The pranks of April 1st are passed, the calendar says we’re hurtling toward good times and horse fun. Here at the Rocky Mountain Breeders Association (RMBA) that makes us all mighty happy.
For those who were interested in the “Intro To Ranch Horse” clinic, but were unable to get in, remember
there is the opportunity to audit, too. There is no charge to audit, but auditors are on their own for lunch.
The popular clinic is always a full house, educational, and helps move everyone that much closer to show-ready performance or working more efficiently in a ranch setting. The clinic is slated for April 29- 30, 2023, at the Saddle Peak Equestrian Center, 3336 Spain Bridge Road, outside of Belgrade, Montana. The clinic is an excellent segue into the show season whether you’re showing only in the RMBA events, or kicking up your heels and showing in multiple association events.
2023 Rule Changes
The RMBA has implemented, effective in 2023, all exhibitors showing in the Ranch Horse Competition series must be current-year members in good standing before you show. There are a variety of membership types ranging from a single adult (19 yrs and older); family/business/ranch for multiple family or business members – be sure to list all the people on this membership; trainer; youth that are not part of a family membership; and owner who is not showing their own horse in the series. The membership form is found on the RMBA website at http://www.montanarmba.org.
To help ensure the tracking of membership is easily administered, the RMBA is reinstating the use of membership cards. If you haven’t paid your 2023 Membership yet, no time like the present so you’re ready to go before show season. You’ll get a membership card depicting the year, level, and name(s) under the membership.
Also relevant, as show season and breeding starts to pick up, it’s a good reminder about biosecurity. The typical reminders of not sharing community water sources, not sharing buckets and bits, washing hands, and current vaccination protocol are all encouraged.
Granted, biosecurity is rarely a topic that gets everyone excited and enthused. Often it is much easier to just “do things the way we always do.” While a horse owner may never experience a situation of disease spread of any type, horses and humans are a highly mobile population that can have exposure to a wide variety of diseases.
From the Montana Department of Livestock, Animal Health Bureau, which houses the State Veterinarian Office and other staff veterinarians, there are some recommendations they’ve suggested. Many owners in Montana may recall in late January, then again in March, there were confirmed cases and some suspected cases of EHV-1 myeloencephalopathy (EHM). In January, the Flathead County event ultimately involved four (4) premises including an event arena and resulted in the death of five (5) horses that were either confirmed or suspected with the disease. The March case was a suspected case and was located in eastern Montana, not related to the January incident.
The Animal Health Bureau has some recommendations for travelers to help manage potential exposure. Your veterinarian is one of your very best resources as they can help design a program specifically for you, your horses, and your facility all while assessing the exposure potential.
Recommendations include: separate traveling horses from the resident population; the timing of vaccinations; assessing events with multiple sourced horses; understand how non-equine traffic plays a key role in transmission as continued movement of humans, animals, and equipment continues to spread the disease; and basic biosecurity practices that should be implemented at all events. If the barn or center has a clinical horse or more, then more stringent biosecurity practices should be implemented.
Suggestions for tracking and biosecurity from the Animal Health Bureau newsletter are:
1) horses should travel on complete, accurate, & current documentation which allows an assessment of
travel history & health status; creating an electronic document easy to update can save time;
2) traveling horses should be managed separately from the resident population during the event season;
3) newly purchased horses should be isolated for at least two weeks;
4) handwashing between horses & especially between horses under different management;
5) tack should not be shared between horses under different management;
6) access by pets should be limited;
7) common equipment should be disinfected between horses;
8) records should be kept of equine entries;
9) temperature monitoring of entries should be considered;
10) a veterinarian should be available for consultation, health exams, & emergencies. Consider having
disposable gloves available for anyone mouthing clinical, even non-clinical animals.
The list includes a variety that may be more suited to event facilities, training barns, or sales and offers some sensible biosecurity measures for smaller barns that are essentially a closed herd and barn or with a single horse that travels. Developing a spreadsheet of your horse’s vaccination dates along with travel dates can be an easy and effective method of tracking to have information at your fingertips. Load it on your phone and you’ll have it available at all times.
The up side to biosecurity awareness, this can play a positive role for those who also have cattle, swine,
sheep, even poultry.
Another equine biosecurity article can be found in the March 2015 Stock Quotes newsletter (MT Dept of Livestock, Animal Health Bureau) on the Dept of Livestock website at: https://liv.mt.gov/_docs/Animal-
Health/Newsletters/2015_Mar_Newsletter.pdf on page 3 of that document. Disease outbreaks, event schedules and sizes, and more can be unique to each state. Check into those states’ recommendations. Whether you are hauling to events, are the event facility, are a boarding and/or training facility, or a breeding facility, we’re entering the start of peak travel time.
Here’s the celebration of nicer weather, fun with our equines, seeing friends, and the joy we experience
through our horses.
RMBA Stallion Auction
Still contemplating breeding your good mare? There are a few top-notch stallions remaining in the Stallion Service Auction as a “Buy Now.” Whether you are looking for rodeo, ranch, and/or other performance event horses, these stallions are sure-fire quality and can help you reach your dreams. Check them out at www.montanarmba.org/stallion-auction where you can view pedigree, write-ups, photos, breeding specifics, and incentive programs. They are the kind that truly represents an investment in the future.
To see more of the RMBA, visit the website at www.montanarmba.org where you can peruse many programs; “like” and “follow” us on Facebook under “Rocky Mountain Breeders Association” and remember to invite all your friends, too!
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