Sunday, February 15, 2015

International Hoof Care Month

International Hoof Care Month is celebrated throughout the month of February. During this time, it is important to recognize the significant contributions farriers make to the equine community.
“Farriers perform duties such as trimming horse’s feet and often applying shoes for protection,” said Jason Wilson-Maki, farrier for the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, in College Station. “How complex the shoe(s) will need to be depend on the horse’s individual needs, what activities he undertakes, and what may be needed to address any hoof issues.”
Due to the fact that no minimum education is required to become a farrier, a large diversity exists within the farrier community in regards to skill sets and knowledge. However, organizations such as The American Farriers Association offer a series of voluntary examinations by which individuals can earn credentials.
“Within the United States, there is no minimum education or skill set requirement to trim or shoe horses’ feet; any person at any point may technically do farrier work,” said Wilson-Maki. “With that being said, many horseshoeing schools, both public and private, exist and attempt to impart to their students a good basic skill set.”
Though they differ in job titles, both the veterinarian and the farrier have important roles in the long and short term care of the horse’s foot.
“A farrier works on the hoof capsule and corrects distortions that are evident by observation,” said Wilson-Maki. “However, a farrier cannot diagnose nor treat lameness, and are not required within the United States to have any formal education.”
In contrast, veterinarians have different tools, such as regional anesthesia, radiographs, ultrasound, and MRIs to diagnose lameness, as well as a specified education and specific practice laws under which they work.
“(Veterinarians) may also treat the diagnosed lameness by means of medical treatment,” said Wilson-Maki. "Often, shoeing and trimming protocols are an integral portion of the overall approach."
As far as farrier service pricing goes, it varies greatly within the region and county.
“What would be considered usury in rural Texas may well below average in (places like) New Jersey,” said Wilson-Maki. “An owner could ask about the pricing ahead of time and get a feel for what is normal within a given region.”
Additionally, each horse and owner will have different needs from and expectations of, respectively, a farrier.
“A salient point that must be highlighted is that the owner must be able to communicate clearly and well with the farrier,” said Wilson-Maki. “An owner should seek out a farrier that can meet the needs of their animal and with whom they can communicate.”
Whether your horse is a champion barrel racer or a leisure-riding companion, farriers are vital to your horse’s health and well being, and finding one that meets their specific needs takes clear communication between horse owner and farrier.

Until Next Time...........Happy Trails!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Tips from

Every horse deserves a well-fitting saddle – no matter how much he costs, or what work he’s doing.
A poor fit compromises control, it’s that simple.
If it bounces around, or slide away from the horse’s center of gravity, not only are you in trouble, but you’re harming the horse underneath.
Muscle waste, back pain, lameness and behavior problems can all stem from a bad saddle fit.

Make sure…
  • Check there are no sores or rub burns on your horse.
  • Make sure your horse’s movement isn’t restricted. The shoulders shouldn’t be obstructed at any position. Raise your horse’s front leg, to move the shoulder back as far as it will go.
  • Feel for the top of the 18th rib at the back of your horse. This marks the beginning of the back’s weakest point. A saddle mustn’t be allowed to invade this area.
  • Check there’s no hair loss on the contact points.
  • After riding, check for a complete sweat line where the saddle should make contact.
  • Look under the saddle from behind your horse. You should see light at the other end.
  • Slide your fingers under the pommel. They should fit comfortably between your horse and the saddle.
I know saddle fitters aren’t cheap, but hiring one could save your horse terrible problems.


Monday, November 10, 2014


When to soak?

I can’t help thinking water is kryptonite for the hoof. Just look at your fingernails after a hot bath. They’re soft. The hoof’s reaction is exactly the same.

Dr. Stephen E. O’Grady is an equine practitioner. He says, “if we look at the anatomy of the foot, its physiology and the thickness of the hoof capsule, it becomes questionable if soaking in water provides any beneficial effects.”

But remember, the wild horse with laminitis will find water to soak his feet. And now, potions have been devised to ease abscessing and treat thrush. It’s one of the few things man has accomplished to actually benefit the horse. As long as they’re used sparingly, soaks can work in your favor.

Try out Pete Ramey’s recipe for severe cases of thrush and fungus:

“50/50 mix of Athlete’s Foot Cream (1% Clortrimazole) and Triple Antibiotic Cream. Mix together and put in a long tipped syringe.

Squirt into the central sulcus and collateral grooves. This helps to open up and heal a deep infected center sulcus. Use daily or every other day as needed."

It sounds like this is worth a shot.

More interesting articles available at


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Sadly, horse thefts do happen, but there are things that owners can do to deter thieves.

Things you can do:
Ensure that your horse is freeze branded  or microchipped: This is easy to arrange and your horse’s details are put onto a central computer. Most companies will offer discounts on group bookings, so if you’ve got a group of friends who need their horses chipped it's worth getting together because this may be more cost effective.

Keep details of your horse's marking, which will help the police with their identification process should your horse go missing.  It's worth taking some good quality photographs of your horse for identification purposes.  Make sure you take some at different times of the year-just think how different your horse looks in the summer and the winter!

Keep your horse in a safe place: If you keep your horse on grass, make sure the gates are secure. Many people padlock one side but lots of gates can be lifted off their hinges. Simply putting another chain and padlock at the hinged end may act as a deterrent.

Unfortunately it is impossible to make premises completely secure, but World Horse Welfare Field Officer Jacko Jackson suggests some simple measures which can improve security for your horse:
  • Look at where your horse lives. Examine the boundary - is it secure with solid fences and locked gates? Are there other owners in the vicinity who you could create a Horse Watch group with?
  • Can you carry out or improve on any of the above? Can the horse be stabled at night? If so, the nearer to home the better. However, if you stable your horse it isn’t feasible to lock your horse in for fire reasons. This means you must look at the perimeter. Lights which are activated by passive infra-red sensors are a good investment.
  • CCTV is becoming more cost effective – if your stables are close to home they can be monitored from the house, or you could install an old video recorder at the stables, set to run during the night. This will show you who has been into the yard overnight.
  • If electricity is a problem, find an old battery, car horn, a door light switch and an old headlamp. Discreetly connect these up to the gates or even the stable or tack room doors, so that as soon as they are opened the lights and noise are activated (remember to fit an isolation switch for the daytime).
  • It is also possible to modify a domestic alarm system for stable use, but it is important to use door contacts rather than sensors to avoid false alarms. Should your budget allow, you could consider active infra-red beams covering the approach to the stables; these can be connected to a radio transmitter and provide a silent alarm to your house.
  • Last but not least, a dog may not be very high-tech but it can be very effective!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let ME Help YOU!

Farmers National can help you find a home with zero down 

About The USDA / Rural Housing Mortgage
• If you've never heard of the USDA loan program, you're not alone. It's a niche product serving a fraction of the U.S. housing market, and most banks don't offer them. However, many suburban and rural home buyers can use it. 
• The program's full name is the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan program. Most people call them "USDA loans", "Rural Housing Loans" or "Section 502 loans". 
• USDA loans are insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the program's biggest feature is its option for "no money down" financing. Via the USDA, you can finance 100% of a home's purchase price while getting access to better-than-average mortgage rates. 
• Beyond that, USDA loans are similar to other common loan types. The repayment schedule is "normal", closing costs are standard, and there are never prepayment penalties to pay.  Where USDA loans are different, though, is with respect to its downpayment requirements and its simpler loan approval standards. 
• Rural loans can be used by first-time buyers and repeat home buyers alike. Homeowner counseling is not required to use the USDA program.  
• The Rural Housing Loan program is a product of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It's partially funded, however, by program borrowers. Similar to the Federal Housing Administration's FHA mortgage, the USDA uses homeowner- paid mortgage insurance premiums to keep the USDA home loan program going. 
• Since October 1, 2012, USDA mortgage insurance rates have been : – For purchases, 2.00% upfront fee paid at closing, based on the loan size – For refinances, 2.00% upfront fee paid at closing, based on the loan size – For all loans, 0.40% annual fee, based on the remaining principal balance
• As a real-life example : A homebuyer with a $100,000 loan size in Blacksburg, Virginia, would be required to make a $2,000 upfront mortgage insurance premium payment at closing, plus a monthly $33.33 payment for mortgage insurance. Note, however, that the USDA upfront mortgage insurance is not paid as cash. It's an amount added to your loan balance. 
• USDA mortgage insurance rates are lower than those for a comparable FHA or conventional mortgages. FHA mortgage insurance premiums assess a 1.75% upfront mortgage insurance premium and charge as much as 1.55% in MIP annually. Conventional MI can be similarly high. 
• Even better, USDA mortgage rates are often the lowest between FHA, VA and conventional mortgage rates.
USDA Loans Require  Mortgage Insurance
FAQ’s about Rural  Development Loans
• How do I check if my home is USDA / Rural Housing- eligible?
• With the USDA Rural Housing Program, your home must be located in a rural area. However, the USDA's definition of "rural" is quite liberal. Many small towns meet the "rural" requirements of the agency, as do suburbs and exurbs of most major U.S. cities. 
• What is the USDA program's minimum downpayment?
• The USDA has no downpayment requirement. You can finance 100% with a USDA loan. 
• Is the USDA loan program limited to first-time buyers?
• No, the USDA Rural Housing Program can be used by first- time buyers and repeat buyers. 
• Can I finance the Upfront Mortgage Insurance into my mortgage?
• Yes, the USDA will let you finance your Upfront Mortgage Insurance payment into your loan size. For example, if you bought a home for $100,000 and borrowed the full $100,000 from your lender, your Upfront Mortgage Insurance would be $2,000. You could then raise your loan size to $102,000. 
• My lender doesn't offer USDA mortgages. What do I do?
• The U.S. Department of Agriculture website maintains a list of lenders in the Rural Housing Program. Visit its website to search for a lender, or just skip to the rate quote. 
• What mortgage products are available with a USDA mortgage?
• Currently, the Rural Housing loan is available as a 30-year fixed rate mortgage only. Beginning in September 2014, though, a 15-year fixed rate mortgage will be available. There are no adjustable-rate mortgages. 
• How much are the closing costs for a USDA mortgage?
• Closing costs vary by lender and location. For example, some lenders have high origination charges. Others do not. The same is true for state and local governments. Some states have high costs, others have low costs. 
• I can't afford closing costs. Can I get a gift for my closing costs?
• Yes, USDA loans allow gifts from family members and non- family members. You will need a gift letter to accompany your loan application. Your loan officer can give you one. If you don't have a loan officer, get today's rates here. 
• I negotiated to have the seller pay my closing costs. Is that allowed?
• Yes, the USDA Rural Housing Program allows sellers to pay closing costs for buyers. These costs can include state and local government fees, lender costs, title charges, and any number of home and pest inspections. 
• Can I use the USDA loan program for a vacation home?
• No, the USDA Rural Housing Program is for primary residences only. 
• Can I use the USDA loan program for an investment property?
• No, the USDA Rural Housing Program is for primary residences only. 
• Is there a minimum credit score for the USDA loan program?
• There is no minimum score, per se, but 640 is generally regarded as a cutoff point. If your FICO is below 640, you should be prepared to explain why your credit score is below 640, and provide documentation. If you are without a credit score, your lender may accept "alternate" tradelines to establish credit history. 
• I recently went back to work. How long until I am USDA- eligible?
• If you are a W-2 employee, you are eligible for USDA financing immediately; you don't need a job history. If you have less than 2 years in a job, however, you may not be able to use your bonus income for qualification purposes. 
• I am self-employed. Can I use the USDA loan program?
• Yes, self-employed persons can use the USDA Rural Housing Program. If you are self-employed and want to use USDA financing, as with FHA and conventional financing, you will be asked to provide 2 years of federal tax returns to verify your self-employment income. 
• Can I do a "cash out" refinance with the USDA program?
• No, the USDA Rural Housing Program is for purchases and rate-and-term refinances only. 
• Can I use the USDA loan program for my working farm?
• No, the Rural Housing Program is for residential property. 
• Are USDA mortgage rates good?
• Yes, USDA Rural Housing Program mortgage rates are often lower than comparable conventional 30-year fixed mortgage rates. And because mortgage insurance rates are lower, with a small downpayment, U.S. Department of Agriculture loans can often be a better deal as compared to FHA or conventional loans. 
• When mortgage rates fall, can I refinance my USDA mortgage?
• Yes, USDA loans are eligible for refinance. The USDA Streamline Refinance Program waives income and credit verification so closings can happen quickly. Home appraisals aren't required, either. 
• What do I do next?
• Call me to discuss what kind of home you want and we can help you find a skilled lender to assist you.

DANICIA DUNCAN            913.837.0411

Until Next Time........Happy Trails!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"I'm gonna pet him and love him and keep him forever"

Ten Ways to Tell if You’ve Found Your Forever Horse

So, you want to buy a horse. But not just any horse, you want to buy a horse that you will own and love forever–a “forever horse.”

Many new owners hope to find a horse they can keep for the longterm, and owning a “forever horse” is a noble endeavor. It’s a kindness when a horse finds a good person who will care for them until “death do us part.”

If you’re on the search for a forever horse (or if a forever horse has set out to find you), here are ten factors to consider when determining whether or not you have found your forever horse:

1.Your first impression of the horse was a positive one. Gut instinct won’t be your only factor for making a major life decision, but you should absolutely consider your intuitive first impression of a new horse. Some studies indicate that first impressions can prove to be accurate, and others show it can be difficult to change your first impression later on, even if you want to.

2.Experienced horse people in your life agree that the horse is a good fit for you. Before you take advice from just anyone though, be sure the person:
is someone who has your best interests in mind,

has a credible opinion, and

understands where you are at in your horsemanship and where you hope to go.

3.You can afford the horse–both the purchase price and any cost required for his or her regular maintenance and (if needed) training. If you want to be able to keep a horse forever, you have to be able to afford it. This means choosing a horse inside your budget from the get-go. Do your best to set a realistic budget and to evaluate the costs associated with a potential horse to make sure it adds up.

4.You feel safe working with/riding the horse. There is always risk when it comes to being around horses, but do yourself a favor, and always make your own safety a priority. This means avoiding horses that are clearly not safe for you to handle, no matter how badly you want to help or fix them. Evaluate the horse “as is” (not as you want or think they can be) against your own skillset “as is.” If you can’t handle them safely, then move on. There are no guarantees in horse training.
5.The horse is sound. If they are not sound, then you need to be ok with their limitations and the management practices needed to keep them comfortable enough to maintain quality of life.

6.The horse has the health, soundness, conformation, and athletic talent or look needed for your chosen riding discipline. There is no such thing as a perfect horse, and training and care can compensate for many limitations. But out of fairness to you and your horse, choose an animal that actaully has the potential to succeed in the career you’ve chosen for them. The loftier your goals are (ie: “I want to ride in the Olympics!”), the more important it will be that you find a horse suited for those particular goals.

7.You can list more reasons why you should buy the horse than reasons why you shouldn’t. It might sound simple, but a pros and cons list is a good way to assess whether or not you’ve found a good fit. I recommend also making a “dealbreaker” list of things you absolutely cannot tolerate in a potential equine partner, and then rule out horses accordingly. Dealbreakers are characteristics that negativity impact your safety, happiness, or values in a significant way.

8.The horse stands out after you’ve looked at more than one horse. For many folks, looking at a variety of horses before choosing a final horse is an important part of the buying process. Informed consumers look at the what’s available on the market and find the best fit–they don’t settle for whatever comes along first. It may be that the horse you choose is the first one you look at; but allow yourself the privilege of comparison during this big decision.

9. This is my favorite. The horse makes you smile. When you think about the horse, you feel happy. When you’re around the horse, it’s positive. You are really looking forward to spending time with them. And hopefully, you can imagine the horse growing old in your care.
Did you find your "forever horse"?  Please share some comments about him/her. 

Until Next Time........Happy Trails!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Open Wide And Say Ahhhhhhhh

How to Tell a Horse's Age by his Teeth
Jim Hamilton, DVM
Starting at 2 years of age the horse's front teeth (incisors) are the way to tell age. There are three sets of incisors, central, intermediate and corners. Open the horse's lips and look to see if all are baby teeth or adults. The central pair are adult (permanent at 2 - 2 1/2 years., the intermediate at 3 - 3 1/2 years and the adult corner incisors at 4 - 4 1/2 years. At 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 years of age some horses (mostly males) grow canine teeth which is that fang-like tooth just behind the incisors.
Now starting at six years old, you need to look at the flat (table) surface of the lower incisors. There is a pit called the infundibulum that is easily seen in the center of each incisor's flat surface. At six years of age the pits of lower central permanent incisors are worn out (disappear). At 7 years the lower central incisors lose their pit and the upper corner incisor develops a hook off the back edge. By 8 years, all the lower adult incisors have lost their pit but a new small depression (dental star) appears in the lower central incisors. At 9 years of Age, the horse's lower central and intermediate and intermediate and upper central incisors will have a dental star but the infundibulum (pit) of the upper corner incisor is still present - they do not disappear until the horse is eleven years old.

From the age of eleven on, the incisors become more triangular and the teeth begin to project out toward the front of the mouth more with each additional year. The best way to get good at aging horses is by practice. Look at as many horses of know age and test yourself. Some day you'll save a friend from buying a 1980 model that he thought was brand new!

Until Next Time........Happy Trails.