New Year horse tips | TSLN.com

New Year horse tips

Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns

Here we are in the New Year… how’re ya’ doin’ on those resolutions?

How about keeping all your horse equipment in good shape? These long evenings an’ days when you’d rather sit near the fire than be outdoors offer time to clean and repair your tack, an’ you know any leather surfaces that’ve been in contact with horse sweat need it.

Tex Tan offers great tips for getting’ that job done: Dust off the tack article and wash it thoroughly with saddle soap, using a soft brush. Allow the article to dry at room temperature, never in the sun or under intense heat, which could cause the leather to dry out and crack.

Use a soft cloth to condition the leather with neatsfoot oil. Don’t saturate the leather. Coat the article evenly. For saddles, pay special attention to the undersides of latigos, tie straps, flank cinches and stirrup leathers. Allow the oil to seep into the pores of the leather for 30 minutes. Tack in dry climates needs to be oiled more frequently. Seal in the conditioning effects of the oil by applying another coat of saddle soap. Allow it to dry for two hours, then buff with a soft, dry cloth.

Cleaning day is also a good time to inspect your tack for loose screws, raveled stitching or cracked or worn straps. Mildew is another problem that can attack your leather goods, although in our dry country we don’t see it as frequently as folk who live where the humidity is high. Nonetheless, sweaty buildup provides a great breeding ground for the mold spores and it can show up as dark or bluish powder on the leather. Washing tack with a 1:1 solution of rubbing alcohol and water should remove the mildew. If it comes back, try germicidal or fungicidal soap to clean the tack.

The beginning of a new year is also a good time to accumulate resources you may need to be informed and active on behalf of your horses and the rights and responsibilities of horse ownership. One good source is the American Horse Council (AHC), working daily to represent all equine interests and opportunities in Washington, DC. A few of their accomplishments during the past year are: Supporting enactment of the Economic Stimulus Act, which raised the Section 179 expense deduction to $250,000 and reinstated 50 percent bonus depreciation for horses and other depreciable property; Passing legislation reducing the depreciation period for younger race horses to three years. The change placed all racehorses in the three-year category for depreciation purposes regardless of when they were placed in service; and including provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill that specifically designated “horses” within the definition of livestock eligible for federal disaster assistance and “equine farmers and ranchers” within the definition of agricultural producers eligible for federal emergency loans.

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The AHC is pleased that Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has stepped up to become their newest sponsor. With their combined knowledge in the horse industry, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and the AHC will continue to put the best interest of the horse industry in front of lawmakers in Washington.

The AHC offers many resources, and one you might find useful this time of year is the Horse Owners & Breeders Tax Handbook. It’s a bargain at $89.50 (shipping included) if you’re in the business in a big way, because it can save you far more than that. If you’re not a big operator you may want to opt for the AHC’s $10 bargain Tax Tips For Horse Owners. The annual Horse Industry Directory is another great tool provided by AHC, and it’ll be available later this month.

If you’re lookin’ for resources for younger members of your family, check out the Junior Master Horseman program at http://www.juniormasterhorseman.com/. They say, “Being a JMH’er means making friends, letting your imagination gallop wild, and learning about horses. The JMH Chapter 1 book is full of games, activities, and horse sense. Plus, it gives you access to the JMH Web site, all the interactive games and ‘horse talk’ message board.” Vibrant characters are used to lead youth through learning about horses and they also offer such things as color reference charts, anatomy booklet, color genetics booklet and conformation chart to boost the youngun’s equine knowledge.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is another resource you should be aware of, at http://www.aaep.org. At the AAEP’s recent Annual Convention, Bayer Equine extended even more learning opportunities to five veterinarians by awarding them trips to the AAEP Resort Symposium in Gold Coast, Australia. The Jan. 25-28 symposium is sponsored by Bayer and features cutting-edge seminars and interactive learning sessions that count as continuing education credits for the veterinarians in attendance.

Each winner receives a trip for two including airfare, meeting registration and accommodations. The five winners were chosen from more than 500 equine veterinarians who entered during the eight-week sweepstakes entry period from Aug. 15 to Oct. 15.

“I thought it was a joke,” Dr. J Brent Rollins, one of the winners of the sweepstakes, said of his win. “I’ve never won anything in my life,” he said. “We can’t believe the generosity of Bayer.”

Dr. Scott King, the equine products manager for Bayer Animal Health, said, “This sweepstakes and our longstanding partnership with the AAEP exemplify our commitment to help veterinarians stay current with all the new advances in equine medicine.”

Another unique feature the AAEP will make available later this month is their “Get A DVM” locator service. Imagine being stuck in an unfamiliar area with a sick horse and not knowing who to call. The AAEP says, “Beginning with a re-launch of the ‘Get A DVM’ locator service, in conjunction with Bayer HealthCare Animal Health, we hope to offer thousands of our members to you, the horse owner, at the click of a mouse. This service will be available on-line at all times, allowing horse owners the opportunity to search for qualifies AAEP-member veterinarians in their local and traveling areas. Watch for this wonderful updated addition to the horse owner Website, http://www.aaep.org/horseowner, beginning mid-January 2009.”

One more resource you can make use of would be the Purina Mills Horse Owner Workshops (HOW). These events are billed as the number one horse owner educational event in the U.S.; “edutainment” bringing together top clinicians, trainers, equine experts and vet’s to help enhance the horse owning public’s understanding of their horses and how to better care for them. Purina Mills’ dealers host the events in local markets, allowing for program customization while providing a forum for local topics of interest and specific horse health issues to be addressed… find a nearby one by visiting http://www.horse.purinamills.com/events/events.asp.

Here’s the end of our ol’ lariat rope once again…

© 2009 Rhonda Stearns

Email Rhonda at cow_grl63@hotmail.com

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