Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Understanding pH in the Equine Digestive Tract

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 — In-depth discussions of the equine digestive tract invariably mention pH, especially in reference to the stomach and hindgut. What is pH and how does it factor in the well-being of horses?

In simplest terms, pH is a numeric scale used to measure acidity or basicity of any solution. The scale generally runs from 0 to 14, with 0-6 indicating acidity, 7 representing neutrality, and 8-14 signifying basicity.

The stomach. As part of the digestion process, the horse’s stomach manufactures and secretes hydrochloric acid, creating a naturally acidic environment. The pH of the stomach fluctuates based on contents, both the amount and type of feed and forage. “A range of pH readings has been recorded in the stomach; the lowest of which is less than 2, the highest of which is greater than 6. Even in the best of circumstances, the stomach is an acidic environment,” said Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

In nature, the horse employs two main protective strategies to maintain stomach health: (1) near-continual consumption of forages, which keeps the stomach full, thus avoiding acidic sloshes; and (2) production and swallowing of saliva, which buffers, or neutralizes, the acidic environment.

Many domesticated horses remain at a disadvantage, as they do not have access to unlimited forage, which leaves the stomach empty for long stretches. This is expressly true of stabled horses fed one or two large meals a day. Moreover, unlike humans, horses do not produce saliva when not actively engaged in chewing and swallowing feed. When both layers of protection are disabled, the stomach lining suffers, resulting in erosion and ulceration.

Several management techniques designed to keep ulcers from forming have been identified.

The hindgut. Further along the digestive tract, just past the small intestine, lies the hindgut, composed of the cecum and colon. Within these structures resides a population of microbes that aids in the fermentation of forages. Microbes work best when their environment, including the pH, remains fairly constant.

Though pH can rise and fall due to the quality and quantity of feed in the hindgut, the primary reason for a precipitous drop in pH involves the overfeeding of concentrates. “When too much feed is given in a meal, the sheer bulk overwhelms the foregut (stomach and small intestine) and passes hurriedly and only partially digested to the hindgut,” said Whitehouse. “Problem is, the hindgut is not equipped to efficiently digest the primary energy sources in feed; its specialty is fiber processing. As fermentation of grain occurs, the microbial population changes when certain microorganisms die off and others thrive. These changes cause pH of the hindgut to drop.”

Whereas a normal hindgut pH may be in the 6.5-7 range, an acidic hindgut might be as low as 5, which can bring about acidosis. Hindgut acidosis can be problematic on many levels, as horses with this condition tend to have subclinical symptoms, such as a take-it-or-leave attitude toward feed, weight loss, recurrent mild colic, unusually soft manure, or behavioral changes.

If clinical signs point to acidosis, consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist. Also consider a hindgut buffer. EquiShure®, a product developed by KER, is a time-released buffer that moderates the pH of the hindgut, making it more hospitable for beneficial microbes. Horses with both stomach and hindgut issues can benefit from RiteTrac™, which combines fast-acting antacids and coating agents to promote stomach health and EquiShure.


Kentucky Equine Research (KER) is an international equine nutrition, research and consultation company serving both the horse producer and the feed industry. Its goal is to advance the industry's knowledge of equine nutrition and exercise physiology and apply this knowledge to produce healthier, more athletic horses. For more information, see www.ker.com or call 888-873-1988.

Erin Ryder Hsu
888-873-1988 ex. 42

Monday, July 18, 2016

Families Welcomed to Connect with Horses on Upcoming National Meet-A-Horse Day

Time to Ride Challenge Hosts are holding events across the country to bring their communities closer to horses.

Washington, D.C., July 14th, 2016 – People across the country are invited to take part in National Meet-A-Horse Day on July 23rd, at any Time to Ride Challenge Host location. Families will be welcomed into stables, camps, clubs and organizations competing in the Time to Ride Challenge, in hope of creating new riders and lifelong equestrians. This is the third year National Meet-A-Horse Day will be celebrated and participating equine businesses are more excited than ever to share their unique, horse-centered events.

“National Meet-A-Horse Day is a great opportunity to focus on the importance of introducing brand-new enthusiasts to horses,” said Leigh-Anna Martinets, Time to Ride Program Manager. “Many of us were introduced to horses by either a family member, friend or neighbor. Horses inspire so much joy, wonder, and curiosity, and this day is all about making riding and connecting with horses more accessible in our communities. Our hosts have a great array of activities planned and are truly looking forward to sharing their horses with new people.”

National Meet-A-Horse Day coincides with National Day of the Cowboy and many hosts are using this opportunity to create events that incorporate both themes. For example, Horses4Heroes, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, will be celebrating the day with a Dress Like a Cowboy contest, panning for gold and trail rides. Though each event will be slightly different than the next, all will present a chance for a hands on experience with a horse or pony.

All horse owners and businesses who are not competing in the Challenge are welcomed to share equine experiences with friends who are new to horses. The hope is for anyone who wants to meet a horse to have the means to do so on July 23rd. Newcomers are encouraged to post pictures on social media of themselves at events with the hashtag, #MeetaHorse, to be entered to win a Time to Ride prize pack. The 2016 Time to Ride Challenge has 205 hosts across the nation that are eager to share their horses with the public.

National Meet-A-Horse Day takes place Saturday, July 23rd. To find an event, visit the map on timetoride.com. There is still time to get involved: to host an event, visit the website and create an account to get started. For more info, please call 512-591-7811 or contact info@timetoride.com.

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, 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; and new for 2016 I-5 Publishing, Pyranha, the America’s Mustang Campaign, and Colorado State University Equine Sciences Program.

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 – info@timetoride.com or 512-591-7811

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Horse Foot Bruises

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Tracy Gantz
Jun 21, 2016

Understanding what causes foot bruises and how to treat and possibly prevent them can save your horse from sore feet.

While laminitis and navicular disease pose more dangerous threats to your horse's feet, the average horse is more likely to encounter a foot bruise than any other lameness. If you recognize the causes of foot bruises and understand their treatment and prevention, you can stave off discomfort in your horse and perhaps avoid an abscess, which is a more serious problem that can develop in a bruised hoof.

Most bruises show up on the sole of a horse's foot, although a horse can also bruise the quarters, the toe, and the frog of the foot.

"Often the location of a foot bruise is based on the purpose of the horse," says Meredith May, DVM, now a veterinarian at Terra Vista Animal Hospital, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who studied stone bruises in the field with Don Shields, DVM, who runs Winner's Circle Ranch. The layup facility in Bradbury, California, cares for injured racehorses and show horses. Thus, Shields sees his share of foot bruises...

Read more here:

Friday, July 08, 2016

Researchers probe metabolic performance in young endurance horses

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

July 8, 2016

Experienced endurance horses were better able to maintain their blood glucose than young horses in competition, a French study has shown.

The researchers, writing in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, said long-term endurance exercise was known to severely affect metabolism in both human and animal athletes, resulting in a serious risk of metabolic disorders during or after competition.

Horses up to the age of six can compete in endurance races up to 90km, they noted, despite limited scientific knowledge of energy-related metabolic responses to long distance exercise in these animals.

“There is,” they reported, “no biological or physiological data available for 4–6-year-old horses.”

The researchers noted that, during endurance races, horses ran at speeds ranging from 12kmh to 26kmh. During exercise, muscle stocks of adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate in muscle are quickly depleted and energy must then be derived from glycolytic and/or oxidative pathways.

“At higher speeds, horses face high metabolic stress due to the intensity and duration of muscular effort. Thus, specific metabolic adaptations are needed that may be observed in horses selected for endurance for a long time, such as Arabians.”

While Arabian horses were recognized as the best breed to perform endurance competitions, their physical development was slow and extended until the age of six, they noted...

Read more: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/07/08/researchers-metabolic-performance-young-endurance-horses/#ixzz4DpWfSQi4

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Managing a Horse's Underrun Heels

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Sarah Evers Conrad
Jun 15, 2016

The long-toed, low-heeled hoof is a common and difficult-to-manage hoof abnormality

It can be a struggle to maintain our horse’s hooves so that they look the way we want, while also keeping them as healthy and sound as possible. We’re usually fighting against a genetic predisposition for problems, the local climate, the footing a horse has been raised on, poor hoof care at an early age, feet that have been previously shod inappropriately, excessive softening of the foot due to moisture, type of work, or problematic foot and limb conformation. And once hoof problems start, sometimes they can be challenging or impossible to fix. Such is the case with what is known as underrun heels, sometimes described as the long-toed, low-heeled hoof.

Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, owner of Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, in Keswick, says underrun heels are one of the most important and common foot abnormalities the horse industry faces today. He was a professional farrier for 10 years before earning a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Pretoria, in South Africa, in 1981, and he now focuses solely on podiatry with his practice. He says any of the items listed above can cause underrun heels...

Read more here:

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Time to Ride, Microchipping and Putting Horsepower in Congress


July 5 2016

The AHC’s Annual Meeting wrapped up on Tuesday, June 14th with the National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health. Presentations and discussions about the successful Time to Ride campaign and benefits of Microchipping kicked off the morning. Senator Pat Robert (R-KS) also spoke on the importance of the industry and hearing from constituents.

Christie Schulte of Lead Change Management Inc. and Marketing Manager of the AHC Time to Ride campaign, kicked off the session by providing an overview of the campaign and its goal to not only grow the horse industry, but to make the equine experience attractive and accessible to newcomers. She also gave an update to meeting attendees on the progress of Time to Ride in 2016, as well as the new programs and sweepstakes that were introduced this year. Most notably, Time to Ride will be working with the United States Equestrian Federation on the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign to engage youth in as many Olympic sports as possible.

“I was delighted to share the success of Time to Ride over the last two years, which has introduced over 60,000 new people to horses,” said Christie Schulte. “With the support of the AHC Marketing Alliance, Time to Ride’s strategy continues to focus on growing the horse industry through programs that help horse professionals convert non-riding moms and families into equestrians, and eventually horse owners and participants in the industry. To meet and collaborate with the equine industry leaders present at the AHC Issues Forum was extremely valuable to the growth and success of Time to Ride.”

Matt Iuliano, Executive Vice President and Executive Director of The Jockey Club, Mary Babick, Vice President of the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, and Summer Stoffel, who serves on the USEF Horse Recording & ID Task Force Committee, spoke on a panel about benefits of microchipping. Each has been intimately involved in their organizations move to requiring microchipping.

“With microchipping, you don’t have to worry about spelling the name correctly or what year the horse was born,” said Matt Iuliano. “This would be a lot more efficient than dragging a clipboard around saying, ‘Who is that horse again?’ and being told, ‘That’s the horse we call Skippy.’ Hospitals have leveraged this type of technology for years. You get a band and your entire history is attached to that band.” Iuliano also discussed how pedigree, performance, and breeding histories could be attached to the horse’s microchip number, creating greater ease of information transfer after sales.

“Consumer confidence was low,” said Mary Babick. “The main goal of this rule was to increase customer confidence. It is far too easy to fudge a horse’s age and/or reputation, which sometimes done very innocently and other times with the intention to conceal. Microchipping will begin the change toward more reliable horse identification, allowing horse owners and buyers to be absolutely sure of a horse’s identity.”

“The future of any industry is data,” said Summer Stoffel. “Microchipping for horses has been used successfully in Europe since 2006 to monitor horse welfare, protect against theft, prevent fraud, track competition eligibility, and for tracing in the event of a disease outbreak. It is a safe, reliable, less painful way to provide permanent, unchangeable positive identification.”

Senator Pat Roberts closed out the National Issues Forum by addressing one of the priorities that the AHC has been working on—the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act. “The Agriculture Committee intends to take action on forestry related legislation, such as the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, which utilizes volunteers to help maintain access to priority trails on National Forest land,” said Senator Roberts. “I understand that the American Horse Council supports this legislation along with a broad coalition of stakeholders. As you can see, we clearly have our work cut out for us over the next several months, and I look forward to continuing to work with our agriculture sector constituents to find resolution on these outstanding issues.”

Save the Date for the 2017 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum—June 11-14, 2017 at the Washington Court Hotel.

Solving Your Shoeing and Trimming Worries

Doctorramey.com - Full Article

Posted on July 3, 2016 by Doctor Ramey in Hoof Care

The horse’s foot is so important that they’ve even come up with a cliché about it. You know, “No foot, no horse.” Yada yada yada. But, as another cliché goes, “The devil is in the details.”

The horse’s foot is very important. The problem – when it comes to your horse’s hooves (feet) – is that everyone has their own strong opinions. So, you’ve got barefoot trimming advocates and natural hoof advocates and “equine podiatrists” and those who love pads and those who hate pads and aluminum shoes and steel shoes and weights and mediolateral balance and reverse palmar angles and all sorts of other vernacular thrown out by devotees of this or that particular approach. And, besides the fact that they think that the horse’s foot is really important, they also generally agree on one other thing: they are right, and everyone else is wrong.

So, to help make things easier for you, I’m here to help sort it all out for you. Here are a few rules to shoe/trim by.

1. There’s no such thing as one “natural” foot. When it comes to health, there’s this big push for “natural.” Honestly, natural is one of the words that I hate...

Read more here: