Letters: 04/07

Land Conservation

While I’m thrilled to see attention given to a staggering problem, my first reaction to John Strassburger’s article in your March 2007 issue (”Horse Owners And The Land-Use Crisis”) was, well, duh.

Having grown up in Harford County, Md., in a suburb, I’ve witnessed the heartbreak of watching farm after farm being turned into subdivisions since the ’70s. Perhaps this is new to people who weren’t aware of the problem because they lived so far from the beltway that their land has only recently been invaded. People rarely take notice of a problem until it hits home.

I think we’re ignoring a key problem here, though, which is the fact that there are too many people. Developers are building subdivisions because people are buying them. Just where is that 95% expected to live’ I’m quite sure Mr. Strassburger doesn’t want us to follow him to the country, so we can experience the ”cycle of life” since apparently living in the country is the only way to know about that. But people have to live somewhere.

I’m excited that the article outlined actions to take, organizations to contact and ways for people to do something about the problem, but I also think we need to address the underlying issue, as in what is one’s impact on this earth; where will we live’ Wouldn’t it be a better idea if that 95% chose urban areas, cities and inner-ring suburbs, over housing developments farther out, built on land that was a farm five years ago’ My point is, if more people lived my lifestyle, there would be more open land.

I’m attempting to make a smaller impact. My claim of land is 18 feet wide. I drive a small car, not an SUV. My commute is 6 miles. I found a boarding situation that is nine miles from my house in an area with so much open land. I can ride for many miles, because it’s in a land preservation (and I thank the souls who made that possible).

Consider that it’s a good idea for urban areas to be more livable, to have public transportation, safety, good schools, and an ”ideal natural setting” to visit. People who want to preserve open lands must realize, the more people choose to live in cities and inner-ring suburbs, the more open land will be available for everyone to enjoy.

I suggest a better attitude toward the 95% without assuming they don’t know anything about walking in a meadow or feeding animals, especially since a good percentage of Horse Journal readers are probably in this 95%. I’ve heard this discussion amongst horse people before, and I am weary of this condescending attitude ”country people” have regarding ”city people.” I’m not sure how people gather information to form these opinions, but unless one has lived in the city or interacts with many people who do, what do you really know about it or them’

I can assure you that I, along with all of my urban friends, know where food comes from. To suggest we don’t is hugely insulting. I agree it has to do with being aware. But it has nothing to do with where you live and everything to do with being preoccupied with one thing or another, and being a part of that other 5%, doesn’t make one automatically aware. Awareness comes from within.

Betsy Denning

Case History A Hit

The story about Joe, the horse with insulin resistance in your February 2007 issue, got through to me. After a month on a new regimen, my fat cranky Arab shed weight and perked up in zest and attitude. Miraculous! Thanks so much for the story. It finally forced me off the fence.

Kate Failing


Vitamin E Softgels

In the January 2007 article on vitamin E and selenium supplementation, you listed a number of equine products. Most of them were in powder form. I use a more convenient source: Softgels for human use. You can buy softgels in doses ranging from 400 to 1000 IU per softgel, allowing you easily to tailor the dose you feed to your horse’s dietary intake and level of work. You can feed a combined E and selenium supplement in a dose proving a safe level of selenium and use the softgels to boost the E alone. The per-day cost is competitive with the equine supplements. They’re available at any supermarket or drugstore, and my horses eat them readily.

Laura Graaf


Do-It-Yourself Reader

I rely on the Horse Journal more than any other horse publication. In just completing your survey (go to www.horse-journal.com and click on the ”survey” link), I realized how many times I have turned to your publication before making a purchase or in better understanding how to deal with a particular issue facing one of my horses. I’m always appreciative of you remembering that some of us prefer to ”keep things simple” and I hope that will never change. I also appreciate the honest balance you seek between going ”natural” and taking ”natural” too far.

We have five horses. I’m a retired woman in my late 50s living out my childhood dream. We do natural trim through a trained farrier and rely on vet services, but otherwise we do all horse-keeping duties ourselves. Although we live in farm country, we work hard to find good hay for our horses. We use Spirulina (thanks to you) in fly season but otherwise rely on Triple Crown Lite and salt blocks (again, thanks to articles you’ve done).

Jan Smaby

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