Thursday, January 31, 2013

Electrolytes and the Performance Horse - Full Article

By Dr. Joe Pagan · January 11, 2013

Electrolytes are substances that play an important role in maintaining osmotic pressure, fluid balance, and nerve and muscle activity. These substances are important because without the proper electrolyte levels, performance horses are slowed by fatigue and muscle weakness.

In the exercising horse, sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium are lost in sweat and urine. Owners need to have some idea of the magnitude of loss of electrolytes during exercise before a feeding program can be developed to replace these losses. Since most of the electrolyte loss in the horse occurs through sweating, one method of calculating electrolyte requirements can be based on amounts of sweat loss. Body weight loss during exercise is a good way to estimate the amount of fluid lost, where 1 kg (2.2 lb) of body weight loss equals 1 liter of fluid...

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Accidental Hypothermia In Horses - Ful Article

The Horse 911: What's Your Emergency?

27 January 2013

With the horrifically cold temperatures all over the United States this week, I wanted to focus on the prevalence and problems associated with accidental hypothermia. Two examples took place this week in the United Kingdom and here in the United States.

A condition that can occur in any animal (horse, dog, cow, human) that is exposed to hypothermic conditions (for example, falling into a mud hole or pond, or getting trapped in something while it's raining). Rewarming of the hypothermic victim should only be performed by personnel who have a clear understanding of the adverse effects of improper rewarming. The hypothermic horse may die due to improper handling during the extrication and/or rewarming procedures. Arrhythmia/ventricular fibrillation can occur as a result of rough handling during rescue even under mild hypothermia. This is also known as “post-rescue collapse” or ”re-warming shock” and should be carefully evaluated by the veterinarian.

There were so many cases of horses extricated from mud and pond scenarios in late 2010 thru early 2011 that it initiated our investigation of what was going on with the sudden deaths of animals that had otherwise been successfully extricated but then died within 24 hours. A 2011 paper by Dr. Tomas Gimenez highlighted the challenges for firefighters, veterinarians, and horse owners called to the scene of exposed horses. He pointed out that in these scenarios it is most important to try to initiate first aid, extricate the victim, then rewarm the core body temperature of the horse without attempting to warm the extremities or the cold skin...

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Free Online Course on Equine Nutrition Starts January 28

Equine Nutrition
Jo-Anne Murray

This course will cover many aspects of equine nutrition ranging from anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract to dietary management of horses/ponies affected with nutrition-related disorders.

Next Session:
Jan 28th 2013 (5 weeks long)
Workload: 3-4 hours/week

About the Course

This course is designed to provide knowledge of equine digestion and nutrition for those with an interest in this area. The anatomy and physiology of the equine alimentary canal will be studied to provide students with a detailed understanding of the equine digestive system. Nutrient sources for horses will be discussed, with emphasis placed on the health and welfare issues surrounding the inclusion of various types of feedstuffs in equine diets. Students will also discuss recommendations on rations for horses and ponies performing various activities and should feel equipped to make recommendations on rations for horses and ponies, in health and disease.

About the Instructor(s)

Dr Jo-Anne Murray is a senior lecturer in Animal Nutrition and Husbandry at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, which involves directing the Veterinary School's on-line MSc/Dip/Cert programme in Equine Science and managing the School’s e-learning activities. Dr Murray has a degree in equine science, a postgraduate diploma in animal nutrition and a PhD in equine nutrition. She is also a British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor, a registered nutritionist with the British Nutrition Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Dr Murray’s main research has been focussed on improving the nutritive value of fibre-based feedstuffs for horses and investigating the effect of high-starch and high-fructan diets on the large intestinal environment of the horse. More recently, Dr Murray has investigated the use of supplements in horse diets and the effect of these on horse behaviour.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Anatomy and physiology of the equine gastrointestinal tract
The expectation is that the course participants will come from varied backgrounds in relation to their previous experience of gastrointestinal tract anatomy and physiology. Consequently, this course begins with consideration of digestive anatomy and physiology in equids. The learning materials provided are directed towards ensuring a good understanding of equine digestive anatomy and physiology.

Week 2: Nutrient digestion in the equine gastrointestinal tract

The learning materials during this period will focus on nutrient digestion in equids and will consider nutrient digestion in the various segments of the gastrointesintal tract. Discussion should focus on considering the limitations of the equid gastrointestinal tract in relation to nutrient digestion.

Week 3: Equine nutrient sources and feeding management

This part of the course will consider various nutrient sources for equids. Learning materials will be provided on various feedstuffs utilised in equine diets. These various nutrient sources for horses will be discussed, with emphasis placed on the health and welfare issues surrounding the inclusion of various types of feedstuffs in horse diets. Discussions should involve considering how nutrients are digested within the gastrointestinal tract and how knowledge of this can enhance the dietary management of equids to ensure good health, maximise performance and prevent nutrition-related diseases/disorders.

Week 4: Equine dietary management

This week of the course will explore the nutrient requirements of equids and the dietary management of these animals. Discussions should focus around considering how modern feeding practices do not always consider the anatomy and physiology of the equid digestive tract.

Week 5: Equine clinical nutrition

This part of the course will focus on evaluating feeding strategies for the management and prevention of several diseases/disorders in equids; for example, obesity, laminitis, older horses with dental issues etc. Discussions should focus on the dietary management of individuals affected with nutrition-related problems.

For more information and to sign up see:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Insect compound may help laminitis - Full Article

Veterinarians at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine have announced plans for a clinical trial of an experimental drug that has shown promise in treating horses with laminitis.

They report that four horses suffering from laminitis have been treated with the investigational anti-inflammatory drug so far. One experienced a complete remission that has lasted for more than a year, and three others have shown some improvement.

A paper on the first case has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. The journal editors authorised the authors to disclose their findings ahead of publication.

“This is an unusual step for us to announce this so far in advance, but because euthanasia is often the only way to alleviate pain in severe laminitis, we felt that it was important to let the veterinarians and horse owners know that this compound has shown potential as a treatment,” said Alonso Guedes, an assistant professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine.

A clinical trial to assess the drug’s safety and establish a tolerable dose for the compound is expected to begin early 2013. Further clinical trials would be needed to establish the drug’s effectiveness as a laminitis treatment...

Read more here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mules' Role as Shedders in California EHV-1 Outbreak - Full Article

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Associate Managing Editor • Jan 19, 2013 • Article #31233

Outbreaks of the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) have caused great financial and equine losses in recent years. These cases have solely affected horses, with no reports in the literature of any mules or donkeys showing clinical signs. Some of these equids have, however, shown evidence of antibodies against EHV-1 in their blood, prompting a group of researchers from the University of California (UC), Davis, to evaluate the role mules might play in EHV-1 spread.

Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at UC Davis, shared the results at the 2012 International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases, held Oct. 21-26, in Lexington, Ky...

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Kentucky Equine Survey Releases Initial Findings

Jill Stowe, 859-257-7256
Nancy Cox, 859-257-3333
By Holly Wiemers
Kentucky Equine Survey Releases Initial Findings

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2013) - Kentucky is home to 242,400 horses and the total value of the state's equine and equine-related assets is estimated at $23.4 billion, according to the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey.

The comprehensive statewide survey of all breeds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules was the first such study since 1977. Conducted between June and October 2012 by the Kentucky field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, with support and assistance by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Horse Council, the survey's results identified 35,000 equine operations and 1.1 million acres devoted to equine use. The results are a snapshot of the 2011 calendar year.

"The value of Kentucky's equine and equine-related assets, such as land and buildings, is significantly larger than other states for which we have data, and it serves to underscore that Kentucky is the Horse Capital of the World," said Jill Stowe, UK associate professor in agricultural economics and project lead. "Upcoming economic impact analysis results will provide even more details regarding the importance of the industry to the state's economy."

Phase 1 of the study was a statewide survey of equine operations that included an inventory of all breeds of equine, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. It included a look at sales, income, expenses and assets of those operations. County-level results from Phase 1 are expected soon. Phase 2 of the project will entail an economic impact analysis of Kentucky's equine industry. Phase 2 information will be available mid-2013.

With regard to the inventory of Kentucky's equine operations, the study determined that 56 percent are farms or ranches and 30 percent are for personal use, while 3 percent are boarding, training or riding facilities. Breeding operations accounted for 2 percent.

The vast majority of horses inventoried were light horses (216,300), followed by donkeys and mules (14,000), ponies (7,000) and draft horses (5,100). Thoroughbreds are the most prevalent breed in the state (54,000), followed by Quarter Horses (42,000), Tennessee Walking Horses (36,000), Saddlebreds (14,000), donkeys, mules and burros, Mountain Horse breeds (12,500) and Standardbreds (9,500).

"The University of Kentucky study objectively and scientifically validates the importance of the horse industry to our state. This may well be the most significant body of work ever undertaken to estimate the economic significance of horses to Kentucky," said Norman K. Luba, executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council. "As horse industry enthusiasts, we are indebted to the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund and the Kentucky Horse Council."

The primary use of the majority of Kentucky's equines is trail riding/pleasure (79,500), followed by broodmares (38,000), horses currently idle/not working (33,000), competition/show (24,500), horses currently growing, including yearlings, weanlings and foals (23,000), racing (15,000), work/transportation (12,500), breeding stallions (3,900) and other activities (13,000).

"Kentucky's horse industry is important to a diverse set of people across the Commonwealth, from the 9-year-old 4-H member with her pony to the retired school teacher who just took up trail riding," said Anna Zinkhon, Kentucky Horse Council Board president. "It is the Kentucky Horse Council's goal to keep this industry alive and growing. The Kentucky Equine Survey provides us with the numbers, so we'll know how to develop programs to emphasize strengths as well as work on improving areas of need. It is an important window into the future."

According to the study, the estimated value of the 242,400 equines in Kentucky is about $6.3 billion. In addition, the estimated value of equine-related assets, including land and buildings, vehicles and equipment, feed and supplies and tack and equestrian clothing, is $17.1 billion, bringing the total value of Kentucky's equine and equine-related assets to $23.4 billion.

The total of all equine-related sales and income for equine operations in 2011 was about $1.1 billion. That total came from sales of all equines, estimated to be $521.1 million, and $491 million in income from services provided, including both breeding and non-breeding services such as training, lessons, boarding, farrier, transportation, purses, incentives, etc.

The study found that total equine-related expenditures by equine operations in 2011 totaled about $1.2 billion. Capital expenditures by equine operations, including the purchase of equines, real estate and improvements and equipment, were estimated to be $337 million. Operating expenditures, including expenses paid for boarding, feed, bedding, veterinary, supplies, farrier services, breeding, maintenance and repair, insurance premiums, utilities and fuel, taxes, rent and/or lease, fees and payments, shipping and travel, training and other fees, totaled $839 million. Notably, 77 percent of these operating expenses were spent in Kentucky.

"We are pleased that this Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund investment made by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board will provide benefits to one of our state's signature industries," said Roger Thomas, executive director of the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy. "The results of this survey will validate the economic benefits of all breeds of equine to Kentucky's overall economy."

"The College of Agriculture is proud of this project because first and foremost, it represents the best available methods of surveying that universities and government can provide. But the most compelling aspect of this study is that our future policy discussions can be guided by solid numbers. We thank the Kentucky Horse Council and the Governor's Office of Ag Policy as well as our numerous donors, for recognizing how much the Horse Capital of the World needs a sound foundation for policy decisions," said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research in UK's College of Agriculture, Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station director and administrative leader for UK Ag Equine Programs.

Funding for the project was provided by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, along with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the Kentucky Horse Council and numerous other industry organizations and individuals, a complete listing of which can be found on the project's website.

More information about the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey can be found on the UK Ag Equine Programs website at or on Kentucky Horse Council's website at A copy of the complete Phase 1 results, including county-level breakdowns, will also be posted on both of these websites when they become available.

Writer: Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226

UK College of Agriculture, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

UK Ag Equine Programs
(formerly UK Equine Initiative) |

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture | N212 Ag. Science Bldg. North |

Lexington KY 40546-0091 | Office: 859-257-2226 | Fax: 859-323-8484 |

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Effects of Soaking on Protein, Mineral Loss in Hay - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS • Jan 17, 2013 • Article #31220

Providing a diet low in nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC), such as sugars and starch, is key to maintaining horses diagnosed with diseases such as laminitis, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM). Soaking hay not only helps reduce dust, but also NSC, making it a popular option for maintaining horses with these health issues.

But could soaking have other undesired effects on hay? To find out, researchers recently investigated the impact of water temperature and soaking duration on protein and mineral concentration in orchardgrass and alfalfa hay...

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Equine Feeding and Management Practices After a Period Out of Work - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 25, 2012

Many performance horses in various disciplines are given some time out of training in the off season and put out to pasture for a well-deserved holiday. Turning out, or spelling, has multiple physical as well as psychological benefits for horses and they often return with increased energy and renewed enthusiasm for their work. Time off can also give any niggling injuries and digestive conditions such as gastric ulcers and hindgut acidosis time to abate, therefore also improving physical health and soundness.

When bringing a horse back into work, correct feeding and management practices are essential. It is important that the right levels of energy are supplied to achieve optimum body condition, nutrient levels are met, and that the horse’s exercise program is designed to avoid injuries and promote a long and successful season ahead...

Read more here:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Equine Feed Oat Project Awards Inaugural Oat Research Grant


Media Contact: Scottie Ellis 
Grant to Dr. Laurie Lawrence of the University of Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, KY - January 10, 2013 - The Equine Feed Oat Project (EFOP) today announced the recipient of its first equine oat research grant. Dr. Laurie Lawrence of the University of Kentucky will receive more than $122,000 in funding for a two-year research project beginning in February 2013. The EFOP is an initiative of the Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA), a non -profit organization representing 15,000 Canadian Oat Farmers. Launched in 2010, the EFOP was created to conduct research and educate about the role of oats in equine nutrition. Since its formation in 1998, POGA has placed a high priority on funding research that has helped produce many new varieties of oats for both the human and equine markets.
"Healthy horses have been eating oats for hundreds of years because they are safe, natural and healthy. And we know how and why oats are good for people," said Bill Wilton, Chairman of POGA. "Dr. Lawrence's research will help us know more about why and how oats are good for horses."
POGA received matching funding for the grant from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). Each year ADF provides over $10 million in project funding to researchers in public and private research and development in order to create future growth opportunities in the provincial agriculture industry. 
Laurie Lawrence, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Kentucky (UK) and has more than 30 years experience in equine nutrition. She joined UK in 1992 and has since become one of the leading researchers and teachers in equine nutrition. She has authored numerous papers and studies and has been honored by the industry and her peers for her work including the American Society of Animal Science, the Equine Science Society and the University of Kentucky.
About the Equine Feed Oat Project
The Equine Feed Oat Project (EFOP) is an initiative of the Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA), a volunteer farmer organization representing 15,000 hard-working Canadian oat growers. The EFOP was created in 2010 to research, educate and communicate information about oats to the equine industry.

Lecithin Inhibits Bute-Related Ulcers

by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

Your horse is in pain and needs bute. Bute causes ulcers – this we know. But knowinghow it damages the lining of the gastrointestinal tract is the key to knowing how to prevent its damaging impact.

First, understand that most ulcers can easily be prevented by appreciating the way the horse’s stomach is designed. The lower portion (glandular region) is lined with a protective mucus layer. But it’s the upper squamous region that is most vulnerable to stomach acid because it does not have mucus protection. Most ulcers occur here because the horse’s stomach continuously secretes acid, even when empty. A steady supply of forage – all the time – all day, and all night – will protect your horse’s stomach. This is the way horses are meant to eat – they are forage grazers.

But even when horses are fed properly, administering non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as bute (phenylbutazone), Banamine (flunixin meglumine), or aspirin, , can create ulcerations along the entire gastrointestinal tract. This has to do with the way they reduce pain and inflammation. We tend to assume that it is bute itself that is irritating the stomach lining. In actuality, it is after it has been absorbed that it does most of its damage. Bute inhibits the cyclooxygenase enzymes 1 and 2, which reduce the formation of various prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are responsible for promoting inflammation, and hence pain. But others maintain the integrity of the entire digestive tract by stimulating the production of molecules known as phospholipids.

Phospholipids form a barrier against stomach acid that can potentially damage the underlying epithelium. Our tendency is to get rid of the acid by administering antacids, H2 blockers, or the proton-pump inhibitor omeprazole (GastroGard). There are problems associated with this approach. Stomach acid is important. Stomach acid is there for a reason (actually two reasons). First, it is necessary to start the digestion of protein. From a nutritional standpoint, this is a critical function. Protein digestion provides amino acids (building blocks of protein) for your horse’s overall health. And secondly, acid is your horse’s first line of defense against all of the microbes (some potentially infectious) that he picks up off the ground.

If prevention is your goal, it makes sense to replace the phospholipids that have been reduced by NSAIDs.

Enter, Lecithin. Lecithin is the common term for a phospholipid known as “phosphatidyl choline” (PC) and is most commonly derived from soybeans. It is a naturally occurring substance and the most abundantly found phospholipid in animal and plant cell membranes. Chemically, it primarily consists of essential fatty acids (both omega 3 and omega 6) along with a molecule of choline (an essential B vitamin-like nutrient). Lecithin has been well studied in its ability to treat ulcers. Researchers* at The University of Texas Health Science Center, in Houston, examined the administration of PC along with NSAIDs and found that not only does PC significantly reduce gastrointestinal injury, but in some cases, it even eliminated gastrointestinal ulcerations. Furthermore, it offers this protection without altering the efficacy of bute (or other NSAID).

Lecithin is easy to feed
You can buy lecithin granules in any health food store, or in bulk through online providers such as I recommend offering ½ to ¾ cup of lecithin with each dose of bute (for a 1000 lb horse). It can be mixed with any feed and is quite palatable. Another option is SBS Equine Products’ lecithin-based supplement called “Starting Gate.” In addition to offering gastrointestinal protection, lecithin boosts the health of all cell membranes, including those of skin, hair, and hooves. And the choline component can be used to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter necessary for proper neuromuscular function.


When pain relief is necessary and you rely on an NSAID such as bute, protect your horse’s digestive tract by replacing what bute diminishes -- phospholipids found in the epithelial layer of the digestive tract. Phospholipids act as a barrier to acid damage. Lecithin (phosphatidyl choline) is a naturally-occurring phospholipid that can be easily supplemented to protect your horse against ulcers.

* Source: Lichtenberger, L.M., Barron, M., and Marathi, U., 2009. Association of phosphatidylcholine and NSAIDs as a novel strategy to reduce gastrointestinal toxicity. Drugs of Today, vol.45, no 12, 877-890.


The above article offers insight into ulcers. For more details, please refer to Feed Your Horse Like A Horse:
• Chapter 1 – Ground Rules for Feeding A Horse. Pages 8-14.
• Chapter 14 – Digestive Problems. Pages 231-243.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Matching Horse Diets to Performance Demands - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 27, 2012

In order to perform to the best of their ability, elite human athletes pay a lot of attention to what they eat, how much they consume, and when they schedule meals before a competition. Feeding a performance horse is similar in that what, when, and how much it is fed is tied to the length and intensity of the work it will be asked to do. A trainer preparing a Thoroughbred for a short, explosive sprint on a racetrack will feed quite differently from an owner who is planning to enter her Arabian gelding in a 50-mile endurance race.

Those who manage equine diets will be able to make better feeding choices if they understand the basic structure of the horse’s digestive organs and the influence of feeding on blood flow distribution. The horse’s digestive tract consists of a rather small stomach, a long small intestine, and a large hindgut that holds gallons of fluid and billions of microorganisms that aid in the fermentation of fiber. Much of the weight of the digestive tract is due to this sizeable fluid content. In the idle horse, somewhat more blood flow is sent to the digestive tract organs. When the horse exercises, blood flow to the muscles increases and the supply to support digestion decreases...

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trotting Your Horse Out for the Vet - Full Article

The purpose of the trot out is to give the veterinarians a chance to examine the horse’s gait and look for soundness. A well-executed trot out by the rider or groom will show the horse off to its best advantage. Ideally, the handler is well away from the horse, the horse is on a loose lead and the picture presented is one of efficiency, and elegance.

This article is to give riders tips to perfect the trot out. The details in the trot out are every bit as important as the work a rider puts into training, blood analysis, electrolyte preparation and riding ability. A poor trot out can instantly negate all the work put into getting to, riding and finishing a ride. The purpose of this article is to teach you how to show your horse to the vets in the best possible way, not to sneak a horse through a ride that needs to be pulled. The welfare of the horse is always of primary importance.

The rider or handler tends to be the biggest impediment to showing the horse at its best. Training the person who does the trot out is just as important as training the horse. The most frequent mistakes I see are: trotting too slowly; trotting too fast; lead rope swinging and pulling the horses head; handler’s hand pulling the rope and giving appearance of lameness; lead rope dangling; handler swinging the lead rope behind him at the horse...

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Feeding, Exercise, and Blood Flow Distribution in Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 28, 2012

All horses must eat, and most horses must perform some type of work. A complex relationship exists between the type and amount of feed given, the duration and intensity of work expected of the horse, the impact of feeding on the digestive system, and the impact of exercise on gut function and nutrient digestibility.

Anyone who has fed horses realizes that these animals have a profound cardiovascular response to feeding. The noise associated with rattling buckets in a feed room can send a stable of horses into a frenzy. This phase of feeding is known in the scientific literature as the anticipation/ingestion phase. The anticipation/ingestion phase begins when the animal becomes aware of an upcoming feeding and continues during ingestion of food, gradually decreasing after the food has been eaten. In ponies, the cardiovascular response to feeding remains elevated for more than one hour following consumption of a grain meal...

Read more here:

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

USDA Census, including horses


Copyright © 2013 American Horse Council

USDA Conducting Census of Agriculture, Including Horses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is preparing to conduct its 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture. Horses will be included in the Census. Every five years, USDA conducts an agriculture census to determine the number of U.S. farms and ranches and gather vital information about U.S agriculture, including the horse community. The census is a valuable tool to help the USDA determine land use and ownership, livestock populations, operator characteristics, production practices, farm income as well as other important information.

The AHC wants to ensure that the American horse community is properly accounted for in the upcoming Census. Please participate. There are three ways in which horse owners can take part in the Census.

If a farm or ranch received a survey for census participation in the past (the last census was taken in 2007), the farm will be mailed a survey that can be filled in and mailed back.

If a farm or ranch was not part of the 2007 Census and has not received a form in the mail, the owner must go to the USDA's census website and register. Once this form is submitted online, a survey will be mailed to the farm or ranch.

Horse owners can also fill out the census online at Even if you plan to fill out the Census online you will still need to register with the USDA if you have not received a form in the mail.

Further information on the 2012 Census of Agriculture can be found on the USDA's website . Farmers and ranchers should receive a Census form in the mail by early January. Please note completed forms are due by February 4, 2013.

It is very important all horse farms and ranches participate in the Census so the USDA has accurate information regarding the size and scope of the horse community. For Census purposes, a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products, such as horses, were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year.

If you have any questions please contact the AHC.

[More ...]

Saturday, January 05, 2013

A Closer Look at Flexion Tests in Lameness Examinations - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 11, 2012

Lameness will likely be a problem for all horse owners at some point. It is a sign that a horse has an injury that causes pain when it moves or places weight on the affected leg. If the cause of lameness is apparent, you may be able to administer first aid. If not, confine the horse to prevent further damage to the leg and call the veterinarian if mild lameness persists. Horses with severe lameness need prompt veterinary attention, as they are usually experiencing significant pain.

Most lameness affects the forelimbs, and 90% of problems occur in the knee and below. In the hind limbs, 80% of cases of lameness involve the hock or stifle. Lameness frequently occurs in the feet, so carefully examine the hoof in cases of sudden-onset lameness. Common foot lamenesses include abscesses and sole bruises.

Different breeds and disciplines have different predispositions for lameness...

Read more here:

Friday, January 04, 2013

Study: Barefoot Trimming Shows Positive Effects - Full Article

By Natalie DeFee Mendik, MA • Jan 03, 2013 • Article #31149

A team of researchers at Michigan State University's (MSU) McPhail Equine Performance Center offers hope to horse owners facing underrun heel and flat-footed woes with a 16-month study examining the short-term and long-term effects of a specific barefoot trimming technique on hoof conformation.

In the study, seven previously barefoot horses were trimmed every six weeks with a technique that leveled the hoof to the live sole, lowered the heels, beveled the toe, and rounded the peripheral wall. The sole, frog, and bars were left intact.

"This study has shown that a group of school horses performed well and remained sound when trimmed so that the frog, bars, and sole of the foot were engaged in the weight-bearing function," explained Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR, MRCVS, the Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at MSU. "We believe it is important for these parts of the foot to contact the ground, not only to distribute the weight-bearing forces and to support the coffin bone from below, but also to provide the horse with proprioceptive input from receptor cells in the heels..."

Read more here:

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Dietary Energy for Horses - Full Article

By Dr. Joe Pagan · December 19, 2012

Horses get energy for exercise, growth, and body maintenance from the forage and concentrates they consume. Dietary energy is usually expressed in terms of kilocalories (kcal) or megacalories (Mcal) of digestible energy. Digestible energy (DE) refers to the amount of energy in the diet that is absorbed by the horse. Digestible energy requirements are calculated based on the horse’s maintenance DE requirement plus the additional energy expended during exercise. Basically, DE can be provided to horses by four different dietary energy sources: starch, fat, protein, and fiber.

Starch, a carbohydrate composed of a large number of glucose molecules, is the primary component of cereal grains, making up 50 to 70% of the grain’s dry matter. Of the grains
commonly fed to horses, corn has the highest starch content. Starch is a versatile energy source for the performance horse. Horses break down starch into glucose units in the small intestine, where it is absorbed into the blood. Once in the blood, these glucose units can be oxidized directly to fuel muscle activity or they can be used to make muscle glycogen, liver glycogen, or body fat...

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