Horse Around New Mexico July/August 2015

Page 1

New Mexico

July/August 2015


06 26 ARTICLES: 10 Buying A Young Horse


Pros & Cons & Tips for Success

12 Building Body Awareness in Horse and Rider 16 The Senior Horse

Optimoum Health for your Aging Equine

22 Trainer Showcase & Horse Expo Round-up

: S U PL

24 Medical Massage for Improved Horsemanship 20 Events Calendar July & August

24 Directory

Trainers, Clubs and Associations

30 The Tail End photo by Ozana Photography Submissions are Welcome See our web site for submission standards:

Horse Around New Mexico©2015 All rights reserved. Horse Around New Mexico is a publication of Horse Around USA™.™ and™ are also copyrighted, trademarked, and the sole property of Karen Lehmann,. All rights reserved. Individual content copyright belongs to the author or artist. All the opinions expressed herein are the sole opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect bias or belief on the part of the editor, publisher, distributors, printer, advertisers or other contributors.

Mid-summer aft ernoons, home from town -- we head straight to the barn. How grateful we are to the horses, who allow us to hang on their necks, kiss their grassy muzzles, zip around bareback for a few turns in the round pen in exchange for some moments of grassy grazing. All the grown-up tension disappears at the fi rst inhale of eau d'equine: dirt, fl y spray, grass (or what passes for grass, around here), horse sweat - and love. Oh, to be twelve again! Riding the ponies into the pond, hanging on to the mane, face on slippery wet neck, bare feet and cut-off s and watch out for the hooves! Laughing out loud with the surge of power that is a horse, swimming. Or trotting through shady woods, unselfconscious young limbs at one with the animal rythm. We were all young once, and free - some of us still are! Let us all together, in the heat of this New Mexico summer, remember sometimes to simply enjoy our horses - without ambition, without perfection, without the illusion of control. Horse & rider health is our concern this issue. Vikki Chavez writes about bringing home (and bringing up) a healthy, sound young horse; while veterinarian Stacie Boswell advises us on the keeping our older horses happy and well for as long as is feasible. Jennifer Black fi lls us in on the benefi ts of medical massage for the equestrian while Susan Smith focusses on the horse with her article on equine ortho-bionomy. As always, we are so grateful to all who contribute their words, photos, cartoons (thanks, Lynne!) and advertising dollars to fi ll our pages. Relax, have fun - remember to let the kid inside come out - take good care of your horses, and they'll take good care of you! Enjoy your summer.





See you out there! -Karen (and Lacy)

The feisty & charming Andalusian gelding Tigre, captured in all his magnificence by Ozana Photography. For more of Ozana's beautiful work, go to

Should You Buy a Young Horse? Article and photos by Vikki Chavez

The Cons A Bad Start: If you do not know how to handle youngsters fairly and correctly, you will end up creating lifelong problems such as dangerous behaviors, resistance, soundness issues and vice. Many trainers balk at taking in an already ruined youngster, so line up a great trainer ahead of time who has lots of local references, is reliable, honest, skilled, and worth your money. This is a must if you are unsure of your skill set, or you run into unexpected trouble along the way. Do note that training costs are high, and offset the ‘more horse for your money’ perk of getting a baby. Also, if you bring baby back home and repeat the same incorrect methods that ruined him/her to begin with, you will be back to square one.

My 8-month old paint stud colt, Harley!

Now is the perfect time of year to buy your dream youngster! Babies can be a good, bad or mixed experience. They are expensive, time consuming, enjoyable, rewarding, and hard to keep alive for the first few years of life given their unique ability to find new ways to get injured or sick every time you turn around. If you are contemplating the purchase of a weanling, yearling or 2 year old, here are some things you may want to consider:

The Pros A Good Start: Babies are less likely to come with undisclosed health, soundness and behavioral issues. You get a chance to start them correctly from the very beginning, all in your environment, with your training style and for your discipline of choice. What a great way to end up with a respectful, sane, healthy, sound and solid mount that is well suited to you! More Horse for Your Money: You get to hand pick your bloodlines, height, confirmation, color, performance history, temperament, and more while paying a fraction of what you would pay for that same exact horse as a sound, well performing adult. Reward And Satisfaction: You get to experience the day to day handling, training and interaction as your youngster has all their firsts — first walk, bath, trailer ride, lunge session and so forth; how fun! They blossom into a big, beautiful, amazing horse right before your very eyes, and you did it. You raised them!


| | July/August 2015

Less Horse For Your Money : What you see may not be what you get. The best you can do is make an educated choice, feed good nutrition, provide quality training and veterinary care, and throw in some good luck. If your baby has a performance-ending injury in the turnout pen, or does not grow up to have the size, aptitude, speed, temperament, movement, or work ethic for what you need him/her to do, you can end up spending a lot of money raising a baby, and still not have the horse you want or need. Horses can grow up to be better suited for a discipline we are not interested in. Frustration And Disappointment: Watching confirmation take a turn for the worse or managing unforeseen health concerns can zap the joy out of the process. Time is a factor! Two to three years can take forever if you do not truly enjoy the day-to-day interaction with the youngster you selected. Babies push, kick, bite and test their boundaries. They learn something one day, and then revert to a blank page on the next. They have a short attention span, even if you have all day to spend at the barn. As your friends trot by on a sunny summer day, you will be standing in the paddock pulling a new leather glove out of the baby’s mouth. Raising a baby may not be as fun (or as easy) as you thought it would be. The Purchase What do you want to do with your future adult horse? Take a good look at the sire, dam, and grandparents. No need to go back 6 generations! Look for the best performance potential combined with the confirmation of the baby in front of you. You do not ride the papers. You ride the adult version of the foal you

are looking at. A crooked front leg, bull neck, long back, weak croup, bad knees or unattractive head can erase the value of the bloodlines (depending on your future expectations and needs). Look for the best performing bloodlines and confirmation that you can afford. Babies cost a lot to raise and train, so start out with a great chance for success. If you do not like something about a foal now, keep in mind they do not grow out of most things. It is better to pass, or go back and look at the youngster again in a few months. If height is a concern, look at size of sire, dam and siblings as well as string test your potential crop of youngsters. There are no guarantees, but an educated choice increases the odds you will end up with what you want. All babies are too cute! Do not be swayed by their huge eyes, bright colors, and fuzzy little heads. You will have years of work ahead of you; be a savvy buyer. It is wise to have a vet check, know which bloodlines carry potential genetic disorders, and check for negative panel tests on sire and dam. Caring For Baby You have gone through the pros and cons, chosen your youngster, and brought him/her home. Congratulations! Here is a check list to make sure the new baby grows into that dream horse you have always wanted: Safety: Make sure all edges, surfaces, fences, feeders, gates and latches are smooth and baby proof. A tiny space is enough to get a hoof caught, a small piece of broken wood panel can remove an eye, and a loose latch can equal a runaway or colic. Babies are wild and curious; bring on the padded walls and fences! Water: It is too hot in our high desert climate for babies to go without unlimited access to fresh, clean water. Make triple sure your buckets or troughs cannot be spilled, soiled or dumped over. You may have to get creative, as your babies certainly will be! Growth: Babies are prone to rapid growth and the related joint and developmental problems. It is critical to work with your veterinarian to feed for steady, healthy growth. Do not over or under supplement, or over feed. Choose pelleted or concentrated feeds carefully. Just because the bag says to feed X number of pounds per day, it does not mean your baby needs that. Yours may need more, less or an entirely different type of product. Farrier: Professional trims are a must to ensure your baby grows up with the nice straight sound legs and hooves you paid for. Continue to maintain a correctly balanced trim to even out the mess as your baby grows every which way in spurts. Your baby needs to be walking, running and playing on well managed hooves. Routine farrier visits also allow for teaching good hoof handling manners at an early age. Vet Care: Babies need to be dewormed properly. Over or under deworming causes health problems and resistance. You will

also need to talk with your vet about vaccinations, gelding and pulling wolf teeth (for colts), check alignment of teeth, check joint development, listen to heart, lungs, and look at legs. Give your baby a good start – call your vet out upon baby’s arrival, and work out a schedule for quality care.

Handling Baby Do’s and Don’ts: Do start working with them in short, frequent, positive sessions to bring out their best selves. Babies learn fast. They will reflect what you taught them, both unwanted and wanted behaviors. It is up to you to be your best self! Be patient, calm, fair, firm, consistent, precise, and skilled at working with babies. Do require respectful behavior immediately. Leaning into a butt scratch today equals the future you being sat on by a 1200lb horse. Manners, manners, manners! Many a spoiled youngster grows into an unruly, undesirable horse through no fault of their own. Do work both sides on everything. Train your baby to lead, turn, back and stop equally well from either side. Don’t over work. Avoid small circles, excessive repetitions, long sessions, and negative experiences. Quit on a positive note. You are shaping your future partnership, and it should be a mutually enjoyable endeavor that results in a sound, healthy horse that enjoys being handled and is willing to please. Don’t ride babies! No, it is not ok for your kid to sit on the weanling (or the yearling, or the 2 year old) or to ride around in the paddock. Unless you are a jockey, professional trainer and/ or show in futurities, you should not be backing any youngster until your vet gives you the go-ahead that it is now safe for your individual growing horse to be ridden by your combined bodyweight, saddle and tack. Bringing home a new youngster is an exciting event. Relax, have fun, take lots of pictures, and enjoy the festive journey!

A safe environment for Harley | July/August 2015



| | July/August 2015

“Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.� ~Ralph Waldo Emerson | July/August 2015



| | July/August 2015

Join us for Cowboy Church Riding for HIS brand

Sundays at 11am 15600 Central Ave. SE Albuquerque (505) 206-7430 Pastor Vince Bevill

Koda running free, always with me.

Enchantment Driving Society

DrivingDriving Clinic with All-Breed Show Saturday, 30th PatriciaMay Demers Driving Clinic 15 w/ Jody August & 16Cutler August 15 & 16

Bernalillo County Sheri's Posse Arena

Info: Karyn Ogonowski ďƒ­ | July/August 2015


Building Body Awareness In Horse and Rider

by Susan Smith


should have one.

ost people who have been around horses for a long while have suffered injuries. Many of these injuries –unless treated deeply, and I mean with bodywork after the stitches or surgeries have healed, may continue to cause restrictions both in the physical body and the emotional and psychic bodies. People who don’t hang out around horses have similar things happen to them, but they don’t have the same emotional component as horse people do with horse related injuries. Horse people typically suffer impact injuries and strains from doing a lot of physical work. There is a highly emotional component to the injuries sustained from horse interaction that isn’t like being in any other kind of accident. Often, people don’t expect an animal they are so attached to to hurt them. This impacts their work with horses. Many people get injured and then think they will just continue on the same way. They don’t realize they might have some parts of themselves “asleep” or not activated properly within their central nervous systems. Some people are left with balance issues. This is not to say horse people are lacking in some way; it is only to say that horse people are very brave and adventurous, but must also have heightened body awareness because of what they encounter in life with horses. And also because the horse knows that something is not the same in the human’s body after an accident.

after a while and are given a clean bill of health. A concussion is not so simple. The cranial bones do have movement, and when a concussion occurs they can get stuck in uncomfortable and ineffectual patterns. Concussions can often display symptoms a year or more later, depending upon their severity. An MRI or CAT Scan can’t show everything, but can show a lot of critical damage if there is any, so you

As a bodyworker, I treat both humans and horses. A concussion, for example, can seem like a relatively simple thing. You get the doctor’s okay


| | July/August 2015

A broken limb, for example, a shoulder, which encompasses the humerus, the clavicle and the shoulder blade, and can be in any of those places, can be painful years later. If bones have to be operated on, the surgeon will say the operation was a success, tell the patient to go to PT, etc., which only lasts six weeks usually (because of insurance coverage). After that you’re pronounced “healed” and you’re on your own, no matter how much pain you may still have. Good range of motion may take some time to achieve. The loss of comfort in any part of the body will create a compensation pattern in the body that then sets up resistances. We see resistances in our horses and wonder why they are there. Many of them are there because of injuries just like they happen to us. They could be the result of the way we ride and interact with the horse, because of the resistances we have accumulated in our own bodies. Even when we aren’t in the saddle, our horses are aware of the resistances in our bodies. I was noticing one day, while riding my mare, that she had lumbar pain and I thought it was because my riding was bringing up resistances on my right side, which was exactly where her pain was. I did some bodywork on her afterwards. So the next day when I rode her, I was more conscious, because I’d noticed her right ribcage was protruding out more than the left, and had helped that imbalance. When turning to the right I quietly put my leg on her right side, just as reminder, not pressure, to help her turn. I also became conscious both days of my dropping my

Over 400 USA Locations Our Fine Stores in New Mexico

In your time of need. IT’S WHAT YOU DO FIRST.

Copper Penny Ranch & Feed


Dan's Boots & Saddles


Double D Feed


Old Mill Farm & Ranch


Lincoln County Mercantile


Circle S Feed Store


Big R of Farmington


Hungry Critters Feed and Supply


Horse N Hound Feed and Supply

Las Cruces

Big R of Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Millers Feed & Supply

Los Ranchos

Cowboy's Corner Feed and Supply


Creighton's Town & Country


Roswell Livestock & Farm Supply


Harvey's Feed and Supply

Ruidoso Downs

H & S Feed

Silver City

Horsin Around Feed & Tack Dickinson Implement Co.

Truth or Consequences Tucumcari

800-448-8180 | July/August 2015


Since I have had two significant injuries on my right side, I have to keep my consciousness in the right side of my body and not let it just respond in a contracted posture. I also have to keep an awareness of the other body parts and not leave them dangling! Fortunately it’s part of my profession to notice physical things, and I notice them both in myself and in my horse. If I work with a riding instructor, it helps to have this knowledge pointed out, too.

But when it’s your goal to get on again, or at least resume your relationship with your horses, and to be healthy in your body and mind, then look at bodywork as a path to that health. Beyond the stitches, beyond the surgery. I like to rephrase that saying, “the operation was a success, but the patient died,” to “the operation was a success, but the patient is still in pain.” That is more frequently the case. The pain can be managed, with consistent, gentle reminders that it can be intact, that there is a way for all the parts to have a conversation. This conversation can extend to the horse’s body as well, so that the bodywork can help the horse with her own restrictions and reduce pain, so she can return to better functionality. D OUN NEW AR


I really feel that horses want to help us with some of this stuff, and that we can help them with areas like not falling on the forehand, bending, softening, posture, just by building awareness in our own bodies.

way, I’m not going there. Sadly, there are cases where the person should never get on a horse again.


solar plexus and my shoulder, caving in on the right into a turn, which was really making it difficult for her to turn! No wonder! Poor horse! She had my body blocking her at the same time that she was experiencing restriction in her ribs. My posture was compounding the problem between us!

Sometimes the restrictions are in the horse’s body, and it’s up to us or a bodywork professional to figure out what is going on and if the rider’s riding is a catalyst for setting up or prolonging the condition. Our physical, emotional and psychic health is tied into that of our horses, even if we aren’t on their backs. By virtue of being horse people, this is the case. We have a unique viewpoint that a dear therapist friend of mine teases me about whenever I see him: Who else but horse people would allow another being to dump them on the ground and step on their foot or whomp them with a 40 pound head? Usually horse people turn around and say: “it’s not the horse’s fault.” It’s true – we give huge latitude to the horse that we wouldn’t give to a human being because they are a horse. Because we are also well aware of the communication gap. I work with people in both acute and chronic stages of injury. If I get to work on people in the acute stage, I can work alongside the physical therapist in bringing awareness back into the body, in a different way than PT works. By working on the acute stage, I can open up neural pathways more quickly and set up a climate in which the body can begin to heal faster. Once the client is healthy enough to sit on a horse again, provided the horse is a safe mount, I follow up with work on the horse, and the rider, on the ground and with the rider in the saddle. These mounted sessions do wonders to reconnect the pair and to tease out the places where they are interacting in an inefficient manner. The trauma buried in the body from these accidents can take awhile to unwind and clear. It’s natural to become more cautious after a bad fall, but sometimes that caution translates to paralyzing fear that can make the person or horse dysfunctional. Too many avenues, or neural pathways, have been shut down. No


| | July/August 2015

Susan Smith is an advanced registered Ortho-Bionomy practitioner with a practice for both humans and equines in Santa Fe, New Mexico at OrthoHorse. Susan has studied the work of various clinicians in her quest to find a way to work with horses that resonated with her bodywork practice. Horses at Liberty Foundation Training evolved out of the need she found for gentler, more connected interaction while working with client horses, beyond bodywork. Susan was an endurance rider for many years and maintains an interest in all aspects of horsemanship and health. 505-501-2478






American Diesel Service 1\4 V (4.9 x 6.6)

AMERICAN DIESEL SERVICE Over 50 Years of Experience

Your horse is ready to go . . .

Is your truck ready to tow? Cummins / Powerstroke / Duramax Complete Light Duty Diesel Truck Maintenance and Diagnostics Preventative Maintenance Pre-purchase Inspections


3700 Morris St. NE • Albuquerque, NM 87111 located on the NE corner of Morris & Comanche

Hours: M-F 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. | July/August 2015


Optimal Health

Senior Horse

for the

by Stacie Boswell, DVM,, DACVS

Many of us have been fortunate enough to have a horse that lives well past their prime. This “old friend” is a special individual. How, then, do we ensure that they live the best quality of life? And how do we help appropriately extend the quantity of life? There are several goals of this article: 1) To describe “geriatric” and how it relates to our equine friends 2) To describe several common diseases of geriatric horses and 3) To offer suggestions for management of the geriatric horse to optimize their life quality and lifespan.

What is Geriatric? While there is no black-and-white set age that defines geriatric, many veterinarians consider fifteen years old as a benchmark to begin evaluating a horse’s increased needs due to age. Another, less well-defined observation is that a horse is geriatric when he or she begins to “show their age”. This may depend on the breed and the horse’s previous usage. The life span of ponies tends to be longer than horses; a horse’s average life span is 25 years, while that of ponies is 30 years. In a recent retrospective study of geriatric horses presented to a referral hospital, it was noted that pony breeds and Arabians were overrepresented,1 suggesting that these horses have a longer life span than other breeds. Many horses are still performing well into their twenties. Horses of today do have a longer average life span than those of the past. This is because of at least two factors. First, improvements in the


knowledge of what geriatric horses need, as well as improvements in diagnostic and medical care allow us to medically extend the life of the horse. The other factor in this modern extended life span is that more and more owners are committed to caring for the older horse. Because of the human-animal bond, and the contemporary difference in usage of horses compared to past times, horses are now viewed more as companion animals than as livestock or working animals as they once were. According to the USDAAPHIS 2007 survey, 8% of horses are over 20 years old.2 One veterinary teaching hospital has seen a change in their patient population from 2% of horses over 15 years old in the mid-1970s to 12% of the horses being over 15 years old in 2000.

Common DISEASES and PROBLEMS of the Geriatric Horse Several studies have evaluated

medical problems of older horses. Diseases and problems that geriatric horses are more prone to include weight

A well-maintained 27-year-old mare

| | July/August 2015

loss; dental disease or abnormalities; equine Cushing’s disease (also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, or PPID); degenerative joint disease (arthritis); colic; organ failure such as heart disease, kidney dysfunction, and liver disease; and cancer or tumors. As you can see from this list, many of these problems are interrelated. For example, Cushing’s disease, dental health, and kidney or liver disease can all negatively affect a horse’s weight.

WEIGHT LOSS Weight loss is one of the most common problems encountered in older horses, especially in the winter. This is not a unique problem to New Mexico, either; it is one that occurs in all areas of the United States. As alluded to in the previous paragraph, weight loss has many potential causes including inadequate or improper nutrition, dental disease, equine Cushing’s disease, parasitism, kidney or liver disease, and intestinal disease or dysfunction. Older horses may simply not digest their food as efficiently as they once did. It is important to gauge a horse’s condition based on the body condition score (BCS) and with a weight tape. The BCS is used to evaluate the amount of fat on a horse’s body using a numerical scale. It is helpful to weight-tape a horse once weekly to document and track how their weight is trending. This way, early weight loss will be noted before the problem is dire. Addressing the problem sooner rather than later is critical. In the winter, geriatric horses struggle to maintain their weight because nutritional demands are high and it

takes many calories to keep thin horses warm during cold weather. Weight gain takes months to accomplish and must be started in the summer in order to have good condition for the winter. Thin, geriatric horses should always have access to housing or shelter, and blanketing should be considered during winter months. Assessment of a weight-loss case begins with a full physical examination on the horse, including a dental examination, and a dental float to address any abnormalities. A fecal examination to identify the types and quantity of intestinal parasites is necessary. Universal, rotational deworming is no longer recommended. Instead, a fecal eggs per gram (EPG) count should be performed, and deworming is based on the results. Horses should only be dewormed if they have more than 200 EPG. Management to limit exposure to intestinal parasites is critical. Because the function of a horse’s immune system is important to keep the parasite burden minimized, a geriatric horse with a dysfunctional immune system may have an increased parasite burden relative to other horses on the same farm. Weight loss evaluation includes taking the time at a farm to see what exactly a horse is being fed, including the type, volume, and frequency of meals, as well as what the herd management situation is. Sometimes a geriatric horse will be eating slower and to maintain his weight he will need to have more time alone to finish his food before his herdmates run him off! Appropriate nutrition is very important for geriatric horses, and for those that are thin, this begins with adequate calories. All equine diets should be based on high quality roughage. If the dentition is inadequate, soaked hay cubes, pellets, or a complete feed may be the nutritional base for the geriatric horse. Since the geriatric horse is typically thin and requires more calories, a concentrated feed will likely be necessary as well. Limiting the sugar and starch intake can be important, so a fat supplement such as corn oil, vegetable oil,

rice bran, or commercial formulation can be very helpful. Remember that any diet modification should be done gradually over the course of 1-2 weeks.

Dental Changes in the Older Horse Horses have hypsodont dentition, meaning that the teeth continually erupt throughout life. The cheek teeth (including premolars and molars) function as a unit to grind tough, fibrous grass and grains. As a horse ages, the teeth migrate and form gaps. These gaps may trap feed material and lead to infection, as well as impair the ability to grasp and grind food.

Routine dental care is critical for horses’ longterm well-being.

Signs that dental function of a horse is diminished include quidding (dropping “quids”, or small bunches of partiallychewed food), weight loss, and choke (esophageal obstruction). The horse may also be susceptible to gingivitis, abscessed teeth, and sinusitis. The lifespan of horses is closely tied to the lifespan of their teeth.

Prevention of these problems include annual (minimal) or semi-annual (recommended) sedated dental examination. The molars in the back of the horse’s mouth cannot be properly assessed without sedation, so problems in this area of the mouth will not be noted on a cursory, unsedated examination. Many dental abnormalities can be prevented with maintenance dentistry, especially if it’s started early in life. As previously discussed, diet modification

may be necessary due to age-related dental abnormalities.

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction is also known as PPID or equine Cushing’s disease. It is an age-related degeneration of neurons supplying hormones (specifically dopamine) to the pituitary gland. The lack of dopamine causes a long, shaggy hair coat (hirsuitism) and/ or delayed shedding. Horses also have an increase in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In addition to the shaggy hair coat, other clinical signs include muscle wasting, which is most notable over the horse’s topline, and a potbelly appearance. The abnormal fat deposition may or may not be associated with a thin body condition. Horses with Cushing’s disease will have increased water intake and urine output, but this is frequently overlooked in group situations. These horses also will have a dysfunctional immune system, which will lead to chronic infections, non-healing wounds, and possibly increased parasitism. Because of the decreased capacity of the immune system, regular immunization is very important. As Cushing’s disease progresses, dull behavior or changes in mentation may be noted. Laminitis may occur due to the hormonal and metabolic changes in the horse. Equine Cushing’s disease is extremely common, with over 70% of geriatric horses showing clinical signs of the problem. Testing the blood for elevated levels of ACTH is the most common and straightforward test. Testing may reveal abnormalities before clinical signs are apparent. It is recommended that all horses over the age of 20 be tested annually. Treatment with pergolide has been the standard for years, and now the FDA-approved Prascend is available. The beginning dose is one tablet (one milligram) per day. Treatment with the correct dosage improves all clinical signs | July/August 2015


and decreases chances of developing laminitis. Annual testing ensures dosing accuracy and control of the disease. Many horses with Cushing’s disease are significantly more comfortable after body clipping or trace-clipping to remove their extra heavy hair coat.

Degenerative Joint Disease Almost every horse has some degree of arthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease) from previous work or normal “wear and tear” during the life of the joints. Hock and pastern arthritis are extremely common, although in older horses nearly all joints may become affected. Once a joint becomes arthritic, it will never return to normal. Maintenance of any residual function is critical. Clinical signs of arthritis include chronic lameness, a stiff gait, bony enlargements around joints, and excessive amounts of time lying down OR never lying down. Horses may also have trouble rising after lying down. Again, as these geriatric problems are intertwined, the horse may also have difficulty rising because of muscle wasting or weakness seen with Cushing’s disease or weight loss for other reasons. There is no specific treatment for generalized arthritis pain, and management can be very difficult! Maintaining consistent movement keeps joints lubricated and improves muscle tone. Large, flat paddocks with shelter

are ideal. It is important to consider feed and water sources and make sure they are easily accessible. Hoof care in older horses is extremely important, as the foot is their foundation. Medical treatment includes systemic antiinflammatories (such as phenylbutazone [bute], flunixin meglumine [Banamine], and firocoxib [Equioxx]. Joint injections with corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid can be helpful, but only for very specific joints. Systemic injectable medication such as Adequan and Legend may be more helpful for a geriatric horse that has many joints with arthritis. Many older horses are on feed additives or supplements to maintain function – there are LOTS to choose from, with variable results.


Colic is a general term that is defined as abdominal pain. Colic has many causes. It may be relatively mild, such as gas, or a mild impaction. These mild colics are somewhat preventable in geriatric horses by minimizing dietary changes, maintaining dental health, and ensuring that the parasite control program (including fecal examination) is appropriate. It is also important to provide warm water during times of cold weather. Unfortunately, older horses are also prone to a severe, life-threatening colic that is only correctable with surgery. This type of colic is due to a benign, fatty tumor (called a lipoma, see photo) which grows on a stalk in the abdomen of the horse. These tumors can literally tie a knot around the intestines, causing this very severe colic. There is no prevention.

A sarcoid skin tumor in a 33 year old mare with Equine Cushing’s Disease.


| | July/August 2015

A non-healing wound in a horse with equine Cushing’s disease. Although this wound had been treated for 8 months without healing, it healed within 6 weeks of pergolide administration for treatment of Cushing’s Disease.

Organ Failure Organ failure can happen in geriatric individuals of any species. Kidney and liver failure are the most common organs to fail. Clinical signs can be non-specific and include weight loss, lack of appetite, and a poor body condition. It also may be noted that the horse has increased water intake and urination. Liver disease may progress and the horse may show neurologic signs due to the buildup of toxic metabolites. Heart disease can occur in horses, although it is considered relatively rare when compared to the frequency it is seen in other species. Heart murmurs associated with aging changes of the heart are relatively common. A patient with heart disease will have exercise intolerance, and may have a cough due to fluid buildup in the lungs. Eventually, they will have circulatory failure and the abdomen will also fill with excessive fluid (ascites). Annual examination of your geriatric horse is important. Laboratory screening can identify vital organ dysfunction prior to clinical signs. These should be performed annually in geriatric patients.

Cancer Cancer, or tumors, may be

benign (a local growth that does not spread) or malignant (spreading to multiple areas of the body). In horses, skin tumors are the most common. The three most common skin

A lipoma, which was removed from its stalk intra-operatively to correct colic in a 25 year old gelding. The stalk had wound and knotted its way around the small colon of the horse.

tumor types are sarcoids, melanomas, and squamous cell carcinomas. Sarcoids occur in horses that are fairly young (5-8 years old) as well as older horses. They may appear unchanged for years, but may suddenly begin to grow in an older horse when their immune system fails due to equine Cushing’s disease. The specific cause of sarcoids is unknown but they are linked to Bovine Papilloma Virus and genetics.

Geriatric Horse Well-Care Checklist Annual examination Annual blood work, including testing for Equine Cushing’s Disease, and annual Coggins Test for Equine Infectious Anemia Annual sedated oral examination, and routine dental float every year (minimum) or every 6 months (if needed) Close monitoring and record keeping of weight Annual vaccinations Fecal evaluation for parasitism, and targeted deworming as needed

those horses that die due to old age, 64% are euthanized, and the most common reasons are weight loss and inability to ambulate. (4) After-care of the horse’s body is a challenge since they are so large. Burial is an option, but is prohibited in some jurisdictions. A fullbody cremation service with transportation is available from Albuquerque Pet Memorial Service. Finally, many county landfills will have a body disposal area.

Melanomas have a definite genetic link, and more than Pain management and arthritis maintenance and prevention 80% of gray horses past Take Home Message the age of 15 years have Systemic cancer is relatively rare in Annual veterinary checkups, dental melanomas. Common locations include horses, but lymphosarcoma is the most care, and laboratory tests are critical for sheath, vulva, anus, under the tail, and common. This cancer is far more proper maintenance of the geriatric horse. the face. These are considered benign, common in mules and donkeys than Monitor the horse’s body condition closely although they are locally aggressive and in horses. It can affect internal organs, and intervene sooner rather than later. can spread systemically. Although it is such as the gastrointestinal tract, or the Maintaining an appropriate nutritional unusual, non-gray horses can also develop skin. Lymph nodes may be enlarged, plane is vital, and may take more effort melanoma. In non-gray horses, the and this is usually recognized between melanoma is more likely to be malignant. than when the horse was younger. the jaws under the mandible most easily There is a vaccine available that shrinks Maintain proper, regular hoof care. Many the size of the tumors, and can make some (the submandibular lymph nodes). Early problems are manageable for a very long recognition is important if treatment is disappear entirely. It is an initial series of time, but be prepared to make the “difficult pursued. Unfortunately, this systemic three vaccines, and an annual booster is decision” when the time comes. cancer is malignant and carries a very required. The cost of each vaccine dose is poor prognosis. about $500. Dr. Boswell is an equine veterinarian practicing at Western Trails Veterinary As discussed in the section on colic, Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in horses Hospital in Edgewood, New Mexico. She lipomas are a benign tumor that develops with light colors, such as Paints or pintos, can be reached at from abdominal fat. These are only a Appaloosas, and palominos or other The hospital website is, problem when they interfere with gut dilute colors. These are found commonly and the office is 505-286-4604. function and cause colic. on the eyes, eyelids or surrounding tissue especially in horses with white skin. They may also be located on the lips, the sheath, The Final Days or beneath the tail. This is considered a malignant tumor, and may spread to The final decision of euthanasia and saying internal organs if untreated. Minimizing goodbye to an old friend is extremely white area exposure to sun helps prevent difficult. Some geriatric horses can be occurrence. maintained for years, but the expense of special feeds and annual diagnostics can Treatment of any tumor is recommended be cost-prohibitive. One study found as soon as possible. A positive outcome that the leading cause of death of geriatric for the horse is much more likely when horses was old age followed by colic and the tumor removed is the size or a grape, injury or trauma. (4) Some geriatric rather than that of a grapefruit. Treatment horses will have an “event” such as a consists of surgical excision with terrible colic, or a choke episode, that additional chemotherapy or cryotherapy. triggers the decision for euthanasia. Of | July/August 2015


Date Event






For the Heart of the Horse Sanctuary 26 Sundog Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87508




Classes offered: Open and Novice Contact person: Kim Weinberger via email @ (Pre-entries required)

Double Standard Ranch in Santa Fe, NM




4 Winds EQ Ctr Estancia

JULY 11-12 SEE OUR AD PG. 23



Bosque Farms Rodeo Arena

JULY 11 & 12



Santa Fe Rodeo Grounds




Monthly trail ride in the Taos area, locations to be determined Info:


JULY 18-



all info on website at


JULY 18 & 19



Last time this show will be held in Abuquerque!!! Let's all go show our support of NM's Arabian horses and youth!!

Expo NM

JULY 18 - 25



Manager Kathleen Martin, info:

Roy-El Morgan Farm, Espanola NM




For information and to receive a prize list, go to www., call 505-474-0999, or email

Equicenter de Santa Fe

JULY 22-26



Contact Evelyn Huff, 575-551-2245

Las Cruces

JULY 25 - 26



For information and to receive a prize list, go to www., call 505-474-0999, or email

Equicenter de Santa Fe


7/24 -26


North of Mancos, CO For info & directions call Chuck Smth 505-215-2625

near Mancos, CO

JULY 24-26


AUGUST Date Event






For the Heart of the Horse Sanctuary 26 Sundog Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87508




Clinician Patricia Demers

Bernalillo County 8/15-8/16 Sherriff's Posse Arena SEE OUR AD PAGE 11



with David Guerrero Garcia from Spain call 575-737-9798 for details

Morningstar Farm Arroyo Seco NM




4 Winds EQ Ctr Estancia NM




Info: (505)967-9875

ABQ Fairgrounds Horse Arena

AUG 22-23



4 Winds EQ Ctr Estancia NM

AUG 28 THRU 30


JULY & AUGUST ....................................

Though Mother Nature did her best to to disrupt things on the first day to New Mexico's First Trainer Showcase& Horse Expo, the show went on! Vendors, trainers and horses arrived in sleet, followed by sun, followed by mud and wind. But New Mexico horsepeople are a tough bunch. Our heartfelt thanks to trainers Josh Armstrong, Chris and Crystle from ABQ Horse Breaking, Lynn Clifford, Rocco Fancellu, Joe Fernandez, Lia Jessen, Rudy Lara, Julie Phillips, Liz and Leigh Manning, Ta-Willow Romero, Erlene Seybold-Smythe, Christina Savitsky, and Western Trails veterinarian Stacie Boswell, equine body worker Margret Henkel, the Spanish Barb Breeders Association, Kim Fay of the Rio Grande Mule & Donkey Association and show judge Terri Rakowsky: They held the crowd spellbound during all their presentations and were amazingly adaptable to a hectic schedule.

photo: Linda March

Trainer Showcase & Horse Expo round-up

Many thanks to Sacramento Equine Adventures and Bill and Bob for transporting folks!

At lunch, we were wowed by the Starfire Farms' Fjord drill team both days and on Sunday, the APD Mounted Unit and Larry Smith did APD proud. Many many thanks to 4 Winds Equestrian Center, and to our sponsors: Horse Around New Mexico magazine, Sandia Trailers and Roni Merbler of Enchanted Homes Realty; as well as to our vendors, who suffered the most from Mother Nature's antics. Thanks to all the volunteers of the extended 4 Winds "family," without whose fantastic hard work nothing would have been possible. And volumes of thanks and kudos to our attentive, patient, rain-soaked and wind-whipped audience: Thank you for coming, thank you for staying and thank you for saying such nice things

The Drill Team meets the A(PD) Team Photo: Linda March


| | July/August 2015

aguire nne M by Ly at Lynne's th u o M ble orse’s availa the H toons e From d other car emaguired n n This a e www.lyn websit | July/August 2015



| | July/August 2015

He’s been there for you. Be there for him.

Phone: 505-550-4793

Pager: 505-790-5596

132 Mountain Park Place NW Suite A, Albuquerque, NM

“Providing your loved ones with the dignity and respect they deserve.” | March/ April 2015


Kneading Your Way Better Horsemanship with Medical Massage


aybe I am the only one who has ever gotten on a horse and been sore after. Maybe I'm the only one who's been bucked off or who's fallen off. Maybe I'm the only one who has tweaked my back from holding my horse's foot, or had my arm nearly pulled off because I wouldn’t let go of the lead rope. Or, maybe I'm the only one whose profession is frontbody oriented. Maybe, maybe,

maybe...but probably not.

The joy and fear of being a new rider on a green horse has offered a wide variety of experiences. Someof the lessons were not what I wanted, but all were exactly what I asked for. As with anything in life, living from the inside out makes all the difference. I'm not exactly sure why that was such a surprise asit relates to horsemanship, but it was. I quickly learned that being a better rider began within me and worked its way into the relationship I kept, and continue to keep with my horse. When I start by taking care of myself I am able to take better care of my horse. One way I do that is to receive medical massage.


When Redtail, our four year old Appoloosa Mustang, arrived from Monument Valley two years ago, I had already been doing bodywork with people for seven years. My husband and I lived on the the west side of Albuquerque, but didn't have land, so we rented a corral and barn in the North Valley. On Red's first day here, my brother-in-law held the reins as my husband and I took turns sitting on her bareback. We didn't know what to expect. She'd only had the saddle on once, but no one had ever ridden her. Of course, we took pictures. The photos of my husband showed him relaxed and centered in his seat. Not me. Even though I was smiling, every muscle was tensed as I leaned forward. If you've ever expoerienced a tense ride, fall or other mishap around your horses that causes you to experience discomfort or downright pain, you don't have to "just live with it". Massage can help! When I talk about massage with horse people, they always ask me if I do equine massage. My standard reply is, “only on our horses” or “not yet”. What I do is medical massage for people. Medical massage therapy is massage that works with diagnoses from doctors to alleviate specific pathologies. It can address conditions ranging from whiplash, rotator cuff injuries, back pain, and postural deviations to fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease, and cancer. A certification in medical massage requires advanced training that easily exceeds New Mexico's minimum requirement to obtain a license. Massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph fluid, which promotes the body's ability to heal. If you have

| | July/August 2015

by Jennifer Black ever needed to limit the time you've spent riding because of soreness or injury, consider medical massage. Maybe you haven't been restrained by self-imposed limitations. Some of us simply push through the discomfort and over-ride clear messages given to us by our bodies. If this sounds vaguely familiar, massage can help. Do you need a doctor's prescription to receive medical massage? No. You can choose to receive massage on your own. However, medical massage therapists do not diagnose, and massage is not a replacement for medical care. People who may need a prescription are those who have health insurance benefits that require a doctor's referral, but not all plans do. Check your coverage. Others who may need a prescription are those who've been involved in an auto accident, whether they are at-fault or not, and want to bill the insurance company directly. The at-fault's policy may require a doctor's prescription. Check with your adjuster. Lastly, people who most definitely need a prescription are those who receive medical massage because of a worker's compensation claim. If you fall into any of the above categories, I can provide you information to help you navigate the world of insurance claims. People who don't have or need a prescription, pay out of pocket, and want to receive massage are always welcome! As stated, medical massage helps the body heal. It also reduces stress and improves sleep. Riders benefit from medical massage because it increases flexibility and range of motion, and improves stability and balance. It softens and releases muscles, which means equestrians will be able to move better with their horses' motion. In addition, medical massage targets muscle imbalances, which most commonly | July/August 2015


develop from daily activities. Balanced muscle groups improve posture both on and off your horse. Medical massage breaks up scar tissue, separates muscle fibers, unwinds stored trauma, and retrains muscle memory. Nancy Freshour and Aspen, of Team Aspen, have accomplishments that have inspired separate articles. I have had the honor of working with Nancy for the past several years. In January, I asked her if we could focus on her needs as an equestrian. She agreed. She committed to three appointments, which included a combination of riding and not riding on or before the day the massages were scheduled. Each time I saw her, I gathered relevant health information, did postural assessments, asked about her riding, and then went to work. After the third session Nancy reported, “Both last time and this time I feel a significant difference in my body. When walking and riding Aspen I can say I feel more 'grounded' and less rigid. It's difficult to describe but there is a definite difference and improvement. "When I came home today I jumped on Aspen bareback and tried to feel her back and my sits bones. I am definitely not as much like a 'post' as I have been in the past.” Nancy sums it up by simply adding, “Aspen appreciates the changes in my body as much as I do.” As I continue to learn and grow as a rider, I experience more joy and less fear. I practice the safety of mindfulness. From that place, I move with body awareness to take care of my horse's body when I sit on her. I look inside myself because I want to create an external environment that is one I want to be a part of. Can medical massage lead you to a similar place? I don't know. What I do know is that I can listen to what you and your body are saying. I can hear through the background of your daily activities so that massage can be a catalyst for your change. Jennifer Black is a Licensed Massage Therapist, a certified Medical Massage Practitioner, and is also a Registered Polarity Practitioner through the American Polarity Therapy Association. She specializes in medical massage, trigger point release, myofascial release, and massage for the equestrian. She lives with her husband on Rio Rancho's West Mesa; they have 2 horses, 3 dogs, a cat and some chickens.


Jennifer and Redtail out on the trail with a friend. | | July/August 2015

Stall Barn | Riding Arena | Equine Facility | Pasture Shelter | Hay Storage

Join Generations of Horse Enthusiasts For over a century Morton Buildings has provided exceptional quality and service to our customers. From stall barns and riding arenas to storage buildings and shelters, Morton Buildings are constructed to keep both you and your horses safe and comfortable.


7621 Canyon Dr. • Amarillo, TX J. Craig Shanks 806-922-4449

To learn more and to get started on your project, contact Morton Buildings today. Š2015 Morton Buildings, Inc. A listing of GC licenses available at NM License #016516 Reference Code 043 | July/August 2015


The Tail End

Back to the Barn at Tipi Ranch â—Š Photo: Ozana Photography

formulated to help horses prone to colic

improved top line


fiber digestion up to 15%

prebiotics + probiotics working together

Research backed. Proven results. Texas A&M University

Ask your vet or feed retailer about SafeChoice速 Senior.


Nutri-Bloom Advantage 速