Articles for Horse and Pony News

Student Member Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez interviews Darley Newman from Equitrekking

Equitrekking Host Darley Newman and myself

Washington, D.C.  (July 21, 2010) Valentina’s Equine News conducted a video interview with Darley Newman about her Emmy Award-winning equestrian travel series, Equitrekking. Her TV series kicks off its fifth season of high definition episodes on PBS this fall.

Valentina’s Equine News first heard about Newman through watching her show, where she takes viewers around the world riding equines with locals to acquire an in-depth, eco-friendly look at the destination’s natural surroundings, culture, history, and cuisine. Equitrekking’s series is highly regarded for its ability to film areas where cars do not reach, destinations not normally seen without the help of horses.

Valentina’s Equine News asked Newman how she obtained the idea of her show. Newman said it was her idea and she conceived it while she was working in TV in New York City. She pitched Equitrekking to a TV channel and was told that they would broadcast her pilot episode if she found sponsors. She enlisted sponsors and started on her show. Previously, Newman had majored in radio/TV in college and worked in several production jobs, acting as a photographer and pre-interviewing potential characters for the CBS series 48 Hours.

Valentina’s Equine News enjoyed asking Newman about her bucket list of favorite trips. Newman included stories of best places to view wildlife in the saddle, such as her adventure in Costa Rica; where she saw, bright macaws, iguanas, monkeys, and wild colored frogs. Other adventures include visiting the crater of a volcano on Maui and her extensive adventures throughout Ireland.

Valentina’s Equine News spoke with Newman about her new season including a two-episode journey in through Jordan. She rides with Bedouin in the magnificent Wadi Rum Desert, camping out to experience life in the desert and trekking to see petroglyphs. Newman then explores magical Petra and the small village of Dana on horseback. In the well-preserved city of Jerash, Darley attempts NASCAR’s equivalent, dressed in Roman garb and hopping a ride on a horse drawn chariot. Equitrekking gains exclusive access to the Royal Stables, where Newman interviews HRH Princess Alia to acquire insight into the history and characteristics of the Arabian breed.

Valentina’s Equine News was excited to hear more about Newman’s experiences in Jordan.  Newman said,  “I was a little nervous to ride in the open desert with our Bedouin guide Atallah, a champion endurance rider, but my Arabian horse took great care of me. The Wadi Rum is dramatic and much more diverse than I first thought—an amazing place to ride.”


To learn more about Valentina, you can visit . For more information on Equitrekking and host, Darley Newman please Newman is also the founder of Equitrekking Travel at, featuring exceptional equestrian vacations led by many of the local guides seen on the Equitrekking TV show.

Photo: Newman and Ahmet Diler get filmed by Greg Barna in the village of Cavusin in Cappadocia for the Central Turkey Season 4 episode (Photo credit Chip Ward © 2008)

Equicizer: Training and Riding with a Mechanical Horse

Every equestrian would like to have a horse in the comfort of their own home. Imagine having that ability to actually be able to train for any discipline in the living room? It is finally possible thanks to Frank Lovato Jr. He is the inventor of the Equicizer, #1 mechanical horse worldwide, developed in 1982. He is an Eclipse Award winning Jockey who developed this idea to increase strength, flexibility, and fitness when he fractured his leg from a racing accident.

The Equicizer and Equipony, are hand made by Frankie and are composed by wood and springs to simulate riding a horse. It is used in private homes, rehab centers, therapeutic riding, hippo therapy, jockey schools, riding instructors, and youth outreach programs.  It has also been displayed in museums for interactive exhibits.

It has been a great tool for changing the lives of those with mental, physical and emotional challenges. The Equicizer weighs between 110 to 165 lbs depending on the model and the Equipony weighs about 70 pounds. It was used in the movie Seabiscuit, the Equicizer was used with Tobey Maguire in the close up scenes and it offered him skills, fitness and weight loss needed for his role as a jockey.

“Equicizer is designed specifically for riding a horse, it is not simulator, it enables riders to use their balance, rhythm, riding muscles, it also offer a great core exercise,” said Frankie. The rider gets what they put it in. Frankie emphasized that, “the Equicizer is not motorized so the motion is created completely by the rider with the intensity of their movement and effort including their strength and ability. The riders by engaging their riding muscles are able to recreate the motion of an actual horse at a walk and with increased intensity it could develop the stride of a galloping horse”. Most importantly, it could adapt to “the fitness level or ability of the rider.” Meaning it is what makes it safe for any type of rider and use for rehab or disability.

The great thing about the Equicizer is that it is like a stationary bike when it comes to a work out, except it’s a horse and it is exercising with the same muscles as riding a horse. A stationary bike is great for developing fitness such as riding a bike, but unlike the bike, the Equicizer specifically addresses riding a horse and improves your condition, flexibility, position and equilibrium.

The Equicizer is a great tool to beginner or advanced riders, it is designed and built with each rider’s discipline in mind. At, the viewer will see that it endorsed by riding professionals such as Craig Cameron, Jane Savoie, Tommy Garland, Stacy Westfall, Ruth Hogan Poulsen and Steve Lantvit to name a few. Ideally it helps riders since the Equicizer doesn’t buck or spook, it focuses on correct position, flexibility, and form.

Each Equicizer is handcrafted in a variety of colors along with a hand-carved and painted faces done personally by Frankie himself. In addition, the Equicizer is equipped with a bridle and reins; the saddle is not included but can be used with any kind of a standard size saddle and girth or even ride bareback. The Equicizer is designed to sustain a maximum weight of 500 pounds and the Equipony can hold a maximum weight of 250 pounds. The Equicizers are packed and shipped fully assembled.

Frank says that the Equicizer has reached 27 countries world-wide and ends the interview saying, “it will make you smile and you will feel the workout.” To view his website, please visit Stay Tuned to view my Exclusive demo of Ruth Hogan Poulsen with the Equicizer in Wellington,  check my Blog soon!

Cavalia: Hint of Cirque de Soleil with a Four-legged Twist

Have you ever daydreamed about how amazing horses are and what tricks you can teach them to do next? I am sure you have. Imagine having the chance to see exotic breeds of horses performing along with acrobats doing tricks such as riding them while standing. Yes, that is just one of the performances in sold-out shows performed by Cavalia, a show that I would never thought could be conceived between man and horse. Audiences of over 2.5 million have experienced Cavalia and this show has been performed over 1,300 times over the past six years. Fortunately, I was able to get an exclusive (video) interview visionary and founder of Cavalia, Normand Latourlle and along with talented Equestrian Director, Benjamin Aillaud.

Cavalia is composed of over 60 horses, which include about 20 stallions and the rest  are geldings. That is right, there are no mares in this show. The fascinating part is the different selections of breeds. Breeds not usually seen on a day to day basis in the United States are seen in Cavalia: the Comtois which is originally from Eastern France, the Canadian that only 2,500 exist worldwide, and the Oldenburg which originates from old Friesian horses exist near Germany and the Netherlands and the Criollo horse from South America. There were old breeds such as the Pure Spanish Breed and Belgian, along with the Arabian, and Lusitano. You will also see horses you view more commonly here such as the Quarter horse, Appaloosa, and the Paint Horse. To make this all possible there is a staff consisting of 20 to maintain and keep up with these horses, these amazing people include a stables manager, two vet techs, a blacksmith, and several grooms. Throughout one year, the horses eat about 17,500 bales of hay, 36,500 pounds of grain along with 1,750 pounds of carrots. In fact, the stables are comfy, they span about 16,500 feet.

The artists include 35 people which incorporate acrobats, dancers, and riders from places such as: Kyrgyztan, Morroco, Portugal, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Russia, and the United States. Cavalia displays the harmony between man and horse, acrobats and equestrian disciplines. It explores Dressage, Haute Ecole, Vaulting and Trick Riding. If you a western person, you will see talented ladies do tricks with a Lasso you probably had never seen in any rodeo!

As mentioned above, I was very fortunate to have the chance to interview both the founder of Cavlia who also co-founded Cirque de Soleil and also the Equestrian Director who happens to be the brain behind the stable. For a couple of weeks I have asked a group of my followers on Twitter for questions to ask these two talented individuals. One of the most popular questions included: how long is the training? Basically horses are trained based on what is going to be done in the show, Benjamin adds it takes, at “least 2 to 3 years to build it physically.” In addition, a second question about training included: do the horses need to get a certain foundation before they are taught the tricks, Benjamin answered simply
“build the base” and that it is longer to learn than the tricks. You are probably wondering what type of feeding program they are on, it was also another popular question from my followers. Benjamin mentioned that they are fed “really good hay”, they base the feeding program if the horses have been performing recently. Finally to end the horse related Q&A, the acrobats learn horse tricks and horse people learn acrobatic stunts and when the horse is finally done with the show they send them to their farm in Montreal for a break or they send them into retirement.

I ended my video interview with the man of the hour, Normand Latourelle. He was very friendly and I was mostly on my toes just because I was speaking with such an accomplished genius. The most interesting question I was given to ask him was: can you give me your perspective of the ongoing show, does the show resemble your original vision? If not, how is it different from your original starting concept? Basically he answered, “it is the same show and idea” but the special effects and acrobats have changed, plus there are 60 horses, horses have been replaced after 5 years, he also added, the horses have “toured for 5 years or have been retired” or brought back from Canada. Finally, Latourelle added, if you have seen the show “when it started in 2003, you might have recognized about 50%, we keep changing the show in every city, it keeps everyone awake, it isn’t a routine, we want to pretend we are the best performing show in the world.”

My followers on Twitter really wanted to know what brought him together with Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado. He had told me the story of how they met. Most importantly, he got the concept for the end of his show, basically he said, “horses represent nature, we have to respect them totally, we have to hear what they have to say.”

What inspired him to add horses to the element? It all started when he created a horse as an extra in a show in Canada, there were 100 performers but a single horse crossed the stage and the audience was following the horse not the performers. He often tells his artists, “you are not the star, it is all about horses, the applause is not for you. It is for the horses because of what you do with them.” Finally, when will Cavalia be in your city, I asked and to be honest I kept begging him for the answer, he answered, “I hope I could tell. We’ll wait to see how good it goes in this city. We cannot confirm.”

Finally I would like to say, this is an inspirational show. If you can afford a lesson with your horse, you can afford a ticket. I believe it can inspire you to pursue to become a better equestrian. I had never seen the things I saw on that stage on a pasture or even in my dreams, all I can say is that it brought me to tears several times. I don’t want the spoil the surprises. To view my video interview with Normand Latourelle and Benjamin Aillaud and view exclusive tour of the stables please visit my website, under my Blog.

Equitrekking: Exploring the World on Horseback, a TV Show

Does travelling around the world on horseback and learning about local culture, history, and most importantly, food seem of interest to you? Well it is the story of Darley Newman’s life. She is the Emmy nominated host and producer of Equitrekking, a view of the world on horseback through a video camera lens aired on PBS.

Her show includes interesting rides such as the challenge of rounding up Bison in Utah, her highest ride which was in Engineer Mountain in Colorado, or best view of wildlife on the saddle such as her adventure in Costa Rica; where she saw, bright macaws, iguanas, monkeys, frogs of wild colors. Other adventures include visiting the crater of a volcano in Maui and her coldest ride so far in snowy Quebec. As for riding unique horses, she rode championship cutting horses in Colorado, famous movie star horses in Utah, and award winning Andalusian horses in Spain.

I had the pleasure of meeting Darley over the internet after she had just finished filming in Jordan. When I interviewed her I asked her the million dollar question: how did she get this job? She said it was her idea and she conceived it while she was working in TV in New York City, she presented her idea and she was told she would get the job as long as she found sponsors. She found the sponsors and got started on her show. I am assuming it wasn’t as easy as that? She had majored in radio/TV in college and worked in several jobs such as being a cameramen and doing pre-interviews for 48 Hours, she basically had lots of experience before having her own TV show. It was interesting to see someone who had a passion pursue such a big dream about having their own show about horseback riding throughout the world. I wonder what type of mental attitude or frame of mind she needed to succeed; she said “it takes hard work and creativity.”

Darley was raised in South Carolina where she learned to ride at the age of seven in camp in the mountains of North Carolina. She traveled and studied in Spain and Italy during her late teen years, which fueled her passion for the different cultures of the world. Due to the show, she rides different styles and disciplines, she mostly rides English.

To sum up, this is a great show to watch if you love to learn more about travelling on horseback, like Darley mentioned when she travels she is with the locals who tell you stories and take you to natural places probably not seen or mentioned on the internet, books, or other TV shows because of the difficulty of getting there, only through horseback. She travels on wild horses, trained the by the locals.  She has a book called, “Equitrekking, Travel Adventures on Horseback.” To learn more about Equitrekking or about Darley, please visit her website for showtimes at

A Splash of Information about Common Diseases of the FL Horse

Sea World was the location for learning about common diseases affecting the Florida Horse. This event was 12th Annual Florida Horse owners Seminar hosted by the Florida Equine Veterinary Services, Inc. This year’s speakers were Dr. Dawn Logas and Dr. Robert MacKay. Dr. Logas discussed topics such as “What’s Bugging Your Horse” and “You Can’t Judge A Mass by its Cover.” Dr. MacKay discussed topics such as “EPM” and “Anhidrosis in the Horse.”

What’s Bugging Your Horse?

Dr. Logas is the owner and the Dermatologist at the Veterinary Dermatology Center in Maitland, FL. The most common reason for itchiness in horses is allergy or insect hypersensitivity. This is usually painful or an uncomfortable bite.  The allergy causes a constant immune reaction that stays much later after the bite has occurred.  There are a variety of insects affecting Florida Horses such as Culicoides, Blackflies, Stable flies, Horn flies, Mosquitoes, Deerflies, and Horseflies. Culicoides feeding location is usually dependant on the species but can occur in the ventrum, dorsal such as mane or tail; it usually feeds in the sunrise and sunset and depends on standing water, manure, decaying vegetation. Blackflies feeding location occurs in the ears, face, abdomen, thighs; they feed in the morning and evening, they depend on running water. Stable flies feeding location on the horse is on the legs and abdomen; it usually feeds in the daytime under shady trees and early morning and late evening; they live off of manure and decaying bedding. Horn flies feeding location occurs in the umbilicus, they feed in the daytime and live off cow manure. Mosquitoes feeding location takes place in the back of the body, they feed at dusk and after sunset, they live off of water. Deerflies feeding location is on the sides of the chest, flanks, and front legs, they feed in the daytime, and survive on vegetation and water. Horse flies feeding location occurs on the sides of the chest, flank, and front legs, occurring during the daytime, and the flies survive on vegetation and water.

Diagnosis is vital, it is important to know the horses’ history, how long has it lived in Florida, and where exactly it is itching. Skin testing can confirm the diagnosis. Repellant can work on most flies except horse and deer flies. It is recommended to use 2% Permethrin at least two or three times a week. If the horse is sensitive to permethrins then try Avon’s Skin So Sensitive Bath Oil or Equisect (Pyrethrums). It has been proven that onions, yeast, and vinegar don’t work for skin treatment. Suggestions for environmental treatment include buying mesh screens (32×32), stall fans, and barn sprayers, clearing up swampy areas.

You Can’t Judge a Mass by its Cover

This is best described by looking at pictures. Sarcoids are the most common equine tumor they are locally aggressive, non malignant, fibroblast cell origin. They are 6 types of Sarcoids such as occult, verrucous, fibroblastic, nodular, mixed, and malevolent. Occult basically looks like ringworm. Verrucous has a wart-like appearance and non-aggressive. Fibroblastic are aggressive, fleshy, and affect eyelids, groin, and limbs. Nodular are mostly under the skin, 5-20mm in diameter, and are firm. Mixed means they have a pus-like form and occur in face, eyelids, and middle of the thighs. Malevolent have enlarged lymph nodes. The best treatment is to not remove since it could cause infection and it is best to leave untreated for occult and verrucous.

Equine Squamous Cell Carcinoma is an invasion tumor of squamous cells caused by facial sun exposure or smegma-penile and prepuce lesions seen in draft horses such as geldings and stallions. Suggestions for treatment include avoiding UV light, keep indoor in peak sun light hours, and wearing sunscreen or regular preputial/vulva washing. Pythiosis is looks like dead tissue and could include gray-white kunkers.  It affects humans, dogs, horses, cats, and cattle. The best treatment includes surgical excision and to vaccine. Habronemiasis is extremely itchy, ulcer type of nodules, it is hypersensitivity reaction that could occur in the legs and eye area. It is common to have the same horse undergo it every year. The best prevention is controlling the insects and flies by using products such as Ivermectin and Permethrins. Most importantly is to keep wounds clean and covered.

Anhidrosis in the Horse

Dr. Robert MacKay is a professor at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Anhidrosis is a common problem in Florida throughout the summer months; it means basically lack of sweating. The history includes transportation of English horses to India and noticing their lack of sweating. Signs include exercise intolerance, prolonged recovery, high respiratory rate, high rectal temperature, dilated skin blood vessels, and seeking the shade or water, and getting heat stroke with exercise. It doesn’t affect Arabian horses. It is pretty common in Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds. The type of activity that it is seen is in retired horses and non-racing athletics.  Treatments that may help include: moving to cool climate, keep cool, and retire from activity but there isn’t legitimate treatment. It is common by 4.3% in South Florida, 1.7% in Central Florida, and 0.08% in North Florida.


Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) results in incoordination and weakness. Typical signs include dog-sitting and down in the front legs. You can usually see there is brain disease and muscle wasting. The PowerPoint presentation included great videos that Dr. Mackay discussed how a normal horse and a horse with EPM differ, slides of spinal cords affected with EPM. The opossum is the definitive host and the intermediate hosts are raccoons, stripped skunk, and nine-banded armadillo. What increases risk of developing EPM:  include age (young horses and horses over 14 years), opossums, previous health events, season such as fall, and usage: like for racing or performance. Prevention includes controlling your opossum population such as trapping, securing your grain/hay storage in feeder/waterer and by leaving the dog out. EMP associated with S. neurona infection is seen with a prevalence of up to 62% in Michigan compared to 28% in Florida. Having  S. neurona  infection is about 50% common. Treatment includes Marquis or Sulfa/pyrimethamine which could costs about $3,500. In conclusion, recovery depends on delay of treatment, 50-80% horses improve with treatment and 20-40% recovers completely.

Behind the Scenes tour of the Clydesdales at Sea World, included with the Seminar

Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed 11th Annual Ocala Equine Shortcourse:

A Great Educational Experience by the Pros

This was an impressive educational experience. I felt I was back at the University of Florida studying Equine Sciences with latest research and technology from the experts. This daylong seminar covered vaccination programs, nutrition, training tips, topics on drug resistance parasites, and medical advances in equine lameness related to specifically performance horses by the leading experts in the industry. It was one of kind experience being with the best of the best all within the same room and most importantly being able to go up to them face to face with questions. If you weren’t able to attend to the event that had over 100 pre-registered attendees, I will give you a summary on the most important areas covered.

Vaccination Programs: What does your horse really need?

Dr. Amanda House, DVM, is the director of the Equine Research Program at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine and assistant professor in Equine Health and Extension.  Dr. House gave the audience a general overview of fatal diseases such as Rabies, Tetanus, Encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE), and West Nile Virus such as what are the symptoms, clinical signs, and when to vaccine your horses. She also described what would be considered “normal” physical examination numbers in a horse’s rectal temperature, heart rates, respiratory rates, piles of well formed manure per 24 hours. She explained  why horse owners should properly vaccine your horse and how to  vaccinate. Dr. House described the different methods of vaccine technology such as modified live, recombinant vector, chimeric vaccines, killed vaccines, and DNA vaccines.  She went into detail about maternal antibodies such as taking advantage of maternal antibodies and boost all mares 4-6 weeks prior to foaling.  Basically, she said that according the AAEP guidelines: horses should get the tetanus vaccines yearly, EEE/WEE every 4-6 months, West Nile Virus yearly, and Rabies yearly. Most horses and performance horses should also get their Influenza  vaccines every 3-4 months, and Equine Herpesvirus every 3-4 months and adults possibly every 6 months. Dr. House also described that some horses due to external conditions and situations should be vaccine against Strangles, Potomac Horse Fever, Botulism, and Rotavirus. For more information you can

Nutritional Strategies for Athletic Horses

Dr. Kelly Vineyard, Ph. D.  is a well respected Equine Nutritionist  for Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed. I am very passionate about equine nutrition and I enjoyed her lecture since she explained it all very simply. For example, nutrients that are affected most by exercise include: water (produced by sweat), energy, electrolytes, and vitamin E (antioxidants). The typical horse drinks about 6 to 7 gallons per day, exercising horses drink about 9 to 24 gallons per day, which means that total sweat loss equals 1.5 gallons per hour in heavy sweat meaning that in a hot/humid day a horse can sweat up to 4 gallons per hour! Energy is composed by Carbohydrates such as sugars, starches, and fiber. Dr. Vineyard put emphasis on starches since horses with special conditions need a diet low in starch/sugar such as Cushing’s syndrome (PPID), Metabolic syndrome such as insulin resistance, horses prone to laminitis, and horses with EPSM/PSSM. Starch is a great component in a diet of a normal horse with increased energy requirements, the starch should be under 2 g/kg Body Weight/ meal. Fat: there are several benefits to fat such as reduced excitability, improved hair coat, boosted energy density of the diet, lowering of metabolic heat, and most importantly using it as fuel for exercise. The most important idea that got the attention of the audience was of how to feed the horse on the day of competition. For example, the night before the event: give free-choice hay and normal grain, the morning of and for the duration of the competition: don’t feed full grain less than 4 hours prior to competition and you can feed small amounts (.5 to 1 lb) throughout the day at a 1 to 2 hour interval.  In addition, you should offer lots of forage like soaking hay increases water intake. Horses with gastric ulcers should be given alfalfa hay about every 5 to 6 hour intervals, providing horses with access to hay to keep them chewing, small meals of feeds low in sugar and starch such as Ultium, WellSolve, Nature’s Essentials; provide pasture turnout and reduce stress. Feeding horses with sensitivity to sugar/starch should be kept in a regular exercise program, soaking the hay could lower the sugar/starch content up to 30%, and using a grazing muzzle in the spring and summer seasons.

Round Table Discussion: Training Tips from the Pro’s & Live Demonstrations

This was performed by Lynn Palm, Aaron Vale, Kyle & Jennifer Carter which I can’t even describe how many wins and how much talent they each have in their own discipline. The Live demonstrations were very interesting and the crowd was in awe with the training tips from these pros and the high jumps through the obstacles. After their demonstrations, the audience had a chance to ask them questions about their training and experience on horse matters. For example, one question was about getting to do a horse to do lead changing,  Lynn Palm said they if a “horse does it naturally they will do it easier” but if they don’t want to do it “take longer, and not as good quality.” What age do you start jumping horses? Aaron said “breaking a horse at a young age, doing some low jumping, in round pin or jumping shoot, to see what their instincts are, before I feed them for three years …I better find out.” What do you look for in a horse as a potential for jumping? Kyle said “see them over a rail, walk, trot, canter, see them over a small 2.5 to 3 feet high [jump].” Moved horses to Home: what do you need and how to perform multiple function training? Measurements? Lynn Palm said start with “confined area is always desirable, I don’t have round pins, I like old arenas 60 to 70 W by 120, make moves graduals.”An important question was brought up an audience member a hard time training her horse and she asked if there was a probability that a horse simply can’t do what it is told to do? Lynn Palm said, “suitability is number one, it is constantly evaluating the horse you already have, two questions: are you safe? and are you having fun?, and if you can’t say yes to those two questions, that horse needs to go with someone who can deal with it, overall well being, you got to be safe and have fun.” The final question was based on basic shoeing practices. Lynn Palm said she  “analyzes conformation, angle of pasturn, type of foot and how he lands on the ground, that he lands flat,  try to keep it as simple as natural as possible, least complicated, if he has a good foot, I don’t shoe him, the same with trimming.” Kyle said “keep it at the baseline, very conservative, do what’s right and necessary.” Aarons said he tries to do “as needed, try to be simple.”

Drug Resistance Parasites: Is your deworming program still on track?

Dr. Wendy Vaala, DVM, is an equine technical services specialist for Intervet Inc. Dr. Vaala brought awareness to the audience by informing them that there are drug resistant parasites in horses. For example, small strongyles have developed resistance to a products such as Panacur® , Anthelcide®, and Strongid® and some drugs such as Zimectrin® and Quest® are reporting that small strongyles are returning quicker after being treated with this. There are areas that pinworms are found that are developing resistance to Ivermectin. There is an alarming increase in the number of reports that foals, weanlings, some yearlings are becoming resistant to drugs that include ivermectin, moxidectin, and pyrantel to treat roundworms (ascarids). The treatments for tapeworms are feared to not be effective as they once were. The problem is that many horses are probably dewormed quiet frequently or at the wrong time or with drugs that are not effective anymore. It might be the fact that these programs to control parasites are not supervised by veterinarians or without testing it with fecal analysis to see how effective they really work. The problem might be that there hasn’t been a new class of dewormer in the market for over 25 years. Most importantly, it is known that 20 to 30% of Adult horses shed 80% of the eggs.  Dr. Vaala did a great job with informing the audience about the different classes of drugs and how they treat each type of parasite. She showed pictures to describe what each parasite looks like and how they affect the each of type of horse such as treating adult horses and young horses (foals, weanlings, yearlings). It is important not underdose your horse by using weight tapes or scales to find out their body weights and read the instructions of each drug for your horse. Doses are based on weight.  She goes by the policy that “the right drug at the right dose at the right time in the right horse.”

Equine Lameness: What we can & can’t do to fix it

Dr. Tim Lynch, DVM, works for Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital. Dealing with lameness is the highest costs of horses in the United States. It is estimated that the costs of diagnosting and treating this condition is nearly one billion dollars. The injuries derived from athletic horses can be broken down into two categories: soft tissue or orthopedic. Soft tissue injuries are composed of non-bone structures. Orthopedic injuries consist of bone and joint. This discussion of locking plates became controversial to the audience since it is new form of treating long bone fractures by locking the screw and plate to the bone and repairs it rigidly. It doesn’t provide any leeway. Once you take it out, it provides “outstanding” results. The costs of using this treatment are expensive due to the costs of the screws and plates and equipment. Prognosis for long bone fractures depend on which bone and if the fracture is open and how many pieces are involved. Osteoarthritis (OA) can be treated through injections of corticosteroids alone or in conjunction with a hyaluronic acid (HA) products. The type of OA varies but it leads to cartilage damage or chronic pain or lameness. Arthoscopy in horses has been a method used for 30 years to treat and diagnose joint problems by eliminating osteochondral chips or osteochondral dessicans lesions. Another controversial discussion was the discussion of Interleukin 1 receptor protein antagonist (IRAP) which is an enzyme receptor blocker molecule that is used to treat OA.  This uses the horse’s own serum to create a blocking molecule for the receptor of the key harmful OA enzyme interleukin 1. It is safe to use but the efficacy is indistinct. Multiple doses can be yielded from one treatment and there is no host response. Soft tissue treatments include rest and wrap, ice, pressure. Shoeing is also good to reduce straining. Dr. Lynch went into detail about on the pros and cons on other advances for treating soft tissues injures such as shock wave treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Stem Cells, and Surgical procedures.

How to Find out if your Mare is Pregnant through a Simple Blood Test

Imagine being able to test your mare for pregnancy without your veterinarian performing palpation or using an ultrasound machine? Your wishes have now become true. BioPRYNes, is a blood test that is very accurate and safe for your mare. It detects pregnancy by determining the amount of estrone sulfate in the serum or plasma of horses through an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). This test can determine pregnancy as early as 70 days post breeding or as late as two weeks before foaling. This is great for cases of natural service or artificial insemination in which 70 days have passed service. The cost of the laboratory test is $25 and doesn’t include needles or sample tubes, which can be purchased through your Vet or Veterinary supply store. This can be easily done by the owner or veterinarian by obtaining a 3cc sample of blood from the jugular vein, a simple to perform procedure.  This test may be less expensive than palpitation and/or ultrasound. Additionally this test can also be used to determine the viability of the fetus throughout gestation and determine cryptorchadism in stallions or geldings. The blood test has been used for routine monitoring of a pregnancy to check the viability of the fetus says Jeremy Howard Sales Manager at BioTracking. If the estrone sulfate levels drop, it could indicate the fetus is stressed or maybe even dead. For more information about BioPRYNes, contact BioTracking, LLC, call 208-882-9736 or visit their website at

Get your Hats ready for the Little Everglades Steeplechase Horse Race

Get you hats ready to be blown away by the Mercedes-Benz Little Everglades Steeplechase Horse Race, chosen to be the Best Attraction in 2008 by Florida Monthly Magazine. The horse race is different than other races because it is a mile and a quarter in length that includes jumps throughout the grass track. There will be about six races and the purses range from $2,000 to $7,500. Apart from horses, you will see Terrier races, it will be exciting seeing them run on a 150 foot course with hurdles on the track. Later on throughout the day, there will be a carriage parade full of different breeds of horses all over the track.

Apart from horses, there will be live entertainment in the party pavilion from noon to six. Finally, the event that brings in the most attention is the hat contest and it is broken down to different categories such as most unusual, funniest, creative, and most elegant. To keep the children happy throughout the day there will be rock climbing, bungee jumping, pony rides, petting zoo, get close to a Florida Panther, meet with Jumbo the Clown, enter the Butterfly Encounter tent and much more!

The Mercedes-Benz Little Everglades Steeplechase will provide funds to local charities such as Diabetic Charitable Services, Pioneer Florida Museum and Village and Quantum Leap Farm, Inc. This event will be on Sunday, March 8th in Dade City. If you have any questions, please call 1-866-770-5954 or

Inaugural IPHF US Paso Fino National Show

The beginning of November starts off with the first US National Show from the International Paso Horse Federation.  The IPHF is a new Paso Association “where integrity, passion, heritage, and friendship meet.” Members of this Paso community are coming from all over the United States, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. There will be a variety of horses not just Paso Finos, but trote/galope horses, and puro trocha horses. The event will be held in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center known for being a state of art facility. The president of IPHF encourages horse lovers “to come to…see some of the best Pasos in the world performing with perfection….while having an opportunity to learn about the heritage of our breed and the cultures of our members. Of course, we want it to be entertaining so we have scheduled what we are calling Paso Fino Primetime.”

The Primetime Paso Fino show kicks off on Friday night with the Parade of Flags Featuring Professional Trainers with Performance Mares, Mounted Cowboy Shooting by former PFHA president and trainer of the year Rick Meyer, and Equine Extremist Tommy Turvey. The following night there will be the Parade of Flags Salute to Youth on Saturday night with encore performances of Equine Extremist Tommy Turvey, and Mounted Cowboy Shooting. The Primetime Paso Fino show starts at 6:00 pm on both Friday and Saturday night, also included is the performance of Gilberto de Paz and the Tropix Latin Band and many more surprises. The Championship show will be on Sunday. This event will be viewed LIVE through internet stream throughout several different countries in South America and the Caribbean; you could get more information through or

In addition to the shows and the entertainment, there will be demos on how to “Ride a Paso.” This will be hosted by professional trainers Diego Bravo and Alonso Betancur, located by the round pen. The purpose of this is to introduce new riders to the gait of a paso, which is known to be smooth enough to ride and hold a glass of wine without spilling. This is great opportunity for riders to get the professional guidance and coaching from respected trainers in this community.

This will prove to be an exciting and competitive show because of the sponsors and participants. They include: Startown stables, El Tomaria, Horse Haven, Heaven’s Horses, United Paso Finos, La Libertad, Hacienda El Portico, Las Margaritas, Criadera Dona Lola, 4-J, and the Besilu Collection. This task will be enforced by the following judges: Dr. Rolando Colon and Diego Gonzalez from Puerto Rico, Jaime Benavides and Mauricio Camacho from Columbia, and Sharon Londono representing the US. When asked on how the judges will be continuously evaluated Marcia Davis said, “we believe that the committee has worked very hard to select some of the leading Paso experts in the world as our judges. Members of the committee will be onsite during the show evaluating the scoring and performance.”

This organization has obviously become a fast growing federation because “the goal of the IPHF is very simple – we want to promote the Paso show horse through shows, activities, and events. We started IPHF in August 2007 and when the public learned out ideas and goals, we received overwhelming support,” said Marcia Davis. The IPHF U.S. Championship will be in Jacksonville, on November 7-9, 2008. For more information please visit,

Top Show Horses found at Cross Creek Paso Fino

In the horse capital of the world, in Ocala lies one of the most renowned farms surrounded by 104 acres  for the creation and maintenance of Paso Finos horses in the United States.  The land being owned by the Wilson family along with the horse reproduction business composed of sisters Marcia and Roseanne along with her husband Julito Garcia. The journey of Cross Creek Paso Fino started way before one of the owners was able to drive. Julito used Paso Finos as a form of transportation long before he got behind the wheel of a car. He has descended from a father who was a trainer in his native Puerto Rico. Little did Julito know that he will be competing in the future in shows as far north as Asheville, NC to far west in Tunica, MS and down south in Miami, Florida doing what he does best, training and placing horses highly in all competitions attended.

The discovery of the Paso Fino started at Equitana in 1995 when Marcia was searching for a smooth ride after being brought up around quarter horses for pleasure riding. The Cross Creek farm started in Little Rock, Arkansas on a farm that was 40 acres, after a couple of years, a farm of three horses developed to be a dozen horses.  After a couple of years of traveling to Ocala for reproduction purposes the idea of moving to Ocala was conceived. Roseanne started having Julito as a trainer and that’s when he had started to gradually take a part of this management over a period of years.

Over the last decade, Cross Creek has developed into a business solely for breeding, training, and selling of their horses. The quality offspring are maintained “in the ribbons” throughout Florida where it is most competitive and leading.  The averages of number horses in the farm are 30 that started from a brood mare operation of six mares. The fusion of purchase of 2001 World Cup and 2002 National Champion Fino stallion, Gentil of La Vitrina along with the breeding of other stallions from the finest stallions in the Paso Fino breed along with three multiple title holding mares such as La Tobiana de La Sierre, Porcelana de la Sierra, and Sinfonia de JF have created offspring of the unsurpassed superiority. The levels of assembly have been kept through the usage of embryo transfers that resulted in the most excellent. Several mares that competed at national and international levels that were produced in the farm were later sold in the competition sector included Encantadora CC, Marcia Dos, and Gentileza. Cross Creek farm owns three fillies that hold prestigious titles from the one of the most competitive events in the breed: The Paso Fino Grand Prix.

The inaugural national competition from the International Paso Horse Federation will be held in Jacksonville on November 7-9.  There will be four horses going to the show and they include: Sinfonia de JR, Havana CC, La Palabra de La Coseche, and Sonora CC. Palabra and Sonora will be participating in the Classic Fino Schooling Fillies 36-48 months division and their sire is Cross Creek’s stallion Gentil de La Vitrina. After competing in the Amateur Owner Fino Division for several years, Sinfonia will be competing in Professional Performance Mare Division and Havana competing in the next older age group for Fino fillies.

Both Roseanne and Julito are exceptionally involved with the development of IPHF and on the inaugural show in Jacksonville on November 7-9. She said that the show will be “our first chance to integrate new multimedia technology, a new judging system, and new emphasis on the spectators as participants in our events, into our competitions. We are very excited to see what happens and to support fresh ideas in the Paso Fino Breed.”

The Results of Mercedes-Benz Little Everglades Steeplechase

Many hats were blown away from this day of horse races of an audience of 12,000. This event was a perfect time for families and horse lovers. The day started with a lovely carriage parade of horses, Gyspy Vanners 4-in-hand Demo, then the action packed Jack Russell Terrier Races that seemed to be overflowing with crowds of children and adults! If it wasn’t the horse races, the kids were excited for the close encounter with a Florida panther or was it the rock climbing? I believe it was definitely the bungee jumping.

If you are a hat person, this event is meant for you. The crowds were full of lovely blooms of exotic flowers, ribbons, and different types of shapes of hats, the winners’ list of best hats included, Patsy Nathe, The Grand Prize; Peyton Tholl, The Most Creative; Carolyn Zella, The Most Elegant.

The crowd tended to head to the several options from the food vendors.  Since I had a press pass, I was assigned to go to Benedetto’s Fine Italian Cusine, they were a sponsor of the Galloping Gourmets Tent, and I had to say that that was one of the best Italian foods ever,  especially in their ravioli’s selection, I would head to their restaurant in Land O’Lakes if I was in that area.

The horses at this event are all winners for their performance and training to get this level of velocity on that turf track. In order to be at the Mercedes-Benz Little Everglades Steeplechase, the owners and trainers deserve respect for the amount of time and dedication for their training, maintenance, and finding the precise nutrition for the horses to excel on the track. There were six races and the number one winners included: Quick Now, Orchid Princess, Class Bop, Sunshine Numbers, Nationbuilder, and Pleasant Pick. The purses ranged from $2,000 to $12,500. Needless to say, it’s no wonder why this event was voted as Best Attraction of 2008, if you like the thrill and suspense of horse races, please attend this event in the future, you will not regret it!

Budweiser American Invitational Results

Excitement, adrenaline, and suspense were the tones of the night for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational Event on April 4th  in Tampa. This is one of the richest show jumping events and it has been named “Super Bowl of Show Jumping.” Also, this was the final qualifier for the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final. Many of the riders are Olympians from all over the world and most importantly, the audience had the chance to get up and get close with the obstacles and riders.  The winner out of these 34 riders was Chris Kappler on VDL Oranta, silver medal was given to Todd Minikus on Pavarotti, and third place winner was Cara Raether on Ublesco. This event was very exciting to watch and there are no words to describe the force behind these great athletes and how they jump high and land. The horses not only have the riders gasping for air after every jump, they also have the audience changing emotions and noise as well. These gifted creatures and athletes were like gravity as they performed, everything was drawn into them. For more information please see,

Lipizzans Arrive to Tampa Bay for a Great Cause

Founded in 16th century for the use of royalty in Austria, the Lipizzan horse is probably one of the most unique and aristocratic horses of modern existence. It was the Original Herrmann’s Royal Stallions of Austria that came to Tampa Bay to help generate funds for programs for the mentally and physical disabled.

The crowds were full of children of all ages to hear the narrative story of the history of these Fabulous Flying white stallions as they displayed “airs above the ground” performance. The audience was in awe and wowed through the dynamic performance of these stallions reenacting leaps and plunges as seen in wars of the distant past. The narrative story telling in the background would transport the crowd to the past, and how the Lipizzans seemed very courageous war creatures through their graceful movements and war like motions. Most importantly, the guests of this event were encouraged to visit the horses up close before and after the performances. Many satisfied visitors took pictures and got to pet and feel the stallions face to face.

The profits generated from this event will help the Saddle Up Riding Club which happens to be the only North American Riding for the Handicap Association (NARHA) in Pinellas County. Specifically, the profits will help buy the property in which they currently keep their program, which includes: aiding Pinellas county disabled riders, hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, and Horses for Heroes, helping returning war veterans. For more information about knowing more about Saddle Up Riding Club please contact Kellie at or 727-520-3132. Their website is

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