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August 2000

Your Horse Barn - DVD
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
Horse Housing

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    2006 Cherry Hill

This newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.

My goal is to send you interesting stories and helpful seasonal tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.


     At this point, half of you reading this newsletter will be saying, "Drought, what's that?!" You're probably back east having a cooler and wetter summer than normal with your own set of horsekeeping problems.  But in the country's bread basket and west,  we are thirsty, mighty thirsty.  In my first article, I'll tell you how the lack of rain has affected our little spread and what we are doing to cope. Even if you are not experiencing drought this year, you should probably read about it anyway since your area might have drought in the future and ALL OF US need to learn how to conserve water, one of our most precious commodities and something our horses depend on us to supply.

   I'm also including some information on the West Nile Virus for those of you in mosquito country.

    And there is a continuation of Sherlock's foal training series - this month Tying the Foal.

  *For clarification to new subscribers, my husband Richard Klimesh and I often refer to ourselves as the Klim-Team since we work on many of our horsekeeping, article, book, and video projects together.  



Horsekeeping During a Drought
West Nile Virus Facts

Teaching the Suckling Foal to Tie

PayPal Added to Order Page

New Postings on the Roundup Page
Book News and Reviews

Our Recent Magazine Articles


Horsekeeping During a Drought

Forest Fires: In the last month, there have been 5 forest fires within 40 miles of our place, 2 of them within 10 miles. They have ranged in size from a 30 acre fire just SE of us to the Bobcat Gulch fire which was 10,600 acres, the largest on record for the Roosevelt National Forest and third largest fire ever in Colorado. 

LATE BREAKING NEWS!  Just as I was getting ready to send out this newsletter, a fire broke out an uncomfortable 2 miles from our place. A SUV's brakes caught on fire on our mountain road.  The folks pulled over and got out of the vehicle OK but the vehicle burned to bare metal and started a grass fire which quickly whipped up the mountain side where the timber provided more fuel.  By last night, there were about a dozen hot spots left but fire fighters were able to stop the fire about 1 1/2 miles from our southernmost pasture fence and this morning we were able to take a deep breath. Let me tell you, we were rehearsing our fire evacuation plan. Be sure you have one.

     Horseowners in fire areas that had to evacuate their stock either did so by making several trips with horse trailers or by turning their animals loose with phone numbers painted on the animals' sides.  Although many area residents volunteered their trucks and trailers to help fire victims evacuate their horses, it is not as simple as that.  Often the normal roads are closed or traffic is limited to fire fighting equipment only.  All horseowners should have a fire plan in place, whether you live in a forested area or not.  You can read about our recommendations for fire prevention and emergency evacuation procedures in Stablekeeping.

Drinking water for horses: Our creek went dry about 4 weeks ago (first time ever).  If you are relying on natural water sources for your horse, check daily to be sure water is flowing, because stagnant water is not good for horses. I figure that during this 90-100 degree weather with 20-30% humidity, my adult horses are drinking between 15-20 gallons per day depending on their level of activity.  Horses in work might be consuming more than that and my lactating broodmare certainly is.  When I did the numbers, I realized that for peace of mind, I wanted to have some supplementary water on hand just in case of well problems. (Our well is OK but we have heard of other well problems in our valley.)  And the extra water could always come in handy for fire control if necessary.  

     We already have two 1000 gallon underground cisterns for such water emergencies, but we recently bought a 425 gallon pickup water tank, a popular item in arid and semi-arid climates.  They are available at farm supply stores.  The tank fits into the back of a pickup truck. When filled with water it weighs 3400 pounds so you want to be sure you use it with a truck that can haul that weight.  We prefer to haul our water tank on a flat bed trailer so the pickup is not "tied up" being a water storage tank carrier.  Alternatively, you could empty the pickup tank as soon as you got the water home and just haul around the empty tank in your pickup until you needed more water. Or take the empty tank out of the pickup.  Our tank has a hose bib at the bottom and we leave the tank on the trailer parked uphill from the horse pens and gravity feed water to the horse tubs as needed.  We are using the tank to water the five horses at the north barn and a tank lasts those 5 horses (plus at least 5 does and 7 fawns who have nowhere else to drink) about one week.  It costs 50 cents to fill the tank at the city water works.  For us, the 70 mile round trip to the city water works (in terms of time and gas) is the biggest investment. 

Feed:  Legume hays such as alfalfa increase water intake so it is best to limit feeding alfalfa during hot weather and focus on grass hay.  Also, grains that are quickly digested are actually "cooler" than those that take longer to digest.  That is why corn is a better summer feed and oats (which take longer to digest because of their hulls) make a better winter feed.

     Be sure each of your horses has access to salt 24 hours a day. I provide each of my horses with a plain white salt block (NaCl, sodium chloride) PLUS a 2:1 Ca:P (that's two parts calcium to one part phosphorus) trace mineral salt block.

Shade:  Whenever possible, provide natural or man-made shade areas for horses on pasture or in pens.  Trees, run in sheds, or lean-to shelters will give your horse a place to get out of the direct rays of the sun and escape the flies as well.

Horse Exercise: I have greatly reduced my riding and training program during this abnormally hot and dry spell.  When bringing a horse back to work that has been standing for even just a few weeks, be careful. The extra pounds of fat that the horse might have gained will make it more difficult for him to cool his body.  Heat dissipates slowly and fatigue sets in more quickly when a horse is fat or out of condition.  When a horse is fatigued, and especially when his tendons and muscles are not in condition, he is more likely to injure himself.  So start back slowly.

Pasture Management:  Our pasture management during drought is simple - no grazing.  We took all of our horses off pasture over a month ago. We are keeping all horses on dry lots.  All pastures are empty (except for our resident deer population). When it is abnormally dry, many pasture grasses are stunted but the opportunistic drought-resistant weeds thrive, especially without the competition from the pasture grasses.  What we are seeing across Colorado are short-growth brown pastures with patches of tall, healthy weeds.  Our weed control program consists of:

    No Grazing
    Hand Pulling, Boot Kicking, and Hoeing of large stem weeds that have cropped up in small concentrated patches
    Spot spraying using a shoulder mounted tank and walking through pastures for those loner weeds that don't group
    Mowing large areas of weeds with tractor mower set just above the grasses but low enough to lop off seed-forming weed tops

Amenities of Horse Care that I Took for Granted:

     I never gave too much thought about being able to spray off a horse after a workout or of being able to do weekly horse laundry or for that matter, being able to water my flower barrels up at the barn.  This year has changed all that.  I have really learned to appreciate water!  And I've worked up quite a thirst just writing this article!


West Nile Virus Facts

     In late August 1999, there was a human encephalitis outbreak in New York City and nearby Nassau and Westchester counties.  Nearby, 22 horses began showing neurologic signs of an encephalitic infection - lethargy, weakness in the hindquarters, and convulsions. 3 of the horses died or were euthanatized and all tested positive for the West Nile virus. Horses are highly susceptible to the virus - a 1996 report from Egypt indicated 40 percent mortality.


     The only vectors found to be associated with the 1999 WNV outbreak in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were mosquitoes. No evidence has been found which suggests that any invertebrate vectors other than mosquitoes were involved in WNV transmission in 1999.

     Reduce Mosquito Breeding Sites: Reducing mosquito population can help to prevent or eliminate the presence of virus in a given geographical area.

     The most important step any property owner can take to control mosquito populations is to remove all potential sources of stagnant water in which mosquitoes might breed. Dispose of any water-holding containers, including discarded tires. Drill holes in the bottom of containers that are left out-of-doors. Clean clogged roof gutters annually. Turn over plastic wading pools or wheelbarrows when not in use and do not allow water to stagnate in bird baths. Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not in use and be aware that mosquitoes can breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers. Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property; mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than 4 days. Thoroughly clean livestock-watering troughs monthly. Local mosquito control authorities may be able to help in assessing the mosquito breeding risks associated with a specific property.

     Decrease Exposure to Adult Mosquitoes

     In addition to reducing mosquito populations, preventing animals from being exposed to adult mosquitoes is important.

     Screened housing. Housing animals in structures with well-maintained insect screening can be useful to reduce exposure to adult mosquitoes. Use of such mosquito-resistant structures may actually lead to mosquito exposure unless precautions are first taken to eliminate mosquitoes from inside the structure. This may be accomplished through a number of means including the use of mosquito adulticides. In addition, use of fans may reduce potential access of mosquitoes to equine or other livestock hosts.

     Insect repellents. Use of insect repellents may be of some value in decreasing exposure of horses to adult mosquitoes. Due to practical limitations in the coverage area that may be achieved on any given horse with a particular product formulation, and due to limited duration of effectiveness of some formulations under certain conditions (e.g., perspiration), repellents should not be solely relied upon to prevent mosquito exposure. Repellents should be used according to their label instructions regarding appropriate species, method of application, and other precautions.

     Outdoor exposure. Although some species of mosquitoes feed at dusk or dawn, others are daytime feeders. As it is not yet clear which mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of WNV to horses and other mammalian species, making recommendations as to when certain animals should avoid outdoor exposure is not particularly useful at this time. If more information becomes available, recommendations on outdoor exposure will be updated appropriately.

     Vaccination. No vaccine currently exists that will prevent WNV infection in horses or other animals. Potential vaccine development is being facilitated by USDA-APHIS by making the avian and equine WNV isolates available to those with proper facilities for doing vaccine development research.

  Vaccination information as of Fall 2002. There is an equine West Nile Virus vaccine available. As of August 2002 it still had a conditional license from USDA but should be regularly licensed in 2003. It is manufactured by Ft. Dodge and is available through your veterinarian. It is a killed vaccine that is given in two doses the first year. The second dose should be given 3-6 weeks after the first dose. Then each spring thereafter, the horse should receive a booster. For more information on the vaccine, go to


Teaching the Suckling Foal to Tie

     In this month's continuing adventures of Sherlock, my suckling foal, I'm showing you how I tie a foal the first time.

     First, your foal should have had all of the lessons I described in previous newsletters. The foal should lead well in hand, never pull back against halter pressure or try to blast past you.  The more thorough you are in teaching your foal to give to pressure, the less of a chance he will panic or pull back when you tie him the first time.

The Equipment:  You need a well fitted foal halter; I add a browband to my foal's halters to keep the halter positioned at the poll.  You'll need an inner tube from a 15" or larger car or pickup tire, two 10-12 foot lead ropes and one 20 foot rope, all with heavy-duty snaps on one end.

The Setting:  My tie areas are very sturdy and safe with rubber mats to prevent formation of holes from horses' standing, moving, and (eegad!) pawing.  This one is a 6 1/2 foot tall wood fence with the top half solid 2x8 planks.  Leaving the lower half open prevents a horse from banging his legs if he got to "messing around".  The wood is all treated with an anti-chew product as the eventual goal for all horses is to stand tied without chewing, pawing, swerving back and forth, or pulling.

The Process:  I fold an inner tube in half so it becomes a C and I put the C around a stout post.  I run a lead rope through both ends of the inner tube C and tied the lead rope with a quick release knot at about the length that I think will be appropriate for the foal that I will tie.  I leave that lead rope hanging in place, ready for when I think the foal is ready to be tied. 

     But first I "soft tie" the foal to accustom him to the idea and physical limitations of being tied by running a 20 foot rope through the inner tube but leaving the end of the rope untied, just loose on the ground.  I then lead the foal to the tie area and attach him to the long, untied rope (Photo 1). I remove the lead rope from the foal's halter. 

     Then I pick up the end of the 20 foot rope (Photo 2) and let the foal experiment and learn where he is and how being "soft tied" feels.  If he were to pull back, I could prevent him from getting away and I could use give and take pressure on the long rope to teach him to respond to pressure.  As it happened, Sherlock's in-hand preparation resulted in him acting like "OK, What's next?".  So after standing with Sassy and monitoring Sherlock's non-plussed attitude for about 5 minutes, I went forward and attached him to the pre-tied lead rope. 

     I unsnapped the 20 rope from his halter and removed that rope from the inner tube (Photo 3) and then walked away from Sherlock and let him stand tied (with his dam nearby).  He experimented a little bit moving forward and back to feel his limitations.  You'll notice that I have him tied a bit shorter than you might expect.  This is only for the first few tying lessons.  I've found this results in less "big moves" on the foal's part. If the foal were to be on very long rope, coupled with the stretch from the inner tube, he could get pretty far away from the tie post if he pulled, then would be catapulted back at the solid object.  I am trying to prevent such a crash from ever happening.  Once a foal is comfortable with tying, he will stand near the post (Photo 4) on a slack rope, showing me that soon I will be able to lengthen his lead rope so that he can lower his head if he wants.  However, foals grow fast and by the time he comes in for his next weekly lesson, he might have grown up to meet his lead rope!

NOTE: I usually don't like to mix the first tying lessons with other things like moving over while tied, lifting feet while tied, grooming while tied, or deworming while tied.  It is best to let one lesson sink in and then add new elements on another day after review of the tying.  So next month, I'll continue with some things to do while your foal is tied.


Comments on Clinicians

     I've had the opportunity to view one more clinician at work since the last newsletter.  Check the Traveling Clinician page for a list of clinicians' websites.


PayPal Added to Order Page

     I've put off adding a credit card payment feature to my site mainly because of high cost and security.  However, after reading an article in the July 2000 Digital Time magazine, (p. 70, Clicking for Cash), I decided to add PayPal to my site so that those that want to pay using Master Card or Visa can do so by signing up with PayPal.  If you want to sign up with PayPal, click here.

Note: Because there are associated costs to me for the PayPal service, I can't offer discounts on my books if you use PayPal.  That's why there is a separate order blank for PayPal orders and check orders.  With check orders, you can still enjoy the discounts I currently offer.


New Postings on the Roundup Page

Catching on Pasture

Barefoot, Tender Feet


Behind the Bit

Show Checklist

Foal Training - Sherlock's Page (new section added)


Book News and Reviews

Trailering Your Horse including a review in August 2000 Western Horseman, p. 219

Stablekeeping including review in August 2000 Western Horseman, p. 219 and Chronicle of the Horse July 21, 2000 Endurance Issue

Maximum Hoof Power  review in August 2000 Paint Horse Journal

Our web site was featured in August 2000 Paint Horse Journal!

Longeing and Long Lining including June 25, 2000 review in the New Jersey Star Ledger.


Our Recent Magazine Articles

Here's a roundup of the most recent magazine articles by the "Klim-Team", Richard Klimesh and Cherry Hill

August 2000 Western Horseman
"12 Stallions, One Corral" p. 122

August 2000 Horse & Rider
"Set Your Stirrups", p. 33

July 2000 Spin to Win
May 2000 Ride with Bob Avila
May 2000 The Trail Less Traveled
Interview with Richard Klimesh about hoof supplements

July 21, 2000 The Chronicle of the Horse
"Endurance Hoof Hints Package"

July 2000 Western Horseman
"Barn Aisle Flooring", p.170
"Why Horses Stumble", p. 124

July 2000 Horse & Rider
"Trail Riding Essentials", p. 67
"Bang Your Horse's Tail", p. 35

June 2000 Western Horseman
"Make Your Barn Legal", p. 72
"Using and Caring for Saddle Blankets and Pads", p. 138

June 2000 Horse & Rider
"No More Tears", washing a horse's head, p. 31
"Build a Desert Barn", Stable Plans, p. 42
"Effective Fly Spraying Techniques", Horsekeeping Skills, p. 46

Coming Attractions 

My training philosophies, catching a horse, more foal training, and tips on buying and selling horses.


Cherry Hill doesn't do endorsements!

    I don't accept payment to recommend or endorse any horse products in my articles, books or this newsletter.  I do, however, mention names of products that I am currently using and find satisfactory.  I do this to give you a starting point or help narrow the field.  Sometimes finding the right product or piece of tack is the beginning of the answer to a training or horsekeeping problem.

That's it for this month.

Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.

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