Rhonda update, congrats, USDA helping vet students
Had a good visit with Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns this week, and she is doing great. The bones are mending and she finally has that awful contraption off of her arm. It was a gruesome looking gizmo, to say the least, but it did the job and the results were worth the misery, I’m sure. She’s doing some therapy on the hand to loosen it up and is able to write and do some basic things with it, so that’s progress. Best of all, she was able to get horseback last weekend to work a bunch of cows, and that did her a lot of good. Before you get all shook up about her riding, she rode a very gentle, reliable horse that knew his business and she didn’t take any chances with him falling on the slick ground. The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a woman, too!
Congrats to Morgan Myers, Newell High School girl’s basketball standout, for being KOTA TV’s Athlete of the Week. Morgan is a ranch girl from out in the Stoneville country who works and rides on the ranch in her time away from school and the basketball court.
The 3rd Annual Race For Dreams Barrel Race is coming up on April 23-25, at the Camplex, Gillette, WY. It’s an Open 4D, NWBRA sanctioned event and benefits Dreams Therapeutic Horseback Riding For People With Disabilities. For more info, call Tanya at 307-686-8075 or 307-660-8075.
This is some good news from Washington, DC! Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that the USDA is taking the first step toward implementing a plan to help deal with the shortage of veterinarians throughout the rural U.S. The plan is to help repay student loans of qualified veterinarians in return for their practicing in areas suffering from a lack of vets. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) administers the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. The high cost of vet school, which can average between $130,000 and $140,000, discourages many worthy individuals from pursuing this line of work. The program would require a commitment of three years of veterinary services in a designated shortage area and NIFA may repay up to $25,000/year of student loan debt. That would certainly be a help and maybe encourage more to pursue the large animal end of the studies.
The big Wyoming Horse Expo at the State Fair indoor equine center at Douglas, WY, is set for April 24-25. They are looking for all equine related people and businesses and feature a commercial trade show, non-profit groups/breed displays, clinicians, educational seminars, demonstrations, private treaty sales and a stallion alley. For booth, stall, clinic, etc… info, contact Connie Taylor at 307-358-3862, Sammy or Patty Hales at 307-266-4922 or 307-277-0325 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The admission is free to the event, so vendors and horse folks can expect a good crowd to turn out.
Piroplasmosis is still making the news as more horses are being found positive for the disease through routine blood work. This isn’t anything to sneeze at up here in the northern plains either. All it takes is one positive, infectious horse to infect a horse at a public place, be it rodeo, show, horse sale, etc… and it can be in your own back yard. Again, check ahead with state vets to determine what it takes to get a horse into and out of states you may be traveling to. Be sure and have your paperwork in order before you travel with your horse too.
I was paging through a breed journal (I won’t say whether AQHA or APHA) recently and saw an advertisement for one of those mega-ton halter horse stallions. Though he was N/H for HYPP, they would guarantee that any foal by him would be negative for HYPP or they would refund the full breeding fee. The ad stressed that they were using a semen extender to screen out the positives on the HYPP. Hmm… never heard of such a thing. Just out of curiosity, I should probably call to ask some questions, though I would rather have my mare snakebit than bred to the horse in the ad. I know an absolutely 100 percent, guaranteed, fool proof, no-mistake-possible way of ensuring a foal won’t be positive for HYPP: DON’T BREED TO A N/H OR P/P STALLION! Gosh sakes, why would a person even need to? If your heart is set on raising a halter horse of that style, there are plenty of double negative stallions out there that proudly state in their ads that they are N/N. There is no reason to take the risk of bringing even one more HYPP horse into this world.
On the subject of HYPP (hyperkalemic periodic paralysis), for those of you who don’t know, it’s found in the horse of the Impressive bloodlines. Impressive was an enormously popular Quarter Horse halter sire and his descendents can have HYPP, which is a generally fatal, genetic disorder, that is somewhat manageable, but not curable. The AQHA finally made some rulings about the horses of that bloodline a couple years ago, but not before the horse world was over populated with horses positive for the condition. There is a test that can determine if your horse has it or can pass it along. If a horse is positive or P/P, it has it. If a horse is N/H, is means it carries the gene, but doesn’t usually display symptoms. The N/N horse is the ONLY one that is safe from HYPP. The N/N horse doesn’t have it, never will, and absolutely cannot pass it on to its offspring. So, why take a risk? If only N/N horses are ever allowed to breed, the genetic condition is stopped. Too bad the AQHA didn’t do that right at the beginning when it was first possible to test the horses. Sadly, it’s also in the APHA (Paint) and ApHC (Appaloosa) breeds due to the heavy use of the Impressive bloodlines to achieve the halter type horse.
Don’t forget to renew your South Dakota brand. That needs done before May 1st. I’ll keep reminding you – can’t help it, it’s the mother in me!
It’s been so foggy in our area that I’m starting to mold. If the old sage is right about 90 days after fog there will be moisture, May is going to be a duck drowning son of a gun. I think I’ll go ahead and order my chest waders so I’ll be prepared.
Let me know what’s happening in your part of the country and I’ll be happy to pass the news along.
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A pasture or lot with plenty of grass or bedding and windbreak is important when calving in the cold.