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

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

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

 


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

 

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

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

What’s That Weird Thing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Hailey Esses

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riding as a Progression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

article provided by Signal-Health LLC

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

 


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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
April 2019 - HoofStep
Written by CRM
Friday, 29 March 2019 00:20
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Innovative 24/7 monitoring system for horse welfare, launches on kickstarter.com.

HoofStep®, an innovative monitoring system providing real-time remote data on individual horse health and welfare, launched globally via the Kickstarter platform on March 2. The sensors and app package offers constant data collection, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, concerning the most subtle head movements a horse makes. By using proprietary artificial intelligence models, these head movements reveal a wide range of issues such as lameness, laminitis, colic, and stress. By alerting owners via a remote app about any deviations from their horses’ normal behaviors, disease or poor welfare can be detected in the earliest stages, allowing for rapid intervention.

 
February 2019 - Cheval International
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 February 2019 02:02
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A unique background led to pioneering company’s inception 30 years ago.

August Anderson invented horse coat enhancers three decades ago, helping to super charge the entire horse supplement industry.

 

 
February 2019 - Sedelogic
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 February 2019 01:57
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High tech pad for high performance.

After introducing the Sedelogic® saddle pads to the US horse industry in 2013, Vitafloor USA, along with another partner, acquired the high-tech pad last year.

Sedelogic saddle pads were developed by a veterinarian in Europe with the objective of achieving significant and verifiable improvements to the welfare and performance of horses in high-impact sports disciplines. They specifically looked at performance problems associated with significant pain in the horse’s back and this research included the world’s first pressure measurement under the saddle, while jumping a course. These studies led to the development of a machine-washable and breathable, three-dimensionally woven polyester fiber that is manufactured in two thicknesses (12 & 15 mm) and is clinically proven to distribute pressure and absorb shock up to 50% during peak pressure measurement.

 
January 2019 - The 2018 NorCal Clinic with Mandy Porter
Written by by Darby Bonomi, PhD • photos by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 28 December 2018 04:12
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health & horsemanship

A report from the sidelines.

by Darby Bonomi, PhD • photos by Kim F. Miller

Forty eight lucky riders were treated to the NorCal Hunter Jumper Association’s clinic with superstar grand prix rider and trainer Mandy Porter. The clinic, which was really two clinics spanning over two days each, was hosted by Leone Equestrians in Sacramento from November 29-December 2, 2018. An annual NorCal tradition, the free-to-members clinic had almost 100 applicants for the coveted spots.  

 
January 2019 - Academy of Animal Sport Science
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 28 December 2018 01:18
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Newly launched educational endeavor helps professionals master & keep pace with a rapidly evolving field of cutting-edge horse care.

by Kim F. Miller

Three well-known figures in horse health and owner education have realized a dream three years in development with the launch this month of the Academy of Animal Sport Science.

 

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

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

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

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

 


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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What is equine osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease?

 

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

Do different equine sports affect specific joints?

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

What causes arthritis in horses?

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

What are the signs of arthritis in horses?

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

Photo: Shutterstock

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

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

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

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

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

Can equine osteoarthritis be cured?

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

What are horse arthritis treatment options?

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

How can joint health problems in horses be prevented?

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

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

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

 
February 2020 - Chisholm’s Story
Written by CRM
Saturday, 01 February 2020 22:14
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How Wellpride Omega-3 For Horses helped an OTTB heir to Secretariat find his stride.

Todd Pletcher knows a good horse when he sees one.  

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

 


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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rehabilitating “The Little Horse”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Preventing problems is much easier than fixing them.

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

 
April 2019 - Horse Logic Pro
Written by CRM
Friday, 29 March 2019 00:17
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health

Experience inspires Pam Moeck to promote line of supplements on the West Coast.

After Pam Moeck moved her son’s show horse, Cowboy, to Kellie Egkan-Hinely’s Trendsetter Performance Horses AQHA show barn, the horse was put on the same regime of supplements that the other horses were on. Within a month Cowboy’s coat improved, his allergies went away and he looked so much better.

 
February 2019 - Brain Power: Neuro-Vet™
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 February 2019 02:00
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health

Boosting neurotransmission, cognitive function and impacting nervous system disorders.

The ingredients in Neuro-Vet™ have been clinically studied for many years and have been proven to support neurotransmission, cognitive function and nervous system disorders. These ingredients are known as “acetylcholinesterase inhibitors,” which means that it stops an enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine.

 

 
February 2019 - Horse Transport Made Easier, Easily!
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 February 2019 01:50
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health

Using Equiwinner™ on horses in trailers helps them adjust to different climates and with stress during transport.

If you travel to compete, you know that transporting horses can be fraught with challenges. One challenge is that all horses are stressed by travel even if you tell them your vehicle is road ready and they’re going south for the winter or back home after being away from their buddies. And that stress can affect their behavior, their health and their ability to perform at their normal level. They also might not drink well enough to stay hydrated.

 
January 2019 - Fire Aftermath
Written by by Nan Meek
Friday, 28 December 2018 01:21
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health & horsemanship

Prevent your horse’s health from going up in smoke.

by Nan Meek

The damage done by last fall’s Camp and Woolsey fires is well known in terms of lives and property lost. Less known is the effect of smoke that lingered in the air for weeks afterward. During and after the Camp fire in Paradise, hazardous air quality hovered hundreds of miles away in San Francisco where the air quality index was worse than the notoriously smoggy cities of India and China. Smoke spread far over the ocean, and across vast swaths of California farmland and urban areas alike.

 

 
January 2019 - Tred Carefully
Written by by Tab Pigg, Certified Journeyman Farrier, Vettec, Inc.
Friday, 28 December 2018 01:14
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health & horsemanship

Making the switch from shod to barefoot.

by Tab Pigg, Certified Journeyman Farrier, Vettec, Inc.

The long debate of shod versus barefoot has yet to rein in for horse owners and hoof care professionals alike. However, proponents of either side can agree that the transition from shod to barefoot requires extra steps and precaution.

 

 
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