What We Learned From Our First Horse Hippie Photo Shoot


The vision for Horse Hippie lifestyle brand came and I started looking for products that would express a horsey, happy, hippie lifestyle. The first step was to look in my closet, jewelry box, cupboards, home and barn for ideas. I found quite a few products that I thought other Horse Hippies would like too.

From my Wakami Earth bracelets

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To the yoga/harem pants I bought at a farmer’s market

Horse Hippie.Peacock-Harem Pants








To the necklace I bought from a craft fair:








After I picked through my own stuff I asked fellow Horse Hippies what they liked, what they would buy, and what it took to create a brand.  They said “comfy”, they said “natural”, they said “ethically sourced”.

Once I identified the type of things we would carry I reached out to suppliers and set up accounts…….no easy feat when you aren’t really a company yet!  But we managed and the products started rolling in.


It was like my birthday every day! What? Another present?  Yippiee!!  When my dining room/yoga studio/craft room- now warehouse- began to fill up with product I knew we had to get the products out to the customers.

Horse Hippie Warehouse 2 Horse Hippie Warehouse

Easy-peasy, right? Create a website, take some pictures and voila! A webshop is born.

Not so fast…..who will take the pictures? Who will be the models? What have I gotten myself into?

A long deep-breathing meditation session calmed me and I recognized that I knew people, who knew people, that might be able to help.  Actually, when you have been on this Earth as long as I have you are bound to know someone that can do just about anything, but luckily I didn’t have to look very far.

My niece Sarah is a terrific photographer.  She has had an artistic “eye” since childhood.  So much her nickname was Doodles.  Don’t tell her but we all still call her that :-)

She started a photography business Franswia Photography and (while raising her three kids) has established herself and her business.  Only problem is she lives 8 hours away from me in Charlotte, NC.


Ok, we have our photographer. Now where are we going to find models and a location?

I have really tried not to burn any bridges in my life so when I reach back and ask someone if I can shoot at their farm, the answer might be “Yes”.  I have met a ton of gorgeous, strong women that ride horses in my travels as trainer, nutritionist and speaker.  The one that popped into my head right away was my friend Sarah Greenway.


Sarah is another working (her ass off) mom and she rocks it.  She has a successful training/sales barn, Levremont Farm, in Powhatan, VA and when I reached out and asked her if she knew anyone that might be able to model, she said “I know 5”.  Plus, she was happy to let me use her beautiful farm and well-trained horses too.  Thanks, Karma.

My niece was excited when she found out it was in Powhatan because that’s where a bunch of our family lives.  Let’s do Thanksgiving there!

So now that both Sarahs were on board, we have product, models, location,….what next?

They say a mother is only as happy as her saddest child, and that’s some truth right there. I am so blessed to be a very happy momma.  All of my kids have figured out this journey called life and because of this are outstanding humans. They also are very smart and between my three daughters, daughter-in-law and nieces there was plenty of support.  Add three sisters, a sister-in-law and great friends and we can do anything.

I mean seriously.  My support system is so strong I’d use it as a safety net to tightrope the Grand Canyon.

Anyway, my youngest taught me all about shoot schedules and to take a picture of each outfit (thank God she did).

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HorseHippie HorseHippie PS44

My niece has a degree in Fashion Design and let me just tell you, I wish I could hire her as my stylist.  My sister is a hairdresser and knows make-up…hired.  My other sister runs a customer service company so she was hired as the person-that-puts-out-fires.

Horse Hippie PS 4

Other members of my web of love gave the “Thumbs up” or “Thumbs down” honestly about products, websites and such.  Things were taking shape.

The night before the shoot we ran to Walmart and bought a steamer (another hint from someone) a rolling garment rack and a bunch of hangers. By bed we were ready and excited.

HorseHippie PS50 HorseHippie PS 55

The day of the shoot was cold, like it can be two days after Thanksgiving, but didn’t rain so we were happy. When we got there Sarah (the farm owner) showed us to a heated tack room and some hot tea.  Nice!  We rolled our cart in like we knew what we were doing and started to set up.

I had printed out the pictures of ideas I had gathered from my Horse Hippie Pinterest page and as the models (Sarah’s students) arrived I handed them the photos so they could get a feel for what I was after.  I had already shared these with my photographer niece, Sarah (I know confusing) so now we were all on the same page.

I told the girls to go through the rack and if something “spoke” to them to try it on.  Ooops.  Not the best idea.  Clothes started flying, hangers were tossed and the carefully styled “looks” were gone. Luckily I had listened to my daughter and had taken those pictures the night before!

That really helped but what I really needed was a clone.  Trying to corral young excited women, set up the shot outside and get ready for the next one was impossible.

Horse Hippie group

Luckily that ever present safety net was there and we nailed it.  These Horse Hippie chicks went out and did their thing.


Horse Hppie-Peace


My niece’s creative eye captured some amazing shots of regular girls and their horses.

Horse Hippie-Mad

Horse Hippie-starburst headband-pink

A couple of these first time models got so into posing that they took their clothes off (hippie style) and took some for themselves and their men.


Horse hippie-Jojo (45)

Reviewing the pictures back at my parents house was a trip.  With my 90 year old Dad looking over my shoulder we clicked through frame after frame of glory.

Dara (116)

Horse hippie Erin

The high from our first Horse Hippie shoot carried me the three hours home.  To see my vision in print  was surreal.  To see the products I sourced, embellished and brought to life as the Horse Hippie brand on a real person riding a horse was so affirming.

So what did we learn from our first Horse Hippie photo shoot? That dreams can become reality, that enthusiasm can overcome obstacles, and that Horse Hippies are a tribe of really cool, creative, fun, horse-crazy people!

Yes, this is my calling.  Yes, I am proud to be a Horse Hippie.

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Peace, love and horses,


Horse Hippie


Composting Horse Manure

composting horse manure

I thought it might be a good idea to feature each BMP (Best Management Practice) for horses and horse farms individually so that eco-minded horse owners could get this information in one place…HERE!  I have already written about using Solar on horse farms and this post will give you the “ins and out” and “how-tos” for composting manure.  Even if you board your horse there is a way for you to compost the manure it generates for your home garden.

Composting has so many benefits to your farm and the environment.  Most people understand the benefits composted manure can have to your soil when spread but did you know a well maintained composting system can reduce your pile by 50%? Reduce flies and parasite (worm) eggs as well as reduce weeds?

Composting Horse Manure

While researching I came across several websites that done all the hard work.  So why rewrite the info if it already is out there in a really great way? Here is a link to my favorite, very thorough explanation of horse farm composting for you:


If you would like to contact someone about building a composting system for your farm the best in the business is O2 Compost


O2 Composting

If you board your horse but want to use horse manure in your own household or garden composting system, here is a terrific link to home composting basics:



So there ya have it! Everything you need to know about What To Do With All That Poo! If you still need more info try contacting your local Soil & Water conservation District or Cooperative Extension Service.

~Til we meet again!


environmentally conscious horse keeping blog


Five Things in Your Kitchen You Can Share With Your Horse

HHHP 5 Things cover

Everyone has grabbed an apple or carrot from the fridge to share with their horse as they headed out to the barn but did you know that there are tons of other things you can find in the kitchen that you can take too? Actually there is stuff around your entire house but that’s another blog post!

The full list of other stuff is at the end of this post but I wanted to focus on the following five things because I am really seeing the benefits for me and my horse.

1) Aloe Vera juice– I take this everyday either straight up or mixed in my morning shake. I have the world’s worst stomach but I love to eat fun things and have the occasional drink. Daily dosing helps with the digestive tract but if I know I might imbibe I take a juice glass full. Aloe coats my stomach and the effects of my merriment aren’t an issue anymore.

It does the same for your horse. Aloe is high in digestible fiber, which gives it the properties of lowering bowel transit time, absorbing toxins in the bowel, regulating colonic bacteria, and soothing and protecting the digestive tract. Aloe also contains a complex mixture of mucopolysaccharides (complex sugars) that nourish cells and support them in replicating.

You can add about ¼ cup to your horse’s diet twice a day to reap the benefits.

Aloe Vera Juice

2) Chia seeds- these little seeds are really making some waves in both human and horse health. Entire companies are being founded just to offer you and your horse the benefits of chia. My use started when l read that they are a great way to rid your body of toxins. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water and form a bulky gel. This benefit can help your horse digest nutrients and reduce ulcers.

Chia seeds are the highest naturally occurring source of Omega-3 fatty acids, with a 3:1 ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s. So this adds an anti-inflammatory property to chia seeds. Omega-3s can help reduce pain and swelling. If you aren’t convinced yet, chia seeds are a complete source of protein, so they also build muscle and topline!

I use and feed US Chia because I know the source, find the company terrific to work with and they offer many sizes. I use only a teaspoon a day in my shake but a typical 1,000 pound horse can eat a maintenance dose of 1/4 cup (1 scoop) of US Chia Seeds each day. If your horse has not been on a supplement program, you can feed a loading dose of 1/2 cup (2 scoops) of US Chia Seeds each day for 2 weeks.

US Chia 3

3) Herbal teas- I drink herbal tea all day long. I start my day with a hot cup of Chai then soak a de-tox tea bag in my water bottle for the day. I love the effects of the herbs in the teas, they can wake me up, calm me, sooth my stomach or help me sleep.

Your horse might also enjoy some warm herbal tea. Some of the medicinal effects herbal teas offer us can be good for horses too. I soak four tea bags in a quart of warm water pour it over some beet pulp.  Here are some of my favorites to share with my horse:

~ Yarrow- My go to detox tea and anti-inflammatory tea. The silica found in this plant helps repair damaged or worn out tissues in the body. It’s great for a senior horse because yarrow stimulates appetite and improves digestion as well as nutrient absorption.

~ Ginger- In people, ginger ale and ginger beer help settle an upset stomach, and ginger tea is sometimes used for nausea. So it stands to reason that ginger tea might also be good for equine tummy trouble or possible gas colic. Ginger is in the same plant family as turmeric and cardamom, all of which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

~ Peppermint: Is known as a healing plant. Peppermint tea can help with digestion and can help to prevent some forms of gas and possibly gas colic in horses.

~ Rose hips: This herb has recently become a popular natural treatment for arthritis. Rose hips are also nutrient rich;  full of bioflavonoids, pectin, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, and B vitamins, and also contain trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, sulfur and silicon.


4) Table Salt– We add salt to our diets because we think it makes food taste better. The benefit to salt or salty foods is that it stimulates the thirst response so we drink more, staying hydrated. This is also true for your horse.

Triggering this response in cold weather can help promote enough water consumption to prevent dehydration and prevent colics. When it’s hot and your horse is sweating (up to a gallon an hour!) salt will help replace what is lost from perspiration.

A full-sized horse requires at least one ounce (two level tablespoons or 30 ml) of salt each day for maintenance, this much provides 12 grams of sodium. The best way to do this is to include offering free-choice iodized granulated salt.

Remember to calculate the amount of sodium your horse is already getting from any commercial feeds or supplements you feed, then add salt accordingly.


5) Coconut oil– I wrote an in-depth article for the Holistic Horse about using coconut oil and meal in the equine diet but there’s even more to the story than that. I use coconut oil on my hair and coconut oil is without question my favorite body lotion. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave an oily feeling at all. It makes skin incredibly silky and has wonderful antibacterial/antimicrobial properties.

The same is true for Trigger. You can apply coconut oil to improve your horse’s mane, tail, wounds and hoofs. If fed to your horse it is a great source of fat and protein and is easy for horses to digest.  We sell a cocosoya oil product that I really love!

CoCosoya oil

Those are my top five things I share with my horse but there are many, many more. I will be expanding on these in a later post and I would love to hear about others you might use!

The expanded list:


For Immune System:

Flax seed



Apple Cider Vinegar

For Weight Gain:

Vegetable oil

Flaxseed oil

For Detox:

Milk thistle

Diatomaceous earth

For Stomach and Digestion:

Papaya juice

Pumpkin seeds

Licorice root


For Bug Control:

Apple Cider Vinegar


For Picky Eaters:

Apple sauce

For Treats:



Non food:

Dawn Dish washing liquid




Hope this helps you keep yourself and your horse Healthy and Happy!!

~Til we meet again,





Spring Cleaning the Natural Way

EcoEquine_Green Cleaning Cover

Finally, here in Virginia, we can leave the barn windows open and start the tiddying up process called Spring cleaning.  While searching for ideas I came across this blog post from SmartBarn which had so many great ideas and recipes I had to share it.  So get ready to get cleaning!!

Ingredients/tools list:

– Baking Soda
– White Vinegar
– Olive Oil
– Lemon Juice
– Liquid Castile soap ( natural dish soap will work too)
– Essential Oil (optional)
Keep that fresh scent going and to help deter insects
– Bucket, sponges, rags, scrub brush, tooth brush, newspaper, spray bottle, old plastic containers with lids.

You can pretty much clean anything with this recipe but for other areas she offers more “green cleaning” …….

Drain cleaner– For clogs use 1 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar (yes, it will create a volcano) allow to do its thing for 15 mins. and follow by really hot water- boiling is best.  You can do this periodically for maintenance, and double it for the drain in the washrack.
Windows– 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup H2O, 1/4 cup lemon juice.  Mix in spray bottle.  Spray on, wipe of with newspaper for a streak free shine! P.S. Always do your windows on a cloudy day.
Stall walls– Grab your bucket and scrub brush.  Add to a bucket of warm H2O: 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup baking soda and some liquid soap.  Now get scrubbing- you may have to let it sit for a few minutes to get the really “crusty” stuff off.  Rinsing is easier the less soap you put into your mixture. Play around with the ratio and find what works for you.  I like to rinse using a spray bottle.Stall fronts and other wood surfaces– This is a cleaner and conditioner. 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 vinegar, 1 tsp. (this is where I like to add essential oils like lavender and peppermint to help deter flies). Mix in a container or spray bottle, apply and rub down with a rag. 

Brushes and totes– In your bucket add warm H2O, 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar add a bit of liquid soap.  Swish it around and add your brushes, swish them around.  Let them sit for a couple of hours,  take them out, rinse them off and set them out to dry in the sun. Clean and disinfected!  Save the H20 from your bucket and dump it into your plastic brush tote and use the same process.

Stall, rug, and dog freshener– Strip your stalls and let them air out for a while; before rebedding sprinkle baking soda liberally around the stall. This will help to neutralize the odors. Now for the rug and the dog.  Sprinkle baking soda, let sit for and hour, and throw it over the fence and beat it with a broom- not the dog- the rug!  For the dog, just dust him and leave it on.  It will not bother even the most sensitive of skin. 

Bits, irons, sinks, and countertops– In your container make a paste out of baking soda and a bit of vinegar, to the consistency of your liking and get polishing!  Use a toothbrush for bits and irons; a sponge for the sink and countertops.  For stubborn stains let your “soft scrub” sit for a while- the vinegar will bleach them out.


– For the microwave set a cup of vinegar inside and “cook” for 1 min.  Let it sit in there for a few mins.  The vinegar steam will loosen the petrified splatters enough to wipe clean.  For anything that is still remaining, use your paste to scrub it away.  For the coffee maker run a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 H2O through a cycle to remove the lime scale build up.  Run 2 rounds of just H2O through after that to rinse it clean. Finally, use your paste and the window cleaner on the refrigerator to make it sparkle.  Leave an open box of baking soda in there to keep that funky smell away.

Hope this got you inspired and check out the other posts on her blog and her great plant-based grooming/health products.   http://www.smartbarnsolutions.com/blog

Til we meet again,


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Virginia Horse Festival

Hello Everyone! I wanted to let you know that I will be a presenter and have a Horse Hippie pop-up shop at the Virginia Horse Festival March 27-29th.

VA Horse Festival


I will be presenting on nutrition (as The Equine Nutrition Nerd) and will give my How A Trip To Home Depot Can Help You Understand Equine Digestion demo.  Here is a video clip of the demo but I give it using volunteers and the real items from the store!  Such fun!

Our Horse Hippie pop-up shop booth will have TONS of cool stuff for your shopping pleasure to help you live a Horsey, Healthy and Happy life :-)  From headbands, to scarves, to tops and bags!  We even have hand crafted horsey jewelry and super comfy hippie harem pants!

Horse Hippie headbandsHorse Hippie scarvesHorse Hippie TankHorseHippie2014 Live2RideHorse Hippie Harem Pants 2015So come out to say “Hay!” and visit our Shop….you’ll be glad you did. If you can’t come but want to see more about Horse Hippie, click on over to our website.

Hope to see you there,


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