Spring Can`t Come Soon enough

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As I write this, most of the nation is blanketed in snow with freezing temperatures. We decided to ignore it, charge ahead and ?think spring.?

that's why we're talking muzzles already. The grass gets green literally overnight, and you can't wait a week or two to get a muzzle if your horse is prone to metabolic syndrome, is already insulin-resistant or has other problems that warrant limiting grass. Sure, you can keep him inside or on a dry lot, but if you're lucky enough to have acreage to turn your horse out on, for heaven?s sake, do it. (How do you know if your horse is prone to metabolic syndrome' Basically, if your horse is a really easy keeper, he probably qualifies.) Contributing Editor Beth Benard, a Morgan breeder with a lot of experience dealing with insulin-resistant horses, offers insights in fitting, choosing and using muzzles properly.

Cynthia Foley

We're also looking forward to the coming show season with great anticipation. As Associate Editor Margaret Freeman says on page 16, it's great to see the tack catalogs and show premiums beginning to arrive.

We've also got an excellent article on page 12 by Performance Editor John Strassburger on dealing with spooking horses. That one is close to my heart, as my own mare is prone to spooking (my husband says sHe's bipolar). The problem is that she tends to spook strongly at objects that no one would ever expect to trigger a flight response. A tractor-trailer with a blown-out muffler could come rolling down our driveway, and Sally would stand there to greet the driver. But heaven forbid that a branch fell down overnight, on the other side of the fence, in the neighbor?s yard, across the road . . . that's apparently threatening.

I want to welcome all our new readers with this issue. Our entire staff is at work to find out what you need to know to stay safe and informed, maintain your barn, keep your horse healthy, and save money in the process.

I love talking with readers, even though I'm frequently not near the phone. It may take a day or two, but I will call you back. Or better yet, e-mail me (see masthead). Many of our best story ideas come from reader suggestions, such as the one on page 10 that was suggested by Mike Combs. He was concerned that the dosages listed on supplements may not be adequate for his 1,800-pound warmbloods. Turns out, according to Veterinary Editor Dr. Eleanor Kellon, it depends upon the nutrient you're feeding. The bigger surprise, though, was for the little guys!

We've got a slew of field trials and evaluations underway for this year (saddles, bridles, trailers, riding gear, nutraceuticals, fly sprays, clippers, waterers, just to name a few). We?ll concentrate on budget-saving finds and practical solutions that make your life easier.

Rest assured, when a product says it's been recommended by Horse Journal, it's been used, researched and compared to similar products in a real-life barn. We?ll do the work, sorting through tack, supplements, barn supplies and more to determine which offer the best value, which show the most promise and durability, and which are simply a waste of good money.

So, if you're shoveling snow, battling turnout blankets and lugging buckets of warm mash to the barn, you're not alone. But hang in there, those tempting green grass fields will be here before you know it.

Cynthia Foley,
Editor-in-Chief