Crista Leste-Lasserre

Living History: Saving the world’s last wild horse

Living History: Saving the world’s last wild horse

  Takhin tal Research Camp, Gobi B Strictly Protected Area, July, 2023. Lit only by a faint glow on the eastern horizon and the fading light of stars, we hike into the hills at 4am, stumbling on loose sheets of rock which shear away in thin vertical slices under...

Horse welfare through the lens of the Five Domains

Horse welfare through the lens of the Five Domains

Postgraduate students, representatives from the equine industry, teachers and riding instructors came from as far as Australia, Canada, Spain, Hungary, Great Britain, Finland, Denmark and Sweden and gathered at the picturesque and wintery Equine Centre Wången in...

British Vets Embrace Horse Behaviour

British Vets Embrace Horse Behaviour

The value of behavioural science was in the spotlight at British Equine Vets Association (BEVA) Congress last week. Gemma Pearson and Sarah Freeman shared their considerable knowledge and experience in two complementary plenary lectures, on how embracing learning...

Danish concern over the use of horses in sport

Danish concern over the use of horses in sport

Danish report recommends doing away with the view of the horse as an athlete. Saying we should instead recognise that horses' participation in competitions is only about the interests and ambitions of people. It calls for specific legislation to be drawn up if the...

Tool Use Confirmed in Horses

Tool Use Confirmed in Horses

Horse owners have helped researchers confirm tool use in horses. You may have seen viral videos circulating online of a horse picking up brushes to groom another horse, or another using a broom to "sweep" the floor. They are nor just incredibly amusing, these videos...

Australian Vets at Odds with Horse Racing Whip Rules

Australian Vets at Odds with Horse Racing Whip Rules

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has updated their position on the use of whips on horses at competitive events, placing it at odds with the current whip rules of Racing Australia (RA) and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which recognise the use of...

Racing Victoria’s Horse Welfare Strategy Released

Racing Victoria’s Horse Welfare Strategy Released

Behavioural horse welfare is now a feature of Racing Victoria's Equine Welfare Strategic Plan. Racing Victoria (RV) has today released its 2023-27 Equine Welfare Strategic Plan (EWSP). It will set the agenda for the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry’s equine...

What is a tongue tie?

What is a tongue tie?

What is a tongue tie? A tongue tie is a band that ties the horse’s tongue to the bottom jaw. Once fitted, tongue ties are fairly inconspicuous. Does a tongue tie hurt the horse? Because the tongue is very mobile, wet and slippery, the tie has to be fitted tightly to...

The Road to Bridle-less Explained

The Road to Bridle-less Explained

At the 1998 Equitana, my husband, Dr Andrew McLean, decided he would demonstrate riding bridle-less, with a rope around the neck of the stallion Tintagel Magic. At the time, Andrew was competing Magic in dressage at Advanced and Prix St George level, and managed to...

Making Success a Habit

Making Success a Habit

When you talk to yourself (in your own mind), do you tell yourself that you are heading for success? Or do you tell yourself that you are failing? Our thought patterns create a large part of our reality because we act on our thoughts. They can also become habits. I...

4-Step Guide to Safe Weight Gain

4-Step Guide to Safe Weight Gain

Is your horse showing a bit more rib than you like to see? Is he or she losing the fat layer along the spine that is often referred to as topline? Have you tried everything, but your horse never seems to gain weight? In this article, nutritionist Larissa Bilston...

When Dogs Meet Horses in Art

When Dogs Meet Horses in Art

As we see above, in de Vos and Wildens’ dramatic ‘Horse attacked by dogs’, dog and horse contact can end in disaster with both reverting to their raw primal selves and the humans ending in a heap. Each day, different versions of the above scenario occur thousands of...

Let’s Talk About Horse Poo

Let’s Talk About Horse Poo

Anyone who has ever had to look after a horse for any length of time knows that they produce a lot of manure. In fact, a 500kg horse defecates about 4-13 times a day, producing 15.5 to 22.5kg of faeces and urine daily, which adds up to 8 metric tons a year! While...

Feeding the ‘Hot’ and ‘Fizzy’ Horse

Feeding the ‘Hot’ and ‘Fizzy’ Horse

Most horse owners have heard the terms ‘feeling their oats', ‘high’, ‘fizzy’, ‘hot’ and ‘hyper’ all used to describe the effect grain or certain feeds seem to have on the behaviour of some horses.  Does feeding management or individual feed ingredients really...

British Racing’s Disappointing Whip Report

British Racing’s Disappointing Whip Report

The long awaited report from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on the use of the whip represents a lost opportunity for rebuilding trust and bringing back enthusiastic crowds to British racetracks.Despite its 95 pages, the report overlooks almost the entirety of...

Has Thoroughbred inbreeding reached breaking point?

Has Thoroughbred inbreeding reached breaking point?

From winning it in 1964 to being in the pedigree of all 20 runners in the Kentucky Derby fifty years later, Northern Dancer’s impact on the thoroughbred breed continues to grow. And while this ‘sire of sires’ sprinting legacy has been long celebrated, the recent news...

The Coaching Sweet Spot, Part 4: The Happiness Factor

The Coaching Sweet Spot, Part 4: The Happiness Factor

Happiness is like balance – it’s not something you can teach because it’s a result of what you’ve already taught. If you’ve ever wondered what motivates us to connect so closely with our horses, and what drives this life-long equestrian passion, you could cheerfully...

Feeding Foals, Weanlings and Yearlings

Feeding Foals, Weanlings and Yearlings

Fewer topics in equine nutrition stir more controversy than feeding the growing horse. Many factors add to the confusion of providing nutrition throughout these critical stages of life. For example, growing horses may have different commercial end points. Some will be...

Sport Horse Welfare: Where are we at?

Sport Horse Welfare: Where are we at?

In a thorough review titled 'Champing at the Bit for Improvements: Equine Welfare in Equestrian Sports in the United Kingdom', independent researchers Tim Holmes and Ashleigh Brown, explore the effect of equestrian sports on the lifelong welfare of horses, highlight...

Stereotypies

Stereotypies

In this article, Dr Rachel O’Higgins examines the current understanding of stereotypies - a group of behaviours which are commonly referred to as ‘stable vices’.  As Dr O’Higgins explains, horse owners must change the way they think about stereotypies; instead of...

Facts and Myths in Horse Training

Facts and Myths in Horse Training

Have you ever trained your horse to do something completely by accident? Unfortunately, when we do teach something by mistake it is rarely a behaviour that we want. I’ve seen a number of horses that have been taught to rear by mistake, but few that have been taught...

A Guide to Self-Carriage

A Guide to Self-Carriage

What do you picture when you think about ‘self-carriage’? Many of us picture a horse, perhaps in a dressage arena, travelling in a certain outline and maintaining gait and direction. In this article, however, I am going to discuss why self-carriage has a much wider...

Why Does My Horse… Rear?

Why Does My Horse… Rear?

Why Does My Horse Rear? If you have a horse that rears, you will know that it is very dangerous behaviour and, as such, it is important to know why your horse rears, how your horse learned the behaviour and what you can do about it to prevent it from happening in the...

8 Reasons to Train Your Own Horse

8 Reasons to Train Your Own Horse

Have you ever looked at your trainer riding your horse and wondered ‘why can’t I do that’? Or wanted your horse to do something, such as load on to a trailer, only to have to get someone else to help you out? If the answer is yes, the problem may be the fact that you...

The Confident Horse

The Confident Horse

The confident horse. We talk a lot about confident riders, about losing our own confidence with horses and about strategies to re-gain confidence, but what about the horse’s confidence? Surely that’s just as important. After all, our horse is the other half of the...

Transport-related Pneumonia: Can we reduce the risk?

Transport-related Pneumonia: Can we reduce the risk?

Transport-related Pneumonia. It is well-known transporting horses carries a significant risk - not just of injury, but also disease, such as colic and respiratory problems. Studies have shown transport is stressful, but does the level of stress experienced by the...

Why Does My Horse… Spook?

Why Does My Horse… Spook?

Why does my horse spook? Most of us have been on, or at least seen, a horse spooking (some call it shying), and many of us have experience with horses that can have massive spooks, spin around and run away. Others, whose behaviour may not be as exaggerated, can seem...

6 Ethical Ways to De-spook Your Horse

6 Ethical Ways to De-spook Your Horse

Horses are flighty and suspicious by nature but they can also easily get used to (habituate to) things that would normally cause them fear. A thorough understanding of the learning mechanisms which result in habituation has enabled Dr Andrew McLean from Equitation...

Fire Risk Management Planning

Fire Risk Management Planning

Risk Management Plan This information about fire risk management planning has been compiled by the Queensland Horse Council Inc. to assist horse owners to prepare and respond to bush fires. Reproduced with kind permission. Before the Fire In times of crisis, people...

Evidence of cross-grazing benefits

Evidence of cross-grazing benefits

Cross grazing benefits. The practice of cross or mixed grazing is often suggested as a useful strategy to manage intestinal parasite infestation, but until recently, evidence of its efficacy was limited. A French team has provided the first evidence of the benefits of...

A New Era in Worm Control

A New Era in Worm Control

Worm control. Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland, Dr Anne Beasley, explains the importance of sustainable worm control and why we must no longer rely on the old-school interval treatment regime. This article provides all the basics on...

What is that? Lumps, Bumps and Swelling

What is that? Lumps, Bumps and Swelling

Finding lumps, bumps and swellings on the skin of horses is a very common problem for owners. In this article, veterinarian Dr Rachel Kent sorts the harmless lumps from the nasty bumps to help you identify ones that may  require veterinary treatment, versus those...

Roadmap for the Ethical Use of Horses in Sport

Roadmap for the Ethical Use of Horses in Sport

A British researcher has mapped out an ethical framework to help horse sports assess issues affecting their social licence to operate. It is hoped that different organisations will use it as a starting point, to critically assess existing and proposed practices, as...

Standardbred Freeze Branding System Discontinued

Standardbred Freeze Branding System Discontinued

The 2021 foaling season will see changes to the current practice of freeze branding Standardbred horses. Microchips, which have been mandated for the past three years, will now become the main form of identification for all standardbred horses, replacing freeze...

Next Step in the Evolution of Pony Club Coaching

Next Step in the Evolution of Pony Club Coaching

Pony Club Australia has developed a new education and training course for Preliminary coaches. The new PCANCAS Preliminary Coach course is aligned with the PCA rider syllabus and brings together a range of material produced since the launch of the new PCA rider...

British Racing on climate change and sustainability

British Racing on climate change and sustainability

The summary findings and recommendations from an independent assessment of environmental sustainability across British racing and breeding have been published today. Project objectives: To review British racing’s current progress on environmental sustainability,...

Swiss Guide to the Ethical Use of Horses

Swiss Guide to the Ethical Use of Horses

A guide to the ethical use of horses, with a focus on their welfare.  Horse sports are struggling to successfully match the public's expectations of welfare. Competition demands are not always compatible with satisfying the horse's needs, and the tension...

Perceptions of Sport Horse Welfare Issues: New Study

Perceptions of Sport Horse Welfare Issues: New Study

There are growing concerns about the welfare of horses from within and outside sport and these concerns are threatening horse sports' social license to operate. In early 2021, the Animal Welfare Research Network (AWRN) and National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) ran an...

Open the Gates to Good Horse Welfare

Open the Gates to Good Horse Welfare

Horses thrive with friends, forage and freedom to move. When we picture scenes of animal cruelty, we generally imagine thin, malnourished horses in haphazard paddocks filled with abandoned cars, barbed wire fencing and empty gas cans. Less commonly associated with...

When in Doubt… Turn the Horses Out!

When in Doubt… Turn the Horses Out!

Going down in history as one of the best Melbourne Cup wins, a horse named Kiwi, originally purchased to round up sheep, dashed to victory in the 123rd Melbourne Cup of 1983.  With only 100 metres to go, and at 10-to-one odds, the chestnut gelding upstaged the best...

The Saddle Fit Guide

The Saddle Fit Guide

Here is some advice for fitting, using and maintaining your saddle, compiled by the Animal Health Trust, in collaboration with World Horse Welfare. Their research has highlighted some areas that should be carefully considered when fitting a new saddle, which will help...

How to Find the Right Bit for your Horse

How to Find the Right Bit for your Horse

What’s the best bit for my horse? Well, I am glad you ask! It is a very important question that directly affects your horse’s well-being, but finding the answer involves considering and balancing many aspects, from the horse’s history, individual anatomy, conformation...

Horses and Floods

Horses and Floods

Horses and floods Floods are one of the most frequent natural disasters that horse owners have to deal with because many of the properties horses are kept in are floodplains. Despite this, it is easy to become complacent. This helpful information has been compiled by...

Effective Horse Cooling – as Recommended by the FEI

Effective Horse Cooling – as Recommended by the FEI

Hot or hot and humid environmental conditions are a serious risk to health and performance unless properly managed. Research into the effects of heat and humidity on horses during competition has been ongoing since the Atlanta Olympic Games. Here is some practical...

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