Saturday, May 30, 2015

Equine massage: Hands on for the competitive edge - Full Article

Contributor | May 26, 2015

Feeding, training and exercise are only part of the equation when working with elite equine athletes. These days, the best care includes complementary medicine similar to that used in human health care, writes John Hawthorne.

One of the best therapeutic modalities you can employ with your horses is equine sports massage. You can bet that when you watch the likes of the Cox Plate or the World Cup Dressage final, for example, the equine athletes are getting massaged pre and post-performance.

While equine massage techniques vary depending on the training of the therapist, many massage sessions resemble Swedish sports massage for human athletes...

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Skin Issues That Affect Saddle Fit - Full Article

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor
May 27, 2015

Sores, injuries, and infections involving a horse’s back, withers, and/or girth area can make saddling and riding a painful process for your horse. But do you know how to recognize such issues before you tack up?

Annette Gavin, a Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) qualified saddle fitter based in Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, described saddle sores and skin diseases to look out for during the SMS Introduction to Saddle Fitting course, held May 1-2, in Hagerstown, Maryland.

First, she described skin issues that are directly related to poor saddle fit, including:

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hoof Cracks: Types and Treatment - Full Article

By Steve Sermersheim, CJF, AWCF, APF
Dec 12, 2013

From afar your horse’s hooves look pristine. But you notice there’s a dark fissure creeping from the ground up the hoof wall in his left fore. How did your horse develop a crack in one of his seemingly impenetrable feet, and what can you do to halt its advance?

Hoof cracks develop for many reasons. Some are superficial, some are serious, and either can be permanent. Inspecting and picking your horse’s hooves daily, along with keeping your horse on a regular trimming/shoeing schedule, can help prevent hoof cracks from appearing in the first place. Environmental, genetic, nutritional, and conformational factors also play an important role in hoof health and strength. There are many types of hoof imperfections that involve chipping, tearing, and cracking of the hoof wall. Here we’ll describe how to identify and handle common hoof cracks...

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Concussions and Conversations With An Inner Warped Voice

EnduranceIntrospection Blog - Full Story

By Patti Stedman | May 23rd, 2015

[Disclaimer: I’m writing this fewer than twenty four hours from a pretty good, aka bad, concussion. I’m also on muscle relaxers and have had some difficulty locating certain parts of my vocabulary in its resident gray matter. This should make editing in a few days some kind of high entertainment.]

I’ve been thinking a lot about my inner voice over recent months.

The voice that plays the running dialogue in my head, and that tells me that a situation is not right, the one that beats me up on a regular basis, the one that tells me that I’m capable or not capable of doing something, or tells me to Suck It Up Cupcake when there’s really no choice but to soldier on. She tells me what I should or shouldn’t have said, what I should or shouldn’t have eaten, what I should or shouldn’t have prioritized on a given day. I’m told that you, dear reader, have one too, or at least I hope that is the case or I have an entirely different set of issues than I realized.

I know that voice is my own. It belongs to me. I’ve come to rely on it, rightly or wrongly, to get where I am in life. For that, I’m grateful. Without that voice kicking me from time to time, telling me I wasn’t good enough or doing enough, who know where I would have ended up being?

There are a lot of reasons I have the inner voice I have, far outside the scope of what should be discussed on an endurance riding blog, but I’ve come to realize something...

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7 Characteristics of a Great Endurance Horse

Perseveranceendurancehorses Blog - Full Article


Endurance riding is a team sport. The team is the horse and rider and their support crew at the vet checks. The challenges they face are distance, variations in altitude and terrain, difficult going such as rocks, mud or sand, extreme weather fluctuations, time limits and passing the vet checks every 30 km or so. Only the fittest horses with natural talent make the grades…

The vet checks require hydration, soundness and good heart rate recoveries. For the novice and developing endurance horses it is a process of growing as an athlete. For the advanced endurance horse it is a race requiring great fitness and resilience coupled to speed. There are no judges to determine the winners, only the clock ticking off the seconds and the vets giving the nod or not to the horse being fit to continue.

What makes a great endurance horse?

1. Willing and eager, but calm

In my book, character is the number one criteria. The horse must enjoy what he does. The ideal endurance horse loves to run, loves to see what is over the next hill. It must be competitive and want to win, but yet still be controllable. A runaway horse never wins, it will exhaust itself too early in the race. The lazy horse never wins, you cannot force a horse to run that well, and whipping and spurs are rightly forbidden...

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Registration Deadline for $100,000 Time to Ride Challenge Approaches

The grassroots competition aims to grow the horse industry this summer.

Washington, D.C., May 21st, 2015 - Horse industry professionals have less than a week remaining to sign up for the Time to Ride Challenge, a grassroots competition to grow the horse industry by making horses more accessible to families nationwide.  May 26th is the registration deadline for stables, clubs, and businesses interested in competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes while gaining new clients and reinvigorating the horse industry. Registration is free at
In 2014, the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance launched the Time to Ride “100 Day Horse Challenge,” which provided over 25,000 “newcomers” with a fun, first-time horse experience. The 2015 Challenge promises added cash prizes, with payouts to 10 places in three divisions, and hopes to double that number this year. Over 775 “Hosts” have signed up since March 1st.
“The Marketing Alliance is excited and hopeful about Time to Ride’s potential to introduce thousands of new people to horses this year,” stated Patti Colbert, Time to Ride marketing manager. “We’re building a community of “Hosts” who are committed to providing fun, beginner-friendly horse experiences across the country, and welcoming the next generation of horse riders and owners to our industry.”

In 2014, Hosts offered a variety of fun entry-level events including free rides, demonstrations, “pony painting” parties, crafts, and free rides. According to survey data, the majority of newcomers attending these Challenge events had interacted with horses three or fewer times in the past three years, making them perfect candidates for an introductory horse experience. Sixty-three percent of parents who attended an event said they were either interested or actively seeking horseback riding for themselves; 71% reported they were interested or actively seeking horse activities for their kids or family.

Last year’s Small Division champion, Jody Halladay of 16 Acres Equine Educational Complex in Union Grove, Wisconsin, had this to say about her experience with Time to Ride: “I can’t tell you how much last year’s Challenge has grown this business.  I am so busy I almost can’t think straight. I’ve had new adults buy horses and learn how to partner with them so they can enjoy them, and my apprentice is completely booked with beginner lessons. I now have adults, who were newcomers last year, helping plan this year’s Challenge.  Some have gone into helping [local rescue] Namaste Equine Rescue. This concept is working for me. Horses are making a comeback into the lives of all who have a passion to be around horses."

Stables, instructors, veterinarians, businesses, clubs, retailers, groups, and all other horse industry providers are invited to sign up for the Challenge by Tuesday, May 26th at The Challenge will take place May 30th - September 30th.

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, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, SmartPak, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis. Program Partners are Absorbine, the American Paint Horse Association, Morris Media Network Equine Group, 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.

Contact: Christie Schulte - - 512-591-7811

Knowing When to Part Ways - Full Article

Ruckus Rider | May 12, 2015

I always hesitate when it comes to discussing the dynamics of relationships, especially when it’s targeted at horse and rider combos. It’s a touchy subject fraught with controversy and, let’s face it, horse people are known to be an opinionated bunch to say the least. But, here I am about to enter no-mans-land because this week’s lessons and discussions have been about nothing other than suitability. Getting it, keeping it, and understanding that you never had it in the first place. Recognizing that all relationships, whether horse or human are fluid, evolving, and dynamic is important when a rider is evaluating any partnership. My job is to stay positive and supportive while assuring my riders that at some point everyone questions the suitability of their equine partnership.

The relationship that we develop with our horses is just that, a “relationship”. It will have ups and downs, bright and shiny moments, and those we’d just as soon lock away in the dark recesses of our minds. Horses have the ability to make or break a day, and just like any other type of relationship they have power to help define and shape their partners not only as riders but as people.

It’s all too easy to forget that like every other type of relationship our horses need to be a good fit for us...

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

What Is WRONG With My Horse?!!

Foundationsandbeyondhorsemanship - Full Article

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Ted Nicholes: Foundations and Beyond Horsemanship

Ever wondered this; 'What is WRONG with my horse?!!'

A recent call to Ted centered around that question. Layne Lewis was concerned about her horses recently developed behavior patterns.

The horse in question, Harley, is an experienced (as in 1700 AERC miles) gelding whom Layne has owned since his birth eleven years ago. Recently he has become difficult to work with, showing resistance and disrespect. Having been the rider and trainer of this horse for years Layne had the horse checked for possible physical causes of this behavior. Not only did Harley check out fine physically; Layne considers that he is in fact in probably the best condition of his life.
Frustrated and becoming even more concerned Layne decided to talk to a trainer with a reputation for being able to help with a horses manners. Layne knew of Ted through mutual friends in the endurance community and gave him a call.
After some conversation Layne and Ted decided the best thing to do was get together and have a private lesson session to evaluate what exactly was wrong with her horse. A private lesson was accordingly scheduled to try to provide the answer to the question 'What is wrong with Harley?' and also hopefully determine how to begin the process of fixing what was wrong with her horse. Since I saw only short snapshots (a total of about two minutes!) of the lesson Ted wrote the rest of this blog post.

The following is Ted's narration of how that lesson played out;

The big red horse trotted off to the far side of the round pen, alternating between sniffing the ground and lifting his head to look as high as he could. Perfectly normal, I thought, a prey animal assessing his surroundings, determining limits, evaluating escape routes, possible dangers, threats, etc. Doing everything a horse in his natural environment would do. The only thing abnormal about this behavior was that my round pen is about as far from a horses natural environment as he could get. So why was he acting this way? What was missing between him and his owner?...

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Nearly Nontoxic Insect Control - Full Article

By Alayne Blickle
Oct 3, 2014

Fewer flies and less chemical warfare can create a healthier barn environment for you and your horse

Three simple circumstances surrounding horse ownership mean we are destined to deal with flies and insects: moisture, large animals, and their poop. Last summer, many parts of North America experienced a particularly fierce fly season that, because of the extreme heat, began early and continued late into fall, making barn life almost unbearable.

Intense fly seasons like this make some of us want to resort to heavy-hitting chemicals. While there might be a time and a place for chemical warfare around the barn, some big-picture management options are the safest way to begin your fly-control strategy and reduce your need for insecticides and repellents...

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Skin Problems During the Summer - Full Article

By Susan L. White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM Aug 1, 2000

Skin problems in horses are some of the most frustrating disorders to manage for both owner and veterinarian. Skin problems can disfigure a horse, and even can cause unsoundness. In addition, many skin diseases, such as allergies, have a complex cause so that one easy treatment is not available.

Signs of allergies in many horses appear with the arrival of summer and become progressively worse each year. Often horses with this history are allergic to insect bites (insect hypersensitivity). Several different clinical syndromes have been associated with insect hypersensitivity, such as Queensland or sweet itch, which is caused by Culicoides species (no-see-ums). However, any biting insect can be involved in insect hypersensitivity. In fact, many affected horses are allergic to the bites of more than one kind of insect.

The first signs can include redness and large, flat, circular swellings (wheals) or raised nodules with or without crusting. Intense itching (pruritus) often leads to skin damage, hair loss, secondary infections, and thickened, wrinkled skin...

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Trouble with Mud - Full Article

By Heather Smith Thomas Apr 25, 2015

When the going gets muddy, the muddy get hoof problems; here's what to look out for.

Horses’ hooves are finicky when it comes to moisture. In arid environments they tend to dry out, and in wet conditions they become too soft. If you had to choose between the two, however, dry would probably be the winner.

Continuous exposure to moisture can cause a long list of hoof problems, ranging from difficult-to-manage soft, sensitive feet that won’t hold their shape or nails, to various types of damage and infections in the capsule and its structures...

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Veterinarians: Manage Feet for Function - Full Article

By Nancy S. Loving, DVM May 2, 2015

Because 90% of front-end lameness in horses occurs in the foot, hoof-related issues continue to be a hot topic in veterinary medicine. Duncan Peters, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVSMR, associate professor of equine lameness and sports medicine at Michigan State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Andy Parks, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, professor of large animal medicine at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, hosted a table topic discussion on foot lameness at the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The room was packed with interested practitioners who offered a variety of suggestions on specific foot issues...

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

New California Water Restrictions' Impact on Horses - Full Article

By Pat Raia Apr 15, 2015

New California water restrictions are intended to help battle persistent drought conditions in that state, but some say the new restrictions shouldn't have much of an impact on drought-weary horse owners residing there.

On April 1, California Governor Jerry Brown announced restrictions that include a significant reduction in permitted water use by campuses, golf courses, cemeteries, and residential developments, as well as an outright ban on watering public landscapes. Also under the new rules, agricultural users are required to provide more water use information to state regulators and small agricultural districts must develop and submit water use plans to the state's agriculture department.

“These plans will help ensure that agricultural communities are prepared in case the drought extends into 2016,” Brown's office said in a written statement.

Jim Hendrickson, president of the California Horseman's Association, does not believe that Brown's restrictions will have a major impact on horse owners.

Many horse owners reside in rural areas and water horses with wells on their own properties...

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stop a Spook - Full Article

By Lynn Palm with Cynthia McFarland

Learn how to teach your horse not to spook on the trail with these step-by-step guidelines from world champion trainer Lynn Palm.

Create a calm, willing trail horse, and stay in control, with Lynn Palm's four-step spook-check strategy.

Almost all horses spook (that is, shy, sidepass, jump, spin, rear, and/or bolt when startled and scared). As prey animals in the wild, these evasive maneuvers often saved their lives.

However, under saddle, spooking behavior in your horse can seriously jeopardize your safety, as well as that of your horse. Stay safe by teaching your horse not to spook, and by taking the correct actions when your horse spooks on the trail.

First, evaluate your horse. Does he occasionally spook when startled, is he green and inexperienced, or is he a genuinely spooky horse? A spooky horse is one that's naturally more sensitive and worried than others. He tends to see "goblins" around every corner...

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Can’t Move a Muscle: Tying Up - Full Article

Written by: Dr. Joan Norton

While tying up can be a one-time occurrence, certain horses are predisposed to repeated events warranting diagnostic investigation and preventative action.

In order to build muscle we have to tear some down first. Tiny micro tears in the fibers lead to growth of new muscle. This process is painful as is evident by the soreness we feel the day or two after a tough workout. The same process occurs in our horses as they work and become stronger and fitter. But what happens when the stiffness and soreness happen too soon, immediately after exercise or even during a training session? This abnormality is known as exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER) and while it can be a one-time occurrence, certain horses are predisposed to repeated events warranting diagnostic investigation and a diet and exercise program to prevent future episodes...

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

USRider: Finding the Right Trailer for your Horse

 Lexington, Ky. (April 28, 2015) – You’re committed. You took the plunge. You have bought your first show horse and are now ready to reach your goals together. The trailer you currently have suited your other horse just fine, but what about this new guy? What if he has never loaded into a slant-load trailer or used a ramp to get in? USRider takes a look at some of the important questions you should consider when purchasing a new trailer.
Almost everyone has come across a horse that does not willingly load into a trailer. For a lot of horses, loading and unloading is the most stressful part of trailering. Making this a central consideration when you buy your new trailer can be imperative for your horse.  Some trailer features can make a big difference when it comes to the ease of loading and unloading.
Food for thought (or comfort): Will your new horse travel calmly and comfortably in a slant- or straight-load trailer? A two-horse straight-load trailer is fairly uncommon these days. A slant-load trailer is a more “modern” buy. However, if you have a horse that has been loading into a straight-load trailer his whole life, you may run into a few barriers (and headaches) if you settle on a slant-load trailer. In many slant-load trailers, horses can be turned around inside and be led out, easing some of those unloading fears. Three- and four-horse slant-load trailers with a large tack room at the front are the most popular among recreational and competing riders. However, if the horse in the front stall has a problem, all horses must be unloaded to get to that horse unless you have an emergency side door.
When looking into the purchase of a two-horse straight-load trailer, consider the size of your horse. For example, if you have a large Irish Sport Horse, a straight-load may be a poor choice because it will make for a tight squeeze. If you have a smaller breed, like a Quarter Horse, he will fit comfortably and experience less stress. However, a straight-load trailer allows for more neck room and also allows for each horse to be unloaded without disturbing the other. With that said, there are arguments that a straight-load trailer is better for a larger horse as he is able to stretch out more. You be the judge. Sometimes going as far as measuring can be a big help!
So which is better suited for your new companion? Opinions vary when it comes to the experts. A few companies including Sundowner, Featherlite, Hart and CM Trailers offer both designs; however, many customers prefer the slant load. There are some arguments that a straight-load is better for your horse as he does not have to balance at a slant and allows him to use both front and hind feet evenly when loading and unloading.  Ramps can solve problems if your horse is not comfortable stepping up into a trailer.
There is a big difference in two-and three-horse trailers as far as hauling preferences. A two-horse bumper-pull trailer is much more stable than a three-horse bumper-pull. If you’re committed to a three-horse trailer, it is highly recommended by experts that you choose a gooseneck style as it creates better stability for handling that amount of weight.
A few creature comforts to consider: Windows within reach. Trailers are generally very tall with some window and door latches hard to reach. Some companies, such as Sundowner have moved these latches to the bottom or their drop down windows for better accessibility. When looking for your new trailer, make sure to check how each door locks. Many door handles will have deadbolt locks. This can be a big problem when you are fiddling with a key while trying to get to a distressed horse inside. Deadbolts should only be seen on tack and dressing rooms. Make sure your trailer is welcoming. The larger the windows and vents the better; along with inviting interiors, such as dividers that swing to the side and removable rear posts. They appear more open and roomy to a horse and not like they are walking into a cave where something is waiting to eat them.
One last note: Make sure there is good lighting inside your trailer for your horse(s). This is especially important if you are traveling at night and have to stop and unload your horses to stretch their legs. Loading them back in the trailer may become a headache if you do not have lights.
USRider – in its 14th year of operation – is the only company to provide emergency roadside assistance for horse owners. Through the Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider provides nationwide roadside assistance and towing services along with other travel-related benefits to its Members. The plan includes standard features such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance, lockout services, and roadside repairs for two vehicles and trailers with horses, plus towing up to 100 miles.  As an additional service, USRider maintains a national database that includes emergency stabling, veterinary and farrier referrals.

For more information about the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, visit online or call (800) 844-1409. For additional safety and travel tips, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website at

By: Lindsey K. Mulvany
1.800.844.1409 Ext: 106

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Oops! My Horse Stumbles! - Full Article

Stumbling in horses is serious business. Here's advice from a veterinarian and a trainer on dealing with this dangerous problem.

By Elaine Pascoe

Your horse suddenly pitches forward and drops out from under you. For a split second, his balance and yours teeter on the brink. Few things are more alarming than a horse stumbling, even for an experienced rider: Will he go down and take you with him?

Horses usually manage to stay upright when they trip, and (after you catch your breath) it's tempting to quickly laugh these incidents off. Even when a horse stumbles repeatedly, you'll hear people dismiss it: "He's just lazy," or "That's just him."

Yet it takes only one misstep for Twinkletoes to go down and flip over, with results that we'd all rather not contemplate. But let's, briefly, contemplate them: You could be killed. So could your horse.

This is a problem you can't ignore...

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Monday, May 04, 2015

The Pony Express: Long Rides, and a Short Life! - Full Article

Horses & History | April 28, 2015

By the time the famous Pony Express closed its doors, and retired its riders and horses on October 24, 1861, just 18 months after starting, it had some noteworthy statistics and some credible accomplishments to boast about: the riders and ponies covered about 250 miles a day in a 24-hour period; 35,000 pieces of mail were delivered during the service, there were more than 170 stations, and 80 riders and between 400 and 500 horses were used. However, perhaps the best statistic is that in the 18 months of its existence, there was just one mail delivery lost during Paiute Indian raids in 1860 and afterwards. These raids cost 16 men their lives, 150 horses were stolen or driven away, and $75,000 in equipment and supplies were lost. The mail pouch that was lost in these raids reached New York City two years later!

The service was the brainchild of three men, William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors, who saw the need for a better way to communicate with the western part of the United States, and for the delivery of mail, newspapers, small parcels and messages. In 1848 gold had been discovered in California, and thousands of prospectors, businessmen and investors made their way out west. By 1860 the population had grown to 380,000. Also, the American Civil War was approaching so communications between east and west were crucial. However, on the day that the first rider set out for the inaugural ride west, Russell and Majors told the gala crowd that the service was the “precursor” to the construction of a transcontinental railway.

Majors was a religious man and gave each one of the riders a bible, and created an oath that each rider had to say that included the words that they would, ‘under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will not drink intoxicating liquors…’ Apparently few of the riders took the oath seriously, and they were described in all manner of ways including, ‘dreadful, rough and unconventional...’

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