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Horse Travel Checklist

Before you go on that big trip, there are a few legal things you will need to know:

  • In the United States, you must have a coggins test done before you can enter any publically available horse facility.  Coggins tests are taken yearly by the vet and are only good for 1 year.  This document will be requested  at shows, trips and anywhere else you might take your horse.  Some states also require a test for piroplasmosis.  If you pass through the state and do not unload, you will not be required to have it.  If you unload at all, be sure to have this document.
  • If you leave the state with your horse, you will need a health certificate from your vet.  These certificates are generally accepted for 30 days from the date of issue.
  • If you travel to a state with documented piraplasmosis, you will also need to have a yearly piroplasmisis test.  If you are traveling through the state and do not unload from the trailer,you may not need the test. If you unload in a piroplasmosis state, you will need to have documentation of that test.  Contact your state’s agricultural department for more information.  Whatever you do, be sure to be informed about this before you travel.
  • Be sure that there is drinkable water where you are going.  If not, bring water from home for your horse.  Also, bring your horse’s own hay and grain.  Horses can colic and in severe cases die from changing feed sources abruptly, so only change feed gradually.

Friesian- The Black Horse of Friesland

Friesian in beautiful driving headset.

by Crystal A. Eikanger

The Friesian Horse, one of Europe’s oldest domesticated breeds, originated in Friesland, a province of The Netherlands. It is considered to be a Warmblood because of its easy-going temperament with a companionable nature. The Friesian horse is also a talented show horse when it comes to dressage. This is due to its intelligence, willingness to learn and to please, and readiness to perform.

Friesians are known for their wavy, long hair.

It is difficult to date the precise origin of the Friesian but it is believed to be descended from the ancient Equus robustus (big horse). Frisian horsemen served in the Roman Legions, e.g. the Equites Singulares of Emperor Nero (54-68), and in Great Britain near Hadrian’s Wall which was built in 120 AD. There is certainty that the horse was well-known in the Middle Ages since it is found in art work of that era. Breeding horses was very important for the Frisians and before the reformation, the monks in Friesland monasteries did a lot of horse breeding.

In the 1600’s it was adopted to carry heavy weight under saddle. During the 16th and 17th centuries, and maybe earlier, Arabian blood was introduced through the Spanish Andalusian horses. This gave them the high knee-action, the small head and the craning neck. The Friesian horse has had no influence from the English Thoroughbred and during the last two centuries it has been bred pure. Read more »


Equine Body Condition Score

The body condition score was developed in 1983 by Texas A&M University. The Henneke System offers a subjective way to evaluate the condition of the horse. The body condition refers to the amount of fat that is distributed on the horse’s body. The main areas that are examined in the body condition score include the neck, withers, shoulder, ribs, loins and the tailhead.

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From Snaffle to Curb

I have been comparing English and Western tack lately and have been learning quite a lot!!  I need to decide this winter what the best tools are for competing in American Competitive Trail Association (ACTHA).   I had never competed in or even seen this type of event, and got 3rd and 6th at my first competition!  Most of our errors were very correctable and with the jackpots running around $500 apiece, maybe I could start breaking even on my horsey habit.  Anyway, I digress.

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Aurora Moves from Texas to MO

When I began to work with Aurora, despite the fact that she was sold to me as unbroken (she may have had 30 days of training as a 2 year old), she quickly became a trustworthy mount.  We weren’t always perfectly harmonious, or doing everything perfectly, but she was always gentle and generally our adventures her “all”.  I worked to desensitize her by taking her on frequent trail rides (which she LOVED).  We crossed bridges, interacted with dogs, bicycles, cars, trains, people and even rattle snakes a few times.  We worked on basic collection and did a lot to get her in great shape.  By fall, she was well on her way to begin training for jumping.  It was at this point, I was offered a job in Missouri.  Other then the job interview, I had not been to Missouri, but liked the job so took it regardless.  The formal job offer came the first week of December. That weekend, I flew down to locate an apartment and boarding stable.

With an estimated 60 degree temperature drop for my horses, I was worried about getting them to Missouri.  I drove them down immediately, even before I began my job so that they could begin to adjust to the temperature.  Because of the huge temperature change that was bound to be traumatic, the Texas A & M vet clinic recommended that I give my horses UlcerGuard® and also have them administer mineral oil the night before departure.  Using blankets as well as the regimen described above, our trip and climate/dietary transition went smoothly.

IMG_0848 - Copy

Horse Care and Stabling

There are a lot of considerations in your goal of safe surroundings and room to roam in the company and security of other horses. By its nature a horse is most relaxed while grazing leisurely. So a fenced in paddock without grass is not ideal in the horse’s terms, although he may tend to move about more playing with a mate in the paddock. A pasture suited to a horse will fend off many injuries and health problems.

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Horse Types and Temperaments


"Cold Blooded" Draft Horse Horse being discharged from Vet Hospital in WWI. Used via CC license from Library of Scotland


Horses are mammals, and as such are “warm-blooded” creatures, as opposed to cold-blooded reptiles. However, these words have developed a separate meaning in the context of equine terminology, used to describe temperament, not body temperature. For example, the “hot-bloods”, such as many race horses, exhibit more sensitivity and energy, while the “cold-bloods”, such as most draft breeds, are quieter and calmer.  Sometimes “hot-bloods” are classified as “light horses” or “riding horses”,with the “cold-bloods” classified as “draft horses” or “work horses”.


“Hot blooded” breeds include “oriental horses” such as the Akhal-Teke, Arabian horse, Barb and now-extinct Turkoman horse, as well as the Thoroughbred, a breed developed in England from the older oriental breeds. Hot bloods tend to be spirited, bold, and learn quickly. They are bred for agility and speed. They tend to be physically refined—thin-skinned, slim, and long-legged.  The original oriental breeds were brought to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa when European breeders wished to infuse these traits into racing and light cavalryhorses.

Hot Blooded Thoroughbred Race Horse

Muscular, heavy draft horses are known as “cold bloods”, as they are bred not only for strength, but also to have the calm, patient temperament needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage full of people. They are sometimes nicknamed “gentle giants”.  Well-known draft breeds include the Belgian and the Clydesdale.  Some, like the Percheron and Friesian are lighter and livelier, developed to pull carriages or to plow large fields in drier climates.  Others, such as the Shire, are slower and more powerful, bred to plow fields with heavy, clay-based soils. The cold-blooded group also includes some pony breeds.

Warmblood” breeds, such as the Trakehner or Hanoverian, developed when European carriage and war horses were crossed with Arabians or Thoroughbreds, producing a riding horse with more refinement than a draft horse, but greater size and milder temperament than a lighter breed.  Certain pony breeds with warmblood characteristics have been developed for smaller riders.  Warmbloods are considered a “light horse” or “riding horse”.

Warmblood Horse Jumping

Today, the term “Warmblood” refers to a specific subset of sport horse breeds that are used for competition in dressage and show jumping.  Many warmbloods are selectively bred through careful cross breeding.  Strictly speaking, the term “warm blood” refers to any cross between cold-blooded and hot-blooded breeds.  However, if registered, reputable organizations will judge them based on the quality of the offspring, inspections, and/or performance results.  Examples include breeds such as the Irish Draught, Cleveland Bay, Canadian Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood or American Warmblood.

This work was adapted for use through the following:



Wild Horse Wild Ride -exciting beginnings

The premiere was a whirlwind experience. I travelled to Palm Springs with my friend Kristen Tushingham. Both showings were sold out, and the film recieved a standing ovation. Afterwards, we did a Q&A session for an incredibly engaged audience. Finally, the Mustang Heritage Foundation took us out for appetizers and drinks. I got to spend a little time with the other riders that were featured in the film. We all became fast friends; our lives will be forever intertwined. The Mustang Heritage Foundation also hired a photographer for the event. I will post the photos soon. A number of magazines, newspapers and websites have been reporting on our movie.

See below: We Made the Hollywood Reporter and got a great review!‐horse‐wild‐ride‐film-70628 And articles are spreading all over the web…

This is Horse Ilustrated’s website. I have been reading their magazine since I was probably 7.‐news/2011/01/07/wild‐horse‐wild‐ride.aspx‐documentary‐debut‐palm‐springs‐international‐film‐festival.html‐documentary‐to‐debut‐at‐palm‐springs‐international‐film‐festival


There are more to come! I will keep you updated!