Sorry honey, it’s good for you

With the sensitive skin of her breed (Andalusian), Star can tend to suffer from skin irritations and fungal infections very easily.

It is important that we keep her and her tack clean and be vigilant about quickly treating anything that gets started.

We’re in the midst of some heat related late summer facial fungal thing that requires constant careful face washing and treatment.

Oh joy.

Star is not enthusiastic about face washing:

“Oh, the indignity! I thought you loved me, mom. Apparently not. This is HORRID. You will have to make this up to me with carrots. Lots of carrots. ICK!!! It’s cold and wet.”

 

After washing daily with a clean washcloth and water, I apply a product with tea tree oil to fight the fungus. This isn’t the exact product, but it is similar: https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=0d3a67de-c330-43ac-860e-98e0681b63d6

It’s a constant battle and the best cure is prevention: watching to be sure all tack, halters, and blankets are clean and fit properly so that there are no rubs. I’ve learned from experience that fine hair on Andalusians rubs very easily and then you have an entry point for the fungus to start.

Here’s to a beautiful coat and no more fungus!!!

Star just in from turnout with a dusty face and looking like she has mule ears (she doesn’t) …but still so cute!

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Super Organize for Superior Tack Storage!

It started with this convenient rolling cart so I wouldn’t have to carry my heavy saddle.

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Load it up with the Saddle, brushes underneath, hang some things on it, and away you go! Everything in one trip, so efficient. All things in their places.IMG_0457.jpg

I love my personalized “Saddle Mattress” protecting the saddle flocking from nasty hard metal racks, by the way. Every saddle should have one.

So it started with the rolling cart.

But things soon got much more complicated when people at the barn said this to me recently…

“Watch out for snakes in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. They sometimes come into the barn and into the tack cubbies. They can get in through the smallest of holes or cracks.

And they climb up and hide in your brush box or hang on the hooks among your bridles and surprise you…”

I shudder even now as I write these words. I have a real and true PHOBIA of snakes. It doesn’t matter that they reassured me that no rattlesnakes had ever been seen, only the “good” kind of snake.

I knew that if I ever found a snake hanging on a hook in my tack cubby, I would never be able to return to the barn.

Seriously. Call me a wimp, but I’ve had mice run out of it and across my feet and I’ve simply yipped a bit and stomped more next time to warn them I’m coming. but snakes?

Snakes are a deal killer for me. I can’t even put a picture of one in this article to illustrate it for you. Nope. I just hate looking at pictures of them. 

Enter my savior, my husband Bill: the Engineer and brilliant Anti-Snake Designer. He prepared to do battle with the warped doors of my tack cubby to seal them against all possible incursions of snakes – and mice, too, while we’re at it.

Fear no more, he said, this would be a SNAKE FREE ZONE. Weatherstripping was applied to every door surface, and a bolt to the outside so that the doors are securely fastened shut. No more holes or cracks for things to slither or crawl (shudder) through.IMG_0464.jpg

Regard the mini tackroom: A door for hanging things (note that beautiful snake proof weather-stripping!), hooks on the wall, and plastic storage boxes keep things dust free, organized, and mouse proof just in case a mouse does chew its way in somehow. The rolling saddle cart fits in the other side, although you have to take the handle off to fit it in. Well, we had certain constraints we had to work around.IMG_0460.jpg

A place for everything, and everything in its place. As you can imagine…I have a lot of other tack that lives in the garage at home. This has room for the daily essentials.

It may be tiny, but it’s my little (tack room) kingdom.

AND NO SNAKES. Not now, not ever.

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The miraculously relaxing blanket

Back on Track products have been a favorite of mine for a couple of years, ever since a trainer recommended the back brace after I hurt my back. My husband and I both use the back brace whenever we have some back pain and it works like a champ to sooth, ease pain, and provide mild support.

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Starlight trying on her new Back on Track mesh sheet before being tacked up. “Hmm,” she says. “Seems to fit well. Nice and snuggly.”

I put the blanket on her to try it for size, and WOW, instant transformation from suspicious – “what are you dressing me in now?” to “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that’s kinda nice…”

Back on Track products are woven with ceramic particles which reflect the body’s own heat, providing soothing and therapeutic benefits of long wave infrared radiation. http://www.backontrackproducts.com/How-Back-on-Track-Products-Work-22.html

IMG_0403.jpgHere are the results of a study done: http://www.backontrackproducts.com//Clinical-Studies-14.html#horses

The products are machine washable (line dry) and the therapeutic properties do not wash or wear out. This product is not only relaxing, but it will actually help her back, shoulder, and hind quarter muscles have better blood flow and thus recover more quickly from exercise

But back to Starlight. Within seconds of putting on the blanket, her eyes half closed, her neck dropped, and she got a far away look…it was the same look I get as I sink into the perfect temperature bubble bath with a pile of favorite magazines at my elbow to flip through desultorily. BLISS.

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“You may leave me now, while I commune with my blanket. I think I’ll just catch 40 winks.”

 

 

 

 

All I want for Christmas (besides love, joy, and peace, of course)

Sing with me!

On the First day of Christmas, my true love gave to me One Blingy Bridle... (http://www.dressageextensions.com/ProductDetail.asp?KEY=21885)

Look at it glow!

Look at it glow!

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On the Second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Two Fancy Boots…(https://www.smartpakequine.com/search/search?searchTerm=de%20niro%20boots)

No break in! Lots of calf widths/heights, too.

No break in! Lots of calf widths/heights, too.

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On the Third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Three Favorite Saddles

http://en.voltaire-design.com/palm_beach_saddle.html

Lemke dressage saddle

Lemke dressage saddle

Voltaire jump saddle

Voltaire jump saddl

http://www.lemkesaddle.com/sample-page/

and http://athleticequine.com/freeform-treeless-saddles/

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On the Fourth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Four Black Patent Leather Horse Bootshttp://www.peopleonhorses.com/Boots.htm

People on Horses boots

People on Horses boots

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On the Fifth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Five Perfect Ponies!

Embed from Getty Images

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Finn - Perfect Pony

Finn – Perfect Pony

Ellie - Perfect Pony

Ellie – Perfect Pony

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Six Saddle Pads

http://www.seamsright.com (super pads available in almost any color/trim combo, wash beautifully and hold up well), Mattes eurofit pads would look so nice on my ponies (but are expensive), BucasMax pads are always a favorite http://www.ridingright.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?

Bucas pads come in four colors

Bucas pads come in four colors

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On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Seven Back on Track products…

A blanket to soothe my horse's sore muscles and promote recovery.

A blanket to soothe my horse’s sore muscles and promote recovery.

Gloves to keep my hands warm on cold days!

Gloves to keep my hands warm on cold days!

http://www.backontrackproducts.com

a back brace for when my back hurts

a back brace for when my back hurts

 

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On the Eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Eight Kastel shirts (in eight different colors!)…

Find at your local tack store or http://www.dressageextensions.com/KyWordSearch.asp

Kastel shirt - SPF 30 and so comfy and cool.

Kastel shirt – SPF 30 and so comfy and cool.

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On the Ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Nine Mikmar Comfort girths (for those five perfect ponies)…http://www.dressageextensions.com/ProductDetail.asp?KEY=27841

Mikmar Comfort Girth - stretchy, grippy, revolutionary comfort for your horse. Comes in jump sizes, too!

Mikmar Comfort Girth – stretchy, grippy, revolutionary comfort for your horse. Comes in jump sizes, too!

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On the Tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Ten cans of Effax Lederbalsam (to keep all that tack conditioned).

Effax - available just about everywhere and the best product I've found.

Effax – available just about everywhere and the best product I’ve found.

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On the Eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Eleven bottles of Equifuse Gleam (for all those pony tails)….

Smells great and works wonderfully. Even Finn's scrawny tail looks good with this stuff, and Ellie's thick Haflinger tail combs out easily.

Smells great and works wonderfully. Even Finn’s scrawny tail looks good with this stuff, and Ellie’s thick Haflinger tail combs out easily.

http://equifuse.com/all-products/grooming-products/gleam-moisturizer-shine-serum

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On the Twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve Massage Gift Certificates…because after riding those Five Perfect Ponies, I think I will need it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Blessed are the meek...

Blessed are the meek…

May your season be filled with peace, joy, and love, and Ponies of all sizes and shapes!

Hair down to there

My haflinger’s tail draws sighs of admiration wherever she goes. How do you keep it so clean? How did you get it so long? So thick? Do you braid it to get those waves? It’s so silky and luxurious and gorgeous. Sigh.

Ellie's tail, with just a little Gleam on it. Hasn't been washed in a couple of weeks, either.

Ellie’s tail, with just a little Gleam on it. Hasn’t been washed in a couple of weeks, either.

As you can see from the picture, it is just like the tail Barbie’s horse would have.

Every girl, young and old, wants to play with it.

Ellie has good Haflinger genes and grows hair at an amazing rate. This is a good thing, because sometimes she rubs her tail and I only have to wait a few weeks and it looks great again. The bad thing is that her mane grows just as fast, necessitating continual pulling if I want to keep it at braiding length.  How we suffer for our art.

When you have this much hair to maintain, there are a couple of products that are de rigueur:

1) the right shampoo. For white hair, I recommend Quiksilver shampoo (widely available, for example: http://www.doversaddlery.com/exhibitor-laboratories®-quic-silver-whitening-shampoo/p/X1-22105/). There are other good products, but this does a nice job of cleaning without over drying, and it whitens and brightens, too. Now I sound like a Tide commercial (“little Ellie’s tail got all splashed with arena mud, but Quiksilver whitened it right up!”) I can also use it to clean my black horse’s tail, so I don’t have to keep two kinds of shampoo. Yep, Quiksilver is not just for white horses.

2) the right detangler. There are many out there and I’ve tried a number of them, and in my experience, NONE works as well as GLEAM. Put about a dime size amount on your palm, rub palms together, and comb through forelock and tail. Maybe a little more if the hair is really tangled. That’s it. Your hands will not be slippery, they will simply smell lovely (rather like Laura Ashley stores used to smell – remember that perfume they had? It smells just like that and takes me right back to London in the 70’s and 80’s). The hair will easily brush through and will continue to brush out easily for about a week. It will have a nice shine and your horse will smell delicious and look fabulous. Available at my local tackstore, online at some retailers, and here at the website: http://equifuse.com/all-products/grooming-products/gleam-moisturizer-shine-serum

3) Finally, remember to use your fingers to detangle, and only go to the brush after you’ve added the Gleam and things are pretty well detangled. We do not want to pull a lot of hair out with that brush! Hold the tail and brush gently below where you are holding it, so that hair is not pulled out. Preserve the tail! And the forelock. Voila: Hair down to there.