Barefoot Saddle – Arizona Nut

To the staff at Action Rider Tack.image005

Received my new Arizona Nut and gave it a three hour ride right away. Felt more like a well seasoned saddle than a new one.

Snowy, our Fjord, standing at 13.3 hands is showing off her new saddle. She is not a small horse just short and stocky. Until we placed the Barefoot saddle on her, she was very hard to find a saddle that fit. She moves much easier with her new saddle, it does not get in the way of her shoulders. And, as her rider I feel more comfortable during and after a ride.

Dave in California

Water in the Winter for Your Horse

Winter poses new problems when it comes to keeping your horse hydrated. winter_horseMany horse owners find it easy to be vigilant about hydration when the temperatures are high, but it’s just as important to watch your horse’s intake during the winter months. In fact, the combination of colder temperatures, frigid winds and fresh blankets of snow may cause the reduction of fresh water supplies available for your horse.

With the increasing demands that the decreasing temperatures have on their system, horses will increase their food consumption in order to maintain their body temperatures and weight. However, at the same time, horses also tend to decrease their water intake during the winter.

One of the greatest concerns of this decrease in water intake along with the increase in consumption leads to a greater occurrence of impaction and colic. So the question remains, how do you ensure that your horse is getting enough water?

In a research project conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, ponies were offered warm water and near-freezing water. When the ponies were offered the warm water, they drank a significant forty percent more water. They also found that the statistic remained the same whether the ponies were offered water that was kept warm constantly, or if their drinking buckets were simply filled with warm water twice daily. The ponies drank the most water within three hours of feeding or after their water containers were refilled.

Water should be maintained between 45 and 65°F and any ice crystals should be removed. Water should be checked twice daily and provided at all times, as horses will drink 8 to 12 gallons a day.

Snow is not a good substitute for fresh clean water. 6-10 more snow must be consumed for an equal amount of water and calories are used by the horse to melt the snow.

Placing a stock tank or barrel in the barn on top of straw or shavings while surrounding the sides with bales of straw can help to insulate the container and provide a reservoir of water to be replenished regularly.

Moving, filtered water stays fresher and warmer as well. Action Rider Tack offers a product called Farm Essentials Clean Flow Stock Tank Filter which can be used in conjunction with your stock tank.

Please offer any information or tips that you may have about keeping your horses hydrated during the winter for the readers of this blog.

 

Horse Girth Size and Style

There are many girths and cinches on the market today in all kinds of styles 56and materials. The comfort of our horse, ease of use and cleaning, and longevity are important considerations in picking a girth or cinch.

Another important consideration is length. Saddle stability can be affected by girth length. A girth that is too long does not help the saddle stay in place as well as one that is below the lateral line of the horse.

In other words, if your girth comes too close to the pad or saddle, it may be too long. Billet length plays a determining role in girth length of course. If your billets are long, your girth buckles should be about 1.5” to 2” above the elbow of your horse. This is especially true of Freeform and Barefoot treeless saddles.

A girth gall is a dreaded event. I have found that the Woolback girths and cinches by Toklat and carried by Action Rider Tack have worked very well for miles of trail and endurance riding. The buckles are well protected by the Woolback, the elastic at both ends lets the girth expand when it needs too. Montana Cincha also makes girths and cinches that are gentle for the sensitive skin of the belly/underchest area. They can also help prevent slipping by interlocking with the hair.

If you have questions about girth sizing, we can help. A picture of your horse in saddle and girth is a good analysis tool. You may send it to julie@actionridertack.com.

Why Put a Blanket on a Horse Anyway?

Depending on who you talk to, there can be some strong opinions on whether981 a horse should wear a blanket or not.

With the fall season approaching, we thought we would ask our local expert, the Wisdom Pony, to share why she thinks that blanketing a horse is beneficial to your horse (and your pocket).

Here’s the Wisdom Pony with more information:

1.  By providing extra insulation, you will help to keep weight on your horse during cold months. A cold horse uses energy to keep warm, so blanket up and feed less! (See, there’s that pocket savings I was referring to…)

2.  A blanket means that you will spend less time cleaning and grooming to keep your horse clean. In fact, you can add a blanket with a neck design for maximum coverage.

3. A good quality turnout blanket will provide extra protection if your horse should get kicked, bitten or have an argument with a tree or a fence post! (As a human, I’m sure it’s unimaginable to you what those trees and fence posts can possibly say to get us so upset, but trust me, it’s NEVER our fault!)

Thank you, Winged Pony of Wisdom!

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At Action Rider Tack, we get asked a lot of questions. Sometimes the questions get asked on the phone, other times, it’s when we’re at shows or simply in our everyday lives. We would like to share the questions and answers here on our blog. (Be assured, as needed, we’ll always confer with our Winged Ponies for their particular areas of expertise.) Please let us know if you have any questions that you would like to see answered here.

Simply email: deidre@actionridertack.com

 

Checking Your Horse Blankets

I know, for most of you, it’s still hot out there. So, why are we talking about 993blankets?

Because, as you know, fall will be here before you know it and ensuring that your horse blankets are in good condition before you need them will give you peace of mind.

Horse Winter Blanket Review:

  1. Hardware – Buckles could be rusted, broken, or missing.
  2. Straps – Could be tangled, weakened, broken.
  3. Blanket – Sometimes, after getting your blanket out of storage, you may find that you have pests that you weren’t aware of…check for holes, tears or general loss of thickness.

If your horses are outside a lot it may be helpful to have two horse blankets. We often have freezing rain and wet snow that seems to saturate most blankets after a time. An extra horse blanket means we can switch and allow one to dry.

If your blanket is loosing its waterproof abilities try a spray on water-proofer.

The best way to keep a horse warm during cold weather is not to necessarily buy the best blanket, but to buy the best quality hay. Some horses may benefit from the addition of a concentrate feed, but the process of digesting hay gives off a lot of heat–keeping your horse warm.

Click here to see Action Rider Tack’s selection of horse blankets.

How Do Your Movements Influence Your Horse?

“Stop slouching and sit up straight!”bendover

Many of us heard this when we were growing up. I know that I tell my children that the way they carry themselves communicates information to people around them. My youngest has a habit of taking long strides but with a slouch in his shoulders. I’ve told him that it makes him look insecure and he needs to pull back his shoulders and adjust his stride accordingly.

But what about when you’re around your horse? Are they picking up information that we don’t mean to be sending out?

Anna Twinney says yes.

Anna Twinney is an internationally respected equine specialist. Her position is that your posture, the way that you carry yourself, sends a message to your horse. Every movement and gesture that you make transmits a different message to your horse.

In fact, Anna asserts that by walking in an assertive manner towards your horse with your shoulders square to theirs and your eyes focused on theirs, your horse will move forward. If instead, you want your horse to follow you, you should not have your shoulders square, but rounded and walk in an arc in front of your horse. Continue this while walking in a “leader” pace and drop your eyes to where you want your horse to come…this will entice your horse to become engaged with what you are doing and follow.

So, the next time your around your horse, think about your posture and the type of information that you’re transmitting!

~~~

Anna Twinney is the founder of Reach Out to Horses®, based in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado. As an internationally respected Natural Horsemanship Clinician and Trainer, Animal Communicator and Reiki Master she travels the world teaching the art of creating a trust-based partnership between Humans, Horses and all Animal Companions. She has conducted clinics, classes and training sessions in Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, France, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Norway, New Zealand and throughout the entire United States. www.reachouttohorses.com

Action Rider Tack – The Beginning

Candy Kahn, Founder and President of Action Rider Tack, recounts how Action Rider Tack began…

Here are some of the highlights from the video:

  • In 2002, Candy had been competing in Endurance rides and her horse, Rogue, began to interfere. Her trimmer placed her horse off-balance so she wouldn’t interfere. Candy decided it was not right and she wasn’t going to do that to her horses. She had the shoes removed from all of her horses.
  • Later that year (2002), Candy took a class on barefoot trimming. At the time, very few people around the United States were barefoot proponents or experts.
  • In 2003, she took a course with Martha Olivo and became a Certified Barefoot Trimmer.
  • Candy wanted give her horses more protection, but the Easyboot did not fit her Arabian’s small hooves.
  • In 2004, at the AERC Convention, Garrett Ford was demonstrating the Boa Boot which ended up fitting Rogue.
  • EasyCare opened distribution to Certified Barefoot Trimmers which allowed Candy to become a reseller.
  • BoaBoots.com was Candy’s first website and she talked with people across the world about Boa Boots and barefoot trimming.
  • Candy purchased a Torsion saddle (Treeless saddle) and she really enjoyed the saddle. She searched for a Treeless saddle to resell and share with other endurance riders. She found Barefoot Saddles, tested it and decided to sell those as well. The BoaBoots.com website was no longer a fit for what she was doing.
  • In 2005, another endurance rider helped Candy to come up with the name Action Rider Tack. Candy started the new website and merged BoaBoots.com into ActionRiderTack.com.

Julie Uses Easyboot Gloves from EasyCare

The following post was sent to EasyCare from Julie Campbell of Action Rider Tackjulie-campbells-horse-2010. EasyCare posted the submission and we wanted to post it here as well. We hope you enjoy it!

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I am an average endurance rider, not top ten, but I love the sport. Last year I decided to let my horse go barefoot. She has been transitioning and being ridden bare since January. I have been studying and reading about barefoot hooves and how to trim them.

I decided to buy a Hoofjack and do all of my own trimming. It has been a learning experience and since I am cautious, my horse has never been lame, but perhaps the best looking barefoot hoof is a bit slow in coming. I use the Easyboot Gloves. They fit her very well and I never have any trouble.

We live in Oregon, so I ride through some pretty challenging mud. Mud that goes past the fetlock. Mud that sucks in more ways than one. Mud never bothers the Gloves. They always stay on. The only time any Glove has come off was when we powered up a really steep hill. The torque was just too much. Horse stopped, I reapplied the boot. No problem. I like to put firm 6 mm pads in the front Gloves. I find my mare really moves out when I do that for her. The Mueller tape works really well too. I like to experiment. I don’t need it, but I like to know how it works.

When I took this picture we were standing in a clear stream. You can hardly tell, but the water is fetlock deep. No rubs, even with lots of stream crossings and wet gaiters. I will never shoe a horse again. With the information I have read, going bare certainly seems to be in the best interest of my horses. I like being able to trim all 3 of my horses. No more stumbling right before the next shoeing. I love that. I am grateful for Gloves. They are so easy.

Name: Julie Campbell
City: Rogue River
State: Oregon
Country: USA
Equine Discipline: Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove

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Action Rider Tack is a proud supplier of EasyCare products.

Be One With Your Horse!

Treeless Saddle vs Treed Saddle

Welcome to our series on the Freeform Saddle!73

In today’s post we will focus on the following question:

How does a treeless saddle differ from a treed saddle?

For a history on why Treed Saddles were created in the first place, you can read this post –

However, for a highlight on the differences let’s look at Treed Saddles vs. Treeless Saddles:

Treed Saddle: Has a wooden or fiberglass tree
Treeless Saddle: Does not have a tree

Okay, that’s pretty simple and I’m sure you’re looking for more than that, so let’s change the questions to these:

  • If we’ve had Treed Saddles for almost 2,000 years, then doesn’t it stand to reason that they are good saddles?
  • If Treed Saddles are harming horses in any way, wouldn’t the saddles been changed before now?

Now, those are more interesting questions! And with the chance of sounding flip and callous, let me point out a few historical misgivings to (hopefully) place some doubt in your mind about the validity of those questions.

  1. Cave paintings have been found to be at least 35,000 years old (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/733747.stm) and the first civilized society is said to have been formed almost 12,000 years ago out of Mesopotamia. Yet, human beings believed that the world was flat until almost 2,000 years ago when Aristotle began his proofs that the Earth was indeed a sphere.
  2. In the 18th century, Cocaine was promoted as a miracle cure and was highly promoted as such through the late 19th century. It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that is was discovered that cocaine induced habitual usage and caused serious side effects. It wasn’t until the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (http://wings.buffalo.edu/aru/preprohibition.htm) that cocaine was taken out of products and general circulation.
  3. In China for over 1,000 years, young girls had their feet bound (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_binding) leaving them with lifelong disabilities. –

Yeah, humans have a history of making mistakes. In some cases, the misunderstandings have lead to serious and painful consequences. And, as you have just read, sometimes, it takes us a number of years (sometimes, thousands of years) to change and get it right.

So let’s look at a couple of reasons that people are choosing Treeless Saddles over Treed Saddles:

  • Even if a horse is fitted properly for a treed saddle, a horse moves when you ride. As a horse moves beneath a treed saddle, even with the correct fit, the structure causes pressure points which can result in soreness, muscle damage and in extreme cases can cause nerve damage. A treeless saddle is less capable of causing soreness and damage.
  • Because a treed saddle lifts the rider off of the back of the horse, there is less communication between the rider and the horse. A treeless saddle, on the other hand, has a much lower center of gravity giving the rider the sense of riding bareback with the security of a saddle and placing the rider in greater contact and communication with their equestrian friend.

Of course, any of the above may inspire more questions or concerns. We hope to address all of them in the following weeks. However, please feel free to voice your opinion and concerns here!

Be One With Your Horse™

 

Why was the treed saddle developed in the first place?

We would like to have a series of blog posts to answer some of the questions about Freeform Saddles that we hear when exhibiting at shows across the country. But before we even begin, it’s important to answer the most important question of all:

Why was the treed saddle developed in the first place?

It is believed that horses have been ridden from as early as 4000 BC. In 800 BC, a saddle pad with a strap to hold it onto the horse was developed and the first saddle with a tree was introduced 400 years later. It wasn’t until 302 A.D. that the first set of stirrups was added to the saddle.

Reconstructed Roman Saddle

It is thought that the first treed saddles were developed in order to utilize horses for war. After all, the Romans were a proud band of warriors and needed to stay on their horses with their armor, shields and weaponry. During the middle ages, saddles became even more structured as knights who had some difficulty balancing themselves on land, found it even more difficult on a horse. A treed saddle gave these armored giants the stability they needed.

English Saddle (Stubben Tristan)

Over time, armor became lighter and the English Calvary was instrumental in developing a lighter saddle more in alignment with the treed saddles that are on the market today. Treed saddles were certainly the standard with the military being the front-runner of innovation because of their needs on the battlefield.

As our civilization grew and the military abandoned their steeds for metal giants and technology, innovation for saddles was left to the public. Riders no longer looked at horses as tools to be used in battle, but as partners in their adventures whether it was in the show ring, endurance riding, competitive rides or the everyday pleasure ride. This rider began to become more concerned about what a treed saddle was doing to the horse rather than what a treed saddle was doing for the human. As a result, research began on how to develop saddles that were good for both the rider and the horse. Some riders couldn’t wait for the research and a movement of bareback riders began.

There is still much debate as to whether it is better to use a treed saddle over a treeless saddle. You will find that we are biased. At Action Rider Tack, we’ve been riding horses for years and once we discovered treeless saddles, we haven’t turned back. Currently, we ride in and sell both the Barefoot Saddles and Freeform Saddles and continue to research and test treeless saddles to ensure that we are carrying brands that we can stand behind and deliver to you.

Freeform Classic Treeless Saddle

We hope you will join us in looking at some of the questions that we hear at shows and enjoy the journey with us, as we bring some clarity to you in our answers.

Be One With Your Horse™