Bridles & Baubles

Slippery Slope

A new study has identified a significant link between hind limb lameness and saddle slip (when the saddle slips off center during riding) even when that lameness is fairly subtle and difficult to detect in horses. Saddle slip can often be attributed to the shape of the horse's back, a poor fitting saddle or a rider sitting crookedly but according to this study it can also be an early indicator of a back leg problem. 

Consistent saddle slipping can lead to back pain and impair performance therefore it is important to understand the underlying causes and work to correct any problems. If you notice your saddle regularly slips to one side ask your vet to do a thorough check and hopefully uncover and solve any problems before they get worse. This is another great tool that riders can use to evaluate the health and well-being of their horse.

The Study By The Numbers:

128 horses were examined by the Animal Health Trust

71 of those horses had hindlimb lameness

54% of the lame horses had saddle slip

97% of these had saddle slip abolished when the lameness was eliminated

Dr Sue Dyson who oversaw the study said, “Our findings emphasise the need to educate owners, veterinarians, physiotherapists, trainers, riders and saddle fitters that saddle slip is frequently an indicator of lameness, not necessarily a manifestation of an ill-fitting saddle or asymmetric shape of the horse’s back. Detection of saddle slip provides an opportunity for the owner, riders and trainers to detect low-grade and subclinical lameness, with important welfare consequences.”

If your horse doesn't have saddle slip but you still want to protect his back while riding, I highly recommend this Gel-Eze Sheepskin Half Pad. The Gel-eze Sheepskin Half Pad combines the natural benefits of sheepskin with the technical aspects of Gel-eze to offer cushioning and protection at the shoulder, under the point of the saddle tree, and either side of the spine. Ideal for big moving horses, the Gel-eze Sheepskin Pad offers the perfect solution to sensitive backed horses giving them the natural benefits of top quality sheepskin against their skin (shock-absorbing, moisture-wicking, and thermoregulating), as well as offering extra protection through innovative Gel-eze pads. Available at Mary's Tack & Feed.

Sassy

This was too cute to not share! Have a little fun with your saddle name plate:



Holiday Gift Guide For Your Horse

There are lots of holiday gift guides floating around the web and I decided to bring you one just for your horse, let's be honest they put up with a lot from us all year long and certainly deserve a few Christmas gifts! So, go ahead and spoil your horse this year!

Trade in your horse's old nylon halter for a fancy leather halter with a personalized name plate. Leather halters last forever and add a touch of old world charm. SmartPak Deluxe Triple Stitch Halter and Personalized Nameplate:

Keep your horse warm and cozy on cold winter nights with Horseware's Rambo Newmarket Fleece Blanket. I bought this blanket last year for my horse and I love it! It is soft, thick and durable. Can be worn alone or under a blanket on really cold days.

Provide your horse with hours of entertainment with a Likit Tongue Twister. The ball rotates when the horse licks it, giving him a taste of the flavored Likit inside. Don't forget to add the refills to his stocking, if your horse is anything like mine, he will go thru them quickly.

Without good feet you don't have much of a horse, take care of his most important feature with Platinum Performance Hoof Support. Platinum Hoof Support provides concentrated levels of highly bio-available Biotin, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Cobalt, Methionine, and L-Lysine, all needed to keep your horses hooves healthy.

Keep your horse's hay off the ground in a Professional Choice Deluxe Hay Bag. It is super durable and available in stylish prints.

Protect your horse's back and make your rides more comfortable with a Fleeceworks Saddle Pad. Fleeceworks uses real sheepskin to eliminate pressure points and deliver thermal balance. It's thick, soft, durable and amazing!

Keep your horses legs well supportive and stylish with a pair of Classic Equine's super plush polo wraps, available in a wide variety of fun prints and patterns. These are by far my favorite polo wraps.

If your horse loves peppermints, treat him to a box of candy canes or an extra-large thick candy cane from infamous candy maker Hammond's. A sweet treat and breath freshener. 

Play your cards right this holiday season and you might just get a hug from your favorite furry companion.

Make Your Mark

We all have our favorite pair of half-chaps, usually well-worn and a bit dusty but a trusty partner that has seen us thru the good rides and the bad rides. Half-chaps are an absolute necessity providing grip and protection but have been a bit lacking in the style department until now. 

Pinnell Custom Leather half-chaps are drool-worthy and at the high end of the equestrian style quotient. Pinnell Custom Leather half-chaps can be fully customized with a wide range of leathers, colors, patterns and details (monograms, fringe, silver details). The options are endless! You might want to add a pair to your Christmas wish list! Available online at PinellCustomLeather.com.

Bundle Up

We are anticipating our first blast of cold air this weekend with possible wind chills in the 40's and 50's. While I am excited about the changing temps, I am not sure my show horses with their fine, shiny hair coats will appreciate the chilly blast. Plus, with fall shows on the horizon I want to avoid them getting cold enough to start growing hair. Time to dig out the winter blankets!

I recently had to order a new blanket for my yearling filly, her weanling blanket from last winter just won't do. I determined her new size by measuring from the center of her chest to her tail, this measurement determines what size she will wear (FYI she is now in a 72, can't believe how much she has grown). 

Here is a great visual on how to measure a horse for a blanket:

In all my years of showing I have tried a lot of blankets and my two favorites are Bob Avila's Northwest Stable Blanket and Schneider's Stable Blankets. Their mid-weight is perfect for keeping horses warm that stay in a barn as well as easily fit into the washing machine. I can't stand dirty, smelly horse blankets, so mine get washed weekly and these two brands stand up beautifully to wear and tear from my horses as well as the wear and tear of weekly washings. Both brands tend to fit the quarter horse body better than other european brands that are made for leggy, narrow breeds.

They are also cut back from the withers a bit so there is no chance of the blanket rubbing out any part of the mane. The Schneider's blankets are available with a belly strap or a belly band which provide more warmth while helping keep the blanket in place. I also like the stretchy, detachable (and replaceable) back leg straps on the Schneider's blankets because I have had many a sewn on back strap ripped off while a horse was running and playing.

Bob Avila's blankets are available at AvilaProShop.com and Schneider's blankets are available at SSTack.com.

Bob Avila's Northwest Stable Blanket:

Schneider's Adjusta-Fit Bellyband Blanket:

Although a blanket will help keep your horse warm and deter the growth of hair the best way to keep your show horse hair free in the winter is to make sure they are under 16 hours of natural and/or artificial light each day. Having a timer on your lights in your barn will help ensure they get the right amount of light.

Scout wearing her Schneider's blanket last winter:

Cold Therapy

I've recently stumbled upon a new must-have to add to your tack trunk. If you are a horse owner then you are familiar with cold therapy in the form of running cold water from the hose on your horses various sore, swollen or injured legs or back or whatever they choose to hurt that week. I swear many hours of my life have been spent standing in the wash rack with the hose running.

While nothing can truly replace the power of running cold water on various sore limbs, ColdFlex Vet Wraps can certainly aid in providing cold therapy to your horse. ColdFlex Vet Wraps are made of an exclusive formulation of gelled water, embedded into an elastic foam material that provides cooling compression. It delivers a cooling effect that can last for hours with no danger of tissue damage from excessive cold as with the application of ice. Use them straight out of their container or keep them in the fridge for a deeper cooling.

 My retired show gelding, Alias (27 years young) has laminitis and recently we changed him to therapeutic wood shoes which make him so much more comfortable but they can not get wet. He occasionally has laminitis flare-ups which were controlled by bute and running cold water on his feet but with the wood shoes I needed another way to cool his leg and thus the blood that goes to his feet. That's where my love affair with ColdFlex Wraps begins; I wrapped Alias' front legs everyday for 3 days during a really hot spell and laminitis flare-up and their deep penetrating cold therapy eased his pain while keeping his wood shoes dry. I then used them a few days later on a horse who had some swelling on a back leg. They really, truly work wonders! Available at SmartPak.com.