Monthly E-newsletters/announcements from MSFHA

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 Outdated[citation needed] research at the University of Kentucky identified the opossum as the definitive host of the disease.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

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

Skeletal Test your knowledge

match the dot on the skeleton with the question in the box …timed score

Test your Knowledge

Trails and Altruism

  • Trails and Altruism, a Powerful Combination
  •         trails and altruism

Altruism is a pebble in a lake. The subsequent ripple created can put a little more, or a lot more, good into the world. “What the heck does this have to do with trail riding?” you might wonder. (I’ll get there I promise!)

I know Hannah Anderson’s abduction and her subsequent rescue is old news, but there is one part of the story that I feel must be told. It’s the story before the story.

I wonder what would have happened if the only access into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, “The Frank,” had only allowed people on foot. I’m not talking about the designation of the trail. I’m talking about its physical condition. With the U.S. Forest Service’s budget routinely stretched thin, keeping up with 2.36 million acres of roadless wilderness for recreational use is, sadly, not a top priority.

I didn’t realize, until I became involved in Back Country Horsemen of America, how quickly access can be blocked. In a single storm, or a bad winter, a trail that was traveled via horse, becomes impeded by fallen trees, boulders and landslides. It’s so easy to take a trail for granted when it is open and clean, every time it’s traveled on.

How long would it have taken to find Hannah if those horsemen (and women) had not been able to recreate in The Frank in the first place? It’s amazing, the men and women of Back Country Horsemen of Idaho (BCHI) and other trail clearing organizations didn’t know it, but in clearing trails in The Frank, they were preparing four riders to tip the first domino that saved that girl.

Last year alone, BCHI logged in 12,409 volunteer hours, clearing 1930 miles of trails. Clearing trails in a wilderness setting is no picnic. (Although it almost always involves some Dutch oven refueling). When a land is designated as Wilderness, it is set aside from all mechanized modern conveniences. No chainsaws, no four-wheeler, no generators, just bucksaws, handsaws, hedge clippers, and a few mules to take it all in there. Along with a ton of elbow grease and expert knowledge so the log getting cut doesn’t do anything unpredictable after it’s loose. It is a labor of love. In this instance, it was the pebble in the lake.

This bit of altruism, these people who put in hard work for people they might never see, sent a ripple across the pond that allowed four riders to notice and report the whereabouts of an alleged abductor and his abductee. Isn’t it just awe inspiring that a good deed, done so people could enjoy the land set aside for just that, would sit left done until it could be of the most use?

Magazine Ads published

Farm Ads are from the Gaited Morgan Horse Organization Magazine which is published quarterly by our Organization.                                                                                                                                                                  Group Ads are published numerous times in Nation wide publications as well as our own Breed Publication The Morgan Horse.  We have an ad that runs in every issue of The Morgan Horse

Be sure to click on the ad for a large version and click again for very large version

Ledan Morgans

Ledan Morgans


Sky Harbor Morgans

Sky Harbor Morgans


Missouri Morgans

Missouri Morgans


Rainbows Gait MorgansRainbows Gait Morgans

hunter ad

Hunter Hill Morgans



Lancelot ad for Mar 2013

Lancelot Morgans

Thomas Morgans December 2012

Thomas Morgans


sky harbor ad




Missouri Morgans for website March 2013





Sky Harbor Morgans Utah

Sky Harbor Morgans Utah












Thomas Morgans Utah

Thomas Morgans Utah

Hunter Hill Morgan Farm

Missouri Morgans December 2012

Missouri Morgans

Trail Blazer 2012

Trail Blazer 2012

Trailblazer Cover

Trailblazer Cover

Friends of Sound Horses 2012

Friends of Sound Horses 2012

The Morgan Horse Ad

The Morgan Horse Ad

Letha Simmons AMHA Calendar

Our Gaited Morgan Horse Organization Member Letha Simmons will be featured on the American Morgan Horse Association Calendar.  Letha submitted a great photo from a ride at Monument Valley, a pose on the rock on her mare Ayla.  Ayla is not gaited but Letha and husband Dan of LeDan Morgans have several gaited Morgans at their ranch in southern Arizona.

3 Gaited Morgans Rainbow Calendar

Once again singlefooters, gaited Morgans will be featured on the Rainbow Morgan Horse Association Calendar.  As a national service organization the Rainbow Morgan Horse Association is supported by numerous members of the Gaited Morgan Horse Organization.  Several owners of gaited Morgans have colorful Morgans and submitted photos for the Rainbow Morgan Horse Association Calendar.  A fun thing for Morgan Horse Lovers alike.

Sue Schaenzer submitted a photo of her silver dapple stallion KTM Shadowflax, and Missouri Morgans submitted Missouris MOJO River and Beacon Silver Miracle.

“We have ONE RMHA calendar left… Need something special for the Morgan lover in your life? Please contact Dana at to purchase this beautiful 2013 edition! $12.00/US & $14.00/foreign, including postage”  update…sold out

Jim and I may have a couple extra if Dana does not.  contact us

Club Scrapbook

Club Scrapbook

Gaited Morgans on Radio


Gaited Morgan interview starts at 47:35 marker

copy and paste into your address bar


More Monument Valley photos by Letha Simmons

Larry Whitesell Clinic by Dan Simmons


Dan is a member of The Arizona Morgan Horse Club.  Dan’s wife Letha is President of the Arizona Morgan Horse Club as well as an advisor for the Morgan Single-footing Horse Association.  Dan and Letha raise both gaited and non-gaited Morgans and do a great job of promoting them all over the Southwest United States.  See their website at

AMHA, MSFHA  and the Morgan horse breed made a pretty good impression among multiple breeds at a recent Larry Whitesell Gaited Horse Clinic in Arizona.  Promoting the Morgan Horse!  They love them!

“My wife Letha and I made plans nearly a year ago to ride in Larry Whitesell’s Cave Creek Arizona clinic this past weekend, November 11-13.  Being relatively new to the gaited side of Morgandom, we were anxious to acquire some skills at riding and training gaited Morgans.   I can say without any reservation, this was the best spent time and money we have ever committed to increasing our equine riding skills and knowledge!  Letha didn’t have a gaited Morgan of age ready to go and took her almost five year old non-gaited mare Ayla, and I took my four and a half year old gaited gelding Rose K Sunday Star (Dia H Paladin x Mary Mels Snipper).  Turns out Letha’s concerns about showing up with a non-gaited horse were unwarranted (in more ways than one; more on that later).  Although Larry targets gaited horses for his clinics, the Classical riding approach he teaches apply to any horse.  Larry studied under the masters of the Spanish Riding School and their 400 years plus tradition of expert riding skills, which is very difficult to even get admitted to; you have to be an accomplished rider to start with to even be considered.  Larry says it has been his experience that when you learn to put a gaited horse in the correct frame and you ride it with the correct seat and aids, you will free it up to naturally gait on its own.

Letha and I had the only Morgans at the clinic and fielded a lot of questions about gaited Morgans from people at the clinic.  These ranged from folks who didn’t know there were gaited Morgans; or thought all or most Morgans were gaited; or knew almost nothing about Morgans in general.  It was a good opportunity to spread the word about our wonderful gaited Morgans.  Larry mentioned that he had trained only four gaited Morgans in all the gaited horses he had trained over the years and commented they had really good minds.  During the course of the weekend he twice commented about Sunday, who was performing very well in the clinic, as being a very nice horse.  I never heard him say that about any other horse in the clinic the entire weekend.  There were only ten riders plus some auditors and the horses included several Peruvian Pasos, a couple of Paso Finos, and a Foxtrotter and Walker or two.”

For the complete detailed story of this clinic with Larry Whitesell, please go to and subscribe the the MSFHA Gaited Morgan Magazine.  Watch for it coming out in December, 2011.





The 25th Annual Bison Roundup, Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29, 2011. Brent Skidmore and other Volunteer wranglers will once again saddle-up and move the park’s herd of 600 free-roaming bison from the southern tip of the Island to the bison corrals on the northern end of the island.Brent makes this an annual event. If you happen to be in the area, the best viewing opportunities are from the East Shore Road.  Brent Skidmore and others from the American Fork area will be working the herd and moving them across the island to a holding facility with the park department as the Wildlife Biologists and Park Managers work to keep the herd  healthy and in check.  Have fun Brent and be careful!!  Stay tuned for new photos and story


Beacon Silver Miracle, a gray stallion bred and raised by member Helga Loncosky, now owned by Missouri Morgans, will be featured on a monthly page of the Rainbow Morgan Horse Association Calendar.  While gray Morgans are rare in the Morgan Horse Breed, a gaited gray Morgan is very rare.  To order your calendars visit the Rainbow Morgan Horse WEbsite at Calendars are $12 postage paid.  What could be better than a colorful Morgan on every calendar month (except maybe a gaited colorful Morgan on each page?)  Maybe someday!


While overnighting at a horse motel in Gallup New Mexico Janet, Jim and Vali met Johnny Warnshuis.  Johnny,44 is riding his way across the country on his Arabian rasing money for a cancer cure and other charities.  Check out his story at  photos and full story ahead


See the full story in the 4th quarter issue of the MSFHA magazine coming out the end of December.


Paula Dennis has a heartbreaking story to tell.  When Paula first posted the information to our group forum at, I don’t think we all knew the whole story.  Paula not only lost her Cowboy, but her granddaughters Pony, and her daughters entire home and farm were wiped away down Catskill Creek.  Please help Paula keep an eye out for Cowboy…maybe he had a chance and is still lost somewhere.  Follow the link above to see his photos and more of the story