Thursday, March 22, 2012

Feeding Protein to Performance Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · January 9, 2012

Hard-working horses need dietary protein to increase muscle mass, maintain muscle fibers, and repair tissue damage caused by the demands of strenuous exercise.

A research project conducted in Bristol, Virginia, investigated the impact of time of feeding protein prior to exercise. Researchers concluded that when protein-rich feeds are offered an hour before exercise, the amino acid levels in the blood will be adequate to support muscle protein synthesis in the important time span of two to three hours post-exercise.

It’s tempting to think that if a little protein is good, more must be better, but this is not the case for horse feeds...

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why You Should Consider a Gaited Horse for Trail Riding - Full Article

So you’re looking for a new horse for trail riding…but you’re only considering your tried-and-true walk, trot and canter candidates?

Maybe you should broaden your horizons!

If you don’t know anything about naturally gaited horses, well, have we got the primer for you.
It’s a series of questions based on myths and misunderstandings about gaited horses, posed by real horse people.

Sort of like myth busters–the horse version. Who knows, maybe after reading it, you’ll start looking for something gaited as your next trail-riding partner.

10 Gaited-Horse Myths: Busted!
By Jessica Jahiel PhD

Myths and misunderstandings about smooth-gaited horses abound. Here, we’ll bust 10 common myths, taken from real questions posed by horse owners from around the country. We’ll explain why each assumption is wrong – and why you should consider a gaited horse for trail riding.

Myth #1: Smooth gaits are artificial.

“The walk, the trot, and the canter are normal gaits for normal horses. Gaited horses bother me, because their smooth gaits are manmade and artificial. I’m into natural horsemanship, and I want my horse to enjoy our trail rides. I could never ride a horse that was forced to perform an artificial gait!”

Busted! Relax. You can safely enjoy gaited horses, natural horsemanship, and trail riding – these three things go together very well. The show ring and the trail are two very different places. Good trail gaits aren’t created by special tack or riding techniques; they’re bred into the horses and brought out by sensible, sympathetic training.

Myth #2: Gaited horses are high-headed nutcases...

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Want to Get Your Horse in Shape? Try Parelli Fluidity-Hill Therapy blogs - Full Article

Does your horse have a scrawny neck? A hollowed-out back? Does he move with short, choppy strides?

Pat Parelli and his wife, Linda Parelli, offer what they call a Fluidity Program for horses. It involves you, your horse, a long line and a small hill. In six weeks, they say, your horse will be transformed into a more muscular creature with better posture. Here’s how to do it.

Parelli Fluidity—Hill Therapy
by Linda Parelli

Studying the posture, musculature and movement of horses is an important component of our Fluidity Program. Horses that have been ridden often look very different from horses that have never been ridden, and unfortunately they usually don’t look better!

In ridden horses, here are some of the common issues:

• “Down-hill” (hips are higher than the withers)
• Small or flat withers (mutton-withered)
• Sway, hollow or dipped back
• Strung-out hind legs
• Rotated scapula
• Rotated sacrum (“jumper’s bump”)
• Short neck / long back
• Ewe neck
• High tail set (instead of low and sloping)

• Poor top line, muscle wastage on crest, back and rump
• Irregular muscling, some are under-developed and some are overdeveloped
• Thin withers
• Overdeveloped underline (under neck, lower chest, forearms, gaskins, and top of hip)
• Dropped belly
• Thin neck

• Short, choppy strides
• Heavy on forehand
• Hind legs weak, “disengaged”, can’t come under the body, are strung out behind
• Inability to ‘collect’ or engage
• Stiff in the body or neck
• Stiff in the legs, doesn’t bend joints well
• Doesn’t use whole body
• Pulls itself along with the forelegs vs pushing with hind legs

As you can imagine, on-going issues like this can lead to a horse breaking down in the long term, usually in the areas they over use to compensate for not sharing the load through the entire body such as the stifle, lower back, suspensories, hocks, and not to mention the knee joints from landing heavily on the forehand...

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Balancing the Microbes in the Horse's Digestive Tract - Full Article

By Dr. Kathleen Crandell · January 3, 2012

The importance of maintaining a balanced microbial population in the equine digestive tract is often underscored in popular-press articles and primers on horse nutrition, but what does “balanced” mean? What types of microbes are living in the digestive tract? How many are there, and what is their purpose? What can be done to keep them balanced?

delicate balance exists among the different types of microbes that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. Humans cannot live on forage because we lack these microbes that break down forage into usable bits. The products of forage digestion are volatile fatty acids, which horses use for energy. Humans have some microbes that should stay in balance as well, although they pale in number and function compared to those of herbivores. We are being inundated with products that address that function in humans, and nutritionists emphasize the importance of that balance in the human digestive tract in overall health and well-being. Like humans, horses cannot perform their best if digestive microbes are out of balance...

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Bute and Banamine: Avoid Using Together (AAEP 2011) - Full Article

by: Nancy S. Loving, DVM
March 13 2012, Article # 19726

A common approach to lameness in the equine athlete is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) treatments, such as phenylbutazone (PBZ, Bute) or flunixin meglumine (FM, Banamine) alone or sometimes in combination. At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Jonathan Foreman, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, of the University of Illinois, discussed the effect of these medications on lameness when used at a normal recommended dose with these strategies and whether combining the drugs confers any special effects.

Reversible lameness was induced in eight Thoroughbred horses by using an adjustable heart bar shoe that could be tightened with a screw to elicit severe non-weight-bearing lameness. After an hour of the shoe application, Foreman and his colleagues treated the horses with one or both drugs: PBZ at 4.4 mg/kg, FM at 1.1 mg/kg, or PBZ + FM at these same dosages. In line with findings from previous studies, the team found that peak effect of these drugs occurred four hours following administration.

The team measured heart rates as an indicator of pain since, as explained by Foreman, heart rate is a primary variable that is elevated in lame horses following exercise workouts...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nursing a horse through AHS | African Horse Sickness

Perseveranceendurancehorses Blog


African Horse Sickness is a disease endemic to certain parts of Africa. It is thought to be a Zebra virus carried by midges. It can be a a serious disease with high mortality, but many horses do recover. There is a vaccine but its effectiveness is hotly debated. Standard veterinary treatment, which is aimed at lowering fever with anti-inflammatories such as bute and treating potential secondary infection with antibiotics, does not produce good results generally. Consequently, horse owners have been looking at other ways of dealing with it.

Supportive nursing is vital as the horses get extremely ill. This is one horse that we dealt with successfully in the Autumn of 2011, here at Perseverance in the Karoo. In the interest of sharing information, this is what we did...

Fire’s treatment for AHS, May 2011

Fire is a purebred Arabian broodmare, a former endurance horse, vaccinated for AHS by vets and the vaccinations recorded in her passport over many years. She had a foal at foot and was two months in foal again.

During this outbreak, the Perseverance broodmares in the veld were checked daily. Fire presented with fever in early May. She was treated with an oral dose of MMS. Often this is sufficient to stop a mild case from progressing. There were a few other mares with fever for whom this was sufficient. In her case it was not.

The next day she was given IV 6 ml MMS (mixed with 30 ml 10% strength citric acid solution, allowed to activate and further diluted with Ringer’s lactate) and left in veld with her herd. Next day she was no better, she would become fatigued after walking a short distance. We brought the horse box to her and transported her and her foal back to the farmyard. The swelling over her eyes was hard to the touch.

We restrained her and the foal in a small pen to prevent further fatigue. We blanketed her when the weather cooled. Her lungs continued to fill and she became very short of breath. She started lying down. I feared she would suffocate if it became any worse. I obtained a single dose of Salix from the vet and gave that. She found some relief and urinated. Body swelling and body pain worsened (as we would expect from the Salix), but I felt this was worth the extra time gained in this particular case, the lesser of two evils. We then moved her to a stable under an infrared lamp, and this is what she was given during the first, intensive, nursing period...

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Horse Owners Assess Tornado Damage, Losses - Full Article

by: Pat Raia
March 05 2012, Article # 19691

Horse owners in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee are assessing damage and calculating losses after a series of early spring tornadoes swept though several counties in those states last week.

According to the National Weather Service, 42 confirmed tornadoes tore through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio on March 2. The storms packed winds as high as 180 mph, knocking out utilities and flattening homes and barns. All told, the confirmed human death toll reached 39, according to the agency. The number of horses lost or injured as a result of the storms is still uncertain.

"We know there are horses missing and roaming the area, but we just don't know much else," said Jim Noel, president of the Indiana Horse Council.

Kentucky was among the hardest hit by the twisters. Farm operators William and Rhonda McCardle lost 15 of the Quarter Horses residing in a barn on their Crittendon, Ky., property when the tornado struck, demolishing the structure. Two horses remain missing. Two surviving horses, a yearling and a 2-week-old foal, were later discovered alive in the barn rubble. Those animals were placed under care at a veterinary hospital in Lexington, Ky., said Sue Haynes, friend of the McCardle family. On March 5 the yearling died as a result of his injuries, Haynes said.

Meanwhile, Kelly Carr, owner of the Saddle Up Arena equine facility in Madison, Ind., said one member of her family lost three of five horses to the storm. Other animals were injured, she said.

"Some had large wounds from flying debris and cuts from hail," she said. "We could see homes and barns just flattened..."

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Take Steps Now to Prevent West Nile Virus in Horses

by: Edited Press Release
March 06 2012, Article # 19695

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary George Greig has urged horse owners to consult their veterinarians about options for West Nile virus (WNV) prevention before mosquito season begins.

"From recreational trail riders and trained competitors to top-notch breeding and racing, Pennsylvania's equine industry represents an important segment of our state's leading economic driver - agriculture," said Greig. "Animal health is a top industry priority, and I encourage horse owners to speak to their veterinarians about protecting their animals against encephalitic diseases like West Nile Virus."

Equine encephalitic diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes and cause inflammation of the brain. Mosquitoes become more active with warm weather in early spring.

First confirmed in the United States' horse population in 1999, WNV infection is responsible for equine clinical signs including flulike signs, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed; fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculations (twitching); hyperesthesia, or hypersensitivity to touch and sound; changes in mentation (mentality), when horses look like they are daydreaming or "just not with it"; occasional somnolence (drowsiness); propulsive walking (driving or pushing forward, often without control); and "spinal" signs, including asymmetrical weakness. Some horses show asymmetrical or symmetrical ataxia (incoordination on one or both sides, respectively). Equine mortality rate can be as high as 30-40%. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported 83 cases of WNV in U.S. horses in 2011.

Vaccines are available to help prevent WNV and other equine encephalitic diseases such as Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis. Vaccines are usually administered in February or March prior to mosquito season. Horse owners should talk with their veterinarians to determine the best time to start the vaccination process.

Greig cautioned that vaccination of horses is not a guarantee of protection against infection. The best way to prevent infection of WNV is to reduce the risk of exposure to mosquitoes by eliminating mosquito breeding sites.

Understanding Equine Medications is your A-Z guide to learning more about generic and brand-name pharmaceuticals, possible side effects and precautions, and proper dosage.

He suggested several steps horse owners can take to reduce horses' mosquito exposure:

Reduce the number of birds in and around the stable area. Eliminate roosting areas in the rafters of the stable. Certain species of wild birds are the main reservoir for the virus.
Check the property for dead birds, especially crows. Any suspicious birds should be reported online to or by calling the Department of Environmental Protection at 717-346-8238 (residents of other states should report suspicious dead birds to animal health authorities in their area) . Use gloves to handle dead birds and place the birds in plastic bags. If not submitting the bird for testing, the bagged bird can be placed in the trash. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after discarding the dead bird.

Topical preparations containing mosquito repellents are available for horses. Read the product label before using and follow label instructions. Fly sheets, masks, and leg wraps are also available.
Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, buckets, ceramic pots or other unwanted water-holding containers on the property. Pay special attention to discarded tires, which can collect water and become mosquito breeding sites.
Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors. Containers with drainage holes located only on the sides collect enough water to act as mosquito breeding sites.
Clean clogged roof gutters every year. Millions of mosquitoes can breed in roof gutters each season.
Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
Empty and refill outdoor water troughs, buckets, and birdbaths every few days so water does not stagnate.
Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property, especially near manure storage areas. Mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts for more than four days.

For more information contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Health at 717-783-6897 or visit

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Nonstructural Carb Tolerance in Healthy Horses (AAEP 2011) - Full Article

by: Nancy S. Loving, DVM
March 05 2012, Article # 19690

The words "nonstructural carbohydrates" have become almost synonymous with "bad news" in the horse industry, mainly because many owners' goals have been to reduce these sugars and starches (while increasing fat levels) to provide "safer" calories for certain horses. Such strategies are desirable for horses with conditions such as recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis, polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), equine metabolic syndrome, or Cushing's disease, but until recently it was unclear what an NSC diet means for a "normal," nonobese horse.

At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, Joe Pagan, PhD, president of Kentucky Equine Research (KER), described his and colleagues' research on the effects of carbohydrate and fat intake on glucose tolerance in the healthy horse.

Pagan pointed out that there is a perception among horse owners that feeding any nonstructural carbohydrate to healthy horses will lead to insulin resistance (the inability of the hormone insulin released from the pancreas to manage glucose levels in the bloodstream) and metabolic disorders, even when horses aren't obese.

Previous studies conducted at KER found that healthy horses fed high-fat diets have a marked delay in clearing glucose, whereas when consuming carbohydrates from sweet feed, glucose returned to normal clearance rates. To test this theory further, his team evaluated four healthy, nonobese Thoroughbred geldings with body condition scores of 5-6 (out of 9), aged around 21.5 years old. The horses were stalled except for six hours of daily turnout with a grazing muzzle...

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Friday, March 02, 2012

Rabies Confirmed in Two Middle Tennessee Horses

by: Edited Press Release
February 29 2012, Article # 19665

The Tennessee Departments of Health and Agriculture have confirmed rabies in two horses recently deceased horses. One horse, submitted for testing in January 2012, died in rural Rutherford County, and the other was submitted this month from Marshall County. Both horses had a type of rabies virus found in skunks in Tennessee, although it is not known how they were infected.

“The deaths of these animals serve as a somber reminder of the importance of rabies vaccination," said Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. "Our pets--often including horses--are more likely to come into contact with wild animals than people are. Protecting pets with rabies vaccination can provide a barrier against rabies from wild animals."

Rabies is caused by a lyssavirus affecting the neurological system and salivary glands. Exposure to horses most commonly occurs through the bite of another infected (rabid) animal, typically a raccoon, skunk, bat, or fox. Clinical signs of rabies in horses are variable and can take up to 12 weeks to appear after the initial infection. Although affected horses are sometimes asymptomatic, an infected horse can show behavioral changes, such as drowsiness, depression, fear, or aggressiveness. Once clinical signs appear, there are no treatment options.

Rabies can only be diagnosed post-mortem by submitting the horse's head to a local public health laboratory to identify the rabies virus using a test called fluorescence antibody. Therefore, ensuring that all other potential diseases have been ruled out is very important in these cases.

Commercially-available rabies vaccines are safe and extremely effective. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) vaccination guidelines, adult horses should be vaccinated annually and mares in foal should be vaccinated four to six weeks pre-partum or before breeding. Foals and weanlings less than 12 months of age are administered an initial series of three vaccines. The timing is dependent on the vaccination status of the mare. Thereafter, horses are vaccinated annually.

While rabies is relatively rare in horses--usually fewer than 100 horses are infected in the United States every year--it is an important disease because it is zoonotic. That is, it can be spread to humans. Further, rabies is a reportable disease and the proper authorities should be notified in the event a horse--or any other animal--tests positive.

For questions about animal health, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615/837-5120 or

A Black Cowboy's Ride Across America

Book Review at

Little did Miles Dean realize as he muscled his wrestling opponents to the floor in WeeQuahic High School in Newark, New Jersey that his courage and strength
would one day lead him to do what most people would think is unimaginable.

When I think of driving an automobile across the United States, I think of several drivers and a comfortable car with a protective roof and air conditioning for crossing hot states. How about crossing America riding a horse?

In A Black Cowboy’s Ride across America, Miles Dean completes that epic journey in 2007. Why, because it had never been done by a black man. Why, because it was a challenge to Miles' physical and mental endurance to draw a line in history from the African Burial Ground Memorial in Manhattan to the grounds of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Through his veins ran the mingled blood of countless black forefathers. Miles had charted a route that would pass through towns and cities to honor as many black heroes as possible.

Throughout the story, he speaks of the freedom that Black Americans now have compared to days when they arrived in chains aboard slave ships. Sold in “Congo Square” to the highest bidders with no regard for family. Fathers, mothers, and their children were torn from one another and then forced to perform white man’s labor under appalling conditions.

Miles determined to honor all of these desecrated people along with those who fought so bravely and tirelessly to eliminate the slave trade. In A Black Cowboy’s Ride across America, he visited memorials raised to honor all the Black Americans who fought during the horrific Civil War where, even in deadly battle, prejudice ran rampant. Fearless now, Miles rode his main horse Sankofa, through the very town where John Brown attempted to muster a slave revolt but in turn was captured by Robert E. Lee and hung.

Miles visited places where small black jockeys had ridden prized horses in prestigious races, only to be returned to their Jim Crow rank after winning a championship title for their white owners. Yet, throughout his ride, “He tried not to dwell on the tragedies black people had faced ... preferring to celebrate ... achievements.” He passed the Lorraine Motel and its balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King was slain—the prophetic leader who led this nation’s Black Americans to insist that Civil Rights finally be strongly enforced for all peoples once and for all.

Miles’s journey at times was fraught with danger. Crossing the Mississippi River Bridge with its six lanes of cars and monstrous 18-wheelers racing by forced him and Sankofa to ride perilously close to the three-foot high bridge railing. If the horse had turned quickly, stumbled, or reared at all, Miles could have been tossed over the railing and into the river — and Miles claimed to be a poor swimmer.

At times, Miles and his steed became separated from their support crew traveling along the highway. At one point while attempting to climb a steep hillside, Sankofa stopped and refused to go any farther. Climbing down to examine the horse, Miles noticed how difficult it was to stand upright, let alone go forward, so steep was the slope. The horse had sensed the danger and humbled its rider.

If you are searching for a story where man and beast, working together, overcame a host of obstacles, A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America is the book for you. Its language is simple yet interesting and descriptive. It is a great read for young readers because its story is one of courage and the will to complete a task that most youth and adults would think foolhardy. Determined Miles completed his 5000 mile trek in 180 days. This is the fascinating story of a real man, one who rode on — rain or shine, even when saddle weary — to pay tribute to his forefathers and prove the strength of Black Cowboys.

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