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

 

 

More Nastiness on the Big Lick Wars

Posted on BillyGoBoy.com PANAMA CITY BEACH (FL) – On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, the Panama City “Big Lick” Horse Show Manager Mr. Todd Fisher assaulted a CCABLAC (Citizens Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty) Welfare Advocate Clant M. Seay at the Frank Brown Park by telling him “You Are A Dead Man”. Mr. Seay is […]

via Panama City Beach “Big Lick” Horse Show Manager Tells CCABLAC (Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty) Animal Welfare Advocate “You Are A Dead Man” — Straight from the Horse’s Heart

big lick

For the record-I do not like weighted shoes, stacks, pads (unless the horse has thin soles or a medical problem that necessitates their use), chains, rattles, gag bits, elevator bits, chambons, gambons, bitting rigs, tail sets, artificial tails or extensions, bits with shanks AND jointed mouthpieces, any bit with a shank longer that 4 inches, bicycle chain mouth pieces and/or nose bands, cable nose bands and head setters, tight flash, figure 8, or crank nosebands, or any device that ‘enhances or alters a horse’s behavior or movement in an artificial manner”.  In short, if you can’t take the time to work with your horse to get the movement or behavior you have in mind-you need to go buy a dirt bike. I am serious. Nail this stuff to the barn wall and leave it there as a monument to man’s stupidity and ignorance (and sometimes just plain rotten meaness) in satisfying his own vanity and greed at the expense of these magnificient horses.

Did I hit a nerve? I hope so. I did some of these very things so don’t come jumping down my throat. Now that I know better-you bet I’ve turned into a Nazi about it. Join me-Protect the horses.

Tick Tick Tick — Everyone’s Favorite Summer Hate

Whether you have pets or not, live in the city, suburbs, or rural, if you step outside your door-or even if you don’t but someone else comes in, you may be exposed to these little varmits. Being of an existential mindset, I believe that God has a purpose for everything in creation, but I’m going to have to have a chat with somebody about a few things and one of the subjects will be ticks. I just despise them. For one thing, they are in the spider family (count the legs-there are eight of them which makes them a part of the Arachnids) and they want to drink my blood. That’s creepy.

The other thing is-the little things spread some really nasty diseases that I really don’t want for me, my loved ones, or my pets to get. Most of the time, you won’t even KNOW you’ve had a tick bite until you’re sick or a characteristic rash develops. Sneaky little bastards. But they are just being what they are. So with that in mind, here is some information to help you-hopefully-better protect yourself and those you love.

What Are You Looking For?

Size as well as which one can help when you tell the doctor you were bitten by a tick. Here are some photos to help you givTe the doc an idea of what you are talking about.

The really dangerous ones are the ones on the LEFT-and more than likely,  you’ll sizes of ticksscratch that itch and the tick will fall off without you even knowing it was there. The only indication you’ll have that you had a tick bite will be that intense itch that is much more than any mosquito bite. My personal thing is-if something really itches, check it out closely. It’s probably a tick.

The other thing is-different ticks are more or less prone to carrying different diseases. Just because you get bitten by a tick in, say Georgia, does not mean that you won’t get Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It just means that you are more likely to get Lyme’s disease or Erlichiosis. But, like I say, these little guys can carry a whole bucket list of things, so sometimes the doctors are really throwing darts in the dark and hoping to hit something. Bear with them-the common ticksproblem is that wildlife of all kinds tote them around-birds, possums, coons, deer, coyotes, bear-you name it, ticks will hitch a ride. So if a bird picked up a tick in Maine and then migrated to Alabama, well, the tick and whatever it carried came along. Just the facts, ma’am. So let’s look at the types of ticks.

That photo is somewhat enlarged, by the way, to show identifying markings.

So what is that rash you’re talking about? 

Oh, that-it’s exactly what it sounds like. bulls eye rashIt doesn’t always happen, but if you see it, get thee to a doctor right away.  This is the ‘bull’s eye’ rash seen in most Lyme’s patients.

Removal of Ticks

The one thing to remember is-take your time.

You want to make certain to remove the jaws that are embedded into the skin-and I know some people just fainted on me right then. If you don’t remove that, the itch will continue and the risk of infection soars. So let’s do this right the first time.

People have come up with all kinds of ways of trying to remove ticks-some work, most don’t. Trying to smother a tick with oils or grease won’t faze a tick. The reason is simple-they are only there to get a blood meal and fall off anyway so they can lay their eggs. You really didn’t hasten anything along and you certainly didn’t kill it. They’re tough little hombres.

Some essential oils will repel ticks, but choose carefully. Some species of animals cannot take exposure to essential oils and will start vomiting (cats for example). People are frequently sensitive to them and have respiratory problems or may have skin allergy to them. Dogs may react as if you are burning them. Tick removal

People swear by spinning the tick to induce the tick to pull out. Sometimes it works, sometime it doesn’t. Maybe I don’t get the tick drunk enough?

There are various tick removal tools that you slide under the tick and either pry up or twirl. I’ve never tried one so can’t give a first person recommendation. If you don’t have tweezers, I suppose they’d be workable. Especially for those who hate the thought of actually touching a tick-which I’m not. I just wash my hands.

Good old-fashioned tweezers-can’t beat ’em if you can find where you last put them down. Just make sure to grab that bad boy as far down as you can-then twirl or yank straight up.

My recipe for keeping ticks off my horses

Regular fly spray with permethrin

1 capful of Avon Skin-So-Soft-original

2 TBSP of cold-pressed Neem oil

2 drops dishwashing liquid

mix thoroughly-the DW liquid just helps disperse the SSS and neem oil

Ticks, horse flies, and black face flies HATE the stuff. Won’t come near them. I should patent the recipe???

 

 

 

 

There Be Boogers Out Here

horsekite

If you’ve been around horses for any appreciable length of time, you’ve dealt with something like this-the unexplainable-known only to the horse-but you’ve still got to cope with it BOOGER leap that they come up with. The height and prior warning can vary tremendously, and what follows can take on many forms-from simply standing and stamping all four feet in place with eyes bugged out to the vertical AND sideways leap combined with a 180 spin and sprint for a minimum of a half mile. (And, before you ask, yes, I’ve managed to ride and survive that maneuver. Do not ask how-I don’t know.)

Having seven horses in my pastures means that when the power company sent two MONSTER boom saw machines in to trim the tree limbs away from the lines, I got to see seven different versions of the ‘Booger’ reaction. (Can’t say that I blame them-those machines were impressive. Dually equipped wheels that are tractor sized front and back with a boom that must reach 80-90 feet, the driver sits in a cab that rotates to follow the boom. To a horse, that big noisy thing WAS a booger!)

We couldn’t decide which was more entertaining-watching the boom saw or the horses’ reaction to the intrusion. I do appreciate them giving those horses a great workout. I do have a couple of untrained mares-and got a glimpse of what I have in store for when I get them under saddle. Let’s just say it should be interesting. I hope they take care of me. I don’t bounce like I used to. Ground has gotten harder. Two more-then I am done training youngsters.

They Used To Hang Horse Thieves…

…and many people still wish that they did-along with the abusive folks. Personally, I’m not one of them. I think hanging is a waste of good rope. It doesn’t really solve the problem anyway-it only drives it further underground.

Now whether you agree with me or not, the bald-faced fact remains-people are still, in this day and age, stealing horses, cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, mules, and just about any other kind of livestock you can name. The truth of the matter is-and they don’t like to admit it-law enforcement is waging a losing battle in this. They simply cannot cover so much ground, so many miles, and track down property that MOVES.  What’s worse for them is-this property can be trucked across state lines within 24 hours, slaughtered, and it is just GONE. 

Very, very little or none of these animals are permanently identified in any way. Oh, back in the early 80’s I think it was, there was an initiative by the US Agriculture Department to  microchip all livestock. The conspiracy theorists got their hair up and starting claiming that the ‘guv’mint was going to track our movements from outer space’ and ‘they’d know what we were doing in our homes with our dogs and cats’.  Another pet theory was that ‘next they’d be implanting chips in humans to track them’.

Considering that the Feds cannot seem to keep track of anything of their own-never mind what the population is doing or they would have prevented the OK City bombing, 9/11, and a whole rat of other calamities, I can’t, for the life of me, see why they’d care that I was taking my horse for a trail ride in the state next door. It just boggles my mind. Either I’m just not that important or the conspiracy folks are and I missed the memo.

Anyway-the huge elephant in that ointment was the fact that microchips are just there. They just sit in place and do absolutely NOTHING until somebody comes along with a scanner that has the right software. Then the scanner ‘tickles’ or ‘excites’ the chip which then responds with the encoded number that is unique to that chip. Then it goes back to doing NOTHING. They are incapable of causing cancer (somebody started passing that one around-no, they don’t), they can’t migrate to some place else (the covering encourages the tissues to actually grow INTO it which anchors it in place), nor can they ‘transmit’ to outer space (that requires a power source which they do not have.)

So what was the point of doing it? Well, at the time, we were having the ‘mad cow disease’ scare and the disease specialists thought-rightly-that being able to know where animals were and being able to track them would be a good thing. That way, if they got sick, you’d be able to know where they came from, where they’d been, and all the animals they might have infected. But the Tin Hats got in the way (my term for conspiracy people).

It is now nearly 40 years later-the rest of the civilized world is microchipping and tracking their livestock but the United States stubbornly and stupidly does not. Oh, we will get dragged kicking and screaming, shouting curses the entire way into it. We have to act like toddlers who don’t want to eat their spinach, wind up wearing most of it, then ordering spinach salads as adults.

One of the facts about the microchipping abroad is-where it is being done as a matter of course-theft plummeted. You cannot sell a horse without the ‘passport’ associated with the chip. No vet will treat a horse without scanning it and using the chip number-so they will know immediately who the registered owner should be. You cannot show the horse without being scanned. Breeders use the chips to ensure the identities of sire and dam. Racetracks use the chips to confirm the horses’ prior to and after the races. And Customs require chips to ship out/into a country. It is nearly impossible to steal a horse and get away with it in some areas.

So forget the rope-let’s focus on making it impossible for these people to FUNCTION and MAKE MONEY at our horses’ and our expense. Identify our horses and stop them before they load up.

 

The Curse of Perfectionism

0139ad133191ef867b221d6fb13e3e1d

First of all, a reminder-these are my opinions and they are based on 50+ years of working with all kinds of horses. However, if you disagree, feel free to keep on going. I know not everybody is going to agree with me. In fact, I’ve spent most of my life out of  step with the rest of the world so it is nothing new to me. But do not attempt to change my viewpoints by charging in and ‘correcting’ me. It simply will not work. I’ll ignore you.

This photo is on top because I see a lot-no, make that TONS-of horses wearing snaffles and flash nose bands. I did it, too, for awhile with a young horse until he made it quite plain that the arrangement pissed him off to no end. (Always pay attention to what your horse is telling you, folks. My riding instructor kept telling me to do this or that, but I listened to HIM. He was shaking his head, pulling on the reins, opening his mouth, not listening, dropping his shoulder, etc. The problem lay in the bridle-it hurt.) So I set about learning about bits, nosebands, hands, and why they are used. It isn’t pretty the majority of the time.

Nose bands were originally nothing more than a way to tie your horse without using the reins in the military/driving days. They had a ring underneath and were always fairly heavy leather worn loosely enough that the horse could chew his ration in a nose bag. Some person somewhere along the line got the ‘brilliant’ idea that they could force a horse’s mouth closed by putting a few more holes in the thing. Why did they want to?

correct-snaffle-bit-horse_s-mouth-1-8-800x800

This is why-if you put something into a mouth and it can be steel, plastic, rubber, leather-you can find ways to create pain. Now I’m NOT saying that you shouldn’t use bits-but you should understand that ALL bits are capable of creating ENORMOUS pain. There is no such thing as a ‘mild’ bit. All that varies is the knowledge and skill of the hands that use it. A thick snaffle in the hands of a fool can be the instrument of extreme torture to a horse. By the same token, there are some people who can get horses to perform world class dressage bridleless. I’ve ridden a finished spade bit horse that could be handled with a feather’s touch on the reins and the nose band was for decoration only.

People want the end-without the work involved to get there. 

Now I’m a perfectionist myself-and I  can get as frustrated as the next person about my horses’ performance as anyone else. So don’t even start down that road with me. You do have the time to work with that horse-you just don’t want to take it. You’d rather take the shortcut of hurting your horse-causing pain-and justifying it to yourself as ‘but everybody else does it’, ‘my trainer recommended it’, ‘my horse wasn’t listening to me’, blah, blah, blah. Go ahead-add any you wish-I’ve heard them all-and they are all EXCUSES FOR POOR HORSEMANSHIP. That’s unacceptable.

The third photo is another type of nose band being marketed. Notice that it is supposedly more ‘humane’ because it avoids the jaw bones covered only with skin. Well, isn’t that nice, folks? But now we have a strap higher on the jaw to help hold the jaw closed and better bracing across the nose bridge. The horse loses even more. (Actually, you do, too.
The thing is pricey.)noseband

 

 

 

 

I didn’t put any Western, endurance, or other disciplines in this-mostly for space reasons. They are just as much at fault as the English branch. If there is a way a human can inflict pain and suffering on a horse, by golly, they’ll find it and do it.

Am I one of those nuts who thinks horses shouldn’t be ridden? Oh, heck, no. I do think that a great many of the gizmos (chambons, draw reins, martingales, gambons, tie downs, etc.) should be recognized for what they are and thrown in the land fills. If you think you need something like that-get a motorcycle or ATV and leave the horse alone. As one person puts it “If you keep getting the wrong answer, then you aren’t asking the right question.”  See the last photo for an example of that-the rider isn’t getting the ‘frame’ that was desired so rollkur was resorted to to achieve it. The wrong question was being asked so the wrong answer was given. The horse is paying the price for the humans’ quest for perfection.

rollkur_flailing