Monday, December 31, 2007

How to Avoid Frozen Pipes in the Barn - Full story

Don't let the cold weather leave your barn (and horse) high and dry this winter. Follow these simple tips for keeping the water on-tap.

By Sue Weakley

While several models of freeze-proof waterers are available, no waterer will work when the water supply freezes. Both metal and plastic pipes are susceptible to freezing, and when temperatures drop, it's hard to prevent the big chill. Unfortunately, frozen pipes often burst and can flood your barn. In fact, in one day, 250 gallons of water can spurt out of an 1/8-inch crack.

By taking a few simple precautions, you may be able to save yourself the mess, expense, and headaches of frozen pipes.

1. Insulate exposed pipes to help protect them from cold. Newspaper can provide a degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes. Even a 1/4-inch layer of newspaper can provide protection in areas that don't have frequent or prolonged below-freezing temperatures.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Successful Endurance Riding with Jill Thomas, Part 1 - Endurance video

Champion Jill Thomas presents a video series on endurance riding training.
Episode 1 begins an in depth introduction to set speed rides for beginners. Part 1 of 3.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter Hoof Care - Full story

Chill Out on Hoof Care Concerns
by: Sushil Dulai Wenholz
November 01 2006, Article # 8004

Whether winter means a well-deserved break for your horse or the start of the "snowbird circuit," your horse's hooves might need some special "seasonal" attention. Exactly what adjustments you'll want to make depends on the type of winter weather you endure, how much and where you ride, and, of course, your individual horse.

In this article, Certified Journeyman Farriers Tim Quinn of Jeddo, Mich., and Richard Duggan, owner of the Minnesota School of Horseshoeing in Ramsey, Minn., walk you through top points to consider as cooler days descend.

Wet Weather Worries

In many parts of the country, winter means wet weather, from snow and chilling rains to high humidity. That can set the stage for an increase in bacterial and fungal issues, including thrush. And those can lead to hoof deterioration and lameness.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Alfalfa Might Prevent Ulcers - Full story

Study Suggests Alfalfa Might Buffer Gastric Acid Production, Prevent Ulcers

by: Agricultural Communications, Texas A&M University System
December 19 2007, Article # 11008

A change in diet can be good for what ails you--even if you are a horse.

Research from Texas A&M University showed that feeding alfalfa to horses either prevented or was therapeutic in treating stomach ulcers.

"Something in alfalfa hay tends to buffer acid production," said Pete Gibbs, PhD, Extension horse specialist.

According to Gibbs, 30% of the one million horses in Texas are used in racing, showing, and competitive performance. Of these, up to 90% of racehorses and more than 50% of arena performance horses have ulcers of varying severity.

Feeding grain, confinement, exercise, and overall environmental stress factors are thought to cause ulcers, he said. It's commonly thought...


Friday, December 21, 2007

Musculoskeletal System: blog from Persian Horse

Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Equine Musculoskeletal System

Written By: Leslie Berro.

The Equine Musculoskeletal System

The horse is an athlete; some are more naturally gifted than others. But the common denominator between them all, is that the musculoskeletal system, pound for pound, is their largest bodily component; over 60%! When you buy a horse, you're buying motion. When a million dollar horse no longer moves like one, he isn't one! And this is the system mainly responsible for motion. Yet it is mostly overlooked because it does not reveal itself in radiographic and other testing mediums.

...More: View full blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Senate Bills Include Horses in USDA Emergency Disaster Programs - Dec 18 2007

American Horse Council Press Release

Contact: Sarah A. Chase

WASHINGTON, DC: The Senate is scheduled to consider the 2007 farm bill in the next two weeks. That bill, and another bill that is expected to be included within the farm bill package, include provisions that would make horse owners involved in production agriculture eligible for the various disaster programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The horse industry has been working to ensure that horses are eligible for the same federal assistance that other livestock is eligible for once a disaster is declared and funds appropriated. In 2005, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) passed legislation making horses eligible for some federal emergency assistance programs. But the changes did not make horse breeders eligible for federal emergency loans.

On October 25th, the Senate Agriculture Committee reported out its farm bill. Through the efforts of Senators McConnell and John Thune (R-SD), this bill includes a provision making horse breeders eligible for emergency loans by including “equine farmers and ranchers” within the class of eligible farmers. Horse farms would have to comply with all other requirements imposed on other livestock producers in order to qualify for any available emergency loans.

Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee also reported out the Heartland, Habitat, Harvest and Horticulture Act of 2007. This bill would create and fund a permanent Agriculture Disaster Relief Trust Fund that would provide payments to farmers and ranchers who suffer losses in areas that are declared disaster areas by USDA. Through the efforts of Senator Bunning, this program includes “horses used for commercial production agriculture,” like stallions, mares, foals and yearlings, within the definition of eligible livestock.

These two bills are expected to be merged when they are considered by the full Senate, which could occur within the next few weeks. The industry has been working for some time to achieve parity for horse breeders with other livestock producers and supports these provisions.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Omega 3 Good for Joint Health, Even for Horses - Dec 17 2007

Writer(s): Edith Chenault, 979-845-2886 ,

Contact(s): Dr. Pete Gibbs, 979-845-3579,
Dr. Brett Scott, 979-845-3579,

COLLEGE STATION -- Joint health is important for any athlete, and arthritis is painful at any age – whether you’re a human or a horse.

Horses were the focus of two recent studies in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University.

One study indicated that supplemental dietary Omega 3 fatty acids reduced inflammation in younger horses that could become race or show horses, said Drs. Pete Gibbs and Brett Scott, both Texas Cooperative Extension horse specialists.

The other showed that Omega 3 “extends the utility of horses that have been around the block,” Gibbs said. In other words, it reduced inflammation in the joints of older horses.

It has long been thought that Omega 3 fatty acids could help reduce joint inflammation in mammals, Gibbs said.

Other mammals such as dogs have had a tremendous response to supplemental Omega 3 fatty acids, Scott added.

The first study was completed as part of Trinette Ross’s master of science degree. Animal science and medical researchers collaborated in the study.

Nine yearlings were separated by gender and age. The horses were given one of three dietary treatments containing varying amounts of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Blood samples were taken periodically to measure inflammation. The indicators of inflammatory response were lowest in horses fed naturally occurring Omega 3’s found in mechanically extracted soybean oil, Gibbs said.

The second study was part of Denise Manhart’s master’s degree, and animal science and veterinary medical researchers collaborated.

Sixteen mature horses with arthritis in the leg and foot joints were grouped by the severity of arthritis, affected joints and age, and then randomly divided into two groups.

Both groups were given the same feed for 90 days, but one group was given supplemental Omega 3 fatty acids daily. Blood samples and synovial, or joint, fluid were collected at periodic intervals, Gibbs said.

Horses that were fed the supplement Omega 3 fatty acids had lower synovial fluid white blood cell counts than those in the control group. Arthritic horses will typically have a much higher number of white blood cells than non-arthritic horses, Scott said.

However, horse owners don’t necessarily need to rush out and buy their horses Omega 3 supplements. Both specialists recommend calculated and balanced Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation for performance horses.

However, most old horses kept for recreation are generally not that active. These horses have many dietary considerations.

Scott said, “Further research is needed to determine if arthritic horses will have increased mobility” as a result of this feeding supplement.

Both studies were published in the 2007 Equine Science Society Symposium proceedings, and both specialists served on the academic research committees.

See Story

Sunday, December 16, 2007

How Will You Ride and Feed Your Horses in 2030? - Full story

Equestrian News Release by Alejandra Abella, Equestrian Services, LLC

In 2007 for the first time in human history, the bulk of the world’s population was expected to live in urban centers in greater numbers than in rural areas. The world’s urban population is expected to rise from 3 billion in 2003, to 5 billion by 2030, and the rural population will decline from 3.3 billion to 3.2 billion during that time, according to the U.N.’s Population Division report World Urbanization Prospects: the 2003 Revision.

According to the report, this “historic demographic shift” makes man a predominantly urban species for the first time in our history. And, these new population and demographic shifts among mankind have reached the equestrian industry.

For horse and land lovers, concerns for the availability of land for agricultural, recreational, and food-growing purposes are growing by the day. In fact, land loss is encroaching on the very basic need of horses and their owners – where to ride and where to grow grain and hay to feed the horses. Due to decreasing availability of hay, protecting and maintaining the land on which our beloved animals so dearly depend has become a new priority for the equestrian community.

Farmland is being developed at an alarming rate. Georgiana Hubbard McCabe, President of the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource says...


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Horses Need Special Winter Care Too
by: Press Release
December 28 2004, Article # 5321

From the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Extension/CEPS

Most animals that live outside need special care during cold months, and horses are no exception.

Maintenance of the hooves is as important during the winter months as it is the rest of the year. Many horses encounter problems with their feet in winter because the owner fails to stick to a regular schedule of maintenance with a farrier (horse shoer).

R. Dean Scoggins, DVM, formerly an equine Extension veterinarian at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, says, "If the horse is not going to be ridden at all during the winter months, it may be advisable to remove the horse shoes completely." This provides more traction for the horse on slippery surfaces, and it prevents snow from balling up on the bottom of the foot.

Maintaining a deworming schedule is also important over the winter months because equine parasites are not easily killed by cold weather. Equine parasites can often withstand frigid temperatures much more easily than the hot dry climate of summer.

Because horses are naturally outdoor animals, it is fine for them to be out during the coldest parts of the year, as long as they have shelter to go to if the weather gets too bad. Scoggins says, "Frequently you will drive down the road and see horses standing out in a snow storm with an open shelter right there." This is because horses are somewhat claustrophobic by nature. They have to learn that it is safe to go into a shed and may prefer to stand out in the elements.

If a horse is not being worked regularly during the winter months, it is preferable to avoid using blankets to keep the horse warm. If blankets are used on a regular basis, then the horse will not grow a thick hair coat, which is important to protect the horse from the cold temperatures. If a blanket is used on a regular basis at the beginning of winter, then it must be used throughout the cold months to compensate for the thin hair coat.

However, if a horse is worked regularly a blanket is encouraged because the horse can become overheated during exercise if its hair coat is too thick. Another way to inhibit the hair growth is to provide 16 hours of daylight per day using a 60 to 100 watt bulb, followed by at least 6 hours of darkness per night. Scoggins says, "This method will trick the horse into thinking that it is summertime, and the hair coat will either not grow or will shed early."

After hard work, horses are often hot and sweaty. When it is very cold outside, it is very important that the horse be dried thoroughly and that the hair is brushed so that it stands up. This prevents the sweat from causing a chill, which can lead to illness. The brushed hair provides the horse with insulation against the cold.

Horses may need more calories to sustain them through the cold months as well. An all-you-can-eat, high-quality diet of hay should be provided. Not only is hay important for the normal functioning of the horse’s gastrointestinal system, but the digestion process generates heat. The horse may also need an increase in grain in its diet to ensure adequate calories.

Lastly, one of the most important factors in caring for your horse in winter is the availability of water. Not only is frozen water unavailable for drinking, but horses will also avoid drinking water if it is too cold. It is possible to increase a horse’s intake of water by 60% or more if water is maintained at around 65° F or higher.

By paying attention to the needs of your horse during winter months you can ensure that your horse stays healthy and ready for a productive spring. If you have questions about taking care of your horse during the winter, please contact your local equine veterinarian. -- Jennifer Browning-Stone

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's 'Sweet' in Sweet Feed? - Full article by: Nancy S. Loving, DVM

All the rage these days in human diets is to take the sugars out of food and keep the carbohydrates to a minimum. This same principle, that of feeding a diet low in nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC), is being applied to equine nutrition. [Many horses do not require a commercial concentrate feed at all, if they can maintain their weight on forage and a mineral supplement alone, equine nutritionists note. But some horses need more.] Considering that horses are herbivores designed to extract energy from a very different sort of diet than that consumed by humans or carnivorous small animals, let's look at what "the sweet in sweet feed" (and hay) is all about, and put how to feed sweets safely into a practical perspective.

Remember: the most important reason horses get fat is they get too many calories, not that they get too much sweet.

What's Sweet in the Feed?

Many knowledgeable equine nutrition experts work with feed companies to formulate the variety of products you find at the feed store and carry home in 50-pound sacks to your eager horse. Karen Davison, PhD, manages equine technical services for Purina Mills. She explains about sugars and starch: "NSC, or nonstructural carbohydrates, are sugars and starches present in plants..."


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Endurance athletes start seven-day challenge

TOP endurance athletes set off yesterday on one of the world’s most gruelling adventure races.

This year’s seven-day Adventure Race World Championship takes place in and near Fort William.

It involves nearly 200 of the globe’s fittest athletes careering virtually non-stop across 330 miles of Britain’s most rugged countryside.

One of the teams taking part had to be helicoptered onto the island of Rum in the Hebrides - the starting point for the race - because of ferry problems.

The event began with the 196 competitors diving into the water to swim through open seas, before trekking through the Cuillin mountains. The mixed teams of four will have to drag themselves up and down the equivalent of three Mount Everests (82,000ft), hurl themselves around on mountain bikes, kayak across windswept seas and swim freezing lochs - all with barely any sleep.

Top performers try to make do with an hour of sleep a day during the event - with some mavericks opting for none at all during the whole race.

[More ...]

Official Website!

A Guide to Fencing for Your Horse - Full article
Fencing is one of the most important investments you will make for your farm or ranch. Learn more about hiring a fence contractor and the variety of fencing available to horse owners.

Tips on Hiring a Fence Contractor

Good fences start with proper installation. While some horse owners install their own fences, most rely on a fence contractor for professional installation to ensure their valuable horses are safely enclosed. An experienced fence contractor also can help you select the best fencing materials for your land, budget and needs.

A properly constructed, professionally installed fence will last longer, look nicer and protect horses better than one that is not installed correctly. The American Fence Association (AFA) recommends those who hire a fence contractor should insist upon:

1. Product Samples: Reputable fence contractors have product samples available so consumers can see and feel the differences among materials.


Monday, December 10, 2007

NickerNetwork - December 2007 - Television for the Horse World

NickerNetwork Announces Initial Channel and Program LineUp for December 15th Launch

Houston, TX - Nicker Communications has set the initial program lineup for the December 15th launch of its online, on-demand equestrian television network. With 25+ channels scheduled for activation within the first 45 days of its online service, the company will go live with ten channels for its beta test launch.

Providing a wide selection of unique equestrian channels all dedicated to a variety of horse-oriented themes and subjects, NickerNetwork is the first Internet-based, on-demand multi-channel television network targeted to the horse world.

Initial channels include CowboyTV, DownTheStretchTV, Hunter/JumperTV, NaturalHorsemanshipTV, LongEarsTV, PegasusTV, PiaffeTV, TrainerTV, VetBarnTV and WorldOfHorsesTV, to be followed shortly by CrossCountryTV, NoviceHorsemanTV, StadiumJumpingTV, Blinkers&TugsTV, HorseCareTV, the indvidual trainer channels and more.

Some of the featured programming available on December 15 will include the reining competition from the FEI 2006 World Equestrian Games, the 2007 European Championships in Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping, and numerous original documentary and training series covering many aspects of the horse world. The variety of channels and programming will grow substantially during 2008 as the network creates its own original programs and series.

With program libraries representing hundreds of hours of high-quality television and video programming focused on the horseworld, and exclusive new program series being produced just for NickerNetwork, NickerTV presents a viable and potent alternative to traditional television networks for viewers.

Utilizing a single website that functions as the portal to a television distribution system, it mimics the structure of a cable or satellite company, yet with a worldwide -- not domestic -- customer base. The advertising structure is completely geo-specific; video ads are delivered according to the global location of the viewer.

Not only is the ad-supported NickerNetwork available at no cost to its viewers, rental and purchase download options are available for every program.

The founder of Nicker Communications, Sally Lasater, said, "According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, the entertainment giants have proclaimed that the future lies online. Within the not so distant future, their vast libraries of television shows and movies will be available online, and on-demand. People will soon be able to watch on their own schedule. Today, Nicker is on the cutting edge of this technology and will provide access to the viewing public for producers of high-quality equestrian programming who have found themselves locked out or out-priced trying to get their shows on-air. It's now a whole new ball game."

Nicker Network will be available to anyone with a broadband connection anywhere in the world. Content providers, including producers specializing in all areas of equestrian lifestyles and disciplines, are invited to contact the company for program submission information.

Content provider and advertising information is now available on the Nicker website.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hay Prices Highest Since Records Began; Officials Warn of Scams
by: The Associated Press

November 30 2007, Article # 10899

Agriculture experts around the country are warning hay farmers and buyers to watch for scams amid a feed shortage and resulting high prices.

In Washington, hay prices have passed $200 per ton in some areas, and winter is still weeks away. The state Department of Agriculture has already fielded 42 complaints about hay quality or nonpayment, with the value of disputed hay sales topping more than $190,000 this year.

"Any time we see something like this we get concerned," said Kirk Robinson, manager of the department's Commission Merchants Program. "It fluctuates from year to year, but we're just seeing more this year."

U.S. hay prices are the highest since record keeping began in 1949, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, opening the door for scammers to try to make a quick buck.

Les Wentworth is a third-generator farmer...


Vaccination Schedules for Adult Horses - by: Marcia King
December 01 2005, Article # 6351

As desirable as it would be to have a national (or even regional) one-size-fits-all protocol for vaccinating adult horses, vaccination recommendations are best tailored to individual circumstances. These primarily include the areas of the country the horse lives in or travels to (the specific disease risks that abide in said area) and whether a horse is exposed to transient populations.

“Some vaccines are given based on specific geographical factors, a good example of which is the widespread advocacy for vaccination against West Nile encephalitis for horses in the USA during the past few years,” explains Philip J. Johnson, BVSc (Hons), MS, Dipl. ACVIM, MRCVS, professor of internal medicine in the Equine Medicine and Surgery department at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

When West Nile virus (WNV) first hit the United States, it was considered to be a regional problem, thus after the development of the WNV vaccine, recommendations were to vaccinate horses only in endemic areas. Since then, WNV has spread throughout North America, as have recommendations for protective measures against the disease.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Arthritis In Horses - By: Karen E.N. Hayes, DVM
What it is: Also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), it's
progressive joint inflammation due to trauma or wear and tear,
leading to erosion of articular joint cartilage, which becomes
frayed and thinned, causing pain and loss of function. Arthritis
mainly affects your horse's weight-bearing joints.

Why your senior horse is at risk: Regardless of how good his
conformation is, his risk of arthritis increases with every
passing year. That's because the longer he lives, the bigger a
target he becomes for injuries and wear and tear that lead to
joint degeneration. His joints almost never get a break. Even
standing at rest they're bearing his weight on tiny patches of

Plus, there's a metabolic shift that occurs around age 15,
leading to an escalation of cell death within bone, cartilage,
and fibrous tissue. Tendons and ligaments become less elastic,
more easily torn. Cartilage thins, absorbing less shock. Its
shape changes, too, due to a lifetime of pressure and torque,
causing joint bones to be less aligned and the cartilage,
ligaments, and tendons more susceptible to strain. And, your
horse's reactions slow down with age-especially if he's retired
to an inactive life- style-making him more prone to a misstep.

The faster you identify arthritis in your horse, the quicker you
can attack it. There are two kinds of equine arthritis: the
sneaky kind and the obvious kind. In the obvious kind, the
joint's been traumatized or infected, so is sore enough to cause
lameness. Your horse is lame-you call the vet. In the sneaky
kind, the joint isn't sore at first, so there's little or no
lameness. But that doesn't mean that arthritis isn't marching
forward. The first signpost will be a little joint puffiness. If
you don't look for it, you'll likely miss it-and miss out on your
chance to help minimize future joint damage. Watch for these
subtle but telltale signposts:

Slight puffiness in lower-leg joints.
Stiff, choppy gait when you first begin work, which improves when
he warms up.
Reluctance and/or resistance to perform maneuvers that previously
came easily for him, such as stops and collection. He may raise
his head and hollow his back.