Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dallas Stoudenmire & The 4 Dead In 5 Seconds Gunfight

The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight was a famous gunfight that occurred on April 14, 1881, on El Paso Street, El Paso, Texas. Just a few days earlier on April 11th, 1881, Dallas Stoudenmire became the sixth man in eight months to hold the office of El Paso City Marshal.

The 36-year-old Stoudenmire had spent the previous years using his considerable gunfighting talents on both sides of the criminal justice system. His time as the law in El Paso would be similarly checkered. The fact is only three days after he took office, he would be at the center of one of El Paso's most notorious gunfights. Most who witnessed the gunfight generally agreed that the incident lasted no more than five seconds after the first gunshot. If that sounds like a very short amount of time, it is. In fact, it's one of the very few gunfights that was shorter in time than the later famous gunfight near the O.K. Corral which took only about 30 seconds.

On the day of the "Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight," a posse of about 75 heavily armed Mexicans galloped into El Paso looking for two missing Vaqueros named Sanchez and Juarique. The Vaqueros had been searching for 30 head of stolen cattle when they went missing. 

Solomon Schutz, Mayor of El Paso, made an exception for the Mexicans, allowing them to enter the city limits with their firearms. Gus Krempkau, an El Paso County Constable, accompanied the posse to the ranch of Johnny Hale, a local ranch owner and suspected cattle rustler, who lived some 13 miles northwest of El Paso in the Upper Valley. The corpses of the two missing men were located near Hale's ranch and were carried back to El Paso. 

A court in El Paso held an inquest into the deaths, with Constable Krempkau, who was fluent in Spanish, acting as an interpreter. The verdict was that Sanchez and Juarique had been in the vicinity of Hale's ranch looking for the stolen cattle. The court determined that the American cattle rustlers, among them Hale, had feared that the men would discover the cattle and return with a larger force.

Two American cattle rustlers, Pervey and Fredericks, were accused of the murders of Sanchez and Juarique after they were overheard bragging about killing two cowboys when they found them trailing the herd to Hale's ranch during the night of April 13th - or in the early morning of the 14th.

Meanwhile, a large crowd had gathered in El Paso, including John Hale and his friend, former town Marshal George Campbell. There was tension between some of the Americans, concerned about the Mexicans being heavily armed within the city, and the Mexicans, who wanted justice for their two murdered comrades.

At the inquest, Pervey and Fredericks were formally charged with the murders and immediately arrested. The court was adjourned and the crowd dispersed. They were scheduled for trial at a later date. The 75 Mexicans rode quietly back to Mexico with the bodies.

Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire was present in the courtroom. Then after the court adjourned, he walked across the street for dinner. Constable Krempkau went to a saloon next door to retrieve his rifle and pistol.  There, a confrontation took place with George Campbell over remarks allegedly made by Campbell about Krempkau’s translations and his apparent friendship with the Mexicans.

John Hale, who was reportedly unarmed, was heavily intoxicated and was also upset with Krempkau’s involvement in the matter. Hale grabbed one of Campbell's two pistols and yelled, "George, I've got you covered!" He then shot Krempkau, who reeled backward.

Slumping against a saloon door, Krempkau drew his own pistol. 

Marshal Stoudenmire heard the shot, pulled his Colt 45s, and ran toward the gunfight, firing at Hale but hitting an innocent Mexican bystander. It's true, jumping up from his dining chair at the Globe Restaurant and pulling out his pistols, he ran out into the street. And while running, Marshal Stoudenmire fired once wildly. It was then that he killed Ochoa, an innocent college-educated Mexican bystander, who was running for cover.

John Hale jumped behind a thick adobe pillar, but as he peered out from behind it, Stoudenmire shot him between the eyes, killing him instantly. 

Campbell stepped from cover with his pistol drawn, saw Hale topple down, and yelled to Stoudenmire that it wasn't his fight.

Constable Krempkau, mistakenly believing that Campbell had shot him, then fired his pistol twice at Campbell before losing consciousness. The first bullet struck Campbell's gun and broke his right wrist, while the second hit him in the foot. Campbell screamed and scooped up his gun from the ground with his left hand. But, Marshal Stoudenmire whirled and fired.

Campbell dropped his gun again, grabbed his stomach, and toppled to the ground. Stoudenmire walked slowly toward Campbell and is said to have glared down at him.

In agony, former marshal Campbell yelled, "You big son of a bitch! You murdered me!"

Stoudenmire said nothing. Campbell and Krempkau both died within minutes. During the "Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight," Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire accounted for three of the four fatalities with his twin .44 caliber Colt revolvers. In just a few seconds, four men lay dead or dying. 

As for reports that there were three Texas Rangers standing nearby during the incident? There were, but they did not take part in the fight. In fact, they later said they felt Stoudenmire had the situation well in hand.

Tom Correa

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Newly-discovered image shows Billy the Kid, claims historian

Published August 29, 2013

Could that be the legendary William Bonney on the right? One historian is sure it is. (Las Cruces Sun-News)

An old, but recently discovered photo shows two men standing together in what historians figure must be about 1879, and there's new evidence that the man on the right is none other than Billy the Kid..

If true, it would be only the second known image of the Wild West gunslinger. The other one has already fetched millions of dollars at auction.

"It’s finally a good image of the Kid that reveals a young man as people who remembered him described him – not as the famous bucktoothed Billy we know so well." - Historian Frank Parrish

New Mexico historian Frank Parrish, of Las Cruces, revealed the new image, made from a tintype owned by a Mesilla Valley man who wishes to remain anonymous.

And Parrish has done some extensive research to back up his claim that the man on the right is the legendary gunfighter who was also known as William Henry McCarty Jr., William Bonney and Henry Antrim.

Much of it is based on identifying the man on the left, as Dan Dedrick.

“The other individual had remained unidentified until recently when I identified him as Dan Dedrick, a very close friend of Billy’s. Identification of Dedrick is the ‘clincher’ in this image, elevating a near-certain image to a clearly and obvious picture of the Kid," Parrish told the Albuquerque Journal.

"It’s finally a good image of the Kid that reveals a young man as people who remembered him described him – not as the famous bucktoothed Billy we know so well."

Billy the Kid would have been about 20 years old when the picture was taken - with less than two years left on the planet.

The only known photo of the youthful Billy was a tintype owned by Dedrick's family for years and then sold for $2.3 million to Palm Beach, Fla., businessman William Koch in 2011 at Brian Lebel’s Annual Old West Show and Auction in Denver.

In that photo, Billy is packing a Colt revolver and trademark 1873 Winchester carbine rifle.

It's the Dedrick connection that convinced Parrish he had the second known picture of Billy, who was born Nov. 23, 1859, in New York and died July 14, 1881, in Fort Sumner.

“There are many purported photo images of Billy the Kid, but only one that is acknowledged by leading historians – until now,” Parrish told the paper.

“The famous standing bucktoothed Billy photograph was originally given to Dan Dedrick by Billy. It was not known until now that the same Dan Dedrick had his photo taken with his pal.”

The newly surfaced tintype was once part of the estate of Pat Garrett, the sheriff who shot and killed Bonney.

Parrish was asked by the current owner to authenticate it and determined the lesser-known man was definitely Dedrick.

“Identification of Dedrick is the ‘clincher’ in this image, elevating a near-certain image to a clearly and obvious picture of the Kid," he said.

"It’s finally a good image of the Kid that reveals a young man as people who remembered him described him – not as the famous bucktoothed Billy we know so well,” Parish said.

Parrish expects “there will be skeptics," but he has no doubts. “It’s Billy,” he said.

Little Known Old West Gunmen & Outlaws - Part Two

As I said in Part One, here are some gunmen and outlaws who never made it big in the minds of the public.

And yes, the reasons are many - but basically some did the crime but didn't have the name recognition that Dime Novelists wanted.

Others of course simply didn't live long enough to find their own biographer and rewrite their own history - like say how Wyatt Earp did his.

Vicente Silva

In Las Vegas, New Mexico, though it was just not so apparent to the town's citizens, they didn't notice a marked increase in cattle rustling. By the late 1880's entire herds were disappearing.

Led by a man named by Vicente Silva, a respected saloon owner of the Imperial Saloon, the group was called the Silva's White Caps, or Forty Bandits; or sometimes, the Society of Bandits.

Often meeting in Silva's saloon, the gang held the area in a virtual stranglehold until October, 1892. At that time the Las Vegas citizens hanged a fellow gang member named Pat Maes. Soon thereafter the bandit group gradually disintegrated.

Silva was eventually murdered by former members of his gang and was buried at Camp de lost Cadillos on May 19, 1895.

Juan Soto alias "The Human Wildcat"

Juan Soto, who's alias was "The Human Wildcat," was part Indian and Mexican. He was said to be a very large, ugly man, who was a notorious California thief and murderer.

In 1871 he was involved in a killing in Alameda County, and Sheriff Harry Morse made Soto the subject of one of his relentless manhunts. Morse found Soto several months later, and following a spectacular pistol duel, the fugitive was shot to death while running toward Morse's Henry rifle yelling insanely!

Some animals just need to be shot!

William Larkin "Billy" Siles

William Larkin "Billy" Stiles was a young gunman, who rumored to have killed his father at the age of twelve, who gained notoriety in the Southwest at the turn of the century. After assisting lawman Jeff Milton, he was hired by Burt Alvord, marshal of Wilcox, Arizona.

The two law officers soon organized a gang of train robbers, however, including Three-Fingered Jack Dunlap, George and Louis Owens, Bravo Juan Yoas. and Bob Brown. Stiles and Alvord eventually were exposed, and the next few years brought a series of chases, arrests, and escapes.

In 1904, Alvord was captured, but Stiles fled the country and worked his way finally to China.

He soon returned to the United States, where he was killed while working as a Nevada deputy sheriff under the alias "William Larkin." Yes, Alvord was crooked - and his deputy was as well!

William Towerly

One Sunday morning on November 29, 1887, the two deputies found Smith with his gang, Lee Dixon, his brother-in-law, Dixon's wife and William Towerly in a tent near the Arkansas River.

The outlaws had the advantage in numbers and firepower so they knew it was to their benefit to stand their ground in a gunfight.

Dalton and Cole rushed the tent knowing the outlaws had very little protection from within. The lawmen were surprised when they ran into a heavy barrage of gunfire.

Frank Dalton was the first to be hit as a slug tore into his chest driving him to the ground. Towerly, seeing the fallen officer ran directly toward Frank Dalton shooting him several times in the head as he passed over him. As the smoke cleared, Dixon also lay seriously wounded on the ground with Towerly making his escape.

Towerly made his mark as a gunman by killing two peace officers in separate shootouts, although he was himself shot to death in his last fight.

Towerly's escape was brief for the lawmen were on his trail finding him near his home at Atoka, Choctaw Nation. Towerly fought to his death for he knew killing a deputy marshal meant a trip to Judge Parker's gallows.

Joe Walker

Walker's father, a Texas rancher, died when Joe Walker was still an infant. His mother had turned their property over to her brother, a Dr. Whitmore, to manage.

About 1870 Whitmore merged the Walker herd with his own and moved to a ranch in northern Arizona, where he was soon killed in an Indian raid.

Whitmore's widow sold out and migrated with her sons, George and Tobe, to Carbon County, Utah, where they became a prominent banking and ranching family.

When Walker's mother died, he went to Utah to make a property settlement with the Whitmores.

They denied any relationship or property claims by Walker, and he found employment at local ranches and at a Huntington sawmill and began to hound the Whitmores.

After a shooting incident in 1895 Walker threw in with outlaws at nearby Robbers Roost and began to rustle cattle and horses.

He frequently stole stock from the Whitmores, but on one such raid an accomplice named C. L. ("Gunplay") Maxwell informed the authorities of Walker's whereabouts after the two outlaws quarreled.

Walker managed to escape only after a lengthy chase and siege.

A few months later, on April 21, 1897, Walker cut telegraph wires and otherwise aided Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch in pulling off the eight-thousand-dollar Castle Gate payroll robbery.

About one year later, following another raid on Whitmore livestock, Walker was chased by a nine-man posse in Utah.

Encamped near the town of Thompson with a passing cowboy named Johnny Herring, Walker bedded down for the night with his gun in his blankets. But the posse surrounded the camp during the night, and when Walker stirred at dawn, the lawmen opened fire.

Walker and Herring, who was assumed by the posse to be Butch Cassidy, were riddled with bullets and died in their bedrolls.

Nathaniel Ellsworth Wyatt

The son of an Indiana farmer, Nathaniel Ellsworth Wyatt moved with his parents and brother to Oklahoma in 1889.

After his brother, Nim "Six-Shooter Jack", was killed in Texline, Texas, Zip turned bad. He was involved in several fatal shootings and began robbing stores, post offices, and trains.

He took refuge in Indiana, but was tracked down and arrested by Chris Madsen. He escaped from jail in Guthrie, but in 1895 a posse surprised and shot him.

Ben Gravens

Often called the last of the notorious Oklahoma outlaws, Ben Cravens was the troublesome son of farmer B. B. Cravens.

Ben ran away to the lawless Indian Territory after being jailed for tearing up the local school. He became a horse thief, whiskey runner, and train robber. Frequently arrested, he just as frequently escaped from jail.

He broke out of custody in Lineville and Corydon, Iowa, Guthrie and Tecumseh, Oklahoma, and Lansing, Kansas.

Cravens was married to a Missouri girl and worked as a farmhand for a time, but he was arrested under an alias for stealing hogs, and when his true identity was revealed, charges were brought against him.

He was given a life sentence, although he won parole as an old man.

Jack Dunlap alias "Three-Finger Jack"

Jack Dunlap, alias "Three-Fingered Jack," was a notorious Arizona outlaw about the turn of the century. Captured in 1895, he soon was loose again, and he joined the bandit gang of Black Jack Christian. Later Dunlap became involved with the Burt Alvord-Billy Stiles band of train robbers.

Burt Alvord and Billy Stiles were both lawmen who were also outlaws, Jack Dunlap joined up with them and the Owen brothers, Bravo Juan Yaos, Bob Brown.

During a train robbery in Fairbank, Texas, the train pulled into the station and as the crowd was milling about, the outlaws mingled with the crowd pretending to be drunken cowboys.

Sheriff Jeff Milton was standing in the open door of the baggage car when the outlaws opened fire with lever-action Winchesters, shattering his left arm and severing an artery.

Unable to return fire because of the innocent by-standers Milton grabbed his shotgun and waited for his chance. The outlaws took the opportunity to charge the train in all the confusion,  and instead were met with buckshot.

Three-Finger Jack caught a load of buckshot in the chest. And though he died, it was only after confessing who the gang members were.

Tranquellano Estabo

Within a few months in 1895 this notorious Mexican outlaw was involved in three gunfights. Near Phoenix, N.M., Tranquellano Estabo and some friends got into a fight with Walter Paddleford and some other men.

Three of the Mexicans were killed in the shootout, but Estabo escaped unhurt. A few months later, after mortally wounding a man during a card game in a Phoenix saloon, Estabo went into the street and began shooting his pistols.

When ordered to stop by Sheriff Dee Harkey and his assistant Cicero Stewart, Estabo replied with gunfire. When Estabo jumped on his horse and tried to escape, Harkey gave chase.

Just three miles out of town, Estabo was forced to surrender.

The frightened gunman was returned to town where he was nearly killed by Stewart. Estabo's life was spared and he was put in jail to await trial.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans was a Californian who owned a farm near the mine of George and John Sontag, a pair of train robbers. In 1892, Evans helped the Sontag brothers escape from a posse, and after George was captured, Evans teamed up with John in stopping stagecoaches.

They claimed that they were searching for lawmen to kill, but they seemed to have no compunctions against seizing whatever loot was available. The manhunt continued for nine months, and the two fugitives shot their way out of trap after trap, wounding seven deputies in the process.

When they were finally apprehended, John was killed, and Evans, once he recovered from his wounds, was sentenced to life in prison.

On December 3, 1893, he managed to escape, but he was recaptured the following February and was returned to his cell.

David Lyle Kemp

As a youth in Hamilton, Texas, David Lyle Kemp killed a man named Smith. Kemp was sentenced to be hanged, and in panic he tore away from his guards and jumped out of a second story courtroom window.

He broke both ankles in the fall, but somehow clambered onto a horse before being surrounded and recaptured. However, because of his age the governor commuted his sentence to life, then gave him a full pardon.

Kemp drifted into New Mexico, opened a butcher shop in Eddy which is present day Carlsbad, acquired an interest in a gambling casino in nearby Phoenix, and believe it or not actually became sheriff when Eddy County was organized in 1889. He conducted his office in the interests of his gambling cohorts, and the county became quite rowdy.

Dee Harkey was appointed deputy U.S. marshal to subdue the area, and Kemp and his friends threatened and on more than one occasion tried to kill the troublesome lawman. Kemp also bought a ranch in the vicinity and turned to rustling to increase his ranching and butchering profits.

He was cuaght red-handed by Harkey one night and agreed to leave the country. He stayed in Arizona for a few years, but returned when an old enemy, Les Dow, was elected sheriff of Eddy County.

Kemp killed Dow, took up rustling again, and eventually returned to Texas to a ranch near Higgins. There he was shot and killed by his sister during the 1930's. Yes, in the 1930's!

Steve Long

Steve Long, alias "Big Steve," had a background that was pretty obscure. But, at six-foot, six-inches, the northerner established himself as a vicious gunman in Laramie.

In 1867, Long obtained a postion as deputy marshal of Laramie and participated in a pair of bloody gunfights within two months.

Steve Long, was a professional gunfighter who teamed up with brothers Ace and Con Moyer establishing a saloon in Laramie City, Wyoming.

The Moyer brothers founded the town, appointing themselves as justice of the peace and marshal, respectively. Steve Long was made the deputy marshal.

With six guns, they ruled with an iron hand. The trio dished out "justice" in the backroom of the saloon, ordering ranchers to sign over deeds to their lands and miners to hand over their claims.

Those who refused were shot to death by Long on the pretense that the victim reached for a weapon. Numerous others were killed when they objected to crooked card games run at the saloon. The townsfolk began to refer to the saloon as "The Bucket of Blood."

Meanwhile, a local rancher by the name of N.K. Boswell began talk of forming a vigilante group to put the trio out of business.

Long also was in the habit of moonlighting as a thief, and on October 18th, 1868, he attempted to ambush and rob prospector Rollie "Hard Luck" Harrison. In the ensuing gunfight, Long was shot and he retreated.

Back in Laramie City, Long's fiancĂ©e treated the wound but was incensed when Long told her how he received it. She told the vigilante group about Long's attempted robbery.  Nice gal huh?

Wasting no time the group stormed into The Bucket of Blood on October 28th, 1868, seizing Long and the Moyer brothers.

Dragging them to a partially finished cabin, they began to string them up to the rafters. But before he could be strung up Long asked the vigilantes to remove his boots.

His last words were "my mother always said that I would die with my shoes on."

They promptly hanged him from a telegraph pole with his bare feet dangling, and his fiancee, that sweet gal, put up a marker to his somewhat tarnished memory.

Port Stockton

Born the son of a Texas rancher, Port Stockton and his older brother Ike early on demonstrated a leaning toward the wild side of life.

At seventeen years of age, Port assaulted a man and was charged with attempted murder - but older brother Ike helped him to escape the law.

Port drifted to Dodge City, then in 1874 he went to Lincoln County, New Mexico, where Ike had opened a saloon.

Ike was raising a family, and Port soon married a Baptist preacher's daughter named Irma. But within two years, the brothers had moved to Colorado and settled in Trinidad.

In October, 1876, Port got into a shooting scrape in Cimarron, New Mexico, and Ike had to spring him with a predawn jailbreak.

Two months later there was another gunfight in Trinidad, and the Stocktons hastily moved to Animas City, Colorado. Seems like they were running out of towns.

Port gambled for a while, then secured an appointment as city marshal. But marshal or not, he was run out of town after he angrily chased and fired his pistol at a Negro barber who had accidently nicked him with a razor during a shave.

He briefly held the marshal's job in Rico, Colorado, but he was forced to leave there, too, when his past caught up with him.

Port next moved his wife and two small daughters to a shack just outside Farmington, New Mexico.

Port teamed up with a pair of hard cases named Harge Eskridge and James Garret, and the trio was widely suspected of rustling. Then the three undesirables shot up a New Year's Eve party after being thrown out, and hard feelings grew.

Port was killed in the violence that followed, and Ike swore revenge.

There was an outbreak of rustling soon thereafter, and when certain area citizens were shot up, Ike was blamed and Governor Lew Wallace issued a reward for his arrest.

In September, 1881, Ike was shot in the leg in the streets of Durango, and he died following amputation.

Tough luck for the tough guy!

Robert T. Tucker

I just read in some maginzine dedicated to Old West History that contrary to popular belief Horse Thiefs were not really "a hanging offense."

So why do I laugh at writers who come up with stuff like that? Well, I think that bullspit opinion would have been interesting news to Robert Tucker.

Nothing is known about him other than the fact that he's proof that the 1800's were tough on bad guys and horse thieves. After being caught by vigilantes for stealing a horse, he was hung as a horse thieve.

"Alleged" or not, he was still hung for it!

For more information of Little Known Old West Gunmen & Outlaws, don't hesitate to visit:

Little Known Old West Gunmen & Outlaws - Part One

Little Known Old West Gunmen & Outlaws - Part Three

This information was compiled from multiple sources.

Thanks for visiting!

Tom Correa

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Great Country Music Voices - Marty Robbins

Marty Robbins 1966.JPG

Born Martin David Robinson, the world knows him professionally as simply Marty Robbins.

He was born on September 26th, 1925, was born in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona.  

At the age of 17, he left home to serve in the United States Navy in the dangerous role of an LCT coxswain during World War II.    

He was stationed in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. To pass the time during the war, he learned to play the guitar, started writing songs, and came to love Hawaiian music.

After his discharge from the Navy in 1947, he began to play at local venues in Phoenix before moving on to host his own show on KTYL.

After that, he then began his own television show on KPHO-TV in Phoenix. Then right after singer Little Jimmy Dickens made a guest appearance on Robbins' TV show, Dickens got Robbins a record deal with Columbia Records.

Marty Robbins became known for his appearances at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and much more.

He was an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.

While some know that he was indeed one of the most popular and successful country and Western singers of all time, his Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs was the single most influential album of Western songs in post-World War II American music.

And yes, for most of his nearly four-decades long career, Marty Robbins was rarely far from the top of the country music charts. Several of his songs also became pop hits over the years.

On December 8th, 1982, Marty Robbins passed away because of complications following cardiac surgery.

His voice is legendary. His song will stand the test of time. And as for country music today, his voice has surely been missed.

   El Paso ( The Full Version)

                                              Ghost Riders In The Sky

                                 Big Iron

                                           Devil Woman

    Little Joe The Wrangler

                                      Ride Cowboy Ride

She Was Young And She Was Pretty

Yes, after listening to his music, don't you agree that rock has taken over country music - and not for the better.

Story by Tom Correa

Monday, August 26, 2013

Firefighters Battle "The Rim Fire" Wildfire

From: Glencoe, CA To: Groveland-Big Oak Flat, CA
Glencoe to Groveland
Living in the area that we do here in Glencoe, I've always kept in mind the scary possibility of the area going up in flames. 

Yes, because this is the mountains and big tree country, fire is the scariest thing that I could ever imagine taking place here.

It is my constant concern, and the reason that I worry so much about those folks in the neighboring county who are having to fight this fire or flee their homes.

It is a real possibility that I think about each "Fire Season".

For our neighbors just South of us in the Groveland area, I can't tell you how I feel for them.

And no, not even Mother Nature is helping out.

Firefighters attempting to contain a 144,000-acre wildfire near Yosemite National Park are getting no help from the elements, which include wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.

The reason that this is so frightening is that it could be my property. Uncleared brush has fueled these tall trees.

On the local news, some reporter was talking about the "air quality" in Sacramento because of the fires.

While he's right in that the "air quality" has been affected, and I do understand what he is saying since the mountains up here where my wife and I live are in what looks like a state of thick fog, I would really think that there are greater concerns that a reporter can use his air time to talk about.

Today the Associated Press reported that the Yosemite wildfire "poses every challenge there can be."


This picture from yesterday, August 25th, 2013, show Inmate firefighters walking along Highway 120 as firefighters continue to battle "The Rim Fire" near Yosemite National Park, California.

Fire crews are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to protect two groves of giant sequoias as a massive week-old wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park. 

Firefighters battling a wildfire north of Yosemite National Park are calling it a "very difficult firefight," especially as high winds and dry conditions continue to fuel the blaze's momentum.

"This fire has continued to pose every challenge that there can be [in] a fire: inaccessible terrain, strong winds, dry conditions," Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Sunday.

Yesterday was very windy around here, and all knew that that was not good news for the firefighters in neighboring Tuolumne County.

Firefighters were hoping to advance on the flames, but strong winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour in some places were threatening to push the blaze closer to Tuolumne City and nearby communities.

Yes, my heroes are not only Cowboys. These firefighters are some of the greatest people on earth. And yes, thank God for them!

"Winds are increasing, so it's going to be very challenging," said Bjorn Frederickson, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

Sunday evening, the Forest Service confirmed to KTVU that the fire had burned through the Berkeley Tuolumne Family Campsite, which was owned by the city of Berkeley, California, and had been in operation since 1922.

Firefighters were unable to immediately assess the damage, and it was not clear if any structures survived. The camp had been evacuated Tuesday and no injuries were reported.

The fire continues burning in the remote wilderness area of Yosemite, but park spokesman Tom Medena said it's edging closer to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of 85 percent of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, as well as power for a number of key buildings, including the airport.

The city has issued assurances that the water quality remains good, but the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has shut two hydro-electric stations fed by water from the reservoir and cut power to more than 12 miles of lines.

San Francisco has been buying $600,000 worth of power on the open market to ensure San Francisco doesn't go dark.

The fire has consumed approximately 225 square miles of picturesque forests. Officials estimate containment at just 7 percent.

"It's a very difficult firefight," Berlant said. Frederickson added that the fire is slowing down a bit, but still growing.

Meanwhile, park officials are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to protect two groves of giant sequoias. The iconic trees can resist fire, but dry conditions and heavy brush are forcing extra precautions to be taken in the Tuolumne and Merced groves. About three dozen of the giant trees are affected.

"All of the plants and trees in Yosemite are important, but the giant sequoias are incredibly important both for what they are and as symbols of the National Park System," park spokesman Scott Gediman told the Associated Press on Saturday.

The trees grow naturally only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and are among the largest and oldest living things on earth.

The Tuolumne and Merced groves are in the north end of the park near Crane Flat. While the Rim Fire is still some distance away, park employees and trail crews are not taking any chances.

Fire officials are using bulldozers to clear contingency lines on the Rim Fire's north side to protect the towns of Tuolumne City, Ponderosa Hills and Twain Hart.

The lines are being cut a mile ahead of the fire in locations where fire officials hope they will help protect the communities should the fire jump containment lines.

The high winds and movement of the fire from bone-dry brush on the ground to 100-foot oak and pine treetops have created dire conditions.

"A crown fire is much more difficult to fight," Berlant told The Associated Press Sunday. "Our firefighters are on the ground having to spray up."

The blaze sweeping across steep, rugged river canyons quickly has become one of the biggest in California history, thanks in part to extremely dry conditions caused by a lack of snow and rainfall this year.

Investigators are trying to determine how it started Aug. 17, days before lightning storms swept through the region and sparked other, smaller blazes.

The fire is the most critical of a dozen burning across California, officials say.

More than 12 helicopters and a half-dozen fixed wing tankers are dropping water and retardant from the air and 2,800 firefighters are on the ground.

Statewide, more than 8,300 firefighters are battling nearly 400 square miles of fires. Many air districts have issued health advisories as smoke settles over Northern California.

The Rim Fire burns close to Groveland Ranger Station near Yosemite National Park, California, August 23, 2013

The Rim Fire burns close to Groveland Ranger Station near Yosemite National Park, California, August 23, 2013. Satellite photos show giant columns of white smoke from the fire drifting North and far into the neighboring state of Nevada to the East.

On Saturday, organizers cancelled the 24th annual Lake in the Sky Air Show at Lake Tahoe because of poor visibility.

The U.S. Forest Service says about 4,500 structures are threatened by the Rim Fire.

Berlant said 23 structures were destroyed, though officials have not determined whether they were homes or rural outbuildings. Some could be barns and sheds, while others could be homes being used at the moment or seasonal cabins.

Jessica Sanderson said one of her relatives gained access to the family's property in Groveland, just 26 miles from the park's entrance, on Saturday and was able to confirm their vacation cabin had burned to the ground.

The family saw firefighters on a TV news report a day earlier defending the cabin.

"It's just mind-blowing the way the fire swept through and destroyed it so quickly," said Sanderson, who's been monitoring the fire from her home near Tampa Bay, Fla. "The only thing left standing is our barbeque pit."

At the nearby Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne City on Sunday, the slot machines were quiet as emergency workers took over nearly all of the resort's 148 hotel rooms.

"The casino is empty," said casino employee Jessie Dean. "Technically, the casino is open but there's nobody there."

As thick smoke tells everyone that the fire is getting closer, and the area has been cleared of everyone but locals and emergency workers.

Dean lives on the reservation of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and left her four children at relatives' homes in the Central Valley.

But the tourist mecca of Yosemite Valley, the part of the park known around the world for such sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and waterfalls, remained open, clear of smoke and free from other signs of the fire that remained about 20 miles away.

Range cattle and bears?

These range cows are making a run for it in any direction they can find.

Along with bears, many critters are trying to get out of the way of the fire.

Sadly many won't make it out safe.

At Ike Bunney's dude ranch near the Sierra community of Tuolumne City, all of their critters have been evacuated as firefighters brace for an intense battle to keep a wildfire raging north of Yosemite National Park out of mountain communities.

"We've already evacuated the horses," said Bunney, who was keeping an eye on his Slide Mountain Guest Ranch on Sunday. "I think they're worried about the fire sparking over these hills."

As fire leapfrogs across the vast, picturesque Sierra forests, moving from one treetop to the next, residents in the fire's path are moving animals and children to safety.

Hundreds of firefighters were deployed Sunday to protect Tuolumne City and other communities in the path of the Rim Fire.

Eight fire trucks and four bulldozers were deployed near Bunney's ranch on the west side of Mount Baldy, where two years of drought have created tinder-dry conditions.

More than 12 helicopters and a half-dozen fixed wing tankers are dropping water and retardant from the air, and 2,800 firefighters are on the ground.

Statewide, more than 8,300 firefighters are battling nearly 400 square miles of fires.

Many air districts have issued health advisories as smoke settles over Northern California.

While Yosemite Valley is clear, the Lake Tahoe basin is thick with smoke, and many outdoor activities have been canceled in Reno, Nevada.

The U.S. Forest Service says about 4,500 structures are threatened by the Rim Fire.

While the firefighters do battle there and around the West, I pray for their safety and for those who they are trying to save.

In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the Rim Fire burns near Yosemite National Park, Calif. The wildfire outside Yosemite National Park - one of more than 50 major brush blazes burning across the western U.S. - more than tripled in size overnight and still threatens about 2,500 homes, hotels and camp buildings. Fire officials said the blaze burning in remote, steep terrain had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained on Thursday, down from 5 percent a day earlier. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service)

Yes, this is a horrible sight.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sheep - Facts & Trivia

Sheep is a term for selective grazing animals that may be domesticated (tamed) or wild.

Behaviorally, sheep are gregarious, precocial, defenseless creatures. 

Gregarious means that they flock together or like to be with a group.

Yes, it is rare to see a sheep by itself because of their gregarious nature.

Precocial means that they have a high degree of independence at birth.

This means that they can stand on their feet shortly after birth.

Sheep are defenseless for the most part against predators like coyotes and wild dogs.

Sheep are also very selective in their grazing habits.

Sheep have a split in their upper lip, with this they are able to pick the preferred leaves off of the plant.

At one time all sheep were wild. It is believed that around 12,000 BC, sheep were domesticated by the humans.

Most of the wool breeds of sheep were developed from Moulfan sheep. Most of the hair breeds are similar to the Urial sheep of ancient times.

Sheep were the third animal to be domesticated. Prior to domesticating sheep, the dog and reindeer were domesticated.

Domestication meant changes: On the outside the sheep began to develop more wool and less hair; The color of the wool and hair changed from brown and shades of brown to whites and blacks; Their ears became more of a lop ear than an erect ear; The horns that the wild sheep possessed were weakened and disappeared from many breeds.

On the inside the sheep changed as well; These internal changes happened at both ends. The tails had less vertebrates, or bones than the sheep do now. Today's sheep also have a smaller brain than the sheep 12,000 years ago.

Some sheep, including ewes, like to butt the person feeding them and the feed bucket.

Special care must be taken when children are around sheep, due to the sheep's herding and fight instincts.

Sheep theft is still legally a hangable offence in Scotland.

Sheep are usually white or black.

White sheep may appear brown, but this is just because they are dirty.

In biblical times, wool was left outside at night to absorb the dew and wrung out in the morning.

Spinning started in 3500 B.C.E.

In 1999, a French Poodle killed 20 sheep in one weekend in only one hour. It's quite a usual occurrence in North Devon (UK) for dogs to scare and kill sheep.

One pound of wool can make ten miles of spun yarn.

Sheep prefer to drink running water.

Pregnant women should avoid sheep at lambing time.

While it not their preferred recreation activity, sheep can swim when confronted with flooding or other water emergencies. Their swimming style can best be described as a doggy-paddle.

There were at least 2386 different species of sheep in Wales before it was inhabited

Sheep were first domesticated 10,000 years ago in Central Asia.

Sheep production began during biblical times.

Raising sheep is the oldest organized industry.

Man learned how to spin wool in 3,500 B.C.

There are over 40 breeds of sheep in the U.S. and approximately 900

different breeds around the world.

Sheep were smuggled into the states during the 16th and 17 centuries to develop the wool industry.

Along with goats sheep were first brought to America by Columbus in 1493.

The Navajo Churro is the oldest breed of sheep in the U.S.

By 1698, America was already exporting wool.

George Washington raised sheep on his Mount Vernon Estates.

President Woodrow Wilson grazed sheep on the White House lawn.

The female sheep is called a “ewe.”

The male sheep is called a “ram” or “buck.”

A castrated male sheep is called a “wether.”

A baby sheep is called a “lamb.”

The act of giving birth is called “lambing.”

The doe can have 1 to 3 lambs per litter.

The largest wild sheep is the Argali of central Asia. It stood 3 feet and 11 inches tall (1.2 m high) and weighed over 300 pounds (140 kg).

On the 24th of March, 1978, a sheep was found under the snow that had been there for 50 days.

The sheep’s warm breath had melted passages in the snow, so that it was able to breathe. His wool protected him from freezing.

The heaviest sheep was a ram called Stradford Whisper. In March of 1991, he weighed 247 kg and was a little over 1 metre high.

Most ewes give birth to twins.

A one-year-old sheep is called a hogget and a two-year-old is called a two-tooth. Sheep grow only eight teeth, two per year. When a ewe is a two-tooth, she is ready to breed.

Sheep eat hay and other feed. "Other feed" can mean barley and nuts, especially just prior to lambing when the ewes need extra nourishment. Hoggets can eat swedes too.

Sheep pick up ticks or lice from one another, and these parasites cause them to itch.

If sheep itch, they spend their time rubbing themselves against fences instead of eating. And yes, subsequently they lose weight and spoil their wool.

To stop this from happening, farmers dip them into a chemical dip for example Grenade, which kills the ticks or lice.

These parasites are not the only natural enemy that sheep have. They also get intestinal and lung worms, which means sheep have to be drenched on a regular basis by forcing down their gullets a chemical mixture that kills off the worms.

Sheep do not have teeth in their upper front jaw.

Sheep have 24 molars and 8 incisors.

Sheep were first used for meat, skins, milk and wool. Today they are still raised for these purposes plus many more.

One year’s growth of fleece is about 8 pounds of wool.

Wool sheep are usually shorn once a year.

Wool that comes directly from the sheep is called “raw wool.”

Raw wool may go through 70 processing steps to make sure it is the highest quality.

Depending on the market, lambs are usually sold between 90-120 pounds.

Lamb meat is an exceptional source of vitamins and minerals.

Meat from a grown sheep is called “mutton.”

A group of sheep is called a flock.

Michigan has the largest sheep packing plant east of the Mississippi River.

Sheep have a split in their upper lip which allows them to select the preferred leaves off a plant.

In sheep, the act of breeding is called “tubing.”

The act of parturition (giving birth) in sheep is called “lambing.”

The weaning age of sheep is generally between 2-3 months of age.

The pasture carrying capacity for sheep is generally 5 to 6 ewes and lambs per acre.

An immature male ram is called a “ram lamb” and the female is referred to as a “ewe lamb.”

The birth weight for lambs may range from 5 to 8 pounds.

The life expectancy for sheep is between 6 to 11 years.

The average body temperature for sheep is 102.5 F.

The average respiration rate for sheep is 16 breaths per minute.

Sheep generally consume 2 to 4.5 pounds of food daily.

Depending on the breed, the mature weight for female ewes range from 90 to 300 pounds.

Like goats, sheep are also seasonal breeders.

The best time to breed is between early fall to late winter. However, there are some breeds that can be bred year-round.

Ewes cycle every 14-19 days during the breeding season.

The average pulse rate for sheep is 75 heart beats per minute.

The duration of estrus is 24 to 36 hours.

The time of ovulation is 24-30 from the beginning of estrus.

The gestation (pregnancy length) period for ewes is 145-155 days.

Breeding per year is 1-2 per year.

Depending on the breed, puberty is between 5 to 8 months of age for ewe lambs and 6 to 8 months for ram lambs.

Depending on the breed, the minimum breeding age is between 8 to 10 months for ewes lambs.

The mature weight of a ram is between 150 to 450 lbs.

One ram can service 30 to 35 ewes during a 60 day breeding season.

Sheep are born with long tails. Some producers dock their tails shortly after they are born.

Sheep have two digits on their feet.

Sheep milk is often used to make gourmet cheese.

Sheep are animals that are over one year of age.

Lambs are less than one year of age.

A yearling is an animal between 1 to 2 years of age that may or may not have produced offsprings.

In some countries, sheep are used for fighting as part of a celebratory festival such as Eid al adha, a Muslim Festival Sacrifice. And no, that shouldn't surprise anyone - considering how violent Muslims are.

Like goats, sheep are susceptible to diseases such as parasites when they are mismanaged.

All sheep make the sound “baa” while goats make the sound “maa.”

Lambs can make a high pitched sound called “bleating.”

Milk from sheep have higher levels of fat, protein, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, niacin and thiamine than milk from goats and cows.

One pound of wool can make ten miles of yarn. Imagine that for a moment!

The small intestines of 11 sheep are needed to make 1 tennis racket.

There are 150 yards (450 feet) of wool yarn in a baseball.

Sheep have poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of hearing.

Sheep are considered grazers and goats are mostly browsers.

Sheep belong to the family Bovidae (hollowed horn), the genus Ovis and the species Ovis Aries.

Estrus (heat) is the period in which ewes are receptive to mating.

Sheep can be born with or without horns (polled).

Normally sheep have two teats and cows have four.

Signs of heat in ewes include rapid tail movement in the presence of the male, nervousness, walking the fence lines, increase vocalization for the ram, decrease appetite and milk production and redden and swollen vulua - not easy to detect.

Sheep have a four chamber stomach that contains fermenting bacteria and protozoan that assist in breaking down their food.

Rams can be quite aggressive to their handlers during the breeding season.

Sheep are very social creatures.

There are very few medications developed for used in sheep.

A ruminant is any hoofed animal that digests its food in two steps: First by eating the raw materials,  and than regurgitating a semi-digested form known as “cud” then eating the cud.

Ruminants include sheep, goats, cattle, deer, camels, llamas, giraffes, bison, buffalos etc.

The top ten states with the largest population of sheep (all sheep and lamb) are Texas (1,100,000), California (68,000), Wyoming (43,000), South Dakota (37,000), Colorado (36,000), Montana (30,000), Utah (26,500), Idaho (26,000), Iowa (25,000) and Oregon
(21,500) according to the NASS, 2005.

Healthy lambs can stand within minutes after birth and are able to move with the herd almost immediately.

Domestic sheep are extremly versitile and exist in a wide variety of habitats worldwide ranging from temperate mountain forests to desert conditions.

The skulls of domesticated sheep differ from those of wild sheep in that the eye socket and brain case are reduced.

Selection for economically important traits has produced domestic sheep with or without wool, horns, and external ears. Coloration ranges from milky white to dark brown and black.

There is considerable diversity among the over 200 distinct breeds of sheep.

Copper is regularly used in the diet in sheep at about 8-11 parts per million. It may be toxic to sheep at 15-20 parts per million.

There is a narrow difference between the amount of copper required and what will be toxic to the animal. A diet should never have copper level above 25 parts per million to be safe for most sheep.

Domestic sheep are extremely hardy animals and can survive on a diet consisting of only cellulose, starch or sugars as an energy source and a nitrogen source which need not be protein.

In general, sheep feed mainly on grasses while in pastures and can be fed a wide variety of hays and oats.

The Navajo-Churro rams can have two, four, six, or more horns. This is because they possess the polycerate gene, which is also found in old heritage breeds like the Jacob Sheep.

They also have the ability to have fused horns

The Jacob sheep is a breed of primitive multihorned sheep, patterned with black and white spots.

Jacobs are grown for their wool, their meat, and their hides, but they make good pets as well.

As of 2009, Jacobs are listed as threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, which means the breed has "fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the US and estimated fewer than 5,000 global population

Sheep can be milked just like cows.

Sheeps' milk is often used to make gourmet cheeses.

Mutton, or the meat of sheep, is another food product for which the animals may be raised.

The fat from sheep also known as tallow, can be used to make both candles and soap.

The tallow is cooked to purify it, and then molded into candles or further prepared into blocks of soap.

Sheep have 2 digits on each foot. The hooves grow like fingernails and need to be trimmed every few months to maintain normal conformation.

Sheep are ruminants. This means that they have four parts to their upper digestive tract (people only have one-the stomach) and they chew their cud.

Sheep can be set up on their rumps for restraint during procedures such as foot trimming and shearing.

For purpose of cleanliness, the tails are surgically shortened (docked) shortly after birth. In some parts of the world, tails are left undocked.

Short tails are less likely to become soiled with manure and are therefore, less likely to promote local infections and fly strike.

There are many different breeds of sheep. They are classified bywhat kind of wool they produce.

Merino and Rambouillet have fine wool. Some sheep have coarse or long wool like Cotswold, Romney, and the Barbados. But most breeds of sheep fall under the category of medium wool.

Examples of sheep in this category include Columbia, Suffolk, Hampshire, Dorset, Southdown, Cheviot and

When sheep receive a haircut, it is called shearing.

The wool that is cut off is washed to get dirt, insects, and straw that may have stuck to the sheeps' fur out. The cleaned wool is then dyed to color it. The wool is combed and spun into yarn

When Woodrow Wilson was President, the First Lady had sheep graze on the White House lawn to keep it neat and well trimmed.

President James Madison wore an inaugural jacket made from the wool of sheep raised on his Virginia farm.

If you see a sheep on its back, you better help it out. A sheep can’t get up from that position. If left on its back too long, it will eventually die.

A one-year old sheep is called a hogget

A two-year old sheep is called a two-tooth.

Sheep only have lower teeth that press against an upper palette.   Some of the oldest traditional recipes come from Greece and date back several thousand years.

The worldwide population of sheep today is over 1 billion, and is considered one of the most valuable of all the domestic animals.

Wild forms of sheep are found in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

According to the USDA, total sheep and lamb inventory in the U.S. in July 2010 was about 6.90 million head.

There are more than 70,000 sheep farms in the U.S., and they produce over 300 million pounds of lamb each year.

In 1838, there were 1.6 million sheep in Vermont and 292,000 people.

The top 5 sheep producing states are Texas, California, Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota.

There are more than 900 different breeds of sheep, 47 breeds and types of sheep in the U.S.
It is said that New Zealand has 3 million people and 60 million sheep.
In 2002, American meat packers produced 222 million pounds of lamb and mutton.

New Zealand has a population of about 3.3 million people and about 46 million sheep. (2000).

Top 5 Sheep Countries: (2000).

• China - 131 million
• Australia - 117 million
• India - 58 million
• Iran - 55 million
• New Zealand 45 1/2 million

In Armenia, a layer of sheep dung in a cave helped protect the world's oldest known shoe.

It's true! Buried in a pot 5,500 years ago as part of some ritual, the leather shoe was tied with laces and filled with grass that probably helped keep its shape.

The same shoe design would go on to be used across Europe for thousands of years.

Lamb is a very ancient food, archaeological evidence suggests that sheep were domesticated about 11,000 years ago.

OK, so some say 10,000 years while other say 12,000 years ago, but if either way is wrong, experts now say that there is positive evidence they were domesticated by 8900 B.C. in Iraq and Romania.

Wolves kill 176 sheep near Victor, greatest loss recorded in Idaho

On August 20th, 2013, it was reported from Idaho Falls, Idaho, that a southeastern Idaho ranch lost 176 sheep as the animals ran in fear from two wolves that chased through a herd of about 2,400 animals south of Victor, Idaho.

Sheepherders for the Siddoway Sheep Co. heard the wolves at about 1 a.m. Saturday, but didn't know the extent of the damage until they saw the sheep piled up on each other at daybreak.

J.C. Siddoway of Terreton says almost all of the sheep died from asphyxiation. About 10 died of bite wounds and one was partially consumed.

Idaho Wildlife Services State Director Todd Grimm says it's the greatest loss by wolves ever recorded in one instance in the state.

Though this is considered the greatest loss of sheep ever, wolves killed 105 sheep on one night about 9 years ago.

Horses - Eight Hoof Care Tips

These hoof care tips will help keep your horse's hooves healthy and strong.

anatomical drawing of horse leg bones
#1: Pick A Day

Yes, pick out your horse's feet.

This may sound pretty basic, but it's the single most important thing you can do for your horse's hooves.

Some folks have a herd and I certainly don't expect that anyone will be picking out every horse they have, but as for my riding horse Captain Jack - well, I try to take a few minutes to pick out my horse's hooves whenever I check him in the morning.

Hook picks are great because they are real easy to use and you get a chance to take early action on many common hoof problems.

Of course, it is very important to pick your horse before each ride, to remove any stones or small objects lodged in his feet before you add your weight to the situation.

For me, since I'm a big believer in "No Hoof, No Horse," it just gives me a minute to check on the condition of his shoes and frog.

After a ride, I have been known to check for objects in his feet before putting him up or turning him back out.

When picking out your horse, thake a few seconds and check for heat and pulse, remove manure, and check for signs of thrush.

Each time you clean your horse's hooves, remove any packed debris and gently clear the crevice of the frog, and scrape any remaining bits of matter off the sole, with the tip of the pick.

You want to be able to see the sole's entire surface. Some folks even finish the job with a stiff brush.

And yes, some hoof picks come with brush attached. If your Hoof Pick is like mine and doesn't, you can buy a brush separately and inexpensively.

#2: Establish What's Normal For Your Horse

While handling your horse's feet to pick them out, establish what is your horse's normal.

Take notice of their temperature when everything's OK and they are at ease, they'll feel very slightly warm.

Take a moment to locate the digital pulse with two fingers pressed against the back of his pastern. You should be interested not so much with the rate of the pulse, but in its strength under normal conditions.

Check the frog, which has about the texture and firmness of a new rubber eraser when it's healthy.

Don't be alarmed, though, if everything else looks OK but the frog appears to be peeling off.

I remember the first time I saw a frog come off. I was a kid and didn't know that most horses shed the frog at least twice a year. And sometimes, some horses do more often than that depending on weather and soil conditions.

Your farrier's regular trimming of the frog may have prevented you from noticing this natural process before.

#3: When picking out the feet, look for signs!

Here are some things to look for:


The first clue to this bacterial condition which is usually caused by prolonged standing in manure, mud, or other wet, filthy conditions, or even by prolonged use of pads, is a foul smell and dark ooze from the cleft of the frog. Later, the frog becomes cheesy in texture.

Although thrush can eventually cause lameness and significant hoof damage, its early stage is simple to treat.

Use an over-the-counter remedy recommended by your farrier or veterinarian - follow directions carefully - and make sure your horse's stall is clean and dry.

If you normally bed with straw, consider a change to much more absorbent shavings.

Some horses, especially those with upright, narrow feet with deep clefts that tend to trap more dirt, debris, and manure, are predisposed to thrush even when well cared for.

If you think your horse has an early case, ask your farrier to check during your next shoeing and ask what he recommends.

Remember, hours of standing in mud may encourage thrush or scratches which is a skin infection in the fetlock area that can cause lameness.

Mud is hard on shoes, too.

Most horse owners already know that suction of deep mud can actually pull a shoe already loosened by alternating wet and dry conditions.

Mud also makes picking up his feet a harder job. If your horse is slow about getting his front feet out of the way, he may end up pulling off the heels of his front shoes because he's stepping on them with his back toes.


If a nail or other object pierces your horse's sole and then falls out, the entry wound will probably be invisible by the time you pick his feet and you'll be unaware of it until it causes an abscess.

But remember, we can't always assume that the nail or whatever has fallen out, and in some cases the nail might still be in place.

If you find it, the book rule is "DON'T PULL IT OUT" - call a vet instead.

It is recommended that we put our horse in his stall, protect the punctured foot, and help the foreign object stay put, with wrapping and duct tape, or with a slip-on medication boot, and call our veterinarian right away.

The book says that an X-ray of the foot can show how far the object has penetrated and which structures are involved.

If you pick your horse's feet out regularly, you'll find the problem within a few hours of its occurrence. Then your veterinarian can remove the object and advise a course of treatment.

OK, that's what the book says. And no, I'm not advising differently to anyone.

But with that said, I've removed sharp objects from horses hooves simply because I was worried that the horse was going to put weight on that hoof and send it in deeper.

That's just me, the book says that I should have called a vet - but I just couldn't wait knowing that I can help my horse a lot sooner than the hour or so it would take for a vet to come out.

This is a real conflict with me because I cannot recommend that anyone do what I do, yet I know the worry and the chances, and that I'll most likely do exactly what the vet will do.

And no, I've never seen a vet X-ray a foot to see how far it went in before they pull a nail. They can usually determine that after the nail is out. Just my experience.


Cracks in the hoof wall happen. They just do. Some cracks are superficial while others can be worse involving sensitive hoof structures.

I've found that without appropriate shoeing, cracks come more often. Again, that's just my experience.

One cause of a crack is a hoof abscess. In that case, it breaks out through the coronet band at the top of the hoof creating a weak spot in the hoof wall that must be attended to as it grows out.

If you notice a crack in your horse's hoof, call your farrier and describe its location and size so he can decide whether it needs attention now or can wait until the next regular shoeing.


If your horse's digital pulse feels stronger than usual and/or his foot is warmer than normal to the touch, the cause could be an abscess inside the hoof from a badly placed shoeing nail, a bruise, or an overlooked sole puncture.

This is where picking comes in. Your routine check can alert you to the problem and get your veterinarian or farrier involved before your horse, which is probably in a pain from the pressure of increased blood flow to the infected area, is in even greater pain.

If you find increased heat and a stronger-than-usual digital pulse in both front feet, and if he's shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot, call your veterinarian immediately.

These are signs of laminitis, an inflammatory condition that can cause severe hoof damage if not treated promptly.

#4: Regular Shoeings

Schedule regular shoeings according to your horse's individual needs if at all possible.

Although six to eight weeks is the average, there's really no standard interval for trimming and shoeing.

If your farrier is correcting for a problem such as under-run heels, a club foot, or flare in the hoof wall, your horse may benefit from a shorter interval.

If everything looks fine but you notice that he begins forging, which is striking the back of a front hoof with the toe of a back hoof which you'll be able to tell when you hear a metallic sound, in the last few days before his next shoeing, ask your farrier whether a shorter schedule might avoid the problem.

Regualr scheduled shoeing help both horse and rider by providing protection, correction, action, and good traction.

Routine therapeutic shoeings reduce discomfort from underlying pathology of the hoof.

Horse shoes, which may be made of various materials including steel, aluminum or plastics, eliminate the contact of the hoof wall with the ground surface, thereby protecting the hoof wall from excess wear.

Horses that have developed unbalanced hooves through deferred hoof maintenance, or less than ideal conformation, can have the hooves reshaped to a certain degree, and then have shoes applied to protect the newly shaped hoof and at least partially correct problems related to poorly shaped hooves.

For my horse Murphy, before I lost him, he was eight weeks like clockwork. Captain Jack seems to grow faster so seven weeks weeks is his standard schedule.

#5: Check his shoes

If your horse is shod, than checking his shoes each time you pick out his feet is not a bad idea.

You'll need to look for:

Risen clinches: The ends of the nails your farrier trimmed and clinched are bent flush with the outer hoof wall at his last shoeing are now sticking out from the hoof.

This is a sign the shoe is loosening, probably because it's been in place for several weeks. If this is the case, your horse can injure himself if the risen clinches on one foot brush the inside of the other leg.

A sprung or shifted shoe: When, instead of sitting flat on your horse's hoof, the shoe is pulled away and perhaps even bent, it's sprung. If it's moved to one side or the other, it's shifted.

In either case, the nails in the problem shoe can press on sensitive hoof structures when he places weight on the foot.

My recommendation is to either remove the shoe, reset the shoe, or call your shoer over for coffee and hit him or her up with a "By the way, Captain jack has a sprung shoe, can you take a look?"

#6: Learn how to remove a shoe

After thinking about it, I can see where some folks wouldn't know how if they never had the need to pull a shoe. Many farriers are glad to teach clients how to do this.

Some folks like myself have my own tools, but many may even have used tools that you can buy inexpensively.

If you can remove a sprung or shifted shoe, you may save your horse unnecessary pain and hoof damage and make life easier for your farrier or veterinarian. Learning to do this is a real good idea.

#7: Help your horse grow the best possible hooves.

Some horses naturally have better hooves than others. Your horse may already be producing the best hoof he's capable of. But if not, than the following steps may enable him to do better:

Diet: It is fairly well known that adding a biotin supplement to his feed will help build stronger hoof walls.

For me, when I first got Murphy back in 1996, his hooves were ugly and cracked.

It took me between 3 to 4 months of supplements and regular trimmings before he had enough wall to hold a shoe. Then 5 to 6 months before I was at a point where I felt comfortable where his hooves were and where I'd tray to maintain them.

Biotin supplements benefited my horse Murphy in a big way when I didn't know what to try and was willing to try almost anything. And yes, even his shoer at the time was amazed at the new hoof growth in a relatively short time.
Exercise: Give him consistent and routine exercise activates the blood to pump better in the hooves. Of course, as with Murphy, working him on good surfaces and not rocky ground helped a great deal.

The object is to increase circulation to your horse's hooves, that's what helps promote growth.

#8: Trailering

Yes, trailering can be tough on a horse. Step ups, or stepping out can be a real chore for them. Because of that, try to protect your horse's hooves during hauling.

Without covering for his heels, he can easily step on the edge of a shoe and pull it partially loose. 

Once that happens, he may end up spending the remainder of the outing standing on the nails of the sprung or shifted shoe. And that's especially true, if you don't know how to pull a shoe.

Another vulnerable area is the coronet band: the rim of tissue at the top of each hoof that generates new hoof-wall growth.

Injury to this area, for instance, if he steps on himself while struggling to keep his balance in a moving trailer, can interrupt hoof growth in the area below the affected spot.

Another area is the heel of the hoof. Injury occurring for the same reason of struggling to keep his balance coming in or out of a trailer can sideline a horse. 

The solution: We can either use old-fashioned shipping bandages and bell boots large enough to cover the bulbs of your horse's heels and the backs of his shoes, or say use over-reach boots like my boy Murphy used to use so he wouldn't clip his heel, or use good quality full-coverage Velcro-fastened shipping boots to reduce the likelihood of these problems.

As said before, no hoof means no horse for us to enjoy. Besides as their owner, we took on the job of doing what we can to take care of them in every way we know how and than some.