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Dr. Hans-Dieter Nebe on the 30-Day Testing of Stallions in the USA

Even when one admits that a somewhat later beginning of the stallion's training in his fourth year may lead to a longer useful life, the overall level of training of the five and six year old stallions that were presented must be described as unsatisfactory.

Although the Test that was carried out last year was very small and uneconomical it had the effect of building confidence in the site and the process. This has paid off. In the meantime there have been numerous discussions including several with other Warmblood organizations. These have focused the attention of the Test Team on the correct requirements for these tests. As a result we hope that future tests will result in a broader participation. The facilities of the Silver Creek Farm in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, provide no limitations to the success of the tests. This applies equally as well to the owner Summer Stoffel and her staff.

This year there were ten (10) stallions presented for inspection and testing, seven were actually presented and six were able to complete the test. And again the willingness of the stallions as well as the continuing effort of the trainings team under the direction of Harald Hoffmann were responsible for the enormous advancement in the training level that resulted. Franka Bornemann, Hessen and Carlo Frei from Canada had both excelled in their efforts to prepare each stallion for the test without causing them any undue stress.

One stallion was eliminated immediately upon his arrival with a problem with his back muscles. After an examination by the Veterinarian as well as three additional days of observation and treatment is was clear that it would be impossible for this horse to continue his training under saddle at this time. And if the long trip to the test site by the stallion owner was not cause for sufficient disappointment, the diagnosis provides the basis for a much more serious anxiety, and that is the suspicion that the horse may have EPM. EPM is a nervous system inflammation that may cease any further use of the horse under saddle. Even if the horse shows no signs of difficulty for some time, the thought of him having EPM is always in the back of one's mind.

Veterinarian Supervision of the Highest Quality

After all of the stallions underwent a very thorough examination by the veterinarian Jennifer Adolph and were given the go ahead for the test, the successful Show Jumping rider Sven Frei was the first test rider to climb in the saddle. As in the previous year, he was able to get a good feel for the needs of each stallion. The same could be said for Edgar Langen from Remaagen who provided his extensive experience at training young stallions all the way to National Championship level. For himself and his show jumper Apiro it was a return to the Broken Arrow Farm. This horse is well known across the country because of his success in the Hunter ring.

As judges, in addition to Dr. Nebe, Rainer Pillasch was also again flown in for the tests. He is able to provide not only his long years of experience as a Show Judge, but is now better understood. This is important because the promotion and expansion of our partner, Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar-International cannot simply rely on the reading of the test-scores. The open discussions regarding the test scores and clarification of the result, and the myriad telephone conversations provide the basis for improvement in the future. This will build trust. This will also close the circle of help to, hopefully, cause a better preparation of even the three and four year old stallions. We also have high hopes that we will be able to hold a 70 day test at this remarkable facility. It has also been brought to the attention of those responsible to either concentrate on dressage or jumping at the 30 day tests and the attendant competition. Additionally, the selection by the riders of high quality mares will also provide improvement in our breeding program. It appears that it is a extremely difficult for stallion owners to find trainers for all three disciplines: Dressage, Show-jumping and Cross Country, in their respective local areas. It is considered that this is a reason that we may have difficulty in offering a 70 day test. Consequently, all of the participants have agreed that we have to be satisfied with another 30 day test this winter. There are already 16 stallions that have applied. These tests will also be available to follow live on the internet at www.silvercreeksporthorses.com.

Get Rid of the Opossums

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a significant neurological disease for horses, particularly in the United States. The encephalitis causes an infection in the brain. EPM is a non-symmetrical infection of the nervous system that can appear in various body areas caused by an irritant (Sarcocystis neurona or falcatula) that is found in the excrement of the opossum and passed on to horses. It is particularly dangerous in the fall of the year and it is recommended not to use hay from areas that are known to be inhabited by opossums. Since these animals live in trees, areas that are wooded and swampy provide the most desirable habitat. Hay or pasturing in these areas should be avoided. When these animals end as "road kill" it will also provide for the spread of the infection. The disease does not seem to be passed from one horse to another. It is a disease that develops slowly and is, therefore, easily confused with other neurological illnesses. So far there is no vaccination available. Treatment in the early stages may be successful, however, normally the disease will lead to a very painful death. One should be careful to use a broodmare ( a mare that can no longer be ridden because of some neurological symptoms) in areas where this disease may be found. At this time one measure that may be taken is to attempt to rid your area of opossums and to keep any feed or stalls closed to exclude the entry by these animals.