Equine/Pet Identification (Particularly In Disaster Situations)

Folks-

I don’t know about you, but just the word ‘disaster’ makes me want to grab my loved ones and run hide. Most people ‘think’ of disaster in terms of hurricanes, earthquakes, wild fires, tsunamis, mud slides, and so forth. These  are disasters-no question. But there are little disasters as well-but they are still disasters.

For example-you open the front door to get a package from the UPS/FEDEX delivery. From out of nowhere, your precious little puppy goes flying right past both of you-and is just GONE.  You hunt for hours, put up signs around the block, go to the shelters, notify animal control-but nothing. Then a couple of weeks later, you spot a puppy about the right age being walked a few blocks over. Looks the same, but you can’t be sure. How would you know if that was your puppy or not? Puppies love everybody-so reactions aren’t a good clue. Both dogs are solid black. Same gender. This is a real head scratcher.

The answer is a tiny little thing about the size of a grain of rice. It’s called a microchip. microchipEach one is encoded with a unique number-no two has the same number. Ordinally, the thing just sits inside the animal and does absolutely nothing. But when a scanner comes close enough, it responds with a signal giving up that number. The scanner’s screen lights up with the number. If the microchip was properly registerd, the number can be traced to the owner of the animal-YOU.

Now-a good fur parent will ask about problems with these things because of things you read on the internet.

  • No-they do not cause cancer, knots, tumors, or other growths. The material the things are made from encourages the tissues of the body to grow into it-which holds the chip in place. That’s it. Once that happens-it sits.
  • You can place them yourself if you are knowledgeable enough. Otherwise, it is best to have a professional to do the job. There have been instances where the chips have been injected into spots they should never have been.
  • There are specific locations recommended for each species of animal. Getting creative is not recommended-people doing scanning might or might not scan in the area you put the chip. Stay with the recommendations.
  • Stay AWAY from cheap chips. This is another one of those things that you get what you pay for. Cheap chips may have bad signals that fade away entirely, flucuate between lot numbers, give lot numbers that have yet to be made yet, or other problems. They might read fine at first, but a couple of years from now, die and you won’t know it. (Writer is raising hand and waving-This happened to me. I had to have all of my horses re-chipped.)

Continue reading “Equine/Pet Identification (Particularly In Disaster Situations)”

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White Christians Need to Fix this: NOW

I’m sharing a blog that I believe needs to go viral. I believe this. I’m working to change what is wrong in our society. I can’t undo the wrongs of the past. I can only change what I can in the present and work towards a better future. I know, for example, that my ancestors weren’t guilty of owning slaves-but I also know that they were guilty of bigotry in many instances. It is incumbent on me not to make the same mistakes.

My goal is for there not to be an advantage to being any race, any gender, any national origin, or anything else. My goal is simply to love each person for who and what they are-as my Lord did-judging only by the works of kindness that person does.

John Pavlovitz’s blog post August 25lightstock_264653_small_john

Tying That Pony

halter barnNow I’ll be honest-as if you’d know if I weren’t-I have no use for a horse that won’t stand tied or a human that caters to one that won’t. “I’ll just have to hold her because she pulls back.” Well, sister (this is almost invariably a female) get your big girl panties on and teach that pony how to have some manners and stand hitched. It’s not that hard. Well, I take that back-it can be hard on both the horse, the equipment, and the owner, but the training sure as hell isn’t complicated.

BTW-Do NOT leave a halter hanging like that. It isn’t that it is bad for the halter, but you are just ASKING for some klutzy something-like me for example-to come along and stick a foot in that thing, and go flying, ending up with sprained wrists, dislocated shoulders, and god-only-knows what else. HANG YOUR STUFF UP.  For heaven’s sake, folks. All you have to do is hang it from the ring it is already attached to! 

Why do horses set back-pull back-can’t be tied-or whatever you want to call it?

Claustrophia and that sense of being trapped. Those two phobias will set them off and they cannot help themselves. They have to break free. They are open area prey animals and they have to have a certain degree of freedom or they’re not happy. (Which is why you will only find ulcers in stalled horses.) Let’s think like a horse-I’m being asked to put my head into something that restricts my freedom to move around (the halter). My head is what some predators will go for first in order to bring me down to eat me so this is a big deal for me. They’ll grab me by the nose and behind my ears. (Where does a halter put pressure? on the nose and behind the ears). Now you want me to be even more restricted with my head fastened in such a way that I can’t move it the way I’m accustomed to doing! (The horse can no longer turn its body 360 degrees to see all the way around itself.) My fear is building-I’ve got to leave-NOW! and they pull back violently.

Many, many people will tell you to tie horses solidly to a big post or tree with heavy ropes and heavy halters and just let them fight it out. You can do that. You run the risk of having a permanently injured horse or a dead one because they can break their own necks. I’ve heard of using something like inner tubes to have the give, too. That’s a little less dangerous, but not by much. I’m not crazy about either one. In fact, I’d call them abusive.

I’ve used a soft cotton rope tied in a bowline around the girth line and run through the front legs, through the halter, up and over a high tree limb, and over to a tree with a quick release knot for my pullers and I ain’t gonna stand tied. It has the advantage of the tree limb having the natural give in it, the bowline won’t slip but it is secure, and the tree won’t leave. The student can dance, protest, and generally raise the biggest stink in the horse world, but they will go no where at all and they can’t get hurt. I don’t-however-ever leave one like this. But they do learn that standing tied will not be the end of their world.

Two things that must be learned and learned well before you start: how to do a bowline that will not tighten, and how to do a proper quick release.

THE best quick releaseThis is the BEST Quick Release knot-there are others, but this one keeps ALL of your rope on ONE side after you pull the release. The only thing the diagram doesn’t show is the ‘lock’-which is to simply pull the tail through the loop.

underhand bowlineMake sure you learn how to do the bowline correctly. You do not want it to slip.

 

 

 

bowlineI included two diagrams to help learn how to correctly do the know. Please practice until it is habit.  All it takes is one slip and you’ll be reaching for a knife to cut loose a choking horse. I know because somebody did that at my barn-and swore they had tied a good bowline.

 

 

Another thing is to use the devices know as ‘Tie Blocker’ or ‘The Clip’, or some people even make their own out of old snaffle bits. The principle is the same as wrapping the tie rope several wraps around a good STURDY hitch rail. (Please don’t do this to a fence rail-you’ll be chasing a horse with a fence rail slapping him in the butt.) The idea is that they get enough slack when they pull back to satisfy the urge, but remain tied. With the devices, you can adjust the tension via a screw or just tie a knot in the end of the lead so the horse cannot pull out and just leave. With the hitch rail, you start with four or so wraps, and as the horse improves, you can reduce the number of wraps needed thereby reducing the amount of resistance. It takes patience, but it does work.

Please be respectful of the horse. Being tied is not natural to the species, but it is necessary to interact with humans and for their own safety. Kindness and patience gets to the goal faster that force and fear.

Follow me on my blog at The Sports Model Jackass on WordPress.  Comments are welcome.

 

 

Don’t Rush Your Horse

I’ve ridden, trained, bred, and competed in the horse world for over 50 years now. I learned the same thing that just about everyone does:

  • that you need the right bit to stop and control your horse.
  • you kick to make the horse go.
  • Spurs are to make them run faster (or spin harder or whatever)
  • Whips are for punishment.

Every bit of it is wrong. Yep, WRONG.

Took me a long time to learn that, but I finally did. Here’s the truth:

  • Your seat stops your horse–you don’t even need a bridle or reins.
  • Your weight and legs direct your horse-bits and reins really are superfluous.
  • Likewise, the way you  use your seat and legs can be the throttle that increases or decreases speed, increases or decreases relaxation or collection.
  • Spurs and whips should be used for signaling only. There are very few instances when punishment is warranted. Why? Because 99% of the time, YOU are the one who missed the signals the horse was giving and was trying to tell you something was off. YOU are the screw up. So if you just want to beat the crap out of somebody, go take yourself out behind the barn.

Now then–about that waiting on your horse stuff. 10790_592824257459405_128563812_n

Let the horse tell you when they are ready for the next step of doing anything. Break everything down into SMALL steps. For example, I have a trailer with a ramp. So to get one to load onto that trailer, I start with just asking one to pass by me and walk ACROSS THE RAMP. Then maybe I’ll feed them with the feed way up high on it so they have to reach for it-maybe even putting a foot on the ramp to get to it. No pressure-just if you want, go after it. Then maybe I’ll load a pasture mate and feed them inside.  Then I ask the newbie to just approach-they don’t have to load, just approach. I’ll let them stand-think about it-back up, then we’ll work for awhile. Repeat. After awhile, they start getting the idea “hey, if I approach the trailer, I get to stand and rest, but if I’m out here, I’m out running around”.

Usually takes about two hours to get one on for the first time. Let them eat, then back off and put them up. Let it soak. Don’t force it. Let the horse ask for another try at it. Let them get comfortable in there. Just grab a cold one and sit in the shade.

How do I know this works? I used this on my CTR horse. That horse would load any time any where-and what’s more, he’d stand in that trailer until I asked him to come off. One time I dropped both the ramp and the butt bar, but got called away before I unloaded him. He was still waiting for me 45 minutes later. He was not tied, but just waiting on me.

Don’t rush your horse.

Coyotes-Misunderstood? Threat?

These are some of the most adaptable critters around-and they have learned to live in amongst humans regardless of what we do. There are coyotes that live entirely in big cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. And why not? The cities are full of their prey-rats, mice, feral cats, stray dogs, possums, and raccoons. Most of the time, humans rarely see them. Coyote

The problems arise when-and because-humans insist on thinking that because they have a piece of paper that says they have title to a bit of land that it ‘belongs’ to them and no one else. The mistake they make is thinking this applies to ALL CREATURES. Got news-the animals don’t know a thing about property lines, titles, quit claims, deeds, or anything of that real estate stuff. We live in THEIR WORLD-not the other way around. If you think of things being as though you are a guest in THEIR home, and you need to be careful about not staining the carpet, picking up after yourself, not being a pig hog at the dinner table, and minding your manners, it makes more sense.

So here is an article offering suggestions about what to do if you encounter coyotes while out with your dog. Coyotes are not normally agressive, but they will defend their dens. (Any mama will defend her babies!)

  • For heaven’s sake, do not feed them.
  • Do not allow small dogs and cats to run loose particularly in the evenings and early mornings.
  • Lose that retractable leash. I know you like it and your dog likes it, but lose it. You can’t reel that dog in fast enough if you come face to face with a coyote.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Do not run.
  • Retreat calmly-even if you have to walk backward.
  • Haze the coyote into leaving-throw rocks, yell, wave your arms, whatever works.

article on coyotes

 

A Great Horse Will Do Whatever You Ask, A Great Horseman Will Never Ask

I read some equestrian news yesterday that Sinead Halpin retired one of her top mounts, and she quoted her husband, Tik Maynard, as saying, “A great horse would jump through fire for you if you asked, and a great horseman would never ask.” I can think about this for hours. It might be one of […]

via Never Ask — Patently Bay

I’m sharing this because I love the quote-I love the wisdom in it.  I think you will, too.

 

 

When Is It Time To Wind Down?

First, I watched Brentina’s retirement ceremony. Then Secretariat’s last race and Valegro’s final Olympia freestyle. Who doesn’t need to watch Aldrich’s one-tempi victory lap one more time? This part is embarrassing. I searched for a ridiculously sappy scene from that old movie, The Electric Horseman, where Redford sets the stallion free. It’s a kind of retirement, too, […]

via Equine Retirement Planning. — Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

Sometimes this is hard to see-for all kinds of reasons, but mostly emotional ones. I did have one old gelding years ago that needed to be ridden very lightly every other day or he would refuse to eat-at all. We all need to be needed.

Along the same lines, here is another that is really good. Lots of things to think about for our partners who deserve our attention in their later years. Don’t let them down-and certainly don’t let them get into that slaughter pipeline.

Peace of Mind Planning