The Horse: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012

The Horse: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012

Our most popular blog post this year discussed mistakes responders make during equine emergencies.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Here at, we're counting down the minutes until we can welcome a new year with a midnight toast. But before we jump into 2013, we've taken a few minutes to tally's most popular blog posts of 2012. Did your favorites make the list? Be sure to share your thoughts in the following blogs' comment sections.

The Horse 911--Top 4 Mistakes Responders Make During Equine Emergencies
When emergency responders arrive at the scene of an urgent situation involving a horse, surely everything will go smoothly, right? Not necessarily. While many emergency situations are resolved without incident, emergency responders might not always understand how to best deal with horses. Here are the top four mistakes they can make when working with equids.

Old Horses: Better With Age--For the Love of Old Horses
Many horse people--from veterinarians to caretakers--will tell you that horses are living longer today than ever before, largely thanks to a combination of improved nutritional options for elder equines and advancements in veterinary technology. But with age and experience, I've learned, come health problems, new concerns, and an odd behavior here and there.

The Horse 911--Whatever You Do, Don't Panic
Horses can pick up subtle cues from your body language and voice. They pay attention to details that you aren't even aware of--the angle of your body, the position of your eyebrows, the pitch of your voice, the measured tread of your feet. In other words, they know when you are scared, when you are happy, when you are worried or angry. And this can result in their varied reactions to you on a Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue scene.

The Horse 911--What Do I Do with this Dead Horse, Part 2
(In Part 1) we discussed the general subject of equine carcass disposal--a sad and sometimes frustrating job for any horse person. This week we will look at the scene and think about some of the challenges of physically dealing with 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of dead horse to be disposed of before it bloats, rots, and generally becomes even more frustrating to manage. Some situations are far more difficult to deal with than others.

Horses and The Law - No Missouri Compromise
The turf war between veterinarians and lay equine dentists rages on. The battle line is clear: who should be allowed to float teeth--a duly licensed veterinarian or a unlicensed practitioner? Veterinarians argue that equine dentistry is a branch of veterinary medicine that should be limited to licensed practitioners; lay tooth floaters counter that competent tooth floating is a skill that doesn't require four years of expensive veterinary school and that they provide a valuable service to horse owners at a reasonable cost. The most recent skirmish, in a Missouri courtroom, went to the veterinarians.

Horse Sense (& Sensibility)--Reflection on Spielberg's Film 'War Horse'
Like many of the War Horse watchers, I've spent a lifetime around horses. Like many I also have a penchant for war stories. What might make my angle a little unique is that in my career I've focused primarily on horse health, and as an editor I'm generally fastidious about details and accuracy. This is sometimes to the detriment of my consumption of a movie. From this perspective, here are some things that impacted me the most about this movie.

Weird Horse News--Goodbye Eeyore, the World's Oldest Donkey Passes
It was big news in Manchester (England) a couple of weeks ago when Eeyore the donkey passed away. He would have been 56-years-old this year--thought to be the world's oldest donkey. His owner, Selwyn Demmy, was philosophical about Eeyore's passing, telling the Manchester Evening News, "It comes to us all--as night follows day, age follows youth, and death follows life."

Across The Fence--Knowing When It's Time
Sometimes you know it's time: When an older horse in less-than-ideal health suffers a serious bout of colic, euthanasia might be the best option. Other circumstances tell you it's not time: When an otherwise healthy horse develops a potentially life-threatening condition, treatment might be the better choice. But what about when it's not so clear-cut--when continued medical treatment and careful management are options, but the animal's quality of life could go downhill very quickly. Do you stay the course? Do you opt for euthanasia?

Old Horses: Better With Age--All Choked Up 
When you care for more than two dozen horses it never hurts to be prepared for a veterinary emergency. Let's face it ... horses are basically designed to self-destruct. But I learned that when the majority of those horses are over the age of 20 and declining in health, dealing with some emergencies means dealing with life and death situations. One of the scariest senior horse medical emergencies I've dealt with was choke.

The Horse 911--Are Rear Facing Trailers The Future of Equine Transport?
The equine track at Animal Transportation Conference, held March 18-21, welcomed Odessa Holmes from Equi Balance in New Zealand. Holmes provided a provocative presentation that started out with this strong statement: "Too many horses needlessly suffer injuries, stress, and worse in ground transport." That set heads in the room to nodding in agreement. Remember that horse trailers/floats were originally adapted from delivery wagons that carried dead weight of produce and goods, and not for live carriage that's standing on legs that are about a meter off the ground.

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