Best of times, worst of times | TSLN.com

Best of times, worst of times

What’s that saying about the best of times and the worst of times? Ol’ Charlie Dickens wrote it over in England long ago, I believe. It seems apropos in the horse world these days.

It was the best of times last Saturday when a beautiful, talented, fantastic filly with a lovely name easily outran all the fastest colts in the world – and one amazing gelding – to win the 134th Preakness Stakes. The tough-as-gator-hide Cajun jockey that rode her to victory put a second jewel in his own unique Jockey Triple Crown. At the same time, New Mexico’s previously unknown Mine That Bird outran all the fastest colts in the world for a second time in two weeks, and had his nose at the stirrup of this flying filly when they crossed the line. I can’t wait for the Belmont!

It’s definitely been the worst of times, for a long time, for a couple hundred sadly abused, neglected and mistreated horses. Many of them are still being shuttled about in search of homes in the aftermath of the 3-Strikes-Ranch tragedy in Nebraska. I understand the last of the rescued critters have been removed from the Bridgeport rodeo arena; geldings and stallions to Texas and mares, many that may foal, to Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) arena where they’re awaiting adoption.

I’m sorry for the horses and hope they find good homes; but I’m totally amazed that officials from one of the nation’s biggest rodeos would lend their facility to house a bunch of horses whose health has been called into question so thoroughly in past weeks. Allegations have been made of possible salmonella – which spreads through air, water and direct contact, lives in soil for months, and can transmit to humans – and rhinovirus in the rescued horses. On top of that, 3-Strikes owner Jason Meduna insists his horses are “suffering from an unknown ailment” …because he’s convinced it wasn’t neglect or starvation that caused more than 70 deaths in the equine population on his property. Why on earth would a facility that expects thousands of the best, most well trained, highest-valued working Quarter Horses in America to gather there for “The Daddy of ‘Em All” in less than two months risk introducing any kind of virus or contamination into the soil, onto the fences, or into any watering locations on that rodeo grounds? It would be the worst of times if any pro rodeo horses – bucking horses, rope horses, dogging horses, barrel horses, pick-up horses – contracted any kind of illness as a result.

On the other hand it must be the best of times when a group of interested, dedicated horse people got together and formed an organization “dedicated to the responsible management of horses on a nationwide basis.” That’s the mission of the newly formed American Horse League, Inc., (AHL) a Dakota based non-profit corporation just launched. Organizers believe such radical groups and organizations as PETA have declared war on private property rights and agriculture as a whole, as well as threatening the humane treatment of animals. They envision the AHL fighting for the rights and upholding the livelihood of agricultural America. Learn how you can become involved by phoning Chase Adams at (605) 347-1730.

It’s the worst of times when our own USDA and APHIS admit “pathways do exist” for African Horse Sickness Virus (AHSV) and bluetongue virus (BT) “to enter the country.” In response to that realization, APHIS is “rewriting the nation’s emergency response plans.”

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It’s a “best of times” for lots of real ranchers and horsemen to hear that Alliance, NE 3-Strikes owner Jason Meduna has finally been charged with 149 Class 4 felony counts of animal cruelty. His preliminary hearing is set for June 17. Meanwhile he’s claiming “the complexity of his case” creates difficulties for him in finding an attorney. Meduna appeared in court to be charged, sans attorney.

Only in the worst of times would contagious equine metritis (CEM) break out across our land. The latest reports from DVM Newsmagazine indicate 18 stallions in six states and five mares in three states so far are confirmed CEM-positive by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

That source adds, “Besides the positive horses, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says locations have been confirmed for 797 other horses exposed to T. equigenitalis, the bacterium that causes the sexually transmitted disease that can cause sterility and abortions if untreated.”

Unfortunately, this situation is really widespread. The 820 total positive and exposed horses are in 48 states, with 171 exposed or positive stallions in 27 states and 649 exposed or positive mares in 45 states. Federal and state veterinary investigators continue to look for the original source of the outbreak, first reported on a central Kentucky premises in December 2008, but say no conclusions can yet be drawn. On the positive side of the ledger, of the 171 stallions, 41 have completed the testing and treatment regimen and found negative, while 365 of the mares have completed treatment.

It is in the best of times that the best comes out in people, and the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign (UHVRC) – although only begun last December – has already helped more than 1,400 horses nationwide. The UHVRC was started by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health to assist in protecting the health of unwanted horses through donated equine vaccines. Those drugs go to qualifying equine rescue and retirement facilities, of which more than 100 have applied to UHVRC for assistance since the first of this year. Facilities in 35 states have asked for help for more than 4,500 horses.

“It is extremely encouraging to see so many rescue and retirement facilities and veterinarians working together to apply for aid from the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign,” said Dana Kirkland, Industry Education and Development Coordinator for the AAEP. “We are thrilled that we have been able to donate vaccines for more than 1,400 horses in need thus far; however, demand still exceeds supply. We look forward to accommodating more facilities and their horses as the program continues to grow.”

So, in these best of times and worst of times my cowboy and I hope you and yours enjoyed a great Memorial Weekend… and I hope you spent it with horses… or at least horse people! They’ll help make any times the best of times… an’ hat’s the end of our ol’ lariat rope for this week.

What’s that saying about the best of times and the worst of times? Ol’ Charlie Dickens wrote it over in England long ago, I believe. It seems apropos in the horse world these days.

It was the best of times last Saturday when a beautiful, talented, fantastic filly with a lovely name easily outran all the fastest colts in the world – and one amazing gelding – to win the 134th Preakness Stakes. The tough-as-gator-hide Cajun jockey that rode her to victory put a second jewel in his own unique Jockey Triple Crown. At the same time, New Mexico’s previously unknown Mine That Bird outran all the fastest colts in the world for a second time in two weeks, and had his nose at the stirrup of this flying filly when they crossed the line. I can’t wait for the Belmont!

It’s definitely been the worst of times, for a long time, for a couple hundred sadly abused, neglected and mistreated horses. Many of them are still being shuttled about in search of homes in the aftermath of the 3-Strikes-Ranch tragedy in Nebraska. I understand the last of the rescued critters have been removed from the Bridgeport rodeo arena; geldings and stallions to Texas and mares, many that may foal, to Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) arena where they’re awaiting adoption.

I’m sorry for the horses and hope they find good homes; but I’m totally amazed that officials from one of the nation’s biggest rodeos would lend their facility to house a bunch of horses whose health has been called into question so thoroughly in past weeks. Allegations have been made of possible salmonella – which spreads through air, water and direct contact, lives in soil for months, and can transmit to humans – and rhinovirus in the rescued horses. On top of that, 3-Strikes owner Jason Meduna insists his horses are “suffering from an unknown ailment” …because he’s convinced it wasn’t neglect or starvation that caused more than 70 deaths in the equine population on his property. Why on earth would a facility that expects thousands of the best, most well trained, highest-valued working Quarter Horses in America to gather there for “The Daddy of ‘Em All” in less than two months risk introducing any kind of virus or contamination into the soil, onto the fences, or into any watering locations on that rodeo grounds? It would be the worst of times if any pro rodeo horses – bucking horses, rope horses, dogging horses, barrel horses, pick-up horses – contracted any kind of illness as a result.

On the other hand it must be the best of times when a group of interested, dedicated horse people got together and formed an organization “dedicated to the responsible management of horses on a nationwide basis.” That’s the mission of the newly formed American Horse League, Inc., (AHL) a Dakota based non-profit corporation just launched. Organizers believe such radical groups and organizations as PETA have declared war on private property rights and agriculture as a whole, as well as threatening the humane treatment of animals. They envision the AHL fighting for the rights and upholding the livelihood of agricultural America. Learn how you can become involved by phoning Chase Adams at (605) 347-1730.

It’s the worst of times when our own USDA and APHIS admit “pathways do exist” for African Horse Sickness Virus (AHSV) and bluetongue virus (BT) “to enter the country.” In response to that realization, APHIS is “rewriting the nation’s emergency response plans.”

It’s a “best of times” for lots of real ranchers and horsemen to hear that Alliance, NE 3-Strikes owner Jason Meduna has finally been charged with 149 Class 4 felony counts of animal cruelty. His preliminary hearing is set for June 17. Meanwhile he’s claiming “the complexity of his case” creates difficulties for him in finding an attorney. Meduna appeared in court to be charged, sans attorney.

Only in the worst of times would contagious equine metritis (CEM) break out across our land. The latest reports from DVM Newsmagazine indicate 18 stallions in six states and five mares in three states so far are confirmed CEM-positive by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

That source adds, “Besides the positive horses, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says locations have been confirmed for 797 other horses exposed to T. equigenitalis, the bacterium that causes the sexually transmitted disease that can cause sterility and abortions if untreated.”

Unfortunately, this situation is really widespread. The 820 total positive and exposed horses are in 48 states, with 171 exposed or positive stallions in 27 states and 649 exposed or positive mares in 45 states. Federal and state veterinary investigators continue to look for the original source of the outbreak, first reported on a central Kentucky premises in December 2008, but say no conclusions can yet be drawn. On the positive side of the ledger, of the 171 stallions, 41 have completed the testing and treatment regimen and found negative, while 365 of the mares have completed treatment.

It is in the best of times that the best comes out in people, and the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign (UHVRC) – although only begun last December – has already helped more than 1,400 horses nationwide. The UHVRC was started by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health to assist in protecting the health of unwanted horses through donated equine vaccines. Those drugs go to qualifying equine rescue and retirement facilities, of which more than 100 have applied to UHVRC for assistance since the first of this year. Facilities in 35 states have asked for help for more than 4,500 horses.

“It is extremely encouraging to see so many rescue and retirement facilities and veterinarians working together to apply for aid from the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign,” said Dana Kirkland, Industry Education and Development Coordinator for the AAEP. “We are thrilled that we have been able to donate vaccines for more than 1,400 horses in need thus far; however, demand still exceeds supply. We look forward to accommodating more facilities and their horses as the program continues to grow.”

So, in these best of times and worst of times my cowboy and I hope you and yours enjoyed a great Memorial Weekend… and I hope you spent it with horses… or at least horse people! They’ll help make any times the best of times… an’ hat’s the end of our ol’ lariat rope for this week.