Black Swamp Driving Club May Newsletter

May 2005 Newsletter


Wow! I know itís a short word, but thatís all I can say about this weather.  I have been waiting months for this kind of warmth and sunshine.  I am sure that you feel the same way, too.   It is time to get those animals out of the barn, wash them off, and get going.  Go around the block, go for a Sunday afternoon spin, or what ever your heart desires, just get going!  You need to remember to take it a little easy in the beginning, though, as your horses are probably a little fat (a lot fat if you look at Peg Grahamís and my minis) and out of shape and will get sore if worked hard too soon.  So on that note, I want to talk about the wonderful time we all had at the April Safety Clinic and the upcoming drives.

The April Safety Clinic went very well, with about thirty people in attendance.  We were blessed with four great speakers to educate and remind us of what we need to do in order to make this a safe and enjoyable year of driving. Thank you to all of our presenters and members who made this possible and well run.

 First, we heard from our guest veterinarian, Dr. Wise from the Diamond M vet clinic.  Her focus was, rightly so, on horse health and safety.  She stressed the importance of having a well-stocked first aid kit, shot records, and extra halter and lead rope in the truck or trailer.  The very prepared personís first aid kit should include: thermometer, stethoscope, latex gloves, flashlight with fresh batteries, sharp scissors, permanent marker, note pad with pencil, fly spray, hoof pick, pliers, bandages, wound ointment, leg wraps, sterile eye flush, cup with a lid, hemostats (pinchers), emergency phone numbers, and last but not least the handy manís best friend Ė duct tape! Something extra you may want to consider would be a six inch diameter PVC pipe cut in half to make (heaven forbid) a splint for broken legs (or arms?).

She also stressed the importance of keeping your horses up to date on their shots.  She recommends the five-way plus the West Nile and the coggins test.  Remember! You need a copy of these shots and test when you cross any state line.  You may be stopped on a random check on your way to the Kentucky Horse Park, folks, so get them done NOW.  Results may take a little while to get back from your vet, so do not wait until the last minute. Hint, hint, and schedule an appointment while you are thinking about it now.  I know, Iím a nag!

            The second presentation was on horse shoeing by Gene Pore.  He demonstrated on his Belgian horses the step-by-step technique of removing the old shoes, trimming, filing, and fitting the new shoe properly, and finally the application of the new shoe.  He made note of the nail sizes that vary greatly from the light, pleasure horse to the heavy working draft.  The shoes were also widely varied.  For example, all of the draft horses wear shoes with toe clips to keep them in place better.  The toes on a draft are also filed back flat for easier break-over.  And how does that nail seem to ďknowĒ were to go?!  Well, he let us in on a trade secret; they are actually shaped to curve outwards when they are pounded into the foot.  All those who want to learn to do their own trimming and shoeing, just go to Gene.  Heíll fix you right up.  Thank you to Gene for giving some hands-on time for those who wished to drive the big boys. 

Thank you to Connie and Gary Gillfillan for bringing Chance out for some hands on driving experience for people who wished to scale things down a bit.