How to Fend Off Snails
Two Saturdays ago I attended my monthly educator’s Green Thumb gardening class at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. The focus was on pests and diseases. The instructor who is a classroom teacher herself with a degree in horticulture had a special guest–one of the head gardeners from the Huntington!
My burning question was, “What do you do to get rid of snails when you have dogs?”
I have a friend whose dog got into snail bait accidentally; tragically, the pup didn’t survive the poisoning. So here’s how we’ve been handling our local snails.
“Mark, there are a ton of snails on the wall. Can you please get them?”
Brave husband walks over and plucks them off the side of the house and succulents and launches them into the air, over our ugly chain link fence that separates our property from a cement flood control canal. They crash land onto the cement.
“Do you think they will land and crawl back up here?” I ask. Mark doesn’t think they can survive.
It seems so brutal, but the snails are pretty brutal to my aeonium.
Mark suggests, “You know, we could eat them. That’s what the French do.”
Official Huntington Gardener response: “We pick them up, put them in a bag and step on them. It doesn’t sound too nice. But if we have a major infestation we will use snail bait. Sluggo now makes a product that is pet-safe. Just look for the packaging with a dog and cat on the front.”
I had planned to cut out of the 3-hour gardening class a little early as there was a horse show going on that weekend at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. And it wasn’t just any show! It was an all-Thoroughbred show. I love gardening, but I LOVE horses and I had never heard of an all-Thoroughbred show before. I HAD to go investigate. I had been following the show on Twitter (you should follow them too @TCHShow) and since I was already somewhat in the area for my gardening class, heading over to Burbank would be a breeze.
Hooray for Hollywood! (actually Burbank)
If you’ve never been to Burbank, California, it’s really quite an interesting community. It’s very suburban, maybe even urban. There’s a big shopping mall where you might bump into a celebrity. The Disney Studios are located there, so from the freeway you see the huge sound stages used for TV shows. (I attended a taping of the final episode of Home Improvement at one of those sound stages back in the day.)
Burbank is also home to Griffith Park, the mountainous 4,000+ acre “Central Park” of Los Angeles with hiking and riding trails. From the Griffith Park Observatory you can get a view of the iconic Hollywood sign. If a trip is not in your near future, click here for a webcam view of the Hollywood sign.
The equestrian center is huge and smack dab in the middle of this urban panorama. Some of the surrounding streets have homes that are considered horse property, but not in the sense of grand estates with expansive acreage and pastures in front or back.
My friend Heidi once astutely observed that the spirit of the independent Old West lives on in Burbank as people are like, I don’t care if I’m in a residential neighborhood with sidewalks and stoplights and neighbors close on either side. If I want a horse in my backyard, I’ll have a horse in my backyard!
As you drive up the street to gain access to the entrance to LAEC, you’ll notice homes with horse trailers in the driveways and possibly see a horse and rider in the pedestrian crosswalk like I did.
Once I made it to the show grounds, I saw two large arenas, both peppered with brightly colored jumps. One had a jumper class in progress and the other a hunter class. I noticed later there was a dressage arena a little further away.
I watched a hunter round and then sparked a conversation with a woman dressed in riding garb who had been taking pictures with a huge camera, standing nearby me along the rail. “So how’s the show going for you?”
The helmeted rider cheerfully said she’d already ridden that same horse in an earlier jumper class, “And I’ve never even ridden him over fences before! He was great.”
She came from Orange County with four Thoroughbreds. I believe the barn where she boards is located in the same community where the Housewives of the OC live (I do not watch the show, nor do I advocate it unless you want a lesson on how not to behave).
The lady said the chestnut was newer to the world of horse shows, having spent his previous life on the track. In fact, she might have said it was his first show. He and the rider seemed to be having a good time.
I confessed that I used to show and had owned a Kentucky Thoroughbred, but didn’t really know anything about all-Thoroughbred shows. She indicated it was kind of a newer thing, but that they were really fun and her plan was to go to all the other ones scheduled for the remainder of the year.
I told her I was just getting back into horses after a hiatus, and Thoroughbreds are my favorite so I had to stop by and check it out.
I watched a few more rounds and then walked over to the shopping area! In addition to buying the navy tank top (love the logo!), I got a Dodger blue V-neck tee. I couldn’t decide between the two so I said to the gal selling the merchandise, “It’s for a good cause, right?!” She agreed with me and I later found out the Thoroughbred Classic show is run entirely by volunteers (except for the judges who are all United States Equestrian Federation-recognized and paid for their services).
What exactly is the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show?
In a nutshell, the aim of the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show series is to provide a venue for all Thoroughbreds, whether raced or not, to be celebrated and compete in various disciplines, ranging from halter, barrel racing, Western, and trail classes, to dressage and jumping. Their slogan is “from racehorse to sporthorse.” There are even fun classes so Thoroughbred owners who are more into pleasure riding and not into competition, will come on out to be part of what seems to be an equestrian movement.
I learned more from talking to a Thoroughbred Classic board member who happened to be nearby directing volunteers, that the shows are sponsored by the Siegel CARMA Foundation (CARMA stands for California Retirement Management Account–it’s a 501(c)(3) which exists to support retired racehorses and transition them from the track to their post-racing career).
She explained that in California, virtually zero Thoroughbreds are competing on the A and B show circuits as warmbloods have supplanted them over the past 15 years. In addition, the cost of one rated show weekend can approach $4,000! (Which probably is not that big of a deal to someone who has $100K for a show horse, but for the rest of us. . .yikes!)
So, in addition to promoting TB awesomeness, the Thoroughbred Classic Show series aims to provide a high-quality show experience, but at a more budget-friendly rate so that families without the income level of the Hollywood elite can still enjoy horse sports–on a Thoroughbred.
Sounds like a superb idea to me!
Check out the websites for both Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show and CARMA. You’ll be impressed by the classes offered at the shows. I heard the next show will have the standard show plus a 3-day event all in one! It is June 14 and 15 in Temecula, California which is located in wine country (like a smaller version of Napa Valley).
Horsey friends, are there Thoroughbred-specific horse shows where you live?
Non-horsey friends, did you know just are there are myriad dog rescues, for example, that scores of organizations exist to give ex-racehorses a second career and place them in forever homes?