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Just like the Vulcan saying, it looks like Standardbreds tend to live long happy lives after their harness racing days. … In case you’ve read that “the harness horse racers trash their horses after they use them up” type of articles which have been recently going around, here’s a quick roll call after only one afternoon in overwhelming response to a Facebook Wanted Post in the Preserve Harness Racing group. Enjoy! Kirsi Bertolini: Fulla Fire and Kirsti Bertolini “Fulla Fire is now 16 and we have done so much!! He’s been at school exhibition. He’s been at the fair to be petted and fed carrots. He’s been in nursing homes Christmas caroling now 6 times. I ride him at the ocean. We recently joined bunch of quarterhorses for a 10 mile trail ride by Maine trail riders association. He will do anything you throw in front of him without any hesitation. He’s my rockstar! Fulla Fire has his own Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FullaFire/ There’s tons of photos!   Anita Rees: Shag endurance horse ”This is my guy Shag. He’s been doing 50 mile endurance events for 4 years. He’s a homebred who was never on the track, but was used for speed racking for years.” Teddy a Yard Ornament “Teddy’s registered name is Inaugural Affair, in his mid 20’s, a Presidential Ball son. He just goes loose in the yard and gets into things mostly.” Hula Lu – retired endurance horse “Here’s Hula Lu, 13 yr old, retired sound after 320 starts. She made approximately 90K in 8 1/2 years.” Brookview Charger trail horse Anita also has Brookview Charger who had “a rather dismal racing career. He’s 20 now and a fantastic trail horse. He was a speed racking horse for years as well.” Linda Laudeman Taylor: Bad Company Grand champion roadster “BAD COMPANY—-Went on to become Grand Champion Roadster Class winner at PA. National Horse Show in 1984. Lived to 32.” Micheal DI Gati: Birthday Toy – pleasure horse “Birthday Toy!! She’s my Pride and Joy!! My Favorite Toy!  Raced her until she was 6 … and now my Riding Partner!” Brielle Roman: Witch Hazel show jumper “Witch Hazel is a 3yr standardbred filly. Never made it to races, but I got her for $400 and she’s been to Devon and other high ranked horse shows, where she holds her own against warmbloods and the like, that cost more than 20 times what she did!” Pacific Western now a police horse “And here’s Pacific Western on his way to Newark PD for Police horse training!!” Russell Swenton: Russell Swenton & Laagendazz pacing stallion Russell Swenton & Laagendazz pacing stallion “I am an ex race horse trainer. When I got out of the business, I found my broodmares homes, and I still have my stallion, Laagendazz, that I couldn’t find a home for! He was 4 when he couldn’t race anymore. So I have fed and cared for him for the last 20 years knowing he would do nothing but look nice in the field! Most horse owners care deeply about their horses!” Vicki Brenneman: ”We have one now, Winbak Red, who was 13 when he retired, he now is at a farm down the road from our house. We rent the field and go everyday to care for him. Justin calls him our lawn ornament!” Katherine Smith “ I have two retirees; one 20 and the other 17 at home. And we have retired/adopted many ex-racers through New Vocations. All our horses are listed with Full Circle, and can be returned to us any time during their lives, no questions asked. Ending racing will deal a blow to the equine population in the US, and perhaps Canada.” Sally Hinckley: “I have Armbro Brando and Stelerbration, they’re a joy! Stelerbration is 24 and Brando is 18.” Standardbred Retirement Foundation SRF Standardbred as mounted police Standardbred as mounted police horses ”The”Brainiac Breed” is very popular with Mounted Police units! Check this out… SRF Standardbreds adopted to just one unit in NY, Nuke Suave, Dodge Ball, Cheyenne Michael, Justatravelingcam, Mowtown Express, Park City, Victory Glider K and Passerby! Did you know that SRF has 55 Standardbreds adopted to mounted patrol units such as Sheriffs’ Departments in Texas, Philadelphia Police, Morris County Parks, Newark Police, NYC and many more! SO proud of these fuzzy noses! Super temperament-adopt one, get your application in today at AdoptaHorse.org/ “ S Baker & Dana West: Santa & Mrs. Clause visiting the kids with Colonel Barnes “Dana and I bred Colonel Barnes ‘Oscar’ He wasn’t fast enough and he has now found a good home and a new job. A business owner was delivering a prefab shed to us, and he and Dana were talking about our horses. The next thing I know, he said he would give Oscar a home pulling a carriage. No funds were exchanged only ONE STIPULATION: If or when they should not be able to keep him for any reason, he is to come back to us. It was hard to let him go, as we usually keep them till they pass away, but he now has been rehomed for a second job! Cheri Collisen: Cammie – Pet “Cammie, a 20year old. Homes are found or they stay with me.” B’Lynn Powers: Blue an Off the track thoroughbred  The thoroughbred people are doing similarly- “I have a 27 year old OTTB from Charles Town that enjoyed a 2nd career as a hunter jumper, a 3rd as dressage and eventing at VA Intermont college and then at 19 years old, we found him, and he helped my daughter through the loss of her big brother – so 4th career is family – forever.” Greg Trotto: Jacob’s Money a lesson horse “Jacob’s Money retired due to a breathing problem, and at a farm near Vernon. They love him. Trail rides and giving riding lessons!” Susan Greenberg Merryman: Majestic – dressage & aspiring Endurance horse About her aspiring endurance horse- “My boy came from a mutual friend! His owner on the track was Katherine Smith and his trainer was Brooke Nickells! Majestic now 10, by Mach Three with a lifetime mark of 1:51, we adopted him in 2016 when he was coming seven. We trail ride him a lot and are working on dressage.” Shannon Schlotzhauer Stafford: Portrait therapeutic horse “This is Portrait, now 12, a well loved race horse making a difference as a therapy horse. He has such a gentle soul. From the time our son could walk, Portrait let him do anything, he would even hold up his back feet so our son could paint them. When he was no longer competitive, we knew he could make a difference in someone’s life. Now he reaches many people.” Ginger Keeler: Indian Hill Mojoe Trail horse “Here’s Indian Hill Mojoe, born at my place, my husband and I broke and raced him, now he’s my number one trail horse. He’s as tough as they come, an I love him to death.” Leslie Moore: Keystone Alexis therapy horse “Our little Lexi (Keystone Alexis) raced at Ocean Downs and Rosecroft. She went on to Starting Gaits Transition where she was discovered by Agape as a therapy horse. She was recently highlighted and enjoys support from the Indiana harness Racing industry.” Stephanie L Gray: Art by Keane – Stallion And halter champion Art By Keene. Racing, showing and just plain retired. He was 2014 National SPHO In Hand Champion. I had big plans for him, he made other plans. We do have a 2yo colt and 3yo filly he sired. They are not turning out to be much as race horses, however, I love them both dearly. At least they’re pretty. Stallion Art By Keene with owner’s son Caiden Below: “His 3yo filly, Sterling The Pot aka Ena and His 2yo colt, Kickstart My Art aka Junior.” 3yo filly, Sterling The Pot Two-year-old colt My Art Katy Reynolds Bradford: That’s Hall Folks – family horse Here’s That’s Hall Folks, a fifteen year old gelding who raced for nine years. He’s a sweet trail and family horse, with so much personality. I think the best way to describe him is an uncomplicated gentleman, below a shadow shot of this horse riding bareback and bitless! That’s Hall Folks riding bareback and bitless Patricia Clark: East Meets West Endurance Champion East Meets West. We started endurance in 2009. Eli has over 1000 endurance miles and over 500 ld miles. He was the 2011 USTA Endurance Horse of the Year. He has also completed two 75 mile rides.” Jessica Massey: Artdotcam – pleasure and show horse Artdotcam At Aasateague “I adopted Artdotcam (AKA “Bubba”) in the spring of 2012 from his owners. Bubba was a successful harness racer before he was retired from the track and started under saddle. I’m not a “trainer” by any means; I was just a lady who was looking for her first “very own horse”. After many, many hours and miles in the saddle, he has become an awesome trail horse that even my non-horsey husband rides! Bubba even occasionally goes with me to work in the State Forests (I work for the Maryland Forest Service) to do trail work & maintenance. I have posted about our many adventures, including pictures, over the years. I stay connected with his owners and they follow his life and care closely. “ Nena Winand: Winners Only – companion “My love. Winners Only, retired from both racing and breeding  because even when they are no longer breedable they still have a purpose, even if it’s only to be our companions.” Julie Tougas: Wally Dragon – multi talented “This is Wally Dragon. He’s 13 years old and retired from the track when he was 5 years old. I have only recently become his human partner, before me, Wally spent his off track years doing single and double harness, some gymkhana and pleasure riding. This photos is Wally and I, taken at our very first long distance riding event. I am now training Wally to be an endurance horse.” Purple Durple – parade horse “This is Purple Durple. Shes 15 years old. Retired when she was 7 years old. After a short try in the sport of endurance, Purple made it clear that she didn’t want to go fast anymore, so now she is living her life as a steady trail horse . This picture is of Purple and her other human Odile taken during a parade.” Katherine Smith Always Virginia teaches youngsters to groom “Always Virginia now living in Texas and being driven and ridden for fun, and teaching young kids how to groom and care for horses. There are so many more….” “My first two Standardbreds now living their retirement here at home Virginia. One is 21 the other 18. They do no work other than keep us happy.” That’s all for now folks! From endurance riding to the Police force to the show ring, or treasured companions, Standardbreds are quite talented and versatile. In addition, it looks like the harness horsemen have a great passion and respect for the star of the show, the Standardbred horse. Check out more at the USTrotting Association’s Life After Racing page.

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

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

Euroa-based harness racing trainer-driver Cameron Maggs produced a nice winner on debut at Shepparton last Friday - and punters didn't let it get under their guard. Four-year-old mare Maddielea (Auckland Reactor-Allison June (Major In Art) was heavily supported into favoritism on fixed odds and the issue was never in doubt. Maggs sent Maddielea to the head of affairs in the $7000 Alabar Pace for C0 only pacers and looked to have things well under control from that point. The first split was 28.2, followed by a 31.4, and then the mare was allowed to stretch out in 28.3 and 29.6 to win by 15 metres in a sharp 1.57-5. Despite not being sighted at the trials for some time, the course commentator Brendan Delaney advised shortly before the start that the fixed odds that had been put up regarding Maddielea had been knocked down from $19 to $4. Betting then tightened to $3.50 and $3.20, with the eventual starting price $3.50. "The winner landed some big bets, and someone has their pockets full for the weekend, you would think!" Delaney quipped after the race. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Maddielea certainly looks a horse destined for a bright future and is expected to make it two wins in under a week as she has come up the top selection at Shepparton this Wednesday afternoon in the CO-C1 mares' event. The daughter of Auckland Reactor, who continues to stamp his mark as a quality sire, goes about her business in trade-like fashion. With a nice gait, she has some of her dad's renowned grit as well. Maddielea, raced by P.L and S.L Maggs, was bred by her trainer Cameron Maggs. She is out of an unraced mare in Allison June (Major In Art-Miss Nightowl (Our Sir Vancelot). The recent winner also has a three-year-old full brother, yet to be named. Miss Nightowl was only lightly raced with four wins and seven placings from 26 starts for earnings of $14,480. The mare was successful for Maggs at Wagga and Echuca, while Nathan Jack was the winning driver at Bendigo and Mildura. It was also a very good outcome for connections who also took home a lucrative first win VicBred bonus. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

In response to questions received from the industry, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) wishes to clarify that routine diagnostic veterinary examinations of race horses are allowed within the 24-hour period prior to racing provided no medications, drugs or substances are administered. Info Bulletin No. 70 – Ban on Race Day Medication: Introduction of a Standards-Based Rule March 29, 2019 The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is implementing a ban on race day medications as of April 19, 2019 that will prohibit the administration of medications, drugs and substances to any horse entered to race starting 24 hours prior to the post time of the first race of the day they are scheduled to race.  For Standardbred horses, this includes Qualifying Races. This standards-based rule is critical to protecting horses, participants, the betting public and the integrity of racing as a whole. The rule changes, which include prohibiting contact between horses entered to race and veterinarians in the 24 hours prior to racing, except in cases of emergency, can be found in the Directives: Standardbred | Thoroughbred POLICY STATEMENT It is in the best interest of the horse, the human participants, the betting public and the public at large that horses race free of medications (other than Furosemide when properly enrolled in the Ontario Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (E.I.P.H.) Program). THE ISSUE Medications administered within 24 hours of a race have resulted in adverse health outcomes of race horses.  Medications administered on race day have the potential to mask physical or behavioural problems in a horse and/or to alter the performance of a horse. These administrations can pose a risk to the health of the horse and participants while warming up or racing. The betting public and the public at large are unaware of the specifics of these administrations.  This standards-based rule aligns Ontario more closely with other major racing jurisdictions in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.  For example, in the United States, 28 out of the 33 states with pari-mutuel betting have implemented a ban on race day medications.   IMPLICATIONS The new standards-based rule will enhance the health and safety of the horse, the safety of the participants during the warming up of the horse and in the actual running of the race. The standards-based rule defines the timeframe of the ban as being 24 hours prior to the post time of the first race of the day they are scheduled to race.  This rule is not intended to prohibit normal non-medicated feedstuffs, water and non-medicated shampoos and non-medicated topical applications.  IMPLEMENTATION The AGCO will implement the standards-based rule through the following communications with the horse racing industry:    An educational component, consisting of Industry Notice Reminders and Information Bulletins; Paddock meetings; and/or Training sessions for trainers and grooms at each track, led by AGCO Race Officials and Commission Veterinarians. Race Line newsletter articles Twitter posts Website updates For more information, on-duty Race Officials may be contacted at: https://www.agco.ca/race-day-contact-list Questions about this process may be directed to AGCO Race Officials. CONTACT US Online: Anytime via the iAGCO online portal By mail and in person: Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario 90 Sheppard Avenue East Suite 200-300 Toronto, Ontario M2N 0A4 By telephone: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST) General telephone: 416-326-8700 Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876  

Columbus, OH — The following is a statement from the United States Trotting Association regarding the scratch of Bettor Joy N at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday (May 6). The U.S. Trotting Association is aware of and disappointed by the Ohio State Racing Commission’s eleventh-hour scratch of Bettor Joy N from the Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial this afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway. It has been conveyed to us that this was done because Bettor Joy N, while microchipped, did not possess a freeze brand. The USTA approved the use of microchips for identification purposes at its March 2018 Board of Directors meeting, and alerted all state racing commissions as to this change in policy shortly thereafter. Specifically, foals of 2019 and beyond are required to be microchipped. Starting in 2021, all Standardbred horses competing at United States racetracks will be required to have a microchip, including those that were previously freeze branded. Bettor Joy N does not have a freeze brand. She is a New Zealand import and was microchipped after her arrival in the United States in December 2018. We have had numerous conversations, starting early last summer and as recently as late last month, with the Ohio State Racing Commission about this rule, and were left with the impression that there were no objections to it nor confusion about its application. All Ohio racetracks, including Miami Valley, were provided with microchip readers free of charge as part of their USTA membership benefits. We are particularly dismayed by third-party reports indicating that Bettor Joy N was allowed to be treated with Lasix at the appointed time, and that only afterward was it conveyed that she would not be allowed to participate in the Noble. Standardbred horse identification is central to the USTA’s mandate, and an area in which we have significant expertise, responsibility, and experience. Rule changes are deliberated and voted upon by a board of 60 directors — including eight from Ohio — who represent all facets of the industry. Moreover, our outreach to alert and educate the industry about the microchip rule change has been steady and ongoing for 15 months. We have experienced no similar issues with any other jurisdiction regarding the introduction of microchips, and we remain available to work with the OSRC to ensure that this scenario does not repeat itself. from the USTA Communications Department

Guelph, ON May, 2, 2019 - Have an older horse? Take a minute this May to learn about the management and health of your loyal companion during their golden years with Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool), developed in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.   There is no standard age to determine when a horse becomes a senior. Instead, factors like breed, health conditions, previous use, and history of care can all affect when your horse is considered senior. Changes that might make your horse a senior can creep up slowly over time and this makes it important to continually assess your older horses.   Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool) can help you learn more about the management of senior horses and conditions that may affect them. Take the Senior Horse Challenge quiz to test your knowledge on issues related to the health and management of senior horses. Then, try out the Click and Reveal Activity and see if you can pick out which horses have Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), a condition that can affect 15-30% of senior horses. Finally, check out the lists of additional resources that feature links to helpful videos and fact sheets on senior horse issues, like nutrition and PPID.   Most horse owners realize that every horse should be treated as an individual when developing a diet to meet their nutritional needs. However, there are four main groups that senior horses can be divided into when categorizing their needs. Check out the Senior Horse Nutrition Fact sheet (under the PDF Resources list) for more information on the category that your senior fits into:   1) The Healthy Senior 2) The Overweight/Obese Senior 3) The Senior that is Losing Condition 4) The Senior with Health Issues (the Geriatric horse)   Some of the horses that fall into the final 'Senior with Health Issues' category may be affected by PPID. You can find a video of horses with PPID before and after treatment and more information on PPID under the Additional Resources list on the Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool).   "Every fall Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a PPID testing campaign in partnership with Animal Health Laboratory." says Doug Myers, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. "Over the past 5 years more than 1700 horses have been tested and 62% were positive for PPID."   Have an older horse that means the world to you? Let us know by sharing this article and telling us about your horse! Let’s thank the senior horses that have spent their years making ours better by spreading the word about the Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool) and educating fellow horse lovers on how to give senior horses the best care possible.   Story by: Nicole Weidner

With the Kentucky Derby coming up this weekend, horse racing is making its annual pilgrimage to the front page, as millions of people place bets and make plans for the big day. The excitement, the grandeur, and the tradition of one of America’s oldest sports captivate many into watching the buildup to what is essentially a two-minute race.  But the excitement doesn’t come without controversy. Horse racing still has a ways to go in terms of improving its reputation of drugging horses. In states without bans, horses are often drugged right before the race, which can increase the chances of animals getting hurt. Injuries often lead to horses being euthanized.  Thoroughbred horse racing is the biggest offender. Known for their speed, Thoroughbred horses run in the Kentucky Derby, as well as other well-known races. The Thoroughbred industry has been mired with controversy due to the use of Lasix, a drug that helps horses avoid nosebleeds caused by hemorrhaging during intense physical activity, allowing them to run faster for longer. But after 23 horses broke down and were euthanized over the course of three months at Santa Anita Park in California, all high-stakes Thoroughbred races agreed to phase out Lasix by 2021.  Standardbred horse racing, or harness racing, is less lucrative than Thoroughbred racing, but still draws a crowd at places such as The Meadows race track in Washington County, as well as other race tracks in Pennsylvania. This type of racing requires the horse trot instead of full-out run, all while pulling a small cart with a driver. Standardbred is not without doping, but the offenses aren’t as numerous compared to Thoroughbred racing. A bill in the U.S. House hopes to change some of that culture, but it has so far failed to get the support of most of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation and the state’s biggest race organization, Penn National Gaming, which owns race tracks and casinos across the country and in Pennsylvania, including The Meadows and Penn National Race Course. Advocates of the bill say the support of Pennsylvania is crucial to make into law, but will it gain enough support in the Keystone State?  Pennsylvania isn’t usually considered a major horse racing hub like Kentucky or New York, but Marty Irby of Washington, D.C.-based Animal Wellness Action says Pennsylvania is in the top 10 of horse racing states. There are six racing tracks in the commonwealth that hold Thoroughbred and Standardbred races, and some with some sizable purses. Irby says Pennsylvania isn’t the worst offender when it comes to animal welfare issues, like drugging horses on race day, but it’s not a shining example either.  “Pennsylvania isn’t the worst, but it is really at the bottom at the barrel,” says Kirby. “You don’t have a presence there that seems to be willing to crack down on the abuses.” According to horse racing news site Paulick Report, Pennsylvania hasn’t integrated the Association of Racing Commissioners International penalty system, which calls for long suspensions and harsh fines of up to $50,000 for repeat drug offenses. Instead, Pennsylvania offenders typically just have races disqualified and sometimes fines as low as $500.  Irby says problems in Pennsylvania are common in other states. With 38 different racing consortiums in the U.S., it is hard to get commissioners to agree on standard rules for drug testing. That’s why Irby is advocating for the Horseracing Integrity Act, a bill in Congress to create national rules pertaining to the horse racing industry, including standardized drug testing and creating a ban on race-day drugging.  The co-authors of the act are U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-New York) and Andy Barr (R-Kentucky), and both represent districts with a large horse racing presence. The bill so far has gathered 50 co-sponsors, with only two from Pennsylvania, U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) and Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery). Race organizations like the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes are backing the bill, too.  Irby says for the bill to have a chance, more members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and Penn National Gaming need to lend support. Irby says since support for animal welfare is popular among Pennsylvania politicians, he expects more representatives to co-sponsor the bill.  U.S. Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills), Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Peters) all have records of supporting animal rights bills, but have yet to co-sponsor the Horseracing Integrity Act. A request for comment to Penn National Gaming was not returned.  In the end, Irby believes the bill isn’t just about the health of race horses. He thinks the bill will give confidence to horse racing fans that the sport is clean, and thus could boost its viewership.  “This is not a heavy lift for anyone at any track in America to support." By Ryan Deto Reprinted with permission of the pghcitypaper

The 2018 Anti-Doping and Drug Testing Program conducted by US racing regulatory bodies found continued substantial compliance with racing’s medication and anti-doping rules and little support for claims that the use of drugs to mask pain when horses race is rampant. As it does each year the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) released a summary of the collective results of the individual state programs conducted in 2018. In 2018 horses competing in 95,618 individual races were tested, 43,574 flat races (quarter horse and thoroughbred combined) and 52,044 standardbred races. This represents a reduction from the previous year when horses from 98,883 races were tested. On average 3.2 horses were tested in each flat race and 2.26 horses tested in each standardbred contest. In 2018, there were 1,561 violations of the medication rules out of 258,920 samples tested, meaning that 99.4% of all tests found the horse to be compliant with the rules. It also means that the facts do not support claims that a substantial number of horses are racing under the influence of pain masking medications as all testing labs routinely screen for the presence of such drugs. Such instances do occasionally occur and are reflected in the violations that are found and prosecuted. The ARCI has described violations involving Class 1 or Class 2 substances as instances of “doping”. Violations involving substances of a lesser class often involve overages of medications deemed therapeutic or authorized by US federal law for veterinary use. There was a dramatic drop in doping instances from 2017 to 2018. In 2017, 11% of all violations found were for Class 1 or 2 substances. In 2018, that number dropped to 6.8% of all violations. In 2018, there were 107 findings out of 258,920 samples tested for these substances deemed to have the greatest effect on performance, or 0.04% of all samples tested. In 2017, there were 169 findings out of 293,704 samples, or 0.06% of those tested. Violations involving Class 3 substances were 26.2% of all adverse analytical findings in 2018, a slight increase over the 24.5% detected in 2017. There were 409 Class 3 AAF’s in 2018 - 0.16% of all tested - compared to 376 in 2017 - 0.13% tested. Violations involving substances deemed least likely to affect performance - Class 4 and 5 substances - accounted for 66.9% of the adverse analytical findings in 2018, slightly up from the 64.5% of AAF’s in 2017. Clear Rate: In 2018, 99.4% of all samples tested were determined to be clear of any substance that would trigger an adverse analytical finding (AAF). In 2017, the clear rate for all US horse racing was 99.5%. For Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races, the clear rate in 2018 was 99.13% and the rate for Standardbred races that year was 99.71%. By comparison, the 2017 Annual Report of the US Anti Doping Agency indicates that their clear rate for human sport was 99.12% for Olympic, Paralympic and Global Service Testing. The 2019 World Anti-Doping Agency’s Testing Report shows that their “clear rate” is 98.57%. “Horse racing and human sport share the same challenges in combatting those who cheat. While the overall clear rate is comparable, I do not believe anyone is under the illusion in either human sport or horse racing that we are catching everyone who will attempt to cheat,” said Ed Martin, President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. “Industry investments in anti-doping research and a greater emphasis on expanded investigatory staff at the regulatory agencies and racetracks is essential if we are to effectively combat this threat,” he said. Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

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

Cream Ridge, NJ - 4/18/19 - Trial Victory, the aged harness racing stallion and son of the great Valley Victory, found tagged to ship for slaughter, has arrived at his new home in Alabama. The wonderful lady is a wildlife firefighter and is a rescue minded individual who already has a few just like him, rescued. She is delighted to receive him.   She, and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) thank all who contributed to have him redirected to a safe situation, transported to quarantine, and shipped to his lucky opportunity to live out his life.   It is not easy to find a home for a stallion, a horse that is aged, and also blind in one eye, but this guy is finally experiencing a little luck in his life.   His new home shared, "He came with a healed eye injury leaving him 100% blind in the eye and does very well with it. Poor guy looks like something crushed the whole eye socket at some point, but he has no pain and no heat. He and my teenager puppy have already made friends. He's such a love bug and answers to "hey old man". He nickers when he sees me coming, food or not, and loves his ears scratched. He is an absolute gentleman. He still has his stallion moments of whinnying and thinking about my mare, but that's about it and then he goes back to grazing. I couldn't sleep the other night, so I went out and paid him a visit. He came up to me when I sat down and put his head in my lap while I rubbed his face and ears. Such a sweet boy! He has 4 acres to himself. It's wooded with a nice stand of grass underneath, and his hay roll."   Hundreds of Standardbreds are tagged to ship for slaughter every week. Many are in their late teens and early twenties, as breeding was prolific in the late 90's.   When these horses did not make the races, or made the races and had injuries, the vast majority of them were sold to the rural communities as workhorses. These communities typically treat animals as equipment. Used to plow fields, pull equipment, and as transportation, they are now ageing out as they like to "turn them over for fresh ones when in their teens". This is likely the reason for so many presently being shipped to the Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses. These practices still continue for the present horses on the tracks and in the breeding sheds. In the past two years, with the help of the volunteer group on Facebook, Save Our Standardbreds From Slaughter, SOSS, SRF helped more than 1,100 trotters and pacers just like Trial Victory divert from the trip to slaughter, to one where they can live out their lives, and do so with dignity. Thank you to all who helped.   Tax-deductible donations may be made by going to www.AdoptaHorse.org or by calling Tammy at 609-738-3255 or email at SRFHorsesandkids@gmail.com. DONATE TO SRF TODAY!   About Standardbred Retirement Foundation   Standardbred Retirement Foundation, since 1989, provides humane care and services for horse in need of lifetime homes, and in crisis, through rehabilitation, training, adoption, life-long follow-up or life time sanctuary and offering therapeutic equine opportunities for children and adults.   Tammy Cailliau Phone: 609-738-3255 Email address: SRFHorsesandkids@gmail.com    

Exercise-induced Pulmonary Hemorrage (EIPH) has been a recognized condition in horses since the early 18 century. While the amount of bleeding in horses varies, it is universally recognized that the vast majority of horses in training and racing do indeed bleed. The advent of the flexible endoscope confirmed in studies that in thoroughbreds the stress put upon them, proved that up to 75 per cent of them bleed in training and more so in racing. Other studies done on standardbred and thoroughbreds, after running three races, showed that 100 per cent of these horses bled at least once, evidenced by blood in the trachea. The cause of the bleeding is the amount of pressure experienced that racing puts on the pulmonary veins, four times the normal pressure. The pressure causes fibrosis and in turn Pulmonary fibrosis scars and thickens the tissue around and between the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, which decreases the lungs ability to function and decreases the racing life of the horse. I have attended multiple-day seminars with experts from all over the globe on the topic of the race day administration of Lasix. In North America, Lasix is the most popular medication for treating EIPH because studies have shown that it is the most effective treatment in decreasing the amount of bleeding and therefore the scarring and thickening of the tissue around the lungs. In many of the English speaking countries around the world conducting racing, where race day use of Lasix is prohibited, it is nonetheless permitted up to race day because it is acknowledged to have the desired therapeutic effects in controlling EIPH. One has to ask if it is recognized as necessary in training because of its control of this problem, when the stress is not as severe as when a horse competes in a race, then what is the rationale for withholding it on race day, where four times the normal pressure in the racing environment exists? It has been said that when our horses, mainly thoroughbreds, go overseas they compete quite well without Lasix. That is indeed true, perhaps because they have a least had the benefit of controlling pulmonary hemorrhage long enough to achieve success over their foreign competitors. Overseas competition is against horses that are using something far less efficacious than Lasix, or worse nothing at all, to address the long term effects occasioned by the increased stress in racing. Those who want to join the community of Lasix-free racing point to the alleged masking of other substances, but the controlled administration of the substance; the hourly limitation on its use pre-race( 4-4 1/2 hours); the testing for threshold overages of the substance, has put that argument to bed. Now the newest mantra for the elimination of race-day Lasix, is the horrible, horrible loss of life at Santa Anita Racetrack. The false claim being, that while the rest of North America continues to help the horse racing on Lasix, without nay correlation to catastrophes, Lasix is being inexplicably blamed as the proximate cause of those catastrophes. The problem, is the potential for the elimination of a recognized effective tool in controlling and minimizing, EIPH that helps the horse cope with the effects of stress. Santa Anita should be shut down immediately until the true causes of these catastrophes can be accurately determined and corrected. The factors point initially to the track’s surface and under-footing, but the more precise answer must be determined by analyzing all of the multiple possible factors, Lasix, being clearly not the culprit. Without closing down Santa Anita immediately, the industry, thoroughbred and standardbred alike, comes under tremendous pressure from all those looking to eliminate the industry anyway. Santa Anita is providing fuel to a fire that threatens the game, by racing more in the face of its undetermined cause of these catastrophic breakdowns. Allowing continued suffering at Santa Anita is intolerable and unacceptable and should not continue. Enough is enough and if one is looking to blame Lasix, it is suggested that one look elsewhere. Every industry organization needs to be heard on any and every false narrative out there. No benefit can be achieved by being silent on issues that threaten our existence. Joe Faraldo

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

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

More than 100 racing yards were on lockdown this past Thursday Feb 7 as horse races were called off due to a flu outbreak in Britain. All horse owners need to guard against the very real and present threat of equine influenza. According to a recent FEI health update in response to equine flu outbreaks, the virus can be easily transmitted between horses that are in close contact, such as attending events, group training and hunting, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the home yard. “Vaccinating horses against equine influenza is key to combating the spread of equine influenza,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström said. “It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices.” Plan Ahead The approach of spring and the anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens means it is time to book the vet for shots. How well do you understand the vaccines currently available and the discussions you should have with your vet? Six questions are asked in Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner, kindly sponsored by Merck Animal Health, to help horse owners start those conversations. Every farm has different risk factors including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. Whether you are the proud owner of a young foal, competition horse, hobbyhorse or broodmare, the Vaccination Equi-Planner (EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool) points out considerations for each and discusses different core and optional vaccines your vet may recommend. Your veterinarian will be up to date on what diseases are endemic in your location. Did you know horses aged 1 - 5 tend to be more susceptible to influenza? Horses that travel or are exposed to travelling horses or new arrivals are also at increased risk. "Equine influenza is one of the most frequent respiratory tract disease in horses. As such, it has a significant impact on equine populations worldwide. Vaccination along with appropriate biosecurity measures remains one of the most effective ways to prevent this highly contagious disease. However, immunity against influenza is rather short-lived, so horses that are at higher risk of getting infected can benefit from a semi-annual booster. Horse owners should discuss with their veterinarian the most appropriate vaccination schedule based on their horses’ specific circumstances. Also, as the influenza virus constantly changes through antigenic drift, best practice calls for using a vaccine that includes recent strains of influenza as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). An influenza modified live virus vaccine can also provide coverage against current strains through broad cross-protection," says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health. What is a Modified Live Vaccine? A modified live equine A/Equine 2 influenza vaccine for intranasal administration is commercially available in Canada. “I have had some interesting conversations with horse owners regarding vaccinations,” says Veterinarian and Ontario Association of Equine Practitioner President Amy Bennet. “There does seem to be some misconceptions regarding specific vaccines, especially the modified live vaccines. By far, the biggest concern I hear from horse owners is that their horse could potentially become sick from the modified live vaccine and they are concerned that their horse could then pass this disease onto other horses. I also hear concerns of unvaccinated horses becoming inadvertently vaccinated from a recently vaccinated horse within the herd.” Bennet explains, a modified live vaccine is derived from the naturally occurring pathogen but is modified in a way that it doesn’t produce clinical disease, while still mounting a strong immune response. Modified live vaccines for influenza are given intra-nasally. When the vaccine replicates in the horse’s nasal mucosa, a rapid local immune response occurs. The horse develops an immune response that combats disease similar to when the horse is exposed to the wild strain equine influenza virus, making sure that the tissues that would be first exposed to the disease have the strongest immunity to it.   By giving a modified live vaccine, your veterinarian is administering a live pathogen, that has been modified so it will not cause the clinical disease but will mount an immune response to help provide protection against the disease, should the animal ever be exposed. More about the science behind modified live and inactivated vaccines can be found at EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool under resources. Know the Rules Given the highly contagious nature of the disease and the impact on horse health and industry economics, some racing regulators, like British Horse Racing Authority, and racetracks, such as Woodbine, as well as organizations including the United States Equestrian Federation, Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and Equestrian Canada have rules requiring vaccination against equine influenza. Check on the records required. For example, Equine Canada passports must be signed and stamped by your certified veterinarian and filled in with the date of administration, name and batch number of vaccine, method of administration (Intra-muscular or Intra-nasal) among other specified details. There are also windows of time before competitions for the administrations of vaccines to be aware of.   Equine Guelph and Merck Animal Health are pleased to provide a comprehensive starting point for horse owners to begin drafting their annual personalized immunization plan with the Vaccination Equi-Planner. This information will help when discussing vaccinations with your vet. Image Caption: The personalized questions in EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtoolhelps horse owners start conversations with their vet for an annual plan.   By: Jackie Bellamy Zions

Given the demanding life of the equine athlete, a high number of racehorses are at risk of digestive tract health concerns such as ulcers and colic. In a new online short course by Equine Guelph on TheHorsePortal.ca, March 11 – 29, you can learn from experts how to reduce the chance of digestive tract issues in your barn, and improve your horse’s performance on the track. High energy concentrates and the need for high energy diets to sustain performance and body condition can contribute to digestive health issues. Highly experienced equine nutritionist Don Kapper (Professional Animal Scientist) will be sharing his wealth of knowledge on feeding for optimal digestive health and performance. Kapper is the author of the chapter on “Applied Nutrition” for the authoritative veterinary textbook: “Equine Internal Medicine”, 2nd edition and was a member of the “Performance Electrolyte Research” team at the University of Guelph.  Dr. Melissa McKee of McKee-Pownall Equine Services, discovered a love of the Standardbred athlete while attending veterinary school. After working as a veterinarian in New Jersey and Alberta, Dr. McKee returned to Ontario in 2002 and now focuses on helping race and performance horses reach their potential. She understands well the stress associated with being a high-level athlete, including race day, transport, and limited turn-out. McKee looks forward to the discussion forums offered in this unique online course.    Dr. Kyle Goldie practices in all areas of equine veterinary medicine, and has a keen interest in quarter horse racing. He looks forward to being a part of this important course that will help horse owners detect early signs and symptoms of ulcers and colic, help assess management plans, and develop preventative strategies.   FREE courses available to trainers, assistant trainers, grooms, jockeys, drivers and other current AGCO licence holders on a first come, first served basis with coupon code. Limited space is available. Join the winning herd improving performance through digestive health. Never taken an online course before? No worries! This course takes a common sense and practical approach to training – no prior online learning experience required. Time online is flexible and at your convenience, working around your schedule. AGCO licence holders can find coupon codes and sign up for Gut Health & Colic Prevention, exclusive to racing industry members. Equine Guelph thanks the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for providing education, training and awareness project funding in support of AGCO licensees.   Image Captions: Don Kapper, Professional Animal Scientist Dr. Melissa McKee, founding partner of McKee-Pownall Equine Services Dr. Kyle Goldie of McKee-Pownall Equine Services   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

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