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Welcome to Catskill Horse.

Welcome to The Merry Band at the Catskill Horse. We hope you enjoy browsing our monthly online magazine. This .org digital magazine, began as a community resource serving the North East region of the USA, and has grown to reach a national and even international audience. The complete source for everything horse with a bevy of archived educational articles, tips and advice for multi-riding disciplines for horse owners everywhere that encompasses everything horse and rural lifestyle related.

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.

What's New in This Issue

Managing Arthritis In The Senior Riding Horse

How to Successfully Zigzag Through The Counter-Change of Hand

The Monitor Horse Barn Revealed


Nikki Alvin-Smith

Editor's Welcome


The holiday season is in full swing and happily many people have been able to reunite with their families after a long hiatus due to the pandemic. The travel restrictions internationally have eased a bit. As I sit here writing this the news notes on travel this Thanksgiving Day weekend show more folks than ever are hitting the roads and open skies to see loved ones.

Things come along in life on a fairly regular basis to remind everyone that life is short. Aging up in years is not always kind to us and trials with illness and disease are almost inevitable in our lives. This is why it is so important that we seize the day and enjoy what life has to offer.

Thinking along these lines it is the same for our horses as it us for us. A senior horse will most likely still enjoy being ridden and having the engagement of being out and about with his rider even though signs of age have crept into his physical self. Arthritis is one of the most common ailments that comes long with age and managing its presence in the horse is possible way taking a few simple measures to keep the horse comfortable. Our feature on managing this prevalent disease should help give some direction if you are a horse owner dealing with this issue.

My husband Paul and I, are looking forward to returning to Florida to give a few dressage clinics this coming winter season after a pandemic forced hiatus from such travels. One of the most common issues we see holding riders back from national level success to FEI is the canter zig-zag. This 4th level movement is a valuable test of both horse and rider and is well intentioned in its inclusion before FEI level tests. Accomplishing the canter zig-zag with ease is not as hard as you might think. Ardent and educated training preparation is of course key. Here are some pro hacks to get the job done.

And our final feature this month includes one of our favorite people - Jill Siragusa. As veteran CMO at Horizon Structures, there isn’t much about modular barn building that Jill doesn’t know. Over the past few years there has been an significant upward trend in the popularity of modular horse barns and for good reason. Horizon Structures has been a major sponsor at Equine Affaire, Springfield, MA event for over a decade, and the recent November event was their most successful year ever. Find out more about modular construction, what to expect on the ‘big day’ and listen in to Jill’s notes on the monitor horse barn in our feature, “The Monitor Horse Barn Revealed.” Lots to enjoy here.

The Merry Band at the Catskill Horse would like to wish everyone a Very Happy Holiday Season and Safe and Healthy 2022.

Don’t forget to check in at our news page for lots of horse lover information, see the winners of our monthly book contest and find new events to attend on our very popular events page.

With heartfelt gratitude to all our supporters, viewers and advertisers alike who have helped keep Catskill Horse growing this far. We look forward to many more years to come as we build this digital publication and continue to reach far and beyond New York.

If you write and would like to contribute; have news you would like to share about your organization or activities at your farm, please email

Please to visit our Facebook page and keep up on current news 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.

Don’t Let Dust Diminish Your Horse
Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions, Equine Guelph

Avoid asthma and respiratory issues with barn management

Have you ever walked in a barn, and felt like your lungs were being assaulted? Imagine how a horse feels, particularly if they spend hours in a stall. When horses exercise, they take on upwards of 16 times as much air per second than their human owners. Their lung capacity is enormous, as are their athletic capabilities, unless they are compromised by environmental factors. Much can be done from a management standpoint to minimize dust and harmful particulates in a horse’s environment while maximizing athletic function and general comfort in the process.

Even a horse not exhibiting signs of breathing issues may be under assault from airborne particles. Every effort should be taken to minimize dust to practice prevention of irreversible breathing issues. Read the full article...

Preventing Equine Asthma Spectrum Conditions
"Get nosy," advises veterinarian Dr. Wren Burnley

veterinarian Dr. Wren BurnleyWren Burnley has a veterinary degree and ongoing education to inform the care of her own horses and those in her practice. She also brings her perspective as an FEI dressage trainer and rider.

When she wants to evaluate her patients' home environments for respiratory risks, however, Dr. Burnley only needs her nose. As in, she'll stick her nose into a bale of hay, bend down in the stall to inhale deeply in the horse's "inhalation zone," or stand in the barn aisle sniffing for ammonia odors. She encourages clients to be equally "nosy" in protecting their horse's respiratory health.


"Because horse's lungs are at their peak from the get-go," she explains. "You can't make lungs get stronger with exercise." That puts a premium on protecting them, along with the upper respiratory tract that delivers oxygen to the lungs and carries carbon dioxide out.

As the term "Equine Asthma Spectrum" becomes widely accepted in veterinary circles, Dr. Burnley fields increasing inquiries about what it is and how it applies to clients' horses. She may get even more inquiries this month because May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month in the human world.

Here are answers to some of Dr. Burnley's Frequently Asked Questions on the subject. Read the full article...

Equine Disease Communication Center Serves Critical Role During Disease Outbreaks

Horse owners and others are encouraged to sign up for free alert service

EDCC LogoLEXINGTON, Ky. -The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) is the “go-to” source for accurate and timely equine disease information, including the latest reports on outbreaks, such as EHV-1 in North America. Now in its sixth year, the EDCC continues its central role in helping control equine disease outbreaks by serving as an important horse health service and tool for horse owners, equine facility managers, veterinarians, state animal health officials and the equine industry.

Communication, traditionally, is one of the most significant challenges in containing and preventing disease spread, especially during an outbreak. This was especially true prior to launch of the EDCC in 2015, when nationwide coordination of disease outbreaks and confirmed cases was virtually non-existent. Read the full article...

Learn More About Horse Hay

Have you ever wondered where your hay comes from? In this episode, we learn about what it takes to produce the most important component of a horse’s diet. Plus, we learn about things like how to spot a good bale when you see one, how to measure moisture content, prevent spontaneous combustion, and more. Hay farmer, Nikki Alvin-Smith from Willowview Hill Farm Dressage, brings a ton of really interesting information.


Creating a Diverse Healthy Pasture for Your Horse
By Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS

Creating a Diverse Healthy Pasture for Your HorseEquine health (and human health, for that matter) is closely intertwined with soil health. Soil health directly affects plant health and the nutrients available to the plants are absorbed in turn by horses. Healthy soil and healthy horses are therefore, inter-related. And microbial populations in the gut, called the microbiome, are also beneficiaries of this relationship.
Maintaining a healthy population of micro-organisms requires appropriate food, the correct environment and substrates (prebiotics) upon which to grow. In soil, the correct pH, minerals and organic matter all must be present. In the equine (and human) intestinal tract, the correct pH, minerals and soluble fibers (prebiotics) must all be present. Notice that the same basic ingredients are required whether the land is producing plants, or the horse/human is living. Current research is showing that the natural microbial population in the horse (and human) is primarily soil-based bacteria. So, eating a little bit of dirt is actually a good thing. Read the full article...

\Check Out Horse Radio Network Alumni Helena Harris Podcast Stall and Stable

Listen in for advice "Keeping a Grand Prix Dressage Horse".



Catskill Horse T-Shirts & Notebooks Now Available

Catskill Horse T-Shirt Mugs




Catskill Horse is pleased to announce that we now have T-Shirts, mugs and notebooks with 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 or buy a mug or notebook.

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.

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