Ontario Veterinary College, graduate student, Cristin McCarty is no stranger to joint health issues having to work through her own athletic injuries from rowing. As an avid rider since age 5, McCarty bought an ex-racehorse in her early teens for repurposing into a hunter/jumper and immediately began an education in joint problems and maintenance options aimed towards keeping her newly purchased horse sound. McCarty's interest in how osteoarthritis begins was born from experience. After pursuing an education in biology, McCarty was very excited to be given the opportunity to work with Dr. Jeff Thomason and Dr. Mark Hurtig at the University of Guelph, where ground-breaking research is looking at joint loading of horses travelling at high speed. Thomason specializes in biomechanics, studying mechanics of locomotion in horses, in-vivo bone strain and finite-element (FE) modelling of skeletal mechanics. Hurtig is an expert on the mechanical causes of osteoarthritis. McCarty has been working with FE, gathering and analyzing data on loads acting at the fetlock joint and stresses in the cannon bone. By creating a computer generated model using computed tomographic (CT) or MRI images of an equine fetlock joint they are working on determining the internal bone stress under varying loading conditions (rates, directions and magnitudes) using FE software. This method of analysis could provide further insight into the biomechanical role impact has on the stress distribution in areas of high remodeling, which are associated with osteoarthritis in racehorses. FE has been used for quite some time in the automotive industry in crash test simulations to assess material failure but it is a relatively new technology for applications in biology. McCarty, who has been working under Thomason for three years now, says, "it was a steep learning curve to become familiar with the software to build complex models. That alone took almost two years." FE, through complicated mathematical calculations, can test where stress points will occur under particular loading conditions. In a more dense bone (which occurs in osteoarthritis) these calculations can show how stress points may be transferred and put onto the cartilage of the joint. Using FE researchers can also study how distribution of stress in a healthy, spongy less dense bone differs from that of an osteoarthritic joint. Contributing factors to osteoarthritis(OA) in the fetlock joint of a horse lies partly in conformation. A horses' large body mass is held up by four fairly small limbs and the fetlock joint is a small area to distribute the force and loading that occurs during high speed movement. Long pasterns and steep joint angles increase stresses on the back of the leg and can predispose a horse to issues. McCarty explains the incredible forces calculated from the horses mass x acceleration (F=M x A) during the high speed work a racehorse performs. This can result in upwards of 2.5 times their body weight on one limb. Footing plays a role with harder surfaces resulting in higher strains on the hoof. A blunt force trauma could also predispose a horse to joint injury and make it more susceptible to the onset of OA. Intense continuous training can set a horse up for OA and joint disease. McCarty goes on to talk about training programs and compares the training of human athletics to how we train race horses, "If you wanted to run a 200 meter sprint, you would not sit on a couch all day; get up to sprint 50 meters then return directly to the couch. With no pre-conditioning of joints, this is asking for injury. So why would we ask a horse to stand in a stall all day and then take them out for a gallop?" Chronic overloading of joints leads to problems over time. One of the potential uses McCarty cites for FE modeling could be assessing the chronically lame horse. This technology may allow predications of where the bone may fracture and under what conditions. Also, with greater understanding of high stress point areas and what is creating them, mitigation may be possible such as suggesting a change in the footing surface the horse trains on. This research will be continuing in collaboration with the Robarts Research Institute, Western University and has been funded by the Ontario Veterinary College department of Biomedical Science, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Side bar: Promote Healthy Joints: Daily pasture turn out allows horses to load joints as nature intended Gradual, progressive warm up and cool down periods in training sessions Avoid excessive fast work and training on hard ground Exposing horses to different surfaces while training and hill work can be beneficial Contact your vet if you see swelling, lameness, shortened stride or any signs of pain Learn more about osteoarthritis by visiting Equine Guelph's healthcare tool "Journey through the Joints" and test your ability to spot lameness with "Lameness Lab." Equine Guelph thanks Zoetis for sponsoring these valuable tools. by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. , June 19, 2015 - Today , Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, was named the recipient of the 14th annual Equine Industry Vision Award. Zoetis, in partnership with American Horse Publications (AHP), presented the award to Ecker at the AHP Seminar in San Antonio, Texas. The Equine Industry Vision Award is the first major award to showcase innovation across the equine industry. Established and sponsored by Zoetis, the prestigious award recognizes ingenuity and service, and it serves to inspire those qualities in others. "We are proud to recognize Gayle for her heartfelt work in connecting people, especially youth, with horses," said Kate Russo, equine biologicals marketing manager, Zoetis. "Gayle's passion for utilizing science-based knowledge to educate people on the health of horses is unmatched. Zoetis is proud to present her with an award to recognize her lifelong commitment to advancing the equine industry." Ecker is director of Equine Guelph, which she has led since its inception in 2003. The center at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, supports the health and well-being of horses through education, research, health care promotion and industry development. It is supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Ecker was instrumental in the creation of the center by writing the grant that led to the development of its education and communications programs. She was a pioneer in online education. In 2002, she established a first-of-its kind educational approach that provides virtual learning pathways for career development in the equine industry. She also serves as an instructor for the program. She also led the development of Equine Guelph's youth exhibit, EquiMania!, which features interactive stations that teach young horse enthusiasts about equine safety and wellness. The exhibit first appeared at the 2005 Can-Am All Breeds Equine Expo and also has traveled to the 2010 World Equestrian Games ™ in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Minnesota State Fair. Each year, Ecker and her team improve the exhibit with up to 25% new materials based on attendee feedback. "I am so grateful for the opportunity to be recognized," Ecker said. "My passion is truly my students - seeing their thirst for knowledge and knowing the time I invest will be tenfold when they go out and make a difference." As a former researcher, Ecker's expertise is in exercise physiology. She has been the assistant chef d'equipe for the Canadian Endurance Team, traveling around the globe to support the team at international events, such as the Pan American Games, the World Equestrian Games and World Endurance Championships. These days, Ecker enjoys trail riding aboard her two quarter horses. Ecker also was named to the Can-Am All Breeds Equine Expo Hall of Fame in 2014, when she received the Builder Award. In 2010, she received the Readers' Choice Award in the exceptional equestrian category from the Horse Journal . Ecker also was named one of the top 15 horse people of the year by Western Horse Review in 2008. Other finalists for this year's Equine Industry Vision Award included: the EQUUS Foundation, a charitable foundation that provides financial support and service to equine charities across the United States; Jim McGarvey, chairman of the board for Back Country Horsemen of America; and Juli S. Thorson, editor-at-large for Horse & Rider . Previous recipients of the award are: · Patti Colbert (2014) · The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Int'l) (2013) · Equine Land Conservation Resource (2012) · Robert Cacchione (2011) · John Nicholson (2010) · Charlotte Brailey Kneeland (2009) · Sally Swift (2008) · David O'Connor (2007) · Stanley F. Bergstein (2006) · John Ryan Gaines (2005) · The American Quarter Horse Association (2004) · Don Burt (2003) · Alexander Mackay-Smith (2002) About American Horse Publications American Horse Publications is a nonprofit professional association dedicated to promoting excellence in equine media and better understanding and communication within the equine publishing industry. For more information on the association, please contact: Chris Brune, American Horse Publications, at firstname.lastname@example.org 386-760-7743, or visit the AHP website atwww.americanhorsepubs.org .
No one spends more time with your horse than you. Naturally, the role of primary caretaker and advocate for horse health falls on the person in closest contact with said equine. The well-rounded horse person is more than a good rider. They are educated in normal parameters of horse health and keen observers, on the look-out for anything that is abnormal, for that individual horse. In this article Dr. Laura Frost and Dr. Brianne Henderson will discuss the important role the horse owner plays in maintaining and optimizing their horse's health. Getting to know you Waiting until you have a reason to take a horse's vitals is a good example of shutting the barn door after the great escape. Frost points out vitals vary from horse to horse. "It is important to know if your horse sits at the low or high end of any given vitals range for you to have a good base line." Take the horse's vitals when you can gain the most accurate reading for a resting rate (I.e. not right before feeding, after being outside in the sun, while under tack or after exercise unless you are monitoring recovery rates). Frost and Henderson both concur that grooming is more than knocking off the dirt in preparation for riding but a full body check that can alert owners to any swellings, soreness, changes in behaviour or ailments that may require close monitoring or immediate attention. No stranger to the sport of endurance riding, Henderson also points out one should be familiar with the numbers for their horse's recovery rates determining how long it takes vitals to return to normal after a work-out. Henderson is quick to recommend Equine Guelph's Horse Health check poster as a great resource for horse owners to become familiar with vitals and other normal parameters, sighting its ease of use with the green/yellow/red indicators for each section of the 16-point check. Knowing how to quantify and classify 'not normal' is crucial when speaking to your veterinarian on the phone. Both Frost and Henderson attest this exact information allows them to gauge the urgency of a call and whether they should be treating it as an emergency or scheduling a visit in their upcoming week. The power of observation "Keeping a log really goes a long way," states Frost. "A novel is not helpful but keeping accurate health records and knowing when a problem starts and if it is reoccurring can often tell you more about what is going on." "It is easy to get caught up with goals and the fast-pace of day-to-day life," says Henderson, but it is important to take a moment to look at the full health picture on a daily basis. Henderson goes on to list some components of due diligence: looking at the amount and consistency of manure in the stall, water consumption, noticing if feed is left behind or picking up on an unusual stance in the horse. "One of the first things I look at when attending a colic call is the state of the stall," says Henderson. "I look to see if the shavings are level or if the horse has churned them up box walking." Henderson then goes on to look at the other points of due diligence and asks when the stall was last picked out. For another example -a horse that consistently rests the same hind leg is cause for further investigation. If you push him onto the other hind- does he return to the favored leg? Henderson explains the observant horse owner will quickly notice this is a possible indication of soreness. Springing into action "Early intervention always offers the best prognosis and increases the probability of a good outcome," explains Frost. Take for example a horse that develops swelling in the suspensory area and looks mildly lame for a day. The horse owner might employ cold therapy for a couple days and then put the horse back to work when everything seems to return to normal but later the horse comes up 3/5 lame. "Suspensory injuries can be sneaky," says Frost, "and what starts off as a minor injury can turn into a major one if not diagnosed and treated correctly at the onset." Of course, sometimes springing into action is simply a matter of treating a minor cut or scrape the moment you spot it in order to prevent infection but when in doubt, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian. Frost goes on to explain the dangers of treating horses with the wrong medication sighting a common example of corneal ulcers on a horse's eye. Often they are just mild to start but if left untreated or treated incorrectly they can progress to be quite serious. Treatment with the wrong ointment (perhaps loaned from a well-meaning co-boarder) could result in a melting ulcer. It is always best to call the veterinarian to check out any problem pertaining to eyes as soon as possible (eye issues can be very painful for the horse). Another good example of early intervention could be catching a sarcoid in its initial stages and having the option to treat it topically versus excising a huge growth under general anesthetic if it has been allowed to develop. Springing into action is a definite requirement at the first sign of an infectious disease. This action requires a call to the veterinarian without delay for treatment and immediate advice on biosecurity measures, which may include isolation, to help stop the spread to other horses in the barn and surrounding regions. The all-important "ounce of prevention" Henderson can attest in her experience with horses, this is not an old cliché. Prevention is the best medicine and thinking three steps ahead goes a long way in minimizing injuries. A simple example is avoiding an icy path by breaking it up or putting sand down. Prevention should never be considered time consuming when it is ultimately cost saving and an exercise in preserving health and welfare. Henderson encourages her clients to perform body condition scoring every two to three weeks. It is a good practice all year long. Many horse owners are caught by surprise when they look under the blanket come springtime to find a horse 100 lbs. underweight. More weather-related prevention methods including ensuring horses are drinking adequate amounts and blanketed accordingly on days when the temperatures fluctuate from +5 to -10 in a 24 hour period. Yo-yoing temperatures can be really hard on horses as can the occurrence of brutally long cold snaps. Henderson stresses the importance of providing adequate, good quality, forage and the ability to access shelter to escape from weather and drafts. Increasing forage in a cold spell is an easy prevention measure to help the horse stay warm and avoid dropping weight. Henderson explains, allowing horses to trickle feed hay is also a great way to maintain digestive health, help prevent ulcers and promote good mental health. They were designed to graze while moving over terrain for over eighteen hours a day. Frost stresses horse owners really need to cover all the basics in order to be productive in any riding discipline. This includes: a solid foundation in their training methods, an understanding of proper hoof care, booking routine farrier appointments (every 5 -6 weeks for the average horse) and following routine veterinary care (such as annual dental work and vaccinations). "You can do all the advanced imaging in the world on your horse but if you are not performing basics such as performing fecals and deworming, you will only be as good as your weakest link," concludes Frost. Side bar in getting to know you section: Now there is an App for that! Equine Guelph's Horse Health Tracker has taken all the information from their Horse Health Check poster and packaged it in an App that will allow you to track this important data and much more. The App boasts a body condition score generator and body weight calculator. Purchase the upgrade for more features such as: a reminder dashboard to sync healthcare appointment reminders with your smart phone calendar, how-to videos, email capability to share data from the past 13-months with your healthcare team and custom horse profiles for up to a herd of 50! Check it out at: http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/app2.php Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
"A successful emergency rescue is about 90 percent preparation and 10% action," reiterated Ontario SPCA officer Bonnie Bishop. Bishop can't say enough about how the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue program, presented by Equine Guelph last fall, has helped her on the job. On March 17, 2015 preparation was put into action when a bull trapped down a well, just north of Napanee, was successfully rescued with Bonnie helping triage the situation on the end of a phone line with agent Tex Ridder on the scene. "Many organizations that participate in TLAER programs do not realize how far reaching this program is - that it concerns situations from loose horses on the highway, to cattle truck rollovers, to animals trapped and needing professional extrication. The most important feature of the program is safety for the people on the scene first," says Dr. Rebecca Gimenez of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc. Bishop was over two hours away in Cornwall when the call about a trapped Charolais bull came in. Although adrenaline kicked in right from the start - the TLAER program armed her with a logical system for assessing the dilemma. Realizing the bull was not in immediate danger she knew lowering down some hay and water were first on the list to keep the bull calm while more calls could be made. Knowing the Incident Command System is one of the most valuable components when pulling together resources for a rescue. From first responders to the forklift operator and veterinarian, Bishop recounted how knowing the simple practical steps involved in making a plan and following a chain of command throughout execution is. Staying calm through the whole situation, the bull's owner then contacted all the necessary resources. Both the in-class videos and hands on demonstrations from the TLAER program came into play. The memorable videos on "what not to do" coupled with the practical hands-on work detailing how to safely arrange recovery straps to a large animal contributed to a successful vertical lift. Bishop remembered from one of the class videos how important a chest strap was to stop a large animal from slipping out during a forklift rescue. While they were not able to secure a chest strap, the rescuers on the scene improvised to ensure the bull would not tip forward during lifting. They placed the bull down a good distance away from the chasm ensuring he would not stumble back in after his airborne adventures. The rescue can be viewed on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLc7QHBFhA0&sns=em Teamwork and planning are key ingredients to successful emergency rescues. The next 2-day Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue awareness hands-on seminar will be offered Oct 3 - 4 at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ontario. It is appropriate for a very broad audience - horse owners, first responders, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency animal response teams, livestock producers and associations. This program is applicable to obtain continuing education credits for coaches (from Equine Canada) and for veterinarians, veterinary technicians and emergency responders (from their respective organizations). Registration is limited and there is an early bird special $179 until July 15, 2015. Support provided by Grand River Agricultural Society and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. For more information about this program feel free to contact Susan Raymond email@example.com and also see article: Awareness Training for Large Animal Rescue - Always Expect the Unexpected for an overview of the first TLAER operations level program hosted in Ontario by Equine Guelph. Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
The merits of attending Ontario's first Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) Operations program became abundantly clear, just two seasons later, for horse owner Karen Dallimore of Orton, ON. "When my horse Cody became cast, the education I received allowed me to think clearly, put a plan into place and get Cody back on his feet without endangering myself," said Karen who had already stocked her barn with safety equipment after the intensive hands-on seminar. She remembered the words of world renowned expert, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, "I can't stress enough the need for proper equipment to be worn by ALL when handling these large animals in emergency situations, including a helmet, gloves, reflective vest on roadways, etc. If you're not equipped, then stay back." Quickly, gathering up some ropes, a helmet and tools, Karen returned to the scene in her indoor arena where 1,300 pounds of Quarter horse lay cast against the kickboards. The emphasis of having a Plan A, B, C ... came together without panic and the council of a "perfect rescue" being the one where the animal frees itself topped the list. After strapping on a helmet, plan A became nailing a board to the smooth, sloped kickboard so the upside down 16'1 gelding could gain purchase. Cody remained calm but still could not find his way out of the dilemma. With help of her husband, Harry, Plan B became keeping a safe distance away from potentially dangerous hooves that were dangling in the air and extending their reach with barn tools to slip ropes around Cody in order to pull him out of the situation. The TLAER program took participants through the do's and don'ts of large animal rescue so Karen knew where she could and could not attach ropes for a safe rescue. Cody was successfully put back onto terra firma. Thanks to this and other past courses taken through Equine Guelph, Karen also knew to monitor Cody's vitals and health after his incident and then thoroughly debrief the situation. "It's in the details, when you can make a plan and work through it," said Karen who was more than satisfied with how her training turned into action and a successful rescue at Cody's time of need. With Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, a world leader in large animal emergency rescue, a 2-day Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue awareness hands-on seminar will be offered Oct 3 - 4 at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ontario. It is appropriate for a very broad audience - horse owners, first responders, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency animal response teams, livestock producers and associations. Participants will be taken through the do's and don'ts of large animal rescue and guided through a variety of emergency simulations including plenty of hands on demonstrations. Registration is limited and there is an early bird special $179 until July 15, 2015. For more information about this program feel free to contact Susan Raymond firstname.lastname@example.org and also see article:Awareness Training for Large Animal Rescue - Always Expect the Unexpected for an overview of the first TLAER operations level program hosted in Ontario by Equine Guelph. Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Guelph, ON - Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, has been selected as one of four finalists for the prestigious Equine Industry Vision Award for 2015. Intended to recognize innovation, leadership and service in North America, the Equine Industry Vision Award, sponsored by Zoetis, will announce a winner on Friday, June 19, 2015. The Trophy created by master artisan Peter Wayne Yenawine will be presented at the American Horse Publication Tally-Ho at the Alamo Seminar in San Antonio, Texas. Ecker received the distinction of being 'short-listed' from a record number of 25 nominees. “To be selected as one of the four top finalists for this prestigious award is truly an honour,” says Ecker. “Many thanks go out to our sponsors, partners, donors and supporters that make it possible for Equine Guelph to promote horse health and welfare through our education programs.” The other three finalists include: EQUUS Foundation, a charitable foundation providing financial support and services to equine charities across the United States; Jim McGarvey, Chairman of the Board, Back Country Horsemen of America; Juli S. Thorson, Editor-at-Large, Horse & Rider. Finalists were judged by the AHP Board of Directors plus a Zoetis representative, on their performance in relation to the achievement(s) cited and their demonstration of the following attributes and abilities: 1) The vision and innovation of a true pioneer; 2) Leadership, commitment, dedication and willingness to serve; 3) Original and effective ideas and/or products, services, programs; 4) High moral, ethical and professional standards. The Equine Industry Vision award has been presented thirteen times since its inception in 2002 to top industry professionals and equine institutes. AHP director, Chris Brune says, “It represents that these individuals and organizations are being recognized for making a real difference in the horse world.” Many congratulations go out to Ecker from her peers, supporters and the multitude of horse lovers that have been inspired, educated and motivated by her tireless efforts and contributions to the horse industry through her work with Equine Guelph. Previous winners: • Patti Colbert (2014) • Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (2013) • Equine Land Conservation Resource (2012) • Robert Cacchione (2011) • John Nicholson (2010) • Charlotte Brailey Kneeland (2009) • Sally Swift (2008) • David O'Connor (2007) • Stanley F. Bergstein (2006) • John Ryan Gaines (2005) • American Quarter Horse Association (2004) • Don Burt (2003) • Alexander Mackay-Smith (2002) Go to the AHP site for the full list of nominees and past recipients. Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Can-Am President, Ross Miller and his team received a gift of appreciation celebrating the ten-year relationship forged between his team and Equine Guelph. Accomplished artist, EquiMania! volunteer and long time friend of Equine Guelph, Ruth Benns created a beautiful painting depicting a typical jovial scene of the ever-popular EquiMania display. The specially commissioned artwork was presented to Ross Miller, Mike Straw and Ron Waples in the main arena on Can-Am's Saturday night to help kick off the extravaganza show to a sold out crowd. "Can-Am Equine Expo is proud of the relationship with Equine Guelph that is based on promoting the welfare of the equine while also educating people young and old on the equine world," says Ross Miller. "Gayle Ecker and her staff always partner in a most professional manner and we look forward to a continued relationship in the future." EquiMania! has been featured at the Can-Am Equine Expo right from it's debut. The once little booth aimed towards teaching kids to be safe around horses has grown up with Can-Am to educate and entertain thousands of horse lovers of all walks of life. This year, the now 5,000 lb display occupied an entire barn, bringing it's interactive, fun way to learn about horses and safety to the multitudes who attended. "Sharing a common vision promoting education, health and welfare for a vibrant equine industry makes it a pleasure to work with Ross Miller and his dedicated crew," states Equine Guelph's director, Gayle Ecker. "We always look forward to presenting EquiMania! at Can-Am and we were so pleased to present Ross with a token of our appreciation." Equine Guelph would also like to pay special thanks to the artists who offered donations of proceeds from their booth sales and through donations of artwork auctioned off at the Saturday evening extravaganza: Ann Clifford, Wendy Fraleigh, Nola McConnan of Merriweather Studio, and Winnie Stott with the equine artists of Winsong Farm.Notes to Editor: by Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Over the past two years, Equine Guelph has chosen a specific topic for their annual communications program. In 2013, the "Year of Colic Prevention" was well-received, and this was followed by a focus in 2014 with the "Full-Circle-Responsibility" welfare initiative promoting raising the standards of horse care - a topic that resonated with our industry. In 2015, Equine Guelph continues with the "Full-Circle-Responsibility" campaign focusing on a specific chapter of the new National Code of Practice for the Care and handling of Equines in every monthly e-communication. After many collaborative hours of research by industry professionals, the Code of Practice outlines science-based, best practices to keep our industry moving forward in its support of equine welfare. Equine Guelph's Code Decoder will highlight the key points and show its application for daily management practices. Each month Equine Guelph's Code Decoder will focus on a section of the Code. We also have a new Horse Owner's Tool that will help you assess your own management practices - the Horse Health Tracker App. Equine welfare is an important priority for every association and club to intertwine in all programs, rules and procedures. In 2015, we invite the industry to join us throughout the year as we learn more about the Code of Practice. We challenge you to 'widen the circle by sending our monthly e-news to all your horse-owner acquaintances and association members and show your support for equine welfare. Give your friends the key to the code for the care and handling of equines by encouraging them to sign up at EquineGuelph.ca. Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Tracking vital health data in real-time on your smart phone or tablet is a snap with Equine Guelph's new Horse Health Tracker App! Whether you have one horse or a whole herd, this app empowers horse owners to give the ultimate in care to their animals. Assess your horse's vital health data, body condition score and body weight with a few simple clicks and easily share this information with your healthcare team. Upgrades allow you to keep track of information such as heart rate, temperature and respiration for up to 50 horses! Special graphs plot this vital data over a 13-month period. Instructional videos are also included in the upgrade to show you how to properly perform the assessments. Appointment reminders sync with your smart phone calendar, making it easy to stay on top of your horse's health care regime. The app accommodates multiple checks per day, making it the perfect tool to monitor sick horses as well as healthy horses. Its built-in e-mail capability allows you to share data with your veterinarian. "The ability to share pertinent information with your veterinarian is a wonderful feature," says equine practitioner, Dr. Laura Frost. "The Horse Health Tracker makes it easy for the horse owner to systematically collect vital health data and provide this information in real-time to a veterinarian. This app ensures that important pieces of the puzzle are not missed when communicating health concerns regarding a sick horse." The Horse Health Tracker App is a must-have management tool for you to become the leading advocate for your horse's health. A user guide is available at EquineGuelph.ca. The App is available for download at the App Store and Google Play. Not only will this app benefit your horse healthcare program, your purchase will support Equine Guelph in its mission to 'Help Horses for Life' as proceeds will be invested back into welfare education programs. This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario. Other partners include: Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare; Equine Canada; Farm & Food Care Ontario; Greenhawk Harness & Equestrian Supplies; Omega Alpha Equine; Ontario Equestrian Federation; the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Ontario Racing Commission; Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Standardbred Canada. Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. 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. by Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Everything at your fingertips and an easy-to-follow resource manual make the Equine Guelph First Aid Kit your "go to" item when an equine emergency hijacks your perfectly planned day. Equine Guelph and Greenhawk have partnered to offer this extensive first aid kit, at a great value, to keep you organized and ready to deal with emergency situations. Proceeds from the Equine Guelph First Aid Kit will be donated by Greenhawk to Equine Guelph in support of its welfare education programs. The first thing you will notice is a section to store all your emergency numbers. The resource manual includes checklists and explains the contents of the kit to equip horse owners for emergencies. The manual makes it easy to keep track of items and when to replenish supplies with a handy inventory checklist and log. How to deal with wounds and how to bandage are also covered in the kit along with a list of a horse's vitals. Greenhawk believes in the importance of equine healthcare and welfare as illustrated by its commitment to offering the Equine Guelph First Aid Kit to its valued customers through this unique partnership. The partners have included 16 essential items in your kit at a cost savings of over $55! There is room to customize your kit with additional suggested items, keeping everything in one handy, sanitary container. Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker explains, "The launch of this first aid kit is part of the Full-Circle-Responsibility program Equine Guelph initiated with the help of many partners to promote welfare in the equine industry. Your purchase will support Equine Guelph in our mission to 'Help Horses for Life'." She adds, "Every horse caregiver should be prepared to manage an emergency situation." In case of emergency, Equine Guelph recommends following its abbreviated list of emergency procedures, "A.C.T.", intended to help you stay efficient during an emergency: 1. Assess the situation, 2. Call for help and 3. Treat the horse. Equine Guelph also recommends that all horse care givers should receive first aid or emergency preparedness training. The Equine Guelph First Aid Kit is available for $129 at select Greenhawk stores: Mississauga, Ottawa, Gormley, London, Beamsville, Barrie, Orangeville, Campbellville, Whitby and Toronto (Avenue Road). This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario. Other partners include: Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare; Equine Canada; Farm & Food Care Ontario; Greenhawk Harness & Equestrian Supplies; Omega Alpha Equine; Ontario Equestrian Federation; the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Ontario Racing Commission; Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Standardbred Canada. by Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Equine Guelph's interactive youth education attraction is the perfect fit where education meets fun! From sitting on top of everyone's favorite fiberglass horse, "Shorty Legs", to learning the inner workings of the horses skeletal and digestive system - EquiMania! delivers information in the most entertaining way for the whole family. The EquiMania! Explorer safety program tours youth through the entire display learning how to be safe around horses, in the stable, around equipment and in the barn yard. Our new helmet safety display is proving popular, teaching riders why it is so important to use their head and always wear a helmet when working around horses. This youth safety education initiative is made possible each year by our partners: Kubota Canada, Ontario Equestrian Federation, SSG Gloves, System Fencing and Workplace Safety and Prevention Services. Equine Guelph also thanks Greenhawk, Shur-Gain and Zoetis for their generous support as sponsors of our healthcare displays. Our next stop will be at Can-Am Equine All Breeds Emporium, April 3 - 5 at the new location of Markham Fairgrounds. Help us celebrate our 10th year at Can-Am! Bring the kids to enter a new colouring contest (up to age 10). And for horse enthusiasts new to riding, the Ticket to Ride program will trot out again. Brought to you by Equine Guelph and the Ontario Equestrian Federation, "Ticket to Ride", offers youth an opportunity for a FREE assessment lesson, discounted lesson package or free introduction to horses barn tour at participating OEF member riding facilities. Pick up your Explorer Passport at the EquiMania! display and let the learning begin! Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Life for the horse changed profoundly and forever when the first humans began the process of domestication of the horse for human needs — perhaps more profoundly than we as humans can fully appreciate. The horse is a herd animal that is designed for long hours of grazing in the great outdoors. Fences, paddocks, stalls, intense housing, controlled breeding and more became increasingly complex as the demands on the horse increased. From a simple “food-producing” animal, to war machine and beast of burden, to the demanding athletic life, the “ask” of the horse is far from natural. As owners of the horse, our responsibility for proper care of our animals has grown as well. Certainly domestication of the horse and a variety of human uses of the horse have brought many positives to the life of horses as well. These include: better protection, nutrition, and health management. The role of equine veterinarian developed greatly during wartime as horses became important tools in battle. Welfare of the horse has been better served with increasing knowledge gained by research on health and well-being of the horse on many continents. This research has played a critical role in developing the new standards for care of horses, now outlined in the new Code of Practice for horses in Canada. It is well known that management practices can greatly affect the health and welfare of horses and can be the cause of many conditions. Section two of the Code outlines the consensus and evidence-based recommendations for standards and “best practices” for our domestic horses, with the goal of preventing many of the common health problems associated with different housing practices. The horse industry of today has changed greatly as have our expectations of the horse and its role in our society. Societal expectations have also changed with respect to our management practices and the responsibility for supporting equine welfare and preventing pain, illness and suffering. A strong knowledge of management and disease prevention is the first step to implementing high standards of care for the horses in our care, whether it be the backyard horse or high level athlete. We must all be familiar with our new Code of Practice and the standards set out in this document. Learn more about the Equine Code of Practice – visit – Facilities and Housing Stay tuned for more about Facilities and Housing in the April e-news. Sign up for our free e-newsletter which will deliver monthly welfare tips throughout 2015 and announce tools to aid all horse owners in carrying out their ‘Full-Circle-Responsibility’ to our beloved horses. | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Harness Horsemen International's Annual Meetings continued with General Sessions and a keynote speaker on March 3 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida. Dr. Mary Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, Chester, PA presented "Equine Drug Testing in the 21st Century," discussing many of the current methods used by most equine testing laboratories today and future applications currently in development. "Today's equipment is becoming so sophisticated you can identify a grain of salt in an Olympic sized swimming pool," Dr. Robinson stated. Later, members of American and Canadian associations met to debate HHI issues, including budget, dues, finance, legal, insurance, convention and scholarship. Membership then unanimously approved welcoming back the Indiana Standardberd Association to HHI. Tom Cook, President of the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association made a motion that was adopted by the full body of delegates, suggesting that: "The Standardbred industry and its racing fans are negatively impacted by the current dispute between the Mid-Atlantic Co-op and the Monarch Group. HHI encourages both parties to work diligently to reach a settlement; recognizing the impact the current stalemate has on multiple parties, including the betting public." It was also agreed on by HHI membership that the 2016 meeting dates would be Feb. 28 through March 3 at this same location. HHI elections and committee reports will highlight Wednesday's (March 4) General Session, starting at 9 am, followed by the Awards Luncheon at 12:30 pm, during which harness racing's Gene Oldford, Jerry Knappenberger and Derick Giwner will be feted with HHI's top honors. Oldford, an HHI past president, is the 2014 Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year; Knappenberger, former GM of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, will accept the 2014 HHI Appreciation Award; and Giwner, the Daily Racing Form's harness racing editor and writer, is the 2014 Clyde Hirt Media Award winner. Kimberly A. Rinker
Many ex-racehorses are finding second careers once their racing days are over, thanks to the ever increasing awareness of what these multi-talented athletes can also do off the track. As a result of this growing movement to retrain the racehorse, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and Quarter Horses have successfully been transitioning from the track to a new lifestyle as sport horses, show horses or all-around pleasure mounts. Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix is a huge proponent of the "ex-racehorse" breed and has successfully worked with them for years. Two of her well-recognized horses in eventing -Exploring and Exponential - were off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTB) that successfully took Phoenix to top international levels of competition in eventing. "Exploring went to the Pam Am Games in 2007, and Exponential went to the Olympics and the Word Equestrian Games in 2010 and 2012," says the Cannington, Ontario resident. "Exponential is such a tough horse. He's 17 now and is still competing at the four-star level." In June of 2014, Phoenix won the CCI3* division at the Jaguar Land Rover Bromont Three-Day Event in Quebec aboard A Little Romance. Owned by Don and Anita Leschied, the nine-year-old Canadian-bred mare is a Thoroughbred-Trakehner cross. "I believe that Thoroughbreds are so appealing to our sport because they love to run, as that's what they're bred to do, and I think that's one of the biggest draws to having a Thoroughbred in our sport," says Phoenix. "They also have such a courageous spirit and a zest for life." Phoenix feels that she would not have been able to get a start in this sport if it hadn't been for her OTTB's, Exploring and Exponential. "They were both inexpensive horses to purchase and they were both extremely talented," she says. "They gave me a real opportunity to get into the sport of eventing, to compete at the highest level and be competitive. Starting out, I certainly wasn't in a position where I could purchase a really expensive horse, so honestly, without having been able to start with Thoroughbreds; I probably wouldn't be where I am today." As a competition coach and eventing specialist, Phoenix operates Phoenix Equestrian in Oshawa, Ontario and notes that of the 35 horses currently in their program, half of them are Thoroughbreds. Phoenix is currently training a LongRun Thoroughbred graduate named Exultation, (aka Down By The Docks) who has been declared for the Pan American Games in 2015. Finding Mr. Right With their versatility and great work ethic, a retired racehorse can be hugely rewarding, but it's important to do your homework in order to find the most suitable mount for you. Each year, the racing industry ensures a steady stream of horses that have found themselves at the end of their racing careers. On average, ages can run from two-year-olds (they usually begin their racing career between the age of two and three), to four-and five-year-olds, while some with steady, lucrative careers retire from the track at six years and upward. Their reasons for retirement vary, but most common is their lack of speed, while others, because of the high cost of training, may have been downsized by the owner for economic reasons. Ex-racehorses are naturally competitive, with a willing- to-please personality. As a result, they can be easily trained to adapt to a new discipline, says Phoenix. But with their abundance of availability, how do you know which one is right for you? "I would definitely recommend that you purchase a horse with a basic vetting done, because nine times out of ten, if the horse is clinically sound, and their heart, eyes and lungs are good, they will last the average rider a long time," says Phoenix. "It doesn't have to be an X-ray of every single joint, but this just gives you a bit of information so that if there is something there, you are aware of it and able to maintain it going forward." Some suitable ex-racehorses come off their racing career in fine health, while others can have lower level issues that can be overcome with rest and rehab. Find out ahead of time what your prospect is capable of achieving and whether or not he would a suitable choice, whether for pleasure or as a show mount. To assist with your search, Phoenix recommends the assistance of a trainer or agent, as some ex-racers come at a bargain price for a reason. Those without access to a trainer or agent can turn to one of the many "Off the Track" rehabilitation organizations readily available across the country that retrain and place ex-racehorses for successful second careers. "When you purchase an ex-racehorse from a reputable and established organization, you get the right history on that horse," says Dr. Oscar Calvete, Farm Manager and Veterinarian at Adena Springs North, based in Aurora, Ontario. Created by the Stronach Family in 2004, the Adena Retirement Program was developed as a rehabilitation and retraining program for former racehorses. "At Adena, we take care of the injuries first before we make the horse available on our website. We keep records of everything and make these records available to the public." Calvete notes that by providing the new adoptive owners with full disclosure of each horse's health history and their current retraining status, they're able to ensure that the horses are matched with the right owner and home. The Right Choice Once you've narrowed it down to a few prospects, Phoenix recommends using one's "horse sense" and good judgment to decide on the right prospect. "When considering a purchase, make sure that you really enjoy the horse. Not that you just like the looks of it, but that you really like the horse's personality," she says. "And sometimes, that means you have to spend some time with it. Horses are just like people. They all have different personalities; and sometimes you get along well with them, and sometimes you don't. I would also say knowing their history is helpful, including if they've had any vet-related incidents." A career in equine sport, for both racehorses and sport horses, can put them at risk for training-related injuries. However, the past decade has seen tremendous advances in the field of equine sports medicine in both identification and treatment of these injuries. "The most common ailments that you will find in retired racehorses are mainly soft tissue issues such as tendons and ligaments, as well as joint problems in the front limbs," Calvete notes. "This would be followed by hind limbs, hocks, stifle, hip and back problems, mostly in that order." Many of the more common ailments, such as soft tissue injuries, can easily be overcome with treatment and rest. A vet check can assist in identifying any possible issues that may affect the horse during its second career, as well as advise if the injury is recoverable to allow him to return to full athletic function. "We recommend a program that goes in a slow and consistent manner, always having in mind the horse's temperament and conformation," adds Calvete. Patience is Key Racehorses are worked differently than the average riding horse, as their training mostly involves fitness and speed work. While the transitioning process from racehorse to retraining can vary depending on the horse, most recommend some type of down time before beginning the retraining process. "When they've just come off the track, they are really fit, as they've been galloping every single day," says Phoenix. "Often times when people give them a break, it's more to just let their fitness down and their bodies relax to allow them to be more like an average horse, instead of a finely tuned athlete. But each horse is different. We've acquired horses straight from the track, and two weeks later they've happily competed in their first show. Others, we've given them two months in order to allow them to relax their bodies after coming off the track. You really have to look at each horse as an individual so that every plan is made different." Because Thoroughbreds are sensitive and have a quick mind, Phoenix says her training techniques involve getting their mind to work for her, to keep it really fun for them, but also to keep them engaged. "We do a lot of ground work with them," says Phoenix. "We apply a lot of games so that they learn how to follow us and look for us, and then read our movements. Often times we do that every day before we even get on them so that they're really thinking about the rider and working with you. Because they're just very playful in their minds, you have to make sure that they're ready to work when you get on them, otherwise you're just going to fight with them." Off-The-Track Feeding Checkup As with any horse, an ex-racehorse's feeding program should be based on its individual needs and level of training. Because of their high-energy needs during their racing careers, they would typically receive three to four feedings a day of a calorie-dense diet made up of energy-rich grains in order to meet their nutritional needs for optimum performance. While in training, most are offered roughage in the form of hay throughout the day, but often times concentrate can make up a very high portion of their diet. Once he's being re-trained as a riding horse, Calvete recommends reducing the level of carbohydrates in his diet to reflect his new workload. "We recommend a feeding program based on roughage, grain and beet pulp, in addition to a lot of turnout." Achieving that correct balance of roughage and nutrients to meet your horse's needs can be easily achieved with the advice of a qualified feed specialist. Most major feed manufacturers have a nutritionist available on staff that would be able to come out to the farm and assess your horse to help you decide which the best product is for him. Many times, this service is offered for free. The Sweet Reward Ownership of an ex-racehorse can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Whether they're purchased directly off the track, through a trainer, or from a retired racehorse organization. There are plenty to choose from and can be quite affordable. Taking the time to assist with his new way of life will make the transition a positive experience for both horse and rider. "I love working with my Thoroughbreds every day," says Phoenix. "I love their attitude, and I love the excitement that they bring. It actually excites me to get up in the morning and see what they're going to do that day. I definitely owe them a lot." Sign up for our free e-newsletter which will deliver monthly welfare tips throughout 2015 and announce tools to aid all horse owners in carrying out their 'Full-Circle-Responsibility' to our beloved horses. In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Equine Guelph is developing a 'Full-Circle-Responsibility' equine welfare educational initiative which stands to benefit the welfare of horses in both the racing and non- racing sectors. Visit Equine Guelph's Welfare Education page for more information.
"Education that fits into your busy schedule, that you cannot afford to miss" is one statement to describe Equine Guelph's two week eWorkshops. With access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, hundreds of students from all over the world have armed themselves with knowledge; protecting themselves and their horses against costly and often dangerous mistakes. Created as a response to industry demand; the three eWorkshops on offer this spring are: Horse Behaviour and Safety, Colic Prevention and Biosecurity. $75 + HST/course is cheap insurance to help reduce the risk of sickness and injury. Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop Can you think of a better way to study horse behaviour than to learn how to speak their language? Equine Guelph's Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop reduces your physical risk by teaching practical horse handling skills while taking into account how horses perceive the world around them. Paddock safety, fire prevention, barn safety, rider safety and trailer loading basics are covered in this practical two-week eWorkshop running from February 23 - March 8, 2015. Renowned guest speaker Dr. Rebecca Gimenez from Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) is back for the third offering of this popular course available to participants 16 years and up. Learning horsemanship through understanding behaviour provides a great foundation for learning safety. Course instructor Susan Raymond says, "This eWorkshop is invaluable for beginners and a great way for industry professionals to brush up on knowledge they work hard to instill in their students." Equine Guelph also offers a Train the Trainer module for industry professionals who wish to impart the Behaviour and Safety course by hosting their own clinics. Contact Susan Raymond for more details at email@example.com or visit EquineGuelph.ca/eworkshops/behaviour_safety.php Colic Prevention eWorkshop The majority of colic incidents can be avoided through preventative stable management strategies. The Colic Prevention eWorkshop helps horse owners reduce the risk of colic in their horses by increasing their knowledge of risk factors and developing sound management plans. Student Natalie Price said, "This course is a must for all horse owners as knowledge is the first and best defense against colic!" Colic is the number one killer of horses other than old age! Participants age 18 and up will learn about the different types of colic and how to implement practical ways to reduce the risks of colic in this two-week eWorkshop running from April 13 -26, 2015 Biosecurity eWorkshop From Equine Herpes virus outbreaks to common flu virus outbreaks, prevention is the key concept every horse caretaker needs to implement. In Equine Guelph's Biosecurity eWorkshop, industry experts, including guest speakers from the Ontario Veterinary College, share their knowledge showing horse owners the simple steps they can take to protect their horses from infectious disease. OVC researcher, Dr. Weese, who also authors the "Worms and Germs" blog, says "Having a basic infection control plan in place is probably the biggest thing someone can do to reduce the risk of disease." Infection control both on the farm and while traveling are covered in this practical two-weekeWorkshop running from April 20 - May 4, 2015. Time for Two-weeks of eLearning The spring offerings will deliver more knowledge from experts on topics the equine industry has cited as top priorities. Equine Guelph's director, Gayle Ecker says, "The two-week short course format has proven popular as a quick, effective way for horse owners to learn more about safety and important equine welfare topics." Equine Canada has also approved the eWorkshops for updating credits for their coaches. You can register for Equine Guelph's upcoming Spring eWorkshops at: http://equineguelph.ca/education/eworkshops.php Horse Behaviour and Safety - February 23 - March 8, 2015 Colic Prevention - April 13 - 26, 2015 Biosecurity - April 20 - May 4, 2015
"When to Call the Vet" is one of five major topics in Equine Guelph's free, interactive, Lameness Lab tool, kindly sponsored by Zoetis. L earning to spot unsoundness is an important skill for horse owners to develop because the earlier you can detect lameness, the better you will be at maintaining the health and welfare of your trusty steed. "We think that a visual approach to lameness will greatly help horse caregivers better understand the basics of lameness and how to recognize the signs of lameness in their horse," says Dr. Cathy Rae, equine Technical Services veterinarian for Zoetis. "This understanding can help them detect lameness earlier as well as guide them in knowing when to call their veterinarian." Dr. Ken Armstrong, equine veterinarian and partner of Halton Equine Veterinary Services, featured in the "When to Call the Vet" videos, further explains how vets identify and assess lameness. He also guides horse owners through how to prepare for a lameness exam including advice on teaching your horse to trot in hand. Dr. Nicola Cribb, assistant professor and equine surgeon at the University of Guelph, describes how changes in behaviour and a slightly unbalanced stride can be early warning signs before lameness becomes more obvious with signs such as a head bob or a leg hitching. Her video goes through a lameness checklist and helps you understand the zero to five Lameness Scale used by American Association of Equine Practitioners. Lameness Lab allows horse owners to test their knowledge with interactive diagrams of muscles, tendons, bones, joints and the hoof. The tool also goes through the causes and factors contributing to increased risk. Remember early detection is so important in the treatment of lameness. Contact your vet if you see swelling, lameness, shortened stride or any signs of pain in your horse. Finally, find out why Lameness Lab receives thousands of visits! Test your skill at detecting lameness in the video challenge which will take you through four different case assessments. Go to Equine Guelph's 'Toolbox' at www.EquineGuelph.ca and click on Lameness Lab. More interactive activities await in Journey through the Joints, another healthcare tool generously sponsored by Zoetis. Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. 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