Blog for SaddleLockers equestrian tack trunks.
Reblogged from The Chronicle of the Horse. Written by Lindsay Berreth on May 2, 2011.
It’s not enough to simply toss these items in the washing machine.
Cleaning your non-leather horse tack.
Spring has finally arrived—your arena has thawed, the grass is growing, and you’re sweeping up the last of your horse’s winter coat from the barn aisle. With the arrival of warmer weather, your thoughts are turning to the upcoming show season, and you’ll want your tack and equipment sparkling clean to make a good impression.
We tend to focus most of our cleaning energies on the leather portions of tack, but bits, buckles and saddle pads need attention too, and many non-leather materials require specialized cleaning methods. We asked several tack-cleaning experts for their favorite tips for keeping whites white, brass shiny and sheepskin fluffy.
Bits aren’t difficult to clean, but they are often overlooked when you’re in a rush after a ride. Your horse certainly doesn’t want a dirty, crusty bit in his mouth, so keep a can of bit wipes in your tack trunk or trailer for a quick wipe-down after a show or lesson. Many are flavored, so your horse gets a clean and tasty bit next time you use it.
Once or twice a month, you should put all of your bits into a bucket for a thorough cleaning. Use a product like Bit Therapy Effervescent Cleaner, which fizzes when added to water, and let the bits sit for eight minutes. They’ll come out shiny and mint-scented, even in the hard-to-reach crevices. Another option is to put your bits in the dishwasher to get them sparkling.
If you don’t have time or space in your dishwasher before a show, use a polish paste like Simichrome Polish on the rings of the bit to get them shiny, then use a bit wipe on the mouthpiece. While you’re at it, use the Simichrome paste on your stirrup irons, making sure to get the bottoms too.
For other metal hardware, a wadding polish like Nevr-Dull is easy to use and not as messy as a polish paste. The impregnated cotton can be used to easily polish brass, nickel, zinc, silver and aluminum fittings on breastplates, bridles and halters.
Getting Whites White
White saddle pads are a timeless, classic look for any discipline, but for dressage riders, sparkling whites are a way of life. Emma Purkhun, 23, has worked for Sue Jaccoma and other top dressage professionals in Wellington, Fla. She’s currently based in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., at Olympic dressage rider Sue Blinks’ Topline Dressage at Leatherdale Farm West.
“Our biggest problem is that a lot of the dressage horses have sensitive skin, so we’re always trying to find detergents that get stuff out, but are gentle on their skin,” said Purkhun. She uses Arm & Hammer complete cleaner freshener/whitener powder.
To remove the stubborn black residue at the bottom of the pad, Perkuhn uses Shout stain remover on a damp pad, and scrubs it with a toothbrush until the stain comes out. Then she runs it through the wash again.
Like leather, half chaps and other items with suede are susceptible to daily wear and tear. Half chaps can become muddy and wet as we slosh through mud on the way to the arena, or encrusted in sweat and dust from riding all day in the summer. Exposing leather and suede to barnyard conditions can cause it to break down and damage the integrity of the material. Because suede has a nap and is not a full-grain leather, it attracts and holds more dirt and grime than a full-grain leather.
“For cleaning and protecting suede, the most important thing to remember is to use products that are specifically labeled as safe for suede or nubuck,” said Aaron Swarthout, commercialization and quality control manager at Ariat International.
Swarthout recommends cleaning suede regularly to avoid stiffness and cracks. “Not all leather care products can be used on all leathers, and never smear any wax, cream, paste or other materials using a rag or cloth onto suede—all suede cleaners and protectors are sprayed on,” he said.
You should keep a suede kit in your tack room that includes a brush or a “suede block,” which looks like a brown or tan pencil eraser. Most simple dirt and light grime can be removed using circular motions with the suede block. As with any new product, Swarthout cautions to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. By brushing the area, the nap should be restored.
For more serious stains, your kit should include a cleaner/conditioner spray. “Follow the specific manufacturer’s instructions, and the rule ‘less is more’ applies—do not over-wet or over-clean suede. Allow the chaps to air-dry overnight inside a covered building, not on your front porch or in the barn, and the next morning you should be good to go,” said Swarthout.
For non-suede parts, the same general rules apply, but use a cleaner made for full-grain leather.
Sheepskin and Breastplates
The U.S. Pony Club is famous for a high standard for cleanliness. Sydney Wilson, an eventer and regional instructor coordinator for the Eastern Pennsylvania Region, has been a chief horse management judge for the USPC for 25 years. She can get any dirty, grimy piece of tack “Pony Club clean.” She’s also worked for Bit Of Britain for three years and has experienced every type of leather and non-leather material imaginable.
Wilson recalls her upper-level eventing days, when leather galloping boots had to be vigorously cleaned and conditioned after each use. “In some ways, cleaning things has gotten a lot easier because the neoprenes and plastics and man-made materials can be washed off with soap and water,” she said.
But other non-leather materials require more delicate cleaning. “We’re using a lot more natural fibers like sheepskin in saddle pads, half pads, figure-eight nosebands and breastplates. Those have to be cared for pretty carefully,” she said. It’s wise to use a cleaner that’s safe for sheepskin like Leather Therapy Laundry Solution.
“I’ll take a quart Ziploc bag and make a little hole in it. Then I’ll put the leather through it and put a twist-tie around it so I’m protecting the leather. Then I’ll wash the sheepskin by hand with the cleaner, being careful not to get the leather wet,” she continued.
Some manufacturers make figure-eight nosebands with neoprene or sheepskin pads that are attached with Velcro and can be interchanged. This makes it easy to detach and wash the pads without getting the bridle wet.
After a cross-country round on a hot day or a long day in the hunt field, your breastplate is probably covered in foamy sweat. Letting the elastic portion sit in a bucket of water after you take it off your horse will help keep it from staining, but it will need a more thorough cleaning later with Woolite.
When cleaning brass or nickel on bridles and breastplates, Wilson cautions to check under the buckles, which are often the first areas of leather items to crack. “The main thing with buckles on tack is that you need to be careful because those are your stress points. I find that people don’t clean underneath them and they get gunk built up. If you put metal polish on, it can damage the leather under the buckles. It’s important when you clean your tack that you pull those buckles back and take the bridle apart periodically. You should condition the leather around those buckles so you can extend the life of your tack,” she said.
Besides making your equipment look better for the show season, a careful cleaning regimen gives you the opportunity to examine items for signs of wear and tear, so you can get them repaired or replaced before a mishap occurs.
Reblogged from The Chronicle of the Horse. Written by Lindsay Berreth on May 2, 2011.
William Fox-Pitt Imparts His Cross Country Wisdom in Aiken
That’s a wrap on William Fox-Pitt’s clinic here in Aiken, where we had brilliant sunshine and much warmer temperatures for cross country day at Stable View Farm. The horses seemed to be more settled today — it certainly helped that yesterday’s blustery winds weren’t an issue! — and the riders really rose to the occasion to tackle William’s exercises.
Each group started out with a warmup before schooling banks and ditches. Then they all moved across the field to the water complex, which is surrounded by trakehners and chevrons. All the horses and riders stepped up to the plate across the board, with some horses successfully being introduced to ditches for the first time. Every horse ended the lesson better than they started.
The most challenging aspect of for each group seemed to come when horses and riders schooled the small up bank out of water, with many of the horses stumbling or chipping in. William had the riders slow down significantly on the approach to the up bank to counteract this problem, saying it’s important to never hurry horses through water, as they need to “find their step” to ensure a balanced jump out.
And sure enough, the riders had a much smoother trip through when they took his advice, establishing a steadier rhythm instead of letting their stride get longer through the water. Horses with a more compressed, cattier stride didn’t struggle with this nearly as much, and it was good for the bigger, rangier horses to rock back and balance.
William also had a number of riders shorten their reins throughout the day, especially on greener horses; he said shortening the reins is something just about every rider should be doing more often on cross country. He challenged Boyd Martin to shorten his reins with SBF Cortez in the Advanced group — “just to see what happens” — and while it didn’t lead to a noticeable difference for Cortez, it definitely helped a number of the other riders.
Once again, William had all of the groups do a substantial portion of the lesson in trot over smaller fences, which he said he does regularly at home, especially with his older horses to help keep them sharp and “entertained.” He also had them focus on approaching the fences in a slower trot — no fast-paced trotting with a quickie canter stride before the jump.
After more than 300 auditors came out to see William’s clinic in Vancouver earlier in the week, the group of about 100 auditors here in Aiken seemed noticeably smaller. But Grace Vance, Stable View’s new COO, said they purposefully limited the number of auditors to around 100 to allow for a more intimate atmosphere.
And that strategy paid off really nicely, allowing everyone to get a good view of the action both yesterday and today, as well as sit near the speaker to hear all of the wisdom William imparted during the clinic. The whole Stable View team has been wonderful and welcoming over the past two days; we have to send a huge thank you for the hospitality and hard work.
It looks like our work here is done. Many thanks to Stable View, the riders, auditors and, most importantly, William for making this a clinic we’ll never forget. Check out more one-liners from William below, and keep scrolling for all of our coverage of the clinic so far. We’ll have a full day two gallery coming your way shortly, so stay tuned.
“What does funky mean?”
“If you leave him to his own devices, he gets a bit syrupy.”
“He’s not allowed to trot around like a yak. He needs to trot around like a horse.”
“Look at those short reins … He wants to be teacher’s pet!
“Very often the last thing we do is shorten our reins. It needs to be higher on our list of priorities”
“You must not hurry them through water. You have got to give them time to find their step.”
Originally posted on EventingNation.com. Written by Jenni Autry.
William Fox-Pitt Brings the Basics Back to Aiken
Reblogged from EventingNation.com. Article written by Jenni Autry on Feb 10, 2015 6:30 pm.
We’ve just wrapped up a chilly, blustery afternoon on the first day of William Fox-Pitt’s clinic at Stable View Farm in Aiken, South Carolina, where #EventingJesus brought the basics back to the 30 horse and rider combinations who entered his kingdom.
William used very similar exercises for each group, starting with the Novice riders in the morning and ending with the Advanced group this afternoon. Riders started out each session chatting about their horses with William and then flatted for a bit so he could watch them and make any adjustments to their position or pace.
Then the groups progressed to jumping, with each group starting out going through the same grid; William added another element to the grid after each pass from the group. The grid — a crossrail, one stride to a bounce, one stride to a bounce, one stride to an oxer — rode very well all day for the most part across the board, even when he had everyone go through while holding the reins in one hand.
The challenge came when William introduced his spiral exercise after the grid, which Dom Schramm has graciously drawn for us in a very helpful diagram below. While the exercise looks simple on paper, it caught riders out all day long, with the spiral causing thrills and spills, refusals and falls. And William upped the ante even more by having the riders also tackle the spiral with the reins in one hand.
The riders then moved on to a series of bending lines and rollback turns over individual verticals and oxers placed around the arena, with the technicality gradually increasing to prepare them for the questions they will face when they head to the cross country course tomorrow.
Though the temperatures barely climbed out of the 40s all day, William was his typical cheery, charming self, chatting with the group of about 100 auditors who were huddled under anything they could find in their trucks to combat the chill — horse blankets, towels, polo wraps.
Check out the list of WFP one-liners from today’s lessons below, and be sure to follow EN on Twitter at @eventingnation for much more from #EventingJesus as we look ahead to day two here in Aiken.
Go William, and Go Eventing.
“Don’t be scared to ask him. He might not want to be asked, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.”
“Stop being so prickly and precious and just ride him.”
“That was a bit of a hand-brake turn.”
“The earlier a horse learns to look at his fence, the better.”
“Give him confidence through your position and confidence through your legs.”
“Just because we’re jumping doesn’t mean all the flatwork goes out the window.”
“Ride him to the fence like you mean it.”
“You’re all very brave. You can take the rein back in times of crisis. This isn’t the gospel.”
“That’s one way to do it … If it had gone wrong, I would have given you a barking, but it didn’t.”
“In eventing, there’s no use getting stuck in our ways … Nothing ever goes to plan anyways.”
Originally posted on EventingNation.com. Written by Jenni Autry.
5 Questions with William Fox-Pitt
EN is on the grounds at the William Fox-Pitt clinic here at beautiful Stable View Farm in Aiken, South Carolina, and William was kind enough to take some time during the lunch break to chat with the journalists. Here’s a quick Q&A with five burning questions, and stay tuned for much more as we bring you photos, diagrams of jumping exercises and plenty of WFPisms over the next two days.
I’m live tweeting ringside, so be sure to follow along at @eventingnation, and you can also follow Stable View’s live blog at this link. Many thanks to the Stable View team for all their hospitality thus far!
EN: If you could drop everything and go train with another rider for an extended period of time, who would it be?
WFP: “Over the years, I’ve been very lucky to have been trained by all sorts of people, from Mark Todd to Chris Bartle. But if I could go be based with an event rider, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em — it would have to be Michael Jung. From another discipline, it would be Carl Hester.”
EN: You compete all over the world, but which event is your favorite?
WFP: “I love coming to Kentucky. I think it’s a very special event. As a Brit, you are really lucky to be able to come to Kentucky. As a rule, you need to have two horses for Badminton before you’re allowed to come. I’m very fortunate to have had the horses to be able to come. I think the horse park is a brilliant venue. It’s a fantastic atmosphere.
“It might also be that Kentucky comes early in the year, so you’re always a little bit surprised because you come from the field in England — from a few jumps around the field and a dressage arena you can hardly spot in the mud. Then you get to Kentucky and think, ‘Blimy, this is like another sport.’
“The impact of Kentucky is very exciting. I love the cross country. It’s a proper course with good going and undulations in the terrain. It’s very well presented.”
EN: If you could take a spin on any top horse, which one would you choose?
WFP: “I’d love to ride Opgun Louvo. I think he’s a very cool horse — I’d need roller skates on him. There’s a young up and coming horse in England called Ceylor L A N, Kitty King’s young horse. I think he’s quite a special animal. I’m very happy with my own horses too. I think they’re a good lot.”
EN: You have ridden many great horses in your career. Which one would you consider to be the greatest of them all?
WFP: “Tamarillo — without a doubt. The greatest and the most frustrating, which often is the case. He was an incredible athlete.”
EN: Who is a rider you looked up to early in your career?
WFP: “To begin with, it would have been Lucinda Green and Ginny Elliot. Lucinda was someone who was very friendly, although she was a complete heroine. She always took the time to say ‘good luck’ or ‘well done.’ As serious and busy as she was, she was just very good at making us young riders feel that we also had a right to be there.”
Many thanks to William for his time. Go Eventing.
Blog courtesy of EventingNation.com. Article written by Jenni Autry.
At SaddleLockers, we’re not only horse lovers- we’re horse owners as well! Check out what we’re wishing for this year.
1. Knit Infinity Scarf by SaddleLockers
This chunky-knit infinity scarf from SaddleLockers is sure to keep you warm this winter! We love it because it’s super soft, double knit for extra warmth, and there are no loose ends while riding/doing chores around the barn. Not to mention, this scarf looks great while out and about! Hand crafted in Michigan especially for SaddleLockers by KnittWitt Knits.
2. Saddle Soap by Higher Standards Leather Care
We love Higher Standards Custom Leather Care! For 11 years, owner Libby Henderson has been creating saddle soap and balm. Her products are used by top riders all over the world. We personally love Woody’s Confidence Blend, a citrus-rosemary scented soap.
3. Free Spirit Vintage Canvas Bag by Begin the Dance (Sandra B. Designs)
We had the opportunity to meet Sandra B. at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts, and instantly fell in love with her items. All of her apparel is printed on quality, soft cotton. Her t-shirts feature beautiful poems on the back, with an equestrian design on the front.
4. Portable Saddle Rack by SaddleLockers
This handy saddle rack is made of sturdy galvanized steel- so it won’t rust. Tote your saddle and tack around the barn, or the show. Featuring sturdy air wheels for rough terrain, the Portable Saddle Rack is perfect for English saddles. Also great for carrying water buckets at the show, fly sprays, bath supplies, etc.
5. Equestrian Throw Pillow by Fox Trot Filly
These modern throw pillows are the perfect way to bring equestrian flair into the home! They feature an orange horse applique on blue geometric print, and are part of the Fox-Trot Filly Stable Chic Collection. Handcrafted and made to withstand wear and tear. We adore the classic equestrian silhouette paired with fun colors and prints.
6. Women’s Snaffle and Curb Bits Belt by Mango Bay
These gorgeous belts by Mango Bay are screen printed with equestrian designs onto 100% cotton webbing. They feature dull-nickel accents. We own a few of these, and can’t get enough of the variety of designs available. Mango Bay belts are available in lots of colors, from conservative to modern!
7. Southern Swag Horse Treats by Charleigh’s Cookies
Ok, this one is for our horses! They can’t get enough of Charleigh’s Cookies Organic Horse Treats, and we don’t blame them! We love that they’re organic, made in California. The horses particularly love the Southern Swag treats, made with organic Georgia Peaches. Charleigh’s Cookies evolved from owner Cordelia’s desire as a new mother to teach her daughter, Charleigh, about the power and joy of the horse / human connection.
8. Prestige Tack Trunk by SaddleLockers
We can’t help but include the Prestige Tack Trunk on our wish list! Luxurious oak trim brings a classic look to this tack trunk, with the same security that you expect from SaddleLockers. What we really love about this tack trunk, and all SaddleLockers tack trunks; is that they’re designed for equestrians, by equestrians. They’re foldable, made of galvanized steel, and completely customizable.
9. A Horse Box
The reason we love this- it’s for both horse AND rider! A Horse Box is the original monthly equestrian subscription box. When you sign up, you get to spoil your horse each month with samples of various products- from the best grooming products to gourmet treats and more. We really love the fact that you’re able to try out items before you buy them, and find lots of new great products that you may not have heard of before.
10. Custom Dog Bed by J’Adore Custom Pet Beds
Ok, we know this isn’t equestrian. But we love our dogs just as much as we love our horses! The modern, fun patterns that J’Adore Custom Pet Beds offers adds a pop of color and style to any room. You choose three fabrics to have your pet bed made from, creating a truly unique look. Offered in a variety of sizes to fit your dog perfectly.
Now it’s your turn- tell us what’s on your equestrian-themed wish list!
Winter- when already tedious barn chores become more difficult. Most everyone will experience cold weather at one point this season, even states such as Florida may experience frost or snow. Make staying warm in the winter easier with these tips.
1. Check the Weather Before You Head Outside
Things to think about before heading out the door include not just the temperature, but also the wind chill. Also, check to see if there will be rain or snow in your area.
2. Dress Appropriately
Always dress in layers, so that you can add or take away layers of warmth as needed. Items to keep you warm may include:
- Thermals (long underwear)
- Weather appropriate socks (warm, moisture-wicking)
- Coats, vests, and sweaters
- Gloves. You may need several pairs for different tasks- i.e. carrying buckets you can use a thicker glove, whereas if you’re tacking up a horse you may need thinner gloves to be able to feel buckles. If your gloves aren’t warm enough, consider using hand warmers.
- Scarves. Make sure that scarves (and all other outerwear) is secured so that it doesn’t get caught in equipment. Neck gaiters and balaclavas may also be a good choice.
- Hats. Keep your head from acting like an exhaust vent by covering it with a hat or hood.
- Boots. Consider wearing boots that are insulated and waterproof, while still being functional for the task you are completing.
3. Be Prepared for All Weather Conditions
Did that snow turn to rain? Did your boots leak? Make sure to keep extra layers nearby just in case. Good items to keep on hand are warm jackets, waterproof jackets, extra socks and gloves, etc. It also helps to have a backup shelter area to go just in case the weather becomes extreme.
Please consult with your doctor if hypothermia, frostbite, or any other illness is expected.
During the holiday season more than ever, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible.
Wishing everyone happiness this holiday season, and throughout the coming year!
Happy Holidays! This year has brought about many changes for SaddleLockers. We introduced many new product lines, attended a multitude of expos and horse shows, and have even added members to our team. We are so grateful for the progress that SaddleLockers has made in the past year, and can’t wait to see what the next year has in store.
Let us know what you’d like to see from us, and where you’d like to see us in the upcoming year! E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at (248) 630-2050.
“Bleizucker”. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bleizucker.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Bleizucker.JPG
No matter what the cause of colic is in a horse, it is a very serious and possibly life-threatening situation. If your horse shows signs of abdominal pain, or you believe your horse has colic, contact your veterinarian immediately so they can assess the situation.
Signs of Colic in Horses
- Gassy, rumbling stomach or bowels
- Excessive sweating
- Uneasiness, restlessness
- Lost in interest in food and water
- Absence of normal abdominal sounds
Common Causes of Colic
- Worm infestations in the gut
- Moldy/tainted feed
- Sudden changes in diet
- Lack of drinking water
- Ingestion of sand or dirt
- Swallowing food without chewing it properly
Ways to Prevent Colic
- Feed your horse on a regular schedule daily (make sure that you’re providing a quality diet)
- Do not make sudden changes in the horse’s diet; but rather over a period of two to three weeks
- Keep feed and hay free from dust, mold and dirt
- Offer clean, fresh water at all times
- Clean stalls frequently
- Check teeth frequently for dental problems that may cause chewing issues. Teeth that are properly aligned chew food better, which decreases the chance of impaction
- Feed the appropriate amount of food and forage (so as not to overload the digestive tract)
- Keep feed off of the ground to help prevent sand ingestion by using feed pans, or elevated wall feeders
- Deworm your horse regularly with the appropriate wormer
- Provide adequate exercise (according to your horse’s needs as discussed with your vet)
- Remove poisonous plants and other substances from hay, bedding, and pasture grass (and away from the horses)
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that a horse has colic.
With the winter months upon us, we need to take extra steps and precautions in the winter care for horses. Here are some tips for keeping your horse safe and healthy this winter.
1. Foot Care
Bacterial infections, such as thrush, thrive in moist environments. The bacteria responsible for thrush eats away at the bottom of the foot of a horse (the frog). Thrush is commonly seen in the wet winter months, and can be prevented with maintaining a healthy environment for your horse, along with regular foot care. Turning your horse out in clean pastures (managing mud), and keeping stalls dry and clean will reduce the chance of thrush occurring.
Always make sure that your horse has an abundance of clean, fresh water. In areas where temperatures drop below freezing, using a heater (the kind meant for heating livestock water) helps the water from becoming ice. Horses that do not consume enough water are at risk for colic.
Even in areas that do not get snow, grass may stop growing, or have less nutritional value. Aged horses and hard keepers tend to lose weight during the winter. Having quality feed available is important. Discuss a feed plan with your veterinarian to ensure that your horse is meeting it’s nutritional requirements.
4. Floating Teeth
Horse’s should have their teeth checked by an equine dentist every 6-12 months. If horses are unable to properly grind their food, they will not be able to properly absorb all of the food’s nutrients. Horses that are able to get the most out of their feed are better prepared to maintain their weight during the winter.
Providing your horse with a wind-break or shelter is important to keep them out of the rain, snow, and wind.
If you decide to blanket your horse, be sure that the blanket fits properly and are appropriate for the weather conditions in your area. Blankets should be removed regularly to groom the horse and check for irritation, chafing, and other signs of an improper blanket fit. Having more than one blanket on hand is a good idea, just in case one is wet or dirty.
Check your horse’s skin regularly for seasonal skin conditions, such as rainrot, scratches, and ringworm.
Consult your veterinarian for the best Winter Care Plan for your horse, and for additional tips on winter care for your horses.