Horseback Magazine July 2016 Issue

Page 1

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Vindication at Last!


was thrilled when I read our feature story on the power of equine therapy in healing addiction, substance abuse and trauma by Nancy Jarrell O’Donnell MA, LPC, EAP, CSAT. It validated a point I have always known about my horses that some of my friends have been skeptical about; the fact that my horses are in tune with my feelings and what is going on with me on any particular day. They know when I am happy, sense when I am sad, etc. I feel especially vindicated on one By: Vickie Long nervous day several years ago when a friend who is also a wonderful trainer was working with me when I told him I could not get my quarter horse to canter for me. Dillon, my first horse was a huge beautiful dark bay almost black ex-race horse that my friend’s daughter had owned and ridden as a hunter/jumper. She had stopped riding for several years, so he was not exactly the perfect horse for a “green” rider like myself at the time, but I was too inexperienced to know that. He was a kind horse with a lot of patience, but he was also a little spooky. When Dillon came to live with me, he was taken from the world of full board with plush barns, and the show ring, to that of a partial board, wonderful city stable with about forty acres to roam during the day, and a rustic barn to spend the night. I learned to take care of his every need, through the generous ministrations of fellow horse boarders that were experienced. I learned so much about horse care over the eight years Dillon and I were together, and we had a very special bond. Dillon had now become a trail horse, and he loved his new job. He was a wonderful horse to ride. I probably should have been a little afraid to ride such a spirited, and a little spooky, horse with the inexperience I had as a rider, but I always knew that he would take care of me. I did have an acquaintance at the barn that kept telling me “that horse is going to kill you some day”, but I knew different. I only fell off him twice in all those years. Both times he spooked, and went into “racehorse run”. The first time I flew off into an oak tree and tried to brace myself with my right arm, and ended up with an injury so serious I almost lost it. The second time I flew off and broke my collar bone. But that was it. What baffled a lot of people at the time was how I was never afraid to get right back on Dillon. He had the most wonderful canter. It was just like being on a rocking horse, and I could really get into the flow with him, so there was really nothing to fear from my standpoint. And the way I saw it, Dillon didn’t try to hurt me, I just should have been able to stay on when he spooked. After some years I had to give up riding Dillon because his knees gave out, and I began to ride our little quarter horse mare Bruja. She was a whole lot smaller than Dillon and the ride was just not the same. She did not have that smooth rocking horse canter and she was real quick and light and in riding her I discovered that I did have a fear of falling off and getting hurt. She was a good horse, not out to hurt me, but her canter was more of a bounce feeling to me and not the smooth canter I was used to. She sensed my fear, and I could get her into a trot, but when I asked for a canter she refused me. She never refused my husband, or other riders, just me. The day my trainer friend tried to work with us and get us into a canter, I kept telling him she won’t do it, she knows I’m scared. He thought I was a little nuts, but I tried every cue he gave me and still she would not go into a lope. Now, thanks to Ms. O’Donnell I feel vindicated!

On the Cover:

Horses have the power to heal.


July 2016

July 2016

Special 3 Part Feature:

12 Continue to Learn - Part III - Jonna Johnson

Cover Story:

16 Healing Power of Horses - Nancy Jarrell O’Donell 26 Summer Hoof Health - Tab Pigg 32 Protecting from Heat & Parasites - A&M

Lifestyle: 10 Pet Care Feature - Treats - Texas A&M 36 Make your Ride Count - Tom Seay

Columns: 6 20 22 24 38

Horse Bites Ride-N-Sync™ - Terry Myers On the English Front - Cathy Strobel Tack Talk - Lew Pewterbaugh Cowboy Corner - Jim Hubbard


• HEADQUARTER OFFICE (281) 447-0772 Phone & (281) 893-1029 Fax

Staff PUBLISHER Vicki Long

EDITOR Steven Long


• BRAZOS VALLEY BUREAU Diane Holt (936) 878-2678 Ranch & (713) 408-8114 Cell

LIFESTYLE EDITOR Margaret Pirtle 832-349-1427 EVENTS EDITOR Leslie Greco


Jim Hubbard, Steven Long, Vicki Long, Roni Norquist, Linda Parelli, Lew Pewterbaugh, Cathy Strobel, Cory Johnson, Margaret Pirtle Volume 23, No. 7 Horseback Magazine, P.O. Box 681397, Houston, TX 77268-1397, (281) 447-0772. The entire contents of the magazine are copyrighted July 2016 by Horseback Magazine. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Horseback Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other material unless accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Horseback Magazine is not responsible for any claims made by advertisers. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or management. Subscription rate is $25.00 for one year. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Horseback Magazine, P.O. Box 681397, Houston, TX 77268-1397. Fax: (281) 893-1029


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“Horse Bites is compiled from Press Releases sent to Horseback Magazine. Original reporting is done as circumstances warrant. Content is edited for length & style.” ways and in more places.” Donors can give to the Reiners Club at new expanded giving tiers that should broaden the reach of the former One Hundred Grand Club. The foundation always welcomes cash gifts of any amount, including those made to honor or memorialize individuals.

NRHA’S FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES NEW NAME The philanthropic arm of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is marking its 15th anniversary with a name change and rebranding as the Reining Horse Foundation. Core programs for the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization include youth scholarships, the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund and the NRHA Hall of Fame. Mark Blake, president of the Oklahoma City-based organization, said, “This name change is one element in a freshening of everything that is the Reining Horse Foundation. We have announced a new donor society called the Reiners Club, and we will soon unveil a new logo and mission statement. “The Foundation’s Board of Directors has spent considerable time evaluating what this organization is about and how we can make a greater impact on the reining community in the years ahead. This name change should signify positive change to everyone who is interested in the sport of reining and the equestrian community at large.” Vice President Tim Anderson said, “The Reining Horse Foundation is about caring for the reining community and honoring the sport’s legacy. We know people around the world love reining horses and the people associated with them. Supporting the Foundation is a way to put your passion into action in several meaningful ways.” “The work that was done as the Reining Horse Sports Foundation was fundamental to get us to this point,” Blake said. “We want to take the investment so many have made and use this rebranding as a way to recruit, connect with the western horse community and fundraise. We’ll be working harder to share the Foundation’s story more


July 2016

LIVESTOCK PARASITES, PESTS LIKELY TO PROLIFERATE DUE TO WET WEATHER BY: PAUL SCHATTENBERG, TEXAS A&M Excessive rains in many parts of the state of Texas have Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts concerned about the possibility of increased parasite and pest activity with livestock. “Wet weather creates conditions favorable for parasites to infect animals on pasture,” said Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist based in

Uvalde. Machen said with the recent wet weather the biggest challenge for cattle is the brown stomach worm. Affected animals lose weight and in severe cases may die of overwhelming clinical ostertagiasis, a disease characterized by severe diarrhea, edema and serious weight loss. “The anthelmintic, or treatment, for this parasite can be used orally, topically or through injection,” Machen said. “Generally, I’ve found that for ease of application most producers prefer the topical or pouron application.” The pour-on application has the further advantage of providing some external control of horn flies and face flies as well as ticks, he said. “Wet weather also creates prime conditions for tick infestations and ticks are the primary vector for anaplasmosis, which causes severe anemia and can kill livestock,” Machen said. “And tick bites can cause swelling, redness and localized infections.” He said spring-born nursing calves are the biggest benefactors of anthelmintic treatment this time of year. The recent rains are also likely to create some parasite problems for sheep flocks, said Dr. Reid Redden, AgriLife Extension state sheep and goat specialist at

The former Reining Horse Sports Foundation is marking its 15th anniversary with a name change and new fundraising initiatives. Moving forward as the Reining Horse Foundation, this nonprofit cares for the reining community and honors the sport’s legacy through three core programs, scholarship, the NRHA Hall of Fame and the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund. Rookie Day events around the world raise dollars for the Crisis Fund, and Cheri Stone is the Rookie Champion at the May 2016 Rookie Day event hosted by the California Reining Horse Association. -Photo: CRHA & Roberta McCarty

San Angelo. Redden said internal parasites such as roundworms and coccidia can occur in sheep during wet periods. “Most flocks have some level of parasitic infection but symptoms from these infections really tend to show up during high rainfall as the amount of parasites build up and cause health issues,” he said. Redden said the best control is preventive, but dewormers or anthelmintics can enhance control measures, especially when administered before the parasite’s eggs contaminate the pasture. “These drugs can be a powerful tool, but for long term-parasite management, dewormers cannot be the only preventative treatment,” he said. “If using anthelmintics, treat only the animals that need treatment in order to reduce the chance of the parasites building up a resistance to the dewormer.” He said producers can also conduct a fecal egg count reduction test to determine if the dewormer is working. “This will alert the producer that it’s time to switch classes of dewormers in the event the current dewormer is losing its effectiveness,” he said. “And using multiple classes of dewormers at the same time should be avoided unless advised by a veterinarian.” Machen and Redden emphasized grazing management is a huge part of parasite management, noting stocking rate, forage availability and other aspects of grazing management play heavily into avoiding or minimizing internal parasites. “There is also the aspect of genetic selection and looking for animals that are more resistant to these parasites,” Redden said. “It’s also good management to pay the most attention to those animals that are the most susceptible.” They said each property must develop its own parasite management plan and no single program is appropriate for all operations, but plans should include good rotational grazing management, smart drenching and attention to genetic selection. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist in Dallas, said he has been receiving inquiries from some county agents about worms appearing in puddles near horses. These may or may not be feeding worms or parasites, he said. “Horsehair worms are among the parasites that tend to be around horses and are more prevalent when there’s a lot of rain,” Merchant said. “These parasites actually infest insects like crickets and grasshoppers. Parasite eggs ingested by the insect develop

inside, becoming a thin, long worm several inches long.” He said horsehair worms frequently drop into watering troughs where they can accumulate. “Coincidentally, insects, including those parasitized by horsehair worms, also frequently fall into the water of horse troughs and die,” Merchant said. “Horsehair worms, which emerge from parasitized insects, are often seen swimming in water troughs and are long and thin, and that’s how they got their name.” Mary Wicksten, an invertebrate biologist with AgriLife Extension in the department of wildlife and fisheries, College Station, noted adult horsehair worms are non-feeding. “However, the larvae infest insects and horses can pick up encysted eggs that could be washed into pastures from manure elsewhere or from mosquito bites from the millions of mosquitos that will thrive in puddles,” she said. Merchant said mosquitoes will soon be proliferating due to the recent wet weather and subsequent dry-out. “As we dry out, breeding sites are getting full, plus this time of year typically is the real beginning of mosquito season,” he said. “Mosquitoes can transmit a number of diseases, including West Nile,

which is disease of horses as well as humans. This would be a good time for horse owners to make sure their animals are vaccinated.” He also noted some types of floodwater mosquitoes are vectors for heartworm, so ranchers may want to take additional precautions with their working dogs and pets. Several publications related to livestock parasites — internal and external – can be found at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore at Go to the site and enter the word “parasites” in the search field.

GOLD MEDAL CLUB MEMBERS HONORED FOR DEDICATION AT USET FOUNDATION Gladstone, N.J. - The United States Equestrian Team Foundation is pleased to recognize the generous support of their Gold Medal Club (GMC) members. The Gold Medal Club is the lifeblood of the USET Foundation, accounting for nearly 80% of individual contributions each year and is comprised of members who contribute a minimum of $1,000 or more annually. On Monday, June 20, 2016, the USET Foundation hosted the Gold Medal Club Reception at Hamilton Farm, where Horsebites- Con’t. on pg.28

Gold Medal Club Members Honored for Dedication at USET Foundation: Joseph Serzan, Annette Malanga, Lindsay Harms, Mark Piwower, Sue Piwower, Murray Kessler and Michael Page. Photo By: Priscilla K. Miller Photography. July 2016 HORSEBACK MAGAZINE



July 2016

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Pet Care...

Human Treats Poison to Pets


here are a number of things around your house that can be deadly to your cats and dogs, some you may know, and some may be surprising. Some are even in your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. Dr. Dorothy Black, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM), shares some enlightening information about common food items that may be toxic to your pet. According to Dr. Black, the following foods can be particularly dangerous to cats and dogs. “These foods may not necessarily cause toxic reactions in every case of ingestion, but it’s just a good ‘rule of thumb’ to keep these items off your kitchen counters and under no circumstances feed these foods to your pet,” Black said. Grapes and raisins possess an unknown toxic substance that can lead to renal failure by an unknown


mechanism. Toxic doses have been reported after ingesting just one to two grapes or raisins. Not all animals suffer kidney failure after grape/ raisin ingestion and it appears to be an idiosyncratic reaction. Nevertheless, it is best to avoid this food for your dogs and cats. There is no known antidote, only supportive care and renal dialysis to support kidney recovery. “Grapes can be particularly tricky for dogs, because many actually like to eat grapes, so you have to be especially aware,” Black said. “Our pets are amazing creatures, but they can really get into dangerous situations with human food very quickly.” Chocolate is commonly known to be bad for pets. It contains two ingredients known to be toxic to dogs and cats, caffeine and theobromine. Dark chocolate is particularly harmful because it has a higher concentration of toxic metabolites than milk or white chocolate. Clinical signs of distress seen after chocolate ingestion include: anxiety/anxiousness, hyperactivity, urination, elevated body temperature, seizures, and irregular heart rhythms. There

is no antidote, but supportive care is usually successful for recovery. Xylitol is a common sugar substitute now used in many home kitchens. It is associated with a severe decline in blood sugar levels and liver failure if ingested by pets. The exact mechanism of the toxicity is unknown and there is no antidote. Supportive care is typically successful for treatment of hypoglycemia, however, liver failure may still occur and prognosis is guarded. “It is important to remember that if you cook or use xylitol in your foods, that those foods should not be fed to pets,” Black said. “It is still toxic if used in cooking or baking.” Onions, garlic, and chives are also toxic to pets. They contain the toxin allicin, which is released upon crushing or chewing the plant. Allicin damages the hemoglobin in red blood cells leading to anemia (such as Heinz body anemia and methemoglobinemia). Cats are especially susceptible to this toxin. There is no antidote, however, supportive care is typically successful. While cats are particularly affected by onions and garlic, dogs are especially susceptible to maca-

damia nut toxicity. An unknown toxin in the nut leads to difficulty walking, high body temperatures, depression, and vomiting within one to two hours after ingestion. While no deaths have been reported to date, supportive care in the hospital is often required. “Supportive care, which is the usual treatment for food toxicity, often works to recover pets who ingest these foods,” Black said. “But these supportive treatments to get pets back on their feet are often very costly for the owner, and difficult for the patient. In cases that require dialysis, pets have a difficult road to recovery.” The foods mentioned here should be kept off countertops and out of reach of pets, and under no circumstances fed to dogs and cats. Preventing your pet from ingesting these items is the best way to keep them safe. But if they do ingest these foods, Dr. Black recommends contacting your veterinarian immediately.

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Special Feature..

Responders & Continuing Education [Part 3 of 3]


By Jonna Johnson, Photos by: Bonnie Marquette

ver the last few weeks, horse owners in California, New Mexico, and Virginia have been struck by large scale disasters. Disasters that approached and expanded with ferocity. Overwhelmed equine owners once again quickly found themselves pleading for help. Some owners were very lucky, and found much needed assistance to get their horses to safety, while others did not. Sadly, as we go to press, some people at this time have no clue as to what may have happened to their horses because no one can get into the areas that have been destroyed. Last month the US government said that they have “learned that government plays a vital role in disasters, however it is every citizen’s responsibility to be prepared for a disaster. That means taking proactive steps, like having an evacuation plan, and also having a fully stocked disaster supply kit. If your local authorities ask you to evacuate, you have to do it. Don’t wait.” When it comes to disaster preparedness there are two


types of horse owners. The ones that prepare, and the ones that do not. As more and more horse owners have recently witnessed vast amounts of destruction and death from disasters, the importance of preparedness appears to slowly be gaining momentum. We are finally able to take these experiences, look at the evidence they produce, and try to plan how we will learn from them. A natural progression of learning also brings about the question of how will we pass on what we have learned. No matter where you live, when it comes to disaster preparedness, especially for horses, every owner and community could probably use a little help to further reap the benefits of understanding such a complex subject. Although each state in the US has various statutes and definitions concern-

ing horses, there is one common fact they will all forever have in common horses are defined as an animal. Due to many valid reasons, animals do not share the same status as humans when it comes to anything disaster related. That however, does not mean there is not room for improvement and work to be done. To bring such improvement into the community it is going to take effort and education. Although schools of higher education offer classes in equine riding, barn management, breeding, business management, horse health, and even equine massage, few classes offer education that teaches extensive disaster preparedness for horses. With a little effort and knowledge, YOU can become involved to help educate those that will be dealing with horses. Yes! People just like you who have a desire to make a difference in your community when disaster strikes, can do great things. HOW TO GET STARTED Although no two communities, or counties are structured exactly the same, they will all be placed under an Office Of Emergency Management, also known as an (OEM). In some places it is also called The Emergency Management Office (EMO). They are responsible for comprehensively planning and

For more information on Equine Disaster Preparedness: 2016 Basic Operations Surface Water Rescue for Animals August 16-18, 2016 in Navasota, Texas responding to all manners of disasters, from the local, to state and federal levels. The OEM is a great place to reach out to when learning or communicating about disasters and how they and large animals are managed in your community. The OEM can also direct you to the group or groups that would assist with the handling of large animals as a result of a disaster. Some communities have very strong Large Animal Plans and support groups, yet on average many lack a solid foundation. Once you have learned your communities plan, you can take that knowledge and spread it amongst the equine community to help others understand how the county, or state plan works, and how they can personally (or in a group) prepare to help make those plans successful. If your community should need assistance with a plan, that may be a great place for you to become involved and offer assistance. Plans that include horses are often more successful when developed and tested by those that know and understand horses. Non- horse owners typically have

The 2016 class in Texas will blend NFPA 1670 operational skills for swift water rescue, surface water rescue, rope rescue, and technical animal rescue for application in a flood response. This class will also meet the criteria for Animal Search and Rescue (ASAR) team training guidelines referenced in National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP), ASAR best practice work group white paper; and the Southern Agriculture and Animal Disaster Response Alliance (SAADRA) ASAR Resource Typing. For more information visit Brazos Valley Equine Hospital: http://

2016 TLAER- Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue class August 19-20, 2016 in Navasota, Texas. If you are a Veterinarian, Animal Responder, Law Enforcement, Animal Owner, Barn Manager, or work in the Emergency Management system, this class is for YOU! Come learn important skills in Incident responses involving Large Animals. Topics to be included- *Incident Prevention *Emergency Scene Management *Large Animal Restraint Techniques *Basics of Mud-Water-Ice * Confined Space Rescue *Trailer Incidents *Barns and Wildfires *Integration of Veterinarians into Emergency Response, and more. For more information go to Brazos Valley Equine Hospital:


13 13

limited knowledge of the complexity that can be involved when dealing with anything equine. SARTs, DARTs, and CARTs There is no funding for things “horsey” in the world of disaster. The result of such is that there is limited education that teaches how to create plans of action and handle large animals in disasters. Yes, there are small amounts of education, however it will not be found in abundance when compared with other curriculums. One place large animal education can be found is through groups known as a SART (State Animal Response Team), a DART (Disaster Animal Response Team), or a CART (County Animal Response Teams). These type teams are slowly being established by caring responders and horse owners. They can be found throughout a few communities as their immense value and productivity to all involved is being recognized. They are a positive asset to owners, horses, responders, and the rest of society. As animal issues are people issues, a well thought out plan and team can help the entire community during times of need. These teams also train responders, as well as individual community members as they work from local to National Levels. They establish relationships and work ethics pre-disaster. One major benefit is these teams not only absorb some of the pres-


sures added to the people side of disasters created by animal issues, they can be trained to help with specific human assignments as well. If you would like to help start or join a team in your local community, resources may be found through your OEM, national animal welfare groups, or Large Animal Technical rescue groups. RESPONDERS AND CONTINUING EDUCATION Every year responders must complete continuing education credits. Again, due to the fact that there is no funding for large animals, education regarding how to physically handle these animals during disasters is very limited. The horse community does in fact have the power to help responders get the education they need so that they may have safer and more successful outcomes when it comes to large animal rescues. Regardless of the fact owners are responsible for their horse’s welfare, responders will continue to come in contact with them for many reasons. Therefore, it is important that the equine community support such education, especially if they are disappointed regarding methods of failed attempts to save their horses. We must all understand that what comes naturally to most people that have handled horses, is very foreign to those that have had few experiences, or never touched one. It is safe to say that

a majority of responders do not own or handle horses on a daily basis, and it is probable that a majority of responders may not know how to put a halter on a horse. Add in a stressed animal to the situation, and the task becomes much more of a challenge. Responders and owners have been injured or killed while attempting rescues in disasters. Horses have also had additional injuries due to lack of education by those trying to help them. Education is very important and can greatly help the overall success of all rescues. To help make rescues successful through education, there will be a 2016 Basic Operations Surface Water Rescue for Animals class for responders (instructed by Eric Thompson), followed by a T.L.A.E.R. (Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue) class in Navasota, Texas. If you would like to host such valuable education in your community, please contact them for details. Educating communities and responders from basic handling skills, to advanced technical skills, is paramount if we are ever going to make things better for the equine world. The directive will have to come from those in the equine community, and we will each have to do our part. YOU, ME, WE each have the power to make a differenceone community, one person, and one horse at a time. Keep calm and prep on!

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Healing Horses:

the power of equine therapy in healing addiction, substance abuse and trauma. by Nancy Jarrell O’Donnell MA, LPC, EAP, CSAT



quine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential modality involving a metaphorical process using a horse or horses as conduits for emotional growth and healing. It has proven highly effective in treating individuals suffering from PTSD and trauma-related addictions, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, relationship issues and more, and it is an important modality in the integrated treatment model I developed for healing deep emotional trauma and related afflictions.

defining moment that led to the genuine desire for lasting recovery. As prey animals, horses by nature “attune” to their environment. When we’re in their environment, they attune to us. This creates a magical dynamic that allows for

obvious ways, including that it takes place outdoors, and requires physical movement and attention. Less about talking, it allows clients to move away from intense cognitive thinking and connect with their physical body. In individuals with addictions and trauma, the

As in recovery, working with horses involves learning how to engage in healthy relationships. In addictive disorders, genuine connection does not occur. Changes in brain chemistry lead us to seek whatever it is we are addicted to; at the cost of our relationships, health, safety, and connection to self. As herd animals, horses require other horses for safety and survival. Humans also need connection to survive, thrive, and feel safe in the world. Our wounding happens in the context of relationships, so it only makes sense that we find healing within the context of relationships. Horses are nonjudgmental creatures that can assist in this process. Typically, we work with small groups of clients struggling with dual diagnoses involving some combination of chemical dependency, childhood and/or adult trauma, PTSD, depression, eating disorders, sexual abuse, anxiety, panic disorder, and more. Rarely are clients truly horse-experienced, and no skills are required for an individual to benefit from EAP. Yet, many credit it as the missing link in their healing and recovery. I’ve had clients who have spent years in therapy finally make a breakthrough in EAP, or tell me the equine experience was the

information about the client’s most authentic beliefs, attachments and feelings to be revealed through the interaction that takes place. This begins with the need for both horse and client to establish trust. For the survivor of trauma, just being allowed into a relationship by the horse can itself be a healing connection. EAP differs from talk therapy in

body and physical sensations are often avoided or numbed. When they experience these in therapy with support, empathy and compassion, it can become a corrective and healing experience. THE PROCESS I am never sure what will unfold in the therapy process. I decide in the moment if I will use one horse, July2016 2016 H July HORSEBACK ORSEBACK M MAGAZINE AGAZINE

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horse through touch, talking, and paying attention to its breathing, or asking clients to describe what they see reflected in the horse’s eyes. Similarly, he or she may lead the client to simply observe what the horses are doing. These exercises are effective in providing insightful feedback, as people often project their own thoughts, feelings and attachment issues onto the horses.

more, go into the arena, or utilize a specific exercise. In truth, the process unfolds itself, silently dictated by the horse, the client and my response to whatever the client is bringing to the session. What is key in equine sessions is that the therapist knows how to look to the horse for information. As an equine therapist, I see my role as paying close attention to what the horse is doing, what the client is doing and saying, and the interactions between them. The facilitator must glean information quickly from a client’s words and interaction with the horse. The horses will always react to what is really happening for a client,


and to the way the client behaves, which reveals a great deal to the therapist. One small interaction can tell a client’s whole story of how he/she has behaved in the world and what emotional responses and behaviors have been used as coping mechanisms. Once an issue or dysfunctional pattern is identified, the facilitator can then support the client in practicing an intervention for change. This entire piece is circular in motion and may take only five minutes. The therapist might draw on a number of activities designed to garner information while harnessing the power of being in nature; for example, connecting with the

Because Sabino Recovery’s proprietary therapeutic model is designed to heal the whole person, our horses are also used to work with residents on how to have fun – an experience that is often scarce for those arriving with trauma, addiction or depression. Integrating play into a treatment plan, along with a range of therapies, works to accelerate neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to “rewire” itself and adapt, creating new neural pathways). Clients are also encouraged to spend time caring for the horses. This time outside of group can be powerfully therapeutic in that it provides clients the opportunity to connect with, touch, be accountable and take care of another living being. The process of mastering new skills and, in some cases, overcoming fears builds self-esteem. THE CRITICAL ROLE OF THE HORSE While several factors play into the success of EAP sessions, the horse is essential. How the horse behaves with a client and how the client reacts presents a quick and clear picture of how the client behaves in daily life. For example, if a client approaches a horse and the horse begins to nudge the client, and in spite of verbalizing she/he doesn’t like this, remains in this position with the horse; the therapist could deduct that this client may be used to tolerating abuse, or has difficulty saying no, or setting boundaries.

The way I facilitate equine-assisted psychotherapy is to look to the horse, observe the horse-client interaction, and then follow my gut and take risks with describing and exploring what I see. I continue to marvel at how a horse can behave in a certain way that results in the presentation of a crucial issue for a client. It is as though the horse already knows the history. The horses do not behave in the same way with each client. I see this over and over, and so I have concluded first that the horse instinctively knows what a client needs, and second that the issue will not present itself if the client is not ready. I often tell my clients that the horse is merely providing them with information and if he is doing so, then they are ready to receive it. While people can hide behind language in talk therapy, horses don’t lie. Horses are emotional creatures, just as humans are, and thus connect to humans when we are emoting with authentic expression. EAP works because horses give us genuine, accurate and immediate feedback and can teach us how to do the same. Horses live in the moment as a means of safety. Our interactions with them assist us in being in the here and now, an unfamiliar place for many. INFORMED BY NEUROSCIENCE I have begun to formulate a theory on how and why this fascinating interaction occurs. Neuroscience and neurobiology provide insight into how the horse and human connection might work. We frequently talk about horses having the ability to mirror back to us whatever feelings or dynamics we are presenting. Put very simply, I believe this dynamic stems partially from the discharge in horse and human of “mirror neurons” – neurons connected to empathy that discharge before verbal communication. Secondly, the horse’s brain is made up mostly of the limbic system. This part of the brain dictates emotionality and is also the alarm center providing the activation of the fight, flight, freeze mechanism. Horses flee when they experience danger; humans may do all three. Through horses’ innate ability to pick up on emotion and read intent within others, they are able to mirror for a client the feelings and history that need to be addressed. The horse’s choice to remain with a client; rather than flee, can also provide comfort for those who have experienced abandonment and rejection. The horse/client/facilitator relationship presents a beautiful therapeutic modality that reveals the intelligence, skill, strength, grace and beauty of this healing triangle.


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Training Tips..

Realistic Expectations!


ow do you know when you have realistic expectations of your horse and yourself? If you have to ask yourself that question, you probably don’t have realistic expectations. Let me ask another question…do you think it is possible to improve a horse’s skills/ knowledge by 1% per ride? If you say yes, are your absolutely sure? If you still answer yes, I want to hire you because that means you can have a horse 100% trained in 100 rides. It can’t be done. Neither horse nor rider is ever 100% trained. To be more specific, a horse is just getting started after 100 rides. There are two basic types of horses when it comes to training; those with baggage (bad habits to unlearn before they can learn good habits) versus those who are blank slates (don’t know much of anything). The baggage horses have problems, usually made by people, to unlearn before they can be retrained. More specifically, the bad habits don’t go away, they are replaced with good habits. The bad habits are still in the horses’ memory, which is why it is easy to slip back into bad habits. With both people and horses it is harder to forget the bad habits than it is to learn new ones. It

takes a lot longer to undo issues and retrain. Blank slate horses may learn faster, but may have a lot more things to learn. They may also have to learn to work and develop a work ethic, if they have never had to work. Another huge unrealistic expectations issue is “green on green.” There is the train of thought that the novice rider should get a young horse so they can “grow together.” Let me say this one thing here…Are you stupid? In over 40 years of riding, I’ve only seen the green rider and young horse combination work well one time. A lady brought a 3-year-old horse to me for one month of training. The horse, very smart and mild mannered, was easy to break to ride. I was able to accomplish a lot with the gelding in a month. The owner had low expectations and a confident personality. These two got along great and did very well together. This is the only time I’ve seen green on green really work. In considering that horses weight over 1000 pounds, but yet can be lightening quick, bad things can happen in seconds. As the saying goes, green on green makes black and blue. Buy a horse with at least more skills as yourself, unless you have the skills to teach your horse and are willing

to invest in resources (training/lessons/ clinics) to help you develop yourself and your horse. Having realistic riding goals is important with each ride. Horses, like people, have good days and bad days. If you start out a ride with the intention of accomplishing a specific goal and find that you are having issues, perhaps your goal is too rigid and not realistic. Or you need to figure out a different way of communicating. Or you need to back up to a smaller goal. If you get into a fight with your horse, back way up to basic things that they know how to do so you can end your ride on a positive note. In team athletics like football or basketball, the teams that are consistently most successful are those that excel at the basics. The same can be said for riding. If you and your horse do not have good basic riding skills, you have nothing to come back to. If your horse does not have basic training, you don’t have anything to come back to either. For example: when I am at a horse expo and my horse sees something which scares him, something that he may never have seen before such as a six horse hitch that comes thundering out of an arena. I ask my horse to do basic maneuvers that he knows how to do. This helps him fo0 YEARS



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cus on me and do something he is confident doing, rather than the object that he thinks is about to kill him. I step back to basics with my horse. Don’t forget your own skills. We have talked a lot in this article about the horse’s skills, but don’t forget your own. You can’t expect your horse to have skills if you don’t have the riding skills which allows your horse to perform. Be sure to invest in developing your skills and knowledge, so you can make the most of your horse’s skills and knowledge. Most importantly, be patient with yourself and your horse. When you are working with your horse, you are on his timeframe, not yours. Your training progresses only as your horse learns and is ready to progress. Patience will help you to develop realistic expectations. When you are struggling with something, step back to the basics, then take a break and go do something fun with your horse. One last comment to remember when you and your horse are having trouble…LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS TO LOWER YOUR FRUSTRATIONS!




Challenge Yourself this Summer?


hen you’re trying to think of ways to enjoy horses while escaping the heat this summer, why not study up and test your knowledge of horsemanship? The USHJA is offering the 30 Day Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Stable Challenge. From June 15 through July 15, 2016, all junior and amateur riding students who are USHJA members can compete for bragging rights to be the most knowledgeable students in their zone. At least 3 students per trainer need to take the USHJA online Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Practice Quiz. The top three scores of each trainer’s students will be averaged to provide an overall score. The trainer with the top scoring students will win a prize package that has been donated by several major sponsors. It’s free and it’s fun! To enroll in the challenge, go to and find the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge home page. Click on the Practice Quiz button and fill out your information. Make sure you include your USHJA ID number. Not a

member? That’s okay. It’s not too late to join and you can join online. Your trainer, coach or riding instructor must also be a current USHJA member and a declared professional with USEF. Now take the practice quiz. If you don’t ace it the first time, don’t worry. You can take it as many times as you’d like to improve your score. The quiz is multiple choice or true/false and each practice quiz is different. You can find every answer in the Horsemanship Study Guide that has been compiled by USHJA. You can find the guide online by going to and print it out or simply use it as an online resource. What’s even better is that the quiz is an open book test. You can study first and then look up the answers as you take it to make sure you are correct. USHJA actually wants you to learn this stuff! Encourage everyone in your barn to take the test and see how many of you can get every question right. If you want to stop after the practice quizzes you can, but if you are under 21, you can get bonus points by registering for the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge and completing the level one test. If you score an 80% or higher on the test, you can move on to the level two test. If you score a 90% or above on level two, you could move on to the national finals as an individual. For those of you who are continuing on with the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge, you will need to pass test one and hopefully

test two by September 1, 2016. After you take the practice quiz(es) you will have only one chance to score at least 80% on test one. A score of at least 90% on test two after only one attempt will allow you to continue. The maximum number of log ins to complete each test is three so make sure you are prepared before you sit down to try.Those who have qualifying scores will be invited via email by USHJA to participate in the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals beginning in September. Twenty-four participants will be chosen with the highest scoring individuals from each zone being chosen first. Don’t worry about ties. There are plenty of tie-breaking procedures in place to help identify the top participants. The National competition consists of 3 sections for all finalists. Everyone will take a written exam that accounts for 30% of the score. A horsemanship/identification exam represents another 30% of the score and a practicum characterizes the final 40% of the score. Scores from the written test and the horsemanship/ identification exam are taken on the first day of Nationals and are combined to determine who the top 12 participants are. Each of these top 12 will be given an oral exam from Practicum A. The 13-24th placed participants will be given an oral exam from Practicum B. All Practicums are given on the second day of Nationals. To everyone who makes it to Nationals, congratulations! But there’s more! Prizes are then distributed to the top winners! Donors have generously provided a variety of prizes such as a $1,000 grant for training and education, provided by the USHJA Foundation, a Charles Owen helmet and other items useful to young equestrians. We all have more to learn and since horses are important to all riders, why not continue your education with this fun challenge? What have you got to lose? You’ll probably learn things that are useful to you and you just might win some great prizes in the end. Tell your friends, stablemates and riding buddies about the challenge. I’ll bet your trainer would appreciate your efforts too. Study hard, score high and good luck! Cathy Strobel has over 30 years of experience as a trainer, judge and clinician and can be reached at Southern Breeze Equestrian Center at (281) 431-4868 or


July 2016



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Tack Care...

Repurposing Horseback Magazine’s Saddle & Tack Editor


any of us that have horses have them at the expense of having other things that “normal” people want. Those of us that have too many horses are always trying to find ways to make do with what we can find. Take round bale feeders, for instance. A round bale feeder designed for horses is about three times as expensive as a round bale feeder for cattle. The difference is that a horse round bale feeder is designed so the horse can eat without sticking its head through the panels, thereby rubbing out their manes. A friend of mine was giving away some cattle round bale feeders, so I took one. I looked at it for a few days, then came up with an idea. Over the years, I have built all kinds of things with PVC pipe, so I had a few 1&1/4” PVC caps. The round bale feeder was 1&1/4” galvanized pipe. I cut sections out of the top rail of the feeder and glued PVC caps over the cut ends. This made an inexpensive equine round bale feeder. A word of caution when using these feeders; do not even think about using this if you turn out with halters, cribbing straps, or anything else that could get caught on the protruding parts! We never turn out with halters, but we have an old toothless horse that doesn’t usually eat hay. He goes through periods when he cribs really badly, so he wears a nutcracker cribbing collar at times. Oddly, he’ll go through long periods when he doesn’t crib, so we take his collar off. Sometimes it stays off for six or


July 2016

eight weeks, sometimes it stays off for six months, then we’ll catch him shaking the barn apart and put the collar back on for a few weeks. He’d had his collar off for quite a while, started cribbing, and I put his collar back on. One night I heard a commotion in the pasture, the dogs were barking, and the horses were running. I went out to check, and he had caught his cribbing collar on one of the protruding pieces of the round bale feeder, panicked, and dragged the feeder about 200 feet. I got him unhooked, and he was uninjured, but I left his collar off after that, as long as we were feeding

round bales. One of the most popular repurposing items is boot tops. I used to have a customer that would bring me boot tops to sew to make purses. Most people just sew the bottoms together, maybe with some fringe, add a carrying strap, and they’re done. We’ve taken it a bit farther. We cut a thin piece of wood to fit the bottom of the boot top, cover it with leather, and tack it to the bottom. If you have tall boots, you can really make a nice purse, wine pouch, or a set of horn bags. With regular height boots, you need both tops to make one carrying bag. Tall top boots give you a lot

How Form Affects Function Cause Lack of regular scheduled trimming and misconception of what the bars do. Effect Without properly placed bars, the back half of the foot is not supported resulting in corns, abscess and pinched heels. Solution Trim the bars to their point of origin.

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more flexibility. We have several people wanting horn bags made from high top boots, so if you have old worn out boots with high tops, we pay $10.00 a pair for usable tops, more if the tops are exceptionally nice. If you have an old pair of boots that you would like a set of horn bags made from, the price using your tops, is $135.00. A single bag like the one shown is $75.00. I don’t have a picture of it, but a nice mohair girth makes a really neat guitar strap with a couple of straps added to each end. The natural give of the girth makes a


Result A healthier foot that functions normally.

really comfortable strap. I do lots of conventional guitar straps, too. If you are a musician, and want a unique guitar strap, you just can’t find them in a music shop. Recently, I’ve made belt buckles from cinch rings, browbands from belts, and dog collars from belts. Your imagination can really come up with some neat ideas. I have made really cool suspenders from breast collars. If you have something that is unique, but you don’t know what to do with it, try to think of an alternative way to use it. A spur can make a door knocker, a

bit, properly bent, can make a door handle. Let your imagination soar. The older we get, the more we tend to think inside of a box. This is for this, that is for that, but we need to step outside conventional thinking if we are to separate ourselves from the unwashed masses. Bandera’s Lew Pewterbaugh has been called the most knowledgeable saddle and tack authority in the Southwest. For private fitting consultation call (830) 328-0321 or (830) 522-6613 or email: July 2016 HORSEBACK MAGAZINE


Hoof Health.. Keeping Hooves Maintained and Bars Aligned with Proper and Consistent Trimming


by Tab Pigg

roper trimming is vital to preventing lameness and injury for horses. Keeping a horse’s bars aligned and healthy are dependent upon trimming as well. Bars appear as white lines along the frog and are made up of lamina. Think of the bars like plastic straws – if you push down on the straw from the top, it stays strong and holds its form. If a straw gets too long, it will likely bend with any pressure that’s applied and become weaker. In order to keep bars aligned and healthy, hooves need to be trimmed and collected on a regular basis. Without healthy bars, a horse can develop what’s called a “stacked sole,” or worse, a bruised sole or abscess. Symptoms of Unhealthy Bars When horses show signs of lameness, it’s important that a hoof care professional examines the sole to make sure the bars are aligned and visible. If either of those factors is present, then the bars are not healthy and the hoof is not being trimmed or maintained properly. The bars essentially begin growing forward and down towards the ground, and changing directions. This causes the bars to grow into the soft tissue of the sole if left untrimmed. When the overgrown bars begin to apply pressure on the soft or horney part of the sole, it causes lameness and discomfort. Symptoms of unhealthy bars can be addressed so the condition does not get worse. Below are a few examples of some potential causes and symptoms: Stacked Sole: When bars are too long, it causes a horse to distribute its weight unevenly. Thus, the heels can become bent and the sole looks like it has a stacked effect. Eventually, this causes sole bruising as


July 2016

the long bars bend into the soft tissue of the sole. In rare cases, the bars are not visible at all and can minimize blood circulation from the pressure it applies on the soft tissue of the hoof cavity.


Pinched Heels: If the heels are too far forward, the heels become pinched and contracted, causing the horse to bear all of its weight on its toes. If this is not treated in a timely manner, it can cause injury. Managing Bars Several farriers have different approaches when it comes to managing bars in the hoof. Some suggest removing them altogether and others do not trim the bars at all. For AFTER optimal hoof care, there is a happy medium. Bars should be trimmed such that the white the sensitive area if the horse is lame. lines (lamina) of the sole are always Equi-Pak is fast-setting, soft pad mavisible. In addition to being visible, terial that bonds directly to the sole it’s important that there is very little and frog, and improves the depth of bend or deviation. the sole. A horse needs to distribute Applying pour-in pads can be used its weight evenly so that it can land as a tool to loosen up the sole, makon its feet without putting stress ing bars visible and the hoof more on the toes and pinching the heels. comfortable to stand on. When bars are crooked and too long, The feet are a major aspect of it becomes uncomfortable and prea horse’s overall health. If the bars are vents a horse from standing evenly. not maintained properly and weight A farrier should be able to look at is not distributed evenly, it can the bars to determine if they are too cause injury and lameness, affectlong, then decide whether to trim ing a horse’s ability to do many daily or apply pour-in pad products as activities. With consistent and proper needed. trimming regimens, a horse will have If the bars are so stacked or healthy bars, be able to stand evenly buried that you cannot visibly see and bear weight comfortably. them, soft pour-in pad products can Talk with your farrier or help to keep moisture in the hoof veterinarian about your horse’s bars, so that the bars will loosen, making and how pour-in pad materials can them more noticeable and easier to be a helpful tool for trimming and find for trimming. Vettec Equi-Pak is examining the hoof cavity. soft enough that it will not irritate

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they recognized GMC Members that have made the USET Foundation a priority in their charitable giving for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years. The GMC members have been an essential source of support to the U.S. equestrian teams. For a remarkable 35 years, Helen K. Groves has generously pledged her support to the USET Foundation. She joins the hallowed ranks of Fran Steinwedell, who was the Foundation’s first Gold Medal Club member to reach the truly incredible milestone in 2013. For an impressive 30 years, the W.J. Barney Foundation, Mrs. L.E. MacElree (Jane) and Hedda Windisch von Goeben have also been loyal patrons of the Gold Medal Club. Recognition for 25 years of continued generous support went to Mr. & Mrs. Michael Matz and George H. Morris. The 20-year supporters honored at the reception were the California Dressage Society (Carmel Valley), Dr. Mary Delton & Dr. Robert Boeckman, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Duke,

Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Parsky, Mr. & Mrs. Mark P. Piwowar, Eric L. Straus and J. Willard Thompson. Recognition for 15 years of giving to the USET Foundation was given to, Mr. & Mrs. Mark W. Harms, Elizabeth L. Johnson, Deborah Anne Levy, Elaine C. Ludwig, Helene J. Magill (Danny), Mr. & Mrs. Southwood Morcott, Mr. & Mrs. J. David Page, the Peapack-Gladstone Bank, Rosalie & Bethany Peslar, Mr. & Mrs. Carl Segal, H. Donnan Sharp and Nancy Hamill Winter. For the last 10 years, the following GMC members have also continued to generously support the USET Foundation: Bryan L. Baldwin, Barbara M. Bays, Brenda Bocina Curnin, Mr. & Mrs. Murray Kessler, Suzanne Marquard, Mr. & Mrs. Michael O. Page and the Jesse & Caryl Philips Foundation. The USET Foundation would not be able to achieve their mission to support the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance

Horsebites- Con’t. from pg. 7

horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation without the generous support of each and every member of the Gold Medal Club.

IN MEMORIAM: SIX-TIME OLYMPIAN AND US TEAM JUMPING COACH, FRANK CHAPOT (USA), 1932-2016 Frank Chapot, six-time Olympian and USA Jumping coach, passed away peacefully on 20 June at the Somerset Valley Assisted Living Center in Bound Brook, NJ. He was 84. For five decades, Frank Chapot played an instrumental role on the USA Jumping team, flying the flag for the USA at the top level of the sport, inspiring generations of riders and coaching multiple winning teams. A winner of the renowned Maclay Championship at junior level in 1947, Frank Chapot went on to have a remarkable career as a professional, joining the United States

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July 2016

Equestrian Team (USET) in 1956, a year after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. He was the youngest member of the USA Olympic Jumping Team when he made his Olympic debut in 1956 with the one-eyed horse Belair, which his mother had bought for just $3,500. The Olympic equestrian events were held in Stockholm (SWE) that year because of quarantine issues in Melbourne. He served in the Air Force for two years between the Korean and Vietnam wars, but still found the time to continue riding and competing. Frank Chapot competed in five more Olympic Games, winning team silver in Rome 1960 and again in Munich 1972. He also claimed individual bronze in the 1974 World Championships. He participated on a record 46 winning FEI Nations Cup teams, three Pan American Games teams, and claimed victories in the President’s Cup, the Grand Prix of New York, and London’s King George V Gold Cup among many others. After hanging up his competition boots, Frank Chapot succeeded Bertalan (Bert) de Némethy as the USA chef d’equipe, a role he held for 24 years until his retirement in 2005. Under his leadership, the USA Jumping team won nine Olympic medals and nine Pan American Games medals, including the first-ever team gold at Los Angeles 1984, gold again 20 years later at Athens 2004 and silver in Atlanta 1996. Team USA also won gold at the 1986 world championships in Aachen (GER). Frank Chapot was also known for breeding and training the famous Gem Twist, the charismatic grey that won team and individual silver with Greg Best at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, a hugely poignant moment for Frank. Gem Twist was named Best Horse at the 1990 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Stockholm after the four-way change-horse final. Frank Chapot married his twotime Olympic team mate, the former Mary Mairs, in 1965. They had ridden together on the 1964 Olympic team in Tokyo, where the squad was sixth and Chapot was the highestplaced American, finishing seventh on San Lucas. The couple also rode together on the Olympic team in 1968 in Mexico City. Their two daughters, Wendy and Laura, both became successful equestrians, with Laura competing at the top of the sport, including winning team bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games. Frank Chapot was a founding member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Board of Directors and served on the Board of Directors of the American Grandprix Association and a number of horse shows. He was honoured for his long list of achievements in 1994 when he was inducted into the Show Horsebites- Con’t. from pg. 30

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Horsebites- Con’t. from pg. 29

Jumping Hall of Fame, two years after his wife Mary. Frank Chapot remained active in the sport until recent years, when his health declined. He was a renowned course designer and judge and was very much involved in the governance of the sport. In 2001 he received the United States Equestrian Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the sport. “Frank was a legend in his own life time”, John Roche, FEI Director of Jumping said. “He was a horseman through and through, with an amazing eye for a horse. Apart from having an outstanding career as a rider, he was a very accomplished trainer. He was a passionate supporter of the Nations Cup competition and was on 46 winning Nations Cup teams. “For many years he played a very important role in establishing and managing the FEI World Cup Jumping series in North America. He was an accomplished course designer and a hugely respected FEI international Jumping judge. His passing marks the end of an era. He helped to shape equestrian sport in the United States and will be greatly missed by all those who were fortunate enough to have come in contact with him. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Mary and daughters Laura and Wendy.” “Frank Chapot was one of my best friends, one of international Jumping’s best friends, one of the United States’ best friends and certainly one of the best friends of the horse”, FEI 1st Vice-President John Madden said. “Frank knew more about friendship than most. He was fiercely loyal, honest and clear. He was a man of few words, a family man, tough as nails but full of compassion. These human qualities shaped show jumping in America and influenced it worldwide. Every US rider today has been influenced in a positive way by Frank. He made us all better. I will miss him. We will all miss him.” Frank Chapot is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary, daughters Laura Chapot and Wendy Nunn, an accountant who has been successful as an amateur-owner jumper, his son-in-law Edward Nunn, and grandchildren, Frank, Mary and Cathleen. The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Frank Chapot’s family and many friends, to the United States Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.



July 2016

Horsebites- Con’t. from pg. 29

In Memoriam: Six-time Olympian and US Team Jumping coach, Frank Chapot (USA), 1932-2016: Frank Chapot, the former Olympian and US Team Jumping coach who has passed away at the age of 84, competing with Trail Guide at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome where he was a member of the silver medal team. ©Collection Poudret

After constructive discussion with other members of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity on animal welfare issues and working with thoughtful and progressive leaders committed to elevating the welfare standards in horse racing, The Humane Society of the United States announced the formation of its HSUS National Horse Racing Advisory Council. The council is composed of industry professionals and specialists who continue to promote higher animal welfare standards within the scope of their involvement in horse racing. “The HSUS is serious about its responsibility to engage with sensible leaders within different industries where there are animal mistreatment issues to find a pathway for reform,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “Everyone who makes or has made a living from the horse racing industry has a moral obligation to take all reasonable steps necessary to protect and enhance the welfare of the equine athletes who are the heart and soul of the sport and the business of horse racing.” Joe De Francis will chair the council. A long-time animal advocate, he is the former CEO and controlling shareholder of the Maryland Jockey Club, which is the corporate parent of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course (home of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown). In addition to DeFrancis, council members include a diverse set of stakeholders within the industry, including Jim Gagliano, Stacie Clark-Rogers, Allen Gutterman, Joe Gorajec, Staci Hancock and Chris McCarron. “I am both honored and excited to be working with The HSUS and with the outstanding and dedicated individuals who

will comprise the council,” said DeFrancis. “I have every expectation and confidence that the council will be a catalyst for the enactment of federal policies for the betterment of horse racing, to the benefit of all involved: horses, industry participants and fans.” Marty Irby, senior director of rural outreach and equine protection at The HSUS, said: “The establishment of our National Horse Racing Advisory Council is a tremendous step forward for the welfare of equines, the promotion of humane practices and standards both on and off the track, and for the economic vitality and future of the horse racing industry. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with each of these dedicated professionals who recognize the problems that must be solved and want the sport to thrive and flourish, while maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare.” The formation of the council follows the recent release of Pacelle’s latest book, The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Consumers are Transforming the Lives of Animals, which delves into the revolution in American business and public policy that is changing how we treat animals and conduct commerce. The book includes an in-depth discussion of how consumer demand for animal welfare improvements is transforming the animal entertainment model. “The horse racing industry should no longer be an outlier in the humane economy,” added Pacelle. “It’s time for the industry, and the Congress, to adopt a set of independent rules to end doping of horses.”

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Summer Health...

Large Animal Health in Summer Temperatures


ur cats and dogs aren’t the only animals that need special attention during the unbearable summer temperatures; horses and other large animals get hot too! Though they may not express it in the same way as our domestic pets, heatstroke is still common among large animals, and prevention is the best cure. “The important things to consider during summer heat for animals are similar as for humans,” said Dr. Leslie Easterwood, assistant clinical professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). “It is best to provide clean, fresh water at a rate higher than they would be losing due to sweat.” The progression from dehydration to heat exhaustion and ultimately heat stroke can occur rapidly. Providing your large animals with access to plenty of water and shade is


July 2016

the most important way to keep their body temperatures under control. Just as with humans and other animals, the higher the temperature or activity level, the more water is required to cool the body. “Most horses will consume between 5 and 10 gallons of water per day, and their daily requirement for maintenance is approximately 6 gallons for a 1000-pound horse,” said Dr. Easterwood. “They will need more if they are exercising or if their housing conditions do not provide for shade or circulation of fresh air.” Horses that are not sweating and are overheating can easily have their body temperatures rise to dangerous levels within minutes of exercising in the summer, and their large muscle mass allows them to generate a tremendous amount of heat, making them susceptible to a loss of water and elec-

trolytes through sweat. As the amount of sweat increases, so does the imbalance of body fluids and electrolytes. “The only increased nutritional requirements for hot weather would be the intake of electrolytes,” said Dr. Easterwood. “Large animals that have access to mineral supplements will generally take in enough electrolytes to account for normal losses, but electrolytes can be added to their daily grain ration if the horse will be sweating excessively or exercising.” Since horses cannot tell us directly that they are overheated, we must pay attention to their appearance and behavior in order to distinguish their discomfort. Some signs to look out for are an excessive amount or absence of sweating, increased respiratory rate, depression, lack of appetite, apparent weakness, or disorientation. “Horses that are not

Important to Protect Horses from Increasing Fly Problem ABOUT PET TALK Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at news/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to

sweating adequately will start to breathe rapidly in order to try to cool themselves via their respiratory system” said Dr. Easterwood. “This condition is called anyhdrosis and can cause them to overheat while exercising.” She explains that these horses are literally trying to ‘blow off steam’ and cool themselves by taking in air that is cooler than their own body temperature while blowing out the warmer air. While most horses and other large animals are able to cool themselves by sweating, taking in an adequate amount of water, and staying in the shade, you should still keep an eye out for signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Whether your pet whinnies or bleats, barks or purrs, they are counting on you to keep them healthy and comfortable during these hot summer months.

If you are around horses or a stable lately, you may notice an increase in flies such as stable flies, house flies, horn flies, and horse flies. Dr. Leslie Easterwood, clinical assistant professor for the large animal clinical sciences department at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said flies are worse in the summertime and this year they are particularly bad. Flies can be a nuisance to a horse because the horse tries to swat and get away from them. Other than annoying the horse, the biting flies can cause physical irritations. Often, the flies congregate around the horse’s face trying drink the fluid at the corner of the horse’s eyes. Since flies carry bacteria on their feet, when they are looking for moisture they deposit bacteria, larvae, and parasites on the horse’s face and around the eyes. “The biggest thing is the transfer [of bacteria] and all flies can be bothersome,” Easterwood said. Flies often deposit Habronema larvae on open wounds and the horse’s eyes. “As the larvae migrate through the tissue, they cause open sores and that is very common in horses this time of year,” Easterwood said. Horse flies are even worse than normal house and stable flies. Easterwood said these flies are at least 10 times the size of a house fly, have big mouths, and transfer more diseases than a house or stable fly. “They can transfer diseases such Equine Infectious Anemia, a very fatal disease that we don’t have a cure for,” she said. Easterwood said these irri-

tations, sores, diseases, and transfer of bacteria are the main reason it is important to have proper fly control. “Good fly control extends to the face, not just spraying the body, but using stuff safe to use by their eyes,” she said. Easterwood recommended using sprays and ointments to repel flies. Ointment can be applied to a cloth and used to wipe the horse’s eyes. The repellent can be bought over the counter or through a veterinarian. Different environmental factors determine which product should be used for individual needs. “If there is a bad fly problem, you would be better off to use a product every day that you can reapply frequently to keep the population down. As opposed to if you have a very good environmental program, you can apply the longer lasting product,” Easterwood said. She added that most people reapply fly products daily. She warned, however, that many products claim the repellent lasts longer than others. “We have found that very few [products] last as long as they say they will,” Easterwood said. She explained that all fly repellent works on the various types of flies. “It repels all of [the flies] and mosquitoes,” Easterwood said. She also suggested covering the horse with fly sheets for their bodies and fly masks for their faces. Other options include an automatic fly spray system in barns, moving manure and trash piles away from the horses, drying out the manure pile, or the use of fly predators.



Summer Reading Guide...

Great New Book!


the last chaotic days of World War II, at the farthest edge of the Allied Front, a small group of battle weary American soldiers captured a German spy with an incredible story to tell. Just over the Czechoslovakian border, sheltered on a secret farm, Hitler had stockpiled the finest European purebred horses in order to breed the perfect military machine-a pureblooded, quintessentially German, equine master race. Elizabeth Letts, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, now uncovers the riveting true story of the valiant rescue of these priceless pedigree horses in the last days of World War II in THE PERFECT HORSE: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis (August 23, 2016; Ballantine Books Hardcover). As the Russians closed in on Hitler from the east and the Allies attacked from the west, and with the support of U.S. general George S. Patton, a passionate equestrian, the Americans planned an audacious mission to kidnap these beautiful animals and smuggle them into safe territory-assisted by a daring Austrian colonel who was both a former Olympian and a trainer of the famous Lipizzaner stallions. With only hours to spare, one of the Army’s last great horsemen, American colonel Hank Reed, led the secret rescue operation with a small but determined force of soldiers, aided by a small group of turncoat Germans, and ventured across enemy lines in a last ditch effort to save the horses. THE PERFECT HORSE weaves together the strands of this remarkable story. From Hitler’s expert on “pure blood” whose theories of selective breeding applied to both people and horses; to the Austrian Olympian, Director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, who donned a German uniform to keep his stallions safe; to the American cavalrymen who spent years training on horseback only to gallop to war aboard tanks and Jeeps, Letts brings to life an almost forgotten time-when horses were as valuable as crown jewels and soldiers would stop at nothing to save them.


July 2016

In this incredible, little-known story, never before told in its entirety, men wearing the uniforms of warring countries, united only by their love for horses, came together in a dramatic act of derring-do that saved one of the world’s great equestrian and cultural treasures.

Elizabeth Letts

Elizabeth Letts is the New York Times bestselling author of The EightyDollar Champion, and two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning. A competitive equestrian in her youth, Letts rode for California in the North American Junior Three-Day Eventing Championships. She currently lives in Southern California.


There’s no stopping the weather. Fortunately, a Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) rainfall index plan provides customizable protection for your investment. It’s just one of the financial solutions Capital Farm Credit offers to help you be successful. Deadline is Nov. 15 for a 2016 policy. | For more information, call 830.426.4175. © 2015 All rights reserved.





Trail Riding...

Make Your Ride Count. by Tom Say, Host of Best of America by Horseback

your wing. The good you may do in being a mentor will last a lifetime. As promised, I want to share with you what we do at Best of America by Horseback in addition to the above activities. We quietly began helping horseback wranglers on a ride some years ago in Belize. We just wanted to help this one kid who lost his entire family in a civil war in a neighboring country and needed some help. Before long it was four wranglers, then an orphanage, then a school but we have made a new family of friends in the Valley of Peace Christian School. Some of the kids rode with our folks on a recent trip to Belize to Banana Bank Lodge. Since then, by cruise ship, we have gone back several times. We support the children the best we can with school supplies and support for tuition. Although, we do not take any cash donations since everyone always wonders where their charitable money goes, we did let a guest give $50 for some garden supplies, i.e. a rake, a hoe and a shovel along with a few seeds. It was a one-time item and since then it has become unbelievable what horse folks did for these kids. Their garden is totally weedless. The school can now sell vegetables to the village to support the school (school is not free in Belize). They have expanded the garden several times. It is self-sufficient. This fall we will go back. On previous cruises to Belize, there have been a Doctor and nurses to set up a free clinic. Someone else helped with electrical connections for the school and countless folks have given pencils/paper and other supplies to children that could not afford anything. It is heartwarming to each of us. So, take a few minutes and reflect how you can improve the lives of folks around you by being in local events and adding to the fabric of your community. As always, you can contact me at Visit our website and consider riding with us!


lthough we enjoy the pleasure of riding our horses or mules, sometimes we miss opportunities to take our ride to a higher level of pleasure and meaning. We need to make the ride count to make our community and world a better place. Sounds lofty? Not really. If you look around you, there are countless opportunities you can take advantage of to raise your level of enjoyment and do so much for others. No, I am not suggesting you pay anything or any costs. I am recommending you and your horse may have more to offer than you think. In a moment, I will share what we do at Best of America by Horseback to make this happen, but first, a few suggestions to enrich your life. Consider riding your horse or mule in the upcoming parade in your town’s festival or event. Notice the children on the curb that are in awe of horses and see their wishes to someday be just like you. Regardless, it adds a greater dimension of joy to the parade when there are horseback riders. My late friend Mike Phillips greatly enjoyed being part of Back Country Horseman to maintain trails for all of us. There may be a chapter close to you where you can help carry supplies for trails or to help improve them in national parks across the county. Perhaps you should consider offering your horse and your time, although limited, to the area therapeutic riding facility for underprivileged children, the handicapped or for our veterans’ programs. There are many facilities everywhere if you Ammonia is a severe obstacle to your equine athlete’s success. just look. Neutralize and eliminate it with Sweet PDZ. A friend of mine in Georgia, although up in age a bit, joined a local civil war Calvary unit Don’t compromise health, performance & success. with more fun than he ever believed he could have. Meeting new people, doing historic rides and reenConfront ammonia head-on with all-natural Sweet PDZ. actments and helping demonstrate living history is a #1 Stall win-win situation. Freshener Closer to my heart is to take time to do a trail ride with your grandchildren. You may think 32 Years & they are only interested in texting and the Internet, Counting but you may be surprised to find out they may give For more information or a dealer near you: you a whole new world of pleasure. If you do not • 800-367-1524 have a grandchild, find one and take them under

This Shouldn’t Be the Only Place Your Horse



July 2016

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Adios Andy Howdy!

Welcome to Cowboy Corner.


ope all have recovered from the flooding in the Brazos River bottom during the last of April, through the first part of June. Lots of cowboy stories have come out of the lots a water time, but the best tales are of neighbors helping neighbors during hard times. Memorial Day weekend I lost my long-time friend Andy, the best ranch horse I ever rode. Andy was born in March 1983 and lived until May 2016, 33 years. I bought Andy in January 1994, he was almost eleven years old and came off a ranch in the Brazos bottom near Washington on the Brazos. Andy was a mid-size, stout, palomino with a big heart and a will to work. Andy was fearless and was willing to do what I needed, or wanted to do. Andy and I made a deal early in our relationship, you carry me, and I will take care of you. Believe me both did our part in the deal. As I remember all the things we did together until Andy’s retirement at 25, a tear comes to my eye. Andy was my business partner and my play partner. Was ranching in Addicks Reservoir when I bought Andy and spent lots of hours horseback. During high water times, Andy and I would walk in water stirrup


July 2016

high at times, and commonly knee high moving cattle to high ground. Remember picking up baby calves and putting them on the saddle, and Andy would carry us to dry ground and be ready to go get another. Andy knew the country, the trails, and the high ground. Even rode Andy across the Brazos River one year during a dry spell. Andy was a great ranch horse really good at gatherin’, sortin’, and pullin’, but I think his real claim to fame was as a trail horse. In the mid-nineties I joined the Valley Lodge Trail Ride Association, and became one of the assistant trail bosses with the job or routing the trail ride between Brookshire and Houston. Can’t count the number of trail rides and parades Andy and I made together. Due to road construction along our usual route, Andy and I led Valley Lodge Trail Ride down the top of Addicks Dam one year. As outrider on Valley Lodge Trail Ride number one wagon, Andy and I made many trips through downtown Houston during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade. This yellow horse stayed calm and cool and could be counted on to do his job. If we got a wagon stuck on the trail ride, I would drop a loop over the tongue, take up the slack, dally up, and

say “pull Andy”. This horse never failed, he knew how to gitt’er done. On other trail rides, if a horse didn’t want to cross a creek, I would dally up a good lead rope on a strong halter, and “encourage” the balking horse to follow Andy across the creek. Are too many memories to recite but our most famous stunt was riding into the Northington Land and Cattle Saloon in Egypt, Texas one late fall evening during a birthday party for a friend of mine. Rode in the door, picked up the birthday girl, and headed for the dance floor. Andy danced with Jean and I mounted as the band played and the guests clapped. A night to remember, and a picture hangs on the saloon wall. When it’s time for me to head to the last round up I will ask the good Lord to have Andy there, so that I may do the job with my long time business partner and pal. Will always remember “head’em up, movin’ out” ridin’ the best. at with clear polish. Good luck.

Happy Trails...






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July 2016

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