Appreciating the Cultural Differences in Equestrian Sports

Written by Emily & Sarah Harris, Sisters Horsing Around

What is Culture?

Simply put, culture is a way of life for a particular group of people that can encompass shared beliefs, practices, behaviors, and values. It can include how they talk, how they dress, their appearance, and other things that are unique to the group. We understand that there are different cultures based on race, such as black culture and Hispanic culture; cultures based on religion, including Christian culture and Hindu culture; ones based on geographic location, such as western culture and eastern culture; some based on interests, like gaming culture and biker culture; and so on. There are even cultures based on music, like hip hop culture and rock culture.

Just like in the rest of society, culture variation exists in the horse world among equestrians. The equestrian world is beautifully diverse with lots of different disciplines and areas of interest. There are English riding disciplines and Western riding disciplines, and there are various others like horse racing, vaulting, trail riding, and driving, just to name a few.

There are a lot of people that participate in each and each has its own culture. These cultural differences include myriad ways of dressing, language, cultural norms, traditions, and even etiquette. But despite those differences, we all have one thing in common, which is our love for the horse.

Who Are We?

We – Emily and Sarah – are multi-discipline riders and as such we are part of multiple “cultures” in the equestrian world. Through our experiences as members of these different cultures, we have heard some things that concern us. Our concerns relate to the unfair stereotypes, biases, and prejudices that exist between the different disciplines.

We have heard disparaging comments made by those in one group of equestrians about other groups of equestrians. English riders have labeled Western riders as “rednecks.” Western riders have called English riders “sissies.” Eventers refer to hunters as “snobs” and hunters see eventers as “slobs.”

We have heard Saddle Seat riders called out for being “abusive” to their horses. We have heard riders who train with trainers condescendingly look down on riders without trainers as “backyard” riders. You may be familiar with hearing these stereotypes yourself.

Why Stereotyping is Dangerous

Stereotyping equestrians like this is a dangerous thing because it is counter-productive and divisive. It limits the growth of one’s perspective and creates misunderstanding. It also fosters attitudes of supremacism, where one group of equestrians think they are better than another group. This is what we should guard against.

Instead, we should be willing to listen and learn, broaden our viewpoints, and open our minds to understanding. In order to counteract negativity and push towards change, we need to demonstrate and promote a positive cultural appreciation for the different equestrian sports. There are a lot of good and admirable things that we could learn from each discipline.

What Should We Do?

So, how should we go about creating and promoting appreciation across different disciplines? First, we need to recognize that the people within each discipline are more than just a group; they are individuals, just like me and you. Then we need to set aside our biases. Be willing and open to listen and learn from others about what they do and why they do it. Try to gain an understanding, ask questions in a non-demeaning way, and be humble. Glean what information you can from multiple sources. There are so many different viewpoints, and not one is the same. People within the different disciplines typically enjoy sharing with others why they love what they do and will be ecstatic to answer your questions.

To put this into practice is only the beginning. The journey towards building a cultural appreciation for the different disciplines will never end because we will never stop learning. But the benefits we will get as a result of our efforts will be tremendous. As you gain a better appreciation for the disciplines, encourage others to learn as well. Don’t stop at accomplishing this for yourself; get others involved so that we all can work toward making the equestrian world a better place for everyone involved.

In future posts, we will share more details about the cultural differences that exist in various equestrian disciplines and we will explain what makes each one unique and exciting. Be sure to keep a lookout!

How You, as an Equestrian, Can Save the Planet

Written by Anna Zygadlo for Green Is the New Blue

April 22, 2021, marks the 51st annual Earth Day. Earth Day serves as a day of education and environmental awareness around the world in more than 140 nations. Following the first Earth Day back in 1970, environmental concerns rose to become a top national priority. As a result, a number of national environmental acts were passed including the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. To celebrate Earth Day in the equestrian community, Green Is the New Blue has identified a few impactful ways to support the movement for a sustainable sport.

For Earth Day 2021, the teams at BarnManager and Green Is the New Blue are inviting you to make an impact through the Equestrian Earth Day Challenge. Complete one of the following items, then document it with a photo, and tag us, DM us, or use the hashtag #EquestrianEarthDay. We will pick our favorites to be featured.

1. Create a Green Team

Create a Green Team with your barn mates and organize scheduled meetings to create meaningful conversation around sustainable action. Together, research and address environmental issues including waste management, energy efficiency, and water use. We recommend developing a calendar with environmental field trips or community service projects. Try to build a “Living Jump” as a team using native plant species to promote biodiversity, or design a jump course using upcycled materials.

2. Contact Your Representatives

Connect with the representatives of organizing bodies within the equestrian sport. Reach out to the board of your local horse show series or take it to the national level of our sport. Express your interest in a Sustainability Action Plan. Design it to address environmental issues at their affiliated horse shows. For inspiration, check out the FEI Sustainability Handbook.

3. Attend Eco-Conscious Horse Shows

As riders, we are the consumers who control demand. Support horse shows that enthusiastically exhibit a commitment to sustainability. Visit GITNB’s website for a list of partner horse shows. If your favorite horse show hasn’t yet gone green, reach out to the manager and share your desire to see sustainability initiatives put into place. Share Green Is the New Blue’s “Refuse to Use” and “Living Jump” campaigns for inspiration. Express interest in sustainable food vendors such as Perks with A Twist, whose owners use fresh local ingredients served in compostable packaging.

We hope that you are inspired you to join us on our mission to create a sustainable equestrian sport. We would love to see your Earth Day projects, please share with us via email (azygadlo@greenisthenewblue.com),  Instagram, or Facebook.

7 Ways To Keep Flies at Bay

As temperatures begin to rise across the country, legions of dreaded house flies make their return to the barn to terrorize our horses. While it may seem like a force we can’t compete against, there are certainly ways to cut down on the number of flies and their impact on horses in the barn. Warmer weather makes it more enjoyable to spend time at the barn with our horses hacking in the fields, grazing, trail riding, and even just grooming, but we have to be aware of the annoyance flies can be for both humans and horses and help protect them from being bitten. Follow some of these tips to cut down on the fly population both inside and outside of your barn.

1. Have an effective manure disposal system.

Manure attracts flies by the dozens, so pick your horses’ stalls frequently and dispose of the manure often. If you have too much manure lying around, even if it’s out of horses’ stalls, flies will be more attracted to your barn.

2. Eliminate standing water.

Although not much can be done about ponds on the property, try to fix spots where standing water gathers, as these are places where flies can reproduce. Install a drainage system if this problem occurs when it rains, and make adjustments around the farm as necessary to help the standing water clear after a storm, such as repaving and angling surfaces.

3. Replace damaged fly sheets.

Fly sheets can protect our horses’ entire bodies while they’re outside grazing, keeping them from being bitten and developing rashes or sore spots from flies. But with time comes usual wear and tear, so be sure to look over and repair or replace any fly sheets that have significant holes.

4. Choose a fly spray you trust.

Fly repellant can often irritate horses’ skin or cause other issues, so try to find a brand with natural ingredients designed to provide only positive effects. Spray your horse before it goes outside, before a ride, and when it goes back into its stall. Keep the bottle at least a foot away from the horse as you spray to avoid causing skin irritations.

5. Implement a fly-spray system in your barn.

If you’ve tried everything and flies still won’t leave, install a system that sprays automatically into the barn aisle and stalls. It can be a worthwhile investment.

6. Seal all food containers.

Treats, open feed bags, and snacks left out can lure flies into the barn. Eliminate food smells by sealing containers, throwing away scraps, and cleaning up crumbs. Don’t skimp on giving your horses treats just to avoid flies, but be sure to clean up after your horse if they drop any bites on the floor.

7. Treat problem areas.

As always, keep a close eye on your horses’ skin to catch areas that might become more sensitive to flies. Often these areas may require a daily fly repellant ointment along with routine fly spray.

 

While many are grateful for warmer weather (horses included), we are less thrilled to welcome back the flies that disappeared during the cold winter months. They are a part of life for horse owners and managers, so we simply have to learn to lessen their impact so our horses can live comfortably in the warm spring and summer months.

How to Begin Spring Cleaning Your Barn

The entrance of warmer weather often brings the spark of new life and desire to start fresh. This winter was a tough one in many parts of the country, and it was made even tougher by the ongoing pandemic. With health and sanitation on everyone’s mind and more pleasant weather being ushered in (hopefully), it’s a perfect time to do some spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning can be a daunting task, especially if your barn is large or is made up of many individuals who have belongings taking up space. BarnManager is here to serve as a guide to tidy up your barn and get everyone to pitch in and do their part.

1. Remove winter gear from sight.

Ask everyone to remove their winter belongings from the barn. Once the weather warms up just enough to know winter won’t be sneaking back in, it’s time to put away the blankets, the heavy gloves, and more bulky items that may be taking up space and collecting more dirt than necessary. Designate a small area for riders to drop their blankets to keep them in one place. If the blankets will just be stored until next winter, put an organization system into place that will keep them out of the way but easily accessible for when temperatures drop again.

 

2. Take everything off the shelves.

Once winter gear is out of the way, it’s time to clean everything else. If you have shelves of stocked with saddle pads, polo wraps, and horse products, take all the items out so you can see the surface below. This way, you can properly dust from the bottom up, getting rid of all the dust that collected during the past year. Also use this step to identify dirty, expired, and damaged items that you can repurpose, dispose of, or repair.

3. Restock the empty, dust-free shelves.

Use a system that makes sense; put the most frequently used products front and center, while less regularly used items can go further back on shelves. You will also notice more easily when items are running low and may need to be replaced.

4. Ask all your clients/students to go through steps two and three with their own trunks.

Ask them to remove all items, get rid of anything unused or unnecessary, and scrub the baseboards of their trunks. While many may not be thrilled, it will help everyone keep their things clean and organized in the long run.

5. Clean all the tack.

Though many riders are responsible for their own tack, every barn has extra tack that may go unused for most of the year. This equipment ends up gathering dust and mold and could easily be refurbished and sold rather than sitting around. Grabbing an old rag and your best tack cleaner and scrub all those extra saddles and bridles that remain will help make your tack room shine. Give all the bits an extra polish to add some sparkle.

6. Sanitize all surfaces.

If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it would be how easily germs can spread. Think of all the surfaces in the barn that multiple people touch on a daily basis. Grab some disinfectant spray and wipe them all down. Kitchen counters, grooming stalls, bathrooms, and other areas should be cleaned regularly.

7. Enjoy the spring weather and your good-as-new barn!

There are few feelings more satisfying than finishing a big cleaning project. Enjoy the fruits of your labor (and the warm weather) by returning to business as usual with a more streamlined and welcoming space.

“Refuse To Use” with Green Is the New Blue

Written by Anna Zygadlo for Green Is the New Blue

Green Is the New Blue is a non-profit dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of horse shows, educating equestrians, and supporting the movement for a sustainable sport.  Our “Refuse to Use” campaign highlights the necessity of refusing to use single-use plastics, sourcing alternative products, and reusing material whenever possible.

Bill Rube of Gleneayre Equestrian Program n Lumerton, NJ, practices recycling with GITNB. Photo courtesy of GITNB

“It’s so important to not just recycle but to reduce the need for recycling,” explained R. Scot Evans, the creative director for Green is the New Blue. “The chilling facts are real: there are eight trillion pieces of single-use plastic currently circulating in the oceans around the world. It’s no longer about just picking up a piece of plastic and recycling it, it’s about refusing to use it.” The harsh reality is that many plastic bottles never actually get recycled, even if placed into recycling bins.

What We’re Doing

In order to combat single-use plastics on the showgrounds, Green Is the New Blue implemented touch-free water refill stations, allowing riders to bring their own reusable water bottles and safely fill them with clean water. In a modified effort to combat Covid-19, our partners have provided Boxed Water Is Better™ at select horse shows around the country. We know that plastic and other recyclable materials may still find a way onto the showgrounds, so recycling bins are strategically placed next to all trash cans at our partner events.

At Green Is the New Blue, we also work with vendors at our partner horse shows to minimize waste and switch to more environmentally friendly product packaging. There are many affordable alternatives to single-use plastics that can be incorporated into equestrian and restaurant business practices. At the Aiken Horse Park, we collaborated with Angela and Kory Merrill of Perks With a Twist, now one of the horse show world’s leaders in sustainable food service. Every serving product (think to-go boxes, plasticware, and napkins) used in the café is now compostable, using materials such as sugar cane, eliminating the waste the business sends out into the world after use.

Compostable food packaging at the Aiken Horse Park by Perks With A Twist. Photo by Split Rock Jumping Tour

As individuals, what can we do to reduce plastic use on a day-to-day basis? At Green Is the New Blue, we have a list of some of the ways you can reduce plastic in your daily life as an equestrian.

  1. Implement a recycling program.

    No matter how hard you try, plastics are going to make it onto the property. Maximize participation with easy access to recycling bins and very clear labeling. Ensure items placed in bins are clean and do not contaminate other materials.

  2. Repair items before replacing.

    Repair wheelbarrows, reinforce broken pitchforks with twine, and replace a single zipper rather than the whole pair of boots. Over time, many items will break with use. Repair what you can and keep items in circulation as long as possible. When purchasing tools, choose products with easily replaceable parts so you can repair the broken piece rather than replace the whole item. Avoid planned obsolescence, or consumer goods intended to be replaced and disposed of quickly.

  3. Repurpose items when possible.

    Skip the trash bag and line your bins with a grain or shavings bag that may otherwise be sent straight to a landfill. Grain bags are recyclable, although very few recycling facilities currently accept this type of plastic. Supplement buckets can be repurposed for bathing and storage.

  4. If there is an alternative to plastic, choose it.

    Purchase aluminum instead of plastic when possible, such as sweat scrapers, curry combs, tail combs, and grain scoops. Source hay baled with steel wire as opposed to plastic twine.

  5. Upcycle Jumps and Avoid PVC.

    PVC contains harmful chemicals, making it difficult and dangerous to recycle. Avoid using it for fencing and jumps. Instead, create your jump course using upcycled materials, such as pallets, rowboats, and doors. For more course design inspiration, check out our new monthly column “JumpCycled: Setting Greener Standards.”

  6. Purchase fly spray and other items in bulk.

    If you need to purchase solutions bottled in single-use plastics, choose higher concentrations in large containers. Save plastic by diluting the concentrate and refilling the same spray bottle.

  7. Purchase and store shavings in bulk.

    If you have the storage space, skip the individually bagged shavings and choose bulk shavings, which is generally more cost effective. If you must use bags, try to choose paper rather than plastic. Paper shavings bags can be repurposed as poultice paper. Many plastic shavings bags are recyclable, so check if your local facility will accept that plastic type and deposit in bulk. Make sure to shake out the bags well, as they will not be accepted if they are contaminated with shavings.

  8. Install a water refill station at the barn.

    Encourage riders to bring their own reusable water bottles and refill them at the barn. If you do supply single-use cups, choose compostable materials and small sizes.

  9. Reusable containers and bags are your friend.

    Pack your lunch in a reusable container to reduce plastic use. Take-out often involves single-use plastics and foam containers. If you do get takeout, save the takeout container for meal prep. There is no need to purchase your own containers when you can repurpose things like capped yogurt cups and sauce jars. And of course, don’t forget your reusable bag when grocery shopping or heading to the tack shop.

  10. Equestrians love coffee and need the caffeine.

    Add a coffee maker to your tack room and encourage others to refill a cup, rather than leave the barn and purchase coffee in single-use cups. Also, choose your coffee brand strategically. Choose shade-grown options and opt for a reusable filter or French press to minimize the environmental impact of your coffee habit.

Don’t forget to reduce and reuse first to lessen the need for recycling. To learn more about our “Refuse to Use” campaign and read more educational articles, visit our website and social media.

Recycling bins at the ingate of Split Rock Jumping Tour.
Photo by Split Rock Jumping Tour

Time Management: How To Make the Most of Your Time

Written by Sisters Horsing Around

Time.

There are so many expressions and sayings about time, but most boil down to the fact that time is a precious part of life. Life is measured in the passage of time. But how do you “race against time” and “beat the clock” to get everything done, when there is so much to do, and so little time? Well, we wanted to share with you something that our Mom has talked to us about all of our lives and that is time management.

Our mom taught us a practice that she called “POD.” POD, in her mother wit, was a little acronym which stands for Prioritize, Organize, and Discipline. We call it a “practice” because it is something that we are always having to practice doing. She broke down time management like this:

P: Prioritize.

Prioritize the things you need to do in order of importance. Mama would always get on us for what she calls “doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.” The basic concept is to learn to take care of the most important things first. Prioritization can keep you on the right track if you maintain the mindfulness of what needs to be done in order of importance.

Evaluate your life, identify your responsibilities and the things that you need to do, and write these things down, listing them in the order that they need to be done. Making to-do lists is a simple and helpful way to gather your thoughts and focus your attention on the tasks at hand.  This is where you start with knowing how to manage your time. Prioritize first. That’s the P.

O: Organize.

After you have identified your priorities and listed them in order of importance, then organize everything needed for each priority. For instance, say you need to pack for a horse show that you know is tomorrow, but when you go to pack, you have everything everywhere. You are having a devil of a time finding what you need because everything is disorganized.

Being disorganized slows progress because you have to spend extra time trying to find things. Often this can result in getting stuck and not being able to move on to your next priority. Organizing can help you streamline and get right to what you need when you need it.

Additionally, organizing can also mean realizing when you need to get rid of clutter. Organize your life to transition smoothly between your priorities and help you get things done in the smallest amount of time.

D: Discipline.

Discipline simply means training. Just like in our horse world, where we have equestrian disciplines and train our horses for a specific activity, we must discipline, or train ourselves, to prioritize our lives and get organized. Do this until it becomes habit.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. The best-trained horses can do their jobs without allowing themselves to be distracted. Be like that and stay focused. Then periodically reassess your life and decide the adjustments that need to be made. Perhaps something that was high on your priority list before needs to readjust to allow for something else to take its place because something else needs more attention at that time. Once your priorities change, repeat the process of prioritizing, organizing, and disciplining yourself to stay on target and make the most of your time.

There are 24 hours in a day, which equates to 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds to accomplish everything you need to get done. That time can disappear in what seems like an instant, so we have to make the most of the time we are given. We hope these basic tips will help you get everything done in no time!

If you are in charge of managing horses and seeking ways to better manage your time, BarnManager is a great time management and organization resource to help you keep your sanity and save your precious time. For those seeking organization in other aspects of life, there are tons of apps and online resources to help simplify your hectic life and organize things all in one platform, such as Trello, Todoist, and even the Reminders app on iPhones.

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Crush: Celebrated Women in Equestrian Sport

Equestrian sports are unique in many ways, but one of the most significant aspects that sets it apart from other sports is that men and women compete against one another on an equal playing field. March is Women’s History Month, and this past Monday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, and though we admire and celebrate women every day of every month of the year, BarnManager recognizes a few women in equestrian sport accomplishing impressive feats and leading awe-inspiring careers.

Margie Engle

We can’t think of women in equestrian sports without Margie Engle coming to mind. She has been at the top of her game for longer than many current athletes have been alive. She’s got enough grit to supply a whole football team, and her passion and talent have scored her some impressive wins on stages both national and international. She’s medaled at the Pan American Games, competed at the Olympics, and been named American Grand Prix Association Rider of the Year 10 times. At nearly 63 years old, she’s still winning top grands prix and ranked among the top 40 riders in the world.

 

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A post shared by Margie Engle (@margie_engle)

Beezie Madden

Show jumpers know there is nothing Beezie Madden cannot do. She was the first woman to earn $1 million in prize money and to reach the top three in the FEI World Rankings for show jumping, and she also won two FEI World Cup Finals, just to name a few of her many achievements. She competed on two Olympic gold medal U.S. teams and one silver medal team. Madden also earned an individual Olympic silver medal and individual bronze medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games. She’s always one to watch no matter who she’s riding. Young girls at all levels of the sport absolutely adore having her as a role model as they chase their equestrian dreams. She’s endlessly devoted to the horses, and you can tell her horses love working for her and jumping clear rounds.

 

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A post shared by Beezie Madden (@johnmaddensales)

Ingrid Klimke

German eventer Ingrid Klimke has claimed two gold medals and one silver in her Olympic appearances for Germany. She rides internationally in both eventing and dressage. She earned the title of Reitmeister, an honor given by the German Equestrian Federation, becoming only the second woman to earn the title. She’s topped European Championships individually and as part of the German team. She also took home FEI World Equestrian Games gold medals for her home nation. Eventing is truly a sport of riding mastery, as the riders must be versatile enough to excel in three disciplines during the course of the same event. Ingrid Klimke rose to the top and set herself as the ultimate example of success for aspiring eventers.

 

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A post shared by Ingrid Klimke (@ingridklimke)

Liz Halliday-Sharp

Liz Halliday-Sharp is not only an admirable horsewoman, but she also broke barriers in another sport as a woman. She is an international three-day eventer at the CCI5* level where she’s seen success across the United States and Europe. She has also spent time as a professional driver in sportscar and endurance racing disciplines. Halliday-Sharp clearly has a need for speed as she has seen top results in both avenues of her career. She’s represented the United States on Nations Cup teams, at the FEI World Equestrian Games, and the Pan American Games, and has her eye set on the Olympics for 2021.

Laura Graves

Laura Graves was the first American dressage rider to be ranked number one in the FEI World Rankings. She had an incredible dressage career aboard her longtime mount, Verdades. She has represented the United States in the Olympics and the World Equestrian Games. At both, she has taken home team and individual medals. She also won gold at the Pan American Games and was runner-up at the FEI World Cup Finals three consecutive times. Watching Laura with Verdades is like watching pure magic.

 

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A post shared by Laura Graves (@lauragravesdressage)

Isabell Werth

German dressage rider Isabel Werth holds the record for most Olympic medals won by an equestrian athlete, with six gold and 10 in total from five appearances at the Olympic Games. Furthermore, she took the gold at multiple European Championships, FEI World Equestrian Games, and FEI World Cup Finals. She currently holds the number one spot in the FEI World Rankings for dressage. She is known as the most successful German dressage rider of all time. Watching her on any horse is awe-inspiring, and women globally admire her ability to connect with the horses on a level rarely seen.

 

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A post shared by FEI Dressage (@fei_dressage_)

 

Comment below with a female equestrian who inspires you!

Meet Emily and Sarah, the Sister Duo Behind Sisters Horsing Around

BarnManager is excited to welcome new guest bloggers Emily and Sarah Harris, a.k.a. Sisters Horsing Around, to provide exciting and informative content to our blog readers and horse fanatics everywhere. Emily, 23, and Sarah, 16, are horse-crazy sisters who want to share their passion with the world.

You may remember them from a previous article on the BarnManager blog where they recalled meeting Stacia Klein Madden and visiting her barn, Beacon Hill Show Stables. If you have a hard time remembering who is who, Emily has curly hair and is a diehard purple fan.  Sarah has straight hair and loves the color blue. We are thrilled to have this dynamic duo back again. Without further ado, we will allow Emily and Sarah to introduce themselves:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1B4LirUoh8[/embedyt]

About Us

We are from Virginia and we consider ourselves an anomaly because of our unlikely obsession with horses in combination with our family and racial background. From a racial perspective, not only is it unusual to be a young black girl who loves horses, but it is also unusual considering our family background that our parents would have not just one, but two daughters who are absolutely horse crazy. None of our family members have ever been involved with horses.

Our parents don’t know where this love came from at such an early age with no family influence, but it certainly seemed that we were born with a passion for horses. With our parents’ support throughout childhood, we both read tons of books and magazines and watched videos of well-known horse trainers until our parents gave in to the request for a horse, which was a present for Sarah’s eighth birthday. Our second horse came as a gift for Emily at Christmas three years later.

Since then, we have owned several horses during our horse journey, including Allie, Amazing Grace, Genesis, Rowdy, Dancing Shadow, Stella, and Promise. Our current horses are Amazing Grace, Rowdy, Genesis, and Promise. Rowdy is the only gelding in the herd, Amazing Grace was a former rescue horse, Promise is a pony, and Genesis is our youngest horse with the others being in their late teens. Despite the stark differences between all our horses, they all have taught us valuable lessons that we still use today.

We are are 4-H alumni and served as President and Vice President of our county’s 4-H horse club before Emily aged out. We are both members of the United States Pony Club with USPC certifications in all of the certifying disciplines. Emily is currently a delegate of the USPC National Youth Board and is Co-Chair for her Regional Youth Council. Emily is also a certified Open Horse Show Judge.

Now onto the big stuff.

We started Sisters Horsing Around in 2018 in an effort to put into motion the things our mother had spoken to us about when we were younger, such as how blessed we were to have horses and how not many black children had the same opportunities we did. She would often tell us that she wanted us to remember those in our black community and when we “got big,” meaning make it big in life, she wanted us to provide an opportunity for others to get involved with horses.

Sarah, who was around 9 or 10 years old at the time, responded, “why do we have to wait until we get big?” Because of those conversations, we thought of ways to put that in action and not delay, and the idea for Sisters Horsing Around was born. We have been trying our best since then to provide an opportunity for others to learn about and get involved with horses.

Our Goal

We use our Sisters Horsing Around YouTube channel, website, and social media accounts to educate non-equestrians about the horse world. As passionate horse enthusiasts, we hope that the content we create will help bridge the gap between those outside the horse world and those inside the horse world.

Being first generation horse people, we didn’t have the privilege of having someone hold our hands and guide us as we navigated the equestrian world; we just dove right in. Because of our plunge into the horse world, we had to learn everything firsthand. Now, we want to make it easier for others to get into the horse world. We want to be for others what we wish we had when we first started. We strive to be your equestrian “tour guides.”

When it comes to riding, we both have an understanding of multiple disciplines. We ride Western and English in multiple disciplines in each. Because of our experience in multiple disciplines, we strive to bring awareness about the different disciplines to help dispel the prejudices incurred by misunderstanding. We want to help others see the good in each discipline and are always ready to engage in conversations on the topic.

Giving Back

We also partnered with a 501c3 nonprofit organization called The STAND Foundation headquartered in Washington, DC. STAND is short for Strengthening Thoughts and Nurturing Dreams and the foundation works to reach children and young adults in underserved communities and also endeavors to inspire youth to pursue positive decision-making skills through nature and equine-based programs. Because of our like-minded goals, we joined forces with the organization and actively participate by providing equestrian instruction for the equine programs and camps facilitated by the foundation.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n48axxMnng[/embedyt]

As the voices behind Sisters Horsing Around…

…we want others to see what makes the equestrian world so exciting. The horse world is enormous, and we want to explore every inch of it and take you with us on the journey. We want others to experience the joy that one can have with horses and to encourage others to embark on a horse adventure of their own.

If you want to learn more about us you can visit our website, http://www.sistershorsingaround.com/. You can watch our videos on our YouTube Channel, Sisters Horsing Around, and see what we are up to on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

 

Tips for Clipping Your Horse This Winter

February is a tough time of year for those in colder climates with low temperatures and few signs of spring, making it feel like winter will last forever. If you are still competing with your horse, or your horse has accumulated too much hair, it may be time for another clip. BarnManager is here to provide a few tips if you want to take on the clipping process yourself.

 

Wear old clothes you don’t care about.

The last thing you want is to wear clothes you really like and have them forever covered in horsehair, despite multiple washes. It’s a good practice to have a devoted “clipping outfit” you can turn to every time. Don’t even think about wearing your favorite breeches or a favorite outfit to clip your horse. Aim for old t-shirts and sweatpants that will keep you warm but you’re also willing to sacrifice to horsehair overload.

 

Replace dull clipper blades.

Arguably the most frustrating part of clipping is when your blades don’t smoothly cut through the hair, leaving rough patches on your horse’s coat. Examine your clippers ahead of time and replace any blades that are no longer sharp, so you don’t have to deal with swapping them out on the day you decide to clip.

 

Clean your horse to the best of your abilities.

If weather allows, or if you have access to warm water, give your horse a thorough bath. Excess dirt will clog up your clippers, so a clean horse is your best friend when clipping. If it’s too cold to bathe, spot clean and groom thoroughly.

 

Allow time for breaks.

Anyone who has clipped a horse knows patience can run thin when clipping a full body. Even the most tolerant of horses can get bored and anticipate their turnout time or dinner time. The clippers can also overheat, becoming uncomfortable for the horse and causing bad behavior. Take a long break between clipping sessions if your schedule allows to minimize unwanted behavior from your horse and wear-and-tear on your clippers.

 

Know which type of clipping is best for your horse.

Depending on the horse’s job, turnout situation, sweat level, and blanketing, the best clip for each horse varies. See a rundown of the different types of clips here.

 

Start large and clip against the grain.

Begin with large, flat surfaces like the shoulders and barrel, and always clip in the direction opposite the way the hair grows. It can be tricky as the pattern of horses’ hair goes in different directions on different parts of the body but doing this will help you achieve a consistent length throughout. Pro tip: pull the skin out from crevices to avoid having patches of unclipped hair on the legs and face.

 

Keep your blades clean while working.

No matter how hairy the horse, clipper blades will fill with hair and dirt and become less effective. It’s important to keep them clean so the blades have the chance to cut through the hair evenly as you go through the whole body. Use rubbing alcohol to clean and an aerosol product to keep your clippers cool as the clipper motor starts to get hot.

 

Eliminate lines by going back over your work.

It’s painful to step back and take a look at the final product only to see lines across your horse’s body from the clipper’s edges. There’s an easy way to fix this. Take the clippers and go in a crosshatch pattern where there are lines, still working somewhat against the grain but working in different directions.

 

If you find yourself clipping your own horse this winter as we anticipate the entrance of spring, be sure to follow these tips and always be smart while you are up close and personal with your horse. Though it can be a laborious process, the final product is so satisfying when you see your horse freshly clipped and ready for the spotlight.