Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beet Pulp Shortage Continues, Could Repeat - Full Article

by: Lisa Kemp
November 14 2008, Article # 13108

Plain shredded beet pulp, a source of digestible fiber for many horses, has been hard to come by this year for a number of East Coast horse owners. Some have wondered when supplies will replenish. While a temporary supply will be available soon, the long-term outlook on beet pulp availability isn't as clear.

Burton Feed & Seed in Beaufort, S.C., received its first shipment of beet pulp in months earlier this week.

"I had a lot of trouble getting it, and I can't say for sure why," said owner Robert Bowles. "And I have three different suppliers I get regular shipments from."

Triple Crown Nutrition General Manager Eric Haydt, RAS, said seasonal and regional shortages are a larger issue endemic to the sugar beet industry.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Blanket or Not to Blanket? - Full Article

by: University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
November 18 2008, Article # 13124

The short answer might very well be "to blanket." However, for many horses blanketed during cooler months, that extra layer provides more comfort to their caregivers than to the animals themselves. Horses have evolved to have an excellent built-in temperature control: a very thick winter hair coat. Horses require between 10 and 21 days to acclimatize to colder temperatures. For instance, on the first day of 35° F weather, the horse might feel cold, but over 10-21 days of similar cold weather, he will "get used to it" and be more comfortable.

If temperatures drop suddenly, you will notice behavior changes, including increased use of shelters if available, huddling together in groups with other horses, and turning their hindquarters into the prevailing wind. These are all activities that help conserve heat. The shivering response will also occur in very cold horses, which generates a pretty substantial amount of body heat, helping to warm internal organs.


Friday, November 14, 2008

How Much Weight Can Your Horse Safely Carry? - Full Article

For centuries, horses have resolutely carried the burdens placed on them by humankind. Now, researchers are investigating how weight-bearing affects equine health and performance.

By Laurie Bonner

Have you hefted an average school-kid's backpack recently? Years ago, when some of us were in school, we carried maybe two or three textbooks at a time. Nowadays, however, with many schools eliminating lockers for security reasons, students often carry all of their materials, all day long. One 2004 study of 3,498 middle-school students found an average backpack weight of 10.6 pounds, with some ranging as high as 37 pounds. Not surprisingly, 64 percent of the kids said that they'd experienced back pain, which correlated directly to the amount they carried. That is, the more the backpack weighed, the greater the likelihood the student would report pain.

In response, several health organizations advise that student backpack weight be limited--the American Chiropractic Association suggests that kids carry no more than 10 percent of their body weight, and the American Occupational Therapy Association recommends 15 percent. If equivalent guidelines were adopted in the equestrian world, the loads placed on a 1,000-pound horse would be restricted to 100 to 150 pounds.

Of course, horses routinely bear far heavier burdens without apparent difficulty. But that doesn't mean that there's no cost...


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Forgotten Heroes the 20,000 mile horse trek across the US

October 17, 2008

This article was first published in the United States by Western Horseman magazine and is based on original research done by the Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation. For more information, please visit their websites:,, or

The setting of a new record for mileage in competitive trail-riding by 37-year-old Elmer Bandit is a remarkable effort. CuChullaine O'Reilly delves back nearly 100 years to describe another astonishing feat of equine endurance.

In 1912, four riders embarked on a 20,000 mile cross-country trip they hoped would bring them fortune and fame. One magnificent horse made their dream a reality.

It was called the ride of the century, a 20,000-mile, three-year odyssey through desert, mountain, and swamp that four young horsemen dreamed would make them famous.

Instead, they rode into oblivion.

The year was 1912, and as George Beck, part-time Washington logger, sometimes visionary, and full-time horseman explained to his three closest companions, fame and fortune lay in the saddle, not with the axe.

"Logging is a lousy business," he said. "We're lucky if we work 6 months a year. In the meantime, there's a World's Fair, the Panama Pacific International Exposition, comin' up in San Francisco in 1915. The gold is there. We have the nags and gear. Let's ride to every state capital in the Union. Let's make the longest horse ride on record and get ourselves a reputation. We'll win fame. We'll write an adventure book. We'll put on a show on the midway at the Exposition. There's a pot of gold out there and we'll find it," Beck assured his friends.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Older Horses Might Not be Ready to Retire

by: University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
October 30 2008

"Old Billy," an English draft horse, was the longest living horse when he died at age 62, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Although most horse owners know their hoofed friends probably will not make it into the record books for longevity, geriatric horses can live a happy and fulfilling life.

Jill Eyles, DVM, is an equine surgery intern at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana. "I would consider most horses geriatric by 20," she said.

"Old" is a relative term depending upon the use of the horse. For example, racehorses are old by age five or six, but for a hunter-jumper that is still young.

Just as with humans, there is no age at which retirement should be mandatory.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Eco-Friendly Farm - Full Article

by: Stephanie L. Church, Copy/Features Editor
July 01 2008, Article # 12425

Go green with your farm to make your horses healthier, the environment cleaner, and even improve the neighbors' opinion of your place.

There's a lot of buzz about "going green" these days. From installing energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs to carrying reusable grocery bags, we've made steps in our households toward impacting the environment less and improving the global climate. Managing horses is generally not forgiving to the environment (visualize brownish streams coming down the hillside from the manure pile in the rain, and fly spray chemicals rinsing down the wash stall drain). In this article we offer ways we can adjust our management to be more environmentally friendly.

Water Quality

Alayne Blickle, program director for Horses for Clean Water, says reducing nonpoint source pollution should be horse owners' first goal when they go green. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by runoff during rainfall or snowmelt that picks up and carries away natural (urine and manure, for example) and human-made (i.e., pesticides) pollutants, depositing them into natural bodies of water and ground water.

"The bottom line is protecting water quality," she says.