The last several years, the town of Pueblo, Colorado has hosted the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals Rodeo. Heartwarming, wholesome, family-oriented, hard-working, and inspirational are only five of countless words to describe both the participants and volunteers for Hope Counts of NLBRA. Some 2,000 kids, between the ages of 5 and 18, from 21 states compete in more than 275 “Little Britches” rodeos every year. Their most recent Finals Rodeo was held in July and members of Spalding Labs were again on hand to help with the Hope Counts Crisis Fundraising. According to Tom Spalding, President of Spalding Labs, “Of all the events we do every year, Little Britches is the most fun.”
The Hope Counts - Crisis Fund of the NLBRA was founded by Sydnee Christensen of Utah when she was a mere 12 years old. She wanted to help injured rodeo kids and their families facing catastrophic events. Sydnee started brainstorming ideas, lit a fire under her mom, and they began putting together the business side. Sponsorship Coordinator for the NLBRA, Sarah Faith Wiens, had this to say about Sydnee’s endeavor, "It's one thing for an association to start up a crisis fund, it's quite another to have a 12-year-old member start one. It makes me so proud to be a small part of an organization that has members willing to help one another in such a large way. The sport of rodeo is dangerous, there is no getting around it. Anytime you mix livestock, kids and a competitive atmosphere there are bound to be accidents and when that happens it's comforting to know that families aren't alone. NLBRA is truly an association where character is developed, western traditions live and legends begin!"
Sydnee’s base idea for fundraising was cleaning trailers for rodeo participants using Spalding’s Bye Bye Odor as they were checking in. Everyone who made a donation received the Hope Counts signature Blue Feather. The volunteers worked hard, cleaning trailers, for three days. Their youthful teamwork and dedication to serving others touched the heart of Spalding’s video director, Berry Landen who was on location shooting the Finals Rodeo. On the spot, Landen decided to produce the “Hope Counts: Kids helping kids get better” video.
Both Spalding Lab’s video and Blue Feathers went viral at that year’s NFR in Las Vegas.
Expanding on Sydnee’s trailer cleaning concept, Larry Garner with Spalding Labs, suggested they not only donate the Bye Bye Odor used to clean the trailers but then sell Bye Bye Odor at the event giving 100% of the proceeds to Hope Counts for unlimited fundraising possibilities. Garner said, “It’s a win-win-win. The kids raise money to help others. Spalding’s Bye Bye Odor cleans the trailers which means less flies, better smell and happier animals. We all know happier animals are better competitors.” The premier year’s overwhelming response was thanks to the many Little Britches alumni, now top professional cowboys and cowgirls who wore the blue feathers at NFR. The buzz in Las Vegas that year was, ‘what are all these blue feathers for?’ generating enormous baseline awareness for Hope Counts.
Again this year Spalding Labs had plenty of donated Bye Bye Odor on hand, along with some additional man power to help the kids clean the trailers, and raise over $4000. Hope Counts not only gives back to the rodeo community in need, but also teaches kids teamwork, volunteerism and selfless acts of service. Wise beyond her years, Sydnee states “Aristotle said ‘virtue is its own reward’ I think we all may get a little extra reward here.”
Angelea Walkup is a US Dressage Federation gold medalist best known in the horse world as web series host of HorseGirlTV and producer of the equibarre workout. She is a career content creator and holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. You can connect with her on Twitter @AKwalkup or her Facebook Page.
Learn about natural horsemanship in this classic episode with the legendary show horse Rick Lamb. Natural horsemanship is a way of working and playing with horses that uses their nature rather than fighting it. The Parelli’s use a step-by-step approach to horsemanship that allows people to reach their goals with horses whether that means competing in the show ring or feeling safe on a trail ride. Get some specific techniques that you can use, right now, to help you and your horse! Watch here now!
It's a small world!.. Our very own Tom Spalding's 1970's company, Warehouse Sound, sold Rick his first professional recorder! When Tom met him some 30 years later at a horse show, they discovered their paths had crossed long ago. Rick was also the MC for the renowned Light Hands Horsemanship Events which Spalding Labs produced for several years with many talented equestrians.
The folks at Parelli have been kind enough to extend a special 25% OFF offer to all Spalding customers through April 28, 2020 on their Horsemanship Theory Guide. Simply CLICK HERE and enter code SPALDING25 at checkout to receive 25% discount.
Are your competitions canceled and scheduled group trail rides out for a while? Why not take care of your best horsey friend, your equipment, and YOU TOO during this downtime with a little equestrian inspired spa day!
Your Horse: Wash your horse with shampoo for a clean, shiny and freshly scented coat, mane and tail. If you have a gray horse, one with lots of chrome, socks or stockings? Use a special shampoo to get the white surfaces extra white. Want to enjoy a clean coat and tangle-free mane and tail for an extra long time? Finally, treat its hooves with a hoof oil
Recently there has been increased interest in the injuries, including fractures that occur at our racetracks. This has agitated many people and caused some to campaign against the sport.
Those who are concerned about the problem, and frankly, all persons involved in horse racing an any way, should read Sports Medicine for Performance Horses, a book by William E. Jones, DVM, Ph.D., Paperback version by Doc Jones Publishing 2012.
This book effectively explains and updates the scientifically based information on how improper nutrition, exercise routines, training techniques, and inappropriate medications may cause or worsen the problem.
It is understandable why many people involved in horseracing will, in attempting to improve the horse’s speed, endurance, and welfare, impose untested training methods, dietary supplements, and other routines in an attempt to increase racing success, but, some of these unproven factors may actually increase the incidence of racetrack breakdowns.
Dr. Jones’ book will help to reduce the sad incidence of racetrack disasters.
During my practice career I treated countless hundreds, perhaps thousands of horses for colic (acute gastric or intestinal pain). Most survived, but many died. A majority was due to human error. The caretakers made avoidable mistakes.
Similar errors also resulted in many cases of laminitis and unless promptly diagnosed and treated, many laminitis (“founder”) cases ended up permanently lame due to anatomical foot damage.
I saw wild mustangs in my lifetime, in their natural environments, but I never saw one foundered or one that died from either colic or laminitis.
I have asked many people that have had extensive experience with mustangs in their natural environment (rangeland), if they have ever seen a wild mustang founder or die of colic in their natural environment. The consistent answer was, “No!”
The changes that occur in nature are gradual. Forage erupting green, after a long dry spell, comes up gradually. Grasses erupt with seed gradually. New tasty plants appear gradually. When, in captivity, horses are exposed to sudden dietary changes because of human policy, horses may not be able to cope with the change. The microflora within their digestive tract, which pre-digest much of what horses eat, are specific for that kind of plant matter. Then, the horse may not be able to cope with the dietary change. The result, so common in horses and other herbivorous domestic grazing animals, may be an attack of an acute, painful, and potentially deadly malady such as colic or laminitis.
Because I experienced so many such cases as a veterinarian, I developed a fear of such cases as laminitis, bloat, colic in horses, over-eating certain plant species at certain times of the year, and – above all, making abrupt changes in the time that such animals are fed, plus changes in diet. Such changes involve plant species, season of the year, harvesting methods, preparation of the forage (dried? baled? pelleted? ground? mixed with other vegetation species? etc. etc.).
Because I owned livestock I was attached to during my lifetime, including many breeds of horses, mules, donkeys, cattle, goats, I became obsessive about creating unusual or too prompt dietary changes. For example:
So I will take two or three days to introduce them to a new hay delivery, even if it is exactly the same hay.
Am I an extremist?
I have never, ever, EVER had one of my equines suffer from a case of colic!
I have never had one of my equines suffer laminitis.
Such prudent, cautions not only avoid attacks of colic or laminitis, but also many other nutritionally based problems.
This is, I believe, so important, that I will repeat the precautions:
ALL feed changes should be made gradually. Take a full week or more to make the changes. This includes:
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