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Fight Against Equine Infectious Disease Helped by Equine Foundation of Canada

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 16, 2012 11:39

 

With a highly mobile horse community, keeping your horses free from disease is one of the biggest challenges for horse owners.  The fight to keep infectious diseases at bay has taken a step forward with a generous donation from the Equine Foundation of Canada.  The funding allows the purchase of new equipment, including a microcentrifuge and fluorometer, for the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses at the University of Guelph.

 

"This equipment will help us explore some new areas in equine infectious diseases and hopefully help us understand how to better treat and prevent serious infections. We are grateful for the assistance of the Equine Foundation of Canada in advancing equine infectious disease research.” says Dr. Scott Weese, an equine internal medicine specialist and microbiologist with the Ontario Veterinary College and University of Guelph’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.

 

The funding for this equipment will help advance the specialized work being done in his lab, and complement the array of equipment that is already present in the laboratory, including a state-of-the-art ‘next generation’ sequencing system. “Our laboratory was the first laboratory of any type in Canada to obtain this system, and it provides a unique capability internationally to perform equine infectious diseases research,” continues Weese.

 

With increased awareness of the dangers of infectious disease, recently heightened by the news of an equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) fatality in Ontario, this is a timely and welcome development.  “Biosecurity, the prevention of disease spread, is an issue of growing concern for the industry.  Equine Guelph will be working with Dr. Weese and his staff to get more information out to the horse industry in our communications and education programs.  The Equine Foundation of Canada has helped us to move this agenda forward with their funding for new equipment and are to be commended for their initiative to help the Canadian horse industry in this way.” says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph.  Registration is now open for the new education program “Beat the Bugs: Biosecurity for the Horse Owner” which launches this spring.  Members of the equine industry will take away valuable information for themselves and for their employees to help prevent the spread of infectious disease.

 

For more information about Biosecurity programs offered by Equine Guelph visit: http://www.equineguelph.ca/biosecurity.php or contact:  Dr. Susan Raymond (slraymon@uoguelph.ca)

 

 

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disease | entertainment

Biosecurity Tool – Does Your Barn get the Green Light?

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 14, 2012 18:37

 

With all the breaking news on the importance of biosecurity – Isn’t it time to bone up on preventative measures your barn could be taking?   Calculate your horse farm’s risks with Equine Guelph’s Biosecurity Risk Calculator, a tool designed for horse owners to generate a report that grades them on their biosecurity management practices on their farms.  See if you score a green, amber or red light.

Live and online at Biosecurity Calculator, the interactive tool is an educational resource of Equine Guelph (University of Guelph) developed in collaboration with Colorado State University and sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation and Vétoquinol Canada Inc.

 

"Every horse owner should think about a biosecurity management plan,” says Karen Ann Paradis, Equine Product Manager of Vétoquinol. “Having a solid understanding of equine health, infectious disease and disease control is paramount in reducing biosecurity risk in a high-risk industry."

 

After taking the 10 minute, 42 question Biosecurity Calculator quiz - turn those amber scores green by increasing your knowledge with Equine Guelph’s biosecurity workshops this March and 2 week e-Session April 16 - 29.    The combined feedback from the Biosecurity Calculator and Equine Guelph’s upcoming programs will provide you with the best practices for decreasing risk of infectious disease in your horse(s).  

 

To learn more about Equine Guelph’s biocesurity programs visit:    www.EquineGuelph.ca/biosecurity.php

Consistency is Key – Says Racing Surfaces Internationally Acclaimed Publication

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 14, 2012 18:11

 

 

 

 

A number of factors affect the performance of a racing or training surface according to the well received 34-page “Racing Surfaces White Paper” published in June this year.   This international publication is a survey of current understanding on ways to enhance track safety, and is co-authored by an esteemed panel including: Michael “Mick” Peterson, Ph.D., University of Maine, United States; Lars Roepstorff, DVM, PhD, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; Jeffrey J. Thomason, PhD, University of Guelph, Canada; Christie Mahaffey, MPhil, University of Maine, United States; C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, Colorado State University, United States. 

 

Though there is still much research to be done since the forming of the racing surfaces committee at the inaugural Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in 2006, this publication will benefit trainers, track superintendants and any person in charge of riding surfaces.  Details of proper maintenance of surfaces and training guidelines can be found, based on the knowledge gained from the researcher’s findings thus far.  The download is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org/resources/White_Paper_final.pdf

 

Climate and maintenance are two of many factors analyzed by the researchers looking for the best possible training surface conditions to enhance safety for the horse and rider. The Racing Surfaces White Paper publication will have future applications in helping in the design of tracks, in terms of banking and cushioning properties in track surfaces not only in racing but in training as well.  U of G, Co-author Dr. Jeff Thomason notes, “Horse industry leaders, interested in creating an optimum surface to help minimize injuries in the limbs of horses, will be interested in following this research”.

 

Thomason is pleased to be a part of this White Paper publication. It is the most comprehensive scientific body of research on race tracks to date; yet it is just scratching the surface.  New questions have been cultivated requiring further investigation.  Thomason will continue to be involved with this collaborative research with targeted studies on the effect of racetrack characteristics on the horse-hoof-track interaction.

 

With so many variables in play the next steps in research are always, short very specific experiments with a narrow focus (e.g., the effect of different height toe grabs or different shoes on the same surface).  “It is only by meticulously piecing together the answers of each precise question that you begin to see the big picture” says Thomason.  Studying the influences of forces and loads and the mechanics of loading on the hoof itself is an integral part of Thomason’s research.  One method used to measure these forces is by gluing lightweight sensors to a horse’s hooves before it goes out to the training track.  These sensors have been used to record two kinds of data: strain and shock. 

 

With so many track surface options available (including synthetic, dirt or turf), Thomason is often asked what the best option is.  The preponderance of evidence at the moment suggests the consistency of the surface is more important than the material it is made of.  A well-maintained all-weather track is desirable.  The track should be consistent around its circumference.  Three unknown topics requiring further research are:  1) the range of hardness or softness that is not dangerous to the horse.  2) How well does water need to run off a track?    3) Do track surfaces need to have different properties for the impact as opposed to the sliding?  Research proves good maintenance is an extremely important component for providing consistency and improving safety.  Of course, the track has to be well constructed to start with.  Regular maintenance includes light harrowing between races to level the hoof prints left in the ground.  Deeper harrowing, as required, provides a cushion at the top of the surface.  One superintendent reported a 30 - 40% reduction in catastrophic fractures at his track after attending a meeting of superintendents in North America and adopting the consistency maintenance program outlined in the White Paper. 

Climate also plays a vital and complicated role in determining maintenance.  Thomason reminisces, “Where I grew up, in England, the climate consisted of ample rain and you heard about the going being sloppy, firm or good.  This would be a measure of how slippery or firm the track was.”  Conversely California has problems with the surface becoming too dry. Artificial surfaces were designed to give a surface that was consistent.  This has not been achieved yet.  Even artificial surfaces change their properties throughout the day when the sun comes out. In the morning the surface becomes softer and records indicate the racing times slow down throughout the day showing a very local effect of sunny climate on the track. 

 

Thomason spends much of his time understanding the complexity of how the hoof interacts with the ground from absorbing the shock of impact to the abrasion of grinding into the surface and how the weight of the horse is distributed.  One excerpt of the Whitepaper states:  As the soil or top layer of the turf compacts, it becomes stiffer and more resistant to further compaction, bringing the hoof to a stop (Thomason and Peterson 2008). Once the motion of the hoof has been slowed or has stopped, the weight of the horse is dynamically transferred to the hoof and then to the harder surface material beneath the hoof. This dynamic transfer of the weight of the horse to the hoof is the source of the acceleration, resulting in peak loads which may approach 2.5 times the bodyweight of the horse.

 

The hardness of the track influences how quickly the foot is decelerated and then the stiffness of the track when the load is being applied. This rate of deceleration controls the strain which is transferred to the leg and results in higher peak loads for stiffer surfaces. Repeated loading to the bone can cause micro fractures and the catastrophic fractures (Radin et al. 1972).  Horses and their owners stand to benefit from this research when new information is discovered regarding how to reduce the factors causing injuries on limbs.

 

Jeff Thomason’s research has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Equine Guelph and Grayson Jockey Club. 

 

 

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

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.

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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

War Horse Promotes Horse Welfare Fund

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 17, 2011 11:50

 

The spectacular Mirvish theatre production, ‘War Horse’ will warm your heart in two ways – once when you watch the performance and again when your ticket purchase contributes to the new Equine Guelph-Ontario Equestrian Federation ‘War Horse’ Welfare Education Fund. 

 

Through the use of life-size and life-like handspring puppets, ‘War Horse’ transports the audience back to WWI – a time when horses were integral to progress but welfare conditions were often challenging. This heartfelt stage adaptation examines the horse-human bond and draws the audience in for an evening where the subtle becomes pronounced and awe is often inspired by the ability to communicate without words. 

 

Recognizing the ongoing need for equine welfare awareness, Mirvish Productions has partnered with Equine Guelph and will generously donate $10 to the Equine Guelph-OEF ‘War Horse’ Welfare Education Fund for each War Horse ticket purchased by OEF members for performances between February 10 – May 6, 2012. And, as a special thank you, at the performance, OEF members will receive a complimentary CD (one per order) of the music of War Horse. Call 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333 to order tickets and provide this special benefit code – WHFUND. 

 

In addition, Equine Guelph will be hosting a special gala fundraising evening on March 8th, 2012 for avid horse enthusiasts.   Be part of this magical evening at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto!  Enjoy premium seats in the orchestra section, pre-show reception and meet the 'puppets' on a backstage tour after production.  There are a limited number of tickets and cost is $200. Go to http://uofg.convio.net/warhorse or call 1-888-266-3108 to order today.

 

With over 16 intensive online equine courses dedicated to horse owners and caregivers, Equine Guelph at the University of Guelph understands the need for horse welfare education.  In an industry where well-intentioned old wives tales are often passed down rather than scientific knowledge, the horse is often the victim of mistreatment.  Education in horse welfare will result in the following benefits:  well-informed caregivers, healthier horses, lower vet bills and fewer unwanted horses.

 

Support Equine Welfare through Education and enjoy the show!  Visit www.EquineGuelph.ca for more information.

              

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Attached image

Image Caption:   The upcoming ‘War Horse’ theatrical production will support the new

Equine Guelph-OEF ‘War Horse’ Welfare Education Fund (Photo © Simon Annand)

 

Note: image also available as eps format – please contact

 

Media Contact:

Jackie Bellamy, Communications

Equine Guelph

Guelph, ON   N1G 2W1

519.824.4120 ext. 54230 

jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

 

thank you

Susan

 

Susan Raymond, PhD.

Communications & Programs Officer

Equine Guelph, University of Guelph

50 McGilvray St, Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G 2W1

Tel: (519) 824-4120, ext. 54230

Fax: (519) 767-1081

www.EquineGuelph.ca

www.EquiMania.ca

www.EquineScienceCertificate.com

 

YOUTH EDUCATION PARTNER OF THE Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Kentucky 2010