Saturday, March 30, 2013

Back Country Horsemen of America Welcomes Pennsylvania Equine Council as Advocacy Partner

March 29, 2013
By Sarah Wynne Jackson
The leading organization in our fight to preserve our right to ride horses on public lands from coast to coast, Back Country Horsemen of America welcomes the Pennsylvania Equine Council as their newest Advocacy Partner. The PEC shares BCHA’s vision of saving trails for horse use through volunteerism, education, honoring good outdoor ethics, and hard work.
Pennsylvania Horse Council
The PEC aims to make horse ownership and participation in equestrian sports easier, safer, more affordable, and more enjoyable in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Specifically, they represent and promote the interests of the entire equine community and industry in the state; provide educational programs that lead to effective management, a higher standard of safety, and opportunities for equestrian activities; enhance communication among all equine enthusiasts; and protect and preserve Pennsylvania’s equine heritage.
The people of the PEC accomplish those goals in a variety of ways. For example, they gathered experts at the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo to educate horse owners on a variety of topics from nutrition to manure management. In 2003 and 2004, the PEC organized two events to bring horse related issues to the attention of state legislators. In addition, the organization has trained numerous fire departments how to deal with the special situation of horses caught in a barn fire. 
Saving Trails for Horse Use in PA
As it is for Back Country Horsemen of America, preserving our right to ride horses on public lands is a big concern for the Pennsylvania Equine Council. Not long ago, the PA Game Commission was considering shutting down access of game lands to users other than hunters. The Allegheny National Forest, 513,000 acres in Northwestern Pennsylvania, proposed in their mandated Long Range Plan to limit equestrian use to only 12% of that land. The 2.4 million acres of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources State Forest and State Park trails are also in jeopardy.
The PEC Trail Committee meets these challenges head-on, using the same principles of partnership, responsibility, and sweat equity that BCHA values. The PEC seeks to build a working relationship with groups that have the same interests and the agencies who manage the over five million acres of land that Pennsylvania riders want to access. They offer educational programs, trainings, and assistance not only to promote good relations on shared and single use trails, but also to support conservation efforts to preserve open space.
In many cases, trail closures are due to lack of funds and/or volunteers for maintenance. The PEC answers with their three-phase Trail Stewardship Program. Phase one entails three-day workshops combining concepts and application of effective multi-use trail design and maintenance, which are attended by equestrians, other user groups, and public land management personnel. In the second phase, trained PEC Trail Stewardship Coordinators teach trail design and maintenance to their local stewardship groups. Packing and Leave No Trace workshops are also offered. Phase three focuses on educating Pennsylvania’s trail riders in outdoor ethics and sound equestrian skills at various saddle club meetings, youth groups, 4-H gatherings, and horse expos.
Taking an Active Role
In addition to joining Back Country Horsemen of America in fighting the good fight to preserve public lands for equestrian use, the Pennsylvania Equine Council teaches new and prospective horse owners about the care and costs associated with horse ownership through the Equine Learning Center. The PEC takes a stand on equine welfare, proactively addressing the issues surrounding the proper care and handling of horses across their state. In an effort to better represent and serve the horse industry in Washington DC, the PEC is involved with the American Horse Council’s Congressional Cavalry Program.
Success, From Coast to Coast
Back Country Horsemen of America welcomes the Pennsylvania Equine Council as their newest Advocacy Partner. BCHA commends the PEC for the hard-won successes they have already accomplished in saving trails for horse use in their state, and looks forward to a future of horseback riding on public lands from sea to shining sea.
About Back Country Horsemen of America
BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at-large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes in regards to the use of horses and stock in wilderness and public lands.
If you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a member, visit their website:, call 888-893-5161, or write PO Box 1367, Graham, WA 98338-1367. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Trailering Tips: Brake Controllers - Are You Using the Right One? - Full Article

22 March 2013

Brake controllers are incredible inventions- they permit us to safely brake our trailers to shorten total braking distance drastically. They allow us to backup without locking brakes like surge breaks do, and they are able to adjust to a variety of terrains.

Brake controller technology has changed drastically in recent years however, and many people find themselves treating all brake controllers the same.

There are 3 main types of brake controllers, Proportional Integrated, Proportional pendulum, and Time Delayed brake controllers.

Time delayed controllers are the traditional brake controller style. They provide power preset by the driver when the brakes are pressed, and over time it increases the braking power. Today, these are only recommended for light duty trailering.

Proportional pendulum brake controllers sense motion and adjust braking dependent on how fast the tow vehicle is stopping. Allowing for smooth comfortable stopping as well as strong stopping power when necessary, these are much more effective for most towing needs than time delayed controllers, and are recommended for horse trailers when a non-oem brake controller is being purchased...

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Iodine: Essential Trace Mineral for Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · March 5, 2013

The requirement for iodine in equine diets is not exactly a hot topic of conversation for most horse owners, but the relative obscurity of this trace mineral does not mean that it is unimportant. Iodine’s one known function is as a vital part of the thyroid hormones thyroxin and triiodothyronine.

Thyroxin and the tissue active form of the hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), serve a multitude of metabolic and regulatory roles. The thyroid hormones affect all of the organ systems, muscle metabolism, the nervous system, respiration, and the cardiovascular system. Thyroxin also controls growth rate, cell division, metabolic rate, and oxidative metabolism. In the athletic horse, perhaps the most important role of thyroxin is control of basal metabolic rate and cellular energy metabolism. Thyroid hormone stimulates respiration in the mitochondria resulting in increased oxygen consumption and energy production.

There has been some interest in the use of supplemental, synthetic thyroxin in the performance horse...

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Much Weight Can a Horse Carry? - Full Article

by Liz Osborn ©

While most healthy horses can easily carry a rider and saddle, they do have their limits. Now researchers have identified a threshold for when a rider is too heavy for a horse to comfortably carry.

The scientists base their findings on detailed measurements taken of eight horses that were ridden while packing anywhere from 15 to 30% of their body weight. The horses ranged in size from 400 to 625 kilograms (885 to 1375 pounds).

When carrying 15 and 20% of their body weight, the horses showed relatively little indication of stress. It's when they were packing weights of 25% that physical signs changed markedly, and these became accentuated under 30% loads...

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Researchers Identify Link between Insulin Resistance, Iron Overload - Full Article

By Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM • Feb 26, 2013 • Article #31418

Insulin resistance (IR), in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin, is becoming increasingly recognized in horses. Although several factors have been linked with IR onset in horses, researchers now speculate that elevated iron (ferritin) levels could be a significant risk factor.

Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) recently performed a study to explore the link between IR and iron overload in captive rhinoceroses; however, the team used horses, which have a similar digestive tract to rhinos, as a model for practical reasons (rhinos aren't the easiest animals to work with). They aimed to determine if an association between high ferritin concentrations (indicative of iron stores in the body) and insulin resistance exists in horses...

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CHRB Issues Warning About Purina Sweet Feed - Full Article

By Blood-Horse Staff
Updated: Saturday, March 23, 2013

In hopes of heading off positive drug tests for zilpaterol, the California Horse Racing Board is warning trainers of sweet feed products containing a molasses base produced by Purina at its Turlock, Calif., mill.

In an advisory issued March 22, the CHRB said it has concluded a number of such products contain zilpaterol, which is prohibited in racing. Zilpaterol is a beta-2 agonist used to promote weight gain in livestock. ARCI classifies zilpaterol as a Class 3 drug with a Category A penalty.

Purina produces a number of sweet feed products under its own name and under the Country Acres brand, according to the CHRB. To date, it reported, all the products were milled at the Turlock plant in February and have included Purina Race Ready, Purina Strategy, Purina Omoline-200, Country Acres Horse Feed, and Country Acres Sweet-12.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Nazeer Sons in America

Rashad Ibn Nazeer - Full Article

Part One: Rashad Ibn Nazeer

Nazeer! The "magical" name in every pedigee of Egyptian horses. In our new series, we want to present his most influential "American" sons. It is the continuation of our popular features of the three "German" Nazeer sons, which seem to be the favourites of many of our readers. Countless mails arrived us asking if we could make such a series about other countries. No problem folks, here we are! Let's start with North America...

Without any doubt, Rashad Ibn Nazeer wasn't the most famous of the Nazeer sons in America. But he was the first who arrived in that country in 1958, along with the first Nazeer daughters, Bint Moniet El Nefous and Bint El Bataa (and two El Sareei daughters). It was the first shipment of Egyptian Arabians to come to the USA since the Babson and W.R. Brown importations in 1932. This shipment encouraged many American breeders to go to Egypt and bring back Arabians - it rekindled the interest in Egyptian Arabians.

Rashad Ibn Nazeer (Nazeer x Yashmak by Sheikh El Arab) was foaled in Egypt in 1955. He was chosen for the late Richard Pritzlaff (owner of Rancho San Ignacio in Sapello/New Mexico) by General Tibor von Pettkoe-Szandtner (the head of El Zahraa at that time), because Nazeer was his favourite stallion. A preference which was shared by Richard Pritzlaff. "When I saw Nazeer in Egypt in 1956 he was led quietly out of his stall, in a halter, walked quietly around, stood in all positions, trotted slowly, then faster, a short hand gallop, stood quietly," he said. "Then the groom rode him out quietly to wait to test the mares for breeding. This scene has stayed forever in my mind."

His son Rashad was 15 hands and 2½ inches in height, fine-boned with elegant action and a dry head. He wasn't a typical representative of the Nazeer blood simply because he wasn't a "pretty" horse. Those who knew him described Rashad's beauty as an "austere" one. His face wasn't comparable to that of an Ansata Ibn Halima but the breeders who saw Rashad in the flesh were impressed by his cat-like movements and his overall elegance. He was indeed a "beautiful athlete", one of those horses who deserved a second look. No eyecatcher at all, but a well-built stallion who excelled under saddle...

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review of Lameness Elimination Study

A study reports about causes of eliminations in endurance...

Of course :-) Everybody knows that. But what we expect from the most reputed equine magazines is to report about the (negative) evolution of the endurance sport. why did the sport move toward speed at all cost? Why more and more flat races? Why so litlle technical skills from the riders? Where has gone the horse welfare protection?


During endurance races of more than 80km ran free sped, half of starters were eliminated at vetgates and it seems that the proportion of elimination is raising with the speed.

this work was looking at the race parameters in order to determine the causes of elimination and propose a way to circumvent these eliminations.

Therefore, several parameters were analyzed: average speed, recovery time, heart rate. 7033 horses were analyzed, would they go to completion or not. During races of 80km and more.

A comparison of completions and non-completions shows that the fastest horses are the most subject to elimination for lameness (sic...) . Horses pulled for metabolic are the ones taking more time for recovery and their heart rate is higher. To reduce the risk of elimination, riders must adapt their speed according to the capabilities of the horse and the quality of their conditioning. Also the recovery time parameter should be considered more actively during vetgate inspection as they are good marquers for the risk of elimination for metabolic reason.

Full text, follow this link : Etude-institut-franais-du-cheval-et-de-l'quitation

New Test Could Detect Equine Lyme Disease Sooner (AAEP 2012) - Full Article

By Nancy S. Loving, DVM • Mar 17, 2013 • Article #31519

Diagnosing Lyme disease in horses is tricky business; not all horses that contract the causative bacterium, Borrellia burgdorferi, from infected ticks develop the debilitating condition, and those that do might not show signs until several months after infection. As with many diseases, early detection can mean swifter resolution, along with better recovery, so Cornell researchers have been searching for reliable ways to detect B. burgdorferi sooner. Bettina Wagner, DVM, PhD, associate professor of immunology at the university’s veterinary school, described a new test she and her colleagues developed. She presented the testing protocol at the 2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ (AAEP) Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in Anaheim, Calif.

In North America, Ixodes ticks are responsible for transmitting B. burgdorferi to susceptible horses, which become incidental, dead-end hosts. Possible clinical signs range from chronic weight loss, low-grade fever, sporadic or shifting leg lameness, muscle tenderness, and arthritis to behavioral changes, neurologic signs, poor performance, and skin hypersensitivity, to name a few...

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Selenium Function in Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 27, 2013

Selenium, an essential nutrient as well as an environmental toxicant, is best known as a component of the selenium-dependent enzyme glutathione peroxidase. As part of the cellular defense system, selenium, like vitamin E, functions much as a biological antioxidant, and indeed there are a number of deficiency symptoms of selenium that may be partially corrected by vitamin E and vice versa.

The antioxidant defense system allows for the trapping of free radicals and superoxides, which cause oxidative damage to lipid membranes. Simply put, glutathione peroxidase converts reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione and destroys peroxides by changing them to harmless alcohols. This conversion of the peroxides prevents them from reacting with lipid membranes and causing loss of membrane integrity.

Exercise causes increased oxygen delivery to the tissues and oxidation of energy substrate resulting in the generation of reactive oxygen byproducts, peroxides...

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How to Prevent Chipped Horse Hooves - Full Article

By Eleanor Kellon, VMD

Learn how to prevent chipped, brittle hooves in your trail horse with these expert guidelines.

Horses with poor hoof quality may need nutritional support as well as regular trimming.

Are your horse’s hooves brittle and chipped? Here, I’ll explain how hoof supplements can help strengthen your horse’s hooves. But first, follow these tips to address any potential underlying issues.

Chip Tip #1: Schedule Regular Trimmings
Proper and timely trimmings are crucial. Letting a barefoot horse go too long between trims increases the risk of chipping and breaking.

Here’s why: As the hoof wall grows, it also extends further forward in relation to the bones of the leg and foot. When the hoof lands, the bones stay in the same location, connected to each other, but the hoof wall expands. This causes stretching and eventually crumbling of the white line, the layer of hoof wall that connects the outer wall to the sole and live tissues of the hoof. It also contributes to chips/flaps developing in the hoof at ground surface.

Another common mistake with barefoot horses is leaving the hoof edge sharp where it contacts the ground, instead of gently rolling the edge of the hoof. This rounding can greatly help to prevent chipping.

Chip Tip #2: Avoid Chemical Drying
Brittle hooves are sometimes blamed on periodic exposure to high moisture, e.g., turning horses out in early morning dew. But the truth is that shouldn’t bother a healthy hoof...

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Trailering Tip: Keep Emergency Lists in Your Trailer

14 March 2013

Want to keep your horses safe if an emergency happens? Often we do what we can to prevent accidents, but we fail to make sure things are in place if an accident happens.

Emergency personnel may not know how to handle your horses. If something were to happen to you, such as hospitalization, injury, or death, it is important to make sure there is some way to let Emergency Personnel know what to do with your horses.

We recommend an emergency numbers list, as well as any other important emergency information. Put a list of emergency numbers in an easy to see location on or in your trailer giving consultation sources to help emergency personnel manage your horses. They won’t be looking for it, so make sure it is somewhere easy to see such as right on the door/window, or right inside the door.

This list should include veterinary contact information for horse injuries, as well as personal contacts who can assist in advising what should be done to or with your horses. If there are other areas of concern such as horse injuries, sicknesses, or medications, it would also be valuable to share this information on this list.

Remember, most emergency personnel may not have any experience with horses, and therefore it is important to advise them as to what they should do and make it easy for them to care for your horses the best they can.

The TowPal Trailer Safety Communication system is available to Kentucky Horse Council members at a discounted price. For more information, visit

Snap, Crack, Pop: Equine Chiropractics Blog - Full Article

13 March 2013
The Winning Edge

Hannah looked like a million bucks when she stepped off the trailer in Lexington from her winter stint in Ocala (a week before the EHV-1 scare, whew!). But when I hopped on her for a hack the next day, my normally well-balanced and forward-moving mare felt short-strided and unwilling to engage her hind end. I immediately called my trainer and asked how soon we could get the vet out to diagnose the problem. (Could she have a soft tissue injury? Painful gastric ulcers? Raging hormones?)

But my trainer had a different idea. Chiropractor-of-the-equine-stars Shirley McQuillan was scheduled to come to the barn in a few days to pop several horses' bodies back into place--why not add Hannah to the list? I've neither been to a chiropractor myself, nor have I actually watched one work on a horse, so this wouldn't normally have come to mind. But hey, maybe it would be cheaper than a vet bill.

Watching Shirley work was rewarding in and of itself. Her hands have graced the spines, hips, and polls of horses the likes of 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide and Reed Kessler's Olympic show jumping mount Cylana. As she went stall to stall down the barn aisle, she would ask each horse's owner what they were feeling under saddle and then migrate toward the area of the animal's body she suspected hurt. You could tell by a horse's reaction--head tossing, ear pinning, teeth gnashing, and even a few kicks--when she hit a sensitive spot. And with each adjustment she made, the horse would immediately relax, lick his lips, and droop his ears...

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Building a Veterinarian-Farrier Relationship (AAEP 2012) - Full Article

By Nancy S. Loving, DVM • Mar 10, 2013 • Article #31478

Veterinarians and farriers must work as a team to manage a horse's athletic soundness and performance. The collaborative dynamic between veterinarian and farrier is important to ensuring a horse remains sound and receives the best possible hoof care. William Moyer, DVM, of Texas A&M University's School of Veterinary Medicine, and Harry Werner, VMD, of Werner Equine in Connecticut, explored this topic during the in-depth Foot from Every Angle seminar at the 2012American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in Anaheim, Calif.

Moyer brought to the discussion nearly 40 years of practical veterinary experience along with a background in shoeing prior to veterinary school; similarly, Werner has decades of practical experience in caring for horse feet. Werner suggested, "A partnership with a farrier is important to the health and welfare of the horse, particularly if a veterinarian doesn't possess the necessary skill set to deliver competent hoof care." In addition, he remarked that the high incidence of human orthopedic injuries associated with farrier work underscores the importance of hiring a farrier who is also well-versed in this skill set...

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back to Barefoot - Full Article

By Natalie DeFee Mendik, MA • Dec 06, 2012 • Article #31022

Going barefoot can benefit hoof health, but sondier management realities and athletic circumstances before pulling those shoes.

With today's hectic lifestyle, it's no wonder many people pursue a return to a more natural state--from the food they eat to the products they purchase. This desire for simplicity helps account for the back-to-barefoot trend many horse owners embrace, yet a one-size-fits-all approach rarely applies to hoof care. So what are the pros and cons of barefoot? How should owners best manage their barefoot charges? Let's take a look at the ins and outs of going sans shoes.

To Shoe or Not to Shoe?

To answer this question, we'll start by looking at how structures within the hoof are impacted. When the hoof contacts nonsandy ground, the footing that packs into the hoof (known as the dirt plug) stimulates the frog and sole and helps dissipate energy produced by the hoof's impact with the ground, says Robert Bowker, VMD, PhD, a professor in Michigan State University's Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation...

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Iron: An Important Trace Mineral in Equine Diets - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 21, 2013

Horses need calcium, phosphorus, and a number of other minerals in their diets. Trace minerals are those that are required in smaller amounts than the major minerals. Though the quantities are not large, these trace minerals play vital roles in the health and development of horses. Many minerals are supplied in forage (grass and hay) or grain products, and others may be added in supplements that supply one or more specific nutrients. In order to get the best performance from their horses,
owners and trainers may begin by adding one or two nutritional supplements, including others from time to time as they hear of new products and the athletic successes they seem to guarantee. In some cases, high levels of some minerals are not only unnecessary, but can actually be harmful to the horse.

Iron is usually, at least from the standpoint of the layman, the first trace mineral that is considered in terms of supplementation. A survey conducted at a California race track indicated that a large majority of trainers had their horses on some type of iron supplement. This concern with iron stems from the well-known function of iron as part of the heme molecule. This is but one of the important functions of iron, but is the basis of the interest in iron for the performance horse...

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Equine Nutrition Course Concludes

March 7 2013

The free on-line nutrition course offered by The University of Edinburgh has concluded.

Led by Dr Jo-Anne Murray, a senior lecture in animal nutrition at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, and head of the Vet School's Equine Science Programme, the 5-week course was attended by some 23,000 students.

The course covered anatomy and physiology and nutrient digestion of the equine gastrointestinal tract, nutrient sources and requirements for horses and ponies, and nutrition requirements and feed management for equines in various states of work and weight.

In addition to lectures delivered by video, lecture slides, 3D digestion guides on video, and revision quizzes, the instructors provided week-end summaries by chat video, and discussion forums provided lively talks and ideas.

Week-end quizzes and a final assessment quiz evaluated students' acquired knowledge. A certificate of completion will be given to those who successfully completed the course and passed the tests.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hoof Angles' Impact on Lameness Examined - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre • Mar 06, 2013 • Article #31468

Get out your protractors: New research shows that the various angles of the outer and inner hoof are directly linked to various kinds of lameness, and knowing the angles could help determine which kind of lameness a horse has or is likely to get.

"In our study, we found that there was a significant association between some conformation parameters (of the hoof) and certain lesions or injuries," said Renate Weller, DVM, PhD, MSc, Vet Ed, MRCVS, a senior lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire, U.K.

Weller's emphasized the importance of the hoof conformation you can't see: Internal angles are equally as important, if not more, as external angles in evaluating lameness or the potential for lameness, Weller said...

Read more here:

Progress Report on Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) - Full Article

By AAEP Equine Research Coordination Group • Mar 07, 2013 • Article #31476

Equine herpesvirus-1, also known as EHV-1, has been making headlines for the past few years. In 2011, some horses that had attended the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championship in Ogden, Utah, began showing neurologic signs after leaving the event. This particular outbreak affected the equine industry in multiple states, and lead to fatalities in some horses that developed the neurologic form of EHV-1, called equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM).

EHV-1 is highly contagious to other horses and can cause respiratory disease primarily in juvenile horses, such as nasal discharge, fever and coughing; infection can also result in abortion and neonatal death. The most concerning manifestations of EHV-1 infection are neurologic signs, such as a wobbly gait caused by lack of coordination of the limbs, with the hind limbs often more severely affected, as well as urinary incontinence. These appear when the virus causes damage to blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord. Though EHM is not new, more outbreaks are being recognized with more horses seeming to be affected in each outbreak, causing concern among many equine owners.

EHV-1 can affect horses of all breeds and ages and is spread via direct contact (nose-to-nose contact), indirect contact (from shared water buckets or tack, as well as from people's hands), and through the air (aerosolized transmission)...

Read more here:

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Oats for Horses: What’s Old, What’s New - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 22, 2013

One of the most traditional feed grains for horses is oats. Because oats contain sufficient protein, calcium, and phosphorus to meet the requirements of mature horses, this grain has historically been an important ingredient in feeds for all types of equines. In fact, at one time oats made up almost one-third of all equine feed consumed.

Oats have a number of qualities that make them appealing to horses, owners, and feed manufacturers. They are extremely palatable to horses and are easy to chew, even for older equines whose teeth may not be in perfect condition. They are more easily digested in comparison with heavier whole grains like wheat and corn. Oats are somewhat less susceptible to mold than corn or wheat, and unprocessed oats retain their quality well when properly stored. Shelf life is reduced after oats have been processed.

Starch content of oats ranges from 43 to 61%, averaging around 53%. This starch is readily digested in the small intestine, reducing the risk of digestive upset caused by undigested starch from other feeds that may spill over into the hindgut and impact pH balance. Thus, oats have developed a reputation as a “safe” grain for horses...

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Back Country Horsemen Receive Presidential Volunteer Service Award

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2013
Contact: Peg Greiwe
Back Country Horsemen of America
by Sarah Wynne Jackson
As the leading organization in our battle to preserve our right to ride horses on public lands, Back Country Horsemen of America knows the fight is futile unless there are trails to ride. That’s why they spend thousands of hours each year cleaning, maintaining, and building trails on public lands across the country.
Recently, the Pecos Chapter of the New Mexico Back Country Horsemen received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award signed by President Barack Obama. In 2011, these hardworking folks volunteered over 1,900 hours in the Pecos Wilderness and on the east side of the Manzanos Mountains, in cooperation with the Santa Fe Forest and Cibola National Forest Service. The US Forest Service nominated the Pecos Chapter to show their gratitude for all the hard work and hours the group contributes, especially during these times of government budget cuts.
The Pecos Chapter BCH
Formed in 1991, the Pecos Chapter is the original and oldest Back Country Horsemen chapter in New Mexico. Each year, they pack equipment and supplies into their local public lands on their horses, mules, and donkeys. The strength and sweat of these folks goes to clearing deadfall and downed trees along trails. With their skills and know-how, they perform appropriate trail maintenance, including diverting water flow from snowmelt and rains to control erosion. This work enables hikers, bikers, and equestrians alike to more easily and safely navigate the beautiful mountains of New Mexico.
The Pecos Wilderness comprises the extreme southern extent of the Rocky Mountains. Deep and narrow canyons, long and broad mesa tops, heavily forested slopes, and rugged ridges with peaks above timberline characterize this breathtaking landscape. The Manzanos Mountains, named for the ancient non-native manzano apple trees discovered there, vary in elevation from about 6,000 feet to 10,098 feet. The steep and rugged terrain is cut with canyons and marked with rock outcroppings. Thousands of raptors migrate along the Manzanos in spring and fall as they make their way between Canada and Mexico.
In addition to trail work, the Pecos Chapter BCH actively supports other volunteer groups, such as Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, and provides pack support by hauling in tools and camping supplies for Outdoors and Wilderness Volunteers. They also help the US Forest Service maintain historical landmarks like Beatty’s Cabin in the Pecos Wilderness and the facilities at Panchuela, a retired 1930’s Ranger Station.
Recognizing Excellence
Created by President George W. Bush in 2002, the President’s Volunteer Service Award rewards commitment to community service through presidential recognition. With emotions running high after the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush saw the need to renew interest in volunteering. An initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Points of Light Institute, this award program honors the Americans who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime.
Our country has a long and proud tradition of volunteer service. Recognizing and honoring volunteers sets a standard for service, encourages a sustained commitment to civic participation, and inspires others to make service a central part of their lives.
The Value of Volunteering
Back Country Horsemen of America understands the value of volunteering because, for them, it is a lifestyle. Being a volunteer means having the can-do attitude that built this country. It means seeing a problem and being the solution, rather than expecting others to make it happen. It means taking responsibility for the condition of our world today and protecting it for future generations.
Volunteering earns the respect of state and national agencies, other trail user organizations, environmental groups, and the general public in a way that nothing else can. Donating time, effort, and sweat alongside folks from other organizations builds camaraderie, an appreciation for others’ ideals, and mutually beneficial relationships that also benefit our public lands.
Together with President Barack Obama, Back Country Horsemen of America commends the Pecos Chapter of the New Mexico Back Country Horsemen for their continued commitment to volunteerism. They set an example to horsemen across the country, showing how we can keep our favorite trails free of downed trees, washouts, and “No Horses” signs.
About Back Country Horsemen of America
BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at-large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes in regards to the use of horses and stock in wilderness and public lands.
If you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a member, visit their website:, call 888-893-5161, or write PO Box 1367, Graham, WA 98338-1367. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!

Don't Ignore Drug-Resistant Equine Parasites - Full Article

By Edited Press Release • Mar 02, 2013 • Article #31447

In the world of human medicine, you've likely heard about concerns of bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. It works like this: Each time a person takes an antibiotic, sensitive bacteria are killed. Resistant germs, however, are left to grow and multiply, ultimately creating a population of "supergerms" that don't respond to traditional antibiotics.

What's that got to do with horses and parasites? Well, a similar theory applies. Over the years, parasites have developed resistance to certain commonly used anthelmintic classes. What does that mean for horse owners? Their horses could have parasites that are resistant to some of the deworming products owners are currently using.

So not only could owners be wasting money on products that are no longer effective in controlling some parasites, but they could also be putting their horse's health at risk and helping create bigger populations of resistant parasites...

Read more here:

Monday, March 04, 2013

Animal Welfare Groups, New Mexico Leaders Express Great Disappointment in USDA’s Decision to Process Application for Horse Slaughter Plant Inspections

March 1 2013


WASHINGTON (March 1, 2013) – The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Front Range Equine Rescue and Animal Protection of New Mexico strongly criticized a decision by the Obama administration to process an application for inspecting horse slaughter at a New Mexico facility on the grounds that killing horses for human consumption is inhumane and creates a serious health risk to consumers.

If the application is approved, Valley Meat Company LLC will be the first facility in the U.S. to slaughter horses for human consumption since 2007, when the few remaining plants closed after Congress chose to eliminate funding for horse meat inspections. This surprising move toward reopening a horse slaughter plant plays out against a scandal unfolding in the European Union, where consumers have been alarmed by the discovery in prepared food products of horse meat mislabeled as beef. The federal government could potentially spend its resources to open new horse slaughter plants at a time when the sequestration is looming and spending cuts could affect food safety inspections for U.S. meat products.

Legitimate concerns about the health risks associated with consuming the meat of horses that are often treated with drugs that are prohibited for use in animals slaughtered for food, as well as the discovery of these drugs in horse meat exported from Canada and Mexico, have prompted The HSUS and Humane Society International to call for a moratorium on the sale in the EU of the meat of horses of U.S. origin.

“Slaughtering horses for human consumption is archaic, inhumane, and unsafe, given the medicine chest of drugs often administered to horses and prohibited for human consumption,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “It is astonishing that we may see the resumption of horse slaughter on U.S. soil while Europe is still reeling from a horse meat scandal. Have we not learned anything about the industry’s deception in Europe and the turmoil it has caused?”

“If the USDA moves forward with allowing the cruel and toxic horse slaughter industry to enter our country, this administration is leading our nation in precisely the wrong direction,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.  “Recent polling shows that 80 percent of the American public overwhelmingly opposes the slaughtering of horses for human consumption, and given the current firestorm of concern and outrage over horse meat entering the food supply in Europe, it is time for Congress to prevent even one more American horse from suffering this terrible fate and stop horse slaughter in the U.S. once and for all.”

“The slaughter of American horses for meat is an unnecessary and tragic end for these icons of our nation’s history,” said Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue. “American horses will suffer cruel deaths in New Mexico and will continue to be slaughtered abroad. Horse slaughter also brings a potentially toxic environmental threat to the state, with horses’ lives ending with a terrifying death, to be turned into an expensive and possibly toxic dinner.”

“New Mexicans have repeatedly rejected the idea of a horse slaughter plant in our state,” said Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico. “Horses are a valuable part of our heritage, and we’re determined to develop a robust safety net for them, not condemn them to slaughter.”

“I still oppose the opening of a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico, and I am concerned about the impact it would have on local consumers,” said New Mexico’s Attorney General, Gary K. King. “The horse meat scandal in Europe has raised concerns about human health risks associated with consuming the meat of U.S. horses. Many horses may have been treated with drugs prohibited by U.S. and European regulations from ever being administered to animals that enter the food chain. A horse slaughtering plant in our state that produces meat for human consumption is still a bad idea.”

“As a veterinarian, natural resource manager, and someone who has had the great good fortune to grow up with and around horses, I am very concerned about their health and safety. If a horse is hurt, terminally ill, or has no chance to find a loving home, then humane euthanasia is an important option,” said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, D.V.M. “I am told the United States Department of Agriculture is considering the proposal to open a horse slaughtering facility in our state. Since we do not have enough unwanted horses in New Mexico to make this economically viable, it means horses would be trucked in from across the nation. We do not have the safeguards and oversight in place to ensure their humane handling, transport, and euthanasia. New Mexico can do much better by these intelligent and gentle creatures and I strongly oppose this ill-conceived proposal.”

Horses are not raised for slaughter in the U.S. and are often treated with a variety of drugs that are prohibited for use in animals slaughtered for human consumption. There is no system in the U.S. to track medications given to horses to ensure that horse meat is safe for human consumption. The HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have petitioned the USDA and Food and Drug Administration to declare American horse meat unfit for human consumption because of this food safety issue. The FDA and USDA have not yet responded to the petitions.

The HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have already announced their intention to file suit if USDA approves Valley Meat’s application.

When Valley Meat sued the USDA to speed up the processing of its application to slaughter horses for human consumption, groups in the U.S. beef industry intervened in support of Valley Meat. With beef sales waning in Europe in the wake of the horse meat scandal, it is surprising that beef producers are willing to risk consumer confidence in the entire U.S. meat industry just to prop up a marginalized horse slaughter trade.

This decision by USDA adds further to the burden on U.S. taxpayers – already apprehensive under the looming threat of spending cuts to meat inspection programs as a result of sequestration – who will be forced to fund inspections at the horse slaughter facility even though Americans do not consume horse meat and oppose the slaughter of American horses. The HSUS, ASPCA, FRER and APNM urge Congress to reintroduce and swiftly pass legislation to outlaw horse slaughter in the U.S. and ban the export of live horses across our borders to be slaughtered.

Media Contacts: 

HSUS - Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491,

ASPCA - Rebecca Goldrick, 646-291-4582,

FRER - Hilary Wood, 719-481-1490,

APNM - Elisabeth Jennings, 505-265-2322,

The Best Of Both Worlds - A Hoof Protection Device That Still Allows The Hoof To Function As A Bare Hoof

Easycareinc Blog - Full Article

Monday, March 4, 2013 by Garrett Ford

I personally believe in the barefoot horse and marvel at what the equine hoof can do. The equine hoof is an amazing structure that expands and contracts under load, dissipates energy, and aids in blood flow. Although I believe that a horse should be barefoot whenever possible, I also believe that horses need hoof protection as distance traveled increases, terrain becomes more abrasive, and the loads carried become greater. We ask unnatural things from our equine partners, far beyond what the bare unprotected hoof can endure.

Hoof boots are a wonderful invention that can be used on a temporary basis when the hoof needs protection. The beauty of hoof boots is that the hoof is bare and functioning as nature intended the large majority of the time. But what about a protection device that can be left on the horse for longer periods of time that still allows natural function? Can a hoof be fitted with a protection device that still allows the hoof to expand and contract, allows the heel to spread, allows the heel to move up and down independently, and also provides support to the frog and heel?...

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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Laboratory Advances Improve Equine Doping Testing - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
Feb 27, 2013 Article #31432

Metabolomics and transcriptomics. Big words for finding really tiny quantities of really tiny substances in really big animals--and both enormously useful. The products of cutting-edge research, these high-tech techniques are on the verge of becoming the very latest in equine drug screening at high level events.

Using metabolomics and/or transcriptomics, laboratory analysts can get a sort of "history" of drugs that have been in a horse's body--even if they've been completely eliminated already, according to Yves Bonnaire, PhD, director of France's national horse racing industry laboratory (reference laboratory for the Fédération Equestre Internationale [FEI]). Bonnaire is also a member of the advisory council on prohibited substances for the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and was a guest lecturer at the FEI NSAIDs congress in 2010.

Such "history" is not meant for heavy-duty policing of therapeutic drugs used during events; rather, it is aimed at detecting new doping agents that continue to cause effects on the horse even when none of the drug is left in the animal's body...

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Friday, March 01, 2013

Maggot wound therapy - Full Article

Could maggots be the way forward for wound healing? Clinicians in France and Mali have been using maggot debridement therapy (MDT) to manage chronic wounds. They presented their findings at the 2012 Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Over a four year period, Dr Olivier Lepage and colleagues treated forty-one cases (35 horses, 4 donkeys, 2 ponies ) in the Equine Clinic at the veterinary campus of Lyon (France) and in the SPANA veterinary centre, Barnako (Mali).

The maggots used were sterile larvae of Lucilia sericata (common green bottle fly maggots), which have been used in human medicine to clean long-standing, infected or necrotic wounds. Maggots digest fibrin and necrotic tissue, along with bacteria, and secrete proteolytic enzymes and antimicrobial agents into the wound.

Interestingly these are the same species of fly larvae that are the most common cause of fly strike in rabbits and sheep. In horses (and humans) it appears that healthy tissue is able to inactivate the proteolytic enzymes so that only diseased tissue is digested. In contrast, sheep and rabbits can not inactivate the enzymes...

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