Horses evolved to eat for 18 hours a day. They’re supposed to travel a lot and graze constantly on large amounts of roughage.
Humans evolved to eat when food was available, in meals. As a result, we produce stomach acid in response to eating. This isn’t case for horses. Since they are supposed to always be eating, they always produce stomach acid.
For our convenience, our management systems tend to make horses eat the way we do, in large meals. This means that for much of the day or night, horses are fasted, with little or no food in their stomachs, but still producing stomach acid. It’s our modern feeding practices that are the crux of the epidemic of ulcers that are seen in competition horses. Between the fasting between meals, a concentrate based diet, and confinement housing, it’s estimated that 60-90% of all performance horses have ulcers, whether or not they show clinical symptoms. And those risk factors for ulcers, are the same ones that can increase the likelihood of colic, the number one killer of horses. Continue reading →
5. Blinders and overchecks or sidechecks are required.
That’s the rule of the American Miniature Horse Association. A similar one graces the pages of the American Miniature Horse Registry rulebook, and many other breed organisations.
Rules for Pleasure Driving Competition
H. Check reins and martingales (except false martingales) are prohibited in Obstacle classes. Failure to comply will incur elimination. In other classes, check reins and martingales may be appropriate turnout for certain vehicles. See Appendix PD-C. Turnout and Appointments.
Rules for Combined Driving Competition
940.5 Auxiliary reins
5.1 Auxiliary reins (including any type of check reins) are not permitted when in harness. At ADS-recognised events for Training division only, side checks may be used at the Driver’s discretion.
And that’s the rules from the American Driving Society.
So why is there such disparity in the rules of organisations that both create rules for the well being of the horses competing? Continue reading →