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Who needs insurance for their horse?

Who needs insurance for their horse? This is the question that I asked and insurance agent. What do you think he said?

I was expecting him to say “everyone” but to my surprise he didn’t.  His answer was, “If you can’t write a check to replace the horse, then you should consider insurance.”

Hum, this sounded a lot like the training I had received about insurance when I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class. And it was fairly similar to advice I have given over the years.

I have never, personally, insured a horse…but I have recommended that other people do. Why the difference?

The last person I helped walk through this decision was a lady who had been saving up to buy a really nice reining horse for several years. She purchased a horse that was ready to show for about $20,000. What she had purchased was a sane, sound and ready to show horse that had several years of training with a professional. She had also purchased a friendly, kind horse that was a joy to be around. Insurance would not be able to help her through the pain of losing her horse but it would give her the ability to purchase one trained to the same level again.

The most valuable horse I have personally owned was my stallion, Vaquero. I purchased him when he was three and he died at the age of six. I had considered insuring him but I chose not to. My reasoning was that I could not walk out and buy another one that was trained to his same level. If something were to happen to Vaquero then I knew I would be starting from scratch with another horse and would be investing years in training. Essentially, I could have insured him for his ‘raw’ value, the untrained value, but either way I was going to be putting in the time again.

I had no idea that I would lose Vaquero so young. He died in 2012 and I just now –almost -have a horse trained to that level again. Although I didn’t have insurance I did have the ‘next’ horse already standing in the barn, Newt. Insurance would have paid me for my time but nothing can help me know if the horse I am investing my time in will ever reach bridleless competition level.

Do I regret not having Vaquero insured? Yes…and no. The money would have helped pay for the vet bills that I ran up trying to save him and it would have given me the opportunity to possibly purchase another young prospect. But, there was one moment where I was very happy NOT to have insurance.

THE FOLLOWING is not a reason to skip insuring…but I do wish I had been more emotionally prepared.

When things were looking really bad for Vaquero and we were at the vets they have to try to tell you how bad it is. One of the ways they tell you is they will say, “Insurance company guidelines will allow…” and this makes sense. You don’t want vets declaring horses beyond saving…if they really aren’t. But when the vets told me that, had Vaquero been insured, the insurance company would have approved euthanizing…I remember feeling conflicted. There was a moment where I was glad that he wasn’t insured because I WANTED the feeling of loss and I didn’t want a feeling of gain. I didn’t want to wonder why I made the choice.

In hindsight this was a very emotional reaction at a very emotional time, but I am still thankful that I experienced it. I know I made the choice I would have made either way. Maybe in the future I will have an insured horse and will have to make the same decision again. I really hope I’m NEVER in that situation again though. Maybe it will benefit someone who reads this though. From my experience when the vets say it is this bad…it is bad.

The majority of horses that I have had in training over the years have not been insured. Do you have your horses insured? If so, what are they insured against?

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Vaquero after his second trip to the vet, just before his last trip to the vet.

Vaquero six months earlier.

For the rest of Vaquero’s blogs:

 
15 Comments

Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Life, Thought provoking, Video

 

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Not all who wander are lost.

Not all who wander are lost.

The quote seemed perfect for our adventure on the road.

 

 

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

After seeing the front of our motor home in a video, Sharon H. provided us with the above quote and told us, “The quote “not all who wander are lost” is from the Fellowship of the Rings by J R R Tolkien.”

I chose the quote after a friend gave me a necklace with it and when we moved into our motor home for this adventure it seemed appropriate to put it on the front.

We were in Maine for the end of October and beginning of November, stopped in Ohio for about a week and have just finished our stay at the NRHA Futurity. We are headed west, eventually to California, but with many stops along the way. If you see us, wave and take a photo to share with us on Facebook or here on the blog.

Yep, we are wandering…but we are not lost.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Life

 

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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!

 
4 Comments

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

 

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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 41-Why didn’t Stacy own Roxy? Or Jac?

Ever wondered why Stacy didn’t own Roxy? Or Jac?

Meet Greg, the man who took a risk and bought Roxy for the Westfall’s to train. Greg went from trail riding and camping to owning one of the most famous horses in the world. What was that like and how did it happen?

Listen for

  • The reason why Stacy & Jesse didn’t buy Roxy.
  • Why Stacy doesn’t have regrets
  • Why Greg kept buying Roxy a secret…(I love Jesse’s response to that one, “Well, it turned out OK.”)
  • The fact that Greg owns Roxy’s mother and full sister, two of Roxy’s daughters and Roxy’s granddaughter
  • How many foals did Roxy have?
  • Funny stories about owning Roxy….
  • What was it like owning a famous horse?
 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Video

 

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“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

During one of the Weaver Leather promos people were supposed to leave a comment on the Facebook page. One of the comments that made me laugh was:It's hard to beat a person who never gives up. Babe Ruth quote

What gives you so much determination? -Michelle L

I don’t really know the answer. I do know that some people call it determination, while others call it stubbornness….

I also know that I can see it in some people…but it doesn’t appear to be in every person.

I just spent the last few days at a horse show and there were definitely other determined people there.

What do you think makes someone determined? Is it an internal drive or an external drive in your opinion?

 
11 Comments

Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Life, Members Question, Thought provoking

 

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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 40- Freezing Jac’s semen for the future

Each horse is an individual and each one, like each person, has their own path. Deciding to collect and freeze semen from Jac is a process I have never been a part of before. When Greg (he owns Jac) and I were discussing the possibility there were many reasons to consider freezing;

  1. something could happen to Jac; unexpected death like Roxy
  2. the decision could be made to sell Jac; Jac’s older brother was sold and is overseas and  showing VERY well
  3. Jac could end up being gelded; then he could be turned out with more horses

Greg checked around and found the experts at Select Breeders Services Southwest Aubrey, Texas.

When we took Jac over to SBS everyone was great. Debbie McPherson and Sharon Miggans gave me a tour and answered all the questions I had for them. I was shown where Jac would stay, was questioned about his feeding and was also able to choose his exercise while he stayed there. They also showed me where the frozen semen is stored and explained the process from collection all the way to shipping to the mare owner.

One of my questions was ‘how long can the semen stay frozen for and still be used?’ The answer is that if it is stored properly…nearly unlimited time. I probably should have spent more time on their FAQ page as the answers to most of my questions can be fount there.

After my tour Debbie and Sharon introduced me to Patrick Rollins and the three surprised me by offering to go ahead and collect Jac!

I had accepted the idea that I was just going to drop Jac off and wouldn’t be able to see any of the process. To say that I was excited would be an understatement! The technology is amazing. The initial numbers with Jac looked good and since the video was made they have continued to collect and test. Select Breeders has now determined the best extender to freeze Jac’s semen in and they have collected enough to breed approximately 18 mares, someday in the future.

Jac stayed in Aubrey, Texas while we returned to Ohio. It was a bit strange leaving Jac but after completing our tour I was completely comfortable knowing he was in great hands.

 

 
33 Comments

Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Video

 

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“Not all who wander are lost.”

Not all who wander are lost. necklaceNo keys, no home, no problem!no keys

It took us about 24 hours to pack everything…apartment, barn, kids and horses all in one load.

Maybe someone living in an RV would be faster and I give them credit for that…but I think we should get bonus points for each kid (3) and each horses (6) that we have with us! For that reason I am still claiming the title of nomad.

nomad [noh-mad]

noun 1. a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place to place,usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to the state of thepasturage or food supply.

2.any wanderer; itinerant.
Just imagine how much stuff we could have fit if we had this truck!
Aaron ranch truck

Now that’s a big truck!

The current plan is to drive to Ohio where we will visit family and go to a horse show. Then onward to Pennsylvania for a month or so. More on that part of the trip later.
 
13 Comments

Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Life

 

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