Darn Tough is horse-gal friendly

When I was a kid, wool socks were those thick, bulky things you wore in the winter. You wore them skiing. You wore them to and from pond skating. You wore them underneath your thick, bulky boots while shoveling snow.

All so yesterday. All so lumberjack.

darn toughWool socks are now worn all day, every day. And thanks to Darn Tough, an American company based in Northfield, Vermont, today’s socks are versatile, stylish, and particularly female-friendly. We loved them so much, they were featured at our Equine Affaire booth.

Darn Tough might be the perfect horse gals’ sock: they can be sassy or straight-laced. They work brilliantly with tall English boots or cowboy boots, which means there will be no yanking off boots to hoist up slouching socks. Nor will you be kicking off your boots because your feet are roasting, sweaty, or frozen with cold sweat. Read this review.

I visited with the Darn Tough at the Outdoor Retailer. They are decidedly one of those companies not ignoring this vast, fantastic community of horse owners.

I tried the new Wandering Stripe Micro Crew  in grey, yellow and lavender. While only reaching to low-calf, it nonetheless stayed put during an entire day in boots. Here in the mountains (7,000 feet elevation), days start in IMG_3469the 40s and can swell to 90 degrees or so. That means the Darn Toughs do double duty: keeping my feet warm, then keeping them cool. When I finally kicked off my boots around 8 pm, the Darn Toughs did double duty again: I scuffed around shoeless for an hour before taking them off.

That was when the trouble began. It seems I’m not the only one in love with these socks. The new puppy, Monty, thought they were pretty great, too.

Win Custom Leggings from Fringe!

Fall is an exciting time of year for us riders. Bugs are at bay yet it’s still mild enough to enjoy long stretches on horseback. We’re likely in the best shape of the year and so are our horses. Hunting season and winter months are on the horizon, so we squeeze in those rides with extra enthusiasm and purpose.

This month, it’s also an exciting time for our readers. During September, one lucky Remuda Reader will receive a free pair of leggings from Fringe Leatherwork. Kathy Threlfall is a talented Canadian leather worker, saddlemaker, and rider. Read more about her here.

When you subscribe to Remuda Readers, you’ll automatically qualify to win this $350 value. You may order custom chinks, chaps, or armitas. Typical leggings cost $350. Additional costs may apply depending on your selection of style and tooling.

This offer is only good for the first 20 new Remuda Readers. Enter now!

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A Rider’s Reader now in Maria’s Bookshop

A Rider’s Reader: Exploring Horse Sense, Science & Sentiment is now available at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, Colorado!

marias-logo-webMaria’s book buyer, Jeanne Costello, happily took on the well-reviewed paperback this month.

“We love being able to showcase the published authors in our midst,” said Costello. “One of the most important roles we play as a community book store is to alert those who live here to the rich and varied community of writers who are our neighbors.”

Look for A Rider’s Reader on the New Release shelves. The placement is timely and welcome as Butcher will host a storytelling hour at the upcoming Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering on October 1. Check out the schedule here.

247-thickbox_defaultThe book is a grab bag of personal experiences, interviews with renowned horsemen, equine research reviews, and how-to topics. It’s been well-reviewed by scores of readers. Check out reviews here.

A Rider’s Reader has garnered an average of 5 Star reviews on Amazon.

If you’re in Maine, enjoy strolling historic Brunswick and buy A Rider’s Reader at the Gulf of Maine bookstore on Maine Street.

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.

The Clothes Horse Debut: Texas Cowboy

Welcome to the Clothes Horse!

It’s  our new, regular feature with posts by fashion-conscious riders. Here, we discuss the decisions, merits, and enthusiasms behind riders’ wardrobe choices.

It’s not common knowledge, but aside from being an accomplished neuropsychologist and author, Dr. Steve Peters is a heckuva clothes horse. He’s mighty particular about his riding outfits.

Everything has to be just so.

In the morning, he doesn’t so much as get dressed as he creates an ensemble.

For the debut of the Clothes Horse, Peters is decked out in Texas-influenced gear.
Got a Clothes Horse idea? Contact us!

He describes the details:

The taco-type hat (although they would never refer to it as such) is folded up at the sides and commonly worn by Texas cow punchers. In the old days, they would not have worn a straw hat. Straw sombreros would have been worn in Mexico but cowboys felt they were for peasants.

I never ride in a short-sleeved shirt. Never have. Texas cowboys would button up a long-sleeved, wool shirt all the way up to the neck. The shirts had no collars or pockets.  Vests provided the pockets.

Scarves were usually tied with a square knot.  I am wearing a scarf slide made from a cactus plant. Scarves were usually red in color. Most shopkeepers carried red. I guess they didn’t have many orders for teal or periwinkle.

In the old days, pants were usually made of wool and dyed black, grey or brown. Then Levi Strauss patented his denims.  Believe it or not, they were not initially a hit with cowpokes. They felt denim overalls were for farmers. In ode to the old wool black trousers, I wear black jeans with boots tucked in.

I am wearing Batwing chaps (pronounced schaps from the Spanish word, chaparreras. Chaparro means a dense thicket of shrubs. Our “chaps” protect us from chaparros. Unlike shot gun chaps (also called stove pipe chaps), the Texas batwing chaps are cut wide and flare at the bottom. They are loose-fitting, providing more air circulation and freedom of movement.  I learned why Texas cowboys want full coverage when I was riding amongst cactus in Mexico and got a cactus spine stuck in my shinbone between my boot top and chinks.

The spurs have upright buttons and a “buck hook.” Some say it’s for keeping the chaps up off your rowel. Others say it’s meant to hook into the cinch of a bucking horse to help one adhere.

The spurs also have jingle bobs which have provided a tingling melody to many lonesome drovers and to their horses.

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