Of Presidents and Horses

Tomorrow is President’s Day! Many of our past Presidents kept pets at the White House. Dogs like: Checkers Nixon, Bo Obama, and Feller Truman. Cats like: Socks Clinton, Nip, Tuck and Snowflake Coolidge.  Many of our countries illustrious  leaders were also phenomenal horsemen. Whether family pets, or trusted steeds who bravely carried them into  battle, our presidents cherished and cared for their horses with the highest standard! Here is a glimpse at a few:

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Painting of President George Washington and Blueskin by Rembrandt Peale.

George Washington, our first president, was an avid foxhunter who spent many hours a day in the saddle. Thomas Jefferson spoke of President Washington as being “the best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback.” Of the five stallions Washington owned, the most notable  were Nelson and Blueskin, whom he rode during the American Revolution. Nelson was a 16hh chestnut with lots of chrome. He was President Washington’s preferred mount during war since Nelson would bravely charge into battle as he was less spooky with gunfire and cannons. Can we say “bombproof”! Blueskin received his name from the deep blue grey hue of his coat. He was full of stamina and endurance thanks to his half-Arabian heritage. After the war, both Nelson and Blueskin retired to Mt. Vernon and were spoiled for years to come. Nelson lived to the age of 27.

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Painting of President Jackson and Sam Patch.

Andrew Jackson was passionate about horses from a very early age. He even worked as a saddle maker as a child. Years before he became the 7th U.S. president, President Jackson was a famous owner and breeder of Thoroughbreds in Tennessee. His most prized race horse, Thruxton, had his lineage traced back to the Godolphin Arabian… and even sparked a duel between President Jackson and Charles Dickinson (a famous American attorney at the time – not the 19th century British writer). When he was elected to office, President Jackson, took his horses with him and ran his racing stable out of the White House. His other horses included his favored Sam Patch (pictured above), Lady Nashville, Emilie and Busiris.

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President Ulysses S. Grant’s favorite horses- Egypt, Cincinnati and Jeff Davis.

Our 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant also became obsessed with horses at an early age. President Grant excelled in horsemanship while at West Point and was revered and admired as a talented rider throughout his life. He owned many horses over the course of the American Civil War- some gifted to him, most acquired. Cincinnati, a handsome 17hh Thoroughbred by a famous racing sire, Lexington, was one of President Grant’s favorites. Many of the paintings and statues of President Grant depict him riding Cincinnati.

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President John F. Kennedy with daughter Caroline Kennedy and son John F. Kennedy Jr and the family pony Macaroni.

Just about everyone has seen the sweet pictures of President John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline, and her roany pony, Macaroni. Given as a gift, Macaroni would frequently visit the White House. Although President Kennedy (and John Jr.) were severely allergic to animals, he still encouraged his wife and Caroline to ride. First lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, grew up riding and competing in horse shows on the East Coast. She continued riding and foxhunting well into her years.

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President Ronald Reagan astride El Alamein.

Playing young cowboy roles during his early Hollywood career, Ronald Reagan fell in love with horses. During his term as our 40th President, a special secret service agent was assigned to be President Reagan’s riding partner, it took a while to find someone who could keep up with him! His ranch in California, Rancho del Cielo, became known as the “West Coast White House.” He once told a columnist, “most of my thinking about speeches comes–doing ranch work, not sitting at a desk.” President Reagan had a several favorite horses- Little Man, who had a tragic accident out in pasture, and El Alamein, who was a gift in 1981 from the President of Mexico, José López Portillo.

Five Steps for Emergency Preparedness

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With wildfire season now classified as year round here in Southern California, Mary’s recommends that you be prepared for any and all emergencies — whether you own pets or horses.

  • Along with your regular vaccination schedule, you may want to have your pets and horses micro-chipped if they aren’t already. Micro-chipping can increase the chances of being reunited with your lost companion, should you ever be separated. In most cases, horses can also be freeze branded with a unique identification mark that will be visible to the naked eye, unlike a microchip which must be scanned. Have recent photos of your horse and pets to send to shelters or rescues to help locate them after the emergency if they do become lost or separated from you.

 

  • Always have evacuation plans in place and posted at your barn so everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. Who is in charge of moving the horses? Who is in charge of stocking and hooking up the trailers? Where will the horses be transported? What route will be taken? If Plan A isn’t possible, what is Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, and so forth? Have emergency contact numbers clearly outlined in your plans.

 

  • If you own a horse or livestock trailer, be sure that the trailer has regular safety checks, whether it is used consistently or stored. In the event of an evacuation, you want your trailer to be in safe, reliable condition to transport your animals to safety. Along with safety checks, your trailer should be stocked with plenty of spare halters, lead ropes, hay nets, buckets, water, and Hydration Hay. Mixed with water, hydration hay swells up into generous portions of Grass and Alfalfa hay that will ensure your horse receives some hydration if they’re not drinking water.072016_second_banner_blog

 

  • It’s also a good idea to also keep in your trailer an equine (and human) first aid kit, along with tubes of calming paste and electrolytes, both in powder form to encourage your horse to drink unpalatable water and in paste form if your horse is too stressed to drink water. If you own pets, be sure to have plenty of days’ worth of food and water stored in your vehicle and any medication if needed.

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  • If evacuation isn’t possible, it’s not recommended to keep your horses cooped up in a barn or even in a pen if a fire is dangerously near. Put your contact info, such as your phone number, directly on your horse. You can use a waterproof paint marker on your horse’s hooves or use spray paint or Shapley’s Touch Up Coat Spray on your horse’s coat to leave your phone number so it is visible even at a distance. The key is to use a product that will stay on the horse’s coat. In the event of a dire emergency, it is more important that the contact info stays on your horse until rescue. If – in a worst case scenario you have to release your horses because evacuation is impossible – remove halters from your horse, unless it is specifically designed to breakaway, such as a safety halter, and then set your horses loose. As dangerous as this seems, your horse will have a better chance of surviving the disaster given the freedom to move away from the danger.

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You can find all the products needed to keep you prepared at Mary’s Tack & Feed in Del Mar, CA. Or visit us online at www.marystack.com or call Toll Free 1-800-551-MARY.

 

Grand Prix Hunt Coat Fitting Night March 19

Since Grand Prix hunt coats have so many variations, Mary’s is hosting a “Wine and Cheese, Hunt Coats Please” VIP evening March 19 from 6-8pm. Krista, from Grand Prix, is flying in from the East coast, and will provide expert fitting assistance, plus swatches and examples of custom piping and collars.

“We have a good stock of tech fabric Grand Prix hunt coats,” said Mary’s English Apparel buyer Robin Wicker. “But many times our customers want that extra customization such as a different base color of coat (like hunter green, brown, French blue or grey) with contrasting microsuede collars and piping. This event will enable them to order exactly what they want to have their own individual look in the show ring.”

Several styles, including the Riley, Quinn and Tech Lite, will be available to try on and customize. AND, for every GP custom hunt coat purchased, the customer will receive a Mary’s Gift Card equivalent to 15% of the purchase price. The gift card can be used on other items within Mary’s.

“Wine and Cheese and Hunt Coats Please “ is free, but you must RSVP. The event is March 19, Wednesday evening from 6-8pm. Mary’s Sales associates will also be in attendance to answer any questions you may have about not only hunt coats, but anything else within Mary’s that interests you.

RSVP to 858-755-2015.

Four Great Ideas for Mother’s Day!

Our English Apparel and Sportswear Buyer put together a few ideas for this upcoming Mother’s Day…

No one argues that helmets are always indispensable protection for the head,

Charles Owen SP8 Riding Helmet

The SP8 features industry leading safety standards, and a slightly wider brim for sun protection.

but the Charles Owen SP8 Helmet has not only high quality Charles Owen design and safety, it also offers cool ventilation and a wider brim for extra sun protection. 

Joules has never failed to deliver fun sportswear each season, and this year the Joules Cheeky Sleeveless Polo Shirt is no exception. Pairs perfectly with jean shorts and flp flops for casual days, but of course also tucks nicely into breeches for a polished summertime schooling outfit.

Hot days need the Essex Talent Yarn Short Sleeve Shirt! Made from a truly revolutionary fabric called IceFil, it can actually lower the body’s temperature by as much as 5 degrees! The more you move, the cooler it feels. Collar folds down for a casual look and splash of summertime color.

Romfh has been a staple at Mary’s for years, and now with Laura Romfh working with manufacturer English Riding Supply, we can see some truly original products coming out for our customers. A big hit is the Romfh Sarafina Euroseat Breech, literally taking the horse world by storm. Lightweight, super stretchy and amazingly comfortable. Support in all the right places has customers raving about how cool and easy wear they are.

Romfh Sarafina Breech

Romfh Sarafina Breech

Shopping for mom is always fun – and there are LOTS of great ideas for Mother’s Day at Mary’s. We’ll post a few more on Monday. Happy riding!

Mary’s Tack and Feed

The 7 Best Equestrian Valentine’s Gifts

It seems like New Year’s was just yesterday, but somehow the calendar is telling as that Valentine’s Day is less than a month away.  What?!  It’s true?!

Oh my.

Well, never fear because Mary’s Tack and Feed is here to save the day with the very best in Valentine’s Day gifts for every equestrian on your list.  Shop early then sit back and relax!

Laurel Burch Heart Embracing Horses Scoop Tote

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This scoop tote with iconic Laurel Burch horses in a Heart Embracing pose is done in lovely shades of earthtones with a touch of purple & green for interest. The scoop tote has a cut out area under the handles to allow room for carrying over the shoulder. Zipper top with reinforced bottom. $32.99

Stardust Silver Horse Mirror

stardust horse mirrorStunning silver patina Horse Mirror has horse head at top with flowing silver mane to one side. Design by Marrita who creates lovely horse gifts. Perfect as a mirror but can be a photo frame for 8 X 10 inch photo too. Great gift for the horse lover! 39.99

I’ve fallen in love many times… always with you. ~Author Unknown

Wind II Horse Music Box

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The Wind Horses by Marcia Baldwin are a customer favorite at Mary’s Tack & Feed and this Wind II Horse music box with frame is a certain top choice! The colorful flowing mane & soft white body contrasted against the dark blue & black background makes Wind II a standout in any decor. You can replace the horse artwork with a personal photo! Inside, with a velvety soft lining, there is a place for jewelry or other treasures & a cushioned area for rings. Perfect gift for the horse lover. Plays Nocturne by Chopin. $29.99

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. ~Charles Schulz

Lucky Horseshoe with Rhinestones

lucky horseshoe rhinestoneThese are very blingy, lucky horseshoes and make a lovely gift for barnmates, trainers, weddings, birthdays and more! Each steel horseshoe is painted and inlaid with rhinestones and comes with everything needed to mount – mounting screw and drywall anchor. This lucky horseshoe by Classic Home Decor is made in the U.S.A. by skilled artisans. The folks at Classic Home Decor paint each piece and then hand finish. 19.99

Horse & Flowers Decorative Tile

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Surrounded by pansies and flowers, the beautiful, palomino horse on this hand painted tile stands out against the bright blue sky. In vibrant colors, this decorative, textured tile can be hung on a wall or placed on an easel in any room of the house. We’ve had customers use these as hot plates, part of counter tops, in fireplace facades, fountains and pool areas. The choices are endless! Measuring 11 x 14, this artistic horse tile adds an equine touch to any decor – indoors or out. 42.99

So, fall asleep love, loved by me… for I know love, I am loved by thee. ~ Robert Browning

Horse Whispers “Kisses” Figurine

horse kisses figurineWe just love images of children with kind, gentle, large horses and Kisses Figurine depicts this so well! This small young girl has one of those special guys, a big ol’ draft horse. She’s there to tell him how much he means to her. To let him know how much he gets a kiss on his soft, velvety nose. 45.99

Yoga & Riding DVD

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The first DVD of the Yoga & Riding series combines elements of yoga and riding horses into a program that improves seat and balance for riders of any age, level of experience or discipline. 29.95

Questions or comments?  Need some more tips?  No matter what it is, Mary’s is ready to help you out.  Our savvy buyers love doling out advice on their very favorite topics, so leave us a note in the comments or give us a call at 1.800.551.6279.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

Laurel Burch Designs- the perfect gift!

The enthusiastic response we get each time a new Laurel Burch creation arrives at the store always validates the appeal of this iconic artist! Instantly recognizable by her whimsical creatures, Laurel Burch equestrian gift items are favorites with both the customers and staff at Mary’s Tack and Feed.

Wild Horses of Fire is one of the newer additions to the Laurel Burch gallery of equine totes & scarves. The impressive stature & greatness of the horse, depicted in bold colors with flowing manes and amazing forelocks, is sure to impress the new customer and the avid collector alike. Everyone loves the jewel toned overnight travel bag for quick trips and it’s perfect for a horse show with its set of inside & outside pockets and water-resistant interior.

For Wild Stallions, Ms. Burch must have imagined a band of bachelor stallions, each waiting for the opportunity to break out on his own after capturing the fancy of a mare! This scoop tote makes a great shopping bag as the “scoop” fits comfortably under your arm, freeing your hands to hunt for the key-buy of the day.

And you simply have to take a look at the new Heart Embracing Horses, definitely Marys’  employees’ favorite design . It must be the time of year because the earthy browns & rust with a touch of olive green & plum blends in beautifully with the new autumn leaves alongside our bridle paths. Embellished on front with a twist of gold cord, pyramid studs and beads, this is a Laurel Burch bag to put on your personal wish list!

Laurel Burch fans are devoted & passionate.  Several years ago, while growing our new marystack.com, we proudly placed Rainbow Horses in the gift pages and quickly realized how popular her designs are- almost immediately a new customer found us and commented on the beauty of the new Laurel Burch bag!  Mary’s admires her as artist and designer and proudly stocks Laurel Burch designs.

Mary’s Tack & Feed proudly features Laurel Burch items, including a line of note cards, scarves, luggage tags and more.  Whether you’re new to her work or have been enjoying her collection for years, you’ll love the selection at Mary’s!

Questions or comments?  Need some gift-picking tips?  No matter what it is, Mary’s is ready to help you out.  Our savvy buyers love doling out advice on their very favorite topics, so leave us a note in the comments or give us a call at 1.800.551.6279.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

Bugs Bite

Summer is still here, with its long days and warm nights, beckoning riders out to the barn and into the ring. But along with the fun that the season brings, there’s a little pest that we all have to contend with: flies.

Of all the buggy irritations out there, gnats have to be one of the most maddening. They linger around your horse’s ears, making him toss his head, and making you mumble those choice things under your breath. The Cashel Comfort Ears are a perfect solution in preventing and eliminating such aggravations.

The Cashel Comforts Ears, made of a soft, breathable jersey nylon material, fit over your horse’s ears and under the bridle. The light weight material, the same used in Cashel’s Crusader Fly Masks, allows your horse to move his ears with ease and has a “forelock freedom feature,” as Juls, our Sr. Sales Manager, would describe it.

Or try the Fly Armor Browbands , a new product this year. The browband attaches to each side of your headstall using a Velcro closure and contains two citronella scented strips that slip into perforated pockets. The all-natural repellent strips create an invisible “force field” of protection for your horse against flies. Depending on the heat, Fly Armor can protect from 1 ½ feet (at around 70ºF) to 6 or 7 feet (at 90-100ºF) and will last up to four weeks of continuous use. You can also store the bands in the resealable packaging when you are not using it to increase its longevity. I love using this while trail riding or attaching it to my horse’s halter for turn-out.

If you are thinking of trying an all-natural fly spray, Absorbine’s UltraShield Green fly repellent  is one of the best we have to choose from. Unlike most natural fly sprays, which only contain citronella and cedar oil, UltraShield Green has an entire collection of natural oils that repel insects including clove oil. The clove oil adds a whole new level of incredible protection to this fly spray. It’s been proven to last for up to 8 hours and is even safe to use on your dog! For anyone who has ever felt a natural fly spray just wasn’t strong enough, try the UltraShield Green. It will change your life. Truly.

Those folks at Absorbine have also released a new flyspray: UltraShield Sport (look for the Smurf-blue bottle). UltraShield Sport is sweat-resistant and super long lasting. Use this baby on the hottest, stickiest, most humid of days. It will NOT let you down. UltraShield Sport is not greasy or oily, either. So turn up the heat and throw some dust at me. With Ultrashield Sport in hand, I can take it!

Damage already done? My favorite product for bites (and other kinds of wounds) is Farnam’s TRI-Care Ointment. TRI-Care Ointment helps protect against infection and provides a barrier against germs and flies. It also contains a pain reliever to ease pain and irritation on tender, sensitive skin. This is my go-to product when it comes to summer itch under my horse’s belly.

So whether you’re riding at the break of dawn, at high-noon, or watching the sun set into that western horizon, Mary’s has the spray to keep those flies at bay!