Wish List

Are you looking to get us something for Christmas? Look no further.

Check out the horse’s full Amazon wish list here.

Tractor Supply gift cards are ALWAYS welcome.

I have followed Fergus faithfully on Facebook for years. He’s drawn and written with humor and a deep understanding of horses. This is his first book.

Any brick or good flat rock CAN do this, but people are more likely not to throw away your bright yellow piece of plastic.

I have lost more good rocks and chunks of wood because they didn’t look like part of my trailer equipment.

I recently had a custom table built for my feed room. Five of these will fit neatly on the new shelf and hold enough to feed each horse for two weeks.

These will go on the bottom shelf to hold tack and any overflow feed.

Winter, also known as ‘the season of hay’ and ‘the great itching’ is coming. We are still feeding the round bales baled from our back pasture, but when we run out or travel my talented horses have figured out how to eat the shorter stems common in square bales without slowdown from 2″ hole nets. This 1″ hole net will slow them down to a natural grazing rate.

Having never had a horse advertised as their actual height. I would like to know once and for all the answer to “How tall is that horse?”

These cups will nicely fit my non-standard-width jump uprights

To buy them something, check out the horse’s Amazon wish list here.

Portable Easy Fill Horse Slow-Feeder

I am headed to Pagosa Springs, Colorado this summer for an advanced horse training course. Last time I was up there I leased a horse with the amazing talent of inhaling his hay ration while other horses were still munching, nibbling, or even sleeping on theirs. This happened every meal. He was so efficient, the first time it happened, I thought he hadn’t been fed.

I have to come to believe that natural grazing patterns are healthier for horses and cut down on waste so I wanted a way to feed hay more naturally when we are on the road. Most of the feeders I find fall into one of two types boxes, or nets.

While nets are inexpensive, the ranch feeds the horses their daily hay rations. Anything that takes more than a few seconds to fill becomes impractical which rules out nets and many of the boxes.

The boxes come in many varieties, including tubs, barrels, crates, bins, etc., but most of them share at least one of the two things I have against them. They are expensive, and they are hard to move.

I finally found the Hay Hoop. It wasn’t too expensive. I already owned a slow feeder net, so I didn’t have to buy one. It only had one small problem. It wasn’t portable. It is designed to screw to a wall. I solved this problem by creating my own portable wall. The addition of hooks and slots to the back allows me to hang it from most styles of fencing.

 

Closed and latched it keeps horse noses from eating the easy way.

Closed and latched it keeps horse noses from eating the easy way.

 

Open, two flakes can be stuffed through the opening at a time.

Open, two flakes can be stuffed through the opening at a time.

 

Hooks and straps hold the feeder in place

Hooks and straps hold the feeder in place

 

When I borrowed Gwen I used the feeder while she was in quarantine (where is is hanging in the pictures) and it worked great. I will tell you how the feeder works in other situations as I try it.

Warm in Winter

I had a new student come for her first time on the coldest day of the year. The wind chill here was around 20. Depending on where you are from that may not sound too bad, but here it is bitterly cold. Very few of my girls have ever had to be outside for any length of time at those temperatures. This sweet girl was no different.

I tell all of my girls to dress warm, but many of them have no idea how to survive below freezing. I keep extra layers for those times when the weather overwhelms their winter wear so my little student didn’t freeze, but when that happens I like to make a few suggestions of what to do next time.

First I suggest a wind resistant outer shell with insulation, just make sure you can move around in it. Don’t forget to take advantage of what is already in your closet. Cotton isn’t good if you sweat, but an extra t-shirt under all your other layers can really make a difference. Layer a tank top, T-shirt, long-sleeve T-shirt, sweater, and/or light jacket before you put on your coat. Synthetic fleece is great for staying warm and dry, but you want to wear something wind resistant over it.

Vests keep your core warm while leaving your arms less restricted. I have noticed most people either love or hate vests, but anyone will add a vest to the rest of their insulation if it gets cold enough.

Despite not feeling cold as sharply as other parts, keeping your legs warm can be critical. A lot of blood flows through your legs. If you keep your legs warm the warm blood can be used to heat other areas. Thermal long underwear, or in a pinch, nightclothes can be worn under jeans or overalls and ski pants can be worn over to add an extra layer against the cold. Personally I prefer ski pants because they block the wind, but either solution helps.

Because we are working around horses I require my girls to tie their hair back so they can see everything going on around them, but that leaves exposed ears and necks. I recommend ear warmers or a hat. Hoods make it too hard to see and most people have a hard time keeping them in place. Scarves or even an extra ear warmer band worn around the neck can keep the cold wind out. Just make sure to tuck any ends into your coat to keep them from catching on things.

Socks and shoes do the obvious and keep your feet warm. They also seem to be the hardest to find the perfect solution. Wool and/or synthetic are much better than cotton socks at keeping you warm and dry. Insulated boots are nice, but seem to be the thing that no one has, so on days when it is so cold you can feel it coming through the soles of your shoes I wear ToastiToes. I don’t like the way they feel in my shoes, but it beats freezing feet.

Last, but certainly not least are gloves. Playing with horses we have to be able to feel what is going on, both through the gloves and by staying warm enough to feel our fingers. The perfect pair of gloves is elusive, but I wear the Hyperlite All Weather Glove by Seirus. They are a bit thin on the coldest days, but they are thin enough to feel through, insulate better than leather, and are wind and water proof. For those days that humans shouldn’t be out, I use HotSnapZ reusable hand warmers in my pockets. They can make a real difference between being a little cold and being miserable.

Armed with layers, a good coat, maybe a vest, ski pants, hats, scarves, thick socks, hand and foot warmers, and gloves most of us can survive a couple of hours in the cold for the sake of horses.

How do you stay warm in the winter?