Previous month:
July 2009
Next month:
September 2009

August 2009

Links for Horse Lovers

Check out these links for other great horse-loving opportunities!

Breyer Model Horses

Equine Medical Services

Happy Horse Tack

Larimer County 2010 Fair Results

Luke George Hay

Poudre River Stables

The Horse

Man threatens to kill 24 horses

A Weld County, Colorado man who threatened to kill 24 horses is in jail today.
Trention Parker’s bail agent revoked his bail on an earlier felony charge Wednesday after Parker, 64, threatened to kill 24 horses to protest an upcoming jail sentence. Parker faced  90 days in jail for failure to clean up the property on which he lived.
The 64-year-old Parker invited others via flyers to help him kill each of the horses in “graphic and brutal ways on public property”, according to the Greeley Tribune.
Parker was arrested in a Weld County courtroom Wednesday after his bail was revoked.
Earlier Parker told the Tribune the first target among the horses would be a beautiful gray stallion, and that the first shot “will be the first shot of the second American Revolution.” The Tribune pointed to Parker’s actions as part of a growing national trend to resort to violence in protest of government actions.
Channel 7 Denver News video coverage
Greeley Triune: Threat to kill horses lands man in jail
Greeley Tribune: Man threatening to kill horses in mass shooting

Stable land use rules: Low score wins

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- The more points a stable earns, the harder it would be to get approval for doing business under a proposal before the group developing new stable land use rules.
Points would be assessed against a stable for revenue-generating horses, number of horse owners, lesson clientele, workers, paid-for events, and property size, according to the draft points system presented at Tuesday night's meeting of the Larimer County Horse Facilities Study working group.
If a stable earned:

  • less than 20 points, it would have  "use by right"
  • 21 - 40 points, it would undergo minor special review
  • 41 or more points, the stable would face a full special review

Special review costs currently run at $2,300 in county fees, plus whatever professional consulting rates a stable would have to pay in order to provide the county with proper documentation. According to working group member Suzanne Bassinger, consultant costs could run well past $10,000 for minor or full special reviews.
"I feel like we’re going in the wrong direction," said Bassinger, as the group refined policy objectives early in the meeting. "I’m really going to have to dissent with what we’re doing."

Continue reading "Stable land use rules: Low score wins" »

On guard: Dark side of new horse land use rules

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- We have switched to month-to-month contracts from our traditional year-long plan, largely because Larimer County’s new land use rules could wreak havoc on us and our clients. We are on guard against a lose-lose business deal.
Coincidentally, my daughter recently visited the Colorado Horse Park and learned that their clients pay $1,400 per month in board. While the horse park is a much fancier facility than many in this county, it occured to me that if badly handled, new rules could skyrocket board in Larimer County and:

  • Blacklist stables that have been in business less than 30 years
  • Destroy stables unable to afford the new "playing field"
  • Create approval fees and associated costs – in the tens of thousands of dollars -- that would be passed on to clients
  • Make it illegal to board a certain number of horses
  • Create higher costs or make it illegal to have horse events, clinics, or teach riding, including non-profit activities like 4-H and Pony Club
  • Dictate stringent, one-size-fits-all methods for managing traffic, dust, lights, manure and other stable “byproducts” that translate to higher costs – for us and again, for our clients
  • Fail to solve the issue that started all of this -- complaints by neighbors who own property next to irresponsible horse owners.

If you have followed Hoofprints on this issue, you know that we try to take the positive view, that the proposal under development for a December vote by county commissioners will result in a win-win situation for everybody.
However, this is for those who keep asking, “Why should we care anyway?” Now you know. Get involved. Get educated. Let your county government know where you stand.
You can also contact members of the working group in charge of developing the new policies.
For first-hand facts, attend the next land use working group meeting: Tuesday, August 25, 6 p.m., Larimer County Courthouse Offices Building, Boyd Lake Conference Room, 1st Floor, 200 W. Oak Street, Fort Collins, Colorado. The public is allowed to observe these meetings, but no comments will be taken.
Mark your calendars for the next public feedback meetings:
Thursday, September 10, 2009-6:00 p.m., The Ranch, Thomas M. McKee Building, Loveland, Colorado.Tuesday, September 15, 2009-6:00 p.m., Larimer County Courthouse Offices Building, Hearing Room, 1st Floor, 200 W. Oak Street, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Horse dies of rabies; humans exposed?

Rabies has reared its ugly head with the death of a horse in Texas. Worse, humans who came into contact with the horse’s saliva may have been exposed to the deadly disease, according to The horse, a mare, was at the Scurry County Rodeo in mid-July and died July 30. It tested positive for rabies August 5. More than 250 contestants from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas competed in the rodeo. While transmission at the rodeo arena is unlikely, it is possible if the horse’s saliva came into contact with an open wound or the horse bit a human or another animal. Sadly, this could have been prevented if the horse had received the new rabies vaccine.
Hoofprints: Gambling on rabies vaccine
Hoofprints: Rabies experiment works

Green idea solves hoof-soak blues

The IV bag is cut off at the top, filled, and bandaged around the horse's fetlock. (Click photo to enlarge.) Less than a month after I bought my first horse at age 12, she stepped on a nail and punctured the sole of her right front foot. Novice horse owners that my parents and I were, we took a pair of pliers and pulled the nail out. This turned out to be the worst thing we could do. Again, novices that we were – we had no 4-H horse project in Santa Clara County, California from which to learn – we thought everything was fine … until our horse went down with a high fever. The veterinarian discovered the terrible infection in her hoof. The nail hole had closed, but the injury festered from the inside, and my lovely, kind mare developed an abscess. We faced six weeks of twice-daily soaks in hot water laced with Epsom salts. After about 10 kicked-over buckets, we hated the soaks almost as much as Supplies include a roll of cotton, epsom salts, bandaging adhesive and a used IV bag. (Click photo to enlarge.) my mare did.

Fast forward to the present … a stable client solves the kicked-over-bucket problem and accomplishes “green” recycling with used intravenous bags. A veterinarian, this client has easy access to used IV bags. Yes, they are still clean. The seal between the bag and the body prevents germs from going backwards into the bag. If this makes your spine crawl, your veterinarian could probably get you a fresh supply, or you could look online. Chopped off at the top, layered with epsom salts, and cotton at the bottom, filled with hot water, the bag is bandaged in place. (Note: If you cannot get an IV bag, why not try a heavy duty zippered storage bag?) No more kicked over buckets. No more lost medicine. No more angry horses. No more angry people. What a concept!

Read also - Nail puncture: What NOT to do

(Karin Livingston was a career 4-H leader specializing in horses, and is the author of the young-adult horse novel, Winning Bet.)

'I can do it myself, thank you'

I met two young people a few days ago who reminded me why I do this volunteer stuff, anyway.

Much like Pony Club or the Scouts, Colorado’s 4-H Horse Project offers an achievement program in which members demonstrate higher and higher levels of skill. In this case, we are talking about horse knowledge and riding skills.

As an “expert”, my job is to go out and test youngsters. The first brave soul, a young lady, age eight, was as young as you can be and still get into the 4-H horse program.

At the early levels, rules say young or small riders may ask for adult help with things like saddling, bridling, or picking up hooves, as long as they can tell the adult what to do.

This child dragged a three-step mounting block around for the “tall” work, and refused help with the saddle, even when offered.

It took a little longer, and her uncle jumped in when we thought the saddle would land on her head, but she insisted, “I can do it myself!”

And she did do it herself, with flying colors.

My second youngster tested at a higher level.

I like to talk with the riders while we test. They tell great stories and the conversation builds their ability to describe why they are doing what they are doing, a requirement at the higher levels.

Not so usual in today’s text-messaging culture, this boy used clear, complete sentences, and words like “encouragement”, “proper”, and “ma’am”.

Next, the boy asked his gelding to pick up a hoof. He struggled a bit with the pressure point on the fetlock. Finally the horse picked up its foot, and the boy said, “Thank you.” He thanked the horse many more times during the test.I looked at his test sheet. It said age 17. I wondered whether this was in fact, a very small 17-year-old. I was afraid to ask though, and cause the family embarrassment. The high vocabulary continued through a brushing demonstration.

I gave in to curiosity and asked, “How old are you?”

“Nine,” he said.

His mother had accidentally filled in his horse’s age, 17, for the boy’s age on the test form.

“I have known few nine-year-olds that use the words you use,” I said, scratching out the “17” on his age line. “Why do you always thank your horse?”

“Because we all like to be thanked,” he said.

Just a few days ago I rediscovered two of life’s important lessons from two of the real experts in 4-H.

((Karin Livingston was a career 4-H leader specializing in horses, and is the author of the young-adult horse novel, Winning Bet.)