Which Fencing Is Best For Your Land?

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Which Fencing Is Best For Your Land – Whether you have a house, a homestead or a farm, no property is complete without a reliable fence around it.

It marks out your boundary, provides privacy for those living and working within its confines, and the right fence can also be an attractive addition to your landscapes.

For those reasons, you could even find that adding fencing increases the value of your holding, but just what kind of fencing is best for your land?

We’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of three of the most popular fencing materials.

The Right Fencing for your Property
Which Fencing Is Best For Your Land?

Wooden Fencing

Wooden fencing is the most traditional fencing material of them all, having been used for this purpose for centuries.

For that reason, you may think this is ideal if you want a traditional or rustic look around your homestead, but it’s also important to think about how it will look after it’s been in position for a number of years.

Fences have to take whatever our unpredictable weather systems throw at them, and wooden fences, in particular, can soon show the signs of weathering.

They will need regular maintenance if you want to keep them in great shape, and that can mean treating them with preservatives on an annual basis, or even more frequently.

This can be a huge job if you have a lot of fencing in place, but failure to do so can see the fence lose its color or become prone to rot and algae.

Metal Fencing

Metal fencing can make a good addition to the security of your property.

It’s strong and reliable, and its austere appearance alone can be enough to deter any felons who may be thinking of trespassing onto your land.

This positive can also prove to be a negative in another way, however, as there is no denying that metal fences don’t have the aesthetic appeal that some other materials can bring, and depending upon the type and strength of metal used, they could also be liable to rust over time, which can look unsightly.

Vinyl Fencing

More and more people are installing vinyl fencing from specialist manufacturers like Northland Fence, and it’s easy to see why.

Vinyl is a very versatile substrate so that fences made from it can be purchased in a variety of styles and colors.

Even more importantly, it offers superb value for money, as not only is purchase and installing inexpensive, but it also needs very little maintenance when compared to wooden fencing.

Vinyl won’t rot with rain or fade with the sun, and that means you won’t need to do anything to it other than wash it occasionally to keep it looking at its very best.

Vinyl is also very tough, and you won’t have to worry about warping, insect or algae attack.

Wooden fences have a quaint appeal and metal fences can look daunting, but for most homesteads vinyl makes a very smart choice.

Wood vs Vinyl fencing

Not only can it last a lifetime without having to put in hard and expensive maintenance work, but it also has a modern, fresh look that will look good today, tomorrow, and for years to come.

5 Kinds of Realistic Off Grid Power Sources

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Realistic Off Grid Power Sources – With the rising prices in electricity, and the growing concerns of the environmental impact of power plants to the planet, more and more people are saying that they want to go “off the grid” and produce their own power.

This kind of option is a dream for most people but sadly often times, that’s what it is- a dream.

They want to do it, but they don’t know where to start, or even what their options are.

Also, people think that going off the grid means having to leave the convenience of living in a town or city, which most people don’t want to do.

The good news is that with new research and technology, there are a lot of renewable energy options that are available that can fit any type of property that you currently live in.

Off Grid Power Solar Roof Tiles
Off Grid Power Solar Roof Tiles

Realistic Off Grid Power Sources

Here are the top five cutting- edge realistic off grid power sources.

Solar Roof Tiles

Lots of people are put off from putting up solar panels on their homes because of primarily two reasons: it cost a lot, and it’s not very aesthetically pleasing.

But technology has reduced the size of these heavy solar panels and created photovoltaic roof tiles also known as solar roof tiles or solar shingles.

These tiles not only look better than your traditional shingles but are also tougher like Tesla’s much-awaited solar roof tiles.

These solar shingles can be used to replace your old shingles, or if you are building a new house from scratch, you can ask your contractor and architect to integrate it into the building design.

It should be something that can be done especially if they are using a commercial construction project management software.

The cost of installing solar shingles on your roof would be between $20,000 – $50,000 for a 2500 square foot home (232 square meters) depending on how you want it installed in your house, as well as state and federal tax incentives if you live in the USA.

Make sure to check with your country’s government for any incentives that can be available to you.

Yes, it’s a hefty price to start, but, think that solar shingles can cut your monthly electric bill from 40 to 60 percent or even to zero if you go full solar.

And considering that a system like this can last for 30 or more years, it will definitely pay for itself in a few years’ time.

Residential Wind Turbine

The wind is another renewable, and sustainable energy that can be tapped for off the grid electrical systems thru the use of a wind turbine.

Like solar panels, wind turbines have been significantly reduced its size so that it can be installed in residential houses.

And if you like in an area that is windy, and you have at least in an acre of land, then a residential wind turbine can be an option if you want to go off the grid.

If you want to talk about cost, a typical 10Kw wind turbine will cost between $50,000 to $60,000.

It is a considerable amount of money to fork out, but if you think that you’ll be saving up to 90% or even 100% of the electricity bill every month.

The whole system will have an ROI in about 6 years.

And, because it’s renewable energy, countries like USA, China, Korea, Belgium, Ireland, Spain etc, offer varying tax incentives ranging from 12 to 30 percent depending on where you live.

So, if you’re thinking of installing a wind turbine for your home, make sure that you check first with your local government to what incentive they are offering.

Geothermal Heat Pump

Geothermal energy is a clean, and sustainable heat energy that comes from below the earth’s surface which can supply energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Geothermal energy is harnessed thru geothermal plants like the Geyser Geothermal Complex in San Francisco in California.

Now, your home can harness the power of geothermal energy thru a geothermal heat pump.

If you’re wondering what a geothermal heat pump is.

It’s a central heating and cooling system.

It uses the ground as a heat source when it’s cold in the winter.

In the summer, it uses the earth as a heat sink.

It can be easily integrated into your existing HVAC system, or it can be installed in a new build project.

It works pretty much like your fridge where it transfers the heat coming from the earth into your house or the other around thru loops of pipes that are filled with liquid in the form of water or an antifreeze solution.

These pipes are then attached to a geothermal heat pump in your house which acts like a heater or an air conditioner depending on the weather.

Microhydro Electricity

If you are lucky enough to live in a property that has a source of running water like a brook or a stream, then you might want to look at micro-hydro electricity to power your home.

Like its name, hydroelectricity uses running water to generate electricity usually from energy coming from water flowing from higher to lower places.

A micro hydropower system works by converting the flow of running water into rotational energy that is in turn transformed into electricity using either a pump, a turbine or a waterwheel.

Compared to solar, wind, and geothermal energy, micro hydroelectricity is relatively cheaper and easier to build.

However, the downside is that it requires a very specific on-site condition.

This means that if you don’t have a river, stream or some form of running water in your backyard, then you pretty much can’t have this system.
Residential Windmills

Solar/Wind Hybrid System

If you want to live one hundred percent off the grid, you might want to have a system that can handle the fluctuations of weather in your area to make sure that electricity is generated all the time because we all know that the weather can be fickle.

The solution to this problem is a solar/hybrid system.

This kind of system is more dependable than using just one power source because your power grid is not dependent on one source.

In addition to this, it’s also cheaper because it uses smaller components for each source compared to what would be needed than if you only used either solar or wind power.

If you are curious about the cost, a base hybrid system that can generate 7.5 kWh per day starts at around $35,000 and can go up to $65,000 for a system generates 15.5 kWh per day.

With new advances in solar, wind, geothermal, and water energy, going off the grid is now not limited to moving out of the urban setting.

Now, because the systems are smaller, you can install an off the grid system no matter where your home is located- whether it be in an urban or rural area, or even in a remote area.

And yes, admittedly, the upfront costs are expensive, but it is expected that, as technology progresses in this area, these kinds of systems will become more and more affordable in the near future.

Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice?

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Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice – When it comes time to replace your fencing, the question arises whether to install some wooden fencing or to opt for modern vinyl fencing?

Thinking about a vinyl vs wood fence, it’s fair to say that wooden fencing used to be the automatic choice when steel or brass materials proved overly costly.

However, with improvements to materials and production methods, vinyl fencing now has a lot more going for it than in years past.
Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice

Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice

In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of each and give you our verdict on the matter. Best Fencing

The Right Fencing for your Property

Pros and Cons of Wood Fencing

Wooden fencing is the traditional choice.

It’s a classic.

If you just must have real timber with definable wood grain patterns on it, you’re locked into that choice and the realities that come along with it.

Beyond the pleasing appearance, wood has to be treated with a protective coating to avoid it getting damaged by the weather.

It can suffer from insects eating away at it or general rot as the wood gets excessively wet and cannot dry out quickly enough.

As wooden fencing can degrade significantly over time, it can impact negatively on the curb appeal of your property.

Without proper and regular maintenance, you may need to replace the whole lot eventually.

And if you don’t, it can leave a negative impact with potential buyers if you plan on selling the property further down the line.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing is a newer choice.

It comes in non-textured plain colors, and you can choose either brighter or darker tones depending on what fits well with the look of your home.

There’s also a wood-like appearance through Timberland color choices that resembles wood from a distance without the negatives.

Another direction to go is BuffTech which is a fencing color that adds real texture, so it feels more like wood as well.

Maintenance is easier with vinyl than wood.

The vinyl fence only needs a spray down with water and perhaps a soapy wash every half-year or so.

There’s no patching up holes or re-applying paint or a protective coating to the wood.

Most homeowners are also unaware that vinyl is a lot stronger than wood.

It provides both strength and flexibility which means it is less likely to need replacing over time.

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Which Fencing Option is Best?

Unless you’re sold on wood as a fencing material, then vinyl is going to be an affordable option.

It provides far greater flexibility with color and material selection with a wood-like appearance but without the drawbacks.

A good vinyl fencing that is made with thicker PVC can last a couple of decades too.

This is longer than most wooden fences will manage.

When it comes to replacing your fencing, vinyl is usually a far better material of choice.

It’s not expensive because it’s made from PVC and is easier to manufacture, meaning the homeowner saves money as a result.

6 Fun Outdoor Activities To Do With Your Dog

Fun Outdoor Activities To Do With Your Dog

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Fun outdoor activities to do with your dog – It’s important to regularly arrange outdoor activities to go on with your dog to keep them healthy and fit, but also to give them some fun entertainment.

You don’t want to keep your dog cooped up in the house or apartment all day long.

These outdoor activities will keep your dog happy and tire your dog out so that he or she stays out of trouble when back at home.

The best part is, these outdoor activities are great for your health and fitness, too.

Being outdoors and in nature are linked to happiness, as fresh air is known for being a great natural mood-booster.

Not every activity is dog-friendly, but plenty of fun outdoor activities are dog-friendly and some are even more fun when you bring a dog.

Fun Outdoor Activities To Do With Your Dog
Fun Outdoor Activities To Do With Your Dog

Fun Outdoor Activities To Do With Your Dog

Below are 6 of the best outdoor activities to do with your dog.

Hiking

Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities for physical fitness and sight-seeing.

Hiking is one of the best ways to see some of the most beautiful views in your area, and to get a great workout in as well.

Dogs love hiking because it’s great exercise and they get to spend time with you.

Most hiking trails have rest stops where you can hang out with your dog, enjoy the view – and don’t forget to feed your dog some food and water at these rest stops, too.

Boating

Most dogs are comfortable on a boat, or can be trained to ride on a boat safely.

It’s common knowledge that dogs love to stick their head out of the window of a moving car, because they love watching the world go by with the fresh air whipping onto their face.

Boating is a similar luxury for a dog, since they get to have that same feeling they get in a car, except they don’t have to roll down a window.

If you want to go boating with your dog, be sure to test the waters and make sure your dog is comfortable on a boat.

If your dog loves boating, it will become one of your favorite outdoor activities to do with your dog.

Beaches

If your dog loves swimming in the ocean, a beach day is a great outdoor activity.

You can both get some much-needed sunlight and both of you can swim.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for your dog because it’s low-impact and safe.

Pack a blanket and a picnic with dog treats and your own snacks.

Fill the day with an easy combo of swimming and relaxing on shore.

For added fun, pack a ball or Frisbee to toss around with your dog on the beach.

Camping

It’s nice to bring your dog on a camping trip, especially since it will make you feel safer.

A dog can act as a protector on a camping trip, and most campers agree that they feel more at ease camping in rural areas when they bring their dog.

Typically, camping involves some hiking to get to the camping spot, which is great since it gives you and your dog some exercise.

Once you set up your tent, you can fire up your portable grill and keep your dog warm by a fire.

Camping with you dog

Farmer’s Market

When you’re walking through a local farmer’s market, sampling new foods and shopping for produce, why not bring your dog?

Many vendors even have puppy bowls for thirsty dogs, and some vendors will even feed your dog a treat.

If your dog is friendly, it’s a great way to interact with people.

If you’re single, your dog could be the ice-breaker you need to talk to an attractive person you spot at the market.

Dog Park

The dog park is a great place to interact with other dog-owners, while your dog gets to play with other dogs.

At a dog park, you as the dog owner can make new friends in your area, and your dog gets to run free if it’s an off-leash dog park.

Your area should have some off-leash dog parks, as most neighborhoods do.

Make sure to bring a ball to play fetch with your dog, and bring some dog treats so that when you’re ready to leave the park, your dog will come to you.

Without a dog treat bribe, it might be difficult to convince your dog to leave!

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4 Must Sees in Canada That Seasoned Travelers Love

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Must Sees in Canada – We all know that Canada is a land filled with polite and friendly people.

As a traveler, we are aware that it’s the people that make our traveling worthwhile and memorable.

But if you think this 9.3 million plus kilometer land is all about maples and politeness then think again.

They are blessed with magnificent landscape, alluring bodies of water, and exciting activities.

They have most of the terrain you can think of from glaciers to beaches, from rainforest to rocky mountains.

A country deserved by seasoned travelers.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the vastness of must-sees in Canada then let me help you out.

I’ll discuss four of my hand-picked destination in the beautiful Great White North.

Must Sees in Canada Travelers Love Lake Simcoe

Must Sees in Canada Travelers Love

Lake Simcoe

Around 50km or a 45-minute drive from the great city of Toronto, Lake Simcoe is a place to be when you think about water-related activities.

Known for its beautiful shores, clear water, and abundant fish, this lake needs to be on your must-see and visit list.

The lake covers about 52km of shoreline, perfect for swimming, boat riding, watersports, and fishing.

It is the perfect spot for anglers, from Canada even in the United States, due to its close proximity to nearby main cities and richness in variety of fish.

Only a handful of lakes in Canada have the same amount of abundance of fish species so remember to bring your trusty fishing gear if you want to encounter some trout, whitefish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, bowfin, northern pike and many more.

Banff

If you think experiencing a winter wonderland is all about visiting malls with white winter decorations or visiting a skating ring in downtown, then you need to know about Banff.

Banff National Park is the oldest national park in Canada, located in the province of Alberta.

It offers the most surreal winter wonderland experience anyone can wish for.

Its known for its icy landscape, breathtaking lakes, picturesque pine forest.

This national park has the best of the best the winter season can provide.

You can chill in the backcountry lodges and indulge yourself with some magnificent snowy mountain views or experience adrenaline in the chilling weather by playing activities such as hockey, skiing, ice skating or even dogsledding.

Remember to book your accommodation early because this park is considered one of the most visited national parks in North America with around three million visitors every year.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

It should be no surprise that the Niagara Falls fall into this list.

With its majestic height, powerful might and beautifully epic plunge, failing to miss this spot is like failing to see Canada at all.

Niagara Falls is actually composed of three falls and divides the border between Canada and USA.

One of the falls and its biggest and most renowned is called Horseshoes Falls, also known as Canadian falls.

Majority of this fall is located in the Canadian border.

Seeing, living and breathing from a distance to appreciate this God-given nature may be enough but you can actually explore it a little bit more intimately by hopping in on a boat tour that will take you underneath its plunging waters.

In addition to that thrilling experience, there are many nearby child-friendly activities around and some impressive light show at night.

Victoria and Vancouver Island

You will probably be tired by the time you are done with Lake Simcoe, Banff and Niagara Falls.

Now it’s time for you to chill, relax and get your piece of mind.

Thankfully, there is a place in Canada called the Garden City, the city of Victoria in Vancouver Island.

Around 76 miles in the southwest of the bustling city of Vancouver, Victoria and Vancouver island is a getaway from all the noise, hustle and stress of modern life.

Going to the island leaves you with a number of good options, you can take a 4-hour trip by car or bus and ferry; or a 35-minute flight.

This place is filled with colonial architecture, glorious heritage buildings, mesmerizing gardens, and scenic harbor.

The streets in this city are teeming with street vendors, cafes, and restaurants.

Perfect for a relaxing but interesting walk.

The best way to get around and do sightseeing on the island is by bicycle.

The city of Victoria prides itself with plenty of cycle routes that any city in the country.

Canada is a charming country no matter the season.

They have great population diversity, friendly and warm people, amazing nature and exhilarating outdoor activities.

A true haven for seasoned travelers.

Off-Grid Living: Surviving the Great Outdoors When You’re Not So “Outdoorsy”

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Off-Grid Living – Almost everyone has seen the reality shows that showcase how to live off the land.

The majority of us look at those and think there’s no way we’d be able to do that.

Living off the land is definitely no easy task, and would certainly be a huge life adjustment to have to adapt to.

So if you’re thinking about this lifestyle, really take the time to do your research on it.

When you hear the phrase “living off the grid,” what’s the first thing you think of?

Most people think of trying to survive in the freezing cold, living in a tent, being several miles away from civilization, and fending off bears.

It’s common for people to think that because not too many people know exactly what off-grid living actually is.

Off-grid living

“The grid” is a common phrase used to describe the power grid.

The power grid is a system that sends electricity to every structure connected to it.

The term “grid” has expanded to encompass other utilities and is what keeps homes and businesses connected to power, water, gas, and phone line access.

Going off the grid removes access to those utilities.

You are creating your own power/energy, living without relying on the luxuries of technology.

In essence, it means being completely self-sufficient.

Living Off Grid
Living Off Grid

If you think about it, what did the early settlers do?

They knew how to “live off the grid.”

Do you know why?

Because there was no grid to live off of!

They didn’t have emergency radios to prepare them for when bad weather was coming.

They just had to live through it as situations occurred.

Living off the grid was their way of life. Realistic Off Grid Power Sources

We have been spoiled! With all the advances in technology, the thought of giving that up is unheard of.

However, the fact that living off the grid is becoming more and more popular, it has to at least spark your interest a little bit.

It has to at least make you wonder why people choose that lifestyle.

Is it financially smart, or do they just love nature THAT much?

Well, living off the grid is not as easy as it may seem.

You can’t just leave your home and pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere.

It takes lots of planning.

If you’re one who is seriously considering off-the-grid living, then there are some basic essentials you will need to survive.

Shelter/Safety

In the minds of most people, going off the grid means sleeping under the stars.

Some people really do sleep out in the open, but you have to be a little realistic here.

You need to have some type of shelter to protect you from the elements of nature.

You can opt for a small log cabin, RV (RVshare), or even a yurt.

Now keep in mind, it’s not going to be like a real home with all the luxuries you’ve grown accustomed to.

The key to finding shelter for this lifestyle is small.

If your shelter is small, it’s easier and less time consuming to heat up.

You also want to check to see if there are any laws or regulations you may have to follow that could potentially prevent you from making this change in living arrangements.

Affordably Building and Living Off of the Grid
Our future home site – Affordably Building and Living Off of the Grid

Off-Grid Food Source

How to get your source of food might be the hardest part of off-the-grid living.

You can’t just run up the road to your local Kroger or Publix.

No, you have to work for your food with this lifestyle.

Nowadays, you can’t really survive off the land just by eating berries, plants, nuts, and wild game.

You run too high of a risk eating something poisonous.

It’s also jut not that plentiful as it was in past generations.

A safe way to self-provide your sources of food is to grow your own garden, and invest in livestock.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables minimizes the poison concern.

Learn to compost to add richness to your garden.

The goal with livestock is to produce your own milk and cheese from them, and then breed them to produce sources of meat.

Waste Removal

Failure to dispose of bodily wastes can be very toxic to not only yourself but also to the environment.

It can cause several diseases such as intestinal worms and cholera.

Outdoor toilets are popular among those “roughing it,” but living off the grid is also about utilizing every resource you have, so people also will take their bodily wastes and compost it with a composting toilet.

From there, you can take that compost and use it to fertilize your garden.

But be sure to do your research on how to properly compost human wastes.

Human wastes can even be used as a source of fuel to heat your little home.

The whole process sounds somewhat gross and complicated, but just know when it comes to removing waste, nothing goes to waste!

Off-Grid Water

Having clean drinking water is essential to living off the grid.

Before you decide where you want to live, you need to make sure that a reliable water source is nearby.

Yes, being out in nature, you would think that there would be several sources of water via lakes, ponds, rivers, and even rain, but even those sources can be full of bacteria and can make you very sick.

Those living off the grid will dig water wells or harvest rainwater.

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The land was beautiful beyond what we could have imagined.

Transportation Living Off-Grid

Just like everything else with living off the grid, the way you get around will be very minimalist and simple.

Depending on where you live, you may consider in boats, canoes, tractors, and horses.

The most common mode of transportation is by foot.

Walking to get to a location definitely takes time and energy, but it certainly is free.

Another mode to get you where you need to go is bicycling.

Cycling is definitely a lot more convenient than walking, and it gets you to your destination in a quicker time frame.

For those times where you have to get back to civilization, cycling typically isn’t a common form of transportation used in cities, so you want to be especially careful when cycling in town.

Accidents happen all the time, so for those occasions that you do have to go into town for something, you want to, of course, be careful, but you also want someone who will help in case an emergency does occur.

The important thing with off-grid traveling is safety.

Bicycles have none of the fancy safety features that newer model cars do, so just mindful.

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Off-Grid Power

Last but not least is considering your power source.

This is the most important aspect of off-grid living because the whole point of off-grid living is to produce your own source of energy.

There will need to be a source of power to cook food and warm up your home.

People adapting to this lifestyle utilize natural resources such as wood to produce heat and fire for cooking.

Luckily with the advancements in technology, people can now opt for solar panels, wind turbines, and generators.

These particular power sources are not cheap and can be quite expensive to install.

Therefore, make sure you do your research on which power option is best for you, and which one can fit into your off-the-grid budget.

Keep in mind not just the purchase price, but also the costs of maintenance on the electrical and mechanical parts of the power source.

You can certain live off the grid.

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Remember, it’s not something you have to do all at once.

You can take steps to begin off-grid living in one way and add on the the others as you are successful.

3 Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know

Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know

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Essential DIY Skills for Homesteading has always been a very hard knock life.

It was hard for our ancestors who first settled on the frontier in the days of the American Colonies, and it’s just as hard for those who choose to live in some the most remote locations that the United States has.

Sure – we enjoy far more advanced technology than our forefathers and mothers had, but for the homesteader, there are certain aspects of life that no fancy computer, or piece of machinery can solve.

Technology can’t stop water lines from freezing in below zero temperatures, or coyotes from trying to get in the coop, or a drought that leaves crops withering and dying on the vine.

No matter how you look at it, there’s a multitude of challenges that farmers and homesteaders alike have to deal with in order to pursue this way of life.

So when it comes to keeping the house running smoothly, you can’t afford to leave all of your repair work to someone else.

Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know
Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know

Besides the high costs associated with hiring carpenters, electricians, and plumbers to make repairs, there’s the delays because of scheduling, and a lack of qualified technicians available.

You can get away with having an electrical outlet or two that won’t put out a current, but having a faucet leaking so bad that it floods the kitchen?

That just can’t wait.

If you’re a homesteader, or you’re considering pursuing this very noble, but very hard, way of life, you need to be able to do the bulk of your own repair work, and below are the most critical DIY skills you need to keep your homestead running smoothly.

Fix a Leaky or Clogged Faucet

One of the most commonly associated problems with any house, whether it’s a farmhouse in the Big Sky country, or in the heart of Brooklyn, is the faucet.

They freeze up, won’t put out enough water pressure to clean hardly anything, and sooner or later, develop a leak.

A slow trickle of water that runs into the sink won’t do any harm, but a faucet that’s shooting out a geyser, or flooding the cabinets and floors of your home, will quickly wreck your home.

Fortunately, these are usually the most simple repair jobs, and require the fewest tools:

DIY Homestead Plumbing Tools You’ll Need:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • WD-40
  • Hammer
  • Towels
  • Clog Remover (I’d recommend Draino or Liquid Plumber)
  • Latex or Dish Washing Gloves
  • Pipe Brush

How to Fix It:

  1. Start by shutting off the main water valve to your home, both to stop the leak, and to keep water from spraying everywhere while you make your repairs.
  2. Check the water hose connecting to your faucet. Ensure that it is seated in the grooves, and is twisted down tightly. If not, tighten with your hands or your adjustable wrench.
  3. If the line connector is already firm, check for rust, cracks, or breaks. If this is bad enough, you’ll need to replace the house. If it isn’t too advanced, remove with your adjustable wrench, and use WD-40 if it’s difficult to remove. Clean off any excess rust and reconnect the hose.
  4. If you’ve noticed that water has been slow to drain, or pooling in the sink, begin by pouring approximately half the bottle of your clog remover down your drain. Wait a half hour, then flush with hot water.
  5. If that doesn’t fix the problem, put on your latex gloves, and place towels below the PVC piping to catch excess water and filth.
  6. Remove the PVC piping connecting to your drain using your adjustable wrench, lighting tapping with a hammer if you need to to loosen the connector.
  7. Using your pipe brush and fingers, remove as much gunk, filth, and stoppage as you can.
  8. Repeat Step 4, and ensure the water is draining normally.
fencing barbed wire
fencing barbed wire

Repair a Strand of Barbed Wire

If you’re a homesteader, odds are you keep livestock of some form.

Even if you don’t, homesteaders are often easy prey for rodents and critters that target your garbage and crops for an easy meal.

It’s essential that you keep some sort of fencing up in order to help keep these varmints at bay, and your own herd contained.

Sooner or later, you’re going to have a wire break, either because a cow or horse panicked and ran through it, or because its rusted from rain and snow, and finally snapped.

When this happens, you’ve got to detect the break quickly, and fix it.

Fence Repair Tools You’ll Need

  • Thick Leather Gloves or Wiring Handling Gloves
  • Eye Protection Goggles
  • Strand of Barbed Wire
  • Fencing Sleeves
  • Heavy Duty Pliers with Cutter
  • Hammer
  • Fencing Staples

How to Fix Fencing

  1. If yours is an electrified fence, begin by shutting of the breaker running a current through your fence.
  2. Wearing your gloves and goggles, begin by removing any barbs about six to eight inches past both sides of the break.
  3. Measure out enough wire to extend about half a foot past both sides of the break when pulled taut.
  4. While keeping the wire taut, use fencing sleeves to crimp the replacement strand to the broken strand. Crimp the sleeve down, leaving about one inch of loose strand on each end.
  5. If the entire strand needs replacing, find the fencing staple connecting the broken strand to the fence post. Cut the strand with your pliers, leaving about three to four inches. Staple the excess back into the fence post using your hammer and fencing staples.
  6. Measure out enough new strand that you’ll be able to wrap about halfway around the fence post when pulled taut.
  7. Cut the new strand with your pliers, then connect to the fence post using two fencing staples on each post.
  8. In either type of break, check the tension when you’re finished. The new strand should move no more than about half an inch under steady pressure. Check your other strands while you’re at it.
  9. Turn your breaker back on. Test the current by either using a multimeter, or taking a blade of long grass with your bare hands, and touching the tip to the new strand. You’ll receive a slight shock, that won’t harm you, if the current is live.
fencing old branch fence
fencing old branch fence

Install a New Fence

Whether you opt to use barbed wire or plain old wood, I’ve already emphasized that you need fencing of some kind in order to protect your home, and corral your livestock. Best Fencing

A self made fence is a time honored tradition amongst homesteaders, and it’s one of the most basic tasks that you should be able to perform.

The Right Fencing for your Property

Tools You’ll Need to Install Fencing

  • Leather or Workman’s Gloves
  • Wooden Planks (3/4‘ to 5/8‘ thick)
  • Shovel
  • Wood nails or staples
  • Hammer
  • Measuring Tape
  • Level
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Ink or Paint Pen
  • An Assistant

How to Fix Fence

  1. Before you do anything else, measure out the area where you’re going to install your fence. The distance between fence posts can vary, but I’d recommend that you go no more than 15 to 20 ft. in between posts. You also need to how high you want your fence to be, and the gap you want to leave in between each board. Common livestock fences are usually between five and seven feet high, but if you keep horses, it may need to be higher.
  2. Using your measuring tape, measure out the distance between your fence posts. Mark the position using a rock, flag, or whatever you choose.
  3. Wearing your gloves, and using your post hole digger, dig a rounded or squared hole. Dig at least a foot deep, and keep your dirt in a consolidated pile.
  4. Insert your post hole. Have your assistant hold the pole upright and rigid. Using your leave, ensure the post is straight up and down, and level. Ensure the post reaches the desired height. If not, pull out and replace some dirt, or dig deeper.
  5. Pack the excess dirt in around the base of the post using your shovel.
  6. Repeat Steps 2 through 5 for a second post.
  7. Use your measuring tape to the position of the first plank between the posts. Mark the position with your ink or paint pen. The plank should extend halfway across the post.
  8. Have your assistant hold the plan in position, and hammer in the top corner of your plank on either post.
  9. Using your level, ensure the plank remains horizontal and flush with the post.
  10. Hammer in the remaining corner.
  11. Use your measuring tape to gauge the gap between planks.
  12. Repeat Steps 6 through 11 until your fence is complete.

Share Your Homesteading Knowledge

I hope you’ve find these three DIY tips useful, and will make your hard life at least somewhat easier. Taking Care of a Wooden Floor. Air Conditioning Maintenance.

The greatest resource that you have with a rural lifestyle is your friends and family.

They’ll be there to support you, both in the good times and bad.

Return the favor by spreading the knowledge that you’ve gained while you go about your day.

Get on your social media, or start your own blog, and share your advice with those who you may not even know need it.

There’s no such thing as an easy life when you’re a homesteader – just a life well lived.

Grizzly Tarps Are The Best Heavy Duty Tarps

Grizzly Tarp on tent

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Grizzly Tarps camping – Camping has always been a favorite pastime.

In fact, some of my earliest memories are of being with my family on a rainy weekend, all of us crowded into one leaky tent.

Eventually, we got better gear. My time as a Boy Scout improved my knowledge and abilities in the outdoors.

Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the difference that the right camping gear can make. The right gear means the difference between being comfortable and being miserable.

More importantly, it means the difference between getting home safely versus going home sick or ending up in the emergency room.  

When I think of my most important pieces of camping gear, things like my pocket knife and all-weather matches spring to mind.

However, one of the more critical components in my kit is a heavy duty tarp.

Fast forward and I now have two sons who are both accomplished Boy Scouts in an active Boy Scout Troop in Arizona. They plan camping weekends at least monthly and usually more frequently.

Grizzly Tarps

Our Boy Scout Troop uses Grizzly Tarps almost exclusively now because frankly they are the best.

We have both the Blue Grizzly Tarp and the Silver Grizzly Tarp.

In our Troop we prefer the Heavy Duty Silver Grizzly Tarps.

Heavy duty tarps made with attention to detail quality

We’ve used Grizzly Tarps to make a shelter for a group of boys who’s tent got damage during transportation, create an adult cooking canopy, cover equipment and cover equipment on a trailer during a 700 mile camping and backpacking trip.

I recently used one of the Troop’s Grizzly Tent to cover my tent during a cold Arizona Mountain campout.

Grizzly Tarp on tent
Grizzly Tarp on tent

This picture was taken at about 5,000 ft where the night time temperature dipped below freezing every night.

Grizzly Tarps – Best Heavy Duty Tarps

I’ll usually pack a tarp of two when I’m venturing into the wilderness.

Our Boy Scout Troop takes 3 to 4 Heavy Duty Grizzly Tarps.

They are that useful and versatile.

A Tarp Is Just a Tarp, Right?

I know what you’re thinking. “I’ve got a tarp. It’s nothing to write home about.”

That might be because you haven’t tried Grizzly Tarps.

I was once like you.

I’d head to the hardware store, or Harbor Freight, to get a tarp.

Usually, I’d just buy the cheapest one in the size that seemed appropriate.

I’d take it camping or use it for one of the other purposes that you might need a tarp for, but the result was always the same.

The first good gust of wind would rip it, and it never quite seemed to be up to the task at hand.

Before I knew it, I was back at the hardware store getting another tarp.

Grizzly Tarps outlast the others

Not anymore. Our Grizzly Tarps have outlasted — by far — any other tarp we have ever had. Even more, they are still in brand new shape.

These Grizzly heavy duty tarps still look brand new; they look hardly used.

Both our family and Boy Scout Troop use the heavy duty Silver Grizzly Tarps exclusively.

The upshot is that those inexpensive tarps weren’t really inexpensive.

Nothing that you have to repeatedly buy is affordable, especially when that something is an item that you should be durable.

I expect to buy groceries every week. Food is perishable, and it also gets consumed.

But tarps?

NO MORE CHEAP TARPS!

Grizzly Tarp covering building supplies for Boy Scout Eagle Project
Grizzly Tarp covering building supplies for Boy Scout Eagle Project

Tarps should be built to last.

Grizzly Tarps are Different

Getting acquainted with a Grizzly was a revelation for me.

At first, the price took me by surprise, but when I started to study the product, I realized that this was no ordinary tarp.

Heavy duty tarp

No, this was a genuine, heavy duty tarp.

Piping on borders

One of the first things that I noticed was the piping on the borders.

It was immediately clear to me that this was a tarp I could use even in high-wind situations.

It hardly matters how tight I strap it down or what kind of stress I put on it. The Grizzly wasn’t going to tear.

Grommets

Another feature that I find is invaluable is the grommets.

They are placed at 34-inch intervals.

This means that no matter how I’m using this tarp, it can be securely tied down.

No more flapping in the breeze when the tarp is covering a load in the back of my truck.

Weave

The weave on my first Grizzly tarp also set it apart from the competition.

It was an eight by eight weave, impressively tight and designed for competitive durability.

The laminated polyethylene material was built to last, and that was something that I tested repeatedly.

The manufacturer highlighted many features:  waterproof, mildew-proof and washable.

Once again, I found that my expectations were exceeded.

This heavy duty tarp was just what I needed to take my outdoor adventures to the next level.

Then, I Discovered Silver Grizzly Tarps

The first Grizzly Tarp I encountered was a standard blue-color tarp.

Of course, I could see that the color was the only respect in which the Grizzly resembled other tarps.

Then, I discovered that Grizzly makes a tarp that’s meant for even more stressful applications.

Heavy Duty Silver Grizzly Tarp Covering Wood
Heavy Duty Silver Grizzly Tarp Covering Wood

These silver tarps are remarkable, and once I discovered them, there was no going back.

Highly Recommend the Silver Heavy Duty Grizzly Tarp

Grizzly constructs these tarps out of an incredibly tight 14 by 14 polyethylene weave.

That means that these tarps are even more durable than the blue version.

Plus, the silver tarp has grommets placed at every 18 inches and a thickness of 10 mils.

The result is a heavy duty tarp that’s pretty much the best in the business.

If you need a robust tarp that can stand up to just about anything, then the silver Grizzly is for you.

One of the other aspects of the silver tarps that I appreciate is that they are UV proof.

UV rays are damaging to pretty much anything, so this extra layer of protection can be really important.

That’s especially true if you’re like me and you use your tarps constantly. And living in Arizona at a higher altitude, you have to watch out for sun damage during the summer months.

The Right Size for Every Application

The blue tarps from Grizzly are available in a range of sizes.

They are as small as five by seven feet and as large as 30 feet by 40 feet.

I haven’t had occasion to buy the largest size yet, but I don’t rule it out.

Silver Grizzlies are available in four sizes that include:

  • 8 x 10
  • 12 x16
  • 12 x 20
  • 20 x 30

This diversity of sizes makes these tarps right for any application.

You Can Use Tarps Anywhere

This is especially true when they’re manufactured by Grizzly.

In fact, Grizzly sells its products to consumers and for industrial purposes.

In my job, I don’t have any need to use tarps, but if I did, I’d insist upon a Grizzly.

These products have proven themselves to me time and again.

Here are a few of the ways that I’ve used a Grizzly Tarps:

-Camping
-Hauling
-Moving
-Protecting a backyard construction project
-Sheltering from the Arizona sun at dozens of sporting events
-Storing construction materials

I’m sure that there have been others as well.

The upshot is that these tarps are up to the task no matter what.

I love the number of grommets in these tarps because it means that they are never flapping in the wind.

That translates to fewer chances of a tear.

Plus, I have to say that I really appreciate the rope that’s sewn into the hem.

This piping makes for an all-but indestructible tarp.

If you’re going with a really heavy-duty application, then don’t hesitate to get the silver one.

I swear that it could just about stand up to hurricane-force winds.

Tarps from Grizzly are the Perfect Camping Accessory

I’ve used these tarps a lot, but by far my most frequent use is in connection with camping.

The family and I love to get away for a weekend or even a week.

Also, since I became a Scout Leader for my sons’ Boy Scout troop, I’ve had even more uses for my Grizzlies.

The Boy Scout organization puts a great deal of emphasis on camping and how to live in the outdoors.

There is no end to the books and instructional videos with the hope of helping scouts to be better prepared for camping.

(not our Boy Scout Troop)

Tarps Save a Rainy Camping Expedition

While my son and I are fairly experienced campers, the same can’t be said for other troop members.

Before our first camping expedition with the Boy Scouts, many of the members had never spent a night in the wilderness.

This meant that our first outing was accompanied by a lot of excitement and not a small amount of apprehension.

Some of the boys were pretty uncomfortable with the thought of being technology-free for a couple of nights, but I was determined to prove to them how fun camping could be.

It was the middle of summer, and we’d been dealing with hot, dry conditions for weeks.

It was a good chance to combine lessons about the outdoors with overall fire safety.

What I didn’t expect was the rain. The day before we left, the forecast suddenly changed.

I got calls from alarmed parents.

It might rain over the weekend.

Were we still planning to go camping?

Now, a little rain never slowed us down, so as far as I was concerned, we were good to go.

The trip was still on.

Luckily, the dry weather held for most of the weekend.

When the rain finally came on the second evening, we were prepared.

Each tent was covered with a Silver Grizzly Tarp.

And each tent was using a Blue Grizzly Tarp for their respective ground cover under the tents

No one was going to be sleeping wet on this trip.

I know there’s a bit of debate about using tarps as ground cover versus inside the tent.

I come down squarely in favor of using your tarp as a ground cover, the tent as many people don’t properly size and place their ground cover.

Your Grizzly won’t let you down either way if you use it right.

We even got to sit around the campfire that night because I rigged up another Grizzly over our heads.

No one got wet, and everyone was happy.

Tarps are an essential part of any camping gear kit.

When you choose one that’s manufactured by Grizzly, you’ll be certain to get years of successful use out of it.

Orca Backpack Cooler and Orca Chaser Travel Mug

orca backpack cooler

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Whether you are camping in the Rocky Mountains, hiking the Grand Canyon rim,visiting Canada or bringing beverages for a sporting event, you will love having your Orca backpack cooler with you.

Outdoor enthusiasts know Orca for its exceptional line of coolers and drinkware. We own the Orca Pod backpack cooler. Living in hot, dry Tucson, AZ, it’s been a lifesaver for us.

Orca Backpack Coolers

Orca offers a variety of coolers. They make their backpack coolers in two sizes. We’ve never owned or even seen a backpack cooler until getting the Orca Pod.

We weren’t sure how it would work, what we would be able to fit, and how easy it would be to carry.

Realtree Max 5 Pod Backpack Cooler

The Pod holds 7.13 gallons (28.5 quarts). This is the larger of Orca’s two backpack coolers.

We have the camo print, called the Realtree Max 5. My husband plans on taking it Elk hunting this fall.

orca backpack cooler
Orca Realtree Max 5 Pod Backpack Cooler

To give an idea of it’s size, you can put 15 pounds of ice in it along with 24 cans. While carrying all of this for a long time might pose a challenge for some, what’s great about this cooler is you have the option to carry it many different ways.

With traditional coolers you can only carry them by the handle, oftentimes with the cooler hitting you in the leg as you carry it. With the Pod, you can easily carry it on your back, using your body to manage the weight of whatever you put in the cooler.

While many people wouldn’t hike for miles with the max load of 59.5 pounds on their backs, it’s great the cooler can bear this weight, as drinks and ice are heavy.

Also, you can definitely comfortably carry it from your car to your campsite or picnic when it’s filled. The straps are padded. They are also adjustable, so whoever carries the cooler can get a good, stable fit.

It keeps food and drinks very cold, so even if you want to use it for hiking, you can manage it. You may just not want to use as much ice, so it will be lighter.

Orca Pod cooler review

We’ve used this cooler so far for camping with Boy Scouts, local sightseeing, on road trips, putting groceries in it while driving home, and for our kids’ sports.

Orca Pod backpack cooler
top-notch insulation

Our favorite use has been taking it along with us when we sat through our kids’ brutally hot May and June weekend sports games and tournaments. Again, we live in Tucson, Arizona.

Sometimes we would be there all day — up to eight or nine hours — and having this cooler was an absolute blessing. In the mornings we would load it with ice, lots of water, sandwiches, lots of snacks, and even four cool towels.

Sometimes my husband would carry it, and other times we put it in our portable, collapsible wagon with our chairs. Even in the 100+ degree heat, we enjoyed cold drinks and intact food. My kids liked that their granola bars and sandwiches were as they would have been at home — cool and not melting.

We’ve also taken our Pod backpack cooler on road trips and local sightseeing. We have family that lives two hours away, and we often bring snacks for our kids as well as food for dinner for everyone.

In the summer months, we’ve put food in it — ice cream novelties, etc. — so it would keep on our 30 minute commute home from Costco. We didn’t even put ice in it always; it was just to keep it out of the sun.

It fits easily in our car, isn’t cumbersome, and is a great size for food, ice and drinks.

Orca Coolers Pod Backpack
Orca Pod backpack cooler

While we occasionally wipe it out, we always air it out to be sure it’s dry before we close it.

More features of the Orca Backpack

The interior is anti-microbial. It’s BPA-free and made with FDA-approved, food-grade materials.

The cooler walls are sturdy and reinforced. You can stack things on top of the cooler without worrying about it caving in.

Your drinks will stay cold in this cooler, for hours longer than you need them to. Just for fun, I put ice cubes in the cooler — filled about a quarter of the way — with nothing else. I put it outside on the sun-exposed hot brick on a 110 degree June day. I put it out in the morning by 8am (already in the nineties) and there was still ice in it by 7pm. Some had melted, but the vast majority was remaining which is incredible.

You can just tell it’s very well made. There is a heavy-duty zipper that’s very sturdy and seals completely.

We really enjoy using our Orca Pod backpack cooler. It’s been our go-to cooler now, no matter what we are doing or where we are going.

We like that it’s fairly light when it’s empty — 6.6 pounds (3 kg) — and that it doesn’t take up a lot of space in our trunk.

It measures: 18″ length x 11″ width x 18″ height.

Podster Backpack Cooler

The Podster, the smaller of the two, holds 3.5 gallons (14.25 quarts). Orca describes it as a day pack.

We own the larger one, the Pod, and haven’t used this cooler, the Podster.

However, while we don’t own it, I wanted to discuss how practical this cooler would be due to its smaller size. The Podster would be a great cooler to take hiking, short trips, really anywhere.

I could see our family using the Podster often. Being we live in a hot and dry climate, we carry water bottles with us everywhere we go, all year.

From April through November, when we set out across town, or sometimes even jaunts that are just 30 minutes, we usually pack extra water, just in case.

Also, with kids, I’m forever packing snacks. During the hot summer months, you can’t leave anything in the car with the heat, especially food.

It would be perfect to put everything in this Podster, eliminating the need for multiple bags, etc. I would easily just put my ice or ice packs in it along with water and snacks.

This seems like it would be convenient to take to the zoo, sporting events, and trips to the park. You would be able to carry it hiking or pretty much anything you wanted to do.

It comes in Fuschia, Seafoam/Grey, Coral/Grey, and Realtree Max 5 Camo.

It’s a bit smaller than the Pod, measuring 15″ length x 9″ width x 15″ height. Empty, it weighs 3.6 pounds (1.6 kg). Even though it’s small, it can hold up to 28.5 pounds.

Best backpack cooler

These are such high-quality coolers, and depending on your situation, both sizes are convenient. They are made to withstand weather and elements, keeping your food and drinks cold.

If you packed it with ice and put frozen foods inside, like steak, fish, etc., they would stay frozen for a long time safely. The Pod would be great to take if you are wanting to vacation off-the-grid for awhile or going to a rural or remote location.

Orca Backpack Cooler
The Pod (shown) is larger than the Podster.

Orca backpack coolers are portable, lightweight, and roomy.

Orca Backpack Coolers

There are many other great things about their backpack coolers. They are handy for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, road trips and even for airplane traveling.

The compact sizes allow them to fit well in the overhead storage compartments of planes and trains, making them useful for almost any type of travel that your creative mind can dream up!

And while they are soft-sided, they are very sturdy and aren’t collapsible; they would withstand the demands of traveling.

Other features include padded straps with the addition of a T-strap across the chest to help distribute the weight when it is full.

The Pod and the Podster are manufactured with vacuum-sealed inner and outer walls.

While the Pod holds up to 24 cans with 15 pounds of ice, the Podster can accommodate 12, 12-ounce cans with 7.5 pounds of ice.

You can open and close either cooler and after days, most of the ice will still be intact.

What characteristics do the Orca Coolers have in common?

Both the Podster and the Pod include a tough inner shell made of foam and reinforced inner and outer walls that keep the cooler’s shape and prevent crushing and scratching.

Both models have doubly sealed waterproof zippers that prevent air and melted ice from leaking from the flip top.

The material surrounding the zipper is equally as tough and is designed to prevent rips, cuts, and is BPA-free and antimicrobial.

Orca has built them to keep your food not only cool and but safe, too.

Besides being covered with a tough vinyl, the Pod and the Podster include several sets of canvas straps.

These straps allow you to add a variety of accessories, such as a wine bottler opener or maybe your eating utensils.

Inside these backpack coolers is a shell made of a closed cell foam that prevents leakage and maintains stability, keeping your food and beverages at the correct temperature.

The well-padded shoulder straps of the Pod and Podster help distribute weight and keep the person carrying the cooler comfortable.

The Podster also has a third strap, called a T-strap, for use across the chest to help balance the cooler when it is full. (Remember, this one holds 59.5 pounds!)

Orca backpack cooler is built for functionality

These coolers are built for functionality. No oddly shaped pockets adorn them, only the canvas straps useful for accessories and tools.

With the lifetime warranty offered by Orca, the Pod and Podster backpack coolers will serve you for years.

Once you realize all the ways these coolers can be useful, you’ll find yourself using them for more than just hiking and camping.

Orca Chaser Travel Mug

We love our backpack cooler, and we were equally surprised at how much we enjoy the Orca Chaser.

Orca tumbler with snap on lid
Orca Realtree Max 5 Chaser

This tumbler holds 27 ounces.

We have the Realtree Max 5 Chaser which is one of over 10 of their camo patterns. The Realtree Max 5 matches our Pod cooler.

Orca Chaser

We own a lot of travel mugs, travel cups, hot/cold cups, etc. “It’s just another travel mug,” is what I thought when I saw it. However, it has quickly become my husband’s ABSOLUTE FAVORITE to use.

He uses his Orca Chaser on a daily basis, at home and while commuting. He uses it all the time, so much so, that I haven’t ever used it.

However, on a long car ride, I asked him what made it his favorite — and he has a lot of tumblers, travel mugs, etc. “What makes the Orca so much better?” I asked him.

He really couldn’t say enough about it. He likes that it fits well in his hand and in the cup holder in both of our vehicles. And yes, it keeps his coffee hot and his ice and drinks cold.

Orca chaser tumbler

But what he loves is the most is the tight seal and the lid.

He loves the lid. It doesn’t snap on; there’s a piece that fits into the mouth opening and holds it closed. He said, “The lid makes the cup.” It’s what sets it apart from all the others.

Orca Chaser holds 27 oz

They are made with 18/8 stainless steel and have a vacuum-sealed body to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot.

The lid is Tritan polymer. It has a sip hole that can be used as is or with a straw.

Orca Chaser colors

There are dozens of color varieties and patterns available for the Orca Chaser. Unlike the stainless steel option, all of the other colors and patterns come with a transparent polymer lid in colors that compliment the travel mugs.

They have a stunning array of pastels, including floral patterns, including desert cacti, palm leaves, and flamingos.

There are also high gloss finishes in solid colors. You can even get an Orca tumbler with one of the state flags, NCAA teams, NHL teams, and more.

What else makes Orca travel mugs the best?

All of the travel mugs include self-sealing lids, easy-to-clean exteriors and interiors, and the double-wall vacuum-sealed technology found in Orca’s popular hard- and soft-sided coolers.

The Orca travel mug easy fits most cup holders.

It holds 27 ounces and measures 7″ in height.

What is the Orca company?

Orca, the Outdoor Recreation Company of America, is based out of Nashville, Tennessee.

They have been in the business of planning and producing useful equipment for campers, hikers, and hunters since 2012.

Orca quickly gained a name for itself for its hard-sided coolers but it is the soft-sided backpack coolers that are becoming the company’s most popular products.

It’s a company that gives back locally and nationwide.

Orca products for outdoor recreation

People who love the outdoors founded Orca. They regularly test their products in real situations, under the same types of conditions that their customers would use the coolers and travel accessories.

Among its product line, Orca offers travel mugs and drinkware, camping coolers ranging in size from 20 quarts to 120 quarts, and its very popular line of smaller backpack coolers.

Again, being we live in the southwest, in the desert, it gets really hot.

We wanted a backpack cooler to get us through our kids’ outdoor sports. We asked Orca for the Pod backpack cooler so we could try it out.

Our kids play their sports year round. Our usual chest coolers weren’t enough. Little did we know it would become our favorite cooler. We use it often.

The Pod backpack cooler is portable, holds a lot, and the perfect size for our family and adventures.

Horse Grooming and DIY Farrier – All You Need to Know

Horse Grooming and DIY Farrier All You Need to Know

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Horse Grooming and DIY Farrier – Proper horse grooming is essential. Without regular grooming, your horse can be vulnerable to numerous health problems, especially hoof-related.

There are certain things to keep in mind before grooming your horse.

Horses are large animals.

You have to have full control over him, even when he is superbly trained.

Remember that a sudden and unfamiliar noise can startle him and make him dash out.

Therefore, it’s critical to keep yourself calm and your actions predictable.

Essential DIY Skills for Every Homesteader

Horse Grooming and DIY Farrier All You Need to Know
Horse Grooming and DIY Farrier All You Need to Know

Before Horse Grooming

Before you start grooming, ensure the:

Halter is in position.

Two cross ties are in place.

Without cross ties, grooming the horse in his stable can be dangerous.

His movements can crush you against walls and other objects.

Installing cross ties is a requirement before you start grooming.

How to groom a horse

Check the horse’s eyes, ears, and mouth for any irregularities.

Check for bumps or scratches over his body.

Slide your hand over his hooves, one at a time, to confirm they are well.

Clean the hooves to remove any foreign matter.

The hoof area is an integral part of the horse’s body since the accumulation of debris here can lead to hoof infection, which can maim a horse.

Brush and clean the main and tail to eliminate dried mud, burrs, and other debris.

Use combs to untangle them to give them a well-groomed look.

Before riding your horse, you should brush him to be sure there isn’t debris where you will place the saddle.

If someone isn’t riding the horse every day, you can skip some of the care procedures.

How to Groom a Horse

There are two main elements to grooming a horse:

  1. Brushing the coat
  2. Cleaning the hooves

There is no right or wrong order to groom your horse.

However, it is a good idea to get into a routine and always do the process the same way, either feet or grooming first, so the horse can anticipate what you are going to do.

Start with your horse secured in cross ties that are attached to the halter.

This ensures that the horse cannot flick one way or the other, plus it frees up both of your hands to work with the grooming.

If you are trying to both groom and hold the horse, you are likely going to find this much more difficult, and there is a greater chance of injury.

With the horse secured, start either on the grooming or on the hooves, whichever you prefer.

Cleaning Horse hooves
Cleaning Horse hooves

Cleaning the hooves

Many owners prefer to start by cleaning the hooves.

Then your horse can relax and enjoy the rest of the routine.

To correctly position yourself, stand next to the horse’s left front shoulder, just to the front of the body.

Run your hand, the hand you don’t normally hold the pick in, down the front of the leg until you reach the hoof.

Most horses that have had their feet cleaned will pick up their foot, but if they don’t, gently press your shoulder and upper body against the outside of the shoulder, which will slightly move the horse off balance.

He or she will shift weight to the other front foot.

When this happens, pick the left foot up, bending the leg as it would naturally bend back toward the center of the horse’s body.

Hold the hoof firmly in your hand.

Use the pick to remove all the debris.

Be very careful not to dig into the frog, which is the soft, triangular-shaped center part of the hoof.

This area can be very sensitive.

Repeat this process with the other hoof until completed.

Be sure to give a treat to the horse after the first hoof and then after you finished the second.

This helps him know he’s doing a great job.

Having a farrier tool kit would be essential as well.

Grooming a horse

When grooming equine, you can either start with the mane or the tail.

If the horse is dirty, muddy or has a winter coat, start with the curry comb and groom the entire body using gentle, circular shaped motions that follow the direction of hair growth.

Work from the neck to the chest, over the shoulders, down the back of the sides and the legs.

Remember, the curry comb is not flexible.

Be sure to be very gentle on the sides and down the legs.

If your horse is flinching and twitching away, switch to the dandy brush over the sensitive areas.

After the curry comb, follow the same pattern with the dandy brush.

This will flick away all the dust and dead hair.

Follow-up with the body brush for a shiny, sleek look.

Then gently use the body brush on the face, but not near the eyes.

You can use a wet soft cloth or sponge to clean around the eyes and inside the nostrils.

Be sure to rinse it out after each use.

Again, being predictable and gentle with your horses will calm them.

Having the proper grooming supplies will help you to groom them faster and more thoroughly.

Horse Grooming Supplies

When you have the right horse grooming supplies, it makes maintaining your horses much easier and more effective.

These are our favorite grooming products.

Oster Equine Care Series 7-Piece Grooming Kit

This is a particularly great set.

It’s very inexpensive for all the brushes and the quality and long life you will get from them.

Something misleading about this set is the 7th piece is the bag, not an additional brush.

Still, for the price, you can’t beat it.

This horse grooming kit has everything you need for grooming, detangling and cleaning the hooves.

It comes with:

  • Grooming brush (stiff)
  • Finishing brush (soft)
  • Brush for the mane and tail
  • Comb for the mane and tail
  • Curry comb (coarse)
  • Pick for hooves

These are really all the brushes you will need to brush and groom your horse.

The bag is nice but we don’t use it.

Maybe if we traveled for horse shows we would.

We keep everything in a small bucket.

This way we can easily access whatever we need.

It also makes it easy to rinse out and store for air drying.

We don’t rinse them after every use, but it helps to have clean supplies when grooming a horse.

Our horses love when we brush them.

Great value for the price.

Wahl Professional Animal Equine Sweat Scraper

Depending on the season, your horse might benefit from a sweat scraper.

For a horse to cool down, his sweat has to evaporate. In some climates, especially when it’s hot and humid, it takes a lot longer to evaporate.

You can use the sweat scrapper to help remove excess moisture.

It will help your horse to cool down faster.

Oster A5 Turbo 2-Speed Professional Animal Clipper

These pet grooming clippers work well for horses, dogs, and most any other animals you have.

The heavy-duty motor makes it fast and easy to groom your horse.

There are two speeds, and it’s easy to switch from one to the other.

This set comes with everything you need, including a 12′ cord, #10 blade, lubricating blade oil, clipper grease, a cleaning brush, and carbon brush replacements.

The only negative is it weighs just under two pounds, so it’s a bit heavy if you are working on your animals for a long time.

If you have a lot of animals to clip, the Andis ProClip AGC2 2-Speed Detachable Blade Clipper does a quality job as well and is a little bit quieter and lighter at 17.5 ounces.

Chlorhexidine solution (2%)

It’s important to have this on hand for horse wound care.

This also works for dogs.

When you put it on the wound, it works up to two days.

Chlorhexidine works against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including strep, staph, listeria, E. coli, and yeast.

Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle to dilute it properly.

Something we do is premix it and keep it handy in small bottle.

Vestil BTL-RC-8 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Round Squeeze Dispensing Bottle with Removable Red Cap, 8 oz Capacity so we have it when we need it.

Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel

We’ve also keep on hand this horse liniment for sore muscles.

We use it regularly for our older horse.

Just be sure to wear gloves when applying it to your horses.

Take the time to clean your brushes and combs so when you groom your horse the items will be clean.

You need to ensure that your horse’s nose and eyes are clean and healthy and wiping these down with a damp sponge is very important.

By you grooming your horse every day you are not only bonding with them but also helping to check them over.

You can tell if there are any lumps and bumps and maybe if they are showing signs of un-comfort.

If you are concerned, then you should speak to your vet who can check the horse out more thoroughly.

If you spend the time to get to know your horse by horse grooming, then they will respond with kindness and love.

Horses should be groomed daily if at all possible.

If you are riding, it is important to groom both before and after every ride, paying careful attention to the feet.

A well-groomed horse is a healthy horse.

Both you and he will feel better for a good grooming.

Farrier Tools to Care for Your Horse’s Hoofs

If you are a horse owner or enjoy working with horses and grooming your horse, then you may have entertained the idea of learning how to maintain a horse’s hoofs.

It can seem like quite an intimidating task, especially since the health of the hoof is imperative to the overall soundness of the animal.

With the right farrier tools, any task can be accomplished with relative ease.

The first step is collecting a number of suitable supplies that will help you perform basic maintenance tasks.

Experienced farriers have a veritable arsenal of expensive tools and accessories at their disposal.

There is no need for you to develop a similar collection unless you are planning to take on all shoeing and hoof maintenance tasks yourself.

You also might need to expand your collection if you plan to become a professional farrier.

The list we have compiled here is meant to guide you through the process of acquiring the basic tools of the trade.

Each item has been carefully reviewed for its durability, functionality and effectiveness.

Most items on the list are economically priced.

We went this direction with the understanding that these tools would be used by the horse owner who will only be responsible for incidental maintenance or for those who are simply wanting to learn more about being a farrier.

Accordingly, you can pick up all five of these tools without breaking the bank.

What you’ll have in the end is a basic farrier tool kit that will let you take care of routine hoof maintenance.

The result is a healthier, happier horse.

You also may find that many of these tools can be used on other hoofed animals like goats and pigs.

Farrier Tools to Care for Your Horse

Farrier Rasps:

Nicholson Farrier Rasp File, American Pattern, Rasp Cut, Rectangular, 14″ Length

This sturdy, extra-large rasp is tough enough to take on any job.

It’s suitable for use on draft horses, but it can be just as useful when dealing with Shetlands, pigs and goats.

You may feel that it’s a bit heavy, but that weight is actually to the benefit of this rasp.

You won’t have to use a great deal of force to get the job done.

The Nicholson Farrier Rasp File is designed to slough away excess hoof material.

With the American pattern on the rasp, it’s built to work with aggression.

On one side of the tool are rasp-cut teeth.

A density of six teeth per row instead of the usual five makes every job quicker and cleaner.

On the other side of the tool, you’ll find coarse grade American-pattern teeth for filing.

This will produce a rough finish that may need to be polished with a finer grit file.

This rasp is fitted with a cushion grip on the tip and handle for maximum comfort and utility.

Given the roughness of the rasp and the size of the overall tool, even large jobs can be finished quickly and with ease.

As farrier tools go, this one is essential.

You may find that it helps you with other tasks around the house too.

People have used this particular rasp with woodworking projects and for making bows.

Chances are good that you’ll find inventive ways to use this durable tool.

Farrier Stand

Hoofjack Standard Hoof Jack Stand

Anyone who has ever tried to shoe a horse or simply maintain their horse’s hoofs between visits from the farrier knows what a challenge this chore can be.

Skilled farriers can often go about their tasks without using a hoof stand, but one of these useful tools always comes in handy eventually.

The Hoofjack Standard Hoof Jack Stand is in many ways the best such appliance on the market today.

Hoofjack is a brand from the Equine Innovations, Inc. company.

They’ve been around since 2000 when a longtime farrier by the name of Kevin Keeler decided that there must be a better, safer, more comfortable way to work with horses.

In fact, his innovation came about as a result of an injury he received while working with a horse one day.

The horse collapsed, and Keeler was injured in the fall.

He devoted himself to developing a way to safely support a horse’s hoof while it was being worked on.

The result was the Hoofjack Jack Stand.

Over years of development, Keeler refined his design until he had a system that supported the horse’s front and hind legs.

The farrier no longer had to assume the weight of the horse, and the horse was more comfortable overall.

Several versions of the Hoofjack are now on the market, but the Standard is the one that is most often recommended.

Priced at about $200, this hoof stand accommodates anything from a pony up to a small draft horse.

The sturdy base is constructed of linear polyethylene, and it is covered by a three-year warranty against horse damage.

Two strong magnets are attached to the base so that tools like the rasp and nippers will always be within reach.

The comfortable cradle safely holds the horse’s leg, keeping him calm and comfortable.

For just a slight expenditure, it can be vastly easier for anyone to maintain their horse’s hoofs.

Farrier Nippers

Diamond 14D 14-Inch Hoof Nipper

The hoof nipper is an essential part of any farrier’s tool kit.

Of course, you don’t have to be a farrier in order to safely and effectively trim your horse’s hoofs.

That’s exactly what this offering from Diamond Farrier Co. is all about.

This powerful yet economical set of nippers is designed to do the heavy work for you.

It’s likely that you’ll need to use both hands to wield this tool.

It’s weight and 14-inch length ensure that.

You will definitely want to use your Hoofjack Jack Stand while using the nipper on your horse.

The main use for the nipper is for the removal of excess wall.

Most farriers will start at the heel, working their way toward the toe.

Then, they begin at the other side of the heel, once again working their way around to the toe.

If your horse is showing signs of overgrown bars, exfoliating sole or shedding frog, then these nippers may be used for these tasks as well.

One word of caution: Always nip away slightly less than you believe is necessary.

You can go back over the area with a rasp to smooth it later.

The Diamond 14D 14-Inch Hoof Nipper is made using only high-quality steel for maximum strength and durability.

Both the jaws and handles are heat treated, and cutting edges are hardened, honed and ground to produce the most effective cutting tool for the price.

The plastic-coated handles provide excellent grip.

These nippers are built to withstand regular use over the course of several years.

Hoof Knife

Swiss Hoof Knife 8″ Farrier Tools Wooden Handle Premium Instruments UPGRADED PATTERN

This hoof knife manufactured by Premium Instruments features quality craftsmanship that will help this tool survive for a long life.

AISI 420 German stainless steel is used to fashion the blade, and the tool has been built to comply with the CE-Quality mark, ISO 9001 and other recognized standards of quality.

The finish is highly polished so that the blade more easily resists corrosion for even better durability and performance.

With a carefully shaped wooden handle, this knife is comfortable and ergonomic.

The oval-shaped cutting surface guarantees a precision trim of sole tissue every time.

Those who are confident and comfortable with the use of the hoof knife will be able to use it to sculpt the bars, trim frog that is shedding and for exfoliating the sole.

The quality and durability of the Swiss Hoof Knife will serve you well, and become an indispensable part of your collection of tools.

Farrier Apron

Tough-1 Deluxe Farrier Apron

Priced at about $50, this entry-level farrier apron is the perfect addition to your tool kit.

It’s tough enough to protect your legs from a recalcitrant horse, but still lightweight enough to be comfortable to wear.

The waist and both legs on the Tough-1 apron are adjustable, so it is possible for men and women of virtually all sizes to wear them.

A sturdy knife pocket on the right leg keeps important tools always within easy reach.

On the left leg is a magnet for holding horseshoe nails and other small, metal accessories.

The material is mainly thick suede leather, and the knees are reinforced with fleece.

Leg adjusters are heavy-duty, chrome-plated clasps.

This apron is of adequate quality and durability for anyone who plans occasional maintenance of their horse’s hoofs.

It also works for people who have an interest in becoming a farrier and aren’t ready to invest in a more costly or even customized apron yet.

Doing anything with your horse’s hoofs without protecting at least your lower body is not recommended.

This Tough-1 apron is definitely up to the task of ensuring that your foray into horse hoof care does not result in an injury.

Complete Essential Farrier Tools Kits - Tools For the Professional Farrier
Complete Essential Farrier Tools Kits – Tools For the Professional Farrier

Complete Essential Farrier Tools Kits – Tools For the Professional Farrier

If you own a horse, then you know how critical it is to ensure hoof health.

One of the best ways you can do this is by getting a farrier tool kit and learning how to use it.

These tools enables you to maintain your horse’s hoofs without having to call the farrier.

And make it apart of your horse grooming routine.

You will likely still need to rely on the farrier for shoeing, since none of the kits that we review here includes all of the tools of the trade.

Nonetheless, you’ll appreciate having the ability to better care for your horse.

Farriers also may want to consider adding one of these kits to their everyday supplies.

Each one contains several useful tools and a convenient case to make transportation straightforward.

These kits are compact enough to travel with you if you’re spending several days on the trail.

They fit easily into saddlebags and knapsacks for on-the-go requirements.

With these tools within reach, you’ll be able to handle problems as they arise.

Horse Farrier Tool Kit

Thisfive-piece set covers all of the basics for those who want to maintain their horse’s hoofs between visits from the farrier.

Each tool is constructed from vanadium steel.

The addition of vanadium to steel is essential for added strength, which means that this is a durable set of farrier tools.

This particular kit is ideal and would make a great deal for someone who wants all of the basic tools of the trade.

This kit includes nippers, which are essential for trimming the hoof wall so that it is the correct length.

The nail pullers are specifically design to grip nail heads to make them easier to remove from the shoe crease.

Also included in the kit are two hoof knives, one that is oval and another that is curved.

The clinch block can be used for nail setting while the clinch cutter, which looks like an undersized hatchet, is used to get rid of excess nail points.

  • Hoof knife
  • Shoe Puller
  • Hoof nipper
  • Rasp and Rasp Handle
  • Roll-up Farrier kit bag with pockets and Velcro(R) closures Handles can come in assorted colors

Each item in this kit conforms to CE, ISO 9001 and FDA standards.

They are collected into a nice bag, which can easily be folded and includes a sturdy nylon handle and tie for convenient transport.

You’ll have just about everything you need for basic shoeing and grooming with this kit.

11 Piece Farrier’s Tool Kit Set

  1. Horse Hoof Nippers
  2. Clincher Tester Knife
  3. Rasp
  4. Chisel
  5. Shears
  6. Floats
  7. Equine Dental
  8. Fold Up Case

This deluxe set has just about everything you can imagine needing to provide basic care to your horse.

It includes a hoof tester, which is essential equipment for probing the horse’s hoof for painful areas.

You’ll also find a farrier’s rasp in the kit.

This tool can be used by farriers or riders who discover a rough edge on a hoof in the midst of a ride.

Back at the stable, the rasp can be used for a multitude of chores.

Keeping the horse’s hoofs level and even is the most important one.

The included chisel is perhaps more useful to the farrier than it is to the horse owner, as this tool typically is used to widen nail holes or remove embedded nails.

Another tool in this kit that is best wielded by a professional is the float.

Horse teeth grow without stopping.

Usually, their teeth wear down naturally through eating, but sometimes a sharp edge will develop.

That sharp edge may make it difficult for your horse to eat.

She also may have a difficult time taking a bit.

The troublesome tooth or teeth can be filed down with a chisel-like tool called a float.

Precision and knowledge are required to do this job.

In other words, it’s not something you want to attempt without having undergone the necessary training.

Another important tool, the bot knife, is included in the kit.

This useful implement makes it easier to remove bot fly eggs from the legs, knees and chest of the horse.

This deluxe set from comes in a handsome, roll-up kit that can be taken anywhere.

The quality of the tools makes the price worthwhile.

Pro Rider Complete Farrier Tool Kit with Carrying Case Kit

A convenient bag holds eleven tools that are essential to the farrier’s trade.

This set from Pro Rider includes essentials like a hoof tester, nippers, rasp and a farrier’s knife…and much more.

Unlike the other kits listed here, this one includes a farrier’s nailing hammer.

This implement typically is used to punch holes through the hoof.

Claws on the opposite side of the hammer’s head allow the farrier to wring off any nail tips that come through the horse’s hoof.

These farrier tools kits provide you with all of the basics that you need in a quality case.

Secure loops in the carrying case keep everything from shifting around.

You’ll always know where everything is, and be able to access each tool quickly.

Solid construction and a good reputation are yet more reasons why you might want to choose this kit to add to your personal collection.

With easy grip handles and ergonomic shaping, you’ll find that these tools are among the easiest you have ever used.

Taking care of a horse can seem like a daunting responsibility, but it certainly helps to have the right tools.

Any of these kits could provide you with the basics that you need to provide your horse with ongoing hoof care.

If you are a farrier, then you will appreciate the durable nature of these tools as well as the quality of the carrying cases.

You will want to have one of these farrier tools kits always at hand whether you are a farrier or just want to take care of your horse between shoeing.

Farrier Links and Resources

Search for the Perfect Horse

Reining, cutting, roping, barrel racing, western pleasure, team penning and more.

Free photo ads for all judged and timed event western performance horses for sale at Search for the Perfect Horse.

Don’t limit your market when selling your horse – reach All competitors from the show pen to the rodeo arena.

HorseTrailDirectory.com

Horse trails and campgrounds throughout North America (and some outside NA). Use riders’ ratings of trails and camps and get local weather forecasts to help plan your trip.

Horse Directory

A human-edited links directory for horse and horse related websites.

Horse & Barn – Classifieds:

Sale Horses, Stallions at Stud, Horse Farm and Farrier Items

Quick Canopies

Horse and Livestock Run In Sheds, Agriculture Storage Sheds

Farrier Terminology

There is a rich glossary of terminology used throughout the farrier world.

Having a firm grasp of these terms can allow the enthusiast to better understand the trade.

Listed below are some of the more common terms found in articles, at professional events, and within the conversations of trainers, farriers, vets, and horse owners.

This list provides just an overview of the vocabulary used to describe the hoof of a horse, and is by no means comprehensive.

Action: The way in which a horse moves during various gaits.

Bar: The section found on the bottom of the hoof and on the sides of the frog where the hoof turns inward.

Boxy Hooves: Slender, vertical hooves with a narrow frog and a heel that is closed. Also known as a clubbed foot.

Brushing Boots: An instrument used to guard a horse’s leg from injuries related to brushing.

Brushing: A situation where the horse’s hoof or shoe collides with the inner part of its opposite leg, typically near the fetlock joint. This is often caused by poor conformation or action.

Bulbs: The two circular bulges at the rear of the hoof.

Cast: A term referring to a horse loosing a shoe, usually by accident; for example, “the horse cast a shoe last week.”

Cannon Bone: A bone found above a horse’s fetlock, in both the fore and hind legs. Also known as the shank bone.

Club Foot: An alternative term for Boxy Hooves.

Coffin Bone: The bone of the horse closest to the ground. It is surrounded by the hoof capsule.

Conformation: The correctness of a horse’s physical structure, including bone and muscular structure, as well as body proportions.

Coronet: The section of the hoof immediately above the hornlike growth; the part where hoof growth takes place.

Cracked Heel: A condition where the hoof is inflamed, with cracked skin and pus discharge.

Deep Going: Ground that is soft and wet, causing the hooves to sink in.

Dropped Sole: The downward movement of the front of the coffin bone within the hoof as a result of laminitis.

Farrier: A craftsman specializing in the care of horse hooves, including trimming an shoeing.

Fetlock: A joint on the leg of a horse found between the canon bone and pastern.

Flat-Footed: A characteristic of a hoof where the angle is significantly less than 45 degrees.

Founder: A condition where the laminae is inflamed; also known as laminitis.

Frog: The fleshy area in the center of the bottom of the hoof.

Heel: The rear portion of the bottom of the hoof.

Hoof Capsule: The outer portion of the hoof.

Hoof Pick: A tool used to remove dirt and other debris from the hoof.

Hoof: The foot of a horse.

Horn: The outer covering of the hoof, which is tough and insensitive.

Hoof Wall: The visible outer portion of the hoof, which is composed of horny material, and grows continuously.

Laminae: The interior lining of the hoof.

Laminitis: A condition where the laminae is inflamed; also known as founder.

Lateral Cartilages: The strips of cartilage attached to the coffin bone inside of the foot.

Navicular Bone: A bone inside of the hoof, small in size, which is found between the short pastern and coffin bone.

Navicular Disease: A disease affecting the navicular bone, where the bone degenerates, causing the animal pain and potentially causing lameness.

Nerve Block: A veterinarian tool used to diagnose the location of a horse’s lameness. The tool accomplishes this task by blocking the nerves of the foot and leg in a progressive manner until the problem are is located.

Neurectomy: A medical procedure where nerves are severed which provided sensation to the foot. This procedure is used to treat navicular disease, and is also known as de-nerving.

Pastern: The section of a horse’s leg above the top of the hoof and below the fetlock.

Pathological: A condition that is disease-based.

Rasp: An instrument used for shaping wood or other materials. A farrier’s rasp is used to remove excess portions of the hoof wall from the bottom of a hoof.

Seedy Toe: A condition where the laminae is separated from the hoof wall, often as a result of neglecting foot care.

Shoe, To: The process of attaching metal shoes to the hooves of a horse. This work is typically done by a farrier.

Sidebone: Hardening of the cartilage on the sides of the coffin bone.

Sole: The area of the bottom of the hoof from the front portion of the white line to the frog.

Thrush: A condition where the frog degenerates; this is usually accompanied by infection and blackening of the afflicted area; this condition often stems from horses being kept in unsanitary housing.

White Line: A structure on the bottom of the hoof that separates the sensitive areas of the hoof from the insensitive areas.

Farrier Associations

American Farriers Association

The American Farrier Assocation is a national association devoted to the development of farriers and the industry through leadership, resources and education.

Each and every effort made by the organization is based on the five tenets of Education, Certification, Communication, Research and Innovation. http://www.americanfarriers.org/

Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association

The Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association is a non-profit organization aimed at providing horse owners with accurate information on shoeing by professional farriers.

This organization is the largest farrier association in the world by membership count including farriers, horse owners and members of the public interested in the farrier profession.

The Brotherhood of Working Farrier Association also promotes farrier certification and encourages horse owners to seek certified farriers when shoeing. http://www.bwfa.net/

American Association of Professional Farriers

The American Association of Professional Farriers was launched in January 2012 with the intent to promote the integrity of the farrier industry by strengthening the knowledge and skills of its members through continuing education and support at the state, national and international levels while improving overall equine health through collaboration with other industry professionals.

Farriers Association of Washington State (FAWS)

The Farrier Assocation of Washington State is a Washington-based organization devoted to enhancing communication and learning between farriers and to increase overall horse industry communication.

The FAWS also organizes clinics and conventions for all professionals in the horse industry in order to exchange views and thoughts as well as exchange information about their profession.

San Diego County Farriers Association

The San Diego County Farriers Association is a non-profit organization promoting sound and safe practices of the farrier science within the Sand Diego County.

The SDCFA also seeks to provide education and hands-on experience in the field of farriery and horse care. http://www.sdcfa.org/

Rocky Mountain Farrier Association

The Rocky Mountain Farrier Association is a non-profit organization based out of the Rocky Mountain region dedicated to organizing professional farriers and others within horse related professions in sharing and promoting interest in the science of farriery.

This association is strictly for educational purposes and also educates the public on the subject of the farrier.
http://rockymountainfarriers.com

Pennsylvania Professional Farriers’ Association

The Pennsylvania Professiona Farrier Association is a Pennsylvania based organization devoted to organizing farriers and horse-related professionals and to facilitate education regarding the farrier industry and profession.

The PPFA also seeks to promote the farrier industry within the community and encourage learning about the profession for those interested.
http://www.pafarriers.com/

Georgia Professional Farrier’s Association

The Georgia Professional Farrier’s Association is a Georgia-based organization dedicated to educating members and the public alike in shoeing methods and business management.

The GPFA seeks to better the industry and improve standards of quality within the farrier industry. http://www.georgiafarriers.org/

Indiana Farriers’ Association

The Indiana Farrier’s Association is an Indiana-based organization whose purpose it is to promote and encourage quality in the farrier industry as well as sponsoring and promoting educational farriery meetings and activities.
http://www.indianafarriers.org/

South Carolina Farrier’s Association

The South Carolina Farrier’s Association is a South Carolina association dedicated to educating all farriers.

The SCFA hosts clinics each month in an effort to continually improve its members.

The SCFA is an official state chapter of the American Farriers Association.

Texas Professional Farriers Association

The Texas Professional Farriers Assocation is a Texas based group whose purpose it is to increase skill level and better business practices for all farriers within the greater Texas area.

The TPFA has also developed a multi-level certification program and host regular clinics and family gatherings.
http://www.tpfa.org/

Missouri Farriers’ Association

The Missouri Farriers’ Association is a group of farriers dedicated to continuing the education of practicing farriers within the greater Missouri area.

The MFA is also a registered chapter of the Brotherhood of Working Farriers.

Minnesota Farriers Association

An association devoted to education Minnesota farriers and promoting clinics, meetings and seminars for the purpose of bringing professional farriers together.

The MFA also promotes the sharing of information and skills for the benefit or horses and the industry.

Maryland Farriers Association

The Maryland Farriers Association is a local chapter of the American Farriers Assocation for the greater Maryland Area.

The primary focus of the MFA is promoting unity and education within the Maryland farrier community. http://www.marylandfarriersassociation.com/

Oregon Farriers Association

The Oregon Farriers Association is an Oregon based group devoted to holding clinics and fostering communication between all professional farriers of Oregon.

The OFA seeks to keep Oregon farriers continually educated and improve standards of quality for farriery within the Oregon area. http://oregonfarrier.org/

Oklahoma Farrier’s Association

The purpose of the OFA is to promote communication and fellowship among farriers within the state of Oklahoma.

The OFA also encourages the development of technical skills related to farriery through continued education and fostering idea exchange.

Iowa Professional Farriers Association

The IPFA is an Iowa based group dedicated to furthering knowledge of the farrier by continually educating its members and taking an active role within the farrier industry.

The IPFA is open to farriers as well as owners, veterinarians and any member of the public interested in farrier.
http://www.iowafarriers.com/

North Carolina Horseshoers Association

The North Carolina Horseshoers Association is a fellowship of all farriers residing within the North Carolina area with the purpose of promoting excellence in the science of farriery.

The NCHA also seeks to improve the quality of craftsmanship within its organization and the farriery industry.

Alabama Professional Farriers Association

The Alabama Professional Farriers Association is an Alabama-based chapter of the American Farriers Association.

The ALPFA is committed to improving the farrier industry by providing for educational clinics and contests.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=122929678403

Southern Farriers Association

The Southern Farriers Association is a group consisting of southern farriers whose sole mission is the better the farriers profession.

The SFA also seeks to promote communication and idea exchange among its members through open dialog and friendship.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern-Farriers-Association/136490928027

Nevada Professional Farriers Association

The Nevada Professional Farriers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing events and clinics with the purpose of educating its members on the business of the farriery industry.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nevada-Professional-Farriers-Association/116678788395314

Vermont Farriers Association

The Vermont Farriers Association is a Vermont-based group who is dedicated to the welfare of horses and their hooves.

The VFA values continued education of its members and the public relating to horse hoof health.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=193119939934

Virginia Horseshoers Association

The Virginia Horseshoers Association exists to organize and promote the science of farrier and to maintain and improve the quality of craftsmanship within the association.

The VHA also actively sponsors educational clinics and lectures to further education of its members.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virginia-Horseshoers-Association/299943916655

The Guild of Professional Farriers

The Guild of Professional Farriers’ sole mission is to improve the farrier profession through continued education, documentation of the science, independent testing and ensuring members continue to improve their trade and art through practice and education.

Farriers of Idaho Guild

The Farriers of Idaho Guild is an Idaho-based group dedicated to the professional development of farriers through leadership and resources for the benefit of the industry and its members.

The FIG is a registered state chapter of the American Farriers Association.

Southern New England Farriers Association

The Southern New England Farriers Association is a chapter of the American Farriers Association.

The goal of SNEFA is to establish high ethical standards, continuously improve farrier skills through education and professional development, and to promote safe and applicable hoof care standards.
http://www.snefa.org

Western New York Farrier’s Association

A member chapter of the American Farrier’s Association, the WNYFA is comprised of independent professional farriers working in the areas stretching from Buffalo to Syracuse.

The WNYFA was established in 1981 for the education and training of farriers and to help improve the service to horses and owners

Western Canadian Farrier’s Association

The Western Canadian Farrier’s Association is a non-profit whose main purpose it is to promote excellence in the science of farriery.

The WCFA seeks to inform the public and horse owners of the quality and standard of horse farriers and to better those standards of quality.
http://www.wcfa.ca/

Ontario Farrier’s Association

The Ontario Farriers Association is an Ontario-based non-profit organization that speaks for the interests of its members regarding hoof care.

The OFA also seeks to improve the skills of its members and provide standards for quality within the industry.

Brotherhood of Working Farriers Certification

There is no licensing requirements  for farriers within the United States and Canada; however, several trade organizations offer voluntary farrier certifications that can give you peace of mind that you are working with a reputable professional.

All certifications include written testing on topics including hoof trimming, horseshoe application and everyday hoof care as well as mastery of hands on forging skills.

The Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association (BWFA) is the oldest non-profit farrier organization in the country.

Certification is offered through their Master Educator Schools and private BWFA Testers across the United States.

BWFA has four certification levels.

BWFA Apprentice II Certification:

Any farrier who completes a six-week class with a reputable school is eligible.

Testing includes a written exam, hands on shoeing test and a forging test during which applicants must create a simple machine-made shoe.

BWFA Journeyman I Certification:

In addition to more difficult written and shoeing exams; applicants must forge several types of hand-made shoes and perform several shoe modifications as instructed.

This certification in open to farriers with at least one year of experience.

BWFA Journeyman II Certification:

Farriers must have at least three years of experience and currently work at least part-time at the trade.

The written test is more technically challenging.

Applicants at this level must also produce a specified corrective shoe and several others.

BWFA Master Farrier Certification:

This highest level of BWFA certification and is reserved for professionals with no less than seven years of experience who are currently working full-time at the trade.

This certification requires both a written and forging test.

In addition, live hand-made shoeing is required for types and breeds of horses chosen by the tester.

American Farrier Association Certification

The American Farriers Association (AFA) is one of the primary certifying organizations in the United States.

For 30 years, the AFA has provided a certification program that entails a blend of standardized testing and hands-on application.

There are four main categories of certification provided by AFA:

AFA Farrier Classification:

An entry level certification that includes both written and practical exams on the basics of the skill.

Certified Farrier (AFA CF):

Certification is open to any farrier with at least one year of experience.

He or she must pass both the written and practical exams as well as prepare and explain a display of horseshoes.

Certified Tradesman Farrier (AFA CTF):

In addition to the above tests, applicants must demonstrate skills at properly fitting a hand-made shoe during a timed test.

This certification is available to professionals with at least two years of experience and have completed AFA CF.

Certified Journeyman Farrier (AFA CJF):

This most technical certification is open to professionals with two years of experience who complete the CF certification and demonstrate ability to forge and fit a corrective shoe within a time limit.

Guild of Professional Farriers Registration

The Guild of Professional Farriers is the third organization to offer a certification process for farriers.

Less developed than the groups mentioned above, the Guild provides “registration” at three levels.

Registered Farrier:

This registration is offered to professional farriers with at least three years of experience.

It requires a written test and shoeing exam, including presentation of a shoe display.

Registered Journeyman:

Farriers must have at least four years of experience, currently be working full-time at the trade and have previously passed farrier registration.

In addition to a written and forging exam, the applicant must perform live shoeing.

Full Time Farrier:

This registration does not require examination, but is only open to farriers who can verify that at least 70% of their annual income comes from the trade.

Farrier & Horseshoeing Schools

Meredith Manor Farrier School

Meredith Manor Farrier School will give you both the theoretical knowledge and the practical hands-on experience needed for a successful farrier career.

Our farrier students gain invaluable experience working with and studying our 150 school horses of varying breeds, disciplines, and training levels including upper level dressage horses, reining horses, eventers, and more.

12 week and 36 week programs are available.

Federal financial aid is available to qualified applicants. http://www.meredithmanor.edu/farrier/

Kentucky Horseshoeing School

The Kentucky Horseshoeing School was founded in 1978 and is dedicated to preparing students for positions in equine hoof care.

KHS offers multiple course options.

Horse owners looking to learn basic hoof-care can take a 2-week course, and those looking to become a professional farrier can take a 36-week course, which includes an internship.

Courses combine instruction in anatomy and physiology with practical experience. http://www.kentuckyhorseshoeingschool.com/

Arkansas Horseshoeing School

Paul Dorris Jr. founded the Arkansas Horseshoeing School on the idea that success as a farrier comes from proper training and an apprenticeship.

AHS offers 8-week and 12-week courses.

Class-sizes are kept small to allow more interaction between the students and instructors.

AHS helps every student find an apprenticeship after the program is complete. http://arkansashorseshoeingschool.com/

Casey and Son Horseshoeing School

Casey and Son Horseshoeing School’s goal is to train and educate farriers, providing knowledge and skill at the highest level.

They strive to stay abreast of new techniques and technology, providing the best farrier education possible.  

Casey and Son offers students free housing and meals, continuing education after graduation and a hands-on environment that allows each student to work at their own pace.

Classes are held Wednesday – Sunday.

Students can attend full time (5 days a week) or break up attendance as a part time or weekend student and spread the days over a longer period of time.

This will allows students to work and attend school towards a career change.

Oklahoma Horseshoeing School

The Oklahoma Horseshoeing School begins a class every Monday, so that there is always beginner as well as advanced students at the school.

Students work with real clients and their horses every day, and also receive a minimum of two hours of instruction per day.

OHS offers a 2-week course in basic horseshoeing, an 8-week professional course, and a 12-week advanced horseshoeing and blacksmith course. http://www.horseshoes.net/

Oregon Farrier School

All instructors at the Oregon Farrier School are certified by the American Farrier’s Association, and students are taught according the AFA’s standards.

OFS offers a 20-week advanced program, which includes course sections that teach students corrective methods for horse lameness and techniques specifically for show horses.

A 10-week internship is also offered through the school.

Students that complete the advanced program and the internship will receive the Advanced Farrier Certificate.
http://www.oregonfarrierschool.com/

Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School

The Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School offers a 6-week (300 hours) course that runs Monday through Friday.

The curriculum includes anatomy, corrective shoeing, horse behavior management, and business practices.

Class sizes are small, with a maximum of 22 students. All instructors are nationally certified.

Butler Professional Farrier School

Butler Professional Farrier School offers two separate 6-week courses.

The first 6-week course teaches basic horseshoe care, preparing students to work on horses right away.

The second 6-week course teaches advanced techniques that prepare students to work with lame horses or special breeds.

The school bases its curriculum around the seven critical skill areas of equine hoof-care.
http://butlerhorseshoeingschools.com/

Minnesota School of Horseshoeing

The Minnesota School of Horseshoeing is dedicated to providing students with an in-depth education of horseshoeing techniques in order to prepare them for successful careers in equine hoof-care.

MSH offers a 10-week program that includes instruction in the areas of anatomy, forge and iron work, corrective shoeing, trimming, and more.

The school also offers an apprentice program to give students more hands-on experience.
http://www.mnschoolofhorseshoeing.com/

Texas Horseshoeing School

The Texas Horseshoeing School was founded by John Burgin, who is the only instructor at the school.

He believes individualized instruction is the best way to learn the farrier trade.

THS offers three different courses. The 80-hour and 160-hour courses teach basic techniques.

The 240-hour course prepares students for entry-level farrier work.
http://www.texashorseshoeingschool.com/

The Mission Farrier School

The Mission Farrier School teaches both traditional farrier methods along with the newer science of Natural Balance theory.

Owner and instructor Mark Plumlee is a former Vice President of the Guild of Professional Farriers and has multiple certifications.

As part of the curriculum, students are instructed on how to treat horse lameness.

The school offers four 8-week sessions per year. http://www.missionfarrierschool.com/

Shurshod Horseshoeing School

The Shurshod Horseshoeing School is certified by The Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association.

The program is four weeks and includes hands-on experience in trimming, shoeing, and forging.

Students also learn how to run their own farrier business.

Students are eligible to take the tests required to receive certification from the BWFA. http://www.shurshod.net/

Tucson School of Horseshoeing

The Tucson School of Horseshoeing provides instruction in all major subject areas of equine hoof-care, including trimming, horseshoeing, blacksmithing, anatomy, and conformation.

The program is broken down into 2-week segments, for a total of eight weeks.

Upon completion of the 8-week program, students may apply for certification from the American Farriers Association.

A 12-week program is also offered for advanced techniques. http://www.tucsonhorseshoeing.com/

Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School

Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School was founded by Bob Smith in 1991.

PCHS makes an effort to educate every student properly and to prepare them for a career in farriers.

The 8-week program includes daily classroom instruction in anatomy, physiology, conformation, and business practices. Students are also given hands-on experience in forging and shoeing on a daily basis.
http://www.farrierschool.com/

Five Star Horseshoeing School

The Five Star Horseshoeing School is dedicated to providing a strong education foundation for students who want a career in farriery. FSHS offers three program options.

The 6-week program is an introductory course, the 8-week program teaches students basic shoeing techniques, and the 12-week course is an advanced program that prepares students for a career in equine hoof-care.
http://www.futurefarrier.com/Home_Page.php

Wolverine Farrier School

The Wolverine Farrier School offers a comprehensive, 16-week farrier course.

The program includes daily classroom lectures and discussions to insure students continue to learn proper techniques.

An important part of the course is hands-on forge work and shoeing.

Students also learn how to make and repair their own tools.

Montana State University Farrier School

The Montana State University Farrier School prepares students for careers as professional farriers.

The program lasts for eleven weeks.

Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared for the American Farrier Association certification exam.

A short blacksmithing course is also offered for further study.
http://animalrange.montana.edu/horseshoe.htm

Heartland Horseshoeing School

The Heartland Horseshoeing School takes pride in providing an intense farrier program that requires hard work and dedication.

There are three program options.

The 8-week course prepares students for the American Farrier Association Certified Farrier exam.

The 16-week course builds on the basic instruction.

The 24-week course prepares students for the AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier exam, and includes an internship.
http://heartlandhorseshoeing.com/

Sierra South Horseshoeing School

The Sierra South Horseshoeing School offers 4-week, 8-week, and 12-week courses.

The program includes lectures, forging, and hands-on experience with horses.

Students are taught basic and corrective shoeing techniques, as well as anatomy, conformation, and physiology.

There is a low student-to-instructor ratio to allow more individualized instruction.

Danny Ward Horseshoeing School

The Danny Ward Horseshoeing School was founded by Danny Ward, who has received many awards and certifications.

Ward comes from a long line of horseshoers and is passionate about passing on the trade.

The school offers an 8-week course in the foundations of farriers.

The program includes a lot of hands-on training.
http://dannywardhorseshoeingschool.com/

Pennsylvania Institute for Horseshoeing

The Pennsylvania Institute for Horseshoeing offers a 6-week basic horseshoeing course.

Students learn anatomy and physiology, foot trimming, shoeing, horsemanship, tool maintenance, and basic forging techniques.

Most of the time will be spent completing hands-on training, which includes working with horses and making shoes.
http://www.pafarrierschool.com/

Lookout Mountain School of Horseshoeing

The 8-week course at the Lookout Mountain School of Horseshoeing prepares students for an entry-level career in farrier.

The program includes classroom lectures on anatomy, conformation, and safety.

Students are taught how to make many different types of shoes, including pathological shoeing.

Students spend a lot of time getting hands-on training in the forge area, as well as real-life field experience.
http://www.horseshoeingschool.com/

Equine Lameness Prevention Organization

The Equine Lameness Prevention Organization (ELPO) Farrier School has dedicated itself to providing students with the education needed in order to become farriers.

This 8-week course provides basic farrier techniques, along with advanced ELPO hoof care techniques.

The ELPO Farrier School takes pride in keeping up with and teaching the latest developments in the trade.

The program includes classroom instruction, forging and shoeing practice, and field work.

Midwest Horseshoeing School

The Midwest Horseshoeing School offers a 12-week course and a 16-week course.

Both courses cover the foundations of horseshoeing and hoof care.

Students learn anatomy, trimming, and corrective shoeing. Students receive classroom instruction, field trips, and hands-on work.

Horses of all types and breeds are brought in to give students the opportunity to learn the best techniques for each type.
http://www.midwesthorseshoeingschool.com/

Illegal Horseshoeing: An argument Against Regulation

For you that are not aware, there is no legal requirement to be a farrier in the United States.

In fact, any person can call themselves a farrier and hack away at a horse hoof…even if they have never even seen a horse. How is that for a scary thought?

Of course, there are a number of associations throughout the country that offer voluntary certifications programs, such as the American Farrier Association or the Brotherhood of Working farriers.

These certification programs can vary slightly from association to association, but generally you must pass a physical and written test to become certified.

There are a number of certifications available that start with basic entry level to advanced certifications.

Keep in mind, these are voluntary.

As horse owners, we occasionally experience difficulties finding a well-qualified farrier.

A good farrier may move, retire, take vacation, or become overbooked.

The problem of finding a new farrier can become quite an inconvenience.

Where do you look?

You can ask your fellow horse owners for a reference, check a local phone book, or look for flyers at the local feed and tack store.

However, all of these sources have one major problem… they are time consuming and offer very limited information about the farrier themselves.

Not in England it is a completely different story.

It is actually illegal to there to provide any farrier skills without being licensed.

At first glance, I can get on board with that.

I mean after all, it’s a good thing that only trained professionals are providing farrier services right?

It’s the next element  that causes me to stop and wonder if it is actually a good idea.

Apparently, it is also illegal for a horse owner to trim or shoe their own horse.

Again, that does not sound so bad.

There are several horses out there with severe hoof issues because a horse owner decided to hack at their hooves because he or she saw a youtube video.

That being said, there is something that bothers me about being told what I can and cannot do with my own horse.

As long as you are proving proper care, and have the right farrier tools, is it really anyone else’s business?

What really caused me to pause and think about the regulation was a shocking news story.

Apparently, a farrier in Ebchester County in England was suspended for a month after he allowed his son to remove four shoes from a horse and clean them up.

What is so wrong with a professional teaching his son to remove horseshoes?

Is it so egregious that it warrants taking away a person livelihood for an entire month?

Obviously, I do not live in England so maybe there are some things I am missing here, but I cannot help but feeling as that I’m glad there are no regulations like that over here.

As I said earlier, at first glance regulation seems like a good idea.

And, I’m still not against the idea of some regulation for farriers, but the steps at which they have gone in England seems ridiculous and contrary to the American spirit.

I mean we are all adult (ok most of us are), we groom our own horses, we have our own farrier tool kit, so should we not have the ability to determine who we want to work on our horse’s hooves?

I think it is far more important to educate horse owners about what to look for in a farrier.

Instead of using a stick, let’s educate ourselves and select qualified farriers using out knowledge and common sense.

The lousy and unqualified farriers will go out of business because no one will use them.

I’m sure that someday we will see increased regulation in this area, but hopefully it will not go to the extremes, such as they have in England, and allow us the freedom to make our own choices.