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September 2010

August 2010

Navicular: Not a death knell

When I was a teen, my beloved first horse, a Morgan-Quarter cross, started acting like she was walking on egg shells with her front feet, and she was particularly sensitive turning sharp corners. This horse loved to pole bend, and any time she saw poles set up in the arena, her head would come up, her muscles would coil as if she wanted to explode, and all it took from me was the release of the reins, and she would take off at a dead run. She loved poles, and to a lesser extent, the other gymkhana events. Unlike the stereotypical gymkhana horse (note I said, “stereotypical”, not ALL gymkhana horses) she was very quiet and gentle, a consistent winner in Western Pleasure and Trail classes.

I spent many nights crying myself to sleep because I was sure that when the navicular diagnosis came, we would have to put her down. A lot of my angst was teenage dramatics, and none of it ever came true. We changed my mare’s shoeing, slimmed her down, gave her a rest, used bute occasionally, and assigned her lower-impact uses. That mare lived to a ripe old 27 years, ran poles once in a blue moon, taught my daughter to ride, and never even came close to dying or ending her productive life because of navicular. So, if you get the diagnosis, take heart. There are lots of treatment options that allow navicular horses to live well. (Check out the September issue of Horse & Rider for "Navicular or Not?"

(Karin Livingston is the author of the young-adult horse novel, Winning Bet, available in hard copy and on the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad through the Kindle store.)




Horse first aid emergency: Surprise ingredient halts reaction

Benadryl used for this horse who suffered alergic reaction - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
A client led her horse in the other evening covered in hives, lips and nostrils swollen. At first we thought it was a rattlesnake bite, but we have never had rattlesnakes here at Poudre River Stables, a river-basin property, and a closer look revealed no bite marks.

Our client's gelding repeatedly tried to lie down and roll, we now think, because his skin itched. At first, we thought he might be colicking, but it was in fact, a gigantic allergic reaction.

The horse had competed at our fairgrounds earlier in the day, and rolled. We think the cause was something on that ground or our ground. In any case, this is a very sensitive horse, one who has been known to develop a choke and throw himself on the ground. We try to take his complaints seriously.

Regardless of the cause, the lip and nostril swelling still presented a threat if the gelding’s breathing passages closed. (Note to self: Add tubing to our first aid kit!) At the rate the swelling was increasing, we needed to do something fast.

We are very fortunate to have a number of veterinarians boarding with us, and one of them, unable to get her hands on some injectable antihistamine, rushed back to the barn with, believe it or not, a four-ounce bottle of pediatric Benadryl. She poured the children’s cherry-flavored syrup in a large syringe, and shot it down the gelding’s throat. He liked it!

In less than an hour, the horse’s swelling and anxiety had decreased, and he quit begging to roll. Moral to the story: Add to your equine first-aid kit cherry-flavored Children's Benadryl Cherry flavored Allergy 4 fl oz, as an emergency antihistamine for a horse. Note: If at all possible, avoid medicating your horse without a veterinarian’s supervision, and DO NOT medicate anybody else’s horse.

For a complete first aid kit list, try this article at TheHorse.com.

(An ad-free version of this blog is available on the Amazon Kindle and at the Kindle store for the iPad. Just search for "Hoofprints" on your device.)


New life for old axes, mauls

New_Life_for_Old_Axes_MaulsPhotos by Gregg R. Doster

In the horse business, you will go through a lot of tools repairing fences, barns, and cutting up or thinning trees. Wood handles provide the best heft and balance for hammers, mauls and axes, but wood handles also come loose from the tool head at the worst times.

If you do end up losing a handle, you can avoid buying a new tool by just replacing the handle. And with Gregg Doster’s methods and secret recipe below, you may never lose another wood handle again. (Click on the photo for the complete slide show of tips on how to do this project.)

When buying your replacement wood handle, remember: Don’t just grab the first handle off of the store shelf. Look along the handle to make sure it is straight and not warped. The best handles are all made out of hickory. Check the little slot cut in the top of the handle. Make sure the slot is centered in the top of the handle and parallel to the handle.

Be sure to buy extra wood and metal wedges. You may need them.

Picture how the handle might fit the head of your tool. Hopefully, it’s not too big, but close to just right. You will need to shape the handle to fit the head using a wood rasp. You can shave the wood handle, but a wood rasp is easy to use, and the handle’s head will hold better due the rougher surface. It will take you a couple of rasping tries to get the right fit.

Next, cut the bottom off of your existing wood handle under the head (link to axe parts). Clamp the head of the tool in the vice.

Drill down through the wood around the metal wedges. This loosens up wood in the handle, and lets you take it out.

Use a cold chisel and hammer to lever the wood and wedges out. Save the wedge if it is in decent shape.

Take your new wood handle, and use a wire wheel on a drill to clean up the head.

As mentioned before, the handle is slotted for a wood wedge. Hold the tool head and tap on the handle (wearing gloves) and the tool head will slide down shaft of handle. Don’t tap tight as possible the first time. You want to see what happens to the wedge slot. It must NOT be completely closed.

If the handle completely closes, tap the tool head off of the handle and put the handle in a vice. Close the wedge-slot down a little and use a saw to make the wedge hole bigger. When you remove the vice, the hole will have opened up. Goal: Once handle is wedged in the tool head, there will still be room to drive a wedge.

Put the tool head back on again. Bury it as much as you can into the handle.

The tool head is now down as far as it’s going to go. Saw the top of the handle sticking through head so that it is flush with the head.

Take the wood wedge that comes with the handle, and tap it in so that it is just slightly in the slot.

Where the handle comes up through the head you may not have a perfect fit. If you have a little room on the sides of the handle between it in the head, shave a little wedge to use around the perimeter to fill gap if you have to. Sometimes the hole will be slightly flared on the top, and the main wood wedge might not do the job.

Drive the main wood wedge in as far as you can get it. It’ll start to mushroom when it has reached its limit. It will not go any further at this point.

Use a hack saw to saw everything off flush with the head.

Next, drive the metal wedge at a 45-degree angle to the wood wedge so it makes an “X”, not a “plus” sign. If you have room, drive two metal wedges.

Clamp the handle in the vice. You are going to get rid of the shiny surface that came with the handle, which is slippery and dangerous.

Flip your rasp around and use it as a draw knife, holding it at about a 45-degree angle, and pull toward you, which will put some small grooves in the handle. Go over the entire handle, repositioning to get the part that was covered by the vice.

Next, go back over the entire handle with 80-grit sandpaper and knock off the rough surface. The handle is now ready to soak in a bucket of the secret recipe -- 50% linseed oil – 50% turpentine -- for a week. This mixture penetrates the end of the wood grain up into the head and locks the handle right into the head. (When you take it out, the handle will not shrink.)

While the handle is in the bucket, brush the rest of it with a brush full of the solution. Do this twice during the process.

Note: This is a good time to put the edge back on your splitting maul or the axe. Clamp the head in the vice. Use a mill bastard file, and follow the angle of the previous grind. Be sure to file both sides. You can touch up the blade with a circular whetstone. Remember: A dull tool is a dangerous tool because it will deflect rather than bite into whatever you are chopping.

If you want, drill a hole down in the butt of the handle, penetrating up toward the head about eight inches. Fill with linseed oil and plug. This also helps preserve the handle.

Occasionally, wipe the handle with the linseed-turpentine mixture. When you put away the tool, spray the sharpened blade with some WD-40 or oil.

Gregg has installed axe heads on handles for 30 years, and while he has broken handles, using this technique, he has never had a handle loosen from its head.

Related article: Auto-hammer soothes savage stable owner

Helpful tool terminology links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axe
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sledgehammer
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_maul

(An ad-free version of this blog is available for the Amazon Kindle and the iPad through the Kindle store. Just search for "Hoofprints" in the blogs list.)

 

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Where do you fall in new horse rules?

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- Now that the dust has settled in the horse-boarding land use arena, property owners may be scratching their heads and wondering just exactly how the rules work.

Stable owners had been operating since 1988 with little or no enforcement of existing rules. Now, if you have 10 acres, you can board up to four horses as a use by right. Less acreage will earn you one boarded horse per 2.5 acres. And thanks to last-minute amendments, everybody gets to teach up to 15 lessons per week. Failure to comply means you are operating without county approval, and are fair game for disgruntled neighbors with complaints.

After that, the situation gets complicated, and requires varying levels of county review, but generally, the bigger your property, the more you can do. One thing has not changed: Whether you own or board horses, you can never have more than one horse per half acre.

Check out BusinessWeek online's property rights commentary: Mortgages lost in the Cloud 

Previous coverage

Larimer County horse facilities page


Mystery donor adds $1,000 to reward in horse shooting

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa -- The owner of "CT" the 20-year-old registered Paint Horse shot in the side August 2 reported in an e-mail last night that an anonymous donor has added $1,000 to the possible $1,200 already on the table for information leading to her horse's attacker.

Ritzer found CT and "Kitty", a family cat which later died, shot on her farm property last week. CT remains under close watch and will always carry the bullet, which veterinarians could not remove.

Anyone with information on who shot CT and "Kitty" can call Dickinson County Crime Stoppers at (712) 336-2345.

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MyHoofprints -- Horse shot: 'They can't remove bullet'

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Horse shot: 'They can't remove bullet'

A poster of CT and "Kitty", who died, seeks the public's help, and offers a $1,000 reward for information leading to the criminals. (Click photo to enlarge.) ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa -- A family horse shot in his pasture last week remains under close watch, and will always carry the culprit's bullet, which veterinarians were unable to remove.

"CT", a 20-year-old, registered Paint Horse with blue eyes, was shot on his right side a week ago, probably by a shooter and a driver-accomplice, according to his owner, Tina Ritzer. A family cat was also found shot, and later died. Three more family cats are still missing.

CT is "doing very well under the circumstances", said Ritzer in a telephone interview, "but they can't remove the bullet."

Ritzer finds it ironic that she lives on a farm, and CT has lived for 17 years in a large pasture bordered by large properties, frequented by hunters, without ever getting so much as a scratch.

"Whether it was intended for me or my family, or some person out being stupid, or for the humane society next door (one of her neighbors has an animal shelter), I don't know," said Ritzer. "According to the police, it doesn't matter. It's still a crime."

CT is large for a Paint Horse, standing 17.2 hands and weighing 1,300 pounds. This winter shot is from the family collection. (Click photo to enlage.) Ritzer acquired CT when he was a year and a half old. By Paint Horse standards, CT is big. He stands 17.2 hands (1 hand = 4 inches) at the withers, and weighs 1,300 pounds. "He has the Thoroughbred bloodlines," explained Ritzer. She barrel raced CT in his younger years, and these days, the pair join the annual Good Friday "Pony Express" Ride to raise money for Easter Seals' Camp Sunnyside.

"He would just love to run. He’s never been ornery or mean," said Ritzer. "Everyone who comes out to the farm, they feed him apples. He’ll come running across the pasture because he knows there’s treats. He’d wiggle his lips, so they sometimes called him Mr. Ed. He’s kind of a bit spoiled, but he’s done nothing to deserve this."

"The first few days, not knowing whether he was going to be OK, was extremely stressful," she said. "He’s extremely precious to me."

As hunting seasons rolls around, Ritzer worries about what CT will do when he hears the shots. "I would hope he doesn’t hurt someone or himself, if he panics," she said. Ritzer said CT has a long memory, and was abused once at a boarding stable. The next time he saw his abuser, "he all of a sudden got tense. He turned his head sideways, rolled his eyes, and started to kick."

The name "CT" is short for "Closing Time". Ritzer hopes her friend's personal "closing time" remains far off. CT is on antibiotics, and his appetite has picked up since the shooting. Ritzer wants CT to heal and be there for next year's Pony Express Ride. She also wants her animals' shooter caught.

CT, the registered Paint Horse who was shot, and his goat friend in better times in the family barn. (Click photo to enlarge.) "I would not wish this upon anyone, especially anyone who loves horses," she said. "Somebody will hear about it. The more people that know, the sooner somebody will talk."

The Ritzer Family is offering $1,000 and local authorities are offering up to $200 for information leading to the criminals.  Call Dickinson County Crime Stoppers at (712) 336-2345 if you have information.

Earlier coverage by the Dickinson County News.

(Karin Livingston is a career 4-H leader, and author of the young-adult horse novel, Winning Bet. An ad-free version of this blog is available on the Amazon Kindle and at the Kindle store for the iPad. Just search for "Hoofprints" on your device.)





'Winning Bet' now available in United Kingdom

NEWS FLASH! Winning Bet now available in the United Kingdom! Click here to visit Amazon's new UK site.

NEWS FLASH! AMES, Iowa -- Jax Outdoor Gear has added Winning Bet to its shelves, just in time for Iowa county fair season! Thank you, Jax!

Teachers/students: Click here to take the free Winning Bet quiz and earn a certificate!

'This mare isn't good for anything, except maybe the slaughterhouse.' -- Ray Duncan, Emma's father *** 'You believed. You took a risk.' -- Enrique Olvera, Emma's friend *** 'God, Emma, why don't you just squeeze her guts out?' -- Aubrey, best friend

Click here to visit Winning Bet and Karin Livingston at Amazon.

Dear Readers: I don't usually post e-mails, but I have the "OK" on this one, and well, I'm blushing! Debbie Dehn is a prominent horse 4-H leader who has improved many youngsters' horseback riding experience and touched many lives in her teaching career. Thank you, Debbie!

  

Dear Karin,

  

Just wanted you to know how much I thoroughly enjoyed your book.  What a great story.  It brought back many fond memories of my children's 4-H days.  I have recommended it to my current 4-Hers and am purchasing copies for my daughter and sisters, all of whom are teachers, for their schools. 

 

I saw on your website that there may be a chance for Accelerated Reader tests.  I'm going to talk to one of my sisters who is a school librarian (media specialist) in NJ.  She uses that program.

 

-- Debbie Dehn, 4-H leader, former teacher

 

Readers: You can help put Winning Bet on the Accelerated Reader list. If enough of you request it, Renaissance Learning will write an AR test for Winning Bet that any AR school can use, and anybody -- not just librarians -- can request! Just go to http://www.renlearn.com/ar/customercare/titlesuggestions.asp to make the request. Information you’ll need:
Title: Winning Bet
ISBN: 0-615-32165-8
Publisher: Ingram
Interest Level: Middle Grades Plus
Year Published: 2009

Happy Reading!

Reviews: Winning Bet 'delightful', 'highly recommended'

School book fair cashes in on Winning Bet

(Karin Livingston is a career 4-H horse leader. Winning Bet is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, IndieBound.org stores, on the Kindle/iPad (use the Kindle store), and to librarians and retailers through the Ingram Book Group.)


'Winning Bet' hits shelves in Ames, Iowa

NEWS FLASH! AMES, Iowa -- Jax Outdoor Gear has added Winning Bet to its shelves, just in time for Iowa county fair season! Thank you, Jax!

Teachers/students: Click here to take the free Winning Bet quiz and earn a certificate!

'This mare isn't good for anything, except maybe the slaughterhouse.' -- Ray Duncan, Emma's father *** 'You believed. You took a risk.' -- Enrique Olvera, Emma's friend *** 'God, Emma, why don't you just squeeze her guts out?' -- Aubrey, best friend

Click here to visit Winning Bet and Karin Livingston at Amazon.

May 27, 2010

Dear Readers: I don't usually post e-mails, but I have the "OK" on this one, and well, I'm blushing! Debbie Dehn is a prominent horse 4-H leader who has improved many youngsters' horseback riding experience and touched many lives in her teaching career. Thank you, Debbie!

  

Dear Karin,

  

Just wanted you to know how much I thoroughly enjoyed your book.  What a great story.  It brought back many fond memories of my children's 4-H days.  I have recommended it to my current 4-Hers and am purchasing copies for my daughter and sisters, all of whom are teachers, for their schools. 

 

I saw on your website that there may be a chance for Accelerated Reader tests.  I'm going to talk to one of my sisters who is a school librarian (media specialist) in NJ.  She uses that program.

 

-- Debbie Dehn, 4-H leader, former teacher

 

Readers: You can help put Winning Bet on the Accelerated Reader list. If enough of you request it, Renaissance Learning will write an AR test for Winning Bet that any AR school can use, and anybody -- not just librarians -- can request! Just go to http://www.renlearn.com/ar/customercare/titlesuggestions.asp to make the request. Information you’ll need:
Title: Winning Bet
ISBN: 0-615-32165-8
Publisher: Ingram
Interest Level: Middle Grades Plus
Year Published: 2009

Happy Reading!

Reviews: Winning Bet 'delightful', 'highly recommended'

School book fair cashes in on Winning Bet

(Karin Livingston is a career 4-H horse leader. Winning Bet is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, IndieBound.org stores, on the Kindle/iPad (use the Kindle store), and to librarians and retailers through the Ingram Book Group.)


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