6 of the Best Riding Trails in Texas

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Horseback-Riding-ConfidenceIf you are looking for the best trails to visit this year in Texas, there are several great options. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to scenery and trail length, but the following trails are some top picks from previous riders:

1. Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway
If you’re looking for a trail ride to span several days and several counties, Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway is a good choice. It is located east of Tulia and west of Childress. At just shy of 65 miles in length, this trail takes you through some diverse scenery and one of the last remaining railroad tunnels in Texas. You are free to camp anywhere along the trail and will have to pay a small admission fee.

2. Trinity River Trails
The Trinity River Trails wind through the city of Fort Worth, and they are ideal for people who prefer a city setting for riding. The nearly 48 miles of trails link several sites, such as the Botanical Gardens and the Stockyards.

3. Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway
Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway is a mixture of asphalt and crushed limestone surfaces, and it spans two counties. There are 16 bridges over the span of the trail’s 20-mile length. The flat surface, shade and mild curves make it a great choice for beginners.

4. Wichita River Trail
This trail is nearly 15 miles long and is made of concrete. It winds with the Wichita River through brushy plains, alongside waterfalls, through well-landscaped park areas, and through shaded areas. It is accessible from several major highways that connect with Wichita Falls. The Wichita River Trail is also a good place to see wildlife.

5. Trail de Paris
The Trail de Paris will take you along six asphalted miles of beautiful shade trees, over several bridges and to an old railroad crossing. If you are looking for an easy and leisurely ride with a shorter total distance, this is the perfect choice. There are benches and viewing areas to stop along the way.

6. Chaparral Rail Trail
For the more adventurous rider, Chaparral Rail Trail provides over 35 miles of crushed rock trail and plenty of shade. At one end of the trail is the historic Onion Shed. The trail goes through Farmersville and out into the remote countryside to connect four counties. It ends near Pecan Gap.

These are just a few of the many scenic trails in the great state of Texas. If you want to visit trails in other areas, make sure they are suitable for your needs and the needs of riders accompanying you.

Looking for more cool trails in our great state? Check out our Pinterest board with a number of other neat places to visit!

Did we miss your favorite trail? Let us know in the comments! We’re always looking for a great place to ride.

5 Summer Essentials for You and Your Horse

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horse careDuring the summer, it’s important to keep you and your horse as cool and comfortable as possible. Your equipment needs will change with the warmer weather. Below are some tips for keeping you and your horse at ease all summer long:

1. A Summer Riding Wardrobe
There’s no reason to roast as you’re riding the trail. Summertime is the season to ditch the dark, heavy fabrics and lighten up with thinner materials and brighter hues. Performance cooling riding shirts will wick moisture away from the skin so you stay cool and dry, even under the summer sun. Pair the performance top with brightly-colored stretch breeches. Keep your breeches neutral while riding around the ring, then change into a more sprightly tone to socialize around the grounds. Add another punch with your boot socks. Mix and match colors or wear a lighter, brighter pattern this season.

2. Fly Masks and Fly Sheets
Summer brings with it its fair share of flying insects. Horses can become anxious and irritable when flies are buzzing around their heads. They may pace, snort and toss their manes. A fly mask — like this one from Cashel — provides comfortable protection from flying insects. It covers the face, protecting the horse’s sensitive areas, while still allowing the horse to see, breathe and stay cool.

Fly sheets protect horses from pests as well as the sun. Breathable fabric allows for steady air flow while providing protection from ultraviolet rays that can dull a horse’s coat. Fly sheets protect against large flies and bees as well as smaller biting insects. A contoured, adjustable fit will be most comfortable and convenient for your horse this summer.

3. Fly Spray and Traps
If your horse can’t stand its fly mask, use a fly repellant around the eyes. Keep pastures clean of manure, and compost your manure if possible. This kills the fly larvae. Spray the perimeter of the barn with fly spray and use fly bait strips inside to prevent flies from getting to your horse.

4. Summer Grooming Tools and Products
Horses need extra care to stay healthy in the warmer weather. Resist the urge to cut the mane and tail short when the weather turns hot. The long hair helps your horse swat away flies. When it comes to grooming your horse’s mane, a brush may be too rough and can lead to breakage and hair loss. Rinse dirt out of the mane, then apply a detangling product — one great option is Cowboy Magic Detangler — using your fingers to detangle the hair. Try to avoid products that list alcohol as an ingredient as alcohol can lead to a dry, frizzy mane.

A sweaty horse can attract flies. Rinse off your horse in the barn a few times a week, and use shampoo every other week or so. A grooming product with a UV barrier can help protect against sunburn, especially on areas with white fur.

5. Summer Hoof Care
Hooves tend to crack more during the summer, posing a potentially harmful threat to your horse. When it rains, the hooves swell, trapping dirt and bacteria in the cracks. Prevent this from happening by using a sealant — we recommend Horseshower’s Secret Hoof Sealant — on the outside of your horse’s hooves weekly.

Did we miss any essentials? Let us know in the comments below!

Top Tack Questions: What Brand of Rope Should I Use?

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STT_3-RopesOur customers often ask “What brand of rope should I use?” At South Texas Tack, we understand that it is important to pick the right brand of rope, at the right price, for every job. There a wide range of roping supplies and we want to make sure you have the right product in your hands. Here are our tips for choosing the right rope brand.

Cactus Ropes

The Cactus brand has a great selection of nylon and polyester materials. If you are a daily calf roper, get a head rope around 30-32 feet or 35-36 feet with a softer level of firmness. The Hypnotic ropes are also part of a popular brand made by Cactus that are for heading and heeling, especially in hot weather.

Classic Ropes

Classic Ropes have always been a stable name in the roping market. Classic Ropes often have a light, slimmer feel, combining four to five fibers at a time for their ropes. From their top-of-the-line Spydr5 team rope to their Heat Heel Rope, Classic Ropes has plenty of roping options to choose from.

The History of the Lucchese Brand: Over 130 Years of Excellence

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STT_Lucchese-1883Here at South Texas Tack, we have a soft spot for the Lucchese brand. Not only have we been selling Lucchese boots for years, but we work with the brand to create custom cowboy boots for South Texas Tack. We love Lucchese, not just because they’re stylish, but because the brand is steeped in tradition, and dedicated to making excellent cowboy boots.

The Lucchese brothers emigrated to Texas in the 1880s and quickly set up a bootmaking store in San Antonio, catering to the folks at the U.S. Cavalry School at Fort Sam Houston. The brothers Salvatore, Joseph, Michael, and Antonio bought the first inseamer machine to assist in the production of their boots. When Salvatore suffered a stroke in 1923, his son Cosimo took over to keep the Lucchese business running. In the years that followed, the Luccheses custom-made cowboy boots and military dress shoes for folks near and far, gaining popularity as they built a reputation for quality, originality, and craftsmanship. The company experienced enormous success in the 40s and 50s, with U.S. characters like Bing Crosby, Audie Murphy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. 1970 saw the purchase of the Lucchese company by Blue Bell Corporation, and 1986 was the year Lucchese moved its operations to its current location: El Paso, Texas. The company continues to make incredible boots to this day, using the best leather and hand-crafting techniques that lend its cowboy boots true quality.

How to Set Up a Stall at a Horse Show

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STT_Horse-StallHeading to a horse show? We’ll bet your trailer is packed with tack and supplies, your bags are filled with gear and grooming items, and your papers are all in order for a weekend of competition. Once you get to the show, however, the organization process continues. Making your horse comfortable in her stall will keep her calm and ready for the event, and staying organized will keep your stress levels to a minimum—another important factor in delivering a solid performance.

Follow these guidelines for setting up your horse show stall, and you’ll be halfway to competing at your very best.

The Right Barn Supplies

Before you even leave for a horse show, you should gather up everything on your show tack checklist, grooming supplies checklist, and rider gear checklist. When it comes to setting up a stall, make sure these items are part of your checklist:

  • Clips
  • Feed bin
  • Grooming supplies
  • Hanging grooming case
  • Hay rack or hay net
  • Hooks
  • Mats and/or bedding
  • Salt block
  • Screw eyes
  • Stall guard
  • Stall lock
  • Stall toy
  • Water bucket

Of course, some of these items are optional; for example, some horse owners prefer to use both bedding and stall mats, while others simply leave the stall floor bare. Plus, there may be items not on this list that are unique to you and your horse’s needs. Take stock of what kinds of barn supplies you need, and make a comprehensive checklist before you head out.

The Stall Setup

Next, set up the show stall using the same barn organization ideas you employ for your barn supplies in your stable at home. For example, when you hang up hooks and clips for tack, keep them away from your horse’s hooves, eyes, and mouth. Using screw eyes is a great way to hang water buckets, grooming cases, and other grooming supplies. Keep in mind that if your horse tends to get a lot of food in her water bucket, place the two far apart in the stall. Additionally, keep your belongings out of walkways that get a lot of foot traffic.

Stall Safety

Throughout the horse show, make sure you are conscious of your surroundings and your belongings. Doing so will keep you, your horse, and other show-goers safe. For more horse show exhibitor safety tips from South Texas Tack, click here.

Connect with South Texas Tack

How do you stay organized at a horse show? Any stall set-up tips we missed? Let us know by connecting with South Texas Tack on Facebook and Twitter.

 

How to Trailer Your Horse in 3 Steps

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STT_Horse-TrailerWhether you are traveling with your horse for a short drive, or for a cross-country trip, actually getting your horse inside a trailer can be a challenge. If your horse is obstinate by nature, has never been trailered before, or is just feeling a little uppity that day, use these steps to get him into the trailer more easily.

Step 1: Prepare Your Trailer

First, prepare your trailer for loading your horse. Inspect the trailer to make sure its floor is intact; its tire pressure levels are optimal; the inside is clean; the gates, latches, and hitch are in good shape; and all of your lights are in working order. Next, stock your trailer with floor mats, hay, ventilation, and bedding. Finally, open and secure the windows and side doors before you lead your horse to the trailer. If you’re on the way to a horse show, check out our horse show trailer checklist for more tips.

South Texas Tack Warehouse Sale Room: Arriving June 27th

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South Texas Tack Sale Room Open DailyGet ready South Texas Tack fans – our South Texas Tack Warehouse Sale Room is opening its doors Friday, June 27th. In our Warehouse Sale Room we’re going to have a variety of saddles, tack, cowboy boots, and our selection of specialty denim extremely discounted.

Plus, twice a year, these deals get even better. 2 weekends out of the year the South Texas Tack Warehouse Sale Room will be hosting a blowout sale when more than 80% of our sale stock will be marked down even more than usual. Our first blowout sale weekend will be August 8th, 2014, so make sure to put it on your calendar because you won’t want to miss it!

And of course you’ll be able to visit the Warehouse Sale Room every week, Monday through Saturday between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM. You can also check out our On Sale page for everyday savings on tack, apparel, and more. Want more information about this new addition to South Texas Tack? Feel free to contact us at 1-877-STX-TACK, or simply stop by our store in Brenham, TX at 4765 Hwy 290 East.South Texas Tack Sale Room Now Open

Why Is It Called a Ten-Gallon Hat?

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STT-3X-CHOCOLATE-2Just what does “10-gallon hat” mean?  Maybe you’ve found yourself wondering that that if you’ve ever heard the phrase “a 10-gallon hat on a 20-gallon head.” (It means you’re kinda full of yourself.)  Or maybe if you’ve hear that Beach Boys song “Long Tall Texan” (“He rides from Texas with a 10-gallon hat”).  The funny thing is, just looking at a 10-gallon hat, you can tell pretty quick that there’s no way 10 gallons of anything could fit in it!  So what’s the meaning behind this misnomer?  Today we solve the mystery of the 10-gallon hat once and for all.

Horse Health 101: It’s Feeding Time!

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As a horse owner, it’s extremely important to understand how and when to feed your horse.  Here is a list of feeding guidelines to live by.

STT_horse-eating-feed_Thinkstock1. Your horse needs roughage.

The first thing any horse caretaker should know is a majority of a horse’s diet should be comprised of roughage. In fact, a horse needs to be eating 1-2% of his entire body weight in roughage a day. This is due to their digestive systems being designed to use the nutrition from grassy stalks to keep them going.

For trail or pasture horses, you don’t need to worry about providing constant roughage because they’ll end up grazing on enough hay or grass in the pasture on their own. However, if your horses spend long stretches of time in a stall, you should replicate their natural feeding patterns by providing hay in a hay bag throughout the day. This will keep a constant rotation of roughage moving in and out of their systems.

Who is “Old Gringo”? The Story of Old Gringo Boots

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Old-Gringo-boot-soleWe couldn’t agree more with motto of the Old Gringo brand: “Life’s better wearing Old Gringo.”  The Old Gringo brand started back in 2000 when two craftsmen decided to channel their talents toward making high-quality, handcrafted boots.  Yan Ferry had 30 years of experience under his belt, having spent his career in bootmaking and European design, while Ernie Tarut had 30 years of experience in leather manufacturing.  Drawing inspiration from Tarut’s somewhat mysterious nickname, “the Old Gringo,” the duo gave the company a name and set out to put a spin on the traditional cowboy boot.  Using the Western boot as a basis for their designs, Ferry and Tarut added details like sparkling embellishments, bright embroidery, metal accents, eye-catching patterns, and colorful cutouts.  Plenty of the brand’s boots still have that vintage finish and soft-but-sturdy texture that boot-wearers love.