Show Ready Horses

What a crazy year for 4H fair it has been… So far! From virtual practices, to the last minute Go-Ahead for fair to even happen, it has been time crunching. One of my favorite divisions is the horse division. You’ve got Halter, Showmanship, English, Equitation, Western Pleasure, Horsemanship, Reining, Ranch Pleasure, Trail, Poles, ETC… Whatever division you and your horse are in, I’ve got the “know-how” on preparing your horse for show!

Show Ready Horses~ How To

First things first, you need to give your horse a good bath before any preparing! Make sure you get the crest of their mane, scrub the tailbone, and get your socks (If your horse has any) nice and white. Once your horse is dry, You are ready to show prep!  

Mane

What judges look at for mane banding/style on a horse depends on the breed/class they show in. Typically, your halter, western pleasure, and English classes band and cut the manes, but lets say you have a western pleasure Morgan horse that has a long, beautiful mane you would rather die first than chop off! Don’t worry, I’m going to break it down for you into breed categories for mane styles. 

  • Stock Horses
    • Stock horses include breeds like Quarter horse, Appaloosas, and Paints. For Halter, English and Western pleasure, judges like the look of a 4″ long mane that is thinned (If needed) and banded. The color of the bands don’t have to match their mane, but they do have to be natural colors. This means that you cant use pink for a sorrel horse. However, you could use white or brown! It is all up to the 4Her on what natural band color they want to use.  
    • So, Let’s say you’re only entering your stock horse into a reining, barrels or trail class. What do you do with them? Simple answer is nothing! they like the look of a long, natural looking mane for these classes. Just a short bridle path and you’re good to go! However, if you decide to enter your horse into a halter class and then turn around and enter him into a trail class, you would band the horse for halter and you can keep the bands in for trail. The Judge wont place you down for going the extra mile and having your horse banded. Also keep in mind that most counties do speed events on a different day than halter and pleasure classes.
  • English Horses
    • English bred horses include breeds like Saddlebred, Morgan, Arabian, and Tennessee Walker. For halter, you can show your English horse in their bridle or a plane leather halter. A judge looks for a long neck, higher headset, and a slender face on an English horse. Because of this, the longer natural mane accentuates this look. So If you plan on showing your horse halter and English (Or just English) you can braid your horses mane into Hunter, Button, Continental or a Running Braid. However, if you decide to show your horse in English and the western class leave their mane natural. No bands or braids. Their bridle paths are typically longer too. About the length of their ear. 

Hooves

Preferably, you’ll want your horse’s hooves trimmed or shod a week or two before a show. That way, your horse has his hooves looking nice for the show and he’s used to the new feel of freshly trimmed finger nails. Horses can have white, black or candy striped (black and white striped) hooves. sometimes they are all black, sometimes all white, and they can defiantly be mixed if your horse has socks. First thing you’ll want to do is wash and scrub your horse’s hooves to get rid of any dirt and debris. If you want to go the extra mile, you can grab a sheet of sand paper and sand them down so you get rid of the stains! After your hooves are dry, you are going to polish them (My favorite part!). White and candy striped hooves just need to be clear coated. My favorite product is Supershine clear polish. It stays on all day and helps seals cracks. It also drys in 60 seconds! For black hooves you will use the Supershine black polish. Voila, your horse feet are ready!

Clipping

Clipping can vary from 4Her to 4Her. Some horse really don’t like to be clipped, and some horses don’t mind it. Whether the case might be, a good basic outline is all you need for fair! For starters, a good 2-3in bridle path between the ears right after the forelock starts is perfect for your stock horses and for some of your English bred horses a 3-5in bridle path looks sharp. Their muzzle and chin you’ll shave all the whiskers, and under the jaw you’ll shave the hair short. Their ears can be the trickiest part. If your horse lives outside, the inner ear hair helps protect the ear canal from flies. So when clipping ears, you have two different options. For outside horses that need the extra protection, you can shave the edge of their ear and a little bit of the inside to where it’s level with the the outside of their ear. A little tip for achieving this all in one swipe is to fold your horse’s ear like a taco and you’ll start from the tip and shave downwards. Doing this you’ll get your edges and make the inner ear hair flush with the edge so no tuffs of hair are sticking out of their ear. For inside horses that are well maintained for fly protection, you can clip the outside and fully clip the inside of their ear. It might be a two person job at that point, but hey… they look pretty! 

For their feet you also might want to consider whether they are an outside or inside horse. The extra hair can help protect their legs from flies as well. First option is to take a longer bade clipper and shave the back of their pastern and up the fetlock. Then, you’ll take the back of your blade and blend in the front to the back. This will give you a clean fetlock and still keep their hair for protection. Second option would be for horses who are inside with fly control maintenance. You’ll start out the same way, shave up the back of the pastern to the fetlock and up the cannon bone to the back of the knee. Then you’ll take the back of the blade and blend in the cannon bone to the fetlock. the rest of the pastern you’ll shave and blend in the ankle. This will give you a clean look. Either of these shaving methods won’t dock you from getting a purple ribbon. It is your preference on what you think is best for your horse and what you thing looks nice.

Tail

Tails can vary on the breed and how thin your horse’s tail is. For stock bred horses, you want a “dust broom” cut. Which is a straight across cut that is level to the horse’s ankles. If your horse’s tail is too thin and/or too short, you can get a tail extension that matches your horse’s tail. I love the look of a full, thick tail on a stock horse. it completes look of the breed. 

For English horses’, a long tail that can drag on the ground is the picture you want for these guys. They also make tail extensions for these horses. It’s different in the fact that it is going to be a lot lighter in weight, longer, and a natural cut. The base is also flat to go around the tail bone instead of the knob of a stock horse extension. Either way, tail extensions are not required and is just a look preference.

 To finish up your horse’s look, you can get some World Champion Shine On and gloss up their muzzle, tips of their ear, above their eyes, and their bridle path. Next, if your horse is black or bay, you can spray paint your horse’s legs black. It really makes their legs look sharp and consistent with the color of their coat. After you got all your touch-ups done, the last thing to do is spray them down with some World Champion Coat Conditioner. Oh, and of course fly spray!

Now, take a giant step back and look at your finished product! Did your jaw just dropped to the ground?! That’s right, you did that and your horse looks fabulous! With these tips and tricks, you’ll be looking fly for your classes. Your horse is now Show Ready! Oh, and yes, we carry all these fine products here at Lakeside Country story.

Helmet Safety

Should you wear a helmet while horseback riding?

How do helmets protect you?

When you take a fall, a certified helmet absorbs energy by crushing and extending your head’s stopping time to reduce the peak impact on the brain significantly.

Helmets are built to compress and fracture on serious impact. A broken helmet is not a sign of a faulty one — in fact, it may crush or crack as it absorbs the energy that could otherwise cause you serious injury.

FACTS:

How often horse-related injuries happen?

  • About 70,000 people go to the emergency room each year for equestrian-related injuries. About 12,000 of those people have suffered head injuries.
  • Among lifetime riders (people who ride 6 or more times a year), 13% have been hospitalized with a riding injury.
  • Horseback riders have the same number of injury accidents per riding hour as motorcycle riders.

Who gets injured?

  • All riding disciplines have a significant rate of head injuries. Head injuries are the most common reason for equestrian-related hospitalization and fatal injuries.
  • Unpredictable riding events — a horse spooking, bucking, or bolting — account for most head injuries, but 20% happen during non-riding activities or as a bystander. Wear your helmet when around horses
  • Your level of expertise doesn’t protect you: The risk of injury is tied to cumulative riding time, not level of expertise.
  • Taking it slow isn’t the answer, either: Severity of the injury is most closely influenced by your distance above the ground. A fall from only 2 feet high can cause permanent brain damage.

While no helmet will protect all injuries, you are far less likely to suffer a serious injury if you’re wearing a helmet with ASTM/SEI certification.

All information was contributed by the official Troxel Helmet Website, where you can find more information if you wish.

*On a personal note, now as a mom I almost always wear a helmet while riding, as an example for my son riding.

I have had some close calls, however, just last night there was an incident. After I had a successful ride, I dismounted, and while taking tack off my 16.3 hand horse, spooked, swinging his head and neck into my forehead. It shocked me, but I was okay, thankfully I still had my helmet on.

It would have been a different story if I wasn’t wearing one.*

Troxel Helmet Sizing Guide

Choosing a Work Boot

Work boot choices, there are so many at Lakeside Country Store

When buying a work boot how do you choose which one to buy for the job you are doing?

There are some things to consider, after you know which direction you are going it’s a lot easier.

First, what kind of job do you have? This helps you decide if you need a protective toe. Protective toes come in different styles.

* Traditional Steel Toe- they feature a steel cap to protect toes against falling and heavy rolling objects. Rated ASTM F2413/I75 C/75 EH

* Composite Toe-they are lighter weight than traditional steel toes with less temperature conductivity so your feet stay warmer in colder weather, non metallic for electronic security working conditions. ASTM F2413/I75 C/75 EH

*Carbon Toe-they are lighter than composite toe and provide strength and protection on the job with low temperature conductive, so your feet stay warmer in cold weather. ASTM F2413/I75 C/75 EH

What other options are available?

Don’t forget your comfort, you will be on your feet all day.

Different foot support for different jobs
This is just the Ariat Brand insoles, they all have different purposes.

You will find eight different styles of insoles and support system in a Ariat Work Boot. They offer great things, it might help you in choosing a work boot:

  • Oil and slip resistant
  • shock absorption
  • punture restistant
  • extra wide for support and reduction of foot fatigue
  • moisture wicking

Make sure the traction on the boot suits the job. Ex: You don’t want a riding boot with no traction, where you will be working in a slick environment.

Some boots have extra features that are a great bonus:

  • U-Turn Entry system, easy on off
  • Vent Tek- Mesh panels to enable air flow
  • Met-Guard- you want this if you will be welding!

Now you just have to choose Pull On or Lace Up, both protect equally well, this is a personal decision.

Shop More Shoes Here

https://www.lakesidecountrystore.com/boots

Author of the Blog

Abby Leggett is a Sales Lead at Lakeside Country Store, has a bubbly personality, a can do attitude, and a wealth of knowledge.

She’s been working at Lakeside for about two years and is one of the biggest livestock animal enthusiasts you will ever talk to. Abby has owned and operated a horse training and lesson-teaching program for seven years and was a 4H horse leader in Nebraska for five years. During that time, she specialized in gaited horses, 4H Western Pleasure, Hunter under saddle, ranch riding, and reining stock horses. Along side her passion for horses, she also fancies her chickens. She has owned and raised poultry for the past three years.

Currently, Abby lives with her family in the hills of Council Bluffs with her four horses, chickens, her cow Betsy, and Max the dog.

Grain and Workouts for Horses

Now that we have digested (pun intended) Spring Time Forage in part 1 of horse nutrition article, it’s time to talk about grain supplement and workouts! 

Every horse and situation is different. You may have gotten your senior horse out from the winter dry lot and noticed he’s a little ribby, or his topline is a little droopy, maybe you have a horse that’s coming two and needs the extra calories. Or, (like my case)  your horse might be an easy keeper and not need any extra calories or muscle support and is just fat. Whatever the case may be, I’ve got the details on how to fine tune your horse’s spring feeding to accommodate pasture grass, hay/dry lot, or hay/stalled.

Body Scoring

Firstly, you must determine where your horse is lacking (if any) in their muscle/fat content. We call this process body scoring. Here is an example of body scoring your horse.

Purina has an excellent article on how to body score your horse, they even have a handy video you can watch for you visual learners! 

 https://www.purinamills.com/horse-feed/education/detail/body-condition-scoring-your-horse

Keep in mind that every horse is different and may be thin in different areas based on the breed of the horse or their forage content. Also, horses handle winter differently. Your horse might have lost weight by burning fat to keep warm, or has gained weight from lack of workout.

Grain Supplement

Once you have determined where your horse is lacking, it is time to talk about grain! Horses that are working need extra calories to meet their energy requirements to keep up with workouts. The harder the horse works, the more calories the horse’s muscles are burning, therefore, more energy is needed in their diet. The fuel source that muscles uses the most is carbohydrates and fat.  

  • Easy Keepers. Most horses can not be nutritionally satisfied on pasture/hay alone. What pasture/hay lack is the crucial vitamins, salt and minerals they need to sustain a balanced diet.  A great concentrated grain for horses that are easy keepers and stay chunky on pasture/hay is Purina Enrich +, or Nutrena Topline Balance. Both theses grains are a concentrated feed to help sustain a pasture horse. You only have to feed 1-2 pounds a day, it’s high in protein, low starch and sugar, amino acids for muscle maintenance, and vitamins and minerals.
  • Light Exercise. Light workouts consist of pasture or trail riding 3-5 times a week. Some horses are good with just increase in hay for light riding. However, extra calories from grain goes a long way on your horse’s energy and he might need it! A good grain for light exercise would be Purina Strategy GX. This feed is an all life stages grain which is perfect for any situation. Purina Strategy Healthy Edge. This grain has Amplify in it for extra fat and has controlled starch and sugar.  Purina 12% Impact. This grain is a 12% protein and high in fiber with all your added vitamins and minerals, it is also an all life stages feed. Purina Omolene 100. This is a great textured feed for your pleasure riding horses, it’s low in starch and sugars because it is made with soy bean molasses and it is low in potassium for HYPP positive horses. Last but not least, Nutrena SafeChoice Original, this feed is comparable to Strategy with less sugars and is also an all life stages feed. All five of these grains provide carbs and fat for horses to help out with extra calorie intake for workouts, and each grain has their own nutritional differences for your horses’ specific needs. 
  • Moderate Exercise. Moderate work consists of barrel racing, ranch riding, jumping, team penning, etc… Most horses can not consume enough hay to gain enough energy to handle moderate exercise. For your competition horses, there are several grains out there to help sustain your elite athlete! The first grain that comes to mind when feeding a hard working horse is Purina Ultium Competition. This feed contains fat, fermentable fibers, and controlled starch and sugar as the fuel source for energy in your horse. This is great because your horse is getting his energy from fat instead of starch and sugars. It will give him the right kind of energy for working all day instead of hyper, tensed up energy from sugar. Another great feed would be Purina Omolene 200 or Omolene 500. This feed is a textured feed that is blended with soy bean molasses so there is no added sugars! It contains Outlast Gastric Support and Amplify Fat supplement. The difference between the two feeds is that Omolene 500 has more calories per pound for hard keepers and horses with high metabolism. One more great feed to add to your li​st is Nutrena SafeChoice Performance. This feed is high in fat and low in starch and sugars. They have also added their Topline Balance to their feed for topline support. It has extra calories per pound for hard keepers as well.
  • Heavy Exercise. Ah, The hard working horses! You’ll find theses horse racing, pulling/hauling heavy loads, or polo. Theses horses require large amounts of grain to meet heavy work energy needs. The grains that are used in the “Moderate Exercise” bullet point can be used for theses horses as well just more pounds per feeding. Each tag should have feeding instructions on the back of the tag for how much your horse needs. It calculates their weight, workouts, and forage amounts to get an accurate amount of grain your horse needs for intense work! However, there is some specialty grains I’d like to mention for these heavy workers. The first one is Purina Race Ready. This feed is exactly the same formula as Omolene 200 except it is blended with more oils and soy bean molasses for “finicky” race horses. The other grain i wanted to mention is Nutrena ProForce Fuel. This feed is my personal favorite! It is very high in fat, high in calories from fiber sources, and high in amino acids for muscle support. I feed this grain to my really hard keepers and extreme athletes. Back when I taught lessons, all my horses were on this grain to maintain teaching lessons all day. Those lesson horses are amazing and (I think) work extremely hard.

https://www.lakesidecountrystore.com/product/purina-equine-senior-horse-feed/

So, whether you have your easy keeper pasture pet, trail riding buddy, rodeo friend, or your hard working racer, we have a wide selection of grain to accommodate you and your horse’s needs. All grain mentioned in this article are available at Lakeside Country Store!   

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Why are Chicken Eggs Different Colors?

Chicken Chat with Abby~Egg Color~

Well hello, and welcome to Chicken Chat with your host, Abby. Ya know, nothing gets me more excited than Spring. Warmer weather is around the corner, flowers are blooming, and CHICK DAYS ARE HERE! Hearing the chirps in your favorite feed store *cough… Lakeside Country Store… cough* just gets you all warm and fuzzy inside.

Each month we’ll have a chicken discussion on hot topics! This week’s topic is egg color. Why are Chicken Eggs different Colors? Why do the Ameraucanas lay blue eggs, Rhode Island Reds lay brown, and your classic Leg Horn lays white eggs?

Well, allow me to geek out and tell you all about it!All eggs start out white in the hen’s oviduct. The chickens that lay colored eggs have pigment deposited onto the egg as it travels through the oviduct, where your classic white egg layers do not deposit any color and let the egg travel though the oviduct with no alterations. The Ameraucana chicken releases the pigment ocyanin early in the development process which results in the exterior and interior color of the shell to be the same blue color. Chickens that lay brown colored eggs deposit the pigment protoporphyrin late in the chicken’s oviduct which is a result of just the exterior color to be brown and interior white. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, it gets cooler ???? Did you know that if you catch the egg right after it’s been laid and still wet you can change the exterior color back to it’s default white? However, once it is dry and the egg is set, no amount of washing, rubbing or spit shining will change the color of the egg.

Do you have a hot topic about chickens you’re just itching to find out? Let us know, we’d love to answer it for you.

More Information on Chicken Nutrition here https://www.lakesidecountrystore.com/product/purina-layena-crumbles-chicken-feed/

Introducing Horses to Spring Pastures

Keep your Horses healthy, as they transition to pasture this Spring.

Oh, hey. It’s Abby! You know what I love just as much as chickens? My horses! Yes, my horses (and my pet cow, Betsy. However, that’s a completely different story I’m not about to get into yet). I’ve got four, fantastic steads that have been yearning for the spring weather to arrive and their itch heavy coats to shed out. What’s even more important is their winter forage, grain, and workouts are changing as the pasture is growing and the workouts get more regular/longer.

I’m here to talk about some important nutrition steps to help out with any situation you and your horse are in! First of all, every horseman’s (horsewoman) situation is different. Some just have a dry lot all year around, some have pasture turn out, some are pasture summer and dry lot winter, and some have a stall barn with regular turnout/workouts. Whatever the case may be, most horses need feeding changes from winter to spring! Most horse owners know that switching from hay to fresh green pasture could pose a threat to a horse’s digestive system and can cause laminitis and or colic… But why? Well, lets dive a little bit deeper. In the spring when the days are warm and the nights are chilly, the grass produces more sugars to grow. The grass produces and burns the sugar in the day time when it’s sunny to grow and when it gets cold at night, the grass stores the sugar and it accumulates till the day time. This can cause your pasture grass to have high sugar levels.

Now, here is the kicker… Some pasture grasses when storing sugar at night they either store it as a starch or a fructan. What is that?! (My thoughts exactly) Fructan is similar to starch, the difference is that starch is comprised of strings of glucose molecules and is stored in the plan’s leaves. Fructan on the other hand consists of fructose and glucose and is stored in the plant’s stem. Both in high amounts are not good for horses. However, Fructan when consumed by horses gets processed in the horse’s hindgut through microbial fermentation. Excessive fermentation of fructan in the hindgut may trigger colic and or laminitis.

Okay, lets come back here for a minute and process all of this… To put it in perspective, if your grass contains 27% sugar and your horse is eating 20 lbs of pasture grass a day, that horse has eaten 5.4 pounds of sugar. ???? WOW! No peppermints for you!So. whether you are partial or full time pasture feeding, it is always a good idea to start introducing your horse to fresh spring grass slowly. The recommended amount is 30-1 hour of grazing for the first day, then increase the time by 5-10 minutes each day till you get to 4-6 hours per day total.

At this point, your horse is fully adapted to the spring pasture life! As the summer hits, grasses slowly change in the amount of carbohydrates and sugar levels. Because your horses are on spring grass, they should be able to adapt to summer grass with a breeze (a summer breeze that it). You can get your pasture grasses tested at your local extension office. Stay tuned for part two for spring grain/workout feeds!

Find more horse nutrition here.

https://www.lakesidecountrystore.com/product-category/feed/horse-feed/