Friday, January 29, 2010

Spanish Barb - Full Article

The Spanish-Barb traces its lineage through the Andalusian and Spanish Jennet horses brought to North America by the Spanish explorers during the 16th century. Both the Andalusian and the Jennet had evolved from the Barb horse of North Africa, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula after the Moorish invasion of Spain in 711. In America, the Spanish-Barb was most prevalent in areas of Spanish settlement, in the Southeast and the Southwest. In the Southeast, the Spanish-Barb provided the foundation for both the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indian horses. Chickasaw blood would play a major role in the development of the American Quarter Horse. In the Southwest, they became the horse of the early Spanish and later Mexican cowboys, and went on to form the basis for the wild Mustang herds of the West.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Ancient Akhal Teke - The Horse With The Metallic Sheen - Full Article

By : Crystal A.
Submitted 2010-01-21

The Akhal Teke is a hot blooded horse from the southern region of Turkmenistan, in northern Iran. Its name identifies the Teke tribe from the Akhal oasis located in the arid plains on the Northern slopes of the Kopet Dag Mountains.

It has been assumed that the Akhal Teke is descended from the ancient Tarpan Horses and Przewalski Horses of southern Asia or from the ancient Turkmene Horse that was developed in Russia from Asiatic stock that was originally thought to be an ancient Scythian type and one of the four original horse types that crossed the Bering Strait from North America during prehistoric times.

The Scythians were nomadic people and among the earliest people to master the art of riding in 8th and 7th centuries B.C. As early as 700 BC they had huge cavalries and the Akhal Teke horses were originally bred as war and raiding horses and renowned as cavalry mounts and racehorses for nearly 3,000 years.

From the Scythians, the nomadic Teke people descended and regularly traveled to summer or winter ranges. This meant that they often came in conflict with other nomadic tribes doing similar travels. This led to the Tekes invading these tribes to take what was necessary and then ride off on their swift horses. So they bred animals of incredible stamina and fiery temperament to withstand these long distance raiding journeys.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Crabbet Arabians - Full Article
by Randy Meyer

Crabbet Arabian horses are those originating from the Crabbet Park Stud, which was founded by Lord Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt in England in 1878. After 93 years of operation and the production of many legendary horses that became the foundation of other great studs worldwide, the Crabbet Park Stud was dissolved and the last of the horses were sold off in 1972 when a roadway was planned that divided the park.


Anne Noel, granddaughter of the poet Lord Byron, fell in love with horses at an early age and was an accomplished equestrienne. Her husband, the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, had knowledge of middle-eastern politics. During a trip to the Middle East, Lady Anne Blunt decided to embark on a lifelong quest to save the Arabian horse, whose population amongst the Bedouin tribes was dwindling for a variety of reasons, including modern warfare techniques. Lady Blunt's goal was to preserve the pure bloodlines of the desert horse, as the Bedouin had done for centuries. She was fluent in Arabic and an excellent judge of horseflesh. She and her husband ventured deep into the Nejd desert, seeking the Bedouin tribes' prized horses. In 1878, the Blunts returned to England with fine Arabian horses with which to begin their breeding program.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Dying by Inches

Long Riders Guild - Full Article

by CuChullaine O’Reilly FRGS

Rise in Large Scale Equine Starvation Cases Highlights Urgent Need
for Social Change and Legal Action

What do Virginia, Oregon, Nebraska, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, Florida, New York, South Dakota, Louisiana, Oklahoma and British Columbia all have in common? Large numbers of starving horses were recently rescued from negligent owners in each of these areas.

Because of its constant access to international equestrian developments, and thanks to a network of allied equestrian editors and journalists, the Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation has been monitoring the alarming rise of large scale equine neglect in the United States and Canada. Thanks to the excellent on-line resources offered by the New Zealand based equestrian news service, Horse Talk, a survey of headlines revealed that the LRG's misgivings about the rise of equine neglect were not only confirmed, they were in fact far worse than we suspected.

This is not to say that other countries are not also facing similar challenges. For example in May, 2008 what was described as a "horror farm" was discovered in England. Astonished authorities seized 111 horses and ponies, then successfully brought charges in court against the owners.

Horror horse farm owners face trial May 16, 2008 111 horses and ponies

Likewise, the United States saw cases of a similar nature. The first example noticed by the LRG occurred in June, 2007 when Horse Talk reported a large-scale case of North American equine starvation.

Police raid: Up to 80 horses seized in welfare swoop - Animal welfare authorities have swooped on a Texas property, removing up to 80 horses they say appear underfed and neglected. The 80 animals were living on a property, near Greenville, which is understood to be only 40 acres in size.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Mental Training for the Rider - Full Article

by Charles Wilhelm
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The first thing when talking about mental training for the rider is that I believe we all need to understand we must be very positive thinking in our abilities. We must believe absolutely in what we are able to do. And that means recognizing what are abilities actually are no matter the level. At the same time, we have to bring into account negativity. Why negativity? Because while we want to be extremely positive about our own abilities, we also have to be realistic about where the horse is in its own training. Once we are truly aware of both the positives and the negatives in our relationship, we then also need to not become overly attached to those ideas and allow them to interfere with our intentions, meaning the exercises we have planned.

Intent and Focus

Clear intentions in training are vital. We need to identify what we intend our goals to be. And that includes where to start, how to get there, and where to end. We absolutely have to prepare our mental state to stay focused on these goals rather than to react to the environment around us. You may be working with your horse and have another horse get totally out of control, or hear another rider shouting at someone but you have to stay utterly focused on the horse you are working with. Find your center and stay on track with your own work. Don't allow yourself to get distracted and you will find your horse is much less likely to get distracted as well. If you are focused, your horse will be focused it really is that straightforward.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The use of acupuncture in the treatment of horses - Full Article

Written by Robert Vandevelde
Wednesday, 20 January 2010

GANIMED IS a 14-year-old stallion who made quite a name for himself winning the German Derby in 2000 and was named best German racehorse in 1999 and 2000. Winner show jumping 1st level class; Dressage up 3rd level; Sire of Endurance, sports and racing offspring. He's a purebred Arab now living here in Javea. He injured himself during an endurance race and I was approached to treat him with Acupuncture. So far, he's responding well to his treatment.

The history of equine Acupuncture dates back to 2000-2500 B.C. during the Shang and Chow dynasties in China. Around 650 BC Bai-Le wrote 'Bai- Le's Canon on Veterinary medicine'. It was primarily on Acupuncture and emphasised equine acupuncture. In Europe it was not until 1896 that the first mention of veterinary acupuncture appeared in print in France and it was 1947 when the first modern school of veterinary acupuncture was established in the northern university of China and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Association was formed in 1975! I started treating animals in 1986!


Acupuncture has been used successfully in the treatment of a variety of equine lameness, including chronic back problems; hock or stifle problems and navicular disease as well as various soft tissue disorders.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hoof Tougheners and Thrush Prevention
Karen Chaton

I try not to post too often on ridecamp. I think I’ve probably exceeded my allotment for the week, so will answer the question about what I use to toughen feet and treat thrush here in my blog. I’ve covered this stuff before, sometimes the posts get buried because they are a year or more old. You can do a search in the top right corner if you’d like to read more.

Even though I live in a climate that has seasons, I don’t generally have a problem with thrush in my horses feet. I usually clean their hooves out fairly regularly when it’s muddy just so they don’t end up with manure packed in there. It’s okay if it’s mud that is packed in the hooves, but unless you pull it out you don’t know that. So I pick their feet clean at least two or three times a week.

Over this last ride season I have talked a bit about thrush (see here) because it can be an issue for riders who are gluing hoof boots on their horses for an extended period of time. It’s not such a big deal if the boots are only on for a weekend or even one week for a multiday ride. However, once you start leaving boots on for weeks and weeks there is a good chance that some thrush will develop. It seems like that particular type of thrush can sometimes be a little bit different than what most of us view as regular thrush. I know my horse has thrush if I can dig out black goopey stuff mixed in with white flakey stuff, and it smells. The thrush that you may encounter from having a hoof sealed up for a few weeks may or may not smell and there may not be any visible signs other than your horse is tender footed. And again, if you pull the boots off and put your horse up then don’t ride right away or put boots on to ride you might not notice the subtle difference in hoof sensitivity. I tend to ride and work my horses pretty regularly barefoot and feel that leaving boots glued on for three weeks caused them to go through a couple week transition back to barefoot — even though when their shoes were pulled that didn’t happen. Go figure!


p.s. Karen - your posts are always welcome on Ridecamp! People can read or delete as they wish... it's always good to hear about other people's experiences and preferences, and every little bit of shared information will help us all make the best (most informed) choices for our horses and sport.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Australia's Logbook System for Endurance Rides - Part 3

by Jay Randle

Penalty Points

Now, as for Patrick's and Terry's comments about how Logbooks could help with the "referee system" and "identifying people who may need some education", let me explain our Early Warning System (EWS).

All details of every horse entered in a ride, and all details from the logbooks relating to Vet Out reasons (Pulls), and health concerns, are entered into the AERA database. From here, trends are immediately noticed and acted upon. The EWS has in place standard "penalty points" that apply for each problem or transgression, as follows:

Vet Out, pulse under 66bpm, 10 points
Vet Out, pulse 66bpm or over, 15 points
Vet Out, non invasive metabolic, 10 points
Vet Out, mild metabolic, 15 points
Vet Out, severe metabolic, 30 points
Vet Out, lame – first, 6 points
Vet Out, lame horse – second consecutive, 12 points
Vet Out, lame horse – third consecutive, 18 points
Vet Out, back, 6 points
Vet Out, gall or injury, 4 points

Metabolic disorders, as described above are defined as:
a) 10 points - mild metabolic disorders that do not required invasive treatment
b) 15 points - mild metabolic disorders such as Ty-Up (Exertional Rhabdmyolysis), other mild muscle conditions, Synchronous Diaphragmatic Flutters (Thumps), mild heat distress, very mild GIT conditions
c) 30 points - more severe metabolic disorders - including Exhaustive Horse Syndrome (fatigue related), Endotoxaemia, more severe GIT disorders, ie, Diarrhoea, colitis, impactions, paralytic ileus, hyper/hypomotility colics, moderate to severe heat stroke.

If a horse or rider accumulates 30 or more non-completion penalty points, the Horse Welfare Officer will determine whether the rider or horse, through the owner or connections, needs to be cautioned in writing.

Any rider or horse (through owner or connections) having been cautioned in writing, who then accumulates more than 45 but less than 60 penalty points must enter all affiliated endurance rides under novice rider and/or novice horse status until two novice rides have been successfully completed.

Any rider or horse (through owner or connections) having been cautioned in writing, who then accumulates 60 penalty points or more, will be asked to show cause why the horse should not be suspended.

Horses (through owner or connections) that are known to progress to renal failure, laminitis, hepatophathies, CNS related disturbance, will be asked to show cause why the horse should not be suspended.
Riders or horses (through owner or connections) that Vet out on gait at three consecutive rides will be asked to show cause why the rider or horse should not be suspended.

These "penalty points" add up, and are reduced by
a) 6 points on the anniversary of each penalty
b) 6 points for successful completion of rides up to 90km
c) 10 points for successful completion of rides between 90 – 159km
d) 12 points for successful completion of rides 160km and above.

Although this system works reasonably well (kind of the "big stick" approach), in my opinion it does not take into consideration a `run of bad luck'. As an example, a rider who has 100% completion on a variety of horses over 3 years, suddenly has a horse develop a severe Ty-Up requiring invasive treatment, and incurs 30 penalty points. Two weeks later the same rider rides another horse that suffers heat stroke due to extreme weather conditions. This rider is now at 60 penalty points, and is suspended from competition for 3 months after an argument with the Management Committee. Three months later, the rider competes on a third horse which is Vetted Out lame. Again the rider is suspended, this time for 2 months.

This is a hypothetical situation, however similar situations have occurred. Unfortunately, the previous three years of 100% completion is ignored! I would suggest that "completion points" be also added into a system like this, so that the rider can collect a `bank' of points for use against any future "penalty points".

Of course, this is all computerised here, and doesn't take much administration, as the points are automatically assigned when the RMs enter the ride completion details into the database. BUT...our membership levels are way lower than yours, and we have far fewer horses in competition too.

So what exactly is that icky smelly stuff called Ichthamol really good for? blog
Karen Chaton

Lots of horse people have a tub of ichthamol in their tack room somewhere. I know I do! I recently used the stuff which got me curious about what the other uses are for it. Ichthamol isn’t something that I have used very often.

Ichthammol is a black, tarry substance that is extracted from rock schist (also known as oil shale). It is known to have antiseptic properties and may also be effective as an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-fungal. It is safe to use as a topical treatment and is most commonly found as an ointment. The ointments usually also contain an oily substance, such as mineral oil or beeswax, which helps the active ingredient of ichthammol to penetrate the skin.

At Death Valley when Chief felt a little footsore going over the rocks during the ride I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to pack his feet with ichthamol later that day and put boots on him overnight.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Prepurchase Exams: History, Important Considerations - Full Article

by: Nancy S. Loving, DVM
January 12 2010

For more than 150 years veterinarians have been performing prepurchase exams, also referred to as vetting, purchase exams, and soundness exams.

The definition of "sound" in England in 1842 implied "an absence of disease or seeds of disease" as a qualification for being used for an intended purpose, noted Steve Soule, VMD, who gave a presentation on the subject of prepurchase exams at the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention, held Dec. 6-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. Soule explained that now we consider a horse as "serviceable," stressing the veterinarian neither passes nor fails a horse, but finds out what might be wrong and how this affects serviceability. With that in mind, Soule went on to say that the evaluation of "suitability" is not applicable to the veterinarian's role in a prepurchase exam (PPE).

In the late 1960s veterinarians established a standardized exam procedure in Britain, although their U.S. counterparts did not. Since then radiography, advanced imaging, endoscopy, ultrasonography, and drug testing have evolved as procedures that might be incorporated into the exam.


Australia's Logbook System for Endurance Rides - Part 2

by Jan Randle

Rest Orders

Teresa commented about our Vets being able to "write in the log book – `this horse needs 6 (or 12) weeks off before its next competition'. Well, yes, they can. However this is only done when a proscribed format has been followed.

If a horse is presented to the Vet with an obvious problem such as colic or injury, the Vet first completes the examination and then commences treatment. Most of our rides either have a Treatment Vet in attendance, or are located close enough to at Veterinary Hospital to enable a sick horse to be transported quickly for treatment. Depending upon the severity of the colic or injury (or other problem) there is a standard "Rest Order" applicable.

These Rest Orders can range from 2 weeks to 6 months. A horse may receive a 2 week Rest Order for a knee abrasion from falling, or a 4 month Rest Order for a colic problem that required the administration of 50 litres of fluid. These Rest Orders are marked in the Logbook by the Head Vet at the ride. The Logbook is returned to the RM, who then sends the Logbook to the AERA Horse Welfare Officer. The owner does not get the Logbook back until the Rest Order time period is up, hence restricting the ability of that horse to enter another ride.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Australia's Logbook System for Endurance Rides - Part I

by Jay Randle, Splendacrest Endurance

The Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) Logbook system works like this:

When you have a horse that is ready to commence 80km (50 mile) rides, you apply to AERA for a Blue Logbook. This is a smallish (6" x 5") booklet, with 30 pages for ride details, and a couple of pages for Identification details. In order to apply for this Logbook, the owner of the horse must complete a standard Horse Identification form, showing markings, brands, microchip numbers, scars, height, colour, breeding, age, etc.

It costs $25, and comes to you with the horse name and a unique number written in on the front cover. This unique number is also written (or stamped with a postal-type stamp) on each page of the logbook. The Logbook also has the Identification details (above) written into the ID pages of the Logbook. Each horse has its own Logbook, which goes with the horse when it is leased, sold or retired.

Our current system of qualifying horses for endurance means that the horse needs to successfully complete 3 x 80km rides at a restricted pace while it is in the "Novice" phase of its career. This restricted pace is set at 14km per hour (or approx 8.3 miles per hour). This doesn't mean that you must do this pace, it means that you can't go any faster than this pace. It works out that you cannot complete the first 3 x 80km rides in under 6 hours riding time. Sometimes, depending upon weather conditions or terrain, the Head Vet can increase this minimum time, but they can't decrease it. So the pace could be set at no more than 12km per hour, or 10km per hour, if it is advised by the Vet.

Our maximum allowed time for completion of 80km is generally 8 – 9 hours riding time. This means that our minimum speed can be no less than about 9 or 10 kms per hour (5.5 – 6.25 miles per hour). This does not include Vet hold time, which is generally 1 hour at the 40km (half-way) mark, making the total time for an 80km ride either 9 or 10 hours, not 12 hours like the AERC allows. I would consider that any endurance horse trained properly could achieve this 5.5 – 6.25 miles per hour pace quite comfortably. Sometimes the weather here gets extremely hot, and extensions are then usually made to the completion time, in order not to stress either horse or rider!

There are MANY riders here who do this slower pace, however I would estimate that 50% of riders here on Novice horses would complete most 50km rides in 6 - 7 hours riding time, depending upon terrain and weather conditions. Remember, our horses are not permitted to go any faster than 6 hours riding time for their first 3 x 80km rides.

The Logbook must accompany the horse to each ride from then on. If the Logbook is left at home by mistake, the horse cannot enter the ride. In my experience this rarely happens, as the riders always check to see if they have their membership card and the Logbook prior to leaving home!

When you pay your entry fee at the ride base, the RM Volunteers write all the details onto a "Master Sheet", and also into the Logbook. Then you take your horse and the Logbook to the Pre-ride Veterinary Check, where the Chief Steward compares the ID information in the Logbook with the horse that is being presented. The next stop is the TPR Steward, who writes the Heart Rate, Respiration and Temperature into the Logbook. Then the Vet inspects the horse and enters all the other pre-ride parameters into the Logbook: Mucous Membranes, Capillary and Jugular Refill, Skin Recoil, Heart Sounds, Gut Sounds, Body Condition Score, Muscle Tone, Girth, Withers and Back, Gait, and an Overall Score.

The Logbook then gets collected by the RM, and collated in Rider Number order at the arrival gate. As most of our rides consist of loops back into Base Camp, with only a few having travelling Vet Checks, it is quite an easy way to keep track of the Logbooks, as they are then handed to the Rider as s/he arrives back into camp, with the arrival time noted into the Logbook. This is when the riding time stops.

Under AERA rules, we have up to 30 minutes to present to the Vet for inspection. Most riders here will strap (crew) their horses until such time that the Heart Rate is steady at under the required maximum of 55 beats per minute for the first leg of the ride. Once the Heart Rate is good, the horse is taken to the Vetting area, and the TPR Steward again takes the Heart Rate and Respiration. The TPR Steward then enters this information into the Logbook. Then the horse is presented immediately to the Vet, who enters all the other parameters (including a Trot Up) into the Logbook. The Logbook is then retained by the RM, and gets shunted back to the arrival gate for the next arrival of that horse.

We do not have the option of multiple tries to get the pulse down. We only have one chance to get a confirmed pulse of under 55 bpm off the first leg, so great care is taken about how the horse is recovering prior to presenting to the TPR Steward and the Vet.

This presentation to the TPR Steward and the Vet can take place at any time within 30 minutes of arrival off the leg, and then the horse is fed and rested for the additional time to make up a total of 1 hour. So, if you present to the Vet within 10 minutes, your horse gains the benefit of an additional 50 minutes of rest time. If you present to the Vet right on the maximum of 30 minutes after arrival, then your horse only has an additional 30 minutes of rest time.

If your horse fails this Vet Check, the reason is marked in the Logbook. This could be a Lameness, or an injury that is concerning enough to the Vet for him/her to determine that the horse is no longer "Fit to Continue". If your horse passes the Vet Check , but the rider wishes to Withdraw from the ride for any reason, then such Withdrawal must be done prior to the `out' time. This is also then marked in the Logbook with the reason, ie. Rider Illness, etc.

If everything is OK, the horse and rider depart on the second loop of the ride. Upon arrival, the same procedure (above) applies, with a maximum 30 minute time to present to the Vet. However, after the second and subsequent legs of our rides, the maximum Heart Rate is 60 bpm, again with only one chance to get it right.

All the Veterinary information again gets entered into the Logbook, which is returned to the RM for transposing either onto the Master Sheet or into a computer program. Many of our rides are now logged into the Computer at the Ride Base, where power is available.

Once the horse has successfully completed the required 3 x 80km rides at Novice pace, then the Logbook is "upgraded" to Endurance Horse status. This requires the owner to have a Veterinarian officially identify the horse (which can actually be done at any stage prior to or during the Novice period), and the owner sends in the Vet ID with $5 and the Logbook to the Registrar, who updates the ID information, sticks a yellow cover over the Logbook and returns it. From then on the horse is able to travel at an unrestricted speed.

Most riders here would continue to compete the newly-qualified Endurance horse at novice pace for at least 2 or 3 rides before upping the speed. And many riders never complete in under 6 hours, and are not concerned with the competitive aspect of the sport.

Friday, January 15, 2010

West Country pagans tie horses in knots

The Hair Witch Project hits Devon manes

Original Article

Police are investigating the possibility that pagans are behind a "bizarre outbreak of horse mane weaving" in Devon, Dorset and Somerset, the Western Morning News reports.

Some 20 equines have been found with plaits in their manes, and while the initial suspicion was that they were being marked for theft by horse-rustling gangs, the fact that none have actually been lifted has led police to consider the possibility they're being used for "knot magick" rituals.

Such magick commonly involves the tying of knots in a cord, often with feathers or other objects bound in the knots, to create a talisman.* The ritual is carried out with an incantation intended to endow the charm with the power to carry out the creator's wishes.

In this case, the horses may have been used because "pagan gods are thought to have a close connection with horses which adds strength to spells that incorporate the animals".

A baffled PC Jeff Howley, neighbourhood beat manager in Cullompton, Devon, said: "At the moment we do not know of any motive for the plaiting. To start with we thought they were being marked for theft but that is clearly not the case.

"One motive from research by Dorset police who are also investigating a number of cases is that it may be a pagan ritual. It is hard for us to judge at the moment but any speculation will have to be considered."

Jenny Parsons, secretary of the Taunton Vale Harriers Hunt, said she "believes a small group of people are targeting the same animals after communicating through social networking websites".

She offered: "It is possible it's a pagan ritual and I have had reports of a change in horse behaviour, so if these are children's ponies it is an absolutely awful thing to do."

Parsons has set up a horse watch scheme to combat the illicit pagan activity and "urged horse owners to send pictures of the plaits to local police and to remain vigilant".

* Also known as a "witch's ladder".

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Jigging Horse

by Ryan Gingerich

How many of you have cursed under your breath, or sworn so loudly that the next county can hear you - when your horse starts jigging and it feels like you're riding a rocket that's about ready to explode? Here's an explanation of that behavior and how you can change it.

Jigging is a "yellow zone" response from the horse. There are three zones: green, yellow, red. The Green Zone is when the horse is responsive and compliant; he listens to you and does what you ask him to do. The Yellow Zone is when the horse's eyes are wide, nostrils flaring, and his feet tend to move really fast. He's starting to prepare for what I call the "pre-flight mode." The Red Zone horse is extreme - he bucks, bolts, runs away - all those evasive tactics.

The reason I developed the green/yellow/red system of assessing and categorizing horses is that people can understand those three color progressions: Green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. If you understand that process, you'll know what to do when your horse is in one of these zones.

When your horse starts to jig (he's gone into the Yellow Zone), he's telling you that you've taken him out of his "green" comfort zone and he's no longer comfortable with the situation. The behavior of a Yellow Zone horse is typically based on a miscommunication of the rider's cueing language or an error in judgment of the horse's current abilities. This usually happens because the rider doesn't have a complete understanding of the program he/she is trying to teach or has not completed the OEPA (Observation, Evaluation, Plan, Action) portion of my program.

Why the horse is jigging is far more important than the fact that he is. Don't get me wrong; I understand jigging can be a dangerous pre-behavior to one heck of a wreck. However, the fact still remains, once the behavior has started you're a little behind the eight ball. The difference is being pro-active rather than re-active.

Jigging is always tied to a root behavioral problem. Jigging is not the problem - it is a symptom of a larger problem. The fact that the horse is jigging is good… in a way. He is communicating with you. He is trying to tell you that you have done something wrong. It's up to you to figure out what and to correct it immediately.

How do you regain control of the horse that jigs on the trail or in the arena? You ask yourself a simple question: "What's my horse not doing that I want him to do?" The usual answer is, "Stopping when I want him to stop." Or, "walk the speed that I want." The horse is usually charging toward where he's most comfortable - barn, other horses, etc.

What is the next step to take when this behavior arises? Get off the horse! Being on his back is no place to be and is an inappropriate place to train the potential bolting horse (jigging is a pre-behavior to bolting). Go back to the arena, farm, barn - wherever your horse feels comfortable, and it’s more safe and secure for you. Keeping yourself safe is of utmost importance.

Then you can start the process of going through Basic Control (in hand first) - the six basic things that your horse must know how to do: Go, stop, turn right, turn left, back up and stand still. If your horse doesn't understand even one of those six things, you'll have problems with everything you ask him to do - at home or on the trail.

Once you have Basic Control really solid with your horse, then you'll move onto Lightness (the second DVD in the Connective Horsemanship series of five DVDs) - he's relaxed, he's comfortable with the shoulder exercises, he has flexion in his neck and hips - all those things that are critical parts of the foundation of my program. Then we'll work on Rhythm (the third DVD in the series). Rhythm is where the jigging problem comes into play.

When the horse is jigging, you literally have no speed control over the animal. We begin the lessons in Rhythm on the ground first before we climb into the saddle. There are three spots we use on the horse's body to teach these lessons. Spot #1 is on the girth, spot #2 is where your leg would hang on the horse's rib cage if you were in the saddle, and spot #3 is where the rear cinch would hang from the Western saddle or if you drew a line from the back of the cantle on an English saddle.

Spot #1 says "go," spot #2 says "go faster," and spot #3 says "move your hips." For Rhythm lessons with the jigging horse, we'll work on spots #1 and #2. Essentially you'll be working on asking the horse to go forward and to slow down. As you've learned in Basic Control, I always ask the horse to go forward with my left leg cueing his left front foot, or if I'm on the ground, I'll tap the #1 spot (left side of the horse) with a dressage whip to ask the horse to move forward with the left front foot (the opposite applies to the right side).

From the saddle or from the ground, I'll add pressure with the rein (I use a full cheek snaffle bit and bridle even with the lessons on the ground) to slow the horse's forward movement or to take smaller steps. When I add pressure and ask the horse to slow or take smaller steps, the horse should respond within three strides.

If after three strides he still hasn't responded to my cue - he's pushy or just refusing to acknowledge the pressure - then I'll increase the pressure. I'll increase the pressure each second until the horse responds correctly or until I get an acknowledgment of the pressure from the horse, which may be a smaller step, or even a hesitation from the horse.

The pressure scale I use goes from one to ten. "One" is light contact and is the least pressure you can use, and "ten" is the most pressure it takes to get the job done. If I have to go to ten, it's by the horse's choosing, not mine. The horse decides where I stop by responding to the pressure, whether it's at one or at ten.

The main thing we want the jigging horse to do in these lessons is to respond to our cue to slow down. We won't ask him to slow down for forever - maybe just one or two strides. Start on the rail, ask him to slow using your left and right reins equally and in rhythm with the foot falls. I'll ask him to slow his right front foot, then his left front foot - and then I'll speed him back up. Once he is doing this well along the rail, take him out into the middle of the arena and work on circles and figure eights with lots of transitions from stop to go and from left to right. I am not focusing on the quality of the turn, rather that he slows immediately each time I pick up the rein. I'll repeat that hundreds of times in sets of five to seven repetitions first left then right.

Again, I will start on the ground and then progress to the under-saddle work. I will continue this process until the horse gets to the point where he’s responding correctly to the slowing cues every time. If I ask him to go fast, he'll go fast; if I ask him to slow down, he'll slow down; if I ask him to stand, he stands. When and only when my horse has responded to my requests at least 80% of the time correctly, will I bring him back to the trail and begin the process all over. Never spending more than forty-five minutes on any lesson.

Remember it's all about basic control - it's never because the horse is an idiot or he's too dumb to understand. It's about how much understanding the horse has of what I ask him to do when it's needed.

Don't get mad at your horse when he jigs. Just realize that it is your horse's way of expressing his misunderstandings to you, and that he is missing some part or all of his basic controls, lightness, or rhythm. By following a basic and sequential lesson plan and building a foundation of understanding, you and your horse can have fun and carefree rides, with no jigging or frustration.

For more information on Ryan Gingerich and his Connective Horsemanship program, visit or call 800.359.4090.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Water Access in Winter - Full Article

by: Heather Smith Thomas
December 07 2004, Article # 5301

Make sure horses have good access to water and are drinking. They drink less during cold or wet weather, but still need an adequate supply or they may become impacted. If water is quite cold or freezes and the horse isn't drinking enough, he'll eat less feed and may lose weight or be less able to keep warm. Horses will eat snow, nibbling a few bites of snow periodically while eating or grazing. A horse at pasture may get along fine if snow conditions are right for eating it easily (not hard and crusted), but there's always some risk for impaction.

If his manure becomes firm and dry instead of soft and moist, the horse is not getting adequate water. He won't eat all of his hay, though this clue may escape your notice if he's in a group and the other horses eat the hay he leaves. If he is dehydrated and not eating enough, his flanks and abdomen will draw up and he'll look gaunt.


Winter Hoof Care Tips

by: Edited Press Release
January 05 2010, Article # 15578

Winter's snow, ice, and mud can present hoof care challenges for horse owners. Bryan Fraley, DVM, whose Fraley and Taydus Equine Podiatry service is associated with Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, offers a few tips to help keep your horse sound and healthy:

If possible, Fraley recommends giving shod horses a break from shoes and letting them go barefoot for a couple of months. Winter is generally a good time to do this if the horse's show schedule, hoof quality, and hoof health allow it. Fraley likes to sculpt the edges of the hoof wall with the fine side of the rasp so the perimeter of the hoof is smooth and rounded to minimize chipping and cracking on hard frozen ground.

Horses that remain in shoes might require the addition of snow pads. Without these, snow can accumulate under the shoes and ball up, causing sole pressure and bruising. They can also place added strain on soft tissue structures, such as the deep digital flexor tendon and the collateral ligaments of the coffin and pastern joints.

Horses living in areas prone to ice in and around the paddocks and barns might require borium or drive-in studs on the bottom of their shoes. These provide much needed traction and improve safety for both the horse and rider.

In many parts of the country, mud is a bigger challenge than snow and ice. Fraley generally recommends that horse owners pick out the feet of horses living in extremely muddy conditions and stable the animals on dry shavings for 12 hours each day. This gives the feet a chance to dry out and minimizes problems with thrush infections.

Hoof growth tends to slow in the winter months. It is not uncommon to extend the shoeing interval by one to two weeks in winter months for some horses. Ask your farrier if this approach is right for your horse.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Straight Talk about Equine Feed Labels - Full Article

Advice from an expert on parsing feed label lingo so you can make the best nutritional choices for your horse.

By Kathy Anderson, PhD

You do your best to provide your horse with everything he needs for a healthy life, and sound nutrition is integral to those efforts. The three basic necessities--good grass and/or hay, salt and ample fresh water--are enough for many pleasure horses, but youngsters, broodmares, seniors and hard-working horses require the extra energy that grains and concentrated feeds provide.

When you purchase a ready-mixed feed, you rely on the manufacturer to formulate a nutritionally sound, high-quality ration. Yet choosing the right product for your horse requires more than just grabbing a bag of "senior feed" for an older horse, for example. It’s also important to balance what’s in the bag with the rest of your horse’s diet--such as the quantity and type of forage he eats and any supplements he might receive--as well as his activity level, special health issues, etc.


Cold Weather Nutrition - Full Article

by: Kimberly Peterson, DVM
February 01 2008, Article # 11409

Cold and inclement weather conditions present special challenges for the horse. Whether a horse is turned out or exercised regularly, you need to be focused on the nutritional requirements of your fuzzy, four-legged friend. Horses are naturally well-adapted to thrive in frigid weather if they have the basics of adequate calorie intake, palatable water, and protection from wind and severe precipitation.

It is important to take into consideration any additional stress factors when assessing the caloric needs of your horse. Other calorie-burning conditions, such as late gestation, chronic pain, metabolic diseases, contagious illness, or parasite infestation, significantly increase the body's demand for calories. Frequent assessment of physical and environmental conditions is necessary to maintain optimum body condition.


USRider reminds drivers to err on the side of caution at intersections

January 5 2010

Lexington, KY (Jan 5, 2010) - Have you noticed that traffic signals are looking a little different these days? What you're seeing is the effort to save money and energy. Cities across the United States are replacing their incandescent traffic lights with energy-efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs).

While these new lights provide brighter lights that last much longer and save a lot of energy, it's also becoming evident that they have a hazardous downside. The bulbs burn so coolly that snow and ice don't melt. Rather they can accumulate on the light, obscuring it completely. This problem has been blamed for dozens of accidents, and at least one death, across the country.

Authorities are testing several solutions, including weather shields and heating elements. Until a solution is found, USRider reminds all drivers, but especially those trailering horses, to be extra cautious at intersections during inclement weather.

USRider, the nationwide roadside assistance program for equestrians, provides emergency road service to its Members in all 48 states as well as Canada and Alaska.

"Although you may clearly see that you have a green light, and therefore the right-of-way," said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider, "a driver coming from another direction might not see a light that's covered with ice and snow and could very likely not be preparing to stop, so be extra cautious at intersections during winter driving conditions."

Remember, if you can't see a traffic light; treat it like a stop sign.

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

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

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

History of The WEG - Full Article
By Diana De Rosa

January 1 2010

The concept of the World Equestrian Games–with the championships of all of the major equestrian disciplines held
simultaneously at a single venue–is relatively new.

1990: The first Games were staged in Stockholm, Sweden, when the FEI held six world championships—including jumping, dressage, eventing, and the non-Olympic disciplines of driving, endurance and vaulting.

1994: After the successful Stockholm Games, the World Equestrian Games were held at The Hague, Netherlands,
following the 1990 format of six world championships.

2002: Jerez, Spain, was home to the 2002 Games. In addition to the traditional six disciplines, reining made its debut as the seventh world championship event.


Monday, January 04, 2010

HELLO! Your Horse is Talking to you! - Full Article

By Suzanne Michaels
Special to El Paso Inc

EL PASO - Your dog noses her leash hanging on the wall, looks at you and whines. The message is clear: "Can we go for a walk?"

Most of us recognize that form of doggie communication. But what if your other best friend is a horse?

We don't commonly think of horses "talking" to us in the same way we recognize dog communications. But equine experts say they are.

The question is: Are you getting the message?

More and more, trainers and riders are recognizing the critical importance of body language and a light touch, as they move away from excessive use of spurs, whips and harsh bits.

This month, Steve and Jennie Housley return to El Paso to teach Horse Sense Naturally clinics for horse owners at all levels of expertise.

Many students who took the class in October were amazed at the simple communication skills that allowed them to connect with their horses in new ways.


Homeless Arabian Horses Find a New Home and a New Purpose

LEXINGTON, KY (January 4, 2010) "Why did gorgeous horses like those need new homes?" is a question frequently asked by disbelieving park visitors about the stunning, black Arabian horses which recently arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park.

An Arabian stallion and mare came to the park through a partnership with the Kentucky Equine Humane Center (KyEHC) and will soon go to work promoting the park's next international blockbuster exhibition, the $2.35 million A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse, which will be open May 29-Oct 15 in the International Museum of the Horse. The horses will also be used to promote the new multi-million dollar Arabian Horse Galleries wing of the museum which will open this spring, and in the park's daily Parade of Breeds show.

The previous owners of the horses were no longer able to care for them, and contacted the KyEHC, which then contacted the Kentucky Horse Park. The KyEHC is a 72-acre facility located in central Kentucky which is a model shelter for equines from across the state. No horse in need of shelter is ever turned away, regardless of breed or mix of breed. A partnership between the park and the KyEHC was formed last October to assist some of the injured and unwanted horses coming into the Humane Center.

John Nicholson, executive director of the park stated, "Part of our mission at the Kentucky Horse Park is to educate the public about the horse and man's relationship to it. We are living in a time when that dynamic relationship is under tremendous stress due to economic challenges facing horse owners. The travesty of this crisis is that thousands of good horses are coming to the end of the line prematurely and will never reach the fullness of their life's purpose unless more people get involved in their rescue.

"I am so proud that the Kentucky Horse Park and the Kentucky Equine Humane Center are on the redemption side of this story as we continue to invent ways to save horses' lives and give them enjoyable jobs that will enlighten and thrill literally hundreds of thousands of park visitors."

Kathy Hopkins, equine director for the park said, "Black horses are not all that common, so when the Humane Center contacted us about these exquisite, well-trained, black Arabian horses who needed new homes, we immediately agreed to take them. As we share their stories with our visitors, we will have a perfect opportunity to help the public understand the importance of supporting equine welfare efforts."

Lori Neagle, executive director of the KyEHC observed, "Our partnership with the Kentucky Horse Park has already exceeded our expectations in terms of the number of at-risk horses that we have been able to assist. These horses will also be great ambassadors for their breed and for equine adoption for years to come."

Nicholson concluded, "The Arabian horse has been highly prized by many cultures throughout history, but in spite of that, like so many other breeds, scores of them are fighting for survival in perilous situations. I would strongly encourage the public to join the Kentucky Horse Park in supporting organizations like the Kentucky Equine Humane Center and others which are on the front lines, providing humane solutions."

For information on A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse go to: For information on the new Arabian Horse Galleries wing of the International Museum of the Horse go to: For information on the partnership between the Kentucky Horse Park and the Kentucky Equine Humane Center to rescue and rehabilitate injured and unwanted horses go to§ionid=9. For information on the Kentucky Equine Humane Center go to

EDITOR'S NOTE: The photo above is of the new Arabian stallion with Kathy Hopkins, equine director for the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet that hosted nearly 900,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2008. The park is home to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the National Horse Center which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations. Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses. Open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.


Cindy Rullman, Kentucky Horse Park

859-259-4209 ext 209

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Missing Third Arabian - The Shagya-Arabian Horse

Ei-kan Productions - Full Article

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) recognizes three separate breeds of the Arabian Horse. In North America, most Arabian aficionados are acquainted with the purebred Arabian and the Half-Arabian breeds. But a large majority of people world-wide are unfamiliar with the third and rarest Arabian Horse that is known as the Shagya-Arabian.

Its origins derive from purebred desert Arabians and that were developed more than 200 years ago from selective breeding and performance testing when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy needed a superior cavalry mount back in 1789. The ideal horse had to be pre-potent for its type so that it could be used to improve other native breeds. As a result of an edict from the Emperor, the Babolna stud farm was founded 36 miles west of Budapest.

The conditions for creating a superior breed were perfect at the time, since the stud was managed by Hungary's talented native horsemen, the Magyars, who had highly developed skills as horse breeders.


It May be Too Hot for Your Horse to Work - Full Article

By Expert Author: Jenny Styles

The horse is a great athlete, capable of strenuous exercise over prolonged periods. But all that muscular activity generates heat. This causes an increase in body temperature. Under normal circumstances thehorse is able to lose the excess heat and maintain its body temperature within tightly controlled limits.

In response to the release of epinephrine, and the increase in skin temperature, the horse starts to sweat. Evaporation of sweat is the most important means of losing heat available to the horse. Sweat secreted onto the skin draws heat from the horse as it evaporates. Evaporation from the respiratory tract also plays a role in cooling.

Some heat is lost through convection. The body surface warms the surrounding air, which conducts the heat away. Loss of heat by convection is most effective when the temperature of the air surrounding thehorse is low. When the environmental temperature approaches that of the horse 's body, heat loss by convection is greatly reduced. Air movement at the body surface helps by removing the warmed air and replacing it with cooler air.