Monday, October 26, 2009

The Mane Event

This weekend was "The Mane Event" up in Chilliwack, British Columbia. It is a three day horse expo offering plenty of vendors, training seminars, and a trainer's challenge. The cool thing about going to a Canadian horse expo is that you see many exciting and different products, mostly European. I fell in love with a few items and managed to scrape up enough cash to come home with a few of them. Move over is a list of Photogchic's Favorite Things from the expo.
Oh my gosh! These boots, Tuffa Suffolks...I couldn't pass up. They are lined with sheepskin, waterproof, and so comfortable. The leather is so soft, and when I put them on, they already felt broke in and ready to go. They also are available in "broad" for the larger calf. The velcro strapping seems to further fine tune the fitting. They were spendy, I splurged $285. Today as the rain came down and I trudged through the muddy pasture to get my horse, I knew they would be worth every penny. Love, love, love them.

I own two Horsedream products, a dressage pad and a sheepskin girth. For three years they have been used extensively and endured hours of sweat and miles on the trail. A gentle wash and they look exactly like the day I bought them. So imagine my excitement over a Horsedream bareback pad....YES! I sat in it...wonderful. It even has pocketing for Skito shims. They retail for $375 in the States, Canada they are much more, so I restrained myself and will watch and wait for a good deal.

Finally...I love these. Shire Equestrian stirrups. This particular pair is so new to the market, they aren't even on their website yet. They just got them in time for "The Mane Event." They feel "crafted" not just formed. The shape allows your heels to touch the horse, not the stirrup and they have a wide foot bed with amazing grip. They even have the 90 degree stirrup leather attachment for greater comfort. I came home with a pair of these. I am so excited to try them.

I have more stories to tell from the weekend; a neglected horse finds a happy home and I want to introduce you all to a trainer that really was inspiring.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jockey Dies after Fall

I find this article interesting, the horse involved was aptly named "You Reap what you Sow." In no way do I think this jockey deserved his fate, in fact I am saddened by his death. He probably went to work every day; starving, injured, uninsured, and under payed. The name is ironic and directed at the failure of racing commissions across the country to better regulate the industry. In most cases, jockeys ride without health insurance. If they are injured, they continue to ride because they need the money. I personally know some that have ridden with broken feet and fractured vertebrae. I have always felt the jockey weights, 105 for TB and 110 for Quarters, promotes sanctioned starvation. When you watch the big races, the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont, the Preakness; remember the jockeys not finishing in the money walk away with $50 in their pockets. Most of the time it is $25. It is sad what the industry does to it's heroes, the horses and the jockeys. In the end, both seem to end up injured, crippled, or dead.

Here is the story about what happened on Sunday.

The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission is investigating the death of a Texas jockey, Mark Pace, who was thrown from his horse during race at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw over the weekend.

Racetrack general manager Blaine Storey said Mark Pace, 58, died Sunday after falling off his horse, Reep What You Sow, during the first race. The horse, a 60-1 long shot, hit the rail on the backstretch, lost its jockey and did not finish.

The track ran a second race, but after other jockeys learned of Pace's death, they asked that the rest of the card be canceled.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, which owns the eastern Oklahoma track, said more information would be available later Monday.

According to Darrell Haire, the western region manager for The Jockeys' Guild, Pace is the fourth rider to die in an Oklahoma race since 1940, when the guild began keeping records. Three of the deaths have come at Blue Ribbon Downs.

Haire said 150 jockeys have died in riding accidents in North America since 1940.

The race in which Pace was riding was a 5½-furlong maiden claiming race for fillies and mares 3 years and older with a purse of $5,000.

"I didn't actually know the guy, but nonetheless, he was a jock who was a part of the colony and anytime anything happens to one of them, it strikes close to home and it gets you thinking," said longtime jockey G.R. Carter. "This profession, it's not a matter of if you get hurt, it's when and how bad. We all know the chances are there."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Equine Bandana

I asked a good friend who hunts a lot, "How much orange do I need for hunters to see me?" He said "Truthfully.....I would paint your whole horse." So I started thinking about safety ideas and then I started googling. There is a company in Maine called Protectavest that makes all sorts of orange horse safety gear. I went to Ebay and they had one of their bandanas up for bid...I got it for $9.95. I emailed them and asked if they would throw in an orange helmet cover at good price and they did so. I won the item on Thursday and it was on my porch Saturday morning. I had such a good experience working with this company, Mac Mountain Tack makers of Protectavest products...I wanted to pass it on. I think they have developed a really functional, smart product line for trail riders dealing with hunting season. We hit the trail today with my new helmet cover, my orange vest, and her bandana. I felt much more visible and bit more safe out in the woods. If you are curious about how the bandana works, it has a velcro strap that attaches to the headstall. It mesh rests on the neck and another velcro strap goes under the neck. There are two elastic clips that attach to your d-rings on your saddle.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moving Mustangs East

The government wants to deal with the booming number of wild horses crowding the western range by sending the animals east.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today unveiled his plan to control the rising environmental and monetary costs associated with wild horses and burros by moving tens of thousands of them onto new preserves in the Midwest and East.

"We must consider siting these preserves in areas outside of Western States because water and forage are extremely limited in the West, and drought and wildfire threaten both rangeland and animal health," Salazar said in a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The government estimates there are 37,000 wild horses roaming the range in ten western states including Oregon, and the Bureau of Land Management keeps another 32,000 of the animals in enclosed pastures or small corrals.

The agency tries to adopt these horses out, but it said the recession has slowed adoptions, and holding and caring for those horses now costs the agency nearly $30 million a year.

In a conference call with reporters today, Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey said they think the BLM should own and operate two new wild horse preserves created by Congress.

Those would cost about $92 million to buy and build, Salazar said, but they would reduce the cost to taxpayers from wild horses in the long term.

"It also will be better for the horses," Salazar said.

The secretary said he also hoped to partner with private organizations to form five more preserves. In all, the seven preserves would hold about 25,000 horses.

The other part of the secretary's plan is to limit the reproduction rates of western herds.

"This will require the aggressive use of fertility control, active management of sex ratios on the range, and possibly the introduction of non-reproducing herds in some existing herd-management areas," Salazar wrote.

The agency has been under pressure from Congress and other quarters to control the escalating costs of managing the West's population of wild horses and burros.

Some lawmakers have proposed reversing a decades-old ban on selling the wild horses for slaughter, but Salazar said today Interior's plan did not include the slaughter of any horses or burros.

"The fact is that the American public has shown that it does not want to have slaughtering of these animals," he said.

The department's attention to wild horses has already won praise from some in Congress, including House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) and chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) of the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands .

"Years of attempts by BLM to shoehorn these magnificent animals into ever-shrinking territory has manufactured an overcrowding problem. Restoring horses and burros to the acreage from which they have been needlessly removed is critical," Rahall said in a statement. "However, if the agency wants to work with the Congress to find the acreage and the funding needed to relocate these animals to land east of the Mississippi River, I will work with my colleagues to explore these options."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hunting Season

Ladies, time to get out your blaze orange, hunting season is upon us. My barn owner Tammy and I hit the trails today and we both wore our loud orange jackets. At times, the gun fire sounded close and we wondered if that was enough for hunters to see us. Tammy rode "Willow", a lovely paint, I was thankful for her bright white color. We came up this hill and found this hunting camp. A glance to the right and we noticed a rather large blind (see it in those trees)....gulp. We chose our route carefully, and still we came close to hunters. I went to the fabric store and am working on a hunting vest for Maddy. It will be simple, almost like a drape around her neck. I am thinking of making a velcro wrap for her browband and and maybe some sort of clip with orange streamers for her tail. I will have to make sure my riding partners have horses willing to ride next to all that gaudy stuff! Safety is important to me and the easier it is to see us, the better off we will be.