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.