Denise Steffanus

Cribbing And Colic: Which Comes First?

If you have a cribber, chances are that horse is going to colic sometime during the period you own him. Not every cribber colics, but the two conditions often go hand in hand. Most scientific papers on colic include cribbing as one of its risk factors. The mystery is no one knows why cribbers are […]

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Need For Speed: Cow Study Shows Short Sprints Crucial To Healthy Bone Development

An ongoing controversy in the racing industry is whether training and racing young horses is detrimental to their growing bones. Naysayers claim athletic demand on immature bones causes them to break, but scientific research supports early training, because bone is living, dynamic tissue that becomes stronger and more resilient in response to the demand placed […]

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Steel Shoes May Be Better For Racehorses Than Aluminum, Farriers Say

Traditions are hard to shake in horse racing, but one area that appears open to change is shoeing. One of those changes in years gone by was to switch from training in steel shoes to aluminum plates. Pete Butler, son of respected farrier and clinician Dr. Doug Butler, wrote in his blog that steel shoes […]

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EPM: Diagnostics Have Evolved, But Cure Remains Elusive

In the 1990s, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) was regarded by horsemen as the greatest threat to the health of American horses. In response to their concerns, a group of researchers into the disease formed the EPM Society to consolidate their efforts to develop effective diagnostics and find a cure. Twenty years later, improved diagnostics can […]

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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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