February Action Rider of the Month – Janet Lopez

Janet Lopez riding her Medicine Hat paint horse, Boo.
Janet Lopez riding her Medicine Hat paint horse, Boo.

When horse and rider suit each other perfectly, like Janet Lopez and Boo, you can just sense their connection. Horses that enrich our lives are what it’s all about.

Janet’s horse, Boo, is a palomino Medicine Hat Paint/Quarter horse that stands at 14.1 hands. Janet bought him when he was 6 years old from the gal who raised him, and he will be 10 years old this year. A Medicine Hat paint horse is almost entirely white, but has a colored patch covering the ears and the top of the head. The distinguishing head markings are what create the Medicine Hat, or war bonnet.

Janet relates, “The gal who sold him worked in a big hunter/jumper facility and could have sold him to a number of people. Fortunately, she felt that her Boo and I would be perfect for each other!

“She was right!  Boo and I have ridden together in lots of different  cool places – Eagle Cap Wilderness out of Halfway, Oregon, the Tobacco Root Mountains near Billings, Montana and recently the Hassayampa Wash in Wickenburg, Arizona. Those are just a few of the places that we have ridden together.


“We have taken part in cutting buffalo and cattle, as well as searching and rounding up small herds out of Montana and Washington. We have been to several clinics so that I can learn to be a better partner for my horse. I have learned so much and feel so good that Boo and I have learned together.


“Someone told me that having a horse can be a spiritual journey. You can go as deep as you want and beyond or you can just stay on the surface. I highly recommend the journey – what an amazing and blessed ride it is!

“I just love this partner of mine. Boo definitely came into my life to save my soul!”

May Action Rider of the Month – Carleen Neves

Carleen Neves out on trail on her Walkaloosa, Nakota.
Carleen Neves out on trail on her Walkaloosa, Nakota.

Carleen Neves is an avid trail rider who has covered many miles out on some of the most beautiful country in the northwest United States on her horse Nakota, a 15-hand Walkaloosa. Carleen is also a breeder of the Walkaloosa horse, a breed she finds perfect for trail for their size, the comfortable gait, surefootedness, and great temperament.

Carleen comments, “Nakota is 7/8 Appaloosa from Indian Shuffler bloodlines and 1/8 Tennessee Walker.  He does a foxtrot, stepping-pace, and a singlefoot. He is a total goofball of a horse with a super playful personality.  Loves to do tricks and steal my hat.”

“I fell in love with the Walkaloosa breed 30 years ago.  In over 50 years of riding horses, I love and trust my sturdy, thinking, smooth-riding Walkaloosas more than any other breed.  I ride and camp all year long with our horses and have about 60 rides in so far this year.  My longest ride last year was an 8 hour day of riding from Kelsay Valley Horse Camp near Diamond Lake, Oregon.  And yes, I did ride again the next several days we were there!  My motto is:  I will ride until I cannot walk.”

Carleen camping with her Walkaloosas.
Carleen camping with her Walkaloosas.

According to the Walkaloosa Association, The Walkaloosa was preserved through selective breeding by the Nez Perce Indians who valued their color and smooth gait. These horses became valued by ranchers, and called their gait the Indian Shuffle. The Walkaloosa Association was formed in 1983 to preserve the pedigree and history of the breed.

April Action Rider of the Month – Ava Lee

AvaLeeCutePony 3

Ava Lee is six years old and is riding her mini mare, Dream, who is fourteen. They are such an adorable pair – we found them irresistible. Ava Lee and Dream have been together since Ava was a toddler. They’ve always had fun playing together but by age four, Ava Lee wanted to start riding out on trails with her mother. So, even though Dream had never been ridden, she started riding her!

Ava Lee’s mother continued Dream’s training and last fall Ava Lee started taking her out on trail rides. She is now six-years-old and is hoping to do lots of riding on her little mare this summer before she gets too big for her.


Ava Lee is riding in Barefoot Cheyenne Treeless Saddle – in a size zero. Her mother states, “She loves it! It’s hard to fit ponies /minis as most pony /mini saddles have too small trees! We love her Barefoot. It fits her little mare so well! She also uses it on her APHA gelding.


March Action Rider of the Month – Imogen Lawlor

Imogen Lawlor shares a story about her new horse, an Irish Hunter named Hermes, while out on a trail ride in England.

Imogen Lawlor riding Hermes before he decided to give them both a bath.


“My new horse, Hermes, is a bit silly – it took him awhile to figure out the automatic water feeders in his stable. The dogs figured it out right away, it puts him to shame! And every time we go out for a ride he is always thirsty and I make sure we stop at every stream for a drink.”

While out on a trail ride, they came to a large pond where Hermes usually drinks.

“He was really thirsty, even more than usual, as we had just been for a long gallop. We were winding down so I thought nothing of letting him stroll into the pond a little further!

“Without warning he decides it’s bath time for both of us and drops down into the water with no warning! My first reaction was relief. I was worried his legs had sunk in the mud – but it was just his cheekiness!

“Needless to say it was a prompt ride home to warm up after that!”




February Action Rider of the Month – Patty Surowski

Patty Surowski knows the entire life history of her mare, Finnagan. It is interesting to see the “before” photo of Finnagan when she was a filly, and the “after” photo of Finnagan as a mature riding horse.

Finnagan as a young adorable filly.
Finnagan as a young adorable filly.

“The first picture is of my horse, Finnagan, as a baby,” explains Patty. “I didn’t own her then, my friend Mary McGinty, an endurance rider, did. My friend, Julie, also an endurance rider, named my little girl and provided me with the photo. I bought Finnagan in September of 2013 as a three-year-old from Mary. She’s now four and a half and looks very grown up.”


“Finnagan went to boarding school this past fall to learn how to carry herself, yield to the bit and obey the aids at Madrone Hill Ranch with Sonja Biada, a dressage trainer and rider. The other picture is of us in a lesson/training session from October 2014.”

Patty Surowski riding Finnagan.
Patty Surowski riding Finnagan, moving nicely forward and stretching to the bridle.

“Finnagan has turned out to be a lovely young lady. She returned from boarding school at the end of November. We have been working on trail riding and long slow distance rides in preparation for our 2016 endurance season. She has been a very brave girl on trail and a pleasure to ride. I bought my first treeless saddle years ago and have put 1000’s of miles on it. It is my go-to saddle and fits every horse I ride. I love treeless!”

Be One With Your Horse

I love to ride.

The moment that I sit on my horse, I can feel a kinship like no other. I know jan10that I’m about to leave the cares of my life behind and share in a ride that brings me closer to nature, freedom and who I am.

But, as much as I love to ride, I struggle with the cold.

No, that’s not exactly it. I can’t stand the cold!

And it has been FRIGID here over the past couple of weeks. Every time I come home and drive by my horse, I feel a longing to ride, but I know that it will be part misery because my feet will freeze, if I ride.

So, yesterday, I did something that I haven’t done in a while. In fact, I would have to say (sadly), it’s something I haven’t done in years. I went down to the stable and hung out with my horse as if she were my best friend.

Now, it’s not that I haven’t thought about it before, but life gets so hectic! I mean, between working and family and working and family and eating and sleeping and working and family…how in the world do I have time to “hang out” with my horse?

But I did.

We hugged, we talked. At one point, I actually sang to her. Though admittedly, I’ve never actually sung for any of my girlfriends, it felt like the right thing to do! In the midst of it all, even though we didn’t go anywhere, I felt the same kinship that I feel when I ride.

It made me smile. It made me feel warm and whole.

When I got back to my house, I felt a peace that I thought I could only get from riding. I was wrong.

I wanted to share this with you because when I got back to my home, I had two thoughts in my mind:

  1. Have any of you had a similar experience?
  2. Is it time for you to find a reason to spend time with your horse?

At Action Rider Tack, our mantra is Be One With Your Horse™. Today, I feel like I am…are you?

10 Lords are Leaping…at Action Rider Tack

For various reasons, a higher percentage of Action Rider Tack customers are man-jumpingwomen for most of the year.

However, right around the first part of every December, the percentage of male shoppers begins to rise. We’ve decided that this swell must be caused by the husbands, fiancés, boyfriends, partners, fathers, and the brothers of all of us horse passionate women and girls.

(Side Note: Our December male customers are so cute! Honestly, some of them don’t have a clue what they are ordering or what it is used for, but I just love how they love their women and the trouble these men go through to find the perfect horse related gift.)

Every time I take or process one of these gift orders, it makes me feel so happy for the lucky woman who has this man in her life!

If this sounds like you…give your guy a huge hug for knowing just how important having horses and riding is to you!

Peanuts in Shipping…a Breezy Problem!

Out in the shipping department at Action Rider Tack, we were thinking over shippingthe fun times we have had with shipping peanuts. Back in the early days we shipped from, shall we say, a breezy area. Peanut use was strictly forbidden.

But sometimes returns or products were shipped to us packed with the peanuts. It is amazing how fast those little buggers can float and scatter. They all had to be rounded up and sealed in a bag with knots and tape.

To be fair, some of the more modern peanuts are eco-friendly and made of compostable materials. But how to tell? We did find a temporary solution, but Stephanie hopes she doesn’t develop a disorder from biting peanuts to tell if they are biodegradable or not.

Sometimes we wonder if an exchange that comes to us packed in peanuts was just so that person could rid herself of them.

Thanks for sharing!

Good News From NATRC

This is a reprint of a blog post created by EasyCare’s Director of Marketing, 5eec1d573137b43b146df2ac795ed42f_w640Kevin Myers, on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by Kevin Myers. You can see the original post here.


The National Board of Directors of the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) met last weekend in Denver. One of the rule changes on the agenda was the Hoof Boot Sole Protection rule.

The changes to the rule to allow “gaiter, keepers and straps” were passed. The exact wording is below.

Page 5-2 Section 5.E. Reads:
1.    There are no shoeing restrictions.

Change to: 5.E. Hoof Protection
1.    There are no shoeing restrictions.
2.    All types of hoof boots that provide sole protection are allowed. However, any attached strap, keeper, or gaiter must not extend above the pastern. The judges may request to observe the area covered by the attached strap, keeper, or gaiter.

Page 5-2 Section 5.F.4. Reads:
Protective devices on the legs of the horse are not allowed. The leg is defined as all structures above and including the coronary band.

Change to: Protective devices, such as bell boots or wraps, are not permissible on the legs of horses except for hoof sole protections as allowed under Section 5.E.2. The leg is defined as all structures above and including the coronet band.

Page 6-2 Section 6.B.2. Reads:
Soundness 45%: The evaluation of soundness shall include, but not be limited to, the following: lameness, cinch sores, rubs, splints, ringbone, spavin, sidebone, etc.

Change by adding: The evaluation of soundness shall include, but not be limited to, the following: lameness, cinch sores, rubs (including areas covered by any attached strap, keeper, or gaiter), splints, ringbone, spavin, sidebone, etc.

Page 6-2 Section 6.C.1.c. Reads:
Tack and Equipment: The evaluation of tack and equipment, proper fit, adjustment, repair; trail gear placement and security.

Change by adding: The evaluation of tack and equipment, proper fit, adjustment, repair; adjustment, proper fit of any attached strap, keeper, or gaiter; trail gear placement and security.

Purpose: from the Judges Committee: the new boot designs have given riders much more of a choice in how they would like to compete.  This will also encourage and remind judges to check for rubs, fit, etc.

How will these rule changes affect you and your horse?

Gambler, The Yellow Jackets and Banamine

In our newsletter, we asked our readers to submit trail riding stories for a section in our newsletter called Horse Trials Trails. The stories can be funny, inspiring, outlandish or just plain old interesting. Here’s a story sent in by one of our readers and was highlighted in our October 2010 newsletter. If you would like to receive our newsletters, click here.


We were about halfway down this mountain on an old logging road. The logging road had been cut out of the side of the mountain, so that on one side, it was straight up, and on the other side, it was straight down. There are 10 of us, and I’m the third one from the back. The fellow right behind me is named Joe on his horse Gambler. Behind him is a woman named Deb.

My horse started doing his “bee dance” that he does when we’ve stirred up Yellow Jackets. I start to get out of there and look back and see that Gambler is stopped and is trying to buck. He’s got Yellow Jackets all over his face…so he stopped to rub his face…in the Yellow Jacket nest. His rider, Joe, can’t get him to move because Gambler is frantic to get the Yellow Jackets off his face. So, in desperation to get OUT of there, Joe jumps off and starts pulling Gambler. Problem is, when he jumped off, Gambler was half bucking, half rubbing his face, and the reins flipped over Gambler’s head and UNDER one leg, so now they are tangled around a leg.

Somehow, though, Joe gets the horse moving, and NOW, once Gambler gets started, he goes into the flight/panic mode and is running overtop of Joe, who’s trying to hold onto the reins and not lose his horse. This means that Joe is stuck (trying to run, mind you) up under Gambler’s head and neck because the reins are still tangled around one front leg.

Joe is nearly pushed off the edge of the cliff, throws his weight into Gambler’s head to turn him, Gambler, in his panic, changes his trajectory but now runs straight UP the cliff on the other side, dragging Joe with him who will not let go of his horse (bless his heart). Gambler loses his footing, turns and begins to fall onto Joe. Somehow, Joe manages not to get killed and gets Gambler back onto the road.

By then, I had swung my horse around and positioned him in front of Gambler and blocked him (Gambler did actually stop – thankfully, he’s much smaller than my horse). I yelled for Deb to ride past us since there was no sense in her staying and getting stung and her horse possibly freaking out too. She gets around us and goes on down the trail. At that point, Gambler throws his head down again to rub his face (now covered in welts) and Joe had enough slack to get the reins untangled. I shouted at him to throw me the reins, he does, and I take off with both horses.

Now that Gambler is untangled, he’s really moving and it’s easier to lead him off of another horse who can keep up, rather than from the ground. Joe is running down the trail behind us, also making better time because he’s not in danger of being trampled or drug off the cliff. We stopped after a minute to try to get ourselves together, and here comes the bees down the trail after us.

We take off again.

We stop again, and a few seconds later, here come the bees again. I felt like we were in a friggin’ cartoon! Finally, the third time, the bees are no longer following us and we were able to assess the damage. My horse was stung twice, me none, Deb’s horse stung a couple of times, and Deb none, but Gambler is a mass of welts, all over his face and front legs, down his sides and some on his haunches. Joe’s got stung on his temple and the back of his neck.

We get down to the bottom of the mountain (about another half mile) and stop. I carry bee sting stuff for people that is a very strong topical anesthetic and antihistamine. It literally numbs the skin as soon as it touches it. Great stuff. We also had some stuff for horses, but of course, the horse can’t tell us how good it might be…but we used it on Gambler anyway. He’s just covered with welts. We stay there for about an hour to let them recover and make sure there is no reactions. Not that much could be done, we are a good hour away from help by car (there was a gravel road, but we’re pretty far back). Joe is okay, not feeling too bad because of that stuff I had, and Gambler seems okay, so we decide to ride back.

My friend Stacy told me later, back at the trailers, that at one point during that episode, she looks back and sees me careening down the trail with one arm out behind me and all she could think of was the scene from “The Man From Snowy River.” She said she could not see Gambler behind me because he is smaller than my horse, so it looked like I was doing the Snowy River ride. Then she caught sight of Joe running along behind us…by the time we got back to the trailers, and knowing that everything was okay, it WAS a funny image and we were all giggling about how it must have looked from in front.

Rode about a total of seven hours.

Ended up that Joe was fine, Gambler got a shot of banamine when he got home and we now have ANOTHER riding story to tell.

As told by Laura Martlock, another Action Rider!


If you have an interesting story that you would like to share, please send it to deidre@actionridertack.com and remember, Be One With Your Horse!TM