Warner introduces legislation to prevent horse soring to produce exaggerated gaits

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Thick pads can be seen on a Tennessee Walker horse being shown at a Roanoke area competition in 2015. Legislation introduced by Virginia Sen. Mark Warner would prohibit the use of pads and soring to produce the walking horse “big lick” gait.
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This horse also was competing at a Roanoke area show in 2015 while wearing thick pads and chains, both legal horse show equipment.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is taking again aim at “soring,” a practice used by some trainers to create the exaggerated high-stepping “big lick” gait seen in Tennessee Walker show horses.

On May 24,  U.S. Sens.  Warner and Mike Crapo of Idaho introduced bipartisan legislation to help protect horses from the abusive practice.

Soring is the practice of intentionally applying substances or devices to a horse’s leg to make each step painful. While soring already is prohibited under federal law, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General (IG) report has found that some horse trainers often go to great lengths to continue the practice.

“For more than 400 years, horses have been a part of Virginia’s culture. But despite a federal ban, horse soring — an act that deliberately inflicts pain on these animals— continues in some segments of the walking horse industry,” Sen. Warner said. “This bipartisan bill will finally put an end to this cruel and abusive practice.”

 

The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act would:

  • Eliminate self-policing by requiring the USDA to assign a licensed inspector if the show’s management indicates its intent to hire one. Licensed or accredited veterinarians, if available, would be given preference for these positions.
  • Prohibit the use of action devices and pads on specific horse breeds that have historically been the primary victims of soring. Action devices, such as chains that rub up and down an already-sore leg, intensify the horse’s pain when it moves, so that the horse quickly jolts up its leg.
  • Increase the penalties on an individual caught soring a horse from a misdemeanor to a felony which is subject to up to three years’ incarceration, increase fines from $3,000 to $5,000 per violation, and permanently disqualify three-time violators from participating in horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions.

In 2017, the USDA Office of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) incorporated some of the major tenets of the PAST Act in a rule meant to strengthen certain aspects of the Horse Protection Act. However, the rule was not finalized before the end of the Obama Administration and the Trump Administration halted that process. The PAST Act would codify these changes into law.

Numerous groups have endorsed the bill, including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Horse Council, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The PAST Act was introduced in previous years by Sen. Warner and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

One method of soring involves using chemical agents such as mustard oil, kerosene, and other caustic substances on the pasterns, bulbs of the heel, or coronary bands of the horses, causing burning or blistering of the horses’ legs to accentuate their gaits. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is sometimes added to increase the effect. The treated area is then often wrapped in plastic while the chemicals are absorbed.

Other methods of soring can include pressure shoes, where the hoof is trimmed  so that the sole is in direct contact with the pad or shoe.  The horse may then be  ridden on hard surfaces on the over-trimmed hooves, until they are very sore.

 

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Hollins hiring director of equestrian program

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Courtesy Hollins University

Hollins University is hiring a Director of Equestrian Program and Head Riding Coach after the retirement of longtime director Nancy Peterson.

Peterson, who turns 79 this month, told the Chronicle of the Horse in April, “I just thought it was time. I have not been coerced or pushed or pressured to do this. It is my decision. I’m really happy with it. I just feel like it is time for new leadership and somebody else to come in and take over the program—[someone] who’s younger maybe and more energetic, more stamina than I’ve got. The only expression I can use is, ‘It’s time.”

Peterson arrived at Hollins in 1972. Since then Hollins riders have earned 19 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association individual national championships, four Fitch Trophy/Cacchione Cup Individual National High Point Rider titles, 21 Old Dominion Athletic Conference titles and two IHSA national team championships.

The job description for the director position includes:

  •  management of barn staff and assistant coaches
  • oversight of horse health and a donation program that ensures top quality care and safety.
  • teaching riding classes, conducting practices with other coaches, coaching at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) horse show and open horse shows and managing and training donated horses
  • responsible for developing and maintaining the equestrian budget
  • oversight of the riding facility
  • administrative duties related to students and horse show participation and recruitment of student riders working collaboratively with the admissions office.

Quarantine lifted in Bedford County after December Strangles outbreak

A quarantine has been lifted at a Bedford County, Virginia, farm after a veterinarian reported eight horses affected with Strangles. The horses first showed symptoms on Dec. 21, 2017, including cough, discharge from the nose, swollen lymph nodes and fever.

Strangles is an infection of the upper respiratory tract found only in horses, donkeys and mules. Strangles does not spread through the air, but it is highly contagious. It can be spread by an infected horse touching another horse or indirectly through tack, shared drinking water or feed, clothing, hands and other pets such as barn cats and dogs.

Twelve horses were put under quarantine at the Bedford County farm, but only the original eight horses showed signs of the disease during that first week. All of those horses have recovered and have been free of symptoms for the past three weeks.

Strangles outbreak reported in Pulaski County

The Equine Disease Communication Center has reported a strangles case in Pulaski County, Virginia.

The attending veterinarians reported the case in a Appaloosa-cross gelding who began showing clinical signs on August 22, including nasal discharge, swelling of the lymph nodes and fever. The gelding was initially isolated on the farm but has since been transported off the farm.

The gelding tested positive for strangles on culture by nasal swab, lymph node aspirate, and serum.

A Tennessee Walking Horse gelding and a Quarter Horse mare were also exposed as they were purchased from the same source and were hauled together prior to the onset of clinical signs. The walking horse gelding and quarter horse mare have been isolated.

Strangles is an infectious, contagious disease characterized by abscesses in the lymphoid tissue of the upper respiratory tract. The incubation period of strangles is 3–14 days, and the first sign of infection is fever (103°–106°F). Within 24–48 hours of the initial fever spike, the horse will exhibit signs typical of strangles, including nasal discharge, depression, and and swelling.  Some horses have difficulty swallowing, and make noise when breathing. Older animals with residual immunity may develop an atypical or catarrhal form of the disease with mucoid nasal discharge, cough, and mild fever.

Local teen named AJPHA Youth Member of the Year

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Madison Martin

Madison Martin, 15, of Evington, Virginia, is the definition of a well-rounded individual, excelling in academics, the community and the horse show industry.

Martin was recently named the 2017 AJPHA (American Junior Paint Horse Association) Youth Member of the Year and has been named secretary of the AjPHA Executive Committee.

“I was not expecting to win [the Youth Member of the Year] and was very surprised,” Madison said. “I know a lot of great people applied for it, so it’s an honor to be member of the year. I actually got the call I had won it on my birthday, which was a great present.”

Youth Member of the Year is presented annually at the Youth World Show to an AjPHA member who exemplifies commitment to service and their community, scholastic achievement and leadership. The award is not given based on show-ring merits, but rather to a person who embodies the spirit of AjPHA and has a deep love for and involvement with Paint Horses. Winners receive a $1,000 scholarship and a custom Gist Silversmiths trophy buckle.

“I got into horses because my neighbor let me ride her horse, which is now mine,” Madison said. “I have been involved with horses for quite a while now, and I absolutely love it and love Paints.”

Beyond her involvement with the Paint Horse industry, she is also a leader in her local 4-H and Pony Club where she has been actively involved for five years.

Outside of equine activities, Madison is a member of French Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and plays basketball. Going into her junior year of high school, she will begin to take dual-enrollment courses and earn college credits. She aspires to attend law school and is on the fast-track to that goal by taking an Introduction to U.S. Law class this summer at the College of William & Mary Law School.

Volunteer work is very important to Madison. In 2016, she served as Senate Page for the Commonwealth of Virginia and volunteers in Sen. Steve Newton’s office. She gives back to her community by participating in trash pick-up days and is a volunteer for her children’s ministry at her local church.

 

Georgia hunter/jumper trainer relocates to Ardmore Equestrian Center in Fincastle

ardmore statueOne of the area’s premiere stables is starting a new chapter.

Tracy Young Nininger has taken over the operation of Ardmore Equestrian Center in Fincastle, Virginia. Nininger, of Senoia, Georgia, brings with her over 20 years of hunter/jumper experience. As owner and operator of Jump On Over hunter/jumper facility, her riders competed on the local and A-rated circuit (Zone 4) with the Georgia Hunter/Jumper Association. Tracy has donated/volunteered with the local community, developing winning associations such as 4-H clubs, equestrian clubs, and high school interscholastic equestrian teams. A graduate of Virginia Intermont in Bristol, Virginia, Tracy majored in horsemanship/stable management with a minor in business.

Nininger’s students have not only won year-end awards with the Georgia Hunter/Jumper Association, but she has qualified winning riders for the Washington International Horse Show and had winning riders with the USEF Pony Finals several years in a row. Her riders have won top honors such as Best Child Rider on horses/ponies, sportsmanship awards, high points awards and best trainer awards. Tracy continues to ride/compete herself in the jumper/hunter divisions and also enjoys trail riding.

Nininger has ridden in clinics under top professionals, including Grand Prix Olympic riders George Morris, Greg Best and Nona Garson; Big-R judge/trainer, Scott Evans; USEF Equitation Medal winner and hunter rider Anna-Jane White Mullins; and the late-great conformation trainer Sallie Sexton. Tracy’s jumper career was under the direction of the late FEI Grand Prix rider Barry Lane of Full Cry Farm in Locust Grove, Georgia.

Nininger sets high standards for all of her riders. Hard work and dedication produce winning riders. Nininger follows the George Morris system of hunt seat riding. She is thankful for all the many talented instructors/trainers that she has met along her road to success. She is happy to call Fincastle, Virginia, her new home.

Ardmore welcomes new instructor

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Peyton Stevenson

Ardmore Equestrian Center welcomes Peyton Stevenson as one of its hunter instructors. A graduate of Meredith Manor Equestrian College, Stevenson brings knowledge in western riding and equine massage therapy as well as the hunters. as well as all-around knowledge of the local horse community. She is known for her professionalism, patience, love of children and the well-being of her horses while her experience competing with the Interscholastic Equestrian Association has taught her to be an all-around rider.

For more information, call Ardmore at 678-603-9458.

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Virginia Tech hiring associate farrier in Blacksburg

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Travis Burns shoes a 12-year-old competitive trial and riding horse named Chief.

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg is seeking an associate farrier. Applications are due Friday, June 16, 2017. APPLY HERE.

The farrier will “provide ambulatory (on the farm) farrier services to clients within the college’s practice area. The successful applicant will also provide backup coverage for, and assistance to, the in-house farrier service as needed.” Travis Burns is the in-house farrier at Virginia Tech. Burns, who joined the veterinary teaching hospital in 2010, has earned many accolades nationally and internationally and served as an official farrier at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky.

Positive interactions and professional discretion with others are necessary in the position.

“This position will also require contribution to instructional efforts of the service, specifically to farrier students, veterinary students, veterinarians, horse owners and other farriers.”

Minimum qualifications include:

  • Certified Farrier distinction from the American Farrier’s Association.
  • Successful completion of a farrier training program (or equivalent experience).
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team oriented, fast paced teaching environment.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • High school diploma (or equivalent).
  • Rabies prophylaxis vaccine is required and will be provided by the employer.

Candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field, 24 months of farrier experience or training and the Certified Journeyman Farrier distinction from the American Farrier’s Association are preferred.

The hours will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and pay will commensurate with experience. The position is a staff position in Pay Band 4, which runs from $32K – $74K.

Healing Strides of Virginia named one of only 5 USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage Centers of Excellence

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Photo courtesy of Healing Strides of Virginia

The US Equestrian Federation (USEF), in conjunction with United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA), have announced that Healing Strides of Virginia in Boones Mill, Virginia. and Wheatland Farm Equestrian Center in Purcellville, Virginia, have been named USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage Centers of Excellence (COE). The USEF Selection Committee carefully scrutinized each application and upheld the highest standards upon recommending the facilities as Centers of Excellence.

Healing Stride of VA and Wheatland Farm Equestrian Center join the following network of COEs:

Each Center of Excellence is unique in its structure and may have opportunities independent of other centers. The USEF and USPEA are committed to working with each to build plans that complement their individual strengths and opportunities. Specifically, USEF and USPEA will help COEs further develop their network with the therapeutic riding community by providing exposure to competition opportunities of interest to riders. These regional hubs of excellence will not only attract new riders to the sport of para-equestrian dressage but also work in partnership with the USEF High Performance Programs to develop athletes to a degree that they can represent the U.S. at International and Paralympic Games level and ultimately win medals.

In addition, Centers of Excellence play an active role in attracting trainers to the sport of para-equestrian dressage and helping them develop and understand the sport. COEs are the primary hubs for delivering the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Programs and para educational symposiums.

For more information on the COE programs please contact USEF Sport Program Assistant – Dressage /  COE Coordinator, Para Equestrian, Austyn Erickson at 859-225-6929 or aerickson@usef.org.

Anne Lloyd joins Healing Strides as an advanced instructor

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Anne Lloyd with a student in Colorado.

Healing Strides of Virginia, the only PATH International Premier Accredited Center
for Therapeutic Horsemanship in the Roanoke Valley, recently welcomed advanced instructor Anne Lloyd to their staff. Lloyd, a native of England, started her horsemanship career as a certified instructor through the Association of British Riding Schools.

She was active with her own daughters in the British Pony Club, and looks forward to sharing her knowledge with Healing Strides’ Pony Clubbers at HSVA. Lloyd’s passion is to be able to help any rider achieve their goals and make a lasting connection with their horse.

With 25 years of teaching and showing experience in dressage and hunter/jumper, Anne helps riding students of all levels excel and meet their personal goals. Anne has a limited number of opportunities for students to join her training schedule. Call 540-334-5825 or email Healing Strides to get to know Anne and tour the facility. The summer riding session at Healing Strides begins June 12.

Virginia Horse Center offers winter board, schooling

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The Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia.

The Virginia Horse Center is offering boarding and schooling Jan. 3 through Feb. 28, 2017. Limited schooling/boarding may be available prior to January. Contact the Stable Office for details at 540-464-2966 or stableoffice@horsecenter.org.

RATES:

 

Under 10 Horses 10 or More Horses
Daily $25 $15
Weekly $100 $75
Monthly $300 $250

Board is self-care only. No full care or turnout is available. Stabling and schooling will be arranged based on our contracted shows needs during this time.

A wavier and current coggins/medical certificate will be required prior to horses coming off the trailer. With prior notice, equipment such as jumps, dressage arena, and access to trails is available. Ring maintenance will be provided twice daily when needed.

Schooling in Anderson Coliseum and cross-country schooling may be available with enough interest but may incur an additional fee or minimum number of participants.

Contact the administration office or stable office to make arrangements at 540-464-2966

Little Fork Volunteer Large Animal Rescue Team helps Botetourt County horse trapped in hayloft

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Phoenix up in the hayloft.

Phoenix, a 16-year-old palomino gelding owned by Carol Pugh, is getting national attention online after a bad choice left him stranded in the hayloft of his Botetourt County barn over the weekend.

His owners tried unsuccessfully to lead him back down the stairs after finding him stranded upstairs. Nothing they tried would convince Phoenix to go back down those stairs that they figure he scurried up in an attempt to get away from a herdmate he had gotten into a disagreement with.

After several hours of trying to get the horse down the stairs, the owner called in extra help. Botetourt County’s animal control has training in large animal rescue, but they don’t have all the equipment required. So Little Fork Volunteer Technical Large Animal Rescue Team was called to help with getting Phoenix out of his predicament.

While awaiting the rescue team to arrive, the owner also contacted Dr. Tarah Satalino of Windover Equine Services and took Phoenix feed and water and keep him calm while the team traveled the three-hour drive to the farm in Blue Ridge, Virginia.

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After arriving at the farm, the team called for assistance from the local fire and rescue crews and animal control officers. Dr. Satalino also arrived and was briefed on what was needed. Assistance arrived from three Botetourt County animal control officers, seven FF/EMS personal from Botetourt County Fire and Rescue and three firefighters from the Blue Ridge Volunteer Fire Company.

The team formed a plan to move a sedated Phoenix onto a rescue glide and slide him and the glide down the steps and outside to safety. The team set up 2-ton chain hoist by chaining it to one of the main posts that supported the building. A secondary safety system was rigged using a rope and pulley system. This system was anchored to a different large structural posts further back in the barn near the rear wall. Once the rigging was complete, the team performed a “dry run” of the system to be sure that it would work.

Dr. Satalino administered ketamine in a dosage that would be used for surgery so there would be no chance that Phoenix would struggle during the rescue.The team was concerned that Phoenix might slide off the rescue glide once on the stairway, so they rigged him to the board as securely as possible using carabiners and webbing.

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Once heavily sedated the horse was moved onto the rescue glide and it was pulled to the head of the stairwell. This took some time and Dr. Satalino advised that we needed to move quickly. It was decided to disconnect the chain hoist system and to use the rope system for lowering. Four people pulled the glide down the stairs with the rest of the crew operating the rope system. As Phoenix started down the stairs the hobbled legs were drawn towards his body and there was just enough room for him to slide down on his side. His front hoofs hung up partway down and as expected he slid down near the bottom of the board but did not come off of it. At the bottom he was turned on his back for a short amount of time so that he could be pulled through the doorway and outside to safety.

Once outside the rigging and equipment were removed and Phoenix tried to stand. He stumbled around and fell to the ground in respiratory arrest. The vet performed an emergency tracheotomy and Phoenix began to breath again and was eventually moved back inside.

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Phoenix is now OK and that the trach tube has been removed.

The incident has renewed calls to help get Botetourt County Animal Control the equipment needed to perform large animal rescues.

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