Midwest Horse Source Feb/March 2014

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HOLIDAY 2013-2014 | MidwestHorseSource.com



Wisconsin Heroes Award


Whatever your pleasure, Morgan does it with style


Ride On


Holiday Contest Recap


Stephanie Kubarth & Barbara Knopf by Lisa Kucharski

Midwest Horse Source Delivering everything equine to your territory. © 2014 Kucharski Publishing Editor/Publisher Sandy Kucharski Associate Editor/Web Manager Lisa Kucharski Allied partner - Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed Paul Homb, Account Manager Published six times per year: February/March April/May June/July August/September October/November December/January NEXT DEADLINE March 31 Advertising and Editorial Office Kucharski Publishing 18209 Collins Rd. Woodstock, IL 60098 815/568-6772 mwhorsesource@gmail.com Website: MidwestHorseSource.com Subscriptions: $15 per year $20 per year for 1st Class Mail Paypal: mwhorsesource@gmail.com All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

Mid-State Morgan members excel at year-end Championships by Emmy Grady

Prosthetic leg and prior falls won’t deter 70-year-old rider By Kathy Boettcher

2nd Annual Midwest Horse Source Holiday Contest Judged by Purina panel

Columns Lead Lines 4 Editor’s Letter 5 Checkerboard Chatter 6 Living The Dream 7 Better Safe Than Sorry 10

Departments News and Events Midwest Calendar of Events Corral Business Listings Greener Pastures, Real Estate Midwest Classified Advertising Dealer Locator Map

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On the cover: “Winter Cowboy” Photo by Lisa Kucharski MidwestHorseSource.com | HOLIDAY 2013-2014


Personal Column

Lead Lines by Sandy Kucharski

Bump into anyone on the street or in line at the grocery store and the hot topic of conversation most of this winter has been the cold weather. While I totally agree that it’s been a brutal winter and, like everyone, I’m tired of it, I feel that enduring a winter like this one builds our character and defines us as Midwesterners. Although my daytime gig is not an outdoor job, having my horses in the back yard requires that I spend time in the elements each day. Caring for our small ranch worth of animals requires a solid hour for morning chores as well as lighter duties in the afternoon. No exceptions. No sick days. No snow days. I look at how I’m dealing with this winter in terms of survival, and I feel like I’m winning the battle so far. I’ve met the challenge and seen my horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks, dogs and cats come through the extreme weather we’ve endured up to this point unscathed. Have I experienced difficulties this winter? Sure, but I’m kind of a “glass half full” girl, and I tend to find the positive in any given situation. So instead of listing my grievances about the winter of 2013-14, here’s a few things I’m thankful for: • Heated buckets: Water is vital to a horse’s health. An adult horse requires an average of 5 to 10 gallons of water per day. Since you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, they need to have clean, fresh water available to them at all times. That presents quite a challenge during the coldest winter in 30 years. Five stalls equipped with reliable, heated buckets has saved me the hassle of thawing each horse’s individual bucket each day, and gives my precious ponies constant access to the water they need. • A dependable, frost-free hydrant:


HOLIDAY 2013-2014 | MidwestHorseSource.com

Thankful for heated buckets

Carrying water from the house daily to fill five, 5-gallon water buckets and keep a 100-gallon trough topped off can be done, but it’s certainly hot the preferred method. Having daily access to running water in the barn is a necessity that I’m thankful for every time I pull the handle on the spigot. • My Carhartt insulated bib overalls: Regardless of the fact that I shuffle like a toddler just learning to walk when I wear the thick, quilted pants, I’ve remained toasty warm while mucking stalls and shoveling snow. It’s amazing how much more efficient you can be when you’re not fixating on maintaining your body heat. • A well-stocked hay loft: A good growing season and a minimal amount

of equipment breakdowns has allowed us to put up enough hay to fill the loft, insulating the stalls from above and fueling the horses’ internal furnaces with every feeding. As a bonus, it also provides a cozy kingdom for barn cats Allis and Chalmers. Kevin’s 1947 Farmall Cub tractor: Our entire snow management program relies on the little red tractor that my son inherited from his Grandpa and restored a few years ago. He maintains it religiously, but I think it runs for him on heart. • A great neighbor with a 2013 John Deere 5040 tractor: With as much snow as we’ve had, Kevin has run short of places to push the snow with “Little Red.” Fortunately, our neighbor, Gianni, has a front loader on his new machine and has come over several times to scoop us out, creating a mountainous landscape of snow along the driveway. I feel a sense of accomplishment for having survived the winter, thus far. Although my animals and I will be glad to see the snow disappear and the grass return, I’m not looking forward to what lies between the two … mud season!

News • Events

2013 Wi s c o n s i n

Heroes Aw a r d Stephanie Kubarth, right, was awarded the November 2013 Wisconsin Heroes Award. She is pictured with Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program student Johnny Margetson. Courtesy photo

Stephanie Kubarth U n i o n G r o ve , W I Midwest Therapeutic R iding Program After completing a hippotherapy lesson with one of her students, Stephanie Kubarth began growing suspicious when she noticed the increasing number of students and their parents pouring into her barn with cupcakes and secretive grins. As she approached the group, Kubarth was suddenly greeted by a loud applause and Wisconsin’s first lady Tonette Walker holding out a plaque for her. Because of her service to the community and her passionate commitment to helping children through the Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program, Kubarth was honored with the November 2013 Wisconsin Heroes Award. “I was totally stunned,” Kubarth said. “I’m the one to surprise everyone else, but they got me good.” Kubarth started MTRP, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization offering therapeutic horseback riding services to children, ages 2-½ to 18 years old, with special needs in Northeastern Illinois and Southeastern Wis-


HOLIDAY 2013-2014 | MidwestHorseSource.com

consin, in 1998. She was inspired by demonstrations in therapeutic riding at the Midwest Horse Fair and began volunteering for the programs. Kubarth started looking for opportunities to bring a therapeutic riding program to the Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee areas and was encouraged to start her own program. She started teaching at Special Methods in Learning Equine Skills (SMILES) in Darien, Wis. to learn more about the program. Kubarth taught at SMILES for three years, obtained certification in Equine Assisted Activities, then started MTRP. Because she wanted to be as helpful as she could to her students, Kubarth went back to school to become a licensed occupational therapist. MTRP offers lessons that incorporate life skills and Individualized Education Plan goals in a fun and enjoyable setting. Through “Hippotherapy,” meaning “treatment with the help of a horse,” Kubarth andher staff and volunteers teach riding skills that use the movement of the horse to influence the rider’s posture, balance, function and sensory processing. She said she works with children with special needs like autism, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders and pediatric cancer through physical, emotional and cognitive challenges. Kubarth said while she is humbled by the award, she doesn’t mind boasting about the accomplishments and strides made by her riders and instructors. In the past several years, MTRP has had three students win Rider of the Year through Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship

About the award: Wisconsin’s first lady Tonette Walker is awarding a Wisconsin Heroes Award each month to deserving volunteers, selfless contributors and exceptional people for their willingness, compassion and commitment to the betterment of Wisconsin. Walker visits and presents the award to the winner. If you know someone who is voluntarily making Wisconsin a better place, you can nominate that person for a Wisconsin Heroes Award at http://firstlady.wi.gov/initiative/ wisconsin-heroes

International (formerly North American Riding for the Handicapped Association), an Instructor of the Year and multiple Therapy Horse of the Year recognitions in the region and in the nation. “She’s the most humble person I know, said 19-year-old Carly Renguette, one of Kubarth’s students. “I know winning an award like this was probably unthinkable to her. … She’s not a normal horse therapist. She gives up her time to help. She’s wonderful and crazy and makes everybody feel special. … It’s amazing going there everyday to ride.” Renguette joined MTRP at age 11, after a spinal cord injury left doctors questioning whether she would ever be able to regain movement. She said she had always liked horses, but grew to love them after working in the program with Kubarth. During the program, Renguette said she worked on core strength, arm strength and balance when riding. In 2011, she was named 2011 Rider of the Year through PATH International. Renguette was able to walk across the stage at her high school graduation to receive her diploma. “If people are thinking about volunteering for a program, they should,” Kubarth said. “It’s so rewarding. I get so much more out of it than I give.” http://www.mtrpinc.org/ 1451 172nd Avenue Union Grove, WI 53182 262/859.2240 - By Lisa Kucharski Associate Editor

2014 Wi s c o n s i n

News • Events

Barbara Knopf, right, started a program for Veterans to work with rescue horses to help heal each other. She was honored with the February 2014 Wisconsin Heroes Award. Courtesy photo

Heroes Aw a r d Barbara knopf L a Va l l e , W I L u v s M o r ga n H o r s e R e s c u e & Ve t e r a n s E q u i n e Tr a i l S e rv i c e s ( V. E . T. S . ) When Barbara Knopf began taking in Morgan horse rescues 10 years ago in Dodgeville, Wis., she didn’t think she would be using them to rescue people. Three years ago, Knopf relocated her rescue program, Luvs Morgan Horse Rescue, to La Valle and a year later, built a program around providing equine therapy services to veterans. Knopf ’s husband, a Vietnam vet; her son, a Marine Corps vet who returned from service in Iraq and Afghanistan; and her stepdaughter, an Army vet; encouraged her to put her horses to work to help veterans cope with the effects of war and those struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. Knopf, who is also a Marine Corps veteran, said the mission of her program is to help veterans “regain a sense of purpose and self-determination by fostering the bond between a horse and a human being.” She has been working with each veteran to help them along the trail to healing with her nonprofit organization, Veterans Equine Trail Services (V.E.T.S).

“Both the horses and the vets need to build trust with people again,” Knopf said. “With this program, the vets develop a kinship toward the horses. The veterans make a connection to the horse and identify with them because they also feel like they’ve been thrown away.” Knopf was awarded the February 2014 Wisconsin Heroes Award by first lady Tonette Walker. Knopf said she enjoys seeing the transformations the horses and the veterans go through when working together. The veterans work with all ages of horses and help train them to ride and drive. Veterans who cannot ride due to physical disabilities work with the cart horses. “They’re often taking a horse that is antisocial, doesn’t want to be touched, and is wounded, to a fat, shiny, in-yourpocket horse,” Knopf said. “When the vets accomplish something in training, they feel empowered. They blossom and come out of their hard shell and communicate again.” Knopf also recently started working with children with disabilities and children in the Inner City Slickers program. Inner City Slickers/The Awareness Foundation was founded by Michael McMeel, former drummer with the 70’s rock group “Three Dog Night.” The program is “a non-profit charity that works with at-risk children creating character, integrity and self-esteem in youth by combining the magic of horses with Cowboy

Ethics.” McMeel is a clinician at the 2014 Midwest Horse Fair April 11-13. Knopf said the horses don’t go up for adoption until they have been trained to trail ride and meet other training goals and requirements. Currently, she has 30 in the rescue, 10 of which will never leave and 15 horses that are in the V.E.T.S. and children’s programs. She said her favorite part of her work is watching the people and horses change together. “The horse is healed, the vet is healed, the child is healed,” she said. “It’s that full circle. “This job doesn’t pay anything, but it’s the best job.” Knopf was also recently awarded the Jefferson award, a monthly community award by Newsline 9 – a North Central Wisconsin TV station – which recognizes people who give back to their communities.

http://veteransequinetrailservices.org http://luvsmorganhorserescue.com 320 West Street La Valle, WI 608/985-8886

- By Lisa Kucharski Associate Editor

MidwestHorseSource.com | HOLIDAY 2013-2014


Equine Safety

Better Safe Than Sorry... provided by

Equestrian Winters Winter certainly came early this year in the Midwest. The first chill was a brisk wake up call to transition to our cold weather health and safety program inside our barn. Whether in an indoor facility or pastured, horses may not be bothered too much by the cold; however, as responsible equestrians we should take some simple steps to maintain our healthy horses during the rest of this long winter.

MED CHECK If your horses are spending more time out of the cold elements, the crowded barn can become a hotbed for disease. Parasite control, vaccinations, routine veterinary care and barn hygiene become paramount. Check with your veterinarian for guidance on additional cold weather vaccines that may be necessary for your region of the country. Remember to protect your equine medications from freezing; extreme cold may lead to the breakdown of liquid injectables and supplements. Keep medications in a climate-controlled area. If something accidentally freezes, contact the manufacturer to determine whether it’s still safe for use.

DIET CHECK During the winter months your horses should maintain their current body condition with regular diet and moderate exercise. More than ever, clean water is important. Horses will consume more water if it is kept at 45 degrees. If this is not feasible in your barn, make sure that any ice formed is removed at least twice daily. Water buckets


HOLIDAY 2013-2014 | MidwestHorseSource.com

kept outside can be kept warm with heating elements. Without the nutrients of summertime grass, hay becomes a larger portion of a horse’s winter diet. Good-quality hay can help maintain optimum body condition. Consider adjusting the amount of grain given if they are not able to maintain an adequate body condition on a hay only diet. Be sure to make these changes gradually; sudden changes to diet can increase the risk of colic.

BLANKET CHECK Just as we treat ourselves, keep horses comfortable and their body temperatures constant. If your horses are body clipped or exposed to wet conditions, use horse

Photo by Roxanne Johnson blankets to help them stay dry and warm. The blanket should not be too loose or tight with crossing straps in the rear. Make certain your horses have been properly cooled and are dry after rigorous exercise. Most horses, no matter what age, that enter winter in good condition will be just fine with the same daily care and a few minor adjustments — even in the coldest winter winds. The importance of preventative safety remains paramount. Daily inspections of the environment your horses live in go a long way in preventing emergencies. We at Safety Check Inc. are trained in hazard analysis and accident prevention. For an equine safety consultation or barn walkthrough, please feel free to contact us at (815) 4759991.

MidwestHorseSource.com | HOLIDAY 2013-2014


Calendar of Events MARCH 18 – Grazing Basics with University of Illinois Extension Educator Ellen Phillips & NRCS - Matt Bunger, Cook County Uof I, 2205 Enterprise Dr., Suite 501, Westchester, IL. Contact Ellen Phillips 708/4494320 or ephillps@illinois.edu. Visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/ calendar_event.cfm?ID=64907 MARCH 21-23 – Dominique Barbier Clinic, McCrae Farm, Grayslake, IL. Contact Jill 847-546-5164, jem60030@ aol.com MARCH 22-23 – Brad Hall Eventing Clinic (Stadium & Dressage), Sunflower Farms, Bristol, WI. 262-8578555, sunflowerfarms.com APRIL 26 – Fox Valley Saddle Association Spring Consignment Auction, 10:30 a.m., FVSA Club grounds, Hampshire, IL. Contact Remmer 847-878-1491.


HOLIDAY 2013-2014 | MidwestHorseSource.com

MARCH 28 – IDS Freestyle Clinic with Karen Robinson, Forrest Hill Farm, Lafayette, IN. Contact Linda 317-8400425, phiferlinda@yahoo.com

APRIL 5 – Dressage Clinic with Tom Noone, Paris Farms, Kenosha, WI. Contact Deanna 262-537-2629, freehorsefarm@aol.com

MARCH 29 – Tack & Techniques Clinic with Dan Grunewald and TJ Clibborn, Four Winds Equestrian Center, Salem, WI. Contact Sarah Ruwitch 262/537-2262 sor ruwitch@4wec.com. Visit www.4wec. com

APRIL 6 – Spring Open House, McCrae Farm, Grayslake, IL. Contact Jill 847-546-5164, jem60030@aol.com APRIL 11-13 – Midwest Horse Fair, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI. midwesthorsefair.com

MARCH 29 – Horse Rescue Clinic, Sunflower Farms, Bristol, WI. 262-8578555, sunflowerfarms.com MARCH 29 – Mark Aplin Jumping Clinic, Sunflower Farms, Bristol, WI. 262-857-8555, sunflowerfarms.com MARCH 29-30 – USEF/USDF Dressage Show, Fields & Fences Equestrian Center, Wadsworth, IL. 847-244-4121, fieldsandfences.com

APRIL 26 – Fox Valley Saddle Association Fuzzy Horse Warm-up Show, FVSA Club grounds, Hampshire, IL. Contact Judy at 847-683-2372 or visit www.fvsa.org APRIL 26-27 – Jennifer Kotylo Body Awareness Clinic, Sunflower Farms, Bristol, WI. 262-857-8555, sunflowerfarms.com APRIL 26-27 – No. IL Outlaws New Shooter’s Clinic, Amber Sun Acres, Malta, IL. northernillinoisoutlaws.com

Personality Profile

Ride On

Prosthetic leg and prior falls won’t deter this horseback rider By Kathy Boettcher Toby McGrath, a 70-year-old grandmother from Wheeling, makes regular trips to Spring Grove’s Meadowsweet Ranch where she boards and rides her horse, Lago. A few years ago, while riding somewhere else on a horse she previously owned, she was bucked off the horse. “I really got hurt and I had to promise my family I wouldn’t ride that horse again,” she said. No surprise to anyone who knows Toby – she was up and riding within six months, though on a different horse. While many women her age might have taken falling from the horse as a sign that they should turn to a safer and more sedate activity, that’s not in Toby’s nature. What makes her story even more remarkable is that it isn’t the only time she’s fallen from a horse. Oh, and she also has a prosthetic left leg.

Pregnant with complications

system attacking normal tissues and organs. The pain was severe and her leg had swollen to three times its normal size. She was diagnosed with multiple deep vein blood clots. Though there are medications today that might have saved her leg, in 1968, they determined she needed an amputation because gangrene set in. A vascular surgeon performed the operation with an obstetrician standing by to save the infant as Toby’s chances of surviving the operation were not considered good. Toby pulled through and even considers herself lucky beyond mere survival. She said that, if the blood clot affecting her leg was in an artery, they would have needed to take the entire leg. It was in a vein and they only took her leg from below the knee. Today, one of the family members who wants Toby to go easy on her riding is her son, Tim, who went through the ordeal with Toby from inside the womb. Since losing her leg, along with raising Tim and her other two children, Margaret and Charles, she’s also worked for 30 years as a nurse, and owned a nurse case management service company. She’s also skied with the Chicagoland Handicap Skiers, does volunteer work driving seniors to medical appointments and works at the local food pantry. In the meantime, she started her equestrian journey with horseback riding lessons and has owned three different horses over the course of the last six years.

Trading her way up to the right horse

Her first horse was named Gambler. She didn’t like the name and changed it to Rambler. She found him on the Internet and learned that’s not necessarily the best way to go about buying a horse. “The person she bought the horse

While eight months pregnant in 1968, Toby caught a bad Despite having a prosthetic leg, 70-year-old Toby McGrath enjoys the case of the Hong Kong flu. This was complicated by another challenge of teaching her Paso Fino, Lago, to work with her cues. condition – Lupus. The latter involves the body’s immune


HOLIDAY 2013-2014 | MidwestHorseSource.com

from should have interviewed Toby to make sure she was ready to handle a horse like this,” said Kathy Boettcher, the owner of Meadowsweet Ranch. A little too spirited, Rambler later reared up and went over backwards on Toby’s trainer. The trainer was seriously injured. Toby more or less swapped Rambler for her second horse – Magic. A Tennessee Walker, Magic was a spirited horse but a well trained horse. Toby was only thrown off once – the aforementioned event when her family asked her to back off on riding for a while. She put Magic up for adoption. “Now, Magic is an endurance horse,” Toby said. “This is really what she was meant for.” This led Toby to her current horse – Lago – who she purchased with some advice from Boettcher. Lago is a 10-yearold Pinto Paso Fino. A smaller horse and a gelding, Lago and Toby seem almost destined for each other. Still, Toby has come off the horse unintentionally once.

When you fall from a horse, get back up and try again

She fell from the horse last summer after something spooked him. Lago spun around quickly – a little too quickly for Toby to stay on. “There’s a saying that a quarter horse can spin on a dime,” Boettcher said. “A Paso Fino can spin on the head of a pin. Lago spun so fast that Toby came off by centrifugal force.” Undeterred, Toby is focused on improving her riding skills while training Lago in the process. She has had one other mishap but it was one she and Boettcher laughed about when recalling. Toby’s prosthetic leg fell off while riding one day. “I had to help her off the horse and give her, her leg back,” Boettcher said. Toby said it’s very uncommon for the leg to come off and was only able to on this occasion because she was wearing short pants. “They’ve done a lot with prosthetics over the years,” she said. “With my first prosthetic leg, it had a big leather sleeve.

It was cumbersome.” McGrath said Lago noticed her prosthetic leg the first time she rode the horse. He would stop and turn his head to sniff at the prosthetic leg while Toby was on his back. “He knew something was wrong,” Toby said. “He knows my one leg is weaker.” Boettcher said Toby does a great job controlling her horse. She said she can ask Toby to do almost anything anyone else can do with the horse. However, they have had to make adjustments due to Toby’s condition, such as getting on the horse from the right side instead of the left side. “People ask me, ‘How can you ride,’” Toby said. “I tell them that, as long as the horse has four legs, that’s good enough for me.” More than just using the reins to help steer the horse, a rider uses their legs to apply pressure to one side or the other of the horse when they want to turn. “Basically, Lago took advantage for a little while,” Boettcher said. With training, Lago and Toby have learned to work together and communicate well. She says she just loves the freedom that she feels when riding and has no intention of retiring from riding any time soon. Above all, Toby said that it’s important not to let age or other factors, such as the loss of a leg, stand in the way of having an active life; she said people should not give up on their dreams.

MidwestHorseSource.com | HOLIDAY 2013-2014


Deck the Barn

2nd Place: 12 & Under Poetry Simon Comstock, Spring Grove, IL Deck the barn with buckets of grain Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Tis the season to be tame Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Pull we now our small sleigh Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Sing the ancient song of bay Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay See the huge bay before us Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Strike the ground and join the chorus Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Follow me in English pleasure Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay While I tell where the bay hid treasure Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, Fast away the bay at canter Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Hail the bay he’s our savior Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Sing we happily all together Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay Forgetting cold, snow, and weather Hay ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay

13-18 Illustration Josa Comstock, Spring Grove, IL 28

HOLIDAY 2013-2014 | MidwestHorseSource.com

“What to my wondering eyes should appear” 1st Place: 19 & Over Illustration Jennifer Wolff, Chicago, IL

13-18 Illustration Emma Kane, Algonquin, IL

“Dashing through the snow”

2nd Place: 19 & Over Illustration Elizabeth Franzone, Richmond, IL