Friday, May 30, 2014

Body Condition Score Chart

Terms like "fat" and "thin" mean different things to different horsemen. Use a standardized body condition score chart to assess your horse's condition.

Download a free chart here:

Train for Camping Calm - Full Article

By Heidi Melocco with Julie Goodnight

Teach your horse to accept unfamiliar horse-camping stimuli — and turn his fear into curiosity — with this easy technique from top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight.

When you camp with your horse, he’ll be exposed to fabric tents that can blow, canvas chairs that become kites in the wind, fishing rods that look like long whips, coolers that shake and rattle, hikers with backpacks, and other horse-eating monsters.

While you can desensitize your horse to your basic camping gear at home, you can’t prepare him for everything.

But you can help your horse approach new scenes without constant tension by keeping him calm and focused in situations that would otherwise cause him to turn and run for the trailer.

Here, top clinician/trainer Julie Goodnight teaches you how to approach a scene that might first appear scary to your horse. You’ll do this by keeping him focused on the scary situation, then letting him rest, rather than constantly cueing him forward.

This moment of rest can calm your horse, as long as he keeps his focus. He’ll learn to become curious and less worried — and may even move forward with interest.

In this technique, Goodnight implements the horse’s instinctive curiosity to prompt him to want to move forward...

See more at:

Remember Burrowing Rodents in Farm Management Plans - Full Article

By Matt Brechwald, MA
May 20, 2014

Chances are you already have a management plan in place for your pastures, paddocks, and arenas, and you've likely got your fly control protocol down to a science. But do you have a management plan for other pests that can damage footing surfaces and cause horse injuries? What do you do about burrowing rodents?

Gophers, voles, squirrels, and other rodents can create major hazards for horses and riders by digging holes and tunnels just below the ground's surface. Frequently the horse and rider cannot see these and, when the horse places his weight on the thin layer of sod, the ground can give way, possibly causing serious injury or even death...

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Molasses in Horse Feeds - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · May 2, 2014

Molasses is the liquid residue left after condensing the juice of sugar cane or sugar beets until sugar crystals precipitate. When all the crystals that can be formed have been centrifuged off, the syrup can be as high as 85% dry matter. This syrup is too thick and sticky to be handled by ordinary mill equipment, and must be diluted somewhat before it is used at a feed mill.

Even though sugar is the primary material extracted from the condensed cane syrup, a great deal of unextractable sugar is still left in molasses...

Read more here:

National Trails Day

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is the country’s largest celebration of trails. Mark your 2014 calendar for Saturday, June 7 to prepare for this year’s big celebration. If you are thinking about hosting an event next year, click on the host information tab below for host guides and prep materials. National Trails Day events include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more.

“Find an Event” is to find the National Trails Day® Event nearest you. “Register an Event” is to register your own.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Researchers assess internal eye pressure in endurance horses - Full Article

By on May 20, 2014 in Research

Pressure inside the eyes of endurance horses fluctuate during a race, especially so in those finishing with faster times, research has shown.

The findings of the American study have been published in the journal, Veterinary Ophthalmology...

Read more here:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tying Horses 101 - Full Article

By Sushil Dulai Wenholz
May 07, 2014

Tying a horse is such a basic part of owning a horse that many of us take it for granted. But if you have a horse that won't stand nicely while tied, or if you're training a youngster to tie, then you've probably realized this is as much a learned skill as, say, sidepassing or spinning. Maybe more so, since standing tied to a solid object is not something a horse would naturally do.

But standing quietly while tied is necessary for our domesticated horses, both for convenience and safety. Luckily, even if your horse doesn't yet have this skill mastered, he can learn the ropes with some patience on your part and a few smart reschooling strategies...

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Great Garlic Debate - Full Article

Dr. Karen Hayes, DVM, MS, discusses whether or not to feed your horse garlic as a feed supplement or fly repellent.

It's heartening to see how passionate readers are about the care of their horses--and their garlic!

The toxic element in allium (a family of plants including both garlic and onions) is well known to be a chemical called N-propyl disulfide. By altering an enzyme present within the red blood cell, it depletes the cell of a chemical known as phosphate dehydrogenase (PD), whose job is to protect the cell from natural oxidative damage.

When the PD level gets low enough, the hemoglobin in the cell oxidizes and forms a "bubble" called a Heinz body on the outside of the cell--it's quite distinctive and readily seen under the microscope. The spleen--which acts as a red-cell "bouncer" of sorts--quickly removes the deformed cell from the bloodstream. As more and more red cells are prematurely damaged and removed, as will happen from consistent poisoning with N-propyl disulfide, your horse gradually becomes anemic. This is called Heinz-body anemia.

The "toxic dose" of N-propyl disulfide, which is not well worked out in any species, is the amount thought to cause obvious poisoning, a sort of "9-1-1" situation. Cows are thought to be more sensitive to the toxin than are horses, but in one study published in 1972 in the "Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association," the toxic dose in horses turned out to be considerably less than the 5 grams per kilogram of body weight reported in cows...

- See more at:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Online Equine Exercise Physiology Course Offered - Full Article

By Edited Press Release
May 04, 2014

No matter the discipline, proper conditioning is a key element toward enhancing your horse’s athletic performance and its ability to endure the activity without succumbing to injury or health problems. Learn the physiology of equine conditioning and what’s best for your equine athlete with Equine Guelph’s online course, "Equine Exercise Physiology."

“Unfortunately, the ‘one size fits all’ concept does not work for conditioning equine athletes,” says course instructor Amanda Waller, PhD. “Each horse is an individual and must be treated that way. We then add all the differences in the demands of each discipline, age, breed and conformation of the horse, as well as the environmental factors and terrain. You can see how training must be optimized to each unique scenario.”

Offered through the University of Guelph, the 12-week online course is designed to provide students with in-depth study of the physiologic systems and metabolic pathways important to equine performance and conditioning. It also offers interaction with fellow horse enthusiasts from around the globe to discuss cutting-edge, evidence-based research. The course is designed to allow participants to safely carry out a daily conditioning workout to prevent overwork, design and monitor a year-round training program for a horse, assess the advantages and disadvantages of new technology and alternate training venues or programs for the athletic horse, and explain the scientific rationale for suggested practices based on an understanding of horse exercise physiology.

Registration for Equine Guelph’s summer 2014 semester is now open with courses beginning on May 12. More information is available at or by contacting Open Learning and Educational Support at or 519/767-5000.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Let's Hear It For Moms! - Full Article

Readers share stories about how their moms helped to shape their horsey lives.

May 11, 2014

Some moms are avid equestrians who introduced their kids to the joy of horses. Others prefer to keep their feet on the ground and support their children's riding career from the sidelines. In celebration of Mother's Day, we asked our Facebook community to tell us how their moms helped shape their horsey lives. Here are some of the responses we received....

My mom started riding western after I had already been at an English barn for a few years. She absolutely fell in love with horses and with the culture. She only got to ride for a year before she passed away. Her dream was to own a horse of her own. I know that she would have cared for her horse with the same incredible love and support that she always gave to me.
— Caty M.

Although she herself was never a horsewoman, my mom supported me 100% from the beginning - whether that meant getting up at 3:00 AM before a show, holding my horses and/or grooming them, or just being there for me. I am so thankful to have her as my mother.
— Kimberly G.

Read more here:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Long Haul - Full Article

By Julie Goodnight With Heidi Melocco

Q: I’m ready to take my horse on my first long road trip, a 13-hour trek from central Texas to a group trail ride in Colorado. I’ve never before trailered a horse more than a few hours. How can I ensure that my horse is comfortable and safe on a trip of this length? How should I set up the trailer stall? Should I tie him or not? How do I keep him watered, fed, and rested?

Lilly Woods
via e-mail

A: Lilly, you’re wise to ask for advice and seek experience as you head out on the road. There’s so much to consider, and it’s always good to gather wisdom from seasoned road warriors.

I’ve learned a lot of things to do (and not to do) over a lifetime of hauling horses.

When planning a long road trip, consider your horse, your trailer, and your goals once you arrive. Overall, you’ll feel more prepared when you make a plan that feels right for you.

Here’s a roundup of five things to consider.

1. Observe Your Horse

First, observe how your horse travels in the trailer. If he’s nervous and tends to fidget and shake, he’ll use more energy, get himself hot, and need frequent breaks.

Some horses are anxious when you’re not moving, but they do okay once you’re in motion...

- See more at:

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Macrominerals for Horses: Are Supplements Always Necessary? - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · April 10, 2014

Conscientious horse owners try to feed their horses in a way that provides all of the necessary nutrients in the proper quantities for good health and body maintenance. Most commercial feeds are formulated to fulfill those requirements. However, it’s tempting to think that if a little of something—a vitamin, mineral, or source of energy—is good for a horse, a little more might give him that extra boost in performance. This isn’t always a good idea, and in some cases, oversupplementation can actually be harmful to horses...

Read more here:

Researchers Test 'Composite Pain Scale' for Horses - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
May 06, 2014

If only horses could speak up and let us know when something hurts, right? Guess what: They can.

Dutch researchers recently learned that, although horses can’t speak, they do have distinct ways of communicating pain. It’s just up to us to learn to recognize them.

Thijs van Loon, PhD, of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and his fellow researchers have developed what they call the “composite pain scale,” or CPS. The CPS lists common pain behaviors that could be seen in most horses suffering from either abdominal or musculoskeletal pain and includes a few physiological parameters such as breathing frequency, intestinal sounds, and rectal temperature...

Read more here:

Saddle Sore Spots - Full Article

By Heather Smith Thomas
May 02, 2014

Like an ill-fitting pair of shoes that makes your feet sore—or creates a blister on your little toe—a saddle can create a sore on your horse's back if it doesn't fit right. A girth sore might show up the first time you ride your horse in the spring. This could seem strange because you used that same cinch all last summer and it didn't cause a problem. However, your horse is soft and fat after his layoff and his skin is more tender. The girth rubbing on tender skin (with a layer of fat underneath it) was like you suddenly doing a lot of hand work without gloves; unless the skin on your hands has a chance to toughen up gradually, you will get blisters and raw spots...

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Test Results on Derby, Oaks Horses Clean - Full Article

By Blood-Horse Staff
May 6, 2014

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced May 6 that post-race test results from the Longines Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, both grade I, were all clear.

"After undergoing full instrumental analysis to detect more than 1,500 substances, all samples were cleared," the KHRC release said...


Paget Stripped of Burghley Title after Doping Scandal - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
Apr 24, 2014

New Zealand eventing rider Andrew Nicholson and horse Avebury are the new official champions of the 2013 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials held last September in the United Kindom, following the doping-related disqualification of compatriot Jonathan (“Jock”) Paget and horse Clifton Promise.

In an unusual order of events, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) tribunal made Paget’s disqualification official prior to the full case hearing, FEI representatives said. This “partial decision” was handed down following Paget’s request to not delay the disqualification any further.

“Paget is aware that the ongoing uncertainty with regard to the Burghley title is having a detrimental effect on the sport of eventing..."

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

NSC for All Seasons: Carbohydrate Levels in Horse Pastures - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · April 7, 2014

Grass is a natural food for horses, and many equines get along well with unrestricted pasture access at any time of the year. For certain horses with health problems like metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance, free-choice consumption of grass can lead to bouts of laminitis, an intensely painful and sometimes fatal inflammation of the structures within the hoof. For these horses that are highly sensitive to the nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC, including starches and sugars) in grass, grazing must be avoided or at least restricted to times when foliage energy level is at a very low level.

Most horse owners know that NSC can be abundant when grass is actively growing during the spring, summer, and early fall months. However, considering the sugar that’s stored in plant foliage and the spikes in photosynthesis that can occur on sunny days during late fall and early spring, even grass that looks dormant may not be safe for some horses to graze. Having grass samples tested is the only way to determine the NSC level in pasture foliage...

Read more here:

Horse Hoof Anatomy, Part 1 - Full Article

By Christy M. West
Apr 23, 2014

Understanding the hoof's inner structures and how they work together

Like the tires and suspension on the truck you drive to the barn, your horse’s hooves take a beating daily. The hoof is cleverly engineered to handle stress, yet hoof problems are unfortunately common. “The foot appears to be the dominant site of lameness in performance horses,” says Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, owner of Northern Virginia Equine, in Marshall.

Lameness results from pain in the foot’s inner structures, which are heavily influenced by the outer hoof. O’Grady explains that the hoof is viscoelastic, meaning that it deforms or changes shape dynamically with high stress (expands with weight bearing). It also changes shape or distorts in a more long-term manner with consistent stress (such as contracting over time because of shoes that are too small)...

Read more here:

Monday, May 05, 2014

"Keeping Trails Open For You" Campaign NOW LIVE


Contact: Randy Rasmussen, BCHA (341) 602-0713 | Peg Greiwe, BCHA 1-888-893-5161 | Jonathon Stalls (303) 908-0076

Horses and Mules May Provide Answer to Dwindling Federal Trail Dollars

Worth $12.5 Million in 2012

Graham WA (May 4, 2014)) – Are you a hiking, biking, and riding enthusiast who recreates on U.S. Forest Service trails? Did you know it takes more dollars to keep trails maintained and open for use than are available? A huge gap exists between what is maintained and what is needed. That gap is growing each year. The Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA) have launched their "Keeping Trails for You" crowdfunding effort and have generated $22K (45%) within the first nine days. Campaign page link:

Horses and mules help fill that gap.

Okay. Horses and mules can’t do it alone. It takes men and women from the Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA) to get them to work and manage the work. In 2012 alone, BCHA people and four-footed volunteers filled a $12.5 million gap in trail work. 

Sometimes the people need help, too.

The situation is growing more complex and more difficult each year. A sustained effort requires full-time people to manage the efforts and stay on top of the problem.

Maintaining trails on 500 million acres of public lands is a massive effort. BCHA leaders work hard to prioritize and coordinate national efforts to keep trails open and accessible. Leaders at BCHA work with other trails interest groups as well as federal agencies on behalf of trail users throughout the United States. We can’t do it without other trail user organizations and we can’t do it without your help.

So, how can I help?

We’re organizing a crowdfunding opportunity for people who care about trails on public lands. All we ask is for you to help call attention to the issue and what we’re doing. That’s it. 
What do you want me to do? 

Ask everyone you know to contribute, share, and support this bold 45 day online fundraising and awareness effort. Campaign page: 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Veterinary Mobility Bill Moves to Full House - Full Article

By Pat Raia
Apr 10, 2014

Veterinarians who make farm calls could soon be better protected against prosecution under federal drug laws since a bill intended to amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) has moved out of committee and on to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

The CSA is intended to prevent the unauthorized manufacture, sale, and transport of drugs that are likely to be abused. Under current law, veterinarians who carry drugs to farm calls or in mobile veterinary units could be found in violation of the act...

Read more here: