Monday, August 31, 2015

Time to Ride Challenge Breaks 20,000 Newcomers Mark

 Washington, D.C., August 27, 2015 - The Time to Ride Challenge, a grassroots competition offering $100,000 cash and prizes to stables, clubs, and businesses that introduce new people to horses, has reached 20,107 people as of Wednesday, August 26th, marking a 31% increase over this point in 2014. The Challenge began May 30thand continues through September 30th nationwide.

Preliminary survey results show that the typical event attendee has ridden or interacted with a horse one to three times in the past three years, indicating they are interested but not regularly involved with horses. “Newcomers” enjoy a fun, safe, entry-level horse experience and, following the event, are provided with further opportunities to take riding lessons, attend events, and otherwise become more involved in the horse industry. Challenge Hosts providing the horse experiences are often riding stables and instructors, but also include clubs such as 4-H and regional organizations, therapeutic riding stables, rescues, camps, retail stores, and veterinarians.

“We are thrilled with these preliminary numbers in the 2015 Challenge,” stated Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokesperson. “It’s a 31% increase over this same point in the 2014 Challenge! We’re truly proud of the stables and providers who are working so hard to share their horses with new people, grow their businesses, and welcome new participation in our industry.”

Free, public horse events are taking place through September 30th. Time to Ride encourages horse owners and riders to spread the word to their friends who are interested in finding a stable nearby. A public event listing is available at To see photos from Challenge events, please click here.

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.

Contact: Christie Schulte - or 512-591-7811

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Therapeutic Shoeing Part 1: Foot Fundamentals - Full Article

By Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
Aug 18, 2015

The beginning of this two-part discussion on therapeutic shoeing addresses the anatomy, conformation, and biomechanical principles of the equine foot; the trim as the foundation of farriery; and diagnostic imaging.

Any discussion of therapeutic shoeing in the horse must begin with a discussion of what therapeutic shoeing is--and what it is not. According to Stephen O'Grady, DVM, MRCVS, professional farrier and owner of Northern Virginia Equine, in Marshall, therapeutic shoeing (or therapeutic farriery) is "the science and art of affecting/influencing the structures of the foot." It is not a cookie-cutter, "apply shoe A to foot B" magic bullet in the war on equine lameness. To understand how the foot structures can be influenced, we should first have a clear picture of those structures and the forces that act on them.

"In an ideal world, you would begin from a diagnosis," says Andrew Parks, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, professor of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine. "From that diagnosis you would get your treatment goals. By goals I mean the big picture concepts for treatment. You need to have principles (a range of techniques) that allow you to implement your goals."

O'Grady concurs: "In order to be proficient at therapeutic farriery you must understand the forces that affect the foot. Excess forces or stresses on the hoof capsule lead to deformation, and excess forces or stresses on the internal structures of the foot lead to disease. Everything we are trying to do with therapeutic farriery is to change the forces on the foot..."

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wildfire Smoke and Horses' Respiratory Health - Full Article

By University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine Aug 25, 2015

Wildfires have raised concern among horse owners regarding the potential impact of persistent smoke and related air pollution on their equids. And their concern is justified: Smoke can cause serious health problems for horses, as it can in people, notes an equine veterinarian from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine.

Smoke is an unhealthy combination of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, hydrocarbons, and other organic substances. Smoke particulates, which are a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air, can irritate horses’ eyes and respiratory tracts, and hamper their breathing...

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

4D Measurement – Protecting Horses from Saddles

A new Kickstarter campaign is creating “measurably” better lives for horses
SCOTTS VALLEY, CA; AUGUST 22, 2015 – “The majority of the world's 58,000,000 riding horses and 100,000,000 pack animals are being injured, to some degree, every day, because their saddles do not fit,” says Robert Ferrand, inventor of Saddletech. “For more than 20 years, computer saddle-interface-pressure-measurement research has documented that very few saddles actually “distribute pressure evenly” on the animal’s back.”
How is this possible in an era of high technology? “Because, the international saddle industry does not provide any accurate standard of measurement that would permit the saddle industry or the saddle consumer to determine which saddle will accurately fit their horse,” says Ferrand.
Ferrand has initiated a new Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign: 4D Measurement – Protecting Horses From Saddles aims to solve this saddle fitting problem by renting the state-of-the-art three-dimensional-horse/saddle-measurement-instrument directly to the consumer, and the computer saddle interface pressure measurement instrument to their veterinarian, so that the consumer and their veterinarian, not the saddle maker, can determine the fit of the saddle more accurately, before they buy the saddle.
Search Google on “saddle fitting” and a multitude of variations of the “9 Steps of Saddle Fitting” are listed by a number of individuals or organizations. These various saddle fitting methods have four things in common that challenge the foundation of these methods.
·        No “Calibrated” three-dimensional measurements are provided to define the shape of the horse or the saddle that would permit an accurate comparison of these two shapes, to be possible.
·        No “Calculation” to account for the downward “deflection” of the animal’s back caused by Gravity, in the form of the Riders Weight – which causes the back of the animal to change shape when mounted.    
·        No “Interface Pressure” measurements to validate that any of their saddle fitting methods or saddles actually distribute the pressure evenly on the horse’s back.
·        No use of the “Scientific Method” applied to Fitting Saddles, to validate any saddle fitting methods.
Few people can actually prove that any saddle fits, because there are no calibrated measurements available to make any determination.
There are thousands of equestrians who really do want to know if their saddle fits. This Kickstarter campaign has been organized just for these equestrians who want to be sure that their horse is not injured by the saddle.
“Calibrated” 3D Horse and Saddle Measurement will empower the consumer to:
·        Protect their horse from saddle related injury
·        Protect themselves from buying a saddle that does not fit their horse
·        Permit existing saddles to be accurately adjusted to the horse, over time.
·        Provide evidence to legally demand a refund
·        Validate that the 3D gauge measurements are accurate by employing the “Scientific Method”
·        Most importantly, be able to find a saddle that really does fit their horse, employing mathematics.
What completely differentiates this saddle fitting program from all others is not only the revolutionary 3D saddle measurement Mk 7 Gauge, but additionally, this Kickstarter campaign permits the “Fourth Dimension” - the “computer saddle interface pressure measurement system” to be rented directly to the saddle consumer’s equine veterinarian.
This reward permits the veterinarian to employ the “scientific method,” to validate that these saddle measurements are, in fact, accurate and the saddle pressure is “evenly distributed” on the horse’s back. Thereby, providing objective calibrated saddle interface “pressure” measurement evidence that this saddle “fits” this horse.
This Kickstarter Campaign is in the finishing touches and is not live yet. Currently, the inventor is collecting 2,000 subscribers to the newsletter announcing the launch of 4D Measurement – Protecting Horses from Saddles Funding Campaign. So sign up and tell your friends… protect the horses…and themselves.
To sign up for the newsletter and “preview” this project’s vision, goals and history visit

Contact; Robert Ferrand
3490 Bean Creek Rd.
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Main Website:
Website 2:

Empty Fields Everywhere - Why Movement Is So Important for Horses - Full Article

15 August 2014

by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

Driving through Kentucky recently, I passed breathtaking farms – acres and acres of meticulously manicured pastures, lined with white Kentucky-style four board fences that seemed to travel for miles. What struck me, however, was their barrenness.

Where are all the horses?

Placed high on mounds in the distance were spectacular barns – horse “hotels” where horses reside – some just during the day, some for the majority of the time.

While this may be convenient for the horse owner, standing in a small area for hours on end (even if part of it is outdoors) takes its toll on your horse’s mental and physical health, to such a great extent, that it dramatically diminishes his quality, and length, of life.

Horses need to move. Ever tried staying in a small room for most of the day? And we like cozy places! Horses do not!

Their very survival depends on their ability to flee at a moment’s notice from dangers, real or perceived. Trapped, they eventually succumb to their fate, appearing as though they are accepting and perhaps even appreciating their solitude. But the stress takes its toll on their immune system and hormonal responses, leading to a vast variety of health issues.

All body systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, neuromuscular, and skeletal systems depend on exercise to remain sound. If the horse cannot be ridden every day, many will benefit from simply being lunged or worked in a round pen. And all horses benefit from free exercise by walking around in a large pasture (or large dry lot with hay available)...

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

“Am I too fat to ride a horse?” - Full Article

Colin Dangaard | 18 August 2015

Maybe, maybe not. A “scientific study” has concluded that a horse cannot comfortably carry more than 10 percent of its own weight. I have been looking for the punch line ever since: obviously this is a joke! This would mean 80 percent of the people riding horses today are too fat!

According to The US Cavalry Manual of Horse Management (1941) a horse should not carry more than 20 percent of its own weight. This edict was routinely exceeded, soldier and equipment regularly weighing 250lb...

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Life-Threatening Fumonisins in Horses - Full Article

By Radka Borutova, MVD, PhD, NutriAd International
Aug 8, 2015

Fumonisins are mycotoxins, which are harmful secondary compounds that specific molds and fungi produce in soils, grains, and forages when moisture levels permit. This mycotoxin variety is produced by Fusarium verticillioides, F. proliferatum, and other Fusarium fungal species. Animal and human health problems related to fumonisins are most commonly associated with the consumption of contaminated maize (corn) or products made from maize.

Horses have a longer life span than many other livestock, some living 30 years old or more, so their exposure to toxins can be long-term. Horses used for competitions are often high-value animals and economic losses from poor performance, health problems, and even loss of use due to mycotoxins can be significant...

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Alternative Fiber Sources for Horses - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
Aug 9, 2015

Much of the country is experiencing drier than normal conditions this summer, so some horses living on pasture might soon have limited forage choices. With decreased forage growth also comes a decrease in hay production. Therefore, owners might want to familiarize themselves with alternative fiber sources that could be used to supplement their horses' diets if hay becomes scarce in the near future.

No matter the breed or intended use, all horses require fiber in their diets. According to the National Research Council's Nutrient Requirements of Horses (2007, 6th Edition), a large body of evidence suggests that insufficient dietary fiber can lead to several digestive issues (such as colic) and behavioral vices (such as cribbing) in horses...

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Idaho Wildfire Impacts Horse Owners, Wild Horses

Horse owner Karen Steenhof prepares to evacuate her Murphy, Idaho, property in the face of the massive Soda fire, which has already destroyed more than 287,000 acres - Full Article

By Alayne Blickle
Aug 16, 2015

Officials in southwest Idaho are combating a wildfire that’s threatening both wild and domestic horses.

The so-called Soda fire, currently the largest wildfire in the lower 48 state, has burned 287,673 acres thus far. Nearly 500 firefighters are battling the blaze, which was probably started by lightning on Aug. 10. Much of the impacted land is rangeland habitat used by wildlife such as pronghorn antelope and the sage grouse, serves as grazing land used by cattle ranchers, and is home to two Bureau of Land Management (BLM) herd management areas for wild horses...

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Starch in Horse Diets - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
Jul 18, 2015

Starch is a highly digestible energy form and can provide energy needed for exercise, growth, metabolism, and other equine life functions. However, when fed improperly, this nonstructural carbohydrate can be detrimental to your horse's health.

Most of the energy contained in grains, such as corn and oats, and a percentage of the energy from forage is starch. During digestion, starch is broken down primarily in the horse's small intestine by an enzyme called amylase. This process efficiently produces glucose, a type of simple sugar essential for fueling some bodily functions...

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Horses regularly trained with ground work are more relaxed when ridden - Full Article


A recent study of dressage horses in Germany that looked at rein length and tension revealed a surprising finding: horses who were regularly trained in ground work/in-hand work had lower heart rates during ridden work than all of the other participating horses. This wasn’t what the researchers were investigating, but it was clear in the results. From this, the researchers concluded that, “Perhaps horses trained in ground work had more trust in their rider.”

So why would it be true that horses who regularly learn via ground work/in-hand work are more relaxed? There are a few possibilities.

1) Horses trained regularly with ground work are more relaxed because their trainers are more relaxed. It’s possible that humans who take the time to teach their horses from the ground are less goal oriented and more concerned with the process. They may be more relaxed in general and foster this same relaxation in their horses. As you are, so is your horse...

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Sunday, August 09, 2015

5 ways to keep your horse hydrated after competition - Full Article

Horse & Hound
7 August, 2015

No one is going to complain when the sun is shining and we’re out competing — but it’s more important than ever to make sure that our horses are kept hydrated when the temperatures soar.

Dengie senior nutritionist Katie Williams gives some top tips to keep your horse healthy and hydrated after competition.

5 ways to keep your horse hydrated

1. Intense activity during competition or training will cause your horse to sweat and lose electrolytes. For effective rehydration, both water and electrolytes are needed. Adding an electrolyte supplements to your horse’s water is one way to achieve this, but if they refuse to drink the solution then you may have to try an alternative method...


Friday, August 07, 2015

Outdoor Industry Takes on Lands-Transfer Movement - Full Article

By Judy Fahys
August 6 2015

Ads in Salt Lake City’s daily newspapers Thursday urge people to transform their support for public lands into political action. It’s part of the outdoor industry’s new counteroffensive against efforts to put federal lands under state control.

Outdoor recreation companies say their $676 billion industry depends on having beautiful places to play in. So, hunters and fishermen are joining hands with mountain bikers and backcountry hikers to foil what they see as an existential threat. John Sterling, director of the political coalition called the Conservation Alliance, is urging recreation businesses and the conservation community this week to fight the Utah-grown lands-transfer movement...

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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Saddle Fit Case Study: Endurance Horse - Full Article

by Jochen Schleese CMS, CSFT, CSE

My interest in endurance riding has come through my association with some top US Endurance Riders – who I am happy to work with in keeping their horses sound over the long distances ridden in these races. I have seen this sport grow from its crazy first decades to the well regulated and exciting sport that it is today. Now, much more so than in the beginning of what has come to be known as “the modern sport of Endurance Riding”, the American Endurance Ride Council (AERC), the governing body of the sport here in the United States and Canada, has matured into an organization that definitely focuses on the well-being of the horses first, and I very much appreciate this as I have unfortunately been witness to how some riders in past years have treated their mounts. That type of abuse and disregard for our amazing equine athletes is a rare occurrence in the sport these days thanks in large part to the AERC.

I talked to a rider and the owner of her horse being ridden a few weeks ago in a 55 mile ride, who has a Schleese saddle, and who said that within a month after the last saddle fitting the horse completely lost its top line and was extremely sore-backed, both over both shoulders (white hair patches) and especially behind the 18th rib. Both claimed that the white hair patches arose because we apparently use synthetic wool to flock our saddles rather than real wool. They said that synthetic wool will eventually ball up and become hard, whereas real wool does not. It was these hard balls of synthetic wool that caused the white patches on the shoulders. A video of what was going on with the horse was included, of which I post a couple of stills (so please excuse the quality).

What endurance riders do on a weekly basis is the absolute extreme of riding. Maintaining the saddle fit of an endurance horse is so tricky because there are so many elements at work: fluid loss, caloric consumption, muscle stress, metabolic rate etc. It stands to reason that the physical changes the horse (and rider) undergo in a 55 mile ride are quite severe. We mustn’t forget that this level of exertion and athleticism is not necessarily a natural condition for the horse – and also that the horse was never meant to be ridden! It takes an extreme maintenance and training program for both horse and rider to be able to achieve these kinds of goals...

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Monday, August 03, 2015

Researchers explore training of top-level NZ endurance horses - Full Article | 3 August 2015

A pilot study has provided a snapshot of training and feeding regimes used by top level endurance riders in New Zealand, with researchers finding many kept GPS and heart-rate data, as well as documented training records.

The collection of data found among the 53 national and FEI-level endurance riders in a survey suggested there was scope for further detailed studies to obtain an even more accurate picture of the training of New Zealand endurance horses, the research team said...

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