Friday, July 30, 2010

Bridles and Bits and Blankets! Oh My!

I'm addicted to looking at, dreaming about and, more often than not, buying Horse Stuff!!!!

If you don't already own a horse you may not know that all horse owners have about three of every item they could ever need for every POSSIBLE occasion. I'm not alone in my addiction. (Do they have 12 steps for this?)

With the addition (addiction?) of the internet, it makes it so easy to find and buy what you want. Did you know that you can even buy saddles, bridles and bits on now-a-days?

EquiRoyal Newport Dressage Saddle
$134.74 - Not a bad price! Click Here for Details

Well there are a few places I love to shop. Even if it's just browser-window shopping. Whether it's show clothes, new/used saddles, healthcare items or just frivolous horse "have-to-have-its" I know where to go to get the best deals!

Tip #1: Wait for sales and search for the best price online. There are many places to purchase what you want and/or need. So choose the best one for you. Accumulate your tack room filler slowly. If you buy when it's on sale or from the right don't have to spend a bunch all-at-once.

Tip #2: Take into account the shipping cost along with the item's listed price. I.e. I found a great deal on Omegafields Horseshine (ground stabilized flax seed) but the shipping put me way over what a decent price would normally be. It was better to spend more on the product and less on the shipping.

Tip #3: Do a Google Search for coupon codes. Sometimes you can find one that will work for you when buying online.

Tip #4: Ask your horsey friends before buying. With all the extra stuff we accumulate...someone might actually GIVE you what you need so you don't have to buy it.

Here are my favorite places to search for much NEEDED equine essentials:

Local Tack Store: I'd like to give a shout out to my local tack store, Storybook Farm. Owned by Chris Hagen, it's one of the most wonderful places to drool over great tack and supplies. PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TACK STORE! If you find something you like online, stop in to ask if they can get if for you at the same price. Sometimes they can...sometimes they can't. But at least you gave them the opportunity to do a little business.

In this same line of thinking, find out when the local 4-H, Pony Club or area Barns are having used tack sales. You'd be surprised at the deals you can find!

Horse This Place = Every Horse Owners Dream & Pocketbook Nightmare. I'm pretty sure I own stock in this small company. I first found them on eBay (which I'll talk about later) and saw they had an online store. They have great prices and pretty decent stuff. I've bought everything from winter blankets to bridles there.

eBay - Yeah, I dig looking at the weird horse tack you can find on eBay! I bought the craziest saddle once. It was a dressage saddle but was tooled on the flaps like a western saddle. Too bad it didn't fit me or my horse.

And while I'm on this point...I would generally not buy a saddle online without knowing exactly what size you and your horse need. I recommend trying saddles on your horse, finding out which brand and style fits best. Then find a deal online.

For those of you who are horseless but just SOOOO excited about buying a horse. I know you're out there buying horse stuff. I know you are, don't lie! DON'T JUMP THE GUN AND BUY A SADDLE JUST BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU'LL USE IT ON YOUR "SOME-DAY" HORSE! Horse first, then saddle fitting, then buying of said that order. God Bless the horseless, I know you're just dying to get that horse!

Ok, back to the actual topic of this blog...

Cafe Press: Oh Cafe Press, how I love thee! You can find so many awesome shirts and mugs and horsey stuff that NO ONE ELSE HAS!!! Like this totally awesome...and absolutely true hoodie.

Valley Vet Supply: Here's where I find great deals on medical supplies, supplements and vaccines. Yes vaccines! Have your vet show you how to give your own shots. It will save you tons of money! Valley Vet sends the vaccinations to your home in a box that has ice packs to keep the shots cold. Neat huh? I save the ice packs to reuse when I fall off my horse and need to reduce swelling. Recycling!

Equestrian Collections: Ok, I'll admit, I'm not the tiniest, daintiest or waffish-est (???!) wanna-be Dressage Diva in the world. I need to find some breeches that will fit, without cutting off my circulation or making me look like a Polish Sausage. Tough, when breeches are supposed to be skin tight! I'm pretty sure Dressage was invented by tiny little European girls.

You can find the 1824 line of equestrian clothing on Equestrian Collections. No that's not "circa 1824." They mean sizes 18-24.

Fuller Fillies is another place to find cloths that will actually fit you. Heaven forbid you have calves instead of toothpick legs. The Fillies gals actually have English Riding Boots that will fit a person who indulges in a bowl of pasta every so often. (Hold on...I just got sauce on the keyboard...) You can find them on Facebook too! They're sassy as you can see. And I love them.

Now that I've given you some gems please share your own! I'll post your ideas and favorite shopping spots online. You know, the more we spread the word about good stores, the lower they can make their prices!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wild Money for Wild Horses

I hope this charm helps you to acquire your wildest most unbridled horse dreams. If nothing else, you can always make some funny-money playing Horseopoly!
Late for The Sky Horse - Opoly
Charm for Attracting Wild Money

You are the green of Elm leaves in summer.
New you are crisp as filo dough.
Old you are soft as well worn leather.
I will rub my hands with honey
and run through marble lobbies of banks.
I will dance for you strung like a jester with bells tinkling.

Come to me, come to me, come!
I will not keep you in a dark trust fund.
I will not chain you to labor at a mortgage
or harness you to clanking stock issues
but will let you wander free
as an alley cat through the city.
I will turn you out of your cage
to sing arias in the tree tops.
I am not mean but foolishly kind.
You would speedily rejoin others of your species.

Come, oh murmuring swarm,
build your wasp nest in my empty purse.

Marge Piercy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Get your Boots Wet!

Yeah, I know, it's expensive.

You love horses, and it seems so out of reach. But really it's not.

Here's what you need to do: GET INVOLVED!

You don't need to own a horse to love a horse. Do you know how many outlets there are for the horse lover? Allow me to show you the way....

Horse Expos - Every state in the USA has a Horse related Expo or Show at some point in the year. Look at the links I recommend to the right for a few that I love. Since I live in WI, two of my favorites are the Midwest Horse Fair and Horse-A-Rama. Generally these events are at the end of the week and/or over the weekend. They're inexpensive ($5-$10) for admission.

Friesian Heritage Horse Group - Horse-A-Rama 2010

There will be TONs of eye candy for the horse lover at these events. Talk to people. Ask questions. Be a sponge! Get as much info as you can possibly handle!

Take this a step further. Call the expo organizer and ask if there are any groups attending that need volunteers. This is a wonderful way to meet people and get to bond with their amazing horses. And you never know...they might give you a pony ride. Horse people love to share their passion. (Hence this blog!)

Horse Rescues - There are so many horses that are abused, neglected and forgotten. Thankfully there are great people who put their time, energy and funds into saving these gentle souls. Guess what...they want and NEED your help.

You know, I'd love to link you to some worthy rescue sites. But how do I choose? Google: Horse Adoption (Your State) and contact these places to volunteer your time. Bonding with a horse that just wants to be loved is so rewarding. They're like lost children and need your attention!


United States Pony Club & 4-H Horse Project (this one happens to be WI) - Even if you're an adult you can still get involved as a helper. There are open shows that need organizers and volunteers. Jump judges, runners, scribes, scorers, grooms....don't know what any of this stuff is? That's okay, they'll help you learn!

Take Riding Lessons - There are so many reputable trainers out there who just love taking on new students...of any age. Genterally lessons are between $30 - $55 per hour. Make sure to find a barn that has happy horses. A happy horse makes for a good ride!

Tip: Ask how many times each lesson horse is ridden per day. If it's more than two times per day that's too much.

Here's why: Imagine you are asked to carry around a bouncy toddler and do EXACTLY what they want for one hour. Though they are a very well behaved and sweet child, they tend to kick and pull your hair or accidentally poke you in the eye. This might get old. Horses can't tell you when they've had enough. They are generally a hardy lot that will put up with WAY more than we humans ever would.

Join a Yahoo Chat Group - There are a multitude of horse related groups on Yahoo. Because I love the Friesian and Friesian Crosses I focus on these chat groups. But you can search for whatever horse related topic or breed you're interested in.

As you can see, you don't need to own a horse to love a horse. Get out there, get involved...get your boots wet in the horse world!
Don't tell Jason I put this up on my blog.


Because we weren't all raised by Horse Whisperers!

First - What is a Stirrup Cup?

A Stirrup Cup is a "parting cup" (AKA Drink) given to guests, especially when they are leaving and have their feet in the stirrups. Generally the drink is Sherry or Port, which as you know is alcohol. I'm assuming you drink before the ride because it hurts less when you fall off.

This blog has been created for: Horse-Crazed Teens, City Slickers, Budding Dressage Divas, Wanna-Be-Horse Whisperers and The "Equine Focused" Mid-Life Crisis. Let's face it we all didn't get a pony for our birthday as a kid. (I did...but don't hate me...I'm here to help you!) And just because we're horse-crazy doesn't mean those raising us or married to us are!

Here's a venue to learn some of the tribal knowledge gained from my many years of horse experience. Now, there are somethings you just have to experience to understand. But I'll try to do the best I can with pictures, video tutorials, guest bloggers while creating an open stream of communication. I'll give you encouragement to go out and get your feet in the stirrups and supply you with helpful resources.

Future Topics:
Horse Behavior - Fact or Fiction
Equine Body Language
Feeding & Nutrition
Riding Disciplines
Horse Health & Care - Even the gross stuff!
Reproduction - Even more gross stuff!
Buying Your First Horse
Hilarious & Embarrassing Horse Stories
Much, much more....

Please follow this budding blog and tell your horse-crazed friends. Because, you know, we weren't all raised by Horse Whisperers!

Punchinello & Brooke being interviewed by the Racine Journal 6/12/10