Monday, November 24, 2014

Kid Heroes: 15 Year Old Ran Into A Burning Barn To Save 25 Horses.

I am introducing a new series on my Children 4 Horses Facebook page. It is called "Kid Heroes for Animals". I will be posting a bunch of amazing stories of kids helping or saving animals from all over the world! You can also submit or suggest your own stories by sending me a message on my Facebook page.  I am hoping the stories I find inspire people, especially kids to be compassionate and caring towards animals and even to be brave and strong!

The first story I have for you is about 15 year old Maddie, who is brave beyond comparison! Wait until you see what she did!!  ~Declan

15 Year Old Repeatedly Ran Into A Burning Barn To Save 25 Horses.

15 Year Old Repeatedly Ran Into A Burning Barn To Save 25 Horses.

A 15-year-old girl is being hailed a hero after dashing into a burning barn and rescuing around 25 horses from near death, against her stepfather’s orders. Taking the reins of each kicking and jumping horse, 4ft-10in Madison Wallraf of McHenry, Illinois guided the frantic animals out of the fire-swept stable and to safety.

‘I got kicked in the shoulder by one of the horses in there and I got knocked down a few times, but my adrenaline was so high at the time that it didn’t really phase me.’

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Police Horse Training - Extraordinary Animals

This is pretty cool.  It's really hard for a horse to become a police academy graduate.  This is a look at some of their training for the San Francisco PD.  Horses are pretty awesome!! ~Declan

Police Horse Training - Extraordinary Animals - Series 2 - Earth

Published on Apr 2, 2014

How are horses chosen to work with the police? With entry requirements more rigorous than the U.S. Navy Seals, only 10% of the horses brought in to the San Francisco mounted police unit will make it through basic training. It takes a very special horse to beats those odds.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Photos of Extremely Rare Moment - White Camargue Horses Race Along France's Rhone River

Beautiful horses! ~Declan

Just horsing around! Fascinating photos reveal extremely rare moment white Camargue horses race along France's Rhone River

  • Xavier Oretgas Ojuel photographed a herd of rare white horses galloping through saltwater at sunset
  • The animals are native to the region where they've long lived in several ranches along the Rhone River
  • Camargue is a relatively remote natural paradise, located near Arles, along France's southern coast
By Katie Amey
As posted on Mail Online
A herd of white Camargue horses galloping through a calm delta at sunset made for some stunning photos from Barcelona-based photographer Xavier Oretga Ojuel.

The Spanish man travelled hundreds of miles to capture this magical moment of the rare animals racing wildly against the setting sun.

Rushing along the remote landscape, the surf is kicked up and the animals' movements blurred, as they are permitted to run free outside for their ranches along the Rhone River, near Arles, France.

Horseplay: A herd of white horses gallop through the saltwater of the Rhone River in France
Horseplay: A herd of white horses gallop through the saltwater of the Rhone River in France

The animals belong to several ranches along the Camargue, a natural region located south of Arles, France
The animals belong to several ranches along the Camargue, a natural region located south of Arles, France

The photographs, taken at sunset, capture the horses between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhone River delta
The photographs, taken at sunset, capture the horses between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhone River delta

The herd is carefree and playful, kicking up water as they splash in the surf
The herd is carefree and playful, kicking up water as they splash in the surf

This is the third time that the photographer has made the trip to region to photograph these majestic creatures, building up quite a portfolio of images along the way.

'In these three years, I have seen many horses - usually they can run for ten minutes until the leader decides to quit,' Xavier said.

'I love seeing horses like this - running free in the wild. They are one of my favourite animals, displaying a combination of power, beauty and water in a great place with magnificent light.' 

He added: 'I remember taking these particular photos. It was a magical moment.

'The sky was ablaze with yellow clouds when a herd of white horses came running through the marsh.

'I chose a short lens to capture the beautiful landscape and I believe I took one of my best pictures.' 

These Camargue horses are named after the region of southern France they are native to
These Camargue horses are named after the region of southern France they are native to

The images are slightly blurred due to the horses' quick movements
The images are slightly blurred due to the horses' quick movements

The rare white creatures are believed to be ancestors of Palaeolithic era horses, which lived over 17,000 years ago
The rare white creatures are believed to be ancestors of Palaeolithic era horses, which lived over 17,000 years ago

The horses have been running wild in this area for years, but belong to ranches along the remote coast of the Camargue
The horses have been running wild in this area for years, but belong to ranches along the remote coast of the Camargue

'I love seeing horses like this - running free in the wild,' photographer Xavier Ortega says
'I love seeing horses like this - running free in the wild,' photographer Xavier Ortega says

The horses slow to a walk once their leader has decided he's tired of running in the calm waters
The horses slow to a walk once their leader has decided he's tired of running in the calm waters

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Horses of Honor in Chicago

Cool artwork.  I love all the colors and designs!  ~Declan

Horses of Honor

All over the city, Horses of Honor are on display. These life-size fiberglass statues of Chicago's police horses were designed to raise awareness and support for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. There are 16 horses currently on display with 40 more expected to roll out shortly. The featured horses will be on display around the city through mid-November.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Suffolks Down Horses Need New Homes After Track Closing

A VERY IMPORTANT LETTER VIA DOVER SADDLERY!!  PLEASE SHARE AND HELP IF YOU CAN!!  Read more details about the track closing in the article below.  ~DECLAN

Dear Fellow Equestrian,

After a 79 year legacy of horse racing, Suffolk Downs has announced that it will be closing its starting gates at the end of the 2014 Season on September 29th. Many of the Thoroughbreds that have found their first careers at the track will be in need of new homes and jobs after the closing. While there will be a grace period after the track closes in order to allow horses to be matched with new owners, CANTER New England, a non-profit horse welfare group, expects that over 100 horses will need to be re-homed by mid-October. 

For those interested in purchasing one of the Suffolk Downs OTTBs, CANTER New England will be hosting an Open House at Suffolk Downs on Sunday, September 27th from 8:30am until 12:00 pm. Additionally, a CANTER New England representative will be available at the track on Wednesday, September 24th. If you are unable to attend the open house, please email CANTER at to schedule a time. Buyer resources, such as transportation, veterinarian, and guides to answer questions about transitioning a race horse to farm life, will be available to interested buyers. 

We here at Dover Saddlery have been a longtime supporter of CANTER New England and have purchased horses from Suffolk Downs in the past. In a further effort to help support the re-homing of these horses, we will be provide buyers of these Suffolk Downs OTTBs a starter kit that includes a halter, lead rope and a $20 Dover Saddlery gift certificate.

If you'd like to view available horses, please visit CANTER New England, and join us for the Open House at Suffolk Downs later this month. Keep following our blog for updates and special features on the promising Suffolk Downs OTTBs that are in need of a new home to help take them to their next winner's circle.

Please feel free to forward this email to your fellow equestrians and help spread the news.


Stephen L. Day
President & CEO, Dover Saddlery
Suffolk Downs and Canter

Where 700 Horses At Suffolk Downs Will Go After The Races Shut Down

A Suffolk Downs horse race is seen here in this 2007 file photo. (Lisa Poole/AP)
A Suffolk Downs horse race is seen here in this 2007 file photo. (Lisa Poole/AP)
BOSTON — There are 700 horses in the stables at Suffolk Downs in Revere.
In fewer than two weeks, the sounds of their thundering hooves will no longer be heard at the 80-year-old racetrack situated in East Boston.
What happens after that?
“Most of them will go somewhere else to race,” said Osvaldo Rivera, a horse trainer who has been working at Suffolk Downs for 30 years. “The ones who can’t compete will be given away as riding horses or ponies or whatever.”
Of the 700 horses at Suffolk Downs, those not fit for racing will likely be given up for adoption. (Delores Handy/WBUR)
Of the 700 horses at Suffolk Downs, those not fit for racing will likely be given up for adoption. (Delores Handy/WBUR)
Rivera said that the horses will likely all go to adoption.
“They can’t go to slaughter. We can’t do that anymore,” he said.
Suffolk Downs investors have been hemorrhaging money in hopes that a casino licence would turn things around, but thatlicense went to Everett instead.
Chip Tuttle, the chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs, said the track has been losing money since 2006 to the tune of over $50 million.
Tuttle said that with the financial losses, it’s impossible to continue running the facility. He said the racing track will need to be shuttered by the end of the year.
The track’s closure would put about 1,100 track employees out of work. Those workers, plus blacksmiths and others in allied fields, could mean upwards of 2,000 jobs impacted, according to track officials.
Tammi Piermarini is one of those people. Over 30 years ago, she started her racing career at Suffolk Downs. She is now the third leading female jockey in the history of horse racing.
Jockey Tammi Piermarini speaks to media in front of the racetrack Wednesday. (Delores Handy/WBUR)
Jockey Tammi Piermarini speaks to media at the racetrack Wednesday. (Delores Handy/WBUR)
“I was 18 when I began racing, and I remember coming in my first day riding,” she recalled. “You see where we stand today? You couldn’t move, there were so many people. The crowds. It was almost like being at the Kentucky Derby. That’s how many people.”
Piermarini had hoped for a return to those golden days of horse racing, but said her hopes were dashed with this week’s casino decision.
“The loss of the casino is the final straw. That would have helped us out immensely. It would have brought more trainers in. It would have brought more riders in. And it would have brought a different crowd in,” she said. “It definitely would have revitalized the industry and would have saved a lot of people that had farms.”
George Brown has a farm in Rehoboth. He says closing Suffolk Downs means the end of a family legacy.
“My farm has been in my family since 1850. I have the original deed. My great-great-grandfather bought the farm for $575. As far as my farm is concerned: with horses, it’s done,” Brown said.
The final Suffolk Downs horse race is scheduled for Sept. 29. The track will close for good in December.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

3D Printed Horse Jump at the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix

This is really cool! I love the jump - it's just amazing - the technology is unbelievable.  This would be fun to make! ~Declan

3D Printed Horse Jump Takes First Place at the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix

 By Scott J Grunewald On                                 

Equestrian competition producer HITS Inc recently held the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix and featured a horse jump 3D printed to look like a syringe full of the main sponsors veterinary surgical aid product Dormosedan Gel.

syringe jump 3d printing

HITS inc. president Tom Struzzieri also happens to be on the board of the State University of New York New Paltz 3D Printing Initiative. The SUNY Advanced Manufacturing Center director and dean of the School of Science and Engineering Daniel Freedman oversaw the 3D printed horse jump project, which had his team create and assemble it for the race. The only part of the build that wasn’t 3D printed was the barrel of the syringe, which was made of 6” PVC pipe.

The 3D printed parts were made on a Stratasys Dimension 1200ES, an industrial FDM printer that uses high quality ABSplus thermoplastic. It took Freedman and Assistant Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Center Kat Wilson – who designed the jump and built most of it -  about 10 days to print all of the components, and then another four days to paint and assemble the syringe shaped horse jump.

cad horse jump 3d printing

Because the 1200ES only has a 10″x10″12″ build plate, Wilson needed to be very clever in designing the jump. It needed to fit together seamlessly, and remain sturdy and durable during an event where it would be subjected to large animals potentially kicking it or stepping on it without going over budget and making it too expensive to produce. As you can see, Wilson ended up breaking the syringe up into 20 individual pieces.

syringe compare 3d printing

While the frame of the jump was a standard 3.5” wood jump rail, there was concern about how well the syringe would stand up if it was knocked off the rail or stepped on by a horse. Thus, Wilson’s primary challenge was to create a jump strong enough to survive contact with a horse. While Freedman told me that he believed it would have been okay if it was simply kicked or knocked off of the rail, he admitted that it probably would not have survived had a horse actually stepped on it.
Thankfully, the syringe-shaped jump never had to be subjected to a horse related stress test and it made it through the entire event completely undamaged. For his part, Struzzieri was very pleased with the 3D printed jump, and even expressed interest in creating more of them for future horse jumping events.

jump complete 3d printing

The SUNY New Paltz 3D Printing Initiative has created a unique curriculum for Digital Design and Fabrication aimed at creating an advanced-level workforce. The initiative also offers students the chance to work on projects for local businesses and industries and collaborates with local community colleges and high schools to expand 3D printing education in the region.
Here’s a great video about how 3D printing came to SUNY New Paltz:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Is the Horse Meat Scandal Really Over?

Warning that horse meat issue could recur

David Heath told the Commons some member states opted against taking action as they did not want to remind people what had occurred and hoped the problem would go away once the "press and media furore" had calmed.
Mr Heath, a minister who helped lead the UK's response, blamed large-scale organised crime based in Europe for causing the scandal, noting the problem will arise again as they were continuing to make huge sums of money.
Horse DNA was found in frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets in January 2013.
Investigations also found other beef products sold by retailers, including lasagne and spaghetti bolognese, were contaminated while meals in schools and hospitals had to be withdrawn after it was found they contained horse meat.
Asked if he was disappointed no convictions had been brought following the horse meat scandal, Mr Heath said: "I find it enormously frustrating because (former environ-ment secretary Owen Pater-son) and I did absolutely everything we could to mobilise and to energise enforcement agencies across Europe to make sure that this was traced.
"I believe that at the root of this was large-scale organised crime - European-based organised crime.
"I believe that more could and should have been done by other member states to get to the bottom of it.
"But I felt that having raised the issue in European Council meetings, there was then a palpable feeling from some member states that once the media furore had died down then, well, 'let's not push it too hard shall we chaps'."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tennessee Walking Horses - A Dying Breed?

Don't let Tennessee's Walking Horse be a dying breed

Published Sunday, September 7th, 2014  As posted on
  • photo
The dust is finally settling from the 76th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and what may have been the worst attended in recent decades of the 11-day iconic Shelbyville event.
Photographs and videos indicate the 25,000 seat Calsonic Arena held about 3,000 to 5,000 people on Aug. 30, the final night of competition when the grand champion is named.
Industry diehards blamed rain, but that's a fallacy.
In 1966 in Shelbyville, the heavens threw daggers of lightning and buckets of rain onto the stadium and show ring during the 28th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
The towering bleachers were packed and nobody left -- even with lightning strikes flying, witnesses attest. That was the year Shakers Shocker defeated 15 to 20 competitors to win the World Grand Championship.
But that was before the sport was almost completely corrupted by "professional" trainers and owners who resorted to chemicals and other abusive methods to short-cut training for this steady and beautiful breed.
That was also before soring -- as we've come to know it today -- forced the horses to step unnaturally higher and further, all to avoid the pain when their high-shod hooves and chemically abraded legs touched the ground. Soring is the use of substances, painful shoeing techniques and objects hidden beneath outrageously sized pads that force the horses to high step around the show ring. Soring is what the world finally saw, up close, in videos secretly recorded in Celebration Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell's stables by operatives of the Humane Society of the United States a few years ago. The tapes were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and then to U.S. attorneys in Chattanooga. McConnell later became the first person in the history of the 40-year-old federal Horse Protection Act to be criminally prosecuted and convicted.
The upheaval McConnell's conviction caused in the industry and among fans of the walking horse continues to smother the walking horse industry and this beautiful, steady breed of horse. But it hasn't stopped the soring.
Only three horses entered the ring to compete for the 76th World Championship title. Abuse inspectors -- mostly USDA vets and technicians -- had disqualified the rest of the field. They were disqualified based on evidence the inspectors deemed to be signs of soring abuse.
The winning horse, named I am Jose, has no soring violation history, but other horses in his bloodline do. So do his owners and trainers, according to USDA violation records in a database maintained by Friends of Sound Horses, a horse organization that has taken a decided stand against animal abuse.
But the walking horse industry as a whole -- as opposed to horse fans -- has been slow to acknowledge the apparently rampant soring abuse: FOSH's database provides 28 years of Horse Protection Act and soring violations, showing more than 12,500 violations as well as a "Repeat Violators" report with hundreds of single-spaced pages.
Industry stalwarts have insisted that McConnell and his ilk represented just "a few bad apples."
For weeks leading up to this year's Celebration, officials touted a new "world class" trio of veterinarians who would oversee inspections to prove the industry's commitment to no cheating. But these officials neglected to disclose that one of the vets had never agreed to participate and wasn't at the 11-day event. Another had ties to the industry dating back years and to lobbying efforts to have the Horse Protection Act amended to be less protective (though it's hard to imagine how a 40-year-old protection act with only the first conviction in 2012 could be much less protective).
When the Tennessean reported gaping problems in the Celebration veterinarian committee, officials quickly backtracked, saying the vets didn't have to be present to oversee the inspections. Let us guess: Inspections by telepathy? Clearly the vets idea was a public relations stunt to protect the industry, not the horses.
Now these soring loyalists -- the ones who've ratcheted up the "big lick" with out-sized pads, chains, chemicals and whatever it takes -- are also fighting proposed amendments to toughen the existing law. The amendments are known as the PAST Act, and they would outlaw the pads and chains that hide and exacerbate the chemicals and foreign objects.
It is clear that fans -- along with plenty of owners of show-worthy walking horses -- stayed out of the arena this year in an effort to get the message across to the industry diehards: Walking horses don't need lumbering "big licks" to be exciting.
Shakers Shocker and the horses before him proved that when they so electrified crowds that not even lightning kept fans away.
Bring those horses -- and that natural gait with flat-shod hooves -- back.
Support the PAST Act. This industry doesn't have to die. It just has to return to its horse-loving, solid footing.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Program Suspended

More corruption with the BLM...  I thought they were supposed to PROTECT America's horses! ~Declan

Gunnison prison wild horse program suspended

In this 2007 file photo, an inmate works with "Norton" in the round pen with part of the herd in the background as part of the wild horse program at the Gunnison State Prison in Gunnison.  Tom Smart, Deseret News

GUNNISON — Disagreement over the costs associated with a wild horse gentling program at the Gunnison prison has led to its suspension, and efforts are underway to find a place for 1,500 horses.

The program's cessation means the Bureau of Land Management will move about 90 percent of the animals to out-of-state facilities, with a prison-imposed deadline to have that accomplished by Oct. 6.

"The BLM's Utah State Office has valued our relationship with the Utah Department of Corrections and regret that it has decided to terminate the Wild Horse Inmate Program at Gunnison," said Tom Gorey, acting spokesman for the BLM in Utah.

"This program has aided in the rehabilitation of inmates and has, through the gentling of horses, helped place animals into good, private care."

Gorey added that the state agency decision to end the program will complicate national efforts to make sure there is enough off-range holding capacity for wild horses and burros that are removed off public ranges.

Mike Haddon, deputy director of the Utah Department of Corrections, said the program was losing money and had very little inmate participation. The BLM was informed of the agency's decision on Friday.

"We are not able to sustain the program without losing money," he said. "The program was not cost-effective, and we do not know if it was effective in reducing recidivism. We do know it was not serving a lot of inmates."

Since its inception in 2007, the program had 175 inmates who gentled horses for the public to adopt through BLM-managed programs. Of those 175 graduates, Haddon said only 82 of them had been released from prison — too small a number to effectively judge if the program had any viable, lasting impacts.

Haddon said the differences over money arose in 2012 when the initial five-year contract was renegotiated from a per-head, per day rate to another model of reimbursement.

"There was a discrepancy and dispute between what the BLM believes the department should be reimbursed and what the department believes it should be reimbursed," he said.

An audit by the Office of Inspector General released last year shows a more than million-dollar discrepancy between the two entities that raised questions over the costs.

The Utah Correctional Industries under which the program operated reported costs of a little more than $5.3 million for the five-year contract period, of which auditors said $1 million was "questioned" —or not allowable under the terms of the agreement.

Of that million dollars, $928,000 was deemed "unsupported," meaning documentation related to the costs was insufficient, the report said.

The audit concluded that the discrepancy in costs and conflicting reimbursements arose from the use of different accounting systems between the state and federal government.

In the case of the Utah Correctional Industries — which Haddon said is mandated to be self-sustaining — the audit said its accounting records and financial statements were organized like that of a business enterprise fund and not typical of government operations.

The BLM estimates that it has overpaid Utah Correctional Industries by about $2 million, Gorey said, adding that the agency is in the process of securing an outside, independent audit to verify this figure.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Horse Gets Tattoo To Save Eye

Interesting story.  An unusual way to save the horse, but effective! ~Declan

Ace The Horse Gets Tattoo To Save Sunburned Eye

As posted on

A five-year-old Missouri Foxtrotter horse got a tattoo on Monday (Aug. 11), but it wasn’t cosmetic—it was to save his right eye.
Ace’s owner Beverly Bundren said she knew when she bought him two years ago that the ulcerations around his eye may turn into cancer one day. She said the connection between her and Ace was undeniable, and she bought him and immediately started treatment. Bundren said Ace’s right eye has too little pigmentation, so every time he is in the sun, his eye becomes burned and he gets sores.
She said she took him to Dr. Gary France at the Pea Ridge Veterinary clinic to get his opinion on how to save his life.
“I said let’s do what we have to do, and he said well if we can get it to heal, then we can maybe tattoo it….and I said okay,” Bundren said.
Fayetteville tattoo artists Jon Ross and Buzz Gaither were called in to work on Ace — the first horse, or even animal, they had ever tattooed.
“It was such a humanitarian cause,” Ross said, “To be able to bring this skill and crossover into the livestock world, and to actually help an animal.”
Ross said they tattooed black around Ace’s eye so light would be absorbed and not reflected, much like athletes put black paint until their eyes to not be blinded by stadium lights. The procedure took only 40 minutes.
“It looks absolutely natural,” Ross said, “Ace hasn’t had any problems since the procedure, so we are going to say it’s a complete success.”
Bundren said while her horse was under the needle, she could only think about how excited she is for Ace’s future.
“The fact that he can not have to stay in the shade during the heat of the day, and hopefully this will completely keep him from having the ulcerations anymore…if not, we will tattoo some more,” Bundren said.
She said she hopes the procedure done on Ace will give hope to other horse owners who may have a similar problem. Bundren said if a drastic procedure like tattooing had not been done, she may have one day lost her best friend to cancer.