Managing PPID

An estimated 1 in 7 horses over 15 years of age, has PPID.

Cushings Disease has a new name. Pituitary Pars Intermedia Disfunction (PPID), also known as Equine Cushing’s Disease, is an endocrine disease. An endocrine disease affects the production of the hormones that regulate your horse’s body. Hormones interact with each other and have many effects on the body so disruption to normal hormone production and activity can have many effects. Some of these become more and more noticeable with time.

In the past, some middle-aged horses (15–20 years) were not diagnosed as having PPID because it was assumed the symptoms were simply a consequence of ageing. Knowledge among owners is now increasing, and more and more horses are being properly diagnosed, treated and are returning to good health. These horses can then have a richer, more productive, and interactive middle age.

The hypothalmus gland and anterior pituitary in the horse.

PPID IN DETAIL

The hypothalamus and pituitary glands, located at the base of your horse’s brain, are the command and control centre for the production of its hormones. These chemical messengers are distributed around your horse’s body to all
other tissues via the bloodstream. In a normal horse, these hormones exist in a fine balance, and play an important role in maintaining and controlling bodily functions.

In some older horses and ponies, neurons (nerves) in the hypothalamus undergo progressive degeneration, and produce insufficient quantities of a nerve transmitter substance (neurotransmitter) called dopamine. Dopamine is important in controlling the secretions of a part of the pituitary gland called the pars intermedia, which in turn is responsible for controlling the secretion of hormones including the important ACTH hormone. When the pars intermedia does not receive enough dopamine from the hypothalamus, the ultimate outcome is the production of abnormally high levels of these hormones, resulting in disease symptoms.

TYPICAL SYMPTOMS

The three most obvious symptoms are:

1. LAMINITIS
This is a common, painful and potentially devastating condition affecting the hooves of horses and ponies. Growth rings are often visible (as shown here), indicating repeated episodes of laminitis.

In the foot of the normal horse or pony, the hoof wall and the pedal bone (the lowest bone in the foot) are joined together by finely structured tissues called the laminae. Despite the large weights being borne by the laminae, they are relatively delicate, and easily damaged. In laminitis, the laminae become inflamed and extremely painful, making weight-bearing very difficult for affected horses.

Horses and ponies with laminitis will find it difficult to put their feet down, and will often adopt a ‘rocked back’ stance to take weight away from the painful tissues. If the condition goes on for some time, or there are repeated occurrences in a horse, the damage can become irreversible, leading to rotation of the pedal bone and permanent foot pain. In many cases of this severity, euthanasia becomes the only option.

Laminitis is a key warning sign, especially if it is recurrent, chronic, or of insidious onset; up to 70% of mature horses seen for laminitis have been found to have PPID. In fact, all laminitic horses should be tested for PPID

 

2. CHANGES IN HAIRCOAT (HIRSUTISM)
This ranges from mild changes in coat shedding, right through to a full, long, curly, overgrown coat (‘hirsutism’). The presence of hirsutism is thought by some experts to be the most reliable single indicator of underlying PPID,
although not all horses with PPID develop this symptom, especially in the early stages of PPID.

 

 

3. CHANGES IN BODY CONFORMATION

– Fatty deposits above the eyes.

– Muscle wasting leading to ‘pot belly’ appearance.

– Muscle wasting and persistent sinusitis.

 

OTHER ‘CLASSIC’ INDICATORS OF PPID INCLUDE:
• Lethargy, poor performance.
• Recurring infections (e.g. sinusitis) and impaired immune system.
• Excessive sweating.
• Changes in appetite.
• Increased drinking and urination.

HOW CAN YOU TREAT PPID?

PRASCEND® can help your horse look and feel healthy and happy again. Effectiveness studies showed improvement of signs within 3 months. And results were even better at 6 months of treatment. The treatment acts directly on the dopamine-producing neurons in the hypothalamus, helping to bring cortisol concentrations in the bloodstream back to normal levels. The medication is given once daily, and can be mixed with a small volume of molasses or food to ease administration; alternatively it can be dissolved in a small volume of water and administered directly into the mouth. Tablets should not be crushed.

Usually there is a short lag between the beginning of treatment, and seeing your horse return to normal in terms of clinical signs. Those will improve generally within 6–12 weeks after initiation of the treatment. However, it can take up to a year to see the full benefit of treatment.

Take this quick quiz to learn more about PPID and how to recognize the symptoms. Boehringer Ingelheim is offering a free PPID testing campaign during September and October 2018. Talk to your veterinarian to see if PRASCEND® is right for your horse.

Protecting Horses in Smoke-Filled Air

No filter. Smoke in the air lingers above a pasture. CREDIT: Jenn Webster

Though we may located be far away from the forest fire threats, the smoke here in Alberta is unbearable today. And there’s not much that can be done about it. I can’t even bring myself to send my kids outdoors on what should have been another beautiful summer day. So what can we do for the animals who must live outside in the current poor air quality conditions?

– Limit your horses’ activity outside when smoke is visible.
– Ensure your animals have plenty of fresh water.
– Monitor animals for coughing or an increased respiratory rate.
– If any horse is having trouble breathing, contact your vet immediately.

Smoke can cause respiratory issues in horses, just as it does in humans.  Take care out there.

Permanent Part of Our Program

Jeff Resch at the Festival Western in St. Tite, Quebec. Photo by BIRTZ Photography.

Jeff Resch is a professional pick-up man with many accolades, including the closing out of the final Canadian Finals Rodeo held in Edmonton last year. He has an identical twin (as he is brother to Jason Resch, also a professional pick-up man), and is highly respected by his peers at the highest levels of professional rodeo. The horses Jeff brings to work must be on their game because Resch’s job is often dangerous, and the lives of many cowboys depend on him.

Photo by SJ Originals.

When it comes to a feeding program for the horses Resch rides, Praise™ hemp superfood is a staple in his barn. “Never have our horses looked so great and felt so healthy and performed so well! Praise™ hemp is now a permanent part of our feeding program,” he says.

Praise™ hemp superfood is nutrient dense, all natural, low processed, easily digested form of healthy fats and an exceptional source of plant-based protein. EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) 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. EAA’s (Essential Amino Acids) 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 an equine or canine’s diet, you may notice an improvement in: Immune System, Energy, Digestion, Skin and Coat, Mobility, Muscle Health and Cardiovascular Health.

“Our horses have never had the shine and bloom that they do now. Praise™ hemp is a very important part of our feeding program and after seeing the effects on our horses, I won’t go without it again. It is very simple to use both at home and on the road and all of our horses have loved the product from the beginning.” – Jeff Resch

For more information about Praise™ hemp, check out the website here.

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

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

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

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