Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach- PVC Blanket Rack

Horse people are usually a thrifty bunch. We like to reuse and wear things out before buying new. And often what we want or need can't be bought unless it is custom made, which gets substantial. My biggest problem besides being a massive bit hoarder is I collect saddle blankets. All kinds; English, Western, Saddle Seat, Navajo, therapeutic, plain, colored, natural and artificial files. It's an addiction, there is no treatment.

Unfortunately the photo I found on Pinterist had no explanation or project list, so I had to wing it. So this is my composition to fit in the corner of my tack room.

24 feet of 1.5 inch PVC pipe, anything else will bend the stalk or the arms.
1- 1.5 inch PVC drain/trap
8- 1.5 inch PVC T's
2 inch wood screws about 12
4- 2 inch Lag bolts
1 Can PVC primer
1 Can PVC Rubber Cement
8- 1.5 inch PVC end caps ( trust me, during wasp  and spider season you will want these)

Drill with screw head and bit to put in lag bolts
Wrench for lag bolts.

(This is pre gluing and screws)

Measure your area, you may need more or less pipe. Mine has an 18 inch base stem, 6 inches between T's and 13 inch top stem. You can increase the width between T's, or add more arms if your area is higher. The arms are 26 inches due to space requirements. It is long enough for even big pads, but leaves the aisle way clear.


Pop the middle out, you might use it later!!!!! :) Pre-drill holes to fit your lag bolts and then carefully screw them in. Be careful not to crack the plastic.

Coat your base socket and the pipe with primer and glue and let it set. Now you can do the next part one of two ways. You can glue each fitting and create a bit long stalk, or you can screw each connecting piece into the T with the wood screws. I have this morbid horror of things I can't take apart so I used screws except for the base. So connect each 6 inch piece to your T's and make your stalk. Some people want the arms to move, I did not. I want them to stay in a perfect line so they don't hang on anything or take up more space. Once the stalk is created check your base, if it's dry sink a screw in it for stability. Now connect your stalk with the T's.


The higher the stalk and the more arms, the more bracing it will need. I added two screws to the middle sections and then screw in the top with a big long wood screw, as it had to attach to a rafter that was at an angle.

Once your stalk is secure the glue in your 26 inch arms. Let them dry over night. If you're going to be pulling pads off and on a lot then I'd add a wood screw to each base.

Add your caps with the primer and glue and then you are done. Cheap, efficient blanket rack. 

Copyright 4-2016 to present
Tracy Meisenbach
Do not copy, distribute or publish without permission.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach- You, your horse and the bit, an unhappy threesome.

There seems to be a prevailing thought that how much you love your horse, or he loves you, determines how your equipment works. It doesn’t. Nothing determines how your equipment works except how it is meant to function. If it’s a snaffle it functions like a snaffle. If it’s a tiedown it functions like a tiedown. Nothing about you or your horse alters that UNLESS you actually alter the piece of equipment by adding or subtracting something to it.
Riders/trainers should also understand that nothing about the horse (barring an actual physical deformity) changes how the equipment works. Different horses may REACT differently, just like some people can pick up spiders and some people run screaming from the room, but the equipment, like the spider, is a constant. Reaction is NOT mechanical. Reaction is not based on a specific forumula. Reaction is based on pain, fear, emotion. So don’t confuse reaction with the mechanics of the bit. Some horses ignore pain, some are hypersensitive. Some tolerate poll pressure, some hate it. Just because your horse doesn’t react adversely does not mean he’s not in pain or anxious. Looking at the mechanics of the bit, plus the horse’s anatomy, can give you clues that his response may be hiding. Because at some point common sense has to kick in and say that X pounds of pressure on anything’s tongue is painful. I’ve bitten my tongue before, and it wasn’t with anywhere near the pressure that most people put on the reins and it hurt like hell. So imagine how the horse feels. And while it is true that a finished horse will react differently to a bit than a green horse it still does not change the way the bit works. A finished horse has a conditioned response to the bit's actions. A green horse is listening to his nerve endings telling him what to do UNTIL he finally connects that the rider is trying to tell him something and if he does it there is a reward of some kind. However, neither reaction changes the mechanics of the bit.

So when you assess your horse, and the bits you use, repeat these things to yourself, because honesty is the best policy when dealing with horses. And stop confusing emotional reaction with bitting mechanics.

Things that DO NOT alter how the bit works:
How much you love your horse
How much your horse loves you
Your relationship is not special, unique or rare. It’s simply a relationship with an animal you like, that likes you back and hopefully will last a long pain free time.
Horse’s breed
Horse’s age
Horse’s color
Horse’s training level
Political party
Sexual preferences
Favorite TV show
Favorite horse event
How much you pay for the bit
How much you win while using it
Celebrity using it
Advertising used to promote the bit
Where you live
How old you are
Whether all your tack matches
Drugs, they alter reaction, not mechanics

Things that will alter how a bit works;
A welder
A hack saw
Blow torch
Draw reins
Gag pulley
The bit breaking
Adding a curbstrap or taking one off

Tracy Meisenbach
Copyright 3-2016
Do not copy, republish or use without permission.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach- Pedigrees and generational influences

Those of us that love pedigree research regard it as a never ending treasure hunt for information, validation and piecing together the history of horse breeds. It can give us clues to color, genetic traits, breeding trends, even world events, such as the remount program created to mount the cavalry.We love to find the famous, the infamous, the rare and the building blocks.

Pedigrees can be a source of pride, or concern, depending on who is up close or far back. It's amazing how traits which seem minuscule can travel through the ages, carried by one horse in each generations. There are several Appaloosas that carry a literal trickle of Appaloosa blood, 1/32 or 1/64 and still come out wildly colored. When you consider how much each generation influences the horse in front of you it makes you think about the "strength" or "weakness" of some genes. Some seem to hide for awhile, recessives that only pop up when both parents have it, and then only in the right conditions, such as two chestnut agouti carriers that will not exhibit their hidden genes, yet their foal can produce a bay when bred to a black. Or dominant genes that always appear when present ( although sometimes you have to look really close!), manifesting in homozygous or heterozygous form.

We all get to read sale ads or hear brags about horses that go back to some great champion. I can't blame people that like to talk about their horse going back to Man O'War, he's an American hero. However, it is disturbing when they use a horse more than 4 generations back as a huge selling point. It's not. Unless that horse carries a unique genetic trait that can really affect the value of your horse ( and it's usually adversely) then more than 4 generations does not affect the horse in front of you.

Man O'War

So how much does each generation affect your horse? This chart shows how much and how little each succeeding generation contributes to the genetic makeup for your horse. So remember when you cite a famous horse, if he's more than 4 generations back he's not offering much, and if that's your value baseline you might want to rethink your prices and marketability. The average equine generation is 8 years, so from present to Man O'War is about 12 generations. He would be contributing .0244% to your horse's genetic make-up. That's not going to get you in the Derby and doesn't increase your horse's value one iota.

Your Horse
1) 2 Ancestors= 50% sire and dam
2) 4 Ancestors= 25% grandparents
3) 8 Ancestors= 12.5% great grandparents
4) 16 Ancestors= 6.25% great great grandparents
5) 32 Ancestors=3.125%
6) 64 Ancestors=1.5625%
7) 128 Ancestors=.7812%
8) 256 Ancestors= .3906%
9) 512 Ancestors =0.1952%
10) 1024 Ancestors=.09762%
11) 2048 Ancestors= .0488%
12) 4096 Ancestors=.0244%
13) 8192 Ancestors= .0122%
14) 16384 Ancestors=.0061%
15) 32768 Ancestors = .0030%
16) 65536 Ancestors= .0015%

Colida ApHC, Hall of Fame

So enjoy your horse's pedigree, and admire the horses in it. It's the history of mankind's development of the amazing animals we love. Be realistic about the value of distant ancestors when marketing your horse and be sure to check for lines that carry genetic defects.

copyright 2016 Tracy Meisenbach
please do not share or copy

Friday, February 19, 2016

Stark Naked Bits, clinics and expos coming up, Appaloosas and American Sugarbush Harlequin Drafts.

Stark Naked Bits will be hosting two clinics in Virginia in the next few months!!!!!! 

The first will be during the Virginia-North Carolina Horse Festival March 5th, 2016 at the Old Dominion Agriculture Center in Chatham Virginia.  We will be conducting a bitting clinic in the main arena and also have a booth in the vendors' hall to sell bits and take orders.

We will also be doing the breed demonstrations for the Appaloosa and the American Sugarbush Harlequin Draft Horse. Stop by our stalls and visit our Appaloosa stallions Heza Docolida and Colida TwistOLena and Sugarbush Harlequin Drafts, Stonewall Rascal and Sugarbush Harley's Classic O

                                                                    Heza Docolida

                                                                Colida TwistOLena

Stonewall Rascal

Sugarbush Harley's Classic O

The second will be during the Virginia Horse Festival in Doswell at The Meadows Fairground on April 1st, 2nd and 3rd. We will also have a booth.

Our clinic schedule is:

Friday, April 1st, 2016
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM in the Horse Industry Board Arena

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM in the Virginia Horse Council Foundation Classroom

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM in the Virginia Horse Council Foundation Classroom

The American Sugarbush Harlequin Drafts and Appaloosas will also be featured breeds at Breyerfest and our lovely group will be representing these breeds. Breyerfest Carnival 2016

As soon as we get scheduling and stalling information we will post it. Stop by and see us, we'd love to introduce you to our wonderful horses and fun bits!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach-Horse Training Cliches and other lies

I've been in this business a long, long time. So long that I can't remember life before having my own horses and can't imagine life when the day comes I can't have them anymore. During this long span I've seen and heard some amazing things and some outright stupid things. It reached the point that when I see and hear certain things the person involved gets relegated to either the cool or stupid column. The stupid column is longer and sadly contains some people that are respected in the industry because they win a lot. Winning does not mean you know everything, especially if you're being judged by idiots that do the same thing you do. Because of all of the misinformation and crap that gets said I decided to compile a list of stupid sayings that automatically relegate you to the stupid column. If you spout one of these cliches as a "training" justification you're stupid. You're stupid, covered in stupid with stupid flavored filling.

  1. Any bit is gentle in the right hands (no, some bits cause pain without rein pressure)
  2. "I need this bit because he's a ________ horse. You've never ridden a _____ horse of any real calibre or you'd know they need strong bits!" (I've trained and shown horses to top levels)
  3. It's like a hand brake, so I don't have to worry about losing control - he's got a naturally hard mouth. It doesn't stop him with pain, it just gets him to stop.  (Pain stops him, nothing else)
  4. "He was born hard-mouthed." ( No horse is born hard mouthed)
  5. "I don't really need it to ride him. I can ride him in a halter." ( Then do so, overkill isn't needed)
  6. "You just don't know how it works." ( I do know, that's why I don't use it)
  7. "It has a snaffle (broken) mouthpiece, so it's super gentle" (Usually in reference to a Tom Thumb)
  8. “Oh, it's a shanked snaffle, so it's really mild. ( Snaffles never have shanks. NEVER)
  9. "You can't ride X type of horse in a loose ring snaffle." ( You can if you know how to train)
  10. "He's a walking horse, so he has to have a walker bit" ( The breed of horse does not dictate the bit)
  11. "Walkers have to have a walking horse bit to gait." ( Horses gait whether they are bridled or not)
  12. "The correction port is a port so it still offers tongue relief." (Trapping the tongue is not relief)
  13. "I use it because its what so-and-so uses and THEY made the NFR. So it has to be good." 
  14. "It makes his mouth more sensitive" ( Yes, pain does that.)
  15. "That's what my trainer said to use" ( Then get a new trainer)
  16. "Because it LIFTS THE SHOULDERS" (Nothing lifts the horse's shoulder unless you pick up his foot)
  17. "Cavalry shanks are more gentle than regular shanks." ( depends on the mouthpiece.)
  18. "But the hackamore part engages FIRST, so he responds before the twisted mouthpiece engages. That means the twisted wire mouthpiece is only there for emergencies." (nosebands always engage last.)
  19. "But the edges of the twist are smooth, so it's gentle! It's just enough to get his attention!" (if it was gentle it wouldn't hurt enough to "get his attention")
  20. "You have no idea how this bit works, you're just close minded" ( Close minded would be not admitting it's a shitty bit.)
  21. "You have to bit them up and get that mouth sore so they will listen to a milder bit." ( You can't train through pain)
  22. "He's a barrel horse so he needs X bit to stop when we run because he gets too hyped up. At home I ride in a D ring." ( If he was trained he'd work in the milder bit)
  23. "Have you ever ridden X discipline or X kind of horse? Then you can't judge!" ( I know shitty riding when I see it)
  24. "What the hell are YOUR credentials?" ( The list is longer than this blog. All done without drugs, abusive bits, being suspended etc)
  25. "You've never ridden a grand prix horse, so you don't know how hard you need to be with bits to control them. ( Right, so all the winners who didn't use that shit bit were just flukes?)
  26. The Tom Thumb bit is needed so she could stop the horse if it decided to bolt. ( A TT won't stop anything that is serious about running off)
  27. "They gait by pivoting on the mouthpiece," from a trainer that specializes in MFT's. "See how holding the reins tighter collects 'em?" ( Stupidity and anatomy collide once again)
  28. "He has a really soft mouth" (when even a moderately well educated observer can see that he's desperately trying to avoid yanks and punishment")
  29. "They have to balance on the bit to hold a gait. Tighten the reins a little bit" ( A horse does not balance of his mouth)
  30. Lady who rode a very pacey, long-toed TWH around the neighborhood, upon observing Paddy's feet and headgear>>> "Oh, wow. You're riding him in a snaffle. He was trained in a curb, though, wasn't he?" (not the 'question' kind of 'wasn't he'.. but the 'of course he was trained in a curb' kind of wasn't he')
  31. How long has he been barefoot? (all his life, idiot. TWH's don't need heavy shoes any more than a fish needs a bicycle)
  32. How do you control him without a bit in his mouth? (With your seat and legs)
  33. But he's a western horse, he needs a western bit. ( Get him the hat too, it's a set. Cowboy up!)
  34. "You can't run barrels without a tie down and in a snaffle! How are you going to stop her?" ( With my seat and legs, saying whoa works too)
  35. "Your horses are too light mouthed- they'll drive better if you bit 'em down, shorten their checks, and spank 'em into your hand. They gotta brace on the bit to keep their front ends up." ( Stupidity on parade, look how high it can prance!)
  36. "A horse with his head up is ALWAYS hollow in the back!" ( Then why use a gag bit?)
  37. "If he didn't like his bit, he wouldn't let me put it in his mouth!" ( How's he going to stop you?)
  38. "Physics don't apply to MY bit!" ( Because your bit gets a free pass?)
  39. "My Snookums LOVES his double twisted wire ten inch shank bit. See how well he behaves!?" (He's afraid to move.)
  40. "He runs through anything else, so I HAVE to ride him in my chainsaw mouthed hackagag!" (Because you're too stupid to train him to stop)
  41. "It doesn't cause pain if you know how to use it right." (If you knew how to use it, you wouldn't)
  42.  "He's gotten sour, so we HAVE to bit him up more so he'll be safe." (Sourness is created by pain, adding pain just increases the sour)
  43. "How do you manage him- there nothing there to hurt him?!" ( Respect)
  44. “A twisted wire snaffle will teach them to be soft in the mouth because it makes little sores that will make them sensitive.” ( Good thing you're not a teacher)
  45.  "Just tie his head around by the bit. It'll teach him to bend!" ( It will teach him to be stiff and resistant because there is no reward)
  46. "Just tie his bit to a railroad tie. They learn real quick to be soft then!" (? How did this person survive childhood?)
  47. "Of course the horse is giving you trouble, you are not using a bit!!" (A bit was the problem in the first place)
  48. "You can't judge a bit until you use it!" ( Sure I can, I can look at the mechanics and know it's shit)
  49. "I'm so lighthanded, the bit doesn't matter" ( You're deluding yourself)
  50. "Snaffles are only starting bits. You can't ride in one after the horse is broke." ( Said no Olympic rider EVER)
  51. After explaining Tom Thumbs to several people, without fail: "Yeah, but aren't they also called a shanked snaffle? They're gentle." ( Snaffles never have shanks, see #8)
  52. "English is for prisses. You shouldn't be riding in an English bit. They don't work for western horses." ( Bits don't know they belong to a discipline, they are nonpartisan)
  53. "It releases endorphins" ( So do  twitches and lip chains, both are not good)
  54.  Tie downs=better balance ( You cannot balance with your head tied down)
  55.  "This is what the horse is trained in and he goes well in it." ( Because he was trained by an asshole)
  56. "I can't ride him in a milder bit, he will run away with me." (Go back to basics and put a stop on him)
  57. You’re just jealous couch jockeys who know nothing! ( I've never been jealous of bad riders or trainers)
  58. "Well every discipline has bad bits/techniques/riders/trainers etc" ( The bad in one, doesn't excuse the bad in another when used as a way to justify the bits/techniques/riders/trainers of their particular discipline. )
  59. "I was raised riding horses and we always used " X" bit too start them." (Evolve)
  60. "You don't know much about horses do you? You gotta make'm bleed some so they respect the bit. " ( You need to be in jail)
  61. "It is jointed, so it is still a snaffle." ( See #8)
  62. “You can make a curb bit into a snaffle, just don't put on the curb chain.” ( Removing the curb chain makes the bit worse, not better)
  63.  "My old horse went in it just fine, I don't need to spend money on a new bit for this one." ( Evolve)

    Yes people do say things that are this stupid, these are taken from actual posts and articles. And even worse, they MEAN it. They truly believe that if they say these tired old cliches that some barn fairy will show up, smack them with a trainer wand and impart the wisdom of the ages. It's not true. Being stuck in the cliche rut prevents you from evolving as a horseman. You stop learning. you stop listening to the horse. I have no idea why people got hung up on whispering to horses when we should have been listening to them. Listening doesn't take joining up, or carrot sticks or any special bit. Listening takes paying attention, acting ethically and putting the horse first. There is no ribbon or trophy in the world worth your integrity or his well being. And until people reach the point they will ignore the award in order to work with the horse then abuse, and stupidity, will continue to happen.

    So don't repeat these cliches, they show how limited you are and how far you have to go. Instead of speaking them, shut your mouth, open your mind and eyes and EVOLVE!

    Tracy Meisenbach
    Copyright 2-2016
    Do not publish, repost, or copy without permission