Hoof Prints and Camp Smoke

Keep Your Trailer Smelling Fresh

May 02, 2013
We've all seen the trailer with horse manure stacked in corners and when the trailer is opened has a 'strong' smell. When horses walk into a trailer full of old horse manure they smell it.? And they smell it as they're hauled down the road and stand in while waiting to be unloaded.? We spend a lot of time keeping stalls, corrals and paddocks clean so why not keep our trailers clean too?

When back at the barn after a trip where horses have spent hours in the trailer and the horse manure and urine has piled up, the inside of the trailer should be cleaned out!? Really cleaned out.? At the beginning of each riding season after a trailer has been closed up for winter months, a trailer should be cleaned out also and left open for about 24 hours to air out.

To begin, first sweep the trailer out to remove most of the loose hay and horse manure.? Stack it off to the side of the trailer so it doesn't get wet when the trailer is being washed out.

Next, turn on the hose and begin to hose the inside out from the FRONT to the back.? (Make sure the divider between horses and tack room has a water tight seal around bottom to prevent water from flowing into tack room.)? To help the water flow out back, crank the trailer up three or four turns on the hitch so the back is lower than front.? Begin washing by spraying the hose back and forth as you walk to end of trailer.? For walls, a soft short broom will help remove the 'crud' from walls.? For windows, a couple old towels in a pail full of clean water will help wash the 'snort', dust and dirt off so horses can see outside again!

You wanta remove the horse manure stomped into the mat but most important, the urine in the trailer.? It doesn't always seep out!!? Notice the water coming out the back of my trailer, it's been 3 weeks since it was washed out and it's really yellow.? That yellow is dried urine and stomped in horse manure.

Once the trailer has been washed out, sweep the remaining water out.? And if you wanta keep your trailer really fresh smelling, after cleaning mix about a quart of Absorbine into a gallon of water and sweep it over the mats as a last cleaning.? It will dry with the Absorbine smell lin the trailer.

When I move my trailer back to its parking space, I put a couple blocks under the corners of the mats for more air circulation under them.? Other folks will roll mats forward.

By keeping your trailer clean inside, both you and your horse will be happier in a trailer with an almost new smell!!

International Trails Symposium

March 12, 2013
Galloping into Arizona the International Trails Symposium will be held April 14 -17.? Previously known as the National Trails Symposium it is held every other year and this year heading to Arizona, specifically Fountain Hills at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort which is the center of the symposium.

I've attended two or three of these over the years and EQUESTRIANS have been among the lowest of attendees!!? But when one considers, 90% of the attendees are park, trails, government (federal, state, county) agencies (National Forest Service, National Park Service, BLM, etc.) I'd think equestrians and especially the organizations that represent them would put in a better showing!!

The Exhibit Hall is always full of the latest camping, information, techniques for building trails but few equine organizations attend.? Mountain bikers and bikers were the largest group at the Symposium in Davenport, Iowa a few years back.? Hikers, skiers, mountain climbers, sky divers, river interests were in line with horsemen having a couple booths -- The Backcountry of America and a couple other local organizations.

It's alway amazes me at how quick we horseowners are to complain about trail closures, new regulations and other things yet we never seem to have the TIME to attend these symposiums and meetings to express our concerns.? Why?? Is it we expect someone else to do it for us?? With more demand on trail space and open space uses, we're going to be left in the dust on the locked side of gates if we don't get into these meetings.? Even some of the organizations are beginning to ignore equine trail riders simply because we -- as recreational riders -- don't get off our horses and attend meetings.? Yet if you look at all the equine associations, organizations and even American Horse Council statistics, the recreational horseowner is the largest 'money' in the horse industry!!

I'm hoping this year will be different!!? Horseowners from California (which has the largest percentage of recreational trails nationwide) should head to Arizona.? The Arizona Horse Council plus New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming -- any state west of the Rockies should be in attendance.? And attend the workshops and yes, even a TRAIL RIDE!? Considering the cost of fuels, flights, travel, meals, motels I'd say horseowners EAST of the Rockies should at least send messages and notes that they are trail riders -- even if they can't come in person.

So far the agenda includes and which I plan to attend::

Sunday, April 14 -- "Horseback Trail Ride Along the Verde River"? 4 hours .

1 - 2:30 "Weed Free Feed -- Fact or Ficton?".? I'm giving this Featured Workshop because more and more agencies are REQUIRING weed free feed to ride on public lands.? Will present the latest scientific data from a National Park Service Grant completed in California which addressed the issue of weed seeds in horse manure.

3:30 - 5:30 -- The Horse Trails Caucus sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association's STEP Program.? A program for trail riders.? AQHA is the ONLY equine association, organizaion sponsoring anything at the International Trails Symposium even though other organizations have their recreational trail riding programs too.

Monday, April 15 --

7 - 8 am, Trail Talk Continental Breakfast and Networking.? (THE place to go to meet folks.)

8:15 - 11:15 -- "Hikers, Mountain Bikers & Equestrians -- Oh My!!"

Tuesday, April 16 --

1:15 - 5:15 -- "Equestrian Trails".? This is considered a 'Core Track' presentation and will be attended by trail, park, open space designers, managers, rangers, etc.? During this presentation, Two Horse Enterprises will give every attendee a copy of the Forest Service's publication "Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads and Campgrounds".? This is considered by many 'the bible' for equestrian users and is one of the best kept secrets within the National Forest Service.? If you'd like to see what it looks like, go to Two Horse website (www.twohorseenterprises.com).? Two Horse printed a 100 and hopefully these will get into the offices of trail builders to keep trails open.

There are many, many other workshops, displays, demonstrations, clinics beside the ones above which will affect/effect our trails uses.

We need to let everyone there know we do have a 'hoof on the trail'.. So I'm asking each and everyone of you who reads this (or saw the notice in "Trail Rider" magazine) to PLEASE, PLEASE drop me an e-mail or a note or a letter (PO Box 608, Pleasanton, Ca. 94566) and say "I'm an equestrian trail rider!? I have a hoof on these trails: (and then list some of the trails you ride)".? If you belong to a club, association, group that trail rides -- regardless of who you are or where -- send some information on your group in the form of brochures, pamphlets, letters and I'll make sure they get displayed at the Symposium too!!? .

What I plan to do is print, and display all these messages at the Symposium.? Let agency people KNOW we do care about our trails and we want to keep them open.? So please take some time to let me know.? I'm willing to go to the Symposium, pay the expenses, attend and all I'm asking from you guys is a couple minutes of your time to e-mail me or a stamp and post card or letter so I can say "Yes, we recreational trail riders are USING our trails. You'll hear hoofbeats all over this country if we're allowed to ride OUR public lands!!

Thanks in advance and I'll let you guys know some of the answers received.........

Bonnie Davis
PO Box 608
Pleasanton, Ca. 94566

See Ya' At Horse Expo Pomona

January 23, 2013
If any of you are in the Pomona area of Southern California around January 31st, February 1st and 2nd, be sure to plan a few hours at Horse Expo Pomona out at Fairplex!! You won't be sorry........

Each day is packed pull of seminars, demonstrations, clinics, presentations, trade show and lots of other horse activities to keep you busy and running all day!!

Raye Lochert, John Bozanich, Richard Winters, Marvin Pierce, Nick Karrazissis Sr. and Chris Cox will be putting on demonstrations in the Ram Trucks Freedom Arena beginning Thursday morning at 9:30 am. On all three days, this Area will be filled with one of the aforementioned guys. And Friday night beginning at 7 pm Chris Cox & Friends will feature fancy horses, cow dogs from Australia and Chris showing his competitive side -- all FREE to those in attendance.

Daily Breed Demonstrations will be featured in the Spirit Arena. Well know breeds such as Peruvian Horses, National Plantation Walking Horses, Missouri Foxtrotters, Arabians, Friesians and others will be featured during the three days along with some lesser known and recognized breeds such as Shagya Arabian, Knabstrupper, Azteca, Gypsy Vanner. Plus Sarah Winters will take her turn daily presenting a segment of her Road to the Horse competition!

If one decides to wander another way at Fairplex, the Strong Arena, Young Rider Park and Horse Expo University offer hours of fun, education and learning during the three days. Plus vendors are packed into each and every corner of the Exhibit Buildings so if there's something you want or need, you're bound to find it. If you can't, you just have to wander back through because it WILL BE there. And if not in a vendor hall, maybe outdoors with the trailer displays, trucks or among the outdoor vendors. And when you get hungry, there's plenty of food booths to keep your energy up.

The Trail Symposium will be over by the Freedom Arena. Dutch Oven Cooking will be an on-going, all day event so plan to stop in for a nibble and a bite during the three days. Tania Bennett, Peter Kriger, Donna Snyder-Smith, Teresa Spencer, Chip Herzig will speak on various aspects of backcountry uses, trail safety, packing and more.

Me, I'll be at the Trail Symposium!! Have a trailer and campsite set-up plus daily presentations on "Horsecamping". Each day will be a different aspect of getting ready to go, finding destinations, getting your horse ready cam, selecting campsites, trailers for trail riding and horsecamping, feeds, feeding and using water 3-ways. But you can't make a demonstration, be sure to stop by Building 7, vendor booth 7006, Two Horse Enterprises. Got a lot of new items this year including Bear Spray, Pocket Pack Water Filters and of course, books on where to go!!

For a discount coupon to Pomona Horse Expo, go to website www.horseexpoevents.com. One can find complete schedules, highlights, speakers list, complete list of vendors and more. And don't forget, be sure to stop by Two Horse and say "HI"..........

See ya' in Pomona!

Bonnie (Nic has to stay in the barn this time)

Dogs on Trails

January 07, 2013
Three weeks ago between rain storms took Nic to a local park to ride. It was a bright sunny day and I think everyone in Pleasanton and surrounding hundred miles had the same idea. There were horseowners. Bikers. Hikers. Folks pushing strollers. Photographers taking pictures of the rushing water in stream and lots of dogs and dog owners.

Now let me state here at the beginning, I've got NOTHING against dogs and their owners. I've had dogs. My dog, Holly, died 2 years ago so decided not to get another dog right away. Besides I've got two 18 year old cats at home that allow me to live there! I believe dogs should be taken care of but dogs should also be considered as 'dogs', not people. One of those it's-a-dog, not-a-little-person-with-four-legs creatures we see on trails and in parks!

I've ridden trails throughout the Nation and it's just in the last few years dogs have become the 'other trail user'. People are taking dogs into parks, camping and on trails with the mentality that it would be 'good' for Fido to run in the wilds. That wild run is NOT good for the dog. A wild run can kill the dog. Or destroy another trail user's life forever.

Up at Euer Valley north of Truckee, a family came in with their dog and horses. Even though they were told to keep their dog tied up, "our dog never leaves camp". Dog was turned loose and about sunset the coyotes set in. Coyotes 'baited' a dog into chasing 'em. Once the dog was out and far from camp, the coyotes attacked the dog, killed it, ripped it to pieces, ate it and the owners wondered why? They were ready to kill every coyote in the area!In reality, the dog's owner had violated the rule of nature -- the wilds are for wild animals, dogs that are not kept tied up or on a leash will run off and become coyote food! Or lost.

At the PCT trailhead just north of Lassen park, the bulletin board had 8 lost dog notices this past June. All city dogs taken for a hike, turned loose and then they took after rabbits, deer or just to sniff the trail and got lost!

Regardless of how well trained a person may think their dog is, a dog loose can revert to its 'primitive' state. While riding my horse in Mission Peak Regional Preserve have seen loose dogs form packs of 5 or 6 and watched them bring down a new born calf. Tear it to pieces while momma cow tried to protect her young and owners ran around trying to call their dogs 'to come'. Many years ago, homeowners turned dogs loose to run at night. Ranchers began to lose stock so they did what they had to do -- shoot the dogs. When dogs begin to form packs and kill a ranchers livelihood be it cattle, sheep, chickens, ducks, the 'killers' have to be destroyed!

A good friend of mine at Lake Oroville was riding when a guy came along the trail with his loose dog about 20 feet away. "He's good dog, won't hurt you", he shouted to her. Just then the dog saw the horse, raced at her horse, BITE her horse on the shoulder, horse reared and went over backwards. My friend is in a wheelchair and it's unclear if she'll be able to walk again! The dog owner, he grabbed his dog and took off. Other trail users called for help.

Dogs walking down city streets change personality when walking down the trail or in the wilds. Granted not ALL dogs attack but I really don't like a dog in my campsite 'watering' my tires, peeing on my horse's feed, leaving a pile in the camp area or barking at my horses in the corrals, highlined or as I ride by. Or hike by. Or ride my bike by. Dogs have attacked and bitten bike riders too. Hikers.

The best recourse -- if you just must take Fido with you on a trail is to take a leash!! Keep him on a leash. Ideally, you'll walk with the dog on the leash and lead your horse. But I've seen a couple trying to ride with a dog on a leash while the dog runs around the horse! Remember, it's the dog owners' responsibility to keep others safe around THEIR dog. Just as it's my responsibility to keep other trail users safe around my horse. Or bike riders to keep other trail users safe as they ride down trails.

Stay safe!

Bonnie (and Nic)

To All A (Belated) Merry Christmas!

January 07, 2013
The world was suppose to end Thursday. December 21, 2012 to be exact.
According to the news, the Aztec calendar said the world would end on that
day.?? So I decided to hold off on my Christmas shopping -- just in
case......and I didn't send in my blog before Christmas either!!? Even
though it's late, I'm sending it anyway.

The world didn't end.......which was really good because I've still got a
lot of trails to ride.? The bad, now I've got to get out there and do my
Christmas shopping!!? The good part, selections are limited so it makes it
easier to buy for everyone and in some cases, my homemade cookies will be
substituted for a store bought gift.? That works out well too.? Because with
me, I'd rather get something 'made' by somone than something bought.? I
don't care what it is -- a bookmark, a picture of someone's horse, a good
place to horsecamp.? Personal items (at least to me) mean that person took
the time to gather their thoughts for a letter, pour that batter on a grill,
put the cookies in the oven and take the time to include me in THEIR

Christmas has become commercialized to the point I think we've forgotten
what Christmas is about.? It's the only time of year you can say something
to a complete stranger and they won't go screaming down the street because a
'stranger' talked to them.? It's the only time of a year that parents let
their kids TALK to a complete stranger because Santa can't be in ALL those
stores at one time.? It's the only time of year we as humans take the time
to reflect on our lives, families and the four-legged critters who adorn and
make our lives better.

Since it's too late to send everyone of you some cookies, I'd like to share
something with you that I feel if Nic could talk, he would say to me and to
you for all your horses..........it's called "The Horse's Prayer"!

"To Thee, My Master, I offer my prayer.? Feed me.? Water and care for me.

Always be kind.? Talk to me.? Your voice often means as much to me as the
reins.? Pet me that I may serve you the more gladly and learn to love you.
Never strike, beat or kick me when I do not understand what you want but
give me a chance to understand what you want from me.

Watch me.? And if I fail to do your bidding see if something is wrong with
my harness, gear or feet.? I cannot tell you in words when I am sick so
watch me and by signs I show you,? you will know when I do not feel well and
my condition needs attentionl

Do not check so that I cannot have free use of my head.? To see and balance
better, I must be able to move my head.? And if I wear blinders, be careful
the blinders stand well out from my eyes.

Do not overloead me.? Or hitch me where water will drip on my back getting
blankets and me wet.? Keep my feet in shape.? Examine my teeth when I do not
eat or accept the bit willingly because I could have an ulcerated tooth.? Do
not take away my best defense against flies and mosquitoes by cutting off my
mane and tail.

I cannot tell you when I am thirsty or need water.? So give me clean, fresh
water often.? And a tub or bucket to drink from.? Give me shelter from the
sun and winter rains, snow and sleet.? Use a blanket if I need it but please
don't let it get wet because a wet blanket will chill me to the bone!

I try to carry you and your burdens without a murmur.? Wait patiently for
you long hours of the day and night.? And will give my life to do your

So finally, My Master, when my useful strength is gone.? I only ask that you
do not turn me out to starve or freeze or sell me to someone who will work
me to death.? But do thou, My Master, take my life in the kindest way
possible and your God will reward you here and hereafter.

You will not consider me irreverent if I ask this in the Name of Him who was
born in a stable.....


Merry Christmas,? Bonnie (and Nic)

Follow Us