Horsy News, Views and Attitudes

Vol. 1 Number 5       --   August 13-19, 2007

Snakes Have Local Residents Worried

Endangered Rattlers Pose Threat


    Local hikers and trail riders report an increase in the number of rattlesnake sightings over the last few weeks. Summer heat has made these reptiles more active and there have been several dogs bitten by snakes. These venomous reptiles will bite when humans or animals disturb them.


     "We've seen an big increase in snake bites to dogs," veterinarian Dr. Bob Crandal said. "Dogs can be vaccinated against snakebites to protect them, which is much less expensive than antivenom treatments after they are bitten. The shots make a dog more likely to survive."


     Local rattlesnakes were hunted close to extinction by bounty hunters in the 1970's, but wooded areas outside Wiggins have seen a growth in population in the last few years.


     Three local girls were riding last week and sighted a number of snakes. Young equestrienne Anna Sanders, granddaughter of Mrs. Sanders of Wiggins told a scary story. "We have seen a lot of snakes out at night in the heat. My friends Anna Harley, Pam Crandal and I went for a moonlight ride along a road near Lake Appamapog."


      "We saw what I thought were sticks all over one stretch of the dirt road. When I stopped and looked more closely I realized I was looking at dozens of snakes basking on the warm earth! We were just lucky our ponies didn't get bitten!"



Rattlesnake caught in Stewart family back yard. Recent meal caused bulge that trapped snake in fence


     Local resident Cynthia Stewart saw a snake in her back yard last week. "I was out picking off the tomato worms in my vegetable garden when I heard a hissing sound. I thought it was water running at first, then I realized it was a snake's rattle!"


   "My garden's rabbit wire fence was holding a rattler that had just eaten. It was caught in the wire because it was too fat to wiggle through. We called the St. Francis Animal Shelter, and one of their professional staff came over and managed to get it out of the fence without being bitten."


    St. Francis Shelter staff offers a service to pick up snakes for residents and transport them to a less populated area.


      "We encourage anyone who sees one of these snakes to call us at 555-3636 and we will come right out. Because these snakes' bites are so dangerous, we don't recommend residents try to remove the reptiles," commented Fred Jones, a Center volunteer.


     The snakes will move into hibernation when the weather cools, but until then local residents should be on the lookout for the rattlers.




Online Riding Lessons

     Jane Crandal of Crandal's Stables said this week that the virtual riding lessons signups are filling fast. "Since we announced the signup list, every week the number of kids and adults registered for lessons and subscriptions to the Wiggins Weekly are both growing."


   "When people sign up, Crandal Stables makes sure they get the Wiggins Weekly newsletter every week -- for free! All they need to do is leave their email address. Those addresses will never be sold or traded. This is just is so Pony Pals from all over the world can find out what is going on this week in Wiggins" Crandal continued, "We hope that everyone who loves ponies will come to see the Wiggins Weekly as a way to keep in touch."


     Club Pony Pals lessons will be available in the near future. Sign up today to get the Wiggins Weekly and keep track of the Pony Pals.  

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Peaches and nectarines bound for the fair Summer Fair Entries

Deadline Wednesday

 Forms Available at Green Market and Wiggins Weekly Offices


      Entry forms for all categories at the Wiggins Summer Fair must be received at the Wiggins Weekly offices by Wednesday at 5 pm. 


     All entries for best pie, cake, jams, pickles, chili, canned goods, fresh fruits or fresh garden vegetables and all other food categories must be delivered to Olson's Farm by 7 am Saturday morning. Tasting will start promptly at 7:30 and all late entries will be disqualified.


    Festivities will kick off at 10 am with a parade down Main Street, starting at Wiggins Town Hall and ending at Olson's Horse Farm. 


    All animal class entries will be judged starting at 11am. Showmanship classes start first, followed by horsemanship and jumping. All underage entrants must have completed permission slips signed by a parent and all riders must wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet while mounted anywhere on the show grounds.


       For more information, call Olson's Farm at 555-1255, or stop by the Wiggins Weekly offices to get entry forms.





Q. How do I safely approach a pony when I want to say 'Hello'?


     First, any horse or pony you don't know should be approached very carefully. Early in my career with horses, I walked up to a very cute Arab that was new to the barn.


    It was winter, and when I stretched out my hand to pet the new horse he reached up and bit my sleeve! Hard!  He began to shake my arm back and forth, swinging me with it. I was just lucky that their caretaker persuaded the mean horse' to let me go.


     That experience gave me a new caution when approaching an unknown horse. First, take a look at the animal and see if it is scared or threatening. Are its ears forward and its eyes on you in a friendly way? Or are its ears laid back on its head and its eyes open wide in a fearful or threatening posture?


   Looking closely at a horse before you get within striking distance will go a long way to help you assess whether it is safe to get nearer to that horse. 


    Untrained horses or ponies, stallions and some just plain mean horses are not safe for anyone but an expert to approach. They will often put their ears back on their head and their eyes will be wide with the whites showing.


    However, if the horse is interested and friendly, it will have its ears pricked forward and will reach its nose out to sniff you.


    The proper way to greet a friendly horse is to extend your hand, palm and fingers pointing towards the ground with the fingers  gently curled, until it is about six inches from the horses' nose.  When the horse begins to sniff your extended hand, blow gently towards its nose, so it can feel your breath, too.


    You have just said "Hello, let me introduce myself. How are you?"


To get your question answered, send an email to        Webmaster @ clubponypals.com

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Wiggins Weekly

Is the only source for news from the world of Pony Pals, based on the books by Jeanne Betancourt.  To subscribe, go to  www.clubponypals.com

Thought for the day 

If you get mad at your horse, get off and hit yourself in the head with a rock.