Tuesday, October 8, 2013

saddle fitting


i ran across this wonderful saddle fitting article on facebook today.  it had me laughing out loud!  there is definitely some great info as well as the funny stuff.  just HAD to share number 5:


we in parelli are so lucky that we have access to the wonderful people at Parelli Saddles.   they are a well of information as far as saddle fitting goes.  and they have developed special saddle pads that allow for shimming which will help your saddle fit your horse's back as it changes shape.

if you are like me, however, you can not afford a parelli saddle, not matter how often you dream of one.  sigh.

billy was just a yearling when i brought him home and i could see after he grew 4 inches in two months, that he was going to be bigger than i originally thought!  lucky me, i had a saddle maker boarding her horse at the same barn i was boarding billy at and she was most helpful in the saddle shopping process.  yes, she could have made billy a saddle just for him, but she said i shouldn't spend the big bucks on a saddle until he was done growing.  that made perfect sense to me since i don't have any disposable income as far as saddles go!  after all i have to pay for HAY.

so, i bought a wintec dressage saddle!  it has an adjustable gullet that i can adjust and change as he grows.  i opted for the flocked panels as some of the reviews i read about the air panels said that people felt like they were balancing on a ball on the back of their horse.  that made sense to me!  plus i like the wool flocking as it will warm and take on the shape of the horse's back.


for a saddle pad i opted for a merino wool pad.  billy can not have any synthetic materials against his skin and at the time parelli had not come out with the smart pad yet.  but my merino wool pad is lovely.  i have been able to slide the foam shims under my saddle, between the saddle and the pad and they do not move at all!  they kind of stick to the underside of my saddle.  no pockets needed in my pad.

i bought a montana cincha english girth.  it's 100% wool as well.  i have always preferred the wool girth over the neoprene ones.  i've seen too many horses galled from the neoprene girth.  if you are roping heavy bulls or doing fast moves such as cutting, the neoprene girth can be helpful because it won't slip.  but your horse should not wear it all day long, because it doesn't slip.  i equate it to wearing a bra made out of rubber.  you are sweating, moving, stretching and working and that darn bra is stuck to your skin, itching and pinching.  you would get galls too!

i wanted stirrups that are already turned forward to help out my knees.  that is something that i've always hated about my western saddles, how the stirrups pull at my knees.  i used to twist my fenders and put a broom stick through the stirrups at night, but it felt like they were always pulling to hang straight again.  when i rode english it was easier to keep my stirrups turned for sure, but figured that since they make such cool stirrups i would upgrade!  i couldn't afford the clicking stirrups, so i bought the kind that are always turned.  they look nice and have a good weight to them.  i wanted them a little heavier as i feel that is easier on my knees as well.

SONY DSCthe set up looks wonderful and i can't wait to throw a leg over and go for a ride.  i. can't. wait.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

reinholds horse wellness brushes


hi guys!  i'm here to help you with your horse brush dilemma.  what kind of brush do you need?  what brush do you use?  where?  what is a good quality brush?

i love grooming!  it's one of my favorite things to do with my horse.  i get a good workout and billy gets a wonderful full body skin and muscle massage.  he just glows after a good grooming.  to get this look  i have to be able to muscle my brushes.  brushes from the feed store just don't hold up to this rigorous workout.

i used to buy new brushes every year.  every spring i would do my spring cleaning of my horse trailer and tack room and throw out all my used up, squished, dirty and bristle-less brushes.  now don't get me wrong.  several times during the year i would clean my brushes using dish soap and hot water.  but they would eventually, after all the hard use, just have a generally "squished" look about them.  very disheveled.

then came Reinhold's HorseWellness Brushes.   these brushes are exactly what i've been looking for!  for years i've been searching for a brush of this quality.  something that could stand the test of time. (and my rigorous grooming.)

here is the Reinhold's motto:

"Well Horses Perform Well!™".

"You want your horse to feel and look great. We help you achieve this with products that are mostly from natural materials, innovative and practical.  All our products are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee."

their horse brushes are made by Leistner,  made in Germany, since 1882.

my favorite brushes and the ones i use all summer, nearly every day are:

  • horse dandy brush- natural bristles (also called the flick brush)

  • the mud brush with brass bristles

  • horse finishing brush- "grand gilbert"

  • the mane and tail "hedgehog brush" (this is my FAVORITE brush!  i use this one all year round.  it's the best for getting down into that thick curly coat that billy sports in the winter time.)

  • hoof brush-stiff

these brushes are made from natural fibers and hairs.  the synthetic fiber brushes tend to build up static electricity when i brush billy and they are scratchy and uncomfortable.  when i use the natural fiber brushes billy will lean into the brush, loving how they get the itches out.  i love how they deep clean his skin and get all the dirt and dry skin up and out of his coat.

other natural fiber brushes that i've tried over the years just do not hold up like these brushes do.  when i first found their site i thought they would be too pricey for me... but they're not!  these are just as affordable as any brush you will buy at the tack/feed store (that will wear out in a year) and these brushes hold up beautifully!

i cleaned mine up so i could show you how well they've held up.  i've had them for a year and six months now and they look nearly new!

the first thing i brush billy with is the rubber curry.  the one i have now is not from Reinhold's, but i will be purchasing one from them soon!  i use this brush in a circular motion, really getting down through the hair to the skin to get out the dried mud, dirt and dry skin.  this is the curry i will be purchasing.

the next brush i use is the hedgehog brush.  this is billy's FAVORITE brush.  he really leans into me when i brush with this one.  the picture on the left and the one in the middle are of my brand new hedgehog brush.  it's so clean and shiny!  the picture on the right is my old one.  i've had that brush for a year and a half and used it nearly every single day.  if you've ever purchased a pin style brush from petsmart or walmart, or target and then used it on your horse, you'll know that almost immediately the pins start to fall out.  after a month or two all the pins will be gone and your left with a pin-less cushion!  but these pins did NOT fall out.  they are a little bent, but that's from billy picking it up with his TEETH and walking around with it when i wasn't looking.  i think he was going to take it back to his stall so he could use it later....

[caption id="attachment_550" align="aligncenter" width="500"]mane_tail_hedge_medium picture from Reinhold's Horse Wellness site[/caption]

$16.95 US

[caption id="attachment_546" align="aligncenter" width="760"]hedgehogbrush the picture on the left and the one in the middle are pictures of my brand new hedgehog brush. the one on the right is my old one. i've had that one for a year and a half and i use it nearly every day![/caption]

then we have the mud brush with brass bristles.  this is a prototype brush that Reinhold's sent me to try out on billy's difficult winter coat.  so far i really love how it gets down in the hair and does not cause a static build up!  i use this brush third because it will dig down through the hair and help bring out the dirt and dry skin. CURLY HORSE OWNERS!!!  take a look at this brush.  you will love it and so will your horse!


after i use the mud brush then i use the dandy/flick brush.  this brush literally flicks the dirt and dry skin.  this brush is another one of my favorites.  i think because it's called the "flick" brush...

[caption id="attachment_551" align="aligncenter" width="500"]horse_dandy_brush_medium picture from Reinhold's Horse Wellness site[/caption]

$13.00 US


the final brush i use is the finish brush.  this is such a luxurious brush.  so thick and full of horse hair.  billy loves this brush on his face.  he will push into me and just close his eyes and enjoy it.




sometimes i use the hoof brush.  i trim billy's feet myself so sometimes i have to clean the canvas before i start!


hoofbrushif anything here sparks your interest or if you just want to see all the loveliness over at Reinhold's Horse Wellness website please click here.  tell them mindy schroder sent ya'!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013



in the above video linda parelli talks about being soft when we ask our horses to do things.  how softly can you ask for a transition?  a stop?  a back up?

i find myself yelling at billy a lot because i "think" i need to really be obvious in what i'm asking.  we have moved beyond that in our training however and i need to remember my own advice about progress!

one thing i struggle with a bit is when i am being soft i also feel like i'm being a big sneaky.  then when i start to think about being sneaky, billy mostly always tries to leave or does if we are playing at liberty!  how interesting!

i watched the gal in the above video asking hot jazz ever so softly for the transitions and the bring back and realized that softness does not have to look sneaky.  however when she "swung" her stick that DID look a bit sneaky to me.  i thought it looked like she was afraid to swing the stick?  thoughts on this?

i guess i would be afraid to swing a stick and string at linda parelli's horse with her looking on.....

when i am soft and quiet in my body, mind and emotions our play times seem to just flow.  billy is light as a feather as i ask for changes of direction, transitions up and down, half jumps and jumping the barrels.  the whole thing looks like a beautiful dance.  those sessions feed my soul and support me during the sessions where he runs me over, steals my treat bag and leaves with his tail flagging in the air- nanner nanner!

it's completely clear to me how important it is to be myself and be in the moment when i'm playing with billy.  however he also has responsibilities in our sessions.  i could be buddha some days and it wouldn't matter.  billy would still have his own agenda and his own ideas.

of course if i WAS buddha i guess i would completely understand the idea of never making the horse feel wrong...

Friday, September 27, 2013

a little something for the weekend


this article is an eye opener for why america is producing so many mediocre instructors.  wow!

here is an interesting article by tom moates.  i agree with some of what he says and disagree with some.  there is always something to learn from everyone, even when that someone is downtroding what you believe in ;)  i have read a few of tom's books that he wrote about harry whitney.  i really enjoyed them, though once again i felt that he had misinterpreted things that parelli teaches.  that seems to happen often in the "natural horsemanship world" and mostly i find out later that the person who is misquoting, or misunderstanding the program has never studied it.  i feel that it's difficult to make a clear judgement about something until you've put your time in and learned what you can about it first hand.

this pony is in amazing shape!!!  what an imagination these two have...

at the david lichman clinic he talked a lot about using music to get rhythm and relaxation.  this video is the ultimate example of this!  i've loved this video since they rode this test at the 2006 world equestrian games.  i sat on the edge of my seat watching it then and every single time i watch it now i'm on the edge of my seat, clapping, with tears in my eyes.  these two are simply amazing...