Author Archives: Carol A. Mejia

We have a riding boot exchange at White Rose Equestrian

You're probably asking yourself, what is a riding boot exchange? Let me tell you.

horse riding boot exchangeFor anyone with young children, you already know how quickly they grow. This isn't too much of a problem when it comes to buying them regular clothes and shoes as they can wear them often. It can, however, become expensive when buying equestrian attire if your child only rides a couple of times a week. That is where our boot exchange comes in.

It is extremely important for all riders to wear the correct kind of footwear. Not only does it keep their feet, reasonably, safe when they are walking around the barn and interacting with horses, it is also safer than non-equestrian footwear when riding.

Horseback riding boots can be either short, just above the ankle (paddock boots), or full length (tall boots). Paddock boots can be made to look like tall boots by wearing chaps. As a general rule of thumb, but certainly not written in stone, a rider will wear paddock boots until they either turn twelve years old or change from a pony to a horse.

How our riding boot exchange works

As I already mentioned, buying riding attire is expensive and is usually outgrown long before it becomes worn out. At White Rose Equestrian we collect boots that have been donated to us by parents when their kids outgrow them. They are available FREE OF CHARGE to anyone who needs a pair on the understanding that when their child grows out of them, they donate them back to us. Some weeks I give away two or more pairs.

We also collect out-grown riding clothes and horse equipment that we sell at VERY reasonable prices to our riders. All proceeds from these donations go to The Sam Johnathan Davis Trust for my grandson.

If you have any riding boots, clothes, or equipment you would like to donate, please reach out to us. Thank you!

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Fun Horse Show Points May 2021

horse show
Sadie and White Rose Let's Tango

Our second Fun Horse Show of the season is in the bag and the leaderboard positions were shaken about quite a bit. It was a picture-perfect day, sunny but not too hot. We had some new riders join us; it's always fun to meet new people.

I love how all our riders are such great sportspeople. They cheer and encourage each other. I am very proud of each and every one of them. I also love how our horse show moms and dads are willing to help out even if they feel they don't really know what they are doing. There is always such a great family atmosphere at our fun shows.

Fun Horse Show Leader Board for the May 2021 Show

rider horse points place
Ellie Firefly 41 1st
Kendall Maximus 41 1st
Claire Stahler White Rose Moonfire 39.5 3rd
Mary Robinette White Rose Solar Eclipse 38 4th
Sadie Barton White Rose Let's Tango 31.5 5th
Kacie Ontopps Aragon 31 6th

All our Riding Club members work hard throughout the season to accumulate as many points as possible for the end-of-season party. We do, however, emphasize that winning is not the main reason for showing. We want our riders to learn and have fun. A blue-ribbon is an extra bonus. Having said that, I know our riders are eager to see who is in the lead.

Fun Horse Show Leader Board Running Totals

rider horse points place
Sadie Barton White Rose Let's Tango 72.5 1st
Claire Stahler White Rose Moonfire 70.5 2nd
Mary Robinette White Rose Solar Eclipse 70 3rd
Kayleigh Beckemeyer White Rose Fandango 43 4th
Ellie Firefly 41 5th
Kendall Maximus 41 5th

Our next fun horse show is on June 19th. We look forward to seeing you all again for more fun and learning.

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Have you ever seen a mirage? I have.

mirage
With my second cousin, Jeaneen at her wedding

As some of you know, I recently had surgery on my right eye. I had a creased retina, or in doctor terms, a macular pucker. I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently, it's pretty common. We have a gell-like substance in our eyes called vitreous gell. As we age, the gell can begin to harden, causing it to pull away from the retina and form scar tissue called an epiretinal membrane. If this happens near the macular, the part of the retina used for sharp central vision, it results in blurred vision. My gradual loss of vision is how I realized something was wrong.

The only treatment is a surgery called a vitrectomy. The vitrectomy is performed as an outpatient procedure and removes the vitreous gel, replacing it with a saline solution—the surgeon then peels the epiretinal membrane off the surface of the retina with forceps. 

After the surgery, the saline solution in my eye made it impossible for me to see anything out of my right eye. This made depth perception difficult and plagued me with a constant feeling of seasickness. As I write this, I am one week post-surgery. The water is subsiding, but there is still a small drop at the bottom of my eye, and my vision is still very distorted. Due to this, I have found day-to-day activities cumbersome and haven't been able to work. 

So, what does this have to do with a mirage?

Nothing really, but it did get me thinking about how much we take for granted our vision and reminded me of a time when I was traveling from Las Vegas to LA and experienced a mirage. 

It was the summer of 2000. My cousin, Susan's, daughter, Jeaneen, was getting married in San Pedro, California. I flew out to LAX and met my mum and dad there. They had accumulated so many Delta Skymiles that they flew for free. My parents traveled over 5,000 miles from England before cellphones were commonplace and just hoped that we would be able to find each other in one of the largest airports on the planet. As luck would have it, we did. 

The ceremony was spectacular and held on the lawn at Fort MacArthur overlooking Los Angeles Harbor. We partied until the wee, small hours and slumped into bed exhausted. The following day we had arranged to drive to Las Vegas and spend some time with Susan. Tired and somewhat hungover but sufficiently fueled with a much-needed jentacular caffeinated beverage, we set off on a four-and-a-half-hour drive and headed 'out of Dodge.' Highway 15 connects LA and Las Vegas and climbs slowly out of the San Bernadino Valley toward Cajon Pass and through the Mohave Desert. 

The busy, drab, grey concrete scenery gradually gave way to magnificent, stunning, picturesque rock formations decorated in hued reds, carmine, terracotta, and bronze. As we left behind the thick smog of LA, the temperature gradually climbed along with our ascent. I had taken the first leg of the journey, and after three hours, I was done! We pulled over in Baker, CA, at the World's Tallest Thermometer. The temperature registered at a blistering 112f (44.5c). The dry heat of the desert and the absence of anything resembling a breeze took my breath away as I swapped the driving seat with my dad. 

The vastness of the scenery was difficult to comprehend, with enormous stretches of dry scrubland interspersed with shrubs and wayward tumbleweeds and bordered by rugged, imposing mountains. Thirty minutes after our pilot change, we navigated Mountain Pass before dropping into the Primm Valley located on the Ivanpah Dry Lake Bed. 

Armed with nothing more than our desire to rest and a well-worn paper map, we cruised into Las Vagas, past the airport, skirted Sin City, and on to North Las Vegas and the cool and comfort of my cousin's home. 

Our visit was relaxing and filled with reminiscing talks about departed family members and happy memories of Susan visiting us in England many years before. Of course, we touristed along quintessentially Vegas hotspots of Freemont Street and The Strip. The neon-soaked promenades exuded splendor lined with exuberant hotels, opulent restaurants, palatial music venues, and of course, resplendent casinos—the soaring choreographed Fountains of the Bellagio danced and mesmerized visitors. The replica Eifel Tower beckoned with the promise of a sweeping view. 

Not being gamblers, we set ourselves a limit and nonchalantly fed one-armed-bandits with quarters. We made sure to be actively nourishing the hungry machines should a scantily dressed cocktail waitress pass our way. Gamblers are plied with free beverages to encourage them to stay, and we took full advantage of this service. 

Time to leave

After a very pleasant couple of nights with my cousin, we needed to head back to LA to catch a flight back to Charleston. With clear heads and not a hangover in site the trip back was far easier than the journey out. With our magnificent California and Nevada journey coming to an end, we solemnly left Las Vegas with heavy hearts and happy memories. Silently we passed Last Chance to Gamble, Whisky Pete's on the CA/NV border, and gradually began a gentle climb out of the dusty, extinct lake bed. 

I glanced over to my left and noticed a huge, glistening lake with a tall-masted ship sailing majestically across it. 

 "I don't remember seeing a lake when we were driving here."
 "Neither do I." replied my dad.
 "Look, there's a boat on it." My mum added.
 "How did we not notice such a large lake?" I asked.
We were all dumbfounded. As our journey continued, the craft slowly floated across the shimmering lagoon.

As we drew closer and closer to the vast waterhole, it appeared to shrink before our eyes. The once sparkling expanse evaporated into oblivion. And, what usedto be a luxurious sailboat morphed into a fence post. We couldn't believe what we had just witnessed. The lake, the water, the boat, had all been a mirage. I am so glad my mum and dad were there to experience it with me. We talked about it often, and as with many of our stories, we 'dinned out on it' on more than one occasion. My dad was such a good storyteller. He would say that fun, exciting, memorable things happen to everyone. The nack is noticing and remembering them so you can pass them on to others. I hope I have inherited his gift.

So, back to where this story started, our eyes. We can not always believe what we see. That should not stop us from looking for the good in everyone, the beauty in nature, and the peace brought to us by good friends. 

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Fun Horse Show Riding Club Points for April 2021

fun horse showIt was a fabulous first fun horse show of 2021. We had a great turnout and lots of fun with the new show schedule. For many of our riders, this was the first show they have ever been in. We even had a couple of green horses who handled all the fuss and excitement very well. I am incredibly proud of all the riders. They gained confidence with each class and even took home some ribbons. So without further ado, here is the leaderboard.

Fun Horse Show Leader Board as of April 2021

rider horse points place
Kayleigh Beckemeyer White Rose Fandango 43 1st
Sadie Barton White Rose Let's Tango 41 2nd
Mary Robinette White Rose Solar Eclipse 32 3rd
Mila Ranucci White Rose Solar Fandango 31 4th
Claire Stahler White Rose Moonfire 31 4th
Maddie Fountain White Rose Moonfire 25 6th

I would also like to say a very big thank you to everyone who helped out on and before show day. It takes a lot of people and time to pull together a horse show and I couldn't do it on my own. We have a wonderful barn family and I am very grateful for every single one of you. If you would like to volunteer please reach out to Carol.

Our next fun horse show is on May 15th. We look forward to seeing you all again for more fun and learning.

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Radio Luxemburg

radio luxemburgDo you remember piling into your friend's house and listening to Radio Luxemburg? 

We would carefully search for the aloof signal wafting across the airways all the way from Europe. The melodic tones would fade in and out with an eerie wailing resonance. The illegality of it added to the excitement. 

I'm sure many of you reading this did your early 'courting' while listening to Radio Luxemburg. A clandestine tryst while supposedly doing homework or, 'we're just going to listen to some music'. Were our parents really that naive? 

Many evenings were spent soaking up the latest musical releases along with the interjections of the alluring DJs. Voices like Kenny Everett, David 'Kid' Jensen, Alan Freeman, Noel Edmonds, and the now-infamous Jimmy Savile. Commercial radio was such a novelty to us. For some reason, I distinctly remember the ads for tampons. 😜 I would try to act so nonchalantly while cringing inside. 

Things have changed beyond all recognition. We now have access to unlimited tunes at the simple press of our finger. We carry a device in our pocket with more power and technology than the spaceship that went to the moon. But, that can not surpass the nostalgia of our misspent youth when music and friends meant more to us than anything else. 

My favorite way to steam music is Amazon Music (UK link). (US link to Amazon Music). What are some of the songs that remind you of your teen years?

Things Your Barn Manager Will Never Say in Winter

Horse in the snowIt was a chilly 21°f (-6.1°c) this morning at the barn. And, it's supposed to get down to 4°f (-15.6°c) next week here in North Carolina. This is tiresome even for the most dedicated horse people.

So far this winter has been a combination of either mud or ice. Our northern neighbors like to mock us when we complain about the cold temperatures but we just don't have the infrastructure to cope with it for days on end.

The extreme cold makes everyday chores take much longer than usual and requires more energy and physical strength. If you board your horse please take a few minutes to thank your barn manager and barn hands for their hard work in all weather conditions.

So, as we patiently wait for a thaw from this frozen tundra here is a lighthearted look at some things your barn manager will never say, in winter.

  1. Oh good a snow day.
  2. I love freezing weather.
  3. Breaking ice off of water troughs is my most favorite thing to do.
  4. Mucking out twice, and sometimes three times, in a day because the horses can't go out, is awesome.
  5. Going through twice as much hay because the horses are in all day makes me so happy.
  6. I love it when the ends of my fingers turn blue, it really sets off my perfectly manicured nails.
  7. Dragging water to the barn in coolers because the pipes have frozen is so much fun.
  8. I wish it would snow again.
  9. Changing blankets every five minutes because the temps keep changing helps to tone my biceps.
  10. I can't wait to ride my bi-polar mare, who's been standing in her stall for days.
  11. I think I'll call in sick today.
  12. I wish the weather could stay like this forever.

Taking care of horses is a labor of love and looking forward to spring is what is currently keeping me going.

Here are five MUST-HAVES to help you get through the winter months.

  1. Thermal underwear is an absolute must. Wearing layers helps to keep in the warm air that your body generates and also gives you the option of stripping off layers as it warms up.
  2. Heated water buckets. Unless your barn is really, really well insulated there is a possibility that the buckets will freeze during the night. This is harmful to your horse as they need 24/7 access to water.
  3. Heat Cable Kit. We have these on all the faucets in the barn. They heat the pipes if the weather goes below freezing. No need to keep taps dripping all night.
  4. Phone friendly gloves. Most of us, nowadays, carry our smartphones with us wherever we go. With these gloves, you can use your phone without having to take them off.
  5. Yeti Rambler. Carry your cup-o-joe to the barn with you and keep yourself warm from the inside.

We'd love to hear from you. Let us know some of the things your barn manager never says in winter and follow us on Facebook.

Your one-stop-shop for all your equestrian needs. 

White Rose Equestrian is a small, private, full-service equestrian facility located in Iron Station, NC. 

Treating Rain Rot

rain rotIt's that time of year again. We've passed the winter solstice; the days are slowly getting longer and gradually creeping towards spring. But, we still have some severe weather and the problems that go along with it to contend with.

One of those problems is the amount of rain we have been getting and all the mud it creates. I have covered that subject in a previous blog here. Another issue that comes with too much rain is rain rot.

What is Rain Rot?

Contrary to what many people think, rain rot is not a fungal infection. Rain rot, or rain scald as it is sometimes called, is caused by a bacterial infection. Bacteria is normally dormant and harmless in a horse's skin. Problems arise when the skin is compromised. This can be caused when the horse becomes wet for extended periods, high humidity, high temperatures that cause excess sweating, or biting insects. Biting insects (particularly flies and ticks) can spread the infection from horse to horse.

Rain rot is contagious to humans and other animals. Anything that comes in contact with the affected horse, such as brushes, buckets, blankets, etc., should be thoroughly cleaned after use and not shared with other horses. It is also prudent to keep an infected horse separated from other animals on the farm.

How to Prevent Rain Rot

I know it's a clique, but prevention really is better than cure. Daily grooming with clean brushes is very important. This allows you to regularly inspect the condition of your horse and notice any problems before they get out of hand. Reducing the amount of time your horse is exposed to rain is also important. This can be done by providing a safe, inviting shelter for inclement weather. You also have the option of blanketing your horse. It is vital that the blanket is waterproof. A wet blanket will exasperate the problem. When possible, reduce humidity by installing fans in your barn. We used Air King Enclosed Motor fans as their enclosed motor reduces the likelihood of fire due to excessive dust in the barn. Using a reliable insect repellent will also help prevent bites that can compromise the skin and also transfer the infection to other animals.

How to Treat Rain Rot

Rain rot presents as scabs and lesions usually on a horse's body, back, and croup areas. Scratches are caused by the same bacteria but found on the legs. The scabs are usually painful for the horse when touched. They can also ooze.

Step One: Remove the Scabs

The bacteria that causes rain rot is alive underneath the skin's surface. Removing the scabs is a delicate process and can be painful for a horse. Softening them can help. Wearing surgical gloves, I wash the area with warm water soapy water. I use Betadine as it is an intensive antimicrobial agent that treats bacterial infections. Some people suggest using a soft curry comb but I have found (as gross as it sounds) that scraping the scabs off with my fingernails is the best method. Don't be alarmed if removing the scabs reveals bare skin. When the scabs have been removed rinse off the remaining Betadine and thoroughly dry the horse.

Set Two: Treat the Infected Area

Applying treatment before removing the scabs is pointless as it will not reach the infected areas. I use diaper rash cream containing zinc oxide but I have also heard of people using an antimicrobial spray. Either of these methods will help to fight the infection and prevent further spread. Keep the horse dry and re-administer the treatment daily.

Regularly inspecting your horse is the best defense and should be part of your daily routine.

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We'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any remedies for rain rot and follow us on Facebook.

White Rose Equestrian is a small, private, full-service equestrian facility located in Iron Station, NC. 

Disclaimer: I am not a vet. This blog was written from my experiences. If you are in any doubt about your horse's condition you should consult your veterinarian.

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I Own a Mud Farm

mud farm
Love my Tilly hat and long oilskin riding coat

It's January 2021 and instead of having a winter, we are living through what feels like a monsoon. Temperatures are chilly overnight but that doesn't stop the rain. Our property has turned into a mud farm!

One good thing is that the horses don't seem to care. We are fortunate to have enough land that they can still go out each day. They are enjoying wallowing and rolling to the point that it's difficult to tell what color they are anymore.

We have been actively working to combat the enormous amounts of mud being generated as a result of the ground being completely saturated.

Our gateways have a generous layer of crushed rock to make them dryer and easier to navigate.

I regularly re-dig drainage channels to allow run-off water to drain as quickly as possible.

I also make sure the horses have plenty of time to completely dry between their excursions and regularly check for signs of rain rot.

As much as I wish it would dry up I am very comfortable working outside in this weather as I make sure I am suitably dressed. I couldn't do it without my Tilley hat, oil skin riding coat, or waterproof Ariat boots.

What are some products that you can not live without when tending to your mud farm?

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How my Horses Helped to Save my Life

I know the title of this blog sounds rather dramatic but that doesn't make it less true. Let me give you some insight into how and why my horses helped save my life.

save my life
Sam riding his pony when he was three-years-old.

In June of 2018 my adult son, Sam Davis vanished without a trace from his home in Charlotte, NC. The police thought he had taken off to clear his head and would pop back up again. I knew differently. As mothers, we know our children no matter how old they are. My husband and I pinned posters all over the area and I created the Find Sam Davis Facebook page. I regularly posted updates even though they were few and far between. Every Friday I would do a Facebook live video to mark the passing weeks.

My life was a living nightmare. Sleeping was difficult, eating was optional, and showering was no longer necessary. Every second I was consumed with dark foreboding thoughts, devastation, disbelief, and the enormous feeling of hopelessness. I had no enthusiasm, at all. I stopped teaching horseback riding. My only focus was on finding my child.

Days, weeks, and months blurred together. But, finally, after eight months of not knowing where Sam was a teacher at a local elementary school found what was left of him in some bushes after retrieving a wayward ball. My whole world fell apart. I thought I was prepared for the news but I was so wrong. My agony, despair, trauma, torture quadrupled in a split second. Even though I still had a teenager at home who needed me all I wanted to do was go to sleep and not wake up.

Learning to stay alive

All throughout this horrific experience, I had horses, cats, chickens, and a dog, not-to-mention people to take care of. Staying in bed wasn't an option. My barn became my sanctuary, even more so than normal. My horses had no idea what was going on in my life. To them, everything was normal. Night followed day and mornings meant coming in to stand in the cool barn, caressed by the fans, and lavished with breakfast and copious amounts of hay. Their soft nickers, judgeless eyes, and impatient stomachs kept me grounded.

Solitude is lonely, grief is even lonelier. Amazon Music kept me company while I took care of barn chores. I also discovered that an empty barn is a good place to cry. I can not count how many times I paced up and down the aisle weeping while talking to myself, to Sam. Trying to put into perspective what my new life now looked like.

Life goes on

Grief is a very personal journey. It is a journey, not a destination. Two years on I still have days when I don't want to get up. Unless you have experienced deep depression you can not imagine how difficult the simple act of putting your feet out of bed each morning can be. Think of yourself as very fortunate. But, every day I get up, get dressed, and head to the barn. I look at the world differently now. The sun is brighter, the dew on crisp mornings is clearer, the air is sweeter, and, most days, my smile comes more easily.

My barn is still my sanctuary. There is something very cathartic about cleaning stalls, grooming a horse, or sweeping the aisle. My horses know my secrets, and I know they won't tell. I feel Sam in the breeze occasionally, and I even smelt his aftershave one day, true story.

I am enormously grateful to my patient clients, my loving family, and the kind support from complete strangers. And, of course to my trusted horses who did, literally, help to save my life.

Let us know how your horses have positively influenced your life.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts please reach out to a medical professional.

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The importance of wearing a riding helmet

It is very important to always wear a riding helmetI have been riding for almost fifty-years and working with horses for thirty-years. I have had many spills over that time, including being dragged by a shetland when I was very young and breaking my ribs when I fell into a jump standard. Thankfully, I always make a point of wearing my riding helmet.

Falling off goes with the sport. We all know that. As the years rolled on, incidences of biting the dust became less frequent. Especially when I decided, I was too old to ride unbroken horses. But, of course, they didn't go away.

As equestrians, we train hard to help prevent accidents and spills and take precautions to keep us safe. One of the most important things we can do is ALWAYS to wear a well fitted, undamaged riding helmet.

Yesterday I fell off of my normally placid Andalucian mare. We were trail riding, as we do almost every day. She thought she saw something in a group of trees. She spooked, dropped her left shoulder, and spun to the right. Spooks are not uncommon, and I have ridden and survived many over the years, but not this time. My not-so-elegant dismount consisted of a somersault over her left shoulder, and an unceremonious landing with a wallop on my back very quickly followed with me smacking my head on the ground.

I tried to sit up, but the world was spinning, literally. I stayed down until I stopped feeling dizzy. My riding companions, including my six-year-old granddaughter, dismounted and came to my aid. My horse had made it halfway across the field in her attempt to get away from the invisible enemy.

Eventually, stumbling to my feet and went to retrieve her. I legged my granddaughter back onto our bombproof paint and slowly walked back to the barn. I wanted to re-mount but still felt light-headed. When we got back to the barn, I climbed back on, as you do, and took my mount down the lane and back.

According to www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, head injuries have been found to be one of the most frequently occurring injuries and are the leading cause of death in horse-related injury events. Today, my neck is sore from the whiplash that thrust my head to the ground, but I am still here, and I put that down to the fact that I was wearing an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet.

Please take the safety of your head and brain seriously. Do not let vanity get in the way of protecting the delicate computer that controls your whole body. I am very lucky. It could have been much worse. I think I will also invest in a protective vest. My helmet is now compromised so I will also be buying a new one.

Have you had a spill where your helmet saved your life? Tell us about it on our Facebook page.

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