Letters: 06/01

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Jumps USA Discusses Homemade Jumps
I am a veterinarian, competitor in horse jumping and a partner in Jumps USA International, a manufacturer of horse jumps. It was with great alarm that I read your April article on how to build your own jumps using a collection of discarded materials.

Horse riding is associated with a certain amount of danger. In the past, Horse Journal has gone to great lengths to help educate readers regarding the safety of sprays, shampoos, herbal remedies, etc. Besides the need to transform your jumping field into a junkyard as per the photos, why would the use of homemade jumps (nailed together) not merit at least the same concern for the safety of the rider and horse'

Why do some of the best riders in the world select Jumps USA for their use' For the best and most important reason — safety! I can only assume that when your article warned against the use of a PVC rail as a top rail that you were referring to the type of plumbing PVC pipes that can be bought from a building-supply company.

Your readers look to your articles for advice. They deserve articles that are better researched. I certainly hope that in future issues we will not read instructions on how to save money by transforming discarded old water buckets into safe jumping helmets.

-Michael H. Braun, DVM
Vice President Jumps USA

Horse Journal has always stressed safety first in our recommendations, including in the homemade schooling fences article. Homemade jumps aren’t a new concept, but we doubt anyone would go through the effort involved to make their own jumps if they could afford prefabricated PVC jumps. Jumps USA’s small-ring package (eight jumps, including three gates and a wall) costs $2,729, plus shipping. The Jumps USA products are lovely, but the prices are beyond the reach of many of us.

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Tying Horses’ Heads
The caution you made against tying horses’ heads too high when trailering (Letters, February 2001) was a good one. Tying the head too high prevents horses from clearing their nostrils of dust and particles (which could contribute to respiratory problems), may contribute to choke, and in my opinion, probably tires the horse and hinders his ability to balance while the trailer is moving.

I haul horses cross-country several times a year, and I have found that clipping the lead rope to the upper halter ring (next to the eye) allows the horse to lower his head without leaving a long length of rope for him to get tangled in. I have seen commercial shippers who do this as well. If the halter fits properly there should be no problems with the horse pulling it over his head, and I would also recommend that the lead rope be tied to a single loop of twine, rather than directly to the trailer, that will break in case of emergency.

-Maria Danz
Duluth, MN

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Applauds Dr. Kellon
Congratulations to Dr. Eleanor Kellon and Horse Journal on her brilliant article on gastric ulcers (see October 2000). At the end of February, we scoped 40 horses. We then divided them into four groups, and each group was put on different medication including U-Gard. I think the results will be interesting when they are re-scoped.

And, as usual, your article on herbal alternatives to bute (January 2000) was brilliant, down-to-earth and marvelous in its simplicity.

-Michael W. Dickinson
Tapeta Farm, North East, MD