February 2009

Mare Care Tips

February 27, 2009

Right from the vet’s mouth: ABCs for the new mare owner.

A few years ago, The American Quarter Horse Journal sat down with veterinarian Dr. Racquel Rodeheaver to hear her advice on breeding a mare with shipped semen for the first time.

AQHJ I just bought a mare, and I want to breed her with shipped semen. But I’ve never done this before. What do I do first?

Dr. Rodeheaver – You’ll need a breeding soundness evaluation on the mare to understand exactly what our expectations are going to be for her reproductive health.

If you can find out previous breeding history, it’s helpful just to know whether she has ever had problems becoming pregnant or how she has performed reproductively. If a history isn’t available, then that’s all the more reason to do a breeding soundness evaluation. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Injuries

February 26, 2009

Horse owners should take every eye injury very seriously.

By Dr. Thomas Lenz

Because horses have large, prominent eyes on the sides of their heads, they are more prone to eye injuries than other domestic animals. Most eye injuries result from a variety of causes – foreign objects such as dirt, sand or small rocks thrown into the eye during racing or running; scratches from hay stems, weeds or tree limbs; or accidental trauma from humans.

Self-inflicted injuries occur when the horse makes a sudden head movement and contacts a trailer latch, hook, protruding nail, fence, bucket handle or some other object. Because the cornea almost entirely fills the space between the eyelids, corneal ulcers, abrasions and lacerations are the most common of all eye injuries. Read the rest of this entry »

All Grown Up

February 24, 2009

“Zen” is off to a good start in life.

As Brent and Cayman stand calmly by, I work Zen from the fence, rubbing her with my right foot so she gets used to a leg passing over her back.

As Brent and Cayman stand calmly by, I work Zen from the fence, rubbing her with my right foot so she gets used to a leg passing over her back. And is she not cute in that saddle? I think she is!

I can imagine how it must feel to see your baby girl walk out the door wearing makeup for the first time. This weekend, my baby girl wore a saddle for the first time. And a rider. And it was all good.

I look at Brent Graef, an AQHA Professional Horseman from Canyon, Texas, as my mentor in all things equine. He’s a good friend and a great horseman. And, as a matter of fact, I was at his house when “Zen” was born. So it made perfect sense to come full circle. He and his wife, Kris, had offered to help me with Zen’s first saddling and her first ride. And by “help,” what I mean is that Brent and Kris did most of the work while I watched and learned. They’re pros, and Brent even wore the microphone he uses for clinics so that I could hear his comments over the gale-force winds we were having. It was invaluable commentary. Read the rest of this entry »

Western Seat Basics

February 24, 2009

Certified Horsemanship Association instructors teach you to sit right.

From the Certified Horsemanship Association Composite Horsemanship Manual. CHA, an AQHA alliance partner, certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals and hosts interactive conferences.

Compiled by Hailey Harroun

Instructors from the Certified Horsemanship Association explain the correct positioning needed for a balanced seat:

  • Hands and Arms: Elbows are relaxed and close to the sides. Traditionally, reins are held in the left hand, with the rein hand above and just in front of the pommel. The right hand is loose on the right thigh or across your midsection. Read the rest of this entry »

Junior Master Horseman

February 23, 2009

“Junior Master Horseman” teaches horsemanship in fun, age-appropriate ways.

Get started today by getting your Junior Master Horseman books!

The mission of Junior Master Horseman” is to provide a fun, interactive and engaging youth program that promotes love, appreciation and passion for horses. Here’s an example of what you’ll find in the pages of JMH:

Buy Junior Master Horseman Levels One, Two and Three today!

Check Your Horse Before You Ride

As a responsible horseman, you should take time to carefully check for soundness and overall health before you begin exercising  your horse.

Before saddling up, give your horse a good hand check. Feel for any sore spots, bruises, or rough places under the skin. Read the rest of this entry »

Treating Thrush

February 19, 2009

This common problem in horses can be handled with regular maintenance.

Liquid treatments must typically be applied daily.

From Knack “Leg and Hoof Care for Horses,” by Micaela Myers. Published by KNACK, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, Connecticut

Thrush is a bacterial and fungal infection of the frog. You can spot it by its foul smell and black tar-like discharge, which often ends up on the end of your hoof pick. If thrush is not treated early or the infection progresses too far, it can spread to the sensitive parts of the hoof.

Micaela Myers offers her strategies for preventing and treating thrush.

Regular Hoof Cleaning

Introducing Team Wrangler

February 18, 2009

Some of the industry’s finest AQHA Professional Horsemen make up the 2009 teams.

2008 Team Cowboy Cut Members

2008 Team Cowboy Cut Members

Compiled by Kristin Syverson

Watch highlights from the Team Wrangler Showdown at the 2008 World Show.

Have you ever met a Professional Horseman who liked to lose? We doubt it. That’s why Team Wrangler gives AQHA professionals a unique way of putting that competitive spirit to work.

Team Wrangler members duke it out with their peers for cash prizes and naming rights to a $20,000 Wrangler scholarship designated for American Quarter Horse Youth Read the rest of this entry »

Spook Proof

February 17, 2009

Despook your horse before you end up in trouble.

To help prevent a blow-up the next time your horse gets scared, The American Quarter Horse Journal asked AQHA Professional Horseman Sallie Jo Reid to offer some helpful tips on how to spook-proof your horse.

You can’t be too prepared when it comes to despooking your horse. Once you desensitize him to everyday things you see around the arena, find some unusual props to work with.

Some good despooking tools are:

  • Tarps – Tarps make great spook-proofing tools because they can make a lot of noise, and they are easy to move around. Start slowly by showing the tarp to your horse and slowly work up to walking him over it or throwing it on his back. Read the rest of this entry »

Gift Horse

February 16, 2009

One couple’s rewarding story of donating their horses for therapeutic riding.

Earl Meadows shares a special moment with Golden Poco Mac while being honored by Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center a few months before his death.

From the American Quarter Horse Foundation

Earl Meadows, a World War II and Korean War vet, and his wife, Ruth, made some difficult, yet beneficial, decisions six years ago when they donated three American Quarter Horses to the Windridge Therapeutic Riding Center in Longview, Texas.

An avid member of AQHA, Earl began his relationship with American Quarter Horses in 1986, and thoroughly enjoyed service in the Sheriff’s Mounted Unit, along with pleasure riding and showing. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Math

February 13, 2009

If you have horses in your life, you probably know these special math rules, too.

Holly Clanahan

Holly Clanahan

It’s Valentine’s Day … time to show that special someone in your life just how much you love him or her. Chocolate, champagne, maybe even something a little lacy, right?

Um, no. Around here, we’re showing the love by, well, ordering a shipment of dewormer. (It came in yesterday. Guess what I’m doing this weekend!) The feed room is well-stocked (although that won’t last long). And it’s also time to call the farrier out. Wonder if he’s up for working on the 14th?

So yep, the ponies are getting the same gift they get every Christmas, on their birthdays, on Easter, on Groundhog’s Day- and on every other non-Hallmark day of the year. If you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, you could say that means they ain’t getting nuthin. Or, the way I prefer to see it, they’re getting the gifts of good care, good feed – and lots of love – year-round.

However, because I figure there are plenty of people turning into gift horses this holiday, I did do a little Internet surfing. Amazon.com had this to offer: a “My Horse ‘N Me Valentine’s Gift Basket.” I certainly wouldn’t complain about getting one of them. There’s a pretty candle holder and chocolate for the horse owner; horse treats and yummy apple pie shampoo and carrot cake conditioner for the horse.

Problem is, I do horse math. Here’s how it works: You take the cost of the basket (or other nonessential item you’re considering purchasing) and multiply it by the number of horses you have. Then you take that total and divide it by the cost of a bag of feed.

Valentine’s Day baskets for all of my crew would cost roughly 21 bags of feed. Probably not going to happen.

Now, horse math is interesting, because unlike regular math, its rules change.

New saddle pad? Essential! No formula applies. That new french-link eggbutt bit I’ve been dying to try out? Essential! No need for multiplication or division here. New pair of boots for the Hubby? Um, sweetheart, that’s 11 bags of feed.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Holly Clanahan,
Editor, America’s Horse magazine

Don’t miss the fun, educational and heart-warming stories in the print version of America’s Horse! It goes to all members of the American Quarter Horse Association, and it’ll also keep you in the loop on Association news. We want you to belong!

Cash Conscious

February 13, 2009

Use these tips to get your mare in foal without breaking the bank.

Compiled by Kristin Syverson

To breed your mare on a reasonable budget, follow this advice.

Have her checked early.

A month or two before you start breeding, have your mare ultrasounded for reproductive health. That way you can find out if she’s got any issues such as a uterine infection. If you diagnose it early and can treat it, she’s more likely to be ready to breed on time.

Breed during her natural season.

People want early foals for a number of reasons, usually competition-related. But if you don’t care when that foal arrives, consider breeding your mare when nature planned.

Read the rest of this entry »

Department of Defense

February 12, 2009

Defend your horses against disease year-round with these seasonal tips.

You may need to wet hay in the winter to reduce dust.

From our friends at thehorse.com

Annual Disease Control Checklist


  • Optimize barn ventilation to minimize exposure to respiratory irritants.
  • Water down hay to reduce dust and mold spores.
  • Provide shelter or blankets in very cold and inclement weather to avoid chills.
  • Implement year-round management practices to reduce rodents around the barn.
  • Keep tack, equipment, and blankets clean; avoid sharing them to prevent spread of disease.

Read the rest of this entry »