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Guelph, ON Feb. 13, 2020 - In 2015, Lara Genik and Dr. C. Meghan McMurtry from the University of Guelph’s Department of Psychology conducted a survey at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, looking into the prevalence and impact of less studied painful incidents among children while handling and riding horses. Some of the results may surprise you. “There hasn’t been much work conducted about less serious incidents”, says Genik. “When I looked at the literature that did exist, I found that it has primarily focused on serious injuries that led to hospitalization. For example – we don’t know much about how often less serious incidents are occurring, when or where they are occurring, and what the impact is on youth and their parents.” Genik’s research survey set out to understand common painful incidents associated with riding and to gain insight that could potentially lead to intervention through safety and educational programming.   With the help of Equine Guelph and their EquiMania! youth display, data was collected at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. 120 children aged 8-18 (who participated in riding at least once per week) and a parent completed brief questionnaires about their riding habits including helmet use, supervision, painful incidents that have occurred, and their impact.   A startling result indicated that 75% of the children surveyed had experienced at least one type of painful incident more than once, yet only 7.3% said they had modified their behavior (e.g., keeping fingers away from the horse’s mouth after having been bitten). “We were quite surprised that these incidents had little impact on children’s behavior around horses,” says Genik. “This implies that the incidents may continue to occur even if they could be prevented – and we know from recent work that many incidents around horses may actually be preventable.”    Responses from parents and children were quite consistent and revealed regular and consistent helmet use and supervision were more commonly endorsed when riding horses compared to handling them on the ground. There were just a few responses that differed; specifically, parents believed children’s helmet use occurred more frequently when handling horses on the ground compared to their children’s reports. The same was true for the answers regarding supervision when working around horses from the ground.   'Once Bit, Twice Shy' not the case in equine research study   When incidents did occur, it was mainly parents and coaches who addressed them. Therefore, a proactive suggestion would be for both coaches and parents to have current first aid training and knowledge about concussions. The study also identified many benefits associated with riding, which Genik identified with, having been involved with horses since a young age herself. “It is a fantastic sport and there has been many positive changes in regards to safety around horses over recent years,” says Genik, “but we still need to do more. Specifically, we think there would be value in learning more about how and what is happening when these incidents occur – this could allow us to more specifically inform, develop and implement targeted interventions to relevant stakeholders.”   Genik hopes future research into the relatively unknown prevalence of minor incidents around horses will help parents and riding coaches supervise and educate children in proactive ways, as well as work through incidents and talk about prevention strategies. The development of problem-solving skills was one of the benefits of riding, according to survey participants. This is a great opportunity for parents to apply these problem-solving skills with children.   Future studies collaborating with stables could provide a better understanding of incidents to tailor and update safety programming. Detailed incident reporting and real-time reporting are just a few of the items cited for potential research that could contribute to education influencing behavioural change.   Read the full research paper at ScienceDirect.com   Equine Guelph has been happy to support this important research. With the same goals for increasing safety through education, Equine Guelph offers online courses benefiting anyone who handles horses. Visit TheHorsePortal.ca for the next offering of Horse Behaviour & Safety. This short course is available for both Adults and Youth (age 13 – 17) and our students say, “I recommend this course for everyone involved with horses to gain a better understanding of their behaviour and how we can make safety our top priority.”   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Guelph, ON Jan, 23, 2020 - Congratulations to the Ontario Racing Industry Tuition Award Winners and December draw winners! What a great way to start the New Year with new learning.    Thanks to two very generous families, honouring the memory of their loved ones with strong passion for the racing industry, future ambassadors of the sport may apply for tuition into two Equine Guelph 12-week online courses.    The Roger L'Heureux Memorial Equine Award for 2019 has been presented to Holly De Way and the Stuart Stocks Memorial Equine Award has been presented to Natalie Elliott.                   Holly, who started grooming Standardbreds in 2014, is keen to put the tuition courses towards achieving her diploma in Equine Studies at Equine Guelph. She has already completed six out of the ten courses required! “There is always something to challenge me about these animals and this industry and that just keeps me motivated to learn more,” says De Way.                               Natalie has been involved in the sport of Standardbred racing for over 15 years starting as a groom and working her way up to owner, breeder and now trainer. “I look forward to advancing my equine knowledge with this tuition award and to sharing that knowledge with future youth and new participants in the racing sector,” says Elliott.   Equine Guelph thanks the L’Heureux family, David L’Heureux and Crystal Fountains Inc., for establishing this memorial award in loving memory of Standardbred driver, trainer and groom Roger L’Heureux. Roger was the son of Ephraim L'Heureux, a Standardbred driver, who won the first Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine in 1950.    Equine Guelph also thanks the Stocks family for setting up the Stuart Stocks Memorial Equine Award in memory of their beloved brother, son and uncle, Mr. Stuart Stocks. Stuart Stocks was born in Sheffield England in 1957. He struggled throughout his life with a multitude of medical issues, but had a dry sense of humour, zest for life and love for horses.    Since 2016, there have been eight recipients of these awards set up for Ontario Racing industry members.  See Equine Guelph Tuition Awards  for entry details on how to apply for these opportunities in 2020.    December Horse Portal course raffle winners: Kari Lukianow of Woodstock, ON and Kat Irvine of Blackfoot, AB, learned that there is great value in being an Equine Guelph monthly E-News subscriber. Not only do you stay up to date on all the Equine Guelph course offerings, special events, horse health and research features but in the month of December a free HorsePortal.ca online course was drawn for both one current subscriber and one new one. Thanks for joining us Kat! The monthly E-News is free; sign up today at EquineGuelph.ca      Hear what another Equine Guelph course winner has to say. Rina Reddy earned her course through her dedication as an EquiMania! volunteer and what she has learned is having an impact back in her homeland of India! Learn more about EquiMania! and its volunteer rewards program.      by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - "Racehorse/Sport Horse Care and Rehabilitation" is the over-arching theme of the upcoming Horse Management Seminar hosted by the Equine Science Center and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The seminar, scheduled from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm on Sunday, February 9, 2020, will feature presentations by several equine experts. "This year we selected a topic that we have not covered during any of the previous Horse Management Seminars. Whether you have racehorses, sport horses or just like riding horses there will be something for everyone! We have so many veterinary experts in the New Jersey area, I am very excited to be able to have them share their expertise with you" says Dr. Carey Williams, Extension Equine Specialist and Associate Director of Extension for the Equine Science Center. "Our goal for this workshop is to bring in the leading veterinary and academic experts in each of these topic areas. This includes caring for the racehorse, managing the sport horse, rehabilitating horses, transitioning careers between race and sport, and feeding for different types of exercise. We will also highlight some of the current, and future, research from Rutgers graduate students conducting equine research." Williams has assembled presenters who are recognized as the leading experts in their field to offer perspectives and personal insight. The morning will start with "Caring for the Racehorse vs. Sport Horse" by Dr. Nancy Lee, owner of Sound Equine. "Dr. Lee is a perfect speaker for this topic because she deals with both types of horses closely in her practice along with competing some sport horses of her own!" says Williams. The morning will also include Dr. Jesse Tyma, from Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center, a local veterinarian specializing in injuries common to both sport and racehorses. Dr. Tyma will present "Transitioning careers - Racing to Sport/Pleasure which injuries can you live with?" The afternoon will start off with "Rehabilitating a Race/Sport Horse from Injury" by Dr. Sarah Bye of Foundation Equine, Chesterfield, NJ which will be followed by "Feeding for Different Competitive Sports" by Dr. Shannon Pratt-Phillips, from North Carolina State University. "Dr. Pratt-Phillips has a long history of performing nutritional research in all kinds of equine athletes and is one of the top nutritionists in her field," mentions Dr. Williams. Closing out the day will be two short presentations on some of the current research taking place on campus, as well as what future research being planned. "Sugar Metabolism of Horses Grazing Warm-Season Forages" by Doctoral Candidate, Jennifer Weinert, and "The Human-Horse Interaction: What Does the Horse Tell Us?" by Doctoral Student, Ellen Rankins. In addition to these presentations, the seminar will feature informational displays, networking opportunities with industry companies and area organizations, ample time for one-on-one discussions with the day's presenters and lots of door prizes! Early bird registration ends soon (Jan. 26th) so register now for the great event! The complete program, registration information, and seminar brochure are posted on the Equine Science Center website at esc.rutgers.edu, as well as the registration site at: http://bit.ly/2020HorseManagement. For questions, please contact Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, carey.williams@rutgers.edu. The Equine Science Center is a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its mission is Better Horse Care through Research and Education in order to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry. Its vision is to be recognized throughout New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally for its achievements in identifying issues in the horse industry, finding solutions through science-based inquiry, providing answers to the horse industry and to horse owners, and influencing public policy to ensure the viability of the horse industry. For more information about the Equine Science Center, call 848-932-9419 or visit esc.rutgers.edu. From the Rutgers Equine Science Center  

Guelph, ON - Horses are highly adapted performance animals, but one unexplained adaptation "a delicate gastrointestinal tract" is their Achilles heel.   As in humans, horses' stomachs contain acid to digest and break down their food and mucus to protect the stomach wall against the acid. But for a vaguely inexplicable reason, horses lack mucus in the upper half of their stomach. This causes all sorts of issues, including gastric ulcers.   In fact, gastrointestinal diseases are the leading cause of death in horses.   “If acid splashes up, or their stomach is empty, it can really damage a horse’s stomach,” explains Jennifer MacNicol, a PhD candidate in the Department of Animal Biosciences. “But what if we can keep food in there longer and potentially buffer that splashing, or use nutraceuticals to reduce acid production or increase mucus production?”   Her research seeks to “determine what makes a horse’s gastrointestinal tract tick,” and to investigate the effectiveness of nutraceuticals proposed by industry.   Jennifer, who was awarded a prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, is also working to create an in vitro protocol to test nutraceuticals before animal trials.   An in vitro protocol simulates digestion in different compartments of a stomach. She hopes this will be a less invasive way to conduct equine research.    “I think as scientists we have an obligation that if we use live animals, we need to make sure they are the most directed and valuable studies,” Jennifer says. “I want to develop strong and robust in vitro methods so that we can do a lot of things before taking it into the live animal.”   More information on Jennifer’s research is available at uoguelph.ca/oac/horses-stomach   by Stephanie Craig, for Equine Guelph  

June 18th, 2019 (Guelph, ON): Only a month away until the 15th Annual International Equitation Science Conference is here!   Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to ‘Bring Science to the Stable’ by attending lectures, seminars, and hands-on workshops from world renowned equine scientists. It is all coming to the University of Guelph August 19 - 21, 2019.   Register Now at TheHorsePortal!   Keynote speakers include Dr. Sandra Olsen, Dr. Camie Heleski, Dr. Nic de Brauwere, and Dr. Andrew McLean. Their topics range from the historical horse-human relationship, the development of equitation science, how human behavior effects equine welfare, and learning theory across different species. A special presentation on using current research to manage both wild and domestic horses will be shared by Clever Hans speaker Dr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya.   There will be pre-conference workshops that include looking at equine behaviours in ethograms with Dr. Marc Pierard and how to communicate scientific information to equestrian communities with Christina Wilkens and Kate Fenner. The pre-conference also includes a large animal emergency rescue training session so you can be prepared for anything!     The third day of the conference is a practical day which includes demonstrations and seminars that feature some of the latest technologies in equitation science.   Learn more about these amazing speakers and topics at the ISES 2019 Blog; become part of the community that’s working to continue to improve equine welfare. Some of the blog posts include:   Give your Riding Precision with “Vert” Working Towards a Better Understanding of Equine Welfare at the Farm Level Revolutionizing Equestrian Sport: A Dashboard for Horses? If the Unspeakable Happens, Are You Ready? The Myths of Saddle Fitting – Helping Horses one Saddle at a Time! Equine Behaviour Expert Dr. Andrew McLean Can we all agree on what horses do? An ethology workshop with Dr. Marc Pierard A short evolutionary note of Equitation Science to be presented by Dr. Camie Heleski Digging Deeper into the Life of Equine Archaeologist Sandra Olsen Clever Hans speaker Jonaki Bhattacharyya: What feelings and images does the thought of “wild horses” evoke in you About the International Society for Equitation Science The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-rider relationship. www.equitationscience.com   For more information contact: ISES Honorary President Janne Winther-Christensen presidents@equitationscience.com   Local Conference Organizer: Katrina Merkies, PhD Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph (519) 824-4120 x54707 ISES2019@uoguelph.ca

Abortions in horses continues to be a very frustrating problem for breeders and veterinarians. So much time and effort is put into producing quality horses and it is heartbreaking when it does not work out; even more so when you don’t know why. “About 40% of abortions in horses that are submitted to the lab come back with no diagnosis, and an unknown cause; this means we are missing a significant number of potentially infectious and potentially preventable abortions in horses” shares Dr. Tracey Chenier at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   Dr. Chenier has been a researcher in equine reproduction at the OVC for almost 18 years, investigating equine infertility, reproductive efficiency, and embryo freezing. Her next project will investigate the exposure rate or the seroprevalence of a parasite, Neospora caninum, and its potential link to equine abortions.   Neospora caninum is the single most important cause of abortions in cattle in Ontario and has a significant impact across North America. Previous studies have looked at the seroprevalence of this parasite in Europe and the United States but no studies have been conducted in Canada. Recently, this parasite was found in an aborted equine fetus in Israel. This discovery sparked the interest of researchers in Israel who then reached out to Dr. Chenier to conduct a collaborative study. This amazing team of researchers includes Dr. David Pearl and Dr. Robert Foster from the OVC who have special expertise in disease surveillance and Neospora caninum in cattle, as well as Dr. Amir Steinman and his lab in Israel who are very familiar with the detection of this parasite.   This collaborative study will be the first of its kind in horses in Canada, and will be focusing on Ontario broodmares. Research begins this September taking place over the course of three years thanks to industry partners and OMAFRA. “It’s not possible without both industry funding and industry involvement,” says Dr. Chenier. The first step is to collect blood samples from broodmares on randomly selected breeding farms across Ontario. The owners will be involved in a comprehensive survey, so researchers can have a full understanding of the horses’ history, farm management practices, and risk factors like dogs and coyotes on or near the farm (known to increase risk levels in cattle). Next, the researchers will be looking at aborted fetuses for the presence of the Neospora caninum parasite.   This study will provide insight on the unknowns surrounding the seroprevalence of the Neospora caninum parasite in Ontario broodmares, risk factors for exposure, and if it plays a role in equine abortions. It’s important to address these unknowns in order to take precautions and work towards minimizing unknown diagnoses.   Planning on breeding your mare? Dr. Chenier has great tips and videos in Equine Guelph's Mare & Foal Care Tool sponsored by PFERA to make sure you are prepared!   https://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/Mare-&-Foal-Care.php   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Melissa McGilloway

Guelph, ON June 12, 2019 - Equine Guelph’s education partner, Merck Animal Health, recently launched its national Equine Biosurveillance Pilot Program to fill an unmet need in Canada. Although there are some initiatives at provincial levels, there was currently no nationwide equine biosurveillance program in the country, until now!   In event of an outbreak of common equine respiratory diseases, this program is designed to support equine clinics with the diagnosis. It will also enable collection of information at the national level on the epidemiology of the main equine respiratory pathogens. This information can then be communicated to the horse industry to promote a better knowledge and understanding of the ever-evolving nature and dynamics of those pathogens.   ‘’At Merck Animal Health, we are both very excited and proud about this new and unique initiative which will not only benefit participating clinics but the whole equine industry,” says Dr. Serge Denis DVM, Equine Consultant for Merck Animal Health. “By sharing the information collected through the program, we hope to contribute to a better knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology of the main equine respiratory diseases by the various stakeholders be it veterinarians, horse owners, barn managers or trainers.’’   In the initial phase, Merck’s Equine Biosurveillance Program will be offered to a limited number of equine clinics. Future plans include rolling it out to a significant number of practitioners.   Pathogens tested through the program:   Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is available for: Equine Herpesvirus types 1 & 4, Equine Influenza Virus, Equine Rhinitis A and B Viruses, and Streptococcus equi subsp. equi.   Participating clinics are provided with a diagnostic kit containing all necessary material to collect and submit samples to the Diagnostic Service of the Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire in St-Hyacinthe, University of Montreal.   There is no cost for participating clinics. All costs of the program are covered by Merck Animal Health.Veterinarians interested in this initiative can contact their local Merck representative.   ‘’This innovative program is a powerful addition to our unique value offering and reflects Merck Animal Health’s commitment to support the Canadian equine industry through science-based products and services,’’ says Douglas Wong, Product Manager, Farm Animal Business Unit with Merck Animal Health.   Equine Guelph supports this national program as it aims to benefit overall welfare of horses in Canada. "The possibilities for developing best vaccination strategies through information gathered in this biosurveillance program are quite exciting,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "We encourage all horse owners to learn more about the importance of vaccinating by visiting our vaccination resource at EquineGuelph.ca/vaccination tool."  Should you have any questions or concerns about the health of your horse, please speak to your equine veterinarian.     by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

The early bird deadline for the 2019 International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference is fast approaching! The 2019 ISES conference is being held in Guelph, Ontario, Canada from August 19-21. With the theme “Bringing Science to the Stable” the conference will focus on mankind’s history with horses, what we have learned about horse-human interactions, and how we can continue to improve our relationships with these amazing animals.   Due to a delay in getting abstract acceptances back to authors, the early bird deadline has been extended. Register by June 10 to receive a discount in your registration fees.   All information about the conference is available on the Equitation Science website andThe Horse Portal. Check for updates on the program, registration information, hotel accommodations, transportation options, and local attractions.   Follow the ISES2019 blog for detailed information on speakers, exhibitors, demos and more.   The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable”, highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed.   Join our line-up of thought-provoking speakers as we journey through history and into the present, supporting and challenging the way we interact with horses through scientific research. Dr. Sandra Olsen (Curator-in-Charge, Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas) will trace how our relationship with horses began. Dr. Camie Heleski (Senior Lecturer, University of Kentucky) will describe the field of Equitation Science and what we have learned about horse-human relationships. Dr. Nic de Brauwere (Head of Welfare, Rehabilitation and Education, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, UK) will discuss how human behaviour change into the future can improve equine welfare. Dr. Andrew McLean (Equine Science International, Australia) will present similarities and differences in the application of learning theory across species. The ever-popular Clever Hans talk will be hosted on Monday evening with guest speakerDr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Ethnoecologist and Senior Researcher with Firelight Group. Dr. Bhattacharyya has spent time in the interior of British Columbia, observing the wild horses and their impact on the land and interactions with the indigenous peoples. She will highlight how modern research can fit into other ways of knowing and approaches to managing both wild and domestic horses.   The third day of the conference is a practical day with demonstrations on the application of learning theory and science from world-renowned experts: Shawna Karrasch (Terra Nova) – positive reinforcement training Nightwatch – Smart halter for monitoring horse biometrics Drs. Katrina Merkies and Cordy DuBois – equine welfare assessment Saddlefit4Life – saddle fitting for improved performance Visualise – technical sportswear to improve rider position IPOS – rein tension sensors equla vert – technical sensor to monitor horse head position Registered delegates can also attend two free pre-conference workshops on Sunday, August 18. Cristina Wilkins and Kate Fenner (Australia) will offer advice on how to communicate scientific information to equestrian communities. Dr. Marc Pierard(Belgium) will lead a discussion in describing equine behaviours for the equine ethogram. For an extra fee, delegates can register for a short course on large animal rescue training. Space in this hands-on workshop is limited, so be sure to register soon!   Early bird conference registration pricing is available until June 10. After that date regular conference fees apply. Check the ISES website https://equitationscience.com/conferences/ or the Horse Portal https://thehorseportal.ca/ISES-2019/ to learn more. Check back regularly to the Horse Portal for updates, sneak peaks, and local information.     About the International Society for Equitation Science The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-rider relationship. www.equitationscience.com   For more information contact: ISES Honorary President Janne Winther-Christensen presidents@equitationscience.com   Local Conference Organizer: Katrina Merkies, PhD Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph (519) 824-4120 x54707 ISES2019@uoguelph.ca     By Jackie Zions for Equine Guelph

A genetic study of Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotter harness racehorses revealed eight major genes likely related to their success on the track, some of which drive the horses’ abilities to learn and remember. Success on the trot tracks isn’t all about brawn. There’s quite a bit of brain in there, as well. Sure, a harness race winner needs to be fast. But he’s also got to adjust to—and even anticipate—his driver’s demands, navigate around other horses and their sulkies, and, most importantly, not break into gallop even when trotting at high speeds. And there are genes for that—ones that code for intelligence. New genome-wide studies on harness racehorses revealed eight major genes that appear to be related to their success on the track. While most of those genes are related to physical fitness and ability, some drive the ability to learn and remember. “Trotting on a racetrack is not a particularly natural act for the horse compared to how its wild ancestors were moving,” said Gabriella Lindgren, MSc, PhD, of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics. “These horses need to be able to adapt to the handling and interaction with humans, the environment, and also trotting on the racetrack.” Fellow researcher Eric Strand, PhD, of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, in Oslo, agreed. “Most good performance horses not only trust their handlers, but they are smart and learn to adapt to the situations they are placed in,” he said. In their study, the researchers analyzed DNA from 613 Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotters (NSCT) to look for SNPs (sections of genes) that consistently appeared to be associated with the horses’ performance (wins, earnings, speed, and disqualifications due to breaking into gallop during a race). They chose this breed instead of the Standardbred because it has a small population, making it easier to control for other influences, they said. They identified more than 30 SNPs that appeared to have strong or possible roles in harness racing success, the research team reported. They narrowed the search to eight genes that showed a strong correlation with performance. Among those genes were four with clear physical implications and two with links to intelligence, learning, and memory: ATPase copper transporting beta (ATP7B): Helps get copper out of cells, potentially reducing muscle stiffness; Phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase type 1 beta (PIP5K1B): Might affect neuron development and oxidative stress; Phosphodiesterase 3A (PDE3A): Plays a role in cardiovascular function; Inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase D (INPP5D) & SRY-box 5 (SOX5): Involved in embryonic development and immune responses; Potassium channel regulator (KCNRG): Manages potassium movement in cells, possibly related to learning ability and exercise tolerance; and Dedicator of cytokinesis 8 (DOCK8): Influences intelligence and motor skills, probably including the ability to maintain a gait. Investigating NSCT genes might reveal the significance of the genes coding for mental capacities, they said, as they don’t trot at high speeds as naturally as Standardbreds do. And this might require them to have even more concentration, learning, intelligence, and memory. “NSCTs race in trot, which is not their natural gait when moving at high speeds,” said contributing researcher Kim Jäderkvist Fegraeus, PhD, also of SLU. “Standardbreds, on the other hand, have been selected for harness racing performance for a longer time and do not appear to have the same level of problems with their racing technique when first introduced to training compared with NSCTs. As a result, it is possible that there is a genetic factor influencing how fast some NSCTs learn technique, which ultimately would be correlated with how well and how fast they start their racing career.” For Strand, the mental capacities “maximize the performance potential,” he said. “The NSCT breed includes many individuals which are overly stressed at times and burn unnecessary energy by pulling hard on the bit and reins during racing. This then prevents them from allocating their physiological resources during a race. The current study was able to capture these horses, along with the superior ‘smarter’ horses, which have learned to cope and optimize their physiologic capabilities in front of large audiences.” Brandon Velie, BSc, MSc, PhD, contributing researcher from SLU, added “The current study is just another step in better understanding what makes a horse successful in sport/competition. In this case, we were looking at trotting performance; however, as most equestrians/horsemen would tell you, a similar case can be made for all equine athletic competitions: To be successful, a horse needs not only the right physiology, but also the right mentality.” The harness racing industry in Norway and Sweden welcomes genomics research in their field and views it as a useful tool for enhancing horse performance as well as welfare, he added. “Our recommendations at this time would be to keep working closely with researchers as a continued partnership between industry and academia,” he said. “This is the key to applied research, which can truly have a positive impact on a breed and industry.” The study, “A genome-wide association study for harness racing success in the Norwegian-Swedish coldblooded trotter reveals genes for learning and energy metabolism,” was published in BMC Genetics. Reprinted with permission of The Horse ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Guelph, ON April 18, 2019 - Researchers at the University of Guelph are leading the way in equine research again, this time with studies looking at tools that may help predict disease spread in horse populations.   The studies were published in early January. In the first study, researchers looked at using small, non-invasive radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, placed under vet wrap on each horse's halter, to collect data on which horses came into contact with one another on horse farms. In the second study, researchers used data collected with the RFID tags to help create and compare contact networks (see explanation below) at horse facilities in Ontario.   Scientists use contact networks to help understand how a disease might spread in a population. To understand what a contact network is, picture a big map with different dots. Each dot represents a person. When one person comes into contact with another person, a line is drawn to connect them. So, if Kathy met Laura for coffee, there would be a line between Kathy and Laura's dots. There would also be lines connecting Kathy's dot and Laura's dot with the people they interacted with while they went for coffee, like the cashier at the coffee place. It's like a scientific "connect the dots", where the lines you draw are based on who comes into contact with who. Now try picturing this for your horse. What lines would you draw between your horse and others at your facility?   Rachael Milwid, a former OVC PhD student and the lead author of the studies, comments on several important findings from the work, "Groups of horses that are turned out together had the most contact with one another which was to be expected, however the data also suggests that even horses that are not turned out together or that are not neighbours in the barn actually have significant contact with one another over the course of each day. These results imply that in the case of a disease outbreak, extra care should be taken to keep the horses separate to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the entire farm."   To learn more about how the researchers used the RFID tags and other results from the studies, read the articles Validation of modified radio-frequency identification tag firmware and Comparison of the dynamic networks of four equine boarding and training facilities.   The authors of the studies are Rachael M. Milwid, Terri L. O'Sullivan, Zvonimir Poljak, Marek Laskowski, and Amy L. Greer. The work was supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and the Ontario Veterinary College.   Find out what you can do to prevent disease spread at your facility with Equine Guelph's online Biosecurity course (https://thehorseportal.ca/course/sickness-prevention-in-horses-f19/).   by: Nicole Weidner

Guelph, ON - March 14, 2019 - “You never think it would happen to you, and one of your horses, until one day you wake up to a phone call in the middle of the night,” recounts Sarah Scott, member of the horse racing community for over 20 years, and owner of Fork.    Since the first line fire in December, Sarah has not only been busy with her horse’s recovery but also spreading awareness of fire prevention programs.   Sarah works as an account manager specializing in equine rehabilitation, at System Equine in Rockwood and they will be hosting a Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening on March 19 at 6 pm. Special guest speakers will include: TJ Snow of Milton Fire Department, Riley McGilloway of Halton Hills Fire Department, and Dr. Liz Shiland DVM (one of several vets who assisted at the First Line fire). Sarah will also be sharing her experience as a horse owner.    They will discuss: barn fire prevention, what to do in case of fire with horses and/or animals, fire safety and caring for horses after they have been exposed to smoke inhalation and fire trauma.  Barn owners need to be ever vigilant with barn fire prevention, never get complacent and always prepare themselves for emergencies.    Equine Guelph will be offering a new Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short course on TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15   Sarah’s Story:   We celebrated our staff Christmas party at Mohawk raceway December 20th, having a great time filling the night with Christmas cheer. I arrived home, around 12:30 am and settled into bed shortly after 1 am. I was awoken by my husband to the words “the barn is on fire and there is nothing we can do.” I was instantly numb. I felt almost robotic as I grabbed some clothes, and drove to what was our horses’ home, now land marked by police cars directing fire trucks. The car did not even come to a complete stop before I jumped out.    When I arrived no one knew where my own horse was, but we knew he was out. It was dark, raining and the most unsettling of sights, with red and blue flashing lights intermingling with the mist. I was told it took two firefighters and one of the second trainers to move my horse Fork from his stall, with singed facial and mane hair from the inferno he escaped and was taken to another barn on the property and placed in an empty stall.   Emergency response:   Sarah quickly joined the growing team of fire fighters, owners and veterinarians triaging the scene. They were fortunate to have a number of containment areas with other barns close by, a pool area that held three horses, and paddocks to hold the horses after they were removed from barn seven. Other factors that aided the rescue were: rain, wind blowing away from the barn and educated/experienced horse people, on scene that did not pull open the doors until fire and rescue arrived.   Each horse was evaluated and treated by the attending veterinarians before they were given the “ok” to go to Mohawk.  When the horses arrived at Mohawk (for temporary stabling) they were all bathed and once again looked over for burns or distress. Black soot was embedded in the horses’ hair, leading to the conclusion the lungs must also be compromised. Fears of smoke inhalation damage were confirmed with the first scope.  The owners were worried if their horses would be ok, racked with questions if they were suffering and if they would ever race again. It was a quick paced day with lots of decisions.   Sarah’s expertise served her well, having worked with clients, vets and owners whose horses were affected by the encroaching wild fires in BC and Alberta, supplying them with nebulizers from System Equine that were donated by Nortev Flexineb and assisting the equine practitioners in developing treatment cycles. Never had she imagined she would be implementing a similar treatment plan for her own horse who had won his race just a few short weeks before.   The team worked diligently with the vets following up on the temperatures, discharge, vitals and overall observation. Sarah is very grateful to everyone involved with the rescue and rehabilitation, including her employers at System Equine and Nortev for supplying the nebulizers aiding in the recovery of many of the horses.   Sarah’s prayers have been answered as subsequent testing and scoping showed no signs of soot and no residual inflammation in the lungs. Sarah is also very grateful to her husband Mark who was so supportive, working tirelessly caring for both of them.  “He truly is the reason Fork has returned to the racetrack,” says Sarah. Fork is in the clear and qualified to race at Mohawk on January 24 2019.   Final thoughts:   Sarah will forever be a fire prevention crusader and advocate of having a plan. No matter how busy life gets, she will never turn her phone off at night. Much reflection takes place after an incident, from the simple things like having emergency numbers in your phone to having the fire department out to do a pre-plan. Having halters, leads, pens and paper quickly accessible, clear barn aisles, feed tubs positioned so they are not in the way of exiting a stall are some of the little details that can make a big difference in an emergency.   And of course, looking back on the chaos, there is much gratitude for the community who rallied together. Thanks, and huge acknowledgements must be given to the first responders, the community who all sprung from their beds in the dead of the night and for everyone who came together to support the rescue.   Sarah hopes sharing her story will move people to take preventative measures and looks forward to seeing large attendance both at the Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short course on TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15 and at System Equine’s Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening on March 19 at 6pm, also available by live feed at: https://imp.easywebinar.live/registration-2    

March 11, 2019 (Guelph, ON): Planning is well underway for the 15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university, on August 19-21, 2019.   The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable”, highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed.   Abstract submissions opened on January 18, 2019 and are due by April 1, 2019.   Researchers in the field of equitation science are invited to submit an abstract of their research findings for consideration to present during the conference.   A direct link to the abstract submission form can be found here.   Join our line-up of thought-provoking speakers as we journey through history and into the present, supporting and challenging the way we interact with horses through scientific research.   Early bird conference registration pricing available until June 1.   After that date regular conference fees apply.   Check the ISES website  or the Horse Portal to learn more.   Check our blog regularly for updates, sneak peaks, and local information.   15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science Conference   Equine Guelph | University of Guelph | 

January 21, 2019 (Guelph, ON): Planning is well underway for the 15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university, on August 19-21, 2019.   The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable”, highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed.   Both conference registration and abstract submissions opened on January 18, 2019. All information regarding the conference, including links to conference registration, abstract submissions and accommodations can be found on the Horse Portal websitehttps://thehorseportal.ca/ISES-2019/. Researchers in the field of equitation science are invited to submit an abstract of their research findings for consideration to present during the conference. Abstracts are due by April 1, 2019.   Join our line-up of thought-provoking speakers as we journey through history and into the present, supporting and challenging the way we interact with horses through scientific research. Dr. Sandra Olsen (Curator-in-Charge, Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas) will trace how our relationship with horses began. Dr. Camie Heleski (Senior Lecturer, University of Kentucky) will describe the field of Equitation Science and what we have learned about horse-human relationships. Dr. Nic de Brauwere (Head of Welfare, Rehabilitation and Education, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, UK) will discuss how human behaviour change into the future can improve equine welfare. Dr. Andrew McLean (Equine Science International, Australia) will present similarities and differences in the application of learning theory across species.   The ever-popular Clever Hans talk will be hosted on Monday evening with guest speakerDr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Ethnoecologist and Senior Researcher with Firelight Group. Dr. Bhattacharyya has spent time in the interior of British Columbia, observing the wild horses and their impact on the land and interactions with the indigenous peoples. She will highlight how modern research can fit into other ways of knowing and approaches to managing both wild and domestic horses.   The third day of the conference will include a short course on large animal rescue training (additional fee applies). Space in this hands-on workshop is limited, so be sure to register early. Demonstrations and seminars from equine behaviourists, technology entrepreneurs and saddle fitting experts will fill the remainder of the day.   Registered delegates can also attend two free pre-conference workshops on Sunday, August 18. Cristina Wilkins and Kate Fenner (Australia) will workshop on how to communicate scientific information to equestrian communities. Dr. Marc Pierard(Belgium) will lead a discussion in describing equine behaviours for the equine ethogram.    Early bird conference registration pricing is available until June 1. After that date regular conference fees apply. Check the ISES website https://equitationscience.com/conferences/ or the Horse Portal https://thehorseportal.ca/ISES-2019/ to learn more. Check back regularly to the Horse Portal for updates, sneak peaks, and local information.   About the International Society for Equitation Science The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-rider relationship. www.equitationscience.com   For more information contact: ISES Honorary President Janne Winther-Christensen presidents@equitationscience.com   Local Conference Organizer: Katrina Merkies, PhD Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph (519) 824-4120 x54707 ISES2019@uoguelph.ca     Registration and abstract submission now open for the 2019 ISES conference being held in Guelph, Ontario, Canada from August 19-21.   The theme of "Bringing science to the stable" will explore our relationship with horses through the past, present and future.   Check the website for conference updates and links to the registration and abstract submission pages https://equitationscience.com/conferences/ or https://thehorseportal.ca/ises-2019/. 

Winter is here - Are you ready?   Does this horse kick for no reason or is there an underlying cause?   Cribbing – A behaviour or nutritional deficiency?   Sign up at TheHorsePortal.ca to have your horse behaviour and safety related questions answered.   IMPORTANT ALERTS   Alert: Equine Infectious Anemia - Cariboo Sub. B, B.C   Alert: Rabies - In Canada   Alert: Rabies - Hamilton, ON   Alert: Strangles - New Brunswick   EQUINE GUELPH thanks Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the HEALTHflash program     HEALTHflash - WINTER EDITION 2019      ‌  ‌           IMPORTANT ALERTS       Alert: Equine Infectious Anemia - Cariboo Sub. B, B.C Alert: Rabies - In Canada Alert: Rabies - Hamilton, ON Alert: Strangles - New Brunswick         EQUINE GUELPH thanks Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the HEALTHflash program           FEATURED STORIES               Behaviour & Safety - Q & A     Does this horse kick for no reason or is there an underlying cause? Cribbing – A behaviour or nutritional deficiency?   Sign up at TheHorsePortal.ca to have your horse behaviour and safety related questions answered.                 Take Stock of your First Aid Kit & Update Your Skills     3 items that do not survive sub zero… Don’t forget Equine Guelph’s first aid course online begins Feb 25!                 Gastric Ulcer Prevention     Why you should give hay before exercise is discussed by Kathleen Crandell. Crandel is also the instructor of Equine Guelph’s Advanced Equine Health through Nutrition online course. Pre-requisite Equine Nutrition starts Jan 14!                   Biosecurity Risk Calculator TOOL OF THE MONTH     Start the year reviewing your biosecurity plan in 6 steps! Identify risks, prepare a farm diagram... info from the National Farm Level Biosecurity standard makes it easy to minimize disease risk - Try The Tool of The Month.         EQUINE HEALTH       Vaccination Survey Results     82% of our survey participants vaccinate their horses against influenza. 82% rely on their veterinarian for vaccination information. 73% leave the decision as to the specific brand of vaccine up to the vet. 43% know the benefits of a modified-live vs. a killed equine influenza virus vaccine.   New Update in Vaccination Equi-Planner links to an AAEP page explaining the benefits of a modified-live vs. a killed equine influenza virus vaccine                Horse Behaviour & Safety Short Course     January 21 to February 8     Learn to speak horse! Take action to create a safe environment for you and your horse   REGISTER TODAY       MORE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES           New 12-Week Courses Start January 14th     Mgmt of the Equine Environment   Health & Disease Prevention   Equine Nutrition   Equine Functional Anatomy   Equine Exercise Physiology   Marketing & Communications   Equine Event Management   The Equine Industry   Global Perspectives in Equine Welfare   SIGN UP TODAY         Upcoming Horse Portal Short Courses     Horse Behaviour & Safety January 21st to February 8th   Horse Behaviour & Safety (Youth) January 21st to February 8th   Equine First Aid February 25th to March 4th   Sickness Prevention in Horses TBA   Horse Care & Welfare TBA   Gut Health & Colic Prevention TBA   SIGN UP TODAY       OTHER NEWS & EVENTS         When did you last check under that rug for Body Condition Score?   Cold weather riding tips   Winter management of the outdoor horse   First signs of Heaves video   Reduce Respiratory Risk video   How to transition feedstuff in your horse’s diet   Going on Vacation – Post your emergency preparedness plans   Extending your Hay Supply   Video - Stop, Think, Act and be safe around horses  

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – “Feeding and Care of Mare/Foal, Stallion, and Growing Horse” is the over-arching theme of the upcoming Horse Management Seminar hosted by the Rutgers Equine Science Center and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The seminar, scheduled from 8:30 am – 3:45 pm on Sunday, February 10, 2019, will feature presentations by several equine experts. “This year we selected a topic that we have not covered during any of the previous Horse Management Seminars. Even if you don’t currently breed horses, the presentations will have lots of information for everyone!” says Dr. Carey Williams, Extension Equine Specialist and Associate Director of Extension for the Equine Science Center. “Our goal for this workshop is to bring in the leading experts in each of these topic areas. This includes broodmare and growing horse nutrition, care of the stallion, and new reproductive advances. We will also highlight some of the current, and future, research from Rutgers Equine graduate students.” Williams has assembled presenters who are recognized as the leading experts in their field to offer perspectives and personal insight. The morning will start with “Stallion Care” and “Recent Advanced in Equine Reproduction” by Dr. Ed Squires from University of Kentucky’s  Gluck Equine Research Center. “Dr. Squires leads the country in his contribution to the field of equine reproduction” says Williams, “we are honored to have him here at Rutgers courtesy of Vetoquinol USA.” The morning will also include Dr. Dan Keenan from Foundation Equine, a local veterinarian specializing in equine reproduction. Dr. Keenan will present “Care of the Mare and Foal Pre and Post Birth.”  The afternoon will start off with Dr. Amy Burk, who leads the equine breeding program at the University of Maryland, presenting “Feeding the Pregnant/Lactating Mare”, followed by “GI Development and Nutrition of the Growing Horse” by Dr. Paul Siciliano from North Carolina State University. Closing out the day will be a panel discussion from the three main speakers, moderated by Williams. Following the panel Dr. Williams’ doctoral student, Jennifer Weinert, will give a short presentation on some of the current research taking place on campus, as well as what future research has been planned. In addition to these presentations, the seminar will feature informational displays, networking opportunities with industry companies and area organizations, and ample time for one-on-one discussions with the day’s presenters. The complete program, registration information, and seminar brochure are posted on the Equine Science Center website at esc.rutgers.edu, as well as the registration site at: http://bit.ly/2019HMS . Space is limited, and the early bird discount for registration ends on January 28th, so be sure to register early! For questions, please contact Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, carey.williams@rutgers.edu. About Rutgers Equine Science Center The Equine Science Center is a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its mission is Better Horse Care through Research and Education in order to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry. Its vision is to be recognized throughout New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally for its achievements in identifying issues in the horse industry, finding solutions through science-based inquiry, providing answers to the horse industry and to horse owners, and influencing public policy to ensure the viability of the horse industry. For more information about the Equine Science Center, call 848-932-9419 or visit esc.rutgers.edu.   ================================================== Carey A. Williams, Ph.D. Equine Extension Specialist Rutgers University 84 Lipman Dr., Bartlett Hall New Brunswick, NJ 08901   PH: 848-932-5529 Email Replies to: Carey.Williams@Rutgers.edu =================================================

Guelph, ON - May, 15, 2018 - In emergencies with life and death situations where most people would flee, how is it that firefighters, paramedics and other first responders stay calm and methodical? Training and the right equipment are two of their most important tools.   Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue program has been presented at six venues already since the start of 2018 with the same message. This training is critical for first responders faced with emergencies dealing with large animals. For the animal’s owner, it is valuable knowledge to stop a highly emotional situation from turning into catastrophic one.   Since 2014 Equine Guelph has made significant progress in establishing a Large Animal Rescue program in Ontario with its qualified team of instructors. Over 360 people have attended training events including fire fighters, first responders, pre-service, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency animal response teams, horse owners, livestock producers and associations.   “The Large Animal Rescue Awareness Course was very educational and informative,” says Chuck Lobsinger, Fire Chief at South Bruce Fire Rescue Service. “All the firefighters that participated gained valuable knowledge and experience using Equine Guelph’s training aids and equipment. Very positive feedback was received from all participants. I would recommend every fire department to have personnel take this type of training.”   Participants from this latest training in Large Animal Rescue Awareness Level Course, at Mildmay Fire Department (South Bruce) April 21 – 22 also said the hands on portion taking step by step walkthroughs of the rescues were really helpful. Feedback also relayed valuable lessons were learned in the overall approach to instances involving large animals including animal behaviour, anatomy and best practices for large animal manipulation techniques such as forward and rear assists, sideways drags, sling arrangements and how to work safely in confined spaces.   There are plenty of “rescue” videos out there showing dangerous methods of pulling animals out of situations which result in tragic loss and further injury. In her anatomy lesson, Gayle Ecker director of Equine Guelph emphasizes, “tails, legs, heads and necks are not appropriate handles!”  Equine Guelph demonstrates techniques and best practices for rescuing large animals that promote positive outcomes and safety for all. This includes proper use of specialized equipment and positioning of webbing around the body of the animal to lift or drag it to safety.   Rob Wells of Rob Wells Trucking in Mildmay kindly provided a 53' livestock trailer and bays for training. “I was pleased to supply a 53' livestock trailer and have my son Devin explain the capabilities of the equipment and safety aspects of hauling animals,” said Wells. “I would also look forward to helping out at future offerings as it is so important to have both livestock haulers and first responders learn to work together in the event of an emergency.”   Sponsorship for the Large Animal Rescue Awareness Level Course delivered by Equine Guelph in Mildmay, ON was kindly provided by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.   “The Nuclear Waste Management Organization and the Municipality of South Bruce are pleased to support the Bruce County Fire School,” said Relationship Manager, Paul Austin. “The training is an investment in not only building awareness, but also the skills and knowledge that are key to supporting community well-being now and in the future. Agriculture has a huge presence in our community and the Large Animal Rescue Awareness course helps prepare our first responders for the unique needs of our communities.”    Other events since the beginning of 2018 include:   January 19, 2018 – Seneca Lake (ice/water) Large Animal Emergency Rescue Awareness presentation) – hosted by Central York Fire Department   March 1, 2018 – University of Guelph – Large Animal Emergency Rescue presentation to Clinton undergrad students   March 3, 2018 Equine Research Day (University of Guelph) An introduction to large animal rescue training   March 20 and 21, 2018 - Training for Puslinch Fire Department - Large Animal Rescue Training   March 26 and 27, 2018 - Organization of Racing Investigators training conference - Large Animal Rescue Training   People who have attended training alongside firefighters have said it was interesting to see how things are done and they gained insight on what they could do if they were ever involved in an emergency situation. The incident command system is one of the standard approaches covered and it gives a clear understanding of roles and working together effectively.   All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders. The way to improve the odds of a favorable and safe outcome for both animals and responders is through proper training of best practices and how to use rescue equipment. Equine Guelph thanks the hosts, supporters and participants of these important workshops. For more information or to bring a course to your location visit TheHorsePortal.ca and contact Dr. Susan Raymond at slraymon@uoguelph.ca   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada

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