Internal Parasites and Your Barn Cat

By Dr. Bronwyn Atkinson & Jennifer Council of Barrett Veterinary Practice

Barn cats are an integral part of a farm/acreage environment and play an important role in rodent population control. Hardworking barn cats can be very useful to keep rodent populations in check as well as a pleasure to have around. So, how can we keep these kitties healthy and best equipped to do their jobs? In this blog, we will go into more detail about diseases that commonly affect barn cats and the different ways we can keep them healthy and performing at their best.

Internal Parasites in Cats

Roundworms: Roundworms are the most common internal parasite found in cats – kittens often carry more due to their age and young immune systems.  Adult roundworms are about 3-5 inches in length, off-white in colour and live in the cat’s intestines.

Kittens often carry more round worms due to their age and young immune systems.

A mature worm lays its eggs in the intestines where they can be passed in the cats’ feces. Once out in the environment the eggs mature into larvae and infect new cats. Rodents also carry these larvae in their tissues – infecting cats, which are hunting. Roundworms can cause disease in people, especially those with weaker immune systems. It is rare, but if there are numbers of larvae in the environment and they are ingested, they can migrate around human tissues trying to find a good place to settle, causing serious health problems.

Hookworms: Cats can be infected with hookworm larvae when they burrow through their skin – usually the paw pads. Infestation also occurs when a cat eats a rodent that is carrying hookworms in its tissues. These worms are about 1/2-inch in length and live in the intestines. Young worms burrow into the lining of the intestine, whereas adult worms use their hooked mouthparts to anchor into the intestinal lining where they suck blood. Heavy hookworm infection can cause cats to have poor growth, poor hair coat, diarrhea, anemia and even death from blood loss. Hookworms can also migrate into human skin, causing irritation and need for medical attention – luckily, this is rare as humans are not the hookworm’s preferred hosts.

Tapeworms: These are long, ribbon-like worms with bodies made up of egg-containing segments. These worms live in the cat’s small intestine and use their heads to hook onto the lining of the gut. The segments at the worm’s tail end mature first, break off and are passed in the cat’s feces. These segments can also sometimes be seen around the cat’s anus or tail area and look like rice grains if they are fresh, or sesame seeds if they are dried. Cats can pick up tapeworms by eating rodents that carry them, or by ingesting fleas that can also carry tapeworms. Adult tapeworms in the gastrointestinal tract are usually harmless to the cats. However, the younger tapeworm life stages that is shed by cats can cause cysts in organs such as the liver of horses, cows and pigs.

Echinococcus multilocularis is one specific kind of tapeworm that lives like the others, spending part of their life cycle inside a rodent, often being eaten by carnivores along with its host. They mature to an adult tapeworm in the carnivore’s gut and if ingested by people can cause significant disease by causing cysts that multiply and damage internal human organs.

Combating Feline Parasites

If you’re concerned about parasites your barn cats may be carrying, here’s a list of things you can do:
• Wash your hands after touching barn cats.
• Clean up any feces as well as dead rodent carcasses, to keep the environment as clean as possible.
• De-worm your cats routinely.

There are 2 types of de-wormer that Barrett Veterinary Practice prescribes; Profender, and Advantage Multi. Both are liquids that are applied to the back of a cat’s neck. This application is much easier than trying to pill a shy, barn cat that may not be used to handling!

Profender works to kill roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
Advantage Multi kills hookworms, roundworms, fleas and ear mites.

As these products have action against different internal parasites, it is a really good idea to alternate using them. Cats that are actively mousing need to be dewormed every three months. Good parasite control is key to ensuring a healthy barn cat and preventing disease in other species as well.

 

Understanding Praise™ Hemp

If you are curious about the upward trend of Praise™ hemp products and their numerous benefits for horses on the equine nutrition front, it’s no illusion. Horse owners everywhere are discovering the healthy advantages Praise™ hemp can offer to equines at a rapid pace.

If however, you’re still on the fence about feeding hemp to your horses, let us help break it down. Western Horse Review recently had the opportunity to delve deeper into the many benefits of Praise™ hemp products and understand this nutritional superfood from the ground up.

Hemp seeds are categorized as an “achene” a one-seeded fruit with an inner “nut” protected by a hard outer shell.

Cannabis Sativa L. is the scientific name for hemp and it comes from the same family as sunflowers. It is a strong and fast growing, versatile plant that has been used by man for thousands of years and thousands of uses. It has been praised as the single greatest plant resource for human health and well-being as it provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine. Hemp plants are naturally found on all continents.

Hemp seeds are categorized as an “achene” a one-seeded fruit with an inner “nut” protected by a hard outer shell. It is one of the most essential nutrient dense and balanced foods available, and provides an excellent easily digestible source of protein and healthy fats for human and animal health. Once removed from the shell, the nut can be eaten raw or pressed to create hemp oil. Praise™ hemp uses a number of unique processes to ensure that the shelling, cleaning and pressing are done gently, thoroughly, and at a cool temperature to protect nutritional values. The result is an exceptionally clean, flavourful product with an optimum nutritional profile.

So why would a discerning horse owner decide to feed hemp to one’s equine?

By supplementing hemp oil, topping and protein fiber to your equine’s diets you may notice improvements in their immune system, energy, digestion, skin, coat, mobility, muscle health and cardiovascular health.

Hemp is considered to be a “Superfood” due to its digestibility, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), Essential Amino Acids (the building blocks of protein), vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – especially terpenes and cannabidiols (CBD). All living things with a vertebrae have an “endocannabinoid system” and hemp has an unusually vast and plentiful array of the cannabinoids which mimic our own endocannabinoid system. When consumed, many health benefits are experienced in all areas of the human body. This rings true for many animals as well and especially in horses and dogs.

What separates hemp oil from the rest of the supplements currently on the market is that while Praise™ hemp’s Omega 6:3 ratio is 3:1, it also has GLA – Gamma Linolenic Acid which is actually an Omega 6 fatty acid but unlike other Omega 6s, it is known to reduce inflammation.

 This is akin to a secret weapon in the equine competition world because Praise™ hemp products can help reduce a wide array of inflammatory related diseases including skin conditions, allergies, degenerative joint disease, heart disease and reduce inflammation involved in mobility and digestion.

 That’s why we are seeing all kinds of competitive riders flocking to Praise™ hemp. These include rodeo athletes, endurance riders, dressage competitors, and western performance enthusiasts of various disciplines.

Angie Pierce, an endurance and competitive trail rider loves the benefits of Praise Hemp products that she regularly observes in her horses.

“Praise™ hemp oil helped my distance horse with stamina, recovery and lean muscle mass,” says Angie Pierce of Beaver County, AB. Pierce is the owner of Jenovation Farm and is an endurance and competitive trail rider.

“I am completely sold on the benefits that Praise products provide to my equines, whether it be my competing horses or the senior members of the herd.”

It may be a tiny seed, but it’s a nutritional giant.

Learn more about Praise Hemp products at: www.praisehemp.com

Try a Bit Before You Buy It!

There’s no question – top riders across the globe favour Tom Balding’s handcrafted bits and spurs. With Balding’s meticulous attention to detail, knowledge of the horse and high quality materials used to create his bits and spurs, it’s no wonder Balding’s company is a leader in the field. Fans include the National Reining Horse Association $5 Million Rider Andrea Fappani, National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer Phil Rapp, and National Reined Cow Horse Association Million-Dollar Rider Zane Davis, to name a few.

If you’ve ever considered purchasing a high quality bit, Tom Balding Bits & Spurs offers a wide variety of custom bit combinations. No matter what you are looking to attain from your horse’s performance, there’s a bit that will offer customized assistance. Tom Balding Bits & Spurs knows a high quality bit purchase requires the best educated decision possible; as it is an investment that will often last a lifetime. Which is why the company created the Trial Bit Service, offered to those who would like to try a mouthpiece before purchasing – to ensure they are comfortable with the function in relation to their riding style.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Within the Trial Bit Service, clients are welcome to try up to three bits for two weeks. Additionally, the company tries to offer most combinations; however, because of the large number of possible combinations, clients may have to try a bit with a similar shank to the one requested. The only out of pocket expense you may incur are the shipping costs. For more information about this unique service, check out the Trial Bit website page here.

There are also multiple resources on the Tom Balding Bits & Spurs website available to help you select a mouthpiece and shank combination you might like to try. They include:

•  The Tom Balding blog.
•  The online catalog.
• The bit creator.
Sample buy-it-now-options.
Endorsements.

 

When you are ready to request your trial bits give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call or message them with the desired mouthpiece and shank combinations. They look forward to getting you into the right bit for you and your horse. Request your trial bits today!

Give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call at 307.672.8459 or visit them online at: www.tombalding.com

 

How To Waterproof a Blanket

By Jenn Webster

With what seems like winter’s relentless grip on us this year, there’s been an increased need for good, waterproofs blankets in my barn. I was tired of constantly buying new blankets to compensate for the rips our horses have incurred, or the new young stock coming for training. So in an effort to try and keep things economical, I dug through our tack room and found a pile of old blankets I had forgotten about.

Oh happy day!

In this pile was even Ol’ Green Faithful – a blanket I’ve had since my teenage days. This green beast has figuratively been thrown “to the wolves,” since it was the blanket belonging to my first Thoroughbred, Charlie. It’s been chewed on, caught on barbed-wire fences and accidentally lost out of the back of a truck a few times. It’s a warrior. Still, you can see from its numerous patches that I’ve taken the time over the years to care for it, wash it and have it stitched and repaired when necessary. Pulling it out of the tack room the other day, I had full confidence that my green blanket could still provide an equine with the necessary comfort and warmth an animal may need, despite the rug’s age.

The only thing that worried me was the blanket’s waterproof qualities at this point – or lack thereof.

That’s when I discovered Dry Guy from Strathcona Ventures, an eco-friendly waterproofing product. Since it was water-based, did not use harsh chemicals that could be harmful to my animals and claimed to dry odor free, I really had nothing to lose. Plus the cost of one bottle of Dry Guy at $15.97 was easily justifiable. So I decided to put Dry Guy to the test with Ol’ Green Faithful. Here’s how easy the process of waterproofing my blanket was:

 

Step #1 – Prep the Blanket.

After being in the tack room for so long, Ol’ Green Faithful was a little dirty. And slightly covered in cat hair. I laid the blanket out on a table outside and brushed it clean with a study, bristle brush. The directions of Dry Guy instruct a person to apply it in a well-ventilated area and this day was beautiful, so it was nice to be outside. I shook the bottle and sprayed my entire blanket, taking care to really get at all the seams of the patches. There was no yellowing of the blanket’s original color and it was easy to apply.

Step #2 – Rub in Any Droplets.

If droplets of Dry Guy accumulate in any area of the blankets, the instructions advise you to rub them in with a soft cloth. Then as soon as the entire blanket was sprayed, I hung it in the sun to dry. A 473 ml/16 fl oz. bottle covers 50-60 square feet.

Step #3 – Don’t Leave Your Blanket Where Critters Can Get to it.

Once the blanket was completely dry, I was extremely pleased with the results. My blanket didn’t “stiffen” with the application of Dry Guy and it made Ol’ Green Faithful both waterproof and dirt repellent! An extra bonus is that Dry Guy comes ready to use and helps blankets resist the growth of mold. I was so impressed with this product and considering Western Horse Review is celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, I figured our readers should all get a chance to win some! There are two ways to win – here’s how:

1. Comment below this blog with regard to why you could use some Dry Guy Waterproofing Spray from Strathcona Ventures & Western Horse Review.

OR

2. Head on over to Western Horse Review’s Instagram or Facebook page and like, comment & tag a friend on this exciting giveaway!

* One winner will be drawn at random at 12 PM MST on March 7, 2018. The Prize must be accepted as awarded and no substitutions will be made. Prizes may not be sold, transferred or assigned and are not convertible to cash. 

 

7th Annual SK Equine Expo

The 7th Annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo takes place February 15-18, 2018 at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. Together volunteers from Saskatchewan Horse Federation, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, various equine breed groups and the staff of Prairieland Park work together to facilitate this annual event. The event presents equine related lectures, presentations, demonstrations, entertainment and opportunities focusing on the equine industry. As a participant or spectator, you can experience the newest in equine products, techniques and technology!

Tickets are on sale now and include the extravaganza, tradeshow, demonstrations and clinics. Tickets are available online and on the website: http://saskatchewanequineexpo.com/

Stay up to date with the schedule of events at: http://www.saskatchewanequineexpo.ca/events/

 

Realizing there was a need within the Saskatchewan horse industry for a quality event that showcased the newest technological advances, the latest developments in equine health, and a demonstration of horsemanship excellence, organizers created an event that is equally as entertaining as it is educational.

The Saskatchewan Equine Expo on February 15-18, will again celebrate the diversity of the equine industry with live demonstrations, breeds on display and outstanding horsemen and women. Make plans to be there, get your tickets today!

As an addendum to the event this year is the newly added, Off Track Thoroughbred Challenge. In this highly anticipated event, qualified trainers purchase a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and will spend six months to one year retraining it to compete in a variety of chosen disciplines at the 2019 Saskatchewan Equine Expo.

See you there!

www.saskatchewanequineexpo.com

Praise Hemp for the Performance Horse

Clint Swales congratulates WLC Chex Dually Cat on a solid run. Photo Credit: HD2 Sports

There is a lot of talk about hemp oil as the new “it” supplement in the equine world. Praise Hemp, a division of Hempco, is working hand-in-hand with top veterinarians to deliver the best hemp-based supplement on the market today. So why choose hemp for your equine partner? As a relatively new food to western cultures, hemp is a tiny seed with gigantic nutritional benefits. Hemp seeds are a nutrient dense, all natural, low processed, easily digested form of healthy fats and exceptional source of plant-based protein. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are essential to tissue growth and help regulate many internal functions. EFA’s are by definition, essential because they can’t be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet for proper growth and body functioning.

Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s) are the building blocks found in protein and hemp offers an excellent protein quality which rivals many grains, as well as soy and whey. By supplementing hemp oil, topping and protein fiber to our equine’s diet, you may notice an improvement in immune system, energy, digestion, skin and coat, mobility, muscle health and cardiovascular health.

Appaloosa Stallion, Lets Go Higher, is coming off a successful World Championship Appaloosa Show, and is now headed to the NRCHA World Show with trainer, Clint Swales. Photo Credit: Larry Williams.

One of Canada’s top cow horse trainers, Clint Swales, has been using Praise Hemp supplements since August and has become a big believer in the products. “After trying Praise Hemp for a month I was already starting to see changes in my horses coats and overall body condition.” Swales stuck with Praise Hemp and says that he has been extremely happy with the results. “I have been feeding Praise Hemp to my show horses so far and it has helped them stay in awesome condition.”

Reined cow horse is a demanding western performance sport that requires horses to be on the top of their game. An exceptional feeding program is required to keep them feeling, and looking, their very best. Swales is keenly aware of the importance of his feed program as he prepares to head to the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas from February 9-17. The NRCHA World Championship Show features the top horses and riders from each of the NRCHA’s eight geographic regions competing for World Championship titles in fourteen exciting events.

Swales will be taking the Appaloosa stallion, Let’s Go Higher to the NRCHA World Show for the open hackamore class, as well as his mare, Twice The Bet, for the World’s Greatest Horseman competition. In his trailer will also be Smart Like Solanos, owned and shown by Rod Honig, who will be showing in the non pro limited boxing class. Swales says, “all of my horses going to the NRCHA World Show are on the Praise Hemp Oil and Praise Protein Powder. I feed Hoffman’s Pro Fat along with the Praise Hemp line and it’s been working very well together so far.”

After using the Praise Hemp product line for the last six months, Clint Swales is a believer in the power of hemp.

For more information about Praise Hemp products, check out www.hempcocanada.com

Praise Hemp

There is something exciting on the horizon of equine nutrition. As a relatively new food to western cultures, hemp is a tiny seed with gigantic nutritional benefits. So why choose hemp for your equine? Hemp seeds are a nutrient dense, all natural, low processed, easily digested form of healthy fats and exceptional source of plant-based protein. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are essential to tissue growth and help regulate many internal functions. EFA’s are by definition, essential because they can’t be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet for proper growth and body functioning.

Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s) are the building blocks found in protein and hemp offers an excellent protein quality which rivals many grains, as well as soy and whey. By supplementing hemp oil, topping and protein fiber to our equine’s diet, you may notice an improvement in immune system, energy, digestion, skin and coat, mobility, muscle health and cardiovascular health.

Amanda Smith at the Calgary Wrangler Futurity. Photo by James Hudyma.

Western Horse Review recently got the chance to speak with cutter Amanda Smith of Wembley, AB. Smith has been using Praise Hemp products for the past year-and-a-half and loves the changes she has witnessed in one of her top competition geldings.

“I started giving it to my gelding that I show (Im Short And Smooth, aka ‘Fred’),” she explains. “Fred used to be spooky, nervous, lots of anxiety – he was wound pretty tight. I could tell a huge difference in Fred’s demeanor after two weeks of being on it. He was soft and quiet to be around and I could actually take him out on a trail ride and enjoy it! Plus he was super shiny. Once Fred had been on it for a couple of months and I noticed all the positives that came from it, I put the rest of our horses on it, along with the Praise Hemp Protein Fibre.”

Smith says that in her barn, her horses have all responded very well to the Praise Hemp products. The great thing for show horse owners is that horses will not test positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Praise Hemp’s Canadian hemp producers follow stringent guidelines under Health Canada’s Industrial Hemp Regulations. It is tested multiple times in the field and has virtually 0% THC. The company can even provide certificates of analysis to verify.

Additionally, horses enjoy the taste of Praise Hemp products.

“We don’t have a single horse that won’t eat it, they all love it!” says Smith. “What I’ve noticed the most across the board with all the horses is their body condition – they’re shiny and full. With the show horses I find they have more stamina and recover faster, they also maintain their weight throughout the show season.”

Smith also uses Praise Hemp products with her younger and breeding stock, including her broodmares. “All of our horses; weanlings, yearlings, show horses, broodmares and our stallion get both the Oil and Protein Fibre. My favourite thing about the product is that ALL our horses benefit from it!”

Amanda Smith. Photo by James Hudyma.

 

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For more information about Praise Hemp products, check out www.hempcocanada.com

Barn Hacks

From dream-barn makeovers, to do it yourself stable hacks, we turned to the Western Horse Review readership on Facebook to ask what their favourite tips and tricks are around their own barns. Here are five of our favourite barn renovations we rounded up, big or small.

Revolving Saddle Rack Wall

1. Revolving Saddle Rack Wall. A revolving saddle rack wall is definitely #BarnGoals. When prompted, many of our readers told us that a revolving saddle rack wall was a must-have if they were to build their dream barn. The above image shows how, at just a slight push of the wall, your tack room can be transported from room, to work area. We especially think this is a fantastic idea for busy training operations.

Photo Credit: Corrie EZ Bales via Facebook

2. Fence Post Bridle Rack. Old fence posts are a common occurrence on most farms and ranches, up-cycle them into a great bridle rack. From our Facebook Page, Corrie EZ Bales submitted this photo of her great do-it-yourself bridle rack in her own barn. Corrie says, “We got this idea for our bridles from Winning Strides near Nanton. It is just fence posts screwed to a base & hung on a wall. Sure does keep them bent & tidy!!”

Photo Credits: Lynnman Construction

3. Indoor Trailer Parking . Another of our readers, Brigitte Meyer, commented that if she were to build her own barn she would plan for a bigger blueprint. “Doubling the size of the barn alley way would be nice, in order to be able to drive a rig in. You know, in the event of a rare alberta storm” she quipped. This double-wide barn alley-way comes from Lynnman Construction and we love the trailer parking on one side, with stalls on the other. A great way to save your trailer from the horrible hail storms we all know too well.

Photo Credit: Shed Plans Galore

4. Scratching Post. Have a bucket of old brushes in the tack room? We got a real kick out of this D.I.Y. scratching post. Securely fasten old brushes to a post and put out in your horse’s turnout. We bet they’ve never been happier.

From our Pinterest Pages

5. Swing Out Insulated Water Buckets. This barn-hack was made for cold Canadian winters. The swing out theme continues with swing-out buckets, which can be used for grain, or insulate and use for water buckets in the winter. Ice chipping in the morning, be gone.

Have any other great barn or arena renovations we missed, or some genius barn or arena tips you use that you love? Let us know in the comment section below.

Diary of a Wildfire Summer

A view of the smoke and fires near Easygo Ranch. Credit: Elli Meinert

Summer is generally a season to which most Canadians look forward. But for Lac La Hache, BC, resident Elli Meinert, 2017 was a summer she was glad to bid goodbye. Little did she know that when the province of British Columbia was about to experience one of its worst wildfire seasons in history, Meinert’s home was about to become a highly sought after evacuation zone.

“I remember that on July 6, I got my first Facebook message,” said Meinert. “It read, ‘Can I bring my herd over?’” she relayed. In addition to her own animals, Meinert ended up with 8 extra horses in her care that afternoon. Meinert owns and operates Easygo Ranch, an equine facility bordering a lake, in northern BC. As the events of the summer unfolded, the raging wildfires quickly sparked in several locations in close proximity to the ranch.

“During those early days in July we were watching the fire and there was smoke on the other side of the barn. We had had a fire in that direction 3-4 weeks before. We watched them hit it with retardant and it was gone. But this time, it was different,” she said.

“On July 7, I was by myself and all of a sudden there were water bombers flying right over the house. I phoned my hubby and asked him to come home. On Friday, I hauled horses for someone who was put on Order. And then while I was trying to load horses for someone else – we were put on Alert. I shoved the last horse I could fit in the trailer and went back home. Then the news started coming in. The 108 (a big settlement of houses nearby) were also put on Order.”

To be on “Alert” means officials in the province have advised residents to be ready, in case they must leave. You can leave but you can’t come back. Highways were only open to whatever evacuation route officials deemed safe to travel at the time.

To be on “Evacuation Order” means you have to leave.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

“At that point, we weren’t just trying to look after our horses or other peoples’ horses – we were making beds for people. My Step-Dad, my neighbours – where else did they have to go? You can’t go to a hotel with two Jack Russells and cats and stuff,” Meinert stated. “So we got really efficient with the dog shuffle (because not all the animals got along). We took in a few extra people and more animals.”

On July 7, Meinert admits they all thought about leaving because the closest fire was too close for comfort. “I had trailers lined up, but soon we realized we couldn’t leave because they closed the highway.”

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

After that, another 15 horses arrived so Easygo’s tally came in at 35. “Some of the owners were stuck on the other side of road blocks. There was an orphan from the SPCA that came. We were looking after them all, full time,” she said.

The human residents of Easygo Ranch were also stuck on a 6-kms travel radius during those days. They were permitted to move around in the radius, but no farther.

“We could go to our gas station corner store, which was good but they quickly ran out of supplies. We were all put on rations: one loaf of bread and one jug of milk per household. It was stupid.

“After chores each day we would all meet up in front of the barn to decide who was cooking dinner that night. One night we had just finished and the power went out. I just wanted a shower… We spent this whole time prepping in case the fire did come to the ranch. We tried to make the place as fireproof as we could. But that night it was distressing. We’d look to the south west and you could see a plume of smoke from the 100 Mile fire. To the north west there was another huge fire from the Chilcotin. And in the north east there was the fire from Williams Lake. We were all just standing there and discussing what we were going to do and then all this smoke started drifting in from across the lake.”

Credit: Elli Meinert

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“I really wasn’t going to leave unless we could take all the horses,” she explained. “We could only take 12 horses and there were clearly more than that.”

Thankfully Easygo Ranch already had great fire suppression systems in place before summer started. These included a dry well located close tot the barn, the lake that could be pumped out of, and an indoor arena with amazing water hoses and generators for power.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

 

 

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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However there were other things Meinert learned about in the face of a crisis that also helped ride out the storm.

“Val Detweiller used to work in forestry and she contacted me. She was a huge help with her information. She gave me ideas like placing a tarp over the manure pile, to prevent it from catching a spark. We also set up panels in the outdoor arena in case something happened to the barn and I would have to get all the horses outside. The good thing was, Easygo has lots of grass and open areas with sand breaks and driveways in between things. In the worst case scenario, we may have had a massive grass fire but I still think we could have saved our animals. That was my number one priority. Of course, I was also concerned for our own safety – but let the buildings burn if they must.”

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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The group at Easygo Ranch knew that if a fire did come to their doorstep, they would not be able to force it back. Luckily, during those days in July, the fires gave them quite a scare but didn’t progress to the point of destruction for the ranch.

Yet, little did the group at Easygo realize – this would only be the first wave of fires to threaten the area that summer.

“After the first scare, many horses did go home. We only had one group of horses who were owned by people who had all their fences burned down, etc. So they couldn’t return as quickly as the rest.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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“But then, the second wave of fire evacuations began. We went down to nine horses and then I personally helped evacuate another boarding facility – again. All of a sudden we were back up to 22 horses…”

In the second round, Meinert was able to plan far enough ahead so the second round of horses came in with their own feed. This was a lifesaver for Easygo Ranch, because in the first bout of fires – feed went fast and there was no time, nor opportunity to replenish supplies.

“I fed everyone in the first round but in the second wave, we knew we were going to run out of feed. This time it was like, ‘If you can, please bring your own feed!’”

As July turned to August and finally September, a bit of relief was sighed when officials finally announced the fire situation was under control. Everyone who was housed at Easygo Ranch during the summer fared well.

 

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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Still, it’s not a situation Meinert ever wants to endure again. “Honestly, I hope to never see something like that in my lifetime again. It never needs to happen again,” she states.

A nighttime view of one of the fires that threatened Easygo Ranch during the summer of 2017. CREDIT: Elli Meinert