Tack Cleaning Day

Tack Cleaning Day

Finally! A glorious spring day at the stables.

Today I hauled the winter-worn tack out into the spring sunshine for cleaning. Setting up shop on the porch at the stables, I began.

Please don't ask how long it has been since my training tack had a thorough cleaning. (OK, I will confess to a few quick cold-weather swipes with leather cleaning wipes.)

Of course, the show tack is spotless. At least, most of the time it is.

Needless to say, a true tack cleaning was in order.

After scrubbing with Murphy's Oil Soap (an old stable-hand trick I learned a couple of barns ago), and rubbing Passier Lederbalsam leather conditioner into each piece, I was rewarded with the results. Saddles, girths, bridles, reins, martingales, leather halters and other pieces simply shone in the midday light.

My favorite pieces now glow. The leather is soft and supple again. As a bonus, my hands are really soft again. (Gee, I wonder if Lederbalsam is good for dry, cracked heels that have been cozily ensconced in paddock boots for months.)

I only wish I had bought the tee shirt. (Click the tee shirt for more info.)

Rubber Stoppers to the Rescue!

Riding my three-year-old half-Arabian sport horse yesterday, I discovered the importance of a 45-cent tack accessory.

Cantering a 20-meter circle on the left lead, we lost the rubber stopper on the right rein. The ring on the training martingale became stuck in the ring of the snaffle bit.

My sweet horse bunched up and prepared to buck for the first time. Oh, boy.

I dropped the reins, took a deep breath, sat back a bit and said the W-word. And he stopped.

Soon, we were off and running again, with a completely different set of reins. And we now have a brand-new set of rubber stoppers.

Maybe it's time to drop that martingale anyway.


Introducing . . . Canter Banter

Introducing . . . Canter Banter

Sometimes it seems as if all of the horsey catalogs carry the same whimsical tee shirts, sweatshirts, equestrian caps, coffee mugs, and other horse-themed products. Wouldn't it be fun to stumble onto something new and different?

Are you looking for creative, original and one-of-a-kind apparel and gifts for the discerning horse lover? Maybe you just want to pick up a few fun items for yourself.

Check out these brand-new designs, available only from Canter Banter. Click logo to visit store, or click any item to view product descriptions. From English Pleasure to dressage to trail riding and even hunter-jumper or eventing, this little store has truly different items. Products include tee shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, caps, totes, clocks, mugs and more.

Here are a few samples:

Jumper Tank Top - "Facing a hurdle? Get over it!"

Bumper Sticker (perfect for a horse trailer) - "Don't Follow Too Closely"

Arabian, Saddlebred or National Show Horse Tee Shirt - "English Pleasure Horses Pump It Up."

Classical Dressage Clock - "If it's not Baroque, don't fix it."
Fox Hunting Tee Shirt - "What a fox! Tally ho!"

Paint Horse Lovers Cap - "Paint horses ride in flying colors"

CTRL-click here to visit Canter Banter for these any many other unique products and gifts for horse lovers. (Online orders only.) New products are added often.


Hobby Horse Clothing Company Robbed

The Hobby Horse Clothing Company, a premium purveyor of Western show apparel, was robbed overnight (May 22 - 23). Approximately one quarter of a million dollars' worth of leather show chaps and show shirts were stolen.

Click the image below to read the story:

Please be on the lookout for Hobby Horse Clothing items. If you spot a sudden bulk sale of brand-new Hobby Horse items, please contact the company directly. A reward will be offered, according to the company.

Retiring or Inspiring?

Retiring or Inspiring?

(A Look at Life in Greener Pastures)

Photos c2009 by Nickers and Ink

All rights reserved.

Our mare has moved to greener pastures, so to speak. With no fears, she is now asserting herself in about 100 acres of lush spring grasses, sharing her domain with a colorful herd of tame retired and young green horses. Her new posse includes Appaloosas, Arabians, Morgans, Paints, Quarterhorses, Saddlebreds, Thoroughbreds and other breeds.

Green is the word, as our big, brave copper beauty explores her new verdant home. The picture is painted spring green, accented by wildflowers in yellow and white.

Judging by these photos I snapped on a dark and blustery spring afternoon, our wonderful warmblood (Westfalen) is making a splendid splash in her new-found surroundings. Standing in this equine world, I simply grabbed my cell phone to record these moments. The photo resolution is less than wonderful, but the scenes were quite lovely.

I’m checking on this special senior horse daily, either riding up the hill on our thoroughbred for an over-the-fence visit or leading her back down to the barn for a ride.

Usually, I'll toss my big Circle Y Western saddle up on this beautiful Westfalen's ba, bridle her up and head for a trail ride with a horse-loving friend or two. Sometimes, I'll tack her up with my trusty Passier Grand Gilbert dressage saddle, if we really mean to work. Occasionally, I'll just spin her on the longe line a bit to see how sound she is on a given day.

Her full dressage bridle, with it's dual reins, is collecting dust. Perhaps one of the sporthorse youngsters will grow into it one day.

This trusty horse has an amazing work ethic. She gives me all she's got every time we work together.

Each afternoon, without fail, my beloved mare perks her ears up at my arrival and comes running to greet me. What a gift is the loyal affection of a first horse.

Old dressage horses never die.

They just write their own letters

With warm whinnies

Upon our hearts.

c2009 by Linda Ann Nickerson

Responding to these prompts:

Easy Street Prompts (“fears,” “mine disaster” and “unconfirmed invisibility”)

Heads or Tails (“brave” – a true personal story)

Meme Express (Pick-a-Prompt)

Monday Poetry Train (poems)

Simply Snickers (“splash” and “splendid”)

Photos posted for these prompts:

Camera Critters (photo/s)

Lens Day Challenge (photo/s – “girl”)

Odd Shots (photo/s)

Scenic Sunday (photo/s)

Straight Out of the Camera (photo/s)

Sunday Stills (photo/s – “the color yellow”)

Thursday Challenge (photo/s – “big”)

Wordless Wednesday (photo/s)

Love poetry? Check out Simply Snickers, a brand-new weekly poetry prompt. Try your hand with weekly prompts! Or, look into The Meme Express for daily blogging prompts.

Click here to visit Linda Ann Nickerson’s poetry and humor blog, Nickers and Ink.

Throughout 2009, please join us at The Heart of a Ready Writer, a Bible reading and devotional blog, as we read through the entire Bible in chronological order.

Click here to subscribe to an RSS feed for this writer's helpful Helium content. If you wish, click here for a free subscription to this author's online AC content, so you won't miss a single post!

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Wild Horses

The whirlwind of spring is underway. What a beautiful and busy season.

Between the geldings and the garden, the calendar is crammed with good things. Add a few writing deadlines and . . . . well, you get the picture.

This week, I will finish a HUGE year-long project and return to more regular blogging.

In the meantime, I simply must share a lovely music video that a friend just shared with me. This is "Wild Horses," by Natasha Beningfield.



Recently, I published an article online about favorite horse songs. (CTRL-click here to read "Top 10 Favorite Songs for Horse Lovers" in a new online window.) Are your favorite horse songs included? If not, how about leaving a note to list your favorites?)

What is your favorite horse song (or song about horses)? Leave a comment, and let me know!

Giddy-up. It's spring.


Congratulations to Calvin Borel and Mine That Bird

What a race!

Congratulations to thoroughbred racing jockey Calvin Borel, who rode long-shot Mine That Bird to victory in the 2009 Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4th. At post time, Mine That Bird stood at 50-1 odds for the 135th Kentucky Derby.

Mine That Bird (Birdstone x Mining My Own) beat such 2009 Kentucky Derby favorites as Dunkirk, Pioneer of the Nile and Freesan Fire. The plucky thoroughbred won the race by nearly seven lengths. Pioneer of the Nile placed second, with Illinois Derby winner Musket Man showing for third.

Trainer Bennie Wooley, Jr., a former quarterhorse trainer from the cowboy rodeo circuit, fairly glowed with pleasure and pride at the end of the race.

Mine That Bird, purchased as a yearling for $9,500 and resold to Mark Allen and Leonard Blach in 2008 (for $400,000), bested multi-million-dollar three year olds to emerge triumphant in the 1.25-mile race at Churchill Downs for the second largest wagering payout in Kentucky Derby history.

Two years ago, jockey Calvin Borel rode Street Sense to win the 133rd Kentucky Derby. Calvin Borel has been nicknamed Bo-Rail for his ability to hug the inside rail of the racetrack, passing horses to a final victory.

On Friday, May 1st, the day before the Kentucky Derby, jockey Calvin Borel rode Rachel Alexandra to victory in the Kentucky Oaks.

Did you miss the race? Watch the 2009 Kentucky Derby here:



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