WHEN IT COMES to animal rescue, good intentions often are not enough.
It requires knowledge of the animal’s needs, an honest assessment of your own abilities and more money than you think.
“I’ve known people who’ve rescued horses and end up doing more harm than good to them because they weren’t willing to learn how to take care of them,” said Kim Bues, organizer of the HOW — Home Owner Workshop —The Co-op is hosting Saturday.
“Horses are big, powerful animals. People get hurt if they don’t follow the procedure.”
Procedure? Yes, there are tried and true methods experienced horse folks follow when it comes to training, nutrition and health.
Whether or not you’re thinking of taking that free horse offered you (and you do know there’s no such thing, right?), buying a horse or already own a horse but want to learn more, I highly recommend heading over to The Co-op Farm & Garden, 216 E. Washington St., in Sequim this Saturday to share in seminars such as horse hoof health and the importance of training the horse to stand for the farrier, mud management in our wet climate and even horse massage.
You’ll also find practiced advice on training, pros and cons of horse rescue, and a realistic view of the cost of horse ownership.
In the seminars on feeding programs and pasture management, you’ll learn why it’s important to limit grazing time on spring grass — an item I know firsthand how difficult it can be to put into practice.
Like many, I find joy in watching my foursome graze freely. Yet as he’s gotten older, my little Shetland pony, Snowball Express, can no longer be out in the pasture because spring grass has a high carbohydrate content.
He’s developed pasture laminitis, or founder, a painful disease process in which the hoof wall separates from its attachments in the foot.
The best way to keep the disease in remission is to keep the horse keep off the grass.
It can be heartbreaking to prevent him from chowing down on scrumptious spring grass, but it’s worth it to prevent feet so painful he doesn’t want to stand.
Thankfully, many new horse owners learn in advance how to avoid such woes.
I recall one reader in particular emailing to share the day she brought her mini-horse home. The reader had never owned a horse before, but her heart ached for one.
When she learned of a neglected wee horse needing a loving home, she was moved to get her. Before she brought the mare home, she researched what was required and had a mini-barn and pen built close to her house.
Now, the once disheveled the little mare, renamed Princess, is flourishing.
Three things in particular stand out to me:
One, she knew she could safely handle the mini-horse on her own.
Two, she sought the advice of those considered mini-horse experts in our region.
And three, she follows through on the advice.
For instance: While she might envision Princess freely grazing on her vast pastureland, she was told the fresh grass would likely cause illness. Therefore, she keeps Princess on a strict diet.
■ 10 a.m. Saturday — Backcountry Horsemen ride at Miller Peninsula. Phone Tom Mix at 360-582-0460.
Directions: Go east 2.8 miles on U.S. Highway 101 past 7 Cedars Casino. Turn north (left) onto Pierce Roadd. Turn right at the “Y” gate and follow the road through the gate, then through another gate at tower. Parking is in open area with more parking at the end of the road and room to turn around.
Trails go from easy to intermediate. For state parkland, a key is required for the gates.
■ Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday —Equine Bodywork Exploration at Chimacum Creek Farms, $25. Phone Paula Stingle at 360-710-5812.
■ 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday —Cow working at Freedom Farms, 493 Spring Road in Port Angeles. Fun horsemanship with a purpose. Sorting, penning, tracking and gate work. Mornings are green horses; afternoon for advanced.
Phone Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897.
■ Saturday-Sunday, May 28-29 — PSHA Game Show at Quarter Moon Ranch on West Runion Road in Carlsborg.
Saturday start time 10 a.m., Sunday 9 a.m. Rescheduled if rained out.
Phone Waynora Martin at 360-683-6902
■ Freedom Farms Summer Horse Camps. Phone Gallagher at 360-457-4897.
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 email@example.com at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.