Equine E-News

    Winter 2011




Ohio 4-H Horse Program 2010 Year End Award Recipients

The Ohio 4-H Horse Program offers 8 competitive events each year: Horse Bowl, Communications, Hippology, Junior Horse Show, Skillathon, Horse Judging, Competitive Trail Ride, and Groom & Clean.  Youth that participate in at least 4 of the events, regardless of their placing, earn a Certificate of Achievement.  The certificates display a bronze, silver, or gold 4-H Seal depending on the number of events in which the youth participated (Bronze = 4 or 5; Silver = 6 or 7; Gold = all 8 events). 

The Ohio 4-H Horse Program congratulates the following youth who have earned a 2010 Certificate of Achievement:

          Certificate of Achievement – Gold 4-H Seal

                    Union County – Morgan Kessler

          Certificate of Achievement – Silver 4-H Seal

                    Ashtabula County – Harley Buckley

                    Hamilton County – Hannah Capannari

                    Montgomery County – Michelle Smith & Isabel Valdespino


          Certificate of Achievement – Bronze 4-H Seal

                    Ashtabula County – Brittany Aveni, Dawnelle Corron, Natasha Sobie & Amy Varckette

                    Brown County – Madison Brown

                    Cuyahoga County – Kelsey Keister

                    Delaware County – Sydney Kuharik, Abigail Marshall, Clara Selle & Jacob Wenner

                    Fulton County - Danielle Baker

                    Hamilton County - Nora Francis & Sara Noll

                    Jefferson County – Paige Everly, Allison Lamantia, Allison Pizzoferrato & Emily Pizzoferrato

                    Licking County – Mikala Grubaugh & Catherine Jula

                    Montgomery County –Victoria Amos, Nadia Clabaugh, Maria Koukoulas, Taylor Luksic, Kayla Ritter,

                              Christina Smith, Kara Stose & Ana Valdespino

                    Stark County – Emily Curkendall, Courtney Guiley, Heather Guiley, Joey Rigdon & Hannah Rumble

                    Union County – Elizabeth Chesbrough, Noah Danals, Blake Kessler & Grant Kessler

                    Wayne County – Kelsie Bricker, Marshall Geiger, Mackenzie Hyatt, Benjamin Johnson,

                              Shania Reed & Lisa Zavesky



25th Annual Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup Results

The Ohio 4-H Horse Program congratulates the following youth for representing Ohio 4-H at the 2010 Eastern Nationals 4-H Horse Roundup and their success in placing in the top 10 in their respective contests:

          Public Speaking Contest

                    Megan Harris - 10th Place - “Slaughter: A Necessary Evil”

          Individual Presentation

                    Taylor Luksic - 2nd Place - "A Horse Owner's Worst Nightmare”      

          Hippology Contest - Team Awards

                    Team Members: Brooke Anne Cartmille, Mikayla Mosey, Jeni Upp & Julie Watson-Ables

                               7th Place – Problem Solving Phase


          Hippology Contest - Individual Awards

                     Julie Watson-Ables – 5th Place - Judging Phase


4-H Horse Advisor Training - January 29

The Ohio 4-H Horse Program will host its annual 4-H Horse Advisor Training on Saturday, January 29, 2011 from 10am to 4pm in Kottman Hall on Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.  The Advisor Training, geared toward 4-H horse program participants and educators, will include presentations on the Ohio 4-H Horse Program, Annual Program Updates, Bits and Bitting, Saddle Fitting, The Judge's Perspective, and Conflict Management and includes a boxed lunch.  The deadline for registration is January 15, 2011 and a registration form is available at http://4hansci.osu.edu/registrations/AdvisorReg11.pdf.


REINS Annual Conference & Volunteer Training - February 19-20    

The 2011 REINS Annual Conference & Volunteer Training is scheduled for February 19 &b 20, 2010 at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio.  Registration is $35 for REINS Volunteers and $70 for all others wishing to attend the conference.  For more information on the REINS program or the 2011 REINS Annual Conference & Volunteer Training, please visit http://reins.osu.edu or contact Dr. Kimberly Cole, Extension Equine Specialist, at cole.436@osu.edu or 614-292-2625.


Eastern Equine Encephalitis Confirmed -Williams & Sandusky Counties

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 28, 2010) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in one horse in Williams County and one horse in Sandusky County. This is the fourth confirmation of EEE in Ohio this year, following two confirmed cases in Mercer County earlier this month. At this time, there are no known human illnesses associated with these confirmations.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is caused by a virus that can infect birds, horses and humans. It is transmitted by mosquitoes, and outbreaks typically occur in late summer and early fall when mosquitoes are most abundant. Infected horses could experience symptoms including paralysis, impaired vision, difficulty swallowing, hanging their heads and grinding their teeth.

An effective equine vaccine exists for EEE. Typically, infected horses with clinical symptoms die within three to five days after onset of clinical signs. There is no treatment for EEE aside from supportive care.

EEE infection is rare in humans, but when it does occur, it can be serious. The Ohio Department of Health urges Ohioans to take steps to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts as well as socks and shoes.

In addition, to avoid mosquito bites for both animals and humans, the Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Health recommend insect repellants be used according to label directions. Mosquitoes can be active until the first frost and will stay infected, and capable of transmitting viruses, as long as they live.

Suspect equine cases should be reported to local veterinarians and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and any suspect human cases should be reported to the local health department.


Equine Artificial Insemination & Breeding Management Conference
February 5-6, 2011 - OSU Veterinary Medical Center
Featuring guest speaker Dr. Edward L. Squires

The Equine Artificial Insemination and Breeding Management Short Course is designed to provide horse breeders and veterinarians with an opportunity to learn breeding strategies to optimize fertility of mares and stallions. In addition, laboratory sessions will provide hands-on experience in all aspects of semen collection, evaluation, processing for shipping and artificial insemination procedures.

This course will include the most current technology in breeding management, including:
• Artificial insemination; semen collection, evaluation, handling and transport techniques;
• Hormonal manipulation of the estrous cycle;
• Managing the problem mare for breeding;
• Ultrasonography of the mare reproductive tract (for veterinarians only)

For more information on this course and more, please visit our website: http://vetmedce.osu.edu
or call (614) 292-8727.

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Water Quality Testing for Horses

Equine Disease Quarterly - October 2010, Volume 19, Number 4

By Dr. Steve Higgins, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky and Dr. Roberta Dwyer, Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky

Providing horses a continuous supply of clean water is part of the foundation of good husbandtry.  Several different sources of water might be found on a horse farm: ponds, streams, lakes, and automatic waterers or troughs supplied by well water or city water. It is difficult to find guidelines specific to equine drinking water.  Most often, they are lumped into the water quality guidelines for livestock.  Following is information to help assure that water quality for your horses is of sufficient quality.

Water samples can be tested for physical and physiochemical properties, excessive nutrients, toxic compounds, and microbes.

Physiochemical properties include salinity, water hardness, and water pH.  Salinity is the presence of dissolved substances.  Hardness is determined by the water’s concentration of calcium and magnesium.  Excessive water hardness can create mineral deposits on water piping and affect the efficiency of certain disinfectants.  Water pH is its level of acidity or alkalinity.  The presence of excessive nutrients, such as sulfates and nitrates, can also be determined by water testing, as can the presence of toxic compounds – arsenic, fluorine, lead, mercury, and many others.

In a recent issue of the Canadian Veterinary Journal*, a case of water sulfate toxicity was reported in horses.  Of a herd of 19 horses, five were found dead, and 13 others had diarrhea.  Extensive diagnostic testing of the horses was completed as well as surface water testing and examination of the pastures for toxic weeds.  The authors concluded that excessive sulfate levels with high salinity of the surface water caused the illness and deaths.

Fecal coliform measurements can help determine the presence of fecal matter and possible pathogens.  Stagnant water can cause excessive growth of bacteria called cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.  In times of drought where surface water levels can become low and water flow decreases or ceases, overgrowth of this bacteria can occur, and cattle have been reported to become sick or die from drinking water contaminated by it.

Floods are the number one costly disaster in the United States.  Flood waters can contain sewage, gasoline, oil, petrochemicals, and many other contaminants and are not suitable for livestock as a water source.  As soon as is safely possible, animals should be provided a clean source of water in flooded areas. 

For advice on water testing, contact your local office of the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) for testing supplies, sample collection instructions, and handling procedures.  State CES websites and www.eXtension.org are also good sources of information on water quality and livestock.

* Burgess, B.A., Lobmann, K.I., Blakely, B.R. (2010).  Excessive sulfate and poor water quality as a cause of sudden deaths and an outbreak of diarrhea in horses.  Can. Vet. J. 51: 277-282.


Table 1: Total Dissolved Solids and Species Variation(1)


Total Dissolved Solids (ppm)













Horses, Working






Horses, Others


















Chickens & Poultry







Young pigs and market pigs appear to tolerate less than cattle.


(1) Boyles, S. et al. Livestock and water. North Dakota State University, Extension Service Bulletin #AS-954. June 1988.

Table 2. A Guide to the Use of Saline Waters for Livestock and Poultry(2)

Total Soluble Salts Content of Waters

(mg/L or ppm)




Less than 1,000 ppm

(1670 umhos/cm)

These waters have a relatively low level of salinity and should present no serious burden to any livestock or poultry.

1,000-2,999 ppm

(1670-5008 umhos/cm)

These waters should be satisfactory for all classes of livestock and poultry. They may cause temporary and mild diarrhea in livestock not accustomed to them, or watery droppings in

poultry (especially at the higher levels), but should not affect their health or performance. 

3,000-4,999 ppm

(5010-8348 umhos/cm)

These waters should be satisfactory for livestock, although they may cause temporary diarrhea or be refused at first by animals not accustomed to them. They are poor waters for poultry, often causing watery feces and (at the higher levels of salinity) increased mortality and decreased growth, especially in turkeys.

5,000-6,999 ppm

(8350-11688 umhos/cm)

These waters can be used with reasonable safety for dairy and beef cattle, sheep, swine and horses. Avoid the use of those approaching the higher levels for pregnant or lactating animals.

They are not acceptable waters for poultry, almost always causing some type of problem, especially near the upper limit, where reduced growth and production or increased mortality will probably occur. 

7,000-10,000 ppm

(11,690-16,700 umhos/cm)

These waters are unfit for poultry and probably for swine. Considerable risk may exist in using them for pregnant or lactating cows, horses, sheep, the young of these species, or for any animals subjected to heavy heat stress or water loss. In general, their use should be avoided, although older ruminants, horses, and even poultry and swine may subsist on them for long periods of time under

conditions of low stress.

More than 10,000 ppm

(16,700 umhos/cm)

The risks with these highly saline waters are so great that they cannot be recommended for use under any conditions. 

35,000 ppm

(58,450 umhos/cm) 


(2) National Academy of Sciences. Nutrients and toxic substances in water for livestock and poultry. 1974.


Unwanted horses: The role of nonprofit equine rescue and sanctuary organizations.

By K. E. Holcomb, C. L. Stull, and P. H. Kass, Journal of Animal Science 2010. 88: 4142-4150.

ABSTRACT: Closure of US equine slaughter facilitiesin 2007 along with the concomitant economic recessionhave contributed to a sharp increase in the numberof unwanted horses throughout the United States, withestimates totaling 100,000 horses per year. The objectiveof the study was to obtain comprehensive dataregarding nonprofit organizations caring for unwantedhorses, along with the characteristics and outcome ofhorses relinquished to these organizations. Nonprofitorganizations that accept relinquished equines werecontacted to participate in a 90-question survey. Respondingorganizations (144 of 326 eligible) in 37 statesprovided information on 280 cases representative of the7,990 horses relinquished between 2007 and 2009. Datacollected characterized these organizations as being inexistence for 6 yr, financially supported through donationsand personal funds, dedicated to the care of only10 to 20 horses on a property of just over 30 acres, andreliant on volunteers for help. Funding was the greatestchallenge to continued operation of nonprofit equineorganizations, with maintenance costs for the care of arelinquished horse averaging $3,648 per year. Financialhardship, physical inability, or lack of time to care forthe horses by owners were the most common reasonsfor relinquishment, followed by seizure through law enforcementagencies for alleged neglect or abuse. Relinquishedhorses consisted of mostly light horse breeds(79.3%), with Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses asthe most represented breeds. The age of relinquishedhorses ranged from 3 d to 42 yr old (12.4 ± 0.5 yr).About one-half of the horses entered in the survey wereconsidered unhealthy due to illness, injury, lameness,or poor body condition. For every 4 horses relinquishedto a nonprofit organization, only 3 horses were adoptedor sold between 2006 and 2009, and many organizationshad refused to accept additional horses for lackof resources. The estimated maximum capacity for the326 eligible registered nonprofit equine rescue facilitiesof 13,400 is well below the widely published estimateof 100,000 horses that become unwanted in the UnitedStates every year. Nonprofit equine rescue and sanctuaryfacilities have historically played an importantrole in safeguarding the welfare of horses in society,but funding and capacity are limiting factors to theirpotential expansion in continuing to care for the currentpopulation of unwanted and neglected horses in

the United States.


American Youth Horse Council's Symposium - March 11-13

Lansing, Michigan

AYHC is a national organization that promotes greater communication between all breeds and disciplines and provides a forum for discussions.  AYHC looks to be a representative voice, crossing all breeds and disciplines, as an advocate for bringing horses and kids together.

For more information, visit www.ayhc.com


2011 Buckeye Bonanza Horse Sale & Tack Auction - April 16

Mark your calendars - the 4th annual Buckeye Bonanza Horse Sale & Tack Auction will take place at the OSU Equine Facility on Saturday, April 16, 2010. Proceeds from the sale directly benefit the OSU Equine Program and the Ohio 4-H Program to help provide quality educational experiences for Ohio youth.  Even if you are not in the market for a new horse, please attend the sale to support the students enrolled in the Equine Behavior & Training and Equine Facilities, Marketing, & Management classes who produce this annual event.  More information about the sale horses will be posted online starting in February at http://buckeyebonanza.osu.edu.


USDA OIG Issues Blistering Report on Inspection Service

Richard Reynnells from USDA, November 9, 2010 -  Report Details Systemic Failure of Government Equine Protection Programs - WASHINGTON, (USEA)

For the second time this year, the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has issued a troubling report outlining the failure of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)­an agency within the USDA­to enforce federal animal-protection laws. In May, the OIG detailed the USDA’s lax and ineffective enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act against puppy mills. Now it has taken on the humane treatment of horses, and its findings are similarly dismal. APHIS operates the “Horse Protection Program,” which is supposed to ensure that show horses are not subjected to the abusive practice of soring (physically harming a horse to cultivate an exaggerated, artificial gait in the show ring), and the “Slaughter Horse Transport Program,” which is supposed to see to it that horses being shipped to foreign processing plants for slaughter are transported humanely. The OIG’s audit of these two programs, released October 28, found a long list of violations and failures to enforce the law. The audit concluded unequivocally that APHIS’s “current program for inspecting show horses for abuse is not adequate.” Regarding the transport of horses to slaughter, the report states that, among other reforms, APHIS needs to implement stronger penalties to prevent individuals with humane handling violations from transporting slaughter horses. The agency also needs to strengthen its controls over the identification tags used on horses bound for slaughter. APHIS has responded to the audit by acknowledging violations on horse soring and the need to remove inspectors too close to the industry. The agency also said it plans to discipline veterinarians who don’t enforce horse protection laws, and hopes to have a “chip” system in place by next year to track sored horses. The ASPCA has been in direct contact with APHIS leadership on the enforcement failures. We will continue to work with them in the hopes that the promises made really do come to fruition in the form of active, effective enforcement.

Unwanted Horse Coalition's Operation Gelding Clinics Continue

Unwanted Horse Coalition Media Roundup, December 2, 2010

The Unwanted Horse Coalition's (UHC) Operation Gelding program continues to enjoy success as participation has spread across the United States. The program is designed to offer funding assistance to organizations, associations, and events that wish to conduct a public gelding clinic under the name and guidelines of Operation Gelding.

As of Nov. 17,more than 120 stallions have been gelded and approximately $6,000 in funds have been distributed. The UHC estimates that 25 clinics will be completed and funded before the end of the year. Currently, Operation Gelding clinics are scheduled in 16 different states, ranging coast to coast from California to South Carolina.

Carolyn Arnold, DVM, of Texas A&M University reported that veterinarians castrated 17 stallions in the school's Nov. 6 Operation Gelding clinic, with the assistance of the Texas A&M veterinary students.

"I was amazed at the level of interest in the clinic as a result of advertising," she said. "I probably fielded several hundred calls from people wanting to participate. Because of this positive response, the school is looking into doing low-cost castration days on a more routine basis."

The Back in the Saddle Project (BITS) has been conducting gelding clinics for more than a year. Deb Steward of BITS, which is located in Magalia, Calif., said, "BITS has now gelded 33 horses through our clinics, which means 33 horses will not be breeding and adding to the excess horse problem."

Charlene Cook, DVM, of Central Equine Services in Ft. Valley, Ga., hosted an Operation Gelding clinic in which six veterinary students from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine were able to gain hands-on experience castrating nine stallions.

"We let students take turns performing the pre-surgical exam and anesthesia, as well as acting as the surgical assistant and operating surgeon," Cook said. "It was truly a rewarding day on all fronts."

Yalonda Burton, DVM, informed the UHC that her Patterson Animal Hospital Operation Gelding clinic went smoothly and successfully. During her Nov. 11 clinic in Stillwell, Okla., which was put together in just two weeks, she and her staff castrated eight horses. Burton said, "The entire crew really enjoyed the Operation Gelding clinic we put together. We had a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the day."

Ericka Caslin, UHC Director, said, "We are thrilled with the success of the Operation Gelding program thus far. It is very encouraging to see the amount of interest and participation in the program."

For more information on Operation Gelding, how to conduct a clinic, or the schedule and location of Operation Gelding clinics, please contact Ericka Caslin, UHC director, at ecaslin@horsecouncil.org or 202/296-4031.