Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Smart Horse Keeping Consultation

Mission Statement:

It is my belief that all horses deserve to be treated equally. They deserve the best possible care that their owner/barn manager can give them: a full belly of good quality hay and feed, shelter and fresh water. They should have access to farrier and veterinary care. And they should be treated kindly by their owner and handlers. For a human to do all this, they need to be educated. Having co-founded and operated a non-profit horse rescue, I realize that too many horses end up in bad situations because of uneducated horse owners. All too often, horses end up being neglected, starved, abused or in the slaughter house, because their human didn’t know any better. They buy the wrong horse or they don’t know how to care for it properly, and in frustration, they “dump” the horse, sometimes to a situation even worse. Or sometimes, because of a lack of education, the horse becomes ill and sometimes they die. My belief is that an educated owner makes for a healthy and happy horse!

Who I Am:

I was born into a family that owned horses, so I grew up being exposed to horses my whole life. My grandfather owned horses and boarded broodmares on his farm outside of Pittsburgh, and I learned a lot from him and his clients. I could never afford to board my horse at full service stables, so I learned to care for my horse myself. I learned from experienced horsemen, attended lectures and clinics, took classes and mainly, I observed. I have been involved with the United States Pony Club, as a parent, a District Commissioner and as a regional volunteer.

As the co-founder of a horse rescue, I expanded my knowledge even more, learning to rehabilitate and care for abused, starved and neglected horses.

As a competitor, I learned from many professionals to properly care for the athletic horse. Being an eventer, it is even more vital to get the most of my horse, by means of proper nutrition, conditioning and dedicated horse and stable management.

My philosophy has always been that the well-being of the horse comes first, and that it is possible to do so, on a budget, without sacrificing the quality of care.

What I Can Do For The Horse and/or Stable Owner:

By incorporating my philosophy and mission statement, I will come to your farm and evaluate your practices (see list below). I will then write up a stable management plan, which will help you identify areas that need improving. I am able to consult with a feed nutritionist and a Professional Engineer (fire safety), as well as other professionals as needed. After I have devised a stable management plan for you, I will present my findings to you, with solutions. My stable management plan can be tailored for the small back yard horse owner or for large boarding, breeding and training facilities.

Services Available:

Stable Management Consultation:

I will inspect your farm for the following:

·         Horse management practices

·         Poisonous plants

·         Quality of feed and hay

·         Storage facilities for hay and feed

·         Bedding

·         Manure disposal

·         Pasture management, including fencing inspection and weed control

·         Fire safety

·         Farrier/Veterinary protocols

·         Parasite and rodent control

After I inspect your farm, I will write you a Horse Management Plan, which will detail areas that you can improve on. For example, many horse owners do not know how to identify poisonous plants on their property or how to properly bed a stall. Some horse owners don’t know the correct feed to buy or will feed moldy hay. I will identify areas that need to be improved upon and give tips on how to do so.

This is ideal for the new horse and/or farm owner who needs to learn how to properly care for their horse. Additionally, the boarding barn owner/manager, will benefit from this consultation, to learn how to get the most out of their dollar, without sacrificing quality care.

Fee: $125 for 1-6 horses/stalls   $150 for 7-12 horses/stalls   $200 for over 12 horses/stalls


Emergency Planning Consultation:

Custom emergency plan for hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and wild fires. Based upon where your farm is located, I will develop a plan for dealing with emergencies. This includes evacuation plans and safety tips.

This is ideal for all horse owners and boarding/training/showing facilities.

Fee: $50 with Horse Management Consult; $100 without Horse Management Consult

Quarantine Guidelines:

I will help you develop and implement a quarantine plan for one horse or multiple horses. Whether introducing a new horse into your herd, hosting events or dealing with sick horses, all barns should have a quarantine plan in effect.

Fee: $50 with Horse Management Consult; $100 without Horse Management Consult

Nutrition Consultation:

Whether your horse is a pleasure mount, retiree or competitive show horse, I can help you come up with a sound feeding plan that will help you get the most of your money, while giving your horse the best nutrition. If you own or board multiple horses, I will show you how to provide for each horse’s individual nutrition requirements.

Fee: $50 with Horse Management Consult; $100 without Horse Management Consult

Two or more specialty consults, in addition to the Horse Management Consult: $40 each

Sales Consultation:

Designed for the new horse owner, I will assist you in locating that perfect first horse. Unfortunately, the equine industry is full of unscrupulous people, who will take advantage of first time horse buyers. It is not uncommon for horses to be drugged to mask their true tendencies, making them appear safe and calm when in reality they are not. Lame horses may be drugged to make them appear sound. It is not uncommon for a first time horse owner to purchase a horse based upon his looks or breed or even color, instead of his temperament! I will help you make the right choice.

Fee: 15% of purchase fee or $150 if no horse purchased

These fees are for the Orlando area, extending north to Ocala and south to Tampa, as well as both directions east and west to the coast. For areas beyond this, the fees will be slightly higher, to take into account gas and travel time.

I am available to speak about Smart Horse Keeping to your club or group!

Contact Lori at 407-435-2407

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Calypso Farm's New Venture

Some of  you may know that a month ago, I was laid off from my job as a Certified Chiropractic Assistant. It was a low blow, as I had no idea it was coming.
Since then, I have applied to over 100 openings, and the only ones I hear back from are scams. How do I know that they are scams? Well, by now, I am pretty much adept at identifying them. If they are on Craig's List, they are more readily obvious, but they appear on more legit sights like Indeed and Monster. First off, the salary is a good giveaway..if it appears too good to be true, it is. But the clever scammers go into great detail about the opening, keeping the salary more in range. You don't know it is a scam until you receive an email that either 1) wants you to go to their website for further information, 2) needs your credit information or 3) starts off by saying that they are away in another country on a business trip, however, after reviewing your application, they are pretty confident that you are the right match for their company and they want you to begin employment right away.
Deep sigh here. It is pretty depressing.
So until I start playing the lottery and win big, or an unknown relative dies and leaves me their fortune, I need to get pretty creative to support Tucker and Imp.
First, I have become a Sales Rep for MDs Choice. They are the makers of the joint supplement that I have used for years. Go to their testimonial page and we are their first one.
It is strictly commission, they haven't been around in Florida for a few years, so this means I have to continue getting creative.
I have decided to start heading to the horse shows as a vendor. Not only as a rep for Gluquestrian and their human and canine joint supplements, but also, to tap into my creativeness. While in Atlanta, visiting my son and his girlfriend over Memorial Day weekend, I happened upon a cute boutique that sold tile coasters that had images of Atlanta on them. Hmmm..I can do these, was my first impression. And so I have, incorporating my own photos of horses, wildlife, the Georgia mountains and eventually, scenes around Winter Park and Orlando.

Sample of wildlife and Ga. mountains

Sample of horses

Not photos, but from notecards. And a large trivet

Next, I am applying the same technique to make custom stall name plates and brushes....geesh, why didn't I think of this years ago?
Sample stall name plate, Made of slate
No more losing your brush at the barn! Can be customized with name and color

And, my final offering at horseshows will be my fudge. Chocolate. Fudge. Incredibly fantastic fudge, if I do say so myself!
I have been making fudge at Christmas for years. People love it, they ask for it (my farrier threatened to kidnap my horses until I made him more) and they tell me I should sell it. This is my grandmother's recipe. It is pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.
I had a trial run last weekend at our Equine Education Day. I made fudge and coasters for our guest speakers. The feedback has been pretty encouraging. I actually have orders for both!
There is also one more area that I am exploring. I have another blog,
I write about how to best care for your horse without sacrificing quality. I have had several inquiries about consulting at farms. My inquiries have come from new farm/horse owners who need help in setting up their facility, learning how to feed and care for their horses and more. So, I am in the process of writing up a plan. I want to consult on barn safety, pasture management, nutrition, emergency planning, quarantine guidelines and aiding in the purchase of the first time horse. It is pretty exciting for me, I should have thought about it a long time ago. Is there a market for such a consultant? I will find out and report back! I think there should be, judging by some of the farms I drive by and people I meet. We'll see!
So starting next month, I will start heading out to shows to market my wares. I won't get rich, but I will be my own boss and hopefully, support those four legged money eating machines.

Friday, June 1, 2012

No Winter = A Buggy Summer

Summer sore & swelling

Unlike the last two winters, when we broke record after record with extreme cold, the winter of 2011-2012 was relatively mild. So mild, that in April, I made a comment about how nice it was that we were actually having a spring in Florida, rather than going straight from winter to summer...then I realized that pretty much all of our winter was really just an early spring!
I like the cold and I really felt cheated that we didn't have too many cold days. I hate our summer and the winter is a much needed reprieve for my body and soul. And in nature, the cold is beneficial in that it kills off many of the fly, mosquito, no-see-ums, fleas and tick populations.
A mild winter means that the bug population is going to be especially wicked this year. Despite using both Frontline and Preventic tick collars, we are finding little ticks on our dogs. The fly population at the barn is horrendous. Now that we seem to be getting back to our daily deluge of afternoon storms, I am sure the mosquito population will be making the news with West Nile Fever, and EEE cases.
These all spell trouble for Tucker and his allergies. For the last 2 years, I have managed to micro-manage his skin issues, reducing his "allergy season" from 6-7 months to about 6-8 weeks. Not perfect, but pretty damn good. And he does look good. Other than some sores on his face, which would be non-existent if he would leave the fly mask on, and some sores that pop up from time to time on the mid-line, overall, he is doing pretty well, especially compared to years past:
The Hilton Herbs Bye Bye Itch lotion and supplement are still working its magic. His tail looks amazing and the hives are still gone. We flip flop on the mid-line though. It definitely is not as bad as has gotten.
Summer Sore

He still gets the crusty sores on his legs, like the one which turned into the habronema from hell. They heal in a day or 2. But one did not, and for the last month, I have been doing everything possible to keep it from turning into another habronema. This week it really got out of control. Just like before, it would start to heal, then Tucker would lose the fly boot, the flies get at it, he rubs it and then it is a bloody mess.

Heather, my Cavalor feed rep, saw photos I posted on facebook and was so kind to come to my barn that evening, bringing with her lots of goodies from Kentucky Horse Wear, which is another company she reps. She had been wanting to come by and see how their products fit on Tucker anyhow, and this provided the perfect opportunity.
My absolute favorite product is the tendon grip:
It is a cotton, elasticated tubular bandage, which comes in a 5 yard roll. You cut it to the length you desire and pull it on over the horse's hoof. It goes on about as easy as a pull on bell boot, which means that a bit of an effort is needed, especially over a hoof Tucker's size, but it was pretty quick to pull on. Once over the hoof, pull it up high and then pull it down over the leg.
Tendon Grips
These have been another miracle! I leave these on Tucker 24/7. They are meant to go under galloping boots to prevent rubbing, so you can certainly ride in them. They are washable and reusable too, so a 5 yard roll is going to last pretty long. After putting them on, I put Tucker's fly boots on over them. For the most part, they stay pretty well in place. At night, when he is turned out and he is rolling and laying down, there is more slipping, and I have found them rolled down above his coronet band, but there is enough give in them that there are no worries of them doing any harm. During the day, when he is in his stall, there has been very little slipping. They are breathable, so the leg doesn't get hot in them, yet flies cannot penetrate them.
Heather also left these:
Bettina Hoy developed these. I used them on Tucker over the grips, while in his stall for the day. They are like a stable bandage, but are applied like a shipping boot. They are very well made, the only suggestion I would make would be to make the velcro longer for the big fellas! There seemed to be a bit of reduction in the swelling from the cellulitis that the sore has caused. However, his legs were a bit hot, as any stable bandages would cause this time of year. I would not hesitate to use them again, but in the heat, would not leave them on all day.
So after trying the grips, I have to say, these are a product that no tack room should be without. They have so many purposes! I have already shown them to my vet and one of his techs, as well as mentioned them to a local tack store owner.
Now if only someone would invent a fly mask that stays on!