The Importance of Knowing Poop!

One day in March 2014, I was working with a 15 yr. old picking up poop. We raise horses, pick up our paddocks daily. So I was explaining why we do this to this young person and in a span of about forty minutes, was asked to explain the process three times. Training time is hard on me. The inexperienced do not understand why they do or are asked to do tasks. Poop for instance…..

Poop is not to be ignored! It just piles up and up! It tells the story of the horse’s health and so must be paid attention to. So, consider Lois Lerner. taking the 5th, her right and yet a perfect example of poor poop management. No matter what you call it…. it is a poop pile that is growing bigger and bigger and now contains an illness which we cannot remedy until we get a look at it. You never know;what you will find in the poop. Pieces of foreign matter, dead worms, live worms, bits of grain or other undigested bits. It may be firm of good poop color or loose and off color. It may have a healthy poop smell (in horses, this is typically earthy and pleasant to a knowledgeable horse person; however, it may be yellow greenish, have a strong acrid odor indicating some degree of intestinal upset. It may be hard little balls from too little water or mushy and green from moist spring grass.

Since the horse cannot take the 5th we examine the poop closely and we pick up every bit of it. Otherwise we have no way of knowing how to fix what isn’t healthy. Plus….if we do ignore the poop, it keeps piling up and up, getting larger and larger until one day the entire world is one big mountain of POOP! No one can move, let alone drive to the corner, because they are all stuck in poop! A good barn manager keeps everything clean and picked up. every thing has a place and a reason for being there. The Manager is ethical and responsible, his helpers know it and know the same is expected of them and their work. The horses thrive in this clean healthy environment.

Praise be to good poop management! ()Too bad those in Lois Lerner’s environment have followed her example of poor poop management.

Some thoughts to consider…..

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Babies Babies

 

No Babies this year, 2016!

This may come as a surprise to many who read this.  Why would a breeder not use their mares as much as possible?  There are many reasons but this one is the essence of serendipity.  Two beautiful foals last year, five fillies the year before and we have only sold two of the fillies.  One lovely to a fellow breeder and another to a family who fell in love.  At the end of the season (2015) we thought we would take a break as we would be in training mode with all these youngsters and we are in our golden years….nuff said.  As is turns out, the decision was perfect as we are now spending a great deal of time traveling back and forth to the cancer center at Mercy in Springfield.  The out come is good but it is time consuming and emotionally training as it becomes our new job.  As I write, there are two young ladies feeding the herd and tending to all that needs done in the evenings, in spite of a hellacious wind a blowing from the North!  They are among my angel crew.  The others are dear friends who provide some of the transport as well as spend time with us.  In case you have never thought of it, visits are uplifting and therapeutic.  All apart of good patient care.  What the Docs cannot fix, friends make up for!  So there you have it!  Enjoy the photos and know that these will be three this year and will get to learn a lot of new things!!!!

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Lemons to Lemonade: Biloxi’s Tree Art

As you know, had I not been so fortunate to raise horses and love my days with them, my next passion is art. It has always been right up there at the top with equines….so thought it only apropriate to share other art.

GALLIVANCE

IMG_3212 - Version 2

Imagine 125 mph winds and a storm surge 22 feet tall on an unprotected white sand beach. In Biloxi, Mississippi on August 29, 2005 this was the cataclysmic reality when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the city.

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Spring Has Arrived!

Second and last for 2015

Second and last for 2015

The grass here in SW Missouri is green, the trees are just beginning to take on ever so faint hues of green, yellow, red (Red Bud trees are fully budded).  It is such a relief after so very many grey days! Foaling time brings another breath of new to the world.  This year there are only two.  A filly and a colt ….hard to pick which I like best!

CHF Michelena!!!!

CHF Michelena!!!!

First born...

First born…

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Queuing for the Head

An interesting tale of the Head.

Queuing for the Head.

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Take care of your horse’s teeth

Take care of your horse’s teeth.

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CHF Traveler

First drive of the year…Traveler has been brought on slowly and carefully. He, like all horses, need time and miles, but in his seventh year, he is settled and going well. He has been off and on the market as I have really enjoyed working with him, but he is a good age to go on to a someone looking for a smaller driving horse that will enjoy his sweet personality and use him regularly. He is currently priced at $12,000 and we will ship if that price is agreeable. Otherwise, we will consider all offers based on experience and location.

Please excuse the quality of the video.  It runs fast and slow and I am just an amateur!

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6 weird ways to ride better

Great ideas for better habits.

Dominion Veterinary Labs

A horse is only as balanced and disciplined as its rider. Anyone who has spent a significant chunk of time in the saddle learns to be very aware of their body. Often, we know the little quirks we need to fix – sit up taller, put your heels down, look up – but turning those improvements into muscle memory can be challenging. Here are six fun and interesting tips to help you create good riding habits. Comment below with any of your own!

1. Stick loonies under your thumb

It’s good to ride with a soft hand, but your thumb needs to hold the reins securely so they don’t slip through your fingers. Stick loonies between your thumb and the rein. Concentrating on holding the coins in place will teach you to pinch the reins tightly between your thumb and the knuckle of your forefinger.

hands_driving2. Ride with a driving…

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Protect Your Horse From Hazards On The Farm, by Equine Guelph

Protect your horse from hazards on the farm

Safety tips from Equine Guelph, the horse owners’ and care givers’ center at the University of Guelph …

Horse owners often feel their beloved equines are simply a magnet for injuries. Being accident prone just seems to be in their nature, most times brought on by their instinctive fight-or-flight response, their need to establish herd hierarchy, and in some cases, their sense of natural curiosity.

By spending time to minimize the various hazards found on your property through identification and removal, you’ll take one step closer to making your barn and property safer for your horse and eliminate any potential accidents that may occur.

“There is no such thing as an accident, they are only incidents,” says Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, primary instructor and president of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, Inc. (TLAER), based in Georgia. “No matter how unfortunate the situation, looking back, something somewhere probably could have prevented it from happening in the first place.”

Gimenez provides training in technical animal-rescue techniques, procedures, and methodologies across the U.S. and internationally. In addition to publishing numerous critiques, articles, and journal submissions on horse safety, technical large animal rescue and horse-handling issues, she published her first book, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, in 2008.

She recommends that horse and facility owners become educated in both prevention and safety in order to identify any possible hazards and take the appropriate action beforehand to help offset an emergency visit from your veterinarian or even worse, having to resort to calling 911.

“The issue is usually having enough knowledge to understand where these hazardous problems lie and to act on them,” says Gimenez.

Hazards on the farm

Farm properties can commonly become a catch-all for clutter and various safety hazards. Make it a habit to walk the property and be on the lookout for anything that could pose a problem should a horse connect with it. Keep an eye out for any sharp edges or protruding items such as nails, screws, torn metal, etc. Farm and maintenance equipment such as mowers, bailers, and harrows should all be stored away in their proper places. Take the necessary steps to dispose of any clutter or debris that has been collecting along fence lines, in lanes, or around the barn.

Walk your pastures and fill in any holes to prevent torn ligaments or a broken leg, and collect any discarded round-bale netting or binder twine — it’s surprising how some horses like to munch on these things. Also keep a look out for any potentially poisonous or toxic plants, such as tansy ragwort, nightshade, cocklebur, etc. While your horse may have not bothered with these in the past, a hungry horse without adequate pasture or hay will eat anything. Inspect not only your grazing field, but your hay as well. For a list of dangerous plants in your area, check with your local agriculture department. If you are unable to tackle any of the potential hazards immediately, make note of your findings so that you don’t forget about them.

For a complete list of identifying hazards on the farm, visit the Equine Guelph website.

Hidden hazards

Dust, fumes, and vapors are hidden hazards that can have long-term effects on respiratory health for both horses and the humans who work around them. Poor ventilation can contribute to allergies and respiratory ailments including recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), better known as heaves.

“We’ve all been in barns during the winter where all the doors and windows are closed up tight because of the cold,” notes Gimenez. “And this comes down to human comfort. We’re cold, so we think the horses are cold and close everything up. Without proper ventilation, the horses breathe in all that dust and ammonia. This is an unseen hazard that a lot of people don’t think about.”

A properly ventilated barn encourages correct airflow movement that expels stale air and pushes chemicals odors, such as ammonia, out of the barn and allows fresh air to enter.

“I’ve seen people spend $100,000 on a new barn and put in cheap $10 box fans, which are also a huge fire hazard,” continues Gimenez. “Why didn’t they spend a bit extra and install overhead fans? Or bring in a ventilation expert to look at their place and evaluate a proper ventilation system that can release the fumes and help improve the air quality in that barn?”

High-risk factors

Statistics show that the two most common emergencies affecting horse owners are trailer wrecks and barn fires, notes Gimenez. These are followed by entrapment-type emergency situations where the horse is stuck in mud or icy water, tangled in a fence, or other around-the-farm situations where horses become trapped and cannot remove themselves.

While a necessity, fencing is also a major contributor to hazards on the farm, and you should inspect these as part of your daily routine. Don’t forget to check BOTH sides of your fencing and look for any protruding nails or wire, rotting posts, loose boards, dropped gates, etc.

“Make a habit of checking your fences regularly,” says Gimenez. “Not only can your horses injure themselves on broken boards or wires, but it only takes a stiff wind or the snow being so deep that the horses can just step over them, and then they’re loose. And a panicky, loose horse on the run can then open up a whole new set of emergency situations.”

Another danger that Gimenez warns of is housing horses in fields with ponds during the winter. If you are not able to relocate them to another area of the property, ensure that ponds are fenced off with some form of temporary fencing before they freeze over. There have been numerous incidents where a horse will walk out across a snow-covered pond and fall through the ice into freezing water. Sometimes it doesn’t end well.

“Last December, the Emergency Equine Response Unit in the Kansas City area had the horrifically tragic and difficult job of retrieving the bodies of three young horses out of a pond after they fell through the ice and drowned,” she says. “I can’t stress it enough: people have to fence off their ponds and keep their horses out of mud, ice and water.”

Don’t fall victim to “It won’t happen to me” syndrome

Accidents involving horses can happen anywhere, at any time, and it’s an unfortunate fact that many could have been prevented. By taking the time to identify and correct any hazards that may be found on your property, you’ll be in a better position to prevent any possible injuries that can arise. This saves aggravation on not only your horses, but also your pocketbook.

“Take the time to educate yourself on accident prevention and maintain your facilities so as to minimize injury to your horses,” says Gimenez. “They will thank you for it.”

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CHF Traveler

CHF Traveler.

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