Horse Showing

Don’t Hibernate When It Comes to Horse Health

December 17, 2014

Answer these questions to see whether you’ll be ready for horse-showing season this spring.

horse competing in trail

Stay on top of your horse’s wellness for the upcoming horse-show season by planning ahead for spring vaccinations. Journal photo

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Long winter days offer plenty of time to think about getting a leg up on the competition this spring. Make your horse’s health and wellness a priority. Get started by scheduling a spring examination now.

Dr. Nathan Voris, DVM, MBA, area veterinarian, Equine Technical Services with Zoetis, suggests planning ahead for spring vaccinations.

“Before spring training, shows and competitions ramp up, it’s time to address the wellness of your horse,” Dr. Voris said. “Horse owners can take simple steps to ensure animals are looking and feeling their best with a visit to a local veterinarian.”

A spring exam is a proactive way to help protect your horse’s health, comfort, productivity and longevity. Establishing a relationship with a local veterinarian will help ensure you’re set up for success for physical exams, dentistry needs, effective vaccination and deworming programs, and anything else your horse might need.

Keeping your horse healthy is very important. For more information on potential horse health issues, download AQHA’s Common Horse Health Issues report.

Before the exam, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What vaccinations did your horse receive last year?
  • Are you planning to board, show, train or travel with your horse in the next six months?
  • Have you noticed any weight changes in your horse in the last six months?
  • Has it been more than six to 12 months since your horse’s last fecal egg count?
  • Do you plan on making a change to your horse’s level of activity and/or travel?
  • Have you had a recent discussion with your veterinarian about these considerations?

“Whether it be as simple as developing a vaccination  program, or something more complex, making the extra effort to bring your horse’s wellness to the forefront will pay off this spring,” Dr. Voris continued. “In the area of prevention, controlling parasites and immunizations against infectious disease are good starting points. This will help offer peace of mind, knowing horses are protected from preventable problems.”

Vaccinations are an easy way to stay ahead of disease. Finding a proven, dependable vaccine to protect against diseases such as West Nile and equine influenza virus (EIV) starts with your veterinarian to help recommend the right vaccines for your horse’s lifestyle.

“Horse owners can depend on the FLUVAC INNOVATOR® vaccine line, because it helps offer demonstrated protection against EIV and is backed by the Zoetis commitment to continuously monitor and evaluate the efficacy and safety of its products,” Dr. Voris said. “Vaccination against this highly contagious respiratory disease is one of the most important things horse owners can do all year long.”

Do you have more questions about your horse’s health? Check out AQHA’s Common Horse Health Issues report.

Thawing temperatures bring disease-carrying mosquitos back to the barn. Help make sure the health of your horse is well-protected with WEST NILE-INNOVATOR®. A recent study shows WEST NILE-INNOVATOR can provide an immune response that is four times better than the large one-dose combination West Nile vaccines.1 It’s important to vaccinate your horse before mosquitoes, which transmit the virus, are at their peak.

“The spring exam is one of the most important visits a horse will make all year, and it’s a good time to take note of your horse’s normal vital signs and address any other maintenance issues that may come up,” Dr. Voris said. “A veterinarian is the best resource a horse owner has in terms of overall health and wellness.”

Call and schedule a spring exam for your horse today. To learn more about Zoetis products, visit Follow us on Facebook at


1 Cortese V, Hankins K, Holland R, Syvrud K. Serologic Responses of West Nile Virus Seronegative Mature Horses to West Nile Virus Vaccines. J Equine Vet Sci 2013;33(12):1101-1105.

All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2014 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. FLU-00040

Protect Your Horse-Showing Investment With Proper Leather Care

December 10, 2014

You invest a lot into your horse-showing equipment, so make sure it’s well cared for with these tips from AQHA Corporate Partner Farnam.

horse show saddle

Caring for your expensive leather is easy with these tips from Farnam. Journal photo

By Cynthia McFarland for Farnam

It’s not unusual for a high-quality, well-made saddle to cost more than the horse toting it. With the investment you’ve made in your leather tack, it only makes sense to take proper care of it.

It’s not just about looks. Safety is also paramount. Damaged or worn leather can break at the most inopportune moments, potentially putting you and your horse in a dangerous situation. Smart horsemen will pay as much attention to the condition of tack and equipment as to the health and well being of their equine partners.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prepare for Equine First Aid

December 3, 2014

Whether you’re at home or at a horse show, be armed with the right supplies and knowledge in the event of a horse-health emergency.

It is important to be prepared to administer a first-aid treatment on your horse at any time

It’s important to be prepared to administer a first-aid treatment on your horse at any time. Journal photo

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Despite their beauty and grace, horses can be prone to accidents. Mishaps can include cuts, bruises or something more severe. In the event of an emergency, every horse owner should have a working knowledge of first aid and an established plan of action as well as a well-stocked first-aid kit.

Emergency Reaction

Knowing how to react in an emergency situation is key. First-aid basics include:

  • Knowing your horse’s normal vital signs
  • Understanding wound care and proper bandage application
  • Considering all eye injuries to be emergencies
  • Recognizing and reacting properly to choke and colic
  • Ability to control bleeding from a wound

Plan of Action

When an emergency strikes, a call to your veterinarian should be your first step. Easy access to your veterinarian’s contact information will help make treating your horse a seamless process. In addition, a complete record of all your horse’s medications and vaccinations is essential, especially in an emergency. The EQStable app by Zoetis offers a great way to track all of this information on your iPhone.

First aid is important everywhere, including out on the trail. Because there’s no way of knowing what awaits you on the trails, download AQHA’s FREE Trail Ride Safety Tips report for advice on how to be as prepared for all kinds of situations.

Accidents and injuries can cause even the calmest horse owner to panic. What your horse needs most when he suffers an injury or wound is for you to remain calm and focused on getting the necessary help. Likewise, you may need to quiet your horse in order to examine any injuries he has sustained. Consider including DORMOSEDAN GEL® (detomidine hydrochloride) and NOLVASAN® Skin and Wound Cleanser in your horse’s first aid kit to help make wound care and bandaging tasks safer, easier and more effective. DORMOSEDAN GEL is the only oral sedative approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that is proven safe and effective for horse owners to administer at home with a veterinary prescription.

If your horse is injured, it’s vital to act quickly and effectively. Know where to locate your first-aid kit at all times. Brush up on taking vital signs, learn basic first-aid procedures and bandaging techniques, and use the EQStable app to periodically update your horse’s health information and key contact information, such as your veterinarian.

First-Aid Kit

Be prepared with a well-stocked, easily accessible first-aid kit. You should include supplies for wound dressing and cleaning, and sedatives for an anxious horse. Since injury can occur at any time or in any location, consider keeping one first-aid kit in your barn and another in your truck or trailer. Below are recommended items for your first-aid kit:

Trail riding can be very fun, but it can also come with unexpected dangers. To be prepared for what may come while out on the trails, download AQHA’s FREE Trail Ride Safety Tips report.

  • NOLVASAN Skin and Wound Cleanser
  • Thermometer
  • Roll of cotton
  • Gauze pads
  • Brown gauze
  • Telfa® nonstick pad
  • Adhesive wrap
  • Diaper
  • Leg wraps
  • Latex gloves
  • Eye wash
  • White tape
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Small flashlight and spare batteries
  • Hoof pick

Check out other effective Zoetis products at

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not use DORMOSEDAN GEL in horses with pre-existing atrioventricular (AV) or sinoatrial (SA) block, with severe coronary insufficiency, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory disease, or chronic renal failure. Do not use in anesthetized or sedated horses, or in conditions of shock, severe debilitation or stress due to extreme heat, cold, fatigue or high altitude. Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. Handle gel-dosing syringes with caution to avoid direct exposure to skin, eyes or mouth. See full prescribing information.

All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. ©2014 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. DOR-00037

Trail Class: Working the Rope Gate

November 19, 2014

Learn some horse-showing hints to “keep the cows in” during your next trail course.

horse rope gate

When you ride through the gateway, think about blocking the opening as much as you can. Jean Abernethy illustration

By Cynthia Cantleberry in The American Quarter Horse Journal

When you think about stepping up your form for the gate obstacle in trail, try thinking of why the obstacle is one of the required maneuvers for the class in the first place.

Trail began as a stock horse class. Why would you be on your horse to open the gate? Usually, it was because you were working cattle, and it was more efficient to open a gate horseback when you could. Of course, it also meant you needed to make sure the cows didn’t get out when you opened and closed the gate. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Showing Tips: Neck Sweats

November 12, 2014

If you show halter horses, you probably sweat your horse’s neck regularly. With proper care, you can make your horse’s neck sweat stay usable longer.

cracked horse neck sweat

When the neoprene rubber layer begins to show cracking and pitting, it’s time to move a sweat to the top layers of your neck sweat use. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

To get the most benefit out of neck sweats when conditioning and fitting halter horses, most trainers layer multiple sweats on the horse. It increases the sweat produced in a workout and helps the horse get more out of each work/sweat session.

“I keep a separate set of sweats for each horse in the barn to make sure I am using sweats that fit them properly,” says AQHA Professional Horseman Chris Arentsen of Trenton, Illinois. “It also avoids spreading any crud between horses.”

Chris prefers neoprene neck sweats – which stretch for the best fit – with adjustable Velcro tabs that allow him to get the neck sweat as snug as possible on the horse. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Showing in Dressage: Halt and Salute

November 5, 2014

A correct halt in dressage is all about your horse being balanced.

dressage horse halt and salute

After your horse halts squarely, salute by dropping your chin to your chest and moving your hand back to your hip. Journal photo

From America’s Horse

Because of the skills AQHA Professional Horsewoman Carla Wennberg developed riding western, all the horses she’s gone up through the levels with in dressage get 8s and 9s on their centerline and halts. It’s about collecting, balancing and pushing, and that’s something she’s learned all her life in a western saddle.

Let her tell you how to achieve the perfect centerline, halt and salute:

In Training Level Test 1, both halts are at X on the centerline. We need to start by nailing that trot down the centerline. Once we’re on the line, I imagine I’m in a tunnel. I focus all my aids – eyes up! – as if we’re in a tunnel, and the horse has got to stay in that tunnel, on those tracks the whole time. If he is leaning, it’s going to show up in the stop. When he is on the aids, when you have the power from behind, when he is straight and you say “Whoa,” everything just flows, beautiful and soft. Read the rest of this entry »

An Un Forgettable Horse-Showing Star

October 29, 2014

This 2007 gray stallion was the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show Farnam Superhorse.

un forgettable aqha superhorse

Un Forgettable competed in five classes to win his Farnam Superhorse title: performance halter stallions, senior pleasure driving, senior hunter hack, senior working hunter and senior hunter under saddle. K.C. Montgomery photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The much-anticipated 2014 AQHA World Championship Show is just days away. We hope you’ll join us as the world’s most talented American Quarter Horses and riders converge on Oklahoma City. Get your tickets today! If you can’t make it to Oklahoma City, view our live feed.

Here’s one of the most “Un Forgettable” moments from last year’s World Show:

Un Forgettable made his second trip to the AQHA World Championship Show one to remember as he captured the Farnam Superhorse title November 23.

For owner Laura “Shad” Te Grotenhuis of Marshall, Illinois, the win was a culmination of 14 whirlwind months, beginning when she first saw the gray stallion. Read the rest of this entry »

A Horse-Showing Dream Come True

October 22, 2014

A horse-crazy little girl grew up to win the 2013 Farnam All-Around Amateur award at the AQHA World Championship Show.

Meghan O’Malley and her American Quarter Horse, A Chanceof Blueskies, after winning the 2013 Farnam All-Around Amateur title. Journal photo

Meghan O’Malley and her American Quarter Horse, A Chanceof Blueskies, after winning the 2013 Farnam All-Around Amateur title. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

As we look forward to the AQHA World Championship Show November 8-22 in Oklahoma City, let’s glance back at a highlight from last year’s event:

Years ago, Meghan O’Malley of Suffolk, Virginia, would stay up late as a child to watch “America’s Horse TV.” She remembers one person in particular who was interviewed on the show – multiple Farnam All-Around Amateur winner Karen Evans Mundy.

“I would see her win (at the AQHA World Championship Show) on horses that she bought as yearlings,” Meghan says, “and that was a large part of why I wanted to get a yearling.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dressing for the Select Amateur Show Ring, Part 2

October 15, 2014

Here are some of the finer details of choosing a Select Amateur horse-showing outfit, like what to wear for a specific class and what color to choose.

In showmanship, Vlietstra suggests matching your top to your pants or opting for a darker complementary shade of pants. Journal photo

In showmanship, Vlietstra suggests matching your top to your pants or opting for a darker complementary shade of pants. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In Part 1 of this series, you learned the basics of choosing your attire for the Select division. This time we’ll talk about some specifics, like color and event.

Showmanship Suggestions

Functional, for the older exhibitor, is often a better aspect to consider than flash. “Follow your heart,” Suzanne Vlietstra, president of Hobby Horse Clothing Co. in Chino, California says about dressing for showmanship. “Be sure that whatever you wear is comfortable to move in and doesn’t restrict you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dressing for the Select Amateur Show Ring, Part 1

October 8, 2014

You dress appropriately for your age in your everyday life, but what about in the horse-showing ring? Here are some tips for your most flattering Select division show ring look.

horsemanship show top

For a sleek look, Suzanne Vlietstra of Hobby Horse Clothing Company suggests choosing a garment with a design that draws the eye upward, as well as keeping a low contrast between shirt and chaps. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Riders older than 50 should beam with confidence and fulfillment as they enter the show pen. There truly are benefits to being “seasoned in life.” If we approach these years with a lighthearted approach and a new look, we’ll reap the benefits. Just create a new beginning. Rethink color, style, accessories, makeup and hair.

Suzanne Vlietstra, president of Hobby Horse Clothing Co. in Chino, California, says that in general, as we age, we dress “a little quieter.” Less becomes more. The look becomes more sophisticated than sexy.

“If you have the body of a younger rider, then go for the styles that flatter your figure,” Suzanne suggests. But, if the post mid-life curse has sent fat cells venturing to where they have never gone before, dress to camouflage the unwelcome weight. Read the rest of this entry »

Tail Extensions 101

October 1, 2014

Five definite do’s with your horse’s tail extension.

horse tail extensions

Matching the right color for your horse is the first step in picking the right tail extension. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

When it comes to using a tail extension on your horse, one thing is certain: It shouldn’t stand out as an artificial tail. If it brings attention to itself and takes attention away from your riding performance, it’s a bad tail job. “You want to complement, not overpower the horse with your tail extension,” says Barb Delf, owner and operator of Custom Tails. Barb has hand-built hundreds of tail extensions over the years, and she has seen their use and abuse at hundreds of shows. Here are her top five tips on what to do when it comes to buying and using a tail extension. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse Showing at the East Novice Championships

September 24, 2014

Do-it-yourselfer Melissa Price shares her story from 2013.

melissa price novice championships

Get excited for the 2014 Level 1 championships with this story about do-it-yourselfer Melissa Price and her experience last year. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Melissa Price drove nine hours with two Basset Hounds, her boyfriend Shane and her other boyfriend Romeo to get to the 2013 Nutrena East AQHA Novice Championship Show in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Shane isn’t jealous, though. Melissa’s second boyfriend might be a “Romeo,” but he stays in his stall at night.

“A friend of mine owned (Hez A Radical Romeo), and I knew him from a 2-year-old being brought up, being a baby and going through western pleasure,” Melissa told the Journal. “He was sold to a friend who could no longer keep him, so she called me up and said, ‘We want you to have him. First dibs.’ So I bought him.” Read the rest of this entry »