Willowview Hill Farm

Welcome to Catskill Horse.

Welcome to The Merry Band at the Catskill Horse. We hope you enjoy browsing our monthly online magazine.

In addition to our Directory of useful services and horse lover articles check out our latest features Hit the Hay Accommodation Guide, The Feed Bucket Restaurant Guide, Horse and Home Real Estate Guide, Stallion Directory and Equine Art at the Catskill Horse. Plus coming soon our shopping choice guide! Come join our Merry Band at the Catskill Horse. And don't forget to check in at our Facebook page for our weekly Giveaway contests.

  • The Importance of Equine Dentistry with Nicholas DeDominicis~ CH Staff The Importance of Equine Dentistry with Nicholas DeDominicis~ CH Staff Click on Image to Read Article
  • The Humble Run-in Shed Adds True Value By Nikki Alvin-Smith The Humble Run-in Shed Adds True Value By Nikki Alvin-Smith Click on Image to Read Article
  • The Delights of a Horse for Free By Nikki Alvin-Smith The Delights of a Horse for Free By Nikki Alvin-Smith Click on Image to Read Article
  • The Equine Affaire ~ An Affaire to Remember By Nikki Alvin-Smith The Equine Affaire ~ An Affaire to Remember By Nikki Alvin-Smith Click on Image to Read Article


Nikki Alvin-Smith

Editor's Welcome

November is a month for giving thanks and Catskill Horse is very grateful for the contributions everyone has made to its success to date. Catskill Horse is proud to celebrate its 5th Anniversary this year and look how far we have come! Currently statistics tell us this community resource FREE magazine is reaching 65,000+ viewers a month. Many return visits so we know The Merry Band at the Catskill Horse is engaging the readership and building a good following.

Sincere thanks to our advertisers for their support over this time, and especially to those that renew every year. This also indicates that what we do counts in helping build the equestrian community, not just in the direct Upstate New York area, but to neighboring States.

The magazine has gone from quarterly, to bi-monthly to monthly during the past five years too. As always Catskill Horse welcomes new writers to participate in the publishing world so if you have a urge to contribute please don’t hesitate to contact us. The CH staff writers have naturally changed over time, for some their publishing in this magazine was the start of their career in writing and gave them the confidence to continue with their writing. Having an open door policy for contributors has created diverse content for the magazine of which we are proud.

Our regular columnists, Chelsea Smith (Yay or Neigh) and Tina Hammond (Bit Between the Teeth) continue to offer frank reviews of products and controversial topics for conversation. We are very grateful to them for their contributions.

For our November issue we have changed it up a bit and we will be adding more feature articles to the slider as the month goes along so check back often. We start at publication in the middle of the month with the usual three features. Enjoy our feature on local Catskill dentist Nicho DeDominicis, who lends some keen advice to horse owners on the necessity and importance of equine dental care. A literary humorous article on the topic of The Delights of the Free Horse will provide some entertainment. While on a more serious note: As winter approaches, check out our feature that includes a visit with Boyd Martin, Olympic eventer, on the topic of The Humble Run-in Shed.

Our news page is obviously updated daily so check in for all the latest goings-on there and don’t forget to send us your events for our event calendar as it receives a huge number of hits each day.

To everyone reading this, sincere thanks for your viewership. We couldn’t complete this labor of love without your presence.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page and enter for your chance to win a copy of the book Brain Taming for Riders. You can review the review on our Yay or Neigh page from Chelsea Smith, and come join the chat at the Catskill Equestrian Group too.

Happy Riding.

Nikki Alvin-Smith
Catskill Horse Magazine
Publisher: Horse in a Kilt Media Inc.

Combustible Clean-up

Combustible Clean-up 

Guelph, Ontario – With cooler, darker days ahead – and more pressure on heating and lighting systems – the risk of barn fires increase. So, now is the time for your annual combustible clean-up! Combustibles are everywhere and unavoidable around the horse farm, but your management of them can considerably reduce the risk of a barn fire.

To help you learn more about the combustible hazards in your barn and evaluate the safety of your facility, go to Equine Guelph’s Barn Fire Prevention online tool.  The interactive assessment tool asks 20 questions about inside and outside of your barn and takes five minutes to complete.
 Read the full article...

Five Tips to Make Your Senior Horse Winter Ready  
Five Tips to Make Your Senior Horse Winter Ready  Making sure your equine senior horse is in the best shape possible, and has some additional physical and nutritional support is key when it comes to getting them through the winter.
“You don’t want to wait until we’re in the dead of winter to find out your senior horse is too thin, too fat, or needs a winter blanket or better shelter,” says Laurie Cerny, editor of  “By then it’s too late and your horse will suffer.”
Cerny offers these five tips to ensure your senior horse is winter ready:
1.  Check teeth.  If your horse has been on pasture (which is more palatable) you may not notice signs of tooth problems like picking though hay for softer stems, and wadding of hay that's been chewed.  Have teeth floated if necessary. 
2.  Make sure your horse's feet are in good shape for ice and snow.  This means staying on top of your blacksmithing and adding protective measures like rim pads (to help pop the snow out) and Borium (for traction) if your horse remains shod over the winter.  Hoof supplements as well as regular application of a topical hoof dressing will also help hooves handle the ice and snow.
3.  Protection from the elements.  In addition to having adequate physical shelter like a run-in during the day and a stall at night, your equine senior may need to be blanketed.  If your horse is on the thin side going into the winter - blanketing will help him/her conserve teir body heat.  For horses with Cushing’s Disease (and grow an abnormally long hair coat) a waterproof blanket will help keep their coat from becoming soaked from rain or heavy snow.  This will be a great help because a Cushing’s hair coat won't dry out as well as a normal hair coat.  Consider using a fly mask in the winter, too.  It will help keep your senior horse's eyes from watering on days when it's really windy and will also help protect them from the harsh sun's glare on fresh snow.
4.  Provide a warm water source.  Like people, horse’s teeth become more sensitive with age.  Now imaging drinking water that's barely 32 degrees.  If you don't have water heaters, at least add warm water to your horse's drinking water several times during the day.  The most common cause of colic in the winter is from lack of water consumption.
5. Measure your horse now so you can tell if it loses or gains too much weight over the winter.  Because it is so hard to tell once a horse has a winter coat (Trying to use a blanket . . . that fits well in the summer – to determine weight loss or gain, doesn't work as a horse may have just lost muscle tone.)  Using a fabric tape measurer take a measurement around the widest part of the neck and also around the barrel of your horse.  Write these down somewhere in your barn, and re-measure your horse every couple of weeks.  is devoted to the care and competition of equine senior horses.   Find more articles and resources on caring for the senior horse, as well as product reviews, at the website.

On the Road? Shield Your Horse from Environmental Risks
Make biosecurity a priority before, during and after the event
On the Road? Shield Your HorseDULUTH, GA
Traveling to shows or other events where horses from near and far may congregate heightens the risk of exposure to infectious diseases. And as if exposure isn’t enough, higher-than-normal stress levels also contribute to the risk, according to Dr. Craig Shoemaker, DVM, MS, Equine Professional Services Veterinarian at Boehringer Ingelheim. “The stress of trailering, traveling, being in a new environment and working competitively takes a toll on a horse’s immune system,” he says, adding that proper vaccination protocol along with simple biosecurity measures can mitigate that risk.
Dr. Shoemaker suggests the following timeline for biosecurity measures with steps horse owners can take before, during and after an event to protect their athletes from these risks and keep them performing at their best. Read the Full Article....

Good Hay Practices.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Hay Making

A reminder to everyone that is busy stocking their hay supply to be careful how you stack and what you stack in your barn. Hay that is baled to more than 14% moisture can easily spontaneously combust. Here is a super article from our archives on The Seven Deadly Sins of Haymaking that covers storage and offers lots of other hay advice. Please take a look.


Dr. Kellon’s Guidelines: Solid Nutrition and Healthy Hooves

Dr Kellon's GuidelinesDr. Eleanor Kellon says that faulty nutrition isn’t the only factor in hoof-quality problems, but it’s a big player, “While genetics and faulty care are also involved, adequate nutrition can make the difference between the hoof with a potential for problems, and one that actually develops them. The results will speak for themselves.”
The hoof’s nutritional needs are high because it is a very active tissue that is constantly growing and restructuring.  Dr. Kellon maintains that although trim and genetics are important factors, good nutrition also plays a vital role in hoof health with protein, fats, and minerals being the building blocks of healthy hoof nutrition.
“Inadequate protein, or a deficiency in the essential amino acid Methionine, limits the ability to produce the hoof wall's structural protein known as keratin,” Kellon explains. “Also necessary for keratin production are vitamin B6 and Folic Acid. In addition, Biotin has also been shown to be important for both good growth and quality, and Lysine is an often deficient amino acid that is very important in hoof protein.” 
Often overlooked, Kellon says that fat is also very important to hoof health and integrity. “Various fats and waxes fill the spaces between the keratinocytes. They give the outer layer of a healthy hoof a naturally slick feel and shine.  Fat plays a very important role as the ‘cement’ that holds cells together by forming protective seals that keep moisture outside the hoof, and moisture from the internal living structures from escaping.” 
Of the potential nutritional causes of poor hoof quality, trace mineral deficiencies are the most common. To correct this, Kellon suggests supplementing with balanced levels of Copper and Zinc in a supplement with low or zero levels of Manganese and Iron, which can compete for absorption of those minerals.
~Zinc is required for every step of cell activity in the hoof structure, as well as for forming the structural protein of the hoof wall. Zinc is also the most commonly deficient mineral in the United States and around the world. Studies have confirmed that low Zinc status results in slow hoof growth, weak connections, thin walls and weak horns.
~Copper is also required for enzymes that form the reinforcing protein cross-linkages in hoof tissue. Hoof issues linked to Copper deficiency include cracks, sole hemorrhages, abscesses, thrush and laminitis.
~Zinc and Copper together also play a key role in protecting the fatty layers of the hoof wall. Hooves, like fingernails, have a shine and slippery feel when healthy.  This comes from the fats incorporated in their outer structure that keep environmental moisture out but critical tissue moisture in.  Zinc and Copper are essential components of the antioxidant enzymes that protect those fats.

Catskill Horse thanks Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, who offer several products that address deficiencies most often found in hooves.

How Much Do You Know About PPID?
We take a look at eight misconceptions you might have about PPID.

Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, or PPID, has been called ‘equine Cushing’s disease’ by horse owners and veterinarians for years. As more information is learned about it, the clinical signs of PPID are becoming more recognizable in horses. However, there are still several other misconceptions or myths about the disease. We asked Steve Grubbs, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, equine technical manager for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), to help dispel some of the most common misconceptions.   
1.  PPID is only a condition of the geriatric horse.  
“This is probably one of the most common myths about PPID,” Dr. Grubbs says. “We have been tracking epidemiological information on horses diagnosed with PPID, and have found that PPID affects horses of all breeds, and all ages, even as young as 5 years old.”  
Dr. Grubbs adds that it is important to monitor all horses for clinical signs of PPID. “Horse owners should perform frequent overall health checks looking for early signs of PPID. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. The earlier the diagnosis, the better,” he says.  
2.  Decreased athletic performance is not a clinical sign of PPID.  
One of the earliest signs of PPID, horses showing decreased athletic performance and/or lethargy could have an endocrine issue like PPID. Dr. Grubbs says, “Catching PPID early on can have a profound impact on how the horse responds to treatment before other signs appear.”  
3.  The overnight dexamethasone suppression test is the gold standard for the diagnosis of PPID.  
Once considered the best way to diagnose PPID, the overnight dexamethasone suppression test is no longer recommended by experts to test for PPID. “Instead we recommend using the resting adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) concentration test,” Dr. Grubbs says. “It is a simple blood test that your veterinarian can draw at any time during the day.”  
4.  Generalized hypertrichosis, or long hair all over the body, is the earliest clinical sign to use for diagnosing PPID.  
“Generalized hypertrichosis considered an advanced sign of PPID. “Early signs of PPID include regional hypertrichosis or patchy spots of long hair, delayed hair coat shedding, lethargy, decreased athletic performance and laminitis,” says Dr. Grubbs.  
5.  Signs of lameness, like tendon laxity and suspensory desmitis are not associated with PPID.  
While laminitis a well-known sign of PPID, until recently other signs of lameness have not been considered to be indicators of the disease. However, new research is indicating that other causes of lameness, particularly certain tendon issues and suspensory desmitis, may also be associated with horses with PPID.  
6.  For PPID diagnosis, resting ACTH cannot be used in the autumn time period.  
The resting ACTH concentration test can be used at any time of the year when you utilize seasonally-adjusted reference ranges. “The resting ACTH test is a simple blood test that your veterinarian can draw at any time,” Dr. Grubbs says. “The benefits to using this test include not only for diagnosis but also to monitor ACTH levels to know if treatment is working to decrease the levels.”  
7.  Horses can have only one endocrine disease, either PPID or equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), but not both at the same time.  
The diagnostic laboratory at Cornell University has amassed more than 3,000 samples to test for PPID from the IDPPID study. “Of those horses diagnosed with PPID, we found that 47 percent also had increased plasma insulin, which is an indication of EMS,” Dr. Grubbs says.  
With thanks to Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. for this article.

Catskill Horse T-Shirts & Notebooks Now Available & Enter to Win $50 Gift Certificate from

Catskill Horse is pleased to announce that we now have T-Shirts, mugs and notebooks Catskill Horse T-Shirtwith our own arty design available for purchase to help spread the word.

Buy any one of our products - choose from our 100% cotton T's and email us a picture of you wearing it with your horse in the photo, or buy a mug or notebook and email us photo of you and your horse and the product in the picture and be automatically entered in our Fall contest. This is your chance to win a $50 gift certificate from, The International Equestrian Shop. The Horse Studio is a Stamford, New York based online equestrian store that offers the largest online selection of Mugsquality horse DVDs and books with hundreds of titles to choose from in addition to lots of tack and performance riding apparel and gifts. Please be sure to include your email address with your order to be entered in the contest.

Catskill Horse Notebook

T-Shirts are available in Womens Fitted S/M/L/Xl and Unisex S/M/L/XL/2XL for only $20 plus $6.50 S/H. If you are located in NY please add 8% sales tax.

Mugs: $12.95 plus $6.50 S/H. Please add 8% sales tax if you are located in NY.

These fun notebooks are available for $11.95 plus S/H fee of $2.00. Please also add 8% sales tax if located in NYS.

Checks should be payable to Horse in a Kilt Media Inc., and mailed to P.O. Box 404, Stamford, NY 12167. Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery.







Vaccine Risks?

Here is some advice on what to look out for as your horse is administered vaccines this season. There have been reports of some serious adverse reactions this year, so be vigilant and ask your vet for their advice and specifically what adverse vaccine reports they have received through their channels.

It’s important to be able to distinguish between minor side effects and those reactions that warrant a call to your veterinarian.
Normal Responses
After intramuscular vaccination, it’s fairly common for horses to experience mild, temporary side effects for a few hours such as:
• Local muscle soreness or swelling
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Loss of appetite
• Lack of energy or alertness 
However, if the signs listed above last for more than 24 hours, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible to inform them of what is going on with the horse. This will allow your veterinarian to provide you with treatment advice and care instructions.
Causes for Possible Concern
Sometimes more serious side effects, and in some cases, life-threatening events, can occur, including:
• Hives
• Difficulty breathing
• Collapse
• Colic
• Swelling at the injection site several days post vaccination.
These more serious side effects are rare, but do require immediate consultation, and, in some cases, medical intervention.
Working with your veterinarian is the best way to ensure your horse is being evaluated based upon its particular needs. Many veterinarians follow the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ recommended guidelines for core vaccinations.  Veterinarians can also be helpful in determining the need for other risk-based vaccinations based on an assessment of your geographic threats and travel plans. They are also familiar with the proper handling and administering of vaccines, which is important because those handled improperly can actually become ineffective or may increase the risk of side effects.

CH note: This advice comes from a leading vaccine manufacturer and is provided in excerpts.

Careers in the Horse Industry
A Kind Offer.

Catskill Horse is pleased to have negotiated a special offer for its readers with the professional resume masters at Resume Specialist Services. Resume Specialist Services (RSS) will offer all Catskill Horse readers a special 10% discount off all their equine industry resume services. RSS

If you have just graduated from local equine studies programs, moved in to the area or find yourself without a job after years working in the industry due to the economic downturn then RSS can help. Resume packages are extremely reasonable. We thank them for the kind offer for our local equestrians. Please visit them at to learn more. Mention Catskill Horse at time of payment and they will refund you 10% of your package cost when they complete a powerful new resume for you.

As a specialist industry there are so many avenues in the horse world that there are probably careers you may not have even contemplated in your job search. Their packages include a one on one interview so your individual experience and skill sets can be analyzed and tips and ideas for new careers in the equestrian world are included. That's a sweet deal.

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Do You Love To Write?

While Catskill Horse has a staff of professional contributing writers/reporters/photographers, Catskill Horse is always interested in receiving submissions of articles and photos for publication from new writers. We can provide a photo or authorship credit for those works accepted. Please do not submit via mail - we prefer email submission. Send your ideas/articles/wrap up features/photos to us at marked attention Editorial. If accepted you will be notified via email.

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