Saddle Racks Installed!

March 23, 2019

My trailer tack room does not have a saddle rack built into it. In place of it I have had a folding saddle rack in it with three saddles piled on top of each other. The top one or two usually slide off when I drive, or on occasion all three. They tend to get bunched awkwardly or a flap is folded up and goes unnoticed. There is always a girth or non slip pad falling and going missing in the mess and requiring me to strip out the whole pile and everything around it to find said missing item. And of course I always need the saddle at the bottom of the stack. Murphy’s Law.

I’ve had this trailer for quite a few years and I practically live out of it on the weekends from April till November each year, and quite a bit through the off season too. That stupid folding stand takes up a chunk of space and always seemed to be in the way.

Why I never had the brilliant idea to put actual saddle racks into it until this winter is beyond me. But once the genius (and oh so obvious) idea struck, it was game on.

It took a while to enlist the husband and his handyman skills but today seemed to be the day he was ready to dive in.

I cleaned out the tack room so he would have room to work (I should have taken a before photo!). Mean while he stained a board and then attached the three racks to it.

Next he drilled holes into my trailer (ahhh!) and the board. I was pleasantly surprised he took which end of the bolts would be on the horse side into account. Then I was on one side and he was on the other and together we tightened the bolts and the rack into place.

And Done! I put the saddles up and the the other necessities back in. It’s shocking how much more space this created and that’s going to come in very handy when I pack it out for the season in two weeks!

Thank you Rich!

Product Review: LikIt!

September 27, 2018

Simon is still living alone and still bored and into mischief. With this in mind I remembered to pick up a LikIt refill and strung it up from a tree in his paddock.

I didn’t realize he had used it the first day I had him in the paddock. When I moved him back into it he walked right over to the tree and started licking away. That’s when I noticed he had already licked a good portion of it away.

Video of him licking his heart out.

He also enjoyed tossing it around, biting it, and just playing with it in general.

Video of him playing

I give the LikIt two thumbs up!

Review: Shires Feed Ball

September 20, 2018

Simon is one of those ponies that’s always into something. I can’t keep a halter or fly mask on him. He runs around with his feed pan in his mouth. He has been spotted standing partially in the water troth.  He chases his field mate with sticks and I can’t leave anything he can damage out in this field or anything he can reach through the fence.

He is a pony that gets bored very easily and he recently became an only pony so he no longer has a field mate to chase around and force to play with him. This means he has been extra mischievous lately.  He has broken into the hay room twice, rampaging through the hay, and tearing open bags of shavings.  He also started busting out the side of the run in.  I think he enjoys this because he can flap the metal sheets to make a lot of noise.

I was at Tractor Supply on Tuesday and I saw a Shires Ball Feeder in stock for $20. I’ve thought about getting one before and this felt like the right day to give it a try.

I was skeptical at first. Is it a pain to load? Does the feed just pour right out? Is it too difficult to get the feed out? Will my pony have interest?

Time to give it a try:

Last night I put Simon’s dinner into the ball. It poured in super easy. No mess. I shook it so he could hear his dinner inside and I sat it on the ground.

Here is a video of him trying it out for the first time.

He figured it out immediately and got some of his feed out in just a few pushes. He stopped and ate the feed he got out and then went back to pushing the ball around. Sometimes he flipped it quickly to the correct side, and other times it took him quite a few rolls to get just a little bit out.

He spent a good while rolling that ball around and eating his dinner. And his mischievous brain was occupied the whole time.

I found the ball easy to load, the grain came out in different amounts depending on his roll, and it kept him occupied and engaged. I also really enjoyed watching him.

I don’t think it would work in taller grass but it worked well in my small yard paddock where the grass is short.

When I stepped out onto my porch this morning, I found him rolling it around, with what sounded like one single grain pellet inside. I happily put a small handful in and gave it back to him. He was still rolling it around when I left for work a little later.

He did not seem frustrated at all, simply engaged.

I am going to continue giving him his dinner in the Feed Ball. And I am going to pick up some of the large pellet shaped horse treats to load it up with.

I am very satisfied with this purchase!

Product Review: HandsOn Grooming Gloves

February 6, 2018

A friend gifted me a pair of HandsOn grooming gloves this weekend that she picked up at the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo. I immediately gave them a try on my dog Daisy, who enjoyed the massaging effect, and I enjoyed the shedding out it did. But I was very excited to get a chance to try them out on my ponies when I got back home.

Today I gave them a go on Poe, who is just barely starting to shed ever so lightly. My husband just happened to be walking by right as I pulled Poe’s blanket off, giving me the perfect opportunity to snag him as a video operator!

I had used the right hand glove on Daisy at the expo, the left hand glove was fresh and unused. I have to say, the gloves pull the hair right off effortlessly. The little bumps pull the hair off the pony, but also let go of the hair so it doesn’t stay stuck to the glove.

I also tried them on Simon, who has not started to shed at all, and it did not pull hair, since non was shedding. But he did have a little dirt on his legs that the gloves pulled off very easily. I really liked how easy this was. The little leg grooves that some dirt was fitted into were so easy to clean by just running my hand over them. And his face. Simon always wants his face rubbed. He loves his face rubbed with the HandsOn gloves.

I was skeptical, and thought of these as sort of a gimmick. But I am impressed with these gloves. It’s sort of neat to just run your hands over the dirty and or hair areas and get them clean and pull off the hair, just with your hands. Both ponies and Daisy all seemed to really enjoy the massaging effect as well, which was just accomplished by petting.

I am excited to try them for bathing, which is one of the advertised uses. It’s a bit early in the season to bath the ponies but Daisy is a little in need of a bath…

A quick shot of the gloves after use on both ponies.

Thank you friend for the gift! You know who you are. They are much cooler than I expected. I can’t wait for full blown shedding to start.

Bitting Issues.  2017 Part One 

March 22, 2017

Going back about 6 years when I first brought Simon home, in love with my new pony, i had no idea what bitting trials I would go through with the beast.  He had been ridden in a Tom Thumb, which is what I tried him in.  He was ok.  I didn’t mess with his mouth much and was riding him along a road surrounded by ice in the Ohio mountains along the West Virginia boarder.  Not exactly ideal conditions.  Plus he was four years old, coming five with not much more than trail time under saddle although he had driving experience.  

I got home and began the bit trials.  I started with an egg butt.  Nope.  I tried happy mouths, Mullen mouths, jointed, French link, three rings and even Mullen happy three rings.  Nope nope and nope. 

He just did not like tongue and bar pressure.  

I settled with a three ring (and I honestly do not remember what the mouth piece was) as the leverage seemed to help.  I had a running martingale and a flash on him to make it at all functional.  I hated it. He hated it.  I was forcing him to accept something that very clearly made him uncomfortable.  

I was at a competition complaining about his stupid mouth and that I was out of ideas when a friend, Zoe, said hey, I have a Myler combination bit and it sounds like it will work for you.  It works on nose and pole pressure before tongue and bad pressure and the mouth piece is joined in a way so there is no “nutcracker” action.  So I shoved this supposed miracle bit on his face and climbed on.  

It was instant success.  He relaxed, dropped his head and I hardly had to touch his face for a response.  Happy pony, happy rider, I ordered this expensive piece of magic as soon as I got home.  

About a year later, his steering perfected, I moved him into a Little S hackamore and he has been one happy pony since.   I throw him back into the Myler combination bit on occasion when I don’t feel he is as responsive as I like, but generally we go about in his little blue hack and he is a dream.  

Flash forward to this spring.  I signed up to do a horsemanship trail challenge for this coming Saturday.  I am all excited and working on our flying change and dragging the dang log around (which is still proving to be the scariest part for this former driving pony).  On Monday I got an email with my ride time and the general info and rules.  I read through it all and realized that I can’t use his hackamore (no mechanical hackamores) and I cannot ride in my combination bit unless I choose to ride with one hand and not switch hands throughout the course.  (No shanked bits u less you ride one handed).  Well shucks, Simon neck reins just fine, but I am not skilled enough to do all this one handed (and not switch hands!). 

So I tried him in an egg butt on Tuesday.  It sucked.  I was on a trail ride so I wasn’t using much contact (or even holding my reins the whole time) but when I did touch his mouth he was so unhappy.  I needed to back up a few steps at one point and it was almost pointless trying. His tongue was out, his ears were back, and his head was twisted and in all the wrong directions.  

So I stopped at the amazing VTO on my way home. I took his Myler combination bit inside and one of the employees helped me pick out the closest possible bit without shanks.  I ended up with a level 2/3 loose ring.  Nearly the same mouth piece.  


Wednesday I tried the Myler loose ring.  And fail.   Simon bucked multiple times, ears pinned and tongue out.  He backed but it looked so sloppy.  He was unhappy and so was I.  I will say though it was better than he egg butt but still not a success. 


That night I took to Facebook and called on my horsey friends to help.  And my friends did not disappoint. So much amazing information and ideas were shared.  

I quick, Amazon Primed a jumping or hunter hackamore.  This is essentially a nose and with reins on the side.  Think riding in a fitted halter with a lead rope tied on. It comes tomorrow afternoon.  I have ridden Simon in one of these many years ago.  When I was ready to move him out of his Myler combination I borrowed one of these jumping hacks and an English mechanical hackamore from my friend Linda to try.  Simon liked the simple jumping hack but I get the English hack was a but better.  And in the end I ordered him the Little S that is his normal bit.  I am hoping to be able to ride him in it when it comes in the mail to see what I think.  


I was also offered to borrow my friend Dale’s Indian Hackamore. Unfortunately this particular hack is not allowed (no rope) for the even this weekend but I could see Simon liking it so I swung by his place and picked it up today and gave it a spin this evening.  


(Photo compliments of Dale) 

It has a mixed review.  I do think it is, at this point in the trials, the best option, although it’s not allowed.  But Simon was a little strong in it.  For walking and trotting we were good.  But when I had him pick up a canter he got a little excited and may have galloped away with me for a few strides.  He is super responsive to seat and legs so I tend to be very light with my hands with him but he still got me for a few strides.  Then he realized he could graze pretty easily and I started to feel like a little kid in need of grazing reins.  


I am going to ride in this again and I would like to take him on a trail ride with it.  And I actually wonder what Poe will think of it.

Also in retrospect I think I should try lowering it on his nose a little.  Looking at the photo above I think it might be a tad high.  

The Facebook post also got suggestions of the Dr Cook bitless bridle.  There were mixed reviews of these some people raving and some people less than impressed.   This morning I noticed a response in favor of these contraptions from Sam at the other semi local tack shop, Mad Tack.  Samantha has been super amazing and I totally value her opinions.  You may remember about two years ago I was having saddle fitting issues with Poe and she fitted him in a saddle and I love it and ride in it still.  She worked easily in my price range and was just amazing.  When I called to see what they had in stock she said, bring your pony here and we will get you sorted.  And she has been nothing short of amazing since then. 

So anyway, back to the topic, I called Samantha today and we talked and I am taking Simon in tomorrow to fit in him a bitless and give it a go.  Since they work on pole and nose pressure which I know he likes, it’s just if he is cool with the jaw pressure.   I am very hopeful that he will like this contraption and that it might be even more effective than his Little S.  

I’ll be reporting back with an update in part 2 soon!  

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