Letters: 11/02

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Helpful Recommendations
I’ve subscribed to your magazine for several years now and have found many of your articles informative and helpful, especially the July 2002 article on the use of magnesium supplements for nervous horses.

I own a large Tennessee Walker who has some trouble adjusting to new situations — a wheelbarrow in the aisle outside his stall, noisy vehicles on the blacktop road we have to use to get to the trails, the noise from a chainsaw. His reaction has been to snort, throw his head up in the air and back up.

Even sacking him out in the round pen didn’t help him adjust to new occurrences in his environment. If something changed around him, he reacted. He has never bolted under saddle with me, but his behavior can be unsettling.

After reading your article, I decided to try Quiessence. After one week, he was much quieter both in the barn and on the trails. After two weeks, I took him on our first overnight clinic. He had no trouble adjusting to a new stall and the large exhaust fans in the indoor arena only bothered him slightly and only for a few minutes. We were able to enjoy the clinic without incident.

While no one product can serve as a “cure-all” for every nervous or spooky horse, Quiessence has certainly helped my horse handle new situations without resorting to his inappropriate behavior. I like the fact that it is a natural supplement and not a drug. I feel safe using it, and the minimal daily cost certainly makes it affordable for long-term use.

I also found the August editorial on saddle fit timely. One of the things I learned at the clinic was that, although my saddle fit my horse’s back and felt comfortable to me, it wasn’t distributing my weight over a large enough portion of his back and he was uncomfortable.

A lighter rider would have been fine with this saddle, but it was not for me to use. Everyone who puts a saddle on a horse’s back should read this editorial and check out how the saddle fits the combination of horse and rider.

-Anne T. Barnett
New Jersey

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Mystery Lameness
The letter in the August issue about Ed, the horse with the chronic lameness, rang an old bell in my mind. I used to gallop a successful Quarter Horse racehorse who had a chronic mystery lameness that moved from shoulder to knee to hock to other joints for no apparent reason. After numerous negative X-rays, the diagnosis was “bursitis.” On a hunch, one of our vets tested this horse. It came back positive for brucellosis.

In the ensuing 28 years, I’ve come across five horses with similar symptoms. Four horses were tested with three positive.

Incidentally, although the Quarter Horse’s racing career was ended by the disease, he did go on to a long and happy life as a show horse and breeding stallion. To our knowledge, he never transmitted the disease to another horse or person.

-N. Kirkpatrick
New Mexico

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Rain Rot Traced To Brushes
I read the rain-rot question and answer in your June 2002 issue. I had a number of horses come into my barn with the same problem. Most were nutritionally deficient and poorly cared for. However, a couple of show horses had rain rot and scratches that wouldn’t clear up. After examining all we were doing, we wondered if our grooming practices were to blame. Stiff brushes and metal combs are hard on skin. We believe we may have been making small cuts in the skin that allowed the bacteria to enter. In our wet climate, and with working horses, we had the perfect environment to grow crud. Sure enough, we changed our grooming practices and equipment, treated the horses and cured the problem.

-Cay Merris
Oregon

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CB Obviously
Your June 2002 issue included an article about EEE and a yearling colt that supposedly contracted the disease.??I want you to know this was my yearling, and his name was CB Obviously. Charlie was his barn name.??

Charlie was on his way to an impressive show career when he died. His death was devastating. He was my first show horse, and I couldn’t do anything to help him except allow them to euthanize him.??He had??only a 50% chance of surviving and, even then, only a 10% chance of having a comfortable lifestyle. So I kissed him goodbye and signed the papers.

It was difficult for me to believe that he could have contracted the illness by mosquito or by a normal means of contracting the illness.??I still can’t fathom the conclusion that he contracted EEE and was the only horse on the West Coast to get it.

I just wanted you to know that this “yearling colt” had a name and his memory lives in my heart.

-Nora Uribe
California

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Garage-Sale Finds
I can’t afford the types of riding gloves you assessed in your August 2002 issue. However, I have found that I can often find lined and unlined ladies’ kid gloves at estate sales and fleas markets that are in excellent shape for anywhere from $1 to $6 a pair. They are often unused, mold beautifully to my hands, and have a tremendous amount of “feel” to them. I’ve learned not to use them to break the ice in a water bucket, but aside from that, they perform beautifully.

-Cecile Morgan
Alabama

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Mat Installation Suggestion
I enjoy Horse Journal very much and was very interested to read the recent report on stall mats. I wanted to make an addition to the article.

While recently installing some mats with my husband, he went to cut the mats and slid a jump pole under the mat where he was cutting. This allowed the mat to bend over the pole and made it much easier to cut the mat all the way through. A 4x4 also works.

He felt this was a pretty basic idea, but since I had previously spent way too much time and sweat cutting, sawing and hacking at mats to get them to the right size, I thought if this tip helps even one person it would be worthwhile mentioning.

-Cynthia Lydon
California