

One of the many things we love about Laine Ashker as an eventer in the social media age is her willingness to share the less-than-pretty moments with good grace and good humor — because she understands, like we do, that we’ve all been there. Horse life is messy, unpredictable and definitely has its fair share of SMH/LOL/OMG moments, whether you’re an amateur or a professional.

That’s why we’ve fallen head over heels for Laine Ashker’s new ride Debakey, a four year old Holsteiner gelding owned by Lena Perger. His latest adventure — his unique take on a bank — has the internet in stitches:

(Don’t worry, Ashker confirmed that Debakey was totally fine.) He was also pretty fun to watch when he saw his first skinny and chevron…

If you’re scratching your head right now, fear not — here’s Debakey on something he has a bit more experience with, demonstrating the springs in his feet.

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: A Horse Walks Into a Bar (Sort Of)

When a friend first sent me this video, I called shenanigans. “This is fake. Some kind of publicity stunt. No way a horse just wandered into a cafeteria kitchen.”

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this was no organized stunt — yep, this was really a Thoroughbred in a track kitchen. According to RacingPost.com, the four-year-old filly Rosamaria spooked at a camera on her walk back to the stables after a mile handicap race at Redcar in the UK, got away from her groom and wandered loose on her own right into the stable lads’ canteen.

Fortunately for everyone involved, Rosamaria is a pretty quiet lady, and the women who work behind the counter are good horsewomen themselves and were able to get the filly turned back around without further incident.

 

Excitement at Redcar Races as a loose one gets in to the stables lads canteen! #onlyracing #hungrypony #goracing

Posted by Simon Waugh Racing on Monday, May 22, 2017

It’s unknown whether Rosamaria ordered the daily sandwich special or if she left empty-handed.
Horses, I tell ya. They keep us on our toes. Go riding!

SmartPak: If Horses Could Text, Episodes 1 & 2

Sara and Sarah, our favorite SmartPakers, are BACK with a new video series that’s sure to become a classic. Introducing the first two episodes of “If Horses Could Text.”

I’ve definitely found myself wishing on more than one occasion that my horses could text (okay, maybe I’d settle just for speaking!) Wouldn’t it make life so much easier for checking up on them, making sure they’ve got everything they need, or asking them which foot hurts this time?

And then I watch these videos from SmartPak, featuring our favorite creative equestrian video stars Sara and Sarah, and I decide to be careful what I wish for.

Yep. Yep, I take it all back. Let’s never give horses the ability to text.

For more videos — both entertaining and educational — check out SmartPak’s YouTube channel!

Go SmartPak. Go Eventing!

While You Were Watching Badminton: HN’s Kentucky Derby Report

While it is a non-scientifically proven fact that nine out of 10 eventers don’t really give a crap about the Kentucky Derby, especially with Badminton happening simultaneously, we thought you guys might want to have at least a cursory understanding of what went down at Churchill Downs on Saturday. You know, so when non-horse people ask you what happened (because “you’re a jockey, right?”) you have a slightly more educated response than a cold, blank stare. 

Here’s Kristen Kovatch from EN’s sister site, Horse Nation, with a synopsis of the race. And if nothing else, you MUST read her post on this year’s conscientious Derby objector Thunder Snow, whom she argues is “the real hero of the Kentucky Derby and Equestrians everywhere.” 

From Kristen:

Always Dreaming, winner of the Florida Derby, took a clean trip on the rail to cruise to a sloppy but triumphant Kentucky Derby win at Churchill Downs on Saturday evening.

Despite the bright sun and warm temperatures today in Kentucky, the track at Churchill Downs was still sloppy thanks to drenching rains at the end of the week. With a full field of 20 horses with limited experience in the mud — only Classic Empire had ever won on a sloppy track, and many in the field hadn’t ever even run in those conditions — the Derby remained a wide-open race.

Almost right out of the gate, Thunder Snow, the Godolphin-bred colt who flew in just a week ago from Dubai, appeared to react strongly perhaps to the surface and went rank, bucking as his jockey pulled him up. He was held in the paddock as the race continued, with initial veterinary reports stating there was no indicator of any major injury. He walked back to the barn where he will continue to be monitored.

State of Honor set the pace early on while Always Dreaming took a space-saving route on the rail. Half a mile in, jockey John Velazquez moved Always Dreaming to the outside and took over the lead, soon threatened by Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry. Always Dreaming repelled the charge, and in the final stretch, with one last charge by Lookin At Lee, the Florida Derby winner dug deeper through the mud and cruised home to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

Always Dreaming was the 5/2 favorite, giving trainer Todd Pletcher his second Kentucky Derby win. The horse is owned in partnership by MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz Stable, Teresa Viola, St Elias, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds.

Complete results:

1: Always Dreaming
2. Lookin At Lee
3. Battle of Midway
4. Classic Empire
5. Practical Joke
6. Tapwrit
7. Gunnevera
8. McCraken
9. Gormley
10. Irish War Cry
11. Hence
12. Untrapped
13. Girvin
14. Patch
15. J Boys Echo
16. Sonneteer
17. Fast And Accurate
18. Irap
19. State of Honor
DNF: Thunder Snow

We’ll be eagerly anticipating the Preakness Stakes in just two weeks — after a grueling, sloppy Kentucky Derby, who will contest the second jewel of the Triple Crown? Fresh horses such as impressive Arkansas Derby runner-up Conquest Mo Money will be potentially racing, making for a fascinating brand-new field.

Best of HN: Here’s How to Actually Make a Unicorn Frappe

Unicorns are having a moment.

Seriously, every time you turn around, there’s some dewy-eyed glitter-pooping rainbow-shaded magical horselike creature with a horn on its forehead prancing around, whether it’s on the hipster kids’ ironic tee shirts or cute Pinterest dessert ideas or car decals. Anything that shimmers, comes in rainbow print with glitter or shifts metallic colors with the light is deemed to be “unicorn.”

I actually fielded my first request to attend a toddler’s birthday party with a horse in tow so he could have a horn glued to his head and be the resident unicorn. (We politely declined, with visions of the horse mowing down a group of small children before crashing through the cake table replaying over and over again in my head, my fear manifested in breathy, hysterical laughter over the phone. Horse owners, ye be warned.)

The latest buy-in on this unicorn trend, of course, is global hipster trendsetter Starbucks, famous for its expensive coffees (ironic, isn’t it, because no one requires coffee like horse people and no one has less expendable income on luxuries like fancy coffee like horse people). The luridly-hued “Unicorn Frappe” hit participating locations near you on Wednesday, and will be available through the 23rd.

Apparently it changes color, or something, and flavor, or something. Because #unicorns, or something.

But Starbucks, we in the horse world have seen unicorns. We’ve met unicorns. Perhaps we’re even lucky enough to own a unicorn. And we’re here to tell you, and the rest of the unicorn-loving hipster world who have appropriated our favorite mythical creature, that you guys have got it all wrong.

Our unicorns come in many shapes and sizes, any breed or color or height or age or level of beauty. Our unicorns might not have come with a very big price tag — if any price tag — but they are worth their weight in gold. Our unicorns have taught our newest lifelong equestrians how to ride; they’ve helped us recover our confidence after a bad fall. They do not have horns, but the biggest hearts.

The term “unicorn” is also used in the horse world to describe the world’s fanciest-moving 3′ packer with plenty of chrome, auto-changes and show experience, and costs $5,000, but we’re not talking about that kind of unicorn.

We’re talking about the everyday unicorns, the creatures that possess all the magical qualities you could desire in an animal, a creature of fantasy that every day we convince ourselves is just a lucky dream until we’re holding them in our arms, breathing in that sweet dusty smell, wrapping mane around our fingers, realizing all in one moment that unicorns are very much real and walk among us.

The author’s unicorn. Photo by Kristen Kovatch.

There is no glitter. There is dust, and manure, and plenty of muddy messes. There are no rainbows, but there is plenty of hard work and sweat. Unicorns come in ordinary colors, like bay and chestnut and sometimes, yes, an almost-iridescent gray that might glisten like polished pearl in certain lights — before they roll in the pasture and undo all of your hard work. Their magic is in the everyday moments, the soft touch of a muzzle or the gentle cadence of a balanced walk.

So, Starbucks, here’s a better recipe for a unicorn frappe:

  • One pound of patience — it goes a long way
  • A pinch or two of spirit, to rider’s taste
  • Four gently-rocking gaits, until you feel like you can fly
  • A velvety-soft muzzle that fits just right into your cupped hands for treats
  • Two ounces of stubbornness for a challenge
  • One shoulder to cry on
  • A dash of loose horse hair and dust, sprinkled over top

Blend well and serve in whatever receptacle seems appropriate — the 17-hand hunter, the 14-hand cow pony, the height-doesn’t-matter-nor-does-coat-color old school master. That’s how you make a unicorn.

Go hug your unicorns, and go riding.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Laine Ashker Ocala CCI2* Helmet Cam

Even Laine Ashker admits that this helmet cam is pointed a little low — but for a good idea of what she’s doing with her hands and exactly what it looks like to tackle a big cross country fence head-on, it’s actually a perfect perspective!

Go for a gallop under the Florida sun with Laine Ashker aboard Flagmount’s Spartan, a 2008 Irish Sport Horse co-owned by Laine and Tera Call. Spartan (and sometimes “Sparty”) is a rockstar cross-country mount with a great gallop, and you’ll be totally rocking and rolling with his stride as the video progresses.

We love helmet cam perspectives that show us how a rider prepares for each fence, as well as demonstrate the relationship between horse and rider when out cross country — there’s plenty of guidance from the rider, but just as much if not more praise for the horse for seeing them safely through.

Laine and Spartan conquered the Ocala International 3-Day Festival of Eventing’s CCI2* cross country with a double clear, making this a fun pair to watch.

Go Eventing!

The feeling you get when you watch your child ride.

It’s why we do what we do.

It is why we search high and low for the perfect childproof horse.  It is why we give up our Saturday afternoons to cheer them on at a horse show. It is why we spend hours getting stains out of their show clothes. It is why we teach them to hang a fan up on the stall in hot weather. It is why we make sure they learn to keep TWO full buckets of water in the stall. Here at Kentucky Performance Products it is why we developed Summer Games® Electrolyte that will keep the horses in your life hydrated and healthy.   It is why the horse that matter to you matters to us. Not sure which horse supplement best meets your horse’s needs? We are here to help. Contact us at 859-873-2974 or visit our website at KPPusa.com.

Best of HN: Let’s Discuss: Social Media and Horse Sales

As Facebook rolls out stricter adherence to its policy banning the sale of animals through sales groups, some horse traders are feeling the pinch. How much has our reliance on social media changed the horse sale scene? Horse Nation editor Kristen Kovatch gives the issue some thought. 

Social media has become our “everything” in this day and age — we share our life events, we keep in touch with distant friends and relatives (or, let’s be honest, just “like” posts and photos), we track our fitness. A large number of you will read this post because you saw the link on social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest or others. And for lots of us in the equestrian world, social media has become the way we do business: we post horses for sale, we inquire about ads that interest us, we share our tack and equipment.

So when Facebook started strictly enforcing its “no sale of animals” policy in the past few days, many sellers were left feeling like their biggest resource for sharing horses for sale had suddenly slammed shut — though the policy had been in place for a long time, at least in regards to Facebook Marketplace. Marketplace is Facebook’s sales feature, allowing users to post items for sale in a group with a listed price; interested potential buyers can contact the seller directly via the ad. This feature was rolled out in October of 2016.

Marketplace has always prohibited the sale of animals within groups according to its Commerce Policy — however, the rule seemingly had not been enforced heavily, as equine sales groups have been helping facilitate connections between buyers and sellers for years. This week, however, sellers are met with messages such as the following when they attempt to post an ad:

Screen shot courtesy of Kait Schultz/Thunder Crest Performance Horses.

“I only post in horse sales groups,” describes Kait Schultz of Thunder Crest Performance Horses, who buys, trains and sells horses, specializing in off-track Thoroughbreds as well as warmbloods. “I always uncheck the ‘post to Marketplace’ option because it won’t let you post an ad, period, if you select that option. Some of my ads are still going through, but some are not, and I can’t figure out what the difference is between the groups where I’m posting.”

Screen shot courtesy of Kait Schultz/Thunder Crest Performance Horses.

It’s unclear why Facebook is suddenly cracking down on enforcing its policies when a thriving e-marketplace for horse sales has been helping connect buyers and sellers for years. Some animal rights activists are viewing this apparent change as a good thing, believing it will help reduce backyard breeders and puppy mills by taking away their sales space; horse traders are pushing back with online petitions with claims that losing their sales space will increase the dumping of horses at auctions. Both arguments seem specious, but the fact remains that this policy is affecting lots of horse owners, traders, breeders and even rescues seeking to adopt out their animals.

However, all of this discussion raises a key question: what did we do before Facebook?

Sure, having your social media and your horse shopping available through one app at your fingertips is certainly convenient, but before the advent of social marketing people still managed to buy and sell plenty of horses. Just how critical is having Facebook’s Marketplace service for horse sellers? The jury is still out.

“At this point, I use Facebook mostly for the ‘why hasn’t this horse already sold’ ads, for horses that I haven’t already placed through my connections and networking,” Schultz states. “On the other hand, Facebook helped me build that network in the first place.”

However, less than a decade ago, equine sales sites were the standard: “I sold one of my first OTTB projects from Equine.com, and that ad brought traffic to my website where I soon sold a second horse thanks to a phone call,” Schultz adds. “Originally, when you started selling horses on Facebook, it seemed like buyers had some sort of agenda — I had a lot of people asking me ‘why is this horse for sale?’ and asking if I was just trying to ‘flip’ horses. Now, it’s totally the norm to list your sales on Facebook as a trainer.”

For professionals like Schultz who have built a network of connections with that intangible but extremely valuable word-of-mouth reputation that helps bridge more contacts, losing Facebook’s sales option may hinder their efforts. For other trainers trying to get their operations off the ground, a lack of social media marketplace may seriously hurt their business. Will we see a return to the equine sales sites? Or will Facebook relax its policies again?

Weigh in, readers — share your thoughts in the comments section!

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games Trailer

Our friends at Horse Nation got the scoop on the schedule, venue, new logo and of course the adrenaline-pumping new trailer to get you amped up for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina!

When news broke last July that Bromont in Quebec would no longer be hosting the 2018 World Equestrian Games, fans all over the world immediately began speculating (and, admittedly, maybe panicking a little) about who would be able to host the massive competition on such relatively short notice. When the dust settled after all of the negotiations, Tryon, North Carolina took over as the 2018 destination, September 11-23.

It’s no easy feat hosting the World Equestrian Games: not only does a facility need to be able to accommodate eight different disciplines in two weeks, including both competition and warm-up space, but stabling for hundreds of horses from all over the world with the surrounding infrastructure to house and feed the riders, grooms, coaches, various attaches as well as event staff and volunteers, judges and other officials. And we’re not even going to get into the sticky wicket of where to put all of the spectators.

Fortunately, it does appear that Tryon is rising to the challenge — albeit in perhaps some creative ways. Our sister site Jumper Nation reported from the World Equestrian Games press conference and meeting held in Omaha at the World Cup Finals last weekend, where officials from both the FEI (the governing body of horse sport globally) and Tryon International Equestrian Center shared updates.

Housing for athletes: Tryon is building what’s been called a “mini Olympic village” on its premises with modular cabin-style housing for international athletes, similar to what is already on the grounds.

Parking and traffic control: Tryon has hired a private traffic/parking control company to help manage the thousands of vehicles that will be headed to its grounds in September, including setting up shuttling services. There are even plans underway for new exits off of I-74 to accommodate traffic to the show grounds.

Lodging for spectators: If you were expecting to grab a hotel room just a few minutes down the road, think again and definitely plan ahead — over two thousand rooms have already been booked within a certain radius of Tryon for event staff, and officials are recommending that spectators look for rooms as far away as Charlotte, Ashville and Spartanburg. Some of these cities are 75 miles from Tryon, so significant travel time should be expected. Tryon is simply “in the middle of nowhere” but relatively close to a lot of bigger city centers.

Schedule: This schedule is still tentative but should give you a good idea of what to expect.

September 11 – Opening Ceremonies
September 12 – Endurance, Reining, Dressage
September 13- Dressage, Eventing Dressage, Reining
September 14 – Eventing Dressage, Dressage
September 15 – Eventing (XC), Reining
September 16 “Super Sunday” – Dressage, Eventing Stadium Jumping
September 17 – Rest Day
September 18 – ParaDressage, Vaulting
September 19 – ParaDressage, Vaulting, Show Jumping
September 20 – ParaDressage, Show Jumping, Vaulting
September 21 – ParaDressage, Driving, Show Jumping
September 22 – ParaDressage, Driving, Vaulting
September 23 – Driving, Show Jumping, Closing Ceremonies

The new logo: Taking the #TwoHearts aspect, part of the FEI’s latest publicity move, the new logo illustrates the partnership between horse and rider, which is truly the heart of all equestrian sports whether you’re thinking dressage, reining or combined driving.

And, of course, the trailer to get you all fired up:

Learn more at the World Equestrian Games 2018 website. Go riding!

The feeling you get when you watch your child ride.

It’s why we do what we do.

It is why we search high and low for the perfect childproof horse.  It is why we give up our Saturday afternoons to cheer them on at a horse show. It is why we spend hours getting stains out of their show clothes. It is why we teach them to hang a fan up on the stall in hot weather. It is why we make sure they learn to keep TWO full buckets of water in the stall. Here at Kentucky Performance Products it is why we developed Summer Games® Electrolyte that will keep the horses in your life hydrated and healthy.   It is why the horse that matter to you matters to us. Not sure which horse supplement best meets your horse’s needs? We are here to help. Contact us at 859-873-2974 or visit our website at KPPusa.com.

Best of HN: Still On a Rotational Deworming Schedule? Check This Out

As a relatively recent convert to the fecal egg count and targeted deworming strategy, I realize that I may be preaching to the choir — but for any readers who haven’t switched to this deworming method and are curious to learn more, I hope this article helps illustrate why rotational deworming should be rotated right out of practice. How does a fecal egg count work?

The process is fairly simple: a fecal sample is gathered and a specific weight or volume of the sample is mixed in a flotation solution, then examined under a microscope. The eggs of parasites in the intestinal tract are then counted and the veterinarian or lab technician can then calculate how many eggs per pound of manure are generated by the individual horse and by which types of parasites. The veterinarian can then develop a targeted deworming program with the owner to specifically work on the parasites each horse contains.

Ideally, a fecal egg count (FEC) is paired with a fecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) — the second test is taken 10 to 14 days after the horse is treated with the targeted deworming product to make sure that the product was effective. If you can only test once, test prior to deworming. Samples should be tested in the spring before horses are turned out on pasture and again in the fall.

The FEC measures the amount of eggs shed by a horse — which is not necessarily to say that the horse is “infested with worms.” A high shedder can and most likely will continue to look like a healthy horse at good weight with a shiny coat, all the while he continues to shed a high amount of eggs into his pasture to be picked up by his herdmates.

But rotational worming has worked for so long. Why shouldn’t we keep using rotational products?

Rotational worming — the traditional method in which horses are treated every two months or seasonally with a different class of dewormer — worked when over-the-counter deworming pastes first came on the market. However, the biggest threat has changed from large to small strongyles, and many parasites are now developing resistance to dewormers thanks to a constant use of these products. Targeting a deworming program for the type of parasite and amount of eggs shed can help prevent the over-use of medicines and increase the overall health of a herd and pasture. It also makes sure that owners are treating with the correct dewormer — not using a product that doesn’t even target the kind of parasites the horse might carry.

My horse looks healthy and he’s been on a rotational plan. Why change?

A fat, happy and shiny horse can still be a high shedder, and is continuing to release eggs into the pasture. All a rotational product does is band-aid the problem for a few months, rather than manage the parasites in a targeted fashion.

Here’s a visual that really drove home the point for me: I’ve been using a free traveling clinic that comes to our area in the fall and the spring to have fecal egg counts performed. I followed the attending veterinarian’s fall protocol with my six horses, and this spring got my father-in-law on board with his four horses, who live on a separate farm just a mile or two down the road.

My father-in-law’s horses, wormed with on rotation, are the first four horses on the list photographed below (Randy black, Chuck, Derek and Tyrone). My six horses follow after that (Winston, Red, Randy brown, Dutch, Skip and Rocky). Note the difference in egg counts after just one rotation of the prescribed protocol versus a rotational program:

Photo by Kristen Kovatch.

Seeing these figures side-by-side like this really drove the point home for me: what a difference can be made by changing tactics. Change can be hard, but it’s important to make these decisions based on what is truly best for your horses’ health.

Parasites can live in pasture for a long time — the presiding veterinarian told me up to a year; some sources state as long as a decade. It’s important to manage manure at home as much as it is to target the dewormer, but now both of our farms are on their way to managing parasites from an evidence-based perspective rather than long-standing common practice.

Further reading:

A Cowgirl in Ireland

“All right, Smiley?”

This question, I had learned, was intended to be a normal greeting in Ireland rather than an acknowledgement that you were in distress or danger. To be fair, given that I was sitting on a spirited little native-bred mare that I had just met that morning out on a cross-country course leaping over obstacles that I never imagined I would be facing, it was a valid question in any context. Oh right, we were in Ireland as well, home to some of the most courageous (if not reckless) riders in the world. Just take a look at their foxhunting.

But I was more than all right—I was having the time of my life. Oliver Walsh’s Flowerhill Equestrian Centre definitely understood how to show a girl a good time. I earned my new nickname about three combinations into our morning jumping session with my ear-to-ear grin—what my equitation might have looked like I’d rather not think about, but fortunately no one seemed to notice.

My mount, a sturdy brown Irish-bred mare called Classic, knew her job well and carried me over a variety of obstacles with ease, ranging from simple logs and stone walls to rollers, banks, drops into water, hedges and all sorts of interesting things painted to look like fruit. My companions—a mixed group of students from our equestrian program and my coworkers—were similarly mounted, piebalds and draft crosses (and piebald draft crosses) common among their horses. Every horse in the stableyard, regardless of size, shape, breed or color, jumped willingly and honestly, a true testament to the minds of these Irish horses since they were rented out by the day for people to bomb around with on the cross-country course.

Classic, the little unstoppable mare.

Having worked at a dude ranch for five summers, I could appreciate these animals, as well as our fantastic guides. We were under the care of a young woman from the UK named Mel, who led us all over the course on a plucky little Appaloosa and watched each of us jump, calling encouragement, praise or suggestions (more than one among our party expressed a desire to get a recording of Mel yelling “Good girl!” to replay in our day jobs.) The flat-only riders in our traveling party were led by a number of different staff, undaunted by the task of leading out eight riders on unfamiliar horses for a good canter in an open field.

While I managed to adjust to Classic’s jumping style within a few fences, it took me considerably longer to figure out how to actually get to there. From a year of schooling equitation horses over indoor courses, I had learned to canter in the half-seat—these horses, however, were accustomed to a deeper driving seat and more than once Mel had to remind us to “really sit down and DRIVE to the next fence!” in order to get there.

On my second mount, a very flashy piebald gelding called Monsoon with the typical long Irish face and a mane that stuck up in every direction (giving me plenty of handles to grab in midair) I had no choice but to sit down and drive: he carried himself quite upright like most of the Irish cobs and if I had any illusions of a half-seat we probably would have collided heads. Many jumps later, I was finally getting the swing of things, adjusted to Monsoon’s higher carriage and easy jump, wasting no time or energy over the fences.

The loudly-colored Monsoon.

Between the morning and afternoon rides, we relaxed in Oliver’s enormous manor-style house, situated at the end of a very long and very narrow driveway bordered by the obligatory tall hedges. The view from the windows of the dining room where we enjoyed lunch by the staff cook included part of the sweeping emerald-green pasture where his horses enjoyed grass overnight or during the day if they were not working. In addition to hiring out cross-country or hacking horses, Oliver also bought and sold horses and foxhunted regularly, keeping kennels of hounds behind his stables.

Oliver took his hounds out for their daily walk on our second day, appearing around the corner of the yard on a sturdy-looking bay horse, his whip in hand and his horn hanging at his side. The dogs frolicked all around him as he hollered encouragement, swarming down the lane like a tidal wave of white and brown, all happily panting and tails swinging. With a few seemingly-random notes on his horn, they were off over the course, iconic and unabashedly authentic.

For our fourth and final session on the afternoon of the second day, I was reunited with Classic and we thundered all over the course, exploring both familiar obstacles, including my favorite combination involving an enormous log, a bright painted-wood banana, some surprisingly deep water (according to the eventer among our party, much deeper than a normal American course) and a leap out over a hedge, and new obstacles, culminating in a thrilling final combination of five fences set up like a jumping lane between a hedge and the river. On our cool-down walk back to the yard, I looked around me and tried one last time to take it all in—where I was, what I was doing, how far I was from home. Truthfully, there is no way to recreate the sensation, and all I can hope to do is to return and do it all again.

Walking back to the stable after our fourth session at Flowerhill.

Go Riding.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Valegro’s Rocking Horse

Dean Golding might get a gold star for being the most thoughtful horse husband (well, technically, fiancé) of all time.

When the horse girl in your life is none other than Charlotte Dujardin, the typical suggestions for “gifts for equestrians” are probably a bit superfluous. When your lady throws a leg over a horse like Valegro, wins a bunch of Olympic medals and rewrites the record books, giving her a gift like a dressage-themed iPhone case or a personalized saddle pad just doesn’t quite feel like the grand gesture such an equestrian perhaps deserves.

So Golding set out to find the ultimate gift for his fiancée — something unique that would immortalize a once-in-a-lifetime horse while showing the rider in his life that he not only understood the place horses held in her world but accepted it as part of her identity. Golding’s solution: a one-of-a-kind custom heirloom-quality rocking horse, handcrafted in Valegro’s image by the masters of the craft, Stevenson Brothers Rocking Horses.

The final product was unveiled at Olympia as a surprise for Charlotte as she, Carl Hester and the rest of Team Valegro formally retired the superstar horse.

Well done, Dean. Hats off to Stevenson Brothers for their impeccable craftsmanship in creating this exquisite rocking horse to memorialize the incredible Valegro, and we hope the model will continue to rock for generations to come.

Follow Stevenson Brothers on Facebook for more unique rocking horse creations.

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For more information, visit KPPvet.com.

Best of HN: Texts and Calls Only Equestrians Receive

We have our own lingo in the horse world and often if the real world were a part of our equestrian conversations, there would be quite a bit of confusion. Here are a few things that we wouldn’t be able to explain to our non-horsey friends…

Bowel Movement-Related Messages

(Because horse people are OBSESSED with poop…)

“What does her poop look like?”

“Did she poop today?”

“We have poop!” (With a photo for proof, of course.)


Equine Nutrition Facts

“Don’t give the gray horse anything. He is on a diet. He will act like he’s dying but I think he ate another one of the ponies…”

“Did he have his beer with breakfast?” (For a horse with anhidrosis)


From the Medical Perspective

“You used ALL those enemas?”

“Your herpes test is still positive.”

“I just sent a check for semen and have never been more excited!”

“Your girl is pregnant!”

“Does this look normal?” (Usually accompanied by a photo; bonus points if it’s a photo of genitalia).

“When I was in high school, I thought my horse might be pregnant so I just rode her down the street to the vet clinic to have her tested. She ended up being pregnant. The vet later left a voicemail on my house phone that said, ‘This is Dr. Dalmy calling to talk to Morgan about her pregnancy test today.’ My mother heard this message and freaked out thinking I was pregnant.”

“I think your girl horse is sick. She is chasing the boy around and squirting him with her butt…”


Auto-Correct Wasn’t Correct

“Meant to ask my friend how much her hock x-ray was… autocorrect stepped in and changed hock to something that rhymes with hock and starts with a C.”

“Was using talk to text to tell a client to go get my horse Petey ready… talk to text thought I said to go get a certain part of the male anatomy ready….”


Pure Randomness

“Pat her on the butt and tell her good job”

“Who is this horse and why is she here?”

“Do you want a sheet on him or should I leave him naked?”

“My boyfriend wanted to give my horse a treat, so he texted me a photo of two horses in a field and asked which one was mine. The answer was neither…”


Share your own weird equestrian texts in the comments section! Go riding.

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Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Baby Mustang’s First Cross Country

Hey, Elisa Wallace fans — there’s a new mustang moving up the ranks in her string! Come along for “Baby Mustang” aka Emit’s first cross-country trip of his career.

Emit, affectionately known around Wallace Eventing as “Baby Mustang,” was rounded up in Oregon as a two-year-old and selected by Elisa Wallace. His palomino coloring and build aren’t necessarily standard for what most people imagine when they think of the American Mustang, so he serves as a great ambassador for his breed and shows people just what a mustang can look like — and more importantly, what a mustang can do.

Emit tackled his first cross country course in the Novice Horse division at Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. in Altoona, Florida. Watch his adorable golden ears prick forward for each new challenge and flick back to listen to Elisa’s encouragement all the way around.

Good job, Emit! Congratulations to the Wallace Eventing Team. We can’t wait to see where Emit will go next, both as a competitive eventer and as a mustang ambassador. As Elisa Wallace has showed us with her multi-talented string of mustangs, anything is possible.

Save a horse — ride a mustang!

Best of HN: What Does Your Favorite Girl Scout Cookie Say About Your Horse Life?

In the middle of February, just when winter is starting to look like it will never end and that we’re trapped in an endless cycle of freezing and thawing with mud on every single surface (including, somehow, the INSIDE of your horse’s blanket) a little ray of sunshine comes to help cheer us up: the Girl Scout cookie, those little brightly-colored boxes (that seem to grow somehow smaller every year) containing rows of addictive little pastries with cute names. Science* proves that Girl Scout cookies don’t have any calories at all. (*alternative science)

You can’t avoid them this year — even if you’re like me and have somehow successfully dodged every adorable wee Scout with her sign-up sheet so you too can mainline cookies right to your face (the perks of working from home with the horses at the family farm), there is in fact an APP this year that lets you order them direct. I’m going to do you a favor and not link it right now.

Okay, we’ve established that we’re all woefully addicted. But what does our favorite Girl Scout cookie variety say about us as equestrians?

(This list is 100% fiction and based on the same “science” as described above. Read this with a grain of salt.)

Thin Mints: “Crisp wafers covered in chocolaty coating. Made with natural oil of peppermint.” You like to pretend that you have expensive taste, as evidenced by your love for the darkest and most decadent cardboard box cookie that good money can buy, even though deep down you know you’re just as horse-poor as the rest of us, as evidenced by your filthy car and duct-taped paddock boot. All of your horse equipment is in your “colors” and despite the fact that your horse has only one lead and spooks at his own shadow, he is arguably the best dressed, best turned out and most matchy-match horse in the ring.

Samoas: “Crisp cookies, coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and striped with dark chocolaty coating.” NOT to be confused with samosa, a delicious fried dumpling filled with spiced potato and lentil. Your love for exotic, tropical fruits like the rare and hard-to-find toasted coconut mirrors your appreciation for experimenting with new disciplines, much to the chagrin of your fellow boarders at your exclusive hunter-jumper barn. In a given week, you and your horse might dabble in dressage, western trail, pleasure driving and liberty work. The lesson kids still gossip about the time you brought in a live goat so you could practice heel catches like a real cowboy.

Tagalongs: “Crispy cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolaty coating.” You binge-eat an entire box of these that one of your lesson moms brought in to share with everyone and chased it with another cup of bottom-of-the-pot jet fuel coffee, because you are the overworked riding instructor or working student who secretly wishes that these cookies would grow a pair and finally turn into the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups they’re trying so hard to emulate. Here, please take another box. You deserve them.

Trefoils: “Delicate-tasting shortbread that is delightfully simple and satisfying.” No one actually likes these. Move along.

Do-si-dos: “Crunchy oatmeal sandwich cookie with creamy peanut butter filling.” You genuinely enjoy volunteering at horse shows, helping pick up around the barn, horse-sitting for other boarders out of town on vacation and all the nasty chores like scrubbing out the field waterers on a 40-degree day. People who don’t know you might call you a brown-noser but you also make wickedly-good guacamole and bring plenty of wine to barn parties to ensure that you’ve bought everyone’s loyalty.

Savannah Smiles: “Crisp, zesty lemon wedge cookies dusted with powdered sugar.” The only kind of equestrian who could possibly call a lemon cookie their favorite has to be the kind of rider who is all business at the barn, keeping their personal areas tidy and well-organized. Your horse is a nondescript bay who, rumor has it, you paid a good five figures for, and he is every inch the professional under saddle or on the ground. You’re not all that engaging, but when you got into some of Do-si-do’s wine at the last barn party you did tell some pretty hilarious stories that got everyone’s attention.

Toffee-tastic: “Indulgently rich, buttery cookies with sweet, crunchy golden toffee bits.” (Also, gluten-free.) You are retired or semi-retired from some incredibly high-stress job like air traffic control, riot police or heart surgeon, and to relax and unwind in your newfound down time you bought a hot-headed Thoroughbred or auction rescue with a dubious past and ride circles around all the young folk on their well-broke animals, egging them on with just the appropriate level of friendly trash-talk and sassy older-person banter as your horse does gymnastic tricks in the corner because he’s “feeling a little fresh today.”

Girl Scout S’mores: “Our new crunchy graham sandwich cookies with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling (YUM!) are one more delicious way to support her next adventure!” These cookies are apparently brand new for this year, so the only way that they could be your favorite already is if you are always trying the next new thing, from fancy bits to magical saddle pads, air-ride horse boots and holistic remedies. You still haven’t found the particular combination of bit, saddle pad, boot and supplement that works well for your horse, but you’ve certainly accumulated a wealth of knowledge as well as half a tack shop overflowing out of your locker. You’re a favorite in the barn because you’re happy to lend any of this stuff out or sell it at cost before you head out to try something new.

Go cookies. Go riding.

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Roof Torn from Texas Eventer’s Home in Valentine’s Day Tornado

On the morning of Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day — severe weather moved through the area of Houston, Texas, with five tornadoes touching down between 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m, according to the National Weather Service. One of these tornadoes tore through the property of Alayna Gnagy, an Area V eventer, destroying her home and damaging her barn and fencing.

Fortunately, Alayna had safely tucked her horses and donkey inside the barn before leaving for work that day, which may have ultimately saved their lives and kept them from harm. While the barn sustained damage, the horses weathered the storm safely. Alayna’s home, however, was not so lucky. The roof was torn off the house, somehow leaving Alayna’s dog “Jake From State Farm” unscathed inside.

Alayna's dog, Jack From State Farm, was thankfully uninjured in the tornado.

Alayna’s dog, Jack From State Farm, was thankfully uninjured in the tornado.

Alayna’s good friend Alyssa Walker explained the damage. “She is left with a ton of damage to her property, including downed pasture fences, debris littered everywhere, damage to the barn and her horse trailer and most importantly, no house or roof over her and her boyfriend’s head.”

The damage to the home — considered a total loss — is not covered by insurance.

Alayna competes her horse When Hoofbeats Echo at Training level at horse trials throughout Texas. A highlight of their partnership was competing at the 2015 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships.

“Alayna took a $300 barely broke rescue horse and brought him up the levels of eventing,” Alyssa said. “She is a tough woman but I can’t even fathom the amount of stress she is under trying to get her life under control with nowhere to call home.

“Alayna is a humble person who does not ask for help on her own, but she is the first person to step up when someone else is needing.”

If you would like to assist Alayna in rebuilding her home and her property, please visit the YouCaring page set up in her name. The estimated cost for demolition of the existing home is $2,700. Any other funds raised will go towards a down payment to rebuild a new house.

Needville Feed and Supply also has an account in Alayna’s name for feed donations and fencing supplies.

Our thoughts are with Alayna and other families affected by the Valentine’s Day storms in Houston.

Jenni Autry contributed to this report.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVET: Winter at Marbach

Julien Guntz produces beautiful visual and auditory journeys for horse lovers to experience unique locations all over the world, and his latest masterpiece is one of our favorites yet. We visit the German state stud of Marbach, steeped in 500 years of history and making winter look absolutely exquisite.

While eventers best know Marbach as the host site to one of Germany’s key spring CIC3* events, the stud is hugely influential from a breeding standpoint. Throughout its history, Marbach bred the finest horses to help influence local stock, depending on need: heavy breeds were introduced to bolster working horses, followed by general-purpose breeds suitable to both farming and carriage work as well as riding, to post-war sport horses.

The farm is now recognized as the establishing base for the Baden-Württemberger (which is the breed of the one and only La Biosthetique Sam FBW), as well as host to a herd of fine Arabians and the Black Forest draught, all of which appear in the video.

Marbach hosts breed inspections and offers boarding opportunities; another farm campus at St. Johann offers retirement for aged equines. Marbach has become synonymous in Europe with fine breeding as well as education for both the rider and the breeder; the farm also welcomes thousands of tourists each year.

We’re big fans of the work of Julien Guntz and we think you’ll agree that his stunning videos provide an up-close-and-personal look at some of the biggest and best places our horse world has to offer. You can view a full list of his works by clicking here.

Why SpectraVET?

Reliable. Effective. Affordable.

SpectraVET is committed to providing only the highest-quality products and services to our customers, and to educating the world in the science and art of laser therapy.

We design and manufacture the broadest range of clinically-proven veterinary therapeutic laser products, which are represented and supported worldwide by our network of specialist distributors and authorized service centers.

Best of HN: 9 Times the Lady Gaga Super Bowl Halftime Show Summed Up Equestrian Life

Lady Gaga is 100% a performer, through and through, putting her heart and soul into every single note, dance move or death-defying leap off of the top of a stadium. Sound like anyone else you know?

When you take the green horse down his first bank:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

When your horse is playing hard to catch:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

Getting all the barn girls together for a photo…

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

…and then trying to get the horses’ ears up so they look cute:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

Friends, family and responsibilities trying to get you to leave the barn:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

Trying to polo-wrap your antsy horse like:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

On your way back to the stabling area after winning a big class:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

Trying to navigate the warm-up ring:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

When you know you’ve just laid down the best pattern/test/course of your life:

Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

Go Gaga. Go riding.

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American Pharoah’s Full Brother Was Born Last Night & He’s Adorbs

Hot off the internet presses: a full brother to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has been born at Summer Wind Farm in Kentucky!

Sired by Pioneerof the Nile out of Littleprincessemma, this little bay colt was born overnight. Whether they go on to win racing’s “Grand Slam” or retire off the track to start a second career as sporthorses, every Thoroughbred starts out the same: a wobbly-legged little foal sticking close to his mother’s side.

Littleprincessemma just had a full brother to American Pharoah. She delivered a beautiful bay colt by Pioneer of the Nile at approximately 1:40 am. Mare and foal are doing well. Welcome to the world little one! #summerwind #americanpharoah

Posted by Karen Bailey on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

One of my favorite sayings, "fall down seven times, stand up eight!" Life is full of ups and downs, even when you are American Pharoah's full brother. Moments like this make it all worthwhile. ❤️ #littleprincessemma

Posted by Karen Bailey on Thursday, February 9, 2017

Littleprincessemma and the full brother to American Pharoah. #inlove #obsessed

Posted by Karen Bailey on Thursday, February 9, 2017

Obviously there is no guarantee that lightning could strike twice and that this colt is destined to inherit his brother’s incredible legacy… but wouldn’t it be great if it did? Until we find out, best wishes to this little colt and his connections.

Go riding!

As seen on…

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Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: White Thoroughbreds

True white Thoroughbreds are very rare. Grey horses that turn paler and paler with age are fairly common, but true white Thoroughbreds come from a genetic mutation and are uncommon indeed. One more white Thoroughbred has been added to the ranks with the birth of a filly by Revolutionary out of the white mare Beautiful Devil. She arrived during the Super Bowl!

It was believed until recently that white Thoroughbreds were a variation of the sabino pattern, essentially presenting as one giant body-wide white spot. However, recent research indicates that these white horses are genetic mutants, which can present in a number of different ways all referred to in a group as “dominant white.”

The Patchen Wilkes horses are perhaps the best-known example. The filly in this video is from a white damline including Beautiful Devil, Spot of Beauty, Patchen Beauty and White Beauty.

Another recent example of a rare white Thoroughbred was the colt born last February at Rockridge Stud in New York. His white coat coloring came from another family; his dam is a daughter of the famous Airdrie Apache, who boasts a mottled coat and is dual registered as a Paint.

Have you ever seen a white Thoroughbred in person? Let us know in the comments below.


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