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June 2021 - Humble Beginnings Grow Big Businesses: Klassen Wood Company
Written by by Kate Sanchez • photos: Rob Trendiak
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:42
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by Kate Sanchez • photos: Rob Trendiak

Klassen Wood Company (KWC), based in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, is deeply rooted in good old-fashioned hard work and family; so, it is no surprise that the shavings business is one that’s on the rise in a very competitive industry. KWC is dedicated to offering high quality wood products and works to continually raise the bar within the shavings industry.  


Neil and Rita Klassen began hauling firewood in 1963, focusing on hard work and family. The Klassens gradually expanded their business to offer specialty trucking services, and manufacturing and supplying landscape materials. Beginning in 2015, the shavings business was added, and they haven’t looked back. Since 2015, KWC has grown its production capabilities from just a few thousand bales per year to two full-time operations with the capacity for more than 2.5 million bales annually. A business that began in a small shed in the back of the landscape yard now offers shavings in more than twenty states.  

In an industry that is so competitive, it’s good to ask what sets one business apart from the others? For KWC, it is the quality of the processing and the selection of shavings that stand out. Derived from the vast forests of British Columbia, Canada, Klassen sources some of the cleanest, fluffiest, and most consistent shavings on the market. They are all heat treated and kiln dried, to a low moisture ensuring maximum absorbency. The preparation process enhances health properties, keeping the shavings free from pests, spores, and hardwoods. The shavings are then extensively dust screened to eliminate small particulates, maximize loft, absorption, and coverage. Greg Reese of business development for KWC, says apart from the quality of the shavings themselves, their process may be their most distinguishing factor. “While everyone advertises a low dust product, our screening is truly second to none in the industry,” he shares, “We take pride in supplying a premium product in a consistent and timely fashion.” None of the KWC products contain any cedar, unless listed and sold that way. Reese adds that the company always takes care to ensure a clean bale every time and really takes pride that their products come from sustainably harvested timber, meaning shavings products for many years to come.  All of the shavings produced by KWC are palletized and wrapped in a UV resistant and weather protective layer, allowing for outdoor storage for up to two years. All packaging is LDPE Recyclable where facilities exist, and the company is always striving to look for ways to better improve packaging, using more sustainable and renewable ways of transporting.  

KWC offers a variety of shavings products to fit the needs of many. Their Alpine Flake is a premium bedding with maximum loft.  It is extensively dust-screened and is often used by high-end stables as a comfortable footing for their horses. Both trainers and riders agree that the consistent flake size, low dust, and dry absorbent flakes makes this a wonderful choice for their horses. You will receive more coverage with twelve cubic feet of shavings per bag, and an aesthetically pleasing look to your stall from the bright white pine backdrop that the Alpine flake creates. Meanwhile, their Coastal Flake is a high value product specifically made for selective consumers in the California equestrian community. It is a blend of the same white pine found in Alpine Flake mixed in with an absorbent spruce/fir blend, offering a premium feel at a very competitive price point.  Primarily purchased to be used by major show parks along the west coast and many of the top barns and stables in California, the Coastal Flake’s added pine creates a soft and plush bedding material which mixes the spruce and fir for absorbency and comfort. These shavings are 10 cubic feet per bale, providing the perfect amount for stalls. Klassen also offers a Mini-Flake for customers wanting an economical and highly absorbent bedding product, and a cedar blend to help with smells and pests on those hot summer days!  

KWC offers reliable supply and delivery to meet your shavings needs. The company has a network of dedicated trucking partners through which they offer reliable and consistent shipping year-round. They focus on managing their production to ensure a sufficient supply during the busy winter months, and delivery is available in California, Arizona, and the western states within a week from ordering. “Our California trucking partners offer us guaranteed capacity for California orders, which helps us provide consistency for our customers,” Reese shares. KWC horse shavings are currently used in horse facilities and stables throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, in addition to the U.S.  

Klassen prioritizes consistency and reliability in all their products. The company continually seeks to follow Neil and Rita’s focus on hard work and family. “We’re always striving to improve our production processes to continue to provide consistent, clean, and low dust shavings, Reese says. “We maintain deep, long term relationships with our suppliers so that we can provide shavings on short notice even through the busy winter months.” When working with Klassen, you are paired directly with a dedicated account representative who seeks to find the best product to fit your needs, and you will be treated like a part of the Klassen family.  

Constantly looking to expand and improve business, Klassen is currently focused on finding good partners to build out their dealer network. Products are available by the truck load directly from Klassen through their dedicated in-house team, with the company currently servicing many dealers and facilities ranging from Colusa to Calexico. Reese says that if you are anxious to try the KWC products and your local feed store or shavings distributor does not carry Alpine or Coastal Flake, consider asking them to give Klassen a try. The company can easily be reached by phone or email, and all the information, including a contact form, can be found at

June 2021 - StressLess Horse Supplement Welcomes the California Riding Community
Written by photo: AJ Neste
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:32
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photo: AJ Neste

Whether at the top levels of competition or just day to day interactions with your horses, StressLess show safe equine supplement is the key to promoting a calm mind, focus and mood balance.  Centerline Distribution, the top distributor of StressLess horse supplement in the United States, has announced its new focus on assisting the equestrian community in California reach their goals and improve their experiences with their horses.   

This proven hot horse remedy is not limited to any one type of riding.  Across the board of all disciplines, StressLess promotes a decrease in anxiety, overstimulation and nervousness.  This results in an increase in focus, a calm mind and mood balance. StressLess enhances behavior modification and trainability with a marked decrease in poor performance.

Make StressLess your “go to” for training, competing and performance at your horse’s highest level.  Here are just a few of our latest testimonials:

“StressLess has been a life saver during difficult training phases with some of my young horses. There are a lot of calming products on the market, but I’m confident in StressLess’s results and safety.  Rather than a product that only has short term effects, StressLess builds up in their systems and over time, I have decreased the amount of scoops I give everyday.  I love that it doesn’t make my horses feel drowsy or dopey, but still eases their nerves to make our rides productive and safe.  Aside from its calming effect under saddle, I’ve noticed a huge weight gain in my nervous, hard keeper young horses. Overall, my experience has been 5 stars from the efficacy of the product to the customer service.  Thank you StressLess!” - Mel Montagano of Prestige Performance Horses USA, Riding Stable

“I am always looking for better products to help my horses deal with the stresses involved with travel from Europe, from state to state and even with the stresses involved with day to day training and competing. Some of our old options provided a calm horse but they also negatively affected the horse’s energy required to compete and train at the FEI levels. I want to thank Betty Ledyard for introducing me to StressLess. StressLess is helping all my horses stay calm and focused in daily work, with crazy weather, and during travel and competing, but does not take away their energy and ability to perform at the highest levels!” - Elizabeth McConnell, Professional International Dressage Rider and Trainer, Inside Dressage Farm

Developed by a team of experts, StressLess is a unique equine supplement unlike the magnesium and B12 based products on the market today.  What makes it different?  StressLess is a casein-based feed additive that has shown an incredible result on horses of all ages.  

Casein is the protein derived from cow’s milk that results in a gentle anxiety relieving reaction in many animal species including horses, dogs, cats and even humans.  The casein in StressLess comes from an all-natural process called an enzymatic reaction. When the final product is ingested by horses, the equine brain presents a decrease in stress reactions.  Hot or spooky horses exhibit a decrease in agitation, over-excitability and nervousness.

The positive feedback from those benefitting from StressLess comes from every corner of the equestrian world: horse rescue organizations, champion trainers, junior riders, barrel racers, event riders, jockeys, show jumpers, dressage riders, Olympians, and backyard trail riders, among many others.  They report receptivity to training and behavior modification and a marked decrease in poor performance.  Best of all, StressLess does not affect a horse’s abilities in any way.

StressLess is the brain child of an elite group of research veterinarians, trainers and horse owners.  This dream team set out to formulate a hot horse remedy that would be safe for long-or short-term use with no side effects such as drowsiness or impaired motor function.  The supplement was given a palatable apple flavor with zero lactose and no preservatives.

The head of US distribution for StressLess is Betty Ledyard with her company Centerline Distribution, based in Florida.  As a lifetime equestrian herself, she discovered StressLess Horse Supplement for her own equine companion and the results were so profound she knew she had to get the product out to a wider audience in order to help others.

Important situations like showing, traveling, medical procedures, prolonged stall rest, moving, adoption, meeting new animals/people, and regular training are all times when StressLess may benefit your horse’s mood and disposition.  Find out more at


June 2021 - USEA Young Rider Program: Age Increase to 25
Written by courtesy of USEA
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:23
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courtesy of USEA

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the increase in age for eligibility in the USEA Young Rider program to USEA members aged 25 and under, effective immediately.

The purpose of the USEA Young Rider program is to encourage younger members to become involved in the sport of eventing and continue this involvement in their adult lives. The program seeks to promote a love of the sport as well as an appreciation and understanding of the horse while fostering the wonderful relationship that can develop between horse and rider. Further, involvement in this program helps to instill important moral values, such as responsibility and work ethic, as young riders evolve.

The USEA Young Rider program has traditionally been available to those aged 21 and under, but the USEA Young Rider Coordinators and Committee put forward a proposal to the USEA Board of Governors, requesting the age eligibility be increased to 25 in order to fully utilize training programs and youth series that are available.

The new age requirements now enable all USEA Area teams participating in the USEF Youth Team Challenge to compete for their USEA Areas and utilize the Area Young Rider funding. This will also be more inclusive to youth riders wishing to participate in the USEA Young Rider Advancement Program (YRAP) in their Areas, which may help provide additional young riders competing at the lower levels with the education and skills they need to progress through the levels of the sport.

The USEA membership database is now accepting membership updates for those members 25 and under who wish to upgrade their membership to include the Young Rider program. For USEA members aged 22-25 who are currently enrolled in the USEA Adult Rider program, those members may pay an upgrade fee to join the USEA Young Rider program additionally. Members aged 22-25 may choose to enroll in either the USEA Adult Rider Program, or the USEA Young Rider program, or both. The age eligibility for the Adult Rider program remains the same, available to any USEA members aged 22 or older.

To enroll in the USEA Young Rider program, please find the Young Rider membership application form here. The USEA staff is available to help enroll members in the program. Please call the USEA office at 703-779-0440 should anyone need help with their upgrade, and the USEA membership department staff would be happy to process the program upgrades.


June 2021 - A Guide to Composting Horse Manure
Written by courtesy of Farnam’s Stable Talk
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:15
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courtesy of Farnam’s Stable Talk

Disposing of horse manure can be a daunting, continuous task. If you’ve got the patience, one great option is composting horse manure. The process transforms fresh horse manure and bedding into the perfect fertilizer for gardening and farming.


If you don’t have enough room to spread your manure on unused fields to dry out, or don’t want to have it hauled off, composting might be for you. Composting also reduces the volume of the end product and cuts down on odors—ideal for barns located near residential areas.

Reducing the fly population in your barn starts with managing your manure. Composting will help kill fly larva, but it requires planning and attention to convert manure into a usable compost.

How It Works

The USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service says the following four ingredients are necessary for successful composting:

•    A hard surface to place compost, stabilized with lime
•    A structure such as a shed, bin or hay bale enclosure
•    Access to water to manage the compost’s moisture content
•    Time to move manure and turn the piles

Horse manure that contains bedding like wood shavings, straw, sawdust or old hay is ideal for composting.

During the composting process, bacteria works with air, horse feces, moisture and a material such as straw or shavings to heat up the pile of manure and break it down. According to the NRCS, the pile will reach a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills off germs and weed seeds within the manure. This process will leave you with organic matter perfectly suited to fertilize plants and crops.

Don’t Forget To Turn It

Air and heat need to be circulated to encourage composting, so the piles of manure need to be turned and mixed at least twice during the process. You may want to check the temperature of the pile with a compost thermometer. When the temperature is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for three days, it will eliminate most weed seeds. The NRCS says after the pile cools down slightly from the first heating, it’s time to turn the manure. Make sure to move outside material inward, and vice versa.

When the pile again reaches 145 degrees for three days, it’s ready to be turned a second time. You’ll then let the piles continue to decompose for a few months.

When Is It Ready?

So how long does it take to compost horse manure? Generally, it’ll take three to six months for horse manure to turn into compost. The NRCS says this allows fertilizer nutrients to stabilize and weed seeds to be killed.


Select a composting location that is easily accessible with your tractor year-round. If you choose an outdoor location, the NRCS says you’ll want to use a concrete pad with good drainage away from any water sources such as wells, lakes or streams. Ideally, the downhill side will have grass trimmed short to stop runoff. You’ll be arranging the manure in long piles known as windrows for composting.

If you choose to compost indoors, you can find designs for compost sheds through NRCS. The ideal shed contains a couple of wooden bins with an opening on one side to allow you to turn the compost from bin to bin—the fact sheet suggests using a front-end loader for this task.

If you don’t have a shed, you can make a manure pile in either a three-sided structure or surrounded by round hay bales, covered with a tarp or plastic.


Make sure to chop up large pieces of material such as branches or long hay before adding to your compost pile. You may have to add water to the piles if they get dryer than a “wrung-out sponge” says the NRCS.

A final note: Have your compost tested for fertilizer value before using it on fields and gardens. You want to make sure you know what your compost’s nutrient values are to avoid over-application.


June 2021 - Genuine Farms & ChuckUms®
Written by by Cheryl Erpelding
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:54
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Interview with hunter/jumper trainer and entrepreneur Kristi Frishman.

by Cheryl Erpelding

Riding Magazine: What made you become a trainer?

Kristi: I was born obsessed with horses and by the age of 5 I knew I wanted to be a horse trainer. My parents showed their displeasure by telling me straight out, “That’s a stupid profession!” Thankfully,they did support my passion and allowed me to ride and show with Olympian Rob Gage and Cindy Grossman as a kid. Later,  I did follow their advice to go to UCLA and studied Kinesiology, which is the physiology of motion. I did love what I learned there but, it didn’t take long for me to lose interest in my “real”  job in health care as my  heart was with the horses. I began riding again as an amateur and trained with Michael Patrick at Blue Fox Farm before going to work as an assistant to Mary Morrison at Ivy Gate Farm. I was blessed during this time with Mary to work with Victor Hugo Vidal.

Riding Magazine: What makes your program at Genuine Farms unique?

Kristi: First and foremost, I love the horses and approach my training from the angle of the horse’s perspective. If they are treated with respect as a partner and physically comfortable they will enjoy their job more and perform better.  If they don’t feel good,  aren’t enjoying their work, or are spooky, there’s probably an underlying issue. I choose problem solving over domination. I am also really blessed to have the support of Katie Tayler both at home and at the shows.  She’s a super talent and has an amazing connection with the horses.

My studies in Kinesiology included a big dose of biomechanics and physiology which trained me to have a good eye for details and angles and a deeper  understanding of soundness issues with the horses. My program is very individualized to focus on the needs of each horse and rider. My barn also has a wonderful intimate family atmosphere.

Riding Magazine: You created a product, tell me about it?

Kristi: Out of a real need in my own barn  I, with the help of a few other horse women,  came up with ChuckUms® - Multi use Disposable Bandages for horses. This all started after coming back from Thermal a few years ago and one of the nice big geldings I had imported destroyed his third pair of brand new standing wraps. The idea literally just popped into my head, “Huggies for horses!” We researched the market and couldn’t find anything out there patent wise, so we  filed for a patent three years ago and went on to create ChuckUms®.

The product is quite unique and has been well received especially by veterinarians and rehab facilities.  It’s made with medical grade antimicrobial material that repels dirt and moisture so it works great for scratches, fungus, cellulitis and all types of wound care.  While we are looking for materials that are fully biodegradable that perform as well as what we are currently using,. It is now made of at least  65% recycled plastic bottles. ChuckUms® are multi use. If you need a clean wrap you’ve got it but if it’s just day to day I use them for about a week before I toss them. The disposable product saves gallons and gallons of water and diminishes the need for bleach which is toxic to the horses skin and to the environment. And, I no longer have to look at a pile of filthy wraps at the end of the horse show.

Riding Magazine: Where do you see it going?
Kristi: I see this product as a staple in every barn. The product is better for the horse’s legs and veterinary clinics appreciate the value ChuckUms® bring, especially in wound care and therapeutic treatments for their patients. I’ve been making samples and playing with materials to make sure we have the best product possible.  We are about ready to launch on a bigger scale. I’ve had a desire to invent something for many years and this is a new exciting adventure.

Riding Magazine: After many years at Sycamore Trails, you have been at Coto De Caza Equestrian Preserve. Tell us about that:

Kristi: I relocated to Coto De Caza Equestrian Preserve about three years ago. It’s a beautiful parklike facility with lots of trees and open space, two covered arenas, lots of turnout paddocks and access to miles of trails. My horses are very happy at Coto where they get to live in giant stalls with boxes and runs.  The facility is much quieter and more peaceful for the horses than the previous facility.

I love going to the shows.  I am really good at matching horses and riders and developing young/green horses.

I currently have openings for training and consignment horses.

To learn more about Genuine Farms visit or call Kristi 949-212-3435.

To learn more about ChuckUms® visit



“We are so grateful for everything Kristi at Genuine Farms has taught us. She has the perfect mix of challenging the horse and rider while always ensuring a safe and fun experience.  She cares for each horse with great compassion and attention that you would not expect from a trainer.  Whether you are just learning or already competing in Hunter or Jumper Shows, Kristi is right by your side supporting your goals. To top it off, the Coto De Caza equestrian center is by far the most beautiful facility in Orange County to ride.” -Jennifer Farr

“I have been with this trainer, Kristi Frishman, for quite some time. I had experienced many trainers before her and none had an attention to detail and safety like Kristi. She is an amazing rider and her barn is very friendly and welcoming to children and adults alike. Her horses are very well trained & they receive excellent care.  She is one of the most honest people I have met in this business.” -Joann Goltermann

“I have ridden with Kristi at Genuine Farms in Coto de Caza for over 5 years and she has been a wonderful thoughtful trainer. She has helped me find the perfect horse and worked with me to increase my confidence and encouraged me back into the show ring!!   Our horses receive the best care and safety is a top priority. I highly recommend this training program!” -Kim Nagle


June 2021 - Cast Care
Written by courtesy of
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:51
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courtesy of

Your horse has been fitted with a cast to give it the best possible chance of recovery. A cast provides both protection and support and thereby gives the horse’s injury a chance to heal.

Because you can’t actually see what’s happening beneath a cast, caring for a convalescent horse can seem a bit daunting. You can ease your mind and decrease the chances of complications by knowing what to watch for and what to do. You’ll also keep your horse more comfortable and help speed healing. Careful observation will be your best tool.

Your Horse’s Cast

Casts are used for a variety of problems such as some bone fractures, tendon and ligament injuries, wounds, and abnormal growth and development.

Several important functions are:
•    First Aid Tool
•    Immobilization of Limbs
•    Overcoming Tension – keeping skin from pulling apart at wound sites
•    Rigid Support – allows horse to stand and use limb during convalescence
•    Protection and Reduced Concussion to Limb
•    External Support – reinforcement for internal fixation devices such as plates or screws used in fracture repair

Better Technology

Fortunately for your horse, casting materials and techniques have greatly improved over the years. Today, casts are generally made of lightweight fiberglass or plaster. They conform well to the horse’s anatomy, set quickly, and are durable, strong and porous.

A well-constructed cast permits the skin to breathe, the wound to drain, and is comfortable for the horse. Horses normally adjust quickly to wearing a cast.

The type of cast will depend on the nature and location of the injury.

•    Full Cast – includes the foot and extends the length of the limb to just below the elbow or stifle.
•    Sleeve/Tube Cast – partial cast that generally covers only a portion of the limb but does not encase the foot (usually immobilizes the knee or hock).
•    Half Limb/Distal Limb Cast – extends from below the knee or hock down to include the foot.
•    Short Cast/Foot Cast – starts below the fetlock joint and covers the foot.

Symptoms For Concern


While your horse is in a cast, you will need to pay extra close attention to it. Check your horse several times a day, paying special attention to the cast area. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you observe any of the following:

1.    Increased pain or lameness
2.    Discharge (exudates) from the cast that has a foul odor, unusual color or seems to be excessive
3.    Swelling above or below the cast
4.    Focal warmth (noticeable heat emitting from the cast)
5.    Elevated body temperature (100F + or – 1 is considered normal)
6.    Chewing at, or other apparent irritation with the cast
7.    Recumbency – horse spends an abnormal amount of time lying down
8.    Secondary Wounds – rub sites or pressure sores that develop where the cast contacts the skin
9.    Cast damage or breakage
10.    Lack of appetite or depression

Doctor’s Orders

While your horse is in a cast, follow your veterinarian’s instructions to the letter.

1.    Prevent excessive movement by keeping your horse confined to a stall.
2.    Check the horse regularly.
3.    Keep the horse’s environment scrupulously clean and dry to prevent contamination of the cast or wound.
4.    Seal the cast openings with bandaging tape (not too tight) to prevent dirt and debris from entering it. Check and change as required.
5.    If the cast becomes excessively dirty or wet, contact your veterinarian. Follow cleaning and drying instructions explicitly.
6.    Give medications only as prescribed by your equine practitioner.
7.    Do not provide drugs or pain relievers that could mask a horse’s condition – unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian.
8.    Do not trailer your horse while in a cast without express permission and guidance from your veterinarian.
9.    Stay in close communication with your equine practitioner for guidance in monitoring and evaluating your horse’s progress.

Your Health Care Partnership

Be assured that your equine practitioner will do everything in his or her power to help you get your horse out of a cast and back to work as soon as possible. If you have questions or need more information on cast care management, contact your veterinarian.

This information was produced through a joint venture between 3M Animal Care Products and The American Association of Equine Practitioners.


June 2021 - Caring for Barn Cats?
Written by courtesy of Valley Vet Supply
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:46
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Veterinarian shares 8 tips for looking after our most resourceful felines 

courtesy of Valley Vet Supply

Barn cats are kings and queens at horse farms and ranches, keeping away varmints like moles, mice and consequentially, even snakes. But even the most independent outdoor cats can benefit from added protection and routine care. For advice on caring for barn cats, we turned to Oklahoma State University’s Assistant Clinical Professor with the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Sarah Peakheart.  

Purrr-use these top tips for thriving barn cats:

1. Construct a perch or loft area, so barn cats have a safe space from potential predators. “Offer them a few choices,” encourages Dr. Peakheart. “Cats love high perches or small holes they can dive into, if needed.”

2. Spay and neuter to prevent litters, as well as to deter them from roaming away, fighting with others and overall from channeling their inner ‘Tomcat.’

3. Have an updated identification tag on their collar, and if possible have them microchipped, which is an easy option available at veterinary clinics during their spay or neuter procedure. This way, should they be lost or picked up by the city animal welfare, there is a better chance of being reunited with them.   

4. Store feed in enclosed bins or feed rooms to deter food-indulging predators, such as raccoons and others that can harm even the toughest barn cats. Dr. Peakheart warns that, “Other wildlife can spread diseases, like rabies, intestinal parasites, and fleas and ticks. Opossums can carry so many fleas, they are like walking flea salt shakers.” 

5. Place common chemical-based items like horse fly spray and antifreeze safely out of sight. Some substances, even when ingested in small amounts, can cause seizures (or worse) in cats. Cats do not even have to ingest some of the fly sprays or other chemicals to be affected, just being around them while they are in use or still wet can cause damage. While they may not purposely ingest some things, they will groom it off their fur – like antifreeze, in which even the smallest amounts can cause acute kidney failure in cats.

6. Offer any outdoor cats (or dogs) a safe, warm place to sleep. A heated or insulated cat house is perfect for keeping outdoor cats in winter months cozy. Also, ensure they have plenty of food and fresh water. Consider a heated water bowl to help prevent frozen water during wintertime.  

7. Make plenty of noise before starting up your vehicles or farm equipment, especially during the wintertime when outdoor cats look for places to stay warm, like under the hood of your vehicle. Dr. Peakheart warns others to, “Make sure you bang on the hood before starting the car to give them a chance to get out.” 

8. Prioritize preventive care for healthy barn cats, including cat vaccines, parasite, flea and tick control, and heartworm prevention. Talk with your veterinarian about any additional health considerations for your barn cat.

Visit veterinarian-founded to learn more and find trusted solutions to support your cat’s well-being.

June 2021 - The Perfect Tack Room
Written by CRM
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:43
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For busy barns, the tack room can be one of the most important spaces to consider.

Regardless of the size of the stable or the size of the budget, a tack room is a necessary space for storing saddles, bridles and other equipment in a safe and organized fashion. An effective tack room does not have to be expensive, but it does require a lot of planning and thinking about how the space will be used.


Take time to think about how the space will be used, what your goals are and what you want to store in the tack room. To properly size a tack room you need to inventory what you are storing there. You need to know how many horses, the number of saddles per horse and the discipline you ride. Also consider what purpose the tack room will serve. Will it be designed to store only saddles and bridles or will it be used to also store other equipment like bits, wraps, blankets and tack trunks.

During the planning process you will also have to decide if the tack room will be a multi-functional space for social gatherings or a space for cleaning tack and/or a laundry area with room for a washer and dryer to launder blankets and wraps. A tack room can become more than just a place for storage.


The tack room should be relatively convenient, keep it close to or nearby a wash stall or prep/grooming area. A barn that frequently trailers to multi-day shows, which requires frequent loading and unloading, should consider where the tack room is located in the barn relative to unloading a trailer after a show.

Ultimately, the location of a tack room is all about minimizing the number of steps a person has to take to get their horse ready.


The level of security in a tack room depends on a barn’s traffic.  Keeping track of equipment and tack can be a challenge at boarding stables with clients coming and going all day long—especially when it comes to the barn’s own supplies. You have to think about how to keep your tack and equipment from walking away or from being used by other people.

Locking areas or separate tack rooms can solve this problem. You might want to consider separate tack rooms, one for the boarders and one for the stable owners and managers.

Simplistic Efficiency

A well-planned tack room should have a place for everything. As long as a tack room is efficient, it does not necessarily have to be fancy. There are always ways to be creative and save on a budget. An interesting alternative to storing saddles is to run a beam from one end of the room to the other, along the wall. (Almost like a vertical jump). The saddles can sit on top of that, pommel to cantle, in a row. This is a very inexpensive solution if a customer does not want to spend the money on individual saddle racks.

If you are looking for something that is not fancy, but iyet efficient you can use a peg board to hang all of your extra bits and created a place for everything so that things do not end up on the floor.

Stable owners do not have to invest a lot of money in a tack room.  You can get a lot of bang for your buck on the basics and then dress it up as far as you want to take it, as long as it is organized, the details are up to your personal taste.

More Than Tack

Even though the fundamental purpose of a tack room is for storage, it can become much, much more. Tack storage is pretty basic, function is most important.  Then you can add to it and make it a place you and your clients want to hang out.

A tack room can be transformed into a lounge and social gathering space. Some people like to see a tack room as more than a store room some like it to take on more of a social function.

Benches and seating areas create a welcoming atmosphere that encourages riders to kick off their boots and chat about their horse’s progress, clean tack together, watch training videos or simply sit and enjoy one another’s company. Personal touches transform a tack room from an everyday storage area into a place of enjoyment. For riders who have achieved success in the show ring the tack room may become a display area for trophy saddles, bronzes and buckles.  

Extra Considerations

Once basics have been covered it is also important to consider:

•    Air Conditioning, Dehumidifier and/or Heater: Controlling the climate of the tack room can inhibit the growth of mold on leather equipment.  
•    Lighting: Overall good lighting coverage is important. Use fixtures that have an even throw of light so you don’t have dart spots or dark corners.
•    Doorway Width: Make sure the door in and out of the tack room is an adequate size so when you are carrying a saddle you have enough room. Sliding doors and tack room walls that pivot are gaining in popularity.
•    Dual Purpose Fixtures: A window seat or bench can serve as a storage bin. A saddle stand can be built like a freestanding cabinet, with a rounded top for holding saddles and interior storage.  Multi-functional fixtures can save a lot on space.
•    Wall Space: Include as much wall space as possible. Extra room will always be needed to keep bridles, lead ropes, girths and more organized.
•    Extra Storage: A small area in front of each horse’s stall can provide organized storage nearer the horse.  Incorporate a certain amount of storage right at the stall for lead ropes and small items such as a small cabinet with doors to keep the items close by and organized.

Designing a tack room can be a lot of fun, but it does require planning.  It may sound simple to design a tack room, but there is a lot to consider.
June 2021 - California Quarter Horse Captures Grand Prize in 2020 Farnam Supermask Supermodel Contest
Written by by Cynthia McFarland • photos: Shelley Paulson
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:39
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by Cynthia McFarland • photos: Shelley Paulson

Doesn’t every handsome horse deserve to have a professional photo shoot? That was exactly the thought inspiring Abby Bruno of Moreno Valley, California, when she entered the 2020 Farnam SuperMask SuperModel Contest.

The winning horse is treated to a session with a professional photographer with his image to be used in an upcoming Farnam® SuperMask® fly mask ad. The winner also receives a grand prize jam packed with $1,000 worth of Farnam® fly control and grooming products.

The 2020 contest was the third annual for the popular event, which has drawn more entries each year. A panel of judges chooses the winner based on the following criteria: overall appeal and essence of a well-cared-for horse, audience appeal and appropriateness to contest theme.

“We had thousands of contenders this year so the judges had their work cut out for them. We were all so impressed with the quality of the submissions,” says Martha Lefebvre, senior marketing manager for Farnam. “We could easily see that our fans put a lot of effort into getting their horses groomed-up and looking beautiful for a chance to be the next SuperMask SuperModel.”
“When I saw the contest on Facebook I thought, why not try? I thought it would be cool to have Arnold be a super model and get his pictures done because I think he’s beautiful,” says Abby of her now 4-year-old Quarter Horse Bleu Steel who goes by the barn name “Arnold.”

Abby, a California native, nicknamed her photogenic gelding after the 38th governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“I never win contests, so I was 100 percent surprised. When I read the email saying he’d won, I wondered if it was spam, but I hoped it was legit,” recalls an overjoyed Abby. After calling the number in the email from Farnam, the amazing news was confirmed.

“The first person I told was my mom,” says Abby. “Then I told my friend Michaella, who felt a little responsible since she’s the one who encouraged me to buy him in the first place.

“Michaella and I grew up together, showing ponies and trail riding out here on my parents’ ranch in Moreno Valley,” adds Abby, 26. “We still ride our horses around bareback in halters like we did in high school.”

Horses have been at the heart of Abby Bruno’s life since she could walk.

Growing up on the ranch with parents who grew alfalfa and had a feed store, Abby immediately gravitated to the family’s horses. As soon as she showed an interest, she was given her first pony. It wasn’t long until her natural competitive nature revealed itself and her mother, who has shown for years, made sure Abby had lessons with a trainer.

“I have always loved horses; I live and breathe them,” says Abby, who was showing at the world level by age 8. “I started showing POAs when I was 6 years old doing leadline classes,” says Abby. I stayed with ponies until 2005, and then I started showing Appaloosas.”

Abby won her first youth world championship in the Appaloosa show ring in 2006 and would go on to win numerous championships over the next decade. Through the years she had great success with her Appaloosa gelding Shys Blue Boy, winning multiple championships together, including the 2010 High-Point Youth All-Around title and 2010 Reserve Youth World Championship.

In 2016, Abby made the decision to start showing Quarter Horses.

In 2018, Abby left California for Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, to pursue their animal science pre-vet program. For someone who’s always been surrounded by horses, going off to college without a horse felt strange.

“My dad said he wasn’t sending me to college with a horse,” laughs Abby. “I was only there a few weeks before I bought Arnold.”

In a world where people do so much online, it’s not surprising to look for horses there. But on Super Bowl Sunday 2019, Abby did more than look. She ended up buying the horse her friend Michaella from back home had spotted first.

“It all started when Michaella sent me an Instagram message with his picture saying I needed to buy him because he was pretty and she knew I’d always wanted a roan horse,” says Abby.

Turns out the good-looking 2-year-old bay roan Quarter Horse gelding by CBS Dirty Blue Revue was in a Facebook auction. After Abby sent his photo to her mother, she ended up bidding on him with her mom’s approval. (Abby admits she and her mother both have a fond place in their hearts for gray horses.)

“I set my timer and kept refreshing my Facebook page and I got him!” she grins.

Arnold was unbroken when Abby purchased him, so she promptly began his breaking process. She’s handled every bit of his training and Arnold proved to be a quick study. Abby has high hopes for him and he’s already off to a good start.

She decided to finish college in her home state and returned from Texas after a little over a year at Tarleton. Arnold came home with her, of course, and moved into the first stall at the barn on her family’s ranch.

“I want to finish my BS in biological sciences,” says Abby, who initially had hopes of becoming a veterinarian, but is undecided now. Along with many other students, her college plans were interrupted in early 2020 due to the pandemic. She’s happy to be safe at home and working at the family ranch.

Arnold may be young, but his show career is already under way. He and Abby competed in the AQHA Sun and Surf Circuit in Del Mar, California, on September 10-13, 2020.

“It was his first pattern class in the ranch riding, with all the spins and transitions, and he did really good,” says a proud Abby. “He was the only young snaffle bit horse in all his classes. When they asked for the extended lope, he was awesome. He has an amazing mind on him and nothing scares him. Everybody was drooling over him!”

Abby’s plans are to turn Arnold into an all-around horse and compete in horsemanship, showmanship, trail and western riding.

“When he was showing, he had his ears up the whole time and was enjoying it. I want him to last a lifetime, so I don’t want to push my horse into something he’s not ready to do. I’ve been in the horse show world a long time and I’ve seen how hard it can be on a horse if they’re pushed,” she notes.

Already 15.1 hands, Arnold still has some growing to do, so Abby intends to take her time guiding her young prospect into his show career.

Like her other horses, Arnold will benefit from the support of a whole team--veterinarian, farrier and equine physical therapist--to help him stay sound and healthy along the way.

Arnold’s SuperMask SuperModel photo shoot took place the first week of March 2021. Arnold handled it like the pro he is.

“Ears up and posing like crazy!” says Abby. “He likes his picture and he knows when it’s getting taken.”

She and Arnold have been enjoying the prize package extravaganza they received as SuperMask SuperModel winner.

“Oh my goodness, there were so many products! Opening the boxes felt like Christmas!” says Abby. “I was using some of the fly control products the very first day. I was already a SuperMask fly mask user, of course, and now Arnold has a new one.”

She especially appreciated the Vetrolin items and says the smell alone sparks wonderful memories.

“I’ve been using Vetrolin products since I had ponies and absolutely love them. That remarkable smell is so recognizable. It brings back memories and makes me think of getting ready for a horse show. I used Vetrolin all the time when I started showing as a youth, so I always associate it with a horse show,” says Abby.

“I’ve used Farnam products all my show career, so I’m really familiar with them, but there were some new products in the prize package I hadn’t used before,” she adds. “I’ve used the leather care products, but not the Leather New Total Care 2 in 1. I have leather chairs so I’m excited to use it on those.”

In addition to Arnold, Abby is happily using the Farnam windfall of products on her other horses too. These include Arnold’s full sibling, a weanling colt Abby bought from the original breeder, VS Lady N Bay, her 3-year-old Quarter Horse filly, Shys Blue Boy, the retired 20-year-old Appaloosa gelding she won so many titles with, and the 25-year-old POA Cookies Blue Ribbon (“Little Blue”), she first started showing on.

In late 2020, Abby added to her herd, with the purchase of Blaze in Trouble, a 2-year-old Quarter Horse filly.

“She’s a multiple National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) champion, and I’ll be showing her in all the non-pro Western Pleasure futurities,” says Abby. “I’m very excited to show her and to continue showing Arnold.”

“Little Blue is the one who started it all. He’s the gray POA I showed as a kid and the one I won world and international titles on,” says Abby. “He’s never leaving; he will be here forever.”

Horses aren’t the only critters on the Bruno family ranch and in Abby’s life.

She has a border collie named Indie, a Pomeranian named Cowboy and a three-legged cat named Monster. Both Cowboy and Monster have logged many miles with Abby traveling across the country for horse shows.    

“When I’m not playing with horses, I love to road bike, paint and draw,” says Abby, a talented artist who has done some commissioned animal memorial portraits.

Her favorite part of creating those portraits is bringing to life the emotion and personality of the animal in its expression. It’s a special project for this dedicated animal lover.


June 2021 - Will Simpson and Chacco P Win the $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix
Written by by Brooke Goddard • photos: Julia B. Photography
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:24
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by Brooke Goddard • photos: Julia B. Photography

Olympic Gold Medalist Will Simpson and Chacco P were victorious in the $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix at LA Equestrian Center (May 6-9), receiving the Judy Martin Perpetual Trophy. In second place was Cassio Rivetti and Go Eldor, and in third place was Matt Archer aboard Luigi VD Bisschop.


Simpson was thrilled with his win. “I’ve been working with this horse for three years, and this win is very gratifying. He’s so brave and so athletic that I just try to hang on and remember the course,” he commented. “Hap Hansen is one of my favorite riders and one of my favorite people in the world. To have this ring dedicated to him is a big honor.”
Course designer Guilherme Jorge was equally pleased with how the pair navigated his course. “I was very happy,” he said. “I think eight riders in the jump-off makes for a really good jump-off and an exciting first round. Chacco P is 18 hands and has a lot of scope. His turn to the double showed the tremendous scope that the horse has. Will was very efficient in the turns and proved unbeatable.”
“Seeing Will Simpson win the first Riders Cup here in Los Angeles was pretty exciting,” commented West Palms CEO Dale Harvey. “It was amazing just to see it all come together. I am really looking forward to hosting Riders Cup in October at LA Equestrian Center. We learned so much from doing this one and we can’t wait to improve even more.”
Mark your calendars for the next edition of Riders Cup at LA Equestrian Center (Oct. 21-24, 2021)! Visit for more information.

Will Simpson and Chacco P

Will Simpson and Chacco P

Will Simpson and Chacco P

Will Simpson

Leading rider Shawn Casady receives a hay steamer from Haygain

Hap Hansen Arena

Dale Harvey, Hap Hansen, and Marnye Langer

Dale Harvey and Marnye Langer

June 2021 - Managing Ammonia in Horse Barns
Written by by Dr. Thomas Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:22
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by Dr. Thomas Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Protect your horse’s respiratory health by clearing the air.

Walk into many horse barns this time of year, especially if they are closed or have poor ventilation, and the acrid stench of ammonia burns your nose and causes your eyes to water.

Moderate to high ammonia levels in barns are not only irritating to mucus membranes but increase our horse’s susceptibility to serious respiratory infections.

Horses excrete urea in their feces and urine to eliminate excess nitrogen from their bodies. While urea is odorless and nontoxic, it is rapidly converted by bacteria to ammonia in the soil and bedding.

Ammonia is not only foul smelling, it also inhibits the movement of cilia, the tiny finger-like projections that line a horse’s respiratory tract and that are responsible for sweeping fluids and foreign particles up and away from the lungs. When the horse’s cilia are less efficient, the horse is much more susceptible to respiratory infections, including pneumonia.

Chronic ammonia exposure can lead to inflammation and constriction of the horse’s airways and mucus accumulation, ultimately resulting in the development of recurrent airway disease (heaves).

While the exact levels of ammonia that are detrimental to horses are currently unknown, veterinary researchers have shown that ammonia levels in an average horse stall can exceed 200 parts per million. For people, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set a 15-minute exposure limit for gaseous ammonia levels of only 35 ppm, so you have to wonder if the same is not true for horses.

Because ammonia concentrations are greatest near barn and stall floors, horses that are fed on the floor or spend long periods of time lying down are exposed to the highest level of ammonia.

The good news is that ammonia concentrations in stalls can be dramatically reduced by simple environmental management. On average, a horse produces 0.5 ounces of feces and 0.3 fluid ounces of urine per pound of body weight each day. So a 1,000-pound horse will produce 31 pounds of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine each day.

So when building a new barn or refurbishing older stall floors, it is important to first put down a subfloor of 8-12 inches of 4- to 5-inch gravel, covered by a few inches of small gravel and then covered by a mixture of clay and stone dust (2/3 clay and 1/3 stone dust) or a mixture of clay and sand (2/3 clay and 1/3 sand) that will allow urine and water to drain away from the floor. Sand alone is porous but increases the potential for sand colic when the horse eats off the ground. The subfloor can then be covered by rubber mats or several inches of good wood shavings or straw. Other steps to reduce ammonia levels are:

•    Consult your veterinarian or equine nutritionist for the best ration for your horse’s needs. Many horses are fed rations higher in protein and nitrogen than necessary, which results in excess urine production.
•    Let your horses outdoors to exercise as much as possible, not only to cut down on stall time but to improve their overall health.
•    Ensure that the barn is well ventilated.
•    Remove manure and wet bedding daily; completely strip the stall at least weekly. If possible, remove your horse from the stall while you clean, as ammonia will be stirred up by the cleaning process.
•    Choose absorbent bedding and consider mixing a quality neutralizing product with the bedding. Choose a product that actually neutralizes the ammonia and doesn’t merely cover up the odor. Lime-based products have traditionally been used in horse barns. However, they do a poor job of neutralizing ammonia and can cause severe irritation and burning of the horse’s eyes and skin. There are a number of commercial products that are nontoxic and trap or eliminate ammonia.


June 2021 - Understanding Footing Materials
Written by courtesy of PennState Extension
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:13
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courtesy of PennState Extension

The primary principle of selecting footing materials is to obtain materials that maintain their loose nature without compaction while providing stability for riding or driving activity. The major component of most footing is a mixture of naturally occurring sand, silt, and clay particles.


Sand is the common ingredient in many arena surfaces and ranges from fine sand at 0.05 mm diameter to coarse sand at 2.00 mm diameter. Sand alone may be used but it is often combined with other particle sizes or other materials. Be careful to apply the proper depth of sand. With its deep, loose traction, sand deeper than 6 inches is stressful to horse tendons. Start with about 2 inches and add a ½ inch at a time as necessary. (Start with only 1½ inches for arenas used primarily for driving horses.) Newly laid sand contains air pockets that absorb shock and rebounds. However, despite its solid, inorganic nature, sand will erode and compact into an unsuitable surface over time.

Sand dries out fairly rapidly since it drains well, so frequent watering is essential. Some managers add a water-holding material, such as a wood product or commercial additive, to the sand footing material to hold water between watering events, hence reducing dust.

Certain specifications of sand are required for good footing material. Riding arena surfaces should contain cleaned and screened, medium to coarse, hard, sharp sand. Fine sand will break down more readily into small enough particles to be lofted as dust. “Cleaned” means the material has been washed of silt and clay, making the sand less compactable and less dusty. “Screened” means large, undesirable particles have been removed and a more uniform-sized material remains that will be less prone to compaction. “Hard” is quartz sand, which will last up to 10 years. Obtained from a quarry, sub-angular sand has sharp particles, versus the rounded particles found in river sand. The sub-angular particles of naturally occurring, mined materials are old deposits of sand that have weathered from natural forces of water (typically) into particles that are still angular for stability as an arena surface. Manufactured sand is very fine, crushed rock and is also angular, but not as hard as real sand. Angular sand provides better stability than rounded sand particles, which behave similar to millions of ball bearings underfoot.

Sand is often one of the cheapest materials to use for arena footing material, yet the hard, angular, washed sand that is most suitable as a riding surface is among the most expensive sands. “Waste” or “dead” sand contains considerable quantities of the silt and clay particles that are the by-product of “clean” sand and is unacceptable for good arena footing. Cleaned, washed sand alone is too loose for some riding disciplines that require sharp turns and stops, such as barrel racing and cutting. Wetted sand provides much more traction than dry sand, but frequent and abundant watering is needed and this is not realistic in some locations.


Allowing 5 to 10 percent fines (passing through a number 200 screen, which has 0.075 millimeter hole size) in the chosen sand product provides particles that help bind the larger sand particles. More fines than this will cause the sand mixture to become very dusty and slippery when wet. Providing 5 percent fines will allow some binding activity while decreasing dust potential; as the sand wears, the fine particle percentage will increase. For those arena surfaces designed to use native topsoil, 10 to 30 percent of the mixture may be “dirt” with the balance sand.

Unfortunately, the fines in either of these mixtures will loft as dust if not managed for dust suppression. Fibers, natural or synthetic, may be used to bind loose sand with less risk of adding dustiness but of greater cost than the addition of fines or local soil. A combination sand-soil arena is popular with western riding events where high stability is needed for speed events so the footing can be kept moist and more compacted or harrowed into a loose mixture for sliding stops and cutting work.

Other materials, such as wood and rubber, may be mixed with sand to overcome some difficulty encountered when using sand alone. Wood products added to sand footings will add moisture-holding capacity and improve traction while adding some cushioning. Rubber adds cushion to a sand footing and can prolong the useful life of the sand through decreased abrasion of sand particles on sand particles. While rubber can add some cushion to worn sand footing, for old, eroded sand the better long-term fix is to discard the failed surface material and replace with a new mixture. Rubber is a relatively expensive addition to a footing that has outlived its useful life and is best replaced.

Wood Products

These may be used as the primary footing material or mixed with other footing materials. Wood chips or coarse sawdust will provide some cushioning and moisture-holding capacity to an all-inorganic footing (sand, stonedust). Wood products are quite variable, not only from location to location around the country, but even from load to load at the same wood mill. Any wood product will eventually decompose since it is organic, and smaller and softer wood products will break down into smaller particles that will eventually lead to compacted footing. Expect to add more wood product every couple of years as the older wood decomposes. Eventually, some footing may have to be removed to maintain an appropriate depth.

Manufactured wood products may be used as the predominant footing component. All-wood footing offers cushioning in a material with fibers that interlace for traction. Wood footing materials contain pieces that are larger and more durable than wood chips or sawdust and require little maintenance when installed correctly. Wood footing has ½- to 1-inch slender pieces, or wood “fiber” mixed with some finer wood for knitting the wood footing to the base material. All-wood footing is often installed on a 1-inch layer of wetted, washed, angular sand to further tie the wood pieces into the highly compacted base surface. Hardwood pieces will last longer than softwood products. Do NOT use walnut and black cherry hardwood products as they are highly toxic to horses. For this reason and for quality control in eliminating contaminants in the shipment (large wood chunks, nails, staples from ground pallets, etc.), buying wood footing from a manufacturer that specializes in supplying horse arena footing is recommended. An advantage of all-wood footing is the reduced abrasiveness on horse hooves compared to sand- and stonedust-based footing materials. The material must be kept moist to maintain adhesiveness of the wood pieces with each other. Fully dried all-wood footing can become slippery as the wood becomes more brittle and does not as effectively interlace for stability. In contrast, all-wood footing with large pieces (for example, chunk bark or wood greater than 1 square inch, not slender) becomes slippery when overly wet.


Rubber from recycled shoes or Rubber tires can be ground or shredded into small particles. Rubber source may vary so use products from a horse footing material supplier. Be sure to get a guarantee that the shredded product will not contain metal (from steel-belted tires) or other foreign materials or thoroughly check the load upon delivery. Ground rubber is usually mixed with sand or other surface material to minimize compaction and add some cushion into the surface. Rubber product won’t degrade like wood but will break down into smaller pieces through grinding against sand and horse hooves. Its ability to darken an outdoor arena surface color reduces glare and helps thaw the surface faster during winter by absorbing more solar radiation. Pure rubber tends to be too bouncy and the black color provides significant heat on outdoor arena users. Indoor arena users may notice the rubber odor. Most horses are not prone to eat it should they have free access to the arena footing. Rubber pieces float and with heavy rainfall can separate out of the footing material mixture (Figure 2). Simply reincorporate with surface conditioning equipment. Rubber is added to a sand or stonedust footing at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds of rubber per square foot. Crumb-shaped rubber pieces are suitable to reduce compaction in a sand-dirt or stonedust mixture. Flat rubber pieces (or fibers) will help knit together an all-sand, clean footing that needs more stability. The rubber fibers essentially knit together the entire depth of footing profile to create a material that does not shift as readily as pure sand.


Stonedust remains in the “common” footing material category but may really belong in the “challenging” category due the high level of management needed to maintain suitable arena conditions. Stonedust provides good stability, drains well, and can be an attractive surface if kept watered and harrowed. It can be a very suitable footing material when kept damp. It will be almost as hard as concrete if allowed to compact and dry. Stonedust is extremely dusty if not kept constantly moist throughout the entire depth of footing. Stonedust is a very cheap material, which enhances its attractiveness, but frequent, diligent management will be needed to control dust in an indoor arena environment or for outdoor arenas outside of the rainy season.

For footing material, the stonedust (also known as blue stone, rockdust, limestone screenings, decomposed granite, or white stone) should contain a narrow range of grade sizes so that it does not compact easily. Stonedust is a finer version of the road base material used in arena base preparation. If the stonedust in your area is well graded and is suitable as a compacted base material, it will be difficult to keep loose as a footing material. In contrast, when stonedust is not compactable, it can make a suitable arena footing material.

Stonedust mixed with rubber will provide a less compactable footing than stonedust alone while keeping the high-stability stonedust offers for quick changes in direction and speeds, such as jump takeoff and landing activity.

June 2021 - Water Use and Techniques for Riding Arenas
Written by courtesy of PennState Extension
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:53
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courtesy of PennState Extension

Watering the footing material reduces dust levels and can put some stability back into loose, sandy, or wood-based footing. Frequent, deep watering will be part of normal arena maintenance, so planning ahead to make it a less arduous task will have long-term benefits. The objective is to keep the material moist all the way through and to have uniform water application over the surface. When an arena is not kept uniformly moist, the loose, dry areas are less stable than the well-watered spots so that horses lose confidence in what kind of conditions will be underfoot as they travel between slippery and suitable conditions.

Water the arena to keep the footing evenly moist to a 3-inch depth. Once the arena is at the moisture level that is suitable for your purpose, use a garden supply store soil-moisture meter to determine that moisture content and strive to achieve that moisture on subsequent waterings. Water an arena as you would a garden. It does not need to be flooded nor does just wetting the top fraction of an inch do any good. Give it a good watering with plenty of water in frequent, short periods. This will allow water absorption into the footing material(s) between waterings. In fact, wait about four hours or overnight before using the arena again to allow moisture to soak in. Once the correct moisture is achieved, subsequent waterings will only be needed to remoisten the top-most surface that will be drying faster than the footing underneath. Watering schedule will naturally depend on season (air temperature), wind, and sun exposure of outdoor arenas, and the indoor arena air temperature and moisture level. Watering when the arena surface begins to show signs of dustiness will preserve moisture in the underlying layer. Check the moisture level weekly and more often when drying conditions prevail, such as during times of combined low humidity, high temperature, or greater wind speed over the arena surface. On outdoor arenas, direct sunlight dries the top footing layer on a daily basis.

Watering systems include those requiring continuous or frequent human involvement for proper application of the water and those systems that are automated and once installed or setup require little human attention during the watering event. Watering that requires a high level of human involvement includes hand-held spray nozzles, garden sprinklers, and tractor-mounted sprayers. More automated systems include ceiling- or post-mounted spray nozzles and self-traveling irrigation.

Hand-held hose watering takes considerable time and is variable in uniformity of moisture addition. The benefit is that the person watering can treat wet or dry patches of arena surface with more or less water. Garden sprinklers can be set out for timed operation and moved to cover the entire arena surface over time. This allows other activities to be performed by the operator during watering but is likely to be less uniform in coverage than the hand-held technique. Puddles are common when a sprinkler stays in one area too long. Tractor- or pickup- mounted watering can be done in concert with surface conditioning. A frost-proof hydrant should be located near the arena to supply hose or sprinkler-applied water. A hydrant is a convenient tap for filling a water tank that is pulled by truck or tractor through the arena.

Automated arena watering is provided by a permanently installed sprinkler system located along the perimeter of an outdoor arena, throughout the roof framing of indoor arenas, or by mechanized field-watering equipment in both indoor and outdoor arenas. Width of arena and available water source are important factors in determining which type of system will be most effective.

Horticultural or agricultural- grade sprinkler systems (gear-driven rotors or impact heads) are suitable for providing fairly even watering of the arena surface. Ceiling-mounted sprayers (indoor arena) produce a mist of water and good, uniform coverage with proper design. Frost-proof installations are needed under freezing conditions. Landscape sprinklers can be installed around an outdoor arena perimeter to reach the entire surface with water. Indoor or outdoor sprinklers are spaced based on anticipated coverage pattern of the particular spray nozzle. Side-mounted sprinklers require substantial flow rates to spray water distances greater than 50 feet. Greater spray distances provide uneven water application with strips of dry surface between adjacent wetted circles or half-circles. For indoor arenas, the side-mounted sprinklers’ uneven water distribution results in too much water applied in some areas, which is a problem since the indoor arena base is not constructed to shed water. The sprinklers may be activated as needed or controlled by a timer.

Arena surface materials may be wetted by mechanized field-watering equipment. A flexible hose traveling system is an effective option for sites with larger arenas or with low-volume water sources. One disadvantage is that the traveling hose has to be set up each time it is used. Once set up, it operates unattended with an automatic shut-off once the sprinkler cart on the traveling hose arrives back at the hose reel. Advantages include more even water distribution than with perimeter-mounted sprinklers and potential to double its usefulness by watering both indoor and outdoor arenas. Installation and maintenance costs of automatic systems are the highest of the footing watering options, but labor is significantly reduced.

Winter watering is a challenge in freezing climates. Too much water and the footing is frozen hard; too little water and dust prevails. This is a particular challenge for indoor arenas where rider expectations are that the surface will be usable year-round. Managers may opt to reduce water additions to the indoor arena as freezing weather approaches. The advantage of having a footing material that does not compact is even more important when freezing is possible. Excess water can pass through a well-drained material, such as sand, and not bind particles together into a solid mass. Many indoor arena managers use salt to lower the footing’s freezing point during the winter and discontinue its use during warmer weather.


June 2021 - Lyme Disease in Horses
Written by courtesy of Stable Talk
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:48
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courtesy of Stable Talk

Whether you blame it on climate change, increased deer numbers, movement of horses for sport and pleasure — or all the above — the fact remains that Lyme disease in horses is on the rise.

Named for the town in Connecticut where it was first diagnosed in the mid-1970s, Lyme disease is one of the three main tick-borne diseases that can infect horses. Equine piroplasmosis and Anaplasmosis are the other two. Humans, dogs and cats can also be affected by Lyme disease.

It’s worth noting that, although some people refer to it as “Lyme’s” disease, this is incorrect.


Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, an infective organism known as a spirochete that is specifically found in the tick species Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick) and Ixodes pacificus (western black-legged tick), both of which are commonly referred to as “deer ticks.”

“Where ticks are active year-round, then transmission can be year-round, but as tick ‘questing’ activity intensifies [in the spring], transmission is reported as increased,” notes Eric Lockwood Swinebroad, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM. A board-certified equine internist, Swinebroad was one of seven specialist co-authors of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine consensus statement “Borrelia burgdorferi Infection and Lyme Disease in North American Horses.”

“If it takes weeks for antibody levels to rise, and if the disease is in fact due to the host immune response to the spirochete, then it could take weeks for signs to be seen,” says Swinebroad, who operates Newmarket/Indialantic Equine, a sport horse practice specializing internal medicine and lameness based in New Hampshire and serving clients throughout New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida.

“The Northeast, Upper Midwest and California-Pacific Northwest are considered endemic regions,” notes Swinebroad, adding that Florida is likely in that grouping as well as a “transient epicenter” due to all the horse show travel in and out of that state.

Clinical Signs of Lyme Disease

A big challenge for both horse owners and veterinarians is that tick-borne disease can present with nonspecific clinical signs, so veterinarians have to consider numerous possibilities before arriving at a specific diagnosis.

Lyme disease isn’t usually even suspected unless the horse lives in, or has traveled to, an area known to have ticks infected with B. burgdorferi and ticks have been found on the horse.

The veterinarian will look for clinical signs while at the same time rule out other causes of those clinical signs. If you think diagnosing Lyme disease sounds like a major investigative process, you’re right.

Adding to the difficulty of diagnosis is the fact that Lyme disease in horses has only three definitively proven clinical presentations: 


  • Pseudolymphoma around a tick bite site (appearance similar to nodular skin cancer)
  • Anterior Uveitis (inflammation within the eye similar to “moon blindness”)
  • Neurological disease (especially if the horse also has uveitis), known as neuroborreliosis

Swinebroad notes that beyond these proven clinical signs of Lyme disease, other indications that have been reported in suspected cases include stiffness, shifting-leg lameness, shuffling gaits, muscle soreness, lethargy, behavioral changes and skin sensitivity that makes it irritable to the touch (hyperesthesia).

Diagnosing Lyme Disease

Part of the ongoing challenge with Lyme disease is that horses can be exposed to the bacteria, and even infected by it, but not actually show any of the clinical signs. And there is a definite difference between being exposed, infected and diseased. Look at it this way:

If someone who has an influenza virus sneezes on you, you’re exposed, but you’re only infected if you breathe in the virus particles. Even if you’re infected, you only become diseased if your body doesn’t mount an effective immune response to fight off the virus and you show clinical signs of influenza.

Swinebroad says that this is very similar to how it is with horses and Lyme disease. A horse could be exposed if a tick infected with B. burgdorferi attaches to him, but the horse is only infected if the bacteria gets into his system. Even then, the horse is only considered diseased if he develops clinical symptoms after being exposed and infected.

A veterinarian will draw blood and have it tested for B. burgdorferi serum antibodies. Yet even if testing shows positive levels of these antibodies, this doesn’t 100% mean the horse has Lyme disease. Positive serology simply indicates past or present infection (or in some cases, vaccination).

“There is no test for Lyme disease (just exposure and infection), nor does a positive result predict whether infection will cause clinical signs in the future,” says Swinebroad. “Once in the positive range, the patient with the higher antibody titer doesn’t mean the horse is sicker than one with a lower titer.” The ACVIM consensus paper clearly states: “There is no known correlation between magnitude of titer and likelihood of disease.”

Interestingly, the only definitive way to prove the presence of Lyme disease is upon necropsy.

Swinebroad explains that to make a Lyme diagnosis, the horse must have clinical signs associated with Lyme disease, which are supported by serological testing. As he says, “If you have a horse with clinical signs and a positive titer, and you’ve ruled everything else out, then you have an evidence-based rationale to treat the horse for Lyme.”


Antibiotic treatment is the typical approach if a horse has increasedantibody levels and compatible clinical signs and if the veterinarian has ruled out other diseases. The tetracycline class of antibiotics is the most commonly used for treating Lyme, and treatment usually continues for at least four weeks.

Swinebroad adds that in some cases, horses being treated for Lyme disease may also need anti-rheumatoid arthritis/anti-inflammatory medications. Your veterinarian would determine the best course of treatment for your horse.

“Although antibiotics are generally effective at all stages of the disease, clinical signs may persist in some patients an extended period of time despite oral and intravenous antibiotic treatment,” notes Swinebroad.

Preventing Lyme Disease

Since ticks are to blame for transmitting the disease, guarding against them is the best preventive measure.

Woods, tall grass, shady areas and layers of vegetation are where ticks hang out when they aren’t attached to a host. With that in mind:

  • Fence off wooded sections of the pasture
  • Keep pastures mowed so that grass isn’t excessively tall
  • Clear areas of brush/weeds in turn-out areas
  • Maintain a mowed strip of several feet between woods and horse areas

In addition, choose an on-horse repellent product that specifically addresses ticks. Spot-on topical products are ideal for pastured horses that aren’t groomed routinely and checked for ticks daily.

Make checking for ticks a regular part of your grooming routine — whether you ride or not. Ticks can attach anywhere but tend to prefer areas with thin skin, so pay close attention to your horse’s legs, neck, flank area, and all along the base of the mane, as well as the tail head.

It is generally accepted that an infected tick must be attached for a variable period of time to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, which is why daily checks are important.

Some research has shown that Lyme disease transmission is greatest when ticks are in the nymphal stage, typically around May and June. Unfortunately, nymphs are tiny — about the size of a pinhead or poppy seed — making them much harder to find on the horse’s body.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking ticks are active only during warm weather. Ticks are adaptive and some are active even during cold weather, so using protection on your horse and yourself, and doing tick checks should be a year-round habit.

At this time there are no vaccines labeled for horses with tick-borne diseases, although there is one for dogs.

“Guarding against ticks is best; there isn’t an effective prophylactic protection,” says Swinebroad. He points out that in endemic regions, some equine veterinarians are using canine Lyme vaccines on horses, injecting them multiple times a year.
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is an issue, it’s worth asking your veterinarian if the canine vaccine could be a reasonable  approach for your horse.

Removing Ticks

Should you find a tick on your horse (or yourself), remove it with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or forceps, not your fingers. Holding the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, grasp the tick by its mouthparts. Pull back with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk, and don’t squeeze the tick’s body, as this can release infectious organisms. Once removed, drown the tick in a dish of soapy water or just flush it. Wash your hands well with soap and water.

Even if a tick doesn’t transmit a disease, it can still cause inflammation, swelling and itching. The small wound left after removing a tick can be contaminated by flies feeding on it, which can lead to secondary bacterial infection. Clean the area with alcohol or an antiseptic formulated for equine use and apply antibiotic ointment or wound care product to aid healing.

June 2021 - Bruno Diniz Das Neves and Adele XIII Are Best in the $75,000 Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix
Written by courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:44
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courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography

Bruno Diniz Das Neves and Adele XIII punched a ticket to the top of the leaderboard in the $75,000 Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” 1.50m Grand Prix, held during the Ranch & Coast Classic at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Neves and Adele XIII were one of only two entries from the 15-horse starting field to navigate the first-round, Ivan Tagle-designed course without fault, and Adele XIII’s naturally fast footspeed ultimately gave the pair the edge over second-place finishers Shawn Casady and Captain Jack.

Finishing in third place, with only one time fault in the first round, was Thursday’s $25,000 Markel Insurance Jumper Series 1.45m Jumper Classic winners, Saree Gordon Solanki and Azuro 108

“When I finished the first round, I could have already gone home happy!” said Neves, who rides for Portugal. “This is a big step up for my mare. I came here because I wanted to move up and try something different. I wanted to know if I’m ‘there’ or not and if my horse can do this or not.”

Neves got his answer as Adele XIII cleared the final Interactive Mortgage fence and flew through the jump-off timers. Casady and Captain Jack, owned by Neil Jones Equestrian, Inc., the first to return for the jump-off, had set the time to beat at 39.043 seconds, but Adele XIII made short work of that time, stopping the clock in 37.534 seconds for the win.

“With only two clear rounds, you go in the ring in the jump-off, and you know already that, worst-case scenario, you’re second,” said Neves. “I know that Shawn’s a very fast rider and very competitive; I know that horse wins a lot, but I trusted my mare because she’s so fast naturally. I knew I didn’t need to go crazy. So I just said, ‘I’m going to explore everything that she has naturally and hopefully we’re going to get there.’”

Neves has been partnered with Adele XIII for two years, and he’s found the Interactive Mortgage ‘Ticket to Ride’ High Performance Jumper Series to be the ideal move up for the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by BDN Horse Investments.

“I did the first [Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix during the Blenheim Spring Classic 3], and Adele XIII was awesome,” said Neves, who finished in fifth in the first class of the three-part series. “I think Robert Ridland is doing a great job of bringing up the level. I took the good option of doing this series because I think it’s a very big test.”

The Interactive Mortgage ‘Ticket to Ride’ High Performance Jumper Series was introduced by long-time sponsors and supporters of the sport, Gregg and Evette DeLong of Interactive Mortgage.

Prior to the jump-off of Saturday’s class, Robert Ridland, President of Blenheim EquiSports, spoke to the significance of the series and expressed appreciation to the DeLongs for their dedication to supporting the continuation and growth of top-end show jumping at Blenheim EquiSports.

Thanks to the support of Interactive Mortgage, the series showcases three grand prix classes held at the national standard, including two $75,000 1.50m grand prix events in the spring and a $100,000 1.50m grand prix in the fall with a discounted entry fee, plus a $20,000 bonus awarded to the top three riders. The top rider will receive a custom built Grand Prix Locker courtesy of Flexi Equine Tack Lockers.

Neves currently leads the series standings on 42 points, including 25 points earned in the first qualifier and 17 points awarded on Saturday. Sitting in second with 38 points is Michelle Parker, and Will Simpson rounds out the current top three with 30 points heading into the final $100,000 Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” 1.50m Grand Prix, to be held during the Blenheim International Jumping Festival in September.


June 2021 - Understanding The Risks and Signs of Equine Ulcers
Written by courtesy of Valley Vet Supply
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:40
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courtesy of Valley Vet Supply

How familiar are you with the signs of equine ulcers and the preventive measures to take?

Ulcers impact 60% of show horses and 90% of racehorses, according to American Association of Equine Practitioners. But racehorses and performance horses are not the only horses at risk for Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS). The painful condition can affect all horses, regardless of age, breed or riding discipline. Equine stomach ulcers are caused by excess stomach acid, which horses often produce as a result of stress, among other factors.

Nelda Kettles knows the signs of equine ulcers like the back of her hand. Alongside her husband Larry, Nelda co-owned and operated CK Running Horses for more than 30 years, and after breeding and raising Thoroughbred racehorses, they wanted to give back to the industry. Together, they founded the Thoroughbred aftercare organization, Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation, which to date has found homes for more than 300 off-track Thoroughbreds.

“The statistics of ulcers are frightening. Some 90% of horses coming off the track have ulcers,” said Nelda. When Kentucky-bred Bluegrass Bronco – a war horse with 38 starts under his girth – arrived to Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation, “He was suffering from ulcers so badly, you could touch his side, and he would start bucking – he was not happy,” said Nelda.

“We immediately put him on UlcerGard. He was adopted out to an equine veterinarian who continues to keep him on UlcerGard [for prevention of equine ulcers].”

By preventing equine ulcers, “The weight comes back, and quickly you see a world of difference,” said Nelda. “Ulcers in horses can be frustrating, but when they are taken care of, it’s like night and day. Horses are happier. They eat better, gain weight and have a better disposition overall.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Ulcers in Horses

Can equine ulcers impact a horse’s competitive performance?
For a closer look, one animal health company conducted a study examining 84 horses with ulcers. Some 77% displayed poor performance, resulting in loss of jumping style, resistance to dressage work and training, stiffness and lack of response to a rider’s leg.  When asked if a horse’s performance can be impacted from ulcers, Nelda says, “There is absolutely a difference in how horses perform. Nobody wants to run with belly ache, and ulcers definitely give belly aches and affect a horse’s competitive spirit.”

What causes ulcers in horses?
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome is most often the direct result from physical stress and behavioral stress. The list below outlines examples of both stressors on horses, some of which are commonly experienced among performance horses competing in any discipline. 

Physical stress:
Pain, such as lameness

Behavioral stress:
Stall confinement
Changes in routine
Social regrouping

What are signs of ulcers in horses?
Horses can react to gastric pain in a variety of ways. Irritability while being groomed, changes in attitude, resistance while being tacked up or under saddle, and stress-related habits like cribbing can be signs of gastric ulcers. But, so often these signs are dismissed as “bad behavior.” Ulcers could be the cause. Is your horse displaying any of these behaviors, or the common signs of ulcers in horses outlined below? If so, you may need to talk with your veterinarian.


Poor performance (the No. 1 sign)
Looking at his side
Weight loss
Reduced appetite
Poor hair coat
Recurrent colic
Attitude changes

How are ulcers in horses diagnosed?
Proper diagnosis is crucial for fast, effective treatment of ulcers in horses. A gastroscopic exam allows your veterinarian to examine the inside of the stomach and to definitively diagnose equine ulcers. If an ulcer is found, your horse may be prescribed treatment, and recommendations may be made for environmental and management changes that can help prevent ulcers in the future.

How do you prevent and treat ulcers in horses?
Equine ulcers can be prevented through three different methods that include reducing stressors, altering feed strategies and through trusted medications.
1.    Reduce the above outlined stressors horses may experience, and offer them more turnout, horse toys and distractions, and minimize overtraining if possible.
2.    Alter feed strategies to include free-choice hay, multiple small grain meals throughout the day, decreased amount of grain in rations, and to include alfalfa hay, which creates a buffering effect on your horse’s stomach, developing more saliva production. Some experts have even referred to alfalfa as “horse Tums.”
3.    Provide trusted medications to help horses suffering from ulcers. A horse diagnosed with gastric ulcers must be treated. GastroGard (omeprazole) is the only proven effective and safe treatment and is available with a prescription from your veterinarian. You also can further prevent ulcers by using UlcerGard paste (omeprazole) during times of stress.

Preventing ulcers is an important part of your horse’s overall health program; you can learn more about horse health solutions by visiting veterinarian-founded