Danza didn’t dance

Ok, so Danza didn’t win the Derby, although 3rd place is quite respectable after being badly bumped twice. He wasn’t signed up for the Preakness. California Chrome was a must, of course. And there’s a filly, Ria Antonia, running, too. Ziggy’s told me that her oats are on her. Guess she remembers Rachel Alexandra, the Kentucky Oaks winner, beating Mine That Bird, the Kentucky Derby winner, back in 2009. The last filly to win the Preakness before her was Nellie Morse in 1924. Ria Antonia will only be carrying 121 lbs to the others 126 lbs. Guess I gotta go with California Chrome, not because he’s the favorite, but because he reminds me of a larger version of my buddy Peppy (chestnut or sorrel with big white blaze and four white stockings) who left for greener pastures a few years back after battling a liver disease. Peppy was a little horse (4 hands 2) but he had a big heart. He taught me a lot about “reading” cattle. He would tell me: “Look at their eyes. It’ll tell you which direction a cow’s going to break.” I sure do miss him at times. Not that Ziggy’s a bad pasture buddy, mind you, because she isn’t. She’s just, well, different, being a mare and all. No offense meant. Don’t want anyone to think that I am being offensive in any way. I like mares just as much as the next horse. Besides,she learned well from her dam how to be the Alpha of the herd. Always vigilant, she seems to know everything that goes on in our little pasture which makes me feel really safe, as well as everyone else, for that matter, goats and heifers alike. Ziggy is very protective of her little motley herd.

Well, time to sign off. Talk to y’all next week.

Springtime is here

After a longer than usual Winter, Spring is here at last! The pecan trees have finally leafed out so that means the cold weather is OVER! Of course, here in South Texas we don’t get too much cold weather, although we did get a few days when our water tank froze and our mistress had to come out and break the ice for us.

I do look forward to Spring when the grass starts growing again, and my mistress starts riding again, and I get to show her that I haven’t forgotten any of my dressage moves, and Ziggy gets to show off how fast she can spin and how far she can slide, and we both get to work cattle. A month ago, three Brangus heifers were dropped off at our pasture. They’ll be here until fall when they will be tranferred to the south pasture to be bred. I’m sure our mistress will let Ziggy and I practice with them.

BTW, don’t forget this Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. My favorite is Danza because he looks like me.

Vaccinating for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

I know that most of you horse owners vaccinate your horses on a yearly basis. However, there are those who think that, because their horses remain on their property and don’t go anywhere, they do not need to be vaccinated. Wrong! My little feline friend Chewbakka was watching the television not too long ago, a program about a country vet in the state of Michigan, and there was a case of a horse dying from the West Nile Virus all because the barn owners had not vaccinated their horses against this virus.

While most of you are familiar with WNV, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), also known as Equina Viral Encephalomyelitis (EVE),  is even more dangerous. Both these viruses are transmitted by mosquitos and, although mosquitos tend to stay within a mile or so of their breeding ground, they can be carried by the wind and end up 10 to 12 miles way. So, just because you don’t take your horse anywhere doesn’t mean that he is safe from diseases. Remember that both these diseases are fatal 9 times out of 10, and even if the horse survives, he will have lasting neuroligical damage.

Vaccinating your horses is the best way to protect them and assure their continuing health. The immunity, however, is not long lasting and many veterinarians recommend vaccinating every six months in areas of high mosquito population. Living in South Texas near the Gulf Coast, Ziggy and I get a shot every six months. Our mistress is also very careful to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes lay ther eggs and where their larvae live and grow. So make sure to eliminate as much standing water from your property as you can, store items upside down to prevent rainwater collection, fill in puddles with sand or dirt. Be especially vigilant after any period of heavy rain.

By the way, that Michigan veterinarian is the Incredible Dr. Pol. Watch him on Nat Geo Wild.