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The Southwest’s Equine Sport & Lifestyle Magazine

Vol. 15, No. 10 October 2008 Priceless

PRCA Announcer of the Year

Boyd Polhamus Intellectual Firepower in the Arena

Wes White Learns From Losing in Cowtown Dr. Chenault Says Watch that Rich Grass Jim Hubbard Actually Tied Trailers Together in Storm Send Best of Texas Nominations to

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October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


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October 2008

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK Our Apologies Our apologies go out to readers of Texas Horse Talk Online We were off the Internet for awhile. You see, we had a little distraction when an unexpected house guest dropped in by the name of Ike. He wasn’t exactly polite, and when he left we were briefly without power and the scamp had left a large tree in front of our gate. At least we can count our blessings that the electricity came back on at our house less than 24 hours after he made landfall. Our horses weathered the storm well, and not a shingle was blown off the barn we use at the urban stable we call home in Houston. Even the picnic table with it’s Kinky Friedman seat of honor survived to await the next visit of Texas’ favorite Jewboy on his almost certain next campaign. Not so lucky for most of the rest of Houston and the upper Texas coast. One victim of the storm was the web site that many of you have come to rely upon for breaking news in the world of the horse. You see, our web host, a Houston based internet user’s group went down. Located in the Galleria area, these geeks gamely got the service back up with the aid of generators, however, the server that housed the THT site wouldn’t boot. Worse still, unbeknownst to us, the company was relying upon a volunteer to get it up running again. The volunteer didn’t make an appearance for days. Our calls were not returned and we were left to twist slowly in the wind as our readers starved for news of what to do in the wake of the storm. We apologize. We had arranged to give Texas horsemen a comprehensive list of rescue locations, emergency feed and vet services, the works. Suffice it to say, we learned our lesson after a week-and-a-half of being down and moved our site to a professional Internet host. The good news is that THT Online is back up and running thanks to Tom Bruch of Big Sky Internet Design. Take it from us, we highly recommend this Quitman based company. To reach them here’s the vital info - 903-967-2054, 903-967-2054 fax, or by email at Now we can get back to work on our Second Annual Best of Texas Awards issue. If you think something is the best there is in our state, drop us a line at our special Best of Texas Awards email address,

Volume 15, No 10. Texas Horse Talk Magazine, P.O. Box 681397, Houston, TX 77268-1397, (281) 447-0772. The entire contents of the magazine are copyrighted October 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:

Phone: (281)

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12 HORSE BITES 14 PARELLI - Pat Parelli and Steven Long 16 THE HEALTHY HORSE - Dr. Angela Chenault 18 THE TEACHER - Wes White 22 TACK TALK - Lew Pewterbaugh 24 ON THE ENGLISH FRONT - Cathy Stroebel 26 BOYD POLHAMUS - Steven Long 28 DON HUTSON - Steven Long 30 Q&A ~ HORSE SENSE - Jessica Jahiel 32 TALKIN’ CUTTIN’ - Gala Nettles 38 YOU HAVE TO ASK YOUR HORSE - Gary Douglas 42 HORSE LAUGHS - Elizabeth Kopplow 44 JEZZY’S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 46 HAPPY TRAILS VACATIONS 50 RACING NEWS 54 COWBOY CORNER - Jim Hubbard TEXAS ADVERTISING OFFICES BRAZOS VALLEY BUREAU

Diane Holt 936-878-2678 Ranch 713-408-8114 Cell


Bobby Reynolds 830-393-7037 Office 210-286-2192 Cell Donna Reynolds 830-393-9850 Home 210-286-2084 Cell Carolyn VandenBerg 830-226-5006 Home 210-215-2423 Cell


Carol Holloway 713-680-8264 Home 832-607-8264 Cell


281-447-0772 281-591-1519 Fax


Vicki Long EDITOR

Steven Long



Carrie Gobernatz RACING EDITOR


Dr. Angela Chenault Jim Hubbard Dr. Jessica Jahiel Elizabeth Kopplow Steven Long Vicki Long Gala Nettles Lew Pewterbaugh Jay Remboldt Cathy Strobel Gary Douglas CLASSIFIEDS


October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


HHHHH Habitat to Rebuild By Jerry Finch We pulled approximately 40 horses from Galveston Island or from Galveston County after Hurricane Ike hit on September 13, 2008. These horses either went directly to the vet clinic or were held at the Galveston County Fair Grounds in our staging area – depending on the severity of their injuries. A good portion of these rescued horses have already been turned over to their owners. Some have been signed over to Habitat and we will care for them until they are healed and ready to be adopted out to their forever homes. The staging area was staffed and maintained 24 hours a day by volunteers who came as far as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, San Antonio

and Copperas Cove, and as close as Santa Fe, Texas. Another 90 horses left behind on Galveston Island before the storm survived and were determined to be safe and secure with someone to look out after them were provided with feed, hay and water which was distributed by Habitat for Horses volunteers. The staging area has been emptied and cleaned today and turned over to the parks department. A few of the remaining horses will go to the ranch and a small number will go to local foster homes for intensive care until their wounds heal. Our ranch sustained severe damage which we will now turn our attention to. Our brand new barn lost its roof which caused damage to the interior – the lab specifically. Our feed

Horse Bites - Con’t. on pg. 21

A Note to Texas Horse Talk Readers From Willie Nelson Dear Friends, As you know the gulf coast of Texas was hit hard by Ike, but what you may not know is that Habitat for Horses headquarters was right in the line of fire. As their volunteers helped over 150 horses to escape the storm, Habitat for Horses watched their horse haven become submerged in the storm waters. Significant structural damage has occured on the property.  Please make a tax deductable donation today so they can rebuild and continue in their efforts to help other victims of the storm. For more information, go to:

Thanks, ~Willie Nelson

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October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


By Pat Parelli with Steven Long

THAT PERFECT HORSE TEXAS HORSE TALK: I’ve read recently that you are now offering breeding for the outside world with some of your outstanding horses. Tell the readers what you look for when you are in the market to buy a horse personally. PAT PARELLI: Right now I have about a hundred horses personally. I keep them for various jobs, from driving, to riding, to doing ranch work. Each has a specific purpose. For example, let’s say you are looking for a horse to do reining. If that was the kind of horse I wanted and was in the market for I’d look for a left brain introvert. THT: What exactly do you mean by that?

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PARELLI: Specifically, I want a horse that is willing to take command that is easily stoppable. His horsenality would indicate that he is quiet. THT: So you would want a horse that doesn’t have a mind of its own. PARELLI: I want a horse that is compliant and wants to please. THT: And you would look for other attributes in a horse you plan to use for other jobs? PARELLI: Right. Let’s say I am looking for a horse to barrel race. I’d want a left brain extrovert, or a horse that would have spirit and the

horsenality to do the job on his own, to run the pattern day after day with a single mindedness of purpose. Characteristics of a left brained extrovert include being mischievous, energetic, willful, disobedient, domineering, and may have a tendency to be mouthy, nip and bite. Left brained extroverts are easy to train unless you are boring and repetitive in which case they act up and become unruly.

Parelli - Con’t. on pg. 20

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THE HIDDEN DANGER OF GRASS After watching your pastures wither away in the heat of the summer, a nice rain brings welcome relief and greener fields. It can also bring hidden dangers for some of your horses. The sprouting green grass is higher starch than your horse has been accustomed to eating and since it tastes like candy, they wolf it down. This is the same problem that horses face in spring when the new grass emerges; however most owners are not accustomed to watching their pastures in the middle of summer after a drought.They are just excited to have pretty, green grass fields. Laminitis is the most serious problem associated with this overindulgence although diarrhea and colic can occur. Overweight horses are the most susceptible with ponies topping the list. However, some ap-

parently normal body condition horses can have a bout of laminitis as well. Horses with Cushing’s disease or pre-Cushing’s disease have an increased risk. In those horses that are in the beginning stages of those diseases, the signs are not obvious and a full blown founder may be your first indication of a problem. Within days of a solid rain after a period of drought, your pasture will “green out” and have good new growth. It is a good idea to limit your horse’s access to that pasture for approximately seven to ten days. This means letting them out for two hours a day on the pasture and slowly increasing that length over the next few days. In particular, keep them off in the early morning hours when the starch levels in new grass are at its highest. If

you do not have access to a stall or pen or your horse does not do well in a stall, muzzles are available that will limit their ability to graze; however, you will have to monitor them as they will do all they can to remove that muzzle. Cutting back on or eliminating grain intake will also help. If your horse is overweight, it is strongly recommended that you make an attempt to reduce their weight even if it means putting them on a dry lot with no grass. As in humans, daily thirty minutes of exercise such as lunging can promote both weight maintenance and metabolic health. It may be a huge inconvenience and more expense now but not near as much as treating a sick or permanently lame animal will be. A horse with a high body score is a ticking time bomb for laminitis. Your farrier may give you some clues. If he or she tells you that your horse has a red line in the sole near the white line, it is an indication of laminitis that has not yet become severe enough to cause lameness. You should act now before it becomes a problem. Give no feed, no pasture and limited hay that is not rich and soak it in water to three to five minutes before giving to your horse. Soaking hay helps reduce the starches in the hay. Other subtle clues may be mild lameness in both front feet. ACT NOW! Call your veterinarian and farrier. Take them off pasture and remove grain until your veterinarian gives you other instructions. Wait a few days to see if they will get better and you will lose the golden period of treatment that may reverse the condition before permanent damage occurs. In addition to carefully watching overweight horses, horses and ponies with cresty thick necks are at increased risk. Also abnormal, lumpy fat deposits around the withers and rump indicate a possible metabolic disorder that predispose to laminitis. Consult your veterinarian if you notice this in your horse. Typically these horses are mature as in twelve years or older but not always and can be seen in horses as young as four years old. There are some breeds that are overrepresented in the founder department such as Arabians and Morgans so it may be advisable to pay particular attention to weight gain in these breeds. It’s almost inevitable that an overweight pony will founder so under no circumstances should a pony be allowed to gain too much weight even if that means giving no grain and no grass. Supplements can be given to ponies that gain weight on any feed so that they are not mineral and vitamin deficient. It may seem unusual to worry about a nice green pasture or a horse that appears healthy but good stewardship of your animals is a never ending task that reaps rewards in the future financially and emotionally. Dr. Angela Chenault practices at La Paloma Equine Clinic in Waller County and surrounding counties and owns an Arabian cross gelding who once foundered on a green pasture when he was slightly overweight in spite of getting no grain. He recovered completely and has never been allowed to become overweight again.

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October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


The Teacher By Wes White

LEARNING CONFIDENCE THROUGH ADVERSITY Adversity can increase faith because without difficulty faith is never tested. I have found the same to be true for confidence. If adversity never presents itself the confidence we attest is of naught. What is our confidence based on if we have nothing against which to gauge our abilities? I was beaten at the latest Extreme Mustang Makeover held in Fort Worth in late September. I placed twelfth out of forty eight participants in the Idols division. This division was the middle class, with one above it and one below. However, during my experience at this show I gained valued confidence in my training and horsemanship skills. You might ask: How can losing be a good thing? Well let me start by saying that my loss was simply pilot error. The horse was trained properly and possessed all the necessary skills needed to win the competition. I even posses the correct skills necessary to perform much better than twelfth place. The fact is that I do not know how to show a horse. That still doesn’t answer the question on how losing

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can be a good thing. If a person wins at everything they try, then where is the challenge? What incentive do they have to improve? Soon the individual will become bored and try something else. However those with a passion for the endeavor will pursue it with all of their heart. During my years writing this column I have tried to stress the importance of improving your horsemanship skills in order to benefit the horse, knowing all along that the person is actually the benefactor. I guess it’s time for me to take my own advice and learn something I’m not proficient at, showing a horse. Upon returning from Fort Worth I found myself disheartened. Ya see I met some awesome folks while there. Mark Lyon, of Arlington, Nebraska, who won the Legends class is one of those folks. Not only did he win it, he accomplished this feat riding in the two rein. This normally takes years, not just a hundred days, this was truly providential. Winning the highest class hands down while riding a horse in the two

rein is a pretty good reason to be envious of this gentleman, but that’s not what I covet. It was his handlebar mustache. It was a thing of beauty that any self respecting puncher would desire. Being at least three times as long as mine, it must have been at least ten inches on each side. I truly desire to duplicate it one day. Another new found pard is Dusty Roller from Davenport, Washington. Dusty was in the Idols division with me. Dusty made the finals on a stout bay he calls Telford. This horse did not fit the mold of a mustang; his six year old son rode the horse during the sale. I will have much to say about these two plus many others, but that’s for another day. Many thanks to the readers and God Bless ya’ll. Wes

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


Parelli - Con’t. from pg. 14 THT: I see in all this that you are not talking about physical attributes. PARELLI: I seldom look at a horse purely on what he looks like. They need to have the physical traits necessary to do the job I’m looking for them to do, but their mind and horsenality are the important thing here. THT: So you prefer left brained horses? PARELLI: Left brained horses need you to become a lot more interesting. They need things to do. They are usually quite playful and are easily bored by riders who are fixated on perfecting a maneuver, and that’s what makes them act up. Because they are so confident they are fast to learn. Extroverted horses tend to be energetic, excitable and quick and need quick action from their riders and handlers. They need their frantic patterns to be effectively interrupted and their energy to be constructively directed. This makes them calmer and focuses their attention. THT: So I take it you wouldn’t want a right brained extrovert for something dangerous or particularly active: PARELLI: Characteristics of a right brained extrovert include being frantic, fearful, and may have a tendency to bolt and rear. Right brained extroverts are usually held back and tied down when they are panicky. Right brained horses act instinctively, without thinking, just like they operate in the wild. There is no time to think, the moment they perceive danger they react in fear and take flight. THT: So the introverted horse is not as adaptable and easily trained for a particular job? PARELLI: Introverted horses tend to appear withdrawn and “slow” and need things to happen very slowly. These horses are so often misread as quiet and stubborn, but in the right brained introvert’s case, he has crawled into his shell while the left brained introvert has shut you out, much like the teenager who pretends he can’t hear you. These horses need you to be able to do nothing, sometimes for quite a while before they become confident enough to come out, or curious enough to want to engage. It all boils down to finding the horse with the horsenality to fit the job you want him to do.

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Horse Bites - Con’t. from pg. 12 room had roof damage and part of the back wall blew out. Nearly every single one of our sixty run-in shelter roofs was damaged and some of the actual structures will have to be torn down and rebuilt. Our road washed away and will take some excavating and load after load of crushed concrete. Our tractor’s engine was under water which caused damage so we’ve been unable to off load round bales. Having said all that not one of our horses was injured so we are thankful and grateful! Jerry Finch is the founder of Habitat for Horses, the largest horse rescue in the nation. HHHHH Nebraskan Falls off Horse and Wins Makeover Anyway Mark Lyon of Arlington, Neb., took the grand prize at the second annual Fort Dodge Extreme Mustang Makeover Legends Finals, September 20 in Fort Worth in the event’s most difficult level of competition, after falling from his horse mid-performance. He demonstrated that a well-trained horse doesn’t always need a rider to win, capturing the $12,500 top prize and the hearts of thousands watching his performance on Christian, a three-year-old,

bay, mustang gelding. Texas Horse Talk’s Wes White finished 12th in a class of 47. He vowed to return now that he’s actually seen what a competitor is supposed to do in a horse show. White expressed anger and frustration that Lyon’s handlebar mustache is longer and bushier than his own. Well into Lyon’s textbook perfect performance, which included a ballet of movement including deep stops and picture perfect spins, the crowd’s hearts fell when he leaned to Christian’s side in a tight turn and his saddle slipped causing him to fall. Since the entire focus of the judges were on the mustang’s ability, judges awarded Christian for his reaction to this unforeseen happening. Judge and famed horse trainer, John Lyons, said, “That was the best part of the whole performance. He did exactly what he was trained to do,” describing how Christian stood and waited for his rider to get back on. Lyons went on to take the horse through his paces firing a shooting pistol at balloons and riding through a ring of fire. Taking the Idols win earlier in the day was Careen Thompson of College Station and her three-year-old gelding Taz, gathered from Wheeler Pass and earning $5,000 in prize money. Judges Suzy Jean of Valley View, Guy Woods of Pilot Point, and Lyons selected the

duo to win the second most difficult division at the event, which aims to generate awareness about the value of America’s mustangs and increase adoption of these incredible horses. The first winner of the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover was crowned September 19 when Jennifer Jess of Kaufman won the “Stars” division on Bullwinkle, a three-year-old bay gelding gathered from the Deer Lodge Canyon of Nevada. Jess won the $3,000 top prize of the $6,000 purse for the “Stars” division. A total of $70,000 was awarded during the three-day run of the show that ended with an adoption of all competition horses Sunday, September 21. HHHHH New Horse Organization Posts Key Hires The newly formed Texas Horse Organizations for Racing, Showing and Eventing (Texas HORSE) moved fast forward by hiring two key players to fill major roles and officially adding two new members during its September meeting at the American Paint Horse Association headquarters in Fort Worth. Ricky Knox was hired to lead the Texas HORSE legislative and grassroots efforts lead-

Horse Bites - Con’t. on pg. 34

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


FALL TRAIL RIDING SEASON It’s October and the weather is cooler so it’s time to saddle up and hit the trails. Horses are already starting to put on their winter clothes and are feeling frisky. We’ve been doing this column for some time now, but hopefully there are a couple of new readers out there that haven’t heard my rants on saddle fit and condition. Horses bodies are in a constant state of change as are our own bodies. A saddle that fit last season may not fit this season. English saddles are much better suited to constantly changing muscles and condition as the bottoms of most of them have wool stuffed panels that change or can be changed easily. The western saddle has a solid wood bar tree with maybe some fleece between the tree and the pad, so with western saddles you have to pad, with English saddles you just use a light pad to keep the bottom of the saddle clean. When fitting a western saddle, we try to match the angle of the

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bars, the long pieces that run from front to back on the tree, to the angle of the horses shoulder and back. We want the tree to mirror the horses back as closely as possible. If the tree is too wide or too narrow, it will put uneven pressure on the horses back. This will make the horse’s back sore and may cause bad behavior. You’d be unhappy if you were forced to carry a 220 pound pack on your back with all of the weight being distributed over 2 cans of Vienna Sausage! Since we mentioned English saddles, the proper way to fit an English saddle is to start with one of the proper width and ride it 12 to 18 times with nothing more than a sheet or pillow case under it. The saddle needs to absorb the heat and moisture from the horse’s back so that the flocking will form to the horses back. In England, the Royal Family has its saddles re-flocked every spring. That way the saddles readjust to the changes in the horse’s back every year. With any saddle, the way to tell if the saddle is fitting pretty well is to look for dry spots when you pull your saddle and pad off after riding. Dry spots indicate excess pressure, cutting off the circulation and preventing sweating. If you come back after a few minutes and look where the dry spot was, you’ll generally find a slight swelling. This is because the pressure has forced the blood out of that particular area, and taking the pressure off allows the blood to rush back in, often blowing blood vessels and eventually these dry areas will lose pigmentation. You see an awful lot of horses with these white areas so you know there are still an awful lot of horses with ill fitting saddles. I guess we still have a long way to go. My other beef is why don’t people take care of their saddles and tack? Sure it’s time consuming, but tack is expensive. So is a trip to the hospital. The ambulance ride to San Antonio from Hill Country State Natural Area is over $1,500! A couple hours on a rainy (alright, we don’t get much rain here) night instead of drinking beer with the buddies is a good investment to save your beloved saddle. Most of the saddles we get in for repair are simply a matter of neglect, not wear. Saddle soap, I’ve often said, is just that. It’s soap. It’s the first step in cleaning AND conditioning your tack. You can even use plain old Ivory soap if you like, but it’s important to get the dirt and sweat off your leather before you oil it. Neatsfoot oil is still the best treatment for leather. Make sure you use pure neatsfoot oil, not the compound. The stuff you buy at the local horse auction is usually not pure neatsfoot, it’s from India and is blended with 90% reprocessed motor oil. Not good.

After cleaning your tack, oil it lightly, using as many applications as needed. Do not soak your leather with oil, that’s as bad as no oil. A light application of neatsfoot oil should absorb into the leather within 10 seconds. If the oil absorbs in 10 seconds, do another coat, and so on. Once the oil starts laying on the surface for longer than 10 seconds, wipe off any excess and let sit for a day. Then if you want a shine, go back over the visible areas with a good conditioner. My personal favorite is still Blackrock Leather ‘n Rich. Buff this out and it will seal the leather and protect it from dust, water, etc. A good bridle today runs about $100.00. A saddle, at least $800.00,most good ones much more. Why not spend a little time to protect your investment? If everyone would take better care of their tack, I might have a little time to enjoy my horse, or maybe even clean and condition my own tack.

Lew Pewterbaugh is the proprietor of Bandera’s famed Bunkhouse Leather, just off Main Street in the Cowboy Capital of the World.

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


SHELTER FROM THE STORM We all love our horses and go about our daily lives with the knowledge that when we need some peaceful time for ourselves, we can go to the barn and enjoy our equine companions. We find companionship and decreasing stress levels when we groom, hug, ride or just spend time with our horses. Many horses look forward to time spent with their owners, too, and strong cross-species bonds are formed. What we often don’t stop and think about however, is the fact that our horses depend on us for their every need. They are like our children and we need to acknowledge that responsibility. Unless you live in a vacuum, you are undoubtedly aware that the Houston area was recently hit hard by Hurricane Ike. When

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the threat of a bad storm, hurricane or unseasonable weather is present we need to stop and think about the conditions that we have put our horses under. If they are in a pasture; is there proper shelter to protect them? If there is a lightning storm; will they be standing in an open field with a bull’s-eye painted on them? Will they stand under a tree that draws lightning and transfers the charge to our beloved horse? Perhaps you should stop and think about where you would want to be when the wind is howling at gale force speeds or above. Then put yourself in your horse’s shoes. Shelters can be inexpensive and provide great comfort and safety to pastured horses. They are also accessible at any time without

the assistance from a person to open a gate and lead them in. If they have any walls at all, there will be shelter from the wind. For horses that are primarily unattended, this can be a safe, inexpensive and easy way to protect your horse. Barns, of course, offer even greater protection and comfort by closing the horse in and the elements out. However, if your horse is

unattended for long periods of time, a storm could crop up and no one is there to bring him in. Without your help, a barn does him no good if he is still in the pasture when a storm hits. Stalls also require a great deal of time and maintenance. Daily cleaning is required if you wish to keep your horse healthy. That also means keeping the stall level, dry and covered with absorbent bedding. Unfortunately, not everyone can accommodate horses in barns for a variety of reasons. The expense is a prominent consideration. The financial demands of building and maintaining a safe barn can be great. Then you must be available on a routine basis to care for your horse or you will need to employ someone else to look after your horse. Boarding at a barn can be a significant expense but there are many advantages. There are people to take care of your horse for you and help to keep both of you safe. Typically there are facilities for riding and storing your equipment, too. I have known people who simply turn their horses out in a pasture and don’t look at them for weeks at a time. It sounds simple and easy. It can be done, but I’ve discovered that the mortality rate of horses kept in that manner is much higher. Through the years, I

have met many horse owners who have lost horses to lightning strikes or injuries that were not treated promptly. When Hurricane Ike was approaching, I found the diversity in approaches to the protection of horses interesting. As I attempted to move all of my horses out of harm’s way, I looked around at pastures where people had left horses behind to weather the storm on their own. I couldn’t help but feel sad for those who were at risk of death or injury by flying objects and collapsing buildings. I guess the good news is that they weren’t stressed because they had no idea of what they were in store for. After Hurricane Ike subsided, I returned to the Houston area to find that most of the horses that were left behind were grazing in pastures as if nothing had happened. It almost made me wonder whether all the time, expense and effort of moving everyone was worth it. And then I remembered how scary the storm was as I rode it out in my house. I thought about how traumatized the horses that were left behind must have been. I also suspect there were many cuts, minor injuries and bruises on the horses that rode out the storm unattended. So, was it worth the time, expense and effort? You bet it was! I was able

to have the peace of mind that my wonderful horses who give me so much were safe and protected. Performance horses and those who are simply family pets are important to their owners. The economics that go into them all encompass a wide range. Training and TLC (tender loving care) may not cost the same, but the significance of each glorious animal is considerable to each one’s owner. I can’t help but think that anyone who is emotionally or financially invested in their horses would have to agree with this one thing. The peace of mind that comes with keeping them safe and providing shelter from the storm is worth all the expense and inconvenience of protecting them. We may not all protect them in the same way, but protect them, we must! Their safety and well-being are our responsibilities as horse owners.

Cathy Strobel has over 30 years of experience as a trainer, judge and clinician and can be reached at Southern Breeze Equestrian Center at (281) 431-4868 or

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


Boyd Polhamus


Eloquence On Horseback Story and Photos By Seven Long

n the fast paced sport of rodeo men compete against animals for money. The cowboy who does best in his event wins. There is color, spectacle, drama, pathos, and all would be a blur of confusion except for one thing, the announcer who is the glue that holds the whole thing together and makes sense of it all. A tall, darkly handsome Brenham man has been called by his peers the very best there is. He is articulate, well read, sonorous, and the personification of eloquent firepower on the back of a horse named Rolex.

BRENHAM - Boyd Polhamus sat in his familiar seat opposite the bucking chutes of the tiny Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He was calling play by play in a sport as different as the venue’s usual fare of men’s roundball as ping pong is from synchronized swimming. The tenth round of the 1994 National Finals Rodeo was underway after two weeks

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of fierce competition among the sport’s elite athletes. Each of them was playing for the Las Vegas jackpot. They had come to the big show with one thing in mind, to cash in on a year of eating dirt in towns and hamlet’s across the nation, sometimes working for chump change at best. Even the elite have a bad go round sometimes. But none had one worse than Brent

Thurman that night. He lay in the turf with his back to Polhamus, near where hooves of a 2,000 pound bull had cut furrows in the soft sod. One of those hooves had missed the dirt and landed on the back of the cowboy’s head. Polhamus and ten time announcer of the year Randy Corley, his announcing partner that tragic day, faced a rodeo announcer’s greatest challenge. He had to calm the 18,000 strong

crowd, while a competitor lay gravely wounded before them. He had known Thurman from his college days, as well as the rough stock rider’s mother and family. The two were friends. Polhamus looked across the arena into the face of bull rider Aaron Semas standing on the bucking chutes. He read concern, fear, and anguish. One look at the grief on his friend’s face across the arena told the announcer what he needed to gently convey as the crack Justin Sports Medicine Team futilely worked to save Thurman’s life. “I looked into Aaron’s face and could see we had lost a cowboy,” Boyd recalls. “To this day I still get that sick feeling on the inside of my stomach.” It is at times like these that the rodeo announcer reaches his highest calling because he must not only calm the crowd, but also explain a misunderstood sport to the thousands of novices that come to these events once a year. “We talked about Brent, we talked about the guy that was laying on the arena floor,” he remembers Despite the rough and tumble world of professional rodeo, an astonishingly low number of rodeo athletes and animals actually get hurt. In fact, the percentage of players to injuries is actually higher in the NFL. Whether it’s a cowboy that’s hurt, or an animal, it’s always the announcer’s job to bring calm to chaos. Polhamus recalls the horror of a horse breaking its leg at the Denver rodeo one year. “You could hear the high pitched screams of mothers as the horse went around the arena,” he says. Again, Polhamus was faced with calming the crowd. “You had to get their attention,” he says. “I just told everyone, ‘Listen, settle down!” “People just went ‘what did he just say to me?” he remembers. “The horse was running around with a broken leg, but once I told them to settle down they did it.” Polhamus knows the power of his voice when it comes to crowd control. It surely provides a comfort zone for rodeo producers who hire him from coast to coast knowing that if catastrophe happens they have a master on the microphone who can quickly get things under control. “At that point in time people are wanting to be comforted,” Polhamus says, “but they are not in the condition to be comforted, so the first thing you’ve got to do is win their attention. Once you do that, and you pull from what has happened to the horse as in Denver, and what you want them to know what has happened, then all of a sudden you can start speaking in much more soothing tones and talking about

Polhomus - Con’t. on pg. 35

Raise the Baton, Lift the Reins

By Seven Long

There is a profound similarity between a symphony conductor and a horse trainer doing ground work. Both use body language to bring their will to bear on another being. To the conductor, he conveys to the musician the precise instruction to work in harmony with as many as a hundred other equally talented egomaniacs each of whom believe their skill is at least equal to the others in the room. His only tool is a pencil thin baton. The horse trainer uses his body, facial gestures, and movement to convey his desires to an animal whose natural instinct is to run from him. His only tool is a rope and whip at best. Don Hutson 58, is both a symphonic conductor (the Conroe Symphony Orchestra) and lifelong horseman. But he leads both man and horse to follow what he wills – and teaches a little along the way. KATY – Renaissance man is the term that jumps to the fore when Don Hutson comes to mind. He is a cowboy, a PhD, a hard driving businessman, a Colorado hunting guide, and now an equine clinician who is bringing his principals to educators and to corporate America. At the core of it is his belief that failure is finding a mistake and going on past it before you fix the mistake. Hutson has been riding horses for 40 years, starting as a kid growing up in Lufkin. L i k e most men his age who grew up around horses in Texas, he followed the old “cowboy way” which was often harsh and 180 degrees opposite today’s concept of natural horsemanship that most enlightened horse people use. Growing up, horses were something to be

Hutson - Con’t. on pg. 40

28 TEXAS HORSE TALK - October 2008



Dear Jessica, I’m so excited! After twenty years of boarding, I have my own place! The fences are up, the gates will be hung tomorrow, and my horses arrive next Monday. But now I am starting to realize just how much I don’t know. We have tried to make our place as safe as possible, doing things that we learned at boarding barns and following recommendations from your books and HORSE-SENSE. But since I’m going to be totally responsible for my own horses, I need to be prepared in case a horse gets hurt or sick. My husband and I both work away from home, so the horses will be alone a lot of the

30 TEXAS HORSE TALK - October 2008

time. My neighbor is a stay-at-home Mom. She likes horses. Their field is right next to her house and she is willing to keep an eye on them for me. But she doesn’t actually know anything about looking after or handling horses, never mind helping in an emergency. What can I tell her to look for, and what should she do if she notices anything wrong?


How wonderful that you’re finally able to have your horses on your own property - and how lovely to have a neighbor who is always at home and will keep an eye on your horses.

Sooner or later, someone will have to deal with some kind of emergency. Cuts, kicks, colic, runny noses, swollen eyes – all sorts of problems can occur even when a few quiet, friendly horses share a large, safe pasture. Many emergencies can be “headed off” as long as the humans on the property (or next door) know what to look for and can recognize serious or potentially serious problems and respond appropriately and quickly. Even something as basic as calling the vet isn’t as simple as it seems. You probably have your vet’s number memorized; you probably have him on speed-dial. But your neighbor doesn’t. So here’s how to begin protecting your horses: Make large cards (laminate them with clear, adhesive shelf-lining material) and tape or pin them up near every telephone in your house and barn - and in your neighbor’s house, too (she should have one by every telephone). On the cards, print or type your name and address and the numbers for your home phone and cell phone, your work phone, and your husband’s work phone and cell phone. Then print “VETERINARIAN” and your veterinarian’s name and phone number(s) – he may have one for appointments and another for emergencies. List at least one other veterinarian’s name and number(s), so that a back-up vet can be called if yours is unavailable. Are you near a major equine veterinary clinic? Include that name and number too. At the bottom or on the back of the card, write clear directions to your farm from the vet clinic and from the nearest highway, using road numbers and names and giving compass directions (“turn North” and “turn South” are better than “turn right” or “turn left). Sometimes people arrive from another direction, or change their route because of local conditions (accident/roadblock/road repair crew/bridge out, etc.), but if they know that your farm is 3 miles north of Road X and five miles east of Road Z, they’ll be able to find you. If you have “horsey” friends in the area, add their names and numbers to the list under “help while waiting for the vet”. Walk your neighbor through your house and barn and show her where to find your telephones and your first-aid kit. Be sure that anyone who may be called to help, from your husband to your best friend five miles away, can find the first-aid kit. Your first-aid kit can be simple: An ordinary plastic box with a snug-fitting lid will do. Put it near the barn phone; use sticky tape to mark a big red cross on the lid. Begin with basics: Scissors, saline solution, four-by-four gauze pads, and some rolls of self-stick cotton gauze. Include a thermometer with string and clip attached. You’ll find pages of first-aid materials - clippers, surgical scrub, sponges, various types of scissors, bandages, rolls of sheet

ton, adhesive tape, duct tape, medications, wound treatments, etc. – in equine vet-supply catalogues. Ask your vet what he’d like you to keep in your first-aid kit. Some things should be left out: Peroxide, for instance. Use saline solution instead. It can be tempting to pour hydrogen peroxide over a wound. We have childhood memories of Grandma “cleaning” our own cuts and skinned knees, and the bubbles make us feel that we’re doing something useful. But peroxide is harsh and destructive to injured tissues, and can damage the edges of a wound to the point where it can’t be sutured. Plain water is better than peroxide, but plain water applied to an open wound will sting and can cause the horse to jump around. Saline solution is the safest and least painful option. Medications and ointments designed for specific injuries are best left unused until the vet arrives, or at least until you’ve talked with the vet. Some products can make the vet’s initial diagnosis difficult and may interfere with treatment. Other products meant for specific injuries can cause more harm if used on other injuries. First Aid means just that – it’s what you do first to keep the horse alive and in as good shape as possible until the vet arrives. If the horse is bleeding badly, use a pressure bandage to stop the bleeding if you can. If the horse is suffering from the sun and/or flies, get the horse into the shade. It’s generally safe to use saline to clean out a wound to get a better look at it, but you may not even need to do this. If the vet is on his way and the wound is crusted and dirty, he’ll want to clean it out anyway; if the vet is on his way and the wound is actively bleeding, it’s probably reasonably clean - and your priority is to stop the bleeding. You are lucky to have a willing neighbor, but remember that stay-at-home Moms are usually busy keeping up with stay-at-home small children. She may not have much time to spend checking on or helping your horses. If she’s willing to glance into the pasture occasionally during the day, notice any really obvious problems, and call you and the vet, that may be all the help you can reasonably expect from her. Introduce her to your horses; let her see how they look and behave when they are normal and healthy. She’s unlikely to notice abnormal behavior and appearance unless she’s familiar with normal behavior and appearance. Explain about rolling (some rolling is normal, constant rolling could mean colic, constant rolling and a sweaty horse almost certainly means colic), explain that a horse stamping at flies is normal but a horse biting at its own sides is not normal, explain that a swollen and/or closed eye is a reason to call the vet right away. If she’s likely

Horse Sense - Con’t. on pg. 41 October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


HIDDEN TALENTS, NEWS AND A BAD TOE A lot of cutting horse trainers have hidden talents and if you’d like to see cutting Tim Frasier’s check him out on www.YouTube NCHA Trainers’ Music Video. Not only will you hear a great voice and a good song, you’ll see some cute snapshots of life around the Fraser Ranch, which, if you know Tim, includes a lot of buffalo. Tim and his wife Rhonda, who no doubt put the video together, live in Gainesville. Tracy Farris, wife of cutting horse trainer Mitch Farris of Midway, has taken on a new job. Tracy has taken over the secretarial duties of the Lone Star Cutting Horse Association, whose home is in Athens. She’ll be filling the shoes of past secretary Teri Lynne Waggoner who recently moved to Austin. And speaking of new jobs, have you visited the online edition of the Quarter Horse News lately? If not, then you’re missing a new blog

that editor Katie Tims is writing. The online address is and you’ll find blogs in the top left corner. Something else you might want to watch is the NCHA DVD titled “Inside the Judges Stand 2” available at the NCHA office. Also, if you’re an NCHA member, you need to be watching that mailbox! Arriving soon will be the new “Inside the Judges Stand” video, which is being mailed to all current NCHA members. Photographer Megan Parks, who has done some fantastic photography for cutting horse people should have her new web site for Megan Parks Photography up and running by the time you read this. It features new images and information as well as an easy to use client side. Megan has even added a blog, complete with a little bit of photography, tips and tricks and news from Texas sprinkled with some ranch life humor. Check it out at No doubt about it; Megan, is winning the race on getting the websites completed. Our new www.Nettles website may – or may not ­– be up by the time you read this…but I’m trying! A big bunch of kudos to the NCHA staff who last month coaxed employee Sandy Sokol to the office on the pretense of business. In reality, though, it was Sandy’s birthday and they surprised her with a wonderful party. Sandy, who was secretary at the Brenham Bluebonnet Cutting Horse Association before joining the NCHA staff, has been out of the office since June when she was hospitalized with abdominal problems that led to finding a return of breast cancer – this time in her stomach. In August she also had a malignant lymph node near her eye removed and is supposed to take radiation for that. Right now the radiation machine is broken! Somewhere around the first of October she will undergo another

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scan to reassess her present treatment. She recently missed a round of chemo due to low blood count but was given two pints of blood and of course that helped her feel better. A little encouragement from you would probably be a ray of sunshine. Sandy’s address is 312 Bluebonnet, Saginaw, Tx., 76179. Another one under the weather is past NCHA President Jim Reno of Kerrville. Jim has struggled with rheumatoid arthritis for decades. These past several years he has had a myriad of health problems added, including the need for a defibrillator. In July Reno developed problems with his big toe that only worsened. No matter the care. Jim and his wife Mary Jo, who were in Ruidoso at the time, returned to Kerrville immediately after a Ruidoso doctor expressed serious concern and indeed, tests with his Kerrville doctor revealed a bone infection. On Monday, August 4 the toe was amputated. For awhile his post surgery recovery progressed normally, but then approximately two weeks into that recovery, Jim developed a form of pneumonia, landing him back in the hospital. Because of his numerous health complications definitive tests to determine the kind of pneumonia were not possible. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he also suffered a light stroke. Needless to say, it’s been a rough road. Because of the rheumatoid arthritis, the toe has to completely heal before he can put weight on his foot. As we go to press, he has improved enough to be moved to Kerrville Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center but has several weeks to go before he will be able to go home. Drop your cards to him at their home address, which is P.O. Box 291820, Kerrville, Tx., 78029. Then on the home front, have I ever been miserable! As we go to press, the shingles, a viral infection of the nerve roots have been my around-the-clock partner for 15 days now and unfortunately, they aren’t showing any signs of leaving. If you’ve never had them, Shingles are painful and are accompanied with headaches, sensitivity to light and a blistering rash in the area supplied by the affected nerves. The info says a weakened immune system, stress and fatigue can cause Shingles. Now who in the horse business would ever have that?? If you’ve never had the shingles, be happy and go get the vaccination now available– no, I didn’t know about it. You now know, though, and I highly recommend you get that shot!

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


Horse Bites - Con’t. from pg. 21 ing into and through the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature. Knox’s track record includes two notable legislative success stories. While working for the Texas Horse Racing Association, he was in the forefront of efforts leading to the passage of the pari-mutuel bill and referendum in the mid-1980s. After pari-mutuels became legal, Knox aligned his talents with efforts to pass the lottery and once again he was in the win column. Texas HORSE also hired Val Clark to serve as spokesperson for the umbrella organization that represents a broad cross-section of groups involved in racing, shows and events. She has gained the respect and admiration of planners and participants alike in recent years while serving as manager and producer of the Texas Classic Horse Show in Fort Worth and also during a 3-year stint as director of shows for the Texas Quarter Horse Association. Texas HORSE also voted to add two new organization members, Texas Horsemen’s Partnership and Texas Paint Horse Breeders Association, to its original six founding members, American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, Texas Arabian Breeders Association, Texas Quarter Horse Association and Texas Thoroughbred Association. HHHHH Fort Worth Stock Show Welcomes Mustang Magic Lucky 13 Mustangs to be trained for January competition Bertram – The world-renowned Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo will open its arenas to one of the most unconventional competitions in its more than 113-year history as it welcomes Mustang Magic January 23 and 24. Mustang Magic, developed from the highly successful Extreme Mustang Makeover competitions, will debut at the Stock Show and feature 13 trainers from across the country that have already shown their mettle as mustang trainers. The trainers are as unique as the horses they are training with stories ranging from an Arizona beauty queen to a former inmate who changed his life in the course of training mustangs. Produced by the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Mustang Magic will feature Chase Dodd of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., Jonathan “J-Dub” Weisiger of Fort Worth, Cindy Branham of Auburn, Kan., Bill Lopez of Norman, Okla., Weldon Hawley of Vernon, Tex., Suzanne Myers, PhD, of Port Matilda, Penn., Wylene Wilson of Queen Creek, Ariz., Dave Schaffner of Lampasas, Tex., Roeliff Annon, La Villita, NM, Ken Schwab of Hutto, Tex., Joe Misner of Johnson Valley, Calif., Holly Davis of Gainesville, Tex., and Lonnie Aragon, Colorado Springs, Colo.

34 TEXAS HORSE TALK - October 2008

Polhomus - Con’t. from pg. 27

the rarity of the incidents and how this is the exception, not the rule. Even as sad as it is, you have to understand that this moment happens so rarely it leaves you with an absolute sick feeling just like if your pet was hurt.” Then Polhamus makes the tragedy that just happened before the crowd’s eyes personal, touching the crowd as individuals. “We are going to do what you would do,” he tells the audience. “We’re going to capture the animal, get the veterinarians to it, sedate it and determine if it is going to have a productive life or whether it is going to live in pain.” The crowd then knows Boyd is talking humane euthanasia. What’s more, he has brought them to the point of view that this is the best outcome for the animal. “You start identifying with the audience on a plane that is familiar to them, they identify with you, they trust you, they see with their eyes that the vets are coming out there. When those situations happen they are ugly, but thank God they are rare.” “You then talk about them having a pet that they love get hurt, and how they feel about it, then you talk about how that’s how everyone of us feels about this horse.” Yet despite all of Polhamus’s best efforts, the issue of hurt animals is a challenge. Animal rights activists dog rodeo and the close family of athletes and support personnel that make up the sport from San Francisco to Fort Worth, from Calgary to Bandera, and from Denver to Stephenville. Polhamus knows their tactics first hand. He frequently falls victim to lies, distortion, and outright meanness when hostile videos are placed with no oversight or screening for accuracy on outlets such as You Tube and other Internet sites. One of the noisiest of the groups that target rodeo is SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) founded by Steve Hindi, a former hunter who claims to have had an epiphany at a long ago pigeon shoot that changed his life from one of bloodlust to an obsession to protect animals of any kind from man. The tiny group, based in Geneva, Illinois, makes a habit of video

Polhomus - Con’t. on pg. 36

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


Polhomus - Con’t. from pg. 35 taping what they purport to be cruelty at rodeos, including the NFR. In particular, they decry the use of cattle prods, despite the fact that the device is a necessary tool for moving large animals from place to place on a ranch. “I have to deal with him all the time,” Polhamus says of Hindi. “He takes my words out of context. The operative word there is fanatic. My personal opinion is that he is exploiting rodeo for his own personal profit. He asks people to send him money, and what he does with the money they send him, he then he turns around and makes these inflammatory videos that are not based in fact, that are based in hyperbole, and then he tries with inflamed emotions to use those videos to get people to go ahead and give him more money.” Polhamus claims alleged extremists such as Hindi are beyond redemption because they won’t listen to reason, or rodeo’s arguments that the sport is humane. “If you can have a logical conversation with a person about the industry, I don’t care if they are tie down roping calves or bulls, the same with race horses, the same with any other animal that is used in a professional sport, you’ll win because the logic is on your side.” Polhamus shows no quarter to the analytical abilities of fringe animal rights activists. “It is emotion based, and emotion based only,” he says. “There’s fanaticism there that will not allow logic or reason to enter the conversation. The truth of the matter is that they don’t even want ranches.” There is truth to what the announcer says. Some animal rights groups support a vegan agenda that would eliminate meat from the diet of man. These groups are at their most vocal around livestock shows and rodeos. But one device more than any other draws the ire of groups such as SHARK, and he says that is not only unfair, but grossly inaccurate as well since the prods are a necessary and welcome part of the cowboy’s very limited number of tools for moving large animals. Polhamus cites the use of cattle prods in veterinary medicine to destroy the argument that they shouldn’t be used in rodeo. “Why would they say it’s okay to use a cattle prod to get a cow into a chute to doctor him, but it’s not okay to move a cow into a chute to rope him?” Polhamus cites controlled studies done on rodeo stock and farm and ranch animals comparing health and lifespan showing no differences between the two groups. “We watch them rope, and 999 out of 1,000 calves get up and walk out of the arena,” he says. “The animal rights activists are guilty of equating the human condition to the animal condition. Any study of science will show you that a calf that weighs 300 pounds doesn’t have nearly as many nerve endings on its skin as we do. It’s skin is leather covered with a thick, thick, bed of hair. They aren’t built the same way as we are. They don’t have the same neural structures at all.” “But they say, ‘that would hurt me, so therefore it must also hurt the calf.” Talking about such issues as animal cruelty is a far cry from the things Boyd Polhamus originally studied to talk about. He says his career as a rodeo announcer wasn’t planned. “It was an accident that was meant to happen,” he says. In college, Polhamus fancied himself a roper and worked the college rodeo circuit as a competitor, although with little success. What he was successful at was entertaining his fellow cowboys behind the chutes. Polhamus had carved out a career path in speech communication, earning a BA from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State. College) didn’t prepare him to be a clown behind the chutes for his fellow cowboys. That came naturally. During a moment of boredom at a rodeo in Uvalde, Boyd Polhamus

36 TEXAS HORSE TALK - October 2008

began mimicking a rodeo announcer as each contestant took his place on the back of a horse or bull, much to the amusement of his pals. “I was pretending in the practice pen and I would say, ‘Next up in the bull ridin’ is Danny Pish, and if he holds onto this bull like he did the blond at the bar last night it’s rode.’ I was just making things up about my buddies.” “My coaches heard me,” he remembers. “They said ‘You ought to go announce the college rodeo.” “They obviously said that because they had seen me ride and rope,” Polhamus says, the self deprecating humor ever present when he describes his own rodeo abilities, or lack of them. “They determined, this boy ain’t going to be a big point maker for the team,” he laughs. He says his coaches were thinking, “Maybe we can get our scholarship money back out of him some way.” Polhamus announced college rodeos and actually got paid for it. He eventually earned a PRCA card in 1986 at the age of 19 with the help of Neil Gay of the Mesquite Rodeo. The apprenticeship of a top professional had begun. He estimates that since getting his card, he has called in the neighborhood of 2,200 performances, most of them from the back of a horse. Today, he rides Rolex, a survivor of West Nile Virus. The two have worked arenas together for two-and-a-half years. Watching the partnership between man and horse in the arena is akin to seeing the inner workings of a Swiss watch as the gears mesh. Polhamus seldom puts his hands on the reins as he works, balancing a microphone in one hand and a clipboard containing the event roster of the rodeo he is calling in the other. Rolex mostly does his work through leg signals, or from his own knowledge of where he needs to take Polhamus in the arena at a particular time during a particular event. “He’s a remarkable horse,” Polhamus says. “I do use reins a little bit, but he is really good responding to feet. I have had people go out into the arena when I was announcing and take the headstall and the reins completely off him and because he’s so familiar with my job, if I take him to a fence and I give him a little tickle with the spur, he’ll hug the rail of the fence. If I give him a spur and lope him, he’ll just lope across the arena to the other fence. If I sit in the middle of the arena and a buckin’ horse goes by me, he’ll tail the buckin’ horse.” Polhamus was given the horse by Johnny Philipp after the animal suffered West Nile Virus and the announcer took him home to nurse back to health. When he brought the horse back, Phillip saw the improvement and gave Polhamus the horse on the spot. “I get goose bumps still thinking about how that man gave me that horse, that way,” Polhamus says. Philipp had once priced the horse to the announcer at more than $30,000. Boyd Polhamus is at the peak of his game. He contracts to call some of the biggest and most important rodeos in the world, including the NFR which he has done 11 times with his mentor, ProRodeo Hall of Fame announcer Bob Tallman. The two do 30 to 40 shows together each year. They are best friends, frequently calling each other two to three times a day. And after being nominated for announcer of the year 12 times, Boyd finally won the coveted honor. He spends 220 nights a year sleeping in the living quarters of his Bloomer trailer, equipped with a roll top desk and acknowledges that living on the road presents its own challenges. “But all in all, I’d still rather do this than come home at 5 o’clock every afternoon after seeing the same people I’ve worked with for the last 22 years,” he says. “I want to do this as long as I love it and as long as people will have me. When it gets to the point that it’s not fun for me anymore I’m probably going to lose jobs. But I’m 43-years-old and I certainly see another 20 years of this.”

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


YOU HAVE TO ASK YOUR HORSE By Gary M. Douglas When I was 30, I got a horse because nobody else would ride him. Nobody else would get on this horse, but because of knowing the zone, and recognizing the communication was telepathic I was able to ride the horse. His previous owner said to me ,“Okay this horse is for sale, if you want that one, go down and do that.” (She wanted me to ride that horse). So I walked down and his tail was a tangled mess. I stood behind him and used the information that I had learned, the techniques I had learned with Saddlebreds, to pick his tail, taking one hair at a time and pulling it out until you have a fluffy and beautiful tail and you don’t lose any of the hair. I’m standing there and every time he starts to pick up one of his feet I pushed my finger against his butt and say, “No,” and I would think, “Put your foot down.” Then I would keep doing it, and keep doing it, and the woman who had him up for sale walked by about five times, and each time she looks at me very strangely. When I finally finished and say, “Wow, what a nice horse.” She says, “That’s the first time I have not seen him kick somebody’s head off. Every time you touch that horse on the rear and they shoe him or trim his feet he kicks people.” He never tried to kick anybody after that because what I had done was be present with him and allow him to understand that this was not a fear situation and I wasn’t going to do

anything to him, I was just going to ask him to put down his foot. One of the things I’ve learned over time if you ask a horse to do something for you they will give it to you. One of the things I have done as I have gotten older is to ask the horse before I get on, “Will you take care of me?” If the horse turns around and looks at me like, “Are you kidding?” I know not to get on that horse. Ninety percent of the horses that you

will ever get on, if you ask them if they will take care of you, they will. You ask a horse before you get on, you don’t just automatically assume you can because you can think that you’re the expert. Horses know, and they know when you don’t ask, and when you don’t ask, they don’t do things for you. Once I got on the aforementioned horse and I rode him and I rode him into the field. He could out run any horse there. He could also canter at the smallest pace I’d ever encountered. An amazing horse! and I thought, “Wow, I’ve found the horse of my dreams.” I bought him and I took him back home with me to Santa Barbara. I took him out on rides and every time I got on him I thought I was getting on a keg of dynamite because he always felt like he was just about to break in two and buck with me. He always felt like he was wound up and ready to go. I rode him for a number of years. At the time I got him he was about twelve. About six years later when he was eighteen, I decided, (I didn’t ask, by the way), that he was old enough that I should be able to ride him bareback. I hopped on him bare back and went for a ride and he bucked me off and planted my head into the ground. I had to walk five miles home. You know it’s not a good idea to decide that your horse is finally old enough. The problem is he didn’t know he was old enough. In fact, years

Gary Douglas - Con’t. on pg. 49

38 TEXAS HORSE TALK - October 2008

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October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


Hutson - Con’t. from pg. 28 used, not beings to be loved In Hutson’s case a horse was a necessity, not a luxury. “I rode horses as a kid so I didn’t have to walk” he remembers. Horses have been a refuge for him, an escape from his world as a hard driving businessman and the CEO of Regal Headwear, a baseball cap company where he ran his company as a self described “jerk.” There, he would leave the office and go out and ride just to unwind. His epiphany began simply enough. “I was tired of tie downs,” he remembers. He removed the uncomfortable restraints from his horse and slowed down his method. “The slower I got, the faster the horses got there, the faster they learned,” he says. “It thought to myself, what if I had done this with my employees.” Hutson is nothing if not smart. He began to utilize what he was learning from his horse with his underlings at the baseball cap company. “I learned if you took the same approach to teaching and working with employees you get with respect, with developing partnership, everything and everybody started working better.” What he had learned had made an enormous difference in Hutson’s life as he refined and redirected his management style from what he was learning from his horse. Finally, it moved him to make a complete change in his life and profession. He sold the company and bought a small ranch near Hempstead. Not being one to sit still, he re-directed his energy toward teaching successful methods in life utilizing a horse as an instructional tool. Hutson was quietly developing and refining a clinic which would bring what he had done with his own employees to the public. “I thought the whole world was going downhill,” he says. “I wanted to make a difference – because I felt that I could.” Hutson found his first target audience, teachers. It was trial and error for him at first as he developed his program. In the beginning there were no takers. He was much like the novice street corner preacher practicing his sermons as nobody listened. Hutson booked a booth at the Texas Secondary School Principal’s Association. The response was encouraging but underwhelming. He got a good response from the administrators, but nobody booked a clinic. Next he produced an amateur promotional video. Eventually, gigs began to come in. All the while, the horseman was indulging his second passion, conducting symphony orchestras. His favorite works, “The Requiem” by Giuseppi Verde and the “St. John Passion” of J.S. Bach. Asked what his favorite work to conduct is between the two monumental efforts, Hutson admits that he couldn’t decide so in a concert both would have to be performed. “It would be a very long program,” he admits. Hutson believes the American education system is flawed and that approaches toward making it work often get side tracked. “The focus is so much on the problem rather than on fixing the problem,” he says. The first thing needed is to recognize the issues facing educators. There he returns to wisdom learned from the back of a horse by hard men working long days. “I heard an old cowboy say, ‘Boy, if you can’t define it, you can’t be it.” The goal of being it is Hutson’s enduring obsession as a renaissance man. “Failure is not an option,” he says. “Failure is finding a mistake and going on past it before you fix the mistake.” The cowboy, hunting guide, businessman, symphony conductor, and doctor of music arts is now moving beyond teachers to the corpo-

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rate world, using horses to teach hard nosed businessmen, like he once was, to slow down and have patience. After all, it was a horse that taught him to know the real world difference between the musical terms largo and allegretto and take time to fix problems rather than just cursing them and then moving on to another task. There is always time to enjoy the fun. That’s why he can move past the heavy liturgical works of Bach and Verdi to the essential American composer Aaron Copeland to listen to his favorite cowboy music, the ballet “Rodeo.” Deep within that work is a foot stomping, thigh slapping, cowboy hat wearing movement called Hoedown. You see, Hutson believes there is always time for fun too.

Horse Sense - Con’t. from pg. 30 to want to feed your horses treats, show her how to do it safely (pieces of apple instead of a whole apple, carrots cut into sticks, not chunks, use the flat of your hand, don’t hold treats with your fingers, etc.). Explain that treats can make horses nippy and that you would prefer to be there when treats are fed. Explain about colic, feed, and why grass clippings should never be fed to horses - it’s better to explain this before it happens. It might seem very natural to your neighbour that since horses eat grass (true) it would be a good idea to dump grass clippings over the fence whenever she mows her lawn (not true). As usual, prevention is better than cure. Don’t count on hands-on first-aid help from someone who is unfamiliar with horses. People who aren’t used to handling horses can find it scary, intimidating, and sometimes impossible just to catch and halter a horse, let alone tie and medicate or bandage that horse. If your neighbor wants to learn about horses and is willing to spend time learning from you, that’s great, but if not, encourage her to make full use of that telephone information card whenever she has any doubts about your horses’ health and safety. Explain that you would always rather be called than not, that you would rather have your vet called than not, and that you would much rather pay for a few unnecessary vet visits than not have the vet called out when needed. Don’t make her feel that she needs to be chasing your injured horse around the field with a child tucked under each arm! A nervous, worried human in a hurry will be more useful on the telephone than in the pasture. If she makes a mistake, calls the vet at the wrong time, or calls the wrong vet first, remember that she is doing this to help you, and that as she isn’t a horse-person, she isn’t going to be sure of herself. The first time you look after your neighbor’s children for her, as you undoubtedly will at some point, you are going to experience all of those same doubts and worries and fears about “What’s normal? Is this okay? Should I be worried? Should I call her? Should I call the doctor?” Your neighbor won’t expect you to become a pediatrician or even an experienced Mom just because you’re looking after her kids; you shouldn’t expect her to become a vet or an experienced horse-owner just because she’s keeping an eye on your horses. The more she learns, the better off your horses will be, but don’t push – just appreciate what she can do and what she is willing to do. With any luck, your horses will be healthy and happy in their new home, and your first-aid kit and laminated telephone cards will collect a lot of dust – but you are very wise to have them readily available in case they are needed.

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


Horse Laughs by Elizabeth Kopplow

Perception It seems this summer has been extra long and extra hot. This feeling is most pronounced when I clean stalls and haul hay and am covered in sweat and dust. I try and get the heaviest work done early in the day when it is a bit cooler, but then there does not seem to be enough left of that precious cooler morning time to get as many horses worked as I would like. The tree trimming, fence building, trough scrubbing, manure spreading, hay hauling, trailer and barn cleaning are all chores that are never really done. You may think you have one of these tasks completed, but sure enough and with complete certainty, I can tell you that it is only a matter of time before you will be repeating them. Remember the movie Groundhog Day ? The ultimate in Déjà Vue where the same day is repeated over and over again, that is what horse owners are destined to live. The hay goes in one end, requiring an enormous amount of human sweat and effort to get the hay close to our horse’s mouth through fertilizing, cutting, bailing, hauling and stacking and then how are we rewarded? With yet another task of following our horses around with a

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wheelbarrow and picking up the *end* result, and then piling or spreading it. Fence building follows a similar schedule, we construct, they destruct. Tree trimming, you guessed it, we trim and Mother Nature replaces the removed limbs with thousands of smaller ones that take twice as long to trim. I won’t even mention cleaning horse troughs since I have several who love to put their feet in and splash and for some reason are most attracted to the trough after I have just scrubbed it and they are carrying a pound of packed earth in each hoof. I spent a week at the Fox Trotter Celebration in September. A whole week with no horse related work because I do not bring any horses, I go as a vacation. There are classes to watch, auctions to attend, open houses at nearby farms. No cooking, no cleaning just great conversation with friends and great horses to watch. After two days I was asking if anybody needed help working their horses, including moving hay and cleaning stalls. As these words emerged from my mouth I was faced with the alarming fact that I even missed all the tedious everyday tasks that are associated with horse ownership. Of course I missed

the sight of the horses running across the pasture or standing in groups mutual grooming. Who wouldn’t miss those sights, they are even made into posters and calendars. But I have yet to see a calendar featuring barn chores, one where November would feature a cold individual pushing a wheelbarrow overloaded with manure, steam rising, mingling with the human’s breath. Glamorous work ? Hardly, but still when horses are your passion, even the everyday maintenance required to keep these wonderful creatures healthy and working, is rewarding. It is all in how you look at your day, all about perception.

Elizabeth Kopplow

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October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK




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October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK



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October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


The Third Time is Definitely a Charm! Eeltsje F. & Nicole Glusenkamp take 10th in the US at the 2008 USEF Developing Horse National Championships held September 11th -14th in Lexington, Kentucky!







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48 TEXAS HORSE TALK - October 2008

For the third year in a row, Nicole GlusenKamp of Westmanton Stables in Castle Rock, Colorado & Eeltsje F., a 7 year old Friesian Stallion have made both the cut and the trek from Colorado to Kentucky. This time for the 2008 “USEF National Developing Horse Championships” held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The competition had an auspicious beginning for the pair with Eeltsje F., being awarded the 2008 “Best Turned Out Horse” for the Qualifying Jog, which included all of the horses from both the Young Horse and the Developing Horse Championships. “Nicole has such a genuine love for “Bob” (Eeltsje’s much easier to pronounce nickname!) and she takes such pride in his training and care that I was not at all surprised that she had him groomed and braided to the highest standard,” says Paula Marsh of Wyning Edge Friesians, LLC based in Boerne, Texas and owner of Eeltsje F. “All of the horses were absolutely beautiful, but our Friesian is without a doubt the proverbial “horse of a different color” here, so we were very honored to have been chosen and are very excited for the rest of the competition.” Eeltsje F. is an FPS Ster Friesian Stallion by Fabe 348 out of Iduna, StarPreferent. Imported by Paula Marsh in 2005 and undefeated in dressage in Holland, Eeltsje is the first and only Friesian ever to compete in both the USDF Young Horse Championships and the USEF National Developing Horse Championships. He and Nicole are opening doors for the Friesian breed and proving that the Friesians can and do win in the upper levels of open dressage competition. “We at Wyning Edge Friesians have been so fortunate with this horse,” Paula states. “He moves like a dream and that translates into the successes we are seeing with him at the Championship levels. It will be very exciting to add him to our Pure and Crossbreeding program this coming spring.” As the competition progressed, Nicole and Eeltsje continued to move up in the rankings. Despite soaring temperatures and high humidity during Saturday’s afternoon ride, they placed 11th. “You know, it’s hard for a big black horse of this size and age to compete in temperatures and humidity like this, especially at the higher levels with this degree of difficulty. In Colorado, we don’t get days like this so he’s not used to it at all. Me either for that matter!” stated Nicole. “He is so willing though, that no matter the conditions, he gives me all he has. I just love this horse!” Nicole had no idea how much her statement would be put to the test the following day for the Championship finals when the remains of Hurricane Ike blew into the area. The morning began with a nice cooling breeze that by lunchtime had turned into a roaring windstorm. Soon winds were

gusting in excess of 50 mph, branches were breaking, tents and tablecloths flapping without mercy and the Kentucky Horse Park lost all power…yet the show went on. “I couldn’t believe how well these young horses and their riders performed with howling winds, chairs blowing over, debris flying into the rings and then the rings themselves blowing in at their feet! It was very impressive and they should all be very proud of making it through that! I couldn’t imagine riding, much less competing with all of that going on! Very scary!” says Paula. Nicole and Eeltsje were the second to last to compete and by that time, the storm was at its zenith. During the warm-up, one spectator yelled to Nicole not to get blown over, at which she replied with a laugh “Us, you’ve got to be kidding, we’re too heavy!” At one point during their ride, the stand holding the letter E blew over into the ring just as they came to it, but with just a little jog over and around, Eeltsje kept his head into the wind and forged on. Their composure and resolve under very difficult circumstances yielded a well-earned 10th place finish in the Championship final and Paula states fondly, “To see Nicole and Bob work so hard to reach this goal and to then have them place 10th in the Nation at the FEI Prix St. Georges level is deeply rewarding for us all.” When asked about what they would take away from this year’s competition, Paula remarked, “Each year we are here, we see how much the quality of the program has improved, from the horses and riders to the event itself. The generous sponsors, Martel, Dutta and PSI offer us an opportunity to come together in an environment of positive support and allows us not only to compete against one another, but to compare, learn and re-evaluate. To have our horse compete alongside Olympians and World Equestrian Games Champions is truly exciting for us and quite an achievement. Plus, it’s really fun seeing everyone again and we have a great time! I hope we are lucky enough to make it again next year! You can contact Eeltsje’s owner, Paula Marsh at

Gary Douglas - Con’t. from pg. 38 later I still would get on him and I wouldn’t even consider the possibility of riding him bareback because he could jog all the way home nonstop every time, and if he wasn’t allowed to out walk every other horse around him he would make your life miserable. Ever have one of those horses that gets stiffer on you? They jog and it’s nice, sweet, and calm when they are happy. When they get unhappy with you, suddenly they become pile drivers and it feels like you are on something that is designed to jar your bones to pieces. This horse at 34 still had that capability. Don’t assume that because a horse is old that it’s okay to do the stupid things you shouldn’t do. Good riding to ya’ll. Gary Douglas is known worldwide as a phenomenal horse whisperer. Gary is the founder of Acess Energy Transformation, and facilitates seminars worldwide including Conscious Horse Conscious Rider.

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


Texas Hall of Fame

By Greg Melikov

Inducting Four of Racing’s Renowned Bill Allen was asked a quarter-century ago why he was putting up 12 percent of the $3 million purse to supplement his Wild Again in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic at Hollywood Park when the thoroughbred had no chance. Allen, who organized and led Black Chip Stables, promptly predicted his horse was going to win and he was betting on it, according to the Los Angeles Times. Wild Again went off at more than 31-1. The son of Icecapade led from the half-mile marker and won by a head in a rough-and-tumble race that prompted a stewards’ inquiry. Runner-up Gate Dancer was disqualified to third for interfering with favored Slew O’ Gold during the final furlong while the latter was advanced to second. Allen, from Clarendon has been involved in horse racing for four decades. He is among four Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductees that will be enshrined on Oct. 4 He also acquired the bond originally issued to finance Retama Park and his company, Call Now Inc., put together the management team that helped the track emerge from bankruptcy. Joe Straus Jr., a co-founder of Retama, follows his father into the Hall of Fame seven years later. Both were instrumental in bringing pari-mutuel racing to Texas in 1987 after a half-century absence. “We have a great group of honorees this year,” Straus said. “I feel

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very humbled to be included.” They include the late Dorothy Scharbauer Jr. who owned and raced ’87 Kentucky Derby-Preakness champ Alysheba, winner of the ’88 BC Classic. The Midland resident, who forf three years ago, and her husband, Clarence, owned 400-acre Valor Farms in Pilot Point where they bred thoroughbreds and quarter horses. Clarence Scharbauer became a member of the Hall of Fame in ’01. His wife’s father was Fred Turner Jr., who owned ’59 Derby winner Tomy Lee. Bobby Cox made a name for himself breeding and racing quarter horses. He won the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs with Brimmerton in ’04, when he was the American Quarter Horse Association Owner of the Year, and with Don’t Let Down in ’07. The Fort Worth area resident also is a member of the AQHA Hall of Fame. Allen Moehrig will receive the Texas Heritage Award for his achievements in the industry presented by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors. He co-bred quarter horse racing’s only Triple Crown winner, Special Effort, who swept the three Grade 1s at Ruidosa in ’81. “Allen Moehrig has been making quarter horse history for over 40 years in Texas,” Straus said. “What he and his wife, Jeanette, have done with a small breeding farm near Seguin is truly remarkable.” This year’s JoAnn Weber Distinguished Service Award, named for the first Hall of Fame executive director, goes to Mary Ruyle. She began as a bookkeeper in ’88 for the Texas Thoroughbred Association and rose through the ranks to business manager. Known as the ultimate team player, Ruyle earlier this year was presented the Allen Bogan Memorial Award as TTA Member of the Year. Veteran racing announcer Frank Mirahmadi will emcee the 10th Hall of Fame ceremony, which begins late that Saturday afternoon before a night of racing featuring six stakes races with purses totaling $500,000. The analyst for the TVG interactive racing network, who emceed the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association awards in 2003 and 2007, is a master impressionist of fellow announcers as well as celebrities calling races. Mirahmadi has a Retama connection. He sent out tapes after “calling my first two races at Hollywood Park in 1992. One of the people I sent a tape to was (Retama President) Bob Quigley, who was very supportive. He did say, however, that he needed to hear what my voice sounded like calling a race, not impressions.” So in ’94, Mirahmadi found Michael Wrona, who announced a short meeting at Player’s Bluegrass Downs in Paducah, KY. He was invited that fall to call three races on a Saturday and three more the following Sunday. “I was able to get two decent calls out of that visit,” Mirahmadi recalled, “included it on the tape I sent to Retama. Ironically, Wrona was hired at Retama. But that tape got me a four-day fill-in gig at Hialeah in 1995, which led to my appointment there in 1996.” The 40-year-old native of Los Angeles, who also was track announcer at Fair Grounds and Louisiana Downs as well as at various race meetings on the California Fair Circuit, is the new race caller at Turf Paradise this fall.

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I DISLIKE IKE Howdy, welcome to Cowboy Corner. Wow, what a storm. Ike will go down in history as a real mess maker. Was down in Brazoria County the other day and saw a sign “I dislike IKE.” The sign made me think of campaign slogan “I like IKE” when General Eisenhower was campaigning for president back in the 1950’s. Time sure flies when we’re havin’ fun. After every storm threat to the Brazos River Valley I have written about lessons

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learned. Ike’s high wind forecast was accurate and scattered debris is everywhere. Trailers, especially high profile models such as livestock trailers, are real susceptible to wind damage. All trailer pullers have been in crosswind situations at highway speeds, and can imagine 100 mph winds moving their trailers around. Several of our trailers have rear receiver hitches which allow hitching one trailer behind the other - handy, when hauling hay for example. So for the storm, an eighteen foot stock trailer got hitched to a twenty foot flat bed trailer, which got hitched to a tractor. Don’t forget to use the trailer safety chains and park away from trees and buildings. Another smaller stock trailer got chained to a shredder which was hitched to a tractor and a smaller cargo trailer chained to the stock trailer. All my “trailer trains” made the storm okay and I am plenty grateful. Soon as the clean-up started, unhitching was easy. Since portability is very important, I use medium size tractors of about 50 hp. These tractors, as all in the medium horsepower and smaller range, are equipped with a Cat-

egory 1 - three point hitch. Years ago I built a three point receiver hitch to be attached to a Category 1 drawbar available at the agricultural supply stores. The use of the tractor’s three point hitch allows for one person hitching and unhitching of bumper pull trailers. To use with gooseneck trailers, a 2 5/16 inch ball must be attached to the top of the hitch in the area of the adjustable connecting link. When the tractor three point hitch is used, raising the drawbar and the front of the trailer has a “dumping” affect by lowering the rear of the trailer. It’s handy, when handling tree limbs and branches, cleaning up from a storm. Think that cowboys knew before plumbers, that **it doesn’t run up hill, so “dumping” your livestock trailer will make it easier to clean. Guess we only have to know two more things to be plumbers, don’t lick your fingers and pay day is every Friday. Happy Trails!

October 2008 - TEXAS HORSE TALK


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Horseback Magazine October 2008  

Vol. 15 Number 10

Horseback Magazine October 2008  

Vol. 15 Number 10