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April 2009

Stable bus tour: The good, the bad, the ugly

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- A planned bus tour of good and bad stables, and a grid that would scale the approvals for horse businesses based on their size, captured the attention of a county study group Tuesday night.
“I think we need to simplify all this,” said Wendy Chase, a member of the Larimer County Horse Facilities Study work group. Earlier in the meeting Chase told members, “You can’t regulate out the idiots.”
Horse industry members, many of whom struggle to break even, voiced fears earlier this year that new land use rules will make it more expensive to board a horse or take riding lessons.
Discussion also included:

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Bad horse properties: County shows and tells

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- Candace Phippen, Larimer County Code Compliance Supervisor, presented a slide show of aerial horse property photos Tuesday night, pointing out poor land stewardship and horse turnout areas clumped too close to neighbors' houses and shared drives.
Viewers included observers and members of the Horse Facility Study work group appointed by county commissioners to recommend new land use rules for horse businesses.
The county has stopped responding to routine neighbor complaints regarding horse properties until the land use issue is put to a vote by county commissioners in December, Phippen told the group.
Linda Hoffman, Director of the Larimer County Rural Land Use Center, added however, that the "county is not abandoning its obligation to protect public, health safety and welfare."
According to Phippen, two code compliance officers historically responded to complaints that were kept anonymous. If the county moves to more proactive enforcement, "we'd definitely have to add some people," she said.

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Attorney: Anonymous complaints improper

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- The Larimer County attorney has ruled that keeping complaints about horse properties anonymous is improper, according to rural land use center director Linda Hoffman.
In the past, land use violations were handled on a complaints-only basis, and those complaints were kept anonymous.
The Larimer County Horse Facilities Study work group learned of the change in protecting identities as it pondered ways to equitably enforce new land use rules for horse businesses Tuesday night.
"I would like to visit the idea of having some positive reason for going through this compliance," said working group member and veterinarian, Jill Cook.
"There should be proactive enforcement," said stable owner Amy Allen. "It can't be just on a complaint basis."

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'Biodyl' killed 21 polo ponies

A vitaminn supplement called Biodyl killed the 21 polo ponies that died suddenly before a U.S. Open Polo tournament match Sunday April 19, according to the Miami Herald. Biodyl contains vitamin B-12, selenium, potassium asparate and magnesium asparate. While the cocktail is illegal in the United States, it is allowed in Argentina where the Venezuelan-owned horses and veterinarian came from. The mixture, made in France, is used not as a performance enhancer, but as a supplement to help speed recovery from extreme exhertion. A Florida pharmacy custom-mixed the supplement that killed the polo ponies, and has since admitted making a mistake in the formulation.
Miami Herald details how Biodyl can kill
Polo deaths: Drug testing urged
Polo pony deaths: Pharmacy admits mistake
21 polo ponies drop dead 



Polo deaths: Drug testing urged

The Humane Society has called for drug testing of polo horses, but industry experts say the tragic death of 21 horses Sunday, April 19 due to a pharmacy formulation error will be lesson enough for the sport. The ingredient that killed the horses has yet to be released, but according to CNN News, it is likely the Florida pharmacy responsible for the deaths will be sued. The ponies were remembered Thursday night in a tearful service. The pharmacy offered its condolences.
CNN story
MyHoofprints: Pharmacy admits error
MyHoofprints: 21 polo ponies drop dead


A horse in mind

Riding  horses improves our minds. We know this based on the success of therapy riding programs, and books like Ride With Your Mind Essentials, by Mary Wanless. On a gut level, riding horses creates a sense of harmony that pervades and improves everyday life.  In his book, Good News, Edward Abbey talks about the difference between a man on foot and a man on a horse: “He found the horse: they were glad to see each other. He fed her grain from his saddlebags, spread on the blanket, cinched the saddle tight, mounted. This ceremony he was familiar with, he’d been doing it for about sixty years, and once again, as always, sitting in the saddle, he felt good, proud, as strong as ever he had been. That much, at least, had not changed. Would never change, he believed. How could that change? A man on horseback is different from a man on foot. Better? Maybe, maybe not; but different, that was for sure.”


Polo pony deaths: Pharmacy admits mistake

A Florida pharmacy has admitted that it made a mistake when formulating a supplement that was given to 21 polo ponies who suddenly collapsed Sunday, April 19 just before the U.S. Open Polo tournament.
According to the Associated Press, Franck's Pharmacy in Ocala found after an internal investigation that one unamed ingredient had been included at the wrong strength in the supplement. The pharmacy is cooperating with authorities and the Food and Drug Administration as the investigation continues.
Fox News story
Dead polo ponies suffered hemorrhaging of lungs
MyHoofprints original story


21 polo ponies drop dead

Twenty one polo ponies, each worth more than $100,000, died Sunday, April 19, just before competing in the US Open Polo Tournament. The horses were either dead or dying when handlers unloaded them from trailers before the match. The majority of ponies came from Venezuela's Lechuza Caracas team. An unnamed source pointed to contaminated steroids, but that claim remained unproven.
ABC World News footage of the polo pony deaths
University pathologists to examine remains of 15 ponies
Vets: Polo ponies died of heart failure due to poison
Witness: 'It just seemed like every five minutes a horse would fall'
U.S. polo czar: 'The magnitude of this is shocking'


Simple horse show food shopping list

We can survive all day on the items in this photo. (Click to enlarge.) Showing horses takes a lot of energy and fluids, and a big ice chest full of food and drinks from home keeps us going while we’re on the run. Nobody has time the day before the show to cook up a gourmet picnic, but we do have time to make a quick run to the grocery store for this simple list. (Click on photo to enlarge.) We buy a bag of ice or dump the bin from our freezer into the chest and then put everything on top of the ice, starting with drinks, and leaving the lighter, crushable foods at the top. Things that you don’t want to get damp should go in heavy-duty zipper bags for protection. We like to put everything, even non-refrigerated items, in the chest so they are easy to find. For us, this menu works better than typical concession food -- donuts, pastries, hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, potato chips, candy, and carbonated sugar drinks -- which leave us feeling tired. We still love the junk so we bring petty cash to

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Carrot for thought: Our good old friends

A good old friend enjoys the front pasture. -- Photo/Gregg Doster At the end of a hard day our good old friends can pull us back together. Experts at empathy, they watch us out of soft, brown-eyed understanding born of experience. Often they are the older horse, long gone from the show ring, but key to the farm's ambiance and well being.

Their soft, shaggy coats never quite shed out due to Cushing's, and their top line sags a little. Their sand-papery lips tickle as they nuzzle your hand for treats, and you laugh. You hand over the treat, and they nod their head rapidly up and down, the horse version of "Right on!"

Seconds later, their muzzle bumps your hip pocket. Gentle but persisent, they win, and hidden treat #2 makes its way into their mouth. You laugh again. The day's troubles disappear, and that good old friend has performed his magic once again. 
( Please meet "KC", about 25 years old, the special good old friend of a very lucky client.) 

Carrot for thought: Priorities

Tractor Supply Company