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Equine News, January 2022

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Equine News


Welcome to the new year!
So excited to get started planning new events and activities for 2022! 


Each month we provide tips for horse owners, the latest research on horse health, as well as updates on current events and workshops for horse owners.  This month's newsletter features:

  • Winter in Oklahoma
  • Supplementation of S. cerevisiae and joint health
  • Ground handling Part 6:Backing up
  • Tack Box Talk podcast: Fecal water syndrome
  • Equine mortality composting
  • Oklahoma Open Horse Show judges seminar
  • Tips for Equine Business Owners
  • Upcoming events



Horse with blanket


Planning for Winter in Oklahoma

So far this winter, we have enjoyed plenty of warm, sunny weather, with just a bit of recent cold. However, we probably won’t make it through until spring without some ice and snow! Planning for those cold and snowy days can help make the next few months easier.
Check on your older horses. Many older horses do well in the summer when their diet is composed primarily of grass but lose weight during the winter when they rely on hay and concentrates. Teeth floating and feeding easy to digest feedstuffs can help your senior horse through the winter.
Assess your hay needs. Hay should be the basis for your horses’ ration. Cold, wet weather increases the demand for calories and hay can be an excellent source of energy. Hay also generates heat during digestion, a benefit to the horse during the cold. Even though we have had considerable sun and warm weather, soil temperatures have dropped and native pasture is not producing adequate forage to maintain our horses.

Take stock of how much hay you have on hand and how much you will need to buy to get through winter. Review how and where you will feed hay to your horses. Some owners prefer feeding horses outside on the ground or in hay racks. Others confine their horses during the night and feed in stalls on the ground or in mangers, nets or racks. It is painful to watch wasted hay become substitute bedding or mashed into the field. Find a method that works best for you to reduce hay waste.
Horses require water for adequate function of all their body systems. Sufficient water consumption is essential in the prevention of some forms of colic. If you expect temperatures to dip below freezing, consider insulating and heating your stock tank for outside horses. Individual heated water buckets work well in stalls. Research suggests that horses will consume more water if it is maintained at temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Insulate your hydrants and make sure they are functioning properly. Hauling water from the house to the barn in cold and snow is no fun!
Review areas around your farm that may become hazardous with ice and snow. This can include hazards to horses and humans. A few modifications to divert water or manage low spots can pay off in the end.

Check those blankets. If you choose to blanket your horses, now is the time to check for broken straps and clips and large holes. With the wide variations in temperature from day to night, it is important that you monitor your horses’ comfort. Sixty degree days can make a blanketed horse sweat and many horses will work hard at getting off the blanket if they are uncomfortable.
Horses tolerate the cold weather fairly well as long as they have access to water, adequate feed and a place out of the wind. Enjoy the good riding days and keep you and your horse healthy and safe this winter.



Tack Box Talk


Fecal Water Syndrome: The Story of brown butts and matted tails


Listen Here

Dr. Carey Williams, Rutgers University and Dr. Amy Burk, University of Maryland, share the current knowledge, or lack thereof, of a tricky disorder cropping up with more frequency - fecal water syndrome.  Changes in weather, stress or forage types may all contribute to this unique disorder and the solution may be as hard to pin down as the cause.  If you are plagued with fecal water syndrome, you aren't alone!



Getting your horse to back up


A horse backing up out of your space is a necessary part of good ground manners. Many methods can be used, but all rely on good timing and rewarding the horse for correct behavior.



While we never want it to happen, dealing with equine mortality is a part of horse ownership.  Here is a great infographic on composting done right!


Frequently asked questions



Horese Show


Oklahoma Open Horse Show Judges Seminar:
January 15, 2022
Stillwater, OK

This one day seminar is designed for those currently judging open horse show and Oklahoma 4-H Horse shows, or those interested in pursuing judging cards.  Presenters will include AQHA  carded judges Dr. Steven Cooper, Rebecca Halvorson and Larry Sanchez.  Topics will cover rail classes, ranch horse classes, horsemanship and equitation as well as tips on the skills you need to successfully navigate contracts, judges expectations and how to survive in the ring and be asked back.  Interested applicants may also apply to be placed on the Oklahoma 4-H and Open Show judges list.


Cost of attendance is $40 and includes lunch and materials.


For more information contact Dr. Kris Hiney:



Latest Research on Equine Health 


Responses to an intra-articular lipopolysaccharide challenge following dietary supplementation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation product in young horses

Horse feet


Equine athletes by the nature of their activity are often exposed to inflammatory processes within the body. Prompt healing may not only be dependent on addressing the current issue, but modulation of overall inflammation in the body.  The diet and its direct affects on the microbiome may help or hinder this process.  It is now well established that disturbances in the microbiota, or dysbiosis, can affect the immune system, utilization of nutrients, behavior, and the body’s ability to heal. Therefore, investigation into diets which can not hinder, but even promote healing, are emerging as a new avenue for performance horse feeding management.


One potential feedstuff is the fermentation product of Saccharomyces cerevisiae(yeast), as preliminary results have indicated a reduction in inflammation in dairy cows and rats, exposed to unique challenges.  Its ability to alter inflammation states in horses has potential, as horses fed S. cerevisiae had lower white blood cell counts following transportation, a known stressor.  Therefore, its affect on joint inflammation in young horses was measured following the direct stressor of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection into the knee joint.


Ten yearling horses were fed 21 g/d of Original XPC for 98 days, with 9 additional yearlings serving as non-supplemented controls. On day 84, all horses had LPS injected into one radiocarpal joint, while a similar amount of saline was injected into the opposite knee.  The knees were measured for swelling, as well as temperature at time 0, 6, 12 and 24 hr. post injection.  To measure markers of inflammation, synovial fluid was extracted from each joint at time 0, 6, 12, and 24 hours, 7- and 14-days post injection.


All horses responded to intraarticular injections with increased heart rate, respiration rate and rectal temperature, as well as carpal circumference and temperature with no difference in supplementation. In synovial fluid, PGE2, a modulator of inflammation, increased in all horses, but was diminished significantly in supplemented horses, while a modest improvement in a marker of cartilage synthesis was seen at 24 hr in supplemented horses. Therefore, it is possible that supplementation of S. cerevisiae did blunt the inflammatory response due to direct challenge of LPS injection into the carpal joint. As always, further studies are warranted to investigate the long-term effects of S. cerevisae supplementation on protective benefits and joint health in exercising horses, but initial results are intriguing.



Neighborly Advice:  Tips for Equine Business Owners

Horse with girl and labtop








We all know that horse professionals work hard, really hard. Horses have to fed, stalls cleaned and exercised regardless of holidays, weather or if you are ill or not. Here are some tips to make sure all of that hard work pays off.


Use your tax dollars! 

We all know we hate taxes, but they do us some good!  Use your resources such as the Small Business Administration, and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to learn about small business loans, grants and programs designed to help small business owners.


Join your horse affiliations!

Breed clubs, local clubs, even 4-H clubs offer member benefits. You may get discounts on products or services, get to know others in the area, and have the potential to grow your client base. Staying connected is extremely important in the horse industry!


Know your tax code!

Every state is different, and a CPA will have the most up to date knowledge on how to assist small business owners.  Don’t get caught in non-compliance just because you didn’t know. Plus, they will know the ins and outs of deductions such as home offices, meals, travel and auto expenses.


Don’t forget the future!

Self-employed individuals often live and work as if they will do it forever. However, there may come a day that you may wish to consider stepping back. You can actually create your own pension plan with a simplified employee pension.  Discuss this with your accountant if you haven’t as your New Year’s Resolution!


For more information: Equine Law and Horse Sense by Julie Fershtman.



Bits and Pieces

Upcoming Events and Industry Updates 


Adult Education
Oklahoma Open Horse Show Judges Seminar: January 15, 2022
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Cost of attendance is $40 and includes lunch and materials.
For more information contact Dr. Kris Hiney:


Horse Owners Workshop - March 5, 2022
Horse Owners Workshop will return to its in person format in 2022.  Three educational tracts will be offered, basic horse management, advanced/in depth topics and youth education.  Attendees may choose which seminars to attend.  Complete schedule TBD.
Youth Events
Oklahoma 4-H Horse Communication Contest - February 5, 2022
OSU Animal  Science Building, Stillwater, OK


Oklahoma 4-H and Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association youth horsemanship clinic - March 29, 2022

Clinic with AQHA Professional Leonard Berryhill. Stay tuned for more information.


Oklahoma State 4-H and FFA Judging Contest - April 30, 2022
Totusek Arena, Stillwater, OK


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