Hoofbeats magazine June July 20

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fre issu



horses helping us through isolation euthanasia

when you have to make that difficult decision

african horse sickness virtual events keeping connected during isolation

bringing the rider back into work

riding contact

heavy or light - what is the ideal?

when a snotty nose

isn’t just a snotty nose the green horse: Horses and the Land



to h o o f b e at s to

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digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 1


hoofbeats A National Riding, Training and Horse Care Magazine . . . . incorporating The Green Horse -sustainable horsekeeping.

Vol 42-1 June July 2020

4: Riding Contact - heavy or light, what is the ideal? by Liz Tollarzo

Horses are usually trained using some form of control of the head and neck, but what level of contact is suitable to aid communication?

10: Bringing the Rider Back Into ‘Work’ by Jemma Moon Riding contact.

If your time in isolation was akin to being out on a ‘spell’, your return to ‘work’ could require consideration for your exercise and ‘feeding’ regime.

14: Should Oats be on the Stable Menu?

by Kentucky Equine Research

Horses have been fed oats for generations but are they the best choice for today’s horses?

17: FOR HORSES NOT HUMANS by Kaye Meynell

With myths circulating about preventions and treatments for Covid -19, as always it’s important to check the credibility and reliability, and the source of the information.

18: When a Snotty Nose isn’t just a Snotty Nose Should oats be on the stable menu?

by Dr Jennifer Stewart and Equine Veterinarians Australia

The reasons for a horse to have a nasal discharge are many and varied, and it can be a source of important health information.

24: At Home With Hayley Beresford

Following on from Hayley’s story in the last issue, here she offers more of an insight into what goes on behind the scenes in her international training stable.


Questions answered in this issue’s Please Explain: What is HYPP, What happens when ‘baby’ teeth are retained, When to do Faecal Egg Counts? At home with Hayley Beresford

30: Horses Helping Us Through Isolation by Celine Boennelykke The ramifications of COVID-19 have seen an increase in the potential for mental health problems. Being around horses however can help our mental wellbeing explains Polocrosse Champion and Ambassador for Mental Health Awareness, Salli Galvin.

36: Green Weed Control by Rhiannon Brown -Envirapest

38: Back to the Simple Life by Wendy Elks 42: Help nature prevent flooding 44: GOING SOLAR ON THE HORSE PROPERTY - PT 3 Horses helping us through isolation

Virtual events.

The truth about vices.

EDITORIAL: Well it’s taken a global pandemic for Hoofbeats to not be available at your local newsagents, saddlery or stockfeed store, the first time the magazine has not been printed for 41 years. So, with 246 printed magazines under our belt the decision to release this June/July 2020 edition as a digital only magazine was not taken lightly. While countless readers in recent years have embraced reading Hoofbeats with the App, making the most of the convenience of being able to read the magazine whenever, wherever and on whatever (device), for thousands of our regular print readers this is undoubtedly your first experience of reading Hoofbeats digitally. A benefit with this digital format is not only have we made this issue available for you all to read absolutely free, thanks to the very much appreciated support of our advertisers, we’ve also been able to provide you with complementary access to a number of earlier articles that lead in to some in this issue, including the first article with Hayley Beresford and part 1 of Road Horse, both of which were in the April/May magazine. So keep an eye out for links to click through to these previous articles plus a number of earlier veterinary articles by Dr Jennifer Stewart. We hope you find reading this issue a positive experience and enjoy the selection of articles within. We’d love to hear your feedback on the articles, your reading experience and the device you’ve used, so please drop us a line via <enquiries@hoofbeats.com.au> or get in touch via Facebook. Enjoy the experience. Managing Editor: Sandy Hannan Advertising: Tracy Weaver-Sayer Graphics Michelle Quinn, Jacqueline Anderson Produced by

Hoofbeat Publications

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The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers or the editor. Contents of advertisements are the responsibility of the advertisers. Features and photographs are welcomed via email. Reproduction of any part of Hoofbeats is protected by copyright and only permitted when a written release has been received from the publisher.

JobKeeper and your equestrian business.

Roadhorse - Part 2.


The equestrian industry is among those hard hit by the economic impact of Covid -19, with many small businesses and sole operators facing significant downturns and unsure of what assistance they could be eligible for.

44: African Horse Sickness by Wendy Elks

The entry of African Horse Sickness into Thailand in March rang warning bells for the possibility of this devastating disease moving south in Asia, and towards Australia.

48: The Truth About Vices – Who is at fault? by Meredith Ransley

What we see as vices could be considered as feedback from our horses and misunderstandings of their survival instincts.

52: Euthanasia – when it is time to say goodbye by Kaye Meynell

Intentionally ending the life of a horse is not an easy decision and deserves serious consideration and an informed choice when the time comes to say ‘farewell’.

58: Roadhorse part 2

by Karen Watson

Covering the start of her ride across Australia in the last issue, Steff Gebbie now shares the challenges of the remainder of her epic ride, including adding a second horse and finding a packsaddle in a town with only 406 residents!

62: Virtual Events - will these events continue their popularity once shows return?

There are online competitions for the serious show competitor as well as events for the first-timers and newbies, giving them a chance to hone their skills, without any pressure or expense of travel, and purely for fun. Their rise in popularity was evident while no shows were on, but will this continue?

Regular Features 68: News 71: subscribe - all subscribers copies will be back to printed magazines with the

August September issue, so be sure to organise your copy so you don’t miss out. You will also go in the draw to win a prize from Living Horse Tails who offer a collection of handmade braided horsehair jewellery and gift items for the equestrian enthusiast. To view their range go to: www.livinghorsetails.com To subscribe go to: www.hoofbeats.com.au


Your story is ‘reality’ for Hoofbeats readers who share your passion for all-things equine. To have your experience published get in touch with us via Facebook or editorial@hoofbeats.com.au. LET’S KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT.



Photographer Vicki Tapper (www.vickiphotos.smugmug.com) captured this poignant moment between Jade Moody and WCC Counting Stars as she said her final farewell prior to having the young mare euthanised on veterinary advice. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 3

Check if the horse is accepting the contact on the outside rein by giving inside rein forward for three or four strides. If the horse is accepting the outside rein which controls and maintains the frame and speed - the horse should not change in any way.

by Liz Tollarzo

Riding Contact

EA level 2 dressage specialist and Coach Educator

Heavy or light – what is the ideal?

Contact is the connection with the horse through the aids, which will vary depending on your horse’s level of training and the discipine or sport in which you participate.


hether a horse is ridden with a bit in its mouth or without, the rider starts off communicating with their horse by the use of reins (leather or rope) that start from the rider’s hands and go to the horse’s mouth or noseband/halter, to assist with directing the horse to stop or turn. As a horse’s education continues it is certainly possible to teach it to respond only to the rider’s seat and leg aids, which could then nullify the use of any reins. For many however, this can take years of training. Some riders do ride their horses with no bridle at all - once their training is solid with correct responses to the rider’s leg and weight aids, or with a rope around the base of their horse’s neck - and are still able to perform many advanced manoeuvres, almost as well as those ridden with a bridle or halter. These very well trained horses would still require ‘tune ups’ with a bridle or halter to keep this refinement possible. As with any animal or human if an easier option was found (such as putting its head down low and going wherever it wanted to go) – then no matter how nicely or strongly the rider asked with their weight and legs – the horse could choose not to respond to the aids.

As the horse’s education advances and it responds to the rider’s seat and leg aids the bridle could be replaced with a halter and the horse should still perform in the same frame as it would in a bridle.

TRAINING WITH CONTROL As a result, horses are initially trained using some form of control of the head and neck to assist trainers in explaining to the horse how to respond positively to pressure, and to learn cues to indicate that pressure exerted indicates either to come forward, in the case of leading, or to stop and turn in a riding situation.

Contact is defined as the state of physical touching for the action of communication, in order to give or receive information from one individual to another. So, in horse training or riding this brings us back to the question – how much weight provides sufficient contact to aid communication?

PRESSURE AND RELEASE A horse is, of course, much stronger than a person, so to pitch all our strength onto a ‘rein’ to hold the horse or make it ‘do’ what we want will generally result in the horse gaining the upper hand (or creating a panic or resistance). This results in the human resorting to stronger gear or gadgets in their attempt to ‘win’. Horses will instinctively push or pull against pressure they feel – this can be seen from the moment a foal is born. The ideal time to teach the foal to give to pressure is from a very early age so it learns to accept a contact or touch that is consistent and even. The handler should be aiming to use the actual weight of the reins (or rope) as being the ideal ‘feel’, where there is no added pressure exerted when the correct or desired behaviour is given by the horse. Giving or releasing of the contact – where the reins (or rope) is looped, is often used as a reward - being a clear release of any possible pressure, which signals the time the horse (and rider) can just relax and know they are having a break having done the right thing. Riding on a loose rein or standing with a loose lead is an important part of horse training

Contact can be via a rope around the neck. To keep the rope from sliding too low on the base of the neck the rider is carrying her hands a little higher. The horse is carrying itself naturally, with a relaxed expression. and allowing some ‘time out’ is to be encouraged. To teach the riding horse to accept an even and light contact the rider must have good control of their position, in particular the way they hold their hands and arms. Keeping their elbows bent and held relaxed against their sides, while creating an imaginary straight line that runs from the elbow along the forearm, through the hand, extending directly to the horse’s mouth or noseband, if a bitless bridle, is the correct position.

Check your horse’s ‘brakes’ before attempting to ride without a bridle or halter.

The rein appears to be an extension of the rider’s arm and their hands are positioned with the thumbs on top and fingers closed on the reins. Continued

A starting point for contact training with the young horse - as it steps forward, away from pressure.

Riding contact continued...

Correct hand and arm position, with a straight line from elbow to hand to bit.

If the fingers are not closed into a gentle fist on the reins, the rider will not be able to ‘feel’ the horse through the reins. If the thumbs are turned down it puts the lower arm into such a position that once again makes it impossible to softly feel through the rein (often called ‘pram pushing hand position).

Hands That follow MOVEMENT The horse does not have the liberty of moving the equipment that the rider places on it, whether via the nose or the bit. Although, in the case of a bit, the horse can learn to avoid it by using its tongue to change the bit’s action, as well as being able to alter the position of its head. This brings the onus back on the rider to help their horse learn by perfecting their own position, with emphasis on their hands and developing their ‘feel’ by sitting correctly. If the rider cannot keep their hands still when trotting - especially in rising trot - or is not able to follow the action of the horse’s head and neck with their hands in walk and canter, then it will be impossible to maintain a soft, even contact.

When a horse walks, it needs to move its head forward and backward – so the rider’s hands need to follow this movement with the straightening and bending of the elbows to follow the horse’s head. In the trot, the horse’s head is more or less steady so the rider needs to be able to keep their hands still yet absorb the movement of the trot throughout their own body without stiffening their arms. When a horse canters, its head and neck again moves a little forward and backward but also in a slight circular action – here the rider needs to follow this rounder action as well as bend and unbend the elbows to keep the contact consistent. If the rider’s hands cannot be controlled, then the horse should not be asked to accept the contact until this is addressed.

CONTACT AND ‘FORWARD’ Contact can only be felt when the horse demonstrates its urge to go forward. It must be obedient to the rider’s leg aids, or

Incorrect: ‘Pram’ hands.

Incorrect: Fingers too open.

forward driving aids, to put the rider in such a position to feel the horse’s energy through the reins. If the ideal contact can be explained by just the weight of the reins – this would be seen by the onlooker as the reins forming a straight line from the horse’s bit or bridle to the rider’s hands – with no loops. If the horse is not travelling forward, this line will show a loop in the reins and would be illustrated clearly in the situation of the rider trying to pick up the reins and the horse slowing or stopping to avoid the contact. In this situation, the rider’s position needs to be checked and corrected where necessary before trying to rectify this issue. In the case of a horse having already learnt how to avoid the contact, then working on the response to the forward driving aids and working with the assistance with a professional instructor address the problem is recommended.

EXERCISE FOR ‘FEEL’ Feel on the reins can be taught or felt by a little exercise involving two people – one person holding the bridle and the second walking behind the first holding the reins. The ‘horse’ person wears the head of the bridle on the top of their head and holds the bit next to the rings similar to the horse’s bars in the mouth. The ‘rider’ walking behind the ‘horse’ can use their voice to instruct their ‘horse’ to walk on and then try to direct the other on turns and stops and have the feedback from their ‘horse’ as to how their contact feels. The rider can ask the ‘horse’ to keep walking as they feel the same amount of contact they usually feel when riding their real horse and ask feedback from the pretend ‘horse’ do they feel it comfortable and so on – this makes for an interesting exercise.

The rider develops a better understanding of what the horse will feel through the rein contact.

Incorrect - flapping rein giving the horse no or inconsistent contact making it unsure when rein pressure may be felt. Circles whilst spiralling in and out, figure eights, serpentines and shallow loops are all exercises that will assist the rider establishing or improving contact on both reins, as well as using quicker transitions to try and create a forward response.

HEAVIER CONTACT With the horse that seems to ‘take’ a heavier contact, first it must be established if it is leaning on the bit with the weight on the forehand, if it is excited, or if it is pulling out of pain or fear. It is a process of elimination and working with an experienced coach or eyes-on-the-ground, to establish why a horse is being strong. Certainly, if the rider is getting off after a ride with sore arms and aching shoulders or fingers then there is a problem that needs to be solved. First, check the horse’s teeth, saddle fit and then check for pain in the neck or back of the horse. When the horse is taking heavier contact always check for physical reasons before reaching for that stronger bit.

A horse that avoids the contact can be more difficult to ‘fix’ than a horse that is too heavy.

Always check for possible physical reasons before going for that stronger bit. The horse’s conformation is also a major factor as to how heavy the contact may be, especially at the beginning of its training. A horse that is, for example, rump high may try and balance by using the reins as a ‘fifth’ leg. This will improve as the horse builds up muscle and learns how to work under itself and carry itself, instead of relying on the rider. Continued

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Riding contact continued...

Correct - horse stretching down into the contact seeking the contact with the rider’s hands.The reins could be a fraction longer so the rider could keep the nose clearly on, or in front of the vertical, and be able to keep her fingers closed on the reins.

After ruling out physical issues, then the individual temperament of the horse needs to be assessed. The lazier horse will also try and use the rider to ‘prop’ itself up! Active and quick transitions, up and down the gaits and within the gaits whilst using school figures with changes of directions and incorporating lateral work, will help keep them keener and interested.

DOES THE BIT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? As for bits, changing the bit may sometimes assist the way a horse goes but really, as long as it is the correct size and the rider has taken into account the anatomy of the horse’s mouth,

it is not generally a bit that will make the difference, but how the rider uses the reins via the contact! CLEAR REWARD The more sensitive horse needs calming and possibly longer steadier work, gentle spirals and school figures with slower transitions, reinforced with clear reward sessions at walk to help calm and settle the horse. These horses are often unsteady or come behind the vertical, with changes from being too heavy to too light, often throughout the ride. The rider must be calm and consistent and not rush these horses’ education. The slower and steadier the training, the bigger the reward.

WESTERN CONTACT With many western styles of riding, this form of avoiding the contact is encouraged as, in this discipline the horse is expected to work on a looped rein, being mostly directed by the rider’s leg and weight aids. Use of the rein is ideally only used as a neck rein aid (pressure against the side of the neck). In Western, the rider is allowed to use the voice, which can

Clear reward sessions at the walk will help calm and settle the horse.

speed up the training and still be used in the final competitions. The horse is trained to avoid the contact step by step – initially by the trainer using the voice, body, weight and leg cues at the same time as the rein aids and then changing to using these cues before using the reins – followed by using strong rein corrections when required. The horse will hear the voice, feel the weight and leg cue and then respond to avoid the use of the rein aids. This can also be reinforced by the rider using a backup reinforcement any time the horse is slow to respond or if it tries to ‘take’ the contact. In this way, the horse is dissuaded from trying to take hold of the bit and therefore encouraged to avoid the contact from the bit (or bosal – bitless western bridle) to the rider’s hands. The fully trained western horse is often shown in rather scary looking curb bits with a strong leverage action, however, at this high level of schooling the western bit is hardly used at all, and the rider must ride with a looped rein with the reins held in one hand. In stock work, western dressage and working equitation type of riding, the horse is encouraged to accept the contact in a lighter way – but still the rein is not to be looped but instead is held in gentle contact. The ideal contact here is just the weight of the reins between the horse’s mouth and the rider’s hands, and the horse travelling in its ‘natural’ way of going, dependant on its conformation. In competitive dressage contact is number three in the German Training Scale – a scale which is followed by most dressage trainers. In the early stages of training the contact may be a little stronger than desired as the horse is learning how to balance with a rider whilst being encouraged to go forward. As the horse’s selfcarriage improves, the contact should lighten as it learns to carry more weight on the hind legs and the forehand (contact) lightens. This is why the ‘old masters’ of dressage, the Spanish Riding School and often in higher level dressage competitions, riders tend to use the double bridle. Why should such a highly-trained horse need two bits with one being able to exert strong leverage action? Not unlike the trained western horse, the ability to show a horse in a double bridle should illustrate that the horse has reached the highest

stage in its training and has learned how to accept the two bits. To use a double bridle should be the finished product of years of training and development – showing that the bits are now hardly used with the horse responding almost purely to the rider’s leg and weight aids. If the bits are used, this is just to assist the horse to know where and how it should carry the head and neck to enable the high school movements to be performed.

In jumping and other disciplines The ideal contact is always going to be aiming to be the weight of the reins, a direct line of communication through the reins, which the horse answers evenly on both sides. There will always be situations where the horse may have other ideas on what he should be doing with the contact, varying from too little to being too heavy, but this is how we can communicate to the horse. Using the ‘feel’ along the reins by adjusting or varying the weight in the hand – to assist the horse to rebalance its body under the weight of the rider and perform what is desired of him/her – until the desired ‘feel’ or weight in the reins is again established.

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This is also where the rider may find that individual horses prefer different weights along the reins – some horses like to feel the rider’s hands heavier – giving them confidence when unsure or challenged - another horse will panic if they feel the rider get heavier on the reins when they start to be difficult. Every horse is different!

The faster or more challenging the sport, the more situations will arise where the weight of the contact will vary, as the horse may tend to become excited or distracted or simply have its own idea of what it should be doing. It is our duty as riders or trainers to teach the horse how to find the correct contact and how to respond to the rein aids with as little force or pressure as possible. The resultant contact or lines of communication used between horse and rider must remain suitable for the intended discipline whilst ensuring it is comfortable for both parties – ensuring the welfare of the horse is always paramount.

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digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 9

BRINGING BRINGING THE RIDER THE RIDER back into ‘work’ by Jemma Moon

Adjusting to a ‘new normal’ with health and fitness

Being a healthy weight and fit for riding is not a new idea, but like horses, if we have had a ‘turn-out’ period then we need a routine and a slow return to fitness so we don’t damage ligaments, tendons or muscles when coming back into ‘work’. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 10

We know the fitter we are the better we ride, and the lighter we are the less impact we have on our horses’ backs. However, over the last few months the global impact of COVID-19 has seen gyms shut, staples from the supermarket hard to get and many people in financial hardship. Recent stats have shown that fitness and diet have not been a priority for everyone and now that life is returning to a somewhat ‘new normal’ many riders are looking for new, cost effective ways of regaining their fitness and health and to lose those few kilograms gained from all the extra isolation snacking. Exercise needs to make up 20% of your efforts for a healthy lifestyle, the remaining 80% can be through nutrition. A combination of both these areas is the most successful way to reach your fitness and health goals, leading to more success in the saddle.

The National guidelines recommended the average person participates in 2.5-5 hours of physical activity a week and that strength exercises - such as using your own body weight or hand weights for exercises like lunges and squats - are included on at least two occasions. Horse riding is already a physical activity so the time you spend trotting and cantering can contribute to your weekly activity goals, as this can be a brilliant cardiovascular activity much like walking. If you are now back in the office and find you don’t have time to ride often during the week then it is important to include some walking, bike riding or walking upstairs into your week. You can even be creative and use your mounting block as a step to get your heart rate up before or after a ride. These are low impact activities, however if you are strong enough for a challenge try 30-60 seconds of skipping or short sprints and then 30 seconds of rest to incorporate some high intensity intervals. If you have been on the couch for the past few months isolating and have neglected your fitness then the program COUCH TO 3 KM WALK BEGINNER is a free guide to get started https://livelighter.com.au/Assets/resource/ physical-activity/PA-Resource_Couch-to-3km-Walk.pdf Incidental exercise can be just as beneficial as the longer planned sessions so consider setting aside 10 minutes after your riding sessions to include a few strength exercises. Many riders can be short for time and setting aside two strength sessions a week may be unachievable. Break the exercises down into short sessions and slot them in between jobs. It is far easier to find 10 minutes than 30 minutes and it all adds up.

Fit your exercise routine in with your horse sessions.

You can download a free rider fitness guide at musclesense.com.au/product/rider-fitness-level-1-guide/ If you are looking for a series of simple, but effective rider exercises, then jump online and take part in this free, 14day short workout programme www.youtube.com/channel/ UCNzTiGzLjeHpkAhiKKItAPA?view_as=subscriber (There are 14 short workout videos people can access one is on sitting trot, another on cardio, fitting exercises in between stable jobs and a heap of others) Continued

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 11

5 Tips for Weight Loss There is an endless list of ‘diets’ around such as low carb, paleo, sugar-free, fasting and keto just to list a few… so it isn’t surprising that riders can be confused about what is the right way to eat with such a varied list of different diets to try. Losing weight is not about restricting food groups or denying yourself, ultimately it is being able to reduce your overall calorie consumption so your body uses its stored fat for energy instead of the foods you eat. The secret to losing weight is about understanding how many calories your body needs and then ensuring you stay below this consistently. Everyone is unique in what foods make you feel the healthiest, just like our horses respond to different types of feed and grain sources. Some riders might prefer eating a vegetarian diet, or high in protein and low carbohydrate. Others may feel better eating more carbohydrates whilst some people feel sluggish and heavy with these foods. A balanced diet for the average person will consist of mostly vegetables with some protein, carbohydrates and good quality fats. The percentage each of these food groups make up in your diet can be completely flexible and will reflect how they make you feel within your body. Take a look at the National program for general expert advice here https://livelighter.com.au/

Tip 1 Eat foods that you enjoy -

and make you feel good

Any diet you choose to follow will not be a sustainable way of eating if you don’t enjoy the foods you are eating. Always include a variety of vegetables as the basis of your daily diet, a serve is ½ - 1 cup and you will need at least 5 serves a day. Just like our horses require a minimum amount of forage from hay and grass, this is our forage.

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 12

Choose the additional protein, carbohydrate and fat sources you enjoy eating the most and it won’t be a diet, but an enjoyable way of eating. Processed foods such as chips and snack foods, sugary desserts and sweets are ‘sometimes’ foods and do need to be eaten in moderation. These are foods high in calories and they provide very little nutrition for our bodies. The average bar of chocolate is around 300 calories, this is equivalent to a couple of large carrots or a 180g steak. When you understand what food is worth, you can easily see how a steak and serve of vegetables would be far more filling than the small chocolate bar.

Tip 2


Understand how many calories your body needs

This ultimately means that you can eat whatever foods you enjoy the most and keep them within the portions and calories that will assist with weight loss. To work out roughly how many calories you require this involves considering your age, height, current weight and activity level. There is a great free online calculator you can use here https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/howmany-calories-per-day#intake-averages This means that if you feel like a chocolate bar and you are trying to lose weight, you can have it but just recognise that it is 300 calories. You will need to balance that from somewhere else in your diet to ensure you are still losing weight. This could mean you have one slice of bread only at lunch and a smaller serve of meat with your dinner that day. If going to a show in which you are competing or just watching, then take along a picnic basket with healthy food that you enjoy.

Tracking your calories doesn’t need to become a chore. However, when starting out it is important to work out and understand what calories are in the foods you enjoy. Take a look at the free app ‘My fitness Pal’ – this can be a great tool to help you stay flexible and still lose weight.

Tip 3 Take each day as it comes -

A good week is better than a great day. Aim to balance your nutrition and calories over a whole week rather than just looking at individual days. If one day you overeat - had a social outing or felt hungrier - balance this out over the week and allow yourself some flexibility. This means that ultimately you won’t lose your motivation because you haven’t managed to have a ‘great’ day and stick to a strict, unachievable diet.

Tip 4 Eating healthy is a merry-go-round -

and not a horse race

Not all our rides on our horses are ‘great’ rides and this is the same for our ability to stick to a diet or healthy eating plan. We simply get-back-on again and have another ride, so do this for your nutrition goals and stay consistent. If you get off the merry-go-round one day or for a few days or weeks then the great news is this ride goes slow and is easy to jump back on again. Too strict diets are like a horse race: fast, hard and once you are off it’s very hard to convince yourself to get back on.

Tip 5 Understand your personality type -

and plan your eating around this

Consider if the diet you choose to follow suits who you are and the way you like living life. Recognising this will support long term success as you won’t won’t have unrealistic expectations. We wouldn’t expect a Quarter Horse to compete in dressage or high-level eventing, and this same concept applies to our success. If you are a planner then acknowledging this by making time to plan your week and your food choices will be important for success. However, if you don’t like being locked into structured plans then this way of eating will be restrictive and you will be more successful adopting a flexible approach. There is an array of online resources to support riders with health and nutrition, however this is a specialist area so ensure the site is a credible source of information. If you require specific nutritional support seek out assistance from a qualified health promotion practitioner or nutritionist/ dietician.

About the Author Jemma Moon admin@musclesense.com.au

Jemma has been a public health and community engagement specialist for over twelve years, working for various health organisations and most recently local government. Jemma runs a small business on the side to support other riders with a passion for fitness and health.


digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 13

OATS stable menu by Kentucky Equine Research

Are plain old oats capable of fulfilling the nutrient needs of all horses – of rollicking weanlings and yearlings, lactating matrons, and hard-working athletes?


odern horsemen, as well as those of yesteryear, love to feed oats and justifiably so. The popularity of oats often stems from mere habit or tradition, but other reasons include a relatively high margin of safety, willingness of most horses to devour them, and perhaps most prominently, a lack of familiarity with the array of alternative feedstuffs in the marketplace.

Oats simply do not have the nutritional profile necessary to fulfill the nutrient requirements of many horses. You may be saying to yourself that horses can indeed survive solely on hay and oats and did so for years. This is true, but in those days your horses were washed-up, incapable of remaining sound for consistent, hard work by the time they reached their mid-teens. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies often take their toll slowly and therefore do not surface until much later in life. A fortified feed, one designed carefully to include a balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals, is the surest way to maximise growth and performance.

COMBINING OATS AND GRASS HAY Oats typically contain 10-12.5% crude protein. While they are often a main ingredient in fortified feeds, a supplemental source of protein is usually added. Soybean meal is the most common protein supplement used because it has an excellent balance of essential amino acids, including lysine, which is necessary for proper growth. Fortified feeds can be formulated with varying percentages of crude protein, from 10-18%.

Fed with grass hay, oats can conceivably provide enough protein for horses at maintenance or horses asked to perform occasional light exercise. Continued

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 15

Oats on the stable menu? continued... However, plain oats contain insufficient lysine for maximal growth of young horses.

Oats and fortified feeds differ in the amount of fibre they bring to the feed bucket.

The high fibre content of oats, approximately 11%, makes them relatively safe to feed, with the risk of overfeeding less dangerous than overconsumption of sweet feed. The hull of the oat contains the majority of the fibre. Hullless oats, on the other hand, have only 2-4% fibre. The fibre fraction of fortified feeds varies according to the major ingredients and can be as low as 5%, when it is a corn-rich concentrate, or as high as 25%, when it is full of beet pulp or when it is a complete feed. The digestibility of the fibre in each meal differs. Fiber in oat hulls is relatively indigestible. Conversely, fibres used in fortified feeds are generally more digestible and are therefore considered sound energy sources for horses.

On the macronutrient front, oats are inherently high in phosphorus (0.35%) and low in calcium (0.05%). Cereal grains, such as oats, contain only one-tenth to one-third of the calcium needed for maximal growth. Feeding oats with a grass hay, as opposed to a calcium-rich legume hay, may skew the calcium to phosphorus ratio. This is especially detrimental to growing horses, as sufficient calcium is necessary for bone formation. Weanlings and yearlings consuming calciumdeficient diets may be at risk of developing rickets, a disease characterised by swollen, malformed joints and crooked bones. Adult horses will suffer from nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, also known as big head disease, in which calcium is reabsorbed from bone and is used to form weak bony deposits on the jaw and bridge of the nose. Mares in late gestation and early lactation fed only oats and pasture or grass hay may resorb calcium from their own skeletons to properly satisfy requirements of foetal ossification. Fortified feeds have added vitamins and minerals that compensate

Few qualms ever arise surrounding the palatability of oats.

for deficiencies in oats and other cereal grains included in a textured or pelleted feed. The oat grain has a soft kernel that is easy for horses to chew. In preference trials featuring plain oats and textured feeds, horses favoured textured feeds. Much of this may be due to the temptation of sweet-tasting molasses. Eagerness to eat becomes an issue in racing stables and some show stables, such as those involved in halter horse competition. Horses that refuse to clean up their rations can arouse panic in their caretakers because an immediate decrease in performance may result. A 20kg bag of a high-quality, well-fortified feed will usually cost more than a 20kg bag of whole oats. Horsemen should look beyond the dollar and cents of the matter. Cost savings are valuable only if they do not undermine the production, performance, or health of a horse. In instances when lucerne hay must be fed in order to get the calcium and phosphorus proportion to jibe with that inherent in oats, buying fortified feed may actually be cheaper than purchasing a truckload of legume or legume-mix hay.

Don’t get the wrong idea though, plain oats may have a place in the diets of some horses. Mature horses in light work and without the demands of reproduction may do just fine on plain oats, in conjunction with adequate forage intake to maintain gastrointestinal health. If oats are chosen as a way to increase calorie intake, a balancer pellet or vitamin and mineral supplement should be added. Balancers are formulated to be fed with oats or other straight cereals to balance the deficiencies. Balancers are low calorie, highly nutrient dense feeds more like supplements than normal feeds. Vitamin and mineral supplements also fit the bill here, and are typically more concentrated and have a lower feeding rate than balancer pellet products. For horses with increased energy demands, however, plain oats will not deliver sufficient protein, vitamins, and minerals for maximal growth or performance and also require a supplementary source of vitamins and minerals either from a balancer pellet or vitamin and mineral supplement. For horses in higher levels of work, looking for a supplement containing organic vitamins and minerals improves bioavailability and often contains other beneficial ingredients such as a yeast culture for digestive support.

About the Author: Kentucky Equine Research (KER)

is an international equine nutrition, research and consultation company serving horse owners and the feed industry. Their goals are to advance the industry’s knowledge of equine nutrition and exercise physiology, apply that knowledge to produce healthier, more athletic horses, and support the nutritional care of all horses throughout their life. The team at Kentucky Equine Research is here to help! For more information on balancing your horses ration, or to find out if oats are a suitable, cost effective addition to your horse’s ration, contact a qualified Nutrition Advisor on 1800 772 198, email: advice@ker.com or visit www.ker.com

FOR HORSES ...NOT HUMANS by Kaye Meynell As reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the time of going to print, there have been close to 5.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 355,000 deaths. Whilst Australia has fared much better than many other countries, the crisis has nonetheless caused widespread panic and mounting concern over the lack of an effective treatment. Recently, a collaborative study between Monash University and the Doherty Institute reported that the macrocyclic lactone, ivermectin, may be a possible candidate, with the antiparasitic drug capable of preventing the virus that causes COVID-19 - the SARS-CoV-2 virus - from growing within just 48 hours, in an in vitro (i.e. petridish) setting. Familiar to many horse owners, ivermectin is indicated for use as, amongst other things, an anthelmintic drug in several animal species and is a well-known and effective worm treatment for horses. It is also used in humans as a treatment for internal parasites, head lice and some skin conditions.

Worryingly, saddleries and veterinarians across the world are reporting that customers are buying ivermectinbased products intended for animals to ‘selfmedicate’ themselves, in the belief the drug will cure COVID-19.

This seemingly began after the press reported the results of the aforementioned study, even though ivermectin was not administered to either humans or animals in that trial and despite the fact that the concentration of ivermectin needed to kill the virus in vitro far exceeded currently approved doses in humans. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had recognised the risk by early April and quickly issued a press release outlining its concern for people selfmedicating with ivermectin intended for animals due to a misconception they were a substitute for ivermectin products intended for humans. The letter reiterated that animal drugs can cause serious harm in people and that ivermectin should never be used unless prescribed to an individual by a licensed health care provider. The side-effects listed included nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic problems (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash potentially requiring hospitalisation and liver injury. Sadly, this isn’t the only instance of people consuming potentially toxic or poisonous products in a bid to ‘cure’ themselves of COVID-19. In early April, the national coroner’s authority reported the death of more than 700 Iranians due to alcohol poisoning after people consumed methanol alcohol in the belief it would kill the virus. Troublingly, reports of other ‘hoax’ remedies leading to illness or death are also beginning to surface. Research into potential treatments for COVID-19 is obviously crucial, however there are issues to be considered surrounding how the general public is informed of any developments - especially how relevant the results of early stage, laboratory-based trials might be to a clinical setting.

Equine coronavirus Equine Enteric Coronavirus and Covid-19 are both coronaviruses but are distinctly different viruses, and there is no evidence to indicate that horses could contract Covid-19, or that they would be able to spread the disease to other animals or humans, according to several international health organisations. Coronaviruses include a large group of RNA viruses that cause respiratory and intestinal symptoms, and have been reported in domestic and wild animals. An RNA virus is a virus that has ribonucleic acid as its genetic material. In addressing questions raised by horse owners, equine veterinarians at Florida’s Palm Beach Equine Clinic said Equine Enteric Coronavirus and Covid-19 are not the same strain, and there is no indication that either is transmissible between species. “Equine coronavirus is an enteric, or gastrointestinal, disease in the horse. There is no evidence that equine enteric coronavirus poses a threat to humans or other species of animals,” the clinic said.

Nicola Pusterla, a professor in equine internal medicine at the University of California, Davis, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, says that “Since 2010, when the ECoV test was developed, outbreaks of ECoV have been diagnosed in Japan, Europe, and throughout most of the United States.” Equine coronavirus vital statistics Transmission: Equine coronavirus is transmitted between horses when manure from an infected horse is ingested by another horse (faecal-oral transmission), or if a horse makes oral contact with items or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected manure. Common Clinical Signs: Typically mild signs that may include anorexia, lethargy, fever, colic or diarrhoea. Diagnosis: Veterinarians diagnose equine enteric coronavirus by testing faecal samples, and the frequency of this disease is low. Treatment and Prevention: If diagnosed, treatment is supportive care, such as fluid therapy and anti-inflammatories, and establishing good biosecurity precautions of quarantining the infected horse. Keeping facilities as clean as possible by properly disposing of manure will help decrease the chances of horses contracting the virus.

When a snotty nose

isn’t just a snotty nose By Dr. Jennifer Stewart


hen you arrive at the stable first thing in the morning and notice a discharge from your horse’s nostrils your inclination is to grab a cloth and wipe that nose clean, but before you do that you need to take a minute to determine what type of discharge is being produced. This will indicate if your horse just has a case of the sniffles or if this is a sign of a more serious illness that requires further veterinary investigation. A nasal discharge may or may not be ‘snotty’. There are many, varied causes and reasons - acting alone or in combination - for a discharge and whether it is a little snotty, very snotty or not snotty at all.

A nasal discharge can range from a clear discharge (Figure 1; mild serous); clear or slightly white (Figure 2; mucoid); thick pus (purulent); a combination of these (mucopurulent); blood or blood-tinged mucous (haemorrhagic) to food material and saliva. Any discharge that is copious or contains pus material, blood or food indicates a problem.

A common concern is the horse with a persistent discharge on one side of the nostril (unilateral) and because of the complexity of the upper airways, there are multiple causes. The site of the problem affects whether a nasal discharge is unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides) and therefore respiratory conditions are divided into those occurring in the upper respiratory tract (the nose, nasolacrimal (tear) ducts, sinuses, throat and trachea) and those that occur in the lower respiratory tract (the lungs). Whether a discharge is uni- or bilateral can shine some light on the source.

Figure 1: A scant serous trickle

a one-sided discharge. If the discharge is always unilateral, the source is usually the nasal passages or sinuses. Important information can be gleaned from a description and a history of the discharge - whether one or both nostrils are involved, the nature of the discharge (clear, pus, blood, food), whether other horses are affected, the volume at different times of day and in relation to exercise (the pussy nasal discharge associated with chronic sinusitis and inflammatory lesions of the lower airway may be more profuse after exercise), whether the horse also has concurrent eye secretions/conjunctivitis, a cough or any swollen areas on the head and face.




Discharges can be categorised and this helps us diagnose the source and cause. Serous secretions can be uni- or bilateral. Horses that are well and healthy may produce a small amount of clear serous nasal discharge after exercise - that little trickle at the end of the ride or after a long trip in the trailer that goes away Continued without a second thought (see Figure 1).

Discharge from one nostril (unilateral) usually indicates something going on in that side of the head, nasal cavity or sinuses. Conditions such as sinusitis, nasal foreign bodies, tumours, trauma and ethmoid haematomas usually present with digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 18

Figure 2: Slight mucoid discharge digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 19

Snotty noses continued...

A yellow-ish, bilateral discharge is typical of strangles. Veterinary monitoring is helpful as at least 10% of horses infected with strangles will end up with chronic infections in the guttural pouches. A ‘carrier state’ can also develop in horses that carry the bacteria in the guttural pouch for months after they have recovered and although they appear clinically well and healthy, showing no signs of infection, they shed bacteria in nasal discharges and are a source of infection for other susceptible horses. Discharges containing food material and saliva

These are usually bilateral and mostly a sign of swallowing problems (choke, botulism, tumours, foreign bodies, guttural pouch enlargement) which may be located in the throat (pharynx) or oesophagus. Food-containing discharges may also occur in colics with gastric reflux. bloody discharge CLEAR OR NEARLY CLEAR A mucoid or mucus discharge has a thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid (viscous) due to a higher protein content. The proteins indicate a response to inflammation, which may be occurring due to an early viral infection in the upper and/ or lower respiratory tract - anywhere from the nasal cavity to the far reaches of the bronchial tree. Herpes viruses are a common cause of a sero-mucoid nasal discharge in all horses. During the EI outbreak we saw horses with classic, mild to severe symptoms and while herpes is much milder it must be assumed that every horse has it and is exposed – and herpes is for life! Once infected, the virus remains with the horse for life, and if stressed or suffering a respiratory infection, horses may show symptoms of herpes again – or during a recurrence, they may remain symptomfree but shed the virus, exposing other horses. Foals and aged horses are the most likely to have symptoms, from a slight snotty nose to a flu-like illness with fever and cough. Containing both mucus and pus A mucopurulent discharge indicates that white blood cells are present. White blood cells attend to bacterial infections, but they can also be present in viral or fungal infections. Viscous, purulent discharges often have a strong unpleasant smell and contain high numbers of white blood cells. They may be opaque, white, yellow or green and occur with a range of bacterial, viral and fungal infections – but rarely with allergies (dust, mycotoxins, indoor air-quality, surface moisture on arenas, pollen, ammonia, car exhaust gas). A horrid-smelling discharge is usually the result of sinusitis, dental disease, fungal infections in the nasal cavity or guttural pouch, tumours, or gangrenous pneumonia. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 20

This is a sign of serious pathology. Blood can originate from anywhere within the respiratory tract and careful examination is needed to determine the source of the bleeding. The presence of blood in a bilateral discharge that appears within a few hours of strenuous ridden work, may be a sign of exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH). Although not an emergency, EIPH can occur when tiny blood vessels in the lungs rupture due to large pressure changes and is exacerbated by any concurrent inflammatory airway disease. There are several veterinary treatments that can help reduce the incidence and effects of EIPH, but very often once a horse has ‘bled’ it is more likely to bleed again in future.

EIPH is a common cause of poor performance. If a nasal discharge containing blood appears unrelated to exercise and is associated with a muco-purulent nasal discharge it may be caused by guttural pouch mycosis. Blood in a unilateral discharge more often occurs with upper respiratory tract lesions such as progressive ethmoid haematoma (PEH) or to traumatic sinus haemorrhage such as caused by a fall or a kick to the head. Traces of blood in a unilateral discharge can be a sign of cysts, polyps and masses in the nasal cavity and fungal infections of the sinuses. These can all grow quite large before they are detected. Sometimes the discharge may also contain pus, be copious and smell very unpleasant. Tumours in the sinuses can produce intermittent, low-grade, unilateral bleeding that may contain pus.

Blood appearing from the nose can be deadly if it is due to a fungal infection in the back of the horse’s nasal cavity (guttural pouch mycosis). The fungal infection damages a major blood vessel in the area and causes it to rupture and the bleeding is

usually from both nostrils. Emergency surgery can be life-saving.

Horses can also develop a tumour called a ‘progressive haematoma of the ethmoid plate’ which can be a source of nasal blood. Although they usually cause a low-grade, unilateral bloody discharge, they can also rupture and cause nasal bleeding. If your horse has even a small amount of blood in a nasal discharge, discuss promptly with your veterinarian as an endoscopic exam can determine its source. A bilateral clear-to-frothy, foamy, blood-tinged or brown nasal and/or oral discharge can occur with Hendra virus infection. TRAVEL SNIFFLES TO PNEUMONIA Sometimes a discharge can change and this needs to be watched carefully. For example. a normal clear nasal discharge posttravel can quickly progress to a thick, sticky consistency or pus discharge, and from there to severe and life-threatening pneumonia and/or pleurisy. The earliest sign of progression with secondary bacterial/viral/ fungal invasion and complications is a fever within 20 hours post travel. Early, aggressive treatment is required. OTHER SIGNS The presence of other signs, along with a nasal discharge can help in the diagnosis.

Coughing is more common with lower airway disease, except if the cause is a foreign body stuck near the pharynx or larynx or swallowing problems. An increased respiration rate or difficulty breathing usually indicates lung or lower respiratory tract involvement, whereas severe respiratory obstruction and reduced airflow through the nose often occurs in horses with sinusitis and


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Snotty noses continued... nasal masses (tumour, maxillary cyst or ethmoidal haematoma- a mass in the paranasal sinuses). Horses with obstructive lesions in the pharynx (abscess, tumour) or guttural pouch problems can show signs of respiratory obstruction and a snoring respiratory noise even at rest. Swelling in the throat can be a sign of a tumour or abscess, or of guttural pouch disease.

noises, coughing and reduced exercise capacity – any one of these symptoms can signal disease or abnormality in the upper and/or lower respiratory system. Determining the cause requires a full veterinary clinical examination and often additional investigations. NASAL DISCHARGES IN FOALS


In foals, a discharge from both nostrils is common with infections acquired before, during or soon after birth; meconium aspiration (inhalation of birth fluids/stools in the fluid during labour); herpes virus infection, and in older foals with rattles or pneumonia.

Respiratory tract disorders and diseases can present with a whole range of signs either singly or in combination, including: nasal discharge, flaring of the nostrils, increased effort or rate of breathing, facial swellings, bad breath, abnormal respiratory

Recently on Thoroughbred and Trakehner studs in Australia and

In foals that have a nasal discharge containing milk soon after birth, congenital defects of the palate, throat (nasopharynx), cysts or oesophagus problems may be the cause.


Other signs

Viral rhinitis*

mucoid or mucopurulent, uni- or bilateral

may have a cough

Bacterial rhinitis

mucoid or mucopurulent, uni- or bilateral

may have a cough + fever

Fungal rhinitis

mucoid or mucopurulent +/- blood, uni- or bilateral


Turbinate necrosis

purulent +/- blood, uni- or bilateral

may have a fever


purulent, unilateral (rarely bilateral)

may have facial swelling, nasal obstruction

Maxillary cyst

sometimes have discharge, mucoid or mucopurulent, unilateral

may have facial swelling, nasal obstruction

Nasal tumour

sometimes have discharge, mucopurulent +/- blood, unilateral

may have facial swelling, nasal obstruction


mucopurulent, bilateral

may have facial swelling, nasal obstruction, pain

Pharyngeal abcess

sometimes have discharge, purulent +/food, bilateral

may have trouble breathing and swallowing

Cleft or other palate defect

mucopurulent + food, bilateral

trouble eating

Guttoral pouch tympany


trouble eating, breathing + throat swelling

Guttoral pouch empyema

purulent, ususally bilateral

may have trouble breathing and swallowing

Guttoral pouch mycosis

mucopurulent + blood +/- food, bilateral

trouble swallowing, head pain, nerve paralysis

Pneumonia, lung abcesses and pleurisy

may have purulent discharge, bilateral

cough, fever, respiratory distress, pain

Worms in lungs

may have purulent discharge, bilateral

cough, respiratory distress

Oesophageal lesions

Variable, food + saliva, bilateral

trouble swallowing, excess salivation +/swelling in neck

Allergies, ammonia

serous, uni- or bilateral

may have conjunctivitis or cough

Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (bighead/osteoporosis)

may have serous/mucoid discharge, uni- or bilateral

may have respiratory noise due to narrowing/ obstruction of nasal passages from excess proliferation of fibrous tissue, difficulty passing stomach tube or endoscope

Dental issues

fractured or infected teeth can result in nasal discharge (unilateral) unless there are multiple teeth on both sides of the mouth are affected

may have excessive salivation or bloody discharge from the mouth

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 22

The paranasal sinuses in the horse

overseas, Chlamydia (a disease that can be transmitted from animals to people) spilled over from birds, causing pneumonia in vets, horses and farmers; a serous nasal discharge in adult horses; premature birth and abortions in mares, and acute respiratory distress with clear-to-mucus, and pus combined nasal discharge in new-born foals. Biosecurity and personal protective equipment is needed when dealing with Chlamydia-associated respiratory disease. Internal parasites Several gastrointestinal parasites can also be a problem in foals and young horses. Roundworms (ascarids) are a real and present danger to horses from two months to four years old – partly due to increasing resistance to common wormers. The larvae of roundworms migrate through the lung tissue and occupy the airways - causing a nasal discharge (which may contain worms). Once lung tissue is damaged by the roundworms, viral or bacterial infections can occur. Threadworms (strongyloides) can also cause respiratory signs and a nasal discharge when they enter through the skin and migrate to the lungs. And although donkeys are the primary host of lungworms, they are rarely affected by lungworms – but horses paddocked with donkeys can become infested with lungworm (dictyocaulus). This parasite spends its adult life in the lungs, lays eggs that are coughed up and swallowed, then passed in the manure. With all of these parasites, it is the migration through the lung tissue that does the damage. SINUSES In all horses, the sinuses are a common source of nasal discharge – and the most common sign of sinusitis (either primary or secondary) is nasal discharge.

The discharge usually occurs on the side of the affected sinus (unilateral). A bilateral discharge is rare unless sinuses on both sides of the head are involved. The appearance and nature of the discharge varies but is typically clear-to-yellow and may contain pus or blood, with or without an odour.

Deciduous caps can make their way into nasal cavities, causing a pussy, unilateral discharge.

Horses with Cushing’s disease and some adrenal tumours seem to be predisposed to sinusitis and secondary nutritional hyperparathyroidism can produce swellings and nasal discharge. A veterinary examination will help differentiate sinus diseases from diseases of the nasal passages or guttural pouches. A nasal discharge may be of little importance – or it could be an important, early sign of a problem somewhere in the respiratory tract. Finding the source and cause of a nasal discharge may require a range of laboratory tests, examinations and imaging techniques. This set of diagnostics may sound complicated for a simple ‘snotty’ nose, but some of the causes of nasal discharge are not simple problems. Although a nasal discharge is rarely missed, the significant underlying diseases causing it can easily be missed. Most routine respiratory cases resolve with minimal treatment and no permanent damage. With others, it’s a mistake to take them lightly and timely veterinary intervention is needed for the best outcome. DISCLAIMER: All content provided in this editorial is for general use and information only and does not constitute advice or veterinary opinion. The content does not consider individual circumstances, is not intended as a substitute for advice, and should not be relied upon as advice or in place of consultation with your equine veterinarian. For full disclaimer, please refer to our website: www.jenquine.com.au Dr Jen Stewart has been an equine veterinarian for more than 40 years and an equine nutritionist for more than 10 years. Jen has been developing premium formulas for studs, trainers and feed companies in Australia and around the world and regularly consults to leading international studs and trainers in various countries.

Primary sinusitis is usually bacterial and in cases where veterinary diagnosis and treatment is delayed, primary sinusitis easily progresses to chronic osteitis (bone infection), destruction of soft tissue and bone, and deep-seated abscesses. Secondary sinusitis the most common underlying causes are dental disease followed by sinus cysts. In horses under five years of age, the sinuses are largely filled with embedded parts of the third to sixth cheek teeth and any disease in these teeth can progress into the sinuses. In young Welsh mountain and smaller breed ponies, the reserve tooth crowns can project further into the sinus cavities and cause firm, painless, bilateral swellings in the nasal bones that should not be confused with injuries or disease.

Jen has spent a fair bit of time researching and being involved in nutritional management of developmental orthopaedic diseases, colic, tying-up, laminitis, performance problems, post-surgery and other conditions. She is currently the only practicing equine veterinarian and clinical nutritionist in Australia. Jen’s promise is to continue to BRING SCIENCE TO YOUR FEED BIN.

Dr Jennifer Stewart CEO BVSc BSc PhD Dip BEP Equine Veterinarian and Consultant Nutritionist.

Dr Jennifer Stewart www.jenquine.com Equine Veterinarians Australia www.ava.com.au

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 23

At Home with Hayley Over the next few issues Hayley Beresford will share an insight into her equestrian beliefs, horse and property management and training systems used at ‘Eiserner Hof’, her international competition stables in Germany.

Australian Hayley Beresford at an international dressage event.

Inside Eiserner with Hayley Beresford Eisern- ironclad, unshakable, indefatigable INTRO IN BOX


any involved in the horse world know of dressage rider Hayley Beresford from her representation of Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and from the feature in the recent issue of Hoofbeats At home in Germany with Australian Dressage Olympian.

For those who don’t follow Olympians or are new to the magazine, Hayley grew up in a little wheatbelt town in Australia, and was lucky enough to have been around horses her entire life. She has done her ‘apprenticeship’ with top riders like German Olympian Isabelle Werth, has competed at Olympics, World Championships and Aachen CHIO. Like most riders’ stories there have been wins and losses, good times and hard times but Hayley has travelled the world in her dressage pursuits, whether it was competing, teaching or looking for horses for clients. Now she is living her dream in Germany, running her own equestrian business, ‘Eiserner Hof,’ with her German partner Jule Fehl, their five dogs, three cats and 30-odd horses!

The ‘fur family’ are always available to assist with the many chores around the property.

Following the wonderful reaction and feedback to our article by Sally-Leigh Woods and Celine Bønnelykke in the previous magazine, we thought readers might like to see a little more each issue on the inside workings of an international competition stable, and what is required to steer an equestrian career in the right direction so you can continue to compete internationally at the highest levels ...and keep living the dream. We encourage anyone interested to join the Eiserner Hof Facebook and Instagram pages and ask Hayley any questions you might like to see addressed in future issues. You can also follow her daily life, challenges, and the lighthearted moments as she is a firm believer that while hard work is necessary to achieve your dreams there’s a need for fun and ‘silliness’ as the world is just too serious sometimes. Continued

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THERE’S NO LIMIT TO DREAMS - with Hayley Beresford “Before delving into specifics about training and management the message I really want to bring across, is that anything is possible for anyone if you dream it, want it bad enough and work for it. There are no limits on dreams. How you realise them might take some time, some planning, some practice and persistence, but anything and everything is always possible.

The psychological aspect of riding is just as important as the physical aspect.

“No one has ever said dreams don’t require hard work. I’ve worked hard and been pretty lucky, as I don’t recall a single day with an empty stable or a day where I’ve had nothing to do. My business started mainly riding young stallions at stallion shows. I quickly got a gutsy and determined reputation, because let’s face it – riding three-year-old stallions freshly broken in, in front of loud applauding crowds at night under spotlights in freezing temperatures is no mean feat. “I never turned away a horse in training or a lesson as I didn’t know when my popularity would run out.

“ I always felt a little like I was on borrowed time - what right did this little West Aussie pony club/showie/ bush kid have to be playing in this international league.”

Problem-solving tactics

“As the years went by and some wonderful horses joined my team, I continued to thrive on the international circuit. I also had some tough experiences, and dealt with some colourful characters. Horses come and go and I’ve learnt we just can’t please everyone - but I do still try. “Every experience - good or bad - contributes to our personal development. As the horses kept coming through the doors, so too did learning opportunities. Every horse, and its owner, brought to me some amazing lessons. At this time, I continued to train as hard as I could. Always striving to improve myself, and always trying to be better than I was yesterday.”

“I’ve learnt that ‘experience’ is the best teacher, because a smart rider will take each experience and store it away. The best problem-solving tactic I know is the ability to draw from our experiences.” digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 26

I’m a black-and-white person and trainer. Grey areas are dangerous and don’t achieve anything so I really needed to change something.

Grey areas in work and life “After four years running my business solo I started to feel a bit uneasy, loneliness was the biggest factor, especially when living so far from family and friends in Australia. A grey area developed. “I couldn’t build on what I had created and worse still, I felt I couldn’t evolve or develop professionally anymore, despite having endless work I didn’t enjoy the limitations of the stable with no fields or places to ride outside, and I was no longer enjoying my training or teaching so much.”

Horses could really be horses

“What came next I can only describe as fate. I was visiting Jule, who happened to be working at Eiserner Hof. At this point, the Hof was still in a state of renovation. The nuts‘n’bolts were there, and you could tell it was going to be a horsey paradise and situated in a truly beautiful location. I fell in love instantly. Fields, fresh air, privacy and peacefulness, a place where the horses could really be horses.

“After some time, I decided to relocate my business to the south and I rented half of Eiserner Hof, and was sharing the stable with Jule. I continued my work, and Jule continued hers, however I was riding again with an equal, enabling shared problem solving, shared success and support, which I had been desperately missing.”

Improving horse management

Eiserner Hof allowed me to alter and improve the management of my horses with fields aplenty, great hacking paths, a walking machine, an undulating surfaced gallop track, a beautiful indoor arena and an outdoor full size arena to die for. For a further four years, our businesses continued to support one another and we both enjoyed more success. I was able to completely focus on building up horses for sale and made some real in-roads towards developing my future financial security. We won the Landeschampionate (like a state championship) for young horses for three years running with horses that I found as two year olds. This brought more and more youngsters in training for Jule to start and this has become her main specialty. As Eiserner Hof wasn’t purpose built to house stallions I was able to move away from this sector and I seemed to attract some remedial (horses that need reprogramming), rehabilitation and middle level horses in training. I really love the journey toward FEI with the horses and my days had become full of these.

Building the business

“In 2017, the owners of Eiserner Hof decided to sell. This was a real crossroads for us. What to do? How could we afford a stable like this? What were we going to do? We didn’t want to leave Eiserner Hof but we were petrified of such a big commitment. It took us a good 12 months to line up our ducks once we decided to go for it. We made a plan, we followed it through step-by-step and in January 2018 we merged our businesses to form a partnership and bought the Hof (or mortgaged ourselves to the hilt!). “We both still do what we do best to contribute to the business. We were very fortunate that the blue prints of the partnership had already developed over the previous four years so running the stable, managing the horses, figuring out the training strategies etc., all came naturally.

Even in international competition stables there are jobs such as stable cleaning, which Hayley and Jule fitted in with their riding schedules during Covid-19 restrictions.

Managing and developing the horses

“We believe that horses should be allowed to be horses and that each horse is an individual personality. Presentation is paramount and ‘black-and-white’ discipline applies to both ourselves, and our horses. We believe in hard training and in fun work. Both Jule and I come from jumping backgrounds, so our horses are not always just playing dressage divas, they get to buck in the fields with their mates, go hacking and gallop on the track as well. “Our dreams are as big as ever. I’m a list maker. I set little goals and we make plans. From each horse in training or for sale, further development of the property, horse searches, teaching etc., there is always a plan behind it…and a little list.” Next issue - “I will get started with the horses. What better place to start than with the youngsters. I will guide you through how we start a young horse. Until then we welcome your suggestions for anything you would like to learn about in future issues, from caring for saddlery to the importance of grooming and feeding right to how to train your horse to respond to aids. Just ask.” You can follow Hayley on Facebook by logging onto Eiserner Hof- Hayley Beresford & Jule Fehl here.

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Please Explain What is a Faecal Egg Count? A faecal egg count (FEC) is a test on a sample of manure that is collected and analysed for signs of parasites. It can provide an insight into the type of worms that your horse can have and how many eggs are present per gram in your horse’s manure. It can provide information on how effective your worming program is and which parasites you should be worming against. This test is recommended to be carried out yearly and ideally before worming

Retention of ‘baby’ teeth

in early Spring. A second test carried out 10-14 days after worming - to check if the worming has been effective - can also be recommended. A FEC test can decrease the reliance on worming treatments with the resistance of equine worms to chemical wormers becoming more common,

There are many aspects of riding terms, horse conditions and management practices that are accepted in the equestrian community, without them being fully understood by everyone. Here, we have asked experienced researchers and horse people to shed some light on common ‘horse lore’.

however they do not necessarily reflect the horse’s status regarding all internal parasites including tapeworms, bots, ascarids and pinworms so liaise with your vet to develop a tailored worming program for your horses.

Retained deciduous (baby) teeth

by Kit Prendergast

Most mammals have two sets of teeth in life: they start off with a set of deciduous teeth, also known as ‘baby teeth’ or ‘milk teeth’, which are later replaced by permanent teeth. • Foals develop a set of 24 baby teeth by about nine months of age, which are then shed as the horse matures. • From ages one to four years old, the mature teeth of a horse erupt in the gum to replace the baby teeth, and by maturity a horse has 36-40 permanent teeth (mares) or 40-42 permanent teeth (male horses). All permanent teeth should have erupted by about the time a horse is five years old. As described by Dr Jack Easley, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP, a private practitioner from Equine Veterinary Practice LLC, in Shelbyville, USA, “The shedding of deciduous teeth is an entirely natural process that generally does not require human intervention to proceed normally.” Sometimes things go wrong and these baby teeth are retained. This condition occurs when the baby teeth are retained after the permanent tooth has erupted, and end up sitting on top of the permanent tooth that is trying to erupt from below. This can result in impaction, displacement, and prevent the normal eruption of the permanent teeth such that they grow at an abnormal angle, have uneven surfaces, or can even result in the failure of the permanent tooth to erupt at all. This is a major issue given the importance of good dentition for a horse to properly chew it’s feed in order to extract nutrients. An inability to properly chew food can result in weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, and colic. Moreover, the dental caps of the retained deciduous teeth may fragment, causing laceration and infection of the gum, tongue or cheek. Given the issues arising from retained caps, if the deciduous teeth are not shed naturally an equine dentist is required to remove them. Symptoms of the failure of baby teeth to shed include difficulty eating, dropping food (quidding), unexplained behavioural problems, resisting the bit, or head tossing. Horses showing these symptoms should be digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 28

examined by an equine dentist or veterinarian. Upon inspection of the horse’s mouth, indicators that there is a baby tooth retention issue include recognisable misalignment of the tooth line, as well as soreness and inflammation. The necessary procedure of removing the baby tooth is by removing it with dental forceps, and may require the horse to undergo standing sedation. As shedding of the deciduous (baby) teeth is a natural process, equine dental experts like Dr Easley advise that deciduous teeth should be allowed to shed on their own, and only be removed with veterinary intervention if problems arise. As noted by Dr Easley, “the practice of methodically removing deciduous teeth at set ages results in premature removal in some horses,” which exposes the dental sac covering the underlying permanent tooth, which is then destroyed when the horse chews on this prematurely exposed tooth, leading to loss of blood supply to the chewing surface, predisposing the horse to cavities later in life.

What is HYPP? HYPP stands for Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, which is an inherited disease of the muscle caused by a genetic defect. An autosomal dominant genetic disorder, it can lead to episodes of muscle spasms, weakness, ‘dog sitting’ due to hind quarter weakness, collapse, recumbency (lying down), sweating, high serum potassium levels, third eyelid twitching and yawning. Levels of distress during an attack vary, with some horses showing only mild symptoms, while others have very severe symptoms. Due to respiratory paralysis or respiratory failure during an attack, some horses can suffocate and die. Research into the condition has identified that it can exist in certain descendants of the American Quarter Horse sire, Impressive. The original genetic defect causing HYPP was a natural mutation that occurred as part of the evolutionary process. Impressive was born in 1969 and had outstanding conformation, disposition and pedigree. He was a multi-Champion and eventually set the standard in halter horses for the Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa breeds in the USA. His progeny were used extensively for halter classes due to their outstanding conformation. A very popular sire, Impressive lines were much sought after and by the time the researchers discovered the link between the Impressive bloodlines and HYPP there were literally tens of thousands of horses carrying his bloodlines, and in many cases, his defective gene. The majority of genetic mutations, which are constantly occurring, are not compatible with survival, however, the genetic mutation causing HYPP inadvertently became widespread when breeders sought to produce horses with heavy musculature. The Australian Quarter Horse Association requires that horses applying for registration that have lineage to ‘Impressive’ need to be tested for HYPP, except where both parents have been tested for HYPP with a negative result on file with the Association. To read more about various genetics view the feature on Genetic Disorders that covers a range of disorders from SIDS to PSSM. Link to genetic Disorders

Impressive, AQHA

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 29

Photographer: Allies Captured Moments



in an d Tr


Jarr ett


With the coronavirus affecting the livelihoods and lifestyle of most Australians, people are looking for ways to balance their mental and physical well-being with a positive outlook on life as we now know it. As the pandemic restrictions isolated people from their support groups, family, friends and workmates, along with the fear of an uncertain future, it did not take long for ‘cracks’ to appear in the mental health of some, especially those who also had to come to terms with the uncertainty of employment. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 30

Horses helping us through isolation


The blue tree is a symbol of mental health awareness ustralian polocrosse representative and ambassador for mental health awareness, Salli Galvin, advises people to stay motivated in regards to their horses and their riding during these uncertain times.

“We don’t know when shows and events will re-open, but what we know is, that they will. It is important for your health to see your horse every day, if possible. You don’t need to ride, but when you look after your horse’s well-being its very presence will look after your well-being.”

Having the commitment of maintaining the care of a 500-kilo animal gives a stronger sense of purpose than most jobs. “My four boys have especially found this sense of purpose in these times. Without the routine of school, the structure of feeding, rugging and looking after the 30 odd horses residing at our equestrian centre gave them daily purpose.” When we caught up with Salli, entrepreneur and owner of Jarradale Equestrian, to chat about her life with horses and the recent publication of her book on how to overcome adversity and how horses assist - Empowered Women Empowering the World that she co-wrote with her sister, Tracey Jarrett, Salli said, “Horse people are truly blessed. Those fortunate enough to own or ride horses are the lucky ones during the recent restrictions. Not only is there the opportunity to work on property chores and the satisfaction (regardless of their present situation) of ticking many tasks off their ‘to-do’ list, they also have their horses to help keep them grounded and give them a purpose.”

“We have to remember to be grateful for what we have and for our horses.” “Think of the people who don’t have what we have, who were confined to a unit or house, and how much harder these times would have been to get through physically and mentally.

“Horses, more so than any animal, have an ability to get people through boredom, negativity and social isolation, along with other mentally disturbing situations.” Research has shown that interaction with horses benefits people in many ways, including those with autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts . Studies performed showed significantly improved symptoms in adolescents who had a history of being physically abused or neglected as children. Salli kept her riding school open during recent restrictions by instilling strict regulations, having set times for agistee’s visits and only conducting private lesson. She chose to remain open - despite additional costs and reduced rates - for the sole purpose of helping to keep people motivated and ‘sane’.

“Mental health is extremely important, especially during times of stress such as the population is going through at the present time.”

“People came to the riding school to spend time with their horses and we saw an increase in the amount of time they interacted with their horses. I personally had that extra time to start working with a couple of my young horses.”


“For those working or studying from home it is challenging when you have a couple of horses in the paddock. It is easy to think of all the activities you could be doing with them so it is hard to activate your self-discipline so you don’t spend every waking hour with them. It helps if you use the horses as a treat; work first, set yourself a time restriction and then reward yourself with the horses when you’ve finished your work tasks. This is a routine that a lot of us probably would benefit from practising.” When life returns to normal, or a ‘new’ normal, we will be able to reflect on the way that our horses helped our mental and physical well-being, improved our everyday life-skills during these trying times, and assisted in making us all aware of that great sense of community that we shared with other horse owners, riders and like-minded people, and how important it is to us. Salli Galvin and Tracey Jarrett’s book can be ordered from Salligalvin.com.au

PRODUCT NEWS What’s new on the market place?

Topline Conditioner Product

Product: EQUI-JEWEL Description: A scientifically formulated high-fat, low-starch and cool-energy conditioner, Equi-Jewel is the original, research-proven stabilised rice bran product for horses and is the only conditioning supplement to include KER BMC™ to buffer the digestive tract. A high-fat, cool-energy safe source of fat to encourage weight gain it’s a highly palatable source of calories, fibre, amino acids and protein to assist in building muscle and topline, as well as maintaining condition. A low-starch energy source for horses prone to tying-up or laminitis, Equi-Jewel is high in linoleum acid, which helps to reduce gastric acidity, has a balanced calcium and phosphorus ratio for skeletal health and development and is a source of essential bioavailable antioxidants, natural vitamin E and organic selenium to assist with muscle recovery. With essential fatty acids to a promote healthy skin and a naturally shiny coat it has a low intake rate and high digestibility. Availability: available now from all leading stockfeed stores. Contact: Kentucky Equine Research 1800 772 198, advice@ker.com, www.ker.com.

Safer Horse Floating

Product: Air pro cushion divider system Description: With scrambling one of the biggest problems associated with the transportation of horses in traditional horse floats the Air Pro Cushion System was developed in Australia to provide soft cushioning and comfort to the full length of the horse’s body on both sides where some traditional padding can become flattened and hard. Assisting in decreasing scrambling by up to 85% the Air Pro Cushion Divider System helps to stabilise the horse in transit, providing comfort and security and helping to prevent bruising and nerve damage. Minimising stress in transit and allowing the horse to arrive at its destination in the best possible condition is a must for competitors, who will also appreciate the improved safety benefits for loading and unloading process. Made in Australia the system is the only cushioning system that uses air to improve the horse’s safety while travelling in a horse float and can be installed DIY. Cost: Standard 2 horse float DIY kit, $799. Special Offer for June and July 2020, save $25 and enjoy free shipping within Australia. Contact: www.airprocushion.com, email gjair-ride@bigpond.com or phone 0402 019 223.

Handmade horse hair keepsakes Product: Stainless steel, leather and horsehair buckle bracelet Description: New to the range of handmade braided horsehair jewellery and other gift items for the equestrian enthusiast from Living Horse Tails are leather and horsehair inlaid bracelets for him and her with stainless steel clasps. Hand made with a soft stitched leather in a range of colours, these bracelets can be made with your own horse’s tail hair or with hair in stock. Made in NSW, other horse hair pieces available from Living Horse Tails include sterling silver earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets and brooches, with the custom made options with your own horse’s hair perfect for a treasured memento and a thoughtful and individual gift for someone special. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 31 Visit: www.livinghorsetails.com/

JOBKEEPER and your equestrian business

Subsidy packages offer equestrian businesses financial support during the pandemic - they can help pay your staff and are also available for the owner-operator.


he horse industry, perhaps more so than most industries, is made up of so many small businesses, many of which are owner-operators. We have the farriers, the coaches, trainers and produce stores, and then there is the myriad of people who offer their services in natural therapies, nutrition advice, clinics and those who sell products across Facebook - from a range of gear to herbal remedies for horses. As the pandemic took over the Federal Government rolled out subsidy packages to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. One of these was JobKeeper, and it was generally believed by many in our industry that it was only for those businesses that employed staff. Employers could claim a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of six months. However, JobKeeper is for more than just employees.


The other aspect of the JobKeeper package was that it also paid the $1500 to one eligible business owner that operated as a sole trader or through trusts, partnerships and companies, even if their business was operating at a loss and/or they were not being paid wages. The only requirement was that the eligible business participant must have been actively involved in the business.

Once business owners qualified, they do not need to continue qualifying for the remainder of the scheme. Businesses are required to report to the ATO on a monthly basis their current and projected GST turnover. Full details are available from the Taxation department’s website.


This financial help certainly made it easier for many to continue running their business - and keeping their staff - while restrictions were in place that required people to stay at home. And the good news is that it is not too late to apply now - as JobKeeper does not have an end date for enrolments. For example, should the business become eligible in June, the owner is able to enrol from the start of June. 1. Sole traders The proprietor would be eligible if they do not receive JobKeeper from another source. Another reminder…for verification purposes, businesses without employees, such as a sole trader: • will need to provide an ABN for their business; • nominate an individual to receive the payment; • provide that individual’s Tax File Number; and • provide a declaration as to the recent business activity of that business. Sole traders are easily the most common horse structures and, as such, it is worth sharing that if you are also employed on a wage digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 32

and would like to receive JobKeeper as a sole trader, rather than through your employer, you can nominate yourself as the ‘eligible business participant’ under the business participation rules and give appropriate notice to the ATO. In this scenario, your employer cannot nominate you for JobKeeper payments. 2. Partnerships A single partner in a partnership can be nominated. This single partner must not be receiving JobKeeper from another source.

Eligible to APPLY

Coaches, farriers, horse trainers, riding schools, therapists, nutritionists and anyone who runs a small business is eligible to apply if, on the 1 March 2020, they carried on a business in Australia and their business had an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less, and had seen a 30% or more fall in turnover over at least one month, relative to a comparable period a year ago. Those businesses have to review their 2019 and 2020 monthly income for the relevant months - to show there was a downturn of 30%. This can be presented as either Accrual (total invoiced) or as Cash (payments received within that month). Once one format is used then the business has to stick with that option.

Should a business not be able to claim via the GST turnover test (‘Basic Test’) there are alternative tests that have been administered by the Tax Commissioner. These alternative turnover tests are quite extensive and are worth exploring if you do not satisfy the ‘Basic Test’. Many businesses will discover they are eligible under the alternative tests. You may still be eligible for JobKeeper if your business is not registered for GST, or your business has not been operating longer than 12 months. From talking to many businesses within the industry it seems there is a wide range of effects from social distancing restrictions, with some stockfeeders reporting bumper months as people ensured they had feed on-hand should the restrictions tighten further. Products made in Australia were particularly popular, our patriotism was showing as we all tried to do our bit for small business. This was also helped by the fact that many horse products are produced overseas, so were not readily available. Some saddlery stores reported an increase in mail order sales and many small Facebook businesses also found that people had time on their hands, so were busy purchasing products they just had not got around to buying while they were so busy with work, shows and general life before COVID-19. There were, however, many more who have felt the impact and who will continue to feel the effects for a considerable time to come. Continued

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JobKeeper continued...

Equestrian Business Examples Example 1 - COACH Mary is a self-employed coach who has a registered business, but works under her personal ABN and she is not registered for GST, therefore she does not lodge BAS’s. Her business income fell by 70% as she was unable to coach groups. She did not have any other employment. Would she be eligible to apply for JobKeeper? Answer: Yes. The GST turnover method (cash or accrual) would be the same method used on her last lodged tax return. Example 2 - Agistment Centre

Jane runs an agistment centre and gives lessons. Her monthly income has dropped from $7500 to $4000 as the lessons stopped and many of the horses were moved. Jane has two casual girls who clean the stables - she pays $350 to one and $250 to the other per fortnight. One girl has been with Jane for 15 months and the other for 6 months, as at 1st of March 2020. Both are casual. Jane works in the business but does not pay herself a wage. Jane does her BAS monthly using ‘cash’ reporting. Are Jane and her workers eligible for JobKeeper? Answer: The girl that has been working for 15-months is eligble and must be paid a “top up payment” to take her wages up to $750 per week for the purposes of JobKeeper. The other employee has not met the 12-month minimum employment period required for casual employees and is not eligible for JobKeeper. Jane could also receive JobKeeper for herself as an eligible business participant.

Example 3 - Online Horse Gear

Karen has a small online business where she sells horse gear. Her monthly income is around $2000 and that has reduced to $1800 but she thinks May sales will drop down to about $1000. She doesn’t employ anyone and is not registered for GST as her annual turnover is less than $75,000. Answer: Karen will be able to apply for the JobKeeper scheme based on her projected decline in turnover exceeding 30%. Though should Karen be employed elsewhere this may hinder her eligibility.

Example 4 - Farrier

Chris is a farrier and is registered for GST and lodges his BAS monthly. He works by himself and has noticed his income has dropped in April by 50%, but in May things started to pick up again and he is now only 25% down on last May figures. He has not applied. Was he eligible? Answer: Chris could have applied for JobKeeper from 30 March 2020, as his April 2020 income showed a 30% decline on his April 2019 income. If his income increases in future months this does not affect his eligibility in receiving the JobKeeper payments for the full timeframe of the scheme. Unfortunately the cut-off period has passed for April, but he could consider applying for commissioner’s discretion.

Example 5 - Coach and Judge

Liz coaches and judges, is registered for GST and lodges her BAS’s monthly. Her income dropped by 90% over the April and May periods but she doesn’t employ any regular staff so never applied for Jobkeeper. Can she do so now? digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 34

Answer: Liz is eligible for JobKeeper, but the time period has passed in applying for April and May 2020. Liz’s options would be to apply for commissioner’s discretion, or review her projected June 2020 GST turnover compared to June 2019 to see if she is eligible from 1 June 2020.

Key things to consider with JobKeeper:

• If you were not eligible in April 2020 when the scheme was announced, doesn’t mean you can’t become eligible in the future. • By reviewing the two methods of determining the GST turnover (Basic Test and Alternative Test) most businesses could be eligible for JobKeeper. • Your decline in turnover does not have to be COVID-19 related. • The decline in turnover is a self-assessment system, but it is important you keep adequate records on hand in the event of an ATO review. • Due to the complexities of the eligibility criteria for JobKeeper, we recommend you discuss this further with your accountant to ensure you are not missing out.


The support from the government, in the form of this JobKeeper package, will help equestrian businesses retain their staff and will be a much needed aid in the coming months. We thank the following for their help in compiling this article. Employsure Pty Ltd - a national company that provides a complete workplace relations solution, enabling employers to protect their businesses by assisting them to comply with workplace regulation. To go through a few examples to help you decide if you are eligible to apply contact Alister Beck alister.beck@employsure.com.au W: www.employsure.com.au Our accountant: Byfields Business Advisers is the largest CPA firm based in Western Australia. They have a strong presence in the farming community, making up around 70% of their client base. For more please visit: https://www.byfields.com.au/ If you would like an obligation free discussion with Byfields re your accounting needs, or to review your JobKeeper eligibility please contact Glenn Waldock, Director of Byfields on 08 6274 6400 or glennw@byfields.com.au

Tax & Agribusiness Specialist Happy to meet you at your farm or business to help with: » » » »

Tax planning strategies Early completion of annual tax work Business advice Succession planning, estate planning, structure reviews


Number 146

Green Weed Control

Back to the Simple Life

Help Nature Prevent Flooding Solar for the Horse Property - part 3

Number 146 June July 2020 Produced by Hoofbeat Publications 90 Leslie Road Wandi 6167 Ph: 08 9397 0506 greenhorse@hoofbeats.com.au www.hoofbeats.com.au

Regular Contributors Wendy Elks Kit Pendergast Mark Brown Antoinette Foster Country Park Herbs

Articles, news, photographs, questions and artwork for inclusion in this publication are welcome and should be emailed to greenhorse@hoofbeats.com.au with the sender’s contact details

Number 146 Talking Point... We already knew that horses and the equestrian lifestyle were good for your health, but isolation has just highlighted that point. As the COVID-19 restrictions start lifting in the various states and life slowly starting to return to ‘normal’ it’s interesting to hear a common theme emerging from many horse owners, especially those who live on their own property, and that was how grateful they were to not have been isolating in suburbia during the weeks we were all encouraged to stay at home. Images of people in lockdown in apartments, or quarantining in windowless hotels etc. sent a shudder down the spines of many who were thankful that their time in lockdown allowed plenty of time outdoors on their own property, more in fact for those who suddenly found themselves working from home, home schooling their kids, and their time in the car significantly reduced. It’s no secret that spending time outside and living close to nature has health benefits, and for us fortunate enough to be spending time with our horses throughout this period it has been a reminder of many of the advantages associated with our equestrian lifestyles. If you’ve not been one of the countless people to embrace vegetable gardening recently, with searches on Google for How to Grow Vegetables hitting an all-time high in April as a result of the pandemic prompting a huge surge in people wanting to produce their own food, then perhaps this issue’s article Back to the Simple Life will prompt you to consider starting your own vege patch if you don’t already have one. Carrots can be ready for harvesting from as little as 8 weeks so no doubt your horse would appreciate a spot being prepared asap!

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 36


weed control

People are looking for alternatives to glyphosate for total weed control. Glyphosate is one of the most widely used chemicals in relation to weed control worldwide, so what options are there?


ost ‘organic’ or ‘green’ weed control products destroy the leaf cuticle of the plant or cause cell leakage that rapidly leads to the weed dying. The downside is they only kill the green part of the plant they contact -they are not systemic at all. They don’t provide any long-term control for weeds with extensive root systems and particularly weeds with tubers or bulbs (like Arum Lily, Onion Weed etc.).

Pine Oil, Clove Oil products - these are generally

labelled as ‘organic’. They have a plant-based active ingredient and can provide both pre-emergent and post-emergent control.

Pre-emergence herbicides - many pre-emergent herbicides are taken up by the roots of the germinating weed. For root uptake to occur, the herbicide needs to be available in the soil moisture. Once in the soil, the herbicide will establish equilibrium between the available soil water and binding onto soil colloids. Post-emergent herbicides - are used to kill weeds after they have germinated. These specialised herbicides must be used as the plant is actively growing and not simply green. POSITIVES

Other positives about these oil-based products is they can help kill weed seed banks without harming soil microbes. They also promote the fact that they have no effect on bee or earthworm populations. The products tend to be fast acting but do have some disadvantages.


They can be more on the expensive side and, while they are a great option, they are generally not listed as ‘total kill’, rather they enhance the intended result of a range of other herbicides. One product label states “reduces spraying by 50%” which could mean you are still left with a significant weed population after the expense of applying the product. These products are really effective in pavers, small garden beds etc., but if you are looking for long-term control in larger areas, such as horse paddocks, they may not be the best option.


This is an option that involves no chemicals, oils or acids at all. You can use a steam cleaner to rapidly transfer lethal heat into the

cell structure of the weed. The steam penetrates and damages the growing tips delaying the growth of the plant. Unfortunately, unless you have access to steam on a commercial scale, it isn’t very practical for a paddock! It might be more suited to the pavers in the back yard or around the stable area. When thinking ‘environmentally friendly’ it also needs to be considered that it Using a small steamer may be takes A LOT of energy impractical for pastures. to boil water. The other disadvantage is that adding heat to the soil surface can actually help some species of seed germinate! There are a variety of different products on the market – all with their own plusses and minuses. In the end it is up to you to make an informed decision on what best suits your situation, time schedule and budget. To read more articles on horse property management follow these links: The Glyphosate Debate – Dec/Jan. 18/19 Vol 40-4 Stop Those Weeds - April/May 19 Vol 40-6 Managing Pasture - June/July J19 Vol 41-1 The Fruits of Fertilising - Aug/Sept.19 Vol 41-2

by Rhiannon Brown www.envirapest.com.au

Weed before, and 24 hours after it was sprayed with Pine Oil.

A director for Envirapest, a Pest and Weed Control company, Rhiannon has over 7 years knowledge in the industry, is a founding board member of the Professional Women in Pest Management Association as well as being a licenced pest and weed controller herself. She has a love of horses, has two of her own and has been an accomplished natural horsemanship enthusiast for over 18 years. Phone: 1300 368 472 or email: safe@envirapest.com digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 37


Back to the imple Life by Wendy Elks

For horse owners, growing their own veggies is a two-fold exercise as superfresh organic produce could supplement both their own and their horse’s diet in the months ahead.

The wonderful thing about a horse property is that most of what’s required for a veggie patch is already on hand. A small pocket of land and some fertiliser in the form of well-rotted manure is an excellent start; soil-balancing additives such as dolomite may already be in use, and a soil testing kit, to help establish the patch’s soil pH, is inexpensive and useful for the paddocks too.

HAY/Straw bales as garden beds

With all the jobs there are to do on a horse property, more work might seem too much. But a veggie patch doesn’t require a lot of labour to yield excellent results.

Some vegetables are safe to feed to horses, like celery, pumpkins, snow peas and carrots so be sure to factor those into your garden design. Others that are less desirable include onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and any other food that tends to produce intestinal gas or belongs to the nightshade family.

Plan, prepare and plant

Choose a well-draining site in full sun, preferably where there’s some shelter from prevailing winds. An old manure pile could be perfect: there will be no weeds under the pile and the soil will already be well conditioned and full of worms. Protection from rabbits may be required, but this can be tackled fairly easily, with materials from around the property.

Beds of one metre wide and two or three metres long are ideal for moving around and tending from both sides. Leave enough space between beds to walk and push a barrow. Once beds have been planned out they should be forked over to open up the soil, allowing oxygen and water in. Barrow in old manure and straw and dig it through.

Spoiled hay is your new best friend

Whole bales can be used as walls for the patch (and even planted into); individual biscuits make marvellous mulch, and loose sweepings are added to the compost heap. Old manure and straw and used stable and chicken house bedding make wonderful mulch on the beds, sheltering seedlings and reducing dry-out of soil, and weed growth. As they rot they add nutrients to the soil. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 38

No-Dig Layered garden

mulch aged manure manure


Raised beds

compost/ soil straw lucerne


For a completely no-dig garden, lay spoiled hay bales side by side along the length of the bed. Many vegetables can be grown along the top surface of the bales, in pockets of good potting mix. The bales decay, providing food for the plants and microorganisms that enrich the soil. Old hay bales also make a good windbreak for the garden. By spring they will have rotted, creating ideal soil/mulch for future plantings. Another no-dig way to make beds is to layer newspaper, manure, flattened cardboard boxes and mulching ingredients such as autumn leaves, coffee grounds, plant trimmings, etc.

What to plant

Peas, broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, silverbeet, spinach, onions, winter lettuce and potatoes are all fairly easy crops that can be planted now. You can share your carrots, pumpkins and snow peas with your horse and they especially love sweet potato and celery but you will have to wait until spring to grow those.

Carrots, the all-time favourite for horses, need deep, loose soil or the growing roots will fork, so the ground should be dug over to produce soft, crumbled soil. With carrots, don’t mix rich manure or compost into the soil before sowing seeds or the plants will produce a lot of greenery, rather than root.

Carrots are best planted in a bed that has previously raised fast-growing, ‘hungry’ plants such as leafy greens or tomatoes, but if you’re starting new beds just avoid adding compost. A light loam, top-dressed with mulch, is ideal. They don’t like competing with weeds. After the carrots have finished, the soil will be perfect for growing summer crops, with added compost. Peas are a quick crop and very easy to grow. Plant seeds according to the packet and give climbing varieties a wigwam of trimmed sticks to climb over. Snow peas are particularly fast and picking encourages more to form. Potatoes are almost set-and-forget provided a few simple rules are followed. Though supermarket potatoes that have developed ‘eyes’ or root-buds can be used, this isn’t recommended as there’s a chance they could be carrying potato diseases that once it enters the soil it spoil that area for growing potatoes for many years. It’s better to buy seed potatoes that are certified diseasefree from a nursery.

Place sections of seed potato containing at least one eye at the edge of a manure pile, allowing a square metre per plant, and cover them with a couple of spadesful of soil and old manure mixed together. Cover the little mounds with old hay, stable straw or chicken bedding, and water well. When green shoots appear, add another layer of soil/manure, some more straw mulch, and water.

Mounding the plants with soil and straw or hay encourages the growth of more tubers (potatoes) and keeps them buried; if exposed to light they begin to synthesise and turn green, which makes them toxic. Potatoes are mature when the plant begins to brown and die off, but you can start harvesting after a couple of months by digging gently into the side of the mound and pulling out delicious, small new potatoes. This is a crop that keeps on giving, as tiny potatoes left in the soil will produce a new plant. Like most veggies, however, it is best to practice crop rotation to avoid the establishment of soil-borne diseases.The leaves of the plant can be composted, but they are very toxic to people and animals, so ensure horses can’t graze them. Silverbeet, chard and lettuce are all edible for horses and contain valuable minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They more or less grow themselves (if the slugs and snails don’t get them when they’re young and sweet) and are the perfect cutand-come-again veggies. Dark leafy greens are highly nutritous but they do contain oxalic acid: several rinsings before use will remove much of it, and avoid feeding silverbeet stems to horses.

Onions and spring onions can be sown as seed or from the punnet, which requires teasing the tiny plants apart in water and planting in a row…fiddly but worth it, money-wise. They can be harvested for months, from tiny until they’re as large as leeks. Check out YouTube for veggie growing hacks that are fun to try. Another example: a piece of sweet potato makes a lovely indoor plant that can be planted out when the warm weather comes. Keeping a vegetable patch can be kept simple, but it’s such a rewarding pastime and once the garden starts producing you can barter with friends who may have a different range of vegetables growing.

There are so many positives about producing treats for your horse and home-grown food for the table, and with economic hard times now is a good time to start.

StableS & arenaS

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Call us for information on: • Stable bedding • arena SurfaceS • trackS & croSSoverS • bag PickuP • bag delivery • bulk delivery

See our webSite for information www.wajking.com.au or phone us and take advantage of our decades long industry experience.

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digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 39

Join us to discuss the results of our Compost as Bedding trial!



MRA Consulting Group and Cressfield Farm have been trialling the use of recycled organics as bedding for their weaning yards. We are seeking your participation and feedback on how this material works and how it compares to traditional bedding materials like sawdust. All breeders, stables, tracks and farms are invited to participate. The compost producer will also be available to discuss the material in detail. The Workshop will be held in accordance with the NSW Government guidelines for current COVID-19 restrictions. Depending on daily announcements, it will be run as either a face-to-face event or a virtual tour where you can participate online.


Join our second Compost as Bedding Workshop in June to learn more about the use of compost as horse bedding!

Contact MRA by June 15 for further details Phone 02 8541 6169 or email organics@mraconsulting.com.au

This project is supported by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, funded from the waste levy.


Prevent Flooding Many countries, including Australia, carry out practices such as the moulding of ancient landscapes and changing the course of rivers in order to suit food production and provide water to towns and cities. While this can seem to work well for much of the time, altering the landscape and practices such as clearing, ploughing and overgrazing in water catchment areas can cause catastrophic flooding downstream, such as has occurred in Brisbane in the past. Other, compounding problems occur indirectly: loss of natural environment and habitat such as removing the vital ‘lungs’ of filtering systems such as swamps and bogs, the loss of topsoil from uplands and the constant build-up of silt and consequent need for dredging and further degradation of streams and waterways, leading to regular flooding downstream.

In the UK

Read past article related to your property and equestrian lifestyle ... on the web or as digital features. ANTS AWAY - Feb/March 20 So, what can you do to deter ants from your house and your stables?? STOP THOSE WEEDS -A/M19 Make it tough for weeds to get a hold on your equine paradise. MANAGING PASTURE - June/July 19 Healthy pasture means healthy horses. TERMITES common myths - ON19 Your house and stables are looking wonderful, but do you know what is happening inside the walls of your brick or timber building?

Prompting the British studies on the profound effects of nonsympathetic farming practices and ill-advised government decisions became noticeable through the actions of a group of farmers at Pontbren, located among the headwaters of the Severn, Britain’s longest river. They’d realised that the usual hill farming strategies of grubbing up trees and hedges, loading the land with more and bigger animals, and digging drains caused negative effects. It was hard, costly work that simply degraded the land and left the animals without shelter. Instead, the farmers planted shelterbelts of trees along the contour lines and created ponds to catch the water instead of draining swamps. They cut and chipped some of the wood they


Dec/Jan 19/20 Oct/Nov 2019

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 42

Planting shelterbelts on contour lines helps prevent flooding and encourages water to sink into the soil under the trees at 67 times the rate that it sinks under grass.

grew to make bedding for the animals, instead of buying expensive straw, and used the composted bedding to mulch and cultivate more trees. One day, a government consultant walking over the land during a rainstorm noticed that water flashing off the land disappeared when it reached the belts of trees. Research programmes were carried out, with surprising results: water can sink into soil under trees at 67 times the rate at which it sinks into soil under grass. This happens because the trees’ roots provide channels down which the water flows, deep into the ground. The soil beneath shelterbelts (unlike the hard-trodden surfaces of cleared paddocks) become reservoirs that soak up water, then slowly release it. One paper estimated that though only around 5% of Pontbren land had been reforested, if every farmer did the same thing, flooding peaks downstream would be reduced by almost 30%. The study revealed that practices such as clearing vegetation and removing trees, draining boggy ground, overgrazing livestock, ‘straightening’ rivers and other events such as ploughing a hillside the wrong way at the wrong time of year, can contribute to flooding by channelling water down onto floodplains and valleys.

In Australia

In Australia, conserving precious rainfall, instead of carrying out land management practices that contribute to devastating flooding, is even more important. Loss of topsoil and soil salinity are other destructive problems. It is essential for all land owners to adopt management methods to reduce soil erosion and runoff, particularly in areas that feed into floodplains…not just by collecting runoff in dams (which evaporate), but by creating land systems that can absorb far greater amounts of water. Planting shelterbelts goes a long way toward achieving this. Shelterbelts conserve moisture, improve soil, conserve, protect the environment and provide habitat for wildlife and shelter for stock. Nature slowly releases the moisture, ensuring that more water exists for everyone. Agriculture Victoria have published a comprehensive plan to design and implement shelterbelts which can be viewed at agriculture.vic.gov.au/ agriculture/farm-management. Consult local DPI and Landcare groups to investigate design and suitable indigenous plants, which always perform best, to save money and time.

For a range of equipment to suit your Equestrian property call

Muchea WA Tel: 0447 710 056 | www.cdtractors.com.au digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 43

GOI NG SOL AR on the horse prope rty

Part 3

There are many options available for going solar but finding out just which one will best suit you and your property can be daunting for those with time constraints and no background in solar energy. The biggest power generator in our solar system, the Sun, is key to truly lowering your energy bills and being considerate of the environment. Especially in the continent with the highest solar radiation in the world. Storing the energy made by solar panels during the day, so you can use your self-made energy at night, is going to lower your bills the most and many people are weighing up the pros and costs of battery storage. There are many options and without a background in energy management it is hard to know which is the best one for you and your property. This is the third in the series ‘Going Solar’ and in the previous two issues experts have helped clarify what solar is and discussed the three different types of solar systems: Dumb solar: panels that are not connected to a battery but to the traditional power grid. If the solar energy is not used at the time it is produced it will go out into the grid and the utility will pay you a small amount of money for the energy. When there is a power failure on the grid this system shuts down until power is restored, and cannot provide power to your home during the failure. Smart solar: when a battery is added to the panels. The energy produced during the day will be stored in the battery for nighttime or rainy days. Off-the-grid: is smart solar as above, but not attached to the grid at all. This will often be backed up by a generator or other types of renewable energy resources.

The Next Step Where to put your panels by Celine Bønnelykke

During the course of a day, the sun passes through the sky in an arc that varies throughout the year due to the earth’s orbit. The arc is always symmetrical from east to west, measuring out from the centre point, which would be midday. This means that from sunrise to midday (not counting during daylight savings time) and from midday to sunset, there is an equal number of hours of sunlight on one particular location. Due north is usually the best orientation for panels, however if your roof does not have any north-facing space available, but does have two sides that face east and west, you may be asking yourself which side would be a better location for the most power generation. The other thing to consider is shading, of course, which can potentially have a big impact on the productivity of your system. Is either side of the roof shaded by nearby objects? If one side is shaded, choose the other side. Making the right decision will impact on how much money you can save with your solar panels.

ALAN SHEEHAN Experienced renewable energy property owner, Alan Sheehan, lives on a twenty hectare horse property in Serpentine, WA, that is run as an agistment centre for 30 horses and is completely off the grid. A project manager and specialist in building services, Alan says, “before you start thinking about who to contact to set up your complete solar system, it can be important to think about where to place your panels. It is essential to monitor the sun and its passage over your property as well as consider what you will be using the solar energy for. “If you need the energy to power air-conditioning in the house and fans in the stables in the hot summer months you will want to place the panels facing east/west. If you need them for electricity during the dark winter months you will want to face them north.”

Alan highlighted the fact that you can split the panels up and place them in two different spots as a combination for summer and winter. But decide what your main need is before you place them. It is recommended that solar panels are placed on an existing roof and a frame then built to set the panels in. A correctly engineered roof is a safeguard for your solar panels and you need to make sure there is enough room and that the roof is facing the ‘correct’ way for your needs. The panels weigh about 20kg each and are around 100x80cm. These can be placed on the stable roof, a shed or the house, but you will need a power connection between the buildings

if you want to utilise the energy in several places. Alan points out an important consideration:

“Placing the panels near the horses and the stables, where the power is often utilised, will seem ideal, but keep in mind the dust concentration, especially in a country like Australia.” For the panels to be efficient they will need cleaning and if they are placed close to horses in a dusty environment it can be beneficial to think of cleaning access before even setting up the panels. Alan adds that, “Solar panels have a special film to ensure cleanliness, but if they are washed too hard this film can be rubbed off - similar to your non-stick frying pans or a rice cooker! Rain will naturally clean the panels, but in the summer months we all know we don’t see much of that.” A standard recommendation for a general property to be solar powered is 16 panels, each producing between 250 and 280 watts per panel. For larger properties, up to 30 panels can be installed, but Alan reassures us that “it all helps” and you can even get away with having less. Choosing a reputable manufacturer is essential and the company you select should provide you with a 25-year warranty as solar systems last for decades. But keep in mind; a warranty might be no good if the original installer is out of business, so make sure you go with an installer with a good track record. Alan recommends choosing quality (he chose an Australian brand for his property) over Chinese imported panels. Next issue will cover specific options of cost of installation – maintenance – making the switch (solar-powered products).

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 45

African Horse Sickness By Wendy Elks

Thailand’s outbreak in march signals the arrival of this devastating disease into southeast asia, and with

the prospect of it one day entering australia,

the department of

primary industries (dpi) and the australian veterinary association are closely monitoring developments.

ur country’s success so far in dealing with Covid-19 demonstrates the necessity of rigorous detection and prevention. Likewise, awareness, knowledge, preparation and cooperation will be vital in protecting our horses and the equestrian industry, if the worst should happen and the disease enters Australia.

A characteristic sign of AHS is a discharge of large quantities of frothy, fluid from the nostrils

Without being overly dramatic, African Horse Sickness (AHS) is considered the bubonic plague of the equine world. All equids (horses, donkeys, zebras) can be infected, but the worst losses - up to and surpassing 90% - occurs among horses. The Thailand outbreak, in the Pak Chong region north of Bangkok, is believed to have been introduced to the country by an import of zebras (the natural reservoir host), though this won’t be proven until identification of the strain indicates its origins. The rapid death of hundreds of horses, mostly racing Thoroughbreds, followed. Investigation detected AHS, and Thai authorities notified the disease and applied containment measures: movement control inside the country, surveillance outside and within the containment and/or protection zone, quarantine zoning
 disinfection control of vectors (the biting Culicoides imicola midge that spread the disease from one equid to another), and vector surveillance. AHS is a constant threat in South Africa, where the disease is endemic. Horses are routinely kept in a sealed indoor environment during the afternoon to evening hours, when the midgies are active. Known only in Africa until 1959, AHS has since surfaced in many Middle Eastern countries, West Pakistan, Turkey, India and the Arabian Peninsula, though it doesn’t appear to have the persistent occurrence in other countries that it has in Africa.

Among the symptoms of AHS is swelling of the eyes and/or head. There are nine strains of AHS, transmitted by biting midges of the Culicoides genus. It is not spread by aerosol or direct contact between infected and non-infected animals, and does not infect humans. Commonly killing domestic horses and mules, it is less severe in donkeys. Dogs show severe disease if infected. The acute or ‘pulmonary’ form occurs in totally susceptible horses, characterised by high fever, excessive fluid in and around the lungs, difficult breathing, spasmodic coughing may occur terminally, accompanied by profuse sweating and discharge of frothy fluid from the nostrils with death in up to 95% of horses within 3–5 days.

There is now a vaccine available but it is not without some problems and horses that have been immunised with the vaccine are not completely protected and can still be infected, sometimes subclinically, with the disease. Though AHS does not occur in Australia, its potential for serious and rapid spread is an important consideration in the international trade of horses. Dr Patricia Ellis of the Australian Horse Industry Council notes that Australia does not import horses from Thailand.

Horse infected with African Horses Sickness are to be confined.

Australian biosecurity is proactive and strong within our continent, but depends on countries to our north detecting and then reporting notifiable diseases, as part of our early warning protocols and preparedness. "“The is





Thailand with


500 horses now dead from

says Jeffrey Wilkinson, Executive Officer of Equine Veterinarians Australia. “Malaysian authorities are concerned that it may cross the border from Thailand.”

the disease,"”

Malaysia has strong protocols in place to protect its lucrative equestrian industries, but other, poorer countries may not have the capacity to be as efficient in either detection or response. As well as being close to Southeast Asia, northern


African Horse Sickness... Australia has the type of environment needed for the rapid spread of African Horse Sickness, and is home to the most common biting midges. Although the Culicoides imicola midge does not occur in Australia, there are other species that could act as vectors to spread the disease. While Australia’s northern regions are more susceptible to tropical diseases, vector-carried diseases can travel much further. Climate change may also be a factor in the spreading of tropical viruses. Hendra, for example, has now occurred as far south as NSW.

Check horses daily for signs of ill health and injury, and ensure they are eating and drinking.

Local biosecurity authorities constantly monitor the global situation, but Australia’s massive coastline makes breaches of exotic disease a possibility.

The 2007 outbreak of Equine Influenza devastated the Australian horse industry, which took years to recover. BIOSECURITY While Australia has excellent biosecurity protocols in place, horse owners can adopt safe practices as a matter of course, to protect their property and animals against incidents of exotic disease (or outbreaks of locally active infectious diseases, such as Hendra and strangles) quickly and easily. The Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ publication, Protecting Horses From Disease, says: “Equine influenza demonstrated how easily an infectious disease can spread within the horse

community, while Hendra virus incidents highlight the need for the community to learn biosecurity practices to protect both their horses and themselves. People who look after horses need to do everything they can to reduce the risk of introducing disease to their property and of spreading disease.” It suggests these biosecurity practices to prevent the occurrence of illness or disease in the animals on one’s property. Biosecurity for your horse property

It is important to carry out good biosecurity at all times, not just during an emergency incident, to reduce the spread of disease. Good biosecurity includes: • checking horses daily for signs of ill health and injury, and to ensure they are eating and drinking • removing manure and soiled bedding twice a day where horses are stabled or in yards

• controlling vermin and insects, which can spread disease • ensuring tack and equipment are kept clean. • keeping up to date with vaccination and worming protocols Before purchasing a new horse, have your veterinarian examine it to identify any potential health issues. Bringing new horses home

When bringing a new horse home, follow these basic rules: • isolate the new horse from other horses for a minimum of two weeks (although the horse may not be showing signs of ill health, it could be a carrier of disease) • use separate equipment (feed bucket, brushes, tack) for the new arrival • handle (feed, rug, etc. of) other horses before the new arrival • check the new horse morning and night, monitoring food and water intake • record the new horse’s temperature once a day if possible • wash hands after dealing with the new horse. Horses on neighbouring properties

warning digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 48

Ideally, double fencing should surround the perimeter of any horse property. The perimeter fence is crucial because it keeps the property’s horses in and stray animals out. It also prevents contact with neighbouring horses. The fence should be constructed of post and wire or post and rail. An electric tape fence is not suitable for a permanent perimeter fence.

Double fencing is most simply achieved by adding an electric tape fence to the inside of a solid perimeter fence. For additional protection against nose-to-nose contact with neighbouring horses, trees can be planted between the two fences. People on your property

Simple measures to minimise the risk of disease being spread by visitors include: • have one entrance and a set area for visitor parking located away from your horses

• ensure antibacterial hand wash and disinfectant agents are provided for visitors to use before touching horses • keep a visitors record

• on larger properties, have foot baths at the entrance of the stables and record which horses visitors come into contact with. Change the disinfectant solution in the baths regularly. After an event or

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) released this map in May 2020 Members recognised as Free from AHS

Suspension of AHS status

• don’t share grooming equipment or tack

disinfect your footwear before touching other horses on your property

• minimise contact with other horses where possible

• avoid close contact between horses that attended the event and horses that did not go to the event for two weeks

• monitor your horses for signs of illness

• monitor your horses’ health (feed and water intake plus any other clinical signs)


When arriving home from an event:

Events or competitions can be a common point for disease spread. When at a show:

• clean and disinfect float, tack, feed and water containers, etc.

• don’t share feed or water containers


Countries without an official AHS status

• shower, change your clothes and

• Keep good records of horse movements (horse identification, date, venues travelled to and event that took place etc.)

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www.skyeparkrugs.com.au digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 49

The truth about vices


Who is at fault?

by Meredith Ransley

n this day and age when there is such a huge amount of information and advice on understanding horses and why they do what they do, as well as how to achieve a better relationship by learning how to communicate with them, why is it that we still cling to our traditional beliefs that the horse is our possession, one that should succumb to our will and only perform in a manner of which we approve?

Why is it that we are so quick to blame the horse when it does something ‘wrong’ and yet are quite happy to take the credit when things go right?

As horse lovers, there is so very much we admire about the horse. We love their speed and stamina, so we race them against the clock and over great distances. We love their agility, so we compete with them in disciplines like dressage and reining. We stand in awe of their strength and power so we show it off in show jumping and hunting. Their versatility amazes us, along with their instinct and intelligence so we enjoy participating in sports with them like eventing, cutting and camp drafting. And we are awestruck by their beauty and presence, so we parade them in the ring in-hand and in Show Horse/hacking. All are sports that require attributes like speed, strength, alertness, control, that ‘look-at-me’ attitude and finely tuned instincts. And yet somehow or other we expect our horses to automatically understand when is the appropriate time to show these attributes and when they should remain dormant... as if they can turn them on and off like a light switch.

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 50

And this begins by simply looking at the world from their point of view. Basically, horses are flight-response prey animals. A lot has already been said on this subject so a little research will reveal enormous amounts of information regarding this. Horses therefore, are finely tuned creatures, totally aware of their surroundings and naturally suspicious of predators or what they perceive as predators. They are skeptical, easily scared and rely on their flight-response to escape harm, so are quick to take flight, regardless of the fact they may have (or had) a rider aboard. Some horses are more prone to flight than others, while some are prepared to stand and fight to protect themselves or the herd. In a herd situation these roles are easily filled by various herd members... those that signal when to run and those that hang back to fight the intruder. Horses are also capable of overcoming their fears very quickly and recognising familiar things that pose no threat. And really, that’s about it. Horses have survived and thrived for millennia because of their incredible awareness of their environment and their ability to listen and react immediately to their instincts.

Unfortunately, these finely tuned instincts that aide the survival of the horse in the wild, very often work against us in a domestic situation. For example, horses that run off, bolt or shy are overly impulsive and lack confidence in movement. Horses that are dull lack impulsion and in the herd would most likely be the ones who stand and fight. If a horse won’t go on the float, it is telling you that it’s unsure about this place you are asking it to go and doubts your leadership. And horses that kick or bite are either fearful, or lacking respect for the Continued receiver... or possibly both.

STRESS AND YOUR HORSE Stress is the body’s response to anything it considers threatening. When this occurs, the horse’s body is rapidly prepared to allow it to make a quick exit or to fight. The sympathetic nervous system activates the adrenal glands to release the hormones adrenalin and cortisol, which causes an increase in heart rate, dilation of blood vessels in the limbs, an increase in blood glucose levels, increased blood flow to the lungs and blood flow is diverted away from the gastrointestinal tract and skin so that it can be used in the other, more important areas for flight. An increase in stress is likely to occur when your horse is faced with a perceived threat, or when it’s unable to predict or control the situation or environment it’s in. This could be anything, including someone riding a bicycle nearby, a change in feed routine, a new barrel in the arena or a pile of leaves blowing around.

Psychological stresses These are based on a horse’s personality and its perception of life. Each horse deals with stress in a different way depending on the personality of the individual. A demonstrative, confident horse will let you know when it is stressed! It will buck, kick, bite, and is very curious, mouthy, or a troublemaker. A demonstrative, fearful horse worries about everything! It shies the first time it sees things and needs time to relax. A passive, confident horse usually wonders “What is everyone worried about?” and is not normally stressed, internalises stress, or shows little change even when stressed. This horse is usually the last one in the field to take off running if something runs out of the woods. The passive, fearful horse wants to please! It will seem willing to do anything, but will tighten muscles and lips when stressed. A demonstrative, confident horse

Horses on the whole are fairly simple creatures to understand, provided we take the time to study them from their perspective instead of trying to pigeonhole them into our concept of what they should be.

Truth about vices continued...

There is no ‘naughty’ behaviour or vices displayed, or evil intent lying hidden in the horse…these are simply labels applied by humans in an attempt to shoehorn the horse into our environment and things we understand.

There are no such things as vices, only misunderstandings of the horse’s survival instincts! The word vice implies that the horse is somehow being bad or naughty…misbehaving if you will. Take any horse that is showing some level of ‘bad behaviour’ such as bucking or being hard to catch and put it in the hands of a truly knowledgeable horseman or woman and almost miraculously the behaviours disappear. Just about all horse owners can relate from their own personal experience, a situation where they have witnessed this first hand. And yet for some reason we humans, the most ‘intelligent’ creatures on earth, seem to find it easier to proclaim that the person who created the behavioural change in their horse was either lucky or gifted in some way, than to
face the fact that perhaps we need to take some responsibility for becoming better horsemen ourselves.

For thousands of years, true horsemen have understood that any action or reaction of the horse, only reflects the level of knowledge or skill of its handler. Of course, training horses is always an option and one that we seem quite happy to accept as a fix for our ‘bad’ problem horses. And because the horse is such a tolerant and compliant creature, training does often work – to a point.

And of course horses are genuinely fearful of predators and of punishment, so if we strong-arm them enough, we can get them to do as we wish. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 52

Horses on the whole are nonconfrontational, easy-going souls that would rather do nothing than something, so if they find a way for some peace and comfort, some way of being left alone - even if it means doing something they don’t like they’ll often submit and comply as it is the easiest course of action. All these attributes make them fairly easy to train, however any good trainer will tell you, that while they themselves can get the horse going nicely, it means little down the track if the horse’s owner lacks the skill to duplicate what they’ve done.

Some of our best horses, those with the most flair and panache, (and therefore ability) are those that have spirit and opinions. These can prove harder to train as they will stand up for themselves and may not comply. Because of this, and because not all riders are talented horsemen or women, many potentially great horses end up in the dog food can. It seems while we admire a horse for its beauty and majesty, we prefer to buy one that is quiet and submissive. These are the traits that we most favour as manageable and yet they are not those needed for success in sport nor are they those that draw at our hearts. What we see as vices are just our horses giving us feedback.

Calling something a vice is just our way of saying that our horse is doing something that we not only don’t understand but that we also don’t have the skills to deal with. Training horses then, is something that we can live with because it shifts the blame for the problem onto the horse and the responsibility for it off of us.

Advanced nutrition for sound growth

All horses and humans can develop a relationship that is fun, safe and interesting for both parties. We just need to take the time and the trouble to look to ourselves and realise that it is us that needs to step up and become more worthy of our horses. About the Author MEREDITH RANSLEY Meredith and her husband Shane founded the international horsemanship programme Quantum Savvy in 1997, with the desire to help horse owners everywhere build strong relationships with their horses based on compassion, communication and understanding. She is a dedicated teacher who finds joy in helping others reach their goals with horses. Enquiries: www.quantumsavvy.com Email: promotions@quantumsavvy.com

Contact our WA based Equine Nutrition Advisor, Michelle Meylan, 0429 107 790 www.milne.com.au

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digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 53

Euthanasia By Kaye Meynell

The definition of euthanasia is a specific one in that it relates to the intentional ending of a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. That is, the act is carried out based purely on the interests of that being’s own welfare.

When/Why? In an ideal world euthanasia would occur at the end of a long and healthy life and be something the horse owner has had ample time to contemplate – like it so often is with dogs and cats and other small pets.

cardiac arrest and, ultimately, loss of brain function leading to death.

Studies report brain death occurs at around one minute after infusion, with cardiac arrest occurring after 8-15 minutes. It is important that the horse loses consciousness before any other physiological processes shut Unfortunately, horses can sustain down to avoid pain and distress, therefore it injuries or suffer from conditions is crucial the correct dose is given.

that are much more difficult to treat or manage than in other animals and have the potential to reduce their quality of life so significantly, that euthanasia whilst they are still young is not uncommon.

laughter or humane killing are distinct from euthanasia since they are performed for a reason other than sparing an animal from pain or distress.


The word euthanasia is derived from the Greek word euthanatos, meaning ‘good death’, and describes the process of ending life painlessly and quickly and without causing fear or distress. When it comes to the euthanasia of animals, especially companion animals, many people understandably prefer to use the term ‘put to sleep’. Though an inescapable part of being a pet owner, the emotional and psychological impact of having to consider euthanasia is often significant. Talking it through with friends and family can help lessen the burden, as can a frank conversation with the vet, who has the expertise needed to give a qualified opinion on whether the horse’s condition can be managed or whether welfare is compromised to the extent that euthanasia would be the kindest option. Despite this, preparing to let a horse go is never easy, so it deserves serious consideration – preferably well in advance – to ensure the owner is fully informed and confident in their final decision. By considering the questions of when and where, how and who, when the time finally arrives to say ‘farewell’ we can be reassured that we have done the best by our horse.

In horses, it often to comes down to an incompatibility between the treatment needed and the accepted practices surrounding husbandry. For example, the innate needs for large amounts of space, exercise and social interaction that are so critical to a horse’s mental wellbeing means that keeping it immobile and on box-rest for months to allow a broken leg to heal would be incredibly difficult. In many cases, while treatment might be physically possible, it results in an unacceptable quality of life for the horse for other reasons.

Because the decision to euthanase a horse can happen quickly with little time to prepare, a well-thought-out plan is important. Luckily for today’s horse owner, there is a wealth of online information about euthanasia put out by reputable sources, that can guide them through the process. In addition, online forums and groups on social media allow owners to connect with others who have been in similar scenarios and who are able to provide feedback regarding their experience with the process. How?

The dose required is different for each individual horse, and a ‘top-up’ may be required during the process. It is advised that lethal injection be given by a registered veterinarian for several reasons, however, whilst pentobarbital is a restricted Schedule 4 poison (S4) and Prescription Animal Remedy, in some states or territories it may be given to horses by someone other than a vet – this is not supported by the Australian Veterinary Association.

Those using it must undergo a high level of training by a registered and experienced veterinarian to ensure they are proficient in storage and safe handling of the drug, the calculation of accurate dose rates and the IV injection technique. They must undergo assessment and supervision before a permit can be issued; check the legal requirements of the relevant state or territory prior to use.

Owners should be cognisant of the fact that it is best practice to sedate horses prior to lethal injection and this may only be done by a vet. In addition, placement of an intravenous catheter is recommended to ensure all of the euthanasia solution is properly injected and in some states this is also considered a restricted act of veterinary science. If the drug is not delivered directly into the vein, and is inadvertently injected into the surrounding tissues, there is a risk of pain and irritation. If administered too slowly then anaesthetic induction excitement (central nervous system excitement) may occur and this poses a safety risk as the horse becomes a danger to those around it; a proficient handler is crucial when it comes to holding a horse about to be euthanased via lethal injection.

In Australia, there are generally two methods practiced: lethal injection, or shot to the head with a firearm. A third option, though less common, is a shot to the head by captive bolt, followed by Euthanasia should take place in a exsanguination (bleeding out). Lethal Injection The most common, this involves intravenous administration of an overdose of the barbiturate anaesthetic sodium pentobarbital (also known as the ’Green Dream’), that results in immediate unconsciousness, quickly followed by deep anaesthesia, respiratory arrest,

quiet area, preferably away from observation by humans (other than the vet/owner/handler) and other animals, which may become distressed, however some owners feel it is preferable to allow any companions of the sick horse to witness the euthanasia.

Euthanasia... Figure 1: Target area for humane destruction of a horse

Firearm In many countries, death by gunshot to the head is considered the kindest for the horse, though it is perhaps the most distressing form of euthanasia for the owner to witness. It is cost effective, and so long as it is properly placed, a shot to the head will kill the horse instantly and painlessly. Since there is very little preparation required the horse is often more relaxed – many horses become uneasy at the arrival of the vet or when anticipating a needle prick. It should be performed only by somebody trained and competent in large animal euthanasia to make absolutely certain the gun is positioned correctly so to ensure instant death with a single shot. A trained marksman is also crucial to reduce the risk to animal handlers and bystanders. The person using the gun must do so in accordance with the relevant state legislation, must have a gun license and must be using a registered firearm. For this reason, a veterinarian or skilled knackery worker is the most appropriate choice (some knackeries will send an operator out to the owner’s home property and perform the euthanasia there, removing the body afterwards). In a nervous or jittery horse, sedation may be required to ensure it remains still so the bullet strikes the brain in the right place. Since sedating a horse is an act of veterinary science, a veterinarian becomes the obvious person to euthanase in these cases, though this will incur increased costs.

As detailed in the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, the gun should be at least .22 calibre (long rifle) and, to provide maximum impact and the least possibility of misdirection, should be fired at a range that is as short as circumstances permit, but not in contact with the horse’s head. Most importantly, and perhaps one of the biggest limitations with this method, is that it needs to take place in a suitable area, i.e., one where access can be restricted, the horse is out of view of passers-by and other horses and adequate space is available to ensure that all people other than the marksman and a handler are able to be cleared from the area.

The gun should be aimed at the front of the head, just above the intersection of two imaginary lines drawn from the base of each ear to the opposite eye - the intersection of the lines being the centre which, if hit, ensures instant loss of consciousness (Figure 1). Penetrating Captive Bolt Two types of captive bolt are available: penetrating and non-penetrating. A penetrating captive bolt device causes massive trauma to the brain, unconsciousness, and in many cases, death even before exsanguination. They work by firing a steel bolt, that is discharged by a blank cartridge or compressed air, through the skull and into the brain.

Since non-penetrating captive bolts only bring about a state of severe concussion, the animal is stunned but not dead. Nonpenetrating captive bolt devices are not considered appropriate for the euthanasia of horses. Penetrating captive bolt must always be immediately followed by

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exsanguination (bleeding out) to confirm death; in some countries, potassium chloride is injected intravenously instead, to ensure death following captive bolt.

The horse must be kept still enough for the device to remain in contact with its head at all times, and therefore it is not the method of choice for a horse that is anxious and skittish. It is a cost-effective and humane method of killing horses, poses less of a risk to people than a gun, and can be useful for horses that are trapped or that have gone down in a confined area like a stable or trailer– where gunshot would not be feasible due to bullet ricochet, or the vein is inaccessible and chemical euthanasia not possible. When used correctly, gunshot and captive bolt both cause instant unconsciousness, and gunshot induces death more rapidly than chemical euthanasia. In order to ensure they fire properly, guns and captive bolt devices must be maintained and serviced regularly. Training, preferably by a veterinarian, in the use of captive bolts must be undertaken to ensure the person using it is proficient and knowledgeable about the type and size required for different sized animals. Unlike with guns, a firearm license is not required to possess a captive bolt device. Where? From a purely logistical perspective, euthanasia should take place as close as possible to the burial site, if this is how the body will be taken care of after death. Manoeuvring several hundred kilograms of horse is not an easy undertaking and will most likely require the use of heavy machinery.

From a welfare perspective, it is best to euthanase the horse in familiar surroundings/at home on the property wherever possible to avoid further stress and suffering. If this is not possible, or the horse becomes sick/injured whilst away from home, it may need to be transferred to a knackery whilst still alive. This should only happen if the horse is fit to travel as transportation, even when an animal is well, is stressful. Being handled by someone unfamiliar, loaded onto a horse box and unloaded at premises completely new to it will all add to the horse’s pain and distress. Adherence to Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Land Transport of Livestock, must be observed to protect the welfare of these horses, noting there are strict requirements regarding the transport of horses that are lame, unwell or in poor body condition that necessitates approval by a vet.

What happens to the body?


The method by which a horse is euthanased impacts on how it can be disposed of. Cremation For the horse euthanased by lethal injection of pentobarbital, the body will pose a health risk to any domestic pets or wild animals that may eat it, so disposal would ideally be cremation or the carcass sent to a licensed landfill rather than onfarm burial. Whilst commercial cremation services for large animals such as horses can be more difficult to find as most typically deal with smaller pets, and thus needs to be planned in advance, for those unable to bury their horse at home it can be the perfect alternative since the ashes can be returned to the owner or buried in a memorial garden. Whilst increasingly popular, cremation is the most expensive – especially if the owner wants an individual cremation – and there are the added costs involved due to transportation of the body. There is a risk with memorial gardens that they may change hands if the land is sold, and owners may or may not be aware or have the opportunity to recover their horse’s ashes.

Since lethal injection of a barbiturate results in drug residues being present in the carcass, horses euthanased in this manner must not enter the food chain and so many knackeries deal only with horses killed by gunshot or captive bolt. This is also usually the case for rendering plants that process horse meat, since sodium pentobarbital remains present even after this process. Incineration may also be required for horses treated with particular drugs prior to their death (regardless of the method in which they were euthanased) due to drug residues. Licensed Landfill Whilst again difficult for the owner to observe (some councils caution owners on their websites that dead pets will be buried amongst general refuse), sometimes disposal of the horse’s body at a licensed landfill is the only available option. Owners may be required to provide a certificate from a vet clearing the horse of Hendra virus. Information on arranging disposal at a landfill can be found on most local councils’ websites and prices vary significantly, ranging from $80 to almost $200. Transportation to landfill can be done by the owner themselves or a Continued

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for managing animal mortalities (e.g. burning or burial), and reduces the risk of contamination of nearby water sources due to the fact that it takes place above ground, unlike a traditional burial.” Some councils allow for composting of carcasses, but not all, so seek clarification.

commercial animal removal service; some councils also offer a removal service for dead horses. Prices for collection can be as little as $100 to as much as $700.

Whilst it might seem callous to consider the financial aspects of letting a beloved horse go, the reality is that money almost always come into play and is therefore something that needs to be taken into account when planning for euthanasia.

Note that whether the horse is buried, composted or sent to landfill, there are a number of contagious or infectious diseases and conditions (e.g. Hendra, rabies, equine influenza) that pose a risk to animal and human health, are notifiable in Australia, and must be taken into consideration when deciding upon disposal methods.

Burial Deep burial on the home property is an option but will require heavy machinery such as an excavator, used by trained and licensed operators, which increases costs. It is also the least environmentally friendly option due to the potential to contaminate water sources. There are specific requirements for disposal of animals euthanased using barbiturates, therefore the state Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and local council should be contacted for guidance. Such requirements take into account the type of soil, distance from watercourses and surface water catchments like rivers and creeks, the height of the burial pit above the water table and distance to nearby residences. For deep burial on the farm or home property, guidelines generally advise allowing for an area of approximately 1.5 m3 per mature horse.

Composting Considered the most eco-friendly option, but perhaps one of the most complicated methods of caring for a horse’s body after it has passed on, composting is becoming a more favourable option for horse owners across the world.

Carcass composting is similar to the principles of composting garden/food waste in that it involves placing ‘material’ (in this case the horse’s body) into an environment where microbes proliferate and degrade the soft tissues, transforming them into nutrients that are returned into the ground. It can take as little as 2-3 months for a horse’s body to fully compost. NSW DPI comments that composting “has the potential to resolve some of the logistical, practical and environmental problems associated with other available options

Some owners will choose to spend a brief amount of time with the body and may wish to allow other equine companions to investigate too, prior to the horse being removed.

Whatever the method chosen (unless the horse is transported live to, and then euthanased at, a knackery) owners should be mindful that in a hot climate such as Australia, decomposition can begin very quickly. This means that wherever possible, the horse’s body is dealt with relatively quickly after death and plans are in place for having the body buried on farm or transported to the crematorium or knackery within a few hours. Should I be there? This depends on the individual owner – some people cannot bear to witness the passing of a much-loved pet whilst others feel that, although devastating for themselves to watch, they owe it to their horse to be there for it at the end.

For those that choose to be present when the time comes it is important to remain calm for the horse’s sake, and know that with all methods of euthanasia described above, the mere act of such a large animal falling to the ground can be distressing. In addition, once the horse is down there will likely be some muscle tremors, limbs can jerk and a reflex ‘gasping’ is often seen. Whilst it can be shocking to see, rest assured that the horse at this stage is already unconscious and unaware of what is happening to it. They do not experience any fear or distress and are not suffering. Some owners will choose to spend a brief amount of time with the body and may wish to allow other equine companions to investigate too, prior to the horse being removed. Once the body has been cared for and buried/removed, the bereavement process can begin.

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Cremation options The decision about what to do with your horse’s remains after their death is a very personal one. The choice to have a horse cremated is one that has become increasingly popular in recent years, there are however a few considerations to be taken into account. Due to the size of a horse you might like to enquire about the service provider’s pick-up service and how long it will take for collection, and their processes for the return of ashes. Also check if your horse will have a private cremation, or not, when their ashes can be returned and the cost. There’s also your wishes for the horse’s ashes, which for a large horse can weigh up to 20kg. With this in mind you might also like to consider how you’d like the ashes returned with optional cremation products like urns, plain, decorative and photographic wooden boxes, and even personalised diamonds created with a portion of your horse’s ashes, so there’s many options for a treasured and memorable keepsake. Passing Paws are a family business that offers home or vet collection with the latest technology to help carefully lift and place the horse into the vehicle for the journey back to the crematorium. Preparations for cremation include tail clippings that

Preparing to let a horse go is never easy, so it deserves serious consideration – preferably well in advance – to ensure the owner is fully informed and confident about the process.

they braid to return to the family. This company specialises in private cremations in which your horse or pony is cremated individually and all the ashes are returned to you. Their technology ensures your horse is treated with the utmost respect, care and dignity for its final journey. They also offer a premium same day service in which your companion is cremated on the day of passing and returned within 24 hours, compared to the standard private cremation within 3-5 business days. The staff, many of whom are horse owners, provide support to help you come to terms with your loss. Every month they hold an ‘empathy session’ which is available to help pet owners and their families during the healing process.

Edenhills offer a complete horse cremation service, which extends throughout Victoria and as far as Adelaide, Canberra and southern NSW. Providing a dignified farewell and sensitive service their extensive experience and custombuilt horse cremator, the first of its kind in Victoria, means they’re able to provide an intact service, from collection to transportation to cremation. They also offer sandstone or bluestone plaques with an image of your horse etched on it. Lawnswood’s decade of experience in horse and large animal cremation allows them to provide a seamless service. Their generously-sized facilities allows them to comfortably accommodate breeds as large as Clydesdales with a guaranteed private cremation. With a choice of collection vehicles to suit every situation, they are committed to providing a horse cremation service that makes the difficult time of saying farewell a little easier with a refined collection procedure to provide a high level of dignity and the personal return of your horse’s ashes.

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For more information visit edenhills.com.au or lawnswood.com.au digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 59

Part Two

Roadhorse 4500km from the Snowy River in Victoria to Margaret River in WA with Stef Gebbie by Karen Watson

Having left Tasmania in midApril 2019, Stef Gebbie and her Arabian gelding, Mr Richard commenced their epic journey from the east to the west coast of Australia. Part One saw them end up in the small town of Omeo in Victoria where they were joined by Mick-Mac, a 3-yearold piebald gelding that would ultimately make the trip less arduous. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 60

ith one week of her journey behind her, Stef decided to add to her entourage and acquire a packhorse to help with the gear required for the long trip. She had seriously considered this in the planning process then chose to just take Mr Richard, optimistically hoping that a second horse wouldn’t be necessary. Stef was accompanied by a small van that she intended to use mainly for feed drops in areas where it was scarce.


“Coming up to Omeo from Orbost, a lot of people who paused to chat commented on the fact that what I was setting out to do was a big ask for one horse. I had already walked a good proportion of the way so far to make it easier for Mr Richard and I knew it wasn’t practical to keep doing that.”

Finding A Packhorse And Saddle So how do you go about buying a packhorse and a pack saddle in a town of only 406 residents and with no prior contacts for doing so? Fortunately, due to the generosity of this small community, Stef was put in touch with local cattleman Ron Connley, who is in his eighties and still breaks horses in. He had a few he was willing to sell including Mick-Mac or Micky, a three-year-old piebald gelding. After spending the next couple of days mustering cattle on him and seeing how quiet and level headed he was for a young horse with very limited training, Stef had no hesitation in buying him.

What use is a packhorse without a pack saddle? The next challenge she faced was finding a good pack saddle, something that is almost impossible to do in Australia let alone when based in a tiny town without transportation. “Arlene, a local lady originally from Canada and who had completed the Bicentennial National Trail, had two American pack saddles and was willing to part with one. So after learning how to rig it, doing some test rides on some pretty rugged terrain on Mick-Mac, introducing the two horses to each other and convincing Mr Richard that the pack saddle wouldn’t kill him, I headed off down the highway with a totally green horse in tow. What could possibly go wrong?”

Some Thoughts On Safety

Many people asked Stef if she felt safe “as a woman out there.” She says that she often wondered what they actually meant, presuming it was did she feel afraid of being assaulted? “This question and its underlying assumption bother me in a number of ways. That people think all strangers in the world are intent on violence therefore they have fabricated ideas that aren’t objective. Before anyone calls me naive, I know there is violence in the world and obviously this is not ok and we should all be doing what we can to promote and provide safety. But what really makes me angry is that when people see a woman out there alone, they don’t see an adventurer, they see a victim or a potential victim. And it’s interesting that no one has ever asked me if I felt safer WITH MYSELF on the road. I actually felt more stable out there with my horses for company and meeting and talking with strangers in remote places than I do back home.”

Feeding En Route The subject of feeding took the most time for Stef to research prior to setting off on the trip and it saw her spending many hours reading articles online on topics such as the equine digestive system, the various schools of thought on feeding in general and information from other long distance riders. Having grown up on a large farm in Tasmania, surrounded by ample space and pasture, she had previously barely needed to give a thought to feeding her horses apart from a bit of hay in winter, some hard feed if they were in work and a balanced mineral supplement. But life on the road was to be a far cry from the pleasant days

of undisturbed pasture grazing, especially when she was passing through semi-arid and arid areas. “The thing to remember is that horses eat A LOT! When not in work, one of average size requires about 69,000KJ per day, which has to come either from roughage, hard feed or a combination of these. My research told me that a horse must consume 1-2% of its bodyweight in roughage each day, which is about 5-10kg, for one of Mick-Mac’s size. If they don’t get this, their digestive system can’t function properly and they can get colic and stomach ulcers. I highly recommend www.hygain.com.au/horses-digestive-system/ for useful information.”

From Bare To Bountiful

To give more detail on what her feeding regimens were, depending on where she was, Stef named the first scenario as The Lands of the Living. By this she meant green, fertile farmlands where grass was not a problem and grazing could take place every night and multiple times during the day. In these areas, she didn’t need to carry much feed at all, aside from a small daily amount of oats, which were doused in about 500ml of vegetable oil for each horse. The second scenario was Mallee Country, where there is basically zero feed to be had. Stef describes this kind of country as the most taxing emotionally on her and both physically and mentally on the horses. “We could carry five days worth of feed in these arid areas but it was very restricted rations. I also discovered MultiCube hay, which is dense and easy to soak and transport. As stockfeed outlets were few and far between in the Mallee country and often Continued

“Lucerne hay, being energy dense, was great and I would put a bale on the top of the packsaddle to see us through.” Lunch time near Balladonia (Nullarbor).

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Roadhorse part 2 continued...

had limited stock, it was a matter of finding products with the most energy per gram including micronised barley and fruitfree muesli. I would feed small meals about five times per day. But definitely the worst times were when Scenario 1 became Scenario 2 without warning, catching me unprepared. I found using Google Earth to look ahead at the terrain and amount of feed available, was incredibly accurate and effective.”

The High Life This was from Port Augusta onwards, a section of the trek where Stef had vehicle support from her friend, Alex. Prior to this, Stef did some feed drops in her van as far as Wudinna, SA, putting them in scrub where she was planning on camping. She introduced a new feed product to the horses in Johnson’s Everyhorse Weight Gain, which proved to be easy to digest and helped with conditioning, along with the probiotic supplement Inside-Out. The horses then had about 2/3 of a bale of clover hay between them each day, with Speedibeet and soy meal also added to their diet as needed.

A Helping Hand Alex deserves a special mention and thanks, especially in regards to feeding the horses in the most remote of areas. This generous lady, who Stef had never met, drove down from Canberra to join the trek for two months, arriving with a brand new D-Max and a trailer full of hay to accompany them for the 1500km across the Nullarbor. Without her huge gift of transport, time and patience, the horses would not have thrived as much as they did in the most testing of terrain.

Health Hurdles Approximately 300km from the end, near Gnowangerup in Western Australia, Mr Richard suddenly became ill. With him sweating and shaking, Stef pulled over into the shade and, although he seemed to improve initially, called it a day. She thought that he may have eaten some gastrolobium, which some plants in the region contain and is the toxin used in the poison 1080. This was despite her being super careful about where the horses were fed and tied up. So it was then a waiting game of keeping Mr Richard cool and calm as there is no cure for 1080 once it’s absorbed and a vet was hours away. “Attempting to set off in the morning, I quickly realised that he, although fine

Yalata, SA thanks to help from Alex and her float full of horse feed, the horses thrived as they crossed the testing terrain of the Nullarbor.

at rest, was not himself. So after two failed attempts to leave, I made the decision to arrange for him to be floated to Margaret River. As had been the case for the whole trip, kind local people stepped in to pick him up in a loaned float and to make sure we were ok. After a vet check, it was still a mystery as to what had happened but at least he was safe and I didn’t regret my decision to transport him that final 300km.” Now without Mr Richard, Micky was not entirely happy and, a few days after leaving him, he had a ‘meltdown’, possibly involving the windy weather, where he just ‘lost it’, running in circles and along his highline, unable to cope with anything. He had previously acted in a similar way in the Riverland in South Australia in similar conditions but was fine a couple of days later. Stef says the lesson she learnt here was, although your horse may seem to ‘lose its mind’ sometimes, it’s not a permanent break from reality and is a matter of giving time and space until it resolves safely.

The Challenge Of Chafing As Stef has emphasised, a well-fitting saddle is vital, especially for long-distance riding but even so, it is still possible to get saddle sores. About three months into the trip, she found a raw patch on Micky’s wither that she identified as the pack saddle blanket bunching and riding down. There were no signs of discomfort and it healed up quickly. He also had very mild chafing on his hoof bulbs, initially from his boots, but once these had been adjusted and his feet trimmed to lower the heels, it was less of an issue. Mr Richard had chronic low-grade rubbing from the edge of the pack saddle blanket and the ribbed seam of the riding saddle one. It started by chafing off his hair then eventually broke the skin. Although they didn’t look like much, Stef found that the lesions took a long time to heal and easily became infected. Using the practical approach that she has towards everything, Stef overcame these problems by using padding, strapping and taping over the chafed areas. “Listen to your horse as it will often, but not always, tell you when something is wrong. If something is rubbing, fix it but don’t panic. Everyone who has been hiking has had blisters and yes, they are uncomfortable but can be managed. There’s not much difference with mild rubbing on a horse. The same goes for a slightly tender back, as the horses sometimes had after a break from the road. At first, I was quietly panicking but after a couple of days, they were fine. It’s like putting on a full backpack after not wearing one for a while. You’re always a bit sore and tender initially but after a few days, you toughen up and get used to it.”

Going It Alone The last week was definitely not the idyllic amble Stef had been hoping for but even so, she and Micky covered ground steadily, doing a series of starts as early as 2.30am to avoid much of the 40 degree heat. Admitting that she was now looking forward to a cold beer, a sleep in and being reunited with Mr Richard, she was also mindful of not rushing too much towards the end. That being said, she did have a deadline of making it to Margaret River in time to catch the last horse transport back to the east coast before Christmas, that was leaving WA on 9th December. After arriving at Fair Harvest (Margaret River) campground, host Jodie accompanied Stef and both horses on their final leg to look

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Looking over the Indian Ocean after covering 4,485km in 235 days. out over the Indian Ocean, an experience she says felt like a fitting end to the trip in which they had worn out three sets of horse boots and two of human and experienced so much support in all the areas they had travelled through. The horses then had a three-day trip on the transport with Stef following in her van, which she had shuffled all the way across the Nullarbor. After a week’s rest in Melbourne, the trio finally made it home, catching the ferry back to Tasmania.

Restoring Routine

So how does one go about settling back into a daily regimen after doing such an epic adventure? Stef says that she is quite lucky in this respect, as her usual life doesn’t really have much of a routine. “Being an outdoor guide doing multi-day walks in the wilderness, and being completely broke, I plunged straight back into work and didn’t really have time to catch my breath. I really missed the certainty of life on the road. There’s a meditative state achieved on a long expedition on such a vast scale which is hard to grasp unless you have experienced it. Many Long Riders call it the Long Quiet, which is a perfect description.”

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Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, Stef is now unemployed but is waiting to start university and says that a positive during this time has been a great opportunity to spend time training Micky because, although he has just crossed a continent, he’s only four. She says she is lucky to be able to have her horses as a focus in her life right now and her main way of coping has been to keep thinking about future adventures. “This will probably be the longest journey these horses will ever undertake but I’m only just getting started so watch this space!” Like to read more on Stef’s trip? Click here to read Part One of Roadhorse. Follow Stef on facebook.

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Keeping connected during isolation

Online competitions have kept riders and handlers actively involved in competing and have encouraged many new-to-showing to become active ‘showies’.


by Wendy Elks

he restrictions introduced for Covid-19 have been tough on everyone, but most horse owners consider their ‘equestrian time’ vital for health and wellbeing. Online training clubs have been around for quite a while and many coaches provide classes and help clients via video. But Covid-19 has inspired all kinds of connectivity to help lighten the mood and provide any rider, at every level, with an outlet for equine competition joy.

There are online competitions to suit everyone, with showing events, dressage tests, Western and in-hand classes. There are also less serious fun events where horses and ponies need

not be registered and riders/presenters don’t have to be a member of any association or club to enter. This means that first-timers and newbies have the chance to hone their skills, without any pressure or expense of travel, and purely for fun.

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Carolyn Ward - Latrobe Valley

During lockdown Carolyn Ward, from Latrobe Valley in Victoria, did an online clinic over three weeks.

“There were six participants, plus fence sitters. We uploaded a 15-minute session with our horse each week, and had a one-on-one chat with the instructor, who after viewing the video would give comments and then set homework for the following week. I only had my phone set up on a selfie stick attached to the fence, but it worked ok. The participants all learnt so much from watching each other’s videos and comments from the instructor (who was in NSW). I would definitely do another. I also did an online liberty competition for beginners with my old boy, for a bit of fun, which we ended up winning!”

Lisa Anderson Mornington Peninsula Lisa Anderson, of Dream Lodge on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, created Dream Lodge Online Shows as a Facebook page to run some online shows every couple of months whilst the interest or need was there during lockdown, and has found them so popular that it is almost certainly something she will continue doing after restrictions have been abolished.

“The program isn’t set in concrete and can change according to interest and demand. We can add classes or take some away, or make some special classes,” Lisa says.

“It’s wonderful for people starting out, those getting back into riding, for people who don’t have a float or for any other reason.” A show is being run every couple of months, for fun and prizes; the program is fluid, according to the participants’ interests and needs. Lisa is open to ideas, asking for input from members, while the interest or need is there. Firsttimers, beginners, those injured and not riding, or riders in Covid lockdown can experience the excitement of competing, and gain experience in preparing for shows. “Financially, these shows support themselves,” she says. “Money raised through sponsorship and entry fees goes back into ribbons, garlands, prizes, prize money and vouchers.” Participation involves sending in an entry form and fee, accompanied by photos or a video, depending on the class.

In the upcoming Dream Lodge Online Shows Winter Woolies event, the guidelines are simple: no show photos, no clipping except for a bridle path or being branded, no professional photos, no ribbons on the horse or in exhibitors’ hands, and photos must be current (within last two months).

“The idea is that anyone can have a go. We use suitable judges and post the results. Some people get pretty competitive, but it’s really all for fun and practice.”

Lena Phillips - Victoria “Online competing is possible for everyone,” says Lena Phillips, an experienced rider who has taken part in Dream Lodge’s online competitions.

“I accidently stumbled across it because of being stuck at home during restrictions. I’ve loved it, and it’s great for those who would love to compete but don’t have a horse that floats, or top-of-the-range equipment or stress about judgement etc. Competing online was a great distraction from the current situation we are in and as my horse is quite green I didn’t have to stress about condensing float training etc. There are plenty of other shows, accessible via Facebook. Different organisations have different fees and ways to submit. We have loved doing this and I hope it continues when ‘real’, smaller shows begin to open.” Living close to Dream Lodge, which is in Victoria, Lena’s ribbons were hand delivered, but generally Continued

Virtual Events continued... ribbons, garlands etc., are mailed out. “Different states have opened up to this,” she says.

“We are currently sending entries to a South Australian Arabian Show, which previously, because of being a mum and wife I wouldn’t be able to attend in person, so again in that aspect it has been great. Some online comps also allow unregistered horses, which is great for those firsttime owners who don’t have a registered horse, or for those who don’t have their horse’s registration details. “I’d mainly done time trials, entry level endurance and open horse shows, so I guess being in ‘iso’ helped lead me to this. I’d purchased my horse as a very green 5yo, two weeks before lockdown, after about a 10-year break from the industry. Instead of the training for this youngster (who had just left the only place he’d known) being so methodical, we were able to turn it into something that was fun and without pressure for both of us. I looked forward to hearing the results, and perhaps getting an idea of who our direct competitors might be, when shows reopen.

“We are on agistment, so the only issue I had was in not wanting to bring ‘extra’ people down to help. So I didn’t have my non-horsey husband there to video, and tried to do it by myself. It also meant I didn’t have a second pair of hands for hosing down etc. But these were minor things. I have really enjoyed it all and really hope it continues.”

Kate van der Linden - Victoria Experienced rider Kate van der Linden has done three online competitions since COVID-19 started and says it’s been fantastic for her, as she’s returning to competition after a break of more than 20 years.

“I’ve treated the online comps exactly as I would a normal competition, and prepared the same way.” “These online competitions have helped me prepare for the real thing when I go out and about with my two horses. One I’ve had since she was a one-year-old and the other is a horse that my coach, Campbell Baxter, owns. I’ve been riding Heatherton Park X Factor (AKA Merlin) for about three months, which is fun, and they are both very different.”

Now a dressage enthusiast, Kate found two of the events on Facebook and was tagged in another by a friend. Her young Warmblood mare is green so she rode her lease horse, Merlin. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 66

“I did my first comp in April and two more in May. We came mid-field in the April comp and have yet to be judged for ones in May. I’d say we will find out how we went around mid-June.”

The process to enter is easy. “The organiser advises which tests you can choose from,” Kate says. “You enter and pay online via their web page. Entry fees range from $20-$35 per class and can be cheaper if you do more than one class. You choose which tests you want to do, and film it. It is not a requirement to plait up, but they do like you to be neatly presented or in competition attire. You upload your test to YouTube and submit the link to their page for judging. Each club or organiser has a judge who will mark your test. You then find out your result online or via email.”

Kate competed at agricultural shows in showing and jumping up until her late teens and started again around 10 years ago, and she’s loving training in dressage and looking forward to starting with her young Warmblood mare. “I tried doing a test at home with her and it was a shocker, so for now I’m sticking with Merlin,” she laughs. “It’s been fun so far and good preparation for when we can go out and compete for real.”

Virtual Events may have attained a surge in popularity because of the curtailing of public gatherings that put an end to clinics, club meets and competitions, however we may find these events fill a void and continue their popularity once shows are again on the calender. General guide for video entry. With a video camera or phone in the hands of someone willing and able to concentrate on what they are doing, anyone can film and upload to a competition. Even if not entering an event, then taking a video of yourself riding and then watching that can be beneficial, as often we do not ride like we ‘think’ we ride, and the video highlights this.

Tips for dressage comps: 1. To make sure you are not videoing directly into the sun you may need to swap letters around. 2. If you do not have dressage letters, make it a project to make some by painting them on buckets, bollards, laminated card or flower pots, for example.

1. You will need a digital camera, phone or tablet capable of recording clear video footage.

3. Ask the person videoing your test to stand either immediately in front of C with their back to C on the centre line, facing A; or, if there is room, stand behind C on the centre line facing A -- then set the zoom on the camera so the whole of the horse remains in the frame for as much of the arena as possible.

2. If videoing with your phone or tablet, have the video on landscape orientation.

4. Stand a little further back (if possible) from the arena at C, facing A, so that the judges can see the whole test.

3. Make sure your device has a zoom function, as it will be necessary to use this when the horse and rider are at the far end of the arena, but avoid excessive zooming in and out as this can make it hard to watch.

5. Keep the rider and horse in the centre of the frame and in full view of that part of the arena, especially if making a transition by a marker.

Tips for show classes:

4. Ask the viewer/filmer to keep the horse in the centre of the view finder, and ask them to start videoing a dozen or so strides before the start of the test or workout, all the way until after the final halt. 5. For good results, a steady hand or a tripod is essential! 6. Check the rules of each online competition regarding the regulations on what tack your horse needs to wear, or shouldn’t wear, and the type of competition gear you need to wear too. Some events require everything to be as they would in open competition, others are more casual and might not require you to wear show dress. 7. Some competitions don’t allow you to use video that has previously been submitted for another event, so check the rules for each competition first. 8. Standing on a tack box will give a better view of the arena. 9. Set the camera to a high-quality setting. Many video formats use compression technologies. The more one compresses the video, the smaller the final file size. While small files are generally good for the web, they are not necessarily good for viewing and can be very blurry or jumpy. The reason is that compression reduces video quality when it is replayed. Jerky or jumpy video movements could lose marks in a dressage competition.

6. Do not stop videoing until at least four seconds after the last halt and salute. If a video is stopped and re-started, it will likely be rejected. A goal to work towards in one’s chosen sport is motivational and a happy distraction in these difficult times. It’s also good training for when face-to-face competitions start up again. And there’s no need to load up the float…if you’re lucky enough to have one. Anyone with a horse, at any level, can find a competition to suit their interests, and take part in the joy of equestrian competition, whether they are isolated, injured or not fortunate to have a float.

Court Action DOESN’T Save Brumbies

Helmets in the ‘real’ world

Researchers have suggested that equestrian helmet standards at present may not adequately represent real-world concussive impacts in horse sport and that there is a need to assess the protective capacity of equestrian helmets under real-world conditions. As reported in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Michio Clark, a Biomechanics engineer, and his fellow researchers for the University College Dublin study examined real-world equestrian accidents and developed thresholds for the occurrence of concussive injury with 25 concussive and 25 non-concussive falls in equestrian sports. Reconstructed using a combination of video analysis, computational and physical reconstruction methods these represented male and female accidents from horse racing and the cross-country phase of eventing. Evaluating the head impact location, the impact surface, the horizontal velocities involved, the height of the rider’s head, and the rider’s body position prior to impact, the experimental reconstructions were conducted in a laboratory setting using a helmeted headform commonly used in accident reconstruction, and a rail-guided launcher. The researchers calculated the various thresholds for these factors which resulted in a 50% chance of a rider being concussed and the thresholds for linear acceleration, rotational velocity and rotational acceleration, described by the study team as a unique combination of head kinematic thresholds when compared to other sports. In their findings the team suggest that current equestrian helmet standards may not adequately represent real-world concussive impact conditions and, consequently, there is an urgent need to assess the protective capacity of equestrian helmets under realworld conditions. To read the report from the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport visit https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(19)30628-0/fulltext

The subject of brumbies in alpine envorimnets is one that’s been divisive for many years with one side arguing that brumbies damage Australia’s alpine parks and threaten populations and the habitat of native and critically endangered species. Supporters of the brumbies argue that the horses are culturally significant and that removing them would compromise the heritage of the area. They also argue that its other feral animals including pigs, goats and deer that are a greater threat to the environment. Recent court action however saw the Federal Court rule on May 8th that alpine brumbies should not be protected and that the culling of brumbies in Victoria’s Alpine National Park could go ahead, Justice Michael O’Bryan stating, “I am not satisfied that the action, involving the removal of brumbies from the Bogong High Plains and the reduction in number of brumbies in the Eastern Alps, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of the Australian Alps.” The Australian Brumby Alliance Inc had tried to stop Parks Victoria from actioning its plan to cull the feral horses, seeking to stop them from trapping or removing any brumby in the Bogong High Plains area of the Alpine National Park under the Plan, and from taking action that might cause significant depletion of any of the other populations of brumbies in the Alpine National Park. Under Parks Victoria’s 2018-2021 plan the entire Bogong High Plains feral horse population — about 100 horses — were to be culled as part of a medium-term management objective, however they had been unable to carry out the plans for the past 18 months due to the injunction. Parks Victoria welcomed the Federal Court’s decision, announcing a shooting cull the same day. A last-minute legal intervention by Omeo cattleman Phil Maguire on 17th May led to a reprieve for the brumbies. Appearing for Philip Maguire, lawyer Angel Aleksov told the court that Parks Victoria was required by law to consult with the community before adopting a “kill policy” of shooting horses from the ground. Mr Maguire is the leader of a movement he calls Rural Resistance, and his land adjoins the Bogong High Plains from where Parks Victoria wants to remove the brumbies. In NSW Culling is Outlawed On the other side of the border in NSW there are plans for trapping, aerial and ground musters in June 2020 of some 4000 brumbies on Cooleman Plain, parts of Boggy and Kiandra Plains and Nungar Plain areas in Kosciuszko National Park. The entire brumby population will be removed from Nungar Plain as part of the NSW Government’s statewide emergency recovery plan to protect and restore wildlife populations in NSW by launching the largest pest management program in its 53-year history, targeting deer, goats, pigs and carnivorous animals. A proposed cull of wild horses in the Kosciuszko National Park was scrapped in 2018 and culling outlawed under plans from the New South Wales Government, however conservationists blame NSW for failing to control brumbies. So with Parks Victoria CEO Matthew Jackson saying that Parks Victoria has a legal and moral obligation to protect the native species at risk of extinction from the impacts of feral horses and other pest animals, and the Australian Brumby Alliance and countless supporters fighting for the preservation and welfare of Australia’s wild horses the outcome of legal proceedings on May 26th may well keep this issue as divisive as ever. While Philip Maguire’s bid to stop the cull was knocked back in Victoria’s supreme court, the court was told he would appeal the decision.

Equine Semen Analysis with an App

RICKY MACMILLAN Resigns Equestrian Australia After just six months in the role the Chair of Equestrian Australia Ricky MacMillan has resigned. Standing down in May, the Australian Olympic dressage rider and dressage judge was appointed Chair of the Board at EA’s Annual General Meeting in Sydney in November 2019, the CEO of Equestrian Australia Lucy Warhorse saying at the time, “I look forward to working with her as we enter an exciting Olympic year and continue to make improvements in our sport. We remain steadfast in our commitment to becoming a world leader in equestrian safety and risk mitigation.” Having spent a lifetime involved in the horse industry as an official, horse breeder and trainer, coach, volunteer, including on event organising and sport committees, and competitor in all three Olympic disciplines, showing and other horse sports, Ricky had vowed to change the organisation’s culture, rapidly moving to install a national safety officer to implement recommendations made after a coronial inquiry into the deaths of Olivia Inglis and Caitlyn Fischer in 2016. On her resignation she was quoted in The Australian newspaper, “the vision I had when I took the chair of EA was a sport for the members — each participating member in each state would have a voice and be listened to. Circumstances meant that as hard as I tried, this was unobtain­able with the current structure of the organisation. I could not stand by and see the interests of members overlooked.” Equestrian Australia’s only statement about the resignation, along with former Director Gillian Canapini, was this brief mention on their website on 11th May - Equestrian Australia Board Announcement - The Board of Equestrian Australia has accepted the resignation of two of its members, Chair Ricky MacMillan and Gillian Canapini.

A recent study has found that a computer-based program working off an iPad can offer reliable information about concentration, motility and other critical aspects about horse semen right in the breeding barn. Research carried out by Gent University and the De Morette Equine Reproduction Center in Asse, Belgium set out to evaluate the accuracy of a novel, portable device (iSperm® Equine) for assessing concentration and motility of stallion semen. Firstly semen concentration was determined by the iSperm® Equine, Androvision® and NucleoCounter® SP-100™, the latter two costly fixed devices that are not portable. The iSperm works with an iPad and an app, bringing the cost and portability within reason for use in breeding farms or by veterinarians working with breeders explained Peter Daels of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Gent University, Belgium. The results of these experiments demonstrated that the iSperm® offered a reliable and practical alternative for the semi-automated measurement of concentration and motility of stallion semen in the field. The iSperm® enabled the practitioner to obtain objective and repeatable measurements on a variety of semen types (fresh, cooled and frozen) in the field at the time of insemination and thus acquire more insight into the quantity and quality of the provided insemination doses.

Rare Donkeys Find New Home

Three large Poitou donkeys have found a new home for life at the The Donkey Sanctuary in Devon, UK. Measuring an average of 14.2 hands high (142-152 cm) Poitou donkeys are rare, however their numbers have been rebuilt by enthusiasts and now number around 400 registered in the studbook that has been active since the middle of the 18th century. For hundreds of years the main purpose these French donkeys, which are very distinctive because of their long, shaggy coats, were bred was to produce largeframed male donkeys to crossbreed with females of the race of heavy horses called Cheval Poitevin Mulassier. The mules resulting from this crossbreeding were large, strong-boned and muscular, and were in great demand as good all-round working animals that made an important contribution to the French agricultural economy and earned the Poitou a worldwide reputation. By 1950 there was little demand for them however as the mule could not compete with the tractor and the lorry, which led to a dramatic decline in their numbers and they are now relatively rare. Their owner reached out to the Sanctuary after a change in their circumstances deemed it would be in their best interest to bring the donkeys to the sanctuary as they were not suitable for rehoming due to their specialist care requirements. digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 69

The Queen’s Horses win

The Royal Windsor Horse Show was first held in 1943 and was staged to help raise funds for the War effort. It has since become the UK’s largest outdoor horse show and the only one in the UK which hosts international competitions for dressage, show jumping, carriage driving and endurance riding. This year however, as a result of COVID-19, the show moved online with the 2020 event becoming Virtual Windsor. With more than 4200 entries in the 24 showing classes the online showing competitions were incredibly successful with six entries from Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II. Two of her horses were winners, Stardust winning the Sidesaddle class (ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable) and Wyevale Harry, who took the Class 2 Cleveland Bays title A huge number of viewers watched the Show online with more than 250,000 spectators tuning in over the event’s five days, while the social media reach soared past the million mark. To watch the streams from each day visit https://virtual.rwhs. co.uk/ Back riding after restrictions lifted.

Anniversary ASH Heritage Ride

The 14th April 2020 marked the 20 year anniversary of the beginning of the Spring Valley Australian Stock Horse Heritage Ride in Broome, Western Australia. This epic journey saw two teams of riders cover a total of 14,000km over 120 days to meet up in Sydney on 13th August 2000, the whole time carrying the Australian flag in a relay format. A significant ending of the ride was that members rode over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, something that wouldn't be possible these days in terms of red tape and insurance. Along the way the riders promoted the excellence of the Australian Stock Horse, but also horses in general, undertaking numerous school visits, parades, publicity opportunities and interviews. It was especially heartwarming to come into contact with people who didn't have a regular contact with horses but still have an affinity with them, which was particularly apparent in Aboriginal communities.

digital magazine June/July 2020 - Page 70

First Hendra Virus CASE in 2020

After a warning in early May that winter 2020 represented a period of heightened risk for Hendra virus spillover, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has now confirmed the first case in Australia for 2020. A horse on a property in northern NSW, was found by its owner appearing depressed and having difficulty breathing on May 29th. Its condition deteriorated and it was euthanised. The 17-year-old, unvaccinated horse was seen by a veterinarian who took samples for Hendra virus. Exclusion and risk assessments on the property were undertaken, as well as other animals at the farm being tested. DPI senior vet, Paul Freeman advised there were no other horses at the property, but that there were dogs and they could be at risk. He advised that NSW Health contacted anyone who had contact with the infected horse and that the farm is now under a biosecurity direction restricting access for three weeks. Horses at neighbouring properties have been vaccinated. The winter of 2011 saw 17 Hendra virus spillover events in subtropical Australia since the Hendra virus vaccine was introduced in 2012. It has been predicted that winter of 2020 will represent a period of heightened risk for Hendra virus spillover. Hendra virus is a virus carried by flying foxes (who are unaffected by the virus), which can be deadly to both humans and horses. Transmitted from flying foxes to horses via the ingestion by the horse of flying fox bodily fluids, most likely dropped from overhead trees contaminating pasture, feed, water troughs etc, the virus can then be spread from horse to horse, horse to dog and horse to human via close contact. The virus was first recognised in 1994 in Hendra (a suburb of Brisbane) when a 49-year-old horse trainer died after a fulminating pneumonic illness, and a 40-year old stable worker survived an influenza-like illness. There have been 62 outbreaks recorded in Australia with 104 horse deaths and seven human infections, which have resulted in four deaths. Horse owners are encouraged to remain vigilant as the signs of Hendra virus infection are very non-specific early on and they should keep horses away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. If your horse in unwell, keep people and animals away from the horse and call your veterinarian immediately. It is Australian national policy that all horses confirmed positive, by laboratory testing, are humanely destroyed to prevent the spread of infection to humans and other animals!

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