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May 2008

April 2008

Party life: Shots and floats and rabies, oh my!

Our "Shots and Floats" party went well this morning. A non-horse friend overheard me talking about this the other day and thought we might somehow be combining shots of rum and root-beer floats. The "shots" refer to spring vaccinations and the "floats" refer to taking the points off of the horse's teeth with large files. Today's beverages, as the wind blew and the snow fell sideways on this, one of the last days in April, included steaming coffee and hot chocolate.

Our stable veterinarians, Dr. Allan Landes and Dr. Jay Altman of Equine Medical Services showed us a sample of the new Coggins test, which has gone digital with photos of the horse instead of sketches. Now a person can actually tell which horse the piece of paper belongs to. Digital-photo Coggins tests are optional for vets, but watch -- I bet they soon become best practice.

Rabies shots for horses? It's true. Some owners are choosing to vaccinate horses for rabies.  Check the American Association of Equine Practitioners rabies page for more details.

(Subscribe to the ad-free version of this blog on your e-reader. Karin Livingston is also the author of the young-adult horse novel, Winning Bet.)

That tingling feeling

When every part of you tingles, consider the symptom a hint to celebrate life. Take riding for instance, I feel more alive after an hour on Bonnie, than I ever do after say, a good cup of coffee. That little horse flew over the cement conduit jump next to the pond this evening, pulled on my hands as I reined her down to a sitting trot, and pranced back to the barn, flipping her nose. Attitude will get you a long way in life, and this horse has it.

Taxes survived, the Dark Side, AKA: manure management, moved to the top of my list this weekend. You gotta put it somewhere, preferably not in the nearby river, pond, or public eye. It was a cursed project. First, the battery on our John Deere 950 tractor died in spite of attempts to resuscitate. Our discount battery store closes on weekends, but Colorado Equipment saved us. Then the antique manure spreader exploded, leaving the conveyor linkage broken in four places. Those links would defy the makers of the Rubik’s Cube. Fortunately, I know people, and we finished Turnout #1 at 8:30 that night.

Tip: I used to ride Hunt Seat in jeans, but once I found exercise tights at Happy Horse Tack Shop, I abandoned the cruel crotch knot forever.

Horse nibbles

Just in time for the bad weather, we had a bunch of great suggestions! (It snowed the last two days here – Happy Spring, and welcome to the Rocky Mountains. If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.) I hope everybody had a chance to try one of these great ideas for getting a horse “fix”.

Ah, Spring ... some people fall in love with every baby they see. I, on the other hand, fall in love with horse babies. The two in our “Horse Babies” photo album ( ) wandered across my digital path this week. Irresistible.

This weekend: Write, ride and (groan...) taxes. My book, Winning Bet (, sparked a lot of interest at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference last weekend. New ideas constantly rattle around in my head, shouting, “Use me! Use me!" Yes, I may have a couple of marbles loose.

For fun, Bonnie and I have a pruning date. She wanders, nibbling green delicacies. I trim trees mounted.

Composting also calls. Believe me when I say we have a lot of raw material around the place. Goal: One day develop the operation outlined in How to be a Perfect Horsekeeper. If you keep horses, check out this great book.

Food for thought: What would you do if somebody started to abuse a horse right in front of you?


Off to the races

Need a horse fix? Join us as we explore the world of horses through memorable bits of horse-ology (hippology), and advice for anyone -- rider or wannabe -- with questions. Check out for my qualifications. We will journey together, but instead of footprints, we'll leave HoofPrints.

Thought for the day: Tank heaters cost at least $30 per month to run. I'm pulling mine out this week since, after all, it is April. Next winter, I think I'll put the heaters on outdoor timers so they won't be sucking energy all the time.

Question: How do you get your horse fix when A) you don't own a horse or B) the weather is too awful for riding?