Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mistletoe: A Treatment for Sarcoids?

Thehorse.com - Full Article

by: Marie Rosenthal, MS
January 19 2011, Article # 17568

Mistletoe might be a timeless excuse for stealing a kiss at Christmas, but Swiss researchers have found a more practical and innovative use for the plant: treating equine sarcoids, the most common skin tumors in horses.

The research team, led by Vincent Gerber, PhD, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ECEIM, FVH, of the University of Bern, in Switzerland, tested the effect of mistletoe extract, Viscum album, on 43 horses with sarcoids using either the extract or a saline placebo.

Sarcoids usually are benign and often cause little disruption in a horse's daily life. Under certain circumstances, however, these tumors can be a nuisance and a health risk, not to mention unsightly. If they appear in an area where tack or equipment might rub against them (for example, near the mouth where a bit would rest), they can crack and bleed frequently in addition to causing significant discomfort. Larger masses are even more troublesome, sometimes splitting and becoming infected by flies and maggots...

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Feeding Horses When Temperatures Drop

Thehorse.com - Full Article

by: University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
November 30 2008, Article # 13169

Winter presents a challenge to horse owners when it comes to feeding their horses. Low temperatures, harsh winds and rain, snow, and ice all contribute to the increasing nutrient requirements a horse has to keep themselves warm and maintain their body weight.

Here are a few feeding tips to help horse owners keep their horses happy and healthy this winter:

* Winter tends to be a time when horses lose weight, and a heavy winter coat can hide a thin horse. Make sure to check your horse's body condition every 30 days. If your horse loses weight during the winter, try increasing his body weight prior to the winter months so that he can lose some weight during the winter without becoming thin.
* Horses require additional energy from the diet to maintain body weight when temperatures drop below 45�F. Remember that pasture grasses do not grow during the colder months. Providing good quality hay at 2% of the horse's body weight should meet his nutrient requirements for maintenance...

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Endurance Horse Longevity - Karen Chaton

Enduranceridestuff.com - Full Article

I wanted to share this post from Mike Maul that was posted to the AERC members list. It has to do with longevity in endurance horses. A topic that is near and dear to my heart. When you ride a lot at some point you have the face the reality of what it is exactly you want to do. What do I want out of this? What does it all mean?

For me, it is more about the journey….taking the time to see the scenery and smell the roses. Versus the more immediate satisfaction of going out and winning a ride, or getting best condition. I’ve done it both ways. Nowadays everybody thinks I ride slow, and that is a fair assessment as I am now a pretty conservative rider. I have learned that if I go at a conservative speed well under 10 mph that my horses will stay sound.

It seems so simple. Only it’s not really. It takes a lot of determination to be able to constantly focus on rating a horse. It is so much easier to let them go a little faster than it is to reel them in and keep them steady. Why the 10 mph speed? That’s the magic number, it seems. When I keep my horses at 10 mph or slower while moving out they have few problems. Having fewer problems is important. It means that I have less vet bills because we aren’t trying to find and then fix a problem (most likely caused by riding faster). I also don’t have to sit out many rides because I’ve always or nearly always got a horse to ride. If I don’t go to a ride it’s usually due to other reasons but almost never horse related...

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Managing Pasture-Associated Laminitis

Thehorse.com - Full Article

by: Erica Larson, News Editor
January 11 2011, Article # 17523

Laminitis is not a modern condition--it has been recognized for well over 2,000 years. The Greek philosopher Aristotle even referred to it around 350 B.C. as 'Barley Disease,' presumably because it was associated even then with excessive grain consumption. However, according to Patricia Harris, MA, PhD, Dipl. ECVCN, VetMB, MRCVS, there has recently been an increased interest in pasture-associated laminitis and researchers have devised management strategies to minimize at-risk horses' chances of being affected by it.

The results of a survey conducted in the United Kingdom relay that 61% of the horses and ponies that suffered from laminitis attacks were out on grass prior to the attack; 30% lived both on grass and in a stall; and only 9% were stabled. The results of a similar study in the United States revealed that about 45% of laminitis cases were linked to pasture turnout...

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Minimizing Winter Colic

Equisearch.com - Full Article

How to keep colic at bay during cold months.

When asked to describe the most common wintertime equine health problem in their areas, veterinarians and horse owners around the country respond with near unanimity: colic. Even in the Southwest, where frigid temperatures are extremely rare, cases of impaction and sand colic spike during the winter months.

Three cold-weather practices converge to increase the likelihood of intestinal blockages (impactions) this time of year:

* Horses tend to consume less water in colder weather, either because they don't get as thirsty as in the summer or because their water sources freeze over. In addition, the roughages common in winter rations contain less than 20 percent moisture compared to the 75 percent or more water content in spring and summer grass. With insufficient liquid in the digestive tract, the food being processed becomes too dry to be moved along by peristaltic action and blocks a portion of an intestine...

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Strap It All On: Protecting Your Head Requires More Than a Helmet (But That's a Start)

The Jurga Report - Full Article

Monday January 10 2011

News of a meeting held over the weekend to discuss the wisdom of wearing helmets while riding was a memory trigger for me. No, not of my many and often creative or spectacular falls from horses (with and without helmets), not even of that time I had amnesia.

It goes back to pre-WEG days last summer, when I meant to write about the Australian endurance team and the glaring absence of that country's leading rider, Meg Wade. Not only was Meg not in the saddle for her country in September at the Kentucky Horse Park--she wasn't in the saddle at all.

At the 2009 Quilty ride (Australia's premier endurance event), Meg Wade was found in a crumpled heap on the trail a short distance from a checkpoint she'd just cleared. That was the defining lifetime moment for one of the most competitive and consistent equestrians in the world.

Meg did fall, and did have serious brain injuries. But, she was wearing a $900 titanium approved safety helmet--the same helmet that was approved for use by the Australian teams...

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Skill-Drills For Efficient Movement

Friday, January 7, 2011 by Duncan McLaughlin

In human endurance sports, winning performance is a result of both technique and fitness: in that order. Technique accounts for up to 60-70% of endurance performance, more so in swimming and cycling, less so in running, while fitness accounts for 30-40% of endurance performance, less so in swimming and cycling, more so in running. The importance of technique is most clearly demonstrated by studies on the very successful African marathoners who score around average, when compared to other elite marathoners, on all commonly measured fitness parameters (VO2max, lactate threshold, height to weight ratios, muscle fiber types and proportions, etc) - their exceptional speed comes from exceptional technique.

By contrast, successful performance in endurance horses is due primarily to fitness, for two reasons:
1. Endurance horses are nowhere near as fit as endurance humans. Winning horses are generally performing at around 30% VO2 max (compared to winning humans performing at around 70% VO2 max), so even small increases in fitness can create a major performance advantage; and
2. Practically no endurance riders work to improve their horse's technique.

And there is a third reason: aesthetics. As endurance riders, our concept of what constitutes a good moving horse is still largely derived from other equestrian disciplines. Aesthetics drawn from dressage, eventing and showjumping - where good technique involves increased articulation of the joints, a relatively slow tempo, and an emphasis on increased weight carrying by the hindquarters - are particularly pervasive. Movement like is this is entirely appropriate for these sports but incredibly inefficient in getting your horse down the trail over long distances: Our endurance horses should not move like dressage horses! That is not to say your endurance horse should not do regular arena work - he should. Dressage is unparalleled in creating strength, flexibility and balance in your horse. If your horse is conditioned enough to be run a competitive 100 mile endurance ride he should also be comfortably performing arena-work gymnastics (trot shoulder-in, trot and canter half-pass, flying change) with correct longitudinal flexion and some degree of collection, to build strength and suppleness. But he shouldn’t move down the trail like that.

So what is efficient movement like? In human endurance athletes efficiency is characterised by:
1. A relatively short stride;
2. A relatively fast tempo;
3. Minimal vertical displacement (movement is channelled forward, not up and down);
4. Reduced or no braking effect on foot strike; and
5. Utilisation of gravity rather than muscular effort where possible.

The same characteristics apply to efficient movement in horses - it is the type of movement horses evolved to make prior to selective breeding (think hackneys, warmbloods), long hoof capsules and fancy shoeing. In fact, we have a very good model of effecient equine movement in our wild/feral horses.

full article here

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Bran Mash: What's it Really Good For?

Thehorse.com - Full Article

by: Kentucky Equine Research Inc.
January 01 2011, Article # 17468

During the colder months, many horse owners go on a quest for wheat bran, probably so that they can make their four-legged friends a bran mash--a warm treat for horses on frosty winter days. Aside from the obvious, what's in a bran mash? And what is it meant to do?.

Here's an easy recipe. The two basic ingredients, simply enough, are wheat bran (rice bran, which is relatively high in unsaturated fats and is often used as a fat supplement in the diet of high-performance horses) and boiling water. The amount of water used depends on the desired wetness or sloppiness of the mash. Blend thoroughly and steep for at least 15 minutes, covering the bucket or feed tub with a towel. Just prior to feeding, add any other ingredients that might tempt a horse to dive in, such as diced apples, sliced carrots, a pull of molasses, or a handful of oats. And voilà ... a bran mash is created.

Bran mashes remain a staple in the feeding regime of some horsemen and continue to be a traditional meal for horses recovering from sickness, for mares immediately following foaling, and for aged horses with dental problems...

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