Conclusions of the study:--- "51% of the horses evaluated during this pioneering investigation were determined to be overweight or obese --- and subject to serious health problems like laminitis and hyperinsulinemia.  And just like people, it appears as though the culprits are over-eating and lack of exercise.  Overweight horses can suffer from insulin and sugar imbalances, chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress, a malady that occurs as a result of changes to metabolic processes that alter the delicate balances between the destruction and creation of new cells in the body."


Note: My horse, 'Secret', was in the other 49% who were considered to be neither obese nor overweight.


 I use the Virginia Tech College of Veterinary Medicine as my vets for my horses.  Last summer...a year ago now...Dr. Pleasant of the VT Vet School called me one day and said that from their data bank of horses they serviced in our area, one of mine named 'Secret' had been randomly selected in a research study that the VMRCVM was about to undertake--- a study concerned with the obesity of horses.  I said OK, and so they came--- Dr. Pleasant, together with another researcher, and a handful of 4th year Veterinary students.  But before examining 'Secret'--- Dr. Pleasant said he wanted to take a peek at one of Secret's foals--- a horse then 11-years old by the name of 'Belle.'  And while Dr. Pleasant was examining 'Rob's Sunny Belle' --- one of the Vet School students took a cell-phone photo of the occasion.  A year later, sometime earlier this fall, I went to a meeting of all area participants to learn of the results of their study, of which 'My Secret Sunsations'--- but not Belle, nor her full-sister, 'Rocky's April Secret'--- was a participant in the study.  Then just today on November 15th, 2007, we received a copy of the VM Magazine ...Issue No. 3 Summer/Fall 2007...and there...right on the cover was this very same photo of Belle taken that day by the Vet School student in the center isle of our 6-stall barn here at the end of Magnolia Lane in Christiansburg, VA.


I just had to share this story with you.  And the music to go with?--- Perfect!--- for the beat of the canter is unmistakable in "Bonnie Dundee"--- which itself is preceded by real-time sounds so familiar to horse lovers everywhere.  And so this is a tribute to all horses everywhere--- for the beautiful creatures they are.




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Belle as Cover Girl