KAREN GRIFFITHS' HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Brace for cold weather, school meets
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The Port Angeles High School equestrian team is shown. Top row from left are Paige Swordmaker, Lydia Cornelson, Rielly Reed, Micayla Weider and Emily VanAusdle; middle row from left are Hunter-Anne Coburn, Ashley Farmer, Ciara Gentry, Cassidy Hodgin and Rachael Breitbach; and bottom row from left are head coach Tina VanAusdle, drill coach Haley Hodgin and games coach Bridget Stumbaugh. Not pictured are Katie Rivers and Bailee Palmer.

BY NOW, WE all know the freezing-weather drill, right?

After filling the horse's water troughs and buckets, completely drain the hose, place it under cover, then put a protective cover over the hose bib.

Repeat daily, twice a day if they drink from buckets.

I know it's a chore, but we've got to be able to provide clean drinking water at all times.

Research shows that horses can actually be thirstier in the winter than they are in the summer.

Why? Because their bodies require more energy to keep warm in the cold.

They also need more feed, too, but you already knew that, right?

A lack of water can cause the horse to become chronically dehydrated over a period of time. The body reserves are lowered, and an impaction can occur.

One of the first signs of impending impaction is decreased manure production and/or drier feces.

Owners should watch for signs that the horse is not eating well or becoming lethargic, or that fecal changes have occurred.

By encouraging increased water consumption, the owner may be able to prevent colic.

And I hope your horse never has to experience the pain and possible death of colic.

If possible, use stock tank de-icers (available at local feed stores) to keep the water from freezing.

Years ago, I purchased a Moen warm/cold water exterior faucet bib, which has made winter horse care much easier.

These days, I'm feeding their hay in slow-feed nets and am running warm water over the hay to make it a bit more soothing on their throats.

In my most recent column, I mentioned that my beloved Indy likely has shivers, a neuromuscular disease.

This year, he really dislikes walking on the uneven, frozen ground, so to encourage him to move around in the pasture more, I now feed at opposite ends of the pasture: under their shelters and down below under a giant cedar tree.

I want to thank the readers who shared their concerns and tidbits for helping Indy.

I'm changing his feed to lower carb/sugar and higher protein, and adding some amino acids, trace minerals and a better vitamin supplement.

I'm going to wait a few months to see how well he does on this new diet before I share more details.


Competition has begun for Port Angeles and Sequim high schools with Washington State High School Equestrian Teams meets.

After their first meet in January, Port Angeles coach Tina VanAusdle says she thinks they had “the best weather ever” in winter.

Because of the drier weather during the gaming events, they did stop and work the ground a bit more, especially after a horse fell.

She says the event ran until midnight.

Her day didn't end, though, because coaches had to stay later to set up the cow events that started early in the morning.

“All in all, it was a good time,” says Tina.

“Kitsap High School is co-oping again with us this year, so we have 25 on our team, making us the largest team in our district. With a team this large, we have at least one member in almost every event, and that makes for a long day.

“The Kitsap team cooks dinner one night, and we cook the other, so it's become a bit of a competition as to who can cook the best meals. In other words, we do eat well.”

She says all the kids are very dedicated to their sport and animals, and work hard to prepare for their events — and get good grades.

Like other school sports, kids can't compete unless they have good grades.

“I'm real proud of how well all the kids on this team are doing,” she says.

Katie Salmon-Newton took over for Sequim after coach Terri Winters retired last year.

She, like Tina, isn't new to coaching youths for equestrian events as both are longtime supporters and coaches of Peninsula Junior Rodeo.

In fact, Katie was my niece Brooke Stromberg's coach when she competed in junior rodeo nine or 10 years ago.

Port Townsend is once again co-oping with Sequim, and they have nine members.

Next time will feature their team photo and more information about Sequim WAHSET.

Again, kudos to both Tina and Katie for volunteering many hours and their time — and own money — to coach the teams.

Both coaches would like to give a huge shout-out of thanks to indoor arena owners Mary Gallagher of Freedom Farm in Agnew (arena use three nights a week) and Juswen Farm owners Justin and Wendy Petersen on Sunday afternoons for helping the Port Angeles team with performance riding.

Being able to practice regularly regardless of weather gives our riders a winning edge.

Top 15 at WAHSET meet

Top 15 placings for Port Angeles and Sequim from their first WAHSET meet this year, Jan. 24-26:

■ Barrels: Anne Meek, first; Emily VanAusdle, second; Micayla Weider, third; Cassidy Hodgin, 10th; Rielly Reed, 11th.

■ Poles: Rielly, first; Micayla, third; Haley, seventh; Ashley Farmer, eighth; Paige Swordmaker, 10th; Emily, 11th; Sydney Balkan, 12th.

■ Figure eight: Anne, first; Ashley, seventh; Micayla, 10th; Rielly, 13th.

■ Flags: Lydia Cornelson, fourth; Ciara Gentry, 15th.

■ Keyhole: Ciara, third; Anne, fifth; Kelly Anders, 13th.

■ Birangle: Emily/Micayla, fifth; Haylie Newton/Chelsea Smith, 10th; Lydia/Paige, 11th; Ciara/Haley, 15th.

■ Team Canadian flags: Sydney/Anne/Haylie/Chelsea, eighth.

■ Showmanship: Rachael Breitbach, 11th; Kaytee Gibeau/Matisen, 15th;

■ Trail: Kaytee, fifth; Rachael, 11th; Matisen, 12th.

■ IHOR: Rachael, Ciara, Cassidy, Paige, sixth; Karynna Eichmann, Kaytee, Haylie, Amy Tucker, eighth.

■ Working rancher: Sydney, 11th; Karynna, 12th; Amy, 13th.

■ Reining: Kelly, fourth.

■ Stock seat: Kaytee, fourth; Matisen, 11th; Rachael, 15th.

■ Hunt seat: Matisen, fourth; Kaytee, sixth; Rachael, 10th.

■ Jumping: Katie Rivers, third.

■ Dressage: Katie, sixth; Kaytee, eighth; Matisen, ninth.

■ Working pairs: Kaytee/Anne, eighth; Ciara/Cassidy, 15th;

■ Drill working fours: Sydney/Kaytee/Anne/Chelsea, third.

■ Drill team: Emily/Micayla/Paige/Rachael/Ashley/Lydia/Cassidy, third.

■ Steer daubing: Anne, third; Emily, eighth; Ashley, 13th.

■ Breakaway roping: Anne, second.

■ Team sorting: Kaytee/Anne, 14th.


■ 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday — Sweetheart Horsemen's Ball with the Jimmy Hoffman Band at the Eagles Lodge, 2843 E. Myrtle St. in Port Angeles. Hosted by the Peninsula Youth Equestrian Foundation, the scholarship fundraiser will feature dinner by the Port Angeles High School equestrian team.

■ 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 1 — Jefferson Equestrian Association fundraiser dance and silent auction at the American Legion, 209 Monroe St., Port Townsend. Tax-deductible donations will be accepted at the door.

Silent auction items, both horse- and non-horse-related, are being sought, including gift baskets, artwork, jewelry, services of any kind and tack in good repair.

Contact Michelle Grimmer at 360-301-0403 or michelle@jeffersonequestrian.org to donate or with questions.

■ 9 a.m. Sunday, March 30 — Baker Stables Schooling School, 164 Four Winds in Port Angeles. Phone 360-457-6039 or 360-460-7832.


Karen Griffiths' column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

Last modified: February 11. 2014 6:04PM
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