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Equine Wellness

VOLUME 9 ISSUE 4 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Kelly Howling EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Natasha Roulston SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR: Jasmine Cabanaw COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Coco Baptist COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Wayne Blevins Brittany Cameron, REMT Theresa Gilligan Susan Guran Sarah Gwynn Mersereau Susan Harris Amy Hayek, DVM, CAC, CVA Eleanor Kellon, VMD Alexandra Kurland Jennifer Miller, DVM, CAC, CVA Kelly Nunn William Ormston, DVM, CAC Linda Parelli Sherri Pennanen Ian Rawe, PhD Stacy Westfall ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Karen Tice WEB DEVELOPER: Brad Vader SUBMISSIONS Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to Equine Wellness Magazine, 202-160 Charlotte Street, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to: Submissions@EquineWellnessMagazine.com.

DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager: Tim Hockley (705) 741-0817 ext. 110 Tim@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Eastern Sales Manager: Lisa Wesson (866) 764-1212 ext. 413 Lisawesson@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext.315 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON Canada K9J 2T8. Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2014. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: July 2014.

ImprovIng the lIves of anImals... one reader at a tIme.

ON THE COVER Photograph By: COCO BAPTIST Pat and Linda Parelli of Parelli Natural Horsemanship work together to help riders all over the world improve their relationship with their horses. Head on over to page 16 for Linda’s article on making grooming more enjoyable – for you and your horse!

Equine Wellness


Contents 16



conformation is genetic, but did you know environmental factors can also play a role?

alternative therapy has been around for over 2,000 years, and can offer enhanced healing benefits for your horse.

CONFORMATION We often think

12 NUTRITION FOR EYE HEALTH These foods and herbs

can help keep your horse’s vision sharp.



the preliminary cause of serious hoof problems


ENJOYABLE Grooming is about

much more than presentation. Here’s how to keep your horse looking great and enrich your relationship…naturally.


Showcasing the versatility and trainability of America’s wild horses through competitive training events.


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Supplements can provide your horse with the essential Omega-3s he needs.


DIGESTION Good nutrition is only healthful if your horse’s digestive system is working properly.


RELATIONSHIP Getting a new horse is exciting. Here’s how to start your relationship off on the right hoof.


Miniaturized technology puts healing right on the injury.


Many people opt to shoe their horses for the show or riding season, then pull them. Let’s explore some pros and cons – and alternatives – to this practice.



38 TRAINING CYCLES Don’t get stuck in a rut! Understanding training cycles keeps both you and your horse progressing.


How to apply Centered Riding techniques in jumping.

You can’t balance his diet perfectly all of the time. Ensuring he absorbs as many nutrients as possible will help make sure he gets what he needs.

HEART HEALTH Preventing issues with supportive herbs can make a big difference in his health and performance.


12 COLUMNS 7 Neighborhood news


48 To the rescue

31 Product picks

54 Holistic veterinary Q&A

40 Equine Wellness resource guide

62 Homeopathic column

42 Social media corner 43 Heads up


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Tips, contests and more! Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine Updates, news, events @ EquineWellnessMagazine

58 Events 60 Marketplace 61 Classifieds

Product reviews and tutorials EquineWellnessTV

50 Equine Wellness



feeding TIME!


h, nutrition. The topic of feed and supplements is one that can make horse people crazy – both in terms of hot debate, and the sheer number of options available. Last night when I went out to do night check at one of the farms I work at, I thought I’d count the different types of feed and supplements in the feed room. Seven types of feed. Two types of hay. Fifty-one supplements. Now, granted, there are nearly 30 horses boarded at the farm, and this feed room certainly isn’t the only one that looks like this. But it does beg the question – do we really know what we are feeding our horses? How many of us have actually checked whether the grain and supplements we’ve asked the barn to feed are actually balanced to the hay being fed? And does the barn even test their hay? In many cases, I know the answer, and I’ve been guilty of it too. My horse is jumping and showing hard all season – she could use a joint supplement. Or an electrolyte. Or a digestive aid.

Do we really research each supplement that intently? Usually the thought process tends to go more along the lines of: “My friend’s horse is on that and seems to be doing well, so I’ll give it a try too!” Nutrition plays such a vital role in our horse’s health and wellbeing (really, it is the basis for everything) that it is worth a little legwork and research. Back in the day, one might have had the excuse of not knowing any better, but now we have such easy access to great information and industry professionals that it really simplifies things (or perhaps complicates them, depending on how in-depth you want to take your knowledge of nutrition!). I find the turning point for most people’s nutrition knowledge tends to occur when they either acquire a horse with a health issue, or their existing horse develops a problem. Again, in almost any situation, nutrition can help form the basis of your rehab plan. In this issue, we’ve narrowed down our focus in Dr. Alinovi’s article on nutrition to support eye health (page 12), and in the piece on herbs for cardiovascular health by Theresa Gilligan (page 56). You’ll also find some neat nutrition tidbits on fish oil, montmoryllonite clay, and feeding to prevent fungal hoof damage. Remember, though, your horse’s nutrition is only as good as his digestion! Dr. Kellon joins us on page 28 to explain why and how you can promote optimal digestion in your own equine. Naturally,

Kelly Howling


Equine Wellness


Headshaking is a serious and distressing condition for both horses and their owners. Professor Derek Knottenbelt from the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, University of Liverpool, discussed this disturbing condition, and the signs and treatment options, at the Australian Veterinary Association’s Annual Conference. “Whatever is said about the disease in terms of cause, diagnosis or treatment, there’s no doubt that horses are very distressed by it,” says Professor Knottenbelt. “Some horses are so badly affected that they can cause themselves serious injuries in an attempt to relieve themselves of the discomfort or pain. There are also major safety implications for riders and handlers of horses.”

Common signs include: • Involuntary up/down movement of the head and sideways shaking of the head • Blinking, ear flicking or ear flattening • Facial or nasal rubbing • Snorting or serious nasal discharges “Unfortunately, treatment options are presently very limited. The main objective is for the clinician to try and identify the trigger factors and then for owners to devise strategies to avoid them, where possible,” says Knottenbelt. “While we are far behind in our understanding of this disease and its possible neurological origins, we have to be aware of the welfare implications; research efforts in this area should be a priority.”

The idea for the nasal strip worn by Triple Crown contender and racing phenomenon California Chrome (patterned after a human version that deters snoring) occurred to equine veterinarian Dr. Ed Blach in the middle of the night. “I sat up in bed at three in the morning, and I had this idea,” says Dr. Blach, a Colorado State University veterinary alumnus and resident of Monument, Colorado. “Why hasn’t anyone developed a nasal strip for horses?” That was 17 years ago. Now, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips are in the racing limelight. Dr. Blach says the strips made a lot sense to him and his business partner, fellow vet Dr. Jim Chiapetta. They wanted to create a strip that would help keep nasal passages open during rigorous equine performance, making breathing easier and relieving stress on the lungs – particularly important because horses breathe only through

CSU veterinary alum Ed Blach applies the nasal strip he co-invented on Eli, a horse in Parker owned by Kat Fentiman.

Photo courtesy of Colorado State University


their nostrils. Clinical studies have shown they reduce airflow resistance and negative pressure in the lungs.

FOALING MARES ARE TOTALLY RELAXED It is often assumed that giving birth is both stressful and painful for the mother. This may be the case for humans but does it also apply to horses or are we transferring human experiences to the animals? Scientists at the Vetmeduni Vienna have investigated the

stress associated with birth in horses and other domestic animals. The findings show that contrary to expectations, mares appear to be completely relaxed when foaling. Study results are published in the journal Theriogenology. Equine Wellness


PRACTICE SOUND BIOSECURITY MEASURES The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) reminds equine owners to keep their horses healthy by practicing good biosecurity measures. These preventative measures are designed to reduce the risk of introduction and transmission of infectious disease agents, such as Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1). Any time horses are congregated at events, they are at higher risk of being exposed to an infectious disease. By following these simple guidelines, you can help minimize that risk. • Consult your veterinarian to establish an appropriate vaccination program for your horse. •T ie your horse to your trailer. If using a stall, clean and disinfect it.

• Use your own water and feed buckets. Fill water buckets from a faucet. • Do not share grooming equipment or tack. • Avoid petting and touching other horses. • Avoid letting strangers pet your horse. • Before returning home from an event, clean up your equipment (boots, tack, grooming supplies, buckets, etc.) to help reduce the risk of transporting an infectious agent back home. Consider washing and disinfecting your trailer when you return home. • If possible, isolate your returning horse(s) for two weeks, or at least prevent nose-to-nose contact with your other horses.

• Minimize your horse’s direct contact with unknown horses.

SMART PARTNERSHIP It’s a smart partnership. Henry Schein, Inc., provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, announced that its U.S. Animal Health business, Henry Schein Animal Health, has entered into an agreement to acquire an approximate 60% ownership position in SmartPak, the leading provider of equine supplements and horse supplies across the country. SmartPak’s primary product is the SmartPak™ supplement feeding system, which provides equine supplements in customized daily dose packaging. The company offers over 250 branded equine supplements, including SmartSupplements™, its own proprietary brand, as well as a broad range of equestrian supplies and accessories, including apparel and riding equipment, pharmaceuticals and other equine and canine focused products.

FIVE EQUINE RESCUES AWARDED $10,000 GRANTS The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has announced the five winners of the 2014 ASPCA Help a Horse Day Celebration contest, a nationwide grant competition for equine rescues and sanctuaries to raise awareness about the lifesaving year-round work they do to care for at-risk horses. The winning groups – each of which received a $10,000 grant to support their efforts – are Begin Again Horse Rescue (New York), EARTHEART (California), Equine Outreach (Oregon), Mylestone Equine Rescue (New Jersey), and STAR Ranch (North Carolina). Contestants were judged on the creativity of their events, as well as their success in engaging their local communities. More than 80 equine rescue groups held events across 32 states on April 26 – a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA’s long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, including legislation, advocacy, rescue and targeted grants. 8

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FUNCTIONAL CONFORMATION We often think conformation is genetic, but did you know environmental factors can also play a role? By William Ormston, DVM, CAC, and Amy Hayek, DVM, CAC, CVA

Many people look for a horse

that has the perfect conformation for their sport. Most Friesians wouldn’t do well at the Kentucky Derby, for example, and very few Standardbred racehorses would make good hunter/jumpers. In theory, a horse with excellent conformation should experience fewer injuries, require less recovery time, and be easier to train than one with a less desirable shape. The problem lies in what makes up a horse’s conformation, and that involves a combination of genetics and environment. The expression of genetics is plastic (changeable). It is a fundamental mechanism of development, homeostasis and adaptation regulated by the central nervous system. The evolutionary goal of a horse’s DNA is to be a horse, and changes to the environment affect the DNA’s expression. Conformation is just the current expression of the body’s DNA as it relates to its environment.

POSTURE AND CONFORMATION Great conformation results in a biomechanical balance that allows the horse to have an appropriate, stable, predictable, confident and easy interaction with gravity. The goal is for the nervous system, muscles and bones to interact with gravity as efficiently as possible. There are four centers of balance in the horse – the feet, head, back and abdominal organ systems. These centers send signals to the brain, shaping the sensory and motor cortexes and implementing how the horse interacts with gravity. Posture and conformation are often confused. Posture defines the body’s relation to itself. It holds the body against gravity. Posture enables critical body functions to occur, because if the horse is able to maintain a neutral stance, his body is able to prioritize the essential functions of maintenance, like eating, sleeping, Equine Wellness


and healing from injury. An inability to maintain a stable compensatory posture that balances the body, while resting an injury, will delay healing and make the animal more susceptible to re-injury. An inappropriate compensatory stance (or abnormal posture) results from internal or external alterations to reflexive postural control mechanisms. These include feedback from the four balance centers mentioned earlier.

energy. This passive stance allows him to be ready to move in any direction at a moment’s notice. In the wild, this is important because it allows the horse to keep away from danger. If a horse is receiving faulty input, he will stand in positions that require active muscle contraction to maintain. The recruitment of mobilizing muscles to support standing results in muscle soreness and joint instability. This abnormal posture requires the horse to relax the mobilizing muscles before being able to move. The stabilizing muscles’ primary function is to maintain the relationship between various parts of the body; moving the body parts is secondary.

The jaw, head and neck Historically, the horse eats while standing, ready to flee if necessary. Eating while standing with the head lowered to the earth is a normal process and allows for the relaxation of flight muscles, making them ready to act when needed. Eating with the head up, above ground level or at shoulder height, fatigues the extensor muscles in the neck, especially if the horse is in a discipline that requires little neck flexion below the elbow. This reduces the normal pattern of flexion and extension that allows cellular waste products to be excreted and efficiently mobilized out of the system. This change in environment can actually lead to the development of metabolic issues.

Improved stance will provide better weight-bearing through the leg to the heel. The base narrow was improved to allow a wider stance. Long toes created the stance seen at top. Once the feet were in better form the legs could stand more naturally.


Domestic horses rely on humans to maintain their feet. Things as common as long toes, heels that are under run, causing them to land in front of the bony column, and wearing shoes, all inherently change neural signaling from ground contact to the brain. Changes in the structure of the head-neck relationship, dental occlusion and foot balance distort critical nerve signals to the postural centers in the brain and spinal cord. The distorted signals create compensatory postures that chronically impair balance and locomotion. The input from your horse’s feet tells him which muscles to contract and which to relax in order to stand. When a horse has good posture, he is utilizing very few muscles and very little 10

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Nutrition can affect posture The pH imbalance caused by a high grain and carbohydrate diet, as opposed to evolutionary grasses and grass seeds, generates irritation in the abdominal organs of your horse’s gastrointestinal tract. Irritation results in altered signals to the brain, making it difficult for your horse to relax and learn. Changes in posture are seen in young horses as soon as they are started on a carbohydrate diet.

Great conformation results in a biomechanical balance that allows the horse to have an appropriate, stable, predictable, confident and easy interaction with gravity.

Horses that eat with their heads up all the time alter their chewing mechanics and will develop problems with their teeth. The horse’s lower jaw moves forward when the head is lowered, so the lower molars grind evenly. The teeth are designed to deal with hard grasses. We now provide our horses with much softer grasses and feeds, causing sharp enamel points and protuberant teeth to develop. An asymmetrical posture and head carriage cause a misaligned mandible, uneven wear, and eruption of teeth, creating malocclusions. Chronic subluxations result.

IS IT HIS CONFORMATION, OR POOR POSTURE? When limbs are not perpendicular to the ground at the cannon bone, or when your horse is unwilling to stand and bear weight on all four limbs simultaneously, he is compensating. This results in a difference in muscle tone. Chronic asymmetrical weight bearing can be shown by looking at disparate hoof size. Sickle hocks may be the result of weak muscles on the outside of the legs; hunter’s bump is due to under run heels; and dropped fetlocks arise from weak muscles in the back. All these weakened muscles occur because of subluxations in the spine. These horses can’t stand, let alone compete, well. The body is constantly in a state of healing and repair. Every day, the body of an adult horse produces 300 billion new cells. This takes energy. During asymmetrical stance, the horse uses more energy against gravity than he does during normal stance. This entire process is monitored, controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system. Chiropractic care helps your horse maintain wellness by optimizing the performance of his central nervous system, reducing fatigue and aiding in the best possible performance. Posture can be altered to bring out the best in your horse, regardless of his genetics!

William Ormston, DVM, and Amy Hayek, DVM, have a combined experience of 40 years, allowing them to teach movement to other veterinarians. Dr. Ormston owns Jubilee Animal Health in Celina, Texas and Dr. Hayek owns East Coast Equine in Summerville, South Carolina. In addition to practicing, both doctors are well known lecturers and travel extensively all over the US and internationally. They can be reached via HYHH.TV or AnimalChiropracticEducation.com

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By Cathy Alinovi, DVM

These foods and herbs can help keep your horse’s vision sharp.


FOR EYE HEALTH We have a general idea of what to eat to benefit our own eyes, but it’s not as obvious when it comes to our horses. While carrots are great for our eyes (yes, it’s true!), we are less certain if they have the same effect on horses. Good eye health starts with a good immune system, and a good immune system starts with great nutrition. Short of trauma, most equine eye conditions can be avoided through good nutrition. Once an eye condition has developed, feeding specific, high quality foods and herbs can greatly reduce recurrent issues.

FEEDING NATURALLY Studies from the 1950s, first with Pottenger’s cats, then when Dr. Weston Price studied native peoples, showed that patients who eat what grows naturally have fewer health issues. For horses, this means the ideal food is in the pasture. The next best option is nutrient rich, leafy hay. Lower on the immune building scale are stemmy hays, pelleted feeds, and sweet feeds (worse if they contain GMO ingredients). Because most of us don’t live where we can provide fresh pasture year-round, we are forced to feed the best hay we can find and provide supplemental nutrition for what is missing from the hay. The purpose of this article is to discuss supplemental food sources that help build eye health. Because our goal is prevention, it’s best to select a supplement that rounds out your horse’s nutrition. The supplement will preferably be non-GMO and whole food12

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Good eye health starts with a good immune system, and a good immune system starts with great nutrition.

based, like chia or flax seed. However, because many of us do not consciously search for foods to build great immune or eye health until there’s already an issue, we’ll also cover foods and herbal formulas that can assist in building good eye health.

FEEDING FOR OVERALL EYE HEALTH General food items that have been used to help the eyes are anything that provides Omega-6 fatty acids (like GLA – gamma linolenic acid). Omega-6s are usually provided in the carnivore’s diet by eating meats, but horses must find other sources. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of GLA. However, due to potential risk of colic, it is not advisable to feed nuts to horses. Therefore, seeds such as chia or flax are the best source of GLA for horses. Black sesame and feather cockscomb seeds are other less well known sources of Omega-6s for horses. Chia and flax seeds are commonly available and usually eaten whole, while other seeds, such as black currant, borage or evening primrose seeds, are fed/ eaten as oils. Any of these oils, which are high in GLA, can help with general immunity and eye health. Feather cockscomb seeds have been used for centuries for equine eye health.

SOLUTIONS FOR SWELLING Swollen eyes, regardless of trauma or infectious causes, can be treated with several different foods. As a reminder, if your horse has swollen eyes from rolling due to colic, treating the eyes first is not the priority. However, once colic is ruled out, you can try applying a poultice of grated apple or potato on the eyelid (do not feed potato to horses; it can be dangerous in high quantities). Just as humans take down swelling by applying fresh slices of cucumber to their eyes, cucumber slices can also work for horses. Adding parsley, mint or chrysanthemum to the diet can help reduce the swelling associated with conjunctivitis. Chrysanthemum and mint are especially helpful for allergic conditions. They can be fed either as whole flowers or leaves, Equine Wellness


fresh or dried, or made into a tea. Chrysanthemum and mint are both easy to find as tea bags; for topical use, boil water, dunk the tea bag until moistened, and place the slightly moistened tea bag as a poultice on the swollen eye.

MOONBLINDNESS Moonblindness, or ERU, is a condition often addressed through foods high in vitamin A. Such foods include spinach, sweet potato, watercress, and spirulina, which works synergistically with the spinach or sweet potato. Sweet potato is somewhat controversial – while sweet potatoes look like potatoes, they are not from the nightshade family and in conservative amounts, are safe. Other foods that help with night blindness are carrots and dried raspberries. These should be fed as treats on an empty stomach and not to excess. Sometimes a little goes a long way. An excessive intake of carrots can upset the normal bacteria in the horse’s intestines and potentially lead to colic. Carrots are also high in sugar and can be a problem for horses with metabolic syndrome.

THE EYES AND LIVER FUNCTION In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the eyes are windows to liver function. In early liver disease, the eyes will start tearing/discharging, the third eyelid will protrude, the eye may become red or hazy, and then you will see a progression to more serious eye illnesses. Treating the underlying weakness – the liver – will clear up the eyes. Traditional herbs/foods for the equine liver/vision connection include gentian root, phellodendron bark, clematis root, tribulus, fresh rehmannia root, feather cockscomb seed, lyceum, and chrysanthemum. More modern foods that treat the liver include dandelion, milk thistle, turmeric, lavender, mugwort, chicory, wood sorrel, and wormwood to name a few. What’s great is that a lot of these grow semi-wild in pastures. For the more organicallyminded horse owner, it’s fun to see your horse selectively eat from these plants when they are needed. For the horse owner without a lot of pasture options, many of the aforementioned plants can be purchased as dried herbs or powders. They can be bought as individual herbs, or as


Equine Wellness


HERBS Many herbs, whether

fresh or dry/powdered, are easy to feed along with your high GLA seedbased supplement. Loose herbs like chrysanthemum or mint would do great applied directly or in a steam bath. To successfully use a steam bath with your horse, place 30g (1oz) dried herbs in two cups of hot/steaming water in an easy-to-carry bowl. Place the bowl under your horse’s chin and drape a large towel over her head – you might even stand under the towel with her if it helps to calm her. Have her stand and enjoy for ten minutes twice a day.

herbal formulas/remedies. The quality of herbal formulas varies, as do the impurities in each brand. Surprisingly, tablets have more fillers that can cause intestinal upset than loose powders do. Read the ingredients to see what fillers, if any, have been added. In some patients, herbal formulas can cause diarrhea – build up slowly and your horse is less likely to have an issue. There are many classical Chinese herbal formulas that treat the eyes, either directly or indirectly through the liver. These formulas include You Gui Wan, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan, and Liu Wei Di Huang. Regardless of what herbal formula you select for your horse’s eye issue, work with a properly trained health care provider to pick the right formula for his specific concern. If selected inappropriately, the herb will do nothing, potentially adding to your frustration. Ideally, we all want to prevent eye problems before they occur. By feeding the best food we can, given our horses’ living circumstances, and supplementing as needed with non-GMO whole grains, we can make great strides in building the eye’s immune system. Good food feeds the whole horse – including the liver and eyes. And, if issues develop, food is again the basis for improving eye health.


It’s the preliminary cause of serious hoof problems By Wayne Blevins “No hoof, no horse” is the motto of the American Farrier’s Association, and no wonder. Some horse owners spend countless amounts of money purchasing, boarding, feeding, and training their horses, only to find all of their efforts thwarted by poor hoof material. There are many reasons for poor hoof quality: • Domesticated horses are bred for size, color, speed, gait, and even to have a certain look about them before hoof strength is considered. • It is well known that a high sugar diet has been proven to contribute to the growing issue of poor hoof material.



If the overall immune system is weak, the ocular (eye) immune system will also be weak. Weak immunity in the eyes allows for the littlest thing to cause problems. Conjunctivitis (pinkeye), be it from a fungal, viral, parasitic, allergic, or bacterial cause, can develop more easily. A weakened immune system will not fight off the virus that causes sarcoids. It will be constantly challenged and may go awry, leading to cancer. Constant inflammation is also involved in recurrent uveitis, also called ERU or moonblindness. Dr. Cathy Alinovi is a holistic veterinarian, animal lover, frequent media guest and nationallycelebrated author, and is quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. After graduating from veterinary school, she quickly realized that conventional medicine did not meet enough of her patients’ needs and became certified in Animal Chiropractic care, Veterinary Acupuncture and other alternative modalities. Dr Cathy treats 80% of what walks in the door – not with expensive prescriptions – but with adequate nutrition. She is owner/veterinarian of Healthy PAWsibilities (formerly Hoofstock Veterinary Services) in rural Pine Village, IN. HealthyPawsibilities.com

• Damp and dirty stall or paddock conditions can cause fungus to abide in the crevices and cracks of the sole and wall of the hoof, providing pathways for bacteria into the inner hoof. Of these, I believe, fungal damage can be the worst. My opinion may be weighted by the times as a working farrier that I witnessed the cavities, just inside the white line, I would need to exfoliate with a modified hoof knife before applying a fungicide. I have found that the best way to combat this situation is with good nutrition. When a horse receives the benefit of a good chlorophyll-based diet such as permanent pasture or one of the other organically grown green foods now on the market, cavities fill, over time, with a clear plastic-like material. Providing healthy hoof material at the distal zone through good nutrition is the best defense against fungal damage. Wayne Blevins was a working farrier, breeder, trainer, and all around horseman for over 30 years. In the last ten years as a full-time working farrier, Wayne documented the results of feeding E3 AFA FOR HORSES to horses with poor hoof conditions. He now lives in Placerville, California with his wife Jeannie, working to make THE PERFECT HORSE® well known among horsemen. ThePerfectHorse.net

Equine Wellness



enjoya Grooming is about much more than presentation. Here’s how to keep your horse looking great and enrich your relationship… naturally.


By Linda Parelli

ome horses hate grooming. They can’t stand still, and will try to nip, bite, kick, flinch, swish their tails and toss their heads. Others tolerate it by just tuning out and resigning themselves to the process. Then there are the horses that absolutely love it. Having a horse that looks forward to grooming is often a true testament to the quality of your relationship…and if your horse doesn’t fit into this category, grooming is a great way to build this relationship. In this article, we’re going to look at how you can have a nicely groomed horse with a neat mane and tail, shiny coat and clean edges (ears, chin and fetlocks) – and how to achieve that goal as naturally as possible and with your horse’s best interests in mind. You can have your horse looking great while enhancing your relationship and solving behavioral problems – all at the same time.


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able SHINY COAT Shine comes from the inside. It’s a reflection of good health and is attained mainly through good nutrition. Grooming massages the skin and improves circulation, but if your horse’s coat is dull, dry and frizzy, this usually means his health is compromised. He may be missing something in his diet or be emotionally stressed. Apart from making sure our own horses enjoy a happy life, we take care of their nutritional needs with elements such as flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil), Parelli Vitals (liquid minerals) and Parelli Essentials (for optimum digestive health) sprinkled on top of a simple grain, bran and sunflower seed mix, good grass and alfalfa hay. This ensures the horses shine from the inside. Equine Wellness


Every day, we brush our horses and we do it with love, putting our hearts into every stroke – not just mechanically taking the dirt off. Horses can feel the difference, and sometimes horses who dislike being groomed will respond much better when you soften your touch (for introverted horses), speed up (for extroverts), or find their favorite itchy spot (left-brained horses).

groomed appearance. (There are also special combs you can use, so instead of pulling the hairs out after back-combing, you can simply press a lever and the comb cuts the hairs). Sure, you’ll make mistakes – I certainly have – so go for a longer length first, or once you’ve corrected the mistakes, it will be too short!

Tail – To help the tail look a little fuller and smarter (like a Washing – We rarely use more than water to wash the sweat off our horses, since keeping the natural oils intact is important protection against the elements and insects. In fact, many horses roll in the dirt right after bathing to restore some kind of skin protection, and light-colored horses seem to need dark dirt! When we do use shampoos, we select those that are moisturizing and feature natural ingredients, and even then, we only shampoo when filming or for a show. Mostly we just rinse with water or wipe over the coat with a damp rag and sometimes a little oil.

good haircut), I trim the ends somewhere between the fetlock and the hocks. I go shorter for a sporty look, longer for a more elegant look. Again, I use thinning shears to snip back and forth on diagonal angles until I get the length I want. This way the cut has soft edges. If the top of the tail has been rubbed or has short, in-growing hairs, I thin that area out a little so it doesn’t look so bushy as it grows out.

Moisturizing – When the climate is especially dry, we gently rub a little oil around the eyes and muzzle to lubricate and soften the skin in these delicate areas. Natural oils like flaxseed, coconut or olive oil are best. First rub the oil on your hands and then smooth it on, or add it to a damp cloth. Not too much, though – you don’t want your horse greasy.

A BEAUTIFUL MANE AND TAIL Some horses have big, full manes and tails, while others don’t – a lot like people, really! Taking good care of them is part of keeping the hair soft and supple. Once again, good hair health depends on the same elements as a good coat, so first make sure your horse is getting the nutrition he needs, and then use natural shampoos, conditioners and de-tanglers to avoid breakage. Always brush carefully, just like girls with long hair do! Mane and tail length is usually a personal preference or a breed/ sport style. The style for some sports and breeds is long, while for others it’s short. Some people like long, natural manes and tails, no matter what, while others prefer a certain style of grooming – not too short, not too long. Here’s how I trim the manes and tails on my warmblood horses:

Mane – I like a groomed and trimmed mane with a soft edge, rather than a blunt, clipped, straight edge. But I don’t like the traditional approach of “pulling” manes. This involves backcombing and then pulling hairs out, which hurts or stings to some extent. To achieve this look without discomfort, I use thinning shears (scissors with teeth) and cut diagonally into the mane, both ways, sometimes going deeper into thicker areas to produce a more unified look. I end up with a somewhat natural line that is not too long and not too short but has a well18

Equine Wellness

To get the look of a tidy mane without pulling it, try using thinning shears.

FANCY FEET Shiny hooves are a reflection of good health, just like the mane and coat – or our fingernails, for that matter. If you see dryness, flakes, cracks and ridges, you need to look at how to help your horse’s health and nutrition. We only use hoof dressing when the weather is particularly dry; otherwise, we leave them alone. Putting too much moisture on the hoof can make it soft when it needs to stay tough and strong. When we use nutritive oils, we rub them into the coronet band rather than the hoof itself.

THE FINAL TOUCH Groom with love! I’ve seen so many people brush, comb, trim, wash and scrub as if they were working on a dirty wall. Grooming your horse is an intimate thing; this is a living, feeling, breathing and sensitive being. Approach grooming as if brushing a child’s hair. Use “feel”, and do it with care and love, even if you are in a hurry. Your grooming sessions can


Photo cour

tesy of Co

co Baptist.

Muzzle The long hairs around a horse’s muzzle are important for sensing proximity and preventing him from bumping into things. They give him the sensitivity and discriminating feel he needs when grazing, nuzzling, and exploring. For this reason, we do not believe in shaving the muzzle or trimming it in any way. We leave our horses fully whiskered!

Ears Fuzzy ears can be really cute, and on some horses we leave them exactly as they are. Our miniature horses, Barnum and Bailey, always sported this look. When wanting a sleeker look, we trim off just the fuzzy bits and leave the protective hairs inside the ear. These hairs help prevent dirt and insects from getting into the delicate inner ear area, so we never shave them. To trim excess hairs, we gently close the ear in half (like a taco) and sweep the outer edges with the clippers to produce a clear outline and finish.

Fetlocks Some horses have beautiful, long hairs around their fetlocks, called feathers. They are a distinctive part of many breeds, such as drafts and Friesians. Many crossbreeds have feathers too, and many people love this look and want to keep it. But if you want your horse to have a more defined leg and ankle, here is how we do it. Hold the foot up by the fetlock, allowing the hoof to relax so you can trim off those extra bits of fluff. We make sure some protective hair remains, so we don’t go too short. Trim delicately and conservatively, and leave a little hair around the ergot if your horse is turned out in winter, as this helps water drain off the leg. If your horse lives in snow or very wet conditions, don’t trim the leg hair at all. It’s his natural protection. either enhance or damage the relationship you have with your horse. Think of it as a way to improve your relationship with your horse, to spend undemanding time with him instead of just getting him ready for what you want to do. Think of it this way: what would make your horse look forward to grooming time? Continued on page 20.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 19.

IF HE HATES TO BE GROOMED… Horses hate being groomed for one of three reasons: fear, dominance, or because you’re doing it wrong!

1. Fear – Some horses are afraid to be touched; they find it invasive and uncomfortable. If you are trying to be gentle but still have trouble, this can be an indication that your horse doesn’t fully trust you. Watch facial expressions for positive signs of enjoyment, such as soft eyes, head tilting and lip stretching when you find that itchy spot. Some horses will even maneuver themselves into position to give you better access to that spot! Watch too for negative signs such as twitching skin, lifting head, ears going back or a swishing tail, which means “back off or else!” Use our Friendly Game principle of “approach and retreat” to gain acceptance and figure out how to make grooming into something your horse enjoys. When it comes to fear of things like clippers, you need to apply some serious attention and preparation to build your horse’s confidence. Refer to our member DVDs and articles, or even help from a Parelli Professional, for more information.

2. Dominance – In a herd of horses, the dominant animal initiates grooming… it’s all about who touches who. If you have a left-brained horse that objects to grooming, it’s most likely because he thinks he is the boss. Rather than resorting to cross-ties, this is your chance to figure out how to improve your relationship and gain the alpha position. It might mean you have to play with your horse first to get him in the mood to be groomed, or that you need to find that itchy spot under his belly, his thighs, tail, or on top of his mane near his withers – the parts he cannot reach to scratch himself.

With this knowledge, you can make your grooming sessions much more fulfilling and take your relationship and fun with your horses to a whole new level. Who knew that grooming could be this valuable?

Shine comes from the inside. It’s a reflection of good health and is attained mainly through good nutrition.

3. You’re doing it wrong! Some horses hate grooming because it is too scary, too soft, too hard, too boring or annoying. Knowing what Horsenality™ the horse is will give you major clues as to how to make your grooming sessions less stressful and build you relationship:

Left-brain extrovert

Right-brain extrovert

Grooming is all about fun and should be vigorous!

Grooming needs to be firm, yet rhythmic and soothing.

Left-brain introvert

Right-brain introvert

Grooming is all about enjoyment and itchy spots!

Grooming needs to be gentle and sensitive.

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Equine Wellness


Linda Parelli was first introduced to Parelli Natural Horsemanship over 20 years ago in a tack shop in her home country of Australia. Brought up as an English rider, Linda had encountered many challenges in her training that could not be fixed by traditional training methods, and was in search of a solution to her problems. Lo and behold, as Linda was walking through that tack shop, she saw a film of Pat Parelli doing a slide stop, bareback and bridleless, on his horse Salty Dog. She was fascinated, and soon after, took part in a local clinic with Pat. Fast forward a few years, and Linda had moved to the United States with Pat to share natural horsemanship with the masses. She now specializes in horse behavior psychology and dressage, while appearing at clinics, tour stops, seminars, expos and forums worldwide. Parelli.com

Equine Wellness


MUSTANG By Kelly Howling

Showcasing the versatility and trainability of America’s wild horses through competitive training events.


any of us are aware of the challenges and controversies facing America’s wild horses. With the wild horse population ever increasing, the Bureau of Land Management has tried various ways to manage the herds, including contraception techniques and adoption events.

THE EXTREME MUSTANG MAKEOVER Founded in 2001, the Mustang Heritage Foundation works to promote the adoption of wild horses and burros from the Bureau of Land Management’s holding facilities. One of the ways this is done is through events such as the Extreme Mustang Makeover and Mustang Million. “The Extreme Mustang Makeover was created in 2007 as part of the Mustang Heritage Foundation to show the trainability and versatility of the American Mustang,” says the foundation’s marketing director, Kyla Hogan. “It was also designed to place gentled Mustangs into adoptive homes that might not have the time or knowledge to have a wild, untouched horse.” 22

Equine Wellness

A BIT OF HISTORY The Extreme Mustang Makeover has been rapidly gaining attention and participation since its inception. “The first EMM was held in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2007 with the idea of 100 trainers, 100 Mustangs, 100 days,” explains Kyla. “Selected trainers were assigned a wild horse and given just over 100 days to gentle and train the horse for competition. After the event, the horses were available for adoption by the public. The Mustang Heritage Foundation has now produced events in over 15 states and is adding Idaho, Alabama and Pennsylvania to the list this year.” Six to ten Extreme Mustang Makeovers are held nationally each year. Each event will have 30 to 50 competitors, on average. A larger event is held each fall in Fort Worth.

100 DAYS TO COMPETITION Within the 100 days, the selected trainers aim to develop a trusting relationship with their Mustangs, to get them to the point where they are comfortable being handled and ridden. To compete in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, horse and rider must first go

Photo courtesy of Larry Williams Photography.


through a preliminary class involving obstacles and patterns. From here, the highest placing horse and rider teams advance to the finals. The finals are a freestyle event – horse and rider have four minutes to showcase what they have been working on. These horses are able to do things that domestic horses with years of training often can’t – riding without any tack, roping, jumping, and handling frightening objects/situations. “Mustangs for the events are supplied through a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program,” says Kyla. “The horses used are in BLM holding facilities waiting for adoptive homes. They are generally randomly assigned to trainers. However, we do have events in which the trainers select a horse they wish to compete with and adopt the horse up front. You do not have to be a professional trainer; however, we do review training references from people who are familiar with the prospective trainer’s horse experience. There are also facility guidelines that must be met before a trainer can house a wild horse.

GIVING THEM A GOOD HOME “At most Extreme Mustang Makeovers, the competing horses are available to the public for adoption through competitive bid,” says Kyla. “Prospective adopters do have to be approved by the BLM before taking a Mustang home. The Mustang Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization and the funds from the adoption auction go back to producing other EMM events.”

Since 2007, the Mustang Heritage Foundation has placed more than 5,000 Mustangs into adoptive homes through its training and gentling programs.

REFORMING THE WILD HORSE’S REPUTATION Watching the Mustangs compete at the Extreme Mustang Makeover, it is often hard to believe that just over three months ago these horses were wild and unhandled. It really speaks to the trainability and spirit of these horses, and goes a long way to reforming people’s opinions on whether or not Mustangs can make good riding horses, for pleasure or competition. “I’m continually amazed at what trainers are able to accomplish with horses that were virtually untouched before the event began,” says Kyla. “The transformation continues to be an inspiration for the trainers, adopters and all who are involved. We would like to think we are taking away some of the negative stigma that surrounds these horses. They are very willing, intelligent, versatile equine partners that can transition into a number of disciplines when given the opportunity.” For more information, visit mustangheritagefoundation.org or extrememustangmakeover.com.

Equine Wellness


The attraction of

magnetic therapy By Brittany Cameron, REMT

This alternative therapy has been around for over 2,000 years, and can offer enhanced healing benefits for your horse.


Equine Wellness

Type “magnetic therapy” into a search engine, and you’ll find many articles and studies telling you about the vast benefits of magnets for rehabilitation and healing. You’ll find just as many articles stating how and why magnetic therapy doesn’t work, while others will claim there isn’t enough information in the form of formal studies and experimental evidence to say whether it works or not. The studies that have been done have caused much discord among scientists, doctors, and veterinarians in recent years, with many practical arguments both for and against it. It is theorized that the body’s tissues may be affected in a number of different ways by the application of an accurate level of electrical current. Whether you believe it works or not, magnetic therapy is a technique that has been around for more than 2,000 years, and is setting a stage for itself as a viable, non-invasive, alternative therapy for use in equine injury rehabilitation.

PROPOSED BENEFITS The benefits of magnetic therapy range greatly depending on the size, strength, and application of the magnetic field being used. Magnetic therapy is said to aid in the healing of many conditions such as: •S oft tissue injuries (tendonitis, bowed tendons, chronic tension, muscular strains, sprains and general stiffness, bruising) • Bone conditions (fracture, arthritis, bucked shins) • Circulatory problems •H oof conditions (navicular, laminitis, stone bruises, poor hoof growth)

HOW IT WORKS Basically, it is said that magnets promote healing by helping to maintain an electrical homeostasis within the body, as well as increasing circulation to damaged tissues. We are all electrically charged. Horses and humans are almost physiologically identical in the way our cells function. Blood is the delivery system that carries nutrients and oxygen to our living tissues. This includes the transportation of ions such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium, which are a few of the key electrolytes responsible for proper cell function and metabolism. These ions carry a positive or negative charge. Every cell in our bodies maintains a “resting electrical potential”, which is regulated by the cell’s membrane. When a cell suffers a trauma due to injury or disease, the membrane’s functionality is altered. The resting potential of that cell may spike, while a cell affected by a long-standing injury will have a very low resting potential.

Horses and humans are almost physiologically identical in the way our cells function. Blood is the delivery system that carries nutrients and oxygen to our living tissues. This is where magnetic therapy comes in. Magnetic therapy is believed to positively affect ion exchange and regulation within the cell, aiding in the cell’s ability to return to a normal resting potential and assisting in its rehabilitation. Magnets also affect Equine Wellness


the blood, which contains many electrically charged particles. The magnet causes blood vessels to dilate, allowing even more blood to flow to the area. This increase in circulation allows for more oxygen and nutrient exchange in the tissues, and the removal of metabolic by-products to encourage healing.

they’ll push away from each other. That is the magnetic field. One side of the magnet will be positive, the other side negative. When blood flows past the magnet, charged atoms are moved either towards or away from the magnets, depending on whether the field is positive or negative. This causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing circulation to the injured area.

Magnetic therapy is generally considered safe, but there are a few things to consider before going ahead and trying it on your horse. Beware of any implants that would be affected by magnets, such as microchips or surgical screws. Caution should also be taken if your horse has a condition with active bleeding, hematoma, an acute viral disease, a neurological disease such as Wobblers Syndrome, or any tumors. Talk to your veterinarian before making any decisions regarding injury rehabilitation and the use of magnetic therapy.

It is said that magnets promote healing by helping to maintain an electrical homeostasis within the body, as well as increasing circulation to damaged tissues.

WHICH TYPE IS BEST? There are two main types of equine magnetic therapy systems: 1. Static Bipolar Magnets Bipolar magnet treatment is the type offered in magnetic therapy boots, leg wraps, and blankets. Small magnets are incorporated into the product and set so that the magnetic field of each magnet is the opposite of the ones next to it. Visualize forcing the opposing ends of a magnet together; let go, and


Equine Wellness

Photo courtesy of HealFast Therapy. HealFastTherapy.com


PEMF systems tend to be able to penetrate the tissue at a deeper level than static bipolar magnets.

2. Pulsating Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Systems Pulsating Electromagnetic Field Systems use battery power to send a current into an applicator, which may come in the form of a pad, boots, wraps, or sheets. The applicator houses a coil of wire that carries and distributes the electromagnetic current to the area being treated. By rapidly turning the current on and off, we are able to achieve the same basic effects as static bipolar magnets. The most significant difference is that PEMF systems tend to be stronger, which makes them capable of greater tissue penetration. As well, the operator has the ability to control the strength of the magnetic field, the frequency of the pulse, and the duration of the treatment. It is recognized that this type of system achieves the greatest results.


In my massage therapy practice, I have used magnetic therapy with varying degrees of success. Several alternative options that provide similar effects on the circulation are worth considering when deciding which product would best suit you and your horse. • Back on Track products utilize fabric infused with ceramic fibres to generate an infrared heat. It has been found to be extremely beneficial in reducing inflammation and chronic tension. • Sore No-More is an arnica and witch hazel based herbal liniment that acts as a cooling agent. It can be used with great success for conditions involving inflammation, strains, back pain, arthritis and more. It can also be used in conjunction with magnetic or ceramic therapy products, as a bath brace, under bandages and tack, and as a massage liniment before and after exercise. I find these products fantastic for use between massage therapy treatments, to help preserve the effects of the treatment and accelerate the horse’s recovery time.



Supplements can provide your horse with the essential Omega-3s he needs. By Kelly Nunn


orses need Omega-3 fatty acids. Cell membranes contain these important nutrients, including EPA and DHA, which are required to promote optimal body functioning and decreased inflammation. Omega-3s are termed essential because the horse’s body is unable to make them, so they must be provided in the diet. Diet adequately provides sufficient Omega-3s when horses graze at their leisure in healthy grass fields. Unfortunately, horses are frequently housed in barns for extended periods, have more limited grazing time, and are often fed grains in lieu of grass. Grains supply the body with Omega-6 fatty acids that can increase inflammation and promote disease when consumed in excess. Supplementing a horse’s diet with Omega-3s helps to restore a healthy Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio. Plant-based Omega-3s can be converted into the physiologically relevant EPA and DHA within the horse’s body, but this process is inefficient. Fish oil, on the other hand, is a direct source of concentrated EPA and DHA in the natural triglyceride form.

Numerous companies are now developing magnetic therapy products for use in equine injury prevention and rehabilitation. There is no clear scientific data to determine which magnetic design or strength provides the most prominent results. In fact, magnetic therapy remains such a controversial issue among scientists that it really is best to do your own research and talk to your veterinarian about the options available to you. Massage therapy, equine chiropractic and acupuncture are other practices that have proven extremely effective in injury prevention and rehabilitation. In any situation where you are considering alternative at-home treatment modalities for your horse, discuss the options with your veterinarian.

High quality fish oils should be third party tested for contaminants and toxins like lead and mercury, and these results should be readily available in an easily accessible format. Finally, high quality oils do not have an overwhelming fish smell or taste, which makes supplementation a palatable experience. Kelly Nunn is an Animal Health Specialist who works with Ascenta. She enjoys sharing her knowledge about Omega-3s and the amazing benefits they have on all species. Ascenta is an industry leader in Omega-3s for horses, dogs, cats, and people. AscentaAnimalHealth.com

Brittany Cameron is a lifelong horse enthusiast and rider who turned her passion and love of horses into a career through equine massage therapy. With a solid foundation of training through the D’arcy Lane School of Equine Massage Therapy, Brittany was able to achieve acceptance into the International Federation of Registered Equine Massage Therapists in 2012. She is based in Truro, Nova Scotia, and provides service to clients throughout the Canadian Maritime provinces. 902-957-1667, CameronEquineMassage.com

Equine Wellness


OPTIMIZING his digestion


Your horse can eat the best diet possible, but if his digestion is faulty, it won’t do him a lot of good. Digestion is the process of breaking down the carbohydrates, fiber, fat and protein in foods into their basic structural units so they can be absorbed. Horses evolved to process high fiber grasses and to browse, not to eat grains or other concentrated feeds. To process the latter successfully requires a well-coordinated interplay involving the horse’s own digestive enzymes and the microbes living in the intestinal tract.

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES Horses digest their food using both the digestive enzymes their bodies produce, and the organisms in their intestinal tracts that break down the food. The digestion of sugars, starch and other complex plant carbohydrates actually starts in the upper portion of the stomach where bacteria (Lactobacilli) begin the process. In the small intestine, both bacteria and digestive enzymes continue this process. Digestive enzymes from the pancreas are responsible for breaking down dietary fats into fatty acids; proteins to amino acids; starches to glucose; and simple disaccharides (two sugars bonded together) into their monosaccharide form. This has to occur before your horse’s food can be absorbed. The microorganisms in Continued on page 30. 28

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 28.

his large intestine also ferment the remaining forms of complex plant carbohydrate/fiber into ultra short chain fatty acids that are absorbed and used as nutrients. The absorption of amino acids, sugars and fats can only occur in the small intestine, the upper portion of the horse’s digestive tract. Food is broken down into a simpler form by a digestive enzyme from the stomach, along with several others in the small intestine. Since the food only remains in the stomach and small intestine for a total of about six hours, it’s important that the digestive enzymes are operating efficiently. Cellulase, hemicellulase, phytase, betaglucanase and pectinase are enzymes that break down the fiber fractions of the diet. These are normally produced by the bacteria and protozoa in the cecum and colon. They can benefit horses with poor populations of microorganisms, and complement the use of pre or probiotics in those horses.

INGREDIENTS IN DIGESTIVE SUPPLEMENTS Digestive supplements may contain one or more pure isolated digestive enzymes. These enzymes have specific activities in the digestion of starch/sugars, fiber, protein or fat. Feeding these purified enzymes decreases the work that the horse’s own pancreatic enzymes and microorganisms have to do. Probiotics are live organisms, bacteria or fungi. An important group is the lactic acid producers, which include Lactobacilli, Enterococci and Bifidobacteria. Lactic acid bacteria colonize the stomach and upper portion of the digestive tract (the small intestine) where they assist the horse’s pancreatic enzymes in breaking down starch and sugars. These organisms ferment them to lactic acid. After being absorbed, the lactic acid can be metabolized or converted into glucose inside the horse’s body. It’s important that the digestion of starch and sugars in the small intestine be as complete as possible. If too much makes its way back to the cecum and large intestine, high levels of lactic acid can cause a drop in pH. This interferes with fiber fermentation, and gives possible symptoms of bloating, diarrhea or excess fluid passed along with formed manure. If severe enough, the intestinal lining can be damaged. Other organisms assist in maintaining the normal pH of the hind gut, including Propionibacteria, and the yeasts Aspergillus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This in turn improves the fermentation of fiber fractions in the hind gut. Keeping the various populations of organisms in a healthy balance also decreases the risk of harmful organism overgrowth by gently stimulating the immune system and secreting antimicrobial substances. 30

Equine Wellness

supplementation WHEN ENZYME CAN HELP

• The horse has trouble holding weight, even if on a probiotic. Older horses with no obvious dental issues may experience inefficient chewing caused by changes in the angle of their chewing surface related to wear and dental work. In other species, digestive efficiency and enzyme levels can also decline with age, and the same may be true for the horse. • The horse is recovering from pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is rarely diagnosed because pancreatic enzymes are not included on routine chemistry screens. However, it does happen, both as a primary problem and as related to inflammation or ulceration in the small intestine. Since the pancreas is the organ that secretes digestive enzymes, supplementation during the recovery phase may be helpful. • The horse has had surgery that removes a section of small intestine. This decreases the time food spends in the small intestine, and also the surface area available for absorption. Increasing the enzyme activity can help speed food breakdown so more nutrients are absorbed. • The horse requires grain to hold his weight but has problems with bloating and soft manure when fed grain. These symptoms indicate that starch/sugars (or to a lesser extent, protein or fat) are not being well digested and absorbed in the small intestine. • The horse struggles to maintain normal weight despite a high intake of food, though he is otherwise healthy. • The horse needs help adapting to a new diet. Fermentation products are solids extracted from the fluid cultures of various organisms. Substances secreted by the organisms include their fermentation by-products, antimicrobial substances, and growth factors. Fermentation products are also rich sources of digestive enzymes and metabolic intermediates that are of use to the organisms. Because of the complexity of the digestive process and the horse’s limited ability to handle starch, problems related to digestive upset are common. Supporting this process with a combination of digestive enzymes, beneficial probiotics and microbial fermentation products can maximize his digestive efficiency. Eleanor Kellon, VMD, currently serves as the Staff Veterinary Specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition. An established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, Dr. Kellon is a valuable resource in the field of applications and nutraceuticals in horses. She formerly served as Veterinary Editor for Horse Journal and John Lyons Perfect Horse and is the owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions, a thriving private practice. A prolific writer, Dr. Kellon is the author of many best-selling books on a variety of medical and nutritional topics and has contributed to both lay and professional publications. Founded in 1962, Uckele Health & Nutrition has been a trusted leader in the formulation, development and manufacture of quality nutritional supplements for 50 years. With leading edge experience in nutritional research and science, the Uckele team manufactures quality formulas from concept to shelf, formulating a vast array of high potency, balanced nutritional supplements to support optimal health and performance at the highest level.



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Equine Wellness


How to apply Centered Riding techniques in jumping. By Susan E. Harris 32

Equine Wellness


or some riders, jumping can be a thrill, a challenge, a sport or competition, or simply fun. Rider and horse must work together in balance and harmony. The four essential elements of riding are especially important in jumping:

1. A safe, secure and independent seat. 2. Clear and effective control and use of aids. 3. Non-abusive riding (the rider doesn’t inadvertently cause the horse pain, stress or confusion, or interfere with the horse’s jumping efforts). 4. Horse and rider are united in balance.

GETTING STARTED Jumping is reflexive, so it’s important to put the right elements into your techniques. It’s much easier to acquire the right habits from the beginning than to break a bad habit or change a poor technique. Centered Riding helps accomplish these goals through body awareness, mental imagery, functional anatomy, and better use of the body, which can improve balance, security, suppleness and confidence. The fundamentals of Centered Riding include Sally Swift’s Four Basics (Balance, Soft Eyes, Breathing, Centering), plus Grounding and Clear Intent. We’ll explain some ways to apply each of these to your jumping.


FOR CENTERED JUMPING Jumping Sequence – The rider’s body flexes, bends and remains in balance throughout the phases of the jump: approach, takeoff, flight, landing and recovery.

Balance Balance has two meanings: the horse must be in balance to jump, and the rider must be in balance “with” the horse – neither ahead of nor behind the horse. If your horse is out of balance, ride a circle and help him re-balance before approaching the jump. The steadier and more consistent the horse’s gait, speed and rhythm, the easier it is to stay in balance with him. Check your own balance with a moment of two-point position – if you can maintain position without gripping with your knees, tipping forward or falling back in the saddle, or catching your balance on the reins (the worst sin of all!), you are “with” your horse. One way of checking your Equine Wellness


balance on the ground is to hop down from a low step, like a mounting block – you will have to land in balance and absorb the shock of landing in your springy joints. When jumping, it helps to think “land on your feet”.

Eyes “Soft eyes” while focused on a target allow wide-angle vision, relaxation and increased body awareness.

Before every jump, you must select a focal point or “target” in line with the center of the obstacle and at your eye level, and keep your eyes on it. Your eyes balance your head, and your head balances your body. Looking down or shifting your eyes when jumping cause changes of balance that can disturb your horse, as well as put your balance at risk. Many riders accomplish this with “hard eyes”, or over-focused eyes that squint, stare or glare. “Soft eyes” are relaxed, open, and see a large circle around the focal point; this allows your body to relax and improves your body awareness and ability to feel your horse’s rhythm, stride, balance and pace. When you are able to approach a jump keeping “soft eyes” on a focal point, you’ll find it easier to “see a distance” or know when your horse is about to take off.


breathing and breathe high and tight in the chest, or even hold our breath. Horses respond to a rider’s breathing (or lack of it). Tense, tight breathing or holding the breath causes nervousness and tension, while breathing quietly and deeply helps the horse relax. Breathing deeply and in a natural, regular rhythm can help the rider remain calm and supple during the approach to a jump. Exhaling as the horse takes off releases tension in the joints, especially the hip, making it easier for the rider to fold into jumping position and use the ankles, knees and hip joints as springs to absorb the thrust of takeoff and the bounce of landing. To train your body to associate breathing with jumping, exhale as if you were blowing out a candle as your horse steps over a ground pole or takes off at a jump. Counting, singing, humming or chanting in rhythm with your horse’s strides helps you find a rhythm for your breathing, and makes sure that you can’t hold your breath.

Centering Your “center” is your center of balance, movement and control, located in your body behind and below the navel. You first need to learn to find your center while sitting upright, breathing out to allow the center to drop and find your best internal balance. Then, leaving the center down deep in the body, fold at the hip joints as if you were Leaving the center down and back wearing a seat belt across helps the rider remain in balance your hips. This keeps your while folding into center over your feet and jumping position. your body balanced over the saddle, instead of standing up too far forward or leaning on the horse’s neck. Keep your center balanced over the center of the horse, especially in turns – this helps him keep his balance. Continued on page 36.

“Blowing out a candle” helps the rider remember to exhale on takeoff.

Everyone breathes, but when we’re excited, fearful, under stress, or trying hard to be perfect, we tend to inhibit our 34

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It’s much easier to acquire the right habits from the beginning than to break a bad habit or change a poor technique.

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Continued from page 34.

Grounding “Grounding” means increasing awareness of your feet and balance, as if you were standing on the ground. The human reflex point for balancing on our feet, walking, running, jumping, and using our joints as springs, is located just behind the ball of the foot. This is also The reflex point of the foot, the natural balance located behind the ball of the foot and supported by the stirrup. point of the foot. If this spot is tapped, it feels different from the rest of the foot. If you locate this spot (its location varies slightly in riders) and place your stirrup so that some part of the stirrup tread supports it, it activates your natural balance and use of your joints. Have someone slap upward against the stirrup tread; if you feel the reflex point, your stirrups are correctly placed. This can help you keep your feet under your center, and allow your heels to relax and sink into position. “Jamming” the ankles to get an extreme “heels down” position blocks the reflex point, pushes the feet forward out of balance, and robs you of your essential springs.

Clear intent “Clear intent” means making a clear decision, especially about direction. If you choose a target (in line with the jump) and decide, “Horse, we are going there,” your eyes, your balance, your aids and above all, your attitude tell him clearly where he’s to go. This is not being bossy or overbearing, just calm and clear. (Have you ever seen a situation in which the horse’s intent was clearer than the rider’s? Uh-oh!) Horses prefer a rider with clear intent; such a rider gives them good leadership and makes them feel safe, and is easier to understand than a rider


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In jumping, the rider’s body must be balanced over the feet, and the “springs” of the joints take up the thrust, shock and movement of the jump.

There are many other ways to apply Centered Riding techniques, especially in understanding horse and rider anatomy, biomechanics, how your mind affects your body, and how your mind and body affect your horse.

who is fearful, wishy-washy, or changes her mind. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do need to make a clear decision and follow through. There are many other ways to apply Centered Riding techniques, especially in understanding horse and rider anatomy, biomechanics, how your mind affects your body, and how your mind and body affect your horse. For more information or to find a Centered Riding instructor or clinic, or for Sally Swift’s books and DVDs on Centered Riding, visit Centeredriding.org or Anatomyinmotion.com. Happy riding, and jump with joy!

BEFORE YOU JUMP Prerequisites for a safe, positive experience for you and your horse. • An experienced jumping instructor is strongly recommended. • You should be secure, confident, able to ride in balance at a walk, trot and canter, and to ride in a balanced two-point or jumping position. • You’ll need a horse that’s quiet and experienced in jumping. • You’ll need a jumping saddle, an ASTM-approved helmet and safe footwear. • It’s a good idea to protect your horse’s legs with bell boots and/ or protective boots or polo wraps. • Jump equipment (poles, standards, etc.) must be safe and properly set up (see the US Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship/ Book 1 for more information). • Always check the girth and tack before jumping, and make sure your stirrups are adjusted to proper jumping length. As a general rule, the stirrup tread should touch the top of your ankle bone when you sit in the saddle with your feet out of the stirrups and your legs hanging down.

[All illustrations by Susan E. Harris; ©Susan E. Harris 2014. All rights reserved.]

Susan E. Harris is an international Centered Riding clinician, who teaches Centered Riding, Centered Jumping, Anatomy in Motion /the Visible Horse and equine biomechanics to riders, trainers and instructors around the world. She was one of Sally Swift’s original Centered Riding apprentices, and wrote the Centered Jumping chapter in Sally Swift’s book, Centered Riding II: Further Exploration. Visit her website at Anatomyinmotion.com.

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Training cycles Don’t get stuck in a rut! Understanding training cycles keeps both you and your horse progressing.


olt starting has always been one of my favorite activities. Young horses, like puppies and kids, look at the world with wide-eyed wonder. They take nothing

for granted. They help you remember what it was like to be a child, to see everything as new and exciting. Young horses don’t yet know how they fit into the world. They have not learned how to mask their responses, so they’re easy to read. Their responses are an exaggerated version of what a more experienced horse might do. A wide-eyed colt unloading from a trailer may jump like he is clearing an oxer, or may step cautiously, one foot at a time. Both are exaggerated responses that give you a good idea how the colt is feeling.

MEASURING PROGRESS Another thing I love about colt starting is that the progress is so much more tangible and easily measured than with later, more refined training. One moment the colt has never been haltered, and then he has. One moment he has never been bridled, and the next he chews away at the bit in his mouth. When the cinch has been tightened for the first time, when you take that first step into the stirrup – each is a marker along the way to getting the colt started. When a day’s work is done, you know what you’ve accomplished. 38

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By Stacy Westfall

I think it is these very tangible steps that people find attractive, but you should have planned steps in place for every horse that you ride. Whether you’re colt starting or riding the older horse, your training program should have a plan.

PLAN YOUR RIDE What are your goals? Are you heading out on the trail, planning for a weekend of riding, or preparing for a show? Your schedule needs to take into consideration your plans for the year, your horse’s current fitness level, and your availability to ride (how often you can ride each week). Once these questions are answered, you can begin to form a plan. Your training schedule is going to change depending on whether your horse is just being started, or if you are preparing for an extended trail ride over a weekend, or a competition. The thing I want you to get out of this article is that no matter what your goal, there is still a cycle to the training.

BREAKING DOWN THE TRAINING CYCLE Consider the training schedule for one of my older horses, Popcorn. Each workout consists of cycles – a warm-up period, stressing (working) muscles, rest/recovery, and a cooling down phase. These are the components of each workout routine. If I’m planning a long routine, the stress and rest periods will repeat multiple times.

For example, I would warm up with a walk and jog and by doing some bending exercises and moving Popcorn’s hips. Next, I would lope some circles, working on steering and speed control – the first stress cycle of the routine. Then we would stand and walk to cool out. Then I might work on Popcorn’s spins – the second stress cycle, followed by cooling down. Popcorn is in shape and I use him during my clinics as well as in my demonstrations. He needs multiple stress cycles in his workout routines. The routine for a young or out-of-shape horse will often have fewer stress cycles, such as groundwork (cycle 1) followed by light to moderate riding (cycle 2).

OVERALL TRAINING PLANS The concept of cycles applies not only to individual workouts, but also to overall training plans over weeks and months. For example, for a weekly plan, Monday may be an easier day than Tuesday or Wednesday. Thursday may be the peak of the week, and Friday will be easier – similar to Monday or Tuesday. The weekend can be used as recovery time, for the body to rest and rebuild. On an even bigger scale, looking at a month or several months, the training should have cycles in which week one is easier than weeks two, three and four. By week five, you might be heading back down the scale.

Having a plan, and planning with cycles in mind, will ensure you have an aim each time you work your horse. Even if you only ride three times a week, you should use a training cycle.

Mix it up

You might be asking, “How do training cycles apply to me?” Well let me ask you a question – has your training flat-lined? Is your routine the same every day? Consistency is good, but we need to remember to challenge our horses, both physically and mentally. My husband Jesse often says horses are like kids – if you don’t keep them busy, they will keep you busy. And that may mean doing something like bucking or generally giving you a hard time. A horse that is ridden several times a week, with a routine that never changes, will often become more difficult because he has reached a plateau of fitness and is not being challenged either physically or mentally. Stacy Westfall is one of the most popular and sought-after clinicians in the horse industry. She developed her natural horsemanship techniques through years of training horses for reining competition. Stacy is an AQHA and NRHA Freestyle Reining Champion who impressed the horse world twice by winning while riding both bridleless and bareback. Her famous Freestyle Championship ride, seen by millions on the Internet, led to an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In addition to her accomplishments within the reining arena, Stacy is the only woman to win the Road to the Horse colt starting competition. In 2012, she was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas. With her husband, Jesse, she presents clinics at venues worldwide to inspire and teach people how to build better relationships with their horses. WestfallHorsemanship.com

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RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators

• Chiropractors • Integrative Therapies • Resource Directory

• Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training

• Thermography • Yoga

AS SO C I AT I O N S American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Carolyn Myre Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Equinextion - EQ Lisa Huhn Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: equinextion@gmail.com Equine Science Academy - ESA Derry McCormick Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Liberated Horsemanship - CHCP Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Email: BruceNock@mac.com Natures Barefoot Hoofcare Guild Inc. NBHG Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Email: kate@natureshoofcare.com Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Sossity Gargiulo Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com


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Anne Riddell - AHA Anne Riddell, Certified Natural Hoofcare Practitioner Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net

Cynthia Niemela Rapid City, SD USA Toll Free: (612) 481-3036 Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com

Barefoot Horse Canada.com Anne Riddell, Certified Natural Hoofcare Practitioner Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net

G & G Farrier Service London, TX USA Phone: (325) 265-4250

Becky Goumaz Tulsa, OK USA Phone: (918) 493-2782 Email: pulltheshoes@yahoo.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: bruce@father-and-son.net Certified Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Cori Brennan Horsense - Hoof/Horse care that makes sense Sharon, SC USA Toll Free: (704) 517-8321 Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Cottonwood Stables Chantelle Barrett - Natural Farrier Elora, ON Canada Phone: (519) 803-8434 Email: cottonwood_stables@hotmail.com

Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250 Gudrun Buchhofer Judique, NS Canada Phone: (902) 787-2292 Email: gudrun@go-natural.ca Hoofmaiden Performance Barefoot Hoof Care Elizabeth TeSelle, EQ Leipers Fork, TN USA Phone: (615) 300-6917 Email: hoof_maiden@hotmail.com Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/hoofmaiden HossHoofHo Sandra Judy, Hoof Care Professional Gibsonville, NC USA Phone: (336) 380-5543 Website: www.hosshoofho.com Jeannean Mercuri - PHCP Ridge, NY USA Phone: (631) 345-2644 Email: info@gotreeless.com Website: www.horseguard-canada.ca Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 579-4102 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: 902-665-2151 Email: nina@lostjuly.ca

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

EW WELLNESS RESOURCE GUIDE CONTINUED Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com

Kathleen Berard San Antonio, TX USA (210) 402-1220 Email: kat@katberard.com Website: www.katberard.com The Oasis Farm Ingrid Brammer Cavan, ON Canada (705) 742-329 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com

C H I RO P R AC TO R S Dr. Bonnie Harder, D.C. Ogle, IL USA (815) 757-0425 Email: drbonniedc@hbac4all.com Website: www.holisticbalanceanimalchiro.com


Natural Hooves Ben Fortkamp Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Email: ben@naturalhooves.com Website: www.naturalhooves.com

The Happy Natural Horse Lorrie Bracaloni Boonsboro, MD USA Phone: (301) 432-6216 Email: naturalhorselb@gmail.com Website: www.happynaturalhorse.com

Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO 81025 Phone: (719)557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com

Healfast Therapy North Caldwell, NJ USA Phone: (551) 200-5586 Email: support@healfasttherapy.com Website: www.healfasttherapy.com

The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com



Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com

T HE RMOGRA PHY Thermal Equine New Paltz, NY USA Toll Free: (845) 222-4286 Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

YO G A Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC Canada Toll Free: (604) 902-4556 Email: yogawithhorses@gmail.com Website: www.yogawithhorse s.com

COMMUNICATORS Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com Animal Paradise Communcations & Healing Janet Dobbs Oak Hill, VA Canada (703) 648-1866 Email: janet@animalparadisecommunication.com Website: www.animalparadisecommunication.com Communication with Animals Kristin Thompson Newfane, NY USA (716) 778-6233 Email: kristen@communicationwithanimals.com Website: www.communicatewithanimals.com Claudia Hehr Georgetown, ON Canada (519) 833-2382 Email: talk@claudiahehr.com Website: www.claudiaherh.com

SADDLE FITTERS Action Rider Tack Medford, OR USA (877) 865-2467 Website: www.actionridertack.com Happy Horseback Saddles Vernon, BC Canada (250) 542-5091 Website: www.happyhorsebacksaddles.ca Nickers Saddlery Ltd. Penticton, BC Canada (250) 492-8225 Email: saddlery@telus.net Website: www.nickerssaddlery.com


your business in the



View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SOCIAL MEDIA! CONGRATULATIONS STARRY SKIES! Congratulations to Starry Skies Equine Rescue and Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, Inc. for being our May and June Rescues of the Month! If you’d like to nominate your favorite equine rescue organization for Rescue of the Month, just leave us a comment at our facebook page.

VISIT US AT FACEBOOK.COM/ EquineWellnessMagazine

CONTESTS We teamed up with OMEGA NATURALS for a photo caption contest. It was hard to make a decision, but these two captions made us laugh the most! CONGRATULATIONS to LINDA H. and SHANDA E. for the captions, and thank you to Terri MacDonald for submitting a winning photo.

FOR MORE FUN contests and a chance to win great prizes, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

TWEETS Do you know what we’ve been Tweeting about? Stay up to date with our latest Tweets!




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Steel-Craft Door Products Ltd. builds high quality commercial and residential overhead doors using the highest grade materials and best manufacturing techniques. Their attention to quality and detail enables them to build doors ideally suited for the North American climate. The high R-value and steel composition of their doors lowers heating and cooling costs by keeping interiors warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Produced from a recyclable-product steel, Steel-Craft doors are the sustainable choice. Durable, highly efficient, and 100% Canadian-manufactured, these doors are built to last.



Hay Pillow Inc. offers effective, versatile, easy-to-use high quality slow feed hay bags. Proudly made in the USA. A slow feeding system that provides a steady yet controlled supply of hay. Slow feeding makes for a happier, healthier and more contented companion. Choice of six mesh sizes; ground, hanging and horse trailer models available. The Standard Hay Pillow is designed for use on the ground!

1-888-489-0022 TheHayPillow.com


New Healthy Hemp Treats by Omega Naturals Hemp Products are a healthy snack alternative for your horse. All natural. Dehydrated – not baked. These tasty morsels contain complete protein, high fiber, balanced Omega fats, organic herbs – and best of all, no sugar. Try in Original “Just Hemp” or spice it up with “Ginger Hemp Snaps”. Your horse will love them!



Great leather deserves great care. Tack Master helps extend the life of your leather by cleaning, conditioning and preserving – all in one simple step. The formula penetrates deep into leather, helps restore with natural oils, and delivers a brilliant finish. Try Tack Master on saddles, bridles, fine leather footwear and upholstery. Available in 32 oz, 16 oz, 8 oz and 4 oz bottles. Not for use on suede.



WHOA Dust is a professional grade arena additive for indoor or outdoor arenas that reduces watering frequency and volume by up to 80%, Moisture is more evenly distributed and the tensile strength of the footing is increased for better traction and concussion support. The product is easy to apply using a hand-broadcast seeder. WHOA Dust provides effective and economical dust control that is chloride-free and scientifically proven to be safe for the environment, animals and humans. WHOA Dust – “What is your horse breathing?”


SOURCE MICRONUTRIENTS Optimum health requires a diet that includes all the necessary micronutrients. Our feeds are becoming more deficient in micronutrients due to intensive farming practices and feed processing. SOURCE provides a unique blend of broad-spectrum micronutrients in biologically active and naturally chelated forms. It supports superior hoof condition, hair gloss, skin tone, body weight, stamina, temperament and feed utilization.

1-800-232-2365 4source.com


EcoLicious Equestrian has revamped their Moisture Maniac Detangling Infusion. Now with twice the amount of Sunflower Extract & Coconut based conditioners for maximum manageability, softness and shine. This naturally scented detangler is also made with Certified Organic Hemp Oil, Panthenol and Silk that help restore natural luminosity and nourish your horse’s mane and tail.

1-800-232-2365 EcoliciousEquestrian.com Equine Wellness


a great relationship Getting a new horse is exciting. Here’s how to start your relationship off on the right hoof. By Alexandra Kurland


dding a new horse to your herd is always fun. New equines take you on an exciting voyage of discovery. So many layers go into the creation of a great relationship, but basic principles are always a good place to start. Here are the two I consider most important: 1. Safety always comes first. 2. You can’t ask for something and expect to get it on a consistent basis unless you have gone through the process of teaching it to your horse. With a new horse, there are always some questions. What does he really know? And how does he feel about the training he’s had? You don’t know until you ask him. Horses answer these questions through the behaviors they give you.

WHAT DOES HE KNOW? Phase one of a new partnership is relationship building. Going for a walk down the drive is a great way to do this. A leisurely, no-pressure walk can be a treat for both horse and handler. It’s also a great way to collect data. What does he know? What training holes do the walks reveal? How comfortable – or not – is he when walking with you? What is revealed about his past training? 44

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Sometimes what you learn is that the horse has been well loved and treated fairly. Other times you learn that the “quiet horse” you bought is quiet because of the suppressing effects of punishment. The well-loved, well-trained horse will be a gem ready for new experiences. The punished horse may come with layer upon layer of emotional trauma to sort through.

DATA COLLECTING The data collecting tells you what you need to work on back in the “lab” – otherwise known as your barn, arena, or safe paddock. It may tell you that going out for a walk has to be put on hold because issues were revealed that make even a seemingly simple walk a hazardous undertaking. Conversely, the data collecting may indicate that you can continue to use the walks for relationship building while you work on the minor training holes those walks reveal. There are generally always training holes, even in welltrained horses. We all value different things in a horse. One person may value a horse that stands without being tied for grooming. Her horse will be a ground-tying superstar, but might fuss at the constraints of a tie. A new owner might be puzzled by this otherwise well-trained horse who doesn’t know how to tie. The reverse could easily be true. The horse might tie beautifully, but walks off when you try to groom him untied. He’ll frustrate the new owner who isn’t used to tying horses for grooming. She’ll think he’s very poorly trained when really it is just a missing piece in his education.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE IN A HORSE? The best approach is not to assume anything, but to follow the second training principle. Begin by asking yourself what you value. What do you want your horse to know? How do you want him to stand while being groomed? How do you want him to walk next to you? What are your expectations for riding, driving, etc.?

As you tidy up these basic horse-keeping details, you’ll discover that your new horse is suddenly a whole lot easier to ride. Make the list. Then develop a teaching plan that reviews everything that will make your horse a superstar performer for each of the behaviors on your list. This usually means going back to basics. When I say to people they need to work on the basics with their new horses, I know it’s not what they want to hear. They want to be out riding, not teaching their horses Equine Wellness


to pick up their feet for cleaning. But if that horse already understands basic foot care, the teaching process will go very fast. You’ll ask, your horse will respond. Job done. You’ll tidy up some loose ends and move on. The whole process will have taken up just a tiny portion of a grooming session. But if you discover that your new horse doesn’t pick his feet up well – that you have to pry them off the ground every time you want to clean them, and he feels like he weighs two tons while you struggle to hold up them up, then you’ve uncovered something that’s worth exploring in more detail. It isn’t just that you want to make the daily task of foot cleaning easier and more pleasant for both of you; teaching good foot manners is going to improve his overall balance. As you tidy up these basic horse-keeping details, you’ll discover that your new horse is suddenly a whole lot easier to ride.


- a summary

A simple walk around your barn and down your driveway can serve the purpose of data collecting. What does this horse know about walking out with a person? What does he not know? What components are already in place, and which ones are missing? Instead of trying to teach those missing components during the walk, it is much better to go back to your “lab” and construct them. Once you know what your new horse knows, and you have cues you both understand attached to behaviors you both know he knows, you can use these components in real world settings. You’ll be using what you have taught him to build that dream partnership. You’ll be asking him for energy levels and balance shifts that bring him closer and closer to matching up with your ideal image of a perfect horse. You aren’t reacting to and correcting unwanted behavior. You are building the behavior you want.


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The simplest activities, like going for a walk with your horse, can tell you a lot about what he knows and what you will want to work on.

Working on basics, like picking up your horse’s feet, will develop your relationship and create a horse that is easier to handle and ride.

ASSUME NOTHING With a new horse, I assume nothing. Even when there is a lot of good training to tap into, it is so much better to begin as though it’s not there. Instead of assuming he knows things, you’ll be asking him if he does. This avoids one of the pitfalls of training – using a tool before you’ve taught it. In clicker training, I want to focus on what I want my horse to do – not the unwanted behavior. The handler’s focus is a key element in determining whether the training is reactive and correction-oriented, or proactive and positively focused. What do I mean by this? I have a clear image of what good leading looks and feels like. Pulling, crowding in on top of me, rushing ahead, lagging behind – none of these things fit into this description. But if I start out by focusing on what I don’t like, that’s where my focus will stay. I’ll end up being what I don’t want to be – a correction-based trainer. I might be using a click and a treat, but my focus will be on stopping unwanted behaviors, not building the good behaviors I want.

In clicker training, I want to focus on what I want my horse to do – not the unwanted behavior.

CLICKER TEACHERS I want to be a clicker “teacher”. I want to focus on what I want my horse to do. And I want my training to focus on teaching my horse the skills that I would like him to do. I want to construct behavior, not just derail the unwanted stuff. For horses, this change in focus makes a world of difference. It is one of the key shifts people embrace as they come to understand clicker training more deeply. When they discover how important it is to first build a training tool before using the tool, the relationship with their horses changes dramatically, as does the whole flow and success of their training.

Alexandra Kurland is the author of many books and DVDs on clicker training. She has been teaching and training horses since the mid-1980’s. A pioneer in the development of humane training methods, Kurland began clicker training in the early 1990’s. She very quickly recognized the power of clicker training for improving performance, for enhancing the relationship people have with their horses, and for just plain putting fun back into training. Today through her books, videos, clinics and many articles, she has become a leading voice in the development of clicker training in the horse community. For more information on clicker training and her new on-line course, visit TheClickerCenter.com

Wearable PEMF By Ian Rawe, PhD Like human athletes, performance horses sometimes experience painful injuries to their musculoskeletal systems. These injuries can disrupt training and event participation. For decades, vets and trainers have successfully treated equine soft tissue injuries with pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF). While effective, the usefulness of PEMF was limited by the size and cost of the devices. Advances in technology and innovation have transformed traditional PEMF therapy into small wearable patches. These devices deliver continuous sensation-free, fixed extended low dose PEMF therapy with no side effects. Here’s how the wearable devices work. The electromagnetic field is carried on a shortwave radio frequency, and is emitted rapidly at 1,000 pulses per second. These pulses interact with the body’s electrical noise to activate sensory nerve fibers, and in a feedback loop motor nerves. The biological effects are decreased pain awareness, increased blood flow that enhances oxygen and nutrient availability to the injured tissue, and removal of edema so normal tissue function is more rapidly restored. In horses, this medical technology has been successfully used to treat joint, muscle and tendon pain, arthritis, suspensory injuries, and other acute injuries, and to aid in postoperative recovery.

Dr. Ian Rawe is Director of Clinical Research, BioElectronics Corporation, the manufacturer of HealFast® Therapy, portable PEMF patches for horses, dogs and cats and similar shortwave devices for human musculoskeletal pain and post surgical wounds such as ActiPatch® and RecoveryRx® Therapy. HealFastTherapy.com

Equine Wellness


TO THE RESCUE HEART OF PHOENIX EQUINE RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA096 to Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue. Location: Huntington, WV Year established: 2009 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “We have no paid staff, but our board of directors consists of five board members, and we have six reliable volunteers, and six foster homes,” says president Tinia Creamer.

Types of animals they work with: “We do not target a particular age, breed or discipline. Our goal has always been to rescue and rehabilitate horses we feel have an honest chance at living sound, functional lives in well-screened adoptive homes.”

Fundraising targets: “We are always fundraising to support monthly expenses. This includes grain, hay, vet and farrier bills, fuel, clerical fees and training costs for the ten to 14 horses we support at any given time.” Favorite rescue story: “Moon was found by another group, wandering Columbus, Ohio in deplorable condition. She came to us to finish her rehab and be adopted out. She was a five-yearold Standardbred that had raced as a two-year-old and was then discarded. Our rescue diligently screens adoptive homes, but unfortunately, there are always risks when horses are placed. Heart of Phoenix retains ownership of all horses we place with adopters. Moon’s adopter defaulted on her contract with us, and sold her on Craigslist.

“This story could have had a horrific ending, but our team came together in an amazing way. Two of our volunteers covered Ohio, made phone calls and never stopped searching. Months later, we tracked Moon down in Pennsylvania through someone who had purchased her through a chain of events, and we recovered her. “Moon’s illegal sale and her amazing recovery spurred us to take groundbreaking steps in improving how to handle horse placement. Now, each Heart of Phoenix horse will carry a freeze brand with our symbol, which is in the process of being registered in Kentucky. We believe this will deter adopters from ever attempting to sell one of our rescue horses; it will also allow those who may see this brand turn up somewhere questionable to know this horse belongs to us.”



Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA100 to RVR Horse Rescue. Location: Riverview, FL Year established: 2011 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: Approximately 150 volunteers.

chain began and the next day his rectum closed and he showed us he was ready to fight. Today, he is a loving, healthy, happy gelding. He’s not completely done with his rehabilitation, but is in the final stages before being ready for adoption.”

Types of animals they work with: “We take in horses that have been abused, abandoned, and neglected,” says Karen Pack (Marketing). “Our goal is to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home horses.” Fundraising targets: “We do not have a current fundraiser in place, but we are always accepting donations.”

Favorite rescue story: “Romeo was rescued August of 2013. He was literally skin and bones (a 0.5 on the Henneke scale) with many issues that needed medical attention. He was also still a stallion. We weren’t even sure he was going to make it. The biggest concern was he had no lower bowel function, so he was oozing pus and his rectum wouldn’t close. We introduced Romeo and his story to our Facebook fans and they instantly fell in love with him. A prayer 48

Equine Wellness


Equine Wellness is committed to donating $100,000 to rescues and shelters through our Ambassador Program. When you subscribe, you support the rescue of your choice by using the unique promotion code assigned to each organization, and we will donate 40% of your subscription directly to the cause. To become an Ambassador and be featured in our magazine, please have your organization contact Natasha@EquineWellnessMagazine.com.


Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA095 to Rainhill Equine Facility. Location: Bowling Green, KY Year established: 2005 Number

of staff/volunteers: “Because we focus on blind horses, we do not enlist the help of volunteers to assist with feeding and everyday chores around the farm,” says founder Karen Thurman. “Our volunteer days are scheduled in advance and primarily consist of cleaning, painting and general maintenance. We also don’t have foster homes – when a horse arrives at Rainhill, he is there to live out his life.”

Types of animals they work with: “REF’s special focus is blind horses. We have 36 sightless horses. The other 14 that we care for have various disabilities that limit their usefulness as riding mounts.”

Fundraising targets: “One of our most successful fundraising events is the sale of artwork done by our resident equine artist, VanGogh. As you can see by his photo above, VanGogh is truly

an original, just like his paintings. What happened to his ears remains a mystery. VanGogh is happy and well-adjusted and seems to know he is a very special horse with incredible talent.” Favorite rescue story: “Last fall, I received a call from an organization in New Jersey called Helping Hearts. These wonderful folks go to the local auctions, photograph the horses, and post them online in the hopes of getting them homes. Beau is a beautiful, well-behaved, young Quarter Horse gelding who just happens to be blind. He was sent to auction a second time when the first buyer discovered he could not see. Luckily, Helping Hearts was there and contacted me. Of course I said ‘yes’, and they brought Beau all the way to Rainhill.”



Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA098 to Eternal Light Horse Rescue Location: Lake City, FL Year established: 2012 Number of staff/volunteers: “Ten volunteers, including board members.

Types of animals they work with: “We rescue unwanted and undernourished horses,” says Fallen Heath, one of the rescue’s founders. “We rehabilitate them and then work on finding their forever homes.”

Fundraising targets: “We are trying to raise money for new fencing and more land – that is quite a large project. Also vaccinations.” Favorite rescue story: “In the beginning, we rescued five horses from a terrible situation. We later found out two of the mares were expecting foals, and we were surprised with two beautiful babies to nurture. They have grown wonderfully and are very happy on the farm as they await their forever homes.”

Facebook.com/eternal.light.rescue Equine Wellness




By Sherri Pennanen


am a farrier by trade. Every day I work with horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys to make sure they can do the jobs their people want them to do in a safe and comfortable way. And every day I hear these words echo in my ears – “No hoof, no horse” – and I know it to be true. Hoof problems and lameness associated with hoof or leg issues are among the most common concerns experienced by equine owners. Along with this concern comes the question of seasonal hoof care, which may include shoeing or booting. 50

Equine Wellness

A HORSE IS A HORSE Equines are born with a hoof structure that is meant to last them a lifetime. Without going into all the particulars of this structure, suffice it to say that the horse is equipped with all the other body parts that make maintaining a healthy hoof possible. They are foragers and grazers. They move on all types of terrain and seek out food to support their well being. When we keep horses in our own world, we need to be mindful of how much of that natural state we can replicate for them. I always promote 24/7 turnout with available shelter to simulate that natural nomadic behavior. I encourage quality forage that is tested and supplemented as needed in order to provide the nutritional building blocks for hoof structure and general health. No matter what you do about trimming, shoeing, or booting, it will not be effective or practical if the horse cannot move and if he does not have a good diet. If you keep your horse in a stall or feed him processed food, you will need to understand that it is not without impact. I encourage you to do what you can to let your horse “be a horse”, so to speak.

All horses can grow a better foot when their nutrition, movement, trimming, and conditioning needs are met.

THE CASE FOR A BAREFOOT HORSE If you are able to turn your horse out 24/7 (or close to it) and offer quality forage and natural supplements, you will very likely be able to keep your horse barefoot provided he is given balanced, routine barefoot trims. Whether you plan to trail ride, team pen, barrel race, jump, or do dressage, the best traction is the hoof your horse was blessed with the day he was born. When cared for, it offers the best balance and surefootedness. White or light feet are not “weaker or softer” than dark hooves, and all horses can grow a better hoof with improved care. This is not to say that if you take your horse from one environment to another, he will not need time to acclimate. But all things being equal, he is in his natural glory when barefoot and trimmed for balance.

ACCLIMATING TO DIFFERENT SURFACES If you usually ride around grassy fields, then decide to walk on a gravel road, your tenderfoot may be a little “ouchy”. So I Equine Wellness


encourage you to introduce new surfaces gradually. But there are very few surfaces a horse cannot tolerate if properly acclimated. I often hear people say they ride on the road, so they need shoes or the horse will “wear down” too much. Typically, this is related to the fact that the horse has been stalled a lot and is standing in urine, manure, and bedding. Urine and manure can erode the hoof. Even the cleanest wood chip bedding, if too deep, can wick moisture out of the hoof. The same is true for rocky conditions. A hoof may chip from time to time. But in most cases, this is not at all detrimental to the structure of the hoof and the horse will become accustomed to rocky conditions.

THE USE OF BOOTS Boots are a popular alternative for many riders who want protection or comfort for their equines under certain conditions, but generally like to keep them barefoot. Boots are portable, removable, and generally reasonable in cost. I do not recommend that you head out for a ten-mile ride the first time you put your horse’s boots on. He does need to acclimate to the boots. If you introduce new surfaces gradually, your horse can go almost anywhere comfortably.

No matter what you do about trimming, shoeing, or booting, it will not be effective or practical if the horse cannot move and

Boots come in a variety of brands, styles, and materials. I have had customers try boots and say, “They come off” or “The horse hates them”. If this is the case, I suggest they try another type of boot. Make sure it is properly fitted and that the style suits the purpose. Talk to others. Consult with your farrier. Read the literature. You can never have too much information when making a choice. Boots are not intended to be worn 24/7. This is important. They should be used and removed. They are a great choice for someone who has isolated opportunities for riding in more difficult terrains than usual.


Equine Wellness

doesn’t have a good diet.

THE CASE FOR SHOES Shoes can be nailed, glued, and tacked on. Traditional shoeing involves nailing a metal shoe to a hoof that is trimmed specifically for the purpose. Nails are driven through the hoof wall to secure the shoe, and it restricts the hoof’s ability to respond to the horse’s weight shifts and movements. Key to this concept is that the nail holes offer ready access to some very sensitive structures, and that the restriction of hoof wall movement greatly affects balance and soundness. There is no clear advantage in traction with shoes. Glued-on shoes have seen a surge in popularity as the industry recognizes the problems with nails. But glue may not be a viable solution in some climates. In some wet conditions, for example, the glue-ons are routinely lost. Having said that, I would have an easier time understanding the logic of glue-ons over nail-ons. For those who need sliders, I understand your need for shoes and I have seen increasing success with tacking techniques so that the shoe can be worn for the event and then removed.

THE VERDICT Lots of ladies hate wearing high heels. They can’t be good for their feet or legs. They can even do a number on your back if you wear them a lot. The first thing many girls do when they get home is kick them off and walk around barefoot. But sometimes they feel they should wear heels. They don’t know why. It really doesn’t make much sense. It is just what is done.

All horses can grow a better hoof with improved care. Along the same lines, I often hear people say that because show or trail season is coming, it’s time to shoe their horses. To those who embrace this practice, I would extend to you a challenge: increase your turnout, feed in accordance with forage testing, condition for new surfaces, and try your horse with his balanced barefoot trim. If you find yourself needing some additional protection, consider a removable option such as a boot or tacked-on shoe. A horse that is healthier overall is generally more usable – and he may not need to wear “high heels” any more than you do! Sherri Pennanen is the owner of Better Be Barefoot Natural Trim, Rehabilitation, and Education Center in Lockport, NY. She has been certified as a natural trim specialist for almost 20 years and has over 45 years of horse experience. She is committed to herd-based living for horses in a chemical-free environment. BetterbeBarefoot.com

BalancinG act You can’t balance his diet perfectly all of the time. Ensuring he absorbs as many nutrients as possible will help make sure he gets what he needs. By Sarah Gwynn Mersereau I recently listened to a radio program describing the focused delivery system for the Cavendish banana. You know the one – it’s the standard yellow banana you buy in your grocery store. The average North American eats two to three of these delicious fruits each week and never wonders why it’s a tropical fruit that costs about half the price of a locally grown apple. We also tend not to think about what’s in our horses’ grass or hay. We might look at the protein or fat content of his feed, but beyond that, we check for dust and mold and call it a day! The truth is, even the best hay-grower can’t control the weather, and hay grown in sub-optimal conditions can fall short of top quality when it comes to nutrient value. The best you can do to support your horse under these circumstances is to enable him to access all the nutrients that are available to him. Supplementing with montmoryllonite clay and diotamacious earth enhances the bio-availability of the nutrients your horse consumes. The clay structure draws out toxins, allowing them to be flushed from the body. Trace minerals act as catalysts for many essential functions in the body, and while they aren’t required in large quantities, their lack can be significantly felt. It’s also important to note that while individual minerals each serve very important functions in your horse’s health, they work together in symphony to create optimal wellness.

Sarah Gwynn Mersereau has been riding since the age of three. She has kept horses at home, and in boarding at various stables, and knows the pros and cons of both. Sarah is a preliminary level eventer, who also swims and runs. ZenA-min is a unique blend of quality minerals, designed to help horses enhance their performance. They are combined with Canadian kelp, high grade vitamins, enzymes and anti-oxidants. Zenamin.com

Equine Wellness




Jennifer L. Miller, DVM, CVSMT, CVA owns Prairie Rivers Holistic Veterinary Service in Byron, Georgia. After practicing conventional equine veterinary medicine for a number of years, she came to realize it did not offer all the answers to her patients’ needs. In an effort to provide well-rounded, excellent care she chose to expand her education. She obtained certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy from the Healing Oasis Wellness Center, and in Veterinary Acupuncture from the Chi Institute. She has also studied Applied Kinesiology and Craniosacral Therapy. Dr. Jennifer is herself a student of the horse and studies classical dressage, lessoning as often as she can. She has a passion for functional neurology and loves being able to integrate functional neurology concepts with classical dressage. She lectures to groups on how understanding the neurology of the horse can make all of us more empathetic riders. prairieriverholistics.com


Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com. Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. This column is for information purposes only. It is not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian before giving your horse any remedies.

My mare is good about most things, but really struggles with getting needles. Is there anything I can give her before the vet comes, to help her remain calmer calmer? As veterinarians, we often only see our patients once or twice a year. We are usually administering vaccines, drawing blood, or performing some other not-so-comfortable procedure. So it is not unusual for horses to develop a dislike of the veterinarian and veterinary procedures, and a fear of needles.


When a client’s horse is fearful of procedures or needles, I recommend a combination of trust-building groundwork and a desensitization program. If possible, I try to schedule visits to the farm for other patients. I then take the time to visit and feed treats to the fearful horse, but do not perform any procedures. This can go a long way towards gaining the horse’s trust. Interestingly, many horses that struggle with needles will be more tolerant if the owner is not the one holding them. Sometimes the owner’s worry further upsets the horse. When we take the owner out of the equation, the horse will often be more comfortable. It can also be safer to allow the veterinarian to hold the horse and perform the injection at the same time. From a TCVM perspective, behavioral issues are called Shen disturbances and can be treated with different herbal formulas. However, these are not one-size-fits-all and must be tailored to each individual. A TCVM workup, including a physical exam and history, is needed before the proper herbal formula can be selected. 54

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As a last resort, there are sedatives (available by prescription only) that can be given orally before the veterinarian comes. I like to exhaust all the other options first, trying to teach the horse how to control his emotional response to the veterinarian and to needles, before choosing to use sedatives.

I have a gelding that had a scrape on his hind leg, just above the fetlock. It was fairly large (4” to 5”), but not deep, and couldn’t be stitched. We treated it daily and it has closed over just fine, but no hair will grow back over the area. It doesn’t appear to have proud flesh, but is this a possibility? Or do some wounds just never grow back hair? Wounds that occur over the front of the cannon bone can be so difficult to manage. But you already know that! There is really no muscle covering the cannon bone – there is only bone, tendon and skin. Because of this special anatomy, the blood flow to the cannon bone area is limited. Limited blood flow may cause delayed healing, possibly resulting in proud flesh or fibrotic scarring. Proud flesh has a very distinct appearance. I describe it as a glistening cobblestone path. Proud flesh bleeds very easily. If left unbandaged, it will become swollen, with the wound edges above the level of the surrounding skin. Fortunately, this does not sound like what you are describing. Your description sounds more like a fibrotic scar. These are areas in which the skin that fills in a wound bed is not composed of normal epithelial (skin) cells – instead the new tissue is less elastic and “rougher” looking. These areas often do not have hair follicles and

therefore, no hair grows back! These scars are usually dry and may look scaly. One of the biggest problems is they lack the elasticity of normal skin and are not as resilient, making them more prone to re-injury. Unfortunately, the only way to repair these areas is to surgically remove the scar and start over. This works in places on the body where there is enough skin to close the surgical wound, but not on lower limbs. Skin grafts are possible; talk to your veterinarian about this if you are interested. I advise my clients to keep an organic wound salve on hand and apply it to these scars two to three times a week to keep them soft. If the area becomes injured again, vet care and bandaging are needed to aid proper healing. On very rare occasions, these scars will begin to change in appearance and look like they are growing warts. If this occurs, a skin biopsy is needed. For some unknown reason, lower limb scars may transform into sarcoids and an early diagnosis is needed for treatment to be successful. I recommend taking a picture of the scar every two to three months so you have a photographic record of what it looks like should it start to change. This is usually not a problem, though, and horses do well after the wound is healed.


I have a three-year-old mare that I am just starting under saddle. I have noticed that her right hind stifle “clicks”, and her hind end seems weaker on that side. Should I be concerned, or just focus on strengthening her more? The answer is both! Any time I hear a joint making noise I want to investigate it thoroughly. Joint “clicking” can be innocuous or a sign of degenerative joint disease (DJD). It is best to start with a thorough lameness workup, to make sure there are no signs of DJD in the clicking stifle. This may include flexion of the limb to look for lameness, lunging to watch the horse move, and radiographs to look at the integrity of the joint itself. Once DJD is ruled out, the fun can begin. Horses, in general, have a sidedness or crookedness. Just like people who can be right or left-handed, horses are often stronger on one side than the other. This inherent crookedness is what balanced training strives to address. Balanced training focuses on strengthening and straightening the horse and its goal is to make a horse symmetrical. For training to be effective, all the joints in the spine, head and limbs must function optimally. This is where Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (VSMT – animal chiropractic) and acupuncture come in. As a veterinarian who practices both acupuncture and VSMT, I love working on horses who have a weakness, but no DJD. VSMT is not about “popping bones back into place”, but instead restores correct and healthy motion to the joints of the spine, head, and limbs. Once the proper motion is restored to the joints, the nerve impulses that control the muscles are more likely to be transmitted appropriately. This allows the rider/trainer to help the horse strengthen the muscles on the weaker side, resulting in a straighter horse. Joints that are not moving properly can cause pain. Pain can, of course, make a horse resistant to accepting aids or cues and can make her appear weak. So it is very important to have VSMT treatments to restore joint motion. In my practice, I almost always use acupuncture with VSMT. Acupuncture is wonderful to help resolve pain and restore good energy flow through the whole body. Young horses are especially responsive to VSMT and acupuncture. So, as long as your mare does not have any DJD, then balanced training along with VSMT and acupuncture should help her to become a strong, sound horse.

Equine Wellness


TOP THREE By Theresa Gilligan

HERBS FOR HEART HEALTH Your horse’s circulatory and cardiovascular system is very complex, and enables the rest of his body to function properly. Although equine cardiac disorders can’t be compared to those in humans, the horse’s cardiovascular system does control the same functions – such as the pump, distribution channels (arteries), exchange mechanisms (capillary beds), and the veins that collect and return to the atrial chambers, inclusive of the heart, spleen and blood. Treating and preventing major organ and systemic ailments in a natural way is mainstream practice in many countries. It is also trending in North America. This is in part due to scientific proof of the efficacy of certain herbal medicinal treatments. People are becoming more educated on alternative treatments and are realizing the power of herbs. After all, science and conventional medicine have already recognized their value – Western medicine is derived from plant-based sources.


“A horse gallops with his lungs and wins with his character, but perseveres with his heart.” – The Center for Equine Health, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

When it comes to dealing with “matters of the heart” (excuse the pun), we don’t want to wait until we are facing a serious affliction. Preventative treatments such as cardiovascular balancing herbs should be a serious consideration, especially with performance horses where the circulatory system works at an excessive rate. In fact, the spleen can hold up to 30 liters of blood and expel up to 25 liters during excitement or performance activities such as jumping, racing, etc. This expulsion is what feeds the muscles that burst of oxygen required to accomplish those amazing feats. Therefore, we want to ensure we are supporting the cardiovascular system to ensure continued healthy function. Although there are several herbs that support the heart, blood and spleen, I would like to mention the three most important ones.



Hawthorn berry (Crateagus oxycanthus) has long been recognized for cardiovascular support in animals and humans. The berries and leaves are the most preferred parts of the herb, and are used as a vasodilator. This necessary coronary function dilates blood vessels so blood runs smoothly through arteries, and prevents the heart from overworking. It also supports the whole cardiac muscle fiber. Hawthorn contains over 19 flavanoids, including rutin and quercetin, both of which are potent anti-inflammatories. In humans, clinical evidence shows that hawthorn can significantly 56

Equine Wellness

improve angina, congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarction. In Europe, hawthorn is endorsed by the Commission E (the branch of government that approves herbal treatments) as safe and effective.



Another excellent herb for the heart is cayenne (Capsicum annuum). You might think giving your horse cayenne would burn his stomach lining, yet it can actually rebuild the tissue in the stomach, and aid in digestion. Furthermore, cayenne is one of the most incredible tissue-regenerating herbs and vasodilators available. It boosts circulation, thereby improving heart function. Capsicum, the potent constituent in cayenne, is responsible for rapidly stimulating organ secretion. It is safe, and recommended for ingestion on an empty stomach! Eastern and Western doctors and veterinarians alike have reveled in the miraculous effects cayenne has on the heart. Clinical studies and evidence show cayenne can actually stop a heart attack while it’s happening.



The final herb in our arsenal of good cardiovascular/circulatory herbs is cleavers. It’s a wonderful herb to clear the blood of impurities and assist the spleen in ridding the system of damaged and old white blood cells. It’s excellent for lowering blood pressure and cleaning the lymphatic system. Rich in silica, cleavers is an excellent all-round blood tonic that makes a great spring/fall addition thanks to its detoxifying qualities. Whether your equine friend has been diagnosed with a particular cardiovascular condition or you are looking to balance and prevent future afflictions, this power trio of herbs is a must have! Theresa Gilligan has been involved in riding and training horses for 25 years, including racing and breeding Thoroughbreds. She also has over 15 years in the financial industry and degrees in International Business. She has dedicated the last five years to researching alternative medicinal practices, with a specific focus on Ayurveda. Neachai (Neachai.ca) is the first Equine Ayurvedic-specific alternative practice in North America.

Equine Wellness


EVENTS Trail/Obstacle Versatility Challenge Series August 10, 2014 – Guilford, VT The day will start at 10am and will take place at the New England Center for Horsemanship. Details regarding the course will be determined at a later date. To register, please visit the website. For more information: (802) 380-3268 heidi@heidipotter.com www.heidipotter.com AETA International Trade Show August 16-18, 2014 – Oaks, PA This show features exhibits, a market party, educational roundtables and much more!

Reach out to the Untouched Horse Clinic August 25-31, 2014 – Cody, WY Immerse yourself in a 6-day workshop. This is a unique opportunity to observe wild horses in their natural habitat. You will begin to understand non-verbal communication with the natural world, be introduced to herd dynamics and develop a bond through building a trust-based relationship. The young horses being socialized in this clinic have come to the class through various rescue situations. They have shown a natural desire to relate to humans. To make their futures less traumatic for veterinary care, foster homes etc, these young horses will be your teachers.

Prerequisite: Graduate of the ROTH Holistic Horse Foundation Certification Course and/or Exhibitors and Buyers will spend 3 days permission from Anna directly. viewing English and Western merchandise, networking with each other and learning the For more information: latest in equestrian products and services at Anna Twinney info@reachouttohorses.com the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center! www.reachouttohorses.com For more information: events@aeta.us Big Sky Draft Horse Expo www.aeta.us September 13-14, 2014 – Deer Lodge, MT This Expo is a fun, family show with a small Healing Touch for Animals® Level 2 Course town atmosphere, providing an opportunity to view and purchase items ranging from August 22-24, 2014 – Chicago, IL draft horse harnesses to art and books. Also, Fundamentals Class: Friday / 6:00pm - showing many breeds of horses and mules from singles to six ups in friendly competition. 10:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Small For more information: Animal Class. info@drafthorseexpo.com Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am - www.drafthorseexpo.com 6:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Large Canadian Equestrian Equipment & Animal Class. Apparel Show September 13-15, 2014 – Toronto, ON Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am 6:00pm Established in 1972, the Canadian Equestrian This class is required in order to apply to Equipment and Apparel Association is eastern become a Healing Touch for Animals® Canada’s premier trade event for Equestrian Certified Practitioner. Working with the Retailers. With both Spring (February) and horses’ large energy systems benefits Fall (September) markets, the CEEAA offers students with greater energetic awareness retailers a chance to connect with over 40 and a well-rounded experience. specialized equestrian wholesalers in one easyto-access venue. For more information: Kathy Tanouye (847) 373-9255 ChicagoIL@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

CEEAA markets are a great opportunity to speak directly with manufacturers and their representatives, to see what’s new and exciting in the industry and to pick up new merchandising tips and techniques. Additionally, store owners and their staff members are invited to take advantage of the on-site seminars and training opportunities. For more information: (519) 821-9207 info@ceeaamarket.ca www.ceeaamarket.ca CHA Standard Instructor Clinic September 22-26, 2014 - Claryville, NY This 5-day clinic is hosted by a CHA accredited host site facility and is designed for instructors who want to become CHA Certified. For more information on hosting or attending this clinic, please visit the website. For more information: (845) 985-2291 vwilliams@frostvalley.org www.frostvalley.org 2014 International Dressage at Devon Horse Show September 23-28, 2014 – Devon, PA This event opens with the 3-Day Breed Division which judges horses on movement and conformation. More than 29 breeds will be represented. The combination of breed classes and performance classes should not be missed! As well, the festival shops offer exclusive apparel, fine arts, antiques and collectibles from more than 65 vendors. Families can enjoy the weekend, with plenty of activities for the youngsters! This is an event you won’t want to miss! For more information: tickets@dressageatdevon.org www.dressageatdevon.org

Email your event to: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com 58

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If you would like to advertise in Marketplace, please call: 1-866-764-1212 ext 110


If you would like to advertise in Marketplace, please call: 1-866-764-1212 ext110

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UNDERSTANDING homeopathy By Susan L. Guran

The number one question I am asked by those who are new to homeopathy is, “What will the medicine do?” The simple answer is that it will initiate a self-corrective response in the individual.

CHOOSING A REMEDY Understanding what to look for and how to choose a remedy can be confusing if we are trying to fit the concept of homeopathy into the paradigm of Western medical treatment, in which this drug treats that condition. Homeopathic remedies can be derived from animals, plants or minerals, and are all prepared in the same manner. They act on the body differently from how we perceive drugs to act. Symptoms in their totality represent a pattern of reaction in an individual. You might want to call it an overreaction, since it is an indicator of imbalance. Over the last 200 years, “provings” have been carried out to determine what pattern each remedy represents. In a proving, healthy individuals are given repeated doses of remedies to see what symptoms they elicit (temporarily). This gives us a model of the remedy’s sphere of influence, so that when an individual displays these symptom patterns on their own (without the substance), we can “cancel” them out by matching the “like” remedy or substance to the overall picture.

BACK IN BALANCE Homeopathy is similar to acupuncture and chiropractic in the sense that the treatments are a trigger for self-renewal. This is why I write about “cycles” or patterns that indicate when a certain remedy is needed. When you find a remedy that is a good match to your case, you can expect the remedy to bring the animal back into balance, first by a settling of the mind, followed by a correction, over time, of the physical symptoms that were of concern.

Ledum Palustre – Marsh/Labrador Tea Use this remedy to prevent or treat bites and bite reactions from flies, mosquitoes and ticks. Animals treated with Ledum, prophylactically, receive fewer bites and react more mildly to the injected poisons from insects. This remedy reduces overall exposure to Lyme disease and is useful for treating reactions to puncture wounds. Injuries or reactions that match Ledum will feel cold to the touch. Give 30c, 2x daily for three days in the early spring, mid summer and early fall.

Apis Mellifica – Honey Bee Poison This remedy is best known for the treatment of bee and wasp stings. Injuries will feel relief from cold applications and show clear signs of swelling and edema. Swellings are pink or red and feel hot to the touch. Keep this remedy on hand in a 30c potency. Give 2 – 3x in a day or until swelling resolves. (Often one dose is sufficient. Do not repeat unless necessary!)

Susan Guran is a Homeopathic Practitioner and Therapeutic Riding Instructor living and working in Vermont. HomeopathyHorse.com 62

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