Competitive Trail Competitions

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Over the past weekend I was able to participate in a competitive trail ride and a field challenge. It was a really nice break from the arena for me and my horse. On the competitive trail ride we took a trail ride that was about four miles long and had six stations along the way that you and your horse was judged on. For example one station was dragging a stick, another was riding around a tent and campsite and then someone walking out of the tent. This isn’t my horse and I do every day and it was a nice change of pace for both of us. In the field challenge there were thirteen different obstacles that you had to complete. There were some very challenging obstacles, just a few were going over the rocking bridge while walking through pool noodles, most definitely not something you do every day, and dragging and walking through some plastic bottles. I was really proud of my horse for how well he did with this new challenge. I most definitely would like to compete in something like this again and I think Joker would too.

The Benefits of Branding

Brands can show where a horse came from, who trained him, or who owns him now. In my opinion brands on horses can be a useful way to identify your horse if he were to get lost, stolen, or happened to slip out of the pasture. Last year I acquired a very inquisitive horse that frequently escapes when he doesn’t have company. I am thinking very seriously about branding him since some of his adventures have lead him into other people’s pastures. A brand is easily identifiable from a distance, a distinguishing feature that shouldn’t wear off and most certainly not fall off, and would help identify him as mine if he were to be stolen. Micro-chipping him was another option but not many people have a scanner nor is it easy to see since it is under the skin. As you can see branding has some benefits. photo (34)

Teeth Troubles

The importance of getting your horse’s teeth checked should be relatively important. Not only does your horse’s teeth help him eat and properly break down food but can also give reason for him not throw his head while riding. Horse’s teeth grind their food by sliding the jaw, if the jaw cannot properly slide the horse cannot eat properly and will more than likely develop sharp points and ridges that will interfere with his eating as well as his ability fophoto (33)r him to focus on you while riding if it is causing pain. You should have your horse’s teeth checked one time a year to see if they need floated if the horse is over the age of 5, if under 5 have their teeth checked twice a year to keep the teeth in good condition to help the horse be able to digest food and grow but also to keep their riding experiences good.

Stalling Away from Home

Chances are if you are wanting or do show competitively with your horse at some point you will have to haul away from home and possibly stay overnight. Stalling your horse on the show grounds is the easiest way to have an event with multiple horses stay for some period of time in the least amount of space. However what all do you need to stay away from home for those days? The necessities that are best to bring with you are hay that the horse is used to eating,photo (31) grain if the horse receives any, buckets, and some kind of pitch fork and bucket to clean out your stall. Granted if you forget a bucket you can always go buy one but that could get rather expensive after a while, especially if you have buckets at home. I always like to put up two water buckets for my horse so he can have his choice of which he wants to drink out of, also in the summer months I want to make sure he has plenty of water 24/7. It is important to keep the horse’s diet as close to normal as possible. Since my horse is turned out in the pasture all the time there are only a few things I can do to simulate turn out. For one I like to keep hay in front of my horse at all times, just like him grazing in the pasture. I find that frequent trips to the stall to give him a flake or two of hay is much less wasteful than putting half a bale in there for him to wallow around in. Also I try and feed grain at the same time as I do at home. I might add some oil to his grain to keep his gut moving since he isn’t getting as much exercise being stalled. Also I clean out my horse’s stall every time I go to feed him hay to keep him from spreading out his manure any more than he already does, plus this keeps him cleaner and there is less to clean up at one time if you do it more frequently. Stalling away from home comes with a few more requirements than being in the pasture but being able to compete is always worth it.

The Importance of Hay quality

photo (30)Horses are herbivores, meaning that they eat plant matter, with that being said hay and grass makes up most if not all of a horses’ diet. Therefore hay quality is extremely important. Hay that has gotten wet, it molded, dusty, or poor quality is not going to provide the nutritional requirements that a horse needs. Also keep in mind that horses were not designed to eat grains or feed. Therefore horses need to eat much more hay than grain. Especially horses kept in stalls, horses stomachs are small and designed to graze all day not just once in the morning and once at night. Also there are different types of hay that provide different nutritional benefits. Contact your veterinarian for what hay would be the best choice for your horse’s workload as well as the area that you are in.

24 Hour Technology Detox

This past Saturday I participated in a 24 hour detox from technology. I was in Searcy for a barrel race so not having to deal with TV or radio wasn’t as big of a deal but I had to stay away from the arena because they played music while people were running. During the day going without technology wasn’t too bad because I could stay busy taking care of the horses, walking them, feeding, watering, and cleaning stalls. However it was harder to find people since I couldn’t call and ask where they were. I walked around looking for them quite a bit. I found my face to face communication improved greatly as there was not much else to do. Sitting and talking to people was sometimes hard because they were all on their phones. It helped me realize how much we do use them, seeing that every time I sat down I wanted to grab my phone to keep me entertained. Although at times it was inconvenient it was almost like I had less responsibility because I didn’t have to constantly keep my family informed about how the race was going. That was nice.

At night it was somewhat harder to go without my phone and because it gets dark earlier it was harder to find something to do that wasn’t watching people run or play on your phone. I did find more time to read and study as much as I hate to admit it, my grades could be better if I detoxed more I have a feeling. I did find it difficult to not have a camera at this event though, because my blog is about horses it was the perfect opportunity to snap enough pictures for hopefully the rest of my blog, Sunday I had to some catching up to do.

Although I finished my detox Sunday morning about 10 a.m. as I drove home, if I couldn’t find anything good to listen to on the radio I would turn it off. I drove from about Morrilton back to Russellville without music, which is kind of a big deal since I really do enjoy listening to music. Being in a kind of technology silence for 24 hours though, helped me appreciate the quietness.

I would really like to implement some of this technology detox more often. It really was less stress than having to constantly keep up with my phone. It helped me appreciate good conversation as well as engage in conversation better. I feel like I listened to people when they were talking to me better because I wasn’t worried about my phone going off and responding to it. I see this a lot with my mother in particular, if she’s on her phone, playing candy crush, there really is no point in trying to talk to her because she’s not listening. I see how I probably started this and how frustrating it really is, disrespectful too. Also because I have learned to tolerate silence again I will probably quit listening to music while I ride, which will probably result in better riding on my part and getting more done with my young horses.

Snake Bites in Horses

Horse’s encountering snake bites is a very real threat. In the summer months with horses out to graze and snakes slithering along, there is a chance that both horse and snake might cross paths. Snake bites of course vary in severity depending on the snake. Snakes that are less poisonous or do not inject much venom are less likely to do damage compared to snakes that are highly venomous and inject a lot of venom. Snake bitesphoto (29) can be recognized most typically by two puncture wounds along with swelling of the area and heat around the site. Calling your veterinarian or taking your horse to see the vet would be highly recommended after the horse experiences a snake bite. If the snake is still around maybe even take a picture, from a safe distance, so you can show the vet and they know what kind of snake bite they are dealing with.