Friday, May 31, 2013

On Owning Horses - Jenni Smith

Equisearch blogs - Full Story

May 22, 2013

There are places in my heart occupied by a handful of horses that belong to others, but I had not owned a horse since my wonderful childhood steed, Diamond Lil’.

Last spring, the owner of one of those horses of my heart – probably the dearest – called to ask if I wanted to take her on.

Tosca is a 15 year old purebred Arabian mare. She was my project horse at a barn full of endurance prospects and, with a little help from people with better understanding, I started her when she was four. We went on to be a fairly inseparable pair for about four years. When I moved on to riding other horses for other people, I missed her sorely and so I kept in touch with her owners and let them know that if ever they were looking for a home for her they should think of me first.

Tosca is a pretty decent endurance horse – not particularly speedy but dependable and she and I finished Tevis twice, coming 20th on the second trip. But she has a ‘broken’ leg. Some sort of catastrophic accident she had when she was a crazy two-year-old in pasture and out of sight and mind left her with a significant chip of bone – detached from who knows where in her leg – fused to the outside of her fetlock on one hind foot. When interested buyers from Japan had pre-purchase x-rays done, it was discovered and her fate was cemented – never to be successfully sold for endurance...

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

6 Key Horse-Hunting Questions - Full Article

By Heidi Melocco with Julie Goodnight

Looking for a new trail horse? Here are six key questions to ask the owner from top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight.

When you’re hunting for a new equine trail partner, look for an experienced horse with a mellow, kind, forgiving attitude. For trail riding, also look for a horse that’s been out and about, hauled around a lot, and will enjoy the ride with you.

When you visit a prospect, ask the following questions before you mount up—and before you buy.

(For Julie Goodnight’s 10 steps to horse-buying success, see Ask Julie Goodnight, The Trail Rider, May ’13.)

1. Why is the horse for sale? You’ll see the warning glances if there has been an issue or training problem with the horse. There are lots of legitimate reasons to be selling a good horse, but the answer to this question can possibly throw up some red flags. Trust your intuition...

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Consider Trotting Speed when Diagnosing Subtle Lameness - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
May 21, 2013

Most horse owners are familiar with a typical lameness exam: The veterinarian observes the horse trotting briskly in a straight line, watching for signs of uneven movement. But if the patient is harboring a mild lameness, that brisk trot could be masking clinical signs, according to British researchers, whose recent study results indicate that evaluating milder forms of lameness in a straight-line trot could be more accurate when the handler keeps the speed down...

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Veterinarian Reviews the Barefoot Concept - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
May 20, 2013

Horsemen around the world continue to debate whether horses should wear shoes or be barefoot. "This controversy has been going on for years and is not likely to be resolved any time in the near future," said Debra Taylor, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Nonetheless, she noted, more people seem to be jumping on the barefoot bandwagon. She discussed this trend during a presentation at the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Taylor reminded attendees that any management or treatment plan can be implemented correctly or incorrectly—thus, either doing good or causing harm...

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Much Weight Can Horses Comfortably Carry? - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
May 17, 2013

Horses might be strong, but the riders horses carry can be heavy—sometimes too heavy for the horse to carry comfortably. But new Japanese research has revealed a reliable method for ensuring our horses aren’t getting overloaded.

By measuring gait symmetry—the evenness of a horse’s left steps to its right during various gaits—scientists are able to gather significant information about loading, or the weight horses can carry on their backs. Gaits that get sufficiently out of sync, they say, are a strong indicator of how much is too much...

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Controlled Substance Act Making it Illegal for Mobile Vets to Carry Euthanasia Solution

April 16, 2013 by Dr Dan · 8 Comments

I do not usually become involved in the legal process but this one is important. The Controlled Substance Act is making it illegal for mobile veterinarians to carry controlled substances on their trucks, such as euthanasia solution. If your horse is suffering and the worst is that it needs to be euthanized, your vet will not be allowed to carry the drugs on the truck to provide humane euthanasia by injection.

What an oops!! It is unwitting consequence of the Controlled Substance Act that was completely overlooked. The DEA is already starting to enforce the law with veterinarians. SO a Bill # H.R.1528 is being sponsored “to amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow a veterinarian to transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice outside of the registered location.” This will legally allow veterinarians to carry controlled substances so that horses and other animals can be humanely euthanized when necessary at the farm.

To support this new bill please go to - Help Ensure that Veterinarians Can Provide Complete Care to Their Animal Patients

A Facebook friend, horse owner and lawyer, Laura McFarland-Taylor, changed her action alert to be more in line with a horse owner to read as such -

I am writing as not only a horse owner that regularly uses ambulatory veterinary services, but more importantly as a constituent, to urge you to cosponsor the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1528).

Veterinarians treat multiple species of animals in a variety of settings. Unfortunately, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) makes it illegal for veterinarians to take and use controlled substances outside of the locations where they are registered, often their clinics or homes. This means that it is illegal for veterinarians to carry and use vital medications for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia on farms, in house calls, in veterinary mobile clinics, or ambulatory response situations.

Veterinarians must be able to legally carry and use controlled substances for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, to safeguard public safety and to protect the nation’s food supply.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which enforces the law, has informed organized veterinary medicine that without a statutory change, veterinarians are in violation of the CSA and cannot legally provide complete veterinary care. The DEA has already notified some veterinarians in California and Washington State that they are in violation of this law.

The practice of veterinary medicine requires veterinarians to be able to treat their animal patients in a variety of settings, like rural areas for the care of large animals where it is often not feasible, practical or possible for owners to bring livestock (i.e., cows, pigs, horses, sheep, and goats) into a veterinary hospital or clinic;

Veterinarians also offer house call services or mobile clinics or conduct research and disease control activities in the field away from the veterinarian’s principal place of business.

Veterinarians also respond to emergency situations where injured animals must be cared for onsite such as the transfer of dangerous wildlife (e.g. bears, cougars) or the rescue of trapped wildlife (e.g. deer trapped in a fence).

I am asking you to support the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1528)because veterinarians need to legally transport controlled substances to the locations of the animal patients, not only for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, but for public safety.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Ashley Morgan, at the American Veterinary Medical Association should you need additional information. Dr. Morgan is available at 202-289-3210 or

Thank you for your support in this bill!

The Benefit of Poultices During the Show Season - Full Article

By Uckele Health and Nutrition
Jun 21, 2011

During the competition season horses are generally worked harder, stalled more frequently, and are transported more often. This combination can generate a greater amount of stress on the horse's muscles and connective tissue. Jack Grogan, CN, chief science officer at Uckele Health & Nutrition, relays that it is vitally important that the strong, yet delicate leg muscles and connective tissue be protected and cared for day in and day out, especially during show season.

"As a result of the increased work load, it is very common for muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue to be overworked or strained, not necessarily to the point of injury, but as a normal consequence of the extra training and performance," he explains...

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Call Issued for Major Changes in Racehorse Drug Policy - Full Article

By Tom LaMarra
May 03, 2013

Federal intervention is the only way horse racing can resolve issues surrounding equine medication use, drug testing, and sufficient investigatory programs, an attorney said May 2 during the University of Kentucky Equine Law Conference at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington.

Ned Bonnie, also a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) with experience in racing and the horse show world, indicated he was involved in preparation of legislation that would provide federal regulation of horse racing in regard to medication and drug testing. His talk came a day after several members Congress announced plans to introduce a bill the week of May 5.

Bonnie said that about 30 years ago he lobbied federal lawmakers not to get involved because the industry can regulate itself. He said the industry's track record has proved him wrong, yet most industry groups oppose involvement by the federal government...

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

How Do Exercise and Diet Affect Digestibility of Forage and Grain in Horses? - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · April 24, 2013

The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of 8 km daily trotting and galloping exercise on the digestibility and rate of passage of either an all-forage or a mixed forage/grain ration in trained Thoroughbred horses.

Horses were fed with an all-forage diet (alfalfa cubes and alfalfa-grass hay; FORAGE) or a mixture of forage and grain (grain, alfalfa cubes, and alfalfa-grass hay; MIXED).

Dry matter and nonstructural carbohydrate digestibility of the MIXED diet were significantly higher than those of the FORAGE diet. ADF, NDF, and hemicellulose were significantly higher in the FORAGE diet. Exercise resulted in a small but significant decrease in dry matter digestibility...

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No Room for Snobbery - Full Article

As a ride manager I am often asked many questions about the Shine and Shine Endurance Rides. How hard is the trail, how is it marked, who are the vets? Recently, though, I received a question that made me sad. A potential entrant asked if we were nice to LD riders. She wanted to bring her granddaughter for her first endurance ride and wanted to make sure the granddaughter would be treated nicely. The grandmother had been to some other rides where she felt the LD riders were looked down on, sneered at and made to feel unwelcome, as though they were not “real distance riders”.

At most endurance rides these days, LD riders make up half the total number of riders...

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Selenium Status' Impact on Equine Antioxidant Factors - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
May 12, 2013

How important is the micromineral selenium to antioxidant activity in horses? A University of Kentucky (UK) research team recently set out to find out. The team evaluated selenium status' impact on antioxidant factors in mature horses.

Selenium (Se) plays an integral role in many of the equine body's functions, including production of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant that's vital in preventing and repairing oxidative damage to cells. In horses residing and grazing in selenium-deficient geographic areas (including the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes, and New England regions of the United States), this antioxidant capacity could be compromised if owners don't provide selenium supplementation. Impaired immunity, elevated blood levels of muscle enzymes, and tying up have all been reported in horses with selenium deficiencies...

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Soaking Hay: How Much Sugar is Actually Removed? - Full Article

By Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM
Nov 30, 2011

Grasses and hays high in water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) can spell disaster for horses with laminitis or insulin resistance (IR). Some veterinarians and nutritionists suggest soaking hay to reduce the amount of WSC in the hay (because water-soluble means these simple sugars dissolve in water), but how much WSC content does soaking actually reduce? According to one team of researchers, it varies depending on how long the hay is submerged.

High WSC levels markedly affect blood-insulin responses in horses and often cause an exaggerated response in laminitic or IR horses. Exaggerated insulin responses can lead to potentially life-threatening bouts of laminitis...

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Monday, May 13, 2013

New Method for Scoring Sweat Losses in Horses Proposed - Full Article

By Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM
May 13, 2013

Warm summer weather is just around the corner, which means many owners will be hosing sweaty horses after exercise on a regular basis. But how much sweat are you rinsing down the drain after each ride? The National Research Council and German Society for Nutrition Physiology's current estimation methods depend on the amount of work the horse performs, but a group of researchers from Germany and the United Kingdom have proposed a new scoring system to measure sweat loss in exercised horses.

“We’ve performed a number of studies on the effects of sodium chloride on the acid base and mineral status in sport horses, and as a result, we are aware of the high importance of exact data on electrolyte supply and, thus, on sweat losses,” relayed Annette Zeyner, a professor of animal nutrition at Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany...

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Can Horses Recognize People and Voices? - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
May 09, 2013

Are horses really capable of recognizing their owners and their voices? Study results from a team of British behavior researchers suggest that horses really do appear to be capable of matching voices to faces when it comes to the humans they know.

“We already know that horses can discriminate between different human faces and between familiar and unfamiliar people, but this is the first time we have shown that they can associate the right voices with the right people,” said Leanne Proops, PhD, of the Mammal Vocal Communication and Cognition Research group at the University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom...

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Normal vs. Healthy Hooves Blog - Full Article

8 May 2013

Far too often when discussing a horse’s foot, we use the word "normal" as a reference point to determine its state of health. But what is the "normal" we are comparing it to? Normal refers to a single foot on a specific horse, nothing more or less, because all feet are not born equal. Let’s throw out the term normal and instead talk about "healthy." Whether a foot’s shape, angles, and symmetry match a textbook ideal has little bearing on whether that foot is healthy. In fact, taking a foot that deviates from one’s concept of normal and forcing it to meet those standards frequently causes far more harm than good.

Healthy feet can be remarkably different in many ways, but they do share some common features. For instance, a healthy foot can replace sole and horn as required, regardless of whether it is shod or barefoot. The healthy hoof also can maintain appropriate palmar/plantar angle (the angle the wings of the coffin bone make with the ground) with only subtle farrier intervention; maintains adequate medial/lateral (inner/outer) balance relative to the articular (joint) surface of the coffin and pastern joint; sustains digital cushion mass, which is responsible for shock absorption; and helps maintain healthy heel tubules (which grow downward from the coronary band and provide strength and resistance, protecting them from excessive loading and inevitable crushed heel syndrome)...

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Thermography Aids in Saddle Fit Evaluations - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
May 08, 2013

Over the past several years, researchers worldwide have stressed the importance of having a properly fitting saddle. But how to recognize a poor saddle fit is still a subject of concern. Recently, Brazilian researchers explored how the use of thermography (examining a horse through a pictorial representation of skin temperature) can help reveal saddle fit problems—particularly with jumping saddles.

“A correctly fitting saddle would allow the horse and the rider to perform at their best,” said Karin Erica Brass, DVM, PhD, of the department of large animal clinics at the Federal University of Santa Maria. “Thermography, when used correctly, can reveal high-pressure areas between the horse and the saddle which might be causing the horse pain and reducing its performance.”

Brass’ master’s student, Tiago Arruda, DVM, MSc, and associate researchers carried out thermographic readings of 129 jumping horses and the 62 saddles that were used on those horses. Many of the saddles were shared between horses, she said...

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Feeding Endurance Horses Before the Race - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · April 23, 2013

Endurance horses that perform in hot environments may become dehydrated because of large sweat losses that can be as high as 8 to 9% of body weight during long-term exercise. Because large sweat losses may affect the performance or health of the horse, strategies that assist the horse in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance during endurance exercise may be beneficial.

Absorption of water from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract into the extracellular fluid may be important in exercising horses, and it has been suggested that the composition of the diet consumed prior to competition may affect the amount of water available in the GI tract during competition...

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Back Country Horsemen of America Remembers Rebuilding the Big Salmon Creek Bridge

May 6, 2013
Contact: Peg Greiwe
Back Country Horsemen of America
Back Country Horsemen of America Remembers Rebuilding the Big Salmon Creek Bridge
by Sarah Wynne Jackson
Since this is Back Country Horsemen of America’s 40th year as the primary organization protecting our right to ride horses on public lands, they find themselves reminiscing about the projects that helped define who they are and what they can accomplish. The 1977 rebuilding of the Big Salmon Creek Bridge in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is one of those projects.
Taking a Stand
Formed in January, 1973, in Montana, Back Country Horsemen of America (then called Back Country Horsemen of the Flathead) immediately took an active role in keeping horses on trails. They learned that the US Forest Service was making decisions in the Bob Marshall Wilderness that would have drastically curtailed horse use.
One of those decisions included the removal of the Big Salmon Creek Bridge, condemned as unsafe by the managers of the Flathead National Forest. BCH advocated reconstruction rather than demolition and sponsored a senatorial public meeting in Missoula. Supported by 26 other organizations, the US Forest Service reversed its decision.
Under the Microscope
As people who believe in being part of the solution, Back Country Horsemen eagerly took on the next challenge: rebuilding the 143 foot long bridge (with a 112 foot span) located 20 miles into the wilderness. To many, the project seemed overwhelming, considering the sheer size of the bridge, the amount of materials required, and the logistics of building something so large without conveniences like motorized vehicles and electricity.
The world was watching. Would this small, newly formed organization have the knowledge, skill, manpower, and horsepower to complete the project safely and with minimum impact on the land? 
A Necessary Task
In the summer of 1977, BCHA founder Ken Ausk led the 36 horsemen and -women assisting Flathead National Forest in rebuilding the bridge. They packed and hauled nine-foot-long bridge planks, cement, tools, and other materials from the trailhead at Meadow Creek to Salmon Forks in two stages.
This bridge wasn’t just a way for people to avoid getting their feet wet. A US Forest Service report showed this as the most dangerous stream crossing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, especially during the spring. The reconstructed bridge opened up many acres of country to early season use, which reduced the impact on the rest of the wilderness.
A Job Done Right
This project told the world that Back Country Horsemen get the job done and they get it done right. Rebuilding the Big Salmon Creek Bridge was one of the largest volunteer projects ever undertaken by BCHA in a single year. It entailed 1,300 man hours and 1,800 horse hours for the packing of 13,000 pounds of materials 20 miles from the trail head to the job site. The project was also completed without a single accident or injury.
This project was a defining moment for the young organization, establishing Back Country Horsemen of America as a group that has a true understanding of the high value of our limited natural resources, and is willing to put their own muscle and sweat into preserving them.
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!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Ten Weeks in the EasyShoe - An EasyShoe Update

Easycare Blog - Full Article

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by Garrett Ford

Excitement for the EasyShoe has been overwhelming. Testing is validating our theories that this flexible device moves with the hoof and allows the heel to flex both vertically and horizontally. The first horse to wear them in a 50-mile race not only won the race but also received the best condition award. Another endurance/trail horse in Colorado spent ten weeks in the EasyShoe with no ill effects to the hoof. Ernest Woodward of the So-Cal Equine Podiatry Center, and the May 2013 EasyCare Dealer of the Month, is seeing positive results on a dressage horse...

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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Don't Be Negative

Easycare Blog - Full Article

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by Guest HCP

We all know that being negative is considered a bad thing, and it's no different for the horse's hoof!

A negative palmar (front), or negative plantar (hind), angle in the hoof refers to the orientation of the coffin bone in the hoof. In a negative angled hoof, the wings of the coffin bone (called the palmar processes) are lower than the front of the coffin bone. A healthy hoof alignment within the capsule is considered to be a couple to several degrees positive. The range of normal can depend on the horse's individual conformation and breed. While there are proponents of a ground parallel coffin bone when the horse is at rest/standing on flat ground, it is generally accepted that the healthiest and soundest feet are those with a positive angle (this is my preference). As I am always repeating, the rear most area of the hoof is meant to be landed upon, and under full load it will dip downward as nature intended. If the hoof is already at ground parallel just standing still, the coffin bone will go negative under full impact...

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