Monday, December 21, 2015

Equine Joint Therapies: What to Know - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
Dec 15, 2015

If your horse’s joints are starting to be painful, chances are you have a lot of questions: Will he return to soundness? Should I scratch from the next show? How much time will he need off? Then you do a quick Google search to see what types of treatment your veterinarian might prescribe, and things get even less clear: Will he use a systemic product or a topical one? Intra-articular injections? Or maybe physical therapy? Which option is best?

While navigating equine joint therapy options can be challenging, it’s easier when you have a good understanding of each treatment and how it works. To that end, Laurie Goodrich, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, reviewed some common joint treatments for horses at the 2015 World Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Oct. 8-10 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Goodrich is an associate professor of surgery and lameness in the Department of Clinical Sciences and the Orthopaedic Research Center at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in Fort Collins...

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How Genetically Modified is Your Horse's Feed? - Full Article

By Diane E. Rice
Dec 7, 2015

You might be surprised to find out with this introduction to GMOs

You love your horse. You show that love in the way you care for every detail of his existence: You monitor him closely for possible illness and injury; keep his living quarters clean and parasite-free; ensure his tack is supple, oiled, and well-fitted; and secure the best veterinarian and farrier services your money can buy. His hay smells sweet and appears fresh, with no trace of dust or mold, and the listed ingredients in his feed are poised to support his health and -performance.

But no matter your choice of feed mixtures and proportions, what’s deep within each grain, down to the cellular level?

You might be surprised to learn that there’s almost no such thing as an equine or other animal feed that’s free of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Oats are one of the few feed grains commonly used for horses that haven’t been genetically engineered to improve at least one quality, says Marty Adams, PhD, PAS, equine nutritionist and horse feed manager at Southern States Cooperative in Richmond, Virginia.

“Cheerios really played it up when the public wanted non-GMO oats,” says Adams. “It was great marketing for them, but the truth is oats were already GMO-free because they’re grown in a cooler, drier climate, so the weed control needed in warmer, wetter areas (accomplished with GMOs resistant to the herbicides used to kill surrounding weeds) just wasn’t needed.”

But few horses live by oats alone. These days equine feeds might contain alfalfa, beet pulp, corn, flaxseed, rice, soybeans, and/or wheat, of which there are GMO varieties, in addition to vitamins, minerals, and sweeteners such as molasses...

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Ask the Vet: Rest Stops on Long Trailer Rides - Full Article

How often do horses need food, water, and a chance to get off the trailer during long trips?
December 17, 2015

Throughout 2015, Dr. Lydia Gray will be answering your horse-health questions at Got a question for Dr. Gray? Send it to and use subject line "Ask the Vet."

Q: How often do you need to stop and offer your horse water during a long-distance trailer ride? And how often should horses be allowed off the trailer to stretch their legs?

A: As you suspect, trailering is not only stressful for horses but requires quite a bit of energy expenditure to maintain balance during stops, starts, turns, and even just going straight. Experts such as in the resource I consulted—Guidelines for Horse Transport by Road & Air, edited by Catherine A. Kohn—suggest riding in a trailer uses as many calories as walking and twice as many as resting! Since weight loss, dehydration, and fatigue are real concerns then, what advice do these same experts give regarding feeding, watering, and resting?...

Read the rest here:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Equine Ulcers – You Really Need To Know More! - Full Article

Kerry J. Ridgway, DVM
Institute for Equine Therapeutic Options

Ulcers in the digestive track are more than just the latest “disease du jour.” Thus far, for a problem that has been recognized for about 20 years, we are still seeing and understanding only the tip of a metaphorical iceberg. More than two thirds of the iceberg is still not visible and much is still being discovered about this ulcer “iceberg.” We do know that there are, basically, only two kinds of horses – those who have ulcers and those who will have ulcers!

We should all recognize that gastric and intestinal ulcers are literally a slow or non-healing acid burn - a burn such as if hydrochloric acid was splashed on your face. The horse’s ulcers are a combination of this hydrochloric acid, as well as volatile fatty acids and bile acids. In horses, the acid burns holes into the lining of the stomach, small or large bowel. The acids may burn a crater deeply enough to cause bleeding or even burn through and penetrate the gut. When the acid burn craters do heal they can create scar tissue and strictures, especially in the small intestine that may lead to colic.

Therefore, the real purpose of this paper is three fold.

The first purpose is to provide a short synopsis regarding the dangers and sometimes-dire consequences of ulcers.
The second is to alert you to the signs and symptoms pointing to the presence of ulcers.
The third, and a very important purpose: Empower you to use a simple examination technique that can give a very strong presumptive diagnosis of GI ulcers. This technique can, in many cases, bypass the need for endoscopic examination if, for example, this procedure is not readily available or is not affordable. Confirmation by administration of appropriate medications is often used as a diagnostic tool and confirmation of a “presumptive” diagnosis.

Twelve Good Reasons to Understand GI Ulcers in Horses:

1. Ulcers increase the risk to the horse’s health, safety and welfare
2. Ulcers increase the risk to the rider’s safety and welfare
3. Ulcers cause loss of performance and competitive edge
4. Ulcers can upset or interrupt an entire competition schedule
5. Ulcers are very expensive to treat and to resolve – recurrence is common
6. Ulcers cause many “behavioral” problems
7. Ulcers set up many muscle, myofascial and chiropractic issues
8. Ulcers increase risk of injury and lameness as a result of number seven (Musculo-skeletal problems
9. Ulcers increase the risk of colic and diarrhea problems
10. Ulcer stress may deplete the immune system and make a horse more susceptible to disease
11. Ulcers often create “hard keepers” and cause weight loss. The result – an unthrifty horse. (However, some horses with excellent weight also have ulcers)
12. Toxins released from altered gut flora increase a risk of laminitis/founder

When horses develop painful and restricted movement associated with excess muscle tension, and poor ability to use the spine – resulting in pain - they cannot perform at the desired level. They are, thus, more prone to injury if pushed to jump higher, run faster, suddenly change direction, etc. In the case of cross country eventing, show jumping, racing, cutting, gymkhana, marathon competitive driving and other high performance demands, the risk of injury is greatly increased. A body in pain is always at risk and increases the likelihood of a fall. Needless to say a fall is always potentially dangerous for both horse and rider.

Next, it is appropriate to review the signs and symptoms associated with ulcers. Many of these the reader may already be familiar with. Others are less well known, but may serve even better to make one aware that a horse may be experiencing ulcer pain...

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Choosing an Ex-Racehorse - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
Nov 11, 2015

Before you take the plunge, learn what to be wary of as well as what to expect

When I bought my retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Dorado, I did just about everything wrong: I didn’t have a history on him, I didn’t know how old he was, and I didn’t have my veterinarian peform a prepurchase exam. But I’d fallen in love. Six years later, he’s 19 going on 5, and although he’s still in work, he requires regular (and expensive) veterinary care to help manage the lasting effects of injuries he sustained during his six years on the track.

The bottom line here? I got lucky! My horse has stayed sound with this maintenance, helped me become a better rider and horsewoman, and taught me just how important it is to carefully manage every aspect of your horse’s health care program. But there’s an easier way to get the ex-racehorse of your dreams. Here, we’ll get you started on the correct path to choosing an off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) or other retired racehorse, and our sources will share some important points to consider when evaluating prospects...

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What's Lurking in Your Forage? - Full Article

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
Nov 9, 2015

Find out what contaminants could hurt your horses

The hay delivery truck has just pulled out of the drive, leaving behind stacks of expensive hay bales that are a leafy, verdant green, void of obvious mold, and … mmm … they smell so fresh! But wait, how do you know this is the best possible hay for your horse? Could there be hidden horrors lurking within?

Equine nutritionists say the answer is a resounding yes. From toxins and molds to opossum droppings and animal carcasses, forage can contain a variety of harmful contaminants...

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Understanding How An Acute Injury Becomes Chronic Pain And How It Affects Your Horse - Full Article

Understanding how acute injury and pain can develop into chronic pain is an important factor in determining the source of pain and lameness in your horse.

Acute Injury Pain

acute-compensatory Acute pain is defined as a sudden onset of pain of limited duration usually due to injury. A playful kick or nip by a pasture mate will cause limited area muscle tenderness. A loss of footing resulting in a slip or fall might cause a muscle strain or sprain which results in localized soreness. A horse that has been laid off for a time and is ridden too aggressively will become body sore. Cuts, bruises, muscle strains and sprains are examples of acute injury and pain.

Chronic Muscle Pain

Chronic muscle pain, sometimes called cumulative trauma, or repetitive stress injury, is pain not caused by a recent injury...

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Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Frustrations of White Line Disease - Full Article

By Nancy S. Loving, DVM
Oct 21, 2015

Learn how to detect and manage this insidious hoof infection

An infection has been simmering in your horse’s foot. It gave little indication it was there until it had invaded extensively into the hoof’s deep tissues. Now it’s causing the hoof wall to crumble and your horse to be foot-sore. To add insult to injury, it’s proving incredibly frustrating and difficult to treat. Such is often the case with white line disease (WLD).

It All Begins With a Gap

The term white line disease is actually a misnomer; the white line (the soft, fibrous inner layer of the hoof wall) itself is not affected. Rather, the infection takes hold in the area just in front of the epidermal laminae (the sensitive tissues that attach to the hoof wall and help suspend the coffin bone within the hoof capsule)...

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Bandaging Fundamentals - Full Article

By Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
Oct 19, 2015

There are right and wrong ways to bandage horses' limbs, no matter the wrap's purpose.

At some point nearly every horse, from the fine-boned, flashy Arabian halter horse to the cowboy's sturdy, no-frills roping mount, will sport a wrap or bandage on one or more legs. Just because we see bandages around the barn frequently doesn't mean bandaging and wrapping are easy, and that bandages and wraps are interchangeable and always appropriate. Before you reach for the nearest roll of Vetrap or grab that splint boot out of your tack trunk, look at some of the basic principles behind bandaging or wrapping equine limbs.

Owners commonly apply bandages to shield recent wounds or tendon or -ligament injuries, to protect during shipping or performance, and to prevent fluid accumulation in the limb ("stocking up") during stall rest. Reid Hanson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, professor of equine surgery and lameness at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, in Alabama, adds topical dressing application, immobilization, and support to this list. However, bandaging and wrapping, while useful, are not wholly benign. Improper application and/or use of an inappropriate bandaging material can do more harm than leaving the leg unwrapped...

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The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Your Horse - Full Article

By Taryn Yates, DVM
Oct 20, 2015

Equine chiropractic care is a rapidly emerging field among veterinarians due to increasing demand from horse owners for alternative therapies. It is an art of healing that focuses primarily on restoring the spinal column’s normal movement and function to promote healthy neurologic activity, which in turn supports effective musculoskeletal function and overall health. Chiropractic care centers on detecting abnormal motion of the individual vertebra and its effects on the surrounding tissues. Reduced mobility between two vertebral bodies can irritate the nerves exiting the spinal cord, leading to decreased nerve supply to the tissues. This altered nerve function causes problems such as pain, abnormal posture, uncoordinated movement, overloading of leg joints, and muscle changes...

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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Stop the Growth and Development of the Equine Hoof Early in Life: The Best Way to Screw Up Your Well Bred Superstar Blog - Full Article

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 by Garrett Ford

RB Rich didn't win the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (the richest race in the history of Arabian racing), but a bigger battle was won at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on November 8th, 2015. Rich's invitation to race on the biggest stage in Arabian racing and the chance at the 1.2 million euro purse was the highlight of his young career and also a huge milestone for the EasyShoe Compete.

RB Rich raced the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons in a glue-on racing shoe that was once prohibited by our local track in Colorado. It's not unusual for a young horse to use the same type of hoof protection each year but what is unusual is for a young horse to start his career in a flexible form of hoof protection. RB Rich is the first horse that we are aware of to start his race career in the flexible glue-on EasyShoe Compete that not only conforms to track traction rules, but allows the hoof and internal structures of the hoof to develop and strengthen after application. Most young track horses are shod in a non flexible form of hoof protection early in life which in turn slows and hampers some of the critical development of the hoof.

Many readers are nodding their heads with agreement at this point while many others are calling me a tree hugger. I ask all the non-believers to think about what the athletic fate of their young daughters and sons would be if their feet were cast to a rigid 2x4 board from ages four to eight. The casted young foot was not allowed to flex when it hit the ground and the arch never developed, expansion was limited and the heel never developed to support the load of the body, feeling was lost and proprioception compromised. We would never do it to our children but the majority of the equestrian industry does it to their most promising young prospects. Many equine industries rush to get steel and aluminum shoes on the two and three year old superstars so training can begin, races can be won and trophies can be collected...

- See more at:

Friday, December 04, 2015

Read Before Riding: Horses Have Consciousness - Ful Article

By Simon Worrall, National Geographic

Horses have been domesticated for 5,000 years, but we’re still learning about how they think.

Horses were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago and have been deeply connected to humans ever since. In The Horse: The Epic History Of Our Noble Companion, Wendy Williams harnesses a lifetime in the saddle to explore our ancient relationship with the horse, from the cave paintings of Chauvet to the steppes of Eurasia, and the dude ranches of the American West to a laboratory in Texas where behavioural scientists are plumbing the depths of equine consciousness.

Talking from her home on Cape Cod, she explains why we are having to rethink our preconceptions about animal consciousness; how a mathematical horse fooled humans; and why missing that second cup of coffee to go and muck out the barn can bring rich rewards...

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Ulcers in Horses: Digestive Supplements and Acid Rebound - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · September 8, 2015

Diagnosing gastric ulcers in horses and clearing them with omeprazole takes commitment, but the benefits of gastrointestinal well-being outweigh any outlay of time, money, or inconvenience. As horse owners wrap up an ulcer-healing protocol, they should be aware of one side effect of omeprazole therapy, a condition known as acid rebound.

Reported in both humans and horses, acid rebound occurs after treatment with proton-pump inhibitor drugs such as omeprazole. In the days after treatment, a surge in acid production may happen, causing a significant drop in gastric pH and leaving the horse vulnerable to formation of new ulcers and digestive discomfort.

Nutritionists and veterinarians often recommend feeding a digestive supplement in combination with anti-ulcer medications and continuing supplementation as long as the risk of ulcers persists...

Read more here:

Thursday, December 03, 2015

2018 FEI World Equestrian Games logo revealed - Full Article

By Editorial

Organizers of the next World Equestrian Games in Bromont, Canada, have unveiled the Games logo, as officials marked the 1000-day milestone before the event.

The president of the board of directors of the organizing committee for the 2018 Games, François Duffar, released the new logo, which is based on a giant letter B to emphasize the host city and the colour red, representing the Canadian flag.

In a continuation of the branding developed for the 2014 Games in Normandy, the logo includes a rider’s head merging with the shape of a horse to reflect the close, harmonious relationship between the rider and their mount...

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Australia: TBQA Slams Push for Mandatory Hendra Vaccine - Full Article

Breednet - Media Release - Thursday, 3 December 2015
The controversial issue of making Hendra Virus vaccination mandatory in the racing industry is once again the spotlight.

Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland President, Basil Nolan has slammed a symposium convened by Racing Queensland yesterday to discuss the topic.

Mr Nolan said of the fifty or so people who were invited to the meeting, most were vets, who are obviously in favour of compulsory vaccination, whereas there were a limited number of opponents.

Therefore, from the outset the vast majority of those in attendance were going to be in favour of compulsory vaccinations for racehorses, while those opposed had so few representatives they couldn't be given a fair hearing...

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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Chomping at the bit: Have we had it wrong all along? - Full Article | 1 December 2015

Marauding horsemen from the East once dominated vast swathes of the known world. Could some of them, notably the nomadic Bedouins, have grasped a crucial element of horsemanship that has since been largely lost? A bridle with its roots in antiquity is providing some tantalising insights.

Veterinarian Robert Cook can still recall his week working in Kuwait nearly 30 years ago.

Cook travelled to the region in 1986 to deliver a series of lectures on horses and his grateful sponsors had organized a drive deep into the desert by way of thanks.

He was introduced to a small group of tribesmen who arrived with one horse. The animal was head-shy and they asked Cook through an interpreter if he would examine its mouth...

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Riding in the Rain - Full Article

Chase Endurance | November 30, 2015

“Do you ride in the rain?” I asked one of my new friends from the Fraser Valley Endurance Riding Green Beans. “Of course,” he replied “we live on the West Coast.” With a sense of optimism I replied “Let’s go for a mountain training ride on Saturday.”

The Main Corral horse trailer parking lot is always packed on an early Saturday morning, full of those dedicated ultra marathon trail runner vehicles, which leaves little room for my big rig. However, as I started parking extremely close to a little blue hybrid, the runners started trickling in from the trails to the parking lot and readily made space for me. To my surprise, Christine, from my endurance riders group, appeared – without a horse. I’ve heard stories of her running the flagged courses before our endurance horses set off on their 50-mile treks. No wonder she’s such a strong athlete and has been placing in the top 10 quite regularly. I think I will take a page out of her book and start some trail running of my own (another item on my list of athletic endeavours to fit in somewhere on my already jam-packed schedule).

Guido pulled up and found a spot to park his rig. He had a tough little sorrel Tennessee Walker mare that was picked up at an auction. Whisper has turned out to be quite the endurance competitor by completing several 50-milers in her first year (Guido’s first year too). You can tell by watching the two of them together that they have a strong bond and will have many wonderful adventures in this sport...

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

When Horse Feed Is Too Old to Use - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 7, 2015

Reputable feed manufacturers blend fresh ingredients to create palatable concentrates for horses and then provide valuable nutritional information about the products on bags and tags. Aside from nutritional guarantees and ingredients, some stamp products with useful information pertaining to manufacture date and best-use practices.

“Unlike many products destined for human consumption, bags of horse feed are not required to have manufacture or best-by dates,” said Mike Lennox, manager of formulation and quality control at Kentucky Equine Research (KER). “However, many feed mills do list this information for end users, as well as a lot number for internal use...”

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CRI Special Report - Full Article

November 2015
Greg Fellers, DVM, and Jamie Dieterich, Ph.D.


George Cardinet III, Bill Throgmorton and two other classmates from veterinary school, started research at the first NA
TRC ride at Mt. Diablo in 1961 to test George’s hypothesis that pulse and recovery rates were directly related to the horse’s physical conditioning. Not only did they find good correlation, their results showed that 12 minutes
of recovery gave the best correlation. That number was a nightmare to keep track of, and the 10-minute recovery became the standard allotted recovery period.

Since that time, pulse and respiration (P&R) recoveries after 10 minutes have been measured for 15 seconds, recorded, and scored according to guidelines set by the Judges Committee. Dr. Throgmorton considered a horse to have two different normal pulse readings: one at complete rest (28 to 40 bpm), and another at normal arousal (32 to 48 bpm). Thus for scoring, points have been deducted when the 15-second, 10-minute recovery count is over 12 (48 bpm)...

Read more here:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pre- and Probiotics for Horses - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
Nov 26, 2012

Feed digestion in horses is largely accomplished by microbial fermentation in the hindgut. The cecum and colon provide an environment that promotes the digestion and absorption of nutrients from fibrous products such as hay and beet pulp. Disrupting the microbe balance, due to mismanaged feeding practices or illness, can have detrimental effects on the horse's health. Thus, some horse owners and veterinarians use pre- and probiotics to help keep the microbial balance in check and the horse's digestive tract functioning properly.

Prebiotics are food components that stimulate hindgut microflora activity and growth. The horse does not digest these ingredients; rather, hindgut microbes do. These include carbohydrate fibers such as fructo-oligosaccharides and manno-oligosaccharides. Premium feed products include several prebiotics, including yeast cultures and fungi, to aid in digestion.

Probiotics, or direct-fed microbials, are the bacteria and entercoli typically found in the horse's intestinal lumen. The goal in feeding a probiotic supplement is to enhance the hindgut's microbial population and reduce the growth of potentially harmful bacteria...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A look at the numbers: Older endurance horses

Bootsandsaddles4mel Blog - Full Article

November 21 2015
by Melinda Newton

In the Oct Link Luv post I shared some data that Mike Maul posted on the AERC facebook page... now, instead of relying on your *squirrel-shiny-object-syndrome brains to go click on that link and then come back in some sort of orderly and reliable fashion (this is the modern age after all), I’ll just **reiterate everything here.

*Oh, maybe that’s just me? So says the bad blogger who felt the need to perfect a maple syrup and cinnamon roasted almond recipe prior to actually settling down and writing this post.

**As a side benefit I will have added several hundred words to this post and thus towards my “write a thousand words a day” resolution without having actually applied myself to my book that surely won’t write itself over in that corner.

Here’s what I had to say in October:

On the surface it looks like the mode has shifted “older” about 3 years – from around 8 years of age to around 11 years old. The mean (average) is probably even a couple years above those numbers, meaning that right now your “average” endurance horse is in its teens.

Over the years there has been some changes in the age requirements for horses starting various endurance distances which probably explains the drop off in 4 year olds competing.

As someone with a horse that’s staring late teens in the face and shows no signs of slowing down, I’m much more interested in the right hand side of the graph.

And here’s the thought I had that sent me down this rabbit (squirrel?) hole:

It’s still a fact that in both 2004 and 2014 a horse in its late teens and in its 20’s makes up a very small part of the population. Whether that is because most of these horses are started in the sport as the average horse as an 8-11 year old and that’s just a really long time to stay accident free and genetically lucky, or whether it represents a few folks brave enough to start their older horses in the sport and these horses are relative newcomers, I can’t tell from this data. It would be really interesting to look at each age group and see what their average number of previous seasons was...

Read more here:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Trailering: A Close Call - Full Article

November 16, 2015
Prevent an accident by installing your trailer hitch properly.

By Brittania Cassiday, The American Quarter Horse Journal intern

Headed home to Ohio from a show in Oklahoma, Fred and Sue Mazzarini had been on the road for almost 500 miles when they decided to pull off at a truck stop in St. Louis to switch drivers.

The Mazzarinis’ friend, Justin Billing, was following them in his truck and trailer and decided to pull off as well. After they parked, Justin thought that the Mazzarinis’ trailer was sitting low to the ground.

He called the Mazzarinis’ daughter, Kristin, over for a second opinion, and she noticed they had “a big problem.” That was when they found a fracture in the metal of the hitch underneath their motor home.

“Had we not gotten off the highway, the hitch would have broken sending our trailer with two horses careening on the highway” Sue says. “The safety chains would not have helped as they were attached to the metal hitch frame that was tearing away from the vehicle...”

Read more here:

Foot Pain in Horses: More Than Meets the Hoof - Full Article

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
Oct 14, 2015

The next time your horse develops foot pain, you might want to think outside the box when deciding what you think is causing the problem. While common ailments such as navicular disease, laminitis, or hoof abscesses are possible, they're not the only things that could be causing your four-legged friend pain. The distal (lower) aspect of the horse’s limb, from the mid-cannon bone down to the sole, has extremely complex anatomy and is subject to a multitude of injuries that can baffle even the most veteran veterinarians...

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Is Omeprazole Safe for Horses' Bones? - Full Article

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
Oct 27, 2015

Think back to the last prescription medication commercial you saw on television or heard on the radio. Chances are, the laundry list of potential side effects (most of which probably sound worse than the aliment the drug was designed to treat!) was almost as long as the promotional part of the advertisement. Equine medications’ are no different.

Omeprazole, for example, is an extremely popular medication used to both prevent and treat gastric ulcers in horses, and some horses at risk for developing ulcers receive omeprazole on a daily basis. But some studies in human medicine (doctors commonly use the drug to treat heartburn, stomach ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease) have identified an association between omeprazole and decreased bone density...

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Back Country Horsemen of America Trains US Soldiers in Horse Handling

November 3, 2015
By Sarah Wynne Jackson
Back Country Horsemen of America works hard across the country to keep trails open for horse use. They know the many benefits of horses, such as giving youth the confidence they need to succeed in life, and providing adults with stress-relieving recreation. Horses and mules are also invaluable in allowing us to enter fragile wilderness areas without the damage of motorized vehicles, and to access remote places surrounded by challenging terrain.  
The Original Horsepower
For hundreds of years, the United States military depended on horses to transport supplies and soldiers. When our armed forces became mechanized, the use of the original horsepower ceased, despite the fact that horses and mules are still the most effective way to traverse the landscape in many parts of the world. This realization has led to new programs to train members of the military in handling and caring for horses.
Ed Haefliger, along with other members of Back Country Horsemen of Washington, were asked by US Army Veterinarian Major Therese Krautzberg to teach a workshop on horse handling to officers and soldiers of the 84th Civil Affairs Battalion, Alpha Company out of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. BCHW turned to Olympic National Park Ranger Mark O’Neal for assistance in acquiring permission to use the park’s facilities at the Dosewallips campground for this three day clinic.
A Special Class
The students were highly trained and educated medics, medical doctors, veterinarians, and various grades of officers, and many were combat experienced. The members of this unique unit are our country’s goodwill ambassadors. They travel to places all over the world that have suffered disaster and offer humanitarian assistance. Pack animals are invaluable for getting medical equipment, food, and supplies to areas where roads and other infrastructure have been destroyed.
As a fire officer, Ed is especially qualified to instruct this class. He’s been teaching similar classes for years to semi-military units, such as firefighters, and to members of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service. His goal: in three days, make 33 members of Alpha Company, who may have never even stood next to an equine in their lives, comfortable and safe in handling one.
A Classroom in the Wild
Students spent the first day at a ranch, learning how to groom, pick out hooves, and lead a horse safely. Then they used a two-man leading system to bring a horse or mule through an obstacle course traversing logs, brush, swampy ground and streams.
On the rainy morning of day two, the class met at Dosewallips trailhead in Olympic National Park. Each group of four students was assigned a horse or mule to lead along the trail, feed, and water during the overnight camping trip. They followed a well-maintained trail through the ancient forest along Dosewallips River.
As Thrilling as Parachuting
The value of this project rang true when one of the soldiers took Ed aside and said that this workshop was one of two highlights of his military career. The first was jumping out of an airplane and the second was the time spent with his team’s mule. Back Country Horsemen of America is pleased to be involved with giving United States soldiers the skills they need to do their jobs efficiently and safely.
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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran remembers days in the U.S. Horse Cavalry - Full Article

November 11 2015
Jan Engoren

Seymour Weiner, 96, author of "Nature's Graffiti," a book of photography of the boardwalk at Green Cay Nature Center, grew up in Brooklyn. He never saw a horse except for those used by peddlers in his neighborhood, and the time when he was 6 and a man with a camera and pony took his picture.

In 1942, when he was 23, Weiner was called to the Brooklyn armory where he was inducted and sworn into the U.S. Army.

As a new recruit, Weiner was questioned if he had ever ridden a horse before. When he replied in the negative, he was chosen for the horse brigade, because they wanted to train recruits with no prior experience.

"It's about dogged determination and the will to succeed," Weiner said in his written memoir of these days.

He was sent to Fort Dix for additional processing and slept in a six-man tent with other new recruits. He remembers that the day of a family visit, his tent caught fire after a chimney pipe was knocked.

After that, he was sent to the hub of the U.S. Horse Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas.

Reluctant to go, the experience has stayed with Weiner for three-quarters of a century.

There, he was introduced to his horse, Big Black, who he described as "a big, black, red-eyed monster."

"He was very big and not pleasant," Weiner said. "When he looked at me with those eyes, I knew I was in trouble."

His commanding officer threatened him with kitchen patrol duty if he didn't get back on the horse.

He recounts another story from his training days, which he calls, "the day it rained horse manure."

He was assigned to stable police duty to shovel hay and manure onto a wagon. Being the one assigned to the top of the wagon, Weiner was bombarded with both hay and manure.

Another time while grooming Big Black, the horse turned in his narrow stall, banging from side to side, with Weiner holding on to the animal's neck for dear life.

"That mean horse was trying to get me to his backside, so he could kick the hell out of me," he said.

Weiner escaped by climbing to the top of the stalls.

"I'll never forget it as long as I live," he said. "It was really frightening."

After surviving his escapades with Big Black, Weiner excelled in rifle training, especially in a rapid fire prone position, on his stomach, and became an expert rifleman where he learned to shoot a pistol from a galloping horse.

For this he earned a silver medal in the shape of a wreath, and later, a sharpshooter's medal for pistol, mounted.

"The Army made a man out of me," said Weiner, who eventually went to communications school in the Army and learned Morse Code and radio operations for armored vehicles.

Before leaving for Europe, Weiner came down with walking pneumonia and spent six weeks in the hospital in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn.

After another six weeks in rehab, Weiner was deployed to Europe and the Battle of the Bulge, crossing the Rhine River into Northern Germany with the 9th Armored Division as a radio operator in an armored vehicle.

He survived three battle campaigns and was part of the first American troops to reach the Elbe River and meet the Russians.

"I was lucky to come home alive," Weiner said.

When he returned to the States, Weiner worked in New York City's garment center and in the food service business.

He married Sylvia, a girl from the old neighborhood, and the couple had two sons. They were married 59 years, before Sylvia died in 2003.

"She was pretty and smart as a whip," said Weiner, who fell in love with her at first sight.

"Mr. Weiner's contributions to our war effort cannot be understated," said fellow veteran Tom Kaiser, who would like to sign up Weiner to receive the French Legion of Honor medal for his service in Europe.

These days, rather than riding a horse, Weiner spends his days walking the nature trails at Green Cay, where he captures photos of the boardwalk and the surrounding birds.

"Seymour is an incredibly interesting man that I learn something new about every time I speak with him," Green Cay Nature Center manager Rebecca Weeks. "He is very passionate about his projects that have been shaped by his varied and interesting past."

More at:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Beet Pulp FAQs - Full Article

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor
Oct 12, 2015

You hear about owners feeding it to their underweight or aging horses. You see fellow boarders at the barn scooping it into buckets for soaking. But what is this stuff, and does your horse need it?

Beet pulp, a byproduct of the sugar beet industry, has long been a part of equine feed regimens, but that doesn’t mean owners don’t have questions about it. So we’ve compiled your most common inquiries and called on Kelly Vineyard, MS, PhD, research equine nutritionist at Purina Animal Nutrition, and Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS, an equine nutritionist based in Nicholasville, Kentucky, to provide some answers.

1. What does beet pulp do for a horse?

Beet pulp is a low-cost, highly digestible form of fiber (greater than or equal to that of most hays) that offers many nutritional benefits for horses. The microbes in the horse’s hindgut can easily ferment and use it for energy production, Vineyard says...

Read more here:

Jonathan Field: Taming a trail terror - Full Article


By Jonathan Field

Q: My mare is a pleasure to ride in the arena, but when we hit the trails, she does not play well with others. She tries to kick and bite neighbors that invade her space, and she’ll even lunge at horses who come up alongside or back up to kick at a horse behind her. I’ve tried to discipline her in the moment, but nothing seems to get through. She also gets aggressive no matter where she is in the line, whether we’re leading, in the middle or bringing up the rear. I hit the trails solo sometimes, but my barn is full of friendly riders who like to organize group rides. How can I get my mare to behave around the others on the trail?

A: Thanks for your question. I’ll share some general ideas that may help and then offer tips for handling the situation the next time you go out on the trail.

When I take riders and large groups of students out on the trail at our ranch, we often have a mix of a lot of different horses. The key for a successful ride is to set the group up at the home ranch ahead of time. This means making sure each rider’s leadership and connection with her horse are solid before the group starts mixing together on the trail.

- See more at:

Monday, November 09, 2015

Horse Groups Endorse AHC's Welfare Code of Practice

By Edited Press Release
Oct 10, 2015

More than 50 equine-related organizations have now endorsed the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Welfare Code of Practice, designed to “put the horse first.”

The 10 most recent supporters include the U.S. Polo Association; American Warmblood Registry; North American Shortpony Registry; Missouri Quarter Horse Association; Michigan, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina Horse Councils; Pal-O-Mine Equine Center; and the Virginia Horse Center Foundation.

The AHC Welfare Code of Practice is a broad set of principles designed to establish good welfare procedures for organizations to follow to “put the horse first.” The code outlines in broad strokes what principles organizations are committed to in breeding, training, competing, transporting, enjoying, and caring for horses. The code encourages everyone to consider the health, safety, and welfare of their horses in all aspects of their activities, including social and ethical issues.

The AHC’s code is not intended to supersede an organization’s rules or regulations. Any organization’s more specific rules still govern activities sanctioned and regulated by the organization. Rather the code is a compliment to any such rules and restates the principles to be followed by breed registries, trade associations, various disciplines, and the horse community as a whole in pursuing their equine activities.

To review the AHC Welfare Code of Practice, a list of the 51 organizations supporting the code, and a FAQs page, please visit the AHC Website at

Friday, November 06, 2015

Saddles, Riders, and Science

Bootsandsaddles4mel Blog - Full Article

November 5, 2015
Posted by Melinda Newton

I was reading through the vast, never diminishing stack of journals like a good little vet and came across a rather fascinating Editorial discussing the current science of the dynamics between horses, saddles, and riders, as presented at the International Saddle Research Trust Conference.

For more information

The conference was organized by the Saddle Research Trust ( The Editorial is published in the September 2015 edition of the Equine Veterinary Education, published by AAEP (page 447), “Horses, saddles and riders: Applying the science.” The primary literature cited is mostly by Greve, L. and Dyson, S.

Why saddles slip to one side

Yes, people are actually doing research on why the gosh dang saddle won’t stay in the middle of the horse (or am I the only person that has this problem, one which makes me want to set fire to myself, the horse, and the saddle out of frustration?)

I always thought that the saddle slipping to one side was, barring some structural problem with the saddle, a reflection of my own imbalance and crookedness as a rider.

Well. I have some good and bad news.

It might not be you.

But your horse might be lame.

That’s right. As if as endurance riders we didn’t have enough to obsess over, there is now yet something else we can fret over as we determine whether or not there was a *little something off* in that last step.

Here’s the break down of the study (a Greve and Dyson study)...

Read more here:

Thursday, November 05, 2015

What's So Bad About Shoes? - Full Article

Equine podiatry is a shoeless approach. It focuses on making horses feet healthy enough so that they can perform without shoes. But it raises the questions - why is the horse in shoes to begin with? What is so bad about shoeing, and is a healthy shod foot a contradiction of terms?

When Did Shoes Become Evil?

When i was introduced to horses, I was not aware of any other approach of hoof care. In fact, many people too also assume that shoes are a required aspect of keeping a horse, much like feeds and rugs. A lot of horses seemed to be sore without them, so surely that was a sign that the shoes are needed for doing anything outside of the paddock.

Shoes are a modern convenience for many horse owners. They allow you to do more than the foot is able to do without the shoe, so by definition are a performance enhancer, or prosthetic. This sounds like a good thing, but there are side-effects of having shoes on, and an understanding of what a shoe can do to the foot is important in making a decision about whether they are appropriate to place on horses feet.

This article will outline some of the side-effects that metal shoes can have on the foot, and why, as an EP, I rarely suggest their use when creating a healthy hoof...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Can Horses Eat Pumpkin? - Full Article

By Clair Thunes, PhD Oct 26, 2015

Q. I’d like to make some festive holiday horse treats as gifts for my friends, and it seems like everything is pumpkin flavored this time of year. Is it okay for horses to each pumpkin and/or pumpkin-flavored treats?

A. The short answer is yes! Orange pumpkins are safe to feed horses, and this includes the seeds. However, avoid generalizing that all squashes and pumpkins are okay for horses to eat...

Read more here:

The Horse that led Lahore to War - Full Article

by Majid Sheikh

It might sound amazing today that an entire street of the Walled City of Lahore was cleaned and scrubbed for two whole days just because a horse had to pass that way. It was no religious ceremony, but just the immense passion of a horseman who felt more comfortable in his saddle than on his feet.

Almost 200 years ago when the Sukerchakian chief from Gujranwala, Ranjit Singh, declared himself the maharajah of the Punjab in the Lahore Fort on Muharram 10, 1799, the day he conquered the city, he declared that any man with any pride must give top priority to his horses, his work and his women, in that order. If you have visited the Lahore Fort, you will notice to the left of the side entrance a British military barrack. Before the British built this barrack, this was the stable of the Lahore Darbar.

At any one time Maharajah Ranjit Singh could keep almost 1,000 of the very finest horses there. When he ran out of space they went into the Hazoori Bagh, and when that was not enough the horses went into the Badshahi Masjid. Such was the craze of the man who ruled the Punjab for a full 40 years with an iron grip, and rule he did with great wisdom. For a beautiful horse, or a beautiful woman, he would go to any length, for once he got it into his head to acquire the “filly”, it became an obsession with him. Sounds rather logical to any Punjabi male chauvinist.

But one horse stands out from any other in the history of the Punjab and Lahore. The maharajah had heard a lot about this legendary horse and vowed to get it no matter what the cost. In the end it cost him “rupees 60 lakh and 12,000 soldiers,” or so the traveller Baron Charles Ilugel quotes Ranjit Singh having told him so himself. By current gold standards that would be almost Rs12 billion and a whole division of infantry. The accounts of the Fakir family of Bazaar Hakeeman also corroborate this figure, actually put it even higher. What was, after all, so amazing about a horse that the Lahore Darbar went crazy to acquire it? After all, the maharajah had a large stable of Arabian thoroughbreds, not to speak of legendary horses like Gauharbar and Sufaid Pari, both of which are said to have “the speed of the wind”. Not a single horse in his stable was then worth less than Rs20,000 by the rupees standard 200 years ago. A joke doing the rounds of Lahore then listed the price of the entire city of Lahore and the cost of the Maharajah’s horses as being equal.

This legendary horse was known as Asp-i-Laila...

Read more here:

Hoof Radiographs: They Give You X-Ray Vision: Part 1

Easycare Blog - Full Article

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 by Daisy Bicking

There is so much about the foot we are expected to interpret from external landmarks: sole depth, toe length, heel height, position of the bones, soft tissue inside the capsule, and more! Most of us hoof care providers can get really close in our assessment of the feet we work on, however, we all have some percentage of our horses that we feel a little less certain about. It might be a horse with very distorted feet, or a specific pathology that muddies the waters a bit.

In these cases, hoof radiographs (x-rays) can be quite enlightening. The information a well taken hoof radiograph can give you is tremendous, especially with pathology or severely distorted feet. Although I'm also surprised at how helpful radiographs of my healthier feet can be - just a slight adjustment made from seeing a radiograph can make a big difference to the horse...

- See more at:

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Cardiac Recovery Time in Endurance Horses Evaluated - Full Article

By Katie Navarra
Nov 3, 2015

Horses participating in an endurance event have the potential to be eliminated at one of the veterinary examinations (termed vet gates) if the attending practitioners deem the animals unfit to continue. Detecting unfit horses before a health problem occurs can be challenging for veterinarians, but is essential for improving equine welfare. So, vets take into account multiple factors, such as hydration status, gut sounds, general appearance, and cardiac recovery time (CRT), the latter of which might be most telling.

In a recent study, Céline Robert, DVM, PhD, a researcher and lecturer at the National Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort in France; Eric Barrey, a senior research specialist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research; and colleagues determined that CRT appears to be a reliable indicator of a horse’s fitness level and likelihood of being eliminated from a race.

In endurance competitions, horses have 20 minutes after arriving at a vet gate to attain a heart rate of 65 beats per minute (bpm). “In this study, we showed that the majority of horses were recovering the value of 64 bpm in a few minutes and that recovery times longer than 11 to 13 minutes were indicators of a high risk of elimination on the next phase,” Barrey said...

Read more here:

Friday, October 30, 2015

New Training Product Under Development: Balios

The start-up company Equisense has developed Balios, a connected sensor positioned on the girth that allows the rider to move forward and perform without exceeding the red line for the horse. Indeed it will tell you the time to complete each stage, the time passing on the left foot, right foot, it will indicate a possible asymmetry of gait etc etc ... The sensor is constantly changing.

Feedback during training and alerts
Very easy to use, Balios turns itself on at the beginning of the session to analyze the intensity, the quality of the locomotion, the time spent at each gait and lead, and more. Check the data at any time during your session to better adapt your workout to your horse. Be notified of asymmetry so you never miss the early signs of lameness.

Every session, the collected data provides you with a history of your trainings and the well-being of each horse. You can also track medical care history and program reminders.
Balios offers precise analyses to help you have an objective view of your jumping obstacles, dressage tests, or any other exercise. For endurance, it indicates your speed, time spent on each diagonal or lead, and symmetry.

The app will "help the riders in their daily workout and reinforce the horse-rider complicity by taking care or the horse’s welfare and the sport pleasure, improve the performances of the horse while letting him stay in his physical comfort zone, facilitate the communication between every actors who intervene in the training and the cares (trainers, riders)."

A veterinarian, biomechanics engineer and other researchers have teamed up to develop this patented technology that analyses the horse's locomotion by reconstructing the gait with accelerometer data. "The different sensor accelerations and rotations allows us to decompose accurately the gait. From that data, we can compute all the indicators provided in the app. For example, if the propulsion is significantly higher from a diagonal biped to another, we can conclude a lameness."

It will be coming soon on Kickstarter.

For more information see

Monday, October 26, 2015

What Is The Difference Between Razer Shoes and Traditional Horseshoes?

Razer horseshoes were designed with health AND performance in mind. There are several key differences between Razer shoes and traditional horseshoes.

1. Traditional horseshoes don’t allow natural hoof movement, Razer shoes do.

Razer shoes are crafted from tempered tool steel so they flex with the hoof, unlike traditional steel or some aluminum shoes that are rigid and lock the foot in place.  Because of this bare foot movement, there is reduced strain on limbs and joints, as well as increased balance and confidence due to the foot’s ability to remain flat on uneven surfaces.

2. Razer shoes feature a unique pattern for enhanced traction.

Razer shoes are designed with a checking pattern on the interior of the shoe’s rim.  This pattern provides great traction for many disciplines.

3. Traditional steel shoes are heavy, Razers are much lighter and stronger.

Due to their design, Razer shoes are about half the weight of a traditional steel shoe and similar in weight to an aluminum shoe. Despite being thinner, they wear the same length as a normal steel shoe because they are crafted with tool steel.

4. Razer shoes help distribute weight, unlike traditional shoes which elevate the hoof and place weight on the hoof wall.
The low profile of Razer shoes provides more natural frog and sole contact. This helps distribute the horse’s body weight across the entire hoof, as it would if barefoot.

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 providing the protection needed for today’s performance horses. Razerhorse currently offers two products: the Razer horseshoe, a tempered tool steel shoe that allows the hoof to flex like a bare foot, and the Propad, a shock-absorbing polyurethane hoof pad that features an accordion-like frog support. To learn more about Razer shoes and Propads or to find a dealer near you, visit or call 855-95-RAZER.

Horse-riding in Oman - Full Article

October 24, 2015 | By Shruthi Nair

Traditional Omani horse-riding initially started in Sharqiyah which eventually became the Omani way of riding the horse. Traditional riding has various interesting elements to it which make it different from the riding that is practised in other parts of the world. A lot of heed is paid to intricate details like the appearance of the horse, look of the saddle, the rider’s clothes and accessories, and way of seating and riding.

The Omani saddle, known as Za’ana, is different from the contemporary saddles that are used worldwide and the most essential thing that distinguishes it from the other saddles is the absence of leg stirrups. This makes it difficult for the rider to maintain balance as they have to use their heels to embrace the horse’s body in order to maintain balance.

The Omani riders are considered to be among the best in the world which is the only reason why they can pull off such a challenging tweak in the saddle...

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Here's How You Can Outrun A Horse

[More ...]

October 20 2015
Adam Cole

When it comes to feats of speed and strength, Homo sapiens is a pretty pitiful species. The list of animals that can outsprint us is embarrassing. There's the cheetah, of course, but also horses, ostriches, greyhounds, grizzly bears, kangaroos, wild boars, even some house cats.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, ran 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. A cheetah has done it in 5.95.

Based on the their speed unspooling fishing lines, we think black marlins can travel 80 mph. But you don't need the fastest fish on the planet to make gold medal swimmer César Cielo look slow. He also falls behind the Gentoo penguin and the common octopus, not to mention a whole lot of species of fish.

A snow leopard easily jumps farther than world-record holder Mike Powell.

An elephant can lift more than Belorussian sensation Leonid Taranenko, and that's just with its trunk.

But there is one event where humans might best every other species: the marathon. We may not be sprinters, but we can run incredibly long distances.

The latest video from NPR's Skunk Bear explores the physiology and evolution behind humanity's secret power, and takes you to a race in Wales that pits humans against horses. Now there's one human vs. animal race where we stand a chance.

See the video:

Monday, October 19, 2015

'Unbranded' spotlights the plight of wild horses - Full Article

Documentary follows 4 friends and their 3,000-mile ride through 5 western states.

By: Gerri Miller
September 24, 2015

Thousands of wild horses roam free in the western United States, protected and growing in population. But under pressure from ranchers and conservationists who complain the mustangs are destroying cattle grazing land, the Bureau of Land Management has corralled 50,000 equines in holding pens in government facilities, awaiting adoption.

To bring attention to this problem, Ben Masters and his buddies Thomas Glover, Jonny Fitzsimons and Ben Thamer hatched a plan: they would adopt and train 16 wild mustangs in preparation for a five-and-a-half-month ride from the Mexican border north through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana to Canada, passing through the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. "Unbranded," which premieres in theaters and on VOD services on Sept. 25, documents their journey through challenging terrain and harsh conditions, with breathtaking cinematography by director Phillip Baribeau and Korey Kaczmare.

"The idea started when we were drinking tequila," says group leader Masters, who explained how it progressed from there, what the experience meant to him, and what he learned from it...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Deciphering Your Feed Tag, Part 2: Performance Horse Feeds - Full Article

By Shannon Pratt-Phillips, MSc, PhD
Oct 5, 2015

In the second installment of our three-part commercial feed tag series, we take a look at working horses and their energy needs.

It probably goes without saying, but performance horse feeds are designed to meet the nutrient requirements of athletic horses. The greatest increase in nutrient requirements (other than water!) these animals experience when they work or perform is energy, which is quantified in the diet as calories. Heavily exercising horses burn more calories than they might be able to consume with hay or pasture alone. Thus, manufacturers have designed commercial performance feeds to boost horses’ calorie intake, as well as to meet additional nutrient needs that increase with work.
Essential Energy

In the figure below, you can see energy and protein requirements rising with increasing levels of work and how the horses’ elevated calorie needs are far greater than their elevated protein needs. While other nutrient requirements, such as those for calcium and phosphorus, also increase with work, calories should always be your biggest concern...

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Utility Pants: Two-Week Test At ‘Mongol Derby’ - Full Article

October 13, 2015
By: Erik Cooper

The Mongol Derby is touted as “the longest and toughest horse race in the world,” with a course that unrolls 1000km across Mongolia. Where better to review a pair of do-all outdoor pants?

Under Armour touts its designers “thought of everything” with these pants, the Performance Utility Chino, and that they will be the “best pair of pants you’ll ever put on.”

Big claims. Last month, contributor Erik Cooper put the pants to a test, wearing them for two weeks during the Mongol Derby, an endurance horse riding event that retraces a remote route from the Chinggis Khaan empire.

The pants are fitted but also leave enough room to move. Flat-front cargo pockets keep the look clean but don’t sacrifice storage capability. “They were durable and I had a place to put everything from my SAT Phone to GPS to binoculars, and even a snack or two,” Cooper said.

Two-Week Review
Cooper wore a single pair of the Performance Utility Chinos every day for two weeks straight. He said they were “rugged and built for adventure on the outside, with a comfortable, sweatpants-like feel on the inside...”

Read more here:

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Controlling a Fast Trail Horse - Full Article

My horse always wants to take off on trails. What can I do?
April 19, 2011
by Cindy Hale

Q: I have a gelding that I bought for trail riding. Unfortunately, his previous owner used to gallop him a lot on the trails, so he constantly wants to bolt off. His mouth is dull too, which makes matters worse. Do you have any tips on how I could possibly retrain him to go the speed I want?

: A gallop or brisk canter on the trails isn’t inherently evil. A well-schooled, attentive horse should remain under the rider’s control at any speed. Without some good fundamentals in the arena (or in a round pen or even a large, flat area in an open field), a trail horse can become stiff and dull to a rider’s aids or cues. A stronger bit is not always necessary. Instead, the solution is usually to make your horse more supple (bendable) and responsive. Rather than leaning on your hands and ignoring your requests to slow down, your horse should yield (give) to pressure from the bit and your leg, and stay attentive to you...

Read more here:

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Dewormer's Effect on Scratches - Full Article

By Martin Krarup Nielsen, DVM, PhD, Dipl. EVPC
Aug 28, 2015

Q. I have read several articles about scratches this year, and I never see the solution that without fail clears up my horses’ scratches. For my horses, if I deworm a couple of times with ivermectin/praziquantel a week or two apart, their scratches disappear. I don’t have to put any topicals on or scrape them off. I’m wondering why I have never read about this.

A. First of all, scratches is a skin condition of the lower limbs sometimes caused by a pathogen, be it a virus, bacterium, fungus, or parasite. To answer your question it would help to know more about your horses. What type of environment do they live in, and how do these scratches cases present—is there a seasonal occurrence, or do they appear year-round? Where on your horses are they located? What type of horse do you have? This information would help with identifying the most likely explanation. However, here are a few possibilities for why you saw scratches relief after deworming...

Read more here:

The Connection Between Moldy Hay and Heaves - Full Article

By University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Sep 27, 2015

Horse owners know you can’t underestimate the power of being prepared. As such, most of us start to stock our winter hay supply in the summer, which is also the time when producers are harvesting and putting up new hay.

According to the National Weather Service, Central Kentucky experienced higher-than-average rainfall in the early summer months of 2015 (especially in April, May, and June). While that amount of rain, combined with warm spring and summer temperatures, allowed for green pastures, it also posed a significant challenge for hay producers...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Fighting White Line Disease - Full Article

By Preston Hickman, DVM
Sep 26, 2015

The late famed farrier Burney Chapman long ago stressed the importance of treating white line disease (WLD) aggressively and considering the overall picture rather than just the pathology (disease or damage). The fungi involved in white line disease attack the stratum corneum’s (the outermost layer of the epidermis) intermediate layer—called the stratum medium—and digest the membrane responsible for securing the hoof wall to the sensitive areas deeper in the center of the hoof. The end result is that air and debris, instead of cartilage, line and separate the living tissue layers. Tapping the hoof wall in these cases creates a hollow sound, which is why some call WLD hollow hoof syndrome...

Read more here:

Friday, October 02, 2015

Unbranded: traveling 3,000 miles on wild mustangs - Full Article

Loretta Yerian

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Four young adventure seekers decided to do what people say couldn't be done any longer - ride 3,000 miles, on horseback, from the border of Mexico to Canada.

The trip was the brainchild of front man Ben Masters, who after making a slightly shorter ride, decided he wanted to make a longer trip. This time he recruited three friends to help him ride and pack 16 wild mustangs they adopted and trained. Over the course of two years Masters planned the logistics and every detail of the route they would take. He also decided they would document their trip and through a kick-starter campaign that raised $175,000, "Unbranded" was born.

Masters, Thomas Glover, Jonny Fitzsimmons and Ben Thamer - all recent graduates of Texas A & M University are free, untamed mavericks themselves and taking the wild Mustangs back into the wilderness of their ancestors, turned into an epic journey they will not soon forget.

Deciding to cover five states and 3,000 miles in just over five months these recent graduates decided the film would not only document the ride but also raise awareness about wild Mustangs...

Read more here:

Reading Feet - Full Article

Your horse’s feet have a story to tell. Learn to read between the lines and determine whether that story’s telling you ‘I’m OK’ or ‘Help me now!’

By Barb Crabbe, DVM
Photographs By Jim Bortvedt

I was called to do a lameness exam. “My mare’s just not right,” my client told me. “One day she’ll seem fine, and the next she’s downright lame. Sometimes it seems like the right front, other days it’s the left. Most of the time she just comes out stiff and gets better after I warm her up. It’s been going on for months. What could be wrong?”

One look at the poor horse standing in the barn aisle, and I already had a pretty good handle on the problem. “Her toes are really long,” I commented, “and see how her heels are drawn forward under the back of her shoe? When was she last shod?” I wasn’t surprised to learn that it had been 10 weeks since she last saw the farrier.

By the end of my exam, we’d confirmed that the mare was extremely sore in both front feet, and didn’t have any significant problems on radiographs other than terrible hoof balance. In fact, her 10-week interval between farrier appointments may have been the primary underlying cause of her frustrating, intermittent lameness.

So how did I know that her feet were the problem before I ever saw her take a step? Simple observation of those long toes and crushed heels was all it took to tell me that her feet were likely to be killing her...

- See more at:

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Great American Trail Festival Offering Cash Awards for Regional Riding Clubs

September 30 2015

Competitive fun comes in many forms. The American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) announced today that the Great American Trail Horse Festival, to be held November 5-8 at the Von Holten Ranch in Mora, Missouri will also include cash awards for riding clubs and associations to compete for including a High Point Club Award and a Spirit Award.

ACTHA is offering a $500 cash prize for the riding organization earning the most points. The High Point Club Award is open to any club, organization, state or local association, saddle club or 4-H group. The more riders from your club who ride increase the odds of your club winning. Riders can participate in either the competitive trail challenges or the arena obstacle challenges offered at the Festival. The more events the organization competes in also increases their odds.

Smaller clubs or organizations have the opportunity to vie for the $250 Spirit Award, an award given to the organization showing the most “team spirit”. Decorate your trailers, wear fun costumes or matching attire, show us why your club knows how to have the most fun out on a ride. The Spirit Award will be judged by our nationally renowned clinicians including Guy McLean, John Lyons, Scott Purdum and many more.

ACTHA President Robin Tilgman states, “This is a great opportunity for local organizations to join us in our tribute to the great American trail horse while having a chance to win funds to benefit their club. ACTHA realizes that many of our nation’s top equestrians and trail riders began their equestrian journey with the small organizations across the U.S. that usually operate on a limited budget, and this is one small way for us to assist them.”

All breeds, disciplines and levels of riding are welcome. Membership to ACTHA is not required to participate in the Great American Trail Horse Festival. For information and registration please visit


The American Competitive Trail Horse Association’s mission, duty and purpose is to address, educate, coordinate, and provide aid and relief to unwanted, unused, abandoned and abused equines on a national level. ACTHA’s mission to provide a venue for the trail rider to participate in the sport of competitive trail riding, focuses on educating participants on all aspects of the equine, care, training, as well as the importance of being a good steward of our natural resources (land, water, and the animals entrusted in our care). To create an enjoyable venue to showcase the wonderful attributes of the great American trail horse and granting the recognition they so richly deserve. Leading by example, ACTHA donates 20% of its member rider proceeds from each event to registered 501(c)3 organizations (usually equine charities providing care for horses in need), and provides a vehicle for organizations to raise funds to support their cause. Our mission focuses on creating and enabling humane treatment and employment options for every able bodied equine, reducing the burden on local, state, and federal programs to support the ever growing problem of unwanted, unused, abandoned, and abused equines. To further our mission, ACTHA will create and maintain a registry open to all breeds and a point designation system which will stay with each horse for its lifetime, thereby adding to their value and distinction.

The American Competitive Trail Horse Association
637 Soda Creek Road
Spicewood, TX 78669
(877) 992-ACTHA
Inquiries welcome at

Does My Horse Need Salt? - Full Article

Written by: HPG

Q: Does my horse really need a salt lick?

A: The short answer is yes. Both the sodium and chloride found in a typical ‘salt lick’ (or more commonly, a mineral block) are vital to regulate body fluids, help cells function properly, create electrical impulses to fire nerves and make muscles contract, and aid in digestion. Horses lose salt through sweating; fatigue and other problems can arise if it is not replaced. Signs of salt deficiency include a rough hair coat and loss of appetite – even lowered milk production in broodmares. A 500-kg (1,100-lb) horse getting light work would need about eight to 10 grams of sodium per day; intense work would require 24-30 grams per day...

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Time to Ride Challenge Wraps Up Final Weekend of Contest

September 30th marks final day of contest for stables introducing new riders to horses.

Washington D.C., September 28, 2015 – The Time to Ride Challenge concludes September 30th for stables, clubs, and businesses competing to introduce new horse enthusiasts to riding. Participating “hosts” have spent the summer, since May 30th, welcoming new families to horse activities via beginner-friendly horse experiences in pursuit of $100,000 cash and prizes.

Though final results will not be available until late October, the Challenge is already paying dividends for participating hosts, no matter their placing. Cody Pritchard, owner and trainer at Cooperstown Equestrian Park in Hartwick, New York had this to say: "I cannot believe how much this Challenge has done for my own personal and emotional gain as well as promoting my farm. What a wonderful opportunity. I feel we have won the Challenge just on the premises of how it has brought the community together as well as all of us at the farm. Thank you for promoting the love of horses and giving us family owners an incentive to be creative and try something new!"

As of September 25th, Cooperstown Equestrian Park has provided 522 newcomers with a first-time horse experience and is in second place in the small division, which pays $5,000. First place in each division wins $10,000. Pritchard reported that these new connections have already resulted new lesson students and invitations to make public appearances at three local harvest festivals. Cooperstown Equestrian Park offers introductory through second level riding lessons, camps, and educational events for riders of all ages.

Hundreds of other stables, clubs, and businesses nationwide signed up for the 2015 Challenge to achieve the same goal of growing their client base by introducing new people to horses. “As of September 25th over 29,000 newcomers have been introduced to horses through Challenge-hosted horse experiences, and we expect a 35-40% increase over 2014’s total once the final results are tallied,” reported Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokesperson. “Time to Ride is also dedicated to helping these stables turn new horse enthusiasts into committed students, riders, and eventually horse owners and active participants in our industry.”

The Time to Ride Challenge is made possible by an alliance of horse industry organizations and companies who believe that collaborating to welcome new people to equestrian activities will help the horse industry grow and thrive for future generations.

The American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance

Time to Ride is an initiative of the American Horse Council’s marketing alliance, formed to connect people with horses. It is designed to encourage horse-interested consumers to enjoy the benefits of horse activities. The AHC marketing alliance is made up of the following organizations: the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Active Interest Media, the American Quarter Horse Association, Dover Saddlery, Farnam, Merck, Merial, Morris Media Network Equine Group, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, SmartPak, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis. Program Partners are Absorbine, the American Paint Horse Association, Equibrand, the National Cutting Horse Association, the National Reining Horse Association, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, and the Texas A&M University Equine Initiative.

About the American Horse Council

The American Horse Council is a non-profit organization that includes all segments of the horse industry. While its primary mission is to represent the industry before Congress and the federal regulatory agencies in Washington, DC, it also undertakes national initiatives for the horse industry. Time to Ride, the AHC’s marketing alliance to connect horses and people, is such an effort. The American Horse Council hopes that Time to Ride will encourage people and businesses to participate in the industry, enjoy our horses, and support our equine activities and events. The AHC believes a healthy horse industry contributes to the health of Americans and America in many ways.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Idaho Horse Owners to Get Emergency Help - Full Article

By Pat Raia
Sep 23, 2015

Horse owners in some Idaho counties could receive help in emergency situations thanks to a group of volunteers who will help local sheriff departments enforce mandatory evacuation orders.

In August, the Soda Wildfire consumed more than 280,000 acres of rangeland in southwest Idaho. Officials called for mandatory evacuations, but when it came to their animals, owners had to provide their own transportation out of danger zones. Since then members of the Portneuf River Back Country Horsemen devised a plan that allows first responders to call in volunteers to help move horses to designated evacuation sites.

“In a mandatory evacuation, many horse owners just don't have their own trailers to get the horses out of the fire, flood, or other danger zones,” said Barry Cellan, president of the Portneuf River Back Country Horsemen. “We can get between 25 and 30 trailers out to help people on short notice...”

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