Thursday, August 30, 2018

Icelandic Andalusian Cross

I don't support crossing Icelandics with other breeds.  But I am always curious as to what the cross would look like.  Here is Sugar, who is a 14.0 hand rose gray cross between an Icelandic and an Andalusian.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Great Way to Train Icelandics to Trailer Load

Most Icelandics are very food oriented.  I love the way this horse trainer uses clicker training and positive reinforcement to teach Normann the Icelandic to trailer load.  The trainer also chunks down the action--approach trailer, stand by trailer calmly, put one foot on trailer, etc.--before attempting the next step.  And the horse is a willing participant. 

There are three videos posted about this process--all very informative.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Newfoundland Dances in Canine Freestyle

Here is Marina Novoselova and FUNNYUF from Russia competing in the 2016 Dog Dance World Championships. One never thinks of Newfoundlands as a breed for canine freestyle. This just goes to show you we shouldn't limit our selection by breed but by an understanding of what an individual animal enjoys and the training methods to help keep its interest and joy. Love it !

Friday, August 24, 2018

Innovative Behavior by Mules

Dr. Kruger and her team are studying innovative behavior among equines. Here is a great example!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dr. Andersson's Work on DMRT3 Gait Gene

Here is an absolutely fascinating video about Dr. Leif Andersson, Uppsala University, and his work on the DMRT3 gene which is determines if a horse exhibits lateral gaits such as tolt/rack and flying pace. This research was sponsored by the harness racing industry in Sweden to find out if genes influence why a trotter may be more likely to break into a canter and thus be disqualified from the race. The researchers quickly turned to study of the Icelandic horse for help with this research.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Effect of MSTN Speed Gene in Icelandic Horse

Recently scientists have discovered the relationship between speed and myostatin as it relates to the MSTN gene, the so-called speed gene. Myostatin is related to muscle mass development which influences speed and stamina. (I have read the article several times and admit this topic is beyond my comfort level so pardon my mistakes in summarizing this info.)

By studying thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, researchers have found that:
- CC version relates to sprinting success at racing 5/8 to 1 mile
- CT is mid-distance speed at 7/8 to 1 1/2 miles
- TT is stamina at over 1 1/2 miles

Unsurprisingly, racing Quarter Horses tested out at almost all CC.

In this video, Dr Emmeline Hill discusses the origin of her research into the MSTN gene and thoroughbreds.

In the study Conformation Traits and Gaits in the Icelandic Horse are Associated with Genetic Variants in Myostatin, researchers found that 4% are CC, 28% are CT, and 65% are TT. The TT alleles tended to be related to higher scores in certain conformation ratings achieved at breeding evaluations.

"Not only do Icelandic horses have to meet the visual standards of
the breed, but they are also expected to be capable of sustaining speed with energetic movements all while carrying a rider (FEIF 2015). This balance between form and function is particularly important given the significant associations between the evaluation of the neck, withers, and shoulders and SNPs PR8604 and PR3737 in this study (Tables 4 and 5). Alleles T and C (PR8604 and PR3737, respectively) resulted in lower scores for this trait and subsequent haplotype analyses corroborated the associations. The frequency of the C allele for SNP PR3737 was very low in the sample set of this study and this allele was previously associated with higher Type 2B and lower Type 1 gluteus muscle fibre proportions. However, it has been shown to be more prevalent in sprinting type Thoroughbred horses and Italian Heavy Draft horses where fast twitching muscle fibres are needed for short bursts of energy."

No information was given if perhaps the CC version of the gene might have been more prevalent in flying pace racers.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Blessi and Friends

Here are the Three Musketeers. The Fjord and Blessi know there can never be enough grazing, which is more fun to do as a herd.

Future of Horses in Europe

The European Horse Network has released a June 2018 study on the future horses in Europe in light of horses seemingly being excluded from European Commission's plans for subsidies and planning for agriculture and farms.  The EHN counter argues that equines play an important role in European agriculture even as the scarcity of open land grows.

"Although horses are the smallest group of farm animals, the breeding activity for the 7 million horses (86 million beef/veal animals)is the one with the least adverse impact on nature and presents many opportunites [sic] for rural employment."

The report talks about the benefits of mare milk as opposed to cow milk (8 times more vitamin C and more digestible).

"There is a real renaissance of the working horse in vineyards, for instance, in France. High quality estates such as Château Latour or Romanée Conti replace tractors by horses, with remarkable results: young vines growing in a vineyard worked only with horses start to fruit one or even two years earlier than those growing in soils compacted by tractors. The roots of the vines go deeper, the soil structure regenerates, the water balance is improved and the biodiversity of soil organisms is increased."

Huum seems to me like benefits go from yogurt to wine....

Here's a link to the report.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

My article "Blessi's mysterious nosebleed" in September 2018 Equus

My Icelandic horse Blessi really is my muse.  So far he has been mentioned in all three of my articles published by Equus magazine in the past year.  This month, "Blessi's mysterious nosebleed" is the EQ Case Report.  

"On the day before a holiday, a gelding's sudden nasal problem worries his owner as a veterinarian searches for the cause..."  

One day Blessi was discovered bleeding from both nostrils or exhibiting bilateral nasal epistaxis in medical terms.  Dr. Weeks, Blessi's vet from Gig Harbor, WA, became a medical Sherlock Holmes as he tried to make a diagnosis.  I learned lots of new words such as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, guttoral pouch mycosis, aspergillus....We learned from where the bleeding was originating but not the cause.  Luckily, the nose bleed stopped by itself after two days with no other consequences. 

I  noticed that the cross section drawing of the horse's nasal cavity used in the article looks like it was inspired by Blessi--flaxen chestnut, mealy nose, limited forelock that Blessi has in comparison to other Icelandics but luxurious mane, thicker neck, wide jowls, slightly raven (roman) nose which is also not a breed characteristic...hum looks familiar to me.   How many owners have individual, color portraits of their horses' nasal cavities? 

Please check out Equus magazine.  This month's featured articles: 
- Dr. Bennett's article "Working horses of the West" was enthralling--a wonderful combination of history, romance of the West, artwork, and education about conformation. 
- Plus a friend and I were just discussing how best to trailer our horses so "Prevent shipping fever" was very timely.  
- And the article on "Surprising findings about saddle design" was revelatory.  Finding saddles to fit Icelandics is always a challenge so any good info is welcome.   

You really should invest in a subscription.;-)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Drunk Blessi

Last year, Blessi had his hocks injected. As I was leaving the house to go to the stable, I noticed that I was wearing my sneakers, not the safest barn attire. But did I go change? No. All I needed to do was lead Blessi from the paddock to the barn and back. After all, Blessi is very careful about my space and in 12 years he has stepped on my foot less than 5 times--usually because I put my foot right
where his foot is about to land.

The 15 minutes of leg scrubbing and 10 minutes of finding the injectable spaces between the hock bones went well--Blessi was an angel. After it was all over, I intended to take a folding chair to Blessi's run out shed to sit in the doorway and read until Blessi recovered from the anesthesia. So off we go. I am carrying a folding chair and my cell phone in one hand and leading a somewhat drunk, stumbling Blessi in the other. 

All is well until we get to the run out shed. Between managing cell phone, chair, door, and stepping over the riser, I stumbled. Blessi was right behind me and stumbled too. He tried not to step on me but clipped the side of my foot. Luckily I have bruising between my big and little toe but no damage. And the toes only hurt when I am wearing shoes. Limping around the stable in my riding boots these days is a constant reminder to always wear my boots to the barn

Monday, August 6, 2018

KaetiKvik Green Eyed Filly

My friend Kathy's mare had a little dark gray filly that I had the privilege to name. When I saw her, the baby KaetiKvik had light green eyes (they have since turned brown). So I looked up the genetics of green eyes and horses. Green eyes are among the rarest of eye colors in horses and are associated with the champagne and pearl dilution factors.

Here's a link to Johnny Cash singing about the
Tennessee stud that was "long and lean, the color of the sun and his eyes were green."

Saturday, August 4, 2018

New York Equus Film Festival

The New York Equus Film Festival is scheduled in the November time frame in New York City. If you are in the New York area.....

The following link goes to previews of last year's submissions. Films included exposes on Big Lick and slaughter of thoroughbred foals to previews of commercial films to horses from exotic locations to light humor. The ToltVibernation folk could have submitted The Cognitive Horse film. Beware you can spend hours watching these snippets just to see the beautiful horses.

Here's a link to the previous year's films.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

In the Realm of Legends with the Icelandic Horse

Drew Doggett crafted this equisite production of white Icelandic horses showcased against the blue and gray ice and shores of the Icelandic coast.  Magical! A must see!  I can't wait to see his entire production of "In the Realms of Legends."