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March 2009

A saddle, a horse, a boy

In the dark heart of winter I finished a book loaned to me by a loved one that turned out to be a gift I will never forget. I think back to this book all the time, and I would like to offer it to you now as an antidote to whatever economic tragedies you or those you love may have suffered at the hands of Wall Street’s criminals. I have never read a story ending quite like this one, which made me want to cry and at the same time burst out laughing with heartfelt faith that we will all be OK in the end. I have not just given away the “happy ending”, which is not stereotypically happy, which is completely unexpected, and just for inquiring readers, not everyone lives. It would be a stretch to label the 2001 best-selling novel, Peace Like a River, a horse book, but the story does contain a horse and a saddle that play pivotal roles as the plot – asthmatic boy discovers himself while fleeing with his family to save a fugitive brother – unfolds. Better yet, Peace Like a River is now available on another gift I recommend to everyone, the Amazon Kindle 2. Click here to read about the twists and turns of my very own, and slightly traumatic, Kindle Tales.

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Spring fever: (We hope not)

Alert April 25, 2012: Horses colic after getting Merial's Recombitek West Nile vaccine.

Our 2009 post on why you should let your vet do the shots:

Show season is about to start for those of us who live in regions with actual seasons, and that means vaccination season is also upon us. It's time for the spring health care appointment with our veterinarian, Equine Medical Services (EMS).

After surviving a couple of client horses reacting to vaccinations in recent years, I believe now more than ever that having a veterinarian do our vaccinations is important in the event that a horse suffers a reaction. You especially run a terrible liability risk if you vaccinate someone else’s horse and God forbid, it dies of a reaction.

That is why vets have licenses and pay the bucks for insurance that covers them in the event of a medical accident. As a citizen, friend, or stable owner, whatever liability insurance you own, it probably does not cover you practicing medicine on somebody else's horse. Unless your horse has a professionally documented, life-threatening reason not to do these, we require: Tetanus; Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis; West Nile Virus.  

For further reading enjoyment, we recommend the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Core Vaccination Guidelines. Click here to find out what we learned about horse vaccinations last Spring. 
Last fall: How we dealt with rabies in horses.

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John Deere to the rescue

The John Deere 950 keeps lanes clear during a surprise blizzard. -- Photo/Kalinda Livingston Winter gave us spring with abnormally warm temperatures, and spring gave us winter. Go figure. We woke up Thursday morning to a blizzard. When you have to turn out horses, clean stalls and pens, move feed and sometimes transport water, a blizzard makes life challenging. Fort Collins shut down for the day after about 11 a.m. The snowfall grew to six inches in the shallows, and ten inches in the bad spots. Then the wind started to blow. I knew it was time to hop on the John Deere 950 and start plowing before drifting made our driveway and the east-west internal lanes impassable. Four hours later, the good old Deere saved the day, and we could move around freely. You cannot run a stable without a tractor, period. Ours worked beautifully and I felt extremely intelligent for having taken care of its routine maintenance and some minor repairs just a month earlier. Besides food and water for the horses, the tractor is probably the next thing you want to make sure gets good care at your stable. This turned out to be a baby blizzard compared to the great blizzards of 2006. What a great adventure that was. And as Helen Keller said, "Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing at all."
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Horses in trouble

Nicky Two horses need your help. Yesterday our wonder-vet, Equine Medical Services (EMS), received an e-mail plea from a client who lost her job. The client cannot afford to continue feeding her charges, but fears that if she sells them they might end up in Mexico at a slaughter facility. The client thought her only other option was to euthanize our equine friends to save them from an unspeakable death elsewhere. "There is nothing wrong with these two horses other than they are victims of circumstance," said veterinarian, Dr. Allen Landes. Click here to see more pictures and video.  Click here for details on the Jasper horses. (You may want to bookmark the second "here" link, which connects to the new EMS forum, an equine medical news/discussion group.) If you are involved in Pony Club, 4-H or any other horse activity, and know someone with a good home for these two horses, have them contact Dr. Landes at [email protected]. The horses are at his ranch until they can be adopted out. One hopes this is not the start of what happened to the floundering Kentucky horse industry.

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Land use study: 41 apply

People put actions behind their words on this one. Larimer County received 41 applications from people who want to be on the working group to study horse-business land use rules. After some deliberation, I applied as well. The stable is already on the radar, so I figured I might as well be part of the solution, and I do have these 20 crazed, lovable, laughable years of experience. Linda Hoffman, director of the county’s rural land use office, wrote back to say that the county is offering six spots for local organizations (not specified) to send representatives. With a desired working group total of 20 members, 14 spots remain for various representatives of the horse industry, neighbors of horse businesses and other professional equine providers. That leaves slim chances of actually making it on to the team, but who knows? According to Hoffman’s note, county commissioners will not be making their selections until March 19. Meanwhile, all applicants are to reserve Thursday, March 26, 6 – 9 p.m. for the first working group meeting. Stay tuned.
Horse property rights: grim tone improves
Horse property rights: "We need a miracle"
Land use rules loom
Larimer County Horseman's Association
Colorado Horse Council

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