The Southwest’s Equine Sport & Lifestyle Magazine
Vol. 15, No. 11 November 2008 Priceless
The BEST Doggone People, Places, and Things in Lone Star Heaven A Cowboy Poet (Laureate) The Only Watermelon Water Tower West of Hempstead The Cowtown Bronzes of APHA Then There’s Willie, and Much More! In Ike’s Wake, Sunset Dinners And Good Talk
By Gayla Nettles
By Lew Pewterbaugh
Thinking of Adopting a Mustang? By Jessica Jahiel
From The Judge’s Box
By Cathy Strobel
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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK Bureaucrats Close Long Established Trails For 27 years the Armadillo endurance ride has set out from a pasture near Kennard for a three legged event of 25, 50, and 100 miles. And for all of that time these intrepid riders, who give added meaning to the term riding by the seat of your pants, have used a short cut from a private pasture to the main trails of the 160,000 acre Davy Crocket National Forest to avoid the danger of 100 riders converging on an asphalt road. Now, in one of the more bone headed government moves we’ve heard of in a while, the U.S. Forest Service says those unofficial trails won’t be re-opened again in the wake of damage by Hurricane Ike. Endurance riders and the public use the venerable 54 mile long Piney Creek Horse Trail which they enter 5.5 miles south of the hamlet of Kennard off FSR 514. (for THT readers who aren’t competitive endurance riders, there are two horse camps along the trail). The Armadillo Ride was officially canceled on September 15, by the U.S. Forest Service citing damage to the trails by Ike. But the citizens of Kennard demanded that the ride, one of the little town’s few attractions, take place. Finally, the USFS relented and allowed the 25 and 50 mile rides to take place on a 23 mile loop on the trail plus the innovation of partially using county roads and a state highway. The hurricane’s closure of the informal access trails to the well maintained and established Piney Creek trail provided a long awaited excuse for agency bureaucrats to keep a minor annoyance from interfering with their otherwise sedate lives as forest rangers. They cited the fact that casual riders who use the trail throughout the year after the endurance buffs leave - get lost. That is ridiculous. The trails providing easy access to the endurance rides, sanctioned by the American Endurance Conference and the Texas Endurance Ride Association should be opened to provide safe access to the Piney Creek Horse Trail not only to the competitive riders, but to the public as well. It is ill conceived bureaucratic decisions such as this that provide an excuse for so much distrust of the government. Give us a break.
Steven Long, Editor
12 HORSE BITES 14 PARELLI - Pat Parelli and Steven Long 16 TALKIN’ CUTTIN’ - Gala Nettles 18 TACK TALK - Lew Pewterbaugh 20 THE TEACHER - Wes White 22 Q&A ~ HORSE SENSE - Jessica Jahiel 24 THE HEALTHY HORSE - Dr. Angela Chenault 28 THE BEST OF TEXAS - Steven Long 34 ON THE ENGLISH FRONT - Cathy Stroebel 38 TEXAS COWBOY ROADHOUSE 43 LETTERS FROM OUR READERS 44 JEZZY’S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 50 HORSE LAUGHS - Elizabeth Kopplow 54 COWBOY CORNER - Jim Hubbard Cover Photo By Adam Larsen / Dreamstime.com
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Volume 15, No 11. Texas Horse Talk Magazine, P.O. Box 681397, Houston, TX 77268-1397, (281) 447-0772. The entire contents of the magazine are copyrighted November 2008 by Texas Horse Talk Magazine. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Texas Horse Talk Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other material unless accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Texas Horse Talk 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 Texas Horse Talk Magazine, P.O. Box 681397, Houston, TX 77268-1397. Fax: (281) 893-1029 Email: email@example.com
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Horseback Publishing MANAGING EDITOR
Vicki Long EDITOR
Pamela Sease NATIONAL NEWS EDITOR
Carrie Gobernatz RACING EDITOR
Jay Remboldt CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Dr. Angela Chenault Jim Hubbard Dr. Jessica Jahiel Elizabeth Kopplow Steven Long Vicki Long Gala Nettles Lew Pewterbaugh Jay Remboldt Cathy Strobel
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Peppers Pride’s next race will likely be the New Mexico Cup Championship for Fillies and Mares on November 9. With a $2 million purse, it is the richest day for any state bred racing program. HHHHH Utah Poison Experts Come to Texas Locoweed Epicenter HHHHH Texas Owned Thoroughbred Breaks the Toughest Record in Racing By Steven Long Abilene restaurant owner Joe Allen has done what no one else in thoroughbred racing has ever done. His horse, five-year-old Peppers Pride, has shattered the most difficult record to break in racing with an elusive 17th win at Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico. And shatter it she did. The mare led by three lengths as she crossed the finish line in the 6 furlong allowance race. The achievement sets the North American record for consecutive wins by a race horse of any breed. Earlier this year, the great American Paint Horse racer Got Country Grip lost in a bid to win the title of the winningest horse in racing when he lost a heartbreaker carrying extra
weight at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park. The Joel Marr trained Peppers Pride passed into history crossing the line at 1:10.20. Prior to her record breaking win Peppers pride shared the 16 consecutive victory mark with Triple Crown winner Citation, Cigar who was twice owner of the coveted horse of the year title, Mister Frisky, Louisiana sprinter Hallowed Dreams, and Got Country Grip. During her career, Peppers Pride boasts winnings of $867,000, She is the daughter of the sire Desert God and dam Lady Pepper. Peppers Pride had not raced since April. She had been slated to make the record attempt twice since then however. One race was canceled due to damage from Hurricane Dolly to Ruidoso Downs, and was scratched from a second attempt because of bad track conditions. She had raced and won five previous times at the Hobbs track.
ALPINE (TAMU) – Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio county offices and Capital Farm Credit will conduct the “Tri-County Poisonous Plant Seminar” from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Dec.2 at Kokernot Lodge in Alpine. Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered: three in the integrated pest management category and two in the general category. The morning session will start with Beef Market Update by Rob Hogan, AgriLife Extension economist at Fort Stockton. Hogan is followed by Dr. Mike Ralphs and Dr. Bryan Stegelmeier with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service Poisonous Plant Lab at Logan, Utah. Seminar organizers note that the Utah experts are renowned throughout the western U.S. for their locoweed work; a continuing problem in the Texas Trans-Pecos region. Ralphs will speak on Ecology of Locoweed and Grazing Behavior of Livestock on Locoweed, and Stegelmeier will present Toxicology of Locoweed, Senecio and Twin Leaf Senna. Afternoon topics and speakers will include: Other Poisonous Plants in the Trans-Pecos and Their Control by Herbicides, Alyson McDonald, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Fort Stockton; and Animal Management to Avoid Toxic Plant Problems, Dr. Bruce Carpenter, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, Fort Stockton. McDonald and Carpenter will then both present Grazing Management and Range Monitoring, the program’s final talk. Individual pre-registration is $10 by Nov. 25. The fee includes a noon meal. For more information or to pre-register, call Boswell at 432-837-6207 (office) or 432-249-0265 (cell) or call Jesse Schneider, AgriLife Extension agent in Presidio County at 432-729-4746. HHHHH Thoroughbred Breeding Continues Decline The Jockey Club has released its Report of Mares Bred statistics for 2008 that show a continued decline in North American Thoroughbred breeding activity. Based on RMBs received through Oct. 10, 2008, The Jockey
Horse Bites - Con’t. on pg. 26
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By Pat Parelli with Steven Long
A LITTLE TOO EXCITED TEXAS HORSE TALK: We’ve all been on a horse when he’s revved up and difficult to control to the point that it’s hard to hold him back. That’s the nature of the beast sometimes, to use a figure of speech. Yet in this situation it can become dangerous. I once saw my friend Moses’ horse rear up and fall over because the rider lost control and in this case the result could have been catastrophic. How do we prevent this? PAT PARELLI: Every horse is the same. If you put pressure on him he will move away from the pressure. This is called opposition reflex and it’s is built into a horse from birth. What we have to do is channel that in our favor and make it work for us. When a horse is excited,
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anxious, ready to go, we have to do things that will move his energy in another direction. When you first get on a horse and he really wants to go, we have to be ready for that and be ready to take control of the situation. THT: Kind of like getting his mind off going? PARELLI: That and then some. Let’s say you are starting out the day and the horse is just so excited he wants to go, really wants to go to the point he begins to rear when you hold him back. You have to get him to bend his neck, be calm, do anything to prevent him from being out of control. THT: So you make opposition reflex work for
you then? PARELLI: If the horse wants to rear he spreads his legs to get up. What we really want him to do is to get those legs under him. One of the first things we teach is that ground work is important. THT: Which, of course is fundamental to the Parelli method of natural horsemanship.
Parelli - Con’t. on pg. 42
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IN IKE’S WAKE, SUNSET DINNERS AND GOOD TALK Good things usually surface even in bad times if we only hunt them. Take Hurricane Ike for example. It is only ‘after the fact’ that we realize there really were some positive impacts interspersed in those days of havoc. For example while it’s hard to imagine something good coming from life without electricity, for many of us those gloomy days did have some silver lining as evidenced in an email from Jackie Jarrett, a Madisonville resident. Jackie shared, “The neighbors are pooling their resources and food and water as we are told to not drink the water. It is kind of like it was back before air conditioning TV, and computers when people
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sat out on their front porch and visited.” Visited? When was the last time you visited a neighbor after the evening meal, sat down on the porch with them for a few minutes to enjoy their company, or hung over the back fence for a ten minute chat? Like so many others, we, too, had evacuees come to the ranch. Without electricity, life here changed from living according to getting a job done to living according to the number of daylight hours left, included mealtime, since it was cooked and served outdoors. After officials finally allowed our company to return to their home, we received the following email from one of them. In one sentence, he packed a lot of meaning. “For all of the problems Ike brought us, I really miss our sunset dinners.” Me too. We took time to really visit. We lingered on the porch and watched the sun go down. Life is back to normal, and as you know, that means working until the job is done which is often after dark. Ike taught us some good things, though, things such as appreciation for water, electricity and good friends - and the wisdom to take the time to enjoy them. For those precious nights when we’re home ear-
ly enough and the weather cooperates, we’re still enjoying sunset dinners outdoors. Cutting horse trainer Cody Crider and his wife Diana recently pulled up their Kingsville roots and moved to Sisterdale. Cody will be training at a facility owned by Caroline “Cina” Forgason, the daughter of cutting horse owner and King Ranch heir Helen Groves. Cody, who received his bachelor’s degree from Sul Ross State University and his Master’s Degree from Texas A&M, spent five years beginning in 2001 at the famed King Ranch as their Quarter Horse manager. Two years ago he decided to go out on his own as a cutting horse trainer and hung out his shingle. His new training location is 1215 Highway 1376 in Sisterdale. By the way, Cody’s wife, Dr. Diana Doan Crider is passionate in her studies of black bears and has not only written about them and taught about them, but spent months in Mexico far from civilization studying them! Drop by to visit Cody and Diana in Sisterdale, or give them a call at (830) 324-6550. Congratulations to Megan Merrill and Matt Miller. The two non-pro competitors were wed September 6, in a ceremony in Colorado Springs. Megan is the daughter of past AQHA president Frank Merrill and his wife Robin who live in Purcell Okla. Congratulations to cutting horse trainer Joe Heim and Holly Reid, who were wed Friday, September 19. The wedding took place in Fort Worth at the Botanical Gardens, those beautiful gardens you pass on University Drive on the way to the Will Rogers Coliseum. Send your congrats to the couple at P.O. Box 100, Thackerville, Ok. 73459. Doc Per the 1984 NCHA Futurity champion owned by the late Roy Hull and shown by trainer Ronnie Nettles was humanely euthanized in July. The stallion had been standing at Outback Stallion Station for the last five years and was buried there. Doc Per with Nettles in the saddle won two jewels of the treasured NCHA Triple Crown. Ronnie still trains cutting horses in Madisonville and presently has a half sister to Doc Per in training. Cats Full Measure, the 1999 NCHA Non Professional Futurity Champion owned and shown by Phil Rapp is another great horse that was humanely euthanized in June. She is buried on the Rapp Ranch. Phil Rapp is one of the owners of the Western Bloodstock Sale Company, and just set a record by passing the $6 million mark in earnings. On a personal note, a special thanks to those of you who emailed or called with your kind encouragement about the Shingles. I appreciate every suggestion you gave in dealing with them, and of course I appreciate the sympathy! My advice is that you get the Shingles shot if you can. On the subject of calls and emails, if you have any news to share with the column, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax your news to 936-348-5839. You can also call us at 936-348-641, but we only promise to get the facts straight if you email or fax!
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CHAPS The word chaps comes from the Spanish “chaparejos” and means leather breeches or “leg of armor”. Originally these were two slabs of cowhide attached to the saddle and wrapped around the legs of Spanish vaqueros. These are still sometimes seen on the saddles of gauchos, but most were eventually modified to hang from the belt and tied around the leg with strips of rawhide. Their purpose was and is to protect the rider from cactus, thorns, and brush, or anything that would cause injury to the rider’s legs. Early Texans, or Texicans, designed leggings to fully encircle the legs, and eventually added fringe, which oddly to most of us today, was not merely decorative, but served a very real purpose. Fringe has many advantages besides decoration. One obvious advantage is that you have a ready source of strings to do emergency repairs, but what most folks don’t realize is that fringe exposes much more surface to the air and has a wicking action that helps the garment, be it chaps, jackets, shirts, whatever, dry much more quickly after a rain or
swimming a river. One Texas cowboy, after being dumped in a stampede was quoted as saying, “I’ve worn leggings for the last ten years, and for ten seconds in forcing that mesquite thicket was the only time I ever drew interest on my investment. They’re a heap like a six shooter—wear them all your life and you never have any use for them.” In the northern ranges, they were most useful for protection against cold, rain, wind, and snow. Likely the first American chaps were the shotgun style, so called because they looked like two barrels on a shotgun. They pulled on over trousers and you pretty much had to put on your boots after donning your chaps. Conversely you had to take off your boots before removing your shotguns. This style of chap lost popularity in the U.S. about 1900. By the 1900’s, bat wing chaps had become very popular. They had large “wings” and generally snapped above the knee, offering air flow in warm weather, ease in putting them on and removing them, and more freedom of movement. These soon became backdrops for decoration for the flamboyant knights of the plains and soon sported fancy tooling, overlays, inlays, spots, conchos, brands, or whatever suited the cowboys fancy. In the northern territories, woolies were popular. Now that name implies that woolies were made from wool, but that’s not always true. Most woolies were made from Angora goats, however several kinds of skins were popular. What a field day the bunny huggers would have had back then, with New Foundland dog skin being one of the most popular! Theodore Roosevelt wore sealskin chaps from J.S. Collins saddle shop. In 1900, Sealskin chaps were listed at $19.00 in the Visalia Stock Saddle Company catalog. They were the most expensive ones listed. Other popular skins were Bear hide, buffalo, and leopard. Leopard skins were actually quite readily available in Mexico. “Chinks” go back to the California Vaqueros and were known as “armas.” I’m sure someone knows where the term chinks comes from but I haven’t found it. They are however, the common chap worn by today’s buckaroo. Their popularity has spread from Northern California and the Great Basin country throughout the cowboy world. Worn with buckaroo boots with 17” or 18” tops with the pants leg tucked in, the mid calf length of the chink style chap gives complete leg protection. Chaps of any style help protect the leg from ropes being drug across them so you have to watch the placement of pockets. Today’s chaps usually have straps and buckles on the front rather than a tie string, but if you’re a serious rider, consider the possibility of getting pitched forward and hooking your chap belt around the saddle horn. Now, there’s a wreck in progress. So as nice as that pretty buckle
Tack Talk - Con’t. on pg. 37
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November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
The Teacher By Wes White
THE REARING HORSE A rearing horse is a real problem for anyone who wants to enjoy a pleasant relaxing ride. Horses that rear are taught to rear. I realize that these horses are not taught this intentionally. Nonetheless, it is a conditioned response. In other words it was taught. When I taught at the New Mexico Military Institute, a cadet taught one of the Calvary horses to rear. I reckon he only did this to show off to the girls. What else could posses someone to do such a deed? It’s funny; the things boys will put themselves through for a little female attention. If you’re training the horse for some type of performance, even if it is only to impress the girl down the road, it can be a neat trick and actually impresses some folks. However for those of us who know better it’s just another vice that most folks can do without. In order to alleviate this vice we must know what the horse must do in order to accomplish this undesirable feat. In other words, what is
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going on with him physically? Once we figure out the cause then we will be able to prevent it. The main thing that causes a horse to rear is reacting to pressure. This normally comes from the rider applying too much. When a horse is not released at the proper time he will explore other avenues to escape it. When the horse rears the rider will usually release and hold on for dear life. And thus he learns to rear. He received what he desired all along, release. Another cause is the horse’s resistance to a command. An example is when he refuses to move forward, usually over an obstacle. The rider insists so the horse looks for escape and chooses rearing. Regardless of the cause I generally solve the problem the same way. Let’s begin with the preparation a horse makes prior to rearing. The horse requires his head to elevate and to get his legs up under
himself. Now I know all of you have heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This statement is worth remembering when correcting any undesirable behavior. If we learn to control every part of the horses’ anatomy then we can dictate when and where every part goes. If a horse must elevate his head and engage his rear end then all we must do is lower the head and disengage the rear end. So let’s explore how to get this done. Beginning with the head we start by getting him soft in his face to the point that he willingly softens with zero resistance when the rein
The Teacher - Con’t. on pg. 37
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THINKING OF ADOPTING A MUSTANG
At a lecture of yours, you passed around some photos of a Mustang stallion. That was one gorgeous animal! My wife and I have been talking for a while now about adopting a couple of Mustangs. Our horses are getting older and we’d like to train up some younger ones. But there’s a few things I hope you can clear up for us. First, we prefer horses that are friendly and affectionate, that’s how our horses are. We’ve been riding them about ten years now. We consider them friends and we think they consider us friends. But we’ve heard you can’t ever really be friends with a Mustang because deep down they’re wild animals and they
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can learn to tolerate people but they’ll never be all the way tame. Then there’s a size question. My wife says most Mustangs are small, thirteen or fourteen hands tops. I am a substantial guy, I weigh around 250-255 most of the time. Can I get away with riding a small Mustang? Or are there bigger ones, like 15 hands or taller? And if you have time for one more question, are all Mustangs pretty much alike, same bloodlines and all? And where can we see or buy Mustangs?
The Mustang stallion whose photos you saw – Elko Dann - is a very nice animal
by anybody’s standards. He came off the Pryor Mountain Range in Nevada, and has become a lovely riding horse and an excellent ambassador for America’s wild horses. You’ll find more photos and his full story on the web site of the Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society (HARPS): www.harpsonline.org. I’m sorry that you’ve been told that Mustangs can’t become friends with humans, but don’t worry – that’s simply untrue. Mustangs can become sweet, friendly, companionable, reliable horses- with the right owners. Choose the right horse, then invest the time and care needed to let the horse become your friend, companion, and trusted mount. Some people are willing to do this; other people aren’t – some are in a big hurry; others believe that they buy the horse’s friendship along with the horse. If you’ll give your Mustang a chance to relax and learn to trust you before you try to train him, then train him gently and calmly without trying to meet some imaginary timetable, he can become a very good friend indeed. Size shouldn’t present a problem. Mustangs come in many sizes, and if you really want one that’s 15 hands or taller, you can probably find one. But pound for pound and inch for inch, the best weight-carriers are ponies and small horses, not big, tall, long-legged horses. Ask some ranch owners about their working ranch horses. You’ll find many “small” horses that are plenty big enough to do their jobs well. Many Mustangs are strong, compact, solid, shortcoupled animals with good bone and excellent weight-carrying ability. A horse like that, properly trained and conditioned, should be able to carry you without difficulty. Mustang bloodlines aren’t consistent; by definition, Mustangs are a mixture of breeds. You’ll see some consistency within individual bands and herds, and some groups (with help from humans) show more consistent types and genes than others – the Kiger Mustangs, for example. Your horse’s bloodlines shouldn’t matter, as you’re not – I hope! – planning to breed your Mustang. Mustangs are like other rescue horses of unknown parentage – ride them and enjoy them, but don’t use them to add more horses to the world. A Mustang wouldn’t be a good choice for your very first horse-training project, but if you’ve already had a lot of training experience and are good with sensitive horses, you are likely to enjoy training a Mustang. A Mustang can teach you a lot that will help you become a better trainer, because its reflexes and reactions haven’t been dulled by years of conflicting and confusing input from a variety of human handlers. Your Mustang will react to everything you do and every move and every sound you make, including movements and sounds that
Horse Sense - Con’t. on pg. 42 www.texashorsetalk.com
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
A HORSE CAN FIND SO MANY WAYS TO HURT HIMSELF In the days after Hurricane Ike, my clients and I were fortunate to have no injuries or illness. Many horses were turned out in order to avoid trees falling on their stalls or collapsing barns. Left in a more natural environment, horses usually can take care of themselves. However, in the last few weeks, I have had an unusual amount of injuries. After thinking of the causes and noticing that most were directly or indirectly caused by our intervention in their lives, I decided to discuss some of those causes in order to help avoid some
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of them. Some are obvious but even so are overlooked in our busy lives. Beginning with the stall, there are a surprising number of lacerations that can occur in the stall. Eyelid lacerations are one and are commonly caused by the water/ feed bucket handle ends as they curve at the bucket. These ends need to be clamped close together with minimal space and should have a rubber tip. If it does not or has fallen off, you can tape around the ends so there are no protrusions. This also applies any protrusions within
the stall. You should weekly inspect your horseâ€™s stalls for sharp objects as they seem to appear on their own magically. Horses kick and can loosen nails on boards or kick and damage the hay rack or bars of the stalls and allow edges to protrude. Another common cause of injuries within the stall is from kicking at the horse next door. If your horse makes a habit of kicking the walls, you may consider moving him to the end of the barn near the door so that he may be distracted by whatâ€™s outside as well as there being only one other horse beside him. If this does not help, regular stall mats can be bolted to the stall wall that he commonly kicks to soften the blow. The mats must come to above hock level as cut and capped hocks are a common result of stall kickers. Hay rack bars must be spaced closely together as wells as the bars on the stall walls. Most come this way and then through the years of use and abuse may become more separated and will allow a hoof to be caught. Many injuries are caused by hay/feed racks and if you have the option, choose the kind that can swing out after use especially in stalls used for young and nervous horses. Also inspect the lower edges of the stall wall.
The dirt floors can become eroded and allow a foot to slip under while rolling on the floor. Concrete runners under the stall wall are ideal when constructing, but older barns may not have this. Fill in any holes seen and pay particular attention to the back wall adjacent to a metal wall. If the horse is able to kick through the wall or get a hoof under the wall, that metal wall may shred the leg and can be fatal. Make sure that wall is sturdy enough to withstand multiple kicks and go all the way to ground level. Outside the stall there are a few other things to monitor. Make sure the stall latch can be fully opened with no protruding edges. Many horses will bolt into the stall and snag their shoulder or sides on protruding latches. Consider replacing them with a newer latch. In the alleyway between the stall any items located there can become a hazard. Tack trunks with sharp edges, rakes laying on the floor and even farm implements stored in the barn can become a problem for horses rushing in to be fed. If your barn has a concrete aisle way then horses should not be allowed to run into the barn. One slip and fall could fracture a leg or hip or at best cause an annoying hematoma. Any concrete areas that commonly have water should have mats to avoid slips. Extension cords that are plugged in should be kept out of the way of sharp horse feet and teeth. Both can cause electrocution. Spider webs are great for catching flies but are highly flammable so keep them away from heat lamps, lights and electrical outlets. Also be sure to inspect the outside of your barn. Horses turned out to graze near the barn or if a pen connects with the side of a barn, warrant closer inspection. Protruding nails and screws, lower overhangs with exposed tin edges are a problem as well as exposed tin edges at ground level. Consider adding dirt to cover up lower tin edges and padding or trim to roof edges. Around the barn and pens, low hanging limbs and brush provide shade but also can injure eyes when horses move through them. Limbs should be trimmed up to the level that horses would have to reach up to them. Brush along fence lines also needs to be trimmed. Heavy brush along fence lines can cause and hide defects in your fence that your horse will surely find. Brushy areas or
Healthy Horse - Conâ€™t. on pg. 43 www.texashorsetalk.com
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Horse Bites - Con’t. from pg. 12 Club reports that 2,643 stallions covered 52,410 mares in North America during 2008. The statistics include the number of mares bred to each stallion and represent approximately 92 percent of the mares that eventually will be reported as bred in 2008. The Jockey Club expects to receive RMBs representing an additional 4,000 to 5,000 mares bred from the 2008 breeding season, according to historical trends. The number of stallions declined 5.9 percent from the 2,808 reported at this time in 2007, while the number of mares bred fell 7.7 percent from the 56,796 reported at this time last year. Lion Heart led all stallions in 2008 with 214 mares bred, 20 more than Chapel Royal (194). Rounding out the top five were Giant’s Causeway (190), Hard Spun (181) and Street Cry (178). Thoroughbred breeding activity in Kentucky traditionally paces North America. During 2008, Kentucky’s 318 reported stallions covered 21,317 mares, or 40.7 percent of all of the mares reported bred in North America. The number of mares bred to Kentucky stallions declined 1.9 percent against the 21,724 reported at this time last year. HHHHH Stillman to Speak at SMU Award winning author Deanne Stillman will be presenting a talk about her critically acclaimed new book, “Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West,” recently published by Houghton Mifflin. The event is at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at SMU. The author reception is at 6 PM with a talk at 6:30 PM. Admission is free but registration is required. Mustang is an epic story that restores the wild horse to its rightful place in the history of the American West, and asks why we, a cowboy nation, have turned our backs on the mustang. Along the way, you meet some of the great equine and human characters in American history., including Comanche, the gallant horse that survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Bugz, the survivor of the 1998 massacre of 34 wild horses outside Reno, and Wild Horse Annie, who fought for protections for mustangs and burros for twenty years, achieving a final victory in 1971 when Richard Nixon signed a federal law assigning them a home on the range Ten years in the making, “Mustang” features material about Texas, including the stories of Jewish conquistadors who fled the Spanish Inquisition and established some of the first horse breeding centers in the New World along the Rio Grande. It also covers the controversial issue of the livestock lobby’s long-time goal of reducing mustang populations across the West HHHHH Moyer Named AAEP Vice President for 2009 COLLEGE STATION, TX (TAMU) – William Moyer, Professor of Sports Medicine and head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has been named the 2009 vice president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).
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Moyer will join the Executive Committee next year and then serve as AAEP president in 2011. Moyer has been an active AAEP member, most recently serving on the association’s board from 2001 – 2004. He chaired the Equine Insurance Committee for three years and has been a member of the Educational Programs Committee. Moyer also co-facilitated the Equine Dentistry Forum held during the annual convention. Moyer’s career began at Texas A&M in 1993 following more than two decades on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Recognized for his expertise in equine lameness, Moyer has authored or co-authored several textbooks, including A Guide to Equine Joint Injection and Regional Anesthesia and A Guide to Equine Hoof Wall Repair. His research also has appeared in numerous refereed journals, and he has been an invited speaker at continuing education meetings worldwide. HHHHH Polhamus Again Named to Call NFR with Corley and Barrett The No. 13 is a lucky one for Boyd Polhamus. The reigning PRCA Announcer of the Year recently was selected to call the action for the 13th time at the 50th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Dec. 4-13 in Las Vegas. Polhamus, of Brenham, Texas, will be joined in the announcer’s stand by Randy Corley of Silverdale, Wash., and ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee Hadley Barrett, of Kersey, Colo. Corley, a 10-time PRCA Announcer of the Year, will announce at his eighth Wrangler NFR, while Barrett, his father-in-law, is a four-time PRCA Announcer of the Year with four previous Wrangler NFR selections to his credit. Other personnel selected for the Wrangler NFR were: rodeo secretary – Sunni Deb Backstrom of Congress, Ariz.; assistant rodeo secretary – Haley Schneeberger of Ponca City, Okla.; office manager – Vickie Shireman of Elk City, Okla.; timers – Cindy Barnes of Sutherland, Iowa; Dollie Riddle of Vernon, Texas; and Terri Gay of Terrell, Texas; chute boss, timed events – John Farris of Addington, Okla.; chute boss assistant, timed events – Jimmy Powers of Sonora, Texas; chute boss, riding events – Darrell Barron of Paradise, Texas; chute boss assistant, riding events – Gary McDaniel of Southland, Texas; livestock superintendent – Ted Groene of Pahrump, Nev.; and livestock superintendent, assistant – John Barnes of Peterson, Iowa.
Horse Bites - Con’t. on pg. 52 www.texashorsetalk.com
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
The BEST Doggone People, Places, and Things in Lone Star Heaven Voted by the readers, and compiled by the Staff of Texas Horse Talk Magazine
Like the saying goes in the state’s old ad campaign, Texas, It’s a Whole Other Country. Well, that’s for sure, and then some, especially when it comes to our little world of people with the horsekeeping bug. We asked our readers to make nominations in categories we suggested and also asked them to make up categories of their own. We then tabulated the results with a crack panel of judges to come up with this year’s Best of Texas Awards. You’ll be the real judge of whether we all got it right or not.
Best Texas Bred Thoroughbred Race Horse, Gold Coyote His career may have only started 18 months ago,
but 3-year-old Gold Coyote has become one of the brightest stars in Texas racing. From 13 career starts, Gold Coyote has eight wins, seven of which have come in stakes, and three other placings for total earnings of $324,950. His wins include the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes and the $70,000 Middleground Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Lone Star Park. Gold Coyote is trained by Bret Calhoun for his owner and breeder, Clarence Scharbauer Jr., who owns Valor Farm in Pilot Point, Texas. The bay gelding is a son of Gold Legend, a Seattle Slew stallion that previously stood at Valor Farm.
AQHA Horse of the Year, Sorrel Stallion Sixes Pick
History was made in Denver as Sixes Pick and Chance D. O’Neal won the Open World title and Peppy Chex Your Gun and Terri Cooper won the amateur world title at the inaugural AQHA Fort Dodge Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships. The event took place at the National Western Stock Show in Denver last January. Sixes Pick is a 10-year-old sorrel stallion bred and owned by Burnett Ranches LTD of Fort Worth, Texas. The homebred stallion won the ranch trail and ranch conformation classes, placing second in ranch cutting, finishing third in working ranch horse, and was fourth in ranch riding to earn 44 points, 10 more than reserve world champion Smart Whiskey Doc who was exhibited by owner Mike Majors of Fowler, Colorado. Sixes Pick is by Tanquery Gin and out of the Tenio Badger mare Natural Pick.
alone because it charges no fees and operates solely on donations. Held at Bill Winton’s Mills County ranch again this year it featured meals each morning and evening, dancing on a concrete slab Friday night to a live band, plus a fund-raising auction Saturday. Driving across miles and miles of Winton’s and his neighbor’s ranch lands, the ride had spectacular views, challenging up-hills, (even a “mountain” climb), occasional steep down-hills and some tough dry gulch crossings. Saturday had about 15 wagons and approximately 50 riders. The trails, the weather, and the views, were truly spectacular with riders able to see for miles in the clear, crisp fall air.
Willie and the Paints
PRCA’s Best Texas Horses Justin Maas is at the edge of the Top 15 going into the NFR in Las Vegas but his horse, Acre Te Run, or “OZ” is far better than that in the opinion of PRCA folks we talked to and earned enough respect to be nominated as our horse of the year in the Tie Down Roping category. He shares the honors with Horse Walt, owned by adopted Texan Travis Tryan. But then there is Sunday Night Bingo, AKA Amigo owned by Patrick and Christi Smith of Midland and ridden by heeler Patrick Smith who partners with super cowboy Trevor Brazile in team roping. Both horses earn high marks from fans of professional rodeo.
Best Wagon Train Texas Friendship Wagon Train (principally begun by the late Truitt Auldridge of Goldthwaite) was held October 17 - 19. The ride stands
Last year iconic Texan Willie Nelson adopted more than a dozen American Paint Horses bound for the kill pens to feed caval hungry Frenchmen. That would have been enough to satisfy any humanitarian’s need to be a do gooder. Yet Nelson, who celebrated his 75th birthday this year has kept adopting more and more paints and saving them from a fate worse than, well, you can guess what. The count at his place in Luck, Texas, just outside Austin is now up to 51, and Nelson and a friend have opened a second Luck Farms refuge on the East Coast. He also serves on the board of Habitat for Horses, the largest horse refuge organization in the United States.
Team Penning Wannabe, Lance Berkman
to make a statement to the world, what better way to do it than with a giant 150 foot tall green striped melon?
Texas Owned Race Horse
The Houston Astros’ power hitter Lance Berkman was featured on the cover of Texas Horse Talk with the hint that he wants to persue a rodeo career after the “Big Show.” In his spare time, the New Braunfels native splits his time between his ranch near Brenham and his Hill Country place working cows and honing his skills. The Rice graduate is smart enough to knock the top off any test, and rich enough to buy the test anyway, but he’s chosen an avocation closer to the earth, close to the everyday chores of a working cowboy. Last winter he told us he thought he had about seven more years in the majors. That means he’s about six away from the arena. Get ready PRCA.
Peppers Pride (there’s no apostrophe in the name on purpose) quietly began moving up the ladder to immortality a couple of years ago as she won race after race on backwater tracks until she was recognized as the very special girl she proved to be. When the great Paint Horse, Got Country Grip tied the all time record of most consecutive wins by a race horse at 16, and then lost, and the field of challengers was left to her. Then, on a little known New Mexico track, Zia Downs, the mare did what no horse had ever done before. She won number 17 for her owner, Abilene barbecue restaurant man Joe Allen.
Best Riding Instructor
Breakfast Under The Duke’s Watchful Eye They’ve been serving rib sticking breakfasts at Bandera’s OST on Main Street since the 1920s for good reason. It’s just about the best one there is in Texas rivaled only by Marble Falls Bluebonnet Café and Cowtown’s Ole South Café. But it’s not just us who love the place. It gets rave reviews from both our readers and our friends. This year readers told us the most talked about item on the breakfast menu is the Fried Pork Chops. Now that’s a feast worthy of the Cowboy Capital of the World if we ever saw one. And oh yeah, you will be eating under the watchful eye of seemingly hundreds of photos of John Wayne, who even allegedly ate there.
Urban Park Trails Cameron Park in Waco is a surprise. This little known refuge from city life offers limestone cliffs, mountain bike trails and bridal paths. Located on 416 acres along the Brazos and Bosque Rivers, you can almost imagine the rustle of leaves at this time of year as four hooves meet the sod in a leisurely ride along the river. Cameron Park is located at University Parks Drive and MLK on the banks of the Brazos.
Wilderness Trails, McKinney Roughs
Iconic Town Symbol
The Luling Water Tower can be seen from I-10 as you pass the oil rich village set alongside railroad tracks in a town famous for its one time painted pump jacks, the best barbecue in Central Texas, and the best watermelons west of Hempstead. So when city fathers wanted to use their tall tower
Dianne Lindig Tobin is lucky enough to live in perhaps the most beautiful spot in Texas, a guest ranch adjacent to the fabulous Hill Country State Natural Area near Bandera. But she’s equally blessed to be able to enjoy straddling a horse virtually daily, or if not riding, teaching somebody else to ride properly. THT was virtually besieged with nominations touting Tobin as the very best teacher in the state. We can’t argue with the sheer numbers of her fans who took the trouble to write to us. Tobin is co-proprietor of the famed Hill Country Equestrian Lodge where she teaches her Whole Horsemanship method to individuals and groups. “Each horse is an individual as each of us is,” she told THT. “A true horseman uses their intuition and creativity, and draws from many sources of information when negotiating their way through the horsemanship process.”
Located less than 30 minutes from the point where Austin’s Congress Avenue bumps into the state capital, McKinney Roughs offers miles of riding on two equestrian trails through pine forests and grasslands and access to the Colorado River. Located just upstream between Bastrop and Austin the park merges four distinct Texas ecologies, Post Oak Savannah, Blackland Prairie, East Texas Pineywoods, and Central Texas
The Best of Texas - Con’t. on pg. 30
The Best of Texas - Con’t. from pg. 29 Plateau. Operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority, the 1,100 acre nature park features box canyons, wildflowers, river bends and other amenities including canoeing and rafting. To call dial (512) 303-5073.
find it, and find it at a good price. After all, they wouldn’t have grown so large if they didn’t offer good deals.
Best Small Tack Shop, Edwards Saddles and Tack
APHA Legacy of Color Sculptures
severe setback. The state’s most original lyricist and most melodic country music composer was gone. As he made a slow recovery from near death, Fromholz retired to a friend’s ranch in Stephenville to learn to play guitar and sing all over again. It was tough, but the intrepid troubadour not only learned to play again, but he began writing as well. He’s now playing publicly again and is just as good as ever, and there is an added dimension – Fromholz can add the title Intellectual to his long list of sobriquets. He was named by the Texas Legislature as the state’s Poet Laureate.
Clinician, Stacy Westfall
Texas is renowned for its bronze sculptures of horses and cowboys. We have long admired the collection that seems to grow each year at the northwest corner of the Astrodome as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo honors western heritage and even some human animals as well. All of those sculptures combine are eclipsed by the Marrita Black “Legacy of Color” bronze that has graced the entrance of Fort Worth’s APHA headquarters since 2002. The four horses which stand 20 hh at the withers have certainly earned Black the title Best Equine Sculptor in Texas and the American Paint Horse Foundation kudos from all horsemen for undertaking such an ambitious project of public art. The bronze is worth a trip to Cowtown for no reason better than to treat yourself to a real piece of eye candy. The sculptures are located at 2800 Meacham Blvd.
Best Large Tack Store – It’s a Tie Teskey’s, Weatherford, Sergeants, Hockley Texas is just so big it was hard for our readers to pick the best big tack store so we had a tie in this category. We were impressed by Teskey’s old store in Weatherford, and are even more impressed since they moved into their new digs on I-20 and Dennis Road. It’s worth a trip just to marvel at the sheer vastness of the inventory. And the same can be said of Sergeant’s three locations, but the one in Hockley takes the cake when it comes to big. In venues, if it goes on or in a horse, you can
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It takes an effort to leave the big city and drive to Edwards Saddles and Tack, located at the Great Western Auction Barn on Magnolia’s Nichols Sawmill Road, but it is well worth the trip. It was a close vote but our readers had their say and picked what is, without a doubt, the best planned, best laid out, small tack store in the entire state, and they’ve seen a few. Doug Schulze adds an extra dimension with more than a smattering of humor and almost non-stop frivolity. And top that off with an impressive knowledge of horses and saddle fitting – well, you’ve almost got the entire package. But there’s more. It’s worth the trip to take in the Saturday night auctions held in the auditorium next door. There, auctioneer Don Edwards, Schulze and company, and a hoard of hangers on provide entertainment (and great deals) for those of you who’d rather get a taste of country commerce than spend mega bucks going to a movie.
Recovery and Comeback, Steve Fromholz Scores of readers told us they enjoyed the August cover story so they wanted more about a Lone Star music legend. When Steve Fromholz was felled by a stroke in the early years of this decade Texas music suffered a
Watching Stacy Westfall ride a horse is one of the most delightful things we’ve done in a long time. We’re not alone. In a close vote, our readers chose the Maine native and made her one of their own. Her astonishing video of rein-less arena ride has been seen by millions (and not just horse lovers) around the world. Top that with appearances on the Ellen DeGeneris Show, well you’ve got a celebrity in the making. But there is way more to her than a flashy ride. We had the distinct pleasure of seeing her work a round pen in a clinic setting a couple of years ago in Chappell Hill and were enthralled. She’s been back to Texas a couple of times since, including an appearance at the AQHA World Show in which she wowed a Cowtown audience that is not easily impressed.
Most Broken Bones, Darrell Diefenbach
Photo Courtesy of PRCA
Nobody voted in this category so it’s a THT editor’s pick. It seems like every time we get a press release from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association we learn that bullfighter Darrell Diefenbach of Azle has broken another bone. Yet we also learn that the tough guy from Australia has been picked again to work the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Well, he’s been chosen for a sixth appearance, and you got it, even though he’s recovering from a broken leg. You’ve got to hand it to this tough cowboy who practices the fine art of Down Under Bullmanship.
Best Bullfighter, Ever, Miles Hare
reasons like fishing. Maybe that’s why six times NFR bullfighter Miles Hare chose the Trinity River town of Liberty as a place to settle down. It’s close to the East Texas lake country and not far from the Gulf of Mexico. When we learned Miles had retired from the big Houston rodeo after a 30 years in the arena we got to thinking about the number of lives he saved over the years from a 2,000 pound hunk of raging bullflesh. There should be a statue to this guy somewhere. Retired for good from all rodeos now, Miles spends time training horses.. He told THT, “I know a whole lot more about sitting on the back of a horse than I ever did about bulls.” Huh? And there’s more. He says he wants to hear from anybody who wants to have the worlds greatest bullfighter train their horse. Just send him a note at email@example.com or call him at (281) 515-5352. After all, even a legend needs to make a living.
Hatter – Gary Cohen, Houston Best Show Biz Fancy Boot, Caboots, El Paso Boot lovers picked Caboots wild old movie style boots hands down for the state’s elaborate design title. Pricilla and Joey Sanchez were partners before they were married. His family had been in the boot making business since the 1930s when Joey’s grandfather worked alongside the original Tony Lama repairing boots at Fort Bliss. In the ensuing decades the family business expanded to as many as six stores. Champion Attitude Boots was born and abbreviated to Caboots and the firm began making fancy inlayed footwear for rock stars such as Kiss, Bon Jovi, and Motley Crue. The popular Gene Autry style pictured here retails for $1,200. You can see more at caboots.com
Most Challenging Ride, The Stair Step
Photo Courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Texas is such a special place to live, and that’s why so many stars of rodeo choose this place to call home. Some do it because of the abundance of good horses and stock. Others do it because of the weather. Still others come home to the Lone Star State whether they were born here or not because of a multitude of other reasons – www.texashorsetalk.com
enough to get a saddle wet, and we don’t mean wet with sweat either. The Stair Step is a series of limestone ledges each about a yard tall and barely big enough to hold a horse. And as you probably know, horse shoes on limestone slip. You just grab the horn and let the horse choose his own path and method of climbing because you are just along for the ride. When you finally reach the top, you let out a long breath of relief and look down. Before you is an identical set of tall limestone steps, and once you get over the terror of what is ahead of you and you get down them on a steep incline you are trotting downhill going straight into a barb wire fence. Most folks like us who’ve done it say they will never do the Stair Step again. Some even replace their soiled saddle seats.
We’ve encountered challenges riding some of Texas best trails. We’ve had memorable times at Big Bend Ranch State Park – have even been terrified on a trail or two there when one misstep on the part of your mount would almost certainly bring serious injury, or worse. Yet for sheer challenge from comments we’ve received from seasoned trail riders we’ll put the Stair Step at Hill Country State Natural Area up against anything this side of Tevis. The hill isn’t particularly high, and it’s an easy grade to approach the summit, but the summit itself is
Gary Cohen has been known as the “Hatter to the Stars” for decades and he was again voted best among Texas Horse Talk readers. As likely as not if you go to his shop, The Hat Store, Richmond at Chimney Rock, you may be standing next to Lyle Lovett, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, or Houston Astro Lance Berkman, as they wait for Cohen to apply the master’s touch as he shapes their next hat, or brushes up an old one returning it to like new condition. What is so astonishing about the man is that he takes just as much time getting a hat shaped right for a nobody (like us), as a somebody, like the stars who frequently walk through his doors. He’s a triple threat favorite for a Best of Texas award each year because he’s, well, he’s just the best at what he does. After all, his granddaddy, Sam Silver, founded the legendary American Hat Company.
The Best of Texas - Con’t. on pg. 32 November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Best Barbecue When Jim Goode conceptualized his barbecue stand on Houston’s Kirby Drive near Rice Village and opened it in 1977 word has it he didn’t know a thing about the product he was planning to sell. What he did know is quality in raw materials and concept. The barbecue king of Houston determined to serve the very best meat around and compliment it with homemade bread, coolers full of long necks, traditional country music and to top it all off, a delightful slice of Texas pecan pie reminiscent to those served along the Brazos bottom. Today, Goode has expanded his empire beyond beef and now has branched into seafood. That’s fine, but we say in the words of Lady Bird Johnson, “You dance with the one who brung ya.”
Race Horse Trainer, Steve Asmussen
The Best of Texas - Con’t. from pg. 31
Texas Cowboy Roadhouse, Chappell Hill Café We’ve started to make a habit of pulling over at the Chappell Hill Café before we get to Brenham on the Houston/Austin stretch of U.S. 290 for good reason. We have simply fallen in love with the ambiance of this down home favorite of local stockmen and its food. So have our readers who voted it the best Texas Cowboy Roadhouse this year. We ate at places like this growing up in the 1950s, and we suspect it hasn’t changed much since it was founded at the edge of town in this country hamlet back in 1939. This is Texas comfort food made to perfection. You can get a daily blue plate special, or order off the menu, it makes no difference whatsoever.
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Best Old Fashioned Texas Country Rodeo Nestled in the hills northwest of town is the Wimberley rodeo arena. Built of native stone, it is the unchallenged best venue of its size in the state, and probably in any other state. Built during the depression when rodeo was as much a form of entertainment as listening to Fred Allen on the radio, it has housed the Wimberly 4th of July rodeo for decades. Wimberley has become largely a tourist town, and is increasingly being destroyed by ranchettes and the loss of its premier camping destination, Little Arkansas. But each year, the locals go to the little stone arena at the edge of town for a taste of what it was like, “back then.” They aren’t disappointed. Now in its 63rd year, the Wimberley VFW Rodeo is hands down Texas’ best according to THT readers.
Laredo’s Steve Asmussen has smoked other trainers for the last couple of years and may have one of the greatest Thoroughbreds ever with Curlin. While his career has been controversial, with 22 positive tests for drugs during his career, the South Texas trainer’s record of winning ways www.texashorsetalk.com
is undeniable. For his part, Asmussen relies on the tried and true defense that somebody else gave his horses drugs in an effort to sabotage him. With a win record like his, the story is actually plausible in the big money game of a sport that has a reputation for not being exactly clean. Besides Curlin, Asmussen’s most important mounts have been Pyro, Zanjero, Student Council, J Be K, and Z Fortune.
Best Paint Horse in Texas “Billy Sunday”
Doug and Vivian Newton, owners of Rocky Top Therapy Center in Keller, Texas, own the outstanding therapy horse, and now Texas Horse Talk’s “Best Paint Horse in Texas,” Billy Sunday. The 25-year-old sorrel overo Paint gelding has served as a therapeutic riding horse, changing the lives of thousands of emotionally, mentally and physically challenged children, for the past 16 years. Throughout his time as a therapy horse, Billy has taken several riders to the top ranks in therapeutic riding competitions, including the Special Olympics, Houston Livestock Show’s Top Hand competition and the Fort Worth Southwestern Exposition’s Chisholm Challenge. The reliable horse was also named the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association’s (NARHA) Region 8 Horse of the Year and graced the cover of the June 1993 Paint Horse Journal as part of a feature article. Prior to Billy’s career as a therapy horse, he was exhibited in 4-H, Open and Paint shows by a young girl in Ada, Okla.
The Best of Texas - Con’t. on pg. 36 www.texashorsetalk.com
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
FROM THE JUDGE’S BOX Have you ever shown a horse, had what you thought was a great performance and come away empty handed? It happens all the time. Horsemen of all disciplines work hard to prepare for a show in order to impress the judge. You wouldn’t be there if you weren’t looking for validation. You show to receive confirmation from a respected professional horseman that you are on track with your riding and the training of your horse. Sometimes you are showing the horse so that you can market him and want others in the horse community to know that he is well trained and available. Sometimes you enter the show ring just out of pride because you want others to see how well you and your horse are doing with your training. Regardless of the reasons that you compete, the desired result is always to take home the blue ribbons. So why is it that sometimes you feel you deserve the blue and it goes to someone else? Let’s take a minute to look at things from the
34 TEXAS HORSE TALK - November 2008
judge’s perspective. The judge is hired to do a job that requires a great deal of knowledge. First and foremost, no one becomes a judge without spending many years in the saddle to become an accomplished rider and trainer. Talk with any judge and you will find that they have also spent a lot of time in the show ring, too. These horsemen know about show ring jitters, spooky horses, stumbling at an inopportune moment and mistakes. Judges have to take time to study the rules and are responsible for knowing the current rules for the divisions that they are judging. They also need to know rules that are specific to the association for which they are judging. The United States Equestrian Federation is the highest authority in most cases and produces a rulebook with annual updates that is hundreds of pages long. It is divided by disciplines that go into great detail to explain the guidelines and rules for competitors and judges to follow. If the show
is sanctioned by another association, their rules must also be followed in lieu of or in conjunction with USEF rules. When a judge gives his opinion on a class, he has a reputation to protect. It took a long time to earn the respect from other horsemen that put him in that chair. When he pins a class, he must always have logical reasoning behind his professional opinion. Many small schooling shows will allow you to approach the judge with questions
to educate yourself for future rides. If you do this, keep it brief and remember that this is not a clinic. At larger shows, you will need specific permission from the show management to ask questions or look at the judge’s sheets and then you must be accompanied by a show official. Many shows will not allow any contact with the judge or viewing of the scorecards to protect against any attempts to sway the judge’s opinions. So what is the judge looking for anyway? Naturally, the rules of the class or division are the first consideration. If performance is done collectively such as an under saddle or hack class, the judge must compare the performance of each horse or rider. Equitation classes incorporate the performance of both the horse and rider as they are judged on hands, legs, seat and control of the horse. All other classes are judged primarily on the horse’s performance, manners, way of going and sometimes conformation. Turnout or presentation of the horse and rider is another consideration. Clean tack, proper neat attire and impeccable grooming according to the traditions of the discipline that you are competing in can definitely influence the opinions of the judge. When judging a collective class (all performing at the same time) most judges will weed out the inferior contestants, identify any superior ones and concentrate on placing the middle horses. If the class is very largel or the entries are very similar in ability, it can take a bit longer for the judge to draw his conclusions. The judge’s job is to comparatively rate the performance of each entry. It is not to tell you what you did wrong. You may have done nothing wrong. Sometimes obvious mistakes are made and can make the job easier or possibly even tougher for the judge. If a horse is clearly the best mover, has a great attitude and misses a lead which is promptly corrected, the judge can use his own discretion as to how big of a penalty to place on the entry. Sometimes a judge will have the order of ribbons figured out and one or more of his top choices makes a major mistake in the final moments of the class. His whole order of placements may be suddenly sent into a tailspin. Spectators and riders frequently are not aware of all the factors that the judge has to weigh. In classes with individual performances that are not timed events such as hunter over fences or equitation over fences, riders and spectators can have a very difficult time of understanding the logic behind pinning the class. Subtle innuendos such as style of jumping, length of stride, quality of movement, steadiness of the rider’s leg, smoothness of the rider’s hands and other factors can have a significant impact on the judge’s decisions when no mistakes are made and the rounds look very similar to the spectators. While making the distances and landing the leads are primary factors in judging, they are only part of the considerations of the judge when placing a class. So the next time you find yourself or a friend grumbling about a judge’s incompetence because you were passed by when you had a good round, ask yourself this; did you watch the entire class? Did you keep a scorecard? Do you have as much knowledge and experience as the professional who just gave you his solicited opinion? On the flip side of that, if you have a bad round, don’t stomp off to the barn area and put your horse away. Others may have had significant difficulties too and you may have pinned when you thought you didn’t have a chance. There is only one opinion that matters in the show ring; the judge’s. Don’t leave before you hear from him. He is there for the sole purpose of giving you his professional opinion. Understand that the judge wants to see you do well and wants you to understand why the class was pinned in that order but often has no way of communicating the logic to you. If you can’t figure it out, ask your trainer or sit down to watch an entire class to see what the judge is looking for. Remember, his reputation is on the line. A valid judgment of the class is just as important to him as it is to you.
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November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
The Best of Texas - Con’t. from pg. 33
And Now A Few WORST of Texas
David Watts Jr. / Dreamstime
Most Sadly Unused Venue The Astrodome sits forlorn during Houston’s giant rodeo extravaganza. The biggest rodeo and livestock show in the world has increasingly made it’s horse show a distant cousin to the other events held at the Bayou City’s Reliant Stadium complex. And sadly, the once proud Eighth Wonder of the World has been relegated to hosting late night revelers when it is converted into The Hideout, the world’s biggest beer joint. Meanwhile, horse show events are shuffled off to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center miles away from the action. Sad.
Our Personal Pick for Worst Press Relations (To publications “they” don’t deem as relevant), But Surprise! We did not back down, or go away! When Hurricane Ike did some damage to Houston’s Sam Houston Race Park the track responded by shutting down its entire Thoroughbred racing season. It caused an uproar. Why? Well, mainly because a whole lot of folks, fans and press alike, didn’t believe the line parroted by the track flack Gina Rotolo. Sam Houston Race Park and it’s inexperienced 29-year-old CEO, who has no racing background (she ran the Houston Comets), quietly dropped the bomb on Texas Thoroughbred Association honcho David Hooper, who has been fighting to keep racing alive for the breed in a state without on track slot machines like the competition in the four states bordering Texas. He was catatonic. Shortly thereafter racing officials quietly called THT telling us the season had been cancelled and we broke the story, but not with an interview from track boss Andrea Young as would normally be the case. (She has yet to return a phone call from the state’s most read horse magazine). Meanwhile, highly placed sources kept feeding inside information to us. It was too much for Rotolo who believed THT was getting its scoops from a SHRP waiter or bartender. “You mean a member of my senior staff is talking to you!” Well, yes Gina. That’s kind of the way it works. In journalism we call this a confidential source. Track management needs to learn a few manners if nothing else – like it’s polite in Texas to return calls, even if it’s just a “horse magazine” and inform the public in an honest and timely manner.
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Tack Talk - Con’t. from pg. 18 looks, think about a string of leather to connect the chaps in front that can break if you get in a wreck. Since sealskin and New Foundland dog skin are probably out of the question today, your most popular choices are elk skin, hair on cowhide, and of course, the venerable cowhide in all kinds of weights and textures. Suede leather chaps are made from the back or flesh side of full grain leather and lack the strength and water repellency of the grain side. Most of your cheap chaps are made from inferior leather but may suffice for occasional trail riding use. Full grain, or smooth leather chaps can be made with the grain side in or out, with advantages both ways. I like the look of the full grain or smooth leather to the outside, but if you turn the rough side it it’s like putting Velcro on your legs, especially with a rough out saddle. Like the old Texas cowboy said, you may spend your life wearing chaps and not really needing them, but when you get piled up in that prickly pear cactus, you’ll be mighty glad you had them on. Lew Pewterbaugh is the proprietor of Bandera’s famed Bunkhouse Leather, just off Main Street in the Cowboy Capital of the World.
The Teacher - Con’t. from pg. 20 is gently pulled on. He must be soft on both sides equally well before continuing. Once he is soft from side to side pull gently on both reins. Wait till his head goes down and release. Eventually he will find a safe place for his head. The hind quarters are the next item we need to control. This can, but doesn’t have to be started on the ground. Begin by pulling his head around and stepping toward his rear end until it moves away from you. Do this on both sides and he will learn to disengage when he is pulled on and encouraged with the leg. Now when he wants to rear all we need to do is use these tools to prevent this unpardonable vice. Then we can use the feel we are developing to accomplish the desired task. Let’s remember to always be safe and respectful, even to people. God bless, Wes
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Texas Cowboy Roadhouse
Brisket and Rib Company
If you are tired of the same old barbecued brisket you get in the chain spots full of smoke and that sell beans out of a can, have we ever found a great spot for a cowboy to light for some real comfort food. Located on Houston’s far north side (Spring really) at Champions Forest and Louetta, and nestled in a Randall’s strip center is a spot that has taken the common brisket and perfected it to roast meat worthy of, well, the king of beef, Henry VIII himself. Bob Blankenship is a master cooker, golf pro, businessman, entrepreneur, and lover of the good life. He has developed an oven cooked method of making brisket totally different from anything you have encountered anywhere else. It has more of the flavor and texture of good slow cooked roast beef than barbecue. What’s more, you can cut it with a fork. But that’s not all. He also has outstand-
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ing pork ribs, chicken, and sausage on the menu. And then there’s the spud, complete with all the fixins. It is a stand alone masterpiece even if you don’t get any of Blankenship’s meat. Not to be missed are the homemade baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, or if you aren’t feeling adventuresome, some chips. Paula Blankenship has added some of her favorites from home, including to die for Butter Cake, Pecan Pie, and Pumpkin Pie. Catering is B.J.’s forte. If you have a party or function in your future, THT recommends you treat your guests to this wonderful oven cooked brisket that simply melts in your mouth. And, don’t forget Paula’s Butter Cake. It’s, well it’s just plain divine! B.J.’s is open from 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, and is located at 16646 Champions Forest Drive @ Louetta (in the Randall’s Center), Spring 281-370-6060. www.texashorsetalk.com
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Leon, My Kind of Teacher By Steven Long There is a particular quality that comes only from cowboys. It is exemplified with a quiet competence, a soft spoken voice, and simplicity of communication that makes every word understandable, comprehensible, and not in the least bit obtuse. That is Leon Harrel, five time World Champion cutting horseman and two time NCHA Futurity winner. And that is the rare quality brought to his new video. Known for decades as a master in the arena, Harrel was chosen to write the book Cutting in the vaunted Western Horseman series on equine sports, no small honor when you consider the competitors who could have been chosen. He’s recognized as one of the reigning masters of his sport. Now, Harrell has launched a new instructional CD, Leon Harrel, “Serious Horseplay for Amateur Cutters.” I’ve sat through scores of these things and they always lose me - always. I find myself dozing about 30 minutes into most videos because the production quality is often so poor and the presentation is generally so ill conceived. The videographers did a masterful job of capturing Harrel in the arena as he executes some pretty intricate moves, and the audio quality is superb. I found myself glued to my screen and talking back to it, finally anxious to put on a pair of boots and spurs, race to the stable, and get on Façade to try what I just learned, or better still get on Bruja, Vicki’s horse who is the most gifted athlete I’ve seen, either human or horse, since Mohammed Ali. From his Springtown, Texas home in Parker County, Harrel dispenses wisdom in doses large and small, but most important, frequently. Moreover, he follows a logical pattern, on the video, starting with a guide to buying the right horse, what to look for, and what to avoid. He then moves to equipment, the tack so essential for success in the cutting arena. Finally, he is horseback on a magnificent dapple gray mare and rare for a cowboy, shows affection to her. He also admits something else. “I love pretty horses,” he says early in the program. Harrel gives a hint why. “So do the judges.” I’ve watched the NCHA World Championships many times. I know what the elite in the sport look like and what the greatest of their mounts are capable of. Harrel has been there at that lofty level so often it is habit, yet there is nothing pretentious about him and his presentation. The video is available at leonharrel.com., (or call 877-288-9484). It is jammed packed with invaluable tips you just won’t get anywhere else. Finally, you don’t have to own a cutting horse or even ever have the intention of separating a cow from the herd. You are sure to benefit no matter what your equine sport. This video is a horsemanship essential – period, and end of story.
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LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Dear Texas Horse Talk, I guess I have somehow missed the Sept issue of Horse Talk. I had to go dry my tears. Because that is the best description of the most wonderful intangible gift. Diane, you astounded me with your ability to tell the truth. What Cindy Deaton can do with a horse, You can do with words. That is the best article on Natural Horsemanship I have ever read. The beauty of your soul and your horse were in there. My husband has recently questioned me about the “usefulness” of all these ground games. To my benefit, he is very invested in my horsemanship studies. Your article will be something that will bring understanding for him. And if to him, Can you imagine the effect on others? Maybe, my favorite part was the paragraph on “Why others can’t just come and ride”. Touché! Those were the words I have needed. It is my privilege to know you at such depth. Thank you for making yourself so vulnerable in a publication. Debra P.S. You were right. It was meant to be.
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November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Parelli - Con’t. from pg. 14 PARELLI: The first thing we do is on the ground. We get control of his rear end and move back legs around and under him. You have to learn to play the Seven Games and you have to learn to win the Seven Games. Part of that is learning to make opposition reflex work for you. THT: This is very basic fundamental stuff. PARELLI: It’s the most fundamental thing you do. Just remember, you have to get the horse to be calm, and you must be calm too. Just get those legs under his rear and remember, the horse that rears must spread his legs. If his legs are under him he can’t rear. Just practice the Seven Games and you will be fine and you will have a calm horse that you control.
www.parelli.com Horse Sense - Con’t. from pg. 22 you may not even realize you make because your own horses have learned to accept and/or ignore them. Observing the way your Mustang reacts to you can teach you a lot about horse nature and a horse’s natural, instinctive reactions. To find a Mustang, first visit the web site of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). You’ll find information about the adoption process from the requirements (your facilities must meet certain standards) to the dates, times, and locations of in-person adoptions. You can also see photos of Mustangs that can be adopted online through the BLM’s Internet Adoption Program. www.blm.go/adoptahorse Adopting directly from the BLM isn’t your only option. Here are a few others: 1. There are prison programs where Mustangs are first gentled by inmates, then offered for sale to the public. You’ll find these programs listed on the BLM web site. 2. Call your local horse rescue organizations; they may have Mustangs amongst their adoptable horses. Any horse can end up at a horse rescue because it’s been abandoned or legally impounded due to abuse and neglect. You might be able to give a “recycled” Mustang its “forever” home. 3. Read the ads in your local papers and magazines. Right now, a lot of privately-owned horses are being offered for sale or even for free. Some of these horses are Mustangs. Here’s a tip: If you participate in a BLM in-person adoption, look beyond height and color. Choose your Mustang based on conformation, soundness, and attitude. Watch it interact with the other horses in the holding pens. You can usefully apply some of the same standards you would use to select a puppy from a litter. Avoid the two individuals that will be most difficult: The bold, pushy “top dog” (dominant puppy or Mustang) that runs over all the others, and the meek, shy one that tries to avoid everyone and everything. Look for a healthy, well-socialized, middle-of-the-pack animal that pays attention to the others and keeps itself out of trouble.
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Healthy Horse - Con’t. from pg. 25 piles of debris are good hiding spots for snakes and should be removed. If you burn those piles, be sure to extinguish thoroughly when done and water the ashes as some horses are attacked to the semi warm embers and will roll in them and burn themselves. Most owners will check their fences but don’t forget to check the pens and pastures for holes that legs can get caught in and possibly break a leg. This is also a good time to find small wire, hay string and other items that do not belong in the pens. Outdoor lacerations are commonly caused by fighting over fence lines with neighbors. An inexpensive fix for this is a strand of electrical tape on common fences. The safest fence is one the horses don’t come near and since we all can’t have 100 acre pastures for our horses, electrical fencing can help overcome this problem. Boarders in a barn with substandard fencing can improve their chances by adding electrical tape and you can take it with you when you move. Just be sure to check it weekly for problems or get a monitor that clips onto the tape and lights up when it is not electrified. Five minutes of inspection each week can save you hours of work treating injuries and dollars in veterinary care and supplies. More importantly you spare your horse a lot of pain and potential scarring by preventing injuries before they occur. Dr Angela Chenault practices at La Paloma Equine Clinic in Waller County and surrounding areas.
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Holiday Gift Guide
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Holiday Gift Guide
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Holiday Gift Guide
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November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Pet Health Insurance In the past few years veterinary medicine has made leaps and bounds in the types of procedures that are available for animals. Pet medical histories are beginning to resemble that of their owners. Cancer treatments, pacemakers and other surgical procedures are becoming more accessible and common for our furry friends. With the rising costs and variety of pet procedures being offered, pet insurance policies are becoming more logical than ever, and opting for these policies can be beneficial. Pet insurance policies, like all insurance, allow you to plan for the event of a major medical condition, states Dr. Dan Posey, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. There is no doubt that veterinarians and pet owners have had to make tough health care decisions sometime in their pet s life and with pet insurance it makes these decisions easier. Before opting for health insurance for your pet it is critical that you research what each company s plans cover and what is the best policy for you. Start with the basics. Talk with your veterinarian and research which policy suits your needs best. There are numerous pet health insurance companies to choose from and the internet is a great place to start your research. Most pet insurance companies offer a variety of plans. Some common options are solely accident coverage, accident and illness, and plans that incorporate routine wellness exams. There are differences between each company s policies and one should thoroughly understand what the insurance will and will not cover, states Posey. Pet insurance is similar to our own health insurance in the fact that most companies usually will not cover pre-existing conditions. Hereditary conditions are also commonly excluded from pet health insurance. If the breed of your animals is susceptible to developing certain conditions, chances are those health problems will not be covered. A person should look for a pet insurance that does not have 48per incident limits, recommends Dr. M.A. Crist, a veterinarian at Texas A&M University. Dr. Crist explains that often a person does not really understand what per incident actually covers. If your animal has an accident and requires extensive surgery, a person with pet health insurance usually opts for the surgery, thinking it will be covered by their policy, notes Crist. Only later they find out that their insurance may not cover all of the expenses of the procedure or will only pay up to a certain amount for that surgery, leaving the policy holder to pay the remaining amount. Crist also explains that if a complication arises from the surgery or the animal has follow up appointments or procedures stemming from that surgery the per incident policy will usually not cover those. I would choose an insurance company that has a single level coverage which usually covers only accident and illness, states Crist. This means no routine health care, no per incident limits, does not have a deductible and the premiums do not increase as the pet ages. Also, find a company that pays the claims within 24 hours of receiving the paperwork. It is important to completely understand your policy, know the procedures it will cover, and what percentage your insurance company will pay for each. There is no doubt that veterinary medicine is advancing on a daily basis, states Posey. The diagnostic, medical, and surgical procedures that were once only available in regional referral centers are now becoming more available in private practices. With increased access to such procedures, pet insurance can help make medical care more affordable. 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 http://tamunews.tamu.edu/. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would rather not receive future email messages from TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine, let us know by clicking here.TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine, Address, City, State Zip United States
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November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Horse Laughs by Elizabeth Kopplow
In the Mood You might as well start thinking about it and get working on your schedule, planning for the inevitable. The Holidays are taking aim at us and they will be right on target, as always. This year may require more innovation and creative thinking than most. We will probably have to actually use our imaginations to make it all happen instead of just going willy nilly on a buying spree. I see this as a good thing, we need to think more before acting. We always want our equine friends to think before they act and I think a good rule of thumb is to never expect another to do something we are not willing to do ourselves. This is probably the year that we will have to pull our heads out of our feed bags before we overeat and colic. Not an easy thing to do, we are pretty used to overindulgence, but seems it is catching up with us. Making more careful choices will eventually give us an appreciation for things we have been taking for granted. Actually, we are fortunate to have a very useful addiction with our horse related activities. One may argue that horse ownership is expensive, but if you were to consider all the benefits
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we derive from them, our horses are a bargain. They are family friendly, unlike some other hobbies like golfing or skydiving, plus they improve our physical wellbeing with exercise, unlike sitting in front of a television or playing video or computer games. With the physical exertion needed to care for our horses and participate in roping, jumping, trail riding, reining or any other discipline, we can eliminate the need for that expensive health club membership. Certainly horse related exercise is more physically and mentally stimulating than mindless walking on a treadmill. Our horses are great listeners and the companionship of our equine partners provides stress relief eliminating the need for any sort of professional counseling or anti-depressants. On a saddle or on a psychiatristâ€™s couch, where would you rather be? Horses always attract attention and can be a useful tool in meeting members of the opposite sex, eliminating the need for other methods of trying to find that special someone. Looking good on a handsome powerful horse or reading singles ads on line, need I say more? These are just a few of the ways
our lives are improved from horse ownership and I havenâ€™t even touched on how the nitrogen levels in our soil benefit from their presence. There is definitely a need today for each of us to find a lifestyle that keeps us healthy, happy, and allows for a continued bright future. We may have to tighten our belts a notch or two, but we definitely have a head start because of our partnership with our equines. Once the balance sheets are completed, I think it will be apparent that we have a great advantage over the non-horsey folks including an energy saving way to get to town should we be in the mood.
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November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
Horse Bites - Con’t. from pg. 27 HHHHH Texas Racing Commission Rubber Stamps Track Cancellation, No Questions Asked By Steven Long
HOUSTON (THT) - The Texas Racing Commission didn’t ask a single question in a special meeting at Houston’s Sam Houston Race Park when they cancelled 65 race dates at the Houston track, acknowledged to be one of the finest facilities of its kind in the nation. Track management claims the facility was severely damaged during Hurricane Ike’s windy and wet visit to the Bayou City on September 13. If the seven member commission had any questions during a tour of the facility’s damage they didn’t express them in open session. But owners and trainers who have had their season devastated by the Houston track’s decision to cancel the season and move 43 dates to Retama Park in San Antonio expressed disbelief and consternation to Texas Horse Talk Magazine. “The Fairgrounds in New Orleans was leveled and they were racing shortly after that, and the same was true of Calder in Florida after the hurricane,” one man said who declined to be identified. One of the problems cited by SHRP management and its engineer, Chris Gage of New York’s BMS Cat, a remediation expert, is severe damage to the tracks dormitories where back track personnel such as grooms live during the season. One dorm and one barn housing stalls suffered severe damage. The rest appeared largely unaffected. “Have they ever heard of bringing in temporary buildings?” the North Texas trainer said. “Have they ever heard of FEMA trailers?” The park clearly sustained damage from one end to the other, yet much of it was minor and easily repairable except for structural damage to the roof of the main building. Yet that damage wasn’t so severe that it prevented the track opening its second floor for the simulcast of the Breeder’s Cup. At this point little or nothing has been done to get the track back in shape although the management decision to close the track for the season has clearly been devastating to Texas racing. Sam Houston Race Park had scheduled an expanded Quarter Horse schedule to begin in May, yet several speakers voiced quiet distrust of a projected completion date of April 1, 2009 for ambitious repairs which include replacing the entire roof of the main clubhouse building which will be done one section at a time. The second floor will be closed, but the paddock level ground floor will remain open for simulcast gambling. Construction won’t begin on the track until January 3. The Thoroughbred meet was scheduled to begin on November 28th. The track didn’t address why the dates from late November to the scheduled beginning of construction couldn’t have been occupied by live racing with temporary repairs to the facility. Gage cited damage to the scoreboard and track lights, however owners and trainers say that could be repaired in short order. He also said that the track surface lost about an inch of sand, however, the sand on the track’s surface near the finish line appears to be intact despite claims by management. “There are scoreboards to be had all over the United States,” one owner said. “They could have been racing weeks ago.” Gage said that 200 light bulbs around the track were lost and would need to be re-calibrated. He said that only 3 incandescent light bulbs of 15,000 in the scoreboard now work. Critics counter that these are minor repairs that could have been, and still could be, accomplished rapidly in order to salvage part of the season for Houston fans. SHRP is owned by Maxxam Corporation. Some say the Houston track has been a financial drain. They say the storm provided a convenient excuse to cancel an unprofitable Thoroughbred season and at the same time get a needed upgrade to the facility paid for by insurance money. An undercurrent bubbling beneath the surface of the meeting was the upcoming legislative session which is expected to debate a new law legalizing slot machines, or video lottery terminals, as the gambling industry prefers to
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call them. All of the tracks surrounding Texas have casinos attached and those facilities now have much larger purses that any of the state’s venues. Quarter Horse interests voiced concern at the meeting about whether SHRP will be finished in time for their May dates in the event of a rainy spring which might delay construction. “I’m concerned whether we are going to have a Quarter Horse meet here in May,” said Tooter Jordon, a respected and winning Texas trainer. In fact, he and others are so worried that the Houston track may not open on time that he voiced a request to the commission. “I would like to see Retama Park be taken into consideration for the Quarter Horse meet. I’m concerned whether we will be here or not.” Distrust of the track has been building among owners, trainers, and fans alike since 29-year-old track manager Andrea Young was installed to take the place of veteran race man Robert Bork, the former manager of the Houston facility. Under her regime the track has taken on a circus atmosphere with costumed characters, piped in sound effects, and concerts in the infield. Young has no racing experience and is the former CEO of the WNBA Houston Comets. In comments to the Houston Chronicle following the meeting, Young voiced frustration at the distrust she has felt since the decision to close the track. “I have done nothing since coming here but fight for live racing,” she told the Houston newspaper. “I’m fighting for peoples’ jobs here. I’m fighting for the park every day, and I find it offensive that people who say such things aren’t willing to pick up the phone and give me a call.” Texas Horse Talk has been highly critical of Young and the track management decision to shut down the Thoroughbred dates. The magazine made repeated attempts to speak with Young and Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz and his son Shawn. None of the SHRP senior management team has returned calls. Concern has been voiced quietly around SHRP that if the legislature doesn’t legalize slot machines at Texas horse tracks the park will not re-open for live racing at all.
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REFLECTIONS Howdy! Welcome to Cowboy Corner. A great friend was seriously ill for about a year and a half. As part of the fall trail ride, a benefit was in the planning stages for our friend. A benefit planning meeting was called, and before we could meet, our friend left this life for the big roundup in the sky. The standing room only funeral was several days later, and I was told by an associate funeral director that the attendance was a
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record breaker. As the casket was placed in a mule drawn hearse and the group walked behind, the line of people stretched from the Chapel to the grave site. It was a fitting tribute to a great friend, with many friends. The walk to the grave site behind the hearse was a time for reflections of many trail ride miles over a lot of years. Thanks again Bobby for all your advice, counsel and assistance. Bobby Schmidt will be greatly missed by many, but never forgotten. Have told the story and shared with you the “Empty Saddle” poem before, and by special request: A cowboy rode back home today. A friend from years gone by. He left a hole within my heart. A teardrop in my eye. He left a horse, a saddle, too. His boots and Stetson hat. His rope and spurs are near the chair Where hour on hour he sat. I put his saddle on his horse. And then we took a ride.
His horse and mine, and him and me We wandered side by side. We herded cows back to the barn. Reminisced the whole day long. Then night time came; we built a fire And sang some cowboy songs About an empty bunkhouse cot, The bossman’s watchful eye, We sang about the last roundup And the riders in the sky. And then we said our last farewell. ‘Twas time for us to part. But empty saddles cannot fill The longing in my heart. Again, Bobby thank you for all the good times and friendship and we will meet again at the big roundup in the sky. Happy Trails! Bobby Schmidt was active in the Valley Lodge Trail Ride of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
November 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK
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