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"One of a horse owner's greatest fears is seeing their 1,000 lb plus companion in peril," says Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc. (TLAER). "Couple that with not having the ability to do anything about it and not knowing who to call for help and the situation can quickly go wrong with panic stricken judgment calls that may result in a disastrous outcome for the equine."    Over thirty firefighters and first responders descended upon the Meaford Fire Department Training Centre in Ontario for intensive training on what to do in emergency situations. The three days of rigorous training, presented by Grey Highlands and Meaford Fire Departments and Equine Guelph, took place Apr 28 - 30 2017.    Chief Rod Leeson and Chief Scott Granahan opened with a safety briefing, followed by Dr. Gimenez raising awareness of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue concepts including how to deal with that panicked owner when arriving upon the scene. Problem solving utilizes the incident command system where cool heads prevail because everyone understands their role. This allows emergency responders, the veterinarian, owner and equipment operators, large animal ambulances etc. on the scene to communicate effectively and work together to find the best possible outcome.    First responders received important training in normal animal behaviour and what to expect when that animal becomes stressed, in order to proceed in a manner that keeps everyone safe from harm. Basic handling included how to approach livestock and where the blind zones and kick zones are located. How to create and secure an emergency halter and then restrain & lead the animal to a safe containment situation were more of the topics covered.    Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker, delivered a demonstration of great impact where equine anatomy and human anatomy was compared using life size skeletons of both. "Just as you would not pull a child out of a well by the arm; you cannot salvage a horse by wrapping a recovery strap to a limb without resulting in catastrophic damage," cautioned Ecker. For example, as easily as a human hand can be degloved, a horses tail can be removed if used to pull a horse out of a mud rescue situation. Limbs and tails are not handles!    Graphic and in-depth examples of What NOT to do were shown in case scenarios followed by hands on exercises included working with Rusti, the Rescue Horse mannequin. Gathering the proper equipment, the group practiced proper technique for drags and lifts to extricate a large animal from situations like a mud rescue, trench rescue or trailer roll over.    "This type of emergency rescue training is essential for first responders, and anyone involved with transporting livestock, to provide them the expertise they need to focus on the welfare and safety of animals and people in these sorts of emergency situations," says Ontario Veterinary College Dean Jeff Wichtel. "This is just one more example of the University of Guelph commitment to equine health and welfare, and the proactive training Equine Guelph provides to the equine industry, from horse owners to racing track personnel."    Special thanks to all the suppliers involved: Tractor/Equipment - Earth Power Equipment Meaford, livestock hauler - Aldcorn Brothers Company, Chapman's Ice Cream, water provided by Ice River Springs and last but not least, Abrams Towing and their recovery operator, John Allen.    Thank you to all the training crew expertly lead by Dr. Gimenez, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc.:    · Victor MacPherson, Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Deborah Chute, Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Chris Watson, Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Mark Whittick,Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Wendy McIsaac-Swackhamer, Erin Fire and Emergency Services  · Beverley Sheremeto, Severn Fire & Emergency Services  · Robert Nagle, Central York Fire Services  · Penny Lawlis, consultant for Professional Livestock Auditing Inc.  · Cathy Furness, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs  · Katherine Hoffman, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,  · Gayle Ecker, Equine Guelph, University of Guelph  · Susan, Raymond, Equine Guelph, University of Guelph    "Many commendations were made by the participants to the fire hall and the municipal offices thanking the instructors for coming to our community," said Chief Scott Granahan, "great things have come from this weekend. Thank you."    A Final Thank you from Equine Guelph goes out to everyone involved in this important training and the participants dedicated to safe and successful rescues of large animals.    By Jackie Bellamy-Zions    Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued charges against licensed trainer Michael Doltoff under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 196B (1) and 187(2) (two charges).    The allegations being that Mr Doltoff as the trainer of the horse Valtona, which was engaged to compete in Race 3 at the Yarra Valley harness racing meeting on 9 December, 2016, administered an injection to Valtona on 8 December 2016, without the permission of the Stewards. The other allegations relate to Mr Doltoff providing false and misleading evidence to HRV Stewards during the course of their investigation. The charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be determined.  

Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards advise that two runners from the Mark Purdon stable will undergo a veterinary examination at the Menangle Park Training facility tomorrow morning. OUR DREAM ABOUT ME: "HRNSW Stewards advise that on Tuesday afternoon at Tabcorp Park Menangle they spoke to a representative of the Purdon stable and information was provided in relation to the horse's condition and recent treatment," reported HRNSW Chairman of Stewards Graham Loch. "Following review of the two recent trials of Our Dream About Me at Menangle, having noted that the mare last raced on 31 December, 2016, and having regard to comments made this morning by Mr Purdon on Perth radio, we have advised the trainer that we require our HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian to examine the horse tomorrow morning." HAVE FAITH IN ME: HRNSW Stewards have received information from a number of New Zealand-based Veterinary Surgeons regarding a kidney condition sustained by Have Faith In Me. It appears that the condition was identified and treated prior to the horse racing successfully in Australia last season. "It is our position that we possibly should have been provided with the information in the past but in light of recent performances and public speculation HRNSW Stewards are attempting to gain an understanding of the condition and what, if any, issues may affect performance," said Loch. Loch added that Mr Purdon has been advised to present the horse tomorrow. ULTIMATE MACHETTE: HRNSW Stewards have also received the results of pathology tests undertaken from Ultimate Machete after racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Following the race Mr Purdon had expressed disappointment in the performance. Wollondilly Equine Clinic Veterinary Surgeon Dr Andrew Argyle has advised the pathology results were normal other than indicating that Ultimate Machete was exhibiting signs of post virus recovery. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600                AMANDA RANDO   MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER       HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES   22 Meredith Street Bankstown NSW 2200   PO Box 1034 Bankstown NSW 1885   T: 02 9722 6600 E: arando@hrnsw.com.au T: @Amanda_Rando   W: www.harnessmediacentre.com.au | T: twitter.com/hrnsw_harness | F: facebook.com/hrnsw              

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  

The sun is shining, birds are singing, flowers are blooming and the temptation is to launch full-on into your horse-training endeavours. You may have kept fit throughout the winter on the ski slopes or at the gym but what about your horse? Unless you had access to an indoor arena or migrated south for a few months with your four legged friends, chances are your horse’s fitness level is not quite sufficient for competition or strenuous outings yet. While there is no fool-proof way to avoid all circumstances that could necessitate a lameness exam, there are precautions every horse owner can take to reduce the risk of injury. As with every great fitness program, the key to success is a logical progression and controlling the factors you can control such as footing, stable management and horse health care. Logical Progression Many training programs have a pinnacle event in mind. In this case, a work back plan is created based on when you want the horse to be in peak fitness. The journey leading up to the main event consists of weeks and months of conditioning including a lead up with smaller events to ensure the horse is ready for the more strenuous task ahead. It only takes one month off for a horse to start loosing fitness. If you are coming back from a winter of inactivity, it is wise to start slow with 20 minutes of walking and to build up from there. Increase the length of conditioning sessions first, before increasing intensity. It is not realistic for a horse to be in peak physical condition at all times. Good fitness programs do not ask a horse for maximum exertion on an ongoing basis but allow for peaking and tapering, muscle building and down time for repair. Increasing cardiovascular fitness, strength training and flexibility in a progressive way will increase fitness and make the horse stronger and more resilient when the time comes for a maximal performance. A horse that has been fit previously will return to fitness faster than one that has never been fit before. Each horse’s training program needs to be tailored to the individual with consideration given to: age, breed, conformation, discipline requirements and previous injuries. One of the learning objectives in the Equine Guelph, 12-week online course, Equine Exercise Physiology, is to design and monitor a year-round training program for a horse (using training principles, structuring the workout, monthly and yearly plans). Also addressed are topics such as: base conditioning, aerobic and anaerobic exercise and recovery, monitoring of conditioning gains and prevention of health and performance problems and more. No Footing, No Horse Back to that sunshine again. Oh boy, is it tempting to go ride outside now! Before you step out consider all the footing factors. If you have been lucky enough to train in an indoor ring all winter, chances are your horse has been enjoying consistent, even, well-maintained footing. The outdoor options will not be exactly the same. Even if you are simply moving to an outdoor arena, there will be changes in depth, surface material, drainage and so on. While riding on different surfaces can be hugely beneficial, it takes time for horses to adapt, both to the new surface and possibly to the new training intensity. Dr. Brianne Henderson explains in her archived article on legs, “Bone is always changing and responding to stress. Microdamage can occur within the bone as a consequence of repetitive strain. Overtraining causes this “microdamage” to occur at a faster rate than the body can fix and so the repair is never as strong as the original bone. A similar ‘micro-damage-repair’ cycle occurs within the tendons and ligaments.” The chance of repetitive strain injuries can be significantly reduced with judicious training and the incorporation of lighter work days and rest days. Training in deeper footing and muddy conditions can predispose horses to soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Those taking to the roads need to be aware of the impact on joints and bones, which can occur when training on harder surfaces. Training on hills is a great work out for both balance and strength training, but again logical progression of duration and intensity of workouts are all important to avoid fatigue and lameness issues. It pays to be choosy about the footing you ride upon. Not all surfaces are a good match for all disciplines. Dr. Jeff Thomason of the Ontario Veterinary College has done intensive research studying surfaces and how the horse interacts with a variety of footing. More information on this research can be found on the Equine Guelph website in archived news article: “From the Ground Up” . Shape Shifting Everyone knows about the importance of deworming and vaccination but no spring checklist would be complete without due diligence on the stable management aspects of dental care and saddle fitting. A painful mouth due to sharp points can manifest as reluctance to be ridden. There are many changes constantly occurring in a horses mouth and having a dental exam performed by a veterinarian once or twice a year is recommended for both digestive health and to avoid set backs in training. The saddle fitter is another important member of your healthcare team. Horses change shape over time and at different stages of training. Ensuring proper fit is important not only for the horse’s comfort but also for correct muscular development. Several appointments throughout a year are not uncommon and the spring check up is one of the saddle fitter’s busiest times of year. Know your Horse Health Knowing your horses’ normal heart rate, temperature and breathing rate before you begin a training program is important. “A work back plan falls into place once you have an understanding of your horses’ current fitness level and set an end goal,” says Equine Guelph’s director and former advisor for Canada’s endurance team, Gayle Ecker. A free 16-point horse health check is available with Equine Guelph’s Horse Health Tracker App as well as body condition scoring and a weight estimator. Knowing your starting point and what is normal for your horse is vital information for moving forward and monitoring your horses health through every stage of its training. Tracking how quickly vitals return to normal after exercise gives the horse owner a measurable indicator of fitness level. As a horses exercise routine ramps up, nutrition and electrolyte balance will also need to be adjusted accordingly. Early Detection Flexibility is of course a component of any training program. No matter how well we plan, setbacks can and will occur and it is of paramount importance to detect and address any health concerns early on. Early detection and treatment generally result in a more favorable prognosis. Archived article by Dr. Brianne Henderson, “Legs, Common Injuries, and how we can Treat Them” can be found on Equine Guelph’s news page. To practice your early detection skills for lameness, visit Equine Guelph’s free online healthcare tool, Lameness Lab, kindly sponsored by Zoetis. Lameness Lab reviews causes of lameness, goes over checklists, looks at when to call the veterinarian and what to expect in an exam. Finally, take the video challenge to see if you can spot the lame leg! To gain a wealth of information on conditioning programs, sign up for the Equine Guelph 12-week Exercise Physiology course beginning May 9. Equine Guelph would like to wish you all the best with your horse training programs. More resources promoting horse health and welfare can be found atEquineGuelph.ca.  

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  

The 14th Annual Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference, the regions premier animal nutrition conference, will be held March 23-24, 2016 at the Hunt Valley Wyndam Grand in Hunt Valley, Maryland.  Two days of expert speakers have been lined up with the second day featuring a session devoted solely to feeding horses engaged in elite equestrian competition.   Veterinarians, students, horse trainers, horse breeders, and horse owners should not miss this opportunity to learn about exciting new discoveries related to their equine athletes.  All attendees will receive conference proceedings, lunch, and the opportunity to ask questions of all of the experts.  Pre-registrations are encouraged and can be done online at: https://ansc.umd.edu/extension/mid-atlantic-nutrition-conference 14th Annual Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference - Equine Session Schedule Thursday, March 24th, 2016 8:00am A Look Back at the Feeding of Performance Horses Dr. David Marlin, Science Supplements 8:50am Protein Nutrition for Exercise Demand Dr. Kristine Urshel, University of Kentucky 10:20am Mineral Nutrition of the Equine Athlete Dr. Brian Nielsen, Michigan State University 11:10am New Advances for Supplement Use in Performance Horses Dr. David Marlin, Science Supplements 1:30pm Feeding the Elite Show Jumper Dr. Shannon Pratt-Phillips, North Carolina State University 2:20pm New Advances in Treating Gastric Ulcers in Performance Horses Dr. Frank M. Andrews, Louisiana State University The conference is hosted by the Maryland Feed Industry Council, University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, University of Delaware, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Rutgers University, American Feed Industry Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the entire conference, please visit our website at https://ansc.umd.edu/extension/mid-atlantic-nutrition-conference.  For information on sponsoring this event, please contact Jennifer Reynolds at 301-405-1547. Equine Extension Specialist Rutgers, the State University 84 Lipman Dr., 213E Bartlett Hall New Brunswick, NJ 08901 Please send replies to CAREY.WILLIAMS@RUTGERS.EDU   PH: 848-932-5529 FX: 732-932-6996 esc.rutgers.edu

A Paulick Report story about the variances from state to state in enforcement of the veterinarian's list as a safeguard for unsound horses is the first nominee for Team Valor International's 2016 Stan Bergstein Writing Award. Natalie Voss's piece is titled "Time for a Change? Veterinarian's List No Safe Harbor For Racehorses.” It centers on an example from last January when the gelding Time For a J was on the California vet's list, making him ineligible to race in the Golden State until his status changed, but he was allowed to race in Arizona at Turf Paradise, where he broke down and had to be euthanized. Voss notes that only a handful of states have reciprocity in place to address the status of horses who are on vet's lists in other states. Some racetracks have reciprocal policies of their own, but other tracks have nothing in place. Voss also examines higher rates of fatal injury for horses making their first start since coming off a vet's list, along with higher incidence of drug positives. The story (link) was published on November 18, a few weeks into the one-year period from November 2, 2015 to November 1, 2016 for eligibility for the fifth annual Stan Bergstein Writing Award. The winning prize from Team Valor and CEO Barry Irwin is $25,000. Voss also wrote a story on drug testing in the state of New York that was a nominee for the 2015 Bergstein Award, won by Chris Wittstruck of the U.S. Trotting Association website. Team Valor welcomes story submissions to Jeff Lowe at jeff@teamvalor.com. 

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. For a discounted registration checks must be post marked by January 29th. “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 Arizona.  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 under the ‘outreach & events’ tab.   For more information, Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, Carey.Williams@rutgers.edu.  Remember, 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.

The issue of bleeding in harness racing is always a highly sensitive one due to the animal welfare issues involved and authorities on both sides of the Tasman tend to take a dim view of anyone breaking the rules around bleeding. The recent case of the former New Zealand trotter Saratoga in Queensland is a great example of the pitfalls that await you if you are not fully conversant with all the rules and regulations Saratoga was transferred to the care of Adam Sanderson in September 2015 after struggling to find his feet in Victoria with Brent Lilley. On the 19th of September Adam informed the owners of Saratoga in New Zealand that he had bled from both nostrils during track work that day. Saratoga had previously bled in New Zealand so it wasn't a complete surprise to the owners who race the horse under the goHarness Trotting For Fun syndicate banner. With no further episodes in following weeks, Saratoga then had five starts between the 9th October and the 21st of November in which he won twice and was placed twice. However Stewards in Queensland somehow got wind of the bleeding incident and held a hearing into what had happened on November 21st at which Mr Sanderson admitted that he failed to notify the authorities that Saratoga had bled from both nostrils during track work for which the stewards fined him five hundred dollars. However worse was to come. The stand down period in Australia for a horse bleeding from both nostrils is three months and Saratoga was therefore ineligible to race until December 19th after his September 19th bleed. Therefore the stewards had no option but to disqualify Saratoga from the five starts he had had in October and November as he was ineligible to start, costing the horse's New Zealand owners A$10,314 in stake money. It has been a steep learning curve for both Saratoga's young trainer Adam Sanderson and his Kiwi owners but they are both determined to put the matter behind them and move forward as the horse obviously has unfulfilled potential in Queensland. Harnesslink Media

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

As racing steward Terry Bailey stumbled on to his nature strip, clutching a tribal carving for ­defence seconds after gunfire peppered his suburban family home, he confronted two new realities. His world as sheriff of the track had changed forever: criminal elements had taken the fight straight to his doorstep only days before the Melbourne Cup. His second thought provided little comfort: the shooter could be anyone among a bulging Rolodex of enemies the 48-year-old chief steward had accumulated during a meteoric rise from Rockhampton racetrack to the hallowed turf of Flemington. Among the beaming celebrities and corporate suits in the luxurious marquees of the Birdcage from today, the party will barely miss a beat: DJs, champagne, fashion and some stunning feats of equine athleticism. But the racing industry — and its top cop — have been blasted into a new and terrifying era. Bailey speaks with a slow, nasal drawl that betrays his humble ­origins as the son of a cop who grew up in the backblocks of Queensland and NSW. But, up close, his eyes twinkle with a raw intelligence that smart folk quickly detect. John “The Sheriff” Schreck, perhaps the most famous steward in Australian turf history, saw that glimmer in Bailey’s eye and plucked him from obscurity at Rockhampton and put him on the path to the big league. “I first met him when he was still at school and he was working as a gofer on the track at Rockhampton — all he ever wanted to do was be involved in the administration of racing,’’ he tells The Weekend Australian in his first ­extended interview since the shooting. “His work ethic was quite outstanding and his common sense.” Today the stakes are astronomically higher, the villains smarter and far more ruthless, but Bailey hasn’t lost his laconic bush sense of humour. “I don’t have any other interests in life so, I presume, this is the common denominator,’’ he said the morning after an unknown enemy had pumped six rounds from a semi-automatic weapon into the front door of his suburban Melbourne house. “If they want to find you, they’ll find you.” Now, as the $16 billion racing industry begins its biggest week of the year, with the eyes of the racing world fixed on Melbourne, he and his family (a wife and two teen daughters he “idolises”) are living out of a safe house with a security detail attached to them 24/7. The attack was written up this week as the moment that racing lost its innocence, a description that didn’t pass the laugh test even for those who love the so-called sport of kings. “Don’t they remember (gangster) Tony Mokbel betting up a storm? Or (a certain jockey) taking bungs? Or the Smoking Aces (race-fixing) case? Or the cobalt scandal,’’ one world-weary racing fan mused. But Bailey’s mentor Schreck, who was the Australian Jockey Club’s chief steward for 15 years and did stints in senior roles in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau, believes the attack on his friend and protege marks a significant new low and racing needs to recognise it. “It’s a bloody awful thing and it’s done untold damage to horse racing in this country,’’ he said. “He (Bailey) would be terribly disturbed about it and worried for his family. In the future, when Terry Bailey moves back home I would expect he will have CCTV throughout the house. I never thought I would see those days. It’s just gangster stuff, isn’t it?” Gunshots flying into the home of the industry’s top cop is undoubtedly a new low, but villains have always lurked in the shadows of horse racing. There was the Fine Cotton scandal in the 1980s, ­George Freeman roaming Sydney tracks before that — the links even go back to the days of John Wren, depicted in Frank Hardy’s Power Without Glory. In more recent times, there has also been the unsolved execution-style murder of horse trainer Les Samba, gunned down on a Melbourne street in 2011. The jailed drug lord Tony Mokbel was a horse owner and reputedly still punts from his maximum-security prison, having led the so-called Tracksuit Gang in the 1980s and 90s, trading words and tips at racecourses across Australia. His brother Horty Mokbel was banned from tracks in 2004. Mick Gatto, who shot dead gangland killer Andrew “Benji’’ Veniamin more than a decade ago but beat a murder charge, is also now banned from racetracks and Crown casino. Carl Williams, the murderer who was killed in jail, was at the epicentre of Melbourne’s gangland war. He loved a punt as well. As did ­Alphonse Gangitano, once the public but violent face of the Carlton Crew. His interest in horse racing and protection rackets ended with his death in 1998 at the hands of — police believe — Jason Moran. The Morans had close links with racing and Jason Moran was accused of triggering the underworld war that killed dozens. He, too, is no longer with us. Beyond the glittering success of the Flemington carnival, racing has for years been locked in a struggle to expel criminal elements, with Bailey at the vanguard. Pretty much ever since he was lured from the Gold Coast to clean up harness racing in Vic­toria, he has had a tiger by the tail. Bailey soon unearthed a race-fixing scandal involving the use of a drug known as Blue Magic. In a move that foreshadowed his ­aggressive style, he liaised closely with police and used covert surveillance to build a case that culminated in raids in Australia and New Zealand that would smash a crime syndicate. He parlayed that success into a shift into thoroughbreds — the main game — where he became one of the youngest chief stewards in Victorian history, replacing stalwart Des Gleeson. As Bailey drove a more aggressive enforcement culture, that Rolodex of enemies continued to grow. His detractors accuse him of the law enforcement equivalent of “managing up” — kicking the shit out of industry participants to garner publicity and to further his own career. He tangled with talented but troubled jockey Danny Nikolic, pursuing the hoop unsuccessfully over the so-called Betfair scandal and then the Smoking Aces race-fixing probe. Nikolic was cleared on both, but it was the start of a bloody war of attrition between the steward and jockey that would ultimately see Bailey get his man following a clash outside the steward’s tower in which Nikolic is alleged to have said: “We’ve all got families, c---, and we know where yours live ...” Nikolic, who was banned for two years, denied making the comment and was not commenting on this week’s incident. Bailey has been unrelenting in driving higher integrity standards, pushing for covert surveillance of stables and demanding trainers give his officials keys to their stable doors and even seeking to implant a spy in one stable. He found himself at the centre of the most high-profile drug case in the sport’s recent history when big-name trainers Peter Moody, Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien were charged over positive swabs for cobalt returned by horses in their care. The cases continue to grind on, further damaging the sport’s image as ever darker secrets emerge, such as the reported links between a vet involved in supplying cobalt and organised criminals with ties to the harness racing world. It is true that racing has taken big strides towards a far more ruthless enforcement culture, introducing tough drug standards and investing in testing laboratories that keep officials close on the heels of biochemists. Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, says on top of sophisticated race-day betting analysis teams, racing now has its own compliance and audit squads. “These are guys who are jumping the fences of trainers’ properties and checking the stables and drug testing,’’ he said. “Integrity has become much (more) important. Racing’s success is based on public confidence. If the public don’t have confidence in integrity, they won’t bet, then there’s less money coming in.” Racing Australia chief executive Peter McGauran says the brazen gun attack is a wake-up call for the federal government, which must let the industry’s integrity bodies have better access to phone call and intercept data to protect the sport from organised crime. “If there are criminal elements capable of that here you can only imagine what those associated with illegal Asian bookmaking are capable of,” he said. Racing commentator Richard Freedman, the brother of Melbourne Cup winning trainers Lee and Anthony Freedman, says the attack on Bailey comes at a bad time for the sport but he doesn’t believe it will have a lasting negative effect. “I don’t want to sound blase about what happened to Terry because it’s appalling, but you have to take the long view — in the long term, the sport will be better.” Freedman agrees that racing is suffering from “the Tour de France syndrome”. “If you attempt to tackle cheats in your sport, you will expose yourself to claims your sport is full of cheats, because you will find them,’’ he said.   By Rick Wallace   Reprinted with permission of The Australian.com.au site

The vet allegedly at the centre of the cobalt crisis gripping Australian racing is set for a Supreme Court showdown with Racing NSW to prevent the governing body from publicising any potential charges against him.  A matter involving Dr Adam Matthews, the former Flemington Equine vet, was mentioned in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday in another twist to the cobalt saga. The vet's lawyer Nicole Spicer declined to comment on the matter, but Fairfax Media understands Matthews is seeking to prevent stewards releasing any charges possibly brought against him into the public domain. To read the full article written by Adam Pengilly in the Sydney Morning Herald click on this link.  

The horse racing for a great cause is due to have his first start under his new ownership on Sunday at the harness racing meeting at Motukarara. Spirit Eclipse is a standardbred racehorse that severely fractured his leg in a training accident in November 2014. This was a life threatening injury for the horse in that only two treatment options were available; euthanasia or attempt surgical repair of the fracture, in the hope that the horse would race again. Witnessing a fighting spirit in the horse, Canterbury Equine Clinic stepped in to save him. With Spirit Eclipse a symbol of hope, the idea arose to use this opportunity to raise funds for a much bigger and wider-reaching cause, The Ronald McDonald House South Island. Canterbury Equine Clinic successfully performed surgery on Spirit Eclipse. All costs associated with his surgery, convalescence and now ongoing veterinary care have been donated by the Canterbury Equine Clinic. After four months, Spirit Eclipse was fit to resume training again. A Spirit Eclipse syndicate, made up of Spirit Eclipse Charter Members, was formed to cover the costs of his training, provided at a significantly discounted rate by trainer Nigel McGrath. These Spirit Eclipse Charter Members are people from the general population who have embraced the opportunity to fundraise for an incredible cause. They have each donated $250 to join the syndicate. The Spirit Eclipse Syndicate will race the horse. He will race in specially commissioned Ronald McDonald House South Island colours. All stake money won during Spirit Eclipse’s ongoing racing career will be donated to Ronald McDonald House South Island. In addition to that, all money left over after racing expenses from the Charter member contributions will also go directly to Ronald McDonald House South Island. At the end of his racing career, Spirit Eclipse will be retired with a good home already arranged. Spirit Eclipse is set to race at the Banks Peninsula meeting at the picturesque Motukarara Raceway on Sunday (27th September). He is competing in the aptly named Spirit Eclipse-Racing For Ronald McDonald House (SI) Pace at 4.36pm. There is already interest from several news and media outlets to cover the race. Hopefully he will be able to give everyone something wonderful to cheer about. For more information visit www.spiriteclipse.co.nz Stacey Markham  

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

Infection control is easier to understand when illustrated by Mark and Dan. Through unique whiteboard videos, Equine Guelph would like you to meet Mark, a lifelong member of the horse racing industry. Mark takes you on a journey through a steep learning curve as he recognizes the threats viruses and bacteria pose for his herd. You will hear about how he experienced the need for good infection control practices firsthand. His story is all about the basics and answers: What are the differences between bacteria and viruses? How are they spread? What can you do to prevent them? His brother Dan also has an important story to tell. Watch a second video where he tells his story about improving infection control practices to keep his horses happy, healthy and at peak performance. This video answers: What should my goals for infection control be? How can I prevent illness at home? How can I prevent illness at the track? Both whiteboard videos are part of a targeted, racing-specific biosecurity training program launched by Equine Guelph in partnership with the Ontario horse racing industry. The program consists of training sessions, tools, resources and videos available to all three horse racing disciplines - Standardbred/Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse. This 3-stage program will help to protect the industry from the threat of infectious disease. In the first stage, Equine Guelph tailored its successful two-week online biosecurity course to Ontario Racing Commission officials (ORC) in a half-day workshop and subsequent two-week online course. The course covered racing specific topics. In the second stage, a 'Virtual Video Tour' featuring biosecurity expert Dr. Scott Weese was developed. These informative five-minute videos offer assessments and practical solutions for racetrack paddocks and training centre barns. The videos are packed full of useful and practical information that make sense for every racing stable wanting to reduce the chances of illness. The videos can be viewed on the Equine Guelph website, under infection control resources. "Biosecurity is trying to prevent things from coming on the property and infection control is trying to contain the risk we always have." Weese explains. One practical example of infection control is using chain cross ties rather than rope because they can easily be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe. They should also be adjusted short enough that horses cannot chew on them. In stage three, racehorse owners, trainers and groomers have been receiving material distributed by the ORC and racetrack officials. Printed resources are available at all ten Ontario racetracks, paddocks and offices as well as approximately twenty major training centres. The print material includes posters outlining five key things horse caretakers need to know to protect horses from getting sick, and a handy checklist to use at home and the track. USB sticks containing the new video resources will also be distributed. The key to prevention is focusing on what you can control. Using vaccines to lower the odds of sickness, not sharing equipment such as buckets and washing hands regularly, especially if you are handling more than one horse are just a few of the practical steps. By spreading the word on biosecurity and infection control, Equine Guelph is helping facilities save money in veterinary bills and days off by lowering the odds of their horses getting sick in the first place. In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Equine Guelph is developing a 'Full-Circle-Responsibility' equine welfare educational initiative which stands to benefit horses in both the racing and non-racing sectors. This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario. Other partners include: Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Equine Canada, Grand River Agricultural Society, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Racing Commission, Ontario Veterinary College, Quarter Horse Racing Association, Standardbred Canada and Vétoquinol Canada Inc. by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada

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