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Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine • Since 1993
Idaho • Montana • Nevada • Oregon • Utah • Washington • Wyoming

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Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine
Distributed throughout the Greater Rockies Since 1993

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Copyright 2010 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

 

September 2010 Issue

 

     Our short summer is already waning. It’s late August as I write this, and the other evening, four large flocks of geese flew overhead about dusk, all headed in the same northeast direction. We remarked that they all seemed to be going to the same place and we wondered how they had communicated the message to each other to meet there!

     They called to each other, breaking from a large V into multiple Vs, the orange sunset light shining on their bellies.

     Although it’s hard to believe, the horses are shedding. It’s been in the 80s, but slightly longer hair has appeared on their sides, lightening their coats.

     The poor donkeys had a heck of a time shedding last winter’s long coats, and now, after a couple of weeks being summer slick, they are on the upswing of re-growth. They, of course, claim that the effort takes extra nutrition, and they frequently let me know this fact with loud, sorrowful foghorn voices.

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     This month, you will find a couple of biographies of inductees to the Montana Teamsters Hall of Fame. When I read that both men grew up on farms using horsepower, I reflected on how many such people I have heard of or had the honor of meeting in person since I started RMR in 1993.

     At that time, sure, I had known a few people who had grown up with working horses and mules, but I had no idea what a common experience it was to so many who were raised in the country.

     I’ve observed that there are two types of country kids — those, who on achieving adulthood, want nothing more than to leave agrarian life behind; and others who love rural life and want to remain on the home place and make it their vocation.

     Perhaps, there are also those people who would rather have stayed on the family farm or ranch, but circumstance led them into cities and terrain far away, and their motivating hope is to someday return.

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     My “galvanized stock tank experiment” has produced some interesting results. After using gray, Rubbermaid water tanks for years, scrubbing them once per week (or more in the summer), the thought occurred to me (Ding! Ding! Lightbulb-on moment!) that once the algae gets embedded in the porous, scratched plastic walls, you can’t get it out. It grows back immediately, with summer sun-warmed water providing the perfect environment to “cook” the slime.

     So I purchased two oblong, galvanized steel tanks. Yes, I was warned: “Don’t think you won’t get algae!”

     Here’s what I’ve discovered, so far. The only downside is these tanks are not as easy to tip over to dump out the water. I have to do a little baling.

     It’s quite easy to scrub them with my circa-1975 stiff horse brush. I can see when all the green stuff is gone. It takes six minutes of mild scrubbing to clean vs. 30 minutes of vigorous scrubbing with the plastic tank. I have only had to clean the tanks every two weeks, instead of weekly.

     The water stays cooler on a hot summer’s day; yes, the rim of the tank is hot, but while the water is not icy, it is also not reminiscent of a warm bath. I had thought the water would be hotter in a metal container, but its reflective properties may keep the contents cooler!

     “Well,” I’ve been told, “a steel tank won’t last as long as a plastic one!”

     Hey, if it saves me now in terms of length of time to clean and days between cleanings — it’s worth it to me!

Copyright 2010 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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Rocky Mountain Rider Magazine • Montana Owned & Operated 
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