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August 2021 - You Can Bet On the Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships
Written by photos: USHJA
Friday, 30 July 2021 04:06
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Championships return to Vegas in 2021 offering competition from 2’ Hunters to 1.40m Jumpers and expanded sections for the Affiliate Championships.

photos: USHJA

After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships will return to Las Vegas with more rings, more classes and even more fun.

“We are thrilled to be able to host these Championships again in 2021,” said Competition Manager Pat Boyle. “We are bringing them back bigger and better, with more sections for Affiliates, educational opportunities and exciting FEI competition at the accompanying Las Vegas National. With qualifying by Zone Horse of the Year and Outreach standings, the USHJA National Championships are more accessible to a broader set of members than any other national final or championship.”

New this year, the USHJA Affiliate Championships will include expanded offerings for Juniors and Amateurs in the Hunters, Equitation and Jumpers.

In 2019, fourteen USHJA Affiliate Organizations from nine states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Texas—were represented in the USHJA Affiliate Hunter Championships at fence heights of 2’ and 2’6”.

Skylar Wireman, of Bonsall, California, captured the USEF/USHJA 1.30m Junior/Amateur Jumper National Championship at the 2019 USHJA National Championships.

Alison Stern, of Oakdale, California, and Grey Goose earned Grand Champion Adult Amateur Hunter in 2019.

Exhibitors enjoyed the fun and festive atmosphere of Las Vegas at the USHJA National Championships.

Ashley Young, 15, of Clovis, California, captured the USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’ championship aboard Racketeer, owned by Katie Flanigan. Young, riding for USHJA Affiliate the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, had top finishes in all four classes, including a win over fences aboard the 13-year-old Czech Warmblood (Radegast—Josefka).

Winning three of the four USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’6” classes and the title of champion was Joann Niffenegger, of Corona, California, representing USHJA Affiliate the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association. Niffenegger, riding her own Notorious, an 11-year-old Hanoverian (Stakkato’s Stern—Pretoria), also received the USHJA 2’6” Affiliate Championship Perpetual Trophy, sponsored by the USHJA Executive Director.

The 2021 Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships will feature National Hunter Championships for Amateur Owner Hunters, Junior Hunters, Pony Hunters, Green Hunters, Adult Amateur Hunters and Children’s Hunters.

Ribbons, coolers, trophies and more make the Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships an extra-special year-end Championship for riders of all levels.

Joann Niffenegger, of Corona, California, representing USHJA Affiliate the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association, was the 2019 USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2'6

This year, the USHJA Affiliate Championships will once again offer 2’ and 2’6” Hunter sections in addition to 2’ 14 & Under Equitation, 2’6” 15-17 Equitation and 2’6” Adult Equitation sections. Jumper sections have also been added to the Affiliate Championships for 0.70m, 0.80m and 0.90m fence heights.

Affiliate Organizations establish their own criteria for selecting Championship competitors, and all current USHJA Affiliates are invited to send members.

USHJA Affiliate Organizations in Zone 10 (California and Nevada) include California Professional Horsemen’s Association, Inland Empire Hunter Jumper Association, LEGIS League, Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association, NorCal Hunter Jumper Association, Orange County Horse Show, Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association, Sierra Nevada Horse Show Association and Southern California Horse Show Association.

Held at the South Point Hotel, Casino, & Spa’s unique Arena & Equestrian Center, where riders and horses stay under one roof and exhibitors can also enjoy the spa, tables and slots, 64 bowling lanes, and nine dining establishments.

Perpetual trophies are awarded in nearly every division at the Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships.

The 2021 Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships will include the USEF/USHJA National Jumper Championships with 11 sections of Jumper competition from 1.00m to 1.40m for Junior, Amateur and Open Jumper competitors.

Those who hold a free USHJA Outreach membership can also qualify through USHJA Outreach competitions for a chance to participate in any of the Affiliate Championship sections as well as get a one-of-a-kind Championship experience.

Awarded to the highest pointed Gold Level Outreach competitor from each Zone, the Golden Backstage Pass earns the winner premier access to events at the USHJA’s annual national competition in Las Vegas, including the opportunity to participate in Grand Prix and Hunter Derby course walks, attend educational sessions such as Sports Psychology for Equestrians and the popular Judge’s Perspective, and take part in special awards presentations with USHJA President Mary Knowlton and USHJA Executive Director Kevin Price.

The Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships will also feature National Hunter Championships for Amateur Owner Hunters, Junior Hunters, Pony Hunters, Green Hunters, Adult Amateur Hunters and Children’s Hunters. They will also include the USHJA National Equitation Championships open to Juniors and Amateurs, and the USEF/USHJA National Jumper Championships with 11 sections of Jumper competition from 1.00m to 1.40m for Junior, Amateur and Open Jumper competitors.

The USHJA Affiliate Championships will include expanded offerings for 2021, for Juniors and Amateurs in the Hunters and Equitation at fence heights of 2' and 2'6

In 2021, USEF/USHJA National Jumper Championship sections will offer $12,000 in prize money across three classes, including a $10,000 Grand Prix.

Additionally, several special classes will be held including two $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies, one for Juniors and Amateurs and one for Professionals, a 3’3” USHJA Hunter Seat Medal class, a 3’3” EMO Insurance/USHJA Jumping Seat Medal class, and 3’0”/3’3” and 3’6”/3’9” USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Stake classes.

USHJA members qualify largely based on Zone Horse of the Year points or Zone events between December 1, 2020, and September 27, 2021. Entries will open this summer, and only those who pre-enter and pay the $50 application fee by the September 27, 2021 deadline are eligible to qualify.

The Championships will take place November 15-21 during The Las Vegas National, CSI4*-W, held at the South Point Hotel, Casino, & Spa’s unique Arena & Equestrian Center. The Center offers an exceptional experience where riders and horses stay under one roof and exhibitors can also enjoy the spa, tables and slots, 64 bowling lanes, and nine dining establishments.

“The Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA National Championships provide members with an end-of-year championship that celebrates everything they have worked for all year,” said Mary Knowlton (formerly Babick), president of the USHJA. “We are thrilled to be back in Las Vegas and extend a special thank you to our incredible host Blenheim Equisports, our management team led by Pat Boyle, to title sponsor Marshall & Sterling, and to our family of sponsors and donors for making these championships a truly rewarding and incredible experience to remember.”

For more information about the Marshall & Sterling/USHJA National Championships, including specifications, qualifying, and the schedule, visit


August 2021 - Horseland SD, A Premier Boarding Facility in San Diego Now Under New Management and Offering Openings To New Boarders, Trainers & Instructors
Written by photos by Nate White
Friday, 30 July 2021 04:00
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photos by Nate White

Calling all horse owners and enthusiasts in and surrounding San Diego! Horseland SD has openings for interested boarders, as well as opportunities for trainers in search of an elite equestrian facility that can house up to 20+ training horses.

The facility sits on 14 acres in the heart of the Tijuana River Valley. For 70 years, Horseland has provided a safe and welcoming environment for horses and their riders, regardless of discipline or skill. Though new ownership was established in 2017, the intention for Horseland remains the same - to carry on the tradition and history of the farm, and to always provide a safe and enjoyable home for horses and their owners/trainers.

With that mission in mind, new owner, Alejandro Vigil recently hired long-time horseman, Adam Rickart, to manage the boarding operations of the farm. Rickart, originally from Minnesota, was raised within the Arabian horse community and has worked for National level trainers, as well as shown and won many championships as an amateur in elite, national competitions.

Rickart shares, “I look forward to this new adventure, and managing such a great facility that is open to all breeds and riding disciplines. My priority is to maintain a farm that is an enjoyable and safe environment for all of its residents: horses, trainers, boarders and lesson participants.”

Additionally, Vigil and Rickart are collectively offering opening(s) to trainer and/or riding instructors with interest in leasing 10-20+ stalls for their training and/or riding lesson operation at the Horseland property. With excellent riding/jumping arenas, presentation areas, turn-out, a EuroXisor and a variety of stalling accommodations, Horseland can meet the needs of any trainer, specifically those specializing in western, hunter or dressage-related disciplines.  

Individual Boarders with horses are also welcome at the farm, with boarding options to include indoor stalls (12’ x 16’), indoor/outdoor stalls (12’ x 24’), and open air corrals (16’ x 24’). Trailer parking is also offered to boarders; and for trail-riding enthusiasts, easy access can be found to over 70 miles of trails (including the beach)! Boarders have access to shared general facilities as well, including tack rooms, wash racks, arenas and turn-out.

Whether trainer, instructor, or owner/boarder, Horseland SD can offer a safe and happy home for your horses and the facilities to accommodate all levels of skill and involvement. For more information, visit and/or contact Alejandro Vigil at 619.880.9747, Adam Rickart at 763-244-5254, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

August 2021 - Team USA wins Bronze at CDIO-Y Nations Cup Competition
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:54
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California Young Riders, Christian Simonson and Katherine Mathews were 2/3rds of Team USA, who won Bronze at the CDIO-Y Nations Cup competition hosted at Future Champions in Hagen, Germany, from June 10-13, 2021.

This result marked the highest finish in program history for the U.S. Young Rider Dressage Team at Future Champions. Ten countries with 25 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the CDIO-Y, which featured talented young athletes from across Europe.

Christian Simonson (Ventura, CA) and Christina Morgan’s nine-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Zeaball Diawind, had the team’s top score of 72.010%, which was also put the pair in second place individually overall, beating out almost all of the top Young Riders in Europe. Christian and his other mount Hemmingway won Gold in their Young Rider Individual Test with a 71.033% in the CDI-Y at the same show, beating riders from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and more.

Katherine Mathews (San Marcos, CA) contributed to the team’s success when she and Soliëre, her 17-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Peridot Equestrian LLC, secured a 66.667%. They also secured a second Bronze medal spot on the podium individually for their 70.892 ride in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Freestyle Consolation Final.

Chef d’Equipe George Williams was proud of his team’s efforts in their first overseas outing and the first European competition for the Young Rider program in more than two years. After the Team Test on Day one, he said,

“I have been impressed with how this team has taken all the challenges in stride. Today they all rode well, putting their hearts into their rides, with a focus and determination to do their best,” said Williams. “Christian’s ride on Zeaball was beautiful, harmonious, and mistake-free. It was very moving to see our team on the podium, receiving their bronze medal and to think that today was their first time ever competing in Europe. I couldn’t be more thrilled or more proud of them.”

Christian/Zeaball and Katherine/Soliere are ranked number 1 and number 2 respectively on the Young Rider rankings in Region 7 (as well as number 1 and number 5 in the US, respectively, on the Dressage - FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking - Christian is also ranked 2nd on his mount Hemmingway, but he can only take one horse to NAYC), and as a result now get the chance to represent Region 7 at the FEI North American Youth Championships in Traverse City, Michigan on August 9-15th. Rounding out the Region 7 team are top ranked riders Miki Yang with her gelding Donavan, and Erin Nichols on her gelding Handsome Rob. The team leaves California the first week in August for the competition.

Christian was a part of the Gold Medal winning Region 7 NAYC Junior Team in 2017, and also won a Silver in the Junior Individual Test that year. Katherine and Soliere were 6th over at NAYC in 2019, and won the Young Rider National Reserve Championship at the 2020 Festival of Champions at Lamplight, IL.

Christian is from California, but has spent the last few seasons in Florida with his coach, Olympian Adrienne Lyle. In addition to being a top equestrian athlete, he has his pilot’s license, and loves to mountain bike. He is graduating from Laurel Springs School, an online college preparatory high school, he will be attending University of Texas, Austin this fall and will be working towards the Grand Prix as he prepares for the 2022 show season.

Katherine lives on her family farm, Peridot Equestrian Center, in San Marcos, and is trained by 3x Olympic medalist and California rider/trainer Guenter Seidel. Katherine is a rising senior at The Academy at Laurel Springs School. She is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded the luxury sustainable equestrian apparel company, An Capall Equestrian, with her mom, and is an accomplished artist, writer and plays classical guitar.

Team USA, Young Rider Bronze Medalists, Christian Simonson, Katherine Mathews and Melanie Doughty, Future Champions Nations Cup, HagenGermany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Mhristian Simonson and Zeaball Diawind in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Team Test at Future Champions, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Katherine Mathews and Soliere in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Team Test at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Christian Simonson and Zeaball Diawind, Katherine Mathews and Soliere, and Melanie Doughty and Fascinata during their honor round as Bronze medalists in the CDIO-Y Young RiderTeam Test at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Katherine Mathews on the Bronze medal podium for the CDIO-Y Young Rider Freestyle - Consolation Final at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen,Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Christian Simonson winning Gold in the CDI-Y Young Rider Individual Test, Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Jessica Eaves Mathews

August 2021 - Michelle Parker Easily Does It in the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix at the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic
Written by courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:49
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courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It led from beginning to end of the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix on Saturday, July 3, during the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

As the very first entry in the first grand prix to be held in the Olympic Sand Arena at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, Parker and Easy Does It made easy work of the Manuel Esparza-designed course. The pair set the standard for the remaining 14 entries, with three horses and riders ultimately qualifying to join them for the jump-off.

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It win the $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix during Blenheim EquiSport’s Red, White, & Blue Classic.

As the first to jump clear, Parker was also the first in the ring for the short course, and she replicated her pathfinding clear round performance in a time of 37.471 seconds.

While all three additional riders finished within a second of Parker’s time, only Parker and Easy Does It delivered a double clear effort. Coming the closest to catching the duo were Hillary Ridland and Wonder Kid, owned by Mary Frances Looke, who finished in second place with only one rail down in a time of 37.508 seconds.

Michelle Parker aboard Easy Does It.

Third place with two rails in the jump-off and a time of 36.484 seconds went to Simon Schroeder and Alie B, and Joie Gatlin and High finished in fourth with eight faults and a time of 37.659 seconds. Rounding out the top five after jumping clear with just three time faults in the first round were Wendy Lee Thompson and Simpatica 33.

“He’s small, but he’s mighty and scopey!” said Parker of her winning mount, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Cross Creek Farms, Inc. “I got him in September. He was our COVID purchase. I actually tried him in March before everything shut down, but then we didn’t buy him until September.”

Second place finisher Hillary Ridland and Wonder Kid.

Since then, Parker and Easy Does It have been consistent performers in the grand prix ring, including in the Markel Insurance Jumper Series. Together the pair has contested three of the eight Markel Insurance events thus far this season and have finished in the top 10 each time out.

While their previous success has come in the Oaks International Grand Prix Field, Saturday’s inaugural grand prix in the Olympic Sand Arena seemed well suited for Easy Does It.

“I quite like the new ring; it makes the atmosphere even a bit more encouraging because the crowd is close to you,” said Parker, who was presented with a Shady Lady face covering and a $50 Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths gift certificate as part of her winnings on Saturday. “It’s a nice size, so the jump-off was quite galloping,” said Parker. “You could really get rolling.”

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It leading the victory gallop

Parker plans to return to Blenheim EquiSports in the fall and has her sights set on continuing to move Easy Does It up the jumper rank to the 1.60m level, as well as likely continuing to contest the Markel Insurance Jumper Series.

The 15-class series culminates this November at the Las Vegas National Horse Show, where the top 25 riders are invited to compete in the finale event. To view the series specifications and the full leaderboard to date, visit

While Sunday, July 4, marks the conclusion of the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic, Blenheim EquiSports is the #PlaceToJump all season long. The Blenheim Summer Festival kicks off July 21st at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Visit www.ThePlaceToJump.comto view a full show schedule and to learn more.

August 2021 - The Importance of Pools for Horses
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:41
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You likely didn’t notice a horse in your neighborhood pool this year no matter how high the mercury climbed. Many don’t think of horses as being a good candidate for a dip in a refreshing swimming pool.

However, for equine athletes swimming programs are becoming a respected and effective means of rehabilitation and conditioning.

Swimming is a non-concussive form of therapy that is especially good for rehabilitation of horses that have limb disease such as arthritis, acute or chronic laminitis, splints, curbs and bruises. Hydrotherapy is also finding a valuable place in the post-operative rehabilitation phase.

Within days of immobilization muscles can being to atrophy after surgery or serious injury. To prevent the muscles from wasting away, swimming therapy keeps the muscles moving. There is also a psychological benefit to swimming especially since horses need a long stall rest. All pent-up energy can be released in a low-impact activity that is in a safe and controlled environment. Pain, inflammation and reliance on pain medicines can be reduced with hydrotherapy which can help speed natural healing.

Swimming provides horses with a good workout just as it done with humans since it requires additional cardiovascular exertion from the hydrodynamic pressure that is placed on the rib cage and lungs. A strengthening of the heart and lungs occurs when the lungs need to work harder to deliver enough oxygen to the muscles and this doesn’t have the concussive pounding on limbs and joints that occur with land based forms of training and rehabilitation. For horses, swimming is actually the only exercise when they take a deep breath, close their nostrils and forcibly exhale.

However, there are some cautions in order despite the numerous advantages of good swimming programs. The intensity of the exercise can exacerbate back problems. After observing the horses swim patterns a previously undetected problem may become evident. An indicator of a back problem may be a horse with an altered paddling action with their hindquarters dropped instead of a good horizontal movement.

A considerable concern is exhaustion since it could lead to drowning. For this reason swimming therapies should only be offered by professional and experienced horse swimmers. Another good idea is to make sure the water is crystal clear so the horses swimming movements can be monitored to make sure the horse is getting a balanced workout. If a horse is swimming by climbing with their front legs only, by rolling from side to side or by paddling with only one hind leg then unbalanced muscle development could result.

If horses are gradually acclimated to the water their natural swimming abilities will come out and they will become more confident in their abilities. Prepare the horse for swimming by rinsing them with water that is of a similar temperature to the pool to accomplish this. Use a lunge line attached to either one or both sides of the halter to lead the horse to the pool. A horse will either back in or walk down a non-slip padded ramp to get to water level when entering the pool. The horse is encouraged to being swimming by having the ramp drop off abruptly.

To improve heat transfer from the horse during exercise therapy pools are often kept at a cooler temperature than the surrounding air. Water allows the rapid removal of heat from an immersed body as a result of the comparative density of water to air. A therapy pool that is outside should be kept moderately lukewarm to prevent hypothermia in horses during the winter months.

Water quality and safety features are more important in a hydrotherapy program than the shape of the pool, although the shape will determine the form swimming will take. For example a horse will swim around the radius of a pool that is round.

A counter-current may be produced in these pools to give horses a greater resistance to movement. In a round pool the experienced horse can swim about two laps per minute although the amount of swimming in any program isn’t dictated by time or distance.

As the name implies, straight pools are similar to long lap pools. In these pools the horse swims in a straight line after walking into the pool. Depending on the horses condition the total time spent swimming will vary including the factor of medical history and program goals. One or two laps in a pool may be all that is accomplished with an inexperienced horse while other more experienced horses may go as may as ten.

Inquire about pool filtration and handling practices before and after swimming when it comes to finding a professional swimming facility for your horse. Request a list of references after asking about who is swimming the horse. If possible it is always a good idea to take a look at the pool and observe another horse swimming.

Pay attention to how the horse acts, are they exhausted or are they ready to go again. After having completed a swim a horse in a conditioning program will often look slightly winded although they may also have more spring in their step. Horse shouldn’t have their heads hanging and an exhausted appearance after swimming. Before starting a swimming regimen it is also important that you consult with your veterinarian.
August 2021 - Save the Date! IEHJA Announces 2021 Fall Festival Year End Show Date
Written by by Patti Schooley
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:36
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by Patti Schooley

IEHJA President Gretchen Clark is proud to announce the 2021 Fall Festival Year End Show scheduled for November 12th-14th at Galway Downs. This three-day show will have a slight change in format in that jumper classes will be interspersed throughout the show schedule rather than held on a separate day. This change allows for more Junior rider participation in jumper classes. Hunter, Equitation, jumper, and medal classes will be held in three rings with warm up areas nearby. As in past years, the IEHJA Fall Festival Year End Show is open to all riders no pre-qualifying required. Only the Medal Finals require previous participation and point accruement in IEHJA sanctioned Medal Classes. IEHJA plans to offer a Hunter Derby and Mini Prix in addition to its famous “scoot, boot and bounce” team event.  Please refer to the IEHJA website at and select “show calendar” to find the rules and regulation section for a full description of sanctioned divisions and medal classes.

IEHJA has seen a robust 2021 show season and related membership increase. A diverse number of venues have hosted IEHJA sanctioned shows including Victory at the Beach at the Huntington Beach Equestrian Center, South Coast Show Series at Bonita’s Sweetwater Farms, Showcase Show Series in Redlands,  Desert Hot Springs hosts the Saddle Show Series at Willowbrook and the North Inland County Show Series in Temecula. There is still time to join IEHJA,  just sign up online at our website. IEHJA members earn double points at the Fall Festival. Division champions, reserve champions and medal winners will be recognized at the Annual Banquet at Santa Anita Park in February 2022.

Gretchen Clark states “IEHJA has seen a pent-up demand for competition after the cancellation of most of the 2020 show season.” To date most shows have been bigger and better than ever and the application of Covid related rules have made for new efficiencies. Class sizes have increased with many riders stepping up to a new division. More walk-trot and green riders are participating, and medal classes are filling. Way to go riders!

So, mark your calendars, save your money and ready your horses for the IEHJA Fall Festival Year End Show on November 12th-14th! More information will be forth coming as planning progresses. Keep checking the website and social media platforms for details. Hope to see you there!


Riders studying the hunter course. Photo: Tina Fitch Photography

Masha Toroy and Strawberry Wine showing off their jumping skills.

Jasmine Wheatley and Forever Young

Team Garvy at IEHJA 2019 Fall Festival

August 2021 - 4 Signs of a Happy Horse
Written by courtesy of Valley Vet Supply • photo: Ashley Masopust Photography
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:28
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courtesy of Valley Vet Supply • photo: Ashley Masopust Photography

You love your horse and do everything possible to ensure his health through equine vaccines, horse wormers, the best supplements and more. And of equal importance to horse health, is horse happiness. We asked Robin Foster, Ph.D., certified equine behaviorist and university professor of 30 years, how horse owners can know whether their horses are as happy as they are healthy.  She shared with us four key characteristics of happy horses – engaged, enriched, social and moving – and explained more about each unique component.  

1. Engaged


Happy horses are engaged with life going on around them. They are active members in their social groupings and attentive to, and eagerly willing to, explore their environment.

2. Enriched

“Enrichment opportunities for horses have really grown dramatically,” Dr. Foster said, crediting positive changes made in zoo environments for large animals in confinement. “Minimizing the effects of isolation, stress and limited movement -- zoos have these same challenges, and the equine industry has borrowed from that,” she said.

Enrichment falls under different categories, such as sensory, movement and feeding enrichment, which offers horses the opportunity to enjoy treats and work for food, such as with problem-solving horse toys. Cognitive enrichment keeps their mind working and burns energy,” Dr. Foster said.

Specifically designed toys for horses are rising in popularity, as well as being produced by well-known companies like KONG. The KONG Equine Classic horse toy is like its canine counterpart that riders are likely familiar with, just supersized for horses, taking 13 large KONG Classics to make just one KONG Equine Classic! These can also be stuffed with treats and frozen for extended equine fun. Another favorite is a toy for horses called the Likit boredom breaker.

“The first job is to make sure it’s something your horse will work for. Some horses love certain enrichment items, while for other horses, they just sit there. Shop around and experiment,” suggested Dr. Foster. Horses can learn the game rather quickly through their curious nature or by watching another horse. “When they can see other horses, they learn very quickly that food comes out of that thing and they will give it a good try,” continued Dr. Foster.

3. Social


It’s important that from an early age, horses have social interactions with other horses to meet their social needs. Depending on how horses are housed, they often have limited social time even at a barn with other horses. This is also true in the human-horse interaction.

“No matter how much you care for your horse, humans have very complex lives with many demands -- the horse being only one of many. Your life with your horse is maybe an hour a day. The amount of time a person spends with their horse can be limited, and what does the horse do the remaining 24 hours? If horses do not have a social life with other horses, and a rich, complex environment, you can bet that affects their overall behavior,” Dr. Foster said.  

4. Moving

“Horses need the ability to move freely,” Dr. Foster strongly encouraged. Happy horses are free to run, roll, turn wildly, race around and kick up their heels -- not just move in a fixed way, such as lunging. All of this can play a role in a horse’s behavior.

“Horses able to move more freely are usually more physically fit for competition or riding. And mentally, they are more resilient and buffered against stressors,” Dr. Foster said. For example, think of how a barn-kept horse under saddle might react to a large owl spreading her wings to swoop from a tree, compared to a pasture-kept horse or one with intermittent turnout.

Consider these four characteristics as they relate to your own horse’s happiness. Is your horse displaying each of the four signs, or could a few changes be needed? Learn more information at to help keep your horses healthy and happy.

August 2021 - Make a Sound Investment
Written by courtesy of SmartPak
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:20
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courtesy of SmartPak

Your horse’s joints are under stress, even if you can’t see the impact yet. Joint injuries and degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis can cause serious soundness problems. Sometimes they’re even career-ending. But fortunately, along with the right veterinary care and smart horsemanship, supplements may help your horse cope with the stress of exercise and maintain healthy joints.

Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, is one of the most common health conditions affecting performance horses. It causes progressive and permanent deterioration of articular cartilage, the vital tissue that lines the bones within a horse’s major joints. Arthritis is most common in the hock, but other joints frequently affected include the knee, fetlock, coffin bone, and pastern.

Arthritis is caused by the wear and tear of daily exercise, aging, poor conformation, and joint trauma. Healthy articular cartilage provides shock absorption and allows free movement. Damaged articular cartilage that hinders joint movement and shock absorption often leads to lameness.

Signs Of Joint Disease

A horse with arthritis may show a variety of signs depending on the joint affected, the severity of the condition, and his workload. Horse owners usually notice problems like stiffness, shortness of stride, and uneven gait, as well as reluctance to pick up, keep, or change a lead in the canter or lope. Horses that work at speed such as jumpers, reiners, and barrel horses, may become unwilling to stop or turn.

How Supplements Can Help

If you have specific concerns about your horse’s joint health or have noticed the signs of joint disease mentioned above, the first thing you should do is talk to your veterinarian. Your vet knows your horse best, and he or she will be able to diagnose your horse and help you develop the right treatment plan, which may include prescription medication and management changes.

Along with regular veterinary care and smart management, joint supplements are an invaluable investment in helping keep your horse comfortable and performing at his best. That’s because while your horse’s body has the ability to repair and rebuild after moderate “wear and tear” from light activity, research has shown that even wild mustangs can develop joint degeneration.

When you add in the increased demands of riding and training, it’s easy to see how your horse’s joints may be experiencing more damage than his body can keep up with. Joint supplements can help support your horse by providing a steady supply of the ingredients he needs to cope with the demands of his workload.

Ingredients To Look For

Joint Health And Function


Glucosamine: This building block of chondroitin sulfate is one of the most fundamental joint health ingredients. In fact, research suggests that glucosamine supports the production of new cartilage and inhibits cartilage breakdown.

Chondroitin Sulfate: The building block of hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans, both of which are essential to healthy joint structures. Chondroitin sulfate appears to work synergistically with glucosamine to stimulate new cartilage production and inhibit cartilage breakdown. In fact, an eight-year study demonstrated that consistent use of an oral glucosamine/chondroitin supplement helped maintain soundness in a group of show hunters/jumpers.

Hyaluronic Acid: An integral component of joint cartilage and joint fluid, hyaluronic acid provides both lubrication and shock absorption. One study provides objective evidence that oral HA reduces joint swelling after surgery to remove an OCD in the hock.

Collagen: There’s a growing body of evidence that collagen supports joint health in a variety of ways, including addressing cartilage deterioration, supporting a normal response to inflammation, and managing discomfort associated with exercise. It’s also excellent for supporting resilient tendons and ligaments!

Avocado / Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU): A vegetable extract made from avocado and soybean oils that helps protect cartilage and works synergistically with both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to provide additional joint support.

Comfort And A Normal Inflammatory Response

MSM: This source of organic sulfur helps support a normal inflammatory response. A group of researchers in Europe showed that MSM exerts a protective effect on oxidative and inflammatory exercise-induced injury in the horse. In layman’s terms, that means that MSM has been shown to help reduce the wear and tear of joint tissues caused by exercise.

Devil’s Claw, Yucca, And Boswellia: These herbs are commonly used to fight discomfort in joints and other tissues, along with supporting a normal inflammatory response. If you compete, keep in mind that certain herbs may not be permitted by many competitive organizations.

Antioxidant Support

Turmeric: This antioxidant has been growing in popularity. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown by research to have anti-inflammatory properties.6

Resveratrol: A potent antioxidant that has been demonstrated to support joint integrity. It’s known for its ability to protect cartilage from the damaging effects of free radicals and to help address joint inflammation associated with heavy work.

Vitamin C: A water-soluble vitamin and critical antioxidant. Not only does Vitamin C protect tissues throughout the body, it’s vital in the production of all connective tissue. Aging horses and those in training often need additional Vitamin C in their diet.

Green Tea Extract: This antioxidant helps protect the horse’s body from the damaging effects of free radicals, which may be released during times of stress, injury, or activity.

Choosing The Right Joint Supplement For Your Horse

The number of joint supplements available can make choosing the right one a challenge. Luckily, when you combine your knowledge of how the key ingredients in joint supplements work with an understanding of how your horse’s age and workload impact the amount of support he needs, finding the right supplement is easy.

Your horse’s age can play a key role in your selection of a joint supplement. If your horse is showing signs of stiffness and discomfort as he gets older, you may want to look for a senior-specific supplement that includes targeted ingredients to help keep him comfortable.

Similarly, your horse’s workload can help determine how much joint support he needs. More work equals more stress, which in turn requires more support. If your horse is in light to moderate work, choose a joint supplement that has a few key ingredients at low to moderate levels. For horses who have a heavy workload, select a formula with a more comprehensive panel of ingredients at higher levels. Finally, keep in mind that some ingredients, such as devil’s claw, are prohibited by many competitive organizations.

August 2021 - Road to Tokyo with Course-Builder David Evans
Written by by Catherine Austen • courtesy of USEA
Friday, 30 July 2021 04:02
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by Catherine Austen • courtesy of USEA

The cross-country course at the Tokyo Olympics will be the focus of eventing fans worldwide next month. We talked to the man responsible for building it, renowned British course-builder and designer David Evans to learn more about what goes into building the Olympic course.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you’re appointed as course-builder?
When an Olympics or a World Championships is on a brand-new site, and you’ve got committees involved that don’t necessarily know anything about horses, it’s important to get on-site as soon as you can. It doesn’t matter what designer you’re working for; some of them have experience at the Olympics, some of them don’t, so you’ve got to be there to advise them if you’ve been lucky enough to do one before. My team built the course for the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, which gave us a great deal of experience with wetter, humid climates, especially with the amount of rain they can have per hour. Hong Kong, in the last six weeks, we had 2.7 metres of rain. The track has got to cope with that.

The course-designer goes there first, and once you’re appointed as the builder, you go and walk around, and you have to think about all these sorts of things. If the water’s coming down a hill, if it could rain – sometimes we’re talking about 18 inches an hour. That water’s got to get away somewhere. You’ve got to take all of this into account, raise the ground where you need to, or slightly camber it in one way.

That’s probably one of the most important initial visits, and in some countries, you’ve got to drum this into them. It doesn’t just happen overnight. I’m very lucky, for Tokyo, to be working with Derek di Grazia. It’s my first time working with him, but I love his courses. I’ve walked a few and watched a lot, and it’s been very interesting. It’s just great. You’re there as a course-builder to build the jumps, but in my mind, you’re also there to advise the designer if he hasn’t been involved before.

David Evans and Carl Fletcher in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy of David Evans

Q: Are you responsible for ground preparation as well?
We only advise on ground preparation because the Japanese Jockey Club has the way they do things, and they know all about the grass growth. It’s totally different to the rest of the world; I’d say in September/October, the grass goes brown, and then it livens up again in March-April time and goes green. They’ve been very good, and they do listen, and they’ve got the machines that we like and have used before. If they haven’t got them, they find them. It’ll be very interesting – we haven’t been there in a year, but we get pictures sent back all the time, and it’s looking green and good.

Q: Do you build the jumps on-site?
That depends on what’s available locally in terms of material, what’s not available locally, and how expensive it is. . . when you go to cities, whether it’s Hong Kong or Tokyo, everything costs 10 times more than your normal wood-mill or timber supply. You’ve got to do all the calculations of what you can do locally and what makes it different.

I think we sent six containers over from the UK to Tokyo for 2020, 40ft containers of fences, wood and carvings because it was cheaper to build the fences at home and send them. I’ve got all my kit at home in my workshop and all my decorative carvings, so it’s far easier to find the wood you want in the UK, bearing in mind we work on a large number of big estates here. We’re very lucky to be able to get the bits of wood you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else that are no good for milling. It’s just easier and quicker, and it’s wood that’s good to work with rather than the hardwoods or timber that isn’t big enough.

You obviously build the ditches, and the water jumps on-site, and you build what you can with the timber available out there. For the rest, you try to cram as much as you can into containers.

Q: How many site visits to Tokyo have you done?
I’ve done 14 or 15 visits, I think since I was appointed in June 2017. A lot of the visits initially were after they started doing the groundwork. I went over for two or three days to check that when they were changing the footing into decent footing – they take the clay or the bad grass away, and then they relay a stone-sand mix and a sand-earth mix on top. Then they turfed the whole course; it wasn’t seeded because seed takes about seven years in Japan to get a decent enough bed. These are all contractors doing this work, so it was essential that we kept checking it. We’d sign off every 100 metres. I think it was once a month for five months, or once every three weeks, that I was going over and checking the footing before we gave the final go-ahead so it could be turfed.

Q: What happened last year?
We were actually over there in March 2020. We’d put all the fences out. Things were a bit quiet in Japan; they hadn’t had many Covid cases there, but the schools weren’t open, and certain businesses were working from home. We had a great three-week visit; we got all the jumps out, and all the main carvings, everything out, so that all we had to do was go back at the end of June or beginning of July and paint, dress, flag, and put the strings out. Then we got back to the UK on 19 March, and everything was in lockdown.

It was a scurry around to work on what we were going to do next, given that a lot of the events that we usually build were cancelled. Very luckily, we had a new event at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire that was determined to run that September, for which I was the course-designer. There was quite a bit of groundwork to do there that fed us into the rest of what we found to do. Since then, the rest of 2020 has been about rebudgeting. We were going to make another visit at the beginning of 2021, in March, but we couldn’t because of travel restrictions – so I had to have the office staff out there in Tokyo put tarpaulins over the more intricate carvings they didn’t get weathered too much.

Q: Were the fences taken off the cross-country track?
Only seven or eight fences came off the track – only the ones at the water jump and a few others came down to the workshop area just because we didn’t want them sitting in water for over a year. Two of my team, American course-builder Travers Schick and Carl Fletcher, a huge part of my own UK team, go out this week, actually, and they’ll put those out with Derek di Grazia. I was meant to go out next week, but because the Japanese government said we could only do one visit because of COVID, we had to swap a load of things over. Carl’s now going out for the whole month before the Games. It’s hard work, and with all the restrictions over there, I’m not sure how everyone’s going to cope. It’ll be fine, but it’s going to be difficult and intense.

I don’t go until about 20 July now. As head builder, most of my work – apart from the final finishing – has been done. Everything’s been built; all the carvings have been done; all the materials are there. That side of the logistics is sorted. What I’d normally do on most of our jobs, whether it be Blenheim, Cornbury, Chatsworth, Bramham – I go for the initial 10 days, and then I drop back on to other jobs or start the next job. That’s what we were going to do for Tokyo, the same – I’d go out for the first 10 days, make sure everything’s sorted and all the right paint’s there, all the bits and pieces we need. But we’ve had to swap it around.

Q: Is Tokyo your only focus right now?
We can’t just give everything else up that we do, even for the Olympics. We have a big UK event - Burgham International, for which I am the course-designer - has to take some time up, and Burgham’s got the British National Championships this year, so I’ve got to spend four or five days there. There’s also a lot of planning for other events, such as Blenheim and Cornbury. I can’t just leave it all until I get back. But the guys out there are absolutely 100%, and they know what they’re doing.

Q: Give us a flavour of what Tokyo’s cross-country will look like. . .
Derek di Grazia has done a great job. It’s on a very tight site, with a backdrop of the city – apparently, it’s the only sports venue for 2020 that has the backdrop of the city in the way it does. It really is cool. Will it look Japanese? I think so. I think it’ll look very, very good, but I suppose I would say that!

August 2021 - Keeping Your Horse Hydrated is Easier Than Ever with New! Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets from Farnam
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:58
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Keeping horses hydrated in the heat of summer, or during competition and other stressful situations, can be a challenge especially if they won’t eat powder electrolytes and pastes are too difficult to give daily.   So, what can you do?  

Farnam, Your Partner in Horse Care™, is pleased to introduce Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets, a new addition to the trusted Apple Elite™ line of supplements.  For horses that are picky eaters or sort powder supplements, Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets is a simple way to encourage water consumption and help maintain optimal hydration year-round, which is important for supporting proper digestion, muscle function and recovery. These palatable apple-flavored pellets are hard for horses to resist and can easily be added to your horse’s regular grain ration.

Electrolyte supplementation is often thought to only be needed by performance horses; however, any horse that sweats for a prolonged period of time, regardless of reason, can benefit from electrolyte supplementation. When horses sweat, they lose water as well as vital minerals like sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. A deficit of these electrolytes can lead to overheating, and compromise overall health and performance. Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets contains a balanced electrolyte profile with the vital minerals needed to help restore your horse’s electrolyte levels.
Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets works in two ways to help your horse stay hydrated. Adding it to your horse’s daily supplement regimen can encourage healthy water intake and keep fluid levels in balance, no matter what the day brings. Plus, it is specifically formulated to replace vital minerals that are lost through sweat during exercise, extreme hot and cold weather, and stressful situations.
Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets can be fed to horses of all ages and workloads and can be beneficial in these scenarios: horses in training or trail riding, shows or events, trailering, during weather changes or extreme weather conditions, settling into a new barn or boarding facility, or when stressed from poor nutrition or digestive upset.  Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets is an easy-to-feed solution to an everyday challenge for horse owners with even the pickiest of eaters.  
For a limited time, horse owners will find $5.00 off instant savings coupons on shelves at participating retailers, as well as online at  
To learn more about Apple Elite™ Electrolyte Pellets and the complete line of Farnam® supplements, visit


August 2021 - Prize List Now Available for the LA Labor Day Classic, Flintridge Autumn Classic, LA Fall Festival, and LA National
Written by provided by West Palms Events
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:52
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provided by West Palms Events

West Palms Events is gearing up for a fantastic fall season with a full calendar of competitions in Southern California for riders of all levels. The prize list is now available for the LA Labor Day Classic (Sept. 1-5) at Los Angeles Equestrian Center, the Flintridge Autumn Classic (Sept. 30-Oct. 3) at Flintridge Riding Club, the LA Fall Festival (Oct. 6-10) at Los Angeles Equestrian Center, and the LA National (Oct. 13-17) at Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

All weeks will highlight grand prix classes, USHJA National Hunt and Go Hunter Derbies, and 2’6’’ Plaid Horse Carousel Derbies. Plus, all four weeks will include USHJA Outreach classes.

“We are looking forward to offering many special classes this fall,”  commented Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events. “We are especially honored to host the prestigious Onondarka Medal Final, $10,000 PCHA Child/Adult Hunter Championship, and the $50,000 Grand Prix of the Pacific presented by EQ Consults at LA National.”


LA Labor Day Classic (Sept. 1-5) at LA Equestrian Center
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 3 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A’ & B’ | LEGIS League
•    LAHJA Rosewood Medal Final presented by Smartpak
•    LAHJA Betsy Woods Horsemanship Medal Final presented by Smartpak
•    LAHJA Stirrup Cup Medal Final
•    LAHJA Mary Jane Watson Medal Final
•    USHJA National Hunt & Go Hunter Derby
•    $30,000 Labor Day Grand Prix

Flintridge Autumn Classic (Sept. 30-Oct. 3) at Flintridge Riding Club
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 3 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A & B’ | SCHSA ‘A’ | LEGIS League
•    CPHA Horsemanship Medal Final
•    CPHA Child/Adult Medal Final
•    Equine Insurance SCHSA Challenge Medal Final
•    Flintridge Riding Club Open Equitation Challenge
•    USHJA National Hunt & Go Hunter Derby presented by
•    $25,000 Grand Prix of Flintridge presented by The Flying Spur Ranch
LA Fall Festival (Oct. 6-10) at LA Equestrian Center
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 3 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A & B’ | LEGIS League
•    LAHJA Junior Medal Final presented by
•    LAHJA Senior Medal Final presented by Hansen Dam Horse Park
•    Camelot Hunter Challenge Derby
•    USHJA National Hunt & Go Derby
•    Fall Festival Grand Prix

LA National (Oct. 13-17) at LA Equestrian Center
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 4 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A & B’ | LEGIS League
•    Onondarka Medal Final
•    $10,000 PCHA Child/Adult Hunter Championship
•    $50,000 Grand Prix of the Pacific presented by EQ Consults
•    $5,000 Open Equitation Challenge
•    $5,000 USHJA National Hunt & Go Derby presented by Fleeceworks
•    $5,000 GGT Footing 1.20m Classic
•    $5,000 1.40m Welcome Classic

The prize list and entry forms are available online: Entries can be submitted through or emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Stalls are limited and expected to sell out. Please contact Adrienne as soon as possible to reserve your place. Entries for the LA Labor Day Classic and are due by Aug. 9. Entries for the Flintridge Autumn Classic are due by Sept. 6 and entries for the LA Fall Festival and LA National are due by Sept. 13. Then, save the date Sacramento International – NorCal Medal Finals and Longines CSI W-4* (Sept. 29-Oct. 10) at Murieta Equestrian Center. The fall edition of Riders Cup comes to LA Equestrian Center (Oct. 21-24), featuring the all-new $55,000 PCHA Jumper Championships.

We look forward to seeing you this fall!

August 2021 - Aquatic Therapy Treats the Whole Horse, Not Just the Injury
Written by courtesy of Hudson Aquatic Systems
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:47
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courtesy of Hudson Aquatic Systems

The one thing horse lovers have in common is a shared bond and passion for these beloved animals. This includes the ultimate desire to keep them healthy. Equine athletes allow us to compete at the highest levels, and when they get injured, our dreams and goals are put on pause while they recuperate.

When horses suffer an injury, typically there is more focus on the injury itself, but often forgotten is the fallout to the rest of the body that is compensating for the injury. With aquatic therapy in Hudson Aquatic System’s AquaPacer underwater treadmill system you can restore the injured body part as well as condition the rest of the body, which helps reduce drastic compensation patterns, regardless of the breed or discipline.

We all know about hocks, fetlocks, and polls, but if the owner competes or rides in a different discipline, you may find you speak completely different horse languages. If you ride dressage, could you tack up a Western Pleasure horse? If you took a lesson from a trainer that tells you, “get to your points, sit down, and make your lines straight,” would you understand? Phrases like the following: “Mark your man”, “Ride the outside line to the oxer”, “Then easy to the in and out” and “Working half-pirouette left”, make the learning curve for each discipline’s lingo quite steep.

Although there may be disciplines or rules that we don’t fully understand in the equestrian sport, the one thing we all have in common is the love for these incredible athletes. Preventing injury and keeping them healthy is crucial. Treating the entire horse when there is an injury allows the horse a longer quality of life and career.

Unbridled Equine Rehab and Performance Solutions, just outside of Chicago, Illinois, utilizes aquatic therapy for horses from all different disciplines: jumpers, hunters, dressage, western pleasure, barrel racing, and an eventer. While all of these horses may have different jobs, they all have in common the need for quality care, routine, and at some point in their career they may have suffered from an injury or an acute illness. These ailments may not necessarily need the attention of a veterinary hospital, but requires around-the-clock care and maintenance that may be too much for a typical boarding facility. Unbridled Equine is the stopgap between 24-hour monitoring and the boarding barn. Their facility is set up and equipped to handle horses in all stages of recovery or rehabilitation. They like to remove the labels of breeds and disciplines so they all can become patients. Unbridled Equine focuses on building them back up from injury, and getting them back to the show ring, arena, polo field, or the trails. 

“We are blessed to have one of the only Hudson Aquatic AquaPacer underwater treadmills in the state of Illinois,” said Katie Hawkins at Unbridled Equine. “We are able to accommodate horses at various stages of their recovery, be it rehabilitation or maintaining their fitness at a high level. One thing we like most about aquatic therapy with the AquaPacer is that we are able to vary the workout each day, often within the same session,” said Hawkins.

The AquaPacer allows you to select the temperature of the water, the height of the water, and the speed of the treadmill to customize the workout to comply with a veterinarian’s instructions. With a range of features, the AquaPacer, gives you the ability to adjust all the variables necessary to meet the needs of each horse’s individualized program.

“No matter the breed or discipline, all horses have the need for connection and stimulation,” said Hawkins. “Not only does the AquaPacer stimulate their body, but horses’ crave movement and this helps keep their brains stimulated with a low-impact workout in a safe and effective environment. With the AquaPacer we are able to restore the injured body part as well as condition the rest of the body, which helps reduce drastic compensation patterns. This allows the horse to have a stronger foundation going into their next step of their rehabilitation program.”

Unbridled Equine believes that using the AquaPacer has had an immense impact on the horses at their facility. From suspensory injuries, broken hocks, cellulitis and other chronic and acute injuries, aquatic therapy in the AquaPacer has allowed them the ability to either use a cold, saltwater soak to help reduce inflammation or to implement a hot, low-impact workout with the treadmill.

Hawkins also says “Regardless of age, discipline, breed or injury, we have found that proper care and maintenance after injury is a crucial component of rehabilitation. Being able to offer our clients and their horses with state-of-the art equipment like our AquaPacer, ensures their horse has the comeback story that they deserve.”

From top showjumpers, barrel racers, hunt horses and other disciplines, we all want to keep equine athletes at the top of their game and get each horse back doing what they love most.

Learn more about Unbridled Equine’s pre-hab program to help prevent injuries and contact Hudson about how you can add an AquaPacer underwater treadmill system to your facility for pre-hab, rehab, conditioning, training, and wellness.


August 2021 - FlexSyn™, a Game Changer in the Equine Joint Supplement Industry
Written by courtesy of Perfect Products
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:39
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courtesy of Perfect Products

Custom Veterinary Specialties, a veterinary focused division of Perfect Products, announces FlexSyn™, a game changer in the equine joint support supplement industry.

In 2006, Jeff Morgenstern founded Perfect Products. The company set out to redefine the equine performance supplement market with effective and ethical supplements that both helped horses perform their best and gave riders the tools and confidence to have their best show ring experience. Over the past 15 years, they have introduced a number of dynamic widely-used formulas that have changed the horse show landscape. Now in 2021, Custom Veterinary Specialties and Perfect Products has done it again with the revolutionary pre-event joint support enhancer, FlexSyn™.

The FlexSyn™ suppository capsule offers a cost effective, simple, all-natural approach to systemic joint support. The highly effective FlexSyn™ formula combines a proprietary blend of Chondriotin Sulfate, Glucosamine HCI and Hyaluronic acid with a sophisticated absorption technology that begins working within 12 hours, with full effects evident within 24 hours.

The true genius of FlexSyn™ is the manner in which it is administered. Normal equine joint supplements are administered via injection or oral ingestion. FlexSyn™ uses a proprietary blend of plant and fruit butters, cellulose combined with the active ingredients to administer the supplement via suppository. Administering FlexSyn™ this way facilitates rapid absorption through the digestive mucosa of a high concentration of actives, thus allowing for a more rapid, effective and efficient means of administration.

Custom Veterinary Specialists consults with some of the top names in equestrian sports, to design and test products as they go through their product development. Below are a few of their responses during the pre-release phase of development.

“I did notice a difference when the horses came out. They started moving a little looser and freer from the beginning. In our sport we work so hard and every little detail matters. If there’s something that can help your horse feel a little more comfortable and perform just a little bit better, we want to take those advantages.”
-Adrienne Lyle

“It was just amazing to me to see the immediate differences and responses to this product. I used it on several different horse types. I used it on one of my older horses who is 19 years old, been there done that, and I think he went from 19 to 12 years old in about a week. That was a huge eye opener for me.”
-Nick Haness

“It literally took 24 hours. I received the product. I gave it to them the next day. I called Jeff the day after and told him I felt a difference in every single horse I gave it to.”
-Shannon Peters

“I have been a vet for 11 years now. We have used FlexSyn™ in addition to our regular program and it has definitely been an asset. It’s easy to administer. It helps keeps the horses going that are doing a 12-15 week circuit, and spring afterwards.”
-Leah Patipa

“Sometimes, I have veteran horses and they need a little extra help. I like the product because I can see their legs tighter the next day, I can feel them get a little spring in their step. You can feel them being a little bit looser. I think it really helps my older ones and my young ones.”
-Jane Ehrhart

FlexSyn™ is now available market-wide. Contact Custom Veterinary Specialties ( or Perfect Products ( for more information or a personalized consultation to meet your training needs.


August 2021 - Summer’s Here: Hot Weather Care for Horses
Written by by Hayley Donahue, DVM • courtesy of AAEP
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:33
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by Hayley Donahue, DVM • courtesy of AAEP

Owners need to consider management practices needed to help their horses get through the hot weather. It is important to understand the normal physiology of the horse when exercised in hot or humid weather. During exercise the body generates heat faster than at rest. A large percentage of the stored energy used by the body during physical activity is converted to heat rather than motion. The more strenuous the activity the more body heat is generated. Additional heat generated during exercise results in an elevation of core body temperature from resting values (range, 99-100 F) to an excess of 102-106°F. The horse’s body attempts to cool itself by dissipating excess heat via sweating. In response to exercise, sweat glands are triggered to produce sweat. The subsequent evaporation of sweat carries heat from the body and helps to lower body temperature to a safe range. An important point to remember is that high humidity decreases the sweat evaporation rate, therefore slowing the cooling process. This is especially important in the heat and humidity of the summer. High temperatures and humidity decrease the horse’s ability to cool. If the rate of body temperature cooling is not satisfactory to match the ambient conditions, heat stress can develop.

Horse owner’s can help their horses cool by employing four management practices. These include good ventilation, encouraging water intake, carefully planned exercise, and actively observing for signs of heat stress.  One way to help horses get through hot weather is to ensure that barns are adequately ventilated. This can be done by opening doors and windows. Fans can also be used to increase air flow.  A fan over each stall will move air directly over the horse. Fans with mist attachments can also be used, but may not provide any additional benefit to a regular fan in humid areas. Assuring adequate water intake is critical. On average a 1,000 lb horse needs 8 to 10 gallons of fresh water per day. As the air temperature increases, even non-exercising horses sweat and consume more water. When exercising at temperatures above 70°F, adult horses may consume 20 to 25 gallons of water per day. An owner can encourage the horse to drink water by providing salt blocks or loose salt in the feed. Horses should be offered fresh water frequently and have access to water at all times. It is also advisable to offer an additional bucket containing commercially available horse electrolyte solutions mixed with water. However, the provision of fresh water is always required when electrolyte water is offered. This can be beneficial especially if the horse is losing electrolytes through sweating. However, some horses will not willingly drink electrolyte solutions mixed with water so an alternative water source should be made available. An additional management practice to decrease heat stress is avoiding exercise during the hottest time of the day, typically from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Turn horses out to pasture at night, especially if the pasture is lacking shade.

In addition to following these management recommendations, owners should be aware of the signs of heat stress suffered by horses in the summer. It is important to understand and recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and to know what to do when these signs have been observed. Horses with heat exhaustion may continue to sweat excessively or in severe instances may stop sweating altogether. Signs of heat stress include weakness, stumbling, increased respiratory rate (> 32 breaths per minute), and an increased rectal temperature (>102 oF) after removal from exercise. Notify your veterinarian immediately if any of these signs are observed.  Before your veterinarian arrives owners should provide frequent small amounts of cool water for the horse to drink.  To aid in heat dissipation the horse can be bathed in cool water starting at the feet and slowly working up the legs. Alcohol bathes (isopropyl) can also be helpful to lower elevated body temperatures. If possible stand the horse in the shade and/or in front of a fan. Once you have initiated first-aid, continue to take and record the horse’s rectal temperature every 15 minutes until the veterinarian arrives. In severe cases it may be necessary for your veterinarian to administer intravenous fluids to combat dehydration and electrolyte imbalances associated with heat exhaustion. Your veterinarian also will consider the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as flunixin or phenylbutazone to aid in patient well-being and to aid in the reduction of elevated body temperature. In summary, owners should understand what they can do to avoid heat stress in their horses and to recognize the signs of heat stress so that prompt veterinary care can be provided when necessary.


August 2021 - Applying Acupuncture to Lameness in the Horse
Written by by Allen Schoen • courtesy of AAEP
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:26
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by Allen Schoen • courtesy of AAEP

Veterinary acupuncture and acutherapy are considered valid modalities, but the potential for abuse exists. These techniques should be regarded as surgical and/or medical procedures under state veterinary practice acts. It is recommended that extensive continuing education programs be undertaken before a veterinarian is considered competent to practice acupuncture.

There has been a great increase in interest in veterinary acupuncture in the equine industry recently, both by the public and the veterinary medical community. With this increased awareness, there has been an increase in research and thus a better understanding of the physiologic basis and practical applications of acupuncture. One of the main applications in equine practice is related to the treatment and diagnosis of lameness. Acupuncture may be used as both an adjunct (addition) to the traditional lameness examination as well as an adjunct to the treatment of certain lamenesses.

Scientific Basis

Acupuncture may be defined as the stimulation of specific points on the body to achieve a therapeutic or homeostatic (returning the body to its normal state) effect. Acupuncture points are areas on the skin of decreased electrical resistance or increased electrical conductivity.

Acupuncture points correspond to four known neural structures:


  • Type I acupoints, or motor points, are located where the nerve enters the muscle
  • Type II acupoints are located on the superficial nerves
  • Type III acupoints are found where there is a high density of superficial nerves
  • Type IV acupoints are located at the muscle-tendon junction

Acupuncture has many physiologic effects on all systems throughout the body. No one mechanism can explain all the physiologic effects observed. Essentially, acupuncture stimulates various sensory receptors (pain, temperature, pressure and touch), which stimulate sensory nerves, transmitting the signal through the central nervous system to the brain. Various transmitters and hormones are then released from the brain to have their effects throughout the body.


There are numerous techniques to stimulate acupuncture points, such as dry needle stimulation, electroacupuncture, aquapuncture, acupressure and others. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. Deciding which acupuncture point to stimulate is based on locating points on the body where stimulation will produce a beneficial change in the central nervous system, altering on-going physiologic activity in the horse’s body. The number of treatments required depends upon the condition treated and how long the problem has existed. The length of individual treatments usually ranges from 5 to 30 minutes.

Applications to the Lameness Examination

Acupuncture is an excellent diagnostic aid as an adjunct to conventional lameness examination. Acupuncture diagnosis is based on the level of sensitivity to palpation of particular acupuncture points (acupoints) that have been found to correspond with specific conditions. In addition, there are diagnostic points that are actually trigger points, knots or tight bands in a muscle. For example, a triceps trigger point is often quite sensitive to palpation when a lower forelimb lameness is present. It may not indicate exactly where the lameness is or what is causing it, but it does mean that something is reactive in that region.

Each diagnostic acupoint may have four or five meanings, depending on which other points show up as reactive upon examination. The combination of reactive points often times will assist the diagnosis and aid in localizing the cause of the problem. Sometimes acupoint diagnosis will help determine which of two or more problems may have come first, such as in the case of a lower limb lameness accompanied by a back problem. Patterns of trigger points far distant to the primary problem, compensating for the primary problem, have also been found.

Acupuncture diagnosis can be an excellent adjunct to the lameness examination in addition to flexion tests, diagnostic nerve blocks, radiographs (x-rays), ultrasound and fluoroscopy (x-rays in motion). It is not uncommon to use all of these diagnostic techniques, including nuclear scintigraphy (bone scanning), and still not arrive at a diagnosis. Acupuncture is often an excellent complementary technique that may assist in figuring out the problem.

Applications to Lameness Treatments

Acupuncture is also used successfully in the treatment of various equine lamenesses either as the primary treatment or as an adjunct to conventional veterinary treatment. For instance, a primary hock problem may be treated with an injection of medication directly into the joint. However, it may not completely resolve the entire complaint the owner has. The horse may still “not be right” or be “off.”

There often times is secondary compensation resulting in patterns of trigger points in the back or neck that remain unresolved. Acupuncture therapy may then be used quite successfully to treat the secondary problems of the primary hock problem. Acupuncture has been used successfully in the treatment of numerous equine lamenesses including chronic back problems, hock or stifle problems, laminitis, navicular disease and various soft tissue injuries. Acupuncture may also be beneficial in the treatment of non-lameness problems in the horse such as colic and diarrhea as well as reproductive, neurologic and respiratory conditions.

Acupuncture is an exciting new (yet ancient) diagnostic and therapeutic technique that has been incorporated into a number of equine practices. It offers an additional approach to diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas that may not have adequate answers based on conventional western medicine. Further research will continue to explain the physiologic basis of acupuncture.

August 2021 - Sweeney Shoulder Explained
Written by courtesy of America’s Horse Daily
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:18
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courtesy of America’s Horse Daily

For Rebekah Ellis, it was a horse owner’s worst nightmare when she found her horse shaking uncontrollably in the corner of the pasture in May 2009, unable to walk after apparently being kicked by another horse.

“It was awful,” Rebekah says about finding her beloved horse, Fancy Bonanza Doll. “I tried to move her, but she would not budge. I called the vet out, and there was no visible injury that we could see. He finally got her to walk by smacking his hat to her butt. Her walk was horrific.”


Rebekah had three vets from the Kenosha, Wisconsin, area examine “Fancy,” with little success at a diagnosis. She then took the mare to a specialist, who determined that it was an injury to the suprascapular nerve, a condition commonly called “Sweeney shoulder.”

The suprascapular nerve controls the shoulder muscles that bring the front leg forward. Without proper nerve function, the muscles along the shoulder blade cannot function correctly. The muscles degenerate, and the horse is unable to move her leg properly.

Dr. Ed Boldt of Performance Horse Complementary Medicine Services in Fort Collins, Colorado, explains that the condition was first seen more than a century ago as the result of poor-fitting harness on working draft horses. The collar placed too much pressure on the nerve and caused damage.

With working draft horses much less common, now the Sweeney shoulder condition is usually caused by a traumatic injury, according to Dr. Justin Harper of Texas Specialty Veterinary Services in Boerne, Texas. He says most cases are seen after a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado when horses spook and run into a tree or other object and cause traumatic damage to the shoulder. A blow to the area can also cause it, like with Rebekah’s horse being kicked.

Since the condition is now much more rare, many vets are unfamiliar with the injury. Dr. Boldt says in his 26 years of veterinary practice, he has seen fewer than 10 horses with Sweeney shoulder injuries.

At first, the symptoms may be hard to pinpoint.

“If the nerve is damaged, the horse will not want to put his leg forward,” Dr. Boldt says. “Sometimes that will be subtle, but then over time, the muscle starts withering and shrinking because it doesn’t have that nerve supply. In an advanced case, the muscle in the front part of the shoulder, right on the shoulder blade, is going to be atrophied.”


As with most injuries, the quicker the horse owner or veterinarian identifies the problem and begins treatment, the more likely the horse is to make a full recovery. However with a damaged nerve, the prognosis is uncertain.

If you suspect your horse has this condition, Dr. Harper recommends a full examination with radiographs to rule out fractures of the forelimb. After diagnosis of Sweeney shoulder, the horse should receive a regimen of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents and pain medication. The horse should also be on a controlled-exercise regimen and physical therapy.

Dr. Boldt has treated horses with suprascapular nerve damage using electrostimulation therapy with some success.

“It is basically electroacupuncture, running electricity through the affected area similar to a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit in people.”

This approach helps give the nerve time to heal while controlling the horse’s pain and keeping the horse active so the muscle doesn’t atrophy.

Dr. Harper explains: “With any injury of the musculoskeletal system in the horse or any other animal, pain causes the problem to become worse over time, so if you can break that pain cycle, then the animal is going to use that leg or limb and therefore eliminate some of the secondary complications that happen from nerve injury or muscle injury, such as contraction and disuse atrophy.”

Dr. Harper adds, “Usually it takes three to 12 months for recovery from this injury, with literature reports suggesting that greater than 80 percent of horses diagnosed with this injury will recovery without surgery.”

Of the cases Dr. Boldt treated without surgery, one was able to return to the show pen. About 50 percent of the horses treated saw some improvement, and one horse didn’t improve at all.

Surgical Option

Unfortunately, Fancy didn’t respond. After 45 days of no improvement, Rebekah and her veterinarian went with Plan B: surgery.

“For the ones that don’t respond medically, the procedure is a decompression surgery,” Dr. Harper explains. “The surgeon debrides (removes) the scar tissue in the neck of the scapula (shoulder blade), so it doesn’t put as much pressure on the nerve.”

In Fancy’s case, the veterinarian removed a small part of the shoulder blade near the nerve, Rebekah says. The surgery allowed the nerve more room to heal without the pressure of the bone or scar tissue.

As with most surgeries, there are risks. “The problem is, you usually end up grinding part of the scapular neck off, and that can create a weakening of the bone,” Dr. Harper says. “So at any point, the horse can fracture the neck of its scapula, especially during recovery.”


Rebekah remained hopeful the surgery would restore Fancy to her former self. Rebekah took the mare to Equispa of Bristol, Wisconsin, to recover after surgery. There, she underwent physical therapy and gradually increased hand-walking time.

“Her walk got better each day, but she had to wear bell boots for a while because her front feet were hitting each other.” After two months at the therapy center, Fancy finally returned home.

“When I brought her home, she was kept in an injury pen for a few more months,” Rebekah says. “After much improvement in her walk, I turned her out by herself and let her run. Seeing her run and buck was such an amazing moment.”

Sweeney shoulder may be a rare, severe injury, but it’s something Rebekah thinks more horse owners should be aware of. Rebekah has chronicled Fancy’s injury and progress to help other horse owners understand this condition in a video available on

In May 2010, one year after the horrific day of the accident, Fancy was allowed back with other horses, much to her excitement.

Rebekah says, “It’s all about taking things one step at a time.”