2014 proceedings

As a horse owner, it is more than likely that you have experienced colic in one of your horses at one time or another. Perhaps this scenario sounds familiar: As you call your horse in for dinner, he lifts his head in acknowledgement and slowly ambles toward you. But then he abruptly stops, looks at his side, and proceeds to lie down. Not only is he not interested in eating, but he is also looking fairly uncomfortable, every now and then rolling a little on the ground. There is no doubt that he is displaying pain, and it is most likely related to colic.

You’ve heard others’ stories about colicky horses and have been told various “recipes” of what others have done. Putting aside the various anecdotal communications, let’s look at dispelling some misinformed, prevailing myths about handling a case of colic. 


Take-Home Message


·     Manure contains nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus that can contaminate surface and ground water resources if manure is mismanaged.
·     The nutrients in manure are directly related to the nutrients in the horse’s diet – higher intakes mean greater amounts excreted.
·     You can lower the pollution risk of your horse’s manure by avoiding over-supplementation of protein and minerals and selecting feeds that more closely match your horse’s nutritional needs.
·     Regardless of the diet fed, proper handling, storage and disposal of manure are *key* to minimizing negative environmental impacts.

In One End & Out the Other 

Anyone who has spent time cleaning horse stalls knows that what goes in the front end eventually comes out the back end! The horse’s diet contains nutrients such as protein and minerals that are necessary to maintain good health, to grow properly, to produce milk, or to perform well in the show ring. However, horses are not 100% efficient at digesting and extracting nutrients from the feeds they consume. Some nutrients remain undigested and pass out in the feces. Other nutrients might be absorbed, but may not be immediately needed by the body or capable of being stored. Such unutilized nutrients are then excreted either in the feces or in the urine. Sloughed cells, intestinal juices, and microbes that inhabit the horse’s digestive system can also contribute to the nutrients excreted in the feces.



The topic of having horses go barefoot vs. being shod has been discussed at several American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Conventions and always generates some very informative dialog while raising many important questions. I must say from the onset that I favor horses being maintained without shoes when possible but it depends on multiple factors. This is not generally possible with upper level competition horses. On the other hand, I also feel that horses can be shod in a very sound physiologic manner such that minimal damage to the hoof capsule will occur 1. The factors used to make the decision on barefoot versus shod include:

·       The use of shoes for protection when wear of the hoof wall exceeds growth at the coronet.
·       The need for traction, especially in the performance horse for athletic activities.
·       Therapeutic reasons in order to treat lameness, diseases of the hoof (such as laminitis) or to address limb conformation.


You do not have to compete to seek excellence in equestrianism; really, it is seeking a level of excellence in everything you do while remembering that some days are going to be better than others.  The key to this is to ask yourself, “Did I do the best I could today in the situation I was in, under circumstances that may have been out of my control?” If the answer is yes, then you have achieved personal Gold!   

Winners are not people who never fail; winners are those who never give up!

With this journey you will encounter people and situations that you may not like or agree with. These things are often out of an individual’s control, especially if you are working within a team. Don’t get upset with these people or situations! What IS in your control is how you allow it to affect you, how you choose to react and what you learn from it. 


What is heaves?

Heaves is a chronic, non-infectious lung disease that primarily affects mature horses and can have a significant effect on a horse’s well-being and performance ability. Heaves is also referred to as recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) and is often compared to human asthma. The primary pathologic mechanisms leading to clinical signs in affected horses are bronchospasm, inflammation and thickening of the lower airways (small bronchi), and accumulation of mucus and inflammatory exudates in the airway lumen. The term RAO indicates that the disease is chronic and recurrent, although “remission” from clinical signs can be achieved through treatment and proper management of affected horses.

Heaves is considered an allergic condition that is set off by inhalation of “respirable” particles. Mould spores, bacterial endotoxin and dust particles are the most commonly recognized inciting allergens. The primary sources of these allergens are feed (especially hay) and bedding materials.



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