Saturday, December 27, 2008

Horse Lovers Haven

In case you haven't met her yet, let me introduce you to Barb Berg. She owns Horse Lovers Haven in Longview. She is a very nice lady and is a good friend to our community. She is very willing to donate items for local raffles and has sponsored the Vancouver Rodeo Queen for several years. Take a little drive and go out to support her when you can.

Gigantic Clearance Sale
January 2nd thru January 10th
I will be going to the Denver Market to find new inventory which means this stuff’s got to go!
Everything will be marked 30% - 50% off!!!
All sales will be final.
Remember, trying to get new inventory in……
PS - this is NOT a going out of business sale.
Horse Lover’s Haven
1414 Commerce Avenue
Longview, W A 98632
(360) 636-4447
(877) 636-4447
New store hours 10 am to 6 pm

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Warmth of a Horse

When your day seems out of balance
and so many things go wrong ...
When people fight around you
and the clock drags on so long ...
When some folks act like children
and fill you with remorse ...
Go out into your pasture and wrap
your arms around your horse.
His gentle breath enfolds you as he
watches with those eyes ...
He may not have a PhD but he
is, oh so wise!
His head rests on your shoulder
you hug him good and tight ...
He puts your world in balance
and makes it seem all right.
Your tears will soon stop flowing,
the tension will be eased ...
The nonsense has been lifted.
You are quiet and at peace.
So when you need some balance
from the stresses in your day ...
The therapy you really need
Is out there eating hay!

~~ author unknown ~~

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Western Lifestyles

Kodi Schram and Pat Borland are teaming together to bring us furnishings and home décor at their new store, Western Lifestyles. It will feature the functional western art and furnishings of Pat Borland.

Many of you know Pat as a local horse shoer and blacksmith. What many of you may not know is that this man is incredibly talented and is making furnishing and décor pieces out of old barn wood (80 to 130 years old), horse shoes (of course), branding irons and nails. I have seen a few of his creations and they are top notched. As nice as anything I have seen online, in catalogs or the lifestyle stores in Houston and Dallas. No kidding folks, we have a true artist in our midst and we are fortunate to have the items available to us locally.

Some of the items that will be available are picture frames and frame and buckle holder combos and mirrors, coffee tables and kitchen tables, clear up to a 6 ft hutch. Custom work is also available. If you have an idea that he hasn’t thought of, bring it in and he’ll work with you to create your special piece.

They plan to eventually carry tack again. YEA!!

They will open their doors for the first time this Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00. Their hours thru Christmas will be everyday from 10:00 to 6:00. They will be closed on Sundays after Christmas.

The store is located at 7620 NE 219th Street in Battle Ground, WA. That is just East of Dollars Corner on SR 503. Their phone number is 360-687-2479.

It will be nice to have a local store again. Let's support them as best we can.

Great Christmas Activity

Live Nativity Play
presented by
The SW WA Jr. Backcountry Horsemen
Friday December 12th @ 7:00 PM

Son Rise Ranch
24003 N E 44th St. Vancouver, WA 98682

The ranch is located on the corner of 242nd Avenue. It is
half way between Orchards & Camas on SR 500 near MP13

This will be a 30 minute program followed by a party from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Celebrate the season by joining us for this annual event! Featuring live animals & actors that take you back through time to experience the greatest event of the ages. Music, candles in motion, caroling, bake sale and petting zoo.
Fun, fun, fun!!!
Bring your cameras & See ya there!

For more info: Call Miss Pam (360) 834-9103

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lost Grandma -

This has nothing to do with horses but it was so cute I just had to share it.
And it does have to do with me.

My online signature -
Gmajody (grammajody)

Lost grandma

The computer swallowed grandma.
Yes, honestly its true!
She pressed 'control and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.

It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm.
she must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.

I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.

In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found 'online.'

So, if inside your 'Inbox,'
My Grandma you should see,
Please 'Copy, Scan' and 'Paste' her
And send her back to me.

This is a tribute to all the Grandmas and Grandpas
who have been fearless and . ....

learned to use the Computer... ....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The way of horses -

I want you to know that this horse was OK.

I got this in an email from a friend this morning as I'm watching Dennis cook our Thanksgiving dinner. The writer seemed to not understand why Gracie got into this predicament. I think it's just what horses do. If there is something that can go wrong - they will find it. This proves it.

The young filly needed to be freed from the tree after curiosity got the better of it and it wedged its head between separate sections of the trunk. The horse, called Gracie, was unable to free itself and could have been in danger were it not for a passer-by who was able to come to the rescue after he heard the horse whinnying. Jason Harschbarger, a neighbour in the town of Pullman , West Virginia , USA , arrived at the scene which resembled the image of Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in the honey tree. Mr Harschbarger collected his tools and was able to carefully set the horse free by using a chainsaw to slowly cut the wood around its neck. However, before he did so, he was able to take a few photographs. Fortunately for Gracie, she was able to escape her ordeal with only a few minor injuries and, according to Mr Harschbarger, is on the road to recovery. Following his rescue operation, Mr Harschbarger told a local television station: "She has a few cuts on her face and ear. "Last I heard her jaw was a little dislocated but I think it is healing up and she can eat on her own again." It remains unclear why Gracie put her head into the gap.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Help Needed

I’m guessing that most of you locals know about the Clark County Fair Mounted Patrol aka Fence Riders. Dennis and I have been part of this fun group for about 8 years and they are a kind and generous group of people. This generosity goes overboard at Christmas time.

For the last 3 years we have ‘put on’ a Christmas Roundup for disadvantages children in conjunction with Cowboy Church and the Clark County Saddle Club at the Saddle Club.

The roundup is a day to show these kids and their families what cowboys are all about. There is a grand entry, demo of calf roping and barrel racing, a place for them to try their hand at roping, crafts, a wagon ride and other ‘Western’ activities. The two highlights of the day are a chance to ride a horse and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Santa.

We are a bit low in volunteers at this point and as Tim says below, we can use your help.

Hello all my friends. For it is that time again where we are scrambling for volunteers for the Christmas Round Up. That’s right I said Christmas. We put this event on every year around this time. This year we are extremely short handed. Some of our regular helpers are not here this year and others are busy, so I am sending an all hands on deck bulletin begging for help. The date is December the 6th. I know it is short notice. I will need you from around 10am until whenever you have to leave or 4pm. We need help with everything from side walkers for the horse rides to craft helpers to group leaders to kid herders to just general helpers. If you or someone you know can help please have them call me at 360-907-9983 or email me at .


Tim Kienitz
One of the BIG THREE organizers

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hero is coming home

In case you haven’t heard of it before, let me introduce you to Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.

My first introduction to them was through the book, Hope Rising, written my Kim Meeder. The book is the story of Kim and her husband taking barren, discarded ground and turning it into a lovely place of love, health and hope for discarded horses and children. I have had the privilege of meeting Kim Meeder at a retreat that she led and then visiting Crystal Peaks and having her take us on a tour. It is quite a place and when you visiting there, you see the mountains that gave the ranch its name.

A friend gave me the book with the warning that I would need a box of tissue by the second chapter. She was wrong. I needed the tissue on the second page. It is a wonderful book full of stories about injured horses and injured children, both physically and emotionally, being brought back to wholeness by their interaction with each other. Most of us know the power of the love of a horse. This book just puts that into words.

I received a newsletter from Kim this morning with a story about a hero that I want to share with you. It is a story of survival and horror with a happy ending. I want you to know that up front so you wouldn’t be afraid to read it like I was. I admit that I had to skip to the end before I finished. So much of the reality of keeping horses in this strained economy is shown in this story. We have courageous people like Pat Brown and Lori Harris who work really hard to give some of these cast-off horses a better life. It works for some. This is the story of a horse that shouldn’t have made it but did.

Our Hero is Coming Home
By Kim Meeder
After nearly 14 years of equine rescue, I thought that I had seen it all,

sadly . . . I WAS WRONG.

On October 18th, Troy and I were contacted by those in charge of recovering a small horse that was found by hunters wandering in the high wilderness of the Cascade Mountain range. Evident by his halter and dragging lead rope, the bay Arab gelding was clearly not wild. Instead, while he was being transported to Bend Equine Medical Center for emergency treatment, he was kind and gentle, quietly submitting to those who were trying to care for him. Based on what little information that could be gathered, it was estimated that he had been wandering for several weeks. Even for a small horse, he looked to be about 200 lbs. underweight and was INCREDIBLY dehydrated. Once at the hospital, it was confirmed . . . his wounds were severe.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Information that may be interesting

Dennis and I are down in Dallas, Plano actually, visiting our son and his family. Part of the purpose for the trip was for Dennis to attend a warehousing conference in Houston. I had already been at our son’s for a week so I went with Dennis to Houston and had a 3 day vacation.

--Nice --

One of the pieces of information from his conference that he shared with me on our 5 hour drive back up to Dallas was a bit of history on the width of railroad tracks. It was given as an example of people doing things a certain way because that’s the way it has always been done.

So now, do you know why railroad tracks are the width that they are? It is because of horses.

The Canada and US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates and they are the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

The people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

They used that wheel spacing because if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels, were first formed by Roman war chariots.
Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's backside came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses. So now we have the answer to why tracks are 4 feet, 8.5 inches apart.

But it doesn’t end there -

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses walking side by side.

So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s butt

Monday, November 3, 2008

Public Imput Needed

I received this from the "Small Acreage Outreach Program" today. This is one of those issues that is important for all of us to weigh in on if we want to keep our horses in this county.

Clark County is one of eight counties in Western Washington currently working to develop a farmland preservation program in cooperation with the Washington State Conservation Commission.

After meeting through the spring and summer, a local advisory committee has drafted 24 strategies intended to protect opportunities to pursue commercial and non-commercial agriculture. These strategies are now available for public review and comment through November 17.

The public is encouraged to fill out The Farmland Preservation survey online.

More information will be available at a series of open houses, all from 6 to 8 p.m., as follows:

Wednesday, November 5 - 6 to 8 p.m, Camas Public Library, 625 NE Fourth Ave., Camas

Monday, November 10 - - 6 to 8 p.m, C.A.S.E.E., 11104 NE 149th St., Brush Prairie

Wednesday, November 12 - 6 to 8 p.m, Clark County Public Safety Complex, 505 NW 179th St., Ridgefield.

The county web site also contains more information.

You can see the draft farm preservation strategies

The committee will consider public comments before finalizing recommendations to the Board of Clark County Commissioners later this year. The project is modeled after similar efforts in King County, to address economic, social and political pressures that discourage farming in areas where population has been increasing and lifestyles are becoming more urban.

Comments may be sent to Clark County Agricultural Preservation Advisory Committee, Attn: Patrick Lee, Room 185, Public Service Center, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver 98666-5000 or by e-mail to

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Notice of abandoned horse auction

I just received this information from Pat Brown, our local Ripley’s Horse Rescue representative. It came by way of the Whispering Winds Equine Rescue in Roseburg, Oregon.

The email was a notice of a legitimate horse auction of abandoned purebred Arabians that was found on Craigslist. Click here to see the listing.

Some are nice looking horses, some really need a home & groceries. The ages run from 6 months to 24 years old.

Whispering Winds is looking into this issues but wanted people to be aware of the auction. There are 24 pictures of the horses being auction. Contact to have the pictures sent to you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jody's Life

I have been lax in getting information out to you all for a few weeks.

On Sept 30th my daughter-in-law in Texas was diagnosed with stage 2 adrenal carcinoma and it has thrown us all for a loop. I have been keeping a running prayer network for them of updates to all their friends and family. On the 31st I’m flying down to Dallas to stay with them and watch my grandchildren while we are all in Houston at the MD Anderson Cancer Center next week. I’m not sure how long I will be down there but it will be at least until the 18th.

I will have my laptop with me and will keep up with the happenings around the area as best I can.

I have been told by a bunch of people that they are enjoying our site. I’m so glad. That is what we wanted this to be, a place for the horse community in Clark County and beyond to gather and share information. Keep passing along things of interest. That’s what will make this site worthwhile.

Again, sorry for not staying up to speed but thank you for understanding.

Jody Benson

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Possible Tax Issue

I received this by way of the Back County Horseman of Washington and I thought that more people should have this information. It isn't exactly our issue yet but ........

Dear Horsey Friends,

Thank you for all of your support these last couple of months. As most of you know, King County has come down hard on all the farms in King County the last few months. After 30+ years, King County and the Washington State Department of Revenue changed their interpretation of the Open Space Taxation Act which is jeopardizing the existence of farms, especially horse farms, in King County (and all of Washington for that matter because it is the Washington State Department of Revenue that is requiring this different interpretation.) Therefore, I have to ask for another favor….please attend the public hearing on November 13th from 10-noon at: 1025 Union Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98504, 4th Floor Executive Conference Room.

This is the meeting that really counts!!!!!

Please contact Marilou at the DOR to confirm your attendance. Her email is:
MarilouR@DOR.WA.GOV. Please contact your horsey friends and especially other horse boarders and ask them to rsvp for this meeting. This is the meeting that will determine the viability of horse farms in King County and the State of Washington. This is the farm owner's and equestrian's opportunity to finally be heardJ

Also, if you are unable to attend this meeting, please email your written comments Marilou at

Thank you,

Dana Kapela

Please see letter below from the Department of Revenue…..:

October 15, 2008
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Brad Flaherty, Assistant Director
Property Tax Division
The Department of Revenue wants to acknowledge recent concerns and confusion about the
definition of "commercial agricultural purposes" as defined in WAC 458-30-200 and is
beginning a stakeholder process to consider changes to the rule.
Definition to be reviewed
The Legislature enacted chapter 84.34 RCW, the Open Space Taxation Act, in 1970, and the
Department adopted rules (chapter 458-30 WAC) to implement and administer this program in
1971. In 1988, the original rules were repealed and new rules adopted, including WAC 458-30-
200, which defines "commercial agricultural purposes," in pertinent part, as the:
(i) Raising, harvesting, and selling lawful crops;
(ii) Feeding, breeding, managing, and selling of livestock, poultry, fur-bearing
animals, or honey bees, or any products thereof;
(iii) Dairying or selling of dairy products;
(iv) Animal husbandry;
(v) Aquaculture;
(vi) Horticulture; or
(vii) Participating in a government-funded crop reduction or acreage set-aside
Except for the inclusion of the cultivation of Christmas trees and certain short-rotation
hardwoods, the definition of "commercial agricultural purposes" has remained virtually
unchanged since at least 1988. It is time to give the definition a thorough review to make sure it
makes sense in light of current agricultural practices and other current use provisions.
Specific issues to be addressed
We are aware of two specific issues that need to be covered. Persons who purchase calves or
piglets in the Spring, raise them over the Summer, and sell them in the late Fall want this activity
to be included in the definition of "commercial agricultural purposes." The eligibility of horse
boarding also needs to be addressed. You may know of other issues we need to consider.
First stakeholder meeting scheduled
Our initial stakeholder meeting to consider possible rule changes will be held at 1025 Union
Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98504, 4th Floor Executive Conference Room, on Thursday,
November 13, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. We invite you and others you may know who have an
All Interested Parties
October 15, 2008
Page 2
interest in clarifying this rule to join us in a discussion. Space is limited so please confirm your
attendance by responding to the e-mail address below. Based on the issues raised and interest
shown at this meeting, additional meetings may be planned, including meetings throughout the
state as appropriate.
Additional questions
If you have any additional questions or would like more information about the meeting, please
contact Marilou Rickert in the Department's Interpretations and Technical Advice Division at
(360) 570-6115 or by e-mail at

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update on Pigeon Fever

I talked with Dr. Meg a couple of days ago and she gave me this update on the PF outbreak in our area -

There are still new cases of PF. The past few have been in the Salmon Creek area. She has a lot of horses that she is suspicious of but they are not as sick. That’s good news.

For many cases that she has seen, the horses have not been off their property and there have not been any new horses on the property. This being said, she said go ahead and participate in activities. The incubation period is said to be as much as 55 days so even with our recent cold weather, it is possible to continue to see new cases for quite awhile yet. At one place with 5 horses, one horse came down with it and eventually all 5 were effected.

She feels that we will now have PF here to stay. This year may be worse because our population has been naive to this disease although she said one horse had it bad and she sent in a blood test and it didn’t showed that he had developed any anti-bodies against PF.

I asked her if there have been many studies done on PF and she said that UC Davis has done several. One of them was about flies carrying the bacteria. While it is active in the area, flies have it but when it simmers down, they don’t so they do move the bacteria around but they do not carry it like mosquitoes carry West Nile. The stuff is in the ground and certain conditions make it become active.

There is still strangles at Whipple Creek stables but the last cast was lanced on October 2nd so it seems to be under control. With strangles, 70% of the infected horses become immune for life.

Ridgefield Equine Clinic is going to put on a Winter Lecture Series. The first one, on November 15th, will be on infectious diseases. They will also cover "How to winterize your horse". The January 17th lecture will focus on artificial insemination and the February 21st lecture will be “Foaling 101”. (Of course!) All the lectures will be from 9AM to 11AM.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekend Call Schedule

I just talked with Dr. Meg of Ridgefield Equine Clinic and she told me that 4 of the clinics in the area have worked up a weekend call schedule. It has been up and running for several months already.
Guess I’m glad I didn’t know about it cause that means I didn’t need it ....
It runs from Friday night to Monday morning and the records of any horses treated during that time will be passed on to the regular vet on Monday morning.

The clinics participating in this are:

Ridgefield Equine Clinic – Dr. Meg Brinton & Dr. Anne Marie Ray

Countryside Veterinary Service – Dr. Randy Lee

Equine Veterinary Service – Dr. Brian Johnson

Mt. View Veterinary Hospital – Dr. Tom Meyer

This is something that our area has needed for quite some time and I would like to thank these doctors for setting this up for us.

A great big thank you from all of us to all of you!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fun and Education at "The Buckle"

What a combination. Having fun and learning at the same time. That’s what life always should be like. Oops, *as I climb off my soap box*

Silver Buckle is having a Fall Festival and Open House on Saturday, October 11th from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

If you haven’t been there before or if it has been awhile since you have been out there, come see ‘the ranch’. There will be tours of the ranch, free pumpkins for the kids, hay rides and pony rides, a petting zoo and hay scramble. They will be previewing their new trail course and doing demos on roping and cow play - ranch sorting, breakaway roping, steer dobbing, and basic gaming.

Saturday will be the introduction to their Horse U. As part of Horse U, Harris Statema, a rep. from LMF feed will be talking about what to look for when your buying hay, Renee Tucker, will be talking about equine Chiropractic and Acupuncture, Brent Skill, a local saddle maker, will be talking about what to look for when buying used western tack, Liz Barnard, a local trainer, will talk about readiness for horse ownership and Pat Brown of Ripley’s Horse Aide Foundation will be talking about horse owner responsibilities.

There will be things for kids and adults, horse people and people who think they might like to have a horse and just plain fun things to see and do.

If you don’t come out for any other reason, come out for your chance to enter in the free drawing for $100 gift card from Wilco.

Come on out and see what’s happening at ‘The Buckle’ and support a great local program. There will even be cocoa and treats.

Silver Buckle is located in Brush Prairie
11611 NE 152nd Ave.

Pigeon Fever update and Strangles Report

After reading the comments to my blog “Good News on Pigeon Fever” about new cases of PF and hearing some stuff about it in the last few days myself, I called and checked with some vets on Tuesday, Oct 7th for an update on PF in our area and on the Strangles cases that I have been hearing about.

I wanted to get some kind of handle on the actual number of cases. I know that I can talk to 12 different people and they can all say they know of a horse that has ‘whatever’ and it can sound like there are 12 horses with ‘whatever’. Or those 12 people can be hearing about the one horse that actually has ‘whatever’. Sort of like the old game telegraph but in a horsey form.

Apparently we had a lull in action regarding PF but no more.

I talked with Dr. Brinton of Ridgefield Equine Clinic and they have more new cases of Pigeon Fever. I had heard that there are 30 cases in the area and she confirmed that there are “at least” 30 cases in the county now.

Dr. Brinton said that not using our horses is not necessarily going to keep them healthy. It is carried by flies and they will be around until it gets cold. Good fly control is still the best defense. If you are going to haul them anywhere be sure to fly spray them real good, spray the trailer and your truck. Do everything you can to not move flies around the county. Also continue to check for swelling or edemas especially on the midline and the chest. That is were the lesions have been on all her cases. She also said that she had the first fatality on Friday night.

The doctor checked into a study down at UC Davis on this and they found that when there were active cases of PF in the area, the flies had the organism on them but once the cases had cleared up, the flies were clean. So it is carried by flies and then goes into the ground or something. Guess this will be something that we are going to have to be dealing with year after year until more research is done.

Amazia Veterinary Service reported 2 new cases of PF and another possible but no strangles.

Dr. Lee’s office said that they had done a survey two weeks ago of the cases in the county. There were 6 cases in the Camas/Washougal area, 2 in La Center, 2 in Hockinson, 2 in Ridgefield and 2 in Battle Ground. The current report is that they have no new cases.

Two different vets did confirmation that Whipple Creek Stables has at least one case of Strangles and has been put under quarantine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Character Counts at Silver Buckle

I have recently become active out at Silver Buckle "The Buckle" and it is such a fun and interesting place that I wanted you to know all about it. It is located in Brush Prairie on NE 152nd Ave. just south of 119th St. You can contact them at 360-260-8932 or online at

Silver Buckle is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation, whose mission program is exciting but also challenging. Basically speaking, Silver Buckle uses horses to help in the growth and development of youth from both challenging living circumstances and not. By way of example, some youth come to Silver Buckle through social service agencies throughout SW Washington including foster children, youth referred by Juvenile Justice, socially and academically-challenged youth. Others seek out Silver Buckle to feed their passion for horses and be part of a working ranch. Although the paths to Silver Buckle are varied, all come to find a friend in a horse.

Horses, being the wonderful creatures that they are, do not judge kids, but help show them how to match their insides with their outsides. While horses are not the focus in the ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) program at Silver Buckle, character-building and self-awareness are. Overcoming challenges that all youth struggle with to various degrees such as fear, anger, self-esteem, confidence, understanding right from wrong, cause and effect, coping tools and control are all life skills that Silver Buckle horses help kids work though and develop. Through ARK and specific horse care assignments each week, kids begin to work on character building skills, respect, honesty, trustworthiness, caring and kindness, and of course responsibility and work ethic. Personal growth becomes evident after a very short time at Silver Buckle.

It is no secret that for kids, growing up on farms and ranches has its advantages. The ranch experience at Silver Buckle gives kids ages 4 to 18 the opportunity to work not just with horses, but with other livestock as well. Silver Buckle is dedicated to finding the interest in each youth. More often than not it is a horse or a pony, however sometimes, it might be a goat, a calf or a lamb. Whatever the passion, we work to design a program that addresses that student’s special needs. ARK students start with a 12-week introduction program that has specific tasks and mile-maker achievements. As the student achieves tasks and graduates from this program, they are invited back to continue a Tri-level program that runs year-round. Silver Buckle staff, volunteers and students all work closely together to manage the ranch and care for the animals. Staff instructs students, students instruct students and staff learns from students, growth and personal development never stops; it is something that goes on in a human forever.

As the ARK youth advance through the levels, they become part of the Silver Buckle team and their responsibilities and duties grow. ARK, as well as other enrolled youth, help run the ranch and assist in lessons and events. They help out with the day-to-day up-keep of the ranch and schooling of the horses. ARK kids become empowered and build vocational skills in the equine and cattle industries as well as in general ranch management.

Silver Buckle is a working ranch for the whole family, striving to become an equine educational resource for Clark County. Besides the core focus on youth, Silver Buckle offers a diverse menu of horse and cattle activities for older children and adults. From horse enthusiasts to current horse owners, Silver Buckle is working to provide activities and resourcefulness. For example, Silver Buckle does not stop at basic western and english riding lessons, but offers, weekly cow play events, such as break-away roping, steer dobbing and ranch sorting, arena rentals for horse clubs, cow clinics, new horse owner clinics, natural horsemanship and balanced seat. Horse “U” is offered each 2nd Saturday, where a variety of horse topics will be discussed, from horse care to training issues.

Silver Buckle has a talented string of 12 horses and 6 ponies available for weekly lessons and cow play events. If you don’t own a horse, Silver Buckle is the place to try out horse ownership with their “Horse Buddy Program” a horse “time-share” plan. Horse owners may haul horses in for lessons or cow play events or rent a Silver Buckle horse if you are unable to bring your own.

It is Silver Buckle’s goal to help and educate the horse owner, families considering horse ownership and to provide a safe, fun, character-building facility for young people to discover themselves and their community.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good News on Pigeon Fever

I am happy to report that I just heard from Dr. Meg of Ridgefield Equine Clinic.

She said that the cases that they have seen were in Washougal, La Center, and Brush Prairie. All are getting better and there are no new cases this week that they have treated.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

H.R. 6598 - horse slaughter bill

I saw this online today and wanted to send you all an update.

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has passed H.R. 6598, a measure known as the "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008."
This bill prohibits transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption. Supporters praise the bill for banning the export of horses to processing plants in Canada and Mexico.
"The bill passed by voice vote on Sept. 23," said Judiciary Committee Communications Director Jonathan Godfrey. "The next step is introduction on the House floor."

This is the AQHA action alert email on H.R. 6598

This appears to be just pure information on H.R. 6598 from Thomas - legislative information from the Library of Congress.

H.R.6598 Title: To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit certain conduct relating to the use of horses for human consumption.
Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] (introduced 7/24/2008) Cosponsors (105)
Latest Major Action: 9/23/2008 House committee/subcommittee actions.
Status: Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Voice Vote.
SUMMARY AS OF: 7/24/2008--Introduced.
Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008 - Amends the federal criminal code to impose a fine and/or prison term of up to three years for possessing, shipping, transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering, or receiving any horse, horse flesh, or carcass with the intent that it be used for human consumption. Reduces the prison term to one year if the offense involves less than five horses or less than 2,000 pounds of horse flesh or carcass and the offender has no prior conviction for this offense.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Closing to Haul-ins - Pigeon Fever

Ok, so that wasn’t the last word. UGH! I have been enjoying this nice sunny weather but this Pigeon Fever stuff is making me look forward to our rain so the flies will leave and we can get thru the incubation period and not have to worry about it again. At least for this year.

Heidi Olson of Remuda Ranch is closing her facility to haul-ins until this stuff passes. There is word that a barrel horse has tested positive for PF and it seems to have contracted it from Rock Creek. The horse has since been to the Saddle Club and to the Fair Grounds. Heidi talked with Dr. Meg today to check for updates. Again prevention is the best action and it is fly control. Also check your horses daily for lumps on the chest area, belly (were the flies like to gather) and also on the legs. A fever would come first and then open lesions. If you do take your horse out to an event or camping, take along a 10-15% bleach/water mixture in a back-pack sprayer and douse all the area that your horse will have contact.

There are a few pictures getting passed around of a poor horse up in La Center with PF and it looks nasty. Nothing to mess with.

I have heard of another barn that is closing to haul-ins. When I find out more, I’ll pass it along. In the mean time, it might be wise to call before you head out someplace to check that arena or barn’s current plan.

Want to learn Drill?

I got this email from Mellissa Avery today. This sounds like a good opportunity for some of you 'speed demons' out there. I have watched drills and they are very exciting. What I find interesting is, from visiting with members of different drill teams, what a close knit group these people become.

Ignited Equestrian Drill Team is looking for new members for this upcoming season.

If you have drilled in the past we would love to have you join us. If you haven't drilled before, we would also love to have you this year.

We are planning on building a team from the ground up. Beginning with the basics of drill and moving on to those exciting maneuvers that many of you have seen. Our team has been around from a number of years and through those years we have made many changes. This year is a big year for us so if you are interested in finding out more info, please contact me at

Mellissa Avery

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One last time, hopefully -

I’m going to give this one more shot and I sure hope it goes away and we never have to speak of it again.

I just talked with my vet, Dr. Meg Brinton of Ridgefield Equine Clinic, to get some local up to date information about the Pigeon Fever (PF) outbreak in our area.

She has seen quite a few horses with PF and she is waiting on diagnostic cultures for a few more. She said that there are more that she has not seen directly but she is advising on their treatment.

There is no real treatment, just support. She has not had any horses die because of PF. It has high morbidity (occurrence) but low mortality.

The only control is excellent fly control – sheets, masks, fly spray and even think about keeping them in the shade during the heat of the day.

The signs are usually an abnormal swelling or abscess on the ventral midline and a mild fever. There can also be an internal abscess which is the most dangerous because it is harder to treat.

From visiting with clients, she is suspect of infected horses having some contact with Rock Creek in the past 3 weeks, either direct or indirect.

She feels that the best site for more information is the COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY News & Information report.

Galveston Horses

The has a good article on the rescue of horses in the Galveston area. They are just starting that work but it sounds like a well organized effort. Another article was saying how all the things that they learned from Katrina have helped in this disaster. I always like it when we can learn from past mistakes.

The Horse: Groups Working to Rescue Stranded Galveston Horses

Monday, September 15, 2008

More on Pigeon Fever

Here is some more information about Pigeon Fever but this time it is local. Here is an article about it in “Equine News”, the quarterly newsletter put out by Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. This newsletter always has really good information.

I got a report from East county that their pigeon fever outbreak is winding down but after talking with my vet, Ridgefield Equine Clinic, it is still around on the west side. Their suggestion is to up the fly control any way you can including fly masks and fly sheets. I asked if there was any type of spray or treatment. The answer? “My experience is that the flies just like to eat that stuff”. Oh well, we can just keep trying.

Sounds like this is all kind of new around here so send any information that you may have, and I’ll pass it on.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pigeon Fever in the area

A friend sent me this email and I think this is the kind of information we can all use. If you come across something that you think would be of interest to the horse community, send it along and we'll get it out.

I just got a call from my shoer telling me that there have been cases of pigeon fever reported in Clark County horses - a handful of cases here in the Camas/Washougal area for sure. It is not usually fatal but I did look it up on line and here is the deal -

FORT COLLINS - Equine veterinarians at Colorado State University's James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital report a serious increase in the number of cases of pigeon fever they have treated since early fall and warn horse owners to be alert for signs of the highly contagious disease.

Seventy-six cases from Colorado's Front Range have been confirmed by the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory since early fall, more than six times the number of cases from last year's total of 12 confirmed cases and far above the seven confirmed cases in 2000.

"What was once considered a disease of California horses is now a growing problem for the Colorado equine population," said Andrea Torres, veterinarian and microbiology resident who conducted a study of the disease in Colorado in 2000-2001. "The increased number of confirmed cases may be due to a more educated horse-owning public and/or to more veterinarians being aware of the disease and testing for it."

Torres and other veterinarians at the hospital point out that the signs of pigeon fever can also initially resemble those of other diseases such as strangles. Sometimes the only initial signs are lameness and a reluctance to move.

Pigeon fever, also called pigeon breast, breastbone fever, false strangles, dryland strangles or dryland distemper, is caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis and is found worldwide. It can strike a horse of any age, sex or breed, but usually attacks young adult animals. There is a low incidence in foals.

It has also been diagnosed in cattle, and a similar disease affects sheep and goats. The disease is not transmissible to humans, although humans can carry the infectious agent on shoes, clothing, hands or barn tools and transfer it to another animal.

Clinical signs include lameness, fever, lethargy and weight loss and usually is accompanied by very deep abscesses and multiple sores along the chest, midline and groin area and, sometimes, the back. Abscesses also can develop internally.

The disease is called pigeon fever because infected animals often develop abscesses in their pectoral muscles, which swell and resemble a pigeon's chest. Although the disease is considered seasonal, with most cases occurring in early fall, a number of cases have been confirmed during winter months and other times of the year as well.

The causative bacteria live in the soil and can enter the animal's body through wounds, broken skin or through mucous membranes. Additionally, some researchers believe pigeon fever may be transmitted by flies.

The disease occurs in three forms: external abscesses, internal abscesses and limb infection, also known as ulcerative lymphangitis. The most common forms are external abscess and lymphangitis, with the prognosis of a full recovery being generally good. Internal abscesses are much more difficult to treat.

"Because this disease is so highly contagious, it is very important that veterinarians accurately diagnose these cases to tailor treatment and control," said Torres.

"Horse owners should be aware of the clinical signs and understand that veterinary care must be timely. Infected horses should be isolated, the abscesses properly treated and the drainage properly disposed of. The area where the infected horse is kept must be properly cleaned and completely disinfected because this is a very hardy bacterium. Pest control is extremely important"

You can read the rest of this story including an extensive fact sheet about Pigeon Fever on this Colorado State web page.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just like the Scouts, Be Prepared

With all the talk about Hurricane Ike and with winter coming on, I start to think about being prepared for whatever. We have been told for years to have an emergency kit for our families but there really hasn’t been much talk about preparing for an emergency with our horses.

Our son and his family were living in San Diego last October during their wild fires. They had to literally run for their lives because the fire had come up the canyon and was overtaking their apartment complex. The fire storm blew over them while they were evacuating on the interstate and caught a car in front of then on fire. Pretty scary stuff. Because of my concern for them, I kept watching their local news online and reading local blogs to check were the fires were and where the evacuation centers were located. On one of our visits down to see them, we visited a handicap riding program that was in the line of the fire so I was keeping track of them also. It was very interesting to read about what all those people did to keep their horses safe – this time. There had been another wild fire in 2003 that burned and killed a lot of horses and because of that experience the area worked at finding ways to avoid letting that happen again. Because of that planning, very few horses were even injured this time. Even the Wild Animal Park – that was directly in the line of the worst and fastest fire – escaped serious damage because of good planning. We got to visit the park this spring and saw how devastating that fire was to the park and the homes and the whole area.

I had a horse friend that went thru the horrible hurricanes in Florida several years ago – I don’t remember the name – and I really learned a lot about ‘disaster thinking’. One of their big concerns was identification. That was a big issue after Katrina also. She talked about braiding luggage tags into her horse’s manes or tails or shaving a phone number on to them or painting a phone number onto their hooves. Papers are necessary to prove ownership but since our horses can’t tell us their home phone numbers, this would be important also. I always say that a dog tag on my dogs is their phone call home.

So now back to the point of this note. Here is a link to a really complete guide to emergency planning for our pets. I saw it on Hopefully, none of us will ever need any of this but I want to be prepared so I can keep my boys safe and well.

I know that the county has done some emergency preparedness planning for our pets. There are several areas in the county designated as evacuation centers. I will write more about that at a later time.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ride and Be Counted

I received this email about a trail survey by way of a friend that works in the county. I'm not sure who it was originally sent to but this is important for the horse community. These are not normally thought of as horse trails but two of them do have that designation. Frenchmen's Bar is really short now but it is supposedly just a place holder for a future trail on up the bar. Land for the Salmon Creek trail was given to the county with the understanding that it would always be a horse trail. It is not very horse friendly right now and many don't even know about it's history. It would be good to have horses on both of these trails on the day they are counted. If you can ride, check with Brian to see which trail the volunteers will be counting and if you can't ride, think about volunteering to make sure someone is there to count the horses.

Vancouver-Clark Parks was just contacted by Metro to participate in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Program. Despite the very short notice, Parks will participate by conducting pedestrian, bicycle and in some cases equestrian counts on several trails (dependent on how many volunteers we get) on Sept 9, 10, 11 during 4-6PM and Sept 13 and 14 between 12-2PM- the designated days and time set by the National Documentation Project. Parks will be using the designated survey forms and counting methodology to correspond with the national and regional survey.

Parks proposes to take counts and surveys at the following trails and trail locations. These have been selected at points (generally) where Parks has plans to extend the trails to get baseline information to use as we move ahead with expansion.

Please review and let me know your suggestions for other locations and/or priorities if you have any:
1. Columbia Renaissance Waterfront Trail at the Quay
2. Burnt Bridge Creek Trail at Devine trail head
3. Salmon Creek Trail at NE 117th St. (east end)
4. Vancouver Lake to Frenchman’s Bar Trail at Blue Rock trail head
5. Lacamas Heritage Trail at NE Goodwin Road trail head
6. Padden Parkway Trail at 94th Ave (if we have enough volunteers).

We will need 2 volunteers at each location – we plan to only survey each trail once- not each day of the survey period. Ideally we need to get at least 12 volunteers.

I’m attaching the website if you would like more information. I apologize for the short notice.

Let me know if this is something of interest
Brian W. Zahora Volunteer Coordinator Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation 360-619-1124 (phone) 360-696-8009 (fax)

Cold Camping

Now that’s I’ve finally warmed up, it’s time to tell you about our camping adventure.

First, some history. We had a motor home but found that since we moved into the horse world, we didn’t use it much so we sold it a few months ago. We have a modified stock trailer with a largish tack room so we planned to stay in it if the need arose.

In June we went to a wedding in the Glenwood Valley and stayed in the trailer. It was a VERY hot weekend but the trailer worked out great. With a port-a-potty in the tack room we were set. We didn’t have horses with us so we just pressure washed the trailer and set up cots. We used a couple of bungees to keep the doors closed while we were in the trailer. Over all, it was a nice set up.

Now for this past weekend.

We had a great time with our friends and took a couple of real nice, relaxing rides. Just the ticket for the end of summer. What we didn’t have completely planned out was the weather. We knew it was getting cold at night and even talked with some friends in the valley and heard that the temps over night were in the low 30’s. No problem. We have good warm clothes and a double sleeping bag. It was a bit crispy getting to bed but with hoods and socks and several layers, we were tough. Dennis wanted to take pictures of us bundled up for the night but I said no. I didn't need pictures to remember looking like the 'michelin man'. What we hadn’t planned out was the ‘weight’ of our sleeping bags. They had been really good bags for our motor home. But those ‘good to 40 degrees’ bags were no match for 28 degree over night temperatures. About 2 AM, after not being able to sleep for quite some time, I finally called uncle and told Dennis I just had to get warm. We climbed into the truck and drive around for about 20 minutes to unthaw. It is quiet and dark way out there in the middle of the night. No all night minit marts either. We spent the rest of the night sleeping in the truck covered with the sleeping bags and turning the truck back on occasionally to warm up.

I am game for sleeping in the trailer again but it either needs to be warmer over night or we need to shop for some heavier bags.

Note for future trips in the horse trailer:
- Don’t look into the living quarter trailers of others camping with you.
- Put down pelleted bedding with the horses so it is easy to clean out the trailer before we move in for the weekend
- Take a battery lantern for light in the trailer
- Take along some throw rugs to walk on in the trailer

Someone once said that the worse the trip, the better the stories. The trip wasn’t bad but that was certainly a night to remember.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,

Friday, August 29, 2008

Great Story and Good Information

This may be - as Dennis says - preaching to the choir but I want to tell you about a great story that I just read on Raye Lochert's website.

I met him at the Mane Event that we had here in Vancouver and then again at the Hands on Horses Expo that Silver Buckle put on earlier this year. He is a very good trainer that also has a gift of connecting with his audience. And he writes good informative and entertaining articles.

The one that I just read was about a training ride he was on with a green horse and their encounter with a run away horse. The real excitment was after the poor scared horse had passed and then came the 'herd' of horses and riders chasing the escapee. He goes on to talk about a 'better' plan in that type of situation and the happy ending to the whole adventure.

Take some time to read his article - Loose Horse

Have a Safe Weekend

Mt. Adams fire in July

Perhaps some of you have already left for your grand adventure this weekend. Lucky you.

We don't get to leave until Saturday night but 2 nights are better then none. We are headed out into Wendy's territory - we are going horse camping! Well, trail riding too but that we've done before.

Our trail riding experience has mostly been on a great ranch in Klickitat county looking for cows. If you find cows then it was a gather. If you don't find any cows, then it was a trail ride. Dennis and I have around Battle Ground Lake a time or two and down a few other local trails and he has been on some incredible rides with the Mounted Search and Rescue on searches and on training (on trails I wouldn't ride!). But not to just head down the trail with friends. And that is what we get to do this weekend.

We are going up with some Fence Rider friends to Glenwood, Washington. If you haven't been up there, it is a cute little (and I mean little) town at the foot of Mt Adams. It was in line for that forest fire in July. Fortunately, it didn't do a lot of damage to people and structures.

Actually Glenwood is famous for their N.P.R.A. Ketchum Kalf Rodeo on Father's Day weekend. It is a good blend of great cowboys, local folks and beautiful scenery and one of the best burgers around.

The area also has a great new horse camp that we'll have to tell you about later but this trip, we are staying at the rodeo grounds and riding out on the local trails. Or so I'm told.

It is good that the weather has been a bit wet so that all of us recreating out in the woods this weekend wouldn't be in quite such danger of wild fire but still remember to be VERY careful of any type of open flame while you are out there. We don't want any more of those nasty things around. It seems that Mother Nature is starting enough of them by herself.

So with that said, have a great weekend and I'll try to get some pictures of the area to share with you when we get back.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,

We have good friends that live up there and they sent us this picture when that fire first started.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update on BLM Horses

For those of you interested in the wild horse situation, I wanted to pass on this update that I received in the newsletter today.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) isn't likely to make a decision regarding the use of euthanasia in wild horse herd management until the end of the year, a spokesman said. The euthanasia option decision was originally expected to come shortly after the fall meeting of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Council.
Spokesman Tom Gorey said the agency will reserve its decision until after the Advisory Council meets in Reno, Nev., in October, and until the U.S. General Accounting Office presents its yearlong audit of BLM operations to the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee in September.
Continue reading ......

Sunday, August 24, 2008

To Ride the Search

Earlier this month, I told you about a search that our Mounted Search and Rescue group participated in. It was from my prespective as a 'ground support person'. I finally talked Tim Kienitz, one of our mounted searchers, to write up his experience out on the trail. Now mind you, Tim is a fireman and a paramedic so he's tough. But even with that in mind, I know that it was a very different experience than mine becauce of how relieved everyone looked when they first walked off the trail and back into the command center.
So here is Tim's account of their ride ---

So there we were, The Fence Riders at the Clark County Fair, relaxing, waiting to head out on our afternoon ride at the Fair when the day is shattered by a phone call from the Sheriff’s requesting the Clark County Mounted Search and Rescue to help in a search. An autistic boy is lost outside of Chelatchie Prairie area in the mountains and has already spent one night out alone.

About 2 years ago the Fence Riders, AKA Clark County Fair Mounted Patrol, was approached by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department to form a Mounted Search and Rescue group. A hand full of the Fence Riders said yes. That group of Fence Riders formed the Clark County Mounted Search and Rescue. Today the team would be put to the test.

The unit was activated, all the gear and horses were gathered up and we headed up to aid in the search. The drive was long, maybe an hour and by the time our team was assembled the hour was late, later than we would have liked. We met with the Sheriff’s Department and were briefed on who and what to look for. Our team was 7 mounted and 2 ground-support people.

By the time we were finally in on the trail it was the better part of 2 pm. The team dropped in at the Siouxon trail head. This trail is about a horse wide and cuts back and forth through the forest dropping from 1700 feet to about 400 feet. Mostly a nice drop and the team was able to set a pretty good pace; not placing the fastest horse up front. There were a couple of spots on the trail that would test a good rider. One was crossing under a log with flat rocks that were covered with moss and had water cascading over them. This is one spot were boots vs. shoes was a topic of discussion for some people.

The trail was good until we approached the river crossing. The trail to the river was, well for lack of other terms, not really there. There was enough room for a horse to think he could fit through and they did. That just landed us on a rocky area were we were able to cross the river. I was on a 15.3 hand horse and was still getting my boots wet. My horse still went on. On the other side of the river was another bank quit similar to the one we went down, it was steep up and narrow as could be. There were plenty of low branches, enough that I laid my head down on my horse’s neck, dropped the reins and said “get up the hill”. Sure enough he did. The rest of the trail up was more switch-backs and a very steady up-hill climb. The higher we went up the steeper the trail became. One side was steep down and the other side was steeper up. There were plenty of trees to break our fall though.

Less than half way in on the ride we reached a downed log over the trail. This was tough. The log was about 40-50 feet long and 2-3 feet thick. With no way around, we thought the best course of action would be to cut through it. Well, with 2 hours of cutting with a small pruning saw and a hatchet, we were through the log. By this time the Sheriff’s Department had ordered all teams out of the search area so the air patrol could use a heat sensing device from an airplane to look for the boy. Our only course of action was to turn around and to retrace our steps. So down the switch-backs and down to the river. Once across the river it was more steep climbs, and looking for the child while on our way out. We exited the trail head at about 7pm, dusk. We hauled our horses to a close spot to bed them down for the night, while we rested our selves. The plan was to ride out at next daylight and complete our trail.

The morning greeted us with our host cooking fresh coffee and the best biscuits and gravy I have tasted in some time. Just before first light, we loaded our horses and up the mountain we went. The team arrived at the spot we were to tack up, parked our rigs and got our horses ready to go again. Our saddle pads were still damp for the ride the day before. At about the time the horses were tacked up and our riders mounted and ready to ride, the boy walked out of the woods unharmed. That is a wonderful thing.

We may not have found the missing boy, and this is not our first search, but it is always a good thing when the person is found and is in good spirits and uninjured.

Our search and rescue group is always looking for people that are interested in a lot of training and not much action. Both the rider and the horse need to be certified before they can go out on a search.
We have a meeting every other month on the 2nd Thursday at a local fire station. If this sounds interesting to you, let me know and I'll make sure you get notified of our next meeting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vancouver Mounted Police

The 3rd Annual Friends at the Farm fundraiser hosted by the Friends of the Mounted Police Unit (MPU) will be this Saturday, August 23rd at the Clark County Saddle Club, 10505 NE 117th Avenue, Vancouver, Wa. 11:00 to 3:00.

The day includes a BBQ, demonstration from the Vancouver Police MPU, a Silent Auction and Raffle plus a whole lot of fun!

Tickets $10 per person or $25 per family. For additional information and reservations call: 360-772-5883. .

If you have never seen what goes into training police horses or seen what they are capable of doing, come check them out. You can also just come over to visit with these dedicated officers. They are excellent horsemen and are committed to this unit. What many may not know is that the officers cover the expense of their own horses, tack and transportation. This is very expensive – as most of you know – and Friends of the Mounted Police Unit works at raising funds to help them with those expenses. “Friends at the Farm” is their major fundraiser for the year.

Check out a little bit more about this special unit on their city web page and watch a very good video - City Minutes Interview - linked at the bottom of that page. Lt. Dave King and Sgt. Keith Hyde are interviewed about the mounted unit and about this fundraiser.

See you there -

Monday, August 18, 2008

Horsepower Under The Hood

Coming on Saturday, August 23rd is an event for the whole family.

The horsy people can hang around and talk with their kind, support the youth of our county and cheer on the kids.

The non-horsy (4 footed) kind and hang around admiring and talking about their horses – power, that is.

Ridgefield Booster Club is having its 2nd Annual Car Show to benefit The Ridgefield High School Equestrian Team. There will be a spot for all entries from the oldies and street rods, to the 4x4's, jalopies, and classics, and even the daily drivers.
There will be games, prizes, food, drawings and trophies for the car owners.

When: August 23rd Sat. @ 9 am
Where: Ridgefield High School
Contact: Sharie Rayburn 360-904-1443

Living on the Land Class Series

Registration Is Open for Fall 2008 Living on the Land Class Series

Would you like to learn how to reduce mud and weeds, improve pasture and soil quality, keep your animals healthy, and reduce chore time? Join us for the twelve week Living on the Land – Stewardship for Small Acreages series of workshops sponsored by WSU Clark County Extension and the Clark County Clean Water Program. The series provides a basic, holistic understanding of soil, water, plant and animal interactions on small acreage properties.

“Living on the Land - Stewardship for Small Acreages”
Wednesdays, September 3 to November 19, 2008 - 6:30 to 9:30 PM

Registration is free but class size is limited to the first 40 farms or properties. Please call Erin Harwood at 360-397-6060 ext. 7720 or e-mail her at to register, get directions, or for more information about the Small Acreage Program.

WSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. Persons requiring special accommodations should call WSU Clark County Extension at (360) 397-6060 ext. 0 at least two weeks prior to the event.

If you have already taken this class in the past, but missed a class or two, or would like a refresher, please let me know and I will send you the schedule.

Erin HarwoodSmall Acreage Program CoordinatorWSU Clark County Extension11104 NE 149th Street, C-100Brush Prairie, WA 98606Phone: 360-397-6060 x7720Fax: 360-397-6122

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Horse gets Eviction Notice

This story is from a 'bedroom' community of Lincoln Nebraska but could it happen here? I hope not but it is an interesting story.

Check it out at This site has a lot of interesting information. You need to register to read some of them but the registration is free and they don't seem to be too invasive.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SBYEC Buckle Series

Silver Buckle Youth Equestrian Center (SBYEC) is offering a Buckle Series starting this weekend, August 16th and continuing September 6th and 13th.

There will be Team Sorting and One on One sorting and then Barrels and Poles.
Dennis and I went out to their Thursday night Team Sorting this winter and had a ball. It is nice for us beginners – fun without a lot of pressure. We also took part in a Sorting Workshop and it was the same. Very welcoming to us beginners.

For the Series, points will be given for the first 3 places on each day and then a buckle will be awarded to the high point winner in each event and division. There will also be a daily cash pay out to the 5th place for all events and divisions. 5 team minimum required to hold ‘cow’ events.

Give them a call at 360-260-8932 to pre-register. Drop-ins will also be accepted.

Now, if you're not going to enter this event, they are in need of some more volunteers.
They are specifically looking for:

2 timers with stop watches, also keep track of times
Tractor driver
Assistant Book Keeper
Concession people

This would be a good opportunity to help out this organization. They are really stepping up their activity schedule to offer more events for the community.

Come on out to give them a hand, meet some nice people and have a good time.

Olympic Updates had a lot of Olympic news in the e-newsletter I got this morning.

They have the results of the Eventing competition, an article on the U.S. Team Cross Country and some Veterinary Updates from Hong Kong.

There is also a link to the award-winning author Jennifer Bryant's blog of behind the scene at the 2008 Equestrian Olympics. This looks like it will be really interesting. She is seeing things the way I would look at them. Jennifer wrote "Olympic Equestrian: A Century of International Horse Sport".

I just checked on the Equestrian portion of the Paralympic Games to be help in Hong Kong September 6 through September 17th. Their website has some interesting information including qualifications and classifications.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Olympic News

We have a local connection to the Olymipics thru the horse community.
This first piece is from Back Country Horseman of Washington (BCHW) -

During the next couple weeks the Olympics will be the most watched event around the world. We have a local "connection" to the Games......

2008 Olympian Kara Patterson, who will be competing in the Javelin event in Beijing, is the daughter of Mt. St. Helens Chapter BCHW members Bruce & Rona Patterson.

Please join us in congratulating Kara on earning the right to represent the United States, and in wishing her continued success in the upcoming Games!


A follow-up from Rona Patterson..........

If anyone is interested in reading my blog at, I'll be journaling about our trip and about Kara's performance (in case NBC misses it). We'll wave at every camera we see!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Clark County Fair Results - 8/5/08

Congratulations to all the Intermediates that competed on Tuesday.
You all did a great job.

These are the top awards -

Intermediate Novice Showmanship
Grand Champion - Kyra Davidson
Reserve Champion - Bianca Lujan

Intermediate Showmanship
Grand Champion - Nadine Miller
Reserve Champion - Danielle Pongratz

Intermediate Bareback Equitation
Grand Champion - Tamzen Corum
Reserve Champion - Amy McDonald

Intermediate Novice Rider English Walk/Trot
Grand Champion - Anna Dolliver
Reserve Champion - Corinna Niebur

Intermediate Hunt Seat Equitation
Grand Champion - Riley Bylsma
Reserve Champion - Nadine Miller

Intermediate Western Equitation
Grand Champion - Brittany Williams
Reserve Champion - Kaitlyn Eckhart

Intermediate Practical Horsemanship – Trail
Grand Champion - Jordan Linn
Reserve Champion - Amy McDonald

Intermediate Novice Practical Horsemanship – Trail
Grand Champion - Natalia Hoffman
Reserve Champion - Tyler Morris

Friday, August 8, 2008

How Green is your Grass?

Join the Small Acreage Program for a free workshop that will provide tips, suggestions, and ideas on how to improve pastures, control weeds, and reduce feed costs for your animals. The workshop will provide information on installing fencing to increase grass production and set up rotational grazing, along with other tips and tricks to reduce chore time and save you money.

The Small Acreage Program, co-sponsored by Washington State University Clark County Extension, the Clark County Clean Water Program, and the Clark Conservation District, will provide information, handouts and answer landowners’ questions at the workshop.

“Greener Pastures”
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
6:30 to 8:30 PM

CASEE Center
11104 NE 149th Street
Building B
Brush Prairie, WA

Registration is free but class size is limited.
Please call 360-397-6060 ext. 7720 or e-mail Erin at to register , or for more information about the WSU Clark County Extension’s Small Acreage Program.

Rodeo Tonight

If you are going to be at the fair today be sure to stop by the horse arena at 6 o’clock. That’s when the Grand Entry starts for the Telephone Pioneer’s Handicap Rodeo.

After the ‘cowboys’ and their partners parade in on wagons drawn by draft horses, the flag is presented by the Clark County Fair Queen and her court and the Fence Riders ride in on the ‘barrel horses’, the rodeo begins.

The teams compete in relays that include untying the flag from the goat's tail, roping the ‘saw’ horse, and the wheelbarrow race. The grand finale is the barrel race where each contestant gets on a horse for the ‘race’ around the barrels.
Some of these kids have been riding in a therapy riding program but for others, this is only time that they get to ride a horse. And we all know how special that experience is. These kids remember the horses from year to year.

Come on by and help cheer on the kids. You will never forget the experience.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Successful Search

On Sunday about 11 am Dennis got word while we were at the fair grounds that Clark County Mounted Search and Rescue (MSAR) had been called out for the search for the 11 year old boy that was lost up in Skamania County.

Because most of the MSAR are Fence Riders, a lot of us were already off work and the horses were on site and available. We called our phone tree and found the riders and trailers that were close and available. Most of us did not have our search gear at the fair grounds so those that lived close or on the way to the search gathered all their available gear to help supply the ones that didn’t have any with them. After all this, we were able get horses, gear, food and people loaded and headed out of the fair grounds by 1:00.

One of the things that we work on is getting as rapid a response as possible. It’s not quite like loading up a backpack and heading out. Each member needs to have gear to survive for 24 hours out in the field for both horse and rider.

Eight horses and 10 people got to our base camp on the 57 road, tacked up and the headed out to the command center, on the 5701 road, about 3:00. The command center is usually as close to the search site as possible and that means that there is usually a very limited amount of real estate. One of the issues of having a mounted group is that we need more room to maneuver so our base camp is often separate from the command center. Because of that we also need base camp people to stay with the trailers.

Gary and I had a radio so we could hear what was going on and had our maps to plot where all the different search groups were looking. We watched with great interest the Washington State Patrol (WSP) fixed wing aircraft as it did its methodical search and of course the news helicopters trying to get their news footage. We could hear some of what the WSP pilot was reporting and it was great fun to have command give ‘Smoky’ their GPS coordinates. With that information, we found out where the command post was located. (at that time, we hadn’t left our gravel pit)

That is a real interesting process. Each searcher has a radio and the command center keeps track of where each group is on a computer map and can plot who has searched where and correlate any feedback so they can make sure that they have looked everywhere in the designated area. It really is quite an involved process.

Of course there were TV crews everywhere with their big camera and satellite trucks. Did you see our guys in the footage? They got quite a bit of screen time.

Command called everyone in at 6 pm but it took quite some time to get them all back. Our mounted group didn’t get back in until 8:00. They were a tired bunch. The Siouxon trail is really rough. The horses were dripping wet, even around their eyes, but they were troopers. They carried their riders through some very rough terrain with hardly any issues.

The search was scheduled to start at 6 AM the next morning. Because it took us so long to get clear up there on ‘not so trailer friendly’ roads, one of our members offered to put us up for the night at his place right down the hill in Amboy. He had room for all the horses to stretch and roll and he had beds, chairs and floors for us to bed down.

After making sure the horses were watered and fed, we all loaded up to go to Nick’s for dinner. Boy those hamburgers tasted great and the service was excellent. They even turned on the 10:00 news but we didn’t think of it soon enough so we didn’t see the story about the search. We had a great meal and did a lot of de-briefing. At the end of the meal when we went up to pay, the ladies that waited on us said no, the meal was on them. I want to personally thank them for the generosity. We all really appreciated it and want you all to know what wonderful people they are. I have no idea what their names are but next time you get a chance to go into Nick’s, say hi and pass along our thanks. I want them to know we appreciate them a bunch!

4 AM came way too early but when we got up, our hostess had biscuits and gravy and eggs ready for our breakfast. She kept saying we need a good breakfast to ride up on those trails. A big shout-out to her also.

Our horses were great sports and were more than ready to leave their spacious digs and load up for the days work. It was still dark! One of the things that we practice with our group is loading into ANY trailer and being able to ride with ANY horse. They all just jumped in where ever we put them and off we went.

We were tacked up and ready to mount when we heard over the radio the little guy had walked into camp ON HIS OWN. What a tough little bugger! We all gave a big shout and a ‘Thank you, Lord’. A deputy came by minutes later to thank us for our help and to sign us out. It was a job well done. So we packed back up, loaded the horses and headed back to the fair grounds. We got back there earlier than most of us get there on normal days. Our day seemed half done by 10:00 and we were ready for lunch.

Because I wasn’t on the actual ride, I’m having one of the riders write up an account of their ‘trial ride’ and will post it as soon as they get it done.

Because this is still fair time and we are all out there working, things have been slow to appear here and I apologize for that.

But we’ll ‘get r done’.

Favorite Flavor

I read this on one of my chat boards and thought it was interesting ----

Equine Flavor Preferences by:
Lydia Gray, DVM, MAJuly 15 2008, Article # 12280

Does your horse have a favorite flavor? Eight research horses in England did.

Deborah Goodwin, BSc, PhD, research director of Applied Animal Behaviour Programmes at the University of Southampton, set out to discover what flavors horses actually like, compared to what horse owners and product manufacturers think horses like. In Goodwin's first trial, she offered 15 flavors to eight stabled horses in a small amount of grain and measured how much they ate, how long it took them to eat it, and if any horses partially or completely rejected it. Some horses refused to eat three flavors--echinacea, nutmeg, and coriander. This left 12 flavors that were universally accepted: apple, banana, carrot, cherry, cumin, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, oregano, peppermint, and rosemary turmeric. In the next phase of the study, the eight flavors the horses ate the fastest of the 12 offered were presented again, in all combinations of pairings, to rank the horses' overall order of preference. The horses' top-ranked flavors were (in order): Fenugreek, Banana, Cherry, Rosemary, Cumin, Carrot, Peppermint, Oregano. Finally, in Trial 3 she offered the horses three versions of a mineral pellet: banana-flavored, fenugreek-flavored, or unflavored. Horses ate the pellet much faster when it was flavored with either fenugreek or banana than when it had no added flavor.

The take-home: if you want your horse to eat his medication or supplements, choose products that already contain the top eight flavors horses prefer, or add them yourself.

Goodwin D, Davidson H P B, Harris, P. Selection and acceptance of flavours in concentrate diets for stabled horses. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 95, Issue 3 - 4, Pages 223-232.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clark County Fair Results - 8/4/08

Congratulations are in order for all of you Seniors that competed on Monday.
Great Job!

These are the top awards -

Senior Novice Showmanship
Grand Champion – Sarah Carr
Reserve Champion – Amy Stadelman

Senior Showmanship
Grand Champion – Sophia Howard
Reserve Champion – Erich Hodges

Senior Bareback Equitation
Grand Champion – Holly Bahr
Reserve Champion – Hannah Behrent

Senior Saddle Seat
Grand Champion – Holly Bahr
Reserve Champion – Pari Treptow- Wagner

Senior Hunt Seat
Grand Champion – Holly Bahr
Reserve Champion – Sophia Howard

Novice Senior Western Walk/Trot
Grand Champion – Amy Stadelman

Senior Western Equitation
Grand Champion – Jaclyn Sprenger
Reserve Champion – Amber Rios

Trail Senior
Grand Champion – Lindsey Morris
Reserve Champion – Kaycee Cook

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Missing Horse

This came by way of a Back Country Horseman of Washington (BCHW) email -

Monday, August 04, 2008 3:58 PM
From Dike Rd, Rainer Oregon: (Southwest WA)

Missing or taken 10 year old Solid Black Registered American PaintHorse.

This mare is ready to foal, or just has foaled. Mare has a bad attitude - will lay her ears back and make you want to leave the stall. 15 hands. Has been ridden BUT because of attitude has been used as a brood mare.

Also missing, oblong large rusty water trough and 20 large kennel panels (look like the panels you take camping for your horses, but larger and with chain link in them.)

Phone 360-751-4466

Saturday, August 2, 2008

At the Fair

Just a short note to keep you up to date a bit on the fair.
Tonight's entertainment is Eric Church at 7:30.
You can get more information at Clark County Fair on times and cost.
It is looking to be a good fair. If you haven't seen the bits on the local news, there is a trick horse this year and he looks amazing and he's a beautiful Paint.

Open class showing is this weekend. Engish today and Western tomorrow.
The lead line class is at 4:00 if you want to come out and see some real cuties. I wanted to put up some of the results from yesterday's events but there were computer issues and the office was way behind. I'll get them on when they have time to give them to me. Because this is so new, no one is set up to hand me the results and I don't want to cause anyone any extra work. The behind the scene stuff is so hectic anyway! If you see any of the workers out there, be sure to just give them a big smile and tell them how much we all appreciate what they do. All of the workers out there in the horse area are volunteers and it is a lot of work.

The Dock Dogs are back this year and if you haven't made it down to that end of the fair grounds, go spend an hour or so. It is a blast to watch those dogs go splashing into the water and to watch how the trainers/handlers work to make it a game for those dogs. They put a lot of 'english' in their body actions.

Now, I've got to tell you funny story -
I was going to be lazy and get the fair grounds web address off Eric Church's 'on tour ' page. Guess what - it links to the "Clark County Fair" in Springfield, Ohio! oops!
We are always being mistaken for the other Vancouver or the other Washington. Now we are the OTHER Clark County Fair.

I'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wild Mustangs

My idea for the blog today was originally to include a forward of an email that I had received about a BLM action affecting a wild mustang herd. Because the email was a bit old, I decided to do some checking to see if there was an update.

After some digging I called the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center and talked with Matthew Dillon. He has a blog linked on that page that is very interesting and has great pictures. Visiting with him, he felt that the most good we as horse people can do for wild horses is to become more educated about them and their issues.

There is a lot of information out about wild horses. Some of it is accurate and some of it not quite so much. The more any of us know about a subject, the better opinions we can form and share. He felt that the Pryor Herd is being well managed at this time with good communications between the BLM people and the herd advocates.

He sent me to the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Program website and pointed out several places that we could learn about the issue and make comments. Matt said that at least for the Pryor group, they have had a “lot of comments”. What he said suggested that the best help would be for people to become informed and then share well formed comments about the issue. The BLM managers are more likely to listen and take in that type of information. Sounds basic but sometimes when our emotions take over, what comes out is not always very helpful and will fall on deaf ears.
The BLM site has a Fact sheet on Wild Horse and Burro Management Challenges and a feed back form for Public Input. There is even a link to a page about how you can help if you can’t adopt a mustang.

Be sure to check out the links to the different Mustang Challenges including the Extreme Mustang Makeover 2008 (EMM 08) in Fort Worth, Texas on September 18-21, 2008. (I may get to attend that event - I'll keep you posted) This page has links to the pictures of all 100 mustangs in the 2008 challenge along with the trainer’s name and location. There are several from the NW.

Two of the things that Matt said would be good for all of us to become more informed about was the current push to relax some rules about adoptions and some laws about outright buying of mustangs. He was very careful to not give opinions about either one. Just that it would be good for the public to become more informed about those issues.

And more thoughts about wild horses from a friend …….
The effort to remove wild horses from public lands is a repeat cycle. The government has tried for the last 30 plus years to remove wild horse herds as they do not want to manage them as wildlife. The horse is native to North America and although the Spanish did re-introduce horses, there is data supporting the fact that the horse never died out in North America in the North territory. All evidence has carefully been discredited or destroyed through the years to prevent the knowledge of the horse staying a native species. I personally viewed the vet at Palomino Valley, Nevada euthanizing a population of what appeared to be "Bashkir Curly" horses back in the late 70's stating that they had thyroid issues.

To give an example of numbers, there are less than 40, 000 wild horses in the entire US with population data ranging from as low as 21,000 to a high of 44,000 depending on various estimates. Wyoming has about 110,000 elk, but wildlife biologists consider the elk population at risk. If a species population falls below 100,000, its gene pool is at risk. Because we cannot hunt and kill horses, they are viewed as "feral" non-native species that need to be removed.

Horses can do damage to the environment when they are not properly managed, but little effort has been directed to mange wild horses. Most of the effort has been to remove and capture with no awareness of behavior, leadership, or the social ecology of the herds.

What people can do--Contact and write your local US senators and representatives, write newspapers and media. Contact the BLM and the Secretary of Interior. Your own representatives and senators will listen more because they are your local leaders and need to know what their constituency thinks.