The Same, but Different

How many of you just spent a pretty big chunk of your weekend around horses? It amazes me in talking to other horse people just how many things can be done that involve everything from the Thelwell-sized ponies to upper level dressage horses to eventing masters to trail riding friends, to one-of-those-things-turned-another. At a local schooling show, there was a woman my age who because of injury (yes, with a horse) had to quit riding for a time. After surgery, she decided to get out of the breeding business and return to the ring. This time instead of Western pleasure or trail riding, she took a beautiful Quarter Horse mare and is turning her into a low-level hunter. At that same little schooling show was my 11-year-old daughter who just returned to lessons after a bout with soccer. It was hard to say which one was more excited when there was a ribbon awarded at the end of a class!

It was an experience just watching the people at this small show. For some it was the first time in the limelight for an inexperienced rider on an old packer; for others it was a first outing for a young horse with an experienced rider. It was a small community of which I was proud to be a part. Everyone pitched in to help the kids (and adults) who were showing that day. There were photos and high-fives, and a couple of Oops! after fences. Treats and carrots abounded. And I'm sure from talking to other horse people that the cash registers jingled at the various tack shops in the area the week before. Amazingly, while I heard quite a few comments on the cost of having a horse in the family, I didn't hear one single person who would have spent the money otherwise.

The horses themselves were an amazing collection. Being in Kentucky, there were quite a few purebred Thoroughbreds who didn't quite have the stuff to make it on the racetrack. Then there was Popcorn the pony. I'm not sure of his breeding, but suffice it to say I could have walked over him. And a more willing competitor never stepped foot in the ring.

At this time I don't own any horses. Perhaps if I can get my hands on enough dynamite this summer, I can blast through the limestone rock and plant a few fence posts. In the meantime (and much to my pleasure), I'm riding my father-in-law's wonderful event horse Talisman. He's been described as a cross between a giraffe and a race car (his "passing gear" is something to be experienced). The wonderful thing is that he is kind enough to put up with me learning what he already knows about eventing, and smart enough to test me. And with a coach and mentor like Helmut (my father-in-law), I might just learn something.

Just in our small staff here at The Horse, we have a tremendous variance in our horse interests. Stephanie, whose picture you see in the Up Front section of the magazine, is bringing along her young warmblood filly. (We'll let you know when she finally gets a leg on each side successfully.) In the meantime, she started riding a wonderful Thoroughbred gelding that belongs to Helmut. Peek and Play loves his new life, and has a tremendous enthusiasm for jumping.

Then there's Sarah, who's expecting her first this spring. First foal, that is. An Arabian mare is patiently gestating the hopes and dreams of the future. Christy has a retired pasture ornament. Her Saddlebred show mare M.G. (yes, like the car) lives a life of leisure with some buddies out at pasture.

So, what does all this have to do with the horse business, and in particular, horse health? Everything. Each horse I mentioned, and all the people associated--whether rider, owner, coach, parent, or spouse--is spending time and money in the horse business. They have an active, personal interest in their horses, and in keeping them healthy. They care about their horses, and the time they spend with those horses is important.

This is the main reason The Horse has continued to grow and gain in stature in the horse industry. We are involved in the industry. We talk to horse people we know, and listen to what our readers have to say. We keep up with the problems that horse owners are facing, and could face, and make sure we pass that information along in an understandable fashion.

For example, at the time of this writing West Nile has been quiet for some months. That deadly, mosquito-borne disease is expected to be in Ohio this year. It is spreading, and we'll keep you informed of that, as well as the latest in research findings and a possible vaccine to protect your horses.

There are lots of things on the horizon for horse health: new treatments for EPM, new--and better--vaccines for common illnesses, possible breakthroughs in laminitis, molecular and genetic understanding of the good and bad things that affect our horses...the list is endless. Nowhere else is all this information brought together in one place, and presented for the horse owner, than in the pages of The Horse.

To top that off, we publish The Horse Source, the most comprehensive, industry-wide directory of equine goods and services, which comes free with your subscription (mailed with your May issue); a web site that within a few months will have a totally new look, be easier to navigate, and include much more information; and a free weekly electronic health newsletter that comes right to your e-mailbox.

The Horse is here to serve its readers--no matter your choice of breed or discipline. Our job is to help you take better care of your horses. And, with the help of our readers, we will continue to offer articles that will be references for things you already face with your horses, and previews for what you might face in the future.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More