Monthly Archive for: ‘March, 2017’

  • AWHP Update: Get Ready to Fight for Wild Horses & Burros!

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    The following is an update from the American Wild Horse Preservation.

    The fight over the future of America’s wild horses and burros will take place in Washington, DC this year as the Administration charts a new course for the Department of the Interior and Congress funds the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017 and for Fiscal Year 2018. As an American citizen and taxpayer, YOU have both the right and ability to weigh in to influence these decisions.  When it comes to your elected officials in DC, YOU – as a constituent – are the best lobbyist for protecting wild horses and burros from mass roundups and slaughter.

    Click below to learn how to best wield your power and get started today!

    Take Action

  • AHC Update: Registration Open for AHC Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum

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    AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

    Registration is now open for the AHC’s 2017 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum.  Registration information, along with a tentative schedule and link to make room reservations is available on the AHC website Events tab . New this year, the AHC is offering discounted registration for those who register before April 15th!

    The theme of the National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, will be “The Power of Unity,” and will feature keynote speaker Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association. The Issues Forum will feature two panels: a Research Panel and a Youth Panel.

    The Research Panel will be moderated by Allyn Mann of Luitpold Animal Health and will feature researchers from AQHA, AAEP, Grayson Jockey, Horses & Humans, and Colorado State University. The panel will focus on why research is important to our industry, and some of the research they have recently completed that is transforming the industry.

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  • What’s New? Roll Comes Up Lame

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    Roll was doing better and then all of a sudden he was very lame in his left hind foot again on February 10th. The only thing we could think of was that he must have twisted it and maybe even caught the boot on something in his pen when he was trying to get up.

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  • AHC Update: Executive Actions on Immigration and the Industry

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    AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

    Recently, President Trump issued several executive orders relating to increased immigration enforcement and border security. These actions will impact many employers, including those in the racing and showing segments of the horse industry, even those that rely on legal foreign workers.

    For many years horse farms, horse shows, trainers and others have had difficulty recruiting American workers. This has forced many to rely on foreign workers and utilize both the H-2B non-agricultural and H-2A agricultural temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs even though these programs are often extremely burdensome to use.  Additionally, many of the workers employed in the industry may lack legal status.

    Most foreign workers in the industry are directly responsible for the care of the horses upon which the entire horse industry is dependent. Without these workers to raise, train, and care for the industry’s horses, many other jobs held by Americans not only in the horse industry, but also supported by the horse industry will be in jeopardy.

    Generally speaking, increased enforcement, increased competition for legal workers and greater demand for H-2B and H-2A workers will make it more difficult for horse industry employers to fill many positions.

    Click Here To Read the Article on AHC

  • MULE CROSSING: Mules of Molokai

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    By Meredith Hodges

    It is no secret that mules, due to their innate sensibility and incredible surefootedness, are the equine of choice for packing and riding into untamed wilderness areas. Dependable mules carry thousands of tourists down the steep trails of the Grand Canyon each year. This enables many to take in the splendor and beauty of an otherwise nearly inaccessible corner of the world.

    Not limited to Mainland activities, mules are also used on the island of Molokai in Hawaii to carry tourists on a memorable ride down the Kalaupapa Trail to the Makanalua Peninsula and the settlement of Kalaupapa. Years ago, before it was discovered that leprosy was not highly contagious, afflicted persons were taken to the Makanalua Peninsula by boat and left there. The sheer cliffs on the landside of the peninsula prevented them from leaving. Father Damien de Veuster of Belgium built the first church and brought hope to the old settlement of Kalawao.

    Today, people are allowed to come and go, and the settlement is permitted to delight in some of the modern-day conveniences. Though the settlement is only 12 square miles, there are cars and mini-buses to aid in transportation. After the mule ride down the cliff trail, mini-buses give personal tours around the settlement where you can learn about everyday life then and now. You’ll see their homes, general store, dock, medical facilities, lonely graveyards, the old settlement of Kalawao, and Father Damien’s church, St. Philomena.

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  • MULE CROSSING: Racing Mules

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    By Meredith Hodges

    Racing, the sport of kings has intrigued people for hundreds of years. Perhaps it’s the beauty of running horses, or maybe the way your heart swells with excitement as they come down the home stretch; or it could be the money. But whatever the reason, millions flock to the racetracks each year to enjoy this magnificent sport. Over the years, racing has expanded to include not only the Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, but Appaloosas, Arabians, and Quarter Horses as well. During the past three decades, mules have emerged onto the racetrack to take their place in making racing history.

    Although mule racing has just begun to take hold as a national sport, it had its beginnings in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains of California in 1851, when Captain Boling’s cavalry troop was forced to halt for two months in the Yosemite Valley. Horse racing was one of the major sports used to keep up the spirits of the men during this unexpected respite. Army mules were included in these races to add to the entertainment. Much to the chagrin of some of the horse owners, the mules could actually beat some of the cavalry’s favorite mounts. Captain Boling purchased one Maltese, Kentucky-blooded mule (known as the Vining mule) he was particularly impressed by for one thousand dollars in gold from Lee Vining. He then went on to make many more thousands in match races with this mule against horses. To quote from the official racing program: “The Indian war of 1851 was the catalyst that started the first running of mules in California.”

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  • AHC Update: Horse Protection Act Bill Opposed by AHC Reintroduced

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    AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

    Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) has reintroduced the Horse Protection Amendments Act (H.R. 1338). This is the exact same bill DesJarlais introduced last year to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA).   The bill would create a single Horse Industry Organization (HIO) that would be responsible for enforcement of the HPA. This bill is opposed by the AHC.

    The HPA was enacted in 1970 and prohibits the showing, sale, or transport of a horse that has been sored. Soring is an abusive practice used by some horse trainers in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry to intentionally cause pain in a horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition.

    The AHC opposes the DesJarlais bill because it would not reduce the prevalence of soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry and does not address most of the issues raised in a USDA Office of Inspector General Report on the HPA enforcement program.  In fact it could exacerbate the situation by placing responsibility for enforcement of the HPA more firmly in the hands of a walking horse-controlled HIO.

    Details of the Horse Protection Amendments Act and AHC concerns about the bill can be found here.

    The bill has 9 co-sponsors; Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), John Duncan (R-TN), Marsh Blackburn (R-TN), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Diane Black (R-TN), Andy Barr (R-KY), David Roe(R-TN), James Comer (R-KY) and Bret Guthrie (R-KY).

    The AHC continues to support the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) that would strengthen the HPA and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses.

    Click Here To Read the Article on AHC

  • Cabin Fever Auction for SYALER – Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue!

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    The following is from the Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue.

    Please visit our fundraising auction page to see the directions for bidding and pictures of all the great items and services that are up for auction!

     

    Thanks in advance for your participation. The auction generates a lot of interest (and competitive bidding!), and the proceeds allow us to carry out our mission of helping donkeys and mules in need. In 2016 we placed 40 long ears – a new record!

    If there are any questions you may reach me atsyaauction2017@gmail.com or (413) 559-8414 (evenings).
    Sincerely,

    Joan Gemme
    Vice-President

  • MULE CROSSING: LTR Training Principles Philosophy

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    By Meredith Hodges

    No training series would be complete without examination of the principles and philosophy behind the training techniques. The philosophy of my training techniques is based on the principle that we are not, in fact, training our equines, but rather, we are cultivating relationships with them by assigning meaning to our own body language that they can understand. Since our own level of understanding changes and grows over time, we must assume that so does that of our animals, and we must gauge our explanations accordingly. In the beginning, the emotional needs of the young equine are quite different from that of an older animal. They need to overcome a lot of instincts that would protect them in the wild, but are inappropriate in a domestic situation. In this case, our focus must be on developing friendship and confidence in the young animal, while establishing our own dominance in a non-threatening manner. We do this through a lot of positive reinforcement in the beginning, with gentle touch, reassuring voice, and lots of rewards for good behavior. Our expressions of disapproval are kept at a minimum. As he grows with us, the equine will realize that we do not wish to harm him, and will next develop a rather pushy attitude in an attempt to assert his own dominance–once that he is confident that his behavior is acceptable. When this occurs, we must re-evaluate our reward system and save excessive praise for the new things as he learns them and allow the learned behavior to be treated as the norm, praised more passively, yet appreciated. This is the cultivation of a delicate concept of give and take in a relationship from the emotional standpoint. As in any good relationship, we must learn to be polite, considerate and respectful of our mules, donkeys, horses, ponies and hybrids. After all, as my grandmother used to say, “You can catch more flies with sugar that you can with vinegar!”

    From the physical standpoint, there are also a lot of things to consider of both mule and trainer. In the beginning, unless you are a professional trainer with years of proper schooling, you are not likely to be the most balanced and coordinated of riders, lacking absolute control over your own body language. By the same token, the untrained equine will be lacking in the muscle coordination and strength to respond correctly to your cues that guide him to perform certain movements. For these reasons, we must modify our approach to fit each new situation and modify again to perfect it, keeping in mind that our main goal is to establish a good relationship with our equine and not just to train him! It is up to the trainer to decide the cause of any resistance, and to modify techniques to temper that resistance–be it mental or physical. For instance, we had a 3-year-old mule learning to lunge without the benefit of the round pen. The problem was that she refused to go around you more than a couple of times without running off.

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  • What’s New? Roll

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    February 3, 2017

    Roll came up lame in his left hind again today, so we called our veterinarian, Greg Farrand to come and check him. He had swelling in the fetlock joint and it appeared to have just begun. I supported his joint with a wrap so is would be easier for him to walk to the Tack Barn work station.

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  • Trump Administration to Rollback Clean Water Act Rule

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    AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

    In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) issued a new regulation to redefine “Waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Trump administration has announced it will instruct the EPA and the Corps to review and reconsider the 2015 rule known as the Waters of the United States rule or WOTUS. The rule was opposed by the American Horse Council (AHC) and other agricultural groups.

    The CWA regulates discharges of pollutants into navigable rivers and lakes, collectively known as “Waters of the U.S.” The 2015 rule redefined “Waters of the U.S.,” in a manner that significantly expanded the waters subject to the requirements of the CWA. The CWA includes exemptions for agriculture, however the AHC and other agricultural groups had serious concerns regarding the 2015 rule and the AHC believed it could negatively impact horse farms, ranches and racetracks in all parts of the country.

    During the original comment period, the AHC asked the EPA and Corp to withdrawal the rule in its entirety and supported Congressional efforts to block the rule.  The AHC supports the decision to review and reconsider the 2015 rule.

    If you have any questions, please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org

    Click Here To Read the Article on AHC

  • MULE CROSSING: Understanding the Use of Cruppers and Breeching

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    By Meredith Hodges

    The purpose of tack and equipment has always been to give man leverage against the equine’s resistance during training, but I believe that the equine is “talking” with his resistance and this is a cue to find another alternative to achieve harmony when something isn’t working. There is an ongoing discussion about the use of cruppers and breeching when riding mules and donkeys, and even some horses. The purpose of both is to keep the saddle from sliding forward when the equine is in motion, whether he is tracking on flat ground or going up and down hills. Inappropriate use of both devices could give the equine problems. Whether or not to use a crupper or breeching is not an either/or decision. My equines taught me that in order to make an educated decision about which to use, one needs to take into account the anatomy of the equine and the effect that each has on his body in motion during different activities.

    Good conformation is important in allowing the equine to perform to the best of his ability, but the tack we use has an effect on the equine’s movement in spite of his shape. In order to obtain freedom of movement, the elements of the equine’s anatomy must be allowed to move freely through every joint of his body. Energy and blood circulation finds open tracks throughout the body and when unobstructed, will run freely from the core of the body to the extremities in a healthy equine. Core and bulk muscles that are developed symmetrically support the skeletal frame, the cartilage and ligaments that surround the joints, and the tendons that tie the skeletal frame together. All work to support the proper internal organ functions and when the equine in good posture with symmetrical strength, they are unobstructed.

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