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NH horse and rider struck by car
NH horse and rider struck by car
Equestrians speak out about road safety
It was about noon on Saturday, January 22, 2011, when Celia Donovan and her friend Evelyn Miller were riding their horses down Dennison Pond Road in Francestown, NH. According to the two riders, a car was approaching from behind at a speed they believed to be too fast. Despite Evelyn’s efforts to signal the driver to slow down, Celia Donovan and her horse Fritz were struck.
In the police report, the 19-year-old driver states, “I had been breaking so I could stop, but I hit a patch of ice and ended up hitting the horse and the lady. I was going only about ten miles per hour.”
The driver’s vehicle had damage to the windshield, hood and front bumper, where Celia Donovan and Fritz landed. Both horse and rider were injured.
“Believe me, she was not going 10 mph.” says Celia, “also, there was no ice; I had scrutinized the road on the way up. I would never take my horse on ice. There was good traction.”
The road conditions on the police report did not indicate the presence of ice, but the officer did state that the snow was slick, even though it was sanded. The driver was not charged with anything, nor did she receive a citation.
Insurance will cover the growing pile of medical expenses for Celia and Fritz, but Celia’s concern is for the lack of interest she feels the police had in her case. She says the police indicated that she shouldn’t have been on the road. She met with the Select Board on March 14 to discuss the accident and share her concerns. The board soon met with the officer on the scene to discuss ways to improve driver awareness in the matter of sharing the road with equestrians.
The officer told the Monadnock Ledger, “We haven’t come up with anything concrete.”
New Hampshire law states “Every person having control or charge of a vehicle shall, whenever upon any way and approaching any horse, drive, manage, and control such vehicle in such a manner as to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the frightening of such horse, and insure the safety and protection of any person riding or driving the same.” NH RSA 265:104
Equestrians posting on EquineSite.com’s Bulletin Board share Celia’s concern and outrage over the accident.
“This is not the first time an equestrian rider or driver has been hit on a road nor will it be the last,” explains one poster. “If anything, conflicts with inexperienced, distracted, and just plain rude drivers seem to be getting more frequent.” She goes on to suggest equestrians get the word out in any way possible… “online, in print, word of mouth, radio, TV, high school health and safety classes, driver's ed teachers…”
In recent years, that is just what the New Hampshire Horse Council has been trying to do with their “Share the Road” campaign. The NHHC uses education and leadership to act as a liaison among horse groups, the general public and the legislature. They submitted press releases through various types of media advising drivers,
“Please slow down and pass wide, and allow as much room as feasible between the horse and the vehicle. Slowing down allows the horse and rider (driver) enough time to realize a vehicle is approaching and to make sure the horse is prepared for the vehicle to pass. When approaching a horse from the rear, it is important to know that the horse and rider (driver) is going to be less aware of your presence, so please be cautious. Never sound the horn or create loud noises, as this might cause the horse to spook.”
Legally, horses are allowed on most roads, yet horse folk are getting the message that they don’t belong there.
Another member of the EquineSite.com Bulletin Board writes, “I've also, like many others, been yelled at to get off the road by drivers who are extremely ignorant of what the laws actually say.”
So despite the state laws and the laws of common courtesy, the roads seem to be getting increasingly more dangerous. Celia Donovan feels that the lack of action taken against the driver in her accident sends the wrong message. “Okay, yes we do have to educate, but if this girl has no consequence, she’s going to carry on doing what she’s doing.”
Riders who are concerned about their safety on the road can contact their state horse council to inquire about precautions they can take and steps they can take to spread the word about “sharing the road.”
Celia will have to put her eventing season on hold while her broken hand mends and Fritz’s hock heals. As many have expressed, she’s lucky they are both alive.
Osteopathy for Humans Crosses into Equine Realm
Osteopathy for Humans Crosses into Equine Realm
Written by Theresa Gagnon
Many horse owners incorporate chiropractic treatments, for themselves and their animals, into their health care regimens. Osteopathy is another branch of health care being applied to both humans and horses. As the health care field broadens its scope to include more modalities for human patients, many practitioners also want the benefits of these treatments to be available for animals. Stephen Schwartz, DO, is one of those practitioners.
Born in London in 1948, Dr. Schwartz graduated from the British College of Osteopathic Medicine at the age of 20 and has practiced in England, New Zealand, and Australia. He now resides and practices in Israel, and will soon be traveling to the United States to conduct his workshops.
Osteopath vs. Chiropractor
In the United States, an osteopath must attend post-graduate medical school for 4 years and then complete a three-year residency, the same as any MD. In contrast, a chiropractor goes to post-graduate chiropractic school for 3 years and then does a one-year internship. Osteopaths are able to prescribe medications (chiropractors cannot) and have privileges at hospitals.
Osteopathy was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, who started the first American School of Osteopathy (now Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine) in 1898. Still made two important statements: “Structure governs function,” which means that a living organism cannot function normally if its supporting structures have lost part of their mobility; and “The rule of artery is sovereign,” which means that impaired blood circulation may weaken an affected organ. When an organ does not fulfill its function correctly, it cannot fight the nesting of bacteria or viruses, which take advantage of its weakness.
The four major principles of osteopathy are:
1. The body is a unit – an integrated unit of mind, body, and spirit.
2. The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms, having the inherent capacity to defend, repair, and remodel itself.
3. Structure and function are reciprocally inter-related.
4. Rational therapy is based on consideration of the first three principles.
These principles are not held by osteopathic physicians to be laws, but are the foundation of the osteopathic philosophy on health and disease. The broad theory is that most pain and disease processes are caused by structural misalignments in the skeletal or muscular systems. By manipulating the body, the alignments can be corrected, allowing the fluids to flow properly, releasing entrapped nerves which in turn allow the body’s recuperative process to “heal itself.”
Manipulation aimed at mobilization of joints, muscles, or fascia helps to release restrictions. The manual osteopathic treatment makes use of an array of techniques, normally used together with dietary, shoeing or hoof trimming, saddle fitting and exercise advice, in an attempt to help horses recover from illness and injury or to minimize or manage pain and disease.
AN OSTEOPATHY SESSION
The process that Dr. Schwartz teaches begins when a history is taken, involving questions about diet, turnout, exercise or training routines, and any injuries or illnesses. Treatment of the horse begins with an overall evaluation of observing the individual. Does the horse stand square with weight placed evenly on all four feet? The horse is then observed moving in a straight line and then in circles at a walk. Here the practitioner is looking for deviations from normal movement, such as shortened stride length, landing on one side of a hoof, legs that do not track in a straight line, etc. All this information gives the practitioner information about possible restrictions in joints or soft tissue.
In osteopathy, the key to health is mobility. Restrictions in either joints or soft tissue can hinder movement and in turn create dis-ease, either directly (such as calcifications in the joint itself) or indirectly (fascia compressing blood or nerve supply).
Once the horse has been observed, the hands-on treatment begins. The horse is examined by palpation, with the practitioner looking for areas of muscle tightness, reactivity, and areas that feel unusually hot (inflammation) or cold (lack of circulation). Soft tissue restrictions may be treated with a variety of manual techniques, similar to what one would use in massage, such as effleurage, percussion, friction, or petrissage. The manual techniques in soft tissue are aimed at restoring movement of fluids. Then the joints are passively mobilized by slowly moving them through their available and comfortable range of motion. A joint may be flexed and extended, circled, and laterally or medially flexed. The joints are manually frictioned with soft circling of fingertips as they are mobilized to break up any calcifications that may have formed. Then the entire limb may be stretched to release any restrictions in soft tissue as well. All the techniques taught are non-invasive and low impact.
The process taught to riders and owners does not include performing an “adjustment,” a manual technique aimed at restoring motion. Osteopaths may perform manual adjustments of joints using one of a variety of methods. High velocity, low amplitude treatment uses force quickly applied to a discrete area. The key to removing the restriction is in the direction the force is applied -- at an angle that will cause the bones to realign. Another method is called percussion. The use of percussion was pioneered by Robert Fulford, DO, and developed over many years of practice. This involves using a Foredom percussor, commonly called an activator, over precise areas of the body at just the right speed (and correct length of time) to help the body treat itself. The activator is a spring-loaded metal device that releases a small rubber tipped plunger at low velocity. The plunger “thumps” the body and stimulates nerves that will then create a cascade of activity in the body that causes the restriction to release. These techniques should be undertaken only by chiropractors and osteopaths.
Equine osteopaths are common in many countries; however, they are limited in number in the United States. The “Find a Practitioner” link at the International Association of Equine Osteopaths website (www.theiaeo.org) lists just 15 states with certified Equine Osteopaths. The only institution in the US approved to provide certification training in equine osteopathy is the Vluggen Institute for Equine Osteopathy & Education, located in Austin, TX, and approved through the International Association of Equine Osteopaths.
Theresa Gagnon, a Certified Veterinary Technician and Licensed Massage Therapist, is the Director of Animal Programs at the Bancroft School of Massage Therapy in Worcester, MA, and a partner with Jodi Clark in Mending Fences Equine Wellness. www.HorseAndDogMassage.com, www.FreeMovementMassage.com, www.MendingFencesEquine.com
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Equine Drill Team
Crimson Acres equine drill team The Glory Riders from Orange ma, Traveled over nines hours with their equine team members and their coach Sandy Whitmore to compete at the Delaware Horse expo in Harrington, Delaware.
Glory riders competed in two divisions, short program and freestyle.
The Glory Riders came home with a 1st and 2nd place, Advanced Division Champions and High Point for the show.
How Good Riders Get Good, from Denny Emerson
How Good Riders Get Good
Daily Choices that Lead to Success in Any Equestrian Sport
Daily Choices that Lead to Success in Any Equestrian Sport
Trafalgar Square Books is pleased to announce the publication of
How Good Riders Get Good
by Denny Emerson. This book is exactly what you need to become a better rider. It’s a smart, honest, on-target kick-in-the-pants, guaranteed to rev your engines as you see how a few changes in your life, a few smart choices and strategic moves, can transform you from a run-of-the-mill rider into a GOOD one.
How does Denny Emerson know what makes a good rider? For one thing, he IS one—he is the only rider in the world to have won both a gold medal in international eventing and a Tevis Cup buckle in endurance. Plus, he’s been around great riders, and taught those on their way to becoming great, for over 40 years. How will what Denny knows help YOU become a good rider? It’s simple, really. He’s boiled the whole thing down into seven broad "Areas of Choice" that collectively determine whether you are a "gonnabe"—you’re going to get it done—or whether you’ll be stuck in the "wannabe" category for decades. Plus you’ll read the stories of 23 of the world’s top riders from different disciplines and sports—including dressage, reining, driving, show jumping, endurance, hunter/jumper, and eventing—and how they "got good" despite the same kinds of challenges and setbacks you face in your own day-to-day riding. You’ll get an inside look at their path to success, as well as their very best tips for how to "make it" in the horse industry. DENNY EMERSON has ridden thousands of horses over many thousands of miles in all kinds of horse sports. He has been president of the US Eventing Association (USEA) and the Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA), and a vice-president of the US Equestrian Team (USET). He has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: the USEA Hall of Fame, the Vermont Academy Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Dartmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was named "One of the 50 Most Influential Horsemen of the 20th
How does Denny Emerson know what makes a good rider? For one thing, he IS one—he is the only rider in the world to have won both a gold medal in international eventing and a Tevis Cup buckle in endurance. Plus, he’s been around great riders, and taught those on their way to becoming great, for over 40 years. How will what Denny knows help YOU become a good rider? It’s simple, really. He’s boiled the whole thing down into seven broad "Areas of Choice" that collectively determine whether you are a "gonnabe"—you’re going to get it done—or whether you’ll be stuck in the "wannabe" category for decades.
Plus you’ll read the stories of 23 of the world’s top riders from different disciplines and sports—including dressage, reining, driving, show jumping, endurance, hunter/jumper, and eventing—and how they "got good" despite the same kinds of challenges and setbacks you face in your own day-to-day riding. You’ll get an inside look at their path to success, as well as their very best tips for how to "make it" in the horse industry.
DENNY EMERSON has ridden thousands of horses over many thousands of miles in all kinds of horse sports. He has been president of the US Eventing Association (USEA) and the Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA), and a vice-president of the US Equestrian Team (USET). He has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: the USEA Hall of Fame, the Vermont Academy Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Dartmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was named "One of the 50 Most Influential Horsemen of the 20thCentury" by the Chronicle of the Horse. For more than 40 years, Denny has taught and coached thousands of riders, and watched them pursue their own dreams. Now, in How Good Riders Get Good, he shares many of those years’ insights to help guide other riders toward making the right choices to "get GOOD."
252 pp • 7 ¼ x 8 ¾ • 60 color and b/w photos • 978 1 57076 437 0 • $29.95 hardcover
To order contact:Trafalgar Square Books, Box 257, Howe Hill Road, N. Pomfret, VT 05053
800.423.4525 ∙ www.horseandriderbooks.com
Common Health Issues in The Older Horse
As our understanding of horse care improves and advances in veterinary medicine continue to be made, the population of geriatric equids is growing. We are often seeing twenty-something horses successfully competing in the show ring and many horses are living well into their twenties or even thirties. With age come some particular medical issues that owners of geriatric horses should be aware of.
One common disorder more prevalent in older horses is pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), also known as ”equine Cushings.” PPID is caused by a dysregulation of cortisol production secondary to a benign tumor in the pituitary gland. Although horses as young as 7 years old can be affected, it is much more prevalent in horses in their late teens and older. Incidence of PPID has been reported to be as high as 14% in horses older than 15 years and appears to increase with age. Owner-reported coat changes consistent with PPID, including longer hair, incomplete shedding, and needing to body clip in warm weather, have been reported to be as high as 30% in horses older than 20 years. Other signs may include polydipsia (increased water consumption), polyuria (increased urination), and increased wound healing time. The condition is diagnosed by a veterinarian through blood tests and can be managed with oral medications.
Although horse owners worry about colic in horses of any age, certain types of colic can be more prevalent in older horses. Strangulating lipomas, benign fatty tumors in the abdomen, can wrap around intestine (usually the small intestine) and cause a complete obstruction and compromised intestine. The risk of strangulating lipomas tends to increase with age. The condition often requires surgical intervention in order to remove the strangulating lipoma and resect severely affected bowel if necessary. Taking a horse to surgery always comes with risks, but generally older healthy horses do just as well under anesthesia as younger horses. We regularly see horses in their twenties go to colic surgery and do very well post-operatively, and the prognosis is much more dependent on the horse’s stability, clinical findings and the type of lesion than on age.
Regular dental care in geriatric horses is a must. As horses get older and wear their teeth down near the end of the roots, they can develop dental issues that will lead to secondary health problems. It is generally recommended that horses in their late teens or older have a dental exam every six months to ensure that they are not developing serious dental conditions. When a horse cannot chew its food properly, he or she is more prone to getting esophageal obstructions (“choke”), large colon impactions, and weight loss if they are dropping food. If you and your veterinarian are aware of dental issues, they can be dealt with quickly and appropriate management and diet changes can be made to avoid serious health problems.
The most common respiratory disease in older horses is recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), also known as “heaves”. RAO can be seen in younger horses and is caused by inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. The term “heaves” is related to the increased abdominal effort used by horses with this condition to breath. They may develop a “heave line” along the abdomen where the respiratory muscles are very prominent. The condition can be treated quite successfully in many cases with simple changes in management, including 24-hour turnout and limiting the amount of dust and allergens in the horse’s environment. Other medications including bronchodilators or steroids can also be used in more severe cases.
Lameness in older horses is usually caused by degenerative processes, which can lead to joint disease or other conditions. Maintaining older horses in regular light exercise or at least on pasture turnout is important in keeping them as limber and pain-free as possible. Adding supportive joint supplements (glucosamine and chondroitin) to the diet can also be beneficial. When necessary, long-term NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) treatment is very effective.
Just like in humans and other species, the risk of certain types of neoplasia (cancer) increases with age in horses. The most common cancer in older horses is squamous cell carcinoma, which is usually found in and around the eye and on the external genitalia. Areas of lightly pigmented skin are the most likely to be affected. The cancer can spread through lymph nodes and the sooner it is identified and treated the better the prognosis. Melanomas are also very common in older horses, particularly gray horses (the vast majority of older gray horses have melanomas somewhere on their bodies). Melanomas are usually benign, but can cause problems depending on their location, especially if they obstruct normal urination or defecation. Keeping track of where melanomas are developing and how fast they are growing is important so that medical or surgical intervention can be performed before they cause serious secondary effects.
As our horses grow older they are more likely to develop certain health issues. However, with some knowledge about what to look for and regular veterinary care, we can keep them healthy and happy for years to come. If you have any questions or comments regarding geriatric horse care speak with your veterinarian or any of the veterinarians at NEEMSC.
A. Rachel Roemer, DVM
Jacqueline Bartol, DVM, DACVIM
M.R. Paradis. The Geriatric Horse. In Current Therapy in Equine Medicine. 6th Ed. Editors: N.E. Robinson and K.A. Sprayberry. Elsevier 2009.
Equine Dentistry 101
Equine dentistry is a veterinary medical procedure that is part science, part art form. Consisting of three parts: complete oral examination, individually tailored sedation, and balancing of the arcades, the goal of an equine dental visit is to balance a patient’s mouth to allow for optimal mastication (chewing), comfort and performance.
Why is balancing of the arcades (rows of teeth) necessary in horses? The answer is that horses’ have a tooth development pattern called hypsodonty, which means their teeth are constantly erupting below the gumline. Normal wear can cause uneven and often sharp edges that must be periodically balanced by a veterinarian.
A complete oral examination is the first step in an equine dental visit. A speculum should be used to open the mouth fully so all structures within the mouth can be fully viewed. Following the oral exam the treatment plan should be developed and the patient prepared for balancing.
All patients should be properly sedated prior to balancing of their arcades. Sedation allows for a smoother and safer procedure for human and horse alike. Many different medications are utilized and your horse’s veterinarian will often use them in various combinations tailored to the individual patient and the work to be performed. It is important that a health exam is performed prior to sedation.
Once the patient is relaxed and settled, the balancing can begin. Balancing refers to making all four arcades properly aligned. My experience has lead me to recommend that the majority of balancing be performed with power assisted tools, and in my cases with the Powerfloat. The Powerfloat’s grinding wheel removes sharp edges and can correct more severe abnormalities that may be present. When done properly powerbalancing is safer, more efficient and effective than hand tools. Powerbalancing is always performed with a full view of the mouth and allows the veterinarian to work on each tooth individually as opposed to part of an arcade.
It is important to note that every patient is an individual and should be treated as such by a veterinarian. Inherently some patients have severe abnormalities that will never be corrected 100%, but it is the goal of the equine dentist to balance each patient’s mouth as best as possible.
I recommend that young (1-5 years) and geriatric (over 25 years) patients be examined every six months. From 5-25 years patients should be examined on average every nine months. A veterinarian should be called out for an exam sooner if problems such as reluctance to eat, poor riding performance, or foul odors or discharges from the mouth or nose are noted as these may indicate more severe oral issues.
Proper and routine dental care performed by a licensed veterinarian is crucial to keeping every horse happy and healthy.
Michael Marshall, DVM