AUSTIN, (Rodeo Austin) – Holding steady in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s (PRCA) 2013 world standings is Oregon born and raised, Austin Foss. This Bareback Bronc Riding cowboy recently joined the PRCA and is busy climbing the rankings. After a stellar 2012 that earned him the 21st spot in the world rankings, Foss is focused on 2013 and ready for whatever the upcoming rodeo season has on tap.

When asked why he chose to ride bareback, Foss says it’s because it was just always there and available to him. He loved it from the first time he tried the sport and began competing as a junior in high school. Although he attempted riding bulls, he really enjoyed bareback more – even though it was more challenging for him.

Foss spent those early years of his rodeo career with success as he took home a win in both 2009 and 2010 at the Oregon High School Rodeo Championships; from there he went on to place third in the National High School Finals during his senior year. In college he competed at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming and placed sixth in 2011 and fifth in 2012. In addition to these accomplishments, he also took home the NIRA Northwest Regional title both years.

Although Foss may be new to the PRCA, he is certainly making a name for himself. “I got my card late in April and didn’t really do much during college. The last three-and-a-half months of the season I really started doing well and it paid off,” said Foss. All this hard work wasn’t overlooked as he was named the 2012 Resistol PRCA Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year.

This year, Foss competed at Rodeo Austin riding bareback on 4 First Class.  “I’m just going to do my best and hope to come out on top,” said Foss in a pre-rodeo interview.

After his ride Saturday night, Foss was pleased with his score of 77, which put him in fifth place, but hopes to do pull a higher score during tonight’s performance. “I did pretty good; hope to get it done right tomorrow night,” said Foss.

For anyone out there who wants to get into rodeo, Foss has a few words of encouragement. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A lot of kids are shy and won’t ask for help or for the right equipment. Pursue what you want to do, don’t stop until you reach your goals and then make new ones.” Foss will also be competing in the Super Shootout on Saturday, March 23rd on Team Pendleton.

NYC Carriage Trade Invites Public to See for Themselves in Open House Event

NYC Carriage Industry Open House To Feature More Stables, More Attendees

NEW YORK, (HCANYC) – Horse enthusiasts from across the country are again coming to the Big Apple to spend a weekend with New York City’s iconic carriage horses, at the 2nd annual ClipClopNYC – Weekend with the Carriage Horses, March 22-24.

“We’ve been impressed with the interest we’ve had again this year in coming to our stables and seeing how we operate,” said Christina Hansen of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City, which hosts the ClipClop event. ClipClop is sponsored by Mane ‘N’ Tail and supported by the Carriage Operators of North America and Teamsters Local 553. “Last year, the ‘carriage horse issue’ had been in the media and all over the internet, so it was unsurprising that at our first event we had a big and enthusiastic crowd, but this year, despite things being quieter and less eventful, we’re going to have even more people in attendance. It just demonstrates the interest people have in what we do in this iconic business,” says Hansen. When all is said and done, there could be close to 200 visitors at the stables on Saturday, March 23.

This year’s event will feature stable tours of both Clinton Park Stable and West Side Livery.  Last year’s event was limited to only Clinton Park Stable. “We added West Side Livery, the second largest carriage stable – and one of the oldest – because we want people to see the similarities in the way horses live across the industry, regardless of which stable they’re housed in,” Hansen says. “Between the two stables, ClipCloppers will see where three-quarters of the carriage horses live; and how they live is consistent across all four carriage stables.”

Tours of the stables are free, and lunch will be provided. Registration is required, however.

Saturday night at ClipClop will feature a gala fundraiser at the famous Rosie O’Grady’s in Midtown to benefit Blue Star Equiculture, a 501c3 non-profit draft horse sanctuary and working-horse advocacy organization in Palmer, MA.  Blue Star was honored last year at the inaugural ClipClopNYC with a fundraiser at the Ritz Carlton, which kicked off Blue Star Equiculture’s carriage horse retirement program in partnership with the Horse and Carriage Association. This year’s Gala Fundraiser is a four-hour cocktail reception, with a silent auction.  Tickets are $150, with $75 going directly to Blue Star Equiculture.

“We have this really first-rate partnership with Blue Star Equiculture,” says Hansen. “Blue Star Equiculture understands the industry and the challenges it faces from people who don’t understand the industry. Because Blue Star has a very strong educational mission, in training the next generation of teamsters for working with equine partners on the farm or in the city, we couldn’t think of a better organization to support as we bring in horse people to our city to educate them about our business.”

Last year at ClipClop, Horse and Carriage Association President, Stephen Malone, retired Paddy, his co-worker for 12 years, to Blue Star Equiculture. Paddy was the first official retiree of the NYC carriage horse retirement program. Since then, several more NYC carriage horses have retired to Blue Star Equiculture and have found adoptive homes. Paddy continues to serve as an ambassador for carriage horses and working horses everywhere; he keeps active in retirement teaching beginners how to harness and drive a horse.

“People are always saying they want to ‘help’ the NYC carriage horses,” says Hansen. “Well, our horses don’t need help while they’re working in New York! They have 24-hour-a-day stablemen and amenities most horses never get! But they have our help when they’re ready to retire, and we do need help counteracting the misinformation that the animal-liberationists have put out about our industry. So ClipClop is a great opportunity for people who actually want to help the carriage horses in a meaningful way. You can take a stable tour and become a voice for the truth about how the horses live, so their homes aren’t taken away by people who don’t know what a good home is for a horse.  You can come to the Gala and support carriage horses in retirement and the good work that Blue Star Equiculture does advocating for the continued and expanded use of horses in our communities. That’s helping carriage horses.”

One group of people the Horse and Carriage Association would like to truly help horses? New York’s City Council.  “They’ve been invited,” says Hansen. “In fact, our doors are always open, but we would love for city councilmembers to come tour the stables and meet and mingle with the folks that are coming out to see our horses – the Pony Clubbers, the representatives from CONA, the horse people from across the country, and our local neighbors who just want to know more about the carriage horses they know and love.”

ClipClopNYC grew as response to the rampant misinformation put forth by animal-rights anti-carriage-horse groups. Equestrians, notably those on the Chronicle of the Horse forums, wanted to do something to 1) verify for themselves that the carriage horses of New York City receive excellent care and 2) serve as expert ambassadors to the rest of the public to educate them about New York’s amazing working horses.

Horse people of all disciplines are invited to attend and get an opportunity to tour the carriage stables and find out what it really takes to work with a horse in Central Park.  Hansen explains, “We figure that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then being here and meeting our drivers, our vets, our farriers, our stable managers, and of course our horses is worth a million!”

For more information, to register for stable tours, or to purchase gala tickets to support carriage horse retirement at Blue Star Equiculture, please visit www.clipclopnyc.com

To learn more about the fine work Blue Star Equiculture does, visit www.equiculture.org

Morphometric analyses of the body and the branches of the normal third interosseous muscle (suspensory ligament) in Standardbreds.

Morphometric analyses of the body and the branches of the normal third interosseous muscle (suspensory ligament) in Standardbreds.

Anat Histol Embryol. 2013 Mar 7;

Authors: Shikh Alsook MK, Antoine N, Piret J, Moula N, Busoni V, Denoix JM, Gabriel A

The third interosseous muscle (suspensory ligament, TIOM) is composed of connective tissue (CT) with a variable proportion of muscle (MT) and adipose tissue (AT). The aim of our study is to quantify the CT, MT and AT within the body and the branches of right thoracic and pelvic limbs TIOM in sound horses to determine whether there are differences in CT, MT and AT between age, sex, limbs and levels. Right limbs from 11 sound horses were collected. Samples from 6 levels of the TIOM were embedded in paraffin or in Tissue-Tek® . Most of the paraffin sections were shredded. Using the cryosection, some artefacts appeared. Cryoprotection was carried out, which produced the best results. Hematoxylin-phloxine-saffron and Hematoxylin-eosin gave a good contrast of colours between the tissues observed allowing the use of an image analysis programme to calculate percentage of each tissue within the TIOM. The percentage of MT and AT decreased significantly (P < 0.0001), whereas the percentage of CT increased significantly (P < 0.0001) with age and when descending from the proximal to the distal level of the TIOM. The percentage of MT was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in females than males, while the percentage of CT was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in males than females. The percentage of AT was significantly higher (P = 0.0278) in pelvic limbs than in thoracic limbs. These results confirm the variation in tissue composition within the TIOM of sound horses.

PMID: 23464541 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

racing horoughbred Racehorse Fatal Injury Rate Steady in 2012

    According to a March 8 Jockey Club release based on information collected in the Equine Injury Database, fatal injuries in North American Thoroughbred races stayed about the same in 2012 at just under two per 1,000 starts.

Protect Mustangs Calls for Fund for Wyoming Wild Horses

RAWLINS, WY  (Protect Mustangs) – We are calling for extractive industry responsibility and environmental mitigation through the creation of a 50 million dollar Protect Wyoming Mustangs Fund.
Native wild horses in Wyoming should not loose their habitat, their freedom and their families to pump more profit into BP American Production, Anadarko Petroleum, Devon Energy and other energy dynasties. These energy giants must become responsible players on public land.

It’s wrong to allow drilling in critical native habitat. Their water must not be poisoned by toxic drilling.

The BLM needs to stop the maddness on the range. They are charged to protect the wild horse herds but clearly they are in the pocket of the extractive industry. This is the wild horses’ legal range. Environmental mitigation is essential. The oil dynasties must be held accountable. Native wild horses must be protected to create biodiversity and for future generations to enjoy.

Where will all the removed wild horses go? The warehousing facilities are stockpiled. Alleged kill buyers are getting busted for buying truckloads of native wild horses. They need to all be returned to their native range.

Anne Novak

Will federal sequester provide relief from imminent bloodshed and suffering to America’s horses in the US?

LOS ANGELES, (WFLF) –  A $2 billion budget cut to the USDA prompts slaughter plant inspector furloughs within days of discovering USDA  intentions to approve horse slaughter inspections inside the US.  Secretary Vilsack told the House Ag committee that due to the federal sequester each USDA inspector will likely be furloughed 11 to 12 days at a time. The White House says USDA inspectors furloughs will cause meatpacking plants to shut down periodically.
“USDA inspections must take place on site at each U.S. slaughterhouse in order for its meat product to be legally available for interstate commerce, ” explains Katia Louise, of the Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF). “The former ban on the spending of taxpayer dollars for USDA inspections of horse slaughter, had helped to keep foreign special interests from slaughtering our horses inside the U.S.”  As pointed out by Wild for Life Foundation’s Saving America’s Horses, the  inclusion of the defunding language in the farm bill was however quietly stripped in Nov 2011, by Senators Blunt, Kohl and Congressman Kingston, leaving America’s horses virtually unprotected.
The Senate will be opening this year’s Ag appropriations bill next week. The house simply carried over the existing language and passed it as is, therefore the 2013 bill does NOT include the defunding language.  The bill now goes to Senator Mikulski and the subcommittee members, but they will have to answer to the American public; of which over 70% oppose horse slaughter.

WFLF urges America’s citizens to support the protection of America’s horses from this barbaric creulty by calling the Senate subcommittee to restore the defunding language.

“Proponents of slaughter argue that it would be better to slaughter horses in the U.S. where we can supposedly insure their humane treatment,” observes Ms Louise.  “But numerous governmental reports and undercover investigations show that USDA inspections fail to stop insidious abuses from taking place inside our slaughterhouses. Substantial documented evidence reveals egregious violations and a total lack of enforcement by the USDA in U.S. horse slaughterhouses before they were shut down in 2007. If horse slaughter plants are reopened in the U.S., horses will undoubtedly suffer torturous agony on U.S. soil again.”

As revealed in the new PSA series from WFLF, “International Health Alert” and “Duped”, the U.S. horse slaughter cover-up puts people and horses in harm’s way — And American consumers are more concerned than ever that horse meat will make, or has possibly already made its way into beef products in the United States as it has done in Europe. Evidence of health hazards surfacing amidst the international horse meat scandal has resulted in several major companies, including Tesco, Nestlé and Ikea, pulling food from grocery shelves in 16 countries after tests showed beef products actually contained up to 100% horse meat.
In the absence of a federal ban, over 100,000 American horses are shipped across federal borders to slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada each year and from there the horse meat is shipped primarily to the EU. “But most people don’t realize that U.S. horses are treated with many substances known to be toxic to humans; substances that can be lethal when ingested by humans, and many of which have been banned from the human food chain in most countries.” – WFLF’s Facts that Refute the 7 Most Common Myths About Horse Slaughter.  “… And Foreign consumers of horsemeat are not made aware of the associated health risks directly related to the substances administered to U.S. horses.”

As Congress works to cut the budget through federal sequester and other possible means, it should also continue to prevent the additional spending of millions of dollars, simply to allow our nation’s horses again to be subjected to cruel slaughter for the satisfaction of foreign markets.
Prior to 2006, USDA spent approximately $5 million annually for inspections at U.S. based horse slaughter plants.  If the USDA were to re-institute such expenditures in the face of these critical billion dollar budget cuts, it may very well lose and never regain the trust of the American people.

Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF) is a 501 (c)(3) grassroots nonprofit charity dedicated to saving, protecting and preserving wild and domestic equines. The Saving America’s Horses Initiative is an international consortium of equine professionals dedicated to educating the public and raising awareness for responsible equine ownership, the preservation of America’s wild horses on open rangelands, and the protection of all equines from slaughter.

Learn more: http://www.SavingAmericasHorses.org/




The Jockey Club Releases Update from Equine Injury Database

NEW YORK, (Jockey Club) – The Jockey Club today released an updated North American fatality rate for Thoroughbreds that includes four years’ worth of data collected in the Equine Injury Database, the North American database for racing injuries.

Based on an analysis of 1,532,418 starts collected during the four-year period January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2012, the prevalence of race-related fatal injury was 1.92 per 1,000 starts. For individual years, the prevalence of fatal injury per 1,000 starts was 2.00 for 2009, 1.88 for 2010, 1.88 for 2011, and 1.92 for 2012.

“The causes of racing injuries are often very complex and involve multiple factors interacting together over time,” said Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database and performed the analysis.

“While the fatality rate has remained fairly static over the course of the past four years, the real significance today is that, with 1.5 million starts in the database, we have now established a baseline and we can begin to analyze the relationships between each of the individual factors. In the future, we will be able to design interventions based on these data and recommend actions that will reduce injuries and fatalities.”

Only injuries that result in fatality within 72 hours or less from the date of race are included in the national figures. It should also be noted that statistics from previous years are sometimes updated due to the addition of tracks or corrections in the EID fatality data originally submitted by participating racetracks.

Parkin’s analysis also found that:

  • There continues to be a reduction in the risk of fatality on synthetic surfaces.
  • The risk of fatality on synthetic surfaces was significantly lower than the risk of fatality on turf surfaces, which was significantly lower than the risk of fatality on dirt surfaces.
  • Female horses were at no greater risk of fatality when racing against males than they are when racing against other females.
  • 2-year-olds were at significantly reduced risk of fatality compared to older horses when racing on dirt.
  • Moving a race off the turf onto dirt or synthetic surfaces does not increase the risk of fatality.

Table 1 contains a four-year summary of statistics from the EID stratified by categories of age, surface type and distance.

The Equine Injury Database contains a suite of reports for racetracks to analyze data collected at their respective facilities. The Jockey Club also maintains a website that enables racetracks to make public their data in a standard, summary fashion at (jockeyclub.com/initiatives.asp?section=2).

Summaries of fatality statistics for a participating track include the year, number of race days, number of starts, age of the horse, distance of the race and the surface on which the incident occurred. A list of racetracks that have signed up to participate in the Equine Injury Database, including those who are now reporting their statistics publicly, can be found at jockeyclub.com/initiatives.asp.

The Jockey Club, through two of its for-profit subsidiary companies, InCompass and The Jockey Club Technology Services Inc., has underwritten the cost to develop and operate the Equine Injury Database as a service to the industry. By agreement with the participating racetracks, from time to time The Jockey Club may publish certain summary statistics from the Equine Injury Database, but will not provide statistics that identify specific participants, including racetracks, horses or persons.

Estimating variance components and predicting breeding values for eventing disciplines and grades in sport horses.

Estimating variance components and predicting breeding values for eventing disciplines and grades in sport horses.

Animal. 2012 Sep;6(9):1377-88

Authors: Stewart ID, White IM, Gilmour AR, Thompson R, Woolliams JA, Brotherstone S

Eventing competitions in Great Britain (GB) comprise three disciplines, each split into four grades, yielding 12 discipline-grade traits. As there is a demand for tools to estimate (co)variance matrices with a large number of traits, the aim of this work was to investigate different methods to produce large (co)variance matrices using GB eventing data. Data from 1999 to 2008 were used and penalty points were converted to normal scores. A sire model was utilised to estimate fixed effects of gender, age and class, and random effects of sire, horse and rider. Three methods were used to estimate (co)variance matrices. Method 1 used a method based on Gibbs sampling and data augmentation and imputation. Methods 2a and 2b combined sub-matrices from bivariate analyses; one took samples from a multivariate Normal distribution defined by the covariance matrix from each bivariate analysis, then analysed these data in a 12-trait multivariate analysis; the other replaced negative eigenvalues in the matrix with positive values to obtain a positive definite (co)variance matrix. A formal comparison of models could not be conducted; however, estimates from all methods, particularly Methods 2a/2b, were in reasonable agreement. The computational requirements of Method 1 were much less compared with Methods 2a or 2b. Method 2a heritability estimates were as follows: for dressage 7.2% to 9.0%, for show jumping 8.9% to 16.2% and for cross-country 1.3% to 1.4%. Method 1 heritability estimates were higher for the advanced grades, particularly for dressage (17.1%) and show jumping (22.6%). Irrespective of the model, genetic correlations between grades, for dressage and show jumping, were positive, high and significant, ranging from 0.59 to 0.99 for Method 2a and 0.78 to 0.95 for Method 1. For cross-country, using Method 2a, genetic correlations were only significant between novice and pre-novice (0.75); however, using Method 1 estimates were all significant and low to moderate (0.36 to 0.70). Between-discipline correlations were all low and of mixed sign. All methods produced positive definite 12 × 12 (co)variance matrices, suitable for the prediction of breeding values. Method 1 benefits from much reduced computational requirements, and by performing a true multivariate analysis.

PMID: 23031512 [PubMed – in process]

Complex dental structure and wear biomechanics in hadrosaurid dinosaurs.

Complex dental structure and wear biomechanics in hadrosaurid dinosaurs.

Science. 2012 Oct 5;338(6103):98-101

Authors: Erickson GM, Krick BA, Hamilton M, Bourne GR, Norell MA, Lilleodden E, Sawyer WG

Mammalian grinding dentitions are composed of four major tissues that wear differentially, creating coarse surfaces for pulverizing tough plants and liberating nutrients. Although such dentition evolved repeatedly in mammals (such as horses, bison, and elephants), a similar innovation occurred much earlier (~85 million years ago) within the duck-billed dinosaur group Hadrosauridae, fueling their 35-million-year occupation of Laurasian megaherbivorous niches. How this complexity was achieved is unknown, as reptilian teeth are generally two-tissue structures presumably lacking biomechanical attributes for grinding. Here we show that hadrosaurids broke from the primitive reptilian archetype and evolved a six-tissue dental composition that is among the most sophisticated known. Three-dimensional wear models incorporating fossilized wear properties reveal how these tissues interacted for grinding and ecological specialization.

PMID: 23042891 [PubMed – in process]

A questionnaire study on parasite control practices on UK breeding Thoroughbred studs.

Related Articles

A questionnaire study on parasite control practices on UK breeding Thoroughbred studs.

Equine Vet J. 2012 Jul;44(4):466-71

Authors: Relf VE, Morgan ER, Hodgkinson JE, Matthews JB

REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: Improved education of veterinarians and equine owners/managers is essential in implementing parasite control strategies that are less reliant on chemicals.
METHODS: This questionnaire study, conducted on 61 UK Thoroughbred (TB) establishments during 2009 and 2010, was designed to obtain an understanding of current helminth control practices on studs. To our knowledge, this is the first occasion that statements obtained from TB studs via questionnaire have been supported by statistical analysis.
RESULTS: Despite many respondents indicating high levels of concern regarding anthelmintic resistance, 56% of these establishments that received visiting equines co-grazed these animals with permanent stock and <74% administered anthelmintics prior to integration. In the 12 months preceding the study, most respondents administered frequent macrocyclic lactone (ML) treatments, with none appearing to leave any animals in groups untreated at each administration. Indiscriminate whole group treatments with MLs and movement of animals to 'clean grazing' post treatment (reported by >25% of respondents), indicates that many stud owners/managers are not aware of the strong risk factors for the development of anthelmintic resistance. Few studs had conducted faecal egg count (FEC) analysis in the past and only 22% indicated that they considered this form of analysis beneficial in determining anthelmintic choice.
CONCLUSIONS AND POTENTIAL RELEVANCE: The challenge now is to convince stud owners/managers to deviate from their current practices to control strategies that are more likely to preserve anthelmintic efficacy. Veterinarians need to get more involved in implementing these control strategies, with better emphasis placed on the role of diagnostic tests in facilitating targeted treatments and in investigating anthelmintic sensitivity in the associated nematode populations.

PMID: 22050130 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]