Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Worried About Riding in the Dark? Don't Be



August 13 2019
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

If you've got a 100-mile endurance ride on your bucket list, but it's worry about riding in the dark that's holding you back, don't be troubled. There are a number of things you can do to make you feel more comfortable while riding in the dark, though sometimes we tend to overthink, and make things more difficult than they really are.

The best thing you can do to make riding in the dark easier is: become a better horseman. (You should always be working on this.) As you learn better communication with your horse, as you learn more balanced and centered riding, you become a better rider and a better partner, and with that comes trust, and with that, you can tackle anything with more confidence.

According to an Equus Magazine article, "Horses have excellent night vision, and on a night lit by a partial moon or by bright stars alone, normally sighted horses can see as well as you do in full daylight.

"The extreme darkness of dense woods and those rare pitch-black nights isn't entirely suitable for riding, but in familiar territory your horse can navigate well enough when you allow him to choose his own path."

I talked to several experienced endurance riders who have riding in the dark down to a science whose advice can help put your mind at ease.

Heather and Jeremy Reynolds are long-time national and international endurance riders. Heather has over 22,000 AERC miles, 50 AERC 100-mile completions, and 3 Tevis Cup wins. Jeremy has over 14,000 AERC miles, 31 AERC 100-mile completions, and 3 Tevis Cup wins.

They both always ride with a headlamp in 100-mile rides. Competing at night with winning or a Top Ten goal in mind means trotting and cantering in the dark; they ride with a headlamp on. They normally don't bother with glowsticks taped to breast collars, because those won't help much in a situation where you're moving along at a fast clip. Heather says, "Unless you’re going 6 miles an hour or less, you’re going to ride faster than the light is projecting. Same with a red headlamp.

"If there’s a full moon and it’s casting a shadow, that’s awesome. Then don’t ride with a light. You can canter along with a bright moon. But if the trail's going to be technical and it’s going to be really dark, we just ride with a headlamp. It’s just safer.

"Also then you’ll know, is the horse slowing down because it just doesn’t want to continue at this pace, or because there’s a hazard in the trail."

If you do choose to ride with a headlamp, the Reynolds recommend turning it on before it gets dark all the way, as sometimes a horse will freak out when you suddenly turn it on in the darkness - not from the light itself but from the shadows thrown by the horse's head.

A horse having pre-ridden a trail will remember it. Heather recounted riding French Open, the 2018 Tevis Cup winner, over the last few miles to the Auburn finish line in the pure dark. "I turned my headlight off, and I was going at a very fast pace, but no one could see where I was. But that was towards the end of the ride. The horse knew exactly where he was; he knew every foot of that trail because that’s where he trained.

"So you can move out in the dark; it’s just easier, as far as your expectations, if you’re aware of and can see what you’re asking the horse to do."

You should be careful and respectful of others if you do ride with a headlamp. "It does bother some people," Heather said. Riding up from behind someone who's not using a headlamp can cast weird shadows, and while turning a light on and off doesn't bother a horse, the shadows can bother some. Simply be polite and courteous, and turn your headlamp off when you get close to another horse, and turn it back on when you pass them. You'll appreciate it when someone does that for you.

Some have said that horses need 20 minutes to adjust to the changes in light, but the Reynolds have not found this to be true (they have put this to the test in training.) "You can turn on your light, then turn it off the next minute, and the horse just keeps right on marching, doesn’t bobble or trip or anything."

Heather's best advice? "Just practice riding in the dark. Try it at home when you’re fresh, and not tired. That magnifies everything when you’re tired at mile 90 and you’re dehydrated and loopy already!"

Meg Sleeper, top USA and international endurance rider with over 15,000 AERC miles and 74 100-mile completions, just rode in Australia for the first time in July, completing the iconic Tom Quilty. Like most 100-mile rides in Australia and New Zealand, this one started at midnight. Why? "Because it's so much fun starting in the dark on a fresh horse," Aussie endurance rider Linda Tanian joked. But seriously. "It is about utilising cooler weather conditions, tradition, [and] getting finished in daylight if possible," she said, "as it can be mentally tougher going into the dark when both rider and horse are getting tired."

Many riders wore headlamps that were brighter than any Meg had ever seen. "At the start," she said, "it felt like you were going on a street with headlights. It was crazy how bright it was. Of course if they turned to look at you, it was blinding." Despite unfamiliarity with both the trail and the horse she was riding, and despite the fact she'd be doing more than half the mileage in the dark, Meg stuck to what she usually does: she wore a headlamp on her helmet though she left it turned off, and she carried a flashlight in her pocket. "I have a flashlight in my pocket in case I really need to carefully look at markings, like if I think i missed a turn. And I have a headlamp that is bright enough that I have an idea of what the footing is, but it’s not actually very bright.

"I don’t like having a super bright light on, because then I have to remember to turn it off if I look at somebody.

"As long as I have an idea of what the footing is, I feel pretty comfortable with that. And I think so much that the horses are fine. They stay out of their way as much as anything else."

Meg did mention an old Vermont township law that one needs to have lights in front and lights behind if you are riding in the dark. In this case. a glowstick on a breast collar and a glowstick in a horse's tail or on the back of the saddle suffices.

Riding in the dark all comes down to common sense. Don't overthink it. Get to where you trust your horse - be it through riding lessons, auditing or attending training clinics, taking your horse through bomb proofing clinics, or just many more wet saddle pads. Learn to ride very balanced and centered in your saddle for those twisty-turny-uppy-downy trails your horse flies along in the dark. Use glowsticks on your horse's breast collar - though if you're going faster than a fast walk, they are likely more comforting to you than of use to your horse. If you wear a headlamp for when you're moving out, or unsure of the terrain, turn it off when you're approaching other riders. Practice in the dark at home.

And - relax. Your horse will probably know what he's doing and he'll probably see fine to negotiate the trail.

And lastly, simple advice from one more experienced endurance rider, Regina Rose with over 14,000 AERC miles, and 18 100-mile completions, including the Tevis Cup once, and the Big Horn 100 nine times.

"Just ride."


Monday, August 19, 2019

HORSEPLAY: Local Washington equestrian’s second mystery novel coming soon

PeninsulaDailyNews.com - Full Article

By Karen Griffiths
Sunday, August 18, 2019

A DEAD BLOW hammer leaves little to no mark on the surface it strikes.

That’s the tag line to Sequim author and competitive endurance rider Lisa Preston’s new book “Dead Blow,” and I can’t wait to read it after it’s released this fall.

She introduced its main character, Rainy Dale — a female farrier who tends to be a bit mulish and impulsive — last year in “The Clinch,” the first novel in that she hopes becomes several, in her “A Horsehoer’s Mystery series.”

A dead blow hammer is a specialized mallet more commonly used in auto body repair work or in woodworking for knocking joints together without denting the wood.

As a kind of jack-of-all-trades gal, Dale is familiar with their use in precision work, thus spurring her on to find answers to the questions cropping up in her ever-inquisitive mind as to how her new client became a widow.

Her character’s curiosity peaked when her client told her there was hardly a bruise on her dead husband when he died.

She wondered why the deceased was driving his tractor so dangerously near a bull known to brutally attack people. How long did it take him to die after the machine rolled and pinned him? If the whole town seems aware of the dead man’s wandering eye, did her client know, too?

Background

Knowing Preston is a prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction, I asked her what prompted her to start writing a mystery crime novel featuring a woman blacksmith...

Read more here:
https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/life/horseplay-local-equestrians-second-mystery-novel-coming-soon/

Friday, August 16, 2019

Bute vs. Firocoxib: Which NSAID Results in More Severe Gastric Ulcers?

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Both NSAIDs induced GI tract inflammation, but phenylbutazone might result in more severe inflammation in the lower GI tract.

Posted by Clair Thunes, PhD | Aug 12, 2019

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the second-most frequently used drug class in horses after dewormers. Veterinarians prescribe them for a wide range of issues ranging from post-surgical recovery to orthopedic issues. While they’re invaluable for managing horses’ pain, one of their side effects is gastric ulcers.

A group of researchers from Texas A&M University recently compared two types of NSAIDs’ effects on gastric ulceration in horses. Lauren M. Richardson, DVM, a resident in large animal surgery at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, presented their findings at the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas.

But first, let’s review how NSAIDs work...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/155604/bute-vs-firocoxib-nsaid-results-severe-gastric-ulcers/

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Use of Alfalfa or Lucerne and Its Effect on Gastric Ulcers

KER.com - Full Article

May 10, 2012
By Dr. Clarissa Brown-Douglas

There has been recent hype in the feed industry about the possibility of improvements in gastric ulceration when feeding ensiled (fermented) chopped lucerne (also known as alfalfa) to horses, and many horse owners have increased the amount of ensiled fiber fed to their horses.

What might surprise you is that this capacity of fiber to protect and support a healthy digestive tract, from the stomach to the large intestine, is the basis behind almost every aspect of sound equine nutrition. This is not new knowledge!

It is commonly known, accepted, and promoted in the equine nutrition and veterinary world that the capacity of feeds and forages to counteract changes in gastric pH (stomach acid) plays an important role in the prevention of gastric ulcers in horses. This ability to resist changes in pH is called buffering capacity. Lucerne hay has been shown in multiple studies to be effective in reducing the severity of ulcers in horses by providing superior buffering capacity compared to other forages.

Gastric ulcers are very common in performance horses, affecting more than 90% of racehorses and 50 to 70% of other performance horses...

Read more here:
https://ker.com/equinews/use-alfalfa-or-lucerne-and-its-effect-gastric-ulcers/?utm_source=KER+Newsletter&utm_campaign=7cb74ca8f2-Focus_on_Ulcers&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0d95781dfc-7cb74ca8f2-11166

Friday, August 09, 2019

Ready for an “Eventful” Ride?

Trailmeister.com - Full Article

by Robert Eversole
June 20 2016

As published in Issue Two – 2016 of The The Icelandic Horse

It seems that it was just yesterday that I had the privilege of speaking at the USIHC Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon. I love sharing my passion for trail riding and camping with anyone who’ll listen. Having the opportunity to chat with fellow Icelandic enthusiasts was the “Icing” on the cake so to speak!

A moment of introduction is in order. I’m Robert Eversole and besides owning the web’s largest horse trail and camping guide, www.trailmeister.com, I have the privilege of sharing my knowledge of trail riding and equine camping with horse groups around the nation as a clinician, lecturer, and regular columnist in equine publications. I’m also a registered instructor with PATH Intl. and volunteer at Free Rein Therapeutic Riding in Spokane, WA where I teach equitation to individuals with special needs. My riders inspire me. Yes, I have the best job(s) in the world.

Of course, I wouldn’t be trail riding without horses. Let me first admit that my wife’s Icelandic, Minning fra Alfasaga (foaled 2002) is not only a great riding animal but also arguably a better mountain and pack horse than many I’ve seen, including my main riding beast, LT. Minning’s calm demeanor, goat like surefootedness, and willing disposition are exactly what I look for in an animal that can deliver me to and, more importantly, return me safely from the high mountain back country that I call home during the summer months. Last year Minning and I spent 32 days in wilderness areas throughout the Pacific Northwest where we helped pack in crews and equipment for maintenance projects...

Read more here:
https://www.trailmeister.com/ready-for-an-eventful-ride/?fbclid=IwAR2m2oiVeQXTDJbpwl86roI7hYAFVDe_i_flzcsKunLnRBxT58uQye_EN84

Want a Better-Behaved Horse? Consider Feeding a Low-Starch Diet

Thehorse.com - Full Article

A VIRGINIA TECH RESEARCHER INVESTIGATED THE IMPACT OF DIET ON LESSON HORSES. HERE’S WHAT SHE FOUND.

Posted by Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor | Jul 30, 2019

The amount of starch in a horse’s diet can affect him both behaviorally and physiologically. To better understand its effects, Tanner Price, a graduate student at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, assessed university riding program horses’ behavioral and metabolic responses to diets with varying fat and starch levels. She shared her findings at the 2019 Equine Science Society Symposium, held June 3-6 in Asheville, North Carolina.

In her study, Price split 20 riding horses into five groups of four. Each group received a different starch-to-fat ratio in their diet, ranging from 7.1% to 14.3% starch. Throughout the 21-day period, all horses were fed twice daily, housed individually in stalls, and ridden in regular collegiate lessons (beginner to advanced equitation and hunter/jumper classes)...

Read more at:
https://thehorse.com/176821/want-a-better-behaved-horse-consider-feeding-a-low-starch-diet/

US Equestrian Adds Member Benefit: Free Mental Health First Aid

USEF.org

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Aug 8, 2019, 2:39 PM EST

As part of our commitment to members and their wellbeing, US Equestrian is partnering with the McLaughlin Young Group to offer free, confidential counseling services for mental health first aid.

US Equestrian members will now be able to access professional counseling services for emotional or other personal issues for up to three visits or sessions through a third-party licensed provider. All providers are state-licensed, with a graduate degree and five years of post-graduate clinical experience. These experienced professional clinicians are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Members can reach a counselor by calling 1-800-633-3353.

This membership service is provided by McLaughlin Young, a specialist in providing services to non-profit organizations.

“Our members’ safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance to us, and we are pleased to offer this new mental health resource as a valuable benefit to US Equestrian members,” said US Equestrian Chief Executive Officer Bill Moroney. “Providing our members access to free, confidential, professional counseling demonstrates our long commitment to equestrian safety and welfare, both in the competition arena and beyond.”

Learn more about the mental health first aid resource and the many other US Equestrian member benefits by visiting our Membership Benefits page. To access the full list of membership benefits and all the US Equestrian MemberPerks, join US Equestrian today.

See more at:
https://www.usef.org/media/press-releases/us-equestrian-adds-member-benefit-free-mental

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Sweat Patterns and Saddle Fit

SynergistSaddles.com - Full Article

It’s just about impossible to walk through a big boarding facility or barn without the topic of sweat patterns and saddle fit coming up. If all you are looking at when assessing how well your saddle fits is the sweat marks after a ride, you are only getting a small piece of the overall picture.

Here is how the theory goes. When you take your saddle off at the end of a ride you should see even sweat marks on both sides of the spine that resemble the bottom the saddle. If you see dry areas, it is supposed to mean that the pressure there was so high that it shut down the sweat glands.

The overwhelming majority of riders totally believe this is the absolute gospel of saddle fit. If this was actually true and all you had to do was look at a horse’s back after a ride to tell if a saddle fit or not, I could teach a 5 year old how to be a saddle fitter.

In the 30 years I have spent around horses with the last 17 years fitting thousands of horses I have seen horses with perfect sweat patterns with white hairs right in the middle of them. (When you see white hair showing up that is an undisputed sign of pressure and an ill fit saddle). I’ve also seen horses with the ugliest sweat patterns imaginable, asymmetrical and spotty, and the saddle fit impeccably with the horse perfectly happy and in no discomfort. So there are definitely several holes in this theory...

Read more here:
https://www.synergistsaddles.com/sweat-patterns-saddle-fit/?fbclid=IwAR2zKQpezuGf7C8O9LJgVIjS4JvjPROVI9QyBbeO0q0eXXn-wu7J5b7ZkOs

Repairing wounds with honey

EquineScienceUpdated Blog - Full Article

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Horses are renowned for their ability to attract wounds. Under ideal conditions, surgical repair may lead to rapid (“first intention”) healing. However, wound breakdown is not uncommon, particularly in lower limb injuries. Factors such as infection and movement are significant problems.

Research from Israel suggests that applying medical grade honey to the wound, as it is repaired, may help control infection and reduce wound breakdown.

The study, from the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been published in the Equine Veterinary Journal.

Eleven veterinarians were involved – between them treating 127 lacerations. Most wounds (30%) were on the lower limb. Upper limb wounds accounted for 28% and head wounds a further 24%.
Wounds were repaired using a standardised protocol, with some being chosen at random to have medical grade honey (MGH*) applied to the wound. (Medical grade honey has been sterilised by gamma radiation to eradicate any bacterial spores - such as Bacillus spp and Clostridium spp - that may be found in raw honey...)\

Read more here:
https://equinescienceupdate.blogspot.com/2019/07/repairing-wounds-with-honey.html

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke in Horses

Thehorse.com - Listen to the podcast

Do you know the difference? Dr. Jeanette Mero outlines the clinical signs of heat exhaustion and stroke in horses.

Posted by Jeanette "Jay" Mero, DVM | Jul 20, 2019

Listen to the podcast:
https://thehorse.com/176455/heat-exhaustion-vs-heat-stroke-in-horses/

What to do when your horse ties up

EquusMagazine.com - Full Article

If your horse develops severe muscle cramping, call your veterinarian, then keep him still and comfortable until help arrives.


LAURIE BONNERAPR 14, 2016

Bringing a horse back into condition after some time off must be done carefully: He needs to work up a sweat to gain fitness, but too much exertion increases the risk of several serious complications, including tying up.

Tying up, technically called exertional rhabdomyolysis, refers to severe cramping of the large muscles of the hindquarters, back and, sometimes, the shoulders during or after exercise. In some cases, damaged or dying muscle cells can release enough toxic debris into the bloodstream to stress the kidneys. Extreme cases may be fatal.

Repeated tying up occurs in horses with two specific disorders characterized by cellular dysfunctions in the muscles: polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) and recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER). However, heat stress and/or electrolyte imbalances can cause virtually any horse who exerts himself to tie up under the right conditions. Here’s what to do...

Read more here:
https://equusmagazine.com/horse-world/tying-up-in-horses-32169?utm_source=EQUUSNL&%3Butm_medium=email&%3Butm_campaign=Newsletter&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_q5V22spLfAp5qy2dUrMMQM79D64YzCG1xNtfnLnF7z52z5GocC_29bdL2B4SkxqbXxdSHzR1XJcEWTvCiIbAxLtqNkw&_hsmi=75177142

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Feeding Endurance Horses

Thehorse.com - Full Article

Feeding hard-working endurance horses is as much art as it is science. Our sources walk you through an endurance horse’s diet, from conditioning to post-race.

Posted by Heather Smith Thomas | Jul 22, 2019

Make sure your horse gets the energy, nutrients, and water he needs to tackle a long ride
Athletes need fuel to work. Endurance horses, in particular, need a nutrition strategy that will allow them to travel all day at moderate to high speeds without “running out of gas” or becoming dehydrated. They need adequate energy in a form that won’t produce excess body heat and will provide enough fluid and electrolytes to maintain hydration.

Julie Bullock, DVM, of Mount Sidney, Virginia, has been riding endurance horses for 25 years and competes in 100-mile races. She says the endurance community is growing fast, and it’s important for newcomers to the sport to understand these horses’ nutritional needs.

Kathleen Crandell, PhD, an equine nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research, in Versailles, has extensive background in nutrition science and has trained and competed endurance horses. “When feeding an endurance horse, we think about two programs—feeding the horse on a daily basis as we get the horse into fitness, and then a plan for what we’ll feed the horse on the day of competition,” she says.

In this article our sources will walk you through an endurance horse’s diet, from conditioning to post-race...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/159337/feeding-endurance-horses/