The Benefits of Beta Biothane

Two Horse Tack

Zelda models her Beta Biothane bridle from TwoHorseTack.com. Yes, I know here throat latch is on upside down!

Last year, shortly after Zelda came to my barn, she broke my Micklem bridle. She did it while I was tacking her up by deciding to leave. She was slow and deliberate. She knew I couldn’t stop her (she’s large) and she kept going, stepped on the reins and the stitching broke.

The bridle was fixable, but at that moment I decided that she wasn’t going to get another expensive leather bridle until she learned some manners. I found a nice looking Beta Biothane bridle from TwoHorseTack.com and bought it. I had no idea how much I would like it!

Let’s see, let me count the ways that I have come to appreciate the benefits of a high quality synthetic bridle — because these are very nicely made, indeed. They really changed my mind about using synthetic tack.

  1. It isn’t expensive. Zelda’s bridle was about $40 including shipping (it did not include reins). In fact, it’s such a good deal that I bought two more. Here’s a link to the bridle that they both wearing.
    Freedom in his Biothane Bridle

    Freedom modeling his Beta Biothane Bridle from Two Horse Tack.

    bridles, one for Freedom and one for Zelda. I keep them in my tack trunk in my trailer. I love having a spare that doesn’t break the bank and I know that sooner or later, having that spare will mean the difference between riding and not riding when I’ve shipped out somewhere.

  2. It isn’t cheap. This is a nicely made bridle that just happens to not be leather and which isn’t expensive. My horses look quite fine in their Two Horse Tack bridles. I’ve had a Wintec bridle in the past as a spare, but I like this one better. The material is softer and more supple — even after a year there are no cracks.
  3. The Beta Biothane is strong — but the buckles provide a “breaking point” to make it safe.
  4. They have buckle ends which I vastly prefer. They make it so much easier to swap out bits.
  5. Cleaning it is SO easy. Just dump it in a bucket of water while you’re cleaning the bit. I am lazy so this is a great benefit, especially in the summer when the horses come back sweaty and their tack is grimy. I no longer feel guilty about abusing my bridle and it always looks new.
  6. It doesn’t get dried out, brittle or moldy so it is carefree piece of tack. My tackroom tends to get damp in the summer or too dry when I use a humidifier so my leather tack requires a lot of care even when I’m not using it. Zelda’s bridle is more than a year old now and it looks brand new.

I’m considering getting some of the more flashy options for the future. Zelda, in particular, would look might nice with some bright colors or some bling! I’m looking forward to trying some of their other products and am sorry that I now longer have a horse that goes bitless because their sidepull bridles look very nice.

 

 

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Real World Equestrian Apps

Real World Equestrian Apps

Very funny article on the Chronicle of the Horse. Click on the photo to read the rest

On this July day it’s too hot here for me to ride. In fact too hot for the horses to spend much time out of the barns (their choice). Whenever I go over to the barn, they are standing in their stalls looking at me with an expression of irritation, like, can’t you please do something about this heat?

So, if you’re stuck looking for a cool place to pass your day, here’s a funny article from the Chronicle of the Horse. Maybe it will get your creative juices flowing and you’ll come up with your own Real World Equestrian App!

Another Craig’s List Gem

Craig's List ad

Own your own rare Przewalki horse? This cute gelding is

Who knew that you could buy your own, rare Przewalki horse for a mere $600? Only on Craig’s list!

The ad says,
This horse is rare if you look it up they are critically endangered and they have them in zoo’s (sic). This horse will walk up to you in the field and sometimes he can get aggravating because he will stay right beside you all the time.

You have to give them credit for knowing about the breed and spelling it correctly, but the only things that poor horse has in common with a Przewalski horse is four legs, a tail and a mane with a Mohawk trim.

EQUUS FERUS PRZEWALSKI

Here is what the “real” Przewalski horse looks like. Not even close.

In fact the Przewalki horse, which is native to Mongolia, is one of the only true “wild” horses (as opposed to feral horses, such as mustangs, which are descended from domestic horses that escaped).  Hardly a breed that could ever be described as “kid broke”.

The breed was considered to be  extinct in the wild in 2008 and there are about 1500 of them alive today.  All Przewalski horses in the world are descended from nine horses that are descended from 15 captured horses captured around 1900. So, if this really is a Przewalski’s horse then it needs to scooped up right away because he is priceless! The ad doesn’t say but I hope they didn’t cut the family jewels off. A Przewalski horse gelding just wouldn’t cut it.

Don’t get me wrong — he’s a cute, scruffy little horse that seems to be in good weight, but it would take a real leap of faith to turn him into a Przewalski’s horse.

 

Repurposing your equestrian equipment

Stirrup leather leash

Two stirrup leathers make a surprisingly good leash.

If you’re like me, you have plenty of horse stuff in your car — all the time. But perhaps not the other things you might need.

This weekend we went to the beach. I packed the car with everything I needed . . .  except a leash for my dog. Luckily (and predictably) I had two stirrup leathers in the trunk. They make a surprisingly good leash!

I’ve made similar good use of baling twine and an old set of reins (perhaps I should buy a few actual leashes?).

A fleece saddle pad makes a comfortable dog bed and braiding rubber bands are handy for human hair, too.

What about you? What do you re-purpose from your horse supplies?

 

A ride through history

Martha-Mary Chapel

The Martha-Mary Chapel was built by boys from the Wayside Inn Boys’ School operated by Henry Ford on the Wayside Inn property. Wood for the building came from trees felled by the historic hurricane of 1938.
The Martha- Mary Chapel is one of six non-denominational chapels built around the country as a tribute to Henry and Clara Ford’s mothers, Martha Bryant and Mary Litogot Ford.

 

Living outside of Boston we are surrounded by history. Today, the Old North Bridge Hounds rode out of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass. The Inn has been open since 1716 but it became famous when  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made the tavern the gathering place of his 1863 book, Tales of a Wayside Inn (at the time Longfellow visited, it was called the Red Horse Tavern). The enormous popularity of the book caused generations of poets, artists and readers to seek out the landmark and, judging by the number of people there today, it’s still a big draw. The link above is to a PDF version of the poems and well worth the read.

In the 1920s, the Inn was preserved by Henry Ford as a living museum of American history. For a time he also ran a boys’ school from the property.

On the grounds of the Inn is another famous structure — the Wayside Inn Grist Mill. It was commissioned by  Ford and designed by renowned hydraulic engineer J.B. Campbell of Philadelphia. The Mill ground its first grain on Thanksgiving Day 1929 but it’s real claim to fame is that starting in 1952, The Mill provided stone-ground

whole wheat flour to Pepperidge Farm! The Grist Mill produced 48 tons of whole wheat flour a month—approximately 9,000 tons of whole wheat flour during the 15 years of the lease arrangement. Later, the Mill produced flour for the King Arthur Flour Company.

This was the trail approaching the Grist Mill. The water wheel made a real racket which made crossing the bridge a challenge.

This was the trail approaching the Grist Mill. The water wheel made a real racket which made crossing the bridge a challenge.

But enough history. Today we were invited to the Inn for a ride through the surrounding trails and a lunch in one of the historic dining rooms. 20 horses and riders rode out from the grounds, past the front door of the Inn and over to the Grist Mill. We wore our cubbing attire and drew quite a crowd!

I had brought Zelda and was glad with the choice, especially when it came to the Grist Mill. Imagine riding up to a building with a working water wheel and a narrow wooden bridge surrounded by tourists who were fascinated by the horses . . . It took a lot of coaxing to get the horses over that bridge.

Zelda was very brave and didn’t put up too much of a fuss. I think she was more bothered by the

The Grist Mill

The Grist Mill provided flour to Peppridge Farm and King Arthur Flour! We stopped here for a photo ap

loose board on the bridge than the waterfall, but there were certainly a lot of interesting things going on and with so many people watching, we wanted everyone to stay safe.

After the requisite photo op, we headed off onto the trails and had a very pleasant ride. It was a beautiful warm day and there was a piney smell in the air.

I forgot to turn on my GPS tracker, but we probably rode about 8 miles. Then it was back to the Inn for lunch.

What a great way to spend the day: horses, friends, great weather and good food!

Heading back to the Inn we rode through some magnificent properties

Heading back to the Inn we rode through some magnificent properties

 

 

Making friends

Freedom is pretty pleased that we decided to keep Zelda. He is, in fact, quite taken with her. She enjoys the attention . . . up to a point. He can be a bit too persistent, leaving her begging to go back in her stall. To give them the chance to get to know each other, awhile ago I let him hang out in her paddock, giving her the option to retreat back into the safety of her stall. But I think she’s starting to like him.

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When rocks move

snapping turtle

When Freedom first spotted the snapping turtle he went on to high alert. I know it looks small in the photo but in real life? It was a monster.

It’s the time in the spring when the turtles lay their eggs. Many of them choose the field where we ride. Some of them are small, cute painted turtles. When they see a horse coming, their immediate response is to draw in all appendages and stay very still.

Some of them are snapping turtles. They are larger, a lot less cute, and have much more attitude. The exude a “don’t mess with me” vibe.

That’s what we encountered today.

Freedom and I were warming up in the field next to the barn when he spotted it: a moving rock. On closer inspection it was a snapper. She did not look amused that we had interrupted her while she was laying her eggs. I know she looks tiny in the photo, but believe me when I say that in real life, she was big and very prehistoric looking.

One minute we were cantering and the next we were at a dead stop, with Freedom snorting, every muscle tensed and ready to run. That was one scary rock because it was moving. Not much, mind you, but just enough for him to notice. He was pretty sure that it was dangerous, and maybe he had a point. He made darned sure that we came nowhere near it while we waited for Lindsay and Curly.

snapping turtle

Curly was much braver. She got right up next to the turtle.

didn’t seem so scary to Curly, who walked right up to it and gave it a good once over. Bolstered by her bravery, we got maybe 20 feet away, but no closer.

Freedom was on edge for the rest of our ride, especially going through the tall grass. He’s never liked riding through unmown fields and today he felt completely justified at spooking every time he heard a rustle or saw a small movement out of the corner of his eye. After all, those fields had to be full of turtles!