Monday, May 18, 2009

Water: The Overlooked Nutrient - Full Article

by: Kentucky Equine Research Inc.
May 17 2009, Article # 14174

The most important nutrient in the horse's diet is one that is rarely added to feeds: water. Although it is often overlooked in discussions involving equine nutrition, water could be considered the first limiting nutrient of all horses, as they cannot survive for as many days without water as they can without feed.

The amount of water required by the horse is determined by the magnitude of water losses from its body. These losses occur through feces, urine, respiratory gases, and sweat and, in the case of lactating mares, milk.

These losses are affected by the amount, type, and quality of the feed consumed, environmental conditions and the health, physiological state, and physical activity of the horse. Horses will generally consume as much water as they need if given access to a palatable water source.

Horses at rest in a moderate climate will generally consume between three and seven liters of water per 220 lb (100 kg) of bodyweight. This translates to around 4-9 gallons for an 1,100-lb (500-kg) horse.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Montana Horse Slaughter Bill Becomes Law - Full Article

by: Pat Raia
May 04 2009, Article # 14098

A measure promoting privately-owned horse processing plant development in Montana became law on Friday when Gov. Brian Schweitzer allowed the bill to lapse into law.

HB 418 insulates prospective plant developers from permit and licensing challenges on environmental and other grounds, and awards attorney and court fees to plaintiffs in cases District Courts deem harassing or without merit.

The measure automatically became law after Schweitzer declined to sign or veto it 10 days after it reached his desk.

Schweitzer previously vetoed the bill, and sent an amended version back to the legislature. But legislators returned the bill to its original form and sent it back to Schweitzer a second time.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hard at Work or Hardly Working? Equine Work Intensity - Full Article

by: Kentucky Equine Research Inc.
May 11 2009, Article # 14148

Optimal nutrition of the performance horse hinges foremost on the exercise it performs. Just as the diet of a human bodybuilder is dissimilar to that of a marathon runner, most horses are fed with performance goals in mind. Therefore, accurately assessing the level of work performed by a horse is essential in determining the amount and type of feed offered.

Energy is produced by aerobic or anaerobic metabolism. The breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy with the involvement of oxygen is termed an aerobic reaction.

Because oxygen is required, this energy-producing process is slow. The conversion of glucose or glycogen to lactic acid does not require oxygen and is therefore an anaerobic reaction, a process that produces energy quickly. Equine nutritionists divide work into three classes based on how horses derive energy from their bodies to fuel exercise.

High-intensity, short-duration work includes performance events with a primary sprint component...


Monday, May 11, 2009

Feeding Fat for Energy and Performance - Full Article

by: Karen Briggs
July 01 1997, Article # 688

If there was a nutritional buzzword that was started in the '90s, it was fat. We fitness-conscious (and frequently overweight) North Americans still might not fully understand the differences between "good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol, but we all know how to count our fat grams! While we struggle to keep our diets as low-fat as possible, fat has a different focus when it comes to our horses because it's only in recent years that we've recognized the value of raising the fat level in an equine athlete's diet.

Of course, the average human diet (at least in North America) contains well over that recommended 30 grams of fat per day that nutritionists enthusiastically endorse. The horse's natural diet, in contrast, contains almost no natural fat at all. Forages and fibers contribute none, and most grains fed to horses only contain between 2% and 3.5% fat overall. While this leaves the horse at low risk for cardiovascular clogging, it does mean that, traditionally, carbohydrates have been considered the obvious and "natural" energy source for performance horses, and fat rarely has been considered, beyond that little splash of corn oil that's considered good for a shiny coat. Only in the last couple of decades have we begun to realize that fat is also a valuable energy source--and one with many advantages.

Why Feed Fat?

High-fat diets (anything over and above the 2% to 3.5% supplied by a standard grain-plus-forage diet) provide several perks, most notably in terms of energy production for high-level equine performance. Pound for pound, fat supplies almost 2 1/2 times as much energy as the equivalent weight of carbohydrates or starches (traditionally supplied by grains such as oats, corn, or barley). So, if you want to supply more energy to your horse without increasing his overall feed intake, supplementing the fat in his diet can be an excellent way to accomplish that.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Recreational Trails Program Up For Reauthorizatioin

May 5, 2009

The American Horse Council is working to preserve the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program. If Congress does not take action this year this program could no longer be available to recreational riders.

The RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. It was created in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 and was last re-authorized in 2005 as part of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, this law is about to expire. The RTP will have to be re-authorized in the next national surface transportation program bill if it is to continue.

Since its inception the RTP has provided approximately $677 million for thousands of state and local trail projects across the country, including many that benefit equestrians. RTP projects consist of construction, maintenance and restoration of trails and trail related facilities as well as the acquisition of easements or property for trails.

Although each state manages its own program, 30% of RTP funds must be spent on non-motorized projects like equestrian trails, 30% on motorized, and 40% percent on multiuse projects.

"The RTP is one of the few sources for federal funding of trail projects that are not on federal land. The program is a great resource for equestrians to fund projects in their state and local parks," said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass.
In the coming months Congress is expected to begin work on the next 5 year highway bill. The AHC, in conjunction with a broad coalition of recreational trail users is requesting that Congress not only re-authorized the RTP, but also increase funding for the program to $555 million to be spent over the five years of the bill.

The AHC urges recreational riders to contact their members of Congress to voice support for this program. "This is a great program and I hope equestrians will take the time to call or write their Representatives and Senators and let them know this program is important to the horse community," said AHC President Jay Hickey.

Contact: Bridget Harrison

Understanding the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program
by: Equine Disease Quarterly
July 17 2008, Article # 12306
Full Article at
( membership is free, sign up if you can't view this article)

USEF Drugs and Medications Guidelines - download pdf

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is the national governing body for equestrian sport and is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USEF is responsible for enforcing the rules of 27 breeds and disciplines. Formerly this organization was known as the American Horse Shows Association (AHSA). The name may have changed, but the mission of its Equine Drugs and Medications Program has stayed the same since the program's inception in 1970.

Over the past 38 years, the Equine Drugs and Medications Program has worked to protect the welfare of equine athletes and ensure the balance of competition. Currently, the program utilizes veterinarians and technicians around the country to collect blood and urine samples from horses competing at USEF events.

The USEF also contracts with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to enforce the AQHA'S drug rules by collecting samples at Quarter Horse competitions for analysis. Additionally, the USEF is responsible for testing competitions throughout the United States that are operated under the rules of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sport headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In 2007, almost 17,000 blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed by the program, representing nearly 13,000 horses randomly selected for testing. Since 1995, the USEF has operated its own equine drug testing and research laboratory.

Drugs and medications are classified by the USEF's Drugs and Medications Rule as being permitted, restricted, or forbidden.

Permitted substances include dewormers, antibiotics (except procaine penicillin), anti-fungals, antiprotozoals, vitamins, electrolytes, and anti-ulcer medications. Caution is urged if one is using so-called herbal or natural products, since plants are commonly the source for pharmacologically potent, forbidden substances such as cocaine, reserpine, and marijuana.

Restricted medications include specific non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), methocarbamol (muscle relaxant), and dexamethasone (corticosteroid). Restricted drugs are allowed to be present in the horse at the time of competition provided they do not exceed the levels specifically set for each drug.

Currently, no more than two approved NSAIDs are permitted in a horse's system at the same time, as long as neither is found in excess of respective restrictive levels. One exception to this regulation is flunixin and phenylbutazone, which are not permitted in a horse at the same time. A seven-day withdrawal from one of these two NSAIDs is recommended before initiating treatment with the other. In addition to flunixin and phenylbutazone, other NSAIDs that are allowed below restrictive levels include: naproxen (Naprosyn), meclofenamic acid (Arquel), firocoxib (Equioxx), diclofenac (Surpass), and ketoprofen (Ketofen).

Very specific dose and time recommendations are published for all restricted medications to aid competitors, trainers, and veterinarians in maintaining compliance with the USEF's drug rules.

Forbidden medications and substances include those that may affect the cardiovascular, respiratory, or central nervous system or have a behavior-altering affect. This includes any stimulant, depressant, tranquilizer, local anesthetic, psychotropic substance, or drug that might affect the performance of a horse and/or pony, including corticosteroids and analgesics. Some forbidden medications may be used for legitimate emergency treatment if proper steps are taken. full article and referenes

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

ELCR Helps Horsemen Join Forces

Date: May 6, 2009

ELCR Helps Horsemen Join Forces with other Recreation Groups to Improve Trail Safety and Enjoyment of Public Lands

A group of national and state trail advocacy organizations representing equestrian, OHV, and bicycle interests recently completed a collaborative effort to develop a new guide called "Sharing Our Trails - A Guide to Trail Safety and Enjoyment". The guide is intended to be used in a variety of ways such as incorporation in trail brochures, magazine articles and trail education programs of all types.

The purpose of the guide is to improve safety and improve trail satisfaction for all trail enthusiasts on multiple-use trails. To quote the document itself, "In many parts of the country trails are open to and shared by equestrians , OHV riders, bicycle riders, runners and hikers. Trail sharing can and does work when people respect each other and work cooperatively to keep each other safe."

Deb Balliet, CEO of The Equestrian Land Conservation Resource stated "We all recognize that there are techniques and practices that will keep trail enthusiasts safe and improve the quality of our experiences. This guide represents the efforts of a broad range of trail enthusiasts working together to develop an understanding of each other's needs and develop a guide that specifically tells trail enthusiasts what steps to take when they meet on the trail".

Jack Terrell, Senior Project Coordinator for the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council said "Understanding other trail enthusiasts' needs, particularly when it comes to safety, is critical to minimizing conflicts and maximizing the enjoyment of all trail enthusiasts. This guide goes a long way toward promoting that understanding among everyone on the trail".

Daphne Green, Deputy Director of the California State Parks OHMVR Division stated "We are proud to work with the organizations involved in this effort to devise programs and initiatives to minimize user conflicts, increase safety, and enhance enjoyment of our public recreation opportunities".

Lori McCullough, Executive Director of Tread Lightly!, Inc. said "The Tread Lightly! ethic has always encouraged respect and courtesy between all trail enthusiasts, but conflicts still occur. This joint effort in educating all recreationists on the best practices for sharing trails shows common ground and collaboration can lead to improved trail experiences for all".

Jim Bedwell, Director of Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Services for the US Forest Service stated "The groups that came together to produce the guide for sharing trails on our public lands are to be commended for their view of "the big picture." Outdoor recreation provides many benefits to people, communities, and the economy. An attitude of sharing increasingly scarce resources and cooperating safely is paramount to sustaining these benefits."

Tom Ward, California Policy Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) said "This set of guidelines was developed after an extraordinary collaboration between equestrians, mountain bikers, hikers and motorized trail users. It includes suggested rules of etiquette, which provide understanding between users, and will create a safe and enjoyable experience for all. IMBA was pleased to be involved in this effort."

Organizations and agencies involved in the development of the guide include the American Endurance Ride Conference, Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, American Motorcyclist Association, American Trails, Back Country Horsemen of America, BlueRibbon Coalition, California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, Cycle Conservation Club of Michigan, Equestrian Land Conservation Resource, International Mountain Bike Association, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Loomis Basin Horsemen's Association, Motorcycle Industry Council, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Off-Road Business Association, Open Beaches- Trails, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, Tread Lightly!, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and United States Forest Service.

The guide can be found on the following websites:

Equestrian Land Conservation Resource - (See news scroll)

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access -

American Trails - http//

International Mountain Bicycling Association -

Loomis Basin Horsemen's Association -

National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council -

Tread Lightly! -

United Four Wheel Drive Associations -

Contact: Deb Balliet