Issue 117 | February & March 2020
A Note From Tom Seay
One of the most frequent questions asked at various events and trade shows concerns tips on trail riding for the ride itself. In upcoming articles, we will offer suggestions on picking the right location or ride to participate in, but this article will note some common practices we follow. Some of the tips may sound unusual but if you think about it, these tips might help you to better enjoy your riding experience.

After many thousands of miles ridden, I have learned (often by trial and error) some routines that involve saddling up. This is what I call my 'saddle pad secret'. First, have you ever had a small grain of sand in your shoe? Even if it is hard to find and see, it drives you crazy. We wonder how such a small bit of nothing can make it uncomfortable to walk. This tip involves that concept and your saddle pad. Just before I saddle up and after I brush my horse down, I turn over my saddle pad so the bottom side that is usually against the horse is facing up. I truly close my eyes and run my hand over the saddle pad. Almost every time, you will find a small bit of sediment, a small ball of cloth material, or a piece of hay. You do not notice it by simply looking, but with your eyes closed your fingers will feel it and you can remove it. Imagine the aggravation of that bit of sand in your shoe and realize your horse is feeling the same thing under that saddle pad. It can turn a perfect day into one with an uncomfortable horse. Give it a try and you will certainly improve your next ride and the comfort of your horse.

We may not think about it, but a longer than normal lead line can make such a difference in your next trail ride. Your lead line is not just for you and your horse. It needs to be longer so that when you find yourself in a situation of having to lead another horse with or without a rider, you have the space to keep that horse from being pulled up on the rear of your horse and causing problems. I have had to use a longer lead rope as spare reins and a short one just does not work. When you stop for a lunch break, trying to tie a short lead line around a large tree can leave your horse in a very uncomfortable position and unable to move. Finally, that extra long lead line allows you to let your horse graze during a break. Again, a short rope just does not work for this, so have a rope made or buy a longer rope to make your next ride safer and comfortable.

On any given day for a trail ride or even just riding around the farm, I take a few moments to set out the water bucket and my hay bag or grain tray full and ready for my horse to drink and eat on the return of the ride. It only takes a few moments but two things happen: First, you may be tired or need a break on the return and your horse is already taken care of. Second, the horse sees and knows this and looks forward to the return of the ride. I do not advertise the fact that I also put grain on my trailer stall with the trailer door open during a ride and at night. If the horse gets loose, the first place he goes is on the trailer! We spend a great deal of time getting ready for a ride, but we all could improve being prepared for events and chores after the ride.

One more secret: Despite having ridden with thousands of people over the years and hundreds of events, I still saddle up for a ride earlier to avoid being rushed and then look for Mr. and Mrs. Perfect. They are the couple of riders that are saddled early, often dressed similar and sitting on their dead-broke horses under a shade tree waiting for the ride. These are the folks we want to ride near as close as possible on the trail ride. Forget the guy (and usually it is a guy) that has that new 2 year old stallion he wants to "try out" on the trail. Forget riding near someone or a group drinking. Ride next to Mr. and Mrs. Perfect. Their horses are calm, being close to them lessens the chance of your horse being startled or spooked. Chances are they have ridden the trail before and know interesting information about the trail or the area you are riding. For sure, they are always great people to become friends with, not just for this ride, but maybe for a lifetime. 

This last suggestion for this article is a bit misleading, but carry some red tape in your horn bag or saddle bag. Your horse may be a lot like mine and never kicks, but to keep some idiot from riding up on you or trying to pass in a narrow or awkward place, put that red ribbon on your horse's tail. Even though you and I know your horse will probably not kick, the rider with zero trail etiquette does not know this and will ride far away from your horse. It is a great extra safety measure that may make your ride a lot safer and more comfortable.
If I can help you in any way, write me at my personal email address and I will do anything I can for you at anytime. My email is .

Tom Seay
Trail Rides & Events
The Best of America by Horseback crew is always on the move. Here are some of the spots across the country where you can come along for filmed trail rides, horse events, and expos, including events at Tom & Pat Seay's home, Andora Farm. All reservations are made by phone at 540-829-9555
Just Announced!
Join Best of America by Horseback for a fall colors ride with BCHA-McClellan at a brand new riding location with 1,000 acres to explore near Anniston, Alabama! These trails are situated on Old Camp McClellan, a former Army post turned recreational area now known as the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge.This ride will be filmed for television.

Call 540-829-9555 to reserve your spot.
Cattle Drives at Andora Farm
Daniel Boone Days
Join us in Culpeper, Virginia!
Andora Farm will be hosting their 4th Annual Daniel Boone Days over the weekend of Sept 19th-20th. Along with this event, Andora Farm will also be a part of the 23rd Annual Culpeper Harvest Days/Farm Tours. Andora Farm will be among numerous farms that will be visited by at least 2,000 visitors over the weekend.
Daniel Boone Days will host a variety of vendors with crafts such as basket weaving, soap making, old time Blacksmith forging and so much more. 
New this year: Apple Pie baking contest! Bring your best pie and compete for our First Place prize. All are welcome to watch the judges taste the pies and declare a winner. If you wish to participate in baking an Apple Pie for the contest, please let Karen know at  for details.
Be sure to mark your calendar and join Tom and Pat Seay of BOABH at Andora Farm for this exciting event.
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM
by Nancy Spoolstra, DVM

Have you ever seen the Facebook post from the “Save the Possums” group, describing how valuable opossums can be? For instance, the article touts the fact that opossums eat many insects. Would you like fewer ticks around your barn? Feed an opossum! The trouble is, you may already be feeding your barn guest if you leave cat food out for your legitimate residents. Even more ominously, you might be increasing your horses’ risk of contracting Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, or EPM.
I currently live in a barndominium, where my house and barn share the same roof. My horses’ shelter is an overhang off the back of the barn. Therefore, I don’t have to rely upon my stalls for their shelter. In the past, the stall doors had to remain open. That scenario allowed wildlife access to my barn. More than once, I found “possum poop” on my square hay bales. Additionally, I went through a lot of cat food above and beyond what my felines ate.

I spent the summers of 2013 and 2014 living in Estes Park, Colorado. I had two horses and a mini at the time. Kadeen, my grey Arabian, and Java, a Quarter horse, were my two riding buddies. One day, at the end of a “normal” mountain ride, Java simply collapsed with my friend on board. We were about a mile from the trailer, but thankfully, in an area where I could bring the trailer to Java. We met up with the local equine vet. A massive series of tests ensued, with no certain diagnosis. I hauled Java back to Kansas, but not before installing a camera in the trailer. I had no idea if he would be able to handle the trip.

Ultimately, he was diagnosed with EPM, although that is a difficult diagnosis to confirm. In a subsequent blog, I will describe Java’s outcome, but first, what is EPM?

The cause of EPM
A protozoan parasite causes EPM. There are two variations of the protozoan, although one is more often implicated in the disease. This parasite falls into the same class as Toxoplasmosis, the protozoa that can be shed by cats. Toxoplasmosis can create serious issues in pregnant women. Thus, doctors often warn moms-to-be to avoid cleaning the kitty litter box.

The infective stage of the parasite is called a sporocyst. It is shed in the opossum’s feces. But here’s the thing… some horses can ingest the sporocyst and develop an adequate immune response before the organism gets the upper hand. Those horses appear to be able to resist the infection. Alternatively, other horses, especially those under additional stress, cannot keep the organism in check. These horses will eventually develop symptoms, although it can sometimes be months or years before signs develop.

Symptoms of EPM
The sporocysts migrate into the nervous system where they wreak their havoc. Symptoms are related to where the sporocysts land. Typically, symptoms are asymmetrical, meaning the signs of disease are more prominent on one side of the horse. Unfortunately, EPM is often called “The Great Impostor” because symptoms can mimic many other diseases.

The brain, brainstem, and spinal cord comprise the nervous system. Spinal cord involvement might create a horse lame in one leg. Brain and brainstem involvement looks more frightening and might result in a horse that is wobbly or unable to stand. A horse might have difficulty swallowing or show evidence of facial paralysis. Due to the lack of nerve function, muscle atrophy occurs, resulting in significantly decreased muscle mass. The muscles of the topline and the large muscles of the hindquarters are most often affected. Additionally, sensory loss might occur. This video shows a horse with ataxia, which means loss of total control of body movements.

The symptoms vary widely and are dependent on several factors. These include the location of the protozoan, the number of organisms involved, the time between infection and treatment, and the overall stress level of the horse.

In next week’s blog, I will describe treatment options. Furthermore, I will tell you about a DVM/Ph.D. researcher who has her own theories about EPM. It was that vet that I turned to when Java became ill. I opted to follow her approach, and my horse got better. I did receive grief from my colleagues about not using the (not so) tried-and-true FDA approved approach. But more on that later…

Read more on Nancy's blog.
Terri and Heather on the Chisholm Trail, 2019
BOABH Member Spotlight: 
Terri Hobmeier 
Born and raised in Southern California, I’ve always enjoyed the great outdoors and traveled every summer to places most wish they could visit. Always wanting to live the American Dream, owning land, and having horses in my back yard, I joined a group called California Rangers when I was 13, the perfect start for people who don’t have their own horse.

I got my first horse when I was 17. I paid $100 for the horse, halter, lead rope, and saddle pad. Using books and advice, I trained it myself. I later bought another, Midnight, that would become the soul mate of my youth.
Midnight and I joined Equestrian Trails Inc. where we met many wonderful people. Twice I traveled from Ridgecrest, CA to Death Valley via horseback with the group. It was a week-long ride, 10-13 hours per day. Rain or shine, supplied with only food and drink for horses and riders, we had to ride to make it to the support vehicle every night.
Having a law enforcement ranger as a father, we rode back-country patrols together in Yellowstone and Kings Canyon National Parks. We also rode the Arizona Posse Ride from Tucson to Tombstone following the trail the Earps rode.
Years later I stumbled upon Best of America by Horseback’s web site and decided to join them on their Tombstone ride. This time my husband and I rode as my father had passed away many years prior. It was a trip down memory lane while making new memories and friends.
Somewhere between riding with my dad in the National Parks and working, I met my husband Joe while he was stationed at Port Hueneme, CA. Our second date was a test of sorts to see if he was going to be compatible with my lifestyle. I put him on my dad’s horse, nicknamed Psycho Cisco, and went on a group ride in the Big Bear mountains. He managed to stay on the whole ride, and since he had a truck, I decided to keep him around. We got married and began a life that would consist of horse rides when he was home on leave, and when he was away, the kids and I survived work and school.
After retiring from military service, Joe took a local position. Because he was home more, he needed a horse. Joe and I both bought Tennessee Walking horses and drove to Louisiana to get them. My horse Moonlight fits my current style of slow and steady. Joe recently got a new horse for Christmas: a Mustang from the Reno area. He will be riding with me and BOABH at the V6 Ranch, the Work Family Ranch, and the second part of the Chisholm Trail.

A year after getting married, our daughter Heather came into our lives. With most of her life spent in the saddle, she grew to love horses and the great outdoors. Her first horse was a mustang from BLM, and her two current horses are off-the-track thoroughbreds. When she was six years old, she joined Pony Club and learned to ride English. She has competed twice at the Retired Race Horse Project, RRP, in Lexington, KY, and she is currently retraining off-the-track thoroughbreds and finding forever homes for them. She has been on the Quincy ride, Chisholm Trail Ride with her forever horse from the 2015 RRP, and will be riding with us at the V6 Ranch and the second part of the Chisholm Trail Ride in September. She is studying to become a vet and hopes that one day she will also have a home with her horses in her backyard.
Our son Jack got his first horse when he was four years old, a miniature horse delivered by Santa on Christmas Day. The teachers and kids at school called our son “Cowboy Jack.” Jack attended Wild Bill’s High Adventure Camp located just outside of Yellowstone and earned his Eagle Scout prior to graduating high school. He is now in his final year of college and will soon have a degree in aeronautical engineering and his commercial pilot’s license. He continues to ride and can be seen wearing cowboy boots and a hat.
The whole family relishes spending time with Tom and Pat, listening to Tom’s amazing adventures and riding with them in different parts of the United States. We hope to meet up with some of you and share stories around a campfire while roasting marshmallows.
Happy Trails,
Terri, Joe, Heather, and Jack
Priefert Horse Walkers
Everybody knows a well-conditioned horse performs better, behaves better, and is less prone to injury. However, keeping even a small group of horses well-conditioned is a full time job. With today’s busy schedules, it's hard to find the time to give your horses the exercise they need daily and hiring someone to do so is costly and risky. Not to mention that finding someone to exercise your horses without teaching them bad habits can be a challenge in itself. That's why a good horse walker is the safest, most affordable, and practical solution.

Priefert horse walkers are like no other on the market. Our walkers are virtually maintenance free, safe, attractive, durable and offer more options and benefits than any other walker, and all for a fraction of the cost hiring someone to help keep your horses fit. Hundreds of the top equine professionals around the world and in every equine discipline choose our horse walkers because the only thing more reliable than a Priefert Walker is the company that stands behind it.
A Singing Cowboy Lives His Music, Part 1
by Del Shields,
BOABH Guest Co-Host, Poet & Western Singer/Songwriter
Editor’s Note: Del appears on many Best of America by Horseback episodes performing his original cowboy music. With years of rodeo bareback riding experience, Del sings the ballads of the cowboy life with authenticity. A farrier by trade, ranching is branded into his heart and soul and spills out through his music and poetry.
Music. It takes us places we have never been. It carries us back to familiar scenes, of memories that have shaped our lives with common experiences we share with so many around us. Some have made it their life and their living. Others have used it to pass the time, soothe the soul or energize the party.  Music is a constant in our lives.

Music has always been a part of my life. My mother and my dad each had nine siblings, a majority of whom could play an instrument and sing. While I was busy riding a stick horse and swinging a rope, I did so to the tunes of Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey, and so many more of our music heroes.

I got my first guitar, a Starburst colored Greco, for my ninth birthday. I loved that guitar and over the years spent many hours working on three chord songs.

The years have passed and I have been blessed to chase the dream of playing music and sharing the passion rooted in the shade tree concerts of childhood memories. Today I am proud of the fact that I have five full length recorded CDs that trail the journey of my musical path.

My first CD,  A Little Bit Western , was recorded near Branson Mo, with Eli Barsi and John Cunningham as producers. It contains about half original music I wrote in my early years and half traditional songs of those who inspired me during that formation period including Marty Robbins, Gene Autrey and others. Playing on the album was the notable Luther Nallie of the Sons of the Pioneers and others from the group.

My second project,  Son of the Prairie Wind , was my first work done with the award-winning Prairie Rose Wranglers (now the Diamond W Wranglers). I recorded a couple more works with them over the years. There are some songs on this album that I go back to time after time.

In my third recording,  Echoes of the West , I chose to do covers of many of the beloved old western songs such as  Ghost Riders in the Sky The Strawberry Roan El Paso Cattle Call  and the like. The great Johnny Western joined me on this project with a number called  Cow Poke . This has been a sought-after CD over the years as folks are drawn to these classics done to a new Cowboys flavor.

Next month follow Del’s journey through his latest recordings and poetry.
Cavallo Hoof Boots
This Month's Giveaway Winner!
Ida Noel
is the February 2020 Winner of one pair of Trek Hoof Boots from Cavallo Horse and Rider!

Angel Baez
is the March 2020 Winner of one pair of Trek Hoof Boots from Cavallo Horse and Rider!

How to Win:
To enter to win your own pair of Trek Hoof Boots, email Karen your name and state with the subject line "Enter Me to Win!"
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