Beyond The Bit

Featuring equestrian news "Beyond the Bit" from around the horse world!

By Kelly Hicks
MK Photography


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Earlier this January, I traveled to Denver, Colorado, to experience the National Western Stock Show. It was amazing to see how the whole city of Denver get involve with the show. The National Western Stock Show was established in 1906 for top-ranking livestock, rodeos, and horse shows for people across the nation come for competition or just for entertainment. The stock show is one of Colorado’s most famous tourist destinations, that is held every January for 16 days.

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The stock show is also Colorado’s largest western trade show that attracts over 650,000 visitors each year. This event strives to strengthen American agriculture and celebrate western lifestyles to their communities.

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When I went there I got to see the Pro Rodeo where the greatest bull riders, bull dogers, barrel racers, and team ropers across America come to this event to win. It was fun to see the little kids doing mutton busting and to see the determination of the riders with their eye on the prize.

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It was amazing meeting new people and also seeing more of the agricultural side to America. I recommend to visit this event. I hope I can keep coming to this event to keep meeting nice people and to see great competition.

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By Lauren Dunlap
Black Petticoat
Welcome to winter! Wake up in the morning, head out to the barn to the horses, and that blast of icy air hits you. I love it! Drop hay, then grain, crack the ice in the non-heated water buckets, and you are on your way to working up a sweat. Within a few hours it is 50. What gives Mother Nature?! That feels like a 30 degree swing! How am I supposed to comfortably dress for that and not look and feel like the Michelin Man melting?!
B Petticoat logo
The art of layering. That is the answer to those super cold and/or wildly swinging temperatures we occasionally see. There is definitely a trick to layering for winter versus donning one of those super heat onesie zip up the front suits that Randy puts on in A Christmas Story.
Start with a long sleeve, technical fabric top for your base layer. Something more fitted is best, because it reduces bulk and makes the additional layers fit more comfortably. The technical fabric will help keep you drier when sweating. Ever try running in warmer weather in a cotton t-shirt? Yeah, that heavy and wet feeling of that t-shirt is not exactly conducive to wicking sweat away and keeping you warmer in the winter.
Next, I like to add a pullover type top. Something lightweight yet warm. That bulky Saturday favorite sweatshirt is super comfortable, but probably not the best for layering when outside in the cold. Think ¼ zip soft pullovers or a light to mid weight sweater. Nothing overly bulky, because again, by the time you finish layering you want to be able to move.
Now top off the pullover or sweater with a vest. I love a vest, because you have additional warmth around your core without the restriction of another layer on your arms. Technology in fabrics has created some insanely lightweight clothing that is extremely warm.
Finally, the jacket. At this point, you have on 3 layers. The jacket is your fourth and top layer. Jackets filled with down tend to be super warm and lightweight. I prefer to keep this last layer slightly less fitted, but certainly not so big that it could double as a blanket for the pony. Again, a technical fabric is a benefit, because it also repels wind and water.
Of course, I have completely ignored the obvious – hats, gloves and scarves. Put a hat on your head! Something wooly, not just a baseball cap. If you don’t think wearing a hat helps to keep your warm, visit my parents’ house sometime. It is always an Arctic blast, and I routinely wear a hat to stay warm without having to dress like I am outside. Avoid gloves that will not repel water. After your fingers turn blue and freeze from the water splashing as you cracked ice in water buckets, you will wish you had never even heard of cotton.
As to your bottom half, well, good luck. Riding horses in the winter, especially without an indoor arena, can be tricky at best. There are several breeches out that have a water and wind repellant outer layer with a lining to keep you warm. I love those, because again, it is not overly bulky. However, I have been known to throw a pair of ski pants over breeches if need be. It’s not perfect, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything but hacking, intervals or hills with that bulk, but it works.
What to take away from this little trip down layering lane? Layering traps heat better than one giant bulky coat. Cotton is your absolute enemy in weather, warm or cold, if you are going to sweat. More fitted clothing will allow you freedom of movement while still keeping you warm. You can even add multiple base layers given the lack of bulk. The vest is definitely your friend, and I have quite frequently worn two vests as my third and fourth layer in super cold weather – one fitted and one slightly less fitted, usuallyfilled with down. When Mother Nature decides to get a little crazy and we have wildly swinging temperatures, within a few hours you can start peeling off the layers. If you have that Saturday morning sweatshirt and pony blanket jacket on, well, you don’t have much to peel off as your body temperature changes, and the last time I checked, riding as Lady Godiva seemed extremely uncomfortable for everyone. Have a fabulous winter!
Lauren Dunlap owns Black Petticoat, a clothing and accessory shop for the equestrian lifestyle. Find her in Tryon, Wellington and always online.

 Henn Automotive Logo

Family Owned & Operated by Susan & Mike Henn
1152 North Broome St., Waxhaw, NC 28173
Business Hours – Monday – Friday from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
704.243.2540Winner of the Union County Chamber of Commerce
2014 Excellence in Small Business AwardFull Service Truck & Trailer Maintenance & Repair
– Yearly Maintenance
– Complete Foreign & Domestic
Auto Repair
– Brake Boxes & Hitch Installation
– Gas & Diesel Truck Repair
– Custom Welding & Fabrication
– Bearing & Brake Repairs
– Lighting & Electrical Repairs
Trailering Tips!
When trailering your horse on long trips, it is standard practice to check on your horse(s) and their well being during the trip, but do you take the time to also check on your trailer and tow vehicle?
Before you get on the road:  Check your tires on tow vehicle and trailer and check fluid levels in truck. Be sure to have a tire gauge packed.
Unsure of what is the best pressure for your tires?  General rule of thumb is the maximum pressure listed on side of the tire.  However, due to load weight and type of vehicle, it can vary.  Henn Automotive is glad to take a look at your rig and help you figure tire pressures.
When you stop to fuel up or take a break: 
Walk around and check that your hitch connection, chains and plug connector are all secure.  These can come loose during hauling.
Check tires again, look and feel.  If a tire feels hot, it may be low on air pressure.
Tires that have the correct pressures prolong their life and saves you money!