Wednesday, December 29, 2010
By Kentucky Equine Research · October 21, 2008
Even the cleanest, best-quality hay is likely to contain a moderate amount of fine material. When a horse plunges its head into a pile of hay or pulls mouthfuls out of a hay net, it inhales countless small particles of dust, mold spores, and fibrous plant material. Collectively known as the respirable dust concentration, or RDC, these fine particles can cause severe airway irritation in sensitive horses. Heaves, broken wind, and recurrent airway obstruction are terms for the condition that can manifest as mild coughing or severe bronchial spasms that preclude any sort of training or exercise. Management steps—wetting or soaking hay, selecting alternative bedding materials, and removing horses from stalls during periods of peak activity—have been used to minimize RDC impact. The goals of this study were to establish the result of soaking hay on RDC in the horse’s breathing zone; to find out the usefulness of short immersion as opposed to longer soaking periods; and to investigate how management of one stall influences the RDC in a neighboring stall...
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010
by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
December 24 2010, Article # 17439
Researchers suspect tying-up in horses is a heritable condition; however, they have yet to determine the gene--or genes--responsible. But a team of Japanese researchers recently moved the investigation forward with a groundbreaking study of affected Thoroughbred racehorses' DNA.
Muscle disorders such as polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM, recognized mainly in Quarter Horses) and recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER, found primarily in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses) can lead to tying-up. A horse that's tying-up typically displays stiffness, sweating, muscle tremors, and a reluctance to move, among other clinical signs.
"Tying-up in racehorses is important because it affects approximately 5% of Thoroughbred racehorses," explained Teruaki Tozaki, PhD, from the Department of Molecular Genetics, Laboratory of Racing Chemistry, Tochigi, Japan, author of the recent study. "Although the condition is influenced by sex (of the affected horse), temperament, and diet, the current body of evidence suggests that tying-up is a heritable trait that is affected by one or several genetic factors..."
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Sunday, December 19, 2010
by: Kentucky Equine Research Inc.
December 19 2010, Article # 17418
Oxidation is a normal metabolic process that allows horses to transform the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins they devour in meals into energy. An unavoidable side effect of oxidation is the creation of free radicals--compounds that have the potential to irreparably damage cells. Free radicals are particularly harmful to the cell membranes (structures responsible for keeping destructive entities away from delicate inner organelles).
Under normal circumstances, substances called antioxidants thwart much of the wreckage caused by free radicals. However, oxidation speeds up during athletic effort due to increased oxygen consumption and accelerated aerobic metabolism. The end result of unchecked oxidation in the bodies of equine athletes could be muscular fatigue severe enough to compromise performance.
In instances of strenuous exercise, natural stores of antioxidants have difficulty providing sufficient protection against the cascade of free radicals generated from aerobic metabolism. Thus, supplementation of antioxidants is particularly helpful in warding off the ill effects of mass-produced free radicals associated with intense exercise...
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Friday, December 17, 2010
AERC, like every other National Endurance organization in the world, defines Endurance as ‘an event of 50 miles (80 km) or more’. Riders who participate in shorter rides may feel that this definition is an affront to them, since it differentiates the events they participate in from “Endurance”. They belong to Endurance organizations, and attend Endurance rides, and yet their sport has a different name. They believe that this definition is arbitrary and artificial, and exists only to enable a bunch of elitist snobs to feel superior. When riders in the 50 or 100 mile events refer to this definition, Limited Distance riders feel insulted. This misunderstanding has led to the single biggest source of disharmony in AERC.
Huge bodies of research have been done on the physiology of horses participating in Endurance rides; all of them agree on one essential point: the overwhelming bulk of water and electrolyte loss occurs during the first 25 miles (40 km) of work*. How the horse and rider manage the next 25 to 75 miles in the face of these losses is, in fact, the definition of “Endurance”. When the horse stops working at 25 miles, it never faces this challenge; what it has done is a valid sport, and a useful sport, but not the same sport as those horses that do longer distance.
It is important to recognize and understand this difference, and not just for intra-organization harmony. Riders wishing to ‘move up’ from Limited Distance to Endurance must understand that it is not just “more of the same”—their horses (and themselves) are actually taking on a whole new challenge. To illustrate by analogy…many of us occasionally undertake “Runs” of 5 miles or so, often for charity. If you are one of these people, picture yourself suddenly entering a Marathon—with no change of training, equipment, or strategy! How do you think you would make out?
Perhaps ironically, the more “successful” a Limited Distance rider may be (in terms of speed), the less likely they are to succeed at the Endurance distances, at least initially. Often, the horse has learned to make time at the expense of grazing and drinking on the trail; it may be difficult to change this acquired behaviour. These horses are often difficult to rate. The riders keep finding their horse hitting a ‘wall’ at about 35 miles—usually poor guts sounds and/or recovery. They resist the advice to return to doing shorter rides because they feel they can’t learn anything new at this distance; they are already succeeding there. What they fail to realise is that the problems they are experiencing are not developing between miles 25 and 35, they occurred between miles 1 and 25. It is only the effect of these problems that occur later—an effect that doesn’t occur if the horse stops working before they become apparent.
Horses that have done the shorter distances at a steadier pace will actually find the transition easier; they are more used to being ‘out on the trail’ for prolonged periods. Keeping “the fuel tanks”—water, guts, electrolytes—topped up on these horses is generally easier, since the horses cooperate!
A factor that unnecessarily discourages some Limited Distance riders from attempting longer distances is the issue of “fitness”. It is not uncommon to hear them state that ‘’they don’t have enough time to train sufficiently to do 50s”. I believe many people have an exaggerated idea of how much training Endurance riders do; if you look around at a typical ride you will note that the majority of riders in the 50 and even 100 mile rides are also ‘ordinary people with jobs, family, etc’. Most mature horses with a good base that have successfully completed several Limited Distance rides in a season are—by the very fact of having done that mileage—fit enough to attempt a 50. Fitness is far more important with regard to speed than to distance; ability and willingness to eat and drink are generally enough to allow most horses to walk and trot for many hours.
Many Limited Distance riders have, of course, absolutely no interest in riding Endurance distances. There is certainly nothing wrong with that! Having made that choice, they need to make peace with the concept that the sport they have decided to participate in is not the same sport as their friends who ride the longer distance. Many riders participating in the longer distances choose not to ride fast. Many riders at all distances choose not to ride under certain weather or trail conditions. Some riders may choose to ride only multidays, or only 100s, or only rides within a few hours of home. All riders make choices which define which of the different challenges of our sport they wish to address. “Different” doesn’t have to mean “disrespected”—everybody has somebody, somewhere, who is doing more or better than they are. Maria Alvarez Ponton, two time World Champion, has only a fraction of the lifetime mileage of many Endurance riders. We must learn to embrace our differences if we are to maintain harmony; and that spirit of acceptance perhaps begins with understanding those differences.
* LINDINGER, M. I. and ECKER, G. L. (1995), Ion and water losses from body fluids during a 163 km endurance ride. Equine Veterinary Journal, 27: 314–322.May 1995
* Michael I Lindinger* , Gloria McKeen and Gayle L Ecker Effects of terrain, speed, temperature and distance on water and ion losses Volume 27, Issue S18, pages 298–305, May 1995
* Dane L. Frazier, DVM 81st Western Veterinary Conference V414The Distance Horse: Dragon Makers
Thursday, December 16, 2010
by: Christy West, Digital Editor/Producer
June 01 2004, Article # 5202
Just about every horse out there has what we might call a hoof problem on at least one of his four feet. It might be a simple mismatch that might not really be a problem, or it might be much more serious. In any case, hoof problems, regardless of scope, need to be managed properly to maximize the horse's soundness, comfort, and usefulness to you.
The challenge is five-fold, according to Bruce Lyle, DVM, who focuses primarily on foot care in his practice in Aubrey, Texas. "My approach to any case is to begin with problem identification, identify contributing factors, change what I can, and then observe the response, followed by re-evaluation," he says. "Identifying the problem can be challenging because of the lack of valid research on causes of pain in the foot. Sound horses performing at a high level may have abnormal-appearing bones on radiographs, whereas other lame horses may have an apparently beautiful foot with no radiographic abnormalities. In many cases, ultrasound and nuclear scintigraphy may be negative also, frustrating owner, farrier, and veterinarian.
"Because of these negative experiences and the lack of consistent, practical research, farrier John Arkley (more on him shortly) and I have joined with a growing faction of veterinarians and farriers handling foot problems and lameness from a fundamental form-to-function approach," Lyle says...
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Story by Tracey Emslie, John Lyons
Sacking out is a vital training tool. Done well, it creates perfect horses. Done poorly, it causes lifelong problems. Learn the difference here.
Your new horse seems a real charmer-until your saddle blanket slips off and he throws a classic tizzy fit. Or maybe a neighbor has put up a flagpole and your otherwise fine trail horse doesn't respond in a patriotic manner on windy days. Or maybe he strongly objects to swinging ropes, flapping towels, your taking off your jacket, or any of a hundred other distractions.
"Ah," will say a friend, trainer, or absolute stranger. "You need to sack him out!"
"Sacking out" is a vital training tool that's widely misunderstood. Done well, it produces a safe, confident, and responsive partner. Done poorly, it can cause problems that haunt the horse and his subsequent owners/riders for the rest of his life.
What Is Sacking Out?
An unusual object that disturbs your horse is like a pop quiz at school. Sacking out is a way to respond to the pop quiz. We talked about this in "Meet the Monsters." (To review this article from the October 2007 issue, go to www.myhorse.com/perfect horse, and search for "meet the monsters.")
Sacking out gives us a way to control the pop quiz with a training exercise in which we actually plan disturbances for the horse. They help teach your horse to respond to "go right," "go left," "stop," "go forward," "back up," "speed up," or "slow down" cues even if there's something that might startle him, such as a waving towel or a crackling tarp...
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Monday, December 13, 2010
Salt is vital for for the survival of all mammals, without it muscles do not function and life will cease to exist. Salt regulates the water content inside cells and it detoxifies the body. Salt is essential for nerve impulse transmissions and proper heart function.
Salt is mainly composed of Sodium and Chloride. Both play a major part in proper blood ph level, balanced stomach acids to digest food and also bone density. Half of the sodium in the body is stored within the bones.
Salt is found in the sea, in the ground and in mines. As soon as it is extracted, it is chemically cleaned and often exposed to temperatures of 1200 F and more, a process that destroys just about all trace minerals and nutrients. Industrially treated table salt is reduced to just Sodium and Chloride, while natural Salt found in the ground and the sea contains up to 90 additional crucial nutrients and chemical elements, which make a huge difference in all our lives.
Horses consume about 1 to 2 oz of Salt a day, in hotter climates and/or while exercising, the demand goes up to 6 or 7 oz of Salt. While sweating, horses do not only loose sodium and chloride, but also a large amount of minerals. Without all the important trace minerals, their bodies are lacking substantial chemical elements and mineral nutrients. Our horses are thus being compromised in their health and their performance...
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by: Christy West, Digital Editor/Producer
February 01 2007, Article # 8819
At some point, probably all of us have used some type of product to improve our horses' feet. And many of us haven't seen the results we wanted, so perhaps we tried another. And another. Despite our best efforts, some of us despair of ever having horses with those tough feet that don't crack and hold all the shoes until the farrier's next visit. One of our online readers put it best: "I need a miracle!"
We don't have to despair, but we do have to be smart about how we take care of our horses' feet. Not all products are good for all horses, just as all face creams aren't good for all women. To wade through the hoof product jungle, we first asked our online readers at TheHorse.com to tell us what products they used. Then, we asked the nation's leading hoof experts about how to get the most out of various products.
Careful With Those Feet
Home remedies are commonly used for many things, including hoof care. Our readers have used everything from Clorox to formaldehyde to WD-40 lubricant to commercial deck preservatives to improve their horses' hooves. But trying just anything might not be in your horse's best interest...
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Wednesday, December 08, 2010
All my life my mom has had one major lament: “I just wish you had something to show for all that money you’ve spent on horses.” My mom on the other hand has lots of stuff to show for her money …I’m talking mountains of stuff. She has so much stuff to show for her money that she’s looking for a larger house at age 75.
I guess we all want a little “something to show” for our time on this earth. After all, that’s how we keep score isn’t it? When you play Monopoly the one with the most houses and money at the end of the game is declared the winner. Nobody cared that my personal game goal was just to get to be the Scotty dog and buy all the Railroads. They still told me that I had to put away the game because I “lost”. Fortunately for me, I kind of liked putting away the game and I really hated buying those houses, so who’s to say I “lost”? This sort of logic was probably an accurate predictor of what sort of endurance competitor I would later become.
The problem with counting the money (and stuff) at the end of your life to see who wins is that you’re never around to enjoy the victory. You may know you’re ahead, but third quarter leads aren’t that satisfying, because we all know “It ain’t over till the buzzer blows”. It’s also a difficult job for the scorekeepers. Do you only count resale value or original purchase price? If one person keeps an elderly uncle’s oil painting which seemed ugly and worthless at the time, but turns out to be worth millions (though still ugly), do they beat the person with a 3,500 square foot house that was filled with top of the line (at the time they bought them) furniture and appliances…even if most of it is on its way to the landfill soon after the counting?
I’ve helped “count the points” at the end of a few people’s games and decided that no matter how great the stuff seemed to you at the time you bought it, it’s a rare item that is worth having when you’re ready to pass it on. Since my instinctive urge is to enjoy things today, use them up and wear them out; I hadn’t given much thought to what sort of things were permanent. However, my mom’s comments got me thinking about it. This inspired me to set out on a quest to find what would really last; something that would remind others that I had existed, because I’d like to leave something behind that my descendents could remember me by.
My mom is very practical; she thinks I should invest in real estate. “You could have paid for a rental house by now” she says. So, is a house something that will “last”? Not really. I see what’s left of houses all the time when I’m riding through the woods. One leak in the roof and the rot sets in. A beam rots through, the roof collapses and in what seems like no time at all the vines have pulled down the walls and only the stone chimney remains. Houses don’t last as long as I want my memory to last. On the other hand, daffodils do. I’ve ridden by spots in the woods where daffodils that look as new as the year they were planted come up with the first hint of spring and surround what used to be someone’s yard. All that’s left of the house is the outline of the foundation, but the daffodils are in excellent condition. I contemplate these things as I ride and figure it’s got to mean something…probably something about the futility of hard work.
What about wealth? Should we attempt to build a fortune to pass on so our kids will never know what it feels like to do an honest day’s work? I think the Paris Hiltons of the world have answered that question. So how do we avoid accidentally making too much money and ruining our offspring’s lives? We must know how to recognize when we have made “enough” money, then have the self control to stop and go riding.
My brother is wealthy. He is a very hard worker and loves every minute of it. Even his recreational activities make money. Making more money is his profession and his hobby. If you asked him how much money he wants to make the answer would be “more”. One day he commented to me, “Do you ever think about how much money you could have made if you’d been doing something where you got paid instead of riding?” This seemed like a ridiculous question. I hadn’t missed any meals and always paid my bills, so I obviously hadn’t needed any more money. Personally, I never understood why he continued to work after he had covered all his financial commitments. To me that was like continuing to drink when you weren’t thirsty any more. I simply answered his question with a question. “Have you ever considered how many interesting things you could have seen and done if you had been riding with me instead of making more money?”
I wonder how my brother and I will be remembered by later generations. I know from quizzing my grandmother about my ancestors that most people do well to get a one word summary of their life. “He was a”: “teacher”, “fiddler”, “cripple”, or “tough” was about all she bothered to tell me when I asked about a person on the family tree. But there were a few she’d elaborate on simply because there was a good story attached. Her favorite was my great-great-grandfather who was murdered. The story went that he was bragging and flashing a big wad of money and the preacher’s son murdered him for it. The money turned out to be Confederate and worthless. So I suppose: “Be stupid and die”. That’s one way to leave a legacy. There were others my folks told me about; “Aunt Bird” who was born premature and slept in a shoebox for a crib; my grandmother who was so strong she could hold a chair at arm’s length longer than any of the teenaged boys; the second cousin who bought a mountain and mounted huge theater speakers on the roof of his cabin so he could listen to the “Sons of the Pioneers” while he rode his horse through the woods… all these people are referred to often in family conversations. What I gather from this is, “be dumber, tougher, or stronger than people expect, or do what makes you happy whether it’s normal or not and there will be something to show for your life…a good story. At least in my family, the farther you distanced yourself from normal the more likely you were to be remembered.
So, what do I have to show for my life? What have I done with the money I made with the job that I got with the education I’ve been given? I got to thinking about it and realized that most of it bought me nothing but memories… and maybe some character. I guess most of the memories are about getting my character. As a matter of fact, looking back at my riding career I realize I have acquired so much character that if there was a character bank my balance would be staggering. I would love to be able to leave some of it to others who haven’t had the opportunity to go through some of the things I’ve survived.
I think I’ve spent my money well. The lack of tangible possessions is a blessing. My mom and dad raised 6 children on my dad’s one paycheck. Still, the stuff that she’s got left to show for it is crowding them out of their house. Considering we have only two children and we have two paychecks, it’s terribly lucky for me that I have my horses to protect me from a much worse fate. They take money that would clutter up my life with possessions, and through shoeing, hay, grain, vet bills, entry fees and fuel spent going to rides manage to make it disappear into thin air. No need for storage or maintenance, it’s gone for good!
What else should I have done with that money? Buy 277 toaster ovens, 22 microwaves, 17 refrigerators and dozens of washer & dryer combinations? How many bedroom suits and matching color coordinated comforters can one person handle? I’ve already got stereos, and computers everywhere, should I have bought even more? There would be so much stuff we’d have to add more rooms onto the house and those would be full too. I can just see me now, I’d be one of those old women whose house has a tiny little path winding between her mounds of possessions. It gives me chills thinking about it. Thank goodness for the horses!
So, instead of lots of material junk to sort out when I go, I’m leaving my grandchildren an eccentric grandma to reminisce about. They can look up my AERC record if they need to prove the stories are true. I can write down enough interesting anecdotes from those miles to let each descendent pick a favorite for their own. As for my other possessions, if I time things just right, the money should be spent, the hay should all be eaten, the horse should die, the saddle should wear out and I should expire pretty much simultaneously. If handled properly we should all compost very well taking up precious little landfill space. If someone has to sum up my life very briefly I have no doubt they’ll say, “She rode horses…a lot”. I leave that along with a very large mountain of rich manure behind the barn, which I hope my family will scatter around some daffodils.
Owners need to consider how they will meet their older horses' (or their younger, hard-keeping horses') nutrient requirements during the winter. Providing adequate energy is the prime concern, and how you will provide those extra calories depends on available feed and each horse's individual needs.
A good place to start is assessing your horse's body condition score (BCS). Horses with a BCS of greater than 5 will have some extra fat stores that can provide insulation and serve as a readily available source of energy when the daily ration falls short as the temperature drops.
In developing your feeding strategy, consider increasing your horse's hay intake to meet his energy needs. Hay is digested in the gastrointestinal tract by fermentation, which produces heat that the horse can use to maintain core body temperature. There is a limit as to how much hay he can consume daily. In most cases, he will consume 2.0-2.5% of his body weight per day. If he can't consume enough hay, then adding grain to the diet will also provide calories.
Temperatures well below freezing, or wet snow or freezing rain conditions, greatly increase a horse's energy requirements, especially if he's maintained outside. Rain and wind can cause the horse to lose the insulating capacity of his hair coat, and he'll use body reserves to maintain core body temperature, often resulting in weight loss...
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Saturday, December 04, 2010
A timed event over a marked trail
By Wayne Tolbert
The sport of Competitive Trail Riding (CTR) has been around for at least 50 years. It occupies a niche between pleasure riding, typically casual in nature, and endurance riding, which is a long-distance equine sport. There are several CTR organizations with various histories, rules, and philosophies. I have been an active competitor for the past 13 years in events sanctioned by the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC), so this article is based on that experience.
Competitive trail riding as practiced by NATRC is a timed event over a marked trail with competitors in each class having the same time to complete the course. Typically events are one or two days duration with distances ranging from 20 miles for one-day novice classes to 60 miles for two-day advanced classes. A very important characteristic of CTR is the use of two judges per event: a veterinarian judge, who evaluates the horse’s soundness, condition, and trail worthiness (manners) and a horsemanship judge. The horsemanship judge evaluates the rider on trail equitation, trail safety and courtesy, and how well the rider cares for the horse including grooming, proper use of tack and equipment, stabling, and trail care (water stops, pacing, timing, cooling out, etc.). The overall goal is to ride the horse is such a manner so that he finishes the ride as strong as when he started. Thus, CTR has been compared to the cavalry remount program in which horses were selected, trained, and ridden daily over long distances.
The emphasis that NATRC places on judging the riders as well as the horses encourages riders to become better horsemen and horsewomen. It fosters teamwork and a lasting partnership between the horse and rider. Some evidence in support of this is the fact that currently there are approximately 700 horses that have completed over 1,000 miles each in NATRC-sanctioned competitive trail rides. Two of these horses have over 20,000 miles each, one has almost 12,000 miles, one over 10,000, one over 9,000 and five horses have over 8,000 miles. Another 50+ horses have between 4,000 and 7,000 miles. These are official miles ridden exclusively in NATRC-sanctioned rides. These do not count miles ridden in other competitions, such as endurance rides, Nor the many miles ridden to condition/train the horses, nor miles ridden with friends as pleasure riding.
How is it possible that so many horses have such long and productive lives as competitive mounts? How is it possible that CTR successfully promotes horses well into their 20’s, which is a time that many horses have long retired or owners have gotten rid of their “old” horses?
The primary reasons for the success of our horses stems from the founding philosophies and practices of NATRC. Ride participants tend to select horses with stamina and hardiness, who are qualified to make good trail mounts. These horses are, or become with proper conditioning, superior athletes; bloodlines and color, while nice, are secondary to athleticism.
Riders receive guidance from veterinary judges, horsemanship judges, NATRC clinic leaders and more experienced riders. There is a long tradition of fellow competitors assisting newer participants. In my experience, this “unwritten rule” compels more experienced competitors to help and, at times, they may be assigned by ride managers as mentors to new riders. This willingness to share knowledge and experience makes NATRC an excellent starting point for many horse lovers and contributes to the family-oriented nature of competitive trail riding.
Riders also learn from their own experience at NATRC rides the proper methods of training and conditioning of horses. Riders learn good horsemanship skills that contribute to successful partnering with their horses. Riders also learn the best methods for caring for their horses during and after long rides without the aid of artificial methods or stimulants.
NATRC will celebrate its Golden Anniversary, 50 years of competitive trail riding since its founding in 1961, at the 2011 NATRC National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, February 10-13. The public is cordially invited to attend this special event, a two-day program of educational speakers, 17 vendors (to satisfy all your horse shopping needs), and a Walk of Fame to honor many of the riders and horses that have contributed CTR and to NATRC. Honorees include Past NATRC Presidents, winners of the President’s Cup, Bev Tibbitts, Jim Menefee, and Polly Bridges awards. Horses with 5 or more National Championships, horses with 5,000+ miles, and riders with 7,000+ miles will be recognized, and especially this year’s national winners. A silent auction will be held and a Specialized Saddle raffled. Attendees can also visit the country music capital, hear live entertainment, and get a chance to learn how to line dance.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Body condition scoring is a visual assessment of your horse’s level of body fat. You get a body condition score by rating the amount of fat covering various anatomical landmarks against a linear scale. Usually six areas are rated: crest, wither, loin, tailhead, behind elbow, and ribs. Two scales are commonly in use; the US scale runs with values from one (emaciated) to nine (obese), whereas the Australian scale runs with values from zero (emaciated) to five (obese) – they are close but dont directly correspond. Each anatomical area is rated a value from the scale and these are averaged to give your horse’s overall body condition score.
As your horse’s fitness level increases two important things happen to his body fat stores. First, he is able to store more of those very important Intramuscular Triclycerides (IMTGs) between his muscles – refer to Fat: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly for a recap on IMTGs. Remember, the most important role that body fat plays for your athletic horse is as the fat source to replenish IMTGs after work. Second, he can more easily liberate and use energy directly from body fat stores for increasingly strenuous levels of exercise. So as your horse increases fitness you should expect to see an increase in lean muscle bulk and a decrease in body fat stores. Interestingly, fat from body stores is not lost equally: It seems likely that fat along the top of the back and the hindquarter is recruited more quickly than from other fat storage areas, leading to less fat storage along the posterior topline.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
These options, including hay cubes and chopped forage, will help you stretch your hay supply.
By Elaine Pascoe
If you want to stretch your hay supply with a substitute, know how much hay you’re feeding by weight. “Substitutes don’t come in ‘flake’ measurements, so weigh the hay to have an idea of the appropriate weight to substitute,” says Rhonda Hoffman, PhD, an associate professor of horse science at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. She adds that any dramatic changes to a horse’s diet should be done gradually, over a period of one to two weeks, to avoid risk of digestive upset. Here are six substitutes, in her order of preference:
1. Bagged chopped forage. It can replace all of your horse’s hay, if necessary...
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Use these guidelines if you need to adapt your riding fitness program because of changes in your body due to injury or aging.
By Heather Sansom, Owner, Equifitt.com Equestrian Fitness
Heather Sansom is the author of rider fitness ebooks Complete Core Workout for Riders, and a regular columnist in several equestrian publications including Dressage Today. Equifitt.com offers personalized coaching through clinics and convenient online coaching available anywhere. Clinics available include fitness, yoga and fitness, and sport-psychology and fitness. You can get a free subscription to monthly rider fit tips, or download the ebooks at Equifitt.com.
In the December issue of Dressage Today, 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games competitor Bonny Bonnello (Canada) shared her comeback story as an older athlete bouncing back from major joint replacement surgery in "Back in the Game." Sometimes as riders, it seems that we find ourselves reaching the understanding we've been seeking for years, only to find our body isn't keeping up. The rules have changed. You may have prepared to ride using your body a certain way, but an injury, aging or other circumstance change the rules on you.
Sometimes I see riders at this stage getting frustrated. Often other people don’t see the changes- but you know they’re there. There is usually an adaptation curve. It looks a little like the grief cycle: denial, anger, blame, acceptance and moving on. The quicker you can move through to constructive solutions, the better.
Some people find it useful to think of changes as managing your performance effectively. You can be active as a rider well into decades most people have long ceased to practice other sports. If you are competitive or a professional rider, trainer or coach, you have very solid vested interest in doing whatever you need to do to ride, teach and train for as many years as you can. If your riding is more about developing yourself or your horse for your own sense of achievement, or because it’s your passion but you aren’t competitive, you still want to enjoy it for as long as you can...
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Sunday, November 28, 2010
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A natural lifestyle - freedom to roam, and the ability to choose what to eat - does not necessarily result in ideal foot conformation.
The feet of feral horses, such as the North American mustang and the Australian brumby, have been held up as examples of ideal conformation. However, not all feral horses are the same, as work carried out in New Zealand demonstrates.
A report published in the Australian Veterinary Journal documents the shape and abnormalities of the feet of Kaimanawa feral horse population.
Lead researcher was Brian Hampson of the Australian Brumby Research Unit, at the University of Queensland’s School of Veterinary Science.
"The aim of the study was, for the first time, to investigate empirically both the morphometric characteristics and the incidence of foot abnormalities in a group of adult feral horses and to determine the effect of a free-roaming feral lifestyle and lack of human intervention on foot morphology and health of the population."
Kaimanawa horses are small (133 -151cm at the withers), being descended from Welsh and Exmoor-type ponies that have been feral since the 1880's. Other bloodlines were added as the result of escapes from farms and cavalry units so that present day horses are more closely related to the Thoroughbred.
About 1500 animals live in a land of upland plateaux, with steep hills, river basins and valleys, covering an area of about 700sqkm...
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010
by: University of Illinois
October 12 2008, Article # 12883
To prevent your horse from developing painful dental conditions have your veterinarian do a thorough oral exam every year.
Although equine dentists cannot have their patients lie down in a reclining chair for easy access to those hard-to-reach molars, the field has progressed greatly in the past 20 years. It is now possible to perform a root canal or a tooth extraction on a horse, just as in humans.
In 1988, the American Veterinary Dental College was formed, allowing veterinarians who have already completed their degree to train further to become a board certified veterinary dentist. Carol Akers,DVM, is a dentistry resident at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana. She explains that in contrast to human teeth :the majority of a horse's 40 or so teeth are hypsodont, meaning they erupt throughout most of the horse's life, or up until age 30 or 35."
Because of this and the fact that horses do more grinding with their teeth than cats and dogs, it is imperative they receive routine dental care. In addition, horse teeth do not neatly line up as do human teeth. Their maxilla, or upper part of their skull, is wider than their mandible. This anatomical arrangement causes horses to form razor sharp points on some of their teeth that can lead to significant problems such as ulcers on their tongue and inside cheek.
Akers mentions that signs owners might see indicating a horse may have a dental problem are:
* Large fibers and whole pieces of grain in the horse's manure
* Weight loss
* Reaction to the bit
* Tilting of the head while eating
* Quidding (dropping large clumps of food on the ground while eating)
Thehorse.com - Full Article
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) is the only national nonprofit working to advance the onservation of land for horse-related activity. Striving to answer the question, “Where will you ide, drive, race, compete, raise foals and grow hay?” is an ongoing quest.
“The point where we can say, ‘We have won,’ is not easy to define,” relates CEO, Deb Balliet. “Rather than one large victory, like curing a disease or making a single legislative change, our goal can only be accomplished with thousands of small local victories. And ELCR has been adding to that victory list at an impressive rate.”
In the past three years, ELCR has been instrumental in the conservation plans for 44,237 acres and 985 miles of trail. Most of that progress has come directly from technical service calls; when an individual contacts ELCR for assistance with an issue in their area.
One such call was answered earlier this year regarding a piano key development in horse history and culture-rich Clark County, Kentucky. ELCR’s staff was able to gather a large amount of information with which to arm the residents for planning and zoning meetings. The development was halted and the horse country will stay unblemished.
Providing information is an important piece of providing technical assistance, but providing connections often proves important too. Last year ELCR worked with a landowner interested in conserving a large amount of land for riding. ELCR facilitated a partnership between the landowners, the National Park Service Recreational Trails Conservation Assistance and the Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen to develop a lasting protection arrangement for the trail riding land they had accumulated.
Providing resources is another important facet of what ELCR does. In the past two years, ELCR has published a revised Guide to Equestrian Friendly Conservation Easements , a resource manual with examples of easement language to protect horse activity; and Horses Make Good Neighbors, a resource designed to explain the benefits of horses in your neighborhood to people unfamiliar with horses. ELCR has also launched the “Equine Activity Statutes and Recreational Use Statutes Directory,” an online resource compiling statutes from each state.
ELCR has improved its Conservation Partners program to include five CP conference calls per year, featuring expert speakers and national networking for our Partners. ELCR has also initiated regional meetings to give partners an opportunity to discuss needs. Meetings have been held in Illinois, Massachusetts and South Carolina.
All this activity has attracted notice. Both Karen O’Connor (Olympian aLyle Lovett (singer/songwriter and celebrity reiner) have provided their endorsement for ELCR and its mission.
ELCR has also strengthened partnerships with many influential groups. As a representative of ELCR, et serves on the Kentucky Recreational Trails Authority, the Recreation Committee of the American Horse Council, the Federal Interagency Council on Trails, and the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Recreational Trails.
“The past few years have been productive for ELCR,” adds Balliet, “and we have made significant progress, but there are still trails, hay fields and farms in jeopardy. ELCR will continue to work diligently and tirelessly to ensure the future of equine sport, industry and culture, but it is not a battle that can be fought by a single organization. The goal directly in front of us is to develop an equine land conservation curriculum so that we may train leaders to be equine land conservation experts in every equine trail, breed and discipline organization and every horse community in the country. ”
ELCR recognizes that all land is conserved locally and it takes committed individuals to make that happen. “Get involved in your local land use planning and conservation efforts,” advises Balliet. “Organize your concerned neighbors. Assist local trail riding organizations, land trusts and other committed organizations. And call ELCR if you need help with any of your land-related endeavors.”
Please contact Deb Balliet at email@example.com or (859) 455-8383 for more information or assistance or if you would like to help us enable horsemen in your community or organization.
About the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) The Equine Land Conservation Resource is the only national not-for-profit organization advancing
the conservation of land for horse-related activity. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse for land and horse owners on issues related to equine land conservation, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability and equine economic development. If you want to know more about ELCR, visit our website at www.elcr.org or call (859)455-8383.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
by: Tracy Gantz
November 15 2010, Article # 17230
Even though veterinarians and farriers are making progress in developing laminitis treatment techniques and researching the causes of laminitis, prevention is still the No. 1 defense against a disease that plagues all too many horses. During the Sept. 17-18 Laminitis West Conference in Monterey, Calif., Bob Agne, DVM, an equine podiatrist at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Ky., discussed how to recognize individuals that are at risk for laminitis and how to manage them to reduce the risk of the disease.
Several pre-existing conditions can put a horse at risk for laminitis, Agne reported. He noted risk factors and preventive treatments for each, but he cautioned that every case is different. Not all horses will show all clinical signs or respond similarly to preventive measures.
Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)
* Typical clinical signs: Horses that are easy keepers, are overweight with cresty necks and discreet subcutaneous fat deposits and have high insulin and glucose levels. Horses with EMS are also more likely to show signs of previous bouts of low-grade laminitis...
Read more here:
By: Richard Winters
November 3, 2010
This snaffle is adjusted just below where it would cause a wrinkle in the corner of the horse’s mouth.
This snaffle is adjusted just below where it would cause a wrinkle in the corner of the horse’s mouth.
This snaffle is adjusted just below where it would cause a wrinkle in the corner of the horse’s mouth.
Snaffle bits are ideal for teaching lateral flexion.
These are just a few snaffle bit variations available.
Click an Image to Enlarge
Hanging in your tack room is probably some form or style of snaffle bit. Perhaps you use it everyday. Or maybe it’s unused and gathering dust. There is probably no bit that is more widely used, regardless of the riding discipline, than the snaffle bit. Even though it is a commonly used piece of equipment, there are still many misunderstandings regarding its use. Here are some of my thoughts regarding the snaffle bit.
Generally speaking a snaffle bit has a broken mouth piece connected to rings on either side. There are different mouth pieces such as plain smooth, extra thick, extra thin, twisted wire, and a handful of other variations. The cheek pieces can be a simple ring, egg butt, o-ring, or full cheek. Most snaffles will be 5” to 5½” wide. This size will fit the vast majority of horses. In the last few years some performance horse trainers have been using 6” to 6½” snaffles with extra heavy rings. They believe there is more “pre-signal” and “feel” with those larger bits.
Snaffle bits are lateral mechanisms and are made to be used laterally - side to side...
Read more here:
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
By Bob Jeffreys & Suzanne Sheppard
Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Motivating ourselves and our equine partners is a key aspect of achieving consistency in our training. Because repetition and practice are crucial, but can be boring, an important element in making training fun for both is variety. Several aspects of training can be varied, including length of training session, location, goals and exercises.
One of the most asked questions we receive is "How long should a training session be?" There really isn't a single correct answer to this question. A major consideration is your training goal on each particular day. Are you teaching the horse to "give" to the bit at the walk or are you working on perfecting your circles at the canter? Obviously you can work a lot longer at the walk than at the canter or the lope. You would also need to factor in the condition of your horse and the weather.
When we do have acceptable weather conditions and a physically sound horse, we like to vary our training times from day to day. We really try to avoid having the horse anticipate that he only has to work for, let's say, one hour each session. If you fall into this routine it won't take long for your horse to just quit as soon as his internal clock says this hour is over...
Read more here:
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Learn how to adjust your hay feeding for horses with health issues such as heaves, HYPP and equine metabolic syndrome.
By Rhonda Hoffman PhD, with Elaine Pascoe
Hay choice and feeding methods are especially important for horses with certain health problems.Hay choice and feeding methods are especially important for horses with certain health problems.
Heaves: Heaves, also called recurrent airway obstruction or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is similar to human asthma. Hay dust and mold aggravate it.
* Buy only hay harvested under the best conditions, and keep it inside and dry to avoid mold formation. Vegetative and early bloom hays generally have less dust than late bloom, mature hay.
* Feed hay on the ground or in a low bunk that allows the horse to eat with his head and neck in a naturally low position. This helps to keep any dust from the hay low to the ground and out of his airways.
* Wet the hay before feeding to reduce dust. You don’t need to soak for long—a dunk in water or spray with a hose should be enough...
Read more here:
Monday, November 15, 2010
November 1 2010
Renowned three-day event competitor and Olympian Karen O’Connor, along with show reiner and Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett are showing their support for the Equine Land Conservation Resource.
Ten-time US Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year, Karen O’Connor, is best known for her performances in the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics. Her career and numerous achievements have made her a familiar face in competition, while her dedication to giving back to the equestrian community has made her a fan favorite.
Four-time Grammy Award-winner Lyle Lovett is known throughout the world for his music and feature film acting, but he is also a popular rider in reining events. Lovett breeds and raises Quarter horses for reining and racing, as well as working cow horses. He has also been active in championing equine causes in his native Texas.
Although these equine enthusiasts may seem to have little in common, both recognize the threat to land conservation for horse activity and how it has affected the horse sport, industry and lifestyle...
Read more here:
Thursday, November 11, 2010
by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
November 11 2010, Article # 17231
Armistice Day, more commonly known as Veterans Day, provides us with an opportunity to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at the end of World War I and marks the day when millions of people worldwide stop to remember those who have served and died for their countries in military conflicts throughout history.
This Veterans Day, spare a few extra seconds to remember the countless number of horses that lost their lives in combat alongside the brave men and women who served their nations.
Equine disease and casualties were not light during World War I:
* More than 1 million horses and mules served for Britain alone--only 67,000 of those survived the war;
* Horse deaths were attributable to battle injuries, disease, and exhaustion;
* Some of the major equine diseases and ailments that plagued the horses were equine influenza, ringworm, sand colic, fly bites, and anthrax; and
* More than 725,500 horses were treated by the British Army Veterinary Corps hospital during war--more than half a million of those treatments were successful.
Historically, horses were an important part of the military, and their use in conflict dates back as far as 4,000 B.C...
Read more here:
by: Christy West, Digital Editor/Producer
November 10 2010, Article # 17206
These wooden shoes help a horse treat himself
Who ever heard of shoeing a horse with plywood, screws, and a drill, especially a laminitic horse? It might sound like the worst kind of backyard farriery, but this method is finding favor with a growing number of veterinarians and farriers. The procedure has been presented twice at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, three times at the International Hoof Care Summit, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, the International Laminitis Symposium and it was published in the April 2010 Laminitis issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America-Equine Practice.
They aren't high-performance shoes by any means, but these wooden clogs seem to provide the healing environment that many damaged feet need. "If sole impression material, screws, and cordless drills were readily available in 1887, this shoe design (suggested in Magner's Classic Encyclopedia of the Horse, 1887) and technique possibly would be standard procedure in the therapeutic treatment of laminitis," says Micheal Steward, DVM, of Shawnee, Okla., inventor of the clogs.
What Does a Horse Clog Look Like?
There are up to four components of the clog shoeing system: Plywood, deck screws, sole impression material, and glue or casting tape for further anchoring the wall to the shoe, if needed. These materials are easy to find and relatively inexpensive, which is one of the reasons why Steward came up with the concept. In his Oklahoma practice, he has had many clients come to him with laminitic horses, but not a lot of money to treat them...
Read more here:
Monday, November 08, 2010
y: Kimberly S. Brown
August 26 2008, Article # 12179
A three-year study by nutritionist Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, and her collaborators involved feeding draft cross weanlings and yearlings total mixed rations (TMRs) that contained processed forages, a vitamin/mineral suplement, and wheat bran, but little to no grain. This ration was designed to meet or exceed all of the nutrient requirements for growth while avoiding the negative effects of high-starch diets on insulin sensitivity and potential correlation with developmental orthopedic disease.
Insulin resistance has been documented in young horses fed high starch/sugar feeds and has been correlated with an inceased incidence of developmental orthopedic disease, according to Ralston.
Total mixed rations are not new to animal feeds; cattle, dogs, and cats all are commonly maintained on these types of diets. The problem with horses has been to develop a TMR that can be delivered free-choice without causing the animal to become obese or develop behavior problems if fed in restricted amounts.
"I believe TMRs, such as the ones we have been investigating, are the wave of the future," said Ralston. "These are forage-based rations can be formulated to be a consistent and healthy source of nutrition that horses can munch on all day. It avoids the uncertainties of finding good-quality hay and the problems associated with feeding large amounts of grain-based concentrates. We had no wood-chewing or other diet-related issues with horses on the TMRs...."
Read more here:
Monday, November 8, 2010 by Christoph Schork, your Bootmeister
For many of the endurance riders, this riding season is coming to an end. A lot of riders in northern latitudes have already seen the first snow on the ground. A good time to revisit the removal of Easyboot Glue-Ons so we can all safely remove the boots and let our horses enjoy some bare hoof time.
Useful tools are a very large flat-headed screw driver and a rubber mallet.
Insert the screwdriver at the quarters first. That area might already have seen some weakening of the adhesion and display a small gap between hoof wall and boot...
See more here:
By Bart Perkins
November 8, 2010 06:00 AM ET
Computerworld - How would you like to be responsible for an IT project in support of a world-famous sporting event? Much of the hardware and software will be chosen, supplied and installed by vendors that are also event sponsors (selected to meet long-term site needs, even when in conflict with the event requirements). The site covers 600 acres, and though major upgrades to the infrastructure are needed, you can't get access to the site until 19 days before going live. Oh, and the whole world will be watching. Want to sign up?
These challenges, and others, faced IT support for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), the World Cup for horses. The 2010 WEG was held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. As the first WEG held outside Europe, it had to be flawless. But the IT challenges were monumental:
No playbook. The WEG has no formal procedures or process to share lessons learned from past events. (The Olympics, in contrast, have standardized IT operating procedures.) Unlike European WEGs, the 2010 games were held in a single location, necessitating versatile reuse of event sites, which added logistical complexity.
Limited infrastructure. Although power, cell coverage and Internet access were upgraded prior to the WEG, existing systems were still insufficient for an event of this size. WEG IT expanded the Horse Park's network to include most of the park. It was partitioned to support credit card transactions, large-photo transmission and broadcast television without interfering with the ground crew and security radio-frequency networks. Seventy generators provided additional power during the games.
Decentralized organization. The WEG relied heavily on volunteers, contractors, vendors and sponsors. IT systems facilitated information-sharing across these semi-autonomous silos.
Unique requirements. Jumping events were held in one ring, requiring reconfiguration of physical jumps between events. Corresponding power and fiber-optic cables had to be physically relocated; new ditches were dug before each event, and cables laid and buried. For the first time, GPS devices were attached to saddles to track horses on the 100-mile cross-country endurance ride. If a horse stopped moving, help could be dispatched quickly. In addition, judges and spectators could monitor the progress and relative standings of the horses, even while they were out of sight.
Scheduling and tracking 5,000 volunteers was complicated because many worked only two or three days. All systems had to be highly intuitive, requiring virtually no training.
High security. Many owners, riders and visitors were royalty or wealthy people from Europe and the Middle East. Over 40 federal, state and local agencies worked together in a joint operations command center. WEG IT systems had to interface with command center protocols.
IT organizations are expected to complete projects on time, on budget and with high quality. But many fail to meet these expectations. IT support for the 2010 WEG was highly successful, demonstrating that IT projects can succeed even under extremely difficult circumstances.
Such projects can inspire IT organizations everywhere. So add a horse photo to your desktop, as a symbol of creativity, versatility, grace under pressure and teamwork. Let the can-do spirit of the World Equestrian Games inspire you and your organization to achieve the nearly impossible.
Bart Perkins is managing partner at Louisville, Ky.-based Leverage Partners Inc., which helps organizations invest well in IT. Contact him at BartPerkins@LeveragePartners.com.
full article at http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/352552/Project_Management_No_Horsing_Around?taxonomyId=73
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Friday November 5 2010
Nothing says endurance like a line of horses moving down the trail with that big extended trot that is the face of the sport as we know it. But just how good is this gait. In my opinion, not so great.
I'm not saying I have no intention of ever putting my endurance horse into an extended trot- but lets consider how hard a typical horse works. The reason I specify typical, is because most (not all) but most endurance horses have a specific 'look' when they get into this trot.
Usually what you see, is a head high, hollow back, big front end swinging trot. This unfortunately doesn't bode well for your horses muscle structure, or energy efficiency.
Hyper extension. When moving into this typoe of trot, essentially what your horse is doing, is hyper extending their body to trot BIG. Now consider how many miles you cover in the big trot over a season, or a competitive lifetime of a horse - that is a lot of wear and tear -IE - how many horses do you know that have been retired for front end issues. I know a lot.
And thats not all - consider how far in front of the main body mass a hoof needs to land. Skeletal issues (arthritis in the fetlocks and knees sound familiar anyone?) the further the hoof lands away from the body, the more braking motion required on downhills, the more time spent with that hoof supporting weight.
Tempo also is forced to decreased in conjunction with how much time that hoof is required to spend on the ground because of extension. IE less energy efficient...
Read more here:
Friday, November 05, 2010
San Diego, CA – Oct 29, 2010 – Troxel LLC, the worldwide leader in ASTM/SEI-certified equestrian helmets, has been recognized for the 2010 Partnership in Safety Award from the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA).
The Partnership in Safety Award is given annually to an organization or individual for outstanding efforts in helping not only the equine industry and CHA, but also the community at large to promote safety and awareness. Troxel was presented with the award at the 43rd Annual CHA International Conference held in Lake City, Florida.
“We are truly privileged to receive such an esteemed award,” said Shay Timms, CEO of Troxel. “I am proud of our team and the recognition of Troxel's commitment to the promotion and education of wearing certified helmets while riding. Over the years, Troxel has distributed many injury products and we've learned that changing perspectives on helmet use comes from trainers, riders, and leaders like CHA that make a personal difference."
“We were pleased to award Troxel for constantly striving to improve their headgear for the equestrian sport by keeping it as safe and affordable as possible,” said Christy Landwehr, CEO of CHA. “Troxel has worked closely with CHA to kindly donate product for our silent auction, TEAM CHA youth awards, and event giveaways.”
Internationally respected trainer and clinician Julie Goodnight accepted the award on behalf of Troxel.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to accept the safety award on Troxel’s behalf,” said Goodnight. “I admire and appreciate Troxel’s commitment to safety and to promoting the use of equestrian helmets in our sport. I have seen firsthand, in every arena that I work in, the remarkable results of our efforts to make wearing a helmet both stylish and cool.”
The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces how-to DVDs and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA-ahse.org or call toll free 1-800-399-0138. To find a certified horseback riding instructor or accredited equine facility near you visit www.CHAinstructors.com.
Troxel is the world's leading provider of ASTM / SEI certified equestrian helmets for competitive, schooling and recreational riding. Established in 1898, Troxel is recognized for its innovative design and research leadership in helmetry. Based in San Diego, California, Troxel now dedicates all its resources to equestrian helmets and related accessories, and has provided over three million helmets to the equestrian market.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
by: Marie Rosenthal, MS
September 06 2009, Article # 14849
Although acupuncture is frequently used in human and animal health, it needs to be described in terms that most people accept and understand, said Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, who recently authored a report on the topic.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains that the invasion of environmental agents, such as cold, wind, dampness, and heat cause pain, and an upset in Yin and Yang disrupts organ function. Acupuncture is supposed to correct this, but to today's modern mind that sounds like superstition.
"We shouldn't be selling mysticism as medicine," Robinson said.
"Acupuncture is real medicine, based on anatomy and physiology," she explained. "Getting the best results comes from seeing what's right in front of us--muscle tension, imbalances in the nervous system, and the health impact of stress, malnutrition, and under- or over-exercise. Belief systems imported from China only muddy the message."
In medical terms, "Acupuncture appears to work because it dampens pain transmission in the nervous system, which means it turns down the 'volume' of painful impulses entering the spinal cord and brain, and changes our emotional state and reaction to painful stimuli," she said. "Sophisticated brain imaging techniques have told us which parts of the brain are responding to acupuncture and when, providing a 'real time' window into brain function during and after acupuncture."
Owners who want to use acupuncture to treat their horses should choose a veterinarian who approaches acupuncture scientifically, she said...
Read more here:
by: Tracy Gantz
October 31 2010, Article # 17166
Insulin-resistant horses are prone to laminitis, but owners and veterinarians can often successfully manage them through strict diet and exercise regimens so that they don't develop laminitis. Ray J. Geor, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor and Chair of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University, outlined some of those regimens at the Sept. 17-18 Laminitis West Conference in Monterey, Calif.
"We've got two opportunities for intervention," said Geor. "First, we've got animals that we know have had laminitis and also show evidence of obesity and insulin resistance (also called equine metabolic syndrome, or EMS). Second, we may identify a horse or pony with clinical features of EMS, even though laminitis has yet to be detected—in both situations, the goal is to manage the obesity and insulin resistance so that episodes of laminitis are avoided."
In designing a diet and exercise program, Geor first stressed the importance of a thorough baseline clinical assessment. That includes not only checking body weight and body condition score and blood-insulin levels, but also evaluating the horse's current feeding program, its level of physical activity, and whether or not it is sound for exercise.
Set realistic goals for weight loss and develop a monitoring plan...
Read more here:
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The formation of ordinary rust is not a chemical enigma and is perhaps the most familiar example of oxidation. A mixture of moisture and oxygen chemically attacks metal and in time corrosion creates a reddish-brown, brittle coating that weakens and ultimately destroys the metal. Just as destructive, though invisible to the eye, is the oxidation that occurs at the cellular level in horses and other mammals. The end result of unchecked oxidation in the bodies of equine athletes may be muscular fatigue severe enough to compromise performance.
Oxidation is a normal metabolic process that allows horses to transform the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins they devour in meals to energy-- energy to grow, perform, and reproduce. One unfortunate, although completely unavoidable, spin-off of oxidation is the creation of free radicals, compounds that have the potential to irreparably damage cells. Free radicals are particularly harmful to cell membranes, structures responsible for keeping destructive entities away from delicate inner organelles.
Under normal circumstances, substances called antioxidants thwart much of the wreckage caused by free radicals. However, oxidation speeds up during athletic effort due to increased oxygen consumption and accelerated aerobic metabolism.
In instances of strenuous exercise, natural stores of antioxidants have difficulty providing sufficient protection against the cascade of free radicals generated from aerobic metabolism...
Read more here:
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Story by Frank Santos, DVM
"Navicular disease" is a very common and dreaded syndrome in the horse. It may be the most commonly diagnosed lameness in Western performance horses. The diagnosis and treatment of this problem has been controversial historically.
The diagnosis of navicular disease has traditionally been based on clinical observation, localizing the source of pain with diagnostic nerve blocks, and radiograph (X-ray) interpretation of the navicular bone. Through advanced imaging techniques, mainly MRI, the soft tissue structures in the navicular area have been shown to play a significant role in this syndrome.
There often are other sources of pain causing lameness in this area than just an affected navicular bone. In a recent column, I said colic was not a specific diagnosis, but just a term describing abdominal pain. I think we (veterinarians and horse owners) often use the singular term "navicular disease" for what is really a complex problem. The realization of the complexity of the problem seems to me to explain the differences we often encounter in the response to treatment. If there can be multiple causes for the symptoms, how can there be any one way to treat it?...
Read more here:
Monday, October 25, 2010 by Duncan McLaughlin
Any discussion about your endurance horse’s diet must include discussion on fat : fat is so important in the energetics of sustained exercise. But before we begin, lets cover some terms:
Adipose fat is what we commonly think of as ‘fat’; fat storage depots around the body. Think ‘love handles’ and you get the idea.
Intramuscular Triglycerides (IMTGs) are specialised fats stored in-between muscle fibers and are an important source of fuel for sustained exercise.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are fats that must be supplied in the diet. These include your Omega3s and Omega6s. Simply put, Omega3s are involved in anti-inflammatory responses and Omega6s are involved in inflammatory responses but both are required by your horse’s body for many metabolic processes.
Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs) result when microbes in the hindgut breakdown fiber. The VFAs are then absorbed by your horse’s digestive system for use. The most important VFAs are acetate, butyrate and propionate.
1. Acetate is easily converted to acetyl-CoA and used directly as an energy source by muscle for aerobic exercise. Excess is converted by the liver to fat.
2. Butyrate is mostly used as energy source by the cells lining the digestive tract but excess can also be converted by the liver to fat.
3. Propionate is either converted by the liver to glucose and then transported to muscle for use or storage as glycogen or it is converted by the liver to amino-acids and/or fat. Estimates suggest as much as 50% of blood glucose is derived from propionate.
So you can see, we need to take VFAs seriously.
Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) come from the breakdown of fat, either long-chain dietary fat in the digestive system or adipose fat from body stores, and are moved by the circulatory system to muscle, where they can be used as fuel for aerobic exercise.
Horses don’t eat, or need, much fat. The evolved diet (grasses, forbes, shrubs) was low in fat, no more than 5% of total calories. This explains why horses don’t have gall bladders: instead a continuous but very small amount of bile, important for fat digestion, trickles in to the small intestine.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Originally published on TheHorse.com
Appropriate preventive and therapeutic measures to avoid and/or treat gastric ulcers in endurance horses might improve performance.
Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is extremely common in competitive horses involved in show jumping, dressage, and Western disciplines. One recent study reported that more than 90% of racehorses had EGUS.
"Unlike these other types of athletic horses, the prevalence of gastric ulcers in endurance horses is less well-studied. One group found that two-thirds of horses examined after a 50 or 80 km endurance ride had gastric ulcers, but no data on horses competing at higher levels (i.e., 90-160 km) are currently available," said Youssef Tamzali, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECEIM, of the Ecole Veterinaire de Toulouse (National Veterinary School) in France.
Tamzali and his research team, therefore, performed two separate gastroscopes in 30 high-level endurance horses: one during the off-season period and the second during the competition season within 2-3 days of competing in a 90-160 km ride...
Read more here:
Saturday, October 23, 2010
By Clinton Anderson with Jennifer Forsberg Meyer
Photos by John Brasseaux
Sidepassing is our goal in this exercise. I’ll show you how to train your horse to step laterally to the side with his whole body when you cue him with your leg directly behind the cinch.
The lateral movement of sidepassing helps to free up your horse’s ribcage, shoulders, and hindquarters. It teaches him to move his feet in a rhythmic, even way, without using his hindquarters for forward impulsion. It helps him learn to keep his shoulders, ribcage, and hindquarters aligned. Teaching your horse to sidepass will help you make the most of his natural athletic ability.
In addition, using your legs to direct your horse’s ribcage in a sidepass helps you upgrade to "power steering."It makes your horse more easily maneuverable on the trail, around cattle, in traffic, or when negotiating tight turns--including those needed when going through a gate.
We’ll begin with yielding your horse’s hindquarters along the fence. Then, with your horse facing the fence (that is, perpendicular to it, so that it’s blocking his forward movement), you’ll ask him to step directly sideways down the fence. The momentum he’s built from yielding his hindquarters off the fence will help to carry him on in the sidepass. (It’s easier to redirect movement in this way than to ask your horse to begin the sidepass from a standstill.)
More article and photos here:
Monday, October 18, 2010
by: Eric Haydt
September 07 2009, Article # 14812
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...
Read more here:
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
by: Eric Mitchell
October 06 2010, Article # 17064
Few issues in horse racing fire up people's emotions like medication. A couple of years ago the target was anabolic steroids, and the industry reacted quickly. By Jan. 1, 2009, most U.S. racing jurisdictions had adopted rules banning the use of anabolic steroids.
Today the target is phenylbutazone, an analgesic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory more commonly known as Bute. Think Advil for horses.
The Model Rules Committee of the Association of Racing Commissioners International voted 12-0 (with one abstention) to lower the level of race-day Bute from 5 micrograms per milliliter to 2 micrograms. What is driving the proposed change is a concern that horses unfit to race are slipping past the pre-race veterinary exam because Bute is masking various problems. Rick Arthur, DVM, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, noted in a speech at The Jockey Club Round Table in August that 90% of all horses that suffer fatal musculoskeletal injuries have some pre-existing injury at the site of the fatal injury.
Lowering the threshold to 2 μ/ml (micrograms/milliliter) may allow the veterinarians conducting pre-race inspections to do their jobs better and avoid catastrophic breakdowns. That's the goal...
Read more here:
Monday, October 11, 2010
by: Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Feature Editor
October 01 2010, Article # 17034
There is much debate surrounding the use of supplements in equine diets, but adding fish oil to a horse's feed to increase omega-3 fatty acid intake can have a positive effect on exercising horses' health and endurance, according to Kyle Newman, PhD, of Venture Laboratories. Newman presented a study on the subject at the Veterinary Sport Horse Symposium for horse owners, held Sept. 22-24 in Lexington, Ky.
According to Newman, omega-3 fatty acids' effects on equine health include "increased vascular compliance, anti-hypertensive properties (lower blood pressure), inhibited production of cytokines (immunoregulatory proteins) involved in chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, positive effects on fetal development, and improved semen quality."
During his presentation, Newman focused specifically on how the fatty acid fish oil might benefit sport horses...
Read more here:
by: Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Feature Editor
October 03 2010, Article # 17037
One of the many factors that can affect a competition horse's focus is intestinal upset--specifically impaction and spasmodic colic. Kyle Newman, PhD, of Venture Laboratories, explored how sport horse owners can help prevent these colic episodes in their equine athletes at the Veterinary Sport Horse Symposium, held Sept. 22-24 in Lexington, Ky.
According to Newman, an increased risk of impaction or spasmodic colic can be attributed to changes in diet (for example, if you change your horse's hay, the fiber content increases and digestibility decreases), changes in grains or concentrates (i.e., greater than 2.7 kg oats/day), and a decrease in pasture availability.
He said horse owners can help prevent colic by "examining simple sugar and fiber of forages, avoiding (dietary) changes that increase gas production, stabilizing fermentation, and improving digestibility."
To improve a horse's digestion, Newman suggests...
Read more here:
Monday, September 20, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010 by Duncan McLaughlin
Some months back I wrote an article, Soft-Country Feet?, where I suggested that hoof ailments such as hoof cracks, white-line disease and thrush, common to horses living in soft, wet environments could be reduced or eliminated with regular, biomechanically-sound trimming.
Generally my horses get trimmed every three weeks. However, recently I have been travelling and it has been just on 10 weeks - 3 trim cycles - since my herd of eight were last trimmed. I was prepared for the worst but fortunately it wasnt that bad. All of them had grown really long (none of the working horses were even closte to fitting into their Easyboot Gloves!), a couple had developed some cracks on the dorsal wall, a couple had hoof-wall separation in the quarters, and those usually in work had lost some robustness of the frog. Otherwise they looked pretty good. It was just a case of removing excess length and correcting breakover. Here are some before, after and comparison shots of their near-fore feet:
View entire article at http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/easycare/0/0/soft-country-feet-revisited
From Sharifah Nur Shahrizad Syed Mohamed Sharer
HINCHINBROOKE (QUEBEC), Sept 20 (Bernama) -- Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin visited a therapeutic riding centre here Sunday and came away impressed with the equine therapy programme for special children and disabled people.
His Majesty spent about two hours at the Lucky Harvest Therapeutic Riding Center where he was briefed by the coordinator and instructor, Debbie Wilson, and chatted with several participants of the programme.
Located about an hour's drive from Montreal, Lucky Harvest Therapeutic Riding Center is the first equine therapy centre to have received an accreditation certificate.
The Lucky Harvest Project was established in December 1990 with the primary aim of providing therapy, rehabilitation and enjoyment to children, youths, and adults with physical, intellectual, emotional and/or developmental disabilities.
The focus of the programme is similar to that of the Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation which assists disabled people, particularly in health care.
Tuanku (King) Mizan, who is chairman of the foundation and an avid endurance horse rider, is on a "special task" visit to Canada in conjunction with the "Brain Gain Malaysia" programme, of which the foundation is a grant recipient.
The therapeutic treatment at the Lucky Harvest centre begins with the matching of a patient with a suitable horse based on the patient's physical condition.
The treatment at the centre is for a broad range of physical, mental and emotional disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Down's and Rett Syndromes, neuromuscular disorders, post-traumatic brain injury, autism, and cognitive disorders.
Wilson, when met by RTM (Radio & Television Malaysia) and Bernama reporters prior to Tuanku Mizan's visit, said about 40 children underwent training per year, with about eight children undergoing the therapy every Saturday.
"We use the horse as a tool to help rehabilitate and promote the general well-being of children with disabilities. We also use the horse as a means of getting certain behaviour ... the horses are very sensitive, so a child of certain behaviour has to control his behaviour in order to get the horse to do what they want," she said.
Wilson said 80 per cent of the children attending the programme had speech problems and 60 per cent of them were autistic.
For children with speech problems, the centre worked on their language ability, while the autistic children worked well with the horse because it was their tool of communication, she said.
"To see your child who cannot play hockey, do ballet or participate in soccer or social group activities, ride and control a 1,000-pound horse is really amazing," she said, adding that all the horses used in the programme had been carefully selected and trained.
On Tuanku Mizan's visit, Wilson said it was a good opportunity to promote more people to be involved in the programme around the world.
"This visit is also an opportunity for us to make more people aware of our service here because we do not have the ability nor resources to promote the project on a larger scale," she said.
Friday, September 10, 2010
by: Erin Ryder
September 03 2010, Article # 16903
We interact with microchips every day--in our computers, telephones, and even our kitchen appliances. But the thought of putting a microchip into a horse can make us uncomfortable. Fear not--veterinarians say microchipping horses is a quick and simple procedure that provides safe, permanent identification.
Kevin Owen, DVM, owner of Electronic ID Inc. (the U.S. ditributor for Destron-Fearing/Digital Angel chips), has been involved in microchipping horses since 1986. He estimates Destron-Fearing has sold more than 800,000 chips for equine use worldwide. The company offers chips with a patented BioBond cap that allows connective tissue fibers to infiltrate to anchor the chip in place.
"A microchip is a transponder encapsulated in a biocompatible glass," Owen explains. The chips themselves are passive--they don't actually do anything.
"The chip has a predescribed number issued by the ISO, which guarantees uniqueness, etched into it," Owen says...
Read more here:
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010 by Kevin Myers
I was very lucky to be able to ride a couple of days at Bryce XP in addition to helping Duncan McLaughlin work on his thermography study of shod and unshod horses. I tried a couple of application techniques with the Easyboots that I have not tested before at events. The results were more than encouraging.
1. They're Called Power Straps for a Reason
I've not been an avid fan of using Power Straps on Easyboot Gloves since I switched from shod to barefoot in 2009. And when EasyCare was considering making the Power Straps standard on the Easyboot Glove late last year, my vote was not in favor of the change. If I was asked to vote again today, I would probably vote differently.
My strategy on Day 1 with Far was to ride fairly aggressively and if the circumstances allowed, to finish in the top ten. That obviously meant maintaining a good speed most of the day over a variety of trail conditions.
Bryce is one of the prettiest rides I've ever competed at and I've always found the trail to be taxing - there is a fair amount of dirt road and the high volume of precipitation there this summer has washed much of the topsoil away, leaving even more rocks than ever. The result is a hard-packed and rocky environment that is challenging for any horse.
Armed with a fresh new set of Easyboot Gloves installed with blinking white Power Straps, I applied the boots the morning of the ride with Mueller Athletic Tape wrapped four times around the hoof walll, just below the coronet band. I used a rubber mallet at the point of toe to make sure I got them on snugly.
Far was his usual forward self and rather than hold him back all day, we did a lot of 12-14 mph trotting along with a fair amount of cantering. I probably cantered 25% - 30% of the race.
I'm pleased to report that we didn't have one boot loss, even though we were traveling at great speed over a variety of challenging trails - including a healthy amount of climbing up technical trails.
We finished in fifth place, just eight minutes after the winning rider, Christoph Schork. I'm a Power Strap convert now. Garrett Ford, who rode The Fury in Easyboot Gloves, won the Best Condition award.
2. Not To Glue? Well, Maybe a Little
There has been a fair amount of discussion since Garrett and The Fury's Haggin Cup win at Tevis this year about the pros and cons of gluing on protective horse boots. On Day 2 at Bryce, I was to ride Stoner, aka Redford, who has not really done much in the way of work since his 19th place completion at Tevis at the end of July.
...more at http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/easycare/0/0/three-key-lessons-i-learned-at-bryce-canyon-xp