4 Horse-World Inventions to be Thankful For


Everyone has a list of important things for which they’re thankful. Family, friends, homes and jobs are at the top of most lists. However, once you probe a little further, you start to discover more personal, less generic “thankful-fors.” If you ask a horseperson, you might hear “I’m thankful for my horse,” or “I’m thankful for my barn.” Here are four other horse-themed items that may not have crossed your mind, but that you should be very thankful for if you have horses.



Have you ever stopped to really appreciate how great your stirrups are? If it weren’t for stirrups, you’d feel like you were riding without stirrups all the time! But seriously, think how often you take such a simple invention for granted. Remember those riding lessons when your instructor would call out, “drop your stirrups,” and you would almost groan? Or worse, “now post!” Ugh! Those exercises might’ve been good for you, but can you imagine having to ride that way all the time? No way! How thankful we are to be able to reach down and snag those comfortable, secure irons before we ride off down the trail or around the arena.

Bonus: did the invention of the stirrup have a major effect on history? Did it allow mounted armies to travel further to lands they wouldn’t have reached otherwise? Some historians think so!

(This one surely resonates with those of you who are surviving through the final days of no-stirrups November. – Editor)

Baled hay

Baled Hay

Hay is an essential ingredient of horse ownership for just about everyone. If you’re like many horse owners, you feed hay multiple times a day for at least part of the year. Be thankful for baled hay! In the past, hay was gathered and stored loose, requiring pitchforks (or big armloads!) to maneuver. We’ve all had small square bales break a string and “explode” on us, creating a huge mess. Be thankful you don’t have to work with loose hay all the time!

Water hoses

Water Hose

Next time you watch an old Western movie, take note: how did those iconic water troughs get filled with water? When cowboy Dusty turns Old Paint loose in the corral, you don’t see him stop to fill the trough—the movie skips over that part—the trough is already full. Maybe Dusty collects rainwater off a nearby shed, or maybe he has a windmill pump, but most likely not. He probably just uses pure muscle to haul water buckets in from the ol’ water hole. How much easier his life would be if he had a simple water hose! So next time you fill your horse’s water with a simple flick of the spigot handle, be thankful.

Nylon halters

Nylon Halter

I love leather tack as much as the next horseman—but when it comes to everyday halters, I’m so glad we have nylon. Nylon halters are tough, they last forever, and you don’t have to worry so much about care and maintenance. Add in the fact that you can choose about any color you want, and it’s hard not to appreciate this durable material. (Of course, never turn out a horse while wearing a nylon halter without a breakaway.)

What horse-themed items or conveniences are you thankful for?


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Daniel Johnson is a freelance writer and professional photographer. He’s the author of several books, including How to Raise Horses: Everything You Need to Know, (Voyageur Press, 2014). Dan’s barn is home to Summer, a Welsh/TB cross, Orion, a Welsh Cob, and Mati and Amos, two Welsh Mountain Ponies—and he’s thankful for all of them! Follow him at www.facebook.com/foxhillphoto.


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