For all of those who attended the 2017 State Coaching School - well done on cheerfully coping with the awful weather conditions on the Saturday. Looking at the Feedback Forms you certainly managed to get a lot out of the weekend and it would seem to be one of our more successful Schools. For those who planned on attending and in the end were not able to. due to flooding, the State Coaching Panel decided, on this occasion, to refund participation fees for the unlucky handful of coaches. A nice gesture but not one the SCP is legally bound to do for extraordinary circumstances.
For all coaches, including those who were not able to attend or had other commitments, do have a think about what you would like to see at our next State Coaching School. If we have enough resources and if there is sufficient groundswell, we can plan on making your suggestions part of the State Coaching School 2018. In any case please take time to read to Feedback Summary and Observations and suggestions for 2018 topics are always very welcome.
One of the suggested topics was Showjumping Etiquette and Course Walking. I am pleased to be able to include an article by Natalie Williamson-Holley on aspects of this, also included is a copy of the State Coaching School article sent to a number of horsy media publications; it's also gone to Pony Club Australia so the East Coast can see what we have been up to.
Like most coaches across WA, the first month or two of the year has been taken up with rally enrolments, the first rally or two and maybe a fundraiser or competition. In my neck of the woods (Great Southern Zone) we had our Zone ODE in early March, which was a test of organisation and volunteer dedication in terms of getting the course ready. We used the company www.awardsandtrophies.com.au to supply the medals for the winning teams across the different grades, with the free engraving service and realistic delivery times, I would certainly recommend them.
The weather this year has been quite atypical, breaking a number of weather records (but I'm not joining the Climate Change mob yet!) and of late we have quite a few days of high humidity. My retiree, Eskimo Joe, recently developed these weird tiny scabs on his hind legs. As a flea bitten grey I confess I didn't really notice these abnormalities as quickly as I should have and initially thought it might be down to insect bites. Digging around on the web, it would seem that Joe had a mild case of Cannon Keratosis or what is sometimes called Cannon Crud. Essentially it is caused by the horse's own glands and is a bit like acne. Cannon Crud seems to be more common in greys and older horses with the humid weather seeming to promote the condition. The recommended treatments was a wash or shampoo containing either benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil, I went for the latter as it seemed to be a bit more gentle and Joe was not in any discomfort. After a couple of shampoos and gentle scuffing with a (human) scalp massager (about $1 from any chemist) along with putting Sudocrem on the bigger scabs, he seems well onto the road to recovery.
On the topic of weather and our recent unseasonable rainfall, I'm grateful to Rose Bowen for suggesting the subject of grazing muzzles. I know when I look at grazing muzzles I have a job not to think of Hannibal the Cannibal and Flava beans! For some info on the use of grazing muzzles and other options, have a read of the Controlling Your Horse's Weight article below.
I think my horses may have secretly been reading the book Horse Hate Surprise Parties! We finally decided on getting proper paths to the house and cottage (it's only taken 11 years but as my dear husband says "it's best not to rush these things"). So we had two piles of terracotta coloured pavers outside the house and cottage in clear view of the horse yard and arena. Initially none of my three horses wanted to come into the yard for supper. The next day I took my normally placid mare Tango out for a bush ride and was so surprised at her snorting and prancing as we passed the pavers - time to practice a bit of leg yielding!