Latest News Bulletins
The Silver Oak Jumper Tournament
Upcoming Events at Touchstone Farm
-February 23 RESCHEDULED, Sleighing Clinic...bring your own horse or use one of ours and Rock A Thon to support Barn Yard Buddies
-February 24 RESCHEDULED....Fun Sleigh Rally & Sleigh Rides, Bonfire...Open to the Public!
-February 23...POSTPONED Murder Mystery Dinner at Stepping Stone Lodge
-March 9...Touchstone Farm Lesson Program Spring Open House & Demonstrations and PF Camp Gathering in NYC for current campers and Alumnae
-March 15, 16, 17...Intro to Carriage Driving Clinic
-March 23...Art Gallery Gathering in MA
-April 12 to 14th...Spring Fling Pony Farm Camp Family Weekend!!!
Volunteer Opportunities at Touchstone Farm for Horse Power and Able Bodied Students
Touchstone Farm is a non-profit educational and therapeutic organization that fosters a community of belonging for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. We offer a rich and challenging variety of experiences that include summer camps, riding and driving programs, a world class instructor training school, specialty weekends and a diverse educational opportunities, all of which culminate in building traditions that are both dynamic and timeless. Our professional staff strive to ensure that the experiences we offer are truly “Building Foundations that Last a Lifetime.”
We are seeking fun loving, energetic people over the age of 12 to volunteer in our 10 week lesson program, starting Monday March 18 thru the end of May. Classes are Monday thru Saturday, with different groups every day. Times vary with the groups starting at 10am running thru the afternoon. No horse experience needed, we will train you. Come be part of an amazing opportunity helping others. It is truly an experience you won’t soon forget. For more information, please contact Terri at 654-8562. Open House is on Saturday March 9 from 1 to 4. Volunteer Training is Sunday March 16 from 10 – 1.
The time of year for foals has already begun or is fast approaching for many owners and barns. Are you ready and prepared for once they arrive?
30 Days Pre-foaling:
- Deworm mare
- Booster vaccines (Equine Herpesvirus killed vaccine [Rhinopneumonitis] should be given at 5,7 and 9 months of pregnancy to prevent abortions)
- Make sure you have a clean, dry stall ready for foaling when the time comes
- Monitor the udder - the udder will usually fill 1-2 weeks prior to foaling and the teats will wax over as foaling approaches
- Try to practice "non-invasive" monitoring to keep the mare calm and comfortable
Stages of Parturition:
- Stage 1 - Onset of contractions
- May look like colicky behavior or may be un-noticeable
- Stage 2 - Expulsion of foal
- Duration should be 15-30 minutes
- Veterinarian should be called if you do not see 2 feet and a nose first
- The umbilical cord should break on it's own as the mare stands up within the first few minutes, do not cut the umbilical cord, if you notice it is bleeding then it can be tied
- Stage 3 - Passage of the fetal membranes
- The fetal membranes should pass within 3 hours from foaling
- If this does not occur then a veterinarian should be called
Normal Progression for the Foal
- Normal respiration within the first minutes
- Gain righting reflexes within 5 minutes
- Suckle reflex within 5 minutes
- Attempt to stand within 30 minutes, should stand unassisted within 2-3 hours
- Begin nursing in 1-3 hours
- Should pass meconium (first manure - dark and very sticky) within 6-12 hours
***If any of the above does not occur as it normally should, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately***
A relationship with a veterinarian should be established throughout the pregnancy process so that he/she can support the mare and you, as well as the foal. If everything proceeds normally with the parturition process a healthy foal exam should be performed within the first 24-48 hours. During this exam the veterinarian will complete a full physical exam. This exam ensures that everything is proceeding normally and identifies any congenital or other abnormalities. Foals can have a heart murmur for the first few days of life normally, but this should slowly disappear and should be monitored by a veterinarian. They can also have congenital defects associated with their eyes, nose and limbs that a veterinarian can evaluate. The umbilicus should be evaluated to ensure that it closes normally and is free of infection. Shortly after birth the umbilicus should be disinfected with iodine or chlorhexidine to prevent infection and facilitate proper closure. This procedure should be performed several times a day for the first few days. If the foal does not pass meconium within 4-6 hours or is seen to be straining, a saline enema should be administered. Monitor for urination as well. If the foal has any difficulty nursing and/or passing meconium or urine, call your veterinarian.
A blood sample to measure the foal's IgG (antibodies) levels should be taken 12-24 hours post foaling. This is a measurement to ensure that the foal received enough colostrum from the mare. Foals do not get all their antibodies until after being born and drinking the mare's first milk (colostrum) that is full of antibodies. The foal is only able to absorb these antibodies during the first 8-12 hours of life. If their levels are low they should be administered colostrum or plasma to protect them from getting sick. Low levels indicate an immature immune system which puts the foal at risk to infection. Foals often look healthy and act fine until they are very sick so it is important to identify problems early to start treatment early and ensure a good prognosis.
If you have any questions regarding preparing for the arrival of a foal or any complications that can occur early in a newborn foal's life, please contact your veterinarian or the veterinarians of New England Equine Medical & Surgical center.
Kimberly Brothwell, DVM
Jacqueline Bartol, DVM, DACVIM
New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center
Dover, New Hampshire
Touchstone Farm Reschedules Sleighing Weekend
Rescheduled for February 23/24
Saturday and Sunday, February 9-10, Touchstone Farm in Temple, NH, hosts a full weekend of fun and informal sleighing events with horse-drawn sleighs.
Boo Martin drives a one-horse open sleigh at Touchstone Farm in Temple, NH.
On Saturday, Dave Bradham of Uncasville, CT, will teach a day-long sleighing clinic for beginner to advanced drivers. Plenty of time is built in for sleighing on a prepared track through the farm’s open fields. Participants can bring their own horse and sleigh or use Touchstone Farm’s horses and sleighs.
Saturday evening features a home-cooked dinner and a presentation, “Sleighing in the Old Days.” This event takes places in Stepping Stone Lodge at Touchstone Farm. Overnight accommodations are also available at the Lodge.
Sunday is the farm’s first annual sleigh rally, which kicks off with a parade of sleighs at 11:00 AM. Participants can register for up to 10 classes, including obstacle courses, classes for miniature horses and ponies, and a dueling sleigh competition. Participants in a special Currier and Ives class receive points for costumes and how well their hitch portrays the days of old. The public is cordially invited to attend the rally on Sunday.
Admission is free to spectators, who can watch the competition, enjoy sleigh rides through farm fields, and warm up with hot chocolate around a bonfire. Connelly Brothers Dairy Farm of Temple will be on site to offer hot food and drinks for sale.
Silver Oak Jumper Tournament to Proceed As Planned Will Be Held August 7-11, Despite Passing of David Birdsall
HAMPTON FALLS, NH—January 23, 2013
Silver Oak Equestrian Center has announced that the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament will be held as planned, August 7-11, despite the untimely passing of Silver Oak proprietor, David Birdsall.
Birdsall, 58, passed away at his Silver Oak farm in Hampton Falls, NH, on January 16. His wife, Karen, expressed her deepest gratitude to the show jumping community for all their support and emphasized that the horse show that her husband had planned at Silver Oak this summer will proceed as planned in his memory.
“My children and I want to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who has contacted us and provided support at this difficult time,” she said. “At the same time, I want to emphasize that we will be proceeding with the horse show as David would have wanted. It is something that my husband was very committed to and we have every intention of putting on the world-class horse show that he envisioned.”
Focusing strictly on jumpers, the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament 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. Working with Karen Birdsall to produce the event will be Dr. Jeff Papows, who will be deeply involved as Chairman, and Mike Belisle, who will be horse show manager. Silver Oak Equestrian Center, located right off Route 95 less than 50 miles from Boston, has built a reputation as one of the leading equestrian sports venues in New England. Its 150-acre facility is dedicated to providing a first-class experience for equestrian competitors and spectators alike. Silver Oak’s 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.
Further information on the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament is available on line at www.SilverOakJumperTournament.com or www.facebook.com/SilverOakJumperTournament.
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