Monday, November 30, 2020

Understanding Choke in Horses - Full Article

Chokes are common equine emergencies with potentially serious consequences. Here’s what you need to know.

Posted by Lillian M.B. Haywood, VMD, CVMA | Nov 27, 2020

Esophageal obstruction, or “choke,” is a common equine emergency. Unlike in human medicine, where choking refers to a tracheal (or windpipe) obstruction, choke in horses refers to an obstruction of the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The most common sign horse owners recognize is feed material coming from the nostrils, although they might also notice choking horses hypersalivating, retching, not eating, acting colicky, or coughing. Chokes can have serious consequences, so it is important to have your veterinarian evaluate your horse as soon as possible.

Most commonly, chokes occur when horses eat concentrated feed too quickly without chewing it appropriately. The feed doesn’t get softened with saliva and forms a firm bolus that gets lodged in the esophagus. However, esophageal obstruction can also occur with hay or straw, hard treats, carrots, or nonfood objects. Anatomical problems, such as poor dentition and abnormal esophagus anatomy, can also predispose a horse to choking...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Early Education: Instilling a Foundation of Trust and Confidence - Full Article

The Fox Hollow program teaches future show horses how to handle pretty much anything through gradual exposure to scary stimuli.

By: Shawn Hamilton | November 24, 2020

After a hiatus from their Hanoverian breeding business, Sally and Garry Moore found themselves missing the young horses around their 100-acre farm in Castleton, Ontario. Taking in a foal for a friend laid the stepping-stone to Fox Hollow Stable’s unique service of not only weaning foals, but also laying a foundation of trust and confidence through gradual exposure to stressful or scary stimuli.

Sally worked at a Hanoverian breeding facility as a young girl, where she fell in love with the breed. In 1994 she and Garry purchased the farm and had their first foal in 2002. The work they did with their own foals earned them a reputation of having well-behaved youngsters. In 2013, they retired from the breeding industry completely. The next spring, as a favour to a friend, they took on a foal she wasn’t quite sure how to raise ‒ and they were hooked once again...

Read more here:

Friday, November 20, 2020

Road to the Tevis Cup Post #19: Prerequisites for riding the Sierra Nevada - Full Article

by Jessica Black
November 19, 2020

Well.. I suppose technically I mean prerequisites for riding the Sierra Nevada foothills. I’m about 10 miles from Sequoia National Forest. The training barn is at an elevation of ~770 feet. The gate to the cattle ranch adjacent to us is at ~890 feet. My closest riding loop rises to 1860 in a mile (a bit more than half a mile as the crow flies). My current riding (climbing) goal is Hatchett Peak, at 3,261 feet, 2.50 miles as the crow flies.

Yesterday I got about halfway to Hatchett Peak, in the distance it will really take us. I rode about 2.5 miles along our eventual trail, and then headed home. Fantazia is not yet fit enough to go the whole way. Yesterday’s ride was 5.50 miles in 2 hours. Total elevation gain = 1,650 feet. We weren’t in a hurry, we explored trails and rocky ravines. I managed to scare myself many times… Fantazia had to back up, turn leaving a specific foot on the trail, and let me get off and lead. She scrambled up a very steep rocky slope behind me, and did not step on me when I fell.

I was very grateful to have a smart, seasoned horse. And I thought I should make a list of the abilities a horse should possess before it is taken out on these hills. Horses vary in temperament, but you can teach them to be smart, to think, and to listen to the rider when things get scary...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Is There any Benefit to Feeding Oats? - Full Article

If your horse has nutrient requirements that are higher than what is being met with hay alone – particularly energy, oats can be an excellent option.

By: Shannon Pratt-Phillips, PhD | April 28, 2016

Yes – if your horse needs them! Of all the cereal grains (e.g. corn, barley, wheat, etc.) oats have the most appropriate nutritional profile for horses. They are an excellent source of calories, and have a better protein and amino acid profile than many other grains. They are higher in fat and fibre (thanks to the hull) and are, therefore, lower in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) than most other grains. They are well digested within the horse’s small intestine, even with little processing (as long a horse has good teeth!) and, therefore, pose a lower risk of sugars reaching the large intestine and contributing to colic or laminitis. Also, because of their lower NSC content, they are not considered a “hot” feed...

Read more here:

Monday, November 16, 2020

Binge Watch the Equus Film & Arts Fest from Home - Full Article

Gretchen Lida
November 13, 2020

Like many events, the 2020 EQUUS Film & Arts Fest is going virtual this year. Unlike many events in 2020, this one is perfectly suited for the at-home experience. Featuring 50 plus films, 60 books, 13 artists, six podcasts and more, it’s 10 days of jam-packed equestrian escapism—all from the comfort of your couch. And it starts now!

The EQUUS Film & Arts Fest launches today, Friday, November 13 and runs through Sunday, November 22.

Bringing together horse lovers around the world, the theme for 2020 is appropriately “Pony On,” reminding us to keep working and causing mischief even when times are hard. One common thread in this year’s submissions is the idea that horses connect us, serving as bridges across language, culture, and political divides in ways that very little else can...

Read more here:

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Researchers probe the metabolic consequences of Endurance racing - Full Article

November 14, 2020

Researchers are hoping to establish a metabolic performance profile for Endurance horses, which could ultimately be used to assess their readiness to compete.

The pilot study, involving 62 horses, used molecular-based techniques to determine the effects of endurance on metabolite levels. In doing so, they painted a picture of the demands of Endurance riding in greater detail than ever before.

Endurance rising involves competitive contests over distances of up to 160km. Races are broken into a series a loops, with veterinary monitoring of horses at the completion of each loop. The elimination rate is typically 30-70 percent, with lameness, dehydration and metabolic issues being the main causes.

It is therefore crucial that horses are metabolically fit to compete.

The study, a collaborative effort between entities under the umbrella of the Qatar Foundation, used metabolomics to assess the metabolic status of competition horses...

Read more here:

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Girth Aversion in Horses: Gastric Ulcers Pinpointed - Full Article

February 19, 2020
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff

Saddle enough horses and you will run into one that detests girthing. A horse that is sensitive to cinch-fitting, sometimes called a “girthy horse,” usually displays signs of protest, including tossing the head, pinning ears, wringing the tail, stomping a foreleg, kicking out with a hind leg, and worse. Is girthiness an expression of resistance, a sign of shaky work ethic, or could there be an underlying cause?

Veterinary researchers set out to determine the causes of girthiness in a retrospective study of 37 horses admitted to the University of California, Davis. Although identifying the exact cause for girth aversion remains a challenge, 12 of the horses studied were diagnosed with gastric ulceration...

Read more here:

Learning Arabian - Full Article

November 5, 2020 / Ashley Wingert

In all fairness to mares, I’ve actually had to have “that” pre-ride chat with more geldings over the years. Granted, the proportion of mares to geldings is significantly smaller, but I don’t feel like I’ve been handed as many shenanigans by the mares. But then I am ardently biased towards Team Mare, so take it for what you will.

That said, last weekend involved full-blown Arabian Raptor Snorts after Liberty decided that large rocks were her mortal enemy. It was probably the spookiest she’s ever been, but even then, I can’t complain when the worst she does is stop and stare and snort, or maybe veer sideways a couple feet if the trail is wide enough. And what I really love is that she doesn’t overreact. Once she’s past something, it’s over and forgotten about, and she doesn’t hold onto worry or angst or keeping ramping up. I’ve said it before that she’s a very “thinky” horse and appreciates some time and no pressure to work something through in her brain. She is bold and brave but she’s also sensitive, and too much pressure will get her back up and make her start to resist...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Remembering Sgt Reckless: USMC War Horse - See Video

Sgt Reckless was a Marine Corps Horse who served heroically in the Korean War. Sgt Reckless was featured in The Saturday Evening Post and Life Magazine for her heroic actions during the war. Sgt Reckless was promoted to Staff Sergeant by the Commandant of the US Marine Corps after the war ended and served out her final days with the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA.

Active rest: Three ways to keep your horse in shape while preventing burnout - Full Article

Changing up your horse’s activities can be better for his body and mind than giving him time off. Biomechanics expert Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, explains why.


In Australia we have a saying that goes, “A change is as good as a spell.” It means that if you are feeling tired, don’t stop and rest---do something different. Now, if you’re exhausted from cleaning stalls, switching to cleaning water buckets probably doesn’t sound particularly restful, but the “change is good” principle is worth keeping in mind when training horses.

Developing new skills, whether they are needed to succeed in competition or to simply perform well as a trail or pleasure horse, does require a bit of work. And the best route often involves drills designed to produce incremental improvements in movement, gait or fitness with each session. It then becomes easy to adopt a mindset that makes meeting goals the priority while minimizing other considerations.

“Riders want to practice and refine their skills, and they are probably worried about disrupting the training program if they do anything but formally train,” says Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, DACVSMR, FRCVS, who held the Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University for 17 years. “So every day they go into the arena, perform the same routine, then take the horse back to the stall.”

This kind of routine can take a toll on a horse, both mentally and physically. Not only is he likely to get bored, but his muscles, tendons and ligaments don’t have time to fully recover from the demands placed on them. If a horse is asked to exert himself in the same way day after day, then his body doesn’t have a chance to repair itself, which means that tiny injuries accumulate...

Read more here:

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Qatar: QF researchers explore technique to assess readiness of horses before race - Full Article


(MENAFN - Gulf Times) In a collaborative effort between Qatar Foundation entities, researchers from its Equine Veterinary Medical Centre (EVMC), Al Shaqab's endurance department and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), have been exploring the use of a technique called 'metabolomics' to assess the readiness of a horse before a race. 'Metabolomics is a relatively new technology used to measure hundreds of small molecules called metabolites, found in a biological sample. Metabolites are the products of constantly occurring and life-sustaining chemical reactions in all living organisms.

'Their production and removal from the blood stream is dependent on multiple factors including genetics, diet and lifestyle. Any change in these factors is reflected by a change in specific metabolite levels, which allows them to be used as biomarkers, said Dr Tatiana Vinardell, head of Research and Education, EVMC.

A pilot-study on equine metabolomics was inspired by Prof Karsten Suhre, director of Bioinformatics Core at WCM-Q and his desire to create a 'health and fitness passport for athletes. It turns out that horse endurance races are just the ideal test environment to explore such an idea.

'Every living organism has a metabolic fingerprint and by frequently monitoring this fingerprint, we can establish the reference or baseline metabolic readings indicative of that organism's wellness. 'Any changes in the health of the organism can be detected by comparing their metabolic state to their established baseline. If a considerable change is seen between the two, it can be indicative of a health problem that should be further investigated, said Prof Suhre.

Metabolomics research in human athletes has provided important insights into energy demands and training physiology, allowing scientists to identify novel biomarkers associated with better performance...

Read more here:

Helmet Head: Why You Need to Buckle Up Every Time You Ride - full article

Riding is one of the most dangerous sports and you need to protect your noggin. Here are some important (and surprising) facts about helmets.

By: Kim Izzo | October 21, 2020

We love our horses and we love riding. But as much as we are passionate about our sport and may hold onto the glamorous image of our hair blowing in the wind as we gallop with our equine partner across a meadow, along a beach, or towards a jump, safety is also something we should be equally passionate about.

Horseback riding at all ages and levels is one of the most dangerous sports we can participate in. According to Parachute Canada (Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention), our horses are fast, really fast, and some can reach speeds up to 60 km/h. Impressive, right?

This fact has another side to the thrill ‒ we’re talking the spill. There are more injuries per hour in the saddle than during motorcycle or auto racing. Parachute offers up these sobering stats: Per 1,000 injuries in equestrian activities, two are catastrophic – meaning the person has severe injuries to head or spinal cord that result in life-altering impairment or death.

Approximately 70 per cent of equestrian deaths are the result of head injury...

Read more here:

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Have donkey, will travel: Woman’s intrepid 1923 journey revealed - Full article

November 3, 2020

The intrepid journey of a young woman who took on a walking tour of England and Scotland in 1923 with a pack donkey as her travelling companion has been documented in a new book.

Eve’s Journey tells the story of Eve (Doris) Brackenbury, 30, who recorded her trip in a surprisingly intimate diary. Described as a “post-WWI Bohemian”, Eve’s quirky interests, courage and curiosity, and a spark of wickedness and inclination to shock people are revealed.

Her granddaughter, Gill Brackenbury, says Eve’s story captured her imagination. “Doris, or Eve as she was also known, did not seem to comfortably fit, nor did she seem to accept, the social norms of her generation. She was very human, a determined and rather independent thinker, and controversial at times...”

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Things to consider before removing your horse’s shoes this winter - Full Article

Alex Robinson
26 October, 2020 16:24

Is it right for shod horses to have their shoes taken off over the winter months during a break from work? Richard Stephenson MRCVS weighs up the options…

Horses, whether shod or not, have a tough, horny hoof capsule, while human feet, unless accustomed to walking barefoot, are covered with soft, sensitive skin. However, we need to remember that many horses will struggle to make the transition from being shod to going without shoes and, in some cases, they will suffer pain and discomfort to a level which is simply unacceptable. It is fashionable in some circles to view unshod horses as “natural” and shod horses as being the victims of an outdated and harmful practice. But is it natural for a modern horse to be unshod, and what are the potential benefits and pitfalls?

While shoeing is frequently described as a necessary evil, it is important to appreciate that the modern horse is the result of many centuries of selective breeding which has rarely concentrated on hoof quality. With the possible exception of some native pony breeds, there is little “natural” about our horses. We must also recognise that even the so-called native pony has an enormous variety of different environments to cope with in different parts of the UK. One foot management approach cannot be made to fit all circumstances or all horses.

Before thinking about taking shoes off during winter, we need to ask why we put them on in the first place. Farriers will say that shoes offer protection from wear and provide grip — for the majority of horses in active work this is true, but do they really need shoes while at rest?...

Read more here: