Monthly E-newsletters/announcements from MSFHA

Conformation as it relates to gait…Imus

Part 1

By Brenda Imus

AMHA voting

Don’t Forget to Vote!

January 17th, 2018

Voting is now open for the 2018 Election of AMHA Board of Directors. Electronic (e-mail) ballots and instructions were e-mailed to all eligible voters on December 28. All 2017 AMHA members 18 years of age and older and in good standing are eligible to cast a vote. Ballots were sent to those eligible voters that had a valid e-mail address on file with AMHA (as previously notified in the NETWORK newsletter, the weekly e-mail Globals, and posted on the AMHA web site). Please check your e-mail to confirm receipt of the ballot. Often, e-mail filters will send it to your “junk” or “spam” folders. Be sure to check there as well.

If you did not receive an electronic ballot (in your inbox or junk mail) and you feel you are an eligible voter, please contact the office at or 802-985-4944 and we can make arrangements to update your e-mail and/or have the election company resend your ballot.

It is important to cast your vote! AMHA Bylaws require a minimum number of votes be returned in order to properly elect directors from each region. Even if a region has a single candidate – we MUST receive the minimum number of votes for the election to be approved. Please be sure to participate in this important governing process of your association.

Candidate biographies and platforms are available for review during the voting process online. You will be able to view each before casting your ballot. Remember – only the first ballot cast will count.

Online voting is open until 12:00 midnight (Central Time) on February 14, 2018. Votes can be cast in person or by proxy at the annual meeting and convention in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, February 16, 2018.

Questions regarding the election should be made to AMHA Executive Director, Carrie Mortensen at the AMHA Office.

(Please note that the AMHA Office is currently closed until Tuesday, January 2, 2018.)

Gaited Horse Events


Post Holiday & Planning Party 
Chesapeake Plantation Walking Horse Club
January 20, 2018
6628 Runkles Road, Mount Airy 
Noon—3ish …
Bring your ideas for rides and events 
Contact: or 240- 344-0702. 6628 
Note:  Sunday Jan 21 –  weather delay date.

Let’s ride Rockburn (weather permitting) 
Chesapeake Plantation Walking Horse Club
January 21, 2018… / 410-215-4979


Chocolate, Cheese and Wine Trail Ride & Party
Chesapeake Plantation Walking Horse Club
February 10, 2018
Crownsville, Md
suitable for barefoot or out of shape horses; 
Ready to Ride 12:00 noon
RSVP please to 410-215-4979 
please RSVP to stay advised.

Equifest of Kansas
February 23-25, 2018
ExpoCentre in Topeka. 
GaitWay Horse Association will have a “SOUND HORSE BOOTH” at booth N-8 (yes, we have chocolate!).
A PLEASURE WALKING HORSE breed demonstration multiple times over the weekend.
The theme is “Walkin’ On Sunshine”.
STOP BY OUR BOOTH –  Best-decorated booths will be eligible for prizes, so come and cheer us on!”

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Feb 23 – 225, 2018
Topeka, Kansas


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
March 9-11
Denver CO
Contact: Rocky Mountain Horse Expo

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
5 Day Clinic
March 21 – 25
Sacramento CA
Contact: Jackie 209-748-2402


Spring Fling
Chesapeake Plantation Walking Horse Club
April 6 – 8, 2018
Tuckahoe Equestrian Centre
Negative Coggins required
Friday & Saturday Dinner
Saturday & Sunday Breakfast Buffet
Ride Saturday & Sunday
Contact: call or text: 302-249-5804

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
April 12-15
Columbus OH
Contact: Equine Affaire

Gaited Horse Clinic 
Focus on Rhythm and Relaxation to Enhance Gait
April 14-15, 2018
Lone Jack, MO
Contact:  Kelly at 816-547-9508 (call or text)
FB Sitter Downs @ SitterDowns1 

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
5 Day Clinic
April 23 – 27
Pryor OK
Contact:  Larry  918-633-9288

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
5 Day Clinic
April 30 – May 4
Baxter, TN
Contact: Larry or Jennifer 931-260-2597


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
May 11-13
Port Clinton OH
Contact: Mary Ann 419-341-2372

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
May 25-27
Brighton CO
Contact: Carrie  720-312-9139


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
June 8-10
Rineyville KY
Contact: Linda 270-723-3947


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
July 6-8
Exeter RI
Contact: Darlene  401-742-3970

GaitWay Summer HOT Flash
June 30, 2018
Misty River Equestrian Center, 
21400 E. Eureka Road, Independence, MO 
Member MHSA & PEHSC 
Judge Gene Holloway(USEF/IJA) Lic. Info at
Show Manager- Lucy Rangel Tel: 816-674-7475 email:


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Aug 6-8
New Columbia PA
Contact: Brenda  570-568-8222

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Aug 10-12
Augusta ME
Contact: Teresa 207-557-0476

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Aug 17-19
St Croix Falls WI
Contact:  Patty 715-483-9292

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
5 Day Clinic
Aug 20 – 24
St. Croix Falls, WI
Contact: Patti 715-483-9292


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Sept 7-9
Milford MI
Contact: Karia 413-281-2407

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
5 Day Clinic
Sept 17 – 21
Baxter TN 
Contact:  Jennifer or Larry 931-260-2597

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Sept 28-30
Cottonwood CA
Contact: Gail 530-347-0212


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Oct 19-21
Sunbury, NC
Contact: Cheryl 252-465-4184


Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Nov 2-4
Live Oak FL
Contact:  Barbara  850-673-9579

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Nov 9 – 11
Scottsdale AZ
Contact:  Lynne 602-300-6177

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Nov 30 – Dec 1
Crowley LA
Contact:  Eddie 337-303-5759


Information Coming Soon

Big Creek 2005 Janet Hunter

janet hunter 2005 bigcreek

Jared Young Harley fun

Gaited Morgan fun…watch video!


Morgan Horse Logo
Weekly News Brief
January 18, 2018
Don’t Forget to Vote!
Voting is now open for the 2018 Election of AMHA Board of Directors. Electronic (e-mail) ballots and instructions were e-mailed to all eligible voters on December 28. All 2017 AMHA members 18 years of age and older and in good standing are eligible to cast a vote.
Make Your Hotel Reservations NOW!
The host hotel for the 2018 AMHA Convention, the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, is selling rooms fast! Double rooms are already wait-listed, but Kings are still available at the time of this press release. There are many events in town that weekend and hotel rooms are projected to sell out completely. 
TMH Honors Morgan Industry
Who do you love? In an effort to stay connected with our Morgan show friends, The Morgan Horse magazine wants to know your 2017 favorites. We picked unique categories…YOU pick the winner!
2018 is Here! Have You Renewed Your AMHA Membership?
It’s hard to believe that a new year is here! But now that the calendar has turned to January 2018, did you remember to renew your AMHA membership? Renew today so you don’t miss out on your benefits!
2018 AMHA Convention Schedule of Events Online
There will be something for everyone at this year’s AMHA Annual Convention! Slated to take place February 15-17 in Lexington, Kentucky, the weekend begins Thursday with a barn clinic day at Blue Willow Farm followed by a welcome reception. On Friday, the seminars begin in earnest, with topics covering social media, equine diseases, a Jeff Fetzer seminar, navigating the AMHA website, ask the trainer anything, as well as the AMHA Members Meeting and the AMHA/World Morgan Futurity Stallion Service Auction. Saturday has workouts for the equestrian, a panel looking at the past with Sherry Cole, Sally Longenecker, and Judy Whitney Harris, breeding and trainer seminars, culminating with the Awards Gala, honoring some of the year’s top Morgan supporters.
Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show Takes Hiatus for 2018
Due to continued uncertainty at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the committee for the Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show has voted to take a one-year hiatus from hosting the show traditionally held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield at the end of August. 
Some Great News for the Morgan Horse!
HorseFlicksTV is both proud to announce that it has launched its own TV Channel called HorseTVToday. The channel is carried on AmazonFire/FireStick, Roku, AppleTV, AndroidTV and also has downloadable apps for everyone’s phones, tablets, and iPads. Now viewers can watch the TV Series on their TV, phone or tablet- when they want, where they want. 
American Morgan Horse Association
(802) 985-4944
4066 Shelburne Rd., Suite 5
Shelburne, VT 05482
Copyright © 2018 American Morgan Horse Association. All Rights Reserved.
American Morgan Horse Association | 4066 Shelburne RdSuite 5Shelburne, VT 05482


Horse Digestive System


16 Fascinating Facts About Horse Digestion

 This probably comes as no surprise, but the horse is a unique animal.

This is especially true when it comes to how they digest food. Classified as non-ruminant herbivores, horses’ digestive systems are a cross between a monogastric animal (like a dog or human) and a ruminant (like a cow or goat).

The problem is that many people feed their horse like they would a dog or themselves—with two or three meals given throughout the day. This can work, but it often leads to problems. If more people understood more how the horse’s digestive system functioned, they might be more inclined to feed their horse like a horse.

So with that in mind, here are 16 fascinating facts that will help you better understand horse digestion. And since digestion begins in the mouth, we’ll begin there and work our way down and out!

Fact #1: Horses can only chew on one side of their mouth at a time.

They do this not with an up-and-down motion, as we do, but an outside-to-inside motion on a slant, which is determined by the slant of the matching surfaces of the upper and lower cheek teeth.

Fact #2: The horse can produce up to ten gallons of saliva per day if allowed to eat plenty of forage.

As the horse chews, the salivary glands produce saliva to help moisten the food and ease its passage into the esophagus and stomach. Saliva also neutralizes stomach acids, therefore reducing the risk of gastric ulcers.

Image courtesy of the author.

Fact #3: The horse’s esophagus only works in one direction.

The esophagus empties into the stomach. Food can go down, but cannot come back up. So it’s true—horses cannot vomit.

Fact #4: The horse’s stomach can only hold about two gallons.

It is quite small in size when compared to other parts of the digestive system.

Fact #5: Food only remains in the horse’s stomach for around 15 minutes.

From there, it moves into the small intestine.

Fact #6: When the stomach is empty, acid can attack the squamous cells in the stomach lining.

This often results in ulcers and is why small frequent meals, access to a slow feed hay net, free-choice hay, or access to pasture are very important.

Fact #7: The majority of the digestion occurs in the horse’s small intestine.

The same holds true for the absorption of sugars, starches, proteins, and fats.

Fact #8: Horses do not have a gall bladder. 

Instead, a segment of small intestine called the duodenum aids in the digestion of fats.

Fact #9: Food can only enter and exit the cecum (also known as the ‘blind gut’) from the top. 

If a horse doesn’t have adequate water intake, this can be a common site for impaction colic.

Fact #10: The cecum and other parts of the large intestine contain active populations of bacteria and other microbes.

These bacteria and microbes help break food down in a process called fermentation.

Fact #11: The bacterial and microbe populations become specific in fermenting the type of food the horse normally eats. 

When a new food is introduced suddenly, the bacteria/microbes are unable to ferment it effectively, which may result in colic. This is why all feed changes should be made very gradually.

Fact #12: Lignin, a type of dietary fiber abundant in overly mature hay, cannot be broken down by fermentation.

Therefore, it is passed in the feces.

Image courtesy of the author.

Fact #13: Gut sounds (borborigmus) are a sign that food is moving through the digestive tract. 

An absence of gut sounds can mean there is a blockage.

Fact #14:  A horse requires a minimum of 1% of his body weight daily of long-stemmed roughage (grass, hay, or hay replacers) for normal digestive tract activity. 

This would amount to ten pounds of roughage for a 1000 pound horse.

Fact #15: On average, the entire digestive process for the horse takes anywhere from 36-72 hours.

That’s from mouth to manure.

Fact #16: If it were to be stretched from end to end, the horse’s digestive tract would measure about 100 feet in length!

Most of this is intestines.

About the Author

Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at



Impaction Colic: What You Need to Know


Colic is a catchall term used by horsemen to describe equine gastrointestinal distress, but there are several different causes. Impaction colic is one of the most common types, and fortunately it is also quite treatable when caught early. Understanding the contributing factors, symptoms and treatment options can help better prepare equine caretakers who encounter this condition.

An impaction occurs when a large amount of firm, dry fecal material has built up within the intestine; this bolus is then unable to change size as it passes through the varying widths of the digestive system. Impactions occur most often in the large colon.

“There are several locations in the large colon where the diameter changes from big to small,” explains Treasa Bryant, DVM, an intern at Myhre Equine Clinic in Rochester, NH.

Colic is largely a disease of domestication, and there are several factors which predispose any horse to colic, including lack of exercise, being stalled instead of living at pasture, and being fed a few, larger meals during the day rather than free grazing. But for an impaction, there are two additional contributing factors: horses that are not drinking enough water, which is especially common during cold temperatures, and consuming poor quality forage which is more difficult for the horse to break down.

The equine digestive system is extremely long—almost 100 feet—and is compressed into what is, relatively speaking, a rather small amount of space. This means that as food passes through its entire length—mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, cecum, large colon, transverse colon, small colon—it must make its way through numerous twists and turns.

Equine GI tract. (via Three Oaks Equine)

Bryant describes the large colon of the horse as being shaped like two horse shoes stacked on top of each other, connected by their left heel. “The large colon starts on the right side of the horse at the lower abdomen, then extends all the way forward to the sternum, and then the first horse shoe ends on the left side below the flank. This is the pelvic flexure.”

The pelvic flexure is one of the most common locations for an impaction to occur, because at this point the large colon does a 180 degree turn; a large bolus of dry fecal matter can easily get stuck. Fortunately, it is a location which veterinarians can usually feel on rectal exam, making diagnosis easy.

The rest of the large colon is essentially laying on top of itself. From the pelvic flexure, it extends from the upper left flank to the diaphragm in the front of the horse, then attaches at the top right portion of the right flank. It is here where the large colon connects to the transverse colon, which is the second most common location for an impaction. It is much more difficult for the vet to diagnose an impaction here because it is located farther forward within the abdomen and is not possible to palpate.

Symptoms of an impaction colic usually come on slowly and can be mild and intermittent, meaning that it can be easy to miss them altogether. “An owner goes out to feed, and their horse is not too interested in food,” says Bryant. “The horse is given a dose of Banamine, the symptoms go away.”

But every time the gut tries to compress the impaction to get it to move, the lining is stretched and the horse experiences pain. So the process becomes cyclical—periods of discomfort followed by periods of relief. And worse that that—if the horse has been made to feel better through the use of medication and has still been offered feed, then the size and pressure of the impaction will only build. “It is like a clogged drain,” Bryant explains.

As the cycle continues the horse’s pain level will increase, and other colic symptoms, including flank-biting and kicking, are likely to occur. In extreme cases the horse may appear bloated. “We won’t get that until the whole colon is affected,” Bryant notes.

Treating an impaction colic effectively must address three critical areas:

  1. Hydrating the gut.
  2. Providing lubrication.
  3. Treating the horse’s pain.

The first two steps will help to resolve the impaction itself. “We provide fluids via nasogastric tube directly to the gut,” says Bryant. “We are trying to rehydrate that big, firm food bolus.” Electrolytes are often added as well to help pull additional water into the gut.

Mineral oil, also administered via nasogastric tube, will coat the food bolus, making it easier for the horse to pass. “Some oil will also get into the bolus and help break it apart,” Bryant adds.

Banamine is the preferred medication for a mild to moderate impaction, administered at an appropriate dosage once every twelve hours. It is important to address the horse’s pain because pain causes the gut to stand still. But some horses’ pain does not respond to this protocol. This is referred to as “breakthrough pain” and indicates that a horse most likely should be referred to a veterinary hospital or clinic.


The next step up for pain control is butorphanol, Bryant adds, a morphine type drug, administered intravenously. The additional advantage to hospitalization at this point is that a horse in extreme pain is unlikely to be willing to drink; IV fluids can be administered to improve overall hydration levels. In extreme cases, pain relieving drugs can be mixed at a continuous rate into the IV fluids.

One of the ironies of an impaction is that the horse’s pain level is likely to increase before it gets better—but this is actually a positive sign.

“When a sponge absorbs water it gets bigger,” explains Bryant. “The bolus will cause more pressure on the gut as it starts to break up. The level and duration of the pain depends on the size of the impaction.”

To confirm that an impaction has fully resolved the veterinarian may perform another colic exam. If the impaction was severe, this process may be done several times. The passing of fresh manure is a positive sign, as is evidence of mineral oil. It is only safe to start feeding the horse again once the veterinarian is confident that the impaction has been cleared. Bryant suggests starting with mashes to keep water intake high, as well as adding corn or vegetable oil.

“When re-feeding a colic we start with a low bulk food, like equine senior, which is a complete feed, and forage extender soaked into a mash,” says Bryant. “This will get short fiber into the horse and gets the gut working again without overloading it.”

If the horse remains comfortable after 24 hours small handfuls of hay can be introduced. Small, frequent meals are the key—4-6 meals per day, with 1 to 2 cups total mash feed per meal, as long as the horse is continuing to pass manure.

“Over the next three to five days, you can increase the amount and decrease the frequency,” says Bryant. “It varies a little from horse to horse, but the most important thing is that the horse is still passing manure.”


Despite a horse owner’s best efforts, colic can occur in nearly any horse and potentially be life threatening. The horse’s best chance at survival comes with prompt recognition of the symptoms and following veterinary advice, even for a colic that might seem minor.


*All content is for informational purposes only. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about the health of your animals. 

About the Author

Christina Keim is a self diagnosed equine addict who has been around or on top of horses for a nearly uninterrupted span of over thirty years, when she was first given riding lessons “just for the summer.” She has enjoyed and experienced many disciplines including hunters, equitation, jumpers, dressage, eventing, Pony Club and most recently competitive trail riding. Christina is based at her Cold Moon Farm in Rochester, NH, and holds an M.Ed. from the University of New Hampshire.


AMHA weekly news

Morgan Horse Logo

My Morgan My Heart–The 2018 Annual Convention and Awards Gala
Come celebrate Valentine’s Day with your favorite breed and those who share the same passion as you at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Kentucky, for the 2018 AMHA Annual Convention and Awards Gala
Voting for AMHA Board of Directors is Open
Voting is now open for the 2018 Election of AMHA Board of Directors. Electronic (e-mail) ballots and instructions were e-mailed to all eligible voters on December 28. All 2017 AMHA members 18 years of age and older and in good standing are eligible to cast a vote.
Changes to AMHA’s Champion Title Program
At its December 2017 monthly meeting, the AMHA Board of Directors voted to make changes to its popular Champion Title Program. All changes take effect April 1, 2018.
AMHA Convention Rooms Selling Fast–Make Your Hotel Reservations NOW!
The host hotel for the 2018 AMHA Convention, the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, is selling rooms fast! Double rooms are already wait-listed, but Kings are still available at the time of this press release. There are many events in town that weekend and hotel rooms are projected to sell out completely. 
AMHA Revamps Star Rating Program
The AMHA Board of Directors recently voted to accept changes to its Star Rating program, to take effect starting with the 2018 show season.
The Program no longer has four star rated shows, there will only be one show, a Star Rated Show. The criteria is similar to the previous 3 Star Show is applicable ONLY to show that are not USEF rated. 
AMHA/WMF Stallion Service Auction Now Live!
AMHA is pleased to announce the AMHA/World Morgan Futurity (WMF) Stallion Service Auction is now open for bidding! And the lineup of 2018 Morgan stallions generously donated by their owners is stunning; you’ll find new prospects, returning stallions, and some world champions newly crowned at the 2017 Grand National!
AMHA Announces 2017 Award Winners
The AMHA Awards Committee is pleased to announce the following individuals will be recognized at its Annual Convention, which will take place February 15-17 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Congratulations to all!
Competition and Member Summit at 2018 US Equestrian Annual Meeting
New in 2018, US Equestrian will be offering an opportunity to all members to attend the free Competition and Member Summit: Facing Challenges Together, just prior to the 2018 Annual Meeting in Lexington, Ky. The Summit will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST at the Hyatt Regency. The Summit is open to all members free of charge and does not require registration at the Annual Meeting.

Proposed USEF

It has been a guiding principle for the USEF Morgan Committee that the rules that govern our competitions be understandable and user friendly. Rules should say what they actually mean. Rules are to help us to compete with our horses safely and fairly and we appreciate your participation in this rule forum to help us achieve that goal. These proposals have been submitted by either individual USEF members or the USEF/Morgan Committee.
Rule # 1
1. The Morgan is shown in all its natural beauty with a full mane, forelock and tail. Braiding is permitted
only in Hunter, Jumper, Dressage, Sport Horse, and Carriage Pleasure Driving. Braiding is also permitted in
performance and equitation classes when shown under proper hunter, dressage, sport horse, or carriage
driving tack and attire.
2. The use of any device in the ring to alter the natural carriage of the tail or ears shall result in
disqualification. The steward may check for appliances to alter the ear carriage when measuring feet for
championships. Rubber bands, an inconspicuous braid or tape in the forelock are permitted. In harness
classes, an inconspicuous braid in the end of the tail is permitted to allow it to be fastened to the driving
3. The use of supplemental hair on the horse is prohibited in any class restricted to Morgans and shall result
in disqualification from the competition, and all entry fees and winnings of the entry for the entire
competition will be forfeited.
4. Boots and other artificial appliances are forbidden in the Morgan division during competition in a class.
Exception: boots are permitted in all Reining, Roadster, Jumper, Hunter on the Flat Equitation, and Hunter
Seat over Fences.
5. In case of inclement weather competition management may permit the use of polo boots or bandages and
may allow tails to be tied up provided this is publicly announced before a class or session.
6. Rubber or elastic (except on boots) attached in any way to the legs or hooves must not be used on the
competition grounds at any time.
7. The use of chains or rollers as action devices on the competition grounds during or before a
competition is prohibited.
7. 8. Vertical half-cup blinkers are acceptable on the competition grounds and in the warm-up ring. Blinders
of any kind are not allowed.
8. 9. A rein (or driving line) is defined as a length of leather, or other material, which remains flexible at the
point of contact with the bit and which does not create an extension of leverage of the bit.
9. 10. An inconspicuous tongue tie is permitted in all Morgan sections with the exception of Carriage
Driving, Dressage, Working Hunter over Fences, Hunter Seat Equitation Over Fences, Reining Seat
Equitation, Western Seat Equitation, Trail, Reining and Western Pleasure
10. 11. Nasal strips are allowed with the exception of the competition arenas during scheduled performances
Rule #2
MO190 Morgan Gaited – General
MO190 Morgan Gaited – General
The Gaited Morgan is presented Under Saddle. This is a horse suitable for trail riding and should possess
athleticism with a relaxed attitude and way of going. The Gaited Morgan should be eye appealing and
confident, showing the impression of being a sure, safe and pleasurable ride.
MO191 Gaits
The Gaited Morgan performs three gaits: Trail Walk, Show Gait and Pleasure Gait.
1. TRAIL WALK. The Trail Walk has equal weight in the judging of a class. The ability to transition from
the highest performance level in the class to a completely relaxed walk is an important indication of the
correct mentality and temperament. The Trail Walk is an authentic four beat walk, suitable for use on the
trails. The walk must be calm, relaxed, and ridden with clearly observable slack in the reins. Reins at all
times must droop with the lowest point noticeably lower than the point of attachment to the bit. The head
and neck should be lower than the position that is maintained at Show and Pleasure Gaits. Horses unable
to move from any gait into a relaxed, natural walk, horses that must be restrained by the reins from
accelerating, or a horse who appears to “jig” performing the Trail Walk, must be severely penalized by the
2. SHOW GAIT. The show gait is a collected, four beat gait performed at moderate speed, with stride and
action appropriate for the class. The Show Gait must be collected and smooth with no exaggeration in
form or execution. The sequence of the footfalls is rhythmic and cadenced.
3. PLEASURE GAIT. This gait is a four beat gait with the greatest speed and action in any section. There
must be a distinct difference in the speed demonstrated at the Show Gait and Pleasure Gait, although
speed must not come at the expense of form and correct footfalls. Horses that do not exhibit a distinct
difference in speed between the Show Gait and the Pleasure Gait must be penalized. The ability of the
horse to demonstrate forward movement, with speed and action appropriate for this section, while
maintaining correct form, is of primary importance at gait.
4. SADDLE GAIT. Horses performing the Show or Pleasure Gait may perform any “Saddle Gait”. The
“Saddle Gait” may be either a lateral or diagonal gait. The Pace, Trot and Jog/Canter are not allowed. If
both Show and Pleasure Gaits are to be demonstrated in a class, the horse must maintain the same Saddle
Gait footfall sequence throughout the test. The only change will be in the tempo/speed as required by the
call throughout the test.
5. BACKUP. In all performance classes, backing at least three steps in a straight line is called for in the
line-up. The horse must not throw his head above the bit, gape at the mouth or show other signs of
resistance. Failure to follow a straight track will be penalized.
MO192 General Judging Requirements for Under Saddle Gaited Classes
1. Credit shall be given to an entry that exemplifies the look of the proper section.
2. A horse that does not demonstrate correct form for the class will be penalized by the judge.
3. Scoring: Proper cadence and balance, presence and apparent ability to give a good pleasurable ride
60%; type and confirmation 40%.
4. Championship: The same specifications as the above paragraph except the percentages are 50%-50%
instead of 60%-40%.
MO193 Gaited Morgan Country Trail Pleasure Class
1. Appointments: See MO122.1.2
2. Shoeing: See MO103.5
3.The Gaited Country Trail Pleasure entry must exemplify the attributes of a pleasure riding horse
suitable for all members of the family. The Trail Pleasure horse must have gaits that are effortless and
extremely smooth, with no animation. The head and neck of the Gaited Country Trail Pleasure entry must
be relaxed and show little to no elevation, and the horse in gait should be ridden with a minimum of bit
contact and should remain relaxed at all times. There is to be no sign of animation, nervousness, or the
need for restraint. The Gaited Country Trail Pleasure classes are shown in two gaits: Show Gait and Trail
Walk. Speed is not desired in this section. Animation, more than moderate speed, nervousness, or an
elevated head and/or neck carriage shall be penalized. Manners are paramount in this section. A horse
that does not demonstrate correct style shall be penalized by the judge and shall not be placed above a
horse that has the correct way of going as long as they are performing in proper gait, regardless of other
MO194 Class Specifications Gaited Morgan Country Trail Pleasure Class
1. Shown: Horses enter at the Trail Walk, followed by the Show Gait, Trail Walk; Reverse, Show Gait,
Trail Walk in that order. A halt may be executed from either gait; the horse must halt promptly and stand
quietly on a light rein. A dismount and remount may be called. A reinback of at least 3 steps is required in
the line-up.
2. Judged: On manners, quietness, performance including steadiness, responsiveness, traveling on a light
rein, and willingness to stand quietly and back readily.
MO195 Gaited Morgan Trail Pleasure Class
1. Appointments: See MO122.1.2
2. Shoeing: See MO103.5
3. A Gaited Trail Pleasure Horse must demonstrate a suitable way of going while performing the Trail
Walk, Show Gait and Pleasure Gait. The gaits should not show animation or excessive speed and must be
effortless and smooth with forward movement. The head and neck should be in a relaxed manner
appropriate to the conformation of the horse yet must be stylish and to a lesser degree of collection. A
slight movement of the head is permissible. The horse should be well mannered. A judge may request the
horse to stand quietly on the rail on a light rein from any gait. The judge may additionally ask the rider to
dismount and remount while the horse stands quietly.
4. To be penalized: The horse should not be presented in a collected, up headed and animated frame.
There is no maximum or minimum degree of animation, but smoothness and frame tie over animation
and speed.
5. A horse that does not demonstrate the correct way of going shall not be placed above any horse that has
the correct way of going regardless of other criteria.
MO196 Class Specifications Gaited Morgan Trail Pleasure Class.
1. Shown: Horses to enter the ring at a Trail Walk, followed by Slow Gait, Pleasure Gait, Trail Walk,
Reverse, Show Gait, Pleasure Gait, Trail Walk in that order. The horse is shown in a collected frame with
the head carried proudly in the bridle evidenced by self-carriage. A rein back of at least 3 steps is required
in the line-up
2. Judged: On manners, performance including steadiness with cadence and balance, quietness,
responsiveness, traveling on a light rein, and willingness to stand quietly and back readily. During
performance, the horse must exhibit consistency of cadence and balance in the gaits.
MO197 Gaited Morgan Classic Pleasure Class
1. Appointments: See MO127.1.2
2. Shoeing: See MO103.4
3. The Gaited Classic Pleasure horse executes the Trail Walk, Show Gait and Pleasure Gait in a collected,
up headed and stylish manner with moderate stride. The horse should show in a collected frame while
maintaining self-carriage and lightness in the bridle. Frame and carriage with more animation and speed
is desirable. However, neither speed nor animation will count over smoothness and correct form and
4. To be penalized: Loss of balance or elasticity, lack of energy and incorrect way of going.
MO198 Gaited Morgan Classic Pleasure Specifications
1. Shown: Horses to enter the ring at a Trail Walk followed by a Show Gait, Pleasure Gait, Trail Walk,
Reverse, Show Gait, Pleasure Gait and Trail Walk in that order. In the line-up, a rein back of at least 3
steps is required.
2. Judged: On performance demonstrating cadence and balance, quietness, manners, responsiveness,
traveling on a light reins, and willingness to stand quietly and back readily.
MO199 Gaited Morgan Western Pleasure
1. Refer to SUBCHAPTER MO-7 Morgan Western Pleasure Section. Exception: The Western Pleasure
Gaited Morgan must stand quietly, back willingly and provide a ride of exceptional smoothness. The
headset of the horse must be relaxed and steady.
2. Extreme knee action and any tendency to be up in the bridle will be penalized. Horses failing to stand
quietly and/or to back readily must be severely penalized.
MO200 Gaited Morgan Western Pleasure Specifications
1. Shown: Horses to enter the ring at a Trail Walk, followed by a Show Gait, Pleasure Gait, Trail Walk,
Reverse, Show Gait, Pleasure Gait, Trail Walk in that order. In the line-up, a rein back of at least 3 steps
is required.
2. Judged: On manners, performance at all gaits (smoothness), attitude, and conformation.
MO190 201 General
MO191 -202 Additional Class Specifications

Working over poles to even out the gait


I use ground poles to help break up a pacey horse’s lateral gait.  Pacey means the two legs on one side swing forward together or nearly together.  Many gaited horses tend to the pacey or lateral type of gaits.  This is often caused by tense horses, but even relaxed horses can be pacey.  Once we get a horse to relax, the next thing I do is use poles to change a lateral gait to more of an even 4 beat gait.

So what do I use for a pole?  I used to use PVC pipes, but those ended up being too light and too small.  I now try to use wooden fence posts if possible.  The bigger around the better.   But, if all you have is smaller poles, just use those!  Maybe you can find a big log or something you can use.

How many poles do I use?  I almost always start with 1 or 2 and rarely do I go more than two.  Only a couple times do I use 4 poles.  Usually, if I have to use 4 poles, I only use them for a few days and only with a horse that is extremely pacey and low headed.  I would recommend that you start with 1 pole and begin the pole work once you have gotten the other prerequisites down (I discuss this in my first dvd).  See how your horse does with 1 pole.  If there is no change, try 2 poles or a higher pole, such as a log, fence post, or cavaletti.

How far apart do I space them if I use more than 1 pole?  It depends on the horse.  In many ways, this isn’t a science.  The goal is to get the horse to change the pattern of his footfalls.  For many horses, this just means getting them to have to move their feet differently to avoid stepping on the poles.  For taller horses, use poles that are farther apart.  I used to space poles out only 3-4 feet apart, but now I recommend starting with poles 8-10 feet apart.  

How long are my sessions of pole work?  It depends on the horse’s progress, but most are less than 30 minutes of actual pole work and many are less than 20 minutes.  Some end up being only 5 minutes long if the horse makes progress after struggling for a while.  You know your horse and you don’t want him to get frustrated.  This is very easy to do, even for me.  Take time to break up the pole work with relaxation training, backing up, standing still, and whatever other things your horse knows how to do.

You can put them in different parts of your work space.  You can try placing them on different inclines, taking your horse uphill over them, then downhill over them, to see what helps your horse the best.

If you find a spot or direction that seems to help your horse gait better, then go over that spot as much as you can early on.  Later on, we want to ask in lots of different place, but initially, we want to make it as easy for the horse as we can.

Remember that you need to have the prerequisites done before you work on the poles.  Your horse MUST be able to give you vertical flexion (bringing the nose toward the chest) with light pressure and MUST be able to drop his head and relax.


When you first start training your horse with the ground poles, make sure walk over them the first few times, or more if he is afraid of them.  As you progress through your training, continue taking time to walk over them rather than gait over them every time.  You do not have to gait every time your horse goes over the poles.  You would rather wait until he is relaxed and ready, then ask him to go forward.

Using poles is not the magic button that will make your horse gait, but it is my favorite tool to use with pacey horses to break up the pace and get a smooth gait.  Some horses will become smoother in a day and some will take 3-4 weeks to really start gaiting.  Every horse is different and it is your job to figure out what helps your horse the most.

These instructions are to be used in conjunction with my gaited training DVDS.


To get more free videos are articles, sign up with  your email below.

Preview to news!

GMHO 2017 Newsletter Promo

Best thing to do to get your horse to gait

This is it!!!  Ivy has what we have learned to be a way to smooth out a pacey and even trotty horse.  She’s trying to annoy us here with that music in the beginning but hey…enjoy the photos and be sure to watch the video…great information.  Thanks Ivy!!     

(Jim and I have used this similar method for head down )

horse back gaited riding logo "Ivy's glide gait"

Fun facts about Morgans


Cowgirl Magazine

Cowgirl Magazine


5 Fun Facts About The Morgan Horse


    5 Fun Facts About The Morgan HorseThe Morgan horse is one of the most awe-inspiring horse breeds in the world…

  • The Morgan Horse Cowgirl Magazine

    The Morgan horse is one of the most awe-inspiring horse breeds in the world, due to their wit, durability and power.

    I have always been fascinated by Morgans, because while they are well loved and popular, they often have been blocked from the limelight by breeds such as the American Quarter Horse, and thus, have an air of mystery that still surrounds them.

    Regardless of if you have a connection to Morgans are not, you’ll enjoy this blog of fun and informative facts about this fascinating breed of horse.

    The Morgan Horse Cowgirl Magazine

    1) The Morgan horse has been highly influential in the development of other horses:

    Morgan horses are responsible for the development of popular breeds, such as the Quarter Horse and Tennessee Walking Horse.

    The Morgan Horse Cowgirl Magazine

    2) Morgan horses can be gaited:

    While uncommon, there are some Morgans that are gaited; this trait is found within all families of the Morgan breed and is not connected to a specific bloodline.

    The Morgan Horse Cowgirl Magazine

    3) This breed is known to be extraordinarily talented:

    These horses can do it all! The owners of Morgan horses use them for a variety of purposes, including dressage, show jumping, endurance riding, driving, and racing.

    The Morgan Horse Cowgirl Magazine

    4) Morgans have an above average lifespan:

    There are many Morgans who enjoy a lifespan, if properly taken care of and no uncontrollable issues occur, of 30 plus years.

    The Morgan Horse Cowgirl Magazine

    5) The Morgan horse has been a favorite in battles, such as the Civil War:

    Morgans, as stated above, are highly versatile, versatile enough to be a favorite in the Civil War due to their superior strength and smarts.

    If you’d like to learn more about Morgans, please visit the website of the American Morgan Horse Association,

    Why Doesnt My horse Gait?

    Why Doesn’t My Horse Gait!?

    This is the most common question I get. 

    “If my horse is bred to gait, why does he pace/trot!?”

    I like to think of a sports analogy.  There are those few people out there who excel at sports.  They do well at whatever sport they try.  Then there are most people, who are like me.  They aren’t very good at any sport without lots of practice, and I mean attentive practice.  Without that good practice with advice and help along the way, I would never get better.

    Gaited horses are the same way.  A very few never need the training, but the rest need someone to train their mind and body into a good gait. 

    There are several specific reasons horses don’t gait well:

    1. Breeding – many of the gaited breeds have now been bred more toward a show ring type of gait and this is usually not smooth and very often towards the pace.
    2. Conformation – some horses are just not built to gait as easily as others.  This doe not mean your horse will never gait, but that it will just take more work. 
    3. Saddle fit – this is not the first thing I look at, but it probably is attributing to the problem if you have been working on the gait and it isn’t coming.
    4. Training – Your horse has never been trained/taught that the gait is the movement that you want.  This is the most common reason.

    These are reasons why your horse doesn’t gait well, not excuses to get another horse.  All the gaited horses that have the conformation to gait can gait.   How much training they need depends on each horse.  Some horses get it very quickly and make the trainer look really good!  Some horses need a lot of muscle re-conditioning.  Many gaited horses have been allowed to stay bumpy and this trains their muscles to stay in that bumpy gait. 

    Gaited horses need to be encouraged into a smooth, correct gait and then they need their gaiting muscles built up over time.   The more you let your horse be bumpy, the more they will build the wrong muscle. 

    So now you know that what your horse most likely lacks is training, but along with that I want to encourage you to keep a positive attitude.  As you begin working with your gaited horse, you will most likely get discouraged and your horse will get discouraged too.  Praise your horse when he makes progress, even if that progress is very small.

     Focus on the good things that you have done and are doing and remember to enjoy the journey.



    Pace to Gait training

    Member news request

    Member News Submission Request

    This is a request for news about you and yours.  I will publish it in the upcoming printed newsletter to be mailed before Christmas.  I need some news!!  Please answer some or all of the questions (just pick 3) or add news you wish to share.  Feel free to put your news in narrative form.  Story and article submissions are welcome.  I need this just ASAP so don’t procrastinate…Just do it!  Thank you.  Participation is key to a fun club and enabling us all to help each other.  Oh!  Don’t forget your photos!

    Name/farm name:


    New Horse, retired horse, horse Memorial

    Horses for sale

    2017 foals

    Mares in foal for 2018


    Searching for a gaited Morgan

    Training practice


    Tips and Tricks

    Accomplishments lately




    Riding Trips

    Farm Visits

    Personal Health and Family News (babies, deaths, relocation, etc.)







    Gaited Horses in Civil War


    The Original Mane 'n Tail - Animal Care - Gaited Horses used in the Civil War

    Gaited Horses used in the Civil War

    Gaited Horses used in the Civil War

    First of all, what is a ‘Gaited Horse’, you ask?  I asked the same question.  Gaited horses are horse breeds that have selective breeding for natural gaited tendencies, that is, the ability to perform one of the smooth-to-ride, intermediate speed, four-beat horse gaits, collectively referred to as ambling gaits.  Such breeds include the American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse, and the Standardbred, to name only a few.

    These gaited horses were popular as the trusted steeds for many Civil War generals that lead their men into combat on horseback!  Did you know that?

    General Ulysses S. Grant had two gaited equines during the Civil War, a pony named “Jeff Davis” was taken from Joe Davis (the brother of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy) at the siege of Vicksburg.  General Grant had suffered from back trouble and his pony Jeff became a favorite due to his easy and steady gait.   When Jeff needed a little r & r, a gift, Cincinnatti, a Kentucky Saddler type, took his place on the battlefield with a mounted General Grant.

    US Grant with Cincinnatti

    General Phillip Sheridan, rode a Morgan Black Hawk type horse named Rienzi, then renamed Winchester, serving him and the army with great distinction. Next to General Lee’s Traveler, Winchester is probably the most well-known horse of the Civil War.  A stately horse, he was 17 hands of pure power on hooves…and ‘flew’ over the battlefields to deliver the General to join his troops on many occasions.   The sight of General Sheridan atop Winchester, inspired poetry, sculptor and other artists during the Civil War and well after.

    General Sheridan’s horse, Rienzi, later called Winchester.

    General William T. Sherman’s horse Lexington, a Kentucky Saddler type became a bit more famous than Sherman’s other horse Sam, because more was recorded about him.  Both were described to have extraordinary ‘action’ and for that reason, termed to be gaited by the era’s application of the term.  Sam was the horse General Sherman rode during the historic and heroic march from Vicksburg to Washington, DC…through the South (Atlanta, Savanah, Columbia, and Richmond).

    General Sherman on Lexington

    General Stonewall Jackson’s favorite mount during most of the war, until his death at Chancelorsville, was Little Sorrel (later called Fancy).  This pony was a ‘gift’ he took from a captured Union supply train.  Little Sorrel was short in stature, but the steady, reliable gait won the general over and became his trusted companion.  Upon the pony’s death, he was sent to a taxidermist and then to the Solider’s Home in Richmond, VA, to be remembered forever for his diligent service.

    General Stonewall Jackson’s Horse, Little Sorrel

    General Robert E. Lee was mostly depicted on horseback for many of his portraits on his almost as famous gaited partner, Traveler! Traveler is considered to be the all time, quintessential officer’s horse of America. He was typical of the American/ Kentucky Saddlers of Virginia and Kentucky. Lee was loyal to Traveler as Traveler was loyal to Lee.  The bond broken not even in death.  Traveler escorted General Lee’s casket during his funeral parade, and then died a short time after.  The two were inseparable in life, and rarely seen apart.  It seems as if they were two souls joined together, comrades in arms.

    General Lee with Traveler

    Think about it.  These famous generals of one of the most monumental wars in our history depended on these gaited horses with their very lives.  It was an era of great industrial change, yet, these men fought on the fields and lead their troops into battle on the backs of these majestic, dependable creatures.  Trust between man and horse, a historic bond that was forged long ago, and continued onto the not so distance past…will forever be nurtured into present day.

    Sources: Website, American Morgan Horse Breeders; American Saddlebred Breeders; The American Heritage New History of the Civil War, James M, Mc Pherson, Viking 1996; Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, University of Illinois Press, 2002; The Photographic History of the Civil War, Portland House, 1997; Gaited Magazine, A History of Gaited horses in the Civil War, Sue Sherman, 2006.

    AMHA News

    News from the Gaited Morgan Horse Organization

    October 26th, 2017

    Eleven Gaited Morgan riders recently took an impromptu ride up the mountain in American Fork, Utah. Well known for the little pod of gaited Morgan breeders that exist there, American Fork is a shining diamond in the state of Utah, as the mountain ranges there are a stone’s throw away from any neighborhood there. A perfect weather day and great company of some fine horsemen made this day on a Utah Mountain a great gathering of gaited Morgans. Thanks go out to members Gary Gray, Jared Young, and Brent Skidmore for providing gaited Morgans to ride and getting us up and back.

    New officers for the Gaited Morgan Horse Organization are Vali Suddarth, president; Jennifer Conditto, vice president; Lorrie Gray, secretary; and Ryan Hunter, treasurer. 

    You can find the club online at

    Hoof Flares


    Getting a Feel for Hoof Flares

    Photo by Susan Kauffmann


    “The equine hoof is a complex marvel of natural engineering,” say Susan Kauffmann and Christina Cline in The Essential Hoof Book. “Developing an eye for symmetry and balance is definitely helpful in identifying hoof problems.”

    There are many faces of imbalance and asymmetry in the horse’s hoof. Flares are just one example that every owner, rider, trainer, and caretaker should understand and know how to manage. Here’s how Kauffmann and Cline explain them in their book.



    Flares are a type of hoof-capsule distortion where the wall horn is being stretched outward and pulled away from the coffin bone. The wall of a healthy hoof should follow the same angle all the way from the coronet to the ground. Flares are present when part of the wall deviates or “dishes” outward from that angle. They can be observed by looking at the walls from the front (in the case of medial or lateral flares) or side (in the case of toe flares), and by viewing the foot from the bottom.

    Photos: Susan Kauffmann (top), Christina Kusznir (bottom)

    Flares can show up in the toe or along the sides of the hoof, and they can develop for many reasons, sometimes in combination. These include:


    • Mechanical, meaning that some form of imbalance or other issue is creating excessive physical pressure on part or all of the wall and forcing it outward. The pressure could be a result of conformation, poor trimming or shoeing, too much time between trims (overgrowth), pain, muscular imbalance, or injury.

    Photo by Susan Kauffmann

    • Laminitis, which leads to damaged laminae and separation of the hoof wall, which is then easily pulled away into flared shapes.

    • Nutritional, meaning that something in the horse’s diet—often too much sugar or starch—is weakening the connection of the walls, leaving them vulnerable to flaring.


    • Metabolic, meaning the horse has a metabolic condition such as insulin resistance or Cushing’s disease that can prime the horse for physiological responses that may weaken the walls.

    • Infection, usually secondary to walls that are already compromised due to weakened laminae.

    Correcting flares can take time and often involves a multi-pronged approach. It is important to understand that once any part of the hoof wall has separated, it cannot reattach itself. Therefore, a flared hoof can only improve by growing down a new wall that is well connected to the coffin bone by healthy, tight laminae. In order for this to happen, the things that were causing the flare to occur in the first place have to be dealt with, and any leverage from contact with the ground that might keep the flare going needs to be addressed. When pressure from contact with the ground (or the shoe) is not relieved in the affected area, it will only continue to pull the wall outward and further weaken the connection of the laminae.

    Photo by Christina Cline

    Fortunately, beveling the flared wall from below is often enough to relieve that pressure. Beveling the wall actually changes the direction of the force experienced by the wall when it pushes against the ground, so instead of pressure levering the wall away, ground contact works to keep the wall tight. If you are concerned that beveling the wall will take away the support of the wall in that area, remember that any part of the wall that is flared is not well attached and is therefore not generally providing good support anyway.


    That said, removing the flare should not make the horse uncomfortable. In most cases, a flare pulls painfully on the wall, and removing it provides relief. But there are instances where removing the flare can actually make a horse sore, and no matter what you try, it seems that the flare is the only thing keeping the horse comfortable. This may be especially true in horses with thin soles or damaged coffin bones. Thus, if you try correcting the flare and the horse gets sore, you may need to leave it be.


    In addition to, or sometimes instead of beveling, your hoof-care provider might rasp the surface of a flared wall to make it more in line with the healthy sections of wall, the thought being that this will reduce levering forces and encourage the wall to grow down straighter, with better attachment. Other professionals disagree with this approach, believing that thinning the wall further weakens it, and is more likely to lengthen the time it takes to grow out the flare. Ultimately, both may be right or wrong, depending on what a particular hoof requires.

    Whatever trimming methods are used to provide mechanical relief to a flare, if that is all you are doing, you may very well be missing important pieces of the puzzle. For instance, it is quite common for metabolic or nutritional factors to be at play in the weakening of the laminar connection, and if they are a factor in your horse’s flaring, those issues will need to be addressed or the flaring problem is likely to continue. Hoof imbalances must also be corrected, if at all possible, or you will continue to “chase” the flare it is causing in the hoof. There are also going to be cases where the conformational defects or injuries that are causing imbalance are pronounced enough that it is impossible to get rid of the flares entirely.

    Lastly, you should be aware that there are plenty of instances where flaring is not really anything to worry about, especially with minor flares in the quarters, as we see in the hind feet of many horses. While such flares do indicate imbalance, the fact is that plenty of horses have minor imbalances that never actually cause a problem. If the foot is otherwise healthy and the horse is consistently sound, a minor flare is something to keep an eye on, but nothing to fret over. If, however, a horse never had any flare before but starts developing some, that indicates a change—most often in trim, diet, or an imbalance due to pain or injury somewhere in the body—and that is worth investigating.



    This excerpt from “The Essential Hoof Book” by Susan Kauffmann and Christina Cline is reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Square Books.

    A Helmet Saved My Life


    A Helmet Saved My Life

    A true story


    So, six months ago this was me.

    (Warning, the next photo might be a bit unsettling. No blood, just very broken bones. Also, cursing ahead.)

    THANK GOODNESS I was wearing a helmet. I very well might not be here today if I hadn’t!

    The Accident happened while I was riding at home on a horse I never thought would hurt me—she was too kind and had never unseated me. Did you know you can keep your seat even while in the air and with a horse on top of you? Yup. #helmetsavedmylife

    In that moment, lying there on the ground, I thought that I might not make it. That this was it.


    Then I started breathing again (I did have a very minor collapsed lung) and realized I was alive. I “yelled” (so I thought, it was more like a croak) to my boyfriend that “I can’t move…call an ambulance” and then immediately asked for my horse—all that mattered from there was that she was okay.

    And then my next thought was “F***! I can’t work! And I’m broke! F***! And I just agreed to lease a barn! F***!”

    Sorry for the language… Like I said, I’m just happy to be alive.

    I ended up being air lifted by helicopter to St Mary’s Medical Center, a level one trauma center. I later joked that it was good thing that I wasn’t at Delray since that’s apparently where they take you when you’re going to die.

    The paramedics gave me all the morphine they could before moving me, but it was still agonizing being lifted for the stretcher. I was lucid for the flight. I could recite the address, my mom’s number, how to get my boots off, exactly what was injured, what happened—everything. But I was super freaked out about the helicopter ride. I’m afraid of heights. I kept trying to ask the medics if they would hold my hand but they couldn’t hear me, so they thought I was in pain. Oh yeah, and they were kinda hot (maybe it was the drugs).


    So there’s me, strapped down to a backboard in my undies (they cut my shirt and bra cut off) begging one of these hot dudes to hold my hand. Not awkward or anything. After that I got super loopy and started yelling creative obscenities.

    The following day I had surgery on my arm. The physician’s assistant (PA) told me it would be three months before I could ride again. At the time, that seem outrageous. I said, “Absolutely not, I have to ride sooner than that.” I think I scared him because he was like “Well, we’ll see what the doctor says when you come back…”

    Four days later I was released from the hospital and basically wheelchair bound. I wasn’t a shy person before this experience. But after being naked in a helicopter with hot medics and having to use a bedpan, I’m pretty sure I had no dignity left.

    The PA was right, it was at least three months before I was able to ride again. The accident happened on April 20th. I didn’t get back on until July 12th and didn’t really start riding again until around July 20th. Thankfully, once I was in the saddle again things started coming back quickly and I was able to show in early August.

    In September, only five months after my narrow escape from the Grim Reaper, I showed three horses in four championship classes at Regionals, qualifying two for the US Finals. Six months later, I’m preparing an Intermediate 2 horse for his Grand Prix debut and a Grand Prix horse for his third US Finals!

    It’s amazing how much has changed in six months…

    It’s even more amazing how much can change in one moment, one ride.

    That’s one of the things I can’t get over. How earlier that day I was on the phone (on horseback) making plans for the following month. How I was on my last horse at that barn and I was about to head out to a lesson at another barn. How I didn’t ride that particular horse with my phone in my back pocket because I had put it on the charger and, had it been there, how it surely would have led to even worse injuries. How my boyfriend almost left before that ride but I talked him into staying because I wanted him to see how well my young mare was going.


    It all changed in an instant—so cliche, but so true.

    It’s a universal truth that if you’re going to ride horses, you’re going to fall off horses. You just never know when a young horse, or any horse really, is going to overreact or when their antics might cause them to lose their balance and fall. It’s the reason I always ride in a helmet.

    But the accident really drove it home for me.

    It’s unsettling to still see so many people (mostly professionals) not wearing helmets, and having the gall to post pictures and video on social media without helmets.

    Yes, to each their own. Yes, your safety, your call. Yes, this is my opinion.

    But take this into consideration—if you are a professional, there is likely more than one rider out there who looks up to you.

    They want to be like you. Ride fancy horses like you. Look pretty on a horse like you. Get good scores like you. So they wear the same breeches, or ride in the same saddle. If you’re sponsored by a company, they buy that product. You subtly influence the actions and decisions of others because you, a professional, are a public figure in our industry.

    So when professionals post videos to YouTube where they’re riding without a helmet, it’s inevitable that someone is going to watch and think “Oh, so-and-so doesn’t wear a helmet, so it must be ok, I don’t need to wear mine.” Or “Oh, so-and-so doesn’t wear a helmet and they look so cool while they ride, I want to look like them so I won’t wear mine.”

    Guess what? That person was subtly influenced by you to make a decision that puts them at risk for serious injury—even death. Not cool.

    Helmets are like cigarettes and seat belts. Sure, you’re taking your life in your hands and risking your own safety. You might think you’re not hurting anyone else, so it’s no one’s business but yours. But that’s not the case. You indirectly hurt others.


    Take it from a trainer who is grateful to be alive. Stop the madness. Wear a f***ing helmet. #StrapOneOn

    Stand still horse!

    Getting on a horse that won’t stand

    When my naturally gaited Tennessee walking horse Makana was four years old, I took her to her first gaited dressage clinic with Bucky Sparks. I was so excited to be there and soak in all I could in beginning our gaited dressage journey.

    I love Bucky’s teaching philosophy, because he blends traditional dressage with practical elements of natural horsemanship.

    Most of the time Makana stands perfectly still for me to get on, but not when she is nervous or tense. When my lesson time came I literally had a panic attack before the auditors, because every time I put my foot in the iron, Makana would walk off. I was so frightened.

    Thanks to Bucky, he showed me a profoundly helpful tip that worked that day and has helped me every time Makana doesn’t want to stand for me to get on.

    How to get on the horse that doesn’t want to stand:

    1. Teach the horse to flex their nose to the side by drawing one rein  to the saddle. Reward the horse by releasing as soon as the horse gives. Relaxation is what is the goal, not making the horse flex. Signs of relaxation include a lowering of the head and neck and when the horse licks its lips and chews.

    If the horse has tension in the poll, neck or shoulder, address these areas individually to release the tension before expecting a soft and relaxed flex to the side.

    2. Once the horse understands how to flex to the side and is soft and relaxed in doing so, then flex and release the horse a few times until the horse chews and lowers its head and neck.

    3. Then flex the horse to the saddle and keep the horse flexed while repositioning the mounting block and get on. Then release the flex as a reward and encourage the horse to remain standing.

    While I was at the clinic my horse kept walking off while in a flexed position. Bucky said, “You can’t make a horse stand.” Don’t punish the horse. Just remain calm to encourage relaxation, keep the horse flexed and gently follow the horse around. He said, “Pretty soon the horse will discover it is a lot easier to stand while being flexed than to walk around being flexed.” Bucky was right. It didn’t take long and as soon as my horse stopped, I repositioned the mounting block, got on, and released the flex. Then we moved on to the gaited dressage lesson.

    This tip worked for me at the clinic and continues to work for me each time my horse doesn’t stand when I try to get on.





    Equine Horse Markings

    Equine Horse Markings




    Gaited versus non-gaited

    AMHA News Brief

    Like us on Facebook


    October 19, 2017


    Congratulations to the 2017 AMHA Youth of the Year Winners 
    Seventeen-year-old Kate Ramsower of Alamo, California, (left) was named the 2017 AMHA Youth of the Year! The announcement was made on October 14 on the final evening of the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For winning this prestigious title, Ramsower receives a unique prize package valued at $3,500 and is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust.   

    2017 AMHA Gold Medal Winners Named 
    The highest AMHA equitation honor, the AMHA Gold Medal, was awarded at the recent Grand National.   

    The Day of the Morgan is Almost Here! 
    The day to celebrate our great Morgan horse is almost here! Barns from across the country are joining AMHA to honor our great breed in an open barn day. From the East Coast to the West Coast, barns are being open to the public to introduce neighbors to the horse we love!    

    Calling All 2017 Champion Title Program Enrollees! 
    The 2017 show season ends on November 1! If you are enrolled in the Champion Title Program and have not paid your $15 dues for this show season, you need to do so before the end of the month! Remember, reserve championships do not count retroactively, so you must pay per year if you would like to collect those points!     

    Photo Courtesy of Saddle Horse Report

    Celia Salmon Wins YAA Judging School Scholarship 

    The American Morgan Horse Association Young Adult Alliance (YAA), presented their fourth annual Judging School Scholarship to Celia Salmon of Middleville, Michigan, recently at the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show®. The Professional Development Project created by this passionate group awards a $1,500 scholarship to one individual aged 21-40, professional or amateur, who is interested in attaining their Morgan “R” judging card.    

    Nominate Your Morgan Hero 
    AMHA members who would like to nominate a Morgan person who has helped to make the breed great are due to the AMHA office by November 1. AMHA members can nominate their Morgan hero or heroine for a number of special year-end awards. All AMHA awards are based on nominations made by AMHA members. The 2018 AMHA Convention will take place February 15-17 in Lexington, Kentucky.   

    AMHA Revamps Star Rating Program 
    The AMHA Board of Directors recently voted to accept changes to its Star Rating program, to take effect starting with the 2018 show season.   

    National Museum of the Morgan Horse Update 
    The American Morgan Horse Association, Inc. would like to update everyone on the status of the National Museum of the Morgan Horse (NMMH) and provide the facts regarding the possibility of placing the museum on the grounds of the “Big E” in West Springfield, Massachusetts.  

    Fourth Quarter AMHA Board Meeting-Nov. 4, 2017 
    The Fourth Quarter AMHA Board of Directors Meeting will be held in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday, November 4, 2017 beginning at 9:00 AM Central Time.


    Complete Grand National Show Results Online 
    Results from the 2017 Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show®, which took place October 7-14 in Oklahoma City are now online by division.  

    Equine Organizations Pull Together to Provide Disaster Relief 
    The USEF (US Equestrian) Equine Disaster Relief Fund has received incredibly generous support from the equestrian community, with over half a million dollars raised to date in response to the devastation and flooding caused recently by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. With raging wildfires spreading throughout areas of California and continued relief needed in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands, there is still a need for funding to directly assist equines of any breed who are victims of natural disasters such as these. 
    American Morgan Horse Association | (802) 985-4944| |
    4066 Shelburne Rd
    Suite 5
    Shelburne, VT 05482
    Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.

    Forward this email

    This email was sent to by |  
    American Morgan Horse Association | 4066 Shelburne Rd | Suite 5 | Shelburne | VT | 05482

    Even Brown grass/winter tips


    10 Tips to Prep Your Horse for Cooler Weather


    Although it doesn’t quite feel like it, fall is finally here again (in the northern hemisphere, anyway).

    The leaves will soon change, and the daylight hours will continue to decrease. We may not have as much time to spend with our horses in the coming months, but it’s important to prepare for dropping temperatures before they arrive.

    Horses are naturally well-equipped to deal with cold weather, but they can still benefit from a little help on our part.

    Here are ten tips for keeping your horse healthy through fall and winter:

    1. Monitor grass intake

    ©Casie Bazay

    Keep a close eye on grass intake, especially in the fall, for horses with insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome, or who are prone to laminitis. Near or below freezing temperatures stress the grass, causing a rise in non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs). Brown grass isn’t necessarily better, either. At-risk horses may need a grazing muzzle or to be kept off pasture, even during colder weather.

    2. Have older or thin horses’ teeth checked and floated, if necessary

    ©Casie Bazay

    Fall is a good time to do dental care since horses naturally have more trouble maintaining their weight in cold weather. Hopefully, this will allow them to better chew and utilize their feed and hay during the fall and winter months.


    3. Invest in heated water buckets or a stock tank heater

    ©Casie Bazay

    Horses often drink less in cold weather, which can lead to the dreaded condition of impaction colic. To keep your horse drinking, offer fresh water that isn’t freezing cold. Between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

    4. Supplement loose salt

    ©Casie Bazay

    Horses need salt year round. (There’s never enough in hay or grass.) Adding it either by free choice or in your horse’s feed ration in the fall and winter has the added benefit of encouraging them to drink more water.


    5. Feed a good prebiotic or probiotic

    This is especially important for older horses or any horse transitioning from grass to hay. Probiotics help populate the gut with beneficial bacteria and aid the digestive process. Prebiotics, however, are food for these good bacteria. Either one can help with feed transitions.

    6. Don’t blanket healthy horses

    ©Casie Bazay

    I know blankets are the in thing, but a horse with a good winter coat will be just as warm, if not warmer. Horses’ coats will “fluff up” and insulate them quite well if we don’t interfere. So unless a horse is ill, severely underweight, or just doesn’t grow a good winter coat, blankets aren’t necessary.

    7. As temperatures decrease, increase the amount of forage fed

    ©Casie Bazay

    Many people increase the amount of concentrates they feed to their horse in winter, but it’s forage that is better utilized by the horse. Forage contains a much higher fiber content than grains and when this fiber is digested (through bacterial fermentation), heat is produced in the horse’s body. Horses will stay warmer if they have forage provided on a near continual basis (slow feeders are great for this). A good rule of thumb to follow: For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit it is below freezing (32 degrees F), increase your horse’s hay ration by 10 percent.

    8. Provide shelter of some kind

    ©Casie Bazay

    Horses don’t necessarily need to be stalled in cold weather, but they do need access to shelter from the wind and rain. A barn, lean-to, or even a thick grove of trees will do the trick.


    9. Maintain regular hoof care

    Just because you may not be riding your horse as much when it’s cold doesn’t mean you should neglect his hoof care. Horses’ feet still grow in the fall and winter (although many say at a slower rate) and will need regular maintenance. Additionally, barefoot horses tend to have better traction on ice and snow, so it’s wise to pull your horse’s shoes in the winter (if they aren’t already barefoot).


    10. Pay extra attention to older horses in cold weather

    ©Summer Nicholson

    Older horses often need more calories to maintain their weight since they tend to have more trouble digesting hay. Their fluffy coats may also hide the fact that they’ve lost weight. Hay substitutes such as hay cubes (best soaked) or beet pulp (also should be soaked) are great to add to their diets. Some horses may require a senior feed as well.

    About the Author

    Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at


    Gait Analysis by Ivy

    Accurate Video of Gaits

    Man O’ War for Veterans

    Man O’ War Project Aims to Heal Veterans With Horsepower

    Sgt. Matt Ryba with Crafty Star, a retired thoroughbred. Courtesy of the Man O’ War Project

     They have come seeking help in an unfamiliar place. Six young men and women who, at least on the surface, reflect a picture of courage and strength. But like so many of our country’s veterans, they are suffering inside. Tortured by an invisible force that lingers in the crevices of their souls where conventional psychiatry often cannot reach. So instead of ‘talking it through’ in a generic office somewhere, they are here, at the equestrian center, seeking counsel in the company of horses.

    It’s a statistic you have undoubtedly heard before and one that is impossible to shake: 20 veterans commit suicide each day in the United States. Further, it is estimated that 20% of all veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. Treatment programs are springing up all across the country to combat this crisis and help our veterans heal their physical and psychological war wounds; to deal with the past and manage the present. These programs have undoubtedly saved a number of lives, yet the statistic endures, and so too does the hope for a better solution.

    One emerging alternative treatment for PTSD is Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT). The healing power of horses is no secret to anyone who has spent time around them, and we’ve all read about or watched various success stories, from children with autism, to adults with MS. But equine therapy is still a relatively new option for PTSD, void of basic clinical guidelines and assessment protocols.

    The aptly named Man O ‘War Project is working to change that.The brainchild of noted businessman, horseman and US Army veteran Earle Mack, the purpose of the Man O’ War project is to study the effectiveness of Equine Assisted Therapy for treating PTSD. A longtime advocate for racehorse aftercare, Mack saw an opportunity to help veterans rediscover their purpose in life while creating a new one for potentially ‘unwanted’ horses. Led by researchers from Columbia University, the project is aiming to establish a set of guidelines for the broad application of EAT-PTSD.


    For Dr. Yuval Neria, no stone should be left unturned when it comes to addressing the veteran crisis. The Director of the Trauma and PTSD Program at Columbia University Medical Center and Co-Director of the Man O’ War Project, Neria believes standard treatments are limited in their effectiveness, and thus, the imperative to look for innovation in unconventional avenues. Like horses.


    “There is really something special about horses that distinguish them from other animals,” said Neria. “The main reason why horses are relevant to [PTSD therapy] is that PTSD is primarily a fear disorder. People with PTSD are distressed and anxious. They tend to be remote as far as possible from things they feel can endanger them. As prey animals, horses are very sensitive to stress and threats. So we have two players that are kind of similarly disturbed and concerned about the same things.”

    While the study’s sessions are rooted in human and horse interaction, you will not see riding tack. Instead, the sessions focus on ground basics like grooming and leading horses around the ring, a concerted effort to build mindfulness of subtle behavioral cues.

    “Our program isn’t a riding program,” explained Dr. Prudence Fisher, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work at Columbia and the project’s Co-Director. “There’s a difference in riding and being level and doing groundwork with them. It’s a totally different experience that gives both parties an even role.”

    The majority of the patients have limited to no equine experience, which can be a barrier in itself, but as Fisher explains, this unfamiliarity is also a catalyst for breakthrough.


    “Veterans with PTSD are hyper-vigilant,” said Fisher. “Some feel uncomfortable walking into the ring with these large animals. But the idea that by the end they can lead the horse around, pick their feet, and even guide them at liberty simply by their interaction is really amazing. At the end of treatment they’ll often say something like ‘This horse seemed so big at first, but now they seem so small to me.’”


    Someone who is no stranger to horses is Man O’ War Project President Anne Poulson, a long-renowned thoroughbred breeder, owner and advocate.

    “From a horseman’s perspective, it’s really interesting to see how the veterans react to the size of the horse,” Poulson explained. “But when they do something like get to a spot where they can finally pick up a horse’s hoof, there’s sort of an ownership; all of a sudden there’s this wonderful connection that they got so far to get this close to this creature, and they can then transfer that to other aspects of their lives, at home and at work. That task is really empowering.”

    The study is being conducted at the Bergen Equestrian Center in Leonia, NJ. All participating veterans have been clinically diagnosed with PTSD. The majority come from area VA centers, ranging in age from 30-68 (37% are women). After some initial test runs and tweaks, organizers settled on a format for the study:

    • Groups of 3-6 veterans and 2-3 horses per session.
    • Veterans attend eight 90 minute sessions per week.
    • The veterans are guided through a series of non-riding exercises.
    • A team of mental health professionals and equine specialists lead the sessions, and experienced “wranglers” are on hand to ensure safety.

    The study is expected to be completed by July of 2018, and while the results will not be published until then, Dr. Neria said the impact is evident and quite promising thus far.

    “When humans develop PTSD, through war or other truama, the capacity for basic emotions like love and trust is negatively altered towards a new baseline that is primarily of fear, anger and distrust,” Neria explained. “In order to reset the original baseline, they need to go through a process. Horses, by being prey animals who can mirror this elevation of stress and fear but can also bond nicely with humans when they feel relaxed and safe, provide the patient an option to reboot more to the original baseline. This is very important in reduction of stress hormones and the ability to love and feel happy again. And that’s what we see in the treatment. After an hour or so in the pen they are laughing, joking and hugging each other. Really, a complete change compared to how they entered the pen initially.”


    Drs. Yuval Neria (left) and Prudence Fisher.

    If the results of the study are deemed a success, Poulson said they will work with Veteran Affairs, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, among others, to have the program implemented nationwide.

    “There’s not a lot of research on equine therapy,” said Poulson. “Yeah, we know horses make people feel good, but everyone has their own system. You have to come up with a standard. We had to identify ‘what is this therapy going to look like?’ So we came up with a therapy that looks reasonable, that was laid out like other [psychotherapy treatments].”

    “With horses, you have to find that level of trust,” she continued. “Learning how to get there is what helps these veterans learn and assimilate that into a more normal daily life. Most of them create such a bond that when they leave we’ll give them a picture of the horse, or a horseshoe, and they can use that when they get anxious.”



    For centuries, horses played a vital role in human combat. Although long rendered obsolete in modern militaries, horses remain relevant to the soldiers of today. As any horse person can attest, the connection between humans and horses is profound and powerful, and as we are learning more and more, potentially life-saving.

    To learn more, visit

    AMHA Club news

    September_17_Club_Monthly_Mailer1amha logo







                                                                                                            Previous Post:

    Overlooked Warning Signs of Cushing’s Disease

    ©Jon Clegg/Flickr CC by 2.0

    The classical signs of Cushing’s Disease in horses (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction/PPID) of poor topline, sagging belly and long curly coat that fails to shed are only evident fairly late in the condition. If your horse is in the teens there are changes you need to know which could be linked to early PPID.

    A sharp increase in water consumption (doubling is common) and urine production in mid-August or September is a common sign.This correlates with the normal seasonal increase in ACTH hormone which is exaggerated in early PPID horses. It is often mistakenly assumed to be related to hot weather. There will also be a proportionate increase in urine production, which you would not see if the horse was drinking more because of fluid loss in sweat.

    The development of regional fat accumulation in the hollows above the eyes, along the crest, withers, rump, tail base or chest wall is a marker of insulin resistance rather than PPID but if this appears for the first time when the horse is in his/her teens early PPID should be suspected as a cause. If loss of topline definition or muscle bulk in general is also occurring this further increases the index of suspicion.

    Tendon or suspensory “breakdowns” unexplained by a known accident or heavy exercise can also be a sign of early PPID. Elevated levels of cortisol are catabolic, interfering with the building, maintenance and repair of all protein tissues, including the proteins of connective tissue like tendon and ligament. Hofberger et al 2015 examined suspensory ligamentsfrom horses with PPID compared to non-PPID aged horses and found clear abnormalities similar to those seen with DSLD (degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis) in Peruvian Pasos. Grubbs et al, presenting at the 2017 Equine Endocrinology Group conference, also found that 39% of sport horses over the age of 10 with suspensory desmitis tested positive for PPID.

    An even more devastating manifestation of early PPID can be fall laminitis.This often occurs with no dietary change or other obvious precipitation, in animals on pasture or not. The horse may or may not have a prior diagnosis of insulin resistance. It is caused by the sudden and dramatic rise in ACTH which occurs seasonally and the IR it causes. Levels actually start their rise after the Summer Solstice but show a sharper rise beginning late August and peaking end of September.

    If you suspect your horse may have early PPID, testing is fairly simple. A baseline (endogenous) ACTH hormone is best tested during the seasonal rise as levels may be within normal other times of the year. These horses are good candidates for a TRH stimulation test if done outside the time of the seasonal rise. TRH causes a significantly greater rise in ACTH in PPID horses than normal horses. Blood will be drawn before giving TRH and 10 minutes after.

    The sooner the disease is diagnosed the easier it is to treat. Pergolide mesylate is highly effective in most horses and hopefully soon even horses continuing to compete can be treated. In July of this year, the USEF Board of Directors approved a panel to study the controlled use of pergolide mesylate in horses competing in sanctioned events.

    All content is for informational purposes only. Contact your local veterinarian if you have any questions regarding the health of your animals.

     About the Author

    Dr. Eleanor Kellon is a renowned expert on equine nutrition and related health issues. She offers private nutritional consultations and online courses through Equine Nutritional Solutions. Find out more at, and read more of her articles at

    Gaits Made Simple.

    Gaits Made Simple
    Understanding a horse’s gait may not be as simple as you think. Our author discusses various gaits horse’s employ, how to understand them and how to train your horse to use his natural gait on cue.
    BRENDA IMUSAUG 31, 2006 From Horse and Rider

    “I know my horse has a smooth saddle gait,” a gal told me at one of my clinics. “When we’re headed for home or he’s rushing to catch up with other horses, it suddenly feels like I’m gliding along on ball bearings. But I don’t know how to achieve that gait the rest of the time. When I try to push him for more speed, he gets very choppy and hard to ride, especially going downhill.”

    Have you ever had this problem with your gaited horse? To produce his smoothest saddle gait on cue, you first need to understandhowhe gaits.

    Every smooth saddle gait falls somewhere on a spectrum between the perfectly diagonal two-beat trot, and the perfectly lateral two-beat pace. Here, I’ll go over six intermediate saddle gaits: the diagonal gaits (trot and fox trot), the lateral gaits (pace and stepping pace), and the square gaits (walk and running walk). But first, I’ll explain your gaited horse’s unique, inborn talent to work each leg independently from every other leg to produce a smooth ride.

    A Unique Talent
    Most gaited saddle horses possess a unique quality I termquadridexterity.Just as people are eithermonodextrous(left- or right-handed) orambidextrous(proficient with either hand), horses are either ambidextrous or what I callquadridextrous.

    Most people write predominantly with their right hand or left hand. Most of us can do some elementary writing or drawing with our nondominant hand. But if we try to do so with any speed or precision, we soon discover that we’re hardwired to be either right- or left-handed. With practice, ambidextrous people can become equally adept with both hands.

    Horses, having four legs, arediagonallyorlaterally ambidextrous.A diagonally ambidextrous horse moves his twodiagonal(opposite side) legs together in perfect, two-beat synchrony: left hind/right fore; right hind/left fore. This constitutes a trot; trotting horses might be likened to right-handed people.

    A pacing horse is laterally ambidextrous. He moves his two lateral (same side) legs together in perfect, two-beat synchrony: right fore/right hind; left fore/left hind. Pacing horses might be likened to less common left-handed people.

    In either case, there’s generally a moment of suspension when the set of diagonal or lateral legs lifts from the ground before the other set comes down. The concussion or jarring you feel during the trot or pace is the result of the horse’s weight dropping back down to earth at the beginning of each new stride.

    On the other hand, a naturally smooth-gaited horse uses each leg independently of every other leg. That’s what I call quadridextrous. And just as ambidextrous people can improve their ability to use each hand independently, quadridextrous horses, too, need to be brought along carefully to properly develop their natural ability to its full potential. This in mind, here’s a look at gait mechanics.

    Image placeholder title
    The Diagonal Gaits
    At the diagonal end of the gait spectrum are thetrotand thefox trot.

    The trot.The trot is a perfectly timed, two beat gait whereby two sets of diagonal legs (right hind/left front; left hind/right front) pick up and set down in perfect, two-beat rhythm, with a moment of suspension and resultant concussion between strides.

    The fox trot.The fox trot is similar to the trot in that each set of diagonal legs move somewhat in unison, but the forefoot lands a microsecond before the diagonally opposed hind foot, breaking the two-beat rhythm. This action eliminates suspension/concussion, and creates an uneven, four-beat gait: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. (This rhythm closely mimics the sound of the phrase: “Hunk o’ meat and peck o’ potatoes.”) A naturally fox trotting horse generally has a long, low, reaching stride in front, and a higher, lifting stride behind. He looks as though he’s “walking in front and trotting behind.”

    Image placeholder title
    The Lateral Gaits
    At the opposite, lateral end of the gait spectrum are thepaceand thestepping pace.

    The pace.Thepaceis a perfectly timed two beat gait whereby the right hind/right fore and left hind/left fore pick up and set down in perfect, two beat rhythm. There’s a moment of suspension/ concussion with each stride. The pace horse also tends to throw his rider from side to side as he swings his body to accommodate the paces’ extreme lateral action.

    The stepping pace.Thestepping paceis nearly identical to the pace, except that the hind foot lands a split instant before the same-side forefoot. This eliminates suspension/concussion, and turns it into an imperfectly timed four-beat gait: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4.

    The stepping pace is smooth to ride, but presents inherent problems for both horse and rider. First, when a stepping pace is speeded up, it tends to turn into a rough two-beat pace. More important, this gait can create a hollow, strung-out body frame. Too much of the horse’s body weight is carried on the forehand, then suspended for too long over his hyperextended rear leg. This is why strongly oriented lateral horses tend toward hollow backs, saddling problems, and potentially serious hock and stifle issues. Therefore, encourage your horse to develop a more evenly timed gait; that is, to fox trot, if that’s what he’s built and wired to do. Fortunately, teaching a laterally oriented horse to square up isn’t all that difficult; I’ll discuss training in future issues.

    The New Horse Economy

    5 Reasons U.S. Horse & Equine Market Will Finish Strong in 2017 September 07 2017

    Recent dips in horse ownership aside, there’s room for optimism in the U.S. equine market due to the human-animal bond, the influx of premium pet products, the growth of horse therapy, among other factors

    Here’s the hard truth: the U.S. market for horse ownership and equine products has been unable to fully distance itself from years of decline that began just before—but ultimately deepened during—the Great Recession. Less than 3 million U.S. households own at least one horse, down from more than 4 million such homes in 2004. In contrast, ownership within the overall pet market for dogs, cats, and other small pets has steadily increased.

    Fortunately, there’s a silver lining. According to US Equine Market, 3rd Edition,  a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts, the equine industry remains viable and vital despite the decade long dip because those select Americans who continue to own, care for, and love horses are among the pet market’s most dedicated consumers.

    “The equine market is markedly different from the rest of the pet market, and therefore should not be expected to follow the same trends. Still, the bond between human and horse is strong, and that bond gives industry marketers reasons for optimism despite the drop in pet ownership,” says David Sprinkle research director, Packaged Facts. “In fact, one of the most potent and relied-upon marketing tactics among pet product marketers is the human-animal bond. In the equine world, the bond between horse and owner at times goes even beyond that between other pets and their owners, in that riding a horse requires a constant physical communication between horse and rider, a connection that can foster emotional attachment in a way that simply petting a cat or dog does not.”

    Research cited in U.S. Equine Market, 3rd Edition reveals that the majority of horse owners consider their horses as family members. The majority also consider their horses to be their companion animals, performance partners, and even their best friends.

    Beyond the human-animal bond, here are four other reasons why the U.S. equine market will be trending up over the next five years:

    Horse Ownership Declines Stabilize

    While foal crops have decreased over the past number of years, the industry appears to be optimistic that the worst is behind it.

    Indeed, although horse owners may be hesitant to add to their stock, there are enough core owners who will retain the animals they have as long as the economy remains in its current state. Packaged Facts predicts that unwanted horses will remain a problem, but as the economy improves, it will allow horse owners to better afford to keep their animals. As a result, Packaged Facts expects the U.S. economy to continue to strengthen, albeit slowly, leaving horse owners to remain sensitive to cost concerns, but no more so than they are currently.

    Horseback Riding Holds Steady and Is Popular With Younger Adults

    Despite the recent drop in horse-owning households, horseback riding as an activity has hovered close to six percent over the past eight years. Further, survey data revealed that among those who skew the highest for horseback riding are younger Millennial adults (ages 18-21) as well as older Millennials and even members of Gen X (ages 22-39), indicating enthusiasm for the activity hasn’t been lost among some of the most influential consumer segments.  Also encouraging, adults living in both larger households and in homes with children over the age of 6, revealing there’s opportunity for the passion of horseback riding to be shared and passed down.

    Natural Horsemanship Opens Stable Door to Premium Pet Products

    Running counter to many traditional horse-keeping practices and training techniques, the “natural horsemanship” movement has grown popular among horse enthusiasts. A major part of natural horsemanship is the environment in which horses are kept in order to minimize veterinary visits and reduce physical and mental health problems.

    According to Packaged Facts, despite the focus on “natural” conditions, natural horsemanship actually presents a marketing opportunity for the horse industry. Overall, the horse product market has been slow to ride the premium and natural product wave that has been developing in the small companion animal markets for some time. However, this growing trend toward natural horsemanship has caused some owners to rethink the products they are buying.

    Although natural horsemanship owners may spend less money on shoes and veterinary care for ulcers and colic, they may actually end up spending more in the long run—e.g., on natural feeds and supplements, holistic treatments and herbs, specialized (i.e., expensive) barefoot trims or boots, etc. (to enable their horses to live without shoes), and bitless bridles. In fact, the demand for natural products is great enough that most major equine retailers now have a section just for them, and natural equine product websites abound online.

    Studies Promote Effectiveness of Equine Therapy

    Equine therapy (also referred to as horse therapy, equine-assisted therapy, and equine-assisted psychotherapy) is a form of experiential therapy that involves interactions between patients and horses. It is similar to how therapy dogs and cats are used to help humans with emotional and physical ailments to recover more quickly. Equine therapy typically involves activities—such as grooming, feeding, haltering and leading a horse—that are supervised by a health professional, with the support of a horse professional. The goal of equine therapy is to help patients develop needed skills and attributes, including accountability, responsibility, self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and self-control. Equine therapy also provides an innovative environment in which the therapist and the patient can identify and address challenges.

    Studies have shown that equine therapy has been successful in helping patients show marked improvements in assertiveness, emotional awareness, problem-solving skills and social responsibility. Many of the benefits of equine therapy are likely due to the nature of the animals with which the patient and equine therapist are interacting. Because of the horse’s natural traits, which include a non-judgmental disposition and an ability to mirror attitudes and behaviors of the humans with whom they are working, they are ideal therapy partners. This type of therapy has helped to successfully treat a variety of issues, including substance abuse, mood disorders, autism spectrum disorders, grief/loss and trauma.

    About the Report

    U.S. Equine Market, 3rd Edition highlights strategic directions for current and prospective marketers, with a forward-looking focus on high-growth product segments and market drivers. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the market, covering cross-market trends and opportunities in both equine supplies and services. It thoroughly reviews competitive, new product and retail trends, as well as trends in equine owner demographics.

    View additional information about U.S. Equine Market, 3rd Edition, including purchase options, the abstract, table of contents, and related reports at Packaged Facts’ website:

    More Packaged Facts reports on pet products & services are available for purchase at:

    About Packaged Facts

    Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services.  Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.

    For more essential insights from Packaged Facts be sure to follow us on Twitter and Google+. For infographics, tables, charts and other visuals, follow Packaged Facts on Pinterest.

    Measuring the height of your horse

    Knowing the accurate height of your horse or pony can mean the difference between making a sale to the right person, or in some instances entry into certain types of competition.

    You can’t always guess accurately.

    Sound Advocate

    Sound Advocate Magazine

    Good Guide to Horse Hay

    Used with permission


    EPM (possum disease)


    Hay season is here.  Make sure you have a clean source for hay that has been protected from contamination.  Here is information on EPM from a simple source…wikipedia.

    EPM was first discovered in the 1960s by Dr. Jim Rooney. The disease is considered rare, though recently, an increasing number of cases have been reported. Outdated[citation needed] research at the University of Kentucky identified the opossum as the definitive host of the disease. However since that time it has been learned that all wildlife can be a host and mostly the “barn cat”[citation needed]. Horses in the Rocky Mountains have been found with EPM where no opossum has ever lived or been[citation needed]. The term EPM refers to the clinical neurologic symptoms caused by the parasite, not infection itself. The majority of horses infected with S. neurona do not exhibit neurologic symptoms consistent with EPM. There are six subspecies of S. neurona which can be identified by surface antigens (SAG). Equine EPM is caused by the parasites that exhibit SAG1, SAG5, and SAG6. SAG1 and SAG5 are responsible for the majority of EPM cases in horses. Horses produce antibodies to these surface antigens. Serum antibody testing is available that measures levels of these antibodies in the blood of horses, which is helpful in diagnosing EPM in an ataxic horse. Serial blood levels are helpful in guiding treatment. In experimentally infected horses it takes 17 days from infection to positive antibody tests. 80% of horses with EPM have positive antibody tests. A negative antibody test in the presence of EPM results if testing is done before 17 days or if the horse has been treated with antiprotozoal drugs which delays antibody production.


    Life cycle of S. neurona

    EPM is caused by the parasite Sarcocystis neurona. The life cycle of S. neurona is well described. In order to complete its life cycle this parasite needs two hosts, a definitive and an intermediate. In the laboratory, raccoons, cats, armadillos, skunks, and sea otters have been shown to be intermediate hosts. The opossum has been proven not to be the definitive host of the disease. Horses most commonly contract EPM from grazing or watering in areas where wildlife or cats has recently defecated. However, horses cannot pass the disease among themselves, that is, one horse cannot contract the disease from another infected horse. The horse is a dead-end, or aberrant, host of the parasite.[1]


    The neurologic signs that EPM causes are most commonly asymmetric incoordination (ataxia), weakness and spasticity, although they may mimic almost any neurologic disorder. Clinical signs among horses with EPM include a wide array of symptoms that may result from primary or secondary problems. Some of the signs are difficult to distinguish from other problems, such as lameness, which can be attributed to many different causes. Apparent lameness, particularly atypical lameness or slight gait asymmetry of the rear limbs are commonly caused by EPM. Focal muscle atrophy, or even generalized muscle atrophy or loss of condition may result. Secondary signs also occur with neurologic disease. Airway abnormalities, such as laryngeal hemiplegia (paralyzed flaps), dorsal displacement of the soft palate (snoring), or airway noise of undetermined origin may result from protozoa infecting the nerves which innervate the throat, although this is uncommon.

    In experimentally infected horses, very early and in some cases transient signs included dropping feed, decreased tongue tone, facial paresis, mentation change, generalized weakness, and lameness.

    It is thought that Sarcocystis neurona does not need to enter the CNS to cause disease, in some cases S. neurona has been found in the CNS but usually not. In cases where S. neurona is found in the CNS,leukocytes (white blood cells) probably play a role in the parasite’s penetration of the blood brain barrier.

    Treatment and prevention[edit]

    EPM is treatable, but irreversible damage to the nervous system is possible. It is important to identify the disease as early as possible and begin treatment with antiprotozoal drugs. There are currently three FDA approved treatments available in the US: ReBalance (sulfadiazine and pyrimethamine),[2] Marquis (ponazuril), and Protazil (diclazuril). These drugs minimize the infection but do not kill the parasite. The use of anti-inflammatory agents such as Banamine, corticosteroids, or phenylbutazone are often used to help reduce inflammation and limit further damage to the CNS. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E may help promote the restoration of nervous tissue. Response to treatment is often variable, and treatment may be expensive. Recently, antiprotozoal treatments that kill the parasite and clear the infection have shown great promise. The inflammatory component is thought responsible for the symptoms of EPM; anti inflammatory drugs that target the IL-6 pathway have been particularly effective at reversing symptoms.

    Control of this disease includes proper storage of hay and feed, the control of opossums on the property, and prompt disposal of animal carcasses. No vaccine is available.

    Resources on wikepedia page

    Mares vs. Geldings

    Mares vs. Geldings

    Everyone has their preference, and if you’ve ridden enough horses, you start to notice the differences between mares and geldings.

    By Allison Griest – @allisongriest | December 10, 2014

    At a Glance:
    • Reliable.
    • Indifferent to your hugs.
    • Forgiving.
    • Loyal.
    • Temperamental.
    • Unpredictable.
    In-Depth: If you want a reliable mount, a gelding is most often your best bet. He’s less likely to have an off day, but he’s also indifferent to your hugs and pets. There is something about the loyalty of a mare. I think mares test you more, but if you gain their trust and respect, their ability to bond is unmatched.


    Are you offended? Maybe you’re nodding and thinking, “Agreed!” Or perhaps it’s the opposite: “How dare you suggest my most amazing partner-in-crime doesn’t love my hugs? He’s the best. And you are clearly a closed-minded fool.”

    The author with Gabby

    While I believe there is a pattern, I’m not claiming there is an absolute. That being said, I do think that my 20+ years of catch riding experience allows me the credibility to make generalizations about my experiences.

    When you own your horse, whether mare or gelding, there’s no question of the bond you share. When you’re a catch rider, sometimes interesting patterns emerge, like the common differences between geldings and mares.

    I will forever love my Gabby Giggles. Gabby, a mare, was:

    • Affectionate
    • Boss mare in the pasture
    • An angel on the ground
    • An enemy to the heavy-handed rider

    Basically, Gabby represents what I have come to recognize as ‘the mare.’ If you’re a jerk to her, in your body language, verbal language or overall attitude, she will be a jerk to you. If you take a moment to say hi to her before you throw on the saddle, if you take a moment to give her a soft pat on the neck when she’s done something well, if you give her a pattern to follow, such as a nice graze after a hard ride, she’ll recognize it. She’ll love it. She’ll be your ally day in and out. She’s bonded to you, and she shows you and everyone else at the barn. I’ve found that a deep bond with a mare is hard to beat.

    The author with Wrigley

    I will forever love Wrigley. Wrigley, a gelding, was:

    • The barn schoolmaster who used to compete in Grand Prix and didn’t really want to anymore.
    • Not going over that fence no matter how hard you tried if it looked scary.
    • Nice. To everyone.

    Wrigley was one of the most important teachers I’ve known, outside of my human trainers of course. Wrigley was one of the most important teachers to every rider at my barn. Unlike Gabby, who really responded to me and was quite the pill to others, Wrigley was a consistent mount. He wasn’t for the first time rider, though he could be. He was for the novice rider like me, who had grown up riding ponies and had never really ridden a large warmblood who could actually perform a shoulder-in movement. Wrigley was great, but when I’d be excited to see him, I felt like he was excited because I might have a peppermint, not because it was me.

    These generalizations are often true, but I love how many horses go against the grain. I love the trustworthy mares. The ones who really just want to eat, but they’ll respectfully tote around any rider. And I love the geldings who surprise me, like the gelding who knickers in the pasture and runs up to his rider.

    I love that horses are partners, not equipment. There’s an ideal partner for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to ride different personalities – that’s what makes our sport so unique. Every horse, gelding or mare, is different.

    But I still love mares.


    Liked this article? Here are others you’ll enjoy:

    The Mare Mystique
    Connecting with Your Horse


    Application for MaryMel Gaited Morgan Scholarship

    application for MaryMel Gaited Morgan Scholarship

    Scholarship 2014



    Gaitways Track your Miles

    Gaited Morgan Horse Organization

    Gaitways Program


    The Gaitways Program has been developed to recognize Gaited Morgan Horse Organization Club Members for the time spent enjoying your Registered Morgan Horse/s.  As you Trail Ride, Show, Drive, Train, attend Expos, parades, or clinics, you are  an ambassador for the Gaited Morgan and the Morgan Horse Breed, promoting the versatility of our great horse.  While enjoying activities with your horse you can also accumulate hours that can earn  nice  awards.

    Who Can Join

    1. You must be a Gaited Morgan Horse Organization Member
    2. You must pay an individual lifetime fee of $25 and complete the GMHO Gaitways Application

    Gaited Morgan Horse Organization

    Gaitways Program




    1. GMHO Member at the time of logged hours

    2. GMHO Gaitways member of $25 lifetime fee

    3. Registered Morgan with number

    4. Logged hours not limited to just one horse

    5. Recorded hours on GMHO Gaitways log sheets only

    6. No time limit for accumulating hours for awards


    T Shirts Awarded for 100, 250, 500, 750 logged hours

    Jackets Awarded for 1000, 1500, 2500, 4000 logged hours

    Each T-Shirt or Jacket will be custom ordered with your name , the GMHO Logo and hours achieved

    Start Logging your GMHO Gaitway Hours NOW!!

    Gaitways application form

    Gaitways application fWhat Hours Count

    Enjoy Trail Riding, Driving, Showing, Competitive riding, Training, attending clinics and expositions.

    Hours must be on a GMHO Gaitways Log Sheet

    Gaitways Log Sheet

    Gaitways Log Sheet

    Gaitways log sheet page 1

    Next Page »