The Great Trail Rider’s Giveaway

What better way to kick off riding season than with a slew of excellent, trail riding giveaways? Check out $1,000 worth of prizes.

SPOT16_1920_1280_Gen3Giveaway(1) copyWe partnered with SPOT to offer the SPOT Gen 3 device with a year’s satellite tracking and messaging subscription service FREE. It’s a $450 value. Congrats to Robert from Wyoming, our lucky winner. The giveaway was exclusively for NickerNews and BestHorsePractices readers.

Read review of SPOT here.

We gave away an All Around Western pad from 5 Star Equine Products. Congratulations to Laurie from Rhode Island. Research continues to support the notion that all-wool saddle pads are best for your horse. The mustangs of Unbranded traveled 3,000 miles with 5 Star pads and without saddle sores. How’s that for a testimonial? The pad retails for $200 and is Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.42.51 PMmade in Hatfield, Arkansas.

The folks at Knotty Girlz are giving away a rope halter and 12-foot lead line to one lucky winner. Congrats to Michelle from California. Read more about Knotty Girlz here. The set retails for $70.

Looking for the perfect slow-feeder? The Hay Pillow is ideal for trailering as well as feeding at home in the paddock. Jennifer from Maine won the Standard Hay Pillow. Retails for $60.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.45.27 PMHitting the trails with your favorite canine? Win a free Kurgo bench seat cover. The fit is universal. It’s waterproof and machine washable. Retails for $70. Congrats to Amanda!


Richardson’s first ride (again) is an inspiration (again)

If you’re dwelling on the downside of your day, your year, your life, I have one name for you to consider: Michael Richardson.

12909511_1152108498155682_3952373975956115282_o Recently, the 49-year old horseman got up in the saddle for the first time in seven years.

I first met and reported on Richardson four years ago at the Alberta Horse Breeder’s and Owner’s Conference in Red Deer. Richardson, who has a deep voice, broad shoulders, and a handsome face, spoke to large audiences and coached riders from his wheelchair.

At Broken R Ranch in Hico, Texas, “Michael’s goal is to build a rapport with the horse and human rather than use aids for domination, control, manipulation, or submission.  He shows us how we succeed through releasing, through observing, and enjoying the journey, rather than being preoccupied by the destination,” according to his website.

Work on the seat design

Work on the seat design

Richardson was paralyzed after a car accident in Montana three decades ago. In 1998, he was bitten on the buttocks by a Brown Recluse Spider, resulting in severe atrophy and skin deterioration, issues that continue to trouble him. In 2006, he was in another car accident that crushed a vertebra.

  • He’s had 12 surgeries after the spider bite.
  • He’s got 28 screws along the length of his spine (from T1 to L3)
  • There’s no sitting in a regular chair for more than 20 minutes without excruciating pain.

With help from a Colorado-based mobility company, Richardson started using a special cushion made with open-cell foam. “It’s very hard and allows heat, water, and air to move through,” said Richardson. “I can still feel the horse, but not compromise the

In the saddle after 7 years

In the saddle after 7 years

seat bones.”

Those first rides (again) felt as close to riding as an able-bodied person in 30 years, he said. “Pure jubilation. I was overwhelmed with emotion. To feel the horse like that again. It was worth all the wait, recovery, time, frustration.”

In a facebook video, we see Richardson move quietly and seemingly effortlessly. The horse is collected and relaxed.

Aside from the special seat, Richardson rides strapped in with elastic and ripcord. If ever he were to have an emergency, he and the saddle would come off the horse. Before the spider bite issues, he’d ridden some 5,000 times in the special saddle. He’s had to self-eject (so to speak), just twice, he said.

Increasingly, Richardson is working with veterans and faith-based initiatives. He hopes the saddle seat development work will help paralyzed veterans get up in the saddle.

His attitude, as I found years ago in Alberta, remains as light and positive as the piaffe he managed with his horse:

“I’m incredibly blessed. I’m starting over the fourth time in my life. How many people have that opportunity?”

Read about Maine’s Carlisle Academy, which offers para-dressage and more.

Welcome Nelson Waterers

nelsonWe welcome Nelson Manufacturing from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to our family of advertisers!

The small company, famous for its horse waterers, has been a favorite of NickerNews and BestHorsePractices readers for years. Read this mid-winter testimonial from Kelly in Maine.

Nelson is a family-owned Iowa business, founded in 1949 and now run by Mark McKinstry. His challenge, he said, is to “continue to innovate and keep the standards high.”Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 11.46.40 AM

You’ll see Nelson waterers ubiquitously wherever very valuable animals reside: zoos, reserves, and sanctuaries. Giraffes love them. So do bison, cattle, dogs, and goats. But they’re equally common on horse farms, stables and ranches where they take the back ache out of keeping our equines healthy and happy.

Check out Nelson options here and tell ‘em NickerNews and BestHorsePractices sent you!

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