Jan Swan Wood: EHV-1 in CO, freak wreck, schools, ND horses dead | TSLN.com

Jan Swan Wood: EHV-1 in CO, freak wreck, schools, ND horses dead

The weather has done its usual polar plunge for part of the Black Hills Stock Show® week. It happens every year, it seems. It's sure fun to see everyone at the stock show. The best part of going is the visiting and laughing with old friends and meeting new ones.

We took in a meeting on Jan. 27 that addressed the holdup of horse processing plants being opened, as they should have been a year ago. Elsewhere in this paper is a story about that meeting and what can be done by individuals and organizations to help this case and our industry. It falls back on the USDA being influenced and apparently managed by the animal rights groups. The HSUS and other anti-slaughter groups have an undue amount of influence on our government and we need to take back our stake in the game. Having HSUS and other groups like that in charge is just as successful as the Sierra Club's "management" of our National Forests, as the browning of our Black Hills has so richly demonstrated.

A horse was confirmed with a case of EHV-1 (equine herpes virus) on Jan. 28 in Colorado. The Texas based horse had been there for most of the month as it was part of a team of horses used to pull a stagecoach during the National Western Rodeo. That horse and six others are quarantined. The horses were housed in the coliseum and other horses who had contact with them are being held. It usually spreads through horse to horse contact, but can also be airborne and come from contaminated tack, buckets, footwear and suchlike, so, if you were there with a horse, be watching for signs of illness. It's unlikely that others were exposed, but better to be safe than sorry.

A freak rodeo accident claimed the life of one of the top steer wrestling horses in the world during the Jan. 26 performance of the rodeo in Denver. Dru Melvin's great horse Moonshine and steer wrestler Todd Suhn, Hermosa, SD, were making their run when the steer ducked in front of them and caused the whole works to pile up. In the wreck, the steer's horn punctured Moonshine's ribs and went into his heart. Moonshine got up and was led from the arena but died shortly. Amazingly, Todd was unhurt in the wreck and of course the steer was fine. Moonshine, an eight-year-old gelding, had carried PRCA steer wrestlers to $300,000 in winnings in the past three years, including Todd Suhn and Casey Martin's money earned at the 2012 WNFR. Martin was leading the average at Denver when the accident happened. Dru and Brittany Melvin considered Moonshine a part of their family and took him home to their ranch near Hebron, NE, for burial. My sympathies to the Melvins and everyone else who loved and respected Moonshine.

Any high school junior or senior boys that ride rough stock and are interested in going to college at Gillette College should contact Will LaDuke about getting on some good Burch practice stock this winter. You can call Will at 307-686-0254 or on his cell at 307-689-5806. His email is wladuke@sheridan.edu.

There will be a Frank Thompson (PRCA hand, WNFR qualifier) steer wrestling school at Gillette, WY, in the Camplex on Mar. 29-31. The cost is $350 if you bring your own horse or $450 if they provide one. It's limited to 12 students. There will be chute dogging for ninth grade and younger at $150/student. Call Randy Greer at 307-687-7461 or Jack Greer at 307-680-5284.

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This a sad deal out of North Dakota. It's a case of someone who just got in over their head with horses and how they reproduce. The Morton County Sheriff's department took into its care 100 horses at a ranch north of New Salem. Of the total 215 horses at the ranch, 96 were found dead. The county seized and removed the horses that were in the worst condition and left the rest there, as there was adequate feed and water and care will be provided for them there. The recent extreme cold and low wind chills had contributed to the problem and the owner is cooperating fully with the county in the matter.

My guess, and it's only a guess, is that the water froze up and those horses were eating hay and died from impaction. It doesn't take long for that to happen. I've seen it happen with one or two horses and keeping water available for over 200 head would be that much harder. It's sure a sad deal.

Well, that's our circle for this week. Send me your info and events and I'll share them here.

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