Monday, August 21st, 2017

By Karen Waite If you live in the Midwest, you may have noticed that it’s county fair season…that age old bastion of tradition, education (intentional and otherwise), drama, intrigue, teen romance, and corn dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I love county fairs and 4-H (which often go hand in hand). Both made me who I […]

via What to Do When The Fair Isn’t Fair — outoftheboxstall

It’s that time of the year again, when the days are getting shorter and the horses’ coats are changing colors as they shed once again.

Angel Shedding re.jpg

Parents ask about the changes in the colors and the shedding. They are confused because they know about the BIG shed out in the spring, but are surprised when the horses start shedding at the end of summer. Not sure about other mammals but, horses have two distinct coats – one for winter and one for summer. And they typically shed about the same time every year.

Shedding triggers

More than we realize the change in season is governed by two elements in nature – sunlight and temperature. As the days get longer, the temperatures rise. Some of us would like it to get warmer sooner, but, the fact is, more sunlight = warmer air.

It’s the amount of sunlight that tells the horses when to start shedding. I’ve been out in the barn many a February or March, shivering as my horse’s winter coat blankets my feet while grooming her. Likewise, come August, the summer coat is shedding out for the new growth for the winter.

Indicator of the future?

I hear this all the time. If they are shedding out this early, does that mean that we will get an early winter? If the horses are getting a heavy winter coat, that that mean that we are in for a bitter winter? No! Well, I really wish the horses or other animals could predict the future with more accuracy than the weather station, but, the truth is, they can’t. But, what they can do is “remember” the past weather. People who purchase horses from a warmer climate often say that the first winter is brutal. The horse doesn’t get a good winter coat. But wait until the second and third winter – they certainly grow a coat after that first cold experience!

Change in colors

The horse’s coat often lightens in the summer depending on how often the horse is outside and in the sunlight. The sun lightens most colors, even the horse’s coat. Once the days shorten and the amount of sunlight lessens, the coat goes back to a darker color.

Dapples are not dependent on the amount of sunlight. The circular areas on the horse’s body that change in shade are caused by nutrition as well as genetics. Horses on high quality hay tend to have more dapples. All horses do not dapple. Gray horses tend to be dappled as well as bays and chestnuts.

It seems the horses, like many animals are in tune with Mather Nature and the change of seasons. But even so, they cannot predict weather any more than we can.

Linda Watson-Call is the owner and head riding instructor at Pretty Pony Pastures. Visit the website for details on all the lessons and activities at this facility.

We had a good turnout for our Preserving Your Back (and Your Horse’s) clinic today, considering the sky was overcast and threatened rain. Threatened? More like a torrential downpour in the middle of Dr. Westcott’s talk!

Dr. Westcott of Wescott Chiropractic Clinic began the presentation by explaining how our body/spine works, where the most weight is carried, why the area that hurts may not be the area that has the problem and where we are most vulnerable.

Then, she demonstrated two very simple exersizes – each takes only 30 seconds to do and will keep our muscles supple and flexible! Yes, in one minute a day. I’m game – you bet I’m going to do them. As Dr. Westcott explained, no one wants to do exercises that take a long time – ones that we need to schedule into our hectic day – but 30 seconds – we have the time. The back exercise can even be done at your desk! Wow! Work and exercise – who would have thought that was possible.

I’m all energized to keep riding until I’m old and gray!

The Renaissance Festival is in full swing here, so some of the kids are asking if they can joust with their horse. Of course, they are thinking horse-to-horse combat. Not here, but, what about spearing a ring with your lance? Surely that could be fun too!
Dustin_Lu-Rain Jousting_crThe first thing I need is some willing but unsuspecting parents. The kids love this part. Each parent is given a ring – the large ones that are used as diving rings in pools. Then each rider is given a lance – none other than a familiar pool noodle! Each rider is then challenged to walk their horse toward their parent and spear the ring without stopping their horse.

Paul lances the ring cr
The kids have a ball doing this while the parents remind them to aim for the ring not them!

My husband and I watched the program last night.  It was great that Extreme Makeover could do this for the Luther family.  Their dedication to the therapeutic riding program was evident, and what Ty said is so true.  People who give to others don’t usually give to themselves.

We are glad to see they have been given a new beginning and the means to continue their work.

And what she say is so true, about doing it for the smiles and hugs. 

At our facility we have seen miracles happen…not instantly, but over time…first words, balance regained, new skills, and greater confidence.  All from a weekly hour lesson on a horse! 

 I would encourage anyone looking for a way to give back to your community, to find a therapeutic riding facility and volunteer.  It will change your life forever!