Monday, July 19, 2010

Bargain hunters paradise!

I recently found a bit for my horse. It is on it's way as we speak and I am excited about it. I am having the neighbor make a bridle for me and need to get the measurements over to him, show him what I want and get a price, but for the most part I just haven't gotten there yet...

Another poster on another blog I frequent was asking where I found it? She is looking for a similar bit, but a different size for her horse. Tack Trader is a treasure trove for horse people. All sorts of stuff, giant place to find anything and everything under the sun in just about every size, shape, brand and price you can think of.

I love looking for bargains. I love finding one and scoring a great deal on one even more. If someone else needs something and I can point them in the right direction of where to find it- just as good! So I posted in the comments for her to contact me, let me know what she's after and I would see what I could find and send her some links.

A lot of horse people already know about every tack store in their area within a reasonable distance- say a 40 mile range. They know which stores carry the stuff that is cheaply priced, because it is cheaply made, the stores with high prices on big brand names, low prices on big brands and so on. Horse people can be a fickle, less than loyal bunch too. We will shop where we get the best deal and lowest price on what we want. If we want something, we are on a constant lookout to find it.

For any newcomers or those unfamiliar with where to find things for your horse I figured today's post would be a good way for the rest of us to share. Almost like a recipe exchange or tack exchange if you will. A place to list some of the smaller businesses and shops where you find stuff, that's off the beaten path. Places others may not know of to look. Feel free to post a clicky link or the web address and a brief line or six about what they have that you like.

Besides Tack Trader, there is a whole host of other online places to shop. Some people prefer eBay, but I just have not found the time to find stuff there, let alone watch the bidding or remain on the lookout for similar items... I know there is a way to auto bid, up to a set price and all that, but I just can't get into it.

Craigslist is another place to find bargains, but you have to be on almost a daily alert, searching through a ton of ads and look through the assortment of all kinds of things to find what you really want. There is an abundance of good, bad and otherwise on there, just like everywhere else.

Many of us know about all of the "Biggies",
Schneider's, (sstack dot com)
Smart Pak Equine,
State Line Tack,
Libertyville Saddle Shop,
Jeffers Vet Supply,
Valley Vet,
Farm Tek, which used to be Country Supply
Chicks Saddlery

and then when you get into discipline specific there is a whole bunch more to be found.
Dressage Extensions and Dover Saddlery for English riders comes to mind for me...

But there are a whole bunch more out there to be found. Just Bridles, thanks to Cattypex posting that in the comments. EQ Tack is one I just found and will have to go back for another closer look at some things...

Horse Tack Co. has a number of products and items in their closeout section and regularly on sale. Equestrian International is another good one. I found breeches there for schooling for around $20 and a helmet for around $30. Note to Candy's Girl- I forgot about these two the other day in the email.)

Then there is Greenhawk Harness & Equestrian out of Canada- they have just about Everything- Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing tack, western, English, etc. They had leather field boots with the full zippers up the back once for around $65. Of course I was broke at the time!

Smith Brothers,
Teskey's and
South Texas Tack come to mind for the western crowd...

So pick your link and click away all you want, just don't run your bank account into complete, dismal oblivion if you can't restrain yourself... I have gotten to the phase where I know what I have, who it fits and where to find replacements if I should need them... See what you guys can come up with to fill in the blanks. Please leave the credit cards out of it...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's always something...

So last weekend I am out lunging my big WB mare, Aruba. Got out there at about 6am on a day I could have been sleeping in. (What is wrong with horse people? Why do we do that?) I did manage to get some nice photos of her during her workout. She is really coming along quite nicely, I think. Just wish I could say the same for my own progress... *sigh*

While I would still like to see her gain some more weight she is also building some muscle and toning up what she's got. I'm loving that.

Her butt is coming along quite nicely and depending on how she is standing and where here back feet are, if they are under her like the left one in this photo- the top of her hip is only slightly noticeable. YAY!!! Otherwise she has those bones sticking up on top and it drives me nuts. I would like to see it round out some more, but with work and time, we will get there. I just have to be patient.

One of the big things I really like about this horse, is how when we go out and start working, she walks. That's it. She walks around, loosens up and then starts to move. No explosion into a bucking fit, no racing around like a maniac, not her, she just walks...

At first she didn't exactly lunge well, going to the left. She liked to jump, buck and dive into the canter, usually accompanied with a strong yank on the lunge line and me at the end of it. We worked through it though. When she came home, she wouldn't pick up or hold her left lead at the canter. Last Saturday however, she just rolled right into the nicest canter transition and made several laps- all while on the correct lead.

In this picture she may look like she is off to the races, but she is really not. She just has this stride that is like everything else about her- HUGE! As you can see, I had the surcingle on her. The poor thing hasn't seen any use in who knows how long, so it too was getting a workout! I text a few pictures to my friend, who replies and asks why there is no bridle? Um, I don't have one that fits her yet and I don't have a bit for her either... No worries though, I have found a bit and our neighbor does leather work. Done. I am ordering the bit tonight or tomorrow and I have the measurements for the bridle. We will get there in due time.

For now, here's a few more photos of her moving and making progress.

Through all of these I kept hoping she would drop her head some and drive more from behind... Go into a more 'hunter' frame if you will... I keep hearing- "She's not built that way though. Besides, you are just lunging her. Let it go and quit expecting so much." Yeah, I do need to work on that a bit. The whole "Have Patience!" thing. I do get caught up every now and then.

Of course I saved the best for last. She's really reaching out here and her head has come down some. (At least I like to think so.)

And by 9 am it was in the high 90's we had 40% humidity and I was borderline being overheated. I had rinsed my head and neck twice with the hose already and the water felt COLD! I was wearing my visor and sunglasses, but I still got a light toasting on my cheeks and needed to get inside. I was just not made to last in this climate. I don't think anyone is.

Monday, July 12, 2010

DIY project #1

My friend sent me a link to a blog post from 2008. Seems like a good idea to me. Bethany Caskey had posted about building your own fly traps on her blog Caskey Studios. You may notice the picture above is the same one from her post... Yep, I used it from hers and credit goes to the person who created it. I'm pretty sure nobody could take a photo of the particular happenings.

I haven't gotten a chance to try it out, since things have blown up in a bad way for my friend that sent the link and I am being as supportive of her as I possibly can. We have been through a lot in the 20 or so years we have known each other. Few people know the details since it is a personal matter and I am trying to find ideas of ways she can handle things. Time is always of the essence in matters such as this and I hate the fact she has to even go through it. When it is all resolved (Hopefully soon and with a favorable outcome!) I may post about it on the NPD blog. Or I may not, in hopes of putting it all behind us and moving on in a positive light. Out with the bad!

At the same time another friend of mine is dealing with a full plate of bad things in her Northeastern neck of the woods, another friend has her hands full dealing with her family and another friend is going through a load of crap surrounding legal issues. I swear that some days it just feels like Groundhog Day and we are stuck on the crappiest Monday to be found. I am not going to ask if it could possibly get any worse, but rather I want to know when it all ends? Where is that light at the end of the tunnel? Please tell me it is NOT a damned train!

On a happy note, I did get a few pics of the bay mare during her workout. Had I not forgotten a power cord and my phone wasn't dying- I could post them. For now, you will just have to wait.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Any guesses as to what that is? Click on the pic and blow it up if you'd like. Here's a hint, the nest will have to be destroyed before we load any horses in the trailer. For that matter- I wouldn't even go inside to close the roof vents. But I did close all of the windows hoping to bake the little boogers in the heat!

Sunday night as I was getting Aruba ready to work, and afterwards as I was grooming her and getting her finished up to put away, I noticed a wasp or hornet, buzzing around the back door of our horse trailer. I rolled my eyes and groaned about it being the last thing we needed at the moment...

Monday morning I went out to work her and a few others. Figured I would take a peek and see what was up. There were about 30 wasps on the nest which is about the size of a grapefruit right inside the back door, up on the ceiling in the horse compartment of the trailer. I snapped the one pic, shut the door and closed all the windows up. I worked my mare and got the two babies out for their workouts, but I am steering clear of the back of the trailer.

Although her workout went well, she is giving me the "hung dog" look and declaring she hates Monday's.

She's coming along nicely in the front end. Starting to build up some muscle, launched into a nice canter a few times with little encouragement from me.

Here she is showing off her recently clipped bridle path, shortened mane and fancy look. She needs to muscle up through the butt a bit, but I also put my saddle on her and Hooray! Hooray! It looks like it is going to fit. Of course as she gets more and more fit, develops, progresses and comes along- that may still change. Time will tell.

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's official folks...

I live in Hell! A friend of mine used to say it's hotter than that here, so maybe it's true then? When friends from out of state fly in, they usually call me from the airport and say "I have arrived in Hell!" They never do sound happy about it. :/

The projected high is 118 today. Good thing I have an indoor job now. For most people in the horse industry though, you are up and outside, feeding, getting horses worked and done by 10 or 11 am at the latest. Four thirty and five am are not odd hours and the sun is already coming up, so you better get out and get after it. The fact that some of the fast food places don't serve 'lunch' or maybe even open until 10 or 10:30, is annoying. If I want a burger or a deli sandwhich at 8:30 or 9am, it's because it's lunch time already!

By 9 am it was already 97 degrees outside and it's supposed to be partly cloudy today. My 'office window' does not show any clouds in the sky. Not one. At least my window is in the shade. Hooray for that!

Yes, it is a dry heat. Imagine sticking your head in the oven. You get the idea... As Matthew Broderick's character in the movie "Biloxie Blues" said- "It's Africa Hot."

I have been to Alaska twice now and would loooove to go back. I have several friends up there in different parts of the state. Mostly in the Wasilla, Palmer, and Anchorage area, but a couple out on the Aleutian Islands. Their high is in the 60's this time of year (62 today and cloudy, 50's-60's and rainy the next 3 days) and they swear they are just 'dying' in the heat. Both times I went, when coming home and the plane reached the gate, attached the ramp in the chute and they opened the door- the heat made me want them to turn it all around and go back. Turn the bird around guys! We are in the wrong place.

Another blogger from the midwest, Wisconsin I believe, had asked me once before if we had covered or indoor arenas out here. She was thinking to come down in the winter time. I had to laugh. Mostly because we do have covered arenas, but it is because of the intensity of the sun in the summertime. Not because of the snow or rain in the winter. Winter is prime riding season around here.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a safe holiday. Try to stay cool too. That includes drinking a lot of water and maybe playing in it! Just not from the same source I hope...