The Horse

MAR 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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Page 18 of 75 | The Horse March 2019 19 PHOTOS COURTESY THE PEEPS FOUNDATION CHRISTA LESTÉ-LASSERRE, MA S tories from 13th-century Norse poetry, penned by Vikings, first introduced dwarfs as mythological men with ironsmithing talents. In the following centuries, Germanic folklore described dwarfs as small yet gifted with a miraculous power to heal. By the 19th century, the German Grimm broth- ers had created the popular idea of the seven dwarfs housing a runaway princess. Walt Disney later adapted that story, bringing fabled dwarfs to international pop culture at about the same time J.R.R. Tolkien started publishing fantastical tales about these creatures. These latest influences probably played the most important role in giving us the image of the fictional dwarf today. But in the real world of horses, dwarfism is a condition characterized by short stature and malformations—and, unfortunately, it doesn't grant healing powers to go with them. The incurable condition causes major health challenges, leading to a heightened risk of functional handicaps, nutritional disorders, chronic pain, and serious welfare concerns. With good knowledge about dwarfism in horses, combined with a financial and moral commitment to their care, however, we can help dwarf Miniature Horses lead lives that are as healthy and comfortable as possible. Dwarfs: The Good and The Bad Technically speaking, "dwarfism" can be a breeding goal or a breeding nightmare, says John Eberth, MS, a PhD candidate at the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center, in Lexington. It all depends on the kind of dwarfism. Scientists categorize dwarfism as being either pro- portional or disproportional, Eberth says. Proportional dwarfism is exactly like it sounds: Everything is smaller. With disproportional dwarfism, however, only some of the body parts are smaller, putting the individual visibly out of proportion. "You could have a normal-sized head and body but short limbs, for example," he says. These tiny horses require special management Not a Small Problem Dwarfism

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