Equine Benefits – Calabasas Saddlery – SALE
Feb01

Equine Benefits – Calabasas Saddlery – SALE

The Annual Calabasas Saddlery Sale is on! Julie and her excellent staff did inventory yesterday, getting ready for today and the weekend! Be sure to check out all the great stuff with savings galore! Nothing like being able to try on helmets, boots and half chaps and much more to get the ideal fit. All the hallmark of their great personal service!   ...

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Equine Benefits – Its All About the Socks!
Jan20

Equine Benefits – Its All About the Socks!

As weather gets cooler, we look for all the ways to stay warm while we ride. There are some accessories we can’t do without  – like socks! Here are a few of our favorites which can be purchased at Calabasas Saddlery and Malibu Feed Bin. Kerrits – Kerrits socks are the best . The wear well, are super stylish and functionable. Love these Bamboo socks by Joules. Cute Designs and the short socks are just enough to keep feet warm in an insulated, waterproof boot.  These “Footies” by Noble outfitters make for a great paring with  fleece breeches and insulated riding boots. Perfect when you don’t want a thick sock.  Happy...

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Equine Benefits- Gifts for the Equestrian in your life
Dec18

Equine Benefits- Gifts for the Equestrian in your life

 Can never get enough chocolate around the holidays? Well,   Harbor Sweets and the Calabasas Saddlery can solve that problem. Not only is the chocolate first rate but almost always comes in a beautiful box. So even if the chocolate disappears the box endures. In need of a good read? Author Linda Ballou put together some of her favorites: Also, look for Linda’s books on audio. Perfect for those long hauls and you want to keep in touch with your horsey roots. As we are now having cooler weather, nothing works better than layers. Our favorite this season has been the Joules’ line. These coats are not only beautiful, but they are waterproof! We use them as a great insulator over t-shirts and sweatshirts. The caps are great too! The Joules line is used by a lot of equestrians and these particular styles can be special ordered by Calabasas Saddlery. Happy Horsing! Alice  ...

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Equine Benefits: Linda Ballou hits the trails in Ecuador
Nov13

Equine Benefits: Linda Ballou hits the trails in Ecuador

World travel author and equestrian Linda Ballou shares her most recent riding adventure in Ecuador. Finding the Real Gold in Ecuador  “Have you ever dreamed of galloping across the top of the world beneath the bluest of skies plumped with billowing clouds? Imagine green and gold spires poking through those clouds and a wild wind whipping your spirits as you canter- on with a racing heart. Now, breathe in crystalline air as you fall in sync with the rhythm of your horse’s hoof beat and let your mind go sailing. Thanks to Sally Vergette, this ride is waiting for you in the northern highlands of the Andes in Ecuador. Possessed of sparkling energy and deep love for the horses she provides, Sally loves sharing the less-traveled “paremo”-the unique Andean grasslands of the high country. The journey from hacienda to hacienda along the slopes of sacred Umbabura Volcano begins in the Otavalo valley, one the last strongholds of indigenous peoples famous for their weaving skills. Our group of nine equestriennes stopped at the Otavalo Marketplace where we bargained for ponchos and scarves for the ride. The scent of pigs roasting and the colorful displays of handcrafted goods, not to mention bargain prices, made for an exciting bizarre. We spent the first night at Hacienda Pensaqui, an oasis nestled among humble villages. There we enjoyed a delicious meal and local Andean musicians. Chamber maids lit warming fires in our rooms, turned down our comfy beds, and slipped a hot water bottle between the sheets for good measure. In 1540 Spanish conquistadors came to this land of extremes in search of gold. With just 2,000 soldiers they conquered the Incas and native tribes living in the tranquil valleys framed by majestic volcanic peaks. The conquerors were granted huge plots of land by the Spanish crown. Lavish haciendas with elaborate gardens, elegant furnishings, paintings, sculptures and murals sprang up across the land. After 300 years of tyrannical rule, the Spanish were ousted and Ecuador claimed its independence. Today these haciendas are being restored and serve as gracious quarters for travelers. Our first day of riding began on narrow track overlooking a gulch lined with eucalyptus trees. We climbed ever higher until the bustle of the villages fell away and we could see Lake Pablo glistening in the distance. Soon we were greeted by Santiago and his charming wife at their ranch overlooking the valley far below. We arrived 45 minutes after their mare had given birth to a foal who was struggling to take his first steps. Santiago led our band of merry ladies up still higher on a track he had cleared...

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Gillian Larson – Taking the Long Way Home
Oct08

Gillian Larson – Taking the Long Way Home

Gillian Larson – Taking the Long Way Home By Author Linda Ballou John Muir said it best. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. Gillian Larson is a dynamic young Californian who has fallen in love with the ethereal beauty of the mountains. Foregoing a professional career teaching animal science for the moment, she is set on doing long-distance equestrian rides. In 2014 at the age of 22 she became the first woman to ride solo the 2,660 mile Pacific Crest Trail from the international borders of Mexico to Canada. Two years later, she rode the trail again to gain more knowledge for the guidebook for equestrians she plans to write. Obstacles on the trail include snowdrifts, downed trees, trails eroded from avalanches, bone-chilling temperatures, acclimatizing to altitude, landslides, and rattle snakes. But, the greatest concern for Gillian was providing enough nourishing feed and water for her two horses. These challenges were met with a pragmatic and well-thought out approach that she shared in her talk at Malibu Creek State park hosted by Equestrian Trails International Corral 36. The first 700 miles of the trip from Mexico to Kennedy Meadows is on a narrow track tracing a ridge overlooking Anza Borrego desert. Water is the main concern. On this stretch of the ride a pack horse carried extra water and supplies and her mother waited for her with supplies at designated fueling stops along the way. In this same region, she stepped off her horse more than once to move rattlers off the trail with a stick. Yikes—no kidding! When she reached the High Sierra where the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest are the same for 211 miles, snow drifts were a major challenge. I was especially interested in how she handled this part of her trek as I had taken a horse pack trip into “The Range of Light” that inspired sections of my novel The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon. I suffered from altitude sickness, and temps that dropped into the 20s at night in this celestial region where spires poke 13,500 feet into azure skies. Gillian said altitude had little impact on her or her horses as it is a gradual climb from the floor of Owen’s Valley outside of Bishop. Plus, she gave her horses day lay-overs along the way. After 1,700 miles, she left California and entered Oregon where she met fickle weather and more snow. She dropped the...

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Wild Horses Roaming Free – By Linda Ballou
Sep22

Wild Horses Roaming Free – By Linda Ballou

Wild Horses Roaming Free By Linda Ballou Photos by Tony Stromberg To see wild horses roaming free across the rolling green hills of California makes my heart sing. There is a long-standing battle taking place to save the herds of wild horses emblematic of the American west from the slaughterhouse. Presently, fifty thousand horses are being held in Bureau of land Management holding pens awaiting their futures. Sadly, they will most likely be destroyed if an answer to their dilemma does not come soon. The Return to Freedom organization with two central California locations, one in Lompoc and one on a 300-acre ranch in San Luis Obispo give safe harbor to 400 wild horses. You can see from this video that they have a good life, are fit and roaming free in this bucolic setting. The plight of the wild mustangs in America is not new. The cattlemen want the rangeland owned by the government for their stock. The Bureau of Land Management contend that the wild herds are over-grazing federal lands and must be culled. They continue to use helicopters to round up thousands of horses each year. Only 32,000 wild horses out of the 2 million that once roamed the west remain. Meanwhile, the battle in congress to pass a bill that would protect the herds and provide a budget to handle the situation humanely continues. Return to Freedom is a non-profit organization provides some fun and informative ways for you to support the cause. They offer a docent guided walking tour of the sanctuary with some time for quiet observation of the herd. You will meet some of the mustangs that live there and learn about the horses as a native species with its origins in American history. They also offer a photo safari on the San Luis Obispo property On 2,000 acres of horse heaven in Central Coastal California, 70 wild horses and 16 burros roam free. Safaris last 3 hours and can be scheduled for early morning or late afternoon. Picnic basket with healthy snacks and light meal provided – end your Photo Safari with a pre-arranged picnic lunch or dinner in the hills with mountain top views to the sea! On the Return to Freedom site under “Issues” tab you can sign a petition to let your representatives know that you care about the future of the wild herds, or you can simply donate funds to this very worthy cause. Visit the www.returntofreedom for more information. Photo Credit: Tony Stromberg Linda Ballou is the author of The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon available on Amazon and her site www.LindaBallouAuthor.com Audio Book coming soon! Editor’s note: Linda is a...

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