Archive for November, 2009

Steeplechase and hurdle racing to be banned

November 27th, 2009

Steeplechase and hurdle racing are some of the most exciting horse racing sports, quite popular in UK and many other countries. The adrenaline rush for the horse and rider are immense, so also is the risk of injury and possibilities of sudden death of either horse or ride or both.
Some animal welfare experts have long argued that it is a cruel sport, horses are said not to be keen about jumping. It has been demonstrated that wild horses rarely jump obstacles they come against. The argument against banning Steeplechase and hurdle racing has not succeeded until recently that it. For the first time anywhere in the world a state in Australia is banning Steeplechase and hurdle racing from 2010. The story is told much better by BBC, excerpt from BBC website follows:

The decision follows a comprehensive review of the sport and has been welcomed by animal welfare groups.

However, members of the racing industry have reacted with anger, calling it “unbelievable” and “appalling”.

Racing’s governing body in Victoria had conceded that the sport was in decline because of mounting safety concerns.

Furious response

Animal rights campaigners have described racing over hurdles and fences as not only shameful and barbaric but “morally wrong”.

An official review of the industry last year recommended a raft of new safety measures, all of which were adopted by authorities in Victoria.

Despite the changes, the fatalities have continued, with eight horses dying in races this season.

The deaths prompted an urgent investigation, which has resulted in the banning of the sport.

It has drawn a furious response from some owners, trainers and jockeys.

Steeplechase events in Victoria will go on for another year in an attempt to soften the impact of their abolition on those involved.

Neighbouring South Australia, the only other state in the country that allows jump racing, has said its programme will continue and hopes to attract trainers and horses from Victoria.

However, officials in South Australia are not celebrating and have expressed deep concerns about the long-term viability of their steeplechasing industry.

Country Sports

Introduction to carriage driving day at Bromyard Equestrian Centre

November 23rd, 2009

On Sunday the 22nd of November my daughter, her friend and I went to an
introduction to driving event at Bromyard Equestrian Centre in
It was organised by the Hereford District Driving Group with the purpose of
reaching out to people interested in finding out more about carriage
Several of their members turned out with their horses and various vehicles,
and ponies and horses of all breeds and sizes where on show in the arena.
Each turn-out was introduced individually by Kay Walton (BDS area
commissioner for Hereford) and driven around the arena for us to view.
One of the carriage drivers brought her Dalmation along, a breed of dog that
has traditionally been used to accompany and guard the vehicle running along
under the back end of the carriage.

The spectators where then invited to leave the gallery and join the whips,
grooms and horses/ponies to have a chat, ask questions, pat the animals and
even have a ride in their carriages.

Sarah Wildy, LHHI carriage driving instructor then explained to us how to
harness the horse and put to the cart, demonstrated hands on by one of the
members of the group on her horse.
Meanwhile Kay was busy putting cones all over the arena, as the next part of
the demonstration included weaving through cones at some speed.
When the drivers had all completed this task, we were once again invited to
get on the carriages and join in the fun.

A great deal of enjoyment was had by everybody and it was certainly an
informative event for horse lovers of all ages.

Countryside Blog

Laminitis in Horses and Ponies

November 14th, 2009

It is generally assumed that you cannot have too much of a good thing, well, there should be many caveat to that statement, especially if you are a horse or pony, left in a field with lush green grass to eat, yes, you can have too much of a good thing under these circumstances and that good thing is the very grass you are eating. Over eating, especially on green lush grass is one of the causes of Laminitis. Laminitis is one of the most common causes of lameness and disability of horses and ponies.

Experts argue that rich green grass itself does not cause Laminitis, however over weight/overfeed horses and ponies are more susceptible to Laminitis. Other cause of Laminites includes stress among other causes. Stress induced Laminitis could be triggered by overworking a horse that is unfit, prolonged travelling in hot or cold conditions, it is even said that some vaccination can stress some horses and ponies enough to induce laminitis.

The scope of this article does not extend to covering all aspects of the causes of laminitis; the article is just a basic introduction to it to help create more awareness about it in the horse and pony owning communities. As with all horse health issues, your vet is able to give you expert advice on how to treat your horse or pony for laminitis but as another saying goes, prevention is better than cure. If you can take action to reduce or completely eliminate situations or conditions that could cause laminitis in your horse, then take such action, this will not only help you keep your horse health but save you money on vet bills.

Before the article concludes, here are some misconceptions about laminitis. Some people say that if a horse drinks cold water after exercise, it may develop laminitis. Horse health experts disagree with this however it is still not advisable to give your horse cold water after exercise as this may cause colic. Allergies are also said not to cause laminitis nor heat in the animal’s foot.
Laminitis can also affect one foot or all feet; it is not confined to the front feet only.


Know your Horse even better as Horse genome is unlocked

November 6th, 2009

horse-genomeInternational team of scientist from various lab all over the world has been working at decoding the genome of various animals of late, last week, it was reported that the genome of domestic pig has been full decoded, yesterday, it was the turn of the domestic horse.

The new about domestic Horse genome sequencing was announced in the journal of science, it is hoped this break through will help reveal information about how Horse was domesticated. The work reveals similarities between the horse and other bovids – the hoofed group including goats, bison and cattle. Some of the interesting revelation does not end there; the authors also found horses share much of their DNA with humans. Horses suffer from more than 90 hereditary diseases that show similarities to those in humans. It is hoped that studying this hereditary disease in horses could help bring a better understanding to the same diseases in humans.

The horse used in the DNA sequencing was an adult female thoroughbred called Twilight, her DNA revealed a genome that is roughly 2.7 billion nucleotides, in size, the researchers also examined DNA from a variety of other horse breeds including the American quarter horse, Andalusian, Arabian, Belgian draft horse, Hanoverian, Hakkaido, Icelandic horse, Norwegian fjord horse, and Standardbred breeds.

Horses were first domesticated between 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. They have been crucial to transportation, heavy lifting, moving agricultural equipment like plough and so on. Over time, as machines have become the chief sources of agricultural and industrial muscle, those roles have shifted to sport and recreational activities.

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Horse care during winter

November 5th, 2009

horse-careThe summer is drawing to a close and it is time for horse lovers and owners to plan for the winter that looms ahead. Horses do require special care during these winter months so that they remain free of any illness or discomfort. Though they are very tolerant of cold weather and tend to favor the cold as opposed to heat, it is still advisable to get the basic care routine planned out so that you do not run into any problems going ahead.

Other factors like breed, the age of the horse and the inherent health of the horse do influence the manner in which the horse shapes up during the winter. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to understand the nature of your horse and prepare your self sufficiently in advance to ensure your pet leads a comfortable existence during the winter months.

The body condition is assessed by feeling the horse over its ribs for any untoward lumps and also through a complete perusal of the body using both hands and eyes to detect any abnormalities. Since the overgrowth of winter hair can conceal any problems, it is crucial to do a labored assessment.
Having done the checking, the starting point of the winter care has to be the hygiene along with proper and adequate immunization before stepping into the winter months. Once the body is free of all fleas or parasites and the horse is properly de wormed, the horse will be able to weather any hardship. Getting a vet to visit is also a worthwhile exercise so that you are able to jointly plan out a health schedule that is customised for your horse.
Another practice is to precondition the horse and prepare it for the cold season. Towards that objective, if your horse does over feed and puts on some extra fat, it is beneficial as it acts as an insulating medium and also accords energy reserve if needed. You therefore need to provide for this extra fat by making appropriate changes in the diet much before winter. Read more…

Countryside Blog