V13I1 (Feb/Mar 2018)

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How to recognize and prevent

CHOKE What to do if


Microbiome Saddle Placement:


The best courses for horse lovers



stay calm amid life changes

is your horse in pain?

GAIT ABNORMALITIES Tips for developing your eye

VISUALIZATION exercises for riders VOLUME 13 ISSUE 1




From horse rescue to Hurricane Harvey, this outfit works with law enforcement to help those who need it most.

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February/March 2018

EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness

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December 2017/January 2018 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Cindy MacDonald EDITOR: Ann Brightman STAFF WRITER: Emily Watson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Brad Vader SOCIAL/DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER: Theresa Gannon COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Jerry Finch COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Batts Muriel Chestnut Melanie Falls Joyce Harman, DVM Susan E. Harris Eleanor Kellon, VMD Lindsey Moneta-Larson, DVM Dan Moore, DVM Wendy Pearson, MSc, PhD Karen Rohlf Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Barbra Schulte Dana Shackelton, DVM Amy Snow Kerri-Jo Stewart, BPE, MSc, MPA Emily Watson Richard Winters Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith

SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Cindy MacDonald, Editor, at Cindy@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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. You can also mail submissions to: Equine Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to info@RedstoneMediaGroup.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: Kat Shaw (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com National Accounts Manager: Ann Beacom, (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 AnnBeacom@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Subscription Services Manager: Brittany Sillaots, (866) 764-1212 ext. 115 Brittany@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. 115 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122

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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.

Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2018. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: January 2018.


Habitat for Horses isn’t your ordinary rescue. This one-of-a-kind organization works with law enforcement to help equines who need it most – from those who are abused or neglected, to those caught up in the wake of disastrous hurricanes. Turn to page 26 to find out how Habitat for Horses saved lives during the biggest storm of the year – Hurricane Harvey. Equine Wellness

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Conte n 26


Colic is a scary situation. But there are ways to prevent it, and things you can do for your horse to make him comfortable while the situation is resolved.

14 LAMENESS IN YOUR EQUINE PARTNER When it comes to lameness in your horse, you need to know what to watch out for. Here are some tips to help develop your eye.


TO STAY CALM AMID LIFE CHANGES Life changes can upset

your balance and impact your ability to work effectively with your horses. But there are ways to maintain your calm and regain your stability, so you can continue riding at your personal best.



Correct saddle fit will make your horse happier and more comfortable, and may even help resolve some of those unwanted “cranky” behaviors!



GUT MICROBIOME Keeping the equine microbiome healthy involves feeding an appropriate diet and, when necessary, adding a supplement that offers a variety of active prebiotic ingredients.

Treeless saddles offer a lot of advantages, but they don’t work for every horse or rider. Find out whether or not you should consider investing in one.


Contrary to the name, choke does not refer to an obstruction in the trachea. It’s important to know the clinical signs of this condition, and what to do if it happens to your horse.

This one-of-a-kind horse rescue works with law enforcement to help equines who need it most – from those who are abused or neglected, to those caught up in the wake of disastrous hurricanes.


supplements bring many benefits to our horses, we also need to ensure we can trust the products we’re using. This article explores the regulatory process in the U.S. and Canada, and what horse caretakers need to know.



How mental imagery can assist you in becoming a better and more relaxed rider.



Forage is a staple in every horse’s diet and the best sources are natural grasses and hay. You can turn to several alternatives if natural forage is in short supply, but it’s important to be aware of their pros and cons.


Horses need you! Learn how to be there for them – and make a career for yourself – by taking advantage of educational opportunities at a school, or from the comfort of your home.

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s I sit down to write my first Editorial for Equine Wellness, winter is deep upon us. I’m sipping a homemade, organic, fair-trade mocha coffee, looking out the window of my home office at our incredible herd of horses playing in the new-fallen snow. I’m reminded yet again of the holistic nature of our universe. Everything is interconnected on macro and micro scales. Our spirits, emotions, minds and bodies are the pillars that underpin a thriving life. They work in concert effortlessly. All we have to do is provide love, and support optimal health. The theme of this issue addresses a vital aspect of the horse’s body pillar – proper nutrition and digestive function. If your horse is lacking nutrients, or his gastrointestinal tract is out of whack, you’ll eventually see it reflected in the other pillars. He may appear “off”, depressed or irritable, or display signs of minor pain or severe illness. Enthusiastic play won’t be on his radar. I’ve had my share of scares. Colic comes immediately to mind. Sometimes it results in huge sighs of relief, sometimes heartbreak. I’m a firm believer in the time-honored adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To that end, Dr. Dan Moore offers sage advice for colic prevention on page 10 – along with natural options to try while you wait for your veterinarian. Another potentially lethal situation is choke; Dr. Dana Shackelton teaches us how to recognize and prevent it on page 44. To optimize digestive function, feeding your horse’s gut microbiome is addressed on page 24 by Dr. Eleanor Kellon. When it comes to equine nutritional supplements, it’s “buyer be aware”, so it’s important to know how regulation safeguards 6


your horse (page 30). Need to supplement your horse’s forage on occasion? Know the pros and cons to make the best choices – see page 48. The herb slippery elm is a keeper for gut health (page 62) and you can support your horse’s digestion and body temperature with simple winter-warming acupressure sessions (page 33). For your “whole” horse, we also offer tips for developing your eye when it comes to spotting lameness, courtesy of Dr. Lindsey Moneta-Larson (page 14); advice on fitting your saddle correctly (page 22); a primer on treeless saddles by Dr. Joyce Harman (page 38) and eco-friendly ways to feed your horse (page 46). And let’s not forget you – the rider! Barbra Schulte (page 18) offers valuable advice on how to stay calm and balanced around your horse when you’re dealing with major life changes, while Susan Harris offers visualization techniques to use while riding – turn to page 34. Be sure to also read part one of Karen Rohlf’s article on the habits of excellent horsemanship (page 41); and how to do a controlled leg-yield maneuver (page 56), by Richard Winters. Our cover story on page 26 focuses on Habitat for Horses, a one-of-a-kind rescue in Texas that works with law enforcement in cases of equine neglect and abuse, and during disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Enjoy our smorgasbord of articles. I trust they will help you and your equine partner stay healthy and playful throughout the winter and beyond! Naturally,

Cindy MacDonald

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Equine welfare has been an integral part of the


American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ mission since it was founded over 150 years ago. Through their work within the rescue community and equine industries, the organization helps ensure the health and well-being of horses across the country by protecting them from slaughter. As part of this mission, the ASPCA granted $185,000 to ten equine rescue groups to assist their efforts to rehabilitate and rehome retired racehorses. The grants were awarded in November 2017 as part of the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative. This program provides funding for equine rescues and sanctuaries that protect retired racers by offering alternatives to horse slaughter. In eight years since its launch, the program has awarded over $2 million to prepare retired racers for life after their racing careers come to an end.


CAN YOUR HORSE RECOGNIZE YOUR VOICE? The latest research says yes! The University of Sussex recently released the finding that horses can identify their handlers using a sophisticated cognitive system. The lead author, doctoral student Leanne Proops, drew on the previous discovery that horses use auditory and visual information to recognize

Marie poses with her equine companion, Johnny.

members of their own species. They found that the same methods are used by horses to

The Marie Dean Horse Protection Initiatives Canada (MDHPIC) was

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don’t know.

advocate against equine slaughter, Marie felt very compassionate toward families and their horses during times of financial hardship. She understood that sometimes a family’s only option was to sell their horse, but felt that financial assistance for veterinarian or farrier care could be a saving grace.

Like humans, horses form a mental picture of a familiar person when they hear his or her voice. The study used domestic horses, and compared their responses to voices of their handlers and voices of strangers. They found

The MDHPIC was created to provide funding to horse owners in

that the equine participants responded quicker

need and offer education initiatives regarding horse ownership.

and were more attentive to the voices they

Properly caring and providing for a horse is expensive, and no one

recognized. They then took it a step further,

wants to ignore a health issue or have to rehome a beloved animal

demonstrating that the horses could match

due to financial strain. This charitable institution keeps horses and

a voice to the corresponding handler. This

their owners together.

study proves, for the first time, that horses can

Visit mdhpic.org to learn more or complete an application form.

recognize humans based on how they look and how they sound.


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Rein Forth Equine opened their gates in July 2016. This Alberta-based ranch is home to ten horses, eight of which are partnered with Equine Facilitated Wellness Canada – a registered, non-profit association dedicated to bringing humans and equines together in healing and learning environments. Jules Rainforth, the owner of Rein Forth

Photos courtesy of Jules Rainforth


Equine, recently witnessed the healing benefit of horses firsthand when she invited a local group of LGBTQ teens to attend one of her workshops. “I felt that the LGBTQ community especially is likely filled with individuals who are frequently met with adversary, judgment, criticism and lack of acceptance,” says Jules. “My hope was to help these teens grow on an emotional level and develop a sense of self-awareness and connection.” According to Jules, the non-threatening, trustworthy nature of horses offers a level of support teens might not find in their human relationships. The workshop brought monumental success, and inspired Jules to host similar equine facilitated programs in 2018.

Visit equinewellnessmagazine.com/ reinforthequine to learn more.

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Photo courtesy of Cheryl Moore©



olic is, to say the least, a scary situation – and possibly a horseperson’s worst nightmare! Time is always limited for getting a handle on the problem before it’s critical and lifethreatening. There are many causes of colic. But there are also ways you can potentially avoid it, and things you can do for your horse to give him more comfort while the situation is hopefully resolved.

SYMPTOMS OF COLIC The clinical signs of colic can differ depending on what is causing the pain. They can vary from “he just doesn’t look right” and a sort of glassy stare, to lying down and rolling from one side 10

to the other, rolling over and over, getting up, lying down and rolling again. This can lead to a twisting of the gut (see sidebar on page 12). Biting and/or kicking at the belly are also common. Fortunately, it is generally obvious that the horse is hurting, so action can be taken. Bottom line – a horse with colic just can’t get comfortable – no matter what!

WHAT CAN CAUSE COLIC? Too much feed at one time, whether hay or grain, can cause either gas or impaction. Changing quickly from one type of grain or hay to another can also lead to colic. Having too little water available is another culprit. Another common but oftenoverlooked cause is allowing a horse that is hot from exertion

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to drink too much water, or to feed him too soon. Horses should always be cooled after riding or any other manner of work, before they’re watered or fed. Finally, parasites, especially round worms (ascarids) in young horses, can cause impaction by physically blocking the gut, not to mention all the other damage they can do as they migrate through various parts of the body. Fecal exams should be performed on a regular basis and deworming done based on results, not just a calendar rotation. (Editor’s note: Dr. Moore was ahead of the curve when he wrote about deworming from fecal exam results for Equine Wellness way back in March/April 2009, well before it became the commonly advocated practice it is today. Read about it here: equinewellnessmagazine.com/fecal-tests.) Continued on page 12.


It’s difficult for me to discuss any health issue without a mention of a few homeopathic remedies, and colic is no exception. An overload or excess of anything can often be helped with a remedy called Nux vomica. It is my firstresponse favorite remedy for anything gut-related, and is great at what I call “energetically detoxing” as well as for other health situations, such as post-anesthesia. (It’s also especially good for people who have eaten or drunk too much!) Most homeopathic remedies are available as liquids, but I prefer the little BB-sized pellets packaged in lipsticksized tubes. Most health food stores and some big grocery chains carry them. Potencies of 30c or 30x are generally used by most people, unless they are trained otherwise. I am totally convinced that homeopathic remedies can never hurt and only help, in any case. We never leave home without our remedy box and there is always one at the barn. Another remedy to consider is Colocynthis, should the Nux not give comfort. It is especially helpful for cramps that could be characterized by kicking, rolling and looking or biting at the belly. Another is Colchicum, especially if neither of the previous remedies help. I usually give Nux a few times every ten minutes or so. I follow with Colocynthis and Colchicum, rotating each at ten-minute intervals. I also try to prevent rolling by walking the horse. This process often helps take his mind off the pain and gets the gut moving. Allow me to stress, however, that your local veterinarian should be called immediately when colic is suspected. You never know, at the onset, how severe the colic might be. I have never seen any of the above remedies interfere with the horse’s treatments – but as much as it bothers me, most veterinarians still think we are crazy using them. If your horse is better before the vet gets there though, you shouldn’t be surprised!

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TWISTING OF THE GUT – A SERIOUS COMPLICATION Rolling back and forth is bad because it may result in a twisting of the gut. A twist often causes the blood supply to be cut off, causing that section of the gut to die. Surgery is inevitable in these cases, and even then it’s still a potential live-or-die situation. Surgically removing a dead section of gut is like cutting out a piece of garden hose, sewing it back together end to end and hoping it doesn’t leak. Additionally, surgery is super expensive (but extremely inexpensive compared to a comparable human surgery, and way more difficult)! Simply put, colic means a painful gut. Gas in the gut can cause pain. Or an actual “stopped up” impaction of the gut can cause colic pain as gas, fluid and fecal material build and back up. All colics are terrible, but generally a gas colic is easier to treat unless it causes a twisting gut. The more gas and fluid, the more likely the gut is to twist. Gas in the gut is like air in a balloon – it rises and possibly wraps around another section of gut with gas or fluid, thus the twisting. In older or very overweight horses, fat deposits can even wrap around the intestine, causing strangulation from twisting.


FERTILIZER OVERLOAD Again, any change in the gut can cause colic! Most reasons so far mentioned are recognized and prevented by seasoned horse people. However, there is one cause for colic that has taken me years to figure out – fertilizer overload. Yes, too much fertilizer applied over too short a period! Thus far, I don’t know of any other professional who has even considered this, much less spoken about it. I have been shouting it from rooftops for nearly two decades, yet it is still overlooked. I am certain it is a major cause of colic, if not the most likely cause. Abortion in mares, laminitis, even ulcers can also result from fertilizer overload. For lack of better terminology, the weakest link in any horse is where a problem occurs. In other words, a horse with already weak or bad feet who is exposed to a rapid change in the gut may develop laminitis – it’s sort of an endo-toxic effect. A pregnant mare exposed to a sudden change in the gut may abort due to a sudden bacterial change in the blood – a septicemia-type effect. An alreadystressed horse exposed to a sudden change in the gut may develop ulcers. Potentially there are other possibilities, more than can be mentioned here. So how in the world does a horse get too much fertilizer? How about from hay or grass? Hay is heavily fertilized, right? And fertilizer is what makes hay grow. The hay may be full of water drawn by the fertilizer into the grass before it is cut, which by weight puts money in the grower’s pocket. Fertilizer is used by almost every producer. It is made up of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Common ratios of these minerals are 10.10.10. Unfortunately, rather than using a more natural type of fertilizer, like manure, most people just spread the store-bought versions. Nitrogen and potassium are the most deadly of the three minerals because excess amounts, not neutralized, change the gut pH by making it more acidic. Nitrogen and potassium are actually neutralized by firstly, salt; secondly, calcium; and thirdly, magnesium. Horses cannot neutralize nitrogen or potassium overload fast enough by licking or chewing on a salt block, or a rock of any kind. Rocks and blocks for horses should never be used, in my opinion. Free-choice, always-available loose salt and minerals will prevent more issues than anything I know. We have proved it for nearly two decades, not only with our own 50-plus horses, but with tens of thousands of clients’ horses. Free-choice loose salt and minerals are critical to gut health, preventing colic and more. Keeping a little in a feed bucket and hanging the bucket on a fence post can prevent most major issues in horses. Even rain doesn’t negatively affect it. While colic is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, empowering yourself with knowledge about what to look for and what to do can give you more peace of mind.

“Dr. Dan” Moore is a practicing holistic veterinarian, earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 at Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Dan is the founder of The Natural Vet, an online source of information, products and services about natural alternatives to traditional drugs and chemicals for all species. He has combined more than 25 years of study in the field of herbal nutrition with completion of both professional and advanced courses in veterinary homeopathy. Dr. Dan has been featured on RFD-TV’s At the Clinic series and on the Outdoor Channel, and has written for many publications. An extensive library of articles, videos and recordings can be found at TheNaturalVet.net, where questions can be searched and/or submitted to AskDrDan.com. The office may be called toll free at 877-873-8838.

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EQUINE PARTNER When it comes to lameness in your horse, you need to know what to watch out for. Here are some tips for developing your eye. By Lindsey Moneta-Larson, DVM


ameness in horses can range from extremely subtle to very dramatic. It’s important to realize that not all gait abnormalities are caused by lameness, which arises due to pain. Some gait abnormalities result from a horse’s conformation while others are associated with certain neurologic conditions. In this article, we’re going to focus on steps you can take to improve your evaluation of lameness in your horse.

PUT YOUR EYES TO WORK Once you have asked yourself some basic questions about your horse’s lameness (see sidebar on page 15), it’s time to put your eyes to work. The key to developing a good eye is to be thorough and consistent. 14

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• Start with the horse standing squarely on flat, level ground and observe him from the front, the rear and both sides. Compare each side of the horse and note any asymmetries in muscle tone and development. Also note any large conformation flaws. For example, a horse whose front limbs are toed-in will exhibit a “paddling” motion when trotting; it is essential to know that this is not a lameness.

BEGIN BY ASKING YOURSELF A FEW QUESTIONS When did the lameness start? Is the lameness consistent? Are there any areas of obvious heat, pain or swelling? During which gaits is the lameness observed? Do different riders influence the lameness?

• Next, you will need a suitable ground surface to evaluate the horse while he’s moving. Find a firm, level, straight, non-slippery area where the horse can be walked and trotted in a straight line for ten to 15 strides. Keep in mind that a barefoot horse may be sore when trotting on rocky surfaces if his feet are not used to such conditions. Properly handling the horse is also important. The handler should be comfortable with the horse and should not hold the lead too tightly; this can restrict the horse’s head movements and influence his gait. Have the horse walk in a straight line away from you, turn, and walk straight back. Watch and listen for a consistent rhythm. A sore leg will generally strike the ground more lightly while the opposite limb hits harder. Pay attention to how the horse turns. Generally, a sound horse will turn without hesitation, and the entire turn should be fluid. Observe whether the front end and hindquarters follow the same lines. In some hind-end lamenesses, the hindquarters will be shifted to one side or another. Walk the horse up and down the area until you are comfortable with any noteworthy gait abnormalities. After observing the horse at a walk, • repeat the same sequence at a trot. The horse should move out promptly and be forward. Even a horse that is normally ridden at a slow pace should be asked to move briskly to best observe any lameness. Continued on page 16.

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Continued from page 15. Trotting is the typical gait where a head bob may be seen. A horse is said to be “head-bobbing lame” when his head moves up and down in sequence with the footfalls of the front limbs. The head will lower when weight is placed on the sound (or less painful) limb. When weight is being placed on the painful front limb, the head will go up. Moving the head upwards allows the horse to transfer more weight off the sore front leg. Some front-end abnormalities will be more subtle and the horse may not display a head bob at all. It can also be helpful to not only observe the moving horse from directly behind or in front, but also from the side. It may take several repetitions of trotting to decide which leg is abnormal. • Hind-end lamenesses are best seen while watching the horse move directly away from you. Watch the movement of his hips. You may have heard of terms like “hip hike” or “hip drop”; however, the total amount of vertical movement in each hip is the most significant factor. The lame leg will have more total vertical motion compared to the sound leg. Try focusing on the point of the hip, and compare left and right. Some horses have more natural hip movement than others, so it is important to compare each side to the other in the same horse, and not one horse to another.

• After watching the horse move in a straight line at the walk and trot, you may also want to try lunging. Some lamenesses will show up more on a circle than a straight line. Depending on the condition, a lameness may seem worse going one direction versus another, thus it is important to note if there is a discrepancy in the degree of lameness circling to the left versus right. In most cases, gait abnormalities are best seen at the trot because the trot is an even two-beat gait. However, sometimes the canter can be worthwhile watching as well. Canter is best observed on the lunge line, and again, you will be watching for an evenness between the two sides as well as equal weight bearing. The horse should be encouraged to move forward in a true three-beat canter. Attention should also be paid to how the horse transitions between the trot and canter. A lame horse may display abrupt or rough transitions when figuring out how to best unload the painful leg. Again, the handler plays a crucial role here. The horse should be allowed to transition naturally, ideally with voice cues, rather than with pulls on the lunge line. As the observer, place yourself outside the lunging circle. It is harder to watch if you are having to turn yourself at the same time.

When viewed from the side, a lame hind leg may also appear to move more quickly or have a shorter stride as the horse tries to reduce the duration and degree of weight bearing.

• In some circumstances, it is beneficial to watch the horse under saddle as well. Some abnormalities will be more exaggerated with a rider on board, or while performing certain movements.

Another area to watch is the fetlock, in both the front and hind legs. A lame leg will show less dropping of the fetlock (fetlock extension) compared to the sound leg.

Evaluating gait abnormalities takes patience and practice. Stick with a step-wise approach and you will be well on your way to developing an eye for lameness in your equine partner.

Lindsey Moneta-Larson is an associate veterinarian at Pacific Crest Sporthorse in Oregon City, Oregon. She has been an avid rider for over 20 years and currently shares her life with her husband, two dogs and one horse. More information at pacificcrestsporthorse.com 16

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Life changes can upset your balance and impact your ability to work effectively with your horses. But there are ways to maintain your calm and regain your stability, so you can continue riding at your personal best.

By Barbra Schulte

love studying how we can be fulfilled, happy and calm with our horses, even amid the inevitable and often stressful changes that occur in our lives. Learning how to be my best around horses led me to become trained as a Personal Performance Coach for riders in all disciplines. I teach “mental skills” to equestrians. Utilizing mental skills – the ability to ride at your highest level on demand, in any situation, with a highly fine-tuned sense of calmness and focus – is a learned ability. It’s not a talent. So if you tend to be a nervous nelly, especially when dealing with a major change in your life, know that with proper training you can call up a special state of clarity that will allow you to ride consistently at your personal best.

“WHAT DO I LOVE?” In my Personal Performance training, I learned to ask myself power questions. One of these questions was: “What do I love?” I knew I could stay cool on the inside if I remained within the boundaries of what I loved and could control. 18

We all seek joy, confidence and ease on our own equestrian journeys. This is true whether we love competition, improving our skills in the arena, or riding on the trail. A key point is that we all have an individual journey. The next key point is that each of us is the keeper of our own journey. This is no easy task. Rarely will you find only one trainer or educational resource that has all the solutions you need to help you master your own technical or mental riding challenges. Then there’s this pesky little intruder called “change”. If an abrupt wrench is thrown into our journey – like an accident, a trainer change, a family crisis, or simply getting older or watching our interests change – our entire world seems to turn upside down. The ground beneath our feet is no longer steady. We feel anxious. How do you develop the ability to call up calmness amid change, so you can continue to be your best with your horse?

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SIX WAYS TO CALM YOUR NERVES AND REGAIN A SENSE OF STEADINESS Ask yourself, “What do I really love…NOW?” Answer honestly. It’s not about what your friend, stable mate or trainer loves – it’s about what you love. With time and life events, your likes and loves may change. It’s hard sometimes to let go of past measures of success and joy. But when you search your soul for what you really love – and stay true to that – you are on the road to a fulfilling journey.

Have the courage to be you. We are all imperfect. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Yet sometimes we so want to have it all together for the sake of the outside world. However, calmness comes from being true to yourself in all situations, from triumphs to heartaches. Seek a barn friend with whom you feel at ease and share your imperfections. By the way, those “weaknesses” are your personal guidelines to your next steps of learning. Be yourself!

Be kind to yourself. Do you ever tell yourself what a nitwit rider you are? We all do this at times. I encourage you to listen to what you say to yourself. Speak to yourself in the same way you would encourage a close friend. You would never walk up to someone and say, “Man, I can’t believe you did that! You always make that stupid mistake. You’ll never get it!” Be compassionate with yourself. You are doing the best you can at any moment in time. Are there improvements to be made? Sure. But that is our path – errors and then improvements. No one gets out of that arrangement, including you. Be truly kind to yourself. Continued on page 20.

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We are all seeking joy, confidence and ease on our own equestrian journeys. This is true whether we love competition, improving our skills in an arena, or riding on the trail.


Continued from page 19.

Train yourself in the mental skills of high performance. You can train yourself to do research-based “performer” skills to call up a state of calmness and confidence in a moment. The thumbnail explanation is that this state of calmness and focus is a specific set of emotions. Because the mind, body and emotions are inseparable, we can train any emotional state (including calmness) by how we think and what we do with our bodies. Actors do this all the time. For example, if you want to feel confident (no matter how you really feel) use your body. Assume the posture of confidence – shoulders back, eyes up, regular breathing. Utilize your thinking to your advantage. Talk to yourself about what you want instead of what you don’t want. Encourage yourself. Only focus on things you can control.

5 6

These are just a few tips anyone can learn. There are many more. With practice, they will change your riding, and change your life.

Know that there is always a gift in change. I am a firm believer that there is always a gift in any challenge or change, and that this gift is equal to or greater than the heartache. Whatever potential hardship you are facing, look for the gifts instead of resisting what’s already happened.

Tell yourself you are always enough. Sometimes, when difficult things happen, we think we are not enough because we feel we have “regressed”. The reason you ride is for joy. You love horses. Nothing can ever take that away. You don’t have to be at some imaginary marker out in space. Feeling grateful for the pure joy of your passion for horses is an inside job. You are always enough, wherever you are on your equine journey!

Barbra Schulte began her journey on her parents’ 400-horse ranch. Through multiple life and equine adventures, she has always been driven by a singular passion – to help riders improve their confidence. Barbra is a trainer, speaker, coach, clinician, author and a publisher of online training programs. She is also an honoree in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. You may contact Barbra at barbraschulte.com.


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For over 40 years, SOURCE has sustainably harvested and painstakingly blended only select varieties of coldwater seaweeds. And every day, horse owners and trainers from around the country report the glowing results from all their hard work – shinier coats; stronger, more flexible hooves; and increased stamina. The unique SOURCE® micronutrients provide the most effective nutrients to help develop optimum health, coat, weight and hoof condition. Celebrate 42 years of guaranteed, effective results with SOURCE!

Joint pain and stiffness can be debilitating for a horse. Being pain-free is crucial for the health and happiness of trail and endurance horses, but especially high performance equine athletes. Unfortunately, most joint medications have side effects. Our Herbiflex herbal joint support has natural anti-inflammatory as well as analgesic (pain relieving) properties. Our Signature Line Herbal Formulas contain the very finest certified organic herbs and are handcrafted fresh upon order.

theholistichorse.com 4source.com 800-232-2365



WESTERN DRESSAGE SADDLE FOR WOMEN At Schleese Saddlery, they recognize the unique physiology of female riders. Having proven the benefits of proper female fitting in the English riding markets, they are pleased to introduce the same, successful philosophy to the Western dressage riding market with the “Cadence”. The first western dressage saddle designed specifically for women, this product is lightweight and infinitely adjustable to maximize comfort for horse and rider. Want comfort and performance in one beautifully appointed package? The “Cadence” delivers.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDLES Looking for a bridle that fits well and works great? The Kieffer Perseus snaffle bridle is the epitome of comfort and style. Its ergonomic design incorporates a soft padded “crown” and an innovative ear cut-out for maximum comfort. The unique noseband offers both style and function, and is available in either a crank flash or plain padded noseband with a flash. Choose from black or brown leather bridle and a full range of sizes: cob, full and oversized/extra full.

schleese.com 800-225-2242

eaglewoodequestrian.ca 416-708-1898 Equine Wellness

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SADDLE PLACEMENT –is my horse in pain? By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE with Muriel Chestnut


horse is standing quietly in cross-ties, when the rider appears with a saddle. The horse’s ears go back, she starts biting at the cross-ties, swishing her tail and shuffling around. The rider reprimands her for being cranky


and misbehaving. Clearly, however, the horse has previously experienced discomfort during saddling and has learned to react with unwanted behaviors. In this article, we’ll look at how saddle placement can cause horses pain, and what to do about it.

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1. Throwing a saddle on a horse can cause shock and discomfort. Always be gentle when saddling him. 2. Placing the saddle too far forward, on top of the shoulders instead of behind the edge of the shoulder blade, or scapula, creates discomfort and mobility problems. 3. A too-narrow saddle placed on top of the shoulders pinches the trapezius muscles, preventing the horse from moving her front legs freely. It restricts normal movement and can pinch the reflex point on the withers where a stallion bites a mare during breeding to immobilize her and cause her pelvis to open. This results in hollowing of the rider’s back and reduced gait regularity. 4. A saddle too wide in the gullet slides backwards to rest in the lowest point of the horse’s back. If the gullet has not been properly measured to fit the horse, pressure is created on the ligaments running down each side of the spine, and it may rest on top of the spinal processes. Constant rubbing in this area can result in lumps

The white and yellow chalk drawings show the saddle-supportarea (SSA) and where the saddle should lie; the pink triangle on the withers area shows the highly sensitive area where the saddle should not be placed.

or swelling and/or cause permanent damage, indicated by white hairs in the affected areas. 5. Tighten the girth just enough to keep the saddle from slipping as the horse is led out to ride. Then, before mounting, tighten the girth one hole at a time on either side while walking your horse for a few minutes. Avoid over-tightening by using your hand – it should slide fairly easily between the horse and the girth. 6. A saddle placed too far forward will put the rider’s balance point too far back. This distributes her weight to the back of the saddle,

Most often, you will find white hairs on the left side of the horse’s withers, which indicate a gullet plate that was too tight and incorrectly fitted, and tree points that were also too tight, incorrectly angled or forward-facing.

into a chair-seat position, putting too much pressure on the horse’s lumbar area. The rider cannot use aids effectively, and the horse is pushed out of balance and into tension. This can create an instinctive flight response. When a horse feels out of balance, his adrenaline kicks in, resulting in rushing, high-headedness, a refusal to turn or bolting. 7. A saddle positioned too far back tends to sit on the “floating ribs”. This is the “bucking reflex point” – pressure on these unsupported ribs causes considerable discomfort, which can lead to bucking as the horse tries to alleviate the pressure. 8. A saddle that is too long will also put unwanted pressure on these “floating ribs”.

A certified Equine Ergonomist or Saddle Fitter can assess the correct fit and placement of your saddle. Your horse will be happier and more comfortable, and you may find that some of those unwanted “cranky” behaviors mysteriously improve or even vanish!

Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese is the author of the best-selling Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses (Trafalgar Books 2013, 2015, 2017) as well as the recipient of numerous business, industry and trade awards for his innovative saddle designs and leadership in the equestrian industry. His insightful educational articles have appeared in over 38 publications globally.

This saddle, which was made for a man, gives the female rider no other choice but to sit in a chair-seat position. It is easy to determine where the ribs end and where the lumbar vertebrae begin. The saddle should never lie on the lumbar vertebrae with their long transverse processes (which are, in essence, “floating ribs”).

Muriel Chestnut (nee McKee) has been a proud member of the Schleese extended family since 1987, beginning her long-standing relationship with the Schleese’s as their first female apprentice Saddle Maker. She continues to be a passionate advocate for the well-being of horses and brings 35 years of equestrian knowledge to the table. Muriel is delighted to once again be included in the capacity of assistant journalist for Schleese Saddlery. saddlefit4life.com, saddlesforwomen.com

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Feeding your HORSE’S GUT microbiome By Eleanor Kellon, VMD

Keeping the equine microbiome healthy involves feeding an appropriate diet, and when necessary, adding a supplement that offers a variety of active prebiotic ingredients.


nlike us, horses can thrive on a diet consisting solely of highly fibrous plant material. The reason? The activity of the bacteria and protozoa inhabiting the equine intestinal tract, collectively known as the equine microbiome, makes it possible.

THE STOMACH AND SMALL INTESTINE The upper portions of the equine digestive tract – the stomach and small intestinal segments called the duodenum, jejunum and ileum – work the same way as ours. The stomach begins the digestion of protein and fat, while the small intestine completes the process, using enzymes released by the pancreas and intestinal cells to digest and absorb fats, amino acids from protein, and simple sugars. Starch is digested to glucose (a sugar) before being absorbed. The work of the microbiome starts in the stomach and small intestine. Several classes of bacteria have been found to colonize the upper intestinal tract, predominantly Lactobacilli and Streptococci. These ferment sugars, starch and short plant sugars or small fructans, producing lactate and volatile fatty acids, which are then absorbed by the horse and used for energy or to produce fats or glucose in the liver.

Bacterial fermentation in the stomach and small intestine serves several functions. It reduces the load of carbohydrates that must be digested by the horse’s enzymes. It also reduces the rise in blood sugar from eating. Lactate and volatile fatty acids are produced (see sidebar on page 25). Finally, these active bacteria release growth factors into the intestinal fluid, encouraging the further growth and proliferation of beneficial bacteria.

THE LARGE INTESTINE In the large intestine (cecum and colon), the microbiome continues with the same functions as in the small intestine, but a more varied population of organisms makes it possible to ferment more complex plant materials such as long plant sugars, fructans, cellulose, hemicellulose and the soluble fibers pectin and beta-glucan. Last, but not least, the microbiome provides gentle stimulation to the immune system via the GALT – gut-associated lymphoid tissues.






protection from organisms that would harm the intestinal tissues (by competing for food via their sheer numbers), and by secreting various antimicrobial substances.


The food used by a microbe is referred to as a substrate. Bacterial processing of the microbe’s substrates is called fermentation. Structurally uncomplicated substrates such as glucose or other simple sugars are absorbed intact and used by a wide variety of organisms. More complex substrates like starch or fiber must be processed first. The organism uses enzymes to break down this type of substrate into smaller substances. This is often a cooperative effort between different organisms with different enzyme capacities. For example, one class of bacteria may break down starch and ferment the glucose that results in lactate. Another class will use the lactate as their food.


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C en

ters for Disea se

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Obviously, maintaining a healthy population of organisms in the microbiome is critical for the health and digestive function of the horse. As with all living things, the health of the microbiome begins with feeding it.


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tion/Science Ph o to

The foal is born with a sterile intestinal tract. He picks up organisms from the environment, and those that find the temperature, pH, oxygen and fluid levels to their liking – and that are getting the type of food they need – will set up house and flourish. The process of picking up organisms from the world around him continues in the adult horse. Keeping them there is then a matter of diet.

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The body of the average sized horse houses 100 feet of intestines.


Volatile fatty acids (VFAs), aka short chain fatty acids, are the ultimate end product of bacterial fermentation. The dominant VFAs are acetate, propionate and butyrate. They are small organic compounds whose larger cousins are used to put together triglycerides and the phospholipid membrane around cells.

Hard-working horses may not be able to eat enough hay or pasture to maintain their weight. Horses can tolerate grain feeding if most of the grain is digested in the small intestine without spilling over into the large intestine (hind gut) in excessive amounts. A safe amount is generally accepted to be 1 gram of starch per kilogram of body weight, which amounts to 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs) of plain oats (which are only 40% starch) for a 1,100 lb horse. Many other feedstuffs are given to horses, each with a unique profile of fat, fiber, starch and protein. If you choose foods with a high soluble fiber content and low to moderate starch, you will be supporting the microbiome and still be getting higher calories than from hay or grass. These foods include beet pulp, soybean hulls and flax seeds (whole or defatted). When fed daily, psyllium husk fiber is also a prebiotic, since the organisms quickly adapt to fermenting it.

The horse’s digestive process is complicated, but supporting it doesn’t have to be. Feed him an appropriate diet, and when necessary, choose a supplement with a variety of active prebiotic ingredients to keep his microbiome flourishing. Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years. She is a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal. ecirhorse.org Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier. On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances. uckele.com

Most acetate is used directly as an energy source, but could be turned into fats. Propionate that is not used is converted into glucose. Butyrate is an important energy source for the cells lining the intestines. These cells use most of the butyrate; excess can be converted to fats in the liver.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Many digestive supplements also contain prebiotic ingredients – substances that feed the beneficial organisms directly, or create a favorable environment for them to grow. Check the analysis and ingredients list for items such as fermentation products or extracts, yeast cell wall, live Saccharomyces cerevisiae or boulardii organisms, mannan-oligosaccharides, fructo-oligosaccharides, chicory root, slippery elm bark and marshmallow root. In addition to providing growth factors, fermentation products and extracts have high enzyme activity that assists both the horse and the microbiome in breaking down and utilizing his diet.

The microbiome is a teeming population of bacteria and protozoa which helps the horse digest complex plant material into compounds that can be used for energy. Equine Wellness

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To maintain a good population of appropriate organisms, you have to feed the horse like a horse. The diet is by far the most important source of prebiotics (substances that encourage the proliferation of beneficial organisms). The feral horse eats a diet of predominantly grasses, but will also browse on other plant materials, from bushes to tree bark. The domesticated horse inevitably has less variety in his diet, but you can still mimic this diet by feeding a diet of predominantly hay and/or pasture.


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Photos courtesy of Jerry Finch


This one-of-a-kind horse rescue works with law enforcement to help equines who need it most – from those who are abused or neglected, to those caught up in the wake of disastrous hurricanes.


By Emily Watson

t first glance, Habitat for Horses is a non-profit equine rescue registered in Texas. But beneath the surface, it’s an inspirational organization with a mission that reaches far beyond rescuing horses (see sidebar on page 28). Since its founding in 1998, Habitat for Horses has worked closely with law enforcement throughout Texas and across the nation, assisting in investigations, temporary holdings, documentation and court presentations in equine mistreatment cases. Around 6,000 equines have passed through the organization’s gates in the past two decades. When they receive a call for help, Habitat for Horses starts with an initial investigation. Since their primary goal is always to keep a horse in his home, the rescue team does its best


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to rectify the situation through education. They assist in deworming horses, finding them a farrier, providing transportation to the vet when necessary and teaching the owners the basics of proper horse care. Sometimes, the owner is grateful and the horse is no longer neglected. Other times, it’s not quite so simple. The more difficult cases are, unfortunately, not uncommon. Some neglectful owners ignore the advice the rescue team offers, while others chase them off their property. When this happens, it’s time for law enforcement to step in. If necessary, Habitat for Horses alerts a judge, and requests a seizure warrant. Luckily, the rescue’s relationship with law enforcement has come a long way since they first began. “Twenty years ago in this part of Texas, many local law enforcement officers had little interest in or knowledge about animal cruelty laws,” says Habitat for Horses’ retired president, Jerry Finch. “When I approached a judge about the lack of enforcement, he said, ‘If you want something done, you’ll need to learn how to do it yourself.’” Taking these words to heart, Habitat for Horses became an active assistant to law enforcement agencies in the area. All they ask in return is that the officers alert them whenever a complaint of equine cruelty comes in, and that all abused horses be turned over to them. Today, local law enforcement officials respond with enthusiasm. Once a horse is turned over to the rescue, rehabilitation begins. Often, this lengthy process requires the skills and TLC of an entire team of professionals. “Dr. Dennis Jenkins, for example, has been on our board since the first day,” says Jerry. “His dedication to our cause is exemplified by his resistance to giving up. ‘Let’s try one more thing’ is a statement we often hear when we’re searching for a miracle, and more often than not, miracles happen.” According to Jerry, a gentle approach goes a long way toward healing the bodies and souls of neglected equines. Together, the Habitat for Horses team paves the way toward retraining and adoption.

“IT’S ALMOST MAGICAL TO SEE THE CHANGE IN HORSES WHEN THEY HEAR A SOFT VOICE AND REALIZE THAT WE’RE THERE TO HELP.” Habitat for Horses has four ranches in south Texas where rehabilitation takes place. On average, they house 350 horses and donkeys at any given time. Their rescues range from minis to drafts, all from different backgrounds and disciplines. “It’s always shocking to find highly trained hunter-jumpers stuck in a junkyard, starved and neglected,” says Jerry. “We’ll never know the whole story, but our goal is to turn the sadness into a happy ending.” Indeed, for the staff and volunteers, few moments are more cherished than watching a once-starved horse galloping freely at one of their sanctuaries, or sharing a new home with a loving family.


What we care about? Feeding the horses we love. Naturally.

But Habitat for Horses’ goodwill doesn’t stop at the Texas border. In 2005, the rescue was called to action in Louisiana during one of the worst disasters the United States had ever seen – Hurricane Katrina. They rescued 200 horses from the storm, and returned all but one to their owners. Continued on page 28. Equine Wellness

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Continued from page 27.


• To promote and secure the safety, well-being and health of horses. • To encourage education concerning the physical and mental health of horses. • To utilize horses in the growth and mental health of humans, either adults or children, through education, demonstration and connection. • To study, promote and enhance the proper training of horses through positive training techniques. • To provide a home for those horses who are no longer able to be productive. • To return to health, if possible, owned horses that are deemed sick or injured.


This experience, along with emergency rescue efforts during Hurricanes Rita and Ike, plus independent coursework, has provided Habitat for Horses with extensive knowledge on disaster preparation. Still, nothing could prepare them for Hurricane Harvey in the fall of 2017. When it comes to emergency response, Habitat for Horses takes no action unless requested by the law. As Harvey’s unprecedented winds and torrential rain pummeled Houston and surrounding areas, the organization’s rescue crew stood by, waiting for the call. Meanwhile, water levels rose on their ranches, and roads became impassable. It was up to Jerry and his wife, executive director Rebecca Williams, to get from their home to the Habitat for Horses ranch in Galveston County, half a mile away. The two of them rescued horses from flooded pastures and provided the best care they could until the storm began to recede. Finally, Habitat for Horses was called southwest where flooding was up to the rooftops. They responded immediately, offering whatever help they could. When an area was too dangerous to enter, the rescue staff and volunteers offered advice from afar, directing emergency responders to the best of their ability. By the time the hurricane finally eased, a second team had set up a distribution center at one of the organization’s ranches to hand out the donations coming in from all over the country. “Someone in Pennsylvania sent an 18-wheeler full of hay,” says Jerry, who never ceases to be amazed by the kindness of others. Two decades ago, Habitat for Horses set out to become a safe place for law enforcement to bring horses and donkeys when they had nowhere else to go. Today, although their sights have expanded, the mission remains the same. “We’re a sanctuary filled with promise, a pathway to another chance and a final resting place for those that don’t need to try anymore,” says Jerry. The secret behind their impact and longevity? A commitment to transparency, an educational approach to rescue and collaboration with like-minded organizations. But at the end of the day, none of their efforts would be possible without compassion. “It’s almost magical to see the change in horses when they hear a soft voice and realize that we’re there to help.”

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The nutritional supplements market has exploded over the last couple of decades. While these supplements bring many beneďŹ ts to our horses, we also need to ensure we can trust the products we’re using. If a company makes a claim, for instance, is it supported by clinical research? This article explores the regulatory process in the U.S. and Canada, and what horse caretakers need to know.

REGULATING EQUINE DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS IN THE U.S. AND CANADA By Cindy MacDonald In the United States, supplements for animals are considered either a food or a drug, depending on the intended use. They have no category of their own. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) regulates both categories through the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the Act). The Act does not require that animal foods have pre-market approval by FDA-CVM, however the ingredients must be approved for use in animal food/feed. It does require that animal 30

foods, like human foods, be pure and wholesome, contain no harmful or deleterious substances, and be truthfully labeled. As the human supplements market expanded in the last couple of decades, so too did interest in the supplements market for companion animals. As more and more brands hit the shelves, it became difficult to monitor which products met the requirements. The industry struggled through several failed committees as well as threats to remove categories of products from shelves in certain States. Finally, in 2001, the National

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Animal Supplement Council (NASC) was founded to help oversee to the erratic regulatory environment.

TRANSPARENCY IS KEY TO REGULATION The non-profit organization represents approximately 95% of brands in the U.S., and their members and affiliates include manufacturers, marketers, raw materials suppliers, distributors, regulators, veterinarians, retailers, pet professionals and animal owners. The NASC aims to protect companion animals, namely dogs, cats and horses, from potentially harmful nutrition or health supplements through a transparent process. They work with federal and state regulators to ensure standards for these products are high quality, reasonable, responsible and consistent. Prospective NASC members who sell branded products are required to sign a written NASC Code of Conduct Agreement, pledging the company will follow faithfully the requirements of membership.

by an on-site quality audit – they are granted permission to use the NASC Quality Seal on their product labels, websites, product literature and advertising. This voluntary approach for companies is working well due to the cooperation embraced by industry participants, regulatory agencies and downstream purchasers such as veterinarians, retailers and animal owners. In addition, NASC implements an Adverse Event Reporting System to handle complaints involving an animal health or nutritional supplement that’s allegedly had a negative physical effect or created a health problem. The member must investigate and resolve each adverse event, and report monthly to NASC, whether there’s been an adverse event or not. Their system tracks these adverse events by ingredient or product, as well as product sales by SKU. Even though the information is confidential for all NASC members, the system and information are available to the FDA.

If NASC supplier members meet specific criteria of ongoing adherence to the organization’s policies and standards – verified


REGULATORY OVERSIGHT IN CANADA By Wendy Pearson The Equine Supplements Space represents big business for manufacturers and retailers. Compared with products available even as recently as a decade ago, horse owners can find “self-help” supplements for virtually any and every equine ailment. While there can be much to be gained from providing high quality, efficacious feed additives to horse diets, there is a general misunderstanding amongst horse owners about this very colorful product category. After all, as horse owners we are accustomed to regulatory oversight for our feed companies and our pharmaceutical companies, and it naturally follows that such oversight must be protecting us when we buy supplements too. Right? Well, this is unfortunately not a simple yes or no answer. Here’s a brief summary of the regulatory environment surrounding equine supplements, and what changes are afoot! Canadian equine supplements are regulated through Health Canada but, until very recently, the task had been downloaded to a private company who administered an interim notification program called ‘The Low Risk Veterinary Health Products Program’ (LRVHP; lrvhp.ca). This program was a voluntary notification program, which allowed equine supplement manufacturers to apply for blessing from Health Canada on their low-risk health product. At its inception, the LRVHP was a big victory for horse owners, as it meant that, for the

first time in Canadian history, horse owners could enjoy a new level of confidence that the product was actually safe for horses. The LRVHP program was a great first step at protecting the safety of our horses, however, problems arose because the program was voluntary and many supplements were not even captured by the program. Only products containing ingredients specified on the “admissible substances” list were eligible for notification through this program. That meant many herbal products containing herbs that did not have documented history of use in horses would not be eligible. There was an opportunity for manufacturers to apply to have a new ingredient added to the admissible substances list, but unless they could provide historical evidence of use and safety in horses it was pretty unlikely that the substance would be added.

Continued on page 32.

Albizia julibrissin

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Continued from page 31.

DID LRVHP PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM PRODUCTS THAT DON’T WORK? Safety was King when it came to LRVHP, but the program didn’t solve all our problems with equine supplements. It still left the responsibility of providing efficacious products in the hands of the manufacturer. And while many companies claimed to manufacture products “based on science”, this science was almost always extracted from literature in the public domain and NOT from research on their individual blended product. This was a big problem, since dangerous interactions could occur. Companies needed to support their products with research that was specific to their product, and specific to horses. The trouble was – and continues to be – that research on horses is expensive and many companies manufacturing equine products are small- to mid-sized companies without much of a budget for research. The government does provide some financial help in this respect, but unfortunately many companies aren’t aware of these programs. And most don’t do this type of research. The LRVHP program was a great help, but…. Even with the LRVHP, it remained up to the consumer to demand efficacy research from their favorite supplement manufacturers. Also, quality assurance standards such as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) were not mandated by the program, leaving consumers at risk for contaminated or adulterated products. So, a next step beyond LRVHP was needed.

THE NEW REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT IN CANADA On November 13, 2017 Health Canada implemented amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations to include a new category of products named ‘Veterinary Health Products’ (VHPs).

Hordeum vulgare

Fritillaria thunbergii

These amendments take the equine supplement industry a step forward towards an improved regulatory environment, and safer, better products for horse owners. The program provides a few key improvements over the previous LRVHP program. First (and perhaps most importantly) the program is no longer voluntary, and any company manufacturing, importing, distributing or selling equine supplements is obligated to enlist in this program. Second, all products must be manufactured under a minimum quality assurance standard of GMP. The list of allowed ingredients within VHPs is provided as List C: Veterinary Health Products (canada.ca/en/public-health/ services/antibiotic-antimicrobial-resistance/animals/veterinaryhealth-products/list-c.html) and contains a vastly expanded list compared with the previous Admissible Substances List of the LRVHP. And lastly, companies participating in this program are obliged to report any serious adverse reactions to their products to Health Canada. So, with the key changes seen in this new program, horse owners can look forward to improved standards for equine supplements in the coming months. However, remember that despite the improved regulatory environment provided by the VHP program, it still does not require suppliers of equine supplements to do any efficacy research on their products. This level of due diligence still lies at the feet of responsible manufacturers, and is only likely to be observed if consumers like you demand it!

Wendy Pearson completed an MSc (Nutritional Toxicology) and a PhD program (Biomedical Toxicology) at the University of Guelph with specialization in medicinal herbs and nutraceuticals for horses. She has accumulated over 20 peer-reviewed research papers, abstracts and book chapters on veterinary natural supplements. Wendy spent two years as a scientist at a multinational research and development consulting firm, with a specialization in natural veterinary drug development, followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Guelph in clinical nutrition for livestock. Since 2016, Wendy has been employed as Assistant Professor of Equine Physiology in the Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph. 32

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winter warming

By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis



orses have an amazing capacity to maintain body warmth. The equine digestive system is like an internal combustion engine that constantly creates heat. The horse’s blood and chi circulation warm the entire body. Acupressure can help your horse thrive.

Stomach 36 (St 36) is the key acupressure point, or “acupoint”, for enhancing the Stomach’s ability to serve as the “holding basin” for the enzymes that act upon the forage the horse is consuming. Additionally, this acupoint supports the motility of the material substances through the digestive tract.

During the winter, horses need nutritious grass hay to fuel their digestion. They also need sufficient water to ensure both the breakdown of the fibrous cellulose into bio-available nutrients and the motility of the feed’s material base as it passes through the gastrointestinal system.

Spleen 3 (Sp 3) is a powerful acupoint used to increase the body’s capacity to break down forage into absorbable nutrients. Without rich nourishment, the digestive system would not be able to heat and nourish the horse’s body.

Because horses are less active during the colder months, supporting the horse’s circulation is critical, especially for older equines. The yang chi – the heat of the body created by digestion – is transported by blood and chi circulation from the tip of the horse’s nose to his hind hoof.

CHINESE MEDICINE APPROACH TO BODY WARMTH The Chinese medicine approach to making sure your horse can maintain his yang chi warmth during the winter involves supporting the organ systems that enhance digestion and circulation. The Stomach and Spleen are the two internal organs responsible for processing food and generating heat. The Heart is in charge of blood circulation while the energetic organ system called Triple Heater monitors body temperature. The Heart and Triple Heater must work in concert to ensure the horse’s body is warm all over. The horse’s internal organs always need to function well. But during the colder months of the year we need to pay particular attention to the Stomach, Spleen, Heart and Triple Heater. These organs must function optimally so that the horse’s body can sustain its yang chi by receiving the necessary nutrients and experiencing correct organ activity.

ACUPRESSURE SESSION A brief acupressure session while grooming can help your horse thrive during winter. The following acupressure points, when stimulated on both sides of your horse (bilaterally), will support the smooth flow of chi energy to the organ systems most responsible for promoting warmth throughout your horse’s body:

Heart 7 (Ht 7) supports Heart function, thus strongly affecting the circulation of nutrient-rich warming blood to all parts of the horse’s body. Triple Heater 4 (TH 4) balances the horse’s body temperature to help with warming while also supporting the circulation of body fluids needed to maintain motility for digestion and physical mobility. By receiving this acupressure session once or twice a week through the cold-weather months, your horse will enjoy a comfy winter and be ready for all the fun and riding spring will bring.

POINT LOCATION St 36 Located one finger width from the head of the fibula, on the lateral side of the tibia. Sp 3 Found on the distal end of the medial splint bone. Ht 7 Located on the caudolateral aspect of the radius, proximal to the accessory carpal bone, opposite Pe 7. TH 4 Located in the large depression slightly lateral to the middle of the cranial surface of the carpal joint, between the intermediate and 3rd carpal bones.

Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of Acu-Horse: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides a 300-hour hands-on and online training program worldwide. It is an approved school for the Department of Higher Education Vocational Schools through the State of Colorado, and an approved provider of NCCAOM Continuing Education courses. Contact 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com.

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By Susan E. Harris

How mental imagery can assist you in becoming a better and more relaxed rider.


o you try too hard when you’re riding? Have you ever assumed the “perfect” position and had trouble holding it? Do you wish you had stronger muscles so you could keep your legs in position, your hands still, head up, back straight, elbows in — and then relax? It isn’t usually a happy or successful experience for either rider or horse. Using visualization techniques can be an easier and more effective way to find balance, position and harmony with your horse.

THE BENEFITS OF VISUALIZATION Visualization has long been an important technique in sports psychology. Athletes participating in sports from Olympic diving to golf, skiing and majorleague baseball often visualize the perfect performance to program their minds and bodies to do their best. Visualization can also help with achieving calm and focus, getting “in the zone”, and handling stress and performance anxiety. This is very important for riders, because a horse will feel and react to your mental attitude as it’s expressed through physical tension. A tense rider cannot create a quiet relaxed horse. Mental imagery works best when you are calm, focused and aware of your body. If you’re feeling scattered, rushed or critical, your mind and body go into defensive mode, causing tension, decreased awareness and the posture that riding instructors call “the fatal fetal crouch”. Visualization can help you get your mind and body into a better state. 34

SALLY SWIFT AND IDIOKINESIS Sally Swift helped to bring mental imagery into equestrian sports through her Centered Riding® method. As a child, she had severe scoliosis; she worked with Mabel Todd, a pioneer in physical therapy who wrote The Thinking Body. Todd believed that using a mental image would allow the body to move freely, gracefully and without conscious effort. She called this Idiokinesis, meaning that the picture you hold in your mind automatically moves your body. Sally’s images were grounded in an understanding of anatomy and how the body, especially the skeleton, functions in motion and balance. They became one of the basic principles of Sally Swift’s ground-breaking book, Centered Riding.

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Images courtesy of Susan Harris

The visualization exercises in this article are based on achieving skeletal alignment and balance (as Sally Swift said, “ride your bones”) instead of focusing on conscious muscle control. When people try to use specific muscles, they become stiff, like a dancer trying to place her feet in the right position instead of going with the music. And when a rider tries to “muscle” themselves into position, or a horse into obedience, it’s not pretty! It helps to have a mental picture of the bones and body parts you are trying to influence – if you’re not sure where your hip joints are, it’s hard to visualize ways to help them work better. A model skeleton or poster of the skeleton is a useful aid.

NOT ALL IMAGES WORK FOR ALL RIDERS Mental images are highly personal, and we each have our own preferred learning style. Some people, especially visual learners, love imagery. They can use almost any image. For others, certain images work and others don’t. Some people may find only a few images work for them. If an image doesn’t work for you, there’s nothing wrong – it’s simply not your image. Ask for clarification (instructors should be clear about the concept behind the image), but if an image is ineffective, let it go. It may work for you another time, or maybe never. Feel free to discover and use visualization in a way that works for you.

AWARENESS COMES FIRST Begin at a halt or walk, taking time to become aware of the part of your body you want to focus on. Allow your horse to walk quietly while you explore your body. Ask yourself what you notice about that body part (for instance, your hip joints). How does it move – up and down, forward and back, in a rotary direction? Compare left and right sides; usually there’s a difference. Observe without judgment. If you find an error like tilting forward or a hollow back, don’t scold yourself. Instead, focus on how it feels and compare that with how it feels when it’s corrected. Here are some specific images and visualizations to try. Do them first at the walk – the “slow motion laboratory” for feel and body learning – then take them into trot and canter when you’re ready. Continued on page 36. Equine Wellness

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Continued from page 35.

For balance: 1 T hink of your body hanging from a

bungee cord from the center of your head up to the sky. Contrast this with sitting up as tall as you can, as if you could touch the ceiling with your head. Both make you tall; but which image lets you feel tall and relaxed?

2 T ip forward onto the front of your seat, then backward onto your hip pockets. When you tip forward, where do you tighten to keep from falling forward? When you tip back, where’s the tension – in your chest, thighs, knees? Search for the “sweet spot” in the middle, where you don’t need muscle tension to keep your balance.

For straightness: Leg position: 1 If you were a giant Beanie Baby with 1,000 beans in your 1 Imagine that your legs are so long that your feet drag flat on body, are your beans equal (exactly 500 on each side), or is one side heavier? As you inhale, lift only five to ten beans up from the heavy side; let them cross over, and as you exhale, let them trickle down into the other side. This is a subtle internal re-distribution of weight, instead of moving your shoulders or hips over.

the ground; the dirt builds up in front of your feet, stretching your legs slightly backward, making long tracks in the dirt.

2 Suppose your legs are made of heavy rope and your feet are cement blocks; let your heavy legs hang down into the stirrups.

2 If one side feels tighter, shorter or stronger, try extending 3 Think of a rubber band extending from each heel to the your arm up over your head, with palm inward, thumb backward; imagine energy running upward out your fingers and allow everything from the armpit down to “untie” and release downward.

Head position: 1 Imagine that your head is a bowling ball balanced on the top

of your spine; there’s a lot of skull behind your ears. Balance your brain!

horse’s hock; as each hock goes backward, it draws your leg backward.

4 Imagine that you have eyes on your knees, just below your kneecap. Let those eyes look forward and down; this takes your knees down and lower legs back.

Shoulder position: 1 Let your collarbones grow long and wide, as if they’re making a big wide grin (the opposite of hunched, rounded shoulders pinched in front).

2 Let your shoulder blades (two heavy triangular bones) hang down in back behind your rib cage; imagine little weights dangling from the bottom of each shoulder blade.

3 Imagine a small balloon resting in each armpit, gently supporting your shoulder girdle to free your arms. (You can actually put a small balloon or a folded towel under each arm to get the feeling.)


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Movement and energy: 1 I magine a moving

belt (like a conveyer belt) going down your back, forward under the seat bones, up the front of your body, over your shoulders and down your back. This circle of energy engages with your horse’s forward movement from his hindquarters over his back.

2 Think of your horse’s energy flowing through all the joints of your body like water. For calm and quiet, you want deep, slowmoving water; for energy, you want strong water power, as if it was roaring through a fire hose. You control the water – don’t let it splash out of control!

3 I n

posting trot, imagine you can release a tennis ball from your center at the top of every post; it falls straight down between your feet.

4 I n canter, feel the upward motion

in each stride, like the lift of a rocking horse. Ride the “ups”; rock your horse higher and balance on each “up” to improve balance and collection.

5 Also

in canter, imagine you’re riding a carousel horse. Let your hips and back follow the circular motion and don’t lean forward, or you’ll bump your nose on the merry-go-round pole!

Susan Harris is an international clinician, author and artist from Cortland, NY. She teaches Centered Riding®, Anatomy in Motion™/Visible Horse and Horse and Rider Biomechanics Clinics around the world. She is the author and illustrator of the U.S. Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship, and more recently, Horse Gaits, Balance and Movement (Revised), which has also been published in Germany and in the UK. Visit Susan online at anatomyinmotion.com

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Photo courtesy of treelesssaddle.com




Treeless saddles offer a lot of advantages, but they don’t work for every horse or rider. Find out whether or not you should consider investing in one. By Joyce Harman, DVM

Treeless saddles are well-established in the horse world. They come in a variety of interesting designs and often offer a comfortable ride or solve saddle-fitting problems. They are not without issues, however, and this article will discuss how to decide if a treeless saddle belongs in your barn or not. The take-home message is that it will be a very personal decision, based on information and test rides, not style and hype.

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Many different types of treeless saddles are available, and they often incorporate some sort of flexible plastic form to help support the stirrup leathers or girth system. Some look like western saddles, some are English, and many suit more of an endurance style. They can be among the more versatile saddles for general riding, trail riding and even western showing, depending on the style of the horn and leather. Cheap copies of treeless saddles are also made, however, so stick with brand names for safety and quality.

HORSE FIT CONSIDERATIONS • In the treeless saddle design, there is no gullet (central gap for the spine), so horses with spines visible above the back muscle will need a pad with a gullet built in. If you do not use a pad with a gullet, you will actually be sitting on the horse’s hard spinous processes on the top of his back. When the saddle rests on the spine you will see pain along the very top of the back where the bone is. You may not see pain in the muscle unless the horse is dropping his back down, due to pain, and is making the muscle sore. Chunky horses, with the hard bony part of the spine below the muscle, may not need a special pad because the muscle acts like a pad with a gullet, keeping the saddle and rider off the hard part of the spine. •B ecause there is no tree to hold the saddle above the spine, horses with very high withers or big hollows on each side of the withers are difficult or impossible to fit with a treeless saddle. • Generally, treeless saddles are not designed for jumping, though small jumps can be taken while trail riding. One of the English versions is better designed for jumping but may not offer the support and stability the rider wants, and can still cause pressure points where the stirrup attaches. Landing over a jump puts a lot of pressure on the stirrups and leathers. • Treeless saddles are quite versatile and can fit many different horses; consequently, they can be beneficial in school and camp settings. Riders in therapeutic programs often benefit from the close feel of the horse’s movement. • These saddles can be an option when you have a short-backed horse that is difficult to fit. The saddle can be longer than the rib cage (saddle pressure should end at the last rib), but the soft leather can extend beyond that point and not put any pressure on the lumbar area. The rider’s weight is concentrated on the weight-bearing area of the short back. • Treeless saddles can be useful for all types of trail riding because most pressure points are eliminated. Many horses move much better without a tree. While it is commonly believed that a tree Equine Wellness

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Other endurance and English designs incorporate a thin plastic form under the seat, covered with leather or synthetic material. The girth attachments vary, but the girth or rigging must hold the saddle on the horse. The way the girth and billet systems work needs to be examined, since they are a source of pressure points. The same holds true of the stirrup attachments. The rider’s weight will be concentrated over the area where the stirrup leathers originate. Computer pressure-measuring devices have shown increases in pressure over the stirrup leather area.

distributes the rider’s weight better, trail horses can go many miles in treeless saddles with minimal back soreness.

on the inside of your leg, the farther your hips will be pushed out. If you have a thick thigh and a thick horse, it is impossible to drape your legs around the horse and sit safely. You will be forced back onto your buttocks, or will have to tip forward. Neither is a safe or strong position, and both become painful.

RIDER FIT CONSIDERATIONS This is where the treeless saddle can work – or really not work. It is important to test ride your horse with the saddle you intend to purchase. A saddle should help you feel safe and secure. An incorrect fit for the rider can leave you at risk for a fall, or cause you to become a more timid rider, feeling less secure but not really understanding what is happening. The twist – or waist – is the area of the saddle from the pommel to the center, where it widens into the seat. Each brand and style offers different twist shapes, so you need to find a saddle that suits the anatomy of your pelvis and hips. You will be able to tell when the twist is correct by your level of comfort in the saddle. If the twist is too wide, your pelvis and hips will feel overly stretched and pained, as it does when you ride a really broad horse for a long period. What happens with a treeless saddle is that there is little to no structure to form a twist, other than the shape of the horse’s back, as if you were riding bareback. The wider the horse is over the area where your legs go, the farther your hips and legs will be spread out. The thicker your thigh


Photo courtesy of Joyce Harman

One western treeless saddle design has a small wooden fork and cantle at the front and rear, with a sheet of leather and neoprene everywhere else. The rigging for the girth and the stirrups hang from the fork and cantle. This style of saddle avoids a common pressure point from the girth attachment. Due to the low hanging rigging ring, a fairly short girth is required, which can interfere with some horses’ elbows. Select the girth carefully to prevent having a large buckle or cinch ring. The bottom of the saddle can be covered with fleece, either synthetic or wool, or it can be left with a smooth finish. The western-style models have a full horn and can be finished with leather to look like a regular western saddle. The endurance models have a simple fork with no horn.

CONCLUSION If you’re buying a treeless saddle, go out for a test ride, and see if you drop your legs down into a secure position. You should feel able to move in the saddle, and not be sitting in the back seat ready to tip off at the first spook. If the saddle works for you, then check it out carefully for your horse. Keep in mind that if the saddle does not work for you, it does not matter how much your horse likes it. As technology continues to advance in the saddle world, we will see more treeless saddles. Some will work very well; some will not work at all. Listen to your horse and your own body to help find the correct match.

Since treeless saddles are relatively easy to make compared to treed saddles, many small companies have come up with unique designs and ways to adjust the fit for the rider and horse.

References: The Horse’s Pain Free Back and Saddle Fit Book, English and The Horse’s Pain Free Back and Saddle Fit Book, Western both by Joyce Harman and published by Trafalgar Square Books.

The most important thing to remember about adjustability is that any changes that are made must be made symmetrically. The heavy Velcro often used is very sticky. It can be difficult to move, and frustrating to get the two sides the same. Be patient, and get it right, since an uneven saddle will make you and/or your horse sore.

Joyce Harman graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Her practice is 100% holistic, using acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine and homeopathy to treat horses to enhance performance and those with a variety of chronic conditions, with an emphasis on those with Lyme Disease. Her publications include the Pain Free Back and Saddle Fit Books, which are the only books written independently of a saddle company. She maintains an informative website: harmanyequine.com.


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xce ll ent E HABITS FOR

By Karen Rohlf

HORSEMANSHIP – PART 1 Partnership, clarity and the reflex to relax.

It takes years to develop the skills and abilities of an experienced master horseman. The good news is that there are specific habits you can implement, starting right now, no matter what level you are at. As soon as you use these habits, you become a practicing horseman, not just someone practicing to someday become a horseman. These habits are true no matter what discipline or program you use. Your horse will immediately feel the difference. These habits are what I call The 9 Habits For Excellent Horsemanship. Let’s look at three of them in the first part of this article.

1. PARTNERSHIP Lead with your heart and your horse will follow. Hopefully, we are into horses because we love them. Our responsibility to them is tremendous. If we challenge or compete with them only out of ego, or with only the thought of using them, then they are slaves and will only give because they have to. If we approach horses with love and give them a voice, they become a partner in the dance and just might offer you more than you could ever ask for.

3. REFLEX TO RELAX Everything comes from and returns to relaxation. We need to exhale exactly the same amount we inhale. If we don’t, we just fill up with tension. If you are forced to hold your breath long enough, you will panic. Like breathing, every challenge we give our horses must be followed by an exhale – a relief from the tension. Even more important is the ability to remain calm when challenges arise. Horsemen are able to keep an open focus and a thinking mind even when a horse is explosive. A high startle reflex may help horses survive in the wild, but it gets them into trouble in our world. Excellent horsemen know that we must constantly prove to our horses we are trustworthy, and that being curious will keep them safer than being afraid. In every moment with your horse, are you trustworthy and calm? Watch for Part 2 in the next issue, when I will talk about the Habits of Curiosity, Timing and Communication.

In every moment with your horse, can you feel the love that made you start with horses in the first place?


Clarity comes from an intention that passes through the mind without judgment, a body without brace and a heart that is open. Horses read intention and body language. Unfortunately, we humans are often well practiced in the art of disconnecting our feelings from our words and actions. This causes confusion in horses. They don’t know what to believe. This disconnect can happen when we worry too much about making mistakes, when we don’t admit fears or when we aren’t aware of our physical imbalances. We create confusion when we pretend, and especially when we tell ourselves we are “bad” at something in the moment we are attempting it! In every moment with your horse, can you fully embody the one clear picture of what you need him to know?

Photos courtesy of Dana Rasmussen

Karen Rohlf, creator of the Dressage Naturally program, is an internationally recognized clinician who is changing the equestrian educational paradigm. She is well known for her student-empowering approach to teaching, her ability to connect with a wide range of horses, her virtual courses, and her positive and balanced point of view. Dressagenaturally.net

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RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Chiropractors

• Communicators • Insurance • Integrative Therapies

ASSOCIATIONS Equinextion - EQ Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: equinextion@gmail.com Website: www.equinextion.com Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Website: www.cdnbha.ca American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Website: www.americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org Equine Science Academy - ESA Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Website: www.equinesciencesacademy.com Liberated Horsemanship - CHCP Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Email: BruceNock@mac.com Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING Gudrun Buchhofer Judique, NS Canada Phone: (902) 787-2292 Email: gudrun@go-natural.ca Website: www.go-natural.ca Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: (902) 665-2151 Email: nina@lostjuly.ca

• Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training • Thermography

Anne Riddell - AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com Barefoot Hoofcare Specialist Kate Romanenko Woodville ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Barefoot with BarnBoots Johanna Neuteboom Port Sydney, ON Canada Phone: (705) 385-9086 Email: info@barnboots.ca Website: www.barnboots.ca Natural horse care services, education and resources Certified Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Website: www.chevalbarefoot.com Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO USA Phone: (719) 557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cynthia Niemela - Barefoot Hoof Trimming Minneapolis, MN USA Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Jeannean Mercuri - The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: neanpiggy@me.com Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served. Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com

42 Equine Wellness View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com 42 Equine Equine Wellness Wellness

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• Yoga

Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com Horsense Natural Hoof Care Cori Brennan Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 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 Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 765-9632 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Icicle Equine Services Katie Garrett Leavenworth, WA USA Phone: (425) 422-4799 Email: Kegarrett88@yahoo.com

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CHIROPRACTORS Dr. Bonnie Harder, D.C. Ogle, IL USA Phone: (815) 757-0425 Email: drbonniedc@hbac4all.com Website: www.holisticbalanceanimalchiro.com

COMMUNICATORS Claudia Hehr Animal Communicator To truly know and understand animals. Georgetown, ON Canada Phone: (519) 833-2382 Website: www.claudiahehr.com The Oasis Farm Cavan, ON Canada Phone: (705) 742-3297 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com



SADDLE FITTERS Happy Horseback Saddles Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 542-5091 Website: www.happyhorsebacksaddles.ca Action Rider Tack Medford, OR USA Phone: (877) 865-2467 Website: www.actionridertack.com

Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC USA Phone: (604) 902-4556 Email: yogawithhorses@gmail.com Website: www.yogawithhorses.com

SCHOOLS AND TRAINING Equinology, Inc. & Caninology Gualala, CA USA Phone: (707) 884-9963 Email: office@equinology.com Website: www.equinology.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: acupressure4all@earthlink.net Website: www.animalacupressure.com Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 953-3360 Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com Website: www.NaturalHorseTraining.com Healing Touch for Animals Drea Robertson Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com Double Check Inspections Inc. Ottawa, ON USA Phone: (613) 322-3682 Website: www.doublecheckinspections.ca

THERMOGRAPHY Equine IR Bonsall, CA USA (888) 762-2547 Phone: info@equineIR.com Website: www.equineIR.com


Thermal Equine Eric Flavin New Paltz, NY USA Phone: (845) 222-4286 Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

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

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

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our horse has green slime coming out of his nose. The alfalfa you fed him this morning is making a second appearance, dribbling out of his mouth. Is it time to call the vet? You recall that your horse is showing the symptoms of “choke”, but does that mean you have to give your 1,200-pound buddy the Heimlich? The following facts about choke will help you take care of your horse and prevent this problem in the future.

WHAT EXACTLY IS “CHOKE”? Despite the term, “choke” in an equine refers to an obstruction of the esophagus – the tube between the mouth and the stomach – and not the trachea, the tube between the nose/mouth and the 44

lungs. The obstruction is usually composed of feed material like hay, or large pieces of apple or carrot. While choke shouldn’t block the airway of your equine companion, breathing feed material into the lungs is a potential complication of the disease.

CLINICAL SIGNS OF CHOKE The common clinical signs or symptoms of choke include feed material coming out of the nose and mouth. It can look like haytinged mucus, or as if the horse’s morning hay ration has been put in a blender and is extruding out of his nose. Horses will often stretch/extend their heads and necks. There may be coughing. They will usually not be interested in eating or drinking during this process. As you might imagine, this can be very scary for a

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horse and he may become excited or panicked. His gums should remain a light bubble-gum pink; if they are turning purple, blue, brick red or white, call your vet immediately as these are signs of more severe disease.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Once you’ve recognized the clinical signs of choke (and his gums are a normal pink), the first thing to do is get your horse into a safe place and attempt to calm him down. A stall or small pen is a good location because it allows you to observe him closely. Encouraging your horse to keep his head low allows the feed material to drain out rather than back down into his lungs. Remove all food and water from the environment. Do not give anything to your horse by mouth. Remember, his esophagus is blocked. If you give him anything by mouth, the only place for it to go is down into his lungs. This could result in severe and even fatal pneumonia. (Try offering him lavender essential oil to inhale. Its calming effect may prevent any worsening of the situation.) The next thing to do is call your veterinarian. While the majority of chokes are self-limiting and resolve with basic veterinary care, this is not always the case.

TREATING CHOKE Your veterinarian will use a combination of injectable drugs to calm your horse and relax his esophagus. Some cases of choke will resolve with this medical intervention alone. In more severe cases, a tube will be passed into your horse’s nose and down into the esophagus. Using a gentle lavaging technique, the veterinarian will attempt to wash out the obstruction using the tube and water. In the most severe cases, an endoscope – an instrument with a camera on the end that can be passed into the esophagus – may be needed to visualize the obstruction and aid in resolving it. This may require referral to a surgical/advanced-care facility depending on the capabilities of your home veterinarian.

receive mashes of pelleted feed in combination with soaked hay while they heal.


HOW TO HELP PREVENT CHOKE Horses with severe dental disease are at a higher risk of choke. This means older horses are the most common victims. They are more likely to have teeth that are reaching the end of their lifespan, causing them to hurt and fall out. Because of the reduced number of healthy teeth, these horses are not chewing their forage as well as they should. They swallow coarser feed, increasing the likelihood that it will become stuck in the esophagus. Younger horses with severe points or hooks on their teeth, horses that have pain in the temporal mandibular joint (jaw), or those that bolt their feed are also a greater risk of choke. Feeding a high quality diet appropriate for the life stage and workload of your horse can avert risk of choke. Have your veterinarian check your horse’s teeth yearly and perform dental floats as needed. Occasionally, underlying diseases will predispose a horse to choke. Scheduling regular checkups by your veterinarian helps catch these diseases early, or prevent them entirely. For a horse that bolts his food, offer hay in a hay net (or even a double hay net or slow-feeder net) to slow him down and make him nibble his food. Large, smooth stones can be added to feed bins to prevent your food-motivated horse from bolting down his grain. Just make sure the stones are large enough that your horse can’t ingest or chew on them. Certain pelleted feeds and cubes can pose a higher risk of choke. Also, cut carrots and apples into bite-sized pieces. Consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your feeding plan.

In severe cases of choke, or cases left untreated, the obstruction can damage the esophagus, causing it to stricture. Stricturing or scarring of the damaged tissue results in a significantly narrowed diameter of the esophagus. Horses with this problem become much more prone to choke in the future, and may not be able to eat a normal diet.

With good dental care, appropriate nutrition and consistent preventative medicine, choke is rare and usually carries a good prognosis. Due to the potential for life-threatening pneumonia and severe damage to the esophagus, quick medical intervention is recommended as soon as clinical signs are recognized.

Your veterinarian will also evaluate your horse for signs of pneumonia. He or she will then develop a plan for pain, inflammation and infection management after the choke is resolved. He/she will also help modify your horse’s diet, both in the initial healing phase and long term. Usually, horses will

Dr. Dana Shackelton is a mixed animal practitioner at Middletown Animal Hospital in Middletown, California. After veterinary school she completed a year-long internship at Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, California before joining her current practice. Her primary professional interest is equine general practice including preventative medicine, lameness and dentistry. Between on-call shifts, she enjoys riding her mule, Josephine, block print artwork and hiking with her pup. Contact Middletown Animal Hospital at (707) 987-2000, or check out their website at middletownvet.net

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THE ECO-FRIENDLY EQUINE DIET What constitutes a healthy yet environmentally-conscious way to feed your horse? The first thing you can do is feed him a natural diet of good grass or hay. The horse’s digestive tract is designed for this, and a fiber-based diet will help you avoid many common equine health issues associated with a grain-based diet.

But how is a fiber diet best for the planet? Let’s look at the environmental impacts of a fiber (hay/grass) diet versus a grain-based diet.

GRAIN-BASED DIETS TAKE VAST QUANTITIES OF ENERGY TO PRODUCE The planet’s “energy” are the fossil fuels: natural gas, coal and oil. When we examine our “green” footprint, we should include a look at the energy we use. From field to farm, there are many more “steps” to grain production than forage production. Energy use is only one issue. Grain crops (corn, wheat, soy, etc.) need more chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides, than hay or pasture does. Chemicals can wash off the land and into bodies of water. So how can you reduce your footprint and feed an eco-friendly diet? Start by buying your feed and hay from local farmers. The less distance it has to travel, the less environmental impact it has. Make sure these local farmers use eco-friendly methods, such as a no-till method of planting and the use of cover crops in the off season.

Plus the energy it takes to get the grain to the mill.

It starts with the energy it takes to grow grains for feed.

Plus the energy used to harvest the grains.


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GREEN ACRES By Laura Batts

It will slow the rate of consumption and those morning flakes will last all day. You can get a small slow feeder for a few horses, or use nets over round bales for a larger group.

Conventional tillage


Reduced tillage Disking

No-till Field cultivating

Field cultivating





Planting and spraying only

Conservation tillage

Get to know the growers and ask them about their use of chemicals. If you buy large quantities of hay for your barn, some local growers will plant according to your instructions if you purchase the bulk of a field. There are a few equine health Best Management Practices (BMPs) we need to look at with a fiber-based diet. Horses are trickle feeders, meaning they eat small amounts all day. When we throw three or four flakes of hay to them in the morning, they eat it up then have nothing more to eat until dinner. An empty equine stomach is not a healthy one. I highly recommend investing in a slow feeder for your hay.

Feed the best hay you can afford. Your horse will depend on his fiber-based diet for most of his nutrition, and a high quality, nutrient-dense hay will be more likely to provide this nutrition. Inferior quality hay has too much lignan in it, which horses can’t digest; they “get full” and stop eating, making it more difficult for them to consume enough hay to provide them with what they need to stay healthy. Buy from growers who test their hay so you will know what might be missing. That way, you can add a ration balancer with vitamins and minerals to meet the needs of your horse. If you are counting on your pasture for the bulk of your horse’s fiber-based diet, make sure you are practicing pasture BMPs – such as rotational grazing, soil testing and erosionmanagement methods. If your horse has a sensitivity to the sugars in grass, use a muzzle when grazing and turn him out before the sun is up. It makes sense to feed your horse a fiber-based diet; it is the best diet for his health and it will reduce the environmental impacts to our beautiful planet.

Plus the energy it takes for you to get the feed from the store to your barn!

Plus the energy it takes for the mill to turn the grain into feed.

Ph ot o sc ou sy rte of Laura Bat ts

Plus the energy it takes for the mill to get the feed to the store.

Laura Batts is the owner of Horse Hippie, an environmentally-conscious lifestyle brand that embraces horses, Mother Earth and good vibes. HorseHippie.com

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Forage is a staple in every horse’s diet and the best sources are natural grasses and hay. You can turn to several alternatives if natural forage is in short supply, but it’s important to be aware of their pros and cons.

By Kerri-Jo Stewart, BPE ,MSc

Horses need a fairly continuous source of forage for their sustenance. Optimal forage sources are natural hay and grasses, but if these are scarce, you can consider a variety of potential alternatives and additions to your horse’s diet. However, it’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a decision.

HOW MUCH FORAGE DOES HE NEED? It was traditionally understood that at least 50% of a horse’s diet should be forage, but that recommendation is moving up to over 80%.1 In other words, most of your horse’s feed should be forage; in fact, current research is showing the benefits of feeding a complete forage diet, even to equine athletes.1 It’s estimated that horses will typically consume 1.7% to 2.6% of their body weight in dry matter when given ad libitum forage2 (that’s 17 to 26 lbs of hay per day for a 1,000 lb horse). Current recommendations are that horses should consume 48

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at least 1.5% to 2% of their body weight in forage or forage substitutes, such as hay cubes or other high-fiber source daily1 (that’s a minimum of 15 to 20 lbs of grass or hay per day).

many major problems, including boredom, colic, dehydration, diarrhea, energy deficiency and hunger. Here are eight possible additions and/or alternatives to hay:

Natural grasses and legumes can fulfill these nutritional requirements for horses. Hay is the common alternative when natural forage is unavailable. Unfortunately, good quality hay is not always easy to find, which means forage substitutes may be required. The most difficult challenge with a forage substitute is to ensure adequate fiber and roughage. Fiber is needed to maintain a healthy digestive system. It provides energy, fills the gut and soaks up water in the gut. The absence of fiber leads to

1. HAY CUBES Hay is forage that is cut, sun-cured and baled. For hay cubes, the forage can be either sun-cured or dehydrated. Typically timothy, alfalfa or a combination of both, the forage is cut at an early stage of maturity and only partially dried in the field before being shipped to the processing plant and dehydrated. Then, instead of being baled, it is coarsely chopped, mixed with a binder, compressed and set into a form. Different manufacturers use different supplements and binders which are listed on the Equine Wellness

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label. Types and amounts of protein, minerals, molasses and oils all vary between brands, as does the caloric content. Check for the mixture that best matches your feeding needs. There are advantages to feeding hay cubes over hay.3 The cubes have a lower moisture content, less mold and spores, and stay better longer, retaining their nutritional profile. They are easier to store and can generate less waste than hay. The nutritional profile is more uniform and the values are displayed on each bag. They can also be easier for older horses to chew, and may be more digestible. Soaking the cubes for easier chewing or for highly sensitive animals is also simpler than soaking hay, and may result in less dust and mold. For horses on special regulated feeding programs, it’s easier to monitor how much has been consumed with pellets or cubes than it is with hay. Also, hard keepers may be more likely to consume more feed overall with cubes (up to 25% more over hay5), and better maintain their weight. On the downside, cubes are more expensive than hay because of processing costs, and horses finish them faster so spend less time chewing. It’s suggested that an appropriate type of hay is fed along with the cubes to prolong the feeding. Also, you can’t see the purity of the feed in cubes because everything is ground together and looks the same. While some horses don’t like the texture of cubes, others may wolf them down, which means those predisposed to choke or digestive problems should have their food soaked. Because cubes are in a compact form, you need to guard against overconsumption. In several research studies at Rutgers, Ralston reports good results from using hay cubes as the sole source of fiber.4 Although the studies found an increased incidence of wood chewing in every study, Russell and Johnson5 reported that cubes made from coarsely chopped hay appeared to eliminate wood chewing.

3. BEET PULP Beet pulp is a very digestible source of fiber. It is considered a forage substitute because of its high fiber content. It is a popular supplement with a low sugar content, high calcium and moderate protein levels (8%). In general, one pound of beet pulp is fed for every one-and-a-half pounds of hay it replaces. When used as a hay substitute, beet pulp shouldn’t make up more than 40% of the total forage. That’s because it doesn’t provide the long-stemmed forage component required for gut health. It’s recommended that the traditional form be soaked, but not for the pelleted form. Up to ten pounds (dry weight) of beet pulp can be fed to an average mature horse, but he will also need a balanced vitamin/mineral supplement as beet pulp doesn’t contain vitamins. Also keep in mind that most beets are now genetically modified.

4. HAYLAGE When creating haylage, forages are harvested at moisture levels of between 45% to 70%, then stored in a container such as a plastic bag. The exclusion of air and the resulting low pH is required for preserving high-moisture forage. However, the risk of spoilage and toxic development during fermentation is very high. Horses that are going to be fed haylage should be vaccinated against botulism.4 Many people have used haylage to feed their horses, but it isn’t known how many fatalities there have been. Research is also lacking about the effects of feeding a highly acidic feed to horses, although a more basic (alkaline) diet has been shown to be beneficial.

Care needs to be taken when switching over from hay to a cubed feed. As with any change of feeding regime, do it slowly over time. In general, the cubed feed can be fed in the same amounts as hay, based on weight. Start by gradually adding the new feed in, and eventually feed up to 75% to 80% cubes over hay by weight.6

When haylage is exposed to air for feeding, it needs to be quickly consumed and should be monitored to ensure there is no mold or spore development.5 Moving bales must be done carefully, as any tears or holes in the bag will cause a secondary fermentation and spoilage. Haylage should be used very cautiously if it is needed as a forage replacement. Also, because of its high moisture content, more haylage needs to be fed on a per weight basis as compared to hay.



Pellets go through the same manufacturing process as cubes, but they also go through a more intense grinding process. Again, different manufacturers use different mixes, binders and supplements as detailed on the labels. However, because of the smaller size of pellets, they have not been found to maintain a healthy digestive system. Pellets have also been linked to behavioral issues such as wood chewing and tail biting4 as well as increased searching and non-restful behavior. Pellets are not recommended as a forage substitute.7

Although wheat bran is often fed as a fiber supplement, it is not beneficial to horses, especially in large quantities over long periods of time. Bran has an inverted calcium to phosphorous ratio that can cause imbalances, as well as debilitating problems from the high phosphorous content. Rice bran has also been promoted as a source of fiber and energy (fat) for horses. However, rice bran has an even higher concentration of phosphorous than wheat bran. Neither rice nor wheat bran are recommended as a forage substitute.4


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6. COMPLETE FEEDS Concentrates are sold as “complete feed” and some are labeled as a complete forage substitute. They can contain a mixture of hays, grains, beet pulp and vitamin and mineral supplements, and are developed around various standard nutritional profiles (i.e., growth, maintenance, performance, for broodmares). However, complete feeds don’t have the required fiber to maintain a horse’s health. It’s better to use them as a supplement to forage, not as a replacement.

7. STRAW AND CHAFF Straw comes from the stalks remaining after a grain crop is harvested. It contains very little nutritional value but can be a good source of fiber. Straw may satiate a horse’s desire to chew when he is restricted from adequate sources of long-stemmed forage or sufficient fiber. Straw is not a source of nutrition. Chopped hay and straw is known as chaff. Chaff can provide the indigestible fiber essential in maintaining digestive tract health. It may also be used as something the horse can chew for an extended period of time. The quality of chaff can often be a concern, so it is important to check that it’s not contaminated with any molds or other substances that could be toxic to horses. It is also lacking nutrients so is not recommended as a replacement for forage.

SUMMARY Grass or good quality hay is vital to the health of your horse. Pelleted feed, beet pulp and complete feeds can be great nutritional products, but don’t use them to replace the long-stemmed fiber required for your horse’s intestinal health. The only real forage substitute for hay is hay cubes. The best hay cubes for supplementation are those with long-stem fibers of at least 1” in length. Other feeds do not have enough fiber to meet your horse’s requirements. The increased consumption of dense higher-energy substitutes over forage is not usually beneficial. Even racehorses fed 100% forage maintain their condition and may have better health than those fed high levels of concentrates. Knowing the nutritional profile of your grass and hay will help in balancing your horse’s diet and ensure he is getting his full nutritional requirements!

Ralston, S. Nutritional Requirements of Horses. Merck Veterinary Manual, www.merckvetmanual. com/management-and-nutrition/nutrition-horses/nutritional-requirements-of-horses, 2017. Ringmark, Revold, Jansson. Effects of training distance on feed intake, growth, body condition and muscle glycogen content in young Standardbred horses fed a forage-only diet. Animal. 2017 Oct;11(10):1718-1726. 3 Kentucky Equine Research, Inc, “Nutrition and Convenience in Cube Form”, Equinews, vol.9:2, www.equinews.com/article/nutrition-and-convenience-in-cube-form . 4 Ralston, SL, Wright, B., Forage Substitutes For Horses, Government of Ontario, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 2008, www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/facts/05-055.htm . 5 Russell, Mark A. Department of Animal Sciences and Johnson, Keith D., Department of Agronomy, Cooperative Extension Service, Purdue University, Selecting Quality Hay for Horses, www.agry. purdue.edu/ext/forages/publications/ID-190.htm. 6 Johnson, Debra. “Feeding horses hay cubes”, www.horsehints.org/HayCubes.htm . 7 Elia, JB, Erb HN, Houpt, K. “Motivation for hay: effects of a pelleted diet on behavior and physiology of horses”, Physiol Behav. 2010 Dec 2;101(5):623-7. 1


Kerri-Jo Stewart, BPE, MSc, MPA, has an extensive background with horses, including both as a competitor and researcher. She has been involved in endurance riding for years and was top five in North America in Competitive Trail Riding in Sweepstakes earnings and the Western Canadian Champion. Kerri-Jo has a degree in exercise physiology and her masters research in exercise physiology studied performance in racehorses. She’s also a nationally accredited Equine Photographer, specializing in capturing the beauty of the equine athlete.

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Horses need you! Learn how to be there for them – and make a career for yourself – by taking advantage of educational opportunities at a school, or from the comfort of your home.

Equine for horse lovers By Cindy MacDonald 52

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nowledge is power. Whether you want to do the best you can by your backyard buddy, or equip yourself for an equine career, there’s a whole herd of options out there for you. Want to learn about improving the health and welfare of your horse? Or train

to be a professional in the horse industry? Perhaps you want to study equine science or business management. Attending conferences or a school is a super fun way to educate yourself. If you’d rather stay home, online courses abound. Here’s a starter list to browse through.*

ONLINE AND ON-SITE EQUINE PROGRAMS AND COURSES Cazenovia College in New York state has been named one of America’s Best Colleges by US News and World Report for 13 consecutive years. The college offers a Bachelor’s degree in Equine Business Management and a certificate program in Equine Reproductive Management. cazenovia.edu/equine Delaware Valley University, located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, offers two Bachelor programs: Equine Management and Equine Science. The latter offers a specialization in breeding. delval.edu/equine Eponaquest in Arizona was founded in 1997 by author, lecturer and horse trainer Linda Kohanov. The center’s offerings include leadership, personal development, equestrian skills and apprenticeships. eponaquest.com Equine Connection – The Academy of Equine Assisted Learning in Carseland, Alberta was founded in 2009. It offers a unique certification program in Equine Assisted Business Training (EABT). Created using research on how human beings learn and how wild horses communicate, the program focuses on the well-being of the horse and the success of the student during and after completion of certification. To help students create their own flourishing Equine Assisted Learning business, the academy provides business training, marketing to this niche, and teaches how to find and maintain clients. equineconnection.ca Equine Guelph is a non-profit at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Founded in 2003, their mission is “serving the horse and its industry through education, research, healthcare promotion and industry development”. Via the Horse Portal (thehorseportal.ca), you can access online health and welfare training, including short three-week courses and 12-week certificate and diploma programs, as well as information on U of G’s academic equine programs at its main campus and satellite campuses. equineguelph.ca Equinology is a private post-secondary school in California that has been offering individual courses and certification programs for more than 20 years. Small class sizes mean students get

customized attention to help them reach their individual goals. The certifications offered include Equinology – Equine Body Worker Qualifications Levels 1 – 3; Master Equinology – Equine Body Worker MEEBW; and Equinology – Equine Myofascial Release Practitioner. Also available are distance study programs in equine nutrition, exercise physiology and more. equinology.com Holistic Animal Studies provides online courses and/or certifications (with homework assignments) developed by Dr. Angelique Barbara, a Doctor of Chiropractic with additional degrees in Veterinary Science (B.S.), Equine Science (Minor) and Veterinary Pathobiology (M.S.). Offerings include Equine Massage Certification, Kinesiology Taping, Craniosacral Therapy and Animal Neuro-Myofascial Release (ANMR) Technique. holisticanimalstudies.org Horse Spirit Connections offers certification in Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL) at their facility in Tottenham, Ontario. This comprehensive program encompasses personal growth, horse-based activities, intuitive insight, spiritual connection, business development training and more. Advanced and partner programs are also available. horsespiritconnections.com Johnson & Wales University, located in Providence, Rhode Island, offers three Bachelor programs: Equine Business Management/Non-Riding; Equine Business Management/ Riding; and Equine Science. jwu.edu Lake Erie College offers four majors and a minor at its School of Equine Studies in Painesville, Ohio. Majors include Equestrian Facility Management; Equestrian Teacher/Trainer; Equine Entrepreneurship; and Equine Therapeutic Horsemanship. All students also receive some form of financial assistance. lec.edu The William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, established in 1951 and located in Chasy, New York, offers a summer program in Equine Management. The Institute conducts research programs that apply basic science to contemporary problems facing the equine industry. One of their areas of focus is equine reproductive management. whminer.org Continued on page 54. Equine Wellness

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Continued from page 53.

“Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.” — W.B. Yeats

Northwest School of Animal Massage offers three levels of massage training, including sports/performance and rehabilitation, using a combination of distance learning with a hands-on practical for certification. nwsam.com The Open College of Equine Studies, based in the UK, offers a variety of distance learning courses that range from basic horse care and management skills to higher education programs in equine sciences. The programs are flexible so students can study part- or full-time, from home or on site. toces.net Post University, in Waterbury, Connecticut, was established in 1890. It offers a combination of equine, general education and special interest courses. You can do certificate programs, an Equine Studies Bachelor of Science, and enrich your learning by choosing from one of many minors or second majors. post.edu St. Andrews University is a branch of Webber International University. Located in Laurinburg, North Carolina, it focuses on creating a sense of social and intellectual engagement to empower students to make a difference in the world. Undergraduate majors include a B.S in Equine Science; a B.A in Equine Business Management; and a B.A in Therapeutic Horsemanship. sa.edu/equestrian Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute offers 300-hour Equine Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced Hands-on Acupressure courses. Successful completion allows students to sit for the national exam given by the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM). animalacupressure.com The University of Findlay in Ohio was established in 1882 through a joint partnership between The Churches of God, General Conference and the City of Findlay. The University offers Bachelor’s Degrees in Equestrian Studies (English, Western) and Equine Business Management, as well as two associate degrees in Equestrian Studies – one in English Riding Emphasis and the second in Western Riding Emphasis. findlay.edu The University of South Carolina Aiken offers equestrian opportunities ranging from massage, photography, health and disease management to search and rescue and much more. With a reputation for small class sizes, an accessible faculty and diverse student body, USC Aiken has for the past 15 years been ranked by US News and World Report as one of the top three Public Baccalaureate Colleges in the South. usca.edu/equine Vermont Tech in Randolph Center, Vermont offers a two-year Associate in Applied Science in Equine Studies. The program is housed at a farm with well-established full-service boarding and a training facility only seven miles from the campus. The AAS can lead to a BS in Applied Business Management (online) or transition into a BS in Diversified Agriculture vtc.edu


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William Woods University offers three Bachelor of Science programs in Equestrian Science, Equine Studies and Equine General Studies. It also offers four certificate programs: Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, Saddle Seat and Western. The university, which prides itself on 100% placement of students after graduation, is located in Fulton, Missouri. williamwoods.edu


Can-Am All Breeds Equine Expo is Canada’s largest equine education and recognition event. It returns to the Markham Fairgrounds in Ontario from April 6 to 8, 2018. canamequine.com Del Mar National Horse Show in California runs April 17 to May 6, 2018, with a week each for Western, Dressage, and Hunter/Jumper, as well as exhibits. delmarnational.com Equine Affaire, a massive twice-yearly event encompassing all disciplines, with seminars and multiple buildings of exhibits, has been around since 1993. It takes place in Ohio in the spring (April 12 to 15, 2018) and Massachusetts in the fall (November 8 to 11, 2018). equineaffaire.com FEI World Equestrian Games, held every four years, combines eight equestrian World Championship caliber events – Jumping, Dressage, Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining, with demonstrations and exhibits. The 2018 event takes place September 11 to 23 in Mill Spring, North Carolina. tryon2018.com HIPICO Santa Fe’s 2018 Summer Series, from July 18 to August 12, is an international Hunter/Jumper competition featuring exhibitors, the Art of the Horse fine art show, live music and more. hipicosantafe.com The Royal Horse Show takes place annually during the Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario. It features Olympians and other top caliber riders and horses competing in Show Jumping, Indoor Eventing and Dressage; a breed barn and other activities; plus exciting entertainment such as the K9-Equine Challenge, which pairs top horses and riders with “superdogs” and handlers in a timed race over jumps against other teams. royalfair.org/horseshow.html The Western States Horse Expo in California involves three days of clinicians, events and exhibits in a choice of locales. It runs March 9 to 11, 2018 in Pomona and June 8 to 10, 2018 in Sacramento. horseexpoevents.com

*Disclaimer: Equine Wellness does not endorse any of the above courses, training or events. Do your research and you won’t be disappointed! Equine Wellness

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By Richard Winters



“Body control is not the main thing,” said one horseman. “Body control is everything.”

hether you want to show your horse at a high level of performance, or simply walk down the trail or open and close a gate, you must have control over your horse’s body. Being able to steer him with the reins is not enough. You also need him to be responsive and move away from your leg. That’s the beginning of body control. A simple “leg yield” is a maneuver every horse should understand. Here’s a way to get started. Ride your horse up to a solid fence or wall, preferably one tall enough that he cannot get his head over it. You and your horse are now standing perpendicular to the fence. This fence will be your frame of reference for keeping your horse straight and pointed in one direction. It will also reduce the tendency for your horse to walk forward, so you won’t have to pull back on the reins. As you begin this maneuver, keep your horse’s head, neck and shoulders as straight as possible with your hands, as you push him over sideways with your leg. As you begin to apply pressure with one leg, wait for your horse to take a step sideways (no matter how awkward it may be). You will then immediately release, relax and allow your horse to stand quietly for a moment.

The leg yield will have to be taught consistently on both sides of your horse. Don’t be concerned if your horse does not respond correctly at first. He might even begin to step over in the same direction as your leg pressure. It’s your job to be consistent. Hold your leg into your horse until he finally yields away in the direction you want him to go. Then release. As your timing of the release of pressure becomes more accurate, your horse will soon learn that it’s the best deal for him. After a few short sessions, your horse will have a basic understanding of how to move away from your leg. Then you can begin to ask for the same maneuver away from the fence. You simply use the fence as an aid and frame of reference to help your horse initially understand what is being asked. No more than five minutes each day is necessary to make some great progress. In a week’s time, you will be impressed at how well your horse understands this important body control maneuver.

It’s important that you are not leaning in the direction you want to go. If you are asking your horse to step to the right, make sure you have shifted your hips to the left and that your right leg is completely away from him. Remember to reward the slightest try. At first, any step sideways is the correct response. As your horse gains more confidence and understanding, you can ask for more steps. If your horse begins the back-up, make sure you have not inadvertently been the cause by pulling too much on the reins. Your hands and reins are only meant to help balance your horse. There’s no reason to pull back. The fence is keeping your horse from stepping forward. Simply push your horse forward up toward the fence and reapply your leg pressure.

Richard Winters has dedicated himself to honing his horsemanship skills, and passing this knowledge on to others, for over 35 years. His horsemanship journey has earned him Colt Starting and Horse Showing Championship titles. He obtained his goal of a World Championship in the National Reined Cow Horse Association in 2005. He is an AA rated judge. Another of Richard’s horsemanship goals was realized with his 2009 Road to the Horse Colt Starting Championship. He has returned as the Horseman’s Host for five consecutive years. Richard was also a Top Five Finalist at the Cowboy Dressage World Finals in 2015. wintersranch.com 56 Equine Wellness

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The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition is a collective of people and national groups that have joined forces to ban the slaughter of equines for human consumption in Canada. They’re also working to put an end to the export of live horses to other countries for the same purpose. Visit their website to help protect Canada’s horses.



The Schleese Double Bridle boasts many features that make it ideal for your horse’s comfort and performance. A padded crown reduces pressure on the poll, shaped ear cut-outs reduce rubbing and pressure behind ears, while throat latch buckles on both sides promote greater adaptability. Shop a variety of sizes and colors today!

schleese.com 800-225-2242


Need help reaching your riding goals? The Happy Athlete Progress Journal can help. This empowering resource from Karen Rohlf will encourage you to become more consistent, confident, strategic and holistic throughout your riding journey, and help you design training plans that value happiness as much as progress.

Deep cracks and tattered frogs are signs of painful thrush infections in your horse’s hoof. A damaged hoof means a horse who compensates when he moves, which can negatively affect his entire body. Keep him infection-free with Evo Thrush products. Natural blends of zinc, honey, clay and essential oils work to heal damage and prevent thrush, so your equine friends can walk well all year round!

hoofjunkie.com 530-921-3480




GI Thrive™ to the rescue! GI Thrive Digestive Conditioner contains aloe, papaya and digestible clay, plus a probiotic to restore optimal nutrient absorption. This wholesome supplement lowers acid, encourages digestive juices, soothes tissue, neutralizes stomach acid and helps heal your horse’s digestive tract – all with organic, nonGMO ingredients.



Do you steam your hay? Haygain® hay steamers eliminate virtually all respirable dust particles in your horse’s hay. The unique process kills mold, bacteria, fungal spores and mites, while retaining the nutritional value of hay and improving its palatability. Prevent common equine conditions and improve your horse’s overall well-being with Haygain.

haygain.us 888-307-0855


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EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Massage Correspondence Program On Demand – Online Course This is a non-certificate program for animal owners and lovers. You will learn about the anatomy of a horse, pre-massage considerations, recommendations, and contra-indications as well as massage strokes, pressure, techniques, and sequence. Manual and lessons are PDF downloads upon registration.

For more information: (303) 660-9390 information@rmsaam.com www.rmsaam.com

Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show February 15-25, 2018 Scottsdale, AZ In its 62nd year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2,400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers, and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win.

For more information: (480) 515-1500 info@scottsdaleshow.com www.scottsdaleshow.com

16th Annual Horse World Expo March 1-4, 2018 Harrisburg, PA You will find top quality seminars and clinics, and many different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and, of course, there is plenty of shopping!

For more information: info@wastatehorseexpo.com www.wastatehorseexpo.com

Western States Horse Expo - Pomona March 9-11, 2018 Pomona, CA This event features demonstrations, shopping, lectures, competitions, and breeds as well as saddles, horses, trailers, and trucks for sale. Come on out and enjoy the fun!

For more information: letters@horseexpoevents.com www.horseexpoevents.com

Virginia Horse Festival March 23-25, 2018 Richmond, VA

For more information: (519) 942-3011 info@canamequine.ca www.canamequine.com

Equine Affaire April 12-15, 2018 Columbus, OH Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of the event. Soak up information and advice at more than 230 clinics, seminars, and demonstrations on a wide variety of equestrian sports and horse training, management, health, and business topics. Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation’s leading equinerelated retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and organizations.

For more information: (804) 994-2800 www.virginiahorsefestival.com

Introduction to Equine Acupressure April 21-22, 2018 Woodstock, IL

Road to the Horse March 23-26, 2018 Lexington, KY

For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com www.horseworldexpo.com

Annual Washington State Horse Expo March 2-4, 2018 Ridgefield, WA

For more information: (325) 736-5000 www.roadtothehorse.com

Whether you are a horse owner looking for training and care tips or someone who just loves horses – this expo has something for everyone. You won’t want to miss the demonstrations featuring nationally ranked clinicians, educational seminars, a Mountain Trail Course, entertaining performances by talented

clinics, breed recognition and trade events. Learn everything from the basics of equestrianism, horse riding, horse training and more. Perhaps you want to learn about the latest tack and gear, or how to choose a Western saddle or an English saddle. We offer clinics for amateurs and professionals alike!

Mark your calendars for this year’s event! Join the industry’s top experts for engaging and educational clinics, demonstrations and seminars. Topics will appeal to new horse owners as well as seasoned riders. Browse vendors selling the latest in equine equipment, supplies, and clothing – and don’t forget about the Breed Parade! Come out and experience some incredible horses.

Road to the Horse is a one-of-a-kind experience that combines education and entertainment for an amazing horsemanship experience. The goal of Road to the Horse is to teach horsemen and women that natural horsemanship is a kinder, gentler way of working with horses.

Great family fun and entertainment!


horses and riders and special activities for children. Plus a marketplace with over 100 vendors for a fun shopping experience!

Can-Am Equine All Breed Equine Expo April 6-8, 2018 Markham, ON Can-Am is Canada’s largest Equine education and recognition Event, creating awareness of the Horse Industry through educational seminars and

For more information: (740) 845-0085 info@equineaffaire.com www.equineaffaire.com

This introductory course offers you the ability to perform a complete acupressure session protocol and gives you an understanding of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts and theories underlying acupressure. Since Acupressure is based on TCM, we will explore this ancient science and guide you in learning how to help your animals feel their best. A Participant Letter providing clinic logistics and directions to suggested area hotels will be emailed approximately three months prior to the class.

For more information: (303) 681-3030 support@animalacupressure.com www.animalacupressure.com

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EQUINE INSURANCE BLUE BRIDLE INSURANCE – Shopping for equine insurance? Consult with professional agents that specialize in this field and can identify with your special needs. Blue Bridle agents have the knowledge and experience that matters! www.bluebridle.com

NATURAL PRODUCTS DAILY DOSE EQUINE – Non-GMO horse feed and herbal equine supplements, Our formula contains bioavailable protein, chelated minerals, balanced vitamins, probiotics, sunflower, flax, edible clay, and hay. Retailers Wanted. www.dailydoseequine.com EMERALD VALLEY EQUINE HEALTH – Our equine (and canine) natural supplements are of the highest quality and reliability. Along with our herbal supplements, Emerald Valley offers healthy treats, bran free mashes and our exclusive line of tea tree topicals. We are proud to say our products come highly recommended and regarded by veterinarians, nutritionists, and farriers along with our loyal customers. (888) 638-8262; www.emeraldvalleyequine.com FOR LOVE OF THE HORSE – Our Herbal Solutions are derived from the integration of Contemporary Chinese herbalism and Equine pathophysiology. Each Solution has been precisely formulated by Dr. Thomas and every formula is comprised of herb groupings chosen to target the root of the underlying problem. We only use the highest quality, authentic, and safest herbs in every one of our herbal solutions. All herbs are NOT created equal. (866) 537-7336; www.forloveofthehorse.com HOOFJUNKIE – We are proud to be a family operation located in the small, quiet town of Cottonwood, California. Horses are our life... we want to help you and your herd be its best. Our products are handmade using only the best USA sourced ingredients in the manufacturing and packaging processes. All other products on our site have been thoroughly tested and received the Hoofjunkie Herd’s approval. (530) 921-3480; www.hoofjunkie.com

HARMANY EQUINE CLINIC, LTD – Bringing holistic healing to horses from all walks of life, backyard retirees to Olympic competitors since 1990. Over the years Dr. Joyce Harman has observed and adapted to the changing needs of our horses and clients. Twenty-plus years ago, no one had heard of Lyme disease or Insulin Resistance, yet today that makes up a large part of this clinical practice. Small animal services are available as well. (540) 364-4077; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.com

RETAILERS & DISTRIBUTORS WANTED THE PERFECT HORSE™ – Organic Blue Green Algae is the single most nutrient dense food on the planet with naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals, and amino acids; all are provided in The Perfect Horse (E3Live® FOR HORSES) Our product sells itself; others make claims, we guarantee results. Join a winning team at www.The-Perfect-Horse.com; sales@e3liveforhorses. com; (877) 357-7187

SCHOOLS & TRAINING EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE – Learn to assess & resolve your horse’s issues – Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, & Apps. www.animalacupressure. com; tallgrass@animalacupressure.com


NEED MONEY FOR YOUR RESCUE? Contact@RedstoneMediaGroup.com

TACK SHOPS EAGLEWOOD EQUESTRIAN SUPPLIES – Located in the GTA, our showroom is open by appointment only. Please contact us to make an appointment. In addition to our location, we also travel to horse shows and events across Ontario. We hand pick high-quality products which are available for English disciplines (Dressage, Hunter, Jumper, Endurance, Trekking, and Gaited), and are starting to branch into Western discipline products. (416) 708-1898; www.eaglewoodequestrian.ca

WHOLE EQUINE – Is your online resource for natural horse care products and equipment. We are proud to offer an array of natural horse care products, including supplements, first aid, cleaning, equipment and other items that help horses reach their optimal physical and mental health. (884) 946-5378; info@ wholeequine.com; www.wholeequine.com

HORSE CARE BARNBOOTS – Dedicated to equine wellness from a balanced and holistic approach. Offering Barefoot and holistic horse care, natural resources, and networking. www.barnboots.ca; info@barnboots.ca

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866-764-1212 EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness

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HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls



ou’ve heard the saying “no hoof, no horse”. We could also say “no gut, no horse”. Much of your horse’s immune system, and hence his overall well-being, is regulated in the large intestine or hindgut – a most vulnerable organ. Enter slippery elm (Ulmus fulva/rubra), one of nature’s wonder herbs, excellent at soothing and healing equine ulcers and encouraging overall gut health. Slippery elm is a beautiful tree native to North America, from Texas to Manitoba and east. It can grow over 80 feet tall and lives 15 to 20 years. Its medicinal uses are many, but it is best known as a demulcent (inflammatory relief). Use slippery elm topically as a poultice to soothe irritated skin, or internally to support gut and respiratory issues.

PLANT PARTS AND USES Only the inner bark of the slippery elm tree is used for medicinal purposes. It should be ground into a fine powder and light tan in color. If it is darker, then it includes outer bark, which is much more fibrous and can be irritating. To use slippery elm, you must add water to the powder. The mixture will turn into a viscous liquid, thanks to a naturally-occurring polysaccharide (aka mucilage), which helps line and soothe inflamed membranes of the body. This is the key to slippery elm’s healing properties.

Colic and ulcers! Slippery elm is a great horse colic preventative, as it encourages healing, assists with regular bowel movements, acts as an antacid, and restores bacterial balance in the gut. Commonly combined with chamomile tea or aloe vera juice, slippery elm helps heal equine ulcers by soothing and coating inflamed tissues and drawing out toxins. You can add the mixture to your horse’s feed or syringe it directly into her mouth. Add slippery elm powder to any poultice mixture. It assists in reducing inflammation and removing toxins – this is especially helpful for hoof abscesses. Slippery elm is commonly accepted as a safe herb to administer to horses, with no known side effects. However, be sure to feed it several hours after administering any medications, as the mucilage may prevent your horse from absorbing the medication.

HOMEGROWN SLIPPERY ELM Growing a slippery elm tree is relatively doable and a good idea if you plan on using a lot of it. Unfortunately, due to Dutch elm disease, the slippery elm is an at-risk tree, so the harvesting of wild trees is discouraged. Plant seeds in the spring, in a peat moss and sand bed, then transfer to a tree tube for a few years before planting directly into the soil. These trees prefer part to full sun and a well-drained soil with plenty of water, leaf mulch and limited weeds. Do not plant slippery elm in an area prone to flooding as it will not tolerate longterm exposure to water. It is best to harvest young, healthy robust trees, preferably in the spring.

Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 23-year-old Desario, with natural methods. She writes for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid and much more. She offers free nutritional consultations to all her customers and is passionate about improving the lives and health of our large four-legged friends. wholeequine.com, info@wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378 62

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