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.

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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...

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