September 2, 2013
Horseback riding facilities can implement environmentally sustainable practices that are also economic.
Certain types of arena footing can reduce the need to frequently drag your arena, thus reducing the amount of fuel required to keep your arena in top shape. Journal photo.
By Katie Navarra in The American Quarter Horse Journal
We are surrounded by energy-saving devices at home and at work from appliances to energy-efficient light bulbs, all designed to limit the amount of water and electricity we consume. But when we head out to the barn, do we take “green practices” with us? With planning and investment, equine facilities, too, can implement environmentally sustainable practices that can also be economic.
Compared to houses and commercial buildings, “equine facilities are inherently green friendly,” says Joe Martinolich of CMW Architects. “Barns are low-energy users as compared to a house or commercial building because they are not usually air conditioned or heated.” Read the rest of this entry »
August 26, 2013
This American Quarter Horse took horseback riding to a whole new level in the 1984 Olympic Games.
Kelly Plitz and Dialadream at their first horse show in 1976. Photo courtesy of Kelly Plitz.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
The story of the rise of a fiery little mare named Dialadream from reject racehorse to Olympic competitor is worthy of a novel. It opens on the very first day of 1975 in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, where the petite 2-year-old filly steps onto the track at Blue Ribbon Downs for her very first official race, a trial for the Blue Ribbon Futurity.
Dialadream is bred for speed. Her sire, Johnny Dial, was racing’s 1952 world champion runner and was the sire of champion Anna Dial. Dialadream’s dam, Dreamy Bar, was by leading race sire and 1952 champion 3-year-old colt Tonto Bars Gill and out of a stakes-winning mare.
Led into the gates, Dialadream broke with the field, ran a lackluster 44 speed index and provided doubtful race-goers a glimpse of her destiny when she jumped the track rail and ran off. Read the rest of this entry »
August 19, 2013
Want to go horseback riding in a new location? Take heed of these trailering tips and get there safely.
Tractor Supply Co. offers several ideas for staying safe on the road with your horses. Photo courtesy of Tractor Supply Co./J. Keeler Johnson
By Samantha Johnson for AQHA Corporate Partner Tractor Supply Co.
If you’re a horse owner, sooner or later you’re going to want to haul your horse somewhere, whether it’s to a show, out for a trail ride or even to a vet or farrier appointment.
Knowing how to transport your horse safely is vitally important for any horse owner, to ensure the safety and well-being of your horse – and yourself.
Horses can be fearful of the entire trailering experience, so you should minimize situations that could disturb your horse.
Here are a few quick tips to help you safely trailer your horse:
August 12, 2013
After the 2012 release of his newest CD, “Back in the Saddle,” country music singer-songwriter Chris Cagle talks of his horseback-riding history.
A watercolor of Chris riding his cutting horse, Santana Times Two, appears on the cover of his most recent CD. Artwork courtesy of ST8MNT.
From America’s Horse
Editor’s Note: America’s Horse first featured country music singer-songwriter Chris Cagle in 2005, when his first CD was hitting the charts. At the time, he told tales of writing songs in his head while “scooping poop” at his horse trainer’s barn. With the release of his sixth CD in 2012, Chris really is “Back in the Saddle.”
These days, you don’t have many conversations with Chris Cagle that aren’t punctuated by his yawns. It’s understandable: If you were promoting a new CD, hitting the concert road and making time for your wife and three little girls, as well as your horses, you’d be yawning, too. Read the rest of this entry »
August 5, 2013
Learn the laws and liabilities for horseback-riding enthusiasts dealing with trespassing children.
Even if you have the calmest horse in the world, accidents can still happen. Attorney Julie Fershtman offers advice for minimizing your liability when children can be tempted to pet your horses. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Gary Johnson lived in the middle of nowhere, his 15-acre horse farm nestled between hundreds of acres of corn and soybean fields in Kansas City, Missouri. He and his family enjoyed the peace and quiet without a neighbor in sight. Then suburbia hit – fast and hard. A few years ago, rows of corn were replaced by rows of houses, just feet from his horse pasture. Along with the houses came swarms of curious children, eager to meet their new four-legged neighbors just beyond the wire fence.
Gary was content to adjust to his new neighbors – until a group of small children gave him a big scare.
“One day, as I was walking out to the back pasture, I saw four little children: the oldest around 10 and the youngest around 2,” Gary recalls. “They had climbed through the fence to play with the horses. As I first looked, they were surrounded by my four horses. The kids were pulling out grass and hand-feeding it to the horses. Read the rest of this entry »
July 29, 2013
Horseback riding with a day-work cowboy in Virginia.
Derrick Hicks makes a living doing what he loves: Riding his American Quarter Horses. Carol Moates photo.
By Tom Moates in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Derrick Hicks pulls on his boots, grabs his hat and heads for the door; a faint “clink, clink” sounds with each step. Sunrise is hours away. Outside, the mountain air is still and cool, and the slight spur jingle is the only sound. The gooseneck stock trailer waits in the driveway; he hitched it up to the dually the night before when John Rhudy, foreman of the Steele Cattle Co., called for an extra hand.
The mares, Santio Roany, “Rose,” and MJG Scottish Hickory, “Hickory,” stand calmly in the corral. Derrick opens the gate and deftly slips halters on them, mostly by feel. The trailer rattles when they step inside, but these American Quarter Horses settle quickly. They know the drill. Derrick checks his gear – saddle, rope, chinks – by the truck cab light. A moment later, he fires the diesel up to begin the two-and-a-half-hour commute to where he’ll help gather and sort cattle. Read the rest of this entry »
July 22, 2013
How to manage horseback riding in the heat.
Keeping yourself and your horse cool is especially important when riding in the heat of the day. Journal photo.
From AQHA Corporate Partner Tractor Supply Co.
Performance horses are still expected to deliver an optimum performance, even as the weather gets hot. By assessing working conditions, water consumption and feeding practices, you can keep your horse healthy and happy all summer long.
It is best to work a horse during the early morning hours or in the evening. Avoid working horses during the hottest part of the day. This is best for both horse and rider. If horses must be trained or shown during the middle of the day, they should be offered water regularly to avoid dehydration and heat stroke. However, do not give a hot horse large quantities of water at once. “Six sips and walk” is a good guideline. Loss of fluid can cause colic in horses. And be aware that if a horse stops sweating, immediate attention is required. Read the rest of this entry »
July 8, 2013
American Quarter Horses aren’t the norm in eventing, but they can still be stars.
In a sport that is dominated by warmbloods and Thoroughbreds, American Quarter Horses can still be eventing stars. Here, Mr Copper Watch Joe is learning training level dressage. Journal photo.
From America’s Horse
Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in the July 2009 issue of America’s Horse. At the time, Such Depth was still being shown competitively, and Chicks N Just Six had been recently retired from eventing. American Quarter Horses across the country are still finding great success in eventing.
“Are you sure?”
Those are common responses that upper-level eventers Manuela Propfe and Bonner Carpenter get after revealing that their mounts are American Quarter Horses. After all, their sport is dominated by warmbloods and Thoroughbreds, but the horses Such Depth and Chicks N Just Six are stars.
Eventing consists of three different segments, where a combined score is used to rank the horse and rider teams. The first competition is dressage, where precision and attention to detail are key as riders guide their horses through a prescribed test.
Next is the grueling cross-country course, which consists of 12 to 20 fences at lower event levels, or 30 to 40 at higher event levels, requiring a gutsy rider and a horse with heart. The competition finishes with stadium jumping, which shows off the horse’s athleticism and stamina as he tries to jump a clean course. Read the rest of this entry »
July 3, 2013
Be careful horseback riding in the heat; heed a veterinarian’s advice on keeping horses safe and comfortable.
From the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Keeping your horses hydrated is particularly important during the hot summer months. Journal photo.
The heat can play havoc with your horse’s health. It can result in dehydration, lethargy and general malaise. Severe heat stress may result in diarrhea and even colic. Dr. Janet Johnston, who is board-certified in surgery and internal medicine, and an emergency critical care veterinarian at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center, suggests the following tips to keep your horse comfortable and safe in the summer heat. Read the rest of this entry »
June 24, 2013
Seeing spacious skies and purple mountain majesties from the back of a horse.
The cross-country trip Allen Russell and his American Quarter Horse, King Hoppy Kono made from the Canadian border to Mexico took five months. Photo courtesy of Allen Russell.
By Tom Moates in America’s Horse
In the 1970s, 28-year-old Allen Russell was a wanderer. But not the hitchhiking type.
In 1975, Allen rode his American Quarter Horse, King Hoppy Kono, from the Canadian border down along the Rocky Mountains through the entire length of the United States to Mexico – 2,400 miles.
“I felt I was born in the wrong time,” he says. “It used to be, people were able to just wander horseback. I wanted to get a feel for what that felt like … get to know the country I live in a step at a time. I had total confidence that if I started in Canada and kept ‘Kono’s’ nose going south, I’d hit Mexico. It worked, even though I often didn’t know where I was.”
Allen and Kono’s cross-country trip isn’t one of the longest trips ever recorded, but in the eyes of the Long Riders Guild, a group of horseback travelers who have shunned modern conveniences and the hustle and bustle of daily activity in favor of the peace and quiet of nature, the length of the trip isn’t important. Read the rest of this entry »
June 17, 2013
With a lifelong passion for horseback riding, Jim Wright spent 38 years and drove 2 million miles inspecting horses for AQHA.
Jim and Anita Wright were a part of the AQHA family for many years. Journal photo.
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Editor’s Note: Longtime AQHA inspector Jim Wright died February 7, 2013, less than three months after the death of his wife, Anita. His impact on the Association was substantial, as recounted in this Journal story from 2006.
Jim Wright knew good people, he knew good horses, and he knew the importance that both had in his life.
Jim spent 38 years, drove roughly 2 million miles and went through nearly 30 cars as an AQHA inspector on the road.
Throw a dart at a map of the United States, and the odds are pretty good that wherever it might land, Jim could have told you all the best roads around town, a horse he saw near there or an interesting character he met along the way. Read the rest of this entry »
June 10, 2013
Trick rider and liberty trainer Niki Flundra can wow audiences with her explosive style, but she gives the credit to her rock-solid American Quarter Horses.
Trick rider and liberty trainer Niki Flundra uses her daring and explosive style to make a grand entrance. Photo by John McCaine.
By Tom Moates in America’s Horse
The rider has slid off the side of her galloping horse. Her feet are stuck somehow in the saddle, her long blond hair flows wildly around the horse’s hind legs, and her fingertips drag the ground as the horse bolts at a furious pace. As if watching that wasn’t enough to stop your heart, a wall of fire erupts across the dirt arena floor, and Niki Cammaert Flundra is dragged right through the blaze.
A completely trustworthy horse coupled with pure athletic ability are the only things keeping Niki from getting those golden locks set ablaze or becoming more intimate with how that trick-riding maneuver got the name “suicide drag.” But she never loses her smile and soon is back atop the horse … albeit upside down with legs straight up in the air.
Niki’s resume is impressive: trick rider, liberty horse trainer, stunt woman, pyrotechnics coordinator and mom.
Read the rest of this entry »