Monday, August 30, 2010

Horse Health Care - Checking Lameness in a Horse

I received a private message from David in Elk Grove, Illinois concerning lameness in his horse. David asked: "It seems quite a bit my horse starts limping, sometimes even after days where I don't ride him. What do I look for and when do I need to call a Vet?"

Any number of things can cause apparent lameness in a Horse. A muscle, ligament or tendon strain; a foreign object penetration of the hoof; recent hoof trimming where too much hoof is taken off – this is called quicking the hoof and is much like when humans cut too much finger nail off; and, sometimes a horseshoer can drive nail too deep into the hoof and enter the living laminae of the hoof.

Horse’s often roll and get cast – this is where their legs and hoofs are underneath or through a fence, usually only momentarily, but trauma can occur to their boney joints of soft tissue.

When one of my horses or a horse I am asked to look at comes up lame, I’ll start from the ground up. First moving him around a little to see what leg he is giving to. From there I start at the hoof and work my way up attempting to determine the cause.

I’ll check for heat from the hoof up to the elbow. Heat often indicates inflammation and therefore can localize the problem. Heat around the hoof can indicate founder and a Vet needs to be called immediately. I’ll clean the hoof and check for foreign object penetration of the hoof or evidence of a stone bruise and if the shoeing was recent, look for evidence of bleeding and see if the nails where driven in too deep (or high on the hoof wall).

As I work my way up the leg, I’ll squeeze to see if the horse gives to it indicating the problem area. I check around the coronet band of the hoof. Sometimes a foreign object will penetrate the hoof and come of near the coronet band. And check the heel bulbs where sometimes the horse will overstep and cut himself.

I’ll check the pastern for pain on pressure and obvious signs of trauma; the same with the fetlock. I’ll move up the long cannon bone and pay particular attention to the tendon running along the back of the cannon bone as often this will be strained or swell. If the horse has a “bowed” tendon it will be apparent through your feel. I’ll check and squeeze around the knee and look for signs of fluid buildup.

Sometimes I’ll flex the leg for 40 seconds or so, let go, then quickly move the horse off to see if that makes him give to that leg more. Sometimes this is indicative of a injury (permanent or temporary) to the knee joint. In any case, if your horse is very lame or slightly lame for more than a couple days, I think it’s time to get a Vet out. And I always err on the side of caution and would call a Vet earlier rather than later. If your horse, as in David’s case, appears to be lame quite a bit of the time, sometimes a joint product like Glucosamine can help. Hope this video helps.

Another tool to check for hoof problems or the hoof as a cause for lameness is the Hoof Tester. Use of this tool needs to be careful. You can squeeze too hard and get any horse to flinch, but the idea behind this tool is to introduce pinpoint pressure on the hoof to see if you can localize the problem to the hoof and a specific area of the hoof. The below video demonstrates the use of the hoof tester.

Western Horseman offers, from their excellent line of horsemanship books, a book titled “Understanding Lameness” by Terry Swanson, DVM. This is book is available here at the bottom of his page or to the left under Horsemanship Books, My Recommendations. I highly recommend this book but I’ll admit I have much to learn on the subject of lameness.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Army Scouts - William "Wild Bill" Hickok

William “Wild Bill” Hickok was born in Illinois in 1837. His upbringing on the farm was attributed to his exceptional skills with firearms notably pistols. In 1855 when Hickok was 18 years old he moved to Kansas Territory where he joined General Lane ’s vigilante Free State Army.

In 1858 Hickok was elected as a constable in Monticello Township Kansas. In 1859 he joined the Russell, Waddell and Majors freight company called the Pony Express.

In 1861 he was involved in the McCanles Gang shootout where Hickok was accredited with a 75 yard off hand shot with a handgun killing David McCanles.

At the start of the Civil War in April 1861, at age 34, Hickok signed on as a Teamster and later became a Wagon Master for the Union Army in Missouri. Hickok was discharged in 1862 and does not resurface until late 1863 then as a member of the Springfield Missouri police. It is thought that during the missing year Hickok worked undercover scouting and spying in the South for the Union Army.

From 1864 to 1865 Hickok was hired as an Army Scout and worked for General John B. Sanborn. Then in 1865 Hickok had the famous long range, quick draw duel killing David Tutt, an ex-Confederate soldier.

Later on in 1865 Hickok is elected City Marshall of Springfield then appointed to the position of Deputy United States Marshal at Fort Riley Kansas, where he served occasional as a Scout for General George Armstrong Custer’s 7th Cavalry.

Hickok again in 1867 began scouting for the Army near Fort Harker and involved in several clashes with Indians.

In 1868, Hickok while serving as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Hays, Kansas scouted for the 10th Cavalry, the famous African-American Buffalo Soldiers, where he was wounded during a rescue of some ranchers hear Bijou Creek Basin . Hickok was also reported to have tracked down and recovered Army deserters. In 1869 Hickok was elected City Marshal of Hays and Sheriff of Ellis County, however there were some election irregularities and Hickok lost the Sheriff position. Hickok killed two men during in Hays further cementing his reputation as a gunfighter.

In 1870, also in Hays, Hickok was involved in a gunfight with disorderly soldiers from the 7th Cavalry, killing one and wounding the other.

In 1871 Hickok became Marshal of Abilene, Kansas where he met and befriended noted gunfighter John Wesley Hardin. Hickok killed Phil Coe in a gunfight with resulted in Hickok also accidentally killing his deputy Mike Williams.

In 1873, Hickok joined William “Buffalo Bill” Cody in the famous stage play “Scouts of the Plains” but eventually left before Buffalo Bill established his Wild West Show.

In 1876, Hickok was diagnosed with glaucoma and possibly other vision disorders. Later on this year he married Agnes Thatcher Lake , some 10 years his elder, in Cheyenne Wyoming . Martha Jane Cannary (Calamity Jane) was known to claim that she was married to Hickok but divorced him so he could marry Agnes Lake.

Wild Bill reportedly had a premonition that he would die in Deadwood, South Dakota . He was right; he would never leave Deadwood alive as on 2 August, 1876, just 5 weeks after the Custer Massacre, he was shot in the back of the head by John “Jack” McCall while he was playing poker in Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon. When he was shot, Hickok was holding 5 cards: a pair of Aces, a pair of eights, and an unknown 5th card – this has become widely known as the “Dead Man’s Hand”.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tying Knots - The Double Sheet Bend

Continuing on with my series of knot tying for the Horseman, this post is on the Double Sheet Bend knot, which is used primarily to connect two different diameters of rope, but can also be used to connect pieces of the same diameter rope.

This knot is not only easy but a good knot to know. How many times have you came up with a length of rope just not long enough?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Reader Question - Interval between Feeding and Work or Exercise

I received the following question from a reader. "My wife and I keep two horses, a Fresian for her and a Quarter Horse for myself at a local stables. We mostly ride on weekends, but sometimes we get there after work. I've taken to feeding my horse before I exercise him in the arena, but my wife say's I am risking him colic from eating before exercise. I feed him before because if I don't he seems not focused. What do you think? Is there anything I can do to alleviate any potential problems?"

I think I like your question because you are looking out for your Horse. Let me guess, when you are working your horse in the arena he wants to head back or slow down at the arena gate? It is pretty common for a horse near scheduled feeding time to be less focused on work or exercise than he is on eating. Like I say, they think about only one thing,,...where to get it and how not to become it.

If you feed your horse then right away go out and lope for 20 miles, then you may be asking for a problem. I routinely feed my horses, let them get a drink, then put them in a trailer with a hay bag for an trip, short duration or not, then get them out and work pretty hard. But I'm also pretty good about offering them a drink at regular intervals to be careful about not letting them get dehydrated as that can cause gut problems.

I think you'll be just fine if you feed then ride if you're not working your horse exceptionally hard. Maybe feeding him some of his evening feed, working him, letting him cool off then feeding him the rest may be a solution.

I'll pull a Horse, let him eat wet hay as I'm tacking him up. I put grass hay in a large bucket and wet it down at the spigot. Then I'll warm him up in the round pen, then we'll go on a 6 - 10 mile ride no problem. I routinely do this in high 90 degree temperatures, but my horses are pretty well conditioned. Alot is going to depend upon your horse's age and condition.

You probably need to be more careful in feeding him after exercise. He needs to cool down before drinking and eating. Usually, by the time it takes you to un-saddle him, brush him and clean his feet he is probably cooled down enough. But again that depends upon his age and condition and the intensity of the work you put him through. Hope this helps - Safe Journey.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Conditions Some People Keep Horses In

I try to stick to my own business, but when Horses are involved in situations where they are not provided the care and treatment they deserve,....well I get riled up.

The video below shows a young horse, maybe coming three, that is kept in very inadequate conditions at a location which has been previously visited by animal control for their non-care of two previous horses. The previous horses were kept in filth, malnourished and were not given hoof care. In my experience, horses who are kept like this are also not given vaccinations nor wormed.

This horse is a recent addition to this property and has not yet showed signs of malnutrition. The pen is very unsafe as part of the pen fence is made from corrugated steel (very sharp edges) and other hazards and the manure is piling up.

Also in my experience, Animal Control won't do anything, at least yet. I'll keep an eye on it in the forthcoming weeks, and will get Animal Control out there in case the conditions worsen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Readers Questions -

I held onto several questions sent to me by e-mail, so I have enough of them to answer them all at once.

I often get asked who makes my Hat’s and what type of crease my hat has. I basically buy of the shelf hats, because I am pretty damn hard on them and can get immediate replacements. Generally I’ll buy a hat, chocolate brown in color, with a 6 inch crown and a 4 inch brim, then I form the crease into what I call the “Old Army” crease. This is a pretty common crease for Cavalry and standard Army hats in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Just seems to suit me.

When asked where I recommend buying some good working gear from, I always say there are lots of good tack makers out there, depending upon how much you willing to pay. offers some really economy on general tacks such as bits, bridles, reins, and other horse gear. I probably have enough gear to last me several lifetimes. I have bought a lot of gear from Craig Cameron who offers very good working gear at reasonable prices.

Two other great places for working gear are: Big Bend Saddlery and Sawtooth Saddle Company

I had a question on my rope, where I buy it from and how long of rope do I like. I buy my ropes from National Roper Supply and always get the 60 foot 5/16 inch nylon ranch rope with the Buckaroo Honda (or what I have been calling the Great Basin honda) which is a long oval, slightly curved aluminum Honda that swivels to allow for twists in the rope to be rapidly shook out. I will then cut my ropes to 50’ and burn the end. This is more than enough rope for me and keeps the coils as small as possible so I can get better control of them as I handle the reins.

Someone must have been admiring my boots to ask me where I buy my boots from. I order store bought boots from the Olathe Cowboy Collection. These boots has an 17 inch upper, under cut heel with spur ledge, and, double thick leather soles. I prefer leather soles as they are quicker (and safer) to get out of the stirrup with. I actually order these boots from Drews Boots in Oregon.

Another question I am often asked is if there are what DVD’s are available on Horsemanship and what I would recommend. Hands down I would recommend Craig Cameron’s Ride Smart DVD and Book Combination. Also, his Back to Basics and Dark Into Light DVD’s are also first class and explain in common sense terms the modern day method of understanding horses and gentling colts.

The last question I’m going to address in this post is what do I mean by "Functional Horsemanship". What this means to me is a combination of knowing enough to be safe with a Horse and giving that Horse a fair life. There are many exceptional clinicians and trainers who can greatly increase your skill and understanding of horses and training, but they are largely unavailable to most horse owners. And these horse owners are generally the people who need that training and education the most in order to be safe and give their horse a fair life. It just pains me to see neglected horses and I will be posting a video soon of the latest neglect case I am working on. Safe Journey.

2010 Bluebonnet Horse Expo

For those of you in or can travel to Central Texas.

Travis County Expo Center
7311 Decker Lane
Austin , Texas

October 16, 2010
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Admission: $5

The 4th annual Bluebonnet Horse Expo is just two months away and will occur on October 16 from 9am to 7pm at the Travis County Expo Center . If you haven't been before, make plans to attend. This is a day of friends, fun, shopping - and most of all, horses!

This year's Expo will include the following:

Avenue of Experts: Come and talk one-on-one with trainers, behaviorists, nutritionsts, natural trimmers, veterinarians and more. The Avenue of Experts allows you to get your horse questions answered by professionals.

Bluebonnet Art Show - If you are either a professional or amateur arists, consider entering the Bluebonnet Art Show. And if you like art, come and bid on the pieces entered in the silent art auction.

Clinics and Demos: Watch clinics and demos on horse training and riding, horse care, health and management.

Bid on new and used saddles, art, and other horse/farm/ranch equipment as well as horse/farm/ranch-themed decor, jewelry and clothing in the live auction and silent auction.

Shop at the Bluebonnet Sale Area and vendor area.

Meet many great Bluebonnet Horses - and maybe find one to adopt! Anyone who is pre-approved and adopts the day of the Expo will receive 50% off their adoption fee. Anyone who applies to adopt at the Expo and adopts within 30 days will also receive 50% off their adoption fee.

Rescue Horse training Challenge - Watch professional trainers and foster homes compete with Bluebonnet Horses in the Training Challenge.

Have fun and support needy horses!

We're still looking for sponsors, vendors and donations of new and gently used tack and horse/farm equipment as well as horse/farm/ranch-themed art, clothing, horse decor and jewelry.

Visit the Bluebonnet Horse Expo website at, call us at (888) 542 5163 or email us at for more information.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reader Question on Trust

Received this comment on the post about the Buddy Sour Horse,….Anonymous said I don’t quite understand your point on "building trust". I know horses are not machines, but aren't we really training them to do what we want by conditioning them through repetition? Almost like a dog knowing when you tell him to sit, he will, then you pet him to let him know it's the right move.

I don’t know if you are serious or not with your question and comment. You can’t compare Horses to dogs, excepting they both like treats. Horses are prey animals. They tend to look at anything they don’t understand as a threat to their survival. I tend to believe Horses only think of one things,,.....where they are going to get it, and how not to become it.

Think of it this way,….Wouldn’t you want your relationship with your Horse to be one mutual trust and respect rather than fear based?

I have seen horses bolt and run off with their rider, partially because of a lack of training and also partially because there was no trust between that Horse and rider where the Horse would trust the rider in the situation that caused the Horse to bolt and run away.

A good case is where rider, and I am sure you have seen this, with tight reins trying to control this Horse,….in effect pulling the horse around by his mouth. The head will be throwing his head around or not being able to stand still. He doesn’t know what you want and is just trying to find a release. That Horse will get respect for you and learn to trust you when you give him a fair deal. You’ll start to earn his trust when he learns that release follows pressure when he does what you are asking. But if you don’t give him a release he’ll never learn to trust you. Trust translates to a horse that may spook suddenly on the trail but trust you enough to try and figure it out before he automatically turns and bolts.

I don't know, maybe I've got this back asswards, but for me I want my Horses to learn to expect a fair deal and not be inclined to think I'm gonna melt out punishment for my inability to communicate to him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Spirit of the Horse - Molly's Story

A partner of mine sent me the below story on Molly. She's a grey speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Hurricane Katrina hit southern Louisiana. She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected, and her vet went to LSU for help, but LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.

But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, He changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her. She protected her injured leg. She constantly shifted her weight and didn't overload her good leg. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee, and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

“This was the right horse and the right owner”, Moore insists. Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood that she was in trouble. The other important factor, according to Moore , is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Molly's story turns into a parable for life in Post-Katrina Louisiana. The little pony gained weight, and her mane finally felt a comb. A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.

The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly's regular vet, reports.

And she asks for it. She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off too. And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. 'It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse,' she laughs.

Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck. She inspired people, and she had a good time doing it.

“It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life, Moore said. She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others”, Barca concluded, “She's not back to normal, but she's going to be better. To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anxious, Buddy Sour Horse

I received this comment on a Buddy Sour Horse who gets anxious when separated on the Trail from other Horses,...”Anonymous has left a new comment on your post Horse Training – Spooky Horses on the Trail,….My horse gets really agitated when the others horses ride off and leave us, even when we are separated by just like 100 yards. He wants to run to catch up. How do I correct this? Alice, Fresno, California.”

Alice, Horses are herd animals and find comfort and protection by being in a herd. It is not unusual for a Horse to be nervous or agitated when separated from other Horses, particularly away from the barn. Some people call this being buddy sour.

What I do to prepare my Horses for travel by themselves is first develop as much trust as I can between me and the Horse. I try to give each Horse the opportunities to become what Craig Cameron calls “a Brave Horse” through exposing them to new things, different obstacles and tasks. Always letting them find release in the right thing. Ultimately earning that Horse's trust.

When out on the trail with a Horse for the first time, it is a good idea to ride with other well broke and solid Horses. Maybe not the first or even the second ride, but certainly by the third ride I’ll separate the new horse from the other Horses at increasing greater distances, then have him walk, not jog or lope, back to the main body. This is important,…if you hold a horse back then let him hurry back to the herd you are teaching him that there is a reason to hurry back,...’re letting that Horse buy into his anxiety of being separated.

I increase this separation by placing the new Horse where he can’t see the main body, like behind a small hill. I’ll reassure him and reward him for standing still and controlling his anxiousness then let him walk back to the main group of Horses. If the Horse is agitated and won’t stand still, I’m not to going to walk him off letting him pull at the bit or hackamore, so I turn in tight circles until he finds release in standing still. I don’t spend a lot time here, soon as he’ll stand still I’ll cue to walk off. If he starts to pull on the bridle and wants to move off, then I circle him again.

I have also used the process of stopping a horse and having him back for a few steps, standing still for a moment, before walking back off if the Horse starts to increase his speed trying to catch up with the main body.

It is a mistake in letting the horse catch up and you are fighting him, pulling on his mouth. This just causes more anxiety and you are not solving the problem or more importantly allowing him to figure it out.

Hope this helps Alice, safe journey to you and your Horse.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tying Knots - The Timber Hitch

The Timber Hitch is an easy knot to learn and is used for dragging or pulling large objects such as telephone poles or railroad ties with your Horse or with your Truck.

The lariat is also well suited to pulling or dragging objects on Horseback because the rope's Honda bites down onto the rope and keeps the rope from slipping off the object. However I for one don't like using my good 50 foot ranch rope for dragging timbers when I can use an old piece of rope and save my ranch rope for what it was intended for.

This knot is also useful when using cable or chain for pulling stumps or dragging large items with your Truck.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Horse and Rider Hazard - Rattlesnakes

I have been meaning to do this post for several months now, but putting it off hoping to have some video as I have been riding two or three times a week with a video camera hoping to catch some footage of a rattlesnake. Last year I ran across only four and this year I haven't seen but one and that was dead on the road after having been run over.

In the Southern parts of the Country, Rattlesnake time is usually from April through early October, however I have seen rattlesnakes in December several times.
They den up in the winter, and in the Spring exit those dens to hunt first during the day then at night when the weather gets warmer.

I have walked and ridden over Rattlesnakes a dozen times or more, never happy about it, at all, any of those times.

During windy seasons Rattlesnakes will lay up in the leeward side of hills and rocks formations. Having no eye lids, the blowing sand irritates them. Most people are bit by Rattlesnakes after messing with them and sometimes while holding onto untrue old wife tails like Rattlesnakes have to be coiled to strike.

Most horses are probably bit by Rattlesnakes in the nose when they poke their heads down trying to figure it out. Being bitten in the nose is a big deal since Horses breathe through their noses and the resulting swelling could cut off their air. I carry a small pieces of tubing (like hydraulic hose or cooler pump water hose), coated in Nitrofurazone, wrapped in a plastic bag in my Saddle Bags. I have another set up in my Medical Bag. If one of my Horses got bit in the nose and I had the chance, I would insert the piece of hose into his nostrils to ensure they stayed open.

There is a good chance that a Rattlesnake bite is dry or only has a small amount of venom in it, if you surprise the Rattlesnake and he strikes. If you are messing with him and get bit you can rest assured to get a full load of venom.

Rattlesnake give birth to live babies, usually in late June through late July. These babies are very dangerous as they are small and harder to see; are only born with a button on the tail therefore either can't rattle as a warning or can't rattle loud enough; and, are born with a full load of venom without the ability to control how much they inject with a bit.

I've only known three men to get bit. One went to the hospital and it was a very low dose of venom - essentially dry; one cut the bite site and bled it, but still swelled up and had to be treated conventionally; and, the third hooked up jumper cables to his truck and shocked the bite site (something he read no doubt) so now he had a burn to deal with as well. If you get bit, then go to the hospital.

If you can shoot the damn thing, the do so and cut his head off and take it with you for identification of anti-venom. Make sure you pin the head and cut behind it. A "dead' Rattlesnake still can open and close his mouth and therefore bite long after his head is separated from the body. Come to think about it, I know a 15 year old girl, daughter of a friend of mine, who was picking up a "dead" rattlesnake and was bit. They had to cut her arm open from hand to elbow to relieve the swelling and this was after receiving anti-venom. Safe Journey and watch out for Rattlesnakes.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Horseman's Knife

I received this comment from an earlier post on Halters under Bridles: "Hey Range Rider, I remember you from a few years ago when you guided me on a Oryx depredation hunt in Southern New Mexico. I remember you telling me my .308 was marginal for Oryx and you were right. My wife was the lady who sent you those pictures in the mail of you and me with the Oryx I shot. I like your site, even though I don't own horses anymore, but am thinking of getting a Mule for back country hunting. What type of knife you are carrying? Do you prefer a fixed blade or a folding knife? Why so? Clem in Rio Rancho."

Hey Clem, hope your Oryx mount has a prominent place in your home. I am still carrying the knife I had on those Depredation Hunts that I guided as a Range Rider. I have a local knife maker, Joe Teague, make mine. I prefer a fixed blade of about 3.5 to 4 inches long, single edge. I have carried folding knives in the past but always risk the chance of cutting my thumb when opening them. In fact, I have cut myself a dozen times or more with folders.

The fixed blade is much more suited to me and I carry it in an off side cross draw where I can reach it with either hand when the opposite hand is occupied. I feel naked without a knife as it is the most basic of tools. I cut hay bale twine, bucket locks, roots on plants growing up in my corral and lots of other uses. Heck, I even use my knife as a screwdriver,.....don't tell Joe Teague that.

I use the knife for scale when taking photographs of tracks and prints when I was enforcing the law and protecting archeological sites.

There are many good fixed blades knives available. If I had to buy another one, I would to to Craig Cameron's website and buy one of his cowboy knives,...right blade length and cross draw shealth that I'm fond of.

Good to hear from you and tell you wife I said hello.

Friday, August 6, 2010

National Animal Identification System still in Play

The National Animal Identification System or NAIS, is still in play after the USDA spending $147 million in tax dollars without emplacing a program, primary due to the hue and cry of people like us knowing that this is a solution to a non existent problem.

As you remember, the NAIS planned for all livestock animals including horses to be tagged with a microchip and these animal's movement reportable to the government.

Never mind that it would do nothing prevent the spread of diseases, it was really an excuse for more government control of our lives. And where there is money, there is someone pushing to get it. Private comapnies like Digital Angel and Allflex are helping push the NAIS train due to bushels of money it would bring them, no doubt.

You can go to Farm and Ranch and contact Judith McGeary for more information or maybe to help in this fight. I for one, ain't putting microchips into my horses.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Equipment - Halters Under Bridles and Get Down Ropes

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Tack and Horse Equipment - Get Down Rope": “How would you use a get down rope if you use a bridle and a bit? Should I keep the halter on and have the headstall go over it when I’m riding? Thanks- Sydney”

Sydney, yes you can keep the halter on when your bridle up your horse. You can coil the lead line and tie off to your forward saddle strings,…the ones on either side of your saddle swell,..or you can figure “S” the lead rope and tuck into your belt so if you dismounted, the lead rope feeds out of your belt. Be careful as it would be easy to get the lead line caught up around you and if your horse spooked, you could get dragged.

I use nothing but rope halters. They are a bit easier to put under bridles. I also found a very small diameter halter that I routinely used underneath a bridle, but I reckon someone liked it more than I did and now can't find it. I have also used much thinner rope than a traditional lead line.

You can always un-snap or un-tie the lead rope, then coil it up and tie to your saddle strings on the rear portion of your saddle skirt – I normally do this. While I am in the saddle and have a need to lead my horse on the ground, I can un-tie the lead rope, then dismounted then tie to the halter eye ring to lead with.

I think as I got older I wanted more simplicity and I took to riding my horses in hackamores which give me a place to easily hook a lead rope to. I very seldom ride with a get down rope attached to the hack or a halter as sometimes it gets caught up in the brush I ride through.

Hope this and the video helps you. Safe Journey.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tying Knots - The Clove Hitch

Continuing on with the series of Horseman's Knot, today I show you the Clove Hitch.

This easy knot is a good knot to know, especially when packing in on horseback or mules and setting up camp. It is a non-slip knot that a quick release can be added to.

In fact, a friend of mine uses the Clove Hitch with a quick release at his tie rail knot when tying horses. I don't use the Clove Hitch for that, as I use the knot's I previously demonstrated in how to tie a horse to a tie rail, and how to tie to a Trailer D ring, but I see no reason that you could not use the Clove Hitch with a quick release to tie a horse.

I use this knot for setting up tents and tarps and securing them to a ground stake. Another use is for setting up a high line to picket horses to.

Hope the video helps you learn another knot.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hanging Rifle Scabbards on Your Saddle

I received a comment through our YouTube channel reference to saddle rifles. Illustratz asks: “How do you attach the rifle scabbard to the saddle?”

Basically there are two ways to attach a rifle scabbard to your saddle. One – use the scabbard latigo straps and/or spring snaps or snap hooks to afix to D rings underneath the conchos holding your saddle strings and/or one or more of your cinch (front or rear) D rings.

Two – use the Saddle strings to tie the scabbard to the saddle – this is an uncommon method, but possible.

I use the scabbard latigo straps with spring snaps to snap the scabbard to the cinch D rings on the off side (right side as you are riding), so that the scabbard is angled upward to the back where the rifle stock, and therefore the end you pull the rifle from, is easily located.

Lots of different ways to hang a rifle scabbard. Be considerate of your horse so that the scabbard is not poking him in the neck as he turns his head, or that the scabbard isn’t rubbing a raw spot on him. The scabbard needs to be positioned so that you can draw the rifle from the scabbard while in the saddle if necessary and not be an unnecessary bulk under your leg where comfort or your ability to reach your horse with your legs is compromised too much.