Issue 107 | March 2019

Your Monthly Access to the
Top Rated Trail Riding Show in the World,
Best of America by Horseback!
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A Note from Tom Seay
Preparing Your Saddle for Spring
Every winter, usually in late February or early March, we get a few days of warm weather which reminds us of spring. This year will be no different and we use those days to catch up on outside work or repairs. For me, it is a time to spend some time getting my tack and saddles ready for the new riding season. It is a perfect time for you to take advantage of this opportunity.
Leather dries out very slowly over time and we often do not notice the wear until we are in the riding season. It is one of those things that we say to ourselves, we need to fix this or that or re-oil the saddle but never seem to get around to it. The fact is, most of us do not know how to do this. So, here are some tips of how we do it at our home. My recommendations are based on thousands of miles or actual riding and our experience. This works for me and maybe it will help you as well.

Without a doubt, we will get dozens of emails from folks that have a better idea or do not like the way we do this, but this is what works for us. Moreover, it is down to earth, practical applications of leather upkeep.

First, I clean my saddles with saddle soap or a good leather cleaner to remove dirt and grime from use and exposure then I oil them well. 

For oiling saddles, I use a large rubber feed tray or an old bucket to catch excess oil. I place my saddle on a a metal saddle rack or maybe on a two by four board between a couple of saw horses. I then put the bucket or bowl under the saddle in the area I am going to oil. Outside works best because you will spill oil or, in the very least, there will be drips.

I have not found to date a leather oil I can really get excited about other than olive oil or a high grade of vegetable oil. You will be surprised to find that simple vegetable oil is used in preparing most leather. We are just re-applying what was originally used to make the leather. I will take a couple of quarts oil and pour it in the bucket or bowl to use as a place to dip leather bridles, reins, fenders, latigo straps and breast plates.  I take the stirrups off and actually dip the fenders in the oil. I then hang them over the bowl to catch the oil dripping off.  You will be surprised how quickly the oil is absorbed.  It sounds excessive and wasteful, but a quick dip (not soaking) and let it hang works like a charm.

In most cases, you can't see any fresh oil after 15 minutes or so. I follow the same procedure with my bridle and again, let it hang and drip dry. The idea is to get that oil in the places that dry out quickly and wear the most. You just can't get enough oil in those places by hand. Again, just a quick dip completely in the oil and let it hang. The oil will disappear into the leather and any excess will simply drip off.
Now, for me, this is most important: I take a clean spray bottle. You can buy them at Walmart for buck or so. Fill it with clean oil and begin spraying up under the skirting and places you can not dip or apply oil by hand. These are the areas that are not getting any attention over the years and will dry out if not taken care of properly. Again, I spray it and let it soak in.

After the initial application of oil, I then work oil (by hand) to the outside leather of the saddle. These are the areas that you can easily see. I rub it in nicely and then dry it with a cloth. I have never had a problem with residue to clothing.

As a general rule, you will be inspecting your saddle and bridle as you do these things. I usually pay close attention to the cinch and leather ties that secure it. In fact, the reins I used on my bridle for the 3,300 mile Atlantic to Pacific ride, I still use. I bought them in 1995 and kept them well oiled so they are soft to the touch. Holding reins in you hand for day after day for months is significant so I make sure they are soft and I can ride without gloves or concern.

I also oil my saddle bags and horn bags. This is to protect from rain or moisture. I used to have a nice horn bag. Someone "borrowed" it and I could not find one like it again. There are a lot of companies that make saddle bags and horn bags, but they just did not fit my needs perfectly. 
On a trail ride last year in Iowa, I met Bill of Bill's Leather in Donnellson, Iowa, 319-835-5449 (no email or website, just a cowboy that is a master with leather). I told him what I would like to have and he smiled and said that was pretty simple. A week or so later, I received them in the mail. They were perfect and his prices are lower than most commercially stamped out bags. My point is to get what you are pleased with and add to your riding pleasure.

So, take a few minutes, less than an hour or so, but get that tack ready to go. You will find yourself reflecting on past rides and folks you rode with. It adds pleasure to your day to think about these things and pump yourself up for the new riding season. When you finish the saddle/tack care, get yourself a cup of coffee and call an old friend and plan a weekend ride for the spring.

As always, you can contact me directly at my personal e-mail, or call our office at 540-829-9555.

Tom Seay
Join Us at Events Across the Country
Northwest Horse Fair and Expo
Albany, OR - March 22-24

Swing by the Northwest Horse Fair and Expo to listen to a presentation by host Tom Seay! This three day event features breed demonstrations, talks from renowned clinicians, and is now in its 20th year.

Cattle Drive Weekend
Culpeper, VA - April 5-6

Join Tom and Pat Seay at their working cattle farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the first cattle drive weekend of the year. You and your horse will learn to drive cattle with other riders across nearly 300 acres at Andora Farm -- no experience required.

For a limited time only, these dates are available at a reduced price! Call today-- 540-829-9555

Equine Affaire
Columbus, OH - April 11-14

Come to Ohio and be a part of North America's Premier Equine Exposition and Equestrian Gathering, where you can learn from and mingle with many of the foremost trainers, coaches, competitors, judges, and experts in the horse industry. Be sure to check out host Tom Seay's presentation on trail riding and camping.

H Cooper Black Memorial Field & Campgrounds
Cheraw, SC - May 10-12

Meet Tom Seay and the Best of America by Horseback team as they traverse longleaf pine plantations, hardwood forests, and open fields. With over 7,000 acres & 20+ miles of trails, you and your horse will love exploring South Carolina.

Previously owned by radio personality Don Imus and his family, the RFD-TV The Ranch sprawls across over 3,000 acres and is the perfect southwestern getaway. Amenities include trails for horseback riding and walking sport shooting, bass fishing, outdoor games, and a crystal blue pool for cooling off after a long day in the New Mexico sun. There is also a large, family style gathering area in the Hacienda as well as a game room and library.

The Ranch has rodeo arenas and beautifully maintained equine facilities for your own horses, but you can also choose to ride one of the ranch's own horses along the trails. Part of the National Historic Santa Fe Trail runs right through the property.
Overnight accommodations can be made in their Old West Town or guests can spring for a luxurious stay in their gorgeous adobe Hacienda, both pictured below.

Finding the right time to book your ideal stay at RFD-TV The Ranch is easier than ever with several Best of America by Horseback dates in New Mexico available this year. Choose your stay below!

May 18-21
May 23-26
July 20-23
July 25-28
Sept 28-Oct 1
Oct 3-6
Oct 9-12
Reservations should be made with
RFD-TV The Ranch directly.
To book accommodations, simply call or visit
Guests can stay overnight in the Hacienda
The Ranch has its very own Old West Town
Bring your horse to Tom & Pat Seay's home farm in Culpeper, Virginia to learn how to work and drive cattle-- no experience necessary! Enjoy southern style, home-cooked meals. Stalls and electric hook-ups are available. Very few spaces remain on these dates:

April 5-6
April 19-20
May 3-4
May 31-June 1
June 14-15 
September 13-14

Call 540-829-9555 to make a reservation!
Visit Tom & Pat Seay's home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Andora Farm, to brush up your driving skills! Tom Seay will help you learn or sharpen your skills driving a larger rig, backing up and parking, attaching and unhooking the rig, safety practices, and travel tips! Class sizes are small, so spaces are very limited.

April 7, 2019
April 21, 2019
May 5, 2019
November 3, 2019

Call Lisa in our office at 540-829-9555 to reserve your spot today!
Tom & Pat Seay have been hosting team penning events for over 20 years. Riders of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate, or you can bring your friends and family to watch our riders try for the fastest time! Practice is held every Friday night at Andora Farm, April through October (weather permitting).

First practice of the season is March 29th!

Call 540-829-9555 for more information.
Did You Know...
When you Subscribe to our YouTube channel, you'll get notified when new episodes of Best of America by Horseback are uploaded

Host T om Seay will lead riders on a portion of the historic Chisholm Trail as they film a four episode series in Kansas from June 3-8, 2019 , visiting the towns that played a key role along the trail. Riders will begin in Caldwell and finish off the 60 mile ride in Wichita, even driving cattle along a portion of the route! Tom will be joined by singer/songwriter Del Shields and the Best of America by Horseback staff. 

Don't delay- dial 540-829-9555 to reserve your space on the trail
Best of America by Horseback is Proudly Sponsored by
*Less than 20 primitive campsites remain!*

Jul 20-23:   RFD-TV The Ranch - NM

Jul 25-28:   RFD-TV The Ranch - NM

Sept 28-Oct 1:   RFD-TV The Ranch - NM

Oct 3-6:   RFD-TV The Ranch - NM

Oct 9-12:   RFD- TV The Ranch - NM

Nov 14th-16th: S henandoah Valley Equine Expo- VA

Apr 5-6:   Cattle Drive Weekend
A  pr 7: Truck & Trailer Driving Clinic  
Apr 19-20:   Cattle Drive Weekend
A  pr 21: Truck & Trailer Driving Clinic  

May 5: Truck & Trailer Driving Clinic  

Nov 1-2:   Cattle Drive Weekend
Nov 3: Truck & Trailer Driving Clinic  
The Liz Malcolm Award
The Mike Phillips Award
The Aileen Livingston Award
The Liz Malcolm Award is given to someone in the horse world that helps others with compassion and dedication. Liz and her sister, Kathy Baldwin, rode with us on the famous Mexico to Canada Trail Ride. Both of these ladies are extraordinary in so many ways and have done so much for so many people. Liz & Kathy devoted their lives to nursing, and Kathy organized a medical mission to the children in Belize. Their love of training and riding Tennessee Walking Horses is well known. Liz passed away several years ago and we felt, like so many of you, that she and Kathy were truly part of everyone's family. We feel when we announce the winner this year, everyone will say, "Well yes, of course! Liz would be proud."
The Mike Phillips Award is given to modern-day trailblazers. Mike was a trail boss and close friend on the Mexico to Canada Ride. Mike needed heart surgery but rode from old Mexico with us along the Rio Grande and continued every inch for over 1,000 miles until he had to go have his surgery. A friend without boundaries to me and so many others, he never stopped wanting to care for all around him and to help people in any way. He and his devoted wife, Wanda, spent many years with us traveling until he passed away several years ago. He helped Back Country Horsemen, worked the trails, and his love of horses and trail riding was endless. He overcame health issues to help all of us. This year's award will go to someone that Mike would have loved to spend countless hours with. The person we will name has done so much for all of us, and you will enjoy learning about that person.
The Aileen Livingston Award is to honor one of the finest people we have ever known. We had the pleasure years ago to meet John Wayne and to spend a day with Roy Rogers, but it is Aileen Livingston that I tell people is my most inspiring hero. Her love of horses and trail riding is inspiring, and her compassion for life and those around her, even in the face of health issues, has no boundaries. Despite a dozen reasons not to go, she rode across the country with us, hopping and skipping from place to place, all the way to California. Aileen recently passed away in February of 2019.
To read about this year's winners, visit

Submit your nominations for the Annual
Best of America by Horseback Awards

Please include the nominee's name and the reason you think they should receive one of the three awards, including their services to their community &/or the horse world.
Laminitis School for the Faint of Heart
by Carole Herder
If your horse contracts Laminitis , you have been invited to the school of horse health which is not for the faint of heart. This is a stressful and emotional journey which requires investigation and knowledge to cure. Yes, it is a serious disease and can indeed be fatal. Laminitis can also be cured, never to appear again. An abundance of information exists on the internet, explaining what may initiate an attack. You can simply search to find the extensive listings. You may have left the feed room door open - your horse has gorged on the entire barrel of grain and now has a serious concentration of starchy sugar in his gut. Perhaps your ‘easy keeper’ has stuffed himself with too much fresh grass. Ponies and minis, especially, may develop Grass Founder, resulting in insulin resistant problems. Certain medications, wormers, antibiotics, vaccinations, infections, injuries, birthing and various illnesses can activate a bout of laminitis. Stress can cause it and concussive forces may activate it as well. 
Laminitis is Like Ripping Velcro

Laminitis, simply put, is like a breakdown of interlacing fingers, but the ‘fingers’ are made of tissue (called lamellae) that attach the bone to the hoof wall. It can be compared to a Velcro attachment which, instead of synthetic material, is made of live tissue. You can imagine that living matter, ripping apart, can be very painful. When the strength and quality of lamellae fails, these tissues are compromised; the bone may tear away from the hoof wall. The toe of the coffin bone could even plunge through the sole of the hoof, delivering merciless agony.  
There are various signs to indicating symptoms of laminitis, such as shifting weight from one foot to another, appearing sore, frequently lying down, protuberances in the hoof, irregular appearance, reluctance to move, unwillingness, rocking back and forth, sweating, increased heartrate, and even staggering. If you suspect a problem, you should consult a veterinarian immediately. 

Immediate Action Plan

The instant you have a diagnosis of laminitis, you must act to make your horse more comfortable. Provide a soft bed for him to lie in and if he prefers to remain standing, place his hoofs in Cavallo Boots with padded insoles. Cavallo offers a range of padding depending on the severity. It may be appropriate to provide more cushion at the beginning and then maintain the natural counter-effect of a somewhat harder insole to help stimulate blood flow. You could even tape foam to his feet while you are waiting for your boots to arrive. Ice therapy treatment performed in a timely manner will improve the situation dramatically. Unfortunately, this window of opportunity is only about 48 hours, so you must move quickly.
Make your patient feel well by providing the comfort of relaxed companionship, plenty of fresh water and hay that has been soaked to remove the sugars. Offer free choice salt and minerals of the highest absorptive quality to increase immunity, hoof health and the healing process. Above all, if you have identified the cause of the attack, remove it. When appropriate, have your horse tested for hormone levels, particularly insulin, so that you can adapt his diet accordingly.

Microbiome Standing Guard
Everything your horse ingests influences his microbiome. The gut acts as a guard for the immune system, being constantly exposed to new microbes, bugs, germs and bacteria that come from the food and water. The process begins in the stomach and small intestine with dizzying amounts of bacteria colonizing the upper intestinal tract. This commotion of sugars and starch produce lactate and volatile fatty acids, which are then absorbed by the horse and used for energy or to produce fats or glucose in the liver. This fermentation process reduces the blood sugars and amounts of enzymes required to digest. The cycle results with more microorganisms releasing into intestinal fluid to help cultivate good bacteria. The same activities continue with even more bacteria in the colon, that then provide some resistance to viruses or bacteria which may be harmful. 

Your horse is a hindgut fermenter , which is a good thing because it means the flora of the hindgut can process, for a second time, the massive amounts of fibre he ingests. But this leaves horses vulnerable to failure of digesting large amounts of sugars. Gut bacteria are essentially and inextricably connected to metabolism, immune function, vitamin and mineral absorption, central nervous system function and even mental health. The microbiome is at the forefront of progressive studies regarding the complete health for both our horses and ourselves. 

Support the Entire System
The important thing to note is that your horse’s body is an entire system. It is a field of potentiality, always changing; getting stronger or weaker depending on several factors. Electrons, atoms and molecules combine to create a chemical, which bonds to share a field of information. This information accumulates to form cells, which then form tissues that work together and organize into organs to develop bodily systems. The cardiovascular system, digestive, immune, bio-mechanical, nervous and reproductive systems are the organized matter of your horse’s body. These systems do not function in isolation. Here’s an example: too much acidic activity (caused by undigested material in the hindgut) annihilates the bacteria that digest fibre. Toxins are released in the gut as this bacterium die. The poisons enter the blood stream through the gut wall and interrupt proper blood circulation, which can then cause laminitis in the feet. 

Reverse Wedge and Traditional Treatments.
We generally treat laminitis as a hoof problem. Some suggest hoof supplements, nerve blocks, bar shoes, frog support and corrective shoeing such as lowering the heel and then applying wedge pads. It seems counter-intuitive to lower and then raise the heel, but these are some of the conventional treatments used. Even if you were going to wedge the hoof in one direction, from the physical biomechanical perspective, it would not be a back wedge, but rather a toe or reverse wedge, which would lever the coffin bone up at the front and back into the wall. Any wedging should be considered temporary, in compliance with corresponding percentages shown on radiographs and monitored regularly. Some recommend exercise to prevent obesity, while others advocate box stall rest and confinement. Feed restriction is also a prescription, but there are many considerations in treatment. Horses can get uncomfortable when food is not available and stress levels elevate.

Timing is important in treatment, and so is a true understanding of the nature of the horse. Misperceived cures and treatment can increase levels of anxiety, thereby aggravating the distressing state of affairs even further. Large doses of vitamin C, turmeric supplements and even whole milk cream added to the feed have been touted as cures. There are countless opinions. It can be simple or very complex and that is the way of many things, including laminitis. Seek help, seek knowledge and develop an understanding of a horse’s nature. Make prevention the greatest asset in your toolkit.
Bayron Knight

What a joy it was for the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch to host Tom Seay and the rest of the Best of America by Horseback crew in February. It turned out to be so much more than just the filming of a show. We got the opportunity to really meet
Tom and the crew and get to know them on a personal level. They are really wonderful people and I’d like to share with you all why they came to our ranch.

Here at the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch we are starting a horse program for the girls. We feel like this will be a good teaching point for responsibility, work ethic, learning trust, and life lessons (it’s also just plain fun!). As I was wondering how I
was going to start and fund this program without it coming out of the ranch budget I started thinking how wonderful it would be to get a Best of America by Horseback ride in our area to help put the word out and bring in some financial support. I put in a call to Tom Seay and prayed for a return call soon.
That return call came a few weeks later and it packed a big surprise. After about an hour on the phone with Tom and his wife Pat explaining what I was trying to do and how I needed some help getting it done my biggest prayers were answered. Not only did Tom and Pat (she’s really the boss) agree to give us a ride on November 8-10, 2019 but they also decided to film a show in February to put the word out on what our needs are to help build our horse program. What a great blessing God has provided from a great group of people! We have completed the filming of the show about our wonderful ranch and I can’t wait for it to air!
Looking back on those 3 days of filming I can think of many happy moments and stories shared. I think the one thing I enjoyed most was sitting at the table with the crew each morning and eating breakfast. We were able to laugh together, cry together, and just enjoy the building of a great friendship. I’ll never forget the positive experience I had with Tom and the group and I can’t wait to build more memories and a closer friendship with them in the near future. Thanks Guys!

Happy Trails!

Bayron R Knight
Tallapoosa County Sherriff’s Girls Ranch – Horse Program Volunteer
Have a great tale from the trail you want to tell?

Send in your favorite trail riding memory riding with Tom Seay and the Best of America by Horseback family, or regale us with an adventure you took all on your own.

Please include:
  • Your name(s)
  • State or province/country
  • Where you rode
  • Favorite part of the ride/funny story/whatever made it memorable for you
  • A photo or two from the ride
This Month's Giveaway Winners!
Joan Myers
is the March 2019 Winner of
one bottle of
Stephanie Snyder
is the March 2019 Winner of
one pair of Trek Hoof Boots from
Just Announced - New Rides for 2020!
Whinny Work
Wagram, North Carolina
April 24-26, 2020

Join Best of America by Horseback on this ride benefiting Horses for Hope, a non-profit organization that uses horses to help people with disabilities

Panther Creek
Trailrides & Campground
Tuscumbia, Missouri
June 12-14, 2020

Experience more than 100 miles of trails on this longhorn cattle ranch in the heart of Missouri

State Park
Osage City, Kansas
June 19-21, 2020

Enjoy riding through nearly 1,700 acres of woodlands & tallgrass prairie with access to Melvern Lake!

Mackinac Island, Michigan
June 26-28, 2020

Riders can join Tom Seay as he revisits this one-of-a-kind location in the Great Lakes

To book your reservation for any of these rides, call our office
Watch Your Favorite Trail Riding TV Show
Two Chances to Watch!
Episodes air Tuesdays & Thursdays on RFD-TV
Look for BOABH
all week long!
Episodes air
Monday-Friday on
The Cowboy Channel

You can always watch the latest episodes
or re-watch your favorite destinations
from our website or on our YouTube channel!
Upcoming Episodes on RFD-TV
  • March 19 - Douthat State Park - VA
  • March 21 - Spirit of Suwannee Music Park - FL - NEW!
  • March 26 - Spirit of Suwannee Music Park - FL - NEW!
  • March 28 - Priefert: The Family & The Legacy
  • April 2 - Priefert: The Family & The Legacy
  • April 4 - The Bolo Club - TN
  • April 9 - The Bolo Club - TN
  • A small equine campground in TN with beautiful mountain trails
  • April 11 - A Visit with Chief David Bald Eagle
  • April 16 - A Visit with Chief David Bald Eagle
  • April 18 - Driving Cattle with Tom Seay
  • April 23 - Driving Cattle with Tom Seay
  • April 25 - Broxton Bridge Plantation - SC - NEW!
  • April 30 - Broxton Bridge Plantation - SC - NEW!