Health & Horsemanship
October 2020 - Farnam Leather New Total Care 2-in-1
Written by by Michelle Kopp
Thursday, 01 October 2020 16:34
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Care for show tack of any color.

by Michelle Kopp

Are you sitting on some high-end leather in your show saddle? Caring for everyday tack is easier than ever with all the leather care products available today.

But in the show ring, many equestrians choose to splurge on the elevated look of light blonde tack or darkly dyed leathers, and both of these pose some significant maintenance challenges, due to their striking color.


Light leathers are particularly problematic, because most leather cleaners and conditioners will darken light leathers, even after a single use. Black or other dyed leathers pose a similar challenge; leather care products can sometimes strip the dye from the leather, leaving uneven color. Some horse owners choose to skip cleaning and conditioning altogether to maintain the original color of their show tack for longer. But regular cleaning and conditioning is critical for keeping your tack soft, supple and looking amazing.

Dry leather is a serious safety concern because instead of giving slightly under pressure, the leather can crack or even break. Natural moisture in leather evaporates over time, especially when subjected to sunlight or dry conditions, leaving it more brittle. Regular conditioning replaces the moisture and oils to keep it pliable. Keeping leather clean and conditioned also maintains the appearance and extends the life of the tack. After all, what good is a beautiful color when the leather looks dull and dry?

The irony is that the lightest and darkest leathers may need to be cleaned more often, because they show dirt, dust and stains much more clearly.

Prevention is key to keeping them looking pristine. Immediately wiping off salty sweat and oily spills with a soft cloth helps avoid staining. It is also important to remove dust and dirt before they can scratch or get ground into the leather. Traditional bar saddle soaps and water will usually discolor light leather and may strip dyes, so a swipe with a dry, cloth is the often the first step toward cleaning tack.

Air Cleaning

A less conventional tool for cleaning delicate leather is air. Yes, air! A concentrated blast from an air compressor will gently but thoroughly remove debris and dirt particles, even getting into all the stitching, tooling and crevices that a cloth cannot reach. For quick cleaning on the go, you can also use a hair dryer on the cool setting or a can of compressed air duster, found at office supply stores for cleaning computers. A vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment may also be used in a pinch.

But there is just no substitute for regular deep cleaning and conditioning for long-term leather care, and this is where things get challenging. The wrong product choice will completely change the look of the tack if it darkens or strips the leather’s color. Worse yet, the wrong product can damage the integrity of the leather, making it weaker and potentially unsafe. It is important to look for a cleaner or conditioner that is labeled as “color safe,” such as Farnam® Leather New® Total Care 2-in-1. Color safe leather care products are specially formulated with ingredients chosen to help keep from altering the coloration of any leather. But they also provide the deep clean and conditioning so essential to maintaining moisture and keeping leather soft and supple.

Of course, the most important rule in picking the right leather care product for your light or dyed tack is to test and confirm before cleaning or conditioning.

Read the label instructions completely and use exactly as instructed in a hidden spot first to confirm that the product is truly colorfast for your leather. Make sure your test spot is someplace that you will be able to see subtle changes of color and inspect the treated area under a bright, natural light.

The more different products you use, however, the greater likelihood that one of the products will affect the color of your leather. To provide the best protection with the least risk of changing the color, look for a one-step or 2-in-1 cleaning and conditioning product. A product like Leather New® Total Care 2-in- 1 conditions every time it cleans, so with regular use there is no need for a separate conditioner. And that means mean more time in the saddle with less change in color.

For more information, visit www.farnam.com.

 
September 2020 - Grazing the Metabolic Horse
Written by by Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 21:01
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Grass isn’t what it used to be.

by Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

Eating grass seems like the most natural thing in the world for a horse, but the grass in managed pastures bears little resemblance to what is available to a feral horse. The other part of the scenario that is very different, is that the feral horse will often travel an average of 20 miles a day — much more exercise than domesticated horses get.

 


Exercise is the best way to keep insulin and glucose in good control. Otherwise, tight restriction of sugar and starch intake to no more than 10% of the diet is needed.

 

Spring growths of grass at their peak almost invariably exceed that limit. They are extremely dangerous for any horse with problems in controlling insulin. Areas that experience considerable regrowth in the fall after high summer heat, may have a similar high sugar scenario at that time.

Also dangerous is regrowth after a period of drought. Stressed grasses in general, whether from drought, high heat, cold, or poor nutrient availability, can also have high levels of sugars particularly in the lower portions of the plant, which are likely to be consumed in over-grazed pastures.

Mature stands of grass which have gone to seed will have the lowest levels of sugar and starch, but even this fluctuates. In the warm months, sugars are considerably higher in late afternoon than early morning. However, the onset of cool nights (below 40oF) means even early-morning grazing is risky.

Limiting your horse’s time on pasture won’t necessarily lower the risk. Research has shown that horses that have their grazing time restricted will compensate by consuming up to three times as much as usual in the time they do spend on grass.

The bottom line is that allowing metabolic horses to graze is always Russian roulette. Turnout for exercise, but with a muzzle that completely prevents grazing, is the safest alternative. Because exercise activates muscle and liver glucose uptake by mechanisms that do not require insulin, allowing 15 to 20 minutes free grazing after moderate (trotting) to heavy exercise sessions is also safe.

For those who insist on pushing their luck, allowing grazing (hopefully with at least a partially sealed muzzle) on mature stands of grass that have already dropped their seed is the least risky.

Contrary to what you might think, dormant pastures in winter are not safe. The lower portions of these plants are extremely high in sugar. This is how the cells keep from freezing.

Depending on how severely affected they are, the weather in any given year, how much they move around on pasture, you may get away with grazing your metabolic horse for a year or two — but sooner or later it will catch up with them. It’s just not worth the risk.

About ECIR Group Inc.
Started in 1999, the ECIR Group is the largest field-trial database for PPID and EMS in the world and provides the latest research, diagnosis, and treatment information, in addition to dietary recommendations for horses with these conditions. Even universities do not and cannot compile and follow long term as many in-depth case histories of PPID/EMS  horses as the ECIR Group.
In 2013 the Equine Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance Group Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation, was approved as a 501(c)3 public charity. Tax deductible contributions and grants support ongoing research, education, and awareness of Equine Cushing’s Disease/PPID and EMS.
THE MISSION of the ECIR Group Inc. is to improve the welfare of equines with metabolic disorders via a unique interface between basic research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal. The ECIR Group serves the scientific community, practicing clinicians, and owners by focusing on investigations most likely to quickly, immediately, and significantly benefit the welfare of the horse.

 
September 2020 - Calming Influences
Written by by Barbara H. Wright
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:51
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Equine Stress Control Therapy differs from training and other relaxation techniques.

by Barbara H. Wright

Horse training and all other equine relaxation techniques treat the body, not the horse’s brain. ESCT is the only equine psychotherapy and the only treatment method to calm horses using the brain as the primary treatment target. 

 


This is achieved with neural reprocessing. This makes all the difference in the world in achieving quick and lasting results in calming nervous, anxious and spooky horses. Body changes, through operant conditioning, can take many tries and a great deal of time to achieve results. However, combining operant conditioning with ESCT creates a new treatment modality, one that accelerates the learning process and envelopes the horse in a therapeutic safety net at the same time. Behavior modification usually takes as long as operant conditioning, in most cases. 

 

Again, with ESCT the behavior modification process is sped up. By combining ESCT with traditional training methods, both body and mind in the horse are trained to maximum benefit.

Massage, acupressure, acupuncture and other bodywork does not neurally reprocess the brain as does ESCT. They are wonderful methods for relaxing horses temporarily and assisting them through an issue. But, they do not change the fearful memory or remove the anxiety like ESCT, which is then reactivated when the treatment is over. By using such relaxation techniques with ESCT, behavior changes take place in a calm manner. The horse learns in a relaxed state and is later able to engage his awareness of new situations and objects in the same relaxed way.

You are encouraged to use ESCT along with the methods already working for you and to experiment with combining it with other treatments in ways that are particularly beneficial to each horse. Horses are eloquent and straightforward with their body language and you will have no problem understanding what he likes least and best. I emphasize that ESCT is a process and that means a work in progress.

What is Neural Reprocessing with ESCT?

Equine Stress Control Therapy (ESCT) is effective in horses due to neural reprocessing of the horse’s brain circuitry using the ability of consciousness itself to create change. This harkens back to quantum physics and the idea that our minds or a horse’s mind are not the only instruments that can understand information and/or meaning. Our bodies can also understand information and meaning at the physical cellular level. 

Meaning is both physical and mental in nature because meaning carries thought and information. In humans, both thought and information are carried. We assume horses do not think, so their meaning is carried physically, not mentally as thought as words. (I personally do not feel that horses can’t think as they can make choices and know better than me how to be a horse). 

Thought and information are precursors to the physical world, as worked out by the great physicist David J. Bohm and described in his book, Wholeness and the Implicate Order. This explains why healing in animals in therapeutic settings without the language link is possible. Animals do not need to speak to understand the meaning of the deeper reality, the implicate order, out of which matter arises, forms into life and becomes sentient and happy to be alive and well. They dwell in the implicate order as we all do and benefit from the intelligence and information offered by the unseen as it transforms itself into molecular existence, then cellular existence, then in-body sensation of life experienced.

“The active use of information by electrons and, indeed all subatomic particles, indicates that the ability to respond to meaning is not only a characteristic of consciousness but of all matter,” said Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe.

So now, when we deal with neural reprocessing with ESCT, we have a better understanding of why this intelligence gathering and reorganizing can take place. The electrons that jump across the empty space between synapses on neural cells are taking that “leap of faith” because they are armed with information that you, as the healer or therapist, guide with your technique and intention to heal. You cannot take yourself out of the process, nor can the object of your treatment, be it horse or humans. In the experiment, at the basic level of “stuff” as we know it, the observer is the observed.

With ESCT, one deals with brain chemistry changes in the horse brought on by the gentle neural reprocessing created during therapy. The eye movement and tapping transmit electrical signals to the brain via the bony structures, fascia, muscles and optic nerve, depending on which approach is used. The knitting together continues after therapy during integration. Fear-based reactions are replaced with responses.
While horses don’t have the frontal cortex of humans, they still develop the fear cycle the same way humans do as we both share amygdala driven responses. We know that with spooky horses, the scan and evaluate capability is erased or greatly diminished and the automatic startle response is highly activated. ESCT creates a more benevolent body chemistry that makes it easier for the horse to calm itself, allowing his brain to lay down new neural pathways by making choices that encourage him to “stay and play” instead of “run away.”

Author Barbara K Wright is the founder of Harmony Horseworks, based in Cottonwood, AZ. For more information, visit www.harmonyhorseworks.com.

 
July 2020 - High Quality Hay Cubes
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 05:24
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Six generations of California farming family leads to trusted hay supply for horses.

Here at Harlan Feed we take pride in producing, manufacturing, and supplying our customers with a consistent product from a trustworthy source. Providing a high-quality agricultural product is not only the focus of our business, it is our heritage that stems from the creation of our family farm.

 


Since 1852, The Harlan family has been farming in Yolo County. In 2005 we expanded our operation to meet consumer demand for a year-round, high quality hay product. As we have become more vested in the hay market, developing methods of directly marketing our hay products has become a natural complement to our business, which spurred the creation of Harlan Feed.

 

Harlan Feed is a premium hay cube feed supplier. Being the producers of the hay that we process has many advantages. We can directly control not only the field quality, but also the quality of product going into the mill. All hay is tested from the field for quality and adequate warehouse storage has been added to supply our customers with product year-round. As our business has seen steady successful growth, we again have expanded our production lines to enable us to meet customers’ needs, as well as to add new blended types of hay cubes.

We understand that our customers have many choices when selecting a feed source. We invite you to take a moment to review our operation and our products. On behalf of the Harlan Family, we thank you for allowing us to introduce ourselves. We look forward to working with you in the future.     

Please visit our website at www.HarlanFeed.com. Press release provided by Harlan Feed.

 
July 2020 - Famous For Farnam
Written by by Cynthia McFarland • photos: ©Shelley Paulson
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 04:27
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Photogenic Quarter Horse captures 2019 Farnam SuperMask® SuperModel title.

by Cynthia McFarland • photos: ©Shelley Paulson

When Stephenie Bjorkman decided to enter her horse’s photo in Farnam’s 2019 SuperMask® SuperModel contest, she had no idea how much the competition had grown.

“I follow Farnam online and saw the contest; I thought Maxwell would love this. I had a good picture of him and just thought I’d enter. I didn’t realize how competitive it was,” says Stephenie, an Arizona native and small business owner from the Scottsdale area.

 


“We were very pleased with the participation in the 2019 SuperMask® SuperModel Contest. We more than doubled the number of entries from last year. The word is spreading,” notes Anna Brunetti, Digital Marketing Manager for Farnam. “Over 2,000 horse owners submitted photos from all over the country. The entries included many different breeds, colors, sizes, and ages, each image as unique as the next. It’s great seeing all these horses so loved by their owners.”

 

Every entry was carefully studied by contest officials and after much deliberation, the top ten entries were identified, and those ten images were then submitted to a diverse panel of judges to determine the winner.

“The SuperMask® SuperModel contest is a great way for Farnam fans to showcase the outstanding care they give their horses all year long. As we all know, it is continuous, quality care that keeps horses happy and healthy for the long haul, and it showed in the caliber of entries we received. Many of the contenders put in valuable time and lots of elbow grease to ‘spit shine’ their horses for this contest,” notes Martha Lefebvre, Senior Marketing Manager for Farnam.

After Stephenie received notification that her horse was chosen as the winner, she was amazed at the abundance of prizes he’d won, an impressive fly control and grooming package worth $1,000 in Farnam products.

“I didn’t realize I was going to get so much,” she says. ‘”I’ve been in horses since I was six years old and have always used Farnam products. When I opened the prize box, I realized I used most of them already. But there were some products I’d never tried before, so that was cool.”

Of course, another big part of the win was that Maxwell would have a professional photo session so his image can be used in upcoming advertisements for Farnam’s ever-popular SuperMask® fly mask.

“I told Maxwell, ‘you’re going to be a model,’ and he is a horse who wants to have his photo taken. He has a look about him,” says Stephenie. “I’ve always loved spending time pampering and grooming him, so this is proof it’s worth it.”

“A well-cared for horse doesn’t happen overnight. We appreciate that it takes hard work, total commitment and a lot of love,” says Martha, adding that plans are in the works for the 2020 contest.

Horse-Centered Life

Stephenie has shared her life with horses ever since she was a young girl. Growing up, she team roped and was very involved in rodeo. Although reining and reined cow horse competition always appealed to her, she just didn’t have the right horse. At least, not until recently.

Four years old at the time, Electric Java, was a rich sorrel Quarter Horse gelding with a striking blaze and a kind eye. He was talented, sound and personable. Although he’d only been shown once or twice at that time, the horse had a big stop and was impressive. It didn’t take more than one ride for Stephenie to fall in love.

Electric Java goes by the barn name of “Maxwell” and the duo has been making their mark in the show world. “When you take him in the show pen, he wants you to be happy with him,” says Stephenie.

Stephenie rides as a non-pro, so their accomplishments have taken time and she gives all the credit to her “consistently amazing” horse. Maxwell has a laid-back personality and nothing seems to faze this handsome gelding. His personality endears him to everyone who meets him. An accomplished competitor, he’s definitely successful, but it’s more than that.
“He’s gentle with dogs, kids, and my minis; I have four miniature horses and he thinks he’s one of them,” laughs Stephenie. “If he could have a job of being groomed and photographed, that would be his job. He loves the attention. He’s a pet, but he’s not annoying, or at least not to me!”  

“It took a long time to find one like him,” she says happily. “I have owned enough horses to know he’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse and a dream come true!”
 
Article provided by Farnam. To enter this year’s SuperMask SuperModel contest, visit www.farnam.com/SMSM2020 and submit your entry before the July 17, 2020 deadline. Only one entry allowed per person. Contest winner to be notified on or about August 21, 2020.

 
June 2020 - Bad Things In Good Hay
Written by CRM
Thursday, 28 May 2020 04:15
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That “weird thing,” hay steaming, cures a debilitating cough.

Lynda Goodfriend’s new horse, Brooke, was fine for the first month after arriving in the Los Angeles area from Oregon last fall. “Then all of a sudden she started coughing a little bit when she went to work,” says Lynda, a dressage enthusiast. “It got worse, with a lot of nasal discharge. Then, it got much worse and she really could not take a step without severe coughing.”

The mare’s vet first suspected a common cold and treated it as such. That didn’t help. Neither did the next step: steroids to suppress inflammation. Environmental allergies were the next cause considered, but even if that was identified as the culprit, the only cure -- moving Brooke to a different area - was not an option. Lynda works full-time and needs to be relatively close to her horse in order to have time to enjoy her.

 


“Ultimately, I decided I had to be the one to figure it out,” Lynda shares. Hay was the recurring theme in her research into allergies. The mare had been on orchard grass, as she had been in Oregon. A switch to timothy hay that appeared to be cleaner and less dusty reduced the mare’s cough a little, but not enough. “Then I read about the Haygain Hay Steamer, and It all made sense. And if nothing else, it sounded like the hay would taste better and be healthier.”

 

“She has gotten much better,” says Lynda of her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Indoctro. The previously severe coughing reduced to one or two sputters at the beginning of exercise. Those went away when Lynda added an extra step of wetting the shavings in Brooke’s stall to dampen the dust they produce.

Indeed, hay and shavings are the biggest contributors to poor air quality inside the barn. Even hay that looks good and has high quality nutrient content can be loaded with breathable irritants. These microscopic bits of dust, mold, bacteria and allergens can nestle deep in the lungs. The body’s inflammatory response kicks in and all the sudden an otherwise perfectly health horse is not breathing easy anymore.
    

What’s That Weird Thing?

Multiple studies show that over 80% of active sport horses have some degree of respiratory challenge, often without obvious symptoms. An occasional cough, a slower respiratory recovery rate and unexplained poor performance can be early indicators of a problem. As conditions on the Equine Asthma Spectrum are becoming better understood by veterinarians and owners, Haygain’s high temperature hay steaming is emerging as an effective method for treating, managing and preventing diseases of the upper and lower airway.

A full-time career as a college professor prevents Lynda from getting to the barn every day. Her groom has found it easy to incorporate daily steaming and Lynda handles it herself on Sundays. “It’s quite simple to do.”

Along with significantly helping her horse, hay steaming has raised some eyebrows from her fellow dressage enthusiasts at the barn. “They can be quite opinionated,” she laughs of barn friends who asked, “What is that weird thing you are doing?” But the pleasant scent of freshly steamed hay has made them fans and the mare’s response attests to its benefits.

Brooke’s vet is impressed with how the mare has improved on steamed hay. Lynda is happy and relieved. “It was so hard to see her suffering and miserable,” Lynda says of her “amazing” horse. And, based on how Brooke takes to her hay, “It must taste as good as it smells!”

Article provided by Haygain. For more information, visit www.haygain.us.

 
May 2020 - Riding’s Unique Challenges
Written by by Hailey Esses
Wednesday, 29 April 2020 05:01
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Every month should be Mental Health Awareness Month

by Hailey Esses

Being an equestrian is a physical sport: we jump, we fall, we kick, we trot, we canter. However, riding animals that weigh over 1,000 pounds is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport.

 


The month of May celebrates Mental Health Awareness from May 18-22. During this month, we can provide support for others, educate ourselves, and advocate to end the stigma associated with mental illness.

As an equestrian, I understand that there are many reasons why someone may suffer from fear or anxiety surrounding the sport of riding. Some struggles related to an equestrian’s mental health can include perfectionism, being judged, a previous fall or injury, advancement to another level, and pressure to please parents or trainers, among many others.

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Darby Bonomi, a sport and performance psychologist based out of San Francisco. She is also an equestrian and mother to three children, including two equestrians. Bonomi understands the sport from all different angles: as a mother, rider, and professional. She has had years of experience helping riders of all levels improve their performance and providing support for mental wellness. Bonomi has ridden for over 40 years as she started riding when she was 10. She competed in the indoor circuit when she was younger and now competes in amateur owner hunters, equitation, and medals.

Bonomi assists equestrians of all disciplines by providing individual coaching as well as clinics. She helps juniors, amateurs, and professionals bring their best efforts to the ring.

Bonomi works with a lot of teenagers and, according to her, 20-25% of teenagers at any given time are suffering from an anxiety disorder. Many competitive equestrians are hard working, expect a lot from themselves, push themselves hard to be the best in everything they do, and have very high standards for themselves. They are also very tenacious and willing to put in the work rain or shine. Perfectionism is the most common struggle Bonomi sees in teenage equestrians. Although a certain amount of perfectionism can be good, a certain level can get in the way and can become a weight rather than a motivator.

Author Hailey Esses is a hunter, jumper rider and competitor who trains with Elvenstar. 

According to Bonomi, performance has three aspects: technical, physical, and psychological: 90% of performance is psychological, which consists of both thinking and getting yourself “into the zone.”

Equestrians can be anxious about making mistakes, pleasing their trainers, and not living up to a certain standard rather than focusing on the moment, their horse, or the task at hand.

“One of the ways I try to turn that around is by really focusing on just riding your horse,” Bonomi said. “There is a shift in perspective from thinking about making mistakes to riding your horse to the best of your ability on any given day, owning your ride, and being present.”

In other words, ride the short or long distance to the best of your ability without winning being the only goal.

Additionally, preparing yourself to ride is as important as being focused while riding.

“It is really important to clear our minds, be calm and centered in our bodies, be present, and be able to generate that zone quality where we are focused and ready to perform,” Bonomi said.

Riding as a Progression

It is also important to keep the big picture in mind and stay psychologically healthy. One way to do this is to think of riding as a progression towards an end goal on a continuum and to consider where riding fits into your life rather than focusing on short term winning or losing. Another piece of advice she gives is to allow 10-15 minutes to be upset after a disappointment, and then to let it go, move on, and fix it; you should be in a progessive mental state without being punitive or degrading yourself.

According to Bonomi, the level of anxiety in teens is very high, and the rate of teenagers that are suffering from an anxiety disorder is slightly higher than the adult rate.

“I believe that we as adults need to help reduce this level of stress because it is not good for the brain or the body,” Bonomi said. “It is up to adults and parents to help lessen stress and give a broader perspective.”

Some of Bonomi’s favorite ways to help reduce stress and anxiety include mediating, practicing relaxation breathing, being with her horses, and other forms of exercise. Some of the skills from meditating such as being present and mindful can even be useful while riding.

Riding is not only an individual sport because barn dynamics and having a supportive team are very important in relation to riders’ mental health. According to Bonomi, having a team atmosphere and a sense of camaraderie will improve mental health on an individual level and for the barn as a whole.

Trusting an animal that weighs over 1,000 pounds can be scary, but realizing that I will not always have control can be even more frightening. Mindful riding helps me focus on the moment and spurs my best thinking. As an equestrian, I have learned to deal with disappointment: I may not always ride the easiest horse; I may fall and get injured; I may ride a horse that gets hurt before a medal final. These scenarios have all happened to me, but I have learned that anything worthwhile is going to require me to keep working hard in all aspects of riding, both psychological and physical, despite the obstacles.

We as an equestrian community should come together and support each other. We can all take the extra steps to be our most present and mindful selves, as every month should be Mental Health Awareness Month.

 
April 2020 - Horses Shaking Their Heads
Written by article provided by Signal-Health LLC
Tuesday, 31 March 2020 23:22
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Researchers still scratching theirs as to why.

article provided by Signal-Health LLC

Four studies into why horses shake their heads and how best to manage or control this behavior have explored the question yet not found an acceptable answer. The condition has both welfare and economic implications for the horse and its owner since euthanasia is sometimes thought to be the only cure or solution.

 


First, let’s define the problem. Equine headshaking is a normal, involuntary defense system designed to rid the horse’s neck and face of annoying and potentially pathogenic or disease-causing flies. Since there is little to no threat of flies in the dark, the winter or when the animal is in motion, a healthy horse will shut down this protective system in order to conserve the energy the shaking motion requires.

 

Some horses, however, exhibit headshaking – usually vertical and often quite severe – even when there are no flies present. This condition has frustrated owners and baffled veterinarians, scientists and researchers for some time. Because the cause remains unknown, an effective cure has been elusive.

Let’s take a closer look at the latest findings of four studies into equine headshaking.  Please note that this research deals specifically with idiopathic headshaking. That means other possible physical causes have been ruled out, such as ear mites, otitis interna, injury, ocular disease, guttural pouch infection, dental problems and sinusitis.

Article 1. Trigeminal Nerve Root Demyelination Not Seen in Six Horses Diagnosed with Trigeminal-Mediated Headshaking. Published May 15, 2017 in Frontiers in Veterinary Science by authors Veronica L. Roberts et al.

The authors found that no histopathological abnormalities were detected on microscopic examination of the trigeminal nerve root, trigeminal ganglion, infraorbital nerve and caudal nasal nerve in the headshaking horses. In fact, no histological differences were detected between samples from headshaking and normal horses.
 
Article 2. Alterations in Metabolic Status and Headshaking Behavior Following Intravenous Administration of Hypertonic Solutions in Horses with Trigeminal-Mediated Headshaking. Published June 25, 2018 in Animals: MDPI by authors Shara A. Sheldon et al.

Changes in blood components (pH, electrolytes) are known to affect nerve pain.  To investigate this more, three different fluids with varying pH and electrolytes were given in the vein to horses affected with trigeminal-mediated headshaking. 

IV injection of hypertonic sodium bicarbonate solution produced some beneficial but short-lived effects.  The authors concluded, “Further investigations of changes in electrolytes that might affect nerve firing should be explored.”

Article 3. Trigeminal-mediated headshaking in horses: prevalence, impact, and management strategies. Published January 20, 2018 in Dove Medical Press by Veronica Roberts.

While this article provides an excellent overview of the prevalence and impact of trigeminal-mediated headshaking and a detailed description of its symptoms, it explores no cause and offers management strategies rather than treatments or cures. The nose net was recommended as the first treatment to try because it is cheap, non-invasive, risk-free, and is allowed in most competition at most levels.

Article 4. Intravenous infusion of magnesium sulfate and its effect on horses with trigeminal-mediated headshaking. Published January 22, 2019 in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine by authors Shara A. Sheldon et al.

Administering IV magnesium sulfate was credited with having reduced headshaking by 29%; however, the improvement lasted only for two hours.

Although research is progressing, there is an easy and effective option for horse owners now.

Again, let’s assume that all other possible physiological causes of trigeminal-mediated headshaking have been eliminated and we’re dealing specifically with idiopathic headshaking.

It’s frightening, sad and unnecessary to think that euthanasia is the only cure when a simple 10-day treatment is effective and is available at a very affordable cost, with a full guarantee.  Equiwinner is a patented, non-transdermal patch. It serves as a natural electrolyte-balancing system that restores normal blood pressure and healthy circulation in the headshaking horse.  Both are necessary to end headshaking.

It’s safe, effective and easy to use. One single treatment can be effective for months, even up to one full year, when used as directed although severe cases may require additional treatments.

Equiwinner patches contain only natural balanced electrolytes. Nothing goes into the horse’s body – it simply recognizes the electrolytes in the patches and responds to them. There are no side effects and Equiwinner will never test positive in any competition, race, event or sport.

Since electrolytes are involved in every physiological process in the body, when you restore them to perfect health, several conditions disappear including bleeding, tying-up, anhidrosis and headshaking. Proper electrolyte activity will also keep horses hydrated and improve their general performance and health.

To learn more about electrolytes and their effect on horse health and performance, visit https://signal-health.com or call toll-free: 877-378-4946.

 
August 2019 - ProElite
Written by CRM
Friday, 02 August 2019 02:22
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Ultra-Premium horse feed now available across the U.S.

For horse owners focused on performance, choosing the right feed can make all the difference. Now, horse owners across the U.S. have access to the best horse feed line on the market. ProElite® feeds, the market’s first ultra-premium horse feed, give horse owners the confidence they need to win.

 
May 2019 - Show Horses Jump for Joy!
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 04:45
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Specially formulated versions of original shine and health supplements keep competitors clear of drug testing rules.

Cheval International, the creators of Color Enriching horse supplements such as Black-As-Knight, Gold-As-Sun, Red-D-Vinity, and White-As-Snow, makes all Cheval products in a non-testing Show Horse Formula.

 
September 2020 - True Colors
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 21:20
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Keep colors true and leather soft with Farnam® Leather New® Total Care 2 in 1.

When you want your true colors to shine, look for a cleaner and conditioner that keeps all of your leather soft, supple and looking brand-new.

Farnam, your partner in horse care™, is pleased to introduce Leather New® Total Care 2 in 1, a convenient new leather cleaner and conditioner in one. The innovative formula safely cleans and conditions all colors of tack without stripping dye from dark leather or darkening light leathers. With no silicones, waxes or petroleum distillates, the formula even keeps stitching looking new.

 


Leather New® Total Care, with its avocado oil-based formula, simplifies the leather care routine by cleaning and nourishing in one simple step. The creamy, mess-free texture rubs in easily to clean away dulling dirt and grime and reveal the leather’s natural shine. Conditioners work deeply into the leather to restore moisture and elasticity to older leather and help break-in new tack.

 

The go-anywhere formula comes in a compact bottle that is small enough to fit in tack bags for quick and easy touch-ups. Leather New® Total Care is also versatile enough to clean and protect nearly any type or color of leather, from equestrian tack to boots and purses, to furniture and car seats.

Like all the nourishing Leather New® leather care products, Total Care 2 in 1 keeps leather looking new and feeling soft for a lifetime.  For even deeper cleaning and conditioning, look for our two-step system of Leather New® Easy-Polishing Glycerin Saddle Soap and Leather New® Deep Conditioner & Restorer.

For a limited time, horse owners can find $2 off instant savings coupons attached to the product in retail stores, or at www.farnam.com.

To learn more about Leather New® Total Care 2-in-1 and the complete line of Farnam® grooming products, visit www.farnam.com. Press release provided by Farnam.

Founded in 1946, Farnam Companies, Inc., has grown to become one of the most widely recognized names in the animal health products industry and has become one of the largest marketers of equine products in the country. No one knows horses better than Farnam. That’s why no one offers a more complete selection of horse care products. Farnam Horse Products serves both the pleasure horse and the performance horse markets with products for fly control, deworming, hoof and leg care, grooming, wound treatment and leather care, plus supplements. Leather New, Farnam and your partner in horse care are registered trademarks of Farnam Companies, Inc.

 
September 2020 - Respiratory Health
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:53
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Every breath horses take affects every move they make.

by Kim F. Miller

“Respiratory health is essential to performance,” stresses Dr. Emmanuelle Van Erck Westergren of a key focus at her Equine Sports Medicine Practice in Waterloo, Belgium.

The prominent veterinarian and thought leader spent 15 years engaged in equine health from a University-based perspective. She then left academia to apply that knowledge in private practice, immersing herself in a 360-degree perspective on horse management. Equine Sports Medicine Practice specializes in high performance horses and prioritizes prevention and career longevity.

 


“I want to help horses compete successfully over a whole season and a whole career,” Dr. Emmanuelle explains. Accomplishing that involves working with owners to evaluate and implement best management practices related to every aspect of their horse’s health. Respiratory function is critical to that, yet often under-appreciated and misunderstood. Worse, warning signs of trouble are easily missed or misinterpreted.

 

That’s why Dr. Emmanuelle welcomes the chance to speak on equine respiratory health, as she did here with journalist Kim F Miller.

Kim: How is the equine respiratory system different from a human’s?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Several factors contribute to the horse becoming deficient in oxygen even in sub-maximal levels of exercise. This state is called hypoxemia. In man, oxygen levels stay the same during all levels of exertion.

Kim: What are those factors?
Dr. Emmanuelle:

  1. Horses breathe only through their nose. There is no communication between the oral cavity and the airways. Think about exerting yourself while only breathing through your nose.
  2. Their narrow upper airway and the long distance from there into the lungs makes it that much harder to move the column of air in and out. It’s “dead space” because nothing happens to the oxygen during the trip. It is only transferred to the blood stream when it gets into the lungs.
  3. Horses breathe in and out at the same rate as their gait. As they canter or lope, they inhale in suspension, and exhale when their first foreleg hits the ground. Standardbred trotting horses have an advantage because, if they become oxygen deficient, they can take a big breath over several trot steps. A Thoroughbred racehorse is limited because they can’t compensate with a big breath over a few strides. They have to breathe in and out with their stride. As they become oxygen deficient, they have to breathe more often, which means shortening their stride.
  4. Horses bodies are over 60% muscle and muscles demand a lot of oxygen. By comparison, muscle mass for a “normal” 18-40-year-old man is 33% to 39%.
  5. Horses have a higher heart rate and that faster circulating blood means it doesn’t stay anywhere long enough to output all the oxygen it carries.

Kim: Will the horse’s ability to intake and use oxygen improve as his fitness improves?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Unfortunately, no. The horse’s muscle and heart function adapt and improve with conditioning, but the oxygen capacity of its respiratory system does not. Human performance is limited because we have small hearts. Horses have big hearts that get bigger and can pump more blood with conditioning, but their performance is still limited because the respiratory system can’t deliver enough oxygen to the muscles.
Because of all the limitations, even a little bit of inflammation or obstruction anywhere in the respiratory tract has a big impact on performance.

Kim: How often to you see sport horses with some type of respiratory disease?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Too often! We have tracked 400 cases in which horses were referred to our practice for poor performance.  Between 50% and 80% had some degree of respiratory disease. Eventers had 100% and international show jumpers had 85% at the high end, while driving and leisure horses were at the “low” end with 50% affected.  In a study published last fall, we found that 88% of 731 horses referred for poor performance had Inflammatory Airway Disease, a range of conditions on the milder end of the Equine Asthma Spectrum.

Kim: Do owners typically recognize poor performance issues as related to respiratory health?
Dr. Emmanuelle: No. Most of the complaints were very unspecific. “Feeling heavy” is a top complaint. Heavy breathing, breathlessness, lack of energy and slow recovery times are more common complaints. Owners seldom noted coughing or nasal discharge, which are more clear symptoms of respiratory problems.

Kim: What are some of the biggest risks to respiratory health?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Respiratory diseases fall into the category of Equine Asthma, a relatively new label in veterinary medicine. Some horses have a genetic predisposition for it, but otherwise it is an occupational disease. Environment, stresses of training and competition which can lower immunity, and mingling with other horses are all risk factors for Equine Asthma.

Kim: How do you figure out what’s causing the problem?
Dr. Emmanuelle: I look at the horse and his environment. We do measurements of dust levels and samples of contaminants. Some are easy to see. Have you seen someone sweep dust from the barn aisle, then stash that in the horse’s stall? Or seen mold stains on barn walls or ceilings?
A condition called Sick Building Syndrome exists in human medicine and it can apply to horses, too. They may not be coughing or having nasal discharge, but they clearly don’t feel well. That can often be linked to the amount of contaminants growing inside the building.
Horses were designed to live outside, but many horses spend 23 hours a day in the barn. Living inside, they’re exposed to 50 times more inhalable irritants! Even if they live outside, if they’re getting hay with contaminants, it’s still a problem.

Kim: Does weather affect the amount of contaminants to which horses are exposed?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Yes. Europe experienced particularly warm weather this year, and earlier in the spring than normal. That corresponds to a record number of respiratory cases, as did record pollen levels with record numbers of asthmatic patients.
A Canadian study found a correlation between the temperature and humidity and worsening symptoms of equine asthma. And global warming is having an effect because there is a shorter or non-existent period when there is a layer of frozen ground. That all affects the number of contaminants, including fungi, mold and bacteria found in soil, in which hay or straw is grown.

Kim: Fungi sounds especially nasty and dangerous.
Dr. Emmanuelle: It is. Fungi, which is the same as mold, can be very allergenic because it has proteins that can trigger a very strong reaction. It can become infectious and start to grow inside the horse’s airways. That process can produce toxins and irritations to the respiratory mucosa, which can ultimately affect the throat muscles. Fungi can also trigger inflammatory responses that manifest as rhinitis and sinusitis.
The role of fungi is not yet broadly recognized in the veterinary world. When a fungal infection is suspected or diagnosed, current treatments often include corticosteroids to address inflammation. Those further depress the immune system, enhancing the opportunity for fungal infection.
In our study of 731 horses referred for suspected respiratory issues and/or poor performance, 88% were found to have Inflammatory Airway Disease. Horses with fungal elements in their airway were 2.1 times as likely to have IAD.
In a study we did on sport horses, we detected a link between fungi in the airways and the likelihood of Exercised Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage: a horse is seven times more likely to bleed from the lungs, through the nose, during extreme exertion when they have fungi in the airways. In the United States, this could get a lot of attention as racetracks are in the process of phasing out Lasix, the medication that reduces EIPH.

Kim: That’s a lot of bad news. How can we protect our horses from these microscopic assailants?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Assess and improve your horse’s environment!

  1. Make sure there’s ventilation in the barn. That means circulation and renewal of the air. If there’s no renewal, moisture will accumulate and foster contaminant growth. Cobwebs indicate there isn’t enough ventilation because spiders won’t make them where there’s any breeze.
  2. Reduce dust: the fine dust that can be inhaled and lodge in the airways and deep in the lungs.
  3. Look for signs of mold on walls, everywhere and especially on walls near stored hay.
  4. Look at floor mats: specifically, what is growing between and underneath them. Urine accumulation can make it really dangerous and gross. It’s awful for horses and people. Stables don’t have to be sterile, but they do need to be clean.

Kim: What about hay & bedding?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Both play a big part in respiratory health. I strongly advise all my clients to get a Haygain Hay Steamer because it reduces up to 99% of the fine, respirable particles and kills fungi, bacteria and yeast in hay. Ample scientific studies demonstrate the benefits of killing the fungi/mold. It hasn’t been studied yet, but I think killing the bacteria has a positive impact on horses’ digestive function. I would like to look into that.
When it comes to preventative medicine, Haygain is something that speaks for itself over time. That’s why you don’t see many hay steamers for sale second-hand. Once horse owners adopt it, they don’t go back.
As for bedding, first consider flooring that can be disinfected. Then, wood shavings are better because wood contains terpene, which is a natural anti-septic. Cardboard and paper shavings are cleaner options. Straw, on the other hand, can foster bacteria and fungal growth.

Kim: What about homemade hay steamers?
Dr. Emmanuelle: Not an option. Temperatures need to reach the range of 212°F (100°C) to kill bacteria and fungi. Steaming at lower temperatures actually serves as an incubator for contaminants.
This happened with a dressage horse referred for coughing while exercising. Using an over-ground endoscope, we found he had an obstruction in his upper airway. Determined to help their horse, the owner had made their own hay steamer. What happened, though, was putting contaminated hay into what was, in effect, an incubator. It wound up culturing fungus to the highest level, to where the fungus produced neurotoxins that affected the muscle function and resulted in the obstruction.

Kim: How receptive are horse owners toward these preventative measures you recommend?
Dr. Emmanuelle:As a sports medicine practice, we work mostly with high level competitors. It has taken a while to educate our clients. As we treat horses year to year, if we are always treating the same problem, I like to review the management over going first for medications. As horses do better over the long term, the results speak for themselves.

Kim: Thank you!!

Dr. Emmanuelle Erck van Westergren. Photo: Wilhelm Westergren

 
July 2020 - Trailering Tips
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 05:28
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Hit the road with respiratory health on board.

The horse world is cautiously getting back on the road as competitions re-emerge on summer calendars. Productive horse people likely spent some of the pandemic doing horse trailer maintenance: checking breaks, tires, interiors, hitches and electrical connections.

Those critical aspects of safe equine transport tend to get a lot of attention. Horse’s respiratory health merits equal consideration because it can be badly compromised during trailering.

 


Competition itself has enough variables, notes Virginia-based two-time World Equestrian Games eventer Lynn Symansky. “They really increase when you combine those variables with respiratory issues horses can pick up while travelling. Especially when you are traveling with multiple horses in the trailer. You already have dust from shavings and bedding, plus whatever is coming in through the open windows. When each horse grabs and pulls hay from their hay net, it can be worse.”

Hay is mostly a good thing for traveling horses. Having something to munch on keeps them occupied, which helps reduce general travel stress. Chewing and digesting food keeps stomach acids at bay, lowering the risk of ulcers that often accompany that stress.     

From a respiratory health standpoint, however, hay can be harmful in the trailer or van. That’s because even hay that has good nutrient quality and looks clean can be loaded with inhalable irritants. Dust, mold spores, bacteria and other allergens are not limited to hay that looks and smells bad. These are the main triggers of conditions on the Equine Asthma Spectrum that affect a surprisingly high percent of the equine population.

When these microscopic bits lodge in the airways, an inflammatory response to foreign objects kicks in. This can restrict the upper airway and impede the transfer of oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream. That’s never good for the horse’s welfare or performance, and it’s especially bad when heading to a show.

Before hitting the road, Lynn’s crew steams their horses’ hay in a Haygain Hay Steamer. The high-temperature steaming process rids hay of up to 99% of the dust, mold, bacteria and allergens found in all hay. Putting clean hay in the trailer is especially important because the hay sits right in the horse’s breathing zone for the duration of the trip.
    
Heads Up: Not Healthy

Eating hay from an elevated position is already problematic, notes Kentucky-based veterinarian and dressage rider Dr. Wren Burnley, DVM. Eating from the ground is nature’s design for allowing the horse to clear inhaled material from its airways. They can’t do that in the trailer.

Opening vents and windows is important for ventilation during travel, although that can also disperse breathable bits further within the trailer. (Use a fly mask or other protective gear to guard the horse’s eye and face from anything that might fly in the window, Dr. Burnley notes.)  Stopping for rest breaks every four hours is the conventional wisdom for long trips. If a safe place can be found to unload the horses, letting them drink or graze with their heads lowered will help them clear their airways.

Castle Larchfield Purdy, the 2016 Olympic eventer, always travels with steamed hay, says Andrea Bushlow, who works with his rider Lauren Billys. That’s true whether they are making a relatively short trip for routine veterinary check-ups or the long haul from California to Rebecca Farms in Montana.

In the early preparation for making a second Olympic appearance, “Purdy” was diagnosed with a mild case of Inflammatory Airway Disease. This surprisingly common condition on the Equine Asthma Spectrum intensified eventing’s already rigorous physical challenges and slowed his respiratory recovery rate. Since the diagnosis, steamed hay has helped Purdy return to top form -- so much so that he is qualified for the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics. “He always travels with steamed hay,” Andrea notes.

In this time of heightened awareness about airborne respiratory risks, Haygain Steamed Hay offers the assurance of greatly reduced respiratory risks for travelling horses.

For more information on Haygain Hay Steamers and Haygain’s ComfortStall Sealed Orthopedic Flooring, visit www.haygain.us. Article provided by Haygain.

 
July 2020 - Signs of a Healthy Horse
Written by by Tom Lenz, DVM, M.S., DACT
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 04:35
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Ten daily minutes assessing your horse is time well spent.

by Tom Lenz, DVM, M.S., DACT

I tell veterinary students that to recognize a sick or lame horse, they need to look at a lot of healthy, sound horses. Horses vary, but there are signs of general good health that apply to all.


Attitude - Healthy horses are bright and alert, and interested in other horses, you and their surroundings. They will roll occasionally, especially after being turned out, but always shake the dust off after rolling. A horse that rolls over and over and often looks at its side might be experiencing signs of colic. Contact your veterinarian.

Appetite - The No.1 sign of an infectious disease like influenza or West Nile virus is the horse has a decreased appetite or refuses to eat. In some cases, teeth problems may prevent eating, so to differentiate, take the horse’s rectal temperature. An adult horse at rest should have a body temperature of 99 - 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above that level can indicate an active infection. The normal temperature range for a foal is 99.5 - 102.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

Eyes and noses - Your horse’s eyes should be clear, fully open and clean, not cloudy or discolored. Any indications of an unusual discharge or a dull glazed appearance should be looked into by your veterinarian. The nostrils should be clean and free of excessive mucus. However, it is normal for a horse to have a trickle of clear liquid from the nostrils.

Weight and body condition - You should ensure that your horses maintain optimum body condition and not let them get too fat or too thin, as each presents health risks. Use the Henneke Body Condition nine-level scoring system to evaluate your horse’s body condition. A body condition score of 4-5 is ideal.

Hair coat - A shiny, glowing coat is a sign of good health that comes from meeting the horse’s nutritional requirements and frequent grooming. A dull coat can be a sign of poor nutrition, parasites or general poor health.

Vital signs - It’s important that you know your horse’s vital signs, as they are early indications of a problem. If the horse is excited or it’s a hot/humid day, heart and respiration rates can be slightly elevated:
•    Heart rate: 28-44 beats per minute depending on the horse›s size.
•    Respiration: 10-24 breaths per minute.
•    Mucous membranes: The horse›s gums should be moist and a healthy pink.
•    Capillary refill time: If you press your finger firmly against the horse›s gums, the point of pressure should return to a pink color within one to two seconds.
•    Intestinal sounds: Gurgling, gas-like growls, tinkling sounds and occasional roars are normal. No intestinal sounds or decreased intestinal sounds can be a sign of colic.

Manure and urine - A healthy horse will pass manure eight to 12 times a day. Urine should be wheat-colored and either clear or slightly cloudy.

Hydration - The average horse drinks between five and 10 gallons of water a day, depending on exercise level and weather conditions.

Legs and feet - The horse should stand squarely with its weight evenly distributed over all four feet. Slightly raising and taking the weight off a hind leg is normal, but not for a foreleg. Your horse’s legs should be free of bumps, swelling, cuts or hair loss. There should be no heat in the horse’s feet.

A quick evaluation of your horse can be done in less than 10 minutes. Check him daily so you will know what is normal and what is not.

Article provided courtesy of AAEP and AAEP Alliance Partner, AQHA. About the author: Thomas R. Lenz, DVM, M.S., Diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, is a trustee of the American Horse Council, past chairman of AQHA’s research committee and past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

 

 
July 2020 - Gut Issues
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 04:04
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Colic comes in many forms and has many, often indeterminate, causes.

Colic could certainly be labeled as the most common health concern in the modern horse. In a 2017 report by Pet Plan Equine, colic was reported to be the third most common insurance claim for adult horses, superseded only by arthritis and ulcers. Combine ulcers and colic into “gut health” claims, and you will conquer the greatest insurance claim race.

 


To further the pain, the average cost of a colic incidence is about $2,000 and the maximum cost, with lengthy surgery and recovery, can climb up to $10,000.

But what is colic? Even though we tend to treat colic as an illness in itself, it is actually a clinical symptom. Yes, the definition of colic is “pain of the abdomen.” There is obviously a plethora of things that can cause abdominal pain so there are many types of colic. These commonly include impaction colic, displacement or entrapment, gas colic, sand colic, strangulation colic, enteritis, and idiopathic (unknown cause) colic. We can define these as follows:

Impaction colic: Impaction occurs when forage, sand, dirt or other material gets lodged in the colon, causing the horse to be unable to pass manure and putting a halt to the whole digestive system. Impaction can also be caused in some cases by enteroliths, naturally occurring mineral deposits that can reach up to 15 pounds in size.

Displacement or entrapment: This occurs when the large colon moves to an abnormal location. Often this occurs at the pelvic flexure, an area where the colon narrows and makes a sharp turn. In some cases, displacement can also lead to entrapment, where something traps the gut and can cut off blood supply.

Gas colic: Mild abdominal pain can simply be the result of gas buildup in the horse. This can be caused by a change in diet, low roughage consumption, parasites or administration of wormer.

Sand colic: Sand colic is caused by the abnormal consumption of large amounts of sand while grazing or eating off dry, sandy ground. Upward of 80 pounds of sand have been found in a colicking horse’s gut.

Strangulation colic: A twist occurring in the gut causes strangulation colic, which often cuts off blood supply and results in dying tissue. This type of colic is one of the most serious and can be fatal.

Enteritis: Abdominal pain can be caused by enteritis, the general inflammation of the gut. This inflammation is most commonly caused by colonization of the gut by pathogens (bacteria or viruses).  

Idiopathic colic: The majority of colic cases are idiopathic. This means the cause is unknown or unable to be determined.

Common General Symptoms

Most types of colic have a few general symptoms in common. These include restlessness, pawing, frequently rolling and lying down, looking back at the flank, lack of appetite, inability to pass manure, sweating, increased respiration rate, kicking at the stomach with hind legs, and overall discomfort.

If you notice a horse exhibiting these symptoms, without resolve, a veterinarian should be called. The veterinarian may ask you to walk the horse, withhold feed, or possibly administer an NSAID, such as Banamine. However, do not medicate the horse without first speaking to a veterinarian. The many faces of colic make it difficult to understand what exactly you are dealing with. The vet may be able to ask questions to determine more about the instance of colic and determine the best course of action and if a visit is required.

Prevention is ideal but challenging at best. Think about yourself; it is difficult to prevent a stomachache entirely. However, there are some things you can do to limit the chance of colic developing. This is no different than preventing a stomachache by not drinking spoiled milk or eating a whole package of cookies!

First, make sure the horse has easy access to fresh, clean water. If horses are housed individually, make mental notes on how much water the horse usually drinks in a given amount of time. This will help you determine if there is a change in water consumption, which could indicate a potential problem.

Provide good quality forage as the major component of the diet and limit the intake of grains to the smallest amount required. Also, if you plan to change the horse’s diet, make changes gradually. This will allow the microbes in the gut to adapt to the changes and help ensure proper digestion.

Try to limit the amount of stress put on the horse. Allow as much time in the pasture or paddock as feasible, and allow them to move freely, socialize and graze. Stress is likely one of the most common causes of colic. Stress causes release of the hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands, which can cause colic, ulcers and diarrhea.

Lastly, providing digestive support to the horse can reduce the risk of colic. Digestive supplements can enhance gut health to improve digestion and limit interruptions of the microbes in the gut. One example is Vitalize® Equine Digest More Plus, a daily supplement with Amaferm®, BioZyme®’s proprietary prebiotic, to enhance the good gut microbes and MOS, a beta-glucan, to eliminate pathogens.

In addition to a daily supplement containing prebiotics and/or probiotics, a concentrated single-use product, like Vitalize Equine Recovery Gel, can also provide support to the gut in desperate times. Vitalize Equine Recovery Gel is designed to be used as a preventative against digestive upset from any changes in the horse’s routine, diet, or environment that cause stress. Administer Recovery Gel anytime your horse is under stress, or at the first signs of digestive upset, for a happier, healthier horse.

Article provided by BioZyme®. For more information, visit www.vitalizeeq.com.

 
May 2020 - Equine Asthma: New Term for Old Problem
Written by by Drs. Kathleen Ivester and Laurent Couetil, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
Wednesday, 29 April 2020 05:05
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May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month

by Drs. Kathleen Ivester and Laurent Couetil, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine

For nearly as long as horses have been domesticated, the relationship between barn confinement and respiratory disease in the horse has been recognized.

This relationship is intuitive, especially when we consider that deep in the lung, where the blood takes up oxygen, the barrier between the outside air and the horse’s circulation is as thin as a couple of cells.

 


The surface area of this gas-exchange region of the lung has on average a surface area of 2,500 square meters (26,900 square feet), equal to nearly half a football field. The response of the lung’s immune system to inhaled air results in a number of diseases in both humans and horses. Many of the occupational respiratory diseases in humans are associated with agriculture due to exposures to organic dusts. Dusts in agricultural settings, including the horse barn, are rich in substances such as endotoxin and fungi that can drive inflammation.

 

Depending on when the conversation took place, horse owners consulting their veterinarians will have heard many terms applied to this problem: broken wind, heaves, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), bronchiolitis, small airway disease, recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), inflammatory airway disease (IAD), and most recently, equine asthma. Along the way, distinctions have been drawn between those horses that develop difficulty breathing at rest (heaves, RAO, severe equine asthma) and those that do not (IAD, mild equine asthma). While potentially leading to confusion for the horse owner, the changing terminology actually reflects improvements in veterinary knowledge.

While the term COPD was applied to reflect the obstruction or blocked airflow that can occur in severe cases, this term was discarded due to the differences with the human disease. In humans, COPD is mainly a consequence of cigarette smoke and is characterized by structural changes within the lung that are absent in the horse. While the terms ‘recurrent airway obstruction’ and ‘inflammatory airway disease’ are descriptively accurate, they are not necessarily terms that immediately help the horse owner to understand the disease process.
    
A More Relatable Term

Due to its many similarities with the human disease, the term ‘equine asthma’ has most recently been adopted. Like human asthma, equine asthma is triggered by inhalation of dusts that contain allergens and other irritants, and like human asthma, the cough and difficulty breathing can be reversed in the short-term by medications, often delivered by inhalers, or in the long-term by removal from the offending dusts. Also similar to asthma in humans, the response of the horse’s airway to inhaled dusts can vary widely. In some highly susceptible horses, inhalation of even small amounts of dust in the barn environment or airborne allergens (e.g. pollen, molds) at pasture can cause severe inflammation and difficulty breathing due to the accumulation of mucus and narrowing of the airways. There is no known cure for these ‘severely asthmatic’ horses, and they require special management for the duration of their life span.

In other horses, the inflammation is milder, with occasional coughing and decreased performance. Respiratory problems in these ‘mildly asthmatic’ horses often become apparent only when the horse is asked to perform athletically and may resolve over time. Those horses with mild asthma do not necessarily go on to become severely asthmatic.

While susceptibility varies widely, any horse (or person) exposed to enough dust will develop inflammation in the airway. In the case of stabled horses, dust exposure is mostly due to hay. Those horses with severe asthma often require that hay be completely removed from the diet and that the horses be removed from confinement to the barn altogether.

In the milder cases, decreasing the dust released from hay by soaking or steaming may improve airway health. As soaking has a number of draw backs, high temperature steaming is becoming the preferred method to reduce exposure to the dust from hay. At Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine we use a Haygain hay steamer which, has been shown to reduce respirable dust by 98%.

Article provided by Haygain, manufacturers of Haygain Hay Steamers and ComfortStall Orthopedic Sealed Flooring. For more information, visit www.haygain.com.

 
May 2020 - Q&A: Managing Arthritis in Horses
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 29 April 2020 00:12
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Understanding horse arthritis treatment and horse joint health.

Thoroughbred mare, Tiz Cha Cha, never traveled balanced to the left. When she would collect in dressage or frame over a jump, she would become aggressive with ears pinned, relentlessly throw her head or rear up dangerously. Her behavior was chalked up to being a “hot” off-the-track Thoroughbred; however, a series of X-rays revealed what the human eye could not see -- a C1 fracture of the vertebrae, nearest the poll, causing her significant pain from bone-on-bone contact and arthritis.


What is equine osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease?

 

Equine degenerative joint disease (DJD) is often referred to as equine osteoarthritis (OA). This chronic disease causes degeneration of the joints and results in pain, inflammation and reduced flexibility. Any joint in a horse’s body can be affected, and all horses regardless of age, breed or discipline can be impacted. It is estimated that OA is responsible for up to 60 percent of all lameness in horses.

Do different equine sports affect specific joints?

Although any horse in any discipline can be affected by OA, there are common themes and joint problems that occur in the varying equine sports. Such as for cutting and reining horses, who have greater impact on their hocks and stifles causing them to have heightened OA risk to these joints. Additionally, hunter jumpers are more likely to have front limb lameness in the coffin or fetlock joints. Any joint that is more significantly used on a horse increases its likelihood for developing OA.

What causes arthritis in horses?

•    Trauma to the joint
•    Conformation
•    Age
•    Improper shoeing

What are the signs of arthritis in horses?

•    Limping or lameness in single or multiple joints
•    Warm-to-the-touch, swollen or painful joints
•    Reluctance or difficulty standing, walking, trotting or cantering
•    Stiffness or decreased movement of joints

Photo: Shutterstock

What can I do if I think my horse has arthritis?

If you suspect your horse is suffering from joint pain, request an examination from your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can perform a lameness evaluation, during which he or she may also recommend other diagnostics for a clear diagnosis. Should OA be diagnosed, ask for information about treatment for the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

How will my veterinarian make a diagnosis of OA in my horse?

In addition to observing your horse during a routine lameness examination, your veterinarian has several diagnostic tools available for determining whether your horse has arthritis, including:

•    Radiographs
•    Fluoroscopy
•    Nuclear scintigraphy
•    CT
•    MRI
•    Nerve and joint blocks
•    Ultrasound
•    Thermography

Can equine osteoarthritis be cured?

While there is, unfortunately, no definitive cure for OA in horses, the pain and inflammation associated with equine osteoarthritis can be treated.

What are horse arthritis treatment options?

Treatment for equine OA focuses on alleviating pain and inflammation in the joint, allowing horses to have improved mobility. Ask your veterinarian for more information about treating the pain and inflammation associated with equine osteoarthritis. Your veterinarian may recommend prescription medication for your horse, such as Equioxx, Adequan i.m., Legend or Surpass Topical.

How can joint health problems in horses be prevented?

•    Incorporate horse arthritis supplements to help maintain joints and cartilage.
•    Prioritize hoof care and keep horses on a regular trim schedule. Learn more about horse hoof care from a lifelong horse farrier.
•    Keep horses at optimum weight and avoid obesity, which stresses the joints.
•    Offer quality nutrition for strong bones and healthy cartilage.
•    Ride on softer footing and limit work on hard surfaces.

Look to veterinarian-founded, veterinarian-owned Valley Vet Supply for products that support horse joint health.

Article provided by Valley Vet Supply. For more information, please visit www.ValleyVet.com.

 
February 2020 - Chisholm’s Story
Written by CRM
Saturday, 01 February 2020 22:14
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health

How Wellpride Omega-3 For Horses helped an OTTB heir to Secretariat find his stride.

Todd Pletcher knows a good horse when he sees one.  

So when a two year-old chestnut gelding named Chisholm, by WinStar Farm’s Congrats (AP Indy/Secretariat) out of the Bold Ruler-bred Icy Warning, entered the racing stable’s program after consigning for nearly half a million dollars at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale, the seven-time Eclipse Award Champion Trainer and 13-time Leading Trainer at Saratoga was pretty sure he had another star in the making.

 


But Chisholm, aka “Busy Chizzy,” had a different destiny in mind.

 

“His racing record doesn’t nearly reflect the quality of horse he is or what they thought he would be. They truly thought he would be a graded stakes horse,” says Sarah Coleman, of Lexington, Kentucky, Chizzy’s owner since 2014 and director of community and public relations for the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, a nonprofit racehorse rehoming organization focusing on rehabilitating, retraining and rehoming retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses.
 
Finding a New Home for “Busy Chizzy”

Chisholm raced twice – at Saratoga and Belmont – and earned $7,000 before retiring as a three year-old with a small bow to his left front tendon. He was donated to New Vocations, whose program leads the nation in racehorse adoptions (over 500 horses from 30 different racetracks are helped annually at facilities in KY, LA, NY, OH, PA). Several former Pletcher trainees are among its success stories.

“I adopted Chizzy the day after my birthday,” she says. “Both the Kentucky facility director, Melissa King, and Kelli Cross, who oversees some of the rehabbing, had been telling me about him since he came into New Vocations. They said he was silly and kind and lovely – and that I should go see him. Then Anna Ford, the Thoroughbred program director, called me up and literally said, ‘Go get that horse!’

“I am so thankful they insisted I bring that silly beast home.”
 
No Stranger to OTTB Horses

Sarah was no stranger to off-track Thoroughbreds. Growing up in a small farming town in northeast Ohio, she “pretty much rode anything anyone would let me swing a leg over,” and her first horse was an OTTB. “It was all my family could afford. It took time to win that horse over but from him I learned that, once a Thoroughbred gives you its heart, it’s yours forever. That horse not only taught me how to ride but to ‘feel’ a horse. I fell deeply in love with the breed and have never owned another.”

She was competing as an adult amateur in equitation and three-foot hunter classes but her then-OTTB partner, Bayou Brass, was aging, and her trainer, Nori Scheffel, encouraged her to find a new project.

Rehabilitating “The Little Horse”

“I had never owned a young horse. It took some getting used to.” The skinny, slab-sided colt his adopters had nicknamed Little Horse weighed barely 1,000-pounds and had no shoulder to speak of. “I always felt like my saddle was too far forward and I was sitting behind his ears!”

Indeed Chizzy was silly and kind and lovely, but still no more than a three year-old off the track, and that, she knew, came with its own set of instructions.

“At the track, horses are stalled 23 hours a day and only taken out to work and walk. When a horse comes off the track it is generally harder to get them used to turnout than to a new job as a riding horse. Chizzy was no different. He was what we call a ‘stall baby.’ He LOVED his stall and LOVED to sleep. He can nap like no other horse I have ever known.”

In Kentucky the weather is mild enough that many horses, including those at elite breeding barns, traditionally live outside 24/7. A “free range” environment proved a big adjustment for her stall baby: “I had to watch Chizzy like a hawk when I put him in a stall to eat, because as soon as he was done he would fling himself down and have a nap, knowing I was too much a sucker to wake him up to go back outside.

“Now he loves living outside. He’s dubbed ‘the welcoming committee,’ as he loves to show other horses in the field: Here’s the water, here’s the best grass, here’s the neighbor’s cows. He’s hilarious!”

She also credits his ability to move and graze 24 hours a day as equally instrumental to his health and wellbeing as his nutrition. Which has always included Wellpride omega 3 supplements for horses.
 
An EPM Diagnosis

“Chizzy has been an interesting horse and a very quick study. When I got him in 2014, we worked on all the basics. He also began to grow quite rapidly as a four- and five-year-old. So much so that he would fall off his leads behind, in both directions.”

As a four-year-old, he was also diagnosed with EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis), an evasive neurologic disease that affects the central nervous system. “This played into why his lead issues were difficult to diagnose as something more than a neurological deficit.”

Enter Sarah’s “amazing” veterinarian, Dr. Martha Rodgers of Shepherd Hill Equine, an expert in equine lameness and acupuncture whom she credits with “helping me through so many weird, horse things including EPM in both my horses.”

“After Chizzy recovered from the EPM,” Sarah says, “she felt his lead issues were caused by weak stifles, from growing so rapidly, as he had no other physical issues.“

Dr. Rodgers’ prescription to strengthen Chizzy’s hind end included lunging on hills, cavaletti and trot pole work, and backing. But after months of work he was still falling off his leads.

“She suggested injecting his stifles,” says Sarah, who had never owned a horse that needed a joint injection. “Even my 22 year-old, who raced until he was nine, jumped three-foot courses for years and never had a joint done!”
 
Supporting Stifle Treatment with Fish Oil

When Dr. Rodgers injected Chizzy, she also suggested putting him on fish oil, specifically Wellpride™, America’s number one fish oil for horses. In contrast to most equine omega supplements, Wellpride contains high levels of EPA and DHA (which have potent anti-inflammatory benefits).

“Dr. Rodgers noted how stifle issues treated with fish oil responded particularly well,” Sarah says, “and, since that one injection years ago, Chizzy has never needed another.  

“Now he gets two ounces of Wellpride with his feed every day. I think it took about 60 days to see the difference,” she says. But once the transformation began, Chizzy was the equine equivalent of the Incredible Hulk. “Not only did he go back to work and feel like a million bucks, he really started to pack on the weight! I think the injections and fish oil made him feel better so he worked better; and the fish oil allowed him to absorb more nutrients from his feed.

“I am not kidding when I say that I get compliments on his weight and size every single time I take him off the farm. People are even more impressed when they learn he is an OTTB and, even though he grows a very thick winter coat because he lives outside, even as a hairy monster his coat is healthy and shiny!”
 
The Happiest Horse

Sarah is proud to report that, in 2020, Chizzy will celebrate his ninth birthday, standing 16.3 hands high and tipping the scales at just over 1,300 pounds.  

The former Little Horse also has a new nickname: The Happiest Horse in the World.

“Because he loves everything,” Sarah says. “Kids, dogs, cats, ponies, puppies, foals, people, food, you name it.” And that includes Wellpride.

Find the Wellpride pair (“If all goes as planned!”) showing at the World Equestrian Center in Ohio, and at Kentucky’s New Vocations All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show, and Thoroughbred Incentive Program Championships, although Sarah laughs, “I run that one so there’s no time to show too!”
 
Learn more about Wellpride Omega-3 for horses at www.wellpride.com. Press release provided by AHP.

 
August 2019 - Preparing For The Unpredictable
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 31 July 2019 20:24
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health

Mind Body Vault offers exercises for injury prevention, with a focus on the core and spine.

As horse lovers, we know all too well, and have a much more literal appreciation for the mainstream motto: “you’ve got to get back into the saddle.” We equestrians have a wholehearted understanding that we have signed up for a sport in which there is always going to be an element of unpredictability. Horses, no matter how trustworthy and disciplined, have a reactive nervous system of their own, so it is best to be prepared for it all.

 

 
May 2019 - Prevention vs. Repair
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 04:43
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health

Preventing problems is much easier than fixing them.

The teamwork of tendons, cartilage, bone, soft tissue, and joint fluid are essential for proper joint function. A flaw with any of these working parts can create discomfort in the joint and predispose the joint to further damage.

 
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