Christa Lesté-Lasserre

  • What Makes Horses More or Less Likely to Miss Training Days?

    The next time your equine athlete is on stall rest, don't ask why his barnmates seem so much sounder than him unless you really want to hear the answer: Researchers recently determined that several factors—from the animal's history to your own training and management techniques—appear to make horses more or less likely to miss training...

  • Researchers Study the Genetics of Heaves

    Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, also called heaves) appears to have a genetic basis, but that genetic basis isn’t the same in all horses, Swiss researchers say. While the clinical signs can be the same, the disease's underlying genetic mechanisms can vary from one horse family to another.

  • Opening Windows for Equine Social Interaction

    As social relationships between horses become a greater equine welfare focus, scientists are seeking ways to allow social interactions for animals housed in traditionally isolating box stall settings. But don't tear your barn and stalls down just yet: French researchers recently tested another solution—windows between stalls—with positive ...

  • Study: Tongue Ties Appear to Benefit Racehorses

    For more than a century, racehorse trainers have tied horses’ tongues to the front and side when they work or race. The purpose, trainers say, is to reduce breathing noises and help the horses perform better. But, until now, researchers have never confirmed that the tongue tie actually has a physical effect on the upper respiratory structures.

  • Researchers Developing Equine Sweet Itch Test

    Your horse is itchy. You find patches of missing hair on his sides and shoulders. There are gaps in his mane, holes in his tail. Sweet itch? It could be. But then again, maybe not. Belgian researchers say the only way to be sure that your horse is affected by sweet itch is to evaluate him using a confirmed diagnostic test for the disease.

  • Genetics Behind Horses' Face and Leg Markings Studied

    Depending on the breed and breeder, white markings on horses might be something to strive for or against. Swiss and Australian researchers have recently tuned into the genetics of white leg and face markings, and they've learned that these features are the result of complex genetic processes—but not too complex for modern science.

  • Researchers Study Racehorses' Bone Fatigue Life

    When you buy a new horse trailer, chances are you'll also get lots technical information about the “fatigue life” of mechanical parts like the shocks or the clamp to close the hitch. That fatigue life refers to how long these parts can be used—opening and closing, absorbing shock, clamping, or whatever they do—before they break.

  • Researchers Review Equine Multinodular Pulmonary Fibrosis

    Since it was first identified in 2007, deadly equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis (EMPF) has been reported in numerous horses across North America and Europe. While still considered a rare disease, EMPF appears to be related to a very common one—equine herpesvirus (EHV)—and early treatment appears to be the main hope for survival.

  • What are Third Trochanter Fractures in Horses?

    Ever heard of the horse's third trochanter? It's a part of a bone, and guess what: It can break. While not common, third trochanter fractures can cause almost instant, severe hind limb lameness that can be difficult to diagnose. But the news isn't all bad: French researchers say these fractures probably won’t end a horse's athletic c...

  • Researchers Evaluate Equine Hematology Parameters

    Italian researchers believe that a wide number of “healthy” variables—such as breed and geographic location—might impact horses' blood test results. And with the current textbook reference hematology values being based on the Thoroughbred horse in the United Kingdom, the team believes it might be time to develop new reference v...

  • Study: Sires' Genes Form the Equine Placenta

    The term "do-it-all-dad" just took on a whole new meaning: Cornell University researchers have recently determined that, in equids at least, it’s the father’s genes that take the lead in developing the mare's placenta.

  • Does Feeding Hay Before Grain Reduce Cribbing?

    Which comes first, the grain or the hay? You might love rewarding that excited nickering with a bucket full of sweet feed, followed by hay for hours of chewing pleasure. But according to recent research, if you’ve got a cribber, you’re probably better off doing the opposite.

  • Study: Young Horses Can't Read Subtle Human Body Cues

    Four years ago, The Horse reported on research showing that horses are capable of reading subtle human body cues. Today, those researchers are back to tell us that although adult horses have this capacity, young horses do not. And this, they say, fails to support the theory that such a skill is innate in this species.

  • Honey for Treating Horse Wounds

    Scottish researchers have some sweet news in the field of equine wound healing: Honey’s all the buzz in natural wound remedies, and according to recent research, it works with horses, too. Better yet, it’s not just the tried-and-true manuka honey that works, but a wide variety of honeys from different parts of the world.

  • Equine Osteochondrosis Terminology Revamped

    If you’ve ever been confused by the differences between osteochondrosis and osteochondritis dissecans, or wondered whether these are the same as developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) or just examples of it, you’re not alone. For decades, diseases of the bones, joints, and cartilage in young horses have sparked many word-slinging debates among...

  • Study Confirms Horses Respond to Negative Reinforcement

    If we train our horses correctly, we should sense that they get “lighter” as training progresses. In other words, we should be able to execute cues with less force and get the same result. But until now, measuring that “lightness” has always just been a matter of “feeling,” so to speak: Danish researchers have put the s...

  • Positive, Negative Reinforcement in Horse Training Compared

    As the concept of positive reinforcement gains popularity, researchers are trying to confirm its effectiveness at a more baseline level. According to a group of Midwestern equitation scientists, training young horses to load into a trailer is equally effective and stressful whether they’re trained using positive or negative reinforcement.

  • Osteochondrosis Field Evaluation Protocol Developed

    It's common knowledge that osteochondrosis—a developmental orthopedic disease that results from a disruption in the growth of articular cartilage located in specific joints—can cause problems for young horses, but how common is it? How are different breeds affected? Where are the most common lesion sites? And, of course, what’s the m...

  • Study: Broodmares on Pasture Don't Always Need Grain

    Horse owners are continually looking for ways to reduce feed costs without disturbing their horses' health, and a group of French equine nutritionists have some good news in this department: According to recent study results, lactating saddle horse mares on good quality pasture didn’t need to be fed grain to maintain their weight or their foals&...

  • Management's Impact on Osteochondral Lesion Development

    Do you bed your young horses down in stalls in the winter? How smooth and flat are your pastures? When you’re trying to raise good bones and joints, these questions are worth considering. Because, according to French researchers, how you manage your young stock can have a direct effect on how osteochondral lesions evolve—for better or for worse.

  • Study: Post-Training Stress Detrimental to Equine Learning

    Many riders suspect that horses training in stressful situations don’t always retain what they’ve learned. But researchers have recently found that the same is true when the stress comes after the training session. Recent studies by French behavior scientists have revealed that when it comes to helping your horse retain what he learns during t...

  • Researchers Develop Subjective Equine Personality Test

    It's common knowledge that horses' individual personalities play a role in how they behave. Scientists have even developed various equine personality tests—most of which use objective criteria in a scoring system—to determine personality type. But researchers have recently developed a new subjective personality test designed to help us...

  • Airflow's Impact on Thermographic Readings of Horse Legs

    Considering thermography to evaluate a horse's legs? Better move that patient inside and shut the doors. Austrian researchers recently learned that wind and air drafts can affect themographic readings of horses’ front legs—very quickly, in fact—potentially leading to false positive or negative results.

  • Consider Trotting Speed when Diagnosing Subtle Lameness

    Most horse owners are familiar with a typical lameness exam: The veterinarian observes the horse trotting briskly in a straight line, watching for signs of uneven movement. But if the patient is harboring a mild lameness, that brisk trot could be masking clinical signs, according to British researchers, whose recent study results indicate that evaluating ...

  • Researchers Review Equine Sarcoidosis Cases

    While still rare, equine sarcoidosis—not to be confused with sarcoid tumors, an unrelated skin condition—can appear in even the healthiest of horses. But don’t be too quick to treat sarcoidosis-associated hair loss, scaly and flaking skin, and crusting with creams, ointments, and lotions. According to Dutch researchers, it’s better...

  • Microchip Safety in Horses Evaluated

    As microchipping becomes more prevalent in horses—and even obligatory in some countries—researchers are looking into the effects and usefulness of these foreign objects implanted into horses' bodies.

  • Researchers Developing Equine Welfare Assessment Protocol

    Do you know how to recognize equine welfare issues? While some signs of poor welfare are obvious, others are more subtle and possibly evident right in your own stable. According to Swedish researchers, there's a great need for research-based welfare assessments that take the guesswork out of judging equine well-being. And they've been busy develop...

  • Hoof Angles' Impact on Lameness Examined

    Get out your protractors: New research shows that the various angles of the outer and inner hoof are directly linked to various kinds of lameness, and knowing the angles could help determine which kind of lameness a horse has or is likely to get.

  • 'Limited Resource Test' to Measure Equine Social Hierarchies

    As scientists discover more about the way a horse's social life affects his behavior and, possibly, training, researchers find themselves in need of a reliable, efficient way to measure social hierarchy. Danish behavior scientists appear to have found the solution through a "limited resource test."

  • Music Genre's Effect on Horse Behavior Evaluated

    Ever thought of "jazzing" up your stables? Or getting your horses to "rock 'n' roll" in the stall? Better reconsider your music choices. According to British researchers, classical and country sounds are probably best for equine welfare.

  • Study Evaluates Cribbers' Sleeping Habits

    Is worrying about your horse's cribbing habit keeping you up at night? It turns out that cribbing might keep your horse up at night, too. New research has revealed that the stereotypy could be related to a lack of certain kinds of sleep. Specifically, British researchers say, horses that crib spend less time in "standing sleep" mode than hor...

  • Advances and Challenges in Equitation Science Technology

    Twenty-first century technology brings us into the once-science fiction world described by fantasy writers in the 1950s. We've got retina screens, hybrid vehicles, and a million different apps (not short for "Appaloosas," in this case). We can video chat with people on the other side of the planet in real time, and we can carry 50,000 photog...