Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Does Your Horse Need a Vitamin Supplement?

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Karen Briggs
Sep 17, 2014

It's no secret that vitamins are an important part of every horse's diet. But does your horse need some type of vitamin supplement? Some horses might benefit from a vitamin supplement, but many are able to obtain the vitamins they need through their regular diets.

Vitamin supplementation might be beneficial for:

Horses on a high-grain, low-forage diet (such as youngsters in heavy race training), or for those on very poor-quality forage or eating hay that is more than a year old. Vitamins tend to break down over time in stored feed. For example, there is a 9.5% loss of vitamin A activity in hay every month...

Read more here:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Algal Blooms Pose Danger to Livestock

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Aug 30, 2014

Recent news reports of unsafe drinking water in the Great Lakes area has drawn national attention to toxic algal blooms. In Kentucky, cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, recently were found in Green River Lake, Taylorsville Lake, Barren River Lake, Nolin Reservoir, and Rough River Lake at levels that prompted a recreational advisory.

Algal blooms are accumulated populations of algae in freshwater and marine water environments. They can reduce water quality, causing animals to drink less water than they need to get them through the hot, dry summer. Of the more than 2,000 species of blue-green algae identified, at least 80 are known to produce cyanotoxins (poisons) that can seriously affect animal and human health...

Read more here:

Recommendations for Overseeding Horse Pastures

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Aug 29, 2014

Overseeding horse pastures that contain cool season grasses can help improve pasture production and forage quality and ensure a good ground cover the following year without major pasture renovations.

Overseeding consists of planting seed in a field with existing grass cover to fill in bare patches and thicken the stand. Property owners can overseed the entire pasture or just the trouble areas. The best time for overseeding is the fall when weed competition is low and ideal growing conditions exist for cool-season grasses...

Read more here:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Preventing Stomach Ulcers in Horses

KER.Equinews.com - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 13, 2014

Gastric ulceration in horses manifests as a failure to finish grain meals, weight loss, altered disposition, and underperformance.

Exercising horses are known to have a reduced pH (acidity) in the “sensitive” part of their stomachs, possibly due to stomach contents being pushed there during exercise. Stress is also thought to be a part of the development of ulcers in athletic horses. Because even pastured horses can develop gastric ulcers, the exact causes of ulceration remain unclear, and studies devoted to determining the causes of ulceration have yielded unclear and inconsistent findings.

How, then, can we better feed horses to minimize this important problem?...

Read more here:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Feeding Treats to Horses

KER.Equinews.com - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 7, 2014

Horses are programmed to eat small amounts of food on a continuous basis, so your horse will ALWAYS want another treat, but for his well-being, learn to say no.

If you love your horse (and what horse owner doesn’t?), you probably like to feed him treats from time to time. Your horse is happy to gobble up whatever you offer him, and always wants more. Everyone at your stable has a different idea, however, on what sort of treats are best, which ones should be avoided, and how and when to feed treats. What’s the best answer?

What to offer as treats. Almost any fruits, and many vegetables, are safe treats for healthy horses. Apples and carrots are traditional favorites. You can safely offer your horse raisins, grapes, bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe or other melons, celery, pumpkin, and snow peas. Most horses will chew these treats before swallowing, but horses that gulp large pieces of a fruit or vegetable have a risk of choking. Remember to cut treats into smaller pieces before feeding. A few sugar cubes or peppermint candies (one or two) are okay, as are many of the commercially available horse treats sold in equine catalogs...

Read more here:

Rehabilitating Horses with Back Problems

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor
Aug 13, 2014

Horses can suffer musculoskeletal pain and injuries anywhere along the axial skeleton that comprises the skull, vertebral column, sternum, and ribs. Bringing these horses back to form post-injury can be difficult and time-consuming, but possible thanks to both time-tested mobilization exercises and cutting-edge physical therapy techniques.

During the American Association of Equine Practitioners' Focus on the Sport Horse program, held July 20-22, in Louisville, Kentucky, Philippe Benoit, DVM, MS, of Clinique Equine des Bréviaires in France and former veterinarian for the French show jumping team, described methods for rehabilitating horses recovering from any number of back problems...

Read more here:

Starch Digestion in the Horse

KER.Equinews.com - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 30, 2014

Several factors determine how quickly and thoroughly starch is digested by horses. These include properties of the starch granule; the effect of processing; associated food structures such as plant cell walls; transit time through the small intestine; and the availability and concentration of enzymes. These factors will affect the horse’s glycemic response to feeding and the subsequent production of insulin. Resistant starch, together with undigested starch, can pass into the large intestine, where it may be fermented to produce short-chain fatty acids.

Resistant starch may escape digestion in the small intestine of the horse because of physical entrapment within a food, such as in partly milled grains and seeds (RS1 starch), or because starch granules have a B or C crystalline structure, which is highly resistant to digestion (RS2 starch). RS1 and RS2 are quantitatively the most important forms of resistant starch found in horse feeds...

Read more here:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Do Different Saddles Impact Horses' Movement?

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Aug 12, 2014

As scientists seek to improve their knowledge of different saddles’ effects on horses, Swiss researchers have been focusing their attention on how various saddles influence—or don't influence—horses' movement.

Saddle type did not appear to impact movement in a group of Icelandic horses, said Katja Geser-von Peinen, DVM, clinical researcher in the Department of Sports Medicine at the Equine Clinic of Vetsuisse Faculty, in Zurich, Switzerland. The team chose to study Icelandic horses because their shoulder movement—often thought to be impeded by saddles—is considered an important criterion in their special gaits, including the four-beat tölt.

“Icelandic horse riders often think that the right saddle can free up the shoulder and give better movement, but our research shows that the kind of saddle doesn’t affect that at all,” she told The Horse...

Read more here:

Choosing a Slow Feeder to Provide Hay to Horses

KER.Equinews.com - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 29, 2014

Slow hay feeders are a wonderful development for equines because they allow only a few bits of hay to be withdrawn at a time. This mimics the natural feeding pattern, keeps the horse busy for a long period, and avoids stretches of several hours when the horse has nothing to put in its stomach. Owners love the nets because they simplify lengthy trailer rides and prevent hours of hungry boredom for stalled horses. Horses should be happy because they can nibble at their hay for hours instead of gobbling it all and then standing around with nothing to eat until the next feeding. The equine digestive tract should be at peace because it receives a slow but continuous supply of fiber...

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Endurance Ride Strategy

Aerc.org - Full Article

June 2014

By Rusty Toth

There is great value in building a ride strategy; it can make the difference in successfully completing your first ride, achieving your first top ten or going for a win. To build a successful strategy one must first decide on a goal, say, a first 50, a fast 50, or a 100-mile ride. Then create a plan to attain that goal.

Build a program to strengthen yourself and your horse, keeping in mind the tactics required to achieve your particular goal. This will include conditioning at home, however will also most likely involve competitions, and the key here is to maintain your focus on your end goal and not get caught up in the particular ride at speeds or conditions you didn't plan for.Â

Creating a ride strategy begins months before the ride. Learn everything you can about the trail, examine the strengths and weaknesses your horse may have on the selected course and build a training program to enhance his advantages and strengthen his weaknesses. Knowing about the course is extremely beneficial. Training on flat ground at high speed, for example, would obviously not suit the needs of a mountainous competition.

The sage advice of riding vet check to vet check should always be followed. However, when creating tactics for a ride strategy, look at the big picture and have a plan that begins at the start line and ends at the finish line. (Actually, think beyond the finish line -- you want your horse to pass that final vet check with flying colors...)

Read more here:

Study: Post-Exercise Snacks Benefit Horses

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Aug 11, 2014

Your horse just had a fabulous workout, got really sweaty, and used up a lot of energy. Now what does he want you to do?

A) Put him back in his stall or paddock and say, “Good job, Buck. Lunch’ll be ready in an hour.”
B) Load him up in the trailer and head for home, where plenty of food and water is waiting for him.
C) Feed and water him right away, and give him plenty of time to finish his food.

Italian researchers say that while many riders tend to practice the first two techniques, it might be time to switch to the final option in order to keep their horses happiest...

Read more here:

Monday, September 08, 2014

Surgical Technique Stops Cribbing in Most Horses

KER.Equinews.com - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 7, 2014

Cribbing is a stereotypical behavior in which a horse sets its incisors against a fence board, stall door, or other horizontal surface and then tightens its neck muscles, making a gulping or grunting sound as though swallowing air. In some horses, this behavior becomes so time-consuming that the animal chooses cribbing rather than eating. Confirmed cribbers may lose weight, show excessive wear on the incisors, and develop some types of colic more often than non-cribbing horses. These horses also bring lower prices at sales; it seems that no one wants to own a cribber.

Despite numerous studies, no one knows exactly why horses begin to crib, what sort of reward they obtain from the behavior, or how to get them to stop. Does the habit relieve stress in the horse, or merely increase stress in the owner? Is cribbing the cause of, a pain reliever for, or completely unrelated to gastric ulcers? Do horses learn the behavior when they see other horses cribbing? Results of research have failed to provide conclusive answers to these questions...

Read more here:

EPM Remains a Threat to Horse Health

KER.Equinews.com - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 10, 2014

Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, or EPM, might not be in the news as much as it was a few years ago, but it’s still a threat to horses. In fact, EPM is one of the most common neurologic diseases affecting equines in North America. Horses can develop EPM after ingesting hay, grass, or grain that has been contaminated with microscopic protozoa found in opossum waste. The natural range of opossums includes the U.S. and parts of Canada, though the risk equine of exposure is lower in dry, treeless areas that are not favored by these marsupials.

EPM affects the horse’s nervous system. Because nerve signals control muscle function, the muscular system is also affected. Signs may be mild, such as a drooping ear or a slight decrease in performance. Owners might not notice these signs or could attribute them to different conditions. In other horses, EPM can manifest as lameness, poor coordination, difficulty swallowing, or an inability to stand. In general, horses with less severe signs have a better chance of recovery than those that are more seriously affected. Early diagnosis and treatment are important in maximizing the horse’s chances for recovery...


Friday, September 05, 2014

Haynet Design and Forage Consumption Rates Studied

Bloodhorse.com - Full Article

By Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM
August 25, 2014

It’s no secret that horses in modern management situations can benefit from slowed forage intake, which mimics feral horses' natural foraging tendencies. But do these slow feeders really work? A group of University of Minnesota researchers recently put two slow-feed haynets—one with medium-sized and one with small-sized openings—to the test to find out.

“The small and medium haynets offer two different size options in the ‘slow-feed’ haynet market,” said Krishona Martinson, PhD, associate professor and Equine Extension Specialist at the University of Minnesota. "We wanted to see if there was a difference between these haynets."

The researchers also wanted to see how the two slow-feed nets compared to a standard haynet or no haynet at all...

Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/34428/haynet-design-and-forage-consumption-rates-studied#ixzz3CSAb3qnE

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

What are the Most Common Equine Toxins?

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Aug 18, 2014

There’s no equine-specific poison control center. But if there were, what would the statistics show?

Swiss researchers recently looked into the details of reported toxicity in Swiss horses, ponies, and donkeys from 2012 to see how the figures added up and what the poisons were.

Myriam Corpataux, BSc, under the supervision of Claudia Graubner, DrVetMed, both of the Haute Ecole of Agricultural, Forest, and Food Sciences in Zollikofen presented their findings at the 2014 Swiss Equine Research Day held April 10 in Avenches.

Nearly half (44%) of all equine toxicities were due to the ingestion of poisonous plants...

Read more here:

Benefits of Feeding Fats to Horses

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Karen Briggs
Aug 16, 2014

Horses fed high-fat diets appear to perform better than those fed either a high-starch diet (40%) or a high-protein diet (25%) for both high-speed (racing) activities, and moderate-speed activities (fast trot/slow canter speeds of about five meters a second). Resaerch showed that their blood glucose levels decreased less, and for a shorter duration, than did those horses on high-carb diets. These benefits might produce only subtle results—but even a gain of a few feet on a racetrack might result in a Derby win. Even at lower levels of performance, the change can be valuable. For example, a low-goal polo player might find that his horse can recover more quickly and, perhaps, be able to play one more chukker than before...

Read more here: