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Horse Welfare

Fat horses need to lose weight NOW, say UK vets

February 2019

With some studies suggesting that more than half of certain horse populations in the UK are overweight or obese, the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is urging owners to act now to prevent their horses suffering serious weight-related health and welfare risks come the Northern Hemisphere Spring.

To Whip or Not to Whip... That is the Question.

November 2018

Let me set the scene, let me paint a picture often seen in jumping classes, not only in New Zealand, but in most countries around the world. Half way through her showjumping round, ‘Sally’ canters her horse ‘Stormy’ towards the wall, at which point Stormy refuses the fence. Determined to get him over it the next time, Sally holds Stormy at the fence and gives him three good hard wallops with her whip. Upon presenting him at the fence a second time, Stormy jumps it clear and the round continues.

The Ultimate Guide to Worming Your Horse

November 2018

This article contains the 6 simple steps you can take to get your worming program to a great start. Spring has sprung and there’s no better time to kick-start Evidence Based Worming on your horse properties. Most horse managers are, by now, very familiar with the narrative that small Strongyles – Cyathostomins - are becoming resistant to all of our current chemical anthelmintics. But, to date, this awareness is not yet transitioning into a more judicious use of anthelmintics across the industry and we really need to get our skates on! My scary story...

Nosebands: New Zealand votes to amend rules

August 2018

At their recent National Conference, Dressage New Zealand (DNZ) voted to amend the noseband rule which now states: "It must be possible to place one finger comfortably between the noseband and the nasal planum (front of the nose)". Whilst not quite the two-finger spacing that was originally submitted by North Island Riders Representative Alicia Zeludlko and Jody Hartstone with the support of area group Dressage Bay of Plenty, changing the place where noseband tightness is checked is a huge step in the right direction towards welfare improvements in their sport.

Use of tongue ties in Australian horse racing under fire

August 2018

Over 20% of Australian horses race with their tongues tied to their lower jaw Tongue-ties are used to tie horses’ tongues to their lower jaw. Photo by Horses and People Magazine. The use of widespread use of tongue-ties in horse racing in Australia has recently come under fire. Proponents of the tongue-tie – a strap that immobilises a horse’s tongue – argue that it prevents breathing issues during races, increasing performance and improves the rider’s control of the horse.

Tongue Ties: Trying to See the Whole Picture

July 2018

Whenever we want to get to the bottom of a question regarding equine performance, welfare, nutrition or disease, we must consider the science. Scientists make it their lives' work to drill down on their areas of interest in an effort to answer all the questions they and their peers have in that area. The value of their work is tremendous: it guides us, shapes our understanding and, eventually, our behaviours and actions. 

Embryo Transfer: Playing God or Employing Good Science?

June 2018

The practice of embryo transfer is becoming more and more accessible to breeders as a way of obtaining offspring from mares who might be compromised through age, fertility problems or injury in their ability to produce a healthy foal, or from those who still have an active competition career and can’t afford the ‘time off’ for active pregnancy. It is also becoming an important ‘life raft’ in the preservation of rare breeds.

Why Does My Horse... Put His Tongue Over the Bit?

May 2018

Sometimes, horses get their tongues over the bit. When this happens, the tongue may loll out of the mouth in a very unsightly way, and all hope of achieving a good contact or communication line with the horse’s mouth will be lost. In horse racing, it is believed a tongue over the bit will impair the horse’s airway. 

Nosebands: How Tight is Too Tight?

May 2018

If you’ve been bridle shopping lately, you may have noticed the choices are mind boggling and also it is near impossible to buy a plain cavesson noseband without a flash/drop/chin strap attached.  Riders involved in any discipline - from pony club, to adult riding, to advanced levels of showjumping and dressage - will have noticed the trend towards increasing amounts of ‘head gear’ over recent years. Perhaps so much so that a simple cavesson, loosely fitted, seems out of place in these environments, let alone the absence of a noseband altogether.

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? In Australia, judging from past articles in Horses and People, there are horse owners like those in the eastern United States and, because of the particular climate, they are likely to overdress their horses throughout the year.

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