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June 2008

May 2008

A living hero

     For a true story about heroism and hope, read Molly the Pony. This little gray mare survived Hurricane Katrina only to be abandoned and later attacked by a pit bull. Infection set into the wound and her front leg was amputated below the knee. Molly is a living gift to us all -- and a reminder that we must never give up hope.

Sponsored by: Poudre River

Hindsight 20/20

The Kentucky horse racing industry came to its senses this week when, according to a May 20 Associated Press report, it hired veterinarian Dr. Mary Scollay to oversee racehorses' medical care. "I wish I had her two weeks ago," said the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority's executive director, Lisa Underwood. Scollay, who is expected to help guide a new steroid use policy, is also known for her research into synthetic track footings, which may be safer than dirt. Perhaps filly Eight Belles' gruesome death by broken front leg bones at this year's Kentucky Derby will come to some good, after all.

Scuffcoat2SMALLSpeaking of doing good for your horse, did you know that many of the popular hoof blacks and clear polishes on the market seal off the hoof wall just like fingernail polish? If you are a regular fingernail decorator, you know all that stuff, while shiny and pretty, can't be great for your fingernails, let alone your horse's hoof. Plus these products add up costwise. For an inexpensive, rinse-off alternative, try using Kiwi Scuff Cover. We like the Kiwi brand for everyday use. It's sponge applicator and rinse-off capability make Kiwi a great hoof black choice.

Happy horse tails: Inexpensive tail bag

Click to enlarge. Sometimes you just need to play. Horses, especially the well-schooled veterans, get sick and tired of the drill. Turning these ground poles into a serpentine backthrough caught my gelding's attention, and made him a lot brighter for the rest of the ride. Going bareback put us in better touch with each other, too. Note: A lot of people ask me about the tail-in-a-sock. This is an inexpensive version of the tail bag used to protect horse's tails. Get an extra-tall, knee-high athletic sock, snip the top four ways for ties, and you have a tail bag. At last check, this horse's tail dragged ten inches on the ground. Be very careful of tail bags -- at least once a week you must check, clean, comb the tail with your fingers and rebraid. A neglected tail can be an injured or dead tail. (Click on the photo to see a larger version.) Want that beautiful tail? It takes a long time to grow, so start now!

Nail puncture: What NOT to do

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R.I.P. Eight Belles

I still cannot believe that yet another horse in a high-profile race, in this case, the Kentucky Derby, has died due to broken leg bones. My daughter and I boycotted watching the Derby on television because it seems like every time we tune into a major horse race, somebody breaks a leg and has to be killed. What is wrong with these top breeders that they would intentionally breed horses that are known to have, as the newspapers gently describe a tendency toward broken bones, "leg problems"? Whatever happened to embracing the old saying, "no foot, no horse"? The racing industry plays a barbaric game of Russian Roulette with living creatures. Worse, the public looks at this debacle as a reflection of the horse industry in general. Thanks to the "Sport of Kings", we move another step closer to being the serial killers of the animal kingdom. Rest in peace, Eight Belles.

-- K