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  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
  • All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
  • Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
  • All About Critters

    Take a look at what it means to have ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and more. Read More
  • All About Reptiles

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
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  • Fencing Solutions to Keep Dogs Contained

    If you have a dog, you know how difficult it can be to keep them on your property. Sometimes dogs just want to escape the confines of their yard, but it's our responsibility as guardians to ensure our pets are within our control at all times - even those times we're not physically with them. Fences make for good neighbors, and they make much safer environments for pets. Here are five ways you can fence your yard and the costs, the benefits and the dangers of each.

    The type of fencing you ultimately select should be based on your geographical region, your HOA guidelines (if you have them), and the type of dog(s) you are containing. You'll also need to consider your weather. If you're in an area with lots of weather, you'll want to consider installing a more durable type of fencing. If you live in an area with snow, the snow can pile up near the gates and provide a near perfect way for your pets to escape. But, if you have a dog that is regularly escaping from your yard, consider reading this article or implementing some of these practical tips below:

    Read More
  • 10 Possible Reasons Your Cat Is Behaving Badly

    If your healthy cat is suddenly peeing on your bed or spraying in your office, if he's taken to running around at strange hours of the night, or mewing inconsolably all night, there are several possible explanations. Of course, you must always take them in for a vet check to eliminate any possible health conditions like blockages or disease. But health problems have been eliminated and your cat is still acting out inappropriately, here are some possible explanations.

    Room Deodorizers

    Everyone has probably used a room deodorizer in their home, particularly if they have cats. One of the most common places to put diffusers and other such items are near the litter-box. Avoid doing this! It can cause undue stress on  your cats and even make it difficult for them to use the litter box.

    Solve This: Instead of placing a deodorizer or diffuser near your cat's box, try one of the helpful Litter Box Deodorizers on the market. You can also tape live charcoal on the side or the bottom of the box or sprinkle the box with baking soda prior to putting cat litter inside.

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  • Winter Caretaking of Feral Cats

    We have long been supporters of feral cats and advocate the use of Trap, Neuter & Release (TNR) as a form of managing feral cat colonies. Caretakers who support these animals are a special breed as they are able to care for an animal that is unable to care back – as far as we’re concerned, that’s the truest type of love.

    It makes us very happy when we can introduce new products designed specifically to keep feral cats safe and warm, while making the caretakers job a little bit easier. Today I want to show off a specialty feral cat house and a feral cat feeder that is available for purchase. While it is entirely possible to make a feral cat shelter and feeding platform, we know that many people would prefer to buy one ready-made and Feline Furniture is our “go to” group for these products.

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  • Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

    No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels and deer, we live in a world with a rapidly increasing human population –  which means we are continually infringing on wildlife. The more we infringe on their territory, take their water supply and diminish their prey, the more they will be forced to enter our domestic havens. And whether you like it or not, coyotes are a very important part of nature’s balance.

    The one question we get most frequently is how to deal with wild animals that enter our yards threaten our dogs and cats. We are very strong believers in maintaining a symbiotic relationship with nature, so it’s important to us that we raise awareness on the issue. This week, we are discussing how you can keep your pets safe from coyotes and we’re including a whole section on how to do this in step-by-step format...

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  • Dog Etiquette: Leashes

    Recently, we posted on Facebook that we were out walking our dogs and experienced two small, off-leash dogs aggressively running to our much larger, leashed dogs. My dogs were both on-leash and controlled, but I was still annoyed. After posting my experience, I received a lot of responses - some of which were a bit negative due to the fact that one of my dogs looks like a pit bull (apparently I shouldn't be walking him?). Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter if my dogs are pit bulls or chihuahuas or golden retrievers. In fact, I could have been walking alone, or riding a horse, or walking my cat. The fact is, dogs of any size should never run up on another person or animal without being invited to do so. It’s a common courtesy that could save your dog’s life.

    Here are just a few reasons why...

    Read More
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5 Questions to Ask Before Getting Chickens

There is a lot of interest in chicken keeping these days. With the cost of food skyrocketing, chickens can be Read More

Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels Read More

5 Ways to Help Birds in Winter on #NationalBirdDay

January 5 is officially National Bird Day and we're looking at ways that we can help our feathered friends during Read More

Getting Old Sucks - Cognitive Dysfuntion in Dogs (CCD)

As most of you know, we have a dog who has just turned 15 years old. He’s half blind, almost Read More

Teaching Children to Approach Horses

I have a problem with parents who just allow their kids just run up to strange animals. In fact today, Read More

Tapeworms are no problem with #BayerExpertCare for Cats

We recently took in a stray cat that, quite honestly, had no business being out on the streets. This is Read More
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Fate of NahguaFate of NahguaI get interesting letters from people asking about the relationship between horse racing and the show world. When our farm branched into racing, a lot of our friends asked, why? They couldn’t see why we would “abandon” the show world for something they flat-out didn’t understand or appreciate. Looking back, I have to smile because it turned out that we didn’t abandon anything. We just grew.

Like an increasing number of breeders entering the racing industry, we expanded our horizons. Let’s take a closer look at that question and those horizons.

Horse shows, like most shows for purebred livestock, started out as a chance for breeders to compare their stock and evaluate the progress of their breeding, nutritional and training programs. And horse racing has always been right in there.

 According to author Margaret E. Derry, in her book Bred For Perfection, animal breeding is an ancient occupation dating back at least as far as fourteen thousand years. The impact of purebred animals on our agricultural economy—and other areas of our culture—is undisputed. While they may not have started as such, today, the exhibition of purebred horses and dogs has been elevated to international stature. Who, for example, hasn’t seen the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on TV as it is broadcast each year from Madison Square Garden in New York City? Who hasn’t seen the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or the Belmont Stakes? Anyone who has ever been to Crufts in England, the Salon du Cheval in Paris or the national Arabian horse show in Scottsdale can not walk away without being impressed by how far the world of purebred animals has come. Or, convinced that glamour doesn’t only belong to movie stars and singers. OK, you’ve just given us examples of glamorous races and shows, you say. Why are you telling us that?

I’m pointing out how big our sporting world is, and how much is available to those of us making champions.

Some of the most successful people in racing have come from the show world. What secrets did they learn along the way? To find that out, you’d have to ask the many Arabian horse trainers succeeding on the track and, from there, you’d have to ask people like Neal and Ginny Ehrhart of Keystone Driving Force, who are among the top winners in Harness racing. After Neal and Ginny, you’d go on and ask people like Jack and Mary Butler, who were busy showing Siberian Huskies in New England about fifteen or so years ago, but have some of the most successful racing Greyhounds in the business today. Or ask Jan Troxell, another Greyhound trainer, who to this day still raises and shows German Shepherds from her racing farm in Oklahoma. The list goes on. Maybe what these successful breeders and trainers discovered is that both disciplines—showing and racing—go hand in hand. Maybe they see the world of champions from a wider scope and in a brighter light than their competitors do. And maybe that’s an advantage.

A recent conversation with Greyhound breeder/trainer (and former Quarter Horse jockey) Kevin Gresham, from his farm in Kansas puts it this way.

“Years ago,” he says, “Back when I was ridin’, you’d have horses that did all kinds of crazy stuff. Some of them horses could really get to carryin’ on and a guy could get hurt. Well, there was this one trainer who did a lot of winning. And I mean a lot. I always liked ridin’ his horses ’cause they would just, you know, be real calm and keep their mind on business. Well, what this guy said was, the best racehorses are the ones who are trained the most.”

Now, that’s a very interesting statement and a rather broad one. But, Kevin has a broad base of experience. Besides his horses, he also has a few show dogs. What he’s really know for, though, is his success raising and training some of the most expensive, winning Greyhounds in the sport. Greyhounds raised or trained by Kevin sell for tens of thousands of dollars and they earn even more. So, it should come as no surprise that Kevin Gresham counts among his clients some of the most well known owners in the game and he knows what he’s talking about.

Listen again to what he said: “The ones who are trained the most.”

Hearing that statement is one thing. But, understanding it and putting it into practice is a whole different matter. What it boils down to is this: Kevin is talking about “cross-training.” He’s saying the racehorse with the most diversified experience is the horse least likely to be surprised, distracted or worried about anything that happens before or during the race. That horse will have less to think about and can pay more attention to matters at hand. And that’s the kind of difference that makes a champion.

We in racing believe in winners. Whether we are fans, owners or somewhere in between, all of us play a role in the making of champions and many racing athletes have crossed successfully from one arena to the other. Racehorses have proven themselves in dressage, driving, hunter/jumper classes, western pleasure and halter. Likewise, racing Greyhounds have gone on to win ribbons in the show ring as well. Rare, maybe, but real nonetheless.

Racing—whether it be horses, dogs or pigeons—instills something in us that we can’t get anywhere else and it keeps that “something” alive. It’s all about heart. It’s about passion and desire. And it reminds us how powerful and exciting we, ourselves, can be.

At the racetrack, played out before our very eyes, we see enacted a time-honored ritual that touches a chord in all of us. It’s no accident that it’s called a performance. We see racehorses from across the country competing to prove which is fastest, which stable is best, which trainer the wisest and which owner the most savvy.

In a society growing ever more soft, where schools and companies and towns seem to be falling into a political correctness that makes our lives more boring at every turn, we in racing have the “real” first turn to look forward to. Racing fans know the American Dream because we re-enact it every day. Unfolding before us on the track, we portray the promise that if you look straight ahead and give your all, you will get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. Fast or slow, sooner or later, you will cross the finish line.

Racing is about the individual, not about a team you hide behind. Racing is about you, alone out there, against all odds. They don’t teach you that kind of self-confidence in high school, but our sport of racing does. Take it to heart and you will always know—no matter how long you live or what you do—that you gave your best. And if you reach the winner’s circle the world knows it, too.

Read more stories about horses:

rhevener
Author: rhevener
About the Author
Author/Artist RON HEVENER specializes in animals and the romantic, adventurous people who love them. An accomplished artist who started by selling handmade souvenirs and telling stories to tourists at Pennsylvania Dutch farmers' markets, Mr. Hevener's studio is now an official tourist attraction and his collectible figurines and the prints from his novels are bought and traded throughout the world. His original paintings and sculptures are sold in galleries, displayed in museums and can be found in many private collections. Mr. Hevener is a regular contributor to many publications. Visit his website to learn more.

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