Have Yourself a Very Equestrian Christmas

There is perhaps no look that speaks more of luxury and old world style than that of the equestrian influence – It represents a lifestyle that celebrates and embraces the outdoors, tradition and sport, as well as one of class, elegance and culture. There’s a reason the equestrian look never fades from the public eye – The lines are classic and sturdy, timeless. The look is strongly masculine but with graceful undertones – like the creature itself, strong agile, nimble. The colors, elegance and masculinity that is so often associated with this decor, the deep jewel tones, bronzes, and plaids lend themselves perfectly to Christmas decor. Below, some very simple yet sophisticated ideas for both home and barn.

Images via Jessica Gordon Ryan, HGTV and Polo House

No-Stirrup November Starts Today

We wanted to remind everybody that today is the first day of No-Stirrup November! Drop your stirrups for the whole month! Though it’s OK to work up to that (i.e. start with 10 minutes, gradually work up to a whole ride) and to keep them for shows, lessons, greenies, etc. Just think how toned your legs will be by Thanksgiving!

Stay Strong!


Get it, girls and boys. While hanging ’em up for 30 days isn’t easy, and it sure as heck isn’t fun, it WILL do wonders for your seat, balance and “stickability.”

Here are the challenge guidelines:

  • Kiss your stirrups goodbye.
  • It’s OK and realistic to have exceptions. For example: “I’m giving up my stirrups, but I can keep them for lessons, horse shows, galloping, and jumping over 2’6″.”
  • It’s OK to start small. Not ready to give up your stirrups for a whole ride? Start with five minutes, and as your leg strength and security in the saddle improves, increase your no-stirrups time accordingly.

Misery loves company, you know, so share this post with your riding buddies if you think they’d like to accept the challenge as well!

Who’s in?


The CHJA Medal Finals is coming up on October 5-8, 2017 at The National Western Complex in Denver. We asked a few of the qualifiers WHAT THEY ARE MOST EXCITED FOR? Here’s what they had to say…


Jessica Stone – Ruth Ayres and Dorothy Roberts Medals

Rides with Sarah Watson

“I am most excited about seeing friends and the great competition.”


Kim Marvel Harrison – Dorothy Roberts and Ruth Ayers Medals

Rides with Debbie Bergman

“I’m most excited for the challenge of Medal Finals. It’s a hard place to show and you can’t let the pressure get to you. I had the chance to do it last year after only having Smitten for 5 weeks, so we’ve worked really hard this year to build a strong partnership and grow more consistent. I look forward to the opportunity to compete there again this year and continue to learn and grow together!”


Gianna Lanteri – Dorothy Roberts and Colonel Robertson Medals

Rides with Molly Brame

“I’m really excited to just get in the ring and learn everything I can, as I have never been to Medal Finals. It’s a totally new experience for me and I’m excited to share it with my teammates.”


Katie Glass – CHJA Junior Medal

Rides with Kristin Jacob

‘I’m so excited to be able to go this year! It will be my first year and I have heard it’s an amazing experience.”


Maggie Klau – National Children’s Medal

Rides with Jen Shannon

“I am excited because this is my first time taking my horse to Medals.”


Nicki Eustace – HH Ambassador – Colonel Robertson Medal and CHJA Junior Medal

Rides with Lindsay Lippincott

“I am most excited about getting back in the show ring and seeing some familiar faces that are there every year.”


Katy Zobel – Medium Stirrup Medal

Rides with Elizabeth Rabb

“I’m really excited to ride at the Colosseum.”


Amanda Walsh – Columbine Junior Medal

Rides with Karen Banister

“I’m most excited about showing and the Horsemanship Challenge Quiz.”


Tori Weed – HH Ambassador – Colonel Robertson and Dorothy Roberts Medal

Rides with Karen Banister

“I am most excited about the Horsemanship Challenge and showing how much me and Tyler have improved over the year!”


Kristina McCombie – HH Columnist – Ruth Ayers and CHJA Adult Medals

Rides with Jill Pelzel


“I’m excited to see all my friends, to compete in the Horsemanship Challenge and to jump some fun courses.”


Pixie Alfond – CHJA National Pony Medal & CHJA Pony Medal

Rides with Kindra Warner

“I am excited to see all my friends that I haven’t seen in awhile and to be with my barn.”


Aeden Mooney – Short Stirrup Medal

Rides with Brannon Mooney

“I am most excited about riding and hanging out with my friends.”


Kaitlyn Bennett – Medium Stirrup Medal

Rides with Molly Brame

“I am most excited to watch all the great riders show off their fancy ponies.”


Portya Muenke – Dorothy Roberts Medal

Rides with Kristin Jacobs

“I am most excited to just be at the show! I am excited to meet new people and watch everyone’s amazing horses show. I love to watch other people show! I think it’s really good to see other people choose different options in their courses, then incorporate that into my course.”


Makiah Wentz – Columbine Junior Medal

Rides with Amberlee Wentz & Frances Nix

“I am most excited for the experience, since this is my first medal finals.”


Lauren Brekkas – CHJA Pony Medal

Rides with Shaun Clark

“I’m really excited to show because it’s my first indoor show and it’s also my first finals.”


Photos given to HH by those listed with intent to publish.

PC: Katie Glass & Pixie Alfond courtesy of Quintessence Photography.


You’re Not Alone!

By: Heather Struthers

Coursenesia is a condition that selectively affects hunter and jumper riders and involves disruptions or breakdowns of memory, consciousness, awareness and/or perception. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s general happiness and adversely affect the pleasure they derive from equestrian-related hobbies and/or relationships.

What is Coursenesia?

Coursenesia is a condition in which your brain becomes weak or paralyzed while on riding a hunter or jumper course. It only affects one course at a time and often results in embarrassment and monetary loss (scale of monetary loss is dependent on class fee). Coursenesian can happen to anyone but seems more common in amateurs and perceivably high stakes classes such as Classics and Prixs. Most of the time, the symptoms are only temporary.

What causes it?

Most trainers believe coursenesia is due to either internal or external pressure placed on the competitor that results in temporary brain flatulence. Results can vary from missing a single jump on course, with the most common being the last jump, to confusing the track entirely—with the worst cases involving jumping oxers the wrong direction.

If the bout is fleeting, the class can sometimes be saved with a circle or creative approach to the next fence. But often cases of coursenesia result in a ringing in the ears…of the elimination buzzer. Some psychologists believe there is a parental component. Evidence suggests that residual guilt from performance and financial pressures imposed as a child can increase the risk of coursenesia later in life.

What are the symptoms of Coursenesia?

Symptoms of coursenesia typically come on suddenly. One day you could be the winner of the class and the next day, you’ll be doing the trot of shame back to the in-gate after being politely asked to leave by the announcer.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

There is no test that can tell you definitively if you have coursenesia. In fact, your trainer will usually find out through “diagnosis of exclusion.” This means they determine you have coursenesia after heat exhaustion, concussion, and/or mental illness have been ruled out. Your trainer will try to rule out other conditions like under-preparedness, late-night drinking, or missed course walk. (S)he may also test your vision, hearing, and short-term memory to help make the diagnosis.

Are there any treatments?

The first goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and stem personal embarrassment. There is no medication to treat coursenesia, though alcohol is commonly used following an episode to mixed results.

What is the outlook for people with coursenesia? 

The outlook for people with coursenesia depends on the patience of their trainer. For most people, memory returns with time. In some cases, however, coursenesia develops into a chronic condition. While some sufferers report that they may “die of embarrassment,” no fatalities have been recorded at this time.

Is it possible to prevent coursenesia?

It is possible to prevent coursenesia. Showing up for the course walk early, setting aside dedicated time to memorize the course and regular use of memory training exercises are shown to effectively prevent coursenesia.


Incredible 10 Acre Horse Property with Beautiful Mountain Views Located in Parker, CO

Please Contact Andrew Malkoski 303-902-8209 – andrewmalkoski@remax.net
with any questions or to setup a showing and be sure to tell him you saw the listing on The Hacked Horse.

Little Hoofprints; Big Impacts

Colorado girl Nicole Lyvere talks about her involvement with the Peeps Foundation, a non-profit changing the lives of dwarf mini horses.

By Hacked Horse Contributor Kristina McCombie


While visiting my friend Nikki in FL this winter, I was honored to meet Peeps, a dwarf mini who, along with her friends (and Mad Season, LLC’s trainers), Alex Granato and Josh Dolan, run a foundation dedicated to the rescue, rehab and adoption of other minis. (Read about how the foundation started on their website). Nikki was kind enough to take time out of her busy show schedule (she just completed Derby Finals) to talk to The Hacked Horse about her role with the Foundation.

HH: The foundation started in 2014. When did you realize this was something you wanted to be a part of?  


NL: I first met all of the minis when I went to visit Alex and Josh in Tryon a few months ago. I got to meet Peeps in all her fame and glory, but I fell in love with a particular one named Minnie. She is a brown and white paint dwarf who had recently lost one of her eyes. I took a million pictures with her to show my grandma when I got home, in hopes she would let me get it. When I moved barns, I ended up getting to spend as much time with all the minis as I wanted, everyday, that it is almost like they are all mine.


Overall, seeing all the incredible work the Peeps Foundation has done from simply re-homing so many minis, to helping ones to walk for the first time in their lives, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.

George Morris & Peeps

HH: What is your favorite part of working with the minis?


NL: Getting to play with minis all day, every day; I feel like it is every little (and big) girls dream. Besides the fact that all of them are so incredibly cute and little shrink-a-dink horses, the work that the Peeps Foundation does is incredible. Not only do they re-home minis in need, but also, I am most fascinated by the work that is done with mostly the dwarves that come to us with various problems. So many of them have crooked legs, and if we are able to get them when they are young, we are able to use custom polyurethane shoes to help correct their legs and feet, so eventually they will be able to walk with little difficulties. They have been successful with many different dwarves, from ones who could hardly stand on their own, to them being able to walk almost completely normal, to simpler cases where one foot was just starting to fold over, which would have eventually caused many structural and health problems for that mini.

HH: You have placed a lot of minis, but still have a lot up for adoption. What are the main things people should know before adopting? 


NL: The biggest thing for people to know would be, just because they are small, does not mean they need any less care or maintenance than a horse. So many people will buy them at an exotic animal auction, as a novelty, not having a clue about taking care of a horse, let alone a miniature horse. We have rescued ones who were living on people’s porches and had never seen grass before, to one in particular who lived in the bottom of a monkey cage but sadly we did not get her until it was too late. It was past the prime time to be able to correct her legs, and is now severely crippled. Although, we were able to help her walk somewhat better. Believe it or not she is probably one of the sassiest miniature horses out there, and does not let her disabilities slow her down. She still will bully the other dwarfs for food and tries to run and buck to the best of her abilities after she has been in her stall for a while. With all that being said, they still need proper feed, living environments, to be wormed, teeth floated, i.e. all of the same care as any other sized horse would need.


HH: What are the foundations biggest needs right now? How can people help?


NL: Any sort of donations will be directly put into the Peeps account to help offset the expenses of the minis and dwarf that we currently have, but also the expenses that we have to pay in rescuing other ones in need. Because the Peeps Foundation in a non-profit charity, we have been able to team up with many people and companies that will help us out as much as they can – from vets giving us their time and only billing us for supplies, and Dover Saddlery hosting special events to help get our name out there.


People can donate money or supplies (all tax deductible) or purchase Peeps merchandise with all proceeds going to our foundation. Also, if anyone knows of any miniature horses in need, let us know and we will do all we can to rescue them.

Author (Kristina McCombie)

HH: Do you have to be only in FL to adopt a mini? 


Technically no, but we do tend to usually adopt them out to people who are close by, simply out of convenience. The demand for them is so high, often times as soon as we get new ones in, someone is wanting to come pick them up to adopt them within a few days.

Kaley Cuoco & Smooshy

Author’s note: Summer in the Rockies featured a special guest for a few weeks: actress Kaley Cuoco’s dwarf mini Smooshy. Smooshy was rescued by the Peeps Foundation before being adopted and is now a star in her own right. In addition to being the main attraction at Cuoco’s Big Bay City, Smooshy spreads love and awareness for the foundation and documents her adventures with her own Instagram account @lifewithsmooshy.