Monday, December 30, 2019

Hoof Trimming to Improve Structure and Function - Full Article

Bowker: Long toes and underrun heels set horses up for failure. Here are recommendations for an improved trim to help correct this condition.

Posted by Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief | Dec 18, 2019

“When I see the 15-centimeter clear and pliable rulers in the university bookstore, I have to buy them, usually 15 to 20 at a time” says Robert Bowker, VMD, PhD. “They are very important to demonstrate to the horse owner and hoof care professional exactly what the problem is with a horse’s foot and what we hope to accomplish with our treatment. The ruler always makes us look a little more objectively at the foot as opposed to just with our eyes and brain. The latter two can be easily tricked!”
The veteran practitioner and professor never leaves home without one of these rulers—at least when he’s working on horses’ feet and helping owners, veterinarians, and farriers see and understand what’s going on inside them and recognizing whether they’re balanced and, if not, how to get there.

Bowker, longtime podiatry researcher and former professor and head of the Equine Foot Laboratory at Michigan State University’s (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, in East Lansing, described his perspectives and trimming approaches during a presentation at the 11th annual Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners (NEAEP) symposium, held Sept. 25-28 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Reaching for the Right Ratio
Bowker measures every foot, and even photos and drawings of feet shown in seminar presentations or books, to illustrate balance—evidence of his passion for equine hoof health...

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Separation Strategies for the Herd-Bound Horse - Full Article

When you remove your horse from his herd or take away his buddy, he may start having separation anxiety and become agitated and whinny, find out more.

By: Antonia J.Z. Henderson | June 30, 2017

Dealing with a “buddy sour” or “herd-bound” horse can be a frustrating experience, but this “herdiness” is an entirely natural behaviour. Horses have social needs similar to humans, and most of our equine management practices thwart this innate desire for connection. When you remove your horse from his herd or take away his buddy, he may start having separation anxiety and become agitated and whinny, for example, because everything in his evolutionary development has hard-wired him to feel unsafe without his herdmates.

If the situation is threatening, or even moderately stressful, such as a trailer ride, new environment, or the demands of a horse show, then it pays for him to be extra vigilant about keeping his pals in sight.

Since horses’ precarious survival on the range hinged on sticking together, this behaviour was evolutionarily selected for. Horses that wandered off were much more likely to get eaten by a predator and thus not have the opportunity to pass on that behavioural trait to future generations. Horses that stuck together survived and so too did the trait of maintaining close bonds. Remembering this will go a long way toward helping you work patiently with your horse to build his separation tolerance. Following are some tips for dealing with the natural, albeit annoying and, at times, even dangerous, equine trait of separation anxiety...

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

12 Life Lessons I Learned as a Rocky Mountain Horse Guide - Full Article

What I learned from keeping guests happy, laughing, and (more or less) on their horses

Caelan Beard
December 18 2019

Many of us, at some point in our horse careers, end up as trail guides.
Whether it’s taking out guests occasionally at your regular riding stable, or a summer job at a destination ranch, that first time you lead a ride can be a bit scary.

It can also teach you some surprising lessons about life, horses, and yourself

Here’s what I picked up on the trail while keeping people entertained, on their horses, and (pretty much) all in one piece.

1. Learn to ride backwards
Because you’re going to spend 90% of your time twisted around, trying to watch everyone at once and make sure that none of your first-time, unbalanced riders are about to topple off their mounts.

Life lesson: The path forward goes more smoothly when you keep potential problems in your peripheral vision...

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Riding Horses Across Ireland Ep 3 : The Mizen Head Peninsula Long Distance Horse Riding Travel - Watch the video

Watch Episode 3: Horses Across Ireland Ep 3 : The Mizen Head Peninsula Long Distance Horse Riding Travel

Microchipping Your Horse - Full Article

Register and track your horse with this important identification tool.

Posted by Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor | Aug 15, 2019

Each spring the veterinarian comes out to the barn where I board my off-track Thoroughbred and, stall by stall, conducts exams for health certificates, pulls blood for Coggins tests and administers vaccinations. This April, she came armed with another tool. After each injection and blood draw, she used a scanner to check the horse’s neck for evidence of a microchip. If it didn’t beep in recognition, she inserted a chip into the horse’s crest, noted the identification number and continued to the next horse.

Increasingly, major equine registries and organizations are mandating horses be microchipped with 15-digit International Organization of Standardization (ISO) chips for identification purposes. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has required it since 2013. All Thoroughbred foals born in 2017 and later must be microchipped to register with The Jockey Club. And, starting in 2019, all horses competing at United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) events, as well as the Thoroughbred Makeover, must have one. Western disciplines don’t yet mandate microchipping, but organizations such as the American Quarter Horse Association are encouraging it through educational and pilot programs...

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Four Tips to Help Prevent Gastric Ulcers - Full Article

by Glenye Oakford | Dec 10, 2019

Has your horse’s behavior changed? Are his eating habits different? Does he seem mildly colicky after meals? Gastric ulcers could be the culprit. As many as 80% of active sport horses might have gastric ulcers at one time or another, says Dr. Nathan Slovis, a board-certified internal medicine veterinarian and the director of the McGee Medical Center at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. He has a strong interest in gastrointestinal disorders in the horse and is currently doing research on alternative natural therapies to promote a healthy digestive system, including this recent practical study.

“That doesn’t mean they’re all going to be bothered by it,” he said, “but there are some in which it can be significant. Even broodmares out in a pasture can have them, though at a lower rate.”

How serious are ulcers? Their effects can range from mild discomfort to serious intestinal impaction. Severe ulcers also can also result in bleeding and on rare occasions gastric perforations, as they can in humans.

Gastric ulcer symptoms can vary, says Slovis. Symptoms can include:...

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Managing Horse Wounds: To Bandage or Not to Bandage? - Full Article

Ah, the age-old question: When managing horse wounds, should you wrap them or let them “air out”? Researchers are working to determine whether bandaging or not bandaging is a better option and in what circumstances.

Posted by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA | Jun 10, 2019

Ah, the age-old question: When managing horse wounds, especially superficial ones, should you wrap them or let them “air out”?

While, in the past, the course of action you took might have come down to personal preference (maybe you’ve had good luck leaving it be or keeping it wrapped), wound location (not all are easy to bandage), or other extenuating circumstances (raise your hand if you’ve ever run out of Vetrap), researchers are working to determine whether one option is better for managing horse wounds.

“There’s still a long way to go before we can make recommendations about what’s better, but at this stage we’ve been able to complete a descriptive study, showing what’s going on in these wounds during healing,” said Marcio Costa, DVM, PhD, an assistant professor in the University of Montreal Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, in Canada.

He and colleagues recently evaluated the wound-healing process in four study horses, with and without bandaging, as well as the types of bacteria colonizing those wounds...

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The Long Haul: Traveling Long-Distances With Horses - Full Article

A U.S. Equestrian Team veterinarian who has overseen the shipping of horses to six Olympic Games shares what steps to take before, during, and after a long-distance trailer ride.

Posted by Alayne Blickle | Jun 12, 2019

Steps to take before, during, and after a long-distance trailer ride

Sarah Burris bought a lovely young cowhorse from Idaho in an online sale. There was only one problem: She lives in North Carolina and needed to ship the filly across the country to get her home. The filly was sensitive and not a good eater to begin with, says Burris. As a result, she arrived underweight, depressed, slightly dehydrated, and sporting a snotty nose.

Many owners ship horses all over the country these days, whether to attend competitions or relocate. Some haul their horses themselves, while others hire carriers to do the job.

Regardless of who’s behind the steering wheel, long trailer rides are associated with many stresses, including temperature extremes and humidity, flies and other insects, air quality issues, and potential exhaustion, dehydration, and disease exposure. So what should you do if you are preparing a horse for a long haul?

Rick Mitchell, DVM, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVSMR, Certified ISELP, of Fairfield Equine Associates, in Connecticut, will help us answer this question. As a U.S. Equestrian team veterinarian for 25 years, he’s overseen the shipping of horses to six Olympic Games and still regularly manages horses traveling from New England to Florida and back...

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

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Friday, December 06, 2019

The Black Stallion: A Heartwarming Epic For The Ages - Full Article

BY Elizabeth Kaye McCall
November 25, 2019

Still fantastic at 40, one of the best-loved horse movies of all time almost didn’t get made.

It was 3 a.m. when Carroll Ballard’s phone rang with a call from Francis Ford Coppola, who was then in Sicily filming The Godfather: Part II. The two had gone to film school together at UCLA and the middle-of-the-night call was Coppola telling him he thought they should do a film together. Months and ideas later, Coppola sent Ballard a copy of a novel that producer pal Fred Roos had heard about from his then girlfriend. It was her favorite childhood book: The Black Stallion.

“I didn’t like the book when it was first presented to me,” says Ballard, 83, in a rare interview at his hilltop home in St. Helena, California. “I thought, What is this? Leave It to Beaver? I wanted to make War and Peace!” But he finally “wised up” about the opportunity at hand, and in a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction convergence of events — including a typhoon in the Philippines that destroyed the set on Coppola’s Apocalypse Now — the modern classic, turning 40 this October, came to life.

Ballard munches on a quesadilla in a sunroom looking out on the pond flanked by his vineyard, as recollections of years spent on his visual masterpiece return. “I wondered for a long time, How is it that this book became such a big hit. Because I was dwelling on the old trainer and the kid talking,” he says. “Stuff I thought was totally predictable. But, there is this thing. I really didn’t see it for a long time. There is a mythic element in the book. It’s every child’s desire to have a powerful friend who can do things and who will make him powerful too. That’s what’s in this film. It’s mythic and in the form of a black horse...”

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Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Water Temperature and Horse Drinking Behavior - Full Article

Why might our horses drink from an ice cold creek or tank rather than from the heated water buckets? Equine behaviorist Dr. Sue McDonnell explains.

Posted by Sue McDonnell, PhD, Certified AAB | Nov 18, 2019

Q: A few years ago I read an article describing research done at New Bolton Center on drinking behavior. It said that the research showed that in winter, horses prefer to drink warm water rather than ice cold water, and as a result veterinarians recommend giving horses warm water during the winter to be sure that they drink enough.
So, that winter we hung buckets of water along the fence every morning and evening at feeding time. It seemed our horses drank very little warm water from the buckets. Instead, they kept going to the stream even when it was partially frozen over. On days that the stream was completely frozen, they would drink from the buckets. We thought they might not like something about the hanging buckets, which were quite a distance from their hay racks.

So, the next year we put a heated plastic stock tank in the pasture near the hay racks. We put in a large heating element so the water stayed warm to the touch. Again, once we started heating the water in the tank, our horses seemed to drink mostly from the stream, as if they really preferred the ice cold stream water to the warmed water in the tank.

This year, the day before Thanksgiving, we had a sudden cold snap. I filled up the stock tank, but forgot to plug in the heating element. In the morning, there was a thin layer of ice on the tank. We were surprised to see that the horses had been drinking from the cold tank, breaking through the icy crust. Anyway, I turned the heater on so it wouldn’t freeze. After two weeks of paying close attention, I’m pretty sure they don’t seem to drink much at all from the tank when the heater is on. They are going back to the icy stream.

My veterinarian and I were talking about this, and she thought you might have been involved with drinking behavior research cited in the magazine article, or that she might have heard you talk about it somewhere. Was that you, or do you know about it? Do you have an explanation why in these circumstances our horses drink the ice cold water from the creek or tank rather than the warm water in the buckets or the water that is warmed in the tank? It would seem they actually prefer cold water over warm water.

—Robert, New York

A: Thank you so much for bringing up this question...

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Sunday, December 01, 2019

Bomb-Proofing Tips from Mounted Police Officers - Full Article

All riders can benefit from the techniques police departments use to train their horses to stay calm in challenging situations.

By Patrice D. Bucciarelli -
September 12, 2016

Along with their human partners, police horses are conspicuous everywhere from riots to county fairs. But even more than holding the line between crowds and bystanders, horses ridden by mounted police officers seem totally impervious to placards, banners and noise. So how exactly do mounted police units train their horses for street duty? The process takes time and dedication, but any horse and rider team can benefit from what this kind of training provides.

“I don’t like the term ‘bomb-proofing’ because people are like horses and none of us is bomb-proof,” says Capt. Lisa Rakes of the Kentucky Horse Park Mounted Police. “Even with the training, the horses are going to be startled, but the trick is to teach them that while it’s okay to jump in their tracks, it’s not okay to run away...”

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