Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Endurance riding techniques help Sir Ranulph Fiennes climb Everest - Full Article

Liz Peplow

22 June, 2009

Endurance riding techniques were behind Sir Ranulph Fiennes' successful Everest attempt last month, his wife Louise has told H&H.

When the 65-year-old adventurer conquered Mount Everest on his third attempt on 21 May, he attributed his success to his wife.

"He told me he owed his achievement to me, which was really something for him to admit," said the endurance rider, who, as Louise Millington, was a member of Endurance GB's Cheshire Group, before she married Sir Ranulph and moved to Exmoor in 2005.

"I have been indoctrinating him with endurance principals — fundamentals like hydration, avoiding build-up of lactic acid and using electrolytes."

Louise said how, as part of his training, she accompanied him to a marathon in Singapore.

"I got him to drink properly and to eat lots of pasta and slow-release energy bars," she explained. "He finished an hour and a half quicker than before. He was tired, but not ill.


Can Natural Hoof Care Reverse Laminitis?

Debra R. Taylor DVM, MS, DACVIM at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine thinks it's possible, and is doing the research to prove it. EasyCare, Inc has helped by providing funds and encourages those who have an interest in natural hoof care to do the same. EasyCare's donation helps fund intern Adam Cooner.

Dr. Taylor is recording and studying the results of natural hoof care on chronic laminitis cases. Hoof care practitioner Pete Ramey and his wife, Ivy, are currently traveling to Auburn every three weeks to expand the preliminary study - hopefully to include 50 horses. The study has consistently shown rotation reversal, increased sole thickness and profound improvement in levels of soundness. Several case horses have also demonstrated reversal of distal descent of P3. The goal is to publish this data as a scientific paper; it would be the first time a successful method of reversing chronic laminitis has been published. If you have a laminitic horse you would like to add to the study (and can haul to the University) please contact Dr. Taylor at the vet school. Boarding is available at nearby farms.

Dr. Taylor has begun additional studies to prove out the clinical relevance of the research findings of Robert Bowker VMD, PhD. This summer she will use ultrasonography, cadaver dissection, histology, radiography, MRI and CT to establish parameters for evaluating lateral cartilage and digital cushion development. This preliminary cadaver study will pave the way for a planned study to track the caudal foot development in live horses over time using radiography, ultrasonography, MRI and/or CT.

Currently, there are a limited number of veterinarians in the field that recognize the significance of internal foot development, and its ramifications to the horse's longevity and soundness. Experts in the field of hoof imaging, rarely address the anatomy, structure or health of the lateral cartilages, the digital cushion or heel depth when interpreting MRI results on horses with heel pain - in other words, half of the total volume of the foot is rarely taken into consideration. This study linking Bowker's cadaver studies to MRI, ultrasound and radiographic parameters should become critical to the future of lameness treatment and prevention.

Click here to see radiographs of two of the cases from a study.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Woman, horse hike across US

photo:Ann Byrns and her horse, Winnie, rest in Ellenville on Wednesday. They're heading to a new life in California.

By Stephen Sacco
Times Herald-Record
Posted: June 19, 2009 - 2:00 AM

ELLENVILLE — Ann Byrns' problems used to center on financial strife. But on Wednesday, her biggest problem was finding a spot to park her horse and herself for the night.

Byrns is walking across country — from Massachusetts to California — with her rescued 3-year-old mustang named Winnie.

Less than a year ago, Byrns owned a retail shipping business in Amherst, Mass. The business hit hard financial times, with the recession delivering the fatal blow. By August, at age 57, she lost her business and life savings.

Isha Gregory, Byrn's 27-year-old daughter, and her husband had the solution: come live with us in Paradise, Calif.

But it's a long way to Paradise — about 3,000 miles. And though Byrns could afford to get herself there on money from a small pension she receives from the University of Connecticut — where she worked before opening her own business — she didn't have the money to transport Winnie.

"So, I decided to walk with my horse," Byrns said. "I made a commitment to Winnie and I wasn't going to lose her." Byrns says on her Web site that Winnie gave her something to wake up for in the morning during the darkest days when she was losing her business. She also states on her site that she wants to draw attention to the plight of the mustang.

Byrns' son has created a Web site for the trip, that started June 3, and also bought his mother a notebook computer, where she blogs and checks her e-mails. People can sign up to become "fans of Winnie" as a way of funding Byrns' journey.

On Wednesday, Byrns was in Ellenville, where she had stopped so Winnie, who carries a saddle pack of supplies and camping gear, could see a veterinarian. Byrns has health insurance through her retirement benefits from the university, and Winnie has health insurance through a gift from a patron.

The journey is a slow one: an average of about 7 miles per day, and no more than 13 to 14 miles per day, tops. On this schedule she will be arriving in California sometime in 2010.

"Most people have been really great to us," said Byrns. "When something happens, there always seems to be an angel there to help." People, however, haven't been so responsive to Byrns' sign urging them to pass them by "slow," she said.

"As a horsewoman, I find the prospect of walking across country with a horse overwhelming," said Cori Nichols of Norwegian Wood Farm in Kerhonkson. "But (Byrns) is very self-sufficient and has it all planned out."

To follow Byrns and Winnie or to help, visit:


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Probiotics and Prebiotics - Full Article

by: Heather Smith Thomas
May 01 2009

Stress, illness, and age can disrupt beneficial microflora in the horse's gastrointestinal tract; here are tips on keeping these microbes healthy.

Lately, we have seen commercials that promote striking the balance of "good bugs" in our own gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Our local grocery likely has a variety of colorfully packaged yogurts boasting "live and active cultures." These products are designed to keep the good microflora happy and reduce the amount of detrimental bugs in our guts, but the jury is largely still out on their efficacy. Similarly, horses' GI tracts also need to reach this balance, but since these animals have a unique digestive system that enables them to process and utilize forages, different types of bugs are required.

Microbes in the hindgut (the large intestine and cecum) of the horse break down and ferment fibrous portions of roughages, producing volatile fatty acids that serve as a significant energy source. These microbes also create B vitamins and other nutrients essential to the health and well-being of the animal, and they help reduce the risk of overgrowth of potentially harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and Clostridium difficile. The microbial population (which includes bacteria, protozoa, yeasts, and fungi) of the hindgut must be healthy, and its numbers must be at appropriate levels for proper digestion. Bacteria make up the largest group, but the other good bugs play an important role.

When the levels of the good bugs wane--as in cases of stress, travel, or antibiotic administration--there are ways to replenish them with the help of probiotics and prebiotics. And while not available in your supermarket aisle, these equine products are readily available elsewhere. It's important to note there is limited scientific evidence in peer-reviewed journals on probiotics and prebiotics, so ask your veterinarian to advise you on the use of these products and where to find them.


No Sugarcoating: Diagnosing and Managing the Insulin-Resistant Horse - Full Article

by: Emmy Widman, Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
October 19 2008

Insulin resistance can lead to Type II diabetes in people. In horses, it can lead to what is called equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).

"We have diagnosed five or six horses (with EMS) here at Washington State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital during the past year," said Nicki Wise, DVM, a WSU second-year equine medicine resident. "Most presented with chronic laminitis, which is the one of the biggest problems for horses that have EMS."

Beyond chronic laminitis, a horse's appearance could raise suspicions of EMS.

"Often, horses with EMS have abnormal fat deposits over their neck, rump, tail, and eyes," Wise said. "The disease is closely related to Cushing's disease. Technically it is different, but a lot of the signs are the same. Generally, the disease is not life-threatening, but it will probably shorten their lifespan if these horses are not managed properly."

Ponies, Arabians, and Paso Finos are among the common breeds that the condition is found in, but any horse can suffer from it. EMS also tends to occur in middle-age to older horses, and those that are obese and have a sedentary lifestyle.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Easyboot Gaiter R&D and Improvements

From the horse's mouth
June 15, 2009

I've been testing several different Easyboot Gaiter designs and I'm seeing some very good results. I'm currently testing gaiters on the Easyboot Glove (my favorite hoof boot) and plan to update the entire EasyCare hoof boot range after we decide on the new design.

One of the designs that is working very, very well is a new concept that has an internal liner. The liner is attached but moves independently of the outer gaiter. Carol Layton of Australia has been using an internal neoprene cuff with much success and her testing started me toward the new design.