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A Severe Tummy Twist

Signs of colicColic is a term used for when a horse is having mild-severe abdominal pain. This type of situation can have many causes such as ingestion, diet types, quick change in diet, parasites, lack of water, stress, and twisted stomach. It is important to be able to spot this problem with a horse as soon as possible as it can be very severe and could possibly lead to death. Some of the signs of colic in a horse can be seen as restless and pawing at the ground, sweating and increased breathing rate, stretching as if they are going to urinate, rolling or attempting to roll, or even an increase in pulse rate. If any of these signs are evident, it is important to notify a vet as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse.

There are many risk factors that could potentially lead to the development of colic in a horse. Such risk factors include digestive disorders, poor feeding regime, and stress. It is important to make sure the horse is properly being taken care of or else it could possibly develop this severe condition.

There are many things you can do to prevent your horse from developing colic. You should make sure that there horse is always supplied with water and could have a diet planned out for the horse that it follows everyday. If you plan to change the horses food, you should slowly switch it instead of all at once. Always double check the feed to ensure that it is still in good quality and does not have mold or other hazards in it. It is important that your horse is getting a balanced amount of exercise and rest daily. Along with these prevents, there are many more that you can follow to help prevent your horse from getting this severe condition.

Horse rolling in painLastly, if your horse does so happen to develop colic there are many different treatments that you should follow to get the situation handled quickly. The best thing to do first is to make sure the horse is in a safe place, and if not then it would be best to move them to one. But do not interfere with the horse if it is anxious or trying to roll around. You should remove feed and hay from the horse as this could be the initiator. It would be in your best interest to notify a doctor if it is severe, surgery may be needed to treat the issue.




The summary is provided from a ANS 216 Equine Science assignment.



Wrangling the Rockies

Caroline TreadwillDo you love horses? Do you want to sharpen your people skills? Have you ever wanted to live in Colorado? Consider shaping up that dusty cowboy hat and becoming a wrangler for the summer! It’s a fast-paced hands-on opportunity that will surely spice up your resume. This last summer I worked as a wrangler in Estes Park, Colorado, and it was an experience not to be forgotten.

“What does it even mean to be a wrangler?” you may ask. Imagine leading a group of guests, on horseback through Rocky Mountain National Park. With groups consisting of typically two to eight people, your job is to educate the public on the wonders of the Rockies while providing an interactive equine experience. You will master your public speaking skills, become a whiz at the local flora and fauna, and learn first aid and CPR. Working outdoors all day long, you get to soak in the scenery as the Continental Divide is practically in your backyard.

While this experience may seem incredible, it is not one for the faint of heart. Workdays are long, typically lasting between twelve and thirteen hours with one day off a week. And while housing is provided, conditions consist of a “rustic cabin” that is akin to a shack in the woods. Wranglers must be accustomed to “roughing it” and sharing the kitchen with Cinderella’s closest friends (mice). If you are a hardy individual who can overcome such obstacles, the work can be highly lucrative. However, the majority of compensation is collected in tips as the salary breaks down to approximately $2/hr.  

The RockiesIf you can overlook the shortcomings, there is a lot that can be gained from being a wrangler. Workers gain an immense amount of hands-on horse experience as barn chores include haying and graining between fifty and seventy horses during peak season. Wranglers can also look forward to living in Estes Park, one of Colorado’s premier tourist destinations. With activities like hiking, kayaking, and exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park, there is never a dull day. 

Want more information? Below are a couple of links for the horseback company I worked for, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Estes Park. As I only have my own experience, I would recommend further research into other companies that operate in the area.



The author of this blog, Caroline Treadwell, is a senior at Iowa State University double majoring in Animal Science and Biology


Why a Clover Leaf Pattern?

Where did the famous barrel racing of the modern day today come from and why has it become so popular? For how long I’ve know about barrel racing I never really knew the history behind how it all started. I wanted to dig into the rich history of rodeo and the infamous clover pattern. It all started in the 1930’s when Faye Blackstone from Parrish, Florida as she was in her trick riding career, but it seemed to become replaced she started her horsemanship to the barrels. She began the barrel racing event with a couple other cowgirls in 1950 in Florida.

Faye Blackstone
Faye Blackstone, the 1st of many

Dixie Mosley began her rodeo career when she was 5 ½ years old. As she grew through her rodeo family she was able to see the sport of barrel racing take off through the Girl’s Rodeo Association (GRA) when it started in 1948 as it progressed evolving to the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) in 1948. Wanda Bush won her first Barrel Racing Championship in 1952 and continued to accel through the WPRA winning multiple world championships.

Barrel Racing did technically start in 1931 in Stamford Texas, but was only a figure eight pattern and wasn’t changed to the clover pattern until 1935. Although as it seemed to start in 1935, it wasn’t strictly starting to judge it until 1949. Even as the cloverleaf pattern has continued to be a favor with most women in the rodeo industry there still aren’t any specific measurements to rule by but only certain ranges between each barrel.

The largest barrel racing pattern takes place at the Pendleton Roundup as it has grass in the infield making it more difficult for horses to get sturdy footing as they increase speed between each barrel. With the safety of the horses in mind they kept the barrels on the racetrack around the grass infield in 1999.

Barrel racing
Barrel Racing

Now coming away from the history this even is made for the horse and rider to work together as a team to maintain balance and speed throughout the event.  When it comes down to the horses they have to have the agility and speed to perform the best in this event. When thinking about the pattern many have to be able to have a good seat through the sharp turns around each barrel to keep the horse in balance. When you run at your best performance you are able to achieve the best of the best. The current record holder for the best time is Carlee Pierce with a time of 13.46 seconds on her twelve year old buckskin gelding, Dillon. She broke a twenty-seven year record within seconds as she is competing in her first finals.

Barrel racing has come a long way through the years as it has purses equal to other rodeo events within the last 60 years of the sport. Do you think you could get down and dirty along with all the other barrel racers of the WPRA. Would you ever consider trying to barrel race to see how fast and efficient you and your horse can work together?


The report is a project for ANS 216 Equine Science.


  1. “Faye Blackstone”
  2. “The History of Barrel Racing”
  3. “Carlee Pierce”

Spending time with horses can improve your health!

Horses can give us emotional solance and physical support, allowing people to tare away from worries, stress, and personal problems we face in our daily lives.       

Nationally, health risks associated with stress have sky-rocketed in the past few years. Anxiety, depression, high-blood pressure and heart attacks are on the rise and society usually resolves these issues through doses of medication. A horse barn may be a cheaper and less damaging solution. Riding horses have been medically linked to improving both mental and physical health. Along with the emotional connection people can share with horses, exercise and fresh air benefit those who choose to ride and care for them. Many special needs children, such as autistic children benefit from working with horses and are thought to be able to communicate more efficiently with animals than humans. Other studies have shown soldiers post-war suffering with PTSD that have shown great success when exposed to horses. Horse riding and training courses have even been implemented into prisons and have been reported to create better-adjusted prisoners than prisoners who don’t have access to similar programs.

Exercise improves blood flow, heart rate and most bodily functions. Many stables offer horse back riding lessons for beginners which helps strengthen core muscles, posture and balance. People with physical disabilities can benefit from riding as a low-impact sport that is softer on their bodies and provides an enjoyable alternative to the gym.

Therapeutic riding
Horse Therapy

Works Cited-

Faaborg, K. (2014, July 9). The Impact of Horses on Human Health. Retrieved from

This blog post was written by Avery Haefner, senior in Animal Science as part of ANS216 Equine Science.



Setting our Sights on Equine Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?

Horses eye

Glaucoma in the most general sense refers to a group of eye conditions that can result in blindness (1). Medically speaking, it results from intraocular inflammation due to equine recurrent uveitis (eye inflammation). What happens is that the aqueous humor inside the eye becomes obstructed causing pressure within the eye to increase. The increased pressure leads to reduced blood flow from the retina to the optic nerve. Ultimately, the reduction in blood flow leads to cell death, compression of the optic nerve, and complete blindness (4)

How do I know if my horse has glaucoma?

Common symptoms of glaucoma include painful, red, or cloudy eyes. Horses commonly squint the eye closed (blepharospasm) or produce excess tears (epiphora). However, there is only so much that the eye itself can do to alert veterinarians about what is happening. Some horses don’t display any symptoms at all. This is why testing the intraocular pressure (IOP) is so critical to accurate diagnosis. Veterinarians use a special tool called an applanation tonometer which is a handheld device that measures IOP. If you’re curious if you can measure IOP yourself, the answer is probably not. In order to utilize the tonometer, the eye needs to first be anesthetized. This is probably for the best considering your horse is not likely to take well to you touching its eyeball (2).

What can be done to treat glaucoma?

Fortunately, glaucoma is a treatable disease, especially in its early stages. One such treatment includes using a drug called timolol. Timolol can lower IOP and delay eye deterioration for as long as three years (3). A more aggressive approach is laser surgery. Laser ciliary body ablation decreases the fluid produced by the eyes. This treatment requires sedation or anesthesia but can manage eye health for two to three years. While there are a variety of treatment options, none can prevent the inevitable, blindness. As glaucoma is a progressive disease it can only be managed, not treated (4). 

Horse corneal ulcer
A corneal ulcer stained green with florescence stain


Given the brevity of this post, there is still more to learn about glaucoma. Check out the websites below to get a more detailed analysis of the issue at hand

Works Cited

  1. “Glaucoma.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Nov. 2018,
  2. Kane, Ed. “Treating Glaucoma in Your Equine Veterinary Patients.” dvm360, 30 June 2014,
  3. “Timolol Eye Drops 0.5%.” Timolol Eye Drops 0.5% - Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) - (Emc), 24 Dec. 2015,
  4. Tolar, Erica L, and Amber L Labelle. “American Association of Equine Practitioners.” How to Session: Ophthalmology , 2013,

This blog post was written by Caroline Treadwell, a senior in Animal Science and Biology.

Journey to a Career as a Practicing Veterinarian

The journey to a career as a practicing veterinarian can best be characterized as challenging; it is a path delineated with lengthy and arduous academic endeavors that requires perseverance, passion and discipline to obtain a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. DVM programs are both limited, with only twenty-eight accredited programs in the United States, and are highly selective.


ANS 216 Equine Science Video Projects

ANS216 - Equine Science is an introductory course designed to develop an understanding of equine use and handling, health, maintenance, reproduction, selection, and management. A project is required where students could enhance their knowledge of professionals in the equine industry or research a current issue in the equine industry. Students had to interpret and apply the information by designing and recording a video. The videos that are approved by the author for viewing by the public are listed below. Go to ANS 216-Video-Project if you are interesting in watching the video.

  1. A Ride to Remember - Racing Career Jockeys by Tiana Black
  2. Accessing the Controversy of Rodeo in the Equine Industry by Sarah Hetherington
  3. Equine Breeder Ranch and Rodeo by Landon Foster
  4. Equine Cloning by Haley Burling
  5. Equine Dentistry by Claire Roe
  6. Equine Pedigree Analyst by Megan Marchese
  7. Equine Science Instructor by Colleen Curtin
  8. Equine Veterinarian Technician by Sage Sherburne
  9. Equine Veterinarians in Practice by Erin Kay
  10. Farrier's Care for Your Horse's Hooves by Tina Poulias
  11. Foaling Difficulties by Katrina Feeders
  12. Horse Pharmaceuticals by Alexis Oehlerich
  13. How Horses Learn by Kaitlin Wiley
  14. Issues Facing Soring and Abusive Training Methods by Julie Fisher.
  15. Navicular Disease by Katrina Lee
  16. Performance Enhancing Drugs in the Racing Industry by Kathryn Richardson
  17. The Shortage of Large Animal Vets in Rural America by Charlotte Everist
  18. The Use of Bits and Their Effect on Respiration by Emma Kelley
  19. Veterinarians in the Equine World by Makayla Lange