Thursday, November 23, 2017

Duvall traveler returns from five month journey across Mongolia - Full Story

By Evan Pappas
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Not everyone has the urge to go on a months-long trips to different countries, but one local traveler did just that earlier this year.

Duvall’s Lynnea Zuniga recently returned from a five-month journey into and across Mongolia. She made it through several landscapes and provinces in the country, all between May and September.

A trip like that was made possible through experience. This wasn’t her first long-term, long-distance travel. Zuniga said she grew up adventuring in the back woods of Duvall, dirt biking and horse riding. Being so close to the outdoors and away from some of the larger urban areas informed her personal interests when she went to Northwest University where she studied environmental science, international development and sustainable agriculture.

When she was 17, Zuniga went on her first trip to the island of New Guinea, where she lived with two native tribes. A few years later she completed a solo bike tour from Hungary to Germany and Switzerland. Her experience travelling inspired her to keep finding new places. Traveling to Mongolia, however, was recommended to her by a friend.

“One of my good friends said in passing ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to ride a horse across Mongolia?’ and from that instant I knew that I was going to do it some day,” she said.

In 2015, she began research and preparation into traveling Mongolia, and used the time to save up some money to fund her trip. In her research she came across a subculture of long-distance equestrian exploration, The Long Riders’ Guild. The group provided her with resources and access to other riders who had done similar trips across the country. After asking questions and finishing her research, Zuniga left for Mongolia in May...

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Got Bots? - Full Article

by Les Sellnow
Oct 10, 2017

Bots are pesky creatures, capable of causing irritation and physical damage to horses. They aren't categorized as being the worst of internal parasites, but they can cause problems externally and internally.

The external aspect is primarily one of irritation to the horse. The botfly is about the size of a honeybee, and its prime purpose in life is to lay eggs on the hairs of equine legs, necks, faces, and other parts of the anatomy.

And although we will talk later about "deworming" as a weapon against these parasites, they are not really worms, such as ascarids and strongyles. Instead they are flies, and like other flies their life cycle involves four distinct stages—egg, larva, pupa, and adult fly.

As is the case with other parasites, bots need a host to carry out their life cycle. They are specialists, in that they only attack horses, mules, and donkeys—perhaps zebras as well—and do not seek to use cattle or other livestock as hosts.

When attacking equids, the botfly is a pest supreme. Botflies generally lay only one egg at a time, but depending on the species, one female is capable of depositing 150 to 500 eggs...

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

South Africa: Horse Riding on the Wild Coast - Full Article

January 19, 2017

Words: Grant Hollins. Images: Julie-Anne Gower.

Wild Coast Horseback Adventures has been offering horse riding trails along the Eastern Cape’s spectacular eastern coast for more than a decade and is listed as one of the top beach riding destinations in the world. Grant Hollins went to Kei Mouth to meet with owner Julie-Anne Gower to find out more.

The Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, which stretches some 280km from the Mtamvuna River in the north to the Great Kei River in the south, has a rich history of adventure and is renowned for its rugged beauty. It forms the coastal heartland of the Xhosa people whose cattle often roam unattended along vacant beaches or graze on grass covered hilltops with cliff faces that plummet directly into the ocean. Notorious in the seafaring community as one of the world’s most treacherous stretches of coastline, the region is home to numerous shipwrecks and with about half of the area comprised of indigenous forest, it supports a myriad of fauna and flora. This largely untouched coast is also interspersed with quaint hotels, which make it an ideal destination for nature-loving, adventure-minded travellers to visit...

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Fantastic Tips for Endurance Riding - Full Article & videos

Endurance riders have a great many Endurance Riding events to choose from, each with its own particular set of challenges. Many riders learn the ropes via their local Endurance GB, ILDRA or SERC group or similar clubs overseas. With respect, but novices don’t always get advice from the most accomplished riders. This page aims to help you to several fantastic tips for Endurance Riding which make Endurance Riding more enjoyable and successful for you and your horse. These videos feature Sally Toye and her horse Emira Bint Letifa. Kindly note that the number of videos in this page will grow, we have lots more tips for you! Like our facebook page so you won’t miss out on the next video tip. Aloeride is very proud to sponsor Sally Toye who is a very experienced and successful Endurance rider both in the UK, Ireland and the US. She also qualified for the 2017 Mongol Derby.

Tip 1 for Endurance Riding: Sponge


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Friday, November 17, 2017

Oops! My Horse Stumbles! - Full Article

Stumbling in horses is serious business. Here's advice from a veterinarian and a trainer on dealing with this dangerous problem.


Your horse suddenly pitches forward and drops out from under you. For a split second, his balance and yours teeter on the brink. Few things are more alarming than a horse stumbling, even for an experienced rider: Will he go down and take you with him?

Horses usually manage to stay upright when they trip, and (after you catch your breath) it's tempting to quickly laugh these incidents off. Even when a horse stumbles repeatedly, you'll hear people dismiss it: "He's just lazy," or "That's just him."

Yet it takes only one misstep for Twinkletoes to go down and flip over, with results that we'd all rather not contemplate. But let's, briefly, contemplate them: You could be killed. So could your horse.

This is a problem you can't ignore.

Stumbling in horses can be a training issue, but it can also have physical causes. We asked equine veterinarian Duncan Peters of Lexington, Kentucky, to explain those causes and what you can do to correct them. For the training angle, we went to longtime Massachusetts eventer Mark Weissbecker...

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Four Ways to Save Your Life - Full Article

As published in The Northwest Horse Source, November 2017 edition.

My summer of trail rides and horse camping was wonderful. Until it wasn’t.

You might have heard that I took a tumble recently. It’s true. I was riding in the Three Sisters Wilderness in central Oregon when I joined the unplanned dismount club. Although I don’t remember all of it, I got to visit the hospital ER, met some great doctors, toured the surgery, and now I have a shiny new shoulder! Fun times.

I can’t tell you with certainty what went wrong, although I think it was bees. One moment I was in the saddle taking pictures and the next my head was impacting a tree followed by proof that Newton’s law of gravity is true. As I’m finding that narcotic-fueled dreams are anything but pleasant, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder what went right during my misadventure....

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fat Options to Help Your Horse Hold Weight During the Winter - Full Article

By Clair Thunes, PhD
Nov 13, 2017

What is the best use of fats to help horses maintain weight during the cooler winter months?

Julie , Hawaii

A. Fat sources are often used for weight gain because they’re significantly more calorie-dense than carbohydrates. There are numerous products that can add fat to a horse’s diet, including:

• High-fat commercial performance feeds, which typically have 10-13% crude fat and when fed correctly provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals to complement the forage in the ration;
• High-fat feeds, such as rice bran (which contains approximately 18% fat and might or might not have added vitamin E, calcium, and other minerals) or flax seeds (which might have up to 40% fat content);
• Fat supplements either in feed form—which might have as much as 30% crude fat—or a dried vegetable oil at 90% fat; and
• Oils, which include everything from common vegetable oils such as canola oil to less well-known vegetable oils such as camelina. Fish oil is even an option.

But First…

Before you reach for your preferred fat source, though, first try to determine why your horse isn’t maintaining weight...

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Back Country Horsemen of America Cares for the Front Country Gems Outside Your Back Door

November 11 2017

by Sarah Wynne Jackson

Back Country Horsemen of America formed over 40 years ago to protect our right to ride horses on public lands. The original founders cherished the wide swaths of wild land that encompass hundreds of thousands of acres with trails inaccessible to nearly anything but those on foot or hoof. Today, we still treasure those vast areas, but we also highly value the smaller public lands nestled between cities and highways, the few hundreds or thousands of acres that give us a respite from our busy daily life.

These front country gems may not sit on mountaintops where the worst of weather pulls down trees and washes out trail treads, but they still need consistent maintenance due to the heavy use we give them. In fact, this is a strong argument for creating more local public lands. Easy accessibility to the few that we have attracts recreationists of every kind, including hikers, dog walkers, bicyclists, equestrians, and more, in numbers higher than most lands can sustain. Instead of limiting use at individual public lands, creating more recreation opportunities would spread our use across more lands.

Back Country Horsemen chapters across the nation carefully plan their resources to attend to the places with the highest needs and the heaviest use first. At least once yearly, the Olympic Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Washington reviews its work budget to determine where its effort is most badly needed. Members realized that they tend to return to Green Mountain Horse Camp in Green Mountain State Forest several times each year to repeatedly perform the same repairs. To reduce this inefficient use of their limited time, the chapter decided to overhaul the horse corrals, the biggest maintenance need in the camp.

A Big Job

The land surrounding the popular corrals collected rainwater, making the corral area muddy and difficult for campers to clean, and the wood rails had rotted from exposure to the elements. To overhaul the corrals, the Olympic Chapter drew on the skill within their membership: landscape designer Brian Sundberg created the plan, former Chapter President Jim Davis served as liaison and procured materials, past BCHA Chair Jim Murphy wrote up the specifications, and other chapter members provided tools, equipment (including a Bobcat), hard work, and rations.

Chapter volunteers began by removing all the soft and rotten posts and rails. To reduce the level of maintenance required after renovation, they hardened the corral footing, which would allow water to drain away while providing a firm surface that would be easier to keep clean. After excavating the 100-foot-by-30-foot footprint of the corral area about 8 inches deep, they installed a drainpipe system to carry water away from the camp, then filled in the area with crushed rock. They then installed corral posts and rails, using pressure treated and metal materials for durability.

An Expensive Job

Anyone who has done landscaping or similar construction knows that these materials aren’t cheap, making a project like this pricey, even when the labor is free. Including over $6000 for footing materials, nearly $2000 for weather-durable gates and posts, and over $500 for heavy equipment fuel along with other miscellaneous costs, the final price tag came to almost $10,000 for the sixteen 12-foot-by-12-foot corrals.

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) donated the pressure treated posts and rails, but the rest of the cost was carried by the Olympic Chapter Back Country Horsemen. How did they do it? They organize the Western Dream Ride at a dude ranch in the stunning Cascade Mountains. Horse lovers spend three days living in rustic ranch cabins, eating authentic back country meals, and riding amazing trails. The Olympic Back Country Horsemen also provide western style entertainment, Cowboy Church, a silent auction, and even a swimming pool.

Offering this well-loved event to up to 130 riders every year takes the full commitment of the entire chapter, but participants and volunteers know that it makes funds available to perform maintenance and improvements to trails, trailheads, and camps in Green Mountain State Forest.

A Job Worth Every Effort

Although northwest Washington boasts many horse trails that traverse its awe-inspiring mountains, riders still enjoy front country trails for day rides and when mountain trails are closed. Managed by the state DNR, Green Mountain State Forest is an undeveloped working land that provides habitat for native plants and animals, water retention, and water quality benefits. Its 6,000 acres provide diverse recreation opportunities to more than 150,000 people each year.

The Olympic Chapter has a volunteer contract with the DNR to maintain the trails and the horse camp. As part of the contract, the chapter also provides a friendly Camp Host at the horse camp on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

When recreational trail riders started using the horse corrals renovated by the Olympic Chapter Back Country Horsemen, compliments and rave reviews began coming in. People love the new corrals as well as the minor repairs and grooming the chapter completed on the 17 camp sites.

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 342 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06117. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!

Innovative wheelbarrow seat could help horsey parents - Full Article

Rachael Turner
15:55 - 12 November, 2017

An endurance rider and her husband have developed an innovative way of keeping toddlers safe and involved at the yard.

Gloucestershire-based Adam Farley thought up the idea last October when he was looking after his then 18-month-old son Ollie while his wife Rachael Claridge was in Australia.

Adam was kept busy looking after the family’s four horses and two dogs, as well as working full-time.

“He was thinking of a way to keep our toddler safe,” Rachael told H&H.

“He bought a bucket, cut a couple of holes in it, fixed it to the wheelbarrow and stuck Ollie in it.


MT. BIKERS vs EQUESTRIANS: An explanation of horses to bikers – written by a biker - Full Article

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

You have all heard me rant about bikers that seem to have no regard for equestrians.

I’ve had an accident caused by a biker and many near misses since we live in a hilly and curvy landscape… Hilly and curvy makes for great riding and also many blind and speedy corners.



I know that I always thank cyclist who are kind towards equestrians. But, what do you say to those who aren’t respectful?

Usually, I yell something like, “It wouldn’t be funny if this was your kid on board!”… but they’re so far down the trail they never hear me.

So, when I saw this posted on our Equestrian board today, I thought some of you out there might find this handy if you get the chance to offer a cyclist’s explanation to other cyclists about equine safely.
The Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers, an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) affiliate, has posted information for mt. bikers on their shared trails that is thoughtful and informed. Please share with other horse and bike groups and with your friends who mountain bike so they can understand how to keep everyone safe on our multi-use trails:

Getting on with Equestrians...

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Dangers of Overtraining - Full Article

It’s important to keep your horse fit, but overdoing it can cause problems.

By Nancy S. Loving, DVM | August 7, 2017

You’ve been working hard on getting your horse into peak condition for the competitive season and have been taking him to multiple competitions. In the early part of the summer, everything was going fine, but now you’re noticing that he isn’t putting out as much effort as usual under saddle and seems irritable and less cooperative. He doesn’t seem as interested in food or in goings-on in his surroundings. These are all signs of overtraining.

Signs of Fatigue

In any equine sport, accumulated stress of training and competition can lead to fatigue if overdone. Whether your horse is trained in eventing, dressage, competitive trail, endurance, polo, or western performance sports, the signs of chronic fatigue will be similar to those displayed by an over-trained racehorse. However, horses engaged in performance and sport horse activities are more likely to experience a less severe syndrome called "overreaching.”

The key difference is that a horse that is overreached recovers within days or, at most, a two-week period when given time to rest. In contrast, the horse that is chronically overtrained in high-intensity exercise like racing is one that may not recover for months or even years due to extreme stresses on his physiology; in some cases, the consequences may be career ending...

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Giving to Honor Human and Equine Veterans - Full Article

by Glenye Oakford | Nov 7, 2017, 3:00 PM EST

The military and horses have a long shared history, starting with their partnership on the battlefield. Today, there’s still a deep connection through a number of charities. In advance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, we highlight two that bring horses and veterans together and one that honors equines’ military service while supporting today’s working horses, donkeys, and mules.

The Man o’ War Project

The Man o’ War Project presented the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Perpetual Trophy for the $50,000 International Speed Class during the Washington International Horse Show’s Military Night on Oct. 27. The Man o’ War Project is supporting the first clinical research study in partnership with Columbia University to determine equine-assisted therapy’s effectiveness for post-traumatic stress disorder and to establish guidelines for using equine-assisted therapy to treat veterans with post-traumatic stress. In the course of equine-assisted therapy, a horse specialist and a mental health professional assist veterans in drawing connections between what the horses might be doing, thinking, or feeling, and their own symptoms. As they increase emotional awareness and the ability to regulate their emotions, they relearn how to build trust and how to trust themselves, keys to success in family, work, and interpersonal relationships...

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Monday, November 06, 2017

National Equine Health Plan Published

October 31, 2017

Valuable resource will help curtail risk of disease spread

The American Horse Council (AHC), in conjunction with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state animal health officials, is pleased to announce that the National Equine Health Plan (NEHP) is now available at

“The horse industry is unique because horses are transported with more frequency than other livestock. We have seen firsthand how disease outbreaks cost the industry millions of dollars for the care of sick horses, implementation of biosecurity, and lost revenue in the form of cancelled or restricted commercial equine activities such as horseshows,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “Back in 2013, the industry felt it was time to step up and address the issue of the handling of disease outbreaks and the dissemination of information surrounding the outbreaks. This gave way to the creation of the NEHP that will outline the issues surrounding the prevention, diagnosis and control of diseases and the responsibilities and roles of the federal and state authorities and the industry.”

The goals of the NEHP are to protect the health and welfare of the U.S. equine population, facilitate the continued interstate and international movement of horses and their products, ensure the availability of regulatory services, and protect the economic continuity of business in the equine industry.

The NEHP also functions as a roadmap for coordinating horse owners and industry organizations with veterinarians and state and federal animal health officials to prevent, recognize, control and respond to diseases and environmental disasters. The plan facilitates horse industry preparedness, effective rapid communication, and owner education, which make up the foundation for preventing diseases and disease spread. Links to information and resources are included in the NEHP document, including a list of “Roles and Responsibilities” for all stakeholders in the industry.

“The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) is a key element of the NEHP and provides critical communication of information during disease outbreaks,” said EDCC Director Dr. Nat White. “Additionally, provides information about diseases, vaccination, biosecurity, state health regulations, state animal health official contact information and links to USDA-APHIS veterinary services. By integrating the roles of regulatory agencies with industry stakeholders, equine health and welfare are improved.”

The NEHP provides immediate access to resources and communications needed to optimize disease mitigation and prevention. It serves as a guide for regulations and responses needed to mitigate and prevent infectious diseases. The AHC and the AAEP encourage sharing this document as it will help educate horse owners about how veterinarians and state and federal officials work together to decrease the risk of disease spread.

If you have any questions about the NEHP or the EDCC, please contact Dr. Nat White at or Cliff Williamson, Director of Health & Regulatory Affairs at the AHC at

Friday, November 03, 2017

Aloe Vera vs. Omeprazole for Equine Gastric Ulcer Treatment - Full Article

By Natalie DeFee Mendik, MA
Oct 31, 2017

Check the supplement stash at any performance stable, and you are likely to find a bottle of aloe vera juice, which some horse owners reach for to prevent or treat ulcers. But is it effective? To shed some light on this practice, a team of researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, conducted a randomized, blinded clinical trial comparing the efficacy of aloe vera inner leaf gel to omeprazole for treating equine gastric ulcer syndrome, the first study of its kind.

The team studied 40 horses with Grade 2 or higher ulcer lesions (confirmed via gastroscopy) in the upper portion (squamous) and/or lower portion (glandular) of the stomach, randomly assigning them to one of two groups. One group received 17.6 mg/kg body weight of aloe vera inner leaf gel twice daily (a dose they settled on using data from similar studies performed in rats), while the other group received 4 mg/kg body weight omeprazole once daily. After four weeks of treatment, the team performed a repeat gastroscopy. Horses with persistent ulceration received a course of omeprazole and were re-examined after four weeks.

The team found that while horses treated with aloe vera leaf gel did show squamous lesion improvement, those on the omeprazole regimen showed greater improvements overall...

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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Heritable Heart Traits Can Help Endurance Horses Succeed - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Nov 1, 2017

When it comes to breeding good endurance horses, many traits aren’t heritable or have little to do with performance. But French researchers said one feature does matter: the heart.

“An ‘athletic’ heart is a heritable characteristic that’s favorable for performance in endurance,” said Céline Robert, PhD, DVM, professor and researcher at the National Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort and researcher at the French National Agricultural Research Institute in Jouy-en-Josas, France.

Unlike Thoroughbred racehorses, Arabian and Arabian-cross endurance horses start training at around age 4 or 5 and reach high-level (160-kilometer) races starting at about 8 years old. “If you have to invest eight years of training and maintenance into a horse before you know if you’ve got a champion, you want to be sure you’re starting off with the right horse,” Robert said.

But success doesn’t always pass down through the genes. That’s why Roberts and her fellow researchers set out to determine what genetic factors affect performance and how heritable they are.

They found that most measurable traits—whether related to morphology, gaits, or cardiology—have little to do with success on endurance rides. And that’s consistent with her 2014 findings, which were limited to morphology alone.

“Few traits are related to performance, and few of those have strong heritability,” she said.

However, several heart parameters did appear to affect performance and were also more or less heritable. The most significant were related to the size of the left ventricle and the volume of blood ejection...

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