Saturday, November 17, 2018

All Breeders’ Cup Equine Drug Tests Come Back Clean

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Breeders’ Cup’s extensive out-of-competition and pre- and post-race testing program at this year’s World Championships involved testing 289 horses.

Posted by Edited Press Release | Nov 9, 2018

There were no positive drug tests—on out-of-competition and pre- and post-race—at this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships, the organization announced Nov. 8.

Breeders’ Cup completed an extensive out-of-competition and pre- and post-race testing program at this year’s World Championships, held Nov. 2-3 at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, which included the testing of 289 horses.

This year the organization continued its expansion of its most comprehensive testing program. Out-of-competition testing began in June with all Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners and other targeted possible starters in both North America and overseas and continued right up until the Championship races.

Breeders’ Cup engaged an out-of-competition testing coordinator, William Farmer, DVM, who worked with regulatory associations and with testing laboratories around the world, including the British Horse Racing Authority’s Lab LGC, France Galop’s official Lab LCH, and the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California, Davis. All three labs are certified by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). The executive council of the IFHA also specifically endorsed the updated protocols of the Breeders’ Cup which were put in place in advance of last year’s World Championships...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/162669/all-breeders-cup-equine-drug-tests-come-back-clean/

What to look for in a horse trailer

Trailmeister.com - Full Article

October 31 2018
by Robert Eversole

As published by Saddle Up Magazine

A horse trailer is a big investment and comes with a lot of big decisions to ensure that we make the right choices for us and our mounts.

Let’s break down these decisions into the main factors to consider. Here are my top considerations for what to look for in a horse trailer.

Size is Important – Does the trailer fit both your animals and you?

horse and mule by trailerYour horse or mule doesn’t get to decide on whether it’s going for a ride so we need to make sure that they’re as comfortable as possible. If the space is too small, he’ll will be cramped, likely unhappy, and may decide that he doesn’t like trailers in the future. Measure your horse from nose to rump (height, length, and width) before going trailer hunting. And consider how many horses you’ll be hauling.

The right trailer is not only comfy for your horse(s), it should be the right size to tow safely behind your vehicle, and hold all the gear you need for your riding and camping adventures. Size is one of my first considerations in what to look for in a horse trailer...

Read more here:
https://www.trailmeister.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-horse-trailer/?utm_source=MailingList&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Nov2018-general

Thursday, November 15, 2018

100-Mile Musings

GoPony.me - Full Story

NOVEMBER 13, 2018 / ASHLEY WINGERT

I don’t spend a ton of time on Facebook discussion groups, endurance-related or otherwise. I tend to “lurk” — I read and pay attention, but don’t often chime in, mostly because I’ve always tended to keep a fairly low public profile and social media, and use it more for direct interaction with friends and people I know. But I digress. Long story short, a thread on one of the endurance groups popped up in my newsfeed this afternoon and caught my attention.

The gist of the topic? What is stopping people from doing 100s?

Good question. Wish I knew the answer. Especially because I could probably be the poster child for a skeptical eyebrow raise of “Why do you keep doing this?” with all of the ups and downs I’ve experienced along the way. Maybe I’m just a slow learner, because I still have a love affair with wanting to try 100s. I got into endurance with the specific wish and desire to do 100s. Especially Tevis, but all of the 100s (particularly the “buckle” 100s) have appeal to me and are on my “I hope I don’t have to wait until the unforeseeable future to get to do them” list. With my current set-up as a catch-rider, the 100-mile goal becomes that much more elusive, but it doesn’t stop me from hoping/wishing/scheming...

Read more here:
https://gopony.me/2018/11/13/100-mile-musings/

The Unsung Heroes of WWI

FEI.org - Full Artice

9 November 2018

As we mark 100 years since the Armistice Day of November 11, 1918, we look back at the important role that horses and mules played during World War I…

The animals were used as the primary means of achieving military mobility during the First World War.

Mechanisation was in its infancy; so there were few trucks or lorries available and they were mechanically unreliable and road-bound. Every branch of service – infantry, artillery, cavalry, engineers, logistics - was dependent on equids.

They were employed either as riding animals (primarily, but not exclusively, in the cavalry) or, in greater numbers, as draught animals, so they fulfilled both a combatant role in battle, and in supporting logistics.

In fact, the scale of animal use was extraordinary, with the British army alone boasting 510,000 horses by 1918...

“We always think of modern wars as being ‘mechanised’ but in fact the scale of animal use during both world wars was unprecedented. Never before have so many animals been mobilised for military service – unless we recognise this, we fail to understand how modern wars were actually fought,” Gervase Phillips, Principal Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, told FEI.org.

Phillips said the greatest single demand was probably for gun-teams to haul artillery pieces. North American mules and North American light draught horses proved especially useful to the British in this role and tens of thousands were brought across the Atlantic.

Throughout the conflict, the British Army deployed more than a million horses and mules, though there weren’t enough horses in Britain to meet demand, so over 1,000 horses a week were shipped from North America...

Read more here:
https://www.fei.org/stories/unsung-heroes-wwi

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Spotting Lameness: The Game Plan

HorseNetwork.com - Full Article

REBECCA DIDIER

Every horse person with a couple of years under her belt has some sense of when a horse looks “off” or “not quite right,” but even when your eye can spy the hitch or hesitation, determining the source of the problem is a challenge few can conquer. Acknowledging that even veterinarians tend to rely more on expensive (and often inconclusive) diagnostic tests rather than well-trained perception to identify lameness and trace it to its origin, Dr. Bob Grisel has written a guide intended to simplify the process. His book Equine Lameness for the Layman instructs all in the fundamental knowledge that can make “seeing” what’s wrong, and what the likely cause is, second nature, ensuring happier, healthier horses. Here he outlines his basic game plan.

***

We visually assess our horses with the intention of recognizing potential lameness and surmising the likely source(s) of the problem. Satisfying our ambition is relatively painless when the horse is noticeably “off”; it can be considerably more difficult when gait abnormalities are visibly faint. Fortunately, we can make lameness more conspicuous by:

• Improving our ability to see it.
• Maximizing the horse’s expression of it.

Choosing the best approach, gait, and setting for our assessment will decidedly support our efforts...

Read more here:
https://horsenetwork.com/2018/10/spotting-lameness-game-plan/?fbclid=IwAR1ACSxyLx6lN_9UPeVAuQ37j7iNi4TvDkSd6DP1FAtsQ-ixjHjdPIQPPoI

Friday, November 02, 2018

Trail Riding Safety Essentials

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Ten things that could save your life when you’re on the trail with your horse.

Posted by Kim McCarrel | Nov 1, 2018

I’ve been a trail rider for a long time, and I’ve experienced my fair share of trail emergencies. I’ve seen injured riders, injured horses, and damaged tack. I’ve fallen off and been hurt, been cold and hungry, and run out of water on a hot day. And I’ve taken a wrong turn and gotten lost.

I’ve learned from those experiences that having the right equipment with you and being prepared can make the difference between a mild misadventure and a disaster.

Experts advise hikers to carry the “10 Essentials for Survival,” including waterproof matches, a flashlight, extra food and water, and a mirror for signaling rescuers. These are important items for horseback riders to carry, too. But we also need a few other things hikers don’t, so here’s my version of the 10 essentials for horseback riders (some might be good for hikers, too):

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/162195/trail-riding-safety-essentials/

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What’s All the Hype? Feeding the Energetic Horse

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Find out how some simple diet changes might help calm your hyperactive horse.

Posted by Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS | May 21, 2018

Some simple diet changes might help calm your hyperactive horse

He’s impossible to catch in the pasture when out with his herdmates. He’s jigging about while you tack him up. And he eyes every blade of grass beside the arena suspiciously, as if one might reach out and grab a fetlock at any moment.

Some might say he’s “feeling his oats,” pointing at nutrition as the cause of his hyperactivity. Could a simple grain change bring this four-legged kite back down to earth? Let’s find out.
Pinpointing the Cause

Many factors can influence a horse’s hyperactivity, including genetic predisposition, experience and learning, management, and nutrition. In most cases multiple factors play a role in this behavior and, without a complete understanding of each, it’s easy to single out nutrition, specifically concentrates, as the main culprit...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/19645/whats-all-the-hype-feeding-the-energetic-horse/

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Researchers Study Inflammatory Markers in Endurance Horses

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Drs. Allen Page and David Horohov have studied inflammatory markers in racehorses since 2012. This was their first opportunity to measure those markers in nonracehorses,

Posted by University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment | Oct 26, 2018

Much of the research conducted by scientists at the University of Kentucky (UK) Gluck Equine Research Center, in Lexington, takes place in and around Central Kentucky—after all, it’s been dubbed the “Horse Capital of the World.” But sometimes the researchers get to take the show on the road.

Earlier this year, Allen Page, DVM, PhD, researcher and veterinarian at the Gluck Center, who works with David Horohov, PhD, director of the Gluck Center and chair of the Department of Veterinary Science, traveled to the 63rd annual Tevis Cup endurance ride in northern California for a research project.

Page, Horohov, and colleagues have spent the last several years looking at inflammation in racehorses and the utility of inflammatory marker testing to quantify fitness and possibly detect brewing injuries before they become serious. Inflammatory marker testing measures multiple genes responsible for the inflammatory response in horses. As the Thoroughbred industry works together to improve the safety and welfare of racehorses, Horohov and Page have seen the potential for a significant impact in this work through their research efforts, an ongoing project since 2012...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/162068/researchers-study-inflammatory-markers-in-endurance-horses/

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Equine Stomach Health: Omeprazole, Diet Changes, and Ulcers

KER.com - Full Article

September 5, 2018 By Kentucky Equine Research Staff

Omeprazole is the only medication proven to heal gastric ulcers in horses, but veterinarians and nutritionists often recommend diet changes to help combat equine squamous gastric disease (ESGD). Little research has been done to affirm or refute the notion that these diet changes actually help affected horses.

To determine if dietary changes help horses with ESGD, researchers found 34 animals with an ESGD grade of 3 or 4. A score of 3 signifies a large single or extensive superficial lesions, while a score of 4 denotes extensive lesions with areas of apparent deep ulceration. The grading scale goes from 0 (normal) to 4. Each animal was paired with another that had the same ulceration grade and that resided on the same premises, on the same diet, and with approximately the same workload.

After initial gastroscopy (scope 1), one of the horses was assigned to a diet composed of restricted starch, while the other in the pair was maintained on the diet familiar to it. All horses were treated with omeprazole for four weeks. Another gastroscopy (scope 2) was performed on all horses after the four-week omeprazole period. Horses were then taken off omeprazole for six weeks, and a third and final gastroscopy (scope 3) was performed. The horses remained in work throughout the entire trial...

Read more here:
https://ker.com/equinews/equine-stomach-health-omeprazole-diet-changes-ulcers/?utm_source=KER+Newsletter&utm_campaign=14d8eeaea4-Seasonal_Spotlight_Fall_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0d95781dfc-14d8eeaea4-11166&mc_cid=14d8eeaea4&mc_eid=6283eb0e4a

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Why Do Horses Eat Dirt?

Equiforce.com
 
One of the most frequently asked question from my clients is “Why does my horse want to eat dirt?  Is she missing something in her diet?”  Well, the question can be answered several ways, as there is not one particular reason why horses engage in this perfectly natural activity. Horses are supposed to eat a certain amount of dirt on a daily basis.
 
1. Dirt is a natural part of the equine diet.  It contains minerals in bio-available form that the horse needs for various metabolic functions.  Some of the minerals, iron for example, are more utilizable from the soil than when added to feeds or stored in forages.  Horses that are constantly stabled and deprived of minerals naturally found in dirt may develop deficiencies even when supplied with those minerals in processed feeds. 
2. Dirt also contains microbes that the horse’s digestive tract can benefit from.  Some microbes are located in plant roots so the horse may dig through the dirt to get at the roots of these plants.
3. Dirt contains water and salt which can both help a thirsty horse stay hydrated.  However, it is always better to make sure horses are supplied with fresh drinking water and salt at all times.
4. Horses that do not have access to dirt on a daily basis may gorge on it when it is suddenly available.  Again, it is perfectly natural ingredient in the equine diet so allowing the horse access to dirt every day is recommended.
5. Dirt has course particles that will help naturally grind down the horses teeth.  Horses kept in stalls do not get this added benefit of eating dirt and must have their teeth floated more often than those out on pasture.
6. A horse with nothing to eat will eat dirt due to hunger and boredom.  This is a very common cause of dirt consumption in horses.  It is imperative that horses in dry lots or paddocked on sand be given forage on a continuous basis to avoid overconsumption of dirt due to hunger or boredom.  Such a situation is dangerous as it can set up the digestive tract for impaction colic very quickly.  Always have forage available when horses are stabled or paddocked with no grass.
7. A horse with an upset stomach may seek out and eat dirt or clay. According to Dr. Christine King, “Clays in particular contain very absorbent particles which can bind up bacterial toxins, organic acids such as those produced by sugar fermentation, certain viruses, and other potentially harmful substances in the gut. The bound toxins are then harmlessly removed from the body in the manure”.
8. Soil contains fiber from leaves, bark and stems and can provide bulk fiber to a horse that is deficient in structural fiber.  Again, horses that are stabled or paddocked on dirt or sand must be given free access to forage to adequately supply the hindgut with enough fiber.  Horses deficient in fiber will eat sawdust, shavings, straw, fences, stalls planks, trees and dirt or whatever they can find to satisfy this requirement.
 
So for the health of the horse, please allow some daily access to dirt.  It’s healthy, nutritious and natural!
 
Renowned equine nutritionist Dr. Amy M Gill has formulated a line of nutrient targeted therapies for horses that are affected by growth, metabolic, exercise and immune disorders by providing them with targeted levels of specific nutrients. Equi-Force products are novel, proprietary formulations based on solid clinical and field research. Dr. Gill’s formulas contain therapeutic dosing and when used correctly, will help exert a positive physiological effect by providing the raw nutrients the horse needs to get and stay healthy. She can be reached at 859-229-2447 or drgill@equiforce.com

Dear Greenbean

MelNewton.com - Full Article

October 22, 2018
Posted by Melinda Newton

Hey you, trying to get your horse up to a trail ride of double digits for the first time. Yes, you in the corner who did a long ride last weekend in the stunning time of…3 mph. Do you feel an eternity away from the miles and pace of an endurance ride?

I’m here to reassure you that you are on the right track. I’m writing this to remind myself that *I’m* on the right track too.

You see, it’s been a long long LONG time since I brought along a newbie horse in this sport.

I forgot just how “baby” those baby steps are in the beginning.

I did a ten mile loop on MerryLegs last week. It was a moderate difficulty single track loop. It took FOREVER.

I understand why people make an LD a two or three year plan because OMG, at this point that’s how long I feel like it’s going to take me to get this horse past ten miles at 3 mph...

Read more here:
http://melnewton.com/2018/dear-greenbean/?fbclid=IwAR1QeIm6lifpQ.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Horse Trailer Maintenance

Trailmeister.com - Full Article

Top 5 areas to check before every trip

May 2, 2017
by Robert Eversole

Spending just a little bit of time inspecting and maintaining your horse trailer before hitting the road, will pay big dividends in the form of staying safe. We check the following trailer systems at the start of every riding season and periodically throughout the summer as well.

If you don’t feel mechanically inclined enough to do it yourself, a qualified professional can do all the work for you.

Tires – Check your tires and spare tires to make certain they have the appropriate tire pressure. The pounds per square inch (psi) is located on the side of the tire. Tires filled to their approved maximum rating are less apt to flex and blowout on the road. Also check your tires (and spare tires) for sign of dry rot. Remember tires are subject to drying out even when the trailer is stationary for long periods of time.

Floors – Weak, rotting or corroded trailer floors can be the cause of devastating yet preventable horse trailering tragedies...

Read more here:
https://www.trailmeister.com/horse-trailer-maintenance/

Monday, October 15, 2018

How to Handle Wild Animal Encounters With Your Horse

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Before you hit the trail, make sure both you and your horse are prepared for any wildlife encounters that might occur.


Posted by Tracy Gantz | Sep 28, 2018

Joan Burlingame has access to 27 miles of trails adjacent to her property in Ravensdale, Washington. It’s the perfect place to go riding on her Tennessee Walking Horse or her mule. However, it has also led to encounters with just about every type of wild animal in the area, including dive-bombing owls.

“They are totally silent, and they approach from the back,” says Burlingame. “Barred owls tend to be the most aggressive, and they’re huge. They will go after your head. The joke is that one of the barred owls here has a baseball cap-collection.”

Though owl attacks are rare, it’s one more good reason to wear a helmet. Wildlife encounters can be spectacular at a distance. But dealing with them up close and personal can cause problems, from your horse spooking to an attack that could injure and even kill you or your horse.

As with any facet of equine safety, taking precautions in advance can help you avoid wild animal encounters and perhaps save you and your horse from injury if and when they do occur...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/18132/how-to-handle-wild-animal-encounters-with-your-horse/

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Horse Hoof Sole Packing Reduced Impact Vibrations in Pilot Study

Thehorse.com - Full Article

The theory is that when the polyurethane pour-in packing absorbs the shock from the hoof impacting the ground, it prevents it from traveling further up the musculoskeletal system, where it could cause wear and tear injuries.

Posted by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA | Oct 10, 2018

Some work on hard surfaces can help increase the loading rates of a horse’s internal structures, but too much or repetitive hard-surface work can lead to musculoskeletal damage. Ideally, horses should work on a variety of surfaces with minimal hard-surface exercise, most researchers agree. But sometimes, that’s not an option.

“Police horses spend a majority of their time on city streets and other hard roads, for example,” said Amy L. Barstow, MRCVS, PhD candidate, of the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the U.K. “So do leisure horses sometimes, especially in periods of drought like the U.K. is having right now. Not all owners have access to soft arena surfaces. So, finding a practical solution to this problem was necessary.”

Barstow and colleagues recently investigated a pour-in polyurethane sole packing materials for that purpose. They found that it helps reduce certain forms of vibrations and forces in the hoof, at least in their introductory study. The theory is that when the polyurethane absorbs the shock from the hoof impacting the ground, it prevents it from traveling further up the musculoskeletal system where it could cause wear and tear injuries...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/161573/horse-hoof-sole-packing-reduced-impact-vibrations-in-pilot-study/

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Know Thyself (Reinventing the AERC?)

AwareWelfare.net - Full Article

by John Crandell
October 3 2018

I do understand the facts and sentiment driving Patti Stedman’s recent essay “Enough is Enough” as well as the many similar statements and calls to action. There are some subtle but very important distinctions that are consistently being missed in this kind of perspective. There is important background that keeps getting swept under the rug during the distraction of such rhetoric.

I have long been critical of the way AERC submitted to FEI/USET(USEF) demands in the very beginning. The AERC was once an organization with a boarder-blind, multi-national(continental) identity and a global outlook. Its influence expanded rapidly from its origins in California because of the broad demand for a standardized set of rules and record keeping, as many different events inspired by the integrated veterinary control system of Western States (Tevis Cup) began to propagate across North America.

In the early expansion of the discipline it was recognized that standardized rule and recording of performance, applied over as wide an area as possible, was a vital foundation for equestrian sciences and particularly of maintaining a vibrant and healthy gene pool. This consistency in competition also enhanced the disciplines appeal as a sport with global potential. This in turn promoted greater interest in quality breeding and research, so to this extent the economic development of the competitive sport and supporting industries was also in the best long-term interest of equines. We had a very healthy form of globalization underway, and the AERC was the principal supplier of rules and recording standards behind it all.

Then after some initial resistance, the AERC submitted to FEI/USET assertion that the AERC should be a single nation governing body, thus subordinate in the FEI’s INTERNATIONAL system. In complying with this externally imposed definition of itself, the AERC disrespected its non-USA members by forming only one committee to interface with one national federation, creating unequal representation among its membership. “International” is not the same as “global”. International competition is mock wars between sovereigns. In this environment the athletes, and especially their mounts, are inherently little more than solder pawns of a sovereign power.

Those sovereign powers may be autocracies seeking to popularize and secure the power of it’s nobles, or they may be a democratic representation of a million couch potatoes looking to see a new type a sensational sports drama, like watching NASCAR to see the wrecks. Either way, the populist influence is not good for horses. For each person that is excited by the drama of the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”, there many more that are appalled at having horses involved in such human follies. Since the most vocal are only equipped with reference that is supplied to them in the form of the anthropomorphizing caricatures of popular media, they really can’t be expected to clamor for any solution more complex than an empathy driven demand for complete shutdown of the sport. Empathy is not the same as compassion (1), so in the end, horses will suffer more in this outcome too.

However big a juggernaut FEI is globally today, there is good reason to question how much longer the world will continue support any animal sports business model that must leverage nationality as the core of its power structure. If the FEI doesn’t undertake major efforts toward a very fundamental change soon it will be to late for this Titanic of an organization of maneuver sustainably into the future. We should all hope that the FEI will have an epiphany soon, but we should do more than just complain about the FEI or withdraw from interaction altogether and wait for it. There is much that can be done to create positive change with or without FEI cooperation. We all need to prepare for the void that will eventually be created if the FEI does not wake up, and in doing to so we create the strongest incentive of all for FEI to awaken from its nostalgic slumber and change.

Our horses can benefit immensely by global standards in endurance tests, but they have suffered enough in the quirky wars and political games of man. In learning how to support horses more globally, without dragging them into our petty tribal rivalries and politically stacked bureaucracies, we will exercise wisdom that is important for our own welfare.

It’s impossible to accomplish anything globally without paying basic respects to the various legal structures of the nations that quilt the planet. However, it is not essential that the business models be based on license to economic monopolies in each sovereign, or against governance entities that are represented in several sovereigns.

In summary, standardization and globalization of practices in sports is of vital importance to the welfare of equines, but we should be critical about the degree to which nationalism needs to be a part of globalization.

Whenever the AERC posts new proclamations about what it dislikes about the FEI or International competition, what it “cannot tolerate” the FEI is allowing to happen, that it should not ratify the terms the FEI has drafted for it, that it will stop diplomatic relations and withdraw into its own more limited domain; the AERC is effectively defining itself in subordinate relation to the FEI and international competition.

It is unfortunate that this FEI-reactive definition of its own identity has also resulted in other unhealthy changes in the AERC community. In the absence of popular understanding of details behind the issues in international competition, there arose a popular rejection of many aspects of the pursuit of excellence itself. Notable exceptions to this popular dismissal of achievement in the AERC have largely centered around the completion of mileage and the softening of reward standards that enhance the enlistment of new entry level membership. It is no coincidence that this pattern aligns with AERC’s own limited business model and its most immediate avenues of cash flow.

In its own way, the AERC has created its own unhealthy bias toward a very constrained scope in the pursuit of excellence. This has also depressed its support of the economy of associated industries and endeavors. While the U.S. economy has been blamed for the recession of participation and the withering of our major breeders, the same activities have been expanding in other nations with weaker economies. This economically oppressive and short-sighted outlook has impacted the character of the new applications for membership, disenchanting youth with aspirations toward long range, full time commitment to the discipline; and attracting older, recreationally oriented participants who shared in the limited view of excellence. Thus, the AERC fell into a classic self-fulfillment feed-back loop of populism, complete with its oppression of creativity and achievement, and the declining spiral dynamics of a pursuit of mediocrity.

There is a better way. There is a way for the AERC to become more honorable and resolute in its mission, and to respectfully allow other organizations the opportunity to decide if they would like to interact on AERC’s terms. I will point out how the AERC can re-secure and even expand its own identity, independent of what is going on in the world elsewhere, and still be diplomatically open for contact, ready to cooperate with change for good.

The world needs examples governance organization that endeavors to EXCEED what is available today. We need governance that has the capacity to be objective, self-examining and creative, such that it never stops looking to improve itself. We need to continuously refine best practices. We need to support the pursuit of excellence in our systems of governing and the definitions we doctrines we base them upon, just as we support the broad pursuit of excellence in horses and horsemanship.

To do this the AERC needs to begin by becoming precise in its understanding of itself, and more explicit in its projection of its mission. We must learn to do better than to quote oxymoron and other rhetoric that is in abject conflict with the written word of the AERC’s own by-laws and rules.

The AERC needs to resolve many conflicts of logic in its policies. We need to ask questions of ourselves such as: Why does the AERC continue to maintain by-laws that prohibit it from sponsoring anything but races when so many of its participants do not want to race? If we really take this thought exercise seriously and contemplate how we might correct this conflict, it unravels a long string of non-sensical affronts of logic. (I’ll save further expansion in this area for another time)


Say what you mean, mean what you say

Would not a rose by any other name…….
We shouldn’t depend on creating our own definitions of words in defiance of Webster’s dictionary to explain ourselves. This only make us appear less credible in the end. It doesn’t need to be this way. We can fix this and be better off for it.
As I just indicated, many of the changes that need to be undertaken must begin with a formal revision of AERC by-laws. For the most part, the by-laws have been a useful document, but many clauses that seemed appropriate or harmless in 1972 don’t accurately reflect the long term best interest or values of the membership; and the environment of the distance riding discipline today.

We came into the quirky rhetoric of defining the races that AERC was formed to promote as “Endurance Rides” because of the nature of competition for market share with competitive trail ride organizations that once dominated the distance riding scene in America. The win the most new members AERC needed to capitalize on its races potential for excitement and yet appear as temperate as competitive trail rides when needed. The AERC adopted a somewhat disingenuous approach for playing both sides at once to the market, attracting potential members away from competitive trail riding and in into its projection that its all-race catalog was a complete entry level to elite program for a distance riding discipline. It exclusively offered more entertaining and exciting races but also promoted the use of language to describe those races by more general terms which rhetorically avoided explicit association with the history and potential hedonism of “jackpot racing”. People then could actively support racing by their participation dollars, and simultaneously distance their egos from association with any heinous behavior with their rhetoric. How convenient! Thus trite, misdirecting and inaccurate statements became the norm. The practice was an immediate marketing success for the AERC, but it has left us with a deeply embedded conflict that tortures the soul of the discipline everywhere to this day.
Take a moment to look at the AERC by-laws at 4.01(a)...

Read the rest at:
https://awarewelfare.net/2018/10/03/know-thyself/

Thursday, September 27, 2018

7 Characteristics of a Great Endurance Horse

PerseveranceEnduranceHorses Blog - Full Article

POSTED BY PERSEVERANCE ⋅ 1 SEPTEMBER 2011

Endurance riding is a team sport. The team is the horse and rider and their support crew at the vet checks. The challenges they face are distance, variations in altitude and terrain, difficult going such as rocks, mud or sand, extreme weather fluctuations, time limits and passing the vet checks every 30 km or so. Only the fittest horses with natural talent make the grades…

The vet checks require hydration, soundness and good heart rate recoveries. For the novice and developing endurance horses it is a process of growing as an athlete. For the advanced endurance horse it is a race requiring great fitness and resilience coupled to speed. There are no judges to determine the winners, only the clock ticking off the seconds and the vets giving the nod or not to the horse being fit to continue.

What makes a great endurance horse?

1. Willing and eager, but calm

In my book, character is the number one criteria. The horse must enjoy what he does. The ideal endurance horse loves to run, loves to see what is over the next hill. It must be competitive and want to win, but yet still be controllable. A runaway horse never wins, it will exhaust itself too early in the race. The lazy horse never wins, you cannot force a horse to run that well, and whipping and spurs are rightly forbidden.

In ultra distance events such as 160 kms the horse will feel tired, yet must be willing to go out from base again and again when you ask it. Highly strung horses are undesirable as they stress too much and go off their feed. Endurance horses are transported long distances to compete at rides and are exposed to traffic, strange environments, different water and sometimes feed and frequent changes in temperature. They need to be able to cope with all that, and continue to eat, drink and sleep to keep up their strength...

Read more here:
https://perseveranceendurancehorses.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/7-characteristics-of-a-great-endurance-horse-september-2011/

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Points scale developed by researchers predicted performance of endurance horses

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

September 23, 2018
Horsetalk.co.nz

Researchers have developed a points-based system for assessing the abilities of endurance horses based on biochemical and physical parameters, saying it measured up well against their performance in competition.

Mohd Adzahan Noraniza, Lawan Adamu, and A. Rasedee suggest their system could be used to predict endurance horses’ performance in an actual race.

The trio have described their ranking system in the Journal of Advanced Veterinary and Animal Research...

Read more here:
https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2018/09/23/points-scale-researchers-endurance-horses/

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Feeding Honey to Horses

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Including honey in the equine diet is common in some countries, but is it safe?

Posted by Clair Thunes, PhD | Sep 17, 2018

Q. I recently learned that feeding honey to horses is a common practice in some Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries. Why would you feed honey and is it safe?

A. One tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 17 grams of sugar. Therefore, the main reason behind feeding honey to horses is that it’s a readily available energy source. Honey’s sweetness might also entice picky eaters to consume their rations.

Honey 101
Like table sugar, honey is made up of glucose and fructose; however, where table sugar contains almost equal amounts of glucose and fructose, honey is about 40% fructose and 30% glucose. Honey also contains small amounts of other more complex sugars, as well as trace amounts of protein, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

As an unrefined food source, honey contains more antioxidants, flavonoids, and alkaloids than refined sugar and raw honey contains small amounts of pollen. These differences, combined with the higher fructose content, lead to honey having a lower glycemic index (GI) than sugar, meaning blood sugar levels rise more quickly after sugar consumption compared to honey. However, both compounds have high GI making them unsuitable for horses with poor insulin sensitivity or that are sensitive to readily available carbohydrate, such as those with polysaccharide storage myopathy...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/160523/feeding-honey-to-horses/

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus found in mosquito in metro Atlanta

Journal-news.com - Full Article

September 18 2018
By Tia Mitchell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DEKALB COUNTY, GA. —
The DeKalb County health department announced Tuesday that a mosquito tested positive for the deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus.

Humans rarely become infected and cases are uncommon in Georgia, Ryan Cira, the environmental health director for the DeKalb Board of Health, said. However, 33 percent of people who are infected with EEE die and others experience significant brain damage.

“It’s a very serious illness if it is to infect a person,” Cira said...

Read more here:
https://www.journal-news.com/news/national/deadly-eastern-equine-encephalitis-virus-found-mosquito-metro-atlanta/MFL7ggMRuHZp4ybx7Q01pJ/

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Michigan finds human Eastern equine encephalitis case

Freep.com - Full Article

Associated Press
Published 7:48 a.m. ET Sept. 18, 2018

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Health officials say a resident of western Michigan has been infected with Eastern equine encephalitis.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Allegan County Health Department announced Monday that the person was hospitalized in late August.
Eastern equine encephalitis is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. It can be fatal and often leaves survivors with brain damage...

Read more here:
https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/09/18/human-eastern-equine-encephalitis/1343583002/

Monday, September 17, 2018

First Cardiac Ablation in a Horse Successful

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Belgian veterinarians have successfully completed the first cardiac ablation—a procedure used to correct irregular heartbeats—performed in a horse. Diamant, a 5-year-old Norwegian show jumper, came through the four-hour operation with no difficulties.

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA | Sep 8, 2018

Belgian veterinarians have completed the first cardiac ablation in a horse ever performed. The procedure, used to correct irregular heartbeats, was a success.

Diamant, a 5-year-old Norwegian show jumper, came through the four-hour operation with no difficulties.

“It’s very exciting to see that there’s now a way to offer this therapeutic treatment—which has shown great success in human medicine—to equine patients, while creating many new opportunities for the future of equine cardiac medicine,” said Gunther van Loon, DVM, PhD, Dip ECEIM, Assoc. Member ECVDI, president of the Belgian Equine Practitioners Society (BEPS), head of the Equine Cardioteam, and professor in Ghent University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, in Belgium...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/160323/first-cardiac-ablation-in-a-horse-successful/

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Endurance: A Phoenix Rises from Ashes

15 September 2018
By John Crandell

For decades of endurance racing, and even centuries of endurance testing by military programs and industrial interests, mankind has been examining equines unique ability to traverse distances across terrain and climate as diverse as the earth that first bore the species. In examining the horses on tests that adequately represent the full spectrum of natural challenges that formed them, we gain the most accurate insight to influence the overall health and integrity of the gene pool. The smallest errors in our concepts in this regard will have greater and more lasting impact on the welfare of the horse than anything happening in this moment in time. Examining equines in tests based on the physical abilities that afforded their species its original niche for survival is more then just humane, it is an essential element for the sustainability of a healthy gene pool as we have known.

Testing that effectively mimics this broad spectrum of natural challenges that were integral to the development of the equine species is not only humane treatment, it is an opportunity for us to develop and refine our very concepts of humane treatment for the equine species. What performs successfully in truly natural functional tests defines humane treatment of equines.

Endurance testing has the potential to afford us vital opportunity to enhance the overall level of happiness and quality of life for equines now and into the future, or it can lead us to the cruelest of unsustainable dead ends, all dependent on the wisdom of our governance of the discipline.

In endurance racing prior to FEI’s adoption of the sport, and continuing today in events outside of FEI rule, endurance riders have been proud to bear the primary responsibility of rating their willing horses according to the course ahead, and all the elements that nature-based tests present along the way. We embraced the full spectrum of terrain and weather because we understood adapting strategy to meet these flexuous challenges of nature to be a core element of the rider’s role. There are few conditions common to this earth that a horse cannot navigate safely and sustainably for long distances, it is largely a matter of guiding our mount at its own appropriate pace through the test event.

Assertions that the race of 12 September in Tryon had to be stopped due to “hot and humid” conditions are therefore deceptive. Such deflective statements only serve to distract from fundamental dysfunctions of our governance system that precipitated this tragedy. Nature is the inherent baseline of the test, and is as inherently blameless, always.

Certainly, it was a warm and humid day, and damp footing conditions on the clay loam soils added to the workload, but these were not extraordinary circumstances in the history of endurance racing. The weather parameters of the day were little more than typical of the Old Dominion 100 mile test, which has been held annually in the same region since 1973; on a significantly more arduous course as well. Furthermore, in the Tryon race several riders demonstrated their talents to be genuinely worthy of the title “elite” by navigating the course in a manner that was well within their mounts ability; a proof that there was nothing so challenging about the day that it could not be mastered with appropriate judgment.

So why then did such a large percentage of the field of competitors, all of which had completed FEI’s qualification system to the highest level, fail so distinctly that the race had to be cancelled to protect the welfare of the horses? We should be questioning the efficacy of this qualifying system, including the fundamental definitions of its levels. We should be questioning this system, and the entire supporting body of rules, for the ethos it nurtures.

During that day of mixed rain and strong sunshine, as international endurance racing fell hard on its face in mud, there was a rainbow. Perhaps this is sign that we have at long last muddied ourselves badly enough to acknowledge that we erred in the path we have taken some distance back. There are no quick shortcuts to the better road now, we’ve tried all those paths. There can be no more band-aid adjustments and augmentations of the current rules. More levels on a flawed foundation does not a create sturdy house. We have run false and incomplete philosophy to its end.

Already I am hearing encouraging realization at many levels that the restructuring of the CEI definitions and rules we need is problematic while we are locked into closely repeating cycles of qualifying for the next world championship. We may need to accept a suspension of world championships as we have known them for a period as we reconstruct our systems, more wisely and carefully this time. We first need to create an environment and a plan that allows us to take the few steps back required for us to put the discipline back on a healthier path.

A Qualification System is a form of Academic Institution

We need a thorough re-conception of international endurances hierarchy of performance levels. This must recognize that current definitions based on completion of races at increasing distance is a very incomplete and unreliable measure of genuine readiness to advance to greater challenges and responsibilities. Worst of all, advancing participants in such an overly simplistic system squanders vital opportunities to instill respect for thorough learning. It is very hard to convince a student to take skipped lessons once you have already handed him a doctorated degree.

This new set of definitions will need to support non-race qualifying events at the lower levels, such that they better serve as educational experiences for both horse and rider. This should particularly support the development of longer distance qualifiers, to ensure that horse and rider development in the future includes experience completing distances in a fixed pace environment before license to race such distances at freely chosen pace is granted.

We need to never again apply speed standards that are unreferenced to the technical difficulty of the course. There is no real possibility to re-integrate more technically challenging, natural and athletically diverse courses into international endurance racing unless we utilize performance standards that are referenced to the performance of peers on the same course. This is the primary conceptual flaw that effectively shut our most established, more technically diverse courses out of international endurance racing. This created bias toward participation in faster courses of monotonous athletic exercise; which focus physical stresses in the pattern of a single repetitive motion and cadence.

Protecting the Quality of Course Design from Ourselves

Great endurance courses seek to challenge the horses with many forms of natural challenge in the day, resulting in horses that are a little tired, all over. Lesser courses result in horses that are fresh in some respects, and yet are pressed to the breaking point in others.

We need to better shield the selection, design and certification of endurance courses from the pressure of other wants of the governing organization. It is a nuanced and challenging endeavor to create technical courses with a full spectrum of natural challenges worthy of international championships. Good organic course design requires a blend of fine art and science to create a test that provides clear resolution between skills of elite athletes while being free of unavoidable pit-falls and traps. This development process is easily foiled.

When the day of the race comes, quality of the course design is paramount to fair competition; to scientific measure of equine quality; to the measure of good equine husbandry; and ultimately to equine welfare. All other features of the event are only accessory details in comparison.

Ensuring Standards of Temperate Judgment in Pacing

We need finally, once and for all, to adopt rider completion rate standards that more effectively honor and support temperance and good judgment in pacing, genuinely recognizing that the rider is the primary one responsible for keeping a horse within its sustainable limits. For a long time in endurance racing peer pressure to perform honorably and consistently, pride in demonstrating preparedness and in completing a challenging task once started, was enough to ensure a sufficiently temperate judgment in pacing. In the high-stake environment of modern endurance racing this is no longer enough balance of incentive for temperance. A firm and effective system of demerit against consistently reckless performance by riders is required. Without this we place an excessive burden on the veterinary control system as the first and only line of the horse’s defense.

A moderate measure of restraint does not effectively reduce the pace all the much. To use myself as an example, for many decades I maintained an 82-87% completion rate in both national and FEI sanctioned endurance races, while winning a respectable number of those races and setting some course records that stand to this day. My own completion rate fell considerably as I pursued more FEI races, and particularly major championships, as there is no chance to get on the scoreboard amongst a large field of all top-level competitors unless you are willing to push the risk envelope at least nearly as far as next competitor. So, when put against a large group of riders who are accustomed to riding at a very high- risk rate, such that their personal completion rate is only 25-30%, even the most careful riders who wish to see the results of the day accurately reflect the quality of the horses, will feel pressured to push the risk envelope a little harder than they normally would.

Without setting a minimum standard for rider completion rate the performance of the race as a fair and scientific test of equine quality is compromised. Instead we have fomented a larger and larger group of reckless pacers as even those riders who might otherwise pace more conservatively get sucked into the vortex. Appreciation for fine skills in reading the mount beneath us is diminished more and more as time goes.

The skilled and temperate riders we should support the most will have no trouble maintaining a 65% or better personal completion rate. This standard would force the more reckless riders to stop the practice of mindlessly pacing to an externally determined winning rate until the veterinary control system disqualifies them. They will be forced to practice skills in pacing more independently according to the ability of their equine partner.

When all riders exercise these skills of awareness and temperance, they will appreciate the more civil character of the field of competitors and will once again be afforded the presence of honor that comes hand in hand with accountability.

The Phoenix Rises

Once we have achieved all these improvements we will be in position to begin examining the performance of our endurance events with the same statistical evaluation methods a teacher or scientist would use to score the effectiveness of the tests they design. It is difficult to conceive this today in international endurance because the results of our tests are so randomized and skewed to one extreme that such detail analysis is fruitless. There is no need to sharpen a pencil to establish that few courses are well matched to aptitude of the field of participants. Good endurance courses, when supported by better rule structure and governance, can be statistically evaluated for their suitability to the skill level of the participants, which will improve the quality of endurance courses both as a test instrument of learning, and as a competitive sport.

A highly detailed “independent” analysis focused on the catastrophe at Tryon may not produce the information we need to focus on most. Endurance racing has been near the edge of such a break-down for a long time. For an equally long time we have had abundant evidence that issues with endurance racing precipitate from conflicting policy at the highest levels of the organization. We could attempt to correct specific middle and lower level dysfunctions a thousand times over with targeted corrections of rules and event organization policy, but new dysfunctions will continue to arise instead.

Most of the ideas I have just expressed have been promulgated by myself and others for decades now. What we need most of all is not just the specific implementation of such ideas, but the awareness that the formative concept behind the rule system needs to advance in its philosophy.

We need to explore why it is that FEI has been so unresponsive and dismissive of the contributions and philosophy of those with experience in endurance the predates the FEI’s involvement by decades. We need to better explore what is preventing FEI’s most fundamental philosophies from evolving. This a matter that is important all equine sports. Failure to evolve is recipe for extinction, and often for just reason. The public awareness and demand for humane treatment grows every day. Well managed endurance testing could be the best instrument we have to generate naturally grounded insight to educate and defend against naïve and misguided beliefs regarding equine welfare.

The FEI needs to recognize that it has an ethical a responsibility to do more than simply act on its awareness of the public perception of equine welfare. We need the FEI reach beyond simply defending its economics by responding to a public that has received it definitions of humane treatment from the entertainment industry, which the FEI is a part of itself. This is a vicious spiral of declining wisdom, a positive feedback loop into self-destruction.

There is no other organization with the position of FEI to champion public education in definitions of humane treatment based on natural sciences specific to equines. It is certainly much more profitable in the short term to avoid the cost and effort of public education, to play into and enable public perception wherever it drifts, but this will lead to equestrian sports eventual demise. If we want to have an environment that supports equestrian sports into the future, we need organizations like FEI to play an active role in guiding public awareness with knowledge grounded directly to natural sciences and the soundest of philosophies.

Though less evident on the surface today, other disciplines have their own growing issues of unsustainability. There is an inherent conflict with laws of nature looming as horses in closely managed genetic lines associated with highly specific athletic disciplines exist more and more in their own isolated genetic selection bubble. They will eventually require more broadened natural references to sustain genetic soundness.

Endurance, current black sheep of international equestrian sport, will yet one day provide insight and reference that benefits the whole of equine sports, all of equines, and even mankind itself.

John Crandell



Sunday, September 09, 2018

Storm prompts North Carolina State of Emergency

**Note that the World Equestrian Games Endurance will be held in Tryon, NC on September 12.
The following week, the AERC Nat'l Championships will be held Sept 20-22 in Asheville, NC.**



wcti12.com

by The Associated PressSaturday, September 8th 2018

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s governor has declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Florence approaches the U.S. East Coast.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced the declaration in a news release Friday evening as the storm neared Bermuda.

Cooper says it’s “too early” to know where the storm will go, but he says residents should use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster. Some forecast models have shown Florence slamming into land by late next week, while others indicated the storm would curve away from shore.

Cooper also waived transportation rules to help farmers harvest and transport their crops more quickly...

More at:
https://wcti12.com/weather/hurricane-stories/storm-prompts-north-carolina-state-of-emergency-09-09-2018

Colorado: “It’s a hell of a mess”: Sick Weld County horse ignites multi-state quarantine involving hundreds of animals

DenverPost.com - Full Article

Colorado officials think 240 horses were on the premises with the infected horse and were sold to people in 20 states

By ANNA STAVER | astaver@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: September 7, 2018

A sick horse from Weld County is the reason hundreds of horses in 19 states need to be tracked down, tested and potentially euthanized or live the rest of their lives in quarantine.

And what frustrates horse owners the most is Colorado law prohibits the Department of Agriculture from releasing the name of the lot that sold the sick horse.

“We all know already,” Old Glory Ranch owner Brittnee Woodward-Whithead said. “I don’t know why it’s a big secret.”

What Colorado State Veterinarian Keith Roehr could say is that a gelding (a neutered male) tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia on Aug. 24. The viral disease, which is spread by bloodsucking insects like horse flies, has no cure. Federal law requires an infected animal spend the rest of its days at least 200 yards from any other horse if the owner doesn’t want to euthanize it.

The rules also require any horse that came into contact with the infected animal be held in quarantine for 60 days because that’s how long it can take from exposure to show a positive test.

And that’s where the problem started...

Read more here:
https://www.denverpost.com/2018/09/07/sick-weld-county-horse-starts-multi-state-quarantine/

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Moldy Hay for Horses: Causes and Avoidance

KER.com - Full Article

August 21, 2018
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff

Cultivating good-quality hay is no easy task and is dependent on cooperative weather for optimal success. Hay farmers must keep a keen eye on plant growth, the moisture content at harvest, and other baling considerations. Mold forms on hay because of excessive moisture, which is why it is so critical to harvest hay under the most conducive conditions and then store it properly once baled.

Moisture content is a crucial measure when it comes to hay production. Once hay is cut in the field, it needs to dry. Length of drying time varies based on geographical region and weather. Humidity or rain will slow this process, leaving the crop vulnerable to mold and fungus. If hay is baled at 12-14% moisture or less, the likelihood of mold is reduced.

If a preservative is not used on cut hay, mold will grow if moisture concentration above about 14%-15%. In addition to nutrient loss, mold growth produces heat. If moldy hay is stored in tight stacks or in areas of poor ventilation, there is a risk for spontaneous combustion...

Read more here:
https://ker.com/equinews/moldy-hay-horses-causes-avoidance/?utm_source=KER+Newsletter&utm_campaign=cd7765a2fb-KER_Equinews_9_5_18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0d95781dfc-cd7765a2fb-11166&mc_cid=cd7765a2fb&mc_eid=6283eb0e4a