Vets as welcome resources

colonelFrom birth to death, veterinarians are Go-To sources for our horses’ medical decisions. They answer a broad spectrum of questions from disease to forage, hoof to tail, optic to colic. Inevitably, we say, “While you’re here, Doc…” because there is always something more they can answer.

At NickerNews and BestHorsePractices, we’re pleased to have several, accomplished vets as partners and sponsors:

We welcome back Dr. Janelle Tirrell, owner of Third Coast Equine Services in Palermo, Maine! Tirrell wants to remind clients to sign up before March 1 for Third Coast Wellness Plans.

janelle welnessWellness Plans can help manage the risk and cost of horse care. You pay a lump sum to receive Spring and Fall farm calls with a variety of services covered. Third Coast offers three tiers of Wellness Plans, with varying services and prices.

An added bonus? In the event of an emergency, Third Coast will come for a follow-up Farm Call, no charge.

We welcome South Shore Equine Clinic and Diagnostic Center of Plympton, Massachusetts!

South Shore Equine, headed by Dr. Mark Reilly, has four vets on staff and an impressive, 7,000 foot facility with exercise areas, grass paddocks, and surgical rooms.

sse usePerhaps more helpful is SSE’s extensive educational library. There are articles on Cushings, hives, sheath cleaning, laminitis and much more.

For those living near Plympton, check out their Horse Owner Education Series, running through March.

Read about Dr. Reilly’s innovative Lyme testing protocol here.

Stay Warm Tips for horse owners

  • IMG_2844Car rides with the windows down
  • Tall, ice-filled drinks
  • Ocean swims with your horse

The pleasures of summer seem far, far away.

At my place, pasture walks are slow, laborious efforts of postholing, walking in snow that goes to my thighs and fills my boots. I’d like to say “I Love Winter,” but, truth be told, I’m not a huge fan. It does have merit, though:

Animals tracks tell stories we’d otherwise never read.

Hot pie and cocoa taste better.

IMG_2653It makes me really appreciate the other three seasons.

This year, Father Winter seems to have moved on from last year’s hobby of tormenting New England. (Read more here) Since November, he’s been schooling the Rockies with major snow dumpage. Ski slopes around here have had over 200 inches of snow (two hundred!). Parking lots consistently have two-inch layers of ice. Coyotes, deer and even bunnies are gravitating towards plowed roads and shoveled paths instead of suffering the aforementioned postholing.

For many of us, staying warm is the make-or-break element that determines whether these months are ones of enjoyment or drudgery.

Here are some toasty tips:

Layer up: long underwear tops and bottoms, hats and hoods, thermal insoles in your boots. Wool is a great layer and thanks to Ramblers Way can be worn right next to skin.

Turn on the heat: hand warmers, heated insoles and gloves, even hot beverages help out when and where layers

A Colorado mural says it all

A Colorado mural says it all


Eat well: substitute a protein bar for that donut and skim the sugar and syrup in your coffee. Your body will thank you.

Stay active: embrace shoveling as an aerobic activity and avoid the temptation to hibernate. Higher metabolism = more blood pumping (and that’s a good thing!)

Bath time: You’ll find a good soak will stay with you for hours, heating core to toes. It’s leverage that for a warmer morning or bedtime.

Little cheats: heat clothes in dryer or near a space heater, splurge on an electric blanket to take the chill of your bed before turning in, pick To Go mugs that aren’t so insulated. They can’t double as handwarmers.

At lastly…

Hug a horse. When the wind is howling and the temperature is heading downward like a kid on a playground slide, this method may be the most satisfying one for taking off the chill. Watch our happy video.


Dream Jobs for hard-working horse lovers

For two summers during college, I had my dream job. An avid birder, I landed field positions in Michigan and North Carolina, studying Indigo Buntings. Hot, long days were spent observing, netting, and banding the small, beautiful songbirds. By the end of the summer, I could walk through the study area and identify each male bird by his distinctive song, without looking at them. I knew the location of every nest, where the parents liked to perch, and how they wiped their beaks on branches. Best of all, it was outside and combined mental and physical skills. All day. Every day.

  • Imagine a similar job with wild horse and burro populations. Imagine no more!

That dream job has been posted recently on college job boards: “Field technicians needed for work on wild horses and burros: Utah and Arizona”

Wild_horse_and_burro1Drs. Sarah King and Kate Schoenecker are heading up the project from their base at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. When I spoke with King last month, 30 students already had applied for six available positions. Read about the upcoming project here.

“I think it’s going to be a really great opportunity to get out there and study, to get to know each horse individually, be in a beautiful area, and answer scientific questions along the way,” said King.

The work is not for the weak of body or heart. Here’s part of the job description:

“Field work will be rigorous, and conducted under all weather conditions from summer heat to monsoon rains to winter snow, at elevations above 6,000 feet, frequently on high slopes. Field technicians must be able to hike in the backcountry covering 4-5 miles each day while carrying a 35-pound pack. Independence and a tenacious work ethic are required…” Check it out.

Field techs will be monitoring and mapping the horse and burro demographics, noting births, deaths, and social behaviors, among other observational tasks, said King, who has studied the Przewalski’s horses in Mongolia and who was mentioned in Wendy Williams’ book, The Horse.

  • For those of you with more horsemanship skills, here’s a job that might appeal:

Ranch intern: must be able to catch, saddle, ride at all gaits with ease. Live off grid.

photo by Sam Ryerson

photo by Sam Ryerson

Laura Jean Schneider and her husband, Sam Ryerson are looking for a ranch intern to help out with several hundred mother cows and yearlings on their ranch in south central New Mexico.

The young couple from back East (Schneider graduated from Smith College, Ryerson from Yale.) manage the stock with seven geldings and four working dogs on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, explained Schneider by phone last month. They emphasize low-stress handling. The intern will likely live in a cowboy tipi or camper. Check out the job opportunities here.

While Schneider rides, ropes, and doctors, she’s also busy writing and reading. She contributes to Ranch Diaries for High Country News and blogs here.

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