Monday, January 27, 2020

Award for worm film series

A series of short films on horse worms has been awarded best educational film at the EQUUS International Film and Arts Festival.

Martin Nielsen, Schlaikjer Professor of Equine Infectious Disease, at the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center, set out to produce a series of films to put the record straight on best practices in equine parasitology.

Launching the series of 18 videos in October 2019 he said: “I wanted to try and address common misconceptions and myths in equine parasite control. In this series, I’ll address one myth or misconception at the time and in 45 seconds or less, I will explain why it is exactly that – a myth or misconception. These will be interspersed with a few longer videos providing more background information and highlighting recent research findings.”

 Deworm Debunk topics included: deworm at first frost? drug rotation; five-day dewormers; daily dewormers; and how the weather affects parasite transmission.

“As academics and scientists in today’s world, we need to make an effort to communicate our research findings to our end users,” he said. “We need to establish ourselves as the source of solid, evidence-based, and unbiased information. Communication on social media is a must for scientists because that platform is now an integrated part of society and where people acquire and exchange information."

He also showed that such films could be made on a limited budget: “I wanted to make a point out of not needing elaborate equipment or technical assistance. These videos were all shot by an iPhone, and I edited them myself on my laptop computer.”

The “Deworm Debunk” video series were awarded Best Educational Film at the 2019 International EQUUS Film Festival.

The EQUUS Film & Arts Fest took place over four days in December 2019 at the Kentucky Horse Park. Founded in 2013 by equestrian enthusiast, Lisa Diersen, the festival is billed as the first event of its kind to offer a home to the storytellers of the horse world, with films, documentaries, videos, commercials, and shorts from around the world and cultural elements of fine equestrian art and literature.

The first Deworm Debunk video can be found on YouTube, here:

Would Your Horse’s Noseband Pass the Pressure Test?

If you use a flash or drop noseband, you may be surprised at the results of a recent study. Nosebands that are designed to prevent the horse from opening its mouth could cause high pressures on the nose and the potential damaging effects of these pressure are not yet known. 

Jayne Peters from Bishop Burton College, UK and her research team investigated three different noseband designs and their effect on rein tension and the force being exerted on the frontal nasal plane of horses whilst being ridden.  Their findings were presented at the 15th annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference, Aug 19, 2019, at the University of Guelph.
Eight horses were included in the study. 

The research team measured rein tension and the pressure caused by each noseband on the front of the nose. The bridle was fitted to all horses using the “two finger rule”, checked with an ISES taper gauge for accuracy. Horses were ridden by their owner, in a snaffle bridle, for all three nosebands.
Of the three nosebands tested; the flash and drop nosebands showed significantly higher pressure on the front of the horse’s nose as compared to a cavesson type. The flash created the highest pressure.

Peters says, “According to initial findings; a common perception of restrictive noseband designs allowing a lighter rein aid may be inaccurate and warrant further investigation.” The study found no significant change in rein tension when comparing the three nosebands.

Peters says that the study raises equine welfare concerns when it comes to using nosebands with restrictive designs meant to prevent the horse from opening its mouth.  She suggests that with the widespread use of flash nosebands in international competition, continuing investigation into potential damaging effects is needed. 

Peters closed her presentation at the ISES conference encouraging more focus on correct training than equipment.  Currently, investigations reveal that the effect of tack is not yet fully understood.  Scientific evidence may lead to industry perceptions being re-evaluated.    

For more details, see:

Preliminary investigation into the effect of noseband design on rein tension and the force exerted on the frontal nasal plane
J. Peters, R. Brassington
Proc 15th ISES Conference, (2019) p42

You can download the Proceedings of the 15th International Society for Equitation Science Conference at:

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Latest colic research heading to Scotland

Foal with colic (Meconium impaction) (c) Tim Mair
Details have been announced of the 13th International Colic Symposium, to be held later this year.

The Symposium, which is held every three years, is hosted alternately in the UK and USA. This time, Edinburgh will provide the venue for the meeting, which will take place on 15-17th July.

It will give equine vets the opportunity to absorb and digest the latest knowledge, clinical practice and scientific advances in the treatment and prevention of colic, from the world’s leading international equine gastroenterology experts.

To find out more and to book online visit