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MSFHA News | GAITED MORGAN HORSE ORGANIZATION

Monthly Mailer from AMHA

August 2019Hello all!
There has been a a chill in the air and two weeks ago, I noticed a bit of color on the trees. I think we may have an early fall this year, but I hope that doesn’t translate to an early winter, too!
It was announced this month that the AMHA Board of Directors will be voting at its September 7 meeting on whether to move the AMHA headquarters to Lexington, Kentucky. The Board has presented a FAQs to address questions and comments they have had since the announcement and that article is posted below. The Board meeting is open to the public and the details on how you can participate also are included here.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend!
My best,Chrischris@morganhorse.comAMHA NewsAMHA Board Issues Home Office Relocation Project FAQ’sOn August 6, 2019, the American Morgan Horse Association’s Board of Directors issued a letter to the general membership regarding the status of the Lease Review Committee’s work on addressing the possible relocation of the AMHA Office. The original letter can be found on the AMHA website here. Since the letter was released, AMHA has received communications asking for additional information. In an effort to share both the questions and the board’s answers with the entire membership, the following FAQ’s have been issued.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Q. Why relocate the corporate office? A. The office environment in today’s society is rapidly evolving and shrinking as more employees work remotely and many things are outsourced. This is true with AMHA as well. The office can function from literally anywhere as the majority of members conduct their business online or via phone and mail. It is the goal of the Board of Directors to maintain the minimum office requirements in a location that has the potential to benefit AMHA and its membership by being economically affordable, centrally located, and has equine related resources nearby. 
Q. What is annual visitation of members to the current office in Vermont?A. Very few members are willing to make the trek to northern Vermont to visit offices which are located away from the main core of business in an office park whose main tenant is a school. The Board believes that a location at the KHP has the potential to actually attract a larger number of member visits.
Q. On what basis did the Board select the 4 geographical locations and why were the 3 others NOT chosen as the recommendation moving forward? Why were other locations not considered?A. The two locations considered in New England had more to do with tradition and current presence in the markets. The two central locations were chosen to investigate further due to their ease of access and significance to horses in general and Morgans specifically. Since it was determined that the functions of AMHA’s offices could take place virtually anywhere (including in the virtual world), the decision making was reduced to the overall convenience of location, cost of living*, and proximity to horse culture. Lexington stood out as the clear winner with a central location to all members, a low cost of living as well as an unparalleled opportunity to promote our breed within the Horse Capital of the World. 
Q. Does the recommendation of Lexington mean the Kentucky Horse Park?A. A suitable location has been identified at the KHP.
Q. What about the Morgan building at KHP?A. This was a project started by the now defunct American Morgan Horse Institute or AMHI (not AMHA) many years ago and never completed. To the best of our knowledge the shell building’s ownership has reverted to the State of Kentucky and the KHP.
Q. Why does the Board believe this move will provide more marketing opportunities?A. The KHP is an international gathering place for horsemen and horse fans of all breeds and disciplines. Nearly one million visitors per year, 50 to 60 horse shows held on site annually, twice daily Parade of Breed demonstrations, a children’s barn, ongoing promotional opportunities (such as Breyerfest, Kentucky 3-Day Event and the upcoming 2020 Equitana), all provide AMHA with many occasions to become involved and expose the Morgan horse to a worldwide audience.
Q. Why would we want to compete for attention in Kentucky with Thoroughbreds and Saddlebreds?A. The Morgan Horse is a breed for all people and all reasons. It is an international breed having registries on 3 different continents. Old school myth says Morgans can’t compete against other breeds. Progressive thinking says yes they can. Morgans have successfully competed in open competition. We are highly respected within the equine community. Morgans hold their own and we firmly believe we will exceed all expectations.
Q. What are the economic impacts of a relocation?A. The anticipated savings in rent and utilities ALONE is projected to be between $23,000 to $24,000 annually. There will be moving expenses in the year of relocation but the board and administration is committed to moving towards more electronic and cloud based systems. This will eliminate the need to retain or relocate much of the current office contents. The relocation was specifically aligned with the anticipated need (lease expiration) and preplanned budgeting to replace outdated servers and phones as well as our standard computer upgrades which have been long been delayed.
Q. What impact would the move have on Board of Director meetings?A. The possibility of hosting board meetings on-site in one of the various FREE venues available at the Kentucky Horse Park would save AMHA meeting room and A/V costs (typically between $2,000 and $2,500 per meeting) that are traditionally incurred. Meeting locally at one of these cost saving sites would also eliminate any staff travel expenses (averaging $1,500 per meeting) which are covered in full by AMHA. It should be noted that AMHA only reimburses those Board members who request it for reasonable plane flights or gas. The Board is a volunteer organization and all members cover their own costs for hotels, meals and other expenses. Meetings have traditionally moved around the country to provide equal access to all members, although very few members attend. Meetings have been typically held in airport hotels and directors rarely leave the premises (prompting the selection of hotels with airport shuttles and restaurants on site). 
Q. What will happen to the employees?A. The employees will have a selection of opportunities from which to choose. Some employees will be relocating, some may be approved to work remotely, and some may elect to find other opportunities. A relocation to Lexington will also provide a readily available pool of future employees familiar with equine activities and businesses.
Q. What about the importance of maintaining a presence in New England?A. AMHA is committed to retaining a public presence in New England via the National Museum of the Morgan Horse, a portion of which is on display at Pineland Farms north of Portland, Maine, and our support of all things Morgan. 
Q. Would other suggested locations be considered if presented by the membership?A. The Board of Directors will always entertain feedback and ideas from membership. Suggestions and supporting data/proposals should be submitted in writing to AMHA President Mari Sanderson at morgan4show@gmail.com no later than Friday, August 30, 2019.
Q. What has been the feedback from the membership?A. AMHA has received written communications both in favor and disagreement with the possible relocation but the overall submitted feedback has been largely supportive to date. In order to ensure AMHA receives and is able to review all member comments and questions prior to the Sept. 7 board meeting, be sure to e-mail the AMHA Office at info@morganhorse.com or any of the Regional Directors at their e-mails shown at the end of these FAQ’s. All comments submitted in writing will be reviewed by the Board of Directors.
Q. Will members have access to the official presentation at the Third Quarter Board Meeting on Sept. 7, 2019?A. Yes.
LIVE: As always, board meetings are open to both AMHA members and guests and all are invited to attend the meeting. Those wishing to attend the Third Quarter meeting in person can book hotel reservations at the host hotel (South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa) by calling 1-866-791-7626. The meeting will be held in the Morro Bay room.
TELECONFERENCE: Those unable to attend in person are invited to call in via the teleconference number 1 (571) 317-3112 and enter the passcode 373-451-949 at 9:00 AM “Pacific” time (10:00 AM Mountain; 11:00 AM Central; 12:00 PM Eastern). If you plan to call in via this teleconference option, please be sure to mute your phone unless you are granted permission to speak in order to avoid background noise and other disturbances that could interfere with official meeting business.
OPPORTUNITY FOR COMMENTS: AMHA members are allowed to participate during open discussion portions of the meeting. Comments may be limited in length subject to the discretion of the President and members may offer only 1 comment per discussion topic. Audience participants are expected to act with decorum and to address board members individually or collectively in a civil, non-threatening, non-abusive, non-harassing manner, and without interruption of ongoing discussions. Members who do not conduct themselves accordingly will receive a verbal warning from the Board President. If inappropriate language or behavior persists after one warning, the member may be requested to leave the meeting to allow board business to proceed.
Written communications are encouraged and welcome via e-mail at:
AMHA Office: info@morganhorse.comMari Sanderson, President and Western Region Director: Morgan4show@gmail.comHarlan Grunden, Vice President and Central Region Director: hgrunden@curtis-ne.comKate Kirsch, Vice President of Finance and Eastern Region Director: kate@katekirschlaw.comTerri Sturm, Lease Review Committee Chair and Western Region Director: terri@stolenacesfarm.comKristen Breyer, Central Region Director: briarpatcheast@aol.comC.A. “Tony” Lee, III, Eastern Region Director: caliii@me.comCarol Fletcher, Western Region Director: d3ofnine@gmail.comSteven Handy, Eastern Region Director: s.t.handy@gmail.comVicki Bennett, Central Region Director: morganmebennett@gmail.com
AMHA Social Media PolicyAMHA’s standard policy is not to communicate or respond to Social Media chatter or discussion. Trying to respond to individual or other group posts is a very ineffective way to communicate AMHA’s official stance to our membership so we do not attempt to do so. AMHA only uses their own personal Social Media sites to communicate and comment on issues facing our association and members. Please send any comments, questions or other communications directly to AMHA or your Regional Directors as indicated above. Thank you.Third Quarter AMHA Board Meeting-Sept. 6-7, 2019The Third Quarter American Morgan Horse Association, Inc. Board of Directors Meeting will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 beginning at 9:00 AM Pacific time (10:00 AM Mountain; 11:00 AM Central; 12:00 PM Eastern).
The AMHA Standing Committee meetings will be held the previous day as listed below. 
As always, board meetings are open to both AMHA members and guests. The host hotel is South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. The hotel phone number is (866) 791-7626. Those unable to attend in person may join any of the meetings via teleconference with the numbers listed below. Please note that all times listed below are in local, PACIFIC time. 
Friday, Sept. 6, 2019: 9:00 AM AMHA Finance Committee Meeting – Call (872) 240-3212; Passcode: 170-097-58910:30 AM AMHA Registry Committee Meeting – Call (872) 240-3212; Passcode: 250-999-8691:15 PM AMHA Bylaws Committee Meeting – Call (571) 317-3112; Passcode: 835-846-197
Saturday, Sept. 7. 2019: 9:00 AM AMHA Board of Directors Meeting – Call (571) 317-3112; Passcode: 373-451-949
If calling in to participate, please be sure to MUTE your phone following roll call to ensure no background noise disrupts the meeting. Thank you for your assistance with this policy.
Questions about the Third Quarter meeting can be directed to Executive Director, Carrie J. Mortensen at (802) 985-4944, ext. 201 or execdir@morganhorse.com.Learning Center for 2019 Grand NationalAMHA is pleased to announce it has once again partnered with the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA) and the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® in order to offer the Open Gate Learning Center. The Open Gate Learning Center is an on-site study and learning center for young equestrians who are competing at the horse show, which will take place in Oklahoma City October 12-19, 2019.
The purpose of the Learning Center is to provide academic support to young exhibitors, grades 5-12, who are away from their local schools. The center will be available to students from Oct. 12-19. Participants can stay abreast of their academic requirements by providing a structured learning environment. The center is supervised by a professional teacher who can provide academic support for students and the center will work with teachers from the student’s school to help guide activities while away from school and to monitor tests, if needed. Assignments can be posted, faxed, or e-mailed from the center to meet deadlines.
The fee for each student is $200. Please call Kristen Kelly at the AMHA office (802) 985-4944, Ext. 401 to provide a credit card number for this fee and reserve your child’s spot. The center can accommodate a maximum of 25 students and will be taken on a first come, first served basis.
Once the reservation officially has been made and the appropriate fee has been paid, you will receive an e-mail notice providing you the link to enter your child’s details for the center’s coordinator. (She will work with you and the schools directly once the reservation has been properly made.)
Note: A limited number of seats will be available to college students needing only the work space and WiFi access without tutoring assistance of any kind. Contact AMHA for further details.Application Period for AMHECT Memorial GrantsThe application period for BOTH of the 2020 grants offered by the American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust (AMHECT) is September 1, 2019 through November 1, 2019. The two grants are outlined below.
The Harry Sebring Memorial Grant is offered to all AMHA members under the age of 40 who would like to further his or her equine education, skills, or proficiency and/or provide equine-related experiences and education that will further the grant recipient’s business endeavors.
Harry Sebring was a renowned Morgan horse trainer and the grant was created by his family in his memory, since he always wanted to see young adults excel personally and professionally in the show ring.
The Elberta Honstein Memorial Grant is a grant offered to all AMHA members under the age of 21 to further his or her equine education, skills, or proficiency, and/or further his or her academic education.
Elberta Honstein and Roy-El Morgan Farm have a rich and long history with the Morgan breed. Roy-El Morgan Farm was founded in the early 1960s by Roy and Elberta Honstein. They passed on their love of Morgans to their daughter, Debbie, and then Debbie’s daughters, Elberta Seybold and Erlene Seybold-Smythe. The farm still operates under the third generation to continue the tradition.
Applications must be accompanied by a complete proposal answering ALL questions listed on the application form including an itemized budget of the program/event. Grant awards (checks) may not be made payable to the individual, but to the clinician, institution, or business providing the services.
Inquiries about grant applications or the grant process are handled by email only. Email execdir@morganhorse.com with any questions or comments.
Applications are available here:
Harry Sebring Memorial Grant
Elberta Honstein Memorial GrantIndustry NewsDeadline for USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award Quickly ApproachingAMHA is currently accepting applications (must be received ON or BEFORE Thursday, September 5) for the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award.
To find out more about this award, the qualifications, how to apply and obtain the required application form can be found by clicking below.
USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award GuidelinesUSEF Youth Sportsman’s Award Application
Completed applications should be submitted via e-mail to Executive Director, Carrie Mortensen at execdir@morganhorse.com.Notice: USEF Office Closed August 30 to September 3By US Equestrian Communications Department
US Equestrian (USEF) is moving! From Friday, August 30, to Tuesday, September 3, the USEF office will be closed while they move to our new building within the Kentucky Horse Park. During this time, USEF’s online tools and services, including the website, Customer Care Center, horse and member records, fax, and email, will be unavailable. They recommend avoiding any digital communication with USEF (phone calls, email, faxing, etc.) throughout the duration of the move.
If you are competing at a horse show between August 30 and September 3, please ensure that you print and bring hard copies of the following documents with you to the showgrounds, as applicable:
Membership cardSafeSport training certificatesHorse recordingMeasurement formsFarm/business recordingHorse passportFEI registration
The decision to build a new USEF headquarters was made after extensive analysis and review by the leadership and Board. The benefits of a new building include a financial savings of several hundred thousand dollars annually versus our current headquarters, and a new building will provide a more collaborative work environment that will support USEF’s efforts to provide exemplary member services.Ledyard Farms’ 8th Annual Open Barn: Celebration of the BroodmareLedyard Farms in King Ferry, New York, will hosts its 8th annual Open Barn on September 10, 2019 from 5:30 to 8:30pm.
The event has becoming a tradition for participants at the New York Morgan Horse Show and community members alike. The event showcases Ledyard Farms’ beautiful property, and the party includes a dinner, tours, entertainment and a presentation of the farm’s young Morgan horses and Highland cattle. This year, Ledyard will be highlighting their special broodmares, three of whom recently were inducted placed in AMHA’s Broodmare Hall of Fame.
Participants at the New York Morgan Horse Show can take Ledyard’s charter bus from Syracuse to King Ferry and back from the event.
William Haines, farm owner, and Rebecca Cooper, Equine Manager, were thrilled to host more than 500 guests last year and anticipate even more this fall. Please contact Rebecca Cooper at (603) 380-1077 or rcooper@ledyardfarms.com for more information. Follow us on Facebook at for event updates, directions, and details.American Morgan Horse Association4066 Shelburne Rd.Suite 5Shelburne, VT 05482(802) 985-4944info@morganhorse.comwww.morganhorse.com ?  ?  ?  ?RegistryMembershipAbout AMHACopyright © 2019 American Morgan Horse Association. All Rights Reserved.
American Morgan Horse Association | 4066 Shelburne Rd, Suite 5, Shelburne, VT 05482Unsubscribe valizoe1@yahoo.comUpdate Profile | About Constant ContactSent by chris@morganhorse.com in collaboration withTry email marketing for free today!

Hoof Care Myths

8 Hoof Care Myths

By Amber Heintzberger -March 7, 2006406442

Hoof Care

Like a bike with a flat tire or a tennis racket with a broken string, a horse with poor hooves has limited usefulness. But how to keep a horse’s hooves in their best condition is an often discussed and sometimes hotly debated topic. There are theories regarding horses’ feet that constantly keep horseowners contemplating the fact and fiction of hoof care.

Often misinformation is accepted as truth simply because it has been around a long time. In this article we address a few of the most common misconceptions about hoof care, and ask top experts to explain the truth behind the myths.

Myth: White hooves are softer and have more problems than black feet.

The color of the hoof is influenced by the color of the skin above it, so if a horse has white markings directly above the hoof, the hoof itself may carry the same pigmentation. Many people believe that hooves with black walls are stronger than hooves with white walls.

Master Farrier John Burt owns and operates the JDC School of Basic Farrier Science near Texarkana, Ark. He is a member of and tester for the Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association (BWFA) and a 2001 inductee to the BWFA Hall of Fame.
John says, “There is no quality difference on the same horse, no scientific data to sustain any difference. The white and the black hoof are both designed the same structurally; the texture and quality of the hoof is the same.”

One of the foremost experts in his field, Doug Butler, Ph.D., of LaPorte, Colo., is the author of The Principles of Horseshoeing, one of the most widely used texts on horseshoeing in the world. He also has 30 years of teaching experience and acts as a consultant and lecturer on horseshoeing. In 1976 while doing research at Cornell University, he conducted a study on white versus black hooves by taking squares of hoof material and crushing them in a compressor.

“There was no difference between black and white,” he agrees. “The main difference was in moisture content: The softer hooves fell apart easier.” He notes that genetics also play a role in hoof strength. “Some Paint Horses have extremely brittle white hooves and others don’t. Appaloosas seem to have extremely strong feet, no matter what color; genetic propensity seems to be more important than the color of the hoof.”

Myth: All horses need hoof supplements added to their feed.

The reason we add supplements is because there is something missing from the horse’s feed. Whether your horse needs a nutritional supplement depends on what you are feeding him; if his diet is nutritionally balanced, supplementation is probably not necessary. And just like people, some horses can thrive on a basic diet, while others struggle to maintain good condition with every expensive feed and supplement known to man.

Some “complete feeds” already include nutrients such as biotin, which is important to all connective tissue, and methionine, an amino acid essential for strong hooves. There are endless numbers of products on the market that claim they will help your horse’s hoof quality; often the best way of finding a supplement that helps an individual is by trying them out and finding one that works.

Doug Butler comments, “There are a few very good supplements on the market, and then there are a lot that are not well researched. I have counted more than 25 products on the market, but the problem is that every animal responds differently.”

Talk to your veterinarian about determining what supplements your horse might need. Having your hay and pasture analyzed will help you make an educated decision. However, hoof supplements won’t be a miracle cure for horses in poor condition.

According to John Burt bad feet are often caused by nutrition problems and obesity. “On obese horses the hoof often stops growing because it’s so stressed from carrying so much weight, especially the front feet. I’ve done two horses this year where the wall just was not growing. I got one to drop 250 pounds, and the feet improved.”

Other factors that can contribute to poor hoof quality include genetics or undesirable living conditions, such as wet, mucky ground.

Myth: Horses get thrush from standing on wet ground.

Thrush is an infection of the frog and sole of horses. Wet conditions alone will not result in thrush, since bacteria and fungi must be present, but dirty conditions such as stalls not mucked out regularly are certainly a cause of this nasty condition.
Affected feet will have a very offensive odor and will produce a black discharge around the frog. Lameness will result if the condition is allowed to progress far enough to affect the sensitive structure of the foot.

Proper cleaning and trimming of the feet along with proper stable sanitation will help decrease the chance of infection. If you notice that your horse’s feet smell bad and/or have a discharge, cleaning and disinfecting them with a copper sulfate product or iodine solution can treat the problem. A regular trimming schedule with your farrier also helps prevent and control thrush.

Myth: Hot fitting the shoe hurts the horse.

Hot shoeing, including hot fitting, refers to the act of forging/fabricating a shoe, and allows the farrier to custom make and fit the shoe to the horse. Hot fitting involves applying a hot shoe to the horse’s hoof, burning the hoof where the shoe is applied and seating the shoe to the hoof.

“Those in favor of hot shoeing say that a well-placed hot set shoe seals the hoof tubules and allows the farrier to see where there is a high or low spot in the foot,” explains Bill Reed, a farrier from Columbus, N.C., who shoes horses in the Carolinas and Florida. “Some will argue that burning the foot injures the foot or dries it out, but this is false because there are no nerve endings there. Does it hurt when you trim your fingernails?”

Myth: Oil products help seal in moisture.

There are as many products at the tack and feed stores to keep horses’ hooves in good condition as there are anti-aging creams on the beauty aisle at the local pharmacy. One thing to note is that some products are oil-based and claim to add moisture to the hoof, while others are called sealants and claim to lock moisture in—or out—of the hoof.

Sean Reichle,product manager for Farnam Horse Division, explains, “Oil based conditioners, when used correctly, nourish and moisturize the hoof, which may become dried out because of environment or management conditions. Just like different people’s fingernails require different treatments to keep them in top condition, it is important to assess a horse’s hooves periodically.”

Bill Reed is not a big fan of oily hoof dressings, but offers advice on how he thinks they should be used. “Dressing should be applied to the coronary band only,” he says. “Then it can be absorbed and moisturize the new hoof growth. But I only apply sealant to the rest of the wall. If you slather dressing all over the hoof, it softens the foot and then in a climate such as Florida, for instance, where the soil is sandy and hot, the feet dry out. If the hoof is constantly wet and then dry it constricts and contracts, and the shoes loosen quicker.”

Sean Reichle advises, “In some situations, the use of an oil-based conditioner around the coronary band and sole of the hoof, and a sealant on the hoof wall and nail holes, may be an appropriate hoof care program.”

Sean recommends different products for different scenarios. “A horse that spends most of his time out in the field and is only groomed occasionally might benefit from a formula that includes pine tar because it may require less frequent application in harsh conditions and is a bit messy,” he explains. “For a horse that is kept primarily in the barn and groomed frequently, a product with a lighter formula that is applied more often would be a better choice.”

Eight common horse hoof myths

Whether you use hoof dressing or not, attentive hoof care is a paramount concern. “The best advice is, if the horse is being used then you should clean the feet every day,” John Burt says.

According to Doug Butler, the best “hoof conditioner” is the water that the horse drinks and stays hydrated with.

Regardless of the hoof care product you use, follow the manufacturers instructions for application.

Myth: A piece of gravel can work its way up from the bottom of the hoof through the coronary band.

A “gravel” is a condition where an abscess, instead of coming out through the bottom of the foot, works its way upward beneath the hoof wall and breaks out at the soft tissue of the coronary band, where the infection drains out. It is not, however, literally a piece of gravel working its way up the hoof.

“I find that ‘gravel’ is a regional term for describing an abscess,” Bill Reed says. “The farther north you go, they say that a horse ‘graveled’ rather than ‘abscessed.’ ”

According to John Burt, “Gravitational force and the way that the foot is constructed make it questionable that an actual piece of gravel can travel up there. Look at the structure of the foot and figure out the gravitational force: It pushes down. When an abscess is created, the pressure is pushing it up the foot.”

He reasons, “If you did find a piece of gravel in an abscess, it was driven in from the bottom, and then the abscess itself pushed it up through the coronary band.”

Myth: Factory shoes have four nails holes on each side, so each hole should be utilized.

Shoes can be nailed on with as many nails as necessary to secure the shoe to the hoof. Sometimes two per side are sufficient on a smaller foot or a nail pattern that takes advantage of the stronger points of the hoof wall, bypassing the weaker section. Clips can also be used to hold a shoe on.

“The nail holes in keg shoes are there as options, not to be filled up,” Bill Reed says. “Some shoes have eight or 10 holes—aluminum shoes have 12. I did one horse last year that someone else had shod with 11 nails in one shoe. That was incredible! I think three nails were clinched together. That’s just overkill.”

Hooves constantly grow and change, and sometimes parts of the hoof are healthier than others. Nails must be driven into solid healthy wall, or they will not provide a secure hold. On improperly cared for hooves, the hoof wall may be in such poor condition that a farrier can’t nail a shoe on or may only be able to place a couple of nails on each side. The hoof grows very slowly, about a 1/4 inch per month, requiring from six to nine months to grow out completely. Because the hoof grows so slowly, it is preferable to prevent damage, rather than to try and repair damage once it has occurred.

Myth: Barefoot horses need farrier attention less often than shod horses.

Some experts suggest pulling a horse’s shoes for half of the year to let the hooves “recover” from shoeing, including letting the nail holes grow out. If the conditions are right, the farrier will have a better hoof to work with when the horse starts wearing shoes again.

“This is a good idea if you’re not riding the horse and the footing is good,” Doug Butler says. “Out here in Colorado our pasture has a lot of crushed granite so that wouldn’t really work because the horse’s feet would wear down too much.”

For horses doing a lot of work, removing the shoes may be impractical. When wear exceeds growth, then shoes are necessary for a sound horse. Also, corrective horseshoes can be helpful for horses with specific soundness problems. Shoes can also provide extra traction in slippery conditions, especially when they are drilled and tapped so that studs can be used.

If you do remove the horse’s shoes, don’t just turn him out for six months and forget about him. R.T. Goodrich, who has a four-shoer practice in Petaluma, Calif., explains, “Horses in a corral or pasture need regular hoof care at six- to eight-week intervals, shod or not. Uneven wear affects the horse’s entire body, not just the feet.”

Consider your horse’s lifestyle and take into consideration the above factors. Then consult your farrier to decide what is best for your horse. 

Amber Heintzberger is an active rider who enjoys eventing.

Amber HeintzbergerLifelong horsewoman Amber Heintzberger is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared internationally. Her latest book is Modern Eventing with Phillip Dutton, and she is co-author of the 2008 American Horse Publications book of the year, Beyond the Track.


This article originally appeared in the April 2006 issue of Horse Illustrated. Click here to subscribe.

Abscess

No Hoof, No Horse: Treating the Abscess

No Hoof, No Horse: Treating the Abscess

hoof abscess

You walk out to your barn in the morning and you see your horse three-legged or toe-touching lame and unwilling to walk. You start to panic, hoping it’s not something serious. However, you know he was fine last night and had been in his stall, so what could it be?

Most likely, it’s a hoof abscess. Hoof abscesses are caused by trauma such as stepping on a nail, a piece of wood, or any sharp object that could penetrate the sole, white line (the junction between the hoof wall and the sole), or the frog, and let bacteria inside the hoof capsule. Sometimes a penetrating object such as a nail can result in infection of the deeper structures of the foot and require more extensive medical or surgical treatment. Always have your veterinarian assess the problem.

If your horse continually stands in very dry conditions, it also makes it easier for the sole to be penetrated by bacteria from cracks caused by the dryness; or if he continually stands in wet conditions, the soft soles that result are more easily penetrated by rocks or sticks. The bacteria then settles in and begins multiplying, which thus creates an abscess of puss in the lamina. Since there is not much free space inside the hoof, as the abscess grows (which they do very quickly), it becomes very painful for the horse and the pressure needs to be released. The abscess tries to find the path of least resistance to get out—usually it will come out at either the top on the coronary band or through the entry hole in the sole of the hoof. If the abscess has not presented itself out yet, there are ways to allow it to drain.

The main signs of an abscess include: the horse being a four out of five on the lameness scale (lame at the walk), increased digital pulse on affected hoof, hoof feels warm to the touch, and sensitive to hoof testers—more so in the area where the abscess resides within.

To determine whether your horse in fact has an abscess, first, check the affected leg for signs of injury—laceration, heat, swelling, etc. Second, feel the hoof—does it feel warmer than usual, and does the horse have an increased digital pulse? Check the hoof for any puncture wounds or dark holes on the sole. If your veterinarian is on site, they may want to take radiographs of the hoof to rule out a fracture and to see if there are gas pockets. They may also do a nerve block to ensure the lameness is coming from the hoof.

After confirming the issue is an abscess and cleaning out the hoof thoroughly, your veterinarian or farrier may use a paring knife to trim the sole and frog down to get a clearer view of where the hole might be draining. Once they have located the area, they will use the knife to open the abscess and drain it. You will notice a thick white/yellow/green puss.

Once the abscess has been drained, prepare a bandage for your horse to put onto the hoof using an antiseptic dressing such as iodine or betadine as well as a poultice pad and apply where the hole is open. Many people will use a diaper for this and wrap it in duct tape, while others will use a hoof boot. You may use what you have available as long as it is waterproof and can be secured.

Change the bandage every 24 hours or if it becomes loose. The abscess should be drained within 3 days but can take 7-10 days to fully heal. You should notice the horse feeling much more comfortable a few hours after the abscess has been draining. Keep him in a dry, small area such as a clean stall or a medical paddock. Phenylbutazone or another NSAID may be used to reduce pain and inflammation to keep your horse comfortable. Also, you should consider asking your veterinarian for a tetanus vaccination incase the horse stepped on a nail or metal object.

Hoof abscesses are fairly common and luckily are easy to treat—but be sure to always contact your veterinarian at any sign of an injury to ensure that it’s not something more serious.

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Saddle rack causes horse lameness – you’ve got to be kidding.

JUNE 4, 2015 BY DR. KEITH WAGNERLEAVE A COMMENT

Dr. Keith performing applied kinesiology on a horse

Thanks Iowa clients for a wonderful challenging case load with my last May trip to Iowa.  I was very busy and unable to see all the people who desired appointments.  Therefore I have decided to make two trips to Iowa in June.  I will visit Equine Referral Clinic on June 11th and 12th and again on the 25th and 26th with a trip to the Ames area on the 27th and Pre-Des Moines areas on the 24th.

After reading the title:  Saddle rack causes horse lameness, you immediately think the horse was being a horse and ran into or got caught in the saddle rack.  No, nothing that straight forward occured and I apologize up front, I did not take photos.  I am bad about taking photos or video.  I just want to help the horse and solve the problem and don’t think about taking photos.  This particular case was a challenge to find the root cause of the problem and a majority of people would not think of looking at equipment in the tack room as the cause of the lameness.

To set this scenario up, I was examining this 11 year old, all-round performance gelding for a left hind leg lameness.  It was a 0.5-1/5 grade lameness occasionally seen under-saddle, and was more commonly felt as an arrhythmic gait.  He would drag his left hind foot on the cranial phase of the stride.  The owner had received the typical suggestion from her routine veterinarian and trainer, “Oh the hocks need injecting”.  This typical answer did not set well with the owner and decided to have me evaluate the horse.

Upon exam of the nicely muscled gelding with good confirmation; I discovered some pelvic issues, mild pain in the left SI (sacroiliac) joint, discomfort in lumbar area, a right cluneal nerve entrapment, and some tenderness on the cluneal nerve entrapped side just behind the shoulder blade.  Hocks and stifles palpated normal and showed no response to a pain challenge.   Two months prior I had examined the horse and at that time treated it for the lumbar issue and cluneal nerve entrapment.  However, the lumbar issue and cluneal nerve entrapment had returned causing a slightly abnormal situation as on most cases this combination of findings, is usually resolved by the chiropractic adjustment and they do not readily come back.  To explain, the cluneal nerve entrapment is an entrapped nerve by a spasmodic lumbar muscle generally on one side of the back.  The entrapped nerve produces ‘P Substance’ which is irritating to the muscle.  It is not an uncommon finding in horses and even people who are experiencing back pain.  Other findings in the lumbar region of the horse included intraosseous faults or IOF’s in the lumbar vertebrae.  The IOF’s are distortions or compaction of the bone.  These repeat findings along with pain in the left SI and the pelvic issues suggested an external cause to the hind leg issue.

While discussing these finding with the owner, the owner made a comment that the saddle pad was wearing out and probably needed replaced.  I looked at the pad which had a design of breathable neoprene construction against the horse.  The neoprene was starting to tear from excessive stress on the center-line over the withers while the rest of the pad looked to be in good shape.

In regards to external issues as causes of Chiropractic problems, four major ones occur.  All four are influence by us and not the horse.  The four include proper and balanced hoof care, environment be it stalled or pasture, saddle fit, and riders ability.  Hoof care was good and the owner had not changed farriers for quite sometime.  The horse was in a stall with daily turnout usually with significant time.  The primary saddle was a five year old western saddle that had been purchased new and used on him for the time.  The rider was an accomplished young adult that had been riding for quite a few years.  Of those options, which one would you look at first?  Yep, you are right the saddle.

I checked the saddle before putting it on the horse.  The gullet width was good but the skirting under the pommel was of different angles going out from the gullet with the right side having a flatter angle.  Also in looking down the gullet from pommel to cantel, the horn was not in the center of the gullet and pointed to the right.  Essentially, the saddle was misshapen.  Although the saddle seemed of good construction and not that old, it needed to be worked on or replaced.  But why did the saddle change, for if it had always been liked that we would have seen the problem in one of the earlier treatments.  Had the rider changed?  Was the owner now riding heavy on the right and needed chiropractic care?  I just happened to put the saddle away in the tack room where the owner showed me where it went.  As I put the saddle on the rack and let go of the horn, it seemed to fall forward.  I thought maybe I did not get the saddle on the rack completely.  Since, the rack was a little below my waist I squatted down to look at the saddle and the rack.  In doing so, I realized the skirting support part of the commercially made saddle rack only came about 2/3rd of the way forward toward the pommel on the saddle.  Consequently the area under the pommel, concho, and off side billet was not supported.  This especially occurred if a second effort was not used to ensure the saddle was against the back wall, even than lack of support would let it lean down and to the right.  The horse owner had been at this stable for about 10 months.  Over that period of time, with the humidity, dampness of the saddle due to sweat, pull of gravity, and lack of full support of the saddle rack; the saddle leather remodeled to a misshapen appearance.  In fact, getting down to eye level with the saddle on the rack, the top front point of the skirt under the pommel was about 1/2 inch lower then the top of the left skirt.  This resulted in uneven and undo pressure on the horse’s back especially the right side.

Lesson learned – check your saddle rack to make sure the saddle is properly supported.  It is yet to be determined if a saddle master can repair the saddle or if a new saddle needs to be purchased.  But for sure, just injecting the hocks would have been a waste of time and money with more on that in the future.

FILED UNDER: INSIGHTSTAGGED WITH: CHIROPRACTIC CAREHORSEIOWALAMENESSSADDLE

About Dr. Keith Wagner

Since 1989, Dr. Wagner has been dedicated to the health of your horse, from the weekend pleasure horse to elite Olympic level performance horses. Dr. Wagner excels at improving the health of his equine patients by using Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Applied Kinesiology, and Traditional Western Veterinary Medicine.

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Red Bag Delivery

Red Bag Delivery

By Horse Illustrated -December 15, 200635993

Q: Can you explain what a red bag delivery is? I have a mare that is due to foal this month, and I’ve been told to watch for this complication.A: “Red bag delivery” is a layperson’s term for premature separation of the placenta prior to or during a mare’s foaling. Fortunately, it is an infrequent occurrence in healthy foaling mares. However, when it does occur, prompt action is required to prevent a stillborn or weak foal.

The foaling attendant must know that the equine placenta is made up of two major parts: the red bag or chorioallantois, and the white bag or amnion. The red bag attaches to the uterine wall and allows the exchange of nutrients and waste back and forth to the fetus through the umbilical cord. The white bag surrounds the fetus and has many functions, including lubrication and protection. During a normal foaling, the red bag breaks just prior to the foal entering the birth canal. Thus, the first portion of the placenta you see in a normal foaling is the amnion, or white bag, followed promptly by the fetus it contains.

In a normal delivery, the red bag is generally passed by the mare within three hours after foaling. When the red bag appears before the white bag, it means that a portion of the placenta has detached from the uterine wall prematurely, reducing or eliminating the exchange of nutrients to the fetus still inside the mare. In this situation, the red bag appears as a red “velvety” bag hanging from the vulva. When the foaling attendant confirms the presence of the red bag instead of the white bag, he/she should carefully open this bag with surgical scissors—inside will be the white bag enclosing the fetus. Check for two legs and the nose; tear open the white bag and deliver the fetus promptly as it may be short on oxygen due to the early placental separation. The foal should be watched carefully for signs of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) or infection.

Why do red bag deliveries occur? The normal chorioallantois is relatively thin and breaks easily during birthing. However some placentas are thickened from infection or inflammation, a condition called “placentitis,” and can result in red bag deliveries. Exposure of late pregnant mares to fescue grass can also result in a thickened placenta at foaling. High-risk mares that have had abortion, stillborns or weak foals previously can be evaluated by ultrasound in late pregnancy for placentitis or a thickened placenta. Also keep in mind that even a well-handled red bag delivery may result in a compromised foal.

Andy Schmidt, DVM, MS, Diplomat ACT, is based in Oconomowoc, Wis., at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital.

AMHA MONTHLY CLUB NEWS

April 2019Good morning!
Look! We have green grass! Dare I say winter 2019 has come to an end? We’ve been known to have snow in late April, but I hope this year isn’t one of them!
Things are starting to take shape, we’ve had our first regional show of the year, Citrus Cup, and daily I’m receiving applications for Star Rated shows, AMHA medal classes, and renewals for the Champion Title Program! Note below that Medallion has changed its locale for the 2019 show.
Until next month! Enjoy the springtime weather!
My best,Chris
chris@morganhorse.comAMHA NewsChanges to 2019 Morgan Medallion ClassicThe Morgan Medallion Classic has changed both its dates and location for the 2019 show. It will now take place July 18-21 at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center, located in Las Vegas. This fully air-conditioned facility is one of the premier equestrian facilities in the West and is located inside the South Point Hotel and Casino. This year’s show manager is Kent Moeller and Kristin Stivers is the judge. 
The Medallion show committee is excited to move to this great venue! For more information on this year’s show go to morganmedallion.com.Don’t Miss Out–Subscribe Now!The next issue of The Morgan Horse magazine carries the theme of “Morgan People” with 13 profiles about people in our industry. We focus on some of the colorful backstories that make our community so interesting. For instance, did you know that Tom and Teri Brisco are championship ballroom dancers? Janet Morris has published more than 40 novels of historical fiction? Julie Shample is Chief of Staff to renowned economist Larry Summers? We’ll also profile breeder Clare Simpson’s career in the entertainment world, Chris MacLuckie’s 5,000-mile ride from Canada to Guatemala on a Morgan mare, Jack Johnson’s historical Morgan herd in the Pacific Northwest, and much more.
In order not to miss this unique content subscribe by April 26th to receive your copy in the mail. Call today! (802) 985-4944 ext. 203.AMHECT Awards Grants to Morgan ShowsThis year, 5 percent of the net from the AMHECT/World Morgan Futurity Stallion Service Auction was made available for the AMHA grant program for financially challenged Morgan competitionsThe 2019 show grant recipients are: C-Fair Charity Regional Show, Central Region Morgan Horse Show, Key Classic Benefit, Morgan Medallion Regional, New York State Breeders, Oregon Morgan Classic, Silver Cup, Southern States Regional, and Tri- State All Morgan Horse Show.
For more information on the AMHA Show Grant Program, contact AMHA at (802) 985-4944 or go to http://www.morganhorse.com/competitions/grants/grants.Online TMH Discount Not FunctioningIf you want to order The Morgan Horse magazine at the AMHA member rate, please note, the member discount code currently is not functioning. Please call our office at (802) 985-4944 to renew so you don’t miss an issue!Spring Is Here!Now is the perfect time of year to get outdoors, saddle up, and ride your Morgan! And if you enroll in AMHA’s My Morgan and Me program, you’re also eligible for awards, just for spending time in the saddle!
AMHA recognizes the special bond that exists between a horse and rider and created this simple program. Just record the hours spent with your Morgan, which includes all non-competitive activity time. We understand the value of groundwork, grooming, and just enjoying quality time with your Morgans and program includes all activities! And please note, you don’t have to own a Morgan to participate! The points count for the rider, not the horse, so as long as you are spending time with a registered Morgan, add up the hours! Lesson horses count too!
AMHA uses the honor system for this popular program. Contact AMHA by mail, fax, or email to tell us when you achieve a new hour milestone and we’ll update your record. When you submit this information to us, we would love for you to include a paragraph or two about how you achieved these hours with your Morgan. You can also send us a photo!
An AMHA membership is required and participants will submit a $25 application fee when they submit their new hour milestone.
For more information, go to https://www.morganhorse.com/programs/my_morgan or call AMHA at (802) 985-4944.AMHA Judging Standards Committee Yearly UpdateTO: All Morgan JudgesFROM: AMHA Judging Standards CommitteeRE: Yearly Update – April 2019
The clocks have made their spring ahead, the promise of warmer temperatures and longer hours of sunlight is upon us and show season 2019 is here. As USEF judges, the decisions you make have a direct effect on the future of the Morgan breed. Your selections are used as guidance by breeders, exhibitors and spectators alike. This update is designed to keep you “up to speed” with show ring trends, both good and bad, so the decisions you make should be in the best interest of our breed.
The Judging Standards Manual states: “We believe every exhibitor has an absolute right to expect his or her horse to be judged against the same criteria regardless of who is judging or in what part of the country the show is held. It is the function of the committee to establish this standard…devise and recommend to the Board ways to see that it’s universally accepted and adhered to…and research methods to generally upgrade the quality and consistency of our Morgan horse judging.”
A. Hunter PleasureThe hunter pleasure horse should appear to be carrying his body in a natural frame with ease of motion and without evidence of undue restraint. His motion starts from the hind end and progresses through his shoulders, which allows him to carry his head in the correct frame with quiet, relaxed collection. He should never appear to have his frame controlled by the bridle, be behind the bit, or appear to be pulling himself around on the forehand. Transitioning from the trot to the extended trot is a ground covering motion- Not go faster or higher! The canter and extended canter should follow the same progressive movement forward. The walk should be free-moving and relaxed, not tense or anticipating. When judging the Hunter Pleasure horse remember that although a Morgan naturally moves in the arch of a circle the Hunter Pleasure horse must exhibit elliptical movement as well. A Morgan Hunter Pleasure horse should travel with twice the length of stride as height, and should demonstrate SENSE OF PURPOSE! 
Hunter Pleasure is the most popular section within the Morgan division. We as judges must be diligent in looking for the correct Hunter Pleasure horse that reflects the criteria of the Standard. When judging pay attention to the rule governing the length of shank on hunter curb and Pelham bits.
B. Unnatural Tail CarriagePlease stay diligent with your penalizing the unnatural tail carriage. “Unnatural tail carriage includes evidence of tail setting and/or break-over, dead tail, wry tail (wry tail is defined as twisted, carried askew or distorted). Judges have an obligation to see that tails carried vertically with an abrupt break-over are penalized. It must be noted that there has been great improvement in this area.
C. SuitabilityAs per the judging standards manual: “A horse placed first in a class judged on performance, quality and manners could justifiably be not placed against the same horses if the class were judged on manners, quality and performance.” Please remember, the order of performance criteria changes from class to class e.g.- Open, Amateur, Junior Exhibitor, Ladies, etc. Junior Exhibitor horses must have impeccable manners.
D. Classic PleasureThis section of the Morgan division has grown and become one the most popular sections of the division. Please pay strict attention to the walk and transition from one gait to another when judging Classic Pleasure. It is imperative that the Classic Pleasure horse give the distinct appearance of being a pleasure to ride or drive with emphasis on the walk and smooth transitions.
E. Western PleasureThe Western Pleasure section is a very popular and competitive section of our division. Judges must heavily penalize presentations which include long, loose, draped reins; heavy contact; snatching and jerking; sawing; pulling or evidence of intimidation. Remember: Anything in the horse’s mouth other than a legal bit is not permitted in the Western Pleasure section.
F. Protective HeadgearJudges must remember that protective headgear is allowed, and may not be penalized, in all Morgan classes. Individuals wearing protective headgear must not be discriminated against in any class.
G. Balance and Cadence/Laboring ActionThe Judging Standards Manual states: “Judges shall seriously fault any horse that is laboring, pounding, landing on the heel, winging, or paddling, whether due to faulty conformation, extremes of length and/or angle of the hoof, weight, and/or balance of shoe. In all classes the gaits must be true and correct. Mixed gaits demonstrating improper cadence and balance must be penalized.
H. Park SaddleThe gaits of the Park Saddle Horse are: Walk, Park Trot and Canter. Not “Stand,” Park Trot, and Canter. You must penalize the Park Saddle horse that does not attempt to walk at all. Remember, it can be two beat as long as the horse demonstrates a degree of regimentation without undue restraint.
Thank you for your time and dedication to the Morgan Horse. Please feel free to contact any committee member with questions, comments or concerns.
Cindy Mugnier and Larry BolenAMHA Judging Standards CommitteeGrand National NewsMemorial Scholarship Named for Alex MooneyThe show committee for the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® is pleased to announce that a $5,000 annual memorial scholarship has been created in Alex Mooney’s name. Details will be forthcoming.Alex Mooney passed away on April 2 at the age of 26. She fought her battle with Cystic Fibrosis head on and never with a complaint. Her love for the Morgan horse and all the people in that community was legendary and in return she received so much love. The Grand National committee wants to pay it forward with the creation of this special scholarship for youth.Industry NewsTime to Ride Launches 2019 Pilot Program: Applications Now Being AcceptedTime To Ride®, a program of the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance, is now accepting applications for its 2019 pilot program.
The new Time To Ride program is designed to introduce school-age children to horseback riding and horse care in a safe, welcoming environment. The goal is to familiarize school-age children with horses through an initial series of lessons that include basic horse care as well as riding.
Equine facilities and instructors must meet specific requirements to be considered for the pilot program. All instructors must either hold a current professional membership with one or more national breed or discipline associations, be certified as an instructor through a recognized program such as Certified Horsemanship Association or licensed as a riding instructor in the state in which they teach.
Barns and instructors meeting the program’s standards will be designated Time To Ride Program Facilities and be given marketing tools, techniques and assistance to help in reaching out to their local schools, youth groups, recreational departments and similar organizations to provide a set of six to eight introductory lessons. The program emulates the golf industry’s The First Tee, in which school-age kids are introduced to golf through a series of lessons at a local golf course. The First Tee has reached 15 million children since its start in 1997.
For 2019, Time To Ride will select 20-30 facilities from across the US to participate in the pilot program, representing a cross-section of breeds and disciplines.
Facilities selected for the pilot program will receive gifts and discounts from Marketing Alliance member companies and organizations, including a free one-year Professional Membership from United States Pony Clubs, free Fan Memberships from US Equestrian, a coupon for a free bag of Purina horse feed, a complimentary copy of Platinum Performance magazine, discounts on purchases from Certified Horsemanship Association, Troxel Helmets, Weaver Leather and more.
To learn more about Time To Ride, review the requirements and apply for the pilot program, visit www.timetoride.org. Preference will be given to applications received by May 1, 2019.
About Time To RideTime To Ride is managed and funded by the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance. The Marketing Alliance was founded by a consortium of equine-related corporations and organizations to encourage and support the growth of the U.S. horse industry. Current members of the Marketing Alliance include: Active Interest Media/Equine Network, American Horse Council, Morris Media Network, Platinum Performance, Purina and Zoetis. Additional support is provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, National Reining Horse Association, Troxel Helmets and Weaver Leather. Educational support is provided by Certified Horsemanship Association, US Equestrian and United States Pony Clubs.
For more information contact Molly O’Brien, Time To Ride Program Manager: ttr@horsecouncil.org; 202-891-7971.American Morgan Horse Association4066 Shelburne Rd.Suite 5Shelburne, VT 05482(802) 985-4944info@morganhorse.comwww.morganhorse.com ?  ?  ?  ?RegistryMembershipAbout AMHACopyright © 2019 American Morgan Horse Association. All Rights Reserved.
American Morgan Horse Association | 4066 Shelburne Rd, Suite 5, Shelburne, VT 05482Unsubscribe valizoe1@yahoo.comUpdate Profile | About our service providerSent by chris@morganhorse.com in collaboration withTry it free today

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AMHA NEWS

American Morgan Horse Association <info@morganhorse.com>To:valizoe1@yahoo.comMar 21 at 3:30 AM

Weekly News BriefMarch 21, 2019AMHA Expands Distance Championship Options for 2019AMHA would like to announce that the options for Endurance Riders at the 2019 National Distance Championship being held October 25-27 in Vinita, Oklahoma, have expanded! (Photo © Kristen Warning)Read MoreAMHA NEWSTo All USDF All-Breeds Award CompetitorsThe competition year is beginning and once again AMHA will acknowledge five placings in all categories in 2019 for the USDF All-Breeds Awards. Read MoreSecond Quarter AMHA Board Meeting-April 5-6, 2019The Second Quarter American Morgan Horse Association, Inc. Board of Directors Meeting will be held in Portland, Maine, on Saturday, April 6, 2019 beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern time.Read MoreStart Your Show Season with a Champion TitleShow season will be here before you know it! Wouldn’t it be great to have your horse announced at your first show as a Champion or Grand Champion? And you can by entering AMHA’s Champion Title Program! Read MoreINDUSTRY NEWSUnique Spring Indoor Equine Clinic in VermontThe Morgan Horse Heritage Foundation is sponsoring an indoor equine clinic and lunch, April 13 at the Sharon Elementary School in Sharon, Vermont.Read MoreAmerican Morgan Horse Association(802) 985-49444066 Shelburne Rd., Suite 5Shelburne, VT 05482info@morganhorse.comwww.morganhorse.com ?  ?  ?  ?RegistryMembershipAbout AMHACopyright © 2019 American Morgan Horse Association. All Rights Reserved.
American Morgan Horse Association | 4066 Shelburne Rd, Suite 5, Shelburne, VT 05482

Special Report: 13 Facts About Fescue Toxicosis

Round broodmares grazing on lush pastures might make an idyllic picture, but danger could lurk in the grass. Download this special report to learn more about fescue toxicosis, its cause, prevention, and available treatment.

Posted by Michelle N. Anderson, TheHorse.com Digital Managing Editor | Jan 18, 2019 | Breeding and ReproductionDiseases and ConditionsFarm and BarnFree ReportMare Care and ProblemsMare NutritionMediaNutritionNutrition BasicsPasture & Forage ManagementPasturesWelfare and IndustryFavorite

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Round broodmares grazing on lush pastures might make an idyllic picture, but danger could lurk in the grass. Fescue toxicosis can cause gestational complications and potentially kill both mares and their unborn foals; however, tall fescue itself isn’t behind the disease. Rather, a specific chemical produced by a fungus that can live within the tall fescue plant is the culprit. The fungus benefits the plant but is devastating for pregnant mares that graze on pastures or eat hay or bedding containing infected tall fescue. In this special report, you’ll learn more about this disease, its cause, prevention, and available treatment.

Don’t forget to watch the two-part presentation, “Fescue Toxicosis Research in Horses and Cattle,” which is part of our Vet on Demand Lecture series organized in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Michelle N. Anderson, TheHorse.com Digital Managing Editor

Michelle Anderson serves as The Horse’s digital managing editor. In her role, she produces content for our web site and hosts our live events, including Ask the Vet Live. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate (Go Cougs!) and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

Tips to Predicting a Foals Arrival



Familiarity with the foaling process and your mare is crucial to predicting birth, but you also can employ sensors, alarms, and video monitoring systems. 


The act of foaling by a mare i

Posted by Les Sellnow | Feb 1, 2008 | ArticleFoaling & Foaling ProblemsMare CareReproductive SystemFavorite

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Familiarity with the foaling process and your mare is crucial to predicting birth, but you also can employ sensors, alarms, and video monitoring systems. 


The act of foaling by a mare is nothing short of explosive. Contractions are fast and powerful. Within minutes, if all goes well, a confused-appearing little horse is lying on the floor of a stall and an exhausted mare is resting quietly. If things go awry during this explosive process, handlers and veterinarians normally have only minutes in which to resolve the problem.

As a result, there have been many efforts through the years to predict just when foaling will occur so that attendants can be ready and waiting.

Research has provided tools and approaches to help accurately determine the time of foaling. Some of them work well, but none is foolproof. Mares don’t read manuals and sets of instructions with specific directions. For them, foaling is an individual act. They don’t all have the same length of gestation. They don’t all give off the same signals when foaling is about to commence, and there are differences in the length of time involved in the act itself.

How to Predict

There is no one predictor that can tell attendants exactly when a mare will go into labor, says Pat McCue, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Colorado State University’s (CSU) veterinary school. The best approach, he says, is to combine observation of physical signs with some of the technology that is available.

To totally understand what is being observed, one must first be aware of the three stages of parturition. We start with the basic fact that the average duration of gestation in the mare ranges from 335 to 342 days. That being said, there have been instances where foaling has occurred prior to 335 days and well past 342 days. The range can actually be from as few as 305 days to as many 400-plus. Here is a basic explanation of what occurs during the process itself:

Stage 1 can involve some vague and nonspecific signs. Most mares will be restless during this stage. They are apt to walk around the stall and some snatch a mouthful of hay, while others might not eat at all. A mare might lie down, roll, get up, stomp her back feet, and even kick at her abdomen. Some of the signs displayed are akin to those demonstrated when a horse is suffering from colic.

One of the reasons for the discomfort is the foal is being positioned for delivery. In layman’s terms, it involves rotating from a position where it is lying on its back to where it is on its stomach with the front feet pointed toward the birth canal.

While the foal is changing position, the mare’s cervix is dilating to provide access into the birth canal. Just before the mare goes into serious labor, she normally will sweat around the shoulders, flanks, and chest.

Stage 1 ends with the rupture of the chorioallantoic membrane (breaking of the water bag, or the outer layer of the placenta). The fluid that gushes forth serves to lubricate the birth canal, which facilitates passage of the fetus.

That all being said, we must return to the individuality of mares. Some mares might exhibit Stage 1 signs for a day or two–or even several days–prior to foaling. This is where good recordkeeping can be valuable. Mares tend to repeat a foaling routine year in and year out. Thus, if one knows how the mare acted during foaling last year, odds are it will be repeated this year. If she is delivering her first foal, it is highly important that all of the signs and data be recorded for future review.

Stage 2 is the actual birth stage, and it often lasts only 20 to 30 minutes from beginning to end. This is the explosive stage. In normal situations, the fetal placenta will separate from the uterus during the birthing process. The fetus will continue to receive oxygen from the mare’s blood via the umbilical cord. This is where a birthing problem can occur. As the foal is squeezed through the birth canal, the umbilical cord is compressed and the oxygen supply can be compromised. There is always the danger of suffocation if the foal is not born quickly.

The foaling attendant will be watching for a normal presentation. This means that the front feet emerge first, one about three to four inches in advance of the other. This expedites passage through the birth canal. The foal’s nose will be at about knee level. Hopefully, the amnion, a transparent placental membrane immediately surrounding the foal, will have ruptured. If it has not and still covers the foal’s head, it should be torn to enable the foal to breathe. The foal’s back feet often remain inside the mare for some minutes after the rest of the body has been expelled. Normally, the mare will lie quietly resting, as will the foal.

Stage 3 involves expelling of the placenta and its associated membranes, also called the afterbirth. This is an important time, as far as the mare’s health is concerned. A retained placenta can be very toxic. If it is not expelled within two to three hours after birth, veterinary help should be sought.

Applying What You Learned

By becoming familiar with the three stages of foaling, the attendant becomes more aware of what should happen as the mare is preparing to give birth.

McCue emphasized that it is important to observe the entire range of physical changes in a mare’s body as she nears parturition. Udder development should be monitored or clues about her parturition timetable: there will be changes in the teat ends as they fill with milk, there will be “wax” or dried colostrum on the teats, and there are changes in the vulva as it becomes more relaxed.

“I tell my students, ‘Don’t hang your hat on any one thing,’?” McCue says, “but normally, one strong indicator that foaling is close is waxing.”

For about 90% of foaling mares, he says, waxing is followed within 24 to 48 hours by foaling.

Again, a problem with this method of prediction arises because of the fact that mares are individuals, and what is normal for one might not be normal for another. The problem is with the 10% that don’t conform to the normal pattern of waxing.

There will be a percentage who don’t wax at all, McCue says, and there also will be a percentage in which waxing is not followed by foaling within 24 to 48 hours. However, the fact that 90% will foal within 24 to 48 hours after waxing provides a standard for the majority.

Other Foaling Indicators

Here are some other general timetables for physical signs that appear as a mare approaches her due date. Distention of the udder might start up to six weeks ahead of foaling, but it normally begins more like two to four weeks ahead, and teats normally start to fill a week to 10 days prior to foaling. Relaxation of the vulva often is observed 48 hours prior to foaling. A slackening of the area around the base of the tail often begins one to three weeks before foaling.

The technological advances in predicting foaling have ranged all the way from determining electrolyte changes in the mare’s milk to alarm systems that sound a warning when a mare goes into labor.

McCue says that CSU foaling attendants make use of test strips and alarms. The test strips are the outcome of a scientific discovery that approximately 24 to 48 hours before foaling, calcium concentration in the mare’s milk increases. Some of the researchers found that these changes normally occurred in the evening. As a mare’s assumed foaling time nears at CSU, McCue says, her milk is tested each evening.

He says while testing the milk is important, it also accomplishes something else. The foaling attendant is forced to handle the mare up close and personal rather than just observe her from a distance and, thus, is better able to note telltale signs such as udder development and condition of the vulva.

The companies that manufacture test strips to measure calcium in the milk recommend testing begin 10 days to two weeks prior to the expected foaling date. They also advise the test be administered one to two times daily. When the calcium concentration reaches 200 parts per million, reports one of the companies (FoalWatch), birth is imminent. When the mare’s calcium concentration reaches 300 to 500 parts per million, they add, birth is usually very near.

Testing the milk involves getting a small sample of milk from the mare and using special kits that the companies provide to measure the calcium levels.

In the test strip approach, color changes in the strip indicate increases in calcium levels.

Once one has predicted foaling within the 24- to 48-hour framework, it is possible to make use of other technology to let attendants know when labor begins. One of the methods utilized at CSU, says McCue, is Foalert. The system relies on a transmitter and a separate receiver. The transmitter is stitched to the edge of the mare’s vulva. A tiny magnet is stitched to the other side and is attached to the transmitter. When the mare goes into labor and the vulva lips separate, the magnet is pulled from the transmitter, which activates the receiver, and a remote alarm sounds to alert attendants.

There are various degrees of sophistication with the system, including a telephone hookup and long-range capability.

The system has been most useful during the daytime hours at CSU, according to McCue. “At night we have dedicated foal-watchers, but during the day, many of these people are doing other tasks and the alarm system can alert us.”

Research has demonstrated that the vast majority of mares foal at night. Behaviorists seem to think this is a throwback to mares’ natural desire to conceal themselves from predators during a vulnerable time.

Other alarm devices are on the market as well. They are designed for activation when the mare lies down and remains lying down, such as would occur during foaling. The devices can either be attached to the mare’s halter, or they are worn like a surcingle around the girth.

There also are video monitoring systems that allow you to watch the mare in her stall from the warmth and comfort of your home. Today there are video cameras that can send signals remotely, so no hard-wiring is necessary.

Video surveillance also allows you to avoid “bothering” the mare by your arrival and turning on lights to check her every hour or so. Some mares seem to “put off” foaling until they are alone, and most foaling attendants and breeders can tell you stories of foals they missed, despite monitoring the mare closely.

One company, AVtech Solutions, offers a monitoring system that allows you to access your wireless camera’s video over the Internet.

Cameras can send signals in black and white or color. These types of systems have become more commonplace and less expensive in recent years. Some systems also allow you to record events for an archive that can be kept with your files.

Take-Home Message

Technological developments can be helpful in predicting foaling, but only if they are utilized in conjunction with ongoing observation. You need to keep records on your mares to understand their normal pre-foaling attitudes and behaviors, learn early signals that labor is impending, and be available to help if needed. If you are not an experienced foaling attendant, make sure you have a veterinarian or equine midwife who can arrive quickly in case of problems.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Les Sellnow

Les Sellnow

Les Sellnow is a free-lance writer based near Riverton, Wyo. Hespecializes in articles on equine research, and operates a ranchwhere he raises horses and livestock. He has authored several fiction and non-fiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and

Blanketing…science

By: Natalija Aleksandrova
Holistic Horse & Hoof Care

In order for a mammal to survive, internal body temperature is kept within a very narrow range. If the temperature exceeds these limits either above or below, the chemical reactions on the cellular level function improperly. Or they stop functioning at all. Fluctuations outside of the normal temperature range result in health problems or death of the animal. Mature horses maintain their internal body temperature at a range around 38?. Foals, rapidly growing youngsters, pregnant and lactating mares have a higher norm of their internal body temperature (Hines, 2004). Most horse owners are aware of the damage and crisis inherent with fever states. Few horse owners realize how well adapted horses are to deal with cold when certain aspects of their lifestyle are in place for them.

Over thousands of years, the wild horse has spread over the entire world. Whatever place in the world they live, the horse was exposed to constantly changing temperature — through a day/night rhythm or a seasonal rhythm. Yet even today wild and semi-wild horses, as well as domestic ones, provided with species appropriate living conditions, survive perfectly any conditions Nature exposes them to. Whether it is the north of Europe, or Australian deserts, the horse is exposed to all of Nature’s changing elements — wind, sun, rain, snow, fluctuating temperature, etc. Never in nature seeking such excessive enclosed shelters as man-made stables and barns nor caves, never in nature seeking ways of covering themselves with fabric. The horse has naturally evolved ways of thriving.

Heat in the horse’s body is continuously generated as a by-product of metabolism, and a healthy animal has significant internal sources of heat from the metabolic processes (Bicego at al., 2007). To control internal heat loss during the cold time of year, the horse is provided by Nature with complicated and extremely efficient anatomical, physiological and behavioral thermoregulatory mechanisms. In order that the mechanisms are used in the most efficient way, or at all, the horse requires conditions equaling species appropriate lifestyle environments.

On a genetic level, the domestic horse is the same as its wild counterpart: it has the same abilities and needs to survive. Basically, they do not need anything more from the human than only to provide keeping conditions that this species is supposed to have by dictate of Nature: freedom of movement 24 hours a day, free access to appropriate food 24 hours a day, herd life, proper hoof care, shelter which it can enter and leave freely. Under human care that respects the horse’s natural needs, and provides it doesn’t make this animal a subject for anthropomorphism through stabling, changing eating habits, blanketing, clipping, shoeing, etc., the domestic horse is able to properly use its amazing natural thermoregulatory abilities exactly the same way as the wild horse.

Let’s take a deeper look into how the thermoregulatory mechanisms work in the horse, and how it can be interfered with and damaged through unnatural care and keeping practices.

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Coat in an Arabian breed horse on a very cold winter day (around –27?C/–17?F, Central Europe.The piloerection mechanism in use — the hair is raised to increase coat insulation.

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Cooling down after playing. Icelandic breed horse, Central Europe.
Photo © K. Jarczewski

First what is important to remember, is that due to some thermoregulatory factors such as the skin and coat being very good insulators, which prevent heat loss, and the muscles producing heat through their movements, it is far easier for horses to warm up in cold weather than to cool down in hot weather, or to cool down after intensive exercising. Cooling down is more difficult for the horse. Horses are adapted to handle cold.The horse’s skin is responsible both for protecting the interior of the body from outside temperature changes. As well as for not allowing heat loss in cold weather. Also it needs to be mentioned that the skin is responsible for dissipation of internal heat generated by muscle action to prevent the body from over-heating. The skins’ thermoregulatory mechanisms consist of four major factors, skin, coat, arteries and sweat glands, three of which are responsible for keeping the horse warm in a cold weather:1. The skin itself works as an insulating layer through its relative thickness.2. The coat.The coat insulation depends on the depth and thickness of the hair layer, the wind speed and the temperature and humidity gradients within the coat (Ousey et al., 1992).The coat, in horses, changes twice a year through the mechanism called photoperiodism, adapting to different seasonal base temperatures. Sensors in the horse’s skin react to the daytime light length changes. The horse is ready to grow their winter coat right after the summer solstice, when days start getting shorter. The horse is ready to change their winter coat to a summer one right after the winter solstice, when days start getting longer.In addition to photoperiod, environmental temperature also affects hair growth. Colder climates produce thicker and longer coats in horses than warmer climates do, when comparing horses who have the same body score and are fed the same amount of food.Also coat growth is affected by some other factors, for example, feeding and horse breed which will be explained later in this text.Additionally to growing its coat, the horse can increase the insulation of the coat through the mechanism called piloerection — raising, lowering or turning in different directions the hair in the coat via hair erector muscles. This way the horse increases or decreases the thickness of the insulation layer and efficiently varies the amount of airflow to the skin surface. Piloerection increases coat depth 10% to 30% in mature horses (Young & Coote, 1973). The hair erector muscles must be exercised regularly in order to work properly, as with any other muscle in the body.Hairs of the coat are covered with a greasy substance, which helps the horse not to get wet to the skin on rainy or snowy days. The coat has a water-repelling effect through the hair grease — water runs down the outer hair while the deeper coat remains dry. The longer the coat, the less chance water has to get to the skin. Through regular coat brushing the greasy substance gets removed, and the water-repelling effect gets impaired.Not advisable either is to clean off the layer of dirt that rolling in mud ensures a horse. The mud has protective effects to the body.Needless to say that the popular practice of clipping the hair of a horse’s coat eliminates, completely, the thermoregulatory factor of the coat.3. Arteries in the skin.Arteries through muscle actions, called vasoconstriction or vasodilation, can be narrowed or enlarged, regulating blood flow to the skin. Constricting prevents internal heat loss by reducing the amount of warm blood brought to the cooler body surface. Dilation allows for a larger amount of hot blood from over-heated interiors to reach the body surface and to be cooled. The cooled blood lowers internal body temperature when it’s returned back to the interior of the body.4. Sweat glands.The horse uses sweat glands to cool down at a time when external or internal temperatures are too hot. When the outside temperature is too high for the air to cool the blood through the skin, the sweat glands secrete fluid. Evaporation of this fluid cools the skin surface and the blood in the surface arteries. In this way, bringing the cooled blood to the internal body, the temperature internally can be lowered even when it is hot outside. The horse stops secreting sweat as soon as the internal body temperature has reached it’s norm. Then it must dry quickly, since otherwise cooling would continue and bring body temperature below normal limits. A sweaty horse turns its coat hairs in various directions in order to avoid under-cooling and given freedom usually seeks a windy spot to effectively fast and safely dry itself. Mentioning the sweat glands mechanism is important because sweat glands are also brought into function through muscle action.

While those are the skins’ four major factors of thermoregulation mechanisms let’s now look into other thermoregulatory mechanisms available to the horse.

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Frost on the coat — heat escaped the body.

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Water running down the long winter hair, the undercoat staying dry.

The amount of fat in the body is also an important factor of thermoregulation. Since, in addition to being the body’s energy reserve, fat is three times more insulating than other tissues due to its low thermal conductivity and poor blood supply (Guyton, 1991; Davenport, 1992). Thus it is important for a horse to have a good layer of fat before winter. Wild horses and naturally kept domestic horses maintain the natural rhythm of weight change throughout the year with their weight growing up to 20% by the Autumn. Usually we can see that domestic horses with a thicker fat layer in their bodies grow a comparatively shorter winter coat than horses with less fat gain at Autumn, comparing the same breed and the same body score animals. Also fat gets distributed more evenly over the body surface in cold conditions instead of being concentrated in some particular areas as in hot conditions.

Kept in the same conditions, smaller horse breeds have a longer/thicker coat compared to larger breeds. Also we see a typically thicker coat in foals. This is connected to a great effect of allometry, the systematic change in body proportions with increasing body size, on heat balance within animal species. Changes within species occur as animals grow and develop but exist also between breeds of species (Reiss, 1991; Langlois, 1994). Generally, large body size is an advantage with respect to thermoregulation in the cold. Since, the ratio of heat-dissipating surface area to heat-producing/retaining body mass decreases with increasing body size (Phillips & Heath, 1995; Bligh, 1998). Therefore, large size horses have less relative surface area available for heat exchange, and thus importantly lose less heat in the cold than small size horses do. Small horses lose more body heat than large horses do. In addition to large body size, a spherical body shape reduces the surface area to body mass ratio (Langlois, 1994). To compensate for the bigger surface/mass ratio northern-type horses generally have evolved heavier rounder bodies with shorter limbs and extremities which are well protected by thick hair, mane and fetlock, therefore being more able to retain more body heat and cope with cold.

Increasing feed intake increases heat production in the horse’s body. This is connected to the fact that the process of digesting long fibers produces heat as a by-product. It is important that every domestic horse has unrestricted access to hay 24 hours a day. In cold weather having a chance of increasing heat production through continuously consuming and digesting long fiber. Especially when some of the other thermoregulatory mechanisms aren’t yet adjusted in suddenly changing weather conditions such as a rapid drop of temperature.

Such extra demand for feed is called climatic energy demand (MacCormak & Bruce, 1991). Horses have been observed to need about 0.2 to 2.5% more energy for maintenance per 1 degree Celsius drop in outside temperature below their lower critical temperature (Young Coote, 1973; McBride et al., 1985; Cymbaluk et al., 1989a; Cymbaluk, 1990). (Lower critical temperature is individual for every horse/group of horses at different times of year and depends on many other thermoregulatory and environmental factors.)

Importantly, smaller-sized horses have greater lower critical temperature values meaning their heat loss is relatively greater than for larger horses. Thus small-sized horses actually need proportionally more additional feed. To explain further, the greater that the lower critical temperature value is — the more heat loss the animal experiences. Small-sized horse breeds lose more heat than big-sized horse breeds in the same temperature conditions. The lower that the lower critical temperature value is, the greater the heat retention is that the animal experiences. Bigger-sized horse breeds stay warmer in cold weather.

Feral horses have been reported to reduce locomotor activity in winter compared to summer (Duncan, 1980; Berger et al., 1999; Arnold et al., 2006). Reduced activity in winter was an annual pattern related to decreased outside temperature and hence to a reduction in internal heat production and energy expenditure (Arnold et al., 2006). This adaptation mechanism of reducing activity helps wild horses to cope with the energetic challenge of winter. We can observe similar reduction of activity in winter in domestic horses kept naturally. Though the domestic horses aren’t challenged with a necessity to search for food in winter to the same extent as their wild counterparts. This slowing down in their activity obviously has the same purpose as in the wild horses — the reduction of energy expenditure in the cold. Thus, it is a normal seasonal rhythm in the horse to be less exercised in winter due to this cold adaptational thermoregulation mechanism, therefore it is not advisable to forcefully exercise horses in winter.

Along with general reduction of activity in the cold, we have observed in horses, short sessions of restlessness and locomotor activity (movement) during sudden acute cold periods and adverse weather. Short term beneficial movement that is a useful bridge until other factors of their thermoregulatory system adjust to the new temperature conditions.

Sometimes we can observe horses standing or lying down very close to each other, this way they reduce heat loss via radiation. By such positional closeness to each other they reduce the body surface area exposed to the external environment (Bligh, 1998). At the same time animals, who for some reason, don’t produce enough individual internal heat can use, as an extra source of beneficial heat, a paddock mate’s body-heat radiation via positional closeness.

Also by changing body posture and orientation, horses can increase absorbed solar radiation to use as another additional source of heat. Often we can observe that horses prefer to sunbath under the direct sun instead of eating on short sunny winter days, and as soon as the sun sets they are back to eating.

Snow which we can sometimes see lying along horses backs during winter also plays the helpful role of providing an extra protective layer against internal heat loss.

On windy, rainy days, we can see horses standing with their tails to the wind and their heads low. This way they effectively keep their necks, heads, ears and eyes, underbelly and sheaths out of water and wind. Their tails serve to protect their rear ends — the shorter hairs on the dock fan out deflecting both snow and wind. Also on such days, horses can be seen standing in the lee shelter of walls, or using natural windbreaks such as trees or hills to protect themselves from the wind.

When allowed free choice, it’s been observed that horses utilize enclosed spaces, such as shelters or forests, mostly to hide from summer heat and flies.

Under extreme circumstances, heat in the horse body can be generated by shivering. During shivering, heat is rapidly produced by breaking down ATP in the muscles (Langlois, 1994). Shivering is usually an acute response to sudden cold exposure, or sometimes it occurs during extended periods of exposure to cold in rainy weather. In healthy animals, shivering is replaced by normal internal heat production as they adapt to new weather conditions.

A different problem occurs with enclosed spaces when placing a hot sweaty horse into a stable. Due to a lack of air circulating in there, cooling already takes longer and a horse sweats for longer. The air surrounding the horse becomes saturated and drying also takes longer than normal, because the humid air cannot absorb any more moisture. As a result, the horse remains undercooled, again setting the stage for internal disorder: colic, diseases and infections by negatively affecting metabolism’s safe temperature margins.

Blanketing moreover can set the thermoregulation in a horse to a complete mess. The animal tries to warm up parts of the body left exposed to the cold such as head, neck, belly and legs, in the process they become over-heated in those parts covered by the blanket. A horse cannot increase heat in selected area’s of the body. The whole body cools or the whole body heats up. Sweating under a blanket is more of a problem metabolically to the horse than people realise.

Kept in stables or/and blanketed, horses lack stimuli (temperature fluctuations) triggering the activity of thermoregulatory mechanisms. They don’t need to exercise hair erector muscles, nor to dilate or constrict arteries, nor to activate the sweat glands, nor to prepare or deplete healthy fat reserves. All muscles atrophy without exercising for a period of time. If an animal in this state is suddenly exposed to the cold, they will not be able to activate necessary thermoregulatory mechanisms. As a result the internal body temperature could drop too low, that would lead to disruptions in metabolic processes. This can affect, for example, the production and migration rate of white blood cells and antibodies, with partial disabling of them. The result is a stressed animal with a disease or infection hosting internal environment. The germ is nothing, the terrain is all (Louis Pasteur). Consequentially germs or viruses in the body get a perfect opportunity to over breed.

Besides the fact that the natural thermoregulatory mechanisms can only be fully utilized when a horse is kept in their species-appropriate living conditions, there is an anxiety and stress factor that horses inevitably experience when cut off from their basic needs and kept in ways unnatural for this species (stabling, separating from equine companions, forced exercising, lack of continuous fiber uptake, etc.). This stress also makes them less capable of coping with cold.

To review all resources and references for this article click this link to it’s original source and scroll down:

http://holistichorseandhoofcare.blogspot.com/2014/03/thermoregulation-in-horses-in-cold-time.html

Now… one last thing Natalija did not mention. If your horse has been clipped thus eliminating his ability to use his natural built-in devices and grow his winter coat, or if your horse has been blanketed since Fall so his natural devices have not developed, his winter coat has not grown, either start slowly and with good judgement or wait until next year, depending upon where you are and what your climate is. Then next year no clipping, no blankets, and let him develop his winter devices naturally.

Gaited Morgan goes the Distance 100 miles

Steinauer woman, horse complete California endurance ride considered one of world’s toughest

  • CHRISTINA LYONS Beatrice Daily Sun Aug 21, 2018

Sarah Rinne and her horse Silver Valley Tate climb Cougar Rock — a notorious stretch of granite that is part of the annual Tevis Cup 100-mile endurance ride in California. Rinne and Tate finished early July 29 after 23 hours and 47 minutes on the trail.

Lori McIntosh of Gore/Baylor Photography 2018

BEATRICE — Sarah Rinne had wanted to ride in the Tevis Cup since she was 9 or 10 years old.

“And 30 years later, it finally happened,” said Rinne, who is from the Pawnee County village of Steinauer. 

Held every year since 1955 on the Western States Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California, the Tevis Cup is touted as one of the toughest endurance rides in the world.

Riding Silver Valley Tate, Rinne was among 64 competitors who covered all 100 miles in less than 24 hours.

But only just: Rinne and Tate crossed the finish line 23 hours and 47 minutes after they started July 28, finishing 58th. Less than half of the field completed the race.

“We were the last of 152 horses out of Robi Park (the starting line) at 5:15 a.m.,” she said. “We averaged 5 to 6 miles per hour throughout the 100 miles.”

Rinne said the toughest part of the ride was the canyons.

“It was not at all what I expected,” she said. “It was about 125 degrees in the canyons and because of the fires, very poor air quality. You can’t realize the full effect until you’re on switchback No. 35 and knowing there are about 37 to go.”

And, of course, part of the race takes place overnight.

“Between 12 and 1 a.m. I was thinking, ‘I could fall asleep on my horse,'” Rinne said. “There were glow sticks on his shoulders, but I couldn’t really see much. We did 32 miles and eight hours in the dark.”

She forded the American River by moonlight, took in sweeping views of high country dotted with wildflowers during the day and crested Cougar Rock — a steep, slick stretch of almost entirely granite and a setting for many dynamic photographs.

“Perhaps the best part was riding and finishing with my mentor and friend, Jonni Jewel,” Rinne said. “I loved watching my horse do his job throughout the entire 100 miles. He is amazing and I completely trusted him.”

Tate is a Morgan horse owned by Dwight and Mary Hanson of Ithaca. He’s 16.1 hands tall and 9 years old.

The majority of the horses competing in the Tevis Cup are Arabians. Rinne said Tate was the only Morgan and only one of two gaited horses entered.

“When Dwight and Mary asked me if I’d like to ride Tate at the Pony Express Competitive Trail Ride at Rock Creek Station (near Fairbury) in August of 2015, I reluctantly said yes, mainly because I was to a point of not wanting to ride horses I didn’t know,” Rinne said. “But when I rode him, we just clicked and I just thought to myself with more development, Tate had Tevis potential.”

Preparing for mountain riding when you live in a flat region is a challenge. However, the two did interval and hill training to prepare for the mountainous terrain.

Rinne planned to compete in the Tevis Cup in 2017. However, Tate had lameness issues. By then, they had both been training for two years.

The ride has two mandatory one-hour rest stops and various vet checks along the trail. Crews are positioned at the stops to help care for the teams.

Shari Parys of Gretna served as a crew member for Rinne and Jewel.

“It was amazing,” Parys said. “It couldn’t have been a more special Tevis, with Sarah riding the horse owned by my other good friends, Dwight and Mary, and having such a good mentor Jonni, and her experienced crew chair, Sara, to help with the success. Seeing them cross the finish line was beyond words.”

Rinne, a mother of four, operates Rinne Hay Service and raises cattle with her husband, Seth.

“I am just so blessed to have been able to do this,” she said. “I would like to do it again. I’m always up for an adventure or challenge.”

Sarah Rinne and her horse Silver Valley Tate climb Cougar Rock — a notorious stretch of granite that is part of the annual Tevis Cup 100-mile endurance ride in California. Rinne and Tate finished early July 29 after 23 hours and 47 minutes on the trail.

 

She forded the American River by moonlight, took in sweeping views of high country dotted with wildflowers during the day and crested Cougar Rock — a steep, slick stretch of almost entirely granite and a setting for many dynamic photographs.

“Perhaps the best part was riding and finishing with my mentor and friend, Jonni Jewel,” Rinne said. “I loved watching my horse do his job throughout the entire 100 miles. He is amazing and I completely trusted him.”

Tate is a Morgan horse owned by Dwight and Mary Hanson of Ithaca. He’s 16.1 hands tall and 9 years old.

The majority of the horses competing in the Tevis Cup are Arabians. Rinne said Tate was the only Morgan and only one of two gaited horses entered.

“When Dwight and Mary asked me if I’d like to ride Tate at the Pony Express Competitive Trail Ride at Rock Creek Station (near Fairbury) in August of 2015, I reluctantly said yes, mainly because I was to a point of not wanting to ride horses I didn’t know,” Rinne said. “But when I rode him, we just clicked and I just thought to myself with more development, Tate had Tevis potential.”

Preparing for mountain riding when you live in a flat region is a challenge. However, the two did interval and hill training to prepare for the mountainous terrain.

Rinne planned to compete in the Tevis Cup in 2017. However, Tate had lameness issues. By then, they had both been training for two years.

The ride has two mandatory one-hour rest stops and various vet checks along the trail. Crews are positioned at the stops to help care for the teams.

Shari Parys of Gretna served as a crew member for Rinne and Jewel.

“It was amazing,” Parys said. “It couldn’t have been a more special Tevis, with Sarah riding the horse owned by my other good friends, Dwight and Mary, and having such a good mentor Jonni, and her experienced crew chair, Sara, to help with the success. Seeing them cross the finish line was beyond words.”

Rinne, a mother of four, operates Rinne Hay Service and raises cattle with her husband, Seth.

“I am just so blessed to have been able to do this,” she said. “I would like to do it again. I’m always up for an adventure or challenge.”

 

Beware of the Grass?

Endophyte-free tall fescue: Should I be concerned about endophytes in forage grasses?

What are endophytes and what impact could they have on my livestock?

The term “endophyte” usually comes to a farmer’s attention in connection with tall fescue. This forage grass is extremely important in the southern United States and endophytes have a lot to do with it. An endophyte is a fungus that lives within the plant between cells. It is not a true parasite, but has a symbiotic relationship with the host plant. The endophyte receives water, nutrients and a structure in which to grow. It provides alkaloids to the plant which help protect it from drought, heat and plant-eating animals, including insects. The fungus develops along with the plant and concentrates in seeds. This assures the next generation of grass plants will also be “endophyte-infected.”

When consumed by cattle and other livestock, the toxic alkaloid contained in endophyte-infected tall fescue can cause foot and leg problems, reduced weight gain or weight loss, reduced milk production, digestive problems and reproductive problems, including abortion. The toxin is concentrated if the tall fescue is grazed or harvested under high soil nitrogen or drought conditions. If harvested tall fescue is fed out at a level of less than 50 percent of total dry matter in the ration, the toxin is not likely to cause a noticeable problem.

Different grass species are infected by specific endophytes. The tall fescue endophyte produces two main alkaloids, loline and ergovaline. The loline is not known to cause harmful effects in livestock. However, the ergovaline contains the same toxin as the ergot fungus which infects cereal grains and grasses. Ergot was the cause of occasional widespread human poisoning in medieval times when infected grains were harvested and consumed.

Although not common in Michigan, another endophyte-related health problem is called “ryegrass staggers.” Perennial ryegrass can contain endophytes that produce a toxin called lotitrem B, usually under droughty conditions or in a high soil nitrogen situation. If lotitrem B levels are high and animals consume enough of the infected perennial ryegrass, a nervous disorder can result.

Drought and pest resistance provided by endophytes in tall fescue and other forage grasses are important for yield and stand persistence in the southern United States. However, research has shown that persistence of these same grasses in more northern areas, including Michigan, is not influenced by the presence or absence of endophytes. Endophyte-free tall fescue seed varieties are recommended by Michigan State University Extension and should be used in Michigan for tall fescue seedings. Palatability has been an issue with tall fescue forage compared with other cool season species commonly grown in Michigan. Improved endophyte-free tall fescue varieties with softer leaves are now available, providing Michigan farmers with the opportunity to try high-yielding tall fescue in their forage programs. Results of tall fescue variety trials in Michiganare available online.

An informative publication, “Forage Fescues in the Northern USA,” from the University of Wisconsin provides more information on endophytes and their impact on forage and livestock production in fescue species.

For more Michigan forage information, visit the MSU Forage Connection website.

Morgan National Endurance

 
Morgan Horse Logo
 
 
 
 
AMHA is thrilled to announce an opportunity that has been two years in the making – the first ever, AMHA Distance Championship (50-mile ride) which will take place in Henryville, Indiana on Friday, October 26, 2018.
 
AMHA has partnered with the Arabian Horse Association to offer this first ever American Morgan Horse Association 50-mile National Championship for horses registered with AMHA. This breed specific championship runs concurrently with the 50-mile OPEN (all breeds) ride. Your entry fee of $155 covers both the 50-mile AMHA ride entry AND the concurrent 50-mile OPEN ride.  
 
Not quite ready for a 50-mile ride? The overall event being held Thursday October 25 through Sunday October 28 offers a variety of options for Distance Riders of all levels.
 
Other options Morgan enthusiasts may find appealing include:
 
• 100-mile OPEN (all breeds welcome) Ride, Saturday
• 25-mile Limited Distance Challenge, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (made up of three, individual, 25-mile a day rides)
• Combined Trail Ride, Sunday
 
Qualifications for the AMHA 50-mile ride include:
• Horse must be registered with the AMHA
• Rider must be an active competing member of AMHA
• Horse must have a minimum of 100 Lifetime miles completed
• Horse must have completed in a minimum of 2 different 50-mile rides sanctioned by AMHA, AHA, or AERC (must be able to verify)
• Horse must be at least 5 years old on the day of the ride
• Entries must follow all rules and pay all fees as outlined in the event flyer and registration form
 
Please spread the word so we can have a great “MORGAN” turnout at this inaugural event! You can find more information about the ride on the AMHA website (including the event flyer, entry blank, etc.),
 
We can’t wait to see you and your Morgan there! Plan on attending? E-mail AMHA Executive Director Carrie Mortensen at execdir@morganhorse.com and let her know she’ll see you there. 
 
Being a NEW program for AMHA, we of course, welcome membership comments and thoughts. Good luck!
 
Photo © Spectrum Photography
 
 
American Morgan Horse Association
4066 Shelburne Rd.
Suite 5
Shelburne, VT 05482
(802) 985-4944
 
 
 
Copyright © 2018 American Morgan Horse Association. All Rights Reserved.
 
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Club Scrapbook 2012

http://gaitedmorgans.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/MSFHA-NOTEBOOK-FOR-WEB-reduced.

front page scrapbook

Club Scrapbook from 2012 and before

 

Gaited Show rules effective 12/2018

https://www.morganhorse.com/upload/photos/6132017_MO_Rule_Changes_-_approved.pdf

MO190 Tracking #028-17 Draft #1 Approved Intent MO190 Morgan Gaited- General [CHAPTER SUBCHAPTER: MO-17 MORGAN-GAITED] 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 then 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 judge. 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 pleasurabke 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 criteria. 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. Proposed Change This will open up a new section in the Morgan Division. These horses perform the following gaits- the Trail Walk, Show Gait and Pleasure Gait. By offering this new section, it provides further opportunity to present to a wide demographic audience another way of showing the Morgan horse which further promotes the Morgan breed. Thursday, March 01, 2018 10:19 AM Page 2 of 4 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 footfalls. 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

AMHA NEWS

Morgan Horse Logo
 
Weekly News Brief
March 1, 2018
 
 
 
Update on USDF All-Breeds Award
 
At AMHA’s recent board meeting on February 16, it was determined that AMHA will return to acknowledging five placings in all categories in 2018 for the USDF All-Breeds Awards with a few caveats.
 
AMHA NEWS
 
Submit Youth Contest Applications Early!
Are you hosting a Youth of the Year Contest at a show or your farm? Submit your applications early so AMHA can help promote your contest. AMHA can help you organize your youth contest – but ONLY if we know you’re hosting one! 
 
2017 AMHA Annual Report Online
If you were unable to attend the Meeting of AMHA Members on February 16 as part of the AMHA Convention, the 2017 Annual Report can be downloaded by clicking here.
 
Fun, FREE Youth Activities!
 
Did you know AMHA offers FREE activities for youth? And, you don’t even have to be a member to take advantage of them!
 
AMHA Board of Director Election Results
The American Morgan Horse Association, Inc., held its annual meeting of members as noticed on February 16, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. The results of the election conducted in conjunction with that meeting are now available.
 
AMHA Announces 2018 Breed Promotion Grant Awards
 
AMHA is pleased to announce the 2018 Breed Promotion Grant recipients. This program was established in 2015 to help organizations with their Morgan horse promotional efforts.
 
AMHECT Announces Grant Offerings
 
The American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust (AMHECT) is pleased to offer two memorial grants for young adults under the age of 40: the Harry Sebring Memorial Grant and the Elberta Honstein Memorial Grant.
 
INDUSTRY NEWS
Morgan Selected as 2017 Hope in the Saddle Therapy Horse of the Year
 
Selected from more than 120 entries, Dreamhill’s Lady Pizazz (Whippoorwill Ebony x Marnos May Delight) was chosen as the grand-prize winner of the inaugural “Hope in the Saddle Therapy Horse of the Year” contest. 
FMCSA Responds with Clarification
Courtesy of American Horse Council
 
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) followed their recent meeting with American Horse Council (AHC) staff, a meeting in response to the AHC request for clarification , by releasing two documents on the existing Commercial Driver License (CDL) regulations and how those regulations impact the horse industry. The AHC is appreciative of the horse specific efforts that FMCSA have taken to quell the concerns of our recreational enthusiasts.
 
Equine Herpesvirus: What You Need to Know
Via US Equestrian Federation
 
Ask horse owners to name their most-feared horse diseases, and chances are equine herpesvirus, or EHV, will be on the list. With the competition season underway, it’s important for equestrians to be vigilant and take preventive measures, from vaccination to biosecurity.
 
 
American Morgan Horse Association
(802) 985-4944
4066 Shelburne Rd., Suite 5
Shelburne, VT 05482

My Magic Horse Journey

https://horsejourney809900006.wordpress.com/

 

My Magic Horse Journey

Traveling with my black mare around the Country

Barn Sour Buddy Sour

How Can I Solve His Separation Anxiety?

A top equine researcher weighs in on the subject of how to overcome your horse’s separation anxiety.

CAMIE HELESKI, PHD

NOV 16, 2016

 

Question: Recently, my 15-year-old gelding has become very attached to another gelding on the farm. He’s not behaving dangerously (yet) when taken away from his buddy, but he neighs and seems generally very anxious when alone. I’m worried he’s stressed and that his anxiety will escalate with time. How do I help him overcome his attachment?

Answer from Camie Helesi, PhD: This behavior is natural, though challenging, to deal with. In the wild, horses benefit from having strong bonds with one another. Although this can make life more difficult for horse owners, I still strongly recommend providing horses plenty of turnout in the company of others, rather than denying them this natural social connection.

If your horse struggles with separation anxiety, keep separation periods short at first so he can get used to the idea gradually.

© Arnd Bronkhorst

Domesticated horses seem to develop the worst separation anxiety when they live together in pairs for long periods of time. Typically, the horse who is left behind in the barn or pasture gets more upset than the one you take away. Keeping horses in groups of at least three is often much more manageable, as you can take one out without leaving one alone.

 

Regardless, your horse’s behavior likely will improve over time. Horses have a remarkable ability to get used to scary or challenging situations like these. For example, they will initially react in fear to hot-air balloons flying overhead. But if it continues to happen with any frequency, they’ll react a little less each time until they’re completely accustomed to the balloons. The same thing happens in the wild: Horses become habituated to things that are seemingly dangerous at first so long as those things recur frequently with no negative results.Frequency is the key. If you remove your horse from his buddy once a month, his behavior might not improve significantly. But if you do it three times a week, you may be surprised how quickly he improves.

It always helps to break big challenges into tiny steps. For example, it would be too much to ask a horse to cross a stream for the first time on his first trail ride without any companions. You’d be more successful introducing stream crossings in the company of an experienced horse before attempting them on your own.

If your horse gets anxious alone in the barn or in the ring at home, put his buddy in an adjacent stall or paddock where he can see him. Then gradually move the buddy farther away over subsequent sessions. Try to stay calm and ignore any anxious behavior either horse exhibits. Raising your emotional level by yelling, for example, will just upset him further.

When he is the one left behind in the stall or paddock, give him some hay to distract him. (Be sure to check that your fencing is sturdy and safe before leaving him alone in a pasture.) Keep the separation periods short at first so he can get used to the idea gradually. With enough repetition, he will improve.

You may find it easiest to trailer him alone. Horses tend to bond quickly with one another when trailered in pairs. If you then tie one of those horses to the trailer and take the other away, the former will be understandably distraught. If you must trailer with another horse, but have the option to stable on the showgrounds, consider asking the show manager to place the two horses far apart, in separate barns if possible. When you arrive, unload one horse at his barn and then drive the other to his. Ideally, they’ll never know that they’re on the same grounds. This can be more difficult logistically—especially if you and the other horse’s owner are sharing a tack stall—but your horse will adapt quickly and whinny much less.

On the other hand, if he gets nervous being alone in the show ring—and even the most experienced horses can have trouble transitioning from group classes to showing alone, for example, in a dressage ring—it’s OK to position a calm babysitter ringside. Have a friend stand with the babysitter as close to the ring as the rules allow and be sure your horse knows he’s there before you enter the ring. Over time, with plenty of repetition and patience, his confidence will grow and your friend can gradually position the babysitter farther and farther away.

Equine-program instructor Dr. Camie Heleski taught at Michigan State University for 25 years before accepting her current role as a senior lecturer at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Her research focuses primarily on equine welfare and behavior. She is also the president of the International Society for Equitation Science, which encourages “ethical equitation” by promoting scientific research designed to study the most humane ways to train and care for horses. (For more information on this organization and to read its position statements on various issues, go to www.equitationscience.com.) A lifelong rider, Dr. Heleski has shown Arabians, hunt seat, Western and saddle seat and now enjoys practicing lower-level dressage. 

This article was originally published in the September 2017 issue of Practical Horseman

 

Conformation as it relates to gait…Imus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7sop9kWVvc

Part 1

By Brenda Imus

AMHA voting

https://www.morganhorse.com/media-events/news/article/10373/

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 info@morganhorse.com 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

JANUARY

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: Rachan-nem@yahoo.com 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…
Contactjacquieco-wan@comcast.net / 410-215-4979


FEBRUARY

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 jacquiecwan@comcast.net 
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 HOSPITALITY BOOTH in the BREED SHOWCASE
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
Contact:  Equifestofks.com


MARCH

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 
jlsbarton@aol.com


APRIL

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
www.equineaffaire.com

Gaited Horse Clinic 
Focus on Rhythm and Relaxation to Enhance Gait
April 14-15, 2018
SITTER DOWNS ARENA
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 
l.lees@sbcglobal.net

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


MAY

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
May 11-13
Port Clinton OH
Contact: Mary Ann 419-341-2372
theranch@theranchoutback.com

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
May 25-27
Brighton CO
Contact: Carrie  720-312-9139
info@ch-equine.com


JUNE

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
June 8-10
Rineyville KY
Contact: Linda 270-723-3947
ljoinercat@aol.com


JULY

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
July 6-8
Exeter RI
Contact: Darlene  401-742-3970
contactdarlene@gmail.com

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 www.fosh.info/Ija-judging-program
Show Manager- Lucy Rangel Tel: 816-674-7475 email: fgslr@usa.net


AUGUST

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Aug 6-8
New Columbia PA
Contact: Brenda  570-568-8222
info@FeatherHills.com

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Aug 10-12
Augusta ME
Contact: Teresa 207-557-0476 
teresa@whisperingwoodsstables.com

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Aug 17-19
St Croix Falls WI
Contact:  Patty 715-483-9292 
patti@rnrranchandtack.com

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


SEPTEMBER

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Sept 7-9
Milford MI
Contact: Karia 413-281-2407 
Karia0429@yahoo.com

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

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Sept 28-30
Cottonwood CA
Contact: Gail 530-347-0212
cottonwoodcreekequest@gmail.com


OCTOBER

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Oct 19-21
Sunbury, NC
Contact: Cheryl 252-465-4184
ceason@embarqmail.com


NOVEMBER

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Nov 2-4
Live Oak FL
Contact:  Barbara  850-673-9579 
Barbarajb14@earthlink.net

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Nov 9 – 11
Scottsdale AZ
Contact:  Lynne 602-300-6177 
lbombinski@cox.net

Gaited Horsemanship with Larry Whitesell
Nov 30 – Dec 1
Crowley LA
Contact:  Eddie 337-303-5759
Coacho45@hotmail.com


DECEMBER

Information Coming Soon

Big Creek 2005 Janet Hunter

janet hunter 2005 bigcreek

Jared Young Harley fun

https://youtu.be/39ooypBA6Ag

Gaited Morgan fun…watch video!

AMHA NEWS

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.
 
AMHA NEWS
 
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.
 
INDUSTRY NEWS
 
 
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

HORSE HEALTH

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 www.casiebazay.com.

Colic!!!!!

HORSE HEALTH

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.

©Flickr/MarkusSpiske

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
 
AMHA NEWS
 
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!
 
INDUSTRY NEWS
 
 
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

“QUICK LIST” FOR PROPOSED USEF/MORGAN RULE CHANGES — 2017
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
SUBCHAPTER MO-1 MORGAN-General
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
vehicle.
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
SUBCHAPTER MO-17 MORGAN-Gaited
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
judge.
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
criteria.
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
footfalls.
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.
SUBCHAPTER MO-17 18 ADDITIONAL CLASSES
MO190 201 General
MO191 -202 Additional Class Specifications

Working over poles to even out the gait

PACING TO GAITING SMOOTHLY: HOW TO USE POLES

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=124&v=UJTdWy1dL_U

 

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.

all-3-dvds

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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!!

https://videopress.com/v/xHwnZUSb     

(Jim and I have used this similar method for head down )https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekpcUNXqZDQ

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

Fun facts about Morgans

 

Cowgirl Magazine

Cowgirl Magazine

 

5 Fun Facts About The Morgan Horse

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

     
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  • 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, morganhorse.com.

    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.

    https://ivyshorses.com/

     

     

    Pace to Gait training

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    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!  Valizoe1@yahoo.com

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    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

    https://www.morganhorse.com/media-events/news/article/10340/

    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 http://www.gaitedmorgans.org.

    Hoof Flares

    HOOF CARE

    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.

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