Updated: Jan 11
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FEATURING: CORINNA ANDERSON
Story by Stacy Pearsall and Photos Provided by Corinna Anderson
Eight hours north of the U.S. and Canada border in the remote countryside of Edson, Alberta, live horse-power couple, David and Corinna Anderson. David grew up rodeoing with his family’s business, Medicine Lodge Rodeo, which has been around for over forty years. Meanwhile, Corinna grew up nearby and helped on her father’s Appaloosa farm by trimming feet, starting horses, and supporting his breeding program.
“When I was a teenager,” explains Corinna, “My dad purchased a group of horses that included a big blue roan stallion who appeared to me to be more of a draft cross than a purebred Quarter Horse. He was big-footed and strong. I broke him to ride and decided that day forward, I would stick to horses just like him – that type.”
Before meeting and marrying David, Corinna went out on her own and started Jet Sands Quarter Horses, which she named after her beloved blue roan stud, Jet San Joe. She focused her breeding program on papered Quarter Horses at first before shifting to draft crosses. She and two other breeders jointly purchased a Percheron stallion to create robust, athletic ranch horses. She produced Jet Sans Joe-type crosses for six years until the other two co-stallion investors pulled out due to health reasons. Corinna wasn’t up to managing a draft stallion at that time, so the stud was sold.
As Corinna’s draft cross breeding program evolved, so too did her personal life. She married David in 2015 and with his support she developed a new breeding program direction. Corinna researched other draft breeds that would best suit her objectives in achieving the ultimate draft cross and she landed on the European Brabant. Their reputation of having a docile disposition, great confirmation and solid bone were just what she needed to round out the athleticism and agility of her Quarter Horse mares. The only hitch was she didn’t know much about the European Brabant in terms of health and maintenance or even where to find one. Nevertheless, she began the daunting task of tracking down a sire for her dams. Given the scarcity of the European Brabant in North America, that was no small feat.
“I figured I would call around and track down a European Brabant stud to cover my mares,” said Corinna, “But the few studs I found didn’t cover outside mares except for one stallion, Wind River Duke.”
Duke’s then-owner said she was willing to sell him and asked Corinna to, “Make an offer.” Another caveat to the Duke purchase negotiation was Corinna would have to purchase three mares who were in foal to Duke, along with Duke as well. But not all was as it seems. The first sign of impending trouble should’ve been when Corinna initially received pictures of a grossly underweight stud.
“He looked rough in his pictures,” remembered Corinna, “Like an old rodeo bucking horse. But I thought with a little care and lots of feed, he’d come around.”
Given Duke’s then-owner’s assertions that he was simply underweight, it was a surprise to Corinna to find a laminitic stallion upon arriving to pick him and the three mares up. Like most lay horse people who do not know the signs of laminitis, Duke’s then-owner may have been oblivious to his underlying ailments. However, as a farrier Corinna recognized Duke's physical posture and appearance meant he was likely laminitic. Unable to visualize his feet under the feathers, Corinna couldn't possible know the severity and extent of Duke’s issues. She did questioned whether Duke could even endure the three-and-a-half-hour ride back to her place given the immense amount of pain he appeared to be in. But she thought if she could just get him home, she could get him healthy. Little did she know just how much rehabilitating Duke would cost her financially, emotionally, and physically.
“Surprisingly, he survived the haul,” said Corinna. “When he got off the trailer, he drank water for a solid fifteen minutes. I think he was so sore at his previous place that he didn’t want to walk in from the pasture for a drink.
Corinna limited Duke’s movements and began him on a low sugar diet regime - one best suited for the unique nutritional needs of the European Brabant. As he gained weight, his whole appearance looked healthier. However, Corinna's mistake was in limiting his movements. The European Brabant is prone to stocking up and becoming laminitic when stalled. Therefor, Corinna didn't notice, or had no way of knowing, he was still in elevated pain.
“Knowing what I know now, I would have x-rayed him right away,” explains Corinna, “My approach would have been different. But he did put on weight and was doing well for a time.”
As Duke’s body condition improved, Corinna turned her focus to Duke’s lameness. His feet were long overdue for a trim. Her first objective was tackling his laminitis. She took photos and sent them to her farrier mentor, who offered support and guidance from a distance. She resected a large portion of Duke’s front hooves and used the largest hoof boots on the market with gel pad inserts in lieu of shoeing him.
“At that point, he couldn’t even rest a foot because of the pain,” said Corinna, “Let alone stand on three legs long enough to put a shoe on.”
Sadly, Duke went downhill after his initial trim despite Corinna’s efforts. She had trimmed Duke as she would any other normal horse unaware of another underlying, undiagnosed condition - founder where both coffin bones in his front feet were rotated and within 5mm of coming through his sole.
An abscess set in, and Duke’s pain elevated astronomically. Even with pain medication on board, Duke could barely stand. There was nothing left to do but call the vet, which took two days for the doctor to arrive. Given Duke’s pain, obtaining x-rays was a challenge but a diagnosis of founder was given, and humane euthanasia was recommended.
“I didn’t know what to do,” said Corinna somberly reflecting on the past. “I had such big dreams for him.”
Once again, Corinna turned to her farrier-mentor who sagely advised her that Duke’s successful recovery would rest squarely on her shoulders and ultimately depended on how much time and effort she was willing to invest in his survival. Instead of giving up, she went all in. She trimmed him religiously every week, gently exercised him in-hand, and walked an emotional tightrope that stretched somewhere between despair and hope on a daily basis.
After the first year of care, Duke kept abscessing over and over again. Since his heels had been removed to correct the rotation, his hooves needed support by way of a FormaHoof polymor. Corinna took an online course on how to apply a FormaHoof mold, so that she could treat Duke in hopes of improving circulation and ridding him of frequent abscesses.
The only hiccup is most FormaHoof kits are for standard-size horses. FormaHoof ordered Corinna a special mold from Greece that would fit Duke's 8" hoof span. Applying a draft-sized mold is a challenge all its own. One of the major obstacles being the time it takes for the polymor to set. Given the draft horse mold requires more material, the set time is three times longer than a standard-size horse.
Part of Corinna's certification required she take pictures and send them to the course leader for review. Getting Duke to cooperate long enough for the polymor to set and for Corinna to capture the necessary pictures was a Herculean effort that involved stocks, sedation and another pair of hands.
“I always wonder if I did right by him,” Corinna remarked. “I wonder if I put him through too much. Even thinking about it today, I get teary-eyed.”
For Corinna, those tears should be those of joy, not regret, because Duke is alive and thriving today. And for the first time since bringing him home in March 2020, Duke expresses his enthusiasm by nickering hello upon seeing her – music to any horse-person’s ears. It’s also proof positive that he’s happy to be alive and in her care.
“Duke taught me so much about myself and what can be achieved,” said Corinna. “I’m not a formally trained farrier, but Duke has been the best teacher.”
At 24-years-old, Duke has finally found his forever home where he can enjoy retirement in peace, surrounded by his herd of mares, his offspring and of course his faithful humans, David and Corinna. If that’s not enough joyous news, Duke produced eight European Brabant Appendix foals since arriving at Jet Sands Quarter Horses, and then covered and settled another five mares who are due in 2023.
As their love for the European Brabant grows, so too does their herd numbers. David and Corrina added four high percentage European Brabant fillies to their pasture last year and plan to breed them to Duke in the Spring, God willing.
The European Brabant Registry of America looks forward to adding more of Duke’s crosses in the European Brabant Appendix Record when they’re safely foaled this Spring. We also look forward to adding his purebred offspring to the European Brabant Studbook too.
EXPORTED TO THE LAND DOWN UNDER
Photos provided by Dr. Hernando and Lisa Plata
The European Brabant Registry of America would like to congratulate Dr. Hernando and Lisa Plata on the sale of their purebred European Brabant stud colt, Silver Meadow Archibald Haven Nando, better known as "Archie," to Australia in February 2023. Archie is out of Nicole Van de Vinkenbossen and is sired by Victor Van de Fossa Eugenia. Archie will be the first registered European Brabant to be sold outside North America. We wish him a safe journey and look forward to seeing his offspring in Australia in the years ahead. Bon Voyage!
A VERY BIG GIFT
Photos Provided by Rebecca Courtney
In October 2022, Dehan and Rebecca Courtney of All The King's Horses generously donated one of their European Brabant foals to raise money for horse charities and the European Brabant Registry of America was one of the beneficiaries receiving $5,000. Additionally, Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue and Jeremiah's Crossing both received $2500 each.
The "Colt for s Cause" grand prize winner was Kelly and Gary from Ohio. They gained a beautiful European Brabant Stock stud colt, AKH Pepper, who will enjoy a life of riding, driving, and log pulling. Congrats Kelly and Gary! Thanks again to all who supported AKH's fundraiser and a big THANK YOU to Dehan and Rebecca Courtney for such a generous gift.
BRABANTS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION
EBRA Member Stacy Pearsall is the Producer and Host of the PBS television series, After Action, which airs nationwide beginning in January 2023. You can stream the show online HERE, or check your local listings for air dates and times. Fun fact, Stacy's European Brabants feature in the show's opening sequence so our favorite breed will be seen by millions each week!
NOVEMBER ELECTIONS & APPOINTMENTS
Photos Provided by Stacy Pearsall
The EBRA's first election took place on November 9, 2022, and Stakeholder Member Austin Mantz won the vote to take over the Class I Director for a term of three years. Additionally, the Board of Directors appointed Sandi Austin as the new Treasurer for an indefinite term and appointed Olga Pushkareva to the Advisory Committee. To read their bios, please visit the Board of Directors Page and the Advisory Committee Page on the website.
MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS ARE DUE
EBRA memberships run January 1-December 31 each year. If you have not yet renewed your membership you can purchase the Single Membership plan HERE or the Farm Membership plan HERE. Be sure to select 'auto-renew' option to make sure your membership doesn't lapse in the future! All Memberships are eligible for discounts on registry services, coupon codes to the EBRA merchandise store and our partner organizations, and access to the Members-only portion of the website.
2023 POLICY CHANGES
During year-one of operations, the EBRA Board voted on several minor policy updates to better streamline the Registry processes for our Members. Here's a summary of what you'll see in 2023:
Farm Members will automatically have their farms listed on the website, unless they opt-out of posting. Farm listings include 3 complimentary photos (additional photos are available for a fee) so Farm Members are welcome to complete the farm listing form and send photos (email@example.com) if they want a more complete listing on the page.
Stallion Policies: All breeding stallions are required to have a DNA marker report, PSSM and JEB test results on file with the Registry before offspring will be registered. Though not required at this time, stallion owners are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the EBRA Leg Health Reporting program at ages 2, 6, and 10 to provide optimal data to compare the effects of environment, management choices, and breeding on leg health throughout the breed.
Appendix Brabants are eligible to enter the official record if they have at least 23.5% European Brabant blood, which is achievable by having one purebred European Brabant grandparent, or equivalent, in the pedigree.
Single Memberships can include up to two individuals (ie husband & wife or business partners).
Farm Memberships can add up to four authorized agents, which include family members and farm employees, who may conduct Registry business on behalf of the primary Member(s).
Stakeholder Membership requires ownership of an EBRA registered purebred European Brabant horse - current Members who own an eligible horse, but have not registered said horse will be classified as General (non-voting) Member, until the registration is completed.
Article by Stacy Pearsall and Photos Provided by Meggen Ditmore
Every horse-obsessed person needs their very own personalized pony. At least that's what EBRA Member and master-crocheter, Meggen Ditmore, says. Each of Meg's customized ponies are handmade based on photographs of real horses, or from people's imaginations.
After consulting with her clients, Meg searches for the perfect yarn combos to recreate people's four-hoofed friends. When finished, their custom-made ponies stand between 15-16" tall from rump to ear tip seated. From the forelock to the tail, every detail is crocheted.
From the horse's colorings ie: blaze, star, stripe, snip, left hind white coronet, right front knee high sock, left front leg mid-cannon white.... etc down to the varied color of the mane and tail, Meggen is spot on. She even pays special attention to accurately crocheting brands.
"The best reaction I've ever had was when I crocheted my friend Amber's champion reigning horse," recalled Meggen. "She was so surprised to see the detail and that I even included his unique brand."
As a horse lover, Meggen finds crafting these crocheted equines a stress reliever - a break from her all too important full-time job of nursing. She picked up the hobby ten years back but struggled at first being left hand dominant - all of her mentors were right handed. Nevertheless, she dove into the university of YouTube and taught herself how to crochet, knit and sew. Once she grasped the basics, she expanded and challenged herself by taking on more elaborate and complicated patterns. She even learned Amigurumi - the Japanese style of crocheted small stuffed toys.
"I like the challenge of creating new and inventive creatures," said Meggen. "I now have the skills to take what's in someone's mind and reimagine it in yarn."
Meggen suggests anyone who's interested in learning crochet should just dive right in. She said YouTube videos are a big help and they're free. Don't worry all you left-handers, she says there are teachers on YouTube for your too. You can see more of Meggen's creations on her Etsy page HERE.
NO MORE ELBOW GREASE REQUIRED
Article and Video by Stacy Pearsall
The majority of how-to articles suggest you should clean your tack after every use. According to Dover Saddlery, you should wipe dust and sweat from your tack immediately after use with a sponge or cloth that is barely moistened with cool water. Then rub a thin layer of glycerin soap on the leather to seal the pores and keep it soft but not sticky. Honestly, I don't do that. Partly because I'm too tired by the time I'm done working horses, but mostly because I think it's overkill. Am I right? I rinse and dry the bit, dry any sweat and moisture with the swipe of a dry rag and hang the bridle back on the peg - the same goes for my harness and saddles.
Right or wrong, here's my routine. Once a quarter, I condition my leather tack with Passier® Lederbalsam Leather Conditioner and clean my biothane with warm soapy water. Biannually, I'll wash and scrub all the gear in my tack room using Fiebing's Saddle Soap. But here's the deal... I have terrible arthritis. After getting one harness done, I'm ready to quit.
I knew there had to be a better, more efficient way of scrubbing my gear. I'd been using the Drill Brush Power Scubber by Useful Tools around the house and I thought, "If this could work for cleaning house, could it work for tack too?"
I selected the softest of the brushes, which is equivalent to a soft bristle tooth brush to scrub my collars. It worked like a charm and saved me a lot of elbow grease!
Article and Video by Stacy Pearsall
Troughs should be cleaned about once a week by emptying all water from the tank and scrubbing it, making sure to scrape off the dirt, debris and algae. Sometimes that's a challenge - especially when the algae has cemented itself to the sides. I have two tools I use for water trough maintenance - a pool skimmer I use to fish out leaves and "floaters" once a day and a pool brush with hose attachment that I use to scrub the tub after I dump the water.
According to the University of Minnesota, algae growth may cause your horse to drink less and can be toxic in some cases. Many factors contribute to a dirty stock tank and poor water quality. Dirt, manure, feed droppings and algae can all contaminate tank water. In small amounts, algae can turn the water green and produce a bad odor, which may reduce how much water your horse drinks. In larger amounts, algae can make your horse sick.
Best Tank Cleaning Practices:
Empty the tank.
Scrub it clean.
Rinse the tank with a 10 percent bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
Rinse it twice more with clean water.
Refill the tank. The horses can safely drink from it right away.
[Featured Top Row Left to Right: River, Rhett and Millirons Prince Charming; Featured Middle Row Left to Right: Rambo, Hero and Romeo; Bottom Row Left to Right: Cinnemon, Ginger and Aura]
THE DRAFT CROSS CRAZE
Story by Stacy Pearsall and Supporting Images Sourced from: Draft Crossing Farm, CM Farms, H Bar Horses, St. Petersburg Police Department, Platinum Equine, Best of Texas Premier, Dream Horse, Equine Now and E Horses
Recorded history of draft crosses goes back centuries in Europe where breeders began refining these horses. Today, they're more commonly known as Warmbloods or Sport Horses. Warmblood comes from idea of crossing a "coldblooded" horse (heavy draft) to a "hotblooded" horse (light breed), resulting in a "warmblooded" horse. Warmbloods are a group of middle-weight horse-types and breeds primarily registered with organizations that are characterized by open studbook policy, studbook selection, and with the aim of breeding for an equestrian sport.
Popular modern day warmblood breeds include the Hanoverian, Irish Sport Horse, Dutch warmblood (KWPN), Oldenburg, and Trakhener. There are registries such as the International Draft and Sport Horse Registry and American Draft Cross Registry that recognize all breeds and crosses with limited exceptions. The European Brabant Registry of America established the Appendix Brabant Record within the European Brabant Studbook to recognize crosses with at least 23.5% verifiable European Brabant bloodlines.
A typical warmblood, aka draft cross, is an athletic horse derived by crossbreeding a large draft breed like the European Brabant with a smaller, quicker hot blooded horse breed like a thoroughbred or Quarter Horse. They often exhibit the calm temperament inherited from the cold-blooded parent and the agility and athleticism from their light-horse parent. These crosses come in many sizes, colors, and configurations and are generally lighter boned and more athletic than a pure draft. They are versatile and used in a myriad of disciplines such as ranch work, pleasure riding, jumping, dressage, and harness work.
Fun Fact: Hotblood breeds are all mostly influenced by their Arabian ancestors and their “hot” temperaments. Some believe the phrase “hotblood” refers to the climate of the horse's home of origin, not just their temperament.
It's important to note that not all crosses come 50/50, meaning the offspring inherits 50% traits from dam and 50% traits from sire. That's why breeding draft crosses is such an art form. Nevertheless, there is an Appendix Brabant for everyone. They are versatile performance horses, who are strong, agile, and good-natured companions. They are sure to excel in the show ring, and are suitable for professionals, amateurs, or pleasure riders.
According to the American Horse Council Foundation, the average price per riding horse is roughly $3,500. Market research shows a saddle broke Percheron/Quarter Horse draft cross starts at $6,500. Meanwhile on the same horse sale market site, saddle broke Appendix Brabants start at $20,000. Why such a difference? Many reasons I suppose; because of their flashy eye-catching color, well built frames, and versatility. However, fans of the European Brabant would tell you it's also because of their personality, trainability, predictability, and disposition. On a temperament scale of 1 to 10, most peg a 1. Those looking for a family horse need look no more.
EBRA'S APPENDIX RECORD
Story by Rebecca Courtney and Image Sourced from Silver Meadow Farm Social Media
The Appendix Record is a unique feature offered by the European Brabant Registry of America. This book allows owners to document the European Brabant heritage of their horses that do not qualify for the European Brabant or European Brabant Stock studbooks. This includes crosses with light horses, cobs (Haflinger, Gypsy Vanner, Fjord, etc), or drafts with unacceptable Brabant color patterns (tobiano/spotting patterns, cream/dilutions, etc). In addition, some owners may choose to put their geldings in the Appendix Record in order to document their lineage without doing the DNA testing required for the purebred and stock studbooks.
The sole requirement for entry into the Appendix Record is that the horse is verifiably a
minimum of 23.5% European Brabant. This can be achieved if one grandparent is a purebred (93.75% or greater) European Brabant, or with multiple lower percentage horses that add up to at least 23.5% European blood in the Appendix horse. If you ever have doubts about a horse’s percentage and eligibility you can always contact the Registrar (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
The following items are required to receive papers on your Appendix Brabant:
Side view photo of the horse
Breeding certificate if you do not own the horse’s sire
Registration Fee ($40 members, $65 non-members)
Appendix Brabants provide tremendous value to the breed, showcasing the many talents of horses with European Brabant blood and providing marketing opportunities for European Brabant breeders. We hope that the owners of eligible Appendix Brabants will take advantage of the program, and that European Brabant stallion owners will encourage mare owners to explore this option when breeding outside mares.
LAMINITIS & FOUNDER, THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT
Article Researched by Stacy Pearsall (See Sources)
The Nebraska Equine Veterinary Clinic defines Laminitis or "founder" as a disease that has impacted horses through the ages. Fossil evidence suggests ancient horses dealt with laminitis dating back over 1.8 million years ago. It may have been first mentioned by the ancient Greek historian and philosopher Xenophon, who lived from about 430 to 354 B.C. He wrote about a disease called “barley surfeit” (surfeit translates to excess) and said: “Diseases are easier to cure at the start than after they have become chronic and have been wrongly diagnosed.”
Founder implies more of the chronic condition, or a horse that has already had its coffin bone rotate or sink. That is classically a “foundered” horse, versus a laminitic horse that has the onset inflammation of the laminae, which support the coffin bone within the hoof capsule, explains Dr. Bryan Fraley (Fraley Equine Podiatry)
Founder is a term broadly used to describe laminitis, typically denoting a more severe form of laminitis. The laminae are delicate structures which hold the bone within the hoof capsule (coffin bone) to the hoof wall. It would be similar to the structures holding our fingernails to our fingers. However, in the horse, it is much more developed due to the fact that the laminae often carry thousands of pounds of pressure transferred from the ground surface to the bony column of the leg. Therefore, when the laminae become inflamed, the horse shows varying amounts of soreness corresponding to the degree of inflammation in the laminae.
What causes this inflammation? This question has been explored by veterinarians and horse owners for hundreds of years, and we have been able to explain some, but not all, causes. Some of the more common causes would first be any disease processes which cause the horse to have an endotoxic event or to circulate endotoxins within its blood system.
A few examples of this would be a retained placenta, grain overload, diarrhea or colitis, or severe pneumonia. A second category is laminitis associated with metabolic diseases of the horse. This category encompasses the cases of laminitis initiated by an improperly functioning endocrine system. These are horses that acquire laminitis typically from a diet not compatible with that individual’s own metabolic/endocrine systems. For example, such horses are sensitive to diet changes such as green grass and high carbohydrate feeds. Also in this category are horses with PPID or "cushings" disease, which is a disease that alters the horse’s circulating blood cortisol levels.
The third most common is laminitis initiated by trauma, most commonly referred to as “road founder”. This is somewhat self explanatory. The horse’s feet, when worked on a surface or in a manner in which they are not accustomed, develop inflammation from the stresses induced by that work. And then there are horses that develop laminitis from unknown causes.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners says that while the exact mechanisms by which the feet are damaged remain a mystery, certain precipitating events can produce laminitis. Although laminitis occurs in the feet, the underlying cause is often a disturbance elsewhere in the horse's body. The causes vary and may include the following:
Digestive upsets due to grain overload (such as excess grain, fruit or snacks) or abrupt changes in diet.
Sudden access to excessive amounts of lush forage before the horse's system has had time to adapt; this type of laminitis is known as "grass founder."
Toxins released within the horse's system.
High fever or illness; any illness that causes high fever or serious metabolic disturbances has the potential to cause laminitis, e.g., Potomac Horse Fever.
Retained placenta in the mare after foaling.
Excessive concussion to the feet, often referred to as "road founder."
Excessive weight-bearing on one leg due to injury of another leg or any other alteration of the normal gait.
Various primary foot diseases.
Bedding that contains black walnut shavings.
Although controversial, prolonged use or high doses of corticosteroids may contribute to the development of laminitis in some horses.
Factors that seem to increase a horse's susceptibility to laminitis or increase the severity of the condition when it does occur include the following:
Heavy breeds, such as draft horses
High nutritional plane (feeding large amounts of carbohydrate-rich meals)
Unrestricted grain binges, such as when a horse breaks into the feed room (if this happens, do not wait until symptoms develop to call your veterinarian-- call immediately so corrective action can be taken before tissue damage progresses)
Horses who have had previous episodes of laminitis
Older horses with Cushing's disease
How do you recognize laminitis? These horses present with sore feet. They are often reluctant to move and when they do walk. They are very stiff and painful. They will typically lie down for long periods. When standing, they will shift their weight to the hind legs and stretch their forelegs out in front of them. If your horse demonstrates these signs consistent with laminitis, it is important to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment will often lessen the severity of the disease and could save the horse’s life.
Signs of acute laminitis include the following:
Lameness, especially when a horse is turning in circles; shifting lameness when standing.
Heat in the feet.
Increased digital pulse in the feet (most easily palpable over either sesamoid bone at the level of the fetlock).
Pain in the toe region when pressure is applied with hoof testers.
Reluctant or hesitant gait ("walking on eggshells").
A "sawhorse stance," with the front feet stretched out in front to alleviate pressure on the toes and the hind feet positioned under them to support the weight that their front feet cannot.
Signs of chronic laminitis may include the following:
Rings in hoof wall that become wider as they are followed from toe to heel.
Bruised soles or "stone bruises."
Widened white line, commonly called "seedy toe," with occurrence of seromas (blood pockets) and/or abscesses.
Dropped soles or flat feet.
Thick, "cresty" neck.
Dished hooves, which are the result of unequal rates of hoof growth (the heels grow at a faster rate than the rest of the hoof, resulting in an "Aladdin-slipper" appearance).
Laminitis is the condition that causes founder. Laminitis is when the soft laminae tissue in the hoof begins to die due to lack of blood flow. The laminae holds the coffin bone in place and attaches it to the hoof wall. Once the laminae dies, it can no longer do its job of holding the coffin bone in place. As the condition progresses (and if left untreated) the coffin bone can begin to rotate and slip downward toward the sole of the foot and even through the sole of the foot, explains Dr. Burny Baxter.
Many treatments are available and vary dramatically due to the initiating cause of laminitis. If the primary cause is identifiable, then this condition must be addressed in addition to treating the laminitis. An example of this would be horse with a metabolic condition. Diagnostic blood work would be used to diagnose the metabolic condition, then treatment for the condition would be implemented to prevent future laminitic episodes. Therapy for laminitis varies from administration of phenylbutazone (Bute) and stall rest for mild cases to antibiotics, anti-inflamatories, long periods of soaking feet in ice water, acepromazine injections and other vasodialators for more serious cases.
The sooner treatment begins, the better the chance for recovery. Treatment will depend on specific circumstances but may include the following:
Diagnosing and treating the primary problem (laminitis is often due to a systemic or general problem elsewhere in the horse's body).
Dietary restrictions; stop feeding all grain-based feeds and pasture. Feed only grass hay until advised by your veterinarian.
Treating with mineral oil via a nasogastric tube to purge the horse's digestive tract, especially if the horse has overeaten.
Administering fluids if the horse is ill or dehydrated.
Administering other drugs such as antibiotics to fight infection; anti-endotoxins to reduce bacterial toxicity; and anticoagulants and vasodilators to reduce blood pressure while improving blood flow to the feet.
Stabling the horse on soft ground, such as in sand or shavings (not black walnut) and encouraging the horse to lie down to reduce pressure on the weakened laminae.
Opening and draining any abscesses that may develop.
Cooperation between your veterinarian and the farrier (techniques that may be helpful include corrective trimming, frog supports and therapeutic shoes or pads).
Your veterinarian may be able to advise you on new therapies that may include standing your horse in ice water to prevent the onset of laminitis after a predisposing cause such as a retained placenta or a known grain overload.
In more severe cases, the best results come by applying special shoes. This type of shoeing allows the farrier to alter the mechanics of the foot dramatically and re-align the coffin bone by shaping the the shoe in a manner to redistribute weight and mechanical forces in the foot.
It's important to note that once a horse has had laminitis, it may be likely to recur. In fact, a number of cases become chronic because the coffin bone has rotated within the foot and the laminae never regain their original strength. There may also be interference with normal blood flow to the feet as well as metabolic changes within the horse. Extra care is recommended for any horse that has had laminitis, including:
A modified diet that provides adequate nutrition based on high-quality forage, digestible fiber (beet pulp) and oil. Avoid excess carbohydrates, especially from grain.
Routine hoof care, including regular trimming and, in some cases, therapeutic shoeing (additional radiographs may be needed to monitor progress).
A good health-maintenance schedule, including parasite control and vaccinations, to reduce the horse's susceptibility to illness or disease
Possibly a nutritional supplement formulated to promote hoof health (biotin supplements are popular for promoting hoof growth).
Avoid grazing lush pastures, especially between late morning and late afternoon hours, since plant sugars are the highest during these times. Restrict pasture intake during spring or anytime the pasture suddenly greens up.
For millions of years horses have been afflicted with this painful disease and we still do not have all the answers but we do know that Xenophon was correct when he said: “Diseases are easier to cure at the start than after they have become chronic and have been wrongly diagnosed.” Early detection and treatment is key to a positive outcome.
Story and Video by Stacy Pearsall
I view trailer loading as one of the fundamental skills all horses should master early on, therefore I build several trailer loading exercises into my training program. The use of positive reinforcement is a great way to keep horses actively engaged in the exercises as well. Thankfully, most European Brabants are food motivated and attention hogs. Therefore a little sugar free horse treat or a strategically placed scratch will keep them loading and unloading voluntarily. Here's a fun horse training tip for anyone who wants their horse to load on command.
Start by leading your horse in-hand onto the trailer saying, "Load Up," as you walk them on. Once they're inside, cluck approval and give them a treat or scratch.
Next, stand at the end of the trailer and gesture with hand (lead in-hand) toward the inside of the trailer saying, "Load Up," as you do so. As soon as your horse takes a step forward, cluck and reward. Keep doing this exercise and ask your horse to step further into the trailer every time before rewarding them. Remember the goal is progress, not perfection.
As your horse becomes more familiar with the command, "Load Up," and what's expected of them, they will begin to load up without your hand guidance or leading. All you will need to do is stand by the horse trailer and say, "Load up." Don't forget to acknowledge and reward them for executing the task.
Finally, keep increasing your distance from the trailer a little bit at a time. If your horse gets distracted on their way to the trailer, simply start them at the distance they were last successful and start again. Have fun!