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Saratoga Horse Symposium Excites

Published: 9/26/2012
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

Home to the Travers Stakes, Saratoga Springs, New York balloons to nearly triple its size during the month of August. Seasoned residents high-tail it out of town and rent their homes during that month to some of the 50,000 visitors. One resident told me he pays his entire year’s mortgage with August’s rental income.

Not being a crowd fanatic, September was the perfect time to visit. Great weather, scenery, and accommodations without the hoopla or congestion.
I attended the Saratoga Horse Symposium, sponsored by the Cornell Cooperative Extension and held at the dazzling new Saratoga Springs City Center. Each year, the CCE hosts a number of speakers to help educate the equine community.  
This year, CCE’s Jennifer Stevens invited a diverse group of exceptional speakers, including Lyme Disease researchers, deworming, nutrition, and hoof experts. Dr. Steve Peters presented Evidence-Based Horsemanship, a compelling, well-received 90-minute talk on horse behavior and brain science.

Dr. Bettina Wagner delivered a talk on the new Lyme disease test she and her Cornell University colleagues developed. It’s much more accurate and sophisticated than older tests and gives dog and horse owners some hope in this area.
Click for nifty Inside Science video

Click for more information on Cornell site.

Dr. Amy Serk presented her work on strategic deworming. Like many vets, Serk says fecal egg counts are crucial in determining if, when, and how your horse should be wormed. Gone are the days of blindly squirting worming paste into your horse’s mouth every two months.
Serk has her own outlined strategy. You can click here, then scroll down to “Strategic Deworming Assessment” for her protocol.
We've written about the evolution in deworming protocol before. Dr. Ron Emond's of Candlewood Equine in Connecticut has long advocated for change among his clients. Click here.
I’m usually the last to advocate Big Corporate stuff, but Merial has a great education slideshow on the same topic.
Click here for Parasite Control 101.

Outside the City Center, I met Officer Glen Barrett. Barrett is a 12-year Saratoga Springs Police Department veteran and a member of the mounted police unit. The three-man, two-horse unit is just over a decade old (surprising, considering the city’s long-standing horse history).
Barrett rides either King Tut, a nine-year old Percheron gelding or Jupiter, a 16-year old, off-the-track Standardbred. They are used primarily for late-night crowd control and help limit the risks other officers have to take when dealing with the unruly. Along the city’s main drag, there are 16 bars within a few blocks. The mounted units work in partnership with those on foot patrol.
“I can put my horse between two guys,” said Barrett. It’s better than putting an officer between the aggressors. “It’s like having extra guys out there.”

Good work, Officers Barrett, Tut, and Jupiter!

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"If the horse does not enjoy his work, his rider will have no joy." - H.H. Isenbart