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.