Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mapping genes of a horse from 700,000 years ago - Full Article

Originally published: June 26, 2013 1:03 PM
Updated: June 26, 2013 1:14 PM
By The Associated Press MALCOLM RITTER (AP Science Writers), SETH BORENSTEIN (AP Science Writers)

HELSINKI - (AP) -- From a tiny fossil bone found in the frozen Yukon, scientists have deciphered the genetic code of an ancient horse about 700,000 years old -- nearly 10 times older than any other animal that has had its genome mapped.

Scientists used new techniques and computing to take DNA from a 5-inch fossil fragment -- most of which was contaminated with more modern bacteria -- and get a good genetic picture of an ancestral horse. The work was published Wednesday in the journal Nature and discussed at a science conference in Helsinki.

The research gives a better insight into the evolution of one of the most studied mammals. Perhaps more importantly, it opens up new possibilities for mapping the genetic blueprints of all sorts of ancient animals from early human ancestors to mastodons to mammoths to bison, said study lead authors Ludovic Orlando and Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen.

This "is breaking the time barrier," Willerslev said.

The previous oldest animal fossil genetically mapped had been an ancient relative of Neanderthals called the Denisovans, from about 75,000 years ago, found in a Siberian cave...

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Studying Energy Expenditure for Equine Nutrition Precision - Full Article

By Alltech - JUN 23, 2013

Whether a horse races, jumps, trots, or trail rides, the amount of energy he expends through exercise varies due to his training program. By exploring the physiology of energy exertion through exercise, researchers are making progress toward formulating more precise nutritional recommendations for specific types of equine activity.

During Alltech’s 29th International Symposium, held May 19-22 in Lexington, Ky., Veronique Julliand, PhD, DVM, a veterinarian and professor at Agrosup Dijon in France, presented findings from studies that characterized the type of exercises harnessed trotters and endurance horses perform during training and examined the energy expenditure for each exercise. This research explored how understanding a horse’s energetic expenditure during a specific type of exercise could help horse owners, nutritionists, and trainers make better nutritional decisions for their equine athletes...

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Airflow's Impact on Thermographic Readings of Horse Legs - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
May 29, 2013

Considering thermography to evaluate a horse's legs? Better move that patient inside and shut the doors. Austrian researchers recently learned that wind and air drafts can affect themographic readings of horses’ front legs—very quickly, in fact—potentially leading to false positive or negative results.

“I was surprised at how fast the temperature decreased after the onset of airflow,” said Simone Westermann, DrMedVet, a researcher in the Units of Large Animal Surgery and Orthopaedics at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Westermann and her fellow University of Veterinary Medicine researchers studied the effects of air, angles, distances, and natural temperature differences on multiple thermographic readings of 16 healthy adult horses.

Slight drafts of air—what Westermann called “barely noticeable wind velocities”—caused a reduction in the temperature of horses’ forelimbs...

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shane, Shane! Come back Shane...!

ACTHA (American Competitive Trail Horse Association) misses you. Don't know how we lost you. Maybe your credit card expired, maybe there weren't enough rides close to you.... BUT WE WANT YOU BACK, a lot.

Here's what we've done to EARN your trust that ACTHA is where you belong.

First and foremost, ACTHA has a bold new rider guarantee, "if for ANY reason you are unable to attend at least two events in your new membership year you can have your membership renewed.... FREE. 

So, please, come back and join in on the fun and excitement.  Click here or go to to join!

After doing more than 1,000 rides we've got it down to a science.  We are well on our way to 1,000 rides per year so we are confident you'll have plenty of chances to ride with us. But if you are unable to attend at least 2 events, FOR ANY REASON, you can have a free renewal. Simple, straight forward and hopefully let's you know we mean it when we say our members come first.
Second, we've added a new event.  ACTHA Obstacle Challenges (AOCs).  Eight obstacles in a small area or indoor arena with 2 judges. It's a hoot!  It's primary function is to give you a chance to stay engaged with your horse during the off season. So there will even be ACTHA events around you in the cool of winter and the heat of summer. Check out this fun AOC option!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Relationship of Hindgut Bacteria and Chronic Laminitis in Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · May 16, 2013

Horses are hindgut fermenters. This term means that after fiber passes through the horse’s stomach and small intestine, it enters the hindgut where it is digested through the action of billions of microbes that aid fermentation.

Any change in diet can cause a shift in the bacterial population, changing the pH balance and putting the horse at risk for colic, laminitis, and other problems. Serious diseases and metabolic upsets can also cause changes in the dominance of various types of bacteria in the hindgut. To gain an understanding of microbial populations, researchers at Texas A&M University looked at types and numbers of microbes in the hindguts of ten normal horses and eight horses with chronic laminitis...

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Saturday, June 08, 2013

National Equestrian Trails Conference

NETC 2013
Registration Now Available
July 18-20, 2013 
Rock Hill, S.C.
The National Equestrian Trails Conference will be held July 18-20, 2013 in Rock Hill, S.C. The South Carolina Horsemen's Council is excited to be hosting this national conference, which grew out of the Southeastern Trails Conference.

Equestrian trail conferences are driven by the goal of preserving trail riding in natural settings on both public and private land. This conference will focus on preserving cultural heritages-that is, a long-standing tradition of enjoying horse trails in natural heritage settings.

Furtherance of any movement begins with the education of advocates for a cause. The cause we serve is the promotion of land and natural resource stewardship among horsemen, guided by a deep sense of the need for ethical behavior, both ecologically and socially.

Land ethicist Aldo Leopold developed the idea of the "ecological conscience,"  i.e.  the extension of the social conscience to the greater community of soils, waters, plants and animals on the natural landscape. That idea is today universally accepted.  If that community is to survive, we must also maintain the assets critical to the environment, thus enhancing our quality of life.

In our conferences we attempt to create awareness among trail riders that we all must become ecologically conscious of the need for stewardship.  The vision of trail riders as conservationists is a key theme. The future of our trail riding heritage lies in our commitment to this cause.

We would like to recognize our proud sponsors who have already come on board to help support this exciting topic!
American Quarter Horse Association
Horse Tales TV         
Carolina Hoofbeats Magazine
Kentucky Horse Council
South Carolina Horse Council
Southeast Endurance Riders Association
Equine Land Conservation Resource
American Endurance Ride Conference
Chattahoochee Trail Horse Association
Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association
South Carolina Upstate Equine council
Start Em Right
South Eastern Distance Riders Association

For more information:

Friday, June 07, 2013

Feeding Horses: Just the Basics - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 27, 2008

Everybody knows horses need forage and grain…but how much? How often? What kind? What else? The answers may be slightly different for each horse depending on size, breed, use, and stage of development. Fortunately for the average horse owner, equine nutritionists have formulated feeds and diets for many types of horses. These diets and products are based on National Research Council guidelines built after studying years of nutrition research.

Forage The horse is designed to graze more or less continuously, ingesting a large amount of fibrous material over the course of each day. Although the stomach is relatively small, the hindgut is quite large, and its function is critical to the horse's health and nutrition. The hindgut is inhabited by billions of microbes that aid in the digestion of fiber. Fiber fermentation produces volatile fatty acids including butyrate, acetate, and propionate that can be used by horses to meet their energy needs.

To maintain proper function of the intestinal tract, all horses should be fed some roughage daily...

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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Ever-Changing Equine Travel Restrictions - Full Article

The Winning Edge blog
3 Jun 2013, 8:28 AM

I had been counting down to May 17th for weeks. It was the date my mare Lily and her 35 stablemates would complete their two-day, 1,000-mile journey from Florida to their summer home in Kentucky. I was anxious for my horse's return (I hadn't seen her in more than six weeks, aka an eternity), but I knew those caring for her en route to the Bluegrass would ensure her safe arrival.

Hauling horses long-distance is never a walk in the park, but recently it seems to have become even more challenging due to tighter travel restrictions to prevent infectious disease spread. For those of us who go the distance to compete or ride at our favorite far-away locales, this means being more organized and regulation-aware than ever...

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Researchers Evaluate Overtraining's Effects on Horses - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
May 31, 2013

Are you overtraining your horse? You might soon be able to answer this question with a simple home test. A team of Dutch researchers is currently trying to find the specific biomarkers that would make such a test possible.

The team's most recent research, which focused on pinpointing biomarkers in muscle tissue, not only revealed signs of horses overworking but also showed how devastating overtraining can be, said Marinus te Pas, PhD, senior researcher of genomics and bioinformatics in the Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre at Wageningen UR Livestock Research, in Lelystad...

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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Maintaining Hydration in Horses: The Roles of Water and Salt - Full Article

By Mary Beth Gordon, PhD JUN 03, 2013

The old adage is accurate: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” That’s especially true for severely dehydrated horses in medical crisis. But there are ways to keep your horse well-hydrated from the start and avoid these potentially dangerous scenarios.

First, provide fresh, clean water in clean troughs or buckets at all times. Check frequently for dirt, debris, manure, dead animals, or other contaminants. (These truly are deterrents: I have seen horses dehydrated and colicking in a paddock because they would not drink water from a trough with a dead opossum in it.) Scrubbing dirty troughs and buckets and refilling them is part of the nitty-gritty of horse keeping–don’t overlook this important first step...

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Hand In Hand - Garrett Ford

Easycare Blog - Full Story

Monday, June 3, 2013 by Garrett Ford

Lisa and I crossed the finish line at Tevis hand in hand for the third year in a row. Although the results won’t show it, Cyclone and Fury tied for first place. Lisa and I both won the most difficult 100 mile horse race in the world.

Tevis has dominated my dreams and goals since I was a young boy. I’ve dreamed about having my name on the Scripps Foundation Cup, The Haggin Cup and the Tevis Cup. I would go to bed making the turns of the California loop when I was twelve years old. I would watch the chalk circle being drawn for the Haggin Cup judging and I would work on trotting my own horse in that chalk pattern at home. Making the 100 mile journey over the Sierra Mountains on a horse that I was responsible for conditioning and finishing first would fulfill my wildest Tevis dreams.

I thought I would feel different. Although I’ve now accomplished my Tevis and endurance goals I’m left with a feeling that is different than I expected. The cups leave me with a feeling of “So What”, but the journey and the process working toward the goal have changed me. It’s not about having my name on the Scripps Foundation Cup, it’s not about having Fury win the Haggin Cup, it’s not about Lisa and I finishing first and winning the Tevis Cup. The memory of the cups and accolades will quickly fade. Most memories blur with time but I vividly remember the feel of Lisa’s hand in mine as we crossed the finish line, I will remember the tears in my mother’s eyes, I will remember the hours getting special horses ready, and I will remember how racing endurance horses has changed where I live, what I drive, how I smell and what I do for a living...

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Sunday, June 02, 2013

Ringbone in Horses - Full Article

By Tracy Gantz
Nov 01, 2010

Your riding horse has just been diagnosed with ringbone, a degenerative disorder that affects the pastern and/or coffin joints and has no cure. But before you automatically consign him to pasture ornament status, consider the related advances in diagnosis, treatment, and shoeing. Many horses today can continue to perform athletically with this arthritic condition.

If you don't believe it, take a look at the record of Travis Tryan's multiple champion roping horse, Precious Speck. Before his death of an aneurysm this past April at age 20, "Walt" was named the Team Roping Heading Horse of the Year four times by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the American Quarter Horse Association. Three of those titles came after 2004, when Walt developed ringbone in the pastern joint of his right front leg. Tryan earned more than $1 million on the circuit in 2009, much of it aboard Walt...

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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Could Aromatherapy Help Calm Stressed Horses? - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
May 30, 2013

Many people employ aromatherapy as a natural stress reliever, but could the same approach be used to calm stressed or nervous horses? According to study results from one research team, aromatherapy might have a place in the barn, after all.

Clarence E. Ferguson, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences at McNeese State University, in Lake Charles, La., and colleagues recently tested lavender aromatherapy's efficacy at decreasing horses' heart and respiratory rates after a stressful experience.

Ferguson’s team recorded seven mature Quarter Horses' heart and respiration rates while the animals were at rest in their stalls...

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