Friday, May 29, 2020

Canada: Freedom on Horseback: Heading Out on the Open Trail - Full Article

With the loosened pandemic restrictions and warmer weather, trail riding businesses are looking forward to a busy season.

By: Kim Izzo | May 27, 2020

As the Canadian economy starts to slowly roll out again following its shut down in March, many equestrian businesses that struggled to stay afloat during the closure are hopeful that things will turn around, especially with the summer weather. Riding schools are one such business; trail riding establishments are another. And as we all know, riding a horse is an easy way to maintain physical distance while getting the mental health benefits that horses and nature offer.
Niagara Escarpment Views

In Oakville, Ontario, The Ranch has been offering scenic trail rides through the Niagara Escarpment since 1980. While Covid-19 certainly dampens the 40th anniversary, owners Cary and Vanessa Warren have taken the lengthy closure and slow reopening in stride. The Ranch and their other property, Capstone Farms, offer boarding to individual horse owners and that side of the business, like most in Ontario, remained open during the stay-at-home order with restricted access. “I think it’s unethical to keep people away from their horses,” says Vanessa Warren. “I have one hundred horses between the two farms, it would have been impossible any other way to manage that number of animals responsibly, and we have always been set up to have the owners participating in their horse’s care...”

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Study: Omeprazole Reduces Calcium Digestibility in Horses - Full Article

While omeprazole use is unlikely to cause bone issues in horses consuming correct rations, researchers said it’s important to respect professional recommendations for both omeprazole treatment duration and commercial feeding instructions.

Posted by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA | May 24, 2020

Feeding horses treated with omeprazole a well-balanced concentrate ration can ensure they receive enough calcium to make up for any deficiencies the ulcer medication could potentially cause.

Researchers have found that horses treated for gastric ulcers could be getting less calcium into the bloodstream than they would normally. Depending on the calcium source, horses treated with omeprazole (such as GastroGard, the FDA-approved medications for the treatment and prevention of equine gastric ulcers) could be digesting 15-20% less calcium than when they’re not on omeprazole...

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Horses and War - Full Story

Jim Wofford reflects on the horse's role in human conflict.

UPDATED:MAY 21, 2020

I am lucky: I live surrounded by history. From my office window, I can see the John S. Mosby Highway, named for the legendary Confederate commander of Mosby's Raiders during the Civil War. Washington commuters drive that road to and from work in downtown D.C. This is the same road that, as a young man, George Washington used to ride over the Blue Ridge on his way to survey the Western Territories for Lord Fairfax.

The gravel lane next to my farm is the same road Confederate troopers galloped down on their way to confront the Union cavalry just east of Upperville, Virginia. The Battle of Upperville was partly fought over the grounds of today's Upperville Horse Show, which lie along Mosby Highway, modern-day U.S. Route 50. The remains of many of the men who fell that day, June 21, 1863, lie in local cemeteries, and there are gravestones and monuments to mark their passing. But the bodies of the horses and mules that died alongside their masters were dragged into a field on my neighbor's farm and left behind. The only monument they received was the rock and rubble used to cover them...

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Protect your horse from choke - Full Article

The risk for developing a blockage of the esophagus is higher in winter, but it's wise to take precautions all year round.

UPDATED:APR 29, 2020

Unlike choking in people, which can lead to suffocation within minutes, choke in horses is more of a slow-motion disaster. A blockage of the esophagus rather than the airway, choke occurs when a horse tries to ingest inadequately chewed feed, a large chunk of carrot or something else he cannot swallow properly.

Choke does not inhibit a horse’s breathing but it can be so unpleasant that he becomes anxious or panicky, and if the blockage persists the resulting esophageal damage may seriously compromise his health in the long run.

Fortunately, most episodes of choke clear on their own. Even as he strains to relieve the blockage by stretching out his neck and coughing, a horse continues to produce saliva, which lubricates the esophagus and may eventually enable the mass to pass to the stomach. It’s a good idea to call a veterinarian anyway...

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

3 things you (probably) didn't know about beet pulp - Full Article

Although the popularity of this fibrous feedstuff continues to grow, misconceptions about it remain.


Chances are you’re pretty familiar with beet pulp. Most of us have scooped and soaked our fair share of this sugar-industry-byproduct-turned-equine-feed. The remains of sugar beets used in the manufacture of sugar, beet pulp is high in digestible fiber and a good source of “safe” structural carbohydrate-based calories, making it a popular horse feed throughout the country and around the world.

Straight from the bag, beet pulp is dried and shredded—almost resembling tobacco—or pressed into solid pellets. Soak either form in water for about a half-hour, and you’ll have a soft, soggy mash.

Yet as simple and easy as beet pulp is to feed, it has long been the subject of myths and misunderstandings in the horse world. Some of these misconceptions are harmless, but others could lead owners to needlessly rule out beet pulp as part of a horse’s diet or, conversely, rely on it too heavily and for the wrong reasons...

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Feeding Horses for Performance - Full Article

Equine athletes have nutritional needs specific to their discipline, workload, and lifestyle. Take a closer look at the subtleties of performance horse diets in this article excerpt from the May 2020 issue of The Horse.

Posted by Lucile Vigouroux | May 16, 2020

Guidelines for fueling the equine athlete

What does it take to win with your horse? A reputable coach, world-class training facilities, and high-tech equipment will all give you an advantage, no doubt. But for your horse to feel and perform at his best, you’ll need to start at a more fundamental level and consider what kind of fuel you’re pumping into him.

Equine athletes have nutritional needs specific to their discipline, workload, and lifestyle; for optimal performance, you must address them.

“Fundamentally, the difference between the diet of an equine athlete and that of a horse at maintenance lies in the amount of energy, the quality of protein, and the balance of electrolytes required,” says Lynn Taylor, PhD, professor of equine science at Centenary University, in Hackettstown, New Jersey, and owner of a private equine nutrition consulting business...

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Managing Your Equine Facility During the COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Updated 5/13/20 - Full Article

At ELS, we have received a steady stream of questions from barn owners related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original version of this article, published on March 30, 2020, received more views than any other article ELS has ever published. Based upon the feedback and questions ELS receives, we are continuing to update this article as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

Many equine facility owners who closed their barns to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are under intense pressure from their customers to reopen. These customers point to the many equine facilities that stayed open (often in violation of state stay-at-home orders), as well as those that have reopened and are now conducting activities at pre-pandemic levels. This pressure from customers, coupled with the grim financial reality of remaining closed, is causing many equine facility owners to reopen and resume their businesses.

​Here’s the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic:...

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Equestrian Air Vests: What You Need to Know - Full Article

by Leslie Potter | May 12, 2020, 12:31 PM EST

While most equestrians are well aware of the potential for head injuries that comes with riding, riders run the risk of other types of injuries when involved in a fall. Eventers have been wearing body protectors on the cross-country course for decades to mitigate some of that risk, and in recent years, self-inflating air vests have become a common item of supplemental safety gear.

Riders in other disciplines have taken note, and air vests are starting to show up in the show ring as well as on the cross-country course. Like all safety gear, air vests are only effective when used correctly and cared for properly. We spoke with Danielle Santos, Director of Sales and Partnerships for Charles Owen, and Dr. Mark Hart, USEF’s Team Physician and Chair of the Fédération Équestre Internationale Medical Committee, to find out what equestrians need to know about air vests...

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Monday, May 11, 2020

AAEP Updates Vaccination Guidelines

May 8 2020

Routine vaccinations considered essential during COVID-19 pandemic

The Infectious Disease Committee of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has issued revised guidelines for the administration of selected core and risk-based vaccines to horses.

The recommendations are based on the age of the horse and its previous vaccination history and are meant to serve as a reference for veterinarians. Reviewed guidelines include the core vaccinations Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (WEE), and Rabies; and the risk-based vaccinations Anthrax, Botulism, Equine Herpesvirus (EHV), Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), Equine Influenza, Leptospirosis, Potomac Horse Fever Rotaviral Diarrhea, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis (VEE).

Among important modifications to the Vaccination Guidelines for Horses:

The Adult Horse Vaccination and Foal Vaccination charts have been updated to match changes made in various vaccination guidelines and vaccine manufacturer label recommendations. Changes to the foal chart also include updates to the Rabies vaccination recommendations for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated mares. Changes to the adult horse chart include updates to the broodmare section to recommend vaccinating those mares pre-partum with a “respiratory EHV” product in addition to the abortion product.

The Anthrax guidelines indicate that the disease can be contracted in an endemic area via vector-borne transmission. Further recommendations have been added for horses during an outbreak (e.g., vaccinate afebrile horses not showing clinical signs).
The EEE and WEE guidelines encourage veterinarians to consult with vaccine manufacturers for their geographic region and to consider the region's case frequency for the current year and in recent years.
The Equine Influenza guidelines include recommendations for horses that have recovered from natural infection. It also notes that some facilities and competitions may require vaccination within the previous 6 months to enter.
The EVA guidelines indicate that the occasional stallion may shed very low concentrations of vaccine virus in its semen for several days following first-time EVA vaccination and the recommendation to confirm negative status prior to vaccination.
The Leptospirosis guidelines incorporate recommendations for foals as young as 3 months of age and emphasize that the licensed vaccine is safe for pregnant mares at all stages of parturition.
The Rabies guidelines provide guidance for how to approach a horse that has been exposed to a confirmed rabid animal.

The Infectious Disease Committee stresses that veterinarians, through an appropriate veterinarian-client-patient relationship, should use the recommendations, coupled with available products, to determine the best professional care for their patients. Horse owners should consult with a licensed veterinarian before initiating a vaccination program.

"The goal of the guidelines is to provide current information that will enable veterinarians and clients to make thoughtful and educated decisions on vaccinating horses in their care," explained Infectious Disease Committee Chair Dr. Katie Flynn. "The impact of infectious disease has been felt across the equine industry in recent years, and the committee hopes that these guidelines will be a useful tool in preventing or mitigating the effects of equine infectious disease."

The committee also emphasizes that routine vaccinations are considered essential during this COVID-19 pandemic, and overdue vaccinations should be completed to help prevent disease in horses. Duration of immunity for some vaccines might be limited to 6 months; therefore, maintaining a routine vaccination schedule is critical for horses at high risk of developing these diseases, and vaccinations should be scheduled as soon as reasonably possible to ensure the health and welfare of the horse. In all cases, veterinarians should consider local conditions and current state-imposed regulations to determine when vaccinations can be completed safely during this unprecedented time.

The committee, comprised of researchers, vaccine manufacturers, regulatory veterinarians and private practitioners, regularly reviews these guidelines and provides updates online, with in-depth reviews occurring every three years. The complete guidelines, along with easy reference charts, are available at

About AAEP

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry. Visit

Horses Recognize Pics of Their Keepers - Full Article

By Susanne Bard on May 5, 2020

Horses picked out photographs of their current keepers, and even of former keepers whom they had not seen in months, at a rate much better than chance.

We recognize our friends’ faces. And we’re not alone. Many social animals can identify individuals of their own species by their facial features. That’s important, because they need to be able to adjust their behavior depending on who they encounter. And research has shown that some species of monkeys, birds and domesticated animals can even distinguish among different faces by looking at photographs alone.

Scientists have also wondered whether domesticated animals that have coexisted with people for thousands of years can recognize different human faces. For example, we’ve shared more than 5,000 years of our history with horses. Plus, they can live up to 30 years and may need to retain a great deal of information about us throughout their lifetimes.

Ethologist Léa Lansade of the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment did an experiment to find out how well horses can recognize individual people in photographs...

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Saturday, May 02, 2020

Discover... the Criollo - Full article

02 May 2020
Words by Patricia Salem

Visitors to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, or Uruguay may have seen the beautiful Criollo horse in action.

This breed has a long history in the South American pampas, the grassy eastern plains where both native dwellers and European settlers have long had ranches and livestock.

Here’s a look at this venerable breed, known for its hardiness and stamina...

History of the Criollo
The Criollo comes from early Andalusian horses brought to the Americas by conquistadors. These horses were closely related to the Spanish Barb, which had Moorish origins. During the early years in South America, there was likely some mixing with other horses of the region, including the Peruvian Paso and the Venezuelan Lllanero.

Originally bred for war in North Africa and Europe, the Criollo’s bloodlines gave it a compact, sturdy body and tremendous endurance. Able to thrive on little food and water and to survive in both heat and cold, the Criollo was a natural at handling the vast reaches of the pampas to help plantation owners cover ground in tending the fields and herding farm animals...

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Friday, May 01, 2020

How to build a trustworthy trail horse - Full Article

Three seasoned trail riders offer strategies for overcoming the most common spoilers of the great-outdoor horseback experience.

UPDATED:MAR 10, 2017

Ah! A nice, relaxing trail ride on a pleasant summer day: What could be better to break the tedium of ring work and soothe the stresses of show training? Just head for the hills, the woods, the rolling meadows on horseback, alone or in congenial company, and all your troubles will melt away. Yeah, right... until your horse refuses to cross the creek or runs in terror from an innocent boulder or takes up a bone-jarring jig that puts you both in a lather for the duration of the ride.

When horses and their riders are unprepared for the out-of-arena experience, a simple walk through the woods turns into a series of frustrating or frightening confrontations. The disconnect between expectations and reality often begins with the choice of mount.

"Most people don't select horses for trail riding," says Montana horseman Dan Aadland, an avid backcountry rider and author of several books on the topic. "I get tired of hearing, 'Well, she's not good enough for the show ring, but she'll make a good trail horse.' Why should trail riding be relegated to a secondary job for a horse? If you want to trail ride exclusively, buy a horse who excels at it, not one who can't do anything else."

Compounding the problem, says Aadland, is a tendency to overlook the importance of a trail-riding education: "We train horses for very specific arena jobs but expect them to just automatically know how to handle the trail. Then we get frustrated when they don't. Horses need to be taught to trail ride just like they are taught reining, roping or any other skill..."

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