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Horse Source

Connecting all breeds and disciplines of the Midwest Horse Industry.

Buck Brannaman Clinic Review

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Special Holiday Issue

Artwork • Poetry • Fiction Winter Training Tips Cold Weather Horsekeeping News & more!





Illinois Horse Fair Returns–March 1-3, 2013, Springfield, IL The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield is once again the location for the 24th annual Illinois Horse Fair March 1-3, 2013. The Horseman’s Council of Illinois once again presents the Illinois Horse Fair and this year they are excited to announce several updates which will enhance the quality of the event. Horses Through History: Past, Present and Future is the theme for this year’s event. Plans are underway to coordinate a horse fair that has something for the entire family. The commercial exhibitors and equine organizations will be in a new location this year, the beautiful state fairgrounds exhibition hall.

Back by popular demand for the second year is Australian horseman, Guy McLean. His “Success Through Knowledge” philosophy won him the “Road to the Horse” competition held in Kentucky following his participation at the 2012 Illinois Horse Fair. This year Guy will be performing in the evening shows both Friday night and Saturday night as well as his clinics during the day.

draft horses and his driving skills will be displayed throughout the weekend.

Jason and Rose Goodman and their amazing Percheron Thunder hitch will appear for the first time at Illinois Horse Fair. Jason has performed at many top horse events in the United States and his top horsemanship skills along with Roman Riding his six Percheron horses will also be a part of our evening shows. Jason’s clinics reflect his expertise with

Ranch Rodeo to returns in 2013, after initially debuting in 2009. The event will run on both Friday and Saturday nights with different events each night. Randy Littrell is bringing top teams to compete in this exciting event which will include trailer loading and branding among other divisions.

Tracy Porter is a seasoned clinician, respected trainer and an all-around positive equine enthusiast. Her never give up attitude is an inspiration to everyone. This past summer she rode her 17-yearold Paso Fino, Casadero Sin Par to the title of America’s Favorite Trail Horse.

The hours have been increased so you can enjoy three full days of activities. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 1-3, gates will open at 8 a.m. with the Exhibition Hall and clinics starting at 9 a.m. As always, educational programs in an array of topics will be benefit everyone who attends. Visit and go to the Illinois Horse Fair link for up-to-date information. Advanced tickets will be available on to order on the website. Tickets are $10.00 daily and kids under 8 years old accompanied by an adult are free. A three day pass is $25. The evening event for Friday and Saturday is $15 for reserved seating. General admission will also be available.

IDCTA sponsors Jan Brink clinic at Fields & Fences–Gurnee, IL

The Illinois Dressage & Combined Training Association organized an outstanding dressage clinic on October 20th and 21st at Fields & Fences Equestrian Center in Gurnee, Illinois. Eight area riders, their horses and several auditors were fortunate to experience a first class event featuring Dressage Olympian, Jan Brink.

Jan was a member of the Swedish national dressage team for 20 years. His final international championship was at the April 2009 World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, where he also retired his top horse Briar 899 after 10 years of international competition. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC was pleased to be invited as a sponsor of this event and look forward to continued support of these educational opportunities. photo courtesy of Chuck Swann/Swan Studios LLC





Horsefeathers goes for the gold at 2012 Special Olympics–Poplar Grove, IL

Jason, Nick, and Aaron waiting for their medals with Horsefeathers staff. Nineteen riders and seven horses traveled from Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding in Lake Forest to Poplar Grove, IL, to compete in the 2012 Illinois Special Olympics Equestrian Games . This year BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding, in the Bergmann Centre in Poplar Grove, hosted the event-filled weekend.

Charlie riding Tex performing his pattern.

Illinois FFA Judging Champions–Burlington Central

This was a year of “firsts” for the Special Olympics Equestrian competition. This was the first year that it was held in northern Illinois, not downstate in Decatur and also the first year it took place the last weekend of October, rather than early September. One horse particularly distinguished himself, as well: “Sensationaly Zippin” (aka Tex), a big, handsome, brown and white paint horse, did exceptional duty, filling in for another horse when needed, winning two gold medals and a silver, on top of the medals and ribbons awarded on his originally scheduled rides. A stellar performance by the Horsefeathers equestrians earned 9 gold medals, 6 silver medals, 3 bronze medals, and 6 ribbons in Showmanship and Equitation classes. The team especially benefited from showmanship expertise from Sarah Osterberg. The air was alive with excitement from the arrival of the horses, transported for Horsefeathers in style, thanks to the generosity of Rush and Carolyn Weeden. The riders arrived one by one with their families, aglow with anticipation. Young volunteers schooled horses in a practice arena, while others started on the “spit and polish” preparation of getting horses and gear buffed to a shine. The opening ceremony began with athletes and spectators standing for the National Anthem and a salute to the flag. The classes were sequenced with the more advanced riding levels and the most independent riders first, followed by walk-trot classes, followed by the classes in which riders may need a leader or a coach to walk alongside. Each rider competed with others who have similar skills and abilities. For all the athletes who participate in Special Olympics, the social camaraderie is just as important as the competition. For the Horsefeathers team, the pool party on Friday night is a favorite, and the dinner and dance after the Saturday events are the highlight of the year. This year’s dance was a costume party. Witches and ghosts jostled elbows with pirates and princesses on a dance floor packed with athletes from every organization represented in the games – a triumphant monster mash indeed. There is nothing like the spirit of the Special Olympics to make everything truly special.

The Burlington Central High School FFA Horse Judging Team: (Left to Right) Marissa Chapa, Riley Daufenbach, Susie Thompson and Maddi Smith. After winning the Illinois state FFA judging contest, the team headed to Indianapolis, IN, on October 24, for the FFA National Convention. Competing against 50 teams from 48 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico, the team coached by advisor Ryan Robinson and Laurel Bradley, placed 7th overall.


Checkerboard guest columnist, Sandy Kucharski

This fall I had the “golden” opportunity to go behind the scenes and visit a special place that most of the general public doesn’t have access to. As a guest of Purina Sales Specialist, Kindra Callahan, I was invited to the Conference on Nutritional Research for the Health of the Horse, which included a tour of the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Missouri. The seminar started out with a welcome reception, a delicious dinner and a program where the featured speakers were Purina National Ambassadors. Purina works with over 30 National Ambassadors who are well-known and respected men and women from all different walks of the horse world who get great results with Purina® feeds and they help promote the brand. The evening was great…or so I’m told.



As we drove down the winding roads through the farm we passed the beef and dairy units, but we were going to concentrate on the equine unit where we had a full day worth of areas to tour with demonstrations and lecture topics. We learned that they keep a herd averaging 50 quarter horses, and about 10 Thoroughbreds, used for various feeding trials and nutritional testing and we got a chance to meet some of these subjects up close. We checked out some brood mares and yearlings with nearly ideal body conditioning scores and had a discussion on the importance of proper nutrition and condition, especially in breeding and foaling.

We saw a fascinating demonstration on I was busy putting the final touches on the Septemmeasuring physiological responses to exerber/October issue of Midwest Horse Source and getcise and nutrition. The subject of this demo ting it to the printer. I regretted missing out on the was one of several horses they have careevening’s events, but I really wanted to get the spe- The entrance tunnel to the Purina Animal Nutrition Center. fully trained to work on the state-of-the-art cial trailriding edition out before the trail grew cold. treadmill at the farm. This is no simple jogAs we pulled up to the gated entrance I began to realging treadmill; it can take a horse up to a full ize how legit this place was. The sheer size of the farm Satisfied with a job well done, I jumped in my car and out gallop which is essential for conducting tests to and network of buildings illustrated to me that they headed off to St. Louis. Arriving just before midnight, determine nutritional requirements for race horses. are serious about the work they do there. The facilI certainly enjoyed the first class accommodations that ity sits on 1,188 acres of rolling Missouri farmland that A horse tested on this treadmill can be outfitted with Purina arranged for us. Six a.m. came early, but the bus has been owned by Purina since 1926. for the tour left at 7 a.m. sharp and I was excited to go. sensors on its body and even an oxygen collection hose over the muzzle to monitor respiration, all while running full out. This takes a very even-tempered athlete, and the treadmill-trained horses are well trained and conditioned for handling all this. The extensive training of subject horses is just one the steps the scientists at the farm go through to accomplish their research. It was evident that the horse we watched really loved his job because he let out an enthusiastic squeal every time the speed was increased on the treadmill. Then we met the animals that have the best job on the farm; the palatability study horses. Their whole job is to be brought into the study area three times a day to sample various feeds. They are regularly offered two different options in one of 3 feed bunks and the feed they choose first is noted. These skilled testers evaluate flavors and textures of feeds, in order to insure that your horse will willingly eat what comes out of any Purina® feed bag. We evaluated hay samples and were reminded of the importance of determining the nutritional value and weight of our hay rations in order to come up with the proper feeding plan. We learned how health issues affect how a horse can utilize feed, the basics of sport nutrition and how to read a feed tag as well as what the feed tag doesn’t tell us such as the quality of the ingredients used. We were also introduced to Purina’s newest addition, Purina® Hydration Hay™ Blocks. These timothy and alfalfa blocks can soak up 5 times their weight in water which is great for hydrating horses especially during trailering. The main impression that I came away with was that the researchers at Gray Summit are totally devoted to their task–research and development to create new and better ideas in animal nutrition. This was evident by the passion each of the Phd’s that we met had for their area of study. They didn’t deliver dry, rehearsed talks about the work they do day in and day out. They spoke with enthusiasm about what they were working on and they loved entertaining questions and offering explanations. By the end of the day, my head was full of nutritional facts and ideas for improving my feeding program at home, but I had a six-hour drive ahead of me; plenty of time for it to soak in. I was impressed with the depth of research that goes into developing Purina® feeds. Without sounding like a commercial, I can honestly say that Purina can back up the claims they make about the effectiveness and quality of their many feeds because of the extensive research they do at facilities like Purina Animal Nutrition Center. I can see why they have so many National Ambassadors as well so many satisfied customers.



Features Features 6 Sustainable Trails for Equestrian Use Buck draws a crowd, naturally 6

Proper design , construction, maintenance and use is imperative for horse trails. by Susan Stormer of S&S Trail Services, LLC and Deb Balliet, ELCR

Veteran horsemanship clinician, Buck Brannaman teaches to a sold-out crowd. by Sandy Kucharski


Rail Horse to Trail Horse

88 10

Don’t let cabin fever ruin your rail horse...hit the trail! featuring Dan Grunewald, by Lisa Kucharski


Midwest Horse Source Connecting all breeds and disciplines of the Midwest Horse Industry ©2012 Kucharski Publishing Editor/Publisher Sandy Kucharski

1st Midwest Horse Source Se Annual Habla Caballo? Christmas Contest An American student practices the universal language of the horse in Peru.

Associate Editor/Web Manager Lisa Kucharski

Enjoy holiday/horse-themed artwork, poetry and stories!

by Lisa Kucharski

Water Worriers to Water Warriors

Allied partner - Land o’ Lakes Purina Feed Paul Homb, Account Manager

Nine tips for stepping into water crossings. advice from Tracy Porter, by Lisa Kucharski


Published six times per year: January/February March/April May/June July/August September/October November/December

‘True Love’ can turn you around. An eye-opening natural horsemanship lesson. by Kindra Callahan


NEXT DEADLINE: Week of Oct. 7, 292013 Week of January

Class Act Local horsemen and a college student pair up to film a movie in Woodstock, IL. photo and text by Janice Fischer

Columns 4-Lead Lines

11-Better Safe Than Sorry...

Christmas contest artwork by Danielle Flowers, tied for 1st place.

12-The Winning Edge 13-Checkerboard Chatter 15-The Perfect Round 17-From The Side of the Trail


Departments 2


Checkerboard Chatter 4 Midwest Roundup 2-Midwest Round-Up Better Safe Than Sorry 14 15 15-Calendar Midwest Calendar of Events The Perfect Round 16 16-Classified Corral Business Listings 16-Corral15Business Listings Living the Dream 17 Midwest Classified Advertising 18-Greener Pastures, Real16 Estate Listings 19 Greener Pastures, Real Estate The Winning Edge 18

Advertising and Editorial Office Kucharski Publishing 18209 Collins Rd. Woodstock, IL 60098 815/568-6772 Website: Subscriptions: $15.00 per year. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

Cover photo by Lisa Kucharski: “Mom & Max take the plunge.”


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Buck draws a crowd, naturally


Veteran clinician Buck Brannaman’s first Chicagoland clinic draws sold out crowd. by Sandy Kucharski

Several hundred equine enthusiasts gained valuable insights into improving communication with their horses when they attended the Buck Brannaman clinic earlier this fall. The 4-day clinic took place Sept 1417 and was held at Sunflower Farms in Bristol, WI. One of the hottest tickets in equine clinics this year, Buck drew a sold-out crowd of over 400 auditors each day, along with nearly 30 riders in each of the two daily sessions; Foundation Horsemanship and Horsemanship I. Riders of all levels and disciplines sought his advice on how to make a horse feel safe and secure around humans so that the horse and rider can achieve a true union. Dressage rider Judy Eftekhar, Glencoe, IL, said, “I wasn’t sure that even an iconic western clinician like Buck could teach anything relevant to me, an intermediate dressage rider, and my trained, willing, smart, sensitive, brave, and non-traumatized Lusitano mare. Was I wrong! A couple of huge take-aways were the importance of light cues: less is more, especially with hands. Also [I learned that] using ground work [is key] to establish working communication with the horse and address movement issues.”

Many horsemen who have attended a Buck Brannaman clinic and started to apply his methods to their relationship with their horses, will tell you they become hooked, and they go back again and again to soak up more words (and actions) of wisdom. So it was for clinic organizers Karen Boso, Woodstock, IL and Gail Baldwin, Algonquin, IL. They’ve become dedicated students over the years, travelling as far as Colorado to participate in one of his clinics. In an effort to reduce their travel distance, as well as introduce a whole new audience to the man, the pair worked on getting a clinic set up here, in the Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin area. With his broad popularity and heavy demand, getting on the schedule for a Buck Branamman clinic can be difficult to say the least, and Buck will tell you outright that he’s pretty particular about who hosts his events. So when he talked to Karen and Gail in September 2011 he began his conversation with, “Don’t have a heart attack, but I’ve decided to come to Chicago.” Plans progressed and with the help of Phil May and his fabulous crew at Sunflower Farms, they pulled off the long anticipated event.

“You don’t have to know anything about horsemanship to look at Buck on one of his mounts and see two creatures completely in sync.” -Bill Collins The auditors could watch and listen to everything going on, as well as ask questions at the end of each session. While the majority of them were horsemen, looking for ideas to develop kinship between themselves and their horses, some of the auditors were non-horsemen, simply drawn to watch and listen to the man they became familiar with in Buck, the documentary film released in 2011. Peggy Asseo noted, “The more we watched Buck, the more we were reminded that good horsemanship is universal. Flexion, control of the hindquarters, and mutual respect are the same no matter what tack you ride in. Buck’s laconic delivery charmed everyone, his voice hardening only when he spoke of those whose techniques cause damage.” Buck Brannaman has been on the road for over 20 years teaching the principles of respect, partnership and trust and helping horses with people problems. His early training with respected veterans like Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt gave him a solid foundation and taught him how to relate to horses. Overcoming an abusive upbringing and many personal challenges in his early childhood helped prepare him for how to relate to people. Getting his start on the clinic circuit when “natural horsemanship” first began gaining popularity, Buck became well known and respected through his involvement in the technical advising and filming for the movie The Horse Whisperer with Robert Redford that came out in 1998. The recent documentary film, Buck, which outlines the parallels between his personal struggles and his horse training techniques has made him a recognizable and sought-after authority on relationship building, even outside of the horse world. “Buck Brannaman feels like an old friend,” explains Sandy Collins, Wilmette, IL. “I have been a fan a long time. In the mid-nineties, I was able to attend three clinics in three years - about the time I purchased a new horse. The horse is now 22, fit, rideable, and known for pretty good ground manners; I feel I have Buck’s teaching, more than any other influence, to thank for that. More than just the physical moves, he teaches you a good ‘way to be’ with the horse, and it seems to work when dealing with the rest of the world, too.”

Photos courtesy of Karmik Acres and Sunflower Farms

Boso explained that it was well worth the work that went into planning and executing the clinic, especially when Buck told them that this was the best-organized clinic he’d ever had. From a man who chooses his words carefully and doesn’t throw undeserved complements around, this comment was very rewarding to hear. Along with organizing the event, Boso participated in the clinic as a rider. Her mount was a rescue horse that had a mere 25 rides in on him. “I rode him in the Foundations class because I needed to get some details worked out on him.” Boso explained that one of the things she likes about riding with Buck is that, “He misses nothing. He’ll tell you what he wants you to do and then he’ll let you work it out.” Bill Collins, Wilmette, IL, remembers watching Buck in Springfield when he was just a kid. After about 15 years away from horses, Bill attended the clinic as a refresher

for getting back into working with horses. He said, “You don’t have to know anything about horsemanship to look at Buck on one of his mounts and see two creatures completely in sync. The trust and cooperation between horse and rider is mesmerizing, instilling a deep sense of wellbeing like watching waves roll in off a calm lake. The technical know-how he shared with us was a complete breakthrough for me, the philosophy behind his methods a

Buck Brannaman at Sunflower Farms



Above: Groundwork in the outdoor arena at Sunflower Farms. Below: (Left) Mike Boso and (Right) Phil May work on horsemanship

Above: Karen Boso works on bending. Below: Buck demonstrates with his horse.

breath of fresh air in a sport that is often a bit frustrating and stressful. Buck’s method doesn’t circumvent the difficult parts of getting to know your horse. It helps you, the human, deal with them better. He said the greatest gift you can give a horse is peace. And I must say, after doing things his way for a while, it’s amazing what a soft rub on the forehead does for a horse.” Bill goes on to say, “I was a beginner when I went to the clinic. But now, after using his methods for a few months, I’m a beginner with a plan.” Riders and auditors spent the majority of the weekend concentrating on learning techniques particular to their specific situations, but there were also memorable

moments during the clinic to just sit back and enjoy.

just fine in a Prix St Georges class at any dressage show.”

Sandy Collins said, “The icing on the cake for me was on the last day. As the final afternoon session convened, auditors were making their way back to their seats, clinic riders gathered in small groups in the arena, chatting before they mounted up. Slowly I became aware of a rider cantering around the arena, in and around the groups - the canter rhythm was slow, soft, like a whispering metronome, the horse was supremely muscled, upright, balanced, collected and had a serene, confident expression. They wove in and out, occasionally riding a very nice canter pirouette. The rider was Buck, looking upright, serene, and confident himself. If you swapped out his clothes for a top hat and tails (which he probably wouldn’t care for) he’d do

This unassuming performance also impressed Judy Eftekhar. “Watching Buck ride his seasoned horse on the last day was poetry. Light, calm, economical movement, horse and rider moving together as one body, a picture I hope I can conjure up when I have problems.” Whether you were lucky enough to make it in as one of the auditors and are hooked, or if you’d like to see what all the excitement is about, you’ll have a chance in 2014 when Buck is planning to return to the area. Look for details at



1st Annual Midwest Horse Source Christmas Contest Issue! Welcome! Welcome, everyone, to a tradition that has begun! Each year we’ll ask for literature and art, in hopes that you’ll become a part - of our publication, of course! Put your work on display in Midwest Horse Source!

Art featured on cover: Professional Illustration 1st Place - Shelby Wolff Twin Lakes,WI “Painted Christmas Wishes”

11-18 Po et r y c e To be Loved for Christmas 1st Pl a nnell acDo Alone without companion, amongst snowy Carley M ock, IL weeds, Woodst Christmas” Little shelter from the elements, left without ved for o L e b feed. “To

Thanks to those who joined in the fun! We wish we could give prizes to everyone. Congrats to first and second places, Now, go shop online with smiling faces! Hope you enjoy your $50 bucks, Merry Christmas to all and for next year good luck!

Congrats to the 1st & 2nd Place Winners! You will receive a:

$50 Gift Certificate from

Frail, under-nourished, cold, and forgotten, Hooves overgrown, hide with rain-rot.

Unable to comprehend finances that were ruined, Only distant memories of being tenderly groomed. Reflecting on faded times gone by When rider and gelding over jumps would fly. Then across the field, a commotion stirs up, Into view comes the profile of trailer and truck. The gentle man approaches, shaking the bucket of grain, Talking to the nervous equine about why he came. My daughter has had such a difficult time, Trying to belong, not fitting in is her crime. But Christmas will bring you both the greatest gift, Two broken hearts that need a spiritual lift. Trailer now loaded with the promise of a new home, Travels a distance towards better pastures to roam. The greeting that awaits will bring tears to the eye, Father knows his hurting daughter will happily cry. This gift was free, yet priceless by far, To rescue the innocent and a girl that is scarred So in the Spirit of Christmas, please do your part, To be charitable to the needy and open your heart.


Judged by a panel of Purina Sales Specialists Gift Certificates awarded by ILLUSTRATION 10 & Under 1st - Grace Flynn (p.13) 11-18 1st - Larissa Pietrzak (TIE-p.10) 1st - Danielle Flowers (TIE-p.11) 2nd - Josa Comstock (p.10) 19 & Over 1st - Alison Abbenhaus (p.9) 2nd - Elizabeth Franzone (p.8) Professional 1st - Shelby Wolff (Cover) POETRY 11-18 1st - Carley MacDonnell (p.8) 2nd - Emily Tepe (p.11) 19 & Over 1st - Jennifer Wolff (p.9) 2nd - Karen Sander (p.10) SHORT STORY 19 & Over 1st - Alexis Patinos (p.12) Special gifts for all contest entries provided by Purina.

Illustration 19 & Over 2nd Place Elizabeth Franzone McHenry, IL “Who Needs Reindeer Games”



Illustration 19 & Over 1st Place Alison Abbenhaus First Snow St. Louis, MO

Stockings for Christmas On late Christmas Eve, I sneak out of bed I bundle up warm, put a hat on my head, I ignore all the gifts under the tree Right now those aren’t important to me. I open the door, the cold air on my face, and accept the snow with a warm embrace.

The door creaks as I slip through it’s dark inside and chilly too. I smile to hear muff led nickers and neighs as our horses munch happily on bins full of hay. I kiss noses and say hello as I pass, but my mind is on only one simple task.

Snow everywhere, falling fast glistening more than many years past The trees whisper and sway in the breeze, as the moisture on my face begins to freeze. I quicken my step and head for the barn, grasping an old stocking stitched out of yarn.

I finally arrive at the door of my steed, and show him his stocking, his bundle of treats. He happily munches and nuzzles me close. He is my best friend, the one I love most. I slowly sit down in his f luffs of straw, and hug his face tight, my ear to his jaw.

Poetry 19 & Over 1st Place Jennifer Wolff Chicago, IL “Stockings for Christmas”

I drift off to sleep, through the night I stay because there is nowhere I’d rather be on this Christmas Day.

Shop from home this Christmas.



Poetry 19 & Over 2nd Place - Karen Sander Marengo, IL

“The Christmas List” When the lights on all the houses are hung, When people gather aft’ carols are sung, When the snow gently settles on the pines, Christmas presents are on the children’s minds. And as this festive scene begins to unfold, There’s a story that can often be told. One that historically was always true, Before the “Wii,” “Kindle” and “IPod” too. For when children would write their Christmas lists, Cross checking so nothing would be missed, There was one “item” that would often fall, Near the top of that Christmas list so tall. While some would wish for great power, and wealth Others for friends, possessions and health, One child wonders what the world would be like, From the back of a pony named Gus or Ike! It actually maters not (the name), As long as it’s living with hooves and mane. Girls dream of this horse, only she can tame, And gallops it bareback her hands in its mane! Or dreams of a knight in shining armor. Who rides upon a brilliant white charger. These horses dance through young girls’ dreams, And to obtain them will bring many schemes....

Illustration 11-18 1st Place - TIE Larissa Pietrzak Woodstock, IL

Often the stereotype is female, But the horse-bug also bites the males. Many a boy wished a cowboy to be, Pushing cattle in the open and free! Or pin a silver star on that boy’s chest; He’ll be the steadiest gun in the west. Or an indian hunting with the best. To find a better horse than his, you’d be pressed.... **** The horse craze is not bound by time or space; ‘Tis Inherent in some of the human race. So when years take children forward in time, For a horse, they’ll save ‘ery Christmas dime. For horse dreams run much deeper than fancy, And to this end, people will be antsy! Even as adults they seek ‘til they find, That horse that’s special, yay, one-of-a-kind. For every person needs a faithful friend, One who willingly listens without end, To trials and tribulations of life, Of problems with work, friends, husband or wife. For when your life is torn apart by strife, The horse is a consistency in life. And as you read these words so full of truth, You may just find that “that person” is you!

Illustration 11-18 2nd Place - Josa Comstock Spring Grove, IL You will see your life in a new found light. In the horse’s kind eyes are truth and right. They teach us what’s important and what can fold, And, in the end, what to cling to more than gold.

And as those children write their Christmas lists I’m sure it’s far from their minds-all of this. Yet they know what they want and always write, This wish- years on end, or just on one night.

For on their humans, these horses depend, To us -a duty to care and defend. They motivate - give hope and dreams to share, And prove that there is a reason to care.

We think courage, humor, freedom and love, And we stop to give praise to God above. That ‘ery life battle doesn’t need be won, Just maintain God, Family, Country - home.

So there you have upon this very page, A Truth that doth transcend many-an-age:

Makes no difference your discipline or breed, You are loved devotedly by your steed. And as you watch the sun set in the west, Know your bond and friendship pass any test.

When that special steed, yay teacher, is gone Forever in your heart there is a song Of events, and times and things that passed, But more so memories that forever last.

When you have come to the end of your rope, And just about ready to give up hope, You’ll burry your head in your horse’s mane, And slowly your troubles will start to wane.

Why every Christmas list would be phony If at one point, it didn’t read P-O-N-Y.


DECEMBER 2012 Christmas Day- By Josa Comstock I awoke T’was 8a.m. you see The 25th day of the 12th month No it couldn’t be For no presents lay under the tree No footprints near the fireplace No stockings filled to the brim But the cookies and milk They had been devoured So Santa wasn’t a coward I went to the front door To see what I could see And then it hit me It was not a toy Indeed But I was all a bundle of joy For there was a tag That I read clearly my name Stood a little stocky pony There on Christmas Day.

Poetry 11-18 2nd Place - Emily Tepe West Chicago, IL

“Let’s Run”

Illustration 11-18 1st Place - TIE Danielle Flowers Hampshire, IL

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Behind me, the nearly inaudible sound of hooves in soft snow.

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An insistent nicker followed by an impatient snort, demands my attention.

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I turn and am greeted by eyes like melted chocolate, that can turn to cold fury in an instant.

ILLINOIS Libertyville MARYLAND Crofton Hunt Valley

Gentle snowflakes fall and fringe his long, dark eyelashes.


A shake of his mighty yet graceful, elegant head.


Just one blast of his steaming breath envelopes me in his warm, calming presence.

RHODE ISLAND North Kingstown TEXAS Dallas

Those velvet ears swivel to aim directly at me.

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Even though he is now silent, this majestic creature is sending a message as clear as the dangling icicles.

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With his twitching tail, flaring nostrils, and rigid muscles... ...let’s run.

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Short Story 19 & Over 1st Place Alexis Patinos Wheaton, IL

“A Christmas Eve Miracle” Dumping her suitcase on the kitchen floor, Jamie quickly made her way out to the snow-covered patio, down the stairs, and across the back lawn to her family’s small four-horse barn. With a quick tug of the handle, she opened the large sliding door to the barn entrance and was welcomed with several nickers. As swiftly as possible, she unlatched the first stall door, residing to her left, and slipped into the stall with the nameplate reading “Raymond.” A big chestnut nose extended towards her, ears forward and alert. It had been a long first semester at Penn State for freshman, Jamie Johnson, and all she was looking forward to were the next four weeks of winter break with her horse, Raymond. She reached into her pocket and fished out a peppermint she had grabbed before she had left for school and a velvety nose happily accepted it. “Oh man, how I missed you,” she murmured as she threw her hands around his neck. Jamie pulled back and ran her fingers through the flaxen mane, looking her gelding up and down as if to inspect him, “Five months off work and you turned into a chubby scrub! We’re going to have to get started on you right away, aren’t we?” she said in a soft voice. Raymond nodded as if to agree so she patted his neck and slipped out of the stall and over to the tack room at the opposite side of the barn. Grabbing a halter and lead rope and a caddy full of brushes, she brought her horse into the aisle and began what became a two hour grooming and pampering session for her four legged friend. Just as Jamie had finished pulling his mane and spritzing him with show sheen, an Australian Shepherd came bounding through the door with a tall, darkhaired women close behind. “I should’ve know that you would come straight out to the barn when you got home,” her mom grinned. “Well, obviously! Mom, it was seriously torture to be away from Ray for five months. I don’t think I can go back to school without him...” Jamie exclaimed. “Hunny, you know we can’t afford to send Raymond to school with you,” she said softly. “Now lets go, its getting dark out and I’ve got chicken in the oven for dinner!” “Ugh, whatever,” Jamie mumbled as she rolled her eyes and turned back to her horse. She went over him once more with a soft bristled brush to be sure he was spotless and returned him to his stall. Slipping the halter off his head she gave him one more look over and whispered, “You’re starting to look a little better buddy, but that belly. We’re getting started on that one tomorrow, mister.” Jamie quickly slid out of Raymond’s stall,

Illustration 19 & Over Honorable Mention Jennifer Wolff Chicago, IL “Home for Christmas” latching the door behind her. In a hop, skip, and a jump she returned the grooming caddy and halter to the tack room, shut off the lights, and made her way back through the snow to the lit house. ------------------------------------------ Two weeks had passed and Jamie had been out with Raymond every day, grooming, riding, and playing. It had come to be Christmas Eve and at 7 P.M. she was just making her way in for dinner from her horse activities. Still in her breeches and boots, she slipped into her seat at the dinner table. Her parents had already seated themselves and were quiet at the dinner table. Sensing that something was wrong, Jamie exclaimed “I’m really sorry I was late for Christmas eve dinner, Ray just wouldn’t cool down from our ride today so it took a long time for me to cool him out, and I had to put a cooler on him and just keep walking him for awhile before I could even brush him or put his blanket back on.” Realizing she was rambling she quickly stopped talking and looked down to her plate. “Sorry...” “Jamie, we actually had something we wanted to discuss with you, regarding Raymond,” her mom said in a soft voice. Jamie looked up quickly and then back down to the napkin in her lap. Her heart was pounding and her mind racing with every possible horrible scenario her mom was about to unleash about her beloved horse. Looking to her husband and then back at Jamie she began to explain, “Your dad and I have been talking a lot lately...” Jamie’s eyes lifted in fear and she clutched the napkin her lap so tightly she

almost ripped it. “...and since you did so well in school this semester and your dad got a pay raise last week, we were thinking about allowing Raymond to go up to school with you next semester as a Christmas present.” Jamie’s heart dropped and she sighed a breath of relief. A huge smile crept onto her lips and before she could respond her mom questioned, “What do you think about that idea?” She grinned as her daughter’s face lit up in excitement. “Are you guys serious right now? You would actually let Ray come to school with me?” she beamed, her eyes wide in delight. “Well, pending you keep your grades as high as they were this past semester,” her dad chuckled. “We know how much he means to you and how happy he makes you, and with all your hard work this semester, I think you deserve it.” Leaping out of her chair, Jamie ran to her parents and threw her arms around their necks. “Oh my gosh, thank you guys so much! You have no idea how happy I am! This is the best Christmas present ever!” Jamie shouted. And so the Johnson family shared a cheerful Christmas Eve dinner together and Jamie enjoyed her years at Penn State with her horse Raymond, close by her side. What did you think of the first annual Christmas Contest Issue? Please share your comments with us and the contestants on Facebook!



Illustration 10 & Under 1st Place Grace Flynn Lake in the Hills, IL

Poetry 19 & Over Honorable Mention Sally Lipsky Waunakee,WI “Candy Canes” The snow crunched under her boots every step making crisp squeaks as she sprinted down the path, feeling too excited to worry about the slippery ice underneath. She pulled open the heavy door, automatically flipping the switch to illuminate a row of sleeping horses. He met her at his stall door as she quietly slipped inside. Her bare, red hands stiff from the harsh wind burned with a soothing fire as she glided them underneath his blanket, while steady puffs of his breath could be seen in the air, passing through those soft, velvet nostrils. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out the contrabanda candy cane stolen off her mother’s meticulously decorated tree. A small grunt escaped as she fought off the wrapper, offering it to her precious steed. Whispering “Merry Christmas” into his fuzzy ears as the crunching slowly dissolved. The car outside honked for her as she shut the door and looked back again, noticing how the small icicles hanging off his whiskers dripped to the fluffy wooden shavings below, glimmering with every ray of light each droplet caught.



Plugging into Equestrian Electrical Safety horse’s anatomy is lean muscle which consequently has little resistance to electrical current (Marcella, 2005).

With the fall season coming to an end, our worlds become electric with the excitement of the approaching holidays. It’s our hope that in this article the electricity of the holiday season remains mystical—as opposed to shockingly real—in and around our barns and horses. With preventative inspections, checklists, and knowledge of horse safety, the electrical hazards of the holidays, and everyday life, will be limited with your new found power, brain power that is. Electrical safety is a must around any farm, and it starts with periodic inspections. The changing seasons are a good cue to tackle those safety items that need infrequent checking. Items to be inspected include: the wiring associated with electrical panels, lighting, equipment, disconnects, and outlets. Keep in mind bugs, mice, spider webs, and dust all seek shelter in electrical boxes and panels. If these areas need cleaning, they can be blown out with an air hose. Be sure to turn the power off before doing so and follow proper lockout/tagout procedures if folks on your farm are unaware of what you are doing. Be-

fore starting your inspection be sure to have a checklist handy so that all items receive proper attention. Below you’ll see a sample you can take with you on your electrical safety check (FES, 2012). Simply put, horses and electricity do not mix. Our four legged friends are actually more susceptible than humans to injury and death from shock because of their physical makeup; the majority of a

• All wiring in barns should be incased in metal or heavy plastic conduit. • Worn or frayed wires should be replaced, and cracked conduit repaired. • Short circuits or stray electrical impulses should be fixed by an electrician. Check for these on trailers and electric fencing. • Do not overload circuits with lamps, fans or heating devices. • Keep an eye out for potential step voltage. Electricity can travel along a metal support, through wet floor surfaces, or elsewhere within the barn before reaching a victim.

This sensitivity increases our need to practice electrical safety around horses. Use extreme caution when walking horses around extension and power cords; these might be more prevalent as holiday lights start to ornament our land. Cords on asphalt or concrete are potentially deadly. A horse that steps on a cord on a hard ground surface easily can cut into the wires and instantly be electrocuted. Horses with shoes are even more likely to cut extension cords. Always keep these items off the ground, or run cords through sections of pipe or between two boards to keep horses from stepping directly on them (Chamberlain, 2012). Keeping these safety tips in mind will go a long way to preventing electrical accidents around the holiday season and long after. From all of us at Safety Check Inc. Happy Holidays!

• Look closely for damage of all the electrical equipment you use that potentially can come into contact with your horse: clippers, vacuums, mechanical hot walkers, and water bucket heaters. The same is true for veterinarian equipment; ultrasound machines and power dental equipment should be inspected routinely and thoroughly. • All electrical equipment should be grounded before running it. • Install GFCI outlets where power tools are used, or wherever electrical equipment is used near water or dampness, such as outdoors. GFCI’s can be wired into circuits at a panel box or used to replace ordinary outlets.

• Keep cords and wires away from areas where horses can chew on them. Stall boredom can lead to chewing. Works Cited Chamberlain, Diane, and Eric Hallman. “Electrical Safety on the Farm.” Rural Safety and Health. Cornell Cooperative Extension, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://dspace.library. pdf>.

“Farm Electrical Safety.” Agricultural Safety and Health University of Illinois Extension. University of Illinois, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. < factsheets/fes.cfm>. Marcella, Kenneth L. “Horses and Electricity Do Not Mix.” Thoroughbred Times. N.p., 5 Sept. 2005. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. < september/10/horses-and-electricity-do-not-mix.aspx>.





Keep your child’s mount tuned-up


I bought my daughter a fully trained and seasoned hunter show horse.  Does the horse’s training need to be maintained, and if so, how often?  - Kathy; Lindenhurst, IL


This is an excellent question because most people assume that if they purchase a veteran show horse, or an experienced mount that they rarely need a “tune up” from a professional. Not true. All horses at all levels of training benefit from professionals in the saddle, especially horses that are designated for children.  When horses only teach their riders and stop getting ridden correctly they lose their edge in a teaching capacity to say the least.   Again, this is truly critical when it comes to kids horses.  Everyone knows that riding is a dangerous sport and selecting a horse for a child is a big decision. Once selected, if the horse is not maintained to some degree on some level by a professional on some sort of consistent basis then I truly believe it is potentially dangerous for that young rider. I have witnessed perfectly decent children’s horses eventually become sour as a result of confusion and too many mixed signals by children and amateurs trying to ride them correctly.  This is not a horse I would want my child on.  Most of the time horses like this would be fine with a training ride maybe even just one day per week on a consistent basis; just a little reminder of how they should go.  Trainers are here for a reason.  If everyone could do the job there would be no need to have them around and available.  Even though there are some experienced amateurs that are better than some professionals, but those are few and far between.   I would have no way to assess how much training your daughter’s horse would require because it would depend on how much riding experience your daughter has, however, to play it safe you could start off with 1 ride per/week and go from there.  The horse will tell you in his behavior and “rideability” what he needs.  Remember, that your primary objective is to keep him a solid and safe horse for your daughter’s needs because that’s why you bought him in the first place.    Do not throw “caution to the wind” when it comes to a horse for a child or young rider.  A little money spent keeping I’s dotted and T’s crossed with regards to his training is ALWAYS a good idea.   Thank you for this fantastic and important question.   

Send in your questions...

As 2012 comes to a close, our event calendar for the next couple of month is a little SLIM . When your clubs, associations, farms, etc. set dates, please be sure to send them to us!

Submit them online at: We’ll get the word out to over 8000 horsemen in our region. Have an accomplishment to share? Did you get a new horse? Would you like to thank your trainer? Have a favorite horse to memorialize? Check out our new section!

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Details to come online and on our Facebook page.

Kishwaukee College Offers Equine Science Classes–Spring 2013 Kishwaukee College will be offering equine classes for the last time in the Spring of 2013. Registration is now open for Starting Horses Under Saddle and Horse Health Care, taught by Juli Realy, and Equine Hoof Science, taught by Russ Vanderlei. Classes starting the week of January 15th, are hands-on, working directly with horses, and are held at Golden Gait Stable in Marengo, IL.

Review course descriptions at www. Out of district students are welcome to register. Out of district fees are waved by obtaining a cooperative agreement from your local community college. You can register on-line or at the college. This is a great opportunity to learn about caring for and training horses. Visit Kishwaukee College Equine Science page on facebook to learn more.

...pertaining to hunters, equitation and jumpers for The Perfect Round column. Email to:

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Living the dream... SPOTLIGHT ON HORSE KIDS How long have you been involved with horses and how did you get started?

I’ve been riding horses since I was 6. My older sister started taking riding lessons and I told my mom I wanted to take them too. She thought I’d be scared of falling off and quit right away; she was wrong.  

What are your favorite horse activities/ disciplines?

I like them all, but I really enjoy jumping and trail. Anything to change up the rail work that can get boring sometimes.

Name: Age: Home:

Jordan Olson 13 St. John, IN

still have one more show coming up and hope to earn some more Western Pleasure points and win that category as well.

What would be a perfect day for you?

A perfect day would be to wake up at 10:00 a.m., take my time getting ready, load the horses and go to a show that is 10 minutes away. I’d show from noon until 5:00, and place in all my classes, then get pizza before bed. I’m not much of a morning person, so getting up at 5:00 a.m. to go to shows is hard sometimes. But, I love to show my horse, so I deal with it.

Tell us about the horse(s) in your life-

He’s a 12 year old Appaloosa Gelding, who won a world Championship in Halter from the Appaloosa Horse Club. His registered name is Hes Perfect Vision, but he goes by “Vision”. He’s a great mover and versatile at several different disciplines. We’ve been a team for 5 years now, so we have really grown together and know each other really well. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. My sister has a 17.2 hand Appaloosa Gelding who I ride once in a while. I love him too, but I’d always rather be on Vision.  

I also remember showing at a show in Illinois, I was in an Open Walk/Trot Senior Horse class of 23 horses. It was a double judged show and I won the class, unanimously. The announcer said after he called my name, “That gal is only 9 years old!”   At this year’s Illinois State Fair Appaloosa show, I won 6 firsts during the show. It was miserably hot and the final class of the show should have been one of my best. I got 2nd under both judges, but my sister won the class. That was pretty cool and a great way to end the show.  

What horse-related clubs/organizations do you belong to?

I’m currently in my 5th year in 4-H. I’m also a member of the ApHC. This year, although not officially over, it looks like I’ll finish in the top ten in the nation Youth Western Horsemanship 12 & Under division. They have a program called ACAAP that tracks points earned at open shows for the year. I am in 1st place nationally in the English Pleasure category and am in a 3-way tie for 1st in Western Pleasure. I

Who do you look up to in the horse world? What

is your biggest challenge with your horse?

Right now, I’m trying to teach him to ride bridleless. He’s not spur trained, so it’s kind of like starting from scratch. But, he’s learning it pretty well.

What is your most memorable horserelated moment (so far)? That’s hard, I have

a pretty good memory and several special moments. I’d have to say it was at the 4-H show at the Lake County Fair this year. I entered the Versatility Class for the first time in my career. I was the youngest entrant, at 6th grade, and the other competitors were all 10th - 12th graders. We had to compete in an English Pleasure class, change in the arena to Western with the help of two people, compete Western Pleasure, compete in Horsemanship and then run a barrel pattern. I won champion in the class and got a silver and gold belt buckle and ribbon.

My trainer is great, she coaches me without talking to me like a kid. Also, Stacy Westfall. Reining is one thing I don’t do, but she is amazing.

What have horses taught you?

Respect, patience, responsibility, discipline. I have learned that hard work pays off. Opinions and life aren’t always fair, but you have to go on.

What other activities/interests do you have aside from horses?

Uhhm, not much, really; horses are my life. I love dogs a lot too.  

What grade are you in and what are your plans for the future?

I’m in 7th grade AP classes and am on the A Honor Roll. I would like to go to college and hope to get an equine related scholarship.


The Winning Edge

7 Steps to making the most out of Winter ©2012 by Jennifer Lindgren

DECEMBER 2012 thoroughly. Check for rub marks, and bumps on his coat. Wash the blanket every two weeks. If your horse gets turned out, clean the ice and snow out of his hooves daily. Barns that are closed up tight start to smell quickly. This ammonia odor does affect your horse so be sure to provide adequate ventilation. Cut down on the odors by cleaning urine spots and adding extra bedding.

Horse ownership is a full time job. Both horses and riders can 3. Review Last Season’s Performances: Is your horse excelling in the classes, discipline, or benefit from a break in routine but this doesn’t mean that you division you chose for him? Did you compete in all the should sit on the couch and leave your horse in his stall. It is divisions you planned to? Did you place in every class crucial to your horse’s physical and mental health to remain active. you entered? Did you do better than the year before? 1.

Evaluate Your Horse’s Health:

This is extremely important! Don’t mistake winter hair growth for weight gain. Even a blanketed horse will grow some winter hair. The extra fluff makes the tack fit a little tighter and many owners mistake this for weight gain. The extra hair might hide weight loss. All horses are subject to physical and mental stress during the riding season. Did your horse lose weight, become lame, or have a change in appetite at any time during the season? Did he ever seem less than enthusiastic about your plans? Use the winter break to renew his health, ensure his soundness, and improve his motivation. If you have concerns about his weight, consult your veterinarian about a more suitable feeding program and be religious about deworming every 4 to 6 weeks. Don’t overfeed

because a fat horse is not a fit and healthy horse. Make sure you provide much needed vitamins and minerals. Keep him up to date on all shots, get his teeth checked and floated. Ask your farrier if his hooves would benefit from going barefoot (pull his shoes) for the winter. Groom your horse daily and don’t neglect the mane or tail. Tail rubbing due to dryness can be relieved with regular brushing and topical treatments.


Maintain a healthy environment

for your horse. Bacteria can still grow despite the cold. Thrush and skin fungus are very common in the winter. Keep the water bucket clean with a scrub brush and remove all the bits of dirt hiding in the ice. Whenever possible, remove your horse’s blanket and brush him

Are you frustrated with your progress? Look at all your pictures and video clips and compare them to what you see in breed magazines and online. Remember, we all suffer from “barn blindness”, losing objectivity when we critique our horses and ourselves. Photos and video help us deal with reality and put our abilities into clearer focus. If you don’t honestly and critically assess you and your horse’s abilities against those that excel in your discipline, you will have difficulty rising to the top. If you know your faults, you can focus on fixing them. If you can’t see or won’t admit to your faults, how can you expect to improve your performance?


Set Realistic Goals for Next Year:

At which level would you like to compete next year? If you are a beginner, it is unlikely that you will be competitive on a National or World level. Focus instead on winning a year-end high point, or completing a trail event. However, if you are winning every class or ride you enter at rated competitions, you are definitely ready for the big time. Be aware that as you rise through the levels of competition, the costs of competing increase drastically. If you just need experience, stick with the local and open show circuit. These one day shows are very economical, more relaxed, and a great way to learn. Compare your goals with your budget and create a reasonable plan to make it happen.

5. Review the Basics: Your horse can always benefit from a softer stop, a straighter back, a smoother jog and a more collected lope. Go back to the basics, working in a snaffle, and slowly rebuild everything starting with bending, flexing, neck reining, transitions and turns. Work out the mind, go easy on the legs, and reward generously. 6.

Teach Your Horse a New Skill:

The months until spring are ample time for you to review, reteach, and refresh your horse’s skills. The Internet provides easy access to tips from many well-known, experienced trainers. John Lyons, Julie Goodnight, Tommy Garland, Cherry Hill, and Clinton Anderson all provide free training tips through their websites and on subscription channels such as RFD TV. I highly recommend that all competitors (no matter what style they ride) learn both showmanship and dressage basics. Showmanship is about in hand teamwork. It requires extensive groundwork can successfully be taught in the aisle of the barn. On the coldest of days, you can practice your communication skills along with exercising your horse. (Horses need to move and get their blood flowing to maintain good health.) Dressage techniques, followed by winning riders of every discipline, help in developing clear, precise communication between horse and rider. To break the monotony of winter, teach your horse some tricks like counting or bowing. No matter which new activity you choose, make it a fun learning experience that emphasizes bonding, trust and communication. 7. Give Yourself a Tune-Up: We are all guilty of developing bad habits. Taking lessons on a different horse or in a different discipline helps to break them. If you don’t have access to a warm indoor arena, consider taking lessons at a facility that offers one. Many trainers offer winter tune-up specials to keep their barn busy in the off-season. You spent time evaluating your horse’s health and weight, what about your own? If you aren’t healthy, you can’t expect to become a top class athlete. Grooming and walking your horse every day will burn as many calories as going to the gym and its a lot more fun. Remember, winning at any sport requires a combination of factors; experience, training, physical ability, attitude, and luck. You have four months to improve every one of these, except for the luck! Stay Warm and Be Safe!





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Midwest Horse Source  

All-breed, all-discipline regional horse publication, targeting the Northern IL, Southern Wi area.

Midwest Horse Source  

All-breed, all-discipline regional horse publication, targeting the Northern IL, Southern Wi area.