Friday, December 28, 2012

Sudden Death of Show Pony Clouds Image of Elite Pursuit

Early on the morning of May 26, Kristen Williams and her daughter, Katie, arrived at a barn on the grounds of the Devon Horse Show, where elite competitors in full dress have entertained spectators for the last century on Philadelphia’s Main Line.

Ms. Williams had paid thousands of dollars to lease a pony for Katie to ride in a hunter competition, a 12th birthday present. Soon after arriving, their trainer left to administer an injection to a nearby pony, Humble, that Katie’s friend, also celebrating her 12th birthday, was scheduled to ride shortly.

Moments later, with Ms. Williams and her daughter watching, Humble collapsed and died. The death of a supposedly fit pony about to carry a young rider over hurdles was worrisome by itself, but circumstances surrounding the death made it even more so.

[More ...]

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Revisit Feeding Strategies as Horses Age - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · September 17, 2007

The care and management of old horses has been the focus of much scrutiny of late. The reason is obvious: horses are living much longer than they once did, and horsemen needed to know how to offer appropriate care. Horse owners owe a debt of gratitude to the researchers that have unfurled the mysteries of age-related issues. In the past several years, significant research time and dollars have been devoted to Cushing's disease, melanomas, insulin resistance, and other syndromes that tend to crop up among the older equine set.

Despite these advances, some horsemen remain unclear on what to feed horses that are creeping into their late teens, twenties, and thirties. But, when referring to horses, what defines “old”? More important than chronological age is an assessment of the individual horse. After all, you have probably been in the company of a 75-year-old person who is amazingly active, sprightly, and completely self-reliant. On the flip side, you probably have been around someone of the same age who is less vigorous and independent. As with humans, not all horses age identically...

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Feeding Fat for a Calmer Horse - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 28, 2012

Horse owners have been asking the same question for centuries: How do you feed a horse so that he has plenty of energy for whatever you want him to do, without producing an animal that is too active, nervous, or spooky to ride? Years back, the problem of too much energy was blamed on too much feed. If the rider couldn’t control a horse that was “feeling his oats,” the experience usually wasn’t pleasant and might even have been dangerous.

With a better understanding of equine nutrition, horse owners now know that the problem is just as likely to be the kind, rather than the amount, of feed. Traditional sweet feeds, with their component of carbohydrate-rich grains, seem to contribute to overly energetic behavior in some horses. Choosing a feed that is formulated to provide more energy from fat and less from the carbohydrate portion of the diet has been suggested as a way of producing “cool” energy in horses that seem to react to sugar-laden feeds...

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Energy and the Performance Horse - Full Article

By Dr. Joe Pagan · December 10, 2012

Energy is a measure of a feed’s potential to fuel body functions and exercise. Various pathways and substrates are used by the horse to produce a chemical intermediate that fuels muscle contraction during exercise and depends on the intensity and duration of the exercise.

The main productive function in horses—racehorses, draft horses, trail horses—is work. The basic driving force behind the various types of equine performance is the conversion of chemically bound energy from feed into mechanical energy for muscular movement.

Because horses do not eat continuously while they exercise, feed energy must be stored in the horse’s body for later release. The horse can utilize a number of different storage forms including intramuscular glycogen and triglycerides as well as extramuscular stores such as adipose tissue and liver glycogen. Many factors determine the proportion of energy derived from each storage form including speed and duration of work, feed, fitness, muscle fiber composition, and age of the horse...

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Look, Mom--No Shoes! - Full Article

By Natalie Voss • Dec 13, 2012 • Article #31056

Just in time for winter--a time when many owners opt to pull their horses' shoes for the season--a team of researchers has released results from a study examining the effects of normal gaits on hoof wear in barefoot horses.

Six horses of varying ages and weights were exercised at a walk, trot, canter, and gallop on a treadmill for three exercise sessions a week for four weeks. Scientists measured the strain on the hoof walls using strain gauges and evaluated proximal hoof circumference and toe angle at various points in the exercise period.

Study author Maria Célia Ramos Bellenzani, PhD, a large animal surgery instructor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and colleagues, found that in most cases, the horses' front hooves landed with the outside edges on the ground first, and shift the weight toward the toe and inside of the foot...

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Creating a Sustainable Equine Athlete - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre • Nov 23, 2012 • Article #30905

Editor's note: This article is part of's ongoing coverage of topics presented at the 2012 International Society of Equitation Science conference, held July 18-20 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In a world where "sustainable" has become a million-dollar buzzword, some horse owners might be on the lookout for ways to create sustainable equine athletes. According to a British equitation scientist, if we pay attention to certain details--like good conformation, good footing, progressive training programs, well-rounded exercise programs, body condition, and subtle signs of lameness--we can help our horses enjoy longer sports careers.

"Musculoskeletal injury is the most common cause of days lost from work and horses lost, in all equine sports," said Sue Dyson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England. "I believe the prevention of injury and early recognition of injury are key for a sustainable athlete, both physically and mentally."

"Prevention" includes recognizing conformation problems that are risk factors for lameness, Dyson said during a lecture opening the 2012 International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) conference, held July 18-20 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Recent research has shown, for example, that horses taller than 170 cm (16.3 hands) have a 15% greater risk of becoming lame than horses 163 cm (16 hands) or shorter. Additional research has shown that taller horses also end up with shorter competitive careers...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Preventing Fall and Winter Colic - Full Article

By Equine Guelph • Dec 11, 2012 • Article #31042

The fall is a time of lovely colors, family get-togethers, and winding down the busy show season. However, fall is often a time of increased colic calls to veterinarians. While not all colic episodes can be prevented, paying attention to equine management can go a long way to decrease the incidence and the suffering of episodes.

Colic, which is actually not a disease itself but a sign of stomach pains, can be caused by many different factors so it is well worth every horse owner's time to learn all they can about prevention of this syndrome.

Ken Armstrong, DVM, is an equine veterinarian who has been in practice for many years and has seen many horses for episodes of colic during this time.

"A lot depends on the weather as the temperature swings can result in frozen or ice-covered water," Armstrong says. "This can result in horses drinking less water..."

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Study: Suspensory Injuries Could be Linked to Excessive Extended Trot - Full Article

By Natalie Voss • Dec 12, 2012 • Article #31044

Suspensory ligament injuries are relatively common in dressage horses, but there is little scientific information available on their causes. A recent study by researchers at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England, examined the possible link between movement patterns at the collected and extended trot, and risk for suspensory ligament injuries.

Scientists used a high-speed camera to capture four Warmbloods working in collected and extended trot on three different surfaces. Each horse wore brushing boots fitted with inertial motion sensors and markers at five points on the hind legs to aid in video analysis...

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Water: The Overlooked Nutrient - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 21, 2009

The most important nutrient in the horse's diet is one that is rarely added to feeds: water. Though it is often overlooked in discussions involving equine nutrition, water could be considered the first limiting nutrient of all horses, as they cannot survive for as many days without water as they can without feed. The amount of water required by the horse is determined by the magnitude of water losses from its body. These losses occur through feces, urine, respiratory gases, and sweat and, in the case of lactating mares, milk.

These losses are affected by the amount, type, and quality of the feed consumed, environmental conditions and the health, physiological state, and physical activity of the horse. Horses will generally consume as much water as they need if given access to a palatable water source. Horses at rest in a moderate climate will generally consume between three and seven liters of water per 220 lb (100 kg) of bodyweight. This translates to around 4-9 gallons for a 1,100-lb (500-kg) horse.

Diet plays a major role in determining voluntary water intake and requirements. As a general rule, water intake is proportional to dry matter intake, but the composition and digestibility of the diet can alter this relationship substantially...

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Comparing the Effects of Two Equine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements - Full Article

By Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM • Dec 09, 2012 • Article #31020

Omega-3 fatty acids have proven to be beneficial for horses with arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, but when it comes to choosing a supplement, which one is best? There are two sources of equine omega-3 fatty acid supplements--one derived from algae and fish oil and the other derived from plants. Recent research performed at Colorado State University (CSU) shows that although the equine body incorporates the two supplements differently, each has its benefits.

"(This) study, to the knowledge of the authors, is the first trial to evaluate the effects of supplemental dietary n-3 (omega) fatty acids on skeletal muscle fatty acid composition of horses," reported Tanja Hess, DVM, DSc, PhD, assistant professor of equine sciences at CSU, in the study...

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Saturday, December 08, 2012

My Horse, Meindert, Has New Boots! - Full Article

December 6 2012

There is a lot of controversy about whether to shoe a horse or not, as many of you have commented on this blog. Betsy Perreten, my stable manager, and I feel that shoes are appropriate for my Friesians because of the type of riding we do, mostly on dirt roads and trails through the woods. We also employ a knowledgeable and capable farrier, Linda Friedman, who takes great care of the horses’ hooves and fits and changes their shoes regularly. Meindert, one of my horses, hasn’t worn rear shoes in quite some time. He suffers from arthritis and has difficulty holding his rear legs up for Linda to shoe. Betsy is very in-tune with the horses and can read their moods quite well. When Meindert is feeling fine, she likes to keep him active and will take him out for short, easy rides. Recently, she got him some hoof boots for his rear feet from a company called Easy Care Inc. and from the looks of things, Meindert really loves wearing them...

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Insect Protein: Horse Feed Ingredient of the Future? - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 22, 2012

All animals need protein as part of their diet. Dietary protein is particularly important for young growing animals that are building muscle and other body tissues. Lysine and threonine are two essential amino acids contained in high-quality protein that should be an ingredient in feeds for young horses.

While protein is a key ingredient in horse feeds, it is also one of the most expensive components, partly because protein is in high demand and somewhat limited supply. Soybeans are incorporated into feeds for horses and cattle, and fish meal and soybean meal are common sources of protein in feeds for poultry and swine. There is always interest in new and innovative sources of protein for animal feeds.

Protein derived from insect larvae has been suggested as an alternative source of this important feed component. Insects are a sustainable resource that can produce high-quality protein...

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

My Horse Has Retracted Soles? Blog - Full Article

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by Daisy Bicking

Ever have a horse with pretty healthy feet, and yet after a normal trim, just like you’ve given the horse a dozen times before, they are very footsore? Of course the horse is miserable, and you’re scratching your head wondering what went wrong?

Or a horse who has been suffering some sort of sub solar abscess that is not resolving after weeks and weeks? And every time you or the vet checks the horse you each get different reactions to hoof testers? And you wonder why won't this abscess resolve already?

Or a horse with seemingly low grade laminitis that isn’t a metabolic type, didn’t have any illness, and hasn’t gotten into the grain bin? Poor horse just has hot feet, mild digital pulses, and sensitive feet?

All of these situations could actually be retracted soles.

Retracted soles are a hoof condition documented by Esco Buff APF, Ph.D CF, Hall of Fame Farrier from Webster, NY. He presented on the subject at the 2012 International Hoof Care Summit, and has published an article on retracted soles in the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of the American Farriers Journal. I also spent five days with Dr Buff at his Summer Summit this past August where we further studied retracted soles.

Retracted soles are when the sole retracts, or 'sucks up' into the arch of the coffin bone...

Read more here:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Equine Protein Requirements - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · January 21, 2010

Horse owners want to provide their horses with adequate nourishment, but they may be confused about the best way to meet the protein requirements of animals with different workloads or ages.

While each horse needs to be considered as an individual, these basic guidelines may help to answer many questions.

How much protein does a horse need?

A horse's requirement for protein is determined by the animal's stage of development and workload.

Some general recommendations are listed below (please note, intakes mentioned are merely for the purposes of illustrating what is needed to meet protein requirements alone, but will likely not meet requirements for other nutrients).

A mature horse (average weight of 1100 pounds) needs about 1.4 pounds of protein a day for maintenance, early pregnancy, or light work. The horse usually ingests at least this much protein by grazing or eating grass hay (dry matter intake of about 22 pounds).

A mature horse doing moderate to heavy work needs about 2 to 2.15 pounds of protein a day. An owner could feed 22 pounds of grass or hay and add 2 to 4 pounds of fortified feed to meet the protein requirement...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pre- and Probiotics for Horses - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS • Nov 26, 2012 • Article #30918

Feed digestion in horses is largely accomplished by microbial fermentation in the hindgut. The cecum and colon provide an environment that promotes the digestion and absorption of nutrients from fibrous products such as hay and beet pulp. Disrupting the microbe balance, due to mismanaged feeding practices or illness, can have detrimental effects on the horse's health. Thus, some horse owners and veterinarians use pre- and probiotics to help keep the microbial balance in check and the horse's digestive tract functioning properly.

Prebiotics are food components that stimulate hindgut microflora activity and growth. The horse does not digest these ingredients; rather, hindgut microbes do. These include carbohydrate fibers such as fructo-oligosaccharides and manno-oligosaccharides. Premium feed products include several prebiotics, including yeast cultures and fungi, to aid in digestion...

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Monday, November 26, 2012

New headshaking study - Full Article

Headshaking syndrome is an intermittent, apparently involuntary, movement of the horse’s head. It may occur at rest or at exercise. The signs may be so severe as to prevent the horse being ridden.

It is not an uncommon problem, and proves very frustrating to treat. It is thought to be due to pain in the sensory nerves supplying the face (trigeminal nerve).

Although some progress has been made towards both diagnosing and treating the condition in horses, the pathology of the disease remains unknown and further research is needed.

Caudal compression of the infraorbital nerve currently offers the best prognosis for a successful outcome compared with other treatments...

Read more here:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

History of the Barefoot Trim

Farrierscorner Blog


In this article I identify seven people that have been influential in the “Barefoot Movement”.

· Dr. Hiltrude Strasser; Proper Trimming of a Sound Horse
· Lyle Bergeleen; Hoof Talk Natural Trim
· KC La Pierre; High Performance Trim
· Dennis Manning; AFA trim
· Gene Ovnicek; Natural Balance trim
· Dr. Ric Redden; Four Point Trim
· Michael Savoldi; Universal Sole Thickness UST
· Natural hoof care

Dr. Hiltrude Strasser; Proper Trimming of a sound Horse

Strasser is an advocate of “Natural Boarding” conditions. These conditions include plenty of natural movement (no box stalls), no legwraps bandages or other clothing, no greases, oils or hoof dressing. She advocates daily exposure to water, no horseshoes (ever). Strasser trims the foot to what she describes as a slanted cone...

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Dietary Yeast Has Some Benefits for Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 1, 2012

Various studies have investigated the benefits of feeding yeast to horses. Among the positive results of dietary yeast supplementation are better digestion of fiber; limitation of undesirable changes in the intestinal ecosystem; and reduction in variations in lactic acid concentrations and pH levels after large grain meals.

In growing horses, yeast increased the digestibility of ADF, NDF, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. Some studies showed an increase in wither height and weight gain in yeast-supplemented weanlings, though the results of other research did not support these findings. Some research in yearlings indicated yeast supplementation led to higher plasma level of lysine and methionine, supporting the production of muscle tissue...

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Assessing Elimination Rates of International Endurance Rides - Full Article

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Associate Managing Editor • Nov 22, 2012 • Article #30904

Editor's Note: This article is part of's ongoing coverage of topics presented at the British Equine Veterinary Association's 51st annual Congress, held Sept. 12-15 in Birmingham, U.K.

Endurance riding became an official Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) discipline in 1982 and has since been the organization's fastest growing sport. Before, during, and after these long-distance rides veterinarians examine horses' general attitude, metabolic state, soundness, and presence of sores, wounds, or other problems.

They might then eliminate horses (most often for lameness and metabolic reasons) if they don't deem the horses fit to continue. However, very little evidence-based information exists on reasons and rates of elimination from competition.

Annamaria Nagy, DrMedVet, FRCVS, of the Animal Health Trust, in Newmarket, U.K., recently conducted the largest scale epidemiologic study of endurance rides and presented her findings at the British Equine Veterinary Association's 51st annual Congress, held Sept. 12-15, in Birmingham, U.K.

In their retrospective study, Nagy and her colleagues documented the number of horses that started, completed, and then eliminated due to lameness or metabolic reasons at all FEI endurance events ranging from 100-160 kilometers per day (roughly 60-75 miles per day) between 2008 and 2011. They used data obtained from the FEI to evaluate risk factors for elimination as well as winning speeds...

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Minnesota EHV-1: Additional Cases from Index Farm Suspected - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor • Nov 20, 2012 • Article #30915

Five of seven horses residing on the Wright County, Minn., horse farm that recently confirmed three cases of neurologic equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) infection have developed clinical signs consistent with the disease, according to a statement on the University of Minnesota (UM) Equine Center Facebook page.

"Three of these are being managed in isolation at the Large Animal Hospital, and their conditions are gradually improving," the statement, which was posted late Monday night (Nov. 19), reads. "To date no cases have been identified beyond the original farm but it will take an additional two weeks until this can be ruled out with confidence..."

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Could Endophyte-Infected Fescue Cause Lameness in Horses? - Full Article

By Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM • Nov 06, 2012 • Article #30825

Endophytes--fungi that benefit some grasses such as fescue by acting as a natural insect deterrent--have proven harmful to grazing animals, such as cattle and horses.

Endophyte-infected tall fescue, for example, has long been associated with reproductive problems and abortion in mares. But new research indicates it could also cause some forms of equine lameness.

A group of researchers from Kansas State University (KSU) recently set out to evaluate the effects of endophyte-infected fescue--a common forage found in horse pastures throughout the United States--on horse digital circulation and forelimb lameness...

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Barefoot. The Secret of the Floating Boots

El Raid blog - Gabriel Gamiz

November 13 2012

[google translation]

Since contact Florentino Pereira, one of the leaders of Floating Boots, to tell me the developments and results of the types of boots for horses Barefoot system, referred me to your site and these are the evolutions of the boots and large results achieved with this shoe, shoes, boots or as you want to call, but they are getting great results as the horses shod with these products.

I put some pictures of horses that have these boots and shoes that have achieved such good results.

Here's the memo:
The Secret of the FLOATING BOOTS

Any impartial observer will have noticed, by now, of the benefits of competition FLOATING BOOTS. Since the 2012 Absolute Championship of Spain, with victory Alex Luque and Louteiro EO, wearing shoes FLOATING competition, many were interested in this new way of arranging the hulls and to train and compete with one type of hardware or footwear allow the town to fulfill its role as a buffer.

In Porrúa could see as 100 100 participants were classified FLOATING shod, and two of them also earned their tests. In Porrúa were 52 registered of which 41 were classified, but the nine who were with FLOATING have classified all. In CEI1 * had 5 and ranked among the top 8 ranked 15 and 20 enrolled: ADAL-nomadic, winner; Omali, third and Best Condition; Gamon, sixth; GLOBERTROTTER 75, seventh, and Agent 67, eighth.
In CEN0 ZE'PEQUEÑA was in the eighth and won TOXA CETP and JERSIK RUBIO Bugati and 50 were classified both.

With an iron horseshoe (or aluminum) protects the hull of erosion on impact with the ground, but while the hull remains completely immobilized by the rigidity of metal itself and loses its damping function. As a result of this non-hull damping, damping must endure the bones, joints and tendons, when released this function is shared between hooves, bones, joints and tendons.

well with iron But the impact of each stride is much higher, as the iron horseshoe did act as if the effect of a greater impact hammer and they have to cushion the joints, tendons and bones all by themselves. And so more than 30,000 times, each foot in a raid of 80 kilometers.

The problem with many plastic shoes or synthetically manufactured was complex to date. We had to find a material that was neither slick nor to be worn too, and then find a type of glue to hold the hull. Now with FLOATING BOOTS, and more after the success in the Championship of Spain, it seems that all the pieces fit and you can enjoy a novel system that helps the horse to regain the natural functions of your helmet to improve their welfare and their capabilities sports career. As always, there will be many skeptics who will discuss and seek to continue shoeing thousand excuses as before. And not all be as Porrúa raids, with a success rate of 100 per 100, as there are many other factors that come into play in our careers. Of course. But those who want to test it properly and with patience to their mounts to adapt to this new hardware, no doubt will be rewarded handsomely."

Greetings from Gabriel.

See more photos:

Drought Causes Spike in Equine Pigeon Fever Cases in Missouri - Full Article

By University of Missouri • Nov 14, 2012 • Article #30867

The long summer drought in Missouri has ruined a large portion of this year's crop harvest, and one University of Missouri (MU) equine veterinarian says the negative effects of the dry weather can still be seen across the state.

Philip Johnson, BVSc(Hons), MS, Dipl. ACVIM, Dipl. ECEIM, MRCVS, a professor of equine medicine and surgery in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says he has seen a large spike in the number of Missouri horses infected with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, a bacteria that can cause painful swelling, abscesses, and inflammation in the legs, chests, and abdominal cavities.

"Under normal conditions, this disease is uncommon in Missouri," Johnson said. "However, likely because of the extremely dry weather Missouri has experienced in the last six months, we have seen an abnormally large number of cases pop up throughout the state. The disease is contracted through abrasions in the skin, as well as by bites from flies and ticks..."

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Diagnosing and Treating Gastric Ulcers in Horses - Full Article

By Center for Equine Health Horse Report • Nov 09, 2012 • Article #30850

By Jorge Nieto, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS--Reprinted from The Horse Report with permission from the Center for Equine Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis (UC Davis).

A common case of heartburn can bring intense discomfort, even pain, to a person. Imagine your horse trying to perform with a stomach ulcer. Did you know that the clinical signs of ulcers in horses are subtle and nonspecific and might be reflected in a slight attitude change, a decrease in performance, or a reluctance to train?

Gastric ulcers are common in horses. Their prevalence has been estimated to be from 50% to 90%, depending on populations surveyed and type of athletic activity horses are engaged in.

Gastric ulcers can affect any horse at any age. Foals are particularly susceptible because they secrete gastric acid as early as 2 days of age and the acidity of the gastric fluid is high. Foals that have infrequent or interrupted feeding, or are recumbent for long periods have been found to have lower gastric fluid pH (aqueous solutions with a pH less than 7 are acidic), suggesting that milk has a protective effect against ulcers and that recumbency increases exposure of the stomach to acid...

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Added Fat Improves Behavior

November 8, 2012
Added Fat Improves Behavior

by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

Diet affects behavior. This makes sense. A well-fed horse is healthy. And a healthy horse feels good. Conversely, a poorly-nourished horse is suffering. A variation in hormone levels, for example, can have a temporary effect on how the horse sees the world. Just as reaction to sugar intake varies in humans, so it does in horses. Horses may feel ill or “off” from an overindulgence in sugar/starch, and they certainly have been reported to exhibit “sugar highs and lows” caused by the sudden surge and subsequent drop in blood glucose from a high carbohydrate (sugar/ starch) meal. Although there is, in fact, little scientific evidence that proves a sugar/starch-driven behavioral component, many horse owners will attest to their own horses showing adverse behavioral responses and will therefore avoid feeding anything that contains starchy cereal grains or is sweetened with molasses.

There are plenty of good reasons beyond the scope of this article to avoid high sugar/high starch diets, but in terms of behavior, what alternative does a horse owner have if the horse simply needs more calories? Hay and grass simply cannot provide enough energy (calories) to support the additional requirements created by exercise, work, and performing. The answer is fat.

Gram for gram, fat provides more than double the calories of carbohydrates or protein. And it is well digested. But there’s an added bonus! Fat has a calming effect on horses' behavior.

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute1 noticed that horses fed a high fat diet are less reactive to startling stimuli and had lower levels of excitability and anxiety than horses fed a more traditional grain-based diet. The horses in their experiment received 15% of the total calories from fat, which is high for most horses. However, the study reveals that fat is worth trying if you have a sensitive horse who may become easily excited by everyday activities.2(Please note: Ponies, minis, donkeys, and mules should not receive high fat diets.3)

What type of fat?

All fat has the same number of calories, regardless of the source. But from a health perspective, it is best to steer clear of animal fats, as well as oils that are have too many omega 6s (which increase inflammation) in relation to omega 3s (which have an anti-inflammatory effect). Oils high in monounsaturated fatty acids are a good source since they neither increase nor decrease inflammation.
Below are some commonly fed oils:
·        Flaxseed oil: Has a 4:1 ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s, making it an ideal choice
·        Canola oil: 10% omega 3s and relatively low in omega 6s. Also contains monounsaturated fatty acids (no harmful impact on inflammation)
·        Rice bran oil: Only 1% omega 3s but low in omega 6s and high in monounsaturated fatty acids
·        Soy lecithin: Only 4% omega 3s but also contains choline, a helpful component of neurotransmitters
·        Soybean oil: Only 7% omega 3s and mostly omega 6s (less desirable choice)
·        Corn oil: No omega 3s and higher in omega 6s than soybean oil (poorest choice)
How much?

I prefer to limit fat intake to no more than 10% of the total calories, though some athletes are fed levels as high as 20%. For the lightly exercised, mature 1100 lb (500 kg) horse, the National Research Council recommends a minimum total diet of 20 Mcals per day to maintain body condition. Ten percent would be 2 Mcals per day from fat. One cup (8 fluid ounces or 240 ml) of oil will meet this requirement. It weighs 240 grams and at 9 kcals/g, provides 2.16 Mcals.
How to add?
When adding any amount of oil to your horse’s feed, start with a small amount (say, one tablespoon or 15 ml). Most horses do not like oily feed, but more important, it takes several weeks for the horse’s cells to become accustomed to metabolizing more fat.


Short attention span, spookiness, reluctance to work, excessive sensitivity and alertness to surroundings, irritability, and “hot” behaviors can be reduced by adding fat to the diet. Fat is high in calories, so limit the amount you feed based on the horse’s weight and his caloric need. Omega 3s need to be in balance with omega 6s, so choose oils carefully. And finally, build up to desired intake by starting slowly and increasing over 4 to 6 weeks.
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an internationally respected equine nutritionist available for private consultations and speaking engagements. At, sign up for her informative—and free—monthly newsletter, Forage for Thought, read articles, search her nutrition forum, enroll in upcoming teleseminars and purchase previously recorded events. Contact Dr. Getty directly at Permission is given to reprint this article with credit given to Dr. Getty; please let her know when and where it is republished.
1 Source: Holland, J.L., Kronsfeld, D.S., and Meacham, T.N. 1996. Behavior of horses is affected by soy lecithin and corn oil in the diet. J. Animal Sci. vol.74, no 6, 1252-1255.
2 Find more dietary approaches for improving horse behavior in “Feeding and Behavior,” #13 in the series: Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You, available
3 “Ponies, minis, donkeys and mules metabolize fat more economically than horses and are prone toward weight gain and the insulin resistance that results from obesity. Therefore, it is best to avoid adding large amounts of fat to their diets.” This and more information on special feeding for these types of equids can be found in Feed Your Horse Like A Horse by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D., published 2009, available at and

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mustang Million Offers $50,000 in Prize Money for Talented Youth Trainers


For more information: 
Jennifer K. Hancock or (512) 869-3225
Mustang Million Offers $50,000 in Prize Money for Talented Youth Trainers 
Youth ages 8-17 are invited to change the life of a wild horse.

Georgetown, Texas, November 1, 2012 – America’s wild horses are protected today because of a campaign by Wild Horse Annie and thousands of American school children that raised awareness of their plight. The Mustang Heritage Foundation is inviting youth between the ages of 8-17 to change the life of a wild Mustang yearling through adoption and training at Mustang Million. The new training competition will take place at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas, September 16-21.

The youth division is open to horse enthusiasts between the ages of 8-17 as of the entry deadline on July 15. The youth will be competing for $50,000 in prize money. The top 10 youth finalists will be competing for more than $31,000 with the youth champion being awarded $10,000. An additional $3,000 will be distributed to the top 10 exhibitors in each of two age divisions – 8-12 and 13-17 as of time of entry. Also, $2,500 will be distributed to the top-five placing youth in each of three classes. Youth will train and compete with yearling Mustangs. The yearlings are shown in-hand and are not ridden during the competition.

In addition to the youth division, an adult division and 12 specialty classes will be offered for adults at Mustang Million. The winner of the Legends division will drive away in a new 2014 Ram Truck and also receive a $200,000 check. The specialty classes will offer something for everyone – from western to English and the choice of riding or showing in-hand. 

With the larger purse available, the Mustang Million event follows a different format than other Extreme Mustang Makeovers, and Mustangs are adopted prior to the competition. The Mustangs, who are virtually untouched by humans, will be available at eight live adoption events. Adoption auctions will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 26, April 28, May 10 and May 12; Burns, Oregon, on April 27; Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on May 4; Norco, California, on May 5; and Elm Creek, Nebraska, on May 11. An adult, 18 years old or older, must adopt the yearling for the youth to show.
The trainers have to gain the Mustangs’ trust before they can make the first steps toward preparing for competition. The youth and yearlings will compete in three preliminary classes – a handling and conditioning class, a pattern class and a trail class. The top-10 from the preliminary classes will compete in a clean slate finals which will consist of a compulsories class and a freestyle. for the latest Mustang Million information.

With more than 40,000 American Mustangs waiting to be adopted in BLM facilities, the Mustang Heritage Foundation is stepping up its efforts to help these American legends find adoptive homes. The Mustang Heritage Foundation’s Extreme Mustang Makeover events continue to showcase the talents of the American Mustang. 

Since the first Extreme Mustang Makeover event was held in 2007, the Mustang Heritage Foundation has facilitated the adoptions of more than 3,500 gentled American Mustangs. In 2012, the Foundation in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management will continue to increase its efforts to raise awareness of adoptions of America’s Mustangs. Visit for more information about the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s adoption programs.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Snakes Linked to Spread of Equine Encephalitis Virus - Full Article

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc • Oct 27, 2012 • Article #29933

A horse, mosquito, and snake walked into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "Is this some kind of joke?" Turns out, the bartender knows those three animals shouldn't be fraternizing because he read a recent article by Thomas Unnasch, PhD, proving snakes can harbor Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) and could play an important role in transmitting this deadly virus.

Like the West Nile virus, mosquitoes become infected with EEEV after a blood meal from an infected bird. If that mosquito then feeds off a horse, the EEEV can be transmitted to the horse.

"Certain areas in the northeastern United States are 'hot spots' for EEEV," explained Unnasch, a researcher from the Global Health Infectious Disease Research Program, Department of Global Health at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. "Because there are no mosquitoes in those areas of the U.S. in the winter and few birds, it wasn't obvious how the virus over-wintered in those areas."

He added, "Previous research found that certain mosquito species feed off of reptiles as well as birds and horses, suggesting that hibernating snakes infected with the EEEV via mosquitoes could explain how the virus survives the winter..."

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Backcountry and Endurance Horse Characteristics - Full Article

Back Country Horsemen of America - 10/2012
by Mike Kinsey, Lori Childress, Maria Bergeng

As Elin Gränsgärd recovered from wounds incurred during a vicious dog attack, she contacted us for assistance dealing with the trauma to her horses, and her riding associates. We were moved to help after reading Swedish national news articles detailing the attack. This attack by two large aggressive malamute dogs on the horses on a training ride, resulted in Elin being personally savaged by those dogs to the point of unconsciousness, and near death. After Elin recovered from the vicious wounds, we traveled to Sweden to work with Elin's horses that had been terrorized in addition to other riders and their horses.

Lori Childress, Belton, South Carolina, and Maria Bergeng, Nesna Norway, (Start 'em Right Senior Interns ) joined me north of Stockholm to conduct the diagnostics, evaluations and some training for a number of endurance horses.
For more info about psychological behavioral aspects, visit us at
Reflecting on our recent trip to Sweden, we considered how endurance horse characteristics have parallels to the characteristics of a well rounded back country trail horse. We were in Sweden to conduct a nine day equine Behavioral Analysis clinic, and provide instruction for defensive riding.

The horse needs to be in good physical shape to be able to successfully complete miles of riding. Feeding and physically training the horse are important elements in a productive, reliable horse, but we can't forget to consider the horse's mind as well. A horse can be in perfect physical shape, but have behavioral ("attitude") problems which could cause the ride to fail, and put the rider in danger. Consideration for the psychology of a horse can help mitigate that danger...

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Environmental Aspects of Horses on Trails - Full Article

Due to the urbanization of America, the general population has lost its contact
with and innate understanding of most animals, including livestock. The horse, in
particular, is a unique animal. Because it is large and seldom encountered,
people assume that it is no different than other species of large animals. This
paper is meant to help people understand horses and their interactions with the
environment when they encounter equines on trails.

Every trail user potentially causes some impact to the environment by their use.
For lightweight low-impact users, the effects are usually minimal. Scientific
studies indicate that the horse may be more benign to wildlife than hikers, nature
studiers and photographers. There are no studies that significantly implicate trail
use by horses with spreading weeds. Natural erosive forces are likely to be the
major alteration factors in trail erosion. Horses on trails are not detrimental to
water quality according to the latest studies by NAHMS, University of Colorado
and UC Davis-Tulare.

Equestrian Use of Trails is “Passive” Recreation

Every trail user potentially causes some impact to the environment by his/her
use. Compared to motorized usage, hikers, bikers and horses have been
variously described as passive, light-weight, and/or low-impact trail users. The
effects of passive use on trails are usually minimal. In virtually every mixed use
trail reference within the State of California and the nation, the horse has been
defined as a passive, low impact or light weight user, even in the most sensitive
environments: Natural Preserves...

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Simple Method of Conditioning the Endurance Horse

Perseveranceendurancehorses - Full Article

Francois & Laura Seegers, Perseverance Arabian and Endurance Horses
17 OCTOBER 2012

We are frequently asked by people who are interested in taking up endurance, or who have bought a horse from us, how they should prepare their horses for an endurance ride. There are many different ways to condition horses. The good methods have this in common: a slow beginning, a steady build up of distances ridden, and later, gradual increase in training speed. Too fast, too soon, too often, leads inevitably to injury.

We used this simple program ourselves for many years before we began riding our horses without shoes. It’s a straightforward system that we learned more than 20 years back from another experienced endurance rider at a day seminar when we began doing endurance. The principles are much older than modern endurance sport, and don’t change with fashion as they are based on the physiology of the horse. We have taught this method to many riders with good results. It is a method of slowly preparing the novice horse for his first endurance ride, but also for giving the advanced endurance horse a good start after a period off work. There are many more sophisticated training techniques that we won’t discuss in this article. Once a horse has completed this initial program, other techniques can be applied. This simple foundation will only help the other training techniques give better results.

You don’t need to use this program. Endurance has plenty of experts and each one has their own method of getting horses fit. But if you don’t know where to start, you can use this program with confidence, it has been proven. It can prepare a healthy novice horse to complete 80km slowly. (Don’t have any illusions of winning, for that you need a whole lot more time and work, and besides you have a 16 km/h speed limit on novices). It builds a good foundation of fitness, that can be developed from there. Also by using it, albeit in shortened form, on the same horse at the beginning of each season, the horse will only get stronger and tougher.

WARNING: The method is easy to understand, but not easy to apply, especially Phase one. I am referring to impatience. Few people will find the Walking Phase easy, but it is a good lesson in self-control and therefore worth more than gold to the endurance rider. Remember, the method only works if it is correctly applied. Do not skip Phase one.


Conditioning: Working the horse to become strong enough to complete endurance rides without damage.
Hard work/ workout: This involves hard work where you ask the horse to put in a greater effort than he is accustomed to. Typically, 20 minutes after the workout the horse’s pulse will be higher than you are used to. That means you have stressed it.
Recovery day: On these days you allow the horse to recover from the stress. Exercises you can do are twenty minute lunge sessions (ring work) at a steady trot, schooling, a gentle hack or outride, etc.
Rest day: Typically a Sunday. No work at all.
Exercise: The level of work that does not stress the horse. It just maintains the fitness.


The beginning of a Long Slow Distance ride
The time it takes for various body tissues to adapt and condition, are as follows:

Heart and lungs 3 months
Muscles 3-6 months
Tendons and ligaments 6-12 months
Hooves 7 months
Bone 1-3 years

NB! A horse can be got fit enough to go fast in a relatively short period, but will not be conditioned to withstand injury. Only after 3 seasons of endurance (provided he had no serious tendon/ligament injuries) will he be thoroughly conditioned to be ridden hard and competitively.

Read more here:

Feeding Fallacies - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 8, 2001

One hundred years ago most people would not have dreamed that horses would be drinking electrolyte-tinged water, devouring rations spiked with beet pulp, corn oil, and animal fat, or scarfing down sundry supplements. For most horses, even the ones that earned their keep by plowing the family fields, transporting the town physician from house to house, or carrying the leisure class from one societal function to the next, a steady diet of hay or pasture and perhaps some oats or corn kept them in adequate body condition. With the advent of the automobile and the transition of the horse from the ranks of necessity to the ranks of recreation, horses were asked to perform more athletic endeavors. The need to jump higher, gallop faster, and trot further became paramount to equestrians, and research in equine nutrition escalated as the level of competitiveness rose. As research refined nutrient requirements, scientists sought ways to efficiently deliver maximal nutrients. In recent years, researchers have turned to new feedstuffs in an effort to find magic fuels. Despite continued efforts, there is reliance upon the time-honored feeding methods of years ago.

Whether horsemen are feeding long-adored or newfangled feedstuffs, lore surrounds some of the offerings. Unraveling the mysteries and fallacies of common feed ingredients is not as difficult as one may believe.

Oats: Oats are a favorite feed among horses and horsemen alike. In preference tests, horses consistently choose oats over many other feeds, including cracked or whole corn, alfalfa hay, wheat, barley, rye, and soybean meal. Oats are used extensively in the creation of commercially prepared feeds, with some containing over 30% oats. Much of their popularity as a feed for horses may be due to habit as much as tradition. Ask any non-horseman what horses eat and invariably oats and hay, and maybe grass, will come up. Peace of mind may also induce owners to feed oats as they are the safest of all cereal grains for horses, being relatively high in fiber and low in digestible energy...

Read more here:

Forage Alternatives - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 27, 2007

Hay is hard to find in some areas. Because of a scarcity of hay in many regions, can you just skip feeding hay this winter and make up the deficit by doubling your horse's grain ration? The answer is an emphatic NO.

Hay, or some other source of fiber, is absolutely necessary to the health and function of the horse's digestive tract. Overconsumption of grain is characteristically followed by colic, gastric ulcers, or laminitis, so this is not an option to consider. Aim for an average of 1.5% of the horse's weigh in hay or equivalent forage each day (approximately 15 pounds of hay for a 1000-pound horse, or 7 kg for a 450-kg horse), adjusting up or down depending on the horse's age, use, and metabolism.

Why is fiber so important in the equine diet?

Consumption of grass, hay, and other forage fulfills both physical and psychological needs. Horses have a strong desire to chew, and also to have the full-gut feeling that comes from eating a lot of fiber. Deprived of adequate forage, horses tend to chew on trees, fences, stalls, and anything else that is available. A steady supply of forage helps to maintain the optimum types and numbers of microorganisms in the hindgut. These bacteria and other organisms transform fiber into energy the horse can use for growth or performance. The proper balance of beneficial bacteria prevents an overgrowth of harmful organisms that may upset digestion. As well as aiding the passage of food through the digestive tract, adequate fiber provides bulk and weight in the intestines. This helps to keep them from twisting and looping around each other, possibly leading to tissue damage and colic.

Is there a particular need for forage during cold weather?

A near-constant supply of forage is an important factor in keeping horses warm in the winter. The vast fermentation vat of the horse's hindgut steadily produces heat that can't be supplied by an all-grain diet...

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Only two States "opt out" of Recreational Trails Program Funding

By Stuart Macdonald, American Trails magazine and website editor

We would like to thank every one who helped in the national effort to ensure that State Governors do not opt out of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). It appears that only Florida and Kansas have opted out. MAP-21, the new transportation funding bill, allows state governors to opt out of the Recreational Trails Program they notify the U.S. Secretary of Transportation of their decision no later than 30 days before the funds are apportioned (which was September 1, 2012).

Both are a surprise to trail advocates. Florida has had a large and highly successful State Trails Program for many years, and among the top in state-funded rail trails. Florida also has seven regional bike/ped coordinators involved with trails as well as roads, sidewalks, and safety programs. Kansas trail advocates expressed confidence that their state would continue the RTP funding, right up to the official announcement.
Several other states narrowly avoided losing RTP funds. New Mexico, a State with a large unspent balance of RTP funds, Alabama, a State with an increasingly effective trails program and widespread local interest in community trails, narrowly avoided the opt out which was supported by the State's department of transportation. New Mexico reversed its official stance at the last minute, and decided not to opt out. Nebraska and Iowa DOTs were reportedly seeking to opt out, but decided not to, apparently due to well-publicized public support for the trails funding.

As part of the Coalition for Recreational Trails, American Trails and other groups worked to raise the potential problem of States being allowed to opt out of RTP. As one result, there would be no funding for State trails program operation in addition to losing the grant funds. While funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities is eligible under the new Transportation Alternatives category, nonprofits and volunteer groups would lose eligibility for funding.

During August 2012, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) took the lead in developing a joint letter for each of the 50 Governors. Almost 800 organizations have signed on to the letters that were sent. A campaign was also mounted following that effort to encourage organizations and grassroots supporters to make their voices heard by contacting their Governor directly.

It is important to note that the widespread, visible and continuous support that the RTP received prior to enactment of the legislation that reauthorized RTP last month was almost exclusively focused on the U.S. Congress. Now efforts have shifted to the States and local governments: See our recent Blog: Trail politics: it’s all local...

For more information on the campaign to ask State governors to support RTP funding: Catherine Ahern (202) 682-9530 - Fax (202) 682-9529 -


Kenya: An Unlikely Farrier - Full Article

October 15 2012

Besides my penchant for big gray horses and veterinary science, I’ve developed a “thing” for other activities and causes along my life’s journey. One of them is for the people of Kenya, developed over aid- and missions-focused trips to Kenya in 2009 and 2011.

So imagine my excitement when I heard a story last week that combined equids and my bend toward humanitarian work in Kenya.

First, some background: Kenya’s equine industry is a far cry from that of the United States. Sure, when I’m visiting rural Kenya I see a lot of equids--maybe even as many as I see when I’m driving down the roads of Lexington, Ky. However, rather than manicured pastures studded with grazing million-dollar yearlings, in Kenya I see scores of working donkeys scattered by the road, tethered by pasterns (a common and accepted way of restraint there) and the occasional ratty-looking riding horse.

Due to donkeys’ utilitarian existence in many of the areas I have visited, I’ve never crossed paths with a horse-crazy person, an avid rider (though I saw some nice-looking show hunters in a wealthier part of Nairobi), or even an individual who’s focused on the welfare of these equids. The majority of Kenyans regard their donkeys as a crucial means to livelihood: transporting food (crops such as potatoes and corn), wood, and salable goods to market and, sometimes, even more importantly, life-sustaining water. Their attachment to their donkeys generally is not an emotional one.

Responsible care for donkeys is critical, otherwise many people aren’t able to provide basic needs for their family. Here’s where my passions collide: equids and helping Kenyans steeped in poverty. And here’s where Fiona Too Chelagat comes in. She is a spunky, ambitious 18-year-old who’s breaking barriers in her country—both in the equine welfare realm and in career expectations for women. This recent secondary-school graduate (Kenya’s equivalent to high school) is a farrier working in Kericho, which is in southwest Kenya, in the highlands above the Great Rift Valley...

Read more here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Conservative Approach for Healing Horses - Full Article

by: Maureen Blaney Flietner
August 01 2012, Article # 20408

Many veterinarians recommend R&R and controlled exercise to heal tendon and ligament injuries

Despite the numerous newfangled tricks and treatments available, time and R&R remain essential for helping a horse recover from tendon or ligament injury. That can be good or bad news, depending on owner expectations for the horse's performance.

Both tendons and ligaments are soft tissues. They sustain injury via similar forces, respond to damage in a similar fashion, and heal at almost the same rates. That typically amounts to eight months.

But why so long? The body's healing system is complex, explains Duncan F. Peters, DVM, MS, director of the Sport Horse Division at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, in Lexington, Ky. While newer treatments might provide functional improvement in the healing process, they do not speed up the process itself, he notes. "The time factor is still necessary, and R&R is part of the process."

Root Causes

Tendon and ligament injuries arise from a variety of sources, such as conformational faults, fatigue, and lameness, that can lead to overload. Exercise-related tendon and ligament injuries might occur:

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Equine West Nile Virus: An International Perspective - Full Article

by: Erica Larson, News Editor
October 03 2012, Article # 20712

Most American owners are aware of the increased number of West Nile virus (WNV) cases confirmed in the U.S. horse population this year. What they might not know is how the virus affects horses in other countries.

Australia and New Zealand

According to C.J. (Kate) Savage, BVSc (Hons), MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, WEVA Oceanic delegate, a similar virus--Kunjin--is endemic in parts of Australia.

"(Kunjin) is antigenically and genetically similar to WNV and was reclassified as a subtype of WNV in 1999 (WNV/Kunjin)," she said.

Parts of Australia suffered a large equine WNV/Kunjin outbreak in 2011, she said, after which Frost et al. identified a new WNV strain as the cause.

"Results showed that most of the cases were caused by a new strain of WNV, which has been termed WNV(NSW2011)," Savage explained. "This is most closely related to WNV/Kunjin. However, the new strain appears to invade nervous tissue to a greater degree than the original Kunjin virus."

Neighbor New Zealand (NZ) remains WNV-free to date; however, risk of the disease spreading to the island nation is a concern...

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Link between saddle slip and lameness found - Full Article

By on Oct 04, 2012 in Featured, Lameness, News

Research has shown a significant link between hind-limb lameness and saddle slip.

It has revealed consistent saddle slip in some horses with hind limb lameness, even when the lameness is fairly subtle and difficult to detect.

Saddle slip in sport horses is a well-recognised problem that can occur for several reasons, including asymmetry in the shape of the horse’s back, riders sitting crookedly, and ill-fitting saddles.

The head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Centre for Equine Studies at the Animal Health Trust in Britain, Sue Dyson, had also observed that saddle slip may occur because of hind limb lameness.

She set out in her study to find out more about the inter-relationships between the horse, saddle and rider and to document the frequency of occurrence of saddle slip in horses with hind-limb lameness compared with other horses...

Read more here:

A Guide to Complete Horse Feeds - Full Article

by: Juliet M. Getty, PhD
July 01 2012, Article # 20398

Choosing a ready-made feed can be daunting, but this rundown will get you started on the right path to proper nutrition

Feeding time! Open a bag of ready-made feed and you're set, right? But wait--there's a staggering variety of offerings on the feed store's shelves, and it's important that you choose the correct one for your particular horse.

Manufacturers fortify these feeds with vitamins and minerals in a "complete" blend designed to provide all the nutrients a horse needs (when fed the recommended amount) without additional supplementation. Hay and/or pasture grass should make up the bulk of your horse's diet (he requires 1.5 to 2.5% of his body weight in forage per day), so most complete feeds are meant to be fed in addition to adequate forage. While many horses (particularly overweight or sedentary animals) simply need hay/pasture, water, salt, and a vitamin/mineral supplement to meet their nutritional requirements, the working or underweight horse, for instance, will benefit from a commercially fortified feed.

The array of complete feeds includes some that are cereal grain-based and others that are low-starch. Some are sweet feeds and still others are pelleted. There are those designed for growth, broodmares, performance--even senior citizens.

When choosing a complete feed appropriate for your horse, look for these basics depending on the fitting category:...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Tackling Tendon and Ligament Injuries - Full Article

by: Karen Briggs
June 03 2011, Article # 18342

The latest therapies for injured tendons and ligaments focus on rebuilding the tissue to its original strength and elasticity.

When it comes to tendon and ligament injuries, there's bad news, good news, and more bad news. The initial bad news, of course, is the diagnosis itself. One thing that hasn't changed in millennia is that any injury to a horse's leg tendons or ligaments--which make possible the lifting, extending, flexing, and shock-absorbing that equine limbs do--is a serious threat to his short-term soundness and his future career prospects.

The good news is that where once the tincture of time was the only potential cure, today's veterinary medicine provides us with a dizzying array of treatment options for strained or shredded ligaments or tendons. Some can facilitate the healing process; others are tremendously promising in terms of minimizing scarring and encouraging the fibers to heal in an alignment indistinguishable from the original tissue--and that means everything in terms of restoring a horse to full soundness.

And the second round of bad news, if you can call it that, is there are so many treatment options now that it might be difficult to decide which path to choose.

Let's start by looking at some of the ways in which tendon or ligament injury can occur and then examine advances in diagnostics and some of those high-tech treatments...

Effect of Adding Soybean Oil to a Horse’s Ration - Full Article

By Dr. Joe Pagan · September 6, 2012

When fat is substituted for carbohydrate isocalorically (calorie for calorie) in a horse’s ration, blood glucose and insulin responses to feeding are reduced. It was unclear, however, whether this response was simply due to reduced glucose in the diet or if fat affects glycemic response in some other manner. An experiment carried out at Kentucky Equine Research (KER) was designed to evaluate whether adding fat to a grain meal would affect glucose and insulin response to feeding when the level of grain intake remained the same.

Nine Thoroughbred horses were used in this two-period switchback design experiment. Five of the horses were in training and were physically fit, and four were untrained...

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I'm Going To Hell

Easycare Blog - Full Article

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Garrett Ford

After over 20 years in the horse business and making protective hoof wear for horses I've finally been told by a horse owner via e-mail that "You're going to hell".

My decline and direction toward the underworld started when I purchased an Arabian race horse named Clunk. I purchased Clunk with the goal of trying to make a urethane form of hoof protection that absorbed concussion, allowed the hoof to flex as nature intended and provide the traction needed to win flat track races. I was pretty naive going into the project and found out very quickly that the flat track industry wasn't going to allow just any Easyboot model and making a product to comply with the rules would not be easy.

I caught a break when Fran Jurga told me to contact Curtis Burns of No Anvil. No Anvil makes a flexible horse shoe called the Burns Polyflex Shoe that has been used with great success on the race tracks around the world. The Burns Polyflex Shoe was used by Shackleford during his 2011 Triple Crown bid. Shackleford placed 4th in the Kentucky Derby, Won the 2011 Preakness Stakes and finished 5th in the Belmont Stakes. The list of horses that have used the Polyflex successfully is impressive and includes greats like Curlin. Curlin is the highest North American money earner with over $10.5 Million earned and many of his most successful years performed in the Burns Polyflex Shoe. Because Curtis' urethane shoe absorbs concussion and allows the hoof to expand and contract it has proven it has a place in the equine world and will continue to used by the best flat track horses for years to come...

Read more here:

Winterizing Your Hoof Care Program

Easycare Blog - Full Article

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Daisy Bicking

We’ve all heard that pulling our horse’s shoes for the winter can be a good idea. But we’ve also heard how many pitfalls there are when we pull them.

Here is a breakdown of how we at Daisy Haven Farm in the Northeastern USA, a fairly wet, humid environment, help our clients who want to pull shoes for the winter.

Some of the challenges to pulling shoes:

Chances are your foot may have minimal height once the shoe is pulled off. Some farriers advocate not trimming anything once the shoe is removed and instead prefer to allow the foot to grow. This has pros and cons.
Your horse may be more sensitive or even considered painful when walking without shoes.
You may have some foot infection to deal with around the white line or nail holes.
If you wait too long the ground may be frozen and make pulling shoes more difficult.
You may have to reduce the amount or kind of work your horse is doing until your feet are stronger barefoot again.

Fortunately we have many resources available to us to help minimize the challenges and set us up for success with this process.

First of all, work as a team with your farrier...

Read more here:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Environmental Effect on Hoof Wall Hydration Studied - Full Article

by: Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM
September 08 2012, Article # 20607

A recent two-part Australian study investigated hoof moisture levels in horses exposed to wet versus dry environments, as well as the the impact of soaking a hoof on moisture absorption.

Brian Hampson, PhD, member of the Australian Brumby Research Unit at the University of Queensland and lead author of the study, relayed, "The moisture content (of the hoof) is controlled by the internal circulation, which is fairly constant in the healthy horse."

Hampson and colleagues collected hoof wall samples from routine feral horse-culling operations in New Zealand and Australia. They measured the hoof wall moisture content in hooves from wet, semi-arid, and arid environments. Moisture content was nearly identical in hooves from all three environments, averaging 29.5%. .

For the second part of the study, the team aimed to evaluate the common practice of soaking a horse's hoof. Using six domestic horses, they placed each horse's right forefoot in a dry rubber boot and left forefoot in a rubber boot filled with water for two hours. Directly after, they trimmed the hoof walls of both forefeet with nippers and removed a small section of hoof wall horn and sole horn with a hoof knife and evaluated the moisture content of both...

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Starch Digestion in Horse Diets - Full Article

by: Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
September 02 2012, Article # 20576

Starch is a highly digestible energy form and can provide energy needed for exercise, growth, metabolism, and other equine life functions. However, when fed improperly, this nonstructural carbohydrate can be detrimental to your horse's health.

Most of the energy contained in grains, such as corn and oats, and a percentage of the energy from forage is starch. During digestion, starch is broken down primarily in the horse's small intestine by an enzyme called amylase. This process efficiently produces glucose, a type of simple sugar essential for fueling some bodily functions.

The amount of starch consumed at one time also affects the amount of starch digested in the small intestine. If starch is not digested in the small intestine (which occurs when large amounts of starches are fed at once), it passes through the digestive tract and is fermented in the large intestine. This fermentation process, while less efficient than digestion in the small intestine, also produces energy to keep the horse's body functioning...

Read more here:

Creepy Crawlies, Part 1: Mighty Mosquitoes - Full Article

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
June 01 2012, Article # 20322

They might be small, but these flying fiends can spread some deadly diseases
The original intent of this article was to relay how malicious and deadly some mosquitoes are, but according to Charles Calisher, PhD, professor of microbiology, immunology, and pathology at Colorado State University, mosquitoes are neither spiteful nor a menace to society. "Mosquitoes are not deadly," he explains. "It is the viruses and microbes they transmit that are deadly."

So although mosquitoes do not willfully harm horses (aside from getting a snack), it is still important for owners to minimize contact between mosquitoes' mouthparts and their horses.

"Mosquitoes transmit some of the deadliest and most debilitating diseases in the world, including malaria, dengue fever, and lymphatic filariasis," says Nicholas Ledesma, a DVM/PhD candidate in the field of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University. "In addition to the human mortality and decreased quality of life they cause, mosquito-borne diseases (arboviruses) such as Eastern equine encephalitis afflict both domestic and wild animal populations."

In this article we will describe how mosquitoes transmit viral infections, identify the most important viral infections horses can acquire from these annoying arthropods, and describe methods for protecting horses from infection through vaccination and control ¬measures.

How Mosquitoes Spread Disease

Many consider mosquitoes to be one of the world’s most annoying creatures. They have six long, spindly legs, scaly wings and bodies, antennae, and the pièce de résistance: long, needlelike mouthparts able to pierce both human and animal skin...

Read more here:

Monday, September 10, 2012

West Nile virus: Still a threat

Learn how you can help prevent it
West Nile virus (WNV) remains a threat to horses. However, with the right vaccine and preventive measures, it’s not too late for horse owners to help protect their horses against this life-threatening disease.
West Nile encephalomyelitis is an inflammation of the central nervous system that is caused by an infection with WNV.It is transmitted by mosquitoes — which feed on infected birds or other animals — to horses, humans and other mammals. So far in 2012, 31 states have reported 157 cases of WNV in horses, with Louisiana and Texas having the most confirmed cases — 26 and 16, respectively.
The number of reported WNV cases fell from 1,069 in 2006 to 146 in 2010, and the decline is said by health experts to reflect both vaccination and naturally acquired immunity.
“It is a good sign that the number of cases has declined over the last decade, however there has been an increasing number of both human and equine cases, especially over the last couple months,” said Tom Lenz, DVM, MS, senior director, equine technical services, Pfizer Animal Health.
Vaccination remains the most effective way to help protect horses against West Nile and other encephalic or mosquito-borne diseases, such as Eastern equine encephalomyelitis and Western equine encephalomyelitis. A trusted vaccine is available to help offer demonstrated protection against WNV and, Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis and tetanus — WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® + EWT — all in a single vaccine. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners guidelines, WNV is considered a core vaccination, along with Eastern equine encephalomyelitis, Western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus and rabies.
In conjunction with vaccination, use good techniques for managing mosquitoes. This includes:
·       Destroying any mosquito breeding habitats by removing all potential sources of stagnant water.
·       Cleaning and emptying any water-holding container, such as water buckets, water troughs and plastic containers, on a weekly basis.
Remember that WNV does not always lead to signs of illness. Horses that do become clinically ill, the virus infects the central nervous system and may cause symptoms such as loss of appetite and depression. Other clinical signs may include fever, weakness or paralysis of hind limbs, impaired vision, ataxia, aimless wandering, walking in circles, hyper-excitability or coma.5 Horse owners should contact a veterinarian immediately if they notice signs or symptoms of WNV infection in their horses, especially if they are exhibiting neurological signs. The case fatality rate for horses exhibiting clinical signs of WNV infection is approximately 33%.
No matter the location, horses can be at risk. By providing proper vaccination and helping to manage mosquito populations, horse owners can do their part to help prevent WNV infections.  
For more information on the WEST NILE-INNOVATOR line of vaccines contact your Pfizer Animal Health representative, visit or call 855-4AH-PFIZER(855-424-7349).
About Pfizer Animal Health
Pfizer Animal Health, a business unit of Pfizer Inc., is a global leader in the discovery, development and manufacture of animal vaccines, medicines, diagnostic products and genetic tests. We work to assure a safe, sustainable global food supply from healthy beef and dairy cattle, swine, poultry, sheep and fish while helping dogs, cats and horses live healthier longer lives.  We strive to be the animal health company that provides full healthcare solutions to veterinarians, livestock producers, and pet owners. To learn more, visit

Oats: A Popular Ingredient in Horse Feeds - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 10, 2012

Because the average oat grain is about 30% hull (fiber), and oats contain sufficient protein, calcium, and phosphorus to meet the requirements of mature horses, oats have traditionally been the predominant grain used by horsemen. Horses digest oats easily in comparison with heavier whole grains like wheat and corn.

Around the middle of the last century, more oats were grown in the U.S. than at present. The decline has been mainly due to poor yields. Genetic modification to improve yields has not been as successful in oats compared to gains in other crops. In spite of poor yields, the quality of oats cannot be denied.

Oat hulls are relatively low in energy and nutritive value. The majority of the protein is found in the groat...

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Friday, September 07, 2012

Fighting White Line Disease - Full Article

by: Christy M. West
April 30 2007, Article # 9253

White line disease sneaks up on you without warning--one day your horse is fine, and the next day the farrier is digging a crater in your horse's foot, dumping what seems like handfuls of soft, crumbly hoof horn on the floor. You might ask, what the heck is white line disease? Why is it such a big deal? Your horse isn't even lame, although you fear he might be soon with that new crater in his foot.

This ugly mess called white line disease might not be a big deal initially, but left untreated it can undermine large amounts of your horse's foot (or feet), resulting in lameness and instability of the coffin bone within the horse's foot. Bill Baker, DVM, of Equine Associates in Hawkinsville, Ga., discussed the disease and its treatment at the recent Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium, held Jan. 25-28 in Louisville, Ky.

"White line disease doesn't seem to occur without some sort of mechanical stress (such as long toes or hoof damage from previous disease or injury)," he began. "The only known certainty (about its cause) is that a breach in the hoof wall has to occur for the disease to occur. (Opportunistic bacteria and/or fungi then invade the defect and begin destroying hoof wall from the inside, starting at the bottom and working their way up.) There is no breed, age, or sex predisposition to this disease. It occurs in anything from Minis to drafts, donkeys, and mules. It may invade one foot or all four feet...

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Be Alert for Early Signs of Fatigue in Endurance Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 29, 2012

A study of fatigue in long-distance endurance horses might offer some helpful insights for trail riders who ride for shorter distances.

In a study conducted by the University of California-Davis, researchers analyzed almost 3,500 records of horses competing in endurance rides. These rides were sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference and all horses were required to have veterinary checks every 10 to 20 miles throughout each race, which ranged in distance from 25 to 100 miles. Horses were eliminated from the competition if they were found to be lame or showed signs of significant fatigue.

For the horses whose records were examined, 19% were eliminated for some reason before completing the race. About 47% of eliminations were because of lameness. The next most common reason for elimination was a metabolic cause such as delayed capillary refill or slow cardiac recovery at a vet check...

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The Best Time to Feed Before Competition

By Joe Pagan, Ph.D.
One of the most common questions asked about feeding the performance horse is when to feed before a competition. Theoretically, feeding should be timed so that all of the nutrients from a meal have been digested, absorbed, and stored before starting exercise, but not so long before exercise that the horse begins to mobilize fuels just to maintain its resting body functions.
It is probably better to exercise horses eight hours after feeding rather than fasting them overnight, since an overnight fast may disrupt digestive function and may lead to gastric ulceration.
To test this hypothesis, Kentucky Equine Research (KER) conducted an exercise experiment. Six trained Thoroughbreds performed a standardized exercise test (SET) at three different times after eating a grain-based meal. The exercise was performed eight hours after eating, three hours after eating, or after an overnight fast. This SET, carried out on the high-speed treadmill, consisted of a two-minute warm-up walk, one-half-mile trot, one-half-mile slow gallop, one-mile fast gallop (25 miles per hour), and a warm-down trot and walk. Heart rate was monitored throughout exercise and blood samples were taken before feeding, hourly until the beginning of the SET, throughout exercise, and 15 and 30 minutes post exercise. Blood was analyzed for glucose, insulin, and lactate.
Heart rate was higher at the slow gallop and during the warm-down trot when the horses were exercised three hours after feeding. Insulin was significantly higher in the three-hour-fed horses at the beginning and throughout exercise. Blood glucose was also higher after the three-hour feeding at the beginning of exercise. During exercise, however, blood glucose dropped in the horses exercised three hours after eating while it increased in the horses fasted overnight or fed eight hours before work. Lactate increased with exercise, but was unaffected by time of feeding.
The large drop in blood glucose experienced by the horses worked three hours after feeding is not desirable. Basically, the horse has three sources of energy to fuel muscle contraction during exercise. It can use fat, either from the diet or from body stores; it can use muscle glycogen; or it can use blood glucose. Fat stores are plentiful and are good sources of energy during slow work. As exercise intensity increases, faster fuel is needed and glucose is oxidized. If this glucose originates from muscle glycogen, stores are fairly plentiful and depletion is unlikely at distances shorter than endurance rides.
Blood glucose is the most limited fuel available to the horse. Blood glucose is maintained primarily from mobilization of liver glycogen and these stores are small compared to the amount of glycogen stored in the muscle. If blood glucose is used extensively by the muscle, then blood glucose will fall and this may lead to central nervous system fatigue since glucose is the primary fuel used by the nervous system.
The horses exercised three hours after feeding experienced a large drop in blood glucose because insulin was elevated at the onset of exercise. This caused an increased uptake of glucose by the working muscle. The horses exercised after an overnight fast or eight hours post feeding began work with resting levels of both glucose and insulin. During exercise, blood glucose actually increased, indicating that the horses were mobilizing liver glycogen at a faster rate than the glucose was being cleared from the blood.
Time of feeding had no effect on lactic acid accumulation during exercise, suggesting that time of feeding only affected how fuels were used for aerobic exercise. Anaerobic energy generation was unaffected. This means that during extremely intense exercise of short duration such as a Thoroughbred race, time of feeding is not nearly as important as when the horse is performing strenuous exercise of longer duration such as the cross-country phase of a three-day event. All of the parameters measured responded nearly the same whether the horses were fed eight hours before work or fasted overnight. It is probably better to exercise horses eight hours after feeding rather than fasting them overnight, since an overnight fast may disrupt digestive function and there is evidence that fasting horses may lead to gastric ulcers.
Kentucky Equine Research is an international equine nutrition, research, and consultation company serving both the horse owner and the feed industry. For more information, visit or visit our online library of nutrition and health articles at

Friday, August 31, 2012

Feeding to Avoid Problems at Endurance Ride Checkpoints - Full Article

By Dr. Peter Huntington and Scott O'Brien · July 5, 2012

Poor scores at the vet gate during an endurance ride can be the first indication of trouble in some cases. Scoring poorly in any of the parameters should cause you to assess the problem and decide if there’s anything you can do to reverse it. This is especially true for multileg rides during which a rider has the opportunity to avoid elimination after the next leg, but it is also important to remember to address these issues even after completion of the ride.

There are a couple of problems that can be rectified nutritionally if noticed early enough. Generally these are the metabolic scores.

For dehydration, revisit your electrolyte supplement strategy. Consult with your veterinarian as to whether oral electrolytes would be of use (dependant on level of dehydration). Try to encourage the horse to eat a wet slurry-type feed or find some wet green forage and get as much in as possible. Feeding some dry hay can stimulate drinking. Try flavored waters. Slow down and allow more time at water stops for the horse to settle before drinking. Let the horse graze briefly near the water to stimulate thirst...

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