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I have spent quite a bit of time this year getting to know the horse industry in Ontario. One thing I have noticed is the enduring passion of our horse people, including my veterinary colleagues, regardless of the ups and downs of the industry.   The equine industry in Ontario has encountered real challenges over the last few years, but it remains an important contributor to the culture and economy our province. The racing industry has been hit the hardest, but we are now seeing consultation and reorganization of racing, leading to an atmosphere of cautious optimism at tracks and training stables.   The University of Guelph has always played an important role in supporting the industry through education, research, and clinical care, primarily through the efforts of our talented people in the Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Agricultural College and Equine Guelph. Changes are afoot in the industry, and the role of our university may be set to expand once again.   Equine Guelph has a special place in the horse industry. Its mission is to support the health and well-being of horses and the equine industry. Since its inception in 2003, Equine Guelph has kept an unwavering focus on this mandate with remarkable success. This past week, I attended a meeting of the Equine Guelph Advisory Council and was once again impressed with the industry support around the table. The output of this centre is especially impressive given that it is almost entirely self-supporting.   Equine Guelph's education programs are the most widely known examples of their success in connecting with the horse industry. The student numbers in these programs, such as the continuing education program in Equine Studies, and certificates in Equine Science, Business Management and Welfare, illustrate their success. Since the first diploma in Equine Studies was awarded in 2009, 170 diplomas have been awarded. To date, 365 Equine Science certificates have been awarded since this program began in 2002. The Equine Science certificate program is the first of its kind from an accredited university with evidence-based information and welfare of the animals as the underpinning of all its offerings.   Education offerings such as the Equine Welfare Certificate, a partnership between Equine Guelph, the Campbell Centre of the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) and Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd), emphasize the co-operative partnerships Equine Guelph has developed.   The remarkable reach of Equine Guelph cannot be overstated. Horse people in the US and Britain often know about Equine Guelph. The award-winning EquiMania! Program for children, which just celebrated its 10th year at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, is a regular fixture at the Minnesota State Fair. Last year, as I was preparing to take my position here, my farm clients in PEI were envious that I was about to meet Gayle!   Equine Guelph also prides itself on developing educational programing that is relevant, practical and topical. In 2016, Equine Guelph responded quickly to the unfortunate rash of horse barn fires, launching a Fire Prevention program providing valuable information to prevent fires.   The innovative programs of Equine Guelph were recognized in 2015 when Gayle Ecker was awarded the Equine Industry Vision Award, sponsored by the American Horse Publications Group and Zoetis. This is the only time a Canadian has been so honoured, and recognizes Gayle's leadership and the growing recognition of Equine Guelph's high-quality programming.   Beyond its mandate for education, Equine Guelph has been a trusted steward of the industry's research funding. In 2015-2016, more than $130,000 was directed towards research to support new and ongoing projects including research into new approaches to stem cell therapy, emerging disease concerns, failure of pregnancy, and new approaches to modeling and tracking biosecurity issues and risks.   Much of this research draws on the talents of researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College who bring expertise in infectious disease, biosecurity, reproductive technologies and therapies. Emeritus professors such as Dr. Laurent Viel and Peter Physick-Sheard are internationally known for their contributions to horse health. Not only do these projects focus on industry-identified priorities, they provide important training opportunities for student veterinarians and develop local expertise in these important areas.   Communication and promotion of University of Guelph research results occurs via print and social media. A new on-line portal is about to be launched which will provide a platform for connecting with the horse world at the owner and the advisor levels.   Aside from Equine Guelph, there is a lot going on at the UofG. The equine undergraduate program at OAC is expanding, with several new equine faculty now at the Guelph campus and enrolments increasing. Interest in equine careers remains strong in our DVM program, and there are outstanding practices looking to hire our graduates. On December 15th, equine faculty in the Health Sciences Centre are hosting a Research Update for practitioners, signaling a renewed commitment to building relationships through the equine veterinary community.   At the same time, in concert with OVC strategic planning, and the on-going racing industry renewal process, the members of OVC, OAC and Equine Guelph have convened a planning group to look at leveraging their success. Dr. Scott Weese is leading the group, and they are making plans to better position UofG within the industry, and further expand our role in research and education in support of a sustainable and innovative horse industry. Look for further announcements on new models for funding equine research and education in the New Year.   Story by: Karen Mantel   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada

Guelph, Ontario - Equine Guelph is calling on grooms, trainers and owners in the racing industry, to complete a first of its kind survey on racehorse health and well-being to direct future research and programs for the industry. Your feedback can help shape the future of racing in Ontario.   The goal of the survey is to learn more about the current challenges facing the Ontario horse racing industry in all three sectors (quarter horse, standardbred, thoroughbred). More specifically, this project explores: current racehorse health concerns (injuries and diseases of most concern), horsemanship and racehorse well-being including post racing opportunities, communications and training.   As a racing professional, your input is important to help drive new research, educational programs and outreach efforts to maintain and improve racehorse health and well-being in Ontario. The survey is anonymous; no specific identifying information will be collected. A summary of the results of this comprehensive survey will be published.   At the end of the survey, participants have the option to enter a draw to win either one of five $100 fuel cards, one of five $50 Tim Horton's cards or one of ten $25 Tim Horton's cards. Chances of winning are approximately 1 in 20.   Give your input before December 15, 2016!   Click on this link.   If you have any questions or concerns about your participation, please feel free to contact Diane Gibbard at (519) 824-4120 ext 53457 (or dgibbard@uoguelph.ca) or Gayle Ecker at (519) 824-4120 ext 56678 (or gecker@uoguelph.ca)   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.     Equine Guelph, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1, Tel: (519) 824-4120 ext. 54205    

Early diagnosis of Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is an important area of study especially considering one of the first signs can be laminitis, a serious and sometimes life-ending condition. Catching EMS in its initial stages can facilitate early intervention with an appropriate exercise and diet plan to reduce the chances of laminitis developing.   In a first of its kind study, researchers at Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky and the University of Guelph have been collaborating to find out if there are changes in the intestinal microbiota of horses afflicted with EMS. It is known that humans with metabolic disorders have these changes so the researchers set out to compare ten horses with EMS to ten horses in a control group by analyzing fecal microbiota with next generation sequencing of DNA.   Dr. Scott Weese, researcher at the Ontario Veterinary College says, "The study revealed a decrease in the fecal microbial diversity for the EMS horses as well as differences in the overall community structure when compared to the metabolically normal control group of horses." Both groups of horses were of comparable age and fed a similar all-forage diet for at least two months before sampling. Links have been made between obesity and lower microbial diversity in human, dog and horse studies but there is still much to learn about optimal values for diversity. With more research toward understanding the changes in microbiota and what influences these changes, it is possible this technology will be used in the future to help in management of syndromes such as EMS.   For more information on the signs of metabolic syndromes including EMS, visit Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Challenge healthcare tool. Click this Link.   "Every horse owner wants their horse to enjoy the best quality of life through all their years," says Dr. Robert Tremblay, Bovine/Equine Specialist at Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. "For more ways to spot the early signs of diseases and illnesses use Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Challenge online tool. This interactive quiz will help horse owners to learn more about health challenges facing senior horses and gives ways to recognize signs of metabolic syndromes."   by:  Jackie Bellamy-Zions     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.   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

A respected authority in large animal handling techniques brought her expertise to the Ontario Veterinary College's Large Animal Hospital in early June.   More than 50 staff, registered veterinary technicians, clinicians, interns and residents from the UofG's OVC joined a half-day Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) course with Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, focusing on safe transfer and handling of large animals.   "She shared some great knowledge and experience with us that will help us provide more efficient and safer patient care - not only safer for the patient but also safer for our employees," says Amy Richardson, Supervisor, Patient Care and Service Delivery in OVC's Health Sciences Center.   Gimenez customized her TLAER course offering for the OVC session, providing hands-on opportunities with equine models using a variety of large animal techniques, tactics, and procedures to safely move and handle animals. Participants practiced assembling halters from ropes and straps, perfected using a sideways drag and roll to position a horse onto a glide, and worked as a team to set up an Anderson sling in the Large Animal Hospital. Anderson slings can be used in multiple scenarios to lift a large animal or to elevate an injured animal and relieve pressure on its limbs.   Participants also tackled emergency scenarios, rescuing an injured horse model from a trailer, first stabilizing the patient and then working together to safely move the animal out of the trailer using a glide.   Based in Georgia, Gimenez developed the TLAER training in the mid-1990s with Dr. Tomas Gimenez. She has travelled extensively training first responders, veterinarians and veterinary technicians in these techniques.   Key to every scenario is safety "for self, team and the animal," says Gimenez. Positioning is vital with horses to stay clear of the head and kick zone of the legs. She advocates assigning one individual as the incident commander during rescue operations or emergencies and another to focus solely on safety. She is also a strong advocate for helmets and gloves when working with horses.   Planning is also vital in an emergency situation. An 'aha' moment during the training for Carina Cooper, a large animal internal medicine resident, was the reminder that an emergency situation may have been happening for hours. "Take the time to come up with a good plan and equipment. A best laid plan is worth way more than rash decisions."   While the rescue training focuses on emergency situations, techniques are applicable to day-to-day work with animals.   "It's easier to do these things in a clinical situation where you have lots of people and all the equipment you need, but you're trying to prepare the veterinarian and the veterinary technician for a situation where there is only one or two of them and they need to be able to use mechanical advantages or tools that will make their job easier and safer," she adds.   "It was an excellent course and good refresher for what we do here," says Andrew McHitchison, who provides clinical support in the OVC HSC. "Rebecca is a fantastic speaker."   Many of the tips Gimenez suggested were straightforward, adds Richardson, how to position proper ropes or straps for forward assists, backward assists, and how to make rope halters.   "Sometimes you may have a horse that either doesn't have a halter or doesn't have one that fits properly so we can fabricate one quickly and simply from cotton rope which we have in stock," adds Richardson.   "Maneuvering in a trailer, how to use the sling in an efficient manner, using straps to move a horse into a sternal position, and even hospital or stall design recommendations to make your life easier when handling or moving animals were all helpful tips for in-hospital cases," adds Cooper.   First responders from Adjala-Tosorontio, Guelph/Eramosa, and Erin Fire Departments, with previous TLAER training through Equine Guelph also assisted with the workshop.   "We are so pleased to have this opportunity to facilitate bringing this training to the large animal clinic. There are so many professional groups that benefit from this level of expertise for safety and welfare of both animals and people involved. We are committed in our ongoing efforts for this program and look forward to future training offerings," says Dr. Susan Raymond, Communications and Programs Officer, Equine Guelph.   "Rebecca was quite pleased with our facilities and to see a lot of the equipment that we have in place to help us do a better job and to make things safer for all of us," adds Richardson. The training offered hospital personnel a chance to ask questions and "learn from one of the best in the world,"   The training was sponsored by Merial, the Ontario Equestrian Federation and Equine Guelph.   by: Karen Mantel      

They make hoof prints in our hearts, blessing us with their beauty and grace. An inexplicable bond forms with a cherished companion requiring no words during your time together. Equine Guelph and Intercity Insurance understand what it is like to suffer the loss of a beloved equine friend. “Hoofprints was created for courageous people wishing to share their memories and pay respect to their dearly departed equine partner or person in the horse community,” says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker. A photo and story are posted on the Hoofprints webpage as a positive means to cope with the devastating loss and a way to grieve with fellow horse lovers. “We are proud to partner in a program facilitating a loving way to remember the horses and horse people who have had a huge impact on our lives,” says Mike King of Intercity Insurance. By dedicating an Equine Guelph donation in their name, their legacy lives on giving back to horse health and welfare through Equine Guelph’s programs. Equine Guelph thanks Intercity Insurance for sponsoring the Hoofprints Tribute Program and for supporting other horse welfare initiatives including Equine Guelph’s Colic Risk Rater online interactive tool and two brochures: Colic Prevention and Fire Safety Pocket Book of Promises. 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 EquineGuelph.ca.

Equine Guelph would like to announce a wonderful opportunity for members of the harness racing industry.  After the rash of barn fires in Ontario at the beginning of 2016, Equine Guelph and its partners were quick to respond, bringing educational material regarding fire prevention to the horse industry.  During the summer of 2016 a pilot program will be introduced for horse farms involved in the racing industry; including thoroughbred, standardbred and quarterhorse racing, whether racing, training or breeding.    A limited number of visits will be scheduled for farms interested in having a fire prevention professional walk through their facility, providing a valuable assessment and recommendations to maximize safety.   So many members of the racing industry were devastated by the tragic fires earlier this year bringing a focus on fire safety and prevention to the forefront of industry interest.    Equine Guelph is pleased to be able to offer this valuable, one-time, learning opportunity to the racing industry of Ontario.  "It is our belief that an investment in fire prevention and safety education/training will help protect people, horses and facilities." says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. "Prevention is key and this is a special opportunity to become more aware of the steps we can take to reduce the risk. Our horses are depending on us to protect them."   For more information on fire safety and prevention visit EquineGuelph.ca/tools/fireprevention.php   Farms interested in scheduling an assessment, please contact Dr. Susan Raymond, Equine Guelphslraymon@uoguelph.ca or call 519-824-4120 ext 54230  

Equine Guelph thanks Ross Millar and all his dedicated staff including: auction organizer, Janice Blakeney, auctioneer, Brad Bowie and all the artists who made this fundraiser a huge success for the second year in a row. "Equine Guelph has been a part of the Can-Am from the very first show and we are pleased to receive this special donation from the Can-Am. Our thanks to all the artists who donated beautiful artwork, along with Amber Marshall for her contribution as well," said Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. "It is great to partner with such wonderful people who share our passion for educating the horse industry on equine health and welfare."   With close to 10,000 in attendance at Can-Am, six lucky bidders came away from the evening extravaganza on Saturday April 2, 2016 with some impressive artwork while helping out a great cause.   Special thanks go to the incredibly talented Canadian artists who donated their work with 100% of the proceeds going to Equine Guelph: Ann Clifford (acliffordsculpture.com/#!horses/cbnu), Mark Grice (markgricetheartist.weebly.com), Shawn Hamilton (clixphoto.com) and Nola McConnan (merriweatherdesignstudio.com).   Thank you also to Amber Marshall who donated two gift packages and photo shoots. Young admirers were very enthusiastic in their bidding for these two unique items.   EquiMania!, Equine Guelph's interactive youth safety display has a long history with Can-Am, appearing for the past 11 years (since the inception of EquiMania!). "Can-Am is proud to promote equine welfare and is happy to lend support," says president, Ross Millar. "Our long-standing relationship with Equine Guelph is rooted in a mutual passion for educating horse owners and care givers."   Visit EquiMania.ca to learn more and to bring EquiMania! to your event.   Jackie Bellamy-Zions  

The number one killer of horses other than old age is colic.  If you search "equine colic" on the World Wide Web, over 400,000 results will appear!  Many of them explain colic as a common yet potentially deadly disorder of the digestive system with a wide array of causes.   To understand why the domesticated horse is prone to colic, it is important to compare how different the life of a modern horse is compared to its wild counterparts − one of the first lessons learned by participants of Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention two-week eWorkshop.   Horses in the wild graze for 16-20 hours and travel 8km/day or more whereas modern horses are often confined to stables or smaller turnout areas, fed concentrate diets and undergo more intensive exercise activity. It is no surprise that the modern use and management of the horse is a huge departure from its natural feeding and activity pattern which can place them at higher risk of digestive issues that can lead to colic. Being aware of these differences and taking preventative measures can minimize their effects and help reduce the risk of colic.    Equine Guelph has two resources available to aid you in caring for your horse and its approximate 85 feet of digestive tract.  The two-week online short course will help you identify risk factors and assess your management in order to implement preventative measures.  It is "cheap insurance" at only $75 + hst.  Equine Guelph also has a handy healthcare tool which helps you assess your personal risk with the "Colic Risk Rater".  After answering a series of questions, a customized rating for your horse is provided.    Intercity insurance is the generous sponsor of this tool.  "Given our decades of experience in insuring horses from coast to coast, we know that colic is one of the highest risk factors in the Canadian herd," says Mike King of Intercity.  "We can think of no better risk management tool to prevent colic than education."   Knowledge is the best defense when more than 80% of colic cases are management-related.  Learn how to reduce your risk in practical ways that you can easily implement.   "This course is a must for all horse owners as knowledge is the first and best defense against colic!" says Natalie Price, Ontario, Canada, Student.   Visit EquineGuelph.ca to sign up for the next Colic Prevention eWorkshop April 11 and take 15 minutes to assess your risk with the Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool.   by  Jackie Bellamy-Zions  

After spending only five minutes browsing my email inbox, I am reminded of the need to promote Equine Guelph's Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop to anyone and everyone who ever plans to spend time in the company of equines.   A horse has died while being hand-grazed. It's neck broken after stepping into a lead shank chain which was not being used over the nose but doubled through the halter instead. A Facebook video shows a toddler frolicking in a paddock with a loose pony. The caption is cute, but watching the clip fills me with dread. I see the pony going back and forth between inquisitive behaviour to defensive body language warning of an impending kick. An accident is waiting to happen if the parents continue to believe this pony is a harmless toy for their tot to play tag with. Photos of people with horses roll in - halter too low on the nose, handler in a precarious position if the horse spooks, the list goes on.   An education in how horses react to what they perceive as frightening doesn't need to come from the school of hard knocks. As a horse-crazy child born of "non-horsey" lineage, I can tell my fair share of stories about learning the hard way. I wish this popular two-week online course had been around when I was driving my parents insane with demands for riding lessons. Now, as a coach, my lessons revolve around safety, starting with ground handling.   The Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop teaches horse owners to read their horses body language and understand their motivations as a prey species. "We are pleased that horse people are interested in educating themselves about 'why' horses behave the way they do and how that translates into becoming better and safer handlers," says Equine Guelph Director, Gayle Ecker.   Students of the program are 16 years of age and up and they are welcomed by a community where shared experiences further learning. Led by experts, this course has received high praise from parents, new horse owners and coaches who then pass the knowledge on to their students. This eWorkshop qualifies for Equine Canada coaches updating credits and is approved by the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians. Guest speaker, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, brings a wealth of experience, teaching horse handling skills all over the world in her Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue courses. She communicates from first-hand knowledge that horses can exhibit extremist behaviors; where fear and panic drive them to do things that most owners and handlers cannot imagine in daily life.   "Ignorance is no longer 'bliss' when it comes to one's ownership and relationship with their equine partner, says Gayda Erret, previous student. "One gains vast knowledge they may never have realized they needed." It is so easy to become complacent in many of the ten topics covered such as: fire safety, trailer loading and safety around the barn and paddocks. This course is a great refresher for industry experts and an excellent start for those new to the world of equines.   Don't miss out on Equine Guelph's Horse Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop February 22 to March 6, 2016, for $75 plus HST. Space is limited. For more details contact Susan Raymond at slraymon@uoguelph.ca or visit: http://www.equineguelph.ca/eworkshops/behaviour_safety.php   by Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

Equine Guelph's year of "Full-Circle-Responsibility" welfare campaign, ended with a wonderful journey. Gayle Ecker was an invited guest to the World Horse Welfare conference in England! Presentations from this invitation only event can be viewed on the World Horse Welfare website.   Ecker also attended information meetings at the World Horse Welfare headquarters near Norwich, followed by a tour through Hall Farm (one of their major horse rescue centres). The trip continued on to The Horse Trust to learn about their horse rescue operations and education programs. A visit to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue also provided information on training of first responders for technical large animal rescue in the UK. Can you say whirlwind tour?   "The World Horse Welfare conference was excellent and demonstrates that we share many welfare concerns between Ontario and the UK, including the need for more education for horse owners to support equine welfare," says Ecker. "Important relationships were developed with these organizations. This will result in information sharing to move forward the important initiative of advancing horse welfare."   Horse Welfare has been at the core of Equine Guelph's mission since day one and we offer specialized online courses including Equine Welfare, and Global Perspectives in Equine Welfare. Equine Guelph's Equine Welfare Certificate was launched in June 2012 and attracts students from all over the globe and from many different backgrounds.   "As a full-time equine veterinarian, I wanted to explore my understanding and awareness of current issues relating to welfare within the equine industry. All stakeholders within the industry have pre-formed perspectives and this course allowed students to share different opinions and thoughts about salient issues within the equine world. I experienced the level of passion that horse owners and horse lovers have regarding not just their own horses, but the horse population in general. Although these issues are not always straightforward with resolutions that all stakeholders consider satisfactory, the dialogue was thought-provoking and enlightening. The online format allows people with busy schedules to fully participate on their own schedule without missing out on any topics. I would certainly take another online course offered by Equine Guelph in the future." Greg Evans, DVM, BSc. Ag.   The Equine Welfare certificate, made up of six online courses, is offered by the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), Equine Guelph, and Open Learning and Educational Support at the University of Guelph.     Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – “Why Do They Do That? Behavior and Training of Horses” 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 8:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday, February 14, 2016, will feature presentations by several equine industry experts. “Horse training is an often-requested but tricky theme for this seminar because there are so many methods out there, so we will instead explain how horses learn and how that knowledge can be applied to training,” says Dr. Carey Williams, Extension Equine Specialist and Associate Director of Extension for the Equine Science Center.  “Our goal in presenting this workshop is to give our audience an understanding of the concepts behind equine learning which are present regardless of discipline or training method and provide some of the research techniques that can be applied.” Williams has assembled presenters who are recognized as experts in their field to offer background and advice.  The morning will start with topics including “Normal/Natural Behavior of Horses” by Dr. Carissa Wickens from University of Florida, “Using Learning Theory to Train Horses” by Angelo Telatin from Delaware Valley University, and “Psychological Stress and Welfare of Horses” by Dr. Betsy Greene from University of Vermont.  The afternoon will continue the behavior theme, including “Problem Solving Using Learning Theory” by Angelo Telatin, “Stereotypic Behaviors: Understanding Cribbing, Weaving, and Other Behaviors” by Dr. Carissa Wickens, and “How Nutrition Can Affect Behavior” by Dr. Carey Williams.  The day will conclude with a panel of each of the speakers for additional question and answer opportunities. In addition to the educational presentations, the seminar will feature informational displays, networking opportunities and door prizes from industry companies and area organizations, along with ample time for one-on-one discussions with the day’s presenters.  Complete program, registration information, and seminar brochure are posted on the Equine Science Center website at esc.rutgers.edu.  For more information, contact Laura Kenny at 848-932-3229, kenny@aesop.rutgers.edu, or Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, cwilliams@aesop.rutgers.edu.  Early bird discount registration ends on January 29! 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 esc.rutgers.edu

Puslinch Firefighters' were dispatched to a Public Assistance call for a horse stuck in a horse trailer on October 12th, 2015 around 09:30 hours. Ten Firefighters were in attendance for the nearby horse farm on Wellington Road 34 in Puslinch Township. The crew responded quickly; and were at the scene within 7 minutes from the initial pager activation. A 14 yr old mare named "Heidi" was trapped halfway through the side door of the trailer and could not move forward or backwards. The owners and by-standers assisted in keeping the horse calm and relaxed while fire personnel quickly derived a plan of action to free the trapped horse.   It was determined that the best and safest option was to use hydraulic spreaders above the horse to spread the opening apart. It was quickly determined other hydraulic devices and cutting options were out of question due to safety and noise that could further hinder the stuck mare. Dealing with a matter of inches, Heidi was quickly and successfully freed. Miraculously, she sustained zero damage or injury throughout the entire event; not even so much as a cut or scratch. The horse trailer also sustained minimal damage. The entire process from arrival on scene to complete extrication of the horse took a total of 13 minutes.   Among the firefighters who responded, three of them had recently attended the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) course only eight days earlier, organized by Equine Guelph, University of Guelph through Susan Raymond, PhD. Communications & Programs Officer. The TLAER course, instructed by Dr. Rebecca Gimenez (TLAER Inc.) was conducted over 2 days (October 3rd & 4th) at the Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. The course was very informative and covered both in-class sessions and practical scenarios on both artificial and live animals.   "Utilizing the information from this course proved valuable both in maintaining personal safety zones around the animal and scene while coming up with an effective plan to quickly and safely extricate the large animal," said firefighter Michael Dailous. This was the second horse rescue call for the month of October; both calls only days after several firefighters in attendance had taken the TLAER course.   Story by: Michael Dailous   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

Esteemed equine journalist and photographer, Barbara Sheridan, received second place honours at the 2015 Canadian Farm Writers' Federation (CFWF) Awards Banquet this past Sept 26th. Founded in 1955, CFWF serves the common interests of agricultural journalists, including reporters, editors and broadcasters as well as those in business and government whose primary responsibility is agricultural communications. The Don Baron Award, presented at the annual conference held this year in Calgary, Alberta, was open to photographs published by a Canadian medium that accompanies written copy on an agricultural topic to improve the editorial story telling capacity of the medium. "It was tricky capturing the action shot," explained Sheridan. "I only had the opportunity to shoot off a couple of frames before I had to get out of the fire fighter's way."   Of course, a dynamic shot, such as this, comes with an interesting story. First appearing in FIREFighting in Canada magazine, the image was captured during a training exercise led by Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) and hosted by Equine Guelph in the fall of 2014. Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, world renowned TLAER instructor, came back to lead a sold out second round of this important training in October 2015, again hosted by Equine Guelph. "This news is a double delight" says, Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, "spreading the word about safety and welfare for horses through fantastic training programs and honoring a great photographer, who also happens to be the instructor for Equine Guelph's online Journalism course. Congratulations Barbara!"   Barbara Sheridan is an award-winning journalist and former magazine editor, as well as instructor teaching the online Equine Journalism course that is part of the Equine Studies Diploma from Equine Guelph at the University of Guelph. To learn more about this course and other training opportunities visit EquineGuelph.ca.   To read related articles by Barbara Sheridan visit the Equine Guelph news archives: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=426.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

Jesse was a 20 year old Canadian who represented the breed by being distinctively beautiful and sweet. She stood proud at the best of times and was always a pleasure to visit at the barn. She will be greatly missed by all her barn friends especially her pasture buddies, Hannah, Porscha and Nicole.   I was first introduced to the Canadian Horse when I met Rose 7 years ago at a local fair. I was intrigued by the horses beauty and historical background. I am pleased that the horses became part of my life and thank my good friend Rose for allowing me to be part of sharing their heritage to the public by traveling with her to local fairs.   She will be greatly missed by her owners Rose and Gary Cook. Thank you Rose for allowing Jesse to be part of my life.   A beautiful and loving horse.   Laura Spies   Equine Guelph's Hoofprints Tribute program gives grieving horse owners a positive means to cope with the devastating loss and a loving way to honour the memory of a horse. By dedicating an Equine Guelph donation in their name, their legacy will live on by contributing to longer, healthier lives for other horses. Hoofprints is kindly sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services.   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

Hiding pain is one of the top survival skills of the horse. An important part of horse ownership is learning to recognize the signs a horse may be in discomfort rather than dismissing certain subtle cues as just bad behaviour. Dr. Brianne Henderson recently gave a well-received lecture to a room full of horse owners in Hillsburgh, ON. The attendees were interested in ensuring the welfare of their equine companions by honing their skills for detecting pain. There has been increased awareness of pain recognition and management in small animals and this science is also gaining more acknowledgement in the world of horses as well. The Facial Grimaces Score used originally to identify pain in rodents and rabbits has been incorporated into a “grimace scale” for equines as well. It uses ear position and tightening of the muscles around the eyes and mouth to come up with a score (0 – no pain, 1 – moderate, 2 – obvious). Everyone wants to be greeted by a bright-eyed, soft and relaxed face. The horse is telling you something hurts when they avoid looking at you, appear despondent, clench their jaw, flatten ears back and/or squint their eyes. Dr. Henderson went on to briefly explain pain scales used by veterinarians that focus on physiological parameters and behavior patterns. One included the Composite Pain Scale (CPS) which looks at the change in frequency of normal behavior patterns such as eating, the presence of pain-related behaviours such as kicking at the abdomen and physiological parameters such as elevated vitals. There is a long list of signs that are scored from 0 – 3. Some of these indicators, including vitals, can also be assessed using a quick 16-point health check poster developed by Equine Guelph. The poster or handy new Horse Health Tracker app are invaluable tools for horse owners to provide important health data to their veterinarian. The choir was obviously present and little preaching was required as Henderson rolled through a barrage of images asking the audience to denote which ones depicted animals in pain. By stance, facial cues and action the savvy auditors were hitting the mark and also picked up on the fact that circumstance plays a role. How many people have had the phone call of alarm when a passerby sees a horse flat out in the field when it was actually just napping in the sun? Flehmen is another response that can be circumstantial. It can occur due to an interesting smell or taste sensation but it can also be a moderate pain response displaying nostril and mouth tension. The stallion curling his upper lip testing for pheromones when a mare passes by is a different context than the horse who didn’t finish his feed, is stretched out with his poll low and is showing the flehmen response. Subtle changes require your attention such as a horse at the back of its stall with a half-eaten breakfast when it is normally standing at the door waiting to go out after licking the feed tub clean. Catching a potential colic at this early stage could result in a huge cost savings as well as avoid what could turn into a very painful experience for the horse. The performance horse who suddenly starts refusing to accomplish tasks that it used to find easy requires a careful evaluation as early signs of lameness rather than misbehaving could be the culprit. As the owner of a stoic animal, accustomed to hiding pain, horse people need to be on the lookout for atypical behavior such as a horse who begins to segregate itself from the herd or suddenly displays a less tolerant behavior with its paddock mates. When variations in behavior occur, a step back may be required to figure out if it is you or the horse that has changed. “If I have had a bad day at the office and not taken the time to decompress – my horse will not come to the gate for me,” Henderson explains. “Similarly, I know if he doesn’t come to the gate under normal circumstances, there is something wrong because he typically loves his job.” Grooming is the next interaction where paying close attention will tell you much about your horse’s health. Rather than quickly dusting off the saddle area and jumping on to ride, take the time to run your hands over their whole body, especially the back and legs, before and after work, checking for any heat, swelling or reactions that can be early indicators something is not quite right. Obvious pain requires a veterinary examination. When a horse comes in from the paddock hopping lame, it can often be hard to tell if it is an abscess requiring a simple poultice or a fracture requiring much more intensive treatment and stabilization. When acute pain is obvious; don’t guess or delay – call the veterinarian. For less obvious lameness, your veterinarian has been trained to assess the severity on a scale from one to five. Early intervention increases the chances of a good outcome and can prevent matters from escalating into a much worse injury. The veterinarian will check the horse in both walk and trot, on straight lines and turns.“A lameness that is visible at the walk is automatically going to be at least a three if not higher,” comments Henderson. After a thorough exam, a rehabilitation plan can be made. Chronic pain will impact the horse’s ability to heal and their quality of life. “It is an old way of thinking to want a horse to be a bit sore in the healing process to prevent it from box-walking,” explains Henderson. “Our ability to control pain both every day and certainly in the medical environment is becoming more and more recognized as mandatory.” Once the horse is controlled in its pain, they can move better and heal faster and therefore do not lose as much muscle quality during the healing period. Modern treatment methods can also help avoid the knock on effects of stomach ulcers and sourness that often accompany chronic pain. Choosing the right pain control method or treatment is another conversation to have with your veterinarian as there are many option available and extended use of Phenylbutazone can have negative effects on a horse’s stomach. In addition to being on the look-out for signs of pain, a dutiful horse owner is always employing prevention practices. They apply poultice and wrap horse’s legs to stem swelling after a hard work out and give them time to recover. Similarly, we take care of ourselves with rest after a work-out, a hearty meal to replace nutrients and perhaps a hot bath. Our horses count on us, their primary care-takers to be diligent and attentive in both prevention and early detection of pain. 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: EquineGuelph.ca.   Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

Feeding a balanced diet then taking care of nutrient replacement after exercise is imperative to keep horses performing well at an upper level of performance. Don Kapper, shared his wealth of knowledge in equine nutrition and management in a recent visit to Canada. His talk at the University of Guelph discussed the importance of understanding gut function and nutrient absorption in order to understand the importance of nutrient replacement. Assessing body condition and topline evaluation scores were addressed as was the importance of providing good quality protein as a source of amino acids to avoid deficiencies that can negatively affect topline muscles, tendons, hooves and overall health. Last but not least, the role of electrolytes were discussed to avoid dehydration and keep athletes bouncing back into top form for the next day of competition. GUT FUNCTION "Horses are designed to be continuous grazers," explains Kapper. An 1100 pound horse will eat up to 18 hours a day consuming 2.0% to 2.5 % of their body weight per day in dry forage (22 to 28 lbs). While doing this, they will produce between 25 to 30 gallons of saliva, significantly reducing the chances of acid gut syndrome and improving nutrient absorption and over-all gut health. Horses only produce saliva when they chew, therefore, feeding forage ad-lib will increase the production of saliva - one of the best buffers for the horses' digestive system and the most effective way to reduce the chance of ulcers and impaction colic. Kapper brought home another benefit of continuous grazing by comparing the small intestine to sausage casing, "When it is full it is almost impossible to twist." Going without eating for several hours at a time can be a factor in colic resulting from a twisted intestine. The stomach of the horse is relatively small and food only stays there for around 15 minutes, where acids begin to break it down. Moving through the next 90 foot of small intestine, it takes between 30 - 90 minutes, therefore, it moves at a rate of one to three feet per minute. Now you can understand why horses seem to be hungry all the time. The small intestine is the primary absorption sight of amino acids, fatty acids, major and trace minerals and vitamins. Therefore, the quality of the forage and feeds fed to a horse is more important than the quality of the forage and feeds fed to ruminants (cattle, goats and sheep, etc.). Ruminants will break down the crude proteins and form needed amino acids in their rumen, then it travels into the small intestine for absorption to occur. In horses, all food goes into their stomach, then small intestine, and then into their fermentation vat (cecum) to be broken down. Unfortunately, their fermentation vat is AFTER it passes through the small intestine, the primary absorption sight for many nutrients. That is why ruminants will get more nutrients out of the same forage than a horse. The quality of ingredients, or the availability of the nutrients fed to horses, are far more important than the quality fed to all ruminants. The hind gut of the horse makes up 62% of their digestive system, which functions with a microbial population breaking down the fibre in forages by fermentation. Forage should make up 50% to 90% of a mature horses total diet. Therefore, knowledge of the nutrients in your forage is important so you can factor in what your horse may need in the way of concentrates and/or supplements to meet their needs every day. Kapper says, "If you don't know what nutrients are in your forage, you are guessing at what needs to be added. If you don't know what nutrients your horse needs every day - you are guessing at everything." He stressed, be an educated consumer, because economics come into play when you feed more than you need, but even more so, if your horse breaks down or becomes ill due to deficiencies in their diet. Kapper also reminded us that concentrates are never to exceed 50%, by weight, of the mature horse's total diet/day or exceed five pounds in one feeding/1,000 lbs of body weight. This is to avoid digestive upsets. Emphasis was put on good forage to meet the nutritional needs, optimize digestive health and improve the overall well-being of your horse. Ad-lib forage will also facilitate the best mental state. VISUAL ASSESSMENT Performance loss will occur before you see visual changes in your horse that may indicate an unbalanced diet. Visual changes that put up red flags include: loss of muscle over the topline, then a decline in hoof and hair quality and finally a loss of appetite and general unthrifty condition. Checking the horses Body Condition Score on a monthly basis provides a good visual indicator for achieving optimal calorie intake with the ideal being between five and six on a scale of one to nine (Body Condition Scoring link http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=408). However, it is possible to have a horse in ideal body weight and still be deficient in nutrients required to build and support the muscles necessary to perform athletic tasks. Muscle soreness and changes in saddle fit are early indicators of a diminishing topline. Topline Evaluation Scoring (TES) is graded from A to D, looking at the muscles on the horses back, loin and croup areas. Loss of muscle (muscle atrophy) is a solid indicator of an amino acid deficiency. Amino Acids are the building blocks that make up crude protein. Muscles contain 73% protein and the first limiting amino acid will determine how much 'all' of the other amino acids in their diet can be utilized. The easiest and first place to visualize a horse losing muscle mass, when a deficient amino acid diet is fed, is in their back area; the second is their loin; and third is their croup area. TOPLINE GRADES with DEFINITIONS: Grade A- The horse has 'ideal muscle development''. The back, loin and croup are full and well rounded. The topline muscles are well developed and blend smoothly into his ribs. The horse should be able to perform work requiring the use of all of these muscles. Grade B- The 'back area is concave' (sunken) between the vertebrae and the top of the ribs: 1. You may have trouble fitting this horse with a saddle. 2. The muscle atrophy in this area may cause back soreness when worked. 3. Soreness can negatively impact their attitude and performance. 4. The loin muscles are well developed and are the same height as the spinal processes, i.e. you cannot see or palpate the spinal processes. Grade C-The 'back and loin areas are both concave' (sunken) between the vertebrae and the ribs: 1. The 'spinal processes' in the loin area are higher than the muscles beside them and can easily be seen and palpated. 2. The atrophied muscles in the back and loin areas weaken the horse. 3. The length of time they are able to work and perform will be compromised, causing them to tire easily. 4. Muscling over the croup and hindquarters are well developed and rounded. Grade D- All three areas of the topline, including the back, loin and croup areas are concave (sunken): 1. The croup appears pointed at the top since the vertebrae and hip bones are higher than the muscles in-between them. 2. In severely affected horses, the width of their stifle is narrower than the width of their point of hip. 3. This horse will lack the strength and stamina to perform and the muscle atrophy will cause discomfort when worked. ROLE OF PROTEIN/AMINO ACIDS All 10 essential amino acids need to be provided to horses on a daily basis: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine (involved in growth and development), methionine (for hoof and hair quality), phenylalanine, threonine (involved in tissue repair), tryptophan, and valine. There are also 12 non-essential amino acids that horses can create themselves in adequate amounts. In order for crude protein to be synthesized, all the 'essential' amino acids must be present in adequate amounts. If one amino acid runs out, it 'limits' protein synthesis for the rest of the amino acids. If you are feeding a grass hay, your first limiting amino acid is going to be Lysine. For alfalfa, the first limiting amino acid could be threonine or tryptophan. Knowing what 'type of forage' you are feeding is key to knowing what supplements you need to choose to complement your horse's diet. During the process of conditioning horses, muscles are torn down during exercise and need additional branch-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) replenished to repair and rebuild those muscles faster. Kapper draws the parallel of weight trainers reaching for their whey protein shake after a work-out. A horse can benefit greatly from having 4 - 10 ounces of branch-chain amino acids replaced within 45 minutes of a workout. Whey is the best quality protein (amino acid) source, followed by soybean. Research has also shown that a lack of amino acids in the diet can affect the utilization of minerals in the diet, potentially causing skeletal and soft tissue problems. To get an idea of their importance - take a look at the amino acid content in the following structures: Hair and hoof = 95% Muscle = 73% Tendon = 93% Bone = 30% Skin = 90% A shortage of 'one' essential amino acid will affect the quality and strength of all of the above. The first one you will 'see' is the one with the fastest turn-over. What the Hooves Can Tell You about the Diet THE ORDER OF NUTRIENTS FOUND INSIDE THE HORSES HOOF: 1. Protein/Amino Acids = 95 % 2. Fat/Oils = 3 % 3. Sulfur 4. Calcium 5. Zinc 6. Copper 7. Selenium 8. Carotene (Vitamin A) 9. Alpha-Tocopherol (Vitamin E) 10. Biotin (Recommend 15 mg/day/1,000 lb of body weight, for "sand" cracks in hooves) When 98% of the hoof is made up of the top two nutrients, begin working with those and work your way down the list for a systematic way to address hoof quality problems that may be nutrition related. Too many times we hear about individuals beginning with Number 10 and work their way up the list. Here are a few examples to help you begin 'problem solving': Slow growth can result from inadequate amino acids, while poor expansion and contraction, with cracking of the hoof wall, can result from inadequate oils in the hoof. A poor quality lamina (white line) can result from a low 'sulfur' containing amino acid diet, i.e. Methionine & Cysteine. In a calcium deficient diet the middle of the hoof wall can break down and crumble. Sand cracks in the outer service of the hoof wall can be an indicator of a lack of biotin. CALORIE SOURCES TO FUEL MUSCLE FUNCTION Choosing the right horse for the work you want to do is important right off the bat (genetics). Then you need to choose the right fuel for your horse's muscles to perform up to their genetic potential. Carbohydrates and Fats and Oils Soluble carbohydrates are the starches and sugars needed to provide the 'glycogen' for intense work. Kapper uses a quarter horse sprinter fueling its bulky 'fast twitch' muscles as an example. Glycogen produced from these carbohydrates are utilized when their heart rate exceeds 170 beats/minute, in anaerobic work. "The heart rate is the key to knowing what kind of fuel you should be using," says Kapper. Soluble carbohydrates are highest in cereal grain: oats, corn, barley, wheat... Fats and Oils - Kapper says the Arabian is a good example of a breed using long, lean 'slow twitch' muscles that burn fat rather than glycogen for fuel. Soybean, flax and fish oils are high in Omega 3's which have anti-inflammatory responses, as opposed to corn oil and sunflower oil which are high in Omega 6's which have pro-inflammatory responses. Vegetable oils can provide slow, long term energy needed for low to moderate intensity, aerobic work. Oils containing higher levels of Omega 3s' are recommended for this kind of work. Kapper then went on to explain that a portion of the muscles of the Thoroughbred and Warmblood can be trained to be 'fast or slow-twitch', depending on what 'fuel' you are feeding. Forage Digestibility Of course, it is important that your horse is able to get the most out of the bulk of its diet. Soft hay is more desirable for the performance horse because its nutrients will be higher and is easier to digest. Over mature hay is cut later, will have grown taller and have larger, courser stems. This hay will be higher in lignin, which makes it less palatable and lower in digestibility, i.e. quality. ROLE OF ELECTROLYTES Given correctly, the use of performance electrolytes can delay the onset of fatigue by over 22%. They can also reduce muscle cramping and improve the horse's ability to bounce back and perform at the same high level the next day. The amount of sweat produced in a workout will determine the amount of electrolytes which require replacing. The demands are highest during hot and humid weather. The heat stress index chart is an important calculation when determining the risk of dehydration. (link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=419) When correctly formulated, electrolytes will replace the ions lost in sweat. For performance purposes - the electrolyte should specify it is a "performance" electrolyte on the label. The ingredient dextrose should be present because it is essential to improve the absorption rate of all the ions. The amounts of sodium, potassium and chloride levels are usually provided in the labels ingredient list. Adding the amount of sodium and potassium together should come close to equaling the amount of chloride in the formula. When you compare the amount of these three ions, you will see that not all electrolytes on the market today are created equal! The higher quality electrolytes are palatable, while lower quality ones are bitter, salty and discourage consumption when top-dressed on feed or mixed in water. Before electrolytes can be absorbed they need to be broken down with water. Delivery of a powdered electrolyte in feed or water is acceptable as long as they can continue to drink water. If water is not available or the horse does not drink after administering dry electrolytes, the horse will take water from its body and put it into their digestive system to break the powder down. Mixing electrolytes in water will reduce the absorption time in the small intestine. All electrolytes are hydroscopic, which means if fed in powdered form and the horse does not drink water, they will dehydrate the horse. Paste electrolytes are to be avoided due to their 'short term affects'. They will lay in the gut and actually pull water from the horse's body, increasing dehydration, at the most critical time after exercise! This was proven and published by Equine Research Centre team of researchers, led by Dr. Mike Lindinger, a few years ago. Depending on how hard the horses are working, a 'performance electrolyte solution' can be made by mixing one ounce of powder per litre of water. Increase the number of litre's of this 'electrolyte solution' as the horses training intensifies and/or the 'Heat Stress Index' (HSI) increases. HSI is determined by adding the temperature (F or C) and the percent Humidity, together. 'Mild' HSI begins when the combination is <140 when using Humidity plus Temperature (F); or <90 when using Humidity plus Temperature (C); 'Moderate' HSI is between 140 - 160 (F) or 90 - 105 (C); 'Severe' HSI >160 (F) or >105 (C). (See chart provided on the link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=419) This 'electrolyte solution' should be given with-in 45 minutes after the horse's workout. When the humidity and temperature increase, causing the 'heat stress index' to climb to 'Moderate' to 'Severe', the number of litre's offered should increase according to their training level. One ounce/litre of water will provide the correct osmolarity for the fastest absorption and utilization by the horse. For example: for 'Moderate' Heat Stress Index: provide two litres for training level, four litres for moderate and six litres for intense training. In the cases of 'moderate' to 'intense' training levels, providing the 'electrolyte solution' will work much better than top dressing it on feed. More factors effecting dehydration can include: the trailer ride to the venue if it is a hot day, a decrease in water and food intake from the stresses of being in a new location or from the water tasting different. Add the workload of the day on top of that and you can have a severely dehydrated horse on your hands. Checking for dehydration can include the skin pinch test where the handler pinches the skin on the horses shoulder then checks that it flattens back down in one to one and a half seconds. The capillary refill test is another method, pressing on the horse's gums and seeing the colour return to pink in under one and a half seconds. (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crY8_dBzimw) SUMMARY Kapper encourages horse owners to be pro-active in their feeding programs. Know the 'ideal' body weight of your horse and what nutrients are in your forage. These nutrients will vary with the 'type' of forage (grass vs. legume) and its level of maturity (when it was cut). Knowledge of this will allow you to make informed decisions when choosing feed and/or balancers to make up the difference between what your horse is getting from its forage and what it needs. Be sure to read the 'purpose statement' on every feed tag and feed according to their 'Feeding Directions' in order to fulfill nutrient requirements. Always choose a feed that is tailored to the individual needs of the horse (size, breed, age, workload...) and feed according to the instructions. Kapper cautions, "Feeding less than recommended amounts/day, means you have chosen the wrong feed and it could result in nutritional deficiencies". Stay observant if performance declines and be quick to pick up on the visual clues that the diet may need balancing, i.e. loss of muscle over the topline, decline in hoof and hair quality, loss of appetite and loss of condition could all be indicators of amino acid deficiency and/or an unbalanced diet. For horses in moderate to intense training, giving amino acids and electrolytes with-in 45 minutes after workouts can replenish body reserves the fastest. Nutrition is the science of prevention. Understanding the role of nutrition and working with an equine nutritionist will put you on the road to optimal health and performance for your horse. To learn more about nutrition sign up for the Equine Guelph 12-week online course: Equine Nutrition http://www.equineguelph.ca/education/indiv_courses.php Bio: Don Kapper is a highly experienced equine nutritionist and a member of the Cargill Equine Enterprise Team. Don graduated from Ohio State University and achieved his credentials as a Professional Animal Scientist from the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists in 1996 and has been a sought-after speaker for equine meetings in both the U.S. and Canada. He was a member of the "Performance Electrolyte Research" team at the University of Guelph and wrote the chapter on "Applied Nutrition" for the authoritative veterinary textbook: "Equine Internal Medicine", 2nd edition. Don also co-developed the "Equine Nutrition" course for the Equine Science Certificate program for Equine Guelph and has been a popular guest speaker in several Equine Guelph online courses, including the Equine Growth and Development, Exercise Physiology and Advanced Equine Nutrition.   Jackie Bellamy-Zions   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

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