The April Issue

Photo cover credit: Natalie Jackman –

That’s right! It’s out. March came in like a lion and April is showing promise so far. I think I even observed a fat, little gopher today…

If you want a tiny sneak peek of the Western Horse Review issue about to hit your mailbox, or if you need a reason to pick it up off the shelves, read on! Here are some of the stories behind the headline stories of April.

This month features 75 pieces of Horsekeeping Advice from the Alberta Horse Owners and Breeders Conference. Which is of course, a serious event…


All kidding aside, this annual event for horse owners and breeders is a great way to get yourself up-to-date on the latest in the industry. However, if you weren’t able to attend – we’ve got you covered with our extensive coverage from each of the seminars!

Photo credit: Victoria Ann Photography


Next in the issue we have a 10 Things You Didn’t Know piece about the sport of Reining. For instance, did you know that a legend in car racing has now taken a liking to sliding plates? It’s true! Michael Schumacher, a seven-time Formula One World Champion rode Smart Spook in a celebrity event at last year’s National Reining Horse Association Futurity. Read all about it, plus 9 other morsels of reining particulars that even die-hards might be surprised to learn!


Photo courtesy of the NRHA.

The in-depth health section this month also focuses attention on a rare disease, called neonatal isoerythrolysis (N I foals). This condition can occur when the mare’s colostrum actually possesses antibodies against the foal’s blood type – NI is similar to the human Rh-Factor, whereby a pregnant Rh-negative woman’s body begins producing antibodies that begin to attack the baby’s red blood cells.

A foal in ICU. Photo courtesy of Deb Carroll of West Wind Vet Hospital.

Once the foal absorbs these antibodies, they result in lysis of the foal’s red blood cells within 24 to 36 hours after birth. This red blood cell destruction is widespread throughout the foal’s body and can lead to life-threatening anemia and/or jaundice.

Jaundice can be seen around this foal’s eye. Photo courtesy of Deb Carroll of West Wind Vet Hospital.

For an N I foal to happen, the mare must have had previous exposure to blood that contained these particular antibodies to the foal’s blood (such as through a blood transfusion or a previous foaling). Unfortunately, Arabians and Standardbreds have a higher incidence of N I foals. Read this month’s WHR to find out more about whether or not your horses are at risk.

April is the perfect time to get your horses caught up on their annual vaccines. Since there is no one-size-fits-all policy, this issue’s full legnth vaccine feature will help you understand how you can help your horse stimulate antibodies to defend against today’s diseases.



In an effort to try and explain Antigens and Antibodies for the Vaccines piece, I was feeling particularly inspired… by my children’s crayons. And while I ended up being pretty happy about the finished product – a diagram you can find on page 47 – this tired Mommy then later forgot to put those same crayons away…



…my daughter found them and used them to draw me a lovely picture on the back of our leather couch.


Speaking of little ones, if you or your youngster are looking for some great advice about maintaining soft hands on the reins, Pat Ross of Cochrane, Alberta, is one of the best. Ross is an accomplished trainer, teacher and mentor to many. Be sure to catch her full-length feature about creating softness.

“It is the rider’s responsibility to monitor the horse’s movement through feel and guide him with proper cues. Clearly, the rider’s body has much to do with this. However, the fact is that most problems in effective communication with horses stem from the rider’s hands,” says the trainer.

In this comprehensive editorial Ross explains why her pursuit of soft hands has been an educational journey, with some mistakes and an extensive injury taking place along the way. In the April issue, you can find out how she bounced back and reap her advice for obtaining softness in a simple, safe manner that all levels of riders can master.


Happy Reading!