Today’s Horse Facts: Safety

Nov. 22, 2015

Today’s Horse Facts: Safety for You

and your Horse When You Hit the Trail


Rex, My Favorite Horse to Ride

Nothing is more exciting for a horse facts lover than that first time when you saddle up your new horse, mount, and take off for the dusty trail. Whether you ride in a training corral at a boarding stable, on a trail through the woods, or along the side of a windy road outside of town, you need to embrace some very important safety rules so that both you and your horse enjoy the ride and come back to the barn “together” with no injuries. Let’s take a look at what you should do as you go riding off into the sunset:

Prep Time:

  1. As you tack your horse, make sure the bit is not under his tongue and the cinch is very tight. Check the cinch several times because your horse has probably learned the trick of bloating when you first tighten the cinch.  A loose saddle might send you flying through the air while the saddle slides under the horse’s barrel.
  2. If the weather is hot and “buggy,” wipe down your horse’s entire body with a strong insect repellent. Those nasty horse flies can sting both of you and ruin an otherwise nice relaxing ride. Don’t forget horsie’s ears, belly, and legs.
  3. Check your horse’s four hooves. If he has shoes on, make sure they are not impacted with manure and/or small stones.
  4. Put on your hard hat, which completes your riding outfit of jeans or riding pants and steel-toed boots. You might want to put some of that bug repellent on yourself. Flies love human skin too!

On the Ride:

  1. The best thing you could do, if possible, is go riding with a partner who has a well-trained horse. Your new horse will learn good habits from his furry mentor.
  2. Be aware at all times of distractions which can spook your horse. If you have a new horse, you should have gotten a history about him from his previous owner.  Is the horse gun shy? How is he with cars passing him on a road? How does he respond to a gate swinging open? How about water? If you don’t know the answers to these questions before you start riding, be very careful. You a treading on dangerous ground. A spooked horse can give you a ride back to the barn that you will never forget.
  3. As you ride, try to maintain a semi-relaxed state in the saddle. The horse can feel your apprehension and nervousness. If you are on the trail and you approach a patch of water or a small bridge and he balks, proceed with caution. It might be better to dismount and try to walk your horse through or around the obstacle.
  4. Don’t run your horse on macadam roads or through heavy brush. You might wind up on the ground while horsie is taking off toward the barn without you. Believe me because it happened to me when foolishly running on a street a few hundred yards from my home after a rain. I wiped out! Macadam roads are very slippery to a horse’s hooves, even if you have barium on the shoes. And low-hanging branches on trees are a sure wipeout!
  5. If the weather is hot, don’t run your horse into a lathered sweat, especially an older horse. Horses can have heat strokes, which can be deadly. My sweet Rex, who’s gone to horsie heaven a long time now, had a heat stroke one hot July afternoon, and I wasn’t riding him. He was just standing in my small corral and collapsed. Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with my vet, who told me to get Rex on his feet, walk him, get him to the salt block, and wipe him down. Rex lived a few more years after that and never had a heat stroke again. But that one time scared the wits out of me.
  6. On your way home from your ride, never release the reins to allow your horse to have his full head. Are you crazy? At any moment, a squawking bird, a loud backfire, or a slamming door could spook horsie, and you’ll be dumped on your rump!

Barn Time:

  1. When dismounting at the barn, give your horse a big hug and kiss. Horses respond to affection of all kinds from their owners. A few sugar cubes or slices of apple will seal the affection between you two forever.
  2. Untack your horse, air the blanket to allow the horse’s sweat to dry, and clean the slobbery bit before storing in the tack room.
  3. Do not allow him to drink water or eat grain if he is lathered and puffing. (Founder!)
  4. Walk your horse for at least 15 minutes to cool him down. Even in cold weather, the horse will work up a sweat. In fact, cold weather is as dangerous as hot weather. If horsie gets a chill, he could develop pneumonia. After a hard ride, he should be walked, groomed, and then blanketed for several hours. He can have water and grain after he has cooled down.
  5. Clean his hooves.
  6. Kiss him again and either release him into the pasture or lock him in his stall for a nice well-deserved nap.

Now, there you have the basics about caring for your horse as you ride him. Horses are powerful animals, but they respond to love, affection, and training with the proper attitude and equipment. If you want a happy horse, treat him with the respect he deserves.

Horse lovers, check out my latest book:



Dallis Parker has dreamed about owning a wild Mustang stallion,

but most folks say he doesn’t even exist. But then in a strange encounter, she

meets Snow face to face.

Today’s Horse Facts: Caring for your Horse

Today’s Horse Facts: Caring for your Horse



You just bought a new horse, perhaps your very first one, and you’re ready to ride down the dusty trail with your new equine friend. Is that exciting, or what?

But have you put a lot of forethought into preparing for that horse’s safe keeping and welfare? Are you going to board him at a reputable stable, or have you put the time and money into your own place to care for Trigger yourself? By this time, you should have already realized that keeping a horse is very expensive. He’s not just a new puppy on the block.

Let’s see how you do on this MUST HAVE list to keep your horse and new best friend healthy and happy. Answer the next 10 points either “Yes I have” or “Nope, not yet,” and we’ll see if you’re a horse owner who has the best interest of your horse at heart:

  1. I have at least a one-stall barn or shed (not a garage) that will protect the horse from bad weather and give him a nice place to snooze.
  2. I have at least two acres of pasture land for my horse to graze.
  3. I have erected a fence that is safe so that my horse won’t get caught in barbed wire, try to jump through or over it, or get his legs or head caught between rails.
  4. I have bought enough quality hay and oats (grain or sweet feed) for two meals a day for a month. I have a regular supplier of feed for my horse.
  5. I have means of providing fresh water (at least two large bucketsful) every day for my horse.
  6. I have purchased grooming equipment to use on my horse daily. The equipment includes bug juice (for stinging flies in hot weather), a comb, brush, electric razor, oil, horse pick, hydrogen peroxide (for the frogs of his hooves to prevent thrush), and bot killer. I also have a rake, shovel, and wheelbarrow to “muck out” the stall every day, and I’ve made arrangements to have the manure pile removed from my property regularly. (Heaped manure is a breeding ground for bugs and worms, which can infest your horse and make him sick or kill him.)
  7. I have purchased riding tack that fits the horse as well as me. I’ve gotten information from his previous owner concerning the type of bit with which the horse performs best.
  8. I have purchased a blanket (if I live in seasonal cold climates) and have determined to make sure my horse is kept in his barn and warm during frigid weather.
  9. I have called a veterinarian and a farrier to schedule regular appointments for check-ups, shots, hoof trims, and shoeing.

10.  I have promised my horse and myself that I will ride him at least twice a week, weather permitting and will always walk him to cool him down after the ride so he doesn’t get chilled and possibly get pneumonia.

Well, how did you do on this quiz? Are you ready to care for your own horse that will make him a happy camper at your pad?  Will Trigger love you forever because you’ve already lavished your love upon him?

If not, then determine today to fulfill all these conditions and you’ll be known as a horse owner who really cares for his/her horse.

Check out my latest book:



Dallis Parker has dreamed of owning a wild Mustang stallion

that most folks say doesn’t even exist.

Order it today!

Today’s Horse Facts: Buying the Right Horse

Buying the Right Horse for You


Coke, one of the sweetest horses I ever owned

If you’re an equine beginner or you’ve been away from horses for years and want to get back in the saddle, how are you going to find the right horse? What horse facts do you need?

The worst scenario for any horse lover is to go to a public auction and bid on a horse that “looks good and rides good.” Sure, the horse might look good and ride good—for 45 seconds when he’s on display. But what’s he like when you get him home and try to get on his back? You might be heading for a wild ride or large vet bills with “hidden costs” of which you knew nothing.

The best way to find yourself a good horse is to look for sales by reputable horse breeders. However, you might find yourself a good horse by scanning the newspaper FOR SALE ads. I bought several horses this way and learned what to do and what not to do.

Whichever way you go, there are several things you MUST do to assure yourself of a safe and healthy mount. Have an experienced horseman and a veterinarian look over your potential purchase. Make sure the hooves are in good condition and that you can pick up the horse’s feet horse shoewith no problem. Thrush is such a pain in the neck to you and a potential problem that can permanently lame your horse if you don’t clean his hooves regularly. If the horse won’t let you pick up his feet, you’re headed for big trouble. That manure he constantly stands in will eventually take its toll on the frogs of his feet, rotting them and causing you big vet bills and an unridable horse if he’s not cared for properly.

After you find a potential equine friend, walk away from him. In other words, don’t buy the horse the first time you see him. He might have a cute face with Bambi eyes, but behind that sweet little face might be a holy terror. Make sure you ride him several times in different settings: in a corral, in the pasture, in open spaces, and along the road. A horse that’s calm in a corral might go bonkers if he is on a road and a car goes whizzing by.

Another extremely important point to ponder is whether mild-mannered horsie loads and unloads easily on a trailer. A smart thing to do horse trailer 1before you sign the bottom line is ask the owner to demonstrate. If he objects, walk away from the deal. It’s probably not a good one.

Of vital importance is how the horse allows you to tack him and mount him. If he sidesteps or fights the bit or bites you, you’re in for big trouble before you even get on his back. Make sure YOU are the one tacking him, not his previous owner. If you want to build a relationship with a new horse, there’s no better place to start than when you try to slip that bit into his mouth.

Does it matter what kind of horse you buy? How about the color? The breed? It only matters if you’re looking for a particular horse to do a particular task. You wouldn’t buy a Shire to saddle and ride, and you wouldn’t buy a Belgian for dressage. Learn your breeds.

I remember the time I was looking for a horse for trail riding. My prospective horse was expected to do nothing more than give me an hour or two of pleasure a few times a week as we would ride down the dusty trail or through the woods.

I found this absolutely beautiful black Morgan through a newspaper ad. I went to the owner’s place to check out the horse, who was stunning in appearance, and my mouth started to water, picturing him in my little red barn at home.

Well, when I arrived, the horse had already been tacked and stood waiting for me to mount. Ahem. I grabbed the reins and, as I attempted to slip my foot into the stirrup, the horse sidestepped away—again and again and again. Guess what? I never was able to get on the horse. Then I wondered what other quirks the little rascal had that I missed while he was being tacked!

Ask me if I bought him.

Marsha Hubler, best-selling author of the Keystone Stables Series




Dallis Parker dreams of owning the mystery wild Mustang she’s heard about.

Does her dream ever come true?





Today’s Horse Facts: The Rocky Mountain Horse

August 22, 2015

The Rocky Mountain Horse 

If you’d like to drool over a most amazing breed of horses, then look at the horse facts about the Rocky Mountain Horse:

1.  The breed developed in the 1800s in the Appalachian Plateau of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, a cross between Spanish horses and eastern stock.

2.  The breed is sturdy with four smooth gaits.

3.  In 1986, the Rocky Mountain Horse Association was formed to help preserve the breed.

4.  The breed is considered “rare” by the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory.

5.  Their colors are numerous, but the most common color is black  or chocoate brown with flaxen mane and tail, but no white is allowed above the knee or hock.

6.  They stand from 14.2 to 16 hands tall.

7.  Their four-beat gait is similar to that of the Tennessee Walking Horse gait.

8.  They are shown in a variety of classes in both Western and English.

9.  They’re most popular as trail riding horses because of their smooth gait and endurance.

10. The Rocky Mountain Horse, with its often long flaxen mane and tail,  has star-struck beauty that equals that of any other breed.

(Most information taken from

Check out Marsha’s newest book, SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS


Dallis Parker meets the horse of her dreams in a strange encounter,

and her life is changed forever.


(writers’ blog)





Today’s Horse Facts: Why Do Girls Love Horses?

August 15, 2015

Why Do Girls Love Horses?

Here are some horse facts for you that really are nothing more than my personal opinions.

I was born with a silver spur in my mouth. As long as I can remember, I have loved horses and everything about them. I even love the smell of them, including their manure. (It’s a much sweeter smell than other animals’ droppings. Only a hopeless horse lover who’s got horse blood in her veins would truly understand.)

I often have wondered why such a high percentage of us girls love horses so much. Even into our teen years and adulthood, we females have a love for the equine sect that sometimes borders on irrational behavior.

I’ve come up with two theories, which I’ll now allow you to ponder. If you’re a female and a horse lover, choose the one that best suits your innermost desire to be in the presence of one of God’s most beautiful creations—the horse:

Theory Number One: It all started with Adam and Eve. We gals know the trouble began when Eve ate the forbidden fruit and then took control of the situation by controlling Adam. “Love me or I’ll leave you and go live with Mr. and Mrs. Ape!”

barrel racing 1Well, he loved her by joining in the sin of disobedience, thus, casting all of the human race into turmoil.

From Eve right down to modern you and me, we gals have an inborn desire to control someone or something bigger than ourselves. We can’t blame God for this because He never wired us to sin; we chose, rather, to use his gifts of foresight and organizational skills to tell everyone what to do and to control the situation. (Our husbands and other guys really don’t get this “plan ahead” thing, do they?) Usually, these gifts help control situations as long as we gals handle them with wisdom; otherwise, we’re branded as “bossy know-it-alls.”

So, as little girls, we’ve looked at horses as something “bigger than ourselves” that need us to care for them, to love them, and to control them so they don’t go charging full steam ahead into the barn wall. The feeling of power that sweeps over a gal as she sits in the saddle and puts those reins in her hands is something quite hard to Australian Pony 3explain. Somehow, the horse knows that we’re in control and complies. And we female equestrians enjoy every minute of ruling over that powerful animal with no guilt trip whatsoever like we suffer when we try to rule over our husbands, boyfriends, dads, or brothers. (Or the pastor? Yikes!) There certainly IS a place in the universe for us females to back off. Working with a horse is not one of them, so yank those reins, baby!

Theory Number Two: We females love horses because they are, in my opinion, God’s most beautiful, gorgeous, stupendous, heart-melting, and fascinating creatures. Except for those pesky men who still want us to let them hold the reins. Even in our teen years when our emotions and sensitivities come alive, we might value a ride in the woods with our beloved horse just as much as a date with Mr. Sixteen-Year-Old Handsome. It’s a mystery that no one’s ever been able to solve. Most girls are attracted to horses like horse shoes are to magnets.

So, gals, keep on loving those equines. Life is much richer by far if you have a horse in your life.

Plastic Horse Model and Wooden Buggy & Horse Model

Plastic Horse Model
and Wooden Buggy & Horse Model

Marsha Hubler, best-selling author of the Keystone Stables Series


(writers’ blog)

Today’s Horse Facts: English or Western?

July 17, 2015

English or Western?

It’s just one of those known horse facts that I suppose many equestrians ride their horses in the way, or style, they’ve been taught. By style, I mean either English or Western, two distinctly different techniques to ride a mount. By the way, the horse must be trained in either English, Western, or both because the techniques are so different.

Let’s briefly look at these two riding styles so you understand the major differences between them:
English vs. Western
1. English is known as the formal riding style while Western is considered more laid-back. The major difference between English and Western, besides the saddles and riders’ attire, is that with English riding, the rider holds each of two reins with his hands separated, a rein in each hand. In Western, the rider holds both reins in one hand and “neck reins” the horse to turn him left or right.
English.Saddle2. The English saddle is usually lighter and is the “bare necessity” with a thick pad underneath to support the rider. It has no horn (protruding stem) on the front of the saddle to help the rider hang on, and the stirrups hang freely. The Western saddle is much heavier, usually has fancy cut leather, has the horn, and fancy fenders with stirrups on the end.
3. Although the walk and canter are similar, riding the horse’s trot is quite different in both styles. In English, the rider must learn to “post” or raise himself forward out of the saddle with every other beat of the horse’s trot. In Western, the rider “sits” the entire time during a trot.Western Saddle
4. Although Western riding is the most popular for trail riding, both English and Western riding styles are used in show-ring competition. It’s quite easy to spot the difference in dress, though. In Western competition, the riders look like they’re riding the range out West. In English showing, the riders look like they’re on their way to a tea with Queen Elizabeth. However, in both competitions, even in rodeos, contestants are seen wearing helmets, or “hard hats,” to protect themselves from serious injury.

We could go on with other differences in the riding styles, but for a start, let’s say you’ve just gotten “the scoop” on riding English or Western.



Horse Facts About Horse Care

Horse Facts About Horse Care

The average Joe doesn’t know beans about caring for a horse. Horses need a lot of space, a lot of food, and a lot of TLC. A horse isn’t like a dog that you can keep in your living room or garage, feed once or twice a day out of a soup can or with table scraps, and use a pooper scooper for tiny piles. And when extreme weather conditions enter the picture, a horse owner must know how to take care of that beautiful, expensive equine.

Let’s look at some simple horse facts about caring for your horse in extreme weather:

If you own a horse and if you live anywhere in the U.S.A. that has extremely cold winters AND extremely hot summers, then you probably do keep a watchful eye on your best furfriend all year round. If you’re in the far regions of South America or Australia, then you’re protecting him right now from the blast of winter. Here in northern U.S.A., we’re having extreme heat and humidity for days on end, a VERY dangerous weather pattern for horses. But first let’s discuss how to get your horse through the winter.

If you do live anywhere that has rough-and-tough snowy winters, are you tough and brave enough to ride him in the bitter cold weather? One thing you must remember is to make sure he’s not put in the barn with sweat all over him. Yes, a horse will sweat from a good run, even in the cold weather. Once you untack him, he needs to be wiped clean, groomed, covered with a warm blanket, and put out of the wind or drafts. And make sure he has a nice thick layer of sawdust and/or straw in his stall to keep his feet warm. And give him a little bit of a grain and hay snack to help keep him warm as he snoozes.  Horses are proned to pneumonia, which can kill them in the blink of a lazy eye. So don’t neglect your horse in the winter months.

Now about the summer months. Hot, humid weather can be very dangerous for a horse, especially an older one. On days when the temp reaches the 90s and the humidity causes the heat index to reach 100, a wise equestrian will do his best to shelter his horse from the relentless heat:

1. Lock him in the barn. DON’T let him stand out in the sun.
2. If you have to ride him in the heat of the day, DON’T run him, and don’t ride him long. Keep him in the shade as much as possible.
3. Wet him down often with cool water and bug juice. (Horse flies are more vicious in hot weather, and they can suck the strength out of your horse if he gets numerous bites.)
4. Make sure he has lots of fresh, cool water to drink.
5. Don’t feed him grain during the day. Grain is a heat producer.

Years ago, my older and most favorite horse, Rex, scared the wits out of me. On a hot summer day, I looked out in the pasture to see if he was standing in his stall. (It was an open stall of which he could go in and out).But Rex wasn’t in the barn. He was in the small corral, stretched out on his side and not moving a muscle.

I went bonkers and ran to him, thinking he was dead. Thankfully, he hadn’t died, but he was drenched in sweat and not moving. I immediately called the vet, who told me that Rex was having a heat stroke. The vet said I needed to get Rex up on his feet,  wet him down, and walk him slowly for a while.

Following the vet’s advice, I got Rex aroused, and to make a long story short, he recovered.

After that incident, Rex NEVER had the option to walk out of his stall on a hot, humid day. I made sure he was in the shade with fresh cool water thereafter, and he lived to be the ripe old age of 27.

So, if you have the good fortune of having a horse, pamper him in the cold and the heat and give him a long, happy life with his best bud.

Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,394 other followers

%d bloggers like this: