Me and BootZ

Bay Area Equestrian

Last edited November 4, 2017

Me and Pickle Felt Lake
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Owner / Trainer / Clinician

Gilroy, Ca
408 888 8703

Ecology and Nature

Fly Parasites

I currently am using fly parasites from kunafin for fly control. I get a batch of parasites once a month with instructions about where to put them. I have been using them now for 6 summers, and they really do work. fly "predators" is a brand name of fly parasites sold by the Spalding company-- same thing.

I see less flies on the horses and less flies that sneak into our home.  I started with a vendor that delivered two species. The actual insect names are nasonia vitripennis, and muscidifurax zaraptor.   These species focus on house flies, and are very small, about the size of a small fruit fly. I never seem them after I set them out.   In 05 I switched to who deliverers 11 predator species.  I noticed a more dramatic reduction in flies, especially around the barn, as I'd unknowingly been only controlling house flies the past six years.

In 2012, I was behind the mark in getting my parasites. The flys have been worse than i ever recall in our 14 years on our property. I am using selective fly poison on the barn wall surfaces. Our biggest breeding area is the dropping of soft food from our senior horses. I also like the roll out sticky fly paper. No poison and real results. It helps if you use a small piece of wood or cardboard and screw down the strips, otherwise the wind blows them.

Beneficial Nematodes

Here are three really great research based articles about beneficial nematodes and their ability to kill flies.  It is important to know the species of nematodes you are buying, as not all are as effective or have been tested against house or stable flies.  The most important species are Steinernema feltiae.  It then is important to know who sells it, and under what conditions to apply it.    I will be experimenting this year, 05.  I am excited to see how well I can reduce my fly population.  the fly predators have made a noticeable change.  This should be an interesting year 

The nematodes made a difference in 05. I have seen them forsale at Orchard Supply in the garden section. We just had a warm summer rain, this will be a perfect time to try them again.

Manure Management

I also use CBCT from for compost acceleration. I collect the manure from my pasture. We stack it in PVC perforated leach line pipes, water it every other day or so. The accelerator is completely natural and breaks the manure into usable compost in 14 to 21 days. Otherwise, it takes several months for the manure to compost. Either way, piling it and keeping it wet makes it hot enough to kill fly eggs and also keeps the smell down.

The day after I spray on the CBCT, the pile is very hot. It really works.  I have tried a few other products, Accelerator from ARBICO and an off-the-shelf brand from the Home Depot.  The CBCT works fastest of the three and is much better priced.

Arena Construction

I used Roger Santos to make my arena all weather. I had heard the only way to get a good base was to use base-rock which is very costly. Roger cut my costs and my arena has had no mud in the winter, even with Draft horses working on it! I've had this arena for four years now, and being a trainer it get's a lot of use!

Here is a good source for reading about arenas. It is from Penn State.

Recycled Rubber Arena Footing and Mats

If you are in California, contact West Coast Rubber Recycling for your arena footing  and barn mat needs.  Support the recycle community.  I can attest that rubber arena footing is wonderful, both for horses and for the people who are walking around teaching.   I also use the rubber mats in my barn.  For large orders, they can custom make some of the mats with texture.  Talk to Cameron Wright
West Coast Rubber Recycling
1501 Lana Way Hollister, Ca 95023
Please feel free to contact me or come see and feel my footing!  My horses will tell you too, they love it!

Dust Control and Management

I have performed much research in this area and have yet to take the plunge on one product or another.  Here is a good article to read if you are thinking of adding in something to retain water:  In sand, I tried a vegetable oil product, ecological and very biodegradable.  The problem is that sand has no holding power, that is, what ever you put on it goes through it, so oils stay on the surface for only a short while.  My arena is in the full-Gilroy sun as well, so anything that the sun dries out into nature goes away quickly.  I also have a large dirt roping arena.  I am experimenting with the vegetable based dust suppression in the dirt.  If it works well, the question will be how long it lasts.   I am using the watersorb polyacrlimide crystals  in my sand arena, and it does hold the water longer and makes the footing more "cushy".  It is non-toxic and degrades after a number of years.

I am still trying to get more used vegetable oil, as on plain dirt, it is best. I even have gotten natural scenting oils to add to the used vegetable oil.  I'll add more info as I find a good source. 

07, I currently stock pile used veg oils from a restaurant. I pour it on the dirt around the edge of both the sand arena and the dirt round pen. It works great. Sometimes there is a "restaurant" smell, so I buy citronella scenting oil from peak candle supplies. Put the citronella in a spray bottle; walk around the oiled surface and the scent masks the oil. But, be careful, if you have a pet, like a dog. who thinks the oil is apetizing.....they will eat the dirt/sand!

Insect Repellent, Natural

Looking for something that I can use on my horses that isn't poison. The mosquito's are horrible this year. I found this article, from Michigan. It cites both "poison" chemical and plant derivative and natural oils. 7 hour mean repel time could be great! I vote for the ingredients in Bite Blocker. Every product in the use must have a MSDS, or material safety data sheet. It tell the ingredients, the dangers etc. Here is Bite Blocker's MSDS.
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EquestrianTraining Creative Ecology Recycling and Such

© Christine Amber, MA, 1998 - 2008


Site Description
Equestrian is a small, personal  horse training barn and riding club in Gilroy, Ca. (South San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley) where owner/trainer Christine Amber trains horses and riders. Equestrian Training's focus is teaching adults and teems about, caring for, riding , keeping and owning horses as well as developing safe, strong, and sensible riding skills.  You can take  private riding lessons in English or Western Riding. You can join the riding club which emphasizes horses as a lifestyle that encompasses exercise, recreation, fun and a significant time commitment of three rides or group lesson a week.   Equestrian Training's horse training focuses on foundations that develop safety, relationship, willingness, obedience and balance in an athletic horse.