Horse Feed Problem Important

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I have been a subscriber to the Horse Journal for a number of years, and it is my favorite horse publication. It’s always full of meaningful and well-researched information. I often subscribe to it for horse friends as Christmas gifts hoping they, too, will get hooked on Horse Journal.

The July 2008 issue was too good not to comment about. Dr. Eleanor Kellon’s articles and comments on the Purina feed problem should be read by every horse person whether you use Purina products or not. I thank her for doing a above-and-beyond excellent job.

Sheila Morgan
Morgan Farms Arabians
Via Internet

Corn Cobs

The June 2008 issue discussed health concerns with feeding corn and possible funguses in it. I was interested because I am looking into using extruded corn cobs as a bedding alternative. I am constantly trying to find a good alternative to wood shavings, but any savings is certainly not worth risking my horse’s health. Any information you could add would be appreciated.

Allyson Nutt
Missouri

Veterinary Editor’s Note: The Aspergillus flavus mold that can produce aflatoxins is able to grow on corn cobs. Aflatoxin is invisible and has no order. Unless the bedding is specifically tested for aflatoxin, we wouldn’t use it.

Fly Masks And Ears

After hearing that the June 2008 Horse Journal would contain a review of fly masks, I decided to wait until this issue arrived before replenishing my fly-mask supply. Although this article was helpful and informative, I was disappointed that you didn’t discuss what I feel is an important consideration: the fit of the ears.

I have owned, at one time or another, up to eight horses, of all different breeds. My main complaint with the different fly masks I have tried was that the tips of my horses’ ears were pulled down. If I loosened the throat strap enough to relieve the ear pressure, I would soon find the masks all around the pasture (with the straps still snugly attached).

I have written Farnam several times requesting they lengthen both the ears and the extremely short nose area of their Super Masks, but the company has never responded to me. I recently contacted the Cashel Company to ask about the length of their Crusader Fly Mask’s ears, and they responded immediately stating that they will do their best to accommodate any special needs I might have. Guess which company gets all my future business.

Sherrie Sidman
Virginia

Hoof Pick Strings

Your June 2008 story on hoof picks was helpful. I’d like to add a comment on ”strings” on hoof picks. I was using one of the soft-handle picks with the string loop. When my pony decided her hoof had to be flat on the ground that instant, the pick got caught on her hoof and the string somehow wrapped around the first joint of my pinky finger and dislocated it.

It was painful, and I spent three weeks in a splint. I have cut off all strings from my hoof picks, and I advise everyone else do the same.

Judi Medlin
Maine

CHA Certification

The June 2008 issue discussed instructor certification. One of the biggest organizations is the CHA Certified Horsemanship Association (www.cha-ahse.org, 800-724-1446). This organization isn’t just about knowledge but also rigorously examines their instructors on how safe they are. This organization has more instructors registered than any of the others mentioned, so I was surprised to not see it mentioned.

I am a master instructor and an assistant clinic instructor (I help certify other instructors). I’ve been in the position of not being able to afford certification, but the CHA makes it affordable and gives different levels so that a student knows the instructor’s level of experience.

The benefit of being certified far outweighs the cost. Maybe we need an in-depth article on certification, the different organizations, and the benefits to both rider and the instructor. With today’s sue-happy society, certification does more benefit than harm.

Cheryl West
Oregon