The Fireworks are Coming!

While you may love the Fourth of July, as it offers a day off from work and plenty of barbecues, it can be a stressful day for us horses! Let me just tell you, Fireworks and horses don’t mix… and the frightening combination of the light show and the booming noises can worry even the “bombproof” horses among us.

So here I am, Sweet Pea here, to help you to help your horses get through this week of flashy fireworks, super barbecues and a reason to relax… because, let’s face it, it is ANYTHING but relaxing for us equines!

Here are some tips to help your horses handle the fireworks and the “excitement” that they bring:
– If there are going to be firework displays in your area, it is best to bring your horse in the barn. Shutting the doors and the windows will help lessen the effects of the light and muffle the noise, but make sure it doesn’t get too hot in the barn! Plug a fan in to keep the air moving and provide them with some white noise.
– Consider putting on the radio to help mask the noise (please, please, please, just no Taylor Swift, she really does a number on my eardrums).
– Give your horse plenty of hay to munch on, face it, we like to eat; it will give your horse something else to focus on.
– If your horse is the nervous type, consider putting a pair of ear plugs in their ears. However, make sure you have tested them out beforehand and know how your horse will react, some horses really don’t like to be deaf.
– Check on your horse several times during the evening. If possible, stay in the barn. You may find that your presence has a calming effect on the horses.

What are your tips for handling the fireworks?

Pack Up!

I’m headed to a horse show this weekend, just to watch of course, as Pea Pod is way to young to let me go strut my stuff without tagging along. But it got me to thinking, how do you pack up for a horse show?

Do you have a checklist? Or a mental checklist? Or are you one of those, “Throw everything we could POSSIBLY use in the trailer and we’ll be all set” kind of people? It doesn’t really matter HOW you pack, it just matters that you get the job done and don’t forget anything (at least not anything important!).

My human has this horse show thing pretty well down, with a mental checklist that spans for miles. However, she also has boxes and bags for everything, and knows that a bag or box is empty or not packed then SOMETHING is missing from the trailer.

What about you? What is your “horse show packing” style?

And… I’m Off!
Toodles!
Sweet Pea

A Sweet Event

The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation is proud to introduce the inaugural (or the very first for us simpler equines…_ Battle in the Saddle Celebrity Team Penning Event at the Kentucky Horse Park on Sunday, July 14, 2013.

This super sweet event will  pair two amateur riders with a celebrity guest rider to compete to see who has the skills and bravery to pen a group of cattle in the quickest time. I want to know is about the horses, are they pros or are they amateurs as well? One thing is for certain… it should be a fun and funny time!

I know, I know, you just want to know who the famous peoples are going to be… so here goes! Riding and penning will be: Calvin Borel (Three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey), 
Derek Braun (International Grand Prix rider & owner of Split Rock Farm

), Patti Cooksey (Legendary female jockey), 
Buck Davidson (International Event rider), 
Pat Day (Hall of Fame jockey), 

Kevin Huber (Punter for the Cincinnati Bengals), 
Charlie Lopresti (Trainer of 2012 Horse of the Year, Wise Dan), 
Chris McCarron (Hall of Fame jockey), 

Mal McGuire (Reining horse trainer & competitor), 

Matthew Mitchell (Head Women’s Basketball Coach, University of Kentucky), 

Sam Shepard (American playwright, actor & director), and 
Mark Stoops (Head Football Coach, University of Kentucky).

All proceeds from the benefit event will support the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation – a non-profit 501(c)3 organization (whatever that means… my human says its a good thing) dedicated to enhancing, expanding, and improving the Kentucky Horse Park.

So check it out! For more information visit: www.khpfoundation.org.

Ta-Ta for Now!
Sweet Pea

Awwwwwwkward….

I’ll say it. I love a good horse picture, even better, a horse sharing time with their fabulous human. But, sometimes, it doesn’t quite work out that well…  Horse Nation compiled some photos, that ummmmmm, didn’t quite make the cut.

They may make you uncomfortable, they may make you giggle, but let me tell you… you’ve GOT to check them out.  Don’t believe me? Here’s just ONE example:

Like... seriously?

Like… seriously?

You catch my drift… check it out here!

Giggle!!
Signing Out Now!
Sweet Pea

Speedy Shires

What? You never thought that Shires could be speedy? I know that I didn’t!

My opinions all changed during the “Showerking Flying Feathers Maiden Stakes” race, the first Shire horse race that has been held!

According to Horse Talk, “The contenders may not have shown a thoroughbred’s turn of speed, but they were an impressive sight as they pounded their way down the all-weather track in the two-furlong race.”

The horses were all ridden by professionals (I should hope so, that is A LOT of horse power!!), ranging between 17.3 and 18.2 hands tall. Wow!  To make the race even more incredible, it served to raise awareness for the endangered breed, which is currently on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s “at risk” list.

I’ll wagger that that was a rather LOUD race, but I wish I had been there to enjoy the sights!

And I’m Off!
Sweet Pea

Hit the Road, Jack!

Show season is in full swing, and I’ll take a bet that you’ve loaded up your horse a time or two this year! So, do tell, is your trailer up to snuff? Make sure your trailer is roadworthy BEFORE you hit the highway… here are a few things to check out before you hook up and head out.

– Check the chains and hitch, they should be clean and in working condition.
– Rust free is the way to be!  You need to pull the floor mats regularly to check the integrity of the floor.
-Check the vents, windows, and dividers. Be aware, latches can and will break!
-Check your tires for wear, correct tire pressure, and tight lug nuts, after all, a lot is riding on them!! Have a spare that can be easily accessed, and keep it in excellent condition.
-Know how to change a tire.  Know that the lug nuts on  trailers do not always match the lug nuts on your truck, be prepared and have the correct tools on board!
-After hitching up your trailer, do a quick run through. Check the lights – turn signals, hazards, brakes.

It is imperative to check in with the trailer manufacturer for a complete list of trailer safety checks that arespecific to your brand and model.  Also, you should have a professional trailer service check your trailer’s electrical, brake, and overall health of the trailer at least yearly.

Safe Travels!
Sweet Pea

Need to Lose a Pound or Two?

Peel an Apple!

Let’s just say that I’m not exactly the most svelte mare around, especially after the birth of my darling Sweet Pea. So, needless to say, I am looking for the quickest “get thin quick” scheme while still enjoying y tasty tidbits each day.

When asked about an appropriate treat for overweight horses, equine nutritionist, Dr. Juliet M. Getty, often recommends apple peels. Just peels? “At nearly 15 grams in a small apple, whole apples are too high in sugar,” she points out. “But, the peels are tasty and a good source of fiber.”

Yum, yum, yum!

Yum, yum, yum!

Can’t say I’m totally on the bandwagon… but it worth a shot.

But wait! The story just gets better—apple peels actually promote weight loss! It has to do with something called “ursolic acid.” In lay-horse terms, this naturally-occurring substance has been shown to stimulate muscle growth, increase carbohydrate metabolism, and reduce body fat by triggering production of brown adipose tissue (calorie-burning brown fat, or BAT) in mice.

Dr. Gerry does admit that no such studies have been done to date on horses; however, it is worthwhile to note that apple peels may offer even more health benefits to the overweight horse than previously thought.

So what do you think? Give it a shot? Frankly, I don’t think that my waist line and my rapidly tightening girth can choose not to give it a try!

You can lead a horse to water…

But can you make them drink?

It can be tough to tell your horse that they need to have a sip of water. You know it, you bring them to it, but how can you convince them to open up and throw it down the hatch? Lucky for you, I have a few tricks up my sleeve errrrr… hoof.

-Remember that when you give electrolytes as a supplement, it will not make your horse more likely to drink. However, flavored electrolyte powder in the water may get your horse a bit jazzed about the new flavor.

-Experiment with adding apple juice, powder electrolytes, apple cider vinegar, unsweetened drink powders, salt, or peppermint oil to your horse’s water to see what he likes.

-Try keeping your horses’ food near their water. We like it when things are convenient… and let’s face it, walking to the water bucket is soooooo hard sometimes…

-Starting to get desperate? Soak their hay!  A flake of hay that is soaked in water can hold 1-2 gallons! While it isn’t enough to sustain a grown horse, it is something!!

-Pay attention to the signs of dehydration:  skin tent/pinch test, check the gums, and watch for depression and an increased heart rate.

What are your tips and trick?
Signing Out Now!
Sweet Pea