LITTLE THINGS that make the day go better…

Friday, February 26th, 2010 | Filed under Handy Tips

I don’t know about you, but the weather here is pretty ugly.  As we move into the end of winter, I know that a lot of us are sick of mud, rain, wind, snow, sleet and all the other stuff that makes having horses more difficult.

So, today I thought I’d talk about little things that make my day better.  Now, you may find these insignificant.  Or, you may already know about them all.  But, I thought I would let you in on my favorite small things in case you were in need of a couple.


These gloves are advertised as the best glove you will ever own.  Hmmmm.  I bought a pair anyway.  And you know what?  They are the best gloves I have ever owned.  No joke.  Absolutely.

You can feel everything!  You have total dexterity, they breathe in the summer but keep you warm in the winter.  (I wear them year round.)  You can wash them and they come out fine as long as you don’t let your kids put them in the dryer.

I took a photo of one on my hand.  As you can see, there are may gussets so your fingers can move.

So, for me, who was totally tired of running errands after mucking or riding and suddenly noticing my dirty fingernails while accepting a Starbucks from the horrified barista… these gloves stay on my hands because I don’t feel the need to remove them to get anything done!  If you need gloves, get these.  They come in black and brown.

The gal that sells them is really sweet.  You can visit her website or just call her.


Oh my goodness!  I have searched far and wide for a pad that will meet my needs.  The pad for me had to provide comfort and protection for the horse, it had to breathe, it had to have a spine channel, it had to have a smaller footprint (although they make many sizes), it had to not smell, clean up easily and STAY ON THE HORSE.

I have tried a zillion saddle pads.  This one does it all!  And, you can get built-in booster pads in certain areas if your horse needs it.  I have one that is basic, one that is more built up front for my downhill mare and another that has more in the middle for my gaited and mid-line bowed gelding.  They also make one for an uphill horse.  Anyway, they work.  I have ridden for hours and hours in these pads.  –Even sweat marks and happy horses.

You can get them here.  The website isn’t easy to navigate so just call them and ask for whatever shape you want.  I like the Trooper for under my endurance saddles.


OK, you will think I’m crazy for loving this nasty thing that I’ve had for years.  As  you can see, some teeth are missing and it is really rusty.  But, I will tell you, this thing is the greatest shedding tool known to Groomerkind.  I have two of these old things and they are the first to be grabbed during Spring Shed.

I love that you can break up mud with one side and then pull out hair with the other.  And, it has just enough pressure that pretty much all horses are fine with it.  Most love it.  I have one mare that likes the mud teeth on her back and the smaller teeth on her sides.  They let you know.  Anyway, it is easy to shake out the hair as you go so you aren’t frustrated by having to get another tool to get all the hair out, or start banging it against a fence or whatever.  You know what I mean…

Truth to tell, I was embarrassed to show this cruddy thing without telling you where you could get a new one.  I found some on Ebay with an Ebay seller.  They look nice.  I might get a new one for myself, too.


Do you have Uggs?  I don’t.  But, I saw this kit and wondered if it would work on all of my suede things… saddle seats, chaps, half chaps, boots….  It does!  Oh my gosh, like a wonder!  It can clean suede as well as seal it.  I’ve used it on everything.  I also cleaned up some suede bar stool seats while I had it out.

Vectra Spray:  I guess we all have some type of leather sealant for our saddles.  But, this one is really easy to use – just a light mist.  It works and it is cheap.  I have it on my saddles and all of my leather coats and shoes.  You can get it at Home Depot. So if you don’t already have a sealer you love, try this.


Well, this may be obvious for many of you.  But, I still have friends who have never heard of it or used it.

Let me tell you, this is an incredible food.  I use it to replace any grains.  You can read about the merits of beet pulp here.  I have linked a few articles.  But, let me tell you what I think… I think it is rich in protein, low in carbs, low in sugar, inexpensive, easy to prepare and almost a perfect food for a horse that isn’t in need of huge weight gain. (However, many use it for re-feeding starved horses.)  All 13 of my horses love it!  I put any supplements on it and they gobble it up.

Preparing it is a bit different.  It comes as a pellet (DO NOT get the shreds) in huge 50# bags.  I pour mine into a garbage can.  Then, I take a scoop, pour it into a bucket and then put water in to cover it by an inch.  This stuff grows like those magic snakes on 4th of July so DON’T put too much water on top.  Let it sit for a few hours or overnight. When you come back, you will have a full bucket of chewable pulp.  Easy.  I put it in my refer but you can just sit it out on the ground or counter as long as the temps don’t get too high before you serve it.  (The photos are the scoop of beet pulp pellets with an inch of water — and then the amount of beet pulp you get once it plumps up.)

Anyway, I love this stuff.  I don’t use anything else unless I have to.

So, there you have it.  5 simple but wonderful inventions to make these dreary days more palatable.  Do you have any items that you feel make your day go better?

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WESTERN & EQUINE ARTISTS, not what you see everyday…!

For me, an artists’ rendering is another way of showing admiration and love for the subject.  They pour their soul, remarkable talent and valuable time into their work because they are inspired from some creative place deep inside and I love that!  So, I’ve picked a few of my personal favs to share with you.


I happened upon David Bjurstrom at a Western Art Fair somewhere in Oregon.  His booth stopped me in my tracks.  I would have bought every piece there if I had had enough money.  He uses pencil, shading and detail.  Love it.  I bought one piece.

The next year, I went back to the same Fair and made a beeline to his booth.  There he sat, drawing from a photograph.  I asked if what he was drawing was for sale.  It was.  So, I purchased it before he was done and then I sat and watched him for as long as I could before he gave me “that look”.  OK OK.  I left and came back at the end of the show to pick it up.  David, I think, was a bit sad that he had sold it because it came out so well.  But, he gave it to me and I love it!  (pictured here – the hand and horn)

I go to his website and drool over the Original pieces… Someday, I will purchase another.  But for now, I moon over my lovely gems every day.  They sit on a wall in my bedroom and I smile every single time they catch my eye.  Thank you, David.


I found this artist when flipping through COWBOYS AND INDIANS magazine.  His colors just wowed me and I had to go to his website!  I love mixed media, I love creative uses of recycled household items and I love joy in artwork.

When I build my barn with the big sitting room complete with fireplace, post and beam interior and wet bar, I can totally see adding some of this whimsy in there.

And, what I really like is that he took the Painted Pony thing to another level.  I don’t own any painted ponies but I am aware of them and see them often.  So, when I went to Dave’s website and saw them there, I was taken aback since they seem so mainstream.  However, upon letting go of my narrow view, I actually looked at the designs and thought they were the coolest painted ponies I had ever seen.  Bravo!

I guess, for me, when I look at this work, I think of taking Route 66 somewhere.   I think of this kind of work hanging in one of the revamped and ultra cool pop art diners along the way.  Or maybe in a hip game room somewhere in an Aspen Ranch.  Or, on the wall at a fab Dude Ranch that has wonderful bathrooms and showers. Dunno.  But, I would like to be sharing the creative inspirations behind the work with the artist.


I stumbled upon Elin while at the DRAFT HORSE CLASSIC here in Grass Valley (a great event but another story for another day).  Elin was one of the featured artists because she has lovely pieces of draft horses.

What I love about Elin’s work is the effortless emotion that comes through.  Also, the use of color is unusual and for me, gripping.  I also find it very generous of her that she offers her Original works at such obtainable prices.  I know that she is very prolific so I guess she just loves to spread the love around!

Anyway, if you go to her website, you can click on several equine categories.  She has drafts, mules, zebras, loose horses, hunt horses, race horses, farm animals, dogs/cats… so much!

I don’t usually go for oils as much as I like other mediums.  But, I really am drawn to her use of the brushes and color.  I can “feel” what is happening in these paintings.  I have my eye on a few from her website!


Leslie lives very near me here in Grass Valley.  I didn’t know she lived near me until I saw her at a gathering.  She adores her horses!  And, you know, it shows in her unique perspective.

What caught my attention was her series of Draft Horses. You cannot help but notice her bold use of color and out-of -the-box stylization.  Leslie’s work caught on like wildfire with galleries, card manufacturers, and collectors. But, Leslie still finds time to do special commissions — her interpretation of clients’ beloved pets.  Leslie captures the individual personality and adds that to the whimsy.  It is great to see work with a smile built in…


Caly’s work is very colorful and whimsical but the shapes are accurate.  I have two of her pieces here.  I found her at an Art Fair and just fell in love with an image of cows.  It cracks me up.  I have it in my kitchen.  I also have barnyard chickens.  They are beautiful and brighten our hallway.  Check out her website and see what I mean.  I am partial to “Kissy-Face”, the pig.  Thank you Caly!

There are tons more artists that I love… but I don’t want to push my tastes on you all.  I just wanted to stroll through the valley of artistry.  I would love to be able to draw my horses… and to be able to sing.  Maybe in another life!  ;)

Do you have a Western or Equine artist that you collect?  I’d like to hear all about it!

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