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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, if not the most popular, is to get healthy or lose weight in the new year. But many of us don’t like going to a gym or trying to eat only “rabbit food,” so we’re constantly looking for a new, fun way to get healthy. One really great way is actually already out in your pasture or barn – riding your horse.

While we’ve covered before how horseback riding burns calories, it does so much more than that. It’s a very physical activity that can be done at any level of physical coordination. There are activities and programs for every level of rider, and is frequently used as physical therapy.

Two areas that you will see improvement in almost immediately are better balance and good posture. Both are essential in horseback riding, and will become second nature as you continue riding. You’ll learn the balance that you need to stay on your horse, including staying grounded through your hips, which will help strengthen your core muscles  and improve your posture. Exercises that help both your posture and balance can start with walking your horse at first and then progress as far as grabbing rings at a trot.

Your muscles and joints are also areas that can see benefits from horseback riding. While you’ll see improvement in muscle tone throughout your body, you’ll most notice it in your thighs and calves. The improvement will come from the movements of the horse. Your body will react almost instinctively to this movement, making better muscle tone practically happen automatically.

Not only does horseback riding provide a greater range of movement throughout your entire body, there are also emotional and cognitive benefits as well. You are getting to know a horse that you’ve never worked with before, learning its habits, likes and dislikes. Just simply being out in the company of your horse can help improve your mental health. And horseback riding is especially good for children as it helps them learn a great deal about caring for animals and how they function.

No matter your fitness or ability level, horseback riding is a great way to improve your health and get into shape. With its many benefits, it can be a good way to help you keep your New Year’s resolution.

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Your pastures take a lot of abuse from your horses. Grass is trampled, plants eaten down to nothing. And the wintertime doesn’t help with the freezing cold, snow and ice. But there are steps you can take to minimize damage during the winter months and encourage plant growth in the spring.

Let Your Pastures Rest

Resting your pastures and paddocks gives the grasses and plants a chance to come back in the spring. Establish a “sacrifice area” where the horses can still graze during the winter, preferably in an area where you don’t care if there is regrowth in the spring. The trampling from the horses’ hooves can inhibit grasses from coming back. Giving the rest of the pasture a rest lets plants rejuvenate in the spring and lets you manage the pasture through the winter.

Apply Nitrogen in the Fall

Fall is the best time to apply nitrogen to your horse pasture. Applying nitrogen helps improve forage density in the spring. It’s recommended that you apply late in the fall, usually November through mid-December, and to use only about 30 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre. The nitrogen will be used by the grasses already in the pasture for early winter root growth and new below-ground shoot development, so your pasture will bounce back quicker in the spring. You may also see a slight increase in actual grass production in the spring, but you’ll see the most results from the regrowth.

What to do in Late Winter and Early Spring

While early fall is usually the best time to seed a pasture, you may want to wait until spring if your pasture is looking sparse. If you do wait until spring, wait until the daytime temperatures are at or above 50 degrees, which usually is around early March. Once you have seeded your pasture, the longer you can keep the horses off the pasture, the better your chances at the new grass establishing itself.

You can also apply nitrogen in the spring. This can help after a long, difficult winter in an already established pasture, or it can help strengthen a spring seeding. If you seed in the spring, you’ll want to apply around 40-50 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre. If you are applying nitrogen after a spring seeding, wait until the seedlings begin to emerge. Applying nitrogen can also be a good idea for those “sacrifice areas” of your pasture that took a beating during the winter.

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This year at the Iowa State Fair, we sponsored the Cowgirl Queen Contest. It was a great show and we wanted to pass along the results:

Jessica Taylor of Granger was crowned Junior Cowgirl Queen and Honey Creek resident Rachel Jenkins was crowned Senior Cowgirl Queen at the 2010 Iowa State Fair. Coronation was held on Friday.

Junior Cowgirl Attendants:
Jessica Ackerson, Indianola
Kaitlynn Rinkert, Prole
Logan Kinyon, Lenox
Makayla Johnston, Baxter

Senior Cowgirl Attendants:
Hannah Hilsabeck, Winterset
Brittney Kincaid, Ankeny
Jamie Mackewich, Otley
Jessica Iserman, Dyersville

We also snapped some pictures of the event:

Congratulations to all who participated.

There’s still time to check out the Iowa State Fair. It runs through August 22nd, and the fairgrounds are located right across the street from our store.
Stop in and get a free State Fair Scratch-off ticket if you didn’t get one in the mail – you could get an extra 10% – 40% off your purchase, or even a free purchase up to $100. Also, you can get a free State Fair ticket and parking pass if you purchase is $250 or more. See you at the fair!

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As I was doing some research for future blog posts, I came across this post that lists some New Year’s Resolutions for horses. I hope you get a chuckle out of these like I did!

1. I will NOT roll in streams when my human is on my back.
2. I will NOT leap over large nonexistent obstacles when the whim strikes.
3. I will NOT walk faster on the way home than I did on the way out.
4. I will NOT bite my farrier’s butt just to say “Hi.”
5. I will NOT confuse my human’s hair for really soft hay.
6. I will NOT blow my nose on my human
7. I will NOT try to mooch goodies from every human within a One-mile radius.
8. I will NOT lay totally flat in my stall with my eyes glazed of and my legs straight out and pretend I can’t hear my human frantically screaming “Are you asleep?”
9. I will NOT chase the ponies into the electric fence to see if it is on.
10. I will promise NEVER to dump the wheelbarrow of manure over while my human is mucking my stall.
11. I will NOT grab my lead rope in my mouth and attempt to lead myself.
12. I will NOT pull my shoes off the day after being shod, just to prove that I can.
13. I am neither a beaver nor a carpenter. I promise I won’t eat or orally remodel the barn or the new fences.
14. I am NOT a battle steed and will NOT act like one.
15. I will forgive my human for my very bad haircut, even though I look ridiculous.
16. I will accept that not every carrot (sugar lump or cookie) is for me.
17. I will NOT bite the butt of the horse in front of me during a trail ride just to say “Hi.”
18. I will NOT jump in the air and turn 180 degrees every time I see a deer.
19. I will understand that deer are NOT carnivorous.
20. I will gladly come from the pasture when my human wants my company.

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We would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year from all of us at Hawkeye Tack & Western Wear. We had such a great 2009 and thank all of you for making it a wonderful year. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2010!

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Christmas Horse Treats

Every horse loves treats, and we found a couple recipes for some special Christmas horse treats. If you try them, let us know how your horse likes them!

Horse Cookies

Ingredients:

* 2 cups dry oatmeal
* 3/4 cup grain
* 3 cups bran
* 1 cup molasses

Instructions:

1. Mix oats, grain and bran together in a bucket.
2. Drizzle in molasses while mixing with your hands.
3. Cut into fun shapes such as horse or horseshoe shapes and place them on a cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 375Âș for 8 minutes.

Christmas mash

Ingredients:

* 1 lb bran
* 1/2 cup sweet feed
* 4 packets of Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal
* 4 packets of Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal
* 1/3 can of regular oatmeal(or 4 packets)
* 3 cups Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal
* 1 apple
* 3 carrots
* 4 oz molasses
* Hot water

Instructions:

1. Mix dry ingredients in feed bucket.
2. Add enough hot water to just cover the dry ingredients and let set for 12 minutes.
3. Add molasses and stir.

Image courtesy of Dano

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