Friday, January 31, 2014

Keeping Your Horse Hydrated in Winter

 When most people hear the word "dehydrated," they imagine it happening on hot, dry, 100 degree days to people(or horses) who do not drink enough water. However, dehydration can even occur in frigid, sub-zero temperatures, which is why it is important to let your horse have access to fresh water devoid of ice chunks. This can mean a lot of work, because a horse must drink eight to twelve gallons of water a day to remain healthful, but it will be worth it because it can help prevent illnesses, such as impaction colic.
Give your horse access to clean,
ice-free water. credit

 There are several things you can do to encourage your horse to drink. If you live somewhere that gets below the freezing temperature during the day, you should break up the ice several times a day so the water doesn't completely freeze over. Better yet, if you have access to an immersion heater or electric teakettle, you can warm the water up just enough so it is not too chilling before giving it to your horse, which may encourage him to drink. Make sure the water is between 45 than 65 degrees Fahrenhiet, though, because horses tend not to drink water that is too cold or too warm.

 Another trick is to feed your horse dry food, such as his meal of hay or grain, and let him eat a for a few minutes before refilling his water bucket. This causes his mouth to become dry, thus encouraging him drink water to relieve his thirst. Salt also makes a horse thirsty, so giving your horse access to a salt lick and lots of water may also encourage him to drink.

 Mixing electrolytes into your horse's may also encourage your horse to drink more, or at the very least help to keep him hydrated.

 Watch for signs of your horse being even just a little bit dehydrated. If his manure seems drier than normal, he may not be getting enough water and is probably dehydrated. Since dehydration means less saliva, a dehydrated horse may also eat less hay, grain, and other dry food because he can't produce enough saliva to chew it, thus causing him to lose a lot of weight and become sick. Probably the worst health issue caused by dehydration is impaction colic. Impaction colic, one of the worst kinds of colic, is caused by food becoming jammed in the intestines due to lack of moisture, a serious condition. The veterinarian should be called immediately.

 Staying hydrated can keep your horse healthy and prevent illness caused by lack of water. Make sure your horse has access to fresh water all day so he remains hydrated and doesn't have to resort to eating snow, which is not an ideal subsitute for water. Hydration is important any time of the year, no matter how hot or cold it is.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


In the early 17th century, Count Johann XVI von Oldenburg needed good calvalry horses, so he built several small breeding facilities all throughout the German provinces of Oldenburg and East Friesland. At these facilities, Count Oldeburg bred Friesians, Andalusians, Turkish horses, Danish horses, and Neapolitan(Italian) horses.

 Count Anton Gunther, who also helped to found the breeding program, want the breed to excel at dressage, and make a great carriage horse as well. While looking for suitable horses to add to the breeding program, Count Gunther searched Europe and Africa, eventually bringing back horses from Naples, Spain, Barbary(part of Africa that is now Morocco, Algeria, Tripolitania, and Tunis), and some Thoroughbreds from England. In addition, he gave some of these stallions to local farmers, who assisted in further refining the Oldenburg.
Oldenburgs commonly come in black. credit

 By June of 1820, the Oldenburg's studbook opened, and with it a law that stated all Oldenburg stallions had to be approved by government after completing a test before breeding. After passing it, the Oldenburg brand---an "O" with a crown above---would be branded on the horse's left hip, proving that he had been approved. Two breed asssociations were founded in 1897, but in 1923 they merged to form the Verband der Züchter des Oldenburger Pferdes(Oldenburg's Horse Breeders' Society) in Vechta, Germany.

 In 1950, with the use of horses in agriculture nearly obselete, additional Thoroughbred blood was added to the Oldenburg, and the original cavalry, carriage, and agriculture Oldenburg gave way to the sport horse we know today.

Breed Description and Uses
 The Oldenburg is a compact, yet refined and elegant horse that stands an average of 16 to 16.2 hands high. As a warmblood, it is built for competing, and it's long front legs and powerful hind legs prove it's talent for dressage and show jumping. Most, and the gaits are of high quality, with the trot been active and elastic and the canter being uphill. The Oldenburg's long neck is high-set over the shoulders and it's head is usually quite pretty. Common colors are bay, black, grey, and chestnut.

 According the breed association's rules, and Oldenburg must be named according to its parent's names. For example, a colt's name must begin with the same letter as its sire, and a filly's the same as its dam.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Equine Emergencies

 When you own horses, eventually you may come across some sort of an equine emergency, whether that be colic or a wound of some kind. To keep your equine partner as safe as possible, you must prepare for an emergency so you can act quickly and affectively. The American Association of Equine Practioners recommends doing the following:

  1. Write down your veterinarian's office number and a number you can use to contact him after hours, placing it in an easily found place, such as on the inside of you first aid kit's lid, as well as in the contacts section of your cell. Don't rely on memory. Even if you have memorized, recalling something when panicked or in an emergency can be difficult.
  2. Also write down the numbers of several other vets you can call in case yours is busy or out of town. Your vet may refer someone to you if you ask.
  3. Another important thing to do is to memorize your way to the equine surgery center in case your horse needs to be transported. Finding last-minute directions can waste precious time.
  4. Write down the numbers of a couple nearby friends and and neighbors, who can assist you while you wait for the vet.
  5. Keep a fully equipped first aid kit on hand. It should include gauze, scissors, a thernometer, a stethoscope, antibacterial scrub, and wound spray. For a more complete list, check out my first aid post.
Equine veternarians. credit
 In the case of an emergency, gather as much information as possible before calling the vet. If your horse is injured, tell him where the injury is, how much swelling there is, and how severe the injury looks. If your horse is lame, let him know when you noticed the lamness and if your horse can put weight on the hoof. Also observe your horse's demeanor. Is he agitated, depressed, gloomy? These signs can give you lot a lot of information, particularly if your horse's ailment is not visible, such as colic or an illness. His vital signs also have a lot tell, so if they are higher or lower than usually, you should definitely call the vet. Other signs on when to call the vet are profuse bleeding, wounds that need stitches, eye injuries, fractures, sudden lameness, seizures, watery diarrhea, colic, and choking. Most importantly, if in doubt, call the vet. Never neglect to call if you are not sure how serious the injury/emergency is.

 While waiting for the vet to arrive, do your best to treat the injury. If the horse is bleeding, hold sterile padding or a towel to the wound, and do not remove it, not even to see if the bleeding has stopped, unless the vet instructs you to. Add another layer when the first becomes soaked with blood and continue to place steady pressure on it. If your horse colics, remember to stay calm and do not let him lay down and roll, which can aggravate the colic. 

 Preparation can prevent many equine emergencies. Remove potentially hazardous items from the barn and pasture, and try to memorize a set emergency plan. Write it down in case you are not on hand when the emergency occurs so some else knows what to do and who to call.

Monday, January 27, 2014


 The Lakota Indian tribe, who once lived in the rugged southwestern North Dakota, used to have hundreds of horses. These horses were tough with a lot of stamina. Tey had to be, because southwestern North Dakota was barren with the little vegetation it did have being rough prairie grass.

 In 1881, the Lakota's leader, Sitting Bull, had to surrender both his land and his horses to the U.S. Army, who later sold the 250 of the latter to French aristocrat Marquis de Mores. Marquis de Mores released the herd onto his land near the town of Medora, hoping to breed the horses. His plans were cut short, though, when he died in 1896, and many of his horses were rounded up and sold.
Nokota mares credit

 Some of the horses had not been gathered, leaving herds in North Dakota. When the Theodore Roosevelt National Park was founded there in the 1950s, it was decided that wild or feral equines remaining would not be allowed to stay, so the horses were removed and slaughtered. By the '80s, many of the original horses had been slaughtered, and other breeds were added to the area: Arabians, Quarter Horses, mustangs, and a part-Shire horse.

  To prevent the horses from becoming extinct due to crossbreeding or slaughter, Leo and Frank Kuntz, residents of Linton, North Dakota, purchased as many of the horses as possible and began building support for the breed, which they thought to be related to Spanish mustangs.They dubbed the breed Nokota and decided not to release them back into the wild because the remaining horses in the park were all cross-breeds.
Nokotas can even do dressage. credit

Breed Description and Uses
 Nokotas are large-boned horses, standing only 14.2 to 15 hands high, and have tough hooves, strong legs, prominant withers, and sloping shoulders and croups. They have medium-sized heads, often with slightly concave profiles. Usually, the Nokota's coat is some kind of roan, such as blue roan, strawberry roan, bay roan, or black roan.

 Nokotas are used for both English and western riding, including dressage and ranch work.
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After nearly a year of consistantly blogging 5-6 days a week, I have now reached 300 posts. Yay!

Friday, January 24, 2014

2014 World Equestrian Games

 For most people, big sport events of 2014 means the Winter Olympics, but for us equestrians, it means the World Equestrian Games, which will be held in Normandy, France this year. This year, 1000 competitors will be there, competing in the eight most popular disciplines: dressage, jumping, eventing, reining, endurance, vaulting, driving, and para-dressage. Unlike in Lexington in 2010, this year's World Equestrian Games will be held in multiple locations, rather than just one site. Most of the competition will take place in Caen, the regions capital. The dressage and cross-country phase of eventing will be Haras du Pin, one of the national stud farms, and the endurance competition will be over an hour away from Caen. I can't wait to watch it, but for now I'll leave you with the official trailer, by Alltech.

Nez Perce Horse

 In 1806, when Lewis and Clark traveled through eastern Idaho, they noticed that the Nez Perce tribes had sleek, elegant horses with spotted coats. Those early Appaloosas were far different than those of today, which are stocky and sturdy, resembling a compact American Quarter Horse rather than their long, lean ancestors. The reason for this is that in 1877, the Nez Perce were forced by the U.S. Calvalry to give up their horses to settlers throughout the West. As time passed, the horses were cross-bred with those owned by ranchers, and the original Appaloosa type died out, making space for today's stock horse Appaloosa.
Nez Perce Horses resemble a spotted Akhal-Teke. credit

 In the year 1994, leaders of the Nez Perce tribe decided they wanted to recreate the breed by breeding four Akhal-Teke stallions with 33 Appaloosa mares. They had put a lot of thought into which horse would best mix with the Appaloosa, and the sleek, desert Akhal-Teke seemed to be a good choice. The offspring were registered in with the Nez Perce Horse Registry, started in 1995.

Breed Description and Uses
 Nez Perce Horses have acquired the best traits of both breeds. They are lean, elegant, and have long necks and thin wither, often coming with a shiny, spotted coat; mottled skin, striped hooves, and the Appaloosa's white sclera. Much like both the Appaloosa and the Akhal-Teke, Nez Perce Horses are friendly, eager to please, intelligent, curious, and love to be around people. they are versatile and are used for both Western and English disciplines, including dressage, endurance riding, jumping, western pleasure, reining, competitive trail riding, and driving.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

First Aid Kit Items for Horses

 When owning horses, it is important to have a first aid kit nearby in an easy to find place, both in your barn and in your trailer(for when traveling/showing). It should be in a waterproof container so nothing gets damaged due to moisture or rain. Write down your veterinarian's phone number and tape it to the inside of the container's lid, so it is easy to find in the case of an emergency, and add the numbers of several backup veterinarians as well. 

 The kit should contain items you can use to treat minor wounds and to take care of an injury while waiting for the vet to arrive. It should also contain several useful tools(I'll talk about that later). Most of these items can be found at a drugstore or tackstore, or your vet may give some to you if you ask him for it. 
Different materials used in dressing

Absorbent cotton, gauze dressing pads, roll of gauze, self-adherent elastic bandage: These items are useful when treating wounds, which should be bandaged to enhance the healing and prevent dirt from getting in the wound. When dressing a wound, you should use multiple layers. It should be covered in gauze and a layer of absorbent cotton first, and then a layer of self-adherent, elastic bandage should be wrapped around the outside of it, holding it in place. 

 To take it off, soak the bandaged area with cold water, which numbs the wound and makes taking the bandage off easier. Then, use a knife or scissors to cut a vertical line down the bandage so you can take it off.

Pocket knife, scissors, pliers: Pocket knives are useful in the event that your horse becomes tangled in rope or if you need to cut something. Scissors can be used to cut bandages or to trim the hair on your horse's fetlock, making it easier to treat a wound in that area, and pliers are handy when you need to remove a shoe.

Thermometer and stethoscope: A thermometer is useful to have in your first aid kit because you can use it to see if your horse is feverish. Looping a string through it and then clipping it to your horse's tail hairs with an alligator clip will ensure that it doesn't get stuck. Just as useful is a stethoscope, which can be used to check you horse's pulse.

Rubbing alchohol, antiseptic scrub, ointment/spray, nonsteroidal eye ointment: In your first aid kit, you should have something you can treat and disinfect wounds with. Unless the wound is bleeding profusely and must be stopped immediately, you should clean it first by running a gentle stream of water(preferably distilled) just above the wound, not directly on it. Then you should use an antiseptic scrub, though put on gloves or thoroughly clean your hands first. Afterward, you may put a wound ointment of spray on it. With my dog, I usually use Animal Scents Ointment or a spray of distilled water and several drops of Purification, though you can use something your vet recommends instead. Follow the directions on the eye ointment for eye injuries.
A good first aid kit should look like this. Tool
boxes are work well for storing the items because
they are both waterproof and easily carried. credit

First aid manual: Last, but certainly not least, you should have a first aid manual, which can act as a guide in any situation. Do as the manual directs, then call the vet if the injury is serious. Better yet, if someone else is nearby, have him or her call the vet while you treat the injury the best you can.

 Your first aid kit should be uncluttered and in an easily reached place so if you horse does get injured, even if it is a small scratch, you can work both quickly and efficiently.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


 I found this fun favorite quiz from Viva Carlos, so I decided I would love to participate so you can learn more about me.

Breeches: I have only used one pair of breeches, which I got from Dover, so I don't have anything to compare it to.
Footwear: I love my Saxon paddock boots.
Comfort food: I love Mexican food, particularly soft tacos, with fish tacos and breakfast tacos(with eggs and taco meat) being my favorites. Also, I like Bejieng beef, though there really is not any food I dislike.
Online personality: I'm pretty much the same person online as I am in real life. I love to share what I know with people and enjoy making friends.
Movie: Narrowing it down to just a few is hard, but I love Secretariat and Seabiscuit.
TV show: My all-time favorite is X-Files. I also enjoy watching both the Original series of Star Trek and the Next Generation, as well as the Yu-Gi-Oh.
Magazine: Horse Illustrated
Book: This may be strange, but I really enjoy reading non-fiction horse care and training books, such as the Original Horse Bible by Sharon Biggs and Beyond the Track by Anne Ford.
I want to watch this in person and someday compete.

Vacation destination: I would love to go on a horse vacation someday, such riding through Iceland on an Icelandic pony or watching the Lippizaners or the WEG. Of places I have visited, I enjoyed Hawaii.
City: I don't really have a favorite city.
Place to ride: I've only ridden at one place, the barn I ride in, but it would be cool to ride somewhere exotic.
Place to shop: I actually buy most of my stuff through Amazon. Books, movies, etc.
Type of restaurant: Mexican.
Non-horsey hobby: When not doing horse related things, I usually draw, read, blog, and play Yu-gi-oh, a popular trading card game.
Things to do with your family: I love playing the Star Trek Deck Building game, which my family does together.
Things to do with friends: I love sleepovers!
Memory in saddle: My first ride or my most recent ride, since I felt accomplished after improve my control of Reno, who was energetic the whole lesson.
Part of course to ride: I have not ridden any course, but I did to dressage serpetines, which were fun.
Type of horse: Sport horses, particularly Thoroughbreds, are my favorite.

Winter Hoof Care

 During winter, most people are on top of blanketing their horse and altering their diet. However, the same people often neglect to take care of the special needs the hooves have in the winter, thinking that they are the same as for summer or spring. In actuality,the hooves not only grow differently but also are succeptable to various hoof ailments.

 Hoof growth is influenced by several factors, according to Eliza McGraw: the horse's health, environment, amount of exercise, and quality of hoof care. Horses exercise less in the winter, which means less circulation in the hooves and therefore less growth. They use the nutrients they get from their food to keep warm, another factor that slows the growth rate of the hooves.

 There are several things to consider when your horse's hooves grow more slowly. For example, your farrier may have to come a couple weeks later than normal, such as every eight to twelve weeks, then come more frequently in the spring when hooves grow at a rapid pace. Also consider that cracks will take longer to grow out. This means it may take longer for a horse with a cracked or damaged hoof to completely heal, regardless of how you treat it.
Wearing special snow pads like this one prevents buildup of snow and ice.

 In addition to a slower hoof growth rate, winter also brings several ailments: thrush, abscesses, and hoof bruises.

 Thrush is caused by the bacteria Fusobacterium necrophorum, which thrives in moist environments, particularly mud. It is easily recognizable by its characteristical black ooze.

  Hoof bruises can result from riding your horse over hard, frozen ground, causing soreness and lameness, and requires the assistance of both your farrier and vet. They will test the hoof to find the sore area and then will either pare down the affected hoof or recommend special shoes or pads.

 Abscesses are pus-filled pockets inside the hoof, caused by an infection or foriegn object. Usually you should let them drain on their own and use something to reduce infection.

Snow may also become packed in your horse's hooves, especially in freezing temperatures, melting slightly when touching the hoof, the re-freezing. Preventing it using special snow pads is best.

 Making sure you are aware of the specific needs of your horse's hooves and acting quickly can keep you horse safer and healthier this winter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Forest Pony

 The New Forest Pony is native to England, and was first found roaming the New Forest by William the Conqueror. It is estimated that the ponies were there as much as sixty years before being discovered, allowing them time to adapt to rough, low-nutrient plants and develop into hardy little ponies. From time to time, other breeds were added to the native ponies, including Arabians, Throughbreds, and Welsh ponies, all of which contributed to making a diverse, hardy breed.
New Forest Pony credit

 In 1910, around the time when the breeding of the ponies was taken more seriously, the government decided to record the New Forest Ponies in the National Studbook, which meant that any native pony could cross-breed with the New Forest Ponies. This was later stopped when the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society opened its own New Forest Pony stud book.

 In the 1950s, England had begun exporting their ponies to other countries, including the U.S. and Canada. Originally, only 22 New Forest ponies, three of which were geldings, were exported to the U.S., and 12 to Canada. Now, there are over 300 in North America.

 The New Forest Pony Association was founded in 1989, by Mrs. Lucille Guilbault and Jody Waltz, and is open to New Forest Ponies throughout North America.

Breed Description and Uses
 Though pony-sized at an average of 11 to 14.2 hands, the New Forest Pony resembles a horse more than any other breed from the UK. The shoulders slope into the withers, which is more common in horses than ponies. Life in the forest has caused the pony to develop in to a robust, sure-footed pony that is both strong and docile.

 Today, most New Forest Ponies roam southern England, though some are used for show jumping, dressage, driving, and as pleasure mounts.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter Riding Tips

  Despite the cold and uninviting temperatures that occur in many places during the winter, it is important to keep up an as regular a riding schedule as time and weather conditions will allow. It not only keeps your horse fit for the fast approaching show season, but also benefits his mental health as well.  Just four hours a week can be enough to get you and your horse ready for show season. Remember, though, to keep these tips I found in mind for more successful and safe rides.
Snow packed in a horse's hooves can make walking difficult and possibly cause lameness. credit

  • When it's cold and weather conditions are harsh, everyone wants to use the indoor arena, causing it to become quite crowded. If your schedule will allow, riding when it is less busy can make your rides more successful.
  • Make sure to thoroughly groom your horse. Grooming increases circulation, warming the muscles. Also check to make sure his hooves has no snow and ice in them.
  • Warming the saddle and bit using heating pads can make the ride more comfortable for your horse.
  • Be careful when longeing your horse. Often, an energetic horse will buck, straining a cold muscle or slipping and hurting himself.
  • Before moving to the more intense part of your ride, make sure your horse is properly warmed up, since cold muscles are easily injured. In cold temperatures, warming up often takes a little longer than usual, so take your time to thoroughly warm your horse, preventing injury.
  • If temperatures are below 20 F, it is best not to work your horse strenuously.
  • When you trailer your horse, make sure the trailer is in good condition and doesn't have a draft flowing through it. If it is below 50 F and your horse has been clipped, you may want to consider blanketing him for the trip.
  • Make sure your horse's water is not cold, frozen, or dirty.
  • Turn off or unplug uneccessary appliances or ones not in use to prevent barn fires. 
  • Setting goals, even small ones, can help you prepare for show season. Even if you do not show, setting goals and working on them can distract you from the gloominess of winter.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 11th Lesson Pictures

Reno was energetic, so I rode him in tight circles with a diameter a little wider than your typical jump to get him calmed down and paying attention.
I gradually widened the circle as he focused and slowed down.

Trotting to the other side of the arena to repeat the circle exercise. 
I love this picture.
Trotting in a large circle covering about half of the arena.
By the end of the lesson I had more control over Reno. I had learned to grasp the reins tightly so they don't slip, thus encouraging Reno to keep a steady pace rather cantering or trotting too quickly.

5 Common Sport Horse Injuries, Part 2

Continued. See Part 1
Bone Bruises
 A bone bruise is bruising of the bone, commonly occuring in the cannon and pastern bone. It is caused when tremendous force is concentrated in one of these areas, causing damage to the bones. Fluid builds up inside the bone and swelling occurs. Because bone bruises are caused by a hard impact, this kind of injury is most common in jumpers and eventers, or horses that are worked on hard ground.

 Bone bruises are very painful, despite the fact that they are small and hard to identify without proper equipment. Nuclear bone scans often view a bone bruise as a hot spot, yet pinpointing it exactly with that machine is difficult. The best way to locate it is by using a magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) scan.

 The time the horse will need off varies depending on how bad the bruising is, but average he will need to rest for three months before continuing work. Veternarians recommend using anti-inflammatory medications, such as Equioxx, to help with the injury. According to Nan Martin, wintergreen, cypress, and helichrysum are great natural alternatives for bone injuries.

Inflammed Joints
 Sometimes, the tissue lining a joint can become inflammed, which if not treated can eventually lead to osteoarthritis. This type of injury can occur in any horse, particularly when the horse's workload suddenly increases. Signs include soreness, stiffness, and less fluid gaits. His joints may swell and feel hot. 

The red represents inflammation. credit
 The best way to treat this injury is give the horse a stall rest and cold-hose his joints daily until they are no longer hot. You also want to reduce inflammation in his joints, which can be done using anti-inflammatory medication. According to Nan Martin, Thyme, Bergamot, and Eucalyptis have been known to work in the same manner. Recovery may take a week or more, depending on the severity of the inflammation. Once your horse has recovered, gradually increase his work load and plan the most intense workouts several days or more apart from each other.

Sore Muscles
 It is natural for muscles to be a little sore after a workout, but sometimes they become strained, which commonly occurs in dressage horses, who must work hard to maintain a collected frame. As a result, his back may hurt and become stiff. He may also be resistant to bend, turning, and collecting.

 In the scenario that the pain and stiffness does not disappear after rest, or it if reappears, search for other causes, such as a poorly fitting saddle or an unbalanced rider. Massage, chiropractic work, acupressure, or even a thorough currying have been known reduce soreness. Combining massage with essential oils is said to increase it's affectiveness.
 Remember to always be aware of your horse's condition and well-being. Detecting problems early on can prevent more serious problems from arising, keeping your horse healthy and possibly saving you money in the long run. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

5 Common Sport Horse Injuries, Part 1

 Just like human athletes, sport horses, too, are prone to injuries. Jumping, when joints and muscles are strained on impact, can cause considerable damage, particularly if the horse misteps or stumbles, which can cause a torn ligament or tendon. Among the myriad injuries a horse can obtain, the most common are: suspensor ligament injuries, deep digital flexor tendon(DDFT) damage, bone bruises, inflamed joints, and sore muscles.

A diagram of the tendons and ligaments in the leg. Notice the
 suspensory ligament and deep digital flexor tendon. credit
 Suspensory Ligament Injuries
 The suspensory ligament runs down the back of the cannon bone, starting just below the knee or hock and divinding into two branches, ending at the pastern. The ligament supports the ankle when weight is put on it, though if too much pressure is applied, it may tear or rupture. This can occur in the front legs when jumpers or eventers mistep upon landing on the other side of an obstacle, stressing the ligament. Dessage horses will most likely injure their hind leg suspensory ligaments as they work off their hind ends.

 Spotting an injury in the suspensory ligament can prove difficult, since part of it is covered by other structures and the horse may only display subtle signs of lameness, depending on the severity of the tear. The leg may be warm, swollen, and sensitive. The best way to tell is by having your veterinarian exam you horse. An utlrasound can readily discover how severe the damage is and even locate the exact place of the tear. X-rays can show if the bone is damaged as well.

 Depending on the severity of the situation, your vet will recommend several things. He will most likely tell you to cold-hose the leg daily, give your horse a stall rest, hand walk him short distances, and slowly return to the usual workload. This can take as short as eight weeks, or as long as a year. In more severe cases, your vet may recommend surgery or shockwave treatment.

 Regardless of how severe the injury is, you should do something to reduce inflammation. Most vets recommend phenylbutazone(bute) and Banamine. Natural alternatives, recommended by Nan Martin, include lemongrass and marjoram, which is known to not only reduce inflammation and aid the healing of muscles, but also alleviates pain.

DDFT Damage
 The deep digital flexor tendon, as the name suggests, assists with flexon of the leg. It runs from the back of the leg to the bottom of the coffin bone. Most commonly, a sport horse will the tear the bottom part, which runs from the pastern to the hoof, when his weight passes over his toe and his heel lifts. This occurs when jumping or working at high speeds, such as in the gallop.

 Because the injury can occur to the part of the tendon residing in the hoof, spotting this condition can be particularly hard. If it occurs in the pastern or above the heal, you may notice it due to heat and swelling. Otherwise, it can be next to impossible to notice it, even with ultrasound, unless you go to a clinic with a magnetic resonance imaging machine.

 Just like with a torn ligament, you should cold-hose the injured area and give your horse a stall rest of about eight weeks if the tendon has only been spranged, or eight months or more if the tendon has been torn. Try to reduce the inflammation to aid healing and reduce pain. As I mentioned earlier, lemongrass and marjoram are commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation. Your vet may recommend special shoes. Don't rush things, and slowly work your way up the training schedule you had before the injury.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to read about three more common injuries.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

National Show Horse

 In the late 20th century, saddleseat riders wanted to competitive horses that could compete in the half-Arabian classes. Arabian breeder Gene LaCroix noticed that Saddlebred-Arabian crosses seemed to win  consistently, so in 1980 he decided he would start crossing the two breeds. The result was a flashy, graceful horse with lively gaits and a lot of stamina. In August of 1981, the National Show Horse Registry was founded.
National Show Horse doing the hack. credit

 Over the past thirty years, the horse has gained popularity among saddleseat riders, earning it the title the National Show Horse(NSH). Now, more than 15,000 National Show Horses are registered. Though at first it was a cross-breed horse, several generations has caused it to develop into it's own unique breed.

Breed Description and Uses
 The National Show Horse has traits from both the Arabian and Saddlebred. It's stamina comes from the Arabian, while it inherits it's flashy, animated gaits from the Saddlebred. The NSH's face is often slightly concave, like an Arabian's, and comes complete with large, expressive eyes. The neck is crested and almost upright, which comes from the Saddlebred. The withers are prominent and the shoulder is sloping. Also like the Arabian, the tail is usually high-set. National Show Horses come in every color, even pinto.

 The National Show Horse excels at saddleseat, which it was bred for, and can execute the rack, a fast, four-beat gait with lots of knee action. In addition to saddleseat, the NSH does well in equitation classes, Western pleasure, and dressage.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


 Before the 17th century, no horses existed in southern Africa, but in the 1600s they appeared in Namibia, possibly imported by Europeans. At first, these horses were probably used for work of some kind, but just like the horses in the Americas, some escaped and formed feral herds. Eventually, most of the horses had escaped and began roaming the Namib Desert.

 Exactly how the horses brought over by Europeans adapted to the arid desert weather is unknown, though scientists in Africa have observed how they survive today. The Namib horses rarely drink at all, only hydrating themselves every 30 hours in the summer(November to March) while they search for food. During the rainy season, the horses gather near the water trough and feed on the grass during the night, drinking regularly throughout the day. At daytime, they play and relax. Sometimes, they will eat their own dung for extra nutrients.
A Namib mare and her foal. credit

 In 1992, a drought caused people to want to gather the horses and put them on farms. Six years later, another drought, this one lasting nearly two years, cause the number of Namibs to drop from 149 to 89. by April 2005, the number had risen to 147.

 Today, the herds reside in Naukluft Park, nearby Aus, where visitors can learn about the Namib and hide nearby the water hole so they can watch the horses drink.

Breed Description and Uses
 Namibs, though not conmsidered ponies, stand an average of 14.2 hands high, with few growing as tall as 15 hands high. Like the mustangs of Western American, the appearance of the Namib may vary. Typically, though, they are sturdy with a narrow chest, prominent withers, short necks and large, convex profiles, complete with large ears and wide-set eyes. Commonly, the Namib is chestnut.

 For the time being, the Namibs will remain feral, but if their numbers exceed the maximum number of 200 horses, some will be rounded up and brought somewhere else. Until them, the horses will continue to wander the desert.

P.S. If you own an OTTB, don't forget to participate in the OTTB Success Story series.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


In 1855, the palomino foal of an Arabian and a Morgan was born. Gold-dust, named for his golden color, grew to be a fantastic show horse and a fast racehorse. His offspring shared similar traits and made excellent carriage horses. 

 Millionaire William Hearst began breeding the pretty horses to work in his cattle operation, naming them Morabs. Before long, other ranchers noticed the usefulness of the Morab as a cow horse and also began using them while working with cows.
The Morab

 Then, a woman name Martha Doyle Fuller decided that the Morab was better suited for the show arena than a dusty cattle ranch, so she bred the most flashy Morabs to accomplish the task. In 1973, her daughter founded the first Morab horse association.

 Since then, the Morab has been considered a breed, not just a cross-bred horse. Each generation has distinct characeristics. It is not uncommon that rather than crossing a 1st generation Morab with another of the same generation, the Morab is crossed with a pure blood Morgan or Arabian.

Breed Description and Uses
 Morabs share traits of both Morgans and Arabians. They are short, standing only 14.1 to 15.2 hands high on average, and are refined yet muscular. Often, they have small, concave heads with tiny ears, wide-set eyes, and arched necks. Morabs have a lot of stamina and grace from their Arabian, and recieve their strength and agility from their Morgan side. The result is a horse with the best from both breeds.

 The breed is a prized show horse and excels at endurance racing and dressage.

Monday, January 13, 2014

OTTB Success Stories

 I had an idea that at least once a month, I will feature an OTTB success on my blog about another blogger and her OTTB. A success story doesn't have to be about a blue ribbon winner, just a Thoroughbred successfully transitioned from the racing life to that of a riding horse. Basically, I want to hear the story of how you met your OTTB, some major challenges you have faced, where you are now, and where you are going.

 If you are want to participate or want more information, email me and tell me your story. For those of you who have more than one OTTB, you can tell me about both of them, and I might feature both of their stories in the post. On January 31, I will select a pair to spotlight from all the emails sent, and every month throughout the year I'll do the same. My email is Also, could you please spread the word about it on your own blog. I thought this would be a fun thing to do and want everybody to know about. Thank you!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Energetic Horse

 When I arrived at the ranch today, there was a lot of going on, with one Pony Club group leaving and another still training. Several men in tractors were working on the roof of the outdoor stalls near Reno's paddock to make room for two horses that Meghan will soon begin training.

We had a little mix up with the time because I totally forget that my lesson would be at 2:00 that day, not noon as it usually is, due to the Pony Club meeting at the same time. Another girl was having her first lesson at 1:00, so I wouldn't have time to do the lesson at noon. We decided that I could come back at 2:00 so I would have plenty of time to have my lesson.

 Despite having a lesson not long before mine, Reno was very energetic. He trotted quickly, and even began to canter, so Meghan decided I should ride him in circles to calm him down a bit. I trotted him in a fairly tight circle around a jump(the Pony Club was doing jumping, so the dressage letters had been removed) and slowly worked my into a wider circle covering half of the arena. Along the way, he would increase his speed and canter some more(three or four strides at a time!).

  Part of the reason I was having the problem is that I wasn't holding the reins tight enough, so they would loosen and he would speed up. Once I focused on not letting the reins slip between my fingers, things were much better. I rode to the other end of the arena and did the circle exercise there, starting small and working my way up to a larger circle.

 After trotting the circles, I rode around the barn to cool down, untacking and grooming Reno, and even brushing his mane.

 The challenge Reno provided in this lesson has increased my riding skills more than a ride on him when he is being calm and easily controlled. It is true that every rider needs a challenging ride when the horse isn't being 100% cooperative. It makes you a better rider, which is what all of us are striving for.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Missouri Fox Trotter

 In the early 1800s, when it was popular to use your regular work horse as a race horse over the weekends, people needed horses that were strong with enough stamina to work all week and run during the weekends.

 Just after the Louisiana Purchase, many people travelled south, some to the foothills of Missouri's Ozark Mountains. They took with them horses they already owned, namely Arabians, Thoroughbreds, and Morgans, with the intent of crossing them with horses already in the area to create a perfect work-race horse. They were successful. The resulting horses were hard workers, willing to do what they were asked, whether that be working the farm, pulling a buggy, racing, or riding out on the trails. Settlers also noticed that the horse had developed a broken gait, which made them easier to ride.
The fox-trot. credit

 Later, Tennessee Walking Horses, Saddlebreds, and Standardbreds were added to the mix, further refining the Ozark horses. The broken gait developed into what is now called the fox-trot, thus the name Missouri Fox Trotter. Breeders selective bred to pass the gait on, and now the breed is synonymous with that unique gait.

 The breed was popular among doctors, police officers, and post men due to its smooth gait.

 In 1948, the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association was founded and opened to any horse that met the requirements. It wasn't until 1983 that the studbook was closed to all except those that had two registered parents. In 2002, the Missouri Fox Trotter became Missouri's state horse.

Breed Description and Uses
 Missouri Fox Trotters are compact and muscular, standing 14 to 16 hands high on average. They have wide barrels, sloping shoulders, rounded withers, and a powerful neck. The head has a straight profile, small ears, and expressive eyes. Fox Trotters come in many colors, including bay, chestnut, black, grey, and pinto.

 The breed is willing and usually easy to control, making them excellent workers, as well as partners. Today, they are used as endurance horses, ranch horses, or just as pleasure horses.

 The fox-trot is a unique and unusually gait in which the front legs walk and the hind legs trot. In addition to the fox-trot, the Fox Trotter has a gentle canter and a smooth, flowing walk.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


 The Marwari, a horse from India, is special to those living there. The breed has been there for centuries, and  is possibly the descendent of desert horses from Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Over the centuries, many horses were brought to India by invaders from Persia, Greece, and Turkey. Although no one knows for certain, most people suspect those horses were Arabians, Mongolian horses, and Oriental horses.

 In the Middle Ages, noble families of India selected only the best quality imported horses and to breed with horses native to their land, creating a superior war mount later known as the Marwari. The Indians honored their horses, praying over foals, having festivals in honor of the horse, and even setting up tombstones for those who died in battle.
Marwari dressed traditionally. credit

 When the British occupied the country in the 1800s, however, the number of Marwarisquickly diminished due to slaughter and castration, and by the start of the 20th century, only 600 remained.

 Late in the 20th century, Francesca Kelly traveled to India, becoming interested in saving the rare breed.  With the help of Indian people enthusiastic about the Marwari, a breeding program was started in 1995, and then the Indigenous Horse Society of India. Kelly wanted to important some Marwaris to American, but horse exportation regulations disallowed it because India didn't meet the required standards. Five years later, Kelly was finally able to bring six Marwaris to the United States, hoping to help the breed.

Breed Description and Uses
 Though small at a maximum of 15.2 hands high, Marwaris are quick and agile with a lot a stamina and energy. Many are born with an extra gait, called the apchal, that resembles the pace. All colors are found, including pinto. Perhaps most intriguing trait of the breed is the ears the curve inwards.

 In India, the Marwari is used for farm work, transportation, and as police work.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


The Lusitano and the Andalusian are one the same breed, except they sprang from different bloodlines, and the Lusitano originates in Portugal, not Spain. In the time when the Andalusian/Lusitano breed was created, Portugal was under Spanish rule. This had an effect on the horses in Portugal. When Iberian horses and Barbs were bred together, the resulting breed also made its way to Portugal. From there, the Andalusian and Lusitano's history differ. 
Look at that gorgeous color! credit

 In 1640, the Portuguese recieved independence from Spain. They bred their Iberian horses, which came from four bloodlines: Andrade, Veiga, Coudelaria Nacional, and Altèr-Real, their royal stud. Like the Spanish, they pursued classical dressage with the Lusitanos, which like most Spanish horses, are well suited for it. Royals loved the elegant Lusitanos, and even established the Altèr-Real stud in Alter do Chao.

 However, just when things began looking up for the Lusitano, a series of disasterous events nearly destroyed it. After the French Revolution in 1789, royal things such as the popularity of Baroque horses dimished, and horse racing and fox hunting became more popular than classical dressage. Then, Napoleon invaded Spain, wreaking havoc on the horses in the area. Things worsened when, at the turn of the twentieth century, the royal family was kicked out of their position, and the government took over the royal stables. The government bred the Lusitanos indiscriminately, and the quality of the breed declined rapidly.

 By the 1940s, those truly interested in the breed decided to do something. They searched for the best horses with Altèr-Real blood and rebuild the bloodlines. In the 1960s, they opened the Lusitano studbook.

Breed Description and Uses
 The Lusitano is a strong, elegant breed with powerful hindquarters and an extremely convex profile. Lusitanos are energetic and athletic, and can turn quickly and run speedily in short bursts. They canter well and excel at dressage, though they are traditionally used for bullfighting, a dangerous short that requires a fast horses. On average, Lusitanos stand 15.2 to 16.2 hands. Commonly, they are grey, bay, black, chestnut, palomino, and cremello. 


Tuesday, January 7, 2014


 In 1580, Archduke Charles II of Austria bought a stud farm called Lipizza, located in treacherously rough mountain terrain and harsh climate of Karst, where he planned on breeding excellent calvary horses. He cross-bred Andalusians, prized at the time, with all kinds of superb horses, including Arabians from Syria, Spanish horses bred in Germany and Denmark, horses of Neapolitan lines, and horses from the Polesine region of Italy.

 In 1920, the famous stud farm in Piber, part of Styria, the moutainous province of Austria, was founded. This is where the main stables of the Spanish Riding School's breeding program are located. At the riding school, horses and soldiers train in classical dressage, which keeps the horses strong and balanced.
An amazing Lipizzaner(credit)

 During World War II, the existance of the amazing Lipizzaners was threatened. When battle moved closer to Vienna, chief stable master Colonel Alois Podhajsky decided to move the stallions from the riding school another stable, called Lainzer Tiergarten. The horses at Piber were in an area under German command, and Colonel Podhajsky feared for the horses in the area, so he gave 1,000 horses to American troops for safe keeping. General George S. Patton, a dressage rider, sent the horses to Bavaria under the protection of the U.S. Army.

 After the War, with the economy down, Podhajsky had trouble justifying continuing classical dressage at Spanish Riding School, so he had to wait until 1955 to return to the school. When he did, he made some changes to preserve the breed and classical dressage. For example, he made the school open to the public, not just dignitaries and royals. He also gave worldwide tours and wrote classical dressage training books.

 In 1985, the Spanish Riding School and Piber stud farm became managed by the same group of people In 2007, Elisabeth Gürtler became director of the Spanish Riding School, bringing even more changes. she made family-friendly activities and introduced the concept of female trainees, called eleves.

Breed Description and Uses
 Lipizzaners are sturdy, athletic horses. They have a compact body, powerful hindquarters, muscular shoulders, and short, strong legs. Like most Baroque horses, they have a convex profile and low hocks. Most Lipizzaners are born black or dark bay, but become grey with age, usually between the ages 5 and 10. On rare occasions, a horse will remain the color it was when born. Such horses are considered good luck.

Lipizzaners are kind, friendly, patient, and intelligent. Once you earn one's trust, you will have a willing partner and a strong bond.

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 4 Lesson Pictures

Here are some pictures from my latest lesson. I haven't been able to upload the video yet, but I hope to get it done soon.
While lungeing, I had to put my hands out to my side, on my head, and hips and such.
Hands on my thighs
Hands on my hips
After lungeing for a while, I trotted a serpentine so Meghan could see how much I had improved.

December 28 Riding Lesson

 I apologize for never posting the pictures from my lesson before last, so here they are now.
Coming to a halt.
Doing a circle
Another circle
Riding uphill


In 1812, Major Villars Lunn, who owned a breeding facility in Nordsealand, Denmark, decided to breed two horses. One was the unusually colored Flaebehoppen, a small chestnut mare with a spotted blanket marking on her back, a white mane and tail, and a dusting of snowflake markings throughout her body. She was bred to a Fredirecksborg stallion.

 The result was beautiful spotted foal. Time after time, Flaebehoppen and her offspring produced spotted foals with all kinds of patterns, including leopard and blanket. Before long, Lunn's breeding facility consisted of many spotted, Baroque-type horses with great bloodlines. These horses were called Knabstruppers, after the manor Lunn owned.
Baroque Knabstrupper(credit)

 Danish soldiers used the sturdy horses as war mounts, but other people throughout Europe also sought after this beautiful breed. They loved the gorgeous spots the breed had. However, in 1891 a large barn fire occured at the Lunn stable, killing 22 of their top horses. With a small gene pool and the best of the horses gone, the breed was at risk. Supporters of the breed worked hard to save the Knabstrupper before it was lost for good. In 1947, they started a stud farm, Egemosegaard, and in 1971 three Appaloosa stallions were imported to Denmark to breed with Knabstrupper mares. From there, the number of Knabstruppers began to increase.
 Knabstrupper sport horse(credit)

 In 2002, Mike a Caroline Athey became interested in the breed, so arrangements were made for a Knabstrupper stallion, Apollon, to be bred with three Appaloosa mares, approved by the Knabstrupper's breed society. Later, Knabstrupper mares and stallions were imported to America. Today, the breed is increasing in popularity.

Breed Description and Uses
 The Knabstrupper can come in three different body types: Sport, Baroque, and Pony. The Sport type was bred specifically to compete in sports, such as show jumping, dressage, and eventing, by crossing the Knabstrupper with various wamrbloods. The Baroque horse is shorter and stockier than the first, and is what the original carriage and war Knabstruppers looked like. The last is a small, spotted pony version of the Baroque suitable for children. Despite their differences, most Knabstruppers have several things in common, such as their kind temperament, trainability, strength, and stamina.

 All Knabstruppers have spotted patterns similar to that of an Appaloosa, with leopard being the most common.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cantering & Lungeing

 I had a really fun, productive lesson today. It began with me warming Reno up by walking around the arena and doing walk-halt transitions, like I usually do, and ended with me getting even better at posting. While I was warming up, Meghan set two pairs of poles in the dressage court half of the arena, marking the places where each circle would touch. Then, made a serpentine at the walk. Next, I trotted it.

 Once I had finished doing serpentines, I moved to the next part of the lesson. Meghan told me I would be cantering a few strides to get a feel for it(Reno is an older horse and thus doesn't canter well, and Meghan only wanted me to find out how cantering feels before I can do a lot of it), which I was excited about. She explained to me how to ask for it by making a kissing sound and squeezing with my legs, then told me to trot a circle before beginning.

 When I first asked Reno to canter, he just began trotting really quickly(I almost ran into a jump standard), not cantering, but before long he had cantered two strides, so I slowed him to a walk. The rocking motion of the canter was a bit hard to get used;  it almost felt like I was thrown forwards. The second and third time around was much better. I felt like I was sitting more smoothly in the saddle the third time, too.

 After that, Meghan decided I should try strengthening my posting work. She brought out a lungeline, hooked it to the bit, and tied the reins in a knot to prevent them from flying all over the place. Then, she told me to stretch my arms out while she asked Reno for a trot. Without having to worry about steering, I was able to work on posting well: not rising out of the saddle too much, sinking down too heavily, or putting my shoulders forward. Several times, Meghan had Reno change directions. She also had me put my hands out, on my head, on my hips, or on my thighs, but never on the mane, neck, or reins.

 When she was done lungeing Reno, Meghan told me to drop my stirrups and ride at the walk around the arena before returning to the dressage court to do a serpentine at the trot. After that, the lesson was over, so I dismounted and untacked.

 I have pictures and a video from the lesson. I haven't been able to post any of the videos yet, but hopefully I can upload them on YouTube later so you can watch me ride.

  I forget to mention that I had gotten gloves for Christmas so I used those in my last two lessons. I also got a crop, but I won't use it until I am a bit more experienced---there's already a lot to focus on when riding.