Monthly Archive for: ‘August, 2017’

  • MULE CROSSING: Myths About Desensitization


    By Meredith Hodges

    You really don’t want to desensitize your animals to everything. Here is Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of the word “desensitize”:

    1) to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or non-reactive to a sensitizing agent.

    Some people have the misconception that, in order to desensitize an animal, you have to make it numb to its surroundings and any stimulus it encounters. Not true! What you really want to do is sensitize your equine to different body language and cues from you, as the trainer. So “desensitization” does not mean achieving a total lack of sensitivity. Rather, it should be approached as a way of training your equine (in a way that is quiet and calm) to be less sensitive to certain objects or events that may be cause him to be fearful, so he can move forward with confidence and the right sensitivity toward the communication between the two of you.

    When incorrect, harsh or overly aggressive desensitizing techniques are used on equines, the handler is met with either a very strong flight reflex or a stand and fight reflex.  In either case, an equine will either put up a fight and be deemed a rogue and, therefore, untrainable, or eventually just “give up” and succumb to the trainer’s wishes. This is  a sad situation because the equine is not given the opportunity to make reasonable choices in his relationship with his trainer. The equine’s instinct to warm up to the person training him is hampered by his fear of more desensitization techniques. Thus, he becomes resigned to his work and is not fully engaged in the training process.

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  • Our slaughter opponents are pulling a fast one


    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    Our opponents are trying to pull a fast one on us. They’re taking Utah public money to convene a “Wild Horse Summit” in Salt Lake City next week. The gathering will attract pro-slaughter “wildlife managers” and other pro-ranching special interests to lay the roadmap to begin the killing of America’s healthy wild horses. The Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is expected to attend. 

    We were not invited. People with actual experience implementing humane management solutions are being deliberately excluded. Peer-reviewed science documenting the success of humane fertility control as an alternative to roundup and slaughter is being censored.

    But we’re not going to let federal officials and politicians hear only their one-sided, pro-slaughter message. Will you help us fund this billboard and other advertisements within Salt Lake City?

    We have just 48 hours to raise $10,000 to fund this billboard, social media ads and media campaign to fight back. 

    Our opponents are trying to cook up every slanted argument they can: they claim the healthy horses are dying on the range and should be euthanized (not true). They claim they’re overrunning our public lands (even though horses are on only 17% of BLM rangeland). And they claim killing is the only way to manage the population (despite the sound science of proven birth control methods). 

    We need to get the facts out there. Our team will be working with the media to correct the facts, and we’ll be running digital and outdoor ads in Salt Lake City to make it clear how the American public feels about slaughter. 

    We need your help to do this. With Congress currently considering pro-slaughter legislation, we cannot let this Salt Lake City pro-slaughter dog-and-pony show take place without us fighting back. 

    Please donate right now. We need to raise $10,000 in the next 48 hours to get this billboard up in time for the event.

    Thank you, 

    Suzanne Roy


  • Deadline Extended to Take Survey for Economic Impact Study




    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    The American Horse Council Foundation (AHCF) has announced that it will be extending the deadline to take the survey to update the National Economic Impact Study to September 4th.

    AHCF and Study sponsors felt the deadline should be extended due to a last-minute surge in responses to give everyone ample opportunity to complete the survey, allow for the ‘back to school’ audience, and responses in progress. The AHC continues to encourage people to share the survey link on available platforms such as email, social media, blogs, websites, etc. For those interested in sharing the survey, please use the following link:

    This study documents the economic effects of racing, showing, recreation, rodeo and other segments of the horse industry on the state and national economy. It provides invaluable data on the number of horses, jobs, and related industries that are impacted by horse ownership, and it shows the diverseness of the industry we all love. The economic data that we collect from this study will help us chart a course for the future, and give the general public and members of Congress the most accurate portrait of the economic impact the diverse equine industry has.

    As a reminder, all data is completely confidential, and will not be shared. As such, the AHC encourages survey respondents to share as much economic data as they can in order to ensure the most accurate economic impact portrait of the diverse equine industry. The AHC particularly encourages everyone to provide information on your horse-related expenses since they will form the primary basis of the economic impact.

    If you have any questions, please contact the AHC. We appreciate your participation in the update of this incrediby important study!

    Take the Survey


  • MULE CROSSING: Driving Activities


    By Meredith Hodges

    With the introduction of the automobile came decreased interest in horse-drawn vehicles. Tractors replaced equine-driven vehicles in the fields. It seemed as if equines had been put out of a job! But, as with any change, this was only temporary. Modern society still has need of equine participation, especially from donkeys and mules. The well-schooled driving donkey or mule is much safer and more reliable than any horse. The reason for this is the donkey and mules’ natural sensibility and their positive response to verbal communication. Once they have learned the parameters of their job, if treated fairly, they will calmly and diligently go about their business, flicking their ears back and forth toward the driver, always listening for verbal reinforcement of their behavior. In a pinch, they can more often be prevented from “freaking out” with a few calm and reassuring words. Their strength and durability enables them to work longer and harder hours than can a horse and their variety of sizes and colors provides them as suitable driving animals for a number of driving-related activities.

    Most often we see driving animals in parades. Although it seems simple enough to drive down a parade route, there are a number of things to consider that can complicate the issue. Parade routes are lined with potential hazards and an overload of outside stimuli. Horses that become spooked have been known to bolt and actually run right through crowds of people. I have yet to hear of a donkey or mule that has done such a thing! Perhaps it is because the donkey or mule will not run into trouble if he can possibly avoid it. He will also be more likely to rely upon his driver for support and direction through the safest route. He will stop if in doubt of a situation when properly trained. Mules and donkeys are familiar with teamwork and will work as a team with their driver. The frightened horse just says, “Forget you!” and leaves!

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  • Stop Flu Where it Starts


    The following is from the Merck Animal Health:

    Trust Flu Avert ® I.N. for superior protection against relevant flu strains threatening the U.S. horse population.1

    • Just ONE dose required
      • An ideal first flu vaccine for young horses
      • Provides protection at the site of infection and long-lasting immunity
    • Proven safe and effective
      • Intranasal application leaves no risk for injection site reactions to interfere with training or competing
    • Rapid onset of protection
      • Onset of flu protection within five to seven days following one dose – no matter when your horse was last vaccinated for flu.2

    Now that’s exceptional.

    Visit us online to learn more about Merck Animal Health and the equine products and programs that help you keep horses healthy.

    1 UC Davis (Nicola Pusterla) & Merck Animal Health. Infectious Upper Respiratory Surveillance Program. Ongoing Research 2008-present.
    2 Townsend HGG. Onset of protection against live-virus equine influenza challenge following vaccination naive horses with a modified-live vaccine. Unpublished data.

    2 Giralda Farms • Madison, NJ 07940 • merck-animal-health-usa.com800-521-5767
    Copyright © 2017 Intervet Inc., d/b/a/ Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.
    All rights reserved. 3654 EQ-FA EMAIL

    Read on Merck website



    The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

    ABOVE – one of our newest critical kids, “Little Riata”, who is in extremely rough shape.

    She is another starvation case with a severe injury to her back leg. She and Tesla’s Full Moon (another orphan from NV) were delivered to CPMM two days ago. Little Riata will also need veterinary care as well as special feed to give her a chance at survival.

    Travis (my son) and I are back on the road and picking up the stock trailer, 7 stallions and 4 orphans. We are driving the “back up”, a 2003 Ford who has also been living at the shop. The good news is that she has another year under her “used truck” warranty, so hopefully she will be a reliable “band aid”. We will also be needing 6 new tires for her today, prior to hooking up the trailer and loading our precious cargo. (Approx estimate $1500).

    Matt is busy working on other projects so everyone is busy as usual.

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  • This summer we stop slaughter


    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    Friend –

    With Congress going home for its August recess and the legislative future on horse slaughter still unclear, we asked you what our movement should do this month: sit tight OR keep up the pressure. Your response was clear: give them hell. Make it clear the American people will not stand for the destruction or slaughter of America’s wild horses.

    So today we’re launching our #NoRecessForHorses Summer of Action. In the next three weeks, we’ll be visiting congressional offices, holding local events, activating supporters, putting up billboards, and, in short, making ourselves very, very loud.

    To kick things off:

    Click here and sign our national petition to Members of Congress: we oppose the destruction and slaughter of America’s healthy wild horse population.

    We need every signature we can get. We’ll be hand-delivering the petition to key congressional offices, inviting the press and our local supporters to join.

    Our opponents would love nothing more than if this issue stays quiet. They’ve seen the polling — they know 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. They want to confuse the issue, rename the word “slaughter” to something else, and hope we sit on the sidelines as they try to pass this terrible, cruel policy.

    We won’t let them. Make sure you sign the petition now, then forward it to five friends! Thank you for standing for standing with us.

    For the horses,

    Suzanne Roy

    P.S. After signing, forward this email to five friends and click here to share on Facebook.

    Take Action

  • Townhall Time


    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    Friend –

    Where does your member of Congress stand on protecting wild horses? If you don’t know, now’s the time to find out. And if they’re supporting slaughter, now is the time to change their mind. Votes are expected in September that may decide the fate of American wild horses.

    Take action right now while your member of Congress is home for August recess:

    1) Find out if your member is holding a town hall:

    If they are, please attend and ask them if they will stop any attempts towards the slaughter, euthanasia, or destruction of healthy wild horses. If they answer, make sure to let us know their answer:

    2) No town hall? Call your member’s district (not Washington D.C.) officeand ask them if you can schedule a meeting with your congressperson or legislative aide. You can find the number for your congressperson here. And you can look up talking points here. Be sure to email us if you schedule a meeting!

    3) In addition to meeting in-person, make sure to keep calling and emailing. You can use our tool here to get in touch now.

    Keep up the pressure! #NoHorseSlaughter #NoRecessForHorses!

    – Grace Kuhn

    P.S. There are just 4 days left to get your limited edition #ImWithTheBand apparel! New items have just been added!

    Take Action

  • Tell Lawmakers to Reduce Red Tape for Guest Workers, Small Business




    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    As members of Congress return to their home states to visit constituents through Labor Day, the American Horse Council urges members to advocate for legislative solutions to the federal government’s beleaguered temporary worker visa program.  To fix the regulatory chaos that plagues the H-2B application process, tell your elected officials – whether during a town hall meeting or visit to the local farmers’ market – to support the important measures below.  In the event you don’t see your elected officials this summer, you can contact their D.C. offices at 202-225-3121, where staff members will note your concerns and brief your representatives when they return in the fall.

    Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations

    For immediate relief, tell lawmakers to support H-2B cap and regulatory flexibility through the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process.  Congress is considering language in the current spending bill that will force agencies to manage the visa program in an efficient manner for at least one year.  With the current fiscal year ending September 30, Congress must address funding immediately after Labor Day.  For long-term fixes to the broken system, see the measures below:

    Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017 (S. 792)

    • This bipartisan bill would establish clear guidelines for employers hiring H-2B workers, assuring that U.S. citizens are not displaced in the job market;
    • Provide cap relief by establishing a common sense exemption for well-vetted workers who have already held a visa during the previous three years;
    • And require increased coordination between the Departments of Labor (DHS) and Homeland Security (DHS) to reduce red tape and delays.

    Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now Act of 2017 (SEASON) (H.R. 2004)

    • Similar to the Senate bill, this legislation would expand exemptions for workers who have previously been vetted by immigration officials, thereby increasing cap relief.
    • Establish expedited processing of applications to meet labor demands during peak seasons.
    • And exempt temporary visa holders from tax credits otherwise available to full-time U.S. residents, thereby reducing costs to taxpayers.

    In mid-January, the government hit the 33,000 visa cap for the first half of the year.  In March, the agency met its 33,000 visa allocation for the second half of 2017, leaving many small businesses who rely on seasonal labor without workers for the summer months.  Although DHS issued an additional 15,000 visas on July 17, the agency issued those visas on an ad hoc, discretionary basis, undermining common sense business planning.  The July decision will also create limited benefits for small businesses relying on summertime help.

    For more information on immigration and related legislation and federal actions, please contact Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at 202-296-4031 or

    Read on AHC Website

  • MULE CROSSING: On the Trail with Mules


    By Meredith Hodges

    With the hectic schedule of spring and summer slowly tapering into fall, thoughts of cool, refreshing mountain streams, the sight of a massive bull elk, or the quiet majesty of the rugged mountain peaks on a relaxing trail ride, mountain hunt or pack trip begin to ease their way into our minds. What better time to share with your mule or donkey? What better place for him to show you what he was born to do? A mountain trail ride or pack trip are both perfect ways for you to get to really know your Longears and strengthen the bond between you.

    Mules are remarkably strong and durable animals, making them excellent mountain partners. The cupped shape of their hooves allows them to track the rough mountain terrain with much more surefootedness than their counterpart, the horse. A mule’s superior intelligence and strong sense of survival help him to carefully negotiate the placement of his feet, insuring the safest ride possible. This is both important and comforting to know when heading for the mountains. The mule’s strength and endurance are sometimes unbelievable, but always dependable. On a hunting trip, he will take you through rough mountain terrain for days then pack out the “elk of your dreams” with the greatest of ease.

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  • Get Your Limited Edition #ImWithTheBand Apparel!


    The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

    This week only…Get your limited edition #ImWithTheBand T-shirt…and support our work!

    We are thrilled to announce the launch of our limited-edition #ImWithTheBand T-shirts inspired by a beautiful image of Wyoming wild horses by renowned photographer, Kimerlee Curyl!  For the next six days, our friends at FLOAT will donate $8 for every shirt sold to the American Wild Horse Campaign.

    Please visit and SHOP today – there are lots of fun colors and styles to choose from! This is a great way to support our work to protect America’s wild horsesand look fabulous! Don’t miss this opportunity!

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  • Congress Continues to Promote Land Access




    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    On July 26, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced the “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (RNR)” (S. 1633, H.R. 3400), legislation that expands the scope of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (PL 114-245), signed into law in late 2016.  While the RNR focuses on streamlined permitting to access public lands, the bill includes provisions that would authorize the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to enter into cooperative agreements with private parties to promote the role of volunteers in trail maintenance.  The bill also authorizes the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and BLM to develop an interagency trail management plan that will assure uniform maintenance standards for trails crossing jurisdictional lines between the two agencies.

    The Trails Act outlines a detailed program including goals and timetables by which the USDA will leverage private partners to clear trails long overdue for maintenance.  Unlike the RNR Act, which applies to both the BLM and USDA’s National Forest System (NFS), the Trails Act focuses only on trails under the jurisdiction of the NFS.

    Chairman Bishop and Sen. Wyden worked closely on the bill to emphasize key issues – especially outdoor recreation permit streamlining – that will likely attract bipartisan support.  GOP staff with the House Natural Resources Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction for federal land issues, are encouraging AHC and allies to help drive cosponsors for the legislation, which currently has none.  Committee staff also state that the Subcommittee on Federal Lands will conduct a markup in late September or October, giving members the opportunity to offer technical corrections and amendments to the text.

    To review a summary of the legislation, please see the following link: If you would like more information about the RNR Act and related lobbying activity, please contact Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.orgor 202-296-4031.

    Read on AHC Website

  • Passage of Equine Therapy Amendment Includes Increased Support for America’s Veterans




    The following is from the American Horse Council:

    Prior to adjourning for the August recess, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the “Make America Secure Appropriations Act” (H.R. 3219) offered by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), a bill that will increase equine therapy funding for veterans by $5 million during FY2018.  In a statement released Friday, July 28, Congressman Barr expressed his pleasure over passage of the defense spending legislation.  He stated that he is “particularly pleased that the final bill … expands the availability of evidence-based equine treatment for veterans who have suffered trauma while serving our country.”

    Before the equine therapy provision becomes law, House and Senate lawmakers must convene a “conference” to negotiate final legislation for a vote in both chambers, and present the bill to the President for his signature.  Because the House will not return to Washington until September 5, Congress will not be able to negotiate a final bill until the fall. Although the Senate currently plans to remain in session through August 11, their agenda remains uncertain.  Following failure of healthcare legislation last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has identified Federal Drug Administration (FDA) funding, Department of Defense (DOD) authorization legislation, and federal appointments as priorities for the next two weeks.  Congress must pass final spending bills, or a continuing resolution, prior to the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.

    To view a copy of Rep. Barr’s statement related to the equine therapy amendment, please see the following link: If you would like more information about this bill or related issues in Congress, please contact Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.orgor 202-296-4031.

    Read on AHC Website



    The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

    Wow – no time to enjoy our successes.

    Matt called me an hour ago.

    Hi ya’ll, We have a little emergency at Chilly Pepper.

    Matt is up delivering the 5 mares in Northern Idaho, and the transmission in the Chevy just froze. He nearly wrecked, but thanks to our Angels was able to keep enough control not to. There have been absolutely no issues with the transmission, so I guess this was an all or nothing, and now we have nothing.

    However, we are looking at a minimum of $7,000+ for a new transmission. You always have to wonder – do I put more money into an old truck?

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    The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

    FIFTY ONE more lives saved!

    What started out as a 30 something rescue, turned into a total of 51 mustangs, due to the 18 stallions and the 7 orphans – (Not 5 lol) . By the time we arrived to pick up the last minute orphans, there were 7 instead of the 5 we were called for. But that seems to be the norm.

    We have several babies with some injuries to their legs, which will need some pretty intensive care. All of them should be fine hopefully.

    Upon arriving back in NV, we also picked up another orphan from our “foal partner – Anna Orchard”, who is in pretty rough shape. Thankfully she was able to get her (of course with proper authority) and care for her while we were out of town. She is shown below with her buddy Tia (aka Trailer).

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  • MULE CROSSING: Turns On the Forehand and Haunches


    By Meredith Hodges

    Proper conditioning of the young equine through a carefully sequenced program of gymnastic exercises is essential to the proper development of his mind and body. Spending time cultivating a smooth, fluid forward motion with rhythm and cadence will help him to develop properly and enable him to perform difficult movements more easily. Work with ground rails and cavalletti helps to build muscle, particularly in the hindquarters, which will help him carry your weight more easily through lateral movements, stops and lengthenings. Proper preparation minimizes resistance and frustration which will be apparent by the way your animal carries his tail. You may have noticed after the introduction of a few simple lateral movements, that your equine’s forward motion has become a little shaky again. It is now time to clarify to your animal the connection between forward motion and lateral motion. With his increased understanding of your seat and legs and by using a few simple exercises, this should be a fairly simple process.

    Ask your equine to walk a 20-meter (approximately 60 foot) circle, maintaining rhythm, cadence, proper flexion and bend. Then, in rhythm, change your aids to a slight counter bend and ask for a turn-on-the-forehand, sending his haunches in toward the center of the circle until he is reversed. At the precise instant he is in position to start following the circle in the opposite direction, release your pressure on the reins and send him forward again with your legs onto the new circle in the opposite direction.

    You will find that you must hold him back a little with the reins through the turn-on-the-forehand to keep his weight on his hindquarters through the turn, but to maintain the forward motion, it is critical that the release comes at the instant he has completed the 180 degree turn. While executing the turn-on-the-forehand, do not hold back on the reins with steady pressure.

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