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.

  • Jump Into Spring with Leatherstocking Veterinary Services~ CH Staff Jump Into Spring with Leatherstocking Veterinary Services~ CH Staff Click on Image to Read Article
  • A Different Sort of Cabin Fever By Nikki Alvin-Smith A Different Sort of Cabin Fever By Nikki Alvin-Smith Click on Image to Read Article
  • Horses, Hay and Homesteading By Nikki Alvin-Smith Horses, Hay and Homesteading By Nikki Alvin-Smith Click on Image to Read Article


Nikki Alvin-Smith

Editor's Welcome

It’s time to break out in song and wish a Happy 6th Birthday to Catskill Horse Magazine. It is hard to believe that six years have passed since the inception of this all volunteer community resource.

It was always the mission to bring folks from all walks of equestrian life together, to showcase the horse industry in Upstate New York and to help equine related businesses develop in the region. Please visit our blog, to learn more about the quest and how it was achieved. With huge thanks to our staff past and present, contributing writers, wonderful advertisers who make this possible.

The fact that after six years we now reach 69,000 viewers per month AND we still produce Catskill Horse magazine for FREE, is testament to the fact that where there is a will there is a way. The magazine does take a good chunk of time to produce and when we made the switch from bi-monthly to monthly over a year ago, the challenges to keep it on timeline meant that we had to double up on our efforts.

The Merry Band at the Catskill Horse thanks everyone that has participated, either directly through advertising dollars, their time writing and their time reading and sharing the articles and columns.

In this March issue we have lots to share. Our Jump into Spring with Leatherstocking Vet Clinic covers our interviews with the vet team to catch us up on what we should do to keep our horses colic free this wintry month, what contagious diseases they have been seeing in the area, what services they now provide and their $20 farm calls and new staff members.

For those who would like to buy or currently have property in the Upstate region but have not yet developed it as a place to live, or would like to develop their present home to cash in on the rush of visitors from NYC and the more populated regions South of us we have a treat for you. The tourists seek some rural lifestyle vacation time and this is an upward trend in the region that is expected to continue. Check out our feature on A Different Kind of Cabin Fever. I think it’ll give you lots of great ideas.

Other trends are the return to a simpler lifestyle through homesteading. Families increasingly want to have fresh dairy, vegetables and meat that they themselves produce. While you might think about building a horse barn, you might also think about building a multi-functional building to house not just horses, but chickens and livestock too. Everything old school is new again! Check out our feature Horses, Hay and Homesteading to learn more.

A lady wrote to our A Bit of Advice column about her newly acquired horse and its issues with being ridden. The CH staff gave some heartfelt advice. Hopefully it will all work out in the end.
Tina Hammond sounds off in our popular Bit Between the Teeth column about the role of trainers in buying horses for their students. That’s something everyone should be aware of when they go horse shopping.

Looking for some dressage help? Chelsea has the scoop on the new Anja Beran book in the Yay or Neigh column and for the Fergus horse lovers she also reviewed the latest title from Trafalgar Square Books on the antics of Fergus too.

I hope that you enjoy the issue and we welcome your comments and suggestions for future articles. If you love to write feel free to contact us about becoming a contributing member of The Merry Band at the Catskill Horse too! All are welcome.

The Merry Band at Catskill Horse Magazine is very grateful for all the renewing and new advertisers that are the support network for this community resource that is now in its 6th year. Our Sales Manager, James, will be reaching out to everyone this Spring to see what else we can do to help equine related businesses thrive in the Upstate New York region. There are some excellent advertorial opportunities for your business and our stalwart advertisers prove that our efforts have paid off for them. Please give James a listen when he calls, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what is available to help you with your business.

I hope you’ll enjoy catching up on everything horse in this edition, and don’t forget to send us your events for the calendar. We’ll help you anyway we can!

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

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page and keep up on current news and come join the chat at the Catskill Equestrian Group too.

Happy Spring!

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

Silver Bullets Are For Werewolves
Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

Silver Bullets Are For WerewolvesI have been a strong proponent of the role of nutrition in health and optimal function for four decades but with the understanding that while it is pivotal it’s not the sole answer to everything. Scientifically unrealistic claims for the benefits of supplements mislead owners/caretakers and end up eroding confidence in the power of nutrition.
No silver bullet supplements can guarantee safe grazing for all horses.
Some things are straightforward. Pregnant mares with severe selenium deficiency can give birth to foals with white muscle disease. Supplement those mares with adequate selenium when pregnant and this doesn’t happen. It’s rarely that simple. Read the full article....

Updated AAEP Biosecurity Guidelines Now Available

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has published updated biosecurity guidelines to help minimize the occurrence and mitigate the spread of potential disease outbreaks.

The downloadable PDF file incorporates comprehensive information and step-by-step protocols in three distinct areas: identification of key personnel, important contacts and reference materials; routine biosecurity protocol; and outbreak response. The AAEP’s Infectious Disease Committee updated the protocols. Read the Full Article...

Myths and Misconceptions about Insulin Resistance/Metabolic Syndrome
By Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

Myths and MisconceptionsIt always takes a while for textbooks, veterinary schools and practitioners to catch up with the best published research. Magazines and news feeds often focus on whomever has a better and louder PR network. There are also companies and individuals that seek to capitalize on owners’ concerns, offering products or services that may even claim to be science-based but are not.  The end result is a lot of advice that at best is not helpful and at worst is harmful. These are a few of the latter.

Short chain (or any length) fructans cause insulin to rise.  This is sometimes presented as a need to look at starch plus WSC (water soluble carbohydrates which includes some fructans) versus starch plus ESC (ethanol soluble carbohydrates = simple sugars only) when evaluating the safety of a hay or other food item.  This misunderstanding can cause people to reject perfectly safe hay and waste time and money looking for hay which ends up being overly mature and nutritionally inferior in many ways such as digestibility, protein and vitamin/mineral levels. Look for ESC + starch less than 10% and don’t worry about fructan unless NSC [WSC + starch] is over 40%. Read the full article...

Compensating for Winter Hay Deficiencies

Compensating for Winter Hay DeficienciesPoor nutrition over winter is a common occurrence for the feral horse, but there is no reason for the well managed domestic horse to have these challenges. Understanding the deficiencies in older hay can help you maintain optimal nutrition.

It's the time of year when even last year's hay isn't so new anymore and hay is getting hard to find, leading many people to settle for hay that is actually 2 years old. Properly cured hay stores well in terms of the major calorie sources (fermentable fiber and other carbohydrates) but it does suffer some important nutrient losses.

Freshly harvested hay is rich in a pigment called beta-carotene which is the major precursor of vitamin A. As hay ages, light and air take their toll on the beta-carotene. As levels drop, hay begins to lose its nice green color. This is a sure sign vitamin A value has dropped. Skin, eyes, coat, thyroid and ovaries are among the tissues most affected by insufficient vitamin A. A good time to start supplementing with 20,000 IU of vitamin A is when hay is 6+ months old, increasing to 40,000 IU when over a year old. Read the Full Article....

Keeping Your Horse Loose and Limber in the Winter

Winter is a stress on any horse, even more so for seniors. Supportive measures don't have to be complicated if you understand the physiology and the tissues you need to target.

Keeping Your Horse Loose and Limber in the WinterResearch has proven that exposure to cold causes increased stiffness in both muscle and connective tissue, including tendons and ligaments.  A recent human study also confirmed that dampness, or relative humidity, is correlated with increased joint pain and this effect is worse when the weather is also cold.

The effects are magnified in older horses.  "Sarcopenia of aging" is age related loss of muscle mass which gets worse if the horse is not regularly exercised.  Age also causes increased tendon and ligament stiffness, loss of flexibility, and lesions developed in the core of flexor tendons.  To top it all off, muscle is less strong in the cold because energy generation becomes less efficient, allowing more energy to escape into the cells as heat.

The end result of all this in its mildest form is horses that have a wooden, stiff movement. In the worst-case scenario, they are so severely affected that getting up from a down position becomes very difficult or even impossible.  Fortunately, this scenario isn't inevitable. Read the full article....

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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