Map of “Must Know” Equine Locations in South Jersey

Hey guys, I have put together a map of the places I like to go or have been that I think are important to know as a horse owner, or I like. When you click on the map, be sure to click on each individual point for a more detailed description.

The Gloucester County Dream Park is on the map because, for those of you following along, this is where the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition will be held August 2-4, 2013. You are welcome to come out and show your support! Also, the horses trained over these 100 days are auctioned off on the last day to promote the breed and The Mustang Heritage Foundation.

I wanted to put Shadow Equestrian on the map for any of you that would like to visit, or more importantly, volunteer. If you listened to my interview with President Kay Drissel, you heard her say “volunteers are the backbone of what goes on” there at Shadow.

If anyone has a horse, or horses, or are thinking about getting into riding, you will need to hit the best tack shops around. On the map, you will find three- KC Stables Tack & Supply, Lisa’s Tack Shack, and Circle 40 Tack. KC is a great place to go if you have a lot of questions, Lisa’s is best for tack with bling, and Circle 40 is best when you’re looking for things no one else has. Another place to go is Garoppo’s. They have a large selection of feed, and I sometimes find good barn supplies there.

I put Liberty Bell Farm on the map because without that place, I wouldn’t have the riding experience I do. It’s special to me. I have also mentioned it in a previous post because that is where Rowan University’s Equestrian Team rides. If you are looking to take lessons, visit Liberty Bell Farm and see if you like it there.They also have a really fun summer camp program if you know of any kids that are interested!

Don’t be shy! Let me know if you have any questions or would like more information. Thanks everyone.


Home Safe and Sound, Still No Name


Yesterday was such a long day! I got my mustang; She’s a five year-old, chestnut mare. Unfortunately, she still doesn’t have a name. I’m hoping she will do something and it will just come to me. When I arrived, I had to sign a few papers for the BLM. I was then given a folder with the horse’s record of shots. I was handed a yellow slip with the numbers “9919,” my name, and “chestnut” on it. Then I was allowed to search the pens for my new partner in this adventure. She was in a pen with another horse who seemed to be the bossy one. My mustang was curious and sweet from the start. Thankfully, we didn’t hit any traffic on our journey. We drove three hours to Virginia, five hours to central New Jersey to drop off another mustang, and then two hours home. It seems like a lot of riding in the truck, but it wasn’t all that bad because I could look back and see my new friend standing patiently in the trailer. Here are two pictures I took in Virginia while she was still in the holding pen. Any name ideas yet?

Horses and People Working Together at Shadow Equestrian

Kay Drissel is the President of Shadow Equestrian, a therapeutic riding facility, located in Monroeville, New Jersey. Here, SHADOW stands for “Special Horses And Disabled Overcome Weakness.” Therapeutic riding is working with disabled people (in Kay’s case, children) to help cope or even heal a mental, physical, or emotional disability by working with horses to perform activities and play games. In this interview, Kay talks about how she got involved with therapeutic riding and how things work at Shadow Equestrian.


Kay & her noble friend, Snickers.

Springing Forward


Capri checking out the goodies in her Easter basket

Hay everyone, Happy Easter from Capri and I!

I know I haven’t posted in a while, so first thing’s first; TGIS (thank goodness it’s Spring!) This post is just to let everyone know what I am thinking and working on the next month. As you all know, I will be picking up my mustang for the Extreme Mustang Makeover this Saturday, April 6th, so make sure you check back Saturday evening for photos and thoughts on names!

Also this week, I will be posting an audio Q&A with Kay Drissel from Shadow Equestrian, a therapeutic riding facility in Monroeville, New Jersey. In addition to my posts once a week, I will try my best to keep everyone up to date with the progress I am making or hope to make with my mustang.

Another thing to look out for is my video post. My idea for the video is a hands on demonstration using my horse, Capri. The video topic (as of now) is skeletal and muscular anatomy of horses. It should be fun and interesting because I will actually paint it on her. If anyone has any other fun ideas, leave them here and I’ll try my best. Stick around!

A “Bit” About Rowan University’s Equestrian Team

Rowan University is located in Glassboro, New Jersey. If you have seen Glassboro, you wouldn’t exactly call that horse country. Numerous students at Rowan share their passions for horses through Rowan University’s Equestrian Team.

The team meets for lessons on Fridays at Liberty Bell Farm, which is located in Elmer, New Jersey and run by Denise Bell. I actually got into horses and took lessons there for years. It’s funny how small this world actually is. From campus, it is about a 15 minute drive. The team also meets to complete service projects such as, bake sales, volunteering at horse shows and making canned food donations.

Also, I’ve done a brief question and answer with Rowan Equestrian Team’s president, Sarah Gemmell! Above is a photo of the team’s logo, designed by Sarah. Please, it is only used for Rowan University Equestrian’s Team.

Q. What is your favorite part about being the president of Rowan’s Equestrian Team?
A. My favorite part of being president is getting to know everyone and working with each person to fit their needs. I am learning a lot about myself and other people through this process. Also, I think the experience of leadership will continue to benefit me for the team’s sake and even outside the team.

Q. How long have you been around/familiar with horses?
A. I have been around horses my whole life (20 yrs) and been riding for about 17 of those years.

Q. How many horses do you have? Where is/are they kept at home? What’s is/are their name(s)?
A. I only have one horse, Missy. She is not kept on my property. I pay to board her in Franklinville while I am at school. Otherwise, I keep her at my Aunt’s farm in Doylestown, PA when I go home for long breaks (i.e. summer break).

Q. What’s your favorite type of riding and why?
A. I absolutely love barrel racing. I like the adrenaline rush, and I love the fact that is all about fun. Also, it is way more casual than most English disciplines.

Q. What advice would you give to a younger person interested in riding and showing?
A.The advice that I would give someone interested in riding and showing is start small and work your way up. The only way you can get into the horse world is by jumping in with both feet. You have to go to a farm that is around you and see what they have to offer. Take a few lessons in every discipline and figure out what you like best, and never stop absorbing information. In my eyes, the greatest horseman is never done learning. Take any chance you can to pick someone else’s brain for what they know about horses. The people who think they know it all are the ones that do not make it very far.

My Search for the Wild Ponies on Chincoteague Island

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For an adventure, I thought it would be fun to travel to Cincoteague Island, Virginia to see the wild ponies. Knowing it was a four-hour drive, I called the day before to guarantee I would be able to see the ponies. I guess the lady over the phone had a different idea in mind than I did because I expected to see them up close. There were to places called “Pony Overlooks” and as you can see, the first was a bust. I parked my truck and walked about a mile on a trail through the woods, hoping I’d see more ponies. It turns out, the trail came to a large deck that overlooked the fielded area where the first ponies could be spotted, except now I was on the side of them- still not much closer.

Disappointed, I moseyed around the island some more. I found the park ranger and asked, “Do you know what happened to all of the ponies?” He smiled. I didn’t catch his name but he said as a result of Hurricane Sandy, a lot of gates were damaged, so most of the ponies have been moved up the island.” He could tell I had a disappointed expression on my face. “Do you like to walk?” he asked, and at the time, I knew exactly where this was going.

I walked a little more than halfway up a seven and a half mile service road to find more ponies, just as far away. The walk took about three and a half hours. (Good thing I wore my sneakers) Now extremely let down, I decided to check the first place I spotted the ponies again, just in case. Off to the distance, on the other side of the road, I could see cars parked. At this point, I didn’t care if they were looking at ducks, so I drove over there.

This part of the refuge happened to be “The Loop.” (The service road actually goes off the loop in one direction) The loop is about three miles all the way around. After 3 o’clock, visitors are allowed to drive The Loop.

Jackpot! There were the ponies standing right on the side of the road. Of course, I could have patiently waited until 3 o’clock and saved myself three and a half hours of walking, but where’s the fun in that right?

The moral of this adventure: Hard walking pays off; don’t give up when your feet hurt.

Extreme Mustang Makeover Here I Come!

Great news everybody! I was accepted to be a trainer in this year’s Extreme Mustang Makeover taking place at the Dream Park. I am so excited. My next step is to return the trainer’s acceptance packet and have to search for a sturdy round pen or build one.

I think the days to actually pick up the mustangs are April 5th and 6th, but I’ll keep you posted. Also, I think I read somewhere that everyone gets a gelding (male) mustang to train… but don’t quote me. Okay so I figured it out, every competition has all one gender, meaning some everyone has a gelding (boy) or mare (girl). It just so happens this competition will be mares.

I think the most fun part of this competition will be getting another horse and spending time with it everyday. The hardest part will definitely be all of the patience I’m going to need, not only with the mustang (no name yet). Also, I work and attend school full-time so I’ll have to learn to juggle.

This is where I need your help. I have a lot to do in the next month so hopefully you can help me. Does anyone have any cute names to suggest? Please comment below by clicking on the title of the post. For example, to comment on this post, click “Extreme Mustang Makeover Here I Come!” If I have enough options, I will make a poll at the end for everyone to vote! Did I mention I am super excited?  Thanks everyone.

Straight From 2011’s Youth World Champ

This week, I’ve done a Q&A with Johnryon Foster, a young roper who grew up in Pennsylvania. Johnryon is 2011’s  Youth World Champion. He has plenty of experience, both roping and with horses because both of his parents are familiar with showing horses. In this Q&A, he talks about his passion as a team roper. Below is a picture of Johnryon with his horse named Bevo.


Q: How long have you been roping/riding?

A: I’ve been swinging a rope since I could walk but I started roping live cattle off a horse when I was… I think 11 or 12. I’m 16 now.

Q: How many horses do you have and what are their names?

A: I have 5 horses. I have a sorrel 11-year-old mare named Rockstar, a sorrel 10-year-old mare named Suntan, a bay 5-year-old gelding named Bevo, a buckskin 25-year-old gelding named Tuck and a grey 13-year-old gelding named Casper.

Q:  About how many shows or team roping competitions have you gone to?

A:  I’m not sure how many team roping competitions and shows I’ve gone to but I try to practice everyday and I go to a roping at least 2 or 3 times a month, sometimes more.

Q. What’s the hardest part about being a roper?

A: The hardest part is maintaining your horses and keeping them working good, if your horses don’t work good your chances of winning are much less.

Q. What’s your favorite part?

A: My favorite part is always winning but it’s also great to be able to compete against people that are better than me.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be good at roping?

A: If you want to be good at it you have to practice hard all the time and always keep trying to make your self better. The more you go to team roping competitions the better you get even if you are not doing good you just have to keep going because eventually it will go your way!

A Horse’s Pedicure

Caring for your horse is one thing but maintaining healthy hooves is another story.

In case you are new to horses; horses need their feet (hooves) trimmed or shod by a farrier every four to six weeks in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter the job is postponed a little longer; about six to eight weeks. This is because horses’ hooves actually grow slower in the winter.

What’s a hoof and why does it need care? Think of horse hooves like your fingernails. If hooves grew out long, they would expand and become very wide, increasing the chance of the horse’s hoof splitting.

Horse hooves may also become dry in the summer because of the weather. Hoof dressing is a great solution.

A horse’s feet should be picked out just about everyday and definitely before every ride. Horses have two grooves on the bottom of their hoof where, throughout the day, rocks and dirt can get wedged and packed in there.

Between the grooves lies a triangular-shaped bump. This is called the frog. The frog serves as a shock absorber for the horse that can be very sensitive.

Tyler Miller, a farrier in Pennsylvania, added, “The frog is also a very important part of the circulatory system. It helps push blood back up the leg to the heart.”

Most horses require horseshoes. One reason a horse might need shoes is because of bad confirmation. Confirmation is the physical features about the horse, such as, which way the horse’s toes point. Shoes can help correct these blemishes. Also, horses ridden a lot barefoot (without shoes) will eventually wear down their hooves until it becomes lame. The term “lame” means sore, not uncool. Another reason most horses have shoes may be because they live in a rocky area. Rocks can actually bruise the sole of the hoof. The sole of the hoof is the bottom part that is flat and smooth.

What does it take to become a farrier? A farrier is someone who specializes in caring for horse hooves. Farriers-to-be attend horse shoeing school or work with an experienced farrier as an apprentice.

Tommy Lanzalotti, a young local farrier, says, “What made me wanna start shoeing is that I really enjoyed riding and working with horses so I figured being a farrier would be a good job for me.” Tommy ran a shoeing business on his own. It involves scheduling clients, driving back and forth to locations, and a long days work almost everyday. Tommy used the words “interesting, rewarding and time-consuming” to describe his unique self-employed experience.


Something to Look Forward To!

Hey guys, so over the next few weeks I will try and do an article- I’m thinking horse hooves. This will probably include some shoeing, anatomy, diseases and care. After that I will be posting a Q&A with either a stock contractor/couple who owns a rodeo business or a cutting horse trainer who goes to big shows like the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Also, I am thinking about creating a photo album type post of an area with wild horses… It’s a little bit of a drive but I think it will be a beautiful experience! I don’t want to tell you where because I think it will be a fun surprise. Keep checking back to find out!