Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blue Tongue Video

The Internet equestrian forums and media are abuzz with outrage over this video of Swedish Olympic dressage rider Patrik Kittel riding KWPN Stallion Watermill Scandic in extreme hyperflexion (aka "rollkur"). According to reporters for, this went on for "at least two hours."

At one point the stallion's tongue was hanging out and had turned blue, presumably due to lack of circulation because the tongue was caught between the bits. Kittel's solution was to halt, reach down, reposition the tongue so that it was no longer being pinched and then return to schooling in hyperflexion. also reports:

During the training session, spoke to a spectator who claimed to have notified one of the show's officials of the prolonged hyperflexion. Odense's Chief Steward confirms to that a complaint was lodged against Patrik Kittel's riding, but it was not deemed necessary to comment or take action, because Kittel was no worse than other riders using the same method.

Kittel, who trains with Dutch chef d'equipe (and Anky van Grunsven husband) Sjef Janssen, went on to place third with a score of 76.250 in Sunday's Freestyle.

So the moral of the story is that the FEI doesn't consider it abuse if everyone else does it and you can put up a high score.

For those readers who haven't had an opportunity to watch the DVD, "If Horses Could Speak," or haven't followed this debate, you can observe in the Blue-Tongue video that the stallion is unable to drop his hind quarters and step underneath his back because the top line (nuchal) legament is streched to the maximum. Also, the extreme head/neck position shortens the reach of the shoulder. The lack of hindquarter engagement and shoulder reach is used to develop the more brilliant, upward leg movement that is currnetly being rewarded by FEI judges in international competition.

The irony is that "soring" to create the high-stepping action in gaited show horses is now commonly considered abusive, but use of "rollkur" towards a similar goal isn't.

Hat tip to Fran Jurga for not only posting this video on her blog, but for being one of the few equine journalists who have the courage to talk about the practice of rollkur.

There's also a heated thread in the Chronicle of the Horse Forums ("Blue Tongue World Cup - No Words Can Express Just How WRONG This Is") where the general opinions range from horror to outrage. [Maybe the I-heart-Rollkur advocates are just sitting this one out.]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

GREENIE: "Extensive professional training"

Being someone who bought a horse whose baggage contained some mysterious (and profound) incongruities, this is kind of ad that makes me cringe:

HAMLET is a 7y/o quarter horse, 15.3H gelding. Although he has had extensive professional training, he is still green. He is an adorable mover, currently over fences 2'6" and extremely honest! Well mannered & is always eager to please. Looking for advanced/confident rider only. This sweetie loves to cuddle!

He's for lease and based on the photos, he's nice. But I would really want to know why a 7y/o is "still green" after "extensive professional training." Not ideal for a 15.3-hander.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ranitidine for horses

In order to avoid the "acid rebound" effect that occurred when I first took Jazz off of GastroGard, I decided to try the human protocol, by alternating the omeprazole (GastroGard/UlcerGard) with one of the popular over-the-counter H2 blockers: cimetidine, famotidine, ranitidine.

I couldn't find an online resource for the equine dosage for ranitidine (Zantac), so I turned to a barnmate that has some experience with the drug.

The dosage is 3 mg/lb or 6.6 mg/kilo.

So far, it seems to have worked.

Since then, Jazz is now on a daily dose of bentonite clay for maintenance. I've heard of horse owners who have used the bentonite clay to cure ulcers, but since the flare up seemed so much worse the second time around, I went with big guns.

UPDATE, 04/04/10: I added 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice daily to the routine, which has really taken the edge off of Jazz's sensitive stomach.