Monday, January 16, 2017

Winter Workouts for You and Your Horse

Good morning,

Today we are sharing an article from thehorse.com entitled 'Winter Workouts.' Here at Southwind as you probably know, we do have an indoor arena which makes it much easier for our boarders to be able to continue their training programs through the winter.

If you are new to the farm or have access to an indoor arena over winter for the first time, this article is for you! It gives a great overview of some ways to keep you and your horse in shape this winter.

Photo: Keith Larson

"Winter workouts are valuable for maintaining fitness, preserving training, and promoting mental well-being. Winter exercise also provides an opportunity to fix problems in a horse's training and prepare both horse and rider for the upcoming competition or riding season.


In addition to their exceptional credentials as experienced riders and trainers, all three have equine scientific backgrounds, lending their knowledge of the horse's physiology to their fitness plans."


To continue reading the rest of the article to learn more, click here! 

To learn more about Southwind Farm and our indoor arena/boarding opportunities visit us at: www.southwindfarminc.com 



Monday, January 9, 2017

Looking for new boarders! Join the Southwind Family!

Good morning,

Are you looking for a new place to board where you are not just another number? What about access to an indoor arena, outdoor arena, cross-country jumps and area for hacking? Here at Southwind Farm we welcome boarders of all ages and disciplines. We are more of a "family environment" and have a community feel. We are currently accepting boarders (both mares & geldings) to our farm. We also offer field board for clients with one or more horses in stall board. If you want to learn more, feel free to contact Sheri at: (301) 253-9417 or sherithornley@msn.com and set up a time to come out and see the farm.

Or, visit us online at: www.southwindfarminc.com 


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy New Year!

Good morning,

We wanted to wish everyone at Southwind Farm a very Happy New Year! It's hard to believe that 2016 will be over in two days but we look forward to all of the adventures 2017 will bring!


For now, we leave you with this adorable photo of one of Southwind's newest members, Gary the Goat, giving kisses to Sheri's daughter Addie!



Monday, December 19, 2016

Trainers of Southwind Series: Meet Mary Macklin

Good morning everyone,

Today we are continuing our 'Trainers of Southwind' series where each week we highlight one of the many different trainers that teach at Southwind. Up next is Mary Macklin!

Mary is an event rider who has competed internationally through the Two-star level. She has been competing for 17 years and has taken countless babies up through the ranks. Mary has worked with many great riders such as Jan Bynny, Sharon White, Jimmy Wofford, Vanessa Swartz, Fred Weber and Susan Graham White to name a few. She spends most of her training time working for and with Olympian Stephen Bradley, and has been doing so for the past 12 years.

Also an employee of the Frederick County Public School system, Mary has been teaching horseback riding for 15 years. 5 summers of those years were spent teaching summer camp for grade school children. She has students ranging from beginners at their first pony lesson through Preliminary level event riders. Mary has also been approved to move forward with her Level 2 ICP Certification after completing workshops with Robin Walker and Darren Chiacchia.

Mary has also worked at both Bowie and Laurel race tracks as well as galloped at private farms. The local Maryland farms also gave her the opportunity to work with babies, both handling and breaking them for many disciplines. Mary has worked at barns dealing with unbroken draft horses as well as Rolex veterans. She loves riding, training, and competing and also the smiles she sees on her students faces.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Riding Your Hose In The Winter

Did anyone happen to catch the snow flurries we got here in Maryland yesterday morning? How about the freezing cold wind we've been having? Well, hopefully you weren't caught trying to ride in the cold!! But if you were, have you considered boarding somewhere with an indoor? If you haven't, check out this great article by blogger, Mitzi Summers on riding in the wintertime. It highlights many of the indoor benefits but also has a comical spin on what we all know about trying to ride outside during the winter months.


Enjoy!

RIDING IN THE WINTER

Tips and Exercises to Keep You and Your Horse Active
By Mitzi Summers


Every fall it was always the same resolution for me-no matter how bad the winter was,I would not succumb to it’s vagaries and find myself merely feeding and grooming my horse all winter and giving him a vacation. No indeed, I would don my snowmobile suit, put ice caulks on my horse if necessary, and snow plow a track around my outdoor ring. Truth be told, however, when the temperature hovered around 17 degrees and the footing was less than perfect, I found myself more often than not inside my house READING about people riding while my horse not always so contentedly munched away on his hay.

Realistically, it is not just a case of “cowboying up” when rough weather comes. Conditions do change drastically for all animals, including the human type, in our Northeast, and we need to accommodate these changes while still trying to work with our equine partners. Some horse owners are quite content to wait out all of the bad weather and start again in the early spring, but for many of us, especially the riders who are dedicated to improving themselves and their horses, the change to severe weather can indeed be a bit troubling.

We will investigate the best case scenario first, (unless you and your horses winter in Florida), that you have access to an indoor ring. Indeed, many stables with indoor rings in our area find themselves on waiting lists every year for people wanting to board in the winter. If you have just moved into this area, be cautious about taking for granted that you will be able to do that-to board your horse at a less expensive stable in the spring, summer, and fall, and then move to a place that has indoor facilities in the winter. Many barns have full-time boarders for just that reason-so that they can save a spot for their horse when the inclement weather comes.

Of course with an indoor your riding is not limited to good weather. You may have to contend with a more crowded ring in which to ride, however, so be sure you check out any rules that that barn has about riding with others. There is usually a “left shoulder to left shoulder” rule when passing. Some barns post times when there are lessons, and boarders are not allowed to ride at those times. Many other stables, however, are more lenient, and will allow you to ride during lessons as long as you abide by their rules. These rules may be that you ride in the same direction of the lesson, that you cannot lunge your horse during a lesson, and that you ask permission before you canter or jump.

I once had the questionable authority to ask the world-famous Katie Monahan Prudent to leave the ring during the winter when she was riding her pony Milltown. She was schooling with just a halter bareback while one of my lessons was going on. Of course this GREATLY dates me, as she was a teenager. But even though the indoor ring was enormous, 150’x 250’, we had a rule in effect that during a lesson riders not in the group had to ride with a bridle and a saddle. It was for safety, as it is a bit more likely that if a rider has a problem, they will generally pose more of a safety risk if they are not using tack.

Lungeing can also present a safety problem. If the horse pulls away from the handler, then it is trailing a lunge line behind it if it runs. Also, people have a tendency to lunge their horses in cold weather to settle them. This is fine, but obviously must be done properly and with control, not as a means of chasing the horse about to “get the bucks out“.

In several dressage barns in Europe when I am over there teaching, lungeing in the indoor ring is prohibited. They take great care of the footing in their rings. They have many top level expensive horses there, and do not want to take a chance if someone lunges and allows the horse to make ruts or holes in the footing.

Proper etiquette is important. For example, you may want to practice a few runs on your barrel horse. You have already made certain that there are no lessons in the ring. But you must notice who else may be in the ring. If it is someone on a young or green horse, you will at the very least tell them what you have in mind and get their permission, or wait until they take a break and possibly bring their horse to a corner of the ring. I remember once riding a young Thoroughbred stallion off the racetrack for the first time in an indoor ring. I had heard a trailer pull up outside. All of a sudden three riders entered galloping, swinging ropes around, practicing for a gymkhana coming up. Let’s just say that the next ten minutes were very interesting for me! Of course, before entering the ring, they should have checked to be certain of the conditions inside. But these should be rules established by the owner of the stable, and management should make it clear that these rules are to be obeyed.

Another thing to be careful of is the use of your voice when riding. Some riders have acquired the annoying habit of ‘clucking “ to their horses almost constantly. This is not correct for several reasons; the first is safety. If someone is riding a nervous horse, the clucking noise may be enough to cause it to bolt. This is also true when riding in any ring including practice rings before a show. Another reason not to let this become a habit is that the horse will become accustomed to that particular sound and become desensitized. I like to save my “clucks” for more important occasions such as if your horse thinks of refusing at a fence, or not going across a stream, or is thinking of backing up or rearing.

In most stables, it is required for anyone entering the ring to ask permission. This is for several reasons, but it is a safety rule. Someone may be just about to go by the door, or there may be a nervous horse or rider having problems. The door opening may accelerate the situation. Someone may also be coming toward the door from a line of barrels or jumps. In many stables, before you enter, either with or without your horse, it is just necessary to shout “Door!” and wait for permission to enter. One barn where I recently taught had a pleasant- sounding doorbell installed. I liked this very much. It was always the same sound, and was easily heard.

To continue reading the original article, click here: http://www.mitzisummers.com/riding_in_the_winter.htm

Monday, December 5, 2016

Winterizing your barn... yes it's coming!

Good morning!

Did anyone notice the sleet we had last night here in Montgomery County? With some light snow predicted for later this week as well, we thought we would share a great article about tips for winterizing your barn! Southwind works very hard each fall to prepare for winter and ensure your horses get the best care over the winter months. If you are looking for somewhere to board this winter, that INCLUDES an indoor arena, be sure to email Sheri today! www.southwindfarminc.com

Spike rocking his holiday sweater

12 Tips for Winterizing Your Barn 
By Debbie for RAMM Fencing

With the increased storm activity that we all have been seeing, and long winters approaching, are you ready for the fall and winter months ahead?  Don't be left out in the cold, (pardon the pun), with endless projects when the snow starts flying.  Organize your horse barn now and get your winter projects done so that you will be able to handle any inclement weather no matter when it hits!

1.  Safer Stalls Prevent Injuries.

Your horse may live in its stall 50% of the time, if not longer. This is one of his 'homes' that needs to offer a sense of security.  A horse's stall should be a safe place that provides comfort, rest and easy feeding. Check all of your stall walls to be sure that there are no protruding nails, sharp edges or worn feeders that could result in an injury. Replace any old wood and be sure your stalls are free from split, chewed, and uneven boards. Holes in stall walls or any open spaces can turn into a place for a potential injury from a kick or a curious nose.

2.   Ventilation, a Key to Better Health. 

Horse Barns need to have good ventilation so that your horses stay healthy. You can offer natural ventilation  through windows in your horse's stall. Hinged, grilled, or mesh doors allow you to open, close and clean your windows and sills while protecting your horse from the actual window.  Grilled or mesh partitions in between each stall will allow horses to socialize with each other and let natural air flow between stalls. Any stall 'part' such as windows, doors, partitions and grill or mesh for partitions can be purchased separately and installed into an existing stall.* Dutch doors allow air flow directly into your horses stall.  Installing a mesh bottom door with a Dutch door will allow both doors to be opened providing great air flow as well as letting your horse have a good view of the outside of his stall. The mesh door also protects the bottom Dutch door when just the top is opened! Additionally, mucking your stalls regularly will keep the build up of ammonia at bay.

3.   Save Both Time and Money with Stall Mats. 

If you feel that its time to look at a better way to keep your stalls in shape, think about adding stall mats or a mattress system. Some of the benefits include using less bedding, keeping a level surface for your horse which also allows for easier and more efficient cleaning. Horses don't 'circle' their bedding and hay into a dirt floor and you no longer take the base of your stall out with the old bedding when you clean.  Stall mats save both time and labor as well as minimize stall base maintenance practically to none.

4.   Never Guess if Your Horse Has Enough Water. 

We all know that water is very important for our horses any time of the year and especially in cold months. Water not only hydrates, but also helps to keep horses warm in colder weather.  If you're thinking about using automatic heated waters, now is a good time to get water lines run and individual waterers in stalls. Be sure to make waterers low enough that horses don't have trouble drinking from them, but high enough that hay and dirt don't easily get into the bowls. Generally setting bowls at a little below shoulder height works well. Smaller animals or ponies need lower bowls for easy access. If your horses are in pasture a lot, be sure to consider a waterer that is made for outdoor pasture use. Pre-plan and be sure it's situated in a place that horses can congregate easily. Since areas like this get so much wear, rubber wash mats around a waterer can help to keep the dirt around it firm and in place.

If you would prefer to use buckets in your stalls in the cold months, consider using an insulated bucket holder. They help to keep heavy ice formation at bay. By filling buckets twice a day, the labor associated with breaking thick ice from buckets is helped immensely. The use of the bucket 'floater' that lays on top of the water does not seem to be an issue with horses water consumption. If you would like to avoid ice completely, try a heated water bucket in your stalls. The buckets fit nicely into a bucket holder that also helps to keep them in place if water gets low, discouraging horses from 'playing' with the bucket. The cord is protected with a coiled wire, which can be run through the stall wall or out of the partition to a standard outlet. The buckets automatically turn on and off at 42 degrees, taking the worry away from a continual 'on' heater. Electricity costs are pennies a month, but peace of mind? Well that's priceless!

5.   Maximizing Areas for Manure Disposal.  

Be sure that when you clean your stalls you have the easiest path to and from your manure pile, bunker, compost, or wherever you dispose of used bedding.  Whatever your means is for cleaning - tractor and spreader, 4- wheeler with bed that dumps, or even a wheelbarrow, think about your path when snow is on the ground and take measures now to make your path easier to use. Spreading small stone on a path helps with traction. Filling low ruts on the ground now will help to avoid places where you could get potentially stuck.

6.   Store Up On Bedding.

Now is also a good time to decide what bedding you will need through the winter months. If you're using saw dust or shavings, decide where you will store it. If you're buying in bulk, which can save money, think about constructing a three sided storage area for easy access.  Some people pour a concrete pad, use a wood floor or some other means of keeping moisture from getting to the bottom of the bedding. Consider using a tarp or cover to keep bedding dry if your storage area is outside of your barn. Other options for storage can be an empty stall, the corner of an indoor arena, or an unused trailer. Always use caution when getting bulk shavings to be sure it does not contain wood from nut or fruit bearing trees, which can be toxic to horses.

7.   Buying Hay at the End Summer Will Cost Less Than Through the Winter.  

Towards the end of the summer season you can pre-plan, save money, and have your hay ready for winter.  Hay storage needs to be well ventilated. New hay, directly from the fields, requires a 'curing' time of at least a month to 6 weeks.  Heat from fresh hay curing (sweating while it dries), can build up between bales and become extremely hot. If you're stacking new hay, provide pockets for air flow. Be sure your hay storage area can get plenty of air. Check hay daily by sliding your arm in between bales and open areas to allow air flow, (if needed), during the drying process. Early purchasing will prove to give you better hay prices rather than waiting until after the first of the year when prices can double.  You may also want to check on prices for large round hay bales. Some horse owners prefer using these and filling a round hay feeder less frequently as opposed to bale feeding.  It's something to consider, (depending upon your preferences and how much your horses are in pasture), and could be a money saver for you.

8.   Cobwebs are a Fire Hazard.  

Give your barn and stalls a good dusting. Cob webs that catch bits of hay, bedding and dust can be fire hazards. A dust-free barn is better for both you and your horse's health, too. Dusters can be purchased with handles that extend allowing you to reach up into your rafters and tops of your stalls. Even a broom will work. Or if you want to go a step further, cover a broom with an old cloth and that will help to further collect unwanted cob webs and collected dust.

9.   Collapsible Saddle Racks and Blanket Bars Makes Working with Your Horse Easier. 

The winter months can be chilly! So being able to get your horse tacked quickly and easily can be a big help. You can make or purchase collapsible saddle racks that allow you to have your saddle and bridle at your fingertips! Once your horse is groomed and ready to saddle, it's so convenient to reach behind you and pick up your saddle with It's pad and put it right on your horse's back.  Collapsible saddle racks can be as simple as a homemade length of wood, approximately 14"s long by 2" wide with a large eye screw that can hang on a hook on your stall wall. When its not being used, it can be turned sideways and hang on the wall, flush. Or you can purchase a metal saddle rack that is sturdy for western saddles and collapses flat on the wall.

After a good ride on a cold day, your horse may become hot and need to be cooled off before being turned out or put in his stall. Using a cooler helps to wick moisture to the wool cooler top keeping your horse drier. The cooler will also keep your horse warm until dry. Once you are done with the cooler, what do you do with it? Blanket bars on the front of each stall or in a convenient place in your barn will allow your cooler and blankets to hang and dry easily. Some blanket holders lock out, away from the stall door, to allow for more room and ventilation.  If you have several horses in your barn, the blanket bars help to keep each horse's blanket ready for easy turnout.

10.   Unclutter Aisles. 

No matter how wide your barn aisle or walkway is, it's important to keep them free from rakes, pickers, and small items such as brushes, buckets and lead ropes. Having your stall cleaning tools in one convenient place saves time, rather than having to go from one end of your barn to the other to find things. Find a good corner or wall where you can hang tools and always return them to that place after each use.  Hang lead ropes and halters on each horse's door or you can purchase a row of hooks that hang over your stalls front partition for quick and easy access.  Keep brushes in tack boxes or brush boxes that are out of the way of your horse's path.  Be sure that your aisle has some kind of traction so that horses don't slip from wet or snowy hooves.  Natural dirt floors are easy for horses to walk on, however, they can become dusty.  Rubber pavers are an option and they help to keep surfaces level, have a non-skid surface and reduce dust. Stall mats are another option that will keep the dust down and give better traction. If you have a concrete aisle that tends to be slippery, consider using a concrete sealant mixed with grit to help provide a rougher surface. You can also consider using rolled rubber matting.

11.   Make Sure that Your Lights are Working Properly. 

As colder days approach, it gets dark out earlier.  Lighting is an important part of seeing to do cleaning, feeding and daily checking of your horse. If your lights need to be cleaned from cob webs and bugs, remove light covers and wash your fixtures and replace any non-working bulbs. If your lighting could use some help, natural light fixtures can be bright with out heavy glare. There are also sealed lights available that eliminate the chore of cleaning with high ceilings.  If possible, provide light in or beside each stall, in feeding areas, and outside of any entry areas. This will help you, or anyone else who helps, with your barn.

12.   Horses Out in Pasture? Provide Protection. 

One or two freezes can cut the nutrition from grass that your horses have feasted on during summer. Its important to remember to watch for any signs of weight drops at this time of the year, and regulate your horse's amount of hay. Grain can be a good source of nutrients as well as provide warmth.  If you feed your horse outside, be sure to supplement with enough hay so that your horses can 'graze' with the hay that you provide. If your pastures are turning to dirt, it is very important to be sure that you provide enough roughage, such as grass hay, to keep them 'busy'. Board horses tend to pick up more dirt from foraging that can lead to colic. They also tend to try to eat grass on the other side of the fence, abusing it, and creating costly maintenance. Electric fencing will help to stop horses from leaning and cut the cost of replacing your existing fence. Horses also need shelter from the wind and elements. A simple 3- sided shed, with the back facing the wind, will provide much needed protection. Sheds can be secured to the ground with large anchors that will help to avoid damage from heavy winds.

Before the chilling winds begin, plan to get your barn projects completed. You will be so glad that you took some time to get organized, clean, and make chores more convenient. A few months from now you will glad that your barn runs efficiently and that your horses are easily cared for due to good planning! Have a great month and be ready for cooler weather! Enjoy the cooler days and good rides! Be sure to check your needed measurements with pre-fabricated stall parts. If measurements don't match, you can have custom pieces made for your stalls.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Off to another great week!

Good afternoon!

We are off to another great week here at the farm. We also hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and were able to enjoy it with family and friends.

Sheri, her daughter Addie and Addie's fiance enjoyed the annual trail ride with friends at Packy and Judy McGaughan's Banbury Cross Farm.

How cute are these photos?



We also want to remind everyone that we are still accepting boarders for this winter! It's not too late! Don't wait until there is snow and ice on the ground to realize you would like to board at a place with an indoor this winter :) For more information or to schedule your tour visit: www.southwindfarminc.com