Bec Braitling

HoofBeat columnist Bec Braitling

We were lucky enough to be blessed with some favorable riding weather early this winter, with much-needed rain alluding us for much of November and December. Never fear, some frigid temperatures and finally, some rainy days greeted us in January. Here are some of my favorite tips for caring for your horse in the winter:
• My show horses are typically clipped once the new year rolls around, leaving the age-old blanketing debate wide open. I could be possibly accused of being a bit of an “over-blanketing” type but I do like everyone to have neck blankets on. When temperatures plunge into the low 20s at my barn, I like to spray a little show sheen on the inside of the neck blankets to prevent manes rubbing.
• Cut tails a little shorter in the winter to help keep them and the hind legs a little more mud-free during the worst weather. Braid the tail or add a tail bag for extra cleanliness.
• When your tack starts to feel a little damp each day after work, a heater in the tack room (during the hours I’m there) helps to keep the tack from getting damp and moldy.
• Consider adding a good-quality oil to your horse’s diet — it’s great for keeping horses in good condition and the coat shiny.
• Walk your horses a little longer to warm up before work, it can take a little more time to loosen up on colder days before they pick up to work.
• Be conscious to towel dry legs well after work. Mud fever and scratches are in full force at this time of year and the extra hair on the horse’s legs helps to harbor nasty bacteria.
• Wrap exposed water pipes to avoid bursting during hard freezes. Invest in a couple of large water buckets and fill them in a barn/ covered area in the evenings to ensure the horses can have access to fresh water in the morning if the hoses are frozen until later in the day.
• Find yourself a nice pair of lined riding gloves for the winter. Cold hands are the worst! Check out the San Luis Obispo-based for a good selection.

Meet Marshall Equestrian… a.k.a. Katie’s Coffee

Forging a name for yourself in the horse industry is not for the faint of heart. Once you commit to making a living riding, training and teaching, you realize what a wonderfully rewarding, yet grueling lifestyle it can be. Katie Sequeira is one such Central Coast trainer. She heads up Marshall Equestrian, based out of Rancho Del Rio in Atascadero. Specializing in lessons, training, sales and competition, Katie has an impressive resume training horses and riders both here in the U.S. and Australia before finally settling on the Central Coast for the past two years. One thing she picked up in Australia was the ability to diversify and the idea for Katie’s Coffee was born. These days you’ll find her coffee trailer on the corner of Highway 46 and Vineyard Drive from 6 to 10 a.m., serving morning commuters before heading off to the barn for the rest of the day. Katie is working toward furthering her own competition career with her new warmblood mare, Willa, that she’s aiming to take up the ranks of dressage. To keep up to date with her current locations or find out more about her riding program, follow “Katie’s Coffee” and “Marshall Equestrian” on Facebook.

February Calendar

Feb. 2: Santa Ynez Valley Cow Horse and Reining, NRCHA approved. 195 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. New reining classes added and the Collegiate Cow Horse Challenge. Check out for more information.
Feb. 2-3: EponaMind Event, An educational weekend for horse owners, farriers and veterinarians. 6720 Linne Rd, Paso Robles (805) 239-3505. For full event details, information on the speakers and to sign up, visit
Feb. 2-3: Buck Davidson Clinic at Twin Rivers Ranch. Come and see one of America’s most I accomplished eventing riders teach a two-day clinic. Auditors welcome. Contact for more details. 8715 N River Rd, Paso Robles.
Feb. 8-10: Central Coast Polo Club hosts USPA West Interscholastic Open Preliminary Tournament, check out for more information.
Feb. 9-10: Paso Robles Horse Park hosts Noseworks Trials, Central Coast Nosework Club. For more information, visit
Feb. 9-10: Dressage: Santa Ynez Equestrian Center Schooling Show, see for entries and contact information.
Feb. 20-21: Melissa Creswick dressage clinic, Four Corners Dressage, 5720 El Pharo Dr, Paso Robles. Contact Katey