Category Archives: Horses

Hay Prices Go Up, Many Horses Seek New Homes

As you may have heard recently, hay prices have been going up due to high temperatures this year, making it increasingly harder to feed and maintain horses. In a recent article by WTRF.com, it is estimated that it can cost as much as $1,000 to keep a horse fed: a price many Columbus, Ohio residents are finding they cannot afford.

Image courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch

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Modern Pentathlon: What Did I Just Watch?

Perhaps its because I rode in the IHSA during college, and have witnessed similar “oh crap” moments when riders pull ‘that horse’ whose description reads something to the tune of “hold on and Jesus take the reins”, but after watching a clip sent to me by a friend of the 2012 riding portion for the Modern Pentathlon…I am genuinely curious to know why the riding is that horrifically bad.

Um….What…The….Shit? Image courtesy of VC Star.

If you are offended by pictures of terrible riding and some foul language….yea just keep reading anyway.

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This One’s For Switzerland

As you may have heard, the Swiss ended their 88-year long stagnant streak in the individual show jumping portion of the London 2012 Olympics.

It’s a pretty big deal

Image courtesy of Vaterland.li

Swiss rider Steve Guerdat rode the talented Nino des Buissonnets to win the individual gold medal. Guerdat’s success was the first in over 88 years, the last individual gold from a Swiss rider was in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

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HITS Day 1

Today:

  1. We kicked off a shoe
  2. competed in the training hunters
  3. were so happy with the round that we didn’t even check to see how we placed.

Troy kicked ass on both Jasper…

…and George

Abby and Taxicab got 6th

and Anastasia and Maaaaaaarvelous were. Get it?

 

 

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The Humbling Sport of Riding

Horseback riding isn’t for the faint of heart.

In this world there are many sports that take charisma, athleticism, and a certain amount of humility to undertake. Horseback riding is certainly one of them. Whether you are having a gorgeous course or having the worst ride of your career, both should be approached as learning lessons. One minute you could be floating around a hunter course, flawless and fabulously making the entire class jealous; the next you could float face-first into an oxer and break a flower box. Horseback riding doesn’t care much who you are or how fantastic you think you are, because at the end of the day, personal victory generally outweighs the color ribbon you leave the show grounds with.

Today I had that heart-sinking moment of realization that I had cantered up to a distance, that in no known universe existed, and promptly crashed directly into a fence right in front of my trainer, my parents, several of my barn mates, and worst of all the barn owner Tim. It was a moment of public embarrassment, humiliation, and probably the best dose of character-building I’ve gotten in a while. Apparently karma wasn’t sure I’d gotten the message because I did it again in the next course.

What I learned today however, was that humbling oneself is the only true way to achieve anything in a sport where at a moments notice the wrong sound or movement could send your horse cartwheeling into deep space, and you into the dirt. Thankfully, I avoided the dirt today. It does not matter how fabulous your horse is or how magical a connection you have, at the end of the day, its how humble you can be about it that counts. Today I went in expecting perfection and had a moment of pure hubris and the result was a literal smack to the face. The full-kilter hand-gallop non-existent distance will not happen again, and I will remember to take my morning dose of realness before going in the ring.

Sincerely,

Chaz
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Attack of the Clones

The legendary Gem Twist has a clone! Did you know? Image courtesy of Tuesday’s Horse

Confused about the title? Well here’s the skinny: clones of former olympic champion horses have no been approved to compete in future olympic endeavors! In a recent ABC article, the The Fédération Equestre Internationale(FEI) confirmed that though these clones would be too young to compete in the London 2012 olympics, they would be allowed to compete in upcoming events. The decision came after an inquiry into whether or not these clones of equine superstars would have an advantage over their un-cloned competitors. The result? Clones were deemed only 98% accurate copies of their originals, but it was decided that the training and upbringing of the horse was what determined its ability to compete, not genes. Perhaps in the next olympics we might be able to sneak a peek at Gem Twist’s clone.

Get a good look! This is Gemini Twist, the rumored clone of Gem Twist who has been training under equestrian legend Frank Chapot. Image courtesy of Young Jumpers.

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Omak vs. Redstone: Am I Being Too Sensitive?

As an equestrian, I have to wonder what kind of horse sports ESPN is supporting with their recent choice to profile the Chilcotin Nation’s downhill race. In the wake of plenty of other horse sports shunned by the Humane Society of the United States, America’s ‘Suicide Race’ phenomenon is among one of many that are quite unsavory to watch. It seems the ESPN loves writing about speed, speed, and speed when it comes to horse sports, but doesn’t seem to care much for tactical merit and adrenaline rush of show jumping or cross-country (I genuinely understand that dressage would be too slow). In a recent article, the tagline reads, “Mountain racing riders only know one way to go: all out” but what exactly is meant by “all out”?

Although not as steep as the famed (and feared) Omak suicide races, the horses are still galloped top-speed down rocky hills that are awe-inspiringly steep and quite precarious. The race, exactly like the Omak suicide race, involves galloping in and out of a body of water, and a lot flat gallop home over even terrain. So is this race comparable? Unlike the Omak, this race is only run with 4 horses (the Omaha is run with more than 10). Additionally, the inclined running space is remains the same width and incline for the entire ‘mountain’ portion of the race. I’m not actually sure how deep the water is where the Redstone Stampede mountain race is run, so I cannot speak to that, however there is no “chute” that racers must funnel through and the race is only held once a year (rather than 3 nights in a row). You’ve seen the Redstone stampede, now here is what the Omaha suicide race looks like:

So I guess what I’m wondering it, is ESPN unknowingly promoting an inhumane sport? Or are the two races distinctly different enough that I’m just being too sensitive?

Let me know in a comment!

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Bell Boots in Wonderland

Wherein I try to discover the mythical land my horse’s equipment scampers off to

Hipster Pony Disclaimer: every single inch of this post is my opinion and my opinion only. What you’re going to read is going to be filled with rampant sarcasm and quite a heavy dose of realness.

Have you ever walked into the barn and noticed your bell boots are missing? Perhaps your saddle pad has scampered off? Or maybe by some divine intervention, each and every single set of shipping wraps (which by the way is over 5 sets for anyone playing along at home) has magically evaporated? Perhaps your equipment takes notes from the late Houdini? What extraordinary magical place to they travel to when you aren’t looking?

(it is important to note, that the gripes you will see in the rest of this article in no way reflect gripes I have with where my horse is currently stabled. Much love and happy reading to my beloved Duncraven-ites who take top-notch care of my boy!)

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What is ‘Horse Tripping’ And Why Should We Ban It?

YouTube seems to be the most effective medium for getting attention for major issues this season: after ABC aired footage from Celebration, a storm of videos from YouTube depicting inhumane behavior towards horses have gone viral and brought more attention to major injustices in the horse world. One of these injustices is ‘horse tripping’. Check this video to learn more:

Most recently, it has been argued whether or not the sport should be removed from rodeo shows in Oregon. Already having been pulled from rodeos in Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas, it has been argued that the practice should not be used for entertainment. Its roots originate from a need to quickly capture and contain animals that were not fully tamed yet. In ranch work, an emphasis on humane practice and due diligence is encouraged, but many argue the sport in the show ring is often not humanely pursued: horses sometimes fall directly on their faces and snouts.

What do you think?

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Hello Heatwave

As some may have noticed the weather seems to get hotter and hotter this summer with each passing day. At least for Crackers and I, that means constant bathing and shorter and shorter rides.What are some things we use to cool down? Check it out!

CJ and I showing in the summer heat! Image courtesy of the ever-talented Roger Wang.

In this heat, you can expect a lot of sweating, tired muscles, and plenty of greenheads waiting to swarm you and your horse. Here are some things we use at Duncraven to help us through the blisteringly hot summer months:

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