TABLE OF CONTENTS
EBRA MEMBER HIGHLIGHT: Melissa Brown
Tune in below for a sit down interview with EBRA Member Melissa Brown
AROUND THE WATER TROUGH
BRABANTS ON DISPLAY
Photos by Stacy Pearsall, Connie Osier, Olga Pushkareva, and Celeste Brucklacher
From draft horse shows to local open shows, EBRA Members have been showing off their horses this Fall. Don't forget to join the Breed Ambassador Program. It's open to all EBRA Members who wish to earn points for attending local, state, or national events, or even hosting their own Brabant-centric educational engagements with or without Brabants. All participating Members will have the chance to earn points in the horse or non-horse divisions and year-end awards will be provided to the high point earning individuals. For more information on becoming an Ambassador, please contact us at email@example.com for details.
BREED STANDARD GUIDES
Provided by the EBRA
For all those who are competing, please be sure to check out the Breed Standard Guide handout, which you are encouraged to share with show managers and judges. This is a comprehensive, illustrative overview of the European Brabant that we hope will help provide others who are unfamiliar with our horses a better understanding of how to evaluate them in the show ring.
DAP NET FIELD DAYS
Provided by the EBRA
The EBRA is proudly sponsoring the Draft Animal-Power Field Days, which runs from September 30th to October 2nd in Loudon, NH. EBRA Vice President Dehan Courtney and EBRA Member, Austin Mantz, will be in attendance to man the EBRA Booth. Along with some Brabant swag provided by the Registry, EBRA's friends at Coat Defense and Two Horse Tack have donated some prizes that will be raffled daily. Be sure to stop in, say hi and put your name in the drawings. Don't worry, the raffle is free!
A special thanks to All the King's Horses and Silver Meadow Farms for donating funds to make this sponsorship a possibility.
COLT FOR A CAUSE
Provided by All the King's Horses
All the King's Horses is offering up one of their finest European Brabant colts for a good cause. All money raised will go to three equine charities - the EBRA is one of those charities! The Grand Prize winner receives an amazing colt. Then two additional numbers will be drawn and these winners may select an equine charity (501c3) of their choosing. Don't need a horse? No Problem! Pledgers may choose to opt-out on the colt and simply select their favorite equine charity. A good cause all around!
EBRA will be having online elections for the Class I Directorship on November 8th. Nominees are Sandi Austin, Austin Mantz, and Olga Pushkareva. Be sure to read their bios in the 3rd Quarter Newsletter.
THE ART OF THE BRABANT
MADE OF STONE
Article by Stacy Pearsall
Photos Provided by Stephen Yettaw
Many moons ago, Stephen Yettaw left the rural farm life of St. Paul in Alberta, Canada, for the bright lights and excitement of the city. There he earned a living as a bouncer until one night he was jumped by a gang of club-goers, who beat him so badly he sustained a life altering brain injury. After which, he struggled with speech and aphasia. Stephen returned to the solitude of his family’s farm, away from people and away from the haunting fear that he’d be attacked again. Upon moving home, he soon discovered the anxiety wasn’t limited to people. Stephen feared horses as well - animals he’d been around and trusted his entire life.
Stephen despaired. On whim, his friend invited him to a reading by a fortune teller. Though he wasn’t a believer in such things, he felt he didn’t have much to lose. Upon meeting Stephen, the medium said, “You gave up something in your life that you need back.”
Stephen listened, skeptically. She went on, “It’s something that’s going to take you around the world - to a country surrounded by water. Be sure to check your passport though, because something not right with it and you’re going to need it.”
That “something” she was referring to was stone carving. Stephen had dabbled in the artform some years earlier, but gave it up when he moved away from the farm. Soon after his visit to the fortune teller, he picked up stone working tools once more. Starting small, he sculpted fantastical beasts like dragons, which he felt he couldn’t mess up given they’re fictitious animals. With every piece, he was more inspired, confident and bold. So bold that he applied for a stone sculpting symposium in Brazil, where just ten artists would be selected to attend. If picked, he’d be well outside his comfort zone given that the stone carvers would be expected to produce large-scale pieces. The jury was impressed by Stephen’s talent and chose him for one of the coveted slots. He made travel arrangements and filed for his visa only to discover his passport expired - just as the fortune teller had predicted.
Two days before his flight to Brazil, his passport was renewed and a travel visa issued. During his thirty-day stay in Brazil, Stephen worked 14-hour-days to complete the largest, most ambitious carving he’d done to date. The other attendees doubted he’d finish. But he did. He was successful in completing his project as well as making new friends from around the world. That’s how he ended up in Italy for six weeks.
Stephen wanted to develop his chisel and hammer skills, so he rented a space at Studio Nicoli in Correra, Italy, and set about expanding his craft. While there, he was under the tutelage of an Italian stone mason who was so impressed by his dedication and skill that she would routinely take visitors by Stephen’s booth and noted to the guests, “And this is a Canadian artist that’s here to do everything by hand.”
Stephen tackled more complex carvings once back home in Canada. He also decided to face his growing fear of horses in a big way too by purchasing his first draft horse, Tristan. With his Percheron colt by his side, he attended equine trick training clinics and learned to reconnect with horses. He taught Tristan a variety of commands, which would prove lifesaving during an incident when Stephen was kicked by a horse in the pasture and couldn’t get up. Tristan grabbed Stephen’s sweater and helped hoist him to his feet. It was then, Stephen truly found his feet around horses once again. From there, he grew his herd by purchasing his first Brabant cross mare, Isabel, whom he bred twice over. Though Isabel moved on to another pasture, her two fillies, Matilde and Gwynnevier, stayed. Through the years, Stephen’s horses acted as emotional support, physical healers, statue models, and artistic inspiration.
One of Stephen’s horse carvings took seven years to complete. Just like his recovery took time and effort, so too did his most prized statue.
Stephen eventually did make it to an island surrounded by water when he traveled to the British Isles to carve stone. So perhaps the fortune teller was right, or perhaps it was always his destiny to be a man of stone.
The Girl in the Stone
Story by Stephen Yettaw
The old carver stood before a stone and sighed when a sweet little girl suddenly appeared and asked him, "Why so sad?"
The old carver replied solemnly, " The task before me is too hard. My old eyes can hardly see, and my weak, shaky hands can no longer carve the details required for such a carving."
"Then let me guide you," the little girl chimed with excitement. She leaned over and whispered into the carver's ear, "Rest your sorrows and let me show you."
With her direction, the stone carver worked. Hints of a girl's eye began to appear. More stone was chiseled away, revealing the tip of the girl's nose, the curve of her lip... One detail would disappear only to reveal another, which were all hidden in the depths of the stone. Always, a trace of the girl to guide him. A wisp of her hair, a hint of her smile, the roundness of her nose. Always a trace. Nearby the stone carver, the young girl danced and sang, playing amongst the boulders and stones.
The stone was slowly worked, hammered, cut, chiseled and ground. Always a trace of the girl could be seen like the glance of a ghost. At days end, the stone carver set aside his work to rest for another day. He glanced up in time to watch the child dance down the road, waving good bye as she went.
"Wait!" yelled the man, " You can help me more! I have so many stones to carve, so little strength and so little time. Won't you help me more?"
"Oh silly!" giggled the little girl, "I was not here to help you." She smiled brightly at the carver, swaying softy with her hands clasped behind her back. "I came here for my father! He needs this stone to remember me. So I may always be here for him. So he knows I love him."
The stone carver camped his eyes shut, when a sudden gust blew stone dust into his eyes. When he wiped them clean and opened them again, she was gone leaving only her trace in stone.
BRABANT BUSINESS SECTION
Horses are Trending: An Opportunity for the Drafts
Article by Jessica Edwards
Perhaps the most remarkable change during this Pandemic, has been the onslaught of new home buyers, and new horse owners - many of which are perfectly primed to buy into breeds less well-known.
Covid's social distancing parameters, quarantine mandates, and the general nudge of mortality have led to an influx of prospective new horse ownership.
Farm Progress' online magazine reported a striking inflation in horse sales saying, "At 2022’s Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo horse sale in late January, 166 horses were sold. Total sales at this show grew by $750,000 from 2021, reaching $2.65 million. The average price also increased this year to $15,974, up from $12,788 in 2021.”
This demand, even despite the parallel dilemma of hay and grain price increases, does not seem to be relenting. The pandemic has changed people's priorities. Where getaways, outside-the-home shopping, and dining used to consume our entertainment budgets, people have now invested time creating happiness closer to home.
Saddle Up Colorado, weighing in as a booming tack seller wrote, “...People saved money by staying home. This cut back on gas/fuel cost or ordering food or coffee. Without these extra expenses, people found they were able to afford more and they also had all this new free time."
Saddle Up Colorado also considered the fact that the baseline "beginner horse" has also gone up in price, because most of these horse buyers are newbies, and they all need a well-broke, good-minded animal.
Insert the draft horse. This novice market has provided an excellent doorway to renew interest in our heavy breeds. Notorious for their docile nature, rolling movements, and patient demeanor, drafts are often quite forgiving of the novice horseman.
Drafts have lower energy requirements and, though they may eat more hay as larger animals, don't usually require much on top of that. They are solid beneath any size of rider, and although may not jump to light speed, they are versatile riding companions who excel in almost every equestrian adventure.
In the past, folks have been dissuaded from drafts due to their size and their sizeable price. However, with horse values going up steadily, there might not be as large of a gap anymore. This presents an excellent opportunity for the European Brabant community and others to market their horses in a new way. This new group of Covid-era horse owners are ready to be educated on the extra fuzzy gentle giants we all know and love, and further still it may be the opportunity to introduce those breeds in need of an eager audience, such as the European Brabant.
BRABANT HEALTH AND WELLNESS SECTION
Story by Rebecca Courtney
Mites are a common ailment for feathered horse breeds. These pesky critters burrow into the skin and cause the horse discomfort, leading to stomping, rubbing legs on anything handy, or biting and chewing at the lower leg. Left untreated, mite infestations can cause damage to the skin and lower legs, leading to complications for CPL-prone horses. Keeping up to date on mite treatments is one basic way to help promote healthy legs. There are a variety of treatments for mites, and every farm has their own preference. A few common options include:
Sulfur: This can be an oil and sulfur mix (such as MTG) or a lime-sulfur dip. On our farm, we started by mixing our own oil and sulfur using feed grade sulfur from a local feed mill and bulk vegetable or frying oil from Sam’s Club. ***Note - do NOT use garden sulfur as it can burn the horse’s legs*** The two are mixed to the consistency of a milkshake and then the product is lathered into the legs from the knees/hocks down- no rinsing required. This system tends to be a lot of work and rather messy, so we recently switched over to the lime-sulfur dip. This product can be mixed in a garden/weed sprayer and then used to soak the feather all the way down to the skin on the lower legs. We add a spray along the base of the mane and top of the tail as well, since these hairy areas can also attract mites.
Topical mite products such as pour-on ivermectin, for livestock, or a dog product such as Frontline spray can be applied directly to the legs. Farms vary widely on how exactly they do this, but a sample protocol would be 5 mL of pour-on Ivermectin applied to each leg. The feather should be pulled apart to allow the syringe or dosing instrument to apply the product directly to the skin. Some horse owners swear by mixing the medication in mineral oil to increase the volume of liquid and allow it to better coat the skin.
Injectable Dectomax is a common treatment used in Europe. However, note that any use in North America is off label and a vet will need to be consulted for appropriate dosage and treatment protocols.
Regardless of the treatment used, it’s important to repeat the treatment at least 2-3 times at 5-7 day intervals in order to break the life cycle of the mites. In addition, the horse should be turned out into a new environment, if possible, or the environment should be well cleaned. Any brushes, buckets, blankets, etc can also be places that mites hang out and should be cleaned and disinfected when the horse are treated to avoid re-infestation. Unfortunately, mites are an ongoing issue for our big, hairy horses and will likely never be fully eliminated. Watching for signs of discomfort and treating appropriately will go a long way to keeping legs as healthy as possible.
WINTER PREP FROM THE INSIDE
Story by Mannsville Ag Center
Photo Provided by Rebecca Courtney
Make sure your horse has a healthy gut as we head into fall and winter.
Everything surrounding health starts with a healthy gut. Making sure that your horse’s stomach has the correct pH balance and feeding them a high quality feed and highly digestible feed helps to keep a healthy gut year round. A healthy gut is key to nutrient absorption. If your horse has an unhealthy, acidic gut riddled with ulcers, they are not going to absorb and utilize the nutrients you work so hard to get in them.
Many horses are less active in the winter, so a low-starch diet is even more important.
In the old days, farmers would use horses to plow 6 days per week and (typically) give the horses and themselves a day off on Sunday. The incredibly high starch diet that was common in those days (corn) followed by inactivity led to “Monday Morning Disease” and what we now know as tying up. With many horses and riders being less and less active as the temperatures and daylight decrease, it is even more important to keep your horses on a low starch diet so they don’t build up lactic acid in their muscles and tie up.
Make sure you have free choice salt available.
Dehydration is still a risk in the middle of winter just like it is in the summer. While your horse won’t likely be sweating nearly as much, their mouth, gut, and every bodily function still needs water to function. A lot of people get hung up on the trace mineral block, but there’s not enough to really make a difference. Just keeping a salt block in front of your horse is enough. They know how much they need and will eat accordingly.
Keep your horse’s water from freezing, or at least break the ice.
Depending on how far north you live and what the winter weather is like where you live, breaking ice in the winter may be a daily (or multiple times per day) chore. Tank heaters, bucket heaters, or even heated buckets are a great option. Whatever you do, make sure your horses don’t dehydrate in the winter.
Free choice hay all the time.
A horse needs 24/7 access to forage, so don’t forget that it’s also imperative in the winter as well. The risk for developing ulcers due to lack of fiber in the gut does not disappear with the summer sun. Additionally, the breakdown of fibers creates internal heat keeping your horse warm and more comfortable during colder months.
While wintertime may not be the time of year most equestrians dream about (although the dying off of the fly population is a nice bonus if you live far enough north), it doesn’t mean your horse’s health and wellbeing stop being a priority. In fact, gut health may even be MORE important in the winter months!
As long as a Brabant has protection from wind and precipitation, and access to forage/hay, they can generally keep warm all winter without a blanket.
WINTER TIPS FROM AKH
Story by Rebecca Courtney
Here in Western Pennsylvania, winter is one of the harder seasons for horse management. The weather alternates between cold with snow or ice and wet and muddy. At some point, horse owners are likely to encounter frozen waterers, muddy pastures, short days that lead to doing chores in the dark, and any number of other inconveniences through the season. As winter nears, it can be helpful to take time to
plan and prepare in order to help things go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few things that we do at All the King’s Horses to get ready for winter!
Plan out our pasture system, including where different groups of horses are housed, what water sources are available, and how many hay or mineral feeders are needed.
Move and store hay in barns close to winter feeding areas, when possible.
Check over winter feeding equipment such as hay feeders, nets, and watering lines or hydrants to identify and take care of any needed repairs.
Walk fence lines to find and fix any problems- this is much easier to do in nice weather rather than frozen ground!
Fall herd health - on our farm, this means rabies vaccinations, a round of dewormer for everyone when they are pulled off the pasture into their winter fields, and mite treatments.
Take time to enjoy your horses with some riding, driving, or pasture time before the weather turns.
Some people are ‘winter people’ - I am not one of them! But taking steps to prepare ahead of time helps things to flow as smoothly as possible during the seasons when I’d rather not be outside more than I have to be.