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Notes from Nana Nikki ~ By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Becoming a grandparent is a joyful event that promises lots of fun times ahead for the entire family. Sharing in the new life and making a valuable contribution to your grandchild’s development is rewarding in so many ways. As proud grandma - “Nana Nikki” - I ponder what’s the best gift I could give the new baby aside from the usual mundane items like diapers, a crib, highchair or car seat?

Child Sleeping

As...

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August 20, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Horses and dogs go together on horse farms like peanut butter and jelly. Unfortunately a loose dog can also be a recipe for disaster around equestrian activities.

Dog on a Horse Farm

If you’ve ever ridden a jumping course and had to run out to avoid a dog you see at last minute the other side of the fence, had to halt a lesson with a beginner student because a dog laid down on the outside track of the arena and refused to move or been...

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August 13, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


It’s easy to overlook the reality of having a construction site ongoing for weeks and weeks or even months at a time on a horse farm. New barn structures come in all shapes and sizes, and their build can certainly be a long and arduous task if the work is all completed on site. Barn building projects invite more than a few dangers to the horse owner and the building site can quickly become a noisy nightmare day in day out with a seemingly never-ending horde of horrors that horses and their owners would rather do without.

...

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August 13, 2019 posted by Content Admin

When you are on the search for a new dog kennel, there are a host of things you must consider before making your buying decision.

Below I am going to cover a few different things you should be thinking about before you buy your new dog kennel. This is to make you aware of a few things perhaps you didn’t think of before. Anyway, let’s get into it!

1. Size

Obviously, size of the kennel is important. You want a kennel where your dog can move around as freely as possible. The kennel should be big enough and wide enough to allow your dog...

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August 9, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


The advantages of a shed row barn are mirrored when you add two together at a right angle for an L-shape barn. Not only are your horses delightfully on show, with their beautiful heads in view as they gaze contentedly out at the horizon while munching on their hay supply, the fresh air is everywhere.

L-Shape Barn

While their minds are kept busy with watching their surroundings, their lungs are being filled with high quality oxygenated...

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July 24, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Show season is in full swing and every organizer wants a piece of the action. Recognized shows fight the growing number of schooling shows for competitors, event organizers marshal their volunteers while fairgrounds bring fresh faces to the arena and new types of fixtures are popping up across the country. How do you make your event the one that folks want to attend? How can you make the daily toil better for your team of judges and volunteers?

...

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July 19, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


After eons of keeping horses on our own farm and experience through our training and clinic giving at barns big and small worldwide, I’ve seen my fair share of tack and feed rooms. Fantasy feed rooms with rows of feed bins, well-organized shelves stacked with every conceivable supplement and space to dance a Viennese waltz, tack rooms that sparkle with expensive tack and smell deliciously of well-kept leather and emote the feeling that you have found yourself in a tack shop not a tack room are fine and dandy. But a useful tack room...

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July 19, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Oh no. I can almost hear it. Can you?

It’s coming.

Those two little words no parent wants to hear as the citronella-scented days of summer descend upon us…

Bored Kids

I’m b-o-o-o-o-o-r-e-d!”

N-o-o-o-o-o!

How? Why? Seriously? Summer JUST started!

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to spend the whole summer micromanaging every minute of my kid’s days. No way! I’d much rather bask in the smell of sunscreen and bug spray while I leisurely read...

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July 2, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Like most good horse owners, you’ve probably considered the need for shelter from the sun, wind, rain and snow for your horse. The humble run-in shed offers a flexible and inexpensive solution for horse housing that enables your equine partner to seek cover when it feels the need.

Horses are surprisingly adaptable to weather changes especially when we don’t over manage their needs. In winter our desire to “take care” of them by...

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July 2, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Horse stall

A simple way to decrease stress on your horse is to provide plenty of turnout. Horses simply aren’t designed to stand 24/7 in a box stall for our convenience. The innate need for equines to have access to grazing and their preference for constant movement aids their digestion, keeps their joints loose and soft tissues elastic. Horses that are boxed up in solitary...

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June 28, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Meditation. Mindfulness. Thinking time. Daily reflection.

Whatever you want to call it, there is loads of research pointing to the many benefits of spending a little bit of time every day in quiet contemplation.

Schools are adding meditation for kids to their curriculums because it improves mental health, behavior, and brain power, too.

Silence is an important daily practice in many religions that helps cultivate deeper personal faith and self-reflection.

Kid rests in Grass...

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June 15, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Cupolas are a common sight on agricultural buildings and horse barns are no exception. So, what are cupolas? Their role is more important than an aesthetically pleasing addition to the roof ridgeline. Your horse’s wellbeing is directly related to their presence and the cupola is more than a crowning glory to your building.

Cupola

Free circulation of fresh air is needed in horse barns to keep humans, horses and hay in good health. Passive...

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June 11, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Building plans and permits are an important part of your new horse barn purchase. While some towns don’t require any plans or permit applications submitted for an agricultural construction project, many regions are increasingly requiring property owners to apply for permits to protect both themselves and their neighbors from unsightly or unsafe buildings.

Compliance

While at first these requirements may seem unnecessary, the ordinances are...

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May 27, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Whichever side of the fence you find yourself, dog owner or dog boarding business owner, the idea of placing dogs in a kennel requires some serious thought.

For the dog owner who travels for holiday or business, works long hours away from home and has limited personnel resources for care of the family pet in their home, the trip to put their beloved canines in a kennel can be an anxious time. Not to mention an expensive outing.

I recently took a two-week visit home to England to visit with my elderly parents. For decades...

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May 21, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Patio

A macro shot of gorgeous pink and cream flowers, sparkling with dew droplets. A yawning pair of golden retriever puppies sprawled on the lap of a model, reclined on an equally stunning outdoor furniture set soaked in Caribbean afternoon sun.

Browsing Instagram can be a double-edged sword. By scrolling the endless rows of snapshots, witty captions, and hashtags, you can find amazing inspiration and motivation for...

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May 10, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Whatever your budget and whatever your new barn design, orchestrating a new barn build is an exciting time. However, that excitement makes it is easy to overlook important details during the purchasing process. Here are some tips to help you stay on track when shopping for the perfect barn.

Tip # 1

Buy Good Quality

The longevity of your barn will depend on good craftsmanship in the build and top-quality materials being used for its construction. Horses dish out some serious abuse on stall walls...

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May 6, 2019 posted by Content Admin

It’s no surprise that most kids love to swing. There’s something magical about that feeling of flying through the air, wind in your face, toes reached out into the sky trying to tickle the clouds.

Swing Set

But research suggests that swinging may not only be fun, but also help children develop important brain-body connections that they’ll bring into adulthood.

The Vestibular System: Your Child’s Sixth Sense.

You know those five senses we learned about in school: sight, smell,...

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May 6, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


Whether you are expanding your boarding operation or starting afresh with the first horse barn on your property, the possibilities for barn design and style can be overwhelming. Considerations of the use of the structure, size and layout of stalls and ancillary rooms for tack and feed supplies, choice of fixtures and fittings, budget and timelines all contribute to the important decision of what to build. One of the most versatile and most desired options in style is the High Profile horse barn, and there are many good reasons why....

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April 19, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


The crowds came out at the PA Horse World Expo, held February 28th through March 3rd, 2019, at Harrisburg, PA, to witness the conclusion of the 2nd Annual 90-day challenge to bring a horse from Rescue to Stardom. The culmination of a journey between rescue horses and trainers, the final competition drew a large audience and was an extremely popular event. The ultimate winning combination was trainer Jeff Michaels, and a horse named RPM (Rescue Performance Machine). The handsome black gelding was rescued as a stallion by Kelly Smith of...

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April 9, 2019 posted by Content Admin

Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith


The rise in popularity of rustic, casual barn weddings has expanded to include using a similar setting for all types of events.

Casual Barn Weddings

As a barn building company, we regularly get calls from creative entrepreneurs inspired to purchase one of our modular barns – sans the equine-related accoutrements such as stalls, chew guards, barred windows...

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April 8, 2019 posted by Content Admin

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