Country Life

Reponses to Ike the rotten mini horse

I was sitting at my desk in July when a co-worker handed me an envelop with my name written on the outside. I opened the envelop with hesitation. I normally do not receive mail at the office unless it is junk mail. Much to my surprise, a reader of Ohio’s Country Journal had written to me with their own unique story of a loose horse. I was thrilled.

We all loved the letter so much that it is included in this column below as well as two other responses we received by e-mail. Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. I hope those of you who are reading this column enjoy them and get a big laugh like I did.


The first e-mail comes from my mom’s cousin Eddie Luse of St. Paris.

“This true story takes place on a ‘perfect’ day in the early 1980s. It was March, cold, windy, some snow and I was to be ring man in Columbus, Ohio, in the coliseum on the state fairgrounds at the Spring Quarter Horse Show.… Continue reading

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Extreme heat and horses

By Phillip Dilts, DVM, Fredericktown Veterinary Clinic

As we enter into the hottest time of the year, horse owners need to be aware of the risks that come with heat and humidity. Horses are susceptible to heat exhaustion, hyperthermia and heat stroke. Horses can be at risk even when not being worked if not provided with adequate ventilation, but most problems will occur when the horse is being worked.

A simple equation to determine the level of risk on a given day is to add the temperature plus the humidity. If the total is less than 150 there should be no problem. At a total of greater than 150, a horse’s ability to dissipate heat is compromised, especially if humidity is more than one half of the total. At more than 170, a horse can lose very little heat and you should avoid any long or intense exercise. It would be best to schedule your riding during the cooler times of the day especially on days without a breeze.… Continue reading

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Ike the rotten miniature horse

Have you ever had one of those mornings when after feeding and completing your chores you wish you could just go back to bed and start over? I did in mid May.

If you remember, this spring was one of the wettest on record, and this particular morning was no exception. I was getting ready to head out to feed when I realized my Carhartts were covered with mud and still wet from the night before. There was no chance of wearing them on this morning.

It wasn’t extremely cold so I slipped a jacket over my T-shirt and a pair of rubber boots over my pajama pants and headed out. I decided that if teenage girls can wear their pajama pants to Walmart and the grocery store then I could probably get by wearing mine to the barn. Between my long jacket and my rubber boots you could only see about a foot of pj’s anyway.… Continue reading

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Nutrition for the older horse

By Randel Raub, equine nutritionist, Purina Mills, LLC

Before we can discuss diet requirements for the “older horse,” we first need to determine when a horse is considered to become older. While we typically may think of an older horse as one that is in its teens, the reality is that the genetics of the individual plus how it was cared for during its life will dictate when its nutritional needs begin to shift from that of an adult mature horse to that of a geriatric horse. That point in life may be sooner, or later, for some horses than it is for others. It’s also important to remember that aging is a gradual process and doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s estimated that there are more than 700,000 senior horses living in the United States today. It seems as if there was a “horse baby boom” in the mid-to-late 1970s, making 9% to 11% of the total horse population today older horses.… Continue reading

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Beating the heat — Caring for horses in hot weather

By Karen E. Davison, Ph.D., manager – Technical Services, Purina Mills, LLC

Heat and humidity put an added burden on horses during training, showing and hauling. Horses are actually better equipped to work in cold weather than in the heat. They build up a tremendous amount of body heat due to the internal heat produced by fiber digestion and the large mass of working muscles, combined with insulation from their haircoat and body fat cover.

Normal body temperature for a mature horse at rest is 99 to 101 degrees F. Under working conditions this can rise to 102 to 104 F. But with the same work under hot, humid conditions body temperature can elevate dangerously to 106 to 107 F. Body temperatures of 104 F or higher for any extended amount of time can be life threatening.

A horse’s main cooling mechanism is evaporation of sweat from the skin surface. Increased blood flow in the veins and capillaries close to the skin and elevated respiration rate help dissipate internal heat as well.… Continue reading

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Forages for horses

By: Katie Young, Ph.D., consulting equine nutritionist, Purina Mills, LLC

Why should horse owners be concerned about forages for their horses? Horses need to be fed at least 1% of their body weight daily (dry matter) in forage, and many receive more than 2% of their body weight per day in grass or hay. This means that a 1,000-pound horse may easily eat 15 to 20 pounds of hay per day, along with 3 to 6 pounds of a grain ration.

When problems occur that relate to nutrition, owners usually look at the grain ration. However, when the vast majority of the horse’s diet is hay or grass, more attention should be paid to the role that forage plays in nutritional status. Further, fresh grass and hay are quite different when it comes to nutritional value. Horse owners need to understand factors that affect the quality of hay to make informed choices regarding their horses’ rations.… Continue reading

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Confessions of a novice cutting horse competitor

By Kirby Hidy

Strangely enough, I didn’t feel all that nervous as I led my horse from her stall that hot July afternoon. I felt hot. I felt sweaty. I felt thirsty. But I really didn’t feel nervous.

It must have been 95 degrees, maybe 96 at the annual July 4th Mid-Ohio Cutting. Yes sir, I was feeling pretty calm, all things considered.

I led my mare to the regular spot by the tack room and tied the lead rope to the ring on the wall and began saddling her. I had only shown my horse (or any horse for that matter) twice before, and the bridle had never left the bag in which I had carried it home. The splint boots had been carefully washed so they looked fairly new and white.

I tried to look calm and casual so I might create the illusion I had been doing this for years.… Continue reading

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The inside scoop on spring vaccinations

By Kevin Hankins, senior field veterinarian, Pfizer Animal Health

Any preventative health program should begin with core vaccinations, such as those recommended by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). The organization’s guidelines state that Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile, Tetanus and Rabies are considered core vaccinations for horses. Horses in high risk groups, such as those that are competing and traveling, or those that live in an area that has prolonged mosquito activity may benefit from vaccinations against risk-based diseases such as Equine Influenza Virus (FLU) and Equine Herpes Viruses 1 & 4 (EHV 1&4), which can cause serious respiratory disease.

With a recent rise in cases of mosquito-borne diseases, regular vaccinations for horses are necessary to help prevent the spread of diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Unvaccinated horses are at serious risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses, even in areas where the disease may not be common.… Continue reading

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Do you have Horse Sense?

Welcome to a new feature of Ohio’s Country Journal, “Horse Sense.” This section is meant to educate and entertain farm families in Ohio that keep a horse or two around to enjoy. Some of you may be experienced horse folks and some of you may just love horses, but probably all of you realize these “hay burners,” as many non-horse loving farmers like to call them, will constantly surprise you.

Whether you are the horse lover in the family or the significant other who “puts up” with the horses, you are likely to find something useful and interesting in “Horse Sense.” It is my hope that the articles featured on these pages will educate, entertain and inspire you.

My credentials are listed at the bottom of this page, but I think I can justifiably say that I have made and witnessed enough mistakes with horses to have earned my “horse sense.”… Continue reading

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Saving lives by teaching farm safety

Farm safety will be a point of discussion at the Farm Science Review on Tuesday, Sept. 20 in London, Ohio. Megan Buechner, the Ohio Farm Safety 4 Just Kids outreach coordinator, will present various farm safety topics to the group in the Cargill booth.

According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is the nation’s most dangerous industry. Nearly one year ago a 10-year-old in Mercer County died of suffocation in a grain wagon. Three months later, a 16-year-old Darke County boy died after a piece of his clothing caught in a piece of machinery.

“The tragedies in Ohio the past year have really stressed the importance of farm safety, especially for kids,” Buechner said. “They don’t always see things on the farm as potentially dangerous.”

September 18-24 is National Farm Safety and Health Week and serves to raise awareness of the dangers in rural areas. Wednesday, Sept. 21 is devoted to farm safety for youth.… Continue reading

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Food prices on the rise

Food prices will continue to rise for the remainder of this year and well into 2012 because processors now are beginning to pass along higher costs of commodities to consumers, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

While world grain stocks diminished amid growing demand, drought and flooding, food prices did not significantly increase for most of 2009 and 2010 even though prices that processors pay for raw ingredients such as corn and soybeans did, Corinne Alexander said.

That is changing.

“The question is not whether costs at the grocery store will increase, it’s when,” she said.

Higher commodity prices do not always immediately result in higher food prices, Alexander said. The prices of finished food products abundant in the marketplace might not increase substantially, as has been the case this year with cheese.

But when grain supplies are tight as they are now, grocery shoppers eventually will see the increases at the cash register.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farmers Union supports efforts to repeal S.B. 5

The Ohio Farmers Union came out in support of efforts to repeal S.B. 5 — the unfair attack on Ohio public worker rights.

“I would urge every Ohio voter to vote ‘no’ on State Issue 2 in the fall. Senate Bill 5 was an over-reach on the part of the governor and the Ohio General Assembly. Police, fire fighters, teachers, and other public workers are not the source of Ohio’s economic problems,” said Roger Wise, OFU president. “It’s really incredible that supporters of S.B. 5 would use economic arguments to attack the rights of workers to collectively bargain when we live in the context of an American economy that has been brutal on workers and the middle class for the past several years. Our state and our nation suffer from a complex set of challenges, including destructive trade policy, inadequate regulation of Wall Street, and the general failure of multinational corporations to reinvest in America.”… Continue reading

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Farm income looking up in 2011

High worldwide grain demand coupled with lower-than-expected yields means U.S. farmers can look forward to a record-high farm income total from the 2011 crop, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

In the Farm Sector Income Forecast released in late August, USDA’s Economic Research Service projected the total U.S. farm income will reach $103.6 billion – up 31% from last year’s total. The previous farm income record was $84.7 billion in 2004.

“These are not just records, but records that are substantially higher than we’ve seen before,” said Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist.

Both crop and livestock revenues are up in 2011, but Hurt said, the income totals don’t tell the whole story. Input costs are on the rise, as well.

“USDA estimates producers have put 15% more into the cost of inputs,” he said. “So, we have crop revenues up 20% and livestock up 16%. That says profit margins expanded in 2011.”… Continue reading

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Scioto County reaches out to family in need

By Matt Reese

This summer Kile “Andy” Hayden was in a terrible car accident with his younger brothers, Jeffery and Michael. Andy was killed and his younger brothers were seriously injured. Prior to the tragedy, they were on their way to care for their 4-H hogs in preparation for the upcoming Scioto County Fair.

Andy was a promising young man who was well known in the hog barn at the county fair for helping out whenever he could and taking the time to help younger 4-Hers with their projects.

“It was the same day as the county skillathon at the fairgrounds. There were a couple hundred people there and word got around pretty quickly,” said Jo Williams, the Scioto County 4-H educator. “People were already talking about how they could help the family that day.”

While dealing with the devastating loss of one son, Carl and Susie Hayden were also facing the stress and medical expenses with two other sons in the hospital as they battled their serious injuries.… Continue reading

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Logan County Top of Ohio ag tour

Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 18, 2011, for the Top of Ohio Drive-It-Yourself Ag Tour to be held in Logan County, Ohio. This is a free event open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. featuring the southeast quadrant of the county.

Start your day off at the Logan County Farm Bureau’s “Taste of Logan County” which will take place at the Logan County Fairgrounds (Grange Building) between 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Cost of the lunch is $.50 which represents the amount the farmer would receive for production of the food.

From there, feel free to visit as many or all of the stops on the tour. In no particular order, the stops are as follows:

Warne Farms. Jim & Leslie Warne raise registered Shorthorn cattle on their farm, The Oaks, located on County Road 1, Bellefontaine. In the 80’s, they got started in beef cattle by way of their children’s 4-H projects.… Continue reading

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Labor Department updates child labor regulations for young ag workers

The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing revisions to child labor regulations that will strengthen the safety requirements for young workers employed in agriculture and related fields. The agricultural hazardous occupations orders under the Fair Labor Standards Act that bar young workers from certain tasks have not been updated since they were promulgated in 1970.

The department is proposing updates based on the enforcement experiences of its Wage and Hour Division, recommendations made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and a commitment to bring parity between the rules for young workers employed in agricultural jobs and the more stringent rules that apply to those employed in nonagricultural workplaces. The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents.

“Children employed in agriculture are some of the most vulnerable workers in America,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Ensuring their welfare is a priority of the department, and this proposal is another element of our comprehensive approach.”… Continue reading

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FSR events help farmers with finances

The 2011 Farm Science Review, Sept. 20-22 will include a series of presentations to provide financial strategies, tools and resources to help farmers achieve stability and success in the agricultural industry.

One presenter, Ohio State University agricultural economist Luther Tweeten, says continued demand for agricultural products has kept agriculture more financially stable than other sectors of the U.S. economy. “Farmers will play a key role in getting the country back on track,” he said.

But, while he’s optimistic, Tweeten’s presentation, “Income and Employment,” is geared toward helping larger farming operations make cautious decisions in light of recent financial volatility. It will take place Sept. 20 at 11:30 a.m. on the stage in the OSU Area on Friday Avenue.

“The positive agriculture economy yields opportunity for farms to become more profitable and financially stable,” said Chuck Gamble, Farm Science Review manager. “At the same time, farmers will have to be more diligent in their planning and preparation than ever to ensure they get the most out of advantageous market conditions and invest in the right technologies for their operations.”… Continue reading

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Asian Longhorned Beetle the focus of talk at FSR

Ohio State University forestry expert Kathy Smith will present “The New Forest Threat: Asian Longhorned Beetle” at 11 a.m. on Sept. 20 at the university’s Farm Science Review near London.

Native to China, the Asian longhorned beetle, which kills trees, was found for the first time in Ohio this spring.

“ALB poses a huge threat to our trees, both rural and urban, since it attacks so many different species,” Smith said. “That’s why we hope to be able to eradicate it from the infestation site,” which is in Clermont County in southwest Ohio.

Smith, who’s part of a multi-agency effort to stop the pest, will speak on how to identify it, what it does and how to help spot infestations.

“Landowners should always be concerned when new threats are on the horizon,” she said. “Paying attention to what’s going on with your trees is always a good thing.”

Her talk, which is free with paid admission to the Review, takes place in the Gwynne Conservation Area. … Continue reading

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OFBF supports passage of Issue 2

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has announced its support for passage of State Issue 2. The measure, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, will retain the reforms to public employee collective bargaining laws passed by the General Assembly in March. OFBF’s board of trustees announced its endorsement following extensive study and deliberation.

OFBF determined that Ohio taxpayers, families and communities would be best served by passage of Issue 2, according to John C. (Jack) Fisher, Farm Bureau’s executive vice president. Provisions of the issue are consistent with the policies established by Farm Bureau’s grassroots membership.

“If we are to preserve jobs and services, local governments need flexibility to manage ever increasing labor costs. Issue 2 allows public employees to collectively bargain for hours, salaries, terms and conditions, just like they have for more than 25 years,” Fisher said. “But now, taxpayers have equal footing when it comes to the negotiating process.”… Continue reading

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Confined spaces, teen challenge highlight FSR safety demos

Helping farmers and rural youth understand the implications of farm safety is the goal of several demonstrations, displays, and interactive events at Farm Science Review, Sept. 20-22 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center outside London.

“We provide relevant safety education opportunities to farmers attending the Review,” said Kathy Henwood, Ohio State University Extension program coordinator for Agricultural Safety and Health. “We try to have something new each year that highlight current concerns in production agriculture.”

This year, two demonstrations deal with management issues in confined spaces on farms, including combustible dust explosions and manure storage ventilation.

Combustible dust in grain handling and storage facilities can be extremely dangerous. Extension and industry experts will discuss the causes of dust explosions, as well as tips and techniques for prevention. Sessions, occurring daily on the half-hour between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., include explosion demonstrations of various types of agricultural products.

In addition, a new demonstration this year focuses on how to deal with ventilation issues in manure storage facilities.… Continue reading

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