The Plaid Horse July 2024 - The Horse Care Issue

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Introducing Systemiq™ Supplement

a live & active probiotic

A healthy microbiome is critical to gut health and your horse’s wellbeing and performance.

At Purina, we’ve developed Systemiq™ probiotic supplement to support your horse in a whole new way.

Systemiq™ supplement helps promote normal recovery after exercise and occasional gastrointestinal stress using our live and active probiotic.

Our probiotic strain is research-proven to survive manufacturing and the acidic stomach, so the little things can make a big di erence.

Head-to-Hoof Nutrition


Head-to-Hoof Nutrition

Head-to-Hoof Nutrition

Targeted Nutrition to Support Elite Performance

Beat the heat this summer and boost your horse’s health to support elite performance.

Performance horses are plagued with common health concerns in the hot summer months, including heat stress and dehydration, digestive upset, inflammation, and general stress from travel and competition.

Kentucky Equine Research offers several innovative products designed to provide targeted nutrition for these problems and support elite performance.

Discover research-proven products at

Michelle Terlato Photography

Support your horse with research-proven KER Targeted Nutrition products.

EquiShure®: The Only Time-Released Hindgut Buffer

Disturbances in the hindgut lead to acidosis, which can affect normal bacterial populations and reduce digestive efficiency. EquiShure features innovative technology that delivers a time-released buffer into the hindgut to neutralize acid and help maintain a stable environment, encouraging proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

EO-3™: Source of Beneficial Omega-3 Fatty Acids DHA and EPA

EO-3 promotes joint health, supports horses with respiratory conditions such as allergic reactivity, bronchoconstriction, or exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, and can help reduce body-wide inflammation. EO-3 provides a direct, marine-derived source of DHA and EPA, two essential omega-3 fatty acids, making it superior to plant sources such as flax.



Bioavailable Form of the Powerful Antioxidant Coenzyme Q10

Nano-Q10 is a rapidly available and absorbed source of coenzyme Q10 that is three times more bioavailable than powdered forms. Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from highly reactive chemicals called free radicals. Besides providing direct antioxidant protection, coenzyme Q10 also improves the antioxidant potential of other antioxidants in the body, like vitamins C and E.

Restore® SR: Unique Slow-Release Electrolyte Supplement

Restore SR contains the latest technology in electrolyte supplements for horses, including a proprietary slow-release mechanism that allows sodium to be released gradually into the gastrointestinal tract for sustained absorption. Restore SR helps horses retain the electrolytes you provide so they can replenish their reserves in the most optimal manner.

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The Horse Care Issue



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The best is not new, just new to your horse.

For centuries humans have enjoyed the benefits of the Hemp Plant. Now, EQUIHEMP brings those benefits to elevate your horse’s care.

Our premium hemp products are all-natural, USA grown and processed.

Ditch the Dust!

EQUIHEMP’s dust-free bedding creates a healthy environment that allows your horse to breathe freely. It is 2x more absorbent, lasts 4x longer, cuts your waste by 50%, hypoallergenic and Phenol-free making it good for your Horse and the environment.

EQUIHEMP’s oil seed products are packed with all essential Omegas (3, 6, 9) and amino acids. Made with non-GMO seeds and free of pesticides, these natural superfoods promote healthy skin, coat, and overall well-being. Your Horse's Health, Naturally!


Every One of Us is a Horse Trainer

WATCHING SO MANY horse shows this year, my biggest takeaway is that we have the best horse trainers we’ve ever had in this sport. Truly, those at the top of the game are phenomenal. They are so astute and disciplined on horse care, the vets are more versed than ever, and their training is top notch. We’re encouraging horses to jump better than they ever have, mastery of increasingly complicated situations and tests, and precision to an incredible level.

Why do horses today need to be so good? Well, the less skill the rider has, the more skill your horse needs to have. And if you really sit and watch up and coming divisions continuously, the horses need it. You talk to trainers who describe having a trained horse like a shoelace-the owner gets on and unties the shoes and the trainer gets on and meticulous repositions and ties the laces perfectly every time. We seem to have forgotten that every single one of us is a horse trainer and we are training every horse we interact with. We are either training them to be better or be worse, depending on our focus, timing, and clarity.

Why is this happening? Frankly, horses are easier to train than people. You are selecting for nature when you buy them—physical ability, personality, and soundness. Then you have control of their nurture—what they are eating, how much exercise, the type of

exercise, and the amount they prepare and practice. Most trainers don’t get a lot of selection in terms of nature with their human clients. Trainers don’t have a lot of control over nurture. And the drive in their human clients varies.

People in today’s world are requiring a quantity of feedback and direction that is burning out horse trainers like the teacher burnout we are seeing. Training horses to compensate their humans is protecting our trainers and their mental health. We feel a collective panic about safety and a desire for control, but riders are missing that good riding, good training, and good instincts protect you implicitly…without good training for people, a trainer’s best bet for keeping riders safe is often installing good instincts for protecting riders in horses instead. As I said, they are really good at training horses. I think we can start to address this with each and every member of our

community taking responsibility for where they are, how they are training, and how much their horse and trainers might be compensating for them. If you are having fun and in the financial position to rely on other people’s skills and buy skilled horses, that is great, and I hope you enjoy this sport. But, that is not the reality for me or most people I know. It is not the reality for most people who I see complaining on the internet or sending in articles and personal essays to The Plaid Horse. You can always compensate for lack of budget with skill with so many horses that are talented, capable, and discarded by others for being “hard.” While considering my own circumstances this spring, I was invited to Via Nova Training in Santa Fe, NM. It wasn’t exactly convenient timing—during the first two days of The Devon Horse Show and HITS Hudson Valley—but I flew to New

Mexico to check out something I hoped I would find refreshing and a mental reset.

The methods most of us use for training horses date back over 5,000 years, which predates most major religions. We’re not exactly going to reinvent this in one generation. Via Nova wasn’t trying to do that; their methodology are tools in a toolbox that we can all choose from and apply to what we are working on with our horses.

With their program Priority to Positive®, they want to make behavioral science and positive reinforcement more mainstream in traditional equestrian disciplines to help competitors achieve performance breakthroughs, riders experience a deeper, more enjoyable connection with their horses, enrichment and transformation of horses’ lives, and support and expand the pool of seasoned positive reinforcement practitioners.

TOP AND BOTTOM: With MTM Sandwich in the Adult Hunters 18-35 at the Kentucky Horse Shows in May
MIDDLE: Carleton Brooks speaking to a group of young riders at the Desert International Horse Park


Via Nova’s Core Principles PRIORITY TO POSITIVE®

1. Understand Motivation Desire v. Avoidance

2. Look for your “Yes!” Flip Your Negative Mindset

3. Create Opportunity

Use the positive reinforcement tools that the horse wants to learn

4. Shape Toward What You Want

Use thin slices and building blocks

5. Set Up for Success

It’s not cheating to make it easy

Essentially, instead of using pressure and then releasing when desired behavior occurs, as we have done for millennia with horses, we wait for the horse to offer the correct answer. The goal is for the horse to always truly understand what is desired of them so that they are never confused or frustrated or feel forced. I couldn’t help but think of my own travel—people lose their tempers so frequently when they seemingly don’t understand what the rules are, don’t think they are fair, are tired, and feel forced

toward an outcome they often do not want. I imagine a horse at a horse show as a human at an airport. The odds that they flip out or shut down or don’t want to participate or are a “bad horse” because they are off their schedule, their stomachs hurt, they are tired, or they are unsure what their humans want out of them are incredibly high.

According to affective neuroscience, the horse has seven innate emotional systems—on the positive side are seeking (expectancy), care (nurture), play (social joy), lust (sexual excitement), and on the negative side are fear (anxiety), panic/ grief (sadness), and rage (anger). By keeping training in the “seeking” emotional system and out of fear and panic, a horse can voluntarily leave their comfort zone to experience a growth and learning zone to increase their knowledge, ability, and performance.

Mental overarousal, as with all students, produces a distress zone and impairs performance because of strong anxiety. Some ways to prevent over-arousal in a horse include: short training sessions, clarity with your body language, high rate of reinforcement, taking frequent pauses, including well-practiced behaviors, movement mixed with relaxation, and not working with hungry horses.

A concept from Via Nova Training that really resonated with me was the trust bank you have with your horse. With every relationship, you create a trust bank. Every time the horse knows what you want, every positive response, every bit of consistency, the horse feels comforted that you make sense and has more trust in you. A predictable pattern allows the horse to feel relaxed and comfortable in expectations and that they can perform them appropriately. These positive associations of working together allow the horse to trust you when they must go through

something unpleasant, like vet work that you cannot simply tell them is for their greater good.

Is there “THE ANSWER” in horse training? Of course not, there never is. Horses are individuals and different training methods will work with each one. The people who have trained thousands of horses see trends and have an instinct of which things to try first with which horses. They are often correct with their experience. Also, they often have to go through their toolbox for a while before they find something that works with a particular horse. They have patience, grit, and feel, and keep coming back with small improvements until the horse is trained.

To the person reading this—you are a horse trainer. I am a horse trainer. Which comes with the responsibility of constantly improving ourselves, our timing, our methodology, and constantly thinking how we can do every bit better. How can we all use less force, fewer demands, and have more relaxed horses who look forward to learning and look forward to training sessions? These should be questions we ask ourselves every ride. How can we build a bigger platform of trust and a bigger trust bank and a more rewarding relationship.

Reuben takes his responsibility of making me a more skilled rider incredibly seriously every single time I put my foot in the stirrup. Over years of work, I can sit here proud of the skill I have developed and look forward to continuing to develop the skill I will need to ride future horses in my life. Because they won’t be easy and they will be athletic and I will need all the precision, calm, strength, and fluidity I can possibly get. I can put the work in, and no matter how long it takes, I will continue to learn to be a consistent and effective horse trainer.

Follow me on Instagram at @piperklemm

Via Nova Workshop



Using the power of miscanthus, the sustainable bedding company is changing the way we take care of our horses


LET’S FACE IT, there aren’t that many great bedding options out there. Traditional shavings can cause unbearable odor, dust, excess of flies, and even mold, which can be harmful to your horse’s respiratory system, and the process of mucking stalls is at the bottom of everyone’s list of preferred barn chores.

Natural Bedding, a sustainable animal bedding company backed by Nexus Development Capital, is providing an alternative option to administer bedding that is not only healthier for your horses, but also makes cleaning easier and faster. The bedding is 100% miscanthus, a type of grass that almost looks like a chopped straw, that is more absorbent and completely biodegradable. While it is a grass, miscanthus is naturally unpalatable, so your horses won’t want to consume it. It is a totally natural material, so apart from it being cut and having the dust extracted, the bedding has not been artificially processed.


Miscanthus has been used for over 50 years by horse trainers and owners in Europe as horse bedding. Utilizing miscanthus primarily grown in the southern and southeastern parts of the United States, Natural Bedding is making it possible for barn owners stateside to bring the high quality material into their stables.


In a recent study with Robert Holland, DVM, PhD, a Kentucky-based equine veterinarian who specializes in equine respiratory and infectious diseases, Natural Bedding was shown to improve the overall air quality in the stalls, which plays a huge part in helping horses with respiratory or allergy issues maintain comfort in their stalls.

Then, top dress the bedding with additional bags until it’s four to six inches thick, depending on how you like to bed the stall. Setting up the stall this way allows for the urine to gravitate to the bottom layer, which keeps the top layer clean and dry. The company has created videos in both English and Spanish, available on their website, to show users how to use the product.

The manure will be picked out throughout the day as usual while not disturbing the initial foundation layer. This is where the urine will be absorbing.

A “wet-spot” will form and is removed every five to seven days. The technique is so easy and is quite the time saver.

International Show Jumper Jenny Rankin used Natural Bedding this last

“Natural Bedding seems to reduce allergies because there is comparably less dust than in other beddings such as shavings and straw.”

“Natural Bedding seems to reduce allergies because there is comparably less dust than in other beddings such as shavings and straw,” says Dr. Holland. Since it’s naturally antibacterial, Natural Bedding doesn’t host a variety of fungus. Customers have seen a significant reduction in odor and number of flies in their stalls.

Outside of the respiratory benefits, the use of miscanthus is also more absorbent, holding nearly four times its weight. Natural Bedding has been shown to reduce waste disposal volumes, resulting in 30-60% savings on manure removal for owners.

Natural Bedding is 100% biodegradable, making it a great choice for stable owners looking to use their waste as fertilizer.


Users will want to start with a base layer of two to three inches of bedding, leveling the bedding with the back of the pitch fork, then misting with water to allow the miscanthus to start the absorption and to allow the bedding to interlock.

season in Wellington, with FEI horse Ibiza. She was initially skeptical to wait to remove the wet-spot, as Ibiza is on electrolytes and his bedding can become quite wet, but was pleasantly surprised with the dryness of his bedding, the lack of ammonia smell, and how management of his bedding became quicker in the mornings as well.

Another customer of Natural Bedding that owns and operates a Dressage Training Barn in Loxahatchee, FL has been using the bedding for a few years. Her grooms can pick eight to 10 stalls in the morning and the total of those stalls equate to just one wheelbarrow load.


Natural Bedding is available across the country for customers to purchase and can be bought directly from the company or a local dealer.

For more information on Natural Bedding, the power of miscanthus, and where you can buy the product, please visit Instructional videos as well as interviews with real life customers can also be found on their website.

Natural Bedding customers have said they love how the product is “soft,” “firm but bounces back,” “cushiony,” and, “if I took it to a show, I would scoop it back up when it came time to leave and bring it home.”


We actually have had a few horses that are incredibly talented when it comes to urinating. Every day urine would run out of the stall and into the aisle due to the shavings not absorbing. Jenelle started to look for an alternative bedding and found Natural Bedding. We agreed to buy 30 bags for a trial and test it on four stalls and see what our team thought about the difference in the product. After the first week Jenelle thought it was incredible and wanted to continue. After the second week, all the team members agreed this was the product that they wanted for our facility. At JRB Equestrian our equine partners get the best of everything! We switched the entire barn over and have become dealers for Natural Bedding serving Central Florida.

One of our full-time team members, Tabby, said, “If you ever switch back to shavings, I’ll quit!” She said it’s amazing as it’s so much more efficient to pick the stalls, it’s cleaner and easier to work with. It’s a huge time saver when we do deep cleans too.

We’ve found that when we load 9,000 pounds of bedding a week into a dump trailer there is significantly less dust and it breaks down/composts so much faster than shavings.

It’s also the little things like the amount of dust on the stall fans and how quickly they get packed with dust and burn out. The first year that we started our business we went through four fans…in the last year and a half we have not replaced any fans.

We have also noticed to date that none of our horses eat the bedding. I think overall when the product is tested side by side with shavings or any other product on the market; you will find Natural Bedding product stands out above the rest.

—RON AND JENELLE BRANOM, JRB Equestrian, Winter Garden, FL


How Top Riders Rely on Nutrition to Keep Their Horses in Peak Performance, Naturally

EQUINE ELIXIRS sat down with top international show jumpers Mimi Gochman, Bliss Heers, and Grace Debney to talk about something all three riders have in common–their commitment to providing their horses with the best all-natural nutrition.

From preventing injury to optimizing performance, each rider has a meticulously tailored regimen that ensures their horses receive the best nutritional support. Each rider takes a unique approach to balancing the dietary needs of their equine partners, but each is equally committed to keeping their horses happy, healthy and ready to compete.

A rave review for Chug, which encourages hydration



One of the products Gochman has used for several years is Positude. “Positude has benefited our horses because it is a natural way to manage their temperament and stay relaxed and focused while competing at a high level,” she says. “The Positude helps manage hormonal fluctuations and for us, it is one of the best ways to keep the horses feeling happy and level.”

Positude is an all natural combination of highly concentrated leaf, berry, and root extracts that act upon

the pituitary, mimicking the effects of progesterone therapy to maintain even hormone levels in mares, geldings and stallions. Safe to handle and easy to administer, Positude helps horses remain even keeled, level headed, more predictable, less spooky, less snarky, and less opinionated.

With frequent travel and warm summer months approaching, Gochman is focused on keeping her horses hydrated, and luckily, she can rely on Chug to help. We asked her to describe Celina’s initial

reaction to Chug the first time she tried it.

“Celina absolutely loves Chug,” says Gochman. “She was immediately drawn to the water, and the more she drank, the more she enjoyed it. She was really playful with the bucket of Chug and acted like she was getting a treat, which is useful when it comes to keeping her hydrated.”

Proper hydration is often a challenge for horses who can be reluctant to drink when traveling. Chug is the


healthiest and most reliable way to deliver the fluids that your horse needs during and after heavy workouts or competition, or just as part of daily hydration management. A delicious smelling and tasting alfalfa extract combined with a hint of Himalayan salt forms the perfect flavor profile to entice the reluctant drinker to chug! Chug is also safe for metabolic horses because its combined NSC content is only 0.6%.



Debney was eager to incorporate Equine Elixirs’ custom bulk blends into her program to streamline her feeding process. “It takes us half the time to make the feed now and we don’t have to worry about measuring out the different products,” she says. Debney supplements according to each horse’s specific needs, but there are certain products she feeds to everybody because of their importance. Debney’s custom pre-mixed blend consists of Ulceraser, Immunox, and Electrofresh.


“I feed Ulceraser and Immunox to help with my horses’ digestive systems. Since starting them on it I’ve noticed a huge difference in their gastric comfort and the way they look,” said Debney. “In addition to their stomachs feeling good, their coats and physical appearance has also improved!”

Ulceraser supports the entire GI tract and is ideal for horses subject to the most common risk factors for digestive upset and ulcers, including training, traveling, competition, limited turnout and forage, large grain meals, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, changes in weather, or other forms of stress. Ulceraser acts as a pH buffer, helps strengthen the mucosa throughout the GI tract, operates as a sand clear, and helps reduce inflammation in the gut. Immunox contains natural Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl acetate), a potent antioxidant that helps limit the damage caused by daily oxidative stress, which in conjunction with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and polyphenols, helps enhance cell activity, protecting cell membranes from free radicals. Immunox promotes muscle recovery and boosts the immune system.

The most exciting part about being a young professional is how much I learn every day. Since taking my horses in and managing them myself, I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to learn double what I have in previous years.


Debney also includes Electrofresh in her custom blend to replace lost minerals for her horses who are competing at the top of the sport. Mineral rich pink Himalayan and red Hawaiian salt with banana supports healthy hydration and is designed to mimic the minerals lost in equine sweat. Maintaining a proper electrolyte balance helps maintain healthy cardiovascular and neurological function while also helping reduce oxidative stress.


Heers maintains her top horses on a combination of Arthroscope and Pro Bono because she is focused on protecting them from injury. “I feed Pro Bono as a way to help protect and strengthen my horses’ bones and cartilage,” she says. “Competition horses, the same as human athletes, need support to meet the demands of top level competition.”

Pro Bono’s bioavailable form of Vitamin K, Vitamin D, collagen, calcium and

phosphorus supports healthy bone and cartilage that is both strong and resilient, and benefits many categories of horses; young growing horses, those with limited access to fresh pasture, horses on stall rest, broodmares for fetal development, horses recovering from bone or soft tissue injury, and horses in heavy training.

“Pro Bono is a great tool to strengthen your horse at the base level to help prevent injury and Arthroscope

supports their joints, ligaments and tendons, which helps my horses feel and perform their best, no matter what age they are or level they are competing,” says Heers.

Arthroscope is a synergistic blend of the traditional building blocks of joint health, including glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, in addition to potent anti-inflammatories and hydrolyzed collagen. Arthroscope is a

Many of our top international show horses fly quite frequently and don’t leave home without their emotional support stuffed animals!

comprehensive supplement designed to address the entire joint, including the cartilage, synovial fluid, tendons and ligaments. Arthroscope is ideal for horses engaged in heavy workouts, intense training and competition, those recovering from injury, and even to provide comfort and support for senior horses.


started with a simple “what if” question and has resulted in numerous clinical studies, veterinary textbook revisions, re-evaluations of equine airway mechanics and nearly 4 million uses around the globe in equine sports

FLAIR® Equine Nasal Strips


Improving equine athletes’ airflow, performance, and recovery

FLAIR® EQUINE NASAL STRIPS are popular among top equestrians in both the sport horse and racing industries—proven to reduce airway resistance and improve conditions such as EIPH in equine athletes. And it all began when one veterinarian called another.

“Ed Blach called me one night and asked why no one had thought about a Breathe Right® strip for horses,” owner and co-founder Jim Chiapetta tells The Plaid Horse.

The two initially met in college and started in veterinary practice together. After many hours of lab research, they discovered the perfect placement of a nasal strip prototype on a horse’s nose to maximize airflow. Then Blach and Chiapetta set a meeting with the human Breathe Right company to pitch them the idea.

“They weren’t very interested in working with us at first, and said they had talked to veterinarians before and that it would never work,” says Chiapetta. “I said, ‘Let me just show you.’ I even brought a horse skull into their office to demonstrate how it worked. The CEO sat up in his chair, looked at me and said, ‘Oh, nobody has ever shown me this—this will work!”

The two veterinarians speculated that with the correct placement and shape of their new nasal strip, they could improve breathing and reduce exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH or “bleeding”) by improving airway resistance.

The commercialization process of the

first FLAIR Strip began at Kansas State University with another veterinarian who looked the device over.

“He looked at a nasal strip and he just laughed. He said, ‘This isn’t going to do anything.’ However, he put it on seven horses that were known bleeders and it reduced bleeding in all of them,” says Chiapetta.

FLAIR Strips initially launched with the human Breathe Right company, but Breathe Right’s goal was to grow a human consumer product company, not an equine one, so the board advised the CEO to drop the product.

“So we crossed our fingers, mortgaged the house, started our company and product usage began to grow,” says Chiapetta.


In 1999, FLAIR Strips were introduced at the Breeders’ Cup, and in 2000, they were being used by horses in the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

“Three of the eight races in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup were won by horses wearing FLAIR Strips,” adds Chiapetta.

FLAIR Strips don’t help horses breathe in more air—they allow horses to take in the same amount of air with less

FLAIR Strips are constructed with stringently controlled materials in FDA approved facilities. Three shape memory supports provide upward lifting force on the soft tissues overlying the horse’s nasal passages

TOP: Event rider Bruce “Buck” Davidson, Jr was one of a handful of early adopters of FLAIR Strips in 2000
“Supporting the nasal passages during recovery ... makes it easier for horses to cool out and recover quicker, leaving more energy for tomorrow.”

work. It’s similar to a human breathing through a stuffy nose versus a clear one. With congestion, the nasal passages are narrower, making it more difficult to breathe. In horses, the harder they breathe, the more their nasal passages narrow.

Being able to breathe easier benefits horses at all levels of fitness and in high-intensity disciplines maintain respiratory health and optimum performance. Many riders also report that horses wearing FLAIR Strips are more relaxed and focused.

Horses are obligate nasal breathers. This means that unlike humans, they only breathe through their nose during exercise. All the air to power exercises comes in through the nose, travels through the upper airway, through the trachea, and then into the lungs.

“Think of the horse’s airway as a tube. What could happen if that tube is crimped or obstructed at any point? When you can alleviate that resistance, it allows air to move easier in the entire airway,” says Chiapetta.

The spring-like action of the FLAIR Strip supports the soft tissues over the nasal passages, reducing the tissue collapse that occurs during exercise. By improving airflow at the nasal passages, airflow is improved throughout the entire airway, from nostrils to the lungs.

“It supports that tissue over the nasal passages so they don’t get drawn in as much when the horse is breathing in. If you notice when a horse comes back

from work and they’re breathing hard, you can see that tissue plain as day getting sucked in,” he adds.

Horses hold their breath while they jump. By using a FLAIR Strip, it makes it easier for jumping horses to bring air in as they prepare to jump and when they begin taking in breaths again after they land.

Not only do horses breathe better, but they also fatigue less quickly when wearing a FLAIR Strip.

“One of the major causes of fatigue is the depletion of energy needed for the horse to perform. By reducing the effort needed to bring air into the lungs, horses get oxygen more efficiently when using FLAIR Strips,” explains Hanna Hartman, director of operations. “In fact, horses wearing FLAIR Strips use about 5-6% less energy.”

FLAIR Strips don’t just allow horses to breathe better during strenuous exercise, they also improve recovery, which is imperative for multi-day competitions.

“Supporting the nasal passages during recovery also makes it easier for horses to cool out and recover quicker, leaving more energy for tomorrow,” says Hartman.

“That’s why FLAIR Strips help during recovery as well, because they’re still supporting that tissue when the horse is breathing in hard, so the nasal passages don’t collapse. Supporting the nasal passages when horses are puffing post-exercise is important to continue reducing nasal passage collapse when they are trying to rebuild oxygen reserves and release carbon dioxide,” adds Chiapetta.


In addition to providing benefits for all horses during intensive exercise, FLAIR Strips benefits horses with certain airway conditions. One of the more prominent benefits is for horses with EIPH.

Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) is bleeding that occurs in a horse’s lungs and airways during or after strenuous exercise. EIPH is common among equine athletes, and is a silent injury that often goes undetected.

Numerous studies show that essentially all horses are affected to some degree by EIPH during intensive exercise. Only 5% of horses show blood in the nostrils, though. Lung damage from repeated EIPH episodes can even shorten a horse’s competitive career.

However, there is no known method to eliminate EIPH—only to reduce it.

Clinical studies have shown that EIPH is reduced in horses wearing FLAIR Strips. The only other clinically proven product to reduce EIPH is Lasix.

“Other conditions veterinarians recommend the use of FLAIR Strips for include roaring, DDSP, heaves, and asthma,” says Chiapetta.

“We receive testimonials from riders across the world in many equine sports about the benefits provided by FLAIR Strips,” says Hartman.

To learn more about FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips, visit

RIGHT: Caroline Pamukcu uses FLAIR Strips to optimize horse health and performance
BELOW: FLAIR Strips come in a variety of colors and designs


Workers show up. They are ready to learn from the moment they get to the barn. We all get distracted, but a worker is the one who puts in the extra time. They pick up, and help around the farm with whatever is needed. When they ride, they ride with a plan. They do transitions, and figures and have a goal. They ride without stirrups, without reins. They put in days of long, boring fitness rides because it is the right thing for the horses. They do the hard things, because it makes them stronger and better.


Keeping your horse’s joints healthy is key to maintaining soundness and performance

WITH SHOW SEASON in full swing, finding ways to maintain your horse’s joint health may be one of the most important elements to your horse care routine. While the additional work is to be expected when preparing your four-legged partner for show season, the added exercise and stress can put your horse at a higher risk for injury, stiffness, and pain.

The team at SmartPak Equine has found a number of ways to help your horse stay in tip-top shape all season long. With a goal to support your horse’s joint health this show season and beyond, SmartPak offers a number of supplements that can be tailored to the exact needs of your horse.



Overall joint health is crucial to making sure horses are able to move freely without pain or being compromised.

The most common cause of joint pain is arthritis. While there are several different types of arthritis, the term is used generally to refer to pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Arthritis is relatively common in horses, however the degree to which it impacts a horse can range from mild to debilitating.

The most common areas arthritis may occur are in the hock, pastern, fetlock, knee, navicular, coffin, and spine.

Show horses commonly receive routine injections either from or prescribed by a veterinarian to maintain or help with joint function. These can range from intramuscular injections, such as Adequan, to intravenous injections, such as Legend. Veterinarians will also directly inject the joint (also known as intra-articular). The benefit of an intra-articular injection is that you’re placing the medication directly in the spot where the horse needs additional support. The hock, stifle, and spine are just some of the frequently injected areas.

While injections can be seen as regular maintenance, supplements are often used in conjunction to help support joints, tendons, ligaments, and/or soft tissue.

SmartPak formulates each joint supplement with key ingredients and in proper daily doses. With dozens of supplements to choose from, you can pick exactly what your horse needs.

For a comprehensive supplement, SmartPak recommends SmartStride Ultra Pellets, which is backed by research.

A 28-day study at Texas A&M University showed that SmartStride Ultra Pellets significantly increased the range of motion in the hock at the walk and increased range of motion in the hock at the trot.

The well-known supplements classified as the SmartFlex “family” are loved by horse owners as the products provide different levels of support depending on what your horse needs. Most recently, SmartPak has come out with the SmartPerform Advanced Gastric and Joint Liquid. This novel formula takes a science-first approach, using ingredients (such as MHB3® Hyaluronan and hydrolyzed collagen) shown in research to play a role in the body’s preservation,

SmartPak formulates each joint supplement with key ingredients and in proper daily doses. With dozens of supplements to choose from, you can pick exactly what your horse needs.

protection, and healing of gastric tissue and joint integrity.


Whether your horse is an aged, retired Thoroughbred or a young, actively competing Warmblood, every horse can benefit from taking joint supplements. When comparing products that may work best for your horse, you should put glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid (HA) at the top of your list. These ingredients, which SmartPak refers to as “Mother Nature’s Big Three,” have been shown to help nourish and protect joint tissue and fluid.

Glucosamine is a type of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, otherwise known as a GAG. Glucosamine increases the production of new cartilage and it works to prevent cartilage from breaking down.

Chondroitin sulfate increases the production of hyaluronic acid. Much like glucosamine, it also aids in producing new cartilage while preventing the breakdown of it as well.

The last of “Mother Nature’s Big Three,” hyaluronic acid, is another type of GAG that is created in cartilage and by cells in the joint lining. It works to create

lubrication for the horse’s joints, which help with shock absorption, a necessary factor in horses that frequently jump.

Outside of these nutrients, SmartPak recommends horse owners use products for joint health with MSM, Vitamin C, Glutamine, Collagen, Resveratrol, Turmeric, Devil’s Claw, Boswellia, Jiaogulan, Super Oxide Dismutase, Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables, Green Tea Extract, and Silica.

No matter what products you choose, it’s important to not only know what support your horse needs but to also know what main ingredients are in your chosen supplement as some are crucial to a horse’s diet.

SmartPak Equine is committed to helping horse owners choose the best supplements for their horse—they even have a “Horse Owner’s Guide to Joint Supplements” on their website. Visit and search for this guide in their Horse Health Library under Supplement Education.

You can also find additional information on the array of supplements that SmartPak has to offer on their website. SmartPak also offers a Customer Care department equipped with Horse Care Experts to answer all of your supplement related questions, or consult with your veterinarian.

In a busy world full of unrelenting demands, we find stillness in the barn. Stillness that allows us to be present with our loved ones and our horses.

Make each second spent in your barn, a cherished memory.

Kentucky Spring Horse Shows

1 Alex Granato and Helios VD Nosahoeve flew through the timers to capture the $62,500 Spring Classic CSI3* during the first week of competition • 2 Cathleen Driscoll claimed her second grand prix victory in a row to close out the Kentucky Spring Classic. After earning the win in Saturday night’s $125,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* with Arome, she returned to top the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix aboard Casalletto (pictured), presented by Sterling Equestrian and Forest Hill • 3 Elise Stephens and Chronicle scored the top honors in the $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show

4 Sugarbrook Adorabelle winning the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby during the Kentucky Spring Classic with Natalie Wheeler

5 GC Ponies LLC’s D’Artangnan and Lilly Herzog claimed the $1,500 USHJA Pony Derby at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows



Redefining natural equine products

THERE ARE “NATURAL” equine grooming products, and then there are the truly natural ones, produced with zero harmful ingredients. The Gilded Paddock boasts the latter, and founder Annie Kurz-Haugland was inspired to start her company when she couldn’t find non-toxic products on the market for her own sensitive-skinned horse.

But before she founded The Gilded Paddock, she was just a horse-crazy kid like so many of us.

“Ever since I can remember, I have loved horses. As a little person, I knew there was something magical about them,” Kurz-Haugland tells The Plaid Horse. “I feel fortunate that my dad gave in to my pestering and finally let me take horseback riding lessons at Ben Martin Stables in Moorpark, CA.”

Eventually, she also convinced her dad to buy a cute, petite mare named Sundance.

“However, my horse journey shifted a bit. Due to a riding accident with Sundance, my dad decided horseback riding was not safe for his little girl,” Kurz-Haugland recalls.

Decades later though, she found her way back: “Now, my life is all about my horses—I have two beautiful and very different geldings. I have a retired Quarter Horse named Fella and a Dutch Warmblood named Kingsley.”


When Kurz-Haugland started researching the ingredients in the products she was using on her own horses, she was surprised to find there are no FDA regulations on pet grooming supplies.

“The labels did not have to include the full ingredient list, and they could even label the product as natural when they had synthetic or toxic chemical ingredients. I was on a mission after realizing that.”

Her own horse, Fella, has very sensitive skin. This became another driving force for her to find an alternative to the existing topical horse products on the market.

“There were a number of products that affected his skin, so I started to research how to make natural versions of these for him myself. Part of my research included finding reference guides on essential oils, and one was

“Recognizing that most products on the market were just alcohol-based refresher sprays, I decided to formulate a spray that actually cleans Airvests and helmets,” founder Kurz-Haugland says of The Gilded Paddock Renew & Refresh AirVest & Helment Cleaner

“I wanted to create a company that went beyond the label. I don’t simply sell my products, I am on a mission to educate horse lovers ... so they can make informed decisions.”
with Kingsley at Double Rafter C Ranch, Eagle Point, OR


created by a DVM that uses them in her practice. I also signed up to take formulation classes from an accredited school around that time,” says Kurz-Haugland.


The Gilded Paddock was later born out of this passion to create alternative grooming products for not only her horses, but for other horse owners as well.

“The beginning of my formulation journey for natural products came about in late 2022. The idea for the name actually came from a vintage horse picture I had, titled ‘In The Paddock.’ I knew I wanted the product line to be crafted with the same care and rigor of human hair care products, which is why I went to a formulators school to learn about the structure of the hair, safety in product preservation, and to learn about organic and natural hair care formulation overall.”

But she didn’t just want these products to be safe and all natural; she wanted them to smell great, too.

“Think barn meets spa. I crafted each product to have the most amazing scent profile. The power of scent has always been a thing for me because it sparks my memories and I wanted that for my time with my horses.”

The first Gilded Paddock products she created were the Healing Salve, the Equestrian AirVest & Helmet Cleaner, the Sheath Cleaner, and a Waterless Shampoo & Green Spot Remover which all launched at the end of August 2023.

“Fella gets belly dermatitis from the flies and gnats, and the weather also makes it very dry. I tried so many other things, but they were all petroleum based and never really ‘healed’ his skin. I used natural butters, plant oils, included Sea Buckthorn Extract, and essential oils that are known for their healing properties. The Healing Salve ended up working better than any of the other chemical-based salves I had tried.”

Since its beginning, The Gilded Paddock has partnered with several retailers that now carry the product line such as Mary’s Tack & Feed, Calabasas Saddlery, Valencia Saddlery, The Equestrian Apothecary Boutique x Le Visage Spa, DaMoor’s Tack & Feed, and Horseplay Bend.

While The Gilded Paddock is still considered a small business, they have big goals and plans for the future.

“Since our launch late last year, we

have signed on five brand ambassadors and are currently in discussion with a few more. One of our Brand Ambassadors, Jennifer Vancheri Porter of JJ Sporthorses USA, runs a very successful show barn and is the reason we have extended our refill program to include bulk refill options,” says Kurz-Haugland. We hope other trainers or large barn programs will also benefit from a similar program since they can buy at bulk prices and it’s great for our environment because they’re not using a ton of single use plastic bottles!”

Being eco-conscious from the inception of the brand was important to Kurz-Haugland.

“Integrating refill options, including bulk refills, and ensuring ingredients are biodegradable, sustainable, and ethically sourced were all integral to The Gilded Paddock ethos,” she adds.


“I wanted to provide complete transparency and honesty,” says Kurz-Haugland of her own brand. “I have a strict ‘NO List’ of ingredients that will never be in our products, and I openly share details of the ingredients I use and why.”

On the strict “no” list for her products are ingredients like PEG’s, sulfates, parabens, silicone, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, formaldehyde, and anything Petroleum-based.

“Some natural products use quite a bit of plant oil and almost all other detanglers use silicones. However, both ingredients can build up on the hair cuticle and weigh it down. In the case of silicones, they will even make the hair brittle with repeated use and can cause breakage. I chose to use a synergistic blend of 100% natural

Founder Kurz-Haugland with Gin, the draft cross that was her inspiration for the UNTANGLED GLISTEN Spray

silicone alternatives (reserved for human hair care products), along with humectants and botanical extracts. All of which will absorb into the hair cuticle to smooth and add shine. With repeated use, the hair is moisturized and repaired.”

Kurz-Haugland recently launched the UNTANGLED Mane & Tail Treatment System, which has very little plant oil, and impressively, no silicone. Every hair structure is different, such as thin, thick coarse, wavy, or dry. These hair types, combined with environmental factors, all impact a horse’s mane and tail. This means that no single product is the solution, and instead, a system tailored to the unique needs of each horse is more beneficial.

“I am most proud of the UNTANGLED Product Line. It’s a Mane and Tail Treatment System developed and formulated to handle the varying needs of

each horse. Not every horse has the same hair structure—similar to human hair care, and it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to caring for their tails, manes, forelocks and coat.  They have different hair types and living environments—some are in stalls with shavings, others are in dirt paddocks or in pasture.  I struggled to find products to address the needs of my horses, and finding anything without silicone was almost impossible,” she says.

The innovative, non-toxic, and nature-derived ingredients used in The Gilded Paddock products are sourced from reputable companies she works closely with.

“I make sure the ingredients are certified by known safety organizations such as COSMOS, Ecocert, NATRUE, USDA BioPreferred, CleanGredients.”

In addition to its current equine

product line, a new line for equestrians is also coming soon.

“We are getting ready to launch a Restore & Recover 100% Natural product line just for us riders that includes things like a vegan lip balm, lip buff, a restorative muscle cream and a silicone free hair oil,” Kurz-Haugland says. “I wanted the brand to be a boutique offering with the very best horse care products made with the same quality as human hair care products. But I also want to offer unique creations for the rider in beautiful packaging that could go from car, to purse, to tack trunk. As a rider myself, there are certain things I like to have, so creating them for myself prompted me to want to launch them for my customers as well.”

To learn more about The Gilded Paddock, visit

Packaging from The Gilded Paddocks’ standard-size and bulk refill program intended to minimize single-use plastics
The UNTANGLED Mane & Tail Treatment System in action

by Carmen

Elisa Franco

ARTHRAMID Improving Joint Health, One Horse at a Time

ASTAPLE OF JOINT THERAPY in Europe, Asia, and Australia, Contura Vet has brought Arthramid to the United States as a joint injectable with staggering results.

“It’s an incredible product because the technology has been developed over the last 24 years with continuous, peer-reviewed published research, with more findings produced consistently over the years. The hydrogel has been used in horses in Europe for about 15 years, so while it is newer to the US market in the last couple years, it has already become the gold standard elsewhere for treating arthritis and managing joint health,” Michaela Arcaro, Vice President of Operations at Contura Vet, tells The Plaid Horse.


f ro m C o n t u r a Ve t

Expansive use of Arthramid has been powerful through veterinary recommendations and owners requesting to try the injections in their horses. Growth has been exponential with over 40,000 horses treated with Arthramid in 2023 all over the US and across all equestrian disciplines. This year should total another 70,000 additional horses treated in the USA and globally, over 1.5 million doses have gone into humans, dogs, and horses. And these are with many only requiring a single treatment to see targeted and sustained results.

Joint injections have seen significant advancements over the past generation of horses. Traditionally, these treatments relied on steroids and hyaluronic acid (HA). However, in recent years, the focus has shifted towards orthobiologics


Arthramid is also labeled for use in dogs and a staggering 65% of dogs over the age of seven currently have arthritis or joint issues. For dogs older than ten years, this number can increase even further, affecting

such as stem cells, PRP, Alpha2EQ, and iRAP. Distinct from these treatments, Arthramid presents a unique and innovative approach to managing joint disease differently. It works by forming a bio scaffold in the synovial tissue through the injection of a hydrogel, comprised of 2.5% polyacrylamide and 97.5% purified water (2.5 iPAAG). The process helps to restore the joint’s normal balance, significantly enhancing its overall function.

Arthramid is also unique in that it can be used on any synovial joint in a horse’s body. It can also be used in so many different horses – those early or in the prime of their career, those who have a light job, or those who want to be retired more comfortably in a field. All over the world, horses of all ages are living

up to 80% of the population.

“People don’t necessarily recognize joint issues in dogs compared to horses – in the latter it is more apparent when they are off, whereas our dogs generally don’t need to perform at a certain level.

So many dogs go without treatment for their joint problems. With Arthramid, dogs can be made more

comfortable and can go from hobbling around the barn to easily climbing stairs, jumping into the back of your truck, or onto the couch again. When you treat your dog for arthritis, it’s like they get a new lease on life. They can go back to running around happily and playing with their tails wagging again,” says Arcaro.

and performing more comfortably with injections of Arthramid.

Due to the nature of its targeted effect on the soft tissues of the joint, many horses see full resolution of symptoms after a single treatment and most horses require joint injections far less frequently than they do with more traditional injection compounds. When the synovium is healthy, the body can naturally manage inflammation and produce healthy joint fluid without the need for drugs.

With traditional compounds like steroids and HA, symptom relief is achieved pharmacologically—steroids temporarily reduce inflammation, and hyaluronic acid supplements poor or absent joint fluid. However, these treatments do not address the underlying issue: damage to the synovium. This can lead to ongoing synovitis, which, if left untreated, may develop into capsulitis and arthritis. Changes are typically only visible on radiographs at the arthritis stage. In contrast, Arthramid targets the root cause within the synovium rather than just alleviating symptoms. By creating a scaffold within synovium, Arthramid helps restore joint function, resulting in more sustained improvements in joint health and soundness. This approach often leads to a decreased need for routine joint injections.

Due to these effects, horses who might

have plateaued in their careers suddenly find themselves advancing and being competitive at higher levels or at an older age than previously thought possible. When the joints are functioning properly, the whole body seems to greatly benefit. Treated horses have been reported to develop toplines they’ve previously struggled to develop, as well as increased hind end strength. It’s often reported that after treatment with Arthramid, riders feel “a different horse under me”.

While many pharmaceutical companies stop research as soon as a product is approved, Contura Vet has been committed to research and further development of Arthramid. New peer-reviewed articles have been published regularly in high-impact journals with rigorous double-blind scientific standards, and many more studies are on the way.

“We want to know as much as we can about our gel and provide our veterinarians and horse owners with supportive information and as much data they could possibly need,” says Arcaro. “Our job is to make pathways clear so that our horses get the best care possible.”



Arcaro has personal experience with the technology found in Arthramid — she has it injected in her own hip. The human product is known as Arthrosamid and is identical to Arthramid. “The bio scaffold works the exact same way in humans as it does in dogs and horses,” she says. Due to pathology in her own hip that had been

previously managed with steroids, Arcaro had been increasingly uncomfortable and unable to ride or do daily tasks as the steroids became less effective.

During a trip to Denmark (Arthrosamid is not yet labeled for human use in the US), a doctor injected Arcaro’s hip with the hydrogel technology. She quickly saw the benefits and resolution of symptoms and has been able to start riding, working out in the gym again and is

walking normally.

“My doctor told me after Christmas that I needed a hip replacement and now I’m working out five days a week lifting weights, riding, and I even have my eye on competing again. I have zero symptoms,” says Arcaro. “Part of why I believe in this product so much is all of the continued research, the effect I have seen on horses, and it is literally in my own body allowing me to participate and thrive again.”

LEFT: Lacey Gilbertson sails over the Arthramid oxer during Saturday Night Lights at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Wellington, FL)


Improving the Ability to Diagnose Spinal Cord Diseases

THE AVERAGE HORSE OWNER may not believe that the GraysonJockey Club Research Foundation has anything to do with them. In actuality, there are countless horses whose lives have been saved as a direct result of the group’s research.

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation was founded in the 1940’s by a group of horsemen who originally donated their first equine research grant to the University of Pennsylvania. One of the projects that is currently being researched hits close to home for performance sporthorses—namely, spinal ataxia due to neurological diseases.

The group has funded research for a wide variety of breeds and disciplines— not just those in the Thoroughbred industry. Since 1940, the Grayson-Jockey Club has provided more than $42.3 million dollars in research money and underwritten over 437 projects across 48 universities.

This year, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation board of directors announced it will fund 11 new projects, along with 13 continuing projects, with an authorized expenditure of $2,455,164.


Other than EPM, the definitive diagnoses for the underlying cause of spinal ataxia is extremely challenging.

Neurological diseases can often be career-ending diagnoses and causes for many horses. The two leading causes of spinal ataxia are cervical vertebral compressive myelopathy (CVCM, also known as Wobbler Syndrome), and neuroaxonal dystrophy / equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (eNAD / EDM). These two diseases are the leading causes of spinal ataxia.

eNAD / EDM results from abnormalities of certain neurons in the spinal cord and brainstem. Horses are genetically predisposed to acquiring this disease. However, environmental triggers in the form of insufficient vitamin E are also required before you see clinical signs.

Horses with eNAD / EDM have varying symptoms, ranging from mild performance issues to severe debilitation. Clinical signs commonly include incoordination, not knowing where their feet are, having an abnormal leg stance that’s too wide or too close together, difficulty with tight turns, going up hills etc. are all common.

CVCM on the other hand, is a developmental defect of the neck vertebrae that causes narrowing of the spaces in the spine. Malformation of the spine, osteochondrosis, repetitive micro-trauma, and dietary factors like copper deficiency, excessive zinc, or high carbohydrate rations can result in CVCM. Like eNAD / EDM, horses are unsteady on their feet with this disease and the symptoms can

Dr. Steve Reed of Rood and Riddle, is currently researching EDM

range in severity. Neck stiffness, inability to correctly place their feet, toe dragging, and decreased range of motion are also common symptoms.

Unfortunately, CVCM and eNAD / EDM are hard to differentiate because they have such similar clinical signs. The definitive diagnosis of these diseases is challenging while the horse is alive, and is typically made after the horse is euthanized.

This is because a there is no way to truly diagnose these illnesses—there are no MRI machines large enough to accommodate the size of a horse’s neck. The current way veterinarians are diagnosing CVCM is with x-rays and CT scans.

While Warmbloods and Quarter Horses are both breeds prone to these diseases, they tend to show clinical signs quite differently. For example, Quarter Horses with eNAD / EDM will have an associated vitamin E deficiency and begin slowly showing incoordination at a young age, while Warmbloods will have a more sudden onset of incoordination and behavioral changes between 5-15 years old without this vitamin E deficiency. Because of how challenging it is to diagnose these spinal cord diseases, it creates a stressful financial burden and a career or even life-ending decision for horse owners and trainers.

However, thanks to the current research project being done by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, a study is being conducted that includes a highly specific and sensitive blood and spinal fluid test that can be used in conjunction with the current standard diagnostic testing.


It is expected this study will greatly improve the diagnoses of these spinal cord diseases overall.

“Currently, a definitive diagnosis for both eNAD/EDM and CVCM can only be obtained after a horse has been euthanized. Imaging such as CT/myelogram can assist with diagnosing CVCM, but we are in need of biomarkers that can be measured in the blood or spinal fluid of horses that could help us determine which of these diseases is the most likely,” says Dr. Carrie Finno.

The investigators of this project include Dr. Finno of the University of CaliforniaDavis, Dr. Amy Johnson of the University of Pennsylvania-New Bolton Center, and

Dr. Steve Reed of Rood and Riddle, KY.

Through an innovative approach, 367 proteins involved in neurologic diseases in humans were screened and defined in the blood (serum) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from confirmed cases of CVCM or eNAD / EDM in Warmbloods and Quarter Horses.

Based on the results of this screening, the researchers hope to validate these findings using bench-side antibody tests from the initial sample and a group of additional confirmed cases of equine spinal cord disease.

The hypothesis is that the concentrations of five specific proteins will help them distinguish between the two diseases.

The expectation is that the concentration of certain proteins in the serum will be higher in CVCM horses as compared to those in eNAD / EDM horses and those in healthy horses. Because Quarter Horses and Warmbloods present these spinal cord diseases so differently, it’s also expected the protein concentration will be higher in eNAD / EDM Quarter Horses versus Warmbloods.


For owners who plan to breed or purchase horses susceptible to these spinal cord diseases, there are a few preventative

Dr. Carrie Finno, a professor at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, a Grayson researcher currently studying EDM

measures they can take to decrease the odds or catch it early.

“One of the most important things that owners can do is to have a thorough prepurchase evaluation performed that includes a detailed neurologic evaluation by an experienced veterinarian. When importing horses from Europe, this should be carefully considered prior to purchase,” says Dr. Finno.

“For eNAD/EDM prevention, supplementation with vitamin E early in life (i.e. the first year) can prevent the disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Unfortunately, most horses are older than one year of age when purchased or evaluated and vitamin E supplementation after that time frame has been demonstrated to not be effective in preventing clinical signs of disease.”

Because of this, insurance might be something concerned horse owners should look into.

“The discussion about insurance is an important one to mention, since eNAD/EDM is not treatable and CVCM treatments currently have limited success in a moderate to severely uncoordinated horse,” says Dr. Finno.

To learn more about the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, visit


Eastern States Exposition

• An Unparalleled Educational Program.

• The Largest Horse-Related Trade Show in North America.

• The “Marketplace” featuring quality consignments for horse & rider.

• The Fantasia (sponsored by Equine Medical and Surgical Associates) — Equine Affaire’s signature musical celebration of the horse on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

• Breed Pavilion, Horse & Farm Exhibits, Horses for Sale and Demonstrations — Enjoy meeting horses of all shapes, sizes, breeds, colors, and disciplines!

• NEW! Breed Bonanza — A unique under saddle class showcasing the best features of horses from all breeds! From the pony to the draft, all breeds are welcome as we crown the inaugural Breed Bonanza winner.

• Drive A Draft — Learn to ground-drive a draft horse or two draft horses in this fascinating experience with gentle giants!

• Equine Fundamentals Forum — Educational presentations, exhibits, and activities for new riders and horse owners, young & old.

• NEW! Stagecoach Rides — Enjoy a scenic stagecoach ride, pulled by two draft horses, around the fairgrounds and see Equine Affaire like never before.

• The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition — A fast-paced timed and judged race through an obstacle course with $5,500 at stake!

• Adoption Affaire — Find and adopt your next horse at the Adoption Affaire.

• Youth Activities and much, much more!

Which trainers have had an enormous impact on your horse journey?

We loved this question posed in our Plaid Horse Adult Amateur Lounge on Facebook. Here are some of our favorite answers…

Nanci Urban as a junior. I am forever grateful for the foundation she gave me. As an adult, Genna Centolanza and Kate Benson are so kind and supportive and continue to teach me new things every day I am at the barn.





Watson and Ashley Slade


Terri Young and Joanna Hagen. They got me back into riding as an adult, nurtured new experiences on a tight budget, found me my heart horse, and have been tireless advocates for his well-being every single day.


Susan Homan, Tom Brennan, and Geoff Teall.


Eileen Bud Roberts — she gave me the opportunity to ride and learn when I had no money and was a junior. I probably would not have kept going in the sport/found my way back if not for her.


Our PLAID HORSE ADULT AMATEUR LOUNGE on Facebook is 11 , 000 members strong. Come join us!

McLain Ward, Nicole Moran (above) , and Dr. Berti Zequeira.




Kat Urban and Nicole Moran



is changing the game in horse healthcare. Featuring a unit that is twice as powerful as the leading PEMF brand and harnessing the ability of a tri-wave laser, this device truly does it all. Utilize just the PEMF, just the laser, or both devices at once based on your individual needs!

» Combines two powerful therapies in a single, mobile unit

» Handpiece enables delivery of laser therapy during PEMF treatment

» Non-invasive therapy for pain relief, injury, and maintenance

» Three laser wavelengths treat a wide range of conditions

» Portable unit is suitable for clinic, show, racetrack and barn use

» Published studies report physical, physiological and neurological benefits

Where Each Girl Can Pursue Her Passion for Riding

Imagine taking a riding lesson in between science and English class. Whether a beginner or competing on a national level, Foxcroft School supports every girl’s passion for riding. Riders of all skill levels can find joy in our top-tier equestrian program and 500-acre campus. Girls new to riding will have an exciting world of horsemanship to explore under the guidance of our expert instructors. Experienced riders can qualify for our Exceptional Proficiency (EP) program and train for greatness while receiving an outstanding education.

“I would’ve never imagined that I’d grow my riding abilities to the extent that I have at Foxcroft and with the help of my amazing trainers.”

©Erin Gilmore Photography
©Erin Gilmore Photography

Tryon Spring Series

1 Four legged friends can be found everywhere you look at Tryon International • 2 Alexander Alston doesn’t let a springtime shower slow him down • 3 Alexandra Worthington soaring high in Tryon Stadium at Saturday Night Lights • 4 Even the smallest athletes talk strategy before it’s time to perform • 5 Hunting down the derby blue ribbon in the International Stadium 6 All smiles for a clear round in Tryon Stadium • 7 Only the most special equines are allowed on the course walk. This hobby horse companion makes the cut!



A Q&A with the equine vitamin supplement’s

Jay Golding and Sara Gentry

BONEKARE IS a bone health and soft tissue vitamin supplement for horses of every age. Recently The Plaid Horse spoke with Jay Golding, President and Founder of BoneKare USA, and Sara Gentry, General Manager of Sales and Operations.

How did you first learn about BoneKare?

JAY GOLDING: During one of my trips to Europe to find and bring over new talent, I came across BoneKare because it was widely acclaimed among breeders and equestrians in the area. Encouraged, I tried it on my own horses and witnessed first-hand a variety of positive results. Convinced, I took on the role of the U.S. distributor to make the product more widely available and help horses working in a variety of disciplines across the United States.

SARA GENTRY: I first met Jay in 2011 through his wife, Tia. Tia grew up riding and training with my grandmother, then my brother, so she is basically family. Jay trained me at some horse shows and I purchased a really nice horse from him.  He talked frequently about this unique supplement “BoneKare” that he found in Europe. It was really helping his horses and he wanted to bring it to the U.S. The science and research along with positive case studies and testimonials (not to mention the patent) made BoneKare extremely interesting and seemed to be a common-sense product for horses. The founders of BoneKare in Germany are also excellent horsemen, which made the company feel truthful and sincere in the quest of equine health.

I started with Jay in 2018 and have thoroughly enjoyed the journey of growing BoneKare awareness. Working with vets,

owners, trainers, and breeders on a daily basis has increased my horsemanship and it’s satisfying to be a part of something so positive in our equine community.

Tell us about your own background with horses.

GOLDING: As fate would have it, I went for a pony ride one day at the zoo. The faster the pony went, the more fun I had, and, as they say, the rest is history. I owned and operated a large hunter/ jumper facility in Virginia that is now an equine retirement facility and I was lucky enough to have an extensive background of mentors from different disciplines including Rodney Jenkins, Sonny Brooks, Harry Gillhuys, and Konrad Fischer.

GENTRY: Horses are truly in my blood! My grandmother, father, and brother all owned and operated professional hunter/ jumper facilities and I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in the saddle. My younger years were filled primarily with young horse training but as I’ve embraced my amateur career, I’ve since gotten to compete at a variety of top events, including Devon, WEF, Capital Challenge, and more. I now operate a retirement and layup barn and throughout my time as a

farm owner and as a rider, I have seen the incredible benefits BoneKare has to offer.

What is the best result you have seen with BoneKare so far?

GOLDING: I’m touched when clients tell me that they have gotten a few more years of use and or competition out of their senior horses. It’s also rewarding to hear of many stories from friends and fellow equestrians how well it has helped horses with soft tissue problems.

How does BoneKare differ from other similar products on the market?

GOLDING: Our original product has a patent protected, bio-available water-soluble Vitamin K1. It is uniquely formulated to offer superior bone health benefits and stands out from copiers with its higher dose of Vitamin D3 per serving and the inclusion of calcium. The combination is crucial as the higher dose of Vitamin D3 enhances calcium absorption and works in tandem with the Vitamin K1 to optimize bone metabolism, and calcium itself is essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

Learn more at



RIDING BOOTS English Collection

• Full grain leather field boot

• Genuine pigskin leather lining and moisture wicking lower shaft lining

• Full grain leather field boot

• Stretch gusset along the rear zipper

• Elasticized shoe laces, spur rest

• Genuine pigskin leather lining and moisture wicking lower shaft lining

• Stretch gusset along the rear zipper

• Elasticized shoe laces, spur rest



Sizes: Reg 6 to 11 (including ½’s) | Plus Sizes: 6 to 11

Lexington Spring Premiere

1 Monroe Doctrine and Catherine Tarcu • 2 Luric and Anne Foss • 3 Picturesque Make Me Blush and Violet Bolitho • 4 Gotham’s Lucky Penny and Adrianna Carr • 5 Mischief Managed and Annabella Wyman • 6 Pinot Del Sole and Nina Fox
A sweet moment between riders
8 Rockwell PV and Drew Taylor

DAVID DE WISPELAERE Getting Dressage Back on Track

THE PUBLIC FACE of dressage has not always been a pretty one of late. In February, former Olympic rider Cesar Parra was suspended by the FEI from national and international competition after video footage went viral of “abhorrent abusive training techniques.” Images showed horses, some hobbled, being struck on the neck or head while ridden, or with a whip while on long lines.

Nor was this the preamble to the 2024 FEI World Cup™ Finals that the dressage community had hoped for.

One rider, who finished just off the podium, pondered if lower scores and less brilliance were the inevitable results of new expectations from riders to (essentially) be kinder to their horses.


The Plaid Horse spoke to international dressage rider David De Wispelaere—who has returned year-round to Wellington, FL, after more than a decade training and riding horses at his farm in Belgium and giving clinics throughout Europe—for his take on the state of the discipline.

“I ask my horse to dance with me. We do not set foot into a boxing ring,” says the author of two books on dressage: Riding with Feeling, a working guide, and My Horses Have Something to Say, a 2021 autobiographical look at training and competing very gifted horses, while holding a mirror up to today’s sport.

De Wispelaere has competed at the Grand Prix level since 1988, embarking on a winning streak that included the Grand Prix at Devon with Hanoverian mare, Daktari, and U.S. Intermediare I (1989) and U.S. Grand Prix (1990) National Freestyle titles with Hanoverian gelding, Highness. He closed the 1990s with victory laps at NEDA and WEF with Rheinlander gelding, Figaro.


“I don’t need to win. I learn something every time I teach. I don’t want to mess with that. I like doing clinics. I love helping

ABOVE: De Wispelaere and Idilio, 2001 HGF Michigan; RIGHT: With Figaro competing in Wellington, 1996

people find harmony with their horses,” says the 63-year-old horseman, whose introduction to dressage came about through the Happy Hoofers 4-H and Mendon (NY) Pony Clubs of his boyhood.

“I learned it as ‘ballet for the horse.’ That horse and rider should appear as one. Those words stuck with me.”

From a VIP seat overlooking last winter’s Wellington classes, he took in a scene that has “exploded” with more PSG and Grand Prix-level horses, and more new trainers.

“Incorrect training isn’t just a USA problem. I was in the Netherlands, land of the Rollekur. But if you need a bit or spurs for more precision, it implies you’re not riding with your seat,” notes De Wispelaere. “When asked if I want to borrow spurs I politely say no, thanks, I have a seat.”

If lower scores are the result of more empathetic riding, “That means judges reward extravagant movement at the cost of a horse’s physical or mental well-being.

We shouldn’t reward tension.”

“Our industry promotes taking wellbred, beautiful horses, then squeezing in training short-cuts (because time is money) that lead to abusively ridden, extravagant movements. The most abusive riding is from professionals,” he adds. “They’ve learned how to train fast, with force, and do well in competition. Which helps imply they’re ‘winners.’ Personal ambition shouldn’t be at the cost of the horse.”

“Everyone who makes money [in this business] contributes to the excess. Less is more. If it looks easy and harmonious, look to the horse,” says this classically trained horseman.

“Your horse is the only one that has to look happy. That’s better than winning.”

Looking for a gentler, more classical approach? Put this on your reading list: My Horses Have Something to Say by David De Wispelaere, only from


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Equicize is a program of progressive, mounted exercises that will improve cardiovascular and muscular tness for riders of all levels. It can be used as part of a rider’s daily warm-up by targeting speci c muscle groups, or for a more intense workout once or twice a week, it can make up the bulk of a training session. No matter your current level of tness or preferred equestrian discipline, Equicize can help you become a better athlete.


To successfully implement several elements of the Equicize program, riders must understand and be able to execute the correct biomechanics of the two-point position, which helps develop balance and stability, no matter what discipline you ride.

For readers of my first book, The Athletic Equestrian, these concepts will sound familiar because I addressed them there in great detail. In Equicize, I review these fundamentals for those riders whose background has perhaps not included much (or any) work over fences. But this will also be a helpful review even for those riders who are already familiar with two-point, as it is easy for bad habits to creep into our execution of this commonly used riding position.

Although two-point is often referred to as “jumping position,” you do not need to be a jumping rider to learn how to do it correctly. In Equicize, two-point is used to challenge a rider’s balance (which causes her to engage her core muscles) and to improve her overall

strength. Before tackling any exercises that use the two-point position, the rider must practice it enough to feel balanced, secure, and safe. Without this solid foundation, riders will feel off-balance and uncomfortable.

The term “two-point” comes from the fact that while performing it, the rider has two points of contact on her horse—her legs. In two-point, the rider’s seat is totally clear from the saddle, and the angles in her ankles, knees, and hips become more closed than when she is seated or posting. The most extreme example of a two-point is a jockey position, but fortunately you will not need to take it to that level of balance for the Equicize program.


Two-point is a form of athletic stance, a body position utilized in almost every sport where the athlete is balanced over her feet, with a bend in her ankles and knees and a flexible hip. Athletic stance is what allows for the mobility of a tennis player returning a serve, the coiled power of a gymnast landing off a vault, or the

Reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Square Books
Amanda demonstrates a correctly balanced two-point with her heel deep and her seat lifted slightly out of the saddle until her center is over the horse’s center of balance

balance of a surfer riding a wave. With bent, flexible joints, an athlete can absorb and store energy, helping her to stay balanced and move fluidly.

When they hear me say that their seat should be out of the saddle in two-point, some riders attempt to achieve this by just standing up straight in their stirrups. While this is a good balance challenge, it is not a correct two-point position. In a biomechanically correct two-point, the rider sinks deeper into her lower leg, increasing the depth of the heel, then lifts her seat out of the saddle and slides her hips back, until her “center” (which is just behind the belly button and about an inch in front of the spine) is over the horse’s “center”. Her knee remains centered over the ball of her foot, and her stirrup leather is almost perpendicular to the ground.

In two-point, the rider should never be balanced with her seat over the pommel. The good news, at least for Western and dressage riders, is that the design of your saddle will help prevent you from standing straight up. The horn of a Western saddle and higher pommel of a dressage saddle physically interfere if the rider tries to (incorrectly) come into twopoint by standing up and leaning forward in the saddle. The flip side, however, is that these same saddle-design features will limit how closed the hip angle can be

in two-point as compared to a rider in a jumping saddle.

If you have limited or no experience with two-point, it is important to build a base of fitness in this position before attempting to add Equicize exercises into the mix. Start by shortening your stirrups two, three, or even four holes. They need to be short enough so you can achieve depth in the heel and a more closed knee, which will allow you to lift your pelvis clear of the saddle. Create enough bend in your joints so that should your horse magically disappear out from underneath you, you would land balanced and centered, on your feet, in athletic stance.


When practicing two-point at first, start small—it is a different way of holding your body, and it will take time for the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your legs to adapt. Start with perhaps half a circuit of the arena, then take a break. Repeat, up to five repetitions. The next day, try for one lap. Continue to check your mechanics: in two-point, you are first sinking down into your leg, then lifting your seat and sliding your hips back. It can be helpful to have a friend take a short video to confirm that you are executing the two-point correctly.

A rider who is well-balanced in two-point should feel fairly stable, but

not necessarily at ease—it will take effort to hold this position. If you keep falling back into the saddle, your lower leg has come too far forward. If you are tipping forward or catching your balance on the horse’s neck, you are probably pinching with your knee, and your lower leg has slid back. In either case, return to the correct alignment— ear, shoulder, hip, heel—while seated, and focus on holding the lower leg still and in against the horse’s side as you transition into two-point.

Make sure you keep your heels lower than your toes. This is easier for some bodies than others, and when riders feel challenged (whether in posting trot or two-point position), they tend to tip onto their toes and lift their heels, resulting in a loss of balance. To help keep the heels down, roll slightly onto the inside ball of the foot; this position allows the heel to stretch to its max. To gain confidence, you can practice this position in shorter stirrups before attempting two-point.

Keep practicing two-point until you feel strong and confident enough to maintain the position for multiple circuits at the walk and trot. And for even more stability in two-point, read about the Power Leg, a secure and stable lower leg that supports the rider in two-point.

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Simone demonstrates her athletic stance, a body position utilized in almost every sport
Any discipline can perform the two-point position for their Equicize exercises


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A Move to Europe and a Move Up the FEI Rankings for the Top American Rider

AMERICAN show jumping rider Taylor Kain has made impressive moves up the FEI rankings. Following a relocation to Europe last summer, she clocked dozens of clear and double clear rounds this year in CSI2* and CSI3* classes with Jirenze and Im Special.

Kain, who runs Horseshoe Bend Sales with husband Geoff Case, made the move from Wellington, FL, to Ommen, The Netherlands. Kain and Case have been thrilled with their lifestyle change, which has caused them to focus on a couple key jumpers and away from the diversified US

“I encourage anyone who is thinking about taking the leap and spending time in Europe to do it ... you can jump about four horses in a CSI2* or 3* for about the price of one in the US and we all know how essential experience is in our sport.”

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Kain was a sought-after catch rider her entire junior career with a USEF show record over 340 pages. After her junior years, she rode and showed extensively as a young professional before establishing Horseshoe Bend Sales with Case in 2016, moving her role to include teaching, sales, and splitting her time between the hunter and jumper rings. As her goals to establish herself as a high level jumper rider started to be more within reach, it was time to make the decision to focus exclusively on jumpers and selecting higher level classes to show in.

“I think growing up catch-riding and riding as a hunter professional, it created a lot of fear of making a mistake. Riding in Europe has been a lot more training-focused. The community is very horse-centric versus revolving around money all the time and so I’m less focused on a negative such as I might have one down. That freedom in my mind and taking the pressure off myself has led to a lot of clear rounds—I’m able to just ride my plan and use the experience I have from riding thousands of horses,” Kain tells The Plaid Horse.

And clear rounds she has produced—from Sentower Park (Belgium) and Peelbergen (The Netherlands) in June 2024, to the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour (Spain) all winter and spring, to Lichtenvoorde (The Netherlands) and Peelbergen last year, Kain has averaged well under 2 faults on Jirenze over greater than 50 total FEI jumping rounds from 1.40 m to 1.55 m. Over the last year, Kain and

Jirenze have been in the top 10% of their classes over 30% of the time.

“I encourage anyone who is thinking about taking the leap and spending time in Europe to do it. I was nervous about traveling and moving and basically showed up with my suitcase. Everyone has been so nice, welcoming, and helpful at the shows and you can jump about four horses in a CSI2* or 3* for about the price of one in the US and we all know how essential experience is in our sport,” says Kain.

“You really can’t get to the top without the thousands of hours in the show ring, and it is much harder to have or find the funding for that in North America because it is so much more expensive. When you get to the top, there is much more prize money in the US, but you have to financially survive the learning stages to get to that point.”

Jirenze has brought Kain to the next level jumping dozens of clear rounds in CSI2* and CSI3* competition since moving their home base last summer to Ommen, The Netherlands



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