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Horse Welfare

Older Horses can Thrive in their Golden Years

March 2016

Today’s horses are living longer and more comfortable lives as the workload has decreased significantly and due to improvements in veterinary medical technology, general management and knowledge of equine nutrition. One hundred years ago when horses were used for transportation, work and farming very few lived to see their golden years.

How to Fit a Bit and Bridle Correctly

March 2016

As horse owners, we have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of our horses. Every time you ride, your position, posture and aids have a direct impact on your horse. But, how can you successfully communicate with your horse if your tack is creating discomfort or, at worst, causing your horse severe pain? Often, we’re confronted with behavioural difficulties that can be fixed by routinely checking our tack for wear and correct fit. Does your horse lug? Do they chew the bit? Do they open the mouth or try to get the tongue over the bit? Do they tip their head?

A Better Future for Ageing Racehorses

March 2016

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) are a step closer to preventing the kind of injuries that affect ageing racehorses, like champion hurdler Rock on Ruby, the winner of Coral Hurdle at Ascot in 2015. For the first time, the team at QMUL's School of Engineering and Materials Science were able to show how the types of proteins differ in parts of the tendon and, importantly, how this changes as the tendon ages.

New Method for Detecting Doping in Racehorses

March 2016

Doping in the horseracing industry has spurred regulations banning performance-enhancing drugs, as well as calls for an anti-doping agency in the United States. But, as in human sports, testing for certain kinds of prohibited substances has been a challenge. Now, scientists report in Analytical Chemistry a new detection method that could help anti-doping enforcers determine whether a horse has received certain substances.

Miniatures Are Not Backyard Mowers

January 2016

What appears cute and cuddly, like a living doll, having most of the characteristics of a horse, but seems easier to manage? A miniature pony or horse. In Australia, miniature horses and ponies are recognised by some as separate breeds, but their welfare requirements are the same. At the present time, miniatures are very popular, some being registered and many others not. 

Welfare Issue: Leaving Halters on in the Field

January 2016

Despite advances in our understanding of equine welfare and safety, it isn’t uncommon to see turned-out horses wearing halters at all times. Yet horror stories abound of accidents caused by halters in the field, ranging from strangulation to severe skin abrasion.  RSPCA Australia cares for hundreds of neglected and abandoned horses every year and officially advises against the practice. With so many potential complications, what prompts knowledgeable horse owners to take the risk? The reasons ‘Hard to catch’

Draw Reins Banned in Swiss Equestrian Federation Events

December 2015

The Swiss Equestrian Federation recently announced a ban on the use of draw reins in all stages of equestrian events and for all disciplines. The new rule, which will come into effect on January 1st 2016, has been announced one year after the Swiss Government effected a ban on other horse training practices, namely ‘rapping’ (a strategy used to sensitise the horse’s legs to improve jump performance) and ‘rollkur’ (hyperflexion). 

10 Signs Your Horse May Be in Pain

November 2015

“Many, many horses are in pain and the people responsible for their wellbeing usually don’t even know it.” - Dr Tucker, DVM, Equine Veterinarian and Chiropractor How often do we hear horse people say things like “my horse is cold backed or girthy” using the same tone of voice as if they were telling someone their horse was a bay mare?

Have Your Say | Whiskers

November 2015

We asked our readers to share their opinions... Do you trim your horse’s whiskers and why have you made that choice?   Josselin Milette: “They were put on horses for a reason. I have seen many horses end up with cuts on their faces after they were trimmed off :(“

Study into Horse Facial Expressions Will Benefit Welfare Research

September 2015

Researchers of the University of Sussex have developed a system that allows for an objective assessment and recording of all facial expressions, and could help future research into both negative and positive welfare states in horses.   The findings of this new study, which were published in the open source journal PLOS ONE this month, suggest evolutionary parallels in different species in how the face is used for communication.

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