Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The CRI: Appropriate and InAppropriate Use - Dr. Kerry Ridgeway DVM

Both veterinarians and competitors would like to have a parameter that is 100% objective and would tell us whether a horse is fit to continue. Early in this sport that parameter was thought to be the heart rate. Every- one, veterinarians included, tried to establish a magic number. The early “number” was 72 beats per minute. To many competitors this meant that a heart rate of 72 was okay but a heart rate of 73 was not. Most competi- tors believed that even if other parameters were poor, because the pulse was 72 or less the horse should have no problems continuing. Even the veterinarians tend- ed to fall into this trap. Though it doesn’t take much thought to recognize the patent fallacies of this con- cept, it still woos us we just replace the 72 with lower pulse numbers.

This mystique has, unfortunately, been transferred to use of the Cardiac Recovery Index as providing the “magic number,” and the “objective and, incontrovert- ible piece of data.” Many see it as an “either you pass it or you don’t pass it” mentality.

Complete Article (PDF)

Dead birds spark concern at Hong Kong equestrian centre

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

July 29, 2008

The discovery of two dead birds at the Olympic equestrian venue has raised the ugly spectre of bird flu as the games build-up continues.

It is understood the birds have been taken for testing by Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

Bird flu is not known to affect horses but it can jump to people. Millions of birds have been culled across Asia in recent years as authorities move to minimise the risk of the disease jumping to people.

Hong Kong's worst outbreak of bird flu was in 1997, when six people died.

The Olympic equestrian events are being held in Hong Kong because of equine disease concerns around mainland China and quarantine issues...


A Mongolian festival to sing about

Travel.reviewnews.org - Full Article

By Rebecca Byerly

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (CNN) — Standing slightly more than 4 feet tall, 9-year-old Tuguldur proudly stated the greatest challenge he faced in a horse race across the Mongolian plains in the country’s annual Naadam Festival was serenading his horse.

Young wrestlers cheer on teammates during the opening round at the Naadam Festival.

“The hardest part of the race was singing to my horse while riding,” said Tuguldur, wiping perspiration from the July sun off his face.

The long-distance horse race is exclusively for children, ranging in ages from 6 to 12. Riding up to 30 kilometers (19 miles), these children maneuver their galloping steeds on a thin saddle pad that often does not have stirrups.

“Mongolians believe they can communicate with their horses through singing, and their horse will go faster,” said Tamir, a senior at Mongolian University. “This is why the kids must keep singing during the race...”


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Endurance Granny's blog: Cybil Syndrome and The Lighter Side of Endurance

Endurance Granny's Blog
Saturday, July 6, 208

A wonderful endurance (and past CTR National Championship rider) Christine Eickleberry sent me by mail this week "The Lighter Side of Endurance Riding" by Angie McGhee. If you have never read this....you must find a copy. She comes up with some really humorous stuff, and it reads as the HOW NOT TO of endurance, how things went wrong, and how things are just down right funny. I've not gotten through the entire book yet, have been savoring it bit by bit prior to sleep each night.

I'm wondering if Angie McGhee has written yet on "Cybil Syndrome". I found it to be the most terrifying aspect of those first few endurance rides...it can affect the rider, it can affect the horse, and may God bless and keep you safe if both horse and rider get it. Rider symptoms: The rider will present as a calm sane individual at the pre-ride check in. Having conditioned the horse for long slow distance, having prechecked gear, worked out feed regimines and taken a vow of "to finish is too win." There are virtually no pre-ride symptoms other than racing thoughts, and perhaps an increase in the rider's heart rate. After all this is a first endurance ride, and the rider plans to just take it easy, enjoy the trail, the woods, and get a completion. Now I've contemplated if over night ride managment sneaks into your camp and sprinkles some kind of "Cybil Dust" in your coffee mug....I don't know for sure how it happens, I just know it does happen. Ride day ---- the newbie rider presents on her pretty and nicely conditioned for LSD horse. The timer sends you out, and suddenly the Newbie becomes Cybil. Look at all those horses and they are all moving out in front...oh my God I can't finish last, this is my first race (did she say race?), oh the shame of it! The dual personality emerges and out pops full blown Cybil Syndrome, the crazed newbie, trying to out run the hot shoes, and doing it for at least a mile or two.

The other side of the coin is a fairly put together new rider, who has not caught the syndrome (or ride management thought they were going to be caught and just spread the Cybil dust around camp....some drifted onto the horse's hay). The horse and rider team present sanely, and head out on the trail, they look spectacular! Then a horse passes the team and Cybil Syndrome strikes the horse. The equine who could have given pony rides at the fair to tiny children suddenly gets the "Look of Eagles", and muscles start popping up and the rider feels the horse actually gathering up under the saddle, then they are off!!! All the while the rider is trying to do all those nice things she read about in the books she bought on endurance riding. The horse is galloping on after the pack, while the rider is hanging on for dear life ( she never practiced riding at speed as she had no plan or intention of doing so), grabbing for the horn on the saddle that doesn't have one because they are now using an endurance saddle. You hear screams of something like "whoa Black Betty!!!" as the horse races down the trail with the pack.

Cybil Syndrome can also happen at the vet check. If the rider is afflicted their unsuspecting crew (spouse) will greet their sweet wife and ask how they can help. All normalcy ends at that point as Cybil has arrived. She's hot, she's tired, and she's in back of the pack. How could that HAPPEN? He says, " honey, I thought you just wanted to finish"? Where she then glares at him and ponders the various methods of poisoning, and collecting on the insurance for a "faster horse." The husband turns pale and gazes into the woods wondering if she was abducted by aliens and who is this woman"? If only the horse is afflicted, the horse will come bounding into the vet check, with eyes glittering, dancing around like something from "The Black Stallion Returns", the vet becomes dizzy spinning the circle with his stethescope trying to get a pulse. He never gets one, but in fear of his life figures a horse with that much energy is good to go, but he does have some concerns about the rider who is standing bent over, long strands of mane hair entangled in her fingers, hands on knees, face frozen in fear...

When all is said and done the pair will finish pretty near last, just like they would have if all things had gone well and pair had not been afflicted. That is the irony of Cybil Syndrome.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

First-Class Treatment for U.S. Team’s Horses

New York Times

Published: July 24, 2008

Tim Dutta has learned that satisfying his well-heeled clientele means attending to the smallest of details. One of his frequent fliers loves orange Gatorade, for example, but turns up his nose at lime. Another drinks water only if it has been sweetened with a touch of apple juice. Some ease their nerves by nibbling on wet hay, while others take it dry.

“These are high-end athletes,” Dutta said. “And our main job is to make sure they are as stress-free as possible.”

His clients, of course, are not human but equine — Dutta is a shipping agent for the United States equestrian team, responsible for flying the team’s horses to Europe for the first leg of their trip to the 2008 Summer Olympics.

After a seven-day quarantine in Britain or Germany, the horses will depart later this month and in early August for the equestrian site in Hong Kong as part of a global migration that will ultimately include 297 horses from 47 nations traveling on 57 airplanes.

With their superb training, million-dollar price tags and often excitable temperaments, many Olympic horses are celebrities in their own right. “They are rock stars,” Dutta said. “And we treat them like rock stars.”

Martin Atock, who has shipped horses for every Olympics since the 1988 Seoul Games, has been planning for this summer’s Games since 2001 and has already made 16 trips to Hong Kong. “The trick to help them recover is you keep the whole transport as smooth and stress-free as possible,” said Atock, managing director of Peden Bloodstock, the German agency that is arranging the transport of every national team’s Olympic horses.

Olympic riders say they cannot help but worry while their horses are in transit. Because horses and riders work together for years, if the animal becomes injured, the rider cannot simply find a new horse. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina, for example, had to remove herself from contention for the Olympic team because her top horse, Cim Christo, injured his leg last fall.

“Traveling is one of the most stressful things a horse has to do,” said Beezie Madden, an American show jumper who competed on the gold-medal-winning United States jumping team in Athens in 2004. She competes with the 13-year-old Dutch-bred warmblood, Authentic. If a plane is delayed, “it can end up being a much longer experience than it needs to be,” she said.

The horses fly with an entourage — team grooms, veterinarians and at least one “flying groom,” an equine flight attendant whose job is to make the horse as comfortable as possible. Tim Rolfe, the senior flying groom for Peden Bloodstock, said his job was as much about calming nervous handlers as about taking care of the horses. “Basically, this is really like a giant baby-sitting job,” he said.

As with humans, a horse’s primary health concern during flight is dehydration, which explains why Dutta is so attentive to his clients’ drinking preferences — water sweetened with Gatorade and apple juice, for example.

Horses can also lose their balance, so cargo plane pilots use the full extent of the runway to make takeoff and landing as smooth as possible. Even air traffic controllers become involved, Atock said, approving a flight path devoid of sharp, unpredictable turns. “We take a very slow curve,” he said, “to let the horse anticipate the movement.”

The horse’s trip begins in a warehouse near the airport, where it is loaded into a container that resembles a standard horse trailer. From there, the animal is wheeled onto the tarmac and lifted into the belly of the cargo plane. Apart from wearing protective foam boots and, occasionally, ear muffs to block engine noise, the horse has an experience similar to riding in a trailer, Atock said.

Besides, most horses who will travel to the Olympics have already logged many thousands of miles in the air. Brentina, a 17-year-old mare who competes with the American dressage rider Debbie McDonald, travels to Europe at least twice a year. “She’s a pretty seasoned flier,” said McDonald, who competed in Athens in 2004 as part of the United States team that won a bronze medal.

The United States plans to send four show jumpers, three dressage horses and five eventing horses to the Olympics, in addition to two alternates in show jumping and dressage, said James Wolf, executive director for sport programs for the United States Equestrian Federation, the sport’s national governing body.

Because of differences in their competition schedules, the horses will travel to Hong Kong separately. Eventing horses will leave from Stansted Airport outside London on July 30. The dressage horses will leave the same date, from Amsterdam. The show jumping horses leave last, on Aug. 6.

Once in Hong Kong, the horses will be transferred to air-conditioned trucks — the temperature set at 73 degrees — for the 30-mile trip to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the site of the equestrian events. During a test event last summer, Atock clocked the journey from the tarmac to the stables at 1 hour 40 minutes.

By that time, humans are “basically still collecting your luggage at the passenger terminal,” Atock said. “We’re already in the stables.”

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How a horse keeps cool


Consider how our equine partners regulate body temperature and keep cool.

By Heather Smith Thomas

You know just from standing close beside your horse that he, like every living animal, generates heat. But have you ever considered where that energy comes from? Just going about the daily business of staying alive, the cells of the body convert the sugar glucose into energy. But the cells do not use their fuel very efficiently--only a portion is turned into useful energy; the rest becomes waste heat.

A horse at rest generally maintains a body temperature between 99 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit (F). But when his muscles are called into action, be it for a cross-country run or a stroll to the water trough, the cells begin to metabolize glucose at higher rates, which in turn, increases the amount of excess heat produced.

"The harder a horse works, the hotter he gets," says David Marlin, PhD, of Hartpury College in Gloucester, England, an equine exercise physiologist who helped prepare standards of care for horses competing in the 2008 Olympic equestrian games in Hong Kong. "It's the intensity of the exercise that matters, not simply the running speed. The way we normally define how hard a horse is working is by heart rate." Running at high speeds or over long distances, of course, significantly increases a horse's heart rate, but so does slower work in soft footing, for example, or carrying heavier weights, or working too hard when the horses is generally unfit.

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How a Horse Keeps Cool
Consider how our equine partners regulate body temperature and keep cool.

By Heather Smith Thomas

You know just from standing close beside your horse that he, like every living animal, generates heat. But have you ever considered where that energy comes from? Just going about the daily business of staying alive, the cells of the body convert the sugar glucose into energy. But the cells do not use their fuel very efficiently--only a portion is turned into useful energy; the rest becomes waste heat.

A horse at rest generally maintains a body temperature between 99 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit (F). But when his muscles are called into action, be it for a cross-country run or a stroll to the water trough, the cells begin to metabolize glucose at higher rates, which in turn, increases the amount of excess heat produced.

"The harder a horse works, the hotter he gets," says David Marlin, PhD, of Hartpury College in Gloucester, England, an equine exercise physiologist who helped prepare standards of care for horses competing in the 2008 Olympic equestrian games in Hong Kong. "It's the intensity of the exercise that matters, not simply the running speed. The way we normally define how hard a horse is working is by heart rate." Running at high speeds or over long distances, of course, significantly increases a horse's heart rate, but so does slower work in soft footing, for example, or carrying heavier weights, or working too hard when the horses is generally unfit.
article continues below

A horse may safely experience a temporary climb in body temperature to as high as 103 degrees F. But to prevent his body temperature from spiking to dangerous levels, any extra heat must be dissipated. That process begins with the blood, which heats up as it travels through the working muscles, then carries that extra heat out to the skin.

"Blood is equivalent to the cooling fluid in a car," says Marlin. "Cooler blood is flowing to the muscles, picking up heat, taking it to the skin and getting rid of it, then circulating through the muscles again. This is similar to cooling fluid coming from the car radiator, going to the engine, picking up heat and going back to the radiator to get rid of some of the heat before going round again."

If the outside air is not too humid and the temperature is cooler than the horse's body temperature, the excess heat will simply radiate into the outside air; a smaller amount will also be dissipated as the horse breathes, as he exhales heat and draws cooler air into his lungs. "About 85 percent of the heat loss will be through the skin surface all over the body, and about 15 percent through the respiratory tract," Marlin says.

To boost the rate of heat loss, a horse will first increase his respiratory rate--flared nostrils are a sign that he's trying to draw in as much air as possible to aid that process. When the horse is generating more heat than can be dissipated via breathing and radiation alone, his body goes to the next stage of cooling--he sweats. That is, fluids from the bloodstream will pass through the sweat glands to the surface of the skin, where evaporation increases the rate of cooling.

"Horses are very efficient at sweating," says Kent Allen, DVM, a sports-medicine veterinarian in Middleburg, Va., and a veterinary coordinator for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 as well as the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

A horse can produce a prodigious amount of sweat--"a quarter of a liter per minute," says Marlin. "If you multiply that by 60 minutes of exercise, that equates to about 16 liters per hour--a huge amount." Horses also have ample reservoirs of fluids in their systems to allow for relatively high levels of fluid loss, but there is a cost: "The body uses energy to produce sweat," he adds. "It also loses electrolytes and water, which causes its own problems. [Horses] become dehydrated and their electrolyte balance becomes disturbed."

Most of the time horses recover from exertion quite readily--all they need is time to rest and access to ample water, salt and proper feed, and perhaps an electrolyte supplement, and they'll be back to normal within hours or maybe days, if the work was especially intensive. However, if the horse is overworked and/or overheated to an extent that seriously taxes his capacity to cool himself, then his temperature can spike to dangerous levels, and if the process is left unchecked, his body will begin a sequence of events that become progressively more dangerous.

What You Can Do to Help
Intervene immediately if you suspect that your horse is overheated. The extent of the measures you need to take depends on how hot the horse has gotten. If he's still alert, still sweating normally, and his rectal temperature reads 103 degrees F or lower, he is overheated but not in danger. "He just needs walking around, letting him drink, and some washing down with cool water," says Allen. "It's normal for a horse to heat this much while working." But, when a horse starts edging toward overheating, more extreme cooling measures are necessary:

irst, stop riding, remove the saddle and move the horse into the shade. Keep him walking, to encourage circulation that will bring more heated blood to the surface of the skin for cooling; if there's a breeze, walk him in circles to expose him to the cooling air on all sides.

Let him drink his fill as soon as you stop working and as you walk him. A hot horse needs to take in as much water as he wants to replace what he lost though sweating. And don't worry about the temperature of the water. One myth that still crops up is the notion that letting a hot horse drink cold water will cause colic and muscle cramps. But there's no scientific basis for that fear.

Splash or spray cold water onto the horse to aid evaporative cooling. Another false notion is that putting cold water on hot muscles will constrict the blood vessels and lead to cramping; however, studies done in preparation for the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 failed to identify any ill effects from the practice. "We disproved the myth that if you put cold water over the big muscles the horse would tie up," Allen says. In fact, cooling stations, where hot horses will be doused head to toe with cold water, are one of the strategies to be employed for the 2008 Olympic equestrian games in Hong Kong.

"Cooling the horse with [room temperature] water all over the body is fine in a hot, dry climate," says Marlin. The water will evaporate quickly into the dry air. "If it's hot and humid, you need water that's lower in temperature than the horse." Add ice to buckets of water to cool it to as low 40 degrees F before applying it to the horse. If the horse's body temperature is edging upward into the danger zones--105 degrees F or higher--douse as much of his body as possible with the coldest water available.

If dousing the whole horse is difficult, you can achieve some cooling by wetting down or holding ice on areas where large veins run close to the surface of the skin, such as the jugular. "You can do the same thing up between the hind legs, if the horse is used to this, since the veins are very distended in that area," Allen says. But don't "surprise" a hot horse with this tactic, he advises. Even just the legs provide about a quarter of the body's surface area, and the arteries and veins running have little insulation from muscle and fat. "There's a lot of blood circulating through the feet," says Barney Fleming, DVM, who practices in Custer, South Dakota, and monitors endurance rides all over the country. "If there's a stream nearby, just walk the horse in, stand him in the water and use it to keep wetting his jugular groove and abdominal veins."

Continue to monitor your horse's temperature as you walk and cool him. Within 10 minutes, you ought to see a 2 degree F drop. Stop using the cold water once his temperatures drops to 101 degrees or lower, his respiration approaches normal and the skin on his hindquarters feels cool to the touch after a walking period. If the horse is not back to normal and drinking readily within an hour, then summon immediate veterinary assistance. He may need intravenous hydration and other measures.

To read more, see "Heat Stress Prevention Strategy" in the July 2008 issue of EQUUS magazine.

On Mustang Range, a Battle on Thinning the Herd

The New York Times

Published: July 20, 2008

GERLACH, Nev. — Five mustangs pounded across the high desert recently, their dark manes and tails giving shape to the wind. Pursued by a helicopter, they ran into a corral — and into the center of the emotional debate over whether euthanasia should be used to thin a captive herd that already numbers 30,000.

The champions of wild mustangs have long portrayed them as the victims of ranchers who preferred cattle on the range, middlemen who wanted to make a buck selling them for horsemeat and misfits who shot them for sport. But the wild horse today is no longer automatically considered deserving of extensive protections.

Some environmentalists and scientists have come to see the mustangs, which run wild from Montana to California, as top-of-the-food-chain bullies, invaders whose hooves and teeth disturb the habitats of endangered tortoises and desert birds.

Even the language has shifted. In a 2006 article in Audubon magazine, wild horses lost their poetry and were reduced to “feral equids.”

“There’s not just horses out there, there’s other critters, from the desert turtle in the south to the bighorn sheep in the north,” said Paula Morin, the author of the book “Honest Horses.”

“We’ve come a long way in our awareness of the web of life and maintaining the whole ecology,” Ms. Morin said, adding, “We do the horses a disservice when we set them apart.”

Environmentalists’ attitudes toward the horses have evolved so far that some are willing to say what was heresy a few years ago: that euthanasia is acceptable if the alternatives are boarding the mustangs for life at taxpayers’ expense or leaving them to overpopulate, damage the range and die of hunger or thirst.

The federal Bureau of Land Management, the legal custodian of the wild horses and burros, recently proposed euthanization. For years, the bureau has been running the Adopt-A-Horse program, selling mustangs from the range to those who would care for them. But 30,000 once-wild horses were never adopted and are being boarded by the agency at facilities in Kansas and Oklahoma (another 33,000 run wild). As feed and gas grow more expensive, the rate of adoptions plummets.

Boarding costs ran to $21 million last year and are expected to reach $26 million this year, out of a $37 million budget for the bureau’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, which is intended to protect the animals. And drought lingers here in northern Nevada, where the mustangs were rounded up on a recent weekend morning to prevent them from starving.

The bureau “can’t do a good job of taking care of horses on the range if they have to take care of all the horses off the range,” said Nathaniel Messer, a professor of veterinary science at the University of Missouri and a former member of the federal Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Committee.

Steven L. Davis, an emeritus professor of animal science at Oregon State University, said: “Many of the wild horse supporters claim that the horses have a right to be there. I reject that argument.” He added: “They damage the water holes. They damage the grasses, the shrubs, the bushes, causing negative consequences for all the other plants and critters that live out there.”

For groups formed to protect the horses, the specter of euthanasia as a solution remains anathema. “It’s not acceptable to the American public,” said Virginie L. Parant, a lawyer who is the director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

The mustang, Ms. Parant said, “is part of the American myth. People want to know that they can come to the American West and know that they can see herds of wild horses roaming. It’s part of the imagery.”

As mustangs increasingly competed with cattle in the 1940s and 50s, many were rounded up and slaughtered. They found a champion in Velma Johnston, better known as Wild Horse Annie, who pushed Congress to act. In 1971, Congress gave the federal bureau the job of caring for them.

Shelley Sawhook, the president of the American Horse Defense Fund, argues, along with other horse defenders, that the federal government “mismanaged the program from the very beginning.” She added that “their proposal to euthanize is a stopgap measure” to cover what she believes is an overly aggressive policy of removing horses from the range for the benefit of cattle interests.

Accusations of mismanagement have dogged the bureau across Democratic and Republican administrations; a decade ago The Associated Press found that a few agency employees were adopting mustangs themselves and selling them to slaughterhouses. In the wake of lawsuits by the Fund for Animals and other groups, the bureau required anyone adopting a mustang to sign a binding pledge not to send it to a slaughterhouse. In 2001, the Earth Liberation Front took credit for the firebombing of an agency hay barn on the Nevada-California border.

Today, the fundamental rift between the bureau and its critics involves two judgment calls: how many horses can a range of 29 million acres support, and how should that level be maintained?

Arlan Hiner, an assistant field manager for the bureau in Nevada, said, “We’re supposed to be managing for ecological balance.” Over all, the bureau wants to cut the wild herd by about 6,000 horses. Ted Williams, the author of the Audubon article, argued that without euthanasia such a balance would be impossible.

Mr. Williams’s article infuriated the mustang advocates even more than the agency’s proposal to resume euthanasia. Ms. Parant laughs at the idea of attributing the range destruction to horses when cattle greatly outnumber them.

Jay F. Kirkpatrick, a scientist who is the director of the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Mont., wrote in a rebuttal to the Audubon article that Mr. Williams had not given sufficient weight to birth control options, which could make “serious inroads” on horse populations.

“The issue is not that the technology doesn’t exist, but that the B.L.M. is not investing in it,” Professor Kirkpatrick wrote.

Herd sizes, the bureau says, double every four years. And the agency is working with a contraceptive that is largely effective for two years in mares. Alan Shepherd, the official who helps run the contraceptive program, said that it showed promise but had limitations.

“The ultimate thing is you can’t catch them all,” Mr. Shepherd said.

The horses that came rushing into the corral ahead of the helicopter were taken to a holding facility and will eventually find their way into the Adopt-A-Horse program.

The bureau said it would be premature to discuss the criteria for culling horses or the means of euthanasia. Longtime observers believe that older, unadoptable horses would be the focus of such a program. And in past mustang-thinning operations at holding facilities, marksmen shot the horses, said Dr. Messer of Missouri.

After Representative Nick J. Rahall II, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, raised questions this month about the euthanasia proposal, the bureau agreed to make no decision until after completion of a Congressional audit of the program, which is due in September.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pride of the desert: The Arabian Horse

By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: July 19, 2008, 23:06

Dubai: Arabian horses and the United Arab Emirates share a bond that has been handed down through generations and today some of the top owners of this fascinating equine breed hail from the emirates.

In ancient days, the possession of an Arabian steed was a matter of great pride for an Arab. Even now in many prominent locations one can find the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan seated on a grey Arabian, Vain Huzar, and it was the late President who ensured that the noble creature will not be lost in all the development and modernisation of the country. The breeding programme he initiated in 1980 has now spread and many new owners and breeders has resulted in a record number of foals born last season in the UAE.

Alanudd (Unchained Melody), which was owned by Shaikh Zayed, is one of the most famous Purebred Arabian race horses. During her racing career here in the UAE, Alanudd lost only once in 31 starts and dominated almost all distance while the 18-year is a broodmare now, one of her daughters is already creating ripples. Mizzna, owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, has already won six of her seven starts in the UAE and has also halted the winning streak of another great Arabian champion- Madjani.

Madjani hails from the stables of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and one of the top owners currently of Arabian horses. Another great champion, Madjani won the Kahayla Classic Group 1 (one of the biggest Arabian races run on Dubai World Cup night) thrice in succession like Alanudd and was bidding for his fourth when Mizzna beat him and ensured her mother's record of three Kahayla wins stayed intact.

With quite a few stables breeding Purebred Arabians in the UAE, there are many races which are earmarked for locally-bred horses but last season Dynamite registered a major triumph for the locally-bred crop. The seven-year old bay gelding won the HH President's Cup in Abu Dhabi, the first locally-bred horse to win a Group 1 race against top quality opposition. This win in the 2007-08 season has been a perfect advertisement for the local-breeding programme and does augur well for the many new Emirati owners who are taking to racing.

With breeding programmes already on to produce champion endurance horses and the UAE riders emerging as world-beaters in the sport, Purebred Arabian horses will continue to be a desired craze for UAE nationals.

And this will only strengthen the age-old bond between the emirati and his Purebred Arabian horse.

Gallery of Arabian Horses

Gulf News - Full Article

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Canada: Melville-area family busy breaking wild horses

Braden Husdal, Leader-Post
Published: Thursday, July 17, 2008

REGINA -- On a horse farm near Melville, a history of wild and reckless behaviour is being wholeheartedly embraced by a patient and caring hand.

The owners of the farm, Kelly and Ingrid Ricketts, recently purchased 31 wild horses from the Bureau of Land Management in the United States. Until recently, the horses had lived wild their entire lives before they were rounded up from different areas of the country like California, Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana.

photo: Jacob Ricketts with one of the wild horses.

On June 27, the Ricketts took possession of the horses after the animals were medically cleared to cross the border.

"We're trying to take our group of horses and make them tame enough so that they can enjoy what they were created for," said Kelly Ricketts. "They were meant to bring companionship to people and now they can be used for their potential.

"I had a horse in years past that enjoyed going riding and someday that can hopefully be a possibility for most of these horses."

Of the 31 horses Ricketts purchased, he hopes that 26 of them can become tame enough to be adopted or sold. He believes the remaining five horses are too wild to allow anyone to come close to them, let alone put a saddle on.

Ricketts spends seven to eight hours each day in and around the corral where he has the horses. He says that he constantly has his head on a swivel to watch for any aggressive signs from the animals.

"They know me better than anyone because they see me every day but I always need to remember that they're still wild," he said. "There are different things that upset wild horses than what upsets a domestic horse and these horses will bite and kick if I give them the chance.

"Right now they won't stop kicking either. A domestic horse might kick you once and be done with it. These horses have a survival instinct and they'll kick six or seven times before they're through."

Despite the initial dangers that he's faced, Ricketts is still confident that he will be able to tame the majority of the horses. Although he's never tried to tame a wild horse before, he's owned plenty of other horses in the past and is quickly learning the proper techniques for dealing with his new charges.

The 31 horses Ricketts purchased are all mares and are 11 to 12 years old. Ricketts plans to breed the horses that he cannot sell, and believes the foals will be much easier to tame than the mothers.

To be able to cross the border into Canada, each horse had to pass numerous medical inspections and so Ricketts knows that each is individually healthy. He says that they are all very skinny right now, but living in the wild has made them much tougher and given them more endurance than any domestic horse he has encountered.

"I've had horse people over to look at these mares and every person is amazed when they see them," said Ricketts. "I think of it as something like being in a zoo and being able to touch a grizzly bear.

"For people that understand horses, these ones are wild but still incredibly beautiful creatures."

Ricketts has already sold one of the 26 horses he deems are fit to be sold. He charges a $500 adoption fee and offers to keep the horse on his property and tame it for an additional $225 per month.

Ricketts refuses to let any horse out of his possession that he believes still has the potential to hurt somebody. He says the last thing he wants is for someone to believe they know how to handle the horse and then suffer a serious injury.

"These horses are part of American history and some of them might go back as far as 16 or 17 generations," said Ricketts. "In the States there are so many wild horses that they have no choice but to round them up and try to sell them to people.

"I think once people adopt these horse and give them a home, they'll realize that it is a really rewarding experience and something that is really unique."


California Wildfires: Keep Horses Healthy in Smoky Conditions

Thehorse.com - Full Story

by: Marsha Hayes
July 16 2008, Article # 12287

Wildfires continue to burn in California, renewing concerns about the effects of smoke-filled air on equine health.

"Exercise (in a smoky environment) or excessive exposure to smoke may compromise a horse for weeks or months to come," said David Wilson, BVMS, MS, of the University of California, Davis, Center for Equine Health.

Tevis officials consulted Wilson and John Madigan, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, also of Davis, before making the decision to cancel the 100-mile horse race that runs from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, Calif.