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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Barbaro Effect: Changing the Face of Laminitis

A racehorse named Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby in 2006. He fractured his right hind leg in the Preakness, and suffered from laminitis during his complex recovery from surgery to repair the limb. Eight months later, he was euthanized. Laminitis was given as the reason for ending his life. (Churchill Downs Derby winner sign courtesy of Wikipedia) 

Barbaro died on January 29, 2007. Where were you, eight years ago today? More importantly, where was your awareness and knowledge of the disease of laminitis? And where are you--and your laminitis awareness and knowledge--now?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Introduction to Winter Traction: Finding the Roots of Today's Safety and Fun Under Foot in Snow and Ice

Like a scene from Black Beauty, a horse goes down in the shafts of a delivery wagon on a Boston street, sometime between 1917 and 1934. From the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

A blizzard hit the Northeast Corridor of the United States today. For the next few days, we might be hunkered down, with or without power and wifi. But no matter how bad it is, we'll be back on the highways in a few days at most.

FedEx will deliver. The airlines will fly. The supermarkets will re-stock their shelves.

But it wasn't always that way. Winter was a different story 100 years ago, when horses had to travel the streets of cities and towns in order for the mail to move, or trains to be unloaded, or even for the roads to be plowed.

First and foremost, horses had to stay on their feet. And many days, that was no easy feat.

Watch Now: "Lost Dog" Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl Commercial Released; Puppy Ads Under Scrutiny

I don't know about you, but I'm still snowbound. Cable service returned just in time for me to catch the new Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl commercial (a.k.a. "Lost Dog") on The Today Show this morning. And here it is, along with a behind-the-scenes reel, thanks to Budweiser, to share with you.

I wonder what people will think of this one. Who hasn't had a cat shut in a trailer? But should that side escape door pop open when the pickup slams on its brakes? That's trailer safety 101 and sure to elicit the biggest shudder from horse people since the hitch gelding cantering on pavement in the first ad.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Prix d'Amerique 2015: 15 of 18 Horses Will Race "Barefoot" by Pulling Shoes Before Race

72 hooves. 6 shoes. (Maybe.)

That's the ratio for Sunday's Prix d'Amerique trotting race in Vincennes, France. The purse is worth $1.15 Million (US). It's the world's richest harness race. You'd take your shoes off, too, for that kind of prize money.

This is not just another horse race. It is a 1 11/16 mid-winter downhill then uphill push to the limits for the world's hardiest Standardbreds. These are the strongest, fastest two-beat trots you'll see anywhere in the world.

But minutes before the race starts tomorrow, the shoe pullers will come out and dozens of shoes will be left behind.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Teaser: Budweiser Clydesdales "Lost Dog" Super Bowl Commercial--or at least a few seconds of it

Fans of the Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercials could celebrate a small step forward this afternoon as the St. Louis brewery released probably about nine seconds of the upcoming one-minute commercial for next weekend's actual ad.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Barefoot Research: What Are the Consequences of Shoe Removal for Trotting Racehorses?

How are the health, comfort and wear of the horse's feet affected when shoes are removed for racing? A research special report from Hippolia Foundation and CIRALE

Text and images © CIRALE and/or Hoofcare Publishing 
No reproduction or copying without permission

Professor Denoix
Special thanks to researcher Claire Moiroud and Professor Jean-Marie Denoix, who kindly arranged to share this research project with Hoofcare Publishing. This text is an approved, verbatim translation of a French document and is published to coincide with the excitement of the Prix d’Amerique, one of the world’s great trotting races, at Vincennes, France on Sunday, January 25. That race has been won by horses using the methods described in this article.

In French harness racing, it is customary for the trainer to remove the shoes of some horses before races. "Relieve the foot, increase the speed"...that is the goal. Perhaps the immediate benefits seem obvious, but no study has addressed the risks to the horse itself in terms of possible discomfort and especially the risk of excess wear to the feet. That has now been accomplished through the work of the CIRALE Hippolia team in Normandy, France.