Monday, April 27, 2015

One Mile Per Hour and Matters of Matrimony - Full Story

By Patti Stedman | April 26th, 2015

My husband Richard’s horse, Sarge, is a rock star. He’s fast and sure-footed on a wide variety of terrain, he’s relatively uncomplicated, and he’s handily become a Decade Team horse. He’s still going strong, and despite my worry wart anxieties, he continues to power along at the age of seventeen without appearing to need to slow down.

Ace is my first string horse these days, and is a joy to ride as he hasn’t a single naughty bone in his body. He’s a steady middle-of-the-pack guy, has done 100s quite nicely, and can occasionally Top Ten on the right course.

He’s not Mick Jagger. He plays third trumpet in the high school jazz band.

The difference between these two horses is roughly 1 mph.

Now, to the uninitiated, a single mile per hour is a piddly difference. Surely these two horses can compete together, condition together, find a happy medium that suits them both so that their happily-married riders enjoy the trail together.

Not so much...

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

The effect of free stuff - Full Article

April 24 2015
by Melinda Newton

Let’s start our topic discussion with a quick show of hands.

Raise your hand if accepting free stuff alters your perception of the company or product.

How does your answer change if the free thing is as small as a pen?

What if it is something more valuable such as a as a saddle?

What I have to say today will probably surprise you.

It sure as hell blew my mind.

When I started vet school it was the start of my university’s modified vendor program. Gone were the days of free stuff – no new backpacks, free supplies, flea products, pet food, and other medications. I also don’t receive free veterinary care through the clinic. Small vendor gifts – those valued under $5 and available to everyone in the class – are allowable, which means a plethora of pens and plastic coffee mugs get handed out.

I was bummed. One of the “perks” of being in vet school that everyone talked about was that you could basically own a dog or cat for free while you were in school and I was looking forward to it! I wasn’t naive – these were companies hoping for an “in” and early loyalty but having spent my previous career bombarded with vendors and promises (and yes, free products), I felt that I was well prepared to be a skeptical and discerning professional in the veterinary world too.

I mean really – who doesn’t realize that by giving you free stuff that company is hoping to gain some sort of elite access to your dollars or your recommendations? They wouldn’t keep doing it if it didn’t work.

I thought that with this acknowledge came a sort of immunity from the effect.

So I bitched and moaned with everyone else how stupid this new policy was.

Until in first year I overheard a conversation between some other classmates which started to change my opinion.

We were working on a project that included a diet recommendation for a imaginary client. Imagine my horror when I heard “Let’s recommend Hill’s or Purina, because they give us *free food and really support veterinary students”...

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Dora’s Story, Rehab in the Desert - Full Article

By: Kate Walter
April 20, 2015

It was very good luck that led us to the J-Six Equestrian Center last spring. Thinking my husband and I were permanently moving from the southwest, I was looking for short term boarding for our two horses, out of the heat of Tucson and accessible to long distance truckers.

I visited J-Six Equestrian Center, a desert boarding facility right along I-10, the east–west interstate across southern Arizona, and realized immediately I had found a special place and a safe place for our animals. What I didn’t realize was that the horsewoman in charge of the barn was an excellent teacher recognized for both her work with riders and her training of their mounts. And though I saw “Rehab” along with “Boarding” in the barn literature, I had no idea that I’d be back in Arizona with time to learn for myself how much it is that Katherine Calkins offers the equine world, or that she would apply her thoughtful rehabilitation abilities to the saving of our horse.

The J-Six facility, a 13 acre complex just west of Benson, Arizona, is located not far from the J-Six Ranch Road, in a neighborhood of large acreage development homes and open spaces still associated with the cattle ranching that brought settlers to Arizona over one hundred years ago.

Five years ago when Katherine Calkins and her team moved to J-Six, they found stalls, paddock and arena fences, and the necessary support buildings all in place.

Through the years, they have reconfigured fences and improved footing, and they have built a clientele who recognize that Katherine Calkins lives up to her business name, Wicked Good Horsemanship. Her animal care, rehab program and training of horse and rider are based on sound science, strong heart, and solid equitation. But I didn’t know that last summer. I knew that I was busy in Wisconsin, and I knew that Dora was in a stall in Arizona. Had rest helped her heal?...

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Grass Safety - Full Article

By Shannon Pratt-Phillips, MSc, PhD Apr 6, 2015

As benign as it might seem, this fresh forage can cause more harm than good.

Not all pasture grass is created equal. Although this forage cornerstone of the equine diet offers excellent nutrition, provides fiber to keep the horse’s digestive tract healthy, and allows the horse to satisfy his innate need to graze, come spring it is also notorious for causing causing problems. This is particularly true in horses at risk for digestive or metabolic disorders.

“Spring pasture grasses are capable of accumulating high amounts of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs), which are implicated in acute equine digestive diseases associated with rapid fermentation, and chronic metabolic disorders,” says Bridgett McIntosh, PhD, assistant professor and horse extension specialist at the University of Tennessee. The types of NSCs found in grasses fall into three categories: sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose), starches, and fructans...

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Could Milk Thistle and Silymarin Prevent Laminitis? - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Mar 14, 2015

If you know your horse is at risk for the hoof disease laminitis, you can do a lot of things to help prevent the disease from occurring. You can keep his sugars and starches down to a minimum; you can keep his weight down; you can cool his feet if you suspect an inflammatory response. But now research is pointing to another method to help stave off this disease: milk thistle and silymarin.

Milk thistle and its extract, silymarin, are phytogenic substances—natural products known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties...

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Saddle Fit for Endurance Riders - Full Article

April 7 2015
~ Jochen Schleese CMS, CSFT, CSE, courtesy of Saddlefit 4 Life

Endurance riders (and horses) are the marathon athletes of the equestrian world. Obviously, long hours of preparation and training go into every event. Many endurance riders include dressage training as part of the curriculum to strengthen the horse’s back – in a properly adjusted and fitting saddle, of course, that allows the horse the necessary freedom to move at the shoulder and to engage his back properly. Just as important as comprehensive training however is, of course, the proper equipment.

It is one of the biggest challenges for the endurance rider to keep the horse sound and healthy over the course of the competition – one of the most grueling of these is the Western States 100 Mile 24-hour Tevis Cup Competition. As such, I have heard directly from the author of “Tevis – From the Back of my Horse” (Sharma Gaponoff) what the preparation and the competition entail. When in competition, she trains three smaller rides/week (about 10 miles each) and one 50 mile ride/month...

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Nutrition-Related Problems: Enteroliths - Full Article

By Karen Briggs
Apr 2, 2015

We are what we eat! This hits home when we examine the broad range of diseases and disorders linked to nutrition. Some conditions are caused by nutritional imbalances; others have their root cause elsewhere but can be addressed with specialized nutrition. Here, we'll take a look at enteroliths.

Enteroliths are curious stony formations (think of an equine "pearl") that can block your horse’s intestinal tract and trigger signs of colic and can form when a foreign object of some kind ends up in the gastrointestinal tract. That foreign object can be as insignificant as a sliver of wood or a piece of binder twine that didn’t get sorted out from the hay...

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Monday, April 06, 2015

Lauren St John: my American West adventure – in pictures - See more

6 April 2015

The horse-obsessed author of The One Dollar Horse trilogy took a 1,800 mile journey across the American West to research her new novel The Glory, the story of an epic endurance horse race and a teenage girl and boy desperate to win it. Here Lauren shares some holiday snaps with a difference and an insight into her writing process...

See the photos:

Friday, April 03, 2015

New Technology for Wound Repair Follow-Up in Horses - Full Article

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
Mar 29, 2015

Experienced owners know it well, and new owners learn it quick: Horses are accident-prone. Specifically, they're really good at finding things to cut themselves on. This often presents a challenge for those that care for them.

“Traumatic wounds are very common in horses and are often challenging to suture because of heavy bacterial contamination or high skin tension, among other reasons,” explained Lore Van Hecke, Mvetmed, from the Department of Surgery and Anaesthesiology of Domestic Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, in Belgium. "As such, many wounds horses sustained are left unsutured to heal by what is called ‘second intention’ healing. This is a process where the wound slowly contracts and fills in with scar tissue..."

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Understanding Vitamin E in Equine Diets - Full Article

By Dr. Kathleen Crandell · February 13, 2015

Vitamin E is one of only two important vitamins that the horse cannot produce itself and therefore must be provided in the diet. This vitamin requires a small amount of fat in order to be properly absorbed, which is why it is considered a fat-soluble vitamin. Grazing horses usually get enough fat from green grass to satisfy this need.

The various roles of vitamin E in immune response, nerve and muscle function, and antioxidant action make it vital to the health of young, growing horses. Together with selenium, vitamin E acts to maintain normal muscle function, aid in the prevention of muscular disease, and provide antioxidant protection to body tissue, particularly cell membranes, enzymes and other intracellular substances, from damage induced by oxidation...

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