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)...

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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...

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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...

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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...”

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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...

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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...

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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, CĂ©line 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: