Must-Haves & Extra Stuff for life on the farm . . .
Training & upkeep on a horse farm can be hard work! We are always on the look out for things to make it easier. Below are a few things we think are worth sharing - hopefully we can make your life with horses a little easier too! These are just small, inexpensive tools that we feel every horse person could use!
Horse Training Basics - Ground Work
Every horse owner should have a good lead rope at least 12' long; a rope training halter and a stick & string. As I said on my home page I am a No Worries Club member - these are all Clinton Anderson products pictured. The stick is well balanced; The halter is a stiff rope with well placed knots and fits great; And the ropes are fantastic - very supple, a great weight and have a lot of feel that makes it easy for your horse to learn quickly. I have 14' leads and a 23' long line for advanced exercises. I also have a Stacy Westfall stick & string that I like and that was less expensive. (You can also see an Aussie Tie Ring dangling below the hitching post - see below about tie rings!)
Horse Training Basic - Under Saddle
I always start my horses with a pinchless O-Ring Snaffle. I add a curb strap just to keep the bit from sliding through the mouth. Slobber straps give more feel to help your horse understand cues more quickly and become lighter. 22' Mecate reins are super versatile - very adjustable to change the length, the tail works as a spanker, they can be used to work the horse from the ground or tie your horse safely on the trail. Once again - I have to suggest the Clinton Anderson Mecate - I have other brands as well, but they aren't nearly as supple and well weighted.
We love tie rings! In my opinion this is the best, safest way to train a horse of any age to stand tied and this is the only way we tie our horses. Tie rings teach your horse to not pull back and to remain calm because it still allows them to move their feet if they become scared. You can adjust the strength of the tie easily and tie rings go everywhere! We have them in our barn, trailer, hitching posts and saddlebags! The tie ring on the left is the Aussie Tie Ring (or Blocker Tie Ring) and it's my favorite and doesn't need to unhooked to get the rope on or off. The one on the right is a Duratech tie ring - a very nice and inexpensive ring, but has a smaller circumference and must be unhooked so is not quite as quick as the Aussie.
Filling our haybags has never been easier!
I love this thing! This is a Dura-Tech Stable Hand. I bought it at sstack.com and it is just the simplest way to load a haybag! It's made of flexible pvc - you just roll it up tight, stick it down in your haybag & let go - it springs open and holds the bag for you to load hay easily! It can also hold open other bags for garbage, grain, sawdust, etc. Makes bagging a one man job - I can't believe we ever lived without it! Very inexpensive - a must have for every barn! :)
Also pictured is my favorite slow feed haybag. The one pictured is a Dura-Tech. The slow feed bags are great - it keeps the horses occupied, slows down the chow-hounds and reduces wasted hay.
No More Chewed Stalls!
People sometimes ask when looking at a horse, "doe he chew?" My answer is invariably, "I don't know, our horses don't have that opportunity!" Now it's my opinion that every horse will probably chew some if left stalled and bored - but this is an easy fix to keep your stalls intact. Mike simply bought some metal angle from our local hardware store and screwed it onto all the stall edges. The horses show zero interest in biting it and it was not overly costly! Plus it looks nice too! (Oh, and there's one of those slow feed bags I like!)
Vetericyn - an absolute must have!
This is the best wound-care product I've ever encountered, it heals and destroys infection. If you own an animal of any kind - you need this! Cuts & scrapes heal so quickly! I've use this on the horses for scrapes, rubbed spots, deep cuts and a boil. I've even used it in the cat's eye - the eye was such a mess we just knew it was poked out and she was going to be blind, now she's fine and you'd never know she was ever injured. Love, love, love this!
Get in & out of field without opening or climbing the gate!
We installed several "pass-through" gaps on the property. These allow a person to quickly move in or out of the pasture - but the horses are unable to get thru. Just wide enough for an adult and a bucket to squeeze thru and with a 3rd post as a block - these save a lot of time opening/closing gates and are great for my son to make a quick get away if needed. Super easy to do and very inexpensive!
I also recommend the "C Gate" (www.thecgate.com) - a very beautiful and professional looking pass thru. Worth the cost - but the shipping can be high.
There are several other styles of pass throughs (V-shaped, U-shaped, and what I think of as a "parallel pass"). I like the 3 pole pass because it is so simple and can be installed on an arena and not have anything sticking out into the arena fence line.
Need your stirrups turned for knee relief?
I had tried storing my saddle with a broom handled through the stirrups to turn them at a right angle to the horse. This was only a partial fix and I still had aching knees. Next I tried a turning device that I bought, but while it made my knees feel better, it also extended my stirrups too much. So I did a little research and learned how to permanently turn my stirrups by tying them in a "cowboy twist" And it was so easy!!
We've tried several style of mats and have decided we like our "Stall Savers" the best. These allow liquid to pass thru and drain into the ground rather than hold the liquid on top to be absorbed by the bedding. The kit for a 12x12 stall was just under $200 - we saved money by using sand & gravel from the creek as the base under the liner and to fill the leach pit in the middle. This reduces odor, saves bedding and drains very well. We rake back the bedding when we notice odor and spray a pinesol solution all over the liner. The stall can also be sprayed out with a water hose - the water just drains away through liner & rock and into the ground. We've had these a couple of years and they seem to be holding up just fine!
Beautiful and Professional Photography
Who doesn't love pictures of their horses - but horses can be as hard to photograph as kids and the average camera doesn't always do them justice! Kristen Warning has visited our farm several times and taken beautiful pictures - some that have been shared internationally! If you are in the Kentuckiana area and are looking for a great photographer for your equine friend - or if you are looking for beautiful art for your home or office - please check her out!!