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Guelph, ON May 21, 2020 - Lameness is a huge focus for Dr. Judith Koenig as a clinician, researcher and instructor at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). Koenig is also a rider with a keen interest in helping grass roots riders and upcoming high-performance athletes. In the accompanying video Dr. Koenig explains her current research endeavoring to heal tendon injuries faster and also takes some time to talk about prevention. Stimulating stem cells to heal faster through the use of shock wave therapy is part of the exciting new research being conducted at the OVC by Dr. Koenig.  They were investigating whether shock wave therapy performed after injecting stem cells into a tendon will result in better quality healing.  Then they came up with the idea of pre-treating stem cells with shock wave prior to injection!    Dr. Koenig is also leading a clinical trial, currently enrolling thoroughbred racehorses.  The trial performs repeated injection of stem cells that have been harvested from umbilical cord blood, frozen and stored in Dr. Thomas Koch’s lab.  These stem cells are from unrelated horses.  Funding from the Ontario Equestrian federation has enabled OVC researchers to also follow a control group treated with platelet rich plasma as a comparison for this study. Reduced healing time is an obvious benefit to the welfare of the horse and of course the horse owner will be pleased about a quicker return to their training régime.     Realizing many will soon be in the position of starting horses back into training after a significant amount of time off, Koenig offers some important advice.  “You need to allow at least a six-week training period for the athletes to be slowly brought back and build up muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness,” says Koenig.  “Both stamina and muscle mass need to be retrained.”  She stressed the importance in checking the horse’s legs for heat and swelling before and after every ride and picking out the feet.  A good period of walking is required in the warm-up and cool down and riders need to pay attention to soundness in the walk before commencing their work out.     Want to learn more about lameness?     Equine Guelph has free healthcare tools:   Lameness Lab and Journey through the Joints    Test your knowledge and savvy for spotting lameness!   Learn more about Dr. Koenig and her research.   Biography: Judith Koenig, Mag vet med, Dr med vet, DVSc   Dr. Koenig is originally from Austria and came to Canada 1996 after graduating from vet school to gain some research experience and complete the research for her MSc. Following a large animal internship at the Ontario Veterinary College she went to Oregon State University where she did a one-year large animal fellowship. The year in Oregon gave her good exposure to Western Pleasure horses as well as Walking horses, which complemented her previous experience with Sports and Racehorse practice.   Judith came back to the Ontario Veterinary College where she did a 3-year large animal surgery residence with a concurrent graduate degree (DVSc). Judith became board certified with both the American and European College of Veterinary Surgeons and started to work as faculty in Large Animal Surgery in 2003. Since then she has been working half of the time as a surgeon with a strong interest in Equine Sports Medicine and the other half as researcher and teacher. In 2016 Judith became a board-certified diplomate for equine sports medicine and rehabilitation.   Judith’s main area of interest in research is tissue healing, particularly wound and tendon healing. She has investigated the use of different modalities (for example shockwave or stem cells) to see if they accelerate tissue healing and which cellular pathways are affected. This will help to direct treatment of tendon injuries and wounds in horses.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Guelph, ON - May 14, 2020 - There are many important questions pertaining to equine conditioning and fitness as we all look forward to returning to work.   Dr. Hilary Clayton recently shared some cautions and considerations in a Skype interview with Equine Guelph.   Dr. Clayton is a veterinarian, researcher and horsewoman.   For the past 40 years she has been conducting amazing research in the areas of equine biomechanics and conditioning programs for equine athletes.   Dr. Clayton has also been a guest speaker in Equine Guelph’s online course offerings.   1. What are the differences between conditioning and training?  training is the technical preparation of the athlete  (learning the skills and movements they will need to perform in competition) conditioning strengthens the horse, progressively making them fit and able the goal of conditioning is to maintain soundness while maximizing performance 2. Considerations for horses that go from full work to just pasture turn-out?  a gradual decrease from full work to less days a week, lessening intensity is ideal. also, ideal that they stay in light work a day or 2 a week, however horses are resilient. when workload decreases, diet decreases do not change things suddenly 3. How long before a horse begins to lose muscle mass and fitness? What about bones/connective tissues? horses maintain their muscle and cardio-vascular ability longer than humans a month before horses start to lose cardio-vascular capacity and muscular strength bone and tissue adapt in accordance with the work they are doing with no work bones become weaker, muscles smaller and endurance decreases good news is the strength of bone & muscle will increase again when work resumes ligaments, tendons, cartilage of horse mature by 2yrs and are a bit more of an unknown resilience is the ability to stand up to the performances 4. When getting back to work, where do you start and how do you know how to move forward? 1st address condition of feet, saddle fit, and plan for increasing nutrition requirements. start very gradually with walking for the first 2 – 4 weeks. start with 10 min under saddle, working just 3 – 4 days in the first week increase amount of walking by 10 min/week  by 3 weeks = 30 min walk/day, start introducing 20 seconds of trot then slowly introduce short canters performing lots of transitions between gaits is great for improving fitness 5. What are the signs of “too fast, too long and too soon!” and how do we avoid this? back pain, limb pain, inflammation monitor any changes carefully horses will fool you with their cardio-vascular fitness improving before their strength. to avoid injury, don’t let an energetic horse dictate how much work you will do. 6. What are some of the similarities and differences in training programs for different disciplines? initial phase of conditioning is similar, building aerobic capacity and strengthening muscles first 2-3 months can be dedicated to general conditioning then start specializing depending on the intensity and endurance required for your sport. 7. What advice do you have for horse owners that are worried that leaving the horse alone is detrimental to its well-being? Plenty of horses living outside 24/7 with little exercise that are doing just fine. Horses are far from their natural lifestyle Maximizing turnout and forage are ways to benefit our horses welfare. They need water, food, shelter and an attentive care-taker. Biography: Dr. Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR, FRCVS is a veterinarian, researcher and horsewoman. For the past 40 years she has performed innovative research in the areas of equine biomechanics, conditioning programs for equine athletes and the effects of tack and equipment on the horse and rider. She has written 7 books and over 250 scientific articles on these topics. She is a charter diplomate and past president of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, an Honorary Fellow of the International Society for Equitation Science and has been inducted into the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame, the Midwest Dressage Association Hall of Fame and the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame.   From 1997 until she retired in 2014, Dr. Clayton was the Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University. She continues to perform research through collaborations with universities in many countries and is active in publishing and presenting the findings. In addition, she is president of Sport Horse Science through which she applies the results of scientific research in the development of practical tools and techniques to help riders, trainers and veterinarians.   As a lifelong rider Dr. Clayton has competed in many equestrian sports, most recently focusing on dressage in which she competes through the Grand Prix level.    

Guelph, ON April, 30, 2020 - Spring is upon us and so is the prevalence of gas colic. Equine Guelph is sharing many strategies to prevent it.   First, Equine Guelph recommends that every horse owner refers to its FREE Colic Risk Rater Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/colictool) to help them assess their management practices, such as introducing new feeds slowly to reduce their colic risk.  An excellent video discussing safe introduction to spring pasture with expert in equine nutrition, Don Kapper, has just been added to the valuable resources housed on the Colic Risk Rater web page. Horse people are generally good about making changes to their horse’s grain rations over a two-week period. It is understood that an increase in grain means an increase in starch that can cause hind gut issues like colic and diarrhea and there is also the risk of laminitis.  Pasture is not always thought of in the same way, but it should be!  Spring grasses are higher in Non-Structural Carbohydrates, (NSC’s), starch and sugars, like fructan and low in fibre, especially during rapid growth phases.   A sudden increase of fresh spring grass in a horse’s diet can change the pH in the hindgut and cause all sorts of health issues including colic.  Spring grass, low in fibre is rapidly fermented, and an overload of starch enters the cecum killing off microbes important to digestion.  Kapper says, “The first sign you will see is a loosening of the stools.”   When excessive fermentation creates a buildup of gas in the gut this is when gas colic can occur.  The stretching of the intestinal wall from the gas build up causes considerable pain.  A veterinarian should be consulted whenever colic is suspected.  Gas colic is often mild, but it can also lead to a twist in the gut that would require surgery.     To keep your horse’s digestive system healthy, the gradual introduction of new forage (including pasture) is very important.  The nutritional composition (e.g. the amount of protein, sugars and types of fibre) varies greatly between forage types, and especially between hay and newly growing spring pasture. The bacteria in a horse’s gut need time to adjust to these changes.    “If the horse is turned out 24/7, mother nature will take care of your horse’s gradual introduction to spring pasture,” says Kapper. “The grass grows slowly, and they will continue eating hay on the side.”   For the horse that is stabled, the stable manager must limit the amount of new growth the horse is exposed to in the pasture on a daily basis.  First, let the grass paddock grow to approximately six inches.   You may start with just one hour of turn out per day on the lush grass pasture before putting them back in their sacrifice paddock or dry lot where they have been all winter.  You can slowly increase that by 30 minutes to an hour every other day.    Consider turn-out very early in the morning when NSC concentrations are lower (NSC concentrations increase throughout the day with increasing sunlight).  However, if there has been frost overnight, NSC’s will accumulate in the grass.  In this instance you will want to restrict turn-out.   Kapper makes a clear distinction between the management of horses diagnosed with metabolic issues and the rest of your herd.  The metabolic horse requires a diet low in NSC’s and may be best managed on a dry lot, with hay as the only forage.  One must always work with their veterinarian when planning the best options for care of the metabolic horse.   Kapper also discusses weed control and pasture maintenance.  Horses generally avoid poisonous plants unless there is nothing else to eat.  Being diligent with pasture maintenance pays off not only in the reduction of weeds but in the ability to use your pasture to help fulfill your horses forage needs.     With a high moisture content than hay, there is great value in being able to provide pasture to your horses.  It is good for your budget and good for your horse’s overall health if introduced with caution.   CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd. is the generous sponsor of the Colic Risk Rater Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/colictool) Mike King, of CapriCMW, is a dedicated horseman who believes in the importance of education for horse owners. He addresses why it was so important for his organization to partner with Equine Guelph on this initiative, “Given our decades of experience in insuring horses from coast to coast, we know that colic is one of the highest risk factors for death in the Canadian herd. We can think of no better risk management tool to prevent colic than education.”   Equine Guelph extends a big thank you to Don Kapper for sharing his expertise. There were so many great tips in this video. Here are the top 10:   Introduce spring grass gradually, increases of 30 minutes to an hour every other day NSC concentrations are lower early in the morning except when overnight frost occurs. Keep hay in front of your horse at all times.  Chew time=saliva= healthy pH in the gut and reduces the chance of digestive issues. As little as 4 hrs without forage can have a negative impact on gut health. Signs of not enough fibre:  loose stools, eating dirt, fences, manes & tails, trees Mow weeds as soon as you see them start to flower (in spring about every 3 weeks)  When mowing pasture set the mower 6 inches from the ground. If stools loosen during a change in forage, brewer’s yeast can provide a good culture for microbes in the horse’s gut.  Pre-biotics could also prove useful. Consult your veterinarian for diet and management advice for metabolic horses, they are very susceptible to issues when starch is even slightly elevated. Spring pasture maintenance begins with a soil test checking for an ideal pH between 6.5 & 7.  From there you will know what to add in lime and then what to add to your fertilizer.     More tips on getting the most out of your pasture and maintaining your horse’s digestive health in the 27 minute video and at The Colic Risk Rater tool (www.equineguelph.ca/colictool).   Equine nutritionist Don Kapper (Professional Animal Scientist) is the author of the chapter on “Applied Nutrition” for the authoritative veterinary textbook: “Equine Internal Medicine”, 2nd edition and was a member of the “Performance Electrolyte Research” team at the University of Guelph. He is also a frequent guest speaker in Equine Guelph’s online Nutrition courses and TheHorsePortal.ca online Gut Health and Colic Prevention course.   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 April, 15, 2020 - From adding special online course offerings to updating a Covid-19 resources page daily, Equine Guelph has been responding to harness racing industry requests during this difficult time. You can take a survey right now to let them know of any additional courses you would like to take while you are staying home.   New students are signing up daily for the extended online offering of Horse Behaviour and Safety! Register anytime in April – Adult and Youth offering (13-17).  Check out the BOGO deal!  Buy the adult course for $85 (for provincial federation members & partners) and get the youth one for free ($45 value) Join the Herd at TheHorsePortal.ca       Fire & Emergency Preparedness online course from May 4 - 11 (with extended access to June 30) Newly updated with: developing plans for business disruptions, back-up planning and information regarding COVID-19.  Guest speakers: Dr. Rebecca (Gimenez) Husted and Mike King. This special offering will be available for $60 ($25 savings).     Great news announced for the May offering of 12-week online courses with Equine Guelph - the Early Bird Rate of $549 will not expire = $50 in savings! (special offer for summer semester 2020).     While the Free Sickness Prevention course filled to capacity within 24 hours of the announcement, Equine Guelph does have a free Healthcare Tool - Biosecurity Risk Calculator to help you find out your farm's biosecurity score.     Equine Guelph is thinking of adding more online short course offerings to help horse-people out while they are staying home. What courses would you like to take?  One-minute survey.    Equine Guelph  

New Brunswick, NJ — In a joint project by the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University; Equine Integrated Medicine, Georgetown, Ky.; Duer Forensic Toxicology, Clearwater, Fla.; and the New York Drug Testing and Research Program, Morrisville State College; a recently published journal article shows that a sterile solution of cobalt salts (50 mg of elemental cobalt as CoCl2 in 10 ml of saline, given IV for three consecutive days) did not affect aerobic or anaerobic performance or plasma erythropoeitin concentration in race fit harness racing horses. The study was funded in part by the United States Trotting Association. “The Evaluation of Cobalt as a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) in Racehorses” study sought to determine if cobalt acts as a performance enhancing drug by altering biochemical parameters related to red blood cell production, as well as markers of aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance. The study also identified the normal distribution of plasma cobalt in a population of horses on a maintenance dietary ration without excessive cobalt supplementation. Research was conducted using 245 Standardbred horses with no supplementation of cobalt from farms in New York and New Jersey, including those at the Rutgers University Equine Science Center. The authors concluded that a threshold of 25 micrograms per liter in plasma, currently in place in many racing jurisdictions, may result in horses exceeding the threshold without excessive cobalt administration. They suggest that a threshold of 71 micrograms per liter be considered. The study also found that plasma cobalt concentrations over 300 ppb had no adverse effects on horses’ well-being or on performance. However, we caution that investigators have found that higher doses are purportedly being illicitly administered to horses with reported dangerous adverse and life-threatening effects on the horses. The present study does not address the effects of administering the much larger doses that racing officials and investigators have suggested are being misused to enhance performance. Cobalt in salt form (closeup) According to Dr. Kenneth H. McKeever, Associate Director for Research at the Equine Science Center, “The results of this study are the first to document that administration of cobalt salts at the level studied does not stimulate the production of red blood cells and does not affect markers of performance in race fit horses. Horses appear to respond in a species-specific fashion that is different from human studies that showed toxicity at plasma concentrations above 300 ppb. This study presents data rather than speculation for the decision-making process for setting thresholds.” The study has been published as an open access paper, accessible for free at this link. The Rutgers Equine Science Center

Guelph, ON DATE OF RELEASE - Mar. 19, 2020  - Are you succeeding in keeping yourself and the kids busy during self-isolation and social distancing? The Ontario Government has enacted a Declaration of Emergency to Protect the Public, and this includes the closure of riding facilities . As the challenges of this pandemic continue, we are all looking for ways to cope.    In response to requests coming in from the industry, Equine Guelph has moved up the start date and extended access for both their youth (13 – 17) and adult offerings of the Online Horse Behaviour and Safety Course.    By joining the Equine Guelph online community, equestrians can stay connected during this time of social distancing. You can even learn together with a FAMILY BOGO deal - buy one adult offering and receive a youth offering for free!   The courses are typically run over two weeks but access has been extended from Monday March 23 until May 11, 2020. For less than the cost of a missed riding lesson, students will be able to join in a highly interactive online learning community with group discussions amongst their peers, Q&A’s with the course instructor and an expert guest speaker.   Registration is open now and will remain open from Mar 23 – May 1. For those already enrolled, for the course previously scheduled to begin April 6th, you will be able to join in early. Learn at an easy pace with the ability to log on 24/7 to the course and enjoy the extended access on the discussion boards. Keep your horse-crazy kid from going stir-crazy with this fantastic learning opportunity. Adults will also find solace, especially if their barn time has been limited during this trying time of social distancing.    “The Horse Portal brings together our youth in a safe, online community where they will learn how to ‘speak horse’ – and, ultimately, stay safe around horses and on the farm!” says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker. "From grass roots to adult industry professionals, we are so proud when our students tell us how our courses have helped them."   Course Topics include:   1. The Horse in the Wild – A Herd and Flight Animal 2. The Modern Day Horse 3. How Horses See and Hear 4. Herd Behaviour – How Horses Interact with Each Other 5. Horse Handling/Approaching a Horse 6. Rider/Helmet Safety 7. Trailer Loading Safety Basics 8. Safety around the Barn and Paddocks 9. Fire Safety 10. Returning from an Injury Equine Guelph online students from across the globe are becoming industry leaders and making a difference to horse health and welfare.    Watch videos of success stories.   Join the supportive online community at TheHorsePortal.ca to connect with horse lovers and see where your love of horses will take you.     Equine Guelph has partnered with all English-speaking equestrian federations across Canada as well as youth groups and international organizations. Check the partners tab to see if you qualify for a special 10-15% course discount for TheHorsePortal.ca courses. Partners discounts are applicable for those taking advantage of the FAMILY BOGO deal! Learn together!

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

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

Guelph, ON March, 18, 2019 - Responding to research needs of the Ontario racing commission (now AGCO), a recent study led by Dr. Janice E. Kritchevsky, at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, reveals use of thyroxine supplementation is deleterious to racehorse's performance and may result in cardiac arrhythmias. Researcher Dr. Janice E. Kritchevsky was selected to do this work by the Equine Guelph Research Committee with AGCO support.   Kritchevsky explains, "Thyroid disorders are actually rare in horses." The concentrations of thyroid hormones, including thyroxine, can be measured in blood. Blood thyroid hormone concentrations outside the normal ranges can lead one to believe hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormones) may be the cause of a horse looking a little lethargic. However, abnormal thyroid hormone concentrations can occur after a high grain diet meal, after trailering fatigue, training stress, or if a horse is ill. In actuality, administering thyroid medication to a horse fighting a respiratory infection can compromise the animals natural response to the infection.   Horses that benefit from thyroid hormone supplement tend to be suffering from Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or insulin resistance, neither syndrome is recognized in fit racehorses and they are both quite rare in other performance animals. Thyroxine supplementation may have a place in treating some over-conditioned (obese) horses at risk for laminitis. To diagnose a thyroid disorder, it is not enough to perform a one-time blood test; instead, a function test must be conducted. In a function test, two thyroid hormones are measured in the blood, then the horse is given a releasing hormone, and the two hormones are measured again. If the thyroid hormone concentrations do not respond normally, then there may be a true thyroid disorder. Kritchevsky adds, "In the case of over conditioned horses, thyroxine supplementation is to be used only until the horse reaches a normal body weight."   The misconception over thyroxine supplement use among horse owners and trainers may stem from the initial reaction to the drug, which can cause a flat or less spirited horse to appear more alert and hypersensitive. In Kritchevsky's study using fit Standardbreds, they did find a behaviour change after administration of Levothyroxine. The horses became quite alert and more difficult to handle but then they fatigued quicker.   When Dr. Kritchevsky gave Levothyroxine (a thyroid supplement) to the horses, it resulted in changes to blood concentrations of all thyroid hormones. Horses given 0.25mg/kg Levothyroxine went to maximum heart rate quicker, but the horse's blood lactate concentration did not change post-exercise, which told the researchers that they had the same level of fitness. The drug was not found to be performance enhancing. In fact, four out of the six horses in the study developed cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) when treated with Levothyroxine and one developed atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a serious performance limiting condition that can be career ending.   Kritchevsky thanks Equine Guelph and AGCO for providing the lion's share of the funding for this important research on thyroxine supplementation. This research was done in response to reports of open containers of thyroxine supplement that were observed during barn visits as part of out of competition testing by ORC (now AGCO). Elevated blood concentration of thyroxine has been documented on numerous occasions on post-race blood testing of horses from Ontario tracks.   Kritchevsky says, "This is an important problem anywhere! People are using thyroid supplement and it does not do what they think it is doing. This research is important for all, including racing commissions. While thyroxine is not a foreign substance, as this study indicates, high levels render the horse unfit to race."   Some officials believe thyroxine should be regulated and next steps in research may include developing an assay to test for a carrier protein that is excreted indicating a high thyroid.   Stay tuned to Equine Guelph E-News for more updates about this study.     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=610     Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph  

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 | 

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

Guelph, ON, May 10, 2018 - Ah Spring; when countless materials are covered in shedding horse hair including your clothes, car, perhaps even your couch if you don’t change out of barn clothes immediately when you get home. But what if you are not covered in your horses shedding coat? Delayed shedding or regional hypertrichosis can be early warning signs of Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) – a metabolic condition that suppresses the immune system when high cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels.  Look for abnormal hair coat including patches of long hair on the legs, wavy hair on the neck, changes in coat colour or shedding patterns and unusual whisker growth.  Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge healthcare tool contains useful resources to practice identifying metabolic issues.   Did you know horses seen for laminitis have frequently been found to have PPID or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)? Laminitis can be a sign of both metabolic issues yet it is often treated without identifying the underlying cause.   There is a fair bit of confusion in the horse world over mixing up PPID and EMS as they share many of the same clinical signs. Horses with PPID may also have some of the features of EMS. Equine Metabolic Syndrome had many previous names: peripheral Cushing’s Syndrome, pseudo Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance syndrome.   Horses with EMS do not display hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) or delayed shedding. New research studies are investigating changes in gut microflora as another possible early warning sign of EMS. PPID cases are more common in horses over 15 where EMS tends to be seen in horses over 5 years of age. Laminitis and obesity are often the first clues in identifying both disorders. Working with a veterinarian who can perform diagnostics is necessary to conclude which disorder you are dealing with and determine the best treatment options. Early warning signs can be subtle and of course early diagnosis is important.   “Every year Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a PPID testing campaign in partnership with Animal Health Laboratory in Guelph,” says Guillaume Cloutier, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. “In 2017, out of the 442 horses that were tested, 273 (62%) had a positive result for PPID.”   To learn more about detecting early warning signs for metabolic issues and other important factors in maintaining health as your horse ages, visit Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge Healthcare Tool, kindly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Guelph, ON, First released by Ontario Racing April 16, 2018 - There’s no doubt Cameron Lago has charted a successful course in the Standardbred industry, thanks to an unmistakable passion for the harness racing sport and an exceptional educational experience through Equine Guelph.   “I started my appreciation for horses when I was about 9-10, when I attended the OHHA Youth camp at Flamboro Downs,” recalled the 20-year-old. “My love for horses and racing kind of all started with that. I’ve been hooked on it ever since.”   Lago admits that might be somewhat of an understatement.   “Yes, it probably is,” he said with a laugh. “My grandfather has had a couple of broodmares around as part of his retirement project, so he and I kind of kick-started things here on our farm after I attended the youth camp. Ever since then, we’ve just continued to grow, slowly, but surely, getting involved in the horse racing industry, overall just building our broodmares.   “We currently have four broodmares at home here,” continued Lago. “I’m working in partnership with my grandfather for the moment, slowly starting to buy into some of them. Buying new mares is the goal for myself over the next couple of years, to expand my own herd and get more involved in the breeding side. I have a passion for it – the genetics – and I want to pursue that.”   His fascination with and appreciation for Standardbreds continues to grow.   It’s what eventually drew Lago to Equine Guelph, specifically, the vast array of online educational courses that are offered. He applied for and won the Stuart Stocks Memorial Tuition Award (Equine Guelph Tuition Awards) through Equine Guelph in 2016.   “I was thrilled to be chosen,” he said. “I knew there was some tough competition. I think education within the industry will continue to grow. It’s extremely important.”   His association with Equine Guelph turned out to be twice as nice one year later.   Lago, who was part of the 2016 Wannadrive team, a Hands on Horses Program, also received two online courses through Equine Guelph (valued at $549 each) after being selected as the recipient of the inaugural Roger L’Heureux Award in 2017. Certificates were available in Equine Science, Equine Welfare and Equine Business.   “Getting to take the Equine Genetics and Equine Exercise Physiology in 2017 was an amazing experience,” said Lago, who is set to take the Health & Disease course out of the University of Guelph this May. “My main motive behind it all was to gain more experience. Horses, at one point, they were an unknown to me. I was going to Agricultural school (Business and Livestock Production) at the time in Olds, Alberta. There wasn’t much focus on racehorses, of course, so I wanted to further my education in that, so by taking these courses through Guelph, it’s really helped me in so many ways and helped me increase my knowledge of racehorses. It’s opened a lot of doors.”   He’s hoping other young people get the same opportunities.   “I want to keep giving to this industry to the fullest extent,” offered Lago. “By doing interviews, talking to people, it’s just tremendous because it really shows off the sport. Any positive publicity that harness racing can get is great. The sport has a lot of room for growth and I believe there are a lot of positive outlooks for the industry.”   An industry that Lago believes offers a little bit of everything, with the exception of tedium. Why would he encourage people to consider a horseracing life?   I would say it’s thrilling, that you’re always doing something new every day and you never know what your day will be like,” said Lago. “When you go into a barn, someone always has a story and someone always teaches you something. Working with the equine athletes is something in itself. I’ve really come to appreciate them even more after taking these Guelph courses. It’s fueled my passion even more. To work with them every day, it’s a privilege. You get hooked.   “I would encourage anyone to apply with Equine Guelph because there is so much to learn about these amazing athletes. They’re very complex animals, so to better care for them and understand them is so important. Whether they are racing or they’re a broodmare, they all have a purpose. I would highly encourage anyone to get connected with Equine Guelph and Ontario Racing. There’s a lot to learn from one another.”   Cameron Lago would certainly know.   Story by: Chris Lomon

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