Embrace Winter – A Survival Kit


For all the rest of us horsey folk who are not currently in Arizona, while yet, another cold blast of winter comes in – fear not! I have come up with a Winter Survival Kit for surviving a Canadian winter. In Canada.

It was necessary. The lack of Vitamin D was making me a little cranky.

I decided that perhaps I should stop shooting at the snowman in our front yard and embrace winter instead. Find a few items and activities to help ease the cold winter blues. After all, the season doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. I may as well get used to it.

Since I’m furthermore trying to leg up my mare to attend the NRCHA Celebration of Champions in February at this time, (Yes, I’ve decided I want to go. Depending on my mare and whether or not she is sound and physically able – another blog for another time,) there were a few necessities required to combat winter in the barn too.

So without further ado, here are my top 16 items to beat winter:



1. Mesh Rug from Back on Track – During the winter months, the Mesh Rug is the perfect blanket to be used as an extra rug underneath, as a transportation rug, or as a cooler. The Mesh Rug has a lining of polypropylene fabric infused with melted ceramic powder, offering your horse a variety of therapeutic benefits – all while your use it to dry your horse off after a winter ride! On the exterior, the rug has a thin mesh layer for maximum breathing qualities.




2. Yeehaw Liptints from Cowgirl Dirt – Any Canadian female knows how important it is to always have lip balm in your back-pocket in winter. But it’s even better if that lip balm has some sass. Introducing Cowgirl Dirt! These  lightly citrus flavored lip tints are formulated to soothe and deeply hydrate your lips while adding the perfect color to finish off the cowgirl picture. Available in Hollywood Dun It, Flicka, Champion, Seabiscuit, plus many more!




3. Heated Hose from Pirit – If you have an unheated barn (like we do in our second facility), you’ll appreciate the benefits of a heated, heavy-duty hose. Pirit Heated Hoses are used to provide a constant source of water in freezing temperatures. Now available in approximately 12′, 25′, 50′ and 100′ lengths.



4. HV Polo Mercedes Sweater – Available from Greenhawk, this sweater features a fitted silhouette with an oversized collar and front pockets for additional storage.  The full zip and fitted sleeve cuffs and bottom keep me warm in our unheated arena and stylish when I actually hit the town. For groceries. ‘Cause I’m a Mama. And that’s my big outing for the week. :)


5. Furminator – With a 5″ deshedding edge, the Furminator can help reduce your horse’s winter shedding by up to 90%. Stainless steel deShedding edge reaches deep beneath your horse’s topcoat to gently remove undercoat and loose hair.
Actually, it’s unbelievable how much hair comes out! Horses love it. There’s no pulling or tugging. Smooth and simple. Great for use now if you’re trying maintain your horse’s show coat in this nippy weather, or an absolute necessity come Spring.



6. Happy Toys, from The Happy Toymaker – If you have a farm kid, or two, the Happy Toymaker is guaranteed to craft you something with heirloom quality. Jerry Sims, better known as “The Happy Toy Maker” has been happily creating toys for kids that may single-handedly express the western way of life better than any other plaything around. Sims’ handmade trucks, trailers, rodeo arenas, feedlots, chutes, corrals and barn set-ups are as unique as they are comparable to the real thing. We recently had him make semi-trucks for our twins that represented their personalities. With brands, bucking horses, tractors and their individual names branded into the sides of these life-like toys, our kids finally have something no one else does!!


7. WET 998K, Muck Boots Canada – You need serious boots if you live in Canada. With stretch-fit topline binding, these boots from Muck Boots snug the calf to keep warmth in and cold out. 100% waterproof, lightweight and flexible this boot has a molded outsole that is rugged, aggressive and durable. With a comfort range of -28ºC and up, we have several pairs of these clogging up our front door…



8. Sno-Man Kit – If I were to pick one single item from this Winter Survival list, it would be this! With a kit complete with buttons, a hat and a carrot-nose, your kids will have everything they need to build a snowman. Then, take the blue, red and green Snow Markers to draw non-toxic images or play Tic-Tac-Toe in the snow. Great Canadian outdoor fun!



9. BioGel – Biogel is a soothing, grease-less therapeutic gel made from a unique blend of natural organic ingredients that has been veterinary tested and approved. Veterinarian studies confirm that wounds showed excellent healing speed and Biogel can promote the formation of healthy wound beds that persist without bandaging. In our circumstances, Biogel is a must for any horses with old wounds that have to face hard snow crusts in the pasture.




 10. Canadian Maple Whisky – Take the best Canadian rye whisky and add Canada’s finest maple syrup. Add a little coke, ice, and on a cold winter’s night you’ll be in paradise. No kidding.



11. Waterless Shampoo – Get rid of unwanted green-spots in between baths with this rinse-free shampoo. Cleans and shines with even the toughest of spots and no sticky residue! Add in the nourishing extracts of alfalfa, rosemary and chamomile and Trot the Spot Rinse Free Shampoo is the perfect product to help your horse look and feel its best.



12. Ultimate Hoofpick – Are you tired of wimpy hoofpicks? The Ultimate Hoofpick was designed by a horse trainer who was fed up with picks that couldn’t hold their own when it came to yet, another hoof filled with concrete-like mud. Or in our case, snow and ice. An ergonomically correct, unbreakable handle with a rubber, easy grip and a wider pick angle makes this hoofpick a solid and effective tool. The Jackhammer of hoof care comes in two sizes and easily tackles packed-in mud and snow.


13. Touch and Feel Ponies, Book – If your a Mom who understands the importance of books in your children’s young lives, you will love this little sturdy hard cover book! From furry manes to silky ribbons, this little book lets your kids explore all sorts of textures in a sturdy book that encourages preschool learning. Perfect when it’s too cold to outside!



14. Todd Bergen, “Framework of Performance” DVDs – When the mercury drops below -20 degrees Celsius, it’s just too darn cold to ride. So why not do some armchair riding instead? Todd Bergen recently released his new, “Framework for Performance” series and in this 2-DVD set, he explains his philosophies on body control, turnarounds, run-downs and stops, lead changes and cow work. Bergen gives viewers over 4.5 hours of cutting edge instruction – guaranteed to relay his real world approach to horse training.


15. Glysomed – There’s no way around dry, chapped hands in the dead of winter when you spend much of your time in a barn. Glysomed Hand Cream locks in moisture to relieve and help prevent dry skin. Plus, its triple-action formula of Glycerine, Silicone, and Chamomile provides indispensable care for rough and dry hands. You can take away the sun, you can take away the warm temperatures, but don’t touch my Glysomed! :)



16. Constructive Eating Utensils – Feeding kids creatively. These products have won numerous awards and since they are perfect at keeping children engaged during meals, it’s no wonder! With tractors, bulldozers and pink fairy garden tools fashioned into forks, spoons and “pushers,” these utensils help even the pickiest of eaters to have more productive meals. And since we recently struggled through the flu season, I found these nifty little tools very beneficial in encouraging my kids to consume chicken noodle soup when their appetites dwindled.


Medical Essentials

Aside from the basic necessities an equine first-aid kit requires, there are a couple of extra things I always like to carry around with us. With so many horses, it’s best to be prepared for almost anything.

Fungidye – Fungidye is clinically proven by veterinarians and farriers to stop fungus in the hoof and is beneficial against thrush, white line disease, hoof rot and hair infections. This purple agent penetrates into all infected cavities of the horse’s foot. It is insoluble in water or urine and has anti-fungal agents, plus two anti-bacterial agents that continue to work after being covered up and it won’t kill tissue. Fungidye does not contain formaldehyde or copper sulfate and can be used in nail holes or other affected areas. Since we live in a very muddy location, we keep our stock of Fungidye in good supply because you never know when we may need it.

Derma Gel – This is a multipurpose healing dressing gel, in a dispenser tube. This product offers rapid skincare healing to wounds and forms a protective barrier against foreign contaminants. Derma Gel works because it has a soothing effect and maintains a moist wound environment: have you ever had a horse be its own worst enemy because its wound became so itchy as it healed? Derma Gel can you help win the healing war. This product is non-greasy, safe to use in competition or during gestation and won’t harm the horse even if he or she has a tendency to lick wounded areas.

Surpass – This is a topical, targeted alternative to phenylbutazone is used for the control of pain associated with osteoarthritis in the hock, knee, fetlock or pastern joints of the horse. Surpass works because patented Wisdom™ liposomal makes is possible to deliver the potent relief of active ingredient, diclofenac to the inflamed joint without going through unintended targets like your horse’s GI tract, liver and kidneys. All you have to do is massage into the affected area and you’re done! We use this helpful NSAID when we are looking to minimize oral use of Bute or Banamine.

Non-Sterile Gauze Square Sponges – It may seem almost cliche to say that every first aid kit needs gauze. But have you ever discovered you have no proper gauze available when emergency strikes? Not every type of gauze works for every circumstance, that’s why I always make sure we have hundreds of these babies around. These 100% woven cotton pads are an absolute necessity in every first aid kit. They are highly absorbent sponge that are ideal for a number of applications, for instance if you need to apply Furacin to a leg wound underneath a stable wrap, or for a non-stick padding overtop of stitches or to apply an abscess poultice to the bottom of a horse’s hoof. Their uses are endless. These high quality sponges can be used for general cleaning, dressings, prepping, packing and debriding wounds.

GastroGard – This is an oral paste used for the treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers in horses. It works because the active ingredient, omeprazole, is a gastric acid pump inhibitor that regulates the final step in hydrogen production and blocks gastric acid secretion. Please note, the safety of GastroGard paste has not yet been determined in pregnant or lactating mares. We use this product regularly the night before long hauls, as trailering has been proven to cause stress and subsequent ulcers in performance horses.

A Few Fantastic Finds

Here are four new products quickly making waves in our barn.


PooPooPaper is exactly as it’s name suggests: paper made of poo. With all the concern these days about deforestation and the need to recyle, PooPoo products are a wonderful example of sustainability and responsible consumption. The company takes a material in abundance – Horse Poo – and makes a functional and completely useful product, sparing lots of trees in the process. Since horse poo has lots of fibre in it, the base material for making pulp for paper, the company figured they could also make horse PooPooPaper and they were right. You also can find journals, cards, notepads and many other things made from panda, cow and elephant poo from the company as well for an incredibly memorable and sustainable gift!



RidersRasp is an innovative new product designed especially for horse owners to sustain and support hoof balance in between farrier visits. With an ergonomic design and a non-slip, soft grip handle, the RidersRasp is a maintenance tool that rounds rough edges of the horse’s foot, without removing hoof wall and allows you to easily smooth away flares, chips and sharp edges. It is ideal for barefoot horses or for shod horses, as losing a shoe can quickly damage the hoof wall. RidersRasp enables you lightly round the edges of the foots to minimize further damage until your farrier arrives to replace the shoe


4 Great Breeding Products

Are you looking for a few good products to help you maximize your efficiency in the breeding lab this season? Here are four that might help you along.

All-In-One Water Bath

If your lab space is limited or if your budget can't accommodate a pricey slide warmer, an incubator and a water bath, then the All-In-One system from Breeder’s Choice might be the perfect solution. Inside a stainless steel basin, Lab Armor aluminum beads are used to provide a concurrent thermal and antimicrobial activity that shield the semen and personnel from invading organisms. Thermally, the beads can heat or cool like water in any standard water bath. Or you can also add a goblet of water to the basin to thaw your frozen semen, warm your slides, extender, collection bottles and semen all in one place.

High Definition Microscope screen

Do you have trouble focusing on slides through the microscope lens? If so, you’re not alone. These days, many new microscopes come with the ability to connect to any flat panel display for larger viewing. Be it a computer screen or 15” to 20” flat panel tv monitor, plugging in the additional display allows for larger slide inspection, possible measurement or even picture taking. A external monitor offers a better, brighter quality image which is extremely beneficial for determining semen motility. Many monitors can be purchased at your neighborhood Best Buy or Radioshack, just be sure to purchase a microscope with direct connect to a monitor first.

Extender Dispenser

With the Smart Dispenser from Minitube Canada, never again will you have to worry if you have added too much or too little semen extender to valuable semen shipments. This system is designed to dispense semen extender with accuracy and calibration is not required. The system comes with a controller and scale and a pump can be purchased separately. Compatible with IDEE laboratory software or as a stand alone system.

Fleece Phantom Cover

If you have a stallion that has a tendency to cut his knees while mounting the breeding dummy (the canvas can be pretty rough at times), a fleece phantom cover may be able to protect his precious skin. It provides added comfort for your stallion, plus it can protect your phantom fabric from shoe cuts. Covers are available with or without “hips” to enhance the stallion’s support when mounted.