Horse vs. Gator

Visitors to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, South of Gainesville, FL, witnessed an unusual standoff between a wild horse and an alligator. The horse took offense at the gator’s proximity to the herd and demonstrated that, at least on dry land, hooves win.


Irish War Cry Wins the Wood Memorial

Irish War Cry had a decisive win on Saturday, bouncing back after a disappointing seventh place finish in the GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream Mar. 4.

But the real comeback story here was jockey, Rajiv Maragh.

Maragh, 31, returned to the saddle Nov. 4 following a serious spill at Belmont Park in July 2015. The accident left him with several broken vertebrae, a broken rib, and a punctured lung, and required extensive and often painful rehabilitation.

“When I was down and out, these are the days I dreamed about,” said Maragh, who also guided home 2014 GI Wood Memorial hero Wicked Strong. “These are the days that made me feel I wanted to ride. You never know if you’ll get them again after being off so long. I can’t be more thankful for everyone who has been there for my recovery and supporting me now that I’m back. I’ve never been so emotional after a race in my life as I was after this.”

Read more here:…/

Treating Your Horse for Lyme: 4 Things You Should Know

Doxy and probiotics
The main treatment for Lyme is Doxycycline. Freedom is on an 8 week course. That’s longer than used to be prescribed. To protect his gut bacteria, he also gets a probiotic.

So, it’s official. Freedom has Lyme disease. The second round of blood tests were positive both for the SNAP test and the Cornell Multiplex. He’s symptoms indicated Lyme but it’s always nice to know you are treating something.  As we embark on his treatment, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learned about treating Lyme.

  1. The treatment protocol is now 6-8 weeks of Doxycycline. Freedom was treated for Lyme once before, back in 2011. At that time the recommendation was 4-6 weeks. And I can remember when the treatment protocol was just 30 days. The good news is that he completely recovered last time.
  2. Positive is positive. The magnitude of the titer does not correlate with how your horse feels. So, even though your horse may have a relatively low titer, he may feel terrible.
  3. Keep your horse moving. My vet told me to keep him active (he is on 24/7 turnout which helps).
  4. Treatment goes beyond antibiotics. Whenever you treat your horse with Doxy, you should supplement with a probiotic because antibiotics kill the beneficial gut bacteria. In addition to that, many vets recommend supportive care that includes:
    1. Omega 3 supplements, which have anti-inflammatory properties and support the immune system (Freedom gets flax seed),
    2. Vitamin E  to protect against muscle damage and the improve immune response. Natural vitamin E is has greater bioavailability, so look for products with d-alpha-tocopherol, not dl-alpha-tocopherol. Freedom tested deficient for Vitamin E awhile back, so he always gets it, but I’ve upped his supplementation while he’s being treated.
    3. Lots of forage to help avoid gastrointestinal problems. I’m a big proponent of lots of hay. I also mix his Doxy into soaked alfalfa cubes and grain to make sure he eats it all.
    4. A joint supplement: Since Lyme often manifests itself as joint soreness, feeding a joint supplement can help. Freedom gets Corta-Flx liquid.

Would love to hear of other treatments that people have used successfully!

Zelda’s April Fools Day Colic

Zelda post colic
Last night Zelda was colicky. There’s nothing sadder than a 1400 pound horse that wants to crawl into your lap because their stomach hurts. Luckily she felt much better today.

Yesterday we had an April Fools Day snow storm. The kind of  “gotchya” that New England throws at its residents every few years just to test our dedication to living here. It snowed all day. Wet, heavy snow. Temperatures hovered around 30 degrees. April Fool’s Day!

But my not-so-funny April Fool’s Day wasn’t over.

When I went to feed the horses dinner, I knew something was wrong because Zelda wasn’t at the gate waiting for her food. And she didn’t come galloping up from the bottom of the field when I whistled. You have to know Zelda to understand that meals are very, very important to her.

I could see her standing down by the run in shed. Just by the way she was standing — all stretched out — I knew she hurt. I sloshed through ankle deep mud and snow and led her into the barn.  Her head was low, her eyes were dull and she was shivering under her very wet blanket. She wasn’t wet under the blanket, but she was cold. She passed right by the open door to the hay storage and didn’t try to snatch a bite. Not good.

First thing I did was put a warm, dry blanket on her. The second, was to call the vet. I was able to take her temperature — 101.4 — but unable to find a pulse to check her heart rate. I decided that either my hands were frozen or she was already dead. It shouldn’t be that hard to find the pulse on an animal that size, but I now have a stethoscope on order.

Thank goodness for Banamine. It’s one of those drugs that is so important to have on hand. After a dose of Banamine and Milk of Magnesia, I walked for for awhile, hoping that she’d pass manure. Of course, I hadn’t dressed warmly enough when I went to the barn. I’d intended to feed and then have dinner with my husband in town. Instead we spent 2 hours at the barn and ate take out pizza in the aisle, waiting for Zelda to perk up.

And she did. By the time I left she was looking better and getting hungry. She had good gut sounds, but no manure. Why is that horses poop all the time when you don’t want them to but never when you really, really want them to?

Finally the vet said she could have a very soupy mixture of soaked alfalfa cubes. Zelda wasn’t thrilled. It’s not her favorite food. But she was hungry and she slurped them down. At least it got some warm water into her.

A midnight trip back to the barn showed a much improved Zelda. She came trotting up from the bottom of the field when she heard me coming, and nickered for food. Almost back to normal.

Today, she was chasing Curly away from her hay and acting fine. It was 53 degrees and sunny. It felt like a different season. Luckily, a better season.

Colic weather — the vast shifting of temperatures — makes horses more prone to colic because they may drink less, move less and eat less. Zelda had been fine at noon when she had some lunch, but some time during the six hours before dinner, something went wrong. I make it a practice when I feed in the winter to always add warm water and soaked cubes to their meals, but I guess that wasn’t enough. I’m just very glad that she responded so well to treatment.


Hobbyhorse Revolution

Imagine an equestrian sport where the horses are, well, hobby horses.  That’s right, stuffed horse heads attached to sticks. The type of toy you might well have “ridden” as a kid and which closely resemble the Quidditch sticks of Harry Potter.

Hobby horse show jumping
Show jumping with a hobby horse requires skill and athleticism.

But Hobbyhorsing is a serious sport in Finland where more than 10,000 athletes (mostly girls) take part. Competition in both dressage and jumping take place. Yes, the dressage looks a bit like a Monty Python skit, but the show jumping takes some real skill. I’m not sure I could ever jump 54″ with or without a Hobbyhorse.

The girls look like they are having a great time and I’m sure their parents are grateful that these horses require no food, no board, and produce no manure.

Search #kepparitkunniaan on social media to see hobbyhorsing in action.

To learn more about hobbyhorsing, check out the Instagram hashtag #kepparitkunniaan, which translates to “respect the horses” — where the growing popularity of hobbyhorsing is most dramatically revealed


It’s shedding time and the SleekEZ is getting a workout

SleekEZ grooming Tool
This is the first year I’ve used the SleekEZ tool and it’s done a great job at shedding out the horses. You can see that it’s also effective at removing dander and dirt, too.

It’s shedding season. An unbelievable amount of hair is coming off both of my horses and I need help.

The company sent me a set of three of their tools in exchange for a review.

Last fall the folks at SleekEZ sent me a set of three of their grooming tools for me to review. Of course, last fall there was no real hair to remove. I used the tools occasionally to remove mud — they are very effective of that.

And I used the smallest one on my cats. They all seem pretty happy with it, and it has reduced the amount of errant cat hairs in the house. My short haired cat needs regular grooming and he tolerates it pretty well.

With three cats, I need a good grooming tool. My short haired tuxedo is a big shedder and needs regular grooming and he tolerates this about better than most.

But it really comes into its own when used on the horses.

The SleekEZ tool is pretty simple. It’s essentially a fine hacksaw blade set into a wooden handle. But sometimes simple is good. The tools are very easy to hold which makes it easy to make broad sweeping strokes, removing large quantities of hair. It’s better than the traditional shedding blade and the long length gets more hair than the Furminator that I bought a few years ago. In the past I’ve used a Slick ‘n Easy grooming block (make sure, if you Google it, that you don’t spell it differently!) and that works well but the block breaks if you drop it and it’s a bit harder to clean the hair off the stone.

Here’s the ultimate test — can the SleekEZ handle the think pelt of a Bashkir Curly? I got a lot more hair off her than my two combined!

I’ve been using it on both horses and even Freedom, who is a sensitive red head, hasn’t had any problems with it.  The grooming tool removes a ridiculous amount of hair — the birds in the neighborhood are going to have very soft nests this year.

So, this product gets a thumbs up from me.

Arrogate Wins the Dubai World Cup

Wow. Arrogate can really run. And Mike Smith showed his immense skill today in the $10 Million Dubai World Cup.

Arrogate broke so slowly from the gate that one commentator said it was, “like he was going out for a walk in the country.” The stallion was then bumped hard, leaving him trailing the 14 horse field. How did he manage to win by 2 1/2 lengths?  It was a testament to Mike Smith’s skillful riding and Arrogate’s  heart and incredible speed.

Smith explained what happened at the start after the race.

In the United States, Arrogate is used to having an assistant starter in the gate with him. This was the first time he had to break on his own. And basically, he didn’t.

“I don’t know if the (assistant starter) misunderstood me, but I said make sure you keep his head straight. And then he got out instead,” Smith said. “My horse just didn’t realize he had to break. But you know what? Things happen for a reason.”

The Paulick Report