Thursday, March 31, 2016

Laura Jean's Mustang Training Adventure

Foundationsandbeyondhorsemanship Blog - Full Story

by Laura Nicholes
March 30 2016

My name is Laura Jean Nicholes. I am nine years old. I just found out I have been accepted as a competitor to participate in the Idaho Extreme Mustang Makeover youth competition for 2016!

When I first talked to my parents about applying for the EMM, they said I could do it as long as I was able to earn the money to pay for it and they said I would have to put a blog page up about it. I am required to post at least once a week about my mustang project. I like that requirement because it seems fun to me to blog!
Sarah, my little sister, was eager to help me be able to compete. Before we even talked to both of our parents, we started working extra quarter jobs and building my 'mustang fund'.

I have loved horses my whole life and I have been actively training for the past three years. I help out with riding and training several of our family horses and am responsible for the care and maintenance of my horse. My own horse, Hugo, is a six year old, half Arabian half POA who I have had for two years now. Last year I took him on several 25 mile rides and one 30 mile endurance ride. (In endurance they call those LD's for limited distance...)

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Hoof Rings in Horses: What Do They Mean? - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 6, 2013

Most horse owners have noticed that the surfaces of their horses’ hooves are not completely uniform from the coronary band to the ground.

Because new hoof originates at the coronary band and grows downward, the top part of the hoof often looks smoother and shinier than the older horn toward the sole. Environmental factors like muddy footing, wet and dry weather cycles, and normal wear and tear will cause the hoof surface to lose some of its luster and develop some degree of flaking or shallow cracking. This change is normal and does not signify a problem.

Seasonal changes in hoof growth can often be seen as minor lines or ridges on the hoof wall...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Trouble With Mud - Full Article

By Heather Smith Thomas
Mar 22, 2016

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. Then there are the injuries due to slipping and scrambling in deep mud or bad footing, lost bell boots, and pulled-off shoes. In short, keeping horses’ feet sound and healthy can be a difficult challenge when weather is wet and footing precarious...

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Friday, March 18, 2016

NATRC Offering Free Memberships

By Edited Press Release
Mar 13, 2016

The North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) is offering free 2016 memberships to people who have never been NATRC members.

“We are a distance competitive trail ride organization that values conditioned, sound, trail savvy horses that are a pleasure to ride," said executive administrator Laurie DiNatale. "We value light and balanced riding and encourage the good care of horses over the distance and in camp. We want to share that with people.”

As a nonprofit educational and distance competitive-trail-ride-sanctioning organization, NATRC education takes on many forms. One of these is the direct feedback to competitors of scores and comments on their veterinary and horsemanship scorecards, which each rider receives at the close of a ride competition.

Other resources include clinics, a new competitor section on the website, mentoring new competitors, informative articles in regional and national newsletters, an introductory video, social media, and the soon to be published second edition of the NATRC Rider’s Manual, A Complete Guide to Competitive Trail Riding.

For more information on the free membership offer, visit

Friday, March 11, 2016

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses - Full Article


By the Editors of EQUUS magazine

The good news, of course, is that the vast majority of those plants pose little threat to horses. For one thing, most of them are unpalatable, and horses who are filling up on quality forage aren't likely to spend a lot of time grazing on the few bitter leaves populating their pasture. Another factor that protects horses is their size--a 1,000-pound animal has to consume significantly higher quantities of most toxins than a smaller animal does to feel any effects. So, for the most part, as long as your horses are healthy and your pasture is in good shape, you have little to worry about.

However, some plants are cause for concern either because even a curious nibble can spell doom or because repeated browsing over weeks or months can lead to serious illness and death. All are worth getting to know by sight--not only so you can eliminate them from your horsekeeping areas, but also so that you can avoid encounters with them in the woods, on the roadsides and along the waterways where you ride. According to Anthony Knight, BVSc, MRCVS, plant toxicologist from Colorado State University, these 10 plants are those most dangerous to horses in the United States:

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Being a Fit Rider is Important for Your Horse's Health - Full Article

By Jenni Douglas, MSc Mar 9, 2016

There are many reasons why you as a rider should also train off of the horse: to concentrate on your own weaknesses and asymmetries without impacting your horse; to add a bit of excitement to your riding program; and to prevent mental or physical staleness. Specific benefits include adding weight-bearing to your training and offsetting psychoemotional strain (the fitter you are, the better your body can cope with heart rate spikes in response to excitement or nerves). Your mental and physical performance will benefit from a program out of the saddle, and you will be more effective at making decisions under fatigue.

Let’s take a look at the first reason: Horse-rider asymmetries are well-documented...

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do Haynets Help Horses Lose Weight? - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 31, 2015

The equine obesity pandemic is real, with veterinarians and nutritionists issuing warnings to owners that there is no such thing as a fat, healthy horse.

“According to the latest American Horse Publications Equine Industry Survey, horse owners are primarily responsible for feeding their horses. Thus, the onus is on owners to identify overweight horses and then institute appropriate weight-loss measures,” advised Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a Kentucky Equine Research (KER) nutritionist.

Recognizing the importance of weight management in the equine population, researchers put eight Quarter Horses on a diet*. Horses started off with a body condition score (BCS) averaging about 7.3 and were fed 1% of their body weight in grass hay, either off the ground or from a haynet in two meals...

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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Sugars and Starches: They're Not All Bad! - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
Mar 7, 2016

Although we frequently warn against the consequences of feeding these carbohydrates, horses do need them in their diets.

Owners are more carb-conscious than ever—and with good reason. It’s a fact that carbohydrates, particularly sugar and starch, can exacerbate equine muscle conditions such as polysaccharide storage myopathy, which is commonly known as tying-up. And scientists have linked dietary sugar and starch with colic and the hoof disease laminitis—especially when a horse consumes large quantities in a single meal. Excess carbohydrate intake can lead to other conditions, as well, including obesity and insulin resistance, where cells become resistant to the hormone insulin and require more to signal glucose uptake from the blood after a meal. Some horses even experience a “sugar rush” post-carb consumption that can lead to undesirable behaviors.

Like it or not, horses do need sugar and starch in their diets and cannot thrive without them. How can you make peace with these carbs and find room for them in your horse’s feed bucket? Let’s take a closer look at sugar and starch and uncover how they help keep your horse healthy...

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Monday, March 07, 2016

Decreasing the Risk of Laminitis in the Spring - Full Article

Written by: Shannon Pratt-Phillips, Ph.D.

Equine nutritionist, Shannon Pratt-Phillips, Ph.D., explains how to avoid pasture associated laminitis in the spring.

Q.: I know laminitis risk increases with spring grass. Is there anything I can do nutritionally to help decrease the risk?

A.: The reason the risk of laminitis increases in the spring is that as the days get longer, the extra sunlight increases photosynthesis, which results in starch, sugar and, in some plants, fructan production. We also tend to have cooler temperatures at night, which prevents the plants from using these sugars, and they accumulate.

Fructans are poorly digested within the horse’s small intestine, so they pass through to the large intestine, as do sugars when consumed in large amounts. When these reach the large intestine, the microbial organisms residing there ferment these new substrates rapidly, resulting in a shift towards the production of lactic acid and compounds called vasoactive amines (substances containing amino groups), as well as a drop in pH.

Changes in pH alter the permeability of the intestinal lining, which is believed to allow the absorption of the vasoactive amines and potential other toxins, and can contribute towards laminaellar separation.

Elevated insulin concentrations have also been shown to trigger laminitis, and horses that are consuming “sugary” pasture or that are already insulin resistant (and have high resting insulin concentrations) may have their insulin concentrations reach critical levels. So, prevention of laminitis is two-fold: limit pasture intake, particularly when sugar content is expected to be high and prevent/manage insulin resistance...

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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

How to Choose the Best Hay for Your Horse

March 1 2016

Besides water, hay is the most important thing your horse will take into his mouth. So it's crucial that that hay be of the best quality.

But, how do you find it?

Start by using all of your senses.

Does it look good? That nice bright green that is attractive to our eye also means the hay is fresh and full of the vitamins and protein your horse needs for a healthy diet. Although the outside of a hay bale may be bleached and yellow from exposure to sun, the interior should always be green.

Grab a handful of hay and feel it. Does it feel coarse? Are there small twigs or even prickers in it? If it feels bad in your hands just think of how it would feel in your horse's mouth. Good hay is free of extraneous material and has a fine texture, feeling soft in your hands. It should also have a high leaf to stem ratio, as the majority of digestible nutrients are found in the leaf portion of both grass and legume hay.

Take that handful of hay and bring it up to your nose. Breathe in. Does it smell fresh and clean? Or do you detect dust or mold? Obviously, that clean fresh smell is coming from the hay you want your horse to have.

The result of your careful examination when buying hay will be that sound that is music to the ears of all horse lovers: the sound of horses contentedly munching on hay.

Where to Look for Good Hay

A good place to start your search for quality hay is with your county extension agency or state agricultural department. Generally, they know who the hay growers in your area are, and what the quality of each grower's hay is. To insure that you have a good selection of hay, buy early in the season while the crops are being baled.

It's always a good idea to have your hay analyzed. This can be done at your county extension agency as well. Knowing the nutrient profile of the hay will allow you to make smart decisions about what to feed, which will save you money as well as insuring that your horse receives the proper nutrition.

Good hay has a protein value of 9% or higher, which will meet the protein requirements for a variety of horses. Other values you should have analyzed are the Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) which should be at 60% or lower (otherwise your horses will stop eating the hay) and the Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) which should be under 40% to insure high digestibility.

Follow these guidelines for hay and you will have happy, healthy, well-fed horses, with little wastage of hay.

For more information contact: Eastern Hay:, 845 855 3291 (485 Rt. 22, Pawling, NY).