Some good horse news | TSLN.com

Some good horse news

For the Sept. 19, 2009 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

We search diligently for good news to share here, and things do appear to be looking up! Recent horse sale averages and sale-toppers seem to have soared – if you’ve been reading results in this publication you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Of course it’s the high-quality, well-bred horses with plenty of class, training, athleticism and disposition that are bringing the top dollar… but that’s always been true. I remember the late great Jack Campbell telling me more than once, “There will always be a good market for quality horses.” As the recent downtrend escalated, I’ve been praying that would continue to hold true.

Further good news in our region comes from North Dakota Horse Park at Fargo, where the mantra “practically every Horse Park record broken at least once” echoes from barns to grandstand. That would include total attendance, total handle and total income, even though one of the 16 racing days during the 7-week meet was rained out!

Records weren’t just barely broken, either. Total on-track handle for the 138 races run took a quantum leap of 48 percent; up from $415,880 for 16 days in 2008 to $616,298 for 15 days in 2009. General Manager Heather Benson called that “just astounding.”

“Considering that nationwide wagering on racing is down double digits in this economy, we are very, very happy with our 2009 numbers!” she said. The daily on-track handle averaged $41,086, an increase of 58 percent over the 2008 average of $25,993. Daily attendance averaged 3,800, up from 3,300 in 2008 and 2,500 in 2007. Horse Park broke its own one-day attendance record twice, on July 24 and Aug. 1, each day surpassing the 5,000 mark. Those attendance figures brought all other numbers up with daily concession sales jumping 54 percent and program and daily gift shop sales rising 27 percent. In all, the North Dakota Horse Park saw a 43 percent jump in average daily receipts over 2008 and a 23 percent jump in overall revenue although running with a one fewer day of racing. “We are very excited by these numbers. We took some risks this season by changing our traditional race week from three days (Fri, Sat, Sun) to two days and marketing the Horse Park as an entertainment venue for a weekend out,” stated Heather Benson. “We saw great growth from 2007 to 2008 and now again from 2008 to 2009, it’s onward and upward from here!”

To continue this blitz of good news, let me tell you about 22-year-old Minnesota-bred jockey Jake Olesiak and his record-shattering season at North Dakota Horse Park. Statistics show the nationwide average jockey win percentage around 16 percent; with top jockeys at any American track normally winning at rates of 20-25 percent. A win rate of 30 percent or more is outstanding, yet Jockey Jake managed to be in-the-money with an awesome 77 percent of the horses he rode into the gates; cinching his 4th consecutive season title at the Horse Park. Olesiak rode 34 winners, and broke his own record for winners on a card by riding 7 of 9 to victory on July 25th.

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Other happy participants at ND Horse Park include Tom Maher of Box Elder, SD, whose 4-year-old Quarter Horse filly NO TEMPER HERE won the AQHA Challenge Stakes to become the track’s all-time Quarter Horse Stakes Winner; helping catapult Tom into position as Leading Owner. Dave Bernhardt of Wishek, ND happily saddled 12 winners to edge out Bob Johnson and Ernest Fennel for the leading trainer title. Bernhardt-trained speedsters captured the NDTOBA Derby, the NDTOBA Mile Cup and the Shooting Star Stakes on the final weekend.

As you may have suspected, we couldn’t write an entire column with nothing but good news. That’s because we take our responsibility of keeping you informed quite seriously; and the things you really need to be informed about aren’t usually good news.

On that note, you need to know that 35 equine cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been reported nationwide so far this season. Twenty of those are in Washington state; then there’s Montana with four cases; California, three; Kentucky and Louisiana, two each; and Mississippi, Texas, Utah and West Virginia with one each. Last year, out of 179 equine cases in 30 states and Puerto Rico, 41 cases were in Washington state, 32 in California, 19 in Texas, eight in Utah and seven in Montana. The mosquito-borne virus began migrating westward in 1999, and of course vaccinations are recommended. At least seven horses have died of the malady in Maine this year.

Also on the horse-health front, a suspected case of the equine bacterial disease strangles in a Thoroughbred at Hoosier Park prompted track officials to quarantine a barn at the Anderson, IN track last Saturday, Sept. 12th. All 59 horses stabled in the barn with the horse suspected of having contracted Streptococcus equi, the causative agent of strangles, have been quarantined until test results are returned from the lab. Thorough test results are expected to take up to 72 hours, and officials are in constant contact with state and track veterinarians monitoring the horse. If test results return a positive identification of strangles, then all horses located in the quarantined barn will be required to undergo mandatory testing for the disease. Strangles is an infectious, contagious equine disease, characterized by abscesses in the lymphoid tissue of the upper respiratory tract.

Speaking of the upper respiratory tract, one bad condition horses can develop in that area is heaves. I’ve always thought strangles and heaves were very-descriptive disease names… and unfortunately I’ve had experience with both. The best horse I ever had suffered with heaves, with allergies his worst irritant; but he was also a cribber, and that vice exacerbated his lung problems.

I learned, after being advised by an old horseman with much experience, to feed this horse beet pulp; and found it quite satisfactory. This byproduct of the sugar beet industry – often referred to as a “super fiber” due to its high digestibility and ease of fermentation – is common in the upper Midwest, Michigan, and California. After the sugar is processed and removed, the pulp remains and has become increasingly popular as an ingredient in horse feed, either pelleted or shredded. With the current focus in the horse industry on lowering non-structural carbohydrates in equine diets, it’s nice to know beet pulp has an average NSC of around 12 percent. This fact, combined with its good calorie content and ease of fermentation, makes it an excellent ingredient in high fiber, low carbohydrate diets.

It seems September is flying by, so it’s time to remind you the annual Alzada Cowboy Poetry, Music and Art Show is coming up Oct. 4th in the bustling metropolis of Alzada, MT. The theme for 2009 is “Spurs.” Coffee will be hot and doors open at 10 a.m. for viewing the art and lunch will be served by 11 a.m.; with the free program kicking off at 1 p.m.

This entertaining event benefits the local community hall, and since the only charge is for the food, participants are encouraged to eat a lot. That’s easy and pleasureable, with all the great home-cooked soups, pies and other goodies!

Poets, musicians and artists of all ages are encouraged to participate, but the committee would like to know by Sept. 25th if you can be there, so they can organize the program. To learn more or sign up to perform contact Gay Arpan at (406) 828-4517 or kgarpan@rangeweb.net; or Chris Maupin at (307) 467-5260 or write Box 151, Hulett, WY 82720.

Looks like we’ve come plumb to the end of this ol’ lariat rope once more…

We search diligently for good news to share here, and things do appear to be looking up! Recent horse sale averages and sale-toppers seem to have soared – if you’ve been reading results in this publication you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Of course it’s the high-quality, well-bred horses with plenty of class, training, athleticism and disposition that are bringing the top dollar… but that’s always been true. I remember the late great Jack Campbell telling me more than once, “There will always be a good market for quality horses.” As the recent downtrend escalated, I’ve been praying that would continue to hold true.

Further good news in our region comes from North Dakota Horse Park at Fargo, where the mantra “practically every Horse Park record broken at least once” echoes from barns to grandstand. That would include total attendance, total handle and total income, even though one of the 16 racing days during the 7-week meet was rained out!

Records weren’t just barely broken, either. Total on-track handle for the 138 races run took a quantum leap of 48 percent; up from $415,880 for 16 days in 2008 to $616,298 for 15 days in 2009. General Manager Heather Benson called that “just astounding.”

“Considering that nationwide wagering on racing is down double digits in this economy, we are very, very happy with our 2009 numbers!” she said. The daily on-track handle averaged $41,086, an increase of 58 percent over the 2008 average of $25,993. Daily attendance averaged 3,800, up from 3,300 in 2008 and 2,500 in 2007. Horse Park broke its own one-day attendance record twice, on July 24 and Aug. 1, each day surpassing the 5,000 mark. Those attendance figures brought all other numbers up with daily concession sales jumping 54 percent and program and daily gift shop sales rising 27 percent. In all, the North Dakota Horse Park saw a 43 percent jump in average daily receipts over 2008 and a 23 percent jump in overall revenue although running with a one fewer day of racing. “We are very excited by these numbers. We took some risks this season by changing our traditional race week from three days (Fri, Sat, Sun) to two days and marketing the Horse Park as an entertainment venue for a weekend out,” stated Heather Benson. “We saw great growth from 2007 to 2008 and now again from 2008 to 2009, it’s onward and upward from here!”

To continue this blitz of good news, let me tell you about 22-year-old Minnesota-bred jockey Jake Olesiak and his record-shattering season at North Dakota Horse Park. Statistics show the nationwide average jockey win percentage around 16 percent; with top jockeys at any American track normally winning at rates of 20-25 percent. A win rate of 30 percent or more is outstanding, yet Jockey Jake managed to be in-the-money with an awesome 77 percent of the horses he rode into the gates; cinching his 4th consecutive season title at the Horse Park. Olesiak rode 34 winners, and broke his own record for winners on a card by riding 7 of 9 to victory on July 25th.

Other happy participants at ND Horse Park include Tom Maher of Box Elder, SD, whose 4-year-old Quarter Horse filly NO TEMPER HERE won the AQHA Challenge Stakes to become the track’s all-time Quarter Horse Stakes Winner; helping catapult Tom into position as Leading Owner. Dave Bernhardt of Wishek, ND happily saddled 12 winners to edge out Bob Johnson and Ernest Fennel for the leading trainer title. Bernhardt-trained speedsters captured the NDTOBA Derby, the NDTOBA Mile Cup and the Shooting Star Stakes on the final weekend.

As you may have suspected, we couldn’t write an entire column with nothing but good news. That’s because we take our responsibility of keeping you informed quite seriously; and the things you really need to be informed about aren’t usually good news.

On that note, you need to know that 35 equine cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been reported nationwide so far this season. Twenty of those are in Washington state; then there’s Montana with four cases; California, three; Kentucky and Louisiana, two each; and Mississippi, Texas, Utah and West Virginia with one each. Last year, out of 179 equine cases in 30 states and Puerto Rico, 41 cases were in Washington state, 32 in California, 19 in Texas, eight in Utah and seven in Montana. The mosquito-borne virus began migrating westward in 1999, and of course vaccinations are recommended. At least seven horses have died of the malady in Maine this year.

Also on the horse-health front, a suspected case of the equine bacterial disease strangles in a Thoroughbred at Hoosier Park prompted track officials to quarantine a barn at the Anderson, IN track last Saturday, Sept. 12th. All 59 horses stabled in the barn with the horse suspected of having contracted Streptococcus equi, the causative agent of strangles, have been quarantined until test results are returned from the lab. Thorough test results are expected to take up to 72 hours, and officials are in constant contact with state and track veterinarians monitoring the horse. If test results return a positive identification of strangles, then all horses located in the quarantined barn will be required to undergo mandatory testing for the disease. Strangles is an infectious, contagious equine disease, characterized by abscesses in the lymphoid tissue of the upper respiratory tract.

Speaking of the upper respiratory tract, one bad condition horses can develop in that area is heaves. I’ve always thought strangles and heaves were very-descriptive disease names… and unfortunately I’ve had experience with both. The best horse I ever had suffered with heaves, with allergies his worst irritant; but he was also a cribber, and that vice exacerbated his lung problems.

I learned, after being advised by an old horseman with much experience, to feed this horse beet pulp; and found it quite satisfactory. This byproduct of the sugar beet industry – often referred to as a “super fiber” due to its high digestibility and ease of fermentation – is common in the upper Midwest, Michigan, and California. After the sugar is processed and removed, the pulp remains and has become increasingly popular as an ingredient in horse feed, either pelleted or shredded. With the current focus in the horse industry on lowering non-structural carbohydrates in equine diets, it’s nice to know beet pulp has an average NSC of around 12 percent. This fact, combined with its good calorie content and ease of fermentation, makes it an excellent ingredient in high fiber, low carbohydrate diets.

It seems September is flying by, so it’s time to remind you the annual Alzada Cowboy Poetry, Music and Art Show is coming up Oct. 4th in the bustling metropolis of Alzada, MT. The theme for 2009 is “Spurs.” Coffee will be hot and doors open at 10 a.m. for viewing the art and lunch will be served by 11 a.m.; with the free program kicking off at 1 p.m.

This entertaining event benefits the local community hall, and since the only charge is for the food, participants are encouraged to eat a lot. That’s easy and pleasureable, with all the great home-cooked soups, pies and other goodies!

Poets, musicians and artists of all ages are encouraged to participate, but the committee would like to know by Sept. 25th if you can be there, so they can organize the program. To learn more or sign up to perform contact Gay Arpan at (406) 828-4517 or kgarpan@rangeweb.net; or Chris Maupin at (307) 467-5260 or write Box 151, Hulett, WY 82720.

Looks like we’ve come plumb to the end of this ol’ lariat rope once more…