Friday, May 30, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Therapy: Masterson Method (Iowa)
A horse of a different color
Therapy has a new meaning for equine expert

By SCOTT NILES Courier staff writer

FAIRFIELD — Jim Masterson of Fairfield is an internationally known therapist ... just ask any horse.

Masterson has been doing equestrian therapy for nearly a decade after working with show jumpers across the country.

“I was working with the top-level show jumpers and I saw they had horse therapists and I got interested in it and ended up developing my own method,” he said.

His method, the “Masterson Method,” uses massage and manipulation of the horse by reading the animal’s reactions to certain techniques.

“I try and read the responses of the horse; usually their mouth or eye movements tell you when their pressure is being released,” Masterson said. “Other indications are yawning and snorting or even chewing.”

Masterson said he learned the technique just by doing.

“I just started noticing the signs of when the horses felt more relaxed,” he said.

He said his method is a user-friendly way to help the horses relieve tension so they can be at their best during a performance. He mainly works with horses during top-level show jumping events, including the Equestrian Games in Germany in 2006 (which he was with the U.S. Endurance Team), the National Cup and the World Cup.

Masterson said the therapy he performs on a horse is similar to human massage, but different in that you cannot communicate verbally with the recipient.

“Each horse may have different signs to tell you when the pressure is released,” he said.

Masterson said his techniques are used by some jockeys on their race horses, but it is more likely to be used for show horses.

“We’re talking million dollar horses that I’m working on most of the time,” he said.

Masterson has traveled across the United States and throughout Europe, including Italy, England, Spain and Belgium, teaching his method and working on show horses.

He said the massage is usually performed the day of or the day before the event.

“It’s a way to release tension in areas they will need to use to perform well,” he said.

He also said different horses can have tension in different areas depending on the sport.

“Most of the tension is usually in the neck region,” Masterson said, adding horses are like athletes.

“You wouldn’t go tell your ball player to go home and have a beer if you were their therapist, you would try and work them out in the areas that needed to be worked out,” he said. “It’s the same for the horses.”

Scott Niles can be reached at (641) 683-5360 or via e-mail at

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CTR: A Brief Discussion

There are different styles of CTR.

In the East US, CTRs are judged 100% on condition of the horse (no knot judging LOL). The speed averages out to 6.2-7.2 mph. This style of CTR is a direct descendant of the Cavalry Remount Tests run between 1913 and 1923 The first CTR was held in 1926. The original goal of these rides was to pick good cavalry horses; the ones that could get to battle in the best shape.

In Vermont, home of the oldest CTR (73 years) in the country, if you can ride a 100 mile endurance over the same course you will top ten at the speed required for the 100-mile CTR.

This is not loafing, folks! It is trot/canter almost all the way.

For scoring purposes your horse and tack can be filthy and your riding abominable. Some of us might wonder if that is what is going to create the best condition, but it is not a judged criteria.

This is the style of CTR of the organizations of ECTRA, SEDRA, UMECTRA, VTRI, AHA and OCTRA and others I have probably left out because I am tired.

The other style is NATRC which are rare back here. I have been doing the CTRs since the 70s and have not yet had the opportunity to go to the other style of CTR.

Dinah Rojek

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Purina Feed Recall Update - May 8 2008

From the website:

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed
Eastern U.S. Voluntary Feed Product Retrieval

Our recent aflatoxin-related voluntary feed product retrieval has resulted in a number of questions from concerned animal owners. The most recent update on this situation is provided below.

In mid-February our own incoming ingredient testing and routine state regulatory testing simultaneously indicated aflatoxin above FDA action levels in certain feeds manufactured at our Statesville, North Carolina feed plant.

* We immediately implemented an internal investigation and testing regimen to determine which products might be affected and, as a precautionary measure, initiated a voluntary retrieval of affected products (February 14, 2008) even prior to receiving all testing results.

Our investigation indicated a single ingredient from a single supplier, serving three Eastern plants (Statesville, N.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Guilderland, N.Y.), as the aflatoxin source.

* We suspended purchases from this supplier and, as additional testing was conducted, appropriately expanded the voluntary product retrieval to include specific products, produced during specific time frames at these plants.
* Only products distributed in the following Eastern states are included in the retrieval: Connecticut; Delaware; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; eastern Tennessee; northern Georgia.

Products manufactured at these plants after the following dates are NOT included in the voluntary retrieval: February 8, 2008, Harrisburg and Statesville; March 10, 2008, Guilderland.

The decision was made to implement the product retrieval through local dealers, whose first-hand relationships and knowledge of customer purchasing patterns offered the best opportunity to get information regarding specific products and lot numbers to potentially affected customers as quickly and clearly as possible. Dealers have been responsive and helpful throughout the process.

As of the date of this posting, we have no confirmed cases of aflatoxin-related animal health issues. We continue to urge customers with concerns about their animals to contact local veterinarians.

We deeply regret and apologize for the concern this situation may be causing our customers. Animal health and welfare, along with customer trust and confidence, remain our utmost priorities. We are continually evaluating measures to further strengthen our quality programs.

For a list of products included in the voluntary retrieval, from Statesville, N.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Guilderland, N.Y.; see

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blood test can identify Strangles carriers - Full Article

May 6, 2008

Scientists in Newmarket have developed a blood test that can help identify strangles carriers.

For the past four years, researchers at the Animal Health Trust, have been analysing the genetic structure of Streptococcus equi (S. equi), the bacterium responsible for equine strangles. The study, funded by the Horse Trust, identified two antigens that are produced only by S equi. When horses are exposed to S equi, their immune system targets these antigens and produces antibodies in response. AHT scientists have now developed a blood test that can detect these antibodies.

Strangles is one of the most commonly diagnosed infectious diseases of horses. An important feature of the disease is the occurrence of clinically normal carriers. Once they have recovered, most horses are no longer infectious 4-6 weeks later. But up to 10% of horses may remain as symptomless carriers.

These carriers probably result from pus remaining in the guttural pouches or sinuses...


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Londoner to embark on 4-year horse trek to Tokyo - Full Story
By William Hollingworth


A young British woman is preparing to travel from London to Tokyo on horseback following ancient trading routes. Becky Sampson, 24, will leave London at the start of August and will head through Europe, Central Asia and China before arriving in Japan in the summer of 2012.

Her feat will span 15 countries and cover more than 15,000 kilometers.

The experienced horsewoman is gearing up for a host of challenges on her epic journey, including deserts, mountains and all kinds of deadly wildlife.

But Sampson is very confident that she will be able to overcome such obstacles and arrive safely in Japan where she plans to spend at least a year teaching English.

Sampson decided to embark on the challenge because of her love of riding...


Monday, May 05, 2008

Study: Offering Water an Accurate Gauge of Dehydration - Full Article

by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
April 24 2008, Article # 11735

If you lead a horse to water, you might not be able to make him drink, but it's still a great way to gauge whether he needs that water or not, according to recent British research examining working horses and dehydration levels.

The researchers found that the commonly used "skin tent test" (pinching up a section of skin to note the time it takes to return to its normal position) varies greatly according to the horse's age, the humidity of the coat, and the site of the skin tested. Furthermore, it has no significant connection with the actual state of hydration in the horse, according to the study.


Argentine Criollo Horse - Full Article

Article by Hardy Oelke

It is difficult to imagine a horse with more endurance than the famous Argentine Criollo breed. This native horse of Argentina descends from the horses of the Iberian conquest.

When parties went to explore and conquer South America, horses were shipped to the river Plate from Iberia, and as in all the Spanish and Portuguese conquests, they brought the toughest, hardiest horses they could. Conditions were tough on such voyages with insufficient food and water. Many horses died or were unable to regain health. Whether it was the primitive characteristics that cropped out under the wild conditions in the New World, or whether some of the shipments were of rather primitive Iberian horses in the first place, fact is that until fairly recently, the Argentine Criollo and the Criollo in general, bore a considerable resemblance to the ancient Sorraia wild horse of Portugal and Spain (zebro, or encebro).

During long campaigns with Indians, many horses escaped or were turned loose. Also after destruction of Buenos Aires by Indians, many horses were driven into the wild. Natural selection resulted in physical hardiness and the survivors became the progenitors of the Argentine Criollo breed.

In Argentina summers are very hot but winters are severely cold. During seasonal migrations or drought, the wild horses were forced to travel hundreds of miles. Several explorers who ventured far out into the Pampas left records of the tremendous herds of wild horses, seen some two centuries after their ancestors had gained their freedom. The wild horses were known as Baguals, and some herds numbered into the thousands.

Many long rides of astonishing distances have been taken on Argentine Criollo horses...


Akhal Teke - Michele van Kasteren Interview - Full Interview

Michèle van Kasteren lives in Belgium. She and her husband Peter compete with their Akhal-Teke in endurance at international level and has been breeding their own horses for nearly 20 years now. Michèle is a devout advocate of the Akhal-Teke as the ultimate breed for endurance.

MM: What was the first Akhal-Teke you ever sat on?

MvK: The first I sat on was a Polotli grandson, but this one was not the one that changed my life. As a child I studied books about breeds on horses and dogs. In dogs I prefer greyhounds. I already had a borzoi and a saluki when I was 14 years old. So my taste in horses is similar. It was already somehow written that in horses I would prefer the “greyhound of horses.” As for many other Teke fans, the picture of Kambar did fascinate me. Then at the age of 14 on a horse vacation (in Luxembourg) I saw my very first Teke and decided that one day I would have such a horse as well, though it took some more years, in fact until I earned my own money.

MM: You are one of the very few riders in the world competing with an Akhal-Teke at
an FEI level: have you ever ridden any other breed in high-level endurance
competition? What was different?

MvK: Sorry, I must disappoint you here. I am purist and only have competed on Tekes.
Before I owned my own horses I have ridden warmbloods as I had no choice, but since I am with Tekes it was and still is a revelation and I am not willing to change.
Tekes are much nicer to ride in my opinion than any other breed, but this of course does just engage me. Tekes do think with you, have wonderful gaits, etc. I would just have no joy riding if I had to change the breed.

MM: Why did you choose to do endurance with your Teke? Is this because you like the
sport or because you see the breed's potential in it?