Category: Tack

My First Tack Sale

Recently, my new barn had a notice on their bulletin board:

     Tack Sale


     7 am – 11 am

I thought this would be a good opportunity to get rid of some of my “horse” stuff that I’ve collected through the years.  I went through the stuff in my show trunk, hanging on my saddles and in the garage.  The stuff in the garage had become a bigger pile since the recent move to a new barn.

When I arrived at the barn, I realized I had just a meager amount compared to others that had set out their stuff earlier.  Without being discouraged at the thought of not being able to sell anything, I set up my table and also my portable gazebo for sun protection.  I did manage to sell a few things.

Since I don’t go to garage sales much at all, I learned a few things from this for the next tack sale at the barn or if I want to put one on for myself.

  • Get your merchandise organized early.
  • Do some research on-line and even in your local newspaper for what used tack is selling for in your area.
  • Mark the tag clearly with the price and make sure it is secured to each item.
  • You may want to put a small description of the item on the tag.
  • Have enough money in various bills and coins for the day.  You don’t want to miss a sell because you can’t make change.
  • Have sacks or boxes available to bag any merchandise that you sell.  Using the plastic or paper bags from the grocery store would be a great way to reuse them.
  • Have a few snacks and drinks handy that are appropriate for the time of year to see you through the tack sale hours.
  • If you do the tack sale yourself, you might consider spending a few dollars to advertise in your local paper.  Ask you local feed store or vet office if you can put up flyers for your tack sale.  Make sure to put the date and hours of the day the tack sale will be going.
  • If you put out a few signs on the street to show the way to your tack sale, don’t forget to remove all the signs when the tack sale is over.

In all, I had a good time.  I got to visit with the boarders at the new barn and I made a bit of money.


Horse Chores For Your Springtime Checklist

Rex-Zeus-Feb2011It’s amazing how just a few weeks can impact the weather.  At the first of February, northern Oklahoma had it’s second ever blizzard warning.  Where I live, there was a record 25″ of snow.  Just a few miles north, there was a record setting 50″ and that area also set the record for the coldest temperature of -23°F.  There was snow for over 2 weeks, which is also out of the normal for Oklahoma.

Now, the temperature was close to 80°F today and the daffodils in my yard have been in bloom for about 2 weeks.  We had our first actual thunderstorm  just a few days ago.  Spring is officially around the corner!  So, it may be a good time for some spring chores.  Here are some chores that you may want to do.

At the barn:

  • Clean and condition your leather tack.  Make sure the leather is dry before applying a leather conditioner.
  • Inspect the leather for any cracks, cuts or splits.  Replace any leather that is damaged.
  • Go through your grooming kit.  Replace any tools that are broken.  This would probably also be a good time to wash your brushes.
  • Clean your clippers.  You can do this yourself or take them to a professional.  You can also have the blades sharpened at the same time.
  • Wash your winter blankets, if you are not going to need them anymore.  Store them in a dry place.  Most blankets come in a zippered plastic bag.  I have kept these to  store my blankets for the summer.  This makes for good dust free storage.
  • A warm dry spring day would be perfect to strip your stall completely (if you have one).  Let them air out for a few hours before you put bedding back in them.  If you have full board, this is probably done periodically through the year.
  • Give your trailer a good cleaning.  Do a thorough inspection and make note of any damage to floors/walls/ceiling/tackroom, worn tires, damaged lighting/wiring, etc.  Make a plan and time frame to get damage fixed.

For the vet:

  • Get vaccinations, if you haven’t already done so.  Check with your vet as to which basic vaccinations are recommended for your area.  Your vet may also have suggestions for additional vaccinations based on the age of your horse and also whether or not you show or trail ride.
  • Don’t forget to get the Coggins test.  A negative Coggins is required if you plan to show, trail Daffodils-Mar2011ride or take your horse to a riding clinic.  Most events want a Coggins that was done within a year, but a few require one that has been done within 6 months of the event.
  • Spring is also when I have my horses’ teeth checked and, if necessary, floated.
  • My gelding will have his sheath cleaned, if needed.

There is a multitude of chores that you can do in the spring.  This is just a small sample.  Plan a work day and make a list of what you want to accomplish that day.  If you don’t finish your list, add it to the next planned work day.  Don’t try to do everything all in one day . . . . your body won’t like it.

Natural Horsemanship Seminar – Day 2

Day 2 of this seminar was interesting, but was very long.  There were numerous slow parts to the seminar.  This one was being filmed and it had several lengthy slow segments while staff members were setting cameras, calling staff members to the arena for filming and microphones being delivered.  There didn’t seem to be much preparation.  If there was, it seemed to be changed at the last minute.  There was also a time where students who were being graded on sections of the clinician’s program.  This could have been done after the day’s seminar and invited the audience to stay to observe instead of making it part of the seminar.  This made the seminar too long and for me, not very interesting.

To hit the good points,  there was a part on why the snaffle is considered a training tool by this particular clinician.  We were shown how he uses the snaffle by demonstrating with a bit in his hands.  This allowed the audience to see how each side of the snaffle works independently of the other.  I won’t go into the mechanics of bits that is too much subject for this post.  If you are really interested in how each type of bit works, you should probably invest in a book on bits.  You would get a much better explanation than I could try to give.

There was also a section where a horse with a severe head tossing issue was worked trying to stop this bad habit.  This particular horse had been worked the day before with good results, but still did not accept pressure applied through the reins to the bit when being cued.  This horse did not like anything on, around or near it’s head.   The clinician worked with the horse for about another 45 minutes with some pretty good results.  The horse’s owner will still have some work once they get home, but they got a good starting point.

There also another section where a horse was being trained to lay down.  This particular part I found hard to watch at times.  While I understand that by achieving this maneuver, the horse is giving you his total trust.  I personally just don’t see much use for it.

I did get some training ideas, so I would I classify the seminar as time well spent.   If you have never been to one of these seminars, you should go to one.  The ones I have been to were not very expensive, just $25 – $35 for 2 days.  I was able to purchase tickets from the clinician’s website, so that was pretty easy.  I would definitely invest in checking out a seminar near you.  You can find a schedule for seminars in just about any horse magazine.  If you don’t have a subscription to a magazine, just click one of my recommended magazines links on my website to get one started.

There will also be merchandise & DVDs of the clinician’s training program for sale at these seminars.  Most of the clinicians sell their entire training system,  which can be expensive.  However, if you buy this way, each section is usually cheaper than buying one section at a time.  Buying one section of the program as you need it may be more affordable.  Some also sell memberships to their club websites for a monthly fee.  These have extra material available only for the members.  Any of these are potentially worth the price if they help you and your horse.  But to be worth the money, you have to use them.

In these tough economic times, you have to decide what is right for you.

Take Time To Inspect & Clean Your Tack

While some parts of the country are still in the grip of winter, other parts are just starting to show signs of spring.  Either of these can cause conditions not favorable for riding.  My last post suggested that you use some of this time to brush up on horse basics by doing ground work. 

Another task that can be done is cleaning & conditioning your tack.  Dedicate an afternoon to this task.  Check your leather goods for cracks, dry rot or splits.  Look at the stitching to make sure they are all intact with no breaks.  You can replace leather pieces like off-billets, tie straps or some stirrup leathers that are worn out.  These are easy fixes but if not replaced can cause major accidents.  For more severe repairs, schedule a trip to your local saddle repair shop.

You also need to clean your bits.  Run your fingers along the mouth piece to check for rough spots or burrs.  Any imperfection on any of the surfaces that actually come in contact with the horse can cause irratation, pain or even cuts.  Most bits are relatively inexpensive.  You might consider buying a replacement.

If you are like me, this could be a daunting task in itself because of the amount of tack I have.  But don’t let that stop you.   Your tack is a big investment & it deserves some of your time.

Magazine Must Haves For The Novice Horseman

I just received my Horse & Rider magazine.  This is just one of my magazines that I read front to back.  There is an article in this issue that you, as a novice looking to buy a horse, MUST read!!  The article is “7 SIGNS YOU SHOULD WALK AWAY FROM A HORSE FOR SALE (OR SELLER)” by Bob Avila.

This article tells you what bad habits to look for.  The article goes into bad attitude, this would be cranky, rude or impatient.  It tells you about being barn sour and also about not respecting your space.  There is a small section of information about lameness.  There are also signs to look for in the seller.  This article is only 4 pages long, but it does give you information that you will need when you go to look for that dream horse.  READ IT!! & READ IT again!!

And when you are done with this article, read the one from Clinton Anderson on getting your foot shy horse  to let you handle those ticklish feet.  Oh and don’t miss YOUR HORSE YOUR LIFE for a few pointers.  There are some really good common sense things a novice horse owner may not know.  There are also on going articles on conformation, riding & horsemanship.  AND THIS IS JUST 1 ISSUE!!!

If you don’t have this magazine . . .  go out now & get it at your local bookstore, drug store or grocery store.  It is well worth your time and effort for this one.  This is just one MUST HAVE magazine for any novice.  It is just full of information.  There is also EQUUS.  I highly recommend this magazine for the latest in  horse health.  Practical Horseman & Dressage Today are outstanding magazines for the owner who leans more towards English riding.

These are the magazines that I subscribe to for the latest information in health, riding and horse related products.  Over the years, I have gotten an enormous amount of information from these magazines.  There have been articles on legislations that effect the horse world.  There have been articles on which hay may be better for your horse, oats vs sweet feed and which plants in your pasture are deadly to your horse.

If you don’t have a subscription for any of these, check out the MUST HAVE MAGAZINES in the right column of my blog.  Just click on the magazine that you would like to subscribe to.

Subscribe today, don’t miss another issue!

Good-bye Huddy

huddyI met Huddy Hudspeth when I volunteered to work the Palomino World Hose Show about 18 years ago.  He was the tack judge and I was recruited to check the horses markings.  We had to check every horse every time they came through the gate to the holding pen.  At that time, the show was 3 very long days.  We spent a lot time at the back gate.  When there was time between classes, I asked a lot of questions and he told a lot of stories.  We worked together until about 5 years ago.  He was one of the most amazing people I know.

He had a gentle way about him, but he commanded respect.  Whether it was a horse he was training or a cowboy who was trying to understand why his horse had become flighty.  He had trained more horses than I can ever imagine and probably just as many people.  My young paint mare & I became one of his many students when he was about 80.  He was still training 5 horses.  I spent just three months with him.  It was absolutely unbelievable what he could do in that short time.  Huddy was a trainer that believed in the natural way a horse should move.  My mare was sidepassing, doing flying lead changes, rollbacks, halfpass, had correct cadence for each gait and more.  He also made all his horses learn to stand hobbled.  Huddy made me a rope hobble out of an old cotton lead rope.  I use this tool today on all of my other horse. I  can’t tell you what an invaluable tool this is.

Huddy had been having trouble with his hip.  He kept putting off the surgery he knew he needed.  He just didn’t want to be off a horse very long.  He finally had to give in to pain.  After the recuperation, I saw him again at another horse show. I asked how he was doing.  He replied that if had just know how well the surgery had gone and how much better his hip was, he would have done it a long time ago.  I’m not real sure just how long Huddy was actually off a horse, but I’ll bet he was riding just as soon as the doctor said it was ok if not before.

Huddy touched a lot of people.  He helped a lot horses overcome problems and started many young horses out on the correct 4 feet.  He trained many riders.  He passed his knowledge to anyone who would listen.  How much better a horseman would I have been if I had known him earlier in my life.

Huddy passed away July 29, 2006.  The horse industry lost a treasure that can never be replaced.  They just don’t make them like Huddy anymore.  I hope there are horses in Heaven because I can’t think of him wanting anything esle.

Huddy . . . . you will be missed terribly.  You were greatly loved by all.