Monday, April 2, 2012

"Service" Horses

A different venue for the horse industry is beginning to unfold and may make cause for great concern for shops and restaurants across the country.

That venue is a federal regulation allowing a certain type of horse (a.ka. the service "horse") rights to enter establishments.

Not to be confused with riding your horse into a bar for a beer after a hot blistery day on the trail like my friend did.  That was a little precarious to say the least since she had to duck her head to get inside the door.

The "service" horses are trained to be service animals just like dogs are trained to be service animals.  However, shop owners and restaurant owners are a bit concerned about cleanliness.  And right fully so!  However, I understand that you can train a horse not to relieve themselves in an arena setting.

Besides the relieving side of things, there is another concern and that is e. coli -  (Escherichia coli)

Young and old are most vulnerable to e. coli.  e. coli is a killer.  It's claimed many lives through the centuries.  Due you remember a few years back the e.coli outbreak through a big fast-food chain, where several people became ill from eating hamburgers.  Sadly, there was also a death toll associated with that out-break.  It's well documented that farm animals are key candidate carriers of e. coli.

e. coli is found in all (species) excrement and horses have been known to lay in their own excrement.  Besides the concern of e.coli there is also the concern for people who are allergic to animal hair and dander.
 CDC (Center for Disease Control) did a study in 2011 titled, "Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings, 2011" This 22 page report is an eye opener to say the least.

In this report there are guidelines to follow to "reduce the risk of disease" for service "dogs", but the service "horse" isn't mentioned.  Whether your pro or con for the federal regulation I would recommend you read this 22 page report to educated yourself on how to protect your family from a myriad of disease you can contract from any type of animal.  This report covers large and small animals, including birds.

A law suit is filed in the County of Los Angeles:

Not all horses that are considered or viewed by their owner as a "service" horse are miniature horses...

ABC News video link above also talks about other perceived service animals other than dogs and horses, and they (ABC News) are asking the question..." where do we draw the line".

Links of interest:

The Guide Horse Foundation -

AWIC (Animal Welfare Information Center) Federal Regulation -

Small Excerpt from federal regulation document: 

  • On March 15, 2011 the definition of a "service animal" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) changed and now defines a "service animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The Act also allows trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations.  Click the AWIC link above to access this information and more...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

GALA BENEFIT for Blue Star Equiculture

When         Sat, March 31, 7pm – 11pm Eastern
WhereEmery Roth Room, the Ritz Carlton New York 50 Central Park South New York, New York, 10019 (map)

Join us for a Gala Benefit at the famed Ritz Carlton hotel on Central Park South in honor of Blue Star Equiculture, the official retirement home for the celebrated carriage horses of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City.Blue Star Equiculture is one of the few draft horse rescues, retirement venues or sanctuaries who truly understand the soul of the working draft horse, and their respect for who our carriage horses really are is why we’re choosing to honor them with a Gala Benefit fundraiser to help them in their mission to help horses, humans, and Mother Earth. The Gala Benefit will be a glamorous cocktail party featuring beer, wine and butlered hors d’oeuvres. Special guests, slideshows and music will complement this great social event to help our retired carriage horses and all working horses through Blue Star Equiculture. To learn more about Blue Star Equiculture, click here. Tickets are $100, and are limited. Register below. You can pay for your tickets through our website using PayPal by clicking on the “Pay Now” button after you register. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please visit our sponsorship pagefor information on how you can help support working horses and support the retirement program for the Horse and Carriage Association’s horses at Blue Star Equiculture.

Compression Suits and Garments

Compression garments have been around for centuries and used most prominently for post surgery patients.  There's a compression garment for any human body part and some are also being sold for that impatient dieter to help hold in the belly.  Most recently athletes have been wearing compression suits to help recover quicker from their workouts. In fact one athlete found compression suits such a great benefit for himself he decided to design a compression suite for his horse. Yes you read right.  A compression suit for his horse.  Now you and your horse can cool down together in fashion and in a healthy way.

The more horses you ride the better rider you become

Monday, March 5, 2012

American Horse Publications 2012 Equine Industry Survey

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this survey is to gauge participation trends and management practices in the U.S. equine industry. In addition, it seeks to gather information regarding the most important issues facing the industry. Please note that when we use the word "horse," we are referring to all equids (horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys). 

This survey is being conducted for American Horse Publications (AHP). AHP is a nonprofit association which promotes excellence in equine media; members include equine-related publications, digital media, professionals, students, organizations and businesses. Dr. C. Jill Stowe is providing consulting services for data collection and analysis to the AHP; Dr. Stowe is currently an assistant professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky. The survey is sponsored by Kentucky Equine Research, Merck Animal Health, and Pfizer Animal Health. 

ELIGIBILITY: If you currently own or manage at least one horse, are 18 years of age or over, and live in the United States, you are eligible to complete the survey. Please answer the questions in this survey to the best of your ability, and please complete only one survey per household. It is anticipated that the survey will take 15 minutes to complete.

DEADLINE: Please complete this survey at your earliest convenience. The survey closes May 15, 2012.

CONFIDENTIALITY: This study is anonymous; this means that no one, not even members of the research team, will know that the information you give comes from you. When we write about the study, we will present only aggregated results.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hooves...Know the Enemy!

What are the most vulnerable parts of a horse?

stomach (metabolic function)
muscles depending on breed
and the list goes on...

However, today I'm sharing information about horses hooves, and as the saying goes..."no hooves, no horse".

I've seen many horses with severe hoof problems, just as everyone else through pictures and such, and it angers me deeply to see a horse inflicted with such a horrible fate.  I've also experienced the work involved in convalescing horses with this disease.  However, the horses I managed were to far along the laminitis/founder path to convalesce, so I made them as comfortable as possible. The people that had owned these horses previously either didn't know or didn't care what happened to them.  When I went to take one of the horses home with me the lady handed me a grain bucket that had corn in it.  Yes corn, and to see the hooves on this horse you would know instantly that corn should not be on the horses diet.  She had no clue what pain she was inflicting on this horse she just wanted the horse to be happy and have good weight on her. Ignorance is not an excuse!

The reason for the horses vulnerability to there hooves is because of their domestication in relation to their design.  Horses were meant to travel long distances through out the day, and to graze all day and into the night.  I woke this morning at 3:00 am and took a peak at my horses in there paddock and I could see them grazing, and at 7:00 am I always go out and give them some soaked beet pulp, some grain, and a little bit of hay (depending on the available grass in their paddock).  When I get to the barn in the morning all too often they are there resting from their early morning grazing session.  So if you think your horse is asleep when you are tucked inside your bed they are not sleeping.  The only time they do sleep is generally during the day (for a healthy horse) and its for about 20 minutes and yes its laying down, and its called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  There was one day where I caught one of my mares in her REM sleep and she was twitching.  I thought she was convulsing, so I ran to her, but half way there I thought wait no she is dreaming.  She was laid out like a drunken lizard and her back feet were moving as if she were running and I could imagine in my mind that she was dreaming about her and I running through green fields.  The other time I caught her in her REM sleep she had her chin propped up in the dirt and she was talking this time, and each time she let out a soft whinny the dust flew up around her muzzle.  It was hilarious to see and I was amazed to know that she dreams too.  So, when you see them standing there in one place they are merely resting.

Today we have them standing in tiny stalls for hours on end (thats if you have no land for them to roam on) and then we take them out, warm them up for a few minutes and then ask them to perform.  During this standing around time the horse looses it's condition in it's muscles and hooves, especially if he isn't worked regularly.  The action of the hoof hitting the ground causes the circulation to pump blood into the hoof and out of the hoof just as the heart pumps the blood in and out.  Without this action the hoof looses its conditioning and so when a veterinarian prescribes walking (in addition to the other things the vet will administer and ask you to do) for a horse with laminitis it helps increase the circulation for a better outcome for recovery.  If you don't have rubber boots you can take a flat piece of rubber and cut it to the size of the horses hoof and attach it with electrical tape.  This will protect the hoof.

I've recently taken on an exercise program for myself and as I run on the treadmill I think about how long and how much hard work I put forth to get where I am today, and then I think about my horses condition and ask the questions, "Are they "thrifty" or they conditioned enough where I can pull them out of the stall, field, or paddock and toss a saddle on them and take off in the wind and not expect any ill effects?  Maybe, maybe not.

Either way,  I focus on their condition.  Are they getting the right amount of exercise? Are they getting the right amounts of food and nutrients.  Are they drinking enough water?  There are so many things to focus on depending on what you plan on using your horse for even if they are going to be a back yard pet and a member of your family.

All in all, the first step is to know the enemy...

Laminitis (founder)

What is Laminitis?  This is when the sensitive laminae of the foot become inflamed, which could experience permanent damage.


  • Excessive amounts of grain
  • lush pasture
  • excessive amounts of cold water
  • proteins in highly concentrated feeds
  • retained placenta at giving birth
  • overuse on hard surfaces
  • standing for long periods of time during transportation or in a stall
  • obesity
  • Cushing's disease  - laminitis/founder is common in horses with Cushing's disease


  • "founder stance" all four feet are forward of the normal position, the head is low and back is arched
  • difficulty getting up from laying down
  • heat and pain at the coronary band
  • increased digital pulse
  • muscle tremors
  • sweating
  • increase heart rate
  • rapid, shallow respiration
  • expression of anxiety

Treatment...(treatments vary based on the type of  laminitis.  If you suspect laminitis/founder contact your veterinarian immediately and work with them on deciding what is the best treatment for your horse)

  • For grain over load have the vet come immediately, which they will most likely administer mineral oil to help remove the toxins
  • remove shoes
  • soak feet in ice water periodically or for grain founder alternate with hot water soaking and cold water soaking to help increase circulation 
  • have your horse stand in mud to give some relief 
  • standing in sand lowering the heels
  • phenylbutazone can help to reduce inflammation
  • Grain founder call a vet immediately
  • Grass founder call a vet immediately
  • Water founder call a vet immediately
  • Road founder call a vet immediately
  • Horses have been known to have chronic laminitis/founder

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Horse Milk


Have you ever thought of something or were presented something and you thought, oh how strange and decided to search the internet for it? Well of course you have!  Everyone does it. I know I'm not alone on this one.

Any way... I was presented with a picture that displayed cans of "Horse Milk" in powder form. Yea you may have used it for an orphaned horse, but wait there's more (gigggle)! I never knew there was an industry for Horse Milk! Well lets see how many ways horse milk can be utilized.  Better yet, lets see what companies are claiming what horse milk can do for you?  First lets start off with taking a look at how horse milk is preserved...
  1. Frozen
  2. Boiled
  3. Air dried
  4. Powdered form ( which is essentially the same as air dried just processed differently)
Uses or claims to fame by many websites..
  1. Metabolic disorders.  The claim is that it stimulates intestinal cleansing. mmmm?
  2. Higher nutrients than cow milk.
  3. Control cholesterol
  4. Problems with digestion
  5. Mineral or vitamin deficiency (thats a broad statement)
  6. Stiff joints and muscle tiredness
  7. Energy supplement
  8. Spring or Autumn cure (I'm not sure I understand what they are trying to say here)

One site also sells camel milk.  I read many years ago tales describing how arabian horses were fed camel milk, because of its rich nutrients.  Another site states it has fruity undertones...sounds more like wine than milk.

So 1 kg (2.2 lbs) will cost you approximately $92.00 USD, but wait...they say the price can be negotiated.

Now lots of thoughts run through my head, such as does this industry also have an over abundance of foals?  Similar to the production for Premarin?  I would imagine so if there is a huge demand for the product.  I don't imagine there are any producers in north American, but I decided to answer that question and found the following...


Start to Finish makes a Mare Replacer Powder and its made with..."contains proteins derived solely from edible milk ingredients...but doesn't state what kind of milk ingredients.

This is getting more interesting as I go down this road.  Ever hear of a product called Equilac, its a supplement made from horse milk and is recommended to help with various skin complaints such as psoriasis and eczema.  The company that makes Equilac is located in Belgium and if I did the translation of euros to USD correctly, this for me would be a costly item.  But then again costly is all in the view of the person pocket book.

Well I must get back to work, but there you go...some utterly interesting uses for horse milk!