Horse grazing in apple blossoms

Board Meets: 5:30 p.m. monthly on the third Wednesday, May 16.

President: Marcia Gray, 443-2679

Vice-President: Heather Hollandsworth 492-7066

Treasurer: Kate Hollandsworth, 492-7206

Secretary: Shirley Herrin, 442-8858


Trail Rides: Chris Warren, 461-6527

Building/ Maintenance: Caleb Blokzyl, 465-7123

Historian: Historian & MSCA Delegate: Penny Koehler,

O-Mok-See: Keith Herrin, 461-3614

Public Relations: Bill Gray, 443-2679

Representative: Vicky Blixt, Montana Saddle Club Assoc, 202-2355,

Social Director Julia Curtis, 449-0360

Odd numbered months will have a membership and board meeting. Even numbered months we will have an activity and board meeting. Board of Directors Meeting this month - May 16 Membership meeting - surprise topic.

From Our President -----------THANK-YOU!

Appreciation goes to those who spent a rare nice weather day at the West Arena and the clubhouse. On fix and clean-up day (April 28th) we met Caleb Blokzyl’s parents, Bev and Marvin. Caleb had fixed blocks on the north windows earlier this month so they won’t continue to blow open. The furnace filter has been replaced. Bill Gray, Marvin and Caleb replaced poles and posts in the West arena and Bev, Julia Curtis, and Kate Hollandsworth cleaned the clubhouse. We had a nice lunch afterward. Many thanks to those who dedicated the day to helping.


The new furnace is great but engineering specifications keep us from blocking off the main room and only keeping the kitchen and bathrooms from freezing. After checking with the installing company, we have decided to keep the thermostat turned to 45 to 50 degrees when the building is unoccupied. Hopefully, this will cut down on our monthly energy bills which have been more than I expected with a new furnace and roof repair. It seems to take about 15 minutes to warm up when it is going to be occupied so it can still be comfortable in time for our meetings.

The new door for the south entrance will be installed when there is dry, nice weather for a couple of consecutive days.


The Knights of Columbus have an agreement with the Fairgrounds (Keith Hatch) to take over the East Gate. This will cut our HTR annual income at least in half, and maybe more, for this year. Hopefully, we will see more family, friends, and volunteers from the club to work at the West gate. The Helena Trail Riders have a positive relationship with the Fairgrounds that works for the benefit of both. It is important we do our best to fulfill our obligations.


One of the Helena Trail Rider’s missions has been to promote, educate, experience, share and learn about a variety of equine activities, including mules, with other like-minded people and clubs. The Helena Trail Riders have been developing this sense of community for generations through competitions, trail rides, work parties, community service, dinners, dances and other social events. To continue the traditions, we need keep members and families involved in the various activities, riders and non-riders alike. Many kids have grown up in the HTR family.

Sometimes it has been only a horse-loving child who has involved the rest of the family. We provide programs of all kinds. We even partnered with a local motorcycle club to promote trails in the Helena area. They learned what it was like for us aboard a panicked horse that met a cycle rider face to face and we learned what it was like to have most trails cut off from motorized vehicles. Communication is important to us all.

Any member can place an article or ad in the Pony Tales. Just let Sharon know what you want to say before the 10th of each month.


According to rumors, our next meeting, May 16 , we will have an unusual program, probably not related to horses (or mules). Curious? Please join us for an interesting evening.


I happened to notice an article in the Western Horseman about the fructan (sugar) content of new spring grass. It has been determined that our chronically lame horse was partaking of excessive fructan from spring grass and exhibiting early signs of laminitis. We have been soaking the grass hay for this gelding for a few years but I didn’t realize soaking was removing some of the sugar content. The main idea, I thought was to keep him from choking. The water does dual duty, it seems. I pass this information on to you in case you have some not so easy keepers that do manage to be prone to founder. An abundance of early green grass is not as healthy for a horse’s stomach as it seems to be.

As most Helenans do this year, we had a small creek appear from a normally dry area. When thinking of naming it, Bill decided he wouldn’t worry until he saw fishermen show up. We also have two geese that keep trying to nest nearby. It will be a rude awakening when the water dries up underneath them.

Hope you are keeping dry Marcia

Anyone with suggestions for programs or activities, please come to a meeting and share, or let a board of directors member know what you would like to see or hear about.

• Any member can contribute to the Pony Tales. For sale or wanted items and articles must be to Sharon by the 10th of each month.

• It is important that no Helena Trail Rider member is left out of the loop because he/she doesn’t have the latest social communication device. Please let us know of any member who is not receiving the newsletter either via e-mail or by snail-mail.

• Send items you wish included in the newsletter to

Trail Rides

Please let me know if you have any trails that you would like me to look at for possible rides. I have a few ideas and would like to mention a few poker rides for the year of 2018, some of which I believe have been posted in the HTR FB page. Here is a list of them that have been found so far and can get additional details to anyone, just let me know.

• Plains BCH poker ride 5/19
• Virginia City poker ride 5/26
• RMEF poker ride 6/9
• Gallatin BCH poker ride 7/7
• Upper Clark Fork BCH 7/14
• Virginia City poker ride 9/1

So now that spring is just around the corner, it is time to be thinking about getting your horse and or yourself in shape for the year and found a couple articles that may help which seemed to be a pretty good read. The links to the articles are attached. Hope to see some or all of you out on the trails. exercises/

If you have any questions, please call Chris Warren,461-6257. Thanks.


• Foundation Horsemanship Clinic, Friday, May 18

The third annual Judge's Obstacle Clinics at the Big Sky Horse Park in Missoula are coming up. The first clinic is in May and has been split into two different sessions due to popular demand. if you would like to sign up, get in touch with us as soon as you can. Then sign up to compete in the Color My Ride Competitions! Call Ethan 406- 381-0987 or Lorri 406-381-0988.

• BCHMT are sponsoring a youth packing camp (ages 14-17) in early August out of the Indian Meadows Trailhead on the upper Blackfoot River. The camp will expose participants to packing with stock, leave no trace, and even some back county vegetation rehab. An attached flier (click here) provides more information on the purpose and scope of this activity. There is limited space available and we are hoping to attract a local kid that have an active interest in working with stock. If you know of a youth who may be interested in attending this 4-day event, please get the flier to them and otherwise encourage them to participate. The local chapter (Last Chance in Helena) will be asked to pony up some dough to help defray costs so please don’t let costs stand in the way of getting a kid to the event. If there is a will, we will find a way.

Applicants should address questions to:

Greg Schatz - 406.261.5450 -
Kathy Hundley - 406.363.8230 -

Tidbits Club Contacts:

Helena Trail Riders- Vickie Blixt 202-2355

O-Mok-See Coordinator – Keith Herrin 461-3614

Gone with the Wind – Peggy Huntington 459- 2161

Western Patriots- Patsy Althof 439-8916

Helena Valley Blues – Moriah Parker 202-5729

• Remember: West Arena Schedule is (exclusive use) every Tuesday and Thursday and the first Friday of the month.

• Don’t forget to check on all Helena Trail Riders information posted to the website (including past copies of Pony Tales). Suggestions or corrections to Cheryl Bryant

Horse gets cleaned up and then rolls in dirt.
• Join us on facebook!

Remember Facebook is not the web page.

-- Ads --

Rita Newman: I have several pairs of new mens Wrangler jeans, waist size 35, I would like to see go to a different home. Call me at (406) 458-4725.

(From Tom Rolfe) 406-589-5213 I've got a coming 5yo mare I'm looking for a good home. I simply don't have the time to devote to her, since I also have a riding horse young enough to probably last through my riding years and the mare's mother.

Amber is a non-registered Tennessee Walking horse (dam) x Missouri foxtrotter (sire) born here on my property May 2013. I've owned her the entire time, have been on her bareback around here, had her tacked up many times, ponied on many trail rides carrying light loads, but she's not had any real training aside from a few times in the round pen. About 15H. She loads and hauls easily. Easy to catch and lead. I've done all her farrier work without any issues. Vaccinations up to date. Lifetime brand inspection. If you know anyone who might be interested my contact info: Phone (406) 589-5213. I have no price in mind, make an offer, but definitely inexpensive. I'm more interested in a good rapport with a new owner. I think she'd be a great 4H project with someone who wants to spend the time with her. At her age she gets bored just standing around. Right now, she's in Helena at my daughter's place since I was gone much of the winter. Thought it would be better to make one move rather than move her back here then to a new owner.

     Spring Horse Care Checklist
Horse wearing a flowered hat

With summer just around the corner, you and your horse are probably gearing up for a busy season. Here’s a list of some important health care reminders you should tackle before summer gets into full swing.

1. Spring vaccines. These are the most essential spring items for many horse owners. But do you know what vaccines your horse needs? The American Association of Equine Practitioners has a complete list of core vaccines every adult horse in the US should receive on a yearly basis. These include rabies, EEE/WEE, West Nile Virus, and tetanus. If you plan to travel with your horse to shows or trail rides or other events where he might have contact with other horses, your horse should also receive "risk based” vaccines for common contagious diseases such as equine herpes virus and influenza (often a combo vaccine called rhino/flu) and strangles. Other vaccines such as Potomac Horse Fever and botulism are geographically dependent but are still annual necessities if your horse resides in an endemic area.

2. Coggins. If there is the potential for your horse to travel over state lines or attend a show or organized trail ride, he’ll need a Coggins test. This blood test tests for a disease called Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). Depending on where you live and the functional capacity of your closest state laboratory, getting your horse’s Coggins results could take a week or more. Including a Coggins test with the vet visit for spring vaccines is a convenient way to get everything done at once. Your horse’s results will come back to you in paper form. Keep this safe and accessible when you travel with your horse.

3. Physical exam. When your vet comes for spring vaccines and a Coggins, have her assess your horse’s overall health. Have you noticed any lumps or bumps since your horse has shed his winter coat? Do you have any worries about his athletic conditioning, a minor nagging lameness, or any behavioral issues? This exam is a great time to ask your vet these questions to make sure you’re starting the busy season off on the right hoof. It’s also a great time to weight tape your horse so you get a feel for his body condition. Fecal checks for parasites can also be done at this time, and depending on the results, a deworming, too.

4. Hoof care. Before you start logging those serious miles in the saddle, having your horse’s hooves in tip-top condition is imperative. If your horse has been barefoot all winter but increased spring training requires shoes, now’s the time to get his feet trimmed and accustomed again. A good trim and balancing can also help clear out those mushy frogs and gunky soles from all that wet slop of leftover snow and springtime showers.

5. Dental care. Spring is a great time to schedule your horse’s routine dental floating. Many adult horses only need a dental check and rasp annually in order to keep any sharp points in check. (Senior horses frequently require dental floating twice a year.) This is a good time to mention if you’ve noticed your horse demonstrate any head shaking or fighting the bit, which may be indications of dental pain.

6. Pasture management. Spring is synonymous with rain and the resultant sudden growth of everything green, especially grass. While lush green pastures appear pleasing to the eye (and make your horse’s mouth water), the threat of laminitis due to the over-consumption of rich pasture is very real. Now is the best time to have your pasture management strategy in place. If your horse is on pasture, do you need to control his grass intake? If so, how? Strip grazing, limited turnout, the use of dry lots, and grazing muzzles are all good methods for preventing spring laminitis.

7. Barn management. Spring-cleaning most definitely applies in the same way to your barn as it does your house. Give those grimy water buckets a good scrub and sweep out those mouse droppings in the feed room. This is also a great time to check out that old first aid kit hidden under musty saddle pads in the tack room. Are the supplies actually in there or has the kit been raided on occasion for an extra bandage or that jar of ichthammol? Updating your first aid kit each spring is a great habit to start. Refill supplies and check the dates on any pharmaceuticals to make sure nothing has expired. Also make sure your vet’s contact information is in there and is correct.

With a list in hand and the sunshine at your back, there’s nothing to catching up on horse health care essentials this season to ensure your summer is full of great memories.

Anna O'Brien, DVM, is a large animal veterinarian in Maryland and a frequent contributor to Horse Illustrated magazine and Follow her on Twitter: @annaobriendvm.

Pictures from the meeting
May meeting
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