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OVERVIEW: Navicular syndrome is a commonly diagnosed cause of lameness of the front feet. The term is used to encompass many different injuries to multiple structures within the hoof capsule. The navicular bone is a small boat-shaped bone within the hoof capsule which acts as a gliding surface for the deep digital flexor tendon. This tendon attaches to the bottom of the coffin bone and when it is pulled, causes the foot to flex. There are also a few smaller ligaments within the hoof capsule such as the impar ligament and suspensory ligament of the navicular bone that help to hold the navicular bone in place. While the term navicular disease was first used to describe lameness that was thought to be caused by changes in the navicular bone, more recent use of advanced imaging, such as MRI, has implicated soft tissue damage as another cause of lameness originating from the heel region.
DIAGNOSIS: Diagnosis of navicular syndrome is based primarily on how the horse responds to peri-neural analgesia. Navicular syndrome horses' lameness significantly improves with a palmar digital nerve block, which blocks the heel and sole of the foot. These horse's lameness will commonly switch to the opposite front foot, as the condition is most usually bilateral. Once the region of pain has been localized to the foot, imaging will most likely be pursued. Radiographs of the foot can show changes within the navicular bone. Radiographs may only tell part of the story, so more advanced imaging, likely MRI, is often indicated. MRI allows the soft tissue structures within the foot to be evaluated more closely and may give a more specific cause of lameness. Because soft tissue injuries need to be treated differently than bone injuries, finding the cause of lameness is important.
TREATMENT: Depending on the inciting cause and severity of lameness, multiple treatment options are available. The least invasive is corrective shoeing. Navicular syndrome horses often benefit from a wedge shoe with a pad. The wedge changes the angle of the deep digital flexor tendon running over the navicular bone and may help to ease pain. Corrective shoeing is also indicated in some horses with soft tissue damage, as the wedge will help the deep digital flexor tendon to flex the foot. Other simpler treatments include trying treating the lameness with a course of Phenylbutazone or treatment with Tildren. Tildren is a bisphosphonate that reduces the resorption of bone. It also acts to reduce active inflammation within bone and in turn reduces pain. Injections of both the coffin joint and the navicular bursa are options to help reduce inflammation and pain. The final treatment is neurectomy, which numbs the back of the foot for a prolonged period of time. Neurectomy is a good treatment option for some horses, but significant aftercare is required and it should not be pursued in all cases and most always used as the last alternative.
Stacie Aarsvold, DVM D. Michael Davis, DVM, MS
Silver Oak Jumper Tournament, August 7-11, 2013
Silver Oak Equestrian Center to Host USEF Recognized Jumper Show,
August 7-11, 2013
HAMPTON FALLS, NH—December 13, 2012—Silver Oak Equestrian Center in Hampton Falls, NH will host a USEF-recognized all-jumper horse show, August 7-11, 2013.
Silver Oak was home of The Jumper Classic for the last five years and will now continue to bring world-class show jumping competition to New England under the leadership of Silver Oak proprietor David Birdsall, who will be President and CEO of the new event, and Dr. Jeff Papows, who will be the event’s Honorary Chairman, a position he held with The Jumper Classic for 14 years.
“We are thrilled and honored that the USEF has recognized our commitment to putting on a first-class event and to presenting the sport of show jumping in the best possible manner,” said Birdsall. “Our plan is to utilize the outstanding features of the facility to attract the nation’s best horses and riders and to add exciting entertainment attractions that will continue the tradition of attracting large crowds of enthusiastic supporters to Silver Oak. We are committed to making this event a showcase for our sport in every regard.”
Focusing strictly on jumpers, the event will offer divisions for children, adults, juniors and amateurs in addition to an international open jumper division for North America’s leading Grand Prix riders. The horse show will benefit the Children’s Wish Foundation International and all classes will be USEF recognized.
“Silver Oak is an outstanding facility,” said two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward. “Dave Birdsall and Jeff Papows are both well liked and both have outstanding reputations. There is no doubt that their horse show will be a premier world-class event. I look forward to riding there next summer!”
Silver Oak Equestrian Center has built a reputation as one of the leading equestrian sports venues in New England. For the past five years it has attracted top Olympic riders and other show jumping stars. The 150-acre facility is dedicated to providing a first-class experience for equestrian competitors and spectators alike. Its unique grounds offer one of the country’s largest grass Grand Prix and Derby fields along with four all-weather rings featuring world-class GGT footing.
Located right off Route 95, less than 50 miles from Boston, Silver Oak features top quality jumping surfaces, first-class equine accommodations and pristine fields and landscaping. The Hampton Falls area is also home to many fine restaurants and hotels and is in close proximity to Boston, MA and Portsmouth, NH.
“The nation’s leading riders and trainers have gotten used to coming to Silver Oak for a world-class horse show and we look forward to welcoming them back next August,” said Jeff Papows, PhD. “They will find a lot of what they liked when they came to Silver Oak in the past and, with the leadership of our new event, some changes that are sure to please them. This will very much be a ‘Riders’ Horse Show.’”Further information is available at www.silveroakjumpertournament.
TIPS ON ESTABLISHING RHYTHM
By Nancy Wesolek-Sterrett
Dressage Department Head, Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre
Rhythm and relaxation create an endless information loop that is the basis of everything else we do with our horses, either as trainers or riders. You need both to communicate clearly with your horse and you cannot have one without the other. Think about how this combination feels in your body as you ride. Relaxation makes it easier to set rhythm, and rhythm makes it easier to relax. On the flip side, tension in either horse or rider disrupts rhythm.
Our responsibility as riders and trainers is to learn to lead this dance rather than merely following along with whatever the horse offers. In the beginning, riders start out on reliable, goldie oldie school horses that offer a predictable ride so the rider can relax as she learns to balance over the horse’s center of gravity, apply aids, and eventually coordinate those aids into horse-logical corridors of pressure using an independent seat. Leading the dance means that a relaxed rider with an independent seat can set the working rhythm for any horse, young or old, green or grand prix, mellow or nervous. And that rhythm helps create relaxation in the horse and there we are at the best starting point for everything else we do with the horse.
Even though rhythm and relaxation are a bit of a chicken and egg conundrum, rhythm is at the base training tree because that is our point of entry as leaders in the partnership with our horse. Working from the ground, our rhythmic movement sets the patterns and feelings of shapes that become familiar to the horse. This familiarity helps the horse relax. He knows what to expect. When we ask a green horse for these familiar patterns and shapes under saddle for the first time, their familiarity helps the horse assimilate the new feeling of someone on his back. Later on in his training, as we begin asking the horse to push from his hindquarters with greater energy into our guiding hand, rhythmic patterning helps him work with elastic, ‘relaxed’, muscular tension rather than with tight, bunchy muscles.
FROM THE GROUND
Simple daily routines on the ground are the start of a rhythmic relationship with your horse. Greet your horse, halter him, and groom him following the same routine each day. Become aware of working with your horse in rhythmically as you speak, breathe, touch and move around him. Type A personalities find this very difficult and must train themselves to become rhythmic. Rhythmic movement makes you a predictable presence and, as your horse finds he can depend on you as that predictable presence, he will find it relaxing to be around you. Then you can carry that rhythmic, relaxed rapport over to your work under saddle. The more nervous or reactive your horse, the more important it is to build this relationship through groundwork before you saddle up and ride.
Continue using routine, especially with a young or nervous horse, when you start working him under saddle. Move the horse from the stall to the arena a consistent way. Take him for a walk around the arena each time to check things out, paying full attention to your horse, and setting a rhythm as you walk, turn, check your girth and mount.
Once in the saddle, make it part of your routine to check your position. You set the rhythm of the ride with your seat. Until you achieve a truly independent seat, you need to check your position at the beginning of every ride and several times during the ride to make sure your position makes it possible to communicate the rhythm you want to the horse.
If you are slouching in a chair seat with your leg out in front of your seat bones a bit, you will fall behind the horse’s motion, encourage him to scoot or run, and interrupt his rhythm. If you are collapsed in your mid-section or tilting your head and shoulders forward, you will be ahead of his motion, blocking good rhythm. With your upper body centered over the horse’s center of gravity and firm core muscles, check whether your back, buttock and thigh muscles are completely relaxed so they can follow the horse’s motion easily or whether they are holding any tension that will interrupt a rhythmic seat that moves with the horse.
CONNECTED AT THE HIP
Besides sitting in the correct position, riders need to have a full range of hip motion in order to set rhythm with their seat. Many riders confuse range of hip motion and the speed with which they open and close their hip angles.
Trying to slow a horse down by limiting the range of your hip motion does not work. Opening and closing your hips less than your horse is opening and closing his joints puts you behind the horse’s motion. This creates a pushing feeling that makes a horse, especially a tense horse, scoot faster. While following the horse’s motion, you need to open and close your hip angles the same amount but more slowly to slow him down.
Working to develop a feel for this distinction between speed and range of motion is partly an issue of strength in your core muscles and legs. Some people like to sing nursery rhymes that are rhythmical to help them set the speed and rhythm of their hips. I sometimes think of riding in slow motion through deep water to help me slow my hips on a horse that is getting too fast, while others might benefit from a metronome to help keep the rhythm in their seat.
If you are riding a lazy horse that will not go forward, you might try speeding your hip up with the full range of motion. This will allow the horse to feel free to move out from under you, especially if you were tightening and blocking with your seat in the first place. Even though you really want your horse to move off your leg not your seat, making sure your seat is not blocking is key to moving a lazy horse forward.
It takes a lot of saddle time for riders to progress from sitting with rhythm and relaxation on the back of a goldie oldie to confidently setting the rhythm on a green, nervous youngster or a green, lazy youngster. Finding someone to longe you regularly on a rhythmic horse helps immensely to develop the correct feel for rhythmic motion and relaxed muscles. Challenge your ability to set the rhythm for the horse by riding different horses—different size horses with different gaits and different temperaments. Always keep in mind that rhythm is the mother of all the other training skills your horse must master. So when your ride starts going badly, rhythm is the ‘reset button’ you can use to put things right again.
Duett Deutsche Sattlerei Introduces The "Bravo"
November 2012—Press Release from Duett Deutsche Sattlerei
Duett Deutsche Sattlerei, the wide saddle specialist, introduces a new close contact model, the Bravo, available immediately in many seat and tree sizes. The Bravo, along with other models from Duett, fills a persistent gap in the market, able to fit medium to very wide horses of all breeds with a high quality, handsome saddle at a reasonable price. This new model is the latest addition to Duett’s extensive line of saddles for wide horses, which include several dressage models, trail, all purpose and jump models. In design development by saddle fitters and manufacturers for six months, it features French independent, wool flocked panels, a generous channel, attractive keeper, embossed logo, and moveable knee and calf blocks.
Right Dorsal Colitis
Right dorsal colitis (RDC) is a disease that is complicated and the pathophysiology poorly understood, but there is a relationship between RDC and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including phenylbutazone (Bute) and flunixin meglumine (Banamine). Most NSAIDs are not specific and therefore inhibit both good and bad prostaglandins. The good prostaglandins protect the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Right dorsal colitis occurs when ulcerations develop in the specific area of the large intestine (right dorsal colon) which causes a decrease in nutrient absorption and an increase in protein loss. Although inadvertent overdose of or prolonged therapy with these drugs is a definite cause of RDC, many horses are sensitive to NSAIDs and develop signs of RDC with appropriate dosing. The unique blood supply to the right dorsal colon is one thought as to why horses develop this disease associated with NSAIDs.
Right dorsal colitis can be associated with high doses of or prolonged therapy with NSAIDS, but other predisposing factors include stress, immune-mediated response, infection and genetics. Ponies and younger horses that are showing are at a higher risk of developing this disease. Clinical signs include complete loss of or decreased appetite, lethargy, mild colic, diarrhea and weight loss. On bloodwork specific abnormalities include anemia, low protein levels, low albumin levels and low calcium levels and occasionally elevated kidney levels.
Diagnosis is made based on clinical signs, history of NSAID use, laboratory blood tests indicating low protein and low albumin, and ruling out other diseases that cause low protein including maldigestion/malabsorption, kidney disease, peritonitis, and inflammatory/infiltrative bowel disease. Diagnostic tests such as abdominal ultrasound, abdominal tap with fluid analysis, urinalysis, and intestinal absorption tests help to rule out other causes of protein loss. In some cases of RDC, thickening and edema of the large intestine wall can be imaged with ultrasound on the right side of the abdomen. A definitive diagnosis can be made on histopathology by right dorsal colon biopsy during an exploratory surgery.
Initial treatment consists of medical therapy and dietary management. In most cases changing the diet to an easily digestible, low bulk, pelleted, complete feed decreases the workload on the ulcerated large intestine and helps manage the signs of colic and diarrhea. Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin that is used in cases of RDC to promote colonic mucosal ulcer healing. It is thought to stimulate increased secretion of mucus that lines the GI tract and increase mucosal blood flow thereby providing some mucosal protection in the large intestine. All other gastroprotectants (omeprazole, sucralfate, ranitidine) have not been proven to work outside of the stomach, however they are commonly used in treatment of RDC as NSAIDs can also cause gastric ulceration. Other treatments include the use of psyllium to possibly increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids, a natural anti-inflammatory, within the colon.
Horses with severe clinical signs and very low protein levels may need supportive therapy including IV fluids, plasma, and other types of pain management to treat RDC. In the most severe cases, exploratory surgery and right dorsal colon resection may be considered.
One of the most important aspects in prevention of RDC is the judicious use of NSAIDs. Consulting with your veterinarian when NSAIDs are needed to treat your horse’s illness or injury, being accurate about dosing on body weight when your equine friend is a pony or a miniature horse, and following your veterinarian’s recommendations for the length of time needed for NSAID therapy, are ways to be sure NSAIDs are being administered judiciously. Using more specific NSAID drugs such as firocoxib, (Equioxx) if your horse is sensitive to NSAIDs, also helps to decrease the chances for adverse reactions. In some horses, the concurrent use of ulcer prevention therapy during NSAID therapy can decrease the possibilities of adverse reactions. Most importantly, talk to your veterinarian and ask questions!
If you have any questions regarding RDC or any other equine health issues, please discuss them with your veterinarian or contact the veterinarians at NEEMSC.
Kimberly Brothwell, DVM
Jacqueline Bartol, DVM, DACVIM
Equine Energy Healer Ginger Krantz to Speak at Upcoming Animal Wellness Conference
Ginger Krantz of Earth Horse Healing will be one of the featured speakers at The Conference on Complementary Animal Healing, to be held at The Holiday Inn in Boxborough, MA on November 11-12, 2012. The inaugural two-day event is sponsored by Animal Translations; dogs are welcome.
In her New Jersey-based equine therapy practice, Ginger Krantz uses gentle, non-invasive energy healing techniques to speed horses’ recovery from illness, disease, and surgery. With 22 years of training and experience, Ginger is also able to ease stress-related disorders and resolve behavioral problems by freeing blocked energy within a horse’s body and enabling it to flow, opening the channels for recovery and release.
Ms. Krantz’s presentation, to be delivered at the Conference on Monday morning, November 12, is entitled, “Healing the Horse through the Integration of Mind, Body, and Spirit.”
In addition to Ginger Krantz, The Conference on Complementary Animal Healing will feature Denise Bean-Raymond, author of The Illustrated Guide to Holistic Healing for Horses; noted animal Reiki educator Kathleen Prasad, co-author of Animal Reiki; Shirley Moore, founder of Save A Dog Humane Society ; Nan Martin, an expert in the use of therapeutic essential oils with animals; Dr. Randy Caviness of the Integrative Animal Health Center; and Sally Morgan, a canine and equine physical therapist..
Conference participants may register for one day ($159) or both days ($298). For more information, visit AnimalHealingConference.com.