Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

The year has flown by and now it's time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  I hope we all remember the reason for the Holidays which of course is God giving us the hope of ever lasting life through his Son, and we celebrate this incredible blessing in one fashion and that is by giving gifts. I hope everyone enjoys the gifts we given and we in turn appreciate the gifts and blessings we have received.  I hope all the horses all over the world enjoy the gift of respect and a fair life.
But the Christmas we get caught up in sometimes, the spending and the shopping reminds me of a little story.  It's about an old couple, married for 50 years, who rarely went into town but drove into town they did so the wife could do some Christmas shopping for the children and grandchildren.  The husband, as you can imagine, was less than pleased with the whole arrangement. 
Soon in the packed shopping center the wife lost track of her husband and after a couple hours became frantic as she could not find him.  Then she remembered that the children have given them cell phones.  So she calls her husband's phone and was relieved to hear him answer.  "Where are you?" she say's, "I've been looking for you for several hours now!"
The husband replies "Well, do you remember the Jewelry store where you saw that necklace you so dearly wanted 30 years, but I couldn't afford it then?"
As her eyes started to tear up the wife softly says "Yes,...yes I do dear."  And the husband replies, "Well, I'm in the bar next door."
Merry Christmas and a Safe Journey into 2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Bad Days, Just Slow Down

Christine wrote about her training issue: "I have an eight year old gelding who I bought from my friend who moved away. I have been riding him for three years, usually twice a week for 30 to 60 minutes a time. I am not a trainer but I have been doing pretty good with him but now we are not making any progress and it's frustrating. And in some ways he's getting worse. Maybe dull is a better word. There is a local trainer about 45 miles away which is always an option but another friend of mine sent her horse there and the horse came back with a pretty severe skin fungus. I'll take any suggestions. v/r Christine."

I'm not being a smart mouth, but,....join the club. Just the other day I was riding and my horse seemingly forgot everything we've been working on....least it seemed that way.   I know enough now not to get into a fight with him, and even though I know horses have bad days like we do, it was still pretty disappointing. In fact in ruined an otherwise good day. Once I got back to the corral before unsaddling him I did a couple things that he's always been good about, loading himself into the trailer and siding up to me on a fence rail so I can mount, just so I could salvage something out of the day and end on a good note.

I was thinking about that ride and what I did and could have did different, so it became pretty clear that I should have just slowed up.

Two days later, I saddled him just with the thought of going someplace. So we went out into the desert for a few hours, not doing anything but riding and had a great ride. We didn't do anything other than some walk to jog to canter transitions, following coyotes tracks and even found an old brass D ring that came off some unlucky cowboy's saddle probably years ago.

So I'm saying this because sometimes you gotta accept that you're not going to always make progress each day. I have to remember this as well.

Another thing you may do is to break the lesson down in as small of increments as you can. Say for instance you are working on turns on the forehand and your horse is getting smoother and responds to lighter cues. Then all of a sudden he is stiffer and needs more definitive cues,...maybe he's bracing on you as well. Think about starting over like you are teaching him turns on the forehand from the beginning. Ask him as subtle as you can for the slightest movement of his hip, once he gives you that, stop and pet him, let him think on it, then do it again. This isn't really starting over, it's just asking him in a different way and lets him be successful.

You did not elaborate on what things your horse is not progressing through or even regressing in, but riding twice a week on what is still a pretty young horse probably ain't working in your favor. Riding a little bit more often may help solidify those lessons and also give you some room just to ride and enjoy your horse. It can't be all work for him and you know the saying about a lot of wet saddle blankets making a good horse.

One more thing you might try is on those bad days where you think you're not making any progress, be sure to finish with something your horse does well. Somebody said words to the effect 'its not how you start, it's how you finish that counts".

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rough Start Horse Rescue

As has been my practice I'll post articles on Horse Rescues. This one, Rough Start Horse Rescue, is located in Eastern Washington and serves Spokane, Lincoln, Stevens Counties, Northern Idaho and the surrounding areas.

From their Web Site:

Rough Start Horse Rescue, is a 501c3 non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of Neglected, Starved, and Abused horses. We accept owner surrender, abandoned, and police confiscated horses and other animals as the need arises. We provide Rehabilitation, Education, and Adoption Services, as well as Programs for Veterans and Special Needs Children. We promote and teach horse care and humane, natural methods of training for horses.

All adoption fees are put back into the rescue in order to support future horses that need assistance. We are a fully volunteer organization which means all donations go right to the horses no person gets paid for working at the rescue. Once an adoption fee has been set, we will not take less than the listed price. We typically invest far more than what we can adopt such horse/s for and do not have room to barter on adoption fee's.

Remember, you are helping rescued horses. Adoption fees are based upon the amount of treatment and care that went into each horse. Fee's are also based upon the horses age, temperament, registration and whether or not the horse is trained to ride. All adoption fees are due and must be paid, when adopter is approved and has agreed to adopt said horse(s).

Please keep in mind that when you are adopting a rescue horse that you should plan to make this a life long companion. Typically horses that are treated appropriately can live to be 35 years of age and older. We want to find each Rescued Horse a Loving, Forever Home.

Rough Start Horse Rescue is 100% volunteer based, we currently do not have any administrative cost, 100% of your donation will go directly to the horses care.

Rough Start Horse Rescue
Phone Number: 509-796-2660
Mailing Address..... P.O Box 141031, Spokane Valley, WA 99214

As we all know, caring for horses is expensive,....feed, vet and farrier care, etc.  Rough Start accepts donations mailed to their address, via Pay Pal on their website, or directly to Ponti Vet Clinic, at (509)-922-7465, who provides the necessary vet care.

If most of us could donate $20 which would buy 50 lbs of feed or $30 which is the cost of a farrier's trim, the horses at Rough Start could be ensured some more quality care. I'll start this off and donate $30 per Pay Pal. Please visit the Rough Start site and consider consider donating.  It's worth it to read their site and see how they got started in the Horse Rescue business. 

Rough Start also has a fund raiser where they are selling t-shirts and sweat shirts with a humorous logo. Go here to see.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Routine Dental Care Are Critical to a Horse's Health

An issue came up with a friend's horse showing signs of colic where the horse would stretch out seeming to pee but wouldn't, and appeared to periodically be in a little distress. His appetite was off but not gone. He was drinking small amounts of water, but in colder temperatures horses will typically drink less. Like many horse owners my friend, prior to calling the Vet because of the distance involved and farm call fee, called me to help him work through the possibilities of what could be wrong with the horse and if calling the Vet was necessary.

As I asked about the symptoms the horse was showing as well as what the horse got for his daily feed and when was the last time the horse was wormed. I asked when was the last time the horse had his teeth floated. The horse owner replied that he couldn't remember. I asked within the last year? within the last two years? To make a longer story shorter, the horse hadn't had a equine dental exam nor his teeth floated for at least five years.

Lack of equine dental care may not be the leading cause of colic, but bad teeth can impact on how well a horse chews his feed before it enters the gut and improperly chewed feed can increase the chances of impaction. And while alot of us never saw or maybe never heard of horses having their teeth floated when we were young, I think the fact that horses growing older and living longer today than they were twenty-thirty years ago, and that more horses are being kept to the end of their natural life increases the chances of you seeing a horse with teeth problems. This makes the floating the teeth which is the removing of the uneven or abnormal portions (hooks and points) of the teeth necessary so normal chewing and digestion can take place.

Horses kept in stalls and fed dry feed may be more likely to have teeth problems than horses on pasture for several reasons:

  • The Horse can pull more feed into his mouth from dried feed in a feeder than they can from the pasture
  • Stalled horses are more likely of getting bored and cribbing on rail fences or wood doors and frames
  • Pastured horses have to eat with their heads low slowing the chewing and this is more natural to the horse as opposed to eating out of a feeder off the ground.

It's a good education in horse care when your Vet or Equine dentist can sedate the horse, place a speculum in the horse's mouth and show you or let you feel the hooks, points of other uneven wear of your horse's teeth, or even the callous' and cuts that can be created on the inside of the mouth as well.

My Vet is Amy Starr, DVM, in the pictures, owner of Paw-n-Hooves Mobile Vet Clinic in El Paso, Texas. On a once every 14 to 18 month schedule, we have her do dental exams which almost always require floating the teeth with power float tool - think drill bit with an extended shank and rotary bit. Years ago I remember her floating teeth on 12 horses when she was close to 9 months pregnant and doing it all in the middle of a hot Texas summer.

While routine dental care is important for colic prevention, it can also help reduce other problems like difficulty in carrying a bit, head tossing, head shyness and other behavioral issues. These are clues that your horse may need a dental exam and some work done on his teeth as is when you start seeing the horse drop half chewed bolts of feed on the ground around. So for your horse's sake get a dental exam scheduled when you can. It's part of that fair life you're supposed to be providing him.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Riding in the Sand Dunes of White Sands National Monument

At the Northern end of the Tularosa Basin, some 90 miles North of El Paso, Texas sits the White Sands National Monument just a few miles West of Alamogordo, New Mexico.

White Sands National Monument is bordered to the West by the San Andres Mountains and to the East by the Sacramento Mountains and is ran by the National Park Service. Open to recreation, this park provides over 275 miles of white Gypsum sand dunes that are a great place to ride your horses.

A nominal costs of $3 per rider got six of us through the gate off of US Highway 70 that connects the towns of Las Cruces and Alamogordo, New Mexico. We proceeded a few miles to North to designated horse trailer sites, saddled up and rode into the brilliant white gypsum sand dunes.  Some type of polarized lens sun glasses are advisable riding here.

Most all horses can benefit from being ridden in diverse environments. From backing out the trailers into an all white world, to riding into deep sand - this was good for the horses but you had to be a little careful as the brightness of the sand would sometimes white out the drop offs - best to limit trotting or loping to the low, harder packed areas. These low areas collect what pitiful rainfall drops on White Sands but allows decent clumps of grass to grow and I also saw some type of sage growing in small bushes.

The cresting dunes allow a rider to challenge his or her horse going up or down hills and a rider could also work their way between the dunes to give their horse a break.  Great place to train horses to walk down hill, but in that deep side about every mile you rode was about two to the horse as they had to work pretty hard. Once we made our way back to the trailers and unsaddled, we let the horses have a roll in the gypsum sand.

As we were loading for the return trip George Stone trailered in with Matilda his famous camel. I didn't get a good enough photo, so I thought I'd share one of George's video riding Matilda at White Sands a couple years ago.  If you're traveling close to  White Sands Monument you won't be disappointed stopping in for a look even if you don't have your horses with you.  Who knows, maybe you run into George Stone and Matilda.     

Monday, November 25, 2013

Horse Accepting of a Blanket

Dana wrote to ask a couple of questions of a horse in her care and blanketing. "Hello, I am taking care of my sister's 10 or 11 year old mare while she is recovering from back surgery. The nightly temperatures are dropping into the low 20's so I went to put a blanket on her horse but the horse won't have anything to do with the blanket. I'm sure she has had a blanket on before so I don't know what the problem is. Is it possible that she is trying to let me know she doesn't want or need her blanket on? Thanks, Dana"

I would ask your sister is the horse has worn a blanket before.  Doesn't make much difference now, but let's assume she has worn a blanket before then it would stand to reason it's your approach with the blanket. Walking straight towards her carrying or half dragging a blanket with the usual fabric noise may just be too much for her to stand still for right now, especially if she is unused to you. Maybe you can ensure your approach is less threatening ,...try approaching her indirectly and don't stare her down.

If the horse is showing anxiety or avoidance behavior when exposed to the blanket, maybe you can fold the blanket up into a small package and get her used to accepting that close to her, let her smell it, then slowly rub her with it on the neck then her barrel. Retreat, pause then try again and as she accepts that, unfold the blanket and make it just a little bigger.  Progress from there.

I think it's important to give her a little break in between increasing the size of the blanket as this is her release...plus it helps the horse think as opposed to reacting from instinct.   If you advance slow and only ask her as much as she can accept then soon you'll be ready to put the blanket on her. If the blanket has a buckle up chest piece then you may do well to unhook it so the blanket can be placed over her like a saddle blanket rather than slipping it over her head.

If you make a big production out of taking the blanket off then that could can undo some of the good.  You may have to unbuckle the chest strap the first few times before you take it off her.   If you pull the blanket off over her head then I'd try to bunch the blanket up on her neck to make it easy to pull off smoothly and quickly.   

As far as your sister's mare telling you she doesn't want or need the blanket,.... well, I don't know about that. A horse doesn't necessarily want or need a saddle and a rider as well, but they get to accepting that as long as we're fair about it. And as far as whether a horse needs a blanket or not,....ask 10 horse people and you'll get 11 opinions on blanketing horses.

My wife has a QH mare who seems to ask for her blanket. When my wife goes to grab the blanket off the stall door, the horse will walk towards her and drop her head. Asking for her blanket or just readily accepting what she knows is expected of her,....who knows for sure.

Here in West Texas we recently had a 20+degree change (drop) in nightly low temperatures and the weather front that brought those low temps also brought in some much higher humidity than normal and a pretty steady 20 mph wind brining in a wind chill factor, so I thought it prudent to put light weight blankets on my horses. 

My reasoning was during the big change to colder temps the horses would drink less water and have less blood to work the gut as they would need more blood for their extremities.   It wasn't just the cold low temps, it was the drastic change that I was mostly concerned about.

But like I said about there being many different opinions, I read this interesting article on thermoregulation in horses from Academia Liberti. While I believe both my intent and the intent from this article are to consider the horse and provide fair treatment, we obviously have different opinions.....and not just on blanketing.  Good luck to your sister, hope she recovers well and good luck to your blanketing efforts for her mare. If for nothing more, getting her to accept a blanket would be good for her.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Horse's Apology

I know that you have been a good owner. Kind and fair in my treatment. Giving me the time to accept what you ask of me. Providing me good hay and fresh water. Having my feet trimmed every 6 or 8 weeks. Floating my teeth every year. Putting a blanket on me when the weather is really cold. I appreciate the fly masks too.

But the reason I chewed off the valve stems on the trailer tires was that you kept me tied up for just too long to that trailer. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Horses with Happy Feet - Won't Stand Still

I received two recent questions on horses that can't stand still. One on a horse who won't stand for saddling and another horse who won't stand still with a rider on his back.

Joyce wrote: "Thanks for your videos and site. I have not seen a video on youtube about my problem. I have a 12 yr old mare. She will NOT stand still for saddling no matter what. She moves back and forth, side to side etc. I put the saddle on and boom it is on the ground before I can get the saddle even slightly secured. I have tried her tied and untied. I have made her move and move some more and then try it again to no avail. To saddle now, I do while she is eating her grain which is really not fixing the problem. Thank you so much. I know she has an attitude but need some ideas about this. Joyce."

I am glad you recognize the saddling while feeding your horse to get her to stand still is only treating the symptoms. And while feed issues can contribute to a horse's behavior, meaning too much feed, particularly too much high energy feed can make a horse seem kind of hyper. But your mare's issue is most like a lack of respect. No offense but she may just be a spoiled horse. This is common and not her fault. She is going to do what she thinks she needs to do.

I think you have the right idea about making her move around and I suspect you then offer her a chance to stand - which is making the wrong thing work and the right thing a rest. And while this lesson is absorbed by many horses, some take longer to learn this.

I would consider doubling down on my ground work and concentrating on helping her find respect. If you watch most trainers working with a troubled horse or a horse with some problems, you would see that horse being basically started over.....being lunged in a round pen; getting that horse to move his feet; getting that horse to focus on the human; generally making the wrong thing a bunch of work or pressure and the right thing generating an immediate release. Letting that horse stand tied and learning some patience that standing still is a good thing will most likely help as well.

KK e-mailed a request to help sort out a horse that won't stand still. "My horse, a five year old gelding, just can't stand still. He doesn't jump around, just wants to continuously move his feet. It's embarrassing when I'm with friends on horses and I have to try and control him as opposed to engaging in conversation. Do you have any ideas on how to deal with this? Thanks."

Hey KK, a five year old is still a pretty young horse especially if he has only been ridden a couple dozen times a year or so. The easy advice is that a lot of wet saddle blankets will make him a more seasoned horse and stop or lessen the moving around which is most likely a little anxiety.

But what you may do is not to try and control his movement and get him to stand still but to use that energy and have him work. In other words if he wants to move then let him move but under your direction. Have him soften his head and back a step; have him move his back end over - have him move his front end over. Side pass him a step or two in each direction. This is all good for him.

I suspect that if you do this repetitively it will most likely be good for him but help him find the rest spot when standing still when asked. Safe Journey to both KK and Joyce.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lady rides horse to DMV

This will put a smile on your face. I saw this article on the news and thought to share it. Apparently a young lady named Ashlee Owens living outside of Richmond, Virginia had some problems getting her drivers license re-newed and rather than drive to the DMV office on a suspended license, she opted to travel (in part) on horseback, accompanied by her Blue Heeler. What doesn't come across in the article or video is that Ashlee had to have a pretty good horse to ride into a urban area with all the activity that she couldn't control. Read the article and watch the short video below. Look for the sign she hung on her dog, as she tied her dog and Sassy her horse,to a fence that said, "I bite, she kicks".

A trip to the DMV is not exactly something drivers consider a fun day, but how about if you rode up to the office on a horse? That's what one woman in Richmond, Virginia, did as a form of protest. Ashlee Owens, 26, had her license suspended after the DMV apparently said she did not provide proof of insurance. The suspended license made it illegal for her to drive from her home in Amelia all the way to Richmond, so she had a friend drive her there with a horse trailer attached. She then rode her horse, Sassy, up to the DMV office. She had her dog, Tuff, in tow as well. Owens said she sent all the necessary paperwork through regular mail and email, but the DMV did not receive it. She explained her struggle to WWBT NBC 12: "I've been trying for the past three days to get through to the DMV. ... I don't feel like I should be in this predicament at all."

After waiting a few hours and having the nearly $700 fee waived, Owens rode away from the DMV with her head held high. She's now a licensed driver — and someone who clearly knows how to get her point across.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Body Position Riding Down Hill

Dan wrote to me and asked "What is the proper seat position when riding down a steep hill? I have read 'lean back', 'lean forward', etc. (I) want to make it easiest and most comfortable for my horse".

Thanks for writing Dan and you're good to be thinking about your horse. While I may not know about "proper" seat position, I'll give you my opinion and some photos, sorry I couldn't give you a bigger or steeper hill right away, but the principles are the same.  Those mountains in the background are 20 miles away. 

I have to have an idea that the hill is safe before starting down it. I've been down some pretty steep and rocky slopes with Cholla cactus everywhere, hoping we get through it unscathed and holding my breath each time my horse's feet started sliding or the ground was giving way.

Its good to get your horse used to stopping on the top of the slope and allowing him to drop his head so he can take a gander at the hill you're about to ask him to go down. See photo at left.  As far as going downhill straight away or going downhill in a zig zag pattern - it would depend upon the steepness, presence of a path (or not) and obstacles along the way.

Hills can scare some riders, and some will make the mistake to take up slack in the reins or pull on their horse. This can pull your horse's head up, get him out of position,....cause him to be bracy and not allow him to see the ground like he should - nothing good comes from this.

You and your horse will have more control coming downhill if the horse can break at the poll and collect, bringing his hind end more up and underneath himself. This is hard to do, but it starts with the horse being soft. As you start downhill the horse needs a fairly loose rein, but you need to be able to rate him so it doesn’t become a run downhill.

I use a lot of small hills like in the pictures to get my horses used to stopping at the stop and walking down. And sometimes at the bottom, if it isn't too steep, I'll ask him to take a couple steps backwards.

I would suggest that leaning forward is not good. Puts too much weight on your horse's front end and making it likely that you come over his head if he stumbles. My body position going downhill is to lean back keeping my body relative to the sky as I am when I am riding on flat level ground. You'll end up putting a little weight in the stirrups with your heels down. Some riders may straighten their legs and some like me will like just a little bend in their knees.

Most of my saddles have a pencil roll on the cantle, so there is nothing really to grab onto, although sometimes I'll use my free hand to brace against the saddle horn. But if you are riding a saddle with a Cheyenne roll, it will provide a ledge which you can grab with your free hand by reaching behnd yourself - try not to twist your torso much. This would also come in handy keeping you from being propelled forward if your horse stumbled or his front end buckled.

I guess I could have just said "Don't Lean Forward, instead Lean Back" but nobody ever accused me of using a six words when I can use a hundred.  I'll try and get up into the foothills in the next couple of weeks for better photos or a video, until then I hope this helps Dan. Safe Journey. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Having Pain From Stirrups

Luis wrote in with the following question: "I'm 44 years old and ride about an hour, sometimes more, twice a week. After I ride I have substantial pain in the outside edges of my feet. It's got to be caused by the stirrups which are angled. I have seen stirrups being sold in catalogs that are more level. I was wondering if you have any experience or comments on these ergo-metrically balanced stirrups. Regards, Luis"

If I'm reading your e-mail right Luis, you are using standard stirrups which hang in an angled fashion - see the picture at top left - with the lower end of the stirrup closer to the horse's body.   By the way, I have to admit I had to look up the word "Ergo-metrically".

I would first make sure what is not causing your pain such as too short of length in the stirrups leathers, or even a foot problem like plantar fasciitis. Another problem for your feet may be a too narrow stirrup like an Oxbow which puts pressure on a small area of the foot. If you ride with just the balls of your feet in the stirrups then that may cause pain as well as you have the rest of your foot unsupported.

Pain on the outside of your foot may also be caused by how your legs are angled when you sit in the saddle. I think that the more your feet are pointed forwards, as opposed to being a little turned out, may increase the pressure on the outside of the foot as well.

Barring any of those reasons, you may want to try a canted stirrup. They don't work for me - I prefer a 5 inch Monel stirrup - but I know someone who routinely rides in a Crooked Stirrup and he swears by it, but I think he's using it because of past knee problems. The Crooked Stirrup levels the stirrup for the foot through lengthening the side of one of the stirrups.

There is another type of canted stirrup that I know about, this one is from Tucker Saddles called trail glide stirrup. This stirrup is canted by using a tapered bar that the stirrup leather goes around before hooking into the Blevins Buckle. I would like to hear about any solution that works for me. Safe Journey.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

2013 Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium

My wife and I recently returned from our 13th trip to the annual Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Ruidoso is a mountain town about an hour Northeast of Alamogordo, New Mexico and located close to the Mescalero Apache Reservation. It's nice to get up into the Mountains and get a taste of cold mornings after a long hot summer.

We go as it's our anniversary and we were also celebrating my wife completing cancer treatment and literally getting back in the saddle. As you can tell from the photo, my wife is beautiful, and more important, healthy,....... and really likes Kettlecorn! 

The Symposium is a two and a half day gathering of horse people, western artists and vendors, horse events - reining competition, horse training and mule demonstrations, and the headline Chuck wagon cook off. The big draw for us has always been Craig Cameron's demonstrations where Craig works with any troubled or green horse that is brought to him.  The Craig Cameron booth offering high quality working gear, from halters, to hobbles, to bridles, bits and books, and saddles was jam packed as usual.  All of the gear is available at the Craig Cameron website, too.

With one of the horses brought to Craig this year it was a 2 year old filly that was barely halter broke,..if you consider halter broke to be just wearing a halter and not leading up, facing or giving to pressure.

Craig said up front that he was going to try and make this filly better off but it might take longer than the scheduled hour demonstration time since it was going to be up to the filly to be accepting and he wasn't going to rush her. Craig reminded us that his objective is to take the fear out of the horse.  He reminded us that if this filly was handled more since birth she would have been in a better place to begin with this morning.

He started with getting her to move her feet, disengage her back end when asked, giving to pressure, facing up on the lead line and desensitizing her with a rope and flag.  You could see the changes in the horse come and soon Craig had this filly wearing a bare back pad. While she continuously got better, she still had a little trouble being driven or moved around the round pen, so Craig brought in his big gray horse to help and give the filly someone to follow.

Once she got comfortable moving around the pen with the big Gray, Craig got her saddled and did the same. After a few spurts of bucking, see photo at left, she settled down nicely.

Through what turned out to be about a 90 minute session Craig gave the fily short breaks which calmed the young horse and gave her a chance to absorb and accept was Craig was asking of her.

Craig also worked the filly from horseback atop his big Gray giving the filly a chance to accept a person towering above her and used the Gray to get the filly to follow the feel on the lead rope, getting some lateral flexion, moving her feet and disengaging her back end. See photo at right.

At the end of the session the filly was ridden in the round pen by one of Craig's apprentices. That session changed that horse's life for the better. You could see it in her as she changed in the round pen and when she left the pen she was leading up just fine. A lot of fear went out of that young horse that morning as she began to trust humans.  I hope she never gets let down.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pegasus Project - Horse Rescue

I became aware of another horse rescue group, God bless 'em, located in East Texas, about 70 miles east of Dallas.....The Pegasus Project. You can find the Pegasus Project page on Facebook and see pictures of their rescue and fostered horses.

The Pegasus Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and placement of neglected, abandoned or abused horses in East Texas.

Pegasus says they are much more than a horse sanctuary. From their website: "We work closely with other animal welfare organizations to respond to horse cruelty complaints and conduct investigations and seizures of neglected and abused horses with the assistance of local law enforcement. We then take these horses into our program and bring them back to health. We dedicate our resources to rehabilitate, as well as retrain rescued horses, using natural and traditional horsemanship techniques, so that they may be adopted by carefully-screened, loving, forever homes. Each horse we place frees up space and allows us to conserve our precious resources and continue helping those horses most in need. For a few special-needs horses, The Pegasus Project will remain their life-long home."

"Care of neglected horses is expensive. Before we can transport them to our facility, rescued animals require veterinary care, blood tests, de-worming, and immunizations, expenses that can easily exceed $300 per seizure. All of our horses receive (at a minimum) bi-annual veterinary examinations and immunizations, annual dental care, as well as farrier care every 4-6 weeks. Routine horse care maintenance costs include the purchase of feed, hay, bedding, and any special-needs supplements. Typical monthly care is approximately $300 per month for a horse in fair condition. And then, of course, there are those expenses that arise with unexpected illnesses, injuries or emergency care. "

"There is good news in all of this. All of the horses we have rescued to date have been able to return to normal lives. Our equine residents are handled daily, taught ground manners, trained to trailer-load, stand tied and to stand for the farrier. Those horses broke to ride receive professional training to build a strong foundation. We strive to make each and every horse easy to handle and ready for adoption, ultimately becoming loving members of their new families, living long and fulfilling lives."

"The Pegasus Project, Inc. is an organization comprised of volunteers, united by their love of horses and their desire to alleviate suffering. We operate with the utmost efficiency on a modest budget. The Pegasus Project relies ENTIRELY on private donations. Currently 100% of donations goes directly to care and development of horses. "

As with all non-profit rescue organizations, Pegasus can use help in the way of donations - both money and supplies, volunteering, spreading the word, and fostering rescue horses. Pegasus accepts donations through their website via caredit card or pay pal or by check to: The Pegasus Project, Inc., P.O. Box 26, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754.

So please help if you can. It's easy enough to visit their web site, like them on Facebook and tell people about Pegasus.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Question on Saddle Fit for Riders

TCason wrote to ask these questions pertaining to Saddles. "Thanks for your site and for keeping it real and simple. I have a longhorn saddle that I bought from a friend of mine. I fear it may be too big for me as I feel like I bounce around alot. It has plastic slotted stirrups and are hard for me to get my feet into when I sit into the saddle. Can you give me a couple pointers on adjusting the saddle to see if I can make it more secure. Thanks."

I am familiar with Simco-Longhorn Saddles but I don't believe they ever came with plastic stirrups and I don't know what "slotted stirrups" are. There is nothing wrong with a Longhorn saddle, as long as it fits the horse and you.

As far as fitting you the rider, if the seat is too big for you, measured from the horn to the cantle, you will feel pretty loose in the saddle. Use a tape measure to measure from the inside of the horn where it meets the swell to the top of your cantle. I have a 32 inch waist and like a 15 inch seat. Years ago someone was trying to sell me a very nice Billy Cook 17 inch saddle and insisted that I try it out. I did and felt like a child sitting in an adults chair. I like to be able to generally place a fist between by body and the swell when I am sitting, that's about 3, maybe 4 inches. So I suggest you sit in your Longhorn saddle with your butt pushed into the base of the cantle and see how much room you have between your abdomen and the swell of the saddle. See picture at left.  This is a slick fork Wade saddle and I have get my fist between my lower abdomen and the swell/base of the horn.

The stirrups need to be adjusted so they are not to long or too short - I know that's easy to say. Too long of stirrups and you'll routinely having your feet come out of the stirrups. Too short of stirrups and you'll feel like your bouncing along. Heavier stirrups may help you keep your feet in them, providing them are adjusted right. I like 5 inch Monel Brass or steel covered wooden stirrups as they are wide and heavy.  The picture below is how I like to my adjustments.   While seated my knees are bent but not too much. When standing in the stirrups I have 4-5 inches between my butt and the base of the seat. You can use this as a guide, but some people will like their stirrups just a little longer, and some will like them just a little shorter.  Adjust your stirrups, ride in them, and adjust again as necessary is really the only way to do it.


When you say you have a hard time getting your feet into the stirrups when you mount - if you are talking about the stirrups being too narrower then you need wider stirrups. If your feet can't find the stirrups because they are laying flat against the horse then see the question, below, about training your stirrup leathers to stay twisted for easy access by your feet.

Jay wrote to ask " I have a saddle with the stirrups that are twisted out. I have been trying to figure out how to get the stirrups turned so they stay that stay that way to keep me from having to bend over and grab the stirrups so I can get my foot into it. Can you do a video or tell me how to get my stirrups turned? happy trails."

Usually stirrup leathers are turned as the saddle is being made by soaking the stirrups leathers in water, the manipulating them as needed, then using leather lacing around the turned stirrup leather to maintain that twist.

Most saddle fenders are riveted to the stirrup leather, and the adjustment buckle, usually a Blevins Buckle, is placed close enough to where the stirrup is to make it very difficult to get it (the stirrup leather turned) after the saddle is made.

Maybe your best bet will be to train your fenders and leathers to stay twisted by putting the saddle on a saddle rack, soaking the fender and stirrup leathers, then turning the stirrups and placing a 4 foot length of 2 x 4 inch board flat side down through the stirrups to keep them twisted as the leather drys.   See picture at right, you are looking at the off side from front to rear.

I am sure you have seen this before, or at least saw a saddle on a rack with a broomstick between the stirrups. The purpose is to train the fenders/leathers to stay twisted.

However. I think it works a lot better if the fenders and leathers are soaking wet and if you use a 2x4 instead of a broomstick which when placed will kinda over twist the stirrups and leathers so when the 2x4 is removed they will more assuredly stayed twisted. A small bucket of water and a horse hair brush to soak the fenders and stirrups leather works well. The picture at left is a different view of this process from the left side of the saddle from back to front.

You may have to do this wetting and drying process a couple times. And store your saddle with the 2x4 in place would probably be a good idea.  Let me know if it works for you. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Horse that saved Cpl Lopez

The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man...or woman. The following story was sent to me with the request to give it some more traction. This is yet another group standing up to help our wounded and traumatized veterans, and using horses to do so. The article below is from the website Indiegogo which is a fund raising site for good causes. If you go to the site and can't find the "The Horse That Save Cpl Lopez" article, then type Cpl Lopez in the search box and it should take you to it. The article below is directly from the website.

Today, right now, more active military are dying by their own hand than from the hostile actions of our enemies. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is largely responsible for this epidemic of suicides.

Trauma and Resiliency Resources, Inc. a 501c3 public charity, has provided on-line resources and referrals to NYC's First Responder community since the events of 9/11. TRR's Founder and Director has provided individual trauma treatment to first responders, warriors, veterans and their families as a private clinician since 9/11. Treating combat and line of duty traumas has saved lives and continues to do so.

In November, TRR's Warrior Camp® will host 12 active military combat veterans suffering from PTSD in a pilot program. They'll receive a regimen of proven 1:1 trauma treatments free of charge. One of these treatments is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. It's amazing to watch the connection made between human and horse and to see the healing begin. Please watch the video, you'll start to understand how quickly the healing can start. It's an amazing trauma treatment and we want more of our wounded warriors to be aware of it and benefit from it.

Our documentary will get out the word about Warrior Camp®, recruit warriors with combat trauma for 15 future Warrior Camps and raise funds so the mission of healing can continue -- and grow. It will be distributed to the U.S. Department of Defense, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, veteran organizations, community groups, Defense Centers of Excellence, corporations and the news media.

Your generosity can help Warrior Camp® save lives. And deliver a message of hope to our heroes and to the people who love them.

What We Need and What You Get

We are not a production company. We're primarily a media/creative services company. We are providing fundraising services and marketing support for this project at no cost. On the back end of the project we will be providing marketing services at no cost. We are hiring a cameraperson and sound person and renting equipment. Donations will cover two days' travel Chicago/New Hampshire for four people and their 5 days on location at Warrior Camp®. It will cover our out-of-pocket costs for 21 days of post production, DVD production duplication, packaging and postage. Additionally it will permit TRR to execute its own marketing program to recruit military combat veterans with PTSD for future camps and to solicit funds to continue and grow the free-to-attendees program. It will reimburse TRR for Indiegogo processing fees as well. If we are fortunate enough to exceed our goal, all extra funds will be used by TRR in support of warrior programs.

There are four perks for donors. A commemorative grey Warrior Camp tee, to the next level of donors, the tee and a copy of the final DVD. Individuals and companies donating at a specific level will be acknowledged on the DVD. The first three individuals who donate $2500 or more will have a portrait done by Chicago Artist, retired U.S. Navy MM Anton Mackey. If you happen to be a horse owner, it's a perk you can hang on your living room wall and enjoy for years.

The Impact

"Support our men and women in uniform" is a battle cry that too often doesn't deliver actual support. Fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, children and neighbors and friends have survived IEDs and RPGs but are losing the way because of PTSD. We have to make them aware that there's hope. We have to make them aware that there are treatments that can restore their emotional health. We have to make them aware that this help is free. They have given so much. They answered when duty called. Now they're calling for our help. We have to answer.

Personally I've done projects like this before. I wrote and produced a video which helped raise $7.5M for the Archdiocese of Chicago's St. Mary's of the Lake Mundelein Seminary. We did a pro bono video for Heal Our Warriors out of Frankfort, Michigan. Our videos have helped clients raise funds for the USO and for various Wounded Warrior Rides to Recovery.

Other Ways You Can Help

Money's tight for everyone. And there are a lot of important causes worth your consideration. I hope you'll help us achieve these goals. At the very least, please share our information with others. Place it on your Facebook page. Tweet it to your friends. Email it to family. Let your company know what we're doing and see if they'll help. If you've read this far, you're wonderful. It's a lot of words. Please take the next step and help us out.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ab Taylor, famed Border Patrol Tracker, Dies at 88

Ab Taylor, a plain-spoken Texan who became a legend in the arcane art of man-tracking during three decades with the U.S. Border Patrol and later taught children how to survive if they became lost in the wild, has died. He was 88. This article is by Tony Perry of the LA Times.com

Taylor became an expert on finding small signs of people's movements in his three decades with U.S. Border Patrol. A search for a lost boy prompted him to develop a guide for children on staying safe. Taylor, who had Alzheimer's disease, passed away  September 9th, 2013 in the community of Alpine in eastern San Diego County, his family said.

As he patrolled the rugged, unpopulated stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border, Taylor developed expertise in looking for the small signs — a broken twig, a small footprint, rocks out of place, patterns in the dust — that indicated the passage of immigrants trying to sneak into the United States.

Like other Border Patrol agents, Taylor referred to the daily hunt as The Game. While he never expressed any remorse for doing his job, he admitted admiration for immigrants trying to get to America and find jobs. "I can have the greatest empathy for the individual Mexican coming in and understand him and know about him," Taylor told a reporter for The Times in 1972 while spitting wads of chewing tobacco into the border dust. "Still, I don't have reservations about doing my job because I know that this country cannot possibly absorb all the poverty of Mexico."

The more difficult the chase, the greater the satisfaction, said Taylor, who spent most of his career assigned to the Southern California border. "The tougher he is to beat, the more you admire him," he said. "If you catch him down there a mile away from the border and blunder into him, there certainly is no satisfaction there. But if you track him from sun-up one day to sundown the next … then there's a great measure of satisfaction in beatin' him."

If he had respect for immigrants, he had scorn for the smugglers, particularly those who take money to transport immigrants to the Mexican side of the border and then abandon them to navigate the overland dangers by themselves. "Typically, the smuggler is greedy," Taylor said. "And typically he's a little bit cowardly. If he had a lot of guts, he'd be hauling narco."

After three decades with the Border Patrol, he retired in the late 1970s. An incident in 1981 changed Taylor's life and gave him a new passion: teaching children how to survive if they were lost in the forest or desert.

Taylor was one of hundreds of people who searched for a 9-year-old boy who had become separated from his family during a trip to Mt. Palomar north of San Diego. For four days, searchers scoured the forest, only to find the boy dead from exposure. Taylor would later say the failure to find Jimmy Beveridge was the biggest disappointment of his life.

After that bitter experience, Taylor was among those who founded the nonprofit Hug-a-Tree and Survive program, a guide for children on staying safe. Among the tips: Stay put, do not panic, and hold onto a tree for warmth. Taylor instructed parents as well, telling them to equip their kids with flashlights and large plastic bags to stave off the cold.

Taylor used his fame and media savvy to spread the message of survival. He gave lectures to schools and community groups. His slide presentation included pictures of his grandchildren. Albert Snow Taylor was born in San Angelo, Texas, on Nov. 24, 1924, the son of a small-town grocer. He worked on his uncle's farm and grandfather's ranch and served in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier in World War II.

Joining the Border Patrol after the war ended, Taylor found his true talent. In the days before trackers used high-tech methods, Taylor could discover small signs others missed, a skill called "sign cutting." He tracked innumerable immigrants and also helped capture killers and kidnappers and find lost children. Jimmy Beveridge was his only failed search, Taylor often told audiences, the pain evident in his voice.

In 1980, he served as a consultant on the movie Fundamentals of Mantracking: The Step by Step Method." Chapters included how to search for lost children, how to track animals, and how to track someone trying to evade capture.

In retirement, he noted with sadness the Border Patrol had shifted away from tracking. "They did away with everything I had spent my life building up," he told the Associated Press in 2001. Taylor is survived by his third wife, Lillian Beam Taylor; sons Kenneth and Stuart; and daughter Patti; along with three stepchildren, Rick, Kenny and Kevin Beam; and sisters Barbara Tolch and Marjorie Grubb.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

West Nile Reminder and Trail Advice from a Reader

Scott wrote to Functional Horsemanship reminding us that West Nile Virus (WNV) is still prevalent in many parts of the country and in addition to annual WNV immunizations, insect repellent is another method to help keep your horse's protected and he added that insect repellent's for rider's are important as well, as people get WNV too.

I've seen one horse who was positive for WNV and it was hard to bear watching horse suffering, stumbling, head down, losing balance, and not eating. WNV in people is fairly rare and sometimes hard to diagnose. The Center for Disease Control says that 1 in 5 people who are infected with WNV will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus will recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Even fewer people will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis which is inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues. For both people and horses the treatment is to generally manage the symptoms.

I'd add that manure management and ensuring that standing water traps are emptied to take away mosquito breeding grounds is a good preventive practice. Here in West Texas where 8 inches a rain a year is the average, we recently received over 5 inches of rain in a week bringing mosquitos into areas where we usually don't see them. I sprayed insect killer daily on top of the loads of manure dumped into my dumpster, and used a daily application of Pyranha fly spray on my horses until everything dried out.

Another point Scott stressed was to ensure when you trail ride on public, or even private land, to make sure your know the rules for use. A group of riders can eliminate the use of land for other horses and riders by breaking rules. I like the Back Country Horsemen of America's theme which is to "Leave No Trace".  I occasionally run across some horse tracks from time to time who riders have no problem at all littering along their ride with Bud Light cans and bottles. I have a hard time believing that people who have no respect for the land have any respect for horses.

And while I have carried a gun all my adult life, for personal protection or in performance of my duties, and I certainly believe in the 2nd Amendment, if the land use rules for a trail ride included no firearms then I would respect that and wouldn't carry a gun, or more likely not ride at all. Scott reminds us to do our research so we don't trailer to some place only to discover regulations we were unprepared for.

Thanks Scott for your reminder and safe journey to you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sawtooth Saddle

I have received several questions on one of the saddle's that I am riding in some of the videos I post. So it gives me a chance to plug Sawtooth Saddle Company of Vernal, Utah.

The saddle in these pictures is called the Santa Fe and based on a design that dates back to 1838.  It's a slick fork with a hard seat, a minimal, rounded skirt and really a joy to ride.  It weighs right around 27 pounds which helped me decide on this saddle as I did not have a really lightweight saddle for long rides or heading up into the mountains. 

This saddle is double rigged and has big brass rings for the front and rear cinches, turned stirrup leathers with five inch Brass Monel stirrups. The horn is rawhide with a leather cap and large concho. This is not a saddle I would routinely rope, dally and drag calves on, let alone heavier cows. If I was going to use this saddle for that I would put a horn wrap on it or just use some rubber dally wraps temporarily to help preserve both the horn and my rope. This saddle came with a realy nice leather bound Mohair cinch. My wife now has that cinch and I am using a fleece lined cinch which is my preference. Many rider's don't like the way I rig my cinch with the knot through the strap but if you'll notice the knot it is set ahead of where my knee and leg are so it is not an issue on this saddle or type of rigging.  

The Breast Collar attachment D rings are high enough on the saddle so the breast collar can ride where it needs to, above the chest and below the neck in the cleft so it doesn't impede the horse's movement or breathing.   

This is a very well made saddle. Everything about it shows superior craftsmanship. A person couldn't go wrong with a Sawtooth Saddle if their checkbook would allow the purchase. Visit the Sawtooth site and see their selection.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Helping Your Horse with Accepting the Mounting Block

Probably due to a combination of short people buying tall horses and older people with declining physical abilities it seems like many people need mounting blocks to get up in the saddle. And before you write me any nasty comments, I'm one of those people I wrote about in the first sentence,...short and aging. But I have fairly short horses, certainly no taller than 15.1 hands high which makes for mounting much easy.

However, it is necessary for many people to be able to bring their horse over to a mounting aid. It's also pretty common for a horse to lead up to the mounting block and when the rider's climbs the block, the horse will drift out to a position that the rider cannot mount from. I have noticed this in trail type competitions and many of the horses resist the rider's attempts to pull him over to the mounting block. This could be because the horse is not used to, or accepting of the rider towering above them,......don't ask me why being in the saddle is different,...... or the horse may simply be not immediately accepting of the mounting block which is a new obstacles for them.

The good news is that getting your horse to close the gap and stand next to a mounting block why you gain the saddle is a pretty easy thing to get your horse comfortable with.

Be sure your horse is comfortable with the mounting block as an obstacle. Lead him up to it, give him the time he needs to accept it,……it may take 2 seconds, it may take 30 seconds, it doesn't matter because your horse is not on your schedule, you're actually on his, but the point is to get him to accept that it's not a threat.

Lead the horse up to the mounting block and position where you can mount. Even if the horse stands for you to mount in this position, the position you put him in, I would still go through the process of cueing him to move his feet until he is parallel to you (siding up to you) so you could mount safely. This will be useful when you go to use a mounting block he is not used to.

So try this,....lead the horse up so he is perpendicular (facing) the mounting mount. Get on the mounting block and bump the lead line in a upwards, rhythmic fashion until the horse moves his feet. As he moves, even on foot or even leans to or looks to be wanting to move a foot, stop bumping - this is the release. Then begin again. Every time the horse moves his feet, give him a release (quit bumping the lead line). It's okay, in my opinion, that the horse moves in the wrong direction initially because he is learning the cue to move his feet. That's all you are really trying to do, get him to move his feet. You can use a verbal cue as well such as "over".

Do this a couple times and you'll most likely have a horse that automatically sides up to you when you climb onto the mounting block. Then you may have the issue of getting him to wait on you to ask him to position up.

Finally, be sure you are following safe mounting procedures from the mounting block,......don't settle for having your horse close enough to make mounting possible,......your horse needs to be close enough to make mounting safe. Have ahold of the reins, shorten the reins on the side you are mounting on just in case your horse moves out or even bolts, you will be prepared to tip his head and disengage his back end to a stop. Sit in the saddle and find your off side stirrup. Having turned stirrups make this much easier so your foot automatically finds the stirrup. Hope this helps.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Horse Humor - Horse and Rider in Drive Through

Many people have seen this picture, reportedly taken at a Texas Whataburger, a State Institution by the way, but there was an actual account of a girl riding her horse through a McDonalds in England but was refused service as that McDonald's did not serve people on horses in this particular drive through.

So the woman dismounted and led her horse inside to order, where the horse "ended up doing his business on the floor" which is the polite British way of saying the horse pooped or otherwise dropped a load of manure.

A McDonald's spokeswoman said "the incident caused distress to customers and disruption for the restaurant, and the police issued the woman with a fixed penalty notice." She added: "The health and safety of our customers and staff is our top priority, and for this reason we are unable to serve pedestrians, bicycle riders or customers on horseback through the drive-thru."

Don't believe me, check it out here at the BBC News site.

If you are reading this you probably don't have a problem eating a biscuit with one hand and brushing a horse with the other. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Horse Owners Preparing for Natural Disasters and Emergencies

This was sent to me with a request to share..."10 Rules to Live by in Evacuations with Horses from Wildfires or Natural Disasters". All good advice with the intent to get you to think what you would do in an emergency. My comments are in Italics.

1. TEACH YOUR HORSE TO LOAD (and tie)! And I mean ...immediately step into a trailer.
I have previously written and did a short video about blind fold training your horse which would be useful for moving them through some situations like fires.

2. Take at least one bale of hay and a BUCKET, you never know where your horse is going to end up.
Taking a water supply is a good idea as this will give you some time to find a water source as you re-locate. There are many options here with various space saving trailer water containers. I use 5 gallon military style plastic jugs and I always keep four of them full and loaded into my primary trailer and I have a collapible 55 gallon blivet for my truck which was intended to use to lay a wet line for grassfires, but could easily be a mobile water source for livestock. Having temporary panels or the ability to make a high-line to tie your horses to when you get some place safe would be something to consider.

3. No matter what, if you take your horses or not, MAKE SURE you take your proof of ownership/BRAND INSPECTIONS! This will help you prove the horses are yours later on! Photographs of your horses should work in non brand inspection areas.
I keep a file folder with all the vet records and current Coggins tests and Health Certificates on our horses. The new Coggins (EIA) test results will have profile photographs of the horse, as opposed to drawings, making recognition/identification/proof of ownership easier.

4. If you CANNOT TAKE your horse, TURN THEM LOOSE! They have great survival instincts, its better than dying in a locked barn.
I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where I have to turn my horses loose, then drive out to safety. I think that bringing your horses out by ponying them or hooking them into a pack string would be an option.

5. IF YOU TURN THEM LOOSE, write your phone number on them in some way! Spray paint/shoe polish, whatever you can find.
I never thought of this. Maybe a shoe tag with your contact info tied into their tail would work?

6. If you turn them loose TAKE THEIR HALTERS OFF! Imagine all the debris your horse is going to encounter! You don't want them caught on!
Speaking of halters, another thing to consider is ensuring halters and leads are close at hand if someone else has to evacuate your horses if you can't make it back to your property.

7. If you turn them loose, LOCK THEM OUT OF THEIR BARN/PEN/STALL/YARD. They WILL go back!

8. If you take your horse to an evacuation center, it is still a good idea to have your horse marked in some way. Sometimes evacuation centers have to evacuate!

9. If you take your horse in a trailer, PLEASE tie them if you safely can! I cannot count how many times we were evacuating and found a loose horse we needed to load with ours, if the horses are loose in the trailer that is a disaster waiting to happen.
I always keep a couple spare halters and a lariat iny my truck as well as in my trailer. I use a tie ring I developed to make it easy to hook and secure horses to D rings on trailer.

10. If your horse is in a large pasture area, cut the fence in corners and leave gates open! When horses can't find their way in smoke/debris they will follow fence lines.

For more info go the Colorado State University website and a printable Wildfire Preparedness for Horse Owners List.