Downeast Medal Finals

July 2019
Downeast Medal Finals
September 12-15, 2019
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By Ella Pittman, DVM
New England Equine Medical and Surgical Center

Botulism is caused by Clostridium botulinum. C. botulinum is an obligate anaerobe, meaning its spores only germinate and subsequently produce toxin in absence of oxygen. This toxins affects neurons, which are the cells that make up nerves. These cells form a chain, with a signal passing from cell to cell to produce a muscle contraction. The C. botulinum toxin binds to a neuron and blocks the release of one of the signaling molecules so the signal cannot reach the next cell in the chain. Without a signal to contract, the muscles become soft, producing a flaccid paralysis. Though not as common in New England as in the mid-Atlantic and West Coast states, botulism can affect both horses and donkeys. 
In foals, typically infection occurs when spores are ingested. These spores germinate in the gastrointestinal tract and release the neurotoxin into systemic circulation. This is called “toxicoinfectious botulism.” In adult horses, botulism most commonly occurs as a result of ingesting preformed toxin in forage. Round bales, for example, are so large and dense that the interior of the bale does not get exposure to oxygen, which allows the spores to germinate and produce toxin. Horses then munching on the round bale ingest the toxin and become ill. 
Clinical Signs and Diagnosis  
Flaccid paralysis can manifest as generalized weakness, trembling, and sweating. Your horse may appear to lie down more frequently and progress to complete recumbency. Affected horses will also have difficulty swallowing. Eyelids may appear droopy and pupils may be dilated. The tongue may also be easily pulled out of the mouth. 
Diagnosis is typically based on clinical signs and geographic location. A blood test cannot diagnose botulism but your vet may perform a grain test. This test evaluates how quickly a horse can eat 1 cup of grain. Longer than 2 minutes indicates difficulty taking up the food, such as in botulism, but botulism is not the only condition that can cause a prolonged grain test. 
Botulism antitoxin is available and should be administered by your veterinarian as soon as possible in suspected cases. Be warned, however, that antitoxin is very expensive. Your veterinarian will also most likely have to acquire antitoxin from an academic veterinary hospital. Because botulism often affects swallowing, your veterinarian will also likely pass a nasogastric tube so water and food can be administered. Broad-spectrum antibiotics help prevent secondary complications such as aspiration pneumonia stemming from an impaired swallowing mechanism and infected pressure sores from being down. 
Supportive care is also important. Provide a quiet stall with extra bedding and good ventilation. Minimize stress and remove hay and water. Do not force affected animals to stand. If they do prefer to stand, stack shavings bags or hay bales so they can rest their head. If recumbent, try to turn the horse every 2 to 4 hours to minimize further muscle damage. 
Antitoxin will only bind circulating toxin. It has no effect on toxin that is already bound to the neuron. Foals that remain standing or foals that are recumbent without respiratory distress who receive anti-toxin and good supportive care have a good prognosis. Adults that remain standing can have a fair to good prognosis and sometimes can pull through without receiving anti-toxin. Foals with respiratory distress and recumbent adults have a poor prognosis, despite anti-toxin and hospital treatment. 
A vaccine against botulism is available but three doses must be administered at the appropriate intervals to be protective. If you feed round bales or anticipate spending a lot of time in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, talk to your veterinarian about whether your horse may be a candidate for the vaccine. 
Source: Orsini, J.A., Divers, T.J. (2014). Equine Emergencies. Saunders Elsvier. St Louis.
New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center 15 Members Way · Dover NH 03820
Get to Know- Arianna Liccardi
The 2018 Mini Medal Final at the 10th anniversary Downeast Medal Finals was won by Arianna Liccardi. In this Get to Know series, we will be highlighting the champions of our 2018 Medal Finals classes as well as our 2018 Hunter Derbies. Here is what Arianna had to say:

" Hi! My name is Arianna Licciardi, I am 14 years old and live in Wakefield, MA. When I was 5 years old, my mom took me to a barn to show me what riding was all about. I wanted to start riding right away. My mom told me I could start riding when I was 7 years old. She thought I would forget about my passion. So, I waited….not so patiently. As soon as I turned 7, I begged my mom to take me for lessons and I’ve never looked back. I’ve now been riding for half my life! I started riding at another barn but when that changed ownership, I found myself looking for a new barn. One lesson with Robin Petersen at Back Bay Farm and I knew it was a perfect fit. Robin and Megan Piermarini together have made me the rider I am today and I am grateful for their guidance. Riding has taught me that there are good times and bad. It has also taught me to learn from the mistakes (which are usually the rider’s fault) and put bad times behind you and always get back in the ring. Two years ago, I was going through a patch of riding where I really struggled transitioning out of short stirrup. Robin never gave up looking for the perfect horse for me. Then, Foxcroft Veronsky, AKA Scottie, returned to Back Bay coming off a lease. Robin knew before I did that he was just what I needed. From the beginning it was love at first sight. Scottie and I were a great pair. He taught me so much. Last year was my first year at Downeast Medal Finals and I was so surprised and happy to have won the mini medal. The best part was how happy all of my friends were for me. I am so lucky to have the best barn family around. We all have new horses this year and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us at Back Bay. I especially can’t wait to return to the Downeast Medal Finals! "
We would like to thank EquiFit and MIPR for their generous sponsorship and continued support of the Downeast Medal Finals.
Downeast Medal Finals is pleased to have EquiFit on board as a sponsor for 2019. EquiFit is known for innovation, expertise and quality. They have generously donated one Essential Gift Set for each winning rider of a Medal Final.This set includes a set of front boots, one set of hind boots, an Essential Saddle Pad and an Essential Girth complete with a removable fleece liner. These EquiFit Essential items are designed to stand up to everyday use for riders of all levels. Visit your local retailer or to learn more about Essential products.
 Maine Industrial P&R Corp. is a Maine owned and operated company proud to be one of the many sponsors of this year’s Downeast Medal Final.
MIPR CORP has been supplying the agricultural industry with new and used conveyor belts for over 35 years. Many customers include ranchers and farmers using conveyor belt to line corrals, trailers, stalls, and aisles, as well as using conveyor belt in custom feed troughs. 
Visit our website at    or call 1-800-540-1846 for more information on how we can provide you with a quality product delivered in a timely manner.
See you in September!
Sample Horsemanship Questions
 Here is a another practice quiz like the horsemanship questions you will see at Finals! Look for the answers to be posted on Facebook in one week.

Younger Rider Questions:
6. What is a bat?
a)Tool for shoeing a horse
b) Type of bit
c) Crop or stick
d) A green horse

7. What are two common areas for checking the pulse of a horse?
a) Base of the ear and dock
b) On the gums and below the hock
c) Behind the ribs and under the tail
d) Under the jaw and below the knee

8. A drop noseband or figure eight noseband is only permitted to be used-
a) Hunter show ring 
b) Jumper show ring
c) Schooling 
d) Schooling and jumper show ring

9. What term is used when a farrier uses the same set of shoes again on a horse after trimming their feet?
a) Re-set
b) Re-used
c) Re-applied
d) Recycled   

10. Where on a horse can you find the bridle path?
a) Front leg
b) Head
c) Back
d) Hind Leg

Older Rider Questions:
7. Which cut of hay will have the highest sugar content?
a) First Cut
b) Second Cut
c) Third Cut
d) They will all be equal

8. A Coggins Test is used to detect which disease?
a) Strangles
b) Coggins
c) Equine Infectious Anemia 
d) Equine Herpes Virus

9. What is the term used to describe the moment of a horse’s stride when the heel leaves the ground and begins to rotate around the toe?
a) Breakover 
b) Over-reach
c) Forging
d) Daisy Cutter

10. After exercise cooling down helps remove this by-product of metabolism from the muscles
a) Amino Acid
b) Lactic Acid
c) Electrolytes
d) Bile

11. Working, Collected, Medium, Extended, and Free are all types of
a) Walk
b) Trot
c) Canter
d) Hand gallop
Upcoming Shows with Downeast Qualifying Classes
July 3-7 NHHJA Summer Festival Halifax, MA
July 7 Maine Hunter Jumper Summer Classic Hollis, ME
July 14 Avalon Meadows Otisfield, ME
July 14 Cornerstone Haverhill, MA
July 14 Tri-County Horsemen Union, ME
July 21 NEJA Summer H/J Classic II Lisbon, ME
July 21 Stonewall at West Neck Nobleboro, ME
July 27 Seacoast Horse Show Series Fremont, NH
July 28 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
July 28 Lupine Farm Summer Show Vassalboro, ME
Aug. 3 NHHJA Fremont, NH
Aug. 4 Seacoast Classic Scarborough, ME
Aug. 4 SeaHorse Stables Belfast, ME
Aug. 8-11 Northampton Horse Show Northampton, MA
Aug. 11 Spring Tide Farm Boxford, MA
Aug. 11 Tri-County Horsemen Union, ME
Aug. 15 Back Bay Farm Ipswich, MA
Aug. 17 NHHJA Fremont, NH
Aug. 18 Cornerstone Haverhill, MA
Aug. 18 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
Aug. 24 Seacoast Horse Show Series Fremont, NH
Aug. 25 Acton Fair Horse Show Acton, ME
Aug. 25 Central Mass Horse Show Spencer, MA
Aug. 25 North Shore Senator Bell, Chester, NH
Aug. 30 Windsor Fair NEJA Show Windsor, ME

Want to see your show listed here? Fill out our  Downeast Classes Form !
Become a Downeast Medal Finals Sponsor:
All levels accepted and appreciated! 
Visit  for more information.
For more information or to become a sponsor, please email Ginger at .

Thank you to Spotted Vision Photography and Riitta Fortier for providing us with many wonderful photographs from the Downeast Medal Finals.
Bernard Klingenstein/Euclide Albert Memorial
Lucky Clover Stables (207-651-1881)
Maggie Mae Memorial
My Horse Heroes Memorial
Peter N. Thompson Memorial
SeaHorse Stables
Seery Hill