It’s Hot, Hot, Hot!

Well friends, it seems the cold front has lifted and let me just tell you… it’s HOT, HOT, HOT outside! Have you watched the weather my friends? While it may be cool inside your air conditioned home, the barn has been a living sauna for the past few days and it looks like things will only be heating up over the weekend!

This means only one thing of course! Bring your horses inside the house! (I kid, I kid) Maybe perhaps you want to bring your air conditioner out to the stalls to keep your horses a bit more comfortable? No? You think not? Well, harumph… but anyway… here are a few ways to help your equine friends beat the heat.

-Provide lots of fresh, cool, water. Yeah, I know that its obvious, but its really important!

– Keep your horses inside in a ventilated barn, or let them outside and provide shade. No one wants to be trapped out in the hot sun or in a stuffy barn with the temperatures rising!

– Consider installing fans in your barn to help keep the air circulating.

– Provide free choice salt and electrolytes to your horse. This will help to keep your horse in chemical balance and make sure that your horse is super healthy!

– Make sure to use PLENTY of fly spray on your four-legged friends! The bugs will drive them BATTY and make them move far more then they may want to in the weather.

– Providing cool water baths throughout the day will help to cool down your horses. Feeling generous? Hook up a sprinkler in the pasture and watch your horses learn to love it?

– Still feeling the need to ride? Make sure that you do it early in the day or late in the evening to be as nice as possible!

What are your tips of the trade?

Stay Cool!
Sweet Pea

Banning Eventing? Something Stinks!

PETA is working hard to call for an end for eventing after two high profile horse deaths in European eventing competitions this past month. While I am all for the ethical treatment of horses (obviouslyyyyy), I’m thinking that this is taking it a bit too far!

In an announcement on the organization’s PETA Germany web site, the group wrote: “PETA urges all riders to be aware of the dangers that await them and their beloved animals. Every horse owner should hold) the welfare of his animals at heart, so we ask all eventers, to think carefully whether they want to risk the life of their own and their animals…In addition, we ask all spectators to refrain from visiting such events.”

And well, Ouch! I know that when my human asks me to jump a few logs in the woods she has my interests at heart. And lets face it, have you seen the look in the eyes of the high level eventers heading to the starting box? That, my friends, is pure bliss… certainly not terror.

What do you think? The United States Eventing Association is working hard to make the sport safer, but do you think it should be banned? Let me know your thoughts! I want to hear from your side of the fence!

Ta-Ta for Now!
Sweet Pea

Check it Out Now!

Oh, whats that? You think that you’ve seen my adorable face and witty words somewhere else on the interwebs? Its true! The great folks at Manna Pro wanted to hear from ME about the differences between Barn Lime and Sweet PDZ. Want to read it? You know you do! Check it out here! http://info.mannapro.com/mannaproanimalcareblog/bid/146837/Using-Barn-Lime-Think-Again-Our-Friend-Sweet-Pea-Explains-Why

What did you think? I’m so excited that I’m hitting the big leagues and making my voice heard near and far!

Signing Off Now!
Sweet Pea

Fake Tail Faux Pas

Fake tails are all the rage these days… but what do you think the judges think about them. While it’s been a while since my human and I made a venture into the Equitation rings however we do still dabble in the Low (LOW LOW) hunters Do you show Equitation or Hunters? Well here are what some judges had to say:

Fran Dotoli: A fake tail can make a horse look more attractive, which is a good feature in hunters and equitation. But like a nice riding coat, they should “fit”: i.e., not a huge hairpiece on a small pony.

Geoff Teall: In my way of thinking, which is very old fashioned, I would expect judges to watch either the horse in hunter classes, or the rider in equitation classes. I can think of many, many things that should be ahead of the size of the tail in determining the winner. In fact, I think everything should be considered in either a hunter or equitation class ahead of the size of the tail. This is a pet peeve of mine, and it is completely out of control in my opinion. Shame on all of us.

Katie Young: Typically, a horse with a poor or mediocre tail does look better with a fake tail. As a hunter, this improvement is a bit more valuable than on an equitation horse, but both hunters and equitation riders are being judged on the whole picture. The improvement in appearance is not equal from one horse to another, and some fake tails are unappealing and distracting. The tail, fake or not, mediocre or full, shouldn’t be more than a tie breaker in a performance class.

Betty Beran: That is a question of esthetics; a hunter may look more balanced with a better tail, as may an equitation horse. However, it is not required anywhere. How do you feel about your appearance? Would you like to make a great impression, or is it OK to sort of just show? If you are really good, you can learn to tie in a tail extension on your own without the braider or with the braider’s instruction, and then perhaps have the tail braided for your most important classes. Of course, that being said, nothing is worse than having the tail fall out.

Beverly Jovais: I think a fake tail finishes the picture of a well turned-out horse. A ratty tail does nothing to decorate the horse or add to my overall impression. It, in fact, distracts. That goes for hunters and equitation in my book.

Penny Carpenter: Being from the “old school,‟ I never expect to see a fake tail and don’t really take it into account either in the hunter division or the equitation division. My thought is that if used, it should look natural.

Debbie Sands: I do not expect a fake tail, and it does not figure in equitation at all.

What about you? Does your horse rock the fake tail? Or did you say no to the fake? 

Creepy, Crawly Caterpillars!

Be on the lookout! I want all owners of horses, mules and donkeys to know that they should keep their precious animal friends away from trees favored by eastern tent caterpillars!  I talked it up with with a few of the University of Missouri Extension specialists, because this is the sort of thing that they do everyday… (and frankly, I eat hay most of the day…)

According to Wayne Bailey, MU Extension entomologist, the eastern tent caterpillar, a native defoliator, typically appears  in great numbers after a mild winter and wet spring.

Not only are the gross and creepy and crawling and yucky and… and… and… but they are dangerous too! “When ingested by pregnant mares, these caterpillars can cause mare  reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS), which results in the aborting of  late-term foal fetuses,” said MU Extension forage specialist Craig  Roberts.

Roberts tells me this this is why they are so bad, “The caterpillar’s setae (hairs) are pointy hollow barbs that can  penetrate the intestinal walls of the mare and introduce bacteria to  susceptible organs, including reproductive organs and amniotic fluids.”

“They can be in water or near water tanks, and horses swallow them as  they drink,” Roberts said. “They can be on the ground and consumed  during grazing.”

The caterpillars are most often found in the crotch or fork of wild  cherry trees, wild plum trees and other ornamentals in the spring.

The caterpillars are most often found in the crotch or fork of wild cherry trees, wild plum trees and other ornamentals in the spring.

The eastern tent caterpillar is distinguished from other caterpillars  by its opulent pearl-white stripe down its back and iridescent blue  dots, so be on the lookout! The caterpillars strip trees of their leaves after building a thick  web nest or “tent.” They leave the nest when trees leaf out, then  migrate to sites such as the sides of trees, debris on the ground,  fences or sides of buildings, where they will spin cocoons.

So now that you know all about them… how do you banish them from the barn? There are several ways to manage the pest, Bailey said. Homeowners  can simply collect the webbing and worms and burn them. Some might  prefer environmentally friendly pesticides such as neem oil or Bt  (Bacillus thuringiensis). For large areas or where infestation is  intense, over-the-counter options include Sevin, which contains  carbaryl. Caterpillar tents are water-repellent, so water-based  insecticides will be ineffective.

Stay Safe!
Sweet Pea

No Hoof, No Horse!

You know the saying: “No Hoof, No Horse.” I am a firm believer in caring for those tooties! Hooves are important… after all, it’s what I stand for, errrrr, ON! So today we caught up with Callista Gredys, and she told us all about the ultimate diet for hoof health.

It could be debated that one of most pivotal roles of a horse’s anatomy is that of its hooves. The hoof itself is a skin derived appendage called hoof horn which protects the underlying corium of the foot. A wall of hoof horn surrounds the base of the limb and plays an important role in the bearing of weight and performance of the horse. If this wall is not properly maintained it can lead to discomfort, cracking, pain and potentially infection.

The composition of the hoof wall is a skin derivative which absorbs nutrients and proteins in the horse’s blood stream. Often, these nutrients are processed through the large intestines from grass and feed. But occasionally, for various reasons, a horse will not have the means or ability to accommodate the health of their hooves. Which is why a supplemental diet is important to the maintenance and integrity of a horse’s hooves.

Biotin is a popular feed supplement used to maintain hoof health. This compound contains sulphur and vitamin B which helps maintain and grow new hoof horn. Biotin is a water soluble mineral, which means it’s not stored in the body for very long – which is why a daily dose of biotin is important in the maintenance of healthy hooves. On average a hoof can grow up to 3/8 inch per month, which means it could take several months to notice any benefit of the supplemental diet. This is why it is important to stay optimistic and continue a daily dose of biotin.”

Ticks? Ick!

I’ll just come right out and say it… TICKS ARE GROSS! Not only do they give me the heebie-jeebies and are a pain in the neck (or tushy, or leg, or…) but they can also transmit some nasty diseases! While it would be wonderful to tell you how to eradicate ticks completely, I’m sorry to say that I can’t. I can, however, share with you some tips and tricks for keeping them at bay.

Keep pastures, riding rings, and areas surrounding the barn mowed and well trimmed. Tall grass is a haven for ticks… especially in shady, humid areas. So be sure to take about their  main habitat!

Keeping your horses’ legs clipped will help you to see ticks better when they attack the legs, but be sure to check your horse over daily for potential ticks. Be sure to check the dock of the tail and under the mane, two GREAT hiding spots for the icky tickies. Applying a quality fly repellent may help to deter ticks, but it is not a 100% foolproof solution.

Consider getting a few guinea fowl or free range chickens for around the barn… they consider ticks a delicacy!

What about you? How do you give ticks the brush off?

Jump to It!

I am super excited to announce the partnership of Sweet PDZ and Hallway Feeds in presenting the 2013 Hallway Feeds United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) National Hunter Derby Series!  Each year this high level competition draws the top horse and rider combinations from around the country and is hosted at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.  While I WISH that I could be attending, I’ll have to sit back on the sidelines due to Pea Pod’s recent arrival (yeah, let’s just go with that’s the ONLY reason I won’t be jumping the big jumps this year ;))

The 2013 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series will consist of one class during each of the Spring and Summer shows. The shows are as follows:

  • Kentucky Spring Horse Show                  May 8 ‐ 12
  • Kentucky Spring Classic                          May 15 ‐ 19
  • Kentucky Summer Horse Show              July 24 ‐ 28
  • Kentucky Summer Classic                      July 31 – August 4
  • Bluegrass Festival                                   August 14 ‐ 18
  • Kentucky Hunter Jumper Association    August 21 ‐ 25
  • Kentucky National Horse Show              September 18 ‐ 22

The USHJA National Hunter Derby program will be in its fourth year in 2013 and is growing in prestige and popularity! The show series is unique in that Amateurs, Juniors and Professional riders are eligible to compete, giving it a broad base of support and interest.  It should be a great time, for competing horses and “spectators” like me alike! For more information on this Hunter Derby Series visit, www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.