Baby it's HOT out here!

Posted on Monday, August 5, 2019 at 4:11 PM

It is HOT outside! I would love to tell you, "Hold on just a little longer, it's only 49 days till fall", but we live in Florida so we know all that means is pumpkins and sunshine.

Dealing with heat and hydration in your horse

Hydration for you and your horse is important this time of year. In high temperatures we lose much more water than we realize. Even when it's raining, you can be sweating and losing valuable minerals and water. Your horse is the same way. There are lots of things you can do to help your horse make it through these hot summer days especially if you two are working regularly for upcoming shows. Here are a few I feel are important chart toppers.

The Horse Heat Index

Keep the horse heat index in mind. If you aren't familiar with it, I've included it below. Stay in the shade when you are working, it won't change the temperature but it will keep you from having the added heat of direct sunlight.

To use the index, all you need to do is add the current temperature (in Fahrenheit) and the relative humidity (in % RH) together. The total number determines the conditions. For example, if it is 77 degrees out and the relative humidity is 65 %, add them together for a total of 142. When you have your total, see the table below for recommendations.


Most forages and feeds are high in electrolytes already but if you have a horse that is being worked hard in the hotter months you may need to consider the addition of an electrolyte supplement. Here's the thing you need to know about electrolytes, while they are just as important for your horse as they are for you, given in wrong dosages they can cause an imbalance. Again, just like you, your body usually gets electrolytes from balanced nutrition, but you may also have days when you really need more than you can consume in your daily meals. This is the same with your horse. Electrolytes can keep him from having muscle injuries or other conditions from dehydration. Most vets however, recommend offering your horse a free choice mineral and salt block instead of a daily ration in their feed. They can eat what they need, more on some days and less on others.


I saved this for last because honestly, I think everyone just knows your horse needs water. Quality and quantity do count here though which makes it well worth mentioning. Out of everything you could offer your horse during hot, muggy days, water would be the most important. Make sure they have plenty and won't run out. Quality makes a difference too! Affecting how much and even if your horse will drink. Water troughs and automatic waterers should be cleaned and checked regularly.

Can I tell if my horse is dehydrated?

Yes. There is a test you can do that is helpful. The Pinch Test. It works on horses, dogs, most animals and people. Pinch the skin near the point of the shoulder. If the skin snaps back quickly your horse is sufficiently hydrated. If it takes the skin two to four seconds to snap back, your horse is moderately dehydrated.

Another option to test your horse’s dehydration is to check the capillary refill time. Press a finger or thumb to the upper gum for a second or two. When you remove your finger the pressure point will be a lighter color (usually they will be pink and moist, turning very light pink when pressed on). If color returns to the spot within one to two seconds, your horse is properly hydrated. If it takes longer than two seconds for the color to return, your horse is likely dehydrated.

Dehydration isn't the only concern

Florida's heat can be down right intolerable in July, August and September and these are just some of the measures you can take to make sure it doesn't cause your horse damage or injury. The heat can cause other concerns as well. Don't forget to watch for mildew in your food and hay. With the moisture in the air and all the rain combined with high temperatures it happens quicker than you might think. Check your feed and hay before serving it up. Try not to feed in the dark (because I know most of you have done this a time or two), and use your nose. You can smell mildew easily when you open a bag or a bale and it's present.

Use good judgement. If it's too hot, take the day off and if that's not an option, play it smart! Today may just be a good day to work on desensitizing. I'm thinking water hoses, ice, kiddie pool. I'm sure you can use your imagination!

Sometimes we just need a second chance

Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 2:05 PM

Over the last month as I watched our client, Dina, play, ride and enjoy her morning hang out sessions with Poco, her recently rescued horse. I couldn't help but think how very different life was for Poco just a year ago. Now regularly doted on and worried about. He gets plenty of grooming and care, never goes hungry and seems to enjoy not only their hang out sessions but their rides together.

Dina adopted Poco from HART for Horses and has been in love ever since. It's no wonder why either, the two of them just seem to be like peas and carrots together.

She laughs as she tells you about having a gaited horse at a thoroughbred rescue and how she sometimes felt misunderstood. Dina rented our cottage off and on during the month to receive lessons along with Poco's training with Alex and Anibal. It was obvious that Poco and Dina and her whole family not only fit in here but just belonged.

As we did pictures of Dina and Poco, again I couldn't help but think how this horse, who could've been euthanized or even spent the rest of his life in the situation he was in, was now given a second chance to have this amazing relationship. Sometimes we just need a second chance to show the world how very beautiful we can truly be!

We encourage you to volunteer, support and believe in the hard work of local rescues.

Ribbon Cutting at Hope Equine Rescue!

Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 10:33 AM

Heather and Kim had an amazing visit to Hope Equine Rescue, Inc last Thursday for their official ribbon cutting. Dani Horton and her crew of volunteers are such a blessing to our community. Her rescue facility is beautiful and the work she does there is truly amazing. If you have the ability to donate money or time, this rescue is definitely worth it. We have known Dani for years and can't say enough about her. We loved meeting "Demon Donkey" and all of the other current residents at the rescue. Dani's reading with rescues program for children is innovative and blesses the kids who participate and animals alike. It was fun to learn about specific animals who look forward to this event and really engage with the children. Keep up the good work Dani Horton, we are so proud of you and happy to support your rescue.

New 13 Segment on Spring Lane

Posted on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 9:18 AM

We had a great time as always with Ken Suarez from Fox 13 when he came out Thursday evening to film a segment. Honestly, I think it's easy to forget just how much we have to offer here because it's part of what we do every day. It seems normal to see a horse swimming one minute, and the next someone is on the theraplate. You can almost always find Masha in a stall somewhere doing equine sports massage or Magna Wave therapy and at any given point there are lessons, training, and turn outs happening all over the ranch. It wasn't really until I watched us trying to give people a quick glimpse of the day to day operation that I was able to step back and see it. Why would you want to go anywhere else with all this available?

Spring Lane Ranch on Fox 13 News

Welcome to a Special Family!

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Around here, clients tend to feel more like close friends. You get to know them and their families, you attend events together, travel together, and watch them grow and progress. Cheering for their accomplishments and encouraging them when they need to try again. This is why we get excited when a new family joins ours. We were happy to see James and Courtney Coughlin Makris and their family recently purchase Mandatario de Spring aka "Boss".

Looking forward to making this a family affair with children, James and Mikayla, sparking an interest in competitive riding and horses in general. We agree this is a great family hobby and passion!

A passion Courtney know a little something about! Courtney was the 2011 Quarter Horse Congress Queen and now serves as the Committee Chair for the Congress Queen Contest. She was born and raised on a Quarter Horse Farm in the Mountains of Southwest Virginia. Growing up showing Quarter Horses, Courtney has earned multiple Congress Championships throughout the years.  Courtney and Boss will be training and showing with Spring Lane Ranch and we can't wait to see how they do in their debut together at the Last Chance show in August.

James and Courtney with Boss

"Little" James getting to lead Boss for the first time.

Sire Selection

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 2:49 PM

It's only fair since we discussed good mothering mares last month that we would discuss great producing sires in June, right?

Let's face it, every magazine you pick up has a wide selection of impressive looking stallions who are topping the charts in their discipline. When it’s time to select a sire for your breeding program, all those beautifully designed ads start to run together. It's almost overwhelming to narrow the national, international, sexed, non-sexed, crazy long list of sires into...the one.

The one who is going to give you a better foal than last year or is going to improve your herd's genetics. And while you may be dreaming of raising the next Jordan, Undulata, Chrome or Doc, honestly, every breeder, everywhere, really wants just one thing. Improvement. More bone, more speed, better movement, more athleticism. We all want a healthy foal, but preferably one that sits nicely in front of the backdrop and looks good in purple and tricolor.

As a breeder, of any size, improvement is always the goal.

Just like making an investment, and wanting a good return, you must put the effort into your breeding program. There is no guarantee or promise you will get a great return but like any investment the more effort you put into your decision the better your chances are.

Where to start? Be diligent.

Most owners struggle with this next step but if you want better, you need to look at what you already have. Analyze and access your mare. Where is her strength? Where is her weakness? What would you change? What negative comments do you get consistently from judges? Make a list of the attributes you would change to give her better performance. Second, be realistic. Perception and knowledge can really affect the usefulness of this list. If your judgement is softened by how much you love your mare, or lack of experience, get a Qualified second opinion. Don’t expect more from your mare than she can give, your feminine, fine boned mare is not going to throw you a draft horse. Know her breed and structure and what she can produce in her offspring. Lastly, if your mare truly can’t deliver  what you are looking for, consider spending the money you would invest in breeding into purchasing or using your mare as a recip. Rather than being disappointed and ending up with a foal that won’t meet your needs or expectations, there may be one out there waiting for you.

New or Same? Be deliberate.

Before you can select a stallion, you must ask yourself which way do I want to go? New or old?  The answer to this question will narrow your search and should be deliberate based on the direction you want to go. Most breeders make this decision based on where their breeding program but as a small breeder, you can make this decision simply on preference of the many benefits both offer.

Line breeding and close breeding create the genetics in some of the top horses in the country in every breed, industry and discipline. Offering a chance to take something great and finish the rough edges right off. It tends to take the best characteristics of an animal and solidify them, etching them into every progeny that follows in their line. That would be the double-sided sword of line breeding, what is good and what is bad is now concreted in. Close breeding has some advantages but is not recommended and can result in possible deformities and other health issues.

Like one of those investments that has high stakes but high returns, picking a stallion with completely different blood lines can be a little risky. As an industry, we tend to lean back on what everyone else is using or what has worked with our farm’s lines because its comfortable and safe, offering a cookie cutter experience that grants us a foal “like” something we’ve already had or seen that is proven. However, reaching out beyond what everyone else is doing, and introducing “new blood”, can sometimes be risky but often have great rewards. Creating a brand-new look, one the judges love, one that outperforms, and out runs its competition. One that doesn’t look like everyone else and maybe that is what you are looking for. The tricky thing about new and different, people are never sure if they love it or hate it when it first shows up.

Do Your Homework

You have your list of attributes and know your direction.  It's time to find the sire with all the right pieces. Watch videos, find competition videos, not just the ones posted by the owner or semen service. Call or Facebook people to find out what they think of his foals. (Hint: look up his progeny records in your association and see if you know anyone). If you have the opportunity, go see him. Don't skimp in the areas where your mare is already good. Find a stallion that has those same great traits, chances are, it will not overcompensate those qualities as much as make sure you don't lose something in that area.

Be diligent. Be deliberate. Be involved.

We just finished off the end of our breeding season here at Spring Lane. We have two separate breeding programs at the ranch, Saddlebred and Paso Fino. We chose to do a little old and new this year with our breeding. Some of the sires we chose this year were Sedgefield’s Legacy, Quinto Elemento, and Oculto de la Serranic. If you are interested in learning more about our Paso Fino and Saddlebred breeding program, please contact our office for a tour.


GPFHA Spring Fling

Posted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 9:52 AM

The team had a great time at the Georgia Paso Fino Horse Association's Spring Fling in Perry Georgia this past weekend. Roberta, Janice, David and all the members that helped put it on were incredibly nice and did a great job. We also met a new friend, Mr. George Nettles, who we enjoyed spending time with and getting to talk to.

Leveling the Playing Field

Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 7:01 PM

For over a century stallions have been able to be successful in the ring, on the track and in the breeding field. Ultimately stallion owners have been able to have their cake and eat it to. Owners of truly talented and successful mares have had to make a choice. Does she retire early and become a once talented up and coming star turned brood mare, allowing you to pass those great genetics down. Or do you continue her career knowing you may miss the opportunity to raise her prodigy?

Thanks to science and the tremendous advancements in Equine breeding programs across the world, you no longer have to make that decision. Embryo Transfer (ET), oocytes collection and vitrification, along with advancements in semen collection and AI technology have leveled the playing field for the "working girl" in the equine industry. No longer do you have to choose to put her on the sidelines while the boys run the game.

Dance and one of our recipient mares Dino

A perfect example of that is our latest foal out of Undulata's Nutcracker and Deep Blue's Blue Bonnie. Bonnie had a very good season last year, leaving us excited to see her progression this year from cart to under saddle but still not wanting to miss the opportunity to begin her breeding program. We elected to do ET as we have done several times with our mares that either have a little age to them or are performing well and we choose not to interrupt their show career for breeding at this point. Choosing ET allowed Bonnie to have her first colt earlier this week just as show season is really kicking off for us. As Bonnie continues to work the arena and add to her impressive resume. Dino, Bonnie's recipient mare, seems very content to be enjoying the stables, pastures and receiving all the extra attention as she nurses "her" colt and will continue to raise him till weaning time.

As we give these mares more and more experience and time in the arenas and with the ability to select any sire and even options now for selecting any mare with ease, owners have the control to create a more competitive foal with better genetics. I suppose the real question is, where does this take equine competitions of all disciplines in the future?

Maybe it means that as Bonnie's colt grows and develops his own show career that mommy dearest may just be part of his competition!

Just Arrived!

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 9:04 PM

We are beyond excited to announce the arrival of Bonnie's foal. This beautiful colt Of Undulata's Nutcracker and our very own Deep Blue's Blue Bonnie arrived at 6:45 PM last night! Help us welcome this new bundle of joy to Spring Lane Ranch!

Grounds Guru

Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12:01 PM

Our facilities team recently resembled a hive of busy bumble bees as they waken our sleepy flower beds up from winter's slumber. As you walk the grounds and scan the facilities, you can hear the buzzing of the bees, (ok, technically that's the pressure washer) busy planting, painting, and preparing for Spring and Summer.

Our team may resemble busy bees but after watching several of the projects they have recently been working on come to completion, I think we'll rename them the Grounds Gurus. The new paddock fencing, the cottage flower beds, new flooring in the cottage and apartment, a sitting deck with hanging flowers by the office and the list goes on. Facilities Manager, Ron Lasseter, and his crew Nicki Hernandez, Jerry Vinnedge, and Elijah Lasseter are always working to make the ranch look impeccable. They are the reason so many of our reviews talk about the grounds and facilities here.

Team work goes a long way and it makes the load a little lighter when you have some company. Which is why even our trainers and trainer's assistants have been pitching in to help with some of the larger projects and grounds maintenance. Their hard work has this place truly feeling like Spring, new & fresh!