Fire, Fire, Fire – Everyday Wisdom
Jul27

Fire, Fire, Fire – Everyday Wisdom

  This photo by Elle Newlands depicts the hellish inferno known as the Sand Fire. Many of us witnessed this sight from our barns and homes, feeling extreme empathy for the people, many of them horse owners, effected by this blaze.  At the time of this article,  37,000 acres have burned, two lives have been lost: one human and his dog, and 17 homes.  As of July 27,  the fire is 25% contained. Hundreds of animals were evacuated; including horses, various livestock as well as lions, and tigers from a wild life sanctuary. As we continue into fire season, we thought it might be good to give some advice from personal experience. The Check list – 1) Make sure everyone who lives near you (horse owner or not) and even your friends that aren’t in the immediate vicinity have been instructed to TEXT YOU, Email you, or FB you if there is fire within 20 miles of your home. Most of us have very busy lives and don’t have time to babble on the phone. Even if you are engaged in a meeting or conversation, you have the time to glance at a text. Some of us board our horses at home or live near stables where our horses are housed. 2) If there is a fire 20 miles away from your home, don’t take it lightly and dawdle. If you can, get home! As I learned in 2009 when a fire was 9 miles from my home, with wind and dry brush, a fire can easily move that  distance in an hour. 3) If you are fortunate enough to have a truck and trailer, make sure they are clean and ready to roll. The truck is gassed up and if possible leave it attached to the trailer during fire season. If you don’t have equine transport, have a list of reliable haulers or neighbors that can come to the rescue. That’s why its important to have a good relationship with your hauler and have more than one resource to turn to. If you board your horse at barn make sure you are aware of their evacuation procedures and that they practice “No horse left behind,” in case of a fire. 4) IMPORTANT – When to leave. The authorities will tell you when to evacuate, but its best if you set your own exit parameter allowing plenty of time. For me, I watched and waited until the flames peaked at a neighboring canyon. I knew then it was time to get the animals and the people out. 5) The GO KIT – Make sure the important documents are in a GO FOLDER, the lap top, the photos and the easy to pack irreplaceables are in close proximity...

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Everyday Wisdom from Every Day Horse People…Night Riding
Jul10

Everyday Wisdom from Every Day Horse People…Night Riding

As the days grow increasing hot, many of us are choosing to ride at dusk and find ourselves coming home in the darkness. Early morning is fine but most of us are holding down jobs, or have family to care for leaving late afternoon or evening as the best riding option. If you are a twilight rider, don’t forget your reflective gear. A lot of reflective gear is hard to find, unless you don’t mind buying overseas and waiting on the shipping. There are several online sites located in the UK with great reflective riding gear specific to equestrians. If time is a huge factor, here are some suggestions that will yield timely and great results. This vibrant orange quilted pad by Tuff Rider is made of polyester and cotton, its light weight, and also sports side pockets. The pockets are large enough for cell phone, flash light or water bottle. To make it even more safe for night riding, we added reflective tape with washable fabric glue. We washed the pad first then glued on the reflective strips, we purchased the amazon.com.                   We also purchased this neon green pad by Poly Pads from the UK, from HorseLoverZ.com of the US.  It has a thick reflective trim on the back end of the pad, making it easliy visible to car headlights. Although its mostly polyester, it’s very lightweight. Plus, it looks good on our paint and she didn’t break a sweat.   A little short for our Circle Y Western saddle but works great with our all purpose English saddle.Contributor Barbara Knox is fond of this bareback pad by “Best Friend Western Style Bareback Saddle Pad,” because of its extra padding and side pockets. For adding reflective bands, we used wide Velcro strips so we can remove later on if we choose to. Country Living Vet Dr. Tricia Earley, recommends that if “You must ride alone, always tell someone where you are going and always carry a cell phone.” Now, some people may argue what good is a cell phone if you get bucked off and the horse takes off with cell phone in the pad pocket? For those who suspect their mount would desert them consider a fanny pack or an IPhone arm carrier by Belkin. Another option is an Apple watch equipped with a Road ID plate. I recommend the plate for you and your horse. A velcro wristband with Road ID plate can also be attached to your saddle. I wear mine every day. If you are unable to speak, the Road ID can speak for you, as it has all...

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Everyday Wisdom from Everyday Horse People -Zika and Horses
Jun01

Everyday Wisdom from Everyday Horse People -Zika and Horses

As athletes and officials debate about the spread of the Zika virus and the Olympics, there’s a few things horse owners at home need to be aware of.  As of February 2016, THE HORSE reports there have been no reported cases of horses diagnosed and carrying the Zika virus. Many of us already have our horses vaccinated against West Nile, but the threat of Zika doesn’t seem to be directed at our horses. New findings are suggesting that pregnant women and their unborn babies are not the only ones being effected. “Now, it seems even adults may not be spared,” reports the World Health Organization.  The WHO ” is investigating whether Zika virus may be causing another rare, potentially life-threatening disease: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). The symptoms start with numbness, tingling, or pain in muscles, and it can rapidly cause paralysis or even death.” “The Zika virus is spread by Aedes aegyptimosquitoes. These can’t fly more than about 400 meters (1,300 feet), according to the WHO. They need human intermediaries to take the virus farther. One way it can travel is through the transportation of infected mosquitoes’ eggs.” It’s important to note that these species of mosquitoes do exist in our Southern California Region. Now instead of panicking there are some good, common sense things you can do to protect yourself from bug bites, period. The Kerrits Ice fil and Cool Max equestrian shirts not only screen out UVA but also wick away sweat and some are vented for an even more cooling effect. Both Bright Star saddlery and Calabasas Saddlery carry a very fashionable array of these equestrian shirts. I understand the temptation to go sleeveless or wear the bikini top around the barn especially in warm weather, but think again. Another thing to be aware of is when do you see mosquitoes around the barn the most. For me, its when the weather is most humid and it is usually when the horses are stabled for the evening and the mosquitoes tend to swarm them while they eat. We have been using lightweight Mesh fly sheets in the evening with great success. Defender makes a great fly sheet , but they are hard to find. This Zebra pattern, by Tough1 can be purchased at Horse.com and it is a winner!  Other precautions to keep mosquitoes at bay is to use a bug repellent (for you), read the label and consult your doctor with any questions. Also, make sure there is no stagnant water around the barn or near the horses.   Happy horsing....

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Everyday Wisdom from Everyday Subscribers and Contributors
Apr01

Everyday Wisdom from Everyday Subscribers and Contributors

Everyday Wisdom from our Subscribers and Contributors Barbara Knox – Is your horse misbehaving under saddle? Do your groundwork daily before you ride and use a rope halter. It’s frustrating to hear people say I can’t get the horse to do this or that. Practice and patience make perfect. My horses behave and are calm because I put in the time. Even with surgeries that broadsided me for a year, my horses are back on the job and not missing a beat because I built the foundation from the start. Elle Newlands – Put fly boots on all fours. By using fly boots you are using less fly spray on the horse and you are also protecting their joints. During fly season, horses will stomp away flies all day long which can be very damaging to their joints.  Aretha Crout- No hoof, no horse. An excellent barefoot trimmer is worth their weight in gold. Research, ask around,  get educated and only get the best!   Susie Drew – Don’t forget the Cosequin. Just like we take supplements for joint health, nothing keeps a horse healthier than the right supplement and good nutrition. Taking care of your horse with proper diet and exercise keeps them healthy and is easier on your wallet in the long run.        Joyce levy – Fly problem? Clean your pen! The less dung, the less fly population. Never stable any horse near the dung pile. Pay a few extra bucks for a cleaner enviroment.   Julie Rockwell – Take the stress out of hauling your horse by teaching them not to be afraid of the trailer. Set aside a couple of hours before you start hauling to horse shows and attending social rides. Hire the hauler you intend to use for the season to come out and do a practice run. Less stress leads to more success for you and your horse in and out of the ring. Cheryl Phelps – Find ways to give back. Whether you volunteer for Mounted Patrol service, pick up trash or volunteer at a rescue, find ways to help your community and benefit horses.   Elyse Knight – Nothing helps like the right equipment. Helmet is a must. Full seat breeches, half chaps and gloves, I never ride without them!  Darcy Morton – It’s all about balance. I work horses in the ring 4 times a week fine-tuning the cues and building strength. I use trail riding as an exercise to clear the horse’s head. Horses that are responsive in the ring are almost always better equipped to ride trails. All too often, folks make the mistake thinking...

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How About a Little Horse in your Holiday Reading….
Nov20

How About a Little Horse in your Holiday Reading….

 A show jumper must recover from a devastating injury to reclaim her title and save the horse she loves from an abuser. Is 2016 the year you take the plunge and buy a horse? Two books that will knock you out of the saddle and give you “Hay” for thought! “The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon,”  by Linda Ballou is sure to knock you out of your seat! Is a horse in your future for 2016? Then  you need “Horses for Dummies.” By Audrey Pavia  with Janice Posnikoff D.V.M.,  this book is a must read for anyone thinking of buying or leasing a horse. The Cowgirl Jumped Over The Moon – “Ballou’s prose gallops ahead at breakneck speed as she takes you along on this wild ride.” Gemcie and her Irish Hunter, Marshal, are about to capture the World Cup when a nasty fall dashes their chances. While she is mending, her arch rival seizes this opportunity to catch a ride on Marshal, and to seduce her young husband. Confused and dazed by her new circumstances, Gemcie heads for the high Sierras hoping the majestic spires that captured the heart of the father she never met will provide the answers she seeks. She finds strength and solace riding solo on the John Muir Trail, but a bear attack ends her time of introspection and places her in the care of a solitary cowboy manning a fire lookout. Brady shows her love and gives her the courage to get back in the saddle. Haunted by images of Marshal being abused by his owners, Gemcie returns to rescue him and fly high with him once more. Free shipping at www.LindaBallouAuthor.com or purchase on Amazon.com in print or kindle format. “Horses for Dummies”  by Audrey Pavia  with Janice Posnikoff D.V.M. is a great introduction to horses and horse care.  This informative book is chock full of down-to-earth, practical advice on how to buy and care for a horse. Written for novices in mind, the book also provides practical advice for horse people at all levels of knowledge and involvement. Details on breeds, boarding, nutrition, equipment, training, and riding, as well as information on various equine diseases and conditions, are part of this complete guide to the horse world. An absolute must for anyone who plans to purchase or lease a horse or is starting to work in the horse care industry as a volunteer or as a career professional. Check out this version and Audrey’s other books at  at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com....

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Everyday Wisdom – My Journey with Barefoot Trimming
Nov20

Everyday Wisdom – My Journey with Barefoot Trimming

  By Subscriber/Contributor – Aretha Crout of  Aretha’s Gentle Horsemanship In horse keeping, owners are always on alert for the next best thing for our beloved steeds. “Have you heard about this saddle or that supplement or this awesome new bit?” It was in one such conversation that a dear friend informed me that she’d “gone barefoot”, well, her horses had anyway. I’d heard of barefoot trimmers but dismissed the practice as so much tree hugging. After all, my horses needed special shoes with pads, couldn’t grow enough heels to go barefoot, and would certainly develop bruises, etc, etc. But the timing of this conversation was fortuitous, as I had recently added a young gelding with very crooked legs to my herd. I decided it couldn’t hurt to do some research. I was willing to do whatever I could to give this horse the best chance at a healthy and comfortable life. So here’s a synopsis of what I’ve learned and experienced first hand. The Natural Hoof Movement Barefoot trims give domestic horses’ hooves the structural benefits and wear patterns that a wild horse would have. Proper barefoot trims: Allow the hooves greater flexion with every step Give better weight distribution; as opposed to just baring weight on the hoof wall and laminaeas when in shoes Improve blood circulation inside the hoof Provide better shock absorption for leg joints Don’t damage the structure of the hoof wall with repeated nail holes All this, plus a horse without shoes certainly won’t throw one! And he is safer during turn out with other horses. As a hoof grows, the toe of the foot tends to reach forward. So in barefoot keeping, we keep the toe back to the correct beak over position, so that the foot can then land heel-first onto its most shock-absorbing structures.This is why barefoot trimmers add what is known as a Mustang Roll. This shaping relieves pressure from the outer toe wall as the hoof breaks over. The image on the left is from an actual mustang who lived wild. Through it’s ability to cover lots of ground this horse developed his own roll. The image on the right is of a domestic horse with a mustang roll added by the trimmer.“But my horse can’t go barefoot, he doesn’t grow any heel!” An old wive’s tale I’ve heard and believed. In fact I’d kept a horse of mine on wedge pads for years because I was told that story time and again. The truth is, the same hoof doesn’t grow at different rates of speed (though barefoot hooves do tend to grow faster than shod ones). In...

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