Contemplating the Welfare and Training of Horses

Welcome back to the Equine Independent.

It is clearly very difficult to find purveyors of good material; there have been many offers of articles during the past couple of years but almost every follow-up has had no result. Those that have, were clearly either not of the standard expected or the content offered was contrary to the principles of the Equine Independent; therefore it has been more than a year since the last article was published. At frequent intervals during that time, thought has gone into revitalizing the site. Consequently some changes have been made to the look and structure—although all the content remains as before—with a view to relaunching the Equine Independent concept. These changes are ‘work-in-progress’ and as time goes on, certainly further changes will be made to keep the site as accessible and interesting as possible.

As part of the ‘relaunch’, a round up of equine press articles will form a regular feature. Without doubt, some will be controversial and readers are invited to make comment on these articles – and, for that matter, any other post on our site. The first thoughts were to publish quarterly but with all the articles that pass through the presses every month, that goal will probably be unattainable by dint of sheer numbers. Readers are also invited to propose reviews of articles they have read elsewhere.

Here is a small selection of articles for this month:

Comfort & the laminitic horse
which ties in directly with
Bute + Omeprazol

Perhaps we should be reassessing the use of NSAIDs anyway. There seems to be a general tendency to distribute Phenylbutazone at any opportunity while in fact, its indication is quite restricted.
Monitor all NSAID treated horses for colitis
Managing pain

On the subject of digestion:
Gastric ulcers
What is missing in this report is whether the horses at pasture were being fed commercial feeds in addition to grass (and hay?).

Here two vets talk about hoof stress:
Hoof stressors
although they seem to overlook the fact that any form of shoe is also going to add stress either to the hoof or to the joints – or both – and they forget to mention the importance of this problem:
Overweight horse – owner ban

While on the subject of overweight, this article talks about insulin dysregulation and its health consequences of obesity and laminitis:
Insulin moderators not necessary in healthy horse
Certainly laminitis can be a consequence but insulin dysregulation is more often than not a result of obesity and not the reverse (insulin dysregulation is little more than another name for diabetes). While it is interesting that there may be aids to managing insulin dysregulated horses, the most important message must be to feed correctly.

And while obesity is a major problem, we must be aware that rapid weight-loss is as dangerous:
Rapid weight-loss; dangerous?

At the other end of the scale, the starved horse has apparently a significant chance of survival when its body score index is sufficiently raised (what a surprise…)
One-point body score = 1500% improvement of survival rate
The error of this statement is that even Henneke’s index is based upon norms and that which is considered moderate (5) is probably one point too much. And once the horse gets to moderate and beyond, the health benefits of a higher body score diminish probably even more rapidly than having a slightly lower score.

And while on the subject of feeding:
Hay feeder height
– but what about the alternatives? A haynet is not the only means of feeding hay. Consideration should also be given to the necessity to restrict the amount of hay fed—often not at all necessary—but when it is, there are means of feeding that also reduce wastage appreciably compared with the traditional haynet.

And as a final seasonal topic:
Protection from autumn leaves

Please feel free to leave your observations in the comments section below.

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