Thursday, December 29, 2016

Selenium Status in Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · September 29, 2016

Finding just the right balance of nutrients can be challenging for horse owners. Take selenium, for example. Too much selenium causes alkali disease, or seleniosis, while too little may cause muscle problems or white muscle disease. But how do you know where your horse stands on the selenium front?

“According to a presentation at this year’s Australasian Equine Science Symposium, some New Zealand horses maintained on pasture had selenium blood levels below the laboratory’s normal limit but appeared completely health,” relayed Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., an equine nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

Many parts of the world, including regions of the United States and New Zealand have low soil selenium levels. This translates into reduced levels in forage, which is the primary source of selenium for horses maintained on pasture or fed hay-based diets.

To determine selenium levels in horses maintained on pasture in New Zealand in healthy, adult horses, Erica Gee, B.V.Sc., Ph.D., a senior lecturer at Massey University, and colleagues measured monthly selenium levels for one year. They found:

• All horses had low blood selenium concentrations over the study period. Average blood selenium levels were 342 nanomoles/liter, which was approximately 5-10 times lower than the normal levels;
• All horses appeared healthy during the study period despite those low selenium levels; and
• The levels of selenium in pastures varied from month to month, and supplemental hay was also low in selenium...

Read more here:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Science Behind 'Licking and Chewing' in Horses - Full Article

By Sue McDonnell, PhD, Certified AAB Oct 5, 2016

Q. What does “licking and chewing” really mean? Submission? Processing? Relaxing?
Lisa, California

A. Licking and chewing behavior is probably one of the most misunderstood horse behaviors. It simply reflects a change in autonomic nervous system tone that results in salivation that stimulates licking, chewing, and sometimes a big swallow. And that can happen in a number of situations following a threat or disturbance of some sort. To better explain, when an animal or a person is relatively relaxed and engaged in ordinary maintenance activities, such as feeding and resting, the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system responsible for the “rest and restore” response) is more or less in control. When an animal or a person is threatened or acutely stressed, the nervous system switches into alert or fight or flight mode with the sympathetic nervous system. Pain, fear, or confusion can all turn on the sympathetic system. When that which turned on the sympathetic state resolves, nervous system control switches back to the more relaxed parasympathetic state.

Horses show some observable behavioral signs of this back-and-forth switching. This cluster of licking, chewing, and sometimes swallowing that you have asked about occurs right when switching back to parasympathetic after a period of sympathetic. That’s because when sympathetic control switches on, salivation ceases and the mouth and lips quickly dry. When the disturbance resolves and relaxation returns, salivation also returns. So the licking and chewing is just that simple reflexive response to deal with the salivation resuming after a period of dry mouth and lips. So, in a sense, licking and chewing do reflect relaxation, but specifically as a result of returning from a spell of acute stress or pain. People often refer to this moment as “relief.” Another medical term for it is sympathetic attenuation...

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

How to Increase Your Horse’s Winter Water Consumption - Full Article

December 22 2016

We all know that colic is the number one noninfectious health risk for horses. There are a number of types of colic but the one we see the most in winter is impaction colic.

Impaction colic is essentially constipation and most often includes the accumulation of hard, dry fecal material in the colon. The usual signs of impending impaction colic are depression, a decreased appetite and decreased production and dryness of manure. Although poor hay quality, lack of exercise, internal parasites and dental problems are all predisposing factors for impaction colic, decreased water consumption is thought to be the primary predisposing factor for the condition, especially in the winter when most horses drink less water.

We’ve always advised our clients to provide warm water during winter months, as we’ve thought it increased the amount of water horses would drink. This is true, but the issue is a bit more complicated than it might appear at first glance...

Read more here:

Monday, December 26, 2016

What to Watch for When Buying a Saddle - Full Article

Saddlefit 4 Life | December 19, 2016
~ Jochen Schleese CMS, CSFT, CSE, courtesy of Saddlefit 4 Life

This being the Christmas season with presumably at least some riders hoping for a saddle under the tree I thought it would be worth repeating some key points I have previously touched on. In essence you may use the “9 points of saddle fit as a guide”, but here are a few extra pointers.

The art of fitting a saddle to both horse and rider is something which is not explained in a few sentences; indeed something new can be learned every day, as each client brings with him or herself something different to consider. It’s not rocket science, but it is a science, combined with the artistry of actually building the saddle. It is important to work closely with veterinarians and physiotherapists and other equine professionals to constantly ensure the most optimal combination of horse, rider and saddle. Anatomical considerations of both horse and rider are a key determinant in how to choose the correct saddle. Hopefully if you have such a generous benefactor in your life who is thinking of getting you a saddle for Christmas they will know to involve both you and your horse and not just go for a ‘pretty saddle’. (Which I have to say – unfortunately many of them are, including one really high end prestigious company whose saddles are not really all that equine-friendly at the end of the day!)

“A well-designed and correctly fitted saddle is vital to the performance of both horse and rider. Whatever type of saddle is chosen, the main consideration is that it should fit both horse and rider. To check that it does so, not only must the rider sit on it, but it should be put on the horse and its fit must be studied before it is bought. A badly fitting saddle not only causes discomfort to the horse and rider, but can actually stop a horse from moving properly. The tree and panels of a saddle should be chosen to fit the horse, and the seat and flap length should be chosen to fit the rider.” (Julie Richardsen’s Horse Tack (Complete Equipment for Riding and Driving). (New York, 1981). But that’s not all, as I have written about previously – there are so many other parts of the saddle that need to be taken into consideration when ensuring proper fit and comfort for both horse and rider...

Read more here:

Monday, December 19, 2016

Winter riding and horse care tips - Full Article

by Karen Chaton

If you live in an area with real winters or just have a horse that grows in a super heavy winter coat you know that riding and conditioning this time of year can be a challenge. It’s hard to get in good rides not just because of the shorter daylight but because you don’t want to bring back a sweaty horse that is going to stay wet for hours, often past dark if you aren’t able to ride early in the day.

Those of you that have indoor barns are sure lucky but since I know many don’t here are a couple of tips from an endurance rider on how to manage keeping or getting your horse conditioned through the winter months.

Horses with heavy winter coats can easily heat up so be sure to keep an eye out for that. They sweat, but the sweat doesn’t dry quickly so that can add to the problem with the horse overheating, losing electrolytes and then possibly becoming chilled. It can be quite tricky to find the right balance to keep your horse comfortable.

I try to plan to not bring a wet horse back to the barn after around 3 p.m., otherwise I know they’ll still be wet for several hours...

Read more here:

Friday, December 16, 2016

American Horse Council Celebrates National Day of the Horse

December 13 2016

The American Horse Council (AHC) is pleased to continue to recognize December 13th as National Day of the Horse.

In 2004, Congress designated December 13th as National Day of the Horse, and has been celebrated each year since. The day was established to encourage U.S. citizens to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States.

“Horses have been inextricably linked to U.S. history and culture since its beginnings,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “They have contributed greatly to the advancement of our society from tilling the fields to grow crops for early settlers, rounding up livestock on ranches, and contributing $9.2 billion to the U.S. economy.”

“The AHC hopes that people will continue to recognize not only the importance of National Day of the Horse, but also the critical role that the AHC plays on their behalf here in Washington, DC,” said Ashley Furst, AHC’s Director of Communications. “As such, we have a released a short video detailing the work the AHC does daily on behalf of all equines and equine owners in the United States.”

The short informational video can be viewed here.

The AHC encourages everyone to post on social media using the hashtag #NationalDayoftheHorse to continue to tell their personal stories of their equines and the joy they bring to people’s lives daily.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Think With Your Head About Your Riding Helmet - Full Article

By Riders4Helmets
Sep 2, 2016

You’ve seen those commercials talking about replacing your mattress after every eight years—after all, that’s a lot of dead skin cells, dirt, dust mites, etc., that gathers every night. And when it comes to your favorite pair of riding pants, you don’t think twice about replacing them when they’re starting to be wear thin. But do you even think about how old your riding helmet is?

Go ahead—take a moment to find your helmet and look at the tags inside.

Could you see the date? Or is it so faded you can’t tell if that’s a three or an eight? Can you remember when you purchased it? It might just be time to buy a new helmet...

Read more here:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Acid test: Scientists review what we know about stomach ulcers in horses - Full Article

December 11, 2016

Scientists who reviewed dozens of research papers dealing with stomach ulcers in horses have laid out key management strategies they believe can benefit affected animals.

Equine gastric ulcer syndrome is common, yet important elements around the troublesome condition are not yet fully understood. Its prevalence has been estimated at 25 to 50 percent in foals and 60 to 90 percent in adult horses, depending on age, performance, and evaluated populations.

The horse stomach has two distinct regions. The upper third is lined by the esophageal tissue (squamous mucosa). It has no glands to produce hydrochloric acid or mucus. The lower two-thirds of the stomach contain glands that secrete, among other things, hydrochloric acid and mucus, the latter designed to protect the stomach wall. Horses are continuous acid secretors. Acid production occurs regardless of whether feed is present.

The review team, Frank Andrews, Connie Larson and Pat Harris, writing in the journal Equine Veterinary Education, said ulcers in the lower part of the esophagus and upper non-glandular region of the stomach were probably caused by hydrochloric acid, because this region lacks protective mucus secretion.

Ulcers in the lower acid-producing glandular part of the stomach, and the upper duodenum, were likely caused by a breakdown in the mucus-based defense mechanisms...

Read more:

A Deeper Look at Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes - Full Article

Metabolic syndrome is a name applied to a collective group of risk factors that raise the risk of other health conditions. In humans, we see a rise in the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, vascular disorders, neurodegenerative conditions and many others. In horses, we generally see an increased risk for insulin resistance, Cushing's disease and laminitis. The term 'metabolic' actually implies an alteration in cellular metabolism or biochemical processes, but is often quickly associated with a state of increased body weight or obesity. The syndrome is actually complex, involving many pathways, but as with other conditions, with a more indepth understanding comes better management.

Metabolic syndrome in both people and horses is on the rise, not to mention companion pets. In the United States, the rates of obesity have doubled in the past 10 years, as have the increased incidence of associated medical conditions. The cause is complex and often attributed to hereditary factors, highly processed foods, overconsumption of fat calories and lack of exercise. In horses, the rise is similar with more metabolic patients being diagnosed every year, again often attributed to diet, low exercise levels and hereditary factors. In my equine consulting practice, metabolic syndrome plays a role in about 50% of cases, whether the owner is aware of the condition or not. Overall, the condition of metabolic syndrome is becoming more prevalent in both humans and animals.

In humans, it has been estimated that 25% of adults have metabolic syndrome to some degree, which increases the risk of developing diabetes by 5 times. It has also been estimated that 80% of all diabetics actually succumb to cardiovascular disease, which is a common consequence of metabolic syndrome. In humans, risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome include:

Large waistline
High triglycerides
High blood pressure
High fasting blood glucose...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Blue-Green Algae Poisoning in Horses - Full Article

By University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Jun 25, 2014

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, poisoning is a condition caused by the ingestion of water containing excessive growths of toxin-producing blue-green algae species. Of the more than 2,000 species of blue-green algae identified, at least 80 are known to produce toxins poisonous to animals and humans. Many more species and toxins have yet to be identified. Heavy blue-green algae growth or blooms occur when water sources are contaminated with excessive nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, and weather conditions are hot and dry. In farm settings, stagnant ponds contaminated with fertilizer run-off or direct manure and urine contamination are prime places for blue-green algae blooms to occur...

Read more here:

The Tolerable Club Foot - Full Article

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
Aug 17, 2016

Is it worth taking a chance on a horse with a "clubby" foot?

It’s the classic horse-buying dilemma. The prospect you’ve been eyeing for some time (and, let’s face it, that you’ve already fallen in love with) has a clean prepurchase exam report except for one small thing: radiographic evidence of a club foot in his right front. It’s not like you’re planning to compete in the Olympics this summer, but can this horse still do what you want athletically and stay sound?

Veterinarians diagnose club feet pretty frequently, says Stephen O’Grady, DVM, of Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, in Keswick. In fact, in a 2012 study, researchers found that almost one-third (116 out of 373) of Thoroughbred foals developed a club foot during a four-year observation period.

In an attempt to solve this club foot conundrum (i.e., to buy or not to buy?), we will briefly review its appearance, how and possibly why it occurs, and, most importantly, what you can do about it. We will also address the potential complications associated with a club foot...

Read more here:

Friday, December 09, 2016

Photos Capture a Young Girl’s Journey to Iran to Learn Horseback Archery - Story and photos

Dec 05, 2016
DL Cade

It started with a Facebook message.

"Mr. Ghoorchian, I just found some pictures online of you practicing horseback archery and I was wondering if you were willing to teach me your techniques.

Kind regards,

Not long after, 21-year-old Anna was on a flight from her native Finland to Iran, where she would train to become a champion horseback archer. This personal journey—the quest to master a 9th century B.C. skill in the 21st century A.D.—is what photographer Brice Portolano captured in his documentary series Persian Rush...

Read more and see photos here:

Meet Equisense Care: The Lifesaving Sweater Vest for Your Horse - Full Article

by Editorial Staff

It doesn’t take an expert to know that horses are fragile creatures. No matter how much time you spend with them or how many preventative measures you take, horses can still become stressed. They can colic unexpectedly. They often injure themselves in the silliest of ways.

As horse owners, many of us have lost untold hours of sleep fretting over our animals’ well-being, especially overnight, when we can’t be there, and during changes in their daily routine—trailer transport, for instance, or while stabling at a show grounds or a new location.

Most of us don’t have the luxury of being with our horses 24/7 during these periods, but now, at least, we’ll have the luxury of our peace of mind. Enter Equisense: a French startup company that’s created a connected bodysuit for your horse. The suit links to a mobile application and can evaluate your horse’s well-being and state of health in real-time thanks to 3G connectivity...

Read more here:

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Performance Horse Nutrition Book Available Online

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 5, 2016

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) has created a free 90-page guide titled Nutrition of the Performance Horse that broadly covers the best ways to manage equine athletes, regardless of discipline, and includes practical management strategies and effective solutions for nutrition-related problems.

In-depth discussions are also included regarding common issues such as gastric ulcers, hindgut acidosis, joint care, electrolyte replacement, and tying-up in its many forms.

Access Nutrition of the Performance Horse here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

50 things to know before your first 50 mile endurance ride - Full Article

December 4, 2016
Posted by Melinda Newton

Fifty miles involves a little more homework and preparation than an LD, but it’s worth it.

Here we covered the 25 things you needed to know before doing your first LD ride.

Now here’s 25 more things to get you to your first 50 miles.

26. Different regions have different “norms”.
When traveling outside your normal region take some time to find someone familiar with the region and ask some questions about what you can expect and what “customs” might be different.

27. Spend some time before the ride listening to gut sounds.
Know what’s normal for your horse – don’t rely on the letter grades from the vet cards.

28. Learn how to back your own trailer.

29. Figure out the best horse containment
...for you, your horse, and the ride you will be attending. Every system has it’s pros and cons. Not every ridecamp can accommodate all systems. As something as simple as “tie to the trailer” can work!...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Fat in the Equine Diet - Full Article

By Nettie Liburt, MS, PhD, PAS
Jul 25, 2016

Fat is an energy powerhouse in the equine diet that packs twice the caloric punch of carbohydrates or protein and is the body’s most abundant energy source. Horses can consume and use fat from the diet, or they can store fat in their bodies for later use.
What is fat?

Fat belongs to a broad group of compounds called lipids, which are either glycerol-based (phospholipids and triglycerides) or non-glycerol based (cholesterol or sterols). Dietary fats are usually triglycerides, meaning they contain three long-chain fatty acids and one glycerol group...

Read more here:

Camp Nelson National Cemetery Caisson Horse Euthanized After 180 Funerals - Full Article

by Paulick Report Staff | 11.28.2016

The Camp Nelson National Cemetery Honor Guard recently said goodbye to the horse that gave active-duty personnel and veterans a fitting send-off: In a single horse-drawn caisson.

Kosmios was a regal grey Arabian gelding who participated in 180 funerals since 2012. Saddled with empty boots placed backward in the stirrups to symbolize the fallen soldier, Kosmois was led behind the caisson, which is a horse-drawn hearse. Kosmios had a more important role than simply carrying the symbolic saddle and boots; he acted sweetly to those who were attending the funeral, including kids who may be confused and out of their element...

Read more here:

Friday, December 02, 2016

Horses4Heroes’ Two-Time Champion of Time to Ride

Cowboy Christmas * Donated Tractor * Boots on the Ground

Las Vegas (December 1, 2016) --It's Rodeo Week and it's a busy time for Las Vegas' own national non-profit Horses4Heroes. Here's a look at what Horses4Heroes is doing this month in the community, for the community.

Two-Time Champion: Horses4Heroes was named the two-time champion of the American Horse Council's Time to Ride Challenge, large organization division! Horses4Heroes will celebrate its victory with community partners, including Findlay Honda, US Bank and Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, during the City of Las Vegas' annual free Cowboy Christmas open house, 10 am to 2 pm, Saturday, December 3, Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. Activities during the open house include FREE horseback rides, free tractor-pulled hay rides and free admission to the barnyard.

NV Energy donates tractor: Thanks to a generous donation from NV Energy, Horses4Heroes purchased a 1980's John Deere Tractor, which gives hay ride tours of historic Floyd Lamb Park and is used to drag the community arena for events and daily use.

Boots on the Ground during Rodeo Week: Horses4Heroes has assembled a dedicated team of combat veterans, Active Duty service members, and local ropers and barrel racers to provide "boots on the ground" support to Group W, producers of Stetson's Country Christmas and the All in One Barrel Race, located this year in the Pavilions at World Market Center. The team is directing vendors, parking horse trailers, picking up after horses, and serving as "barrel setters" during the barrel race. At the conclusion of the event, Group W will be transporting dirt to the Horses4Heroes Community Arena, located within the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center, now open in Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs.

Winter Break Camp: Registration is now open for Horses4Heroes' two-week Winter Break Camp, December 19 and December 26, Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Activities include horseback riding, ranch chores, Horse 101, games, arts and crafts and a daily campfire. For more information or to register, email

$5 Friday: Fridays are fabulous in Floyd Lamb Park and every Friday is $5 Friday at the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center. The center is open from 10 to 2 pm for $5 horseback rides, and includes barnyard admission.

Saddle Up! Every Saturday and Sunday, the community is invited to ride horses, visit barnyard animals and take a tractor-pulled hay ride tour of historic Floyd Lamb Park. Hours are 10 to noon and 1:30 to 3:30. Cost is $10 to ride a horse for ages 2 and up; $5 for Horses4Heroes members, military/veterans, and Floyd Lamb Park Pass Holders.

For Saddle Up Saturday/Sunday and $5 Fridays, admission to the park is $6 per car, but can be waived if guests RSVP at least 24 hours in advance. Park admission is free for those with military ID or existing park pass holders. The weight limit for all riders is 185 pounds. To RSVP, email

"Make it your New Year's Resolution to learn how to ride a horse, spend more time with family or get outdoors and explore Las Vegas, starting with Floyd Lamb Park and the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center," said Sydney Knott, founder of the Las Vegas-based non-profit.

"These fun, family-friendly affordable activities are designed to introduce horses to beginners and our programs to newcomers," explained Knott. "We offer horseback riding lessons, camps, birthday parties and field trips. All fees support operations at the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center, including caring and feeding for 22 horses, and more than a dozen farm animals. The fees also support our free workshops for veterans with PTS, victims of domestic abuse and violence, recovering addicts and at-risk youth. We are proud of our partnerships with US Vets, The Shade Tree and Solutions for Recovery."

To make a reservation or for more information, email The Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center is located within Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. The center is open, by appointment, for riding lessons and other activities, Tuesday-Sunday.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, Horses4Heroes is the nation's premier non-profit equestrian support group for the military, veterans, First Responders and their families. Through its growing national network, the organization provides low-cost recreational and instructional activities for all ages and all riding levels and free health and wellness programs for veterans with PTS/MST/TBI, victims of domestic abuse and violence, at-risk youth, and foster children and teens. The organization operates its flagship facility, the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center, located within Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. For more information, visit or call 702.645.8446.