The last several years, the town of Pueblo, Colorado has hosted the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals Rodeo. Heartwarming, wholesome, family-oriented, hard-working, and inspirational are only five of countless words to describe both the participants and volunteers for Hope Counts of NLBRA. Some 2,000 kids, between the ages of 5 and 18, from 21 states compete in more than 275 “Little Britches” rodeos every year. Their most recent Finals Rodeo was held in July and members of Spalding Labs were again on hand to help with the Hope Counts Crisis Fundraising. According to Tom Spalding, President of Spalding Labs, “Of all the events we do every year, Little Britches is the most fun.”
The Hope Counts - Crisis Fund of the NLBRA was founded by Sydnee Christensen of Utah when she was a mere 12 years old. She wanted to help injured rodeo kids and their families facing catastrophic events. Sydnee started brainstorming ideas, lit a fire under her mom, and they began putting together the business side. Sponsorship Coordinator for the NLBRA, Sarah Faith Wiens, had this to say about Sydnee’s endeavor, "It's one thing for an association to start up a crisis fund, it's quite another to have a 12-year-old member start one. It makes me so proud to be a small part of an organization that has members willing to help one another in such a large way. The sport of rodeo is dangerous, there is no getting around it. Anytime you mix livestock, kids and a competitive atmosphere there are bound to be accidents and when that happens it's comforting to know that families aren't alone. NLBRA is truly an association where character is developed, western traditions live and legends begin!"
Sydnee’s base idea for fundraising was cleaning trailers for rodeo participants using Spalding’s Bye Bye Odor as they were checking in. Everyone who made a donation received the Hope Counts signature Blue Feather. The volunteers worked hard, cleaning trailers, for three days. Their youthful teamwork and dedication to serving others touched the heart of Spalding’s video director, Berry Landen who was on location shooting the Finals Rodeo. On the spot, Landen decided to produce the “Hope Counts: Kids helping kids get better” video.
Both Spalding Lab’s video and Blue Feathers went viral at that year’s NFR in Las Vegas.
Expanding on Sydnee’s trailer cleaning concept, Larry Garner with Spalding Labs, suggested they not only donate the Bye Bye Odor used to clean the trailers but then sell Bye Bye Odor at the event giving 100% of the proceeds to Hope Counts for unlimited fundraising possibilities. Garner said, “It’s a win-win-win. The kids raise money to help others. Spalding’s Bye Bye Odor cleans the trailers which means less flies, better smell and happier animals. We all know happier animals are better competitors.” The premier year’s overwhelming response was thanks to the many Little Britches alumni, now top professional cowboys and cowgirls who wore the blue feathers at NFR. The buzz in Las Vegas that year was, ‘what are all these blue feathers for?’ generating enormous baseline awareness for Hope Counts.
Again this year Spalding Labs had plenty of donated Bye Bye Odor on hand, along with some additional man power to help the kids clean the trailers, and raise over $4000. Hope Counts not only gives back to the rodeo community in need, but also teaches kids teamwork, volunteerism and selfless acts of service. Wise beyond her years, Sydnee states “Aristotle said ‘virtue is its own reward’ I think we all may get a little extra reward here.”
Angelea Walkup is a US Dressage Federation gold medalist best known in the horse world as web series host of HorseGirlTV and producer of the equibarre workout. She is a career content creator and holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. You can connect with her on Twitter @AKwalkup or her Facebook Page.
Forget Netflix! Forget paid subscription horse coaching! We have a top collection of fun, insightful, and educational equestrian centric videos on our YouTube Channel all 100% free!
You can watch all our hundreds of videos uploaded via PLAY ALL or choose from one of our popular playlists like On The Road with Jenni Grimmett, Horse Care and Training, or HorseGirlTV with Angelea Kelly (hey! that's me! neat!). Also check out award-winning singer, songwriter Michael Martin Murphey of "Wildfire" fame in our exclusive Red River Sessions playlist which is likewise completely free!
Now everybody has favorites. Here's 5 of mine all time favs below!
Reining is a demonstration of a horse’s willingness and a horse’s athleticism. The horse’s ability to respond to a rider is very special. With reining horses you have the quickness of a barrel horse and the slowness of a pleasure horse. It’s very precise, kinda like driving a Ferrari. Watch NOW!
Murph performs his original song titled "What Am I Doing Here". First he reminisces about some of the circumstances that influenced him to write the song and produce the album "Cowboy Songs". Enjoy HERE!
Horse’s can get hurt on the most benign objects. There’s no such thing as safe fencing but Doc Jenni likes a strong wooden fence with electric rope. When you’re trying to choose the best fencing for your horse is to think about how you’re going to keep your horse off the fence. Check it OUT!
Enjoy Angelea Kelly's charming interview with horseman, celebrity and stylist Carson Kressley. Carson began riding at an early age and his passion and drive has not only risen him to the top of the celebrity entertainment scene but likewise developed him into a skilled equestrian as well. MEET Carson Kressley!
Natural horsemanship master, Jon Ensign, shows you how to catch your horse. Learn from a MASTER!
Watch Jenni Grimmett, DVM talk about horse health with Spring equine vaccines going over the vaccinations most horse owners should be giving their horses annually. Doc Jenni explains the additional vaccines you give your horse depends on their exposure to other animals, travels, and geographic location. Watch now on our ↓ YouTube Channel!
We launch a new episode of On The Road with Jenni Grimmett each Tuesday so please go to youtube.com/spaldinglabs and click the red SUBSCRIBE button on the top right of the page to keep up! Doc Jenni covers topics every horse owner should know about to take care of their horse. As a Spalding Labs customer, you can watch the first TEN episodes right now by CLICKING HERE.
Dr. Jenni Grimmett is an incredibly approachable veterinarian, a wonderful teacher, and talented Cowboy Dressage horse woman. Learn more about Dr. Jenni at http://SAVE.vet
During my practice career I treated countless hundreds, perhaps thousands of horses for colic (acute gastric or intestinal pain). Most survived, but many died. A majority was due to human error. The caretakers made avoidable mistakes.
Similar errors also resulted in many cases of laminitis and unless promptly diagnosed and treated, many laminitis (“founder”) cases ended up permanently lame due to anatomical foot damage.
I saw wild mustangs in my lifetime, in their natural environments, but I never saw one foundered or one that died from either colic or laminitis.
I have asked many people that have had extensive experience with mustangs in their natural environment (rangeland), if they have ever seen a wild mustang founder or die of colic in their natural environment. The consistent answer was, “No!”
The changes that occur in nature are gradual. Forage erupting green, after a long dry spell, comes up gradually. Grasses erupt with seed gradually. New tasty plants appear gradually. When, in captivity, horses are exposed to sudden dietary changes because of human policy, horses may not be able to cope with the change. The microflora within their digestive tract, which pre-digest much of what horses eat, are specific for that kind of plant matter. Then, the horse may not be able to cope with the dietary change. The result, so common in horses and other herbivorous domestic grazing animals, may be an attack of an acute, painful, and potentially deadly malady such as colic or laminitis.
Because I experienced so many such cases as a veterinarian, I developed a fear of such cases as laminitis, bloat, colic in horses, over-eating certain plant species at certain times of the year, and – above all, making abrupt changes in the time that such animals are fed, plus changes in diet. Such changes involve plant species, season of the year, harvesting methods, preparation of the forage (dried? baled? pelleted? ground? mixed with other vegetation species? etc. etc.).
Because I owned livestock I was attached to during my lifetime, including many breeds of horses, mules, donkeys, cattle, goats, I became obsessive about creating unusual or too prompt dietary changes. For example:
So I will take two or three days to introduce them to a new hay delivery, even if it is exactly the same hay.
Am I an extremist?
I have never, ever, EVER had one of my equines suffer from a case of colic!
I have never had one of my equines suffer laminitis.
Such prudent, cautions not only avoid attacks of colic or laminitis, but also many other nutritionally based problems.
This is, I believe, so important, that I will repeat the precautions:
ALL feed changes should be made gradually. Take a full week or more to make the changes. This includes:
The largest group of horse owners in the U.S.A. ride purely for recreation. For pleasure. For the relationship with the horse. To enjoy the out of doors activity.
The people involved in the competitive riding disciplines (Western, English, Dressage, Gymkhana, Rodeo, etc.) usually know what kind of horse they are looking for. They seek breeds recognized for their affinity for that sport. However, it has been my experience that a high percentage of the folks who just want a horse as a companion, and for non-competitive trail riding, often set goals that are irrelevant, or even inappropriate for their needs.
For example, many such people use color as a goal. They limit their search to Paints, or Pintos, or Palominos, or Buckskins, or some other color.
Other people use size as criteria. Others use gender – a mare – or a gelding – or, I’ve had several times when innocent buyers decide they need a stallion for weekend trail rides. These decisions limit their choices.
The breed of horse influences many buyers. They aim, for various reasons, to own a specific breed because they have a mental image of the horse’s role in society, or relate to the breed to a specific individual, or group of people.
Often these poorly oriented choices work out well, but I have seen so many that were bad decisions. Doing countless thousands of pre-purchase exams during my career, I remember how often I concluded my written report with a comment like this: “A healthy, sound horse, but not ideally suitable for casual recreational riding because of … (temperament, lack of smooth gaits, aptitude for competitive events the buyer has no intention of pursuing, susceptibility to certain problems either physical or mental, and so on.)
I remember, early in my career, when one of my clients, a racing thoroughbred breeder, asked me to do a pre-purchase exam on a gentle, well-trained gelding of nondescript breeding, for her grandchildren, who visited monthly, to ride. I detected early ringbone and warned the client, but she bought the horse anyway.
Half a year later she phoned me and said, “Do you remember the horse you examined for my two grandkids when they visited me? Well all’s been well and we all love the horse. He’s so sweet. But, now that they’re learning to ride they like to trot, and I notice that he is a bit lame in the right fore. Can you check him?”
I did so and explained that I had warned her of the ringbone and its probable consequences.
She recalled no such warning. Her decision had been emotional and she had dismissed my negative advice from her memory.
From that day forward, I gave each client a written report when I did a pre-purchase exam, and filed a copy in my records. I also told them that I filed a copy of my report for every pre-purchase exam I did. My practice partners did the same.
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