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Biosecurity Workshop @ e-Session Dates Announced by Equine Guelph

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 26, 2012 13:45

January 26, 2012– Find out what steps you can take to protect your barn from sporadic disease, outbreaks and infectious diseases.


“The recent devastating outbreak of EHV-1 in North America has highlighted the importance of infection control and biosecurity, as well as the deficiencies in knowledge and application that are present across the industry,” says Scott Weese, associate professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Guelph.  Proof-positive that the time for prevention has now arrived is the January 2012 biosecurity update from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirming cases of Equine Herpes in Southern Ontario.


Equine Guelph’s “Beat the Bugs with Biosecurity,” program promotes biosecurity throughout all sectors of the horse industry. The program is funded through the Agricultural Biosecurity Program (ABP), part of the Best Practices Suite of programs under Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of several Growing Forward programs in Ontario.


“Increasing knowledge of best biosecurity practices stands to benefit the horse industry by reducing the risk of disease transmission and, in turn, could create a huge positive economic impact and prevent a potential catastrophic outbreak,”  says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker.


The “Beat the Bugs” program includes four workshops, conducted by biosecurity specialists, offered free of charge on a first come, first served basis. The workshops are scheduled as follows:  Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, March 7, 1 – 3pm; Western Fair, London (during Can-Am), March 16, 10am – noon; Kemptville College, Kemptville, March 24, 2 – 4pm; and Georgian Downs, Barrie, March 27, 1:30 – 3:30pm.  Contact Susan Raymond at Equine Guelph, slraymon@uoguelph.ca, to register and for more information.


For those who are looking to take their biosecurity knowledge to the next level, a two-week Equine Biosecurity e-Session is available April 16 – 29 for $75 (plus HST) per person.  Contact Susan Raymond at Equine Guelph, slraymon@uoguelph.ca, to register and for more information.


“Beat the Bugs” has been developed by Equine Guelph with the assistance of its 11 industry partners: American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Colorado State University, Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners, Ontario Equestrian Federation, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, Ontario Veterinary College, Standardbred Canada, Vétoquinol Canada Inc. and Woodbine Entertainment Group.


For more information on the “Beat the Bugs with Biosecurity” initiative, and to view the Biosecurity Risk Calculator, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca/biosecurity.php.






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disease | groom

Unwanted Horse Coalition presents at Horse World Expo

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 23, 2012 16:33

WASHINGTON, DC – January 23, 2012 - The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) was invited to participate in the University Seminars, courtesy of University of Maryland, at the Horse World Expo on January 20th in Timonium, Maryland. Ericka Caslin, UHC Director, gave an informative presentation about the UHC and unwanted horses to a group of Expo attendees.


The presentation, titled Unwanted Horses: The Issues and the Solutions, focused on responsible ownership and the options horse owners have when faced with the difficult decision of finding their horse a new home. Caslin said, “Many horse owners are not informed about the help that is available to them. The UHC helps owners understand their options, from donation to therapeutic riding programs, to horse owner assistance and grant programs.” Caslin gave the attendees information about the UHC’s Operation Gelding Program, as well as other similar programs offered by organizations throughout the industry. Caslin also reported the findings of the UHC’s 2009 Unwanted Horses Survey, which details the scope of the problem, the causes, and possible solutions.


Each attendee was given a copy of UHC’s brochure, The Problem of the Unwanted Horse: Own Responsibly and information about how to find additional materials on the UHC website, free of charge.


“It is extremely important to make sure that each horse owner has the knowledge of responsible horse ownership. In order to help our nation’s unwanted horses, we need to make sure we provide the tools and information to horse owners about their options,” said Caslin.


For information about the UHC or to request a speaker for your event, please contact Ericka Caslin at ecaslin@horsecouncil.org or 202-2964031. For information about horse owner assistance programs and facilities that accept horses, please visit www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org


The Unwanted Horse Coalition

The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety and responsible care and disposition of these horses. The UHC grew out of the Unwanted Horse Summit, which was organized by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and held in conjunction with the American Horse Council’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in April 2005. The summit was held to bring key stakeholders together to start a dialogue on the unwanted horse in America. Its purpose was to develop consensus on the most effective way to work together to address the issue. In June 2006, the UHC was folded into the AHC and now operates under its auspices.

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clinic | entertainment | general

Biosecurity Update: New EHV-1 case in Canada

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 23, 2012 14:18

   Veterinary Update

Animal Health and Welfare Branch/Office of the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


                                                    January 19, 2012

Confirmed Case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy in Southern Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been notified of a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1),  in Southern Ontario.  A blood sample from a horse with severe neurological signs tested positive for EHV-1 in early January. The horse was euthanized after its condition deteriorated.  On a second farm in the same area, another horse with similar signs was euthanized in late December.  No samples were collected from that horse.


In 2011, there was one laboratory-confirmed case and one suspect case of EHM in Ontario.


EHV-1 infection in horses can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal foal death, and/or neurological disease.  EHV-1 is not a federally Reportable Disease.  


Because infected horses may show no clinical signs, but still shed the virus, the temperature of suspect animals should be monitored twice daily for 14 -21 days and any abnormalities discussed with a veterinarian. Neurological signs include loss of muscle coordination, lethargy, inability to urinate, reduced tail tone and/or head tilt.  It is important that a veterinarian assess suspect cases of EHM, since it can be difficult to distinguish between this and other serious diseases, such as rabies, that can affect the nervous system in horses.


EHV-1 is easily spread by sharing contaminated equipment, contact with an animal carrying the virus, or by the clothing, hands or equipment of visitors to farms who recently had contact with an infected horse. 


All horse owners should be reminded to practice vaccination and appropriate biosecurity protocols and procedures (see links below) for horses and equipment coming on and off the farm, particularly if traveling to shows or events. 


Current EHV vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurological form of the disease. Implementing routine biosecurity practices is the best way to minimize the spread of this disease.


Increased vigilance is needed in the equine industry at this time.  In cases of neurological disease, a veterinarian’s first obligation is to rule out rabies if the animal dies or is euthanized, by submitting a brain sample to CFIA. Appropriate personal protection, such as gloves and a face shield, should be used when collecting samples.

The resources listed below contain excellent information on basic biosecurity practices and infection control.


Equine Herpes Virus is an opportunity to remind your clients that the best method of disease control is disease prevention.



























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competition | dressage | employment | groom | disease

American Horse Council's 2012 Immigration Reform Outlook

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 21, 2012 19:58


Despite substantial efforts to recruit and train U.S. workers, horse farms, ranches, horse shows, trainers and others must rely on foreign workers and use both the H-2B and H-2A temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs.  For this reason immigration polices have a profound impact on the horse industry.


In 2011 numerous bills were introduced in the 112th Congress concerning immigration, most enforcement oriented.  Most notably, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885), which would require all employers to use the federal E-verify system to make sure their workers are authorized to work.   The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on this bill and reported it out of committee on September 21.


“In the Summer and Fall we saw a lot of action in Congress on immigration.  Committees in both the House and Senate held numerous hearings and the House Judiciary Committee approved a mandatory E-verify bill. Since then however, there has been little movement on the issue because even Members of Congress who are in favor of beefing up enforcement and passing mandatory E-verify can’t agree on the best way to proceed,” said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass.


In response to concerns that mandatory E-verify would cripple the U.S. agricultural industry several bills, like the American Specialty Agriculture Act (H.R.2847) and the Legal Agricultural Workforce Act (H.R.2895), were introduced.  These bills would create new, less burdensome temporary foreign agricultural worker programs to replace the current H-2A program. However, no consensus emerged on which of the many proposals on the table would  best accommodate the needs of agriculture.


 “It is absolutely vital for the horse industry to have access to functioning, efficient, and cost effective foreign temporary worker programs to meet its labor needs and the horse industry can not support any bill unless it provides for those needs,” said AHC President Jay Hickey. “We would like Congress to reform our system in a comprehensive way.  However, as we enter another election year it is unlikely Congress will have much of a desire to deal with a hot-button issue like immigration.”


“It is likely more immigration bills will be introduced in 2012 and there maybe action taken on specific issues like the H-2B wage rule, but right now it doesn’t look like Congress will take action on major legislation like mandatory E-verify,” said Pendergrass.    


Link to full article on AHC website


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As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.                       

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

American Horse Council Explains Changes in Tax Benefits for Horse Owners

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 21, 2012 19:55

Despite the acrimony and brinksmanship, Congress eventually passed an extension of the payroll tax reductions in late December maintaining the 2% reduction in payroll taxes for workers and the self-employed.  The relief is good for two months through February, 2012.  Negotiations are already underway between the House and Senate to find a way to extend payroll tax relief through 2012.


But the bill ultimately passed by Congress did not extend the Section 179 expense deduction or 100% bonus depreciation at the 2011 levels.  Both provisions have returned to prior lower levels. 


Section 179 Expense Deduction


The expense deduction has returned to $125,000 for 2012 and phases out dollar-for-dollar once purchases of depreciable property reach $500,000.  The 179 expense deduction applies to horses, farm equipment and other depreciable property used in a business and permits a horse owner or breeder to write-off up to $125,000 in assets purchased and placed in service in one’s horse business in 2012. 


The expense allowance for 2010-2011 was $500,000 and phased out after purchases exceeded $2 million.


Bonus Depreciation


In addition, bonus depreciation has returned to 50% for 2012.  Bonus depreciation allows horse owners and other horse businesses to write off 50% of the cost of “new” capital assets, including horses, when purchased and placed in service in 2012.  To be eligible for bonus depreciation the original use of the property must commence with the taxpayer.  Any prior use makes the property ineligible.


Bonus depreciation was 100% for eligible assets purchased and placed in service from September 8, 2010 through 2011.


Both provisions can be used together.


Retroactive Change is Possible


“It is possible that the higher levels could be reinstated retroactively to January 1, 2012.  In fact, the House-passed payroll-tax bill extended 100% bonus depreciation through 2012, even though the Senate bill did not,” said AHC president Jay Hickey.  “The negotiations between now and the end of February on the one-year extension of the payroll tax reduction could include other changes to the tax code, such as the expense deduction or bonus depreciation.  But this is speculation at this point.”


Link to full article on AHC website


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As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.                       

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.


competition | employment | entertainment | general | groom

American Horse Council Helps YOU to connect with Congress

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 21, 2012 07:45

Despite the low approval ratings for Congress, Americans are still interested in what Congress is doing.  Why?  Because what Congress does - or does not do - impacts the horse industry.  This is true regardless of your breed or discipline, whether you are an individual owner, run a track or show, own a horse business, work in the industry as a service provider or ride for recreation. 


It is important that we build relationships with our elected leaders in Washington and that they understand and appreciate the $102 billion horse industry’s contribution to the economic, sporting and recreational sectors of the U.S. and their states.  2012 is a terrific opportunity to do this because it is an election year and so many members of Congress and new candidates are running for federal office and they want to meet you.


One of the best ways to build a relationship is to simply invite a member of Congress to your farm or ranch or to an equestrian event back in the district or state.  Invite other horse people so there is a built-in crowd of voters.  A personal experience with the horse community makes an impression. 


All across the country there are farms and ranches getting ready for the breeding season, a great time to showcase the industry.  There are horse shows, large and small, races, rodeos, organized and disorganized trail rides, horse sales, etc. Each of these events is an opportunity to build a relationship with a member of Congress or a candidate and to help them understand the horse industry a little bit better.  Remember that going to a horse farm or event is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  Having voters there makes it even more pleasant for those running for Congress.  


Building relationships with members of Congress is more important now than ever. There are many issues before Congress such as taxes, federal spending, immigration reform and racing legislation, trails legislation and disease programs that could all have profound implications for the horse industry. Only by having personal exchanges with their constituents, who are involved with the horse industry, will members of Congress fully appreciate how these issues impact the industry.    


If you would like to invite a member of Congress to your facility or your organization has an upcoming event you think would be appropriate for your Senator or Representative to attend, please contact the AHC.  The AHC will help you invite them and provide any guidance you might need.  You can call or email the AHC at (202) 296-4031 or AHC@horsecouncil.org  for help.  Ask for our brochure, Getting Involved in the 2012 Elections, which will give you some pointers. 


Please get involved.  You will be helping yourself and your industry.  And remember that while Congress’ approval rating as a whole is very low, polls still show that most people feel their Senator or Representative is doing a good job so you might even enjoy the visit.  They will.


Link to full article on AHC website


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As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.                       

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

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entertainment | groom


posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 17, 2012 09:54


The Saskatchewan Horse Federation is the recognized provincial membership organization comprising over 6,000 persons and providing leadership to a diversity of 175 equine and equestrian organizations. As a member of Sask Sport Inc., it is the recipient of Sask Lotteries funding. Founded in 1974, it is a growing and dynamic organization whose objectives include the furthering of the sport, recreation and industry of the provincial horse community, both within and outside the province.
To succeed the 28 year term of the retiring Executive Director, we look for the right person who is seeking a career position. With offices located in Regina, we offer a trusted reputation and are a vital organization with opportunities for personal initiative, challenge and fulfillment.
Reporting to the president and working with a Board of Directors, the administration and programs of the Federation are managed by the Executive Director. Important direct and immediate responsibilities include liaisons with Sask Sport and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Further information on the scope of the organization may be found at www.saskhorse.ca
This position includes a comprehensive benefits package. To apply please send your resume outlining education, training and previous experience with your salary expectations.
Applicants are requested to send a resume on or before January 20, 2012, to:
Saskatchewan Horse Federation Inc.,
Attn.: Search Committee
2205 Victoria Avenue,
Regina, Saskatchewan. S4P 0S4


Launch Your Career with Horses (correction)

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 12, 2012 10:39

Sign Up for Equine Guelph’s Groom One Course


Want to work with horses?  Equine Guelph’s next offering of the Groom One course begins March 30, 2012.

Register Now! http://www.equineguelph.ca/education/skills.php   


Groom One is recognized by Standardbred Canada and the Ontario Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program.  Horse enthusiasts over 16 years of age learn industry standards, in this four-phase program, combining hands-on experience and online education.


Phase One begins with a two-day orientation at Country Hill Stables in Goodwood, Ontario on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, 31, 2012.


In Phase Two, students are assisted in finding entry-level employment to accumulate six months of work experience (based on a 35 – 40 hour work week).


Phase Three, ‘Groom One Online’, is set to begin May 21, 2012 and runs for three months.  The CD based units are complemented by online discussions & presentations with industry mentors.  The six units include: The Horse, Horse Handling, Horse Care, Nutrition, Management, and the Racing Community.


Phase Four, the ‘Learning Assessment’, completes the certification process with a demonstration of skills and knowledge.


Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph “The Groom One Certificate will prepare newcomers to the horse industry for their role as a groom by providing the necessary combination of experience and education to be successful.”


Equine Guelph is proud to be hosting the orientation session on behalf of the Ontario Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program. The Pathway Program includes employer wage subsidies if you are employed in the Quarter Horse racing industry, and the potential for you to earn a bursary bonus and tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of the Groom One Certificate. Students who complete the two-day Orientation session on March 30 & 31 are eligible to become Pathway Students and benefit from the Pathway to Employment and Education Program. Details of the program can be found at www.ontarioracingcommission.ca/industry_programs.aspx?id=382#Pathways



Take Your Online Learning to the Next Level at Equine Guelph


More often than not, once you have committed to the Equine Industry, a life-long passion will ensue!  Equine Guelph is continually expanding course offerings for these devoted horse lovers to help them transition into dedicated leaders.  Equine Guelph has more to offer than any other online equine studies certificate or diploma program with 19 courses taught by highly qualified, respected industry professionals from the University of Guelph’s renowned Ontario Vet College and beyond. New offerings, developed due to popular demand, include Equine Welfare and Advanced courses in:  Behaviour, Anatomy and Nutrition.

For full course listings please visit www.equinestudiesdiploma.com




Photo:  Equine Guelph Logo and/or photo of groom leading a horse

Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php

Date of first release:  Jan, 11, 2012


Notes to Editor:

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph.  It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups.  Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole.  For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.


Prairie Fire Destroys Horse Training Facility

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 11, 2012 19:22

Sandy Hester isn't sure who the stranger was who used a white pickup to drive her Arabian horses away from the fire, but she appreciates the help. Photo by Peter Williams.

Sandy and Gord Hester face the daunting task of rebuilding their world-class horse training facility destroyed Wednesday in a raging prairie fire.
The Hesters can take some solace, though, knowing they won’t have to go it alone.
“The support is unbelievable,” Sandy Hester said Friday.
The riding arena, stables, paddocks and pasture at S.R. Training were destroyed by the fire.
“Our field and pasture are all gone,” Sandy Hester said. “What wasn’t burned was plowed.”
The immediate challenge facing the Hesters is to find long-term accommodation and feed for the 55 horses displaced by the fire.
“Many of these horses are show horses, requiring box stalls or paddocks and specialized feed,” explained Sandy Hester’s sister Natalie Gibson, who is spearheading the group Friends of S.R. Training. “Sandy and Gord are working hard to place all of the horses in the Fort Macleod area. However, they have limited financial resources and they recognize insurance will not cover the cost of replacing corrals, fencing material, storage bins, hay, feed and tack.”
In the short term the Hesters would benefit from donations of quality hay, such as second cut alfalfa with no rain.
Cash donations are also needed to buy hay and feed and working supplies for the horses.
Donations of equipment such as halters, shanks, working saddles, blankets and buckets are also welcome.
Fence panels for temporary corrals are also needed.
Cash donations can be made at the CIBC branch in Fort Macleod to an account in the name of Sandy and Gord Hester or Friends of S.R. Training, or at the Fort Macleod Vet Clinic.
At present some of S.R. Training’s client horses are boarded at Kerry Miller’s M&M Farms. To drop off donations of hay take Highway 811 to Township Road 100 and head west for 1 1/2 miles, looking for the yard with the big red barn and quonset.
Inquiries about providing help can be directed to Sandy Hester at 403-331-8440 or Gord Hester at 403-394-4255.
Gibson said it is unknown how much of the arena and stables will be covered by insurance.
Sandy Hester was in Fort Macleod when she got a phone call about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday that the fire was heading to her place.
By the time she got home her staff had halters on the horses and people were already arriving with trailers to take the animals to safety.
Connie Hunter had been tasked to phone people to help get the horses to safety.
“People I didn’t know were coming and helping,” Sandy Hester said. “It was amazing. Without them it would have been total devastation.”
Thirty-four horses were loaded into trailers and barbed wire fences were cut so 19 other horses could escape on their own. They were rounded up Thursday close to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.
Gord Hester stayed behind, using heavy machinery to keep the fire from their house.
“If he hadn’t stayed we would have lost everything,” Sandy Hester said.
In addition to the facilities and equipment needed to run her business, Sandy Hester also lost 30 years worth of memories in photos and other mementos in her office, which was in the riding arena.
The future of the business, and its four employees, is not clear. It will take months to settle insurance claims, and rebuilding will not be easy.
Volunteers were at the property on the weekend helping rebuild fences, and donations of cash and support were already forthcoming.
“Part of you blocks it out, and part of you thinks it’s not real,” Sandy Hester said. “You keep going because that’s all you can do.”

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Arabian Horsemens Distress Fund

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 11, 2012 19:22

Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire Photo 1Wednesday afternoon, long time Arabian horsemen Gordon and Sandy Hester of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada were dealt a devastating blow when a prairie fire, fueled by hurricane force winds topping 75km, raced through their property destroying virtually the entire farm with the exception of the house.  Thanks to early-enough warnings and the assistance of a tight-knit farming community, they were able to move 55 horses out ahead of the blaze, along with their dogs, but lost virtually everything else to the fast moving blaze, including tack, farm equipment, medications and feed.

Sandy, Gord, and Brady are long-time Arabian breeders, trainers and owners, and well known faces in the working western divisions.  They run a family business out of their Alberta farm that includes breeding Jack Russell Terriers and Bernese Mountain Dogs, as well as many notable Arabian horses.  They stand a number of stallions, including SR Delta Force,  US National Champion Work Cow Futurity horse, and have been mainstays of the Arabian industry for many years.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist the Hesters, you can go on-line to make a secure donation through paypal to www.horsemensdistressfund, or you can send a check to The Arabian Horsemen’s Distress Fund, 236 Henry Sanford Road, Bridgewater, CT 06752, along with a note to earmark the funds to assist the Hesters.

reprinted from www.horsemensdistressfund.com

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