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Ambition is a Hard Master

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I can’t help it. I have always been competitive. My entire family and extended family are big board game players. Some of my earliest memories are of playing board games with my brothers. Since my brothers are all older and, in their minds, smarter than I am, they usually won (by cheating or by skill, though most often by cheating). An insane desire to win grew in my little heart.

As I grew, it grew.

Naturally, as a masochistic over achiever, I was drawn to Dressage.

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What Price a Dream?

If you have horses and show them, in whatever discipline, you know how much money you spend following your dreams. If you’re smart, you don’t add up exactly how much you spend each year. The truth is just too painful. If you don’t own a horse and show it, try guessing how much showing a horse costs.

You guessed way too low. Trust me.

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Easy Steps For Natural Horse Hoof Care

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As the weather turns to wet and wintry it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to your horse’s hooves. Hooves are extremely sensitive and very vulnerable to injury, illness, and infection. Taking good care of the hooves helps to protect your horse from health issues while letting them lead a happy and active life. Here are some easy steps you can take every day to ensure their hoof health is supported.

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Fear the Little Bay Mare – The Clinicians

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Not long ago I told the story of my mare Petie, who has been my almost constant companion throughout my journey as a dressage competitor and trainer. In the first part, I wrote about Petie’s graceful and gentle nature which made her nervous and easily spooked.

In this post I’ll tell you about three important clinicians who were able to see the cause of her troubles (Spoiler alert! It wasn’t anything wrong with Petie), and more importantly saw more potential in her than, at the time, I ever could.

Continue reading Fear the Little Bay Mare – The Clinicians
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Choosing the Right Trainer

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Through the years, I’ve had potential clients come into my barn and they have war stories. How the last barn manager/trainer/instructor did them wrong. Usually I consider this a warning sign. First, the person may have a chip on their shoulder. Second, she may honestly have a difficult horse that each new trainer or barn was expected to magically fix. Third, she may be the owner-expert who has never been in the trenches, trying to do their best dealing with clients, long difficult days, and the unpredictability of horses. Horses get sick or injured and sometimes, God forbid, even die, no matter how well they were managed. Most of the horse professionals I know really try to do a good job.

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The Purpose

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You know the feeling. You’ve knocked out what you believe is a good, solid test. You head to pick up your score sheet. When you get it, you melt into a puddle of unhappiness, try to interpret the comments and scores, and scratch your head (or pound it into a wall) because you just don’t understand what happened. Many exhibitors do not know how to interpret a test sheet and use it as constructive criticism. Many are not aware of the all important Purpose of the Level.

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What Should I Do If My Horse Is Hurt?

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No matter how careful we are, we all get injured sometimes. That includes our horses. Nothing is scarier than when your horse gets injured though. You want to do everything you can to make them feel safe and comfortable. Fortunately, with a little extra knowledge and the right tools, you can help. Here are the steps to take when your horse sustains any kind of injury from a mild scrape to a bone break.

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How “That Horse” Can Change Your Life

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Looking back on my life with horses, I have a soft spot in my heart for “That horse”. I was 16 years old and he was the horse that gave me confidence, not just in the show ring, but also in my own abilities. He was not my horse, but a horse someone let me lease. My well-meaning father had bought a horse that we could afford but didn’t have quite enough training for my inexperience. The leased horse let me feel what was right. He responded and acted as a partner. I never doubted him to carry me around the show ring while I got experience. I owe that horse everything. I was able to take those skills on to my horse, and then, develop more skills. Each horse was a professor in my continuing education, even today. But it all started with “That Horse”.

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Breaking Down The Life Of A Horse

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When you get a horse, you will form a lifelong bond with them. From birth to their golden years, you will share many beautiful experiences. In order to help them have the best life possible, it’s important to provide care that is appropriate for their needs at every age. Here is everything you need to know about the life stages of a horse and how to provide care that will support a healthy, happy life no matter if they are a foal, yearling, or senior.

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In Defense of Farriers

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About 20 years ago, I couldn’t find a good farrier. My trusted farrier’s back had finally given out and he was done. Farriers don’t grow on trees, and GOOD farriers are a rare bird. During a visit to ISU vet school, I asked their residential farrier if he knew someone that I might call to do my regular work. He said, “Well, I have a guy that you can call. He’s very good. He’s a Certified Journeyman Farrier, but he’s kind of prickly. He doesn’t get along with everyone. You might not like his personality.” I looked him square in the eye and said, “Listen. I don’t need a great guy. I need a great farrier.” He gave me the man’s number and he has been my farrier for almost 20 years.

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Four Natural Herbs To Improve Your Horse’s Health

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Too often today, horse owners use mass-produced synthetic products to care for their animals. The use of these products has created numerous health hazards for horses. Horses are now more prone to conditions indicative of poisoning. As a horse owner, you should, whenever possible, want to use products that are 100% natural and safe for horse consumption.

Horses have adapted over the many centuries to self medicate using the herbs and plants they could forage in their natural environment. As owners we can make use of this instinct to help our horses by supplementing beneficial plants into their feed, or even better, by encouraging these plants to grow wild in your pasture. Below, you’ll find four natural herbs that I recommend.

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Achieving clarity – the importance of sending the right messages to your horse – part 2

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In Part One we looked at horse and rider misunderstandings, lapses in communication and ultimately a break down in the relationship due to lack of clarity on the rider’s part.

So, let’s explore strategies to help you and your horse form a strong partnership. Continue reading Achieving clarity – the importance of sending the right messages to your horse – part 2

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Achieving clarity – the importance of sending the right messages to your horse – part 1

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Horses are team players. They can’t help it – evolution demands it. Before we domesticated the horse, millions of years of evolution had shaped them into a herd animal that must play well in the group in order to live long enough to pass on its genes. A horse’s ranking in the herd hierarchy does not necessarily matter, but acceptance by the group is paramount. A lone horse is a dead horse.

As an owner or rider it is important to understand a horse’s innate imperative to “go along with the herd” and make sure that we are send clear and consistent messages during training.

Continue reading Achieving clarity – the importance of sending the right messages to your horse – part 1

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The Best Horse Habitat

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Domesticated horses live very differently than horses in the wild. In order to give your horse their best life, you need to do what you can to create a comfortable habitat that meets all of these natural needs. Although many of us do not have the land or the resources to perfectly recreate a natural environment, there are still many things we can do to create a healthy habitat where your horse will be safe, happy, and live a comfortable life. As someone who believes in the power of nature, I believe the best place to start is to look at how wild horses live. Continue reading The Best Horse Habitat

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Focus on the Basics

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I am giving a lesson. We are working on the flying changes of lead. We are building toward the changes that the horse already knows, but as we progress in the lesson, the horse not only acts like he has no idea what his rider wants, but he is starting to act irritated. I hop on to evaluate what the problem may be. Is the horse being naughty; is his back sore? What is going on? I start the canter work, balance the horse and perform the changes without much problem. We trade places and the student asks: Continue reading Focus on the Basics

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I Was Wrong About The Dressage Rider Pyramid

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I became aware of the existence of the Dressage Rider Pyramid during the L program, and I must admit that after I gave it a cursory glance, I thought, “this is stupid.”

However, while doing some research for another article, I once again stumbled across the Rider Pyramid, and upon reevaluation, I realize that I was wrong. Terribly wrong. This pyramid for riders makes sense. Because the focus is on the essential basics, it maps out the path to a successful relationship with your horse, giving you a roadmap to becoming a better rider.

Continue reading I Was Wrong About The Dressage Rider Pyramid

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The Horse Show Bug

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Why go to a horse show? Why don’t you just light $2,500 on fire and then have someone push you in dirt?

Yep. That pretty much sums it up. But showing your horse is also gives purpose to the many hours and days you spend training and grooming, which can motivate you to do your best even on those days when you just don’t feel like doing it. Shows are also a great opportunity to meet other owners, to socialize and to share knowledge.

Below are some of my experiences with horse sows, the good and the bad, and the reasons why I continue to attend them.

Continue reading The Horse Show Bug

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Ways To Protect The Skin Of Your Horse

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It’s really important to think about the health of your horse’s skin. Weather changes can wreak havoc on your horse’s delicate skin. So can being out in the pasture all day, where it is exposed to the elements. Luckily there are some simple things you can do to ensure your horse’s skin is protected. Continue reading Ways To Protect The Skin Of Your Horse

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Boosting Your Horse’s Health

As a horse owner, the most important thing to me is my horses’ overall health. I want them to live a long, happy, and fulfilling life. Over the years, I’ve become more and more focused on ways to support a healthy lifestyle for my horses. From making simple adjustments to their daily diet, to developing a line of natural horse care products, I have spent hours researching and speaking with other horse owners. Along the way, I have learned a lot and I wanted to take some time to share what I’ve learned with you. Here are my key tips for helping you boost your horse’s overall health and wellbeing. Continue reading Boosting Your Horse’s Health

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Horse Hooves: A Beginner’s Guide

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If you’re considering getting a horse or are a first time horse owner, one of the more important aspects of their care is hoof maintenance. A horse’s hooves provide the foundation of a healthy life. Without healthy hooves, horses cannot walk, run, or carry. Horses can also get specific illnesses that enter through weak or damaged hooves. Thus, the best way to keep your horse healthy and happy is through routine hoof maintenance. In order to help first time horse owners, we’ve put together this guide that includes details about what hooves are, what kind of damage they can incur, and how to care for them. Let’s get started!

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More Thoughts on Effective Horse Grooming

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Horse lovers across the globe are well aware of the joys of getting to own their own horse. Without a doubt, horses are lovely creatures. They are faithful, they are agile, and they are beautiful. If you happen to be a landowner or live somewhere in the country, you’ll be aware of the pleasures of riding your equine friend during lazy summer evenings.

But, as with any pet, there is a lot consider before making the commitment to buying a horse, and you need to make sure you can provide the space, money and, above all else, time the horses in your care deserve. Continue reading More Thoughts on Effective Horse Grooming

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Are Essential Oils Effective For Horse Care?

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With the hustle and bustle of modern life, there are few things that get us outdoors or communing with our environment like having a horse. The longer I’m a horse owner, the more I understand how important this connection is for our health and well-being. As a result, I’ve been on a journey to live in a more natural way. This journey is what led me to the power of essential oils and their application in all areas of my life, including my horse’s care. Continue reading Are Essential Oils Effective For Horse Care?

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What To Do With A Wounded Horse

Horses have a highly refined sense of “fight or flight.” Unfortunately, when that instinct is triggered they will react no matter the cost, even if it means injuring themselves. Horses also spend a lot of time outdoors, running, and playing through the fields where they are exposed to all kinds of injury risks like sharp twigs, rocks, and even other animals. Even though they are incredibly graceful, any horse owner will tell you they can be very clumsy sometimes. That clumsiness can cause injury. In short, horses are very accident prone. So it is important that as a horse owner you understand what to do if they get injured. Here are my tips. Continue reading What To Do With A Wounded Horse

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Adopt Effective Habits of Expert Horse Groomers For Best Results

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Do you ever wonder how expert horse groomers achieve great results? Well, having witnessed and worked with a few amazing horse groomers, I can tell you that great groomers are not born but they are made through consistency, technique, and by using the right products. If you want to achieve similar results, even as a novice groomer, I recommend these top habits. By replicating their ways, you too can achieve expert quality horse grooming. Continue reading Adopt Effective Habits of Expert Horse Groomers For Best Results

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Professional Grooming Tips and Tricks for a Beautiful and Healthy Horse

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We all have a routine we use when we groom our horse, but many of us are left wondering why our horse’s coat, mane, and tail don’t ever look as wonderful and healthy as we would like them to. We spend lots of time putting work in, but are never fully satisfied with the results. Many times, we find ourselves asking: what’s missing? Continue reading Professional Grooming Tips and Tricks for a Beautiful and Healthy Horse

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Equi-Spa Works with Organization to Rescue Retired Race Horse; Announces Giveaway and Big Spring Sale to Kick Off 2019

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Winterset, Iowa, March 31, 2019 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) Equi-Spa®, the leading maker of premium, all-natural horse care and equine grooming products based in Winterset, Iowa, announced today that it recently adopted a retired thoroughbred race horse in cooperation with the Neigh Savers Foundation. The plan is to provide this fabulous creature a “forever home” where she can live comfortably and with dignity for the rest of her life. Continue reading Equi-Spa Works with Organization to Rescue Retired Race Horse; Announces Giveaway and Big Spring Sale to Kick Off 2019

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Spring Blowout Sale: Buy 2 get 1 free

This sale is now over – sign up below to be notified about future sales!

After an especially harsh winter, spring is finally here. To celebrate we are holding a blowout sale with buy two get a third free, off our Fairy Tails, Not-So-Sweet Itch and other select products.

Simply add three of the same item to your cart and the discount will be applied automatically. Continue reading Spring Blowout Sale: Buy 2 get 1 free

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How To: Take Care of Your Horse’s Hooves

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Cleaning out your horse’s hooves is important for several reasons. It is an essential part of a good horse care routine. It’s a step that needs to be done frequently and when done properly will keep your horse healthy and happy and free to trot along without any pain or risk of thrush! Continue reading How To: Take Care of Your Horse’s Hooves

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Horse Grooming Challenges: Tail Rubbing

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Grooming is one of the most wonderful experiences you can share with your horse. It’s a time to show care and bond, and revel in their shiny coats. Sometimes though, even the most bonded horse and owner can run into grooming problems. This series addresses common horse grooming challenges, and today we are covering tips to help with tail rubbing. Continue reading Horse Grooming Challenges: Tail Rubbing

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Horse Grooming Challenges: Tangled Tails

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Grooming is one of my favorite things about being a horse owner. It’s a wonderful time to connect, bond, and show your care. However, sometimes grooming time isn’t all sunshine and roses. Even a master horse groomer can run into challenges and this series aims to address some of these challenges. Today I’d like to address another common issue: tangled tails. Continue reading Horse Grooming Challenges: Tangled Tails

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Horse Grooming Challenges: Bath-Time Battles

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Welcome to my series on horse grooming challenges. In each post, I cover one of the most common challenges I hear from my customers. In this post, I’m going to cover bath-time battles because sometimes ornery horses just don’t want to get a bath. Even professional groomers struggle with bath-time battles sometimes, so don’t worry. It’s definitely something that can be overcome with patience. Continue reading Horse Grooming Challenges: Bath-Time Battles