December 2009

Feeding in Winter

December 31, 2009

Are you and your horse prepared for the cold months ahead?

Its important to make sure your horses get plenty of roughage

It's important to make sure your horses get plenty of roughage throughout the winter. (Photo by Christine Hamilton)

From AQHA corporate partner Tractor Supply Co.

The nutritional needs of most horses will change during the winter months due to the changes in the weather and environment. There are a few key categories that you should take into consideration for your horses’ nutritional needs this winter.

Water – horses will decrease their water intake as the temperature falls

Get Started in Dressage

December 30, 2009

Want to try this sport with your Quarter Horse? Here are some tips from “The USDF Guide to Dressage.”

Traditional dressage-ring letters, with the small "D" designating a location on the centerline. Photo from "The USDF Guide to Dressage," courtesy of Storey Publishing

Traditional dressage-ring letters, with the small "D" designating a location on the centerline. Photo from "The USDF Guide to Dressage," courtesy of Storey Publishing

It’s official! Starting in January, dressage will be an official AQHA event — one in which you can earn AQHA points, qualify for Incentive Fund bucks and compete for great year-end awards!

Interested in getting your American Quarter Horse started in dressage? The year-long series in America’s Horse, which began with the January-February issue, will be a great start. And for more information, “The USDF Guide to Dressage” is a wonderful resource, explaining the sport and competition from the ground up. It’s available at and other online booksellers. Below is an excerpt from the book, written by Jennifer O. Bryant:

At some point in your dressage studies, you might get bitten by the competitive bug and yearn to test your skills at a show. You also might recognize that competition is an excellent way to get an expert’s impartial assessment of where you are in your training, as well as a road map for your continuing education. Even if Read the rest of this entry »

AQHA Memberships

December 30, 2009

Do you know which membership is right for you?

MembershipBy Kayla Randall

AQHA offers three types of memberships: general, amateur and youth. What type of membership is right for you?

When applying for your AQHA membership, keep a couple things in mind: Your age and whether or not you are going to show in AQHA events. Another nice little policy I’m going to share with you is that you have 60 days from the date AQHA receives your membership to change it or change your mind, unless horse-related work was completed within that 60-day time frame. So, don’t sweat it if you think you want to change. Just call AQHA Customer Service. Read the rest of this entry »

Helping Your Horse

December 29, 2009

Find out how you can help your horse to learn.

Trainer101From “AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship”

Conquering His Fear

A frightened horse will find it extremely difficult to learn because his is constantly on the defensive and ready to act. His actions are more reactions than responses to the rider’s demands, and they may even be dangerous for himself and his rider.

The horse can learn to accept new things if his teacher gians his trust and respect, and here we see the vital difference between tolerance and acceptance. A horse that accepts a new situation remains relaxed; if he merely tolerates it, his stress level will always be on the verge of pushing him over the limit, and there will be a constant threat of danger.

The horse may even become introverted, and his next reaction could be surprising or dangerous. In the chapter on desensitization, we will see how to help a horse conquer his fear. This is one of the first phases in a horse’s education so that we may later ask him for respect without fear and obtain positive responses without negative reactions. Read the rest of this entry »

Goal Accomplished

December 28, 2009

These AQHA Horseback Riding Program members achieve the 5,000-hour level.

Sherri Ross and Gimme Sweet Luck

Sherri Ross and Gimme Sweet Luck (Photo courtesy of Sherri Ross)

From America’s Horse

Sherri Ross starts off nearly every new year the same way. She and friends from the Indiana Trail Riders Association roast a hog at Salmonie River State Forest in Indiana and spend New Year’s Day socializing, eating and, of course, trail riding.

“A day of trail riding is always fun; getting to see, talk and ride with friends and meet new people is always a good day,” Sherri says. Read the rest of this entry »

The Christmas Spirit

December 22, 2009

Some horsey groups keep the spirit of giving alive all year long.

Holly Clanahan

Holly Clanahan

In these last few days before Christmas, it’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub of the season. Did I leave anybody off my list? (In my case … yes, I forgot our wonderful rural mailman and the feed-store owner to whom I usually send a tin of homemade goodies!) Do I have all the fixings for a big family dinner? Are all the presents wrapped? (Again, in my case, that’s a “no!”)

The spirit of giving and generosity sometimes gets lost in the midst of the “ACK!!!!” But then, sometimes, you meet someone who helps you get it back in perspective.

For me this year, that someone was Bill Shackelford, a longtime AQHA member from Sheridan, Wyoming, and president of Westrust, a charitable organization that originated from the Western and English Sales Association (WESA), which is a market group at the Denver Merchandise Market. Their target audience, obviously, is horse people, and they never seem to lose that magical spirit of Christmas.

“So far, we’ve helped over 15 individuals and spent over $30,000,” Bill says. And it’s been just as much of a gift to the Westrust managers when they see the effect they have on people.

“We give some financial and psychological help to the recipients. They feel like nobody’s there to help them, and when we do help them, it’s amazing how much their attitudes change. It’s not only the financial help, but the fact that there are people out there that are concerned about them,” Bill says.

He mentions one person who thought he was going to lose his house and was despondent. After receiving help from Westrust and getting that “shot in the arm,” his life seemed to turn around. A job offer soon followed, bringing with it a return to financial stability.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two Bits vs. Santa’s Reindeer

December 22, 2009

Two Bits shares information about his reindeer buddy and gives a great holiday recipe for his animal friends.

Two Bits gears up for the holidays

Two Bits gears up for the holidays

Hey, kids!

Christmas is almost here, and I don’t know about you, but I am ex-cit-ed.

I was talking to an old friend on the phone the other day — you might know him — Donner. Yes, the Donner who pulls Santa’s sleigh. We were arguing about who is the better sleigh puller, those reindeer he runs around with or a good group of American Quarter Horses. Of course, Donner thinks he is right and I’m wrong, but I still maintain that us Quarter Horses could pull a sleigh way better. Here are some fast facts about American Quarter Horses compared to good ol’ reindeer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spotlight on Young Amarillo-Area Artists

December 22, 2009

The Two Bits for Your Brain/AQHYA Youth Art Show is in full effect at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

1st place winner in the high school division, Untitled, by Matt Crespin from Palo Duro High School

First-place winner in the high school division, Untitled, by Matt Crespin from Palo Duro High School

This year’s art show contains all kinds of paintings, sculptures and drawings, all depicting the theme “Heads or Tails.” In the coming weeks, we will be spotlighting some of the winning pieces. Today’s pieces are from two high school students from Amarillo. First-place winner Matt Crespin and second-place winner Jodi Ann Brewer talk a little about how they felt about their art pieces:

Matt Crespin
“You always learn new things when you draw something out of the ordinary that you don’t usually draw. I learned about the Quarter Horse this time. I was trying to convey the light side of things and the dark side of things in my work. My finished piece had a sense of everything that I wanted to get into it, including the elements of art.”

2nd place high school winner, Horse in Quarters, by Jodi Ann Brewer from Amarillo High School

Second-place high school winner, "Horse in Quarters," by Jodi Ann Brewer from Amarillo High School

Jodi Ann Brewer
“I have horses at my family ranch that are not Quarter Horses, so I discovered the differences between Quarter Horses and other breeds through my involvement in the contest. I wanted to convey a slightly whimsical look at the American Quarter Horse, and I tried to take a clever approach to the subject matter. I feel I had a good concept but think I could have done better with my finished piece.”

Tying Up

December 21, 2009

Are electrolyte imbalances to blame for tying up in horses?


What is the best treatment for tying up, and does it have anything to do with electrolyte imbalance?


Our friends at the American Association of Equine Practitioners helped with an answer.

Tying up has always been associated with an electrolyte imbalance but is Read the rest of this entry »

To Breed or Not to Breed

December 18, 2009

Is it a good idea to breed your mare?

Grazing mare and foalBy Tena Bastian in “The Foal is the Goal”

You have made the decision to breed your mare, and the search is on for the perfect stallion. “WHOA!” Back up a couple of steps and ask yourself a few important questions before you go “stallion shopping.” First and foremost, why do you want to breed your mare?

Is it because you think a “baby” is so incredibly cute and would be fun to have around? Well, he is cute and certainly can be fun, but there is also a lot of work involved. For example, is there sufficient space in your barn to accommodate a birthing mare? Do you have properly fenced pasture and secure areas for schooling? Read the rest of this entry »

Youth Goals for 2010

December 17, 2009

The new year brings opportunities for setting goals, even at AQHYA.

Youth Officers

2009 Youth Officers

It’s on everyone’s mind right now — resolutions!  AQHYA has them, too.

This year, the list of goals from the youth officers puts focus on scholarship, education and much, much more.

We’ll keep you posted as we mark accomplishments off our list. Then, you can help us make new goals! Read the rest of this entry »

No Training Needed

December 16, 2009

An Internet connection should provide all the instruction anyone needs, right?

Pam and Bippy Crop

Pam and "Bippy."

By Pamela Britton-Baer in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Everything I know about Quarter Horse shows I learn on YouTube.


If you’ve ever posted a horse showing video on YouTube, chances are I’ve studied it. There’s a wealth of information to be found on the Internet, and I like to surf with the best of them.

But I know enough about showing to realize YouTube can’t give you polish. A trainer needs to teach you those tiny little details that can mean the difference between winning a class and leaving the arena with your tail tucked between your legs. More importantly, a trainer knows the answer to questions like: should my boots match the color of my showmanship pants? Should I go with the sand-colored chaps or the buff? Aren’t sand and buff the same color? Read the rest of this entry »