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ISES Rome 2018: In search of La Dolce Vita: What constitutes 'The Good Life' for horses?

August 2018

This September, the world’s leading equine scientists will gather at the 14th annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference in Rome to share their latest research findings and discuss what constitutes a good life for horses. The conference theme is Equine welfare: good training, good feeding, good housing, good mental state, good health, good behaviour. Many horse owners believe their horses live ideal lives with optimal welfare.

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. 

A Vaccine for Queensland Itch

July 2018

The type of allergic dermatitis known as Queensland Itch, Summer or Sweet Itch has so far proven impossible to cure and difficult to manage, but a new study suggests a vaccine may soon be available to provide the relief horses and their owners are looking for. Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is an allergic reaction to the bite of the female Culicoides midge, a blood-sucking insect found in all countries except Antarctica, New Zealand and Iceland.

Learn to Recognise Subtle Lameness

July 2018

The Animal Health Trust has released a four-part video series to help horse owners and service providers learn to recognise subtle lameness. The result of many years of groundbreaking research, these videos are a must watch for all. One of the United Kingdom's most eminent equine orthopaedic specialists, Dr Sue Dyson, is playing a leading role in a series of new educational videos aimed at helping riders, owners, trainers and veterinarians to recognise musculoskeletal pain and subtle lameness sooner.

The Mystery of Marengo

June 2018

The life of a war horse in Napoleon’s Grande Armée was hard, dangerous, and usually short. Nearly a quarter of a million French cavalry horses died on campaign between 1805 and 1815. Most of these were killed during his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. 

Helmets: 20 (More) Reasons to Put a Lid on It

June 2018

Horse riding is dangerous. I’m not going to go into the statistics on horse-related injury and fatality because they are far from straightforward. Do you calculate injury rates per ride, per hour spent in the saddle or per jump attempt?  Suffice to say that all accidents range from annoying to tragic, and the statistics for any sport as a whole are not going to matter when an accident happens to you or someone you know. 

Bottoming Out

June 2018

In hindsight, this is what I think happened. Dante was sore. He has a long back and a lean build. At five, he’s physically immature. He is growing quickly and his saddle had become tight on his shoulders in the three months since it had last been adjusted.  His soreness corresponded to me injuring my knee (not horse-related). As we were both developing our soreness issues, I made a couple of mistakes. I can see them as mistakes in hindsight, but at the time didn’t realise I was doing the wrong thing. In fact, I thought I was doing the right thing. 

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?

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. 

Are You a Rider or a Trainer?

April 2018

Humans have loved horses and their movement since the time of the Lascaux cave paintings of the Ice Age. But, the question I would like to ask is: Have horses loved humans? I’ve spent 40 years in the horse industry in different countries. From mucking out, grooming, tacking up, riding and competing to finally, in the last 20 years, becoming an equine rehabilitation professional, it has been a long and sometimes difficult road. 


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