Amazing national horse news
March 9, 2010
That sun sure feels good and getting up above freezing was long overdue, wasn’t it? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m all caught up on snow and cold. I just hope all that cold down in the southeastern part of the country has nipped the toes on ol’Global Warming Gore and caused him some discomfort, therefore at least serving a good purpose.
Some amazing news came out this week on national news. Two Thoroughbred race horses made the Top Ten Athletes of the Year! Yep, against all the sports figures and Olympic-bound athletes, two great horses are on the list. In second place behind tennis star Serena Williams, is the lovely Thoroughbred filly, Zenyetta, (who incidentally, has never used foul language over any steward’s ruling at the racetrack) with the talented Rachel Alexander, also a filly, coming in seventh. Zenyetta won the coveted Breeders’ Cup Classic and retired with a perfect 14-0 record. Rachel Alexander, as you’ll recall, was the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness. She also won the Haskell and Woodward Stakes over all comers. Both were also voted Thoroughbred Times Newsmakers of the Year for 2009. Go girls!
I took a few minutes the other day and filled out the survey that the United Organizations of the Horse is conducting. They will gather up the data from this survey and turn the information over to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to aid in their assessment of the state of the horse industry in relation to the unwanted horses in the U.S. This could have strong bearing on the reopening of the slaughter plants and is extremely important to our industry as a whole. Please take the time to go on-line at info@unitedorganizationsofthehorse, or if you aren’t on the net, contact Kriss Thom for a phone survey at 307-689-8536. Do it today.
Piroplasmosis is, unfortunately, still making the news too. It was recently found in a pony in Pennsylvania and also in three race prospects in New Mexico. The source for the pony’s infections wasn’t stated, but the three racehorses were believed to have been infected by the use of shared needles. None of the New Mexico horses were showing any signs of sickness and the infection was caught when routine blood work was done at the track.
Horses in 12 states have tested positive for the tick-borne illness, some through the needle contamination route, some with blood transfusions, and some, it is believed, through the use of semen from an infected stallion. Remember, not all horses show symptoms, but are carriers nonetheless. Symptoms of the sometimes fatal disease include anemia, jaundice, and fever, similar to the symptoms for Equine Infectious Anemia.
There have been 320 horses diagnosed in Texas over the past two years and those that were in any way exposed to them and moved to other states have been quarantined. Canada and some U.S. states have restricted the importation of horses from Texas, and it’s a very good idea to check with your veterinarian to determine what states are requiring testing if you plan on traveling with your horse.
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Just when you think that the government is run by a bunch of clueless robots, one of them does something right just to confuse us. A spokesman for Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, said that they are going forward with the contentious plan to round up about 2,500 wild horses (and burros) in northwest Nevada’s Calico Mountains Complex. This follows a federal judge’s ruling on Dec. 23 that denied a request (by the anti-anything to do with management of animals groups) to block the roundup.
The Calico Mountains Complex is severely overgrazed and the native wildlife is in danger of starvation if the horse numbers aren’t reduced. It’s part of the BLM’s overall plan to remove more than 10,000 wild horses from public lands across the west and ship them to greener pastures in the Midwest and east (I think some should be in Central Park and on those pretty pastures around our nation’s capital.)
It’s estimated the over 37,000 wild horses and burros live in Nevada (mostly), Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Another 32,000 languish in very un-wild holding facilities in Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Other good news, this time on the barrel racing front, is that the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (Jan. 22-Feb. 7) has lifted limits on entries for the barrel racers. They are allowing all card members of the WPRA to enter (by numbers, not winnings, as I understand it). It’s a premo place to run barrels as the ground is phenomenal, by all accounts, since they hand-rake after each run. This new ruling levels the playing field for the barrel racers and gives more competitors a jump start on the season with the money they can win at Ft. Worth.
If you’re just sick and tired of cold and want to go do something fun and educational where it’s warmer, check out the workshops that Buster and Sheryl McLaury are conducting at Gainesville, TX. The two week long intensive workshops include colt starting, halter breaking, horsemanship, ranch roping and cow working. Held at the Diamond M Ranch, you’ll get to be involved in the everyday work done horseback on the ranch. This is a working ranch, not a guest ranch, too.
The workshops are Feb. 1-12 and Feb. 15-26, Monday through Friday. Weekends are yours to do as you please. The cost is $1,600 and includes lodging for your horse, hay, and all the horse tracks you can make, and are open to eight people per workshop. The price may seem steep until you figure out just what you are going to accomplish with yourself and your horse in that period of time. Call 806-492-2711 for more info.
These workshops were started some years ago by Ray and Carolyn Hunt, and Buster and Sheryl were asked to take over when Ray passed away. Buster is, in my opinion (for what that’s worth), the finest clinician working today. He is a genuine cowboy and is one of the few that aren’t overburdened with ego. Check out their website at http://www.bustermclaury.com for more info on this workshop and upcoming clinics. There’s a lot of good reading and stories on it too.
I’d better pull up for now and give my horse and your eyes a rest. For a chuckle, look at the expression on my horse’s face at the head of this column. Certainly no question as to the opinion of this good horse about what we were doing that day!