Horsy News, Views and Attitudes
Vol. 1 Number 7 -- August 21 – September 10, 2007
EDITOR'S NOTE -- THERE WILL BE NO LABOR DAY WEEKEND ISSUE
Ready When Needed
Wiggins Volunteer Fire Department's new fire engine is now available for duty
Wiggins Volunteer Fire Department Captain Roger Edwards reports that the firehouse has a new fire engine, thanks to funds raised at last weekend's Summer Fair.
"We are all set to go now that the fair has put us over the top. We were able to have the engine delivered immediately," declared Captain Edwards. "It is just in time since most of our fires happen right when it starts to get cold. Even our dog Sandy likes the new engine, she's taken to sleeping under it when its not in use."
Sandy, the Wiggins firehouse sheepdog
Group Plans Distance Ride
Local 'Pony Pals' to Take Part
Three local girls plan to complete in the junior division of an endurance trail ride to be held over Labor Day Weekend. The girls will ride with over 50 other competitors through a cross-country course on the outskirts of Wiggins.
Lulu Sanders, Pam Crandal and Anna Harley, three local girls who call themselves 'Pony Pals,' will take their ponies out to celebrate the end of summer
Pam Crandal of Crandal Stables described the ride "It starts at Olson's Farm, then north to the Mount Morris Ranger Station, which is the first checkpoint. We then ride west to the Wiggins Estate, our second stop."
Anna Harley interrupted, "Every time we stop the ponies and horses are checked for condition and offered water. Their heart rate has to go back to beating slowly before they can go on. Pam's dad will be looking at the horses' condition to make sure they are not too tired."
"My dad's a veterinarian and he checks them so that no pony or horse gets sick from the competition," Pam agreed. "Then we'll ride all the way around Lake Appamapog, follow Badd Brook back into town and the ride ends at the Off-Main Diner where Anna's Mom will be staying open late to offer a post-race snacks to the riders."
The Endurance Riders of America provides national guidelines for organizing endurance events. This is one of the first competitions locally to offer competitors a chance to try one of the most challenging of horseback riding sports.
Both adult and junior divisions will be awarded prizes for best course time and prizes will also be given to the horses judged to be in the best condition, based on the checkpoint testing.
The third 'Pony Pal,' Lulu Sanders, talked about her training this way " When we heard about this event, we talked about how to train and started to go for longer and longer rides. I'm lucky that my pony has long legs and likes to go fast. Anna's pony, Acorn, has to really work to keep up."
"But this was the best way we could think of to celebrate the end of summer. We start back to school the day after Labor Day, so this is one way for us to complete the fun we had all summer long," she grinned, before trotting off to give her horse some more exercise.
LEARN TO SPEAK HORSE
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Q. The veterinarian tells me I have to cut back on my pony's food because he is too fat. How do I tell him that I still love him without giving him treats?
Putting your pony or horse on a diet is one of the hardest things to do. Healthy horses have big appetites and feeding treats to them is one of the most satisfying parts of being around a pony. Whether itŐs a horse cookie or a carrot, that look of pure pleasure as a pony chews up a treat is hard to beat.
Ponies don't need as many calories as larger horses and they can have serious problems if they become too fat. So you are doing your pony a favor by feeding them less.
Make sure you groom and care for your pony every day and if you can spend extra time brushing and petting him before and after you ride. Most horses love attention and this will help your pony to understand you still love him.
Feed low calorie food so the pony has more to chew without having as many calories. Many veterinarians say that alfalfa hay is too rich for most horses, especially ponies. So feed a less rich hay like timothy, or a mixed grain hay.
Treats are another place where you can cut back. Instead of horse cookies, cut up an apple and feed the pieces mixed in with the hay, so your pony finds surprises as he eats.
Finally, make sure you exercise your pony as much as you can. The best way is with long slow rides where the he gets a chance to work off calories without straining too hard. It is better to run a half-mile and walk five than the reverse because for weight loss, steady slow exercise is best.
Q. When my pony gets scared, he wants to run away. How do I tell him not to be frightened?
Horses are flight animals. By nature, when they are scared every cell in their brain says "RUN!" It is a sign of trust that horses even let us on their back. Training your horse not to run away is extending that trust to believe that no matter how scary something looks, if the human says it is OK, it is OK.
A rider's goal to keep a pony from running away should start with small steps. Start with something that your pony is only a little scared of. Lead your pony towards it until it alerts, looking at the item and raising its head, showing it is just a little nervous.
Stop there, pet the pony and do not let the pony back away. Keep petting the pony until it relaxes. Only then do you slowly turn the pony around and walk away.
Then do the same thing again. And again, and again, each time trying to walk a little closer to the thing that makes your pony scared. Whenever the pony stands quietly, pet and praise it. When the pony walks up to the object and sniffs it, stop and pet the pony, then walk away. That is a "win" where you want to quit asking the pony to be brave. In time, the pony will come to be less afraid of new things, because you have taught it that being with you means safety.
No matter what, remember that all you can do is make your pony feel like it is safe because you are there to take care of it. Using these same steps, you can teach a horse to trust you and do anything you ask.
To get your question answered, send an email to WebMaster @ clubponypals.coM
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Thought for the day
One thing about horses –
ItŐs a lot easier to speed them up than to slow them down.