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Jingle bells and gifts for the driver in your life

By Patricia Demers / Horsetrader columnist - November 20th, 2015

Winter evokes thoughts of those Currier and Ives prints of sleighs, dashing through the snow with jingle bells through cold and snowy days or moonlit nights. Bells on bobtails ring isn’t just a quaint phrase. Bells in driving were historically important. In medieval times small bells were used to scare away the evil spirits from contact with your plow horse, lest he become ill and the family perish because he couldn’t work the fields. Bells come in all tones, shapes and sizes from small and “tinkly”, to medium and throaty, to large, loud and low sounding. The sound of bells, especially the medium-sized ones, travels quite a ways over a snowy field. They let you know that another sleigh or vehicle might be around the blind bend in the road or forest. Bells may be strung on leather straps with just a few bells, or a long strand of numerous bells. They were functional as well as fashionable. Saddle chimes, another type, are on a decorative framework that attaches to the harness saddle. This type of bell was typically used on freighting teams. Bells may also be attached to the shafts of your carriage. PatriciaDemers_170px

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Polo Association, American Warmblood Registry, North American Shortpony Registry, Missouri Quarter Horse Association, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina Horse Councils, Pal-O-Mine Equine Center and the Virginia Horse Center Foundation are the latest organizations to endorse the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Welfare Code of Practice, the AHC announced last month.

Horses and Rain

With a lot of rain comes a lot of mud -- and even floods. Are you ready?

From UK Ag Extension - October 1st, 2015

If you own horses, you need to be aware of some problems that arise when you have too much rain in a short period of time.

Arena mud.

Arena mud.

Katie Wise photo

Wet pastures are ruined by horses’ hooves, so it is very possible that you will have more weeds than grass when the rain stops. If you have an overcrowded field, your pastures will probably be ruined, and you may need to feed your horses hay year-round. Also, without the competition of lush grass, you may end up with some poisonous plants in your pasture, and since horses are browsers, when they don’t have a lot of grass to eat they may start eating those plants.

Horses that like to “horse around” can run, slip, and risk bowing a tendon, popping a splint, or even falling down and hurting themselves. Of course, these injuries can occur at any time, but when the ground is slippery, the chances for these injuries increase. Slippery slopes and horses, especially young and rambunctious horses, are never a good combination.

Here are some tips to help keep your horses safe during rainy springs and other rainy periods:

Lucy Davis, U.S. Team take 4th at FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final

From Releases and Staff Reports - October 1st, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain — Lucy Davis of Los Angeles and her four teammates wrapped up a week’s effort with a fourth-place finish Sept. 26 at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final.

Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team quartet of Lauren Hough, Reed Kessler, Laura Kraut, and Beezie Madden had a strong performance in a tough round against some of the world’s best combinations to finish in fourth place on 12 faults.

“It was a very difficult, but brilliant course. It was exactly what you would expect at the Final,” said Ridland. “It’s the highest level of sport with great countries competing here. We knew it was going to be tough when we walked it.”

PASADENA — Cowboy, a Quarter Horse gelding his trainer calls the best kind of horse you’ll ever find, has left his 18-year career as a Los Angeles Police Department Mounted Patrol horse to begin a new venture at a therapeutic riding program.

He was one of 32 horses in the mounted unit in the Metropolitan Division of the LAPD, a serious law enforcement group that primarily works in large crowds, dignitary protection and the issuance of search warrants. He joins another recent LAPD retiree, Shadow, at the MACH 1: Moving A Child Higher program, where he’ll soak up the attention of affectionate youngsters who are overcoming disabilities. He’ll eventually be part of a Wounded Warrior program, too, where he’ll help re-acclimate veterans into society.

Cowboy, retired LAPD

Cowboy, retired LAPD

KCAL9 photo


“He’s a very exceptional horse,” said officer Joe Willey, a 25-year veteran who has been on the mounted unit 20 years – the last 11 as head trainer.”Dead-broke. Quiet. And tested in the field.”
The 18-year veteran has literally carried officers through high crime areas in Venice Beach, Hollywood and Skid Row. When a Laker celebration turned violent and cars were flipped, Cowboy was there, on duty. His even temperament and patient mind earned him selection as one of Willey’s instruction horses for recruits, who have no experience.

Jimmy Flores, Sr., horseman and cow horse mainstay, passes away at age 88

Horsetrader Staff Reports - September 17th, 2015

Jimmy Flores, Sr. : 1927-2015

Jimmy Flores, Sr. : 1927-2015

Flores photo

PERRIS — Jimmy Flores, Sr., whose horse career spanned eight decades and touched thousands, died Sept. 7 from complications of colon cancer after a brief, but valiant, fight.

Flores, a frequent fixture with his popular Jimmy Flores Cowboy Gear vendor booth at performance horse competitions in California and beyond, was admitted to Riverside County Hospital on Aug. 12. His daughter-in-law, Robin Flores, noticed him moving much more slowly than normal around the ranch, and she insisted they visit the hospital. They did just that — after Flores, Sr., saw his chores were done for the day, at his insistence, according to Robin.

Harvest time yields working images our gentle giants

Patricia Demers / Horsetrader columnist - September 17th, 2015

PatriciaDemers_170pxFall is fast approaching, and that makes me think of harvest time, which leads me to images long past of draft horses and farming. Long before we had tractors, draft horses were the original horse power that pulled all the various farming implements. In fact, horsepower is defined as a unit of measurement of power – the rate at which work is done.

There are many different standards and types of horsepower. The term was adopted in the late 18th century by Scottish engineer James Watt to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses and ponies. The development of the steam engine provided a reason to compare the output of horses with that of the engines that could replace them.

Horse-owning victims of Oregon fires get relief from Hay Bank

Releases and Staff Reports - September 17th, 2015

As the toll of wildfires in Northern California explodes, news from recent fires in Oregon included relief from an Oregon Hay Bank to stricken equestrians.

The Oregon Hay Bank reportedly received a $5,000 donation for distressed horse owners facing hay shortages as a result of the wildfires in the Grant County area. The $5,000 donation from The Humane Society of the U.S., will be used to help horse owners with immediate needs to feed their animals, and those who may need help during the winter, according to published reports.

Perfect Grooming

From the routine to special moments, the right look stems from the right products

- August 16th, 2015

Big Mare™, 909-908-6649, BigMare.com
When you hear or read that Big Mare™ skin, wound and hoof care products have it all, they really do. With an innovative new Controlled Delivery System (CDS), these solutions offer more than the “singular dimensional” benefits of micro-encapsulation by delivering a smaller molecule deeper into the skin. These combined actives work together and offer time-released benefits for round-the-clock healing. Available for both equine and canine, these anti-bacterial and anti-fungal formulas are available in a Body Wash, All-purpose Skin Solution, Wound Lotion, Thrush Spray and White Line Gel. Ask your store today for Big Mare™. It heals, prevents and maintains healthy skin and hoofs. As the slogan says: “Because you care…Big Mare™!” Dealer inquiries are welcomed.

Preparing for a driving show: Make your list!

Patricia Demers / Horsetrader columnist - July 16th, 2015

Now that you’ve enjoyed your introduction to the sport of driving, you might want to try participating in a driving show. If you don’t feel up to participating with your equine just yet, please consider becoming a volunteer! You’d be amazed at how much you can learn about a sport by being a part of it without competing. You will also be very much appreciated, as the vast majority of events run on volunteerism. Often times, when volunteering, you may get your own personal mini clinic from the experience.