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