Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why Riding Helmets Work - Full Article


Everyone has an excuse for not wearing a helmet when they ride: "I'm not going to jump; I'm just going for a trail ride; my horse is perfectly safe; I'm only going to let my horse stretch his legs for a few minutes; I'm not going to do anything dangerous."

Now think back to the last time you came off your horse. Were you jumping a high fence on a strange horse after an hour of hard work? Probably not. You were more likely doing an activity you do every day with your horse and the unexpected occurred, something you never could have anticipated.

That's why it's a good idea to wear a helmet every time you climb on a horse. You never know when and how an accident will occur. We work with our horses to minimize spooking, runaways and other dangerous situations. But we can't anticipate everything. And if we're challenging ourselves and our horses athletically, eventually we're likely to attempt something that will cause a fall.

Fortunately, helmet manufacturers have been working to design better and safer helmets. So if you wear one and do fall, you're much more likely to avoid a head injury than ever before. That's important because, according to the American Medical Equine Association/Safe Riders Foundation, head injuries account for 20% of all equestrian injuries and 60% of fatalities occur from head injuries...

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Thrush: Phew! Stinky Feet! - Full Article

by: Michael Ball, DVM
May 01 2003, Article # 4335

Thrush is very common, and it typically is a mild disease that can be easily treated. More importantly, it can be prevented with adequate foot management and good stable husbandry. However, if you choose to ignore these preventive measures, or you come into possession of a horse with thrush, it needs to be addressed immediately and aggressively as complications and chronic lameness issues can result. Thrush can be very insidious in the early stages, and it can become severe enough to cause permanent lameness.

Foot Anatomy

First, let's discuss some descriptive anatomy of the foot to better understand the problem. When looking at the foot from the bottom, the hoof wall circles from the lateral (outside) heel around the point of the toe (the dorsal surface) and on to the medial (inside) heel. The frog is the brownish/ black rubbery-textured triangle with the flat base at the heel and the point two-thirds of the distance to the toe (see page 92).

The remainder of the whitish structure on the bottom of the foot is the sole. The frog has a central invagination or groove called the central sulcus, and the deep grooves at its junctions with the sole are the lateral and medial sulci (sometimes called the paracuneal grooves)...

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

On Horses and Autism - Full Article

By: Christine Hamilton for The American Quarter Horse Journal

“Animals and autistic people don’t see their ideas of things; they see the actual things themselves,” writes Dr. Temple Grandin in her book, “Animals in Translation.” Temple is an associate professor in livestock behavior and handling at Colorado State University.

“The brain of the horse is very specific,” she says. “If a horse gets a fear memory, it’s stored as a picture, a sound or a feel. It could be smell, but usually not. A real common thing is feeling: like bucking when you change gaits. A saddle feels different at each gait and creates a different feeling picture in the brain.

“Use a computer metaphor,” she continues. “The way the brain works is that fear memories can never be erased. You can train the horse to close the file on the fear memory, but you cannot delete it off the horse’s hard drive.

“You have some of the same problems with autistic children, especially if they’re nonverbal,” Temple says. “Let’s say a fire alarm went off and hurt the child’s ears. Now you can’t get him into a room where he sees a fire alarm; he sees the little red box and starts screaming...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Preparing Your Horses for Spring - the best nutritional approaches

TeleSeminar, Sponsored by The Evolution of Animal Health Care

Thursday, March 24, 2011, 5:00 – 6:00 pm (Pacific), 8:00 – 9:00 pm (Eastern)

Free of charge. (Your long distance phone charges may apply)

To connect, call 712-432-3100 and enter Code: 871332

Please mail in questions in advance to
(note -- though the deadline has passed for advance questions, if there is still time available, Dr. Getty will try to get to last minute questions)

The event will be recorded for those who missed it or wish to listen again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Basic Conditioning of the Equine Athlete - Full Article

by: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture
August 02 2010, Article # 16758

Basic conditioning of the equine athlete involves consideration of the event in which the horse will be competing, the level of competition that you expect the horse to achieve, the time you have in which to condition the horse, and the horse's previous conditioning for the event.

The goal of any basic conditioning program is to enhance the psychological and the physical responses to exercise. Psychological responses with conditioning include greater confidence and desire to perform and minimized boredom and resentment. Physical responses include greater strength and endurance, enhanced skills (such as jumping and reining), and minimized soreness or injury due to exercise. Some of the most important physical adaptations achieved by conditioning involve:...

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Supplementing the Equine Diet with Essential Fatty Acids - Full Article

by: Uckele Health and Nutrition
March 16 2011, Article # 17937

Although feeding fat to horses has often been a topic of heavy debate, current research indicates that supplementing essential fatty acids in horses' diets is not only useful, but might very well be a requirement. In fact, researchers have shown that feeding essential fatty acids (EFAs) for health-promoting benefits can be justified for not only maintaining skin and hoof health, but also mental, digestive, reproductive, pulmonary and joint health.

Jack Grogan, CN, and chief science officer for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has formulated nutritional supplements to support healthy metabolic balance in horses. Grogan explains that an added benefit of supplementing fat is that it generates less internal heat while being digested than protein or carbohydrates, keeping your horse cooler.

"Other benefits of higher fat diets can include enabling your horse to perform longer without fatigue, lowering the risk of injury, improving the ability to maintain body weight with less grain, and reducing the risk of colic and founder," he adds...

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Physiological Functions of Equine Nutrition - Full Article

(Carbohydrates and Fats)

Anne Rodiek, Ph.D.

Californa State University, Fresno

Feeding horses is both a science and an art. Horses have done well on a wide variety of diets for hundreds of years. While evolved as a roaming and nibbling eater, horses have adapted to confinement and meal feeding. While evolved on a diet of fibrous feeds, horses have adapted to highly digestible, high energy rations. While man has tried a myriad of dietary manipulations to cause horses to perform better in the service of man, horses have remained robust and still willing to serve man. From a large view, it could be summated that horses have done an amazing job at continuing to do what they do in spite of what man has fed to them, rather than because of it.


The digestive system of the horse is designed to maximize digestion of both high and low quality feeds. The small intestine is the site of enzymatic digestion of soluble carbohydrates, proteins and fats, the components of which are absorbed into the circulation. Insoluble carbohydrates pass to the cecum and colon where they are fermented by bacteria and protozoa, similar to those of the ruminant. Prececal digestion is relatively rapid, while postileal fermentation is quite slow with total rate of passage exceeding 24 hours. Although with large variability depending on diet and physical form of the feeds. This anatomical arrangement allows enzymatic digestion by the horse before fermentation by microbes ensuring that high quality nutrients are absorbed directly by the horse and are not converted to lesser quality nutrients by the microbes.

More than 70% of the horse’s daily feed intake is used to provide energy to fuel the horse’s metabolism. Traditional horse feeds are comprised primarily of carbohydrates with very little (less than 5%) fat. However, research over the past twenty years has shown that horses absorb and utilize fat efficiently. As such, both carbohydrates and fats (and to a lesser extent protein) can be used as energy sources for all activities of horses.


Plant materials contain both structural and nonstructural carbohydrates...

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

It Is a Mental Condition

Trot On Hank Blog

March 8, 2011

We know we must do physical conditioning of our horses for distance riding, but how many of us think about MENTALLY conditioning for the conditions?

We are faced with many challenges at a distance ride, and the more homework you can do ahead of time, then hopefully the better prepared one will be. While I think those new to the sport are more often finding some of their pre-ride training end up with a few holes in it, I have seen experience riders have some issues that they might have been able to lessen had they done a few extra preparations before heading off to a competition.

When we prepare and condition for rides, many of us have a tendency to only ride in weather that is more perfect, as we have a choice. If it is windy, or cold, we can wait a day or so for something better to head out to enjoy some trail time. But when we get to a competition, we do not always know what the weather is going to do. If it is not to our liking, we can always choose to not ride. And that is up to each individual. This has to be fun, and if riding in less than wonderful weather is not to ones liking, that is their choice, and theirs alone. This is recreation for us. But if one does choose to ride no matter what the conditions, then consider training for those conditions. On the physical end, consider doing some training in muddy conditions to be prepared and know how your horse might handle that footing before you end up at a ride and the sky opens up and changes things from dry and perfect, to muddy and slick...

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Hoofin' It in Boots - Full Article

by: Christy West, Digital Editor/Producer
May 01 2010, Article # 17632

Hoof boots let a horse go barefoot with many of the benefits of traditional shoes.

Hoof boots aren't just for emergencies or soaking injured feet; these boots are made for walking, running, climbing, and more. Today an increasing variety of boots adorn the other-wise bare feet of trail horses, working horses, dressage horses, and even highly competitive endurance horses.

The benefits are pretty straightforward: The horse gets foot protection and traction when needed, while still going barefoot most of the time. There's no risk of tearing off shoes or misplaced nails.

However, boots aren't a license to be lazy about hoof maintenance. Booted horses require proper trimming and balancing, perhaps even more often than shod horses. And boots come with their own risks and challenges, such as sores from chafing if they are left on too long and/or incorrectly sized.

Are boots right for you and your horse? If so, how do you pick out the right boot? Read on to find out...

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