Well spring is officially here this week. And I thought it would be a good idea to get ready for riding season. If you are like me, and don’t have access to an indoor arena, you are probably excited about the better weather coming. And if you are like me, you are a planner. You will want to have everything ready to go so you can get out and work with your horse.
So I want to share 15 ways to get your barn ready for spring, a giving you extra time in the saddle.
Get Rid Of The Clutter
This is a great place to start. Declutter your barn. You can pull everything out, and really look at everything you have. Do you use it? Is it safe? Does it need to be replaced? Take everything out, and decide what you need to keep, and what you don’t. It also helps to have a notebook and pen to write down things you may need to replace.
You can separate everything into piles, things to keep, things to see, things to donate. One thing I like to do to keep my tack collection in check is to go through what I have, and for every new thing I buy, two things need to go away. This helps me to keep my collection in check.
Bring In Some Fresh Scents
This may sound silly. But for me, there are certain scents that make me happy. Horses, leather, good hay and shavings are some of my favorite scents. But I also love essential oils. So this is the time of year when I bring in some essential oil scents.
I absolutely love the Bug Pellent Hang Ups. So I stock up on the refill cartridges for the hangers I already have. And then I replace all of the hanger cartridges.
The scent that fills my little red barn and my horse stalls is incredible. And it helps to keep flying insects out of my barn and tack room. Having a well organized tack room, with the awesome scent of mixed essential oils is pure heaven for me.
Wash All Of Your Saddle Pads
When I was taking photos of my new Weatherbeeta half pad, I noticed how dirty my LeMieux saddle pad was (and my saddle). So spring time is a great time to get those saddle pads clean! It isn’t difficult to wash most saddle pads. I just throw mine in the washer, and then hang them outside to dry.
I have to wash my fancy fleece pad all by itself. But still, having clean saddle pads is always a good thing.
Then you can figure out a way to hang all those beautiful pads so they are ready to go when the weather decides to cooperate.
Clean All Of Your Tack
Can you see why I told you to take everything out of your tack room (or locker) now? Once you have everything pulled out, set up a cleaning station. If you need some motivation to do this, and the weather is mild, do it in your barn, or outside. And really clean everything. Saddles, bridles, bits, boots, and well everything else that you have. Make it sparkle!
And don’t put everything back quite yet, you want to have your tack room all ready and clean before you put everything back in it’s place.
During the winter, all of my tack lives inside my house. And before I take everything back outside to the tack room, I make sure everything is clean and conditioned. This way everything is ready for when I get a few moments to myself and I can ride.
Add More Storage
I am always looking at different ways to not only add more storage to my little red barn, but to make the most of the space that I have. So my tack/feed room has undergone many, many transformations in my quest to have the most effective area to store my tack, and my feed.
And when I am at a loss for ideas, I will often do a google search for dream tack rooms, or small tack rooms. I find it helpful to motivate my brain into finding ways to make the most of my space. And my latest find is a wall blanket rack.
I did find a really cool portable blanket rack that you can buy from Lyons Woodworking. And I thought this would be really cool to make. But that would mean I have to buy more wood on order to make it. I don’t like to buy more stuff if I don’t need it. Ok, I do like to buy stuff. But I would rather buy horse tack and gadgets to test out than buying wood for building a new piece of furniture.
So the other night while I was filling hay bags, I was looking at the front end of my barn, and wondering how could I utilize the space better. My decision was to remove the bulky pieces of furniture and add more wall organization. Unfortunately, this doe mean adding some sort of covering to the bare walls. And by covering up the bare 2 x 4’s with a solid surface means I have more room to hang stuff on the walls.
It also gives me more opportunity to rearrange the furniture I have in my tack room to utilize the space to it’s fullest potential.
And while I don’t want to get rid of the furniture quite yet, I did move it back to the back of the little red barn because they do offer more storage space for everything I have collected.
Organize Your Grooming Kits
How many grooming kits do you have? I have 5 grooming totes, and 1 ultimate grooming tote. Yes, that’s a lot. But I find if I keep my grooming totes organized,it’s easier.
So take all of your grooming tools, and grooming boxes and dump everything out. Clean out your kits and then organize them.
If you have more than one kit, organize what you will need in each kit. You could have a shedding season kit, a wintertime grooming kit, a show kit, and well whatever other kind of kit you want.
Clean All The Buckets
Keeping your horses buckets clean is important. And well, during the winter I do get lazy about this.
But take the time to clean your horse’s buckets. Or if it’s easier to replace them do it.
For my horses, inside their stalls I have the insulated bucket holders. And while they aren’t the greatest for keeping the water ice free I do like having them as an added water source for my horses.
But the buckets that go inside are 2 years old. The handles are cracked, and Frisby has decided to turn his bucket into a chew toy. I found that the Home Depot 5 gallon buckets fit great and are affordable at $3.25 each. So I bought some new buckets for their stalls. I will figure out something I can use the old buckets for later.
Organize Your Tack Room
Ok, so I kind of went over this with adding storage. But it’s important enough to talk about twice.
If everything you have in your tack room has a place to live, and you always put it back, it will keep your tack room neat and tidy. And I don’t know about you, but I love looking at an organized space no matter where it is.
And while it may not be a traditional way to organize, I found wood to make use of the walls that I have. Then I can hang up blankets…
I am so excited about how I was able to make this happen! And this is why I don’t throw things away. OK, I didn’t really throw it away because it was a chore. BUT I recycled some old wood flooring that we had and used it to make a solid wall in my little red barn.
I was able to make the space more usable, and look decent too. And I didn’t throw away something that could be repurposed for another project.
It not only makes my tack room look good, but it adds another level of insulation to the little red barn.
Add A Grooming Station
If you have a space to tie and groom your horse, it makes tacking up a lot easier. When we first moved to our home over 10 years ago it was pretty bare. And I didn’t believe in myself enough to add improvements. So I would tie Frisby to my horse trailer for tacking up. And it worked. I just kept my tack and grooming stuff in my horse trailer and would take him out to the trailer to groom and tack up.
But I wanted a ‘real’ hitching post. So I decided to make one. And while this is very helpful for a lot of reasons, there was something missing, footing. The ground gets so muddy, and irregular. And I could have put gravel, or just continued to make due but that’s not how I work.
So I invested $50.00 and added two stall mats. It gives me a clean area to groom my horses. And if it snows I can simply wipe away the moisture and the mats are good as new!
I also added a screw eye and made a portable saddle rack with a hook for my bridle. I can bring out my grooming tote, saddle and bridle and have everything in one place to tack my horses up. It really is a time saver when it comes to getting my horse ready to ride.
Hang Up Some Art
Sometimes adding some art to the walls really makes the space. You can find ready made signs at the dollar store, or you can add some of your favorite photos of your horse. These can also help others identify your horses.
Or make some of your own art and hang it on the walls, like this equestrian themed dream catcher I made.
Install New Hooks
When it comes to a tack room, or feed room, you can never have enough hooks. No matter how many hooks I have, I find that I can always use more.
And think about where you are putting them to help you stay efficient as well as giving everything a home. And if you put them somewhere that they don’t really work, move them.
Stock Up On The Essentials
If you find yourself running out of fly spray, or hoof oil during the summer, stock up on it now. This is also a good time to go through your first aid kit and make sure it is in good shape. Horses always seem to find a way of getting hurt. So it’s important to have a well stocked first aid kit in your barn.
Go through your first aid kit and make sure you have what you need. If you don’t have it, buy it. This is one part of my horse care I don’t skimp on. I am fortunate enough that I work in a medical office. I am also certified in advanced wound care. And when we have products and dressings at work that are expired I bring them home. Even if a dressing is expired, it will still help my horses.
Refresh Your Jumps
If you have your own jumps, this is a great time to go through your equipment. And if you wanted to refresh them, or try a new striping pattern on your rails this is a great time to do it.
Since I was cleaning everything out of my tack room, and moving some stuff into my jump locker, I took some of my rails into my garage so I could paint them. My garage is more like my workshop. And the only vehicle that has a permanent spot is our tractor.
So it makes sense to bring on my jumps and give them a new paint job. Because soon I will be riding (and jumping) and I would rather spend the warm days in my arena instead of in my garage.
And while it’s still cold, it isn’t as cold as it was a month ago. So when it’s snowing outside, I can be in my garage dreaming of afternoon schooling sessions while I am painting and updating my jumps.
Get Your Arena In Shape
If you are lucky enough to have a riding arena, this is a great time to get it ready for the upcoming riding season.
When we built our arena last year, I didn’t get to use it as much as I would have liked to. I wasn’t able to ride as much last summer because of having surgery in late May. So I wasn’t to concerned with not having enough footing in my arena.
But this summer I have big plans for my horses. Which means I will be using the arena a lot. And we need more sand.
When we made the arena, we drug out the sand that we had to fill the larger space. But this made the footing very shallow. And the sand that we had was really breaking down and getting very dusty. SO much so that I bought soil conditioner to help keep the dust down. That was a wasted purchase honestly.
In about a month we will be buying about 10 tons of sand for my arena. But until then, I want to make the most of the ground I have. And right now there is a lot of mud and divets from the horses being out there and playing in the yucky ground.
And even though it’s a little sloppy, I want to even everything out. So that means it’s time to bust out the tractor and arena drag and the ripper. I love the ripper tool. It helps to rip through the dirt, and then the drag helps to even everything out. And while it isn’t perfect, it is a lot better than what it was. So I’ll take it. That way if the opportunity does present itself that I can ride for a bit, my arena will be ready.
Deep Clean The Stalls
This is also a great time to really clean out your stalls, and in my case, my paddocks. The temperature has risen enough that all of the snow is melting, turning my horses pens into a poop-mud mess. I say poop mud because that’s what it is, poop mud.
I am fairly good about keeping my horses stalls clean for them to have a dry place to live in the winter. But the manure freezes to the ground making it really difficult to keep clean.
But when the weather somewhat cooperates, my husband helps me and we use the tractor to get the paddocks looking MUCH better.
Then I get excited and clean the stall walls, and really deep clean their stalls.
Another project I have for this summer is to buy stall mats for their stalls. But this will cost me around $800.00 for the mats and to bring in some gravel to level everything out. And it will be a big project. So right now I am just keeping their stalls as clean as I can until I can afford to get the stalls how I want them to be.
Bring On The Summer
While it’s not quite time to be having daily riding time with my boys, it is time to prepare for it. Because preparing for it now will make the summer even better. So instead of just wishing the warmer weather to get here, I am staying buys in preparation for it.
Hopefully I have given you some ideas of what you can do while you are waiting for better weather too. And now that you have a list of things to do, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get ready for spring!
On Wednesday of this week, our local weather forecasters were warning us that there was a blizzard forming over our area, and that it would be bad. They called it a ‘Bomb Cyclone’ and before this week, I don’t think I had ever heard of such a weather condition before. However today, I now know what a Bomb Cyclone is.
And the weirdest thing was on Tuesday, the temperature was 70 degrees when I went to lunch. But as predicted, when I got ready to go to work Wednesday morning, it was raining. They said that would happen. There would be rain, thunder and lightening, and then late in the morning, the wind would come and the rain would turn to snow.
The Bomb Cyclone
In anticipating the storm, almost every school district was closed, and the newscasters were warning us that it was going to get bad and we should all stay home. Unfortunately, the company I work for didn’t head this warning.
I tried to plan for my Wednesday work day though, I called in every patient that was on my schedule for me to see Wednesday and I saw them on Monday or Tuesday. I didn’t want the people I care for getting stuck, or slipping and falling on their way to their post operative visits.
I also was planning of getting stuck at work, so I packed an overnight bag and made sure I had everything in my car, just in case I didn’t make it home but rather got stuck in my car.
I also planned ahead with my horses. Early Wednesday morning they both got their blankets put back on, and were kept in their pens for the day.
By the time I got to work the rain had changed over to snow, and the wind was intense. I watched the weather deteriorate out the office windows. The snow was starting to get thick and stick to the roads. You could see the snow come in bands as the wind pushed it around. Then around 9:30 AM my nurse manager came around and let us know we would be closing at noon. oh, and we were also told we would be paid for the day even though we were going home. Which was awesome, I wouldn’t have to use PTO for going home.
And I have driven to work during a blizzard, and then got stuck at work and had to get a hotel room. But I have never driven home in a blizzard, nor had I ever experienced white out conditions while driving, until Wednesday.
Now I have to say, I am the biggest chicken in the world when it comes to driving in the snow. I am the one people are flipping off and passing on a two lane road because I drive very cautiously and slow.
Driving In A Blizzard
Ok, I would never advise this, and I will never do this again. Because driving when the snow is blowing, and you can’t see anything but white is the scariest thing I have ever done. I am sure that I had a guardian angel keeping my car on the road, and keeping me moving forward.
I even had a county plow truck pull in front of me on the way home and this helped so much. I couldn’t see 2 feet in front of me. I couldn’t tell if I was on the road, or on the shoulder. I couldn’t see the road period. But when that plow truck was in front of my car with his flashing lights, I could briefly see these through the wind gusts! And as I slowly followed him up the road to my last turn before turning into my subdivision I was saying “please turn right, please turn right!” Because if he turned right, I would be able to follow him the rest of the way home. And I think God heard my plea, because the snow plow turned right.
I have never been so happy, and I felt a renewed sense of strength that I could do this, and I would get home. And about an hour later, I did get home. My entire drive usually takes me 45 minutes from door to door. On this drive, just the 2 1/2 mile stretch of where I turned right, behind the plow truck, this took me 45 minutes. And most of the drive, I had my emergency flashers flashing as I crawled down the county road. I have never been happier to turn into my subdivision.
Home Safe And Sound
I was so happy to be home! I cannot tell you how happy I was. And after I changed my clothes, I went and checked on the horses. They were doing ok, and for the first time in a long time, they both stayed in their stalls.
By the early evening, I went to check on them again and Frisby was shivering. His blanket was literally frozen and his heads and neck were wet. He even had snow and ice on his eyelashes.
Since Frisby destroys blankets, I do have a lot of extra blankets. SO I took a fleece cooler that I put on him, and then added a second blanket that I had to piecemeal together to keep it on him. He didn’t even argue with me.
I gave him hay on the ground to get him eating, which in turn would make him warm up, and then I added extra hay to their hay nets.
By the time I got done messing around with the blankets, he had been eating for a bit, and the shivering had stopped. Ethan on the other side was doing well. His blanket was not frozen, and he had stayed tucked into his stall. So aside from a little wetness on his neck, he was perfectly fine.
Getting A Head Start
And even though I got the afternoon off from work, I knew we wouldn’t be as lucky for Thursday. And the snow was really piling up. I was not looking forward to shoveling it at all. So my husband decided to use the tractor to clear the snow from our driveway.
It was still snowing and blowing, but we thought we would get a head start on the clean up.
He made fast work of the driveway with the tractor. We did have a little incident with my car, but it is just a scratch. And if that is the worst thing that happens from this blizzard, I’m ok with that.
I woke up Thursday morning with every intention to go to work, but the blizzard quickly changed those plans. Every single road in my county were closed. No one was supposed to go anywhere.
Over 100 people were stranded in their cars, and the governor had declared a state of emergency, sending out the national guard to rescue stranded motorist.
I kept my boss updated, but even though the roads were closed, we are expected to get to work or we go without pay. They have a new policy they instituted that if it is a bad weather day, and you don’t come to work, you don’t get paid, even if you have vacation time you can take to do so.
So basically, my employer wants me to break the law, and drive on closed roads, risk getting stuck and adding to the problem. No thanks, I’ll take the day without pay and stay safe.
After The Storm
And I felt like I was playing hookie from school. I took my camera out and posted loads of photos on Facebook, and kept sending pictures to her to show her, it really was that bad. You would think that video of people being rescued by snowcats on the county roads making national news would be enough proof, but nope, it wasn’t. She was like “so you’re coming in right?” And I told her I was, as soon as it was legal for me to go on the roads.
And the photos I captured aren’t the greatest, but I think they show a little bit of what we were dealing with.
Frisby’s stall always gets the worst of it. And this is why I want a ‘real’ barn. But even if I don’t get my dream barn, I am going to do something this summer like add a front wall, or something to keep the snow from getting into his stall.
This just makes me so sad. But Frisby is a trooper, and he seemed to take it all in stride.
And once he was blanket free, he showed his happiness!
The Clean Up
Well, by Thursday afternoon, the wind had settled down, so we got to work with cleaning everything up. It isn’t very much fun to tromp through thigh high snow to get to the horses, and the chickens.
So my husband pulled out the tractor, and I my trusty shovel to get the snow out of the way.
He has to get hay on Friday, and trying to get a truckload of hay out to the barn would have been impossible with the snow drifts. SO he took care of that with his tractor.
And because I did prepare for this storm a little bit, I had been getting my horses pen cleaned out before the snow came. And while it will take a bit of time for everything to melt, they have already made fast work of the snow filled pens.
I am glad this storm is over. And I am even more happy that they are forecasting sunny weather for the next week or so. Time will tell however, because March and April are our snowiest months of the year.
Hopefully this will be the only blizzard though! For those of you getting ready to be hit by this bomb cyclone, my heart is with you. Hopefully none of us will see a storm like this again!
Do you have metal saddle racks in your barn? I do. And one thing that really bothers me about these saddle racks is the indentations that happen when I leave my saddle on one of these racks.
I don’t know if the marks that happen have any long term effects on my saddles, but I don’t think it’s a good thing. So I decided to do something about it. And the fix is a lot easier than it may seem!
Metal Saddle Racks
A couple of years ago, I decided to buy metal saddle racks for my barn. They are cheap, and they work. I have made my own wall saddle rack too. But the metal kind are cheap to buy, and there isn’t any labor involved other than hanging them up on the wall.
And if you change up how your tack room works (like I do) you can move the racks easily.
There are many different manufactures who sell these racks, and you can usually find them for less than $20.00
But while the racks are cheap, when you rest your saddle on them for any length of time, there are indentations on the panels of the seat of the saddle. And while the saddle rack is cheap, most likely your saddle isn’t.
You could put a saddle pad under your saddle before setting it on the rack. But sometimes that isn’t a good option, especially if your saddle pad is in the wash and you only have one saddle pad.
However I have a solution that is affordable, and permanent. And it can be done for $1.00.
The Pool Noodle Solution
The coolest option I have discovered for decreasing the risk of damage to my saddle is a pool noodle. Yep, a pool noodle. And pool noodles have so many uses other than what they were intended for, especially for equestrians.
I was very excited a couple of weeks ago when I went to Wal-Mart and they had started bringing in their summer items. And I found several different sizes of pool noodles. The one I chose to buy cost me a whopping $0.94. I bought 4 of them.
I have other pool noodle ideas running through my head right now, so I needed to make sure I had some! If you can’t find the pool noodles locally, they do have pool noodles for sale on Amazon. But they are a little more expensive. I found this set of five noodles for $10.55.
But the material and the shape of these noodles is perfect for my project.
How To Improve A Saddle Rack
First, make sure your saddle rack is clean. If it’s dusty, the pool noodle will not adhere to the metal. So wipe away all the dust. If it’s really dirty, wash it and allow it to dry.
Then cut the pool noodle into smaller more manageable pieces. And when you attach the pieces, you will only be using 1/2 of the noodle itself, so you can CAREFULLY cut the noodle pieces in half. I prefer to use a Subway sandwich knife. They aren’t horribly sharp but the serrated edge works great to cut the foam.
And when you cut the noodle in half, the inner open area fits perfectly onto the saddle rack! It’s like it was meant to do this! I love it!
Now that you have smaller pieces to work with, fit the pieces unto your saddle rack. Using a marker, draw a line on the foam of where it needs to be cut to set onto the rack. Cut the pieces out.
Then using an adhesive, I like E6000 craft adhesive, and run it along the inside of the foam you will be attaching to the saddle rack. You don’t need a lot, and then put the noodle pieces onto the rack. And to make sure it adheres, go ahead and set your saddle onto your new and improved saddle rack.
If you have clamps, you can use them to help hold the foam in place. Or you can use the weight of your saddle will help to hold the foam pieces down while the glue dries the foam in place permanently, onto the saddle rack.
Even if you have more than one saddle rack, one pool noodle should be enough for you to do this to at least 2 saddle racks. So you can improve your metal saddle racks, and not have any bar imprints on your saddle for less than $1.00. Not too bad for an afternoon project, wouldn’t you agree?
Well since winter is holding on I decided to do an inside project for today’s blog post, and video. I haven’t made stall sings for a while, and it’s an easy project. So I thought I would walk you through how I make a stall name plate (or sign) for my horses.
This is a fun project that is so easy to make. Especially if you are like me and have a lot of random wood taking up space in your garage!
Home Made Stall Sign
Making these signs were an easy afternoon project. And while I had everything I needed to make these already, I have provided some links throughout this blog post in case you want to make these, and need the supplies to do it yourself. The links included in this article may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase I might receive a small commission which allows me to continue to do what I do on my blog.
You can use whatever wood you have, but I happen to have some MDF molding that I had left over from another project. The piece that I had was long enough for me to make 2 signs. One for Frisby, and one for Ethan.
I cut out the wood to be 14″ long. And then I drilled some starter holes for where I will attach the name signs. I wanted to do this before I sanded the wood. Then I sanded the wood smooth. To get it really smooth, first I used 120 grit sand paper and then 220 grit sand paper.
There were some slight imperfection in the wood, but I wasn’t too worried about it.
I love the color of this paint, and while I was wishing it would be a true foil finish, I knew it probably wouldn’t be as shiny as it was on the can lid. So in order to get it as shiny as I could, I did 4 coats of paint.
I let the paint dry completely in between each coat of paint.
And while the paint was drying, I found some card stock paper that I could cut out the letters with by using my Cricut machine.
I love this little machine! For me, this was a great investment and I use it all the time. I found mine second hand for less than $100.00.
I used the font cartridge Everyday Fonts, and it was the F5 option. The letters I made are 2 1/2″ tall, and I used all capital letters.
After I had cut out the letters, I attached them to the wood planks that I made. Mod Podge is a fantastic glue. And I put the Mod Podge on the back of the letters and lined them up on the wood.
And once the sealer had dried for 24 hours, my signs are ready to hang up!
Easy Afternoon DIY
I won’t be hanging them up quite yet. I am waiting until I redo my horses paddocks later this spring. But having the pretty stall signs for both my boys will help motivate me to getting my project completed.
I think they turned out pretty nice for a free project. Everything I needed to make these I already had. So the entire project cost me $0 dollars! And it gave me a fun project to do in anticipation of spring!
Way back in November I really decided to get serious about losing weight. And this was mainly because I was not happy with how my clothes were fitting, and how I looked in photographs. I know we are our own worst critic, but I was gaining weight and it was obvious in the pictures that were on my blog.
So I decided to try a product to see if it would help. And it does help, when I remember to take it. But expecting to still eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and not exercising and hoping the pill would just magically make the weight come off was not very realistic.
I was still going out to eat almost every day at work, and food was my happy reward for going to work every day. So the weight stayed on, and the scale let me know something wasn’t working. And I was consumed with thinking about my weight.
And while I was always thinking about the scale, and eating, I was trying all kinds of different diets. I tried Keto, I tried lo carb dieting and no carb dieting. Whatever was being pimped on Facebook or Instagram, I was trying it. But I didn’t see any success, and worse I ended up gaining more weight.
I knew what I really needed to do, but I didn’t really want to do it. And then a friend talked to me about how she had been able to lose weight. She lost a lot of weight actually, over 20 lbs. And she told me how she had been able to do it. And I should mention this wasn’t over several weeks. She has been working on herself for the past 6 months. She shared with me what she had been doing because she said she knew how competitive I am. (Me? Really? Competitive???!??!)
Vickie told me about Diet Bet. And I was like….huh? Diet Bet? What is that? Diet Bet is an app that you can put on your phone, and you join up with a group of people for a set period of time and you bet a set amount of money. At the end of the time period, if you reach your goal you get your bet back, plus you have the opportunity to make a little extra money.
So I decided to give it a try. I am competitive, but more than that I don’t like spending money frivolously. And now I was not only accountable to myself, but also to my bank account.
The group I joined had a bet of $30.00, plus a $5.00 membership fee. My total investment was $35.00. And the group had 279 people with a total combined ‘pot’ of $8370.00. The bet was from February 3rd through March 2nd. And when you sign up, you take a photo of yourself, and yourself on the scale. That is how they determine your starting weight. They also give you a secret word. This way they know that the photo is legit.
This was my starting point. I was a little more than sad when I stepped on the scale. But, this was my starting point. And seeing the number on the scale did not make me happy. But looking back at this photo I wished I would have had shorts on to have a real comparison photo to my ending photo.
And to go along with my Diet Bet, another co-worker is getting ready to go through a gastric bypass surgery and had to go on a liver shrinking diet. So a group of us at work decided to support her by going on the diet too. That was hard. And while I didn’t see a lot of weight loss from that, I guess my liver isn’t fat, it did help me with setting an eating plan.
I wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I did get through it. That liver cleanse diet was for 2 weeks, which coincided with the start of my Diet Bet. And this is what my ‘diet’ looked like:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Lunch: Protein shake
Snack: 2 cups of fresh vegetables or 1/2 cup cottage cheese
Dinner: A sensible dinner, no bread
The first week of this diet sucked. No eating out, no bread, no dessert or cereal. I was not very happy at this point. And the fact that Valentines day was happening during the first 2 weeks, and I was really not happy. I do admit that I did cheat and ate an incredible shortbread cookie that a patient gave me. It was worth every calorie too.
I Work Out
But in addition to the ‘diet’ I also made an effort to get at least 10,000 steps a day and also do real exercise at least 5 days a week.
I found a free app that I could put on my phone, Work Out For Women. It’s a free app with tons of different work outs. And it is easy to follow. They have beginner, intermediate, and advanced work outs that go from 7 to 26 minutes. And the best part is the app is free, unlike a lot of other work out apps that charge you a minimum of $5.99 a week for their work outs.
So every night after I ate dinner, I would do at least one 7 minute workout. That is unless I was spending the day shoveling snow out of our driveway. I considered shoveling snow a great work out, so I would forgo the ‘official’ workout for the day.
No Eating Out
And as I progressed through my challenge, the biggest change I made was no eating out. And this was not easy for me, at first. But as the weeks went by, it got easier, and it has become a habit to not to go to lunch every day. Instead of driving to my favorite restaurant (or three or four) I use that time to go buy what I need for my latest project that I want to work on for my YouTube channel, or this blog.
And after 4 weeks of not eating out I have established a habit. And this is a habit I like. I don’t have to eat out every day. And while I am not as diligent with what I am eating now, I have bought a lot of freezer meals which makes packing my lunch much easier for work. I now have a protein drink for breakfast, and a freezer meal (400 calories or less) for lunch, and I’m good. I’m not as hungry as I was, and I don’t really need a snack. But I do bring a protein bar, or piece of fruit with me, just in case I do get hungry around 3:00 pm.
Mid Way Weigh In
And throughout the Diet Bet challenge, they offer prizes if you submit a weigh in photo.
And while I am not looking my best, I have achieved the 4% weight loss that I needed too in order to meet my Diet Bet. But then I started to get worried. This is more close to the third week of the challenge. So I had to keep off the weight for another week in order to hit my goal, and hopefully be able to get my money back from my bet! Talk about being stressed!
So even though I had hit the goal I wanted too, and I had moments of where I thought about binge eating, or having a bowl of cereal at night, I tired to behave myself. I mean how bad would it suck to have achieved my goal three weeks in only to allow myself to give in to my cravings and then not make it? That would totally suck.
So I stayed with my current plan, and forced myself to get my 10,000 steps along with little work outs each day. It was not easy, not at all.
Final Weigh In Day
And here we are, the end of the challenge, and I am finally able to submit my final weigh in photos. I’m not going to lie, yesterday was tough. It was very cold, and I didn’t really want to do much other than sit in front of my TV and binge Game Of Thrones. But I behaved myself. And this morning I got on the scale for the last ‘official’ time.
It ins’t the best picture, but the results are there, 170.4 lbs! I did it! I won my first every Diet Bet! And the biggest thing I notice when I compare the beginning photo and the last one, other than my weight, is that I can see some changes. My thighs aren’t touching anymore. I don’t see as big of a bulge in my mid section, and I look a little bit smaller than I was a month ago! I call that a win. And even though it was not easy, I did it!
Diet Bet did reject my weigh in because they said my face was obscured (sure….they just didn’t want to pay me my winnings!) But I resubmitted with my face totally clear because my husband took the photo the second time, so hopefully they will accept it.
And then I wait for 48 hours, and find out how much I won! But even if I don’t win a lot of money, I won in another way. My self esteem won, and I proved to myself I can lose weight, if I try. And I mean really try. That means a lot to me, and solidifies that we are capable of whatever it is that we want.
So set some goals for yourself, and believe that you can do it. If you can believe it, you CAN achieve it. That is if you are willing to put in the hard work that it will take to hit your goals. So even though my Diet Bet is over, I am going to continue to work toward my end result goal of 150 lbs. I don’t know if I will do Diet Bet again, but I do know I will move forward with the habits I have created by doing it one time.
So now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shovel the driveway and complete my workout for the day. Happy Sunday!
I was coming up with a list of things you can do to get ready for spring when I decided to clean up my tack room. Or I should say my tack/feed barn because that is what I have. My tack room and feed room is combined into this little red barn.
And it works for me. No it isn’t my dream barn, but it is what I have, and I am used to it.
But over the winter here it gets cold. So my horse time is usually reserved to feeding horses, grooming horses, and maybe some chores but that is about it. The trash and dirty stuff just gets pushed out of the way until its warmer.
Thankfully I got the day off from work because the farrier was coming. And I got the idea I would reorganize my barn in anticipation for the upcoming change of seasons. Little did I know that it would take me all day to get the little red barn clean.
While I was trying to figure out how to put ‘walls’ up in my barn, and trying to figure out how I would do this, I had a genius idea.
We had to rip up a laminate floor in our basement because it had flooded. And because I hate to throw anything away, and because my trash men limit me to what I can throw out (all honesty here) we had kept the left over flooring materials. And this is when the genius idea came. Maybe I could use the floor planks to make a wall. If there was even a possibility of a light bulb moment, like for real, this was it!
I decided to move things around in the barn first and sweep away the dust and hay remnants before deciding how I was going to do this.
And once I had a reasonable area to begin working, I brought out the flooring pieces. I wasn’t sure how much it would take, or how far I could get, but I decided to bring all of the laminate planks to the barn. And I had no idea of how I wanted this to turn out. I just knew that I want to use the space in the most effective way I can in order to keep it clean and organized.
Building A Wall
Getting started wasn’t too hard. But I didn’t have a lot of framing to attach the planks too. Thankfully the flooring planks have little grooves and they attached together, giving a little more strength to my wall. And section after section went up fairly easily until I had covered most of one side.
I went up as high as I could before the roof started to curve a bit.
And then I was trying to picture how I would use this space. I knew I didn’t want to have the big pieces of furniture up front anymore. They were bulky, and caused me to have wasted space. And I really don’t like wasting space. So while I was working from one part of the barn to another, the bulky furniture was just kind of stuck in the middle.
I was able to get all of the ‘walls’ up and start getting things somewhat organized before I had to stop to get the horses ready for the farrier. But is was a little frustrating to look around me and see how much work was left to do.
The Job Isn’t Finished…Yet
And after the farrier had made my horses hooves look gorgeous, and then I turned them out into the mud pit of their pasture, I got back to work to finish the project I had started.
It was a little overwhelming to have everything in piles throughout the barn. Nothing was in it’s place. And there was just so much stuff everywhere. But instead of letting it overwhelm me, I just got busy finding homes for everything in the barn.
Now that I had bare walls to hang up all of the pieces I have bought in the past, I started with deciding how to utilize the space, and hang these pieces up first. I thought about how I wanted to be able to have my saddles and saddle pads close to the door, along with some simple hooks in the front where my halters would live. Basically I wanted to have a spot close to the front to keep everything that I use on a daily basis.
And then I had another light bulb moment. Instead of having hay and shavings on one side, and grain on the other with the tack room mixed in between, I moved all of the feed to one side, and this left the other side available for tack, and grooming equipment.
The Feed Room
So now one side of the barn is for feeding. The hay, and shavings stayed where it has always lived. But in the front corner, I moved my little homemade feeding table and my trash cans filled with feed.
My little table is where I keep all of my horses supplements and feed scoops. And the extra buckets live under the table. They are out of the way, but close enough for me to grab if I need them.
There is plenty of room for the hay, and right now we only buy 10 bales at a time, but in the future we are going to have the hay delivered. So I need to have room to stack 30 bales of hay. Thankfully this little barn is tall enough that I can make that happen. And we keep the hay on pallets that we got for free from our local feed store. This helps to protect the hay while also having a dedicated space for the major part of my horses diets.
The Tack Room
And this is my favorite area. I hung up the majority of the hangers that I have in the front of my barn. And I positioned the saddle racks high enough that there is space underneath for my tack trunk as well as my grooming caddy.
There was also a space for my riding crops, along with a perfect corner for my larger yard tools like rakes, brooms and forks.
I hung 2 simple hooks for the horses halters right by the front door. And I added 2 simple hooks for bridles that I use a lot while I am working with my horses. One for Frisby, and one for Ethan
And then I had bought a lot of blanket bars, but had not been using them for holding saddle pads. So I decided it was time to use them as they were mostly intended. And the saddle pads I use most frequently will live here.
I also had 2 large hooks that I hung up for easier storage of my horses winter blankets when they aren’t wearing them. And when the weather gets warmer, and the blankets are no longer needed, I will pack them away into one of the many drawers I have.
I also found these cute little bins that I painted, to keep the horses boots and bonnets in one spot. Little signs clearly show what goes in each bin, and it looks cute. I found the signs at the dollar store, painted them, and hung them on each bin.
Using All The Space
And while I have dedicated space now for what I use the most in the front of the barn, I still had a lot of left over room at the back. So I moved the large pieces of furniture to the back, and made use of the available shelving and put all of my stockpile of fly sprays, grooming totes and first aid kits here.
I still have one corner to go through, but I ran out of time. So this will be the forgotten corner, for now.
I have to figure out some sort of project with all of the twine I have collected. More on that later.
I also still have all of the space in the loft for all of our stuff that is packed for Christmas, and other stuff that I should really look through. But that project will have to happen at another time.
Thrifty Tack Room Makeover
So after a very, very busy day off from work, I was able to get my little red barn mostly complete. And the best part of this project, besides the fact that it is done, is how much it cost me. $0.00, I did’t spend any money to do this. Well, I mean I did spend money on the stuff at one time. But I did not spend a dime in anticipation of making this barn makeover happen.
I just used what I already had, and reorganized.
Overall I am really happy with how this turned out. I think I have made good use of the space that I have. Time will tell, and we will see how easy it is to keep this organized once I start utilizing the barn to its full potential this summer.
And because I love before and after photos, here is how the barn looked at it’s best before….
And here is how it looks now….
It is a lot more open, or well as open as it can be. But I like how all of the feed is on one side, and the tack is on the other side. And I still have lots of room in the back.
So overall I am really happy, and even though it was a lot bigger project than I had anticipated, it was worth the investment of time to make it happen.
Now all I have to do it wait for the mud to turn back into dirt, and then I can put my tack room to use and see if I did a good job!
I am always shopping for affordable horse tack. When I see something new, and amazing, I get excited to see if there is a more affordable option. And today I have 3 different, and affordable, options for you to consider if you are dying to have something nice for your riding, but not willing to spend hundreds of dollars to get the A show jumper ‘look’.
Now most likely this summer I will be only attending the jumper shows as a spectator. But it’s like the saying goes, dress for the job you want. So that’s what I’m doing with Ethan. I want him to be a jumper, so I am going to have him look the part. It might be silly to some, but it works for me.
But finding affordable tack can be challenging. I was lucky enough 2 years ago to get a load of horse tack from my friend Lynda when one of her relatives was downsizing. She had a hunter jumper barn, and she didn’t need all of the tack she had collected over the years. That was one of my first incredible finds, an older Arc De Triumph hunter bridle. It is older, but still a very nice bridle.
That really jump started my quest on finding affordable tack, that wasn’t used up. And believe it or not, there is affordable tack for your jumper. You just have to do your research so you can find it!
And to help get you started, I have found three great deals on jumper tack that might be helpful. And that is what I wanted to share with you today.
I found this pad at Riding Warehouse. And I have been searching for something like this for so long. This type of memory foam half pad is so popular with the jumpers. I think partially because it looks good, and partially because it really does help when going over a course of jumps.
The original half pad that seemed to be a must buy was the Ogilvy half pad. And for whatever reason, I felt that I had to have this pad. But the price tag is high. For an Ogilvy half pad, you will spend a lot of money. The original Ogilvy pad will cost you around $199.00, plus shipping. And when I got the pad (6 weeks later) I was so excited!
But when I put it on Frisby, and then Ethan, I was disappointed. It didn’t seem to fit right, and it was very bulky under my saddle. So much so that with both of my horses I had to find a longer girth to get the saddle tacked up.
I did notice a small difference in how it felt when I sat in my saddle, but overall I felt duped and I didn’t feel the pad was worth all of the hype, or the cost. I did end up selling my Ogilvy half pad, for less than I bought it for, but still felt that I needed a pad to absorb the shock of repetitive riding and to protect my horses back from my bouncing around.
And then I saw this half pad. After being a little sad for selling my Ogilvy, I wanted to test out this pad, and see if it would offer what I was looking for, and it looks like an Ogilvy (minus the little round silver button).
The thing that caught my attention first was the cost. This pad is $42.99 at Riding Warehouse! Less than the quarter of the price of an Ogilvy half pad! So of course I had to buy one to try it out.
But before I tell you about how it rode, let me tell you a little bit about the pad itself. It is made with a suede top and smooth fleece underside. And the pad is both breathable and grippy. It has an inner layer of memory foam that works to absorb shock and evenly distribute pressure across the back of the horse. The contoured shape keeps pressure off the horses spine and withers while conforming to the horse’s back to keep the pad secure. It also has an anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and quick-drying material that makes up the pad.
It looks very similar to an Ogilvy half pad.
But in my opinion, I think I like this Weatherbeeta pad better than the Ogilvy, because it does what I need it to do. And it’s affordable. Double bonus!
The pad fit under my saddle well. It is still a little bulky, because of the memory foam. So I did have to use the larger girths on both of my horses. It still has the same memory foam qualities that the Ogilvy had, but I like the cut of this pad a little bit better, and it seems to fit better under my saddle. The suede top makes it stay in place under my saddle. The pad doesn’t move around at all even with lots of movement from my horses, or me.
And it does have the same shock absorbing qualities that the Ogilvy had because of the memory foam. This is very helpful when going over some jumps.
Maybe it’s just because of how happy I am with the cost of this pad, but I honestly feel that this pad works just as well if not better than it’s expensive counter part. And it has the familiar look of the Ogilvy pad, minus the little button. But who care that it isn’t an Ogilvy? It gets the job done, and does what it’s supposed to.
So if you are looking for a shock absorbing half pad for yourself, but aren’t ready to invest $200.00, this Weatherbeeta half pad might be just what you need. It is definitely worth a try at less than $50.00. And again, I might by influenced subconsciously because of the fantastic deal that I got, but I really feel this pad is helpful. I feel more stable in my saddle, and it seems to make my saddle fit better, especially for Frisby. I feel more balanced in the saddle, and I can feel the shock absorbing qualities of this pad, where I could not feel it in the Ogilvy.
I bought these boots to protect Ethan’s legs while I ride. He tends to be a bit clumsy, and since I want to show him as a jumper, I want his legs protected. And I have been searching and doing research on different boots for what seems like forever. I wanted the boots to look good enough to show in, but more importantly, protect his legs.
And these boots are perfect. Not only because of their ‘look’ but because they work like they are supposed to. And as an added bonus, they are affordable. Like really affordable!
The come in black, brown, and white. And what they are is a neoprene lined boot with a hard outer shell to protect your horses legs. They go on easy with a stretchy elastic band that hooks closed. No more hair and dirt getting caught up in the straps like what happens with Velcro closures.
And these boots are nice. They go on easily, and fit well. Ethan is a smaller horse, but after reading some of the reviews that these boots fit a little small, I opted for the large size and they fit him well.
He is such a ham, and seems to love it when I take his picture. He is a fantastic model.
If you are looking for a nice set of jumping boots for your horse, I urge you to consider these boots by Uniquely English. The look great, but more importantly they really do offer great protection for your horses legs. And for a complete set of these boots, it will cost you $59.98 versus $444.00 for a set of the EquiFit boots.
I have had several figure 8 style bridles. But I have always had a difficult time with the noseband, and getting it adjusted correctly on my horse’s nose. That is until I found this bridle. And have you ever tried to find a figure 8 bridle in black? This was a challenge too. But again, I found it in this bridle. I wanted a black bridle to match my saddle, because I like to be matchy-matchy. I know, that is trivial. But, finding a bridle that matches my saddle, works great and being affordable? That is a triple win!
I could show you all kinds of figure 8 bridles that cost over $400.00. But this figure 8 bridle by Horze is only $79.99. That is a great deal for even a regular noseband bridle.
And this bridle has many of the characteristics of the more expensive bridles. It has a nicely padded noseband with fleece under the center part of the figure eight. And it even has a padded crown for the comfort of your horse. The leather is also very nice. It is soft and flexible. You will not need a lot of oil to make the bridle soft before you put it on your horse.
And it fit Ethan very well without any customization. With a few adjustments, I was able to get it to fit him well from the first time I put it on. And I know it will get better and better as I use the bridle more.
Affordable Jumper Tack
Hopefully this is helpful if you are looking at finding affordable tack for your jumper. Whether you are a seasoned rider, or just getting started with jumping, there are options for affordable tack. You just have to be diligent, and do your research. And then you will have your horse outfitted like a jumper in no time!
Better weather is on the horizon, literally. This time of year, it seems the repetitive cold and snow storms are relentless. It’s as if winter is giving it’s all and pounding us with everything it can throw at us before it finally subsides until it disappears for about 8 months or so. But I know eventually the temperature will rise, and the snow will be replaced with afternoon thunderstorms.
And while I am daydreaming about riding in my own arena, and what the summer will hold, I have decided to make the most of this summer with my horses. So two of my co-workers, Lynda and Vickie and I have taken the plunge and decided to join a riding club in our area.
I want to show. And eventually I want to show at the bigger shows in my area. But if I want to be successful at the larger shows, I need to start with the smaller ones first.
Remember I shared with you my first horse show experience? Well I really don’t want to repeat that again as an adult. And I’m a planner more than anything. Which is why I want to go have Ethan do his show debut at a friendly and smaller show before investing a lot of money and time into the bigger shows.
Finding A Riding Club
I am so lucky to have a riding club in my area. And there is safety in numbers right? Which is why I asked my friends if they would want to join up with me. Being horse crazy women, of course they said yes. And we planned for the first meeting of the year. And while we were planning on going to the meeting, I did a little research on the club.
The Parker Trail Riders is a nice size club and they are growing. They are branching out from just summer shows and trail rides to now having shows in the winter time as well. Every month beginning in May and running through September they have a pleasure show, a gymkhana, and a trail ride every month. Oh, and of course they have a monthly membership meeting too.
And some of the benefits of joining the club is having a cap on how much you will spend at the shows for entry fees. I think they cap it at $85.00 per show. And of course they have ribbons, and daily hi-point awards for each show, and they also have a banquet at the end of the year for year end awards.
What I love, probably because I’m an adult now, at their meetings they have guest speakers. And the speakers share valuable information with the club members. It’s like you are getting a small classroom education at each meeting. And of course they also have giveaways. What better way to entice people to come to a meeting than give something away right?
And they are very organized, which again is a plus for me. They have a website as well as a very active Facebook page. So I can go back through all of the photos of past shows and check out the competition! I know, I am very competitive. And remember, I’m a planner so I like to see what the shows are all about before I venture to the showgrounds with my own horses.
The First Meeting Of The Year
And in true Colorado winter fashion, on the night of the first meeting, it snowed. And while typically when it is snowing when I leave work, I go straight home. No dilly-dallying when the snow is flying. I want to go home and that’s it. But no, not today. I had committed to going to this meeting, and I was going.
So while Lynda and Vickie went out to dinner, I made the most of my time by going to a thrift store and look for treasures. I did find a couple of nice shirts and they were half price, so that’s a double win. And while I still had about 30 minutes before the meeting tarted, I got there early and waited. I love to people watch, and pay attention to what is going on around me.
And when I got to the Pace Event Center, I found the room and walked in. It was so cool. This first meeting of the year was to discuss the upcoming shows, and they had brought in a speaker who runs a local consignment tack store. They had all kinds of tack laid out with signs that said legal for show, or illegal for show. They also had show outfits all ready to go, so if you wanted to buy one there, you could!
There weren’t a lot of people present, maybe 30 or so. But all of the people that were there were just like me. They love horses, and they love being with people who love horses. They were all very friendly, and easily approachable.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
And not only did we get chances to win some really cool horse stuff, but we learned about what they have planned for the upcoming show year. The consignment store owner talked about tack that is legal vs. illegal for showing in their pleasure shows, and a rep for Equipride was there and shared information about Equipride. Which was really interesting, especially when about two thirds of the people there gave their own testimonials about how great a product it is.
And of course, I had to try it. So this past weekend I went and bought my own Equilix for my boys. They seem to like it, more on that later.
And then they shared a new idea for their show season. This year they will have ribbons and trophies for their classes, but they are also giving competitors the option to have a prize instead of a ribbon. Not only did they show what the prizes would be, but then they started giving them away! They had a lunge line, a portable bridle rack, a grooming kit, a pop-up bucket and grooming kit with a collapsible bucket, and other things too that I can’t remember.
And while we didn’t win any of the future prizes, Vickie and I both won a Parker Trail Riders hat! (Sorry Lynda) Lynda didn’t win anything this time. But there is always next month!
Finding Like Minded People
While the giveaways were fun, the information shared was even better. And seeing that there are other horse people out there that are just as passionate about their horses as I am was the icing on the horse treat!
This is why I really joined The Parker Trail Riders. To be with people who think like me. And being able to find ‘grown-ups’ that love horses just as much as the teenage group is very exciting. Sometimes it’s hard to put yourself out there, and find a group of people who share your same values. But when you do, put yourself out there, and find a group of people you can relate too, well, it’s just amazing.
I am so happy that I joined this club, and I can’t wait to see what the summer holds. Hopefully I will have lots of photos to share with you of our show experiences. And then I can replace the memory of my first horse show with memories of my adult horse show experiences. Time will tell, but that is what I am hopeful for this summer.
So come on good weather! Let’s get this going now! I can’t wait to get out there and work with both of my horses in preparing them for going off property. Who knows, maybe I will have some tips that may help you reach your own goals.
Well I had planned on getting my riding arena groomed and beautiful this weekend. Unfortunately, mother nature had other ideas. I am so over winter and I can’t wait until spring officially arrives.
And while it dumped snow at our house last night, making working in my arena impossible today, it did give me the opportunity to start thinking about my horse jumps. And while I have a pretty good inventory of jumps, I still need more fillers. You can never have too much horse jump fill.
The fillers for horse jumps are the different piece that you use to make a jump different, or more challenging for your horse. And yes, you can buy jump fillers but you can also diy different projects that will give you versatility to your jumps.
And making your own is possible, and affordable! So I thought I would share with you some of the jump fill I have, and some that I am going to be making. Probably today since I won’t be working in my arena this weekend.
Ground poles are fantastic to make yourself. They are affordable, and easy to make. You just need to find the lumber that you can turn into a ground pole.
My favorite lumber for my ground poles, and jump rails are the cherry tone landscaping timbers from Home Depot. At the time of writing this post, they cost $3.98 each.
You can also find them at Lowe’s for $4.38 a piece. The landscaping timbers at Lowes are pressure treated, so they may last longer. But painting pressure treated lumber can be challenging. Which is why I stick with what I know, the Home Depot ones.
The landscaping timbers are 8 feet long. Oh how I wish they would make these 10 feet long. That would give me so many more options. But 8 feet long ground poles, or jump rails is good enough, and better if you have a small arena.
But to make the ground poles I bring the wood home, sand the imperfections, fill the cracks and then paint them.
If I am painting the poles a solid color, I can get a bunch done in a weekend.
And once they are done, they are so helpful! You can use them for trot poles, or for laying out a simple course, cross rails, and of course for ground poles in front of your jumps. There are just so many uses for ground poles, and they are very affordable to make.
And if you are looking to get a deal on your landscaping timbers, wait until Memorial Day Weekend. Usually Home Depot will have them on sale for half price. And a couple of years ago, they had them for $.99 a piece! I always look forward to Memorial Day sales to see if they have this sale again. Because if they do, I stock up. And if you don’t have a truck, they will deliver too. Where I live, they will deliver for $50.00. So if I can buy landscaping timbers for $1.00, and buy 100 of them, the $50.00 delivery fee is worth it to me. So let’s all cross our fingers that they have a super sale this Memorial Day weekend!
DIY Raised Rails
When I first started building my own jumps, I had a lot of shorter pieces of wood left over from building 5 foot tall standards. And I hate to waste. So instead of throwing away the left over lumber, I made raised flower rails. These are very nice to have to add some fill to your jumps. And if you have the left over lumber, you can make them for very little cost.
All of my flower rails have been made with left over material I already had from building other things.
The raised rails are nice to use as fill for jumps, or like a ground rail. And if you have these, and not a lot of other jumping equipment, they can double for ground poles too.
If you want to see how easy it is to make your own raised rails/flower rails, check out this blog post.
DIY Flower Boxes
I love building flower boxes. They are so easy to build, and they add so much to a jump. And you can make them in any height you want. You can build flower boxes with 2 x 4’s , 2 x 6’s, or whatever you have.
To make a pair of flower boxes that will fit an 8 foot wide jump, you simply need 3 pieces of lumber that is 8 feet long. Then you cut the lumber in half (or 4 foot sections). And if you have 10 foot jumps you need to fill, you can use 10 foot long lumber too if you want the jump to be really full and solid looking.
And after they are assembled, just find some flowers to fill up the boxes. I prefer to go to Walmart after a holiday and find the flower bunches when they are on 90% clearance. That way I can get a lot of flowers to really fill the boxes. Sometimes I have put 2 bunches of flowers in each hole to really make the boxes look full.
I love that look, and when the holes are packed full, it is harder for my horses to pull out the flowers if I get lazy, and turn them out into the arena with the jumps.
And of course, I have a blog post walking you through building the boxes step by step which you can find here.
I built one of these 2 years ago….wow, was that really 2 years ago??!?!? Anyway, it was sooooo easy to do. Way easier than I thought it would be. And as I go through my older articles, I cannot believe I didn’t write a blog post about this!
How To DIY A Liverpool For A Horse Jump - YouTube
But while I didn’t write a blog post, I did make a video showing you how easy it is to make a liverpool (aka water hazard) for your jumps.
This liverpool was easy to make, but I think I want to try and do one a little bit differently. And I do have the materials to make another one, so I think I will work on that this weekend. That way I can show you how to make your own, in step by step format.
DIY Walls For Horse Jumps
Making walls for jumps is about the same as making the tall flower boxes, only taller. And walls add a lot to a jump. As you can see in the picture above, look at how solid this jump looks because of the wall beneath it. The wall fills a lot of space, make it easier to ‘fill’ the jump, and making it more appealing for your horse to jump.
And when you have your own walls at home to work with, your horse won’t be surprised when you get to the show grounds and your course has a wall or two included.
How To Build A Wall For A Horse Jump - YouTube
And not only did I make a video showing you how to build a wall (this is a tall one!) I also wrote a blog post walking you through the process. And you can find that by clicking here.
DIY Horse Jump Gates
Making gates for horse jumps is probably one of my favorite fillers to make. Gates are so easy to make, and add so much to a jump. And while they are very common in the hunter ring, lately I have been seeing gates also incorporated in the jumper ring too. Maybe its because I am paying attention to the jumps, or maybe it’s because the horse shows are getting more creative.
But whatever the reason, I love building gates.
You can have tall gates…
Or you can have solid gates…
Really you are only limited buy your imagination. But if you are looking for new ideas for your jumps, and want an affordable filler, that is easy to make, make some gates.
If you are looking for ideas on building gates, I have several blog posts showing you how I do it. This post will give you lots of ideas.
DIY Planks For Horse Jumps
Now making planks is simple, if you have a jig saw. That is pretty much the only tool you need to make planks. And just like every other piece you can make, you can make these any height you like.
The picture here shows 2 x 6’s that I cut out to look like wavy planks. This was my first attempt at making them. So now I have a better idea of how to do it, so next time they will be even better.
I am also going to make some thinner planks, like 2 x 4 thin. Talk about affordable! A 2″ x 4″ x 8′ piece of lumber costs $2.37 at Home Depot. Then I just cut a notch out so it can set into the jump cup, and bam! I have a plank!
I think I want to make several 2 x 4 planks, and then paint them like the Voltaire jumps I have seen at the shows. The colors are so fun! I love the colors, and I think in a plank, it would look awesome. Now that will make for an epic post, don’t you think? Stay tuned and subscribe so you can see when I make it.
DIY Cut-Outs For Jump Fillers
Now this is a project I want to work on. I have not made any, yet. However, this is a project that has been in my head for sometime now. So you know what that means right? Yes, I am going to make some!
They don’t look very difficult to make, so I think I will be able to do a set or two in a weekend. Depending on how intricate I decide to get. But regardless, I am going to make some of these.
You Can Make Fillers For Horse Jumps!
I hope this inspires you to make some of your own fillers for your jumps. If you use your imagination, and put in the work, you can have a nice course of jumps that you can change up whenever you like.
Don’t spend your hard earned money on over priced jump fillers when you can make them yourself for a lot less. And if you are really motivated, you could even make some to sell. That’s what I plan on doing. And that’s what I do every year, in order to afford the more expensive purchases I make. When there is something I want to buy, but I don’t have expendable income, I build some jumps to sell. Its a great way to make a little bit of extra money.
And making my own fill for my jumps means my horse is never surprised at what he may encounter. So if you weather is crappy right now, like it is here, why not make the most of that time, and build some filler for your own jumps?
I haven’t ever talked about essential oils here on my blog, unless you consider my blog post about making your own fly spray. And the other morning as I dabbed some peppermint essential oil on my neck for a headache, I thought I would share some of what I know about essential oils.
Now I want to preface this by stating this blog post should
be considered for informational purpose only. I am not a doctor, nor an expert oil-ologist.
I just know how I use essential oils in my every day life, and I wanted to
share it with you. And no, I am not in the multi-level-marketing club of Young
Living or Doterra. I have my favorite supplier of essential oils which work
great, and I will share that with you later. And the links provided take you to
Amazon and are links for different essential oils that I buy for myself and my
horses on a regular basis. They are affiliate links, meaning if you choose to
make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This helps me to continue doing
what I do here and over on my YouTube channel.
Essential Oils Are Amazing
I use essential oils for myself, and my horses almost on a daily basis. I make my own cleaning products using essential oils, as well as keep spiders and pests out of my barn using essential oils. Typically I add essential oils to carrier oils, this is what dilutes the power of the oil. I am not confident enough to apply the oils directly to my horses skin, but I do apply peppermint oil to my own neck several times a week. Did you know peppermint oil helps get rid of nausea, and headaches? It really works! And it seems to relax tight muscles too. I love the warmth it provides to my neck after I apply a drop or two.
My most favorite brand of essential oils is Eden’s Garden. I have tried DoTerra and Young Living, mainly because of all the hype of their oils. But I haven’t seen any difference honestly. And if the $9.00 for 4 ounces essential oil works as good as the $30.00 for 10 mL essential oil, guess which one I am going to use? Yep, the $9.00 oil. If you wanted to get started with several different, and popular oils, Eden’s Garden has a sampler pack of 6 different oils to get you started.
And I wanted to share some equestrian related applications
of essential oils because while there are tons of articles about use of
essential oils for people, there isn’t a lot out there specifically for horses,
or their owners.
My Favorite Essential Oils
There are hundreds of essential oils available for us to
choose from. But if you are just learning about the benefit of these oils,
seeing all of the choices can be overwhelming. So I thought I would share some
of my favorites and their benefits.
This is by far my most favorite essential oil. It has so many applications which is probably why it’s my favorite Peppermint oil is a stimulant, antispasmodic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antioxidant. It is an effective treatment for headaches as well as deterrent for spiders. I absolutely love peppermint oil. I love it so much, this is the oil I buy in the larger sizes, because I use it so much.
This is by far my most favorite essential oil. It has so many applications which is probably why it’s my favorite Peppermint oil is a stimulant, antispasmodic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antioxidant. It is an effective treatment for headaches as well as deterrent for spiders. I absolutely love peppermint oil. I love it so much, this is the oil I buy in the larger sizes, because I use it so much.
Want to keep spiders out of your barn? Simply put 5 or 6
drops of the oil onto cotton balls and then put them into hidden corners of
your tack room. It really does help to keep the spiders away. And it smells so
good! Well, if you like the smell of peppermint that is.
The orange scent alone is instantly uplifting and energizing. And there has been research done that shows sweet orange essential oil helps boost mood and increase energy. But it also has a variety of other health benefits. Sweet orange oil can fight acne, relieve inflammation, promote better digestion, and improve the appearance of skin. It can also be used around the house (and barn) to disinfect surfaces and freshen the air.
But if you are buying this oil for the first time, be sure
to only buy sweet orange oil, not the bitter one.
Tea Tree oil was the first ever essential oil I had ever heard of, or ever used. You see I was a hairstylist for 16 years, and Paul Mitchell had a shampoo called Tea Tree shampoo. It worked great, and then they released the actual oil. I used it a lot.
Tea Tree oil is also called Melaleuca oil and is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is found in Australia. The oil possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. And this is a very strong oil. It should always be diluted using a carrier oil. I have seen people apply the oil directly to open wounds thinking it will be helpful (if a little is good, more is better) but this oil is so strong, it has to be diluted and used with care. Tea Tree oil should never be swallowed, no matter what you might read on the internet.
You may be wondering what the heck is a carrier oil? I talk about carrier oils a lot. And a carrier oil is also known as base oil and is used to dilute essential oils before they are applied to the skin. They are so named carrier oils because they carry the essential oil onto the skin. Diluting essential oils is a critical safety practice when using essential oils.
Many of us know of the benefit of essential oils for people,
but did you know they are safe for our horses too? As horse owners we are
always looking for the best products for the animals that bring us so much joy.
And yes, you can use essential oils on your horses, and around the barn as
well. And not only do our horses reap the benefit, but we can too while we are
at the barn!
But keep in mind, if you show your horse please check with
your respective organization to make sure this is ok to use, and is not on a
banned list which could exclude you from a show.
Health Hoof Salve
This hoof salve is an awesome recipe for helping your horse to grow strong and healthy hooves. I use it twice a week for both of my horses, and a little bit really goes a long way. After I mix up a batch of this hoof salve, it usually lasts about a month for my two horses. Which means it costs me about $1.18 to make a months worth of a hoof treatment. When was the last time you found a hoof product for less than $2.00 a month?
Directions: Melt the coconut oil and add in the melaleuca,
rosemary, and vitamin E oil mix together and then put into a container. Apply a
small amount to your horses hoofs, just at the coronary band.
Joint/Ligament Homemade Liniment
If your horse is older (like Frisby) or has a hard work out, having a spray on liniment type product is great to have around. I like the way it smells too! And even though it is mainly meant to be a muscle, or joint rub, it also acts as an insect repellent. So basically two products in one!
Place carrier oil into a spray bottle (dark glass works best for essential oils) then add the different essential oils. Shake gently. Then you simply spray this on sore joints of your horse. (or yourself!)
Itch Relief Spray
Does your horse get itchy spots? Frisby does, at the dock of his tail especially. So I mix up a batch of this anti-itch spray and spray it on the base of his tail and then massage it in. It really does the trick to stop him from rubbing his tail, and pushing all of his weight onto the fence panels of his paddock as he tries to scratch the itch!
Place carrier oil into a spray bottle (again, dark glass works best for essential oils, this is my favorite) then add the different essential oils. Shake gently. Then spray on the area that is causing irritation.
Fly Repellent Spray
There are so many different recipes for homemade fly spray.
And I tend to experiment and change up the oils that I use, depending on how
well it is working for my horses. But this fly spray recipe is a great one to
start with. It works well and is a lot more cost effective than commercial fly
sprays. I also really like to make my own fly spray because there are no pesticides
in the spray.
16 Ounces Water (regular works fine, but you can use distilled water if you want to get fancy)
32 ounce spray bottle (I like to recycle old bottles from commercial products that I have bought)
What You Will Do
Pour the water into your spray bottle, and then add the
vinegar, liquid soap and essential oils. Shake gently and apply to your horse. Just
be sure not to spray it in his eyes. For face application, spray some onto a
wet wipe, or soft towel and rub on your horse’s face.
Horse Products With Essential Oils
And if you aren’t really a DIY type equestrian and would
rather buy products that are made with essential oils, there are several companies
that have products that I absolutely love.
Their tag line is “Gentle on your leather, Gentle on you”. Sterling Essentials makes awesome leather cleaners and leather conditioners using essential oils. And I have to say I love them.
I had never tried their products, or even heard of them until I got a little package in a Heart To Horse box last year. But after I tried their product, I was sold. I was given the Lavender set which includes a bottle of the leather cleaner as well as a small tub of the leather conditioner. And this stuff is amazing!
I used it on my older saddle that always had a faint smell
of mildew. I had tried and tried to get rid of that smell. But no matter what I
used, or how often I cleaned it, the smell was still there. That is until I used
the Sterling Essentials products. After I used the cleaner and conditioner for
the first time, the smell was almost gone. And then after using it a few more
times, there is no more mildew smell.
And the conditioner works great to soften leather items. If
you have a new bridle and you want to get fast results, this leather conditioner
I am so pleased with the results of their products, it’s the only cleaner and conditioner I use on my tack now. And if you aren’t really sure, but want to try it for yourself, they do have a starter set which includes a bottle of the cleaner and conditioner in a 2 ounce size for $7.95 (plus shipping) on Amazon. And it lasts a long time, well the conditioner does, a little goes a long, long way at softening leather.
This is a fantastic company with fantastic products for us equestrians. They have a complete line of products for horses. And their products are natural and they don’t have pesticides, alcohol, or solvents.
My absolute favorite product that they have is the BugPellent Hanging Cylinder. I get excited about it just thinking about it! The hanging cylinder is a bug repellent for your barn and horses stall. It is comprised of beeswax pellets that have been soaked in a solution of essential oils. There are 9 different essential oils within the wax pellets that is put into a cylinder that you hang up. And the aroma is incredible. I love walking into the barn to clean it when I have these hanging up, it smells so good!
And once they aroma has gone, you don’t have to buy new cylinders. They make refill kits that include 2 ‘cartridges’ (for lack of a better name) that you simply replace. It is a very cost effective, and effective way to decrease flying pests in your barn. I love these things. And I love the way they make my barn smell.
This is simply the best product I have found to help decrease flies in my horses stalls all summer long. I hang one over each stall, and I also have one in my tack room. And I even put one in my garage to keep the flies at bay. It really works, and is worth the cost, which really isn’t that bad. A new cylinder runs $17.05, or you can buy the refill packs for $21.80 at Riding Warehouse.
I replace the cartridges about every 45 days, or when I
start to notice an increase of flies in the stalls. I have 6 of the hanging
cylinders now, and I have had them for over 2 years. So they do last a long
I have actually written an article about this company before. And they have an entire line of horse care products that are made using essential oils.
My favorite is the Sheath and Udder Cleaner. Which if you have a gelding, you know that you should clean this area periodically. This cleaner helps proper sheath and udder cleaning to ensure the health and well-being of your horse. And it works by softening the debris for easy removal. It also helps to soothe and moisturizes inflamed skin and sore spots. And it deodorizes and protects against the build-up of dirt and sweat to prevent yeast and bacterial..