Thursday, December 31, 2009

More clues in the case of the horse with no name - Full Article


Thursday, December 31, 2009

The mystery of a decades-old horse skeleton found complete with a saddle and tack in a North Bay state park is drawing attention within equestrian circles because it is so unusual.

"Of all the horses we have dealt with since 1997, I can't think of any that have had saddles on unless they were lost or threw the rider, all of the others were bareback," said Debi Metcalfe of Stolen Horse International, Inc., a registry for stolen horses.

It's also intriguing for Penngrove saddle-maker Jay Palm, who thinks his father, the late Jim Palm, may have worked on the saddle that was found.

"It's interesting, it's like a treasure hunt," Palm said.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Controversial BLM Roundup of Wild Horses Underway - Full Article

Opponents, including celebrities, attempted to block the roundup, but the gather was declared legal in federal court and is expected to continue through February.

December 30, 2009

In an effort to reduce environmental strain due to overpopulation in the Calico Mountains of Nevada, the Bureau of Land Management is rounding up thousands of wild horses for relocation.

Currently there are over 3,000 wild horses and burros roaming the 542,100 acre Calico Mountains Complex. Extreme drought in the region has resulted in inadequate water and grazing for the horses and other local wildlife. According to a BLM press release, the roundup will remove the majority of the population, leaving a more sustainable population of 600-900 mustangs in the complex. The BLM will also use fertility control in the mares they release back to the Complex after the roundup.

The horses collected by the BLM will be given veterinary care, then offered for adoption. Those that are not adopted will be sent to large Midwestern ranches used by the BLM as long-term holding for wild horses and burros.


Wintertime Dehydration and Your Horse - Full Article

Story by Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD, photos by Christina Handley

Learn ways to keep your horse hydrated— as important an issue in the winter as in the summer.

When temperatures get frigid, dehydration is probably the last thing on your mind. After all, that's really only a problem in the warm-weather times of year when your horse sweats heavily, right? Wrong! Your horse can become dehydrated at any time of the year—even in the winter—with some predictable health consequences.

Winter Water Needs
It's true that sweating in warmer weather increases your horse’s water and electrolyte losses, but horses have baseline requirements for hydration that need to be met all year long.

Your horse loses water from his body in manure and urine, and even in the air he exhales. The very dry air that develops all around the country during the fall and winter months increases water loss from the respiratory tract and lungs.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Annual Dental Exams Important for Horse Health - Full Article

by: Agricultural Communications, Texas A&M University System
April 22 2008, Article # 11711

Going to the dentist annually is not only necessary for humans; it is an important part of equine health. Annual dental exams are extremely important for horses young and old to help ensure the animals' comfort and performance.

Cleet Griffin, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, a clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine Biomedical Sciences can testify that horses are known to develop a number dental problems that may cause pain and lead to poor performance. But how will a horse owner know when the animal is experiencing dental problems, and when they need to call the veterinarian? Griffin stated that dental problems may be subtle or obvious, but the following are a few cardinal signs that a horse may need to have its teeth examined: dropping quite a bit of feed while eating, holding its head tilted to the side while chewing, eating slowly, spitting out large balls of poorly chewed hay, presence of excessively long fibers in the stool, or foul breath.


Monday, December 21, 2009

What’s it like… to train and ride endurance horses for Sheikh Mansour

Ali Khalfan al Jahouri

December 18. 2009

When you start out in the sport you can make a lot of mistakes.

Endurance riding, if you compare here to other countries, is a relatively new sport for the Emirates.

I was about 19-years-old when I started competing in endurance races. I’m 34 now.

At first I spent time learning the rules and watching other competitors, then I started competing on my own horse. I loved the challenge of long-distance riding. At first I did make a lot of mistakes, because it takes time to learn how to judge your horse and judge the race. My first good result came about 10 years ago, when I came second in a local event. A year later I won my first race. A 100km race here in the UAE.

After that win, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed came to me and said he wanted me to train his horses, which I obviously accepted. I cannot express how that made me feel. It’s something very big. It is always in my mind and encourages me to push for good results.

I’ve won in the UAE and competed abroad, even in the USA where I’ve ridden in the Tevis Cup in California. It is a very challenging race over 160km. Not many riders finish because it is over such tough terrain and it is easy for your horse to tire or go lame. After being unplaced on my first attempt in 2001, I finished fifth in 2004.

The race I’m most proud of is when I won the 2009 160km Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Endurance Cup in January.

For me, the amazing thing was that I was riding a new horse – nine-year-old purebred Arabian, EO Jaras, which I had just brought into the country.

It takes time to train a new horse, especially one from abroad as they need time to adjust and reach form. But, in three months I got this grey gelding in good enough shape to win the 160km race.

There is no big secret about how to ride a race, you just have to stay focused and keep cool. There may be a lot of horses in front of you, but you cannot be distracted and start hurrying. You have to concentrate on going a good average speed and know the horses going faster will soon tire and fall back. That’s when you can gain control of the race.

Keeping your horse healthy is the most important thing. You can’t push a horse, because that’s when injuries happen.

Ali Khalfan al Jahouri has ridden and trained purebred Arabian endurance horses from the Al Wathba stables for nine years.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Pony Express - Seduced By History blog - Full Story

...Six hundred broncos, especially chosen for fleetness, toughness and endurance, were purchased. Seventy-five men, none of them weighing over one hundred and ten pounds, were engaged as riders, being selected on account of their bravery, their capacity for deprivation and their horsemanship, as well as for their shooting abilities and their knowledge of the craft and the manner of attack of the Indians. One of these, Henry Wallace**, was selected for the signal honor of inaugurating the Pony Express on April 3, 1860. In one of the laced pockets of his mochilla (Mexican saddlebags) he carried a message of congratulation from President Buchanan to the Governor of California, the words having been telegraphed that very morning from Washington to St. Joseph...


Friday, December 18, 2009

History of WEG - More...

Prior to 1990, each FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) discipline held separate international championships. This fragmented practice came to an end in Stockholm, Sweden (1990) when all six FEI disciplines (show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, and vaulting) gathered in one venue to compete in the first World Equestrian Games (WEG). The international championship not only exceeded both attendance and financial estimates but also established equestrian sport as a dominate force on the world’s stage.

After the resounding success in Stockholm, the 1994 WEG in The Hague, Netherlands came as somewhat of a disappointment. Despite top showings from the elite competitors, the Games rapidly became mired in logistical and administrative problems which eventually led the event into bankruptcy.

In 1998, the responsibility to recreate the triumphs of the first WEG was initially awarded to Dunlin, Ireland, but after a late cancellation, Rome, Italy became the official venue for 5 of the 6 FEI disciplines, endurance being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Once again, the Games proved a tremendous success, a fact made all the more astounding considering that Rome had merely two of the allotted four years within which to prepare.

The fourth Would Equestrian Games took place in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain in 2002, and again proved to be an international sensation. Much credit for the success must go to the decision to include the discipline of Reining into the roster. The sport received extensive air-time and was enthusiastically received by spectators.

After an impassioned contest between Lexington, Kentucky and Aachen, Germany, it was the latter's bid which finally won the day for the 2006 WEG. The Games maintained the seven discipline structure, commencing with endurance. Despite seemingly endless rains, the awe-inspiring skill of the athletes and raw enthusiasm of the crowds set the tone for the rest of the competition. With a record 61 nations competing before a total of 576,000 spectators, and unparalleled media coverage, Aachen became the most successful World Equestrian Games to date.

The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, the self-proclaimed Horse Capital of the World, promises to rival, if not better, its once German rival. The newly renovated and expanded Kentucky Horse Park will be the site of many WEG firsts, including the debut of the para-equestrian discipline and the first time the championship will be held outside Europe. Some 800 athletes (1000 horses) will represent the 60+ countries participating in the event. Estimated attendance stands at 600,000 with a worldwide TV audience of 5 million.


The world’s longest, toughest horse race, The Mongol Derby, returns for a second year

December 18 2009

After the triumphant inaugural edition of the 2009 Mongol Derby, the epic 1000km multi-horse race across Mongolia returns for a second time in August 2010. With 35 places available and a more gruelling course being planned, this second Derby is set to be even tougher than last year.

The 2010 Derby will start on August 7 and officially end on August 18, giving riders 12 days to complete the 1000km course. Last year’s winners, Charles van Wyck (South Africa) and Shiravsamboo Galbadrakh (Mongolia) completed the course in eight days.

The 1000 km race is based on the postal system of Chinggis Khan, which could relay messages thousands of miles in a matter of days. Like the ancient postal system the Mongol Derby relies on a network of horse stations. These are being built at 40km or under intervals stretching along the course. With the rider’s changing steed at each horse station, the Derby is not a test of the horses’ speed, but of the rider’s skill and endurance.

The Mongol Derby is one of the most ambitious equestrian events on the planet with over 1000 Mongolian horses selected and trained for the event. Animal welfare is once again the top priority of the organisers. All the horses will be subject to a series of rigorous veterinary checks before, during and after the race. In 2009 less than 2% of the horses required any first aid and they were all minor.

The 35 selected riders will attend a three day pre-race training session in the Mongolian steppe before taking on the 1000km course. The session will be taken by Maggie Pattinson, Chef d'Equipe of the British Home International Endurance Team since 2007 and endurance expert extraordinnaire. The session will also include medical training from Prometheus Medical.

As with all The Adventurists’ events, the Mongol Derby is not only about having an amazing adventure, it's also about raising lots of cash for charity. Each rider will raise a minimum of £1000 so the second Derby is set to raise at least £35,000 for the official charity. The 2009 Mongol Derby raised a fantastic £71,000; £41,000 of this for Mercy Corps and a further £30,000 for the riders’ chosen charities.

For more information on the Derby and how to apply for one of the coveted 35 places please visit Applications will be open until January 22 2010.

For more information, hi-res photos, or to arrange interviews with the founder of the Mongol Derby and The Adventurists Tom Morgan, please contact:

Dan Wedgwood / Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
The Adventurists Press Office
+44(0)7966 911 917
+44(0)117 329 0884

Official website of the Adventurists Mongol Derby:

About The Mongol Derby

Hosted in a country where the horse is part of the fabric of the nation, the inaugural Derby will take endurance horse racing to a new level. The innovative model of staging posts to ensure the horses only travel distances of 40km each will allow riders to race across a course with a gargantuan scale that hasn’t been seen for decades.

The welfare of the horses will be paramount to the race organisers and riders. Semi-wild and smaller than the racing horses the public are used to on television; they will be looked after every step of the way, from months before the race begins, until long after the riders’ buttocks have recovered. In total over 1000 horses will be used to stage this audacious race.

The cost will be $9,500 per rider and all the details and further general information can be found on the official website:

About The Adventurists

The Adventurists is run by the League of Adventurists International Ltd, an award winning company based in the UK with gangly tentacles that stretch around the world. They organise unusual and difficult adventures that raise money for charity. To date participants on their adventures have raised well over 1 million pounds for great causes around the world.

About Tengri Group, Mongolia

Tengri Group are one of the biggest companies in Mongolia, with interests in tourism and hospitality, agriculture, property management, IT and energy. For more see

About Maggie Pattinson

Maggie Pattinson is Chef d'Equipe of the British Home International Endurance Team and endurance expert extraordinnaire. Maggie has more feathers in her endurance bow than you could shake a stick at. She has trained, ridden and crewed at International Level and as well as her esteemed position as Chef d'Equipe she runs her own endurance training company On the Hoof and trains a number of high profile individuals. One of her protege, Chris Baker, became the highest placed British rider ever in the 2009 Tevis Cup. With On the Hoof Maggie trains all levels of riders in every aspect of the sport from pacing to fitness and map reading.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tasty Holiday Treat Recipes for Your Horse - More

Peppermint-Stick Bran Mash
1 cup crushed candy canes
3 to 5 cups bran
1 tablespoon salt
1 carrot, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups sweet feed

Dissolve crushed candy canes in 2 to 3 cups of boiling water and let water cool to warm. Then...


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

32 Dos and Don'ts for Dealing With Colic - Full Article

by: Marcia King
October 01 2009, Article # 15172

Every decision you make--from the first moment you notice something wrong to postoperative care--can impact your horse's colic recovery.

The changes were subtle, but nevertheless concerning. Rufus, a Thoroughbred/ Warmblood jumper, wasn't himself, recalls owner Sydney Durieux of New York City. "Rufus was always attentive, playful almost, wrapping his neck around you and giving you a kind of hug, straining his neck to reach you," she describes.

But that evening Rufus ignored Durieux and just stared, looking distracted and vaguely uncomfortable. "He wasn't swaying, pawing, or looking at his stomach, but when the trainer listened to Rufus' belly, she couldn't detect any sounds."

After a half-hour, Durieux trailered him to a veterinary hospital an hour away. "Both the trainer and I thought we might be overreacting, but our hunch was right: The veterinarian said Rufus had colic and needed immediate surgery," she says. "I was shocked, because every other horse I'd seen with colic had been very distressed."

Is it, Or Isn't It Colic?

That's the trouble with colic: You just can't tell what you're dealing with.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Consider the Source - Full Article

by: Kentucky Equine Research Inc.
December 02 2009, Article # 15382

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for horses are believed to be numerous: decreased inflammation in various tissues, increased immune response, maintenance of healthy membranes, and an upsurge in sperm production, to name just a few.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil have been fed to horses for decades, primarily to improve coat condition of sales or show horses. Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil are rich sources of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is thought to convert to the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

For many years, the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA was believed to be efficient. Now, however, a summary of omega-3 research by the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) has questioned the ability of ALA to be changed in the body.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Australian Stock Horse - Full Article
By admin | December 9th, 2009


The Australian Stock Horse evolved through selective breeding in response to the demands of the environment. The history of the breed began in 1788 with the arrival of the First Fleet which brought the first horses to the colony of N.S.W., as the whole of eastern Australia was then known. These horses were of English Thoroughbred and Spanish stock; later importations included more Thoroughbreds, Arabs and Timor and Welsh Mountain ponies.

Horses arriving in the colony needed strength and stamina - not only to survive the long sea voyage (which took between nine and twelve months) - but also to work in foreign, untamed environment which had become their

home. After the crossing of the Blue Mountains as settlers ventured inland, strong and reliable horses became a necessity. Explorers, stockmen, settlers, bushrangers and troopers all relied on horses which could travel long distances day after day. Weak horses were culled, and only the stronger types were used to breed the sturdy saddle horses essential for the colony's development.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Modality of Movement: Chiropractic - Full Article

by: Les Sellnow
October 10 2001, Article # 720

Chiropractors have been treating human patients on a professional basis in this country since before the turn of the century, but it has only been in recent years that this alternative form of therapy has been applied to a substantial number of horses and other animals.

The word chiropractic is derived from the Greek words cheir meaning "hand" and praktike meaning "business or to practice." Thus chiropractic literally means to use the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. Chiropractors use specific, controlled forces or thrusts applied by their hands or with an instrument to a joint or bone to cause a change in joints, muscles, or nerve reflexes.

Perhaps the earliest form of chiropractic adjustment involved Orientals who were skilled in walking on an individual's back with bare feet. In this country, the "father" of the modality was Dr. D. D. Palmer, who back in 1895 gave his first adjustment to a patient. Convinced that there was a need for this form of treatment, he established the Palmer College of Chiropractic and began teaching students how to apply his methods.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Treating Navicular Disease From Inside the Bone - Full Article

by: Susan Piscopo, DVM, PhD
July 01 2004, Article # 1527

Healthy bone undergoes constant metabolic change to prevent bone loss or abnormal remodeling (cell turnover) that can occur with loading. Horses with navicular disease can have abnormal remodeling and formation of osteolytic lesions (areas of broken-down bone) within the navicular bone. This might be due to an imbalance in bone metabolism, with increased bone resorption. Dominique Thibaud, DVM, of Ceva Santé Animale (CEVA), in Libourne, France, with colleagues in France, Italy, and Germany, set out to evaluate a drug to target abnormal bone metabolism. The drug, tiludronate, inhibits excessive bone resorption, allowing bone metabolism to become balanced once again. The study aimed to assess tiludronate's effectiveness against navicular disease. (The drug is not approved in the United States for use in horses, so any clinical use would be considered off-label).

Fifty horses with moderate to severe navicular disease were studied. Radiographs and videotaped lameness examinations were collected prior to treatment. Horses were randomly assigned to receive either 1 mg/kg tiludronate intravenously (IV) daily for 10 days; 0.5 mg/kg IV daily for five days, followed by five days of placebo; or 10 days of IV placebo. Lameness exams were performed (and videotaped) one, two, and six months after treatment. Radiographs were repeated six months after treatment, and independent examiners reviewed all radiographs and lameness exam tapes. Horses which didn't respond to tiludronate or the placebo by two months, based on clinical examination and owner evaluation, were removed from the study as treatment failures and treated as needed with tiludronate.

Horses responded best (based on improvement of lameness and ability to return to work) to the regimen of 1 mg/kg tiludronate IV daily for 10 days. More recent cases of navicular disease (less than six months duration, 33 horses, no treatment failures) responded better than chronic cases (17 horses, 11 treatment failures). Of recent-case horses, 67% showed a positive response to treatment, and 75% returned to normal activity by six months.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Do Your Wormers Work? - Full Article

"Do your wormers work?" Professor Jacqui Matthews, Chair of Veterinary Immunobiology at the University of Edinburgh and Moredun Research Institute, posed the question at the Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Seminar at Cheltenham Racecourse.

The cyathostomins (small strongyles) are the most important group of intestinal parasites of the horse - both numerically, and through their ability to cause disease. Controlling these parasites is becoming increasingly difficult as they are developing resistance to the drugs used against them. Resistance has been reported to all three groups of dewormers that are currently available. And as no new anthelmintics are being developed it is important to retain the efficacy of those that we do have for as long as possible.

How does drug resistance develop within a worm population? Prof Matthews explained that worm populations are extremely large and genetically diverse, and able to adapt under pressure. Drug treatments provide a very potent trigger for adaptation.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Equine obesity at epidemic levels, says charity - Full Article

November 12, 2009

Fat and obese horses are now at epidemic levels in Britain, the charity World Horse Welfare has warned.

The charity today released findings of a major survey indicating the public has trouble recognising an obese horse and the health concerns that can generate.

More than half of 2150 members of the general public surveyed either did not correctly recognise an overweight horse or, if they did, indicated that it posed little or no welfare threat.

"We are a nation of animal lovers, but sometimes we can love our pets too much and with devastating consequences," said the charity's chief executive, Roly Owers.

Around half of all companion animals are now obese in Western civilization, the charity said.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New West Nile Virus Vaccines for Horses Approved - Full Article

by: Kimberly S. Brown, Editor
November 23 2009, Article # 15334

New equine West Nile virus vaccines have been approved by the USDA. The vaccine line, called Vetera, is manufactured by Boehringer-Ingelheim, a privately held pharmaceutical company.

The Vetera line of West Nile virus vaccines "is the first new approach to a killed West Nile virus vaccine since 2001," stated Bob Stenbom, DVM, associate director of Equine Professional Services for Boehringer-Ingelheim.

There are three new vaccines in the Vetera West Nile virus line. The first is a monovalent that contains only a vaccine against West Nile virus. The second combines West Nile virus vaccine with Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Western equine encephalitis (WEE), and tetanus. The third vaccine combines all of the aforementioned plus Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE).


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bute and the Urinary Tract - Full Article

by: A.C. Asbury, DVM
April 01 2001, Article # 2947

Can you direct me to any information regarding the effect of phenylbutazone (Bute) on the urinary tract of a gelding, specifically symptoms and prognosis for full recovery?

Phenylbutazone works by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandins, the chemical byproducts of inflammation. Prostaglandins appear to have an influence on perfusion (blood flow) into the tissues of the kidney. In certain circumstances, especially when the animal is dehydrated, phenylbutazone might induce a serious disorder called papillary necrosis by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandins. To prevent this problem, caution should be taken not to administer the drug to horses with serious dehydration due to diarrhea, overexertion, or other water depletion situations. If the need is great to reduce inflammation, the treatment should be accompanied by fluid therapy.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bute Use: Causes more fractures?

Here is an excellent article on "Drugs and Racehorses," by Sid Gustafson, a novelist, social commentator, and former thoroughbred attending and examining veterinarian licensed in New York, Washington, and Montana, where he has had significant experience in the regulation of racehorses, especially as it pertains to soundness and breakdowns.

The article can be found here in the New York Times.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Improving the Outcome after Tendon and Ligament Injuries

November 16, 2009

On behalf of the Equine Research Coordination Group

Tendon and ligament injury causes both economic and personal hardship for horse owners and industry professionals. A prolonged period of lay-up and rehabilitation is necessary, but whether the horse will be sound at the end of the rehabilitation period is uncertain. Lameness due to tendon and ligament injury is common in performance horses, affecting up to 25% of racehorses over a career and accounting for up to 43% of injuries in event horses, but it is also common to companion horses. Chronic lameness often follows the initial injury, with recurrence as high as 80% of racehorses with tendinitis.

Tendons connect muscle to bone, providing elasticity and increasing both gait efficiency and support to the lower limb alignment. Ligaments connect bone to bone, giving structural support for joints and maintaining suspension of the fetlock joint as part of the suspensory apparatus in the horse. Tendon and ligament injury can be classified into three categories: traumatic laceration or rupture; acute inflammation with swelling and pain (tendinitis); and a more subtle degenerative injury due to a failure to heal due to repetitive damage.

The connective tissues from which tendons and ligaments are made are closely related. The highly organized structure of tendon enables it to be both strong and elastic. The cells within tendon produce the extracellular matrix that is organized into the fibers responsible for tendon's unique mechanical properties. The tendon fibers are made of the protein collagen (predominately type I). The collagen forms long interlaced fibers in the same alignment with the tendon length, but the fibers also have a pleated pattern termed "crimp" that, like a spring, gives elasticity to the tendon.

When a tendon is injured, tendon fibers are ruptured or degraded by the inflammation. Attempts at healing frequently fall short of the exact structure of normal tendon. Abnormal orientation, size and organization of the collagen fibers that replace the original structure have less strength and elasticity. This is thought to increase the risk of re-injury once the healing process is over.

Because of the large amount of tissue matrix, tendons and ligaments have a relatively small number of blood vessels and cells that can make new normal tendon. When the tendon is damaged, the injured fibers and matrix need to be degraded and removed during the inflammatory process. It is thought that poor healing in tendons results from a prolonged and inefficient inflammation needed to remodel the tendon and prevent scarring. Therefore, tendon requires as long as nine to 12 month for complete healing. Even with a careful rehabilitation program, re-injury is common.

Both acute and chronic degenerative lesions in ligament occur in all equine endeavors, with suspensory ligament injury (desmitis) being the most common. Suspensory ligament desmitis can cause a chronic lameness and be resistant to currently available treatment modalities. Also, because current therapies have not been compared to each other or proven, it is often difficult to know which one gives the best chance for complete healing.

Our understanding of how some degenerative and acute injuries are related to each other is incomplete. The current thinking is that a low level of damage or degeneration occurs in the tendon or ligament over time. This damage is not completely repaired and can go unnoticed, because there may be no lameness, pain or swelling.

The failure to completely heal may be due to the inability of tendons to remodel or because of the repetitive forces these structures experienced regularly during exercise. Then, at a critical point during exercise or overexertion, the low-grade injury can no longer hold up to normal use or perhaps to an overload, creating an acute lesion with heat, swelling and lameness. This injury typically starts in the center or core of the tendon (called a core lesion), where blood and serum form a clot that replaces the tendon fibers and creates more inflammation that results in more damage over the following days or weeks.

While diagnosis of tendon and ligament injuries has improved dramatically in recent years and new treatment modalities are being used, a long lay-up period and the risk of recurrence are still factors for recovery. Newer treatments such as injection with stem cells or platelet-rich plasma are promising, but their benefit has not been fully characterized and they may not decrease the time required for healing and remodeling.

Further research into the detection, causes and best treatments for tendon and ligament injury are all needed. In a survey of American Association of Equine Practitioners members by the AAEP Foundation in 2009, musculoskeletal disease was ranked No. 1 as the equine body system that needs further research. Additionally, 75% of respondents believed more research is needed to specifically help treat tendon and ligament injury. Though there has been much attention given to arthritis research, relatively little research has been directed toward tendon and ligament injury.

The importance of tendon and ligament injury cannot be understated; it can be responsible for the development of joint disease and is frequently associated with navicular disease. Research on tendon and ligament injuries will to help prevent and treat this cause of lameness.

By Jennifer G. Barrett, DVM, Ph.D., DACVS
Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center,
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Contact: Keith Kleine

Note: Photos are available at:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Endurance Horse Study Reveals Common Complaints, Resolutions
by: Marie Rosenthal, MS
November 15 2009, Article # 15287

A lot of things can happen over the many miles of an endurace event. California veterinarians recently tracked the incidence and resolution of equine medical issues encountered during endurance competition.

C. Langdon Fielding, DVM, Dipl. ACVECC, of the Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center in California, and colleagues, looked at the records of 30 horses that required emergency treatment after being removed from endurance competition.

Some of the issues the researchers encountered included colic, esophageal obstruction (choke), poor cardiovascular recovery, myopathy, and synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (thumps). They studied the horses' examination, lab work, age, breed, and other parameters to see if they could spot specific indicators that could help them catch the problem earlier.

They found specific equine health problems tended to occur at different times during the ride. For example, horses with rhabdomyolysis (muscle damage) usually had the problem in the first 30 miles of the competition.

"Hopefully this will help people watch for specific problems at certain times," Fielding said.

Although they were unable to identify risk factors that would identify horses likely to develop a problem during the competition, they found that horses that were eliminated had lower potassium and chloride levels during the ride.

"We will need more research though to determine whether supplementing these electrolytes would improve the problems," he said.

They also found immediate veterinary treatment helped eliminated horses to recover from their primary complaints more quickly.

"I don't think our study will change the veterinarian's evaluation, but one of the biggest messages that we wanted to convey is that early and appropriate treatment resolved the problems in all of these horses," Fielding noted.

full article

Friday, November 13, 2009

Neigh! Blueprint of horse genetic code reveals remarkable similarity to humans

MailOnline -

A complete blueprint of the domestic horse's genetic code has revealed remarkable similarities with humans, say scientists.

Researchers believe the new gene map could increase understanding of diseases in both humans and the animals.

Horses suffer from more than 90 hereditary diseases that are similar to human disorders.

An international team of scientists analysed DNA from an adult female thoroughbred horse named Twilight.

Her genetic code, or genome, was composed of around 2.7 billion 'letters' - slightly more than the domestic dog, but fewer than humans and cows, the team report.

But the Horse Genome Project scientists were surprised to find that horses and humans shared unusually similar chromosomal arrangements.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Phil Carroll: Horsing Around with a Six-Pac - Full Article

Angela White | Tuesday, 10 November, 2009

Phil Carroll tells us about towing a horse trailer and the many advantages of a truck camper for horseback riding enthusiasts. Saddle up. It's time to ride.

Sometimes people discover truck campers because they're the best solution for what they want to do. For example, many equestrians want to tow a horse trailer and then camp in comfort near their horses. Truck campers are particularly well suited to this purpose and offer horseback riding enthusiasts more off-road and boondocking opportunities than other horse towing solutions.

Phil Carroll is one such equestrian who really enjoys the capabilities of his Six-Pac truck camper and horse trailer. Phil also uses his camper without the horse trailer to go on vacations while visiting friends and family. This is one truck camper that's at home on the trails and on the road.

TCM: What are the advantages to having a truck camper when you are towing horses?

Phil: Basically, horse campers have three choices in rigs. First, you can get a horse trailer with living quarters. A horse trailer provides a big, expensive, horse camping only investment. Second, you can get a truck camper and a tag-a-long horse trailer. A truck camper lets you go to Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, or where ever without the horse in a nice compact arrangement. And third, you can get some kind of tent camper or sleep in the tack room type of arrangement. This would be less comfortable than the other two choices.


Monday, November 09, 2009

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 35º F weather, the horse might feel cold, but over 10 to 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.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Neigh-Lox: Saracen recalls supplement contaminated with ractopamine
Amy Mathieson, H&H news writer
4 November, 2009

Saracen Horse Feeds are recalling a batch of the feed supplement Neigh Lox as it has been found to be contaminated with ractopamine.

Neigh Lox can be used as supplement to help maintain gastric health in horses with high grain intake, or those experiencing high levels of stress.

It can also be used for horses entering stressful situations, travelling, those with poor appetites and for those that have already been treated for ulcers.

Horse owners using the product have been asked by the company to check their tubs for batch number 9B04-408.

Ractopamine is a feed supplement commonly given to pigs to promote muscle growth.

Saracen has sent a recall letter to its stockists and all unsold tubs have been recalled.

If you have any product from this batch please return it to stockists and ask for a refund or replacement tub.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cuisine For The Golden Years - Full Article
by: Karen Briggs
May 01 2000

Is your horse old enough to vote? Then he's an equine senior citizen by some standards. These days that's not so rare; more and more horses are living into their 20s and 30s, and even beyond. This is a direct result of the improved level of veterinary care we've been able to provide for the last 30 years or so. In particular, the availability of modern deworming medications, such as ivermectin, is widely considered the biggest single contributing factor to our horse's newfound longevity.

Nutrition plays a role as well. Horses which have been correctly fed all their lives are far more likely to live to a ripe old age than those which have been starved or those which have struggled with obesity and its frequent partner, laminitis. That, too, should come as no surprise; the same is true of humans. Diet affects the function of virtually every system in the horse's body -- from the firing of his muscles (fueled by dietary energy sources like carbohydrates and fats) to the formation of new tissues (facilitated by the "building blocks" in protein called amino acids) to the function of his every chemical system (which requires trace minerals such as magnesium, sulfur, and cobalt to help form enzymes, hormones, and other influential "messengers" for the cells).

As your horse ages, however, all of his systems slow down a little. He begins to need more fuel to do the same tasks. His eyesight and hearing might become a little less acute, his legs move a little less swiftly. His gastrointestinal tract can become less efficient at extracting the nutrients he needs from his food. At the same time, his body's ability to thermoregulate (maintain an even body temperature) gradually decreases, so he might need extra dietary energy to help him stay warm in winter, and assist him in coping with heat and humidity in summer.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colic: Diet Can Reduce Enterolith Risk, Review Finds - Full Article

by: Marie Rosenthal
September 14 2009, Article # 14907

If your horse is at risk for intestinal stones or enteroliths, consider replacing an alfalfa-based diet with grass hay, said Diana M. Hassel, DVM, PhD, of Colorado State University.

Hassel and colleagues evaluated two equine diets and water supplies to see their effect on minerals and the pH of the gut. The gastrointestinal tracts of horses with stones tend to be more alkaline and have higher mineral content. Half of the study horses had undergone surgery in the past to remove intestinal stones, and the other half had no history of stones.

An enterolith inside a horse's colon, which can cause colic
Enterolith after being removed form a horse's colon

An enterolith before and after surgical removal at Washington State University. This particular one weighed 3.6 kg and measured 20 cm around. The horse survived and recovered well.

"We found that horses fed alfalfa had a higher pH (more alkaline) in their gut than those fed grass hay," she said.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prevent Weight Gain to Minimize Metabolic Changes in Horses - Full Article

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
October 16 2009, Article # 15041

Weight gain and obesity in horses should be avoided to prevent insulin resistance, increased insulin and leptin blood levels, and laminitis, and to maintain a healthy metabolic state.

To date, "it is unknown whether obesity is the primary cause of or contributes to metabolic abnormalities or whether these abnormalities are inherent characteristics of the animal," wrote a group of researchers from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The research team, which included authorities in the fields of equine nutrition and metabolic disorders, hypothesized that diet-induced weight gain in horses would decrease insulin sensitivity and increase blood levels of various hormones and fatty acids.

To test this hypothesis, they fed 13 Arabian or Arabian-cross geldings, ranging in age from 8 to 20 years, 200% of their maintenance energy requirements for 16 weeks.


Insulin Resistance: Variation in Blood Test Levels - Full Article

by: Marie Rosenthal
October 14 2009, Article # 15029

A blood sample is usually a key step in diagnosing a horse as insulin resistant. But a recent study showed that one sample might not give enough information because the horse’s blood sugar and insulin fluctuates daily.

"Your veterinarian should probably take at least two samples on different days," recommended Shannon E. Pratt, PhD, of North Carolina State University, who recently completed a study on the topic.

For six days, Pratt and her colleagues took blood samples from six horses that had not been fed for four hours. The researchers measured the insulin and glucose concentrations, finding "significant day-to-day variation, which means that the results from a single blood sample aren’t entirely reliable," Pratt said.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Clinical and biochemical abnormalities in endurance horses (a retrospective study)

Clinical and biochemical abnormalities in endurance horses eliminated from competition for medical complications and requiring emergency medical treatment: 30 cases (2005 - 2006)

C. Langdon Fielding, DVM, DACVECC; K. Gary Magdesian, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC,
DACVCP; Diane M. Rhodes; Chloe A. Meier and Jill C. Higgins, DVM

Objective – To describe the clinical and clinicopathologic abnormalities in endurance horses eliminated from competition and requiring emergency medical treatment.

Design – Retrospective study over a 2-year period (2005–2006). Ten horses that successfully completed the ride in 2006 were included for comparison.

Setting – Temporary equine emergency field hospital.
Animals – All horses (n 5 30) that were removed from endurance competition and treated for a metabolic abnormality were studied.

Interventions – Horses were treated with IV fluids and analgesics. Monitoring included lab work (PCV, total protein, and electrolytes) and serial physical examinations.

Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics and parametric and nonparametric comparisons (ANOVA, Friedman’s test, and Kruskal-Wallis) where appropriate.

Measurements and Main Results – The clinical diagnoses identified included colic, esophageal obstruction, poor cardiovascular recovery, myopathy, and synchronous diaphragmatic flutter. As a group, these sick horses had lower plasma chloride and potassium and higher total plasma protein concentrations as compared with 10 healthy horses that successfully completed the ride (Po0.05, o0.01, and o0.05 for chloride, potassium, and total protein, respectively). Horses with colic had a lower PCV as compared with horses with poor recovery and those with synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (Po0.05). All horses, including colics, were treated medically and discharged to owners.

Conclusions – Based on the results of this study, the prognosis for horses requiring emergency veterinary treatment after being removed from endurance competition (for metabolic reasons) appears to be good if horses are withdrawn from competition under the same criteria outlined in this study. Biochemical abnormalities tend to be mild and do not necessarily aid in delineating sick horses from successfully completing horses. None of the horses with gastrointestinal disease required abdominal surgery.

Full Study - download pdf

Monday, October 12, 2009

Veterinary clinical trial at AERC event

Intraocular Pressure Measurement in Equine Athletes during Endurance Competitions

In humans, continuous strenuous exercise has been shown to decrease pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure); however, no study has evaluated the effect of exercise on intraocular pressure in horses. With extensive documentation of normal equine intraocular pressure (15-30 mm Hg) and the knowledge of intraocular pressure changes in humans during exercise, we are evaluating elite equine athletes for similar changes. The objective of this investigation is to document the intraocular pressure of equine eyes prior to, during, and immediately after endurance competitions (50 miles) to determine the normal intraocular pressure of conditioned equine athletes and to document change during exercise. A second objective is to identify intraocular pressure differences between horses who successfully complete competition and those that are removed from competition due to exhaustion to determine if intraocular pressure is predictive of exhaustion. Our hypothesis is that continuous exercise will result in reduced intraocular pressure in the eyes of horses during endurance competitions, and the magnitude of change will represent an objective measure predictive of physical exhaustion.

Tonometry is the measurement of intraocular pressure and is a routine part of both human and animal ocular examinations. In this study, intraocular pressure will be measured with a portable TonoVet® rebound tonometer. This rapid, simple, noninvasive device allows reliable measurements to be obtained from horses in a normal standing position. Most horses are amenable to intraocular pressure measurement with this device due to the small probe size (1 mm) and brief corneal contact time. Following riders’ permission, cursory eye examinations will be performed on each horse participating in the study during the pre-ride examination and baseline intraocular pressure readings will be obtained. Intraocular pressure measurements will also be acquired at the intermediate vet checkpoints and at the post-ride examination. Measurements will not add significant time to the checkpoint as intraocular pressure can be measured while a horse and rider are waiting in line or immediately afterwards, as preferred by the rider. Veterinary cards will be scanned so that pertinent data from each horse can be logged with the intraocular pressure measurements for correlation between horses who complete competition and those who do not.

This investigation will generate data regarding the intraocular pressure status of horses participating in endurance competitions. The results may also identify intraocular pressure as an easily measured, objective measure of exhaustion that could change the way horses are assessed during competition and ultimately help to reduce the number of injuries during endurance rides, therefore benefitting endurance horses and endurance horse riding.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding this study!

Rachel Allbaugh, DVM, MS
Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist
Assistant Professor, Kansas State University
mobile phone 785-410-5560

Susan Keil, DVM, MS,
Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist
AERC Board of Directors
mobile phone 913-233-9098
Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist

Monday, September 14, 2009

Understanding Beet Pulp as an Equine Feed
by: Eric Haydt
September 07 2009

Beet pulp has been a popular feed for horses for years without many people really knowing why.

Beet pulp is a byproduct of the sugar beet industry and is predominant in the upper Midwest, Michigan, and California. Sugar beets look a lot like turnips that have been taking growth hormones--they are very large. The beets are grown and processed not so we have something to feed to our horses, but for the sugar content. After the sugar is processed and removed, the pulp is left over. Recently, the use of shredded beet pulp has become increasingly popular as a feed ingredient; first in the pet food industry followed by the horse feed market.

Today, about 90% of the beet pulp produced is sold to the export market in the pelleted form. The shredded beet pulp market is primarily domestic. Up until the last couple of years, shredded beet pulp was only available in bags, but now feed mills using it as an ingredient can buy it in bulk form.

Initially, consistency of particle size and stem and root contamination were a concern. Stems and roots look like small pieces of balsa wood and are typically about 1 to 2 inches in length and about a 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch in diameter. Utilizing improved screening systems the industry is continuing to do a better job of making the product cleaner and more consistent.

Beet pulp is often referred to as a "super fiber" due to its high digestibility and ease of fermentation. The reason is the lack of lignin in the fiber. Tall pastures and overly mature hay cannot be digested well by horses because of the high lignin content in the plant to give the stalk strength. In addition, high lignin content fibers like peanut hulls, oat hulls and rice hulls have very low fermentation properties and are, therefore, very low in caloric content.

Beet pulp, on the other hand, has about the same caloric content as oats. It is unusual to have a fiber product that is easier on the horse's digestive system and still provides the calorie content of a grain product. Furthermore, in the shredded form, the beet pulp provides some additional fiber length, often referred to as scratch factor, which is lacking in many alternative fiber sources and explains why shredded beet pulp is preferred over pelleted beet pulp in equine diets.

Individuals mixing their own rations need to understand that beet pulp is a very dry product at only about 5% moisture. If a horse consuming beet pulp does not chew long enough or provide enough saliva, the beet pulp has the potential to cause choke. This is why most horse owners soak the product in water prior to feeding.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Unraveling Equine's Mysteries - Full Article

September 03, 2009

Most people don't realize how close Kentucky came to having the life sucked out of its bid for the WEG by a small tick. Dr. Peter Timoney does.

by Jeff Beach

Lexington, KY - As the head of the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center at that time, he was made aware of a growing concern among the event's European organizers that holding the event in Kentucky could expose the horses to paraplasmosis, a blood disease commonly spread by the ticks.

Timoney, who served on the state World Equestrian Games Commission, played a central role in gathering the evidence that helped alleviate the concerns, including tick-counting surveys in the Horse Park area and risk assessment analyses on the likelihood of the disease spreading.

While few may be aware of its role in such matters, the Gluck Center's ability to apply its scientific expertise to the most pressing equine issues of the moment has made it a highly valued resource to Kentucky's significant horse interests over the years.

And in recent years, the Center has started a new chapter, as Irish born Timoney stepped down last year to make way for "new blood and a fresh perspective," he said, which has come in the form of Dr. Mats Troedsson, a native of Sweden.

Troedsson, an expert in horse reproduction, left a position at the University of Florida to become Gluck's new director last year. That has allowed Timoney to dedicate more of his time to his first love: researching infectious diseases found in horses.


Stone Bruises
by: Les Sellnow

Few occurrences are more disturbing to a horse owner than lameness. A lame horse is one that is idle in a stall or paddock instead of being enjoyed in the show ring or on the trail. Sometimes lameness can be brought on by a complex and serious cascade of events such as with laminitis, but at other times the lameness is the result of something that seems minor--like a stone bruise.

This rather innocuous injury can have its own complexity and, if left untreated, can result in a horse's demise.

The bruise referred to here affects the sole of the horse's foot. A bruise can result from a variety of factors--ranging from a step on a stone causing an external bruise to landing with such concussive force when going over a jump or racing across a hard surface that the bones of the inner foot bruise the inside of the sole.

Some bruises come and go with little notice. Fitting into that category, says Doug Butler, PhD, Certified Journeyman Farrier, Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, of LaPorte, Colo., are bruises that can occur from the buildup of snow in the bottom of the foot during the winter months. Butler is widely known as a lecturer on hoof care and shoe making and fitting, as well as the author of the classic book on farrier science Principles of Horseshoeing I and II.

The first detection of a mild bruise from balled up snow, says Butler, often comes when the horse's feet are trimmed in the spring and the farrier notices a reddish spot or area where the bruise occurred. In such cases, the bruise would have caused tiny blood vessels to rupture, but would not have created pain to the point that the horse was lame.

On the other side of the spectrum are bruises so severe that they not only produce lameness, but also result in an abscess that can compromise the health of the entire foot if left untreated.

[...full article]

Tendons Show Improved Healing with Glycosaminoglycan Polysulfate
by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
August 29 2009, Article # 14811

Injecting glycosaminoglycan polysulfate directly into lesions of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) significantly improves reorganization of the tendon's collagen bundles during the healing process, report Brazilian veterinary researchers.

Tendon injuries are an important source of lameness and decreased performance in horses. Despite aggressive management, there is a high rate of recurrence associated with these injuries.

In the absence of universally effective therapies for tendon injuries, researchers from Barão de Mauá University Center in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, examined the effect of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (trade name Adequan) injections on the organization of collagen fibers in the superficial digital flexor tendons of horses.

They experimentally-induced tendonitis in the front left SDFT of 10 horses. After one week, the affected tendons were subsequently injected with either 1.0 mL of Adequan or saline, administered four days apart for a total of five doses. Horses in both groups were confined to stalls for 60 days then moved to restricted paddocks until 150 days after initiation of the tendonitis.

On day 150, the tendons were collected and examined microscopically to evaluate the organization of the collagen bundles in the tendons.

According to the authors, 77% of collagen bundles were "organized" in the tendons from the treated group, which was significantly higher than the 66% of "organized" bundles measured in the untreated group's tendons. This increase in organization indicates "remodeling of the scar," the authors noted.

[...full article]

Feeding the Endurance Horse
Feeding the endurance horse is critical to its success, health and longevity in
the sport. It can make all the difference. Read on to learn how to feed
an endurance horse.

Step 1

It is critical to the success of your endurance horse that you feed him properly. Endurance horses
are the equivalent of long-distance runners in humans, but their
metabolism works very differently. In order to make sure your endurance
horse is fed appropriately for his work, you need to know what and how
to feed. The basic platform for feeding an endurance horse is forage,
electrolytes and grain concentrates.

Step 2

Do not feed too much grain or feed concentrates. Too many carbohydrates
and starches will adversely effect your horse by causing him to go into
full blown low blood sugar once he has burned up the quick calories. If
you feel you must feed your horse concentrates/grain, feed a low
protein, high fat feed. Make sure the fat content is at least eight to
10 percent, and the top dress it with one cup of corn oil once a day.

Step 3

Too much protein demands more water intake, which can be devastating for an
endurance horse. Make sure that you stay away from alfalfa and other
hi-protein roughages and concentrates. Stick to quality forage that has
a lower protein content but is full of quality vitamins and minerals.

Step 4

Forage, forage and forage. It has been proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
that good quality forage is the best possible feed for endurance
horses. Make sure your horse has all he can eat, all the time. This
will cut down or negate any need for grain or concentrates. Also know
that there are “super-fibers”–beet pulp, soybean hulls, almond hulls
or oat hulls–that are excellent calorie sources with little to no
blood sugar boosters. Just be sure to follow instructions on how they
are fed.

Step 5

Make sure your horse’s electrolytes are primed and ready for the race. Put
electrolytes in his water, and give him an electrolyte boost before,
during, and after your competition. Feeding the endurance horse can be
tricky, but the results are a healthier horse and a fitter one.

[...full posting]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

USRider Provides Tips for Safe Horse Transport during Hot Weather

Lexington, KY (Aug 26, 2009) - Hot weather can pose serious health problems for animals both two-legged and four-legged, including dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion. USRider, the national provider of roadside emergency assistance for equestrians, encourages horse owners to take steps to prevent these ailments when traveling with horses.

"In addition to providing a reliable and valuable roadside assistance program," said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider, "it is also our mission is to continually educate horse owners about trailering safety."

During these days of summer, it is important that horse owners take precautions to safeguard their horses against heat-related ailments. USRider - in cooperation with Dr. Tomas Gimenez, noted expert in large-animal emergency rescue - provides these hot-weather safety tips:

· Avoid trailering during the warmest hours of the day.

· Make sure that all trailer vents are open and unobstructed to create good airflow in the trailer. However, do not allow horses to stick their heads out windows - this could lead to serious eye injuries from bugs and debris.

· Always carry a bucket and 2-3 gallons of drinking water per horse. The horses may not drink, but offer them water when stopping for fuel or at a rest area. The capillary refill time is a good indicator of the state of hydration of a horse. This can be checked easily through a trailer window.

· When parking, try to find shaded areas and/or areas with some air movement.

· If stuck in traffic on the interstate, provide as much ventilation in the trailer as possible without unloading the horses.

· Make certain that your vehicle is in top running order. A properly tuned engine runs cooler. To avoid blowouts, check air pressure in all tires - including spares - while tires are cool, before you travel. Be sure to have a good spare that is properly inflated. With a good spare, if you do have a breakdown, you can get back on the road quickly. Having seen a high incidence of two flat tires on horse trailers, USRider recommends carrying two spares for your horse trailer.

Dr. Gimenez also advises horse owners to "expect the unexpected. A traffic accident could cause you to spend many hours trapped on the interstate." To help avoid getting stuck in traffic, he suggests listening to a CB. This could alert you of possible accidents on the road ahead and allow you to take an alternate route around the accident.

USRider provides roadside assistance and towing services along with other travel-related benefits to its members through the Equestrian Motor Plan. It includes standard features such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance and lockout services, plus towing up to 100 miles and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more. For more information about the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, visit online or call (800) 844-1409.

For additional safety tips, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Perfect Engine
by: Les Sellnow

Much has already been stated in this series about the special concerns involving front limb soundness in the horse since 60-65% of the animal's weight is carried in the front end. This does not mean that there are no concerns involving the back legs. Far from it. We can think of equine rear end function in terms of cars and trucks with rear wheel drive. The engine, comprised of muscles fueled by heart and lungs, provides the power, and the back legs are akin to piston-driven rear wheels.

The pressure and torque placed on the "rear wheels" varies with the discipline involved. When walking or jogging across the countryside during a trail ride, the stresses are light and easily handled by a horse with normal back leg conformation. However, if the discipline happens to be cutting or reining with the Western horse or dressage or five-gaited action with the show horse, it is an entirely different matter. Although different in nature, these four disciplines all put high demands on the horse's rear end.

It should also be remembered that, in addition to being the prime source of propulsion, the back legs also serve as the horse's brakes. Again, the stress put on those brakes varies with the discipline. It is vastly different, for example, in a reining horse than it is for one competing in dressage.

We'll take a look at how Nature has designed the rear portion of the horse's anatomy, especially the leg, in an effort to understand why the animal can do what it does. We also will take a look at some of the problems that can develop in improperly conformed legs as a result of these stresses.

Once again, information comes from multiple sources. An excellent source on equine anatomy as it pertains to feet and legs is the fourth edition of Adams' Lameness in Horses, edited by Ted Stashak, DVM, MS, and featuring seven experts in the field as contributors.

Start at the Top

We will begin our visual dissection of the posterior portion of the horse's anatomy at the top, or spine, and work our way downward. Connecting to the spine is the ilium, the largest of three bones in the animal's pelvis. The ilium angles down and rearward, and it attaches to the femur or thigh bone. The angular shape of the pelvis determines what type of croup the horse has--flat or sloped.

The femur angles slightly forward and connects with the stifle, forming one of the more important joints in the rear leg apparatus. Connecting at the stifle joint, as we continue our journey downward or distally, is the tibia, which connects with the hock. Emerging from the distal portion of the hock is the metatarsus or rear cannon bone. This bone continues downward until it connects with the long pastern bone, which connects with the short pastern bone, which connects with the coffin bone. As with the foreleg discussion (see, there are several small bones in the lower hind limb that are important to the function of the leg. Where the cannon bone joins the long pastern bone, two small bones--the proximal sesamoids--lie on the back side of the cannon bone and act as pulleys for the flexor tendons. And where the short pastern and coffin bone join, a distal sesamoid bone, or navicular bone, acts in the same manner.

Where Does it Hurt?


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Very Large and Difficult Trail Project Handled by U.S. Forest Service and Emerald Empire BCHO Chapter


August 24 2009

By Phil Hufstader


In October, 2007, the main equestrian access trail, and shortest route on the West side into the Three Sisters Wilderness, was devastated by a freak wind storm. A large winter storm came out of the north carrying several feet of snow to the wilderness area, with strong frontal winds that devastated large blocks of timbered ridges on the west slopes of the Middle Sister. From the air it looked like a bomb was dropped knocking timber down over four miles of the primary Foley Ridge trail. One section, measuring over 1.5 miles, was covered with several hundred trees measuring six foot in diameter. A person could walk from tree to tree and never touch the ground. With record amounts of snow dropped that winter, and a late spring, it wasn't until the later part of August, 2008, that the entire trail could be surveyed. The McKenzie River District posted the trail closed, and rumors started flying within the equine community that the trail would never be opened again, due to USFS trail funding shortage.

Emerald Empire Chapter

At an Emerald Empire Back Country Horsemen of Oregon meeting, a heated discussion was brought forth on the rumor of the permanent closing of Foley Ridge trail system. Many of the chapter members hunt deer and elk within the wilderness boundaries and felt desperate to get it opened as soon as possible. Several chapter members decided to make a scouting trip into the area and bring back the actual facts about the devastation to the next chapter meeting. Chapter members Phil and Casey Hufstader, along with Matt Hope, led a scouting party into the wilderness in the late summer of 2008. They rode as far as possible and walked the entire damaged area, taking pictures and measurements so a plan could be formulated at the next chapter meeting. The chapter decided to take on the trail project, and Becky Hope was put in charge of making the contact with the local McKenzie Ranger District.

McKenzie Ranger District

Becky Hope of Emerald Empire Chapter of BCHO, met with Steve Otopaulik from the McKenzie Ranger District, who was in the process of applying for grant funding through the Forest Service for this project. That winter, and the spring of 2009, brewed its own perfect storm of meetings and a combined effort from the equestrian groups formulated a two prong strategy plan for opening parts of the trail, what was still missing was the funding. As luck would have it, BCHO's Public Lands Chair, Marlene Orchard was attending a Region-6 grant meeting in Portland when discussion came up on prioritizing expected Title II funds being distributed to the Region. Marlene was able to strongly suggest the Foley Ridge trail project be put at the top of the list. With her help, the entire project was funded for two years. The money came from the Title II program, specifically for counties under the PL-110-343 Secured Rural School and Community Self Determination Act of 2000.

Wayne Chevalier of the McKenzie Ranger District was put in charge of the project. He saw it as an opportunity to educate volunteers, and Forest Service personnel, with the respect to cross cutting large technical trees with multiple binds in rough terrain. He involved local BCHO chapters, and any equestrian person that wanted to help. Becky Hope was the overall contact for all volunteers, and she coordinated the entire scheduling and record keeping for the project. The plan was to rotate volunteers and USFS trail crews through the summer until the main trail could be logged out, with the plan of coming back in the summer of 2010 to accomplish the tread work.

The Emerald Empire chapter of BCHO would provide all the pack stock and several trips were required to get all the camp supplies and trail maintenance tools in to the wilderness. Three camps were established along the trail at different locations to facilitate a continuous support for the trail work parties. The first two trips required experienced packers to haul loads over ten foot drifts of snow to camp sites that would be used later in the summer. The overall length of the project covered over twelve miles of trail, but cross country riding over snow packed areas, and navigating steep terrain, was required to even get close to the project. Several side trails leading into, or several ridges away from the project, had to be opened up or navigated.

Trail Project

Spring of 2009 came late to the Three Sisters Wilderness forcing some delays in actually getting the trail cutting project going. Deep snow still covered most of the down trees across the trail until the middle of June, even at the lower elevations. The Hope's and Hufstader's, several chapter members, and other riders, packed in the base camps, food, tools and stock feed, and other required equipment over major snow drifts in preparation for the project.

As the snow drifts started to melt, USFS trail crews moved up the trail, cutting out or re-routing the trail as they went, several volunteers bumped half way up the trail system and began cutting out the trail in both directions. The USFS rotated crews every week and several more trips were required by the Emerald Empire chapter to pull out existing camps and bumping up supplies until the middle of July when the trail was totally cut out. The plan had been two years to get the entire trail open, but with all the volunteers and the combined effort with the USFS, it was accomplished in just over sixty days. The next step of the plan, major tread work to be done in the summer of 2010, was then rushed into place by bringing in the Northwest Youth Corp. A packer was hired by the Ranger district to support their progress, leaving chapter members to branch out and open side trails leading into favorite hunting or fishing areas.


As National Director for BCHO, and a member of the Emerald Empire Chapter, I would like to give thanks to all that participated in accomplishing this major project. Without the combined effort of everyone that helped, this would not have been accomplished. It's a positive example on how working with an agency can be done right, with the goal of keeping the back country open for all users. From this project, several more are planned in that same area using the remaining funds to open up storm damaged areas that have been close for more than ten years.

About Back Country Horsemen of America

BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes in regards to the use of horses and stock in the wilderness and public lands.

If you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a member, visit their website:, call 888-893-5161, or write PO Box 1367, Graham, WA 98338-1367. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!

Contact: Peg Greiwe
Back Country Horsemen of America

Monday, August 24, 2009

76 Arabian Horses Seized in Texas - Photo and story

by: Pat Raia
August 17 2009

The operator of a Texas horse breeding farm was arrested after law enforcement authorities removed 76 allegedly neglected horses from his ranch on Friday.

Denton County Sheriff's Deputies discovered the horses at the Renazans Arabians ranch in Pilot Point, Texas, after a caller complained about their condition.

Tom Reedy, public information officer for the Denton County Sheriff's Department, said the horses were extremely emaciated with no apparent access to food or water, and were housed in filthy stalls.

"Some of the horses were standing in 6 to 8 inches of urine and feces," he said.

Ranch operator Gordon Dennis Key turned himself over to police on Saturday. He is free on bond.


Fiber in Hay: What's the Magic Number?

Horses evolved to eat a lot of fiber, spending up to 17 hours a day grazing various forage plants. But not all fiber is created equal, especially when it comes to hay.

Hay carries a few challenges compared to living forages. One, compared to fresh forage, dry hay lacks the moisture needed to move fiber along the digestive tract. Unlimited access to fresh clean water is essential when feeding a lot of hay, as impaction colic can result if the hay is too high in fiber, says Kathleen Crandell, PhD, an equine nutritionist with Virginia Tech's Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center. She also says if bulky hay is too high in fiber (as in very mature hays), horses will fill up on the hay, but in doing so might not consume enough calories to maintain body condition if they are hard keepers or hard-working horses.

So what's the right amount of fiber? There are two measures of fiber in forages that can give the owner an idea of fiber content and forage quality. Horses need a combination of fiber types to maintain digestive tract health.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kevin Myers shares Natural Hoof Care Clinic Dr. Tomas G. Teskey, D.V.M.

I had the unusual privilege last weekend of attending a clinic by Dr. Tomas Teskey. As well as being a gifted and passionate speaker, Dr. Teskey is one of today’s leading authorities on the equine hoof and barefoot horses. I left the clinic with the impression that perpetuated shoeing of horse is not dissimilar to an addiction developed over time. We know it is not right, but we are afraid to break the habit. At Week 14 in my own transition experiment, and with a couple of significant accomplishments under my belt, I can assure you that a few boots in your tack room will allow you to make the switch.

Full article

APEX Clinic: Muscle Function
Monday, August 17, 2009
APEX Clinic: Muscle Function

The first lecture at the clinic was on muscle function, organized by Ann Stuart, DVM. Ann has been involved in endurance riding since the early 1990s as both rider and veterinarian, and has served on team veterinary staff for international endurance rides multiple times. Most of Ann's lecture was devoted to understanding muscle physiology and understanding its relation to the sport of endurance. A lot of it was review from high school and college anatomy and physiology courses, but who remembers all of it? A review is always helpful. The start of the lecture focused on the anatomy of muscle and understanding how a muscle functions. Some highlights:

* We all know aerobic work is more efficient than anaerobic work. I had never made the connection to its efficiency at the cellular level. Anaerobic respiration is the process of turning glucose into pyruvate, producing only 2 ATP (energy molecules) and lactic acid as a by product. Aerobic respiration is the Krebs Cycle (Citric Acid Cycle), which in turn produces 34 ATP molecules! That's 17 times the amount of energy!
* Even relaxation requires energy in the form of ATP. Thus, in order for muscles to relax after hard work, they still need energy. Cramping occurs when there isn't enough energy (ATP) available for the muscles to relax.
* Aerobic work by muscles is supported by saltatory conduction - a process which allows sodium ions to jump the myelin sheaths surround the nerve axon, thus speeding up the reaction.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Arthritis fact sheet

From, factsheet on osteoarthritis in horses:

download: document

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Using Heat Therapy
by: Mimi Porter

Every athlete has faced injury at some time. Soft tissue disorders, such as bruises, tendonitis, bursitis, and fibrositis, can result from overuse, wear and tear, or from a sudden trauma. Sudden trauma results in an acute injury, defined as a situation of short duration. A chronic injury results when clinical signs are allowed to persist or the onset of the injury is drawn out over a period of time. Acute injuries are treated with ice and compression, while chronic injuries are often treated with some form of heat.

Arthritis, perhaps the most common chronic disease, begins as an inflammatory process in the joints and progresses as a degenerative process due to wear and tear and metabolic influences. There is a progressive loss of cartilage followed by a bony reaction. The soft tissue around the joint is weakened as pain inhibits forceful muscle contraction and support.

Tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis can overlap and all exist at the same time, making diagnosis and treatment difficult. The usual approach in coping with these disorders is to try first one thing, then another to see what will help. Weeks pass and the problem remains.

The horse presents a special challenge to diagnosis and treatment due to his ability to adapt and to compensate. When faced with pain in one area, the horse shifts his weight away from that area. This results in more strain elsewhere and disuse atrophy in the painful area. Eventually the compensatory changes are exhausted and lameness results. The horseman is finally made aware of a discomfort that has been growing over an extended period of time. The injury process is now chronic and involves several structures.

Tendinitis is an inflammatory disorder of the structure that connects muscle to bone. The tendon is not generally as extensible as muscle and is susceptible to strain. The muscle-tendon junction also can be a site of strain. In some cases, tendon sheath inflammation is a more appropriate term for the condition, if the inflammation occurs in the tendon sheath, rather than the tendon itself. Should this condition be allowed to persist, fibrosis can occur in the sheath and extend to the tendon, restricting motion.


Vesicular Stomatitis Quarantine Lifted in Starr County, Texas; Continue to Check with States of Destination Before Hauling Livestock!

News Release
Texas Animal Health Commission
Box l2966 * Austin, Texas 78711 * (800) 550-8242 * FAX (512) 719-0719
Bob Hillman, DVM * Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 710, or

Texas animal health officials have lifted a quarantine on a ranch in Starr County, where horses have recovered from vesicular stomatitis (VS), a virus that occurs sporadically in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and other western states. Currently, there are no quarantines or active investigations for vesicular stomatitis in Texas. Livestock susceptible to VS include horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, deer and other cloven-hooved animals. Infected animals can develop blisters, lesions and sloughing of the skin on the muzzles, tongue, teats and above the hooves and usually recover in two to three weeks. To prevent the spread of this virus, which is not fully understood, quarantines remain in effect until at least 21 days after the animal’s lesions have healed.

“Although the quarantine in Texas is released, some states may continue to enforce enhanced entry requirements or restrictions on Texas livestock until the height of the VS ‘season’ ends in late fall, when temperatures drop. New Mexico also has had VS this year, and it is possible that another VS case could be detected in Texas, since the virus is active this year.” said Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas’ state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. He urged private veterinary practitioners and livestock owners to check with the states of destination prior to moving animals to ensure all entry requirements are met.

Dr. Hillman explained that the clinical signs of VS mimic the highly dangerous foot-and-mouth disease, and a veterinary exam and laboratory tests are needed to confirm a diagnosis. “Horses are not susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease, but they are often the first animals to get VS,” said Dr. Hillman. “We can assist with private veterinary practitioners with disease investigations at no charge, and we can receive disease reports 24 hours a day at 800-550-8242.”

Monday, August 03, 2009

Ride & Tie: Amazing Race

Bend Bulletin
By Lily Raff / The Bulletin
Published: August 03. 2009 4:00AM PST
If you go

What: Santiam Cascade 30-mile ride and tie race and 10- to 80-mile endurance races
When: Saturday beginning at 7:15 a.m.
Where: Sisters Rodeo Grounds, 3 miles east of Sisters on U.S. Highway 20
Cost: Free

What do you get when you combine one horse, two riders, two pairs of running shoes and a 30-mile trail? One hectic, grueling sport.

One of a handful of annual “ride and tie” races in the Northwest takes place Saturday near Sisters.

In a ride and tie race, each team consists of two humans and one horse. At the start, one person rides the horse; the other takes off running down the trail. At some point on the course, the rider dismounts and ties the horse to a tree. That person then takes off running.

When the teammate — who began the race on foot — reaches the horse, he or she unties the steed and mounts it. That person then rides the horse some distance past the now-running teammate before dismounting and tying it up. The team leapfrogs like this until both humans and the horse cross the finish line.

Ride and tie races can be 10 miles, 100 miles or almost any distance in between.

Full Article

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poisoning in Horses: Common Toxic Substances - Full Article

by: Equine Disease Quarterly
October 01 2008, Article # 12815

Poisoning in horses is not a common occurrence, but when poisoning occurs, effects can be disastrous and far-reaching. Listing all toxic substances is impossible, as virtually everything on the planet can be toxic at sufficiently high dosages. What dose is safe and what dose is toxic varies with each toxin, each animal, and each situation. Factors that influence risk from a toxic substance include animal age, concurrent diseases, exposure to concurrent toxins or drugs, reproductive status, and route of exposure. This article will briefly summarize some of the more common toxic substances that can pose risks to horses in North America.

Herbal Supplements: The use of herbal supplements for horses has become common in recent years. Many people believe that if something is "natural," it must be safe and non-toxic. However, some of the most toxic substances on earth are completely natural (such as botulinum toxin, taxine in yew plants, and nicotine). Many herbal and natural supplements are inherently toxic, and many herbal products contain impurities and unknown amounts of "natural" ingredients. Herbal supplements are not well regulated, and studies investigating risks associated with use of these products in horses are lacking.

Plants, Feeds, and Feed Additives: Pastures can contain toxic plants and grasses that can pose risks at certain times during the year or under certain circumstances. Too many toxic plants exist to list here, and importance varies greatly with geographic location. However, all weeds should be viewed with suspicion and identified if possible. Additionally, grains can be contaminated with seeds from poisonous plants. Many shrubs, trees, and ornamental plants can be toxic to horses.

Hay and feed pellets can pose a toxic risk when unintended substances are incorporated into the feed. These substances include toxic weeds, toxic insects such as blister beetles, and dead animals that can serve as the origin of botulinum toxin production. Rotting, decomposing feeds or improperly stored haylage can also contain botulinum toxin. Pelleted or supplemental feeds can contain contaminants such as ionophores (such as momensin) or antibiotics due to mixing errors or contamination from transport vehicles. By-products from grain distillation can be present in supplemental feeds and can contain mycotoxins and antibiotic residues.


Monday, July 27, 2009

The Science of Wound Ointments for Horses - Full Article

A topical wound preparation can have a big impact--positive or negative--on the healing process. Here are tips from a wound-care expert for selecting the right product for your horse's injury.

By Christine Barakat

Your horse comes in from the pasture with a small cut on his chest. Maybe he hit the fence while playing or perhaps it was a tree.

In any case, the wound is fresh, clean and small. No need to call the veterinarian--you can handle this yourself. You reach for a tube of the thick wound ointment you've always used and smear a good-sized glob across the cut. That'll take care of it. Or will it?

Perhaps, says researcher Georgie Hollis, BSc, MVWHA, but it depends on what's in the tube.

The right preparation applied at the right time can protect a wound, support natural healing processes and minimize the risk of complications. But, warns Hollis, use the wrong type at the wrong time and you could actually slow down or even halt healing.

For the past three years, Hollis has been working to help make choosing the right ointment for each situation easier. A former podiatrist, she first observed the challenges of wound healing when she treated foot lesions in diabetic patients. In late 2006, Hollis, motivated by her personal interest in animals and horses in particular, began studying veterinary wound care. She now works with leading equine researchers, such as the University of Liverpool's Derek Knottenbelt, DVMS, MRCVS, in investigating and sharing information about how various treatment techniques affect healing.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Water and Dehydration Study Clarification
by: Multiple Authors

A 2008 Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) publication examining dehydration in working horses was summarized and printed on April 24, 2008, prior to its actual publication in EVJ. It was reviewed and approved by the researcher. The complete publication (in which Dr. Joy Pritchard was first author) was titled "Validity of indicators of dehydration in working horses: a longitudinal study of changes in skin tent duration, mucous membranes, and drinking behavior."

Recently, Dr. Olin Balch, a member of Veterinary Committee of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) contacted Pritchard and with committee concerns that the summary could be misinterpreted, especially where endurance horses are concerned.

Balch and Pritchard coauthored the following clarification.

Pritchard said, "My research studied changes in physiological parameters in 50 working horses pulling carts or carrying loads at moderate speeds in Lahore, Pakistan, over a period of 5 hours. While these results could be generalized to similar horses in developing countries, the conclusions are not directly transferable to any other horses, endurance or otherwise.

"The results illustrate that--in the sample population studied--neither a set of standardized skin tent tests, nor gingival mucous membrane dryness, nor other clinical parameters including heart rate, respiratory rate, and coat dryness/wetness were associated with hydration status," she continued. "Only volume of water drunk and drinking behavior were significantly associated with hydration status in these animals.

"The EVJ paper states clearly in the discussion and conclusion that working horses may not drink for internal and external reasons. Lack of drinking is not a conclusive sign of normal hydration status in the animals studied."

Balch said, "As a member of the Veterinary and Research Committees of the AERC, I believe that Dr. Pritchard has written a very important paper emphasizing that classic indicators of dehydration in horses (such as skin tent duration and mucous membrane dryness) may be quite misleading. The AERC sanctions approximately 23,000 horse starts in well-organized, veterinarian-supervised endurance rides in the U.S. and Canada annually.

"It is our collective experience, as experienced endurance veterinarians, that it is extremely common for horses in endurance rides to become dehydrated and yet refuse to drink water," continued Balch. "This is especially common early in rides where an excited horse may travel 25 miles without taking a drink. Additionally, we are convinced that exercising horses who refuse to drink water and become extremely dehydrated run the very real risk of suffering metabolic disorders. That is why riders must be attuned to their horses' water intake and take care to assure their horses are drinking adequately during endurance rides. The consequences of severe ileus or other forms of colic following dehydration and electrolyte depletion, although extremely rare at endurance rides, may lead to death.

... full article