Friday, June 29, 2012

Forage: A Fluid Reservoir for Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · April 24, 2012

Ingested forage holds water in the horse’s gut. This is seen as positive in endurance horses, as the stored fluid can be drawn upon to keep the horse hydrated as it covers the miles during a long ride. Trainers of Thoroughbred horses see the weight as a disadvantage that has the possibility of causing a horse to run more slowly in a short race, so they routinely remove hay from a horse’s stall in the hours prior to competition.

A recent study conducted at Michigan State University looked at type of forage and length of forage particles as related to their water-holding and water-releasing properties. Grass hay had...

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Four Years and Counting - Bootmeister

Easycareinc Blog - Full Article

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 by Christoph Schork

The peoples of The Steppes have been riding bare and without hoof protection for thousands of years, we know them from the history books and heard about their amazing horses: the Parthians, Scythians, Cimmerians, Huns and Mongols created some of the largest empires the world has ever seen. They scared and defeated the Greeks, Romans and other western powers with their incredible riding and warfare skills. Their skill were always far superior to the western powers and they always rode barefoot.

Natural hoof care was and still is the norm with the Peoples of the Steppes.

Mongol horses are being trimmed. Notice the strong healthy frog and tough sole. These horses are being ridden over rocks, grass and sand.

This Natural Hoof Trimming contrasts starkly to our western civilizations Hoof Care. Only very recently did we start to embrace barefoot trimming. Until about 4 years ago, 80% of all Hoof Care procedures at the Global Endurance Training Center were applications of steel, polyurethane or aluminum shoes. Today, maybe 5% of all Hoof Care services involve application of steel shoes, more than 80% are bare hoof trims. What a huge change. What have we noticed during these 4 years in regards to the health of the hooves?

- a thicker and tougher sole
- a huge reduction to total absence of white line separation
- a bigger and healthier frog
- a naturally developed break over

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prepare horses for long trips in trailer - Full Article

Tuesday, 26 June 2012 20:16 By MINDY RIFFLE, Country World Staff Writer
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June 21, 2012 - With summer heat coming in early, preparing horses for trips in the hauler is more important than ever.

[Getting a horse used to eating and drinking on the trailer will reduce stress during trips. -- Staff photo by Riffle]

"Many of us travel short distances from the farm to the arena or an event, but if you ever have to travel a long distance, there are some things you need to know," Dr. Valerie Bixler DVM.

"You want your horse to be well hydrated before they ever get on the trailer," said Bixler. "Because, a lot of horses do not drink while they are on the trailer. They will learn if you do it enough, but most of them don't."

The idea is to have them well-hydrated long before they step into the trailer. Beginning three or four days before a trip, Bixler suggests supplementing with electrolytes, so that the horses will begin to take in more water. This way, they are prepared for a longer period without water once they are on the trailer.

"If they are not hydrated and you get to where you are going, you are going to be behind the eight ball," Bixler said.

While a bit extreme for the average Texas rodeo horse, Bixler pointed out that hydration is so important for equine athletes that those involved with Fdration Equestre Internationale (FEI) and other high level equestrians that travel all over the world will have a vet come out, put a catheter in the vein and run liters of fluids to horses before they put them on the trailer...

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Endurance Horse Training Basics Part 1: Hobble Training

Enduranceridestuff Blog - Full Article

by Karen Chaton


Hobble training teaches a horse to give to pressure, not to freak out when caught/cast/trapped and to wait to be rescued (patience!). It desensitizes your horses legs to being confined or trapped.

If you’ve ever had a horse get caught up in wire, step into a wooden pallet, roll and get cast under a fence or gate or become entangled in a rope or other containment system you no doubt have seen first hand that horses can and will find ways to get into trouble. How they handle it can often be attributed to how the horse has been trained.

Hobble training is something that I have done on every single one of my endurance horses before taking them to an endurance ride. It has really paid off too. I have posted blog posts on this topic before because I do feel so strongly that hobble training should be included in the basic training for any endurance horse. If you haven’t already, please read this post on preparing a horse for hobble training, and this post on some personal examples on when hobble training paid off.


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Long Range Disaster Planning - Full Article

National disasters such as flash floods, tornados, snow storms or wild fires, and man-made problems such as gas explosions, leaking tank cars, and terrorist incidents can happen with little or no warning. The nature of the emergency may determine whether to shelter in place or evacuate.

Developing an effective personal emergency plan, coupled with predetermined holding facilities, may allow you enough time to move your horses to safety. If you are unprepared or wait until the last minute to evacuate, emergency management officials may tell you that you must leave your horses behind. Once you leave your property you have no way of knowing how long you will be kept out of the area.

Do not count on others to rescue your animals. Being prepared for an emergency evacuation in important for all animals, but it takes extra consideration for horses because of their size and their transportation needs. Horses can panic when they smell smoke. If you delay evacuation until fire danger is imminent, you may not be able to control and load your horses.

To avoid this situation, the following information and suggestions are offered to help plan for emergencies:

1. Familiarize yourself with the types of disasters/emergencies that could occur in your area. Develop a written plan of action for each. Review your plan regularly with everyone involved including friends and neighbors. Post emergency numbers in a visible location in your stable or barn.

Plan an escape route for taking your horses to safety.
If you do not have a trailer or enough trailers for evacuation, make arrangements in advance to have your horses trailered in case of emergency. Develop a community plan with call-up lists for assistance.
Find several alternative locations and check entry requirements. If you have no other safe place, contact your local fair grounds.

2. Look at your property and identify the best location for animal confinement for each type of disaster, should you be unable to evacuate them. Identify food and water sources that do not rely on electricity – disaster cause power outages – water pumps and automatic waterers stop working. Have standby water storage for 48 to 72 hours.

3. Photograph the left and right sides of each horse as well as face and medial and lower legs. Have a photo of your horse with you in the picture, to help identify the horse as yours when picking it up from an evacuation area...

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Myths Concerning Feeding Fat to Endurance Horses - Full Article
Article written by KPP staff.


Fat is an unsuitable ingredient in the diets of endurance horses.


Fat is not only a perfectly acceptable component in the diets of all performance horses, it sometimes proves to be a necessary ingredient. Due to the intense work that endurance horses perform, many are unable to maintain optimal body condition when fed forages (pasture and hay) and traditional concentrates (textured or pelleted sweet feed). Because fats contain more than two times the energy of carbohydrates, they have become commonplace in the rations of successful endurance horses worldwide.

In fact, endurance horses fed fat may have an advantage over those that are not. As horses consume fat as part of their daily diets over a long period of time, their bodies become adept at using it as an energy source, allowing the horse to conserve more valuable fuels such as glycogen.

In a study conducted comparing the utilization of fat among breeds, researchers found that Arabians are most efficient at employing fat as an energy source.

At the 2005 World Endurance Championships, held in Dubai, nearly all of the horses were fed an identical concentrate supplied by the event’s sponsor, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. That feed was a high-fat formulation, and the finish times were blisteringly fast.


Because fat slows digestion, it adversely affects performance and should be avoided in the diets of endurance horses...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Equine Ration Balancer Pellets Explained - Full Article

by: Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
June 09 2012, Article # 20138

As research has advanced our understanding of equine nutrition, we now know more about how best to meet our horse's nutritional needs. One feed option that owners may notice on the shelves of their local feed store is a ration balancer. This pelleted feed option might have a place in your horse's diet, so let's explain how it is used.

Originally formulated for the growing horse, the ration balancer--in conjunction with a high-quality forage source--can provide the amino acids, vitamins, and minerals a horse needs without the excess calories that could put young horses at higher risk of developmental orthopedic diseases

In addition to young horses, mature equids able to maintain their weight on an all-forage diet of hay or pasture--termed "easy keepers"--can also benefit from a ration balancer. Depending on the species of forage provided and geographical location where it's grown, protein, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies might be presence; ration balancer pellets are often used to offset these deficiencies.

In addition, the ration balancer pellet is a good option for horses that cannot tolerate high sugar and starch levels in some grains, such as those with Cushing's disease (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction or PPID, laminitis, and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). The lower glycemic index of a ration balancer also has the potential to lessen a horse's hyperactive behavior...

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Feeding During an Endurance Ride - Full Article

By Dr. Peter Huntington and Scott O'Brien · June 4, 2012

The actual amount and type of feed your horse should get through the ride will depend on the length and difficulty of the ride as well as the result you hope to achieve. With shorter ride lengths (20 to 40 km or 12 to 25 miles) and speed restrictions on all riders, it is all about completing and training or educating your horse.

As long as your horse is fit enough and you have a good feeding program at home, you shouldn’t need much more than hay and electrolytes to get you through these rides. If you arrive the night before the ride, give your horse his dinner and some hay to see him through the night. If he’s a poor drinker you might include some electrolytes in this final meal (as long as he’ll eat his feed with the electrolytes added; otherwise give them in a syringe mixed with water, applesauce, or yogurt).
In the morning, just make sure he has a little hay and fresh water before tacking up and riding off.

After the first leg in a split-leg ride, give some more hay or green forage and perhaps some electrolytes. Electrolytes are recommended if it is a hot day or if your horse has not yet had a drink in the first leg. The amount you give will depend on the temperature, how much your horse has drunk, and how much he has sweated.

If, by the end of the final leg, your horse has still not had a good drink, find a vet and discuss the use of any further electrolyte supplementation. Giving electrolytes to a significantly dehydrated horse can cause metabolic problems and should only be done under veterinary supervision.

Once the ride is finished and you have been through vetting, you can give the horse his normal breakfast. Over the next 24 hours you will need to feed a little more than the normal daily allowance to replenish energy reserves lost during the ride. Feed small meals (up to around 2 kg or 4.4 lb per meal) rather than large meals and space them out by about 4 to 6 hours. Further electrolyte supplementation is also useful for rehydrating the horse in preparation for the trip home.

The longer one-day rides of 80 km to 160 km (50 to 100 miles) can be quite competitive, and depending on how you want to ride them, your feeding management will be different...

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Preparing the Endurance Horse - Full Article

by Eric Hought

When plotting a course to reach any goal, the final expectation must be known. Without a vision the chances of reaching that goal are slim. Many riders stumble because they have no clear mental image and do not have a large arsenal of techniques. When you drove here today, you knew exactly where you were going to make turns in order to arrive in Mariposa. You may have faltered slightly, but you made it. I am sure that none of you just got into the car and began driving in hopes you would arrive today. You had a plan to get here. It is exactly the same with our horse. If we do not have a plan, how can both of us arrive at the same place at the same time?

My goal today is to plant the seed that preparing a horse is simple. Mental preparation of the horse is most important. If the horse is not mentally prepared for any situation or execution of a maneuver, he can not perform to his peak potential. The "work" of preparing him mentally takes place while he learns the mechanics of feet and body control.

The mind of the horse must be on the same page of execution as the rider or leader. Everything we do with the horse is centered on building a good mind. The rider must be able to control every step the horse takes during a ride. Out of control at the start of the ride or any other part of the ride is dangerous for the horse and rider. Aside from that, the wasted effort by the horse can affect his strength and/or recovery at other points in the ride.

The use of exhaustion as a tool to cause the Arabian endurance horse to look to the rider for relief is not an option for preparing the endurance horse. The old phrase of "the blood rises in the head" is not an accurate assessment of the situation. I don't know positively whether or not the reactive side of the horse is the results of the release of adrenaline into the system. If that is the correct assumption then little to no progress will follow until the horse's system returns to normal. I spoke with a veterinarian and he thought it was more of the personality of the horse. Whichever is correct, the rider must wait until the horse returns to normal in order to continue preparing the horse.

The "trick" is to change the activity "before" the adrenaline is released. The window of opportunity between mounting and working with the horse before the adrenaline release will vary from horse to horse, rider to rider and the immediate environment of activity.

A horse's window of opportunity can be enlarged through careful preparation of the horse by the rider. The rider never has the privilege of assuming the position, "I just let him go until it is out of his system". My position is this rider lacks knowledge of how the horse learns, lacks skills and avoids responsibility for the horse's actions by placing the blame upon the horse. The classic method of correction is to use a more severe tool of intimidation such as a larger bit, tie down or martingale. The reality is the rider must return to a snaffle bit and rebuild the foundation of the horse's skills. "But he is not in control with a snaffle bit". The answer is simple. Ride at the walk until control of all four feet is achieved in the walk then progress to the trot etc. This can not happen on a ride. It all takes place on the trail, riding solo in training until control is achieved. It could take 3-4 months or longer depending upon how engrained the behavior, how often the horse is ridden per week and most important the consistency of the rider. The rider's plan is key to success of the horse...

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Friday, June 01, 2012

The Don horse of Russia - Full Article

By on Jun 01, 2012 in Horse Breeds

Two notions that perhaps everyone associates with Russia are the immense distances and Siberian temperatures.

If one thinks harder, richly decorated churches, golden palaces, Faberge eggs, war and peace or revolution may come to mind, but what really stands out are the infinite Russian versts (1 verst = 1.06km). Amazingly, the maximum east west extent of modern day Russia is almost 10,000km, a distance encompassing 11 time zones and spanning nearly half the circumference of the earth.

And there is a native breed of horses, possibly little known abroad, whose qualities have come to match the extreme conditions perfectly: the Don horses. Named after the river Don in southern Russia, this breed is one of only two native breeds which have survived in modern times. The other such native horses are the Orlov trotters, bred by and named after the 18th century Count Orlov, one of the most influential figures in Catherine the Great’s Russia.

The roots of the Don horses go back to ancient times and the Nogajy tribes who inhabited the regions east of the Caspian Sea. These equine predecessors were famous for their exceptional stamina and the ability to survive equally well the freezing winters and searing heat of the southern steppes. Organised breeding began in the 18th century with the creation of special studbooks. Arab and thoroughbred stallions were introduced among the wild steppes mares. The result was an exceptional horse whose qualities came to be highly appreciated in the army...

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