Horses in the News

The horsey Halloween force awakens - what will you be?

Looking for horsey Halloween ideas? Plans are afoot at our place for all sorts of creations, weather permitting. Meanwhile, here are a few from years past:

Halloween 2013 

Angel devil in all of us - Halloween - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
A little of the angel and devil in all of us ...
Cow - Halloween - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
Is it "neigh" or is it "moo"?
Magician - Halloween - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
All in a day's work for our resident magician and her magic horse ...
Rainbow of feathers - Halloween - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
A rainbow of feathers for Billy Blue, one of our Morgans.
Snow white - Halloween - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
Snow White and her minions ...

Halloween 2012

Billy Blue the Horse - Halloween 2012 - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
All it takes is a little paint, glitter, a few ribbons and scarves, perhaps a discarded hat, and voilà, your horse morphs into the Spirit of Halloween, a giraffe, a zebra, a fairy, or Mr. Bows. The Poudre River Stables gang outdid itself this year by achieving all of the above, and the horses, shy at first, seemed to enjoy the combing and brushing that came with their makeovers. Check out the video above to see all of the costumes. Many thanks to these kids' instructor, Cayla Stone, for organizing this. Happy Halloween to all of you from all of us! (Billy, the horse in the photo, is a real-life horse character in the novel, Winning Bet, a clean read for 'tweens and teens.)


Halloween 2010

HalloweenBonnie  HalloweenJasper  HalloweenBilly 

The funniest part came when all the horses, who had been individually costumed by all the handlers you see here, saw each other and were horrified. Billy, in the “All-American” red, white and blue, looked at Magic the Wizard, group shot, far left, in the sparkly black hat, threw up his head, rolled his eyes, snorted and scuttled backwards. Magic tried to turn around and leave with his human on the other end of the lead line.

Bonnie, appropriately the Beautiful Veiled Witch, Jasper, carrying his Knight in Shining Armor, and the Gypsy Dani were heroes, and never flinched.


(Bonnie Blue and her son Billy Blue are the real-life horse stars of the novel, Winning Bet, by Karin Livingston.)

Colorado state veterinarian's office confirms VS in two counties

How much do you know about vesicular stomatitis? Take this quiz.

STATE VETERINARIAN'S OFFICE (VS) – Positive Diagnosis in Two Colorado Counties
Tips for Livestock Owners and Veterinarians

Horses on two Montrose and one Delta County premises tested positive for the disease and have been placed under quarantine. Colorado has become the fourth state in the country to have confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in 2015. Previous positive cases of vesicular stomatitis this year have been diagnosed in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

On July 2nd, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory reported positive tests on samples submitted from horses in Montrose and Delta Counties. The initial Colorado disease investigations were accomplished by field veterinarians from the State Veterinarian’s Office at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

“The primary spread of VS is thought to occur through insect vectors; the horses involved in these cases have no history of travel,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. “Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for animals and costly to their owners. The virus typically causes oral blisters and sores that can be painful causing difficulty in eating and drinking.”

A 2014 outbreak of VS created 556 livestock investigations in Colorado resulting in 370 quarantines with the final quarantines released in January 2015.

Livestock owners who suspect an animal may have VS or any other vesicular disease should immediately contact their local veterinarian. Livestock with clinical signs of VS are isolated until they are determined to be of no further threat for disease spread. There are no USDA approved vaccines for VS. While rare, human cases of VS can occur, usually among those who handle infected animals. VS in humans can cause flu-like symptoms and only rarely includes lesions or blisters.

New for 2015 VS Investigations:
A notable change in the 2015 State response to VS has come from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) delisting of VS as a foreign animal disease in horses; VS continues to be listed as a foreign animal disease for cattle and other livestock. This USDA procedural change will allow greater flexibility in how VS is managed in respect to equine cases. The primary change will now be that quarantines may be released as soon as 14 days after the onset of clinical signs of the last affected horse on a premises.

“Science has shown that the transmission of the virus is for a brief period of time after the initial clinical signs of VS. Our goal is to appropriately adjust our response to this disease to reduce the negative economic impact to the equine community,” continued Roehr.
With the delisting of VS as a foreign animal disease, Colorado veterinarians may now take a lead role in the management of the disease in equine cases. In earlier cases, CDA or USDA field vets were required to perform the disease investigations on horses; the delisting now allows local veterinarians to perform the initial investigations, collect samples, and collaborate with animal health officials regarding movement restrictions and quarantines.
The Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has been approved to perform VS tests on horses in Colorado. This will provide a more timely response on test results.

Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Signs and Transmission:
VS susceptible species include horses, mules, cattle, bison, sheep, goats, pigs, and camelids. The clinical signs of the disease include vesicles, erosions and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, teats and above the hooves of susceptible livestock. Vesicles are usually only seen early in the course of the disease. The transmission of vesicular stomatitis is not completely understood but components include insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and livestock movement.

Tips for Livestock Owners:
Strict fly control is an important factor to inhibit the transmission of the disease.
Avoid transferring feeding equipment, cleaning tools or health care equipment from other herds.
Colorado veterinarians and livestock owners should contact the state of destination when moving livestock interstate to ensure that all import requirements are met. A list of contact information for all state veterinarians’ offices is available at:
Colorado fairs, livestock exhibitions, and rodeos may institute new entry requirements based on the extent and severity of the current VS outbreak. Certificates of Veterinary Inspection issued within 2-5 days prior to an event can beneficial to reduce risks. Be sure to stay informed of any new livestock event requirements.

Important Points for Veterinarians:
Any vesicular disease of livestock is reportable to the State Veterinarian’s Office in Colorado – to report call 303-869-9130. If after-hours, call the same number to obtain the phone number of the staff veterinarian on call.
With the delisting of VS as a foreign animal disease, Colorado veterinarians may now take a lead role in the management of the disease in equine cases. In earlier cases, CDA or USDA field vets were required to perform the disease investigations on horses; the delisting now allows local veterinarians to perform the initial investigations, collect samples, and collaborate with animal health officials regarding movement restrictions and quarantines.
In livestock other than equine VS is still considered a foreign animal disease, any case with clinical signs consistent with VS will warrant an investigation by a state or federal foreign animal disease diagnostician (FADD).
When VS is suspected in livestock other than equine the FADD will gather the epidemiological information, take the necessary blood samples, collect the necessary fluid or tissue from the lesions, and inform the owners and the referring veterinarian as to necessary bio-security and movement restrictions.

During the event, important VS disease prevention procedures include minimizing the sharing of water and feed/equipment, applying insect repellent daily (especially to the animal’s ears), and closely observing animals for signs of vesicular stomatitis.

For additional information, contact the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130 or to view the current location of cases and other important updates and information you can visit:

From wild to mild at Extreme Mustang Makeover 2015

Cayla and calypso the mustang 7 (800x600)
Calypso the Mustang, age five, with Cayla Stone, Samba the Mustang, age two, with Madison Olver.

LOVELAND, Colorado - I followed a couple of friends, Cayla Stone and Madison Olver, also a student of Cayla's, into Day 1 of the Extreme Mustang Makeover today and was amazed at how gentle many of these mustangs are. They have been in training 100 days or less and can do things seasoned show horses would think twice about, especially the part about loading into a strange trailer surrounded by strange humans. All of the exhibitors who work so hard to help save these wild horses deserve applause. Thousands of dollars in prize money is at stake and the mustangs not kept by their foster humans will be auctioned at the end of the event.

There are also non-competing mustangs and burros available for adoption in pens outside the arena, priced at $125 each. The Extreme Mustang Makeover concludes tomorrow, May 30, starting at 10 a.m. at The Ranch and is part of the Rock'n Western Rendezvous. Tickets start at $15 for adults, $10 for children (2 - 12). Calypso, standing at about 13.2 hands, boards at our place and has already debuted in eventing at the Spring Gulch Equestrian Area. She loves to jump. Samba, about the size of a hackney pony, would make a beautiful children's eventer. 

Madison and Samba the mustang(800x600)
Madison prepares to take Samba the Mustang through her paces in the youth fitting and handling class. The youth horses are all youngsters themselves and not shown under saddle. Samba is two years old.

Cayla and Calypso the Mustang
Cayla and Calypso the Mustang on the rail, Day 1 of the Extreme Mustang Makeover.

Cayla and Calypso the Mustang at Spring Gulch.
Cayla Stone and Calypso the Mustang debuted as eventers earlier this spring at the Spring Gulch Equestrian Area.


Cayla and Calypso the Mustang at Spring Gulch.
Cayla Stone and Calypso the Mustang in another shot from their eventing debut at the Spring Gulch Equestrian Area.

Have a voice in program for Montana's Pryor Mountains wild horse herd

MONTANA - The Bureau of Land Management Billings Field Office wants your feedback regarding expanding a population control program for the Pryor Mountains wild horse herd. The goal of the program is to reduce the need for roundups. The comment period ends Feb. 20, 2015. 

To comment on expanding the program, email or send a hard-copy letter to: Bureau Of Land Management, Billings Field Office, 500 I Southgate Drive, Billings, Montana 59101-4669

In a January 19 update, the Cloud the Stallion Facebook page said the BLM is taking steps in the "right direction" with its population control efforts for the Fish Creek Nevada wild horse herd.

Read also:

The BLM's cover letter on the Pryor Mountain herd project

BLM environmental assessment of the fertility control program

Cloud the Stallion Facebook page


Colorado vesicular stomatitis (VS) count climbs to 201 horses, 3 cows

As expected, the Colorado vesicular stomatitis count has climbed, and is now at 201 horses and three cows. Visit the Colorado USDA link for the full story. To learn more about how you can help prevent vesicular stomatitis, view last week's CSU/USDA "Paging Dr. Ram" vesicular stomatitis YouTube broadcast by clicking on the link or the video above, which features two veterinarians who are experts in preventing the spread of disease.

Not to treat a serious situation lightly, but you might get a good laugh or learn something from one of our attempts at voluntary quarantine. Read: As the Biosecurity Turns: Our stable awaits EHV-1 test

VS Alert - Important online hangout tonight: #PagingDrRam - Vesicular Stomatitis

Watch the YouTube recording later at:

Colorado State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have an online event scheduled tonight for those affected and potentially affected by the sudden spike in vesicular stomatitis (VS) cases. CSU's press release follows:

Join us for an important interactive online discussion!

Join us for a Live Google+ Hangout from 6-7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 14, to learn about vesicular stomatitis and disease prevention from veterinarians at Colorado State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A Google+ Hangout is much like a webinar, offering the chance to gain information and ask questions from your personal computer or device; all you need is Internet service. To join the discussion, click here.

The Colorado State Veterinarian's Office announced on Aug. 6 that 69 Colorado properties, most in northern counties, were quarantined after horses tested positive for vesicular stomatitis, which is spread chiefly by black flies. The number of quarantined properties is a dramatic increase from 21 quarantined Colorado properties just one week earlier, and this disease outbreak is expected to continue growing. Notably, the first infected cow also has been reported in the Colorado outbreak.

Arm yourself with information to protect your horses and livestock by joining the discussion hosted by the Colorado State University James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Featured experts will be Dr. Paul Morley, a CSU veterinarian and director of infection control for the University's Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and Dr. Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, USDA equine epidemiologist.

Submit questions early by e-mailing, or through TwitterFacebook, or Google+, using the hashtag #PagingDrRam.

If you have questions about this event, please e-mail

17 horses killed in barn fire: Follow these fire prevention tips

Barn fire extinguisher - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521

“A horse standing in a bed of straw might just as well be standing in a pool of gasoline should a fire occur. The burning rate of loose straw is approximately three times that of the burning rate of gasoline. The horse in a stall where fire originates has only 30 seconds to escape.”

This quote from the Colorado 4-H Horse Project Manual is part of fire prevention tips that include sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, buying properly-cured hay, storing hay and other flammables away from the horse barn, and a no-smoking, no-matches barn policy.

Our hearts go out to the animals and humans affected in the Langley, B.C. barn fire. Click here for the full story and video.

How safe are you around horses? Take our horse safety quiz to find out.

Colorado horse with deadly virus euthanized: Extreme caution urged on rodeo, barrel racing circuit

One of our veterinarian clients just sent me this update:

STATE VETERINARIAN'S OFFICE - Positive EHV 1 Horse in Colorado EHV-1 Update 5/15/14 The Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (CSU-VDL) has notified the State Veterinarian’s Office at the Colorado Department of Agriculture that the horse which was showing signs consistent with EHV-1 on 5/14/14 tested positive to EHV-1 The horse was euthanized due to complications from the neurologic form of EHV-1, also known as Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). A second horse from the same facility has developed a fever today and considered a suspect case but is not displaying any neurologic signs at this time. This second horse attended some of the same events within the rodeo/barrel racing circuit as the original horse. Because of these developments and the recent history of other EHV-1 cases in other states, the State Veterinarian’s Office in Colorado recommends that equine event organizers and horse owners competing in the rodeo/barrel racing circuit exercise extreme caution with regards to the planning and holding of equine events. Disease prevention practices and good biosecurity should be implemented. Owners should consider the risk for exposure to EHV-1 at upcoming events to be elevated and owners may want to consider keeping their horses at home to limit their individual risk.

Read about our stable's last experience with voluntary quarantine:

As the Biosecurity Turns: Our stable awaits EHV-1 test

Horse quarantine: A harsh bargain

Read also:

Horse first aid emergency: Surprise ingredient halts reaction

Wanted: Riding gear donations for recovering veteran

I received this email from a friend today, and what this man needs seems very small compared to what he has done for us. Please email his teacher if you need more information or can help.

Hi All, 
I have a student who is a 13-year veteran of the Marine Special Forces.  He is on 80% disability and is taking 25 credits at the community college with a 4.0 GPA!  He is in significant pain from his years of service and is beginning to learn how to ride horses to help.  He talks non-stop about "his horse" Hooch and their connection.  I see a huge difference when he comes to class having ridden or even just visited the barn.  I know you all know about this!!  
The reason I'm writing is because he needs some riding gear and I thought maybe we as a group could find some solutions since his funds are so tight (VA benefits are slow to arrive).  
He is borrowing a helmet, but could really use some chaps - used are just perfect.  So if anyone is or knows of someone ready and willing to donate a pair of used chaps that would be amazing!  
I can be reached at this email (personal) or via my school email at :)
Thank you!