Monday, December 29, 2014

EU Bans Horsemeat Processed in Mexico - Full Article

By Pat Raia
Dec 11, 2014

An audit from the European Union's (EU) Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) has resulted in a ban on the sale of horsemeat processed in Mexico. But one slaughter proponent doesn't believe the ban will stop the flow of horsemeat sold offshore or improve the welfare of American horses intended for processing.

The FVO states that about 87% of the horses processed in Mexico originated in the United States...

Read more here:

Fourth Horse Death Connected to Recalled Feed - Full Article

By Pat Raia
Dec 16, 2014

A fourth horse in Davie, Florida, has died after consuming an equine feed tainted with an antibiotic intended for use in cattle.

In October three horses at Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie died after ingesting horse feed manufactured by Lakeland Animal Nutrition, Inc. (a subsidiary of Alltech). Further investigation revealed that the feed was contained monensin , an ionophore antibiotic used in ruminants, swine, and poultry that is toxic to horses.

Lakeland voluntarily recalled three of its Signature Status Pellet products and its LAN 10 Pellet products manufactured between Sept. 8 and Oct. 8. Last month, the firm announced that it would cease manufacturing horse feed altogether.

Subsequently, the owners of horses residing at Masterpiece Equestrian Center have retained attorney Andrew Yaffa to represent them in restitution talks with Lakeland.

On Dec. 15, Yaffa said a fourth horse at the equestrian center had died, and necropsy results confirmed the death was connected to the contaminated feed...

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Australian Veterinarians Welcome New Biosecurity Bills

By Edited Press Release
Dec 14, 2014

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) welcomes bills recently introduced into Parliament which are designed to strengthen disease control measures to better manage the risk of diseases entering and spreading in Australia.

Julia Nicholls, BVSc, PhD, FACVSc, AVA president, said veterinarians are involved at all levels of Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity systems.

“In large-scale outbreaks such as the 2007 equine influenza outbreak, an army of government and private veterinarians is called on to take part in the emergency response," she said. “Strong, effective protection against imported pests and diseases is critical to our agricultural industries, as well as to the wellbeing of Australia’s animals and people.

“We welcome these bills which incorporate critical changes to the way we approach biosecurity risk, including advances in technology and transport which the previous legislative framework did not cover,” she said.

The AVA submitted comments on the consultation draft of the new legislation to replace the century-old Quarantine Act 1908.

“Our submission called for a more seamless biosecurity system which these bills will provide,” Nicholls said.

The Biosecurity Bill 2014 is supported by four other bills that are designed to help ensure the smooth transition from the Quarantine Act 1908.

For more information on the Biosecurity Bill 2014 and the supporting legislation, visit

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Britain's New Racehorse Steroid Policy Change Delayed - Full Article

By The Blood-Horse Staff
Dec 22, 2014

Full implementation of an enhanced zero-tolerance policy regarding anabolic steroids use in Great Britain's racehorses has been delayed until March 2015, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced Dec. 19.

The reason for the delay is to allow more time to work with stakeholders, trainers, and owners, in particular, to clarify certain elements of the new rules and to secure consensus from all affected parties. Those elements include the definition of a "responsible person" — the individual with the responsibility for ensuring that a horse is not administered an anabolic steroid at any given time...

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Aussie Thoroughbred Sale Buyers Can Request Steroid Test - Full Article

By The Blood-Horse Staff
Dec 21, 2014

A zero-tolerance post-sale blood test for anabolic steroids will be an option offered to buyers at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale, taking place in Queensland, Australia, in January.

In accordance with the Australian Racing Board's introduction of new Australian Rules of Racing banning the use of anabolic steroids in Thoroughbred racehorses, the sales company will be the first in Australia offering purchasers of racing stock (horses not being sold as breeding stock) the option to request a screening for their presence...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Back Country Horsemen of Kansas Saves Honeybee Hive

December 22, 2014
By Sarah Wynne Jackson
Back Country Horsemen of America preserves our right to ride horses on public lands, and seeks to inspire respect and appreciation for the wild lands that are fast disappearing. Those untouched landscapes and everything in them are a valuable resource, even the insects.
Honeybees are responsible for the pollination of around a third of our country’s crop varieties, such as fruits and nuts. But for much of the last decade, beekeepers have been losing 30 to 50 percent of their hives to colony collapse disorder. This alarming decline threatens agriculture not only in the United States, but across the world. Governments and other entities encourage all of us to take practical steps to slow this trend, such as avoiding the use of pesticides and protecting or starting beehives.
A Surprising Discovery
Diana Skinner and Susan Lechtenberg, charter members of the newly formed Back Country Horsemen of Kansas, discovered a honeybee hive near the Spirit Trail, one of the South Shore horse trails at Clinton Lake, just west of Lawrence. This colony of bees had built their hive in an old 30 gallon metal drum that was mostly buried in the ground.
Because the bees were beginning to swarm, Diana and Susan decided to enlist the help of an expert in removing the hive to prevent horses and humans from suffering stings in the future.
On the Move
Richard Bean from Blossom Trail Bee Ranch in Baldwin City came to in­vestigate. They hiked about a mile up the trail with Richard’s bee gear, including a sting-resistant suit, hat with veil, shovel, burlap sack, twine, and hive smoker. He used an interesting combination of hand packed dryer lint, dried pine needles, pecan shells, and a couple of sticks as kindling for the smoker.
They cut a few small pine trees to give Richard room to observe the bees. Although honeybees do not usually nest in the ground, he confirmed that they were indeed honeybees. Wearing his protective clothing, Richard shoveled gently around the barrel to pull it out while Susan watched from a safe distance. They waited about a half hour for the bees to return to the hive. After finding the barrel too heavy to carry out by hand, they transported it to the trailhead in a wheelbarrow.
A Win-Win Outcome
Thanks to Back Country Horsemen of Kansas, the Spirit Trail honeybees are enjoying their new home at Blossom Trail Bee Ranch. Richard tried to transfer them to a traditional beehive, but most of them continue to use the old barrel.
Although honeybees generally aren’t aggressive, some folks can have a life-threatening allergic reaction to a single sting. Relocating the hive to a place where they aren’t a danger to people and domestic animals preserves the safety of the trail and protects the bees we depend on to pollinate our crops.
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 regarding 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!

Peg Greiwe

Friday, December 26, 2014

Does Glucosamine Prevent Arthritis in Horse Joints? New Research - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 20, 2014

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive degradation of articular cartilage that is a common cause of lameness for athletic horses. Oral supplementation of compounds that prevent cartilage degradation or joint injury is an attractive solution for lameness.

Glucosamine is a potential antiarthritic compound currently being marketed. It is a naturally occurring, nontoxic molecule that decreased pain and improved mobility in osteoarthritic joints in a number of human studies. In vitro data suggest that glucosamine may increase the synthetic activity of chondrocytes, or cartilage-producing cells. However, the biochemical basis to support its potential as an antiarthritic agent is not well documented...

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Horses Need Proper Feeding in Winter

By Edited Press Release
Dec 6, 2014

In many parts of the country, winter means increased stable time, decreased riding time and significantly different nutrient requirements for horses, said Louisiana State University AgCenter equine specialist Neely Walker, MS, PhD. And despite mild winters in other parts of the country, decreased temperatures and wet conditions will affect the demands on the horse’s body for heat production.

A horse’s energy requirements start to increase once the temperature drops below the animal’s critical temperature or the horse’s natural comfort zone. “Your horse’s critical temperature will depend on his current nutritional status, environmental temperatures, wind, and wet hair coats,” Walker said.

When planning the winter menu for a horse, keep in mind that the lower critical temperature for a horse is approximately 40 degrees, she said. “For every one degree lower, you should increase your horse’s feed intake by 1% of its body weight.”

For example, she said, a 1,000-pound horse should receive an additional two pounds of hay when the temperature drops 10 degrees (for example, from 40 degrees to 30 degrees).

It is less effective to feed concentrates, such as grain, to maintain a critical temperature, Walker said. Hay is a more effective way to maintain critical temperature.

“Forages contain higher fiber content than concentrates,” she said. The digestion of fiber results in a greater amount of heat being produced than the digestion of grain. Therefore, feeding hay will keep the horse’s critical temperature stable despite the environmental conditions.

During cold weather, horse owners might also notice a greater frequency of impaction colic. One of the main causes of impaction colic is dehydration.

Reduced water intake, combined with increased hay consumption, can lead to more incidence of colic, Walker said. Maintaining the temperature of water sources at 50 degrees to 65 degrees will encourage adequate drinking, which should be about 12 gallons a day.

Proper nutrition is important during winter. “It is easier to maintain body condition throughout the winter than it is to catch up if a horse is underweight,” Walker said. “Always provide good-quality forages and fresh water to maintain your horse’s health throughout the winter. Take advantage of the cooler weather and go ride.”

Proof Positive Why Shoes Are Bad for Horses - Full Article

By Rick Gore Horsemanship

In the picture below you see a thermograph photo of a horse, which shows blood flow, heat and circulation of the legs and hooves. YOU guess what foot has a shoe and which three do not have shoes? The photo is linked to a web page with the following quote: "The single most convincing thing for me was to see a thermograph of a horse's feet--three of which were without shoes and one which was shod. Note the shod foot has virtually no blood circulation. I will NEVER put shoes on my horse again."

NOTE: In 1983, Luca Bein, did a dissertation on the shock absorption of a barefoot hoof compared to a shod hoof. His finding were that a conventionally shod hoof loses 60 to 80% of the hoof's natural shock absorption. Bein also demonstrated that a shod hoof on asphalt, at a walk, receives THREE TIMES (3X) the impact force as as a barefoot hoof on asphalt at the trot. Bein found a shoe on a hoof vibrates at about 800 Hertz (Hz), which at that level does damage to living tissue. Think about that, a metal shoe that is nailed into a healthy hoof compromises the hoof wall, triples the impact force of every step, prevents blood flow, damages living tissue, prevents expansion of the hoof, restricts the natural flexing of the hoof, prevents normal growth of the hoof and yet people still put shoes on horses.

REMEMBER: You can trot your horse barefoot on pavement and do three times LESS damage than walking your shod horse on pavement.

Questions about Barefoot Verses Shod Horses:

Shoes increase the impact of every step a horse takes, that causes more pounding to legs, joints and tendons. If you do not believe this put a metal plate in YOUR shoe and then go jog on hard pavement and rocks, then you will get it.

Shoes prevents the hoof from doing naturally flexing, that prevents good blood flow.

Shoes do not allow the hoof to grow, so when the hoof grows with shoe it rips the nails, it puts stress on the hoof and creates pain and damage to the hoof.

Metal shoes give more protection to the hoof when a rider is lazy and just wants to run the horse over any terrain, rocks, hard surface and is too lazy to pay attention when they ride.

Therefore, when people ask, why do older experienced horse people still use shoes, read the above again.

Nails to hold shoes on, puncture the hoof wall and allow bacteria to get in the hoof and cause abscesses, nails get ripped out if the shoe gets hung up on things and destroys more of the hoof when they are ripped out with the head still on.

Why do people only shoe the front feet or only the rear feet: Since a horse carries 70% of it's weight on the front legs the front hooves tend to get more issues, lameness or abscesses. Putting shoes only on the rear feet only could be for helping a horse slide more when they stop, since some thinks it is cool or gets more points at shows.

It is easier and a short cut to make your horse wear shoes just so you can ride him over rocks thinking it will not hurt them. Actually, since shoes weaken the hoof, walking a horse over rocks and hard surfaces causes more injuries than if the horse had a strong healthy, unshod hoof that would be stronger and heal better.

I do not care what others say about shoes - There are none so blind as those that to not want to see. - The evidence is clear, SHOES, like bits and spurs, are old archaic methods when people did not know any better - now that we do know better, those that still use these archaic ways are not only foolish, but they are NOT true Horsemen...

Read more and see supporting documents here:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

100s for the Rest of Us

By Patti Stedman

Some time ago, one of my favorite vets took me aside and gave me a little chiding: "Why no more articles about 100s? I see you've been doing more of them."

"Well, Doc, you know, not everyone wants to hear from me. I think I had a little overexposure with the article series, don't you?"

"People should know that it's not just about trying one, it's about continuing to do them . . ."

Or something like that.

Well, it took me a year but here you go.

Like most horsepeople, I do the majority of my analytical thinking while mucking stalls, and today was no different. I thought a lot about how getting involved with horses, and most recently endurance, has taught me a great deal about people, about horses, about myself and about life itself.

For me, a lesson I learn again and again is that people take up endurance riding for wildly different reasonsÑfor ego, for the sights, for money, for the fun, for the challenge, to win, to finish, to prove something to someone (likely themselves). Like everyone else, I have my own motives.

A friend of mine, an eventer/dressage rider/foxhunter whom I keep threateningÑI mean offeringÑto take on an endurance rides, reminds me to always keep my "ultimate goal" in mind.

Anyone who checks my ride record with AERC will quickly discover I'm not in it for the thrill of reckless speed or the glory of winning. When I chance on stories about FEI rides and COCs and sub-12-hour 100s and passports, I feel as if I am reading about an entirely different sport. And in some ways it is. A sport I admire, but don't actually participate in, nor aspire to.

For me, riding 100 miles is about so many things, the least of which is winning or finding an international caliber horse, or going abroad to compete.

For me, riding 100 miles is about asking a profoundly challenging question of myself and the horses that I happen to own...

Read more here:

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Buyer's Guide to Prepurchase Exams - Full Article

By Joan Norton, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM
Dec 1, 2014

He might seem perfect—but before you call him yours, determine if a horse is sound and serviceable for the job at hand and if you can live with his inevitable flaws.

After months of meticulous horse-shopping, you’ve finally found the perfect fit. You’re so excited you could hook up the trailer and load the horse before the ink on the check dries. However, there is one step in the buying process that you cannot skip if you’re wanting to make an informed decision: the prepurchase exam.

Over the years the prepurchase exam—once reserved for high-dollar sport and racehorses—has evolved to encompass the evaluation of any horse that changes hands. As all horsemen, from professionals to weekend trail riders, have become better informed about their horses’ health, the prepurchase exam has grown to be a more common occurrence. With the advancement of technology, along with the ability to bring it to your farm, the prepurchase exam has also evolved into a highly specialized evaluation of a horse’s health and soundness...

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Rodenticide Linked to Six Sudden Horse Deaths - Full Article

By Jack Shinar
December 18, 2014

California racing officials have identified a connection in the sudden death of six horses with trace amounts of anticoagulant rodenticide in their systems, the state horse racing board was told Dec. 18.

Dr. Rick Arthur, California Horse Racing Board equine medical director, said the horses, who died between Dec. 21, 2012, and Sept. 18 of this year, all expired due to internal bleeding following exercise. Necropsy exams found each had only trace amounts of a strongly toxic anticoagulant used in the extermination of rodents at racetracks in their systems.

Arthur said the level of toxicity found in these cases was so low it would not have been enough to kill the horses, but in combination with exercise he believes the poison proved fatal.

The same rodenticide was found in one of the seven horses trained by Bob Baffert that died suddenly following strenuous exercise at Hollywood Park between late 2011 and 2013...


State Travel Requirements - Full Article

By Nan K. Huff, PhD
Nov 20, 2014

Who to call and what papers to gather before heading to an out-of-state event with your horse

After months of conditioning and training, you and your horse are ready to head to a horse show. You have cleaned your tack. You have stocked the horse trailer with feed, hay, and supplies. You’ve had your truck and trailer inspected and they are ready for the trip. But aren’t you missing something? Whether you are traveling to another city or another state, you have to make sure your horse’s health papers and vaccinations are up-to-date and adequate for the event or show. These requirements range from the expected to the exotic, depending on your destination, so it’s important that you do the necessary research—and act on it—in enough time to be prepared for your trip...

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

What's the Ideal Endurance Horse Conformation? - Full Article

Endurance competitor Dr. Michelle Roush explains what to look for in endurance horse conformation.

Question: I really enjoy your monthly Conformation Clinic column. The information is very useful when I work with and care for sporthorses, but I'd also like to know what endurance horse conformation and qualities I should look for when selecting a mount. Can you offer any suggestions?

Answer: In endurance, beauty is as beauty does. Horse conformation traits rewarded in the show-hunter ring for their aesthetic value mean nothing in endurance if they don't help the horse get down the trail. Arabians and part-?Arabians dominate the sport?for a variety of reasons I'll explain later?but I've seen horses of all shapes and sizes succeed in the sport. Most of them prove the rule that "form is function": Structurally correct horses are more likely to stay sound over the many miles of repetitive motion and concussion that the sport entails. Here are the most important structural qualities to look for...

- See more at:

Winter Workouts - Full Article

By Marcia King
Nov 24, 2014

Winter doesn't have to be—and shouldn't be—a time of hibernation for your horse.
Come May, Trisha Dowling, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVCP, of Saskatchewan, Canada, is ready to take on the challenges of competitive endurance—and, equally important, so are her horses. The same can be said of Carey Williams, PhD, of New Jersey. Her sport is eventing, in which she competes spring through fall. Andy Kaneps of Massachusetts used to raise and compete hunters and jumpers; today he prefers riding noncompetitive dressage year-round.

All three riders and horse experts have a few things in common: they recognize the importance of working their horses throughout the winter. Winter workouts are valuable for maintaining fitness, preserving training, and promoting mental well-being. Winter exercise also provides an opportunity to fix problems in a horse's training and prepare both horse and rider for the upcoming competition or riding season.

In addition to their exceptional credentials as experienced riders and trainers, all three have equine scientific backgrounds, lending their knowledge of the horse's physiology to their fitness plans.

Here's how to get with the program...

Read more here:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How did we domesticate horses? Genetic study yields new evidence - Full Article

Genes related to strength, speed, and agreeableness differentiate ancient wild horses from contemporary domesticated ones, new research reveals.

By Sharon Begley, Reuters December 16, 2014

New York — Speed, smarts, and the heart of a champion: using genomic analysis, scientists have identified DNA changes that helped turn ancient horses such as those in prehistoric cave art into today's Secretariats and Black Beautys, researchers reported Monday.

Understanding the genetic changes involved in equine domestication, which earlier research traced to the wind-swept steppes of Eurasia 5,500 years ago, has long been high on the wish list of evolutionary geneticists because of the important role that taming wild horses played in the development of civilization.

Once merchants, soldiers and explorers could gallop rather than just walk, it revolutionized trade, warfare, the movement of people and the transmission of ideas. It also enabled the development of continent-sized empires such as the Scythians 2,500 years ago in what is now Iran.

It was all made possible by 125 genes, concluded the study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related to skeletal muscles, balance, coordination, and cardiac strength, they produced traits so desirable that ancient breeders selected horses for them, said geneticist Ludovic Orlando of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, who led the study. The result was generations of horses adapted for chariotry, pulling plows, and racing...

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Do Joint Supplements Work in Horses? - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 28, 2014

An even better question than “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” appears to be “Do joint supplements for horses really work?”

According to the latest study1 published on the topic, the answer is no, but other experts suggest there is far more to the story and that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

“There are several other studies both in live animals and in a laboratory setting that support the use of various joint supplements, leaving some of us optimistic that joint supplements are important,” says Kathleen Crandell, PhD, equine nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

In the recent study by Higler et al., 24 geriatric horses with “stiff joints and lack of joint flexibility” experienced no increase in stride length after three months of supplementation, whereas horses in the control group experienced increased motion in the knees and forelimb ankles. The authors used kinematic gait analysis when performing the study...

Read more here:

Strangles: Dispelling the Myths - Full Article

By Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
Nov 24, 2014

Strangles. Even the common name for this bacterial disease—caused by the sinister Streptococcus equi—sounds like something of legend, a cautionary tale inscribed by medieval monks.

The abscesses and pus-laden nasal discharge common to the condition can seem like something from a mythical plague. However, strangles is very much an actuality in today’s horse world, a real respiratory disease with a real, mundane bacterial cause...

Read more here:

Friday, December 12, 2014

10 Toxic Substances to Avoid - Full Article

By Lindsay Day
Dec 8, 2014

Plants and chemicals your horse should never eat

There are many things horses should never eat. Certainly, toxic plants rank high on the list of things to avoid, but other substances, organisms, and chemicals can pose risks as well. While poisoning in horses is relatively rare compared to other causes of ill health, when it does occur the consequences can be dire.

“People often assume that horses know what to eat and what not to eat, but that’s just not true in a lot of cases,” says Cynthia Gaskill, DVM, PhD, clinical veterinary toxicologist at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. From a curious nibble of a tree branch to accidental consumption of a contaminated grain meal, there are a number of ways horses can ingest toxic substances that put their health—and lives—at risk. Here are our top 10:

- See more at:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Horses change themselves with the SURE FOOT™ Equine Stability Program - Full Article

December 9 2014
Wendy Murdoch

Mugsy Dehere is a 6 year old OTTB and a SURE FOOT junkie. As a racehorse Mugsy was very, very girthy and had to be tacked up while walking. He reared whenever someone attempted to saddle him while he was tied or standing still.

When Cathy Gulick started using Mugsy as a horse for her husband she had to figure out someway he could be safely tacked up on crossties. Cathy knew about the SURE FOOT Equine Stability Program because she was my demo rider for the (soon to be released) DVD. She decided to give it a try with Mugsy.

Cathy did a few SURE FOOT sessions with Mugsy to introduce him to standing on the stability pads. Then she tried standing him on the pads while being tacked up. He stood very still and actually relaxed even more as she saddled him. Since then Cathy has been using the pads every time she tacks Mugsy. He has not even come close to having any issues since she started using SURE FOOT. In addition, he is moving more freely in the shoulder and going better under saddle.

What is the SURE FOOT Equine Stability Program?

Quite simply it is an opportunity for your horse to become aware of his habits and change his own behavior and movement. This may seem quite astonishing at first when you consider that your horse can reprogram his own brain. But that is exactly what happens. You offer your horse an opportunity to experience the way he stands habitually by placing an unstable surface under his hooves. Beginning with one foot at a time the horse chooses whether or not to remain on the pads.

The experience is an offer not a requirement. It is imperative that the horse can choose to stand on the pads or not and for how long (although I will at times ask the horse to walk off). This is quite different from training, which is when we impose our ideas on the horse. Even if the training is “good for him” it is still something we decide we want the horse to do rather than something the horse wants to do.

An experiment with a surprising outcome...

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

What are a Horse's Comfortable Temperature Ranges? - Full Article

Posted by East-West Arena Construction
Dec 7, 2014

Every year as the days get shorter and temperatures drop horse owners wonder if they should blanket their horses. If they do blanket them, what weight of blanket? Do they need to go out and change the blankets several times a day as the temperature changes? Do these decisions change if the horse is clipped? Should the horse be clipped? Should arenas and barns be heated?

Horses like the cold

Most horse owners are quite aware that horses seem to prefer much cooler temperatures than they themselves do. Therefore deciding to blanket a horse just because people feel the need to wear sweaters and coats is obviously not the correct approach to deciding upon horse apparel.

One interesting study of clipped horses engaged in trotting races reported that horses seemed to prefer exercising in 12 to 19 degrees Celsius weather. Their performance declined outside this temperature range, but declined the most as temperatures went higher- the horses preferred 4 to 12 degrees over temperatures above 20 degrees. But they really liked the 12 to 19 degree zone. To those of us in Fahrenheit areas, this means that clipped horses are most comfortable exercising in 50 to 60 degree weather...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Alternatives to Baled Hay for Horses - Full Article

By Karen Briggs
Nov 28, 2014

Though regular baled hay is the mainstay of equine diets across North America, it’s not the only forage option. Hay also can be pressed into cubes, chopped and processed into pellets, or fermented as silage or “haylage.”

If your horse suffers from chronic respiratory allergies (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also called “broken wind” or “heaves”), has dental troubles that make chewing hay difficult, or is very elderly, one of these alternative forms of forage might be just the ticket...

Read more here:

Biosecurity Tip of the Month: Dogs at Event Facilities - Full Article

By The Horse Staff
Nov 15, 2014

Horse owners are also frequently dog owners, so it should come as no surprise that dogs often accompany their owners to competitions, clinics, and other equine events. But dogs can pose horse health risks in some cases. Consider these tips before bringing your pup along to your next event.

Biosecurity Risk: Dogs might carry infectious disease agents from one location to another on the event premises, potentially exposing horses to infectious disease agents...

Read more here:

Friday, December 05, 2014

Foals Follow Dams' Leads When Dealing With Scary Objects - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Nov 1, 2014

The old adage "mother knows best" doesn't just apply to humans--it appears to apply to horses as well: Danish researchers recently observed that foals that watched their mothers calmly handle scary objects ended up being less fearful themselves.

“It does appear possible to reduce foal fearfulness through the mare,” said Janne Winther Christensen, PhD. She presented her study results at the 2014 International Society for Equitation Science conference, held Aug. 6-9 in Bredsten, Denmark.

Christensen investigated 22 pairs of mares and foals to observe how the mares might transfer habituation to the foals. Habituation refers to a horse’s ability to “get used” to a frightening object so that he no longer reacts fearfully...

Read more here:

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Are You Ready to Move Up to 100s? - Full Article

By Kim Fuess

A question that often comes up when riders are thinking about moving up to a longer competition distance is, "How do I know my horse can go that far?" It is a legitimate concern whether you are moving your horse from the LD distance to the endurance distance or from 50-mile rides to 100-mile rides.

Most endurance riders do not take their horses on 100-mile training rides before attempting their first 100-mile competition. But there are several things you can do to maximize your success both in training and conditioning before the competition and during the ride itself.

This article will focus on moving up to the 100-mile distance but the suggestions given will work when moving up to any distance.

Strengths and weaknesses

A good place to start when thinking of moving up to a 100-mile ride is to ask yourself two questions:

-- What strengths does a good 100-mile horse need?

-- How does my horse rate in those areas?

There are several traits you might want in a 100-mile horse depending on your personal goals but the following are necessary to ensure success at this distance:

-- A 100-mile horse needs to be free of any metabolic or mechanical abnormalities.

-- The 100-mile horse should be able to maintain a steady and efficient pace that does not waste energy.

-- A 100-mile horse needs to be able to take care of himself on the trail. He should be comfortable eating and drinking on the trail and in vet checks.

If you have been conditioning and competing with your horse at lesser distances for a couple of seasons you probably have a very good idea about how your horse rates in these three areas...

Read more here:

Monday, December 01, 2014

Early Cold Blast Prompts Livestock Cold Stress Warning - Full Article

By University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Nov 25, 2014

An early blast of arctic cold has landed in the Bluegrass, putting pressure on farmers to make sure their animals are ready for the assault.

“Some locations may even see the livestock cold stress index dip into the emergency category early next week,” said Matt Dixon, agricultural meteorologist for the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “This arctic air mass will continue to build over the next few days, and the lows the next few nights will bottom out in the upper teens and low 20s for most areas of the state. Wind chills could very well dip into the single digits at times on Monday and Tuesday night...”

Read more here:

Back Country Horsemen of America Invites New Generations to Join Them

November 29, 2014
by Sarah Wynne Jackson
The tradition of traveling long distance through wild lands by horseback is older than our country itself. Back Country Horsemen of America cherishes that heritage and protects our right to carry on that legacy. The participation of younger folks who hold the same passion ensures that the tradition will thrive long into our country’s future. Back Country Horsemen of America has always put a priority on younger folks, and the Flathead Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Montana took that idea and ran with it.
Keeping the Tradition Alive
For a number of years, the Flathead Chapter has sought to attract and retain younger generations of members. The general membership, with an average age of about 55, held a wealth of hard-earned knowledge, experience, and know-how, but very few younger folks to pass it on to. Recognizing the value of maintaining the tradition of traveling through America’s landscape with saddle and pack stock, and all the skills that go along with that adventure, the Flathead Chapter started reaching out to youth and younger adults.
Life Skills
Five years ago, chapter members Andy Breland and Chuck Allen started an annual packing clinic for the vocational-agricultural students of the Kalispell Public Schools. They learn about the basics of arranging a load on a pack horse or mule, how to manty (wrap a load in canvas), how to fit a pack saddle, different ways to tie on a load, gen­eral horse handling safety, and Leave No Trace basics.
Typically, between 30 and 35 students participate in this outstanding program each year. Past students have carried their newfound proficiency into their chosen careers, such as work with the US Forest Service; membership in a hotshot crew of elite firefighters specially trained in wildfire suppression; treating animals as a veterinary technician; and as wranglers for a back country outfitter.
Girl Power
For the past six years, Andy and Chuck have been teaching for Be­coming an Outdoor Woman, created by the University of Wisconsin with workshops taking place in most states. This non-profit, educational program offers hands-on workshops to women 18 and older in outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, archery, rifle shooting, and camping. Approximately 30 women participate in Andy’s and Chuck’s packing clinic, Leave No Trace workshop, and outdoor cooking segment.
In Demand
The Flathead Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Montana also started a program with the local 4-H group. Back Country Horseman Alden Tot­ten became a certified 4-H leader so he could conduct a packing clinic at the Flathead Valley 4-H camp. Fifteen young 4-Hers were excited to learn about packing and the work BCHA does for the US Forest Service.
With those popular programs in place, word got around. The nearby Family Life Church asked chapter member Rick A. Mathies to give a packing dem­onstration at their first Kids Camp. Children learned about lots of activities including horseback riding, horse training, camping, swim­ming, and packing. Rick showed about 15 kids how to fit a pack saddle, how to manty, and how to tie on a load. Then each child mantied up a bar of soap with a miniature manty and string, a take-home memento of their experience.
Creating Lasting Relationships
These successful ventures brought in new members eager to learn even more about traveling through our wild lands by horseback. Veteran members invited the fresh folks to go with them on projects, sharing their knowledge one on one and building their confidence for their first packing trips.
The chapter also planned fun activities to help establish ties between the various generations. They kicked off the new year with a chapter bonfire party, then organized the annual Meadow Creek trail clearing and cleanup, which includes a campout. Members’ families, including kids and grandkids, were welcomed and put to work on appropriate tasks.
When the US Forest Service Swan Lake Ranger District need­ed help returning Owl Creek Trailhead and Packer Camp to its original purpose as a packers’ trailhead, the Flathead Chapter used the opportunity as packing training for new members. Most of the 55 members who participated had joined the chapter recently. For many, this was their first packing trip.
Fostering a Love for the Back Country
Back Country Horsemen of America encourages members and all horsemen to find ways to introduce youth and young adults to the back country. When we build the public’s awareness and understanding of our wilderness areas, and help them to experience what got us hooked on enjoying the landscape by horseback, they also will see the need to protect our wilderness lands and keep trails open for horse use. As this generation passes, the next one will take the reins and preserve our right to ride horses on public lands for the generation that comes after 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 regarding 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!

Peg Greiwe, BCHA

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Horse Hooves: Coronary Band Injuries Can Affect Growth - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 13, 2014

Many pastured horses, and even those that are kept in stalls, seem to accumulate small cuts, scrapes, and scratches. These injuries are more frequent, and sometimes more severe, when groups of young, energetic horses are turned out together. In most cases, horse owners can clean and treat minor injuries that will heal quickly, and can get veterinary attention for larger or more serious lacerations.

One location where seemingly small injuries can have a long-lasting effect is the coronary band, or coronet. This area, where the top of the hoof joins the bottom of the horse’s pastern, is easily injured when the horse bangs a leg against a fence, rock, or other object encountered in the pasture or stall. If the horse steps on his own foot or is stepped on or kicked by another horse, coronary band injuries can result...

Read more here:

Using DNA to Predict a Horse's Athletic Potential - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
Nov 10, 2014

Running might be in a Thoroughbred's genes, but did you know those genes also contain information scientists are using to predict how far, how fast, and how well that horse will run? And DNA assessment of these traits is gaining momentum. So much so that a group of horse racing officials and scientists recently met in Paris, France, for a round-table conference to discuss policy and best practices for this so-called DNA profiling and issued a statement on the topic.

DNA profiling is a relatively new practice designed to predict a horse's athletic potential by evaluating that individual's genetic markers.

"This is happening in the Thoroughbred world, but it's going to happen in the Standardbreds, it's going to happen in the Quarter Horses, it's going to happen in the competition horses..."

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Watch This and You’ll Never Mount from the Ground Again

Posted on November 22, 2014 1:01 pm by Carley Sparks

The equine biomechanic experts at Centaur Biomechanics in the UK captured the impact of mounting from the ground on the horse’s saddle and back in this high speed camera footage. The video is only 59 seconds long, but by the 27 second mark, you’ll be screaming, “OMG, SWING YOUR LEG OVER ALREADY.” It’s torture to watch...

See article and video here:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Top Winter Hoof Care Tips - Full Article

By Diane E. Rice
Nov 5, 2014

Despite the fact that horse owners across the country might be willing it away, winter will be here before we know it. That means it's time to start planning and preparing for cold and snow. And during planning, it's important to remember the structures that will stand between your horse and the snowy and icy ground: his hooves.

Scott Fleming, DVM, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, and Tracy Turner, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, of Anoka Equine Veterinary Service in Anoka, Minnesota—two veterinarians passionate about hoof care—recently shared their suggestions for keeping your horse's hooves healthy this winter:...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Scientists: Pig-sized animal found in India was common ancestor for horses, rhinos - Full Article

By Dan Taylor, Daily Digest News
November 23, 2014

Researchers believe the animal was isolated on India when it was an island in the middle of the ocean.

An international research team has found a common ancestor for the rhino and the horse.

The research team uncovered fossils in india that point to a common ancestor for perissodactyls, which are odd-toed ungulates that include rhinos, horses, and tapirs. Scientists have long known they were part of the same family, but the fossils represent the first time they have uncovered a common ancestor, according to NBC News.

It has been a gradual process: over the last 10 years or so, researchers have dug up more than 200 bones belonging to Cambaytherium thewissi in an open-pit coal mine northeast of Mumbai in Gujarat state.

With the help of these bones, researchers were able to get a better handle on Cambaytherium, and reported in the journal Nature Communications that the creature — which resembles a modern-day tapir — closely matches early perissodactyls...

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Does Your Sport Horse Have a Huge Heart? He Might! - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Nov 11, 2014

It's not uncommon for an owner of a particularly keen horse to affectionately say he has a “big heart.” But if that animal is a sport horse that completes intense workouts, he might, quite literally, have a huge heart.

Often called the “athlete’s heart,” an enlarged heart in a horse is often accompanied by murmurs and arrhythmias, said Rikke Buhl, PhD, exercise physiologist at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, at the 2014 International Society for Equitation Science (ISES), held Aug. 6-9 in Bredsten, Denmark. And while that might sound worrisome, Buhl said it’s still not clear whether athlete’s heart is actually related to the sudden equine deaths that sometimes occur during or just after exercise...

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Overweight Horse Who Won't Stop Eating -- Leptin Resistance is the Key

November 21, 2014
The Overweight Horse Who Won’t Stop Eating -- Leptin Resistance is the Key!
 by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.
Your horse is overweight. You’ve been told to feed him a lot less hay and you’re desperately trying to do the right thing. But it won’t work! It won’t work for your horse any more than a strict diet would work for people. We have known this for years when it comes to human obesity. The reason is simple – dieting restricts calories, which lowers the metabolic rate. Weight loss may occur at first, but the body goes into “survival mode” and starts to hold on to fat and becomes sluggish in burning calories, making it extremely easy to put all the weight back on.

Horses have an additional issue: Their digestive tract cannot tolerate periods of time without food; it requires a steady flow of forage. There are several reasons for this, including the constant secretion of stomach acid, the potential for ulcers, the need for the cecum to be full in order for digested feed to exit at the top, and more. Please take a look at my book, Equine Digestion - It’s Decidedly Different, for a complete understanding of how the horse is designed on the inside.
Free-choice forage (hay and/or pasture) does not make a horse obese; on the contrary, restricting forage is what leads to obesity. You should reduce or even eliminate the amount of concentrates you feed (e.g., beet pulp, grains, commercial feeds, etc.) but you must never reduce forage (be sure to add a vitamin/mineral supplement to a hay diet). Ideally, you should test your hay[i] to make certain it is low enough in calories, sugar, and starch to be fed to an overweight horse (who is likely insulin resistant) and then, feed it free-choice, 24/7, all day and all night. At first the horse will overeat, but once he gets the message that the hay is always there, that he can walk away from it and it will still be there when he returns – then, and only then, will he start to self-regulate and eat only what his body needs to maintain condition. If you let him run out of hay, even for 10 minutes, he will always perceive that as a shortage, and will continue to overeat.
But why does self-regulation take forever to occur in some horses?  
It often has to do with the way he was previously fed. If the horse had been enduring periods of time where there was no hay, his body went into starvation mode; that is, his metabolic rate severely declined. Now that you’re feeding free-choice, he will gain weight (which is temporary for most horses, especially if you are providing him opportunities to move). But for some horses, the drive to continually eat seems to never end and self-regulation appears impossible. The reason? Leptin.
Leptin comes from body fat
Excess body fat, especially regional fat deposits along particular areas of the body[ii], is a clear indication of the tissues’ reluctance to recognize insulin. Insulin is required for glucose (blood sugar) to enter the cells. When the fat slows down the tissues’ recognition of insulin, the pancreas will continue to produce more and more in an attempt to finally get glucose to enter the cells. Elevated insulin tells the tissues to hold onto body fat, making the horse even fatter.
Enter leptin. Leptin is a hormone that is secreted from body fat. It is a good hormone; it tells the brain that the horse is full and he can stop eating. This mechanism works perfectly for the horse of normal weight. But the overly fat horse does not get the message that he is satisfied; the signal that the brain is supposed to get that says I’m no longer hungry doesn’t happen. He has become leptin resistant.
In an effort to help the horse lose weight, more times than not the horse owner will be advised to severely restrict the amount that the horse eats, and this starts a vicious cycle: The horse will likely lose some body fat and hence, the leptin level will drop. A decline in leptin signals the horse to eat more, potentially gaining back all of the body fat lost (which also happens in humans[iii]) combined with a decreased metabolic rate making it very easy to put back the pounds. Forage restriction, in particular, is extremely detrimental because the stress involved will increase cortisol, which subsequently induces elevated insulin, which promotes fat storage, and you’re back where you started.
But that’s the key! The more body fat, the more leptin is produced. That should be a good thing, no? The higher leptin level should tell the brain that it has had enough to eat, right? That’s what leptin is supposed to do. But it doesn’t.
Why not?
It has to do with inflammation. Body fat produces inflammatory molecules known as cytokines. These substances have two negative impacts: First, cytokines disrupt insulin action, reducing the cells’ insulin sensitivity, making your horse store more body fat. And second, and very important, cytokines impair the neurons in the brain’s hypothalamus[iv]  —the area that normally responds to leptin!
What’s the solution?
Reduce inflammation.[v]  This can be accomplished through dietary changes and adding anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals to the diet:
·       Improve protein quality by feeding several sources: Mixed grasses and legumes, as well as whole foods such as ground flaxseeds, split peas, copra meal, whey protein isolate, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.
·       Avoid added sugar and starch by eliminating sweetened feeds, cereal grains, wheat middlings, and rice bran.
·       Avoid high-omega 6 oils, which are highly inflammatory (e.g., soybean, vegetable, corn, wheat germ, and safflower oils).
·       Increase omega 3s by feeding ground flaxseeds and/or chia seeds. Fish oils can be included for high levels of inflammation.
·       Look for a vitamin/mineral supplement that provides high amounts of antioxidants, particularly vitamins E, C, beta carotene (or vitamin A), and lipoic acid.
·       Offer anti-inflammatory herbs such as grape seed extract, green tea extract, spirulina, curcumin, and boswellia.[vi]
Bottom line
By reducing inflammation, the brain will likely become more responsive to leptin, allowing the horse to stop eating when he is full. Stress needs to be eliminated through unlimited grazing on an appropriate forage. Slow-feeders can be useful in reducing intake.[vii] Combine all this with increased movement, and you have a formula for success.
Permission to reprint this article commercially is granted, provided prior notice is given to Dr. Getty at No editorial changes may be made without her approval. Dr. Getty appreciates being informed of when and where reprints are published.
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an internationally respected, independent equine nutritionist who believes that optimizing horse health comes from understanding how the horse’s physiology and instincts determine the correct feeding and nutrition practices. She is available for private consultations and speaking engagements.
Dr. Getty’s website,, offers a generous stock of free, useful information for the horseperson. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her library of reference articles; shop her online store of recommended supplements; search her nutrition forum; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars. All of Dr. Getty’s books are also available from Amazon and other online retailers. Reach Dr. Getty directly at

[i] Testing your hay for its caloric content (digestible energy), as well as its sugar (ESC) and starch levels, is the only true way to know if the hay is appropriate to feed free-choice. Equi-Analytical Labs offers economical tests to provide equine-based results – Equi-Tech test is recommended.
[ii] Areas include a cresty neck, crease going down the spine, fat along the ribs, behind the shoulders, on the tail head, and even over the eyes.
[iii] Rosenbaum, M., Goldsmith, R., Bloomfield, D., et al., 2005. Low-dose leptin reverses skeletal muscle, autonomic, neuroendocrine adaptations to maintenance of reduced weight. J. Clin Invest, 115, 3579-3586.
[iv] Guyenet, S.J., and Schwartz, M.W., 2012. Regulation of food intake, energy balance, and body fat mass: Implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of obesity. J. Clin. Endocrinol Metab., 97(3), 745-755
[v] Thaler, J.P., Yi, C., Schur, E.A., et al., 2011. Obesity is association with hypothalamic injury in rodents and humans. J. Clin Invest, 10.1172/JC159660.[PubMed]
[vi] Please refer to articles on nutritional management in the Library section of Getty Equine Nutrition –
[vii] Getty, J.M., 2014. The correct way to use slow feeders.

Benefits of Late-Season Hay for Horses - Full Article

by Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 2, 2014

As the warm summer months draw to a close, horse owners stock up on hay for the winter. The hay man has a variety of hays available, including the yellow or brown, less leafy fall hays. Although they might not be as physically attractive and green as the hay harvested earlier in the summer, there are many benefits to late-cut hays.

Did you know these facts about late-cut hays?

Late-cut hays have less water-soluble carbohydrates (i.e., glucose, sucrose, fructose, and fructans) and are therefore better for obese, insulin sensitive/resistant horses, and those diagnosed with equine metabolic syndrome.
They have more structural carbohydrates that are fermented in the large intestine to provide energy in the form of volatile fatty acids (e.g., lactate, acetate)...

Read more here:

Endurance and Conscious Competence - Full Article

By Patti Stedman | November 19th, 2014

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

–Jiddu Krishnamurti

Long before I joined AERC’s Education Committee, I’ve been a teacher.

I come by it genetically, I think. My mother was a third grade teacher and my Dad has a gift for sharing ideas and telling stories to illustrate a point. So I combined my passion for horses and teaching by becoming a certified riding instructor during college before realizing that health insurance and a steady income were going to be beneficial to a theoretical ‘grown up.’

But even as my career changed and evolved to what it is today, teaching has been what I love to do. I think part of it is because I am addicted to learning; I sometimes think I got caught in the intellectual curiosity of a 4th grader. I want to know why and how.

One of my favorite models about learning is the Conscious/Competence matrix, which has been attributed to several different individuals. Never mind that, I think what’s most fascinating is how it fits in with our sport.

We all know that endurance riding has a steep learning curve; I don’t know a single endurance rider, even those with great success, who will not admit to having made dozens of mistakes at the start of their career. Most of us will admit that we still make mistakes, and sadly, most of these come at the expense of our horse’s well-being and therefore we try hard not to make the same mistake repeatedly...

Read more here:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why horsing around is good for you: Spending time around stables proven to reduce stress - Full Article

PUBLISHED: 10:51 EST, 25 April 2014

Horsing around can make teenagers less stressed out, new research has revealed.

A study found that children who spend time with horses or riding have lower levels of stress hormones, according to measurements taken from their saliva.

Researchers looked at 130 teenagers taking part in an after school horsemanship course that lasted 12 weeks.

They spent 90 minutes a week learning about horses: how to care for, groom, handle, and ride the animals.

Each teenager gave six samples of saliva over a two day period before and after the 12 week programme.

Researchers analysed the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the samples.

The results, published in the American Psychological Association's Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, revealed that children who spent time with horses had ‘significantly’ lower stress levels than a control group...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thermoregulation in horses in a cold time of year. (Revised)

Holistichorseandhoofcare Blog - Full Article

by ©Natalija Aleksandrova
(Updated, presented at the 10th International EAHAE Conference, Poland, 2014)

Most horse owners are aware of the damage and crisis inherent with fever states. Few horse owners realize how well adapted horses are to deal with cold when certain aspects of their lifestyle are in place for them.

In order for a mammal to survive, internal body temperature is kept within a very narrow range. If the temperature exceeds these limits either above or below, the chemical reactions in the body function improperly, or they stop functioning at all. Fluctuations outside of the normal temperature range result in health problems or death of the animal.

Mature horses maintain their internal body temperature at a range of around 38℃. Foals, rapidly growing youngsters, pregnant and lactating mares have a higher than normal internal body temperature (Hines, 2004).

Heat in the horse's body is continuously generated as a by-product of metabolism, and a healthy animal has significant internal sources of heat from the metabolic processes (Bicego at al., 2007). To control internal heat loss during the cold time of year, the horse is provided by Nature with complicated and extremely efficient anatomical, physiological and behavioral thermoregulatory mechanisms...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Horse Supplements: Just the Basics - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 1, 2014

Forage is a horse’s natural food, and all equine diets should be built around this material. Young growing horses and equines in moderate to heavy exercise may need the important nutrients and additional energy provided by grain meals. Beyond forage and grain, many horses don’t really need to have their rations boosted with extra powders, liquids, or granules of this and that. So why are there so many shelves of equine nutritional supplements displayed at every horse supply store?

Though the average horse in light work gets along fine on grass and a little grain, horses with special needs may do better with just a little bit of dietary help in some areas. No two horses are exactly the same, and their nutritional needs will vary according to their metabolism, age, and work level.

Hoof supplements are designed to provide the specific nutrients that are necessary for the growth of strong, healthy hoof tissue. If a horse has hooves that tend to split or chip easily, it may be hard to keep him from losing shoes, and he might become lame because of hoof cracks. A supplement that contains biotin, methionine, zinc, and iodine can improve the strength of hoof tissue, though it will take many months to grow down from the coronary band...

Read more here:

Horses & (Medical) Marijuana - Full Article

October 9, 2013
Shara Rutberg

Did you know that cannabis was once used to treat equine ailments? HN's resident Colorado girl Shara Rutberg investigates.

From Shara:

On my way to the barn, I pass The Farm, one of the many pot shops, er, medical dispensaries here in Boulder, Colorado, where we voted to legalize recreational pot and where an advocacy group literally handed out joints on a popular pedestrian mall a few weeks back. Down in Denver, there are more pot shops than Starbucks. And many have names like The Farm, and The Dandelion, that sound alluring to equines.

Might this just be the ideal thing to take the edge off my brave steed, who has done airs above the ground in response to jump decorations 200 yards away across the cross country course? Would a handful of Mary Jane in the alfalfa make the pony peaceful with pumpkins (dear god!) on the jumps? Would it garner points for relaxation at the canter? Could I clip the beast without a vet if he nibbles a few kind cookies before I warm up the Wahls?

People have been using cannabis to help horses for ages. The ancient Greeks used it for colic and wound care. The U.S. government supplied cannabis as part of the standard first aid kit to cavalry troopers who also did vet duty in the field. A cavalry manual recommends it for “spasmodic colic and other intestinal troubles...”

Read more here:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving the rest of us reachable [endurance] goals

Endurancegranny Blog - Full Article

by Endurance Granny - Jacke Reynolds

Under the current awards system accomplishment is often equated in $ signs. How much expendable cash do you have? That determines your shot at a regional award, along with perseverance, time commitment, and a horse that can do the job, churning out mile...after mile...after mile. Granted, that is what endurance is, hanging in there for the long haul literally. But for riders who may be considered outsiders in that they can only commit to one, two, or three rides a year, membership and participation is different, other than just a personal goal there is little award involved, though still good deal of riding commitment, membership expense, and horse care. So how do we reward that type of rider which I don't know clearly how many of us there actually are out there as opposed to those who ride 6-10 rides or more annually who are clearly in the hunt for an organizational prize.

I propose that recognition of "firsts" (not first place, first successful attempts at) could be a huge motivator for the part-time endurance rider. It would give them attainable goals to reach for, a reason to pay for membership, and clearly reason to stay involved as they would be reaching for something instead of "just riding..."

Read more here:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

“Where Have All the Horses Gone?” Forum - Full Article

“Where Have All the Horses Gone?” Forum Presents Explanations For Decline in Registered Horses, Impact on Industry, and Solutions For Future

July 8, 2014

(Washington, DC)- On June 24, the American Horse Council held its National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold, the makers of Adequan, in Washington, DC. The forum featured speakers from across the horse industry discussing “Where Have All the Horses Gone?” Leaders from breed registries, racing, showing, the various disciplines, veterinarians and other stakeholders spoke about the decline in registered horses and the impact on their segment of the horse industry.

Several major points emerged from the forum. There has been a decline in the number of foals and registered horses over the last several years that is impacting all breeds and segments of the industry and the leaders of the industry are aware of this decline and are taking action. It was also noted that this is not the first such decline in the number of horses and in previous instances there was later a rebound in numbers.

“People have been talking about the decline in horse numbers for some time, however this is the first time the issue has been discussed in a comprehensive fashion,” said AHC president Jay Hickey. “It was a very good program and attendees now have a better understanding of current conditions and what actions are being taken.”

The forum began with a presentation by Tim Capps, Director of the Equine Industry Program at the University of Louisville. Mr. Capps presented evidence that the industry has experienced several drops in horse numbers and prices in modern history, most notably during the Great Depression and in the mid-1980s. He pointed out the horse industry often parallels the wider economy and the current situation closely mirrors the impact the Great Depression had on the industry. In the past following such declines, growth was often propelled by individuals outside the industry becoming interested and investing in the industry, noted Capps. He believes it will again be important to look beyond current horse industry participants to grow the industry now and in the future...

Read more here:

Special Herd of Spanish Mission Horse Facing Extinction

For over twenty years, the Heritage Discover Center and Rancho Del Sueno have conserved and cared for the herd of the Colonial Spanish Wilbur-Cruce Mission Horses. These horses were determined by equine geneticists to be an exceptional strain of the original Iberian stock brought to the Americas by the Spanish during the period of exploration and colonization. Due to their contained isolation on the ranch, these horses are unlike any others on earth. Now known as the Colonial Spanish Wilbur-Cruce Mission Horse, they represent the last pure examples of the original Spanish horses sent to the New World.
Heritage Discovery Center (HDC) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of rare Colonial Spanish horses, as well as an advocate for experiential equine-facilitated psychotherapy and education. Without additional funding for feed, veterinary care, and the essential necessities, there will be no recourse but to disband this rare genetic resource and dispose of the herd of 50+ foundation livestock.
Rancho Del Sueno is the only facility dedicated to the conservation of this endangered breed. The horses themselves share in this responsibility:
•        As ambassadors for time-honored “living history” colonial educational programs that have entertained and enlightened thousands of people over the years.
•        As partners in an innovative therapy for individuals with various physical or psychological challenges and others seeking personal growth.
•        As teachers through their generous character and their innate desire to be deeply connected with humans.
In 1990, President/Founder Robin Lea Collins’ ranch, Rancho Del Sueno, became the steward for a special herd of Colonial Spanish horses from the Wilbur-Cruce ranch in southern Arizona. Dr. Ruben Wilbur, originally purchased the horses in the late 1800’s from Father Kino’s Mission Dolores in Sonora, Mexico. Over a hundred and twenty years later, the Nature Conservancy acquired a portion of this ranch from Dr. Wilbur’s granddaughter, Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce, requiring relocation of the family’s historic mission horses. Rancho Del Sueno became their new home.
To make a donation, please use PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, GoFundMe or send a check to: Rancho Del Sueno or Heritage Discovery Center, Inc. at 40222 Millstream Lane, Madrea, CA 93636.  All contributions, no matter how small, are greatly needed.
To learn more about the RDS programs and the Colonial Spanish Wilbur-Cruce Mission horses, please visit,
The Heritage Discover Center is a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, and your gifts are tax deductible.

Robin Lea Collins, President/Founder
Heritage Discovery Center and Rancho Del Sueno, equine division of HDC
40222 Millstream Lane
Madera, California 93636
559 868-8681
559 868- 8682 fax

Minerals 101 - Full Article

By Karen Briggs
Nov 3, 2014

Minerals make up only the tiniest fraction of the weight of the daily ration, yet they're critically important for literally dozens of daily bodily functions. Here's a rundown of the most important minerals in your horse’s diet.

Calcium and Phosphorus (Ca and P)

Function—First on the feed tag, and in most discussions of minerals, is calcium, a versatile player best known for its role in bone structure and repair. Calcium makes up about 35% of the horse’s bone structure, but it also is involved in a host of other functions, including cardiac muscle contraction, cell membrane integrity, glandular secretion, temperature regulation, and blood clotting mechanisms. The absorption efficiency of calcium seems to decline with age and to range from as high as 75% in young horses to 50% or less in older ones...

Read more here:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Not All Winter Coats are Created Equal - Full Article

By Erica
21 Oct 2014

Winter coats are a funny thing. Horse owners love them because they not only keep their four-legged family members warm when temperatures drop, but they also save probably hours of work over the course of a winter that otherwise would be spent putting on and removing various blankets to keep our charges warm. Yes, we love them. That is, until those coats don't grow in enough or, sometimes worse, grow in too much for the horse's workload or geographic location.

And yesterday, as I sent millions of dark brown hairs flying around the barn (and somehow into the depths of the layers I wore…) during Dorado's second body clip of the fall, I realized that most of the horses I've had winter coat wars with over the years have been either seniors or horses rapidly approaching their golden years...

- See more at:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

MT. BIKERS vs EQUESTRIANS: An explanation of horses to bikers – written by a biker - Full Article

You have all heard me rant about bikers that seem to have no regard for equestrians.

I’ve had an accident caused by a biker and many near misses since we live in a hilly and curvy landscape… Hilly and curvy makes for great riding and also many blind and speedy corners.


I know that I always thank cyclist who are kind towards equestrians. But, what do you say to those who aren’t respectful?

Usually, I yell something like, “It wouldn’t be funny if this was your kid on board!”… but they’re so far down the trail they never hear me.

So, when I saw this posted on our Equestrian board today, I thought some of you out there might find this handy if you get the chance to offer a cyclist’s explanation to other cyclists about equine safely...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 09, 2014

How to Set Effective Goals for Your Riding

Having clear objectives will help you and your horse get the most out of every schooling session.
By Sarah E. Coleman | November 7, 2014

Riding lessons, whether with an Olympic-caliber trainer or a local professional, can be a worthwhile investment in deepening your partnership with your horse. But in order to get the most bang for your riding-lesson buck, you’ll need to have clear goals in mind to which you can compare your progress.

The Big Picture
Though goals may vary across disciplines and skill levels, their general purpose is the same: to provide benchmarks on how you and your horse have progressed (not necessarily in a straight line!) from where you were as a team at set points in the months or years past.

Many riders can pinpoint one large goal they would like accomplish, whether it’s something as monumental as "I want to jump a Grand Prix showjumping course” or something more basic like "I want my horse to be safe and quiet when on the trail.” But it can be harder to break that large goal down into bite-sized, easily attainable pieces.

It’s important to keep in mind that there is no linear path every horseman must follow to get a broke horse; instead, it’s up to each individual rider to determine what stepping stones are best for her and her horse to reach their end goal.

It’s also helpful to keep a sense of humor and realize that for every step forward, you and your horse might take one backward—and that’s OK. We might not all ride the next Roxy or Totilas, but there’s nothing wrong with endeavoring to make your horse the best he can be.

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Monday, November 03, 2014

Razer Horseshoes Offer Technologically Advanced Alternative to Tradition Shoes

5246 Hwy 377, Suite 7
Aubrey, Texas 76227
Toll Free: 855-95-RAZER
Razer horseshoes provide the best of both worlds: the natural function of being barefoot and the support and protection of being shod. Razer shoes were crafted from tempered tool steel so they will flex like a bare foot, unlike traditional steel or aluminum shoes which lock the foot in place. Through science and technology, Razerhorse has manufactured Razer shoes to include many unique features and benefits.
Razer Benefits:
- Reduced strain on limbs and joints
- Increased balance and confidence
- Enhanced traction with a smooth glide upon landing
- Stronger and lighter than a traditional steel shoe
- Lower profile provides more frog contact

Because of these unique qualities, most horses are able to reach their highest performance potential.

“I love this shoe and it’s been my best kept secret,” says Fallon Taylor, 5-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “Babyflo has been giving me her everything, so I’m getting much more out of my horse now. She’s a lot more confident and the ground is not as much of a factor anymore. It makes me a lot more confident to run in there and really give it my 110% also.”

Razer shoes were designed in Sweden for Standardbred harness racing, and have gained popularity in barrel racing since coming to the U.S. nearly two years ago. Their use is quickly expanding into a variety of disciplines including mounted shooting, roping, cutting, eventing, hunter/jumper, trail riding and more!

About Razerhorse

Razerhorse is a hoof care company that promotes better health and performance through science and technology. Razerhorse products are designed to mimic the natural function of the hoof while offering the protection needed for performance horses. Razerhorse currently offers two products: the Razer horseshoe and Propad. To learn more about Razer shoes and Propads or to find a dealer near you, visit or call 855-95-RAZER.

Press Contact:
Deb Fairman

Myths About Hay Selection - Full Article

By University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Oct 24, 2014

Horse owners are often described as “picky, fussy, or difficult” when it comes to hay selection. This is not surprising since many horses are either very valuable or viewed as part of the family.

However, a lack of knowledge regarding quality hay selection is what gives horse owners a bad name and forces us to pay more for hay than our neighbors with other types of livestock do. Myths often develop from a tiny bit of truth that gets inflated over time. To improve our collective knowledge about hay selection, we've debunked the following common myths about hay:...

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Developing the Sport Horse Part 3 – LEGS! Common injuries and how we can treat them - Full Article

October 2014
Story by: Dr. Brianne Henderson

Every year riders are plagued with limb injuries to their equine partners. Sometimes this is a small blip in the training schedule, other times it spells the end of a competitive season. In this article we are going to highlight some common injuries and different modalities that can help your horse onto the road to recovery (and a few preventative tips!). At the end of the article, there is a table outlining different treatments to help manage the injuries discussed.

The Suspensory Ligament

The Suspensory Ligament (SL) is effectively a broad elastic cable that runs from the back of the knee down the back of the canon bone and then branches to cradle the fetlock joint. Its purpose is to suspend the fetlock joint and prevent over extension during loading. Essentially, it works like a spring mechanism to absorb the energy as it stretches and then recoils to lift the fetlock back to its normal position.

Over time, micro-damage occurs within the fibres of the ligament and due to the poor blood supply, these micro-tears are more likely to accumulate than heal. Often this is why we see repetitive strain injuries/inflammation to the SL. The impact of foot balance is critical to the health of the SL. A foot with long toe/low heel places increased strain on structures within the foot (navicular bone), the Deep Digital Flexor Tendon and the Suspensory ligament by predisposing to a “toe first” landing. Instead of allowing a gradual absorption of impact through the structures of the heels and up the limb, this movement creates a snapping action on the DDFT and Suspensory ligament. The long-term effect of foot imbalance is associated with chronic heel pain (“toe first”) and also chronic proximal suspensory desmitis. Veterinary Treatment options may include? Shockwave therapy, biological injections...

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