Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reader Question - Wrapping Tendons

I had a reader write me abut sweating her horse's legs. Apparently her horse was lame and someone told her to sweat the lamed up leg.

I don't have much to go on here, but probably what your friend was alluding to was treatment and wrapping for the tendons, probably the flexor tendons in the back of a horse's leg which are often injured due to their function and extended use. This probably occurs often on the front legs due to much of the horse's weight is carried on the front end and the over reaching motion, such as in thick sand, often contributes to tendon injuries.

Now before I go further, I highly suggest you seek competent Veternarian authority or research more on your own to understand the horse's leg anatomy and the different types and severities of tendons or other leg injuries.

If you run your thumb and fore finger over the flexor tendons in back of the horse's legs they should feel smooth. Sometimes with small inuries there will be alittle swelling or some bumps evident as the tendon sheath tears alittle...could be scar tisue from old injuries too.

A more substantial injury is the "bowed" tendon, where there will be a visible bump or bow in the tendon. If this is not treated competently with anti-inflammation therapy and rest, this can become chronic....your horse won't be the same.

What I do when I suspect a tendon injury, and again if I think it requires a Vet, I will not hestitate to get my excellent Vet out to my small ranch. That's partially why I'm a poor man. Anyway, Hydro (water) therapy, hosing down the legs to reduce swelling and pain is a good first step. And sometimes I do it for a couple days.

Sweating the tendon, which was your question, involves wrapping saran or plastic wrap around the leg to keep the heat in promoting blood flow. Usually after some type of medication is applied.

I use a mixture of NitroFlurazone and DMSO, and using a rubber glove, I apply it to the horse's tendon, rubbing in it as much as the horse will stand. In the past I have use a steroid mixed into the Nitro and DMSO.

Caution on DMSO. Whatever is mix with the DMSO or what is on the surface of the skin will be taken straight through by the DMSO, so the leg must be clean, and again use rubber gloves. There is alot of debate on DMSO. I use it sparingly and I know some people who would rather be trampled by a stampede of draft horses then use DMSO.

Follow the application of medication by wrapping saran wrap around the leg, then a thicker cotton bandage, before I finish the wrap with Vet wrap. It is generally necessary to use medical tape on the vet wrap to secure it really well. The thicker cotton bandgae pads the injury and keeps you from wrapping it too tight with the Vet wrap.

I'll keep this wrap on for 24 hours, take it off and do hydro therapy and keep the wrap off for a day, then do it all over again until I see improvement. The longest I have had to do this was for about six days at which time the horse's lameness appeared to be gone however I gave him an additional week to 10 days of rest before I tested his soundness in a round pen before riding.

Prevention is key. Running your horses up hills and through thick sand can increase thir chances of injury significantly. Think about using splint boots on the front end to provide support. I need to do a much better job myself using these aids.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Custer's Last Guidon

An Associated Press article from December 11, 2010.

BILLINGS, Mont. – After spending much of the last century in storage, the only U.S. flag not captured or lost during Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn sold at auction Friday for $2.2 million.

Frayed, torn, and with possible bloodstains, the flag from one of America's hallmark military engagements had been valued before its sale at up to $5 million.

The 7th U.S. Cavalry flag — known as a "guidon" and with a distinctive swallow-tailed shape — had been the property of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The museum paid just $54 for it in 1895. "We'll be using the (auction) proceeds to strengthen our collection of Native American art, which has a rather nice irony to it I think," said the museum's director, Graham Beal.

On June 25, 1876, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and more than 200 troopers and scouts from the Crow Tribe were killed by up to 1,800 Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors near the Little Bighorn River.

Of the five guidons carried by Custer's battalion only one was immediately recovered, from beneath the body of a fallen trooper. According to testimonials from Indians involved in the fight, the trooper, Cpl. John Foley, was attempting to escape on horseback — and had almost succeeded — when he shot himself in the head.

All the other flags under Custer's command were believed captured by the victorious Indians. The recovered flag later became known as the Culbertson Guidon, after the member of the burial party who recovered it, Sgt. Ferdinand Culbertson. Made of silk, it measures 33 inches by 27
inches, and features 34 gold stars.

While Custer's reputation has risen and fallen over the years — once considered a hero, he's regarded by some contemporary scholars as an inept leader and savage American Indian killer — the guidon has emerged as the stuff of legend.

"It's more than just a museum object or textile. It's a piece of Americana," said John Doerner, Chief Historian at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in southeastern Montana. For most of the last century the flag was hidden from public view, kept in storage first at the museum and later, after a period on display in Montana, in a National Park Service facility in Harpers Ferry, W.V., according to Beal, the museum director.

A second 7th Cavalry guidon was recovered in September 1876, at the Battle of Slim Buttes near present-day Reva, S.D. Now in possession of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, that flag was poorly cared for and is now in horrible condition — "almost dust," according to the monument's chief of interpretation, Ken Woody.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Reader Question on Pulling Shoes in the Backcountry

I received an e-mail from Meghan who asked what would be a good tool to carry in the backcountry, where weight and space is at a premium, that she could use to pull a shoe if she needed to.

With a good knife to use as a clinch cutter, to bend the horseshoe nails straighter, and a fencing tool, I think you could do a decent job albeit not as easy as using a farrier's pull offs.

I carry a Plammer, which is a fencing tool with a hammer head. This comes in handy if I have to cut then repair a fence and pound fencing staples (U shaped nails). I have a smaller version that is 8 inches long and fits in my saddle bags. The jaws open wide enough so I can grab a horseshoe and twist off once I get the nails un-clinched. The idea is to minimize hoof wall damage by straightening the nails first.

I'll place the blade of the knife under the clinched nail then rap sharply with the plammer. Once I get all the nails un-clinched, I'll use the plammer fencing jaws to grab the horseshoe and twist off.

This will be tougher if your shoer gouge the hoof and clinched the nails tightly into the gouge, or if the shoes have been on for awhile and make the nail end hard to get to. My shoer uses toe or bar clips on the shoes which makes it harder to twist off, but the plus side is that I have had only two loose shoes with this shoer and neither were his fault.

By the way, I use Diamond Bar V Horseshoeing out of Silver City, New Mexico. Best shoer I've ever had.

I suggest the next time you have your horses shod, ask your shoer about taking off a loose shoe or even re-nailing when in the back country. I carry a few extra nails for this purpose - never used them - and would think the knurled head of the Plammer may make it difficult to drive a nail straight.

I have also used just my knife and a rock to un-clinch nails then wedge the knife underneath the shoe to lever it off. It was on a buddy of mine's horse and I did not like doing it this way, that's partly why I carry a Plammer now.

Other than that Meghan, the only other solution I can think about it cutting down a long handled pull offs or finding a smaller version. But the Plammer has more uses than just pull offs so I think you'll see the advantage. Safe Journey.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Reader question on a Horses Salt Needs

I received an e-mail from a lady in Pennsylvania asking about how important it is to provide your horse salt and what is the best way to do so.

Salt or sodium is an essential electrolyte that is minimally present in any of the normal feed we provide horses. The more a horse works and sweats, the more salt he will lose which if not replaced can cause an electrolyte imbalance.

Most horses will eat hay until they colic, but with salt most horses will only consume what they need. There are going to be odd horses, and I have seen one, where the horse will chew and chew on a salt block until it is disintegrated.

I always keep two or more salt blocks in the corral for the horses to lick on. I prefer a white salt block as opposed to the reddish mineral block which is rougher on the horses tongue and makes them less likely to consume any. Again, there is always the odd horse who would lick the mineral blocks. I place the 50 lb salt blocks in a rubber dish with drain holes for the water, so the block is kept off the ground (see picture above).

So I would definitely recommend adding a salt block so the horses can access free choice salt whenever he wants to. I previously wrote a post about this, you can read it here. Also, from time to time you'll need to scrap the dirt and debris off the block. And don't forget the fresh clean water!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Recipe - Range Rider Green Chile Stew

I recently had an old friend of mine ride with me into an area that I had found an old Spur of a design that makes us think it was made by August Buermann. The spur in the picture is an example of his work, not the rusted old spur that I found. Riding throughout the Southwest, moistly in Arizona and Texas, my friend was aware of the history and treasures you could find. Plus it was just a good time to catch.

When we got back to the property and had the horses brushed and turned out, my wife had a bucket of Green Chile Stew for us. My friend liked it so much he said we oughta let other people know the recipe, it is:

Range Rider Green Chile Stew

Two 12 oz cans of Chicken Broth, or 24 ounces of water and 3 Chicken Bullion Cubes
One 12 oz can of Rotel tomatoes
One 12 oz can of Green Chiles or an equivalent amount of fresh green chiles, chopped up
One small onion
Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
One to 1 ½ pounds of boneless Pork cubed small
Three cups of Red Potatoes, quartered
Seasoning such as Adobe or Cattlemans

Bread the pork by dunking in egg then cornmeal; could use water and flour I suppose then brown in large deep skillet or Dutch Oven (browning with butter would be nice)

Then add all other ingredients into the pot, bring to boil then simmer for a couple hours until potatoes are tender. I like to use a Dutch Oven as you can pile coals over the top and cook more evenly. A Crock Pot will work and to tell you the truth, that’s what we use most of the time when we’ll at home.

Buttermilk Biscuits go well with this.

Safe Journey,…with a full stomach.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reader Question - Cold Weather Riding

I received a reader question, through the contact me form, asking just how cold is too cold to ride her horse and what gear I ride in when it's cold.

Well, first of all cold is revelative. If you literally grow up in the cold environments like the Northern border area of the United States, then not only are you going to be more used to that weather, but also familiar with the steps you take and the clothing you wear to keep yourself safe.

If my memory is correct, I have rode when temps are in the low teens, although I'm sure I did not do alot of galloping and loping. I think that if the horse can live in the cold, he can be ridden in the cold with some caution not to over work him or get him too sweaty.

In the fall and winter, I routinely ride for five to seven hours in mid 20 degree temps, again just being careful not to overwork the horse. No sense loping up hills or in thick sand or snow if you really don't need to.

I would be sure to cool down and dry off your horse and even put a blanket or a slick sheet on him if you are trailering him home. I keep an old towel in my trailer and blanket lined canvas blanket for this reason.

Some people will have their horseshoer tack on some boron spots on their shoes to give the horse better footing on snow and ice and well as keep the shoes from wearing so much.

Now, cold weather to me is temperatures in the mid 20's. I sustained frost bite when I was 14 years old up in Northern Idaho, so when the temps get into the 30's I can start feeling my hands, then feet tingling, then stinging. I always wear gloves, summer or winter. The gloves in the winter time, depending upon the temperature, are insulated. I like the Heritage leather gloves with 40 grams of thinsulate. I also use their un-lined and un-insulated leather and nylon version for work gloves as well as just some thin pig skin gloves.

You need to dress in layers and not get sweaty yourself. There are a wide variety of sweat wicking shirts, like from Under Armor and such, which help take moisture away form your body. To get wet in the winter time, especially with a wind, can mean a cold injury.

I like plain old cotten, so when the temperatures get in the 20's, I'll wear a long sleeve thermal cotton shirt, then a work shirt, then a vest all under a Carhartt or Schaefer work coat. Colder than than that I trade my work coat for a sheepskin line long coat, cut for riding which also gives from protection to my upper legs.

If you wear a hat, there ear muffs available at sporting goods stores that can cover and protect your ears from the freezing winds and frostbite.

You do not want to get frostbite as then you'll be more susceptible to the cold and another cold injury. I think with common sense and the right equipment you and your horse will be fine.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Army Scout - Billy Dixon

William "Billy" Dixon (September 25, 1850 – March 9, 1913) scouted the Texas Panhandle for the Army, hunted buffalo for the train companies, defended the Adobe Walls settlement against Indian attack with his legendary buffalo rifle, and was one of eight civilians in the history of the U.S. to receive the Medal of Honor.

Dixon was born in Ohio County, West Virginia on September 25, 1850 and was an orphan at age 12. He lived in Missouri until 1864. He worked in various capacities along the Missouri River until he started working as an mule skinner for the government.

He was a skilled marksman and occasionally scouted for Eastern excursionists brought by the railroads. In 1869, he joined a venture in hunting and trapping on the Saline River northwest of Fort Hays in Kansas.

He scouted Texas as far south as the Salt Fork of the Red River when the buffalo hunters moved into the Texas Panhandle in 1874. He and his group hunted along the Canadian River and its tributaries.

Dixon led the founders of Adobe Walls to the Texas Plains, where he knew buffalo were in abundance. The group of 28 men and one woman occupied the outpost of five buildings 15 miles northeast of Stinnett.

The outpost was attacked on June 27, 1874 by a band of 700 Indians, and that is when Dixon went into the history books for firing "The Shot of the Century."

The stand-off continued into a third day, when a group of Indians were noticed about a mile east of Adobe Walls. It is said that Dixon took aim with his Big 50 Sharps rifle and fired, knocking an Indian off his horse almost a mile away. The Indians then left the settlement alone. Commemorative "Billy Dixon" model reproduction Sharps rifles that supposedly recreate the specifications of Dixon's famous gun are still available today.

Billy Dixon quit buffalo hunting and, the following August, became an army scout. In September 1874, just three months after Adobe Walls, an army dispatch detail consisting of Billy Dixon, another scout Amos Chapman, and four troopers from the 6th Cavalry Regiment (United States) were surrounded and besieged by a large combined band of Kiowas and Comanches, in the Battle of Buffalo Wallow. They holed up in a buffalo wallow located in Hemphill County and, with accurate rifle fire, held off the Indians for an entire day. An extremely cold rainstorm that night discouraged the Indians, and they broke off the fight; every man in the detail was wounded and one trooper killed. For this action Billy Dixon, along with the other survivors of 'The Buffalo Wallow Fight', were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (for Gallantry in Battle). A Texas Historical Marker documents the battle site.

In 1883, Dixon returned to civilian life and built a home near the Adobe Walls site. He was postmaster there for 20 years and also was the first sheriff of Hutchinson County, Texas. He also served as state land commissioner and a justice of the peace.

In 1894, he married Olive King Dixon of Virginia and fathered seven children. They eventually moved to Oklahoma around 1906.

Dixon died from pneumonia at his Cimarron County homestead in 1913 and was buried in Texline. In 1929, his body was reinterred at Adobe Walls near where he stood when he first saw the Indians riding up the valley.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reader Question: Bad Manners Coming Off The Halter

A woman named Carol wrote to me about her horse having bad manners coming off the halter when she went to turn her horse loose, both in the stall and in turn out. Carol says that otherwise her horse is good to ride and a fairly well mannered horse.

Actually this is pretty common, you have to let your horse know you expect him to stand until you cue him to move away after the halter is taken off. The better the overall ground manners is with this horse, the better he will be standing for the halter to be removed. I’ll just bet that Carol’s horse will continue to walk off if she stops when leading it.

If you get in a routine of keeping a horse in the stall for a couple days, then taking the horse to a turn out, the horse is going to pretty antsy about it and will often anticipate the halter release and pull away before that is complete. When putting the horse back in the stall when feed is present is another common point where the horse will be quick to get out of the halter and get to the feed.

Every time I get a halter on a horse to lead him someplace or other (shoeing stand, wash rack, round pen, tie rail for grooming, etc.) I always make it a short training exercise by stopping the horse, backing him, have him move his fore end or hind end over,…..having him drop his head, and sometimes just stand until I’m ready to move off. I think you should do this each and every time you put a halter on a horse to reestablish those ground manners which will transfer to other things as well such as standing when the halter is removed….only takes a minute or so to do this.

I always use a rope halter. I prefer the Double Diamond brand. The rope halter can be used to get the horse attention just a little more because the rope will apply more pressure than the traditional webbing halters. So Carol, I suggest you use a rope halter.

I don’t have a horse with this problem, so I am demonstrating in the video with a horse I board. Biscuit is a black, grade mare who is not handled a great deal and gets away with some things because of it. The night before I shot this video I had put her back in her stall, with feed present and she pulled away as I getting the halter off. I put the halter back on and off until she understood to stand still until I had the halter completely removed and cued her to move off. So she remembered this lesson the next day when I shot the video below. So you won’t really see a horse having this problem corrected. You’ll see me lead the horse out of her stall, stopping, backing to reminder her of her manners, then placing her in the arena where I ask her to stand still while I get the halter off.

So Carol, I suggest you tighten up all the ground manners and don’t let your horse get away with the halter routine. Do it right until the horse gets the message. Good luck and safe journey.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recipe - Hardtack Biscuits

Hardtack. Think of concrete biscuits. This was actually a staple back in the old west since it could be easily carried without degrading. Some soldiers, like the foot infantry, even carried hardtack biscuits in their pockets for days/weeks.

Made simply by mixing 6 parts flour and one part water; kneading into flat biscuits (about one half to three quarters inch thick) then baking for one half to one hour. Hardtack was, sometimes with Arbuckles Coffee, all Cavalry soldiers had to eat when on patrol. Sailors often subsisted on hard tack biscuits when at sea for long periods of time.

Making Hardtack biscuits even thinner, about 1/8 inch, would reduce cooking time and make them (supposedly) easier to eat. Be sure to poke holes into the biscuits so they cook more evenly. This will give them the “saltine” cracker look.

Hardtack is best eaten after soaking in water, gravy or soup stock. You can add a little corn or vegetable oil or even butter to make them easier to eat, but start off adding very small amounts such as a teaspoon or tablespoon. Butter can also be used, in small amounts. I have heard that adding a handful of steel cut oats to the mixture will also enhance their taste and ability to digest the darn things.

If you add Salt, either iodized Salt, Sea Salt or Light Salt (half salt, half potassium) be aware that your hardtack be more likely to attract moisture.

You can order a pound or Arbuckles Ariosa Coffee from Arbuckle Coffee Traders

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reader Question - What Can I Do About Pee Spots in Stalls

I received an e-mail from a lady who asked me what she can she do to keep her horse from peeing in the same spot in his stall day after day. SHe doesn't like the smell and it turns the soil black.

Many horses kept in pens or stalls will pee in the same spot time and time again, saturating that ground with urine and creating that ammonia smell.

Most horses don't like the spray of the pee hitting them in the legs, so you can lay a mat down in that area. When they pee the spray will spatter on their legs and they will most like go someplace else to pee. You can keep moving the mat around the stall as they begin to "wear out" one spot or another. A light weight truck bed mat would work.

Another thing you can do it to place pylons (traffic cones) in that pee spot to serve the same purposes. Sometimes this just doesn't work. In fact, the picture is two large traffic cones I placed in my Mustang's pen just to illustrate, as I had previously tried this and would find the cones tossed around or even find them outside of the pen. He would pick on up in his teeth and fling it about. Great fun for him I reckon.

You can dig up the wet dirt from the pee spot and spread around to let it air/Sun dry, as well as rake in a little bit of lime to the soil to counteract the ammonia smell. I always keep a couple hundred pounds of lime on hand for this purpose and in case I have to bury an animal.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mantracking - Stride Length and Using a Tracking Stick

I show how I use a tracking stick on the below short video. Sorry about the wind noise, but I think you'll be able to hear it.

I normally mark a print I find with a "U" around the outside of the heel so I can tell I've been on the track before, so tell someone who is following me that I'm on this track.

I sometimes use a tracking stick to measure normal stride length in order to find it again when I lose it, especially in hard ground. Once you are behind enough sign you'll get a feeling for the size of the foot gear that made the track; reading pressure release which combined with stride length and size footgear will give you an idea on speed, weight of the person and possible load he/she may be carrying; and in sometimes provide other clues such as if they are injured or tired, looking behind or up into the sky and other things as well.

A 1/2 inch 2 or 3 foot oak dowel makes a good tracking stick. You can use rubber bands tightly wrapped onto the stick or rubber grommets in order to have a movable point of reference for measuring tracks,...not just their stride length, but the width of the heel and the widest part (ball) of the print as well.

Eventually you'll get to where you do not use the tracking stick, but may perhaps use a piece of stick you find on the ground. I have even carried a 2 foot tape measure to precisely measure the print for future positive identification.

Tracking on Horseback sometimes provides a better perspective on the sign, unless the Sun is directly overhead. Sometimes you'll need to dismount and look more closely at the sign to determine what you think you are seeing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Equine Photonic Therapy

I have had a couple anonymous comments on Photonic Therapy for horses. I know nothing about it but read that it uses red light to stimulate acupuncture points.

Takes alot to convince me these days, but I have also learned not to discount too much before the facts are in.

This is what I have read about Photonic Therapy:

Photonic Therapy is advertised as a pain-free method that promotes healing and aids in pain management using standard acupuncture points using a non-thermal low level laser that produces stimulation at the cellular level. Photonic Therapy, sometimes called red light healing, is billed as promoting healing and health optimization for Dogs, Cats, Horses and Humans by using certain light wave-lengths that seem to have special abilities to produce energy deep within cells. This energy supposedly releases important healing chemicals that go to work repairing cell damage. This stimulation allows injuries to be healed without pain, drugs or invasive treatments.

For more information you can go to: McLaren USA, Inc.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Horse Health Care - Cold Weather Colic Threat

A friend of mine called me early this morning when I was sewing up a horse blanket which brought the conversation around to when did I think it was necessary to blanket a horse.

Pretty much what I told him was that tonight wouldbe the first time this fall that I would blanket as I was expecting an abnormal drop in temperatures tonight, from nightly lows in the mid 40's to the low 20's due to a cold front moving in. In my experience, a sudden drop like this, especially when the horses haven't yet grown out their winter coats, slightly increases the chance of cold weather colic where the horses decrease their water consumption and the blood usually available for the gut is now also needed to flow to their extremities to keep them warm. This can which slow up their digestion problem and with a lack of water consumed can therefore presents more of a colic risk.

So there really isn't just a temperature cutoff when I blanket a horse or not. Circumstances like a big sudden change (drop) in temperatures, and the age of a particular horse and any existing health issues all factor in. I have worked a horse all day in cold weather, then more oftenn than not, blanket him for a long trailer ride home in cold weather, especially if he is still damp with sweat.

I wrote a related piece on Blanketing Horses, see it here.

Anyway, I would much rather "waste" time putting on and taking off blankets than giving a shot fo banamine, tubing and walking a colicing horse. Just pays to pay attention to weather changes

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Exposing Your Horse to Gunfire - Begining to Shoot from the Saddle

Continuing to get my horse comfortable with gunfire so I can eventually shoot well off his back and while he is moving. Like I thought, gunfire is simply another obstacle like water or crossing a tarp that the horse can get used to - albeit some quicker than others.

In this, part II of exposing your horse to gunfire, I shoot a couple rounds from the saddle and you can see the horse getting less troubled by the loud noise and smell of burnt gun powder.

Please be safe if you are trying this. Remember the gun safety rules: Every gun is loaded until you physically determine it's not; never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy; finger remains off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; and be sure of your gun to target line and what may be in that line.

Blanks are good for this type of training. I bought my .45 LC blanks from Buffalo Blanks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mantracking - Reading the Print

Several friends of mine have asked me to post some articles on tracking. So starting with this post, I'll do some basic tracking posts every so often in case there are any readers interested in learning and practicing this craft.

Cutting for sign. Sign is any evidence of someone or something's passing. Everything that walks on the ground leaves some sort of sign...the trick is to see it and read it.

Sign can be a flattening of the ground; a disturbance such as pushing a twig or rock into the ground; a regularity caused by lines in their footwear; or a color change or shine from the subject's passing. When I'm looking to pick up sign, I cut for sign by moving perpendicular to the direction I think the subject is heading and pick up a starting point...and like I said, we call this 'Cutting for Sign'.

It is valuable to place the area you are looking at between yourself and the Sun as this provides the best light situation, both contrast and shadow wise, to notice disturbances. If I pickup a track, I'll study it to ensure I can recognize it again. Sometimes I'll take pictures, like I did for evidence when I was building a case of Archeological or Environmental crimes as a Conservation Law Enforcement Officer. Sometimes I would even fill out a Track Report with full measurements and pattern descriptions for future reference and identification.

The basic sign you'll see is a foot print, full print or partial. You can tell many things from one or more prints: type of foot gear, rate of travel, and stride (distance between toe of one print to the heel of the next). You can gain some perspective on what the subject is thinking such as evidence left, such as the pressure release created by his footwear, which can show things like him turning around checking his back trail from someone trailing him or even looking up.

The disturbed area caused by the foot, called the Pressure Release, can give you an indication on the individual's weight, balance and speed. Normally the toe of the foot gear pushes sand or dirt forward in the direction of movement and this is called toe dirt.

An interrupted heel can add a little difficultly at first in reading the pressure release, but this can be overcome by comparing several prints or pressure releases to see what is normal.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tying Knots - The Neckerchief Knot

You'll never hardly see a working Cowboy without a neckerchief around his neck. Sometimes called a wild rag, a neck rag, or a bandanna this triangular piece or a square piece of cloth, folded over, is too much of a needed item not to go without.

Cowboys, proud of their gear, often use brightly colored or fancy neckerchiefs, which are more often called "Wild Rags". Paisley patterned or polka dotted are very common.

Some prefer to wear them loose and some prefer tied tight around the neck. I prefer a loose neckerchief and use it for everything from wiping sweat, cleaning glasses or binocular lens', to wrapping around my nose and mouth to protect against sand blown in high winds which are common down here in West Texas.

In the video below I explain several methods of tying a neckerchief knot or wild rag knot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Helping the Buddy Sour Horse

I received an e-mail from Janet whose horse gets agitated and near uncontrollable when separated from other horses on the trail. Or in other words is Buddy Sour.

Horses, are of course, prey animals who find safety in a herd. Think about being dropped off in the middle of the desert in pitch darkness with coyotes howling and brush cracking and you can start to feel what a horse feels like separated from the herd...excepting Horses rely on instinct, people tend to rationalize.

A buddy sour horse can be dangerous as the horse may bolt in his anxiety to catch up with the other horses. I think it's best to instill confidence in your horse and trust in you starting small with short distance and short duration separations from the other horses on a trail ride and build from there.

I've been on horses who were comfortable with just me and them being gone all day or night long by ourselves, but sometimes that same horse will get anxious when with a group of horses then separated.

When a horse I'm on gets buddy sour and wants to catch up I think it's important that you get the horse to travel at the pace you want, either a walk or a jog. DOn;t buy into to his anxiety. If you let him take off to catch up then you are teaching him that he has a reason to be scared and needs to catch up to the herd.

I'll keep stopping, backing, then make a horse stand still for a moment before I let him proceed forward. I may have to do this many times on a ride to teach him that he needs to go at the pace I'm asking for.

Sometimes, if needed, I put some energy into tight circles, which makes the horse uncomfortable and therefore looking forward to standing still or walking off at the slow pace I'm looking for. Good luck, Janet, and be careful - don't let your horse get away from you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Army Scout - Tom Horn

Tom Horn, Army Scout, Range Detective but best known for a murder conviction and hanging, was born in 1860 in northeast Missouri. He reportedly left home as a young teen, heading west in search of adventure, because of an abusive father.

He eventually headed for the Southwest, where he became a wrangler and scout for the Army in the Apache wars working under famous Army Scout Al Sieber. Becoming Chief of Scouts under Generals Crook and Miles, he was instrumental in capturing Geronimo for the final time. Horn had a very good reputation as a Scout and tracker for the U.S. Cavalry.

After the Apache campaign Tom Horn became a “Stock Detective” hired primarily for his skills with a rifle against rustlers. He took part in the Pleasant Valley War in Arizona between cattlemen and sheepmen, but it is not known for certain as to which side he was allied, and both sides suffered several killings to which no known suspects were ever identified, however it is pretty well believed that Horn worked for the Cattlemen who were better funded and more politically connected. Plus Sheepmen were universally disliked in the West.

Horn was arrested, tried in a controversial trial and hanged the day before his 43rd birthday in 1903 for the murder of a young boy. A drunken omission of guilt, plus evidence that the boy’s body was found with Horn’s trademark,…a rock placed underneath the head, helped convict Tom Horn, who was never previously known to be an indiscriminate killer.

After his death a retrial was held in 1993 in which he was declared innocent. The New York Times described the trial, “Once Guilty, Now Innocent, But Still Dead.”

Tom Horn remains an enigma, but his service and reputation as an Army Scout was never questionable.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Safely Mounting Your Horse - Revisited

Last week I received a call that a friend of mine was in transport to the hospital
after getting tossed off him horse, a young Arabian mare. From a another who witnessed the event, apparently my friend stepped into the stirrup without holding on to the reins or at least not holding onto them in a secure manner. The Arab mare took off as the rider tried to get his seat and a few hops later he was tossed off and landed on his side breaking the ball off his femur as it goes into the pelvis.

This simply happened because he got careless. I have known at least five or six people try to mount with no reins or a loose hold on the reins,...or leaning way back and pulling the horse of balance which gets them to move their feet and when they move their feet they just may not stop. Some of these same people further complicate their safety by letting their horses get away with bad habits such as walking off as they get their seat.

Anyway, I got a little mad when I received the call and was asked to do another post on mounting in a safe manner. Hope the video helps those who still may be mounting in an unsafe manner. Safe Journey.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Exposing Your Horse to Gunfire

I have long been asked about how to train your horse for gunfire. I always answer something to the effect "Don't know,..haven't done it yet,..but imagine it's like sacking your horse out to any obstacle,..start small, aim build up at the horse's pace and reward even his smallest try and build on that.

I have had people shoot around my horses, but one shot thirty feet away is much different than several shots close up. Add the smell of gun smoke and you have a different situation.

So I started exposing one of my horses to gunfire with the aim to shoot off him like the Cowboy Mounted Shooters do when riding a course and shooting balloons with blanks.

I secured a box of .45 Long Colt blank from Buffalo Blanks and started shooting 6 to 12 rounds at a distance of about 25 feet while my horses were eating. At first they startled and move away. I let them get back to their feed, then shot again, By the 4th or 5th round, they continued eating, just looking in my direction.

The next drill is to shoot several rounds near the horse. You can hold onto the
reins and shoot away from him, then as he becomes more comfortable, shoot from near his side or he'll be more used to you shooting from the saddle. This is what you'll see on the video below, then I'll try from horseback, while in the arena or round pen...just in case he gets me off so I don;t have to chase him, ha ha.

You see me giving my horse some cookies. Horses, when eating, releases endorphins and can helps calm them down and is a reward for a smaller and smaller startle reflex.

One more thing, safe...then be extra safe. Ensure you are using blanks and always fire them into a safe direction. Be sure and clean your gun regularly if using blanks as the unburned powder and residue sure gums it up a considerable amount.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reader Question - Looking for Someone to Ride my Excess Horses

I received a question from Teresa, via e-mail: "Hello. I am 61 years old and still riding. I am kind of a horse saver, taking horses from people who can no longer ride or care for them. I have two younger horses that I cannot get time to ride. Do you know someone in the Scottsdale, Arizona area that you would trust to put some time in on some young horses for me?"

You bet Teresa. Glad to hear you are still riding. I have a old partner of mine out in that area and I believe he is currently riding horses for some people, just like you're asking about.

His name is Dan Buckingham and he is a very experienced Cowboy. He can be contacted at

Tell him I sent you to him. In fact, tell him I said he looks like hell but is a damn good hand. He'll get a belly laugh outa that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reader Question - Are there Two Sides to a Horse?

I received a question from Bill in North Carolina concerning his horse being better on one side than the other. Bill said his horse seems to be better and calmer on things approaching him or objects that he approaches on his left side than the right. Bill wanted to know if this was common and what to do about it.

Yes Bill, this is common, barring an eye injury or some physiological reason why your horse would have a hard time seeing out of the right eye. Best to get a Vet to look at your horse to confirm or deny a problem with the eye.

Much like the concept that people are either right brained or left brained, some horse trainers think that horses think differently on what they see either out of their right or left eye. While I don't think that's necessarily true or un-true, I do know that what you train your horse on on one side you need to do the other. I'll leave it to the experts to determine this right brain, left brain thing and how it applies to horse behavior and training.

You want your horse to be equally comfortable on either side. Approaching obstacles, like the one your horse spooks at; mounting either on the left side or the off side; and all other things you do with him.

I think it just makes sense to sack your horse out on both sides. Someone asked me once why I saddle, mount and dismount from different sides as opposed to doing it all on the left side. I said I just wanted my horse to be used to me doing things on both sides. Besides, what if you were on a steep trail with a drop off on your left and had to dismount for some reason? You wouldn't want to do it for the first time on that trail.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Handguns for the Trail

I received a comment on the Saddle Guns post from Glenn in J City, Missouri. "I don't want to carry a rifle, but I am thinking a handgun would be a good idea when trail riding. Sometimes I ride by myself and other times I ride with teenage children who I am nonetheless responsible for. What type of handgun do you suggest for carrying when riding?"

Glenn, assuming you are working within existing laws concerning carrying guns, I am an advocate of always carrying a gun. I prefer saddle carbines like the ones I covered on the post you commented through. Handguns are handy (that’s why they call them hand guns). I sometimes carry only handgun when it makes sense.

When I was a Army Range Rider, I carried several different handguns: Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver, Glock model 22 .40 cal, and Beretta 92F in 9mm - whatever was allowed at the time by my Agency. I generally carry a S&W .357 magnum handgun now, but sometimes I carry a single action revolver in .45 LC as the .45 Long Colt caliber is readily available in snake shot shells and blanks for training horses on gunfire.

I think you can get used to practically any handgun and but some more suited to others. I prefer revolvers. The good thing about a .357 magnum revolver is that you can shoot .38 Special cartridges in it which will have less recoil and noise. The good thing about a .45 LC is that the round is a better stopper on wild dogs or pigs and the shotshells allow you to stand back a bit more when shooting snakes.

Double action revolvers are easier to shoot and usually have better sights. Single Action revolvers have to be cocked and most single action revolvers have a sight channel cut into the top strap which is visible after cocking. Single actions are generally not the choice for precision shots. But I like them because of their simplicity, light weight, clean lines and because of their history. The handgun pictured is a copy of the Colt Single Action revolver.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice. Just have to make the decision on the caliber. Handguns are a good tool to have,..from personal protection against two and four legged varmints and snakes to having to put a horse down who has a broken leg or other severe injury and it unrecoverable. Safe Journey Glenn.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Natural Horsemanship versus Functional Horsemanship

I received the following question through the comment block on the post about Jubal – the Mustang Nobody Wanted. Anonymous said, “Good site, thanks for all the information. What is the difference between what I have seen with Natural Horsemanship and what you are calling Functional Horsemanship? Is it something physical or a philosophy? Thanks again.”

I can see how you may be confused, being that most people want to give things labels, and in some cases, end up confuses most of us. The term “Natural Horsemanship”, I believe, it a copy righted term that defines Pat Parelli’s approach to horse training. Craig Cameron, on the other hand, advertises “American Horsemanship”. I have seen a lot of Craig Cameron’s philosophy and enough of Pat Parelli to tell you they both advocate approaches that are consistent with Tom and Bill Dorrance, and Ray Hunt, all of whom are credited in some way to bringing a better, safer and more gentle method to training horses, rather than the old method of man handling or making horses conform....using pressure and release,...making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard,, I would not get too concerned about titles, all of the top trainers and instructors use methods that would, in total or mostly, be approved of by the Dorrance brothers and Ray Hunt.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I didn’t invent anything when it comes to horses or training. I was taught by someone else, and by many people in fact. The reason I titled this site “Functional Horsemanship”, was because I am trying to help horses through their new owners or maybe even an old owner who just grew up not really understanding much about horses. I think if you have horses you need to be “functional” with them,…able to enjoy the relationship with them and in particular riding, but also know enough to give these horses a fair life,…..because these horses did not choose the owner,…the owners chose those horses.

I have taught riding and horsemanship to small military units, who had a need to have some rudimentary skills with horses because they have found themselves in places and situations where horses (and sometimes mules and camels) were the only viable means of transportation. One Army Special Forces team asked me to give them some instruction on horses because they had just came back from a tour in Afghanistan where they sat at a base camp for four months only doing foot patrols because trucks were non-existent and none of them knew enough about horses to use the horses that the indigenous troops used. So I said something like,..”So it appears to me that you want some functional horsemanship skills” and the name just stuck.

Again, I didn’t invent anything. Sometimes I have a client or someone else say to me “Wow, I didn’t know that!”, and I always reply “Hell, I didn’t know it either until someone taught me.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jubal - The Mustang Nobody Wanted

This is a first post in hopefully a series of posts chronicling not just some of the training but the relationship progress with a human for Jubal who is a Mustang that I bought about 17 months ago that had been saved from a sales barn where he was purchased for slaughter.

I got a call from a local lady who works with the local courts and law enforcement to confiscate animals from neglect, abandonment or brutality cases and who is a leading area advocate for responsible animal ownership.

She asked me to take a look at this young Mustang she had saved, actual bought from a horse slaughter buyer. She was looking to find someone who could handle this Mustang and give him a good home. I was not looking for another horse but I agreed to look him over so I could tell other people about him.

What I learned was this Mustang came off one of the five or six Mustang herds in Oklahoma around three years ago now, but ended up in a shipping pen in North Texas enroute to the Sales Barn in El Paso where horses are purchased for the slaughter plants in Mexico to support the European horse meat demand. She bought him and had him shipped to a farm in Southern New Mexico where he was corraled for a year without handling - because he was too wild.

He was then sent to a local ranch for training, but they had to rope him to get halter on him and gave him some ground training in the round pen, but now needed to get rid of him as they were doing this for free and did not see any potential use in him, only headaches.

WHen I looked at him, I found a horse who was fearful, but I thought he had it in him to learn. I ended up buying him and thinking that he was either coming four or five, I would start over with him treating him like a two year old, put some ground training and a few rides on him, then wait for next year where I would treat him like a 3 year old and start his real training. That's where we are at now.

When I first brought him home, he was so fearful that he tried to jump out of his pen when I corrected him about being pushy on feed. He has also tried to jump out of the round pen a couple times as well. Let's see, he was reared up a couple times trying to paw me with his hooves and bite me in the stomach once and the arm twice. I didn't take offense as he was doing what he thought he needed to do at the time.

Over the past year, with a few rides in the round pen on him and constant handling on the ground, he was developed some trust in me that will make him accept a rider and become a brave horse. What makes him unusual to the Mustangs you see on the Mustang Makeovers, is the treatment he had to have received while in the shipping pens in North Texas and a few weeks in the sales pens in West Texas. That is where he undoubtedly learned that he was not going to get a fair deal form humans. That is what I must correct.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Question on Trail Tools

I received the following from Steve in Walla Walla which is in Washington State
"I read a article in Western Horseman magazine on backcounty tools. Good article and was wondering what you recommend carrying on the trail. Steve from Walla Walla."

Steve thanks for your question. I understand their are some pretty good horses up in your part of country, which was a long time ago part of the Nez Perce or Palouse Nation,...correct me if I am wrong. I am also thinking that there was a Territorial Prison in Walla Walla,...maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, to answer your question. I also read the excellent article in Western Horseman written by Ryan T. Bell. I believe the gist of the article was indispensable tools for going into the backcountry implying trips of multiple days. Ryan Bell advocated carrying a fencing tool, a camp hachet, a folding knife, a multi-tool (Gerber or Leatherman type) and a outfitter's saw. Which are all good choices.

I think the environment where you going is going to determine to a great extent what you need. I have no use for a hachet or outfitters saw in the desert and even in the pinon scrub and pine trees in the mountains.

Your question kinda implied trail riding, which is different (to me) than heading into the back country. Each and every time I head out even for short distances, I have the following items with me:

Rain Slicker. Even though we only get about 8 inches of rain a year a rain slicker is more than just a rain poncho. I can sack my horse or other horses out on a rider untying and putting on a slicker. If I get a sudden hail storm, I can use it to protect my horse's head - did that a time or two. It can also become a expedient blanket as well.

I carry an old combo tool like a shoe puller with slotted ends on the handle in case I have to pull a shoe. I carry a mini fencing plier with me also in case I have to go through a fence then fix it, or to cut away wire if one of the horse's gets caught up in some wire we didn't see.

I carry a good set of Leupold 8x42 powder river binoculars.

There is always some antiseptic wound powder, wound bandage, vet wrap and the absorbent end of a women's tampon in a vaccum packed bag in case I have to treat cactus thorn punctures or cuts and abrasions out in the field - also done that a time or two.

I carry a Hoof Wrap in case I get a sole puncture or have to take off a shoe. These Hoof Wraps are fold up ballistic type nylon and velcro hoof boots with a rubber type pad. You'll see a picture on one on the left side of this site. These come from the manufacturer with a size 2 or so pad which I trim to my biggest footed horse, which is a size 1, so it's a universal fit. These Hoof Wraps lay flat and are lightweight. Great trail kit.

I also carry a small canvas bag with some long and short Chicago screws and leather string in case I have to make field repairs to my or someone else's tack.

I am always carrying a fixed blade knife with a blade length of 3 to 4 inches. And almost always am packing a handgun and/or saddle rifle.

It is always a good idea to also carry a cell phone in case you get into trouble. And don't forget the water, even if you are going for just a few hours

Safe Journey Steve.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Craig Cameron - The Cowboy's Clinician

I have mentioned Craig Cameron, a Texas based trainer and clinician, a couple times before. However, he will be the last one to call himself a clinician. He simply calls himself a student of the horse,...a aspiring horseman. I recently had the opportunity to watch another of his clinics, for the 30th or so time, this time up at the 2010 Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Craig say's his first job is to take the fear out of the horse and he demonstrates by starting colts, which he has never seen before he gets in the round pen with them. In the interests of time and demonstrating in front of a crowd, Craig hurries things up a bit and ends up puts the first ride on these colts within the hour.

Think about it,...taking a fearful young horse in front of a large noisy crowd and within the hour gentling this horse enough so the horse will accept a rider and behave himself (for the most part) for a first ride.

Below: Craig answering questions from the crowd as the Paint Mare he just finished with looks on.

Craig with a troubled Palomino Mare who he nonetheless got to willingly accept him in the saddle within the hour.

It is certainly worth a long trip and expense to either go to one of Craig's clinics or to see one of his demonstrations.

Craig is the author of one of the best selling, if not the best selling Horsemanship book, titled "Ride Smart". This book is a must have reference book for all horseman, experienced or not. The best way to get one of his books is at a riding clinic of his; second best way is to buy one after watching one his demonstrations; the last way to get a copy is to buy from his web site, or through the link at the bottom of this page.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pre-Ride Check on New Horse

I received this e-mail from Judy in Phoenix, AZ: "I am in my mid 30's and will shortly be buying my first horse. Several people at the barn, I will stable my horse at, have offered to go with me. I am a fairly novice rider. Should I do a test ride first? And what should I do when trying out a horse? I know me and I think I'll just fall in love with the first horse that I know could be mine, but I know what a responsibility this will be and want to make a good choice., and not look like an idiot."

Judy, good questions! Like your attitude about horses. As you can probably tell from my videos, I never worry about looking like an idiot. Horses ain't the right business to get into if you have a big ego anyway.

Test riding a horse is mandatory. I suggest a few things when you get into the saddle. Does the horse move off when you mount? Does the horse willing give to lateral flexion when you ask for it in a direct rein? Does the horse back upon cue? Does the horse move his front end or back end over with leg pressure? This will give you an idea on how broke the horse is for riding and what to expect from him when you ride him off. You could ask the owner to ride the horse first, fact this would be a good idea, and ask the owner to demonstrate what the horse knows. Watch how the horse reacts to the rider.

Many times I'll ride with somebody and am asked to ride their horse to see what I think a problem may be. I always or nearly always go through a little pre-ride check before taking the horse forward. The below video shows you what I basically do.

A vet check on any prospective horse may be a good idea also as it may you some problems. Take along anybody who has more experience than you; listen to them; but make your own non-emotional decision would be my advice. I suggest you ask the owner why he/she is selling the horse as well. Good luck to you and safe journey.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tying Knots - The Square Knot

I was reminded that I have not completed a post on the simple square knot. So I offer this post.

The square knot is a quick knot to secure two different sections or pieces of rope, or to tie a rope together as in a loop.

I used the square knot a lot, using leather stings to tie to bridles to bits or to hackamores. I'll also use this knot to secure ropes or other items to my saddles using the saddle strings. I have also used this knot to rig a chest loop to hook to another rope to make a descent down a small cliff or gulley to retrieve lost equipment,....such as hats that got blowed off, and I imagine it would come in handy to quickly get down to an injured horse or rider as well.

The square knot, see the photo above, is just a loop with the end of the rope coming back onto itself. To make this knot secure, you can add a half hitch on each end and dress up the knot.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Equine Chiropractic Technique Seminar

I often post Horse related events that may of interest to people. Although I am not necessary a believer in equine chiropractic care,...I am not a disbeliever either. I have used human Chiropractors in the past, probably need one now as well, and know they can bring a great deal of relief to humans, I think equine chiropractic care has potential to help horses.

Equine Chiropractic Technique Seminar

Where: Montara, California--November 20th and 21st, 2010. 20 miles south of San Francisco.

What: Hands-On horse chiropractic technique seminar.

Only 15 Registrants Accepted.

Conducted by Dr. Daniel Kamen, D.C. author of The Well Adjusted Horse. Last seminar in California . Dr. Kamen is retiring.

Learn how to adjust horses step by step. All moves are done by hand--no mallets and no instruments. Full Spine, Extremities. Learn how to restore normal joint function wherever possible. Even small people can adjust horses. Speed, not brute force. Learn the "Pre-Race Adjusting Sequecne" can cut a full second off the time.

This is a teaching clinic. Only registrants can bring their horses. No outside clients accepted. However, registrants do not need to bring their horse. They will be provided at the barn.

The cost per registrant is $450.00. Price includes the 16 hours of step by step hands-on training, adjusting DVD's, Workbooks, Lunch.

For details call Dr. Kamen at 1-800-742-8433 or email subject line "Montara Seminar Details."

Supervised by licensed veterinarian.

This seminar does not legally entitle anyone to work on horses other than their own. Most states only allow a licensed veterinarian to do this.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Horse Health Care - Floating Teeth and Cleaning Sheaths

One of the most overlooked aspects to a Horse’s Health is care of his teeth. A Horse’s teeth will grow or erupt continuously until late in their life,..maybe 27-30 years old. The horse uses his front teeth (incisors) to bite off or grab grass or hay then pull back to their rear teeth (molars) in order to grind up the feed for swallowing.

Because of conformity issues with the horse’s teeth and jaw as well as due to basic diets of less fiber and natural grasses the horse will often not be able to wear down or polish his teeth very well. This creates an un-even bite, or “hooks” and “points” on his back molars and can lead to the horse not being able to chew his feed very effectively, which of course impacts on increased chance of colic. If the “points” and “hooks” are severe enough, they can wear sores on the inside of the horse’s mouth which can cause eating problems and even behavior problems, especially when wearing a halter or bridle. If you have ever broken a tooth and had the sharp end digging into your cheek you know what I mean when I say this can be very painful.

Care for a horse’s teeth, in a field known as equine dentistry, is through a Vet check of the horse’s mouth and teeth “floating” where the Vet rasps or grinds a horse’s teeth back into a smooth and usable condition. Floating teeth can be done “manually” using a rasp or file or the Vet can use an specialized electric drill with a special ceramic type grinding end and this is called “power floating”.

There is a misunderstanding about power floating that it can be very invasive and can tear up the teeth in short order. I have had horse dentist manually and power float teeth. Both are effective, however I would have to say that power floating is not only safer, but more comfortable to the horse and much quicker.

How often do you need to get your horse’s teeth floated? Depends on many factors such as genetics, previous injuries, type of feed they are on,….but to give you an idea, I have my Vet float my horse’s teeth every 14-18 months. The Vet sedates the horse with a combination of Rompum (sp?) and Torbugesic then uses a speculum on a bridle to keep the horse’s mouth open to do the floating.

Signs that your horse needs to have his teeth checked and possibly floated include: eating very slowly; needing more feed than usual to keep weight on; evidence of dropping bolts of partially chewed feed; behavior problems with a bridle, halter or bit; excessive salivating; not liking it when you rub him on the jaw; larger pieces of non-digested feed in his manure. The video below depicts a power floating of the back molars (Floating Part I).

The vet will also correct any problems with the uneven wear on the front teeth (incisors) as well as remove any excessive plaque build up on those teeth. See below video (Floating Part II).

Another overlooked part of Horse Health care for geldings and Stallions is the cleaning of the sheath and penis. A waxy buildup, called a bean, can get lodged near the horse’s urethra and make extension for urination painful as well as the waxy buildup on the inside of the sheath causing pain upon extension. We clean our geldings’ sheaths often and as thoroughly as we can without sedating the horse. But you can imagine how thoroughly you can clean the sheath when the horse is sedated. The third video shows the horse’s sheath being cleaned using water and a anti-septic solution.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reader Question on Guns and History

I received this reader question. "Why all the articles on guns and history? I see Horsemanship in the title but see many articles on things other than relating to riding a horse. I stayed with your site for awhile but am now considering not coming back to read at all because of all the essentially non horseback riding or training information. What gives? P.S. Not trying to offend."

I learned along time ago not to wear my feelings on my sleeves,....that's pretty important when you work with horses, so I don't take offense. Not that I won't get bowed up when I have an inclination to.

I like history, particularly the Old West where living was dependent upon enduring hardships, learning quickly and often relying on horses and a person's ability to build a relationship with one.

My Grandfather (1878-1880) and my Uncle (1914-1918) were in the Calvary and I was one of the last Army Rider Riders who lineage came from the old Army Scouts who were soldiers, ex-soldiers, civilians and Indians. So I'm gonna write about subjects like that from time to time.

As far as guns go, they are another tool, like a pair of fencing pliers (ever used a pair?) or even a lariat. Many places you can still ride while carrying a gun, and particularly carrying a rifle is damn good idea. A Cowboy from Montana, 45ColtLC, and I have been discussing appropriate calibers for riding in Grizzly country for several weeks now.

My original idea, and still main focus, for this site was to provide information and help to the many backyard or small acreage horse owners who otherwise can't access training or attend clinics....and then it sorta branched off into the subjects you asked me about,...kinda natural I think, but if you don't think so then you may one of those who just needs to trailer to a clinic from a professional. Many can't do so, and those are the people (and horses) I'm trying to help as well as also write some things of interest to me in particular. I'm sorry I can't be more than that. Safe Journey to you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One Tough Mule

I received this from a friend of mine,...

A couple from Montana were out riding on the range, he with his rifle and she (fortunately) with her camera. Their dogs always followed them, and on this occasion a Mountain Lion decided he wanted to stalk the dogs (you'll see the dogs in the background watching). Very, very bad decision.

As the Mountain Lion got closer and was noticed by the couple, the man got off the mule with his rifle and decided to shoot in the air to scare away the lion, but before he could get off a shot, the lion decided he wanted a piece of those dogs and charged. With that, the mule took off and decided he wanted a piece of that lion. That's when all hell broke loose .... for the lion.

As the lion approached the dogs, the mule snatched him up by the tail and started whirling him around, banging its head on the ground with every pass. Then he dropped it, stomped on it and held it to the ground by the throat. The mule then got down on his knees and bit the thing all over a couple of dozen times to make sure it was dead, then whipped it into the air again, walked back over to the couple (who were in stunned silence) and stood there ready to continue the ride ... as if nothing had just happened.

Fortunately even though the hunter didn't get off a shot, his wife got off these four ...