Monday, November 3, 2008

Photo Contest & November Riding

Our Curly Horse Ambassador Photo Contest is underway! Please be sure to stop by and vote. There are some amazing photos and many have special stories behind them. So please take your time and pick carefully. The 3 winners will be featured at the top of Curly Horse Country for 1 full year as our international ambassadors! Pretty cool, eh? BE SURE to vote for 3 in EACH category. Deadline to vote is November 30th. Winners announced Dec. 1st!

Trail riding during November, hunting season. Most of the country changed their clocks back this weekend. It sure was nice to get an xtra hour on Sunday morning to fool with my website. But boy, it sure cuts into riding time! Every day it seems that more and more hunters are in the woods up here. Rabbit, Partridge and also bow season for deer is going on right now. I found this cool site to help protect your horse during hunting season. Check it out. Riding during hunting season, protect your horse. Our rifle season starts on the 15th, so this was probably the last weekend to hit the trails for a while. Dec 1st, we are clear to go again. Last weekend a few of us gals headed out for a nice 15 mile ride and had a pot luck afterwards. It was such fun! *Note the orange we are wearing. ;-) SO, be safe as you hit the trail this month everyone!

And don't forget to check in on our Ride A Curly Contest riders! We'll see how they fair for the month as we watch their blog. Til next time!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Favorite Online Tack Shops

If you are like me you like to shop online for the best deals. But I really don't have a choice as I live in a very remote area and the nearest tack shop is 4 hours away. ;-) I wouldn't have it any other way though. Finding that perfect saddle pad or grooming brush is part of the fun and part of the hunt for the best bang for my buck. (oooo, that was a pun! Aren't I clever?)
Anyway....I recently dealt with a really great store called Action Rider Tack inc. ( I was not only impressed with the items they carried but how informative they were when I called. They use what the sell and it's awesome! Not only that but after I placed my order they confirmed it, sent me a thank you, then sent me a delivery confirmation and then a follow up! I love a company that communicates well! They got an A+++ from me!
One thing I bought that I really like is the Bear Bell. It was just $7.95 and it comes inside a net with a magnet at the bottom. So if you want it to stop making noise you just tuck in back inside the little netting pouch. I went on a nice ride tonite with Reese and it was awesome. It just gave me a little comfort having a noise maker with me. I was also covered in orange too so I wouldn't get shot by the partridge or rabbit hunters. My dogs were also covered in orange tape. It was too funny. Anyway, back to the bell. In the spring I will be glad to have it. Very easy to put in your bag. I usually find I shout from time to time when riding alone to make sure the mama bears here me coming. It works, but I think the bell will save my voice. lol.

Other great things on that website. Check them out!

What is your favorte online Tack and why?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Curly Community Raises $500 for Curly Horse Rescue!

In an effort to promote the Curly Horse, CHC hosts a Curly Ambassador Photo contest each fall. This year, I decided to donate all the proceeds to the Curly Horse Rescue. A small but vital resource for curlies in need. Photos started coming in 4 weeks ago and when we reached the $200 mark I was thrilled! Then $300....then $350. I was in awe! 50,60 and 70 photos filled the contest gallery in the matter of a week or two. Lovely photos of awesome curlies representing the powerful traits of this unique breed, ie handicapped & therapy horses, jumping, dressage, curious, dog like and people friendly photos....and so much more.

At the close of the deadline to submit photos for the contest, a last call was made for 3 more photos to reach a goal of $500. AND the Curly Community rose to the challenge and MET that goal! Whooo Hooo! Congrats and thanks to all of you that participated...and now the fun part starts. VOTING!

The photo gallery for voting will be posted November 1st. Visitors will have the opportunity to vote for the entire month of Nov. Each email address gets a 1 vote per division. USA, Canada and Overseas. At the end of the month, the winners in each division will be posted at the top of Curly Horse Country as our Curly Ambassadors for ONE full year!

So stay tuned - !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Treeless Saddles for your Curly Horse

It is often said that Curly horses are very hard to fit to a good saddle. For the most part, many have low withers and very well spring ribs. I purchased my first Bob Marshall Original endurance saddle while shopping for a lighter weight saddle for my husband, Tom and his curly Zig. I found a great deal on ebay on a BM and took the risk. It was the best purchase I could have made! Not only did Tom love it, but Zig moved so fluid in it too. I tried it out and had to have one myself! I rode in it for 4 years with great comfort.

However, while training for a competitive trail ride, I noticed my curly gelding, Reese was experiencing some soreness. He also had some white hairs on his back in one spot. Red flags went up and I started researching. I thought I may have to go back to treed saddle which I hated to think about. THEN I found the Freeform! Reese in his Liberty Dressage Saddle below along with a HAF pad which is necessary for proper protection.

Jeremy Reynolds won the 100 mile Tevis in 2007 riding in his Freewest Freeform so that says something about the construction of these treeless saddles. They offer a Y shaped girthing system which distributes the riders weight and also a molded foam to protect the spine.

I rode Reese in a Freewest Freeform in his last two CTR rides and he had no soreness on the 25 mile. It was a great saddle! I have sensed decided to purchase the freeform liberty for the knee rolls. I noticed on the down hill that my knees needed support while trotting them.

New they are around $2K with pad. However, I found both my Freeforms used on the treeless group archives, and tacktrader.

More about the styles Freeform offers, here:

(Photo above: *Prairie Espresso Dream, Aka Reese sporting his new Freeform Dressage Liberty Treeless saddle & HAF pad)
If you have an experience with a treeless saddle I would love to hear from you! There are many wonderful options on the market now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Already?

Wow! Where did the time go? I am back to updating my Curly Horse Country blog but it is hard to know where to start. So much has happened, so many new updates and articles. To begin with, CHC is hosting a Curly Ambassador Photo Contest and all proceeds will go to the Curly Horse Rescue. Enter your photo by October 25, 2008. Photos desired are those that you think best shows off the breed in look, attitude, performance, versality etc. Voting begins November 1st and will go for 1 full month. Be sure to check back to vote on your favorites!

Secondly, is a new article on Curlies and Competitive Trail Riding. A basic intro to my experience with Reese this past season. I hope others will try it with their curlies! Check it out.

Next, I have a new classified section on my website for businesses. I often get requests to advertise on my home page but there is limited space and I just don't want it to get bogged down with ads. Cost is affordable, click here if interested in more info.

There are always new things happening so be sure to check back. Curly Classifieds are updated daily and offer some really find curly horses for sale.

And don't forget to encourage our Ride-A-Curly folks! Check out the RAC blog to see what they have been up to and also congratulation the winners of the MINI contests!

Til next time! Enjoy those Curlies!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Curly Horse Decals & Vehicle Magnets

By popular demand, I placed a second order for Curly Horse Country decals. This time in both white and black vinyl and also vehicle magnet signs. Those magnets were SO cool! I really need to get some of those. Easy to apply...except, do you think someone at a show or fair would steal it off your truck? I don't know why, I would worry about that. Silly probably. ;-) The magnet signs are made of high quality commerical material, so they will last for years. The vinyl decals is probably what I will use on my trailer..especially after a curly breeder who received two for her truck applied them immediately and said they look great and it was VERY easy to apply. Good for her for just going at it! She has already got comments on it while going to town. Be ready for the silly comments too...she said a guy asked, "is that like Curly fries?" As time goes on, I am sure you will think you have heard just about everything, and you will get pretty witty in your replies back too. Anyway...just a fun way to advertise with curly horse decals and magnets, I think. Very public....too. To buy a curly horse decal or curly horse magnet, visit my curly horse store. ;-)

The Ride a Curly Contest starts it's 3 month tomorrow. The riders have been VERY active this year! Some starting young Curly Horses and others just brushing up on the older mounts. While others are overcoming health issues and/ or fear issues. All very natural in the life of a horseman or woman. They are also sending in lots of pics of their curly horses too!! They are making a huge efffort...some getting pics while mounted..with just the back of those curly ears showing. What a hoot. Good for's so encouraging to see.

Lots of Curly Horses for sale Ads came in this week. You can view a total of 79 curly sales ads on my site's pretty neat. A great selection and really fine quality breeding. Beautiful Curly Stallions at stud as well. Just in time for the spring breeding season!!

Til next time! Keep on riding those curlies!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Curly Foals Soon to Arrive

It won't be long and those darling curly coated foals with curly eyelashes will be born all over the US and overseas. It is a very exciting time for quality curly horse breeders. Whether you are registering with the ABCR, ICHO or CSI, if your foals come from proven parents and offer something to the market place, you are bound to sell them easily - even in this dry market.

Last year, Curly Horse country offered a foal nursery page for newborn curly foals and for breeders/owners to brag about their new littles ones. This year it will be the same. When we first purchased our Curly Gelding back in 1997, the variety in curly horses for sale was limited. Chances of finding a well broke curly horse at all was almost impossible. Those that were broke, were often mares in foal - which made it easy for new buyers to start breeding those precious jewels themselves. Nowadays, that isn't the case and I find it exciting. Well broke Geldings abound on the classified sites and offer a variety of versatility as well., and are a few of the favorites.

So to all of those with curly foals coming along this year, drop me an email and I will gladly post your newborn on the foal brag page. Looking forward to hearing from you and see those darling curly horse foals.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Curly Horse Ads, working with a graphic artist

I have been blessed to work with an amazing graphic artist over the past several years. Her name is Lisa and she is from New Bruinswick. She breeds amazing Curly Sport horses, under the ranch name of Sterling Curlies. Of course, Lisa is never one to brag or boast about her graphic skills or her success amidst the Curly population - it's not her style. ;-) So, I thought I would do it for her! Hey, what are friends for anyway? ;-)

This ad is for Curly Horse Country for a new 'magazine' called Curly Horse Journal, headed up by Heidi Robinson. I tried to create one myself but it totally bombed! It lacked flare, style, professionalism and resolution. I am too embarrassed to post it! Lisa is extremely busy, but was so gracious in helping me put something together...I always love her work!

Lisa also helped me with a fabulous banner for our OMD Embroidery website. I always try to attempt to do my own curly horse graphics or promotional ads but I struggle everytime. It takes a great eye....What a gift! You will have to click on the link to go and see it --- it's so awesome!!!!
I guess my point of this whole post is that if you want to advertise your ranch, farm or horse related business it is SO important to start with professional looking graphics, ads and logos. Hire someone like Lisa to do it right and make your ad stand out and get the attention you seek. To do anything less is only a waste of space.
I couldn't have done any of this without Lisa's expertise and I just wanted to take a second to let it know publically what a treasure she is to the curly community. There are many, many things she does behind the scenes that no one knows about like donating her time for the curly horse calender and designing websites for free and promotional grapics, logos and ads at extremely low, low costs. I know she doesn't need the advertising though because that girl is major busy, but she deserves just a little notority for her work and skill.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Promoting your Curly Horse

The Ride-A-Curly Horse Contest has started with a bang and I am very encouraged and excited with this year's group. They are taking this promotioning of the curly horse seriously! Many are blogging regularly which is great and sharing photos, stories and good and bad experiences. ;-) Visit the website to see all the promoting they are doing!!!

The Curly World is a small one but if we work together we can make a huge difference. In the past it seemed that the only ones that had the "promoting the curly breed" hat on was the breeder. I know if we all band together, get our horses trained so we can get out and talk about them, that is going to get our breed noticed! I think it helps if we can all feel part of the whole scheme of things too. Just just living in our own backyard but thinking outside the box. I want to see the quality curly breeders endure for a long time and they need our help. I try to promote the bloodlines of my horses because I know them well....but I also promote the breed as a whole wherever I go. Embroidered apparel is a great way to make a statement in public without spending alot of money - you become a walking billboard. ;-) This is a bit of a shameless plug, but I wouldn't be in the embroidery business if I didn't believe in it. ;-) We promote our curlies here and also our business through embroidered t-shirts in the summer, embroidered fleece in the spring and fall and embroidered jackets in the winter. A great give away item for expos and fairs are embroidered caps with your embroidered logo on them.

Of course, you can always advertise on Curly Horse country too! We have some inexpensive ways to get your farm name out there and advertise your curly horses for sale. Advertising your Curly Horse here.

I now have an easy form you can fill out to list your curly horse with me. Curly Horse Ad Form
You can use this form for the $5.00 Photo ad and the $25.00 Star ad. The Curly Stallion ads and Business Ads you will have to contact me.

For those wanting to get out and show, do expos, we have super resources online to help you! I listed a great Expo Resource page with the help of fellow curly owners/breeders. Also, how to groom your curly for show is a great article for those wanting to get going in the show world.

I think that is probably enough curly tips for today!!! Get out there, enjoy your curlies and let me know if there is anything I can help you with!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Treating Curly Horse Tails for Growth

We have talked alot about Curly horse manes over the years, and I wrote an article on my experiment using Dermal aid with awesome success, "Beating the Curly Mane Blues"
But we haven't talked alot about extremes nor the results of treating curly horse here goes.

Regarding is an interesting tid bit.

When we had Katy here, the very extreme curly mare from Pat Wilson, she had hardly no tail hair to speak of....bald patches and the flies were driving her nuts, poor thing. Her tail was going a mile a minute and she had thwark marks on her bum and around her tail head.

For the heck of it, I used Dermal aid on her. I treated her for the first 2 days and her skin began to literally flake - layers and layers of dead skin came off. I treated her for 4 days before it finally stopped flaking. I would use a soft brush and help remove it every day - Katy LOVED it. I also applied swat because with the exposed skin, the flies loved to bit it - easy access to blood, I guess.

After 2 weeks, LOW AND BEHOLD hair started to grow back! I am NOT kidding. Within 4 weeks all the bare areas were GONE. AND she quit tossing her tail so much and those thwark marks started to grow back in too!! I wish I could have treated her longer, but she left after a month. I haven't seen her since.

Here is my assessment: I BELIEVE that when curlies naturally shed their mane and tails, if they are exposed to heat, sun and weather, that exposed skin gets tough, just like elephant skin. If it is exposed for too long, it gets so tough that the hair follicles can not grow through it. I am not saying that they will ever grow a LONG tail, but I DO believe we can make them more comfortable by helping them grow enough hair to protect the bald areas of skin that are exposed.

I think we owe it to our horses to experiment a little. With Zig, (actually Chy too) they don't shed their tail heads bald anymore --- and I only treated them ONE year with dermal aid. Zig still sheds some of his tail, but not at all down to the skin like before.....

So I guess what I am saying is that just because they not 'itchy' doesn't mean this is genetic or something the horse "just is" -- there still is something going on, I feel.

Certainly we can not rule out genetics here for sure. But if we can figure out how to keep our horses at least comfortable, I think it is worth the effort.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Curly Horses & Marketing

This has been a hot topic on one of my favorite Curly horse groups, so thought I would share a few points on my blog here. The subject in discussion was marketing...why are curly horses ending up in auctions and rescues when you don't see that with other rare breeds. Also why are prices of this rare breed of horse, the Bashkir Curly, American Curly or Standard Curly horse constantly being driven down and how does one price a curly to begin with?

The one thing that everyone needs to remember is that demand increases price, period.
SO, you have to have your pulse on the market and know your audience. Know what they are
looking for -- and quite honestly, this in itself takes alot of work - you have to do your homework. Breeders, Pay attention to the inquires you are getting and pay close attention to what IS selling...and why.

I believe you have to have a pricing plan - a consistent one.
I have said this before so for those that have heard it you can ignore me. ;-)

I feel you should start with a 'base' price.
From there add TO your price based on the qualities of that particular horse that rate it more valuable to THE BUYER...NOT to you. Leave what YOU like and your own emotions out of pricing. This is not only unprofessional but also irresponsible, IMO.

Again if demand increases price, THAT is what your pricing format should be structured under.
When we were breeding some of the qualities that warrented higher prices were: size, temperament, curl, characteristics of keeping mane & tail were also a plus, and of course conformation (good solid working conformation, not based on any style persay). Age added $, as well as training of course. In essence, you ADD to your base price like you would options on a car - I don't mean to sound inanimate but it's the only comparison I can think of right now.

From there -- you then deduct things from the horse such as, older age, infertility, health issues, behavior issues, etc. that would be hindrances to that particular horse or would be negatives to the buyer.

Base Price + Buyer seeking Qualities MINUS the negative attributes = Market Value.

You see if you have a simple formula, there is no second guessing..your feel good about your price because you have done your homework. You are INFORMED about the market, you look intelligent when people ask you about your price and you feel confident about whether you want to dicker or not. I believe it says you are a responsible and professional breeder.

I was thinking last nite a bit more about this topic. One thing that kept mulling over in my head is the constant comparison we make between our Curlies and Friesians and Gypsy Vanners. ie. Why don'tFriesians & Vanners end up in auctions & rescues is simple IMO.First of all they are in imported breed with an amazing foundationfor excellence. The registry is extremely strict and for anyonewishing to breed there is some pretty tough criteria to follow. Ifthey don't, their animals are NOT registered. Those papers mean $$$for any breeder and they are not going to gamble on crossing justanything to their mares. Right from the get-go, anyone wanting toget into the breeding business had better have knowledge and somepretty good cash to fork the bill for starting with PROVEN lines.This is no room for mistakes & experiments.Vanners have only been in the US for 12 years. Friesians have beenaround since the 1800's! But history only plays a small part, thepoint I am making is that the FOUNDATION is strong, the criteria forbreeding is tough and the "proof is in the pudding" as they say.So although training is part of the puzzle, certainly Breedstandards that are ENFORCED is another. Can you imagine if our registries got that strict? What would happen if you sent in papersto have a colt registered and they declined it for not meeting strict conformation criteria? Maybe it would be stamped, "MUST GELD"first....or in some cases, maybe that colt wouldn't even metregistration criteria in which case that breeder is in deep do-do.In the real world those papers could mean the difference of not justa few hundred, but thousands of dollars! CERTAINLY that would causethat breeder to rethink his/her next breeding, wouldn't you think??They try again the next year....and go. Wouldn't you thinkthis would greatly reduce the numbers of medocre breeders??? I wouldthink so!!! But because our registries register ANYTHING andEVERYTHING, papers have become meaningless. All it means is yourhorse has curls or comes from 2 generations (which doesn't mean adarn thing if they are both fugly!)or is proven to have curly blood.The purpose is only to track offspring and nothing more, really.(not speaking for the CSI since I am not sure what the criteria isfor that registry)THIS is the BIG difference with Curlies and other rare breeds. See?THE problem we have with our breed is that we have started thingsoff wrong from the get-go. No standards, not criteria for horses orbreeders for that matter. All it takes is a producing male & femaleand $35.00 for a breeder's license and Wala! You are in Biz! Noquestions, no knowledge and no evaluation. THAT I am afraid is thecore of the problem here. SO to say it all boils down to low prices of our curlies is far too SIMPLE of a is far grander of a problem, I am afraid.Can it be changed? I just don't know, it would take a really strongorganization, alot of money and the cooperation of the breeders.Strict rules, evaluations and enforced guidelines could mean a greatloss financially to many of them. No easy answers for sure.