Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Lion - through the eyes of a student

In addition to attending to life's duties, Leo Camarillo provides roping instruction to students, and one of his recent students shares this story:

I am safely back and all in one piece albeit a little beat up and with a hole the size of a quarter on the inside of my right foot, put there from riding on my toes for two whole days. If you don't remember I was going to a refresher course on team roping cause it has been awhile since I have been in the saddle.

Leo Camarillo is know as the Lion of Rodeo. And well deserved. He has made 21 trips to the NFR. Among his records are 5 world titles, one all around title and 6 NFR championships. So if you want to learn from the best, go to the best.

He met me at the airport in Phoenix and the next two hours as we drove to his ranch was delightful. He reveled me with stories and escapades of days gone by.
He is in his mid 60's but you couldn't tell. He and his brother were born on a ranch in Santa Ana and his parents worked the Santa Margarita Ranch. His father was a roper and the two boys soon learned. He has taught the likes of Steve Wynn and James Cann.

In rodeo circles he pioneered today's modern approach to roping. He and his brother were the first to break six seconds in team roping. Now they do it in less than 4 and his technique was directly responsible for this in addition to the short lead time the steer gets because the arena at the Thomas and Mach is too short. From 1967 until he retired he averaged winning 1 saddle a month. (now I don't care who you are that is great right there).

And he is an excellent teacher. Now I mention this because there are lots of pros in all areas who excel at what they do but most couldn't tell you how they do it. Well Leo can.

We arrive shortly before noon at the ranch to be greeted by his two children age 7 and 5 and his beauty queen wife, a former cheer leader for a National Sports team.

He immediately puts me on a metal horse and pulls a mechanical steer up beside me and says with a gruff voice, "lets see what you can do." All afternoon I swing a rope and catch or miss the horns. There are three types of legal catches in team roping, both horns, head, or one horn and head. But the most efficient is both horns. This makes for a faster time and better handle on the steer. And Leo will have only the horns count. When I can rope both horns ten times in a row I can move to a live horse.(next post I will give detail as to the proper technique of taking slack, etc).

That evening I expect to head back to Cottonwood and the hotel for a nights rest but Leo and his wife Sue would not have it. They took me up to Sedona for dinner and a tour of Cornville.(yes that is a town in AZ). Then they let me go.

So today, gentle reader I will leave you with these parting thoughts(since a persons attention span is short and there is much more to tell, I will add some daily till the story is complete).,

Thumb always down until you dally unless you want to loose that thumb, stop looking at the saddle horn, never leave your rope on the ground, never get off your horse in the arena, always watch the steer, put your dally hand in your pocket, stop trying to float the horses teeth, I have a vet who does that, (these word will echo in my head till the day I die).(all of this sprinkled with salty words that would make a sailor proud).

So until tomorrow, thumb up.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pigeon Fever Tips

Dr. Farquer shares information from Colorado State University about the disease:

Clinical signs: Early signs can include lameness, fever, lethargy, depression and weight loss.

Infections can range from mild, small, localized abscesses to a severe disease with multiple massive abscesses containing liters of liquid, tan-colored pus.
External, deep abscesses, swelling and multiple sores develop along the chest, midline and groin area, and, occasionally, on the back.

Incubation period: Horses may become infected but not develop abscesses for weeks.Animals affected:The disease usually manifests in younger horses, but can occur in any age, sex, and breed.

A different biotype of the organism is responsible for a chronic contagious disease of sheet and goats, Caseous lymphadenitis, or CL. Either biotype can occur in cattle.

Disease forms: Generally 3 types: external abscesses, internal abscesses or limb infection (ulcerative lymphangitis). The ulcerative lymphangitis is the most common form worldwide and rarely involves more than one leg at a time. Usually, multiple small, draining sores develop above the fetlock.

The most common form of the disease in the United States is external abscessation, which often form deep in the muscles and can be very large. Usually they appear in the pectoral region, the ventral abdomen and the groin area. After spontaneous rupture, or lancing, the wound will exude liquid, light tan-colored, malodorous pus.
Internal abscesses can occur and are very difficult to treat

Diagnosis: Your veterinarian can easily collect a sample for culture at a diagnostic laboratory. It is important to isolate the bacterium to get a definitive diagnosis since pigeon fever can superficially resemble other diseases.

Treatment: Hot packs or poultices should be applied to abscesses to encourage opening. Open abscesses should be drained and regularly flushed with saline.
Surgical or deep lancing may be required, depending on the depth of the abscess or the thickness of the capsule, and should be done by your veterinarian.
Ultrasound can aid in locating deep abscesses so that drainage can be accomplished.
External abscesses can be cleaned with a 0.1 percent povidone-iodine solution

Antiseptic soaked gauze may be packed into the open wound

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as phenylbutazone can be used to control swelling and pain

Antibiotics are controversial. Their use in these cases has sometimes been associated with chronic abscessation and, if inadequately used, may contribute to abscesses, according to one study.

"I've treated two cases of Pigeon Fever in the last 30 days, one with and one without antibiotics. I made my choices based upon the specific situation and patient. I stress that no two patients are the same, so get a little help if you find one of your horses with Pigeon Fever." he added.

Pigeon Fever

This is NOT what you want to see on your good rope horse. Recently, one of Jerold's students bought a Pro-caliber calf horse, and as cowboy luck would have it, the horse broke with Pigeon Fever 4 days after he was bought. Through no fault of the seller, and just plain bad luck, the horse first broke with infection 4 days after the purchase but 14 days before a significant roping that was critical to year end standings. In case you face the same situation here's some advice from one of the vets that the Camarillo's sometimes use. Dr. B. Farquer.
"Pigeon Fever, once considered a California equine disease primarily has been found with increasing frequency throughout the US. James Voss of Colorado State University reports a significant increase in cases in Colorado. "The disease is caused by a bacteria called Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis" says Dr. Farquer. "There are similar diseases in cattle, sheep and goats" he adds. There is a seasonal component and it seems to peak in the fall. "Our new calf horse broke with the disease in late September, consistent with the seasonality" says Dr. Farquer. The bacteria is ubiquitous to normal soil which means it lives there naturally. "This disease is highly contagious" says Dr. Farquer and "precautions must be taken". He indicates that the pus that drains from open sores should be cleaned up, soil should be treated with clorox bleach or lyme and sunlight. "This is not something you want all over a dark, and moist indoor barn stall" Dr. Farquer says. One of the complications involves pendulous edema, a filling of the skin and soft tissues with lymph fluid around the lesion area. Cold water, massage, and exercise may help. "There are other medications we may use for the edema" Dr. Farquer adds, "but they can have complications, so veterinarians tend to prescribe on a case-by-case basis". One thing that helps these horses is to exercise them. Walk/Trot and limited saddled riding helps with the edema, but should not be done until the veterinarian clears the horse to do so. "Contamination is a problem in the under-belly area on chinches" says Dr. Farquer. "I have my clients use a preg-check sleeve with the hand portion cut off, like a plastic tube, that is placed over the chinch. This way, if there is fluid draining it will not contaminate the chinch". He notes that it may be necessary to autoclave (a form of steam sterilization at high pressure) or disposal of contaminated tack. "You have to understand that this is NOT something you want spread between horses, and tack is a common pathway" says Dr. Farquer. "If in doubt, through it out".


Consistent practice, consistency of roping fundamentals make for a consistent finish. Last night, Chris Perry, a Camarillo student not unfamilar with either the pay window or headlines, finished 2nd in Oakdale at the California High School Rodeo Association Jackpot Fundraiser. The roping capped at 8, had 160 teams entered. Chris was edged out by less than 2 seconds on 4 head for second. He also finished 7th with Cody Peterson, going to the pay window twice. Other Camarillo roping students did well too. Amanda Valente and Colton Farquer were called back in the high teams as well. On Sunday, October 4th, Colton placed 2nd in the Calf Roping and 2nd in the average. Typical of results from Leo and Jerold Camarillo, someone took notice of his improvement. "Is that your boy?" he asked. "No, answered Jerold, but I coach him on a regular basis". "I can tell" he answered. "That was a slick move under the rope". Certainly there are a number of ropers holding clinics and schools across the nation. Many if not most have something to offer. One thing is certain, the Camarillos continue to influence calf and team roping at the Senior, Professional, Collegiate, and High School level. This weekend was no exception.