Category: Other Good Stuff

Now There’s Driving For The Disabled! - Driving For The Disabled

This is a stock photo – Click on the link in the article to see the actual vehicle modified for wheelchairs

Wheelchair-bound horse lovers who find it difficult to be lifted out of their wheelchair to ride astride now have a new way to interact with the horses they love – driving!

Some people with disabilities up until now haven’t been able to benefit from the normal therapeutic riding programs – perhaps they lack the balance to sit in the saddle; they’re too heavy or unfit to ride; their medication prevents them from staying in the saddle; or they simply have a fear of heights.

A new therapeutic driving program about to start in Britain will allow people who can’t actually sit on a horse be able to be a part of the action, using a special vehicle that unfolds at the back, allowing a wheelchair to be pushed up the ramp and putting the occupant right in the driver’s seat!

Read all about it here …


By Nancy Jaffer/For The Star-Ledger on July 14, 2013 at 12:17 AM, updated July 14, 2013

A very clever carriage made its debut last week at Somerset County’s Lord Stirling Stable, where it will be part of a therapeutic driving program set to begin in the fall.
The back unfolds, enabling a wheelchair to be pushed up a ramp and then moved into place at the front of the vehicle, a procedure that will offer people with special needs a chance to be in the driver’s seat, both literally and figuratively. There’s no need for an awkward “wheelchair transfer” that involves lifting someone out of the chair and into the carriage.

Therapeutic riding serves its clients well, with more than 20 such programs in the state, including one at Lord Stirling. But not everyone who could benefit from a special equestrian connection can take advantage of the opportunities they offer. Some people with disabilities simply don’t have the balance to sit in a saddle; others are too heavy to ride, often a result of medication and lack of exercise; perhaps they have a fear of heights or physically just can’t manage being atop a horse.

“This is a way to get wheelchair people off the sidelines and make them part of the action,” [Article continues here…]

[Source: New Jersey News]

Kudos for those developing these programs and working so hard to get the funding and following it through to completion. You are making a lot of people’s lives a lot brighter – may these programs continue to flourish!

Making Your Horse’s Stall Safe - Stall safety-3Whether you are building, renovating or simply maintaining your horse’s stall, horse-proofing the environment is essential.

Having a safe stall and barn is much easier in the first place than putting your horse’s health and safety at the risk of hurting your horse, let alone incurring expensive vet bills.

Click the image or this link for a highly informative video in which Dr. Christy Corp-Minamiji explains how can you build a safe stall or make an existing stall safer.

She discusses:

  • The ideal size of a stall
  • Safe walls
  • Ceiling height
  • Appropriate footing
  • Safe aisleways
  • Safe feeders
  • Waterers
  • Secure latches
  • Sharp edges and protusions
  • Cleanliness

Click on the image or this link to view the video from The

Don’t take chances – your horse is too valuable and I’m sure he’s a good friend.  Go through your barn and stalls now and fix everything that could be potentially cause injury to your horse!

Rescuing An Abandoned Wild Foal - Rescuing an abandoned wild foal

Stock photo of a foal for illustration purposes only – not the actual foal rescued

Wild horse photographer Carol Walker was making a trip to the Red Desert this past spring when she came across a foal, less than a week old, abandoned and totally alone.

She tells the story of how she was able to rescue the little foal on her blog, “Wild Hoofbeats” – I know you’ll love it!

Wild Horses: Rescuing an Abandoned Salt Wells Creek Foal

By Carol Walker

On Sunday, I was driving in Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Area in the Red Desert of Wyoming. This area is over 1 million acres in size, vast and beautiful in parts, with power plants, a few ranches, wildlife (which includes deer, antelope and wild horses), plus cattle and sheep. You can drive for over 30 miles on dirt roads from I-80 south and still not reach the border of the herd area.

I was there because a judge in Wyoming Federal Court signed a Consent Decree which will eliminate all wild horses from this Salt Wells Creek Herd Area this summer. I wanted to see and photograph some of the over 600 wild horses inhabiting this area that would soon be separated from their homes and families and end up initially at the Rock Springs Short Term Holding Facility.

The last time I had visited this herd was in August of 2010 before the last round up of Salt Wells and Adobe Town.

On Sunday it was rainy and sunny alternating, and there was a storm that was supposed to be coming in that evening, and the roads were wet in spots, so I planned to stay to paved and extremely-improved dirt roads only. I was driving along and saw a sign for County Road 27 and the road looked good, so I turned. I drove and saw manure from wild horses and stud piles, but no horses. The scenery is varied and beautiful, and there was one ranch along this road which I passed.

I saw no other vehicles, and I had been going for about 10 miles. Soon there was a turn for Aspen Mountain, and the road underneath my tires got looser and looser and I started to slide. I almost turned around, but I got this urgent feeling that I needed to keep going. I turned north up CR 27 and drove a little bit, and the road got a little firmer which was a relief. But the clouds started coming in, and I almost turned around. Then I spotted a horse—finally!

As I got closer, I realized that this was a foal, and he looked miserable, head down, standing next to a post. I looked and looked but could not see any other horses. I drove closer and got out, and got my binoculars. I could see for at least a few miles in every direction, but not a single other horse was in sight. The little guy had worn a path around the post, and from the little bits of manure it looked as though he had been there awhile. I approached slowly, not wanting to scare him, and noticed a big bite mark on his neck from another horse.

It looked like a big scrape, not a deep wound, and it was not bleeding. He was bright-eyed and moving just fine. I wondered how he had come to be there all alone—perhaps he had a young first-time mother who had wandered away, perhaps a stallion had bitten him and driven him off, or maybe his mother had died shortly after having given birth. I knew he was less than a week old.

When I got closer he whinnied at me, a little high pitched happy noise, clearly glad to see another creature! I was able to touch him, and he tried to nurse on my fingers. He was thirsty! I knew foals this small could not graze and need to nurse from their mothers every few hours, and there was a big storm coming in the next day, so he clearly needed help. I could not fit him in my vehicle, let alone lift him in, and also there were regulations about how to interact with wild horses and so I needed help.[More …]


Carol’s beautiful book “Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers”, is one of the best instructional and inspirational guides to horse photography in existence, and is available from Amazon in hardcover or on Kindle. Be sure to check it out.

Barrel Racer Still Going Strong At 81 - Barrel racer

Barrel racer [stock photo]

Back in 1964, Ardith Bruce was the World Women’s Barrel Racing Champion.

She’s now 81 years young, but is still the ultimate competitor, still competing even though arthritis makes it harder for her to climb aboard. And she still hurls her horse around the barrels at breathtaking speed and flies across the dirt for home.

Here is her fascinating story:

The cowgirl in tennies, stretch jeans and western shirt is racing hell-bent for leather across the arena in Fountain atop a half-ton horse named Itchy.

They round the barrels heartstop close, then fly across the dirt for home.

And this is just practice.

If you think about the rider’s age, you might get a few butterflies. But like a car crash, you can’t look away.

Don’t worry, this 81-year-old barrel racer is Ardith Bruce, the 1964 world champion. She still sits deep in the saddle and competes even when arthritis makes it a chore to fling her leg over the cantle.

Lucky Ekberg, a long-time friend and president of Fountain Valley Riding and Roping Club sums up Bruce best:

“Her mind has a built-in racing stopwatch and her heart is full of horsehair. Watching her ride takes your breath away.”

Just recently, she came in about 28th out of 140 men and women barrel racers competing at Norris Penrose stadium. She was probably the only one over 65.

“I like to say I came in first — in the 80-year-old category,” she laughs.  [Story continues here]


You gotta give it to her – she’s a legend!

Just Singing In the Rain: Awesome Video!

What an agile and obedient horse, and such an amazing display of horsemanship, skill and dexterity, riding one-handed and twirling an open umbrella!

I’m gobsmacked –  Enjoy!

Please feel free to share this beautiful video.

Out The Gate And Gone: Horse Owners Need To Do Everything Possible To Deter Thieves.

Secure your horse gear

Yes, times are tough, and you have a lot of money invested in your horse/s, your tack and your barn, any or all of which is very tempting to a thief. And then there’s the emotional devastation that can follow the theft of one of your horses or any of your gear.

If you want to avoid or at least minimize the risk of theft, things can be done to protect yourself. Most times thieves have some idea of a person’s comings and goings so they know when to make their hit; tack thieves usually are not out for violence, just stealing. Be aware of who you give extensive information about your barn, stable, or horses to whether it be for business purposes or otherwise.

Here is a very informative article from with tips about steps we can take to protect our horsey assets, including:

  • Don’t be an easy target for thieves
  • Understand your risk
  • Make sure your horse is easily identified – brands, microchipping, markings and scars
  • Keep photographic records
  • Make sure your fencing and gates are secure
  • Mark your tack and keep them locked away
  • Secure your horse trailer
  • Work with your neighbour for extra security
  • Consider erecting warning signage, installing security camera (even fake ones) or alarms 

Protect Your Riding Gear And Horses From Thieves

January 23, 2007

It would be nice to think that everyone in the horse community is honest.

Sadly, it’s not the case… [read the whole article here

~ Source:

Another good idea is to put your horses’ names and maybe even your phone number on their blankets. If anyone steals them off your horses, it will be more obvious if they use them that they are stolen, and it makes them harder to resell. There’s also the side benefit that you will know exactly which blanket belongs to which horse if you take a few off at the same time, without having to stop and figure it out!

Take the time to implement these security tips – you never know how much money – and heartache – it will save you!

Horses Are Good For The Soul

Horses Are Good For The SoulWhy do we love horses? 

We all have our reasons – maybe it’s the thrill of the gallop or the chase, the adrenalin rush, the challenge or the satisfaction of competing.  Or maybe it’s for the peacefulness of a trail ride, or simply the fact that they seem to like us!

But a horse is more than just an animal.  They are far more than our playmates, our work fellows or even our means of earning a living.  They have a spiritual quality about them that speaks to our hearts and our souls, and there are those who appreciate and value this aspect of the horse more than anything else.  To put it simply – horses inspire us in more ways than simply enjoying them.

Here is the beautiful story of how Chronicle of the Horse journalist, Jodie Jaffe, has drawn on her own horses for strength and peace during many difficult times in her life, including head injuries suffered from falls, broken bones, and testing times when she thought she was going to lose both her son and her husband.

Her horses calmed her soul – and most of us will know exactly what she means!  

Horses Help Us Through The Roughest Times
~ by Jody Jaffe
February 12, 2012

Life keeps getting in the way of my return to riding. And this column.

This summer, I’d finally reached my goal of showing in the Special Adults with Woody, Diane Wade’s Doctor of Confidence. I’d spent the previous year emotionally recovering from a head injury. I say emotionally because, while the injury was bad enough to obliterate a day from my life, physically I felt fine in a few weeks. But it erased what little confidence I had on a horse.

Woody took care of that. Really, you could put a monkey on his back, and he’d metronome his way around the ring, which he did with me. But at some point, the riding skills I’ve acquired over the past 40 years clicked in, and I actually rode him around a course, confidently. I had big plans for our fall show season: the Randolph Medal Finals and my first-time ride in a hunter classic! I was even starting to shop Ebay for a shadbelly. But you know what they say: If you want to hear God laugh, tell him/her your plans.

A series of three surgeries—oral surgery for an abscessed tooth, facial surgery for squamous-cell skin cancer and arm surgery to plate together a broken ulna—sidelined me from October through December. I’d just returned to riding when Life struck again. This time, horribly.

My husband, John Muncie (aka The Saint) spent 12 days at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., fighting three infections acquired during a routine back surgery there. Each day brought a new, seemingly life-threatening crisis, including an emergency midnight surgery, a suspected pulmonary embolism and the possibility of bleeding out. I didn’t leave his side. My Facebook friends followed his descent into Hell through my posts. And they continue to follow the developments in my war to make hospitals accountable for hospital-acquired infections. John’s on IV antibiotics four times a day at a cost to us of $60 a day for at least six weeks. Medicare stopped paying for hospital-acquired infections, so why should we still have to pay?

Doesn’t seem fair. But I stopped hoping for fair years ago. Both in life—and the show ring. Sometimes you get pinned in a flat class even after your horse picks up the wrong lead, and sometimes the judge forsakes your horse’s perfect trip for the rail knocker. However, with horse shows, only a ribbon’s at stake. With hospitals, 100,000 lives are lost each year to these infections, many of which can be prevented.

So as you can see, between John’s battle against bacteria and mine against the hospital establishment, there hasn’t been much time to ride. However, that doesn’t mean horses have been out of my life. They are what kept me sane during our 12 days of Hell. After each new crisis, I went to the barn. In my mind. (Read the rest of the article…)

Here is a selection of related books you might enjoy:

Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul: Inspirational Stories About Horses And The People Who Love Them  – Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, Gary Seidler, Peter Vegso and Theresa Peluso

Horse Miracles: Inspirational True Stories of Remarkable Horses  by Brad Steiger & Sherry Hansen Steiger

Rescued by a Horse: True Stories of Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Healing  by Cheryl Dudley

Angel Horses – Divine Messengers of Hope  by Allen Anderson & Linda Anderson

Heavenly Horse Sense: Inspirational Stories from Life in the Saddle by Rebecca E Ondov

New Insights Into Therapeutic Riding

Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted CounselingHorses are increasingly becoming acknowledged as being valuable resources for healing or rehabilitating children and adults with mental or physical challenges.   With both demand and the number of therapeutic horseback riding programs available rapidly increasing, a new book, “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice”, has been published to educate therapists who want to incorporate the horse therapy element into their practices.  

Equine assisted therapy
provides mental health therapy both on the ground and in the saddle to children or adults who have experienced trauma or other psychological damage.  Being around and working with horses provides non-judgmental time and space to interact with his or her horse, encouraging them to extend this interaction to others and form meaningful relationships with people.

Building a relationship with an animal is very rewarding in many respects; for a person with an emotional, social or psychological disability, the trust and loyalty of an animal demonstrates to the student how important he or she is; they may then apply this newly-acquired self-esteem to personal relationships. A horse may also help a person feel in control of his or her situation, since in dealing with horses there is a direct relationship between action and reaction.

Here’s what The Advertiser-Tribune had to say about “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice”:

A new book has brought together 28 counselors, psychologists and medical doctors from around the world to share their experiences in using equine assisted counseling with clients.

“Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice” was released Dec. 13 by international publisher Routledge/Taylor & Francis. The book is written by counselors for counselors who want to add a hands-on component to their practices.

One of the contributing authors is Pamela Nielsen Jeffers, a 1979 graduate of Columbian High School. Pam is the daughter of Tiffin residents Don and Nancy Nielsen. Jeffers and her husband, Robert, are co-owners of Natural Freedom’s Relationship Based Equine Facilitated Learning and Therapy Center in Albany, which has 10 horses that are used for therapy with troubled children and their families.

“We do a lot with relationship building. … We practice it with horses because they give instant feedback with reading thenonverbals of their bodies, and a non-judgmental time and space to practice those relationship skills,” Jeffers said. “We work a lot with trauma. When you experience trauma, you’re heightened and it’s hard to relax.”

Kay Trotter, a counselor in private practice in Flower Mound, Texas, the initiator and editor of the book, sent an invitation for chapter proposals. Jeffers and two colleagues submitted a proposal that was accepted. Kristina Houser, a licensed psychologist and licensed independent chemical dependency counselor in private practice in Athens and Erin Lucas, a licensed independent social worker at Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services Inc., collaborated with Jeffers to write “Heart-to-Heart Rainbow: An Imagery Experience to Facilitate Relationship Development.”

The piece provides the clinical protocols to help counselors use equine assisted counseling with their clients.

Several years ago, the Jeffers family went through a crisis of their own and found comfort through one of their horses named Cheyene. The couple realized firsthand the therapeutic effect horses can have on humans. Pamela wrote about their experiences in an article published in Guideposts magazine. The “horses” page on the website has a link to the article.

Jeffers said her work with horses started in childhood. While growing up in Tiffin, she participated in a 4-H program with her horse, Penny, until age 18. During those years, she learned leadership skills, including responsibility and communication.

She also got involved with therapeutic riding through Hope on Horseback, founded by Ellie Spellerberg.

“Penny was one of the first horses used in that program. That was the beginning of my experience with seeing the relationships with horses a little bit different, as far as the non-competitive aspect,” Jeffers said.

After graduating from Columbian, Jeffers studied therapeutic recreation at Ohio University in Athens. After college, she married Robert Jeffers, whose family owns a farm in Albany. For a while, Pamela taught evening classes at Hocking College. In 2006, she earned certification for equine-assisted therapy; she then formed Natural Freedom LLC, in 2008.

The couple had horses even before Pamela started her therapy program.

“Two were donated last fall because our caseload was increasing,” she said. “Each horse adds its own uniqueness to the plate. We have paso finos that were donated. … They’re really good for helping kids that get heightened and have trouble bringing it back down.”

Quarter horses, paints and a miniature mule complete the flock. Jeffers said all breeds lend themselves to therapy, depending on their temperaments. The paso finos are valued for their smooth gait and lively personalities. Clients who are afraid of the horses initially are coached to approach and handle the animals little by little until they are at ease. Designed for those with no previous experience with horses, the basic program offers mental health therapy “on the ground” and does not involve therapeutic riding.
Participants ages 5 and older are encouraged to “be in the moment” with the horse and to put aside the “could have’s” and “have to’s.”

Jeffers teaches clients to do breathing and other exercises to practice being calm and to recreate those feelings of calmness at home.

Her daughter, LaTicia, was a scholarship student in Tiffin University’s equestrian program. Now back home, she helps her mother with the Natural Freedom program.

“I tend to work the empowerment piece with the parents. That’s my niche. She adds her youthfulness and fun to work with the kids,” Pamela said.

Robert is working on his own certification. He helps out with special events. The couple also served as 4-H advisers in the Albany area while their two children were in the program. Down the road, Pamela would like to work with veterans. She said she thinks horses could help veterans struggling with the effects of trauma.

Although Jeffers has a college degree, she said equine-assisted therapy is a certificate program. Some mental health programs include coursework in equine-assisted therapy.

Jeffers said her education background has been helpful.

“I have found it extremely beneficial to be able to use the adaptations I learned in school and how to modify things and put things together. I think that’s why it’s working for us so well,” she said.

~ Source: The Advertiser-Tribune

The value and importance of horse therapy and therapeutic riding is immeasurable.  Children with disabilities love having a quiet, peaceful environment and so do horses – they can teach each other many things.

Learn more about “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice” or purchase the book.

Tips If You Are Horseless

Ideas If You Can't Own A HorseHorses are becoming increasingly expensive to buy and even more expensive to keep – I heard just today that horses with merely the potential to compete at the 2012 Olympics are being sold for up to $US2million!

Now while you might not be in this elite league (I know I’m not), it is even more discouraging for those who can’t afford to buy a horse of their own but have been bitten by the horse bug who just want a horse to love, ride and maybe care for as well. And we all should know that the price of the horse is only the tip of the iceberg!

Even if you were able to get a horse for free (and sometimes you can), you are now responsible for providing this horse with a suitable place to live, food, shoeing, vet fees and medication for illness or injury, worming, blankets (rugs), tack, grooming gear, riding clothes and boots, etc. And if you want to compete, add another set of tack and riding gear, not to mention transportation to get the horse from place to place (which can also mean a second vehicle registration and maintenance).

It all costs Money – and lots of it. Horse ownership can become a bottomless pit that constantly and relentlessly relieves you of all your hard-earned funds!

However, all is not lost! There are many options for those who are unable to own a horse of their own such as helping out at a riding school (either in exchange for lessons or just to be around horses), leasing or sharing a horse, as you will discover in the following article …

So You Can’t Afford A Horse…Positive Ways To Handle Horselessness

Horses are expensive to buy, and far more so to keep, and many passionate horse lovers cannot afford one of their own.

This can be a depressing experience for any dedicated rider who considers it their ultimate goal. There are however, some ways to start dealing with the problem, and make the longing less acute. This article offers some suggestions.  [Read full article here]

~ Source:  Paula Sainthouse, Horses @ Suite 101

I hope this article gave you some ideas for further investigation on how to handle your horselessness! 

Here’s a link to the book mentioned in the article:  “The Horseless Rider by Barbara Burn. It has even more ideas and suggestions that may provide some relief to the ardent horse lover who has big dreams – but a skinny wallet.




New Year Beer Mash Recipe

Horses Love Beer

Did you know … ?

Horses Like Beer!

So don’t forget to give your horse a treat when you celebrate this New Year – and it could actually be good for his health!




~ from Holistic Horse Care

“We all know Guinness is good for you.”

This has been the ad slogan for Guinness since 1929. This is the slogan that many horse trainers/owners also agree. Guess what? A lot of us like drinking beer to celebrate and we are not alone.

Horses in Ireland enjoy a pint of Guinness often. Some get a pint daily. Some horses are so picky, they would only drink Guinness (Zenyatta only drinks Guinness). No wonder they like it – it is good tasting and helps them to relax.

Many trainers believe the yeast in the dark beer like Guinness is really good for horses. There is also an active ingredient, hops, which is known to soothe anxiety, relax muscles and relax spasms of the digestive tract.

Some trainers/horsemen also believe Guinness helps horses with anhydrosis (non-sweat condition). There are also many coverage on how beer help horses cure from spasmodic colic as it appears that beer has an anesthetizing effect on the bowel and relaxes muscle spasms, which cause the horse pain.

Don’t worry, you will not get your horse drunk with a pint or two!




Beer Mash Recipe brought to you by EcoLicious Equestrian

Mix together:
• 8 cups of bran
• 8 cups of oats
• pinch of sea salt
• hot water
• 1 can of dark beer

Add enough water to thoroughly moisten the ingredients, add salt, mix and let it steep until cool enough to feed.

Of course, you don’t really have to wait until next New Year’s Day – I can’t imagine any horse not enjoying this treat at any time of the year!