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  Sun Mar 26

Horse Facts

Horses are scientifically called Equines. This derivates from their Latin name, Equus caballus. Close to them are donkeys, zebras, mules, the hinny and the Onager that is also known as the Asian Wild Ass.


Equines have been domesticated and bred by man for approximately 6000 years. They can be kept together with other animals as companions, e.g. sheep, goats, donkeys or cattle. They can be very attached to smaller animals, like cats. Dogs need to be well behaved and trained to avoid accidents, because horses are easily scared by dogs.


Have you ever wondered how old a pony/horse can get?

The oldest horse I’ve ever seen in veterinary practice was 48 years old! Usually they reach 30 years, ponies often live even longer. Their age can be estimated by looking at the incisors of the upper and lower jaws. From the age of 12 on it becomes very hard to say how old it really is, because the teeth are becoming worn that much.


Did you know how Equines are called at the different stages of life?

Any young baby-horse is called foal until it is 6 months old, then up to the age of 2 years we talk about yearlings. If it is a male horse it is called colt as long as it is under 4 years old. If it gets older than 4 we call him stallion. Most colts will be operated (castrated), because they are not intended to be used for breeding and they will be easier to handle, ride or drive and keep. After castration (removal of the testicles), it is called a gelding. A young female pony or horse is a filly and after the age of 4 years we call it a mare.


Did you know that Equines are very social animals?

We call a group of ponies or horses herd. In a herd is a clear defined hierarchy or ranking amongst the animals: the strongest, leading female is called alpha mare. One stallion can live together with about 20 -25 mares in a natural herd.
It is very important therefore to keep a horse always together with another companion, because kept on their own they soon become lonesome and suffer.


Do you speak "Horse-ish"?

You probably experienced already how equines communicate with each other. Whinnying and neighing can be heard, if you ride away from other horses or if they meet. Mares express very different sounds when they are nursing a foal. Deep, smooth sounds, whickering can be heard then. You might also have heard it at feeding time from other horses. To warn others in the herd, they use an alarming snorting. If two new ponies meet they are snuffling at each other and are very excited. Usually you can hear a sharp and loud squealing sound. They often face each other, squeal and lift a front leg or back up and swirl round, ready to kick. When a mare is in season, a stallion can express a loud roaring which is his mating call.


About "Gears" and Speed


This list of horse facts for kids would not be complete without mentioning how the different speeds or gaits are called: the slowest is called Walk. A bit faster than that is the Trot. It can be a bit hard to sit the Trot comfortably. The Canter is faster than trot and the fastest pace is the Gallop. There are also some breeds, like the Icelandic pony or sometimes the Trotter which are able to perform Toelt or Pace. These gaits are extremely comfortable to sit!



Did you know how and where a horse’s height is measured?

They are measured on the tallest point of the spine, the whither. You can find this very bony part of the spine directly at the end of the neck, where you usually put the front of saddle to. The height is measured in cm or in hands (hh). A pony reaches up to14.2 hh, a horse measures over 14.2 hh.


How well do you know horse breeds?

We have got a countless breeds on our planet! They can be very different in color, height and shape.


Thoroughbreds are bred for the turf and racing and their color is usually brown, bay or black. They reach 14.2 – 17.2 hh. One of the oldest breeds is the Arab. It stands at 14 – 15 hh, the colors are black, bay, brown, chestnut and grey. Their face is in a concave or incurved shape, their nostrils are exceptionally big. Go from Page Horse facts for Kids to Arabian Horse.

The modern sports horse for dressage, show-jumping and driving is a Warmblood and you certainly have heard about some well known breeds, like Hannoverian, Dutch Warmblood, Friesian, Oldenburger, Trakehner etc. They can reach easily 17 – 18 hh and have mostly solid colors, like black, brown, bay, chestnut and grey. Friesians are usually black.

Pony breeds can be very variable in shape and color. Shetland ponies are reaching up to 10-11 hh and come in very different colors. Go from Page Horse facts for Kids to Page Shetland pony.

Norwegian Fjords can grow up to 14.2hh and come in variable shades of dun. Welsh ponies are classified as Welsh A, B, C and D. They are very variable in colors and the size.

Draft horses are also known as “Cold bloods” they are heavier built animals with very strong necks and backs and usually huge hooves. The Shire horse, the Clydesdale, Percheron and Suffolk Punch are recognized heavy breeds in the UK. Go from Page Horse facts for Kids to Heavy Horses in the UK.


Hooves and Legs

hoof sagittal

Horses are able to stand while sleeping without falling down! This is possible, because they have got a tendon system around the bones and joints of the legs, which does not get tired for a long time. In comparison, we get easily tired limbs and feet and need to sit or lie down.
Do you know what our equivalent to a hoof is? The nail of our middle fingers and middle toes! Can you imagine how badly it hurts, if a horse suffers from founder? That is as if you would have an inflamed nail bed!


Go from Page Horse facts for Kids to Hoof Care to see more hoof pictures.



Photo: Alex Brollo

  • Pink: skin and soft tissues
  • Brown: walls
  • Light gray: bones (P1, part; P2; P3 (coffin bone); navicular)
  • Red: walls and sole living leather skin (corium)
  • Dark gray: frog
  • Orange: toe sole
  • Yellow: digital cushion
  • Turquoise: tendons (extensor, front; deep palmar flexor, back)

Equine Senses

Equines sense their environment differently to us humans. Their senses are very good, because this helps to survive as prey animals in the wild. They can smell better than we, they can hear a lot sharper and are able to turn their ears into various directions and the eyes are located on the side of the head. So they are able to see far behind themselves, but not very sharp. If they sense danger they instinctively run!


  Sat Mar 04

Can You Teach a Dumb Dog New Tricks?

If your canine seems clueless, it may be that it has been bred to be more independent, or not so eager to please its owner, Yin says.

Training will require more patience and the right kind of motivation, whether it's praise, petting, or treats.

"For breeds, instincts make a difference, but for the basics - 'sit,' 'come,' 'down' - they'll all learn at the same rate. With good technique, the difference might be a month," she says.

Her Australian cattle dog, for example, stays at her side when they're out and loves a pat on the head. Her Jack Russell terrier, a high-energy breed that didn't make the smart list, has to be rewarded lickety-split with a treat or he'll lose interest in learning. A pat on the head just won't do it.

The beagle, a breed trained to work independently, probably needs more training time, Yin says. And the bulldog, which scored well below average on obedience tests, can learn quickly - as long as he doesn't feel pushed around or punished

The beagle and bulldog are among the dog breeds on the bottom of Coren's list. These dogs had to hear commands 80 to 100 times or more before they obeyed them 25% or less of the time. They include:

1. Shih Tzu 2. Bassett hound 3. Mastiff/Beagle (tied) 4. Pekingnese 5. Bloodhound 6. Borzoi 7. Chow Chow 8. Bulldog 9. Basenji 10. Afghan hound (least obedient)
Redenbach doesn't like categorizing dogs as smart or dumb; she says that's too simplistic. Like Yin, she says positive and consistent training will make a good dog.

"The number of intelligent dogs I have met has been on the increase over the years, because the better trainer I become, the smarter I see they are," Redenbach says.

  Fri Mar 03


Astoundingly, for most of our history America’s nickname for Pit Bulls was “The Nanny Dog”. For generations if you had children and wanted to keep them safe you wanted a pit bull, the dog that was the most reliable of any breed with children or adults.
The Nanny Dog is now vilified by a media that always wants a demon dog breed to frighten people and LHASA-APSO BITES MAN just doesn’t sell papers. Before pit bulls it was Rottweilers, before Rottweilers it was Dobermans, and before them German Shepherds. Each breed in it’s order were deemed too vicious and unpredictable to be around people. Each time people wanted laws to ban them. It is breathtakingly ironic that the spotlight has turned on the breed once the symbol of our country and our national babysitter.
In temperance tests (the equivalent of how many times your kid can poke your dog in the eye before it bites him) of all breeds the most tolerant was the Golden Retriever. The second most tolerant was the pit bull.
Pit Bull’s jaws do not lock, they do not have the most powerful bite among dogs (Rottweilers have that honor) they are not naturally human aggressive (in fact pit bull puppies prefer human company to their mother’s two weeks before all other dogs), and they feel as much pain as any other breed (accidentally step on one’s toe and you’ll see).
The most tolerant, patient, gentle breed of dogs is now embarrassingly portrayed as the most dangerous. It would be funny if the new reputation did not mean 6,000 are put to death every day, by far the highest number of any other breed euthanized.
That’s a lot of babysitters.
(Pictured: As you’ll see, from the richest to the poorest and everything in between, in America the pit bull was the dog for kids. There are few things quite as obnoxious as rich parents. Be it a $3000 stroller or Louis Vuitton diaper bags the well off don’t want their little angels to be seen with anything an average middle class rugrat might have, let alone a child who might be, gasp, POOR! So is it now, so ever has it been in America.
In America one dog breed historically became known as the dog for people who are afraid of dogs.
One dog breed achieved such a rock solid reputation with children that for 150 years it was known as America’s “Nanny Dog”.
One dog breed became so trusted that despite the fact that no Kennel Club or Association recognized it, despite the fact that it could be found on the poorest farms and bleakest city neighborhoods with kids who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, rich people acquired them in droves because they were simply the safest, most tolerant breed to have around their gilded progeny.
Rich, poor, and everything in between, until recently Americans agreed that there were only a CERTAIN TYPE of people who would own a Pit Bull…
America’s Nanny Dog is the victim of a smear campaign that has turned common sense upside-down and robbed us of our historical memory. The dogs that we trusted with our children’s lives are now deemed too vicious to live among us. The dogs that in two World Wars were the symbol of the United States military itself are now ordered off its bases.
The Pit Bulls haven’t changed at all. Only the owners have.

  Sat Feb 18

Terms You Should Know about Animal Welfare

Acute Toxicity Test


A test designed to determine toxic effects within a short period of time (ranging from a few hours to the course of a day) after administering a specific dose (amount) of a test substance in one or more species. This test used to define certain toxic thresholds including minimum lethal dose (MLD), and the LD 50, or lethal dose that will kill 50% of the animals exposed. Substances are administered by mouth ("gavage" or force-feeding), by nose (inhalation), or skin ("dermal"); or injection into the bloodstream ("intravenous"), the abdomen ("intra-peritoneal"), or the muscles ("intra-muscular").

Animal Cruelty

Although the definition varies by state, generally, Animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care.

Animal Hoarding or Collecting

Obsessive-compulsive disorder in which an individual keeps a large number of animals—sometimes more than 100—in his or her home, and neglects to care for the animals and the home environment; "collectors" are usually in extreme denial about the situation. Technically, hoarding can be considered a crime, as it is a form of neglect.

Animal Testing

When scientists, students or commercial firms (e.g. cosmetic companies) use animals for biological research. These experiments aim to determine the safety and effectiveness of drugs, vaccines and products, researching how the human body works or fights disease or for educational purposes.

Animal Welfare Act

Passed into law in 1966, ensures that pets and animals used in research and for exhibition purposes are provided humane care and treatment. The act also assures the humane treatment of animals during transportation in commerce and outlaws the sale or use of stolen animals.

Battery Cage

A wire cage less than 16 inches wide where four or five hens are kept their entire lives—very tight quarters. These cages are lined up in rows and stacked several levels high on factory farms. It's been outlawed by the EU, but it's still allowed in the US.


The burning of a mark onto cattle or pigs using an extremely hot iron stamp, or “brand,” pressed hard into the animal’s flesh for several seconds without any pain killers.

Breeding Stock

Dogs that are kept in cages and are bred over and over again for years, without human companionship. They usually get very little health care and get no comfort. Once they can't breed anymore, they are often killed, abandoned or sold.


Chickens raised to be eaten on factory farms.

Bull Hook

A tool used to train and manage elephants. According to accounts by several former Ringling Bros. employees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), elephants that perform in Ringling Bros. circuses are repeatedly beaten with sharp bull hooks.


An event performed in Spain, Portugal, and parts of Latin America where a fighting bull is engaged in a series of tricks and maneuvers. Usually, the bullfighter kills the bull with a sword. Bullfighting is banned in many places including some cities in Spain. Supporters of bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition, while concerned with animal welfare argue that it is a blood sport because of the suffering of the bull and horses during the bullfight.

Canned Hunts

A practice in which hunters pay to shoot and kill exotic animals in a confined area from which they are unable to escape.

Charreadas (also Charrerias)

Rodeos popular in Mexico and the American Southwest which have components such as bull-tailing and horse-tripping which are considered by many to be forms of animal cruelty. Horse-tripping has been banned in California, Texas, New Mexico and Maine.


A blood sport in which two roosters specifically bred to fight are placed beak to beak in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death as a spectacle.

Crush Act

A federal law that prohibits people from knowingly creating, selling or possessing depictions of animal cruelty with the intent to place them in interstate or foreign commerce for financial gain.


The cutting through bone, cartilage and soft tissue to remove the top half and the bottom third of a chicken’s, turkey’s or duck’s beak. It's usually done to stop the birds from pecking out feathers and engaging in cannibalism which happens in stressed, overcrowded birds in factory farms.


Surgically amputating part of the last bone in an animal's toes. The surgery is non-reversible, and the animal suffers significant pain during recovery. Declawing has been outlawed in many countries in Europe.

Dog Fighting

An illegal betting contest in which two dogs are placed in a pit to fight each until the last dog is standing.


Animals headed for slaughter who become too sick or injured to walk unassisted.

Draize Tests

A test that is usually performed in rabbits to determine the ability of a chemical to irritate the skin and eye after an acute exposure. For the dermal irritation test, rabbits are prepared by removal of fur on the back by electric clipper. The test chemical is applied to the skin under four covered gauze patches. Occasionally, the test chemical may be applied to abraded skin. The degree of skin irritation is scored at various time intervals after the application. To determine the degree of eye irritation, the test chemical is instilled into one eye (usually 0.01 ml). The eye of the rabbit is then examined at various time intervals to score degree of irritation. Because of its controversial nature, the use of the Draize test in the U.S. and Europe has declined in recent years.

Ear Cropping

The cropping of a purebred dog's ears to conform to a breed standard. Although this unnecessary cosmetic surgery is regularly performed by veterinarians, it is often done by untrained individuals without anesthesia in non-sterile environments.

Factory Farm

A large-scale industrial site where many animals raised for food—mainly chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs—are confined and treated with hormones and antibiotics to maximize growth and prevent disease. The animals lead short, painful lives; factory farms are also associated with various environmental hazards.

Felony Cruelty

Animal cruelty is considered a crime in all 50 states. But in some states it is taken more seriously-and can carry a felony charge, rather than a misdemeanor.

Feral Cat

A cat too poorly socialized to be handled and who cannot be placed into a typical pet home; a sub-population of free-roaming cats.

Foie Gras

A food item, considered a gourmet delicacy, produced from the liver of ducks or geese who have been force-fed enormous quantities of food two or three times per day through a pipe inserted into the bird's esophagus. The force-feeding process is done for three to four weeks before slaughter and can result in the rupture of internal organs, respiratory difficulties, infection and premature death.

Forced Molting

Process by which egg-laying hens are starved for up to 14 days, exposed to changing light patterns and given no water in order to shock their bodies into molting. It is common for 5% to 10% of hens to die during this process.

Hog-Dog Fighting (also Hog-Baiting or Hog-Dog Rodeos)

A blood sport in which a hog or feral pig is mauled by a trained fighting dog in an enclosed pen. Because its legality, as determined by state anti-cruelty laws, can be vague, many states, particularly in the American South where hog-dog fighting is more common, have passed laws specifically criminalizing it.

Intentional Cruelty

Intentional cruelty occurs when an individual purposely inflicts physical harm or injury on an animal; usually an indicator of a serious human behavior problem.

Internet Hunting (also Remote-Controlled or Computer-Assisted Hunting)

Combines video shooting games with the power of Internet technology to allow a remote computer user to kill real animals. At the game ranch that the “hunters” see on their monitors, a gun is mounted on a robotic tripod controlled by their computer mouse. Animals are lured within close range with food, at which time the armchair hunter can line up a shot and “fire” at will. Legislation has been passed to ban Internet hunting in many states.

Killer Buyers

Middlemen who travel from horse auction to horse auction, purchasing any horse they can. They eventually sell these animals to slaughterhouses for human consumption, but regularly subject horses to cruel and inhumane treatment-i.e. beating them, depriving them of food and water.

Leg Hold Trap

This steel-jaw trap is most often used to trap wild animals that are killed for their fur, such as beavers, lynx, bobcats and otters. Trapped animals usually do not die instantly, and are left to suffer intense pain, dehydration and starvation. Sometimes dogs and cats who are allowed to roam outdoors are also caught and killed in these traps.


The failure to provide an animal with the most basic of requirements of food, water, shelter and veterinary care. Neglect is often the result of simple ignorance on the animal owner's part and may be handled by requiring the owner to correct the situation.

Neutering (AKA Castration)

The surgical removal of the reproductive glands (testes) of the male animal.

Pound Seizure

The transfer or sale of shelter animals to research facilities of any kind, including those that engage in scientific research and experimentation. As of 2004, 14 states and many communities prohibit pound seizure either by state law or local regulation.


A hormone replacement therapy drug made from pregnant mares' urine (PMU), collected from horses who are confined in stalls for half the year, strapped to urine collection funnels.

Puppy Mill/Kitty Mill

Breeding facilities that produce large numbers of purebred dogs and cats. The animals are regularly sold to pet shops across the country. Documented problems of puppy mills include over-breeding, inbreeding, poor veterinary care and overcrowding.


A form of abuse to show horses where a mechanical or chemical agent is applied to the lower leg or hoof of a horse, for the purpose of "enhancing" the animal's gait, forcing him to throw his front legs up and out.


A currently or recently owned dog or cat that may be lost; usually well socialized but may become wary over time. A stray's kittens or pups may be feral.

Spaying (AKA Ovario-Hysterectomy)

The surgical removal of the reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes) of the female animal.

Spent Hen

A classification of female fowl after one or two years of producing eggs at an unnaturally high rate. No longer financially profitable for factory farmers, they are slaughtered.

Tail Docking

When a purebred dog's tail is cut to conform to a breed standard. Although this cosmetic surgery is performed by veterinarians, it is often done by amateurs, without anesthesia, in non-sterile environments.

The 3 Rs

Methods used in animal research as an attempt to alleviate a research animal's pain and suffering. Researchers are required to consider using reduction alternatives (methods that reduce the number of animals needed in a study), refinement alternatives (methods that alleviate or minimize potential pain and distress and enhance animal well-being) and replacement alternatives (finding means other than using animals to achieve the goals of the study).


An operation, performed on cats, which severs the tendons in the toes so that the cat is unable to extend his/her nails to scratch. Owners who choose to have this surgery performed must clip their cat’s nails regularly, as the cat is unable to maintain them him/herself.


The act of chaining/tying an animal, usually a dog, to a stationary object as a means of confinement. Tethering is a risk factor for aggressive behavior and dog bites.

Trap/Neuter/Return (AKA TNR)

A method of managing feral cat colonies that involves trapping the animals, spaying or neutering them, vaccinating them (ideally) and returning them to where they were found.

White Veal

From birth to slaughter at five months, calves used to produce "formula-fed" or "white" veal are confined to two-foot-wide crates and chained to inhibit movement. They are fed an iron-and fiber-deficient diet resulting in anemia; the lack of exercise retards muscle development, resulting in pale, tender meat.


Literally, “vivisection” means the cutting of or operation on a living animal, and historically referred only to experiments that involved the dissection of live animals. The terms is now used to refer to any animal experimentation especially if considered to cause distress to the subject.

Source: ASPCA

  Sat Feb 11


There are only two kinds of horses.... those that have laminitis and those that could someday get it!

So what is laminitis and how do horses get it?
Put simply, laminits is the inflamation of the sensitive laminar corium in the hoof, causing a breakdown of the bond between the hoof wall and the coffin bone.
Severe cases are commonly known as founder and major causes are by eating sugar rich grasses, but it can also be caused by concussion of the hooves on hard surfaces, over-eating grain, infection from retaining afterbirth, excessive weight bearing on one leg, stress, vaccinations and medications.
There are many good texts giving much greater detail on the causes and treatments, so if you own a horse, you should be aware of how this condition occurs and how to keep your horse from suffering it.
One such book with an excellent chapter on laminitis is The Sound Hoof - Horse Health from the Ground up by Lisa Simons Lancaster (read a full review). You can purchase this book from
This book lists the early clinical signs of laminitis as:
  • Reluctance to move freely (especially on hard/rough surfaces).
  • Blood stains visible in the white line or hoof wall.
  • Pulse and respiration may be elevated due to pain.
  • When moving, prefers to canter rather than trot if given a choice.
  • Feet are off balance - may have long toes, high heels or both.
  • Moves forward soundly but takes slightly shorter than normal strides.
  • Sound on soft terrain but may limp or stumble on hard or rocky ground.
  • Sole bruising and a stretched white line (in some horses, by the time you see this they have been compromised for quite some time).

    If your horse's hooves have numerous stress rings like this one, it probably indicates repeated episodes of sub clinical laminitis.

    Late clinical signs: (Founder)
  • Lies down a lot
  • Standing but will not move
  • Bounding digital pulse
  • Sole hot to the touch
  • White line stretched
  • Will not allow you to pick up a foot
  • Stops eating
  • Sole bruise in the shape of a coffin bone
  • Shifting weigh tfrom foot to foot (swaying side to side).
  • Standing with front legs stretched out, back arched, trying to lean back to get weight off toes.
  • When asked to turn in a tight area like a stall or narrow barn aisle the horse rocks backwards onto haunches, lifts head up and lurches around because it hurts to turn the feet.

    Usually several of these signs will appear together or appear over the course of a few days.
    All of the signs need to be evaluated in context. No single indicator would be diagnostic for laminitis.
If you suspect your horse has laminitis or founder then do your research, ask many opinions from varied sources (natural hoof care practitioners, vets, farriers) and comminicate with others who have successfully rehabilitated a founderd horse or pony.
Then DO someting about it - just hoping that early signs will go away is leading to a severe case which is more painful for your horse and your pocket!
Better still, assess your horse's sitation before it occurs;
  • Do you have hooves trimmed regularly? (ie: every 4 weeks - not 8, 10 or 12) to maintain good hoof balance and health.
  • What is the diet? Grains, lucernes, rich grass or a fresh flush of grass all cause laminitic attacks.
  • What stresses does your horse endure? Travelling, competing, over training, illness, vaccinations, de-worming and medicating can all be triggers for laminitis.
Because laminitis is a "whole horse disorder" a holistic approach works well to identify and correct the root cause.
Be especially vigilant as spring grasses are starting to emerge. Restrict access to grass during the later part of the day and at night, and keep feeding plenty of hay so your horse doesn't feel the need to gorge on toxic grass.

For more detailed information on Laminitis and Founder go to articles at and

An in-depth presentation on laminitis can be found here on the

More Excellent advice and articles can be found if you click here to read
Carola Adolf's articles on Laminits.

FABULOUS ONLINE VIDEOS ALL HORSE OWNERS NEED TO SEE – learn more about the dangers of over-feeding your horse and how to tell if they are overweight. Click this link to Fran Jurga’s Hoofblog to read more about how we inadvertently overfeed our horses and cases of laminitis are rising as a consequence – the videos are each about 7-9 minutes long.


Amazing Founder Rehabilitation through hoof trimming and wholistic care.
Most vets and horse owners consider a severe case of laminitis to be a death sentence. Some think it’s too much hard work and expense for them and too much pain for the horse or pony to endure. But why should we give up on those wonderful creatures who have given us so much? Previously it was thought that a foundered pony or horse couldn’t ever return to soundness and therefore usefulness – I was one of them. Since meeting Glynn and being involved in his rehabilitation, I’ve discovered otherwise.
With a good natural hoof trim on a regular basis and changes to a more natural diet free of rich grasses, a horse can grow a whole new hoof (or 4). This re-aligns the pedal bone and the horse becomes sound and able to perform again. In the process the owner learns how to care for the horse so laminitis doesn’t re-occur. Everyone is a winner!

Here is the story of Glynn and his recovery.
Glynn is a 22 year old Welsh Section A stallion and was a show ring champion in NSW in his younger days.
His move to Tasmania last year onto richer grass, and in-frequent hoof care caused laminitis which was so severe that most vets would have recommended euthanasia.
All four pedal bones had rotated through his soles causing open wounds and extreme lameness.

Glynn's founder stance prior to the first trim.

Cynthia was called for advice in February 2005 and fortunately, respected QLD Hoof Trimmer, Peter Laidley was in Tasmania for a workshop so was able to do the initial trim and prescribe a course of treatment. Trims were continued by Cynthia along with daily love and care from his owner, followed by another check up from Peter in May.

In the space of seven months he went from being barely able to move, to trotting and cantering freely on grass. He is now able to handle walking on gravel and his hooves will continue to improve and toughen up now that they are back in shape.

Treatment Summary:
*A natural trim every week for 8 weeks, then every fortnight for the next 6 weeks & now every 3 weeks.
* Initial bandaging of the front hoof wounds to keep honey in and dirt out until the wounds were healed (3 months).
* Painkillers to keep spirits up and encourage some movement (gradually phased out after 4 weeks).
* Confinement away from grass in a large stock yard on soft footing (wood chips & straw then some pea sized gravel was added in wet areas).
Free choice average quality grass hay plus oaten chaff with supplements and a small amount of pellets (Hygain Ice recommended) and a few vegetables for variety.
Once the hooves have regained a sound shape, a small amount of grass is allowed daily (1 hour of grazing with a muzzle on). Once the grass dries off, more grazing can be gradually offered.


Right after the first trim and padded hooves, Glynn was able to get relief and stand comfortably.

The front hooves prior to the first trim - extremely high heels contributed to rotated pedal bones through the sole.

The worst front hoof showing the pedal bone through the sole.

Polystyrene pads initially provided support and relief.

9 months later the worst front hoof has regained a sound structure.

The hind hoof also showing a wound from the rotated pedal bone and blood in the white line.

A hind hoof half way through treatment showing the new and old growth.

The hind hoof 9 months later.

The front hoof is getting closer to its ideal shape 9 months later.

Glynn looking and feeling great 9 months later.

Glynn was trimmed by Peter Laidley for his 1 year anniversary trim and shows his appreciation with a pony kiss.

His hinds are looking fantastic.

His front hooves still have some recovery to do but are so much better.

Glynn looking good (but still a bit cresty) in Feb. 2006 exactly 12 months after his first rehab trim.

Your Horse is what it Eats - By Cynthia Cooper

Horses evolved to eat small amounts of grasses, herbs and minerals almost constantly throughout the day.
They covered many miles to reach water and lived in small herds of varied ages and sexes.
Does this sound like the modern horse?
Not really - their involvement with humans has necessitated their restriction and artificial feeding for ease of use as a working animal.
But today the majority of horses are used for pleasure and that pleasure need not be all ours. If we want a happy, healthy horse to provide many years of companionship then we can change our ways to suit their nature.
Many new ideas are replacing traditional methods of horsemanship and health care with hoof care and feeding now the focus. Natural Hoof Care practitioners and forage researchers have discovered that horses cannot be fed like cows – on high sugar grasses that maximise beef and milk production. To do so, compromises the health of our horses by causing laminitis as horses become more carbohydrate intolerant – commonly called ‘good doers’.
When horses eat high sugar grass it causes a toxic reaction in the hind gut which then affects the connection between hoof wall and laminae (sensitive internal structure). This causes common hoof ailments such as abscesses, seedy toe, white line disease and deformed, shallow, sensitive hooves.
With a little thought and planning, better management and feeding practices can change all of this.
Here are some changes you can make with feeding to improve health:
  • Ensure grass hay is fed as the main diet, along with free choice minerals and salt.
  • Try to feed as far from the water as possible to encourage movement.
  • Give your horse room to move by fencing a 10–30m wide track around your pasture which makes a long, thin paddock and restricts grass intake.
  • Restrict grass intake appropriately for each horse – most will need to be kept off grass during the evening when the grass sugars are highest. Some horses may only be able to tolerate a couple of hours in the very early morning, especially in spring.
  • Some ‘good doers’ will need to wear a grazing muzzle some of the time to remain with the herd. It’s not comfortable for them to wear a muzzle all the time and colic may result if they don't get enough bulk food (such as hay). It is reccommended to remove the muzzle and horse/pony from the grass and feed hay overnight.
  • Some good doers will need to have their ‘sugar rich’ hay soaked for a few hours to lower the sugar content. Rich hay is usually cut from rye grass & clover pastures designed for fattening cattle.
  • Avoid feeding grain unless your horse is receiving enough additional exercise to utilise the energy such as racehorses, endurance and performance horses. Broodmares, foals and young horses may need some grains and legumes (lucerne) to provide additional protein and calcium. All other horses will gain or maintain weight, safely on free choice hay.
  • Recommended Resources - BOOKS:
    The Natural Horse – Jaime Jackson
    Paddock Paradise – Jaime Jackson
    Founder: Prevention & Cure – Jaime Jackson
    Making Natural Hoof Care Work For You – Pete Ramey
    The Secret of Happy Horses by Sabine Kells
    A Lifetime of Soundness by Dr Strasser
  Mon Feb 06

Parts of the Western Saddle

  Mon Feb 06

Dogs Can Detect if someone has Cancer

Dogs can detect if someone has cancer

Dogs can detect if someone has cancer just by sniffing the person's breath, a new study shows.

Dogs can identify chemical traces in the range of parts per trillion. Previous studies have confirmed the ability of trained dogs to detect skin-cancer melanomas by sniffing skin lesions.

Also, some researchers hope to prove dogs can detect prostate cancer by smelling patients' urine.

Lung- and breast-cancer patients are known to exhale patterns of biochemical markers in their breath.

"Cancer cells emit different metabolic waste products than normal cells," Broffman said. "The differences between these metabolic products are so great that they can be detected by a dog's keen sense of smell, even in the early stages of disease."

  Fri Feb 03

St. Bernard

While I was Researching The St. Bernard. I found this:

Barry der Menschenretter (1800–1814), also known as Barry, was a dog of a breed which was later called the St. Bernard that worked as a mountain rescue dog in Switzerland for the Great St Bernard Hospice. He predates the modern St. Bernard, and was lighter built than the modern breed. He has been described as the most famous St. Bernard, as he was credited with saving more than 40 lives during his lifetime.

The legend surrounding him was that he was killed while attempting a rescue; however, this is untrue. Barry retired to Bern, Switzerland and after his death his body was passed into the care of the Natural History Museum of Bern. His skin has been preserved through taxidermy although his skull was modified in 1923 to match the Saint Bernard of that time period. His story and name have been used in literary works, and a monument to him stands in the Cimetière des Chiens near Paris. At the hospice one dog has always been named Barry in his honor and since 2004 the Foundation Barry du Grand Saint Bernard has been set up to take over the responsibility for breeding dogs from the hospice.
St. Bernard dogs are no longer used for Alpine rescues, the last recorded instance of which was in 1955. As late as 2004, the Great St Bernard Hospice still maintained 18 of the dogs for reasons of tradition and sentiment. In that year the Barry Foundation created breeding kennels for the breed at the town of Martigny down the Pass, and purchased the remaining dogs from the Hospice.

The animals bred by the Foundation are trained to participate in a variety of dog sports including carting and weight pulling. The dogs at the Barry Foundation are reportedly smaller than the average St Bernard.

Known as a classic example of a Gentle Giant, the Saint Bernard is calm, patient and sweet with adults, and especially children. However St. Bernards, like all very large dogs, must be well socialized with people and other dogs in order to prevent fearfulness and any possible aggression or territoriality. The biggest threat to small children is being knocked over by this breed's larger size. Overall they are a sweet, gentle, calm, loyal and affectionate breed, and if socialized are very friendly. Because of its large adult size, it is essential that proper training and socialization begin while the St. Bernard is still a puppy, so as to avoid the difficulties that normally accompany training large dogs. An unruly St. Bernard may present problems for even a strong adult, so control needs to be asserted from the beginning of the dog's training. While generally not instinctively protective, a St. Bernard may bark at strangers, and their size makes them good deterrents against possible intruders

  Sat Jan 14

Pleuropneumonia in Horses - shipping sickness

Over recent years, quite a number of valuable horses have developed acute infection within the lung and chest commonly referred to as 'travel sickness' or 'shipping disease'.
Horses that have raced or been subjected to strenuous exercise immediately prior to long distance travelling are particularly prone to developing pleuropneumonia, which if not recognised and treated early, is invariably debilitating and may be fatal.


Cause   Top Low grade viral infection, breathing contaminated air in poorly ventilated transports and the stress of travel appear to be the main underlying causes.
Travel stress includes:
  • noise
  • cramped spaces
  • high speed driving
  • swaying of trailers, and
  • inadequate rest stops.
    'Short tying' the head can lead to the spread of bacteria from the nose and mouth area into the deeper parts of the respiratory tract, predisposing the horse to travel sickness. The risk of travel sickness is increased if horses are unable to put their heads down to drain normal respiratory secretions.
    Travel sickness is also a problem in horses travelled by air over long distances. Studies have shown that general airborne contamination is highest at the rear of the aircraft and transports, and horses travelling at the rear are most likely to develop the condition.
    Transporting horses which are suffering from underlying viral disease, or are tired and dehydrated after racing or competition, increases the risk.
    Dusty feed and hay containing bacterial germs and moulds, and breathing in dust from roads, results in inhaled contamination, which overloads the lungs' defence system. Unfortunately, many modern 'streamlined' floats and horse transports are often poorly ventilated.
Symptoms   Top It is important to watch for and recognise the tell-tale signs early, especially during the few days following a long trip.
Horses with early pleuropneumonia:
  • become depressed
  • develop a fever
  • go off their feed, and
  • pant in shallow, rapid breaths.
    Early signs may be confused with colic, as horses resist moving, stand with the front legs apart, and paw the ground. As the condition worsens, the horse may turn to look at its painful chest.
    Immediate veterinary advice should be obtained. Unfortunately, once pleuropneumonia worsens, it is difficult to treat, and can result in death within 3-5 days.
Prevention   Top
  1. Always ensure that horses are cooled down, and given a drink before long distance travel. In very tired, dehydrated or stressed horses, long distance travel of over 12 hours duration should be delayed until they recover, preferably at least overnight.
  2. Ensure ventilation is sufficient to keep air flowing without causing chills. An adequate rate of air change is important in large transports carrying a number of horses over long distances.
  3. Provide dampened feed or pellets to reduce dust and airborne contamination. Lightly dampen hay, in particular, by wrapping a biscuit of hay in a wet chaff bag for 2-4 hours to reduce dust and other airborne contamination. This will increase palatability of hay and provide additional moisture during long trips. Locate feeders below chest bar height.
  4. Do not tie the head too short - give the horse as much space as possible to feel comfortable and be able to put its head down. Stallion dividers may be required to prevent horses squabbling during transport.
  5. Avoid transporting horses suffering from respiratory disease. If a horse has symptoms, do not transport it as it may infect others during the trip.
  6. Ensure the trailer is in good condition and level on the towbar. Drive steadily and smoothly. Keep the back flap down to reduce intake of swirling dust on dirt roads.
  7. Stop every 3-4 hours and open the trailer doors. If possible, unload and allow the horse(s) to walk around, or preferably graze or feed with the head down for at least 15-20 minutes. Provide access to drinking water at rest stops. A 60ml dose of Recharge over the tongue will replace electrolytes and stimulate drinking.
  8. If a horse has competed or raced hard, give it a day off after a long trip. Turning the horse into a grassy green paddock to graze with its head down for a few hours, or putting dampened feed in a bin at floor level, will encourage drainage of the respiratory system.
  9. After travelling a horse over a long distance, keep a careful watch for loss of appetite, depression, fever and obvious discomfort for the first few days. It is a good idea to monitor the horse's temperature morning and night for at least 3 days after long trips, and seek vet advice if the temperature is elevated (the normal body temperature of an adult horse is 36.5-38.5°C).
  Sat Jan 14

The Hackamore

A hackamore is a type of bridle without a bit. It is designed to control the horse via pressure points on the nose and chin, instead of using pressure in the mouth like a bit does.

The hackamore is derived from a Spanish tradition, and thus more often seen in western events, although they are also seen in show jumping, eventing, and endurance riding.

There are three main types of hackamores: the mechanical hackamore, the side-pull, and the bosal.


A horse wearing a bosal hackamore. Source: Wikipedia

The bosal is a mild and "true" hackamore, meaning it does not work off of leverage. It balances on the horse's nose and uses pressure on the nose and jaws to direct the horse. It is often used on young horses because it is very mild. The bosal consists of a thick, stiff noseband with a knot at the bottom where both reins attach. The reins on a bosal are traditionally called mecate, and are often made of horsehair. Even though it is mild, a bosal is best used by an experienced horseman with light hands.

The mechanical hackamore is sometimes not considered a "true" hackmore because it works off of leverage.

It consists of a stiff rope or leather over the nose, with two metal shanks, and a chin strap or curb chain. Like a curb bit, the severity of the hackamore will increase with the length of the shanks.

The mechanical hackamore is one of the most harsh, because it works off of leverage unlike other "true" hackamores. A rider must be gentle and use soft hands since this type of hackamore works off of leverage and can easily injure a horse's sensitive face. A mechanical hackamore with a sniff nose or curb chain should always be wrapped in a soft material to provide padding. Vetwrap is often used over rope nosebands or curb chains. A mechanical hackamore is not a good choice for an inexperienced rider because it requires more subtlety.


The side pull is a very mild hackamore which functions much like a halter with a lead rope clipped to each side.
The sidepull

is a simple hackamore that consists of a loop of material over the nose and reins that connect directly to the side. It uses direct pressure to control the horse, not leverage, and thus is very mild. The noseband is often leather and has a strap that goes under the jaw of the horse. Because a sidepull is very mild, it is good for inexperienced riders so they do not injure the horse's mouth.
A jumping cavesson is a type of sidepull hackamore that is used often used in English jumping events.

Some horses prefer hackamores to bits. Horses that will not tolerate a bit, or that have had injuries in the mouth, are often ridden in hackamores.

Some riders feel the hackamore is less harsh because it does not involve pressure in the mouth, however a hackamore must still be used with care. Hackamores, if used improperly, can cause just as much damage as a bit can.

Ultimately the choice to use a bit or a hackamore it is up to the horse. Some horses work very well in hackamores while others do not. Some horses however are so sensitive in the mouth that they cannot be ridden in anything other than a hackamore.


Example of a mechanical hackamore. Note the sheepskin that pads the chinstrap. Source: wikipedia

This is an example of a sidepull, this jumping cavesson has a leather loop over the nose that controls the horse. Source: Wikipedia

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