this conversation started the other day my BFF Adam…

 

 

Reed Kessler. We all know her story, the teenager with the wealthy parents who bought her some awesome horses, only to take the grand prix world by storm and make the 2012 Olympic team. I get why people are bothered by it, and in all honesty, I think I would be too, if it were not for my ability to follow her on instagram. 

Sure, she posts photos from the amazing places she gets to travel to compete. Sure, she has horses most of us can only dream about owning. She was born into a situation that allows her to be ahead of the curve, where so many of us wish we could be. After all, riding horses is notorious for being the sport of snobby, money families for people who don’t think twice about dropping money on a worthy horse. 

But what I love about Reed Kessler isn’t her travels or her horses (even though they are adorable and it’s obvious how horse crazy she really is). She is an amazing example of how hard work and dedication to a sport she loves pays off. Anyone can buy expensive horses, but not everyone is capable of riding them they way they should be. Reed is. She works out daily, if not twice a day, wherever she goes. She practices hard and thanks her horses when their workout is over for being so good. She cheers on her teammates and congratulates her fellow riders on a job well done. She takes time to stop and meet each fan that comes up to her, if she can. She posts photos of those fans on her own instagram, with comments that one can only interpret as humble and thankfulness for each one of her fans that believes in her. 

So yes, she drew a great straw in the family pool. But her hard work and dedication to her sport is what people should focus on when they talk about her. Anyone with money can buy a fancy, made horse. But that won’t make you a great rider. It’s what you do with the gifts that are put in front of you that separate you from the rest. And, in my humble opinion, Reed Kessler is one of a kind. I hope she continues to succeed in all that she does. Haters are gonna hate, but I find they really have no idea about how hard she works to do what she does. 

I’d do the same thing if I were lucky enough to have the advantages she does. Being grateful for what life gives you is a quality to admire in others. No one is entitled to anything, we have to work hard for what we want. This is something I would love to rub into the next generation of horse kids I see coming up the ranks. So look to Reed as a role model for all the hard work and humility she has. It makes you a better person in the end. I promise. 

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too many supplements, not enough nutrition?

This is a topic I come across frequently with fellow horse owners. Hell, I even deal with this in my IRL job with people who eat fast food for each meal a day, but think because they take a multi-vitamin and some other supplements they will be ok. 

Do you know what your horses eat? Do you know where their hay comes from? Most importantly, do you trust your barn owner/manager who makes these decisions to choose with your horse’s best interest in mind? I can say I’m lucky enough to have that security blanket when it comes to the care of the horses at my barn, but do you? 

If you do give your kid supplements, what are they for and why do you give them? Is it something that could be included in a better quality feed, or is it something you need to supplement because they came in poor condition and need some help getting healthy? Is your horse in heavy work and showing? Do they have conformation flaws that put them at risk for stocking up and growing stiff if left in their stall too long? 

Equine nutrition is something a lot of people have strong opinions on, but contrary to popular belief, vets don’t get a lot of education on in school. But don’t blindly follow someone else because they say they’ve taken the time and researched and know the product they use is the best and nothing can compare. The better you know your horse, then you better be willing to learn more about what will work best for them, nutritionally. 

Horses are like people — all different, all react differently to different supplements and different feeds, and all rely on their humans to keep their best interest in mind. I have many friends that swear the kind of feed and supplements they use are the best on the market and nothing else comes close. Only, my last horse did not do well on their products. In fact, I had to stop them because it was brought to my attention he was reacting to the soy base most of their supplements had. Another friend had the same experience with her older arabian. She kept waiting for this amazing, dapply, shining brighter then the sun coat.; but all that changed was their coat went from ok to looking blah and ribby. She switched to a different feed and within a few weeks, her horse gained weight, got shiny and happy, and rediscovered what life was when he was a a young man. Unfortunately, when we try to share these negative experiences about this brand of feed/supplements/etc., we are blatantly ignored. 

Do your homework, ask questions, figure out what’s going to benefit your horse in the long run. Ask if oral joint supplements are better than injectables. Ask if your horse would benefit from something that prevents ulcers. And more importantly, find out what they eat every day -both hay and feed- and find out what’s in it. A horse who gets quality hay, quality turn out on grass, and a quality feed probably only needs minimal supplementation depending on their job. So before you start spending all that money on supplements you think you need to put your horse on, start at square one and go forward. Be as skeptical as you would be if you were buying a new car or a new house. And make decisions based on evidence and rational thought. 

One of my best friends recently decided to move her horse from a barn where she had been for many years to a smaller barn, so she would not have to sell. In one month, her horse has gone from looking like she just pulled them out of a feed lot at an auction to a shiny, almost fat with barely visible ribs, and healthy feet growing out the way they are meant to be. The old barn swore they fed the horse a bale of hay a day on top of 2 lbs of feed twice a day. Their hooves were narrow and tiny, with the frogs rotting out. Their skin was flaky and scurfy, and dull. They didn’t get turn out on grass, they went out in a paddock full of other horses and mud. And maybe they did feed the horse that much. But by looking at the horse, it was obvious that something was missing and not right. 

4 hours of turnout on grass, grass and orchard hay mixture throughout the day, and a higher quality feed with a small amount of clay to prevent and fix any possible ulcers has turned this horse into a looker. And it’s only been 1 month. We haven’t even added regular work into the program yet. I am so excited for what is in store for my friend and her equine child as this road continues. She’s considered a supplement, but why?? There really isnt a solid reason at this point as to why it would be needed. 

If your barn owner wont answer you questions about your feed, go to the supplier. If your supplier can’t answer your questions, go to the internet. And if you don’t like what the internet has to say about it, try looking at other options. Respect your barn owner enough to ask about their policy on switching feeds, but be sure to explain why its important to you. You are responsible for your horse’s health. There are things we cant fix, but we can do our best to get them on a healthy diet. Just like you should respect yourself enough to eat a healthy diet to take care of yourself. Then start adding things if you need to. But I would bet money, there’s very little you would need to add if their basic intake is full of good things. 

And so it begins…

Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a horse geek. This is me on my very first love, Brown Jug.Image

 

I have been riding since I was in third grade, and even during the years where I pretended horses were not part of my life, they were. I grew up riding with an old school trainer who fox hunted and always knew there was more that I wanted to learn but didn’t know how to find it. 

As an adult, after several years of searching for a barn with trainer who I knew could teach me to be the kind of rider I wanted to be, I found her. I’ve been at my current barn since 2006, and in this short time I have let my obsession with horses overtake everything else. 

I ride hunters and live in Zone 2. I check show results and watch what I can online if I can’t go. I remember names, faces, horses, and pay attention to who’s riding where and what. I’ve been called a gossip, a nerd, a geek with no life, and many other things that don’t phase me.  My bottom line is this — if it’s going on in the horse world of hunters, jumpers, and equitation, I probably know or would love to know about it! I have nothing against dressage or eventing, it’s just never been my happy place. 

So for quite some time, I have been told I should start a blog so I can share my random facts and information with the rest of the world. I love tumblr, I love Perez Hilton, I love bigeq.com, and I love ryegate. I also have the uncanny gift of remebering faces of people I meet or see. I might not remember your name, but if I’ve seen your face, theres a 99% chance I will remember you. I have made friends all over the country because of horses, and I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to know and learn from all the people I do. 

So here it is. My blog begins. Indoors are beginning, zone 2 hunter finals are in less than a month, and Im anxiously waiting for January when WEF, Ocala, Jacksonville, and Mississippi begin. I love feed back, I love learning, I love sharing what I know. I hope you find some enjoyment in my blog of random information and results from shows. 

 

And finally, because I just realized this thanks to the TV, guess what day it is?? HUMP DAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! So here it goes. IF you have fun information you want to share, email me at equinerainman274@hotmail.com . If you want to share your photos and stories of your special horses and a journey you’ve taken together, email me! If you had a terrible experience and want others to know to prevent them from having to go through it, email me! Email me!!! I love emails!! Welcome, enjoy, and share!