Monthly Archives: June 2015

Know That Horses Are Born Suicidal, You Go From There

I always tell people, that if you just accept the fact that Horses Are Born Suicidal, Then You Go From There, you’ll understand horses.

I told that to a friend the other day.  I didn’t know she had horses when her children were young, but she still looked at me as though I had four heads.

Really, think about it.  You can put a horse in a padded stall, have horse safe fencing, and they can still find a way to get hurt.  There isn’t a horse walking, on God’s green earth, that hasn’t had an injury.  Every single one of them have scars, lumps, bumps, or swelling somewhere on their bodies.

Okay, take a newborn foal.  If you’re lucky they come out clean, with no problems.  BUT, give them a couple of weeks, and they will get into something.

Actually, they are much like us.  Each scar comes with its own story.  Sometimes they are badges of honor.  Most times that are sign’s of stupidity.  Same thing with horses.

When looking to purchase a horse you have to know what you are willing to live with, and what might interfere with what you are planning to do with him/her.  Something’s are an unsoundness that will count against you, and something’s are just blemishes.

Bottom line is there are no clean horses on this planet.  If they are, they won’t stay that way long.  No matter how hard you try to protect them, it just won’t happen.

Accept it, and go from there.

It’s Just Plain Gross

This is just something that has been bothering me for years, and it still grosses me out when I think about it.  So easy to avoid, and so horrible not to.

There was a horse that had gotten down in its stall and bashed its head against the wall.  It was left untreated and the flies laid eggs in it.  By the time someone noticed it, the maggots had gotten into the sinus cavities, and under the remaining meat and skin.  It was the most horrific thing I had ever seen.  Yes you could say, neglect, abuse, and basically it was.  I was asked to help with treating this poor creature.  We treated her for a week or two and thought we were getting somewhere.

That’s not my point.  My point is simply that with a little cleaning of the wound, and the proper treatment this did not have to happen.

If your horse gets a wound, treat it.  Don’t think, oh I’ll do it later, or tomorrow, or it will heal.

Every time a see maggots on some dead thing I think of that poor horse and the horrible stench from the rotting flesh.  If you’re wondering if the horse made it, no she didn’t.  She got down in the stall again and bashed her head up more and they put her down.

So in memory of this poor animal, don’t let it happen to another.  It can happen fast in the heat, and bugs of summer.

Be a responsible horse owner and “Just Do It.”   Now!

Blood Sweat And Beers

Okay, so that’s really not the name of the old rock group, but it did get your attention.

Here in Florida we are in full summer weather.  Having spoken with a few of my friends from other parts of the country, they are still stuck in spring.  Which for horse people is usually a good thing.  My one friend said two weeks ago that they were expecting a frost that night in MI.  My girlfriend in N.J. was pulling out her heavy winter blanket last night.  June 2nd, that seems really impossible to me.  But as in Florida, summer will come.

What I really want to impress upon everyone is to be aware of what is going on with your horse, the sweat part especially.

Keep aware if they are sweating, or not.  You may think, well I guess it’s just not that hot today, or boy he’s really taking the heat well this year.  NOT!  His body may have just shut down on sweating.

Know what is normal for your horse.  If he would usually be wet under a given circumstance, and he’s not, “Houston we have a problem.”

When my Clyde was a baby her thermostat did not kick in and we had to body clip her at two days old.  It’s common with Clyde babies, and if they are not kept cool, they will die.  So will your horse.

Here’s where the beer comes into play.  In the old days they used to give horses beer to get them to start sweating again.  No, not light beer, or the fancy beers they have now-a-day.  Beer with real hops and all the real ingredients.  Then I had a vet that recommended Potassium Chloride, but it’s a pain to pound the little rocks into a powder.  It worked, but it took a little time.  I’ve used acupuncture and Chinese herbs that worked well, and you do have products on the market that also work well.

Bottom line isn’t the products, it’s noticing that there is a problem, and doing something about it.  If a horse doesn’t sweat, it doesn’t cool itself.  If a horse gets overheated, it could die.  Break out the cold water and ice, (not for your drink) and get that body temperature down (theirs, not yours).  After you get theirs down, you can work on yours.

The next time you break out a beer for yourself or someone you know, think – has my horse been sweating like he should?  Actually when I walk out in the morning I look to see who’s sweating and who isn’t.  Whenever I pass during the day I give a quick look, and then again in the evening.

Once again, know what is normal and what isn’t.  When you go to buy a six-pack, just say, it’s for my horse, he’s of legal age, and he’s not driving.  You can show them his Coggins along with your photo ID or proof of age.  Bottoms up!

It’s Easy To Be A Class Act

I never wanted to be a big show stable.  I never wanted to be a show stable at all.  All I ever wanted, when I was young, was to have my horses in my backyard.  To love, care for them, and enjoy what they had to offer.  I had always taught.  First at a large stable, and then privately.  The people I learned from loved horses, and children.  I too fell right into their passion.  I wanted to share my love and knowledge with others.  With the children who would never have the money or horses to make it to the “Big Time.”  That’s pretty much what I have done for the last 52 years.

The other day a client asked if I took Credit Cards.  My reply was, no I’m just a small operation.  She looked around at the property and said “this is not a small operation.”  I have to admit, not when you mow it isn’t.  I have a few boarders, and a few lessons.  Isn’t that what retirement is supposed to be?

It’s funny.  When you look at things through other people’s eyes how different they look.  I looked around at the beautiful green pastures, the long white barn.  The fencing with the new boards my husband had just replaced, and saw things from her point of view.  Yes it was beautiful, and somewhat impressive to someone who doesn’t have a barn of their own.  When you see things everyday, you really don’t have a clear impression of what you have.  I see an isle way that needs to be swept.  I see trim that needs to be painted.  Stalls that need a fresh coat of stain.  I see a lot of grass that needs to be cut.  But the picture is rather pleasing when you really take things in.

My barn is a good working barn.  Nothing fancy or beautiful like my barn was in New Jersey.  I loved that barn.  It was over 300 years old.  It was there during the American Revolution.  Troops had kept their horses in it, according to the Historical Society.  (Not sure whose troops.)  Battles were fought down the road, and all around us.  The barn had varnished wood planks on the front of the stalls with wrought iron and brass.  We, of course, did all of that when we bought the place.  It was just open space at the time.  The barn was three stories high, and a beautiful barn red color with white trim.  Oh did I ever love that barn, and the old farmhouse that was the same age.  I registered it with the Historical Society before I left so that no harm would come to it.  I still miss all of that.  What I don’t miss are the winters.

I kept my first horse in a little one stall barn with an 18 x 24 paddock, in the back of a trucking company.  From there she went to a barn made out of a shipping container in my backyard.  It wasn’t a permanent structure so it was legal.  Then we bought the farm in New Jersey with my beautiful barn.  Through all the different places that my horses called home, there was one thing that I made sure of, their home was always painted, clean, and decorated with flowers.  I have a couple of large pots with flowers as you enter my barn now.  The window boxes have flowers in them.  There are flowering bushes in front of the barn with Palm trees. ( We thought they were palmetto bushes when we planted them.)  Surprise!  They are now taller than the barn.

Cob webs.  That’s another story.  I work at keeping them under control, but spiders certainly work harder than I do.  In the old days they left cob webs up.  You were supposed to take a hand full and put them on a wound so that the blood would clot.  There’s another one of those myths that I’m not sure about.  Well that worked until the Fire Marshall would come in and write you a summons for a fire hazard.  They burn real good.

It doesn’t take much to be thought of as a “Class Act.”  It doesn’t matter if all you have is a lean-to and a small pen.  Take pride in what you have.  Always put your best foot forward.  Clean up any debris (you know, those things that you keep because you might need them someday).  You don’t have to get rid of everything.  Just neatly store things out of sight.  Give a quick coat of paint.  Put some flowers in a pot or hanging basket.  When you take your horse off the property make sure he/she is clean and neat (no manure stains, brushed mane and tail).  Also keep your tack clean and in good condition.  Make sure that your appearance is clean and neat (don’t look like the stable help that you were 15 minutes ago).  Ride with pride in what you have, and who you are.  I once knew a girl who thought that, because of where she lived, people would all be envious of her.  Well I certainly wasn’t envious of her dry, moldy tack, or where she lived for that matter.

People will look at you as though you have it all.  And truthfully, you do.  It’s all a matter of what you do with it, and how you present your horse and yourself.

Think of yourself as a “Class Act” and others will look at you as though you are.