WHERE WERE YOU WHEN HISTORY WAS MADE?

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I’ve been trying to reach out to anyone in the American Pharoah camp to secure some interviews (please stand by, hopefully I’ll have success!), and came across a neat feature on the website for jockey, Victor Espinoza.

 

It has all the usual topics, about Victor, great photos of he and American Pharoah, Victor’s own blog, and a gift shop that’s in the works.  What I didn’t expect was a place for you to share your own personal story about the Triple Crown win.  How fun!  After submitting my request for an interview with the two-legged legend, I decided to enter my own story of how the big win impacted me.  Later that evening I got an email with a link to my story!

 

http://www.victorespinoza.com/karen-melroy-triple-crown-stories/

 

In the televised and written interviews I’ve seen with Victor, he’s presented as a humble man, which I admire.  The act of encouraging fans to share their stories and willingness to make that a part of his site goes to further prove what a champion he is (and I’m not just saying that because they posted mine!).  Well-played Mr. Espinoza, well-played!

 

Congratulations again, to the Triple Crown-winning team, two and four-legged alike.  It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so excited to have been witness to history being made!

 

american pharoah

 

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NATIONAL EQUINE COLIC MONTH & MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

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My personal experience with colic, thankfully, has been limited. The horses I’ve had were blessed with good overall health, but that’s not to say we didn’t accumulate our fair share of extra vet bills over the years…

My Buddy did experience one bout of colic at Quarter Horse Congress in 1999. He was always a fit, easy keeper, but if you’ve ever shown at QHC, you know October in Ohio can bring a wild array of climate changes. Pair that with the stress of being in an unfamiliar barn, around unfamiliar horses, and you have a recipe for any number of health problems.

The week we were stalled at the fairgrounds came with some icy cold nights and steamy warm days. It was in the afternoon after a workout that I got a call from a friend who’d stopped by my stall looking for me. They weren’t “horsey” but knew enough about Buddy to tell me that he was lying down, and looked uncomfortable. I hustled back to my stall, paged the on-site vet, and got him up to start walking the barn aisles until the vet arrived. Luckily, apart from being a bit dehydrated (Buddy was always a little picky about strange water), the vet declared it was not a serious case of colic, and most likely due to stress. He gave him a shot of Banamine (I think?), told me to watch him carefully, and give him the rest of the day off. By that evening Buddy was his usual self, and I was grateful we hadn’t had any more problems. Even the most seasoned show horses can still get a case of nerves when travelling, so it’s really important to monitor them closely. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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My other experience that I recall was actually with one of Buddy’s “girlfriends” at our local county fair when we were in high school. Buddy had met “Blue” earlier in the week during a Showmanship class. I suspect his reaction was largely due to not having seen many light-coated horses before, but one look at her beautifully dappled grey color, and he was smitten! He couldn’t take his eyes off her (so paying NO attention to ME) as she trotted to the judge to work her pattern with my friend, then as she trotted back, breeze blowing her banded mane, he let out a guttural rumble saying what I can only imagine was Buddy-speak for “hubba hubba!” We all enjoyed a good laugh at his behavior that day!

Later in the week, after classes had ended for the day, a lot of us still milled around our stalls, chatting and playing games with friends to pass the time. We heard other people in what sounded like worried voices, talking about our friend’s grey mare, and that she seemed to be colicky. When we ventured out to the arena, there was our friend and his pretty mare, walking the perimeter of the arena. He had a noticeable dejected slump to his shoulders, she was switching her tail uncomfortably and trying to lie down every few steps. The entire horse complex went into action, the 4-H’ers took turns walking poor Blue, and helping keep her up when she wanted to lie down. The parents who were there got on phones to the vet, and arranged transportation for her to the hospital. We all banded together to help keep her stable until she could be sent to the vet. I don’t remember the final prognosis, other than she was eventually okay, and returned to the fair the next day, but it was so nice to see everyone working towards a common goal, despite having been competitors only hours before.

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Buddy & I during Fair days

(I’m still trying to locate a picture of his love interest, please stay tuned!)

COLLABORATING, CONGRATULATING, AND COLIC

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This week I’m sharing with you a new connection I’ve made, Sharon North Pohl, and hew new website, www.zealoushorses.com, which launches today.

 

To borrow from her site, here’s a little bit about Sharon;

“Meet Sharon North Pohl: ranch owner, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, horse woman, and recent divorcee. Sharon has experienced a diverse career, working as a sales representative and manager across multiple industries—including high-tech, apparel, and retail—and is also an accomplished riding instructor and horse trainer. Sharon was the founder and director of Willow Pond Ranch Foundation, a nonprofit horse rescue and youth mentoring program in Santa Cruz California. Sharon has worked for the past 30 years rescuing, rehabilitating, and training horses.

Sharon holds an EGALA II certification from the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. As an equine guided educator, Sharon has delivered team-building corporate retreats for companies such as Apple, Above the Line, Youth Services, the County of Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz Therapist’s Association.Sharon provided Equine Assisted Therapy for Youth at Risk, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) children, and dedicated herself to teaching children—some with severe handicaps—how to connect with and respect horses and each other. Sharon leveraged her position as the director of the Willow Pond Ranch Foundation to share her experiences and mentor foreign exchange students, local college students, and young people from all walks of life.”

 

She’s been on quite a journey, and in getting to know more about her I can say in all honesty, ZEALOUS is just the tip of the iceberg!

 

Sharon asked me to help bring awareness to an issue all horse-owners are privy to, and that’s Colic.  June is national colic awareness month, as a reminder, she provided me with a great informational guide to share with you!

 

National Horse Colic Awareness Month

Are You Killing Your Horse? The How What Why of Colic

Hello Horse Lovers,

Together, we can help reduce owner caused colic in horses, one person at a time. Welcome to the Zealous Horse family. My name is Sharon North Pohl, founder of Zealous Horses.com. I love horses and I’ve dedicated over 30 years of my life to training, rescuing, and helping horses and people form lasting, meaningful bonds.

June is a special month, dedicated to the awareness of colic in horses. It is also the launch of our virtual barn, Zealous Horses.com, and we’ve created a new resource for you; our Colic Crusher System-the first in our Horse Saver System Series. This is a useful collection of easy-to-follow charts with audio explanations, filled with stories from my own personal experience.

It’s all about being prepared and helping you become more aware and better able to deal with many common horse health issues.

What Is Colic?

Colic is not a specific medical condition, it refers to a non-descript abdominal pain related to the disruption of the digestive system. The pain can be mild or severe. All incidents should be taken seriously as colic can be life threatening. There are many causes and types of colic in horses. Many of the colic episodes are owner assisted-through our own mistakes, we create situations that put our beloved partners at risk.

 

How Do I Notice Colic

Every horse exhibits different signs, but the most common colic signs may include:

 

  • Not eating
  • Neck stretched out head low
  • Looking at his/her belly
  • Laying down
  • Kicking at stomach
  • Looking at stomach
  • Pawing
  • Rolling excessively
  • Restless behavior, getting up and down
  • Profusely sweating
  • Decreased manure production

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What to Do if I Think My Horse Has Colic

  • Remove all feed
  • Call the vet
  • Take them for a moderately brisk walk
  • Keep them up, do not let them roll
  • Keep fresh clean water for them (unless advised otherwise by vet)
  • Take you horses vital signs (temperature heart, respiration)
    • know what normal is by having recorded records for your well horse
  • Do not administer any drugs without instructions from your vet

Types of Colic

  • Gas Colic is excess gas resulting in colic
  • Intestinal spasm
  • Impaction
  • Intestinal accident. This could be intestinal tears , hernias and in many cases this will require surgery
  • Enteritis or ulcers are caused by inflammation , infections and other gastrointestinal diseases

 

Why Colic?

  • Sand Colic from ingesting sand in the feed (feeding on the ground)*
  • Ingesting moldy or bad feed*
  • Eating wood, plastic or stones*
  • Parasites cause 50% of the deaths in horses*
  • Irregular feeding schedule*
  • Lack of sufficient water
  • Intestinal stones in the large intestine, referred to as enteroliths.
  • Twisted intestines (often requires surgery)

*All owner caused WE are responsible for 6 out of these 8 causes

 

How to Help Prevent Colic

  • Feed high roughage diet, grass or hay
  • Look at what you feed , watch for mold, weeds and other contaminates
  • Limit grazing time on new spring grass
  • Use a grazing muzzle on ravenous horses
  • Especially watch minis and ponies , they are the most at risk
  • Keep a good rodent management plan in place
  • Keep all grain in metal closed containers in locked feed room
  • Limit grain unless horse is in high demand work
  • Keep plenty of fresh clean water- use dunks to discourage mosquitos
  • Monitor water intake when traveling, add molasses to encourage drinking
  • Keep the horse on a regular rotating worming schedule, keep records
  • Provide daily exercise
  • Keep feed off the ground, use mats to protect spilled feed from sand
  • Keep you horses teeth regularly maintained for proper chewing
  • Use digestive supplements for reducing sand and improving healthy gut

You may know the signs of colic but your barn help and substitute feeders may not. Using this simple. easy to understand set of awareness charts and making adjustments to our stable practices can change the colic statistics. Together we can all make a difference and lessen the incidents of colic in barns all around the world.

 

This is the kind of information that we all need, though hope to never have to use.  Please take the time to check out Sharon’s site and see what other great resources are available to you!

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD

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Looking back on the last year.  Not a hugely significant amount of time, but still a benchmark, and I’m proud to have reached it.  On my LinkedIn account, I’m gathering congratulatory “likes” and messages for my anniversary, and it feels good to have the accomplishment of having committed to something for so long (so far).  One step closer to my goal!

In the last year, my little blog that could has reached into over 40 countries.  Considering there are 195 officially recognized, those aren’t bad numbers at all!  My number of WordPress, LinkedIn, and Twitter followers grows weekly.

I’ve written my first published piece, I’ve started the first draft of a book (probably now around 70% done).  I’ve met some celebrity horses, and broadened my professional connection tremendously.  Everyone I’ve encountered has been supportive, encouraging, and engaging.  I have people I’ve never met messaging to ask how the book is coming, and to keep on keeping on.

Never having a hard timeline for the book, it’s been (too) easy to keep it tucked in on the back burner, writing when I feel like I have time , which isn’t as often as it should be.  I’ll be 38 this month, so I guess I’m using the looming big 4-0 as my goal to have something significant accomplished.  Unless I get it done before then, which would be awesome too.

Looking ahead, I need to get some more “celebrity” interviews lined up for you, everyone enjoys those, and I have a lot more to learn.  Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in a few more road trips too.  It’s been a lot of fun, sharing my perspective with you.  Thank you readers for always being interested, even when you may not agree, and sharing your own thoughts with me in return.  A lesson I figured out a while ago, is that you can learn something from every person you meet or talk to, even if the lesson is simply, what NOT to do.

I’m deeply appreciative of the time you take to read my words, and support me.  It isn’t always easy, but I’ll keep my shoulder into the load for as long as it takes.  Thank you for celebrating one year with me, and here’s to many more!

Looking forward…

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