New Rulings from USEF!

Have you heard? After the USEF Mid-Year Meeting, two extraordinary measure have been taken and two new rulings have been put in place… and ASAP. They are concerning horse welfare, and I am ALL for fair treatment of my equine friends. You see, these new rules are all about keeping horses safe and keeping the playing field fair for all at horse shows.

The first change introduces a new category of rules called “Prohibited Practices” to the USEF Rule Book, all of these rules will take effect on December 1, 2013. To read the entire rule change, click here.

But basically, here’s the general gist if you don’t feel like reading the WHOLE thing:

• No horses or ponies may be injected within twelve hours prior to competing.
• There are only three exceptions to this rule: therapeutic fluids, antibiotics, and Dexamethasone for the treatment of hives (specific dosing guidelines are provided for the exceptions concerning fluids and Dexamethasone).
• All excepted substances must be administered by a veterinarian and cannot be administered to a horse or pony within six hours prior to competing.
The second rule change becomes effective on August 1, 2013 (Wowzers, thats soon!), and concerns the actions taken should a horse or pony collapse at a USEF Licensed Competition. To read all about it, visit the USEF website.

Important components of this change are below:
• A collapse is defined as “a fall to the ground with no apparent cause.”
• The trainer, owner, or rider of a horse must report a collapse no later than three hours after it has occurred.
• Any horse or pony that collapses is subject to drug and medication testing and inspection by a USEF appointed veterinarian (at USEF’s expense).
• Cooperation with the Federation as to an investigation concerning a horse/pony collapse or death is mandated.

What do you think? Good rules? Or do you think they step over the line? I want to hear your thoughts!

Signing Off Now!
Sweet Pea


Zoinks! Its a Zonkey!

Have you heard the SWEET news? Italy’s first zonkey was just born! What is a “Zonkey” you ask? Just what it sounds… half donkey/ half zebra! Sometimes, they are also called Zedonks or Zebroids… so fun.

So sweet! His name is Ippo.

So sweet! His name is Ippo.

This little sweetheart was born on Saturday, and he was actually a bit of surprise. While his owner had a zebra and a donkey on the premise, they had a secret rondevous that resulted in the surprise Ippo.

What do you think? Isn’t he a little sweet pea? Just like me 😉


A Sweet $210,000

This is one SWEET situation! The USA Equestrian Trust has awarded nearly $210,000 in grants for the projects to be completed by some great equine non-profits. Nothing warms this mare’s heart more then charity and great people supporting great programs.

This time around, the projects awarded funding were: American Youth Horse Council ($5,000) to support its annual symposium that educates youth on all facets of the equine industry through demonstrations, presentations and discussions; The Dressage Foundation ($5,000) to help revamp its website and offer an improved online experience for visitors; Healing Horses & Armed Forces ($15,600) to assist its equine therapy program for veterans; Horse Park Of New Jersey At Stone Tavern, Inc. ($35,000) to replace the aging lighting system at the park’s indoor arena to better serve its expanded clinic and educational program activities; Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Inc. ($25,000) to assist in the creation of a dedicated horse path at the Kentucky Horse Park to enhance safety for horses and riders; USEF Equine Health Research Fund ($21,173) for a research project at the University of Minnesota that is using next-generation whole genome sequencing to search for a genetic basis for shivers; USEF U.S. Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup ($50,000) to assist in hosting the 2014 International Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup; USEF U.S. Saddle Seat Equitation Young Rider Team ($10,000) to develop riders for future U.S. Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup competitions; University Of Nebraska-Lincoln ($29,100) to create new online educational materials for eXtension HorseQuest and My Horse University; and Western Dressage Association Of America ($13,415) to create a video library showcasing Western Dressage, a new discipline inclusive to all breeds of horses.

I think that the USA Equestrian Trust are SWEET and really want to support the good in the world, and that makes me smile (and whinny a bit). What makes you smile?


Pour Some Salt On It

Humans have lots and lots of options when it comes to choosing salt to supplement their horses with. While it may seem like an easy thing to pick up at the store, one huge question will stare you down in the face as you shop… Iodized or non-Iodized.

What do you have in your shaker?

What do you have in your shaker?

Never fear, Sweet Pea here to help you decode the mystery.
It is important to note that a full-sized horse does best on a diet that offers 1 to 6 mg of iodine each day to keep his thyroid gland working properly. Because the iodine content of grass is too low to measure, it is best to rely on supplementation — from salt or other sources — to meet your horse’s need. Many supplements and fortified feeds already add it. It’s always best to know what your horse is consuming since too much iodine can damage the thyroid gland.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Getty (a full time horse nutritionist and “guru” on the subject), because all full-sized horses require at least one ounce (2 tablespoons) of salt per day for maintenance (and up to 3 ounces/day when perspiring heavily), iodized salt is a good way to add iodine and provide the needed salt as well. Granulated salt that you buy in the grocery store comes in both non-iodized and iodized versions; one teaspoon of iodized table salt contains 0.4 mg of iodine (3 tsp = 1 Tablespoon = 15 ml).

So, what’s in your shaker? What do you feed?

Concentrate on Concentrates

Today, we met up with Dr. Peter Huntington of Kentucky Equine Research, because my human has a few questions about grain… And, I like to make sure that she had all of her facts straight when it came to my dinner! He was very helpful and really helped to clarify things!

Her question: It seems that every time I go to the feed store, there is another type of grain available and another way that it was prepared! It used to be just rolled or cracked oats, but now the options are endless! How can I determine which feed processing method is right for my horse?

There is a vast array of options in the methods of processing and presentation of the various ingredients in equine feeds. Processing choices include grinding, steam rolling, flaking, micronizing, pelleting, boiling, chaffing, silaging, extruding, and expelling, and there is a seemingly never-ending stream of blended complete mixes that use some combination of ingredients prepared in one or more of these ways.

Most processing methods aim at reducing the particle size and improving the digestibility and palatability of the feed.

After grinding or rolling of cereal grains, the digestibility of fiber is either not affected or improved by only 5%. Given that processed oats may cost significantly more than whole oats, the benefits are hard to justify. It is worth remembering that horses come equipped with a highly developed set of grinders in their teeth and will masticate particles to approximately 1.6 mm before swallowing. The eating of 1 kg (2.2 lb) of hay will require between 3,000 and 3,500 chewing movements, while 1 kg (2.2 lb) of ground concentrate will involve only about 800 to 1,200 chewing movements.

It is not true that crushing or rolling grains will reduce the protein content. There is, however, some destruction of the vitamin content, but this is negligible compared to the horse’s total daily requirements. Grains make little contribution to the horse’s vitamin intake.

Steam pelleting and cooking improve the digestibility of dry matter and starch, thereby increasing the available energy content of the feed. The belief that cooked grains produce less heat during digestion than uncooked grains comes from the improved digestion and reduced microbial fermentation, which reduces the heat produced as a result of digestion of fiber in the hindgut.

This same principle of reducing the heat increment of the diet should be applied to feeding horses in extremes of hot or cold weather. In hotter climates, the use of higher energy grains results in a lower heat increment of metabolism and will help reduce overheating with work. Fats are also useful in this situation. In colder weather, horses will naturally select high-fiber diets, which increase the heat increment from hindgut fermentation, helping to keep the horse warm.

Any further questions? For equine-kind of all, I would love to get them answered for you!

TaTa for Now!
Sweet Pea