How to Keep Young Foal Lungs Healthy

by Jeff Sossamon and Ashley Parker

Foals and respiratory disease

A veterinarian warns horse owners that respiratory disease in young foals may be more prevalent this year.

The early arrival of unusually warm weather during foaling season may be the cause, according to Philip Johnson, University of Missouri professor and equine veterinarian. He advises foal owners to remain vigilant due to “an increased prevalence of Rhodococcus equi.”

Johnson reports treating higher than usual numbers of young foals with the bacterial infection.

Rhodococcus equi 

A bacterial organism, Rhodococcus equi causes pneumonia in young foals up to four months. It inhabits dry, dusty soil. Then, when a foal inhales, the bacteria goes into the equine’s respiratory tract.

Johnson adds that farm owners tend to see the disease more if they have several foals stabled in an indoor environment, rather than outdoors. “Foals may contract the infection within the first few days of life; however, it is often slow to develop as foals tend to compensate for it as they mature, which could lead to stunted growth,” Johnson warns.

Also known as ‘the rattles,’ clinical signs include fever, coughing and labored breathing that often produces a ‘rattling’ sound.

Although pneumonia is most common, the pathogen may also cause infections outside of a foal’s lungs. Clinical signs may include eye inflammation, bone infection, joint inflammation, diarrhea, abdominal abscesses, and death.

Veterinarians extract fluid samples from the foal’s airway before sending it away for lab testing. A diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory testing and imaging of the chest.

Once diagnosed, the disease is treated with antibiotics not typically used in adult horses.

A zoonotic pathogen, Rhodococcus equi is transmittable from animal to human. Those with an immune deficiency are most at risk of potential infection.

For more information, talk to your veterinarian today.


Partnership with Farrier Crucial to Your Horse’s Success

Farrier relationship

by Steve Sermersheim, CJF TE, AWCF, and Robbie Hunziker, CJF

The relationship between the farrier and horse owner or trainer is super important.

Although, it’s often an overlooked part when it comes to the ultimate success of an equine athlete. However, a good, solid relationship with your farrier is critical to your horse’s health, whether you’re competing or riding for fun.


Horse management

Talking to your farrier about any concerns you have is key to good horse management. You are with your horse every day. You should be able to recognize and communicate with your farrier if your horse is having soundness issues or is not performing to his potential. With the internet and social media, information on hoof care and shoeing are abundant.

These sources are easy to access but may not always the best source for advice. While there is plenty of good, accurate information online, there is also a lot of misinformation. So, be cautious and bear in mind that anyone can promote shoeing techniques and products on the internet, regardless of their knowledge or qualifications.

Additionally, every horse differs in conformation, attitude, training level, and natural ability. Equine athletes are as individual as their riders. That’s why communicating with your veterinarian is also very important. They’re also a crucial part of your horse’s team.

Keeping a horse sound and competing at its full potential isn’t an easy task.

And, what works for your friend’s horse may not work for your horse.

That’s why we’ve put together some ideas to help solidify your relationship with your farrier. These are common sense things you should reasonably expect from your farrier as well as things you can provide. For instance, respect and trust your farrier’s judgment. Likewise, a good farrier will respect your opinion.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the positive relationship that will flourish when you follow the below since the goal is enhancing your horse’s wellness.


Expectations for your farrier

The farrier you choose should be competent and professional.

Your farrier should be educated and understand the specific discipline in which you are participating. Most farriers work effectively on multiple types of horses, but usually, they focus their skills on only one or two disciplines.

Find a farrier who excels in the discipline in which you are competing. For example, you would not go to a cardiologist for a slipped disc in your back. Likewise, you should not use a farrier who specializes in padded, gaited horses for your dressage horse.


The American Farrier’s Association

Your farrier should be proactive in attending continuing education and/or certification testing opportunities.

There is no excuse for a farrier not to update his skills and knowledge. There are seminars on shoeing and lameness as well as certification readily available all over the world. Although certification in the U.S. is voluntary, it is an important part of farrier education.

The American Farrier’s Association is the most successful certification program in the USA. It offers three levels of certification (certified, tradesman, and journeyman). Additionally, it offers three separate endorsements (therapeutic, forging, and education).

Ask your farrier what level of certification he has achieved because he will be proud to tell you.

A farrier should arrive on time for your appointment. 

As we all know, our days do not always go according to plan. It is not unreasonable to expect a phone call from the farrier when he is delayed or unable to keep your appointment.

Your farrier should be able to answer your hoof care and lameness questions.

Farriers should be knowledgeable of equine anatomy and how it correlates with your horse’s specific needs. This knowledge is essential for your farrier to correctly and appropriately shoe your horse. This is critical in order for your farrier to be able to discuss lameness issues with your veterinarian as well as fill your horse’s shoeing prescription.

A farrier should have the ability to build a variety of shoes for your horse’s individual needs.

Not every type or style of shoe can be purchased from the horseshoe supply company. However, skilled farriers can forge shoes tailored to your horse’s needs.

A farrier should display a presentable appearance and demeanor.

Your farrier is there for your horses and clients. The hoof care professional you choose is a reflection of you and should be respectful of your horse, property, and business. Appearance and attitude are a reflection of your farrier’s pride in a job well done.

Perhaps most importantly, a farrier should know when he is in over his head.

Farriers are sometimes presented with lameness or injury issues that they have not yet encountered. This is why your farrier’s involvement in the AFA is so important. It provides him access to thousands of farriers, one of which has undoubtedly treated similar issues. That person can offer sound advice or a second opinion.

A good environment is essential for a farrier to do his job effectively. The shoeing area should be clean and dry.
Your farrier may not tell you but his shoeing apprentice isn’t there to hold your horse. So, make sure your horse ties or have a competent horse holder available.

A good environment is essential for a farrier to do his job effectively.

The shoeing area should be clean and dry. The work area should be level, shaded, and well-lit. It should be ventilated in the summer and out of the elements in the winter. It also should be free of obstacles including equipment, children, and dogs.

A competent horse holder or safe cross-ties should be available. 

Be prepared to assist your farrier. Your farrier’s apprentice or helper is not there to hold your horses.

If your horse will not stand for shoeing, you must control the horse or ask a vet to provide sedation.

Farriers should never sedate your horse.

Shoeing a horse that will not stand is extremely difficult to accomplish properly. And your farrier is not there to train your horse to stand.

It is your responsibility to work with your horse to make sure it stands quietly before the farrier ever gets there. These components are very important for the safety of the farrier as well as your horse.

Be conscientious in asking farriers to add, or subtract, horses from the schedule.

Farriers are usually a one or two-man show. Their schedules are hectic and somewhat inflexible. Although flexibility is important, adding horses to the schedule can ruin your farrier’s well-planned day.

Remember, when asking your farrier to add an unplanned horse to his day, stay flexible when he’s delayed because someone else did the same thing. And, when you scratch a horse from the list, your farrier will have to work to fit them in later since most farriers book future visits before they leave.

As we know, sometimes your farrier’s schedule has to be changed for reasons out of his control. When your farrier’s day goes awry, flexibility and patience go a long way.

Your farrier is an expert.

While communication with your farrier is key, telling him how to fix your horse or what type of device to put on your horse’s hoofs is not always the best approach. If you think you know more than your farrier, consider finding someone else to look at your horse’s hoofs. There are thousands of knowledgeable, well-trained farriers out there that can explain why your horse is being shod a particular way.

Have a backup plan for a farrier emergency.

Ask for the name of another farrier to help in case of emergency and your farrier is out of pocket. Your farrier most likely has a network of trusted farriers that help each other since they share the same shoeing philosophy.

Pay your farrier when the job is finished.

As you can see, there are as many things to expect from your farrier as there are for you to provide.

Many people think farriers just slap a device on the bottom of a horse’s foot and everything is good. Unfortunately, some horseshoers are among this group. This is incorrect thinking!

A knowledgeable, well-educated farrier is an essential part of your horse’s team. Furthermore, when farriers and horse owners work together our equine athletes flourish.

No matter your role, we hope these suggestions improve your horse management success with your farrier.


EHV-1: What Horse Owners Should Know

published March 27, 2013

by Keith Kleine


Equine Herpes Virus

Equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) has been making headlines for the past several years.

In 2011, horses that attended the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championship in Ogden, Utah, began showing neurologic signs after leaving the event. This particular outbreak affected the equine industry in multiple states.

Horses developed the neurologic form of EHV-1 leading to fatalities. It is called equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM).


EHV Highly Contagious

EHV-1 is highly contagious. It can cause respiratory disease primarily in juvenile horses, such as nasal discharge, fever, and coughing; infection can also result in abortion and neonatal death.

Although, the most concerning manifestations of EHV-1 are neurological signs such as a wobbly gait caused by a lack of coordination of the limbs. The hind limbs are often most severely affected and urinary incontinence may be an issue. These appear when the virus causes damage to blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord. Though EHM is not new, more outbreaks are being recognized and more horses appear affected with each outbreak. This causes concern among many equine owners.


How does EHV Spread?

EHV-1 can affect horses of all breeds and ages.

It is spread via direct horse to horse contact (nose-to-nose), indirect contact (from shared water buckets or tack, as well as from people’s hands), and through the air (aerosolized transmission).


EHV Vaccine

A sling helps this horse stand due to neurologic issues caused by EHV.

Though there are many vaccines containing EHV-1 (the rhinopneumonitis vaccine your horse typically gets in his regular vaccine series), there is no vaccine currently on the market that has a label claim for prevention of the neurologic form of the disease.

The goal of vaccination is to boost immunity in order to control respiratory disease or abortion resulting from EHV-1 infection.

Most horses have been exposed to and infected by EHV-1 by the time they are 2-year-olds (typically as they are foals in contact with their dams). Often the virus becomes inactive once the horse is infected, but the animal will remain a life-long carrier of the virus. These carriers may show no outward signs of infection with EHV-1, though the virus can be re-activated should the horse become stressed, such as during transport, weaning or intense exercise.

Once activated, the virus can spread via the aerosol route (even from a seemingly “healthy” horse).


EHV Biosecurity

Implementing basic biosecurity measures are key to preventing the spread of EHV-1, according to Dr. Nicola Pusterla, DVM, Ph.D., Diplomate ACVIM and professor at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He concedes that while no horse owner will be able to eliminate all risks, everyday precautions should be taken.

These include:

-washing hands,

-using a separate pair of boots when visiting other farms,

-and keeping horses that leave the premises separate from those that live on the farm full-time.


Simply knowing the health status of other horses can minimize the risk of spreading the disease to your horse.


The traveling horse

For the traveling horse, Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM and professor at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, suggests the following taking daily temperatures while he is away from home. Then, continue to monitor the temp daily for a week once he returns.

Though the incubation period for EHV-1 can be as short as 24 hours, horses begin to show signs typically a few days after exposure. Dr. Traub-Dargatz notes that the horse may only have a mild fever, slight nasal discharge or a cough (some horses exhibit no signs of disease) before neurologic signs develop, so careful monitoring is key.

If you find your horse’s temperature to be above the normal 99 to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, you should contact your veterinarian. They will do a physical examination and, if indicated, will take both a nasal swab and a blood sample, and send them to a laboratory to be tested.

Should these tests come back positive for EHV-1 and your horse is showing neurologic signs, there is no “quick fix;” your veterinarian will base treatment on clinical and laboratory information available. Veterinarians treat horses with anti-inflammatories often or antiviral drugs may be used as well.


Neurologic EHV (EHM)

Contracting the neurologic form of EHV-1 is not a death sentence; some horses may recover fully while others have life-long neurologic deficits to which some can adapt.

According to Dr. Pusterla, 5 to 30 percent of horses that contract EHV-1 will develop EHM. Of these EHM cases, 5 to 50 percent will require euthanasia.

Dr. Pusterla stressed that each neurologic case should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


EHV Research Continues

Veterinarians in the cutting industry, that faced the EHV-1 outbreak, state that disease research shaped their treatment plans. EHV-1 has been among the priorities of research universities and funding agencies for some time. Although, there is still much to be learned. Included is how to effectively contain the disease and how to treat horses that have contracted the disease.

Dr. Traub-Dargatz notes that multiple issues need to be investigated, including discovering what, beyond infection with EHV-1, contributes to the disease; the role of stress in the predisposition to EHV-1; how far the disease can spread; and how long it can survive in the environment.

So far, the impact of treatment under field conditions has not been widely studied in a regimented way that allows veterinarians to determine the efficacy of the various treatments. Since there has not been a reliable way to recreate the disease other than in the geriatric horse challenge model, doing challenge studies to determine the efficacy of treatment has limitations.

If veterinarians can collect information from horses with EHM, during EHV-1 outbreaks, as well as from non-affected horses (controls), researchers can learn more about potential risk factors.



This article was updated in 2018.

5 Ways to Legally Protect Stable when Horse Boarder has Riding Guests


by Gabriella Cellarosi Daniel, Esq,

What should a stable consider to protect itself when a horse boarder has a guest that frequently rides their horse? Often that guest may even ride more frequently than the horse boarder? There is no boarding agreement executed with this person because they are not the party paying for the horse and its upkeep.

In light of this atypical relationship, how should a stable owner proceed?  

This scenario presents an unusual circumstance since the horse boarder with whom the stable has the boarding agreement is not the person who is regularly riding the horse on the premises. Rather, it is the “authorized guest”– the person who is frequently out at the stable, riding and handling the horse.

5 Equine Legal Documents

In this type of situation, there are some clauses and documents to consider:

1. Liability Release: As with all guests, the authorized guest/rider should execute an Equine Activity Release and Hold Harmless Agreement before riding and having any contact with the horse. Make sure to include state-specific statutes, as appropriate.

For example, Kentucky requires the following language in written contracts:

“WARNING”: Under Kentucky law, a farm animal activity sponsor, farm animal professional, or other person does not have the duty to eliminate all risks of injury of participation in farm animal activities. There are inherent risks of injury that you voluntarily accept if you participate in farm animal activities.” (See, KRS Section 247.402).

Also, consider incorporating into this document that the rider/authorized guest agrees to be responsible for following the stable’s rules, checking fit and condition of tack prior to mounting, and wearing a properly fitted and adjusted ASTM/SEI approved helmet at all times when mounted.

As with other contracts, make sure that adults execute on behalf of minors. This document may also include a choice of venue and law if litigation is filed, as well as a provision for attorneys’ fees. Litigation is a reality of the equestrian sport.

2. Farm rules: Farm rules and conditions are to ensure the safety of riders and horse, as well as ensure the smooth operation of the farm. Consider making the “farm rules” a separate document that both the horse boarder and the authorized guest/rider must execute separately, agreeing to abide by such rules. It may be smart option to include language that if the stable determines that the owner’s guest failed to abide by the stable’s rules that the stable can terminate the boarding agreement, or take such other action as it deems appropriate.

3. The Owner’s Boarding Agreement: It also may be a good option to tailor the boarding agreement to be more “expansive” in this regard. For example, to include in the boarding agreement that the horse owner (boarder) accepts responsibility for the conduct of his/her guests and that they act in accordance with the prescribed farm rules. Further, that the owner agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the stable against among other things, claims/losses/injuries alleged or sustained by a person caused by or arising from the actions (or inaction) of an owner’s guests.

4. Emergency Contact Information Sheet (human): In the event of the unexpected, illness, or injury, ensure that the authorized guest/rider has executed a human emergency contact sheet. This is likely not a document that one would request with a one-time-only guest. Provisions to include on this sheet are the basics (name, horse riding, owner of the horse, contact information, etc.). Also, consider requesting the contact information for two emergency contacts, whether it is acceptable to contact an ambulance in the event of an emergency, and potentially insurance information, as appropriate.

5. Permission and accompanied by the horse boarder? Sometimes boarding agreements and/or farm rules are written such that a guest may only come on the premises with permission and must be accompanied by the horse boarder. Consider your position on this.

The pros: stable knows who is on the premises and has control; cons: horse boarders are paying for a service and the “experience” and while he/she may be agreeable to being responsible for guest, he/she may not want to contact you every time a guest wants to come out to the stable, particularly if the situation is that of a recurring/frequent guest that is riding/handling the horse. You may need to tailor the agreements, as appropriate.

In short, an authorized guest situation calls for attention as an individual who is riding and handling a horse on the property. Be mindful of how to balance the needs of the stable with that of the horse boarder but also taking into account the legalities of the situation.


This article does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Equestrians, Are You Wearing Your Riding Helmet Correctly?

Helmet Fit

by Bonnie Navin, Esq.  

Wearing a riding helmet is the first step to preventing head injuries when horseback riding, but wearing a properly fitted helmet is even more important.

As a plaintiff attorney, calls to my office have increased from injured equestrians or family members of injured riders. Often they question whether their head injuries are the result of a failed helmet design.

Also a competitive rider, I recently sought to purchase a new helmet, but after the experience, I found I had more questions than answers. I walked in, told the tack shop owner what I wanted — and they pointed me to the wall of helmets.

No one offered to “fit” the helmet for me nor did anyone provide written instructions on the proper fitting. I also found no instructions in the helmet’s box. I was curious to see that an employee was assisting a parent of two children looking for riding helmets. The comments the tack store employee offered really caused me concern.

First, the tack store worker told the mother the helmet should have some “give” so it doesn’t give the child have a headache. Additionally, she said the chin strap rests on the rider’s chin and not underneath. Both tips contradict helmet manufacturer recommendations.

While every helmet may not be designed in the manner it should be, some injuries are the result of the safety device not being worn properly. Pick up an equine magazine or look on the internet and it isn’t hard to find photos of top professionals clearly wearing their helmets incorrectly.

For those who ride with their hair up in a pony-tail and also down – did you know you should own TWO helmets? One helmet cannot fit properly with both hairstyles. An approved riding helmet is designed to fit in a locked manner on your head. It locks in a few different ways.

-The headband should be tight around your head.
-The chin strap should allow for one finger width under your chin to the harness.
-The helmet should rest two-finger-widths above your brow.
-Fit the helmet from behind to be sure it is tight across the back of your skull base and neck.
Helmets are tested on the one hit theory, meaning if you suffer a fall and your helmet strikes the ground it should be replaced. Did you know if you keep your receipt and information from your helmet purchase that if you need a replacement most reputable helmet companies will provide a replacement either free or at a reduced price?

Traumatic brain injuries can lead to damages in the millions of dollars. So who is responsible to ensure an equestrian’s helmet has been correctly fitted? Responsibility first lies with the manufacturer to ensure the helmet has been designed and tested to reduce the amount of damage to the rider. Next, the manufacturer must include either written instructions or a short video to explain how the helmet is to be worn.

The store owner selling the helmet is required to train their staff on how to properly assist their buyers on the proper fitting of the helmet.

Horse trainers and others who hold themselves out as professionals in the industry must ensure their clients are wearing their helmet in the manner in which it is intended. Some trainers see their riders do not wear a properly fitted helmet, but do nothing to correct the situation. Should the rider fall and the helmet either not work or cause further injury, the trainer could be held liable.

Show officials, including stewards, that witness a rider wearing a helmet incorrectly have a duty to counsel the rider to correct the fit. Many show managers hide behind the rider release to release their liability on this topic, however, that is a false sense of security in many instances.

Like any other piece of riding equipment, adult riders and the parents of young equestrians have the responsibility to understand how helmets should be worn.

Even if you haven’t had a fall, but your helmet is old, it may be time to get a new one. Helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years. For more information regarding your helmet’s specifications go to the manufacturer’s website for additional information.

Legal Tip

If you are questioning whether your helmet was improperly designed after a fall with a resulting head injury, be sure you retain the helmet. It is important to package the safety device so no one can adjust or change the helmet.

Do not put the helmet back on your head. How you wore that helmet at the time of the fall will be called into immediate question and having the helmet will assist the review of a possible claim should the design be called into question.


All Female Team USA Sweeps FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2017

More than Lady Luck for USA Win

by Louise Parks

Team USA secured a definitive victory in the eighth and last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 League in Dublin (IRL) Friday. The American ladies produced the only zero score in a hard-fought competition.

On a level playing field with the Irish at the halfway stage they stood firm while their hosts lost their grip to drop to fifth behind Spain. In the closing stages the Netherlands and France threw down a challenge, and American anchor Laura Kraut was under pressure as the last to go with Confu. But the double-Olympian didn’t crumble, posting the second U.S. double-clear of the competition to seal it ahead of the runners-up from France, while the Dutch slotted into third place.

This was the first all-female team triumph in the 91-year history of Nations Cup Jumping for the world-famous Aga Khan Cup in Dublin.

“We said at the beginning of the year this was one of the shows we are bringing our “A” team to…it’s our view that the Aga Khan is the greatest trophy in our sport. And more than that there are many ways to win a Nations Cup, sometimes you get lucky, but today in my view there was no luck. These four riders did an unbelievable job!”

Robert Ridland (Chef d’Equipe Team USA)

The time-allowed of 80 seconds proved difficult for many over Irish course-builder Tom Holden’s track. A speedy turn to the final oxer was often costly. Beezie Madden’s mistake with her new ride Darry Lou was the American drop score in round one, but the pair got it right in round two after pathfinders Lauren Hough and the brilliant mare Ohlala produced their second clear of the day. Rising talent Lillie Keenan made her only mistake at the first element of the penultimate double with Super Sox.

Kraut clinched it with a crisp, clear run to leave a five-fault margin between the winning U.S. team and the French in second. The points earned by the third-placed Dutch, whose final tally was just seven faults, saw them overtake Italy at the top of the Europe Division 1 leaderboard at the end of the eight-leg series.


Equine Researchers Tackle Coronavirus

by Rob Warren

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Spread Feco-Orally

While there is still much to be known about equine coronavirus (ECoV), researchers at UC Davis are discovering many commonalities among horses infected with the disease and are hopeful to someday find the root cause. Their research is helping veterinarians better diagnose and treat the disease, as well as helping horse owners manage or even prevent an outbreak.

The origin of ECoV still remains a mystery – some suspect it may have developed from bovine coronavirus and spread across species. What is known about the spread of ECoV among horses is that respiratory shedding of the disease is unlikely. ECoV is mostly spread feco-orally, according to Dr. Nicola Pusterla, meaning it can be passed from horse-to-horse via exposure to contaminated feces.

Dr. Pusterla recently gathered all of the clinical equine veterinarians at UC Davis to update them on the disease, as recent outbreaks have brought patients to the hospital. His presentation covered a research project into the disease and reviewed several case studies to better prepare the clinicians for ECoV cases that may arrive at their Large Animal Clinic.

The UC Davis veterinary hospital is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat ECoV cases, with its multiple board-certified equine infectious disease specialists and a highly trained technical staff experienced in treating the disease. The facilities include an isolation unit to treat the horses without infecting other hospitalized animals, as well as an on-site laboratory to immediately perform diagnostic tests to confirm the disease and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

The school’s research showed that most horses with ECoV present as anorexic (98%) and lethargic (88%), with an elevated rectal temperature (≥ 101.5°F; 81%). Less common signs may include diarrhea (23%), colic (16%), and neurologic deficits (4%) such as aimless wandering, head pressing, recumbency or seizures. However, veterinarians should not assume that symptomatic horses have ECoV and asymptomatic horses do not. PCR testing throughout this research confirmed that 10-20 percent of asymptomatic horses involved in outbreaks have detectable ECoV in their feces.

Adult horses

While ECoV was reported in foals more than two decades ago, ECoV in adult horses has only recently been recognized as a new infectious virus. Unfortunately, little research has been performed to better understand the virus and its disease. Dr. Pusterla and his team are continuing to discover more of this emerging disease’s traits.

Initially, ECoV was only associated with foals, but outbreaks around the world among adult horses confirm that the disease is not age specific. In 2011, a group of adult draft racing horses in Japan contracted the disease, and groups of adult horses at facilities in more than ten U.S. states were infected between 2011-14. Due to the increased awareness of ECoV infection in horses and the availability of testing modalities, outbreaks of ECoV continue to be reported across North America.

UC Davis works with many of these facilities to help contain the outbreaks and treat the animals by offering diagnostic support in exchange of clinical and biological information on the infected horses. This data helps researchers further their understanding of ECoV and gain valuable epidemiological information.

There is much good news for horse owners in this research. First and foremost, the mortality rate is low. Many horses may contract ECoV, but few will die from it. In a recent UC Davis study, only 8 percent of horses infected with ECoV died as a result of complications such as endotoxemia, sepsis or hyperammonemic encephalopathy.

Furthermore, the infection is generally short-lived. Clinical signs only persist for one to four days and are cleared with general supportive care.

Dr. Pusterla encourages horse facilities to continuously enforce biosecurity protocols to stop the spread of ECoV and take extra precautions at events where large groups of horses converge.


How to Protect your Horse’s Hooves from Negative Impacts of Weather, Temperature


Contact Horse Authority today to discover how your brand can benefit from Sponsor Content and other marketing opportunities.

by Tabb Pigg 


Risks: sole deterioration, thrush, infection

Seasonal weather changes have a major effect on a horse’s hoof health. Depending on the time of year, horseshooves change and may require extra attention and treatment. 

Neglecting environmental factors can lead to sole deterioration or other harmful consequences. When it comes to a horse’s environment, there are two main seasonal factors that impact hoof health: temperature and moisture 

Depending on the weather, the speed at which a hoof grows can be affected. A cooler climate causes foot growth to slow down, while warmer temperatures allow for normal sole development. Changes in growth impact a horse’s hoof condition.

It’s important that hoof care professionals are consistently monitoring foot growth to determine how often hooves should be trimmed or simply maintained. During periods of little-to-no growth, it’s also vital to make sure that the hooves aren’t wearing away.

Extra support inside the hoof cavity can alleviate pressure from the hoof wall to mitigate any wear that may occur. Pour-in pad materials adhere to the bottom of the feet and can be used any time of the year. Both Equi-Pak and Equi-Pak Soft provide extra protection and support as temperatures change, and also bond to the sole, eliminating the need to pick out the feet daily.
Pour-in pad materials adhere to the bottom of the feet for use any time of the year.

Extra support inside the hoof cavity can alleviate pressure from the hoof wall to mitigate any wear that may occur. Pour-in pad materials adhere to the bottom of the feet and can be used any time of the year. Both Equi-Pak and Equi-Pak Soft provide extra protection and support as temperatures change, and also bond to the sole, eliminating the need to pick out the feet daily. These fast-setting materials can be injected under a pad, or used as standalone pads.

The amount of moisture in the ground is one of the most important environmental factors to consider for hoof health. Wet conditions increase the chance of infection because of the increase in moisture.

Throughout spring, some parts of the country are still getting rain and a wet environment can cause thrush to run rampant through the barn. Thrush is a bacterial infection that lives in the soft tissue of the frog and can cause irritation in a horse’s foot. Similar to athlete’s foot in humans, thrush is not life-threatening but can lead to serious hoof issues if left untreated.

Like a sponge, the foot of a horse can also become soft and saturated when the ground is wet. In these conditions, the feet often expand and become softer. It is important that a hoof care professional is monitoring the hooves to ensure the horse’s shoes fit correctly or that the feet are being cleaned out regularly.

To avoid infection or injury, horse owners can use pour-in pad materials to help maintain optimal sole health. Vettec’s Equi-Pak CS will bond to the bottom of a horse’s foot, sealing out moisture and preventing debris from getting packed in the foot. Equi-Pak CS is a fast-setting soft instant pad material and is infused with copper sulfate to effectively manage mild and moderate cases of thrush.

Another situation to consider is when a horse goes from wet to dry conditions in a short amount of time, which is likely in some areas as winter turns to spring. This can cause chipping and cracking, as well as a change in shoe size. The feet shrink as they dry out, so if a horse is shod, the shoes become too big. It’s critical that a farrier examines the hooves when this change occurs so that the horse has proper support, and to mitigate the possibility of abscesses due to cracking and chipping that may occur when the soles dry out.

When horseshoes don’t fit correctly, horses distribute their weight unevenly and land on their feet differently. If they put excessive force and stress in one area of the hoof wall, it can cause a vertical crack, otherwise known as a quarter crack. Often times, a horse is in pain when it has a quarter crack, and it can become lame if the condition is not treated. If a horse is diagnosed with a quarter crack, it’s important to apply support to its hooves. Pour-in pads are an ideal solution to provide extra support during seasonal transitions.

Vettec Equi-Pak works well for this issue to support the internal hoof cavity. It absorbs shock and concussion to alleviate pressure from the hoof wall. Sole-Guard is beneficial and serves as a firmer pad material that distributes a horse’s weight across the entire hoof-bottom. It also allows for faster sole growth. In situations where a horse needs to relieve pressure around a quarter crack, this material is key to providing the horse relief, especially in the changing seasons.

Although moderately warm and dry weather is ideal for horses, it is more common that horse owners will have to deal with a variety of climates. Temperature and moisture both directly impact the anatomy and health of hooves. To maintain a horse’s overall health, it is important for horse owners to offer extra attention to soles throughout the changing seasons.

Talk with your farrier or veterinarian about your horse’s living conditions, and how pour-in pad materials can be a helpful tool for your horse’s soles to weather a variety of environmental situations.


USA Olympian Kent Farrington overtakes Ward for Number One

Longines Number One Spot

by Leanne Williams

Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington has overtaken compatriot McLain Ward to jump up to the number one spot in the Longines Rankings for the first time.

Farrington, a member of the US squad that took team silver at last year’s Rio Olympic Games, was lying second in the previous rankings. He was separated from his fellow American by just 23 points.

The 36-year-old, who has been featured prominently in the rankings since 2013, has had a great run of form recently. He had with a 5* victory in Antwerp with Sherkan D’Amaury, and a win in Miami and second in Shanghai last weekend with Creedance boosting his points tally to 3,255 to finally clinch the coveted world number one slot.

Ward, whose sensational win at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha put him on top of the world in the April rankings, has now slid back to second on 3018, 37 points adrift of Farrington, with Germany’s Daniel Deusser closing the gap in third on 3010.

Farrington is based in Wellington, Florida and has built up a strong string of 5* horses. He is a five-time FEI World Cup™ Jumping finalist and was just outside the individual medals in Rio when finishing fifth at the first-ever Olympic Games to be hosted in South America.

Farrington also won team bronze at the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games, team bronze at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy and team gold at the 2011 Pan-Am Games in Guadalajara.



Clark Montgomery, Loughan Glen lead Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event after Dressage

by Kate Green

American rider Clark Montgomery rode a smooth dressage test on Loughan Glen to take the lead in front of his new home crowd at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington, KY.

Montgomery recently returned to the states after being based in Britain. The Kentucky resident leads the 59 starters in our county’s premier event on the impressive score of 33.6.

There’s no relaxing when defending champion Michael Jung from Germany is only 3.5 penalties behind. Jung is the dual Olympic champion and 2015-2016 FEI Classics™ leader. He is going for record-setting third Kentucky victory in a row, on the same horse, the gallant little mare FischerRocana FST.

Jung has a habit of piling on the pressure with faultless jumping performances.

Montgomery and Loughan Glen are no strangers to outstanding success in the dressage area but have a few spots on their cross-country record. However, the dressage leader, who describes tomorrow’s test as “beefy”, was visibly elated, “My horse felt super. This morning he was pretty tight, but he was ‘up’ which is what we wanted. He felt good in his body, good in his mind.”

Rolex is the third leg of the FEI Classics™. The series links the world’s six major four-star events and provides valuable cash prizes to the top three finishers in the points table.

US rider Kim Severson has achieved a rare distinction of her own. She won Kentucky three times, although not consecutively, on the same horse, Winsome Adante. Severson in third place on her rising star Cooley Cross Border.

Frenchman Maxime Livio scored the first victory in the current FEI Classics™ series, at Pau, France, and brings that winning horse, Qalao Des Mers, for an attempt at Kentucky. They are eighth on 44.6.

Zara Tindall, the 2006 world champion, is the sole Brit. She was near the bottom of the Badminton waitlist and decided to cross the Atlantic with her 2012 Olympic silver medallist High Kingdom. They are currently 16th on 46.6, just 0.3 ahead of fellow traveler Tim Price (NZL) on Ringwood Sky Boy who is 17th.

Kentucky’s last home winner was Phillip Dutton in 2008. He’s in ninth on 44.8 with two of his three rides, Fernhill Fugitive and the 17-year-old Mr. Medicott.

The vastly experienced rider, a bronze medallist at Rio last year, is positive about Saturday’s cross-country, “You’ve got to keep thinking, not let the blood rush to the head and see how your horse handles the distance. It’s another great course from Derek [di Grazia] and will sort everyone out.”

After the dressage competition wrapped, fans were delighted to experience one last dressage test from the beloved Alison Springer and her mount Arthur. The gelding was recently diagnosed with a cardiac condition that is ending his competition career as an event horse. The crowd was brought to its feet and tears flowed as the classy pair completed their initial farewell down the center line.

Watch Saturday’s cross country competition live here.


McLain Ward, HH Azure Capture Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Title

Ward’s Elusive Title

by Dana Rossmeier

On his 17th attempt, McLain Ward with HH Azur won the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Final title Sunday.

The crowd was electric at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center when Ward captured the title (click play on photo above to watch). The 2016 Rio Olympic team silver medalist combination jumped five consecutive clean rounds to secure the win that eluded him his entire career.

Switzerland’s Romain Duguet and Sweden’s Henrik Von Eckermann finished second and third, respectively. Seven additional U.S. combinations joined Ward, who all put forth great effort despite varying levels of experience.

“I’ve been a fighter, digger, and grinder my whole career. I try never to give up and try to keep working at it. The team works at it, and today’s just a culmination of a lot of people’s hard work,” said Ward.

A total of 26 combinations, including four U.S. combinations, advanced to Sunday’s Jumping Final where two rounds determined the champion. One rail separated the top three keeping the competition extremely tight.

Switzerland’s Romain Duguet went clear to remain on four penalties putting extra pressure on Ward for a clear round. Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet had one rail, which put him at seven penalty points, overall, giving Ward extra breathing room. Resting on zero penalties heading into the first round of competition, the crowd watched in excitement and anticipation as Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Double H Farm & Francois Mathy’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare took the course on. Ward and HH Azur delivered a clean round to move to the second round still in the lead.

Charlie Jacobs (Boston, Mass.) with Cassinja S, CMJ Sporthorse LLC’s 2006 Zweibrücker mare, and Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) with Zeremonie, Old Willow Farms, LLC’s 2007 Holsteiner mare, joined Ward in the second round and ended with 20 and 23 penalties, respectively. After accumulating faults during each day of competition, Kraut ended on a high note with a clear round on Sunday.

“This was the first round where she actually felt like she normally does outside. She was loose and relaxed, listened to me, and was not so overwhelmed with the environment. She will come out of this with more mileage and experience, and I am looking forward to the future,” said Kraut.

Duguet continued to put the pressure on Ward by going clear in the second round to remain on four penalty points. Wathelet followed and dropped another rail giving him 11 total penalties. With no room for error, Ward and HH Azur remained focused and determined. The dependable mare gave Ward everything she had to help Ward seal the victory.

“[Owners Hunter Harrison and François Mathy] are huge father figures in my life. I learned a tremendous amount from both of them. Much of who I am is because of these two men, and to have them both own, what I consider the best horse I ever sat on in my life, it’s emotional enough,” said Ward, following his double-clear performance on Friday.


Ashlee Bond Claims Longines Win with Chela LS at Thermal

Back from Baby

by Esther Hahn

Against a picturesque California desert backdrop, the USA’s Ashlee Bond and Chela LS marked their official comeback to the top of world-class show jumping sport. The pair claimed victory with the only double clear in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Thermal.

And while the slowly setting sun created the perfect golden haze for Bond’s return after she had her first child just four-months-ago, it caused others to struggle.

The challenging light could be blamed for second-place finisher Audrey Coulter (USA) issues in the jump off. Shadows at the Longines oxer caused a miscommunication between Coulter and her horse Alex, forcing the fence down. The pair ended with four faults and a time of 45.29 seconds. Third place went to Lane Clark (USA) and Balu U with eight faults and a time of 40.10 seconds.

A technical course, designed by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo, met the day’s competitors. The first to go in the order, Bond showed the way without dropping a rail. She did originally accrue a single time penalty but soon after, the time allowed was extended from 75 seconds to 79.

In the four-man jump off, Bond once again rode first and delivered a smooth round that could not be caught. The California native’s performances aboard the chestnut mare reminded the crowd of their storied, long-standing record that includes a $1 Million Grand Prix win and a win in FEI Nations Cup™ competition in 2014.

“Chela was off for a year and a half with a staph infection in her hocks and just started coming back last August with my dad,” said Bond. “We both came back at the same time—it just worked out that way, luckily.”

“I had a conversation with my dad and Richard Spooner before the jump off, and they both thought I should put in a nice, smooth round. I haven’t done so many jump-offs lately so I just approached it with picking up a nice rhythm and being smooth.

Other top West Coast names missed the final round with unlucky rails that dropped throughout the course. Field favorites Christian Heineking (GER), Eric Navet (FRA), and Jamie Barge (USA) earned four faults apiece. But arguably the most heartbreaking first round came from Mexico’s Daniel Pedraza, who missed advancing to the jump-off by 1/100th of a second.

Following today’s event, Nayel Nassar (EGY) continues to hold the lead in the Western Sub-League standings. In the Eastern Sub-League, Kent Farrington (USA) is in the first position. The final event for the Eastern Sub-League will take place in Ocala, Florida on 12 March 2017.


Results: 1, Chela LS (Ashlee Bond) USA 0/0 40.91; 2, Alex (Audrey Coulter) USA 0/4 45.29; 3, Balu U (Lane Clarke) USA 0/8 40.10; 4, Tembla (Karl Cook) USA 0/8 41.05; 5, Arc de Triomphe (Daniel Pedraza) MEX 1/79.01; 6, Hermelien vd Hooghoeve (Ali Ramsay) CAN 1/79.15; 7, Parette (Lisa Carlsen) CAN 1/81.11; 8, NKH Calango (Christian Heineking) GER 4/75.50.


Business of Horses: Replacing the Handshake with Contracts

by Cathy Trope

Importance of Contracts

Horse people tend to have very traditional notions about how to do business. Many prefer talking in person or on the phone to communicating by e-mail or text. It’s not at all uncommon to meet people who feel like every deal should be made on a “handshake” and that putting things in writing is a sign you don’t trust the other party.

Of course, this makes for a spectacularly difficult situation when the other side proves not to be trustworthy. It also creates situations where there are misunderstandings about agreements more easily.

Take, for instance, hiring a groom. Your candidate has worked as a groom for several other barns and has good references. You talk on the phone, check their references and hire them, without writing up a contract or even sending an e-mail describing your expectations. It turns out the previous barns they worked for were large and well-staffed, whereas your barn is a small operation where everyone is expected to help with everything. The task list is entirely different, and the new hire balks at some of the job duties. They’ve already moved from two states away to take your job, and they’re living on your property. They ask for more money, or they flatly refuse to clean stalls, which results in you having to hire a second person, which is something you never planned on making outside your budget.

You can fire them, but they’re likely to come back at you with a legal action and request reimbursement for moving costs and other expenses. They will argue the job was misrepresented and that they took their actions based upon those misrepresentations. You have nothing in writing to show otherwise. The groom has documentation. They hold a detailed collection of receipts showing everything they spent to move to your farm and everything they spent to move out when you fired them.

Guess which party looks more believable to the judge?

Another example is the sale horse with a behavioral problem. You told the buyer that the horse pulls back when tied, and you even included that fact in the horse’s sale ad. However, you failed to disclose it in writing in the bill of sale. You also failed to send an email to the prospective buyer which included mention of the problem.

Now, let’s say the buyer gets hurt because the horse pulls back and sends a chain cross-tie flying into the buyer’s mouth. They have to have several broken teeth repaired resulting in a huge dental bill. The buyer gets an attorney, and both buyer and trainer deny that you mentioned this dangerous habit prior to the sale. You go online and try to pull up the ad where you mentioned it, but it is gone. You deleted it when the horse sold and the site didn’t save a backup copy. Unless you have additional witnesses, you have no way to prove that you disclosed the problem prior to the sale of the horse.

How can you prevent situations like these, which can easily cost you thousands of dollars in legal expenses?

Don’t Risk it

Use Contracts – and Read Your Contracts

Many horse people have contracts that they use without really understanding what their obligations are under that contract. Take the time to read what you routinely sign and make sure it makes sense and is up-to-date. Was it drafted by an attorney, or cobbled together from examples online that might include terms that are not legal in your state? Are the addresses and phone numbers correct? Is there a way to edit your contracts on the fly to put in specifics? Do you have a copy machine in the barn so that both parties get a fully signed copy of the contract to keep? (Multifunction machines are down to about $100 – there is no reason not to have one handy).

A bill of sale should include not only the horse’s description but also a description of the horse’s issues, both behavioral and physical.

A release of liability should include full contact information with several phone numbers in case of an emergency and should include a place to disclose whether a rider has any known allergies or significant health conditions that medical staff would need to know about in the event of an emergency.

Memorialize Phone and In-Person Conversations With an E-Mail

Bud stopped by while you were feeding and told you his client wanted your grey mare that she had test ridden last week. You said that was great and kept on feeding. When you get a break, send Bud an email – it will serve as a way to prove the conversation took place.

Hi Bud,

Thanks for stopping by today to tell me that Suzy Rider would like to buy Fleet Foot. As we discussed last week, the sale price is $30,000, and I agreed to take $10,000 down within 7 days (so that’ll be next Thursday, March 24, 2017) and the remainder in 8 monthly payments of $2500, due by the 5th of every month starting with May 2017 until paid. I will waive the board here until 3/24/17 but thereafter it will be $15 a day until the mare is picked up. Please let me know if Suzy would like the mare to stay in training until moved. My trainer, Jenna Jumper, charges $40/ride. Suzy is welcome to have a vet come out and inspect the mare at her expense prior to 3/24/17, and our agreement is contingent upon the mare passing for the purpose of preliminary level eventing.

Thanks! Always a pleasure doing business with you.

Look at all the information in that e-mail. There is a lot there that you probably didn’t think to discuss when you were in the middle of throwing hay.

There are also things there that you assume everybody in horses knows – but in court, judges don’t consider any information to be so obvious that it is assumed. Odds are your judge will know nothing about horses or the horse business.

An e-mail like this can do a lot to protect you when Suzy drags her heels and doesn’t pick up the mare until April 13th, and then her hauler shows up without a check to pay for the board and riding in the meantime. When you put it in writing, the other party can’t claim you didn’t tell them. It keeps things clear and stops conflicts from happening before they start.

If you receive an email like this and don’t agree with its recitation of what you agreed to, immediately send a return email.

Hi Fred,

Hey, I got your e-mail about Suzy buying Fleet Foot. I’m not sure we talked about timing, but Suzy can’t pick up that mare or make the first payment until she gets home from Europe on April 1, 2017. So let me know if that’s a problem or not. She wanted the board thrown in until April 1 – is that something you can do, since she is paying your full asking price for the mare? Everything else sounds great – I’m looking forward to having such a nice mare in my barn!

Yes, you still need a traditional bill of sale – but recording your conversations promptly in e-mail can do a lot to make sure the deal is on track and both parties are in agreement, and not confused about the terms. E-mails can also serve as evidence of the parties’ understanding of the deal at the time it was made if there is a legal conflict at some later date.

Don’t Assume – Ever

Assumptions cause a lot of conflict in the horse world.

For example, I’ve been polo grooming on and off for the past thirty years. I know that it is basically a seven-day-a-week-job. Monday might be an easy day of just feeding and basic chores, but the other 6 days are full days of work. If there’s polo on a holiday, you’re working. We all know that, right?

Don’t assume that.

When you’re hiring someone, put the expectations in writing before you hire, to ensure that the prospective candidate understands the time commitment. (Also, make sure that you do a little math and are certain that you’re not offering less than minimum wage for the work. If you’re not sure if the terms you’re offering are legal in your state, it is always cheaper to pay for a consultation with an attorney than defend a lawsuit.)

Everything that you think someone should know because it is common sense ought to be put in writing. I guarantee, the person is out there who doesn’t know (or doesn’t have common sense!) The more you put in writing, the fewer headaches you will have and the more money you will save.



This is solely informative in nature and not intended as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed equine attorney in your state. This is general information intended to educate horse owners about basic equine legal issues and when they should seek equine law counsel. 

Looking for an equine lawyer? click here


Horses Heal through Equine Therapy for Cancer Patients

by Jenny Holt


Equine Therapy Retreats for Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy: the list of cancer treatments are endless. Treatment is also available to treat the psychological, social and spiritual side effects of the disease. For some, the answer comes through equine therapy, specifically the unmounted, psychological rehabilitation with horses.

Horses respond to patients in unique ways, including mirroring their emotions. Horses are even known to sync their heartbeat with their rider or a person on the ground. A horse’s social and responsive behavior is similar to a human’s, which allows them to establish a connection. This might be why equine therapy is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

Allan J. Hamilton, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Arizona, holds equine therapy retreats for cancer patients. He explains, “the idea is that a large animal like a horse can become a metaphor for something powerful and potentially out of control,” much like cancer and similar life-threatening diseases. Dr. Hamilton adds that the metaphor can be used, “to start talking about how we approach cancer, and the values and attitudes we want in order to bring about a successful survival.” 

After the trauma of cancer treatment, equine therapy helps patients rebuild a sense of confidence, self-worth, and perspective. While providing a distraction from the fears and stresses caused by their condition it helps patients achieve normalcy in their routine. Spending time with horses and equine therapists gives patients an additional support network allowing them to feel less isolated. It is also an opportunity to be socially active with people other than medical staff.

Equine therapy engages patients allowing them to connect one-on-one with horses. The process requires leaving their comfort zone and fully trusting the horse. The patient also must learn to manage their impulses and emotions.

An exercise may include feeling the horse’s body while the patient keeps their eyes closed. The process creates a sense of confidence for the patient and allows them to assume control. A therapist works with the patient after to talk through each experience to find out what worked and how the patient feels.

Equine Therapy may include grooming and leading the horse. The activity allows the patient’s strength, weakened by cancer treatments to rebuild as the person’s fitness level improves.

To find an accredited facility, go to PATH International by clicking here.


Thickening Horse Soles with Proper Trimming, Pour-in Pads


Contact Horse Authority today to discover how your brand can benefit from Sponsor Content and other marketing opportunities.

by Tabb Pigg


How to thicken horse soles

Proper trimming and awareness of a horse’s sole thickness are vital to maintaining optimal hoof health.

Whether a horse is growing back over-trimmed soles or it is genetically predisposed to thin soles, it’s important that hoof care professionals examine the conditions horses are in because it directly impacts sole health.

Think of soles like calluses on feet – if you’re active, calluses protect your feet from getting blisters. If calluses are removed from feet when you’re active or in abrasive conditions, the feet develop blisters and become painful. In order to keep a horse’s soles in healthy condition, hoof care professionals need to be astute to the conditions the horse’s hooves are in. If a horse naturally has thin soles, there are different methods they can apply to help a horse to regain sole thickness depending on its environment.

Lameness is a key sign of thin horse soles. If the condition isn’t diagnosed, horses are often uncomfortable walking, especially on hard, abrasive surfaces. Some develop sole bruising. When these symptoms are prevalent, it’s important to examine the soles.

Are the soles soft and flexible when touched? Has the horse been exposed to changing living conditions, such as wet to dry?

Causes of Unhealthy Hoof Soles

Symptoms of unhealthy soles can be addressed so the condition can be maintained and corrected. Below are a few examples of some potential causes:

Environmental: A wet environment weakens the sole, and when the sole is moist, abrasion from rough surfaces wears down the sole quickly.

Genetics: Some horses, like Thoroughbreds, have thin soles naturally. It’s important that hoof care professionals are aware of and avoid over trimming during routine visits and shoeing.

Before and After X-Rays when using Vettec Pour In Pads
Proper trimming and awareness of a horse’s sole thickness are vital to maintaining optimal hoof health.

Over Trimming: Hoof care professionals should be aware of whether a horse has thick or thin soles and the horse’s living conditions. This helps determine how much to trim and what padding is needed for the horse to remain comfortable and healthy.

Managing Hoof Soles  

To regain and maintain sole thickness, pour-in pads can be a helpful way to protect the remaining sole and allow more sole growth. When the soles are sealed off with pour-in pad material, they have a better chance of retaining thickness and re-growing. Depending on the moisture in a horse’s environment, there are different pour-in pad materials that can be beneficial.

Vettec Equi-Pak is soft enough that it will not irritate the sensitive area if the horse is lame. Equi-Pak is fast-setting, soft pad material that bonds directly to the sole and frog, and improves the depth of the sole.

Equi-Pak CS is also a fast-setting soft instant pad material and is infused with copper sulfate to minimize the chance of bacteria getting trapped within the hoof, which is common in moist environments. Equi-Pak CS provides extra protection and support during wet seasons, and also bonds to the sole to protect it from abrasion so that the horse’s soles can continue to regrow.

Soles protect the horse’s hoof cavities, thus it’s vital they are maintained and examined thoroughly to determine a sole-maintaining regimen. If the soles are not examined, trimmed or maintained properly, it can cause lameness, affecting a horse’s ability for daily activity. Consistent, proper trimming and treatment, allows a horse to maintain healthy sole thickness.

Talk with a farrier or veterinarian about your horse’s soles, and how pour-in pad materials may be a helpful tool for gaining and maintaining sole thickness.


Vettec Inc. is the leader in quality hoof care products



How to Treat Equine Canker of the Hoof

by Hannah Beers


Canker – unpleasant as it sounds

Canker is a chronic infection of the frog. The frog is the soft, cushioned area at the rear of the sole of the horse’s hoof.

The infection is often anaerobic, meaning it doesn’t require oxygen to survive. As the body’s natural immune defense tries to ward off the infection, a white irregular tissue develops. The foot also produces a white smelly discharge, and the horse has difficulty walking because its feet are sore.

Dr. Erica Secor is completing a three-year residency program in equine surgery at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She explains that canker “is the horseman’s term for proliferative pododermatitis.” She has a particular interest in horse hoof issues and care.

Draft horses and equine canker

Draft horses most commonly suffer from canker, but veterinarians aren’t sure why.

Dr. Secor trained as a farrier before becoming a veterinarian. “The farrier may also notice that the feet will bleed easily and the horse may be less tolerant of the shoeing process because of pain from the infection,” Dr. Secor explains.

“It could be because draft horses have large feet with deep crevices that are more susceptible to infection,” Dr. Secor adds. “Or they may have a genetic predisposition to this infection, or it could be a combination of these reasons.”

Horses exposed to a wet environment, such as damp bedding in a stall, from urine, are more likely to develop equine canker.

“Oral antibiotics don’t really touch proliferative pododermatitis because when giving a medication like that orally, not enough of it gets to the foot,” says Dr. Secor. “The mainstay of treatment is topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide… This works well to dry out tissue.”

Surgical treatment

Veterinarians may also try surgical debridement, the process of cutting away the abnormal, infected tissue using a scalpel blade. The frog grows back within six months. That means even when a significant amount of the frog is removed the horse usually adjusts well, Dr. Secor adds.

Canker treatment for horse's hooves.
Part of Xena’s treatment includes wearing special shoe covers that hold bandages and medication in place to treat the canker.

After the surgical debridement procedure, the horse’s hooves are protected with a pad and bandages. A hospital plate, which is a piece of metal cut to the size and shape of the horse’s hoof, is bolted onto the horse’s shoe. It keeps the bandages and medication in place.

Canker is often chronic. Relapses may occur after treatment. The best way to prevent equine canker of the hoof is to keep bedding clean and dry. Additionally, the owner should pick out the horse’s feet often.

“If you notice that your horse is sensitive to having its feet touched, has discharge, or has a strange-looking tissue, call your veterinarian immediately,” advises Dr. Secor.

“The home remedies promoted on the internet don’t often work and just allow the condition to worsen. Canker is most easily treated when it is caught early.”


Consistent Trimming Keeps Hooves Maintained, Bars Aligned

Contact Horse Authority today to discover how your brand can benefit from Sponsor Content and other marketing opportunities.

by Tabb Pigg


Bruised Sole or Abscess issues?

Proper hoof trimming is vital to preventing injury causing lameness in horses. Keeping horses’ bars aligned and healthy are key to prevent a “stacked sole,” or worse, a bruised sole or abscess.

Bars appear as white lines along the frog and are made up of lamina. Think of the bars like plastic straws. If you push down on the straw from the top, it stays strong and holds its form. If a straw gets too long, it will likely bend with pressure applied and become weak.

Symptoms of Unhealthy Bars

When horses show signs of lameness, it’s important that a hoof care professional examines the sole to make sure the bars are aligned and visible. If either of those factors is missing, then the bars are not healthy and the hoof is not being trimmed or maintained properly. The bars essentially begin growing forward and down toward the Proper hoof trimming is vital to preventing injury causing lameness in horses. Keeping horses' bars aligned and healthy are key to prevent a "stacked sole," or worse, a bruised sole or abscess.ground and changing directions. This causes the bars to grow into the soft tissue of the sole if left untrimmed. When the overgrown bars begin to apply pressure on the soft or horney part of the sole, it causes lameness and discomfort.

Unhealthy Hoof Bars

Symptoms of unhealthy bars can be addressed so the condition does not get worse.

Included are:

Stacked Sole: When bars are too long, it causes a horse to distribute its weight unevenly. Thus, the heels can become bent and the sole looks like it has a stacked effect. Eventually, this causes sole bruising as the long bars bend into the soft tissue of the sole. In rare cases, the bars are not visible at all and can minimize blood circulation from the pressure it applies on the soft tissue of the hoof cavity.

Pinched Heels: If the heels are too far forward, the heels become pinched and contracted, causing the horse to bear all of its weight on its toes. If this is not treated in a timely manner, it can cause injury.

Managing Bars

Farriers may have different approaches when it comes to managing the bars. Some may suggest removing them and others might not want to trim them at all.

For optimal hoof care, there is a happy medium. Bars should be trimmed such that the white lines (lamina) of the sole are always visible. In addition to being visible, it’s important that there is very little bend or deviation.

A horse needs to distribute its weight evenly so that it can land on its feet without putting stress on the toes and pinching the heels. When bars are crooked and too long, it becomes uncomfortable and prevents a horse from standing evenly. A farrier should be able to look at the bars to determine if they are too long, then decide whether to trim or apply pour-in pad products as needed.

If the bars are so stacked or buried that you cannot visibly see them, soft pour-in pad products can help to keep moisture in the hoof so that the bars will loosen, making them more noticeable and easier to find for trimming.

Vettec Equi-Pak is soft enough that it will not irritate the sensitive area if the horse is lame. Equi-Pak is fast-setting, soft pad material that bonds directly to the sole and frog, and improves the depth of the sole. Applying pour-in pads can be used as a tool to loosen up the sole, making bars visible and the hoof more comfortable to stand on.

The feet are a major aspect of a horse’s overall health. If the bars are not maintained properly and weight is not distributed evenly, it can cause injury and lameness, affecting a horse’s ability to do many daily activities. With consistent and proper trimming regimens, a horse will have healthy bars, be able to stand evenly and bear weight comfortably.

Talk with your farrier or veterinarian about your horse’s bars, and how pour-in pad materials can be a helpful tool for trimming and examining the hoof cavity.


5 Ways to Keep Your Horse Property from Selling

Advice from equestrian real estate agent


by Kathryn Roan

I consider myself a helpful person. If I didn’t, then I’ve certainly chosen the wrong career path. My job is to conduct the three-ring-circus that is selling real estate.

They don’t make ten reality shows a year about shoe salesmen. It’s a tough 24/7/365 job. As a horse property buyer or seller, you enlist my services because you want my help. More likely, you probably need my help to even know where to begin, how to market your horse property and get the process all the way to the closing table. There are roughly one trillion (*only slight exaggeration) articles floating around on the web about “How to Find the Perfect Property”, or “Keys to Selling Your Home”.

This is not one of those. I’m about to be a little harsh. But I’m trying to help.

On a personal level, I have been blessed with some really lovely real estate clients, most of which were excellent about following my advice and taking direction. This is not about you. Experiences highlighted here are summarized from actual showings of property that I have taken buyers to see. It’s an ugly, ugly world out there, folks.


For Sale by Owner

1. Try To Sell It Yourself

Okay, you know I had to go there. Yes, I’m aware of your brother’s friend’s cousin who put their property on Zillow and got a million dollars for it. I’d be lying if I said these things don’t happen because they certainly do. Someone also wins the lottery every darn week of the year, and unfortunately, it’s never me. Some people really are just lucky. They stick a sign in the yard, and somebody driving by comes up to the front door and buys the place. This could be you. But, more often than not, this just doesn’t happen. You’ll be the one to enjoy a ton of phone calls from people only wanting to know the price, and a complete tire shop worth of kickers.

And getting that “OMG, I LOVE IT!” buyer in the door is only half the battle – the buyer actually has to have the financial means to buy the place (*cough*), and with rural property there is a cornucopia of qualifiers and legal issues that are quite different from a residential property purchase. Raise your hand if you want to end up in court over a legal issue your real estate agent would have, in all likelihood, been able to steer you clear of.

Your rural property doesn’t get the drive-by traffic a subdivision home does, and any potential buyer passing by can’t really even see what your property has to offer just from the road.

How many acres? How many barns? Is there an arena? Stalls in the barn?

If your property was on the MLS, a potential buyer could use any of the 10,000 real estate apps on their phone in order to find this information out immediately, but instead, they’ll be calling you.

Also, 80%+ of buyers still use a buyer’s agent when they’re purchasing a home. Buyer’s agents have zero motivation to recommend or show your property to their clients since no one likes to work for free. So all those buyers working with a buyer’s agent most likely won’t be getting your property in their inbox, partially due to the fact that their agent doesn’t even know it’s for sale, because, oh yeah, it’s not on the MLS.

The stats differ, but something like 87% of FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) end up using a real estate agent in the end.

This is the biggest single financial transaction you’ll probably ever do in your life, and the average person only buys or sells a home FIVE times in their lifetime, if that many. A very average real estate agent handles 12 transactions a YEAR.

You wouldn’t try to do surgery on your own foot, right? But, by all means, dive into the deep end of the pool alone.


2. Using An Agent Who Isn’t Regularly Selling Rural Property

If you’re wanting to be buried on your property, then please, use Cathy Condo to market your horse farm. She’ll make sure the buyers know there’s “No HOA!”

Ask any Farm & Ranch agent, and they’ll tell you that we can smell a “city agent” from a mile off. Nothing is more frustrating to me than inquiring about a listing on behalf of my buyer, and the listing agent has NO CLUE what I’m even talking about. I’ve actually had the following conversation with a seller’s agent:

Me: “What are the dimensions of the outdoor arena?”Using an Equestrian Real Estate Agent is Priority Number 1

L.A.: “Well, the seller does that horse dancing thing, sooo…”

Me: “Dressage?”

L.A.: “It’s on a big black horse.”

Me: “A Friesian?”

L.A.: “Maybe? It’s big and black.”

If your listing agent cannot answer simple questions like “How much of the acreage is floodplain?”, or “What type of soil is it?” (and doesn’t even know why that might be important), you’re pretty much screwed.

Especially if the buyers are from out of town, your listing agent needs to be able to answer these types of questions. They matter to buyers. Additionally, the answers will often determine whether or not the buyer ever makes it onto your property.

There are some AWESOME Farm & Ranch agents out there. In fact, I am a Keller Williams Farm & Ranch division agent, which is comprised entirely of agents who specialize in ranch and land sales.

Don’t get a bike mechanic to work on your Mercedes, it’s just not good business.


3. Be Over-Priced

I know this sounds painfully obvious, but it just isn’t. An overpriced home just doesn’t sell, in any market.

Everyone always wants to “try for a higher price, and see if we get it”, and you should totally do that if you are looking forward to longer days-on-market and buyers becoming suspicious as to why your home hasn’t sold. You may even end up getting less money in the end because you priced it so high to start!

Remember, your agent’s commission is based on the price, so we want you to get top dollar. I promise. Keep in mind that when we suggest a price, it’s not a random number – it is based on the closest comps (comparable recent sales) possible and our knowledge of the market (but what do we know!). We’re not just making this number up to disappoint you or make our lives easier. As an agent, I have to do what my client wants (within reason), so I will list it at the price you request (again, within reason), but understand when I come back to you and insist we reduce the price. At every price point, the type of buyers you attract with your price have a certain minimum standard they’re expecting. Instead of being a shining star, your property is disappointing.

Be priced to where the property will meet or exceed the buyer’s expectations. Exceeding expectations = SOLD.


4. Don’t Prep Your Property for Showings

If you really just don’t want to sell your property, go ahead, leave those dishes in the sink. Better yet, leave some underwear on the floor. Make sure the carpet is dirty and has a faint odor of wet dog. If you have an indoor litter box, by all means, leave it out in the kitchen. Landscaping? Don’t be silly! It’s a horse farm!

The absolute biggest mistake rural property sellers make is thinking that, because it’s a farm, the buyers won’t care what it looks like. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. If anything, a farm property buyer is looking for their childhood dream. If I had a nickel for every time a buyer told me “I just want to look out my kitchen window and see my horses grazing”, I’d have an indoor arena.

Let me ask you this, horse people: If you’re going to go look at a horse to buy, are you at all influenced by the way the horse is presented to you?

Let’s say, for illustration purposes, we’re looking at two 16.2hh eight-year-old dark bay geldings, both sound, both competed through Novice in Eventing, both quiet, and both priced at $10,000. One is at a clean, orderly-but-not-fancy, uncluttered barn, standing in the cross ties waiting for you, with a well-groomed shiny coat, freshly pulled mane, and polished hooves.

The other is out in a 10-acre field, covered in mud, missing a shoe, and needs 100 lbs to be at a proper weight.

While they both might be great horses, which horse would you pay the full asking price for? Sure, the second gelding just needs a bath, a farrier, and a sandwich, but are you going to pay top dollar for him?


The same goes for a property. Clean up. Put your personal items away – you’re moving anyway, right? Go ahead and pre-pack. No one wants to see your creepy South American prayer doll collection. Have a garage sale. Leave the buyer feeling like they could see themselves living in your home, not that they’re breaking and entering. Have the carpets cleaned, and touch up the paint. Plant fresh flowers in the garden, or if you have a brown thumb like me, fakies look just as good and the buyer will never notice the flowers in the pot by the door looked just a little too cheerful.

De-cluttering your home will also make last-minute preparations for individual showings easier because you’ll just have to quickly dust and vacuum. Keep it simple. I always tell my clients to “THR” aka “Think Hotel Room” … it’s decorated, but not personal. You know, in your head, a 1,000 people have stayed in that room, but it feels like yours, even for just a moment.

And for god’s sake, mow. A freshly mowed and weed-whacked property just looks like a million dollars, even if it’s listed for $150,000. If your buyers have to trek across the waist-high grass to see the property lines, silently praying they don’t step on a snake… they’re only thinking about what other “snakes in the grass” they’d have to deal with if they bought this property. It just makes the property feel unloved and unkempt, which ups the pain-in-the-arse factor to the buyer.

Drag your arena, if there is one, and set it up with the tools you use for whatever discipline – if you’re a jumper, set up your jumps as a course.

Dressage? Put out your letters.

Barrels? Set your barrels up in the cloverleaf pattern.

Have you won ribbons or trophies horse while showing? Display them in the barn aisle or tack room (or in your office space in the house).

Buyers love to see that someone has had success with their horses on this property, and it makes them feel like maybe they could find success too.

Remember, we’re sellin’ the dream here, people.


5. Be Present For Showings

The best way to keep your property from selling is to be present for showings. Better yet, follow the buyers around while they’re looking. That works super.

If you’re genuinely just trying to make the buyers feel really awkward and uncomfortable, this is the way. They will want to bolt off your property faster than if you just came clean and told them that it’s infested with a colony of Africanized bees.

Add one, or three, loose, snarling 90 lb. dogs and you are in business. You might as well mention that the neighbor had “a little meth problem, but he’s doing better now.”When sellers insist on being present for a horse property showing it is a losing situation.

Y’all, buyers hate this. The owner of a property being present is just deal-killing poison. I completely understand that with horses and farms, especially if operating as a business, there is a certain amount of liability in allowing strangers to just wander around. If this is your concern, have your seller’s agent show the property. Again, use a knowledgeable farm agent that knows to close gates behind them, and won’t let clients in stalls or paddocks with horses.

The idea is to have the buyer envision their own future. Having the owner follow them around not only keeps them from openly discussing the property, but it also serves as a reminder that they’re on someone else’s property, not their future dream horse farm. The buyer’s feel obligated to get the grand tour even if they hate it, which also just wastes everyone’s time. It’s a total bummer. Just don’t do it.

My best advice is to remember that your real estate agent is on your side. They want you to sell your property. They want you to have a fast, fun, and as-stress-free-as-selling-a-ranch-can-be experience.

Your real estate agent is not the enemy. I have so many conversations with seller’s agents prior to showings that consist of the listing agent apologizing for the circumstances of the property because despite begging the seller to follow these rules, they don’t.

As a seller, you are only hurting yourself.

Remember, the goal is to sell the property for a good price, so, please – help us.


U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team Announced for Rio

The United States Equestrian Federation has named four horse and rider pairs to the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team. There is also a traveling reserve combo for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Show Jumping competition at the Games will take place August 12-19, 2016 at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations make up the team (in alphabetical order):

Lucy Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding

Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur, a 2002 KWPN gelding

Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding

McLain Ward (Brewester, N.Y.) with Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare

The following athlete-and-horse combination has been named as the traveling reserve:

Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Old Willow Farms, LLC’s Zeremonie, a 2007 Holsteiner mare

Four athlete-and-horse combinations have been named to the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team.

Dressage competition at the Olympic Games will take place August 8-15, 2016 at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations make up the team (in alphabetical order):

Allison Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Claudine and Fritz Kundrun’s Rosevelt, a 2002 Hanoverian stallion

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 2002 KWPN gelding

Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) with Diane Perry’s Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding

Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92, a 2002 Westphalian gelding

Direct Reserve

Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde, a 2007 Rheinlander mare

The following combination has been named as the traveling reserve:

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Patricia Stempel’s Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding

BLM to Sterilize Wild Mustangs

by Scott Sonner

Navicular or Caudal Heel Syndrome: Detection and Treatment


Contact Horse Authority today to discover how your brand can benefit from Sponsor Content and other marketing opportunities. 

by Tabb Pigg


Caudal Heel Syndrome

Proper trimming is vital to horses’ overall health and quality of life. When hooves aren’t trimmed properly, horses distribute their weight unevenly and land on their feet differently. This can cause horses to become lame.

Often, farriers and veterinarians focus on trimming the toes more than the heels of a horse. When trimming, it’s important to tend to the entire foot, and not just one part, because it causes the foot to become uneven.

Caudal Heel Syndrome commonly occurs because the heels run too far forward due to a lack of trimming.


Is it Navicular Disease?

When horses show signs of lameness, but the prognosis isn’t obvious, it is often diagnosed as Navicular Disease. Navicular is a degenerative disease that affects the Navicular bone and surrounding tissue. More often than not, horses do not have the disease but have Caudal Heel Syndrome, which can be treated with trimming and solar support products.


What are the causes and symptoms of Caudal Heel Syndrome?

There are many different causes of Caudal Heel Syndrome. Additionally, the symptoms of caudal heel syndrome can be addressed to deter the condition from occurring.

Below are just a few examples of some potential causes and symptoms caudal heel syndrome:

Toes: Often, owners and farriers only focus on trimming the toes, therefore, the heel grows toward the toe and underneath the foot. When this happens, the horse’s foot is not flat on the ground.

Long Heels: Heels grow at an angle. As seen in the image of the horse with the long toe, the angle continues under the foot because it is not trimmed. As the heel grows under the foot, it affects how the horse bears its weight.

Pinched Heels: If the heels are too far forward, the heels become pinched and contracted. That causes the horse to bear all of its weight on its toes. If this is not treated in a timely manner, it can cause ligament injury.

Landing On Toes: When a horse is walking or trotting and only landing on its toes, it could indicate that its heels are sore.

How to Manage Caudal Heel Syndrome

Instead of assuming a horse has something as serious as Navicular Disease, it’s important to decipher the cause of the lameness.

Here are a few questions to consider:

How often are the horse’s hooves trimmed?

Is the horse’s weight evenly distributed when standing?

Is the heel overgrown?

Even Weight Distribution

A horse needs to distribute its weight evenly so that it can land on its feet without putting stress on the toes and pinching the heels. A farrier should be able to measure and decide if the heel is too long and trim the feet as needed. If the condition is more advanced or progresses further, modern techniques including nerve blocking, MRIs and x-rays can be used to decipher where the exact location of the pain is in the foot.

When a horse is diagnosed with Caudal Heel Syndrome, the first step is to trim the feet properly and control the pain.

Next, apply pour-in pads to support the hooves with Vettec Equi-Pak CS to engage the frog and heel again and help the horse distribute its weight evenly across the entire hoof surface.

The frog refers to the dark-colored soft tissue on the bottom side of the foot that is triangular in shape. It stretches from a horse’s heel to midway toward the toe. The frog often contracts due to a lack of circulation in a horse with Caudal Heel Syndrome, so it’s important to re-engage it.

Equi-Pak CS is a fast-setting, soft pad material that is infused with copper sulfate to prevent bacteria from setting in. Because the frog is often sensitive after diagnosis, the copper sulfate formula helps serve as a preventative measure to keep the soft tissue healthy and infection-free.

The feet are a major aspect of a horse’s overall health. If weight is not distributed evenly, it can cause injury and lameness, affecting a horse’s ability to do many day-to-day activities. With a consistent and proper trimming regimen, a horse will be able to stand evenly and bear weight comfortably. It’s also important that a farrier is trimming the heels and toes equally to eliminate the chance of Caudal Heel Syndrome. Additionally, pour-in pads can provide additional support to maintain normal heel function.

More often than not, a horse does not have Navicular Disease and most likely has Caudal Heel Syndrome. Talk with your farrier or veterinarian about proper trimming and how pour-in pad materials can provide extra support and durable protection.


Vettec Inc. is the leader in quality hoof care products



5 Reasons Your Saddle Doesn’t Fit [AND Potential Solutions]


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by Justin Baghai
We’ve all had the misfortune of seeing someone at the barn riding in a poorly fitting saddle. Or worse, we’ve been that person! While some saddle fit problems are obvious, some are not. And even some of those obvious issues may have different solutions.
Here are the top 5 fitting problems and their solutions.
(Note: these solutions work for jumping, dressage, and all-purpose saddles alike. Don’t let the example images deter you!) 
1. Tree Too Wide
Many riders want to do good by their horse and will get a saddle with a wide tree to “give their horse more room in the withers/shoulders.”
While the intention is noble, this often backfires. When a saddle is too wide in the front, it can sink down over the withers. This takes the saddle out of balance by making the pommel lower than the cantle, which in turn carries more pressure over the front of the tree (at the withers/shoulders) than a saddle with a properly sized tree. One major indication of this is trying to get your fingers under the tree point when in the seat. It can range from tough to impossible.
Add shims or padding under the front third of the panels of the saddle. There will be a little trial and error in terms of the thickness needed, but as a rule of thumb, once the pommel and cantle are level you should be in good shape.
Place the shims here:
Does your horse's saddle have tree width problem? Try this.
To read about tree width problems and solutions in detail click HERE.
2. Crooked Horse / Rider
Saddles can be crooked for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is a rider’s tendency to lean one way, and sometimes it’s an asymmetry in a horse. Regardless, we need to make sure it is sitting evenly to keep weight distribution even. But the important thing to remember here (regardless of the cause) is that a crooked saddle is usually twisting in some way, as opposed to uniformly shifting off to one side. This is important because it affects how we solve the problem.
Assess your saddle from the back (or get a friend to do it with you). Walk and trot in a straight line away from the person watching. Once you determine which way the cantle is shifting, you will know how to fix it.
Whichever way the cantle is shifting, pad the same side in the front third of the panels. Play with the thickness of the shim until you find the thickness that straightens the saddle.
For example, if the cantle is shifting right, pad it like this:
Is your horse's saddle crooked? See if this helps.
To read about crooked saddles and solutions in detail click HERE.
3. Shoulder Interference
Although it might seem like common sense to keep your saddle from running into your horse’s shoulders, it still happens too frequently. This happens in two ways. First, a saddle is initially girthed up too far forward and on a horses’s scapula (shoulder blade).
Second, the horse has a forward girth groove relative to its shoulder which causes the girth/billets to angle forward and pull a saddle forward after a few minutes of riding. Either way, these fitting issues interfere with the horse’s freedom of motion. However, the second issue is more insidious because it can trick even an astute rider since the saddle appears to fit at the beginning of the ride.
If you are placing the saddle too far forward, simply feel for the back of the scapula near the wither area and place the front of the saddle 1 inch behind it (note: I say 1 inch because the tree of the saddle is usually an additional 1 inch behind the front leather edge of the saddle, totaling 2 inches of clearance).
If your horse has a forward girth groove and the saddle pulls forward over the ride, your best solution is a Shoulder Relief Girthwhich has a big offset from the center to the buckles. This will redirect your billet line and eliminate the forward angle in the billets, thus reducing the forward movement of the saddle.
Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth
Click HERE to read more specifically about the Shoulder Relief Girth.
4. Bad Saddle Balance
Here we are talking about the balance of the saddle from front to back. We touched on this in the first point, but any saddle that is either too low in the front or too low in the back will cause problems. The horse feels it because the lower portion of the saddle will carry a disproportionately higher amount of weight than the other area of the panels.
A rider will feel it in one or more of the following ways:
– Thigh blocks interfere with rider’s legs
– Too much pressure on the pubic bone in the front of the saddle
– Feeling pitched forward when posting
– Feeling in a chair seat
If you feel any discomfort in the front of the saddle (blocks, pommel pressure, pitched forward), this likely means your saddle is too low in the front. In this case, the front third of the saddle should be shimmed to lift the front.
If you feel behind the vertical or in a chair seat, it likely means the saddle is too low behind and you need shims under the rear third of the saddle. A Six Point Saddle Pad is super effective at fixing both of these issues, and for each issue mentioned, you can shim like this, respectively:
Six Point Saddle Pad
To read about saddle balance problems and solutions in depth click HERE.
5. Bridging

A bridging saddle is one that makes most of its contact on the front and rear portion of the panels, leaving the center without contact. This will cause most of a rider’s weight to be acutely focused on the front and rear-most parts of the saddle. This is a nasty situation because it can often go unnoticed, as it is basically impossible to tell if it’s happening just by looking at the saddle on the horse.
A big “tell” is dry spots over the withers and on the lumbar area after a ride. Another thing you can do is feel under the center of the saddle once it is fully tightened. If there’s much more contact under the front and back of the saddle compared to the center, you probably have bridging.
Once you determine your saddle is bridging, place a shim under the center third of the saddle to fill in that space. Like most shimming, this will require a little trial and error to pinpoint the right thickness. A Six Point Saddle Pad is super effective here because it has center pockets especially for bridging.
Six Point Saddle Pad
Click HERE to read more about it.
A balanced saddle is the first step to ensuring you and your equine partner are able to work together in a fluid manner.


Managing Quarter Cracks in the Horse’s Hoof

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by Tabb Pigg 


What causes a quarter crack?

When a person wears the same pair of shoes for a long period of time, parts of the shoes wear out more than others based on how the person walks and distributes his or her weight. Once shoes wear out, the feet are not properly supported. This scenario is also true for horseshoes and hooves.

When hooves aren’t trimmed properly or horseshoes don’t fit correctly, horses distribute their weight unevenly and land on their feet differently. If they put excessive force and stress on one area of the hoof wall, it can cause a vertical crack, otherwise known as a Quarter Crack. It’s important that farriers trim and manage horse hooves so that horses distribute their weight evenly across each foot.

While some horses can be genetically predisposed to Quarter Cracks, they often happen because hooves are not being properly trimmed.

When hooves are not well maintained, the horse strikes the same area every time it bears weight, causing stress on a quarter of the hoof wall. This usually happens at the widest point of the hoof wall – between the toe and the heel where pressure builds-up from uneven weight distribution.

There are different causes and symptoms that can be identified before a Quarter Crack occurs.

Some causes of Quarter Cracks include:

What causes a quarter crack in the horse's hoof? Find out.
What causes a quarter crack in the horse’s hoof? Find out.

– Long Toes

Often times owners and farriers are afraid to trim a foot too much, and the heel grows forward towards the toe and underneath the foot. When this happens, the horse’s foot is not flat on the ground. A photo of a horse with a long toe is pictured on the right.

– Heels

Heels grow at an angle. As seen in the image of the horse with the long toe, the angle continues under the foot because it is not trimmed. As the heel grows under the foot, it affects how the horse bears its weight. As the coronary band (where the hoof and hairline meet) bends down into the hoof, the hoof wall will eventually crack to relieve the pressure. A photo of a healthy, trimmed hoof is pictured on the right.

– Uneven Hairline

If a horse distributes its weight unevenly, the hairline above the hoof wall becomes uneven. If you notice that a horse is lame and the hairline is crooked, its weight is unbalanced.

On a balanced hoof, the hairline is straight.


Painful Horse Feet

A horse becomes lame when it has a Quarter Crack, although it can worsen if the condition is not treated.

First and foremost, it’s important to decipher what caused the Quarter Crack in the first place.

Is it because the horse’s toe is too long? How is the horse’s weight distributed? Does the horse strike in the same place repetitively?

Without understanding the cause, the cracking in the hoof wall will never go away if the foot isn’t balanced properly.

A horse needs to distribute its weight evenly so that it can land on its feet without putting stress on the hoof wall. A farrier should be able to measure and decide what the problem is and trim the feet as needed.


Support the Hooves

When a horse is diagnosed with a Quarter Crack, it’s important to apply support to its hooves. Vettec Equi-Pak and Equi-Build are supportive pour-in pad materials that work well for this issue. Equi-Pak can be injected under a pad, or used as a pad itself since it bonds well to the sole and frog.

Equi-Build is beneficial as it serves as a firm pad material that distributes a horse’s weight across the entire hoof-bottom. Since the horse needs to relieve pressure around the Quarter Crack, this material is key to providing the horse relief.

Depending on the severity of the Quarter Crack, there are materials that can help close the cracked area. If it appears to be an exposed wound, it’s important that the area is cleaned and left uncovered to heal, and treated by a hoof care professional or veterinarian.

If the crack seems to be healing and is not infected, Vettec Adhere can be applied over the crack to help close the gap. Adhere can be bonded to the hooves while the horse is standing.

The feet support a horse’s entire body weight. If its weight is not distributed evenly, it can cause injury and crack the hooves. With proper trimming and pour-in pads for support, a horse will be able to stand evenly and bear weight comfortably.

Whether a horse is active or not, it’s important that a farrier is managing and trimming a horse’s hooves consistently. As humans need new shoes to ensure proper support, horses need that treatment as well. Whether preventing or managing Quarter Cracks, trimming and pour-in pad materials can provide the support and durable protection needed to heal properly.

With today’s modern tools and materials, farriers can help horses maintain healthy hoof function more than ever before.

Vettec Inc. is the leader in quality hoof care products




USEF Names 2015 International, National Horse of Year


by Leah Oliveto
On a night dedicated to the horse, two special athletes were recognized for their excellence in 2015 during the USEF’s Year-End Awards Gala. In a year that witnessed equestrian athletes excel, PVF Peace of Mind and Brunello reached the pinnacle of their sports and were named International and National Horse of the Year, respectively.
International Horse of the Year
PVF Peace of Mind (Statesman Signature x JPR Have Mercy/Saddleback Sky Pilot)
2007 Morgan mare
Owner: Suzy Stafford
Photo by Jennifer Manderscheid
PVF Peace of Mind, the charismatic eight-year-old Morgan mare, reached unbelievable heights in 2015 and has proven to be
USEF International Horse of the Year PVF Peace of Mindunbeatable with owner Suzy Stafford. In the carriage, an astonishing feat of competitive excellence, “Hunny” won in each of her three FEI combined driving events this year.
Included were the CAI2* Hermitage Classic in Goshen, Kentucky, the prestigious CAI2* Kentucky Classic in Lexington, and a second consecutive win at the CAI2* Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida. Most importantly, Hunny’s dominating performance in all three phases of competition at Hermitage earned her and Stafford the 2015 USEF Single Horse Driving National Championship by an incredible 14-point margin over their closest rival.
Hunny was also undefeated in the dressage arena with her owner. Demonstrating her versatility under saddle, Hunny was crowned First Level Show Champion at the popular Massachusetts Morgan Horse Show this summer.
National Horse of the Year
Brunello (Breeding Unknown)
1998 Hanoverian gelding
Owners: Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd
Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd’s Brunello turns heads in the hunter ring with his signature style and consistent top placings.
With Boyd in the tack, the pair has been a fixture in International Hunter Derby competitions since the program’s inception and scored their biggest victory in August. They won their third consecutive USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky. The pair won both the Classic Hunter Round and the Section A Handy Hunter Round on their way to securing this unprecedented victory.
Voting was open to the public in January and both horses, already fan favorites, were rewarded for their tremendous results throughout 2015 with support from voters.


Saving Nova: The Therapy Horse Helping Kids


by Nik Hawkins

Some therapy animals provide comfort for strangers. But others, like Nova, a 12-year-old Morgan Arab cross, focus on their families.

Nova is one of seven hors­es that live with Clint and Tish Carlson, their five adopted chil­dren, and their two foster children, in La Valle, Wisconsin. Like several of his stablemates, Nova is a rescue horse, and it might explain why he has such a strong connection with the Carlson children. Ranging in ages from 7 to 16, they have all left behind difficult circumstances for better lives, but mental scars still linger. Nova gives them what they need to cope.

“The kids work with Nova and our other horses – brush­ing, riding, feeding,” says Clint Carlson. “It helps soothe them and gives them a sense of re­sponsibility, and it shows them compassion and love.”

Although the Carlsons are not formally trained in any form of equine-assisted therapy, Tish says she plans to pursue certification in the fu­ture, and they witness Nova’s calming influence on their children every day.

“Nova loves to work,” says Tish Carlson. “It doesn’t matter what crazy thing they ask him to do, he does it without hesitation.”

But one night in May 2015, the Carlsons found themselves in serious jeopardy of losing their treasured horse and all the good he brings to the family.

“The kids went out to feed Nova, and normally he’s in our bottom field, but he was right at the door right away,” says Clint Carlson. “He was acting strange and poking his nose at his side.”

Knowing this could be a sign of colic or abdominal pain they called Dr. Suzanne McKichan, a 2009 graduate of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, at Dells Equine, who drove out to exam­ine Nova. McKichan determined the most likely culprit was an in­testinal blockage, but after trying several methods to get him to pass whatever was lodged in his bowels, an endoscopy showed he was still backed up. Thinking a major sur­gery might be in Nova’s future, she referred the Carlsons to UW School of Veterinary Medicine.

“He wasn’t responding to painkillers, and after a thorough abdominal examination, we found significant small intestinal disten­sion or bloating,” says Dr. Sam Morello. “We later confirmed this with ultrasound.”

The ultrasound also revealed what looked like a “bull’s eye le­sion”—two concentric circles on the interior surface of the ab­domen—suggesting that part of Nova’s small intestine was telescoping into another. This con­dition, called intussusception, can cause major blockages and intense pain. In addition, an analysis of Nova’s abdominal fluid showed elevated levels of lactate and a particular protein, both of which suggested some of the tissue in his intestine was not being prop­erly infused with blood. All signs pointed to surgery as the only so­lution, but it quickly became much more complicated than a typical colic operation.

“We found a large mass in his abdomen that turned out to be a significant portion of his small intestine, folded up like an ac­cordion,” says Morello. “It was so thickened and stuck that we couldn’t straighten it out to evalu­ate the integrity of the tissue.”

The blood flow to the involved bowel was compromised, and that portion of the intestine could not be salvaged, so Morello and large animal surgery resident Dr. Russ Freeland elected to remove it.

“We were surprised and scared at first,” says Clint Carlson. “But Nova’s young, he’s a great horse, and he does so well with the kids, so we knew it was something we had to try.”

colic surgery removal of portion of small intestine
Surgeons removed a part of Nova’s small intestine.

The procedure took several hours, during which Morello and Freedland removed nearly 28 feet of bowel. They also discovered and removed the cause of Nova’s condition. According to pathologists Dr. Jennifer Dreyfus and Dr. Renee Richmond, it was a leiomyoma, which is a fairly rare and benign tumor. The growth was attached to the jejunum, the longest and most coiled part of the equine small intestine, where it was interrupting the natural movements of the organ, causing the bowel to telescope into itself.

Given the large amount of bowel lost—the most Morello has ever had to remove—she was concerned that complications might hinder Nova’s recovery. He had mild episodes of colic in the first week, and he developed ileus, a condition where the bowel stops moving properly due to damage and inflammation. When left untreated, this may allow the intestine to stick to other internal organs. But after plenty of fluids, pain medication, and anti-inflammatories, Nova pulled through and went home a short nine days after he arrived.

“He had a great recovery, considering the severity of his condition,” says Morello. “He came into it in excellent shape, which served him well.”

Nova has been back home in La Valle ever since, and he’s eased his way back into his former role as a therapy horse. The only major difference now is his diet. Now that he has to get by with a lot less surface area for absorbing nutrients, malnutrition is a concern. So the Carlson’s supplement his diet with a high-calorie, easily digested feed, which he’s taken to well. Nova is doing so well that the oldest Carlson child is preparing to enter him in a 4-H horse show.

“I’m extremely happy with how everything turned out,” says Clint Carlson.

And so are the Carlson kids.