Thursday, September 15, 2011

Equine Identification and Microchipping

I've been thinking a lot about equine ID lately, especially as I get ready to do more trail riding.

I watched an ACTHA video recently that suggested attaching an ID tag to your horse's mane whenever you go trail riding.  So today I'm dropping by PetSmart to pick up an ID tag to braid into Misty's mane when I go trail riding.  Engraved upon it will be Misty's name, my name, and my phone numbers.  I think I'll doubly attach it to her mane with a leather string and an alligator clip.

Attaching ID to the horse's mane is suggested because tack can break and it is possible for a loose horse to rid itself of bridle and saddle.  Having ID on both horse and tack increases your chances of getting everything back should you become separated from your horse while trail riding.  Heaven forbid this ever happen, but it is good to be prepared.

SaraJane came home last weekend and while she was out for training, her rescue had her microchipped.  She came home with a brand new,  pretty pink halter with her name written on one side and "Microchipped Horse" written on the other side.

This morning I saw the news report below about Willow, the microchipped cat found after 5 years!  This amazing story really presents a good case for microchipping.

Do you microchip your pets or your horses? Do you have identification on your horse when you trail ride?

Colo. cat, missing 5 years, is found on NYC street
By JIM FITZGERALD Associated Press The Associated Press

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 9:21 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — A calico cat named Willow, who disappeared from a home near the Rocky Mountains five years ago, was found Wednesday on a Manhattan street and will soon be returned to a family in which two of the three kids and one of the two dogs may remember her.

How she got to New York, more than 1,600 miles away, and the kind of life she lived in the city are mysteries.

But thanks to a microchip implanted when she was a kitten, Willow will be reunited in Colorado with her owners, who had long ago given up hope.

"To be honest, there are tons of coyotes around here, and owls," said Jamie Squires, of Boulder. "She was just a little thing, five and a half pounds. We put out the `Lost Cat' posters and the Craigslist thing, but we actually thought she'd been eaten by coyotes."

Squires and her husband, Chris, were "shocked and astounded" when they got a call Wednesday from Animal Care & Control, which runs New York City's animal rescue and shelter system.

Willow had been found on East 20th Street by a man who took her to a shelter.

"My husband said, `Don't say anything to the kids yet. We have to make sure,'" Squires said. "But then we saw the picture, and it was Willow. It's been so long."

ACC Executive Director Julie Bank said a scanner found the microchip that led to the Squires family.

"All our pets are microchipped," Squires said. "If I could microchip my kids, I would."

The children are 17, 10 and 3 years old, so the older two remember Willow, Squires said. As for the 3-year-old, "She saw the photo and said, `She's a pretty cat.'"

The Squireses also have a yellow Labrador named Roscoe, who knew Willow, and an English mastiff named Zoe.

"We had another dog back then, too, and I remember that Willow would lie with them as they all waited to be fed," Squires said. "She thought she was a dog."

Squires said Willow escaped in late 2006 or early 2007 when contractors left a door open during a home renovation.

Since then, the family had moved about 10 miles from Broomfield to Boulder, but it kept its address current with the microchip company.

Bank recommended that all pet owners use microchips.

She said Willow, who now weighs 7 pounds, is healthy and well-mannered and probably has not spent her life on the mean streets of Manhattan. But there are no clues about her trip east or anything else in the five years she's been missing.

Squires seemed a bit worried about a possible New York state of mind.

"I don't know what kind of life she's had, so I don't know what her personality will be like," she said. When Willow disappeared, she said, "She was a really cool cat, really sweet."

The ACC and the Squireses were trying to arrange for transportation back to Colorado and health certificates and said it might be two weeks before the reunion. Willow may spend some time with a foster family in New York.

"The kids can't wait to see her," Squires said. "And we still have her little Christmas stocking."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tough Times in a Desperate Horse Market

I dipped my toes into the horse market recently and found the waters to be cold and uninviting.

Many of the online advertisements make me feel wary and I'm reminded of this icon from my childhood:

A couple weeks ago I came upon an ad that didn't conjure up images of the Lost in Space robot.  My trainer and I went to see the horse and ride him.  We both liked him and the seller suggested I take him on trial.   The ideal situation was to take him to the training stable where my trainer could evaluate him and give me lessons on him. But the training stable required a rabies vaccination, which this horse did not have.  I offered to pay for the vaccination and the seller agreed to get the vaccination and draw up a pre-purchase trial contract.  A couple of days went by.  I left a voice message for the seller.  Then at 8:30 that night the seller called in a panic, in need of money because of an ugly divorce situation, and said I had to buy the horse tomorrow or the horse would be sold to a cattle rancher with cash in hand.  Wow!  I was stunned.  I was disappointed.  But I will not be pressured into a rapid purchase like that.

I summoned up some courage and looked at more ads today and it was sickening.  I saw ads placed by desperate people trying to unload their horses "ASAP".  I feel sorry for the horses because the most likely person to respond to these ads is the kill-buyer.

Let me tell you about a couple I just read.  I don't want to copy and paste them here, so I'll just give you the gist of them.

Ad #1 offered a "FREE" 2 year old "Polomino" quarter horse stallion. The seller pleaded, "Please rehome him ASAP...he is FREE."   While the horse is free, his tack costs $300.00 and has to go with him.  The free "Polomino" horse and tack is $300.00 today only.  If you wait until tomorrow "the re-homing fee becomes $500.00" for horse and tack.

What the heck is a "re-homing fee" on a FREE horse?  Now, doesn't that make you want to rush out to the nearest ATM? 

Ad #2 offered another free horse.  A 16 year old, "broke to ride" quarter horse that is "not a push button horse, but is a good horse."  The horse "hasn't been ridden in awhile", but the seller put her kids on it and they survived "are fine".  Seller needs to re-home the horse "ASAP" because the power has been shut off at their vacated farm.  Her rotten husband is in jail and she moved out and is raising their 6 children and didn't have the money to pay the utility bill at the farm.  You can have this horse for free under one condition...when you pick up your free horse, you need to pick up its pasture mate and return that horse to its owner in another town.  The seller can't return the pasture mate to its owner because her husband did not renew the registration on their truck & trailer before he became incarcerated.  Lace up your track shoes, you lucky horse shoppers, because the race is on.  The seller says "preference goes to whoever can get to my place first."

Too bad my horse trailer is in the shop for repairs right now.  I lose again.

Times are tough and I feel badly for people who are in difficult & desperate situations.

I feel most sorry for the horses who are the innocent victims.  Those two "free" horses probably ended up on a truck bound for a slaughter plant south of the boarder.

I don't think I'll look at any more ads today.