October 2009

The Alpha Mare

October 30, 2009

My little girl? A bully? Oh yes, indeed!

Buster McLaury

Buster McLaury

As promised, more on the colt-starting clinic with Buster McLaury.

It was early October when “Zen” and I took a five-hour jaunt into the Flint Hills of Kansas, where Rex Buchman, a friend of America’s Horse and a good cowboy in his own right, was hosting the clinic for Buster. Rex had invited me to come cover the clinic (watch upcoming issues of the print edition of America’s Horse!) and had said he could probably find me a lightly started colt to ride if I wanted to.

“Or,” I said, the wheels spinning in my head, “I could bring my own.” I’ve long thought Buster was someone I wanted to ride with, and it sure would be nice to start riding Zen again under some expert supervision. Buster is a lifelong ranch cowboy and a student of Ray Hunt; he has got an unbelievable amount of experience to share.

The colt-starting portion of the clinic began with Buster working with colts who had never been saddled before. (The clinic horses were fairly evenly split, with some first-timers and others, like Zen, who had been ridden only a little.) It’s so interesting to watch someone who really speaks “horse.” It sure was worth standing out in the rain for. It wasn’t long before Buster and the colts’ handlers had introduced flapping ropes, saddle blankets and the saddle. Read the rest of this entry »

A Sure Bet: Four of a Kind

October 30, 2009

Just as in poker, four of a kind is a good thing on the race track.

miss_kips_streakinBy C. Reid McLellan

In poker, four of a kind usually means the player wins big.

Similarly, horseplayers that hit a pick four generally win big. As it sounds, the pick four is a bet that you can pick the winner of four races in a row. Los Alamitos makes its early pick four a worthwhile playing opportunity as the track guarantees that the pool will be a minimum of $50,000 on most Thursdays and $75,000 every weekend night! The pick four is not easy to hit, but with a minimum unit wager of $.50, we can bet several combinations and keep the size of our wager within bankroll limits.

To bet a pick four, go to a mutuel window prior to Race 1or Race 6 (at Los Alamitos when there are only 9 races), and say “$2 pick four 7 – 6 – 1 – 5. If 7 wins the first race, 6 wins the second race, 1 wins the third race AND 5 wins the fourth race, you win the pick four.

If a huge longshot wins one of those four races, there is a chance that no one will have correctly picked all four winners. In that case, every player that picked three winners will share the net pool. We are all aware of how hard it is to pick one winner, let alone several in a row, so betting just one $2 ticket is a bit like buying a Read the rest of this entry »

Double Trouble, Part II

October 30, 2009

Twins pose a difficult challenge to dam, foal and owner alike; find out the best way to avoid having “double trouble.”

Twins2By Lindsey Domer in America’s Horse

This article is a continuation of last Friday’s article on the difficulties posed by twin foals.

Conformation Crisis

Another financial burden twins impose on their owners is the cost of correcting their deformities.

Kate Streifel of Hawley, Minnesota, owns a mare who carried twins full term in 1991. Dakota Michelle, or “Mikki,” birthed a colt and a filly, “Cody” and “Jenny.” Cody was smaller than most newborn foals, and Jenny was even smaller than him. Read the rest of this entry »

Equine Piroplasmosis

October 29, 2009

A tick-transmitted horse disease has been detected on a South Texas ranch.

Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

From the Texas Animal Health Commission

A tick-borne disease known as equine piroplasmosis has been confirmed on a ranch in South Texas. Additional testing is being conducted to determine the extent of infection. Horses on the ranch are quarantined to their premises, and a thorough disease investigation is under way.

Equine piroplasmosis can affect horses, donkeys, mules or zebras and cause clinical signs common to many diseases, including poor appetite and weight loss. Death can occur. Some infected equines may exhibit few or no signs of disease. Those animals that survive the acute phase of infection may continue to carry the parasite, which has been identified as Theileria equi (formerly known as Babesia equi), for long periods of time. Read the rest of this entry »

Challenge Championships

October 28, 2009

Exciting matchups on the racetrack aren’t the only things happening during the Challenge weekend.

Snowbound Superstar. Photo by Scott Martinez.

Fall is here, which means a cornucopia of events featuring the best and the brightest American Quarter Horses. Sandwiched between Congress and World Show, I will be looking forward to watching the fastest horses on earth compete at the Bank of America Challenge Championships over Halloween weekend at Los Alamitos in California.

The Orange County racetrack has a storied history, opening in 1951 under the care of Frank Vessels Sr., and today Read the rest of this entry »

Most Valuable Horse

October 28, 2009

Most Valuable Horse Awards return to World Show in 2009.

MVH award

2008 World Show Most Valuable Speed Horse Flitin Firin Cash with rider Jolene Stewart.

At this year’s AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City (November 6-21), horses in six of the FedEx open categories will reward their owners with a $5,000 bonus after being named Most Valuable Horse.

The MVH Awards recognize the highest point-earning horses in six open divisions: western, roping, English, pattern/cow, speed and timed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Taking Advantage

October 27, 2009

Find out how to keep your horse from taking advantage of you.

hunter under saddle

If you want to compete with your horse, you should not allow him to take advantage of you.

I have a 3-year-old gelding that I want to train for English pleasure. He was born at my family’s stables so I have been with him just about every day of his life. We are very close. That is where the problem is. He knows all my weaknesses, as I do his, and I think sometimes he tries to take advantage of that. So far, he has learned very fast; he is really smart. But now we are learning somewhat more difficult things, like cantering, and he is getting a little headstrong. I really don’t want to hurt him by training him wrong, and I really feel bad if I have to use a crop. And believe me, he knows it. I am not really an experienced trainer, but neither my parents nor I have money for a real trainer. What can I do?

Thank you,

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s All About Style

October 26, 2009

Pete Kyle does not smoke.

Pete Kyle and Gimme Major Bucks performed to "Smokin' in the Boys Room" for their freestyle reining routine.

Neither does his son, Austin. Let’s clear that up right away.

However, when you’re performing a freestyle reining routine to “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” cigarettes are a necessary prop.

You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do when it comes to freestyle reining competition. From burly men squeezing into cheerleader get-ups to winged horses, it all comes down to entertaining the crowd.

And the freestyle reining at the All American Quarter Horse Congress is most definitely entertaining …  so much so that tickets sell out every year.

It’s where Stacy Westfall and Whizards Baby Doll wowed the crowd in 2006 with their brideless and saddleless routine. A video of that performance Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Senses

October 26, 2009

Learn about the importance of your horse’s sight and smell senses.

BayerSelect1By Donald L. Kleckner, Certified Horsemanship Association instructor

As riders, we seldom stop to consider or don’t understand that this wonderful, willing, giving horse experiences the world around him in a much different way than we do. Like us, however, the horse experiences the world through his “senses.” Like humans, the horse has the same five senses. As horsemen, we must remember that the horse’s senses are different from human senses in many ways. The five senses are sight, smell, taste, hearing and feeling.


Sight is probably the most important yet misunderstood of the horse’s five senses. Since the horse is a “prey” animal and not a “predator” and depends on “flight” for his safety, nature has given the horse the ability to see things in the distance. We refer to this as far sighted, so that if threatened or frightened, the horse can flee from the danger. Because horses are far sighted, objects that are close often appear fuzzy and are difficult to clearly distinguish. Read the rest of this entry »

Congress Traditions

October 24, 2009

There are lots of reasons to love the world’s largest single-breed horse show.

Joann Hales late husband, Denny Hales, was inducted into the All American Quarter Horse Congress Hall of Fame this year. (Journal photo)

Joann Hales' late husband, Denny Hales, was inducted into the All American Quarter Horse Congress Hall of Fame this year. (Journal photo)

From the adorable puppy smell in Puppy Alley to the proud dummy ropers and their parents to the souped-up golf carts sporting rain covers, the All American Quarter Horse Congress has plenty of traditions of its own.

A couple of new traditions are Masters classes. On Friday night, Quality Art, owned by the Kaplow Family and ridden by Beth Case, took his place in history as the winner of the hunter under saddle Masters class. Then Certainly Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween Treats

October 23, 2009

Make this fun fall feeder for your favorite horse. This activity is part of the upcoming Junior Master Horseman Level 3!

horse treatJunior Master Horseman Level 3 is coming soon, and it’s packed with fun activities just like this one!

Objective: To discover new ideas about horse treats, including what NOT to feed a horse when it comes to rewarding and reinforcing good behavior and good health.

Time: 20 minutes

Materials: Small pumpkin and horse-friendly treats, such as:

Double Trouble, Part I

October 23, 2009

Although live twin foals are a rare and exciting occurrence, they are not something to hope for.

German twinsBy Lindsay Domer in America’s Horse

Teseres was 8 when she was bred for the first time in 1997. She had been successful in the show ring in New Zealand, and her owner, Sarah Clarke, wanted nothing more than to breed her beloved mare.

Sarah bred Teseres and had her checked with ultrasound twice to ensure that she would produce a single healthy foal. The sonograms showed no signs of abnormality, and Sarah counted the days until the birth of her beautiful foal.

Ten days past her due date, Teseres delivered a stillborn foal in the middle of the night and retained her placenta. When Sarah discovered the dead foal the next morning, she was not only disappointed by the loss of the foal, but she also feared for the safety of her mare. She called her veterinarian, and to Sarah’s surprise, he delivered a second stillborn foal and had to manually remove the placenta, because Teseres was no longer having contractions.

Read the rest of this entry »