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Horse Welfare

Between Sweat and Shiver: How to make rugging decisions

March 2018

Everywhere they live, horses have an opportunity to get too cold or too warm, and owners have an opportunity to underdress or overdress their steeds. We cannot trust local custom to decide when to blanket, because local custom varies so widely from place to place, so how are we to make the best decisions for our horses?

The Pros and Cons of Protective Boots

February 2018

The most common piece of protective equipment riders use on their horses is some form of protection for the lower legs. Orthopaedic problems are one of the most common reasons for a veterinarian being called to examine or treat a horse, and this does not really differ between disciplines or level of competition. But, can boots do more harm than good?  The limbs of a horse are the most common site for injury and the lower limbs (below the knee) more common than the upper limbs. The forelimbs are also more likely to be injured than the hindlimbs. 

Under the Influence: The Impact of Your Leadership Style

February 2018

Research on leadership in human societies has mostly been concerned with human relations in workplaces, especially those between managers and workers. Early research focused on how to make workers more obedient, useful, productive and efficient. Some people were just thought to be better - or more natural - leaders than others.  More recently, leadership is seen as a property that emerges from the relations between individuals. Moreover, the health, safety and wellbeing of workers is valued more than ever, and leadership now comes with great responsibilities of care. 

Racehorse Medication Ethics in American Horse Racing

December 2017

In the midst of Australia’s Spring Racing Carnival, Americans celebrated their own Thoroughbred racing end-of-year Championships under rules that allow horses to train, as well as race, on a cocktail of pharmaceutical medications.  Veterinarian and journalist Dr Sid Gustafson reports from the 2017 Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar, California, for Horses and People Magazine on racehorse medication ethics.

Summer Heat: Help Your Horse Cope and Recover

December 2017

With another hot Summer ahead in the Southern Hemisphere and last year’s record temperatures, it’s important to make sure you’re up to date on the latest, evidence-based advice on prevention of dehydration, heat stress and heat exhaustion. Exercise physiologist and scientific consultant Dr David Marlin was involved in extensive research on equine thermoregulation, transport, air-conditioning and cooling in preparation that took place before the Olympic Games of Atlanta and Beijing. He shares his expert advice, so you can help your horse cope and recover in the heat.

Influencing Horses: What Kind of Horse ‘Parent’ Are You?

November 2017

Most of us would be familiar with phrases such as ‘top dog’, ‘alpha male’ or ‘dominant mare’. They refer to the individual at the top of a hierarchy or ‘pecking order’. 


October 2017

For a long time, it didn’t occur to me that horses had friends.  I would notice my horse was often standing near another particular horse when I’d fetch him for a ride and I’d notice they’d often whinny to each other as we walked off. But, my play with my horse was never on his terms. I never lingered in his pasture or played with his friends. I was very me-centric. 

The Horses of the Spanish Bullfight

March 2018

What is mounted bullfighting (rejoneo)? It is easy to condemn the things we don’t understand, but without understanding, there is little hope for change.  The bullfight is one of the most contentious animal-related activities in the world, but it is not the only one; eating meat is another, as is Thoroughbred horse racing.  Those who follow such debates will know they are surrounded by a whole lot of myth and misinformation and, even though the anti-bullfighting movement is focused on cruelty to bulls, horses are also involved. 

The Importance of Saddle Fitting

February 2018

Traditionally made of wood, leather and now synthetic materials, the saddle tree is the solid structure around which the saddle is constructed - varying in the length and width of the tree - the padding surface and the angle of the lateral parts of the tree. Despite all the research that shows ill-fitting saddles are a horse welfare issue, saddles are still sold ‘off the shelf’, with little regard towards correct saddle fit, and minimal or no consideration towards the consequences of poor fit. 

Horse Talk

December 2017

I was going to write about locomotion today, lifting ideas from my book ‘Horse Science, Horse Sense’. But, on a long trail ride in the rain, I got thinking there was probably something better that I could do with your time. So try this...


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