H is my beloved and most favored horse. He is my longest-owned and my geriatric horse. He is pushing 30 years old. H is my most trusted mount for the youngest and smallest of curious riders.
He is the most reliable and calm statue for crowds of excited children and adults eager to rub their hands on, decorate, and comb the most beautiful of all of creation. He is spoiled, comfortable, sound, and happy. I intend to keep him that way for as long as possible.
But H has become a “hard keeper.” It is a challenge to keep him at a healthy weight. His intestines are growing a thick lining. Anything with grains turn to sugar too quickly and gives him diarrhea. Molasses based diets do the same. In addition, H's old teeth are receding and cannot chew grass so well. He needs alfalfa for protein, except alfalfa is known for blister bugs. Blister bugs will kill a horse.
It didn't always used to be that way. At one time, everyone fed alfalfa to their horses. I asked the folks at the Farm Service Agency what had changed. They said everyone is planting soy beans. More legumes create the perfect blister bug habitat.
The Conservation District said it was global warming. The bugs prefer warm temperatures. All the equine specialists told me it was due to pesticide resistance. Others determined it was the evolution of the horse. The equine could no longer handle exposure to a blister bug bite.
During the drought in 2011, a few Texas friends came up to Kansas in search of forage for their cattle. They were desperate. I found myself gathered in a group of local and distant individuals who were grain farmers, hay producers, and livestock managers. I brought up the blister bugs and horses.
Evolution of equipment quickly became the group discussion. Hay cutters have crimpers and rollers now, it squishes the hay to help it dry faster. Perhaps the squished bugs have no taste. None of us were willing to be the tester of that theory but, a producer in Admire, Kansas had an old cutter and was willing to test the theory to see if a horse would avoid a live bug in hay like they do grazing a fresh field.
The next season he chose not to spray the alfalfa for blister bugs. Sure enough, the field of alfalfa was covered in bugs. I got a frantic call close to midnight. He was shocked at the amount of bugs he saw cutting the field that day.
Perhaps the bugs will leave in search of live plants to lay their eggs? Apparently, growers don't sleep, at least not during hay season. Right at dawn, I got another call from him; "Where did they go!?" He demanded to know. The bugs had left the hay that was drying on the ground.
We now have an excellent source of protein at a cheaper price than other premium horse quality hay, because our producer does not have to invest in pesticides. Our friends in Texas were able to hold on through that drought because they could afford to pay the freight on that same field. H is doing well because we chose to get together and have a conversation to find a solution.
By getting together and discussing all of our knowledge, we were able to find a solution to our problems. Our states need to do the same. They need to get together and find a solution to bring our federal government back to representing the people.
It is time for a conversation to discuss term limits on the federal government, power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and fiscal responsibility.
Meat inspections, EPA regulations, as well as the many other fingers wrapped around our throats would fall under the subjects of this conversation. Let's get the states together for a Article V convention.