Thursday, January 14, 2021

Vet Check, Halfway Across the Country - Full Article

Rebecca Didier
January 12, 2021

There aren’t many of us who will ride a horse clear across the country, but in 1982, before GPS and cell phones, Melissa Chapman did it. On her own with just her horse and her dog for company, Melissa depended on the kindness of strangers to help her complete her journey. In this excerpt from her memoir, Distant Skies: An American Journey on Horseback, we see how a sudden sickness led to a chance meeting that would impact her adventure in more ways than one.


The sun burned high and hot when I stopped Rainy in the shadow cast by a large billboard along the side of the two lanes of Route 54. Rainy snatched at the green grass growing thick there, the reins lying loose on his neck. Gypsy’s tongue hung out as she stretched in front of me on the saddle. Me, I just stared, in wonder you could say, up at the great sunflower welcoming us to Kansas.


We were halfway across the country...

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Keeping Water Troughs Thawed With or Without a Heater - Full Article

Our equine nutritionist offers tips and asks for your input on dealing with ice in horse watering tanks.

Posted by Clair Thunes, PhD | Jan 9, 2021

Q. Winter has barely started, and I’m already tired of breaking ice in my horses’ water trough. Is there anything I can do to help stop the water from freezing other than some kind of water heater?

—Via e-mail

A. We all know how important it is for our horses to have ready access to water, but this can pose challenges when temperatures fall below freezing and you’re unable to use a water heater. It’s a lot of, literally, digit-numbing work and sometimes near impossible to break the ice when temperatures fall. There are some things you can try that might help. However, keep in mind that many of these are less effective as temperatures decrease...

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Monday, January 11, 2021

How much does it cost to travel full time with horses? - Full Article

January 9, 2021
by Jess

Jess and Byron trail riding in Montana

We’ve been living in an RV and traveling with our horses since June 2018. The most common question we receive about our lives as digital nomads is how we afford it. This is usually asked with a tone of astonishment. People can’t believe that it’s possible to travel full time and not break the bank; with horses nonetheless! In my opinion it’s not that hard when compared to owning a home, raising children, etc. I’ll explain how we do it. How we make money

At this time our income comes entirely from Gunks Apps, a digital rock climbing guidebook platform that Byron and his partner Christian started in 2014. The income from this venture is very small but it continues to grow. We hope that it might one day sustain us completely...

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Medical Grade Honey prevents surgical site infections - Full Article

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Medical Grade Honey prevents surgical site infections

Abdominal surgery is a major undertaking in horses, and not without significant risks to the patient. Colic operations, especially those that involve opening the gut wall, risk contaminating the wound with bacteria such that surgical site infection (SSI) is a potential complication.

Medical grade honey (MGH) has been used successfully to treat established infections in both humans and animals, and has been shown to improve wound healing of equine lacerations and significantly reduce infection rate.

Would the application of MGH help abdominal surgical wounds to heal?

A study by Gustafsson and colleagues investigated whether medical grade honey gel, applied on the linea alba during wound closure, would decrease the prevalence of incisional infections in horses undergoing colic surgery...

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Friday, January 08, 2021

Keeping Rodents Out of Your Feed Room - Full article

Rats and mice spread disease and ruin horse feed. Learn how to reduce populations in your barn.

Posted by Clair Thunes, PhD | Jan 4, 2021

As an equine nutritionist who visits lots of feed rooms, I come in to contact with my fair share of rodents. At one large facility that backed a stream I came within three feet of several large rats snacking in the feed room. I didn’t seem to bother them at all, and the barn cat who was sunning himself in the doorway seemed to have decided they had him out numbered. With cold weather coming and native food sources becoming scarce, the attraction of food and bedding provided by our feed and tack rooms makes these unwanted guests almost a given. However, there are several important reasons why you should not accept the presence of these critters in your feed rooms...

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Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Give Colic the Cold Shoulder This Winter - Full Article

January 8, 2020
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff

Colic can strike at any time of the day, month, or year, but impaction colic occurs more frequently in winter. Decreased water intake usually carries the blame for these impactions, defined as a blockage in the large colon caused by any feedstuff undergoing digestion, though other management factors also contribute to the problem.

“Horses require approximately 5 to 15 gallons (20-55 liters) of water per day. Signs of inadequate water intake include production of dry, sparse feces and weight loss,” described Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a nutrition advisor for Kentucky Equine Research.

Forage fermentation requires voluminous water, which is why the large colon and cecum are referred to as fermentation vats. Insufficient water intake forces the body to borrow water from the hindgut, which subsequently hinders the fermentation process and puts horses at risk for impactions...

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Monday, January 04, 2021

Cold Weather Horse Colic - Full Article

With cold weather comes complicating factors that could increase horses’ colic risk.

Posted by Scott Leibsle, DVM | Nov 14, 2016

Well here we are again … winter! The average horse owner is likely well-acquainted with his or her horse’s colic risk regardless of the season, but with cold weather come complicating factors that all owners should prepare for.

The No. 1 cause of colic during winter is a lack of fresh, unfrozen water. Horses must drink 10-12 gallons of fresh water every day and can dehydrate quickly if water is unavailable. Horses that aren’t getting enough water are at a greater risk for conditions such as simple indigestion or impaction. A frozen water trough is the usual dehydration culprit, but occasionally horses choose to not drink water simply because it is so cold. Heaters for your troughs and buckets are therefore an absolute “must” to ensure continual access to water in the winter. Keep in mind that electrolyte supplements are not a suitable water substitute and do not mitigate the risk of dehydration. There is nothing wrong with adding (appropriate amounts of) electrolytes to your horse’s diet, but offer them in a separate container, leaving the main water supply clean and fresh. Horses might attempt to eat snow to compensate for some fluid loss, but snow is largely composed of air and will not provide the volume of water necessary to hydrate a 1,000-pound animal...

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

5 Tips to Get Your Horse to Drink More Water During Winter - Full Article

December 21, 2020

Water is the most essential aspect of any horse’s diet. Without adequate water intake, horses will not survive. An adult horse (1000 lbs.) in a cool, comfortable environment that is not working, or lactating, needs a minimum of seven to ten gallons of fresh, clean water every day. The amount of water required is closely related to the amount of feed the horse has eaten. Most horses will drink 1.5 quarts of water per pound of dry feed intake. If a horse is consuming 20 pounds of dry hay per day, the horse would be expected to drink approximately 7.5 gallons of water each day. The water requirement is higher if the horse is in training, nursing a foal, growing, pregnant or in a hot/humid environment. The best way to ensure adequate water intake is to always provide free access to fresh, clean water.

Issues associated with water intake during the winter months usually revolve around horses not drinking enough water. Water that has frozen or is near freezing will result in decreased intake. Water consumption reaches its maximum when the temperature is maintained between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit...

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How an epic horse ride captured a photographer’s adventurous spirit - Full Article

December 30, 2020
Louise Parkes

Jim Hollander’s work as a photographer has taken him to hotspots of conflict all around the globe including Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Liberia, Iraq, Kosovo and the Persian Gulf — but his most treasured memory is that of a 1000km horse ride across Spain, he tells Louise Parkes.

Award-winning photographer Jim Hollander has seen a lot in his 71 years. He has worked for UPI and Reuters, and was appointed Staff Photographer for EPA covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories in 2003. But from the early days his connection with horses has been strong, and in recent years he covered the equestrian events at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. He was commissioned by the FEI for the final of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup series in Barcelona on three occasions and the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final in Paris in 2018 and was looking forward to returning to Barcelona in 2020 until the pandemic got in the way.

He believes he owes a lot of his success to the experience gained on what the family still describe to this day as “the Hollander horse trip”. Using his diary and photos, in 1993 Jim published From Pizarra to Pamplona – Across Spain on Horseback to recall it in all its glory. The book is as much a homage to his late father as the story of a shared experience, and it captures a moment in time when horses and people could still roam the Spanish countryside in a way that would be impossible today.

The trip was made back in 1973. It took four weeks to cross from Pizarra to Pamplona, and it epitomised the adventurous spirit of an extraordinarily creative family...

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Monday, December 28, 2020

10 Winter Health Care Mistakes to Avoid - Full Article

Keep your horse healthy and happy through the winter months by adapting your management routine for the season.

By Toni McAllister - December 10, 20182811057

Winter is setting in, and while you may be tempted to wrap your horse in an overly toasty warm blanket and tuck him in to a heated barn for the cold season, avoid the urge. He’s better off if you refrain from too much over-coddling. Of course throwing him out for the winter and forgetting about him until the spring thaw isn’t the way to go either. Read on to learn about horsekeeping winter mistakes.

Ensure your horse stays healthy all season long by using common sense and avoiding these Top 10 winter horsekeeping mistakes:...

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Happy Trails Podcast: Riding in Oregon

Happy Trails Podcast - listen

December 18 2020
by Jess

From rainforest to high desert, Oregon has it all! In this episode, guide book author Kim McCarrel joins us to delve into what makes the Pacific Northwest special. Also, Jess tells her story of traveling through Oregon this summer.

Kim is an avid trail rider who has been mapping and writing about trails in the Pacific Northwest since 2002. She has written five guide books plus a booklet on obtaining limited-entry permits. They are available on her website, NW Horse Trails.

In this episode we talk about a few of Kim’s favorite trails. Here they are organized by region...


Monday, December 14, 2020

A Day in the Life of a Modern Horse Nomad - Full Article

December 13, 2020
by Jess

I wake gently to the sound of birds chirping. The morning air is crisp and clear. My horses raise their heads and nicker softly as I open my door. The sun is rising over distant mountains. The fog begins to clear from the meadow as they graze. I take in the glorious view of snow-capped peaks and breathe in the smells of the pine forest at my back. A crystal clear stream gurgles hypnotically as I go about my chores.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Is she for real? The answer is: sort of. Not every day can be this idyllic but many are. That’s why we love living as full-time nomads with our horses. In case this is your first time reading our blog, I’ll give a short synopsis of who we are and what we’re doing...

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Short History of Certain Western Men Attempting To Explain Why Women Love Horses - Full Article

Susanna Forrest
November 30, 2020

“Women are already a bad cocktail unto themselves. Unchecked and untempered they’ll run feral and ruin the best of men, but you combine them with horses and John Freaking Wayne would have difficulty in taming them. I cannot pin it down, nor do I wish to expend the calories of energy to figure out why women have such a psychological attachment to horses, but they do.”
Aaron Clarey on MRA blog, Return of Kings.

Poor Aaron. A certain kind of man will forever be mystified by women, largely because he won’t listen to what they actually have to say. Nowhere is that clearer than in the centuries-old subgenre of Men Attempting To Explain Why Women Love Horses, which is busting with theories about phallic symbolism, misplaced maternal instinct and women basically being oversexed animals anyway. I wrote my first book, If Wishes Were Horses, about the history of the girl–pony bond, an experience that led to my dentist telling me that women had orgasms when riding and a guy standing up after a talk I’d given and mansplaining that it was all about sex anyway. Now it seems more appropriate to flip the script and ask, why are men like Aaron Clarey so worried – even scared – by equestriennes? After some extensive research in the archives I boiled it down to four reasons:...

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Road to the Tevis Cup Post #20: Finding the right saddle - Full Article

by Jessica Black
December 7, 2020

Finding the right saddle is far more important when you are riding endurance than when you are galloping racehorses or training show horses. When people used to complain to me about saddles, I had a stock answer: Ride the horse, not the saddle. For most of my life, that is what I have done.

Oh, I cared about saddles–for me, less saddle was always more comfort. When I was a teen working Morgans, I used a cutback flat saddle for everything except showing. At the track, my galloping saddle was as minimal as could be. For me, it has always been about maximizing contact with the horse and minimizing saddle.

Then I started training for endurance. Many miles and long hours in the saddle (of the same horse) make saddle fit to horse and rider essential...

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Saturday, December 05, 2020

No horses or peacocks: US limits service animals on planes to dogs - Full Article

Transportation department said passengers bringing unusual animals had ‘eroded public trust in legitimate service animals’

The government has decided that when it comes to air travel, only dogs can be service animals, and non-human companions used for emotional support don’t count.

The transportation department issued a final rule Wednesday that aims to settle years of tension between airlines and passengers who bring their pets on board for free by saying they need them for emotional support.

For years, the department required airlines to allow animals with passengers who had a doctor’s note saying they needed the animal for emotional support.

Airlines believed passengers abused the rule to bring a menagerie of animals on board including cats, turtles and pigs...

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Friday, December 04, 2020

Researchers shine spotlight on two proteins crucial to exercise in horses - Full Article

December 2, 2020

Researchers have taken preliminary steps toward unravelling the roles of two important regulatory proteins produced by muscle cells during exercise in horses.

The Polish research focused on 20 purebred Arabian horses, half of whom were in racehorse training and the remainder being conditioned for Endurance contests.

Sylwester Kowalik and his colleagues from the University of Life Sciences said skeletal muscle is considered the largest endocrine organ determining the maintenance of energy balance.

Adaptive changes in skeletal muscles in response to exercise affect the production, as well as the secretion, of proteins known as myokines, which play a crucial role in energy expenditure.

Kowalik and his colleagues carried out a preliminary study to investigate the impact of two different types of exercise on the circulating level of two myokines, myostatin and irisin, in horses...

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Monday, November 30, 2020

Understanding Choke in Horses - Full Article

Chokes are common equine emergencies with potentially serious consequences. Here’s what you need to know.

Posted by Lillian M.B. Haywood, VMD, CVMA | Nov 27, 2020

Esophageal obstruction, or “choke,” is a common equine emergency. Unlike in human medicine, where choking refers to a tracheal (or windpipe) obstruction, choke in horses refers to an obstruction of the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The most common sign horse owners recognize is feed material coming from the nostrils, although they might also notice choking horses hypersalivating, retching, not eating, acting colicky, or coughing. Chokes can have serious consequences, so it is important to have your veterinarian evaluate your horse as soon as possible.

Most commonly, chokes occur when horses eat concentrated feed too quickly without chewing it appropriately. The feed doesn’t get softened with saliva and forms a firm bolus that gets lodged in the esophagus. However, esophageal obstruction can also occur with hay or straw, hard treats, carrots, or nonfood objects. Anatomical problems, such as poor dentition and abnormal esophagus anatomy, can also predispose a horse to choking...

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Early Education: Instilling a Foundation of Trust and Confidence - Full Article

The Fox Hollow program teaches future show horses how to handle pretty much anything through gradual exposure to scary stimuli.

By: Shawn Hamilton | November 24, 2020

After a hiatus from their Hanoverian breeding business, Sally and Garry Moore found themselves missing the young horses around their 100-acre farm in Castleton, Ontario. Taking in a foal for a friend laid the stepping-stone to Fox Hollow Stable’s unique service of not only weaning foals, but also laying a foundation of trust and confidence through gradual exposure to stressful or scary stimuli.

Sally worked at a Hanoverian breeding facility as a young girl, where she fell in love with the breed. In 1994 she and Garry purchased the farm and had their first foal in 2002. The work they did with their own foals earned them a reputation of having well-behaved youngsters. In 2013, they retired from the breeding industry completely. The next spring, as a favour to a friend, they took on a foal she wasn’t quite sure how to raise ‒ and they were hooked once again...

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Road to the Tevis Cup Post #19: Prerequisites for riding the Sierra Nevada - Full Article

by Jessica Black
November 19, 2020

Well.. I suppose technically I mean prerequisites for riding the Sierra Nevada foothills. I’m about 10 miles from Sequoia National Forest. The training barn is at an elevation of ~770 feet. The gate to the cattle ranch adjacent to us is at ~890 feet. My closest riding loop rises to 1860 in a mile (a bit more than half a mile as the crow flies). My current riding (climbing) goal is Hatchett Peak, at 3,261 feet, 2.50 miles as the crow flies.

Yesterday I got about halfway to Hatchett Peak, in the distance it will really take us. I rode about 2.5 miles along our eventual trail, and then headed home. Fantazia is not yet fit enough to go the whole way. Yesterday’s ride was 5.50 miles in 2 hours. Total elevation gain = 1,650 feet. We weren’t in a hurry, we explored trails and rocky ravines. I managed to scare myself many times… Fantazia had to back up, turn leaving a specific foot on the trail, and let me get off and lead. She scrambled up a very steep rocky slope behind me, and did not step on me when I fell.

I was very grateful to have a smart, seasoned horse. And I thought I should make a list of the abilities a horse should possess before it is taken out on these hills. Horses vary in temperament, but you can teach them to be smart, to think, and to listen to the rider when things get scary...

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Is There any Benefit to Feeding Oats? - Full Article

If your horse has nutrient requirements that are higher than what is being met with hay alone – particularly energy, oats can be an excellent option.

By: Shannon Pratt-Phillips, PhD | April 28, 2016

Yes – if your horse needs them! Of all the cereal grains (e.g. corn, barley, wheat, etc.) oats have the most appropriate nutritional profile for horses. They are an excellent source of calories, and have a better protein and amino acid profile than many other grains. They are higher in fat and fibre (thanks to the hull) and are, therefore, lower in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) than most other grains. They are well digested within the horse’s small intestine, even with little processing (as long a horse has good teeth!) and, therefore, pose a lower risk of sugars reaching the large intestine and contributing to colic or laminitis. Also, because of their lower NSC content, they are not considered a “hot” feed...

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Binge Watch the Equus Film & Arts Fest from Home - Full Article

Gretchen Lida
November 13, 2020

Like many events, the 2020 EQUUS Film & Arts Fest is going virtual this year. Unlike many events in 2020, this one is perfectly suited for the at-home experience. Featuring 50 plus films, 60 books, 13 artists, six podcasts and more, it’s 10 days of jam-packed equestrian escapism—all from the comfort of your couch. And it starts now!

The EQUUS Film & Arts Fest launches today, Friday, November 13 and runs through Sunday, November 22.

Bringing together horse lovers around the world, the theme for 2020 is appropriately “Pony On,” reminding us to keep working and causing mischief even when times are hard. One common thread in this year’s submissions is the idea that horses connect us, serving as bridges across language, culture, and political divides in ways that very little else can...

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Researchers probe the metabolic consequences of Endurance racing - Full Article

November 14, 2020

Researchers are hoping to establish a metabolic performance profile for Endurance horses, which could ultimately be used to assess their readiness to compete.

The pilot study, involving 62 horses, used molecular-based techniques to determine the effects of endurance on metabolite levels. In doing so, they painted a picture of the demands of Endurance riding in greater detail than ever before.

Endurance rising involves competitive contests over distances of up to 160km. Races are broken into a series a loops, with veterinary monitoring of horses at the completion of each loop. The elimination rate is typically 30-70 percent, with lameness, dehydration and metabolic issues being the main causes.

It is therefore crucial that horses are metabolically fit to compete.

The study, a collaborative effort between entities under the umbrella of the Qatar Foundation, used metabolomics to assess the metabolic status of competition horses...

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Girth Aversion in Horses: Gastric Ulcers Pinpointed - Full Article

February 19, 2020
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff

Saddle enough horses and you will run into one that detests girthing. A horse that is sensitive to cinch-fitting, sometimes called a “girthy horse,” usually displays signs of protest, including tossing the head, pinning ears, wringing the tail, stomping a foreleg, kicking out with a hind leg, and worse. Is girthiness an expression of resistance, a sign of shaky work ethic, or could there be an underlying cause?

Veterinary researchers set out to determine the causes of girthiness in a retrospective study of 37 horses admitted to the University of California, Davis. Although identifying the exact cause for girth aversion remains a challenge, 12 of the horses studied were diagnosed with gastric ulceration...

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Learning Arabian - Full Article

November 5, 2020 / Ashley Wingert

In all fairness to mares, I’ve actually had to have “that” pre-ride chat with more geldings over the years. Granted, the proportion of mares to geldings is significantly smaller, but I don’t feel like I’ve been handed as many shenanigans by the mares. But then I am ardently biased towards Team Mare, so take it for what you will.

That said, last weekend involved full-blown Arabian Raptor Snorts after Liberty decided that large rocks were her mortal enemy. It was probably the spookiest she’s ever been, but even then, I can’t complain when the worst she does is stop and stare and snort, or maybe veer sideways a couple feet if the trail is wide enough. And what I really love is that she doesn’t overreact. Once she’s past something, it’s over and forgotten about, and she doesn’t hold onto worry or angst or keeping ramping up. I’ve said it before that she’s a very “thinky” horse and appreciates some time and no pressure to work something through in her brain. She is bold and brave but she’s also sensitive, and too much pressure will get her back up and make her start to resist...

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Remembering Sgt Reckless: USMC War Horse - See Video

Sgt Reckless was a Marine Corps Horse who served heroically in the Korean War. Sgt Reckless was featured in The Saturday Evening Post and Life Magazine for her heroic actions during the war. Sgt Reckless was promoted to Staff Sergeant by the Commandant of the US Marine Corps after the war ended and served out her final days with the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA.