Friday, January 27, 2012

Asymetry anyone?

Globalendurance Blog - Full Article & Photos


"Do you know that your martingales are only on one side?"

On many endurance events, observant and well meaning crew, fellow riders and spectators remind the riders of Global Endurance Center of the fact that their running martingales are on one side of the reins.

Indeed, they are!

What are the reasons for this symmetry? Is it for looks or function?

Riding with symmetrical martingales certainly has it's place in the arena. But it does not give us any advantages on the trail, on endurance or conditioning rides.

When flexing and bending a horse, symmetrical martingales only allow a flexing of about 45 degrees on each side. After that angle is reached, the opposing martingale will inhibit any further bending by counteracting and preventing the outside of the neck to stretch any further. Just imagine, if you had a difficult horse, a run away or bolt. It would be very hard to bend or circle the horse enough to gain control.

Quite different is the situation with the one sided or asymmetrical martingales...

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Freeze Branding for Identification - Full Article

by: Les Sellnow
March 01 2008, Article # 8616

"humane form" of permanent identification.
Branding of livestock traces all the way back the to the Middle Ages, when animals were identified by marks burned into their skins with a fiery stick. The practice gained impetus in the New World when Spanish landowners developed large herds of cattle that roamed across Mexico and eventually moved northward into what is now Texas.

Those were the days of open range, when cattle from many owners were intermingled. Branding them with a hot iron was the method of choice for determining ownership. It is a system that is still in vogue today in the West for horses and cattle, and up-to-date brand papers are a must when traveling from state to state, or even from county to county, within a Western state with horses or other livestock.

However, it was learned very early on that there were serious differences involved when branding cattle as compared to branding horses. To put it simply, a cow has a thicker, tougher hide than a horse. Thus, a hot brand might be held in place for up to 10 seconds to leave a lasting scar on a cow or steer. However, if the same were done to a horse, the brand very well might burn into the muscle. With horses, a hot brand is applied for only a second or more in order to do leave a lasting mark, but not impart damage to deeper tissues and muscles....

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Microchipping vs. Branding Horses: Which is Less Stressful? - Full Article

by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
October 25 2011, Article # 19025

Identifying horses is a necessary part of horse ownership. But whether we should mark horses with a microchip implant or a hot iron brand has become a subject of "heated" debate.

Austrian researcher Christine Aurich, DVM, PhD, professor at the Graf Lehndorff Institute at the University of Veterinary Sciences in Vienna, and a research team set out to find a resolution to this issue. They studied the amount of stress brought on by iron branding and microchip implantation in 14 young foals between 1 and 5 months old-seven were branded and seven were microchipped--and compared the results.

By measuring the foals' heart rates, physical reactions, salivary levels of cortisol (the "stress" hormone), and skin temperatures, Aurich's team found no significant difference in stress levels between the horses that received an iron brand on the thigh or a microchip injected into the neck.

"We were a little bit surprised that branding did not result in a stronger stress reaction," Aurich said. "There was a tendency towards a higher cortisol release in the foals after branding, but it did not reach statistical significance..."

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Horses, Mountain Lions, and Learning to Shake it Off - Full Article

by Amy Herdy

My horse and I share one deep-rooted fear: mountain lions.

And since we live in a part of Colorado that is prime mountain lion territory, it’s a realistic angst. A mountain lion once snatched a young boy from his father’s hand in an area I’ve often hiked (miraculously, the father and his older son chased down the mountain lion, throwing rocks and sticks, and were able to save the boy, and he’s fine today), and mountain lions have been seen at the edge of our horses’ pasture and near trails where I run.

Once as I walked out to her pasture to catch my mare, I spotted a tall, wheat-colored tail moving like a furry periscope in some distant weeds at just about the same time she did.
I’ve never seen my horse bolt so fast. I don’t know who was more startled. Luckily, it turned out to be the neighbor’s really hefty domestic cat.

And then there was the memorable time we were trail riding in an area marked by signs that said, “You are in mountain lion territory” –not that I needed reminding. It’s hard to enjoy the scenery when you’re also keeping a watchful eye for something that considers you lunch...

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Cold Weather Colic - Full Article

by: Scott Leibsle, DVM
January 01 2012, Article # 19407

Well here we are again ... winter! The average horse owner is likely well-acquainted with his or her horse's colic risk regardless of the season, but with cold weather come complicating factors that all owners should prepare for.

The No. 1 cause of colic during winter is a lack of fresh, unfrozen water. Horses must drink 10-12 gallons of fresh water every day and can dehydrate quickly if water is unavailable. Horses that aren't getting enough water are at a greater risk for conditions such as simple indigestion or impaction. A frozen water trough is the usual dehydration culprit, but occasionally horses choose to not drink water simply because it is so cold. Heaters for your troughs and buckets are therefore an absolute "must" to ensure continual access to water in the winter. Keep in mind that electrolyte supplements are not a suitable water substitute and do not mitigate the risk of dehydration. There is nothing wrong with adding (appropriate amounts of) electrolytes to your horse's diet, but offer them in a separate container, leaving the main water supply clean and fresh. Horses might attempt to eat snow to compensate for some fluid loss, but snow is largely composed of air and will not provide the volume of water necessary to hydrate a 1,000-pound animal.

The treatment for a case of dehydration is fairly obvious: fluid replacement...

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Friday, January 13, 2012

One-Sided Runny Nose: Is Sinusitis to Blame? - Full Article

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
December 28 2011, Article # 19350

The common cold comes and goes with the seasons, and as winter approaches many horse owners are stuffing their barn coat pockets full of tissues to combat the perpetual runny nose that accompanies the ailment. Not unlike us, although not necessarily more commonly in the winter months, our horses can also come down with ailments that cause runny noses--typically with drainage from both nostrils. The causes of runny noses in horses are plentiful, but if a horse has a nasal discharge coming down only one nostril, it most likely due to some form of sinus disease.

"Inflammation of the sinus, called sinusitis, is by far the most common cause for a unilateral (one-sided) nasal discharge in horses," explained Paddy Dixon, MVB, PhD, MRCVS, professor of equine surgery in the University of Edinburgh's Division of Veterinary Clinical Sciences during his presentations at the 12th Congress of The World Equine Veterinary Association, held Nov. 2-6 in Hyderabad, India.

According to Dixon, some of the potential causes for the unilateral, white to green, thick mucus discharging from one or more of the seven paired sinuses in a horse include:

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Importance of Dietary Protein in Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 15, 2011

Protein is important for rebuilding damaged and growing tissues, transporting nutrients in the blood, making blood-clotting factors, and a host of other functions. Growing horses and broodmares usually require more protein in the diet than is provided by forage. Young, growing horses need additional protein to produce muscle and bone, whereas broodmares need it either to nourish the growing fetus or to produce protein-rich milk during lactation. Lucerne (alfalfa), soybean meal, and canola meal are natural sources of quality protein because they contain the necessary amounts of essential amino acids (especially lysine and methionine) and are often included in fortified feeds for horses for that reason. Synthetic sources of lysine and methionine are also available...

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Does Equine Hoof Shape Have an Effect on Soundness? - Full Article

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
January 10 2012, Article # 19421

Could it be? A potential predisposing factor for lameness that can be seen with our very eyes? According to one British researcher, this dream could be a reality. A recent study revealed that certain hoof shapes and characteristics can be associated with chronic lameness, while others point to a sound horse.

"Despite being widely accepted that abnormal foot conformation may be associated with lameness, there is a paucity of evidence-based information concerning foot size and shape and lameness; the purpose of this study was to photographically document the foot shape and external hoof characteristics of lame and nonlame horses," said Sue Dyson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England. Dyson presented her study at the 12th Congress of The World Equine Veterinary Association, held Nov. 2-6, 2011, in Hyderabad, India.

Researchers photographed, analyzed, and compared the front feet of 25 nonlame horses in full work to 427 feet from 300 lame horses. Causes for lameness were variable and included injury to the collateral ligament of the coffin joint, injuries of the deep digital flexor tendon, osteoarthritis, and foot pain of undiagnosed cause, among others...

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Endurance Etiquette on the Trail

Endurance Ride Stuff Blog - Full Article

by Karen Chaton

From Wikipedia: Etiquette is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.

Trail etiquette during an endurance ride can be extremely important. It’s a lot like common sense. There’s also a lot to be said for being polite and courteous to your fellow rider. I think it’s important to have some patience and some willingness to tolerate other riders that may be clueless on the trail. I’ve seen many heated exchanges over the years with riders yelling at one another over some sort of etiquette infraction. That seldom does any good and often results in hard feelings.

Here is an article on the topic that Jackie Bumgardner wrote for Endurance News a while back. It covers a wide range of etiquette – everything from camping to riding and vet checks.

I think that a lot of times, riders don’t even realize that they are doing something on the trail that is annoying to those around them. This is why I try to ride my own ride while trying to have as little impact on anybody else.

If you ride a horse that kicks, put a red ribbon in the tail. Yellow for stallions, and green for a green or new horse. Kicking and unpredictable horses should be kept away from groups of horses...

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Economics of Round Bale Feeders Examined - Full Article

by: Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM
December 29 2011, Article # 19353

Because of their affordability and convenience round bales of hay are a popular feeding choice for horses, but controlling horses' hay intake is difficult, and feeding round bales can result in excessive hay waste. Several round-bale feeders are available for horses, but how well do they prevent hay waste? And are they cost-effective?

A group of researchers from the University of Minnesota recently put nine different round-bale feeder designs to the test.

"The objectives of this study were to determine hay waste, hay intake, and economics of nine round-bale feeder designs and a no-feeder control when used in feeding horses," said Krishona Martinson, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science and lead author of the study.

Using 25 mature, nonworking Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, the researchers rotated five groups of five horses among outdoor paddocks, each containing one of the nine feeder designs or the no-feeder control.

Feeders used were:

Cinch Net ($147; Cinch Chix LLC);
The cone ($1,195; Weldy Enterprises);
Covered Cradle ($3,200; SM Iron Inc.);
Hayhut ($650; Hayhuts LLS);
Hay Sleigh ($425; Smith Iron Works);
The ring ($300; R & C Livestock);
Tombstone ($250; Dura-Built);
Tombstone Saver ($650; HiQual); and
Waste Less ($1,450; JSI Innovations LLC).

Researchers collected, dried, and weighed excess hay surrounding the feeders (or not attached to the core bale in the no-feeder control) daily...

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