Monday, December 14, 2009

I Ride

Sharing from my in-box -

Below from an 87-yr old very active horseback riding mother I thought an
expression of a horse lover's thanks and feeling of empowerment--and
worthy of sharing in this season.

Subject: I Ride

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women
who ride know it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power
and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered
out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill
water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the
vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by
the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the
business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At
least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness'.
It's a sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model
horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the
women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a
sport. It's not a hobby. It's what we do and, in some ways, who we are as
women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some
trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I
breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor
the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen
smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into
the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding
flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is
perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement
of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in
my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I
ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend
through the Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my
chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real
accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how
much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I
ride. And I feel better for doing so.

The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find
lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside
rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams The Granite
Stairway at Echo Summit; bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl
add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent
they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch.. We haul 40 ft rigs, we
back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the
horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the
horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know
that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor.
Your hands are a little rough and you travel without makeup or hair gel.
You do without to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a
small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real

"My treasures do not chink or glitter, they gleam in the sun and neigh in
the night"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Weather Cafe

I want to share a resource that I have been enjoying for a bit now.

It is a twice weekly weather report from the weathercafe yahoo group. It is written by *Rufus* and he seems to have a really good handle on long range weather forecasts. The group description - "The Weather Cafe provides informative long-range forecasts for specific patrons from the PNW". He has an eye out for agriculture folks.

Rufus sends out emails on Mondays and Fridays but occasionally will send out mid-week updates if there is something important to share. I got one of those today so I am passing it on....

Wednesday December 2


ARCTIC AIR MASS is poised to drop in for a visit this weekend. Western valleys may see a few snow showers as the cold front passes late Friday, with another colder shot of air due in Sunday/Monday.

A VERY COLD high pressure 'dome' of air, with surface readings around 1050 mb, will move out of the Yukon into western Canada, then nudge southeast into the U.S. heartland over the weekend. This type of pattern typically results in some of our coldest winter weather across the PNW. The heavy air mass will push rapidly out of the Fraser Valley and Columbia River Gorge into west side locations. WINDY - with wind chill factors for some patrons on the east side in the single digits. Bundle up.

This morning's lows in the mid-to-upper 20s west of Cascades (first 'hard frost' of the fall for many) is only the teaser for temps in the mid-teens probable in west side locations Monday and Tuesday mornings. Eastern basins will not get above freezing for three or four days; lows approaching zero for some.

-> Business and residential plumbing should be prepped for sub-freezing temperatures. Ranchers plan water availability for livestock.

Now, the transition. Long time residents of the PNW know that heavy, cold air 'bottles up' on the east side of the Cascades and pushes through to the west to set up some of our classic snow conditions as a warm front approaches from the west / southwest. It takes decent southerly winds to move aside the cold air mass. Come mid-week, a strong storm (remnants of T.S. NIDA) is modeled to aim primarily at California (heavy rain likely there). As the system approaches, it is very likely for SNOW at all west side locations - at least until the system stirs in warmer surface air. Could be a significant amount of snow beforehand if the center of the storm tracks in a more southern pattern.

Snow should transition to RAIN for western valleys and even some lower elevations of eastern OR / WA by sometime Thursday. This will be a WINDY storm, esp for southern OR / northern CA. Possibility for a second and third low to form moving warmer air and moderate RAIN to many PNW locations as next weekend approaches. FLOOD issues could be in play for northern CA. -> NOTE: the last of the series of fronts is likely to pull down COLD AIR on the back side, as another shot of Arctic air moves close to the WA / B.C. border next weekend. Some model runs indicate VERY LOW snow levels probable in the Dec 11 - 12 time frame, maybe even to the surface. Mountain passes will get hammered.

Your WxCafe (TM) will update this ever adjusting scenario on Friday. In the mean time, take the time to prepare for significant winter weather.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Horse’s Christmas Wish

This isn't particularly funny like the stuff I like to share but it is food for thought.

A different take on this favorite poem ---

T’was the night before Christmas, but my manger was bare,

My coat was still matted, with manure in my hair.

My thirst showed no mercy on this day of the Lord.

My stall was so filthy, manure covering the floor.

The night’s stars were brilliant, in the clear sky they shined.

Peace and love filled the world, almost all, but not mine.

Here it was bitter cold and hunger the rule.

The season’s sweet blessings weren’t shared by the cruel.

My owner was comfortable, snug in his bed.

He didn’t care that I still hadn’t been fed.

When out in the pasture, what should I hear?

But the sound of a sleigh and the hoofs of reindeer!

As I peered out the stall there arose quite a clatter.

As Santa strode in to see what was the matter.

“I heard of your suffering, even from afar.

Your owner doesn’t deserve you, the great horse that you are!”

The scowl on his face didn’t fit the old elf.

His anger had gotten him quite beside himself.

He threw open the stall door and then in a flash,

Had my rack filled with hay and my feeder with mash!

“You enjoy this,” he said as he strode to the house,

“I’m going to stir up much more than a mouse!”

As I munched I looked out to see what would occur.

Santa entered the house and he caused quite a stir!

He grabbed my owner by the back of his shirt

And pulled him to the barn, where he stopped with a jerk.

“This horse is God’s creature; he’s been placed in your care!”

Santa fairly shouted, his wrath filled the air.

“You have used and abused him, for far too long.

And what’s worse, you don’t even think that it’s wrong!”

“I’ve got your long wish list right here in my coat,”

“You want toys and gizmos, a new car and a boat!”

“But your gift from me this year is better by far

Than any new toys, or a shiny new car!”

My owner’s eyes grew wide and filled up with fear.

He seemed quite afraid of what next he would hear.

Santa took a deep breath, then said with a sigh,

“You shall switch lives with this sweet little guy!”

Then laying his finger aside of his nose

He winked at me, smiling, and then switched our roles.

I was no longer a horse, all battered and thin.

But stood on two feet, wearing a grin!

The horse in the stall neighed loudly in protest.

Santa just laughed and shook his head as he left.

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

So I watered my horse, and cleaned out his stall,

Amazed that there are season’s blessings after all!

Author Unknown

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dear Horse Owners

Time for some silliness......

Dear Horse Owners,

Are you experiencing too many second and third finishes behind inferior horses at horse shows?
During a trail ride, does your horse forget everything he was bred to do?

Well, this simple chain letter is meant to bring relief and happiness to you. Unlike most chain letters, it doesn't cost any money.

Simply send a copy to seven other horse owners who are dissatisfied with the way that their horse is behaving. Then, bundle up your horse and ship him/her to the horse owner at the top of the list, and add your name to the bottom of the list. Do not use a return address or the post office may try to contact you.

In one week you should receive 16,436 horses, and at least one of them should be a keeper.
Have faith!! Do not break the chain!! One owner broke the chain and got his own horse back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Land use Meetings

There are two meetings this week that would be of interest to the local horse community.

Tonight, Nov 9th, the Equestrian Advisory group for the first time.

Tomorrow night, Nov 10th, there will be an open house to let you know about what is being discussed by the Rural Lands task force.

But before I go on more about those meetings, let me tell you that I am getting confused! I love the fact that our city and county officials are finally looking at making the area more horse friendly. The tough part is that there are so many groups and meetings that sound alike, I’m having a hard time keeping them straight - and I make it my business to keep up on these things. I have spent several hours figuring out the names of these task groups and what they are about. I hope this helps.

Like I have been saying for a bit now, I think the tide is turning and local governments are realizing the need for the citizens of our county to enjoy a ‘back to the land’ life style and are aligning the codes and zoning to facilitate that.

Here goes:

Urban Livestock Task Force (Urban Livestock review) has completed its job.

In response to a complaint about horses on small acreage in the Vancouver UGA and resulting concern from some that the County was going to restrict the keeping of horses on smaller parcels, the Board of Clark County Commissioners (BOCC) appointed a task force on urban livestock
The Board of Clark County Commissioners adopted an urban livestock ordinance at its hearing on October 6, 2009. The ordinance takes affect on November 1, 2009. The new ordinance is Section 40.260.235 of the Clark County Code.

The Rural Lands Task force is an ongoing group working on the Rural lands review

Current rural land zoning in the county was established in 1994 with the adoption of the County's first comprehensive plan under the Growth Management Act (GMA). The County has completed two comprehensive plan updates since then (2004 and 2007), but their focus has been on urban areas and how to accommodate projected growth.
After completion of the 2007 update of the Growth Management Act, the BOCC directed a review of rural lands.
The first phase is completed with task force recommendations listed here.

They are working at making our county more Ag friendly, perhaps even encouraging Ag use on appropriate land. If you have not taken the online survey that I talked about in a previous blog, click here to get your opinion counted. They are listening.

This is the new kid on the block and is also from the Community Planning people.

Equestrian advisory group was formed because of the interest shown by horse people in the Rural lands Review. (see they are listening)
Their first meeting will be tonight, Nov. 9th, and is open to the public.

The advisory group will help develop an equestrian plan focusing on the following elements:

• Equestrian trails
• Equestrian overlay district to supplement existing zoning
• Best management practices
• Economic development opportunities at the county fairgrounds

For more information, please contact Laurie Lebowsky in Community Planning at (360) 397-2280 ext. 4544 or e-mail
The seven-member Equestrian Advisory Group will look at topics ranging from trails and events to zoning that could support equestrian-related housing developments.

Just to add one more element, the city of Vancouver has created the City of Vancouver - Urban Livestock Advisory Group. I am a member of this group and we have been meeting since the middle of August. We are working on possible code changes that would allow the raising of farm animals within the City limits. These would affect the residents of the City of Vancouver with an eye out for the folks in the Urban Growth Boundary that will become part of the city in the future.

OK, so I hope this makes the issues a bit clearer. Or if not, at least you know about the discussions going on in the area concerning our horse keeping.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eat out for a good cause -

If you are planning on eating out in the next few days, think about making it a 'two-fer' by going to Panda Express at the JM Plaza location or the Salmon Creek location. They are supporting the Prairie High School Equestrian Team by donating 20% of your purchase to them.

Print out this flyer and take it in with you and support a good cause.

Our area is really getting behind all these High School Equestrian teams and we will all benefit by the caliber of youth that they are creating.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just stuff

I read this in the Sunday paper and just had to share -
The article was talking about all the stuff that we worry about in our world today. A good thing for me to read cause my son and his family all have 'the flu' right now. Actually the point was to see how 'unsolvables' have been solved. I usually come from a different perspective but it was a good article and handled the issue well.

And one of the issues was Horse Manure.

As urban populations exploded in the 19th century (sounds like our county these last few years) horses were put to work in many ways. Horse power was used to pull streetcars, coaches and fire engines and quite literally for powering manufacturing equipment. The cities became filled with horses. An example - in 1900, New York City was home to around 200,000 horses. One for every 17 people.

Because of this there was what the economists of that time referred to as "negative externalities". These included many things like noise, gridlock, high insurance costs and far too many human traffic fatalities and one of the worst problems:

...... THE MANURE ......

The average horse produces about 24 pounds of it a day. In New York, at that time, that added up to nearly 5 million pounds - A DAY. (and we think we have it bad)

It lined the street like banks of snow and was piled as high as 60 feet in vacant lots and it smelled really bad. It was a fertile breeding ground for flies that spread deadly disease. City planners everywhere were confounded. It seemed as if cities could not survive without the horse - but they couldn't survive with it, either.

And then the problem vanished. The horse was kicked to the curb by the electric streetcar and the automobile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Festival & Barn Social

I hope you can ready the flyer - I think it is so cute.
But I want to be sure that you know about this event at Silver Buckle Ranch.

The Fall Festival is a repeat of the very successful open house last year. Lots of happy kids and parents enjoyed our working ranch. This year will be even better with demonstrations of sorting, roping, barrel racing and poles. Wagon rides, a petting zoo, pony rides and free pumpkins for the first 200 children are some of the activities. We are asking for a $5.00 donation per car.

That evening, from 5:30 to 8:30 the adults are invited back to relax and enjoy the fun at the fist Silver Buckle Ranch Barn Social and Auction. It will be catered by Applewoods and will feature a silent and oral auction. Don Hanley will be our auctioneer and we will be treated to some of his cowboy poetry. A few of the items to be offered at auction are an equine massage, a people massage, an in office teeth whitening treatment, custom made saddle pockets and a K-9 Ride-A-Long from our Sheriff's Department.

Call Silver Buckle (360) 260-8932 for tickets, $25 per person.

Come join the fun.

Jody Benson

Update ---
New Auction items

Guided Fishing trip
Wine Gift Basket
Vorson white electric guitar - signed by members of Sawyer Brown!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Daybreak Park

When: Wednesday, October 14th – 7:00 PM
Were: Daybreak Primary and Middle School commons
1900 NW 20th Ave, Battle Ground

What: Another meeting……………..

Seems like there have been a lot lately but these are all important for the future of our horse community. And they seem to be making a difference.

The latest one is a chance for us to let the county know what we think should happen at Daybreak Park.

There was a good article in The Columbian this morning about this meeting. The county is looking to private groups – including us – for good ideas about the use of the 112-acre undeveloped site on the south bank of the East Fork Lewis River. They are looking for partnerships in the planning and developing of the park. The meeting on Wednesday will be for public comment. Jean Akers, county parks planner, stated: “I think there are a number of different groups out there who are interested. I’ll wait and see who comes on Wednesday.” The county will use residents’ input from the Wednesday meeting and from comments on the expansion project’s web site. The plan that is developed from this input will be presented in a public meeting in December. Online, e-mail and phone comments will be accepted from Oct. 15-29. Check out Lower Daybreak Regional Park Master Plan web site for more information.

Or contact:
Pat Lee, Legacy Lands Program Manager
(360) 397-2375 ext. 4070

Jean Akers, Park Planner
Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation
(360) 619-1120

There have been conversations about making this park a major equine area and it sounds to me like the county is asking us, the horse community, to put our time and money where ‘our’ mouth is. We can start by showing up at the meeting to let them know that we want into the party.

This meeting will be in Battle Ground but it will affect all of the horse community. Even if you are from East County, come and stand up for more horse event and trail areas. Send me an email from ‘post a comment’ if you need directions.

See you there,
Jody Benson

Monday, October 5, 2009

Urban Livestock Hearing Oct 6th

Just to remind you. Come all who can.

The county is listening to us and we need to make sure they know we are interested in what happens to the horses in this county.
This is the continuation of the meeting we attended in July where the planners were directed to go back and look at the issues again. At that time we asked that they offer an evening meeting so more people could attend.

6:00 PM
Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin Street, 6th Floor

To consider proposed addition of a special uses section of the Clark County Code dealing with Urban Livestock (Clark County Code 40.260.235). Continued from July 21, 2009. Staff Report
Staff: Gordy Euler, 360.397.2280, ext. 4968

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wild Horse Adoption Day

People considering adopting a wild horse might find their equine matches at one of 35 events taking place nationwide during National Wild Horse Adoption Day Sept. 26.

You can read more about this program in this article from

There are several events in Oregon and Washington. Check them out on the Wild Horse Adoption Day website Event Calendar.

There are several training events being offered in association with these Adoption Days.

Top 10 Exercises

They say it takes seven falls to make a rider. But there's a lot more to it than that.

Check out this humorous list of 10 simple exercises that will help you become a better equestrian.

10. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don't pick it up right away. Shout, "Get off, Stupid, GET OFF!"

9. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice "relaxing into the fall." Roll lithely into a ball and spring to your feet.

8. Learn to grab your checkbook out of your purse and write out a $200 check without even looking down.

7. Jog long distances carrying a halter and a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbors what you are doing - they might as well know now.

6. Affix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling to a halt. Smile as if you are having fun.

5. Hone your fibbing skills: "See hon, moving hay bales is FUN!" and "No, really, I'm glad your lucky performance and multimillion dollar horse won the blue ribbon. I am just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place."

3. Borrow the US Army's slogan: Be All That You Can Be -- bitten, thrown, kicked, slimed, trampled, frozen...

2. Lie face down in a puddle of mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself, "This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience, this is ..."


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Free Webcast

This information came from Washington State University by way of Erin Harwood in our Clark County Extension office

Free Webcast on Bits and Bitting

Learn about the functions of a bit and how to properly select a bit for your horse.

Please join us in this FREE webcast provided by My Horse University and eXtension HorseQuest.

My Horse University and eXtension HorseQuest invite you to a FREE webcast on bits and bitting for horses. Dr. Holly Spooner, an Assistant Professor and Equine Extension Specialist at West Virginia University, will be discussing factors such as bit selection for different stages of training and how a bit functions.

Webcast: Bits and Bitting

Date: September 22, 2009

Time: 7:00 P.M. EDT

Speaker: Dr. Holly Spooner, West Virginia University

Selecting the correct bit for a horse is dependent on a number of factors including the horse's level of training and the rider's experience level. Knowing how a bit functions and distributes pressure on a horse's face is essential for determining what bit is appropriate. This presentation will discuss the difference in direct versus leverage action of a bit, how the diameter and shape of the bit effects the bit's action, and will describe the pressure points on the horse's face that are affected by bits and hackamores. In addition, bit selection for different stages of training and training problems will be discussed.

Space is LIMITED!

Register Today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The tide may be turning......

I need to lead off this post by saying that I choose to be an optimist.

People in this horse community have been working for years to open the eyes of the local officials to see the value in making this a more horse-friendly area. For the most part, it has felt like they have been banging their heads against the closed barn door.

I have reasons to believe that someone has been listening to the noise and they are thinking about seeing what may be inside the barn. Corny I know but I think that may be just what is happening.

I am a member of the City of Vancouver Urban Livestock Advisory Group, lead by John T Manley, Senior Planner from Vancouver Community Planning. I am very excited about our conversations. The general direction is that the city is leaning towards looking more favorably at having livestock (both large and small) be part of the community with reasonable guidelines so that we can all remain neighborly. Allowing smaller animals on smaller lots and larger animals on reasonably sized properties with due consideration towards the surrounding neighbors.

In the county area, I have asked to be a part of the the Equestrian Advisory Group. Just reading the previously posted News Release gives me hope that someone has been listening and is starting to see that the horse community does have a real economic impact on the area. With a bit of proactive planning, it would be possible to build this county into a horse mecca and I think that would be so cool. We have a lot going for us already. We just need the 'officials' on board.

I know that all these thoughts are optimistic but as I already said, that is how I choose to look at it. Come join me. Give me your ideas. Dream big. Let's make this "The Premier Horse Community" in the state.

News Release

Clark County Community Planning
September 14, 2009

Contact: Laurie Lebowsky, Community Planning
(360) 397-2280 ext. 4544, e-mail

Equestrian Advisory Group forming to explore horse opportunities

Vancouver, WA - More opportunities for Clark County horse owners and riders could be identified in coming months thanks to a newly forming committee headed by Laurie Lebowsky of the Community Planning Department.

The seven-member Equestrian Advisory Group will look at topics ranging from trails and events to zoning that could support equestrian-related housing developments.

With an estimated 29,000 horses in local barns and fields, the Board of Clark County Commissioners directed planners to broaden recreational options for equine owners and economic development opportunities for the county. Equestrian activities include trail riding, 4-H open and breed shows, fair court, cow sorting, gaming, dressage, rodeo, drill teams, endurance riding, eventing, hunter/jumper, driving and pack trips.

The group will guide development of the plan to be presented at open houses scheduled in coming months to encourage additional public review and comment.

Three seats are vacant on the Equestrian Advisory Group. People interested in serving on the panel are asked to e-mail or call her at (360) 397-2280 ext. 4544.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Amboy Riding Club Top 10 show

Amboy Riding Club Top 10 show
Saturday, September 19.

Sign ups at 8:00
Events start at 9:00.

Show located at Amboy Territorial Days Park.
You do not need to be a top ten member to ride.
If you would like to become a top ten member, contact Valerie Lane, with the Clark County Saddle Club, before the show starts to sign up.

$21.00 a rider
$5.00 for time onlys.

Events are:
Speed Barrels
Bi Wrangle

Age Groups:
9 & under
45 & over

Awards to 5th place in each age group.

Questions, call Becky McDougal at 921-5266

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Glenwood Fun Ride

I just got this from our friends up in Glenwood and wanted to share it with you.......

In case you haven't been up there, Glenwood is in the valley at the base of Mt. Adams. A good number of my pictures from their Katchum Kalf Rodeo on Father's Day weekend rodeo have Mt. Adams in the background. It is a beautiful area.
Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Easy Riders Game Show

2009 – 2010

Cowlitz County Fairgrounds Indoor Arena

SATURDAYS: SEP 19; OCT 17; NOV 14; JAN 23; FEB 20; MAR 20; APR 17 (Make up show, if necessary)


$20.00 for the day
All riders are welcome!!!!

Events -
Speed Barrels
Texas Barrels
“Judges Choice”
(4th event will change at each show)

Age Groups -
10 & Under
17 - 30
31 & Over

Daily Prizes in Each Age Group
$5 Surprise Jackpot Event/Time Permitting (50/50 Split)

Knockdown/No time Rule applies to all Events
Same Horse/Same Rider for Series Awards
Western boots with heel required
Tie for final placing will be broken according to number of shows attended

For more info call Jeanne Kell (360) 274-4915 or Sue Claypool (360) 636-3737

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Horse Trailer Rodeo

Sunday, August 30th
12 noon to 4 PM
Clark County Fairgrounds (follow signs)

Lots of fun!

• Driving Lessons $ 5 donation (Learn how to back successfully!)
• Challenge Course $10 donation (For experienced drivers-prizes in various categories)
• How to load your horse demo
• Emergency Rescue demo
• Trailer like a horse demo
• Informational booths
• Learn about different trailer types
• View trailers for sale
• “Adopt-a-Horse” information

Lunch available

Free Trailer Brake Safety Inspections
Sponsored by: Horse Trailer Restoration

Proceeds from this event support the Clark County Executive Horse Council programs, including: horse rescue, trail maintenance and development and community education

Come join the fun.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Land Use Issues

We are very busy at the fair this week but I wanted to be sure and let you know about two important updates on land use in our area.

The city’s version is thru community Planning and they have set up an Urban Livestock Advisory Group to work on this issue. To learn more, go to the Urban Livestock web page or to

And in an email from the county:

The county is reviewing policies for rural land uses outside of city limits and urban growth areas. You can have a say in what views are considered by stopping by the “Rural Lands” table at the “River Ramble” activity center at the Clark County Fair, which runs through Aug. 16. County staff will be there to answer questions about the project and to accept comments from the public. Comments may also be submitted online at, where there is a public opinion survey and more project information. Their booth is in the Community Groups building next to the “E” barn, across from the Dairy Women’s milkshake booth.

If you do come out to the fair, be sure to stop by the "Fence Riders" barn and say hi. Poco and I will be there thru Sunday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The weather

Well, has anyone noticed any difference out there????

I have made a commitment to not complain about the heat wave that we are experiencing right now but to not notice it and not comment on it wouldn’t be honest.

We have AC so I’m doing fine but my concern has been for our horses.

I’m a relatively new horsey mom – about 10 years – and can be a bit of a worrier because there is just so much that we don’t know about them. We are trying to catch up in 10 years what others have spent a life time learning…..

Now on to this heat stuff -

Do our West Coast horses know how to deal with heat like this?

I know that I don’t really know how. Drink lots of water and don’t move is my best answer for myself. But since that’s not possible, moving slower seems to be the answer. And stay inside as much as possible.

We don’t have an air conditioned barn or even fans set up so trying to figure out what is best for our boys (and the mare) is hard. I have already called our vet 3 times asking about electrolytes, salt and bathing.

What they have told me is to just watch them for sufficient sweating and make sure they have plenty of water. Also that they have assess to salt and trace minerals. I told them I use Horse Guard daily and they said that covers the mineral issue.

When I called yesterday, they said they had brought their horses into the shade about 1:00 so I’m going to do that today. They have shade in the field but just stay out eating. Go figure.

A friend in Texas suggested hosing down their legs and underbelly. The vet office said that sometimes the water stays on them and actually heats them up. A better option is to wipe them down with rubbing alcohol. As it evaporates, it is cooling. I’m going to do that when I bring them in.

That’s about the hints I’ve got. Let me know if you have any to pass along. I’m sure there are other newbies like me.

A piece of good news – Ridgefield Equine Clinic hasn’t had any heat related issues as of mid-morning.

Keep hydrated, in the shade and slow down.

That’s my advice.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Trail Trials

Just a quick reminder of the Trail Trials tomorrow.

It is out at the Zumstein Family Farm in Woodland. Just being able to ride though their land is a treat and you will have plenty of challenges if you want.

There are 3 classes - Youth 12-17 (helmets required), Adult 18+ and Extreme Trail Horse and there will be prizes awarded in each.

This is the major fundraiser for the Fence Riders (Clark County Mounted Patrol).

Come join the fun -

Just a note: we could still us a few helpers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Urban Livestock Code

The Board of County Commissioners will be holding a public hearing this coming Tuesday on the proposed Urban Livestock Code.

I believe some good people worked on this proposal but I believe there are still some questions that need to be asked and explained.

From the Draft of the Urban Livestock Task Force Concepts for Urban Livestock Code dated 3/25/09:
40.260.235 Urban Livestock
Page 2 line 8 -
D. 3. All buildings used for urban livestock shall be legally permitted.

This sentence concerns me because it appears to be a change from the current agriculture building requirements.

As I understand it now, in Clark County, an agricultural building does not need to be permitted through the county building department permit system as long if it is set back 50 feet from the property line.

There are a few other questions that others have asked and I’m hoping that this hearing will get them answered.

As usual, a good showing of horse people lets the Commissioners know that we are interested in what is happening in our county. Unfortunately the hearing is during the day so we need to really work to get people there. If you can’t attend, pass this information on to someone that you think might be able to come.

July 21st, 2009 @ 10am
Public Services Building, Commissioners Hearing Room
6th Floor
1300 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA

You can read the proposed code and more information about how the task force developed this proposed code on the county webpage.

I'll see you there,


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rodeo week - day 4

Today is day two of the rodeo and I only know that because that’s what we talked about in the production meeting this morning. During rodeo week life as we know it stops (by choice mind you) and we gauge our day by what time we have to be out to the grounds and when we can escape to go home to eat lunch and get dressed for that day's performance.

We have a dance every night of the rodeo and last night and tonight we have the fantastic Carrie Cunningham Band. Good music and good friends kept us there so again we didn’t get home until very late. That will be the theme of this week. Hard work and hard play for a whole bunch of people.

Come watch a great rodeo and dance the night away.

First Performance

The first performance went great. It was our ‘pink day’ and what a show it was. The grand entry went smoothly and I just loved all the pink vet wrap on the horses legs. Our rodeo’s colors are Red, White and Blue of course so with all the pink mixed in, it was very colorful.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink is a day to honor and raise money for the Susan G. Komen fund.

For a week night and the first day of the rodeo, we had a very good attendance. That is especially important this year because our sponsorship money is way down. Just like in the rest of the world, money is tight. A lot of our usual sponsors just didn’t feel like they had the extra money to help support our rodeo. The good side to that is a lot of people are traveling less and looking for something to do close to home we are.

Our Grand Entry was fabulous in pink. The drill team nailed their part and the crowd just loved them. The stage coach was a hit as was little Taylor, the 9 year old that sang the National Anthem for us.

There are a lot of people working this rodeo that do this full time at least in the summer. Our stock contractors and their workers, the judges, the officials, the entertainment and the participants spend a lot of time in their rigs driving to and camping at the various rodeo grounds. It really is an interesting community. They are nice, honest people that love their way of live and we become friends in a few days and look forward to seeing them year after year.

The Clark County Saddle Club grounds become a little city, gathered to have fun and work hard for 4 days every July.

Come and join us.

Final Prep

The final prep before the first performance is always a VERY busy day.

The tough signs are put up.

The last bit of decorating is completed.

Our announcer, Al Parson, is now here so we can practice the grand entry one last time to check on the timing.

The ‘infield’ starts to fill up with our crew - workers that don’t want to drive home each night and participants that don’t want to trailer their horses in each day. A lot of the committee stay here too because sometimes there is very little time to run home for whatever and if there is any extra time, they want to use it for a nap instead of driving time.

And next is:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vancouver Rodeo - Day 2

Well it should have been day two if your keeping count but today is day 3 - showtime.
We didn't make it home until 11:30 last night trying to get vendors in and tents up and decorations up and and and. There is just a lot of stuff to get done to prepare for a rodeo.
Things were going pretty well and we were just about closing everything down about 10:00 when a truck and trailer drove in with a HUGE tractor. Halton Tractor is a sponcer and they had already delivered a skidsteer and a mini excavator but we had been waiting for a tractor that they were going to loan us to show off in the arena. It came at 10:00. And it was huge and we had to stay to help them get it off the trailer and put it away. And then with a little bit of 'boys playing with big toys' going on, we were VERY late getting home. Just stuff that goes on during rodeo week.
I got some fun pictures but will have to get them up later today, I hope.
We are home now to shower, eat lunch and get dressed for tonight's opening show.

Today is 'Tough Enough to Wear Pink' day so I'm ironing special shirts and most of the cowboys will be wearing pink. Come on out and join us.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rodeo week day 1

Because I am totally consumed with the Vancouver Rodeo this week, I'm going to walk you thru it with me.
Dennis is "Ted" this year so he was out at the Saddle Club about 9:30 this morning. He was there to check on some stuff and just hold some hands as people start moving in for the Rodeo that starts on Wednesday.

It is a great show because there is a bunch of work that goes on all year. But the rubber hits the road the week or so before rodeo starts when grand entry practice goes into high gear and the Saddle Club grounds get spiffed up.

Today the fence came so it is literally taking shape now.

Howells brought the stock in today, our announcer, Al Parsons, rolled in and a bunch of people have set up their live-ins for the week.

We spent the evening watching Pennie direct the grand entry practice complete with flags, stage coach and the National Anthem.
The show starts at 7:00 PM on July 1st at the Clark County Saddle Club, 10505 NE 117th Ave., Vancouver, WA

You can get your tickets just before the show but to save yourself some time, get your tickets online. The ticket office will be open all day tomorrow also.

It will be a good show.
Come join us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sorting Party

We had an end of the year sorting party out at Silver Buckle last night and it was a blast.

Horses, friends, food and fun.

The sorting has been very laid back and just fun. Great for newbies and seasoned alike. It has been a good place to try a horse on cows for the first time, to socialize (a term we used with our Guide Dog Puppies) young horses and to just get out for some exercise at least once a week. We have all gotten to be good friends so the visiting has been a bonus.

This was the last regularly scheduled sorting for the summer but Silver Buckle recognizes that we are having too much fun so they are offering sorting on a reservation basis thru July and August. Call out there by noon on Wednesday and if there are 10 people that commit to sorting that Thursday, they’ll have the cows available. So it is 5 teams or $200 to schedule a night of sorting.

With all that is going on out there this summer, that is a generous offer and a bunch of us are going to take them up on it. I’m guessing that there will actually be sorting most Thursday nights. So call to make your reservation by noon on Wednesday, sign in and pay your $20 starting at 6:30 and be ready to sort by 7:00. And join a really friendly and fun group of people.

Did you see the new picnic table and fire pit? Good times.

Speaking of lots of activity out at Silver Buckle, remember they are having some really fun camps out there for kids this summer. The camps are filling up fast so check them out on their website calendar

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Session at Silver Buckle

From Maryjo Turnbull, Program Manager at Silver Buckle:

Go Morning Everyone!

I would like to thank all of you for your support of Silver Buckle Ranch, by enrolling in our weekly riding programs and other programs.

Our 2009 Spring Session Ends this Saturday June 20th. We will start our 2009 Summer Session Beginning the week of July 06, 2009.

We will be offering weekly riding lessons for the same rate ($10.00 per week) for our 8 week summer session. If you have pre-paid for a lesson package and have not completed those lessons by June 20th, your lessons will roll over to the Summer Session until you use your package is used up.

Weekly lessons will be offered during the summer Monday-Friday at 4:30 or 6:00 pm. There may be other times available. We will try to be as flexible as possible.If you would like to get your name on the list please just send me an email or give me a call and we will get you scheduled!

We still have some camp spots open

Youth Camps ages 8-16

July 6-10
Firm Foundation Camp: 1 spot open.
July 13-17
Firm Foundation Camp: Full
July 27-31
Need for Speed Camp: 2 spots open
August 24-28
Cow Chase Camp: 1 spot open

Pony Camps Ages 4-7

July 6-10 - FULL
July 20-24 AM: 2 spots open
July 20-24 PM: 8 spots open
August 17-21 AM: 5 spots open
August 17-24 PM: 5 spots open

Summer volunteer Opportunities
We have several opportunities open for enrolled youth ages 12 to Adults.
If you would like to help out this summer there are many great jobs from taking care of horses to working with kids or even taking care of the little critters in the petting area.

Volunteer Training
Saturday June 27th
9AM to 3PM - lunch is included
Please register in advance if you would like to attend this training!!

Hope to hear from you all soon !!


Maryjo Turnbull
Program Manager


Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Important Issue

When it rains, it pours.

We have another very important meeting coming up –
Tuesday, June 19th at 10am
Public Service Center
1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver
6th floor hearing room
Public testimony allowed

At this meeting, the county commissioners will decide if they will lay off 2 Animal Control officers. These two particular officers have been instrumental in bringing around the horse care in our county and we need them to remain in their positions.

This actually is a two fold request.

  • One is that you attend this meeting if at all possible but if you can’t,

  • Please send an email to the commissioners in support of Officers Trish Kraff and Tippy Rutherford.

This email from Pat Brown explains the issues very well:

We realize lots of people work at this hour, but if you can be present please come to support our animal control officers of Clark County.

The department cannot function at the excellence it has been with only three officers. We fear our horse-related programs will be greatly affected by this cutback and all the great progress we have made for neglect prevention of horses in this county will be impeded. The adopt-a-horse program takes in only horses that are involved in Animal Control neglect cases, and the proposed facilities at the new Human Society of SW Washington building will also exist to provide temporary sanctuary to horses relinquished to Animal Control. Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation relies on our animal control officers to distribute vouchers to horseowners in need. With the drastic cut in manpower it will be difficult for the officers to administer these programs and they are stretched to the limit as it is. This cutback is also going to greatly affect response times to dog bites and dog attacks.

And from a previous email –

This is a plea to the horse community to please contact the county commissioners immediately, leave messages and e-mails to all county commissioners ( website, or phone 397-2232 ) and Bill Barron, County Administrator (397-2232).

Our animal control department is in danger of losing two excellent officers who have stepped in for the defense of the horses. We’ve already lost one, Patrick Higbie, now we are in danger of losing Trish Kraff and Tippy Rutherford. We work extensively with Officer Carrie Martin but she cannot carry the department without the help and support of Officers Kraff and Rutherford. We have come such a long way with horse protection in our county and have succeeded in helping so many horse owners and placing neglected equines in good homes.

As an agency Animal Control receives over 10,000 calls for service a year. They respond to cruelty/neglect, injured animals, running at large, licensing, vicious animals, dog bites, bite quarantines, and monitor the potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs in the county and city.

  • Animal Control generates income through licensing and citations. They have educational programs including cruelty prevention and bite prevention.
  • Animal Control services are provided at a much lower cost than law enforcement and are a value to the taxpayer.
  • Animal Control keeps the criminal court system from being overloaded with animal related cases.
  • Animal Control is essential to the functioning of the community and an absolute necessity to keep the public safe.

There are currently 5 full time animal control officers for a population of over 400,000 people and their pets. Animal Control already lost the Lead Animal Control officer, Animal Control Officer Patrick Higbie, and the pet license officer. The current staff is stretched to the limit and the loss of Tippy Rutherford and Trisha Kraff would be devastating to the community.

What the commissioners may not realize and need to hear is that other county agencies in the state are contacting us for information to instill the Ripley’s Horse Aid Foundation program and Adopt-a-Horse program in their counties because it has worked so will here. Carrie Martin, Trisha Kraff, Tippy Rutherford, the Clark County Executive Horse Council, and Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation have brought a great deal of positive recognition to Clark County by coming together to implement this model program for dealing with the ever increasing problem of horse cruelty and neglect. These agencies are requesting assistance with developing programs modeled on the Clark County program to deal with the overload of animal neglect.

  • Why undo all of the positive changes that Animal Control has made by cutting staff?
  • With the current economic situation, Clark County should be adding Animal Control officers as opposed to laying the officers off. While the economy has fallen, animal related problems have increased.
  • The animal owners of Clark County spend an extremely large amount of money on their pets. The taxpayers and voters of Clark County deserve to have an adequately staffed professional Animal Control Department.

The county is experiencing budget cuts but the decision is up to them where to make the cuts and we have to convince them that cutting the positions of these two crucial officers is counter-productive.

Please contact the commissioners and county administrator to share this information with them so they can see that we feel it as vital that we keep continued protection of our horses and other precious animals in our county. Clark County has one of the best animal control agencies in this state and in the state of OR, as far as providing protection against horse neglect…let’s not allow them to step backwards!

Results of Planning Commission meeting

I received this email from the President of WTRA -

Tonight I could not be prouder of the 40 men and woman who attended the City of Vancouver Planning Commission meeting to speak against the proposed development code amendments related to urban livestock.

Over 24 people spoke up giving well thought out, meaningful testimony to the value horses bring to the lives of their family and community. What was said tonight had an impact.

The planning commission sent back the proposed changes to the City of Vancouver planning department with recommendations of striking out the one acre per animal requirement and advising them to reach out to some of the groups represented to establish whether the current requirement of one acre for smaller animals was viable.

Sometimes what we say and how we say it makes a difference. Tonight it did.

Proud of all of you
Barbara Thomas

Way to go people. We did good.

This is just round one. I'll keep you updated on the progress and future meetings. This is of greatest concern to those of us in the Urban Growth Boundary but it does effect everyone within the horse community in one way or another.

Jody Benson

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Urban Horses

Very Important Meeting:
Tuesday June 9th
7:00 PM
Vancouver City Council Chambers

The City Council is scheduled to APPROVE a proposed amendment to the development codes relating to the keeping and raising of livestock such as horses, bovine, pigs, sheep, goats, llamas etc. that will effect folks within the city limits now and those within the Urban Growth Boundary as the city annexes those areas.

The 1st change is the definition of domestic animal (VMC 20.150) which currently limits this definition to dogs, cats and other pets.

Under the new proposal, farm animals will be classified as a domestic animal.

Some of the concerns are not directly related to the proposed changes but would come into play because of current codes for ‘dogs and cats’.

1) Domestic animals which would now include cows and horses under VMC 8.24.180 2 c requires the owner to provide a barn or other enclosed structure sufficient to protect the animal from wind, rain, snow or sun and which has adequate bedding to protect against cold and dampness.

Lean-to’s would not be sufficient anymore. Additionally, enclosed structures require building permits and must follow the adopted international building codes. The proposed, but not adopted, county animal control changes directed toward farm animals only require access to basic shelter for two hours per day, not enclosed and there were no acreage requirements.

2) VMC section 20.912.060 prohibits electric or barbed wire fences. There is no indication that there will be any exemptions on this requirement for cows and horses.

3) Peope that work with animal control on horse rescues believe that this change has the potential to flood animal control with ‘created’ work when they need to be out rescuing the horses that are really in need of help.

The 2nd change comes under the general requirements for land for each bovine, horse, goat, sheep, llama or similar large farm animal.

Previously the ordinance read that a minimum of one acre is required for each farm animal and an additional 10,000 square feet must be provided for the second. This now will read that a minimum of one acre is required for each and every farm animal.
Section 20.930.020 allows for nonconforming use status (grand fathered uses). This lays the burden upon the property owner that they legally had the allowable number of horses on their property when under Clark County jurisdiction. The examples of proof include copies of building or land use permits or maps or some type of demonstration that the use was established before annexation.

This code does not clearly establish how livestock owners will be able to prove (for example) that they had 2 horses on 1.75 acres of land.

There is also an existing code that states “where a nonconforming use is discontinued or abandoned for one year, the nonconforming use status of the land shall be eliminated". This could mean that if your second horse on 1.75 acres dies or is lame you have one year to replace that horse or you will never be allowed to have two horses on your property again.
With these proposed changes in mind, these are some things that need to be addressed:

  • Stables are not allowed within the city limits. Would this mean that any established stable would not be allowed to add on to what they have and if they have a fire they would not be allowed to re-build?
  • How do we establish that we have X amount of horses on our land while in the county so that we can be grandfathered in?
  • How do we keep our cows/horses inside our property without electric fencing or barb wire?? Is the city going to specify what a "barn" or proper shelter is for each horse or cow?

From the city’s point of view, the most important question we can ask them is how does the restrictions on the present rural community equate to a diverse experience that the City of Vancouver finds important? They need to recognize that there are urban areas and rural areas within the urban growth boundary and they need to have planning regulations that recognize both types of land use.

If you can’t attend or even if you do, a letter sent to Long Range Planning,
attn: John Manley, Senior Planner, 487-7948, would give them some idea of where we are on this issue and that we do find it very important and not as the staff report states: John Manley’s staff has determined (these changes)... Non-Significance (DNS).

This may not directly affect you and your property but I believe that it does affect the livablitly of our county and the horse community as a whole and is a meeting that everyone needs to attend.

It is especially important for those folks in the urban growth area to attend because it would be a very significant change. Check here to see if you in the UGB.

And be sure to wear something horsey so they know real well who we are. Dennis and I will be wearing our cowboy hats.

Tuesday June 9th at 7:00 PM
Vancouver City Council Chambers

Meeting agenda

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Adopt-A-Horse Benefit Dinner

Make plans to attend a fun event tomorrow evening and help out a worth while project at the same time.

The CCEHC is hosting the Adopt-A-Horse Benefit Dinner tomorrow night at the Clark County Saddle Club. The dinner will be pulled pork on a bun with sides and beer and wine will be available for purchase. During the evening, you will enjoy musical entertainment, a DJ and a silent auction that will be exceptional because these ladies are great at finding really good items. There will also be a raffle for a 5day/4night cruise and one for a set of tack decorated with turquoise and silver by Tina Olsen.

All of that and you will be helping local horses and their foster homes. The Adopt-A-Horse program was created to assist area horses that are in dire need and have been relinquished to the County Animal Control. CCEHC has a network of homes throughout the county that will foster these unfortunate horses until forever homes can be found. Some of these homes can provide the home and caregiving but need financial assistance for the maintenance of these extra horses and that’s where the Adoption program comes in. That group, mainly Lori Harris and Pat Brown, are continually working at raising funds to support this program that assists with feed and supplies for these horses in their foster homes.

Ok that is the why. Now here is the where:
Clark County Saddle Club
10505 NE 117th Ave
Vancouver, WA
Friday May 29th
6:00 pm
Tickets: $15.00 donation per person.

For more information contact Lori Harris – 360-798-3515
Clark County Executive Horse Council

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Watch out for stolen clothing -

This is an email that was just forwarded to me and I thought this would be an effective way to pass on the information.

- If the price seems to be too good to be true, it was probably stolen -

To Our Horse Community Friends

The Hobby Horse Clothing Co. warehouse in Chino, CA was robbed late on
May 22/early May 23rd, 2009.

Thieves made off with approximately $250,000 worth of chaps and show
tops. More than 300 pairs of our popular PMS split leather chaps were
stolen; they had been delivered from our customs broker less than 12
hours earlier. No attempt was made to enter our offices; no computers or
electronic equipment in the warehouse was taken. The thieves appeared to
only be after our chaps and more expensive garments.

My employees and my company are jeopardized by this robbery; we lost
inventory, including Limited Edition garments that cannot be replaced,
that would provide the cash flow to continue our business operations. We
will survive, but this is a serious setback.

I am asking for the help of horse community members in advising me if
they come across ANY strange offers on Hobby Horse apparel. We have not
yet completed an inventory of stolen items but will shortly. We will
post a notice on our website at www.hobbyhorseinc
. com regarding items that were stolen. A
reward will be offered for information in this case.

PLEASE contact me if you suspect someone is sellling our stolen
inventory. We will immediately contact our local police for their
follow-up. Most thieves are never caught, but Hobby Horse chaps and show
apparel is such distinctive apparel to try to fence, we may have a
chance of possibly recovering some of our inventory.

I also ask for your patience and understanding as we work through this
disruption; we appreciate your business more than ever in this tough
time. We'll do our best to fulfill your orders; we know you count on us!

Thank you, and please share this message with others in the horse

Suzi Drnec
Hobby Horse Clothing Co. President
13775 Stockton Avenue
Chino, CA 91710
suzi@hobbyhorseinc. com

Old Farmer's Advice

Not old farmers -

but I've got to show you where Dennis and I were riding this past weekend. We are up in the hills above Lyle, Washington with Oregon and Mt. Hood in the background.

It was an awesome weekend.

An Old Farmer's Advice:
* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment..
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Equine Survey

Hopefully most of you have already filled out the Clark County Executive Horse Council Equine Survey but if not, this is your reminder.
It takes all of about 5 minutes and is very important. The last one is several years old and has been a valuable tool but it needs to be updated to reflect the current population.

The results of this survey will enable the horse community to go to the various county offices and agencies and show them what an enormous economic impact we have in the county - politicians and politics go with the most pressure or biggest number. The results will also show that all the horses are not out in Amboy or other outlying areas, they are all over the county.

This information is also used by the news media when deciding what to cover in their reporting, and what twist to put on the story. It has been used when dealing with horse shows, clinicians and vendors. And finally, the numbers can be used by retailers looking to locate stores or to get financing.

The survey asks about the number of horses you own, if you board or keep them at home and the average monthly upkeep. It also asks for the yearly related expenses and if you have purchased a truck and/or trailer from a county dealer in the past three years. The only identifying question is your zip code.

Now, the only way that this will be truly valuable is if ALL of us fill out the survey. I know that when the last survey was put out, there were folks that were reluctant to fill it out because they were afraid that in some form or another, the county would “know where I live and would tax me”. The people who are doing this survey are in the business of doing market research and they know how to make sure all the information is anonymous. All they want is an accurate as possible count of the horses in the county - this always blows the politians away - and the ENOURMOUS amounts of money that we spend on our horses - another real eye opener for the rest of the folks.

Just click on this link to take the survey.

Now Get ‘R Done and let's put some muscle behind our requests.

(those are our boys this morning while it was still sunny and we do live in the urban area - it just doesn't look like it)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rescued Mustangs need homes

I just got this email from the Mustang Heritage Foundation.
Please pass it along.


The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is assisting with the care and placement of 220 Mustangs that were seized from a neglectful situation in Alliance, Nebraska. HSUS is seeking qualified adopters and horse sanctuaries to provide permanent homes for these animals.

The horses have been under qualified care for approximately two weeks and are current on their vaccinations and Coggins. Many of the mares are pregnant or have foals at their side. The majority of these horses are unhandled mustangs. The horses are currently being temporarily housed at the rodeo grounds in Bridgeport, NE, therefore HSUS would like to place them in permanent homes as soon as possible.

Adoptions are being handled by Front Range Equine Rescue on behalf of Habitat for Horses. Interested adopters should contact HILLARY WOOD of Front Range at 719-481-1490.

Contact Information:
Hillary Wood
Front Range Equine Rescue
phone: 719-481-1490

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The ROAM Act

I just read on The that there is some good news in the Wild Horse and Burro front.

H.R. 1018 is a bill aimed at improving protections for wild horses and burros. Yesterday it passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee and is destined for the US House of Representatives. It would prohibit the euthanasia of healthy BLM horses.

Read more about The ROAM (Restoring Our American Mustangs) Act here and here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Those Little Buggers

I just got a call this morning to tell me my little bugs are one their way. Around here, that is cause for great joy. The next exciting event is when the little cardboard box arrives. Then it is a daily watch to check for the little buggers. (is that a pun?) When enough of them hatch out of the fly larva, then we take them out to the barn and the pastures and sprinkle them around. Then we watch for the little things flying all over the place.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, then I’m guessing you use fly predators, have used fly predators or know of someone who does. I believe the ‘haves’ in this group are happy campers cause they are not flapping and swatting at flies all summer.

Now I’ll come clean. We have used Spalding Fly Predators for the past 3 summers and are anxiously waiting for our first shipment for this season. The only time we use fly spray is when we take our horses to the fairgrounds for the 10 days of fair. And maybe when we go ride at Battle Ground Lake if they seem bad that day. We don’t even use fly masks except when we are hauling our horses because we have a stock trailer and I’m worried about hay scarps or something flying into their eyes. Those little bugs really work.

They do not control mosquitoes or horse flies but they do a bang up job on all those nasty things that try to crawl into your mouth or congregate around our horse’s eyes. We have a couple of those old fashioned sticky fly strips hanging over the stalls and they never get full. The amount of bugs you buy depends on the stock that you have. And the amount of stock that is around you. If you had two horses and were neighbors to the race track, these probably wouldn’t work well enough or would cost you a fortune. On a smaller scale, I have heard of some that buy them for their horses and some for their neighbors too just so they keep their fly problem under control. A word of warning – they work best if you can get a jump on the fly season. Once there is a fly problem, it is harder to get it under control.

How it works is that these little bugs exist only to eat out the center of the fly larva. Then they lay eggs in there and those hatch in 5 days and then those hungry little things eat the fly larva and it goes on and on. Because their food is so specialized, they will eventually eat themselves out of a job. To fix that problem, Spalding ships out new bugs each month. You can order them a month at a time or for the whole season like we do. They are actually tiny little wasp like creatures that don't sting and don't bite and they and they stay pretty close to the floor. The light switch for our barn is in Poco’s stall so when I go in to turn it off and I have my headlamp on, I see a few of them fluttering around the light. Turn the light off and the problem is solved.

I was talking to Maryjo out at Silver Buckle and they use them too. In fact, I’m sure there are a bunch of folks around here that do. It’s just something that I don’t hear talked about too much. If you haven’t used them and would like to hear more about how much I like them, send me an email or give me a call. I am a FAN.

PS – if you do decide to try them, tell the folks that you heard about them from me and I’ll get a bonus shipment.

Friday, April 24, 2009

BCH Action Alert -

COMMENT NOW (The comment period only runs through April)

In 2003, the historic Skyline Bridge over the Suiattle River in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie (MBS) National Forest was washed away. The Skyline Bridge was a critical crossing for the Pacific Crest Trail in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. In fact, several other bridges were also lost due to the horrific storm damage, though the large span Skyline Bridge was by far the most substantial.

Restoration of stock access through the Glacier Peak Wilderness on the Pacific Crest Trail remains to this day not passable. This truly compromises the stock and hiker purpose of the historic trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the two original trails (the other being the Appalachian Trail) authorized under the National Trails System Act of 1968, making it just about as old as another famous congressional piece of legislation, the Wilderness Act of 1964.

In 2007, the MBS released a scoping letter asking for public comments on what was the best route for restoring access to stock and hikers across the Suiattle River. It was clear that the old Skyline Bridge location was no longer feasible. A new bridge location was identified with strong rock footings on each side of the river bed, but this site was a few miles downriver and would require a new 3 mile reroute segment of the PCT to be built on the south side of the river, and a .5 mile segment on the north side of the river connecting to the Suiattle River Trail, and would also entail abandoning old trail segments along the old Skyline Bridge route. BCHW responded that lacking no other reasonable alternative (the only other combination trail option would have been to use the Milk Creek Trail adding many reroute miles and still relying on a bridge over the Suiattle), we fully supported a new bridge re-sited downriver, and that this was essential to preserving the congressional purpose and integrity of the Pacific Crest Trail.

In 2008, the MBS released a second scoping letter asking for public comments on moving forward with the new bridge and the logistics of the best methods to accomplish this. Again, many BCHW members responded giving support to a Minimum Tool Analysis exemption that would permit the new bridge to be flown into the Wilderness by helicopter and use power rock drills to anchor the bridge. Also, the scoping letter suggested expediting the new trail construction by using chainsaws and a mini-excavator.

We want to very much wholeheartedly thank each of our members who took the time to comment on the 2008 scoping letter. HOWEVER, there are many members that we think missed the opportunity (the comments are listed by person in the EA). Rather than chastise you, we are GIVING YOU ANOTHER CHANCE!!!

The MBS has now posted an Environmental Assessment (EA) on their website with a 30 day comment period further defining the input received in the 2008 scoping letter. DO YOU WANT THE PCT TO REMAIN A STOCK TRAIL? Hikers have been able to use the rather dangerous footlogs across the river, so we are the most impacted user group. It is time to send in your comments NOW!!!

Alternative 1 – No Action (This is not acceptable as it means no stock passing on the PCT.)
Alternative 2 – Use a helicopter and rock drills for reestablishing a new bridge. ALSO, use chainsaws and a mini-excavator for constructing the new trail access segments.
Alternative 3 – Use a helicopter and rock drills for reestablishing a new bridge. Use traditional non-mechanical methods for constructing the new trail access segments.

BCHW Review:
While Alternative 3 is by far the most appealing from a baseline Wilderness use principle, it would require a much longer period to implement than using chainsaws and a mini-excavator and would require much more rock blasting. Based on overall impacts as the MBS analysis shows, the use of chainsaws to complete 3.5 miles of new trail is clearly justified. The use of a non-handheld tracked mini-excavator is more debatable, but we think when you look at weighing the short term use of this excavator over multi-season blasting and large camps for user crews, the MBS has made a good argument for utilizing this piece of equipment.

We therefore recommend the following (include in your words in your comments):

1. Alternative #1 (no action) of the Pacific Crest Trail Repair Suiattle River Crossing Environmental Assessment is not an option. Access for the Pacific Crest Trail across the Suiattle River must be re-established by construction of a new bridge in a sustainable site – as identified in Alternatives #2 and #3. A new bridge is the only safe solution both for stock users and for hikers trying to cross the river.

2. Alternative #2 is our preferred option. A new bridge must be constructed and moved to the site Using pack stock to move materials for the new bridge is not feasible as even the Suiattle River Road is washed out and there are no other access options. Use of a helicopter to move materials is fully justified, and no landings of the helicopters in the Wilderness will occur. Power rock drills are the most functional method to anchor the bridge. The significant amount of new trail construction to access the bridge site justifies the use of chainsaws. The savings in impacts from rock blasting, stump removal, and large crew impacts justifies the use of a mini-excavator.

3. Alternative #3 is our less preferred option. It does replace the bridge as in Alternative #2 – and that is the most critical component. However, without considerable resources, it would make the new trail construction much more difficult and drag it out over a number of seasons.
SEND IN YOUR SUPPORT NOW!!! Your names will be joining the dedicated names of our members who have acted in prior years (published in the EA Pages 47-48) and whom we hope will follow up with another comment in this third year of this effort. Show your support for stock use in Washington State on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Send your comments to Dawn Erickson, Team Leader, Darrington Ranger Station or by mail to Dawn Erickson at 1405 Emens St, Darrington WA 98241

The full Environmental Assessment and materials can be found at the Mount Baker Snoqualmie website .

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Signature Event

I'm on my soap box again.
I just read this in a small 'box' in The Columbian this morning:

What is Vancouver's New Signature Event?
Without Vancouver's annual fireworks extravaganza, what will be our signature event?
Tell what event you think is the highlight of Clark County's social calendar.
E-mail your response to
Be sure to include your city of residence, age and phone number.

Ok, so I think the Vancouver Rodeo could fill that hole.
  • It is already on the July 4th weekend and used to be part of the Vancouver 4th of July events (a few years ago).
  • There is wide appeal and it is unique for this area. There are two other rodeos but they are not close and they are not as 'home town' as OUR rodeo.

Yes, I am on the Rodeo Committee and we have been talking about how we adjust our event to provide something more for the community in light of the absence of the fireworks display this year.

The other part that I saw when I read that piece was this designation would be a chance for the 'other' folks to see more of the horse community. I know this isn't about all the horse people in the area but it is horse related and would be a great chance for the rest of the folks to recognize that we (horse people) exist and are an economic force here. A lot of local people participate in the rodeo both as contestants and as volunteers. And if anyone wanted to see the economic impact of horses, all they would have to do is look at the infield at the Saddle Club during the rodeo and see all the trucks and trailers not to mention the horses and tack. Even if they do a write up about the ones that are mentioned, if a bunch of people sent in this idea, we could get some really good press for the rodeo and the horse community as a whole.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Harney County, Oregon

Pat Brown forwarded this post to me thinking that there might be some people reading this blog that either live down in Southeastern Oregon or who know someone who does. It is tough for her to share things like this cause she wants our local people available to help out 'our' horses but the concern for all horses wins out. Good for you, Pat.

Many of you may have heard about the large-scale seizure of neglected horses and cattle that took place in Harney County recently. The Harney County Sheriff seized 45 badly neglected horses. In addition to the animals that were found alive on the property, there were dozens of dead horses and cattle that had apparently been left to starve to death.

The court has ordered all the animals forfeited to Harney County, so now we need to find homes for these horses. They have been fed good-quality hay for over two weeks now, and all appear on their way to recovery.

The selection includes at least eight pregnant mares, two mules, a Belgian stallion, QHs, Arabs, yearlings, two and three year-olds, and older horses. It’s quite a wide selection. Many of these horses are halter-broke and appear to have been ridden. Others are wild as march hares, but are nice-looking young horses. There are also some older animals that appear very quiet and calm. I make no guarantees or promises about any of these animals, except that after what they have been through, they deserve to receive some good TLC for the rest of their lives.

If anyone is interested in providing these animals with a good, loving home, please contact me. I can arrange to have you visit the horses at the location where they are being held.


Scott Beckstead
Senior Oregon Director
The Humane Society of the United States