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Having Trouble With Head-Shaking In Your Horse? May 26 2015

Electrical nerve stimulation shows promise in treating head-shaking

British researchers have reported some success in treating headshaking in horses through electrical nerve stimulation using a probe beneath the skin.

Veronica Roberts and her colleagues carried out their study on seven horses diagnosed with trigeminal-mediated headshaking.

There are currently no consistently safe and effective methods for treatment of the problem. In the condition, the trigeminal nerve is sensitised, appearing to result in neuropathic pain. This can result in headshaking.

The researchers employed what is known as Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS) therapy, a minimally invasive treatment used in people to manage neuropathic pain.

The seven horses were sedated before undergoing treatment. A tiny area of skin was desensitised with local anaesthetic to facilitate probe insertion.

A disposable PENS probe was advanced beneath the skin under ultrasonographic guidance to sit next to the nerve.
The nerve was stimulated for 25 minutes following a protocol of alternating frequencies and a perception threshold based on human clinical data.

The probe was then removed and the procedure repeated on the other side.
Each horse underwent a series of three or four treatments, with treatments being repeated when signs of headshaking recurred.

All horses tolerated the procedure well, the researchers reported in their findings, which have been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Equine Veterinary Journal.
Three horses developed a haematoma at the site on one occasion and two had increased clinical signs of headshaking for up to three days after their first treatment.

Six horses showed a positive response to their first treatment, returning to ridden work at the same level as before the onset of headshaking, with five continuing to respond.

The median remission time for the first treatment was 3.8 days, with the horses ranging from 0 to 7 days.

The median remission time increased with each treatment. It was was 2.5 weeks after the second treatment and 15.5 weeks after the third treatment, with some of the horses enjoying relief of up to 24 weeks.

The fourth and final treatment provided a median remission time of 20 weeks. The return of headshaking for five of the horses ranged from 12-28 weeks, with two of the animals getting ongoing relief.

The researchers concluded that PENS therapy was a safe, well-tolerated, minimally invasive, repeatable management option for trigeminal-mediated headshaking. It proved effective at easing clinical signs in the short to medium term, which was encouraging, they said.

Roberts, from the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol, was joined in the research by W.H. Tremaine, who is also from the university; and N.K. Patel, from the Institute of Neurosciences at Southmead Hospital Bristol.

By V.L.H. Roberts, N. K. Patel and H. Tremaine
Neuromodulation using percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the management of trigeminal-mediated headshaking; a safe procedure resulting in medium term remission in five of seven horses.

Educational Resource October 06 2013

Equus Easy To Follow Charts To Help You To Help Your Horse


Body Language Chart

Bone & Joint Problem Chart

Tack Safety Follow Guide

 Medication Basics

If you'd like us to send you the original PDF version as high resolution to keep in a file, please email and we'd be delighted to email you back....info@equestrian-living.com

Deworming Your Horse The Correct Way by Midge Leitch VMD October 06 2013

Good Timing = Fewer Problems

The best time to deworm is after breakfast or lunch (unless you’re mixing the medication with food). The taste of deworming medicine can put horses off their feed, so if you don’t want to risk the chance of your horse skipping a meal, feed him first. Some horses experience colicky, uncomfortable signs in reaction to the medicine, so giving it earlier in the day allows you more time to look for these signs and monitor any problems that might arise. There is no contraindication to exercise, however, so it’s fine to deworm before you ride—just give your horse time to swallow the medication before tacking up.

Also avoid deworming immediately after bringing your horse in from turnout. If he comes in thirsty and doesn’t have a chance to drink before you administer the medication, the taste may make him hold off from drinking even longer, increasing the risk of dehydration.

Deworming medications are not effective when given in an inadequate dose, so always err on the side of giving more rather than less of the recommendation for your horse’s weight. One easy way to estimate your horse’s weight is with a weight tape, available through feed and tack stores. Also be aware that the average ­syringe contains enough medicine for a 1,200-pound horse, which is less than many of today’s warmbloods weigh. So, if your horse is on the larger side, part of an additional syringe may be in order. Consult your veterinarian, who may suggest that, because deworming medications are very safe, even at higher-than-recommended doses, you should administer the dose for an additional 250 pounds (usually one mark on the syringe) more than you think your horse weighs.

When it comes to foals, smaller ­ponies or miniature horses, overdosing can become a problem, so you should always consult your vet before determining the appropriate dose, and be sure during the actual administering that an overdose does not occur.

Parasite control is a critical component of your horse’s overall health-care plan. You probably have a system for what type of deworming products to give your horse and when, but it won’t be effective if you can’t get the correct dosage into him. With all but the most saintly of horses, administering paste dewormers without getting yourself and the stall splattered with paper-mâché-like goo takes a little strategizing.

MIx It Up
If your horse is uncooperative about swallowing the paste from a syringe, try mixing it in a bucket with yogurt or applesauce, and offer it to him when he’s hungry and no other food is available in the stall. If he doesn’t eat all of it immediately, mix something else tempting—an apple, carrot pieces, molasses or a little sweet feed—with the remaining portion. To be properly protected, he needs to clean most of the mixture up within a day. If he doesn’t, wait a few days and then start over with a new full dose.

How Much Is Enough?
1. Deworming medications are not effective when given in an inadequate dose, so always err on the side of giving more rather than less of the recommendation for your horse’s weight. One easy way to estimate your horse’s weight is with a weight tape, available through feed and tack stores. Also be aware that the average ­syringe contains enough medicine for a 1,200-pound horse, which is less than many of today’s warmbloods weigh. So, if your horse is on the larger side, part of an additional syringe may be in order. Consult your veterinarian, who may suggest that, because deworming medications are very safe, even at higher-than-recommended doses, you should administer the dose for an additional 250 pounds (usually one mark on the syringe) more than you think your horse weighs.

When it comes to foals, smaller ­ponies or miniature horses, overdosing can become a problem, so you should always consult your vet before determining the appropriate dose, and be sure during the actual administering that an overdose does not occur.

2. It’s also a good idea to have a little extra medication on hand, in case more ends up on the outsides of your horse’s lips or on the ground than you expected. These drugs are not effective when given in small amounts over a period of time. The whole dose must be administered in one sitting. So if he doesn’t swallow his full share within one day, wait a few days and start over with a new plan—and another full dose.

Say ‘Ahhhh!’
3. It’s much easier for your horse to spit out the paste when he can combine it with a wad of food. So before administering the medication, check to be sure that he has no hay, grass or grain in his mouth. Holding the side of his halter with one hand, gently pull his lips back on the opposite side with a finger (being careful to keep it clear of his teeth) to check for food. Repeat on the other side of his mouth.

4. If you feel comfortable, encourage him to open his mouth by pressing a finger in the gap between his incisors and molar teeth, where the bit goes. On the opposite side and with your other hand, reach through the gap in the teeth to grasp his tongue. Gently pull it to the side and look into his mouth for food. Never apply excessive tension to the tongue, as it can result in permanent damage to the tongue’s nerves. If your horse resents your pulling on his tongue, LET GO!

If you spot any food, this manipulation probably will compel him to finish chewing and swallowing it—or spit it out—in the next moment or two. Make sure there’s no food available for him to grab. If he doesn’t appear to be swallowing the food, carefully try to grasp the hay and remove it, steering clear of his teeth.

At this point, you should have a good idea of how your horse feels about having things put into his mouth. Most horses are fairly comfortable with the idea and, consequently, relatively easy to deworm. However, the occasional horse will take great exception to this process. Some hate it so much they’re downright dangerous. Life’s too short to risk your life for this simple purpose. If your horse throws his head violently or refuses to stand quietly, consider mixing his dose with food instead (see “Mix It Up” at left).

Down the Hatch
Where exactly you inject the medication depends on your horse. Some swallow it wherever you squirt it. Some do better if you put it on their tongues; others do better if you squirt it back between the cheek and molars. A few are so adept they spit it out regardless of where you put it. (For those types, consider mixing the dose with food.)

It may take some experimentation to find out which place works best for your horse. In any case, when you put the ­syringe in his mouth, be careful not to poke his lips or bump his teeth or gums, which can make the experience less pleasant for him—and harder to tackle the next time you deworm. Below are two techniques for administering the paste.

5. Begin by holding his halter with one hand and sliding the tip of the syringe gently into the corner of his lips, between his molars and incisors. Inject the paste directly onto the tongue, squeezing a small amount out at a time (leaving the syringe in his mouth as you pause), allowing your horse to swallow between—or …

6. Slide the syringe back between the molars and cheek and squirt it toward the back corner of his mouth. Again, squeeze out only a small amount at a time. If you use this method, be especially careful to avoid bumping his teeth, which can be very annoying to most horses.


After completing her large-animal surgery residency and serving as a staff surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center in 1980, Midge Leitch, VMD, DACVS (Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons) opened a referral practice in which she developed a specialty in performance-limiting problems in racehorses and sporthorses. In the following decades, she traveled extensively with the US Equestrian Team, including trips to three Olympics and multiple World Championships. She returned to New Bolton Center in 2005 as a radiology clinician, assuming responsibility for equine diagnostic imaging, including digital radiography, MRI and CT.

Horse: Embryonic & Post-natal Development October 03 2013

The Amazing Creation Of Life

Average gestation period is 11 months (320-365 days). Fertilisation rates during natural mating are high - up to 90%. However, an estimated 30-40% of pregnancies are lost within 2 weeks.
Pre-implantation Embryo
• Zygote
Fertilized egg; one-cell embryo. At ovulation mature oocytes enter oviduct where one or two of them become fertilized. After ovulation, equine embryo spends first 6 days in the oviduct, near the ampullary-ischmic junction of that organ. The early embryo is surrounded by tough transparent acellular membrane called Zona pellucida. One unusual feature of early equine embryogenesis is the polarity and opacity of the oocyte and zygote. Fertilized egg starts its journey toward uterus, while unfertilized eggs are left behind.
• Cleavage
By day 2, the embryo reaches 4-cell stage.
• Morula
By day 4, the embryo reaches the morula stage, a compact mass of 16-32-cells (called blastomeres); it resembles a cluster of mulberries with two types of cells, outer cells and inner cells. At this stage the embryo is elongated (in contrast with cow and pig embryos, which are spherical).
• Early Blastocyst
6-7 day post-ovulation. Embryo is about 0.14 mm in diameter. The horse embryo reaches the uterus as an early spherical blastocyst, which represents a hollow ball, which has two distinctive tissues: the outer layer of trophoblasts (trophectoderm) that gives rise to extra-embryonic tissues, and the inner cell mass (ICM), which gives rise to the embryonic disc and eventual embryo proper. In horses, the ICM remain much more dispersed than in ruminants and pigs and fill much more of the space within the distinct palisade of trophoblast cells. This makes it more difficult to distinguish between morulae and early blastocysts in horses. At this stage one of the most prominent features of equine embryonic development becomes noticeable: an unusual acellular glycoprotein capsule that forms between trophectoderm and Zona pellucida. The function of the capsule is not well understood, however, the position of the capsule at the maternal-fetal interface suggests that it is likely to play role in the maternal-fetal signaling to establish and maintain pregnancy (maternal recognition of pregnancy).

The capsule is essential to embryonic survival. The development of the capsule is of practical significance: it makes cryopreservation and micromanipulation of the embryo very difficult.

• Expanded Blastocyst
• 7-8 days post-ovulation. At this stage, the embryo shed its Zona pellucida (hatches) and is enveloped only by the capsule. The capsule maintains the spherical shape of the conceptus throughout the first 6-8 weeks (in contrast with cow and pigs, whose embryos elongate dramatically at this stage) and is essential for continuation of early equine embryogenesis until at least day 21st. Until implantation, the encapsulated conceptus exchanges essential signals with the mare by moving throughout the uterus in response to myometrial contractions.
• Yolk Sac
The yolk sac is formed by endodermal tissue which emanates from the inner cell mass and expands spherically, lying just under the outer trophectoderm layer. The resultant two-layered structure can be first observed by day 10 to 11 and persists, in ever diminishing size throughoutpregnancy. Thus, during the first 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy, equine placentation can be described as choriovitteline. Growth of the embryo is especially rapid between days 11 and 16 (from about 4 mm in diameter at day 11 to about 20-30 mm at day 16).
• Mesoderm Formation
Mesoderm begins its development from embryonic disc between the endodermal and ectodermal layers at about day 14. The resultant three-layered structure develops spherically from the region of the inner cell mass toward the embryonic pole. The process is accompanied by vascular development. At this period, fully distended equine conceptus differs from the somewhat flaccid, wrinkled elongating conceptuses of pigs and ruminants.
• "Fixation"
The conceptus is about 20-30 mm in diameter. At about 16 to 17 day post-ovulation, the mobility of the conseptus is brought to an end, and the conceptus becomes "fixed" at the site of eventual placentation. The glycoprotein capsule becomes flaccid, which reflects the loss of sialic acid. At around day 18 the capsule ceases to grow and begins to attenuate, raptures at about day 21 and completely disappears by day 23. The fixation coincides with the proper orientation of the embryo. It is still relatively easy to recover the intact conceptus transcervically from the standing mare at least until about day 35 (in no other domestic species can entire conceptuses be obtained from the uterus so easily and non-traumatically).
Post-implantation Embryo
• Choriollantoic Placenta
Developing embryo is surrounded and protected by 2 membranous sacs: innermost is calledamnion, and outermost is called chorion. The chorion evolves into the fetal contribution of the placenta. Allantois, an extra-embryonic membranous sac, derived from the yolk sac, arises from the hindgut of the embryo and expands toward abembryonic pole (opposite to the embryonic pole where the primordial embryo is located). An exocoelom develops at the area of advancing allantois and the retreating yolk sac. 

By about day 30, the area of this exocoelom, which encircles the embryo, takes on a characteristic appearance. This area is very avascular and varies in width from one to several millimeters. It is known as the chorionic girdle. The cell of the girdle are highly proliferative and begin to invade the maternal endometrium between days 36 and 38 where they phagocytize maternal epithelial cells and continue to migrate, penetrating the basement membrane of the maternal epithelial cells to the stroma, where they locate between the uterine glands.

Here they differentiate and hypertrophy to become matureendometrial cups, large raised structures that protrude above the uterine endometrial surface. At about this time the heart beat is detectable by ultrasound.
Organogenesis - Development Of The Horse
• Day 40
The 3/4 inch embryo within embryonic vesicle has 4 legs, head, eyelids, rudimentary ears, ridges where the nostrils will be, and functional elbows an stifle joints.
• Days 50-55
The embryo is now slightly over an inch long, nesting within the 3-inch vesicle. Tiny ribs under skin are recognizable; domed head has developed a distinct skull; ears are visible; the hock and fetlock joints have developed. Umbilical cord is developing. At this stage, the embryo becomes a fetus.
• Day 60
The fetus is about 2 1/2 inches long (the size of a hamster). Because of the development of hooves it starts to resemble a horse. Its head is still tucked, but less so than before. The fetus is hairless.
• Day 100
7-inch fetus is about the size of a 6-week old kitten. It has a little hair on its lips; its now 1/2 inch ears are unfurling from its head.
• Days 120-150
Gaining more than a pound every 10 days, the fetus now is about the size of a rabbit. It has hair on the chin, muzzle, and eyelids with eyelashes. Umbilical cord is fully developed.
• Day 180
The fetus has quadrupled its weight in just 30 days. Mane and tail hairs have appeared; it's about the size of a Beagle. Hair grows over the body. External sex organs form.
• Day 240
Now about the size of a small lamb, the fetus has whisker-like hairs on its chin, throat and muzzle. Mane grows; hair grows along the spine.
• Day 270
Fetus now looks like a foal: fine haircovers its body, and it now has a swatch of hair on its tail. It's about the size of aGerman Shepherd. It lies on back, ready to turn over into position for birth.
• Day 320
In the last week or so, the fetus's lungs have developed to the point that they can function; its legs have strengthened so that they can support is weight; and its hair has coarsened. Teeth show through gums. Head rests between forelegs. The fetus is in final position and is ready to be born. Forelegs and head of foal emerge first.
Post Natal
• Neonate
First 1-2 weeks. Foal is born with its eyes open. The newborn is characterized by large head, short face, small mouth, short body, soft wooly coat (milk hair); long legs with soft hooves are wide apart for stability. Foals are precocious developers and, unlike calves or fawns, which tend to lie in undergrowth, can gallop with their dams within a few hours of birth. Foals begin to engage in exploratory trips away from the dam with other foals between one and two months of age.
• Foal
Under 1 years old. By 4 months of age smooth adult coat replaces milk hair. Hooves grow and harden. Cannon bone is longer. Juveniles are weaned at about 7 months. Body develops adult proportion and withers become higher than croup.
• Juvenile
Less than 4 years old. A female horse is called filly and ungelded male horse is called colt. Sexual maturity is attained at about 1-2 years; successful breeding usually does not occur until 2-3 years of age.
• Adult
The horse older than 4 years old. A female horse is calledmare and ungelded male horse is called stallion. Castrated male horse is called gelding. The domestic horse today has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years.
*A fetus, also spelled foetus, fœtus, faetus, or fætus, is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.

Funny Horses September 23 2013

Love Life With Laughter

Thought it time we gave you some humour with a selection of images we found to be fun and light-hearted...we can't take life too seriously every day.

CAPTION: "I think my teeth are better than yours, mama!"

CAPTION: "Love is in the air"

CAPTION: "Incredibly true!"

CAPTION: "Yes, this is my winter coat...I think it's rather stylish"

CAPTION: "Can we sneak into bed, do you think?"

CAPTION: "Nice bottom!"

CAPTION: "Flying high, and i'm not letting go!"

CAPTION: "Hey I bought these in the sales, what do you think?"

CAPTION: "Time for a hug...come on give me a cuddle!"

CAPTION: "There's always one awkward bugger, isn't there!"

CAPTION: "Who said we have to be perfect?"

CAPTION: "That's me, for sure!"

CAPTION: "We like to line dance, it's what we do best!"

CAPTION: "Women's Rights!"

Horse Riding Terminology September 23 2013

Simple Terms
Terms vary from country to country and in different disciplines  

A Hack
A ride out of a school environment, encompassing walk, trot, canter and sometimes gallops. Either done alone or in a group.

An area where you exercise or compete a horse. Usually 20 by 40 metres or 40 by 60 metres. Markers on the school allow riders to move their horses around in exercise or competition. Letters are laid at several points so A is usually where you begin, C is the opposite end of the centre line with markers dotted around. You’ll hear things like, ride in walk from A to F then trot from F to M down the long side of the school.

The equipment that is placed on a horse so you are able to ride it.


• saddle

• bit

• girth

• bridle

The terms for getting on and off of a horse.

Measurement of how big a horse is. A hand = 4 inches roughly.

Above The Bit
A horse is above the bit when the horse evades the riders aids by raising his head above the level of the rider’s hands. Being above the bit reduces the amount of control the rider has over the horse.

Behind The Bit
Behind the bit refers to an evasion to the bit, where the horse holds his head behind the vertical, thereby decreasing the rider’s control.



Gait - The name of the various ways a horse moves.

Walk - A 4 beat gait usually the slowest of the horse’s movements. The formation usually takes left hind leg, left front leg, right hind leg, right front leg. Three legs are usually on the ground while one is elevated during the walk. The head moves in rhythm to the beats.

Trot - Trot is a two beat gait. The legs move in diagonals so the right rear and left front move together as the left rear and front right move together. This gait is faster than a walk. It’s also very bouncy.

Sitting trot is where the rider sits to the trot so remains in the saddle. This may sound easy to do but it is a very bouncy gait.

Rising trot is where the rider rises and falls to the beat of the trot. So as one pair of legs move the rider is rising and they sit briefly when the other pair are moving. This is also known as posting in Western riding.

Riding on the trot diagonals is used in a school. So if you’re riding on a clockwise circuit you’d be riding on the left diagonal and counter clockwise you’d be riding on the right diagonal. Your bum should be in the saddle when the inside hind leg is on the ground and out of the saddle when the inside foreleg is on the ground to free up the shoulder.

Canter - Canter is a 3 beat gait. During the canter there is a point where all legs are suspended. It begins with a strike off leg, known as the leading leg, and the formation is like follows: 

• The grounding phase of the outside rear leg. So if clockwise in the school would be the rear leg closest to the edge of the arena in this case the left rear leg. 

• Grounding phase of the inside rear and outside fore leg. The inside foreleg is off of the ground and the outside rear leg is about to be lifted.

• The grounding phase of the inside foreleg. The outside foreleg and inside hind leg are about to be lifted and the outside hind leg is off the ground.

• The inside hind leg and outside foreleg are lifted off the ground. The inside foreleg is the only leg supporting the horse’s weight.

• The inside foreleg is lifted off of the ground.

• Suspension. The horse has no legs on the ground.

Gallop - The gallop is faster than a canter and is a four beat gait. It’s very similar to the canter yet there is an extra beat. It is faster and covers more ground.

2 Point seat - The two point seat is the way a rider sits during galloping and sometimes in an uphill canter. The rider effectively is raised, with their entire weight fixed into their lower leg that must stay steady in the stirrups while leaning over the horse’s neck. It allows the horse to push its hindquarters beneath itself which is required for galloping.

Action - Action refers to the movement of the horse’s legs, such as running, trotting, competing, etc. Viewing a horse in action is helpful to anyone interested in the dynamics of horse motion.

Airs Above the Ground - Airs above the ground refer to classical high school dressage movements. Airs above the ground are performed by highly trained horses, where either the front legs of the horse or all four legs of the horse are off the ground. Airs above the ground include the levade and the capriole.

Amble - An amble is a type of gait of a horse means to go at a slow, easy pace. The amble type of gait is a slower form of the lateral pacing gait. The amble type of gait is smoother for a rider and may be sustained for long periods of time, making the amble gait desirable for trail riding.


A discipline that is often called horse ballet. A set of movements, either in a test or choreographed by the rider in a freestyle test. The horse does various movements both natural and unnatural.

Test and Freestyle Test
A test is a scripted set of movements that is scored on how well the rider and horse accomplish the movements. A freestyle test is usually set to music and is created by the horse’s rider to show off the horse’s gaits and movement.

Cross country
A course of jumps set up in a countryside type environment. It is usually timed and penalties occur if a horse knocks a fence and also if the run is not done within required time. These penalties are known as faults. Usually four faults for every fence down and one fault for every second outside of the time.

Show jumping
A set of jumps set up within an arena to test the horse’s ability to jump. Like Cross country it is timed and fences down cost faults.

Long rides over varying terrane over long distances.

Dressage discipline undertaken by disabled riders. There are five grades at international level, IA being the most severely disabled and Grade IV being the least disabled and comparable to intermediate dressage.

Para show jumping
Show Jumping undertaken by disabled riders. 



Aids - Aids are signals or cues by which the rider communicates his wishes to the horse. Aids may be natural aids or articial aids. Natural aids include the use of hands, legs, seat, weight, and voice to influence a horse. Artificial aids include whips and spurs, which may be used to reinforce the natural aids.

Artificial Aids - Artificial aids are mechanical means by which the rider conveys his wishes to the horse. Artificial aids include whips and spurs, which may be used to reinforce the natural aids.

Crop/whip - An instrument used by the rider to back up the leg. So, if your horse is not responding to a leg aid, you squeeze and tap with a crop. A crop is smaller while a schooling whip is larger.

Riding hat - A protective helmet wore by riders. Even professional riders wear riding hats in disciplines such as Show Jumping and Cross Country but not necessarily in dressage.

Jodhpurs/boots - Jodhpurs are long stretchy pants wore by riders with panels sewn into the inner leg where the leg rests on the saddle. Jodhpur boots are short boots often wore with jodhpurs.

Breeches - Breeches refers to knee-length, fitted, often skin-tight, riding pants worn with tall English boots. There are multiple styles of breeches including knee patch breeches, full seat breeches, and jockeys’ breeches. Modern day breeches have velcro or zipper fastenings, versus the old buckle fastenings

Leg - A term used when squeezing your horse or telling your horse to do something with your leg. Riders often hear, “put your leg on” and it usually means your horse needs more impulsion.

Impulsion - A horse that is going forward.

Bridle - The bridle is an item of equipment worn on the horse’s head. Bridles enable the rider to communicate his wishes through use of the bit and the reins. The bridle includes both the headstall that holds a bit as well as the reins. There are many styles of bridles including English, working and stock, Western, and specialty.

Bridoon - A bridoon refers to a snaffle bit used in conjunction with a curb bit. A bridoon is used in a double bridle. The bridoon is a modified snaffle bit, and is adjusted so that it is above and behind the curb bit.

Seat - Using your bottom muscles to issue signals to your horse. Or, when in canter, we say in your seat which means you’re going with your horse’s rhythm and not bouncing around.

Billets/Billet Straps - Billets, also known as Billet Straps, are leather straps by which the girth of a horse is attached to the saddle. Billets are found on English saddles.

Bat - A bat is an artificial aid by which the rider may emphasize and back up the natural aids of seat and legs of a horse. A bat is used to encourage reluctant or lazy horses to move forward

Brushing Boots - Brushing boots are an item of horse equipment used to protect the horse’s legs from injury due to brushing. Brushing boots are often seen on horses doing fast work, such as jumping, or when the horse is in training or competition. Most brushing boots are made of a synthetic material or leather. Brushing boots can also be used on horses in the field, to prevent injury if a horse gets overexcited and brushes itself.


Additional Terminology:

Akhal-Teke - The Akhal-Teke is an ancient horse breen from Turkmenistan, north of Iran and east of the Caspian Sea. The Akhal-Teke horse is known for speed and endurance on long marches. The Akhal-Teke horse breed have a golden buckskin or palomino color, long ears, almond-shaped eyes, is lightly muscled, and has a flat croup and long, upright neck.

Anhidrosis - Anhidrosis is a condition in which the horse has a limited ability to sweat. Anhidrosis, or dry coat, varies by horse, randing from a mild or unrecognizable lack of seating to an absolutely inability to sweat. In severe cases of Anhidrosis, horses that quit sweating risk brain damage or even death from a lethal increase in body temperature. While the cause of anhidrosis is still unknown due to little research completed on the disorder, anhidrosis is a serious problem.

Anthelmintics - Anthelmintics is a name given to the various deworming medications used to control equine internal parasites.

Ascarids - Ascarids are intestinal worms typically found in foals. Ascarids, also known as roundworms, may cause weight loss, diarrhea and/or colic. Immunity to Ascarids develops with maturity.

At Grass - At grass refers to a horse that has been turned out in a paddock or field. Turning your horse out to grass should be done gradually, as an abrupt change in feed is liable to cause colic or founder. When your horse is at grass, be sure to keep an eye on your horses by checking for heat in their hooves, elevated pulses, or ‘parking’, where the horse’s hind legs are far out behind him.

Back at the Knee - Back at the knee, also called ‘calf-kneed’ is when the horse’s leg appears to bow backwards at the knee. Back at the knee is serious because it places additional strain on the tendons running down the back of the horse’s lower leg. Horses experiencing back at the knee, a serious conformation fault, may be prone to bowed tendons and suspensory injuries. If your horse is back at the knee, keep shoeing simple (no grab effect) and keep your horse’s foot carefully balanced.

Back-breeding - Back-breeding, or breeding back, is the practice of breeding back to a certain stallion to preserve a particular desirable trait. Breeding back is controversial, as the practice of breeding back is a human attempt to assemble or re-assemble the genes of a breed.

Banged tail - A banged tail refers to a horse’s tail which has been trimmed level at the bottom. A banged tail is seen in dressage horses and hunters horses, but not in Arabian horse breeds and western pleasure horses.

Barrel - The barrel of a horse is the main body of the horse enclosing the rib cage and major internal organs between the forelegs and the loins.

Bars - The bars of a horse refers to the fleshy area in a horse’s mouth between the front and back teeth, where the bit rests. The bars is a toothless gap between incisors and molars in the horse’s mouth.

Bascule - Bascule refers to the natural round arc a horse makes as the horse jumps a fence. A horse with a bascule is one with a round jump, wherease a horse with poor bascule may jump flat witch his head in the ar and spine relatively straight.

Blemish - Blemishes on a horse refer to a permanent mark or scar made by either an injury of disease, but they do not affect serviceability. Examples of blemishes on horses include curbs and girth galls.

Blistering - Blistering refers to the application of a caustic agent, or blister, to the leg. Blistering is occasionally still used in the treatment of a number of conditions, such as spavin, ringbone and bowed tendon. Blistering is thought to encourage internal healing in some cases.

Blood Horse - A Blood Horse is a thoroughbred horse, referred to as such for being ‘hot-blooded’. Thoroughbred horses are known for their agibility, speed and spirit.

Bloodstock - Bloodstock refers to thoroughbred horses bred for racing. Bloodstock, or thoroughbred horses, are called bloodstock because one stock all comes from the same bloodline. Bloodstock horses are purebred and recognized by a breed registry.

Boarding Stable - A boarding stable is an equestrian facility where horse owners may keep their horse for a monthly fee. Horses kept at boarding stables may be there for hire, or are just boarded there temporarily by owners. There are multiple types of boarding stables, and owners can select a full board, partial board, or even a self-board. At a self boarding stable, all horse care must be provided by the owner.

Bog Spavin - Bog spavin refers to soft, synovial swelling seen on the inside of the hock. Unlike regular spavin, bog spavin does not usually cause lameness. Bog spavin can be caused by degenerative joint disease or strain on the joint capsule. Bog spavin can be drained, but there is generally an underlying cause to the spavin that must get treated.

Bone - The bone is measurement around the leg, just below the knee or hock. The bone determines the horse’s ability to carry weight, therefore a light-boned will be limited in weight carrying capacity. Horses have very slim legs, so the quality of their bone measurement is a big determinant in their ability to handle weight.

Bots - Bots are a type of equine parasite and bots can lay their eggs into the hairs of horses. Newly hatched bots can burrow into horses’ skin, causing serious problems. Horses can also injure themselves trying to stop the irritation that is caused by hatched bots burrowing into the skin. It is very easy to check to bots in a horse’s coat.

Bow-hocks - Bow hocks are where the hocks turn outwards, causing the horse to be bandy-legged. Bow hocks are the opposite of cow-hocks. A horse with bow-locks may also be referred to as brandy-legged. Bow-hocks can add extra strain on a horse’s bones and create interference in movement.

Bowed Tendon - Bowed Tendon is an injury to superficial digital flexor tendon, which runs down the back of the lower leg. After the injury, the tendon heals with a ‘bowed’ appearance. Bowed tendon can be caused by excessive strain or trauma to the tendon. Bowed tendon can also be caused by a bandage being applied to tightly, creating ‘bandage bows’.

Boxy hooves - Boxy hooves are narrow, upright hooves with a small frog and closed heel. Boxy hooves are also referred to as club foot. Boxy hooves generally arise during foalhood, and need to be corrected very early on. Boxy hooves can be caused by a contraction of tendons.

Breaking, or Breaking-In - Breaking-In refers to the early education of the young horse. During breaking, it is taught the skills it will need for it’s future life as a riding or driving horse. Breaking can occur in many areas, including work, riding, and use of certain equipment. During breaking, a horse is exposed to many new experiences, and this time will determine the future capabilities of the horse

Broken-In/Broke to Ride - Horses that are broken-in or broke to ride have been accustomed to the tack and the rider. Broken-in horses have also begun initial training. Most horses are not completely broken-in until the age of 5. At that stage, a horse is completely ready for multiple uses. A broken-in horse can also called greenbroke

Broke - Broke refers to a horse that is trained; a ‘dead broke’ horse is a well-trained and obedient one. Horses take a long time to become broke, and can become broke for different areas, such as saddling, or riding, or certain 

Brushing - Brushing is where the hoof or shoe hits the inside of the opposite leg, at or near the fetlock. Usually, brushing is caused by poor conformation or action. Brushing can also result an uncoordinated gait, and can cause injury or poor performance Brushing usually occurs at the knees on the front legs and at the fetlock on the hind legs.

Broken Winded - Broken Winded is a term used to describe horses having an abnormal breathing pattern due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Broken Winded is also known as heaves. Broken Winded is caused by an allergic reaction and is most common in the Northern Hemisphere. Broken Winded horses may present coughing, weezing, or struggle with breathing.

Breed - A breed is an equine group bred selectively for consistent characteristics over a long period of time. There are a large variety of breeds within horses for many different purposes. Often, a breed will have a pedigree recorded in a breed registry. Each breed will have it’s own set of distinctive characteristics, setting it apart from other breeds.

Brindle Horse - A Brindle horse is a breed exhibiting a distinctive marbleized coat coloring. Brindle horses have distinctive stripes running vertical along the neck, back, hindquarter, and legs. Brindle coloring in horses is very rare, and it though it is suspected that a brindle coat can be inherited, others say there is no evidence.

Brood Mare - A brood mare is a mare that’s kept specifically for breeding purposes. A brood mare is often chosen for specific traits that an owner wants passed on to offspring. Or, a brood mare could have a desirable ancestry.

Buck - A buck is a leap in the air with the head lowered and the back arched. Bucks are a natural behavior, but can unseat riders. Bucking can occur for a number of reasons, including excitement and pain. Bucking was developed in the wild and is used mainly as a defense mechanism for horses.

Bran Mash - Bran mash is a warm meal made of wheat bran, warm water, and a little sweet feed concentrate and chopped apples or carrots. Bran mash is usually given an occasional treat for horses. Bran mash can be used to give the horse a hot meal during cold weather, or to help introduce more water into the horse’s diet. However, bran mash is a poor choice for regular feeding due to bran mash’s low calcium and high phosphorous content.

Breed Show - A breed show refers to a show in which competition is limited to a single breed of horse; the breed show is sanctioned by that breed’s registry. For example, the Appaloosa Horse Club sanctions breed shows for Appaloosas. Therefore, in most, only purebreds may enter a breed show. The participating breed is judged on proper conformation.

Bald-Faced - Bald-faced is a US term used to describe a horse with a predominantly white face. A bald face horse typically has a long mark running from top of the face down to the nostrils.

Blaze - Blaze refers to the elongated white marking down the front of the horse’s face. Also called a stripe, a blaze runs from above the eyes to the nostrils.

Pregnancy in Horses: Helping Horses Come To Term September 09 2013

A Particular Class of Blood Cells May Be Involved
Research conducted by Christine Aurich  at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

It is not only humans that sometimes experience difficulty having children. Horses too have a low birth rate, with many pregnancies failing within the first few weeks after conception.

As any nervous first-time mother will confirm, the initial three months of pregnancy are the most risky time: many expectant women are reluctant to inform their friends or colleagues that they are pregnant until after this period is past. It is less well known that horses suffer from similar problems, with a considerable number of pregnancies failing to progress beyond the first five weeks. The explanation is still unclear but may relate to a problem with the mare's immune system, as the latest work in the group of Christine Aurich in the Vetmeduni's Centre for Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer strongly suggests.

The fertilised egg, or conceptus, obviously contains contributions from the stallion as well as the mare, which means it somehow has to avoid being recognised and attacked by the mare's immune system. Horse breeders talk about maternal tolerance of the conceptus and horses -- as other animals -- have a variety of mechanisms to enable fertilisation and a successful pregnancy. Maternal tolerance probably depends on wide-ranging changes to the maternal immune response. But what makes some mares better than others at adapting their immune systems?

There are indications from work in humans and mice that a particular class of immune cell, the so-called regulatory T cells or Tregs (pronounced "tea regs"), might somehow be important in maternal tolerance. Aurich and her colleagues have now developed a highly sensitive assay to measure the proportion of Tregs in the blood of horses. They used their new technique to investigate over 100 mares that were presented for artificial insemination, correlating the results with the outcome of the resulting pregnancies.

Of course, not all of the animals conceived. The scientists could find no association between the level of Tregs in the mares' blood with the success of the insemination procedure. However, they did observe clearly lower numbers of Tregs in the blood of horses that suffered an early loss of pregnancy compared with those that either aborted much later (for whatever reason) or gave birth to live foals. The results suggest that high numbers of Tregs might somehow be required to suppress the mare's natural immune reaction against the conceptus. In other words, low levels of Treg cells in mares might cause pregnancy loss in the five weeks after fertilisation.

The differences in the levels of Tregs between horses in the "successful pregnancy" and the "unsuccessful" groups were too small to be useful to predict whether an individual mare is likely to suffer early pregnancy failure. Nevertheless, the results may help breeders solve the problem. There is evidence from human medicine that oestradiol may enhance the function of Tregs during pregnancy and treatment with this hormone could possibly benefit mares prone to losing the conceptus. Another possible course would be to expose mares to the stallion's semen before implantation, which might increase the number of Tregs in the blood and the animal's tolerance to the conceptus, thereby helping avoid early pregnancy losses.

Aurich is optimistic: "A number of reasons have been proposed to account for early pregnancy failure in the horse but our work suggests that a low level of Tregs may actually be among the most important factors. It can only be a matter of time before we find out how to solve the problem."

Transporting Horses By Road And Air September 09 2013

Recommendations For Reducing The Stress - Reprinted from The Horse Report
By Carolyn Stull at UC Davis Centre from Centre For Equine Health

Quick Tips to Reduce Transport Stress Before Travel
• Train the horse to load, unload, and haul quietly. This will drastically reduce the stress levels right from the start of travel. Loading is by far the most stressful single aspect of transport (other than ultra-long duration hauling).
• Make sure your preventive health program, particularly vaccinations, is up to date. Vaccinations take two to three weeks to provide protection.
• Make sure you have the proper health records for any regulatory requirements, especially if crossing state lines or country borders.
• Select a van or trailer that suits your horse’s size and temperament, preferably one that allows the horse to lower its head as this can make a significant difference. Make a safety check of the trailer.
• Inspect the transport vehicle for cleanliness and sanitize, if necessary.
• If hiring a commercial transport company, make sure the grooms and other caretakers are experienced in handling horses and their care.
• Plan the route to minimize duration, along with any extremes in weather or environmental temperatures.
• Ensure that the flooring remains nonslip for the entire trip. Provide absorbent bedding to help soak up any urine and manure excreted.
• Ensure adequate ventilation in the transport vehicle.
• Avoid prolonged stationary periods in traffic or at refueling stops. A trailer in the sun can be more than 20 degrees warmer inside than outside. Traffic delays during the summer, with associated fumes, can be disastrous to the horse. Unload, if safe to do so, if a prolonged delay is apparent.
• Provide a well-fitting halter; leather is ideal.
• Bring sufficient feed and water.
• Have an effective means of restraint.
• Plan for rest or recovery periods. Offer water every four to six hours, or every three to four hours in hot weather. If possible, pick up manure and urine at the same time intervals.
• Check that veterinary help is available, if required.
• Notify the point of arrival of the journey plan and any special requirements.

Tranquillisation and Familiarisation
Many horses have been familiarised with transport from a young age. Even many that have never been transported before will often readily allow themselves to be loaded and confined in a transport vehicle. A small minority of horses could be difficult to handle during transport. Tranquillisation by a veterinarian might facilitate loading and assist with the safe handling of the horse during transport. However, the medication can interfere with temperature regulation so should be done with caution.

Water and Electrolytes
Unless a horse has a history of dehydration, excessive or uncontrolled administration of electrolytes could actually have adverse effects on water and electrolyte balance in the horse. Check that a horse that is to be transported has been drinking normally in the days leading up to transport, and especially immediately before transport. The pre-travel administration of oral or intravenous fluids is not usually recommended unless the horse has a history of developing dehydration during travel.

Body Weight
It is normal for a horse to lose weight during transport. The amount of weight lost can range from 0.45 to 0.55% of total body weight (about five to six pounds in a normal mature Thoroughbred) per hour of transport. This weight loss might reflect reduced dietary intake during travel, dehydration, manure and urine excretion, and sweating. Horses can lose 45 pounds (20 kilograms) on international flights, and horses with shipping fever could lose 75 pounds or more en route. Horses traveling more than 12 hours have been found to lose up to 5% of their body weight. Weight loss in transit tends to be regained over the following three to seven days in healthy horses, and possibly over longer periods in horses with shipping fever.

It is recommended that horses be weighed before travel to establish a baseline for comparison with weight status on arrival and in the recovery period. Since scales are likely to vary, weigh two large sacks of feed and record their weights. Keep the sacks intact to weigh on the scale at your destination. You will then be able to compare departure with arrival weights, compensating for differences in scale accuracy. Weight tapes, when applied correctly, tend to be accurate within 40 pounds.

Respiratory Health and Disease
One of the fundamental rules of transport is "sick horse on, sicker horse when getting off." The importance of avoiding the shipment of horses that are even slightly sick (other than for transport to a hospital or clinic) cannot be over-emphasised. This is especially true for horses with respiratory illness. Horses with fever or nasal discharge and those with a history of exposure to other horses with infectious respiratory disease (such as strangles or viral respiratory infections) should not be transported.

Unnecessary medication should be avoided, especially before travel. Adverse reactions are always a possibility with any therapeutic substance. Tranquillisers should be administered only by a veterinarian and are not recommended unless necessary.

Transport Vehicle (Trailer/Van) Inspection
Prior to departure, the transport vehicle should be carefully inspected to be sure that it is safe and road-worthy. Special attention to competency of flooring should be paid in all trailers. Ensure that:
• All lights are in working order.
• Brakes are fully operational.
• Doors fully open and close and can be locked properly.
• Vents fully open and close.
• The trailer floor and any loading ramps have been thoroughly checked.
• If rubber mats are used, make sure these are flush with floor to avoid any tripping during loading and traveling.
• The trailer's emergency brake box has been tested and is in working order.
• Tire pressure is adjusted according to the manufacturer’s suggested levels.
• The spare tire is accessible and properly inflated.
• The vehicle is stocked with an appropriate trailer and truck jack as well as tire chocks (a wedge placed behind a vehicle’s wheels to prevent accidental movement).
• The hitch is functional for the trailer and the vehicle.

Route Plan
The route for road transport should be carefully considered. Plan the time of day for transport to avoid extremes of heat or cold. Night travel can be advantageous because ambient temperatures will be lower during hot weather, traffic is likely to be lighter so as to avoid stops and starts, refuelling might be faster, and horses could be more relaxed during the evening. Plan the route so that it is possible to stop regularly to check horses and offer them water every four to six hours. Locate veterinarians along the way in case of a medical emergency during transit.

Flight Plan for Air Transport
The duration of confinement to the air should be minimised as much as possible. Loading and unloading of planes should be facilitated in every way possible. The shortest route to reach a distant destination is always preferred. The duration of ground stops should be minimised and auxiliary ventilation systems should be used to maintain excellent air quality. Typically, the worst air quality occurs during ground times. Planes are much better ventilated when aloft. Relative humidity and temperature rise quickly in a stationary closed vehicle, especially in warm climates and sunny conditions.

Emergency Preparedness
Consult your veterinarian for his or her recommendation for what to include in a first aid kit prior to travel. Some essential items should include sterile bandage material, adhesive wrap and tape, leg wraps, scissors, rectal thermometer, antiseptic solution, latex gloves, and PVC tubing cut into lengths of eighteen inches to two feed (for emergency splinting).

Blankets and Bandages
Bandages and bell boots for leg and coronary band protection can be useful if horses are accustomed to wearing them. If not (i.e., foals or yearlings), shipping boots or bandages could be a liability instead of an asset. Train the horse to wear protective bandages if you plan to use them. If the horse is blanketed (not advised unless it is cold), select a blanket that will not overheat the horse and cause sweating. Remember the horse will be using his muscles to balance and there could be limited ventilation once the vehicle is fully loaded with horses.

Recovery Period
Despite every effort at preventing shipping fever or other transport-related disease, some horses will become ill during or within the first three days following transport. It is advisable to plan for a convalescent period of at least three days after shipping to allow for treatment of horses that could be ill. Contact a veterinarian if the horse exhibits nasal discharge, refuses feed, or has an elevated rectal temperature.

Duration of Journey
Journeys of three hours or less than 500 miles are unlikely to be associated with transport-related diseases, dehydration, or fatigue due to energy expenditure and reduced feed intake. Road transport time per day should not exceed 12 hours from the time the first horse is loaded on the vehicle. After 12 hours of transport, horses should be removed from the vehicle and comfortably stabled for at least eight hours. This time period is necessary for tracheal clearance and rehydration.

Behaviour and Injury
Horse behaviour should be monitored regularly throughout any transport. Additional skillful help might be required if a horse becomes extremely agitated. Any depression or injury in horses should be noted and appropriate first-aid action taken wherever possible.

Feed and Water
Clean water should be offered regularly—approximately every three to six hours—during prolonged ground or air transport. If possible, it is advisable to bring water from home as some horses are reluctant to drink water that is not from the home sources. In warmer conditions, high humidity, or when horses are sweating, water should be offered more frequently.

It is important that horses eat during long journeys. However, it is also imperative that the environment on the transport vehicle have as little contamination of the air with respirable particles as possible. In particular, the breathing zone around the horse’s muzzle should not be heavily contaminated with particulate matter. Because hay nets must be placed very close to (or within) the breathing zone, it is essential that hay be as dust-free as possible. It is therefore recommended that hay be thoroughly soaked in water before being loaded on the vehicle or fed in a net to horses.

Head Posture
Horses should be given as much freedom of movement of their heads as is safe. Restraint in the head up posture for prolonged intervals can severely compromise lung clearance mechanisms and predispose a horse to shipping fever. Hay nets should be placed as low as possible while still assuring that horses cannot entangle their feet in the nets. Alternatively, horses travel well in small box stalls in which they can extend their heads to the floor to consume hay.

Orientation During Transport
Orientation of the horse within a transport vehicle has been identified as a potential source of stress. Several studies have examined horses facing toward or away from the direction of road travel. With some variation, the studies suggest that horses facing away from travel experience less stress and better ability to clear their airways and adjust posture. While most horses seem to prefer this, there is evidence that some individuals prefer head forward and might show greater signs of stress if forced to ride backward. It is not known whether the horses respond this way because they have become accustomed to it or for other reasons. Decisions regarding restraint and orientation during travel should be made on a case-by-case basis. Greater caution is required when opening the doors of a trailer with an unrestrained horse inside.

Ventilation and the Environment
There are a number of factors about air quality that impact the respiratory system. The properly designed trailer or van will allow for adequate ventilation without a gale force draft directly on the horse or a total drenching if it rains. That said, it is almost impossible not to have the airflow in a trailer recirculate rear to front along the floor, bringing noxious fumes up for the horses to breathe. The pressure profiles along a moving trailer largely dictate that there will be lots of rebreathing. More open-stock trailers potentially offer significant advantages for ventilation and reduced heat load during the summer.

Ensure that potential factors that can negatively impact air quality within the trailer/van are minimised. The exhaust system of the vehicle should be inspected yearly. If the truck has a vertical exhaust similar to that on a tractor-trailer, it should be taller than the ceiling of the van or trailer and not be flowing in the immediate vicinity of an intake vent. Note that diesel exhaust can be more harmful than gasoline exhaust, and keeping either engine in proper maintenance can decrease its emissions. (Health concerns about diesel exhaust relate not only to cancer, but also to other health problems such as lung and heart diseases.) Breathing of exhaust fumes can be an irritant to the respiratory system and excessive fumes in an enclosed compartment can cause death due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Deaths of horses in trailers have been reported when the wind currents during transit directed the exhaust directly into closed trailers.

Urine-soaked bedding or poor drainage from the trailer can also have a negative impact on air quality. When urine breaks down, a substantial amount of ammonia fumes can be generated. Excessive inhalation of ammonia fumes can cause respiratory irritation that predisposes the horse to respiratory problems. Recent research suggests that in the case of long road journeys there is benefit in removing faeces and urine-soaked material during periodic stops.

Horses that travel well will be bright and alert with a normal rectal temperature upon arrival at their destination. Unload horses as soon as possible to avoid additional confinement and other stress factors. They should voluntarily drink and be keenly interested in eating within one to two hours of arrival. Hand walking or turnout in a small paddock for an hour or so upon arrival after a long journey is recommended.

Ideally, dietary adjustments are made over seven to 10 days to decrease the likelihood of digestive upsets. A normal horse passes approximately one pile of manure every three to four hours. Any decrease in manure output should be reported to a veterinarian.

Rectal temperature should be recorded morning and evening. When possible, weigh horses upon arrival and then daily at the same time for the next three to seven days. Comparison with a pre-transport weight is useful to quantify actual weight losses and to assess the effects of shipping. Horses with signs of shipping fever (see section above) will be readily identified by this monitoring system. Some horses will not show signs of shipping fever until two to three days after transport. Occasionally, horses might have colic or diarrhoea after shipping. Seek veterinary assistance immediately if transport-associated disease is suspected.

Recovery Times
A specified recovery interval should be part of the pre-shipment plan for horses making long journeys. For road journeys of six to 12 hours, a one-day rest period is likely to be sufficient. When horses travel longer than 12 hours by road or are transported by plane, a recovery period of 2 to 3 days should be planned. Research at UC Davis in horses transported 24 hours by road in a commercial van has shown that physiological parameters, especially white blood cells, take 24 hours to return to normal levels for horses transported in box stalls and an additional day for horses cross-tied during the trip.

Horses traveling long distances for performance events should arrive five to six days prior to the competition date to comply with medication withdrawal rules in the event of travel-associated illness. Horses with shipping fever might need three to four weeks to resume athletic activity.

Set the Rules for Safe Horse Tying by Charlene Strickland September 03 2013

Get it Right

As the owner or manager of a farm or stable, you must do everything you can to ensure the people and horses under your supervision and care are safe. One of the most critical daily aspects of horse care is ensuring animals and people are safe when horses are tied up whatever reason. In this article we will discuss safe tying practices that you can put in place through a three-step program: designate safe tying locations, publicize tying rules and enforce those rules for every horse.


Where to Tie

As we know, horses must stand in one place and be secured for grooming, tacking up, bathing, shoeing and veterinary treatments. Ideally, your barn includes grooming stalls or wash racks where most horses can stand safely in cross-ties. However, you probably house more horses than you have grooming stalls, so survey your barn for alternate tying sites that you can feel good about your clients using safely.

Look for areas that include:

• a nonslip surface, so the horse stands on secure footing;

• sufficient space for a person to handle a horse safely;

• safe distance from other tied horses and any stable equipment;

• convenient access, yet out of traffic lanes;

• confinement within the barn’s perimeter fencing in case a horse gets loose.

Specify safe places to tie horses by installing tie rings at suitable sites: on fence posts (deeply rooted and sturdy), outside walls of buildings or in barn aisles (single tie or crossties). Anchor all tie rings at or near the height of the eye of a typical horse; crosstie rings can be higher.

Depending on traffic, decide if you allow people to tie horses to fence rails, whether inside or outside pens or arenas. The safest fence rail is one that that is strong and firmly in place, such as a steel pipe, welded or threaded tightly in place.

At some barns, boarders expect to tie their horses to their trailers to groom or tack up. An unhitched trailer used for this purpose should be stabilized with wheel chocks to prevent the trailer from rolling if the horse pulls back.

Plan ahead for weather conditions. In winter, people and horses will crowd together under shelter. In summer, everyone will crave shaded spots. In these conditions, you might opt for clients to prepare horses in their stalls. If so, install a tie ring in each stall.


Rules of Tying

Communicate your policy on safe tying both in writing and verbally. Add your site descriptions to your posted rules, and remind people where they are allowed to tie horses. With a large number of horses, you might need to establish time limits for grooming stalls so everyone can share the space.

When you observe tied horses, you may realize the need to instruct people in safe tying practices. Remind them about safety release knots (slip knots) and the proper length of the tie rope. And remind them never to tie a horse by or to its bridle—only halters.

Determine your policy on unattended horses that are tied. How long—if ever—may a handler leave a horse tied and out of that person's eyesight? A quick potty break? An hour between classes?

Consider supplying tie ropes at your most-used tying sites. You can reduce risks when you ensure the tie ropes are in good condition and equipped with panic snaps. You also avoid problems with knots, either those that don’t stay tied or those that don’t release in an emergency.

If your barn has crossties, they’re most likely your property. Buy the right lengths to span your aisle or grooming stalls. Stretchy crossties will extend if a horse “fights” the crosstie.


Tying Enforcement

You might want to test each new horse arriving in your barn in order to rate his risk when tied. Evaluate whether or not he’s truly halter-broke. A halter-broke horse has learned to give to pressure against his head—nose, chin, jaw and poll. Whether you tie him fast (solid) to a post, fence rail or crossties, he’ll stand without testing the tie rope. Whether he’s tied for two minutes or two hours, he remains in place with the rope slack.

An unpredictable horse is one that’s less than 100% halter-broke. He might stand tied, or he might throw a fit if startled or resisting pressure.

Watch a handler leading a horse that is new to your stable to rate his manners on the lead. Take his lead, and act like you’re a post—apply pressure downward to see his reaction. Raise your hand to the horse’s eye level, move the lead to the left, and pull; then repeat to the right. If the horse readily gives to pressure, then test him on a single tie. Observe him for five minutes to see if he stands or pulls. Next, try him on the crossties.

Your barn might include horses with preferences for single tie or crossties. A horse might stand more comfortably in a certain place, but every handler must remember that horse's quirk.

What if a horse won’t stand tied? You have three choices:

• allow him to remain in your barn, with a “no tie” label on his record;

• let him stay with the notice that he must be trained to stand tied within a certain amount of time; or

• decide not to allow any “won’t tie” animal on your property. A no-tie horse means someone must hold his lead rope every time he’s handled—which includes vet and farrier work—or he must stand confined in an enclosed washrack or chute.


Whatever your decision, for the safety of all of your clients and the horses in your care, it behooves you to have steadfast rules about how and where horses can safely be tied.



Music To Your Ears August 28 2013

Beautiful Music To Ride To - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op 43 - Variation 18, composed by Sergei Rachmaninov, performed by Arthur Rubinstein

Music accents the power, grace, and harmony of the horse-and-rider partnership. The right melody can add a touch of timelessness and finer shades of beauty to a ride, or even to a daydream of a ride.

This piece, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 - Variation 18, is both relaxing and uplifting, with a restrained but sweeping power that invites a loose, swinging walk and trot, a joyfully bounding canter, and the softest of halts. Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the great musicians of the Romantic era, and played here by Arthur Rubinstein, one of the great pianists of the 20th century, this variation also waltzes and twirls through popular movies like Somewhere in Time and Groundhog Day. Add it to your playlist, and get ready to pirouette among the clouds!

Good or Bad Learning? Does Your Horse Understand August 28 2013

The book, 'Evidence-Based Horsemanship', is a cowboy-scientist collaboration by Dr Stephen Peters and Martin Black

As we will read in Evidence-Based Horsemanship, a horse's learning is largely about positive feedback. From a brain chemistry standpoint, positive feedback is linked to the release of a chemical or neurotransmitter called dopamine. In barnyard terms, we can think of dopamine release as closely tied to the relief of pressure. In other words, horses want comfort and relief from pressure. They will seek out the dopamine release because, quite simply, it feels good to them. 

If you’re sensitive, observant, patient, and able, you can take advantage of that specific proclivity. You can make your riding cues more and more subtle. You can create a refined, learning machine in your horse. At that point, your horse will perform incredible moves while you sit in the saddle making near-invisible adjustments.  And the crowd will roar.

But first, it’s crucial to better understand the horse’s learning process. For starters, from the horse's perspective, there is no difference between good and bad learning. 

We're not talking flying lead changes or piaffes here. 

Let’s take the much beloved task of trailer loading as an example: The horse may load into a trailer and find a release of pressure as the trailer is closed up and he finds hay to eat. There may be a dopamine release and a learning moment here.

Alternatively, the horse may pull back, get away from its owner, find relief of pressure, and get a dopamine release.

The “learning moment” might be even more reinforcing if he gets to graze. In other words, horses don’t discriminate between these good and bad learning moments. They will search for the dopamine release regardless of how humans interpret their actions. Another aspect of learning related to dopamine release, is a horse’s comfort level.

A horse won’t learn much if he’s scared or really uncomfortable. Nor will the lesson hit home if he’s bored or over-drilled. It’s when you find a balance between these two ends of comfort that the best learning occurs. 

As Martin Black writes: “…When we get the balance just right, the horse can operate at a place where he is interested but not worried. The more he experiences operating in this place, the more he looks for this place because it feels good to him.”


Charity Begins At Home August 12 2013

Terra Anima Trust
We decided to investigate charities that help horses as we have seen the plight of horses who are not well taken care of - incidents from being starved, to being mishandled, to disease that is not dealt with in a timely fashion, that can lead to severe consequences.
We agreed that the objective is to supply food and medicines to a place we felt would benefit the most from our joint contribution - for us whether we help one horse or ten, it's important to make a contribution in some form or another, and make a difference. 

We ruled international charities out, since monies is mainly what they were looking for, and going to an international aid which did not directly benefit the 'horses in distress' of India which is our true ethos, we decided to review the local NGO charities.

Our cause is specific, for wanting to help horses and in meeting our own objectives of how we could make a difference; we have singled out Terra Anima Trust, near Karjat that offers shelter to horses that are abandoned, tortured or disabled.

Terra Anima Trust a small team, and is in operation since 2011. We are convinced that the Trust really could do with help, and promote to help heal these distressed horses wherever they find them, and give them a loving environment to live in and then hopefully move them on to better homes.

While the team agrees there is a lot of work ahead, it is apparent from our visit to the farm that this is a cause that genuinely needed our encouragement and endorsement. Our support will be in the form of buying feed and medicine for the horses, which shall be provided by us through contributing part of the sale proceeds of Equine Art Store.

Terra Anima is registered under the Bombay Pubic Trusts Act 1950.

For further information...https://www.facebook.com/terraanimatrust

Efficient Solution to Maintaining Paddocks June 14 2013

Wessex Dung Beetle paddock cleaner is a dung deal!

Broadwood International has unveiled a new self-powered paddock cleaner that sweeps up droppings as it is towed around the field.

The Wessex Dung Beetle runs on four wheels for maximum stability, and is designed to follow the ground contours with a brush rotor. The sweeper has four banks of polypropylene brushes that propel debris into the hopper, while the bristles on the brush clears dead grass, encouraging fresh growth, and tines loosen stubborn muck.

The Dung Beetle is powered either by a 5½hp Honda petrol engine or a PTO version, which drives a rotor via twin belts with a centrifrugal clutch.

The manufacturers say that it has already proved popular with equestrian centres, stud farms, zoos and wildlife parks.
RRP: £4,255
Read more...http://www.broadwoodintl.co.uk/news/wessex-atv/its-a-dung-deal.php

Investing in Wildlife Art June 12 2013

Buying Art as an Investment

Investing in art is similar to investing in stocks and shares and as with any investment there are always risks and you should make yourself fully aware of all the investment risks and seek professional advice before choosing to invest in anything. You can however offset some of the risks by choosing to invest in art considered low risk.

On the other hand investing in a young relatively unknown artist would be classified as an aggresive / high risk investment opportunity and could potentially be very hit or miss, however their work can be picked up for very good prices, but whether the artist becomes a well known artist or becomes appreciated within the world of art or famous for another reason would certainly be a big gamble in my view and it is mainly these factors which would effect the return on your investment in the world of art.

But we would also say that if you enjoy their artwork and are not reliant on it being an investment then why not? You should certainly only by artwork that you love and will enjoy and want to have in your home.If you purchase work that you like or love then investing in art can be one of the most enjoyable and viable investments and can potentially have a better rate on return than other investment opportunities.
Investing in well established art or artists would be considered a low to moderate risk, depending on how well know the artist was and how collectable his or her work is.

In the world of stocks and shares investments this would be considered basically less of a gamble as the artwork would general hold its original value, have greater potential for a steady return over a period of time, but obviously could cost more to buy than say a less established artist's work.

Similar to investing in antiques or other collectables you must look after your artwork and ensure you protect your asset from damp, strong and direct sunlight and fumes and smoke, this will help maintain the value of you asset. 

When purchasing art prints for investment purposes you should ensure that you have a Certificate of Authenticity and the print is actually hand-signed by the artist.

When looking at art print investments choose limited edition art prints or artist proofs. Artist proofs are given generally as part payment to the artist and will be a much smaller edition size.

Prints should be printed on high quality, thick acid free paper that will not deteriate as quickly over time if looked after properly, some will come with guarantees. But as with any artwork it is best not to position it in direct sunlight.

Look for low Limited Editions numbers, most editions will be anywhere from hundreds to several thousands.

Some art collectors will only collect their lucky numbers and some investers will always vie to get the lowest number they can in the edition. Edition numbers 1 -10 are always very highly sort after by collectors and investers alike.

Art can be one of your premier assets, collecting art is satisfying and can be financially rewarding experience, in both the short term and the long term

Good and generally well appreciated and carefully selected works of art can produce good returns on your investment.

Similar to stocks and shares some artwork may show gradual appreciation in value over a long period of time and some may only show an appreciation when they become trendy or in vogue.

Some may show big increases in value due to another catalyst such as worldwide recognition in the form of awards or through other life changing events.

But you should also be aware that some art may decrease in it value.

Happy Hunting!
What makes a painting a painting? It used to be simple—wet pigment applied to a flat surface. This medium explores how contemporary painters continue this tradition, but also push its boundaries by using not just brushes, but also tools like animals, rollers, and buckets. They use paints that range from traditional tubes to industrial paint gallons, and see nearly everything as a potential painting surface.
Everybody draws, whether it’s dragging a stick in the sand at the beach, etching a heart in wet cement, or simply doodling while talking on the phone. But many artists rely on drawing as a way to communicate ideas and explore problems. This unit examines a variety of materials and methods artists employ to play, imagine, invent, plan, remember, or describe things.
Throughout most of history, sculpture was a process of taking raw materials and making likenesses of things in the real world. This unit explores how many contemporary sculptors have taken the opposite approach, using objects from the real world as the raw material for their art.
Photography in the 21st century is as common and accessible as the click of a cellphone button, so most people are very familiar with the medium. This unit explores the careful looking and decision-making processes that make a photograph a work of art.
In every age, there have been artists who eagerly embraced technological advances, either as new tools for making art, or as a fresh medium for communicating their ideas. This unit explores how artists experiment with video cameras, computers, and keyboards to add the dimensions of time, sound, and movement to images.
A large sculpture like artwork which alters the way a space is experienced, as a gallery; an exhibition of such artworks. An art installation means taking a large interior and loading it with disparate items that evoke complex and multiple associations and thoughts, longings, and moods. The everyday meaning of installation refers to the hanging of pictures or the arrangement of objects in an exhibition. The less generic, more recent meaning of installation is a site-specific artwork. In this sense, the installation is created especially for a particular gallery space or outdoor site, and it comprises not just a group of discrete art objects to be viewed as individual works but an entire ensemble or environment. Installations provide viewers with the experience of being surrounded by art.
The art of fashioning or ornamenting objects of wood by cutting with a sharp handheld implement; also : an object of wood so fashioned or ornamented. Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool (knife) in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in thesculptural ornamentation of a wooden object. The phrase may also refer to the finished product, from individual sculptures, to hand-worked mouldings composing part of a tracery.
Furniture can be a product of design and is considered a form of decorative art. In addition to furniture's functional role, it can serve a symbolic or style piece. It can be made from many materials, including metal, leather, plastic, and wood. Furniture can be made using a variety of woodworking joints which often reflect the local culture.

Foal News June 08 2013

A selection of foal-related articles from the Equine Science Update archives

Interesting articles include: -

- Early handling influences foal behaviour

- Foal behaviour in winter

- Conformation and breeding

- Acetylcysteine enemas for meconium impaction

- Blood tests for gastric ulcers

- New formula for measuring foals' weight

- Probiotics and foal diarrhoea

Read more...http://www.equinescienceupdate.com/5kmemb/pdfs/foalnews.pdf

In addition, you may be interested in a study by Dr C E Foote from Equine Consulting Services who created a research paper focusing on 'Does the age of the broodmare affect the birth weight and growth rate of foals'



Potential for Breeding Stallions to be kept Together – study June 08 2013

A stable hierarchy could be measured after two to three months

Breeding stallions could potentially be kept together in large pastures, a Swiss study has shown.

The researchers found that the frequency of fighting-related behaviours decreased quickly among the stallions in their study when they were pastured together and was at a minimal level from the fourth day.

They suggested that pasturing stallions together had the potential to increase horse welfare and reduce labour associated with horse management. Read more...http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/03/11/potential-for-breeding-stallions-kept-together/#axzz2VbyOEBZR

Obsoletely Fabulous! June 08 2013

Don't put judges on the warm up...put them out to pasture and let technology take over

The dressage judging is under attack. So what else is new? Judges are awarding points based on how they expect a combination to perform, instead of awarding points for what they are actually seeing in the test. So say the riders.

"If a judge is neither informing himself through the print media nor via the internet one doesn't know which way a horse has been trained. On an international level a judge has no place in the warm-up ring and doesn't know what happens or happened there. He only sees the horse in the arena and compares it with the demands and in relation to the rivals."Read more...http://epona.tv/blog/2013/february/obsoletely-fabulous

Recommended Reading List - Getting to know your Horse June 07 2013

Some book titles you may want to get your hands on

The Horse's Mind - Lucy Rees
Excellent introduction to equine behaviour. We especially like Chapter 5 about communication and body language. "Neighs have been completely misunderstood by Hollywood filmmakers who constantly re-run that same potted neigh in fear/alarm situations where horses would not neigh; but in the 'creeping-up-on-the-enemy-camp' scenes their tethered horses do not neigh at the sound and smell of approaching horses, whereas real ones would'." 
Equine behaviour: a guide for veterinarians and equine scientists - Paul McGreevy
This is a very useful text-book providing comprehensive coverage of the main aspects of equine behaviour. It is easy to read with lots of photos and diagrams. The end of each chapter includes case-studies to help the reader apply the theory, however, note that some elements of the solutions posed in some of the case-studies are not promoted by EBTA for use in general practice. 
Horse Behavior: The Behavioral Traits and Adaptations of Domestic and Wild Horses, Including Ponies - George Waring
Simple and easy-to-read reference book. A useful text to have on your book-shelf and delve into when you need well-referenced accessible information on a specific aspect of horse behaviour. 
The Domestic Horse: The Origins, Development and Management of its Behaviour - D. S. Mills and S. M. McDonnell
Each chapter is written by a different expert in that field so a fantastic resource from a wide range of authors. We especially like the chapter on the equine play ethogram - an aspect of equine behaviour that is so frequently misinterpreted as aggression or 'naughtiness'. 
The Equid Ethogram - S. M. McDonnell
A listing and description of behaviours performed by horses, in both feral and domestic settings. 
The Behaviour and Welfare of the Horse - A.F. Fraser
This book provides a lot of detail and is not as accessible as other books on this list. However, it is valuable for readers who are looking for more detail and a science-focussed text-book on equine behaviour. Great to have on hand as a reference book 
Knowing Your Horse: A Guide to Equine Learning, Training and Behaviour - Emma Lethbridge
This is an excellent introduction to the fascinating topic of learning theory and its application. Many trainers do not have a good understanding of how horses learn and as a result some training methods are based on flawed interpretation of equine learning - this text will provide the reader with the tools to analyse different training methods and to understand their horse better. 
Let Horses Be Horses - Lesley Skipper
A great introduction to horse behaviour, covering ethology and psychology and (unusually) without falling into the trap of superimposing any erroneous human-centric interpretation. 
Teach Yourself Horse: Natural Horse Management - Heather Simpson
An excellent introduction with lots of photographs and practical examples. This small but very useful book is especially ideal for teenagers or those looking for a comprehensive but simple introduction to horse behaviour. 
Learning theory:
Knowing Your Horse: A Guide to Equine Learning, Training and Behaviour - Emma Lethbridge
This is an excellent introduction to the fascinating topic of learning theory and its application. Many trainers do not have a good understanding of how horses learn and as a result some training methods are based on flawed interpretation of equine learning - this text will provide the reader with the tools to analyse different training methods and to understand their horse better. 
The Art and Science of Clicker Training for Horses: A Positive Approach to Training Equines and Understanding Them - Ben Hart
Detailed and considered coverage of clicker training from many angles. We particularly liked the chapter entitled `Can I use clicker training in conjunction with my other training methods?' - it doesn't just leap in with an answer but takes you on a journey of exploration to get there. And the final chapter `What is the future of clicker training?' is an honest appraisal of the state of horsemanship in the UK today. If more people read this book one of the obstacles to clicker training becoming a widely accepted and valued method of training - not understanding it - will be blown away. 
Knowing Your Horse: A Guide to Equine Learning, Training and Behaviour - Emma Lethbridge
This is an excellent introduction to the fascinating topic of learning theory and its application. Many trainers do not have a good understanding of how horses learn and as a result some training methods are based on flawed interpretation of equine learning - this text will provide the reader with the tools to analyse different training methods and to understand their horse better. 
Shaping Plans - Ben Hart
Many of us understand the importance of breaking training into small stages and working through them carefully. However, some of us struggle to envisage how small each stage should be and as a result can expect our horses to progress too fast, which of course is less effective in the long run. Ben Hart has written shaping plans for a variety of training aims, from introducing tack to de-spooking your horse. Each plan provides around 3 months of training. 
Behavior Modification for Horses: A Positive Method for Training Horses - Patti Dammier and Wendy Peabody
An unbiased step-by-step guide through learning theory delivered in bite size chunks. 
You Can Train Your Horse to Do Anything!: On Target Training Clicker Training and Beyond - Shawna and Vinton Karrasch and Arlene Newman
A detailed but very clear book about the relevant learning theory and how to apply training through positive reinforcement to horse training. 
Happy Reading!

Outdoor Art Installation Sets The Scene June 06 2013

Artistic Intelligence

We were inspired by this piece of art and wanted to share the beauty of it with our readers.

First-ever Marwari Horse Show Begins - April 2013 June 06 2013

Jodhpur Comes Alive

Marwari horses appeared in full flamboyance and glory at the Marwari Horse Show which began here on Wednesday. The horse lovers will get to see the best horses of the Marwari breed at this first-of-its-kind show which is being organized on April 3-4 at the Maharaja Gaj Singh Sports Foundation Polo Ground.

To promote Marwari horses, the stud book registration society of India was started...Read more...http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-04/jaipur/38277650_1_horses-marwari-breed-indian-government

Horse Safari's in Rajasthan June 06 2013

Selection of the best safari locations in Rajasthan

Those interested in hacking and desert horse safari's should look no further than the following locations, which feature some of the best rides available in the region. Experienced rides for all levels.

For Jodhpur - http://rohetgarh.com/marwarihorse.htm

For Udaipur - http://www.princesstrails.com/horses.html

For Nawalgarh, part of Shekhawati region - http://www.roopniwaskothi.com/index.html

Preparing and Breeding Your Mare Training Program June 06 2013

My Horse University Sponsoring Body 

Preparing and Breeding Your Mare is one of four online short-courses in the Horse Breeding and Selection Series presented by Michigan State University’s My Horse University and Horse and Rider magazine. Each of the four short courses will take approximately 1-2 hours to complete. As an added bonus, participants will have access to an informative online presentation given by a top equine expert!

This course will cover some of the important factors a breeder should know about when breeding a mare. The course begins with basic information about the mare’s reproductive anatomy. The course then explores the mare’s reproductive cycle, appropriate times to breed, and the breeding process. The broodmare’s nutritional requirements are also detailed. Read more...https://noncredit.msu.edu/listSections.action?catalogid=3&offeringid=191

The Last Cowboy June 06 2013

Adam Jaheil creates a beautiful gallery of images


Editor's pick of the week

A Clear Solution June 05 2013

Respiratory problems in heat and dust - finding a way forward
Dust is a concern—a potential health hazard—for both horse and human, as it makes both more prone to respiratory issues. That makes dust control a priority for stable owners.

There is no one solution for dust control that fits all equine arenas and barns. Watering the arena is one step, whether with a handy garden hose or a sophisticated sprinkler system. Proper preparation of the footing is another step. That can take the form of adding rubber footing materials or coatings or utilizing rubber bricks or mats. Read more...http://stablemanagement.com/article-archive/barns-grounds/a-clear-solution/