Horse around marchapril 2018

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New Mexico MARCH/APRIL 2018




Positive solutions. Positive motivation. Positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement training creates extraordinary communication between you and your equine partner. Shawna Karrasch EVALYN BEMIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Now there’s a special place you can go to learn these concepts and skills based on proven science and practical application. Terra Nova Equestrian Training Center in Santa Fe, NM, is proud to be the new home of legendary positive-reinforcement trainer, Shawna Karrasch. A pioneer in using reward-based methods to train horses, Shawna can unlock joy and enthusiasm on both sides of the partnership, turning “problems” into fun, and horses into willing participants. Dressage and eventing trainer, and barn manager, Gilly Slayter brings her years of coaching and competitive experience to create the perfect combination of positive equestrian pursuits with outstanding boarding care at Terra Nova. For clinic, training and facility information, visit our website and sign up for our newsletter at!

Gilly Slayter

Email: Find us on Facebook: terranovatrainingcenter 47 Ranch Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA Mailing: 7 Avenida Grande, #B7-504, Santa Fe, NM 87508-9207 USA EVALYN BEMIS PHOTOGRAPHY



28 22

FEATURES 18 Spring Into Riding

Try these exercises to reconnect with your horse before that first trail ride

22 Pony Away!

Ponying a horse is good for the lead horse, the ponied horse, and for you, the rider!


25 The 3 "Sacred Cows" Of Riding Three rules to stick to when you ride, no matter what

26 Rock Solid

Buying the right horse, or choosing the best trainer, is easier if you know the elements of a solid foundation of training

28 To Ride Or Not To Ride...

Three women recount what it took to get back in the saddle after setbacks

31 Get Ready To Compete On The Trail

Get insights for competitive trail riding, then give it a try!

32 The Wild Sabinoso

New Mexico's newly-accessible wilderness is like no other

35 Shoes For Health

To shoe or not to shoe? This farrier tells why you should consider shoes, and why correct shoeing is key to hoof health


36 Horse Services Directory 37 Crazy Spring Weed 38 Events Calendar

Horse Around New Mexico is printed five times per year: Mar/Apr, May/Jun, Jul/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec. Submissions of articles and photos from all around NM are welcome! See our website or email/call for submission standards/deadlines:, HorseNewMexico@gmail. com, 505-570-7377. Horse Around New MexicoŠ2018. All rights reserved. Horse Around New Mexico and are copyrighted, trademarked, and the sole property of Cecilia Kayano. Individual content copyright belongs to the author. All the opinions expressed herein are the sole opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect bias or belief on the part of the editor, publisher, distributors, printer, advertisers, or other contributors.

New Mexico

Stacie G. Boswell, DVM, DACVS, who has written horse health articles for Horse Around New Mexico magazine, recently moved from Ruidoso to Montana. Her article on page 37 about the dangers of locoweed will be her last for Horse Around. Shortly after Karen Lehmann created Horse Around in 2013, Stacie started submitting articles. Not only were the articles well written, but they clearly showed Stacie's concern for horses and their owners. Karen says Stacie did not merely chooses topics that interested her, but rather let horse-owning clients show her what information was needed. What Stacie saw in the field determined what she wrote about. When I purchased the magazine in 2015, Stacie kept submitting articles with photos, all excellently written, and well-researched, with clear photos and captions. One of her first articles was about documenting your horse for traveling and included a close-up photo of a tattoo on the gums of a horse. That photo should have prepared me for the Stacie Boswell photos to come. Only Stacie could have provided such a photo: No amount of searching on iStock for “horse, gums, tattoo,” could have netted anything like it. When she wrote, “Too Fat, Too Thin, Just Right” about knowing if your horse is at a healthy weight, I started to understand how empathetic she was to horse owners. She did not admonish anyone for having a horse that was too fat or too thin. She recognized that an owner might get used to a slow weight change in their horse, and therefore not know that it was at an unhealthy weight. But ultimately, she was always on the side of the horse. As a vet, she had seen too many thin horses, and met too many horse owners who just didn't know. She went on to suggest feeding vegetable oil as a low-cost way to put weight on a horse. With each article Stacie submitted, I began to see a mission behind her writing. When I finally met her in late 2016, she explained why she researched, wrote, and photographed with so much heart. Guided by what she saw in the field, Stacie wanted to educate people about how to better care for their horses. We were at the Greenside Restaurant in Cedar Crest. Stacie was just as enthusiastic in person as she was in her writing and photography. For me, the best example of her enthusiasm appeared in her November 2017 article about Pigeon Fever. She submitted a photo of a horse’s engorged breast, with a stream of yellow pus shooting out. This was the caption, “A horse with Pigeon Fever showing pus being drained from a mature abscess.” Then, “The volume of pus can be surprisingly large!” Exclamation point! By then, I had become desensitized to the Boswell photos: close-up, slimy horse teeth and gums showing before and after teeth floating; a pinworm emerging from a horse’s anus (again, close-up), and; a gelding’s penis with arrows pointing to the locations of beans. Before that photo, I didn’t know exactly where the beans were hiding. My gelding is very grateful to Stacie for those arrows! I never censored the photos, in part because I didn’t think there was a need, but moreover because I kept Stacie’s purpose in mind: To help educate horse owners for horses' sakes. So thank you Stacie for your articles, photos, and enthusiasm. But most of all, thank you for explaining to me why you did it. Your goal has become the mission of Horse Around New Mexico magazine. We flat out stole it from you: “To help make the lives of horses better, by educating and inspiring their owners.”

Editor/Publisher CECILIA KAYANO Associate Editor PEGGY CONGER Facebook/Events SUSIE SPICER Manager Outreach Manager RŌNI MERBLER Contributing Writers ROELIFF ANNON & Photographers VICTORIA CHICK THOMAS GARCIA THILO HOFFMAN GABRIELLA MARKS TOM MAXFELDT KATRIN SILVA Staff Writers & EVALYN BEMIS Photographers STACIE G. BOSWELL Graphic Design/Layout MARIE ANTHONY Advertising & Sales FREE Events Listing


Subscriptions $30/YR MAIL CHECK TO:

HANM * PO BOX 367* PECOS * NM 87552 OR PURCHASE ONLINE AT: Next Issue: Vacation and Travel Issue Well-written, informative articles and high-resolution photos are welcome. Submissions will be considered and are subject to editing. The next issue, the Vacation and Travel Issue, will appear at New Mexico outlets on May 1, 2018. The deadline for submissions is March 20, 2018. The deadline for ads is April 5, 2018. For information contact Cecilia Kayano, HANM Editor, 505-570-7377,,

Cecilia Kayano My favorite photo of Dr. Boswell. She makes teeth floating fun! (To read her articles in past Horse Around issues, visit


Need more trail riding details, horsey events and equine inspiration? Check out our expanded Facebook page. Make sure to like us!

COVER PHOTO: Mary Anne Maynard rides Nite in the Sabinoso Wilderness. Photo by Cecilia Kayano.

Goose Downs Farm

Goose Downs Farm 64 Goose Downs Road Galisteo, NM 87540 505 690 9948 7 | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND

Christy Parent

EQUINE BODY BALANCE Informed by Equine Ortho-Bionomy, Equine Positional Release: a non-force bodywork approach – addresses acute and chronic injury patterns, structural, visceral, fluids, soft tissue, circulation that may manifest in lameness, illness and behavioral patterns. MOUNTED BODY BALANCE The application of Equine Body Balance techniques for the horse coupled with Ortho-Bionomy for the human, mounted or unmounted sessions. Focus on deriving the best possible outcome for horse and rider by working with the strengths in each. ORTHO-BIONOMY Non-force bodywork for the human, based on Osteopathy, that addresses all body systems: acute and chronic injury patterns, structural, visceral, fluids, soft tissue, circulation – with focus on self-correction.

Professional certifications: Associate Instructor & Advanced Practitioner – Ortho-Bionomy & Equine Ortho-Bionomy, Practitioner – Equine Positional Release (EPR). Member ABMP; Society of Ortho-Bionomy International; Independent Liberty Trainers Network. . Located in Santa Fe. 505-501-2478 8

HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

mel bags to get


Small-Town Service, Large Selection


Paul’s Veterinary Supply TRAINIG AIDS, lunge lines, martingales, crops, specialty bits BEAUTY AIDS, shampoo and conditioners for your horse, tack cleaning soaps and oils, clippers HOOF HELPERS, suppliments and salves for healthy hooves

Paul’s Veterinary Supply is known for our friendly, knowledgeable customer service! Have a horse care question? Stop by and ask!


2 Stores in New Mexico!


3825 Osuna NE, Albuquerque


2005 SE Main, Roswell


hinking of making a move? Let horse property specialist Rōni Merbler help you start your preparations NOW so your horse property will be ready for that strong springtime sales market!


1. Clean up the entrance of the property, keep foliage trimmed and cleared and grass mowed. When the time comes, plant fresh color at the entrance of the property.

2. Be sure the house is ready • Be sure corrals are clean, and fencing is safe and in with fresh paint, de-cluttering, good condition. clean floors and counter tops. Change any light bulbs that • Patch any leaking roofs in may be burned out. the barn or shelter. 3. Keep those front and back porches swept and clean of debris and cobwebs. 4. Horse properties need extra preparations. Keep these tips in mind:

Rōni Merbler CRS, ABR, Broker Associate

• Remove any stored items, bird nests, cobwebs, etc. • Be sure water spigots are in good working order. • Determine what farm machinery will convey with the property and have it in good working condition.



Rōni Merbler CRS, ABR, Broker Associate


505.249.5102 | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND



PRO-TRAINER’S HOME, HORSE FACILITY IN EL RANCHO 15 Calle Otra Banda, Santa Fe. Professional horse trainer’s property in El Rancho! A large pipe rail arena, tack room w/AC, 5 covered stalls, hay storage, shop building and more on this 1.1 acre property with a beautiful 3/2 Karsten home. Convenient to Santa Fe, Los Alamos and the Espanola Valley. At this price, you can still afford hay! Offered at $239,000. mls #201702680

Dave Mead

Cell: 505.470.2917 Off: 505.982.4466

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FABULOUS HORSE FACILITY, JUST NEEDS YOUR DREAM HOME! 95B Ranch Rd, Lamy. All this property needs is your house! 10 stall MD barn and 50x100 indoor arena on 12.5 acres. Multiple big-view building sites for your custom or modular home. 20 minutes from Santa Fe. An indoor arena is better than for making new friends! Offered at $324,000. mls #201702353

10 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

At the Farm, Ranch & Equestrian Brand at Santa Fe Properties I specialize in horse properties, land, farms and ranches in all price ranges throughout northern New Mexico. Whether horses or agricultural are your passion, your business, or both, I’m here to help you! Call or visit me today at

Custom Saddles by McCall

Custom Saddles by County of England | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND


Pet cremation keeps them close to the heart the memories never fade. When your beloved horse or pet dies, it is a traumatic time. Let Albuquerque Pet Memorial Service be there for you and your pet. We are the only family owned and operated animal cremation service in New Mexico. We are animal lovers, and promise to treat your pet with the dignity and respect it deserves. THIS MEANS:

We empathize

with you at this difficult time, and will explain options for cremation according to your budget and special wishes. when we pick up your horse or pet at your home, boarding facility or veterinary office.

We are respectful We understand

your need to keep your pet’s remains close by, or scatter them at a meaningful place. We offer a wide selection of urns, and can engrave them with words of comfort. Albuquerque Pet Memorial Service is owned by Kelly and Dave Gifford. Pictured here are Kelly and Dave’s grandchildren Paige and Jaxon being cared for by equine pal Velvet, who passed away in 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE PET MEMORIAL SERVICE 132 Mountain Park Place NW Suite A, Albuquerque, New Mexico


505-550-4793 / PAGER: 505-790-5596

get his shine on with spring vaccines Western Trails Veterinary Hospital is the best choice for excellent pet, horse, and cattle care in the East Mountains. OUR TEAM Schedule your Spring House Call Vaccines:


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large & small animals 24/7 emergency care 12 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |


Dream Home, Dream Life Annette Wood

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EQUINE RESCUE RESCUING HORSES FROM PERILOUS SITUATIONS Four Corners Equine Rescue, located in Aztec, NM, has been giving horses second chances for over 13 years. Please come visit us to see our herd of adoptable horses. Check out our website to find out how you can make life better for horses by volunteering, adopting, sponsoring, or making a taxdeductible donation.




3700 MORRIS ST. NE  ALBUQUERQUE  OPEN M-F, 7:30-5:30 | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND


Define your path

Lynn Clifford, LMHC, EAGALA 505.231.5353 pHonE, SkypE or in pErSon

Live the Rancher’s Dream 160-acre equestrian/cattle ranch near Stanley, New Mexico

1900 sq. ft. 3-bedroom 2-bath home with new stucco and pitched roof. 1,500 sq. ft. insulated shop, 15 horse pens including four stallion and one foaling. 80X200 outdoor arena, 80X160 indoor arena, and round pen. Vet rack, two tack rooms, 15,000 feet of pipe corral fencing, turnout, and 150 aces+- of pasture. Plentiful water. Ride out on hillsides and around Crow Peak. Potential income producing: training, boarding, etc. $498,000, MLS#201702238 CALL TODAY FOR A SHOWING:

Bunny Terry, Associate Broker,


Keller William 505-983-5151

16 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

Photo Š

Therapies for The inner equesTrian

Claim your ride

The Ride of Your Life

Balance your life





Training / Lessons Clinics–Classical & Western Dressage

I am a horse-human relationship counselor who will help you and your horse get along better, in the arena and on the trail.

Katrin Silva, Santa Fe / 505-429-7968 / Santa Fe


Albuquerque Area Horse Properties VIEWS! Horse Facilities! 10 fenced acres!

2069 SF 4BR, 2.5 BA 3CG, great barn! Open living areas, super master suite! Asking 290K! 3 Mancha Cir., Belen

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• Diesel and gas engines service, tune ups & repairs • Horse trailer repairs & safety checks

We will meet all of your mechanical needs with factory-trained personnel. 14 Camino Charro, Santa Fe


3BR, 2BA, 1.8 acres Pipe fenced & x-fenced Charming 1797 SF home, 2 living areas, + workshop, stall, outbuildings, poss. irrigation! $219,000 10 Sandhill, Los Lunas

Your Horse Property Specialist! Laura Warden Nordin, (505)239-4796

Search Horse Properties on Century 21 Camco (505)292-2021 | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND



Try these exercises to reconnect with your horse after down time


pring has sprung: The wind is blowing, the dust and pollen are flying, and we’re itching to get out and spend some time with our horses. Hopefully we have been working on things with our equine partner over the winter. But if not, no problem. There are some fun exercises we can do to get ourselves prepared for spring riding.

We must be aware and considerate of our horses and make an effort to see things from their point of view. First of all, if your horse has been cooped up for any amount of time, he’s likely going to be full of excess energy, and a little soft in muscle and tendon. So we need to take that into consideration.

The horse’s behavior will tell you where to start

Begin working with your horse the minute you come into contact with him. Be aware of how your horse acts when you go to halter him. Does he approach you or turn away? Getting your horse to face you before you halter him sets you up for success.


Crossing tarps is a great tune-up exercise

Once you have the horse haltered, how does he feel at the end of the lead rope? Is he dragging behind, or dragging you off ? Is your horse paying more attention to his environment than to you? A lot can be worked out well before you get your horse saddled up.

A tarp can be a stand-in for all sorts of obstacles you may encounter on the trail. Tarp work builds communication and trust, so it’s worth spending a little time on tarp training in the spring.

A great leading exercise is to have your horse walk a few feet behind you, keeping that distance and matching your pace. If you stop, he stops. When you start, he starts. Now bring him up next to you and do the same thing. He should walk next to you. His shoulder should be just behind your shoulder. Add in turns. When you turn, he turns.

Before I start, I like to throw some sand on the corners and edges of the tarp so wind does not blow it. This also helps prevent your horse from catching the edge with hoof when walking over tarp.

18 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

For many horses, crossing a tarp like this, in a relaxed manner, takes some practice. Start slowly by asking your horse to stand quietly near the tarp, then take a few steps onto the tarp.

When introducing, or reviewing tarp work with your horse on the ground, remember to see if you can keep a float in the rope. The goal is to show your horse what to do and support him in looking for what you are asking for. If your horse has a strong reaction to the mere presence of the tarp, don’t force him. Start by working with him near the tarp. Soften his poll with a few exercises and ask him to step in each direction before moving closer. The objective is not

to scare your horse but to embolden him. Reward him for trying one step at a time. The goal is to have your horse relaxed near or on the tarp. This can only happen if you let it be your horse’s idea. If you push too hard or rush your horse, there will be resistance and tension in your horse. Reward him by removing the cue. If you have to drag or coax your horse near or over the tarp, he is not buying in and you are forcing him over. If he rushes over the tarp and loses his frame,

your exercise is not going to be very productive. You want your horse to accept the presence of the tarp and not have it affect his relationship with you. Once your horse is comfortable on the ground, do the exercise mounted. The idea is the same. Keep your reins loose and don’t micromanage your horse. Your reins can still be “loose” and short at the same time. The idea is not to be pulling on your horse or have your horse pulling on you. | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND


In the top photo, the rider is crossing the tarp with a lot of tension in her hands, body and legs. This makes your horse tense! When you ride relaxed, like the photo on left, your horse relaxes.

horse to feel the end of the rope and find the release. It is our responsibility to help and guide the horse to find it.

Communicate for results

The photos on page 19 and above demonstrate how the rider/handler is directing the horse. The horse is rewarded by relaxing of the handler/ rider. Do not micromanage the horse.

Roeliff Annon leads a young Spanish horse named Shackleton. Notice that there is about four feet of rope between Roeliff and the horse, and there is slack in the rope.

Teach respect by teaching to lead

When leading your horse, you want the horse to come with you. If, when you move off, he doesn’t come with you, be sure to let him feel the end of the rope. The moment it grows taut, wait. Do not pull, just keep steady pressure on the lead. The second the horse comes, let off the pressure, providing immediate relief for your horse. If you pull and drag, your horse will learn to let you do all the work.

Also your horse must stay where you want him. If he walks past you and puts his shoulder on you, all manner of problems arise. If you are walking with your horse at your side, turn right or left and see if your horse comes with you or yields. Are you “pushing” or leading your horse? If you are constantly having contact, you are basically getting dragged around. If your horse is not turning with you, use the same technique -- allow your

20 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

Your horse responds to his environment as his nature and temperament dictate. Keeping that in mind, you do not want to be the one causing a reaction from your horse. You want to interact with your horse. Constant, considerate, and precise communication will get you the results you want. Pulling on and reacting to your horse instead of leading, both literally and figuratively, will cause your horse to revert to using his instincts instead of following the tone you set.


Roeliff Annon helps horses and humans find true connection. Widely known for his work with feral horses, Roeliff also raises Spanish mustangs on his ranch in Corona, New Mexico. He works with all breeds of horses and all types of students, helping them learn to better communicate with each other. Annon will be doing a spring clinic just outside of Santa Fe. Check out the dates at or call 505-690-0795.


Auction &

May 20 11am Tickets $75 tax-deductible Photo Linda Rinkinen

Please donate quality items (art,

jewelry, clothing, tack…) and gift certificates to our auction. 505.471.6179


All the benefits of Aloe Vera for your Horse Potency guaranteed by independent laboratory tests.


Applewood Ranch – Corrales, NM


4,092 sq ft 4beds 5 baths Premier Horse Property! 2.9 irrigated acres has Barn with 16 Stalls, tack room arena,

99.7% Aloe Vera Leaf Juice

club house, 1500 bale hay barn, and 3 Pastures. Commercial Operation for 17 years without an empty stall! Remodeled Home boasts hickory floors a gorgeous chef's kitchen can entertain 50-60 people. Office with separate entrance, custom oak wine closet, and bath can be used as guest quarters. Billiard room, multi-purpose room. Master bedroom with bonus room, California closets, mahogany doors, Italian Tile, granite, onyx back-lit sink. 14.6 KW solar system, refrigerated air. Outdoor living area has spa, gazebo, fire pit, waterfall pond, and mountain views. Ditch access for riding, .

cycling, running or walking the dog. About 3 acres to transform into your Dream World

Ann Taylor CRS 505-379-7774

Albuquerque Bob Powell 505.261.8059 Horsemen’s 505.792.8225 8812 2nd St NW Aztec/Durango Dennis Brazeal 505.508.8054

Santa Fe/Las Vegas Andrea Pabel-Deane 505.690.8426 Taos Nicole Trousdale 303.903.2721 | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND



David Gifford rides Ani and ponies Rojan along Iron Lake in the Gila National Forest.




his spring, how about acquiring the skills to pony a horse when you head outside the arena? By taking a second horse along while you ride, you get two horses exercised, and teach some useful skills and behaviors at the same time. Ponying is a very good way to introduce green horses to the sights and sounds of cars passing by, barking dogs, plastic bags trembling from a tree branch and all the other things they might encounter under saddle. By following the example of a lead horse, they can learn to step into water, to navigate a bridge or narrow passageway, to pick their way over rocks or through mud, and to wait patiently during a lull in activity. Not only do they get good, controlled exercise by being ponied, they can also be slowly introduced to being led under saddle or wearing a light snaffle bridle underneath the halter. I love to reach down and rub my ponied horse’s head, neck and back while he walks alongside, so that touch from above doesn't startle him. Ponying also helps with starting a new horse. I am ponying my new youngster Peñasco. By the time he is old enough or strong enough to carry a person in the saddle, I expect getting on to be a non-event. If you want to give ponying a try, here are some tips:

Be ready

Prepare the ponied horse to follow. What previous experience does he have being led? Does he come forward politely and quietly in response to a tug on his lead rope? Does he know the lead horse and are the two of them buddies or at least congenial? If you want your first ponied outing to be a positive experience for all, make sure he is prepared. Prepare your lead horse to be the leader. Your lead horse needs to be ridden with one hand, so make sure he neck reins, even if you normally ride English. He also needs to be good at moving off your leg and being calm if he gets bumped by the ponied horse. He should be

patient and not get offended or run away when the rope gets tangled, or the ponied horse runs up a hill, jumps a creek, or spooks. Obviously don’t use a lead horse that might kick. Select the bit, reins, and halter. On the lead horse, I use a bit that will produce a whoa without a lot of discussion in the event that things get heated. By the same token, use a rope halter with a knotted nose band and a lead rope with at least 10’ on the ponied horse. Put a knot at the end of the lead rope so if he stops suddenly or veers away, you have a better chance of not losing the lead. I like to use a bridle with braided cotton reins on the lead horse, so I can quickly adjust my rein length by gathering or slipping with one hand.

Take it slow

Start in an enclosed space. In the beginning, start quietly and slowly in a round pen or arena, so if there is a problem or you drop the lead line, no big deal. It may feel awkward at first to carry your reins in one hand and have the lead line in the other, but you will develop the necessary skill with a bit of practice. When you feel ready to leave the safety of the enclosure, plan a quiet route away from cars, dogs and other potential challenges.

Ponying basics

Choose right or left side. Many people pony by holding onto the rope with their right hand and positioning the horse on the right. This allows for easier mounting and dismounting. The left side works as well, so choose a side and basically stick with it. You may, however, need to switch sides in some situations. Do this by passing the rope

behind your back or over your head. NEVER wrap the lead rope around your hand; rather, double it end to end when you are holding the slack so that if the horse pulls you can let some of the line release without losing a digit or being pulled out of the saddle. Position the ponied horse. Put him as near to your leg as possible. That way you can see what he is paying attention to; he won’t have as much leverage to pull away from you, and; you can reach down to rub his face every so often and tell him how stinkin’ cute he is!

On the trail

Keep him from nipping. If the ponied horse thinks it is fun to bite your riding horse or you, he might need to wear a grazing muzzle for a period of time. You can also gently use your foot in the stirrup to push the offender away until he learns to keep a little distance at your side. Don’t let him get ahead. When I trained my exracehorse Rolle to be ponied, I often had to catch him by the side of the halter to hold him and prevent him from going in front of my lead horse. Now Rolle is content to stay just off the lead and we can move at any speed with just a soft hold on the line. Know how to handle the “tail clamp.” Sometimes the ponied horse passes behind the lead which may result in the rope going under the tail. Many horses get scared and in response clamp down on it, frightening themselves even more. The ensuing whirling and bucking can be a challenge! Try to not let the ponied horse trail far enough behind for this to occur, but

if it does, you may need to drop the lead and dismount quickly, and then try to calm your horse until he relaxes his tail and you can free the rope. NEVER try to pull the rope loose while everybody is still excited – that would be a good way to get kicked or trampled. Keep them on the same side of the tree. A common mishap is when your lead horse walks one direction around a tree, and the ponied horse decides to go the other. Prepare for this by passing a tree on the side opposite the ponied horse. If this is not possible, prepare by shortening your lead, and giving the ponied horse clear direction that you want him to stay next to or directly behind the lead horse. Know when to drop the rope. It can be a habit to hold onto the rope, no matter what, but avoid this! If you go through a puddle, and the ponied horse decides to abruptly stop, do not get pulled out of the saddle! Stop your lead horse and back, or drop the rope. Recently, I was able to pony my brand new 2-year-old mustang, Peñasco, on his first outing . He is a calm and inquisitive boy, so he loves going out with the big guys. We trekked through a friend’s barn (with her permission, of course), walking by all sorts of potentially scary stuff and Peñasco didn’t bat an eye. As they say on television, don’t try this at home, but I mention it as an example of the kind of education you can give your horse by ponying, before you ever place a saddle on his back.


Evalyn Bemis is a lifelong equestrian who continues to learn from every horse she meets. View Evalyn's photography online by searching Evalyn Bemis Photography.

Ponying well is all about rope management and keeping your ponied horse in the right position. Here Peñasco is in front of my leg, so I will pull him back a bit (after I take this photo.) BY EVALYN BEMIS

Ponying tips from Mike Elmore,

trainer, hunter jumper rider, licensed USEF judge -I carry a bat or dressage whip for the horses that like to lag behind. By tapping them on the rump I can get them to catch up and not pull on my arm all the time. -With competitive horses that always want to be in front, I use a chain shank that is fed into the near side or the halter, over the nose band, out through the other side and up to the ring above the jaw. By threading it this way, it keeps the chain from dangling or flopping, and by going across the noseband it isn’t too severe on their nose. Primarily, it seems to be the weight of it that helps reinforce them to stay with you. -I tie a few knots in the rope for guides so I can easily tell

how much or how little rope I have to play with. Sometimes the lead horse stops and if you are at the end of the rope, you either get stretched if you can hold on, pulled out of the saddle, or you drop the rope. If I have a lot of excess rope, I loop it over the withers and hold it with my left hand along with the reins. -It has been my experience that when you drop the rope, the best thing to do is to dismount to retrieve the horse, otherwise there ensues a cat and mouse game. And, before dismounting, I try to get the loose horse to follow and come back to the ridden horse before dismounting. Chasing or following the loose horse is instinctive, but “luring” the horse back to you has worked best for me in those situations.




Some things do apply to every horse, every time


did some things I’m not proud of early in my career as a horse trainer. I made those mistakes because I wanted quicker results, and because I was too young to know better. Twenty-plus years later, I’m still human and therefore not immune to making mistakes, but I am a better trainer, thanks in part to a couple of "sacred cows" in my training philosophy. These are my sacred tenements of horse riding, three rules I stick to, no matter how much time I could save by not doing these, or doing these half-heartedly. The consequences of not following these sacred cows are just not worth it.

1. Three clear gaits

There’s a reason why “rhythm and regularity” form the base of the training scale. Without these qualities, the more advanced movements of any riding discipline become just a collection of circus tricks. Unless your horse is gaited, a walk has four beats, a trot two, a canter three. Always. Disciplines like Western pleasure are notorious for sacrificing this sacred cow at the Altar of Slow. A fourbeat canter, even if it’s almost in place, never deserves to be called “collected.” A jog is still a trot, not a trot with the front legs while the back legs are walking. Most of the time, the remedy for horses who have learned to muddle their clarity of the gaits is simple: ride forward. Remember that correct training improves the quality of the gaits. Don’t worry too much about contact, lateral movements, or collection. A well-trained horse moves

with more expression, more elasticity, more cadence. If the horse’s gaits become rushed, mechanical, tense, or sluggish, it’s time to figure out what isn’t working.

2. Calm and forward

These two concepts are inseparable. One can never occur without the other. A calm horse without forward energy may be pleasant to be around, but won’t develop into an athlete mentally or physically. On the other end of the spectrum, a tense, rushing horse won’t either – and can be dangerous to ride. We don’t want just forward or just calm, but together, they create magic. The direction of good riding is always back to front, in a relaxed frame of mind and body. A hurried, scurrying, or fear-based kind of forward is counterproductive. So is a sluggish, lazy kind of calm. Only the combination of both makes horses into happy athletes. I focus on whichever element is less developed in any horse I work with on any given day. Larger circles and riding in a larger space like an open field instead of a small arena will improve forward energy; so will many quick transitions between gaits. Smaller circles, lots of leg yielding, work in a smaller arena, and fewer transitions tend to improve relaxation. Trail rides can work like a miracle drug for both.

3. Gentle on the head

riding instructor’s normally booming voice became slow and quiet. She then said something I have never forgotten: “Treat the horse’s head like a raw egg.” She was not otherwise prone to using metaphoric language, so this picture really stuck in my brain. Insist on personal space from your horse, by all means. Insist on good ground manners. But don’t try to get it by waving your hand, or worse, a whip, a lead rope, or a flag, in the horse’s face. Instead, target the horse’s chin or chest to make him back off. Those places can handle an elbow whack, or a tap. But anytime you touch the horse’s head, especially around the eyes and ears, do it slowly and gently. A raw egg is fragile. Once it breaks, it’s almost impossible to put back together. Making a horse head-shy takes minutes, or seconds. Getting a head-shy horse to trust the human hand again takes a lot longer, or may not happen at all. You want your horse to respect you, but don’t kill the sacred cow of trust. There are very few absolutes in working with horses. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I agree with the “never say never” philosophy – there’s an exception to almost every rule. The sacred cows take up the other one percent. Ride back to front. Stay calm, especially around the horse’s head. Don’t mess with the clarity of the gaits. No exceptions.


A very long time ago, when I was eight Katrin Silva grew up riding dressage in Germany years old and learning to put a bridle before moving to the US in the 1990s to learn about on a huge Warmblood who was not too riding Western. She feels at home in both types convinced of my authority, I became frustrated and started tapping the horse’s of saddles and believes that good riding is always good riding, no matter which type of tack. Visit her forehead with my hand in a futile attempt website: to lower his head. My strict German 25 | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND

Buying the right horse, or choosing the best colt starter is easier if you know the elements of a solid foundation


“Hey Gene, What happened to you?” I ask my friend as he hobbles down from his pickup, cast on one leg. “You remember that bay three-year-old horse I have? I sent him to a guy to break for me last summer. He put 30 days on him and this spring, when I was going to Latir Lakes, I saddled him up and when I got on him he bucked me off and broke my leg.” There are dozens of stories like these. Horses with 30 days on them which, in my opinion, are just broke enough to hurt you. Then there are the horses with solid foundations: If a properly started/trained horse takes time off, it does not take much to put them back to work. Solid foundation training does two things: It produces a reliable, predictable horse even after time off, and most importantly, it greatly reduces the chance for overreactions during stress. Know that when stressed, horses will react according to what they remember from their training, with a buck, balk, or flight, or with calmness. A horse started and trained with the goal of always being calm, has a better chance of remaining calm, in all sorts of situations. It starts with building trust Establishing trust is the first step a trainer should use to build a solid foundation. Take bucking for example. Horses buck for one of the following reasons: 1) they are scared, 2) they are fresh, or, 3) they are real outlaws. The most common reason is that they are scared. Horses are prey animals. Humans are predators. It takes a great deal of trust for a predator to allow a prey animal to climb on its back then not let its selfpreservation instinct take over, which leads to panic. A horse that trusts you is much less inclined to buck. Establishing trust is the key to putting a solid foundation on a horse which is the key to good, non-bucking behavior.


Know the basic steps to building the foundation

If you are looking for someone to start your colt, or considering purchasing a horse, find out if the horse will receive (or has) a solid foundation of training. The following methods I use are not intended for you to practice, but rather to know what is involved in solid foundation training, so you can ask the right questions, select the right trainer, or buy the right horse. Teach no fear, just respect Make sure the trainer will teach this basic behavior: to regard a person with no fear and much respect. This is most likely done even before a horse goes to training, so know who bred and handled the horse when it was young. Halter break without stress When I start the halter breaking process, I talk to the colt softly. I slip a halter on him, rub him all over, and put a little bit of pressure on the lead rope. When he responds to my pull with the slightest try, I reward him with a rub. I keep the session short and sweet and turn the colt loose. He leaves the session with more curiosity than fear. Make sure the trainer you choose uses gentle methods, and that leading with softness is one of the goals. Build confidence prior to mounting When I work with a youngster, I desensitize him using a horsemanship flag or a plastic bag on the end of a stock whip. This instills trust and lets him know I am not going to expose him to things that might hurt him. I ground drive, teach to load, and stand still while wearing hobbles. I teach him to step over logs and tarps, and stand quietly while I put on a blanket, saddle and then unsaddle. Again, make sure your trainer uses gentle, slow methods. Get him used to a bit and driving The next step I use is to accustom

26 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

the horse to a ring snaffle and ground driving. I ground drive him everywhere— teaching him to stop, turn, and back smoothly. I also teach him that whoa means whoa, cluck means trot, and smooch means lope. It is a gradual method of training, so that when it is time for me to get on, there is little chance of an over-reaction. Mount when the time is right Ask your trainer about when and how he will first mount and ride your colt. I gently get on when the horse is ready. I flex him to both sides, sit there for a moment and rub him and relax him. I dismount, lead him in a few circles, then get back on. Then I ride him for a few minutes, keeping the first ride short. Because my colts have been ground driven, they usually move out without a fuss. The first ride is invariably enjoyable and pleasant for us both. Build upon the foundation It’s important that your trainer will build upon this foundation with rides of increased ride length and demands on the horse. Before you know it, you will have a horse whose level of broke is based upon a sound foundation, one that will be with him forever. This could take 60 days, or 90 days or more. The horse will make the decision. So choose the right colt starter/trainer, or buy a horse that has training similar to that which I described. Remember that during times of crisis or stress, horses tend to revert to their roots. A horse with no foundation will revert to his natural instincts of self-preservation… remember Gene? A horse that has been well started with a sound foundation draws upon that foundation to get him through a crisis confidently and calmly.


Thomas Garcia owns Spanish Creek Performance Horses and Taos Tack & Pet Supply. He can be reached at 575-7379798.


Thomas Garcia on his mare Roxy when she was a three-year-old. This is a photograph of one of her first rides. After taking five years off, Roxy reverted back to her trusting, respectful behavior she had learned during training. | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND



Stories of getting back on after life takes you out of the saddle BY PEGGY CONGER

Author Peggy Conger on Joey in the Pecos Wilderness. After an adventurous riding career, Peggy stopped riding completely last summer. But itAROUND wasn't a big wreck that sidelined 28 HORSE | March/April 2018 |her.


What keeps you in the saddle? What could make you give up riding? Have you ever felt your need to ride drifting away? Why horse people ride is highly individual. But it’s probably a good bet that a percentage of us come to a crossroads at some point in our riding experience where we wonder if we will -- or should -- keep at it. Here are stories of three horse people who found themselves sidelined from horseback riding, and how they made the decision about whether to ride again. In the short grass

Barb Fleming had her first horse for several years in her late 20s, then after a long break, got a second horse at 59; now, at 70, she owns a Spanish Barb gelding named Moqui. Barb claims no great expertise in the saddle, but she loves horses and loves riding. So it was all the tougher when a fall last summer landed her in the hospital with a badly broken elbow and several broken ribs. Barb had taken Moq out solo for a short ride along the fence line of the ranch where he is boarded, about 30 feet off the highway. “We were already headed back, but apparently not fast enough to suit Moq. A yahoo on a motorcycle was all the encouragement he needed at that particular moment to take off toward home, going a lot faster than I was able to handle. I came off before he hit top speed, thankfully. I remember thinking when I was laying there unable to get up that at least I was in short grass and someone would see me,” Barb says. Indeed, some people driving past saw the wreck and immediately stopped to help, blocking the sun from her eyes by holding up a blanket and staying with her until the EMTs arrived. Her injuries kept her from riding for months. “They put three screws in my elbow and even if I had gotten on Moq, I wouldn’t have had the strength to turn him hard, which is what I should have done that day, and maybe avoided the wreck altogether,” she says. It was January before Barb rode Moq again. “I waited until I was ready to ride again and then scheduled a lesson to make SURE I did it,” she says. A brief arena

ride the day before the lesson was promising. Both rides went well and Barb’s excited to be back in the saddle. The downtime gave her lots of time to reflect: “I faced the fact that I’m just not capable of handling many of the things that can happen on the trail, so I probably shouldn’t trail A bad horse wreck landed Barb Fleming in the hospital last summer. It was January before she was able to ride again. ride anymore. Definitely not alone, but I don’t want to put trail buddies at risk “She was green and like a 2-year old kid either, given the possibility that I might in a 1200 pound body,” says Johanna. not be able to control my horse in some Johanna made great progress with Isobo, reasonably foreseeable situations. Plus, at even getting this once pen-bound mare my age I can’t afford to get hurt again.” out on the trail. But not before Isobo, during what started as a routine arena One thing she had to do was tune out training session, sent Johanna to the friends and family telling her she should hospital with 12 broken bones in her back, absolutely continue riding OR take this several broken ribs, a broken shoulder as a sign she should quit riding while and a concussion. “It was a big wreck,” she’s still in one piece. Her advice to Johanna says. anyone contemplating their future after a bad wreck: Spend quality time with your horse on the ground and don’t even think about riding. At some point you’ll probably be dying to get back in the saddle. Wait for that feeling!

"I need horses"

Johanna Kramer learned how to ride on a blind-in-one eye pony when she was still almost a toddler. She’s a life-long equestrian who loves to ride and train horses. She also likes projects. Her most recent is a mightily built Azteca mare named Isobo, who Johanna rescued from a 20x20 pen where the mare had been confined for years.

While her physical recovery was arduous, her mental recovery was an equal hurdle. Though she had no memory of the accident, when it was time to ride again, “My body remembered,” Johanna says. “I was terrified getting back on that horse.” Fast forward several years, and Johanna was fully recovered and riding Isobo out on the trail once or twice a week, in the arena several times a week and going on trail ride vacations with friends at least once a year. Johanna also took on a few horses for training, and one day, a big Percheroncross panicked in the round pen and | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND


my trailer. After all that, I was broke. But none of that was really the bad part. The bad part was I started to worry about riding. Anxiety, an old buddy, came to visit with stories of wrecks and runaway horses, blowouts and broken bones. I started breaking riding dates, making excuses about riding and in general going to lengths to avoid getting on a horse. It became a thing, a mental barrier, fueled no doubt by the stresses in my life right then. I wasn’t riding -- because I wasn’t riding. And with every passing day, I got closer to giving it up entirely. Johanna Kramer with her Azteca mare, Isobo. Two serious wrecks have her reassessing how she rides in the future. But, for this lifelong equestrian, one thing is sure: "I need horses." threw Johanna so hard she landed outside the 60-foot pen. Hospitalized for a week and wheelchair-bound for months, it was another big wreck for this equestrian. “That was my own fault for taking on bigger risks than I needed to,” she says. But for Johanna, the “to ride or not to ride” question is a non-starter. “If you have a bad experience with a horse, you have to look back at all the circumstances and do some thinking. She decided to stop training other people’s horses. “My risk tolerance has dropped quite a bit,” she says.”That’s a risk I don’t need to take.” After her first big injury, Johanna eased herself back into riding, and she plans to do that this time as well, starting on the ground. Her advice to anyone facing the same issues? “Start wherever you feel comfortable. Start small. If you can only sit on your horse at first, just sit there. Sit longer the next day. Take the time you need. Don’t worry about what other people think or say.” Another bit of advice: Think about how you ride and think about whether you have the right horse for that. Though Isobo was not involved in this latest accident, Johanna is facing the hard decision about whether she can continue

with her still sometimes unpredictable mare. “She is still green in some ways, and I cannot have another big wreck,” she says. If Johanna does decide to find Isobo another home, she will continue with another horse. Johanna recommends the book Ride the Right Horse by Yvonne Barteau as a guide to whether you have the right horse for wherever you are in your horse journey. Barteau identified four horse personalities -- Social, Fearful, Aloof, and Challenging -- and offers guidance on how to work with each. One key piece of advice: Barteau urges riders to make sure they are compatible with their horse. Johanna herself has a baseline when it comes to riding. “I need horses and I need to ride,” she says.

For the anxiety-prone

The final story is mine, and while it does not at all demonstrate the grit and courage of Barb and Johanna’s tales, I include it on the chance that maybe I am not alone. After years of pretty intensive trail riding, I stopped riding this summer. Completely. First because I was moving and getting settled. I fenced, I painted, I scrubbed years of gook off a rental house. Then I had trouble with my mare, trouble with my truck and trouble with

30 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

Finally a friend staged an intervention. I’ll just come down, she said, and visit you at the new house. The next morning, before I could dream up an excuse, we were headed to Red Canyon for an overnight. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t say riding Red Canyon is starting small, but it sure was the way I rode it that weekend. Still, it was a ride. And a camp out. And a chance to see my great little trail pony happily stuffing his face with mountain grass in the warm sun after a ride. I started keeping riding dates instead of breaking them. Like Barb, I made a few appointments with a trainer to make sure I rode. I put my mare in training, and she did well. I started feeling confident hauling two horses around. I stopped worrying so much and began enjoying horse time again. Here’s my advice if you are a rider prone to anxiety: Do not follow my lead. Don’t stop riding. Challenge your excuses. Stop entertaining disaster scenarios. Question your thinking. Refute fear. Empower your friends to override your BS.

The bottom line

For me, Johanna summed up the getting back in the saddle quandary in two simple questions. “Do you still love the horse?” she asked. “Do you still have the urge to ride?” If your answers to both of those questions are yes, you’ll ride again, no matter how you get stalled along the way.


Horse Around NM Associate Editor Peggy Conger is a writer, editor, blogger and trail rider. She can be reached at


Get Ready to Compete on the Trail BY VICTORIA CHICK

Competitive trail rides are good for horse & human


ompetitive trail rides are a great way to enjoy your equine and improve your trail riding in friendly competition. Plus, if you have a date on your calendar for a CTR, it will give you a goal to get you and your horse in shape. Competitive trail riding takes you into wonderful country you might not otherwise experience and acts as a clinic at the same time. Most competitive trail riding organizations, like the National Trail Riding Conference (NATRC), require that first time riders need to enter the Novice Division. Before you register, check the distances of the rides. In NATRC, An "A Ride" will be about 20 miles the first day and 14-17 miles the next. A "B Ride" is just one day with a 20-mile distance. Doing well in competitive trail riding requires being prepared. Here are some suggestions to get you ready for a NATRC competitive trail ride:  Know what a mile is. If you don’t carry a GPS with you, find a road or two-track you can drive on. Use your odometer to mark out one mile. Then time your equine at a walk to see how long it takes. If you finish

Cathy Brett and her mule cross the Mimbres River during a competitive trail ride held at the NAN Ranch east of Silver City. Photo by Tom Maxfeldt. in 15 minutes, you have gone 4 mph. Some animals walk slowly but can learn to walk out faster. Others, like gaited horses, can finish more quickly. Since competitive trail riding is not a race, the main thing to know is how fast your animal can travel to let you set the pace to finish within minimum and maximum allotted times. If your horse has a slow walk, you may have to do some trotting. Never canter on an unfamiliar trail. Gradually build your riding time so both you and your equine benefit.  Condition and soundness are the primary equine judging points. If you are used to riding on packed dirt or a soft arena, begin to walk in some deep sand arroyos and up and down hills to condition your horse. You can trot uphill to prepare your horse but never strain the tendons and ligaments of his legs by trotting downhill. Make your horse walk uphill sometimes too, so he doesn’t get in the habit of rushing. Going over rocks or doing a little bit of road riding will build stronger bone for your equine.  Any kind or mix of tack is OK in a NATRC ride as long as it fits your equine and is clean and in repair. Check all your rigging, even those places you may usually overlook.

 Build trust by letting your equine investigate things that look suspicious. Take time and don’t force the experience. Next time he will be more relaxed.  You will be camping with your horse tied to your trailer at most CTRs. Make sure your trailer is safe by mitigating sharp edges or narrow spots that can trap a hoof. Have places to secure a water bucket and hayholder.  If your horse is antsy, doesn’t like to stand, or moves off while you are still getting into the saddle, work on manners. The judges will be impressed. The NATRC website,, has a down-loadable rule book and is offering free first year membership for those who have never been members. For a list of competitive trail ride dates and locations, see page 17.


Victoria Chick has been involved with competitive trail riding since 1973 and says she still learns during every ride. She has two Arab mares ages 20 and 23, that still love to hit the trails. | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND




When the nearly 20,000-acre

Sabinoso Wilderness, located 45 miles east of Las Vegas, gained a public access road in late 2017, I had to go. I had a vague goal of being one of the first to ride it. But after riding there, I experienced something much more profound than bragging rights, including a new way of thinking about the give and take of riding in the wilderness.



PHOTO LEFT: Largo Canyon is the canyon that takes you deep into the wilderness. Crystal clear creek crossings are plentiful. PHOTO TOP: Mary Anne Maynard takes a break on a rock ledge overlooking the canyon. This is ten miles into the Sabinoso, near the confluence of the Canadian River.

he epic road in

I was venturing into the Sabinoso with Mary Anne Maynard who had ridden there a few weeks prior. She warned me of a narrow section of road, barricaded on one side by a rock, and another side by a pine tree, resulting in a scratch to her glistening, black Chevy. When we went, Mary Anne was the driver, pulling a two-horse bumper pull with her Arabian horse Nite, and my Rocky Mountain mare, Consuelo. The first 32 miles going east on NM104 were smooth pavement, but the final three miles to the wilderness parking lot, described as lightly maintained, were rough dirt and rocks. The final halfmile descent into the parking area was steep, rutted and rocky. We were fine (no scratches) but we both imagined what the road would look like after a monsoon rain. We found a parking area large enough for several 2-horse rigs, but no amenities besides glorious, remote nature.

Entering Oz

We mounted and rode down the remains of a rough, steep road to Largo Canyon, which gave us glimpses of crystal-clear Lagatiia Creek. I would later find that the translucence of the water, with reflections changing from sky blue to turquoise to moss green, would be one of the most captivating aspects of the Sabinoso. We came to an olive-green metal gate, out of place with its globed post tops, at the bottom of the entrance trail. We unlatched it and slowly pushed it open. There was a drawn-out squeak: We were entering the Emerald City of Oz.

Super highway of critters

The magic began immediately, when we crossed Lagatiia Creek. We were at the bottom of a narrow canyon lined with 250-foot-high colorful limestone cliffs. The creek was rimmed with off-white sand: Sometimes the banks were narrow, sometimes wide, sometimes with so much deep, fluffy sand I wanted to put on my skirted-swim suit, traipse across the beach, and dive into a deep pool, no

matter that it was a brisk, late November day. There’s a section of trail about three miles in that was one of my favorites: It is wide and sandy, with cottonwoods on both sides, creating a tunnel. Is this groomed? Did a cross-country riding team make this? Nope. This is remnants of an old ranch road, enhanced by years of non-use. This is where I started looking down because there were animal tracks everywhere—turkey, bobcat, and bear. It was a wildlife super highway.

The sound of delight or despair?

As we progressed east, there were frequent creek crossings, some with deep pools up or down-river, with large slabs of rocks protruding from the water like glaciers. Many of the sections between crossings were long, flat and wide so we cantered, filling the air with sand-muffled hoofbeats--taddunt, taddunt, taddunt. Once or twice Mary Anne added to the galloping sound when she put her arms out mid-flight and uttered, “Auughhh.” | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND


It sounded distressful, but I asked no questions. Maybe Mary Anne was overwhelmed by the nature of nature, maybe she was heartbroken because she cares so deeply about the wilderness, and she knows that wild land is all too scarce. At eight miles in the trail started climbing away from the creek, past ruins of an old ranch. After ascending for a mile, we came to a perch above the creek and Mary Anne had the wisdom to dismount, tie Nite, and descend a short distance to sit on a rock. We were near the Canadian River, a junction with the creek. The canyon below was wide, gentle, silent. We mounted and rode in for another mile. We saw a group of small deer. Looking down, I saw unshod horse hoof prints, and stud piles. No vebram-sole tracks, no shod horses. We were ten miles in when we turned around. On the way back, we came across a fresh pile of bear scat. I imagined that the trail was always teaming with wildlife, that they had their own social scene at the bottom of that canyon. Until a few weeks prior, they had it all to themselves. They were probably hiding out in the bushes, placing bets as to why we were there.

The wilderness trade

Leaving the wilderness and closing the gate behind us was emotional. Mary Anne was visibly moved but understated when she said, “I hate to leave here.” This was the last wilderness in the US to gain public access. What a privilege it was to see it in such a pristine state. After riding in eleven New Mexico wildernesses, I am a changed person. I have a stronger relationship with the land, wild or not, and the planet. I am on its side. With each ride into the wilderness, I become quieter and try to leave less of an impact. So ride the Sabinoso if you are the type who is enticed by a rough road.

I hope you will understand the trade: The wilderness will give you untrammeled nature and unimaginable beauty. What you can give in return is to treat the wilderness like a beloved friend, one to whom you are committed to help and protect.

Cecilia Kayano is the editor of Horse Around New Mexico magazine. She owns two gaited horses, and enjoys trail riding and horse camping. Reach her at


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO About the Sabinoso

The Sabinoso Wilderness was designated wilderness in 2009, but there was no public access until the Wilderness Land Trust purchased and donated a 3,500-acre parcel adjacent to it. The Wilderness includes a series of high, narrow mesas surrounded by cliff-lined canyons. The rugged country has piñon pine and juniper woodlands with occasional clusters of ponderosa pine. You can ride along an old ranch road through Largo Canyon towards the Canadian River, but there is no road/trail to the confluence of Largo Canyon and the Canadian River.

To get there

From I-25 take exit 345 onto NM104 heading east. Travel 32.7 miles to Trujillo. Turn left on San Miguel County Road C51A and continue east for approximately 7 miles on an improved dirt road. Follow BLM signs by turning left at the Y and heading north for three miles on the lightly maintained route to the Sabinoso Wilderness parking area.

The road in passes through private land, so parking along it is not permitted. It is not passable when wet. Camping is allowed on the flat area immediately before the parking area, and in the parking area.


Before you go, call to find out about the road condition. The Sabinoso is managed by the BLM Taos Field Office, (575) 758-8851. For more information, visit the BLM’s Sabinoso Wilderness web page.

Practice Leave No Trace

The Sabinoso Wilderness is a public land in which Leave No Trace principals are encouraged, especially when traveling with stock. Here are the seven steps to leaving no trace. To find out more visit 1. Plan ahead and prepare 2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces 3. Dispose of waste properly 4. Leave what you find 5. Minimize campfire impacts 6. Respect wildlife 7. Be considerate of other visitors

The color of the creek is ever-changing as it meanders through shallows, and forms deep pools.




f you took a break during winter and pulled your horse’s shoes, you may be contemplating whether to shoe your horse or to keep him barefoot as you resume riding. Barefoot is very popular with pleasure and trail riders owing to its simplicity, cost-efficiency and perceived health benefits of greater circulation and flexibility in the hoof. Before making your decision about going barefoot, consider these points.

PHOTO LEFT-BAD SHOEING: This size 2 shoe is very tight at the widest part of this horse’s foot and at the heel. Also notice that the nails are positioned at the widest part of the foot and toward the heel so the hoof cannot expand. RIGHT-GOOD SHOEING: A size 4 shoe on the same horse allows expansion of the hoof and heel. Also notice that the nails are positioned toward the front of the foot/toe, allowing the foot to expand. 1. Correct shoeing does not impede will become harder and thicker, which is the hoof ’s circulation or flexibility. essential for hoof health and for going Expansion within the hoof (flexing) barefoot. But even a dry environment occurs mostly from the widest part could pose a threat to hoof health if the of the foot to the heel as the horse’s soil is excessively abrasive, which is often weight comes down on the foot through the case in desert environments. movement. This expansion/flexing First, ask a qualified farrier to examine encourages circulation. A shoe that is your horse’s hoof conformation in terms Super-abrasive soil can wear too much large enough and has a wide enough of hoof wall length (a horse’s weight hoof wall away and cause conformation “web” and with the nails properly should be carried by the hoof wall and problems in the hoof, including a flat hoof placed will allow the foot to expand not the sole), hoof shape (sufficiency of where the horse’s weight is carried on the upon impact. A shoe that is “tight” with heel) and quality of the hoof, including sole instead of the hoof wall or low heels, the nails positioned at the widest part the thickness of the hoof wall and resulting in a litany of problems such as of the foot and further back toward the sole, and quality of the frog. A horse white line disease, navicular disease, and heel will definitely block expansion and with good hoof conformation can damage to the soft tissues of the legs. A circulation. (See photo left.) support himself going barefoot with barefoot horse’s exposure to excessive 2. Proper balancing and shoeing you on his back! A horse with bad hoof wear is one reason he needs to be checked can protect and/or improve hoof conformation cannot move properly, will and rebalanced by a qualified farrier more conformation. (See photo right.) be uncomfortable, and will likely develop frequently than shod horses—even as 3. Shoes generally protect hooves from cracks, bruises, abscesses, degenerative frequently as four weeks. erosion, chipping and cracking. disease, and chronic lameness. 4. Shoes provide more traction for rugged Fourth, consider the terrain on which or varying terrain. Second, consider how often will you be you typically ride. If you ride in an arena riding. If you will be riding regularly, or on a low-impact trail, your horse’s Know that your horse can be healthy that is a minimum of four times per week, hooves are in less danger of chipping and functional barefoot if he has the then your horse’s feet will have sufficient and cracking which exposes the internal right hoof conformation, environment, opportunity to develop a thick and hard components of the hoof to infection, regularity of work and accommodating “calloused” sole, which is essential if he which can result in abscesses, white line terrain. However, if he does not have is to be comfortable and sound going disease, and general lameness. ideal feet or circumstances, he is better barefoot. If you cannot ride consistently, off properly shod; which will be healthier then your horse will need extra If your horse passes muster with these for him and will improve his performance. protection—either from proper shoeing four points, you could consider barefoot. or well-fitted boots. However, some owners whose horses Thilo Hoffmann was educated and certified meet these requirements still choose to through the University of Berlin, Germany. Third, consider your horse’s daily shoe their horses for various practical Thilo has been providing wellness trimming, environment. Your horse should always reasons. Here are a few: and corrective shoeing for over 20 years. He be kept in a dry place because the hooves can be reached at 678-361-4527.

n | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND




Listed here are horse-related services provided by the March/April 2018 issue advertisers. They are experts in their fields. Many of the business owners are also horse owners and enthusiasts. They are the reason Horse Around New Mexico magazine exists and why the magazine is growing. If you enjoy this free publication, please show your support by supporting our advertisers. BARNS/CORRALS Ironhorse Pipe & Steel, page 14

FEED Standlee Premium Western Forage, page 2

SADDLES Mortenson Silver & Saddles, page 17

BOARDING Dancing Bear Ranch, page 8

GATES AND IRON WORK The Iron Anvil, page 8

SHOEING AND TRIMMING Thilo Hoffmann, page 14

COMPETITIVE RIDES North American Trail Ride Conference, page 16

NATURAL PRODUCTS Pharm-Aloe, page 21

SPECIALTY SERVICES Albuquerque Pet Memorial Service, page 12

EVENTS Goose Downs Farm, page 7 The Horse Shelter’s Fundraising Auction & Luncheon, page 21 Tucumcari Rawhide Days, page 39 CLINICS 4 Winds Equestrian Center, page 10 Carson James Horsemanship Clinic, page 36

REAL ESTATE Ann Taylor, page 21 Annette Wood, page 13 Bunny Terry, page 16 Dave Meade, page 10 Laura Warden, page 17 Marie-Claire Turner, page 15 Rōni Merbler, page 9 Temple Daniels, page 36 RESCUE/ADOPTION Four Corners Equine Rescue, page 15

TACK AND FEED STORES Horsemen’s, page 16 Miller’s Feed, page 14 Paul’s Veterinary Supply, page 9 Taos Tack and Pet Supply, page 11 Village Mercantile, page 3 TRAINING Ginger Gaffney, page 14 Katrin Silva, page 17

Loal Tucker Horsemanship, page 13 Lynn Clifford, The Ride of Your Life, page 16 Susan Smith, page 8 Terra Nova Training Center, page 4 VACATIONS U-Trail Pack Trip, page 11 VEHICLE/TRAILERS American Diesel Service, page 15 Hal Burns Truck & Equipment, page 17 Sandia Trailer Sales and Service, page 40 VETERINARIAN Jeannette M. Kelly, page 38 Western Trails, page 12

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36 HORSE AROUND | March/April 2018 |

Crazy Spring Weed Be on the lookout for this extremely toxic locoweed BY STACIE G. BOSWELL, DVM, DACVS No, we’re not referring to the crazy weed you can buy in Colorado… although the subject of this article is found throughout the West, particularly in the Rocky Mountain region. Locoweed has many names and there are many toxic varieties right here in New Mexico that can cause irreversible neurological damage to horses and even death. Wooly locoweed, rattleweed, milkvetch, and ground plum are a few names that these dangerous plants go by.

How to identify locoweed According to the New Mexico State University Agricultural Extension Service, there are about 80 species of toxic locoweed in New Mexico. These perennial plants grow as a low, tight cluster with a single large root. Locoweed can be found in sandy or dry soil in plains regions extending into the foothills. Leaves of some species have a light, silvery covering of hair. All varieties have a characteristic leaf structure that makes confirming the identification relatively straightforward: Small leaves grow in symmetrical pairs from each stem arising from the main root of the plant. Flower shades range from purple to white, and grow from a stalk without leaves. Large, shiny seed pods develop later in the season. If you are unsure about whether a plant in your field is locoweed, take either the plant or a photo to your county extension agent for definitive identification.

A spring hazard Compared to other plants in the same field in the early spring, locoweed is greener sooner in the season. Horses have a preference for eating green forage compared to dried forage. Therefore, early spring is a time when horses may be more likely to ingest the plant. Horses that have a caloric deficiency are also more likely to consume toxic plants. Typically, horses will avoid locoweed if there are plenty of other food choices available. However, once they eat the plant, some horses will seek it out. It isn’t

clear why they do this. And, the plant remains toxic after it is dried – it needs to be removed from horse areas, not just killed.

Toxin and signs The toxin swainsonine is present in all parts of the plant, and affects all cells in a horse’s body. Swainsonine inhibits intracellular enzyme activity that is involved with the metabolism and processing of certain sugars. This causes buildup of abnormal metabolic products in the cells, and impairs cellular and organ function. Because of the way swainsonine builds up metabolic by-products, the onset of locoweed poisoning can be hard to detect. The horse may eat the plant for several weeks before any uncharacteristic behavior or change in appetite is noticed. Duration of exposure is important to the telltale development of characteristic neurologic damage. There is a certain “dose” of toxin that is necessary to develop signs, but different species of locoweed can vary in the amount of toxin they contain, so predicting poisoning based on the number of plants in a field is impossible. The only really safe number of locoweed plants is zero. “Loco” is the Spanish word for crazy. When the swainsonine from locoweed affects the brain, a wide range of neurologic and behavioral abnormalities can be observed in livestock. Horses may be disoriented, listless, inattentive to their surroundings, and exhibit depression. Conversely, they can also have erratic behavior with a stressful event (such as putting on a halter and moving the horse). They may get very excited, be easily frightened, and become violently over-reactive. These horses can be dangerous to handlers. Impaired vision or apparent blindness, tremors, head bobbing, and convulsions may occur. An affected horse may have an abnormal or exaggerated gait, or a drunken-appearing ataxic gait, stumbling, aimless wandering,

TOP PHOTO: White locoweed. BOTTOM: Pods of the locoweed. Courtesy of Donna Catterick. and loss of coordination. Permanent nervous system damage can occur. Swainsonine does build up in other organs, such as the liver and gastrointestinal organs. This causes a decreased appetite overall, and resultant weight loss.

Treatment Sadly, there is no specific anti-toxin or treatment for animals that are affected – this is one reason why plant identification and removal is so important. Affected horses may be kept in a quiet area with limited stimulation. Feeding a highquality diet is important. Supportive care, such as intravenous fluids, may help. Some horses, especially those severely affected, may only make a partial recovery.


Stacie G. Boswell, DVM, DACVS is a boardcertified large animal surgeon who has written for Horse Around New Mexico for several years. This is her final column, as she has moved to Montana. You can thank her for her educational articles by emailing her at: | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND


March 10-11 Eventing X Games Series Goose Downs Farm March 10-11 Galisteo....See ad page 7 Eventing X Games Series March 10-11 Goose Downs Farm Josh Armstrong Cow Horse Clinic Galisteo....See ad page 7 Beverly 505-288-1092 HIPICO Santa Fe March 10-11 Josh Armstrong Cow Horse Clinic March 17 Beverly 505-288-1092 Schooling Show HIPICO Santa Fe Four Corners Horsemen Assoc. Facebook March 17 Ignacio, CO Schooling Show Four Corners Horsemen Assoc. March 17-18 Facebook Barry Bader Reining & Ignacio, CO Horsemanship Clinic Beverly 505-288-1092 March 17-18 HIPICO Santa Fe Barry Bader Reining & Horsemanship Clinic March 17-18 Beverly 505-288-1092 Chamisa Classic HIPICO Santa Fe Arabian Horse Assoc. of NM March 17-18 Albuquerque Chamisa Classic Arabian Horse Assoc. of NM March 24-25 Larry Smyth Desensitizing Clinic Albuquerque 4 Winds Equestrian Center March 24-25 Estancia....See ad page 10 Larry Smyth Desensitizing Clinic 4 Winds Equestrian Center March 24-25 Loal Tucker Horsemanship Estancia....See ad page 10 Riding Club~Fort Stanton Ride March 24-25 Ruidoso....See ad page 13 Loal Tucker Horsemanship Riding Club~Fort Stanton Ride Ruidoso....See ad page 13

March 25 April 14-15 Schooling Show Point Show NMDressage Assoc. NM Buckskin Horse Assoc. March 25 April 14-15 Edgewood Bosque Farms ~FUTURE EVENTS~ Schooling Show Point Show NMDressage Assoc. NM Buckskin Horse Assoc. March 31 & April 1 April 21 May 4-6 Rio del Oso Clean Up Weekend Schooling Show Tucumcari Rawhide Days Edgewood Bosque Farms ~FUTURE EVENTS~ Back Country Horsemen of Santa Four Corners Horsemen Assoc. 3-Day Family Friendly FUN Fe: Facebook Facebook March 31 & April 1 April 21 May 4-6 Chili Ignacio, CO Tucumcari....See ad page 39 Rio del Oso Clean Up Weekend Schooling Show Tucumcari Rawhide Days Back Country Horsemen of Santa Four Corners Horsemen Assoc. 3-Day Family Friendly FUN April 6-8 April 21-22 May 19-20 Fe: Facebook Facebook Spring Fling NATRC Region 3 Ride Natural Horsemanship with Chili Ignacio, CO Tucumcari....See ad page 39 NM Hunter Jumper Assoc. NAN Ranch CTR Tim Hayes ~ Fundraiser for Silver City...See ad page 16 NM Center for Therapeutic Riding April 6-8 April 21-22 May 19-20 Albuquerque Shelley 505-577-1895 Spring Fling NATRC Region 3 Ride Natural Horsemanship with April 22 HIPICO Santa Fe NM Hunter Jumper Assoc. NAN Ranch CTR Tim Hayes ~ Fundraiser for April 7 All Breed Classic ~ All Ages Silver City...See ad page 16 NM Center for Therapeutic Riding Equine Liberty from the Heart Rio Grande Mule & Donkey May 20 Albuquerque Shelley 505-577-1895 Susan Smith Workshop Auction & Luncheon April 22 HIPICO Santa Fe Edgewood FUNDRAISER April 7 All Breed Classic ~ All Ages Santa Fe....See ad page 8 The Horse Equine Liberty from the Heart Rio Grande Mule & Donkey May 20 April 28-29 Santa Fe...See ad page 21 Susan Smith Workshop Auction & Luncheon April 7-8 Loal Tucker Horsemanship Edgewood FUNDRAISER Eventing X Games Series Confidence Clinic Horse Pack Trips of a Lifetime in Santa Fe....See ad page 8 The Horse June & July!!! April 28-29 Santa Fe...See ad page 21 Goose Downs Farm Lamy....See ad page 13 with U-Trail Outfitters April 7-8 Loal Tucker Horsemanship Galisteo....See ad page 7 Pecos Wilderness..See ad page 11 Eventing X Games Series Confidence Clinic Horse Pack Trips of a Lifetime in April 29 June & July!!! April 14 Schooling Show June 30 - July 1 Goose Downs Farm Lamy....See ad page 13 with U-Trail Outfitters Rawhide Days Trail Ride NMDressage Assoc. Fundamental Clinic Galisteo....See ad page 7 Pecos Wilderness..See ad page 11 FUNDRAISER Carson James April 29 Cherry Tree Farm April 14 Schooling Show June 30 - Julyad 1 page 36 Tucumcari....See ad page 39 Socorro....See Rawhide Days Trail Ride NMDressage Assoc. Fundamental Clinic FUNDRAISER Carson James April 14-15 Cherry Tree Farm Spring Salsa Sensation Tucumcari....See ad page 39 Socorro....See ad page 36 Paint & All-Breed Show FREE! Have your event listed here at no charge. Email the date, event, April 14-15 Albuquerque website or phone, and location to: Spring Salsa Sensation Get yours in early, as space fills fast! Paint & All-Breed Show March/April 2018 | Albuquerque



It’s time for Tucumcari Rawhide Days! May 4th – 6th

It’s time for Tucumcari Rawhide Days! May 4th – 6th

Featuring Country Star Johnny Lee & the Urban Cowboy Band “Lookin’ for Love”

This three-day family friendly, fun-filled celebration of the old west & the filming of the Rawhide TV series event features celebrity appearances from the family members of the original Rawhide cast, live country music, wagon rides, ranch rodeo, cowboy church service, blacksmithing competition, kid’s games, vendors, and gun fighting shows. Back by popular demand this year will be the Longhorn Cattle Drive and Parade on Historic Route 66. | March/April 2018 | HORSE AROUND Benefiting “Horses for Heroes”, a NM veterans program.


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