Animal advocates are taking legal action to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from performing cruel and dangerous sterilization surgeries on wild mares in Oregon.

Despite public outcry and opposition from veterinarians, the BLM intends to perform controversial and inhumane sterilization surgeries that would remove the ovaries of 100 wild mares, including pregnant mares, from the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in Oregon at the beginning of November.

The procedure, which is officially known as ovariectomy via colpotomy, is described by the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) as “literally reaching into a mare’s abdominal cavity through an incision in the vaginal wall, blindly and without any tool to visualize the mare’s organs, to identify the ovaries by touch and to remove them by severing them with a loop of chain.

If it sounds barbaric and incredibly inhumane, that’s because it is. But so is the BLM, unfortunately. This is the second time in the past few years that the agency has tried this, but it was fortunately shut down before... READ MORE


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Good news! After months of surgery and medical treatment, Cinders has made a remarkable recovery from the horrific acid burns five months ago.

She will now have a very comfortable life at a beautiful country house in North Yorkshire where she will be cared for by some amazing people who are well known to the team at Rainbow, the equine hospital where the pony underwent extensive surgery having been abandoned, suffering from severe facial burns.

Dave Rendle, Rainbow’s internal equine medicine specialist said Cinders has made a very good recovery.

‘She eats a bit slowly because of her lip and skin grafts but has no major health issues,’ said Mr Rendle. 

‘There is no reason to believe she is in discomfort as she behaves very normally.

‘It has been a gradual process of recovery. She is ready to go to a new home where she will be spoilt rotten and want for nothing.’

‘The injuries were as bad as they get and we came very close to putting her down. Thankfully it has worked out well for Cinders.’

“She is always bright and happy, and is extremely cheeky. She loves human, equine, canine and ovine company and seems to have no issues around new people despite all she has been through. She has put on weight and has no long-term effects from her ordeal.”

“We would like to publicise the fact that she has made such a great recovery in order to thank everyone who contributed towards her care and in order to update the army of fans she has worldwide,” Mr Rendle said.
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Wednesday, 22 August 2018 09:42

Pony Painting Parties - is this Harmless Fun?

Pony Painting Parties have become a trend for children's parties across the UK - but the practice has sparked outrage on social media and petitions have been set up to ban it.

Children use products, which are primarily water and chalk-based to paint designs onto ponies from writing their names, or putting handprints on them, to covering them with hearts and stars with glitter which is biodegradable and edible.

Those behind such parties reckon it's harmless fun and the painting is often done as therapy, helping children at centres offering riding for disabled people.

But not everyone is happy with the idea. While campaigners are petitioning to get what they describe as the 'disturbing trend' banned, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA UK, says parents need to be reminded that ponies and horses 'aren't party props'.

Experts on horse welfare are divided on the issue.

Lucy Grieve from the British Equine Veterinary Association says that vets use chalk to mark areas of horses' bodies and learn about their anatomy. She says "as long as the paints don't cause any harm to the animal, there doesn't seem to be any cause for concern."

However, Gemma Stanford from the British Horse Society says, "we would not encourage the excessive use of paint for pure entertainment purposes."
A petition to stop the painting parties now has over 130,000 signatures.
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Miniature horse, Sammy and Golden Retriever, Molly have become firm friends.

An unlikely couple, Molly has been nursing the ailing horse back to health. Sammy was nothing but "skin and bones and scared" when he was discovered roaming the streets of South Carolina.

Darlene Kindle of the Carolina Equine Rescue and Assistance in Wingate, North Carolina posted a video of their friendship on Facebook, and it's gone viral.

"Molly truly has an exceptional sense of knowing when one of the animals doesn't feel good or sad," said Kindle. "So she very gently introduces herself. This is her job and she is very good at it."

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There's been a lot of discussion about tight nosebands but have you ever wondered if your horse's browband is too tight?

As an equine bodyworker I came across a lot of horse's with tension around their forehead, ears and poll and although there are many reasons why this can occur, I also found that a lot of people used bridles with browbands that were far too tight in this area and now it's something that I frequently notice when I am out and about at equestrian events. So often we get bridles in pony, cob, etc but it doesn't take into account that each horse's head shape is individual and a broad forehead is often something that gets overlooked.

This area is so important for your horse's wellbeing. A tight browband can create tension in the atlas joint, impinge on the many muscles and nerves in and around the horse's ears and adversely affect important cranial nerves too. All of these can have serious knock-on effects, including inhibiting the movement of the horse's forelegs and hind end!  

So, if your horse displays any of the following symptoms:

• doesn't like being bridled

• shakes her head

• is tense around the eyes and looks like she has a headache

• pulls away when you touch her in this area

• is tense in the jaw and neck when ridden

• is choppy in front or has poor engagement

then you may find that it could be caused by something as simple as a browband that is too tight! 

Firstly,  ensure that you can slip a hand easily under the headpiece (by the way, extra padding won't improve a headpiece that's too tight!) and that the brow band isn't pulling the headpiece onto the back of the ears and impinging on the base of the ears at the sides or pressing onto the forehead at the front. You should comfortably be able to run a finger underneath all the way round.

To be honest, I'm not even sure why we need browbands on bridles anyway, apart from being a place to show off a bit of bling! Are they a hangover from when horses went into battle and had armour protecting their faces? Anyway, I'm not necessarily advocating that you do away with yours, although it can be an interesting experiment if you are having any problems, but that you just replace it with a larger one if it looks too snug. 


Published in Trot On Blogs
Two thoroughbred mares have been left with brutal cut injuries to their genital areas after the assault in Hyndburn, Lancashire, last week.

The horses' injuries were discovered by their shocked owners on Friday morning and are now being investigated by police.

One of the horses, aged 31, was in the stables during the attack while the other, aged five years old, was assaulted while grazing in the fields near its owner's house.

The family, who initially thought the horses had picked up their injuries from fighting each other, contacted their local vet to check on them after they saw bruising and a large black spot on their legs. After the wounds were examined they were told the animals had been sexually assaulted.

The owners are now warning other horse owners to be on their guard.

“There’s a maniac on the loose who is going round and doing sexual assaults on horses.“A vet came to visit on Friday and said their genital area had been sliced.

"According to our vet it’s the third similar incident that has happened in this area in the last two months.

“I have never heard of or seen anything like this before and I want to alert other horse owners to the fact this sort of thing is going on in Hyndburn.

“There are so many horses in this area that any one of them could fall victim to this.

“It’s just vicious and horrific, whoever has done it.”

It is believed there had already been a sexual attack on another horse in the area in recent weeks.
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As thousands of Californians continue to flee from a raging deadly fire, one retired US Marine is running towards the flames to save stranded horses. Tucker Zimmerman has rushed into a new battle, as a volunteer rescuing stranded horses and other livestock.

“I’m just the guy who moves stuff around,”

The “stuff” he speaks of refers to the panicked horses and other livestock he wrangles out of harm’s way when they get left behind after the humans have fled.

With a large trailer borrowed from his job selling tractor equipment, Zimmerman has ventured daily into various evacuation zones just as homeowners threatened by the Carr Fire were rushing in the other direction.

On Saturday, he had just delivered to safety five horses he managed to capture in one newly evacuated area, before receiving a call to pick up others nearby.

The horses were being taken to stables, rodeo grounds and ranches whose owners have opened their property to the steady stream of livestock rescued by Zimmerman since Wednesday

“He restored my faith in humanity,” said Noah Urban, an Oregon resident whose stranded 6-year-old horse named Bolt was saved by Zimmerman. The two connected through Facebook.

“You’re not just helping the animals, he’s helping people to alleviate their stress,” Urban said. “It would be like losing your children. If you had to leave them behind, I can’t even think about it.”

Zimmerman is not alone. Communicating through social media, text messages, radio and word-of-mouth, a network of animal lovers and animal-control authorities have banded together over the past few days to rescue as many stranded critters as possible.

At an outlet mall in nearby Anderson, the din of barking fills an empty storefront used as overflow housing for the animals of Haven Humane Society. Besides their usual charges seeking full-time homes, volunteers were accepting dogs and cats brought in by evacuated residents unable to care for their pets while displaced.

Four Pomeranians delivered in two armfuls sniffed their new cages, a fuzzy Newfoundland mix pawed at his cage, and a tabby cat huddled wide-eyed gazing at the commotion. Only a small green turtle delivered in a glass tank seemed unfazed.

Dan Fults, 47, and his wife had dropped off their Huskies, Balto and Lucian, to be cared for at the facility, an hour after fleeing their home. The couple were keeping their two cats and a parrot for the time being.

“Sure, I have valuable things in my home, but the pets obviously take priority,” Fults said.

Back at the Cottonwood Creek Ranch, Zimmerman was in his truck responding to the latest calls for assistance.

“When I was deployed (in the military), I couldn’t have animals, but I am an animal lover,” he said.

While Zimmerman has a proven talent for handling nervous horses, he doesn’t discriminate against two-legged creatures in need of help.

“I saved a guy named Matt. He was trying to water down his house” as flames erupted, Zimmerman recalled. “I said, ‘Let’s go!’”

Reporting by Alexandria Sage

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You love your horse just the way he is, despite his imperfections. When it comes to his body condition, though, try to see him through clear, objective eyes. And if possible, check his weight through measurable ways, Swiss researchers say.

“Owners in our study tended to not see the obesity in their horses, although it was obvious to us as objective scientific observers,” said Marie Pfammatter, BSc in agronomics with a specialty in equine sciences, from the Bern University of Applied Sciences School of Agricultural, Forest, and Food Sciences, in Switzerland.

Pfammatter and colleagues visited 51 leisure horses and their owners at their home facilities and asked the owners about their horses’ body condition. They asked them to rate their horses on a scale of one to six, with six being obese. They chose not to use established body condition score indexes so as not to influence the owners’ responses... READ MORE

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018 14:12

'Time's up' for tight nosebands!

As a result of research the Danish Riding Federation have set a limit for noseband tightness in competition which is a start but why is change taking so long and is it enough? 

The study conducted in 2014/15 examined over three thousand Danish horses after they had performed in dressage, show jumping, eventing and endurance competition and found that almost one in ten of them had lesions or blood on their lips. 

The incidence of these mouth lesions was proven to be linked to those horses wearing very tight nosebands with tighter cavesson nosebands increasing the risk of mouth lesions and other styles of nosebands increasing the risk of lesions even more when compared with the loosest cavesson noseband.  These findings did not differ between bit types or bitless bridles but the incidents increased as the level of competition got higher.

As a result of these findings the new ruling stipulates that there must be a minimum space of 1.5cm between the noseband and the horse's nasal bones and officials have been given a wooden tapered gauge to make sure that competitors adhere to it.

It worth noting that the researchers were not allowed to look inside the horse's mouths however as equestrian federation rules do not permit a full intra-oral examination at competitions. If they had it would have probably uncovered more damning evidence of the effect of tight nosebands. It's a shame they couldn't also measure the hidden bruising caused by tight nosebands around the nasal bone and lips. Others have already done research into the 'distress' caused by overly tight nosebands but obviously only physical signs have an impact on those who make the rules. Although they seem to have been ignoring their own eyes for far too long!

Unfortunately, we've still got a long way to go to change attitudes to training horses. There are still those who want fast results and to subdue horses and mask the lack of correct training with gadgets and tight nosebands. Shutting a horse's mouth with a tight noseband is simply a way to 'shut it up!' At least competition horses in Denmark now have at least 1.5cm worth of room to show how well they have been trained! But why aren't all countries doing the same?

More information HERE

Published in Trot On Blogs

After leaving a fashion show early over Memorial Day weekend, Paris Jackson now says she did it to protest animal cruelty.

According to Women's Wear Daily, Jackson initially seemed excited while posing for photographers on Friday before Dior's Cruise 2019 show in Chantilly, France. The show's set, a sandy lot with a tentpole in the middle, was inspired by Mexican tradition and the spirit of Chantilly's Grand Stables. "I love horses very much," the outspoken star said, according to WWD. "I'm ecstatic."

But when the show began, Jackson got up from her seat in the front row and walked out, InStyle reported... READ MORE

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