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Copyright 2009 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

December 2009 Issue

 

     Does anyone out there own an “easy keeper”? Or, maybe, more than one? Every equine I own seems to do exceptionally well on the rations I give them. The hardest thing on me is to limit the quantity, since I literally have to hear about it — especially from the foghorn donkeys, who honk and complain loudly, as though they have been deprived of feed for a week, instead of just since breakfast!

     I attended an excellent lecture last week at the Equine Seminar presented by the Montana Farm Bureau’s State Convention. Dr. John W. Schilpf, DVM, from Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine spoke on Equine Metabolic Syndrome, a condition where horses become insulin resistant from getting too much sugar in their diet, as well as not enough exercise.

     Where have I heard that before? Diet & exercise? Perhaps, from my own doctor who, at the time, was addressing my metabolic needs!

     Sugar that effects equines comes from grasses and grains, and as anyone with a horse prone to grass founder knows, it’s very risky to turn out that horse onto grass of any kind. I am now waiting for my hay field to turn almost completely brown before letting any critters out to graze.

     Easy keepers only need two to three hours of grazing a couple of times per day to meet their nutritional requirements. They also thrive on exercise!

     From the pocketbook side of things, easy-keepers can get by on less feed than naturally-ribby individuals. However, as much as they don’t need it, I have a hard time restricting my critters from getting an extra flake of hay.

 

     As I write this, we are heading into the Thanksgiving–Christmas–New Year’s holiday season. Unbelievable as it may seem, in the past week, I have talked to a couple of people who told me they are in the process of “getting ready for winter.”

     Getting ready?? In November!! Yikes! And they make it sound as if they are well ahead of the game. If I don’t start getting ready for winter during the warmer months, my anxiety increases tremendously. And, I suppose, it could be argued that people like ranchers are spending every month that isn’t winter, getting ready for winter!

 

      I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Horses are so much better for kids than computer games, television, or any other pursuit of basic inertia. Horses promote healthy outdoor activity, responsibility, friendship, and compassion toward other living creatures.

     That’s why we are so excited about this year’s group of photos in our annual “Kids & Horses” Photo Album! We want to thank everyone who submitted photos to us. The images are fantastic — from the laughing faces of kids tickled crazy to the intense faces of competitors to the serene faces of kids enjoying the best sport in the world! Horseback riding!

     Since we are limited on the number of pages we can print, we have included many more pages of photos online at our website. Please visit and take a look at ALL of the kids and their trusty mounts at rockymountainrider.com.

 

      From the staff at RMR, we hope you are ready for winter, and have plenty of hay in the barn, firewood in the shed, meat in the freezer — and, of course, plenty of friends and family to keep you company this holiday season.

      Stay safe and warm and we’ll see you in 2010!! (Can you believe it? 2010?)

 

Copyright 2009 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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