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.
What Is Pigeon Fever?Pigeon Fever can be fatal. It has been endemic in Texas, California, Colorado in years past and high levels of cases spreading into Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, and Oregon. Cases have also been reported in Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. You can get educated about Pigeon Fever and not be a statistic.Scientifically referred to as Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, the disease is named after it's most common external abscess developing in the pectoral region because the swelling closely resembles a pigeon ***. Though the disease most often takes affect externally, internal infections can occur with fatality rates up to 40%.Flies are the vectors of carrying this disease. There is currently no licensed vaccine available in the US so take preventative measures again flies and mitigate the changes of your horses contracting this highly contagious disease.What Are The Symptoms?The Pigeon Fever disease takes on three forms; limb infections, external abscesses and internal infection. Horses often develop a severe lameness, fever, lethargy, and anorexia with this disease. It is common one or both hind limbs are affected with extreme swelling and cellulitis. External abscess of the chest is the most common but are abscesses are not exclusive to that region and horses can develop abscesses in multiple locations. Be Safe. Preventative Measures To Take.By simply improving your manure management, a little cleaning up here and there with proper manure removal, you'll cull much of your fly breeding areas and therefore the number of flies on your property. Keeping your manure in a neat pile for composting and/or spreading the manure in fields before a series of dry days will also significantly decrease the locations flies can breed on your property.Implement the use of beneficial insects like Fly Predators®. Sprinkle the naturally occurring Fly Predators in areas on your property where flies breed once a month to organically minimize your fly population by about 75%.For the few remaining flies that beneficial insect and improved manure management don't get or those that might be coming from your neighbors, use fly traps. Not all fly traps are created equal and they need to be put in the right places to work. Use Odor Traps for house flies about 50 feet away from your stable. Hang Sticky Traps in your stable. The Biting Stable Fly Traps need to be placed no higher than 4 feet off the ground and put them in breezeway doors or near pastures or corrals.
It is March 28, 2020. There is never a time without problems. That’s life. However, some of our primary problems are unique. Certainly the Corona Virus has created a national emergency, and our responses to that emergency are unlike those our nation has experienced since its founding nearly two and a half centuries ago.
The rules mandated by our government, intended, and necessary, to minimize the incidence of the viral pandemic we are experiencing, hampers our daily routines, the things we do to increase our daily pleasures, our work, and our relationships with other people.
Those of us who own horses, especially if we keep them on our home property, but even if we board them on property owned by others, are fortunate.
When we have time to ride it gives us physical and mental relief from life’s obligations and concerns, including our society’s problems as well as our own. It is difficult to concentrate on financial problems, pandemics, family and community obligations and even more personal problems when we are on horseback.
Physically and mentally, when we are on a horse, or even driving a horse pulling a vehicle, our attention is forced towards the horse. It is a living creature and if we have been blessed with compassion towards animals, especially domestic animals that serve us, physically or mentally as do trained domestic horses, we are, at least temporarily distracted from thinking about our own problems.
Horses fill many roles as domestic animals. They help us. They can be a target for our senses such as compassion, accomplishment, achievement and pride.
During periods of societal disruption, such as war, or persecution, economic failure, or disease such as the current Corona Virus pandemic, the above mentioned positive feelings help to remind us of the factors that can lead us to be more courageous, more understanding, more effective and, in general, a better person.
So, as we reflect upon the current worldwide pandemic, let us simultaneously be grateful that some of us are blessed by owning horses. They can, if we are receptive, help to make us better human beings.
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.
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