Bulletin Board: 02/00

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Purina Mills Reorganizes
Purina Mills, Inc. is reorganizing under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, following a downturn in commodity prices and depressed agricultural markets.

The company said its operations and ingredient supply, including horse feeds, won’t be affected due to its reorganization.

The company has not been able to service the debt from its purchase in 1998 by Koch Industries, Inc., with which it hoped to develop a world-class agriculture business. Purina Mills now plans to become a stand-alone enterprise, and all of its operational functions will return to Purina Mills’ headquarters in St. Louis from Koch’s base in Wichita.

Purina Mills has a commitment for $50 million in financing from Chase Bank of Texas. The downturn occurred in the swine sector, and Purina Mills says that its other operations have had a positive cash flow.

Purina Mills is 105 years old and has 49 plants and 2,500 employees in the United States. It became a separate company from Ralston Purina about 10 years ago, although it still uses the familiar Ralston Purina checkerboard logo.

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Cattle For Horses
Gathering together a course of jumps for a grand prix course or setting up dressage rings looks easy when compared to collecting the 8,000 head of cattle needed for the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity that ran in Fort Worth, Texas, for two weeks in December.

The cattle were gathered at auction three months before the event and sorted for uniformity of size and temperament. They had to be healthy and sound and never worked on horseback before. They were provided by Eastern Livestock Company of Louisville, Ky., and mostly found in Oklahoma.

There were 1,000 entries for the event for previously unshown three-year-olds, which had a $2 million total purse in its 38th year. The NCHA holds 1,400 cutting shows a year, including a Derby in April and Super Stakes in July that each require 7,000 more cattle. The American Insurance Million Dollar Challenge guarantees $1 million to any horse winning all three events the same year.

The big winner at the futurity was Shania Cee, owned by Billy Cogdell of Tulia, Texas, and ridden by Shannon Hall of Minco, Okla. The mare scored 225.5 in the open division to take home the $200,000 prize.

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U.S. World Class Events
If you can’t get to Sydney, Australia, for the Olympics next fall, there still will be two major international events closer to home in 2000. The show jumping World Cup Finals, also called Budweiser World Cup, will be held in Las Vegas from April 19-23. The World Singles Driving Championship will be held Oct. 18-22 at Gladstone, N.J., where the World Pairs Championship was held in 1993 by the same organizing group.

For information on the World Cup, call Las Vegas Events, 702/260-8605; information on the driving championships can be found by calling Gladstone Equestrian Assocation, 908/234-0151.

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Radio Talk Show
You may now be able to hear a radio talk show devoted completely to horses. “The Horse Show with Rick Lamb” is carried by 58 stations around the country. Lamb records two one-hour segments a week that are usually heard on weekends.

Guests on the show include prominent horsemen from just about every equine field and have included Bob Avila, Valery Kanavy, Dr. Deb Bennett, Mary Wanless, Barbara Schulte, Max Gahwyler and Susan Sexton.

You can find out if a station near you carries the show by checking www.thehorseshow.com.

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Texas Equine Passport
Horse owners traveling between states in the southern Midwest may find it easier to carry a passport instead of veterinary papers. Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi have agreed to accept passports issued by one of those states for travel across state lines.

Passports are available through vets in those states, who have been mailed the necessary information by state authorities, including 4,000 vets in Texas alone. The passport will be valid for six months, instead of the previous 45 days needed for veterinary papers. An EIA test within the last six months must also be carried.

Only one equine may be listed on the passport, and permanent equine I.D. such as a tattoo, brand or microchip implant is required. Racehorses may not use the passport since they need a vet inspection within 45 days to enter a pari-mutual track in Texas.

The passport should be available early this year. For further information, contact the Texas Animal Heath Commission (800/550-8242).

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Olympic Selection Procedures
Anyone who’d like to find out how the U.S. Equestrian Team is selected for the 2000 Olympics can get a copy of the selection procedures by visiting www.uset.org or by calling the USET at 908/234-1251 or the AHSA at 606/258-2472.