Category Archive: EDUCATION

Holsteins are the Thoroughbreds of the Dairy Industry

In 2016, Saratoga City Center played host to 75 male and female calves and more than 1,300 human attendees for the National Holstein Association’s annual conference. These animals were not your average heifers. In fact, the cows in attendance were literally outstanding in their field.

Holsteins are the top breed in the dairy industry, and breeding and bloodlines are just as important to dairy farmers as they are for the thoroughbred racing industry.

The National Holstein Association Conference and Sales are held in a different city each year and cities vie for the opportunity to host the event because of the revenue it generates for the community. Sounds a little like Saratoga’s annual Fasig-Tipton yearling sales, doesn’t it? After a week of education, entertainment, business conferences and sight-seeing, attendees gear up for the real reason for attending: to buy and sell the bovine “cream of the crop.”

Like Fasig-Tipton, potential buyers get a chance to preview the high-class heifers before the actual auction begins. In addition to the live bidding event, online bidding also takes place for buyers across the country, as well as from around the world.

Hotel for Heifers?

You’re probably asking yourself where these “hot” heifers stayed while they were in town. Well, the cattle were kept in air-conditioned tents in one half of the City Center’s nearby parking lot, where they were fed, bathed, groomed and pampered in preparation for their entrance into the auction hall. The other half of the parking lot housed their feed, bedding, grooming supplies and heavy-duty transportation vehicles. Total sales for the event were $1.8 million.

By the time it was all over, the highest price calf at the auction came from a farm in Schuylerville farm and was bought by a Wisconsin dairy farmer for a whopping $180,000.

Other local farms that sold cattle at auction include Kyle Getty, partner of Cookie Cutter Holsteins at Ideal Dairy Farms in Hudson Falls, whose calf sold for $20,000.

The CEO of the Saratoga Springs Convention Center said that the bidding process to hold the conference took place four years earlier, and they must wait another four year before they are eligible to bid on getting the heifers back in town again.

But there is good reason to bring the conference back to Saratoga County. In addition to the considerable revenue the event generated for surrounding businesses, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lists Saratoga County as being home to 34 dairy farms, most of them family-owned and operated, producing nearly $40 million annually in milk sales.

You can be sure all those high-class heifers were kept safe and secure with the best panic snaps, quick release snaps and other equipment designed to keep the cows and their caretakers safe and secure. No one needed to see a stampede down Broadway, after all.

Henssgen Hardware has been supplying the dairy industry with the highest quality rigging equipment and hardware since 1978. We stock more than 100 different styles of snap hooks, pulleys and quick links in all sizes and in a large variety of metals to serve the dairy industry as well as marine, sports and agricultural industries. Our full-service warehouse, located in upstate NY can ship your order and get it to you within just a few days. And, our online catalog makes purchasing quick and easy.

Contact Henssgen Hardware today at our toll-free number, 800-833-9598, to talk to one of our knowledgeable staff. Or visit us at and view our online catalog.

What is Equine Therapy and Who Does it Help?

Hippotherapy is defined as “the use of horseback riding as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment, especially as a means of improving coordination, balance, and strength.” There are many equine therapy programs across the country that are dedicated to helping special needs individuals achieve a maximum degree of freedom, independence and mobility through tested and innovative methods of equine assisted therapy and medical rehabilitation. One of them – Saratoga Therapeutic Equine Program (STEP) – is located at the New Forest Equestrian Center in Glenville, NY and is celebrating 30 years of helping others.

For Kay Stanley-White, Executive Director of STEP, her love affair with horses began as a young child and has only grown stronger through the years. Kay created STEP in 1986 as a continuation of her work in Physical Therapy, as well as equine animal husbandry. STEP is a way for Kay and her team of therapists, instructors and volunteers to make a difference in the lives of people affected with a range of medical, emotional and psychological disorders, while also giving horses the opportunity for meaningful lives in a richly supportive and caring environment.

There are numerous examples of the benefits of using horses in the rehabilitation of people with traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and multiple sclerosis, as well as autism, anxiety and depression.

Kay explained that, by using the rotational movements of the horse when treating a person recovering from brain injury, for example, the side of the body that is “spastic,” – i.e., stiff or unable to move freely due to the injury – the movement of the horse has the effect of neurologically relaxing the muscles on that side of the body.

Kay gave another example, when dealing with children suffering from anxiety or depression.
“For these patients, the number one need is to be able to bond with someone or something. The horse offers that bond through a silent form of communication. And it is a magical bond,” she added.

“The horse responds intuitively to the needs of the patient and, gradually, the patient goes from experiencing an unsafe feeling to a feeling that this is a safe place to be,” she said.

She added that growth occurs through risk-taking on the part of the patient, all of which is happening in a non-threatening environment.

“Horses don’t judge, but they do teach, through non-verbal communication,” she added.

STEP also serves a vital role in the lives of the horses who call the New Forest Equestrian Center their home. Currently, there are 16 horses of all breeds, sizes and colors at the facility, ranging from miniatures to large Percherons. Each one of them has a purpose.

“All of the horses at New Forest Equestrian Center are rescued horses that needed a job and a life,” noted Kay. Two thoroughbreds who lived and worked at the farm, recently passed away at the age of 30 years. Both of them were given the chance to lead long, productive lives in an environment of love and healing.

At Henssgen Hardware, we are committed to providing the best horse hardware and equipment to our customers. Equine therapy centers around the country rely upon double side bolt snaps and quick-release panic snaps to ensure that their hard-working horses and their therapy clients can all work together in a safe and positive environment.

Visit Henssgen Hardware and browse our catalog for a complete line of horse hardware and rigging equipment.

Don’t Wait for Spring Thaw to Plan Your Outdoor Awning Installation

Even though it’s too soon to call winter officially over, it’s not too soon to start thinking about awning installation season. Once the snow starts to melt off the roof and the deck flooring begins to emerge from beneath the frost, our thoughts turn to long summer afternoons relaxing under the shade of an awning or canopy.

If you’re a DIY kinda guy or gal who wants to expand your outdoor living space, you should start thinking now about what type of awning you want. These days, there are many different types of awnings to choose from. But the common denominator is that they all need the right kind of hardware.

The first thing to consider is what type of awning you want for your house. Is it going to be stationary or retractable? If it’s retractable, will it be motorized or manual? How big do you want your awning to be?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can figure out what kind of rigging hardware you will need. Mounting brackets that you can install on your siding is the first important consideration. You will need to select brackets, mounts and connecting fittings that will work with the type of siding you have on your home.

If your awning is retractable or movable you will need to select swivel eye pulleys and snaps that will allow your awning to move smoothly and with a minimum of effort. Stainless steel hardware will offer the best protection against the elements, as will rot-resistant rope and cords.

If you are planning to install a larger awning that will span large outdoor deck or patio spaces, it is very important to look at large harness swivel-eye pulleys and fixed-eye trigger snaps.

Maybe your backyard or deck calls for a smaller portable awning? It doesn’t really matter what size or shape it is. It’s just as important to have hardware that won’t weigh your awning down or make it difficult to move or rotate. Using stainless steel, swivel eye pulleys and weather-resistant cords and roping will make relaxing under the shade of your awning a breeze.

Regardless of the size or shape of your awning or canopy, Henssgen Hardware supplies the best snap hooks, pulleys, quick links, and rigging and mounting equipment to get the job done right and make your summer outdoor space hassle-free.

Call us at 1-800-833-9598, contact us online and check out our amazing selection of industrial rigging hardware in our product catalog.

Got Milk? Then You Also Need Stainless!

The rapidly growing popularity of small, local makers of food and dairy products means that there are a growing number of customers who need to upgrade their farm equipment to meet strict codes enforced by the dairy industry. Also, more and more people want to know where their food is coming from. So, local producers and farm stores are experiencing a rebirth around the country.

Small local dairy farmers are making and selling their own yogurts, cheeses, butter and milk right on the farm, which means they must use stainless steel equipment. The average person may think that stainless steel is only necessary for equipment such as the milk holding tanks or stainless equipment in the food processing areas.

But, stainless steel is also one of the best materials for snap hooks, quick-release and panic snaps, and pulleys. If your local farmer’s pulleys and hooks resemble something you might find in the vintage antique shop, it’s time for a change.

Some facts about dairy cows

  • Did you know that there are about 11 million cows in America and 94 percent of them are the familiar black and white Holsteins?
  • When a Holstein is born, it weighs about 90 lbs. By the time it reaches adulthood, it weighs an average of 1,500 lbs. and stands almost five feet tall at the shoulders. That’s one hefty heifer!
  • Cows need to be able to move their heads freely. They tend to panic if they are restricted from looking behind them. That is why fasteners, snaps and quick-release snap hooks are the safest kind of equipment to use – for both the cow and the farmer.

Some reasons to use stainless steel pulleys, snaps and hooks

  • Stainless steel is chemically and biologically neutral and has no impact on the dairy products you consume.
  • Stainless is easier to clean and disinfect because of its smooth surface.
  • Because of its composition, stainless steel is extremely durable and resistant to corrosion.

So, save those vintage pulleys, hooks and riggings hardware for the flea market or antique shop. When buying hooks, pulleys and snaps, think stainless steel.v

Henssgen Hardware has been supplying customers with the highest quality rigging hardware since 1978. We stock more than 100 different styles of snap hooks, pulleys and quick links in all sizes and in a large variety of metals to serve the dairy industry as well as marine, sports and agricultural industries. Our full-service warehouse, located in upstate NY can ship your order and get it to you within just a few days. And, our online catalog makes purchasing quick and easy.

Contact Henssgen Hardware today at our toll-free number, 800-833-9598, to talk to one of our knowledgeable staff. Or visit us at

Are you ‘Out of Your Element?’

Fun Facts About Brass!

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is known for its resilience, strength, and high quality. It has been around and in use since ancient times, as both a decorative and utilitarian material. Changing the ratios of copper and zinc when producing brass will result in a material with different coloring and different properties.

Did you know that our neighbor to the East, Waterbury, CT, was once known as the most important center of brass production in the country? During the 1800s and well into the 20th century, foundries in Waterbury produced brass for buckles, buttons, and other decorative items. In addition to producing pipes and pipe fittings and many other materials in high demand during both peace and war.

The American Brass Company, Griggs & Smith, Randolph & Clowes – to name a few – were among the giants of the Connecticut brass industry. During the Civil War, all the brass buttons and buckles that went on the uniforms of both the Yankees and the Confederates were produced at the foundries in Waterbury.

Brass is an important alloy, because of its strength, resilience and high quality. It is widely used on craft, fashion and decorative items, like women’s purses, handbag and luggage clips, snaps and snap hooks, as well as in fashion jewelry, belt buckles and shoe buckles. Unlike other metals, it is more malleable and holds up better under pressure.

And, it can hold up to the elements. In addition to its uses for fashion and decorative items, it is used widely in marine, plumbing, and harness industries.

Zinc – A Ubiquitous Element

Listed as Zn on the periodic table of elements, Zinc has an atomic number of 30 and is important to plants, people, and animals. Traces of zinc can be found in certain foods, as well as in dietary supplements. The human body needs a certain amount of zinc every day to maintain proper health and optimal functioning.

Zinc is an ingredient in many cold remedies, and some studies indicate that it may be useful in reversing heart disease and fighting cancer. Zinc plays an important role in hormonal balance, it boosts immunity, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

You’ve no doubt heard of zinc-oxide. It’s that stuff you put on your nose to block the harmful UV rays from the sun. Well, zinc is also the primary ingredient in hot-dip galvanizing of steel to protect it from the elements and prolong its life. So, in different forms, it protects human skin and steel – pretty cool, huh?

Because of its protective qualities and lower pricing than brass, zinc-coated steel products, such as snaps, hooks, clips and pulleys are used regularly in the dairy and farming industries.

Whether your business requires brass, zinc, stainless steel or malleable iron, Henssgen Hardware supplies only the highest quality products. Visit us online and view our catalog for a complete product guide and pricing.