In the life of a domestic horse, social isolation, confinement and unvaried food are commonplace. These conditions can induce welfare and behavioral issues. We tested whether an enrichment protocol 1- could improve welfare , have an impact 2- on fearfulness and 3- on human relationships. Nineteen 10-month old Welsh ponies lived during five weeks in a standard (N=9) or enriched environment (N=10). In the standard environment, horses lived in individual stables with wood shaving bedding. They were fed concentrated pellets and were left outside in individual paddocks thrice per week. In the enriched environment, horses lived in individual stables with straw bedding during the day and by groups on a pasture during the night. Enrichment consisted in fractionating and delivering varied food all day long, offering social contacts, large stables and sensory stimulations (e.g., music, objects). The behavior of the horses was recorded in the stable. We found many indications of welfare improvement in enriched conditions from the 1st to the 5th week. On the 5th week, enriched horses expressed less aberrant behavior, alert postures, ears pointed backwards and more lateral sleeping posture. At the end of the five weeks, temperament tests showed that enriched yearlings were less fearful and closer to humans (e.g., glances at an unknown object, latency to return eating after a sudden event, sniffing and nibbling a passive human). Enriched horses also expressed less defensive behavior towards humans during manipulation (e.g., escape, biting, head-butt). Such an enrichment program could be recommended in breeding to improve welfare, horse-human relationships, and decrease fearfulness.
Most riding masters from the 18th and early 19th century who left a written heritage had understood intuitively the laws of classical and operant conditioning as determined scientifically in the 20th century. Key principles of academic riding, often ignored by modern coercive dressage, can be “translated” and explained in scientific terms. Abiding by these principles should improve welfare. Independence of aids: The rider should have maximal control of the stimuli (= aids) given. When giving a particular stimulus, it should not be accompanied by others, at least in the beginning of schooling. Better balance means more independent hand, leg and seat aids. This principle originates from two phenomena: discrimination of stimuli and overshadowing. Discretion of aids: Reacting to stimuli as weak as possible contributes to lightness. Two mechanisms are used to reach that goal: generalization and second order conditioning. “Descente de mains”, “descente de jambes”: Stop aids when the horse is in the required attitude or pace. This requires sufficient sensitivity to detect light changes. Not applying this principle results in habituation and killing of impulsion, confusion (uncertainty concerning the adequate response) and impossibility to use negative reward. Legs without hands, hands without legs: Experimental neuroses can be elicited through contradictory signals or motivations. Riders often do so. Legs usually mean “forward, speed up”, rein pressure “stop, slow down”. Simultaneous presentation represents conflicting signals. Using drawing reins as a routine go against this principle.
|Does your horse treat acorns and oak leaves like a delicacy? Acorns and oak leaves contain tannin which in large quantities can be poisonous to your horse. Red or black oak varieties contain the most tannin; white oak varieties contain the least. The concentration of tannin in early spring leaves and green acorns is much higher than in mature leaves or ripe acorns.The most common problem we see in horses eating acorns is mild colic from indigestion. Horses with any predisposition to founder should not be allowed access to acorns as they are high in carbohydrates and can induce laminitis. Severe cases of acorn poisoning are extremely rare. The signs of acorn poisoning can be loss of appetite, excessive salivation, blood in the urine or manure, colic like pain, slow or irregular heart-rate, elevated temperature, pale mucous membranes, watery eyes and depressed attitude. In extreme cases liver and kidney failure ensues and other organs begin to hemorrhage. If you feel your horse is showing any of the above signs and has access to acorns remove them from the area and contact us.|
There were a couple of interesting articles in the show jumping arena (no pun intended) that caught my eye in relevance to performance in thoroughbreds. The first was an article about the breeder of Romulus, a world class British show jumper whose owner has elected to clone him as he reaches old-age, with the […]
Equine cellular therapy-from stall to bench to bedside?
Cytometry A. 2012 Oct 18;
Authors: Burk J, Badylak SF, Kelly J, Brehm W
Pioneering clinical stem cell research is being performed in the horse, a recipient of cutting edge veterinary medicine as well as a unique animal model, paving the way for human medical applications. Although demonstrable progress has been made on the clinical front, in vitro characterization of equine stem cells is still in comparatively early stages. To translate the promising results of clinical stem cell therapy in the horse, advances must be made in the characterization of equine stem cells. Aiming to improve communication between veterinarians and other natural scientists, this review gives an overview of veterinary “bedside” achievements, focusing on stem cell therapies in equine orthopedics as well as the current state of in vitro characterization of equine multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and equine embryonic stem cells (ESCs). © 2012 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.
PMID: 23081833 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
On Thursday Oct 11th the European Commission published a report, which evaluates the
operation of controls over the production of horsemeat for export to the European Union. This
is the report:
On Friday Oct 12th Canadian and Mexican horse slaughter plants temporarily shut down,
reportedly because of failure of compliance with these European food safety standards on one
or more shipments that arrived in France.
Horse welfare organizations were cautiously hopeful that this was a permanent situation and
that an end had finally come to the cruel and fraudulent foreign horse slaughter industry that is
preying on our American horses. They began to assess the situation with the goal of rescuing
the horses caught in the pipeline.
On Monday morning Oct 15th it became apparent that horse slaughter plants were opening
their doors once again to American horses trucked across our borders.
The European commission report of Oct 11th sites deficiencies in the validity and authenticity
of the affidavits for horses for human consumption, as well as a lack of a system to verify these
declarations accompanying the horses as well as a deficiency in post-mortem examinations of
the meat. The US has no system in place to meet EU standards for food safety standards of
Horse welfare organizations have said for a long time that the EID forms (Equine Identification
Documents) accompanying horses for slaughter for human consumption are fraudulent and are being
filled out by kill buyers themselves. Kill buyers routinely fill out these forms only a short time after
buying the horse, claiming they have identified the horse over 6 months ago and that the horse has not
received any banned substances such as phenylbutazone (a carcinogen) and clenbuterol (a
bronchodilator/bulking agent) for that entire period of time.
According to the USDA 92 percent of all horses slaughtered are healthy and in the prime of their life.
Horse welfare organizations explain that horse slaughter is NOT a service business designed to help
dispose of old and abused horses, but simply a for profit demand driven business just like any other
business and the number of horses slaughtered is determined by the demand of horse meat abroad,
not by the number of “unwanted” horses.
“Regardless of the instrument that prompted the EU to issue an unprecedented mandate to suspend the
import of American horse flesh into Europe, and then reverse itself, the action has now made it glaringly
obvious to the global community that the U.S. Congress and Senate must step up to the plate and pass
the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.” said R.T. Fitch, volunteer president/co-founder of Wild
Horse Freedom Federation.
“How is knowingly shipping these contaminated horses off for foreigners to eat, any less a scandal than
China shipping baby food intentionally contaminated with melamine?” asks EWA’s John Holland, “For
our government to tolerate and even support this exploitation puts all our exports in a bad light.”
Horse welfare organizations are urging breed associations to take responsibility and restrict breeding
policies. “For example, states Simone Netherlands of Respect4Horses, if they truly cared, they could turn
some of those breed incentives into funds for euthanasia, funds for gelding and funds for horse
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act ( S.1176 and HR.2966) currently has the co-sponsorship of
half the house and a quarter of the senate. Horse welfare organizations stand united in urging congress
to pass the Act without delay.
See related video (non- graphic): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiLIyseGnG0&feature=relmfu
The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 250 member
organizations and over 1,000 individual members worldwide in 18 countries. The organization focuses its
efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.
Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with federal 501(c)3
status. WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation
against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and
burros from public, federal and state lands.
Respect4Horses (R4H) is a horse welfare organization who’s goals include providing information and
documentation to educate the public, the media and legislators in order to promote changes in
legislation in regards to current horse welfare issues such as horse slaughter and the roundups of our last
remaining wild horses and burros.
AMARILLO, (AQHA) – The 2012 AQHA World Championship Show will host an International Equestrian Federation CRI1*, CRI2* and CRI3* (Concour de Reining Internationale) event on November 9 at Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. AQHA and the National Reining Horse Association are jointly funding the $3,000 prize money for the CRI 3* with awards offered in the 1* and 2*.
Download the entry form. Entries for the event are due Friday, November 2, and the cost to enter is $300. The FEI competition will take place in conjunction with the senior reining preliminaries in the Performance Arena (Barn 6). Part of the USEF open qualifying series, United States Equestrian Federation long list riders are required to show at two CRI qualifying shows between January 1, 2013, until the U.S. selection trial for the 2014 World Equestrian Games (or in the case of international riders, until the nominated entry deadline for the 2014 WEG). Riders must meet minimum eligibility requirements, including a three-star status athlete to compete at the WEG.
“We remain committed to seeing reining succeed on an international level and having a western discipline as part of FEI competition,” said AQHA Executive Director of Competition Tom Persechino. “AQHA, NRHA FEI and the newly formed USA Reining had a very productive meeting in July and as a result, AQHA is teaming with those bodies to organize more domestic and international reining events. This is one of the first of what we hope is many more to come.”
In 2002, American Quarter Horses appeared for the first time in a World Equestrian Games arena when reining was accepted into FEI and allowed to compete in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
In 2010, reining was again part of the World Equestrian Games when those games came to the United States for the first time. AQHA and NRHA were major players at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The organizations are looking forward to the 2014 World Equestrian Games slated for August 24- September 7 in Normandy, France.
“USA Reining seeks to foster the sport of reining in the U.S. and provide a pipeline for athletes to progress from national level competition into FEI and international competition,” said USA Reining President Pete Kyle. “It is also the goal of the organization to represent its members as a fully compliant USEF recognized affiliate for the sport, and we couldn’t be more pleased to work with these groups to see reining enjoy even more success – worldwide.”
The three-star competition at the AQHA World Show on November 9 is a great opportunity to see some of the athletes that will likely be vying for a place on a 2014 WEG Team. Judges for the event are Karen McQuistion, Joe Carter and Doug Milholland. The competition is open to all eligible horses of any breed or national federation and begins about 2 p.m. in the Performance Arena at Oklahoma’s State Fair Park.
The AQHA World Championship Show, comprising Bank of America Amateur and FedEx Open divisions, is the largest single-breed championship horse show in the world. The exciting competition begins Friday, November 2, and continues through Saturday, November 17, at State Fair Park. For the latest information including schedules and details of special events, visit www.aqha.com/worldshow.
LAUSSANE, (FEI) – Yves Rossier, Vice Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee, delivered a presentation on equine injury surveillance at the annual International Olympic Sports Federations’ Medical Commission Chairpersons conference held at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) yesterday.
The Canadian, who was head of the Olympic Veterinary Clinic in Greenwich Park at the London 2012 Olympic Games, took a year’s sabbatical leave from his work as Professor of Equine Sports Medicine at the University of Montreal to complete a study on Injury Surveillance in FEI Horses.
The FEI-funded study on equine injuries also involved analysis of the approaches taken by other sports regulators, including the IOC, International Federations and horseracing authorities. One of the key objectives of the study was to review injury surveillance programmes (human and equine) in order to fine-tune the existing FEI protocol and introduce an improved model for FEI events.
The FEI has been collecting basic injury data from its events for some time, and is currently developing a comprehensive database specifically for equine athletes. The main purpose of the database, once sufficient statistics have been collected, will be to help in the prevention of injuries. Similar databases are used in other global sports.
“The conference was a wonderful opportunity to hear what the other International Sports Federations are doing about injury surveillance, and to present the FEI’s approach so that we could all learn from each other,” Professor Rossier said. “This is part of making sports as safe as possible and maintaining our absolute commitment to the welfare of our athletes.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge also addressed the conference, stressing the importance of the role played by International Federation Medical Commissions and their contribution to safety in sport.
More than 30 International Federations were represented at the meeting, which was opened by IOC Medical Commission Chairman, Professor Arne Ljungqvist. Dr Patrick Schamasch, who is retiring from his post as IOC Medical Director, took the opportunity to introduce his successor, Richard Budgett (GBR).
Peter Whitehead, Acting Chair of the FEI Medical Committee and Chief Medical Officer for the Olympic equestrian events at Greenwich Park, also addressed the conference yesterday, and spoke afterwards about the value of such gatherings. “This is the only meeting where sports medical commissions get together to compare their concerns and learn from each other. It’s a very valuable meeting,” he said.
The IOC is currently working on producing standardised injury surveillance for use by the different sports bodies. The FEI Medical Committee has been involved in discussions on this issue with the IOC over the past year.
NEW YORK, (Jockey Club) – The Jockey Club today released Report of Mares Bred (RMB) statistics for the 2012 breeding season. Based on RMBs received through Oct. 14, 2012, The Jockey Club reports that 1,861 stallions covered 35,391 mares in North America during 2012.
The annual statistics include the number of mares reported bred to each stallion and represent approximately 90% of the mares that eventually will be reported as bred in 2012. According to historical trends, The Jockey Club expects to receive RMBs representing an additional 3,500 to 4,500 mares bred during the 2012 breeding season.
The number of stallions declined 3.8% from the 1,935 reported at this time in 2011, and the number of mares bred fell 3.0% from the 36,504 reported at this time last year.
RMB statistics for all reported stallions in 2012 are available through the Publications & Resources section of The Jockey Club’s website at jockeyclub.com.
The number of stallions covering 100 or more mares increased from 84 in 2011 to 87 in 2012. These stallions accounted for a greater percentage of the total mares reported bred this year — 31.9% of all mares bred in 2012 versus 30.6% of all mares bred in 2011 as reported at this time last year.
Further book size analysis shows a 1.1% increase in the number of mares bred to stallions with a book size of 100 or more in 2012 when compared to 2011 as reported at this time last year; a 14.4% increase in mares bred to stallions with a book size between 75 and 99; a 4.1% decline in mares bred to stallions with a book size between 50 and 74; an 10.6% decrease in mares bred to stallions with a book size between 25 and 49; and an 6.3% decline in mares bred to stallions with a book size fewer than 25.
In 2012, Cape Blanco (IRE) led all stallions with 220 mares bred. Rounding out the top five were Scat Daddy, 217; Kitten’s Joy, 213; Uncle Mo, 211; and Wilburn, 169.
Thoroughbred breeding activity in Kentucky traditionally leads North America. During 2012, Kentucky’s 224 reported stallions covered 15,361 mares, or 43.4% of all of the mares reported bred in North America. The number of mares bred to Kentucky stallions declined 2.2% percent against the 15,714 reported at this time last year.
Of the top 10 states and provinces by number of mares reported bred in 2012, only Florida and New York stallions covered more mares in 2012 than in 2011, as reported at this time last year. The following table shows the top 10 states and provinces, ranked by number of mares reported bred in 2012 through Oct. 14, 2012:
|State/Province||2011 Stallions||2012 Stallions||Pct. Change||2011 Mares Bred||2012 Mares Bred||Pct. Change|
Note: Each incident in which a mare was bred to more than one stallion and appeared on multiple RMBs is counted separately. As such, mares bred totals listed in the table above may differ slightly from counts of distinct mares bred.
Following a period of consultation with the National Federations, the FEI List Group held its most recent meeting during the London 2012 Paralympics and signed off changes to the List for 2013. The changes include the addition of five new substances and other amendments.
The changes, which will be included in the 2013 List and will come into effect on 1 January of next year, are summarised here and below:
- Five new substances have been added to the List for 2013. These are the Controlled Medication substances Cyclosporin, a systemic immunosuppressant; Tropicamide, which affects the central nervous system and has a potential for abuse; Pitcher Plant preparation (Sarapin), which is reputed to have analgesic properties, a potential to affect performance and its use is considered to be a welfare concern; Delmadinone acetate and Chlormadinone acetate, synthetic steroidal progestins that decrease testosterone concentration and have the potential to affect performance;
- Fentanyl and Morphine (analgesics), both of which are currently classified as Banned Substances, will be moved to the Controlled Medication section of the List in 2013 due to their increasingly common legitimate use in equine medicine;
- Suxibuzone, which converts to Phenylbutazone in the body and is currently listed as Phenylbutazone, will be listed separately under Controlled Medications;
- Deslorelin, which was categorised as a Controlled Medication substance in the 2012 List, will be removed from the 2013 List.
“The FEI List Group seeks to use the most up-to-date scientific research and information as part of its ongoing review of the Prohibited Substances List,” said Graeme Cooke, FEI Veterinary Director.
“The National Federations and all the Veterinarians involved in our sport are very much a part of the consultation process and all comments received on the initial suggested changes, which were first proposed in April of this year, were discussed by the List Group prior to the changes being finalised.
“Publishing the changes to the List 90 days in advance, in accordance with our rules, means that the National Federations and their athletes will have plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the changes well ahead of the 2013 Equine Prohibited Substances List coming into force on 1 January next year.”
The 2013 Equine Prohibited Substance List will be accessible prior to 1 January 2013 on the FEI Clean Sport website. Additionally, information is now available on the searchable FEI Equine Prohibited Substances Database, which is free to download for Smartphones.
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