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March 2021 - “There’s Nothing Like a Classic!”
Written by CRM
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:43
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For 30 years Classic Equine Equipment has been committed to the ultimate care and safety of your beloved four legged friends.
Going into 2020 was a big question for many businesses and Classic Equine handled this question with professionalism and commitment to their employees and customers.
Classic Equine, along with the rest of the world saw the start of this pandemic mid February. As the world started slowing down with the uncertainty of what the future held, Classic remained accessible to their customers while they took the time to access the proper direction and safety protocols. The overarching goal was to make sure they could maintain employee and customer safety while maintaining the high standards their customers have come to rely on.

James Creek Equestrian Facility by Classic Equine Equipment.

During Classic’s brief time assessing new protocol’s they were back up and running with state guidelines for safety protocols. For example, office staff working remotely from home, until things settled down. The factory had masks at their disposal and followed social distancing protocols. “It was a roller coaster ride for a while but ended up being a good one,” says Greg Nielsen, director of sales.
Like most companies, Classic had to adapt to new communication standards. They were met with a new set of challenges that forced the staff to work harder and come together. Scott Lix, President of Classic says, “It helped us build on remote communication and we came out a better and stronger team.”
When things started to level out around late April, Classic came back strong and ready to keep up with the high demand for large customer projects. Classic also noticed a spike in accessory demand for projects that the everyday horse owner now had the time to do. No more weekend sports games or vacation plans afforded their customers additional time, energy, and finances into doing those projects that had been on the back burner. Classic answered those calls with ease. Lights, stall fronts and flooring were big on their customers to-do list.


Winterfell Farm in Killington, VT

Winterfell Farm in Killington, VT

The equine industry really bounced back after the initial assault of this unprecedented worldwide shut down. While we saw high attendance equine expos, rodeos, etc. cancelling in 2020, we also saw a surge in the industries more with individualized equine events with lower spectator attendance like barrel racing, roping, trail riding and dressage. “What better way to social distance than being on a horse,” exclaimed Nielsen.
With all the Equine Expos cancelling in 2020 and now cutting back their attendance levels 50-70% in 2021, Classic had to rethink their marketing strategy. It is hard to keep that personal feel when you do not get that face-to-face interaction at the shows. Classic kept that in mind when laser focusing their social and online marketing aspects. They worked on new customer videos and expanding online content. They even incorporated a “meet the team” page on their website for customers so they can connect with them on a personal level, and build a sense of trust in Classic. They want to show their customers that the staff at Classic are real people with families. They want to get to know you and understand your needs and project requirements from the beginning.

Classic Equine is always looking at their product line presentation to see how they can improve. This year they will be developing a new product catalog scheduled to be released beginning 2022. The new catalog will be chalked full of impressive projects completed recently throughout the nation. We all need to keep an eye out for their catalog!

With the market rates the lowest they have been in years it makes it the perfect time to do that barn improvement you have always wanted to do. Lix boasts, “We focus on bringing your dreams into reality.”  Whether you want to upgrade your stall fronts, or you want to completely outfit your high-end show barn being built, Classic Equine can accommodate it all with their expansive selection of high-quality products and accessories.

Stalls, barn doors and windows are the best-known products in Classic Equine’s extensive inventory. Entrance gates, flooring and mats, round pens, arenas, and a long list of barn accessories enable clients to one-stop-shop, whether building from scratch or upgrading or remodeling. From tack solutions and automatic waterers to hinged or sliding door stalls, Classic has it. Plus, feeding accessories, lighting, fans and hitching posts, every imaginable accessory and some you might never have imagined but may find yourself wondering how you lived without.

Classic Canyon Ranch

Put Your Tax Return Towards Upgrading Your Barn
If you are lucky enough to be getting a tax return from the government this year, consider investing at least some of that money into upgrading your barn. As they have said before, you don’t have to do a major overhaul all at one time to get your dream barn. Start with something small that can make a big impact on your barn’s look and/or functionality.
Some great things to invest in could include:
More ventilation – with warmer days coming, now’s a good time to replace your old box fans with new barn-safe fans. Most box fan motors are not sealed. This creates a fire hazard should they become dusty and overheat. Barn-appropriate fans are usually either basket type or ceiling type.
More light – even though days will become longer, barn interiors can still remain dark. Add barn lights. Horses often struggle adjusting their eyesight from light to dark areas and can spook or even resist when moving in and out of light. Extra barn lighting can help alleviate that problem. Also consider lights around entryways for safety concerns.
More support – while horses tend to have more turnout and exercise time during the summer, they still appreciate the comfort of having a stall mat or mattress to stand on in their stall. Plus, it makes stall cleaning easier and more cost-effective by reducing bedding costs.


Easier bathing – summer often means more bath time for your horse, whether for an upcoming show or just to hose the sweat off after a long ride. But if you are tired of being tangled up in hoses or having your horse mistake one for a snake, consider investing in an over-the top washer. This wash unit keeps the hose above the animal’s head and off the floor. The hose holder keeps the hose above the horse’s head, making it easy to move quietly and quickly.
More organization – an organized tack room is every barn owners dream. And now it can come true with the Ultimate Tack System. The Ultimate Tack System can handle all types of tack from the lightest English saddles to the heaviest Western rigs. Best of all, the Ultimate Tack System allows you to order any combination of components, so you can organize your tack, your way.
If you need more ideas on how to spend your tax return to upgrade your barn, feel free to contact Classic Equine to help you decide the best way to upgrade or enhance your existing facility. Visit www.classic-equine.comor call 800-444-7430.

March 2021 - Twin Rivers Ranch 2021 Season Preview
Written by by Kim F Miller
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:38
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by Kim F Miller

New show stabling, new cross-country obstacles, and upgraded infrastructure. These are among the ways the Baxter family made the most of the COVID-caused downtime that waylaid some -- but not all -- of last year’s ambitious plans for their Twin Rivers Ranch equestrian venue.

The inaugural Spring International CCI4*-L that was set for last April will now unfurl April 8-11, 2021, at the 500-acre property in central coastal California. Hosting an Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge concurrent with the Fall International September 23-26 is a new calendar addition.


Following up 2020’s resounding success with the first joint staging of the Dutta Corp USEA Young Event Horse and USEA Future Event Horse West Coast Championships is a major agenda highlight. Last fall, the Baxters wowed the eventing world by hosting these Championships concurrently and showcasing them as a stand-alone competition.

“The West Coast Championships were a great success in 2020, boasting record numbers across the FEH and YEH Championships,” stated the US Eventing Association. On Oct. 29-30 of this year, Twin Rivers hopes to build on that debut by welcoming, challenging and showcasing more young horses from throughout the Western United States.

“They set a real standard for what the Championships should be,” confirmed Debbie Adams, who travelled from her East Coast base to judge the 2020 Championships with Peter Gray. “I was just blown away by what a good job they did.”

Avery Noblitt & Cumani at the 2020 Winter Horse Trials. Photo:

Permanent Show Stabling

The first competition of the year is the Winter Horse Trials, Feb. 26-28. Exhibitors will be the first to see the new, fully-covered permanent stabling with 36 12’ x 12’ stalls. Twin Rivers Ranch members get priority treatment for the new stabling. That’s in addition to year-round unlimited access to all open facilities -- for two horses with the same owner. Members are exempt from non-member fees at all schooling shows, and family members and/or additional horses can be added to the Twin Rivers Ranch membership at a modest additional cost.

Membership fees help Twin Rivers with maintenance and upgrades that have helped the facility become one of the favorite venues in the Western United States. Ample space, varied terrain for cross-country and carefully maintained dressage and show jumping arenas are among its assets. After coaching top contenders during the Winter Horse Trials last year, USET Eventing chef d’equipe Erik Duvander praised Twin Rivers’ continual upgrades. He credited the venue as a key destination for horses and riders on the top sport path.

“They are a progressive bunch,” adds Twin Rivers upper-level course designer Hugh Lochore of the Baxter family. Along with 5* eventer Andrea Baxter, organizer Connie Baxter has extensive eventing experience. Whirlwind Excavating owner Jeff Baxter happily applies his expertise and equipment to bringing Lochore’s ideas to life. “The venue has interesting topography and it’s a good canvas to play with,” Lochore explains. “It’s exciting when you put things on paper, then you have a team that is keen to get the bit between their teeth and make it happen.”

Lochore will return to Twin Rivers in March to continue work on the upper-level tracks in advance of the Spring International.

Also new is Ride On Photo by Tayler as Twin Rivers’ show photographer for the year. This is the talented Tayler Callie Walsh, a familiar face in the eventing world and daughter of Ride On Video’s Bob and Debi Ravenscroft.

People accommodations have expanded, too. In addition to discounted rooms from sponsor Best Western Plus Black Oak and on-site RV rentals from Getaway RV Rentals, Twin Rivers has increased its total of full-power/water RV hook-ups to 37.

Having resumed show hosting in July of last year, the Twin Rivers team has mastered COVID protocols to keep all exhibitors safe. Until further notice, spectators are not allowed.

Get Involved: Volunteer & Sponsor!

A generous volunteer incentive program continues through 2021. Full-day helpers receive $60 vouchers toward future competitions, half-day helpers earn $30 vouchers. Each shows’ volunteers are entered into a drawing for prize packs filled with useful goodies from Twin Rivers sponsors. Hours are tracked through the year for entry into a year-end raffle. Prizes include a Twin Rivers entry, stabling, cross-country schooling voucher and more.

Sponsors already on board for the year include Best Western Plus Black Oak, Getaway RV Rentals and Auburn Labs, manufacturers of APF Pro Formula. Sponsorships are still available and more partnerships will be announced soon. (Contact Christina Gray at Gray Area Events for sponsorship opportunities: email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

The Calendar:


  • Winter Horse Trials:  Feb. 26-28
  • Fundraiser Combined Test: April 3-4
  • Spring International: April 8-11
  • Schooling One Day Horse Trials: May 23
  • Schooling Show: June 6
  • CDS Dressage: June 12-13
  • Summer Horse Trials: July 1-4
  • Area VI Adult Camp: July 30-31
  • CDS Dressage: Aug. 14-15
  • Fall International: Sept. 23-26 (Including the Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge)
  • USEA Future Event Horse & USEA Dutta Corp. Young Event Horse West Coast Championships (and an FEH qualifier), Oct. 29-30.
  • Schooling Halloween Horse Trials: Oct. 31

Fast Facts:

  • Location: 8715 N. River Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Ride Times: Available a few days before competition begins.
  • Results:
  • Show Photographer: Ride On Photo by Tayler
  • Video: Ride On Video
  • Volunteer:
March 2021 - The 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is Back On!
Written by by Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event 
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:34
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by Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

An unprecedented outpouring of public support and a grassroots fundraising effort have led to a reversal of the announced cancellation of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI Five-Star presented by MARS Equestrian™ (LRK3DE). A new partnership between Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), producer of the world-class event, and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation combined with the support of US Equestrian and longstanding sponsors Land Rover, Mars Equestrian, and Rolex will ensure that the CCI5*-L three-day event will be held, without spectators, alongside a new CCI4*-S, April 22-25 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

“The uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic placed us in the financially impossible position of having to run the five-star event without spectators, a situation that left us no choice but to cancel the five-star for 2021 in order to preserve it for many years to come,” said Mike Cooper, President of EEI. “We are humbled and honored by the response of the eventing community as they’ve stepped up in a mind-blowing way enabling us to go forward.”

A fundraising campaign was started by athletes and fueled by the grassroots effort of the broader eventing community, generating more than $550,000 in donations to run the event. “While that still leaves us short of the amount needed, it is enough to convince us that the balance can be raised,” added Cooper. “We are now, with the assistance of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, committed to going forward with the five-star.”

In the new partnership, EEI and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, both 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organizations, bring strong and distinct skill sets – the Foundation in fundraising and EEI in event management. Using their respective expertise and resources, the Foundation will take the lead in soliciting donations to supplement the grassroots effort, and EEI will focus its attention on running the nation’s premier equestrian event in an environment that is safe for all during the current pandemic.

“The Kentucky Three-Day Event is the foremost event held at the Kentucky Horse Park and the lifeblood of the eventing world,” said Clay Green, Chairman of the Board of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. “The Horse Park was established for the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships which gave birth to the annual Kentucky Three-Day Event whose success is responsible for the Park’s position of prominence and so much that has happened at the Park, including the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Seeing the number of people pleading for the event to happen this year made it very clear that we must do all we can to ensure that it does.”

“Seeing the athletes, community, our sponsors, and these two organizations, the KHP Foundation and EEI, come together in a united way to allow the CCI5*-L and CCI4*-S to go forward despite the challenges presented by the pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. This will allow our athletes and horses aiming for Tokyo this summer the best opportunity to qualify and prepare, while ensuring the safest possible environment for participants seeking to complete a CCI5*-L or CCI4*-S,” shared Bill Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of US Equestrian. “We extend a huge thank you to all involved, especially to our sponsors, for their flexibility and continued commitment to this event.”

“We are thrilled to return as the title sponsor for the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and support the event broadcasts on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and the USEF Network to bring this historic event into the homes of the fans in the safest way possible. We applaud the efforts of the equestrian community who have gone above and beyond to raise funds to support this event and ensure another great year of world-class eventing can take place at the renowned Kentucky Horse Park,” said Michael Curmi, Director Brand Experience, Jaguar Land Rover North America.

“We applaud the efforts of so many organizers, fans, competitors, and sponsors, supported by MARS Equestrian, which will allow the CCI5*-L competition to continue forward in 2021. This event is an equestrian treasure we are proud to sponsor as we all look for safe ways to hold top level competition,” stated Geoffrey Galant, VP of Mars Equestrian.

Spectators are not allowed at this time, but USEF will continue to monitor the effects of the pandemic to determine if a limited number of spectators can be permitted at some point closer to the event with priority given to 2020 rolled over ticket holders. Those who paid for the 2020 event and chose to roll their money over for 2021 will have the option of full refunds or rolling their money over again for 2022. “Ticket holders can expect an email regarding their options, one of which will be to join this incredible grassroots movement on behalf of the sport of eventing,” said Cooper. “Those who wish to do so can donate some or all of the money they’ve paid. We applaud and thank everyone who has contributed so far; without you there would be no five-star this year and all of you have our utmost gratitude and appreciation!”

Those wishing to be part of the growing movement to save the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Five Star can do so through the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation website at Donate – Kentucky Horse Park Foundation:


March 2021 - Are Flies Bugging Your Barn?
Written by courtesy of Valley Vet Supply
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:30
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Say “bye” to flies for horse health and comfort; implement these fly control strategies

courtesy of Valley Vet Supply

While enjoying a ride with your horse on a perfect, sunny day, you sink into the saddle in pure relaxation. Then suddenly, a horse fly lands on your horse’s rear end. He swishes his tail and the tranquility of just moments ago is halted as your horse bucks mid-air to rid the biting pest. Can you relate?

“Flies cause far more damage than being a nuisance alone,” warns Arnold Nagely, DVM, co-founder and CEO of Valley Vet Supply. “Flies also contribute to significant equine diseases and conditions. By controlling the fly population, horse owners can reduce risks for a number of health challenges, such as strangles, influenza, eye worms and summer sores.”
With risks heightening as summer temperatures climb and fly environments thrive, summer sores can have a painstaking impact on equine health and comfort. While curing them can be a relentless battle, preventing them begins simply—by controlling the fly population.

Summer sores are caused by house flies, face flies and stable flies, as they transfer parasitic nematode larvae (Habronema species) to moist areas around a horse’s open wounds, eyes, nostrils, mouth and genitalia. When the larvae create a hypersensitivity reaction, chronic, fleshy and non-healing wounds can result, known as summer sores. The condition is costly and can require months off from riding and training as the infected horse heals.

Anne-Marie Morgan is a horse owner and head trainer at Miami Equestrian Club. She’s no stranger to the negative impact flies can have on a horse, especially relating to summer sores. “Lesson horses are prone to summer sores because they may acquire scrapes from supporting students over jumps and poles, or playing in the paddocks. Thankfully, we have a very clean barn with a great fly spray system that keeps flies, and the risks they present, to a minimum,” Morgan said.

South Florida-based dressage rider, Miriam Wohlers, also shared how, “In the summertime, it is a constant battle with summer sores. Flies are horrendous, due to the constant humidity. All you can do is work to contain the flies.”

Flies can be relentless, especially during the summer months. Reduce the fly and insect population at your horse barn with these simple strategies.

•    Insect growth regulators pass through the manure of treated horses, preventing flies from developing into adults by inhibiting the development of the exoskeleton in fly larvae.
•    Barns managers also have success in eliminating the fly population using fly predators, which are beneficial bugs that conquer the fly’s cocoon and kill immature pest flies naturally.

Regular cleanings help rid fly-attracting odors and the warm, moist environment that is a fly haven for laying eggs and source of food.  
Remove manure piles off-site from pastures, or spread manure over fields and paddocks, to help dry out piles and attract fewer flies.

From sticky traps to fly-attractant bags that can catch up to 40,000 flies, there are many options horse owners can find to stop flies.

Remove dropped grain and supplements from stalls and feed rooms; doing so also will help prevent visits from opportunistic rodents.
Place tight-fitting lids on all garbage cans to stop flies from enjoying an all-you-can-eat buffet, plus prevent wafting, unpleasant aromas with regular cleanings.
Empty and scrub feed tubs and water buckets regularly to help keep flies at bay, as well as ensure horses have access to fresh, clean water at all times (a horse consumes an average of 10 gallons of fresh water per day.)

Using a premise spray quickly controls adult flies and other barn-residing insects, as well as helps deter new ones from entering the area. Fly spray is a must for quick and easy on-horse protection against flies. For the best results, make sure your horse is clean, so the spray sticks to the hair, not to dirt or mud.

Fly gear— such as fly sheets, masks and fly boots — also offers more protection than from a fly’s painful bite alone. Fly gear can provide UV protection for horses, with some sheets and masks blocking more than 80 percent of harmful UV rays.

Circulating air helps to deter flies, because the air requires more work and energy from flies to travel to and land on your horse.

To help shield her mare from flies and South Florida heat, Wohlers has three fans mounted and running in her mare’s stall at all times during warmer months. Coupled with using fly spray (she prefers UltraShield Green), she also regularly washes and switches out five fly masks, and uses fly traps. “I want my mare BeBe to be happy and healthy,” Wohlers said. “Flies are not only annoying, but they also carry a lot of diseases, and I don’t want her to contract anything from them. Flies can be so frustrating for her, and I want to do everything I possibly can to prevent them.”  

Find trusted fly control products available with same-day shipping on most items, at veterinarian-founded Valley Vet Supply.


March 2021 - Manure Management
Written by courtesy of Iowa State University Extension & Outreach
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:27
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courtesy of Iowa State University Extension & Outreach

There are many benefits to living on a rural acreage or small farm. The opportunity to raise livestock is one of those advantages. Many times we see these landowners have horses, a small chicken flock, a few goats or maybe even a few beef or swine.  

One of the challenges to this practice is what to do with the accumulated manure produced by the animals.  If the animals are raised in a pasture-based or grazing system then natural distribution of the manure nutrient takes place. Otherwise, manure accumulated in stalls, coops or pens needs to be removed and appropriately handled at some point in time.  

To give an example, an average sized (4 pound) laying hen will excrete about 0.26 pounds of manure per day (MWPS). If you have 50 laying hens you will accumulate over 4,700 pounds or 2.37 tons of chicken manure annually if the chickens spend all their time in the coop. As another example, a horse (1,100 pounds) will excrete about 50 pounds of manure per day, or 9 tons of manure per year. If the horse is housed in a stable where bedding is used, then you will also have to account for the soiled bedding in your calculations of material that need to be handled. As you can see, even with just a few animals, manure can quickly accumulate.  

The two biggest challenges in manure management on small farms are 1) ease of handling of manure and access to storage and 2) appropriate use, application or disposal of the manure. The easier it is to handle the manure and clean the pens and coops, the more frequently it will get done and prevent accumulation of manure from getting out of hand. It is important when deciding to have animals on your acreage or small farm that you have access to equipment that fits your size of operation and also to have a way to deal with accumulated manure.  

Based on the number of animals you have, access to a pitchfork and wheelbarrow may suffice, if you have a larger number of animals it may be wise to consider a small garden tractor with a loader/bucket for mechanical cleaning of pens and stalls.  Areas that accumulate manure and bedding should be cleaned frequently to provide animal comfort, and to prevent too much manure from accumulating as that makes it a more difficult job to remove the manure.  

Once manure is removed from the animal production area you have two choices, you can store the manure or you can land-apply the manure. Our goals should be to return the manure nutrient source to cropland, thereby completing the nutrient cycle of crops feeding our animals and animals fertilizing our crops. So when the need to store manure exists please keep these principles in mind, store manure until application is suitable for crop production; use storage as a way to better match your time resources and labor supply; store manure in a manner to protect nearby water sources; manage storage to prevent flies, odors and vermin; locate storage near manure sources; and size storage for easy access with manure handling equipment.  

Much like large livestock farms, land-application of manure should be the primary goal to return nutrients to the cropping systems. Since this is not always possible on a small farm or acreage you should give due consideration to the distribution, use or disposal of the manure prior to bringing animals onto the small farm. As mentioned previously, our primary goal is to use the manure nutrients in the cropping cycle. This may mean your home garden or pasture acres or it may mean working with neighboring crop farmers. Regardless of where the manure is land-applied, you should have your manure analyzed for nutrient content and use soil tests to determine the application rate based on the crops you plan to grow. When considering using fresh manure in the home garden, you should apply and incorporate the manure at least 3 months before the crop will be harvested, 4 months if growing root crops or leafy material the comes in contact with the soil. The University of Minnesota has an extension publication that serves as a great reference for using manure and compost in home gardens here:

If it is not possible to use the manure in your home garden or elsewhere on your acreage you can consider these options:

•    Work with neighboring crop farmer to distribute on local fields,
•    Work with neighbors for use on their gardens, or
•    Inquire at local waste transfer station or trash service as to the availability of waste disposal.

Finally, the last consideration when handling, storing or land-applying manure on a small farm or acreage is to make sure the manure does not adversely impact the environment.  Managing runoff from manure animal production systems on small farms is just as important as on large livestock farms.  Be cognizant of local water sources and leachate coming off your manure storage or animal production systems, land-apply manure when weather and soil conditions are appropriate and do not increase the risk of runoff.  Be aware of local regulations that apply to all manure sources. 


March 2021 - Multiple Steps Necessary to Create an Effective “No-Fly Zone”
Written by by Cynthia McFarland
Monday, 01 March 2021 19:25
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by Cynthia McFarland

When it comes to controlling external parasites, horse owners have more options than ever before. If you have any doubt about that, just browse the “fly control” aisle at your local tack and supply store or your favorite online retailer.

“There is no one ‘silver bullet’ product that will completely get rid of external parasites, whether you’re talking about flies, mosquitoes, ticks or other flying insects,” says Casey White, an entomologist and director of product development at Farnam’s Research and Development facility in Dallas.

“You need different tools to target and manage pest species, so a multi-zone approach will be the most effective,” says White, noting that this plan should:

Reduce: decrease the fly population using a feed-through product.

Repel: using products that repel/kill flies and pests on the horse and also in his environment.

Block: create an actual physical barrier to keep flies and pests off the horse.

Know Your Enemy

White brings up a point that many horse owners might not consider. It’s very helpful to positively identify the flies you’re dealing with because this will better help to manage them.

For example, he says many people will refer to small flies as “baby” flies, which is actually an impossibility. An immature fly is a maggot or larvae; there’s no such thing as a baby fly. Once the fly egg hatches into larvae (or maggot), they develop and pupate. The fly develops inside a tiny cocoon and when it emerges from that cocoon, it’s already an adult.

“When you see small flies, these are just a different species, not babies,” says White.
If there are cattle in your immediate vicinity, your horse may be bothered by horn flies, so named because they tend to cluster around the horns of cattle. Even though horn flies don’t develop in horse manure, they are still looking for a blood meal, so if your horse is available, they’ll feed on him just as easily as they will on cattle.

Some fly species feed on blood, while others feed on sugar or other carbohydrate sources. For instance, house flies feed on sugar not blood, but they will still hang around your horse and become an annoying nuisance. Stable flies, on the other hand, will land and get a blood meal from the horse, but then fly off.

By understanding which species of flies you’re dealing with, you can make smart choices in choosing the most effective products. Reading the label of a product will tell you which species of flies and pests the product is made to control.

Be Proactive

Did you know you can start a fly control plan before you even see a single fly? In fact, that’s the best time to begin.

“One female fly can lay up to several hundred eggs. If you start early, you can stay ahead of the fly population by controlling the developing flies in manure,” notes White. “It’s always better to stay ahead of the population rather than play ‘catch up’ by trying to combat an explosion of flies later in the spring.”

Starting your horse on a feed-through fly control product before fly season actually begins will ensure the most effective control. These products are designed to work in the horse’s manure, not in the horse’s body itself. The active ingredients aren’t absorbed from the horse’s gastrointestinal tract. Rather, they are mixed into the horse’s manure, so that when it passes out of the horse, insect growth regulators in the product prevent the development of any fly larvae laid in that manure.  Because this interrupts the fly life cycle, it limits the population.

Label directions recommend using a feed-through fly control product until cold weather arrives. As White explains, a feed-through product not only helps manage the current fly population, it also targets the first flies of the following season.

“If you continue feeding the product throughout the summer and past your first frost in the fall, the developing fly larvae are exposed to the active ingredient in the manure,” says White. “As daylight hours shorten and colder weather sets in, the pupal stage can over-winter in or around the manure. But if the larvae are exposed to the feed-through product, this will reduce the fly population the following spring.”

Repel Wisely

Next, you’ll want to choose an on-horse product to repel and kill flies and pests. This can be a spray, spot-on, wipe-on product, or a combination of products.

For example, if your horse lives on pasture and you aren’t able to spray him regularly with a repellent product, you’ll probably want to use a spot-on.
“Spot-ons provide relief and control against flies and are very effective against ticks in pasture situations,” White notes. “Horses kept on pasture may have more problems with ticks, because they aren’t being groomed daily. Ticks looking for a host will try to feed on them, so a spot-on is helpful for these horses and lasts over several weeks without the horse having to be sprayed daily.”

Unlike spray products, there is a different application process for a spot-on. It is applied to specific places on the horse according to label directions and then, within a period of hours, disperses across the horse’s entire body. White points out that this makes it a good choice for horses who are sensitive to the noise or sensation of a spray product.

When using a spray, you’ll find numerous options and again, you should choose the one most effective for your situation. For instance, a water-resistant product will be more effective for working horses that will be sweating, and also for turned-out horses that may be rained on.

If you like the idea of an all-natural product, you may choose a repellent formulated with botanical oils. Keep in mind that botanical-based products can be very useful for the short term, but chemical-based repellents will be longer lasting.

Read Those Labels

If asked, most horse owners would probably confess they don’t make a habit of reading fly spray labels. They should.

Understanding ingredients and knowing how to apply the product will make a big difference in the level of protection your horse receives.

First, let’s consider the ingredients themselves, and no, you don’t have to be a science major to understand the basics.

Every label will list the product’s active ingredients. Pyrethrins (may also be listed as pyrethrum) are one of the most common active ingredients, and are derived from a species of chrysanthemum. The “py” at the beginning of the word tells you this ingredient has a natural source.

Permethrin and cypermethrin are synthetic versions of pyrethrins. To make it easy to remember, synthetics usually contain the syllable “per” somewhere in the word.

Both natural and synthetic ingredients are insecticides, meaning they kill and repel insects. The most effective fly repellent products tend to have a combination of both natural and synthetic active ingredients.

“Multiple active ingredients are likely the most effective products just because they don’t rely on one active ingredient,” says White.

A common ingredient you might see on the label is piperonyl butoxide, which entomologists often refer to as PBO. White explains that this is a synergist for pyrethins/pyrethroids and increases their activity to improve effectiveness.

Are You Using Enough?

So now you know more about what you’re spraying on your horse, but are you applying the right amount of product?

“If you’re not meeting the label’s application rates, you’re really doing an injustice to the product. It may not last as long or work as well,” notes White.

“There’s a lot of research that goes into dosage and application rate to make sure we get enough applied to the animal to meet the label claims,” he continues. “If the label says it can last for 14 days, you have to apply it at the proper rate. If you apply one-tenth of the recommended rate, you can’t expect it to last 14 days.”

White says that horse owners frequently under-apply fly repellent either because they’re trying to save money or simply because they haven’t read the label and don’t know how much they should use.
“Those labels are written precisely and according to the data generated for that product through the development process,” he notes.  “It’s important to read and follow label directions carefully both from a safety point and to get the most out of the product.”

Don’t Forget the Premises

Part of the repelling process is addressing flies and pests in the environment where your horse lives. This is when products like fly baits and traps come into play. While these are not “on-horse” products, they are still useful in controlling and limiting the flies that have access to your horse.

Sticky traps/tapes are simple, but effective. These can be hung in the barn/stable and when flies land on them, they’re stuck and die.

“Flies tend to feed down low and rest up high, so if you’re using sticky traps, you will capture more flies if you hang them high in the barn,” notes White.

On the other hand, fly bait products (which primarily target house flies), should be placed low where flies typically feed. Use caution with these products to ensure they are not placed where animals (barn cats, dogs, etc.) can be exposed to the bait.

Pheromone traps, which some people refer to as “stinky traps” (and yes, they do have a rather unpleasant odor), draw flies to enter the trap where they die.

“Proper placement for pheromone traps is critical because they have an attractant in them,” says White. “You don’t want to place these traps in the barn because this will bring more flies inside. Instead, place them outside the barn.”

Block Those Pests

Now that you’ve repelled and reduced flies, make sure you add a physical barrier. This will minimize your horse’s exposure to pests that can be both annoying and disease-carrying.

A good fly mask also protects against dust, dirt and debris. This makes it perfect for horses recovering from an eye injury. If your horse’s ears are sensitive to flies and pests, you can choose a fly mask with mesh ears for additional protection.

Other physical barrier methods of fly/pest protection include fly boots and sheets, which may be helpful for your horse.

Flies and pests may not make for exciting reading, but learning more about them allows you to become a more informed consumer and horse owner. This will help you make smart choices when creating a “no-fly zone” that works best for your horse.


March 2021 - Tying Up In Horses & Muscular Health
Written by courtesy of SmartPak
Monday, 01 March 2021 19:16
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courtesy of SmartPak

Tying up, or Exertional Rhabdomyolysis, in horses is characterized by muscle pain, stiffness, excessive sweating, and a reluctance to move associated with exercise. Once known as “Monday Morning Sickness”, it is not the simple muscle soreness a person might experience the day after running or lifting weights, especially if they hadn’t done so in a while.

Tying up in horses can be a serious, even life-threatening condition with multiple causes. This article will describe the two main types of tying up (sporadic and chronic), the underlying causes, the breeds of horse affected, and the signs and symptoms. The diagnosis and treatment, as well as specific diet and management practices in the hopes of preventing tying up, will also be covered.

What is Tying Up in Horses?

Tying up has been recognized as a serious condition in horses for over a century. The name “Monday Morning Sickness” comes from the time when draft horses were worked six days a week and given Sunday off to rest in their stalls while fed their normal ration of grain. These horses often displayed signs of tying up when asked to work again on Monday morning. The trigger for an episode seemed to be the combination of returning to work or exercise after a period of enforced idleness while on a high-grain diet.

For many years, tying up was thought to be the result of the build-up of lactic acid in muscles. However, due to advances in exercise physiology and muscle diagnostic testing, it has now been shown that lactic acid build-up in horses does not cause tying up. In fact, veterinarians and scientists now know that tying up is a syndrome with two main types – sporadic and chronic -- and multiple causes within each type.

Sporadic Tying Up

The term “Sporadic Tying Up” is used when a horse has a single episode not because of an internal defect in their muscles, but because something external -- such as exercise, the environment, or the diet -- triggered muscle damage. Sporadic tying up is a temporary or occasional problem in muscle cells that may be caused by things like by fatigue, heat exhaustion, or electrolyte imbalance. It may occur in any age, breed, gender, or discipline and is not an inherited condition. Examples include a polo pony used in a match before he was fit enough to compete, a three-day eventer on an especially hot and humid day, or an endurance horse depleted of electrolytes after a 50-mile race.

Chronic Tying Up

On the other hand, “Chronic Tying Up” is an internal problem with the muscle tissue itself. It may still be triggered by exercise and affected by diet, management, and other factors. However, with this form of tying up there is some underlying defect in muscle structure or function causing horses to have repeated episodes.


To further complicate matters, there are different forms of chronic tying up, including Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (RER), Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM) Types 1 and 2, Myofibrillar Myopathy, and Malignant Hyperthermia.

Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (RER) is the term used to describe repeated episodes of tying up specifically due to an inherited abnormality with how calcium is regulated in muscle. This form of chronic tying up has been studied largely in Thoroughbreds, but has also been found in Standardbreds and Arabians. Other breeds that may be affected include Quarter Horses and warmbloods.

The type of horse most associated with this disease is the young (two-year-old), nervous, high-strung thoroughbred filly at the track. Excitement, especially when combined with exercise, seems to be a common trigger for an RER episode in genetically susceptible individuals. Other triggers include stress, lameness, high-grain diets, and specific types of exercise that may create anxiety, such as interval training, being held back (restrained) from a full gallop, and galloping with one or more other horses.

With Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy, or PSSM, the abnormality lies in the way muscle cells handle and metabolize energy. With this form of chronic tying up, glucose is either packaged into glycogen incorrectly and then stored in excessive amounts in muscle (PSSM Type 1), or simply stored incorrectly as “clumps” of glycogen (PSSM Type 2).

Certain breeds will display signs and symptoms differently. For example, Quarter Horses tend to show classic signs of tying up (muscle stiffness, cramping, and pain) with either type of PSSM. Signs in other breeds, such as warmbloods, are more along the lines of poor performance, vague or undiagnosed gait abnormalities, a reluctance to collect and engage, loss of muscle mass, progressive weakness, and recumbency (lying down).

PSSM is included in this article because it causes signs of classic tying up in some breeds. For more information about this specific condition; the different types; and its diagnosis, treatment, and management; see the separate article on this topic.

Recognizing When a Horse is Tying Up:

The classic signs of a horse experiencing an episode of tying up usually occur shortly after the beginning of exercise and include:

  • Firm, painful muscles over the loin and croup (lumbar and gluteal muscles)
  • Shortened, stiff stride behind
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive sweating
  • Quick, shallow breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle spasm, twitching, or tremors
  • Being reluctant to move or unable to move
  • Reddish-brown or coffee-colored urine (from the breakdown of muscle tissue)
  • Lying down/unable to rise (in severe cases)

What to Do When a Horse is Tying Up

A horse exhibiting signs of tying up should be handled as an emergency. If the horse is currently under saddle or being exercised, any activity must immediately be stopped. Next, call the horse’s veterinarian and describe the situation. While waiting for the vet to arrive, make the horse more comfortable by removing tack, blanketing if it’s cold or providing shade if it’s hot, and holding up water for the horse to drink (he may not be able to lower his head to the ground). If possible, try not to move the horse. Instead, make his surroundings safe and quiet by removing other horses and activities. Follow any specific instructions from the vet such as administering medications, taking vital signs, etc. Do not offer any hay or grain at this time.

When the veterinarian arrives, they will assess the horse, take steps to relieve pain and anxiety, and possibly administer fluids if dehydration is an issue. With vet guidance, the horse may be put into a stall or other confined area since the horse should move as little as possible for the next 24 - 48 hours. Blood samples may be drawn immediately as well as later in the episode to confirm the diagnosis. Looking at levels of two indicators of muscle damage, creatine kinase (CK), which peaks 6-12 hours after an episode, and aspartate transaminase (AST), which peaks 24 - 48 hours after an episode may give a better understanding of the episode.

Diagnosing Tying Up in Horses

If this is the first time this horse has experienced a bout of tying up, the veterinarian may ask questions to try and figure out what triggered the episode. The diagnosis may be confirmed as “sporadic tying up” and therefore recommendations for the horse may include:

  • a complete and balanced diet
  • being conditioned and fit for the work being asked
  • having no other health conditions such as respiratory illness or lameness
  • receiving optimal levels of Vitamin E, selenium, and electrolytes

In addition, the vet may recommend a gradual return to exercise, beginning with something as simple as small paddock turnout or hand-walking. The vet may perform rechecks of CK and AST blood levels during this time to know when the horse is ready for more work.

If the horse has had several episodes of tying up in the past, then the veterinarian may lean toward “chronic tying up” as a diagnosis. In this case, they may recommend additional diagnostic testing based on the horse’s history, age, breed, gender and other factors. Some of these extra tests include genetic assays (test) of blood or hair, muscle biopsy, exercise challenge, and more. It is important to get to the root cause of chronic tying up as the treatment and management for one type -- for example, RER -- is different from the treatment and management for other types, such as PSSM1 or PSSM2.

Diet, Exercise, and Management Recommendations for Horses with Tying Up

The focus of this section is on horses with the RER form of chronic tying up for two reasons. One, horses with sporadic tying up may simply need a nutritionally balanced diet with optimal levels of vitamins and minerals along with a thoughtful turnout schedule, conditioning program, and competition schedule -- taking into account extreme changes in weather or terrain -- in order to prevent future episodes of tying up.


Horses prone to chronic tying up due to RER seem to do better when the sugars and starches in the diet are limited. This may be done by making high-quality forage the foundation of the diet; rounding out the protein, vitamins, and minerals with a low-NSC grain or ration balancer (not sweet feed) and supplementing with fat if the horse needs more calories. Sources of fat include stabilized rice bran, commercial feeds specifically made for these horses that are low in sugar and high in fat, and powdered fat or oil supplements. When adding fat to the diet of a horse with RER, here are three things to consider:

1.    Start gradually, giving the horse’s digestive system time to adjust (helping to minimize the risk of loose stool)
2.    Avoid fats and oils high in omega 6 fatty acids such as corn and sunflower oil
3.    Provide additional vitamin E to offset that which is needed to help metabolize the added fat

Finally, make sure the horse is getting at least 10 grams of sodium daily by topdressing about 2 tablespoons of table salt with regular meals. When the horse is sweating heavily from intense exercise or hot temperatures, supplementing with additional sodium and/or a commercial electrolyte supplying potassium, calcium, and magnesium in addition to sodium and chloride may also be appropriate.

Exercise And Management

For many RER horses, the combination of stress and exercise may lead to an episode of tying up. The following suggestions from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine specifically target the Thoroughbred racehorse lifestyle but may be used to help avoid triggering an episode of tying up in any horse prone to recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis:

  • stall in a quiet area of the barn
  • work this horse first if you have multiple horses to rideturn-out as much as possible
  • avoid “exciting” training regimens such as: interval training, being held back (restrained) from a full gallop, and galloping with one or more other horsestreat lameness and other medical issues promptly
  • avoid stall rest or lay-up if possible
  • provide calm exercise if rested the day before
  • ask the veterinarian about muscle-relaxing medications such as dantrolene

In general, horses that experience the RER form of chronic tying up should receive daily exercise in some form, such as turnout, lunging, and/or riding. Consistent, calm exercise is an important part of preventing an episode of tying up in these horses.

Tying up in horses is not one single disease but a syndrome of muscle disorders affecting many breeds, ages, and disciplines of horses. In some cases, it is an inherited condition that may be diagnosed with a genetic test while in other cases, the underlying cause, method of diagnosis, and even the best ways to treat and prevent it from happening again are unclear. It is important for riders to understand there are different forms of tying up and there are different signs and symptoms associated with each form. Knowing when to call the veterinarian when there is an emergency as well as when a horse is just not performing as expected is key to ensuring your horse’s health.

This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, and is purely educational.

March 2021 - Chablis Named 2020 WCHR Hunter of the Year
Written by CRM
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:41
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Carl Weeden to Receive Kavar Kerr Distinguished Service Award

The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce Chablis, owned by Libertas Farm, LLC, as the 2020 WCHR Hunter of the Year and Carl Weeden as the recipient of the Kavar Kerr Distinguished Service Award. Both awards will be presented during the $50,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular on Saturday, February 20 during Week 6 of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Since 2011, the USHJA has honored the life and legacy of the late accomplished horseman, Peter Wetherill, by recognizing a current equine athlete that exemplifies the qualities of a top-class show hunter. Wetherill, who passed away in February 2010, is also fondly remembered as an exemplary owner and an equestrian community advocate who supported the WCHR’s philanthropic endeavors from the start. This prestigious title is awarded each year to the WCHR Hunter of the Year and its signature trophy, the Peter Wetherill Cup, is presented in tribute to its namesake. As owner of Chablis, Libertas Farm, LLC’s Kelly Tropin will accept the Cup.

“It is hard to put it into words—my mom and I both cried when we heard the news—but I think it is just recognition of the consistency he has had over the years and the incredible horsemanship of the team around him. Chablis has always been a spectacular horse, and I am so proud that we have kept him going so well for so many years now, which comes down to all the people on ‘Team Chablis.’ I am really grateful for my trainers, Peter Lutz, Mary Manfredi, Alex Bartlett and Jamie Schaefer, as well as his groom, Israel Gomez, who knows Chablis like the back of his hand; his vet, Amy Rabnal; and his farrier, Mike Boylan,” said Tropin.

“I am always cognizant that our 60 seconds in the ring is a culmination of the work of so many people, and I think of this award as a recognition of that effort. I have ridden with Peter and Mary since I was 13 years old and, after 17 years together, I still admire their horsemanship above all else. They always take the longer, slower road if that is what is right for the horse, and I believe this award truly recognizes the outstanding job they have done with Chablis.”

Chablis has a long list of accomplishments in the Hunter ring with Tropin in the irons and groom Israel Gomez managing his care. The 2008 Württemberger gelding, has been with Tropin since 2014, where she developed him from a 6-year-old with trainers Peter Lutz and Mary Manfredi, who purchased him as a 4-year-old in 2012. After triumphs in the 3’3” in 2014 and with Lutz in the First-Year Green division, Tropin and Chablis advanced to the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division and continued their success. Over the years, the gelding has earned multiple championships and high score awards at an array of shows, including the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, National Horse Show, Devon Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show and Winter Equestrian Festival. Most recently, the duo earned the championship and high score award in the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division during the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival’s WCHR Week as well as championship titles at HITS Saugerties, Old Salem Farm and during the ESP Holiday Series.

The Kavar Kerr perpetual trophy is awarded annually by the WCHR Task Force to an individual who’s demonstrated exceptional dedication, leadership and commitment to the World Championship Hunter Rider program’s philanthropic efforts.

An early adopter of the WCHR program and current Vice Chair of the WCHR Task Force, Caroline “Carl” Weeden, has been a key supporter in the growth and success of the World Championship Hunter Rider program. As former Chair of the Task Force, Weeden worked to develop new experiences that enriched the WCHR program as a whole and reward excellence in the Hunters. Her involvement with the Palm Beach Spectacular Gala, the USHJA Foundation, Chicago Equestrians for a Cause, and a myriad of other charitable activities and organizations, demonstrate her commitment to philanthropic efforts in the hunter/jumper community. She has paired fundraising events with world-class hunter competition, including the Chicago Hunter Derby, bringing back the time-honored tradition of charity horse shows and raising money for the USHJA Foundation Horseman’s Assistance Fund, the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

For more information about the WCHR Program, visit


March 2021 - Wellpride Fish Oil Improves the Lives of Therapeutic Horses
Written by article provided by Wellpride • photos: Quest Therapeutic Services
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:35
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article provided by Wellpride • photos: Quest Therapeutic Services

“Thanks to Wellpride®, our horses can comfortably and happily continue this good work and keep seeing children for more years to come,” Rose Feldman of Quest Therapeutic Services, Inc. told Wellpride, makers of America’s #1 fish oil for horses.

Quest Therapeutic Services of West Chester, PA is the only full-time hippotherapy outpatient center serving the Delaware Valley (DE, NJ, PA). Wellpride is also #1 in the hearts of those who work with the hooved heroes of Quest’s riding programs. Heroes like Xitana, Phoebe, and Mr. Chuckles are making a difference in the lives of young people because Wellpride made a difference in theirs. Rose shares their stories:



Xitana (Galician for ‘gypsy’) is an 18-year-old Gypsy Vanner mare that came to Quest two years ago with health issues including chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL) and a severe case of heaves.

“The only way we could control her symptoms was with steroids,” Rose said. “After almost a year (under veterinary supervision) trying to wean her off steroids and seeing the negative effects of their long-term use, I found a study showing how fish oil greatly reduces the symptoms of heaves. That’s when we reached out to Wellpride.”

Heaves, a form of equine asthma, is exacerbated during spring/summer as warm weather releases pollen and mold spores that obstruct airflow and trigger labored breathing and coughing.

After putting Xitana on Wellpride fish oil for horses for 30 days, Rose again tried weaning her off the steroids. “This time, she showed no signs of breathing trouble. It was like a miracle! She has been on Wellpride for over a year and I only had to give her a low dose of steroids once (last fall). Her CPL hasn’t flared up at all.”

Helping the gentle piebald Xitana – who has served more than 400 children in therapy sessions – meant she could return to helping others.

“We like to pair her with children that need help self-regulating and calming because she exudes calmness, and her self-carriage is amazing for what we do,” said Rose. “We are grateful to Wellpride for helping us get Xitana to a healthier state so she can continue her good work.”



Wellpride also addressed heaves in another Quest hero, a 14-year-old Haflinger mare named Phoebe.

“She is a true work horse,” Rose said. “Phoebe takes the heaviest caseload and many, many clients with great challenges to overcome.”

The mare has endured a relentless cycle of allergies and skin issues, and last spring, started showing signs of heaves. “After our veterinarian examined her he said, since Xitana was doing so well, he would put Phoebe on the same fish oil. So we did and her coughing subsided within weeks and has not returned. It was also the first summer she didn’t suffer from hives.”

Mr. Chuckles

Mr. Chuckles

Wellpride also helped another stalwart servant of children with special needs: Mr. Chuckles.

“He is a saint,” Rose said of the chestnut Quarter Horse gelding, 24, who has carpal tunnel in his knees and arthritis throughout his body. “When he arrived three years ago, we put him on arthritis medication and it increased the ‘pep in his step.’ But around Spring 2019, I noticed the medication wasn’t creating the youthful-looking horse it once had.

“I decided to try the fish oil, and what a difference it made! He sees about a dozen a week and he’s incredibly loved by the therapists and children. Now he visibly travels like a younger horse again. Even our farrier said his flexibility seemed better. Thanks to Wellpride, we feel confident that Mr. Chuckles will comfortably and happily keep seeing the children who love him as much as he loves them!”

Wellpride Is the Game Changer

When Quest Therapeutic Services was founded in 1996 by mom and equestrian Sandy McCloskey, it served six children once a week. Today it has evolved into a full-time, not-for-profit pediatric therapy program serving over 125 children per week. Its staff of experienced therapists, instructors, trainers, and volunteers provide family-centered and evidence-based therapeutic interventions for children and young adults with diagnoses such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Low Muscle Tone, Developmental Delay, Muscular Dystrophy, Speech Delay, Spina Bifida, Genetic Syndromes, Cystic Fibrosis, and Attention Deficit Disorders/Hyperactivity.
Managing the wellbeing of the horses is vitally important to Quest Therapeutic Services. “We have always taken precautionary steps in our horse management. We keep our barn as dust-free as possible and well ventilated. The horses get as much turn out as possible and get appropriate diets. We soak Xitana’s hay. We control flies with a feed-through. There was nothing else, as far as changing our horses’ environment went, that vets could recommend to make a difference.”

“Wellpride was the game-changer,” Rose says. “I honestly don’t think Xitana would be alive today if she were still on steroids. I don’t think that she could have handled any more drugs in her system. Without the fish oil, I don’t know that she would be alive, and she certainly wouldn’t be doing this great work that her temperament, and beautiful movement, make her perfect for doing.”

And when a volunteer said Mr. Chuckles looked like he was doing much better, Rose replied, “Yes! He’s on fish oil again and feeling great.”


March 2021 - Ramona Couple Provide Forever Home for Retired Thoroughbred Race Horses
Written by courtesy of Ramona Sentinel
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:32
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courtesy of Ramona Sentinel

Rescuing horses after their racing days are over can be an expensive proposition, but Ramona residents Sherrel and Maggi Heath have found a way to support the upkeep of nine retired thoroughbreds and two other horses using income from a thriving equine and canine supplement business.

Maggi and Sherrel Heath show off their retired thoroughbreds, 25-year-old Twinkling Lights, left, and her daughter Cat, 19. Photo: Julie Gallant

The Heaths enjoyed the company of horses long before they ventured into racing them and opening Sher-Mar Enterprises.

They founded the company in 1990 to provide a treatment for joint pain and arthritic conditions in mostly horses and dogs. A short time later, Sherrel Heath said, friends and acquaintances lured him into the race horsing arena, one race at a time.

“I’ve always been enamored with horse racing and so I bred a couple of mares and I raced a few of my horses at Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita,” said Sherrel, who grew up poor in the foothills of Virginia and Tennessee and rode neighbors’ horses for pleasure.

In his youth, Heath helped earn extra money to supplement his father’s earnings as an appliance repairman. The young Heath occasionally worked on tobacco farms and hay fields in his hometown of Bristol, Va.

“I did not live on a ranch or farm but they were around us,” he said. “When you grow up like that, that’s what you did and, of course, go to school.”

Most of the horses the Heaths have now are thoroughbreds that he bred and raced and brought home and retired.

Thoroughbreds typically race for a half-dozen years or so if they stay sound and healthy, but their lifespan can extend 30 years or more, Heath said. After their useful life on the track is over, many of the well-trained thoroughbreds are sold at auction. Some are bought by rescues, but others are sent to Mexico where they can be sold for profit, and some are sent to slaughterhouses, or as Heath says, “who knows where.”

The Heaths were determined not to let that happen to their former racehorses, so they brought the horses to their 8-acre ranch near Creelman and Jean Ann Lane to let them live out the rest of their lives. The Heaths lovingly refer to their aging horses as “pasture ornaments,” since they spend most of their time hanging out and grazing in their spacious corrals. But friends also stop by occasionally to ride two of the horses.

0321 sherrel2Former real estate agent Sherrel Heath founded Sher-Mar Enterprises in 1990. Photo: Julie Gallant

The Heaths met in La Mesa in 1978 while Sherrel was selling a condo conversion and Maggi, formally known as Marguerite, was handling the escrow transaction. They each have 35 years of experience in their fields, Sherrel, 78, as a real estate agent and broker, and Maggi, 68, as an escrow officer.

It was through their mutual love of horses that they ventured into a sideline business. Sherrel Heath said he had been giving horses owned by himself and friends a yucca powder to treat their joints and arthritis, and saw big improvements in the animals as a result. The Heaths had relied on yucca, which had been sold extensively throughout the United States for that purpose for a number of years.

“We were buying it commercially and I decided to find out exactly what it was, where it came from and why it was so effective,” he said. “I did six to eight months of research. Then I decided I was going to start selling the yucca product myself.”

Heath discovered that the particular type of yucca plant they were using grows mainly in the American Southwest, from Baja California into California and Arizona. Yucca has long been known to be an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to improve the efficiency of the digestive system, he said.

As time went on, new ingredients for the treatment of arthritis in animals came on the market — glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.

“Those ingredients are huge now, but those ingredients were not on the market then,” Heath said. “Those ingredients became more popular throughout the ‘90s and I was selling some of those ingredients as well as the yucca to horse owners.”

In 2000, after experimenting with ingredients and their effectiveness, Heath formulated Fourflex, which he calls a complete joint supplement. The powder contains yucca, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, MSM and vitamin C combined with a base of stabilized rice bran.

He developed a process of buying select ingredients and hiring a contract manufacturer to blend, package and label Fourflex. While declining to specify revenues of the business, he said he sells the product to catalog companies, distributors, feed stores and also online at

One of Sher-Mar’s regular customers is Blue Apple Ranch off Mussey Grade Road in Ramona. The nearly 300-acre property is a sanctuary for abused and neglected horses, some of whom the owners say have been previously harmed or are old and worn out. The ranch is home to 70 horses, many of them ranging from 25 to 30 years old and some as old as 38.

Adrienne Holmes, daughter of Blue Apple owners Lloyd and Lynn Wells, said they have been using Fourflex for six years and have been impressed with how well it works. She said lame horses have shown improvement in their ability to walk after consuming the powder mixed into their grain

“We’ve tried so many different things and had different vets come out,” Holmes said. “Compared to any others we’ve used this is superior. I believe the product works and it has worked for our horses over the years.”

0321 sherrel3This Mustang named Farrah is one of 70 rescued horses currently at homeat the Blue Apple Ranch sanctuary in Ramona. Photo: courtesy of Blue Apple Ranch

Fourflex is geared primarily to horses, but the Heaths sell smaller containers of the product to dog owners.

Income from the business has helped support the maintenance of his thoroughbreds and other horses, Heath said, adding he enjoys working and having the flexibility to set his own schedule.

“I’m my own boss and I work out of my house,” he said. “If I want to go play golf, I’ll play golf. I can regulate my own time. When I started this business I realized I wanted to get more into this business and I moved out of the real estate brokering business.”

Heath is aware there are other rescues and organizations that take in ex-racehorses throughout the United States. He said many of these off-the-track thoroughbreds can be retrained and make excellent riding horses, show horses and jumpers.

“It’s difficult to raise the money to care for a large rescue operation — there’s a lot of good people who try and want to,” he said.

Bringing his own thoroughbreds home is the right thing to do, Heath said, recalling his mom’s words, “If you own them, you better take care of them,” in reference to his pet dogs.

“By bringing them here we know what their fate is and we know they won’t go to auction,” he said. “We prefer to take care of them so we don’t have to worry about them.”


March 2021 - Fighting Flies
Written by by Debra M. Eldredge, DVM, Courtesy of Horseman’s Report
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:28
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by Debra M. Eldredge, DVM, Courtesy of Horseman’s Report

Every year, horse owners gear up for a major battle: fighting flies. This is a battle best fought on two fronts—first, minimizing the number of flies to begin with, and second, keeping your horse comfortable.

The two most common flies around horse barns are house flies and stable flies. House flies are nuisance flies that don’t bite, but they can spread disease and irritate your horse. Stable flies bite at the legs and flank, which really stresses horses out and causes them to stomp. Horse flies and deer flies are less common, but rank very high on the irritant scale due to their painful, persistent bites. By employing a comprehensive fly control program, you can help keep your fly problem under control.


When fighting flies, cleanliness is very important. Pick out stalls at least once a day. The farther the manure piles are located from the barn, the better. Frequent spreading helps to destroy fly larvae and dragging pastures to break up manure helps to reduce fly populations.

Flies like to reproduce in warm, wet areas with organic debris. Along with manure piles, this could include areas where old feed has built up and around water troughs. This is one reason why good drainage is so important! Always clean up any feed spills, including hay and concentrates.

Natural Fly Predators

Some horse owners prefer to use natural methods of reducing flies around their barns. One method is to encourage the nesting of birds that eat flies, like purple martins and barn swallows, two prodigious fly eaters. Barn swallows may leave small “piles” under their nests in your barn, but those are easily cleaned up as the fledglings grow.

Another type of natural fly predator is parasitic wasps. These wasps lay their eggs in fly pupae, providing a suitable environment for their developing offspring and killing the fly larvae. If you decide to try this method, you will need to supplement your normal population of predators and start very early in fly season. Flies reproduce more quickly than wasps do, so the wasps need high numbers and frequent releases. Check with your local cooperative extension to determine which species thrive in your area.

Feed-Through Fly Control

A relatively new weapon in fly control is the use of insect growth regulators (IGRs). An IGR’s mode of action is specific to insects; these products prevent the development of fly larvae by interfering with the production of chitin, a key component of the fly’s exoskeleton. Fly maggots exposed to this chemical don’t molt normally and die before they develop into winged flies.

The IGR supplements are easy to feed; simply follow the label directions. Most products can be top-dressed on feed or mixed in with your horse’s grain ration for finicky eaters. In order to help stop fly populations from becoming established, add an IGR to your horse’s regular diet before fly season gets underway. The supplement must be continued throughout fly season.

Premise Sprays

Residual premise sprays, which provide lasting fly control, can be applied to the barn and around the property. Always check for animal and human safety precautions when applying premise sprays and follow the directions exactly! Remember, premise sprays may harm beneficial insects as well as the troublemakers you want to remove.

On-Animal Topicals

Your ultimate goal is to keep flies off your horse and there are various topical options to kill and repel flies, including fly sprays, spot-ons, lotions, roll-ons, ointments and fly masks.

Sprays: All fly sprays are not created equal. Some contain multiple active ingredients for quick knockdown and repellency, such as Ambush Insecticide & Repellent, while others offer residual control that lasts for days. Others offer more than just fly control, such as coat conditioning or sweat-resistance. Some horse owners prefer to use natural fly sprays, as they often contain natural or organic ingredients. No matter what type of fly spray you choose, experiment with different sprays to find one that works well for your horse. If you need to bathe or hose him off frequently, a sweat-resistant version is ideal. Different formulations may work better for different horses.

Spot-Ons: Pastured horses need longer lasting fly protection since they don’t get sprayed every day and are ideal candidates for the use of a spot-on fly control product. Spot-ons provide horses with long-term repellent action against a multitude of insects such as flies, mosquitoes and ticks. Again, follow the directions carefully, as some spot-ons may restrict usage for foals.

Roll-Ons: Flies are attracted to horses’ eyes for the moisture and protein. Fly activity may contribute to eye infections in horses, as well as, being an irritant. Generally, roll-ons are specifically formulated for use around your horse’s face and will repel flies. Some roll-ons can also be used inside your horse’s ears to repel gnats that feed there. Check the product label for proper usage.

Masks and Sheets: Fly masks and sheets are effective ways to keep flies off your horse and shield any eye, face or body wounds that your horse may have. Fly masks with ears may protect your horse’s ears from flies, mosquitoes and gnats, but be sure to choose a mask with an ear mesh fine enough to exclude them.

Fly Traps: Odor-free sticky tapes or traps do a good job of catching flies inside the barn. Use fly attractant traps on the perimeter of your property to draw flies way from the barn. Fly bait can be used in areas of heavy fly populations, but always follow label directions for use and take precautions to keep cats and dogs who frequent the barn safe from any poisonous baits.

The reality is that some flies will appear in your barn no matter what measures you take. But even though fly fighting is a constant battle for horse owners, with some care, planning and consistent use of fly repellent products, you can win the war!


March 2021 - Tapeworms
Written by by Tom Lenz, DVM, MS, DACT
Monday, 01 March 2021 19:28
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The damage they inflict, and their role in equine colic.

by Tom Lenz, DVM, MS, DACT

The strong association between internal equine parasites and the risk of colic has been widely known for several types of worms that commonly infect horses.  Over the past decade, there have been significant advancements in the understanding of equine tapeworms, the damage they inflict, and their role in equine colic.  While colic continues to be the single most important noninfectious cause of mortality in horses, and parasitism is one of many factors which can lead to colic; parasitism is one of the easiest factors to control through knowledge of the parasite’s life cycle and strategic use of anthelmintics (dewormers) that control infection.  This article will help shed some light on a very unique parasite that can negatively affect your horse’s health: the tapeworm.  

While there are at least three types of equine tapeworms, the most common in the United States is Anoplocephala perfoliata.  Horse tapeworms are different than the tapeworms that infect most other animals.  Rather than being composed of long chains of segments, horse tapeworms are pumpkin-seed-shaped parasites roughly 1-inch long and ½-inch wide.  They have four suckers that enable them to attach to the horse’s intestinal lining where they absorb nutrients and damage tissues.  Horse tapeworms are also unique in that they require an intermediate host, the oribatid (forage) mite, to complete their life cycle.  Tapeworm eggs are passed in the manure of infected horses onto pasture, where forage mites ingest them.  The immature tapeworm develops within the body cavity of the mite and is ingested by the grazing horse.  When the horse digests the infested forage mite, the tapeworm is released and within 6-10 weeks develops into an adult that attaches to the lining of the horse’s intestine where its lifecycle starts all over again.

Equine populations throughout North America are exposed to tapeworm infections during the grazing season; in some warmer climates, exposure and infection can occur year-round.  Survey studies conducted across the United States have found the prevalence of tapeworm infestations in horses ranges from 17.3 percent in horses along the Pacific Coast to as high as 95 percent of horses in the Midwest.  East of the Mississippi River, tapeworms were found in 60 percent of horses tested.  These studies also revealed that the highest tapeworm infection rates were found in October, following natural grazing exposure to infected forage mites.  There also appears to be an age susceptibility to tapeworm infestations.  Research has demonstrated that young horses (6 months to 2 years) have the highest level of infestation.  The level drops in mature horses (3 to 15 years) and then increases again in older horses (15 years and older).  There are probably two reasons for this pattern.  The first is that most mature horses are working horses and might not be pastured as much as young or old horses and therefore are simply not as often exposed to infected forage mites.  The second is that mature horses might develop some level of immunity against the tapeworms that wanes as horses become older.

Equine tapeworm infection is not a benign form of parasitism.  They prefer to attach near the junction of the small intestine and the cecum.  The cecum of the horse is equivalent to our appendix but is 6 to 8 inches wide and 4 to 5 feet long.  Tapeworms damage the intestinal lining, as well as, cause nerve degeneration at the site of attachment.  Large numbers of attached tapeworms can obstruct the bowel; however, even light to moderate infections have been associated with ileal impaction, spasmodic colic, cecal intussusceptions (when the end of the small intestine collapses into the opening of the cecum) and rupture.  Recent studies suggest that as many as 22 percent of spasmodic (gas) colics, nearly 80 percent of ileocecal (the junction between the end of the small intestine and the opening to the cecum) impactions, and up to 100 percent of ileocecal intussusceptions are associated with tapeworm infections.  Tapeworm infection should be considered in herds where colic occurs on a repeated basis.

Historically, it has been difficult to determine if a horse is infested with tapeworms.  Standard fecal floatation testing methods that are routinely used to identify strongyle and roundworm detection are unreliable in identifying tapeworms, especially if the number of tapeworms is low.  Diagnostic ELISA tests of blood for anti-tapeworm antibodies have been used routinely for years but may not be completely accurate.  Because tapeworm antibodies can remain in the horse’s blood for up to six months, the ELISA test may not be accurate for individual horses but can be useful in evaluating tapeworm presence in a herd of horses.  There is a relatively new ELISA test for tapeworm-specific antibodies using the horse’s saliva that can be collected by the horse’s owner or veterinarian and submitted to a lab.  A horse infected with even a single tapeworm will test positive.  Anti-tapeworm antibodies clear from saliva within five weeks making the test much more accurate for the individual horse.

Fortunately, there are licensed anthelmintics (dewormers) that are highly effective against all three types of horse tapeworms.  They are available with broad-spectrum dewormers that also control other internal worms and should be incorporated into every horse’s deworming program, especially in the Fall.  For information on developing an effective deworming program tailored to the specific needs of your horses, contact your local equine veterinarian.


March 2021 - Pigeon Fever in Horses
Written by by Cynthia McFarland, Courtesy of Farnam’s Stable Talk
Monday, 01 March 2021 19:23
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by Cynthia McFarland, Courtesy of Farnam’s Stable Talk

Over a century ago, the first case of “Pigeon Fever” was reported in a horse in San Mateo County, California. Since that initial report in 1915, the disease identified by intramuscular abscesses caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, has made frequent appearances in the western U.S.

For years, Pigeon Fever was considered endemic in states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Then in 2002 and 2003, states such as Kentucky, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado reported outbreaks, followed by Oregon and Idaho in 2005 and 2007.

When more than 60 cases were reported in the Florida Panhandle in 2012, it became clear that infection by C. pseudotuberculosis was not limited to only the western region of the country. Thousands of horses have been affected since 2010.

Today, veterinarians are finding that Pigeon Fever occurs in all parts of the U.S., as well as southern Canada and northern Mexico.

There is no one specific reason for this spread and increased report of cases. Researchers say various factors may be involved, including environmental and climatic conditions, and changes in insect populations. The bacteria persists in soil, so once established in a region, new cases are going to occur.

Although cases are seen throughout the year, Pigeon Fever tends to have seasonal peaks from summer through fall, corresponding to the peak in insect populations.

Don’t Blame Pigeons

Despite the name, this disease has nothing to do with pigeons or birds of any sort.

The name is derived from the fact that large abscesses caused by C. pseudotuberculosis in an infected horse’s pectoral region (chest) can look like a pigeon’s puffed up breast.

Despite the disease’s name, fever can be detected in only about a quarter of the horses infected with C. pseudotuberculosis. However, even if a fever may not be present at the time of veterinary examination, this does not mean a fever never occurred.

What Causes Pigeon Fever?

So, if pigeons aren’t involved and fever isn’t always a sign, what causes this disease with the unusal name?

Meet C. pseudotuberculosis, the culprit behind Pigeon Fever.

This particular bacterium is a soil-borne organism that is remarkably long-lived, even in different soil types. The organism thrives in areas where manure is added to the soil, which, of course, naturally occurs in equine environments. Research has shown the organism can survive longer than eight months in soil, and up to two months in hay and shavings.

But just because the bacteria is present in the environment doesn’t mean infection is guaranteed. So how does this organism infect some horses and not others?

The C. pseudotuberculosis organism gains entry to the horse’s body through skin wounds or abraisions, and also mucous membranes.

Insects such as houseflies, stable flies and horn flies are known to transmit the bacteria. Horses can also pick up the organism when in contact with an infected horse, as well as  contaminated materials, including bedding, soil, and barn equipment.

“The incubation period is variable, between seven and 21 days,” notes Sharon Spier, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of California-Davis.

Let’s say a horse at your boarding barn is diagnosed with Pigeon Fever. Does this mean your horse is automatically at risk?

“Because the disease is transmitted by flies, often times when one horse is observed with an abscess, other horses at the barn have been exposed to the bacteria as well,” notes Spier. “Things you can do to reduce the risk of infection are [fly control], sanitation and meticulous attention to wound care.  Discard pus or exudates, wear gloves, and use antibacterial and fly repellant ointments around abscesses.”

In any situation where there are multiple horses, it’s always advised to wash hands between handling horses.

Not only does this disease have a rather misleading name, Pigeon Fever can occur in three different forms:


  • external abscesses
  • internal abscesses
  • ulcerative lymphangitis

Let’s take a closer look at each form.

External abscesses are the most common form of Pigeon Fever. While the horse can develop abscesses anywhere on the body, the most likely location is in the pectoral region and the ventral midline along the belly. Fatality rate for horses with this form of the disease is very low, less than 1%.

Internal abscesses are caused by musculoskeletal infection by the organism, making diagnosis challenging. Infected horses may show serious lameness. This form is much less common, occurring in only about 8% of infected horses, but the fatality rate is high, 30 to 40%.

Ulcerative lymphangitis is the rarest form of the disease and typically appears in one or both hind legs with limb swelling and draining tracts. Aggressive veterinary treatment is needed to prevent chronic infection.

“The fatality rate is very low, similar to external abscesses,” Spier says of the ulcerative lymphangitis form of the disease. “However, horses will often suffer damage to the lymphatics in the affected limbs, leading to chronic swelling and risk of re-infection or cellulitis from other bacteria.”

Spier points out that each horse›s individual immune response is believed to be responsible for dictating the severity and duration of disease, as well as whether internal abscesses occur.  

“Internal abscesses occur in less than 10% of all horses with disease, but they are worrisome in that they can sometimes be challenging to diagnose and require lengthy (at least one month) courses of antimicrobials,” she notes.

“The location of external abscesses is likely due to the feeding behavior of flying insects that can vector disease,” observes Spier. “The stable fly bites on the legs where ulcerative lymphangitis occurs. Stable flies also feed on the pectoral, girth and masseter (cheeks) region. Horn flies feed on the ventral midline, and abscesses are commonly found in the area where fly irritation occurs. House flies are attracted to wounds and discharges.”

Clinical Signs

If your horse shows any of the following signs, have your veterinarian out to determine if you’re dealing with a C. pseudotuberculosis infection:

  • abscesses
  • fever
  • lethargy
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • ventral edema
  • lameness
  • signs of respiratory disease (if pneumonia is present)

To confirm a diagnosis of Pigeon Fever, your veterinarian will conduct a physical exam of the horse, noting clinical signs. In addition, the veterinarian will collect some of the material that exudes/aspirates from the abscesses to perform a bacterial culture.


The method of treatment is designed for the individual horse, depending on the specific form of C. pseudotuberculosis infection.

“Fortunately, most horses develop external abscesses and the large majority recover uneventfully,” Spier notes. “Horses with internal abscesses and ulcerative lymphangitis must be treated with antimicrobials for resolution. A veterinarian should examine any horse with infection, no matter what form of disease is present.”

Drainage is always important to remove infected pus from abscesses. In the case of deep abscesses, which tend to be very painful, the veterinarian may utilize ultrasound to pinpoint the precise location and insert a needle to encourage drainage and also flush the area.

Depending on the form of disease, the veterinarian may use antibiotics and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs).

The infective material draining from abscesses should be collected and disposed of. Gloves should always be worn when cleaning discharges. Areas where the infected horse has been, such as stall and specific barn locations where the horse was treated should be cleaned and disinfected.

“In 90% of cases, the horse will only experience one bout of disease and subsequently be immune to re-infection,” Spier explains. “In a minority of cases, re-infection in subsequent years, or prolonged duration of disease with numerous abscesses can, unfortunately, occur. We believe these horses fail to make an appropriate immune response to the bacteria and it is an area that needs further research.”

Spier recommends in these cases the horse owner should work with their veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

“There is no “chronic carrier” state of C. pseudotuberculosis in horses; soil is the reservoir for infection,” she adds. “The duration and severity of the course of disease varies widely among horses. Once an abscess has drained, most horses recover in two to four weeks.”

March 2021 - Association News: IEHJA
Written by by Patti Schooley
Monday, 01 March 2021 19:06
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Meet the 2021-2023 IEHJA Board of Directors

by Patti Schooley

IEHJA members elected a new Board of Directors to serve a two-year term that began in January 2021 and runs through December 2023. Serving as a director is not only a labor of love but a huge commitment of time, resources, and a desire to improve the number and quality of county level horse shows. It is not an easy job; directors are all volunteers and most have day jobs either in or out of the horse industry; some are trainers, some are also show managers, some work in tech and all own horses. As a board, the directors are involved in the management of the association and each chair a critical committee that when combined make up the business of IEHJA.

You may wonder what type of person wants to take on this responsibility, commit themselves to making the competitors experience better, often reducing the amount of time they spend with their own horse(s). They do it to meet the stated goals of IEHJA: To provide competitive horse shows that are well regulated and geared to all riding levels, emphasizing proper horsemanship and horse care, good sportsmanship, and a fun family environment.

Meet the Directors

Gretchen Clark
President, IEHJA, Chair Championship Year End Show and Co-chair Annual Awards Banquet

Gretchen has served on the IEHJA board of directors since its inception and is its long-time president. Gretchen was prompted to help organize IEHJA because the Inland Empire lacked any type of horse show association. IEHJA was created to represent both the riders and the trainers, provide sanctioned, competitive, and well-regulated horse shows via adopted by-laws and rules, create a points system and annual awards. As president organizes the monthly board meetings, directs the committee chairs, addresses member problems and concerns and is the “go to” person for all things concerning IEHJA. She has the difficult but rewarding job of  Championship Year End Show manager. That job includes everything from securing the venue, scheduling classes, creating the program, ordering prizes, ribbons medals and even stall shavings. If there is a job to do Gretchen does it or assigns it to be done. During the show she is in constant demand resolving problems big and small. She plays virtually the same role for the Annual Awards Banquet. These two events are the major activities funded by IEHJA and each draw hundreds of participants. When not involved in the business of IEHJA ( a full-time job in of itself) she owns her own training facility and produces the Showcase Show Series. Gretchen personal goals as a director has been to increase association membership, offer quality horse shows and medal classes and gala annual awards banquet to honor both competitors and trainers. She brings 40 years’ experience as a trainer and horse show manager and encourages members to share their thoughts, ideas, concerns or complaints with her.

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Lynn La Caze
Chair, IEHJA Website

Lynn is the newest IEHJA director, elected to her first term in 2021. She has the technically challenging assignment of managing the website. The website is IEHJA’s major communication tool for members and nonmembers alike. It provides tabs for IEHJA by-laws and rules, show calendar, updates and general information, member photos, forms, and membership application. Lynn manages this “frontside’ that everyone views but also the “backend” that allows IEHJA to collect monies, send the correct form to the various types of members, interface with the website host and so much more the average person rarely considers. Lynn maybe new to IEHJA but her enthusiasm and energy is up to this challenge. She was drawn to horses at age 11 and the equestrian lifestyle has been the center of her life ever since. She ran for the board of directors because of its grass roots nature that promotes quality horsemanship principals for all ages. One of her personal goals as a director is to liaison with riders in inland San Diego County and encourage participation in IEHJA. Lynn stresses that IEHJA is there for the riders and the board of directors is here to serve your needs. Never hesitate to reach out with any suggestions, we would love to hear from you.

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Patti Schooley
Secretary, IEHJA and Chair of the Publicity and Marketing Committee

Patti is serving her fourth two-year term on the board of directors and continues with her roles as the secretary and the chair of the publicity and marketing committee. Both positions have been a “learn as you go” proposition as she little experience doing either. While taking the monthly meeting minutes is not difficult, it is sometimes hard to read her own handwriting and make sense of the discussion. Publicity and marketing are much more challenging; writing creatively can be torturous and asking sponsors for donations of goods or financial support intimidating. She is getting better at both. Patti has had horses from a young age, generally back yard quality and she only trail rode. She got her first English saddle at 29 and started taking formal lessons at age 60. She began jumping at 62. Her horse “Beckett” competes regularly at IEHJA sanctioned shows, usually with a young barn associate aboard. She takes pleasure in watching young riders develop and progress in their show careers. Her personal goal as a board of director member is to secure more sponsorships for IEHJA .

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Joan Romo
Chair, USHJA and Co-chair Annual Banquet Committees

Joan has served on the IEHJA board of directors for ten years. She is the Chair of the USHJA committee which provides horse show rules and guidance for local equestrian associations. USHJA also offers affiliate memberships which provides associations such as IEHJA participation in its programs. Included are medal classes, regional competitions, scholarships, and horsemanship awards. As Chair, Joan liaisons with USHJA staff to ensure program compliance and annual program updates. As Co-chair of the Annual Awards Banquet Joan works with Santa Anita Racetrack to secure venue site, menu, banquet tickets invitations and program. Joan has a long career in the horse industry as a rider and trainer in both the hunter jumper world and major western competitions. She travels from her home base in Montana so her riders can compete in the IEHJA Championship Year End Show. Her personal goal as a board of director member is to expand IEHJA membership and increase participation in USHJA sponsored programs. Joan is passionate about IEHJA because it offers a chance for riders of all levels to compete at affordable prices with reputable judges. Joan states “as an association IEHJA strives to move forward with the times in an ever-changing world.”

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Jessica Abbott
Clark Vice President, IEHJA and Chair, Membership and Points Committees, Co-chair annual Awards Banquet

Jessica chairs two of IEHJA’s most important committees; membership and points. Both require refined administrative and computer skills to maintain constantly changing data basis, a complete grasp of horse show management and classes offered, and a complicated pointing system. Jessica is so familiar with IEHJA riders she can match member names to their horses, trainers, shows attended and classes competed in without notes! Jessica receives all on-line member applications and reviews for completion, sends out membership cards, records rider horses and answers member questions. She carefully points every IEHJA sanctioned show and provides year end standings. The latter leads into her role on the Annual Awards Committee where she organizes the awards presentation. Jessica started out as a horse crazy kid with backyard horses and has gown into an accomplished rider and trainer. Her love for horses and community involvement led her to run for the IEHJA board of directors. Her main goal is to make IEHJA the best it can be for its members and to keep the organization growing. She believes that IEHJA is a great place for riders to learn and grow into experienced horsemen and women. Jessica states “ We are all here for love of horses and our sport”.

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Jasmine Wheatley
Co-chair Publicity and Marketing and Social Media Committees

Jasmine is serving her second two-year term on the IEHJA board of directors. As the second youngest board member it is appropriate that she co-chairs the social media committee. IEHJA sites can be found on Facebook and Instagram providing direct communication to our members and the public. Show photos, updates and notices, changes to the show calendar, banquet and year end show information are posted to these platforms. IEHJA members also tag their barn, show and personal photos. Jasmine’s publicity and marketing activities include interacting with potential sponsors and vendors and publicizing IEHJA activities in traditional media outlets. She uses her creative talents to decorate the Santa Anita Racetrack Annual Awards Banquet venue. Jasmine started her horse career at seven becoming her barns unofficial catch rider. Not having a horse of her own she rode any horse available no matter their training. This experience  served her well as she matured as a rider and began showing other people’s horses. She has become an accomplished competitor and trainer. Jasmine is all about the IEHJA member experience. Her personal goal as an IEHJA board of directors’ member is to enrich the member experience via horse shows, sportsmanship, and support of other riders. Horse shows should be competitive but fun and provide as much for the walk trot rider as the 1m jumper.

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Susan Smith
Treasurer, IEHJA Co-chair Championship Year End Show

Susan has the unenviable position as treasurer which means she must keep the rest of the board living within the association’s financial means. IEHJA makes its revenue from membership, sanctioning and horse show fees. Financial and merchandise sponsorship are also critical in supporting the Year End Show and Annual Awards Banquet. Susan keeps track of all our income and pays the bills. Some readers may wonder what type of bills IEHJA has. They include such items as insurance, prizes and awards, venue deposits and final payment for the Year End Show, judges and officials plus the Annual Banquet site and food. Covid restrictions and show cancellations has made her job that much harder. Susan has served on the IEHJA board for ten years acting as treasurer for the entire time. Because she does such a good job, is honest and hard working the rest of the board will not let her change assignments! Susan has been involved in horse for “a really long time” riding as a junior and amateur and has 31 years’ experience as a trainer and coach. Being a board member allows her to give back to the equestrian community. Susan states “ IEHJA is the ultimate grass roots organization. By producing quality shows and opportunities we help launch new equestrians into the world of hunters and jumpers and offer competitive experience for county level exhibitors.

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Devynn Sibley
Chair By-laws and Rules and Co-Chair Social Media Committees
Devynn is serving her second two-year term on the IEHJA board. She is our youngest board member and brings a young rider perspective to the board. Devynn has risen through the ranks of junior and amateur rider competing from county level to “A” shows. She is an accomplished horsewoman and is always ready to help a fellow competitor. Devynn is a natural on the Social Media Committee because she “speaks Instagram” and knows how to navigate all social media platforms. She is the board’s go to person for posting on social media.  In complete contrast is her Chairmanship of the By-laws and Rules committee. This old school assignment requires thorough knowledge of USEF and USHJA rules for overall horse show guidance and intimate knowledge of the IEHJA By-laws and rules. Annually she reviews IEHJA’s by-laws and rules and prepares changes and updates for Board approval. She ensures that IEHJA members and show managers are aware of any changes via the Social Medial Committee. Devynn’s personal goals as an IEHJA board member include increasing the number of photos and other information posted on all media platforms, having more members tag IEHJA on their own Instagram posting, expanding the number of classes offered at IEHJA sanctioned horse shows and increasing association membership.

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Allie Sibley
Chair, Show Management Committee

Allie is not only the Chair of the Show Management Committee but is also mother of Devynn and team barn mom to many!  Allie is a “show parent” and knows what it takes to a fund horse and riders’ pursuit of ribbons . She knows the time and dedication it takes to become proficient rider and the impact it can have on the family. Its why Allie is an ardent supporter of IEHJA’s mission to provide horse shows that are “affordable, well regulated and judged”. Allie applies her horse show management knowledge to her committee duties: she inspects venues, reviews class schedules for compliance with IEHJA rules, provides forms to individual show managers, compiles the annual IEHJA show calendar, seeks out new shows to sanction, handles changed or conflicting show dates, complaints and many other administrative duties. She attends more horse shows than most and can always be seen cheering on Devynn and other IEHJA riders. Allies personal goal as an IEHJA board member is to increase the number, type, and venues of IEHJA sanction shows, expand the number of classes offered in sanctioned shows, encourage more participation in medal classes and expand IEHJA membership.

Now you have met our 2021-23 board of directors. The board invites you to visit our website at for complete association information. The board of directors welcomes your input, comments, and complaints. Also, barn and show photos can be uploaded to our site. Check out our show calendar and plan your next competition. Come join us!