Bulletin Board: 04/00

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Tack Sale: Miller’s Owner Buys Circle Y And Eisers
Stephen G. Dent of Greenwich, Conn., who purchased Miller Harness Co. a year ago, also purchased Circle Y of Yoakum and Equestrian Products Corp. (EPC) late in February.

Miller’s and EPC, which includes Eisers, will become one company called English Equestrian Corp., doubling Dent’s presence in the English equestrian market. Circle Y of Yoakum, a leading manufacturer of Western tack and accessories, will remain a separate company. Circle Y of Yoakum will remain at its south Texas location, and Eisers will also continue to operate out of Hazleton, Pa.

Miller’s left its New York/New Jersey metropolitan home of 87 years also in February and moved to rural Washington, N.C., an hour west of Raleigh. The move increased its warehouse space from 65,000 to 102,000 square feet. Miller’s new address is 350 Page Rd., Washington, N.C., 27889. The catalog order number (800/553-7655) has remained the same.

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Reining Discussed With The FEI
The inclusion of reining as an international discipline was discussed at a meeting of leaders from the AHSA, FEI, National Reining Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association in Lexington, Ky., Feb. 17. The meeting was in preparation of the FEI General Assembly to be held April 10-14 in Mainz, Germany. The meeting discussed presentation of reining to the FEI, regulations at the FEI level, and a tentative schedule of test events in 2000.

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New Arthritis Drugs
Two new human arthritis-pain drugs, Vioxx (rofecoxib) from Merck and Celebrix (celecoxib) from Pfizer (in conjunction with Searle), have potential for future equine use. These drugs block only the enzymes that produce the bad inflammatory prostaglandins involved in arthritis pain and do not affect the good prostaglandins responsible for producing the protective coating in the stomach and intestines. Studies on short-term use show no ulcer-producing potential.

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Nationwide “Open House” Begins This May
A nationwide open house will begin in May, organized by the Horse Industry Alliance (HIA) to attract new equine enthusiasts. More than 2,000 farms and ranches will join HIA in hosting Saddle Up America open houses across the country to help new people learn about how to become involved with horses.

An open-house kit is available to potential hosts by contacting the HIA. The organization offers other program ideas, including Test Ride, Hooked on Horses Experience, Black Stallion Literacy Project and two-day seminars. It has a national calendar of events, a where-to-ride locator service, and a farm and ranch directory. An open house gala is planned May 11-14 in HIA’s hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.

For further information, contact the HIA at 817/246-7433 or visit www.horseindustryalliance.com.

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Model Search
The 1824 Catalog is holding a model search through Aug. 1 for plus-sized women riders, size 16 and above. Winners in the three categories of hunt seat, Western and dressage will receive a new riding wardrobe and be featured in next year’s catalog.

The 1824 Catalog specializes in plus-size riding apparel for women and has a section for men and children in large sizes. The 1824 Arnott Mason Corp. of Clifton, Va., also has a catalog for riding undergarments in all sizes and one for therapeutic riders. For information, call 703/818-1517 (www.1824catalog.com).

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Rutgers University Research Facility Planned
Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., has launched a $20 million capital campaign to build an equine research and teaching center.

The Equine Center of Excellence wouldn’t be a vet school to treat disease but a place where scientists study measures to prevent disease, focusing on industry issues such as performance-enhancing drugs, immunology, aging, orthopedic disease, nutrition and parasites.

Rutgers currently has research projects underway in many of these areas, but facilities are limited. For information about Rutgers’ equine science program, call Dr. Karyn Malinowski at 732/932-9419 or email malinowski@aesop.rutgers.edu.

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Trends in Tack Stores
A recent survey shows that tack stores have a reassuring history of longevity. According to a report published by Western and English Today, an industry magazine, 55% of the 200 retail stores they surveyed have been in business more than 15 years, while another 30 percent have been around from six to 14 years.

A quarter of those stores averaged more than $500,000 in gross sales during 1998. For 1999, 65% of the stores projected increased sales, while only eight percent projected that their sales would go down. Stores with web sites went from 28 percent in 1998 to 50 percent in 1999.

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Quest Rumor Investigated
An e-mail message circulated widely last month claimed that a horse had died following use of the Fort Dodge dewormer Quest and that Quest had paid diagnostic expenses on the case. We couldn’t locate the original source of the message, but we spoke to Dr. Dave Hustead at Fort Dodge.

Dr. Hustead stated that Quest is “quite safe” and over six million doses have been sold in the United States since its release, with far more sold internationally. He said most problems encountered with Quest have involved overdosing of small/young horses or ponies. Quest is said to have a safety factor of about 5, meaning if you give a 200-pound animal a 1,000-pound dose, you could run into toxicity (one tube of Quest can deworm up to a 1,150-pound horse). Toxicity in this case refers to nervous system symptoms. Dr. Hustead said horsemen are aware that dewormers can cause colic, although no one really has a solid explanation for why this occurs.

Brent Standridge, Fort Dodge vice president of domestic sales and marketing, stated Fort Dodge’s payment of “diagnostic expenses is done solely as a customer service gesture in an effort to clarify the causes behind any purported adverse reaction associated with our product.” He further stated, “For this individual to suggest that our practice somehow implies a problem with our product is both inaccurate and unfair. Quest gel has an outstanding history of safety and efficacy. Extensive toxicity studies in both this country and abroad have exposed no link at all to acute abdominal crisis or colic.”

We obtained the adverse drug-reaction reports filed with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine in 1997, which reported 17 deaths suspected to be connected to Quest administration. Ivermectin had 11 deaths reported, while others of the benzimidazole group, such as mebendazole and fenbendazole, had less than 10. These are not deaths proven to be related to the dewormer but rather reports of deaths that occurred under circumstances and in a time frame that led reporting vets or owners to suspect the dewormer was involved. Other adverse reactions included laminitis, nervous system signs, fever, intestinal problems, abdominal pain, abortion and allergic type reactions (swellings or hives).

If these numbers are representative of the number of horses that have died following Quest administration, a horse has only about a nine in 1 million chance of dying from using this dewormer.

We also know deworming horses that have heavy parasite burdens, especially of immature worms located inside the wall of the intestine, is believed to carry a greater-than-normal risk of adverse reactions, such as loss of appetite, colic and laminitis.

At this time, the available numbers show that deworming your horse with Quest does not carry much more risk of death or other serious reaction than deworming him with ivermectin or a larvicidal dose of a benzimidazole. If you have any reason to suspect your horse may be harboring a large numbe r of immature parasites, it is wise to let your veterinarian know so that he or she can decide whether to pretreat the horse with an antihistamine or flunixin to help block any reaction to the killing of those parasites.

Young/small horses and ponies seem to be a particularly high-risk group for deworming with Quest. Whether this is entirely related to overdosing or to some yet unidentified factor remains to be seen. The Quest box bears the warning: “Extreme caution should be used when administering the product to foals, young and miniature horses, as overdosage may result in serious adverse reaction.” We caution you to read any product’s packaging and instructions carefully before use, and if you don’t have an accurate weight for the animal, don’t guess.

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Hay Supply Update
U.S. average hay prices are at their lowest in the past seven years, according to the Morgan Consulting Group. The USDA’s late-fall figures put the average price for hay of all types at $71.10 a ton, down almost 10% from the same time last year.

Prices were well above average in the Northeast due to last summer’s drought. Prices were also high in Kentucky, Missouri, Washington and New Mexico. They were lowest in the Northern Plains states. Alfalfa’s nationwide average was $73.20/ton, with the biggest bargains in Nebraska at $39/ton. Alfalfa in Wisconsin was $55/ton, down 35% from 1998. Grass hay nationwide averaged $69.90/ton.

No break in high Northeast prices is likely to occur until late summer, and that’s only if rainfall is normal. Texans are also facing a hay shortage, since the winter drought depleted pastures, and ranchers may have to ship in hay. The rising price of oil will affect the cost of transporting hay. But, with a three-to-one disparity in wholesale hay prices between some regions, it may be worth considering. See www.forage.com/hay for more information.