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The Right Lead, and it's Internet companion, The Right Lead On Line©, are reader-to-reader open forums. If you haven't visited the on line forum lately you're in for a surprise, we've updated and changed the format so it's easier to use- come check it out! Each month you'll find new questions, tips and suggestions, as well as answers to questions in previous issues, so hang on to all your magazines for easy reference. This column's primary focus is the horsemen and women of the Southwestern United States, but good information travels well and is welcome no matter what the region or country. We want to hear from you on any area of horse life, from breeding and barn management, to horse care and health, budgeting money and time, training, riding and showing. Keep you letters as brief, but as complete, as possible and photos or illustrations are welcome; please only send copies, as we may be unable to return them to you.

You do not have to be a trainer or recognized expert, we believe the lessons you've learned through the equine school of hard knocks and trial and error, could be of invaluable assistance to others and ask you to share them with the readers of this column. Anyone of any age, whether you own a horse or not, is encouraged to write in. English, Western, Dressage, Trail, Reining, Cutting or Barrel Race, equine professional or dedicated amateur, this article's success depends on your participation so let's hear from you!

 

BACK TO TOP  ISSUE: JANUARY 2000

 

HELP WANTED!

Q. Nursery plans:
I’m trying to get my first time mom’s stall ready for her foals arrival in March and would love ideas and suggestions on how to prepare it and make it "baby" safe. Our stalls are 24 feet by 60 feet (45 feet of the length is run) with concrete floors covered by rubber mats. I’ve read straw is better for the foal than shavings, but am concerned Hope will eat it (she’s beautiful but not too bright!). Thanks for any ideas ya’ll can pass along, the "big event stall" is still only in the planning stages and nothing (but the floor) is in concrete, yet.- Joy B from Buda, TX.

Q. Arabian Halter Training:
I have a two-year-old filly I would like to teach how to stand and stretch for a halter class. Could anyone tell me how to start or recommend a book I could purchase.- Rudy, on-line.

 

READER RESPONSE:

Clean and Simple (from December 1999):
R: As for the brushes, I’m still using the ole bucket and soap routine, but a woman at a horse show passed along this suggestion- I haven’t tried it so I can’t vouch for it, but here goes! She takes each horse’s brushes and puts them into separate old, pillow cases and ties them closed. Next, she takes them down to the laundry mat (probably NOT when the manager is there!) and throws them in the big drum washers with soap and a dash of bleach. She says she puts a little Downey in the final rinse to help with static and give them that "April fresh smell."- Joy B.

 
Ducking out on the job (from December 1999):
R: There’s an old saying that jumping is only flatwork with obsticles! In my opinion, you need to take him back to square one and really focus on leg yields, half halts, and collection/extension work, on the flat and over cavaletti first- striving for consistancy in these exercises before you put him to a jump. You mentioned your horse was a six year old Paint, you might also want to consider how he was originally trained. If he was trained for Western Pleasure, or any of the Western events, then I wonder if it’s possible he does not really understand Hunter/Jumper cues and getting confused. I recently had the pleasure of riding a well-trained Western Pleasure horse, and every time I asked him to leg yield he thought I was asking for the lope, it was a great learning experience! Other things to consider might be checking for soreness and saddle fit- these will make any horse cranky and obstinate! Finally, when you feel he’s ready to start jumping again, a rule of thumb I was taught to go by is never jump a horse everyday, even if it’s only small one and half to two foot jumps. I was advised to space out jumping sessions with a day (or more) of flatwork and rest to keep him from becoming sore or bored, and always start a jumping session with a review of work on the flat. Good luck!- Joy B.

 
Arabian Halter Training (from January 2000):
R: I’m not sure of any books; I’ve learned by going to clinics. Mike Neal was good, and Kim Potts is also very good. There are a series of clinics that will be held in January 2000 in Belton, Texas, you should try to go to them.

In the meantime, the very first thing she needs to learn is WHOA- no cheating, no scootching forward, resting a foot, nada! Whoa. Proceed no further until she has this step down. Practice by walking her with you backing away, she needs to not rush you and stay in HER space, and watching her hind feet. As the left hind starts to leave the ground, tell her "whoa." That will put her hind feet in the correct position. You have to practice to get the timing. If it is not your fault that her feet are wrong, and she is just continuing after you said "whoa," then you need to reprimand her (I will shank, but I use a captive chain) and back her up as many steps as she took forward. Next, practice walking around her, having a conversation with a friend, doing aerobic exercises, whatever, and she needs to stay where you put her. Play tricks (grin). She needs to know that unless you have given her the command to walk, those back feet do not budge. Again, whenever she moves, back her up the same number of steps.

When she has that step down, then you can move to the front feet. Tug the lead to the side, and I usually tell them "foot" or something similar so as not to confuse it with an O.K. to walk forward. She should move one front foot. Practice until you can do a one quarter circle to both sides without moving those back feet. That is how you inch the front feet up to stretch them out a bit. Remember, one hind cannon bone must remain perpendicular to the ground.

For the neck, you can use carrots, treats, a hat, the shiny part of the whip, toy, or whatever to get her to reach. Don’t forget whoa. Remember to ask her to show down some, too, or you get a really stiff-necked look.

Finally, to rock her back and forth, you have to teach her about your space. Where you stand is your space, then if you step forward or lean forward, it is now your space and she needs to move. I teach by first stepping toward them, and if they don’t back up, telling them to back. If they still push into my space, I will either shank them once and repeat, or if really pushy, I will give them a tap with the whip. Praise her when she gives you what you asked for. Then practice to where if you take a step forward, then she takes a step back. It’s like a dance, and she needs to learn to watch you for the lead. Then you can refine it to just leaning forward, while telling her "whoa." She should then rock back to move slightly out of your space.

It takes a lot of little steips to get the picture all there. Remember not to work on it for too long a period of time, ten to fifteen minutes at the most. Also, do not practice constantly doing the whole set up routine. Horses get bored of it very quickly, or if they figure they know exactly what you are going to ask, they’ll try to anticipate and rush it. So just work on whatever bits you need to work on that day. I very rarely do the whole thing in practice sessions, mostly just work on whoa, play with the neck without standing them up, or work on the spacing. Good luck and have fun!- Lori Savage, head trainer for Champagne Royal Arabians, Floresville, TX, on-line.

(Ed.s note: The clinics Lori referred to are part of the Arabian Extravaganza being held in Belton, Texas, on January 8th and 9th. For more information and clinic scehdual, you can go to http://www.region-9.org/ for the I.A.H.A. Region 9 website. Joy B.)

 

STABLE CUES:
* FIRST AID TIP:
I read this on another message board and thought it was good enough to pass along. To make an easy ice pack for injuries, mix two parts water to one part rubbing alcohol and put it in a small bucket with a lid, then put it in the freezer. The alcohol won’t freeze, so what you’ll have is a slush that’s easy to scoop into a plastic bag and apply to the injured area. When it melts, just put it back in the freezer to refreeze. You might want to mark the bucket so people won’t accidentally make a Margarita out of your ice pack!- Lynn F. from San Marcos, TX, on-line.

* SQUEAKEY CLEAN:
To cut soap residue and conditioner build-up in manes and tails, mix one quarter cup apple cider vinegar to two gallons water and use it as your final rinse- it doesn’t smell very pleasant, but it will leave your horse’s mane and tail squeaky clean.- Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

CYBER PASTURES:
*Attention Quarter Horse lovers, The International Museum of the Horse has an informative page dedicated to the American Quarter Horse. This site gives a brief history of America’s horse and highlights several stallions influential to the breed, such as LEO, GO MAN GO, WIMPY, KING and DOC BAR. You can also takes a peak at several famous QH’s in the movies, like DOCS KEEPIN TIME from Black Beauty and the television series, The Black Stallion, as well as HIGHTOWER (Pilgrim). The site takes a few minutes to load, but the pictures are worth the wait. You can find this page at http://www.imh.org/imh/bw/quar.html Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 
* For anyone interested in finding out more about the Arabian horse and it’s registry, the I.A.H.A.®, their webpage address is: http://www.iaha.com/ and is full of information from upcoming events to classifieds and membership information. Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

BACK TO TOP  ISSUE: FEBRUARY 2000

 

HELP WANTED!

Q. Great Pyrenees as Guards for Horses?
Does anyone know if Great Pyrenees are effective as guards for horses as they are for goats and sheep?- Sue from San Antonio, Texas, on-line.


Q. Waiting Period:
I hope I got this in on time! Our question is: How long after feeding do you have to wait before you can safely work a horse, and how long should you wait after a work out before you can feed and why? Thanks- Laura A. from Austin, Texas, on-line.

 

READER RESPONSE:

Nursery Plans (from January, 2000):
(Editor's note: Hope only has fifty-five days left as of 01/18/2000!)

R-1: Straw is hard to find around here; sometimes we get stuck using hay instead. Let me know if someone finds a source! Shavings will irritate the foal's naval stump, and can also irritate his sinuses and lungs. Nothing dusty or with small pieces for the babies. Plus, straw is a much warmer bed for them to snuggle down in. The big thing to remember with a foal is that they spend most of their time with their noses in the bedding- sleeping, picking, sleeping, falling over, sleeping, etc! Most horses won't eat the straw (well, not much anyway) if they have plenty of hay and alfalfa to munch on. Usually munching on straw is a boredom thing. Maybe even make a point of hanging the hay in a couple of hay nets so she figures out the food is up there, not down in the straw.- Lori Savage, Champagne Royal Arabians, Floresville, Texas- on-line.

 
R-2: You might want to consider letting her foal on the rubber mats to make sure she passed the entire placenta (very important!) and it should make clean up easier as well. For warmth afterward, bring in a good quality straw- even though it's only bedding, you want it clean- no mold or mildew- Susan from Dallas, Texas, on-line.

 
R-3: Joy, I'm afraid I am about to offer a very unpopular opinion on this subject, but you can take it for what it is worth. Aside from providing the nutritional and health needs, and of course a safe environment for you mare, anything that you do is for your benefit, not the horse's. Mares have been having foals long before we (humans) got involved with them and they will continue after we are gone. I know it is hard to wait nearly eleven months and it's just as natural for us to worry and fret over something in which we have no real control. Try not to worry, nature is powerful and will take care of it's own.

My recommendation would be that you leave her outside if you have a small area (200' x 200') that is fenced in with Field Fencing (so that dogs, coyotes or other predators can not get to the mare when she is vulnerable) or have a Stallion or "Buddy Mare" you can turn in with her to protect her. I know that may sound hard, cruel or cold hearted but, having been around horses for forty five of my fifty two years, I have seen more things go wrong (three to one) for foals born inside a barn, than those born outside (i.e., umbilical infections, mare stepping on foal, respiratory, infections, eye injuries, etc.).

If you research mares foaling in the wild you'll find they somewhat separate themselves from the herd to deliver. Generally, a buddy mare or the Stallion will be near at hand. There's a reason for separation; it's called the "safety factor through seclusion." It is often the case that man prolongs the deliverly by not giving the mare the privacy she desires. Believe me, it is hard to stay out of the barn when foaling time is near. But we must limit the amount of time we intrude so nature can take it's course.

I know this isn't helping you with your Delia but if forced to keep the mare inside, I would prefer a bare hard-packed clean floor over shavings, straw, hay, bare mats (as they can become slippery) or anything else. This may be a little messy when the mare's water breaks but it will beat the foal losing an eye from straw, or respiratory complications from shavings, dust or other foreign matter. So if the mare is due in March, that isn't such a bad time of the year for Buda, Texas, it should be fairly nice weather and there may even be a little grass coming on by then. I would recommend leaving the mare outside if you have the space and can protect her from the varmints.

It sounds as though you have plenty of room for your mare to foal in and I'll give you odds the mare will deliver in the forty-five foot run if she has access to it.- Jim L, on-line.

 

STABLE CUES:
* WARNING TACK THIEVES!
A rash of tack thefts has recently hit the San Antonio area, all apparently by the same individuals. They are described as a tall, white male (40ish about 6'2") with graying red hair sometimes going by the name Rusty or Zane, and in some cases is accompanied by a white female. They were last known to be driving a white Ford F-150 Pick Up. Their pattern seems to be they call to set up an appointment, claiming they are looking for a place to board two newly purchased Quarter Horses until they can return to Montana, but usually have already stolen the tack when the barn owner or manager arrives for the appointment. When looking to sell the hot saddles, he claims to be selling his ex-wife's, daughter's or deceased uncle's saddles. If you feel people fitting this description have visited your facility, or if you have information regarding these individuals that could help lead to their arrest, please contact your local Sheriff's Department or call the San Antonio Sheriff's Department immediately. Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 
* EMERGENCY POISON HELP LINE:
National Animal Poison Control Center, a division of the A.S.P.C.A., has dedicated a twenty-four hour emergency information help line for horses. The number is (800) 548-2423 or (888) 4ANIHELP (888-426-4435). To offset the cost of this service, there is a thirty dollar per case fee but no charge for follow up calls, you must use Visa, Master Card, Discover, or American Express when you call. Joy B. from Buda, Texas

 

CYBER PASTURES:
* Thanks to all this beautiful Spring Weather, trail-riding time has come early! If you're new to the area, or if you're just looking for a new place to ride, you'll want to check out this site! Texas Parks and Wildlife has put together a list of state parks that have horse facilities that allow day and overnight as well as extended use, please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Equestrian Information page at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/admin/equest.htm for this comprehensive and detailed list. Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 
*A great Quarter Horse site is http://www.qhd.com from Jana Copeland, Cedar Creek, Texas.

 

BACK TO TOP ISSUE: MARCH 2000

 

HELP WANTED!

Q. Pony Up!
Hi! I briefly had a pony as a child, but never really learned how to ride (I was pretty good at grooming!). My ten-year-old daughter wants to learn to ride. We live on a small farm and have plenty of space, shelter, food, etc. We have been offered a pony for her to learn to ride on, but I am unsure of what to look for. I have read a few books and understand the general physical things to keep a look out for, but what about a pony's nature? What can I do when I go see the pony to "test" if it would make a good learner's pony? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Meg H. from New Zealand, on-line.

 
Q. Won't Stay Put!
Hi, I've just recently started riding again after about twenty years and need some help. I've bought a Quarter Horse/Appoloosa cross with high and very wide whithers and am having a problem with saddle slippage. On level ground his saddle fits perfectly, but going up steep hills it keeps sliding back. I never had to buy tack when I was a kid and when I went into a local tack shop recently, I was completely overwhelmed! I didn't even know where to start!

I'm riding him in an old roping saddle and would like suggestions on what kind of breast collar would be appropriate for this kind of saddle, affordable, and, more importantly, comfortable for my horse. Thank you for your help. Amanda L. from Central Texas, on-line.

 
Q. Quickie question:
What does "quicking" a horse mean? I've heard that around our barn lately and have asked six people and gotten about six different answers. Nancy B. from Temple, Texas, on-line.

 
Q. Got Milk?
Just when I thought I had a handle on things, Hope threw me a curve. She started dripping milk at day 314 (yes, I do count!) which meant she was about 29 days away from her "official" due date of March 15. As of February 20 (day 318) she hasn't foaled and she's still dripping (EXCEPT of course when I try to milk her for the Predict-A-Foal test!!!). The milk is thin, white and transluscent, the baby has not dropped and the muscles around the tail head and flanks have not relaxed. I'm concerned about lost colostrum at this point and I have talked with my vet- right now we're watching her closely. This was something I hadn't counted on so I was definitely caught flat footed- any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. I'm looking for local sources of colostrum and am receiving advice from the folks at Cyber Foal.com (see Cyber Pastures) but want to hear from ya'll. Thanks, a rapidly turning grey Joy B. from Buda, Texas!

 

READER RESPONSE:

Great Pyrenees as Guards for Horses? (from February, 2000):
R-1: Any of the traditional herding breeds are good protection dogs. Sheep farmers raise the puppies with the lambs so that they bond with the flock. Of course, the Great Pyrenees and the Komondor are white, too, so they fit right in. It's a bit more complicated than just sticking the dog out there with a bunch of animals and expecting it to protect them. A dog could be trained to protect your horses, and which breed you choose is strictly up to you. I prefer German Shepherds because of their intelligence and trainability. Lynn F. from Redwood, Texas, on-line.

 
R-2: I'd recommend a donkey as a guard over a Great Pyrenees. Donkeys are low maintenance, eat the same feeds as horses (only less) and are terrific guards for horses. Use a jenny or a gelding- NEVER- an uncastrated jack. Most donkeys have an innate dislike for all things canine and so excel at guarding from dog or coyote related problems. Nanci F. from Lockhart, Texas

 

Nursery Plans (from January, 2000):
(Ed. note: Hope only has twenty-five days left as of 02/20/2000!)

R-1: We are not a big breeder, but we do foal out five to ten mares a year. I have found that the mare does really well in the arena away from the other horses- there is plenty of room and the mare is not bothered by the other horses. This gives them the time to bond and be alone. We do have a couple of mares who are better off foaling in a stall (ones that may have a history of having problems or first time mamas who we aren't sure what will happen). In this case, we have a double stall- 24' x 12' stall and we just clean if real good and put extra shavings down. The mares seem to like the privacy and we have easy access if need be. We make sure the stall doesn't have any sharp edges anywhere and then we don't worry much about them.

One thing you might keep in mind with a new foal- everytime we've ever handled a foal with "kid gloves"- you know- take every precaution to keep it from getting a scratch- they seem to be the ones that are accident prone and get hurt regularly. The ones who the mom tricks us and has the foal early, with no warning signs, right out in the middle of the pasture with fifteen other horses, and we don't even close to the foal for two months, always seem to be the toughest! Even the mares that foal in a stall, after a week we will put another mare and foal in with them in the arena and let them bond for about a week, then out in the pasture they go to become "pasture wise" and let mama teach them the ropes. Good luck with your new foal! Jana Copeland, Cedar Creek, Texas, e-mail.

 
R-2: Joy, I agree in part with Jim L. about foaling arrangements- outside beats inside any day of the week as that is more natural. However, while I might put a "buddy" in as a neighbor, I would never consider putting it into the same pen- in the wild is an entirely different matter. A pen is an unnatural environment for a horse and you need to keep the dangers down to a minimum.

I like bedding on heavy (builder's quality) sand- it's absorbent, easy to clean and gives good footing. It doesn't need to be deep sand, just heavy enough to eliminate the dust problems. I also like dirt as a floor in a foaling area. Anything artificial like rubber matting, cement, etc., is very liable to get slippery and dangerous for a foal trying to get to it's feet for the first few times.

Good luck- foals are one of the great joys of horse owning, but remember that the horse is ultimately Nature's animal and we need to stick as close to Nature as possible. Nanci F. from Lockhart, Texas.

 

STABLE CUES:
* Lori Savage, head trainer for Champagne Royal Arabians in Floresville, Texas passed on this tip to me, and it's wonderful! The next time you clean your stallion's or gelding's sheath as a "pre-cleaning" treatment, try baby oil. It not only softens the smegma, it also allows dry skin "flakes" to come off easily and with less irritation and makes your usual clean up routine run "smoother." I found it to be a little messier than I like, but Gryphon didn't complain or fuss so I won't! Word of caution, if you've never cleaned a sheath before, have your veterinarian walk you through it- some horses object and you're in a vulnerable position so please be careful. Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

FREE STUFF:
* Purina Mills, Inc. has published helpful, informative booklets on the feeding of horses and is offering them free of charge to horse owners at 1-800-227-8941. These booklets offer information on the feeds necessary to meet the nutritional needs of the performance horse, senior citizen, and pleasure horse, as well as pregnant mares and foals. While these booklets focus on feeds supplied by Purina, I feel the information provided is a valuable reference tool to any horseman or woman. Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

CYBER PASTURES:
* Attention- information on orphan foals! If someone has this nightmare or knows of someone, there is help at http://www.cyberfoal.com Posted by Len, on-line.

(Ed. note: This is an excellent site if you need help or referrals on nurse mares, orphan foals, colostrum, etc. They've been very helpful and supportive on answering my questions concerning Hope's situation along with many of you in Central Texas- my thanks to all of you! I was checking out Cyber Foal for this month's edition never dreaming I would need it, please check out this site if you breed or plan to breed your mare. Joy B.)

 
* If you're looking for horse related links, check out http://link-usa.com/horses for the Horse Links for All Breeds site. You'll find links for just about every breed you can imagine from Akhal Teke, to Selle Francais, to Spanish Mustangs and Westfalians. Happy browsing! Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

BACK TO TOP  ISSUE: APRIL 2000

 

HELP WANTED!

Q. Bracing Experience:
Can anyone help me with this? I've started having problems on long trail rides with my right knee and foot. My knee starts to hurt after about forty-five minutes, then I start to cramp and my foot falls asleep. I've ridden in this saddle for years and the stirrups are the same length they've always been. I've been reading about the Sports Medicine knee brace and was wondering if that was the answer. Thanks! Evidently getting old from Austin, Texas.

 
Q. What's HYPP?
We're thinking about buying our daughter the horse that she started leasing last month and want to know more about HYPP and vet checks. The owner and her vet talked with us about this, but we'd like to verify the information for our own peace of mind before we sign anything. We've been advised to get a pre-purchase exam done as well. Should we use her vet or find another one on our own? We don't want to risk offending the owner and killing the deal- our daughter is in love with this horse already. Name and location withheld by request.

 
Q. Making Her Mark:
I'm looking for someone to help design and/or manufacture a hip or shoulder (4") freeze brand- if anyone knows of someone, or could recommend someplace for me to check out, I'd really appreciate it. Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

READER RESPONSE:

Nursery Plans (from January 2000): IT'S A FILLY!!!

In spite of all indications to the contrary, "Sunday" arrived at 3:33 AM on March 5, 2000. Hope fooled everyone- even the predictor kit (the test strips went backwards!). Mama and filly are both fine! Thanks again to everyone who offered suggestions and tips for the "nursery". We hadn't actually finished the nursery and Hope foaled outside in the run and then took the filly inside. As for the straw vs. shavings, I broke open a bale of hay and spread it out on the mats for the foal to snuggle down into and it worked great. I hand spread the hay to make sure there were no sticks or tough stems that might poke or injure her in any way and made sure it was dust free. By the way, the nursery is now going to be the "weaning" pen- IF it ever gets finished!!!

More pictures of "Lead Mare" Hope and "Lead Mare in Training," Sunday can be found at
http://www.videoranch.net/sunday.htm - wait for the music to load. I feel she's going to be everything I hoped for- tenacious, curious, intelligent and full of life- she's already taken over the place and stopping traffic on the road! Please keep advice and suggestions coming, with this little stinker I'm beginning to realize that getting her here was the easy part! A Thrilled Joy B. from Buda, Texas!



Pony up! (from March 2000):
R: I've always heard that the younger, or less experienced, rider should try to be paired with an older more experienced mount. Although I've had no personal experience with ponies to speak of, I've also heard that Welsh and Welsh Cobs are more gentle than Shetlands. One thing I do know is that good hearts and gentle spirits come in all breeds, shapes, colors, ages and sexes. You'll have to handle the pony and watch the interaction between it and your daughter. Is there any way your daughter can take lessons on the pony for a while before bringing it home? I realize you don't want to "look a gift horse in the mouth," but a trial period is almost always a wonderful way to make sure you've made the right choice. Joy B. from Buda, TX.

 
Won't Stay Put (from March 2000):
R: You definitely need a breast collar for ANY horse- for safety's sake, this item of tack is a must. Any good tack shop should be able to help you in deciding what kind of collar would be best for you and your horse. The type depends on the kind of work you do on the horse- from pleasure riding to trail riding, to working cattle. Catalogs are a good source and many times are cheaper than the fancier saddle shops, but you can find what you need at a saddle shop and don't have to worry about the mailing or getting exactly what you want. Good luck! Nanci F. from Lockhart, TX.

 
Quickie Question (from March 2000):
R-1: Are these people saying their horses have been quicked? It means that a farrier has trimmed them too short (it's like cutting your finger nails back to the "quick") then they have to try to walk on them. Ouch! Lori Savage, Head Trainer, of Champagne Royal Arabians in Floresville, TX.

R-2: "Quicking" is exactly as Lori described above, but there might be another explanation worth looking into as well. As it was explained to me, horses who are unshod and are coming up slightly lame or "tender footed" for only a day or two after trimming, might be reacting to the loss of callouses during trimming. I was told horses build callouses on their soles and heels just as we do on our hands and feet. If this is the case, their "ouchiness" should ease off as the callouses are reformed. You need to ask your friends at the barn if their horses are shod, if blood is drawn during the trimming, or if the horses were lame for more than a week after being trimmed. Joy B. from Buda, TX.

 

CYBER PASTURES:
* The Arabian Working Western Association (AWWA) is a non-profit, IAHA® Affiliated association for the promotion of the Arabian and Half Arabian horse in Working Western Horse Events- Reining, Trail, Cutting, and Working Cow. While we are based here in Central Texas in Region 9, the growing interest and high demand for this club has attracted members from as far away as California and New Jersey and even Canada. When accepted by AHSA, the AWWA will also be the first breed affiliated club to be affiliated with AHSA as well. This is a dynamic new association that is blazing new trails and working on an affiliation with the IACHA. If you are interested in joining, or simply learning more about AWWA, you can find us at http://www.awwainc.org and e-mail us through our web site. Susan Baker of AWWA.

 

BACK TO TOP  ISSUE: MAY 2000

 

HELP WANTED!

Q. Snakes!
I've been wanting to ride my horse in a local creek and have been warned about snakes- moccasins and rattle snakes- are they really a problem I should be concerned about? If my horse or I get bit, what should I do?- Trailrider.

 

READER RESPONSE:

Pony up! (from March 2000):
R: If at all possible, you need to take any prospective pony or horse on a trial basis- put down a deposit, sign a contract for thirty or sixty days, and take the pony home to see if it and your child are a good partnership. Any change is hard on an equine, so you need the time to let it get used to it's new home and new people. Any reputable seller should allow this "bonding" time. Good Luck!- Nanci Falley, Rancho San Francisco, in Lockhart, TX.

 
Won't Stay Put (from March 2000):
R: A breast collar is a very important piece of tack. Comfort for your horse should be your first priority over appearance and cost. Look at your horse's conformation and try to envision the breast collar on your horse. If he has any old scar tissue, or if he is well muscled or has predominant bones, you might want to consider a breast collar that won't interfere with, or possibly rub it in a painful way.

Another thing to consider is the leather itself, thicker and wider will dissipate the pressure over a wider area instead of concentrating all of it on one narrow band of flesh. Consider if you were carrying a bucket of water on your arm instead of in your hand, the tiny metal handle will begin to hurt your arm and leave a mark much quicker than the wider strip or plastic handle would and it's the same for your horse. Some breast collars come with real and synthetic fleece just to make the wider band that much more comfortable. You're right, there are a myriad of styles and variations to choose from! What I would buy for my horses would be the widest leather possible in the shape most conducive for their ease of movement, along with the removable fleece slip covers so they can be taken off and cleaned on a regular basis. Best of luck! Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

Quickie Question (from March 2000):
R: In reading some of the responses you received to your question, there are some pretty good responses, but not really conclusive answers. I am assuming the "quicking" you are referring to, is of the hoof and I'll base my response on that premise.

"Sole" Quick: This occurs when the sole is pared out too far (cutting away of the dead or insensitive material. If too much dead material is cut away this could lead to bleeding or at least to be sensitive to damage from foreign objects (rocks, sticks, etc.)

"Nail" Quicking: This occurs when the horse is shod and a nail is driven too close or into the sensitive area of the hoof. As some horses have a real thin interlacing lamina (white-line) particular attention must be given to prevent quicking the horse.

I have never heard of a horse having calluses on their hooves; however, I have heard of them having corns. Corns occur when the Bars of the hoof are not relieved prior to placing on a shoe. The corn will occur between the Bars and the Hoof Wall. I believe what Lori was speaking of was dead sole, which hardens as it dies. Turpentine, lamp oil (diesel fuel) or bleach will dry out the hoof and cause it to harden. Just soak the bottom of the hoof though as it could damage the hoof, coronary band or it could blister the skin if it comes into contact with it.

Another trick that Endurance Riders use is a mixture of 1/3 alcohol, 1/3 7% Iodine and 1/3 formaldehyde mixture. They paint the soles of the hooves for 3 days, each day, before the ride with this mixture. This way they do not have to have their horses shod with full pads. This should not be done on a regular basis.

One of the people that responded indicated their animal acted tender, gimpy or sensitive after a trimming. This can happen if the farrier takes off too much dead sole and/or does not relieve the sole around the hoof wall or where it does not come in contact with the ground. Only the Hoof Wall should come into contact with the ground. If the horse is sole quicked, which will typically be indicated by bleeding. If the horse is nail quicked or a nail is too close to the sensitive material of the inner hoof, this may not be immediately apparent. If a nail in driven into the sensitive material of the hoof it generally takes about 3 days for an abscess to set in. NOTE: The horse will generally throw a fit when this happens, but I have seen horses that gave no clue about having been quicked in this manner. If the hoof is not trimmed to be balanced on all axis. Trims should be made at a natural angel (same angle as the pastern bone or shoulder, no more shallow or sharper. It should also be even on the vertical plane. If not, the horse could show all the signs of lameness until the natural wear evens or straightens out the anomalies.

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with information and hope I have given some insight on your question. If you have any questions you can contact me at my e-mail address (jimleamon@hotmail.com.)

 

What's HYPP? (from April, 2000):
R: This information comes from numerous articles I've read over the past four years both from print medium (Veterinary Journals, EQUUS, etc.) and over the Internet. Please understand that I am a layman and these are just a few of the facts as I understand them, and am passing this on in the hopes it will give you some ideas about what questions to ask your vet.

HYPP stands for Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis. It is an inherited genetic defect generally linked to the AQHA stallion, IMPRESSIVE. This defect did not start with IMPRESSIVE and he is not the only carrier, but because of his visibility and the large number of his offspring available for testing, it is most closely associated with him. Apparently, and contrary to popular belief, it is NOT a result of inbreeding- but came about as a mutation caused by breeders trying to produce horses with exceptionally heavy musculature. While in extreme cases it is a potentially fatal disorder, many horses with this genetic mutation lead healthy, active lives through proper care and nutrition. If you are considering breeding this horse, it will not pass on the defect if it carries the genetic marker of HYPP N/N, you have a 50/50 chance if it is a normal horse (N/N) bred to an affected horse (heterozygous or N/H). Homozygote horses baring the genetic maker of HYPP H/H will pass on the genetic defect irregardless of whether or not the horse being bred to is normal (N/N) and, in my opinion, should not under any circumstances be bred.

The symptoms most commonly associated with the disorder are severe cramping, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing and in some cases paralysis and even death. It can be managed through diet and exercise so you’ll need to work closely with your vet to come up with a regimen that’s right for the horse. Also, you’ll have to be aware that it’s believed that stressful situations can bring on an episode. Trailering, illness, sudden changes in diet, breeding and the stress associated with starting or training young horses are all suspect activities and you’ll have to try find ways of teaching the horse how to handle these situations so that the stress/anxiety level will be lowered.

Be very sure of this horse's HYPP status if you’re thinking of breeding it later (you didn't say gelding or mare) and if you have any questions as to the voracity of the test papers given to you, have the horse checked again.

As for a pre-purchase exam, definitely get one done! You need to call (in Texas) Texas A and M and get a list of accredited Veterinarians in your area, or call your local AQHA (or whatever breed association or club the horse might belong to) and ask for a vet that will do a complete pre-purchase exam. DO NOT use the owners vet or one she, or her vet, recommends. That way if something should turn up later, you won't have any questions regarding the honesty of the check. Also if the owner gets upset and threatens to "kill" the deal, as much as it may hurt- send the horse back and keep looking. Any legitimate horse owner should not have a problem with a pre-purchase exam! When one does, sometimes, but not always, there is a reason. There may be a pre-existing condition that the owner does not know about (or not even want to know about- ignorance is bliss when selling a lame horse), or be trying to conceal the real reason they're selling the horse.

Protect yourself and your daughter's heart by making sure everything is in order before you sign any papers! Ask any and all questions before you agree to buy. Look into making a pre-purchase agreement where if after 30 or 60 days the horse turns out to have a pre-existing condition or a vice making it dangerous to your daughter, that the horse can be returned and a portion of the purchase price refunded to you. I know it sounds tough, but this is a business transaction and should be treated as such- keep emotions out of it. When buying a horse, it is truly "caveat emptor" let the buyer beware. Finally, as a rule of thumb on pre-purchase exams, if the horse passes the exam the buyer pays the vet bill, if the horse fails, the owner pays it, but that's always negotiable. Good Luck! Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

BACK TO TOP  ISSUE: JUNE 2000

 

HELP WANTED!

Q. Termintes in the Pedigree?!
What causes a horse to chew wood, and how do you stop it?!- CRT of Austin, Texas, e-mail.

 
Q. The Right Lead???
OK, OK! I took English riding lessons fifteen years ago, but I like riding Western better. I live in the country and if my saddle didn’t have a horn, folks would think it was missing parts! Anyway, I have a Paint gelding and I have noticed that he canters really smooth at times, but he gets off on the wrong lead a lot now and I am actually starting to hate riding the canter. Please give me novice advice on how to get him to change leads. Remember, I live in the country- we don’t have fancy riding arenas, just ditches and fields to ride in, but at least I can enjoy my favorite pastime!- Gena in Wisconsin, on-line.

 

READER RESPONSE:

Bracing Experience (from April 2000):
R: Aren’t we all! In my opinion, it sounds like something is pinching a nerve or possible blocking the blood flow- the angles in your hips, knees and/or ankles may be too closed (bent), you might need to open (straighten) the angles and allow the blood to flow! Here are several of the things I do that have helped me eleviate pain and tingling:

1.On your next trail ride, lengthen your stirrups a little and try that for a while to see if it helps.

2.Every time you stop, or about every twenty minutes, drop your stirrups and let your legs relax and dangle- then start circling your feet from the ankle to relax the muscles and get the blood flowing again.

3.Try riding in Sheer Energy panty hose (assuming you’re a woman!) instead of underwear, as the elastic might be cutting into an artery (Femoral, I believe) and slowing down the blood flow- Sheer Energy also have a massaging action that helps tired muscles!

4.On the same track, what kind of jeans are you wearing? Wranglers and English riding britches are what I’ve been most comfortable in- forget Lee Riders! If you’re wearing new chaps they could be pinching your knees as well- I can’t wear my schooling chaps on long rides as they KILL me!

5.The next time you’re riding check to see if you’re having to hold this horse on the right (or left) side to keep him straight, or possibly having to use a more active leg aid on the right (or left).

6.Finally, check the padding on your saddle- if you’ve been using it for years, maybe you rode the stuffing out of it!!!

From one who is definitely getting older, I sincerely hope this helps!- Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 
Snakes! (from May 2000):
R-1: YES, they are a concern. I don’t know where you are, but there are numerous snakes here in Texas. I have spotted a few rattlesnakes myself. The biggest thing is to be aware. If the horse acts nervous, check first before insisting it go on- there may be a snake. It is definitely the time of year for them to come out. If the horse gets bit, I believe the biggest thing is to keep him quiet until you can get it to your vet. I haven’t personally had one bit (touch wood!), but I know horses that have been bitten without ever getting sick. The vet came and gave them a shot, cleaned the wound, and they were fine. Depends on where the bite is, I would suppose. For yourself, I would carry a kit, wear those boots and don’t walk where you can’t see the ground.- Lori Savage, head trainer for Champagne Royal Arabians, Floresville, Texas, on-line.

 
R-2: I wouldn’t let the fear of snakes get in your way- any sensible snake, upon hearing a horse coming toward them is going to slither away as fast as it can. The horses and donkeys I have owned who have been snakebitten were bitten on the nose/muzzle/lips when they put their heads down to investigate that funny noise they heard. One thing I keep a good supply of is Echinacea tincture- this immune boosting herbal remedy is a must for a snakebite kit and it is nothing short of amazing in it’s effect. You can find Echinacea tincture at most pharmacies including Wal-Mart, etc.

To administer it to an equine (or canine/feline, for that matter), draw it into a syringe and give the proper dosage orally. For a mature horse, you would administer 12-15 cc twice a day for four days. You can also make a liquid by mixing Echinacea in capsule form- open the capsule and put the powdered herb into a molasses/water mixture, draw into a syringe and dose orally.

Common sense should dictate that you don’t go crashing through heavy brush as that is a common snake hideout. You will probably see snakes when you ride, particularly if it is not a heavily frequented trail or pasture, but I wouldn’t get in a twist over them because they are simply a fact of nature in our area and serve a useful purpose in the natural order of things. Happy Trails!- Nanci Falley, Rancho San Francisco, Lockhart, Texas.

 

STABLE CUES:
*ATTENTION: NOVICE AND FIRST TIME BREEDERS!
We had a little bundle of joy just one short month ago, today we do not. We had to put her down at an equine hospital. She was precious to us, as I am sure you know yours would be. She was windswept and had one bow leg in the front. Within one week, the back went straight but the front bow worsened so we called the vet. He told us give her more time&ldots;we did. We kept the little one confined because with Angular Limb Deformity (ALD) you have to or they make the matter worse. We called the vet out again over swelling in the knee and he said it was common- digital flexor tendon- no problem unless it gets worse. He never x-rayed and on his word we kept her stalled. I finally sent a video to our old vet who now lives far away from us, and he called me to set the appointment to probably put her down. The surgical center said her tendon did not develop and the leg was now knock-kneed looking- they gave us 0% chance- she’d had a 30-40% chance IF we’d got her to them within twenty-four hours of the rupture.

ALD in the front legs I now know CAN rupture. We were told not to cast it because casting causes sores and white hairs- I would take that over my lost baby horse. I don’t blame the vet as much as I blame myself for not acting on gut feelings. Within a week get the legs x-rayed if they are not straight! I would cast now, regardless of all the cosmetic stuff and sores. We truly miss our baby horse and hope this doesn’t happen to anyone ever.

ALD, Angular Limb Deformity, can be present at birth- like in windswept foals, or can happen shortly after. The first instance can be genetic, so I checked the stud side, this foal was not our mare’s first so I know it wasn’t her. Second, it can be diet, especially the last ninety days (of pregnancy)- copper is very important. ALD is common in Thoroughbred racehorses so it will show up in breeds infused with TB blood more often than in those who are not. REAL QUIET, the ’98 Kentucky Derby winner, was an ALD foal and they waited a long time to fix it so it can be fixed- it depends on the degree of angulation.

I think it is our moral duty to check for genetic problems and breed them out if possible. Some vets will not cast legs for fear of secondary rub marks on legs and the resulting white hair. In ALD foals, with just a small deviation, that could be advisable, BUT, in severe ALD cases like mine, I have to think the cast would have helped my horse.

Another warning! A mare can be checked "negative" in foal and the check can be wrong- the mare can be carrying a baby&ldots;please if you sell a mare that was covered but shows no sign of pregnancy, warn the next owner! They may not watch for pregnancy signs and could starve a baby horse and cause ALD. I know of many people who have bought a horse, rode it hard only to find one cool morning they have another set of eyes looking at them from the stall. Anyhow, ALD is on the web so you can get lots of information. DO use a good vet and get the foal x-rayed if the legs are not straight. If bones are missing, it is more than just ALD.- WWWHOA from Arizona, on-line.

(Ed.’s note: I can’t imagine losing a foal in this way and at so young an age! I’d be totally devastated if anything went wrong with Sunday- I just hope I would have the presence of mind and compassion to look beyond my own grief as you have, to share vital information so other mare and foal owners could be spared the loss you have suffered. Thank you, and please accept my deepest regrets at the loss of your filly. Joy Braswell).

 

BACK TO TOP  ISSUE: JULY 2000

 

HELP WANTED!

Q. Spoiled Rotten:
Can anyone tell me how to check to see if feed/hay is starting to mold? Any hints on how to prevent it in this heat???- Nancy B. from Temple, Texas.

 
Q. Size is Relevant???
I purchased a breast collar/saddle pad combo. Of course the pad fit but the breast collar was too short! It is a Western style with nylon straps. I have a 16+ hand Paint gelding. Am I doing something wrong, or is it just not fitting because this is a bigger horse?!- Gena in Kingston, Wisconsin, on-line.

 

READER RESPONSE:

Snakes! (from May 2000):
R: Careful on the snakes, our mare was bit on the nose by a Mojave Rattler here in Arizona. It was a nonvenomous bite. Our Vet said a bite could stop the heart, or cause all kinds of tissue damage wherever the bite is located, i.e., the skin can rot and gangrene is a concern. There is Anti-Venom for Western Diamond Back Rattlesnakes and there may be for others, but not the Mojave. Just be careful and don’t be foolish- if the bite area swells get the horse to the Vet. Carry a hose and lubricant with you to put up the nose to keep the airway open as horses can’t breathe through their mouths like we do.- WWWHOA- Arizona, on-line.

(Ed. Question: I’ve never heard of the Mojave Rattler, is it indigenous to Western States, or can it be found in Southwestern States as well like Texas and Oklahoma? Also, do you have any suggestions of the size, length and thickness of the tubing for the airway? Joy B.)

 

Termites in the Pedigree (from June 2000):
R: Boredom is said to be the chief culprit for wood chewers or "cribbers." I’ve read that it could be due to something missing in the horse’s diet, a condition called "Pica." Cribbing is also believed to be a learned behavior- if a horse is stalled with a cribber, popular opinion is that the chances are good it will pick up the habit. Everyone agrees that once the habit is formed, it is nearly impossible to break.

If he’s cribbing because of Pica, a slight change in his diet (consult with your Veterinarian) and/or putting in a trace mineral block, a sulfur block and a pure salt block could stop it. If it’s boredom, giving him more "out" time in pasture with a buddy or more time under saddle might help. When mine have to be stalled, they have a variety of "toys" to play with- goldfish in the troughs, ice blocks in the Summer, stall balls and (a tip from LAS in Floresville, TX) crushed soda pop bottles with holes cut in them and filled with handfuls of grain. I also keep hay in front of them to satisfy their natural need to chew.

As for remedies, Chew Stop worked well out here, but was somewhat cost prohibitive. Gryphon taught me that youngsters put everything in their mouths but he changed his mind after the first application. Sunday, now three months old, is starting to check out the walls, so every other day I paint the wood in her stall with Chew Stop and she’s losing interest fast. The only draw back is the barn reeks of cinnamon and it is pretty expensive. The horse magazine, EQUUS, published a great old "home remedy" last month that I tried during the recent rain spell and I feel it was more effective than Chew Stop. EQUUS suggested smearing Vaseline on the wood and pouring Cayenne pepper on it- it’s not fun to apply but it worked like a charm and I had a barn full of damp, unhappy campers. I’ve heard quite a few home remedies that friends and horsefolk have sworn by and I hope they get passed along here!- Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

The Right Lead? (from June, 2000):
R-1: Is he picking up one lead wrong consistently, or are there problems with both leads? If it is one direction, check your position first- we all tend to be a bit one-sided. If you are confident that you are sitting correctly (remember not to lean forward), then the first ouchy place to check would be the initiating (outside) hind leg. We recently found hock problems in our Reiner that was causing him to break going to the left.

If position and ouchiness is ruled out, try cantering whichever direction he goes best, then stop, do a 180 hindquarter pivot toward the rail (bush, whatever barrier you’re using) and pick up the canter going the opposite direction. It seems that a lot of the time they are just weighting on the forehand too much, and setting them back on their haunches reminds them again. Lori Savage, Head Trainer for Champagne Royal Arabians in Floresville, Texas.

 
R-2: First, sit on the outside hip, pull the horse’s head a bit toward the outside, and when you push off into the inside lead (canter or lope), make sure that if you’re wanting the left lead, that you wait until his right front leg is moving forward. Next, pull the outside rein a little, sit outside and cue&ldots;it is important that his front leg be making the step forward so the next step after you cue is with the left leg lead. Easy right?? Sometimes people make a mistake and cue too late, so try, try again. This works and bushes work as an arena fence. I train out a lot. Good luck!- WWWHOA from Arizona, on-line.

 

CYBER PASTURES:
* I’d like to recommend a site that covers an incredibly wide range of horse health topics and care- The Horse Interactive can be found at http://www.thehorse.com and is worthy of being "bookmarked" or posted to your "Favorites" for quick access.- Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

BACK TO TOP  ISSUE: AUGUST 2000

 

Welcome to the third year of The Right Lead©, and it's World Wide Web counterpart, The Right Lead On-Line© (http://www.therightlead.com). The Right Lead has grown and expanded quite a bit over the past two years and more changes are on the way. I feel these changes are necessary to keep The Right Lead fresh and informative, to that end I am taking time off to examine and revamp the column’s format. You may continue to visit The Right Lead On-Line for your questions, answers, tips and suggestions. Thank you for making the past two years rewarding ones! Keep those cards, letters and e-mails coming!!!

 

READER RESPONSE:

Snakes! (from May 2000 in reply to Editor's question in July 2000 issue):
R-1: The Mojave Rattler has a neurotoxin poison and is found in Arizona. Many people do not think snakebite a big issue as approximately 75% of the time the bite does not contain poison. The snake is hunting for smaller game, so usually the bite, even if it contains venom, doesn’t contain enough to kill. The side effects, however, can. In the nose, insert either tubes cut off of a garden hose, or syringe plastic will work. Grease it down and slide it in approximately 5/8 of an inch. If the horse stresses out over this, stop, do not do it as stress rushes the blood faster. The puncture wound from a snakebite is full of bacteria so get a tetanus booster, keep your horses vaccinated! An antibiotic is needed for possible infection, as the skin at the site of the injury (soft tissue of a leg or nose) can shed, possibly becoming gangrenous to the bone. I am not a vet, or a helper, but I certainly call a vet for a snakebite, just in case.- WWWHOA- Arizona, on-line.

 
R-2: Hi Joy! Thank you for contacting me and I apologize for the delayed response. The post from Arizona on your board concerning the Mojave Rattlesnake is pretty accurate. The Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus Scutulatus) is a Western species and may be easily confused with the Diamondback Rattlesnake. They (Mojave) are generally 2-3 feet long as adults, but occasionally larger. The Mojave’s venom is more neurotoxic than that of other rattlesnake species, so they are one of the most dangerous venomous snakes in the United States. This species is not found in our local area of Central Texas, but they can be found further west in the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos areas. They are also found in the extreme southern portions of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California, as well as throughout most of Northern Mexico. Again, thanks for the note and please feel free to call on me anytime you have a "snake related" question. -Gerald Keown from Central Texas by e-mail and on-line.

(Ed. note: You can find more information on the poisonous snakes in our area, as well as other portions of Texas at Gerald’s website, The Venomous Snakes of Texas at
 http://www.kingsnake.com/venom/index.html)

 

Termites in the Pedigree (from June 2000):
R: I’ve always thought the proper term for horses should be "Termitus Giganticus" or something along those lines! They are dedicated wood eaters in all their many forms, however, you must remember always what Nature intended for the horse. She (Nature) created the horse to fill a certain spot- to graze and travel, thereby spreading grass seed and feeding the various carnivores that crossed their paths. Once humankind quit eating the horse and began to use it, the wood eating began.

Horses don’t like to be confined, although they will accept it. Your horse is bored. He probably can’t graze all day, most of the night and wander the plains as intended. One solution I have found with the problem is to stay away from pretty wooden fences, or line them with horse wire (the non-climbable stuff that is tall enough to bend over the top board). Pipe, or stock panel fences, will help you avoid the problem. Hackberry branches make a good toy/boredom easer, but be sure and don’t give them a tree that will harm them as they will eat all the bark off of it and then proceed to eat the wood in some instances.

Toys are also helpful. The horse balls that are popular today may give your horse enough of a diversion to take his mind off the delicious fencing. Extra hay to keep him busy longer is also another good ploy. Be sure this is a long-stemmed grass hay, such a Coastal Bermuda, as this will keep him busy longer and won’t make him too fat. Regular turnouts are helpful, too. If you have access to a good, safe pasture, pasture living is the most desirable way to keep any horse, although I understand that isn’t always possible. Good luck with your "Termitus Giganticus!"- Nanci F. of Rancho San Francisco in Lockhart, Texas.

 

Spoiled Rotten? (from July, 2000):
R-1: Your climate is wet while mine in Arizona is dry, but for hay what I do is cover the top and the three sides likely to get the most rain. I have about 166 bales stacked at a time, but I go through a lot, too. I stack on pallets so they don’t touch the ground and I am careful to keep them from getting real wet. Tarps work well for me because I can pull them back on a sunny week and allow air to circulate. I check the hay every day for mold, beetles, wire, trash. While you can usually count on a certain hay broker for horse hay, I still watch, as I don’t expect them to catch everything. If it looks dark at all, I give it away to cattle or goat people, or for chicken bedding. I feel it’s better to do this than take a chance on losing a horse. I try to have my stack down during our wet spells so it moves fast, but it’s sometimes hard to balance, as Mother Nature doesn’t always co-operate! I never feed the first cutting of alfalfa hay and I don’t feed only alfalfa. Good luck! I hope this was some help, I am sure others will post good ideas, too.- WWWHOA from Arizona, on-line.

 
R-2: WWWHOA’s suggestions on hay is pretty much what we do out here in Buda. I smell the hay every time I feed, especially during the periods of high heat/humidity we get here. If I get a moldy or musty smell, it goes to our sheep, cows and/or deer. If it gets really wet, it doesn’t even go in the barn, I’m just not willing to take the chance on mold spreading to good bales.

As for feed, I keep all the sweet feeds and oats in separate RubberMaid trash cans (only as much as I can feed in four to six days at a time), the rest I store in the house during the summer. I check the smell when I open the bag and as soon as I start to get a different odor (usually a really sharp twang with sweet feed) or when the molasses starts to become powdery, I give it to the sheep and deer. For storage, I put down a tarp or heavy plastic for a vapor barrier, then put down pallets to put the cans on so they get as much air circulation as possible. About once a month, I rinse the cans out with a mild soap/bleach solution to kill any mold or bacteria that may be forming. The main thing I do is smell everything before I feed it to the horses and follow my Mom’s old adage, "When in doubt, throw it out." Good luck!- Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

 STABLE CUES:
* My farrier passed this on to me, the best hoof moisturizer on Earth is just that, earth! To help balance your horse’s hoof moisture during the hot dry months of summer, simply stand your horse in mud three to five times a week. Allow your water troughs overflow when filling them, and/or hose down an area large enough so all four hooves will be in the mud and strategically place your hay net or food bucket so your horse will be encouraged to stand there for ten to fifteen minutes. You don’t have to pick the mud from his feet (unless it’s full of pebbles and rocks) until the next morning. I like to do this at night when they’re more likely to be quiet and keep the mud on their hooves for a longer period of time. A few minutes every other day or so is all it takes. Joy B. from Buda, Texas.

 

 CYBER PASTURES:
* EQUUS recently published a web site for Team Penning fans. If you’re interested in Team Penning and want to learn more about it, or if you’re looking for Team Penning links, you’ll want to check out this site. Go to http://community-2.webtv.net/HorseNAroundNM/TeamPenning/ have fun! Joy B from Buda, Texas. (Ed. note: Sadly, this site is no longer available. 17 Mar 2001.)

 
BOOK/VIDEO CORRAL:
* AMERICA’S HORSE magazine for July/August 2000 introduced author, Laura Crum. Ms. Crum, who grew up "ropin’ n ridin’ has authored a number of mystery novels centered on horses and the rodeo. "Cutter," "Roped," and "Roughstock" just to name a few, might be a good read while waiting for your class or next go- check ‘em out! Joy B from Buda, Texas.

 

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