Kate Samuels
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Kate Samuels

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About Kate Samuels

Kate Samuels is an avid 3-Day Eventer who currently competes at the Advanced/3* level with her wonderful Selle Francais gelding, Nyls du Terroir. A rider since the tender age of three, she is a young professional in the sport learning as much as she can from various mentors, both equine and human. Kate has worked for Eventing Nation since 2011, and has enjoyed every minute of it. She brings a lifetime of experience with horses as well as a wealth of knowledge gained through competing at the top levels of the sport. When not riding through the boiling hot, freezing cold, rain or snow, Kate enjoys baking pies, photography, and finding ridiculous videos on the internet.

Eventing Background

USEA Rider Profile Click to view profile
Area Area II
Highest Level Competed Advanced/CIC3*

Latest Articles Written

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Lainey and Al just modeling in some cold Virginia weather. Photo by Tylir Penton.

Lainey and Al just modeling in some cold Virginia weather. Photo by Tylir Penton.

I’ve started pony-ing my horses on trot sets down my dirt road, because frankly, it’s way more efficient. With the footing all gross everywhere else, a lot of my winter is walking and trotting up and down the road, and it’s not bad really. They hardly ever put down new gravel, and when it’s soggy everywhere else, the dirt has a nice give to it. All my horses are used to it, and legged up properly, so they like it. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that Nyls, the warmblood, is WAY more competitive than any of the other horses and can barely be contained when paired with someone else. He tries to beat them at the walk! I guess it’s good motivation for him, because otherwise he’s a bit of a kick along sometimes, but seriously…you’re not a racehorse dude and you’ve never been one, get it together.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Three Lakes January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

NPR wants to know, exactly how smart are horses? While the rest of the world still thinks horses might fall somewhere below dogs, we horse people know better. Japanese scientists have taken it upon themselves to measure the cognition of horses, by doing a few experiments with horses and their human counterparts. Their findings point not only to advanced cognition but also to flexible cognition, with the horses adjusting their communicative behavior to the humans’ knowledge state. DUH. [How Smart Are Horses?]

The Event at Rebecca Farm continues to expand, as does their economic impact every year. The 2016 competition brought in $5.5 million in economic revenue to the Flathead Valley, a full 25% increase from 2015, and welcomed over 600 competitors and 10,000 spectators. With attendees coming from 25 of the United States as well as Canada, many visitors stay to enjoy more of the outdoor beauties that Montana has to offer. [Rebecca Farm Impacts the Community]

Scary news from California, as a Brook Ledge trailer full of competition horses was hit by another tractor trailer while driving on the highway. The tractor trailer lost control and swerved into the center divider, bounced off, went back toward the slow lanes of traffic and side-swiped the large Brook Ledge Horse Transportation trailer, ripping a portion of the side. Of the seven horses on board, three were injured, with varying degrees of seriousness. [Horses Injured in Brook Ledge Crash]

Ah, saddle fit, the struggle that plagues so many of us riders. Not every horse (or horse parent) can afford a perfectly customized saddle, but the effects of a poorly fitted saddle can be varied and long lasting. In a society that prefers quick fixes and cheap solutions, saddles and horses are not a good match for this philosophy. Do you invest in a fitted saddle? Or wait for the horse to prove himself? But what if he can’t prove himself with a poorly fitted saddle? [Thoughts on Saddles and Training]

At some point, we’ve all looked for the magical “indestructible bell boot”. Everyone has one of those horses, the one that constantly pulls shoes, the one that destroys bell boots left right and center, or just loses them in the field every day. I’ve had some of these lovely beasts in my care, and honestly, I’ve tried all the bell boots. I feel terrible spending $50 on the nice ones I want to show in, just to have them ripped off in the field. My personal favorite for very hard wearing but still affordable are these Davis Bell Boots, which look unassuming and average, but are anything but. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Best of #TBT: USCTA 1987 “Tack Madness”

 

 

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Because who DOESN'T like tip toeing up and down an icy packed dirt road?? Photo by Kate Samuels.

Because who DOESN’T like tip toeing up and down an icy packed dirt road?? Photo by Kate Samuels.

It’s official, I’m over it. In fact, I’m #snowoverit. When I can’t ride for almost a week in total because it’s below 20 degrees and literally every option is covered in ice and snow and frozen rock solid, there is only so much a girl can take. Granted, my baking has been given a good run, but my horses are starting to get bored (and feral). So yesterday I attempted to go on a walk/trot down the dirt road where I live. There were a few short stretches where it was ok, but most of it was packed down ice. Good thing I took Nyls out first, as he’s a champ at mincing along and very sure footed.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Three Lakes January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Badminton tickets are officially on sale! Get your tickets today to one of the hardest four-stars in the entire world, which runs May 3rd-7th in the Duke of Beaufort’s Gloucestershire park. This year they are offering a first prize of £100,000 for the first time, with money prizes going all the way down through 20th place with an expected field of eighty starters. This year will also be the first time that Eric Winter is designing the cross country course, but he is well known for designing Blenheim 3* for the past ten years. [Badminton Tickets on Sale]

Are you an amateur rider who owns and competes a horse in Dressage, Show Jumping and/or Eventing? You are invited to participate in a short online research study conducted by Michael Willham from Otterbein University. The study is regarding behavior patterns with new market media trends in the horse industry, specifically the advertising considerations of buying and selling sport horses. After completing the survey, you can enter to win one of four $25 SmartPak gift cards! [Otterbein Amateur Owner Survey]

After coaching the German Eventing team for the past 16 years, British born Christopher Bartle is delighted to be back coaching his home team. After a successful riding career of his own, including trips to the Olympics as a rider, Bartle helped Britain at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 before switching to coach the German national team. With them, he scooped team eventing gold at both Beijing and London. Will he bring the British team back to the podium in four years time? [Yorkshire’s Chris Bartle Happy To Be Back]

Interested in becoming a course designer? Here’s how. You can follow Beth Perkins’ lead, by signing up for the USEA Training Program for Licensed Officials, which is a general program about how to design courses, because designers need to recognize how to have a progression from novice to training to prelim so horses and riders are ready. After that, the next step is to apprentice with two upper level designers for a minimum of 8 hours each, work as an assistant designer at a recognized event at the preliminary level, and design a training level course under the advice of a licensed designer. [Become a License Course Designer]

Thursday Video: Who says squeaky toys are only for dogs? Olympic bronze medallist Rosevelt disagrees.

Product Review: Omega Alpha RegenerEQ & Gastra-FX

A whole host of Omega Alpha products, made to make your horse feel like a million bucks. Photo by Kate Samuels.

A whole host of Omega Alpha products, made to make your horse feel like a million bucks. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Finding supplements that work in this day and age can be a daunting task, given that there are so many choices available to the discerning horse owner. It is rare that you find a company that has such passion for the job, as well as earnest, scientifically backed research behind the function of each individual product. I was lucky enough to sample several of Omega Alpha supplements on a variety of horses over a period of several months, and I was pleased with my findings for all of them.

To begin, all Omega Alpha products are herbal formulations, which means that they are all-natural but also have been thoroughly tested and evaluated by master herbalists, pharmacists, veterinarians, medical doctors and naturopathic doctors. All of the OA products are also safe for horses to consume while under the scrutiny of the ever increasing FEI drug regulations, which makes it a handy product to have in a high-level competition barn.

One of the most exciting items on the list is the Omega Alpha RegenerEQ. As one of the company’s most highly promoted products, and highly recommended by fellow professionals, I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.

Regenereq also comes in a tube for ease of travel administration. Photo by Kate Samuels.

RegenerEQ also comes in a tube for ease of travel administration. Photo by Kate Samuels.

RegenerEQ is labeled as a gastro-intestinal regenerator and appetite stimulant, serving to normalize the integrity of the gastro-intestinal tract. As many of us know, the function of our competition partners’ stomach is at the base of everything we are able to accomplish, and more horses than ever show signs of distress in this category. If your horse is unable to eat properly without feeling acidic related pain, or unable to perform under duress, you haven’t got much chance in making him happy to do a job.

The real future of RegenerEQ lies in the treatment of gastric ulcers, and research is currently being performed by several independent veterinarians on the success of a thirty-day treatment with this product, as compared to the regular healing medications such as Ranitidine or Gastroguard. Jeff Beshear, DVM, and also husband to 4* eventer Emily Beshear, has confirmed that he has been performing a small scale experiment of his own with RegenerEQ. He has scoped several horses with ulcers and treated for 30 days with RegenerEQ, and re-scoped to find a clean stomach. This is promising news for sport horse owners.

RegenerEQ is administered via an oral syringe at 15mL twice daily for 30 days, and then once daily for maintenance. It is available in 16 oz bottles, and also in a four-dose travel syringe, for when you go to competitions and don’t want to bring the whole feed room.

Gastra FX comes in a gallon pump container as well as a multi-dose travel tube. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Gastra-FX comes in a gallon pump container as well as a multi-dose travel tube. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The second product that I found to be a good pairing with the RegenerEQ is the Gastra-FX. I personally fell in love with this item, and I’m not afraid to admit it. The main function of the Gastra-FX is to soothe stomach acid and promote a healthy gut, and I found it incredibly effective in using it with a variety of different horses.

This is a daily supplement that you can give in their feed, but also is administered via an oral syringe about 15 minutes prior to tacking up and exercising. I found it to be incredibly useful on several different horses who have nervous behavior under saddle related to previous bad experiences and the memories that accompany such things. I had horses that were turning themselves inside out and jigging and rearing, mostly inconsolable until I began using the Gastra-FX prior to our rides. Through using this, I was able to mentally reach those horses during times of duress, and be an effective trainer instead of just a survivor.

I also used the Gastra-FX on my 3* horse at several competitions, as he is notoriously amped up and jittery in both jumping warm ups. I have used many many different calming solutions, but only when I used the OA Chill Ultra combined with the Gastra-FX Ultra did I finally have a horse who was able to walk and not skitter sideways for 20 minutes.

As an added bonus, I found that the Gastra-FX is very tasty to all horses I have used it on, which is good when you are sticking a syringe up their mouth right before you ride them. Most of them even open their mouths, delighted for the flavor. The loading dose is 50CC three times daily for the first two weeks, and then you can back down to one dose a day depending on the severity of the problem.

All Omega Alpha products reviewed on Eventing Nation have been Nyls certified "tasty". Photo by Kate Samuels.

All Omega Alpha products reviewed on Eventing Nation have been Nyls certified “tasty”. Photo by Kate Samuels.

All Omega Alpha products can be perused online at their website, and purchased online through four different dealers listed therein. You can also search for a store near you on their search engine, with many options available through the United States and Canada. Tune in to Eventing Nation product reviews for a continued exploration into the Omega Alpha product line, as I go through everything that I sampled this fall.

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

I am dying. Photo courtesy of Devon Lyver.

I am dying. Photo courtesy of Devon Lyver.

You guys. That’s a REAL pony, pulling a real child in a real sleigh. In the snow! I can’t even deal with this right now. This is “cuteness overload” defined. Thanks to Devon Lyver for sending in this ridiculously adorable photo of her rescue pony pulling her son in a sleigh. Even though Christmas is over, this photo will live on forever. Keep sending us pictures, people! We love seeing funny/adorable/crazy photos that you collect from different parts of the world, and hearing the stories that go alongside.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Day one of the George Morris Horsemastership clinic wrapped yesterday, with a resounding message that eventers can seriously relate to: Effective Before Pretty was the chant of the day from Anne Kursinki. A lot of the riders participating are big winners in the equitation ring, which Kursinski says is great, but, “It’s not about being a mannequin up there—it’s about being supple and elastic and in the right place at the right time.” [Effective Before Pretty]

The biggest news of the week is the end of Maya Black’s partnership with diminutive champion Doesn’t Play Fair. After a fairytale year in 2016 that included wins at the CIC3* level, a third place at Rolex and a short list for the Olympics, Cody’s owners have decided to take him back to the West Coast to enjoy a different pace of life. We wish Maya all the best in her search to find a horse that can compare, and in the meantime, we look back at a beautiful article by Jenni in Practical Horseman. [An Unlikely Partnership]

The Millbrook Horse Trials gives back with a donation of $2,500 to the Pine Plains Community Food Locker to support local families in need. The donation was made in partnership with Coole Park Farm and made possible through proceeds from the very popular August MHT. Founded in 1951 and operating out of the basement of the United Methodist Church on East Church Street, PPCFL depends on volunteer energy and each year spends about $15,000 on food purchases. Volunteers serve the entire Pine Plains school district, which includes nine towns, and visit about 40 local families every month to assess their needs and provide assistance. [Millbrook Horse Trials Gives Back]

Good news for fans of mustangs and Elisa Wallace, tiny grey champion mare Hwin has officially been made into a Breyer! The gray Adobe Town mare originally came to Elisa as an Extreme Mustang Makeover horse, and Elisa quickly realized the incredible potential of the mare as an eventer. The 14.3 hand mare has a little extra height, huge scope, and lovely gaits, and Elisa know right away that she couldn’t let the mare get away from her. [Hwin Makes It Big Time with Breyer]

Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center celebrated an amazing 2016, with a record-breaking 62 Thoroughbred adoptions. MMSC is a premier non-profit re-schooling facility for Thoroughbreds looking for a second career, and handily located in the Kentucky Horse Park. The program is unique in their system that develops and trains the horses in a way that makes them suitable for amateurs to continue developing in the future. Their approach is “horse centric” and has earned them accolades from many professionals in the sport horse business. [MMSC Celebrates 2016]

Can we talk about how cozy this Horseware Padua Long Down Coat looks? If normal people look at designer clothes and drool, I look at jackets that are stylish yet toasty warm and it really gets me going. I want a jacket that I could theoretically survive the cold barn chores in, but then also wash it up a bit and go out as a “normal” person maybe to dinner or seeming. This stylish coat looks like it fulfills both requirements AND it has a fur hood. Done. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Senior pictures gone awry! Photo courtesy of Teresa Rozenboom.

Senior pictures gone awry! Photo by Annie Hill Photography.

High school senior Rachel Rozenboom thought that including her OTTB mare, Allie, in her senior pictures was an obvious must, but as we know with horses, things don’t always go to plan. They took Allie down to a picturesque location, that just so happened to be located near a field full of very tall and scary corn, and the wind was up high. Needless to say, the mare decided to have her say about this “photoshoot” nonsense and Rachel comes out looking like a lion tamer in a white dress! Oh, horses!!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

While the tragic loss of Olivia Inglis is still fresh from the past year, her newly created foundation is looking out for the safety of riders in the future. The Olivia Inglis Scholarship Fund, established by Equestrian NSW through the Australian Sports Foundation, was the initiative of the Scone Horse Trials Organizing Committee after she died while competing in a two-star competition at the New South Wales Eventing Championships in March 2016. The fund was originally aimed to help young riders, but after the death of Australian young rider Caitlyn Fischer, it moved towards improving eventing safety. The fund has raised more than A$167,000 to date. [Olivia Inglis Foundation]

With the first event of the year coming up this weekend, you better make sure you brush up on your 2017 rule changes. This includes, but is not limited to, dress code, opening dates, how to break a score tie, dressage scoring (also now you can fall off in dressage and not get eliminated?!), and rules for the new Modified division. This, and many many more. Seriously, look at this before you go to an event, you never know what has changed in just a few months. [USEA Rules Refresher]

If you’re bored/standing with the farrier/at work and don’t want to be today, tune in to the live USEF stream of the George Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions. Unfortunately, George himself will not be there to educate these young minds with his own brand of humor and shame, but you will get to see the likes of Anne Kursinksi, Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut (holla girl squad!), which is still pretty good. If you’re stuck at home with the winter blues, this might just cheer you up and inspire you to go home and practice the show jumping! [George Morris Horsemastership Live Stream]

The first Pharoah has been born! Brookdale Farm of Versailles, Kentucky announced yesterday that what is believed to be the first foal of American Pharoah has been born! The bay colt was born Tuesday morning just after midnight, the first foal to maiden mare Kakadu. As a side note, I know automatically spell the word “Pharaoh” like Pharoah and the correct way looks weird. #horsegirlproblems [Baby Pharoah]

Get yourself inspired this winter with the latest USEA Grid Pro Quo from Joe Meyer. Grids are an awesome way to improve strength and balance for both horse and rider, and a good way to keep things interesting during the winter when you’re stuck in a smaller indoor or just working from the bottom up. Joe Meyer illustrates two simple grids that are easy to set up and easy to use for both young horses and more experienced ones coming back into work. [Grid Pro Quo]

 

Holiday horse cookies!! Don’t mind if I do….

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Happy enjoying his winter vacation! Photo courtesy of Phillip Dutton Eventing.

Happy enjoying his winter vacation! Photo courtesy of Phillip Dutton Eventing.

Even Olympic champs get to roll in the mud and then lead their groom around the farm, as seen here by Mighty Nice, or Happy as he is known. A really great part of being an event horse is how the vast majority of them get big chunks of the year to just go out in a field and get back to being a horse, and be filthy and eat tons of grass. Don’t forget that voting is still open for the 2016 USEF International Horse of the Year through January 4th! You can vote for Happy, click here!

News From Around the Globe:

After a seriously intense Twitter battle for the 2016 EquiRatings Horse of the Year, Alex Hua Tian’s Don Geniro emerged as the commanding winner with 57% of the vote. The Don, as he is known, averages a 41.9 in dressage, has had 22 international appearances, and has never incurred a cross country penalty in any of them. This year he won the Event Rider Masters leg at Bramham 3* on his dressage score of 40.1, and also finished 8th individually at the Olympics, all in his 9-year-old year! [Don Geniro Wins EquiRatings HOTY]

#ForRealThough Moment of the Day: Winter: A Love/Hate Relationship

USEA Top Fifteen Photos Of 2016

Throwback Thursday is at least one good tradition that came out of 2016, and COTH is here to celebrate it with us. They’ve been in publication for over 75 years, and they can really throw it back. Top TBT moments from 2016 include a Thoroughbred jumping 7’5″, the 1948 Olympic Show Jumping team in their training sessions, grand prix riders on teeny tiny ponies, and George Morris advice galore. [Top TBT 2016]

Best of Blogs: Unicorn, Found

Sometimes you just have to have a jacket that comes down below your knees to survive the day. Even better, when this jacket is also designed to spread out into a cool skirt so you can have your own blanket while your riding, and protect your legs from the bitter cold! This Mountain Horse Adventure Parka is a warm waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric with many functional riding detail for optimal comfort. Don’t leave home without one this winter! [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Four star horses like to be ridden bareback and bridle less too:

 

 

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Services

A little hunting in the virginia mud! Photo by Kate Samuels.

A little hunting in the virginia mud! Photo by Kate Samuels.

Yesterday I finally got to go hunting again, as every time I try to schedule a day to take my giant red dinosaur out, it rains/ices/gets cancelled for weather related reasons. This has proved very frustrating. So, I went despite the ankle deep mud, and for a horse who was absolutely petrified of mud a few years ago, he did honorably. After that, I went and bought duck legs from the local butcher to make duck confit for some friends tonight, and then proceeded to ride and bathe all of my other horses, as they had rolled every body part in the mud during a 60 degree day. Now everyone is clean! Until they roll again today.

News From Around the Globe:

 The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was created in 2014, and has since taken off with over forty schools affiliated and more than 100 members registered as collegiate riders. One of the biggest milestones of the program was the introduction of the Intercollegiate Leaderboard in 2016. This let college riders earn points at competitions around the country which reflected in their year-end status on the leaderboard. At the convention this fall, they finally introduced the leaders at Preliminary through Beginner Novice. [Meet Inaugural Intercollegiate Winners]

Uh oh, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Time to take the ultimate Eventing 2016 quiz and see how much of an eventing nerd you really are. [Ultimate Eventing Quiz]

Horse & Hound knows how to celebrate the end of 2016, by giving us a top ten list of the most heart warming and popular articles published during the year. [H&H Top Ten]

Also celebrating the holiday seasons are the twelve ponies of Christmas, featuring twelve ponies that were neglected or abused and then brought back to life with help from the World Horse Welfare Organization. Angharad is a yearling pony filly who has now been handled and gentled, and is looking for a home for a year or two before she can return to WHW for potential backing and training. [12 Ponies of Christmas]

Best of Blogs: No Kicking of Cans

After years of making my own crazy winter hair concoctions, I finally broke down and bought some legit stuff. This Healthy HairCare Hair Moisturizer is the bomb dot com, and I’m not exaggerating. It conditions the hair and makes it silky soft, but not slippery like show sheen. It also smells amazing, and makes your muddy pony look a lot cleaner than he/she might actually be. Diluted with water, it’s one of my new favorite grooming hacks. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

 

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Good Footing – Attwood Equestrian Surfaces from Bold Horse Media on Vimeo.

 

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Sigh. Photo courtesy of Caroline Martin, in Florida enjoying the sun.

Sigh. Photo courtesy of Caroline Martin, in Florida enjoying the sun.

I have a really horse specific first world problem specifically about the winter season, and I just can’t let it go. It’s confusing enough that Virginia likes to spend several months being below freezing at night and then sunny and mid-fifties during the day, not only for my wardrobe, but also for the blanketing needs of my horses. There’s nothing worse than having to do multiple clothing changes per day for a ton of horses, except of course for this one thing. The day that it gets so hot that you HAVE to take off the sheets, which immediately results in each and every horse rolling in all available mud. Which then means that you can’t just blanket them back up, you have to bathe them or do an intense cleaning/vacuuming session. WHY must you be so muddy, ponies???

News From Around the Globe:

In case you missed it, the USEF announced Eventing 25 and 18 lists yesterday. With eleven riders on the Eventing 25 list and a whopping seventeen on the Eventing 18 list, its a wonderful sign of upcoming talent. USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law will be helping these young riders both in Ocala, Florida and Temecula, California this spring. [Emerging Athletes Lists]

Your vet is one of your best friends, as your life as a horse owner means you rather rely on him or her. Vets are part magician, part puzzle pro, part therapist, and part pharmacist. If you’ve got to call the vet out for something or other this winter, here are a few hot tips to make his or her life easier, and make the visit go as smoothly as possible. [Preparing for the Vet]

The voting is over for the host of the 2018 World Equestrian Games, but what about 2022? Lexington, Kentucky has their eye on the prize, with an early bid to host the WEG for a second time. They hosted in 2010 with great success, and are only up against Samorin, Slovakia, so far. [Kentucky Horse Park Bids for WEG 2022]

As 2016 comes to an end, we’re all looking back at our top moments from the year. COTH compiled their top ten most popular articles, and unsurprisingly, two of them feature Valegro! Ah, memories. [COTH Top Ten of 2016]

Ice on water buckets, my winter morning chore nemesis. When it dips down below twenty, the buckets invariably freeze, and I’m stuck trying to blast them with hot water to cleanse the hay and gunk out, or just piling them all in the tack room to thaw during the day. I can’t do water heaters because I’m terrified I’ll be the one to burn the barn down, but I can deal with these handy bucket insulators from SmartPak. One per horse, so I know they have at least one bucket that stays cozy and they can slurp all night long. [SmartPak Insulated Water Bucket Cover]

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Bless you, Will Faudree photoshop committee.

Bless you, Will Faudree photoshop committee.

Only three days until Christmas, and most importantly, today is the last day to get something on Amazon Prime in time for Sunday. You know who you are, Christmas procrastinators, and I used to be one of you. This year was the first of my fully formed “adulting” in this category, as I intentionally saved gift ideas for friends all year long, just like my Grandma has been telling me to for the past 28 years. So when November rolled around, I wasn’t desperately asking leading questions to find out what they desired (and what I could afford), but instead had sneaky ideas lodged in the back of my brain. Listen up, Grandma knows what’s best, because this has been the least stressful last week before Christmas of my life.

News From Around the Globe:

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has named 10 event riders athletes who have been selected for the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Podium Potential Programme for the next two years. With one of the best rider development programs in the world, being named to this list is a huge honor and a great way to advance one’s career as an event rider. Athletes will receive support through world class coaching, human and equine sports science and medicine, nutrition and sports psychology. The recipients are: Bert Bolton, Rosalind Canter, Genevieve Clarke, Sam Ecroyd, William Furlong, Tom Jackson, Tom McEwan, Imogen Murray, Sarah Parkes and Francesca Reid-Warrilow. [BEF Names Riders to Potential Podium Program]

Why do we feel the need to dress our horses in Santa outfits? The world may never know, but it continues to feel funny and festive and good, so we keep doing it. I literally did a full barn santa hat photo shoot this past week, and I’m not even a little ashamed. Turns out, folks in the UK also think this is hilarious fun. [Is That Santa, or a Horse?]

Is your property winter chore efficient? In any location that experiences winter weather, the design focuses around how to function when its horrible and cold and frozen and wet and muddy etc. There are ways you can prepare and make your life easier for the coming months, including putting some footing down at gates to paddocks, removing your muck piles before they build up too high, and forming plans for ice storms. [Winter Chore Efficiency Guide]

Best of Blogs: Amateurs Like Us: Realignments and Reawakenings

An excellent way to learn about your horse’s personality, or even just horse behavior in general, is to sit down and watch the herd. Observing your herd dynamics and social structure can tell you a lot about individual horses, and also give you hints as to how horses communicate with the world. But where do you start? Susan McDonnell gives a great guide to getting the most out of your observation sessions. [Watching The Herd]

 

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

This never gets old.

This never gets old.

Yesterday, winter actually really arrived in my part of town, starting with a balmy 10 degrees to do the barn chores in the morning. Luckily, nothing warms you up like vigorously scooping poop and throwing hay and sweeping the aisle. Unfortunately, after that, it’s still only 7:30 and I have to survive the rest of the day out in the wind. My problems are nothing compared to those who live in a more northern manner, and I can’t possibly imagine how people in Vermont function. Kudos to you, you crazy, crazy people.

News From Around the Globe:

Starting from literally nothing with an un-broke eventing prospect might just be the most daunting task for any rider. Daniel Clasing and Kaitlin Spurlock have spent years learning from the best in the sporting world as well as competing through the 4* level, and now have started their own business with a primary focus on developing young horses. In this first article from the USEA, Kaitlin and Daniel illustrate how you can go about selecting a prospect with just an examination and a good feeling. [Evaluating the Unbroken Event Prospect]

The Brooke has met its goal of reaching two million working horses, donkeys and mules in a single year. The ambitious goal to reach this vast number of working horses and donkeys to relieve their suffering and improve welfare through training, research and treatment was set almost six years ago. An estimated 100 million equines are supporting more than 600 million people in the developing world. The majority of those animals are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, malnourishment, crippling injuries, lameness, and/or contagious diseases, nearly all of which can be prevented with proper training for their owners, which the Brooke provides in spades. [The Brooke Beats the Odds]

The Mars Essex Horse Trials, slated to run again in June of 2017 after a 19-year hiatus, is excited to announce that they’ve partnered with the Greater Newark LifeCamp as the event’s sole beneficiary for the re-start of competition. LifeCamp is an organization that provides an enriching summer camp experience for Newark public school students from the ages of 6-13. The Mars Essex HT will be integrating LifeCamp campers into the happenings at Essex while they bring back this historic competition and throw it back to the spirit of the “old” Essex Horse Trials. [Greater Newark LifeCamp] [Mars Essex HT]

Best of Blogs: Why And How Should We Ride Without Stirrups?

The competition is heating up for the five candidates to host the second CCI4* in North America as the decision will be made next month. The USEF will select one of the proposals next month and then submit that to the FEI, which inevitably will take much longer, but the possible hosts are waiting on pins and needles. Great Meadow specifically hopes that they will win the bid, alongside a possible new quarantine facility located handily at Dulles Airport in Washington DC. [Who Will Win the CCI4* Bid]

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

How to fly a plane, by Reed Kessler and Up Des Chaines. Photo courtesy of Reed Kessler.

How to fly a plane, by Reed Kessler and Up Des Chaines. Photo courtesy of Reed Kessler.

It’s 10 days out from christmas, so I hope you have all your holiday planning done by now! I got super into the Christmas spirit this week by finally decorating the tree I cut down last week, and hanging lights all over my house. I listened to shameless Christmas music on Spotify the whole time, and I’m not even afraid to tell you that I’ve been listening to it while I ride too. Tell me you can listen to “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch” by Jim Carey or literally anything holiday from Mariah Carey and not smile a little bit. Hey, you gotta have something to keep you occupied when the temperature for the morning barn chores is a toasty 10 degrees….!

News From Around the Globe:

As you might have seen from the photos of the USEA convention, Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois won the 2016 Connaught Grant. The Connaught Grant was established by Caroline Moran in honor of the late R. Bruce Duchossois, and awards $25,000 to a CCI* or CCI2* horse in the U.S. that is seen as a potential candidate to represent the U.S. Equestrian Team on an international level. The pair won the Fair Hill CC2* this fall and Jennie hopes to use the money to travel abroad next spring and expand the mare’s experience at the 2* level before stepping up to 3*. [Jennie & Stella Win Connaught Grant]

Charlotte Dujardin blew it out of the park with the now-retired Valegro at Olympia. After winning literally everything there is to possibly win in the dressage world, Blueberry has rightfully earned a peaceful retirement, but Charlotte brought him out for one more freestyle exhibition, and we all got goosebumps. They did a perfect rendition of their gold medal London freestyle routine, and it was an ideal exit for the pair. [Charlotte & Valegro Olympia Exhibition]

Also relevant: Charlotte & Valegro Top 5 Moments

Hot on Horse Nation: 11 Signs Equestrians Are Easy To Please: Winter Edition

Could you design the last fence on the Badminton 2017 cross country course? Maybe! The organizers of Badminton are asking fans of the competition to submit designs for the final obstacle for next spring’s course. Course designer Eric Winter, event director Hugh Thomas and media director Julian Seaman will select their favourite 10 designs, and a public vote will decide the winner. [Design the Badminton Fence]

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Snow ears already??? Photo by Katie Peery.

Snow ears already??? Photo by Katie Peery.

While it hasn’t snowed in Virginia (yet), it is definitely entering what I like to call the “Michelin Man” zone, wherein I wake up in the pitch black, go to my closet, and spend 10 full minutes intricately layering my clothing so to survive 10-12 hours unimpeded in the outdoors. I learned long ago to invest in very warm items that are also very thin (hello, nano puff jacket and under armour long sleeves) as you can layer a lot of them while still feeling like you can move your arms. There’s nothing worse than feeling like the little brother from A Christmas Story on your way to the barn!

News From Around the Globe:

Kentucky Equine Research is offering $15 off any order over $100 on shop.kerx.com through the month of December. The promotion includes ClockIt heart-rate monitors, which only going on sale this time of year. Heart-rate monitors make great stocking stuffers for the techy equestrian on your Christmas shopping list! [shop.kerx.com]

Hot on Horse Nation: Fantasy Farm Thursday

If you’ve got a horse with ulcers, you know that maintenance is a big part of your future success. After treating for gastric ulcers medically, the best way to keep them at bay is through a feeding and care program that prevents reoccurrence. Horse & Hound offers some advice on how and what to feed a horse with ulcers. [H&H Question & Answer]

This ain’t your grandma’s bedding anymore. People are getting creative with what they stuff in their stalls these days, with lots of different alternatives to regular old shavings or straw. Did you know that you can use corn husks? Or that you can get hemp bedding? Me neither. While some of these bedding options are best if locally sourced, they could be the key to your success in the barn this winter. [Bedding Alternatives]

Now that you’ve clipped your horse naked, the wind is picking up, and you might feel kinda bad going on a hack. If you don’t already, maybe pick up a nice quarter sheet? This one from SmartPak is incredibly nice fleece, comes in different colors, and really covers the important parts. Even better, it’s on sale for only $25!! I may or may not have just bought one myself. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

I know I’m not the only one who stays up late watching these old jumper videos…right??

 

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

When your dad, the combat vet, picks out your heavy weight. 'Murica. Photo by Jenny Smalley.

When your dad, the combat vet, picks out your heavyweight. ‘Murica. Photo by Jenny Smalley.

I’ve recently gotten enough time to go out Fox Hunting again, which I don’t usually do in the winter. Mostly, I’ve just always had horses that were nut bags and totally not suitable. One time, I took Nyls on a walk and talk with a small child student, and he spent the entire 2.5 hours running backwards, sideways, rearing, bucking, sweating, frothing, prancing and dancing. It was horrible. My giant red dinosaur, however, thinks that group trail rides are great! I’m pretty sure thats what he thinks hunting is about. You just blindly follow the horse in front of you, and then sometimes you stand around and the humans pass around beverages, right?

News From Around the Globe:

Savannah “Woodge” Fulton is this year’s recipient of the Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant. At only 20 years old, Woodge has been competing the 13-year-old thoroughbred, Captain Jack, at the CIC3* and CCI3* level all year. They were 7th together at Bromont CCI3* and ran a double clear cross country round at Fair Hill CCI3* this fall. She will receive $5,000 to help offset some of her training costs as she continues her path to hopefully one day represent the US in international competition. [Woodge Fulton Wins Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant]

If you’re trying to work your horse with long hair this winter, you’re constantly faced with how to help him dry out. Horses are designed to dry their bodies by using body heat to push the moisture out to the tip of the hair, but when they’re super sweaty or wet from rain, they lose the ability to do this, and just stand around burning calories being cold. Certain kinds of coolers are better than others, and certain methods are definitely more effective and quick than others. [Dry Your Damp Horse in Winter]

Kentucky Equine Research is offering $15 off any order over $100 on shop.kerx.com through the month of December. The promotion includes ClockIt heart-rate monitors, which only going on sale this time of year. Heart-rate monitors make great stocking stuffers for the techy equestrian on your Christmas shopping list! [shop.kerx.com]

Hot on Horse Nation: 7 Things Our Horses Do That Will Never Not Be Adorable

Everyone else in the “real” world is all excited about the holidays and the possibility of snow. All equestrians can think of is how depressing it is to keep waking up when it’s pitch black outside, don 34 layers of clothing, and trudge through the inevitable upcoming months of mud to retrieve equally muddy horses. [Tis The Season To Be Jolly]

Shout out to my neighbor Reynolds Cowles for being named the President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) this week. Dr. Cowles is famous around these parts, and we’re so proud that he’s getting the recognition that he deserves as a long time sport horse practitioner. Founder of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in 1979, and deeply involved in both the Thoroughbred racing community as well as the sport horse world that is so richly available in central Virginia, Dr. Cowles brings a lot of good experience to the table. [Reynolds Cowles Named AAEP President]

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

When two bros have no chill about their romance. Photo by Kate Samuels.

When two bros have no chill about their romance. Photo by Kate Samuels.

I’ve spent the past few weeks reading every single cookbook that I own (plus a few new ones) and making exhaustive lists of things that I want to cook over the next few horrible cold and dark months. The one good thing about the winter is that I have more time to cook and bake at night, because I HAVE to stop riding at 5:30 because it’s basically pitch black at that point. This means I have a few “normal” hours before I pass out during which I can make delicious things and then immediately give them away because lord knows if I ate everything I cooked, my horses would not thank me.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Sporting Days Horse Trials [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Four locations around the United States are making a bid for a CCI4* approval in 2017. The Rolex Kentucky CCI**** was the first four-star outside of Europe and has occurred every April since 1998 in Lexington. Now four venues have confirmed they are placing bids with the USEF to host a fall four-star: the Tryon International Equestrian Center, the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, Great Meadow, and the privately owned Ocala Jockey Club. Exciting times ahead for the future of Eventing in the United States! [Four Locations Bid for 4* Approval]

Horse movies can be a double edged sword for everyone who knows anything about horses. You want to want to like it, but the mistakes made by hollywood and the constant horse whinnies every time the camera pans towards them are just a little unbearable. Candace Wade was a judge in the NYC Equus Film Festival this year, and was kind enough to write about her favorites (trailers included) for Horse Nation. [Highlights from Equus Film Festival]

Ah, the problem with horses that don’t like to load up on the trailer. Jason Webb of Australian Horse Training is a renowned UK-based horse trainer with a passion for starting young horses, solving equine problems and teaching riders of all abilities and ambitions develop and strengthen the partnership they have with their horses. He took time to weigh in on the common question, “How do I get my horse to load better?” on Horse & Hound. [My Horse Won’t Load!]

When in doubt for a horsey friend during the holidays, give the gift that can’t disappoint. A gift card to SmartPak!! You can give you friends anything from $15 to $1,000 in SmartPak goodies either through email or give them an actual fancy card in the mail. What would YOU do with a SmartPak Gift Card?? [Holiday Shopping Solved]

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Ahhh winter. Photo courtesy of Sabrina Morris.

Ahhh winter. Photo courtesy of Sabrina Morris.

Looking at this photo, I don’t know if I should laugh, cry, or send Sabrina a box of chocolates as well as some Orvis shampoo (for both horse and blanket!). Possibly a combination of all three is appropriate. Don’t you just love winter!? All the lovely things that go along with winter, like mud, and cold rain, and snow, and more mud, and mud puddles, and riding while wearing 34 layers….ahhh such fond memories from years past!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Sporting Days Horse Trials [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Big news from Maryland: Fair Hill International has requested to become a 4*! After economic data shows a large increase in the growth of the horse industry, Fair Hill has decided to expand and upgrade their facilities as well as request permission to become the 7th four-star competition in the world. Regardless of the 4* outcome, FHI will be implementing some exciting upgrades next year, so stay tuned. [FHI Seeks 4* Upgrade]

One week until the USEA convention! Held down in sunny Ft Lauderdale, Florida, this year, you’ll find everything from educational clinics on show jumping course design, some holiday shopping opportunities, learn the best way to fall off from Danny Warrington, and attend lots of seminars on eventing safety and the future of the sport. A whirlwind long weekend indeed, and one you don’t want to miss out on! You can find the full schedule at this link. [USEA Convention 2016]

If you didn’t see the updated 2017 FEI rules yesterday, make sure you check them out today. As always, we highly recommend reading the entire thing yourself, just to catch any weird additions that might specifically affect you and your horses. [FEI Rule Changes for 2017]

Remember last week when George Morris actually picked a picture of a rider and said she had “the perfect position”? And how that person was a West Coast eventer? Kelsey Horn of Corvallis, Oregon, was just about as shell shocked as the rest of us, maybe even more so. Kelsey has been the head trainer at Inavale Farm for six years, and has evented through the two-star level. However, she started her journey riding western pleasure and english equitation on Morgan horses! COTH has the full story on this lucky girl. [Kelsey Horn: From Morgans to Morris]

Thursday Video: At home with the incredible Nick Skelton!

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

 

Peanut! Photo by Krisie Southern.

Peanut! Photo by Krisie Southern.

The blackest of Friday’s to you all! And I mean that with love. You just have to check out the Black Friday deals we’ve rounded up for you, they’re positively ridiculous. All those things that you’ve been pining for all year from Horseware, SmartPak, Majyk Equipe, World Equestrian Brands and more! It’s a shameless shopping day, so let’s embrace it whole heartedly. [Black Friday Deals]

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Jockey Club CIC & CCI  [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Friday Notes:

Last week, Chicago eventer Shannon Riley tragically lost two of her horses to a freak accident after they escaped in the night. One of these horses was her upper level mount, Jag, who Shannon brought up the levels herself. Inspired by their love for Shannon, her friends and students have set up a Go Fund Me to help her find a new horse to accomplish her goals. If you’re interested in helping a fellow Eventer in this holiday season, please take a look. [Flowers from Ashes: Jag’s Legacy]

Next Level Eventing, home to Tamie Smith, Heather Morris, and Mackenna Shea, chose to give back to the community in a special way this Holiday season. The three held an essay contest for local United States Pony Clubs and riding schools in the area. Ramona Vincent Pony Club won the Grand Prize and received a collection of items that ranged from riding jackets to tack, and even clothing. NLE also decided to play host to schooling events to aid all local clubs on a fun and educational level. [Next Level Gives Back]

Newly minted 4* pair Ashley Johnson and Tactical Maneuver are ready to tackle Ocala CIC3*. Johnson admits that “Gucci” can be a lunatic at times, and it’s taken her seven years of partnership to get him to the 4* level, but he’s finally coming into his own. He’s been a tough horse to get along with at many times, and Ashley has worked incredibly hard to earn his trust. After Rolex this spring, he’s come out incredibly confident, and they took it easy this fall in preparation for this weekend. [COTH One To Watch: Ashley Johnson]

Hot on Horse Nation: Giving Thanks to the Horses That Made Me

SmartPak is offering 15% off all purchases, plus free shipping on orders over $75. Use coupon code GIFT2016. They will also have special doorbuster deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Click here to shop. PLUS SmartPak’s 25 Deals of Christmas started this week to bring you up to 50% savings on special products all through the holidays. Click here to sign up for the 25 Deals of Christmas and receive a new deal in your inbox each day.  

 

 

Thanksgiving Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Leo is thankful for donkey friends that live down the road. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Leo is thankful for donkey friends that live down the road. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! I’ll be waking up early today to do the barn chores before immediately beginning a pie baking attack for all the gatherings that I have planned. I’m fortunate in that I have several groups of friends and family to visit on Thanksgiving, and it’s a great day to appreciate what we have in life, and also eat lots of stuffing. In addition, I discovered that the combination of apple pie with a cheddar crust is really what makes the world go ’round, and I’m planning on sharing that knowledge a few times over today.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Jockey Club CIC & CCI  [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Thanksgiving News:

Thanksgiving means family, and there aren’t many eventers that don’t have a family member of the canine variety. This year World Equestrian Brands is sponsoring a contest for EN’s Thanksgiving Top Dog! So when you’re in your turkey coma, wake up long enough to snap a great picture of your canine companion in his own stupor. [Thanksgiving Top Dog]

Oh my god it’s happened. George Morris has found the “perfect position” on a living human rider. And an eventer at that!! George was so impressed with the picture of this rider that he even called the COTH headquarters to sing her praises. It was eventer Kelsey Horn riding Swingtown to the win in the 4-year-old division of the U.S. Eventing Association’s Young Event Horse West Coast Championship who caught his eye. [Dear Kelsey: Life Goals Accomplished]

Veterinarian Charmian Wright is taking care of the horses at Standing Rock into her own hands. After hearing that some of the horses involved in the protests were getting injured, this vet from Park City, Utah, drove 900 miles to a camp in North Dakota to tend to the horses. She found that they were all very well cared for, and mended some small wounds while also teaching the owners about emergency care in case they need further help. [Vet Drives 900 Miles for Horses at Standing Rock]

Best of Blogs: The Young Horse Training Diary: Moji Meets the Master

An Evening with Carl Hester:

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Photo via HorseSmart UK Facebook Page.

Photo via HorseSmart UK Facebook Page.

November in Virginia is a really confusing time. When I wake up, it’s dark, which is depressing, and then I go outside wearing 4-5 layers, a scarf and a fuzzy hat because it’s about 30 degrees outside and there is frost on the ground. By 9 a.m., I’m pulling off layers as I heat up riding, and by midday, it’s 70 degrees. I’m also done with my day around 5, because it’s basically already dark, and I have a weird amount of “free” time after that, which I’m not used to. Luckily, I also believe in going to bed early and I’m not ashamed to admit it. #seventhirtybedtimeandlovingit

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Fresno County Horse Park H.T. [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Hey, just a friendly reminder that your USEF membership is expiring on November 30th! Yeah, I’ve been getting the emails too, and basically ignoring them probably until the 29th, but I thought I’d just throw it out there that you can renew super easily online. Don’t be a procrastinator like me. [USEF]

Are you going to the USEA Convention? The discounted room rate for the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood Hotel has been extended through Friday, Nov. 18. [Discounted Room Rate]

The event next weekend at Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day is hoping’ with action. More than 40 companies ranging from artisanal food purveyors to luxury saddle makers have signed on to sell their wares in the bustling Vendor Village at the inaugural Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event on November 24-27, in Reddick, Florida. “With the event being held during Thanksgiving weekend, we wanted to provide a Vendor Village that would offer spectators a chance to bring their families to watch Olympic riders compete in the great sport of three-day eventing, as well as enjoy everything this spectacular venue has to offer,” Equiventures CEO Richard Trayford said. [Ocala Jockey Club International]

The Canadian Young Rider program is holding a live auction through November 19th to raise funds for aspiring riders. The BCYR program has produced international riders like Rebecca Howard, Hawley Bennett, Stephanie Rhodes Bosch and Danica Meyerhoff to name a few, and does an excellent job providing support and guidance to young riders of all ages. They have things like entries for Aspen Farms, Galway and Rebecca Farm, lessons with the aforementioned incredible riders, and awesome oil paintings. All items are offered at bidding prices well below market value, so make sure you check it out! [BCYR Live Auction]

Sharon White is hosting a three-part winter clinic series, including cross country, gymnastics and dressage days. Receive personalized instruction from four-star event rider, and one of our country’s best instructors, Sharon White. Riders of all levels, Intro to Advanced, are invited, and auditors welcome!  Private and group lessons available. You can even sign up online. [Blue Horse Entries]


 

Top 10 Tips for Perfect Clips

Daaaaaamnn that's a fine clip job. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Daaaaaamnn that’s a fine clip job. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Whether you’re tackling the task of clipping your wildebeest furry horse yourself this year, or hiring a professional, there are a few rules you should follow in order to maximize your opportunities to get a flawless clip job.

There are lots of different styles of clips for horses in varying places in their lives, and if you want to avoid having sweaty, dirt-filled monsters for the next few months, you’re about desperate to start clipping by now. I clip up to eight horses a week during the season, and I’ve developed a few hot tips over the years. Let’s start from the beginning.

1. Make sure your horse is squeaky clean and dry before you even think about clipping. 

None of this namby-pamby “sponge bath” stuff; I’m talking about getting out a scrub brush, a stiff curry comb and your fingernails for this job. Pay special attention to the knees, hocks, fetlocks and on top of the rump, as these are all places with really thick fur that hides dirt deep down at the bottom and is a nightmare to try to cut through if it’s yucky.

A thorough bathing is also a really good way to tell if you might have any trouble spots during the clip. If you can’t bathe your horse’s ears, chances are that you’re not going to be able to clip them that easily.

2. Take good care of your clippers, and read the instructions. 

Your clippers are expensive, and you should treat them with respect or they will mangle your horse. Know how often to oil them, use cooling spray and blade wash continually during the clip job, and always always take them apart and clean them thoroughly after every session.

I have two sets of clippers, the Lister Star Clippers with a medium blade, and the quieter and more maneuverable Andis AGC Super 2 Speed Clippers with the 2.4mm blades for the face and parts of the legs. It’s good to know what kind of clippers work for you, and even better to always have an extra pair of new blades in your bag.

3. Get yourself a super fashionable rain suit. 

Seriously, you’ll thank me later. There is almost nothing worse in the world than enduring horse hair that has stuck itself in your riding pants and down your shirt and won’t come out after several washes. Nobody here will judge you for your fashion. Let’s be real — we all walk around town in basically spandex pants, knee socks and clogs; a rain suit isn’t that far off.

4. Don’t EVER, ever apply chapstick prior to clipping a horse. 

Trust me on this one; you don’t want to find out the hard way.

Fresh cuts! This is the blanket clip, one of my favorites.

Fresh cuts! This is the blanket clip, one of my favorites.

5. Familiarize your horse and yourself with the horse’s reactions to the clippers before you dive in. 

If it’s your horse, you probably know if he’s ticklish or weird about touching his right hind or doesn’t like his eyeballs touched. If it’s somebody else’s horse, ask questions about their previous behavior during clipping and any facts you should know before buzzing away. Always introduce yourself to the horse, show them the clippers, and start at the shoulder and NOT the back leg.

6. Don’t be afraid of sedatives or twitches. 

Nobody deserves to have their head kicked in while trying to shear hair off a horse. That’s an incredibly lame way to get hurt, so don’t put yourself in that position. If you need to teach your horse about clippers, that needs to be done in a methodical way BEFORE you actually clip, and in a way that he starts to become comfortable with them and associate them with good feelings. Most show horses can be clipped completely free of drugs, and I clip my horses in the aisle untied while they fall asleep, but that’s not all horses.

The Humane Twitch is also a great thing to have in your clipping bag if you have a horse that’s good for almost everything, but not quite. Honestly, I don’t want to be crawling around under a horse’s hind legs if there’s a chance he might take offense and smash my head in, and neither do you.

7. Master your lines with a smooth fell swoop of the clippers. 

For any style except taking it all off, you’re gonna have to do some lines. The best way to do this is to do each one as a continuous motion, making sure that both the horse and the clippers hold steady as you slowly go along. Leg lines are best if they follow the bottom of the muscles, and stomach lines for a trace or blanket clip can be eyeballed or done with chalk. Compare your sides in both front and back to make sure they are at least close to even.

Most importantly, remember that you can always take more hair off, but you can never take less off.

Shanti looking stylish with her hunter clip. Photo by Erica Stevens, clip job by Kate.

Shanti looking stylish with her hunter clip. Photo by Erica Stevens. Clip job by Kate.

8. Never deal with lines again by refining your technique. 

Inevitably, you’ll pull back from your clipping to realize there are some weird parallel lines on the horse that just don’t look classy. I usually find that they appear on the mid-section, where all the hair grows in the same direction and we tend to buzz it like a typewriter.

First, make sure you aren’t just digging the corners of your clippers into their skin, because sometimes it’s just a raised lump. Then, come back over your lines from a slightly different angle that you originally did, using short swipes to eliminate any hair that is a millimeter higher. This also works well for the shoulders, where the hair can be lighter and there isn’t a lot of meat on the horse.

9. Pull your horse into the bright light and get a second opinion. 

When you’re finished with your clip, pull the horse out into the brightest light you can find and get a full 360-degree look at your work. If you can, snag a friend and ask them if they see anything weird. It always helps to have a second pair of eyes.

10. Polish your job off properly. 

Don’t just throw all your hairy stuff in a bag and leave your poor horse covered in shards of his own spiky hair! If you’re itchy, so is he.

If it’s warm enough, I like to give them a quick warm shower afterwards to get all the little tiny horrible itchy pieces off. Otherwise, I throw a dollop of Skin So Soft in a bucket of warm water and rub them vigorously with a towel all over the clipped parts. This removes hair, dirt, clipper oil and also moisturizes the skin a bit to prevent allergic reactions. Also, it makes them shiny and pretty, which is important.

I hope all of these tips help you become a master of clipping and bring you great satisfaction. If you are the creative type and you got mad skillz in the clipping department, send pictures to [email protected] to be featured in a collective about talented horse hair stylists!

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

This has nothing to do with anything, but it's amazing.

This has nothing to do with anything, but it’s amazing.

Oh man you guys, it’s officially one week from Thanksgiving, which I has to say is maybe my favorite holiday. Not only do I get to bake several pies for several different lunch/dinner parties, but I get to hang with my cousins and my aunts and uncles and cool people I don’t get to see the rest of the year. Also, every time Thanksgiving rolls around, I wonder to myself, why in the world don’t we eat turkey and stuffing more often? Like, shouldn’t this just be sandwich regulars?

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Fresno County Horse Park H.T. [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Are you going to the USEA Convention? The discounted room rate for the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood Hotel has been extended through Friday, Nov. 18. [Discounted Room Rate]

The Canadian Young Rider program is holding a live auction through November 19th to raise funds for aspiring riders. The BCYR program has produced international riders like Rebecca Howard, Hawley Bennett, Stephanie Rhodes Bosch and Danica Meyerhoff to name a few, and does an excellent job providing support and guidance to young riders of all ages. They have things like entries for Aspen Farms, Galway and Rebecca Farm, lessons with the aforementioned incredible riders, and awesome oil paintings. All items are offered at bidding prices well below market value, so make sure you check it out! [BCYR Live Auction]

Windurra is hosting a stadium schooling day for BN-P this Sunday. Looking to knock off the dust off after a few week’s downtime from eventing?  Do you have a young horse that needs more time schooling off your property or do you want to gather up your pony club kids and come over for a fun day of schooling? Make it a point to get there on Sunday. Cost is $25/round. [Windurra Schooling Day]

No-stirrup November is great and all, but it’s not helpful if you’re just flopping around and making your horse’s back sore. Instead, you can intentionally improve both your “dressage leg” and your “jumping leg with these handy exercises from Horse Nation’s Biz Stamm! [Hot on Horse Nation]

Best of Blogs: [Saying Goodbye, For Now]

 

There just isn’t enough Valegro to go around:

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Jennie Brannigan enjoying some fall fox hunting! Photo by Ellie Glaccum Debenham.

Jennie Brannigan enjoying some fall fox hunting! Photo by Ellie Glaccum Debenham.

It may not be the highest priority right now, but perhaps it’s a good thing to take our minds off our political state in the U.S. Are you guys ready for the super moon on Monday night? It’s going to look bigger and brighter on Monday night than it has in over 70 years and won’t look this cool again until 2034, so maybe worth a peak outside. If you’re a real nerd like me, you can read about perigree-syzygy here.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Moon Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

River Glen Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Poplar Place Farm November  H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Texas Rose Horse Park  H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

What is the best way to find a trainer for yourself and your young event horse? Finding someone who matches your style, can communicate effectively and also knows how to ride a young horse and prepare them for the future can seem daunting. Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch, based in Purcellville, VA, has advice for any rider out there seeking to find a new trainer. [Finding the Right Trainer for You]

Shipping fever is one of those oft-forgotten things that strikes in the most horrible of places. Now that we ship our horses all over the country and the world with not much thought, what can you do to reduce the risks of travel stress, and what do you do when your horse’s immune system is weakened? [Shipping Fever: What To Know & How to Reduce Risk]

Making invisible horses visible was the key topic of discussion at the annual World Horse Welfare conference yesterday. “Visible” horses can be categorized as the usual sport horses that live more or less normal lives, while “invisible” horses are the ones that are hidden and dumped in a variety of places, and fly under the radar of organizations that mean to save them. England is much more active and strict on the topic of abuse and neglect than the US, and it is their mission to make it clear that while there are reasons for neglect, there are never any excuses. [World Horse Welfare]

Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials invites you to tour the Millbrook Firehouse on Friday, Nov. 25 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 20 Front St. A special presentation and donation to the Millbrook Rescue Squad will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres from Gourmet to Go will be served. Families are welcome. Please RSVP to [email protected].

Hot on Horse Nation: 5 Things I Took For Granted at a Boarding Barn

2016 Book List Must-Read: Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal

LAST DAY for Blanket Blowout at SmartPak! Today is the very last day that you can get up to 35% off on almost 70 different best selling blankets for winter at SmartPak. If you haven’t already gone into your blanket supply and sussed out the ones that are ripped and maybe not waterproof anymore, now is the time. Make sure you donate your old blankets to a local rescue, and then treat yourself to some brand new ones at SmartPak. [Blanket Blowout]

My Cousin Vinny! (It’s a weird movie reference, y’all)

Product Review: Professional’s Choice Fly Sheet, Mask & Boots

Rescue horse "Val" is modeling her Professional's Choice Fly Sheet with Neck Cover, Fly Mask with Ears, and Fly Boots! Photo by Kate Samuels.

Rescue horse “Val” is modeling her Professional’s Choice Fly Sheet with Neck Cover, Fly Mask with Ears, and Fly Boots! Photo by Kate Samuels.

Even though it’s November, there are still a fair amount of annoying bugs in Virginia, and almost all of the horses are on day turnout, which means the sensitive types are still sporting their fly gear. I had the opportunity to try out some of the new Professional’s Choice Fly Gear on a warm fall day and was delighted to find that I quite liked the package of four items as an outfit.

Starting with the Fly Sheet, I should note that it is one of the most lightweight fly sheets I have ever held in my hands, and when I put it on the horse it was just like air. This is great, of course, as using them on horses when it’s over 80 degrees can result in some sweaty horses, which is unsanitary and unpleasant for the horse. You can see in the pictures how light the fly sheet it is, as it’s basically translucent, but it also boasts a polyester rip-stop technology that makes the mesh extremely tough and durable.

I was using a slight 15.2 hand Thoroughbred mare as my model, and she is wearing a 76 blanket, but you can see where it would happily host a slightly chunkier built horse through the shoulders and the hindquarters. This mare has really sensitive and finicky skin, and even though it was a little loose around her neckline, I was happy to see that the fabric is really soft inside and has a nylon lining on the chest to prevent rubs as well as fleece at the withers so you don’t get an unsightly bald patch in the mane.

The Professional's Choice Fly Sheet has a UV-protective nylon mesh with polyester rip-stop technology. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Professional’s Choice Fly Sheet has a UV-protective nylon mesh with polyester rip-stop technology. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The blanket has removable surcingle clips over the belly as well as leg straps, which means you can easily take them off to clean or adjust. It also has a generous shoulder shoulder gusset so that when your horse is tearing around the field (as this mare did when I turned her out!) they have the freedom to do all sorts of athletic maneuvers without feeling constricted or garnering any shoulder rubs.

Of course you’ll have to get the accompanying Neck Cover to go with the Fly Sheet, which attaches by way of clips around the base to the shoulder of the fly sheet. There is plenty of coverage and overlap between the two, so that when your horse reaches down to graze, there isn’t a strange gap between the blanket and the neck cover, nor does the neck cover pull back and reveal a good section of the horse’s upper neck.

The Fly Mask with Ears is incredibly soft around the top of the head, the ears, and the nose, but has rip-stop technology to stay durable. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Fly Mask with Ears is incredibly soft around the top of the head, the ears and the nose, but has rip-stop technology to stay durable. Photo by Kate Samuels.

While you’ve got the Fly Sheet and Neck Cover, you’ll probably want to go ahead and get the matching Fly Mask with Ears. This part of the outfit I really liked, because I’m somewhat of a fly mask connoisseur at this point, and I’m pretty picky. Made to match the sheet, it has the same tough wearing material but sports an incredibly soft mesh area around the top of the head and the ears. This soft, flexible and breathable area around the ears is great, as it doesn’t cause sweaty ears, but also it stops any weird rubs that could happen.

The Fly Mask also has strategically placed darts that keep the mask off the eyes with no obstruction of vision, as well as a hook and loop closure with really sturdy velcro under the jaw that keeps it in place for those horses that try to incessantly rub the mask off. Ahem, I know a few of these.

The Professional's Choice Fly Boots are lovely and soft and fluffy inside, but durable and adjustable outside. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Professional’s Choice Fly Boots are lovely and soft and fluffy inside, but durable and adjustable outside. Photo by Kate Samuels.

If you’ve got a real picky princess on your hands who can’t even stand flies touching his or her legs, Professional’s Choice has some great Fly Boots to really cover every inch. The boots are like all of the other pieces in that they are incredibly lightweight, but they are fully lined with fleece so even the silliest skin will not get chafed by wearing these for a few hours in the paddock.

The boots come in a pack of four and are contoured appropriately for front and hind legs, along with nylon binding and reinforced webbing that goes down the back to prevent the boot from sliding down the leg. Each boot has three adjustable hook and loop velcro straps for maximum customization.

I was interested to see if the fly boots held their position as I turned this horse out, and she proceeded to tear around the field for several minutes, leaping and bucking and rearing and striking. I went to check on her legs after a while, and not only were all the boots in a secure position, but her legs were not hot underneath either.

A great thing about any product from Professional’s Choice is that it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can be assured of the quality and fit of each product. The Fly Sheet retails for $123.95, the Neck Cover for $40.95, the Fly Mask with Ears for $22.95 and the set of four Fly Boots for $40.95. You can find all of these products online through Professional’s Choice or in a variety of retailers across the country.

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Photo courtesy of Diane McKay

Photo courtesy of Diane McKay

We love this photo submitted by Diane McKay, of J. Michael Plumb pulling a Heidi Klum for Halloween in an unintentional manner. On October 31st, he received a surprise from his students when they all showed up dressed exactly like him. The 11 members came wearing his signature ball cap, sunglasses and riding clothes. Mr. Plumb is a good sport and was all smiles! Picture left to right is: Shellie Sommerson, Mary Warlick, Kayleigh Wachter, Christy Gavin, Rachel King, J. Michael Plumb, Elle Dembosky, Hayley Smith, Colette Leber, Tammy Leber, Lynn McGugan, Rachel Jurgens, and Gunner the dog.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Moon Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

River Glen Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Poplar Place Farm November  H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Texas Rose Horse Park  H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

We are officially one month away from the 2016 Annual Meeting and Convention will take place December 7-11, 2016 at the Diplomat Spa and Resort in Fort Lauderdale, FL. With William Fox-Pitt as the keynote speaker, a show jumping clinic with Richard Jeffries, and an emphasis on the adult amateur this year, it’s a convention you won’t want to miss. If you haven’t already booked your tickets and your hotel, hop to it! [USEA 2016 Convention]

Are you ready for these incredible horses that are already winning “Movember”? A few weeks ago I saw that Horse & Hound sent out a plea for photos of horses with amazing mustaches, and let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed. I have one that usually sports a rather bushy schnoz, but I had just clipped it all off! [Horse Mustache Envy Commence]

Retiring a sport horse can be a tricky thing, as you can’t just throw him/her out in the giant field and walk away. Horses don’t know about retirement, and if they’ve had a job for a long time, they don’t particularly enjoy being ignored suddenly, or adjust to the life of a field pony right away. If you’ve got a horse that is approaching retirement age, or plan on keeping your horse until the end of his days, organizing his retirement is an important step for both of your futures. [Retiring a Show Horse]

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