Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our June Happenings

Well, June was a whirlwind! But a great whirlwind.

It started out with the arrival of three new foals, and it's "the year of colts": "BW Alois", our Del View Catskill Valiant / BW Hallelujah cross, was the featured star in our Italian Glamour photo shoot; "BW Riordan", my daughter's foal out of her show mare BW ChynaDoll and sired by BW Augustine, was center stage in my lap for our Open House; "BW Christian", a BW Tamarac foal also out of Augustine, who's steady and gentle temperament mark him as a future sire, was one day old for our Blow the Barn Doors Off for Spring Open House. Since then, our good friend and supporter, Donna Hadley, was presented with a colt from her BW Morgan mare "Dolly"who foaled in early July. "Solomon" is doing well, and getting his legs underneath him, also out of Augustine. BW Augustine - now known as Ramm - is being trained and added to the equine team of Kenny Harlow and his Training with Trust program. How cool is that!

All of us were delighted at the support from the community for the Open House event. There was a great turnout for the day, everyone had a really good time, and I think folks learned a little something about horses, and what we do here, and maybe even left a little inspired. I couldn't have been more happy with how it turned out. But what was really neat was to see the gentle outpouring of the community afterward. Letters with pictures from the event were being dropped off, emails, and folks stopping by to say what a great time they had. I felt my connection with the community growing and strengthening.

Following the Open House was our annual Kenny Harlow Clinic. Our clinics with Mr. Harlow are a community outreach to truly help those people who really struggle with their horse and genuinely want help. Professional horsemanship means helping and guiding those in need by doing what we do. If horse training was merely just training horses for our own benefit, then I am not really accomplishing anything. As Kenny correctly said, “If we train a horse and cannot hand the reins over to the owner, then we haven't really done anything important or worthwhile.” So holding a clinic for the community to come and see and learn, is why we do what we do.

I'll write again soon. Who knows what August and September will hold? Maybe I've got a surprise up my sleeve...

Oh, and don't forget, my Black Willow Summer Camp Enrichment Program for Gifted Horses is August 6-8, so sign up soon!

Thanks for reading,

Jeff Wilson

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Skinny on Skin Disorders

The Skinny on Skin - Breakouts That Won’t Give You a Break

“Where are all these bumps coming from?” your riding partner asks you. “Just look at this rough patch on my horse’s coat, and these scabs on his pasterns and fetlocks?” After inspecting the horse’s coat with your fingers, you venture down his leg to examine the scabs before you pronounce your opinion, “Rain rot and scratches.” Upset with your analysis, you’re riding partner grumbles, “How can this be? I thought I took great care of my horse!”

It isn’t fun to get smacked with a diagnosis of dermatitis - the heartache of believing that your level of care for your horse is excellent - but those tell tale bumps, well, they don’t lie. What did you miss?

Well, first of all, you’re not alone. Many local horse owners complained last season about skin afflictions. It was during that time that I personally discovered the difference between rain rot, or rain scald, and dew poisoning, or leg scratches – the list of names goes on – and how much of a nuisance these skin problems can be.

I discovered that rain rot and dew poisoning, both bacterial skin diseases, can in fact become a plague all their own, regardless of how much good care and attention you might be giving. My learning curve came as a result of having to deal with rain rot and dew poisoning, interestingly, during the driest part of the summer. So what’s the deal? And, how can a horse be stabled indoors and still come down with dew poisoning? What is the deal?

As we approach mud season again, let’s resolve to be ready. I have two great articles to share with you that handle these subjects from start to finish, from minor concerns to severe ones. One big thing to remember when dealing with skin irritations is how contagious they are, so it is important to sterilize any equipment used on the infected horse, before using it on other horses. It is also advisable to use a completely different set of brushes and equipment for the affected horse. Finally, don’t forget to wash your hands between horses.

Thanks for reading,

Jeff Wilson


Dew Poisoning/Scratches and Rain Rot