Hoof Flares


Getting a Feel for Hoof Flares

Photo by Susan Kauffmann


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

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



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

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

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


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

Photo by Susan Kauffmann

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

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


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

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

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

Photo by Christina Cline

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


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


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

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

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



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

A Helmet Saved My Life


A Helmet Saved My Life

A true story


So, six months ago this was me.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

But the accident really drove it home for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Stand still horse!

Getting on a horse that won’t stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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Gaited versus non-gaited

AMHA News Brief

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October 19, 2017


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

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Saddle Horse Report

Celia Salmon Wins YAA Judging School Scholarship 

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

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

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

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

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


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

Equine Organizations Pull Together to Provide Disaster Relief 
The USEF (US Equestrian) Equine Disaster Relief Fund has received incredibly generous support from the equestrian community, with over half a million dollars raised to date in response to the devastation and flooding caused recently by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. With raging wildfires spreading throughout areas of California and continued relief needed in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands, there is still a need for funding to directly assist equines of any breed who are victims of natural disasters such as these. 
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Even Brown grass/winter tips


10 Tips to Prep Your Horse for Cooler Weather


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

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

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

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

1. Monitor grass intake

©Casie Bazay

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

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

©Casie Bazay

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


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

©Casie Bazay

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

4. Supplement loose salt

©Casie Bazay

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


5. Feed a good prebiotic or probiotic

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

6. Don’t blanket healthy horses

©Casie Bazay

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

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

©Casie Bazay

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

8. Provide shelter of some kind

©Casie Bazay

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


9. Maintain regular hoof care

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


10. Pay extra attention to older horses in cold weather

©Summer Nicholson

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

About the Author

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


Gait Analysis by Ivy


Accurate Video of Gaits

Man O’ War for Veterans

Man O’ War Project Aims to Heal Veterans With Horsepower

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Drs. Yuval Neria (left) and Prudence Fisher.

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

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

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



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

To learn more, visit www.mowproject.org.

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Overlooked Warning Signs of Cushing’s Disease

©Jon Clegg/Flickr CC by 2.0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 About the Author

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

Gaits Made Simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The New Horse Economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horse Ownership Declines Stabilize

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

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


Horseback Riding Holds Steady and Is Popular With Younger Adults

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

Natural Horsemanship Opens Stable Door to Premium Pet Products

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

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

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


Studies Promote Effectiveness of Equine Therapy

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

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


About the Report

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

View additional information about U.S. Equine Market, 3rd Edition, including purchase options, the abstract, table of contents, and related reports at Packaged Facts’ website: https://www.packagedfacts.com/Equine-Edition-10706833/.

More Packaged Facts reports on pet products & services are available for purchase at: https://www.packagedfacts.com/pet-products-services-c124/.

About Packaged Facts

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

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

Measuring the height of your horse

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

You can’t always guess accurately.

Sound Advocate


Sound Advocate Magazine

Good Guide to Horse Hay

Used with permission


EPM (possum disease)


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

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


Life cycle of S. neurona

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


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

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

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

Treatment and prevention[edit]

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

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

Resources on wikepedia page

Mares vs. Geldings

Mares vs. Geldings

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

By Allison Griest – @allisongriest | December 10, 2014

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


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

The author with Gabby

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

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

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

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

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

The author with Wrigley

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

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

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

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

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

But I still love mares.


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

The Mare Mystique
Connecting with Your Horse


Application for MaryMel Gaited Morgan Scholarship

application for MaryMel Gaited Morgan Scholarship

Scholarship 2014



Gaitways Track your Miles

Gaited Morgan Horse Organization

Gaitways Program


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

Who Can Join

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

Gaited Morgan Horse Organization

Gaitways Program




1. GMHO Member at the time of logged hours

2. GMHO Gaitways member of $25 lifetime fee

3. Registered Morgan with number

4. Logged hours not limited to just one horse

5. Recorded hours on GMHO Gaitways log sheets only

6. No time limit for accumulating hours for awards


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

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

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

Start Logging your GMHO Gaitway Hours NOW!!

Gaitways application form

Gaitways application fWhat Hours Count

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

Hours must be on a GMHO Gaitways Log Sheet

Gaitways Log Sheet

Gaitways Log Sheet

Gaitways log sheet page 1

Skeletal Test your knowledge


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

Test your Knowledge


Trails and Altruism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magazine Ads published

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

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

Ledan Morgans

Ledan Morgans


Sky Harbor Morgans

Sky Harbor Morgans


Missouri Morgans

Missouri Morgans


Rainbows Gait MorgansRainbows Gait Morgans

hunter ad

Hunter Hill Morgans



Lancelot ad for Mar 2013

Lancelot Morgans

Thomas Morgans December 2012

Thomas Morgans


sky harbor ad




Missouri Morgans for website March 2013





Sky Harbor Morgans Utah

Sky Harbor Morgans Utah












Thomas Morgans Utah

Thomas Morgans Utah

Hunter Hill Morgan Farm

Missouri Morgans December 2012

Missouri Morgans

Trail Blazer 2012

Trail Blazer 2012

Trailblazer Cover

Trailblazer Cover

Friends of Sound Horses 2012

Friends of Sound Horses 2012

The Morgan Horse Ad

The Morgan Horse Ad

Letha Simmons AMHA Calendar

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

3 Gaited Morgans Rainbow Calendar

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

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

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

Jim and I may have a couple extra if Dana does not.  contact us vali@dam.net.

Club Scrapbook

Club Scrapbook

Gaited Morgans on Radio


Gaited Morgan interview starts at 47:35 marker


copy and paste into your address bar


More Monument Valley photos by Letha Simmons

Larry Whitesell Clinic by Dan Simmons


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

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

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

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

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





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


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


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


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



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

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