Thursday

Enter TODAY to Win a Free Horse Calendar

Enter TODAY to Win a Free Horse Calendar


Today (December 31, 2009) is the last day to enter to win a free calendar from our friends at Bit & Bridle Magazine. They're offering a calendar by equine photographer Gabriele Boiselle.(Here's her full collection, for those who wish to order calendars directly from the Boiselle collection.)

This contest runs through December 31, 2009. To enter, you must:

1) Share the link to this contest on any of the following sites - Twitter (mention @bitandbridlemag), Facebook, MySpace or your personal blog, then provide a link (on the Bit and Bridle blog entry) to where you posted. They will be checking! You will receive one entry per link. Please provide each link in a separate comment.
2) Give them your opinion on the article posted here, as well as the calendar images. Which calendar is your favorite and why?
You must complete both of the above requirements to qualify for this contest.


Sunday

Bubba's Book Is Coming Soon!


Bubba's Book Is Coming Soon!

My friend and colleague Jennifer Walker has written a fun read for young horse lovers. Actually, horse lovers of all ages will enjoy this sweet story.

Bubba Goes National, by Jennifer Walker, may be preordered from Amazon or from the author's own website for $12.95 (plus shipping and handling). Published books are expected January 15, 2010.

I was honored to provide an advance review of Jennifer Walker's first novel, Bubba Goes National (based on a pre-publication copy provided by the author).

Here's my review:

Book Review: Bubba Goes National
Jennifer Walker's Bubba Goes National looks at the Arabian horse world through the eyes of a teen. Bubba Goes National targets preteens, but the book attracts horse-loving readers of every age. Bubba Goes National is illustrated by Debra Torrico.
Read More

Wednesday

My Horse: A True Blessing in My Life



This is my entry to a contest
at Knot-a-Tail.
Votes (for a really cool prize - pictured here) will be tallied
from comments received
at that site
.


My Horse: A True Blessing in My Life

By Linda Ann Nickerson (Photo at right copyrighted by Nickers and Ink.)

Missie nickered her way into my heart immediately.

My daughter started it by begging me for riding lessons. After a year of watching her posting around the arena, I mustered the gumption to try some lessons.

Within a year, I was hunting for a horse. After test-riding a bay appendix, a solid black Appaloosa and a grey thoroughbred, I bought a chestnut Warmblood. This big red beauty captured me with her floating canter and her powerful, oh-so-rhythmic trot.

We schooled for a few months before entering our first show. Then something magical happened. As we entered the arena, Missie arched her neck, lowered her head and began to prance. It was as if the mare said, “Now it’s my turn. I’ll take it from here,”

After our classes, I untacked Missie, brushed her copper coat and walked her outside for grazing. I had no idea how we would place in the show, but I hoped we would not come in last.

A show runner appeared and handed me three blue ribbons and a multi-colored grand champion rosette. Missie had been right and taken me straight to the winner’s circle in our first show together.

Today, Missie is a 20-year-old mother of three. She has welcomed me and my children into her most private moments of foaling and motherhood. Although she still shines in the sunlight, she no longer enters the show ring.

But Missie has become a far greater blessing. This faithful friend looks up from her pasture grass when I drive through the stable gates. She whinnies and comes running, even before I reach the pasture gate.

I know who the real grand champion is. And though I hope to show her equine offspring someday, no future ribbons can ever replace the wonder of this faithful friend.

Linda Ann Nickerson and daughter with Missie and her first foal, Little Mack. (Photo copyrighted by Nickers and Ink.)

Did you like the story? How about voting?

Merry Christmas from The Mane Point

Merry Christmas from The Mane Point

Monday

Tee-rriffic Holiday Horse Lover Gifts

Tee-rriffic Holiday Horse Lover Gifts

Hey, Kris Kringle!

Need a quick fix for holiday horse lover shopping?

Slip an artistic or witty equestrian tee shirt or baseball cap under the tree for Christmas this year, and see what happens.

(CTRL-click on the image/s for more information.)

Horsey tees, sweatshirts and caps are sure to please young and older horse lovers alike.

Cap off Christmas in style!

Drink Up Holiday Cheer with a Great Equestrian Gift

Drink Up Holiday Cheer with a Great Equestrian Gift

For $10.49, Santa can pick up a 16 oz. thermal stainless steel mug (for hot or cold beverages, decorated with a pretty horse.

Christmas delivery is guaranteed on orders received by noon on Tuesday, December 22nd.

(CTRL-click on the image for more information.)

Stick Around for Cool Horse Gifts

Stick Around for Cool Horse Gifts

For $12.95, Santa Claus can grab a super smart equestrian gift for a horse lover's truck, horse trailer or other vehicle.

Several designs are available (as shown here).

(CTRL-click on the image for more information.)

Gotta ride through a happy horsey holiday!

Stepping Up to Great Horse Lover Gifts

Stepping Up to Great Horse Lover Gifts

Santa, have you finished your holiday shopping yet? If you're still scouring the North Pole for a special gift for a favorite equestrienne, why not pick up a pair of Dansko Professional Clogs?

(CTRL-click on the image/s for more information.)

These sturdy shoes (with excellent arch support) cost about $120. Still, if a single pair of clogs becomes favorite footwear (worn daily), the cost per wearing may be quite affordable.

For example:


$120.00 divided by 365 days (wearings) equals 33 cents per wearing.


Not such a bad deal, huh?

(I have no vested interest in Dansko, but I must confess to owning multiple pairs, and I do indeed wear them daily - and have for years.)

Gorgeous FREE PRINTABLE 2010 Calendar

Gorgeous FREE PRINTABLE 2010 Calendar

If you have not yet purchased a 2010 wall calendar, take a look at this neat FREE printable calendar from Brian Kliewer, a nature artist from Maine. A friend just sent me the link.

I've never seen Brian Kliewer's work before, but I think it is lovely!

Why not hang a pretty calendar by your tack trunk at the barn? (Just CTRL-click on the image to go to the artist's site. Then click the calendar to download the PDF for printing.

Happy New Year!

Sunday

Stable Tips for Holiday Tipping

Creativity counts, when giving holiday tips at the stables.

Christmas is only a handful of days away.

Are you ready? (I almost am.)

My holiday shopping (and baking and crafting) now complete, I am becoming a total wrap star. In fact, I have come up with a few new and creative uses for baling twine.

Yesterday, I checked with the barn manager to find out which day this week would find all of the barn men at work. Yes, it’s time for those holiday tips.

How do you tip stable staff for the holidays?

At some barns, folks tip collectively, pooling holiday gratuities for distribution to stable grooms and other barn workers. (In fact, we have been at barns where the management collected from boarders for this purpose. You can call me cynical, but somehow I always wondered if every dollar made its way to the actual workers.)

Product photo - fair use
A fair number of equestrians find ways all year long to express appreciation to those who care for their horses. Maybe it’s a case of cold Gatorade on a sweltering August afternoon, a fresh-baked batch of brownies on another day, a dozen donuts or even a crockpot of steaming chili for lunch one wintry noon.

Still, Christmas is the traditional time for tipping.
Product photo - fair use

Do you have creative ideas for sharing holiday gratuities with stable grooms and barn staff?

In past years, we have enjoyed giving small, but often practical, gifts to go with the tips. One year, I tucked cash inside winter work gloves and gave these to the guys at the barn. Another time, they all received ragg wool socks with their Christmas bonuses.

Product photo - fair use
This year, with the national (and world) economy stretching us all a bit more than usual, my kids and I baked up some horse-shaped sugar cookies (with painted manes) and mini bundt cakes. Each of the barn men will receive a Christmas goodie package with his holiday tip.

Photo copyrighted by Nickers and Ink.

These hard-working barn staffers care daily for our beloved horses in every sort of weather. They have bailed me (and my kids) out of some sticky equine situations, particularly with our younger horses, who can be somewhat unpredictable.

At Christmas (and throughout the year), I think they deserve a whopping helping of appreciation. A few home-baked goodies (accompanied by some legal tender lettuce) will have to do the trick.

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. You are invited to visit my Amazon author page as well.

Thursday

A Merry Christmas Sleigh Ride

A Merry Christmas Sleigh Ride

Last week, I accompanied a group of middle school choristers and musicians on a round-robin field trip, as they performed holiday songs in multiple locations around town. The kids did a super job.

Here's the funny part. The orchestra played the classic holiday song, "Sleigh Ride." The audience loved it. However, at the end, there was no neighing horse. (The school's traveling orchestra had no horn.)

I stopped the band teacher after one of the assemblies and offered to send him an authentic tape of a neighing horse. "All we need to do is leave the recently weaned filly in her stall without a horse next door," I said.

The music teacher chuckled and continued packing up orchestral instruments.

Back at home, however, I downloaded and forwarded a WAV file for a neighing horse to his school email box. Apparently, he received the post today, as the choir teacher said she caught him listening and laughing in his office in the school music wing.

Keeping up the holiday spirit, here's a scenic video version of "Sleigh Ride."

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Happy horsey holidays!

Nice Read - on OTTB's

Nice Read - on OTTB's

What happens to racehorses who can no longer race? Can a big-city accountant be transformed into a racehorse rescuer?

Here's a true story, penned by an equestrian who made this real-life transition to found the LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers (LOPE), a non-profit racehorse placement agency located near Austin, Texas.
LOPE has placed more than 725 off-the-track thoroughbred horses for adoption into second careers.

Lynn Reardon
LOPE founder and author
Beyond the Homestretch:
What I've Learned from Saving Racehorses

What happens to racehorses, once they are no longer fit to race? Beyond the Homestretch, by Lynn Reardon, traces the development of a racehorse rescue program. Beyond the Homestretch is a worthy read for anyone who loves horses.
By Linda Ann Nickerson

I enjoyed this one, so I'm posting the book review link for last-minute Christmas shoppers, holiday gift givers and horse lovers who love to read.

Monday

New Year's Resolutions for Horses

New Year's Resolutions for Horses

If you could write a New Year's Resolution for your horse, what would it be?

* To stop bucking or rearing?
* To willingly go forward in a pleasing frame?
* To come when you call him?
* To win more blue ribbons?
* To get along with his pasture mates more amiably?
* To stop kicking in his stall?
* To load more easily into the horse trailer?


Also, if your horse could write a New Year's Resolution for you, what might it be? Would he ask for lighter hands, more treats, a lighter seat or what?

Horse and Human - ABS Free Pic / public domain




Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter.
 

Sunday

Snowy Horse Fun

Snowy Horse Fun

Not to advertise the subject or plug a particular product here (as I have no affiliation with the brand), but I love the Budweiser Clydesdales.

In fact, I enjoyed meeting a few of these fine equines last summer at a county fair and a state fair and speaking with some of their grooms and handlers. This photo shows Yankee and Jake, two of the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

The Budweiser Clydesdales are beautiful, grand creatures.

Here's one of my favorite Budweiser Clydesdale commercials. Perhaps my many snowy days in the pasture with young horses makes this one somehow familiar. You see, there are these couple of spunky colts . . . . well, you get my drift (as in snow drift).

Photo copyrighted by Nickers and Ink.

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Photo prompts:

Camera Critters (photo/s)

Scenic Sunday (photo/s)

Sunday Stills (photo/s)

Wordless Wednesday (photo/s)


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