Tag Archives: horses

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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The Difference Between Barn Time and Regular Time

Barn TimeThis blog isn't really intended for equestrians as we already know and understand that time spent at the barn is very different from time spent anywhere else. This post is meant to help the partners and friends of equestrians who don't understand why a quick trip to the barn can take a good few hours.

Sadly, barn time isn't some quirky time loop that allows us to gain back the numerous hours we spend with our equine friends. It is, however, a vital part of our life that can not be overlooked or underestimated.

In order to understand how barn time works you must, firstly, understand why it is important.

Why Barn Time is Important

barn time sunriseI have heard so many people say that the time they spend at the barn is therapeutic. Here at White Rose Equestrian, it is very important that our barn is tranquil and drama free. We have a wonderful barn family who is caring and supportive of each other and for that, I am very grateful.

Being outside and close to nature also helps. Even when the weather isn't cooperating, most horsey people would still rather be outside. It gives a sense of freedom and connection to the earth.

And of course, we can't overlook the calming nature of our equine partner. Horses are majestic, trusting, noble, and know how to keep secrets. The act of caring for another living being is also very rewarding and cathartic.

So, now you know why barn time is so important to us let me try and explain how it works.

How Barn Time Works

How many times have you heard the words, "I'm just nipping to the barn," and know that it means you won't see your significant other for at least two hours (probably more)? Many times I would imagine. You are not alone.

No two days at the barn are ever exactly alike so it is difficult to accurately describe how hours can slip by unnoticed but I will attempt to explain an average trip to the barn.

Arrive and pull our horse out of the field or stable. Tell him how wonderful he is and how much we've missed him as we secure him in the cross-ties. Carefully overlook him to check for lumps, bumps, cuts, and any other mishap he might have managed to get into since we last saw him.

barn time rideGive him a treat as we begin our regular grooming routine. Pay particular attention to his beautiful face as we meticulously follow the direction of hair growth with the softest brush we own. Detangle his mane and tail applying the more-expensive-than-gold but must-have Cowboy Magic Detangler. Pick-out his feet and apply hoof oil. All the while we are talking to our best friend about our day, our life, our problems. His kind eye and inquisitive ears make everything feel better.

Now it is time to ride. Tack-up slowly, methodically, taking care to make sure our companion is comfortable and happy.

The ride is the highlight of our day. It fills us with comfort, lowers our blood pressure, releases the tensions of everyday life, makes everything feel good again.

Inevitably, it is over too quickly. We untack with the same precision as all your other tasks. Another treat and a quick rub down. In summer we spend a fun time rinsing ourselves and our partner with fresh, cool water.

Our two-legged barn friends are interested in how our ride went so we swap notes and experiences. We take advantage of this time to carefully clean and supple our tack ready for the next time we will be able to squeeze in some barn time.

Maybe our tack trunk needs tidying, or we decide our horse just has to have a bath, or decide to spend just a little more time with our ride and hand-walk him around the greenest parts of the barn. He is grateful and we are content.

All this time we have never once looked at our watch or the barn clock. Time is irrelevant. As we leave we are already looking forward to the next time we can visit the barn.

How do you like to spend your time at the barn?

This post is written from the perspective of someone who boards their horse and visits the barn a few times a week.

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How Much Does it Cost to Keep a Horse

cost to keep a horseI recently saw a post in an equestrian group on Facebook asking, how much does it cost to keep a horse for a year? Many people responded. My favorite answer was 'your heart and soul'. That pretty much sums up the life of an equestrian. But, it got me thinking. Horses and the sports that go along with them are, for most of us, far more than a hobby they are a way of life.

I would hazard to guess that not many equestrians know how much they spend annually on their passion. They will know how much they spend on board, farrier, and the vet but don't always take into account clothes, necessary tack, unnecessary extras such as treats, blingy browbands, the latest style of saddle pad, or any other accompaniments that equestrian brands tell us we must have.

Below I have attempted to put together a list of expenses relating to keeping a horse. It shows three varying options. The lower end includes the basics, the middle range covers possible unforeseen expenses, and the latter has all the bells and whistles. I have then averaged out these prices. Of course, I can not include all scenarios and these prices are subject to fluctuation depending on the type of horse, discipline, and location.

I would love to hear your opinions and have some feedback.

Annual Cost to Keep a Horse*

Service Pasture
Board
Basic Full
Board
Full Board in a
Show Barn
Average
Board $3,000 $6,000 $10,000 $6,333
Lessons $0 don't take
lessons
$2,600 one lesson
per week
$7,800 one lesson and
one trainer ride per
week
$3,467
Farrier $390 barefoot
every 6 weeks
$1,040 full-set
every 6 weeks
$2,080 full-set
every 4 weeks
from the best farrier in town
$1,170
Vet $400 shots and
teeth floating
$2,400 basics
plus unexpected
lameness
$6,600 basics,
lameness, chiro,
Magna Wave
$3,133
Tack $500 basic needs $2,000 basic needs
and upgrades
$6,000 basic needs,
upgrades, plus new
top-of-the-range
saddle as the horse's
physique has changed
due to training
$2,833
Clothes $500 barn boots,
pants, etc.
$2,500 boots, new
riding clothes
$5,000 basics plus
latest fashion trends
$2,667
Showing $0 do not show $400 a few local
shows
$8,000 six rated shows
including entries,
accommodation,
trainer, etc.
$2,800
Misc.
Expenses
$500 $1,000 $3,000 $1,500
TOTAL $5,290 $17,940 $48,480 $23,903

I will admit to being frugal when it comes to spending money so it is possible that these prices are on the low side. No matter what kind of barn you board at, whether or not you show, or how often you buy new clothes, one thing is very clear, the decision to buy a horse should be given a great deal of thought and you must be sure you can afford to cover all your known and unexpected expenses.

How much do you think it costs to keep a horse for a year?

*Prices are per annum based on average prices around the Charlotte, NC area in the summer of 2019 and are subject to change.

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Things Your Barn Manager Will Never Say

Horse in the snowI know most of my horsey friends in North Carolina are well and truly fed up with the winter weather. Especially those of us on the front lines who take care of the manual labor of looking after the horses.

The winter of 2017/18 has been one of the coldest on record for the southern United States. Our northern neighbors like to mock us when we complain about the weather 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 require more 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 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 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.

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.

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