Tuesday, April 28, 2015

AQHA Says No To Lip Chains

    This article came across my feed, and I must say I am pleased. The AQHA has (finally!) made lip chains illegal in halter classes, to go into effect January 1st, 2016. There is already a petition to reverse the decision (I'd post the link, but I really don't want to boost that signal).


     I wish any of the arguments went more into the quote from the AHQA president that "the use of lip chains in halter classes is not the intended use for lip chains," with which I heartily concur. Lip chains are, to over simplify, a form of physical sedative. They can be very useful for veterinary procedures where chemical sedation isn't needed, is contra-indicated, or isn't enough. Even in those cases, the risk of damage to the horse's mouth is huge, and I prefer to wrap the chain (2-3 layers of vetwrap is my preference, but disinfected electrical tape will work in a pinch). The risk for injury is exponentially increased if the horse is moved while wearing a lip chain- say, to walk & jog in a show class.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mythbusters: Equine History Edition

      So, there are a million and one myths & origin stories for different breeds, tack, traits, and riding in general. I want to put together a collection and do some mythbusting (or confirming). Send me your favorites!

Sunday, April 19, 2015



In lieu of a real post this week, please accept this video of Abdiel.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Conference Intermission

    I will be at the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference at CalState Stanislaus this weekend speaking about the Hanoverian Creams.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gaited Arabians

    Gait is one of those traits that often gets sly looks and questions about pedigree when it shows up in "unexpected" places, such as the Arabian Raseyn (below), and other gaited sons and grandsons of the Polish Arabian Skowronek. Skowronek's parentage has been questioned in part because of this trait, but a number of other early Arabians, including many offspring of the Egyptian Arabian Mesaoud, were also known to gait.

    Many travelogues and British soldiers' diaries mention this trait in desert bred animals, though sorting out which ones would be considered "Arabian" by todays standards is challenging. Non-trotting gaits gaits in early Thoroughbreds have often been attributed to the 'native' mares of Britain, but by the 18th century gaitedness was probably more common among the desert-breds than among the British stock used in establishing the thoroughly-bred horse.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Archaeology: Roman Britain

(click for article)

     A complete horse skeleton, estimated to date to the first century CE, has been found at a site in England. Initial suppositions about this find strike me as not quite right, though I eagerly await results. The first supposition is that it might have been "someone's prize thoroughbred;" I can only hope the speaker meant that it might have been someones prized mount of somewhat restricted breeding, as the Thoroughbred did not exist, even as a breed conceptualized in its infancy, until the 16th century. The other is that this horse may have worked in the quarries, but this too seemed a little strange; the harnesses used by the Romans were woefully inefficient for horses. I had to check with a couple classicist friends, but Romans were not in the habit of using horses for haulage. Brittania was a relative "backwater"to the the budding Empire, though, so perhaps this horse marked just how different life on the distant island was. Most startling to me is the initial estimate of a live height of 1.5 meters, or about 14.3 hands, which would have been largeish for a Roman horse, and positively enormous for a horse from the isles. I do hope the find is examined both for accurate and detailed measurements, and for signs of pathologies that may indicate its job while alive.