Buying the Right Horse

Guest post by Kelsey McLaughlin
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a horse, such as price range, what will you use the horse for, the horse’s skill level, your skill level, etc., the most important being what is the right kind of horse for you. If you’re a skilled and confident rider, you can handle a younger, inexperienced horses or a problem horse, whereas an inexperienced rider or a rider who has lost his/her confidence would be better suited to an older, more experienced horse that has been there done that and knows it all.
During my freshman year of high school, I had a really bad experience on a walking horse I was leasing from a neighbor. He was accustomed to living in the pasture eating hay and grass. He was only in a stall getting grain when being being conditioned for a large trail ride or being ridden regularly. At the place we were boarding, he was in a stall 24/7 and getting 2 scoops of high sugar/high starch grain. One day I decided to ride him in the arena while my mother was out on a trail with her horse. Oreo had had a day off, so he was full of extra energy. He was fine at first, but he eventually reared straight up in the air and took off at a full gallop around the arena until someone came down and stopped him. My confidence fell off a cliff, and Oreo went back home.

My mother and I went on a search for horse to build my confidence. We looked at two different horses that seemed like they would be good choices. The first one we looked at was an Appaloosa gelding named Charlie. He had been on trails and was a western pleasure 4-H champ. He was about 9 or 10 at the time we went to look at him. When we went to check him out, I rode him, and he ended up being too much horse for me. We went to see horse number two, a little 5 year old appaloosa gelding named Comanche that had been trained to be a kid’s trail horse. We ended up buying Comanche and my mother’s friend bought Charlie. Comanche was amazing for my confidence as a rider. Before I moved onto another horse, I was galloping him through trails with nothing but a halter and lead rope. After my mother had a bad fall, Comanche ended up being a confidence builder for her too.
So… Before you begin considering a new horse ask yourself the following:

  • Do you the money not just for the purchase price but the upkeep?
  • Do you have the time for a new horse?
  • Do you have the space for a new horse?

If you answer yes to these questions, as yourself what you plan to do with your new horse. If you plan to ride hunters, you’ll want to look for a hunter type horse, like a Thoroughbred or Appendix. If you plan to do barrel racing, trail, or any other western type competitions, you’ll want something stockier like a Quarter Horse, Paint, or Appaloosa. If you just want to hit the trails anything that is quiet, not spooky, and comfortable to ride will do.

Now ask yourself, what size horse do you need? With this question you will want to refer to your answer for the previous question. In any English discipline, your size will determine what size horse you’ll be expected to ride. In most western disciplines, the discipline will determine what size you want. With trail riding, this question really doesn’t matter too much; size is mostly a preference.
What is your experience level? If you’ve ridden all your life, ride six or seven days a week, and have ridden just about every kind of horse there is, then maybe you want a project horse or something that’s green broke. If your still fairly new to riding or you don’t ride very often, you might want to go with an older horse that’s been there and done that, something that is going to be fairly well behaved.
How is your confidence? Maybe you’ve been riding most of your life and you’ve been there and done that on horseback, but you’ve had a really bad fall recently or a few bad falls. You’re not going to want to get a green broke anything. You’re going need something quiet. Maybe an older horse that’s been there and done that. You need a horse that’s going to build your confidence back up and build up your strength again.
What is your budget? If you only have a few hundred dollars, you’ll be ok if you’re looking for a project horse. If you’re looking for something kid broke, you might want to save some more money. Broke horses just aren’t that cheap.
Remember… Buying a horse is a big decision. Know what you want before you start looking, and take your time!

Home Remedies for Dogs

For those of us that are animal lovers, our main expense is often animal care. From high cost solutions to keep away fleas and ticks to yearly vaccinations, pet car has become almost as costly as human healthcare. Richard Adams’s Home Remedies for Dogs offers some low cost, natural remedies for common canine ailments. Below are a few highlights.
Managing Arthritis
Many older dogs suffer from arthritis. The best way to deal with arthritis is to prevent your dogs from developing arthritis by keeping them at a good, healthy weight and having them exercise regularly; however, sometimes arthritis is inevitable with old age. A very good way to help your dog with his or her arthritis is by slowing switching them to a natural diet and removing processed foods from their diet completely. Avoid doing this overnight as it can cause major health problems to drastically change their diet rapidly.
Your dog’s diet should be raw meat (eggs are good too), fruits, and vegetables. Do not include heavy spices, onions, garlic, grapes, or any other food that can be toxic to your dog. Do include fruits and vegetables such as apples and raw carrots to help keep their teeth clean and foods that are naturally high in vitamin E because it is an anti-inflammatory and will help with your dog’s arthritis.
Skin Allergies
Skin allergies are something that can be just as unfun for your dog as it can be for you. The problem for dogs is that much of the time it’s our habits that cause these allergies or make them worse. Just as using harsh chemicals in and around our homes is unhealthy and harmful to us, it is also harmful to our furry family members.
Our skin is the largest organ we have. It is also the only one that is always exposed to the world. The same is true for dogs, but their fur provides an extra layer of protection that can be very helpful in your dog’s fight against skin allergies.
The most common causes of allergies are external irritants, lack of exposure to the sun, insect and flea bites, and an imbalanced diet. The first thing you should in fighting allergies is check your dog’s diet. The next thing to do is look at the environment. Stop using any harsh chemicals around their bedding, kennel, food dishes, etc.. Wash their bedding in mild cleaners. Finally, make sure that you check both your dog and your yard for fleas. Try a natural way to repel or rid your dog or yard of them.
Parasites
There are two categories of parasites that affect your dog:

  1. Outer parasites (fleas, ticks, mites)
  2. Inner parasites (worms)

Since outer parasites feed on dead skin and blood, the best way to keep them away from your dogs is to keep their skin and coat as clean and healthy as possible. Oatmeal is great for your dog’s skin. Place oatmeal in your blender,and run the blender until the oatmeal looks like flour. You can either mix it with a little water to produce a paste, or you can mix it in the bath. If you create a paste, you should let the solution dry onto your dog and then rinse it off or wipe it off with a towel. Also, brush your dog daily.
Buy the kindle version of this for just 99 cents for more great home remedy information!

The Tennessee Stock Horse Association

Since we’re located in Tennessee, many of the organizations we feature are in Tennessee, but we hope to include information about the national organization and, as we grow, feature organizations outside our region.
The Tennessee Stock Horse Association (TnSHA) is a western riding organization focused on improving the relationship between horse and rider. With the moto “Ride a Better Horse!”, each show is preceded by a clinic to allow participants to improve their horsemanship skills.
The show format, which is encourage growth and improvement, includes four classes in which competitors perform individually:

  1. Trail
  2. Pleasure
  3. Reining
  4. Working Cow

The standardized positive scoring system is design to measure progress. Competitors may receive a zero on a specific movement or obstacle but are not disqualified. There six divisions in which a horse/rider combination can earn national points:

  1. Open
  2. Non-Pro
  3. Limited Non-Pro
  4. Novice
  5. Green Horse
  6. Youth

In addition, the TnSHA also offers an Intro division, which does not earn national points, with reduced fees to allow interested riders to try out the organization without committing to a membership and horse competition license.
TnSHA typically has four shows per year and host several clinics within the middle Tennessee area. The first event of the year is typically hosted by the MTSU Stock Horse team. The first event of this year will be the MTSU Spring Fling on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18. Click here for the show entry form.
The second show will be hosted by Clearview Farms in Shelbyville, TN on Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14. The second two shows are tentatively scheduled for July 18 & 19 and October 3 & 4. Visit tnsha.org for updates and more information.

Free Personal Finance Education

Offered by Bank of Americain partnership with Khan Academy, BetterMoneyHabits.com is a financial learning website geared mainly toward young adults. You can create an account to personalize your experience. You can earn points and badges by watching videos and takings quizzes. You can also set goals for what you want to learn. All of the lessons are geared toward learning about personal finance. Most lessons are taught through videos, have key takeaway points at the end, and a quiz you can take.
BetterMoneyhabitsHere are some available topics:

  • Credit
    • What is credit score?
    • Ways to build credit
    • Keeping credit healthy
    • Managing my credit report
    • Sal Khan & experts discuss credit
  • Saving & Budgeting
    • Managing my personal budget
    • Saving for what’s ahead
  • Debt
    • Getting out of debt
    • The cost of debt
    • How interest works
    • Paying down student loans
  • Home Buying & Renting
    • Deciding to buy or rent
    • How credit impacts home buying
    • How much home can I comfortably afford?
    • My mortgage options
    • Starting the mortgage process
    • Saving for a down payment & other costs
    • Understanding home refinance
  • Taxes
    • Planning my taxes
    • How taxes affect my paycheck
  • Car Buying
    • Preparing to buy or lease
  • Banking Basics
    • Basics of the banking industry
    • Personal banking