Seasonal Care

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Equine Cushing’s Disease (also known as Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction, or PPID) are reasonably common conditions we encounter in our horses. This article will deal primarily with EMS, but because PPID can be a cause of increased insulin levels in horses, it needs to be mentioned as well.

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It’s been a gruelling season but the end is in sight. Looking back, training camp seems so long ago, so many months of hard work, of getting in shape. Last season certainly took its toll on the team. Coaches, trainers, and even the owner commented on the past year’s success and the hard work that went into it.

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When you have finally found the perfect horse to take you to the winner’s circle, it’s tough to realize that he or she might be getting old. Many horses are now competing well into their late teens and early twenties, especially in certain disciplines such as dressage or show jumping where it takes many years of training to reach an elite level of competition. However, from a veterinary perspective, horses are considered geriatric as they reach the age of 15 to 20 years, which is when their physiological functions start to decline. The management of these horses becomes crucial to keep them competing at their best.

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Where you keep your horse can influence the risk of tapeworm infections, according to research from Poland. Recommendations for deworming horses have changed over the years to take account of widespread anthelmintic resistance and changing patterns of infection.

Whether or not to blanket a horse is an often-debated question and there are many logical and justifiable reasons to go either way. In normal weather conditions, many horses do not need a blanket, especially if they have access to food and shelter and have grown a healthy, thick winter coat. But for horses with special needs such as older or geriatric horses, pregnant mares, horses with compromised health conditions, or horses that have been clipped, blankets are certainly appropriate. Consideration should also be given to the horse’s breed, hair coat quality, feeding routine, and its acclimatization to the existing conditions.

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Winter can make the most mundane tasks challenging. This reality is clearly illustrated when it comes to watering animals. For as long as man has worked alongside horses and livestock, there have been different watering methods and their seasonal variations.

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You’ve just returned from an invigorating winter’s ride, your horse enjoyed prancing through the powdery snow, and with the sun shining you didn’t notice the nip in the air. But now your sweaty horse is steaming and with the sun slipping behind the horizon, winter’s chill is fast returning….After a winter workout, a 10 to 15 minute walk will not only guard against muscle soreness, it is essential to allow the horse’s skin to dry. But one method does not fit all. Your winter cool-out regime will be different depending on a number of factors including whether your horse is clipped, blanketed or “au naturel”; whether he lives inside or outside; and the intensity of your workout.

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