Submit your post to the 2014 November Blog Carnival of Horses

Blog Carnival of HorsesOn November 3, Equine Ink will host the 2014 November Blog Carnival of Horses. Please submit your post here by end of day on November 2nd. You might also have noticed the on-going Blog Carnival on Equine Ink’s Facebook page. Using RSS feeds, that page now works as a  curated page, adding links to each of the posts from our participating equestrian blogs.

The Blog Carnival — and now the Facebook Page — is a great way to get more exposure for your blog and to find new blogs to read. The curated page is on-going, so you will never miss another post of your favorite blog!

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When your horse won’t load

I think we’ve all been there. You know, standing behind your trailer with the ramp down and your horse’s feed firmly planted on terra firma, determined not to move even an inch. The Clinton Anderson video above offers some good advice for how to load the difficult horse. Not the horse that is genuinely scared; the horse that decides it just doesn’t want to get on.

None of my horses came to me as “good loaders”, in fact I can remember a few epically long mornings and afternoons where I was determined not to quit until the horse was standing on the trailer. Years ago I missed an event because of trailering issues, and I had an “exciting” experience with Freedom the first time I trailered him alone — and he realized that he was alone!

Thankfully, all my horses have gotten over it and now cheerfully hop on and ride quietly. I guess they’ve figured out that trailering usually means that we’re going to do something fun.

Today, I saw a first. A horse that had been trailered to the hunt refused to get on the trailer to go home. After more than an hour of bribery, cajoling and threatening, the owner decided to ride him home. 9 miles. After hunting. Thank goodness it was a beautiful day.

Since we’ve all been there, we also know that lots of people helping you try to load your recalcitrant horse is not always a recipe for success. Too many people, too many brooms or other flying objects can just get your horse worked up. The worst case scenario is when someone gets hurt. But even the best case scenario can get a bit dicey.

My main techniques for successful loading are:

  • Start with lots of ground work. If your horse won’t lead well, it probably won’t load either. Practice, practice, practice.
  • If your horse balks, back him up. Not just three or four steps, but maybe 50 feet. Walk forward, back up, turn, halt, repeat. Backing up is usually harder for a horse and it makes going forward more attractive.
  • Load another horse first. Friends make trailering less scary (and yes, when I was teaching Freedom to trailer without trying to jump out the front door, I often loaded a companion to take along for the ride).
  • Put a chain over the horse’s nose. Some people don’t like this, and I’m not advocating that you yank on the chain and cause damage to your horse’s nose, but a little extra leverage can be very convincing.
  • Bribery. I’m not a huge advocate for using food to get your horse to load, but sometimes it’s the most expedient way to get them on.

A few posts where I’ve addressed loading issues before include:

Trailering Safely: Loading Tips

Getting my Problem Horse to Load

Have any of you had a horse that really, truly wouldn’t get on a trailer? What did you do?





Saturdays are for hunting

After a week of rain, clouds and raw, fall weather, Saturday was a gift: high 50s, sunny and perfect for hunting. Friday I debated which horse to hunt (nice problem!) and decided that since I hadn’t ridden Freedom since Tuesday, he would be too much of a handful. Zelda was pretty feisty too — to the point where I wondered if today would be the day she bucked me off.

But I underestimated her. She was great. I’ve been easing her into jumping while hunting and she was fabulous. I couldn’t stop grinning.

Here are some of the photos from the day — and also a short video that I took to capture the sound of hunting. Our huntsman was calling the hounds in at the end of the run and you can hear them in the background.


This was the route we rode on Saturday. We hunted the first two pieces and then hacked back to the beginning. It was a little over 6 miles.

Fall Foliage

The foliage was still pretty even after several days of rain.

Zelda at Delaney

Waiting for the cast. Zelda is very keen about hunting but she was remarkably well behaved, especially given how little I was able to ride the for the days up to the hunt. (Photo credit: Suzanne Adams)

Hunt Whip

Another beautiful hunt whip!

Gone Home

The huntsman calling in the hounds with “Gone Home”. I love how the light catches the horn.

Over the pond

At the end of the hunt, we gathered overlooking the pond.



31 years and holding

Who said that Thoroughbreds can’t jump? If you look at the jumper ring today, most of the horses you’ll see are warmbloods. When I was growing up, almost all the jumpers were Thoroughbreds. It just so happens that the horse that set inside Puissance record (back in 1983) was Sweet ‘n Low, a 17.1 hand Thoroughbred ridden by Anthony d’Ambrosio. The pair cleared 7’7 1/2″. I can’t even imagine riding down to a wall like that and having a horse that would consider it a jump! The record still stands.

Equine Ink is now on Facebook

Equine Ink on Facebook

Head on over to Facebook and visit our new page. It’s a perpetual Blog Carnival of Horses, populated with links to all the new posts from your favorite blogs. Want to be included? Just let me know in the comments section below.

For a long time I’ve reposted my blog posts on my personal Facebook page, but about 10 days ago I decided to give Equine Ink it’s own page and a slightly different mission.

For a couple of years now I’ve hosted the Blog Carnival of Horses once a month. It’s a popular feature — and no wonder, it gives you a plethora of great blog posts to read in a single, curated location. I’ll still host the Carnival here, but to make it easier to read lots of great blogs all the time, I set up the Equine Ink Facebook page as a constant Carnival. Using RSS feeds, I’ve linked in all the blogs that have submitted to recent Carnivals and I’ll continue to add more.

Each posting provides the first sentence of the post and a link to the original blog posting. So head on over to Facebook, check out our new page and please “Like” it. Then you’ll be notified every time a new blog post hits the boards.

If you are interested in participating in the “Perpetual Blog Carnival” just leave a comment below. Likewise, if you want me to remove your Blog from the FB page, I’m happy to do so. In the meantime, enjoy the collection of Blogs and don’t blame me if you spend far too much time reading them!

Hedge hopping Tips

One of my dreams/nightmares is to go hunting in England or Ireland. While I feel fairly competent about navigating the territories that I hunt, hunting in the UK is an entirely different proposition.

Hedge Hopping

Blackthorn and Brooks offers foxhunting holidays (and some tips for Americans who might find some of the obstacles a tad intimidating).

Here’s a video that was put together by Blackthorn & Brook, a company that organizes riding and foxhunting vacations in England, that gives you some tips on “Hedge Hopping”. Certainly their rider makes it look easy enough and her advice is sound — strong legs, light hands and sit up! Of course, if it were me galloping down to one of those hedges, the loudest sound would be the beating of my heart.

Certainly, if I ever get up the nerve to try this, it’s going to be on a horse that already knows how to do it!

Watch the video and also read their blog post on Hedge Hopping Tips, then let me know if it’s in your future.

If this whip could talk

Hunt Whip

This hunt whip belongs to hostess of our hunt on Saturday. She was a the Master of the Fox Hounds at the Millwood Hunt Club (which disbanded in 1969), a predecessor of Old North Bridge Hounds and it was gifted to her by the Millwood Hunt Field Members. One of our members carried it on Saturday and told me,  “She graciously lets me use it. I wanted to take it with me on Saturday. It has crossed the Framingham territory many times in the past. Many more than I probably ever will!”  What a lovely piece of history to carry with you.