Saddle Up for Scottsdale

I know this post is more than a month overdue, but I wanted to share some of the excitement from my trip to the American Horse Publications Seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona, in June.

As you may recall, I was a finalist in one category, plus I had an article that was submitted by a client, the American Quarter Horse Journal, that was a finalist in another.


I’m proud to say that this editorial series for the Journal won its class!


My personal profile on Tootie Bland for Western Horse & Gun Magazine took second in the Freelance Writer division, which I’m very proud of.

It was so fun to see fellow writers and magazines that I work for be honored throughout the night. The NRHA Reiner, American Quarter Horse Journal, Quarter Horse News, Western Horse & Gun Magazine and Horse Illustrated were all honored with numerous awards. I’m so lucky to get to work with some of the best writers, editors, photographers and designers in the industry.

Also at the Seminar, I took in some motivating information from renowned editor and writer Jacqui Banaszynski. I had heard so much about her, so I was happy to spend a day in writing sessions to learn about reporting and writing.

I also took in the session led by the Freelance Remuda, and led a session speaking to our student members about careers in the equine media field. It felt a little odd to have younger writers come up and say they’d read my work and aspired to do what I do…wasn’t I just that person a few years ago?

And, who can forget the gorgeous location and scenery around the Double Tree? The cacti were gorgeous, the pool amazing, and the friendships that were solidified were empowering.

If you are ever interested in equine media of some sort, I highly recommend becoming a member of the AHP and attending a seminar. Next year we will be in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and I’m looking forward to the trip already!



A Tootie Bland Production – Western Horse & Gun

This weekend I set off for Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 2017 American Horse Publications Seminar. I’m so excited for this weekend, not only for the gorgeous backdrop of Arizona, nor the fact that I’m a finalist in two categories, nor that I’m presenting to our student members, but for the chance to catch up with friends and colleagues that I haven’t gotten to see in some time! I’m looking forward to face-to-face time with my editors and meeting new people, as well as all the education that I’m about to absorb to help better my writing!

Speaking on being a finalist, I wanted to showcase the article in which I’m a finalist for the Freelancer division. Tootie Bland is a legend in the equine world because of her groundbreaking event, Road to the Horse. She’s a firecracker who doesn’t have any quit to her at all, and I was excited to get to spend a couple of hours talking for this cover story for Western Horse & Gun Magazine.


Tootie has lived a crazy life: growing up on her grandfather’s ranch, attending college, professional rodeo cowgirl, stunt woman, and now an equine production specialist.

One of my favorite quotes from our interview was: “One thing I am known for is: It is not what happens to you that matters, its what you do with it.”

You can read more from the magazine about this inspiring cowgirl: A Tootie Bland Production

I will share more from the seminar later!

Police K-9s: Partners in Duty & In Life

In the February/March 2017 issue of Western Horse & Gun Magazine, I had the privilege to highlight a relationship I have seen grow firsthand. Police K-9 teams undergo a lot of intense training, sometimes mores than typical police officer teams. Not only do they train themselves, but they have to train some of the most fearless, intense officers on squad–the K-9.

In this article, I highlighted the relationship between Sergeant Joey Mitchell with the Clinton County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Department and his canine partners, as well as Officer Erin Dean with Kirklin, Indiana.

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You can read more from Partners in Duty & in Life.


7 Destinations for Hunting Heaven – Western Horse & Gun

Who says hunting has to be done with long days in the brush and long nights in an uncomfortable tent? Sometimes you want to just get away from it all, relax with five-star cuisine, Egyptian cotton sheets, and bring home a trophy for the wall in the process. Doesn’t sound like your typical hunting trip? I highlighted your not-so-typical hunting lodges for Western Horse & Gun‘s October/November 2016 issue.

These seven luxury hunting lodges are some of the best in the West, and you’ll want to plan your next hunting trip soon.

The seven lodges I highlighted were:
Three Forks Ranch (Savery, Wyoming)
Grey Cliffs Ranch (Three Forks, Montana)
Castle Valley Outdoors (Emery, Utah)
Flying B Ranch (Kamiah, Idaho)
Rough Creek Lodge & Resort (Glen Rose, Texas)
Paws Up (Greenbough, Montana)
Brush Creek (Saratoga, Wyoming)

Read more and plan your trip today! 7 Destinations for Hunting Heaven

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Give Your Horse a Winning Smile

Just as with humans, a horse’s teeth are the most important component to overall wellness. If they’re not probably cared for, their health can deteriorate–his coat can become dull and lifeless, weight can drop, and his behavior will be affected. That’s why equine dental health is so important.

In this article, written for Western Horse & Gun Magazine, I spoke with R. Brad Tanner, DVM, with Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., about taking your horse to an equine dentist on a regular basis and how dental health can be a big component of your horse’s overall wellbeing.

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Western Horse & Gun: Tips For A Timeless Smile (pdf)

Equine Health: Vesicular Stomatitis

(From the June/July issue of Western Horse & Gun Magazine)

During 2014’s peak travel season for horse owners, the state of Colorado had more than 370 premises under quarantine for equine vesicular stomatitis. Surprisingly most of the equine events in the state went on without a hitch, and the final quarantines were released in late January.

Vesicular stomatitis (VS) can often be a scary disease, mostly because of its appearance and some of the effects from the sores and lesions horse owners find around their horses’ muzzles. While the 2015 travel season starts to heat up, it’s important to understand the disease and how you can prevent it from happening to you

An Ugly Looking Disease
Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that is more commonly found in the southwestern United States, affecting mostly horses, cattle, and swine. It is identified by formations of lesions (blisters) typically found on the tongue, lips, and around the mouth or nose. The blisters can also be found on the udder or sheath or along the coronary band.

The lesions look very painful, but experts do not see long-term effects from them very often

“Occasionally horses will have lesions along the coronary band around the foot that can cause some problems that can be lasting,” explains Keith Roehr, DVM, Colorado state veterinarian. “Most horses that have blisters on their nose or lesions on their tongues will heal up within a number of weeks and are pretty much back to normal.”

Because the blisters will appear on the inside of the horse’s mouth or around the lips, they can cause the horse to lose weight due to difficulty eating or drinking, and just the stress from the pain. But Roehr explains that with an ample amount of time to heal, horses usually make a full recovery and will return to normal.

Unlike highly transmitted diseases like equine herpesvirus, VS does not invade the bloodstream or neurologic system of the horse. Instead, it resides in the blisters and on the skin surface after the blisters rupture.

There are only a few different ways that VS can be transmitted from horse to horse. The hardest way to prevent transmission is via vectors such as biting flies—black flies, sand flies, and Culicoides (biting midges).

Horse-to-horse transmission can occur when another horse comes into contact with an infected horse’s open lesions. Remember that the virus essentially lives in the blisters, which will ooze and eventually rupture. This can increase the risk for transmission.

The third threat of transmission occurs when your healthy horse comes into contact with contaminated equipment such as shared water troughs, feed buckets, or surfaces like grooming and tie areas.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Vesicular stomatitis might be one of the easiest to discover early because of the blisters. Other signs that your horse might be affected by the virus include excessive slobbering and a fever of 102-104°F in the acute phase of the disease.

Other signs include geldings and stallions having difficulty urinating, due to the lesions being around the sheath, and lameness due to the lesions appearing around the coronary band.

However, just because your horse has lesions doesn’t necessarily mean he has VS, so work with your veterinarian to have laboratory tests pulled for confirmation. If your horse has VS, your veterinarian will report the disease for tracking, which will also place your property on a hold or quarantine order pending lab results. A quarantine can typically last 21 days after the last horse’s lesions are healed (which can take seven to 10 days).

Treatment of VS is difficult because there are no antivirals available to give to horses at this time. Roehr says the best owners can do is make sure the horse is comfortable and staying hydrated and getting proper nutrition. A soft bran mash is often more preferred by horses with VS because it’s easier to eat. If your horse starts to get dehydrated, veterinary treatment will be required for intravenous fluids.

Keep the blisters clean to help prevent bacterial infections with the open sores. Work with your veterinarian on the best cleaning and treatment protocol if your horse is diagnosed with VS.

Proper biosecurity protocols such as disinfecting water troughs, feed buckets, and walls regularly, and quarantining infected horses will help prevent transmission. When you’ve handled a horse infected with VS, wear gloves and be sure to wash your hands with soap and water should you come in contact with an infected horse. Have a change of clothes at the barn to change into as well.

When you’re traveling this summer, check the state veterinarian websites of the states you’re hauling through and hauling to for updates on their VS status. Some states will require recent veterinary health checks and certificates whether you’re only traveling within your state or to other states.

“Last summer, most of the events in Colorado that were operating during the VS outbreak had some screening processes,” explains Dr. Roehr. “Even if the horses didn’t cross the state line, they had to have a certificate of veterinarian inspection within three to five days of the event so we knew that a veterinarian seen that horse very recently, and that reduced the risk of exposure to other horses quite a bit.”

Horse owners can practice good insect control during outbreaks by using flysheets, masks, and sprays to help prevent being bitten. Using fly predators, which are insects that feed on other insects, is inexpensive and helps control the fly population on your farm.

It’s hard for veterinarians to predict if VS will be an issue during a typical travel season because the disease is typically not a yearly occurrence in the United States. The first cases usually occur in late June and July, so Roehr suggests owners and exhibitors keep watch for horse health updates and work with their veterinarians as they prepare for their events.

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