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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Carbohydrates in Equine Nutrition - Full Article

By Dr. Joe Pagan · June 21, 2012

About 75% of all plant matter is comprised of carbohydrates. This fact means that carbohydrates are an extremely important part of a horse’s diet. There are a number of different types of carbohydrates in horse feed, and they vary considerably as to how well horses digest and utilize each one. In nutritional terms, carbohydrates can be divided into two broad categories: nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) and structural carbohydrates (cell wall).

Nonstructural carbohydrates are those that either occur as simple sugars in the horse’s feed, or can be broken down by enzymes produced by the horse. Included in this category are glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, and starch. They range from being almost nonexistent in a grass hay diet to comprising a high percentage of the total diet in a high-grain, low-fiber ration.

Structural carbohydrates are those that are resistant to the horse’s digestive enzymes. These carbohydrates occur in the cell wall portion of the plant and must be fermented by bacteria living in the horse’s gut before they can be utilized by the horse. As a group, these carbohydrates are called plant fiber, and they consist primarily of cellulose and hemicellulose...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2012 was Won (or lost)

How the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2012 was Won (or lost)

by David Marlin

How did 2 HH Sh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum know how fast to go to win the FEI World Endurance Championships at Euston Park yesterday (25th August 2012)? Having ridden around similar courses in competitions run from Euston Park in the past 3-4 years would definitely have helped. Although the course would not have been exactly the same as any used previously, there are a limited number of tracks that could be used. The fact that the area is essentially flat means that the time should be similar to 160km courses used before. Another factor that of course need to be considered would be the environmental conditions. The hotter, more humid, less cloud and less wind there is, the slower the speed. Watching what other riders do is also a factor that needs to be considered when setting out a strategy. You need to be up with the front runners to stand a chance of winning, but running with the front runners increases your chance of elimination.

No two endurance races will be run exactly the same, but if you don’t like leaving things to chance and like statistics and numbers, then looking back at previous times for 160km races rides at Euston Park would seem obvious. And I suspect that this is what many teams would have done in their preparation for the 2012 FEI World Endurance Championships this weekend. But, even the strong evidence of previous times for 160km race rides at Euston as an indicator of race strategy would not give the whole picture. The missing factor? This was a World Championship, and they don’t necessarily have to follow the rules. In a World Championship you have a very high number of horses and riders, and a larger proportion of these than normal would be in with a chance of winning. This usually means that speeds would be expected to be a little faster than normal for such a course. The difficulty we have with endurance is that due to the distances involved, environmental conditions, going (footing), terrain and technical difficulty (e.g. number and frequency of turns) all have a major impact on the speed a 160km can be won at.

So what should we have expected from previous 160km race rides at Euston Park over the past 3 seasons and how did this match up to the race pattern and winning speed for the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2012?

The ride data for 2010, 2011 and 2012 for 160km senior rides at Euston Park was analysed. Each Summer for the past three years the rides have been held regularly and over similar terrain.

So the first question I had is “have the 160km race rides at Euston Park (4 in 2010, 4 in 2011 and 3 in 2012 [there was a 4th 160km race ride in 2012 but it was slow by Euston Park normal standards, only had 4 starters and 2 finishers and so I decided not to include it]) been getting faster over the past 3 seasons?”. The answer to this one is a simple “no”. The fastest time for a 160km at Euston Park over the past 3 years was on the 25th July 2010 (22.2 kmh), followed by 21.6 kmh on 9th June 2010. That said, the last two race rides this season at Euston before the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships both posted winning speeds of 21.3 kmh! So over the past 3 seasons at Euston, the average winning speed for 11, 160km race rides was 20.8 kmh, with the fastest being 22.2kmh and the slowest being 18.9kmh.

Thus, with “normal” August conditions this weekend and with good going (i.e. not too soft), I would have to be expecting the winner to complete in a time of 22.2kmh + a little extra to allow for the fact that this is a championship. In fact, 2 HH Sh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum finished with an average speed of 22.8kmh. At this stage I am not clear whether the thunder and torrential rain slowed down the riders on course significantly, so it is conceivable that he would have completed with an even faster time. But the point I think is made. The fact that it was a championship lead to a winning time slightly faster than would be typical for Non-World Championship race rides over 160km at Euston Park. What’s more, using this approach, presumably most teams would have known what speeds they should have been targeting on each loop to keep in contention. Or alternatively, they would have simply tried to keep up with those setting the pace.

So, in conclusion, when it comes to the average speed over 160km for the winner, there are no real surprises. But what about the pattern of the race on a loop by loop basis? Again, this information is freely available and lends itself to analysis to look for patterns based on previous race rides over 160km at Euston Park.

What is clear from this analysis, is that the first loop was extremely fast compared with the average for loop 1 for all the winners of 160km race rides at Euston. Actually, whilst I have used the term “average” , I actually used the median, which reduces the influence of loops that were slower or faster than the “norm”. It can also be seen from the graph that winners at Euston typically have a faster 3rd loop than the 2nd loop, but this did not happen for HH Sh Mohammed. This was probably a consequence of the very fast first loop.

At the time of writing, the times for the 5th and 6th loops are no available – there was a power loss during the thunderstorms which resulted in a disruption to the timing. (I have to say I’m not sure why given that August is a peak month for thunderstorms that there were not uninterruptable power supplies and surge protectors that would have kept the timing systems up and running in the event of a loss in mains power). As soon as the times for the 5th and 6th loops are posted I’ll finish the analysis. My predictions are that HH Sh Mohammed would have completed the 5th Loop at 21.2 kmh and the final loop at 23 kmh. We shall see!

Conditioning Young Horses - Full Article

by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
June 01 2012, Article # 20329

Research shows that appropriate amounts of exercise during the first three years of a horse's life can benefit the musculoskeletal system

Before your equine athlete begins full-scale training, he can benefit greatly from preparatory physical conditioning. Yes, it's true that he's still growing, that sensitive structures such as his joints and tendons are still developing, and that, generally speaking, he's immature. But veterinary researchers agree: A fair amount of exercise will do him a significant amount of good, not only now but for his entire life. So, it's important to get your youngster out of the stall and into shape.

Muscles, Tendons, and Bones

The first three years of a horse's life--particularly the first two--are a time of great change and development in his locomotor system, particularly the muscles, tendons, and bones (including joints). These structures are the ones you keep in mind most as your prospect matures.

Researchers note that growing muscles adapt to the discipline for which the horse is preparing. That’s especially true for how these structures metabolize energy, meaning how they store oxygen and use fat as an energy source. So developing equine muscles properly via exercise is primordial in preparing the young athlete.

Tendons accumulate collagen during growth, which plays a role in their stretchiness and resistance, so safeguarding these structures is critical as well.

As bones grow, they not only increase in length and width but also in density. The mix of minerals in the bones changes, and the bones' inner and outer membranes and outer shells thicken. All these parameters affect bone strength, so, once again, promoting optimal bone growth is essential...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

At Last! A Scientific University Study of the Horses Hoof!


At Last! A Scientific University Study of the Horses Hoof!

In the last decade, thousands of veterinarians, farriers and horse owners have come to realize that better nutrition, trimming, correct movement, environment, and improved protective devices can cause dramatic and positive changes to the equine foot--not only externally, as previously recognized, but internally as well. “The internal foot can become larger, stronger and better,” says Joe Camp from The Soul of a Horse ( “These changes give significant resistance to hoof problems and can provide cure to pre-existing problems as well. Many of us take this concept of internal hoof development for granted--we present it as fact, because we have seen the changes with our own eyes. All the proof we need is in our own back yard.”

“But we are still a minority,” Camp continues. “Most equine veterinarians, farriers and horse owners are either unaware, or are actually combative toward any notion that the internal foot can be ‘grown’ or developed into something better because no scientific research has tracked this development in live horses. But that is about to change.”

Debra R. Taylor DVM, DACVIM and John Schumacher, DVM, DACVIM (Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine) have taken on a monumental project. They plan to use MRI and CT imaging to track the foot development of live adult horses over time. Additionally, the horses used in the project will be divided into groups that will live very different lifestyles. Does exercise in padded hoof boots and barefoot turnout on variable terrain develop a larger, stronger digital cushion and lateral cartilage? Or can a horse grow his best possible foot while living in a stall with some turnout available? Which lifestyle is safer for the horse? These questions will be answered by a peer-reviewed, controlled study.

Renowned hoof specialist Pete Ramey ( who has worked with Dr. Taylor for several years says, “These studies will happen now, IF they can get the necessary funding and support for the project. Most scientific studies can be done in a relatively short time. A small grant and a few months of hard work yields a new published paper--new information--proof or disproof of a hypothesis. A study like this, however, will take at least two years.”

The only way to produce a solid controlled study is to have all of the horses in each control group living in the same exact environment and under the same care--at the same facility. This means the horses must be purchased for the study. They must all be cared for and exercised the exact same way. Full veterinary evaluation, the MRIs and CTs, and interpretation of the results must be done for each horse before, during, and after the study period. This will all be very expensive--this is why we have so little research on the effects of anything over time. As important as these studies would obviously be, they are horrifically cumbersome and impractical to perform.

“This project needs private financial backing--a lot of it--or it can't be completed,” Camp said. “I beg anyone who cares about the health and happiness of horses to donate. Even the smallest amount can help.”

Please click here: Donate to the Study and then proceed through four drop down menus as follows:
Donation type: Gift
Campus: Auburn-Main Campus
Area of Interest: College of Veterinary Medicine Gift
Designation: Dr. Debra Taylors Hoof Development and Rehabilitation

Description of Dr. Taylor's hoof program for 4th-year vet students and how bone, lateral cartilage and digital cushion volumes will be tracked during the study period: Hoof Rehabilitation Program Brochure

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Floor-Level Feeding - Full Article

By the Editors of EQUUS magazine

Feeding at floor level is in your horse's best interest.

You can reduce your horse's risk of choke, colic and respiratory disorders and increase the amount of nutrients he gets from his ration by doing nothing more than eliminating chest- or head-high feed tubs and hay racks.

Floor-level feeding of both hay and feed mimics the natural heads-down grazing posture, which brings with it several health benefits:

Slowed rate of consumption--The horse must be more meticulous in his chewing to hold onto the hay and grain he's processing. Compared to chest-high intake, each mouthful of floor-fed feed is smaller, more thoroughly chewed and better mixed with saliva, lowering the horse's choke and colic risks.
Improved processing--Increased chew time and greater salivation prepare each bite for more complete nutrient extraction down the line, increasing the nutritional benefits from each bite...

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Five Cases of Equine WNV Reported in Colorado in 2012

by: Edited Press Release
August 16 2012, Article # 20494

From the Colorado State Veterinarian's Office:

Five equine cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been diagnosed in Colorado as of Aug. 14. The WNV positive horses are from Fremont, Weld, Montrose (2), and Larimer counties.

The incidence of the disease varies from year to year and depends on a number of factors, including mosquito numbers. WNV can be carried by infected birds and then spread locally by mosquitoes that bite those birds. The mosquitoes can then pass the virus to humans and animals.

Infected horses can display clinical signs including head tilt, muscle tremors, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs, or partial paralysis. If horses exhibit clinical signs consistent with WNV, it is very important for horse owners to contact their veterinarian in order to confirm the diagnosis through laboratory testing.

Horse owners should consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate prevention strategy for their horses. Vaccines have proven to be a very effective prevention tool. The veterinary staff at the State Veterinarian's Office has done a very limited and informal survey of WNV vaccine sales in Colorado; it indicates a significant drop in vaccine sales over the past years. If this small survey is indicative of the overall sales, it is a disturbing trend.

Of the five horses that have been WNV-positive, we have not been able to confirm that any of the horses have been vaccinated for WNV.

In addition to vaccinations, horse owners also need to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas. Recommendations include removing stagnant water sources, keeping animals inside during the bugs' feeding times, which are typically early in the morning and evening, and using mosquito repellents.

"It is important to protect your horse through WNV vaccination and good management practices," said State Veterinarian Keith Roehr, DVM. "West Nile virus is a disease that threatens the health of humans, horses, and other animals. This is the time of year when we are most likely to see WNV cases reported in horses

"It is difficult to project how many WNV cases we may see in the coming months," he noted.

Pack that repellent: West Nile virus spiking across the USA - Full Article

By Laura Bly, USA TODAY

Texas is being hit the hardest by a surge in mosquito-borne West Nile virus cases, with Dallas' mayor declaring a state of emergency and ordering the city's first aerial spraying of insecticide in nearly five decades.

Yet 32 states have reported cases, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, and there have been at least 693 cases and 28 deaths nationwide, according to the CDC and state numbers released Tuesday. That's up from 390 cases and eight deaths last week.

Most people who are infected with the West Nile virus, 70% to 80%, never know they have it. But 20% to 30% develop West Nile fever, with headaches, fever, joint pains, vomiting or diarrhea and rash.

A mild winter and ample spring rains allowed the mosquito population to build up early, while heat and scant rainfall are creating stagnant water pools ideal for breeding grounds.

And it's going to get worse, David Dausey, a professor of public health at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., told USA TODAY. He says climate change means warmer winters, milder springs and hotter summers, all of which "create a longer season for mosquitoes to breed and ideal conditions for them to survive." That will mean more West Nile and, public health workers worry, other mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever, Dausey says...

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Alternative Hays for Horses - Full Article

By Dr. Peter Huntington · May 22, 2012

Common hays fed to horses include various pure grass hays, mixed grass hays, and legume hays such as alfalfa (lucerne) and clover. If these hays are not available, horse owners may have to choose from less traditional hay types. While these other forages are usually suitable for horses, some have associated risks.

Foxtail or German millet can be used for horse forage. If foxtail millet hay is fed to horses, additional calcium supplementation will be required as it is high in oxalates, substances that make it difficult for the horse to absorb the calcium in its diet. Some reports show that horses grazing millet hay may have lameness and joint swelling. Some pearl millet reportedly has an alkaloid buildup that can induce toxicity in cattle. Horses may also react to these alkaloids because they are susceptible to alkaloid toxicity syndromes. All millets can accumulate nitrates, which in grazing or haying millets can reach toxic proportions. Nitrate can be controlled somewhat by reducing the amount of nitrogen per application and increasing the number of applications. German millet can cause oral lesions.

Sorghum grasses include sudangrass, johnsongrass, hybrid forage sorghums, and grain sorghums. Here we consider all classes of forage sudangrasses and associated hybrids the same. In reality, there may be some without toxicity problems...

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our 7 Step Strategy to Top Ten at Tevis - 4th Gear Here We Come

Easycare Blog - Full Article

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 by Kevin Myers

We set out with a goal ten months ago, and built the strategy around that goal. The goal was simple: to achieve a top ten placing at Tevis 2012. We thank Garrett Ford for his support and encouragement that we could train our horses to this level. Our reading list was 4th Gear by Dennis Summers.

The essential components were:

1. Impeccable hoof care. It all starts with the hooves - I believe that more and more each day. If the feet aren't right, you can't do well. We used Easyboot Glue-Ons on ride day.

2. Diet: the grass pasture has changed our horses for the better - and so has the space for them to run around and be stupid with each other (they're on 4 acres right now, but were previously on a pasture twice that size). We feed a good quality grass hay mix; a balanced performance feed and a multi-vitamin. If Far began to look too lean, we would add Amplify to his diet. Once the grass got going, it was more a question of how to keep the weight off them. We wanted meat over the ribs, but we wanted to see ribs when they breathed in, and to be able to feel them. Stoner actually went into Tevis at a higher weight than we wanted, but that did not seem to hurt him...

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Introduction of Competition Floating Boots shoes

El Raid Blog - Gabriel Gamiz

July 5 2012
[google translation]

Our friends Otilio and Florentino, Equestrian Endurance enthusiasts and innovators in sneakers and boots for horses Barefoot System, prepare to present their products at the Equestrian Society Lebrera in Badajoz, where he is going to celebrate this weekend Spain Championship for Young Riders Raid.

Here I put the note you sent me:


Tomorrow, Friday, July 6, 2012, at 12:00 am, there will be a practical demonstration of the Floating Boots racing shoes in the area of ​​the stables of the Equestrian Society Lebrera in Badajoz. Otilio Gonzalez and Florentino Pereira will be available to the stakeholders for resolving queries and doubts.

Fittings Floating Boots have proven their suitability for high competition in the Interautonomías Raid of Figarol and the Championship of Spain, winning the Individual Gold in both competitions and the Gold Team in Figarol."

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Equine Leg Wounds: Should You Bandage? - Full Article

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
August 05 2009, Article # 14643

Managing wounds on the lower limbs of horses is expensive, frustrating, time-consuming, and wrought with complications. Various approaches to expedite wound repair and minimize the development of serious complications have been assessed, including extracorporeal shock wave therapy and platelet-rich plasma. Now, even the merits of bandaging on wound healing is questionable, says a group of Australian researchers.

"Wounds on the distal (lower) limb are often left to heal without suturing; however, this often predisposes wounds to form excessive granulation (scar) tissue," said Andrew Dart, MACVSc, Dipl. VetClinSt, ACVS, director of the University of Syndey's Veterinary Centre Camden and Biomedical Research and Clinical Training Unit in Australia.

The formation of excessive granulation tissue is undesirable as it prolongs healing.

"Wound healing in the horse, particularly wounds of the lower limb, differs from healing in ponies and other species," he added...

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