Reader Letters – April 2012


I need to know how/where to purchase the leg heat sensor mentioned in the February 2012 Commentary by Margaret Freeman.? I’d be interested in finding out both about the $100 version marketed to racehorse trainers and the $40 version you spied at a hardware store.? Marnia Merrigan,? California

Associate Editor Margaret Freeman responds: Twice in the last 10 years, We’ve written about hand-held infrared thermometers made by Raytek and marketed by a racing company at around $100 and up. The sensor is designed to detect hot spots in electrical equipment, but it also works great to confirm where a soft-tissue injury or other inflammation might be brewing in a horse’s leg.? Basically, the human hand isn?t sensitive to a change of temperature within about 5 degrees, while the heat sensor will take that down to 1 or 2 degrees.? If you find an area of concern in one leg, you then compare it to the same location in the opposite leg.

The racing trainer company no longer exists, but you can go directly to It says their ST line, which is the model we have, is now their lower-cost Fluke line.? However, recently we started noticing the devices in catalogs and stores that carry electrical equipment, prices starting around $40.? We found one at Home Depot and decided to compare a bargain-priced unit to the one we had.

Our unit, made by Commercial Electric and priced at $39.95, works similarly to the Raytek one we have. Pull the trigger, and aim the laser beam of light at the leg.? (Just don’t aim it at anyone?s eyes!)? You get a digital readout that fluctuates as it reads the surface temperature of the leg while you run the beam up and down.? Release the trigger and it holds at the last temperature shown.? The unit showed the same consistent fluctuations as our older unit, although it was also consistently a degree lower (with no way for us to know if the old unit or new unit was the correct one).? However, that didn’t bother us since the fluctuations were the same.? Only downsides: Your eye has to be at the same level as the digital screen (the Raytek can be seen without squatting too much), and it doesn’t come with a case.? At this price, we’ll go ahead and squat and we’ll grab a plastic bag from the kitchen for storage in the tack room.


Margaret Freeman, you did a good job on this necessary task (Blanket Repairs, December 2011)!? My wife, Judy, came up with another solution. She uses carpet tape. When ironed on, it holds amazingly well. We have two blankets now in their third season of use, since she used this tape to secure the tears. John Surzler,? Michigan


I used to use duct tape for emergency repairs on horse blankets until I discovered Gorilla Tape works better. I used it on a large tear and washed the blanket with it still on. The Gorilla Tape stuck on better than regular blanket repair tape!? The blanket has since been washed several times and the tape is still tight.? We now use Gorilla Tape for everything in the barn instead of regular duct tape. Anne Barnett,? New Jersey


?Riding and training horses is a constant exercise in developing humility. While confidence is tremendously important in dealing with horses, ego is useless.? ? From Training Challenges: When To Stop And When To Push On? by Performance Editor John Strassburger, February 2012.

Now there are words that everyone should hear and observe with all creatures, not just horses. My first spiritual master, a very down-to-earth person, said that teaching, like real estate, requires three things. But in teaching they are patience, patience and patience. Stewart Dean,? New York

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