Firefighters save horses from icy pond

One of the things I learned while being certified in Large Animal Rescue: Us horse owners are often more hindrance than help in a large animal emergency of the technical sort.

saveTake the dramatic rescue of two horses who fell through the ice recently:

Had the caring but unqualified owners tried to save them, horses and humans may not have made it.

But this local fire department had just trained in their ice rescue procedures. They had the equipment and the expertise to save them. Click for story and great gallery of photos.

Thankfully, the horses are doing fine now. (Even more heart-warming: these are therapy horses, used to help troubled adolescents.)

But not all horse-meets-icy-pond stories end this way. Three other horses recently drowned. Dr. Rebecca Gimenez offered this column, urging planning and precautions: Click here.

As owners, our most important tasks are to keep our animals safe with preventative measures (like fencing off the pond) and staying out of the way if and when expert help arrives.

Staying fit for you and your horse

farm fit1We’re active. Most of us horsemen and women get plenty of exercise just taking care of our barnful.

Hay tossing, water lugging, and riding add up to being Farm Fit.
Some may be Gym Fit, too, toning and sweating in a more formal setting.

Read about Farm Fit versus Gym Fit.

Over the decades, I’ve fallen squarely in the Farm Fit camp, supplementing horse work with rigorous walks with dogs and occasional sets of push ups and sit ups.
But the other day, it hurt just climbing into the saddle.

Something had to change.

Struggling with injuries and aging, I’ve started incorporating elements of Gym Fit into the routine. Core strength training and stretching in the form of Pilates and yoga classes at a nearby public recreation center, have become essential components.

A recent radio program spoke to this topic:

Dr. Jordan Metzl, author of “The Exercise Cure: A Doctor’s All-Natural, No-Pill Prescription for Better Health & Longer Life” said that after our 20s and 30s, we lose naturally muscle mass if we don’t exercise. Certain regimes like Pilates can help an aging frame.
trainingMetzl likes to consider exercise like anything else doctors might prescribe.  In fact, the New York sports medicine doctor calls exercise the most effective preventative medicine out there.

He said, “what if there were a drug to treat every illness, across all body systems, proven potent against heart disease, depression, arthritis, PMS and erectile dysfunction — even in chronic diseases such as asthma, dementia, and certain types of cancer? What if it had no side effects, was completely free, readily available, and worked for everyone? Every single person who took it decreased her risk of premature death and raised his quality of life. Would you want it?”
What do you think?
What works best for you?

ESMA voting now open!

NickerNews and BestHorsePractices have been nominated in two categories of this year’s global Equestrian Social Media Awards.

esma14NickerNews is up for Best Blog. (We were Best Blog finalists last year!)

BestHorsePractices is entered in the social media Newcomer category.

Together, the two sites have brought you hundreds of smart, lively posts on everything from clinic reviews to training tips to travel tales and horse humor.
Please vote!

Simply CLICK HERE, then scroll to No. 13 and No. 14. You will find BestHorsePractices and NickerNews in the respective DropDown menus.

Many, many thanks.

Choosy Horses Choose This Salt

Since we’ve partnered with Redmond Equine, many readers have received complimentary products like Redmond Rock salt.

redmond himiOne lucky Mainer used some simple experimentation to find out which one her horses preferred, Redmond Rock or Himalayan salt.
She writes:

“ I hung the Redmond Rock right next to one of the Himalayan rocks on a string to see how it would be received. It took a couple of days before it was chosen, but now seems to be the rock of choice.

I must confess that I also took a lick of it when I unpacked it. It is yummy! If you haven’t already, you should try it! I am hoping that this will be readily available in this area, but if not will place future orders direct with them.

The Himalayan salt has more than met its match.”

Good job with the evidence-based work!

It’s nice, too, that Redmond Rock is American-produced and doesn’t have to be shipped 8,000 miles from Pakistan. That makes it a more sustainable purchase, too.

Subscribe to our newsletter for a chance to win products like these.

Herd dynamics change with terrain

The horses’ new pasture is a stark contrast to their flat and fertile plot in Iowa. Here, it’s up and down and thick with juniper and scrub oak. Interestingly, their herd behavior has changed with the territory.

As sight lines have diminished, they’re sticking closer together. They form a tighter herd, especially at night.

In Iowa, when I tossed hay at Last Call (anywhere from 7 to 10 pm), I could hear them gallop towards me. Now, they pick their way tentatively up the hill.

Even with their deliberate pace, they’re pockmarked with scabs from being stuck with twigs as they navigate around their new quarters. Poor Shea, the big PMU girl (half-Belgian, half-quarter horse) is making the biggest adjustment, paying dearly for her relative clumsiness, and learning to step more nimbly.

I’m happy to report that Jolene, heretofore a follower and firmly rooted at the bottom of the pecking order, has excelled and become a leader of sorts. She’s agile, sure-footed, and seems to relish the terrain as well as this new leadership role. The others let her pick routes through the rocks and secondary growth and they follow thankfully.

Or so it seems.


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