Below is a list of all 44 of our presidents. Each includes a link to more information. Test yourself! Who was the first president to die in office? What president served so many terms that we added an amendment to limit presidential terms?
Since hay is the biggest part of our horses’ diets, it’s important for us to understand what hay means to our horses nutritionally and to understand how to judge hay quality. We’ll be looking at both in this three part series on hay quality.
To start with there are a few terms we need to define:
MCal/lb – Mega Calories per Pound, a measurement
ADF – Forage digestibility measured by the level of acid detergent fiber (cellulose and lignin)
NDF – Neutral detergent fiber a measure of cell wall content
There are two excellent articles on hay quality that I will be drawing on throughout this series:
Most of us were taught to choose hay based on old, antiquated standards of what color the hay is and what it smells like. Livestock owners have been using more scientific methods for determining what to feed their animals, scientific methods that can easily be applied to choosing hay for our horses.
One of the biggest misconceptions about choosing good hay is the color of hay. Green does not necessarily equate to good nutrition. While the vitamin A precursor in plants is greater when hay is green and the beige color is an indication of sub-bleaching and leaching of nutrients by rainfall that occurred after harvest, color is a poor indicator of forage quality as bright green weeds can be less nutritious than brown alfalfa. Qualityis an expression of characteristic that are going to affect the horses performance and health. You should judge the quality of hay on multiple characteristics. Below is a quality standards chart from the Hay Market Task Force of the American Forage and Grassland Council.
Prime hay and quality standard 1 hay are of no real value to horse owners except as reference points. Quality standard 2 hay is ideal for growing colts, lactating mares, and horses in heavy work.
Most horses in the US should be fed quality standard 3 and 4 hay are the more typical horse needs in American today. Quality standard 5 hay is a standard filler grade hay and can be fed safely as a base feed to all horse grades. As a reference, the best possible pure timothy hay can never be over about 10% crude protein.
Acid Detergent Fiber
Neutral Detergent Fiber
Digestible Dry Matter
Dry Matter Intake as % of Body Weight
Relative Feed Value
In Part II of Understanding Hay Quality, we’ll look maturity, species and variety, leafiness, and harvesting. In Part III, we’ll look at meeting nutritional requirements, forage testing, purchase, and storage.
What is the one thing you should absolutely have in your household arsenal? White vinegar! There are more uses for white vinegar that I can list here, but here are just a few from VinegarTips.com:
For carpet stain removal, mix 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water. Apply to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse the area with a towel moistened with clean water and blot dry.
To get streak-less windows, mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.
To kill weeds, spray distilled white vinegar on weeds.
To use as bug spray, combine equal parts water, distilled white vinegar, and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.
For sunburn relief, rub white vinegar on sunburns.
For rust removal, soak rusty items in white vinegar overnight and wipe rust off in the morning.
To get rid of smoke odor, place a shallow bowl about three quarters full of vinegar in the room where the scent is the strongest.
VinegarTips.com has over 1,001 uses for vinegar, all of which can save you money on household products!
Jenny Pim created Equestrian Tai Chi in 2005 while preparing to teach her evening Tai Chi lesson. She decided to prepare for her class during the day while she rode her horses. She noticed the affect it had on her ponies and decided to create a form specifically for riding horses. Jenny Pim is a registered instructor with The Tai Union for Great Britain and Taiji Europa The International European Tai Chi Chuan Portal. She has been teaching Tai Chi since 2002. She has won silver medals in the British Open Tai Chi Championships.
There are many benefits of equestrian Tai Chi including:
improving posture and balance
helping with fear and anxiety
building trust between you and your horse
helping you and your horse relax
According to Pim, there have always been close bonds between Tai Chi and equestrian practices. She asserts that there are many similarities between the principles of both disciplines, including the belief correct posture and a relaxed body are essential components for success. She cites the fact that nn the Far East, a large number of martial artists were also excellent horsemen.
Pim’s goal is to help people become aware of their internal life-force energy and how to move it through their bodies smoothly. She believes that once riders learn how to connect with their internal energy, they learn how to store it in their Lower Tantien, the major energy center of the body which is situated in the pelvic area. According to Pim, the location of the Lower Tantien is also the location of our center of gravity. She believes that learning to store energy in the Lower Tantien helps with stability and security when riding.
Her exercises are helping me regain my confidence, balance, and skill in the saddle. Check out her website and download a free cheat sheet with 2 exercises and 21 tips for confident riding.
I wanted to share the sermon I preached at Church of the Holy Cross in Murfreesboro, TN on Transfiguration Sunday. In very many ways, it expressed my relationship with my faith. What do Bruce Almighty and Transfiguration Sunday have in common? Read on to find out. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!
Before we get started, there is going to be a bowl going around with pieces of paper and a pen. As the bowl comes to you, please write on a piece a paper just the first name of someone outside the church who is having a rough time in their lives right now, someone who could use a little love and support. Fold the paper in fourths and stick it back in the bowl. If you’re the last person to get the bowl, please place it next to the bulletin basket in the back of the church.
Often on Transfiguration Sunday, the focus is on the transfiguration of Jesus, but today I want to focus on the transfiguration of Peter, James, and John, who have witnessed something truly extraordinary. They see Elijah and Moses, a cloud claims Jesus as his son, and Jesus commands them to say nothing until he’s risen from the dead. There are pages and pages of biblical commentary talking about the transfiguration of Jesus, of the passing of the guard from the prophets Elijah and Moses to the savior Jesus, but I find the experience of Peter, James, and John so much more interesting because—like us—they aren’t prophets or saviors; they’re just people.
They’ve had quite a day. Not only have they seen two of the most famous Hebrew prophets who currently reside in Heaven, they have also heard the voice of God and been informed that their friend and teacher is going to die and rise from the dead. That’s a lot to take in for us mere mortals.
When Peter, James, and John are commanded not to say anything until Jesus arises from the dead, I have to wonder if Peter, James, and John are thinking, “Who the heck do you think we’re going to tell? No one would believe us. And what’s this about you rising from the dead?” Have you ever wondered if they asked themselves who was crazier? Is it crazier to hallucinate dead prophets and hear the voice of God, or is it crazier to think you’re going to rise from the dead? If this happened to any one of us today, would we be silent or start looking for a good psychotherapist?
Still… How many of us pray that God will send us a sign? How many of us secretly wish a cloud would guide us as clearly as it guided Peter, James, and John. How many of us wish God would just talk to us and tell us what to do? Sure he left us the Bible and the Church, but sometimes don’t you just want a burning bush?
But maybe that’s not the real question. Maybe the real question, the more important questions is this: Are we listening to him? Are we seeing the signs he sends us?
Peter, James, and John are commanded to listen to Jesus. I’m not one to argue for strict biblical interpretations, but I think that’s it’s important to note that the heavenly voice says, “Listen to him!” “Listen to him!” Not “Hear him” but “Listen to him!” The definitions of “hear,” “listen,” and “listen to” are only slightly difference at first glance, but I think the subtle difference is important in this context. “Hear” means to receive information by the ear. “Listen” means to concentrate on hearing something. When we add “to” the definition changes. “Listen to” means “to pay attention; heed; obey.” For example, we might turn to our neighbor and say, “Did you hear that siren?” We’re asking if the person received the same sound we received. When we’re talking to our spouses, we might get annoyed and ask, “Are you listening?” We’re asking if our spouse is concentrating on hearing us or concentrating on the TV. When we are particularly aggravated with our children, we might demand “Listen to me!” We aren’t asking them to just receive the noises coming from our mouths; we’re asking them to pay attention, to heed, to obey! Hearing is about passively receiving. Listening is about seeking to receive. Listening to is about taking action as a result of what we’ve heard.
When Peter, James, and John are told to “Listen to him,” God is asking them—and by extension us—to hear Jesus and take action as a result of what he teaches. We are to pay attention, to heed, and to obey.
So I ask again… Are we listening to him? Are we seeing the signs he sends us?
Holy Cross has a big heart. Holy Cross has a welcoming heart. But do we as a community have an active heart? A heart that heeds the calls around us? When I came to Holy Cross, I found a place where I was free to be my truest self, my most godly self and my weakest self. I know many of you found the same freedom and comfort here, but I have to ask… Do we extend that that blessing to those we encounter beyond these four walls? Do we give our hearts away as freely as have been given to us? Do we give our hearts away as freely as to people outside our church as we do to each other here in church?
I don’t know how many of you remember the show West Wing. It starred Martin Sheen as President Bartlett and followed the West Wing staff through two presidential terms. There was a great scene in season four. The President is swearing in his new Deputy Communications Director Will Bailey. He says, “There’s a promise that I ask everyone who works here to make. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world. You know why?” Will replies, “It’s the only thing that ever has.”
The only thing that has ever changed the world is a small group of thoughtful and committed people who see need and set out to fill that need. The Gospels tell us story after story of small groups of thoughtful and committed people who changed the world, and in today’s Gospel, God commands us to be that small group. He commands us to be a force of transfiguration in the world, to do great works as Jesus himself did.
So I ask, is Holy Cross that kind of thoughtful and committed group? Do we gather together in the world beyond these four walls to spread the Good News in our obedience to His command to heed the teachings of Jesus? It is only when we go beyond the safety of our church that we can open doors to God’s presence in the world, that we can open the world to the transfiguration that can only come to the world through Christ. It is beyond these four walls that we create the bridge to let God heal the sickness and the brokenness in the world around us. Only out there can we become the channel through which divisiveness and hatred can be replaced by the unity and love of God.
One of the favorite movies in our house is Bruce Almighty. How many of you have seen it? For those of you who haven’t, Jim Carry’s character Bruce is feeling beaten up by life and blames God, played by Morgan Freeman. God gives Bruce his powers for a few weeks, during which Bruce learns that being God isn’t as easy as he thought. Jim Carry is absolutely hilarious, but one of the reasons it touches me so much is because of the underlying theme that God has called us to be his hands in the world. God tells Bruce that parting seas is just a magic trick. He says:
A single mom who’s working two jobs and still finds time to take her kid to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says “no” to drugs and “yes” to an education, that’s a miracle. People want me to do everything for them. But what they don’t realize is *they* have the power. You want to see a miracle, son? Be the miracle.
A miracle isn’t seeing Elijah and Moses on a mountain. A miracle isn’t the risen Christ. A miracle isn’t the parting of the red sea or a burning bush. A miracle is loving our neighbors even when life gets in the way. A teen coming to youth group talking about how stupid it is to get drunk. That’s a miracle. A bus driver making sure every child on his route has a turkey for Thanksgiving. That’s a miracle. A couple opening their home and heart to children that aren’t biologically theirs and giving them all the love and security any child could ever hope for. That’s a miracle.
When we accept salvation, we are transfigured through Christ. Our hearts, minds, and souls are imbibed with the love and gratitude of the living presence of Christ, but it is not a passive gift. While we are not called to save the world, we are called to be God’s agents of change in the world, to live the Good News through our acts of kindness, to share our story through how we live and how we love.
In Advent, we were asked to be aware, to pay attention. In Epiphany, we are asked to listen. But as we step through the door to Lent, we are to heed and to obey, to take action. We will no longer be waiting.
I invite you as you walk through the door today to the rest of your life to see me and take a name from the bowl we filled. Take the name home with you. During Lent, I encourage you to love that person through prayer or fasting or whatever God calls you to do. This person is your neighbor, your neighbor in need. Be the miracle that person needs not by grand acts of generosity, but by the simple act of asking God to help him or her find the grace and peace that we have here.
The presence of Jesus the Christ, the Savior, has transfigured us into agents of change. Today, we are asked to pay attention and to heed, because the call to be the miracle is coming. How will Holy Cross answer? Will we be the miracle?
Did you know that you can use crayons to fill in scratches on wood furniture? Or that you can remove price tag adhesives with peanut butter? Or that you can prevent rust on tools by rubbing them down with hair conditioner? Did you know that you can keep a cake fresh by storing the cake with a half an apple? If you don’t have a copy of Reader’s Digest’s Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things, get one! This books has 2,317 ways to save time and money by using ordinary household items to perform tasks that would normally have you running to the hardware store or the As Seen On TV isle at your local Walgreens. You can give up the Kaboom for natural things like vinegar that cost less and pose less of a hazard to you, your family, and your pets.
Here are two tips I’ve used more than once:
Use on wooden furniture. Choose the crayon color closest to the color of your furniture. Soften the crayon with a hairdryer and color over the scratches. Then, buff the repair job with a clean rag.
Remove ticks by dabbing the tick with alcohol to make it loosen its grip. Then, grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out.
Trust me… You will not regret the $13 investment in this book. It has saved me thousands!
In my last post, I explained my personal reasons for wearing a helmet and for insisting that my daughter wear a helmet. In this post, I wanted to share some of the helmet rules for some of the equestrian organizations.
Jumpers and eventers are well known for requiring helmets, but Dressage riders are now trending in that direction as well after the traumatic brain injury of Courtney King Dye. It may surprise Western riders to learn that when competing in Western Dressage at a USDF or USEF-sanctioned event, a helmet is required not only during competition but whenever you are mounted anywhere on show grounds.
So… Below I’ve included the helmet-related rules for USDF, USEF, AQHA, ARHA, ASHA, ApHC, Tennessee Saddle Club Association, and Tennessee 4-H. Want to see the rules for another organization? Let us know! We’ll be happy to research it and post it here for the group. USDF and USEF
All riders under 18 years of age must wear a helmet while mounted on competition grounds whether they’re competing or not.
All riders on horses competing in fourth level or below must wear a helmet whether the rider is competing or not while on competition grounds
All riders must wear a helmet when mounted on a horse competing in a young horse or junior test while on competition grounds
All Para-Equestrian riders must wear a helmet while mounted on any horse while on competition grounds
All riders mounted on non-competing horses must wear a helmet while on competition grounds
All riders under age 18 and all riders while on horses competing in national level tests, who choose to wear Armed Services or police uniform, must wear protective headgear as defined in DR120.5 and in compliance with GR801 at all times while mounted on the competition grounds. Riders age 18 and over who wear Armed Services or police uniform on horses that are competing only in FEI levels and tests at the Prix St. Georges level and above must wear either protective headgear or the appropriate military/police cap or hat for their branch of service.
When a horse is competing in both national and FEI levels or tests (e.g. Fourth Level and PSG), the rider must wear protective headgear at all times when mounted on that horse on the competition grounds and during all tests.
Riders 18 and over on horses competing only in FEI levels and tests at the Prix St. Georges level and above aren’t required to wear a helmet during warm up or in competition. Though they may wear a helmet in competition without penalty from the judge.
In FEI recognized classes helmets are permitted, but not required.
All riders while on horses competing in national level classes such as Equitation, Materiale and DSHB Under Saddle are required to wear protective headgear at all times when mounted on the competition grounds.
Protective headgear is defined as a riding helmet which meets or exceeds ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag. The headgear and harness must be secured and properly fitted. Any rider violating this rule at any time must immediately be prohibited from further riding until such headgear is properly in place.
It is mandatory for riders in all hunter, jumper and equitation classes, including hunter hack, where jumping is required and when jumping anywhere on the competition ground to wear properly fastened protective headgear that meets ASTM/SEI standards or equivalent international standards for equestrian use. The helmet must also be properly fitted with harness secured. It is optional that an exhibitor may wear a hard hat with harness in all classes; however, it is mandatory that all youth and recommended that amateurs wear a ASTM/SEI approved hard hat with harness in all over fence classes. It is mandatory that all exhibitors wear a hard hat in all over fence classes and when schooling over fences.
All riders of all ages must wear a cowboy hat in all western classes. Helmets are not permitted in western classes and riders will be penalized for wearing one.
In all western classes, exhibitors are required to wear a western hat
In all game classes, the exhibitor must wear a western hat or
ASTM/SEI approved protective headgear. Youth exhibitors 18
years of age and younger are required to wear ASTM/SEI approved
helmet with safety harness attached and fastened in all
game classes. ASTM/SEI approved protective headgear, while
optional for adults, is strongly recommended for use by all exhibitors
in all game classes. If the exhibitor wears a hat it must
be on the exhibitor’s head when he/she enters the arena.
Exhibitors are strongly encouraged to wear helmets while riding anywhere on competition grounds
If exhibitors choose to wear protective headgear in western classes
(western horsemanship, western pleasure, western riding,
showmanship, reining, leadline etc.) it is not mandatory that the
headgear look like a western hat.
Effective January 1, 1993, all exhibitors 18 years old and under
riding in all over fence classes including Hunter Hack must wear
properly fitting protective headgear passing applicable ASTM
(American Society for Testing and Materials) standards while
riding in the designated schooling exercise areas, the show ring
and while jumping anywhere on the competition grounds. Harness
must be secured and properly fitted. Any exhibitor violating
this rule at anytime must immediately be prohibited from further
riding until such headgear is properly in place
The ApHC strongly encourages all exhibitors, regardless of age,
to wear protective headgear passing or surpassing current applicable
ASTM standards with harness secured while riding anywhere on the competition grounds including while practicing, schooling, and/or showing.
Do you shop at Goodwill? If you don’t, you should consider it. Not only is it a great source for low cost, second hand items ranging from jeans to dishes to couches to surround sound systems, but they also offer exceptional discounts and a great rewards program.
Here in Middle Tennessee Goodwill stores offer all of the following discounts:
Everyday: 50% off the Color of the Week: YELLOW
1st Saturday of the Month: 50% off everything!
Sundays: 99¢ clothing on the Color of the Week
Mondays: Receive $5 off for every $25 you spend
Tuesdays: Receive two points for every $25 you spend when you use your MyGoodwillRewards card
Wednesdays: 99¢ clothing on the Color of the Week
Thursdays: Seniors 60 or older with a valid ID receive 20% off regular-priced items
Fridays: Receive two points for every $25 you spend when you use your MyGoodwillRewards card
Rewards programs, like discounts, vary from state to state. To get a MyGoodwillRewards card, go to your local Goodwill store to sign up. In middle Tennessee, you have to go online to the MyGoodwillRewards website to activate your rewards card after signing up.
In middle Tennessee, you receive 1 rewards point for every $25 you spend each visit. You also Tuesdays and Fridays. For example, if you went to Goodwill on Monday and spent $30, you would receive 1 reward point. If you went to Goodwill again on Friday and spent $65, you would receive a total of 4 points: two points for spending $50 and another 2 for double point Friday. You receive $25 off of a purchase of $25 or more for every 10 rewards points that you receive. You get $25 off for your birthday as well. MyGoodwillRewards members also get additional discounts from time to time.
Goodwill offers great everyday low prices. Shirts and skirts for $5.99. Jeans and dresses for $8.99. Books ranging from 99 cents to $2.99. When you add discounts and the MyGoodwillRewards program, Goodwill is an excellent way to get great second hand merchandise for bargain prices.