Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meet Our Customer

We want you to meet one of our very special friends. She’s 6 yrs old, she’s from Texas, and her favorite color is definitely pink. Her name is Darcy Cassidy. When Darcy was 5 years old, doctors discovered that she had ATRT, one of the rarest and deadliest forms of brain cancer. She had emergency surgery and has been going to St.Jude’s Hospital for treatment ever since. Darcy and her family recently received the good news that she has been cancer free for over a year!

We came into contact with the Cassidy’s last November when Darcy’s mom Cathy called us looking for a saddle with a pink seat for a Christmas gift for Darcy. Well, Darcy got a new Dakota dk300 saddle with a pink seat. According to Cathy, Darcy sat on the saddle all morning and didn’t stop smiling. Here’s a picture of Darcy on her horse Doc last Christmas after receiving her saddle.

Cathy shared with us, “We believe in the plan that God has and we'll see it unfold as he wants us to.” We’re thankful to God’s kindness to the Cassidy's.

Darcy was featured on the Today Show on Tuesday 11/23/10. Click here to see it.

To keep up with Darcy, you can click here

Glossary of Horse Terms

Hock: Financial condition of all horse owners.
Stall: What your rig does at rush hour in an unfamiliar city on the way to a big trail ride.
A Bit: What you have left in your pocket after you’ve been to your favorite tack shop.
Fence: Decorative structure built to provide your horse with something to chew on.
Horse Auction: What you think of having after your horse bucks you off.
Pinto: Green coat pattern found on freshly washed light colored horses left unattended for 2 minutes.
Well Mannered: Hasn’t stepped on, bitten, or kicked anyone for a week.
Rasp: Abrasive metal tool used to remove excess skin from ones knuckles.
Lunging: Popular training method in which a horse exercises their owner by spinning them in circles until dizzy.
Gallop: Customary gait a horse chooses when returning back to the barn.
Nicely Started: Lunges, but not enough health insurance to even think about riding him.
Colic: Gastro-intestinal result of eating at horse fair food stands.
Colt: What your mare gives you when you want a filly.
Easy to Load: Only takes 3 hours, 4 men, a 50lb bag of oats, and a tractor with loader.
Easy to Catch: In a 10x10 stall.
Easy Rider: Rides good in a trailer; not to be confused with "ride-able".
Endurance Ride: End result when your horse spooks and runs away with you.
Hives: What you get when receive the vet bill for your 6 horses, 3 dogs, 4 cats, and 1 donkey.
Hobbles: Walking gait of a horse owner after their foot has been stepped on by their horse.
Feed: Expensive substance used to manufacture manure.
Dog House: What you are in when you spend too much money on grooming supplies and pretty halters.
Light Cribber: We can’t afford to build anymore fencing or box stalls for this buzz saw on four legs.
Three Gaited Horse: A horse that… 1) trips, 2) stumbles, 3) falls

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Before the Snow Falls: Getting Your Barn Ready for the Winter

By: Darlene M. Cox


While it may be hard to fathom during late summer or early fall that snow will be blowing; winter will be here before you know it. Now is the time to prepare your barn for the winter months. Anticipation for the cold season ahead and advanced preparation for such will make the transition into the winter season much easier and safer for you and your horses. Here are a few suggestions on how to transition your barn from summer to winter:

  • Clear the clutter. Clean out your tack room. Inventory your tack and grooming implements. Toss the ones that are worn or broken. Recoup some cash for those that you may have duplicates of (Ebay, garage sale, tack auction, etc.). Clean up aisle ways, wash bays, indoor arenas. Remove stall fans to storage, inspecting them for any damage to electrical cord and components, Discard if any are noted. Store light-weight sheets and blankets, replacing them with winter blankets to have readily available for those cold and frigid turnout mornings. If any blanket needs to be repaired, now is the time to do it. If the aisle way to your barn is pea gravel, you may consider bringing in a new load and raking it smooth to provide for stable and dry footing over the winter months. Warm weather delivery serves the dual purpose of advance preparedness and prevents muddy tire trenches that may result from winter time gravel delivery.
  • Inventory your medicine cabinet and cleaning/grooming supply chest and remove any items that will freeze or somehow be adversely affected or damaged by cold temperatures. This would be a good time to take note of what medical or grooming supplies you might need to replace or purchase explicitly for winter-time usage.
  • Indoor air quality is very important to horses and humans alike during the winter months. Dispose of old hay and bedding. Sweep out dusty hay loft floors; de-cobweb stalls and aisle ways, particularly around lighting fixtures.
  • Inspect all electrical components. Make sure your outlet boxes are cleaned of cobwebs and dust, and are securely mounted. Inspect outlet ports for power, noting those that are not working properly as the wiring may need to be inspected by an electrician. Inspect wiring for any wear and tear. If damage is noted, contract a licensed electrician to replace. Inspect electrical cords of any electrical implement that may be used. Replace all fuses and double check that the correct fuse is installed appropriately (i.e., if the slot in the electrical box calls for 10 amp fuse, don't put a 30 amp fuse in). Check the circuit box for weak circuits. Fire/electrocution hazards can be prevented by replacing weak circuits and blown fuses. Inspect fire extinguishers for charge. Replace batteries in existing smoke detectors. If you don't have smoke detectors, consider installing them. Inspect any electric water-heating devices for wear and damage. Discard and replace if any is noted.
  • Insulate any exposed water pipes with spray polyurethane foam, do not use electrical tape. Replace water hose with one that does not freeze.
  • Prepare stalls for usage by installing stall mats or bedding that will alleviate the build up of excessive ammonia from urine. Ammonia can damage your horse's lungs and be a major contributory factor for upper respiratory infection. The rule of thumb is: if you can smell ammonia, the damage has already been done. Re-working the stalls will also provide better footing and prevent possible casting incidences.
  • Check all the hardware (latches, hinges, etc.) on stall doors to ensure they are not damaged or in need of replacement. Horses have been seriously injured by damaged stall door hardware.
  • Eliminate excessive draftiness. While you do not necessarily want an air-tight barn, neither do you want one that is so drafty your horse may be inordinately chilled. Seal any major air leaks in stalls by repairing/replacing boards and/or window shutters.
Being proactive and prepared for the upcoming winter season will ease you into winter with a lot fewer worries during those cold winter nights when you know your horses are comfortable and warmly bedded down in their stalls. Happy trails!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meet Our Saddle Experts: Linda

Linda is our saddle expert in charge of our used saddle division. Here she shares with you how she became a horse owner. The pictures feature Linda with her current horse, Scout.
When I was a little girl, I had always loved horses. After I had "proved" that I was responsible enough to keep my cats and dog fed, my parents agreed to let me have a pony. Because my Dad was raised around horses but never had a real "love" for them and my Mom had a "healthy" fear of them, this was quite an accomplishment in my eyes. I never thought I would get my first horse until I was out on my own and then I was going to have alot of them. As a kid, you have no concept of expenses!!

My Aunt and Uncle had a pony that no one paid much attention to unless I went over for the weekend. So they said I could buy him for $75, saddle included (those were the days). I was elated. I knew this wasn't going to be easy because at the time, we really didn't have a place for him to stay; so the $75 soon grew into a couple hundred, since Dad had to build a little barn and fence for him. Eventually it all came together and Sandy came to live with us. I rode him all over the fields and neighborhood. But there was one problem: I was growing taller and he was not. I soon would need a bigger horse. It was not going to be easy again to convince my folks of this because a bigger animal means a bigger appetite.

Friends of ours knew my situation and wanted to give me their old mare. I didn't see any problem with this but, again, had no concept of the expense. The barn was big enough for two, because I didn't want to give up Sandy, but more pasture had to be fenced in. I remember going out to help Dad work on the fence one afternoon and he was going along putting the insulators on the fence posts while my pony was going along right behind him pulling them off. I thought this was a hoot but Dad didn't see much humor in it!

Well the day finally came to get my mare, Cindy. (Isn't that funny, Cindy and Sandy?) They came named that way. We didn't have a horse trailer so we borrowed a truck with stocksides on it (it looked like wooden gates that extended up to make a box on the bed of the truck with an open top so the animal didn't feel completely enclosed. Well, we got her loaded and as soon as we got going down the road, she started whinnying and stomping. You would have t
hought she was a wild mustang. In the cab of the truck, there was a very tense silence. No one talked, although you couldn't have heard each other with all the racket in the back anyway. I thought Dad was going to stop the truck and just let her out to be free.

We did make it home. All our neighbors knew we where coming before they even seen us. She was loud and not happy!! We got her unloaded by having to back up to the driveway because that helped to make the drop out of the back of the truck not as steep. That went fairly smoothly, but now Sandy and Cindy had to meet. Sandy was a little gelding and Cindy was a mare - this was quite another show to be seen. Dad lead Cindy up to the stall door where Sandy had his head sticking out waiting anxiously to see this new friend. All went well the first minute then Cindy let out the normal mare scream, which none of us had ever heard before, and stomped her front legs. She stomped in the only mud that was around and guess who got covered in mud - you guessed it - my Dad. I don't remember much after that except that I must have run for my life because why would he go through all this for an animal that he didn't even care for? I never knew until now. I have my own kids now and you do things for them that you normally wouldn't think of doing. It's not for the animal, bike or activity, it's for the kids.

I'm so thankful my folks had allowed me to have horses even though it's not what they were in to. Those horses kept me busy and mostly out of trouble...or maybe they got me into trouble! They brought me so much joy and happiness and still do. I've had horses ever since and hope to for along time yet. What's your story?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Santa, I Want a Horse for Christmas

By Darlene M. Cox

Yes, mom and dad, your little one may indeed be considering asking the jolly, old elf to bring him a horse this Christmas. But, how do you know he is really ready to have a horse of his own? Is he ready for the responsibility of horse ownership? A horse isn’t like the bicycle he received for his birthday that now forlornly sits resting awkwardly against the side of the garage, unnoticed and unused for weeks.

Realistically, it will be you, mom and dad, who will bare the lion’s share of caretaking responsibility for any equine that Santa and his reindeer places in your barn. Are you ready for the task? Therefore, when Santa’s assistant contacts you to advise you of your child’s Christmas wish, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does my child possess a real desire to own a horse? One way to be affirmatively assured of your child’s love for horses would be his incessant conveyance about wanting a horse of his own or other outward indications that he truly enjoys them. Does he ride stick horses around the yard? Does he draw pictures of horses in play? Does he pretend to ride a horse when he watches a western on television? Does he often point out pastured horses as you speed by them in your car?
  2. What is your child’s experience level with horses? Has he been exposed to horses on a regular basis? Perhaps you own other horses. Does your child assist with grooming or feeding chores? Will he require riding lessons? If so, from whom will those lessons be given? I recommend that lessons be obtained from a reputable trainer who has experience with teaching children to ride. Lessons given to children students are offered in a different format than those given to adult students. I would recommend that you interview the trainer and visit their barn to determine their level of training experience. Steer clear of your neighbor down the road who happens to own a horse and would be more than willing to let your child learn to ride on his horse. If your child has spent some time in the saddle, what riding experience level has he reached? Will the gift horse match your child’s experience level? It is important that you purchase a horse that will match the child’s level of riding experience. A horse that is too advanced will intimidate your child, and may even pose hazardous risk of injury.
  3. How committed are you to the care the new horse will require? Where will the horse be kept, at your own barn/property or at a boarding stable? If in a boarding situation, will your monthly finances support the care and upkeep required? The purchase price of the horse will be the least expensive when stacked up next to the care and upkeep over a period of time.
  4. What ultimate goal do you envision for your child and his horse? Trailriding, 4-H Club, showing, jumping, Jr. rodeo?

Basically, it all comes down to your parental judgment and personal assessment of your child and his true desire to own his first horse. If the questions above can be answered truthfully and with positive answers indicating that conditions are right; and if you know your child to be one who handles responsibility and commitment well, then have no doubts he will be able to understand the important aspects of horse ownership. Then by all means, approve the Christmas wish list and tell Santa which stall he should leave the horse in on Christmas Eve.

Oh, and don’t forget to have plenty of film in your camera to catch those special first moments when your child discovers his very own horse looking at him from over the stall door.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Trails!