Horse blankets 'n saddle blankets

A horse blanket (or rug) is a blanket that covers a horse from the rump to the chest. Some blankets have an additional neck and head cover including leg coverings. This blanket is to keep the cold out and even sometimes to keep the hair short. The blanket is basically their winter coat. The blanket is sometimes kept on the horse all winter to prevent their natural winter haired coat from growing so shedding their hair won't be such a problem in the summer. But without a winter haired coat or a blanket a horse could become really ill. 

Another kind of blanket is called a 'saddle blanket'. This saddle blanket is much smaller and goes between the horse's back and the saddle. The blanket is to prevent the horse's sweat from touching the leather saddle. The saddle straight on the back could make bad rashes or other things like that. Also the blanket keeps the saddle still and in place when riding; it's much more comforting to the horse to have a blanket between than the saddle straight on his back because it's softer. 

A horse's bit

A 'bit' is a small metal stick that goes into a horse's mouth which helps control the horse more easily. There is what part of a horse's mouth that has a big gap where there are no teeth and this is where the bit is placed when riding. There are many different kinds of bits and they are usually in two pieces that are connected together by a smaller piece. (Sometimes it's all one piece with a dip in it of the shape of a 'U'). All of that is in the horse's mouth but connected to that is an 'O' or 'D' shaped ring on either side of the bit that is outside of the mouth and has the reins connected to it. Other than the reins, the horse wears headgear called a bridle. 

The bit works by allowing the rider to turn the horse's head by pulling on the reins.  With this, the rider has much more control over the horse than a bitless bridle. Having the ability to turn the horse's head while riding also gives the advantage of turning the whole body. 

Not all the time can a bit be good for a horse. If it's used wrongly, it can give much pain to a horse and could injure its mouth, lips, tongue, and especially its teeth very badly. When a horse is made to do a particular type of work (like reining), the bit may be different from other bits. English and Western bits may also be different as well.

 The first bits were made of rope, horn, bone or hard wood. Metal bits became in use between 1300 and 1200 BC. Sometimes bits are made of rubber, plastic or mixed with other metals.

Horse Braids

Horses have their hair braided for shows (mainly dressage or hunting shows). Braiding horses' hair (mane or tail) could be for special occasions or just to keep the hair up from the ground. Sometimes the hair is braided not only for style but to keep from getting tangled in tack that they might be wearing, or from their eyes while being ridden, or when pulling a wagon (pulling anything) to keep from getting long hair tangled in any of the harnesses or wheels. There are a lot of different ways to braid horses' hair. Usually for me I have always loved a horse with flowing long hair and not braided up into buns or tight pole line braids. 

Not only are there braids but also diamond shaped linked manes that I think looks really cool! Here is a drawing I made, to show you:

Plants That Could Be Bad For Horses

There are plants that have poisoned horses and many of them had to be put down because of it. Some plants that are poisonous (for horses) are usually not eaten by horses unless they are starved in a pasture (usually that happens in winter where there are no grass and other edible plants, causing the horse to desperately look for anything else). One plant called a 'yellow star-thistle' could poison a horse with a swollen tongue or sore lung. It can also damage the brain to the point where a horse will not be able to swallow anything.  

Another plant called an 'oleander' is actually poisonous to not only horses but all animals and humans if eaten. Oleander plants are actually so toxic to some horses that even just eating a few leaves of it could cause their death very fast. Even the burning smell of oleander can be very harmful. A horse could start suffering from 8 to 24 hours after ingesting. 

(picture from wikipedia)

I used to pick the pretty pink and white flowers of the oleander plant because they grew near a lake that I live next to. Our neighbors had a few of these bushes too and of course we all knew it was poisonous to eat but that didn't keep us from making mashed up "medicines" and potions (also mixed up with  poisonous to eat berries). We loved to mash lots of different kinds of plants for fun, at least the only plant we never touched was poison oak, (we hated getting poison oak) and there was a lot of that where we live!  Long story short we were lucky not to get sick from any of oleander or any other plant in that case. 

Horses usually avoid theses plants but sometimes they wouldn't recognize it or are really hungry, or they accidentally ingest it. I also heard that acorns, walnuts and other kinds of nuts are also not good for horses. Although most of these nuts or namely acorns don't do very much harm to horses if they eaten a little but if it has been eaten a lot it could do more harm.  

(picture from wikipedia)

'Yew' plant is a evergreen tree (looks more like a bush) that has olive like red berries. This is toxic to horses and can make them tremble and slow their heart rate in as little as five minuets after ingesting the plant. A horse that has already eaten this is usually too late to try to save and which is really sad that there is no known antidote. 

(picture from wikipedia)

'Locoweed' is poisonous to all livestock and is found all over hillsides and open pastures. There are actually over a hundred different kinds of locoweed plants. But about 20 of them are actually considered poisonous. This plant is a small green bush looking thing with usually purple colored flowers. 

I'm not going to go through all of theses different plants but I will name some of them:

Timber milk vetch

Lupine (very very pretty)

Poison Hemlock (poisonous to animals and humans)

Water Hemlock (looks the same as poison hemlock and is also poisonous to animals and humans as well)

Ground Ivy (has many other names like 'Creeping-Charlie', 'Cats-Foot', 'Alehoof' and many more names)

Larkspur (has pretty blue flowers) 

Bracken fern 

Horsetail (also called maretail, it kind of looks like thin bamboo and grows near water like cattails)

Castor bean poisoning (it is a kind of poisonous bean to horses and other animals including humans)

Red maple

Buckwheat (poisonous only to horses and not to humans. It is a grainy kind of plant and is used as rice and put in porridge, for humans of course)

Alsike Clover

Rhododendrons and other relatives

Potato and tobacco leaf

Fiddle neck and related plants

Choke cherry and wild cherry 

Sorghum and Sudan grass (bad for other livestock as well)

Bermuda grass (can sometimes actually be good for horses)

Black locust 

Oak trees (it is mainly the acorns and leaves that isn't good for horses but won't do much damage to them if eaten a little)

There are more plants that could be bad for horses. Not all of these will be very bad to all horses actually and a few of these are poisonous to all livestock and some even to humans. Some will just make a horse sick and not all the time kill them. Horses actually avoid most of these and sometimes sample a few of these, which isn't always that bad and won't do any harm unless really toxic. There are horses that could be allergic to normal feed and not because he has eaten something poisonous. 

Equestrian riding clothes

In this post I was thinking about different clothes that horse people wear when riding. When I ride, I just wear jeans and a T-shirt or if it's colder, a long sleeve shirt. Most people when riding just wear normal clothes if they are just going on trail rides or just in an arena unless they are doing competition riding. Most western riders don't wear as much Equestrian riding gear as English riders. Personally I have always loved Western riding more than English riding (I have never rode English).

"Breeches" are a kind of skin tight trousers for mainly English riding that are worn with boots. There are all kinds of shirts, tank tops and other tops as well, for colder days or hotter ones, for western or English. There are a lot of different kinds of boots from cowboy boots to English riding boots... with spurs or without spurs on any kind of boots. There are different gloves made from lots of different kinds of leather or various kinds of cloth (I love the leather ones!). This includes riding helmets, vests, belts, hats and other stuff. Some of these clothes might be useful or are just for the looks. I LOVE cowgirl clothes because they look so cool and I love the style!

Western Clothes:

English Clothes:

Mustang 'n Geese

This is a drawing I did a few days ago of a young mustang sending geese to fly out of his way. 

I ran out of bigger sized paper so you could probably little markings of a previous picture that I drew over. I get pretty desperate to draw and using bigger paper helps so I often draw over old sketches (but I never draw on the other side of a drawing...that always kills me).

Blue Lake Dragon

This picture I drew if of a dragon (not a horse this time). I drew this picture with water color,

Than I took a closer picture of the dragon and drew it over again on my bamboo pad with sketchbook. I made the second picture different, or at least I made the surroundings different. Instead of a cave I made a lake, and instead of a full midnight moon I drew a sunset (And made it really bright! Maybe a little too bright...). 

Oh yes I also was looking at one of my favorite art books. 'Drawing Dragons' is the name of the art book and it's by Sandra Staple who has a website -->

Today's Horse Sense

"Today's horse sense" is a horse/ranch podcast that I have listened to. It's really interesting and it's about all kinds of things, from horses to needs for yourself while working on a ranch. (I listen to the podcast on a iPhone using a app called 'Stitcher'). The man who talks in the podcast actually lives really near where my family lives! He lives somewhere in Northern California right next to the Sacramento river (I also live in Northern CA right next to the river as well), and he has mentioned places where he has been and one of which was in the same county I live in. So I thought that was kind of cool, most famous horsemen or ranchers usually live or have a few ranches in Taxes or some other hot place. 

He mainly interviews ranchers but sometimes a really interesting horse person. Or even once he did a expert, I guess what you would call skin care person. She talked about how bad your skin could get when you're out in the sun working on your horse. He did interview other many other people who had different jobs that would involve horses or at least cattle and other livestock, or even mules and donkeys. There are even interviews with people who ride English or western in all kinds of competitions.


Rodeos to me are a very American event. Rodeos are really fun to watch but there are sometimes broken bones in the end. It started in Spain, Mexico and later the United States. If you have never been to a rodeo or heard of it, it’s basically western riding that involves horses, other livestock and of course people. The American style rodeos have different kinds of events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing. There are rough stock events and the timed events. Sometimes there are other events such as breakaway roping, goat tying, or pole bending may also be a part of some rodeos. 

All of these different events in a rodeo is a mixed gender; in fact, barrel racing today is done more by women than men. Bull/steer wrestling and bronc riding is more often done by men. 

Rodeos today in the USA are done a lot in the western United States and in Mexico (which is sometimes done a little differently). Rodeos are really fun cowboy/cowgirl event and I love them! Barrel racing sounds really fun. In fact, I know a few girls older and younger than me who do barrel racing (usually in rodeos). Hopefully in future posts I could write about each of the different fun events.