Tag Archives: test

What tests and paperwork did you need when crossing state borders with horses?

“Hi Stacy! Since you have travelled all over the US, I feel like you’d be the best person to ask this:

I’m potentially moving out of state within the next couple of years and when I move my horses, I know that they’ll need to have Coggins testing done (some states require 1 year negative result). Where there other tests that you did with the horses? What is the process like when you cross the state borders? What kind of paperwork is needed and what were some of the pre-planning things you did (horse motels, etc) to ensure a smooth travel across the country? Thank you for your time! “Jess F.

a sample of horse papers needed for travel with horses

Proof of my horses health from around the country: health papers & Coggins tests.

Generally the two documents that are needed are a current Coggins test and current health papers. “Current” is actually defined by each state. In general it is considered current within a year but there are states that are exceptions, for example, one state requires the coggins to be within 6 months AND within the current year. Quirky.

But that is where your vet comes in.

When the vet writes the ‘health paper’ they will do a physical exam of the horse and get the address of where you are headed. They will call the state you are going to and double check that states requirements. The other great thing about this is that the vets are aware of any current health ‘issues’ that may be happening in certain areas. If there has been a recent outbreak of a disease some states may not allow you to travel to them. An example of this would be someone who wanted to travel from Texas to Kentucky during a time that Texas was having an outbreak in the area. Even if the horse that wishes to travel is not at a farm that is directly affected it is possible for the health paper to be denied. Inconvenient but understandable.

Some states, such as Florida and California, have inspection areas where they will check your paperwork. On our trip from Texas to Alabama the highway took us into Florida. Although we were not traveling ‘to’ Florida as our final destination they still checked our paperwork. Kentucky is a state where it is fairly common to be randomly pulled over and asked for your paperwork. Other states will do their inspections at events.

Sometimes I wonder what I should do with all of the paperwork I have accumulated. If I bound all my horsey travel papers together I could have a book. I am looking forward to the day when Global Vet Link or a similar service is wide spread but for now I will continue to carry my many colored pages. I’m glad you asked this question…it gave me another use for all these documents!

P.S.- Here is a link to a blog I did about finding horse motels too.

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Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Video


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Measuring educational maturity in horses.

What level of understanding does your horse have?When training horses I am always observing their level of maturity. Sometimes this is measured by the number of correct responses that they have to training situations but other times it is measured by their general demeanor. Horses, like people, mentally mature at different rates. It is tempting to measure a horses maturity by ‘testing’ their knowledge of physical cues and knowledge of physical cues is one level of maturity.

Take for example the horse in this photo. She is making one of my favorite mistakes. I say ‘mistake’ because in reality she is taking the cue very literally and she is not reading the rest of the situation. I am standing on her left side but I have the line attached to the right side of the bit. I have been asking her to do inside turns on the lunge line but I have left the line attached to only the right side of the bit. I am testing her maturity level.

At this point I have asked for inside turns, left, right, left, right, around twenty times. About eighty percent of the time she gets the answer correct and does inside turns because most of the cues are coming from my body position. When she is focused on my body she is able to determine that, although the rein is attached to the right side of the bit, the pressure can mean more than literally ‘turn right’. When she is distracted she makes the mistake of regressing to a lower level of training, as she is doing in this photo, and she tries to turn right.

Eventually with practice she will be able to ‘read between the lines’ and make consistently mature decisions. Decisions that are based on more that the literal translation of ‘pressure on the right side means turn right’ which is a good thing….because neck reining and many other advanced maneuvers require a higher level of maturity and an ability to ‘read between the lines.’





Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Thought provoking, Training


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Have you used a chiropractor or done acupuncture on your horse?

Chiropractor AcupunctureEveryone is unique, horse and human. When I go to a chiropractor they tell me, “Make an appointment for next week” but they tell my husband to make an appointment in a few months. I have tested this with several different chiropractors over the years and have come to the conclusion that my husband just doesn’t have the need for as much chiropractic work as I do.

I have used equine chiropractors because I see results with chiropractic myself. Does that mean that every horse is in need of chiropractic? Maybe not. Hopefully they have a spine that is more like my husbands and less like mine. I actually use a spin of what I learned from my human chiropractic experiences to evaluate my horse chiropractor; if they tell me all the horses have problems, I get suspicious.

My first and most dramatic experience with chiropractic happened when I was a teen. My mom’s horse had struggled with soundness issues, refused to take one lead and then took a turn for the worse one winter. He was very stiff almost to the point of refusing to move. My mom had several vets look at him and they all agreed it was arthritis and there was nothing that could be done. As a last resort my mom found an equine chiropractor (this was years ago when they weren’t common). After the first visit the horse TROTTED out of the barn…the same horse that was barely walking the day before. I have seen equine chiropractic make dramatic changes in a horse but the horse was dramatically lame. The major improvement was possible because there was a major problem.

Most of my horses don’t have major problems and I am using chiropractic for fine tuning or prevention. I have used acupuncture on my horse once and found some improvement. I am happy that my horses don’t have extreme issues but it does make it more difficult to evaluate the results.

Have you used chiropractic or acupuncture with your horse? Please share your story so we can all learn from it.




Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Life


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What you would recommend for de-icing walk ways for horses?

“I was wondering what you would recommend for those of us in cold weather states for de-icing walk ways for horses. My horse is stall boarded with turn in and out. The path between stall barn and pasture is concrete and ices up in the winter. I’m just curious what kinds of things people use that are safe for their feet.”-Becky G.snowy horse

I generally have used some form of dirt like sand, gravel. I had an indoor arena so I always had access to sand. The idea is that sand adds some grit and the dark color attracts the sun.

When I have been in a location and dirt wasn’t available I have used bedding from the horse trailer or a nearby stall to reduce slipping. It isn’t as pretty but the slightly dirty bedding often works better because it doesn’t blow away as easily. Also if there is moisture in the sawdust it will freeze to the ice which stops it from blowing away and gives it grip.

For places that I was just leading the horses I have used salt also. In theory we give horses salt blocks, so using a safe form of salt shouldn’t be a problem if the horse chose to eat some. You could talk with your farrier and see what his thoughts are concerning your horses feet. If the horse is being lead over the area vs. standing in salt all day I would guess the farrier would view it differently.

I have also known people who put something down before the area ices up such as hay, straw or gravel. The idea is that when the surface freezes the texture or lack of smooth surface will provide some grip.

Whichever method you use be sure to test it with your own feet. Sometimes adding something on top of ice, like straw for example, actually makes it MORE slippery.


Posted by on December 5, 2014 in Members Question


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Is my horse deaf or does he have ‘selective hearing’? Have you ever encountered a deaf horse?

“Stacy, I also have a 11 year-old deaf child, however he is of the ‘four-legged’ kind. I have had my 11 yr old APHA gelding for 3 years now and I’m still discovering to what extent he is ‘deaf’. I write that with emphasis because he too is subject to the rumor that he is deaf. The previous owners were NOT horse people but WERE animal lovers and took him in from a family member that had to move across state and could not keep him. The ‘not-so-horsey’ owners were trying to place him and warn me that he was deaf. I took him in for his forever home. Many people I have met since that new him and his original owners, have told me they ‘heard’ he was ‘deaf’ also. I have been riding for almost 10 years and encountered many horses with ‘selective hearing’. In the last 3 years I have learned that he is of the ‘selective hearing’. With questionable consistencies in the history of his training he is more responsive to visual and physical cues than vocal commands, but he does ‘hear’ some things. I learn ASL in an after school club at my high school and have considered brushing off my signing skills to help further his training. Tell me, have you ever encountered a deaf horse? or know of any one that has had experience in training one?-Kristen”

I have seen both horses with ‘selective hearing’ and those that are deaf. Most horses who choose to ignore some cues, like ‘Whoa’, will often give themselves away with listening to other cues, like a verbal cluck or kiss to ‘Go’. Popcorn, the horse I trained during the 2006 Road to the Horse Colt starting competition was very much like this. Months into his training he seemed deaf to the word Whoa. He would stop off the bridle reins and leg/seat cues but he completely ignored ‘Whoa’. I often joked that he could pretend very well that he was deaf….except that when I ‘kissed’ to ask for a lope, he took off like a race horse!

It was also obvious that he heard other noises;shake the grain bucket, crack a whip, etc and he could hear it even if the noise was coming from around a corner where he couldn’t see the noise maker. Deaf horses don’t do that.Gunner

Consider the following excerpt from The Quarter Horse News:

 “Although it’s rare among horses as a whole, deafness has become more frequent in the reining arena as Gunner’s descendants and relations show off their talent. Trainers who have ridden them say their schooling just requires a bit of creativity. A horse that can’t hear “whoa” needs to learn different cues than a hearing horse.

But the desire for a talented reining horse seems to outweigh the challenges of dealing with deafness. Gunner stands to a full book every year at a $7,500 fee, and mare owners are well aware of the chances of getting a deaf foal.” for full article click here


I have never trained a deaf horse but I have spoken with many trainers that have. As the article above made note of there has been a definite increase in the number of deaf horses in the reining events. Most of the trainers also agree that there are just some adjustments that need to be made when you are riding or training these horses.

Personally, I have been joking for several years about finding a deaf Gunner bred horse that wasn’t quite making it as a reiner…I would like to try one out as a mounted shooting horse!


Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Members Question, Thought provoking, Video


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How to potty train a horse…as well as why, pros and cons

Following my blog ‘Can horses be ‘potty trained’ I would have to say that several things are apparent. First is the clear fact that some horses are naturally clean

Some horses are naturally clean...others are messy in their stalls.

Some horses are naturally clean…others are messy in their stalls.

which is different than being ‘trained’. My guess would be that these naturally clean horse would be easier to train…but I haven’t done it so I am just guessing.

On the training side of things it seems that the answer is clear; YES, many horses can be potty trained! Possibly my favorite comment from came from Candi M. who said: OK!!! Enough!!! Any of these potty trained ones FOR SALE?????? Lol

Who potty trains a horse?

I guess it makes sense that celebrity horses might need to be trained. Deborah W reports that Roy Rogers had Trigger house broke according to his old blogs and interviews. Many of you also reported that the therapy minis are also ‘housebroke.’

I personally knew someone years ago that had a background in Standardbred racehorses. She told me that they trained all of the horses to urinate when someone whistled. Racehorses are frequently drug tested and everyone in the barn was told to whistle when they saw a horse urinating…and she reported that it generally worked. I found the story slightly interesting at the time but it didn’t really impact me. If I had known it could be connected to a cleaner stall….I would have paid more attention! Several comments confirm this idea:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 7.54.25 PMProfessional Equine Grooms My horses urinate with a whistle, this makes for more comfortable rides for them, and easy drug testing at shows!

Tohni R. They whistle at the racetrack whenever a horse pees, then at the winners barn they whistle and the horse pees for their test.

Kelly B My mom trained her horse to pee when she whistled “Old McDonald”. She would just whistle every time she saw him peeing and pretty soon he started to stretch out and pee if she would whistle that tune. It worked really well for competitive trail rides.

Gayla L I have taught all my horses to pee on command. It was very easy to do, every time they would start peeing I would start whistling, then rewarded them with a treat. I did this over a weeks time I’d catch them peeing, I’d whistle. Soon all I’d have to do is whistle and they would pee. Even my friends horses were catching on to the whistling. They would all stop and start peeing when I whistled!

Other people just had a great idea:

Susan S I’ve been potty training mine for years now, ppl not only made fun of me, they thought it couldn’t be done! I’m loving this more than anyone will ever know I worried that they may hold it for too long being so loyal to this although after about 8 hours , they will go if I’m not there to take them outside the barn to relieve themselves! My biggest amazement was my yearling, he was actually the easiest and picked up on each command as I noted in an earlier post ! In actuality , they are easier to train than a dog as with canine , it takes weeks, with equine, it’s literally overnight at the first stage of getting on top of their cycle! I have dry stalls and loving it!

How to potty train a horse:

Upon reading all of the comments on the blog and Facebook there seems to be a theme on how to potty train a horse. These seem to fall into three categories; comfort, reward, habit.

Many horses dislike urine splashing on their legs. Many of us would likely report what Wendy S did: “I have a mare that comes in from the pasture to use the bathroom in her stall like it’s her own private bathroom. Her daughter does the same thing!! Drives me crazy!”

My guess is that these horses are avoiding the ‘splash’ they get on the hard packed ground. During our stay in one location Newt didn’t like the ‘splash’ from the hard packed turn out and would predictably go when he entered the deep sand of the riding arena (yes…I’m getting ideas here…)

Several people reported taking advantage of this natural tendency and used it in their training.

Donna C I put mat in her spot and she would move down so not to get it on her legs. She was at the end on paddock in 6 weeks

Melinda G. I have a welsh pony that is potty trained. I use her for school presentations and recently she was in a play (walked on stage during the show). She doesn’t like her “potty” splashing on her legs. A deeply bedded stall and horse trailer do the trick. It didn’t take long to teach her and its been quite handy.

Erin H. The miniature horses I work with are trained to go in shavings or wood chips, all you have to do is tell them to go potty and stand and wait for a little while. Then they get a bite of grass once they go!

Anita S. I put shavings in one spot where I would prefer horses pee…..and they do only on shavings…no splash. I find when training clean all of stall but one where you prefer poop. Always leave a few apples in that spot. Pretty soon that is only place in stall my horse poops. Clean regularly….so no scatter and bingo. Potty trained horse.

Which leads to the next topic: habit

Tobi B- Stallions are easy to potty train. We will put a pile of mares poop in the stall where ever we want him to poop once he smells this he will continue to poop on that exact spot and will continue to after getting gelded its awesome and makes life so much easier

Lori S- Ya! I just kept putting a small portion of the wet and soiled shavings in a pile outside his stall where I wanted him to go. I sprinkled “Sweet PDZ” on the old area to eliminate the smell. He started to go outside on the pile I had made. Now I can totally strip it out and he returns right to the “correct spot” time after time. Not to say we have an accidental poop about once in awhile, but that is usually when he is excited thinking its dinner time and I don’t feed him within 30 min or so.

Brenda When my boy was young I took some of my mare’s manure to a corner of his stall. He sniffed it as is predictable. But by consistently doing this, he began to target and pile his in that corner. It worked so easily that I did the same in the mare’s stall with my boy’s manure. It worked for her too!

Jeanna N You can train a stall kept horse to use 1 corner in their stall. It makes for an easy clean up!

If you have other horses swap poo or pee, & place it in 1 corner of the other horse’s stall. If you have turnout pens you can also use this technique in those.

Why break your back siftin’ through every inch of shavin’s when it could be as easy as maybe a 5min. job per stall or pen?

And finally REWARD seems to be a big key…and who wouldn’t reward a horse that knew how to keep a stall clean!

Some horses are naturally clean in their stalls...

Some horses are naturally clean in their stalls…

Linda S. It can be done! My gelding will pee and poop in a bucket. He shows me he has to go and waits for the bucket. My mare has learned to do her business in one corner most of the time now. She used to turn her stall into a mess, not anymore! You just have to spend time with them and offer cookie motivation for good performance!

Wendee W My guys go outside. I trained them by sending them out if they started going inside. Lots of praise and a peppermint when they go out. They are whistle trained to go pee before riding and getting in the trailer. It took a few peppermints, a soft spot, praise and patience.

Linda S Fortunately my horse that I bought last October does not poop in his stall. But I also did not want him to pee in it either. He has a 100 foot run out the back of his stall. So the first week I bought him and when I would take him back to his stall, I would walk him to the opening to his run, and I would say to him, “Go potty” and I would send him out to an area that has deeper sandy dirt. At first he would run out there and immediately turn around and come right back to me. But I would send him right back out and again say, “Go potty”. He would stand there and stare at me and I kept repeating my command. Pretty soon he would start to stretch out and soon he would drop and go pee. I would say, “Good boy”!! Then as soon as he came back to me I have him a piece of carrot. Now he does his pee out there in that spot all the time and not one single time has he peed in his stall. I have on occasion told him to “Go potty” when he was out in the arena but that may have just been a coincidence.

The down sides to potty trained horses (unbelievable that there are any but…)

Tracy B Considering I just had to take my mare “potty” yep they can be trained. I just take her out and say “go potty” and she does! She came that way however. Her previous owners were in their 70s and didn’t like cleaning stalls. She will poop but NEVER pee. I’m not excited though because if she is up all day I have to go out and walk her or she gets uncomfortable

Abby D.My gelding was a stinker when it came to messing his stall, so I took a stab at training him to poop in the back right corner of his stall by piling all the manure I had to pick out of his stall right where I wanted it. It took a while, but now he poops AND pees in that corner! It’s so easy! However, when we went to State Fair this year, since the stall was unfamiliar he made huge messes. Once we got back home, though, he went right back to his poop corner I don’t know if it has something to do with his smell or what, but I wish it’d work in unfamiliar stalls too!

The only thing I think this really lacks is a video! So, to all of you out there who have potty trained horses; POST VIDEOS PLEASE!


Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Members Question, Thought provoking, Training


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Foals, colostrum, snap blood test: Stacy’s visit to Last Chance Corral

Did you know that when a foal is born it has no antibodies to fight infection? Human babies get antibodies through the placenta. Horse babies don’t.

A foal must nurse to receive antibodies and there is a short time frame in which it must be done.

The mare produces colostrum once during pregnancy; just before she foals. Colostrum is thick and contains immunoglobulins that were concentrated from the mares bloodstream. Within 24 hours of giving birth the milk will change to white.

The foal can only absorb the immunoglobulins from the milk within the first 24 hours. By the end of the 24 hours the foals digestive tract has changed and can no longer absorb colostrum.

Last Chance Corral takes a filly to OSU IgG

Foal receiving an emergency blood plasma transfusion.

While I was visiting Last Chance Corral one of the foals was lethargic and the staff was concerned he may not have received the much needed colostrum. To test the level of antibodies in his blood a snap test is performed. They asked me if I had ever done one….

I don’t like blood.

I had not done a snap test but I do like learning. I can draw blood and do many things to keep my horses safe and healthy…I don’t like blood. As evidence of how crummy this foal is feeling watch how quietly he stands before, during and after I draw the blood.

Thankfully this little guy had received what he needed. Unfortunately the foal in this photo taken at OSU vet hospital had not. She can be seen here receiving an emergency blood plasma transfusion.


For more information on this check out these websites. IDEXX

Cornell website link to article on snap test


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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Life, Video


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