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

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

Farrier Relationships

The relationship between a farrier and owner or trainer is important, yet often overlooked, part in the success of the equine athlete. It is over-looked by owners. It is over-looked by trainers. It can even be over-looked by farriers. However, a good, solid relationship with your farrier is critical in order to be successful with your horse, whether you are competing or just riding for fun.

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 networks, information on hoof care and shoeing is abundant these days. These sources are easy to access but may not always the best source for advice. While there is plenty of good, accurate information to be found on the web there is also a lot of misinformation. Be cautious and bear in mind that anyone can promote shoeing techniques and products on the internet, regardless of knowledge or qualifications. Remember, every horse differs in conformation, attitude, training level, and natural ability. Equine athletes are as individual as their riders. What works for your friend’s horse may not work for your horse. Respect and trust your farrier’s judgment. Likewise, good farriers will respect your opinion.

Below are tips 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. You will be pleasantly surprised by the positive relationship that will flourish by following this simple advice.

What you should expect from your farrier:

The farrier you choose should be competent and professional. He/she should be educated and understand the specific discipline in which you are participating. Most farriers work effectively on multiple types of horses, but usually, 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 grand prix dressage horse.

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 Farriers Association is the most successful certification program in the USA and offers three levels of certification (certified, tradesman and journeyman) and three separate endorsements (therapeutic, forging and education). Ask your farrier what level of certification he has achieved, 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 all 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/or 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 to you and your horse. It provides him access to thousands of farriers, one of which has undoubtedly treated similar issues and 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.
A good environment is essential for a farrier to do his job effectively. The shoeing area should be clean and dry.

What your farrier expects from you:

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 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. Remember, 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. Be aware of farrier safety! 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.  If you are willing to ask your farrier to add an unplanned horse to the list, be understanding when he’s delayed because another client has done the same. You must also realize that when you scratch a horse from the list, your farrier will have to work hard to fit them in when you are ready. 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, be patient and work with him to reschedule. He will reciprocate when you are forced to do the same.

Remember that the farrier is the 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 an emergency, i.e., lost or sprung shoe. Your farrier should know someone with the same shoeing philosophy that he can trust to take care of your horse when it is impossible for him to do so.

Provide prompt payment to your farrier when the job is finished. Your farrier works hard for you and your horse. Don’t make him wait for payment after he’s provided you a professional service.

As you can see, there are as many things to expect from your farrier as there are for you to provide him. Many people think farriers just slap a device on the bottom of a horse’s foot and everything is good. Unfortunately, there are many horseshoers that still feel the same way. This is incorrect thinking!

A knowledgeable, well-educated farrier is an essential part of your horse’s team. Farriers and owners need to talk to each other to truly do our equine athletes justice.

Communication with the veterinarian is also very important. He/she is a crucial part of your horse’s team. Keeping the horse sound and performing to full potential is difficult.

Having the best farrier you can possibly hire is the best way to keep your horse sound. But remember, in order for your horse to truly be the success you desire, don’t overlook the importance of communication with your farrier.

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.

 

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

 

Horse with thin 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 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 and avoid over trimming during routine visits and shoeing.
  • Over Trimming: Hoof care professionals should be aware of whether a horse has thick or thin soles
    Before and After X-Rays when using Vettec Pour In Pads
    Before and After X-Rays when using Vettec Pour In Pads

    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 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

 

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.

 

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

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 heels run too far forward due to a lack of trimming.

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.

Caudal Heel Syndrome – Causes and Symptoms

There are many different causes of Caudal Heel Syndrome, and symptoms can be addressed to deter the condition from occurring. Below are just a few examples of some potential causes and symptoms:

  • Toes: Often times owners and farriers only focus on trimming the toes, 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.
  • 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, causing 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.

 

Managing Caudal Heel Syndrome

Instead of assuming a horse has something as serious as Navicular Disease, it’s important to decipher what caused the lameness in the first place.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Ask how often the horse’s hooves are being trimmed?
  • Is the horse’s weight distributed evenly 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 is often contracted and lacks circulation when a horse has 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.
Solution:
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.
Solution:
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.
Solution:
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
Solution:
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 girthed. If there’s much more contact under the front and back of the saddle compared to the center, you probably have bridging.
Solution:
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

by Tabb Pigg 

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 one quarter of the hoof wall. This usually happens at the widest point of the hoof wall between the toe and the heel where pressure is built-up from uneven weight distribution.

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

– Long Toes: Often times owners and farriers are afraid to trim a foot too much, and the heel grows forward towards the toehorses at risk for quarter crack in hoof 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 effects 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 relive 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 hoofwall becomes uneven. If you notice that a horse is lame and the hairline is crooked, that usually means its weight is being distributing unevenly. On a balanced hoof, the hairline is straight.

Often times, a horse becomes lame when it has a Quarter Crack, and it can become very lame 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? Is the horse’s weight being distributed evenly? Is the horse striking in the same place repetitively during a racing competition?

It’s important to figure out what causes the cracking in the hoof wall because the condition 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 if the toe is too long and trim the feet as needed.

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 cracking to 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 or isn’t active, it’s important that a farrier is managing and trimming a horse’s hooves consistently. As humans need new shoes for proper support every so often, 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

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.

MRI Key to Diagnosing Dressage Horse’s Lameness

 

by Louisa Shepard 

While in their second dressage show together, Caitlin MacGuinness noticed that her new mount, Lagato, seemed to be a bit lame on the right front leg, but only when turned sharply to the right.

The farrier did her feet that week, and Legato, known as Lexi, improved. MacGuinness chalked it up to a shoeing imbalance, but gave the big Warmblood mare the winter off, just in case.

“I checked her now and then, circling to the right, and she seemed fine, so I thought it was one and done,” MacGuinness said. “When I started riding her again in the spring, she seemed fine at first, but then all of a sudden she started to look lame to the right.“

Again, the farrier came out, and Lexi improved. But then she rapidly deteriorated, lame not just on the right turn, but also while going straight, even at a walk.

MacGuinness brought Lexi to New Bolton Center in April where she works as a patient care technician on the barn nursing staff.

Radiographs didn’t show anything remarkable in the right front foot, said Dr. David Levine, Assistant Professor of Large Animal Surgery. He recommended a scan with New Bolton Center’s new MRI system, designed specifically for obtaining high-quality images in horses.Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for horses Lexi was the first patient to use the new system, which arrived in June.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used primarily for soft-tissue injuries associated with lameness, but it also detects bone injury.

“We diagnosed a condition using the MRI that we could not otherwise have diagnosed in that part of the foot,” Levine said.

The diagnosis: Adhesions of the deep-digital-flexor tendon to the navicular bone in the right front foot. The solution: minimally invasive surgery, a “navicular bursoscopy,” to break down the adhesions.

The navicular bone aids in the gliding of the deep-digital-flexor tendon over the coffin joint (distal-interphalangeal joint) in the foot, Levine said. “It is a very important area, and a very frequent cause of lameness that can be difficult to diagnose without MRI,” he said.

Getting a diagnosis was helpful, MacGuinness said, so she could make an informed decision on how to best treat Lexi, rather than just MRI shows horse Adhesions of the deep-digital-flexor tendon to the navicular boneputting her on stall rest and hoping the lameness would resolve. “Without it, we probably still wouldn’t know what was going on in there.”

Dr. Levine performed the surgery in September. “We were able to give Caitlin a diagnosis and prognosis, and an option for treatment,” he said. “I gave her a realistic outlook on what her horse’s future would be, and we performed surgery to address the problem.”

MacGuiness is an experienced dressage rider and trainer, and currently owns four horses, in partnership with her mother and aunt. Lexi was a dressage prospect, chosen for her willing nature, smooth ride, and 16.3-hand frame. The Saddlebred/Dutch Warmblood-cross has a stunning presentation – super-dark bay, almost black, with four dramatic white socks.

A pre-purchase exam was clean, and she was in full training for nearly a year when she came up lame, MacGuinness said. The cause of her injury remains a mystery.

And Lexi’s future is still uncertain. MacGuinness brought her back to New Bolton Center the first week of November for a recheck. Levine injected the distal-interphalangeal joint with an anti-inflammatory and sent her back home for continued rehabilitation.

“The prognosis is still guarded,” MacGuiness said. “At least with the surgery she has a chance, because without it, she wouldn’t have.”