Denise Steffanus

What Stands Up? Facts And Myths About Standing Wraps

Human athletes use a soothing balm to ease muscle aches caused by strenuous exercise. For equine athletes after training or competition, the groom rubs a soothing brace into the horse’s legs, covers them with cushion wrap, and then applies standing wraps.  Properly done, the groom will rub the topical treatment into the horse’s legs while […]

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Cast Horses: What To Do (And What Not To Do) To Help

Horsemen probably don’t comprehend how big and heavy a horse actually is until it gets cast against or under something and they have to get it unstuck. One futile tug on the mane of a cast horse and the person quickly will realize he or she needs assistance. “The first thing I would say is […]

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With Wet Weather Comes A New Hoof Problem: Retracted Soles

This year’s wet weather and seemingly endless mud are wreaking havoc on horses’ feet. Dr. Scott Morrison, head of the podiatry department at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., said he has seen more cases of retracted soles this year than ever before. In addition to Kentucky, he is aware of cases in […]

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For Farriers, A Talented Racehorse Can Sometimes Be A ‘Quirky’ One

No matter how many hundreds of horses a racetrack farrier shoes over the years, there will be that one horse that stands out—some not for the best of reasons. Being politically correct, farriers often call these horses “quirky.” Most are superstars of the track, so their idiosyncrasies are indulged as long as they keep winning. […]

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Kissing Spines: A Manageable Disease, With The Right Treatment Program

The horse’s spine is very different from a human’s. Each vertebra has a fin-like projection called a spinous process that extends upward from the spine. The spinous processes form the horse’s withers and back, and to them are attached thick ligaments and muscles. When two or more of these spinous processes are too close together, […]

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Epsom Salt: How It Works Its Magic

Epsom salt is a staple in every horseman’s tack room. Principally used in poultices and hoof packings, Epsom salt draws water out of the body, making it excellent for reducing swelling and removing toxins. If applied as a paste, it generates soothing heat. Because of its ability to pool water, Epsom salt is sometimes used […]

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Vinegar And Horses: What’s It Used For, And Does Science Back It Up?

Apple cider vinegar is the natural remedy of choice for many horsemen, even if science doesn’t support many of its purported benefits. Vinegar has been used medicinally for thousands of years, all the way back to the father of medicine, Hippocrates, who disinfected wounds with it, among other uses. Vinegar is a natural antifungal, antimicrobial, […]

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Shipping Fever: The Dos And Don’ts Of Prevention

The stress of travel is tough on a horse. Dozens of studies confirm that a horse’s immune system becomes depressed during transport, so it’s understandable many shipped horses develop respiratory disease. Horsemen generally lump everything from a case of the snots with a mild fever to life-threatening pleuropneumonia with a high fever under a term […]

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Corticosteroids Vs. Anabolic Steroids: What’s The Difference?

Corticosteroids and anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of natural hormones produced by the adrenal glands and gonads. Although they stem from the same precursor molecule, corticosteroids and anabolic steroids have very different purposes and uses. Corticosteroids most commonly are used to reduce the pain and swelling of musculoskeletal problems caused by inflammation — arthritis (joint), […]

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Bladder Stones: A Tricky, But Rare Issue In Horses

On December 26, Canadian champion grass horse Conquest Enforcer was euthanized due to complications from a bladder stone. After finishing last in the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes three months earlier, Conquest Enforcer was back in training in Florida when veterinarians took the 5-year-old horse into surgery to resolve a problem with his urinary flow. […]

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