Saturday, December 27, 2008

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that...

Hope everyone has had an enjoyable holiday and been as fortunate as I have, to spend some time with your families.

Here's a cute little video with the Budweiser Clydesdales.

It's update time:



Yes she has arrived and is doing exceptionally well. Well, except for the lack of NAME!
"Fluffy" as she has been called her entire life (if you can imagine-poor thing) arrived at London City Stables after a terrifying drive in white-out conditions from Michigan.
Originally owned and trained by Stacy and Jessie Westfall who remember her as a "very sweet mare that we let the kids ride - maybe a 70 or 71 horse" (I will explain this later), Fluffy is bred to rein. Her date of birth is March 6th, 2000, which means she's coming up to her 9th birthday January 1st.
For those of you who read that last paragraph and were WAY confused, allow me to explain breifly. A "70 or 71 horse" refers to what score the Westfalls guess that Fluffy would be capable of for a reining pattern. In a reining pattern, the base score is seventy. The pattern calls for 8 maneuvers, each one beign scored between -2 and +2. This means, that if you perform each maneuver correctly, without any penalties, you would leave the pen with the same score you went in, which would be a 70 (WAY harder than it sounds). Extra points are awarded for horses who perform a maneuver with notable quickness, authority, confidence, etc. The fact that the trainers claimed she is a 70 or 71 horse probably mean she doesn't have any major issues with any one maneuver and could complete a pattern with a score of 70, maybe even plus 1/2 here and there.
The birthday thing: each registered Quarter Horse has a set of papers that give full details about the horse, it's AQHA number, it's registered name, it's birth date etc. Since the show season overlaps with the breeding season, and since many classes are based on the age of the horse, there needed to be a cut-off for the birthdates. The AQHA considers every registered Quarter horse to be born Jan. 1st of the year they were born in, for show purposes. So, Fluffy was born in March of 2008, which means she will be 9 years old on January 1st, 2009. That is one of the advantages of breeding for an early birthdate. Imagine competing on a 2 or 3 yr old horse, who is actually 6 months or more, younger than the competition!
Back to Fluffy.
Registered Name: Smart Like Jac
Sire's Name: Sugar Bars Buckaroo
Dam's Name: Smart N Perfect
Markings: Star, strip and snip extending onto upper lip. no other markings.
Colour: Sorrel

The plan for Fluffy is to (FIND A NEW NAME) work on her feet a bit and see if we can correct some lameness issues she has been having, and to show her through the spring and start the transition into being a lesson horse.

I have decided to have a vote for the name of the horse and let the students decide. Nominations for names have been: Samson, Patriot, Ginger, Tinkerbell, Peanut, Sweet Pea, Snowflake and Honey.
So far, it looks like Sweet Pea is in the lead. If you haven't voted, please tell me your preference ASAP.Fluffy looks a little worn out from her long trailer ride from Michigan, the first time in the barn and arena - her new home!

New Programs for 2009?

Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me in 2008. It's been a pleasure and I hope to continue growing throughout 2009 to serve you better. It seems like such a long way I have come since I started on my own in the early summer - what a great group of supporters I have!
I would love to come up with some more in depth programs to commit to you. I am looking to find a facility that wil better suit our needs, and until such time I am hesitant to lock anyone into a contract of any sort. As a compromise, I have come up with the bundle prices that are up on the main website under "Coaching". I would encourage everyone to purachase a bundle and book with me your riding times with as much notice as possible. Since it's a "ONE MAN SHOW" for the most part right now, my time is limited. I would really appreciate the extra notice, and the ability to reserve that space just for you. Please note that I will be happy to reschedule any ride, with 24 hours notice. The full amount of the lesson will be forfeited if I have less than 24 hours notice, which will enable me to reschedule rides for other students.
I will be putting together some type of student information form and waiver which will help with my insurance and give me some better ways of keeping track of the best ways to get a hold of everyone, birth days, year-end receipts etc.
Thanks again for your patience and support while I get things running.

Topics for Workshops and Clinics

I will be putting together some Day programs with topics like: mane and tail braiding, tack cleaning, ground work, massage therapy etc. Please let me know if you are interested in any of the above. These programs are a great way to extend your exposure with the horses as well as your knowledge of the animals and the responsibilities of caring for them from day to day.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's that time of year...

(what did you think I was going to say?!?!?!)

What is it????
3-year-old horses ridden for first place prize money of $125,000 with a total purse and prizes totaling over $1.5 Million to exhibitors! More than 1,800 horses and 4,000 exhibitors competing in all classes, three special reining horse sales, an intercollegiate judging contest, and approximately 70,000 spectators. NRHA's finest million dollar event held in late fall in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. If you are interested in learning more, click on the logo to get to the NRHA website. The website hosts livefeed to what's going on in the coliseum. Saturday night is the futurity finals, it's definitely worth watching!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Wish for the Holidays

As a girl who wished for a horse every year at Christmas time (until I was finally was able to get one myself) I can relate to many of my young students wishes at this magical time of year.
Tara Houston would have fit right into this category of girls wishing and praying and dreaming of the day when they could have a horse of their very own, had I been privileged enough to be her riding coach as well.
Tara was diagnosed with a brain stem glioma in the summer of '02 at seven years of age. A terrible shock to her family and friends, and suddenly making every moment seem more precious than the last. It became the mission of her family and their support network of friends, neighbours, co-workers and relatives to make Tara's wish come true. The Make-A-Wish Foundation became involved and got to work on finding "horsey-contacts". That's where I came in. Through a close friend who volunteered for the foundation, I became a source for advice and an extra set of hands for when the horse was delivered.
"Buddy Boom" as Tara named him, arrived in September to a crew of people who had been working all day to get the fencing put up, a lean-to and all the little extras, right in the Houston's backyard.

I admit I was worried when the horse stepped off the trailer. Knowing the fragile physical state Tara was in, and the fragile emotional state everyone else was in, we NEEDED a quiet, gentle horse. Buddy seemed to be pushy and ignorant and refused to pick up his feet for me to check out. He pulled hard on the lead rope and became more and more worried. What would happen when this delicate 7 year old girl wanted to lead him? Or ride him? What would happen if she got attached to him but he just wasn't safe? What would happen if we need to get a different horse? Would there be enough time to find another horse?

Tara met Buddy that day and immediately began calling him Buddy Boom. Buddy Boom was a totally different horse than the Buddy I had been handling moments earlier. Buddy Boom was quiet and gentle, with a soft understanding look in his eye. He didn't pull on the lead rope, he followed Tara around like a puppy. It was like nothing I had ever seen, and have not seen since.
Their bond grew as Tara's condition worsened. Buddy Boom would lay with his head in Tara's lap while she stroked his hair and spoke to him. He would call to her each morning.
After fighting bravely for several months, Tara passed away in February of 2003, shortly before her 8th birthday.
It must be mentioned that with no previous medical conditions, at 17 years of age Buddy Boom also passed just days before Tara.

After what must have been truly devastating, the Houstons have kept Tara's memory vivid in our minds through a beautiful garden that mother Sheri, and father Scott maintain. Tara's favourite flowers were sunflowers, which also became the theme (along with her favourite colour-purple of course), of the foundation they started in Tara's name. The foundation helps to provide support for families like the Houstons with terminally or chronically ill children in their time of need. Over the years since Tara's wish, I have seen what the foundation has done for these families. I have met and spoken with them and realized what it meant to have the foundation backing them.
Tara & Wynsum Playmate
The Foundation's mandate is to assist families facing financial difficulties due to a child's life-threatening illness. The following are the expenses that the Foundation will provide financial assistance for:
  • Travel to and from hospitals or medical facilities to receive treatment.
  • Accommodation expenses while the child is receiving treatment at a facility that is outside the geographical area within 200 kilometres of the family's primary residence.
  • Treatment not funded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan or by private insurance held by the family.
  • Assistive devices or specialized equipment required as part of the treatment, and not funded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan or by private insurance held by the family.
  • Funds to subsidize daily living expenses of both parents or the primary caregiver (in the case of single parent families) should they become unable to work because of caring for their child as a result of their illness. These funds may be used for mortgage payments, utilities and/or groceries.

This year, I am asking my students to help me in support of the foundation which is currently helping three families through this heart-breaking time in their lives.

Regular students will receive a gift certificate valid from Dec. 19th to Jan. 4th only. Any rides scheduled during this time will be discounted the $10 gift certificate as recognition and as a thank you for your support over the past few months. I am suggesting, for those interested in supporting the foundation, that they pay the full $40 rate, and the $10 from the gift certificate will go directly to the foundation.

Being involved in the Houston's story and getting to know Tara has enriched my life in ways I wouldn't have thought possible. A few years ago I was asked to write an article for a magazine about my experiences with horses and as a graduate of an equine college (you can read my article on my main website on the "About" page). In writing the article I discovered the most enriching experience I had to share was my experience with Tara. This is the main reason why I want to share this opportunity with my students. Although you will not have the pleasure of meeting Tara, being involved in your community and finding out what horses mean to others around you is a great privilege.

On behalf of myself, Tara's mom Sheri, dad Scott, and brother Josh
And hey, how 'bout we dedicate our rides over the holidays to Tara?

Friday, November 21, 2008


Don't sweat it, I've found the perfect gift for you!
I have put together some holiday gift certificates for anyone interested in purchasing a ride for friends, family, moms, daughters, dads, brothers, colleagues, you name it!
Gift certificates are available in any increment. Please contact me directly for more information, thanks!

Preparing for the cold weather!

It's official.
There's snow on the ground.
Water buckets have ice around the edges.
Horses are big and furry instead of smooth and silky.

It's time for longjohns and hotties!

I have purchased (though some advice from a student - Thanks Bev!) a great big pack of "Hotties" from Costco. If you haven't heard of Hotties, they make hand warmers and adhesive foot warmers for cold weather. The adhesive foot warmers work great for riding and being in the barn when you stick them right to your sock inside your boots. The hand warmers keep fingers warm, and usually you can get by with just one if you remember to switch them back and forth from hand to hand.

If you are interested in trying them, I will have them available for students for $2.00 each (to cover my costs).

Also, several places in London sell thermal underwear and cold weather gear. I have found great success in buying mine from Mountain Equipment Co-op (thanks to another student who does winter hiking and camping for this referral!). The store is located in Toronto, but you can order items online and I believe shipping is free until December 4th.

The thermal underwear, tops and bottoms are FANTASTIC. I don't know how I lived without them. When I was at the store, I was lucky enough to meet a sales representative who rides horses and knew exactly what I needed. I use the Polartec medium-heavy weight thermals. They have stood up to wear and tear for me and kept me warm when I'm standing in the arena in the middle of winter. I also purchased boot liners and glove liners which make a huge difference. This year I bought a helmet liner. I would recommend for most students to buy a helmet cover (available at Greenhawk). They are warmer and cover the helmet as well as your ears and cheeks. The liner I chose because when I ride I often ride hard enough that I sweat. The liner has a moisture wicking fabric over the skull, and warm fleecey patches for my ears.

The website is if you are interested in exploring these suggestions further. Hope you find these helpful, and please remember the barn is always colder than you think it's going to be so DRESS WARMLY, riding isn't much fun when your fingers are frozen and you can't feel your feet.

The Great Debate: English Vs. Western

(Watch the Video too!)

I am frequently asked "What is the difference between western and english?" and "English riding is more difficult than western riding isn't it?" and "Why did you choose to ride western and not english?" My response is usually about the same. My belief is that whether you ride in an english or western saddle, it is HOW EFFECTIVELY you communicate with the horse that is the most important, and usually what becomes the most intriguing part of whatever "game" you choose to play with your horse. You could choose to play the jumping game, the reining game, the barrel racing game, the dressage game etc. etc etc. etc...

I believe that experience with both disciplines will prove beneficial to any rider. Having experience with both disciplines I will say that I very much enjoy both, but choose to teach and ride mostly western. The reason for this being quite simple. The western tack, training philosophies, and breeding in western horses make for, in my opinion, a safer bet for students (and myself). The tack provides more support for the rider should they become unbalanced. The training emphasizes stopping, backing and slowing on command more so than most english trainers. The most common breed for western riding is the Quarter Horse, known for it's levelheadedness. That being said, I do teach many dressage principles to my western students, and encourage them to ride in an english saddle to gain a more thorough understanding of the feel of the horse: something they can not develop as easily through the thick, heavy western saddle.

I disagree quite strongly with any coach or trainer who says "An english rider will have no problem switching to western, whereas a western rider will struggle to learn english". In my experience as a coach, and after observing countless fellow students at Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre attempt "the switcheroo", I find an excellent rider is still an excellent rider, and a poor rider is still a poor rider, no matter the discipline. Watch any english rider switch to western and you will see communication errors, watch any western rider switch to english and you will see communication errors. I encourage riders to experiment with both and not to become part of the rivalry that goes on between english and western riders. In most cases, if someone feels so strongly about one being far superior to the other, it is due to a lack of knowledge of the sport.

The article below explains some of the differences and the Video -------->CLICK HERE<--------- is a fun watch. Enjoy!

Western vs. English Riding

by Anita Howe

{return to "Articles"}

It’s more than just a costume…I’ve been to many horse shows over the years, and frequently show in both English as well as western classes. Occasionally even with the same horse. However, I strongly feel that it’s important that exhibitors understand and better determine how to show their horse to his best advantage. A horse’s way-of-going, as well as the rider’s participation is significantly different from English Pleasure to Western Pleasure riding. Granted there are many similarities in the two disciplines: a correct and willing cooperation of horse and rider being the overall goal. While many people are sincere advocates of one discipline or the other, they both have their challenges as well as accomplishments and I would never try to say one method is more accomplished than the other.

Western riding hales its history from the cowboy using his horse for ranch and range work. Western saddles need to carry not just the ranch hand, but his rope, rifle, bedroll, canteen, and anything else he may need for the entire day in the elements. Of necessity it evolved to be heavier and larger framed to spread the weight over a greater portion of the horse’s back as well as have larger fenders to protect the horse from friction of the various accoutrements hanging from the saddle. This heavier, bulkier saddle and fenders reduce the close contact feel of the rider’s legs and seat; and often necessitates the use of spurs to enforce the limited heel contact available. So what we end up with is a horse that must respond quickly to the one-handed neck rein, usually well before bit contact is achieved; as well as the slightest shift in the riders weight to anticipate a necessary change of direction. A horse whose head needs to be carried lower to better focus on hoof placement and trail obstacles: a working horse who knows its job of supporting the rider’s in his working environment.

Modern English disciplines, in my opinion, have evolved more from pleasure and sport riding in these later centuries, than from the aspect of a working horse. It has mostly focused on two objectives: to enhance the communication and harmony between horse and rider, and for performance riding in the show ring and racing circuits. The saddles and tack are lighter and less bulky. The rider strives to achieve and maintain communication through his/her seat and legs as well as light bit contact; to facilitate a synchronized effort between them and their horse. The horse willingly responds to these aids with greater collection, balance and lightness in his gaits and overall performance. His entire demeanor is geared more for performance than work, more focused on the rider and less toward possible obstacles underfoot.

So when we choose to show our horses we must evaluate which of these disciplines will showcase his talents the best. Does our horse work well on a loose rein, with minimal leg contact, a more relaxed and natural head carriage and does he respond quickly to little or no bit contact? He will most likely be judged better as a Western Pleasure horse. Does our horse carry himself with light collection, willingly engaging in light bit contact, and work well with us responding to our subtle seat and leg aids? Does he carry his head in a more elevated "look at me" demeanor while flowing forward in a natural impulsion? Then he will most likely show well in English Pleasure divisions.

You may have a horse that will do both, but please understand that to simply put western tack on a horse that needs active bit contact in order to maintain his carriage and balance or to gait correctly, defeats the objectives of the Western Pleasure horse. Or conversely, to put English tack on a horse that will not engage the bit and insists on a more relaxed head carriage undermines the performance objectives of English Pleasure riding. The demeanor and carriage of the horse, as well as the active participation of the rider are far greater influences of which disciplines a horse can, and should, show in. While most horses can be trained to make adjustments for both disciplines, exhibitors must realize that each horse will probably tie better in one division over the other depending on that horse’s strengths.

Article written by Anita Howe. Please visit

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another video!

Another great video for you to watch with friends and family!

Turn on the volume, and click the picture to watch the video:

(Thanks to Teresa for sending this my way)

Friday, October 17, 2008

All American Quarter Horse Congress '08

Quarter Horse Congress: The world's largest single breed horse show....OR, the best place to see lots of quarter horses and go SHOPPING!

After marvelling at all the sights and sounds of Congress for several years, I finally planned a trip for some students/friends to go too. 5 of us packed into a borrowed car (my mom's Acura TSX, which proved to be a lot smaller than I originally thought - think "How many people can fit into a VW Bug?" and you've pretty much got our 6 hour drive back from Columbus).
We took off early in the morning (4:30 to be exact) and this is what we saw:

By 11am we had been welcomed to the heart of it all, in Ohio and were just starting to see what the Ohio Expo Centre and Quarter Horse Congress had to offer us.

Before we actually got to the show arenas, we had to pass through a sea of trucks and brand spankin' new horse trailers just begging for us to do a walk-through. Some had room for up to 6 horses, others had up to 6 flat screen tv's in the living quarters! We even saw one with a small fireplace!

As we entered the show grounds there was a tent full of breeders and their puppies. There were Great Danes, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Bull Dogs, Australian Sheep Dogs, and every size, shape and colour in between.

Next we followed a not-overly-detailed map to an arena towards the back of the grounds and found a cutting demonstration.

Stallion Avenue was just getting prepared for the weeks to come. Stallion Avenue is a part of the vendors area designated for some of the Million Dollar Sires in the industry to be promoted. Many stalls were set up with tv's to watch videos of the horses in competition and at their home farm.

The stalls for exhibitors were decorated in farm colours and many hosted small bars or lounges, flowers, pictures, candies etc.

Finally, evening came and with it came the Open Futurity Finals. Futurity winners are posted below, check out some of the big names and up-and-coming horses.
Horse Name
Whizs Chic A Dee
Arcese Quarter Horses
Shawn W Flarida - Springfield, OH
All Juiced Up
Smart Like Juice, Inc
Bryant L Pace - Smithfield, NC

We also saw Todd Sommers, Craig Johnson, Brian Bell, Craig C Schmersal and congratulations to Harvey Stevens from Ontario!

The next day was full of shopping, shopping and more shopping. We stopped briefly to watch the Cinch Freestyle Reining warm-ups in the morning and the Working Hunter Youth classes.
Early afternoon I was lucky enough to meet up with two friends and fellow graduates of Meredith Manor Mary Lew and Kelly. Mary Lew Johnston (pictured below-right)is now a full time instructor at the school, and Kelly Lagos (pictured teaching below) runs a successful boarding, training and lesson facility in Virginia. We try to meet up every year at Congress as sort of a reunion. We use our time to get caught up personally as well as collaborate and share stories professionally. We compare notes on teaching styles, our own riding and training techniques and how they evolve and usually have a lot of laughs.

By evening, cold beers in hand we were ready to watch the freestyle competitors demonstrate their own reining patterns, costumes and musical choices.
The arena was packed and we ended up with seats in a box in the front row!

The first exhibitor had a Batman costume complete with batman symbols and large wings attached to the saddle.

One exhibitor played on the loyalty of the fans in their home state of Ohio and dressed as a Buckeye, complete with marching band!

A particularly moving pattern was ridden in support of cancer research. The ride was done bridleless, and the horse kneeled down (as if in prayer) as seen in this photo.

I thought this costume was very cute, the horse is supposed to be the rider's pink cadillac!

The winner of the freestyle rode with only a leadrope. Click this picture to watch the video, don't forget to turn up the volume and watch through to the very end!

The trip proved to be a lot of fun, maybe a bigger vehicle for next year and maybe a bigger group of people if anyone wants to join us!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rain Rot?... is my horse rotting from the rain?

We are all noticing a change in our horses hair coats by now. The slick, shiny summer coat is gone and is replaced by a thickening, furrier one. Your horse is starting to look like a fuzzy bear, and in running your hands over her thick coat you notice some small bumps. Each day you come out there appears to be more, and more....and then they get bigger and bigger.
Your horse could have a condition commonly referred to as "Rain Rot". Unfortunately, due to a wet summer and wet fall, the prevalence of this condition has increased.
Treated NOW, it's nothing to be worried about. You may need to avoid riding for a short period of time while your horses skin recovers, and you'll need an experienced helper to get the treatment plan down pat to get rid of it ASAP.
I found the article below very thorough, although the treatment plan I will use is a bit different. Have a read through, and then check out my suggestions at the bottom.

Rain Rot / Rain Scald
PREPARED BY: Cheryl Sutor [1998]

What is rain rot?

Rain rot is one of the most common skin infections seen in horses. It is also referred to as "rain scald" or "streptothricosis". The organism that causes rain rot appears and multiplies in warm, damp conditions where high temperature and high humidity are present. This condition is not life-threatening, so don't worry. However, while the horse has rain rot, any equipment that may rub and irritate the infected skin (such as saddles and leg wraps) should be eliminated.

What causes rain rot?

The organism dermatophilus congolensis causes rain rot. dermatophilus congolensis is not a fungus. It is an actinomycetes, which behaves like both bacteria and fungi. Most people believe that the organism is present in soil, however, this has not been proven. The organism is carried on the horse, who has it in his skin. A horse who has this organism in his skin may or may not be affected.

What does rain rot look like?

Rain rot can appear as large crust-like scabs, or small 1/4 inch matted tufts of hair. There is usually dozens of tiny scabs that have embedded hair and can be easily scraped off. Underneath the scabs, the skin is usually (but not always) pink with puss when the scabs are first removed, then it becomes gray and dry as it heals. It is usually hard to differentiate rain rot from other similar skin conditions, so if you are unsure, call your veterinarian. In the early stages, you will be able to feel small lumps on the horses' skin or hair by running your hand over your horse's coat.

Click here for pictures of rain rot

In what region is rain rot most common?

Rain rot can be present in any horse around the world, but is most common in South Florida. In South Florida, the increased humidity and high temperatures combine with the prolonged rainfall to create the perfect environment for the organism to live.

What conditions are usually present?

1. The animal has to be infected with the organism. A horse can become infected by shared saddle blankets, leg wraps and brushes with other infected horses.
2. There has to be extreme moisture present. Horses with thick coats are more likely to keep the moisture close to their skin.
3. The skin has to be damaged (by a cut or scrape), for the organism to be able to enter the epidermis.
4. Also, poor stable management, damp stalls, poor ventilation and infected barns.

Will rain rot go away on its own?

It sometimes does. What I mean is that some horses will naturally get rid of the organism as they shed out their winter hair coat. However, it is not advisable to let the condition persist, you should not wait to see if it will go away...start treating it now, before it gets any worse!

Does rain rot lead to any other conditions?

Since the organism needs a warm, moist environment, it is likely that a secondary bacterial infection may become present. The most common secondary bacterial infections known are staphylococcus (staph), and streptococcus (strep). This is why it is very important to treat rain rot immediately, since any secondary bacterial infection may be even more resistant and difficult to treat.

How does rain rot spread?

The organism, dermatophilus congolensis, can be spread through sharing of equipment between horses. This includes saddle pads, blankets, leg wraps, brushes, halters, etc. It is extremely difficult to prevent the spread of rain rot, since a horse can pass it to another horse by simply rubbing it's skin on any object that the other horse may touch. The best prevention for rain rot is to use a disinfectant on any equipment shared between horses after each use. When treating this condition, you must keep all equipment used on the horse disinfected, to be able to keep the organism from coming back. A good solution is 2 tablespoons to 1 gallon of water of Chlorox. Do not use this solution on your horse, only on the equipment!

Where does rain rot appear?

Usually on the horse's back and rump, along with the back of the fetlock and front of the cannon bone. It may also appear on the tips of the horse's ears and around the eyes and muzzle. When rain rot appears on the lower limbs (behind the fetlock), it is most commonly referred to as "dew poisoning".

Are the scabs painful to the horse?

No, the scabs do not hurt the horse. The scabs have not been associated with an "itchy" feeling either. However, it may be painful while you are removing the scabs, so be very gentle and take your time. Many horses will be resistant to this.

How is rain rot treated?

Dermatophilus congolensis grows better with a lack of oxygen. Since the organism doesn't like oxygen, you'll have to eliminate a the heavy hair coat (if your horse's hair is long and thick), and remove any scabs that hold the organism to the horse's skin. It is not a good idea to use ointments on rain rot, since they hold moisture to the skin (and moisture needs to be removed for the condition to cease). The best treatment is to wash the horse with antimicrobial and antibacterial shampoos and rinses. These medications help to kill the dermatophilus congolensis organism. If Betadine, Phenol or Nolvasan is used, you should continue applying them once a day for one week.
1. Keep the horse in a dry, clean area that is very well ventilated. Give the horse protection against biting insects. Separate the horse from any others that also have rain rot.
2. Use an antimicrobal shampoo that lathers well. Vigorously lather the horse, let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse. Be sure to follow with a conditioner that works well. Continue this for daily for 1 week.
3. Remove all scabs that are present. This is usually painful for the horse, so be gentle! The best way I have seen to remove these scabs is to temporarily moisten them (so they become soft and easy to remove). Be sure to dry the horse immediately after scab removal.
4. The organism in the horse's skin must be killed. This can be done by using any of the products listed below. SEVERE CASES ONLY: for severe cases, antibiotics may be used. These include potassium penicillin, procaine penicillin G, sodium ampicillin, streptomycin or gentamycin. Immune-boosting drugs may also be needed for the horse's immune system to fight off the organism and heal. If your horse has a severe case of rain rot, make an appointment with your veterinarian and discuss the antibiotics listed above.

References, Resources & Links:
Horsetalk - Solving the scald problem, by H. Steve Conboy, DVM - Summer Skin Problems Susan L. White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, AAEP member, with Lydia F. Miller, DVM, AAEP Owner Education Director
Petalia: Rain Scald Dr John Kohnke BVSc RDA
Horse & Hound Online: Treating Rain Scald Tim Couzens MRCVS
HorseConnections - Rain Scald Dermatophilosis (Rain Scald) Client Information Handout: Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Teaching Hospital. - Skin Conditions Mane Points - Rain Rot Lucky S&L Ranch,
Reference Library: Rain Rot
Rain Rot Remedies - R&K Croft Farms Brief Notes on How Others Treat Rain Rot ORSE BITS - Equine Winter Skin Problems Equine Rescue League - Ask Bubba Equiworld - Mud Fever

Last week one of my students beloved horses came in with a bad case of rain rot. We knew the horse wasn't in her best physical condition and had attempted to keep her groomed regularly, bathed, ridden, feet cleaned out etc. as best we could. Despite our efforts, the small bumps spread quickly and turned into bigger bumps.
SO, now for treatment. The betadine scrub decribed above is the best thing I have found. Unfortunately, it usually required a visit from the vet and a small bottle at an astronimical price. I have since been told about using an iodine solution which is considerably less expensive and seems to work just as well.
Before I go to the barn, I mix a tiny bit of bleach in with a full spray bottle with water in it which I will use to disinfect any grooming tools that I will use that will not be thrown out to prevent spreading. I lather the horse with the iodone each day, and use a small curry comb to get the iodone right in under the thick coat to the skin. I am armed with my latex gloves, a bucket with some warm water to rinse with after the iodine sits for a few minutes.
Shapley's MTG is also a great way to keep the coat in good condition and soften the bumps when they are ready to be picked off.
I'll keep you posted on the mare's progress.
Any questions, don't be afraid to ask!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On the News!


Who's that in the London Free Press and on A-Channel News?!?!?!?!

Your favourite lesson horse, Blondie. Blondie flashed her gorgeous smile and batted her eyelashes for cameras Wednesday, October 1st for the press conference covering UWO's Homecoming.

Why (other than the fact that she's simply the best) was Blondie chosen for this photshoot?? In the picture below beside me is Daina Robinson, the VP for Western for the UWO Equestrian Team. Daina (and executive) work hard each year to put together a series of lessons, both english and western for members of the team. They also put together an annual trail ride, nights out to Cowboys Ranch, horse shows and an equine massage therapy clinic. After coaching several of the girls on the team last year, I have been chosen as the official western coach! Thus, Blondie and I made our way down to TD Waterhouse stadium for pictures.
Daina got the team set up to provide horses and cowboy hats for the press conference for homecoming. She was even persuasive enough to get permission for the UWO Equestrian team to be the riders on horseback carrying the Western Mustangs flag, racing full tilt one lap of the field when the western football team scores!!

What an honour it is to have been named the official Western Coach!

Thanks girls, looking forward to our lessons together!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More Videos!

I came across some videos I thought you may be interested in. If you have never seen these before they will be great examples of the sports they represent. For those of you interested in cutting and reining, you will get a kick out of these "oldies but goodies"!

Smart Little Lena is the all time leading cutting sire and one of only three horses to ever win the NCHA Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is made up of the Futurity, Super Stakes and Derby. Smart Little Lena's lifetime earnings: $743,275 in only eight shows! He has 550 money earnng offspring to date which have earned $26,565,935 and reining offspring have earned $484,412. He has sired 17 world champions and 11 reserve world champions.

I had the opportunity to visit Smart Little Lena while at the 2007 NRHA Futurity in Oklahoma. He still stands at stud at Tommy Manion Ranch in Aubrey, Texas. When I saw him, he had recently had surgery to remove one of his testicles which I believe was cancerous. He was recovering well. Smart Little Lena has been one of the first horses to ever have been cloned.


(notice the goofy hats and outfits... ha ha)

Hollywood Dun It was by the great Hollywood Jac 86 and out of Blossom Berry, an own daughter of Dun Berry. During his show career, Hollywood Dun It was the National Reining Horse Association Futurity Reserve Champion, the NRHA Derby Champion and the Superstakes Champion. A 2000 NRHA Hall of Fame inductee, the beautiful dun stallion is the NRHA's Leading All-Time Sire of Reining Horses, with sons and daughters whose earnings have surpassed the $4 Million mark!

Hollywood Dun It, born is 1983, passed away in 2005. I was lucky enough to visit McQuay Stables in 2007 to see the former stall of the famous stallion, some of his stablemates and offspring (seen in the McQuay Stables Promotional video).


(of Hollywood Dun it and Smart Chic Olena)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Trial Game...

Here's another game I've heard about that you might like. It seems to be for older users than the Ponystars game, and looks like it could be highly addictive!
"Howrse is a stable simulation game where you breed, train, buy and sell your own horses or ponies as well as run your own Equestrian Center. It’s all free except for buying passes, which uses real money, but you can win passes for free in the game. Passes allow you to buy magical items that will increase your horse’s skills or have another beneficial affect.
In order to advance in this game you pass riding levels. For every riding level you pass more and better features are unlocked to you. To pass riding levels you take quizzes with questions pertaining to horses. There are true and false as well as multiple-choice questions. The questions get harder as you advance in the game. As I stated before, more features become unlocked as you pass riding levels. For example, at level two you can become a groom, but at level eight (the final level) you can become a saddler — the highest paying job on Howrse. At level three you can open your own Equestrian Center etc.
Once you retain your own EC (Equestrian Center) you can host jumping, cross-country, and race competitions. For jumping and cross-country you design the course yourself by laying down obstacles and setting the price and level of the required skills to qualify. You can breed horses to produce the top foals and at level four you can view all sorts of info on genetics in the game and breed status. Depending on what your goal is and how far you are in the game, things can get complicated so for the best information read the help files on the game.
Unfortunately, Howrse is only open to English speaking countries, but it is very enjoyable and definitely my favorite horse sim game out there because of the realism it offers."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some of my favourite things...

Turn up the volume and call your family into the room for these ones!

Click on this picture to watch one of the Freestyle Dressage Tests from the World Equestrian Games in 2006.

One of my good friends, and a fellow graduate of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, sent this to me shortly after the WEG's in 2006. It remains one of my all time favourite videos to watch and to share with students AND colleagues (thanks Lizzie!!).

Click on the picture to view the video.

This video is from the freestyle reining at the All American Quarter Horse Congress also in 2006. This was one of, if not the, FIRST ever patterns performed both bareback and bridleless at congress. The quality of reining isn't nearly as high as the professionals competing WITH tack, but it's pretty darn impressive - believe me, I was there! This video, after being featured on the Ellen Degeneres Show as one of the amazing You tube videos of the week, was the motivation for Ellen to ask Stacy to be on the show. Have a peek on You tube if you are interested in seeing Ellen ride this same horse on her show!!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trial Games!

Hey Girls!
Try out this interactive Pony Stars game!
Let me know how you like it, and how well you do caring for, training and competing with your own customized ponies!!
Talk soon,


About Ponystars :
Ponystars is the new online game for everyone who loves ponies! Breed, raise and train your own herd of Ponystars. It's FREE to register & play!

Ponystars are noble & innocent magic ponies who inhabit the Grasslands of Fairy Valley. Six different breeds of Ponystars live peacefully in the valley, watched over by mysterious Fairies. Fairies ensure that all Ponystars, even the Wild Ponystars who roam the Valley Grasslands, free and owned by none, are well cared for.

When you play Ponystars, the Fairies entrust you to collect, keep, train & care for up to 75 Ponystars in your own herd! You can build your herd by breeding and raising adorable baby Ponystars, or by buying and selling your Ponystars.

You can make your Ponystars more beautiful and unique by adding Special Traits! A wide assortment of Manes, Hooves, Brand Marks, Backgrounds, and exciting Coats are available, with new ones added every month. As your talented Ponystars earn Fairy Gold for you in the game, you can use Fairy Gold to buy Special Traits to customize your Ponystars. Other Special Traits can be purchased from the Market Place with Acclaim Coins.

Your Ponystars can also compete with other players in direct Challenges, in Tournaments, and in games, like Ponystar Blackjack. Your Ponystar might be voted the Most Beautiful, or might be recognized for completing the most Quests.

Answer the call to adventure with Ponystar Adventures! You and your able Ponystars will be enlisted to complete exciting and rewarding Quests. Travel to six strange lands, where Ponystars roam free! You might be asked to help Wild Ponystars in need, or to collect lost Fairy Treasures, or to uncover secret Ponystar legends.

Anything can happen, where Fairies reign! The great Grasslands of Fairy Valley are no exception. Mysteries swirl, like morning mist upon the grass, and ancient secrets spring forth with the magic waters of Lake Lumiere...

A Ponystar Adventure awaits you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Up and running!

Hello! Welcome to my blog!
I'll admit I'm a first-time blogger, just trying to get this all figured out. When I do, keep your eyes and ears out for videos, pictures, links and updates!
If you have experience with blogging and have some advice or suggestions pleeeeeeeaaase feel free to share them. Or if YOU have updates and pictures, suggestions for links let me know! This site is for you guys, so tell me what you want to see up here.
Talk soon!