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Take advantage of the sun! Winterize your pastures.

Winterize Pastures While The Sun Is Shining By Les Vough, Forage Crops Extension Specialist Emeritus Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, College of Agriculture, University of Maryland Mow! The next couple of days should be a good time to clip or mow pastures to clean them up before winter, particularly if pastures have tall weeds and rejected grass growth that the horses are not going to eat. Plus tall fescue is still growing on sunny days when the temperature is in the mid-30’s and above.  Depending upon where you live, you could be looking at another 4-6 weeks of growth, especially on south-facing slopes.  Getting rid of tall weeds and grass might get you a bit more grazing yet this fall, postpone using that expensive hay! Drag! This is also a good time to drag your pastures to spread the dropping and allow them to decompose over the winter months.  If your pastures are dry enough to drive over without leaving tracks or ruts, get out, enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures and improve the quality of your pastures. Leave Some Height Do not mow orchardgrass and tall fescue pastures lower than 4 inches. Bunch grasses (such as orchardgrass and tall fescue) store energy reserves in the lower stem bases and, if cut or grazed close to the ground (below about 4 inches), the plant’s energy reserve to...

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Maryland Dominates at WIHS Barn Night

Yes, our Equiery barns ROCK! Perennial Barn Night rivals Meadowbrook Stables (Chevy Chase) and Full Moon Farm (Finksburg) faced off for the major wins, but with Meadowbrook edging out Full Moon for largest group (Full Moon received an honorable mention placement as largest Maryland barn because Meadowbrook’s overall win made them ineligible for the state category). Rock Creek Park Horse Center, which is in D.C. but is on the Maryland-side of the Potomac (so we claim them as an “Equiery barn”) won the banner contest, with Full Moon (pictured left) taking the reserve and Four Quarters (Hampstead) earning an  honorable mention. For best barn video, Maryland did not fare as well, with Virginia barn taking champion and reserve with the following Maryland barns receiving honorable mentions: En-tice-ment, Full Moon and Four Quarters. However, we rock when it comes to spirit! Meadowbrook took the champion, Full Moon the reserve and Rock Creek the honorable. Barn night attracted over 1,000 local barn rats to enjoy the costumed Gambler’s Choice, which featured the joker fence made out of cupcakes courtesy of new sponsor and TLC reality-show Georgetown Cupcakes and were able to cheer on Maryland rider Elizabeth Rae (we know her as Elizabeth Eaton) from Winfield Farm in Woodbine; Elizabeth, costumed as a peace-loving hippie and her Peace of Blue finished 14th out of 19 riders. Four Quarters Farm Elizabeth...

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Pan American Silver for Maryland Endurance Rider

The U.S. Pan American Endurance Team, made up of John Crandall III with Heraldic (of West River, MD), Valerie Kanavy with Spectacular Gold, and Deborah Reich with Randor, won the team silver medal yesterday. The team finished just one minute and 47 seconds slower than the gold medal team from Uruguay. Although the Pan American Games are being held in Mexico, the Endurance competition was held in Santo Domingo, Chile. In addition to the team silver, John Crandall III and Heraldic also earned the individual silver medal. Heraldic is owned by Linda and John Crandall, Jr. of Long Run Arabians in West River. John and Heraldic finished the 120-km course in a time of...

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Addie: Still Missing – Presumed Stolen

Saturday morning, September 3, 2011, at the crack of dawn, Kathy Taylor faced what we all dread: an empty paddock where just the night before a horse had been turned out. Gone. Gate off its hinges. No horse.   The chestnut mare, owned by Naomi Lefkowitz was being restricted from grass and thus was that night in the round pen with hay. Was she gorging herself nearby on the lush new grass, the result of the recent cool, rainy spell? Located near parkland in the Damascus/Mount Airy area, the equestrian community around Taylormade Stables went into high alert. The day was opening cub for the two local hunts, so there were plenty of riders out and about in the surrounding parkland, but no sign of the 16 hand, 12 year old Thoroughbred/Warmblood cross. For days everyone searched. Tracking dogs were brought in, as was a psychic. While near parkland, the area is surrounded by development, making it highly unlikely that the mare would not have eventually been spotted by someone, or eventually wandered into another stable yard looking to join a herd. Eventually, Addie’s people reached the conclusion that she had to have been stolen. Why this mare would have been stolen is not clear, particularly as there were 60 other horses on the property, including several worth considerably more, but there seems to be no other explanation. The...

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Legendary Maryland Vet Doc Holbrook Dies

UPDATED 10/12/11: Share a Tale – Lift an Ale – Celebrate Hal On Sunday, November 13, at 5 p.m., friends will be gathering at Dave’s American Bistro to toast the colorful life of Doc Holbrook! All are welcome. For more information, contact Dr. Wendy Walker at Daves American Bistro: 5500 Olney Laytonsville Road, Olney, Maryland  20832 (At the intersection of Brookeville Road and Route 108) ORIGINAL POST: On Sunday, September 25, 2011, renowned Maryland vet Harold “Doc” Holbrook passed away of cor pulmonale related to chronic pulmonary emboli at the age of 83. Recognized as the Maryland Horseman of the Year in 2001, for nearly 40 years, Harold Holbrook took care of virtually every animal in Montgomery County, ducks to donkeys, Holsteins to Holsteiners. He came to be known as the “James Herriott of Montgomery County,” a veterinarian, who — like his British counterpart — not only cured the animals’ ills, but also gave out healthy doses of good humor and common sense to their owners. His career has followed the evolution of veterinary medicine in Maryland, from a time when there was just one veterinarian per county to present day Maryland with thousands of veterinarians and with as nearly as many specialists as there are ailments. At its peak, his Town & Country vet practice had 6,000 to 7,000 large and small animal clients, a staff of between two and...

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Pasture or Hay Destroyed by Rain? You may be eligible for crop insurance! Deadline Sept. 30

For the first time, Maryland producers of pasture (that includes horse farm owners!) and hay and beekeepers can apply for the Group Risk Protection by enrolling in the Rainfall Index Program. Offered by private crop insurance providers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, the Rainfall Index uses National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data to trigger crop insurance payments. The deadline is Sept. 30. “We continuously look for innovative risk management tools for our farmers,” said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Earl F. Hance. “The Rainfall Index is a tool that we hope helps an important part of agriculture in Maryland: livestock and equine producers, hay producers and the beekeepers.” Farmers and beekeepers who sign up for this crop insurance can expect to receive indemnities from losses occurring during a drought, based upon the deviation from normal precipitation according to NOAA. The USDA’s Risk Management Agency and the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. expanded the Rainfall Index, considered a pilot product, to include Maryland earlier this year. The Maryland Department of Agriculture had asked for this consideration for the State’s producers since it has been available in parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania. In 2011, in the 16 states with the Rainfall Index available, farmers have received $98.7 million in crop insurance indemnities. Farmers should contact a crop insurance agent as soon as possible to explore this risk management...

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