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Sunday, June 05, 2005



I take serious issue with that young, gray horse (the 10th picure down). There is NO WAY that horse is not the victim of neglect and/or abuse! 'Event horse, a steeple chase horse, or an endurance horse'??? Give me a break! That horse would collapse if it even thought about going over a jump! He has no muscle mass with which to jump or do endurance riding. That horse is extremly malnourished and should rate out at maybe a 2. Please don't use a messed up old painting to signify that that horse is in ok shape. That horse needs serious help. Google in racehorse, steeplechase horse or endurance horse , under images to see what a real fit horse is supposed to look lean. Thin, yes. Lean, yes. But well muscled and healthy.


Hey I know what the deal is with that grey horse! I've come across him before when searching for pictures of horses who had grass sickness. SO he was well cared for until it got grass sickness which very quickly gives them a 'greyhound' appearence and they usually die within a few days. Sad :(

and way it is used for eventing or steeplechasing. It looks VERY unhealthy in that picture, but there are hints that don't point towards actual neglect (it's well shod feet.)


I had never heard of "grass sickness" -- this is not a term in common use in the United States.

From University of Liverpool


Equine dysautonamia or "Grass Sickness" (GS) is a disease of horses, ponies and donkeys. It mainly strikes animals between 2 and 7 years of age in the spring and summer of the year. The disease is most common in the East of Scotland but can occur elsewhere. The cause is as yet unknown. Potential causes examined are weather, toxins from plants, bacteria, viruses, insect vectors, chemicals, and metabolic upsets.

The disease was first identified in 1907 when 100 army horses died at a camp near Broughton Ferry. Research was conducted during the 1920’s and 1930’s and resumed again in the 1970’s. This is because tractors were introduced to farms in the 1930’s so research into horses was no longer a priority. This remained the situation until the growth in the leisure horse population in the 70’s led to increased interest in the disease. Other species to demonstrate symptoms similar to GS are cats, dogs and hares. No particular breed, as such, is more susceptible, but because there were many Clydesdales working on farms before World War II, they were the worst affected breed.

GS cases show impaired activity of the gut due to damage to the autonomic nervous system. The disease is difficult to diagnose because it shares symptoms with other horse illnesses. The disease is divided into three categories - acute, subacute and chronic. Acute and subacute cases will die but a proportion of chronic cases that have been treated will survive. The cases that will die have difficulty swallowing, colic episodes, mucus discharge form the nose and rapid weight loss. In the chronic cases, which are deemed saveable, the symptoms are less severe. The main problem with these horses is that many will give up the fight to live. Like humans, animals with serious illnesses suffer from depression, which impairs the healing process. When treating grass sickness it is important to keep the gut active so as to avoid blockages. If gut action is very slow horses can be treated with the drug Cisapride, which works on the nerves in the gut wall. Chronic cases admitted to the Dick Vet are not all treated with drugs. Dedicated nurses spend hours grooming and talking to the horses, the horses seem to respond to the attention that is lavished upon them and this contact alleviates the boredom and depression. In this investigation we examine the three main areas of current research in GS. These are the oxidative stress hypothesis, fungal toxins, and the effect of the weather.

So I should probably look around for another very ribby, but healthy horse.


hey there wow u really no what your talking about were did you learn all this infomation?


Actually, grass sickness was in the West of Scotland, presumed currently to be linked to a bacteria in the soil, and is a botulism. No, you don't get it in the USA, but, there are some diseases linked to it.

However, I have had 3 horses die of it, and, none of them looked that bad. I question some of your horses, although, I do very much agree that horses now are a lot fatter than they have been in the past. Hopefully, this means that they are that way due to better nutrition, however, sadly, it is probably more to do with judges placing fat horses up the lines!

When I was young, and this is the same rule I hold on to know, we were taught that a FIT horse is one that you can run your hand lightly along the ribs, and just about feel them, but, you can't see them, and you don't have to dig for them.

Sofa Rivera

alright the whole thing about steeplechasing and endurance ridden horses being skinny and boney is rubbish. you need a FIT and LEAN horse (as in not alot of loose fat hanging). I own 1 endurance horse, a quarter horse mare, and I feed her 7 lbs a day when in prime training and competing. her muscles dont bulge, but you dont see ribs or pertruding (sp?) or bones sticking from her.

The painting of the steeplechasing mare, while Im sure it is accurate of the actual horse, the mare would not do well in competition today. the more a horse's energy is used, the more you have to feed them (either through just grain or supplements).

Conclusions: NO, endurance horses are not meant to be bulky. NO, they do not always look pretty like show ponies. NO, you are NOT supposed to see ribs. YES, they must be healthy horses in order to finish a 25+ mile race!

To those of you who believe endurnace horses are meant to look like walking skeletons, google endurance horses and look at the top notch horses in races. you will see they are VERY healthy looking horses, and you CANNOT see any ribs. People who give excuses and blame the horses being skinny because of serious competing, dont take very much pride in owning a horse (their COMPETING horse, mind you).

Much like marathon runners... they are lean, but no ribs are visible.

Sofia Rivera

and the skinny but well shod grey horse that "For example it could be an event horse, a steeple chase horse, or an endurance horse", did it cross anyones mind that the horse just got new owners who are taking care of it now? or that the owners did neglect it, then got introuble for doing so and now risk the animal being taken from them?


OMG! I typed in horses and got abused neglected poor creatures... WHAT IS THIS!?!?!?! FEED THE HORSES!!! Jesus... Seriously. I would like to see this happen to a baby rather than horse.

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just a comment a bout the painting
paintings back then were stylized to what was fashionable. that mare probably didnt look much like that. look at her head an neck


thank you, very good information, and great picture refrences, all you who havnt read the information yet, please do say and dont accuse this person of neglecting the horses, as they are not hers.

If you read she has found these pictures online.

Again good info!


This horse is also in very bad condition, if not worse than the previous one. You can clearly see the bony structure of the hind quarters.

fawn caulford

thats wrong for a horse to look like that their caretaker should get the same treatment the horse gets


I am an eventer and so is my instrutor she has a 6 year old thouroughbred mare and she looked like the one you gave a 3 or 4 when she first got her the poor mare was extremely unhealthy being about the same weight as that horse and now she is eventing at novice level so I can pretty much figure that that horse was probaly not an eventer. But maybe that is just my obinion

Horse Rugs

Those skinnier horses look really pathetic. Can not understand why anyone would let his horse get in that kind of condition.

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