Welcome to Thistle Ridge Stables

5:30am never looked so good. My stable www.thistleridge.wordp... on Twitpic

Specializing in the development and training of young horses.  Emphasis on the development of equestrians through systematic training techniques. 


Host of the very successful Skill Builders Show Clinics.  

Laura Kelland-May:

  • Senior Judge Equine Canada Hunter
  • Senior Judge Equine Canada Jumper
  • Senior Judge Equine Canada Hack and Equitation
  • Recorded Steward Equine Canada Hunter/Jumper
  • National Coaching Certification Program Level 2 coach

 Available for Equine Canada Rider Level Testing.





Also available for judging and clinics.




Horses available for lessons.  Freelance instruction at your stable available.

Horses for Sale – Horses for Sale, Stud and Lease at EquineHits. Free horse photos!

Laura Thistle’s Facebook profile

 Technorati Profile


Choke can happen to any horse

My horse recently suffered from Choke recently.  Esophageal Choke to be exact. Simply put he had something stuck in his throat.

After a day of grazing I brought the horses in and 5 minutes DeL’Aire started choking.  Probably from bolting his grain.  He meets his grain with an open mouth and swallows without chewing.

He stood with his neck extended and gagging or retching as if he was trying to throw up.  Soon after frothy foam and mucous came out of his mouth and nose.  I walked and walked him and lead him around the sand ring and grass lawn.  All to no-avail

I have had horses with minor blockages before and they usually resolve themselves within a couple of hours.  Not THIS TIME

Saturday my poor horse was, still standing with his neck stretched and wretching.  The local vet came and tubed him.  The vet pushed a plastic tube slightly smaller diameter of a garden hose up his nose and into his esophageous. 

The vet returned on Sunday complete with tube and scope so that she could see the obstruction.  After we saw it and once again passed the tube we flushed the blockage by gently pumping water to remove the blockage.


  • Choke can be prevented  through  management strategies:delaire 004
  • Wet the grain.  Often pelleted grain swells and obstructs the esophagus. Prevent this from happening by watering the grain.
  • To prevent horses bolting the grain, use a large flat bucket that grain is spread into.  Don’t use a narrow bucket that will lump the grain and promote large mouthfuls. 
  • Get your horses teeth floated regularily.

Mud fever is a terrible nuisance for me this summer.  We have had lots of rain and the moist conditions that have hastened the development of mud fever.

For the uninitiated, mud fever is a painful red rash on the back of the horse’s pasterns and can even afflict the fetlocks.  I have seen it mostly on the white legs and the pasterns of the legs with white hooves.  Left untreated this rash will develop into painful, inflamed cracked skin.

Once the horse’s skin is inflamed and cracked, you develop a cycle of healing, cracking, bleeding, then, dirt and mud gets into the moist cracks causing more pain, slowing the healing process.  I think you get the picture.  Systematic treatment is key to the healing process of mud fever.

I think, however, that some horses are susceptible to mud fever and  that the bacteria that causes mud fever lives in the grass/mud or soil making certain areas mud fever ‘zones’.  My farm is one of those zones.  Each time a new horse, with white feet, comes on my property it invariably contracts mud fever.  Even in the driest of summers, mud fever is present.

Here is the treatment I use.  The treatment must be systematic and thorough.  If you suspect your horse of having mud fever or cracked heels:

  1. Soak the effected area in warm water and Epsom salts.  This will help soften scabs and soothe any skin pain. I have had great success with placing the affected hoof in a bucket of warm water.  If this is done make sure that the hoof is well cleaned out to prevent soaking the horses legs in dirty water.
  2. For those horses that won’t stand in a bucket, I have had great success of wrapping soaked cotton around the effected area.  This allows the moisture to soften up the scabs and prevents the messy tipped over bucket.  I also wrapped three legs at once thus speeding up the treatment process.
  3. After soaking, I applied Chlora-hibitane or other anti-bacterial scrub.  I used a clean cloth and also gently rubbed with my finger tips to help clean the area and GENTLY remove any scabs that were ready to come off.
  4. Leave the antibacterial scrub to sit on and soak into the scabby and cracked area while you proceed to the other legs. 
  5. Once completed the washing process, rinse the afflicted area with warm water to insure that no soap is left to cause more drying out.
  6. Dry the area, with cotton towels, and leave horse in a dry spot to ensure his heels are dried out.
  7. Protect the horse’s heels and pasterns.  I use an equal mix of petroleum jelly and zinc-oxide (baby diaper cream).  This provides a barrier to keep moisture and dirt out, and the zinc-oxide provides soothing properties to the skin.


Keep at it. It seems like it takes a long time but the cracked heels are gone within 3-4 days and then the healing process starts with nice new pink skin. 

Some mud fever pictures from the web

Some mud fever pictures from the web

Thistle Ridge Skill Builders

Thistle Ridge Skill Builders 09

Thistle Ridge Skill Builders

Yesterday I hosted my last of the season Skill Builder Show clinics.  The weather was great.  After two cancelled Skill Builders due to weather, rain, rain and more rain, our show clinic went off without a hitch.

Many thanks to the best show secretary Michelle, and whipper in, Georgie.  And of course to all the participants and the judge Grits McMullen who unselfishly supplied comments to all riders throughout the day.

I began offering these Show Clinics to prepare my handful of students for the show ring.  “How do I prepare them for showing without the added expense of memberships, trailering, fees, stress of being away from home etc.” I asked myself.  Well we brought the show to them.

The format for my Skill Builders is quite unique.  Originally I had the riders ride their course and then get comments from the judge directly and then re-ride the course to be judged.  This took VERY long and was DIFFICULT to schedule.  So I decided to have the whole class and give the comments generally to the group once the class was completed but before the placings were made.  For example, overall everyone used the ring very well but number 153, where are you? you should use the corners better to prevent cutting and then…. I think you get the idea. 

This was well received by coaches who repeat … repeat … repeat the same thing over and over again.  But when it comes time to place at a horse show and when a judge tells you the exact same thing that your coach has been telling you, well you tend to listen a bit more closely.

Parents loved the idea of comments.  They wanted to know why their little treasure placed or didn’t place.  Its all part of the education package.

The competitors like it to.  So often when you attend a show you think that you had a wonderful round only to find yourself out of the ribbons and really, no explaination as to why.  Well, at the Skill Builders, you have the opportunity to learn and progress through the experience of others and to appreciate the comments that are given to you in the spirit that they are ment.  As a learning tool.

For those who have shown before a clinic show format may seen a bit unnecessary but it was well received by all.  If you are interested in learning what the hunter judge is looking for check out this article that outlines some simple things that judges look  for when you are in the show ring.

So with 2009 out of the way I can start to plan for 2010!  Any more ideas?

Selling horses

Megan and Solo

megan and solo

Today was an interesting day as we had a guest come by to look at horses.  These kind of visits, for me, leave me hanging and wondering if i have done all the right things.  I have had horses for a very long time and showing horses for sale always leaves me wondering.  Like serving a meal and your guest just leaves without any comment on your dinner. 

I showed three  horses.  All in various price ranges, and stages of training.  One horse, 4 yr old gelding did a superb job,  jumped a course, did his lead changes, and was as far as Im concerned a star (and i may be a tad biased!) .

The other horse was a little more experienced.  A 7 yr old TB mare with some showing experience.  She did a wonderful round.  The young rider (she is 13) wasn’t sure what to expect.  She did a wonderful job and showed the horse like a pro.  Thanks.  The horse yanked its knees up to its eyeballs and cantered down the lines in steady rhythmic fashion.
The final horse has been at this stable for 3 weeks now and although is 5 yrs old has just started jumping last week.  her legs are clean and is impeccably bred. (sire = Popeye-K ) She cantered around the little jumps and took them all in stride… literally.
Jayde and K-Leigh
I certainly appreciated that they came and looked and knew right away what they liked and didn’t continue to jump and jump and jump.  Thanks everyone fro a great showing now we wait!….

Nice Poem that says it all

some one sent this to me so I don’t know who to give credit to.

From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a horse,” or,”that’s a lot of money for just a horse”. They don’t understand the distance travelled, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a horse.” Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a horse.” Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a horse,” but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a horse,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a horse” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day. If you, too, think it’s “just a horse,” then you will probably understand phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.” — “Just a horse” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. “Just a horse” brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of “just a horse” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a horse” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. “Just a horse” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day. I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a horse” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a woman.” So the next time you hear the phrase “just a horse” just smile, because they “just” don’t understand.

Welcome to Thistle Ridge!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!