SYAers head to Donkey Symposium

Two board members from Save Your Ass Long-Ear Rescue are headed to the 4th annual Donkey Welfare Symposium next month.

Joan Gemme of Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue

Joan Gemme of Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue

Joan Gemme and Anne Firestone head to Ithaca, New York, where the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society will host the event.

Presenters include Ben Hart from the UK Donkey Sanctuary and equine dentist Dr. Joao Rodrigues. There will also be a presentation of “Smoke,” the Iraqi war zone therapy donkey.

According to a press release, the symposium “helps educate people about the unique characteristics of donkeys from the medical, behavioral, nutritional and humanitarian perspective. Most of the world’s donkeys live in developing countries where they are heavily relied upon for essential tasks involving agriculture, transportation, and security of livestock….this symposium focuses on emphasizing donkeys’ health and welfare concerns so that their lives can be improved and the lives of the people who care for and rely on them can be enriched as well.”

Save Your Ass cares for dozens of mules and donkeys at its South Acworth, New Hampshire facility. Read more about them here.

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Good Gear Matters on Pack Trip

We welcome our very own marketing director, Emily Thomas Luciano, as a guest columnist this week. Here’s the second installment from a Montana horse pack trip:

Read Part I

IMG_6163To make it in the back country, one needs more than good horses and good food. I know this because when we headed out on Tuesday for camp, it was a gorgeous Montana day– no clouds in the sky, a slight breeze and about 85 degrees. Divine, right?
We had a lovely ride into camp that first day, and even got a little warm while we were scurrying around unpacking and settling in. The night was clear, not a cloud in the sky, and perfect for star-gazing.
Imagine my surprise the next morning when I woke to find that it wasn’t only cold– I’m talking 35 degrees or so– but rainy to boot. Ick! The day before, I wore short-sleeves and jeans. That wasn’t going to cut it in this weather. I was so thankful to find my Rambler’s Way wool base Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.11.49 PMlayer in my bag as I was digging through to find layers. I had thrown it in as an afterthought. Talk about a lifesaver! I ended up pairing that with a long-sleeved button up under a nylon not-so-water-resistant-but-almost coat. I was sure wishing I would’ve packed my Cotopaxi waxed canvas barn coat! Rookie mistake.
On my feet I wore tall, Darn Tough wool boot socks under my Ariat Terrains. I was ever-so-thankful for both. The Terrains were comfortable to ride, mill around camp and hike in. They were perfect for the trip and the only pair of boots I brought. However, I do wish I would’ve sprung for the waterproof version because my feet got pretty soggy on the rainy day, as did the rest of my body.
Toasting toes by the campfire

Toasting toes by the campfire

Once the rain let up, we all gathered around the camp fire to warm up and dry out. I had my boots off and my poor, wet Darn Tough socks drying by the fire with my Ariats.
After my feet were try, I socked and booted back up. Then, I proceeded to stand by the fire using my rotisserie method: standing and turning slow circles to warm up and dry. Once I felt all dry, I went to use nature’s ladies’ room. As I was tucking my shirts back in, I felt a hole about halfway up my back in my Rambler’s Way base layer. “Oh no!,” I thought. “What did I do?”
I found a cool coal under my clothes next to my skin. I’d caught a coal in the back while I was standing next to the fire. Although it burned through all three Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.11.52 PMof my layers, it cooled down by the time it made it to my skin and I never felt it. So bummed that my all-time favorite fall and winter shirt now sports a quarter-sized hole.
The next day it was another bright, warm Montana summer day. I was glad to have my Liberty Bottleworks bottle looped through my saddle strings to stay hydrated. Get one for free here!
While good horses are the backbone of back country packing and camping, I was so very thankful that I had a bit of good gear to keep me warm, cool and comfortable.

Happy and unplugged: Montana horsepacking at its best

We welcome our very own marketing director, Emily Thomas Luciano, as a guest columnist this week.

Here’s her report from a Montana horse pack trip:

I wanted to unplug. That is what I was most looking forward to about the four-day back country pack trip. Of course, I was

Heading out on the Montana trail

Heading out on the Montana trail

excited about the riding, breathtaking views, campfire camaraderie, and good food. But, it was definitely getting away from my phone, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, text message, voicemail, etc. that I was most excited about. And unplug I did!

My dad, Bar T Horsemanship’s Jim Thomas, and I teamed up with Montana Mountain West Outfitters out of Eureka, Montana, to put together the all-inclusive pack trip for us flatlanders. We had four days and three nights of backcountry fun.

What constitutes the backcountry?

Nine humans and 11 equines crammed into two rigs, then traveled 30 minutes out of town on a paved road into the West Kootenai National Forest. At that point, we turned onto a dirt road and drove IMG_6142another hour as we weaved, bumped and dusted up a mountain to a deserted trail head. We then packed the mules and climbed aboard our horses to ride another couple of miles into camp.

Home for those four days consisted of three tents, cots with bedrolls, a campfire, and a small kitchen where Yours Truly prepared two hot, made-from-scratch meals each day. The horses and mules called a makeshift paddock by a small pond home for the duration of our stay.

We began each morning with coffee, breakfast and talk of goals for the day before tacking up and heading out. Though we rode varying distances each day, our longest day (and our most eventful day!) clocked in at about 12 miles.

Montana viewWe had a picturesque ride planned for the day. We’d ride out from our camp, which was perched on a ridge, back down to the trail head. From there, we’d cross over onto an old logging road that curved around and down the mountain. There, we’d pick up another trail that followed a mountain creek and eventually lead to a waterfall where we’d break for lunch. There was even the promise of huckleberry picking along the way!

Though the ride started off just as planned, we had some unwelcomed guests not long after we reached the creek. It started off as an isolated incident—one rider dismounted and tied her horse off trail to use nature’s lavatories. When she got back on and moved toward the trail, her horse stepped in a yellow jacket nest! Needless to say, we all moved down the trail IMG_6163pretty quickly.

Just a short distance down the trail, we found a glorious huckleberry patch that hadn’t yet been picked over by bears. Of course, we had to stop and fill up any empty water bottles with the little blueberry-like balls of deliciousness.

After remounting and continuing down the trail, we found another nest. But it wasn’t just one horse— the nest had likely been disturbed by the first horse in our line, so they got us all. Though it was definitely a scary moment as the horses tried desperately to lope down the narrow trail to get through the bees, it made good fodder for campfire laughs that night. We all agreed that had we been on our horses from home and not these back-country-savvy steeds, it would be no laughing matter!

The memories of those four days will last a lifetime! From awe-inspiring views of the Kookanoosa Reservoir at 6,000 feet to campfire cooked pork chops and fresh huckleberry pancakes, I’m already counting down the days until next year. If you want to join us, please feel free to get in touch with me at ethomas04@gmail.com. We’ve already nailed down our dates and have secured our permits.

Amy Skinner reviews the hard working Betty jean from Kimes Ranch

IMG_5358Amy Skinner is a frequent guest columnist and the owner and operator of Essence Horsemanship in Boyne City, Michigan. Here, she reviewed the Betty jeans from the Kimes Ranch Jean Company:

Amy writes:

I ride a lot and I go through a lot of jeans.  I never spend a lot of money on jeans since I tend to wear them out fast and end up buying another pair in no time.  I find most brands not worth the money and not holding up to the test of a rough out seat, sweat, and time.  But recently, I received a pair of the “Betty” style from Kimes Ranch Jeans in the mail and was excited to try them out.

Enter to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and a pair of Ariat boots.

They fit great and to my surprise were actually long enough for me – often my jeans end up making me look like I’m waiting for a flood, and stick out the top of my boots when I ride.  These are high-waisted, a feature I Kimes Logowas skeptical of at first.  I don’t normally wear high-waisted jeans, trying vainly to stay away from the “grandma” look.  But I found these to still look great, and that the fit was great for wearing my chaps over (Sometimes with low-rise jeans, my chaps push my shirt up and rub the skin off my hips.).

They not only look great, but are super comfortable, and probably they are the best jean I’ve found for riding in.

  • They don’t bunch up.
  • They don’t pill from my rough out seat saddle.
  • They are made of thick denim so they’re durable.

IMG_5356I love the way they look for riding, but they also look great with an outfit for going out on the town (as if I had time for that….I imagine they would, anyway).

I love that with each ride, with each dismount and each mount, I don’t have to hitch them up or adjust them.  They stay where I put them, which helps me focus on my ride.  I love the dark denim, too.  They stand out and look attractive, while still saying “I work hard for the money. So hard for the money.”

These jeans were built for durability and a great look – unlike most jeans, they fit better and look better each time I wash them and the more I wear them.  I’m a Kimes Ranch convert, and think the jeans are well worth the price.  They’re a better deal than buying lots of cheap jeans that wear out quickly. These jeans are here to stay.

Check out our review of the all cotton Francesca jean.

Enter to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and a pair of Ariat boots.

IMG_5360

New Kimes Jean Habit Well Worth It

Some say humans are nothing more than their habits. That’s especially true when we try to make healthy diet and exercise changes. Nearly everyone I interviewed for our Focus on Fitness articles said success came only after many failures and near misses. Once habits get paved into your brain, it’s incredibly hard to bushwhack new neural pathways even if your heart’s into it.

nI1EPwurU4-89dBVquG2PD4ItRzzQFm6IBUGts7nq9QWhat do Kimes Ranch Jeans have to do with breaking habits?

Kimes wasn’t around when we were kids. Founded in 2009, the fast-growing company is the baby in an industry full of grandparents. Read more. We did not grow up wearing Kimes. And as creatures of habit, it might be hard to convince ourselves to try Kimes when the same ol’-same ol’ has been on our shelves for so long.

But do the same ol’ same ol’ jeans:

  • wear out quickly?
  • bunch at the waist?
  • rub on your knees when you’re riding?
  • IMG_2713look like a hand-me-down after three wearings?

 

I’ve been wearing Kimes jeans for several weeks and am happy to report I’m forming a new jean choice habit.

When I first received two pair of Francesca jeans, made of 100 percent North Carolina cotton, I was skeptical. They felt less rugged than my usual jeans. Crafted with a dark indigo rinse denim, they looked like the kind of spiffy dress jean that doesn’t hold up to ranch work.

So, I put them to the test.

  • I wore them while trimming four horses’ feet without the use of a hoof stand (Four horses over two days, not four individual hooves!). They were super comfortable for the task, did not require hitching up every time I stood up, and easily withstood the wear.
  • I rode and walked and hiked. They fit brilliantly under leggings and never rubbed my inner legs, even during a hot, four-hour ride with lots of gait changes.
  • I wore a fresh pair to dinner in town. They looked nearly as dressy as a pair of black slacks.

Kimes designed the Francesca simply and with quality. The back pockets do not have two pounds of glitter-thread and rhinestone, just the classy, stitched Longhorn logo. Check out the Francesca jean here.

IMG_2674The seams, labels, and branding have comfort in mind: seams lie flat and thin. Labels are either embroidered or ink-stamped so you won’t need to cut out that scratchy, nagging label flap.

I asked Amanda Kimes to name her top three features that make the Francesca a great riding jean.

“The rise. It’s not too high, not too low. The denim is the perfect weight for hot summers. And the wash. The dark denim looks cleaner longer.”

Agreed.

Next week, we review Kimes’ Betty jeans.

Sign up to be a Remuda Reader and you’re automatically qualified to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and a pair of Ariat boots. Total value, $400. Sign up here.

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