Farm Speaker Series: Equine Health; Are You Ready for Winter?

Farm Speaker Series: Equine Health; Are You Ready for Winter?
Karen Pickering

Whatcom Conservation District Addresses Winter Challenges for Local Horse Owners

Jakes enjoys his pasture

Jake watches with curiosity as people check out his pasture

September 19th finds quite a few local horse owners gathering for another educational meeting on caring for your farm and preparing for winter. Mike McGlenn, a local Back Country Horsemen member, hosted the event at his 5-acre farm. Mike is experienced with recommended grazing, pasture management, heavy use area protection, and manure storage. He only has one horse but Jake is able to roam sectioned off areas of the 5 acres and grazes 24/7.

It’s amazing that a horse can graze 24 hours in this type of lush pasture and not founder. Local Veterinarian, Dave Sauter, commented that some horses will self-regulate given the opportunity. Mike also keeps Jake pretty fit riding the trails at least twice a week, which probably has a lot to do with his overall health. He enjoys a beautiful stall but rarely uses it as he spends most of his time out in the pasture.

Spectators learned tips from Dave Sauter, DVM of Kulshan Veterinary Hospital as well as local farrier, Molly McDaniel. She offered tips on keeping horses healthy but observes a lot of horses in our area with Laminitis. Hosted by Katie Pencke of WCD, attendees enjoyed Pizza and goodies for showing up! Katie educates local small farm owners on taking care of their property, making chores more efficient and managing mud.

There are several programs and grants available at WCD for manure management, gutter installation in heavy use areas and more. I personally received a grant for putting in an O2 Compost system at my farm last summer. You can also take advantage of the free use of a manure spreader to get your manure out on the fields. They even deliver!

WCD Loans manure spreader to local farms

Whatcom Conservation District is non-regulatory and is all about educating the farm owner on getting the most out of your property. Give them a call at (360) 526-2381 ext. 105 or email Katie at

Photos by Karen Pickering – NW Horse Source

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Karen Pickering

Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!

Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.

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