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— How they affect


Equine Massage FOR TMJ issues




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Complementary therapies for the


WHY INCISORS can affect your







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April/May 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: Grigorita Ko COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Laura Batts John Blackburn Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Dipl ACVSMR, MRCVS Ania Drygalski, REMT Melanie Falls Julie Goodnight Heather Hoyns, DVM Connie Johnson Hambley Spencer LaFlure April Reeves Karen Rohlf Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Amy Snow Emily Watson Nicole Watts Jeff Wilson 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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: March 2018.

Improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.

This horse looks so proud of his pearly whites, he almost seems to be crying with joy. Your horse can have a healthy, happy mouth too, as you’ll see from the bucketful of useful information in our dental issue.

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Conte n 56 FEATURES





on the procedure, dental aftercare in horses varies from simple observation and temporary confinement to administering antibiotics and pain medication.

you have a horse story lurking within? Why not tap into your love of horses and learn to use your equine experience to write powerful, memorable prose?

12 EQUINE HEART RATE MONITORS These tools have many

Whether you’re building a new barn or adapting an existing facility, managing your water drainage carefully means you’ll minimize mud problems – and help keep you and your horses healthy and safe.

26 HOW YOUR HORSE’S BIT AND NOSEBAND AFFECT HIS ORAL HEALTH Choosing the right 49 THE IMPORTANCE bit and noseband for your horse can be a OF INCISORS AND THEIR process of trial and error. But it’s worth it, EFFECT ON THE WHOLE since how they fit affects his comfort level HORSE The length and angle – and the prevalence of oral lesions.


uses but are not without their limitations. Learn the ins and outs of heart rate monitors so you can make the best decision for your horse.


PARTNERSHIP WITH YOUR HORSE Understanding how your horse

views leadership, acceptance, emotions and relationships will empower you to create that special partnership you desire.


An aligned and flexible temporomandibular joint is vital for your horse’s overall health, impacting his digestion, neck, back, balance and more. Massage can be a useful tool to restore proper function in your horse’s TMJ.


STORIES Do you enjoy writing? Do


RIDING You know you feel good when you ride. Now studies show you why!


of your horse’s incisors must stay consistent throughout his life because they affect the TMJ and molars, which in turn impact topline and muscle mass, brain function and more.

34 DRESSAGE, THE WESTERN WAY All western riding disciplines, from 56 COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES FOR THE gymkhana and barrel racing to jumping ALLERGIC HORSE and pleasure riding, can benefit from dressage’s time-honored lessons.


YOUR HORSE TRAILER Doing regular maintenance on your trailer ensures you and your horses stay safe while on the road.

Equine allergies present a complex problem. Fortunately for your horse, a multi-pronged holistic approach can treat the underlying cause.

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e nts





8 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

32 Dressage naturally

23 Product picks

42 Saddle fit

40 Equine Wellness resource guide

48 Acupressure at-a-glance

47 Heads up

53 Green acres

58 Events

54 To the rescue

59 Classifieds

62 Herb blurb

60 Marketplace


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quine teeth can be “out of sight, out of mind” for busy horse people. However, dental problems begin long before you see any obvious symptoms. I discovered this the hard way, when my gelding was found to have a sharp point on one of his teeth that was rubbing the inside of his cheek raw as he chewed.

Of course, I felt terribly guilty for not being more diligent about this hidden part of my horse. I learned from our equine dentist that these sharp enamel points are the most common dental problem in horses of all ages. Our herd has several members in their late teens, so we’ve also found that we’ve had to increase the frequency of dental visits. Senior horses lose tooth enamel, so the teeth become narrow, leaving smaller chewing surfaces and weaker teeth. This can also lead to gaps between the teeth in which food can become packed, causing inflammation, infection and/or sinusitis – not to mention pain and discomfort. While it’s important to prevent these problems by ensuring proper mouth function, it’s really just the tip of the iceberg, since dental issues can affect a horse’s whole body. In fact, equine oral health impacts brain function, the neck and back, balance, topline and muscle mass, agility, comfort, digestion, the horse’s emotions and more. It’s a classic domino effect, which makes regular dental care a top priority. In this issue of Equine Wellness, we promise you lots to chew on.

One fascinating fact presented by Spencer LaFlure (page 49) is that the length and angle of your horse’s incisors should remain constant over her entire lifetime. On page 20, REMT Ania Drygalski explains how massage can help temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues in equines. But what if your horse detests the dentist? Calming acupressure can make a world of difference – see page 48. This issue offers a variety of additional topics as well. For example, you’ll read about complementary therapies for the allergic horse, how heart rate monitors work, and how the fit of your horse’s saddle may cause misbehavior and muscle atrophy. If you have issues with mud at your facility, you’ll want to check out our tips for managing water drainage around the barn. We also offer advice on forging a stronger partnership with your horse, as well as staying safe on the road with trailer maintenance tips. For you western folk, find out how Cowboy Dressage can help you and your horse without changing your style! And just for fun, think about using your personal equine experience to write horse stories, courtesy of author Connie Johnson Hambley. So, please do look your gift horse in the mouth (and everywhere else!). She’ll thank you for it with robust good health – from nose to tail and mind to hoof. Naturally,

Cindy MacDonald 6

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A recent pilot study on human-horse relationships

injury that usually affects young horses in their early

explored how horses and humans communicate on a physical and emotional level. Through observation of 11 human subjects and one mare in three different situations – resting (no interaction), exploration (visual and olfactory contact) and grooming (physical contact), Italian researchers discovered that the vital signs of horses and humans often mimic each other.

Bucked shins, or dorsal metacarpal disease, is a fatigue years of intense training, causing severely inflamed tissue at the front of the cannon bone. Rest, shock wave therapy, NSAIDS and local anesthesia are common conventional methods used to control pain associated with this ailment. But, according to results from a recent study, shellfish poison might be just as effective. A paralytic toxin in shellfish known as Neosaxitoxin

During each interaction, the researchers recorded the horse’s and human’s heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV). They found that horses and humans tended to “couple” their HRV, a strong indicator of emotional bonding, in the second part of the interaction, but not in the first part, during which they were separated. Additionally, according to co-author Dr. Paolo Baragli, choice plays a significant role in improving the emotional well-being of

blocks nerve transmission and has been used as an analgesic for humans. Drawing on this information, a team of researchers, led by Gricel Riquelme at the Membrane Biochemistry Laboratory at the University of Chile, decided to conduct a study to determine whether Neosaxitoxin could be used as a long-lasting pain-reliever in horses with bucked shins.


Fourteen horses diagnosed with bucked shins were

These findings could be relevant in Equine Assisted

under the skin at the top of the affected bone. Following

treated with one of three doses of Neosaxitoxin injected

Therapy (EAT) programs and in day-to-day interaction with horses. It could also be a sign of emotional transfer between humans and horses.

the injection, the researchers monitored lameness and noted the sensitivity of the affected area to pressure. In all cases, they found a significant improvement in pain with no adverse effects.




As the Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) industry continues to grow, a tool for measuring the movement of horse and rider is essential. This January, Horses and Humans Research Foundation awarded $10,000 to Texas A&M University to complete their research project “Tracking Kinematic and Kinetic Data during Horse Riding for Optimizing Therapeutic Outcomes”. Using new technologically-advanced sensors, this study will investigate the impact of the horse’s movement on a rider by measuring both horse and

First generation prototype sensors. More upto-date sensors (about the size of a quarter) will be available this spring.

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University.

rider simultaneously. The data collected during EAT sessions will provide insight into: • The impact of equine movement on the rider • The effects on a rider’s mobility of the movement pattern of specific horses • How EAT affects the rider’s core movements • How refinements in horse selection, utilization and/or training might further enhance EAT effectiveness. For instructors and therapists, this information could be ground-breaking in the assessment of individuals, therapy horses and treatment strategies.


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CAN EQUINE STEM CELLS HEAL WOUNDS? A team of researchers in the Van de Walle Lab at the Cornell University College of The study, led by research support specialist Rebecca Harman, has revealed that factors secreted by adult stem cells are able to fight bacteria in skin wounds. Previous research has explored the therapeutic value of stem cells in wound healing, but few studies have examined how they can inhibit bacterial growth. Harman and her team are looking at the antibacterial properties of equine stem cells to develop therapies for horses and serve as a model for human studies. “Although mice are smaller and less expensive model organisms, the horse is more physiologically relevant when it comes to human skin wound healing,” explains Harman. Harman takes stem cells from the horses’ blood in a minimally invasive procedure. She then applies the factors secreted by stem cells, rather than the cells themselves, to the wounds, which reduces the chance of a host negatively reacting to the therapy. The lab is currently experimenting with different storage methods, such as freezing and drying, for ease of practitioner use. This summer, they’ll be applying the therapy to a herd of Icelandic horses in an attempt to heal a recurring skin condition. If all goes well, this new therapy may prove a more natural and effective alternative to conventional antibiotics.

Photo courtesy Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Veterinary Medicine are exploring the use of stem cells to treat skin wounds in horses.


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care for your HORSE By Heather Hoyns, DVM

Depending on the procedure, dental aftercare in horses varies from simple observation and temporary confinement to administering antibiotics and pain medication.


our veterinarian is coming to “do” your horse’s teeth. What can you expect afterwards? Your horse obviously shouldn’t be ridden immediately after dental work, but what else should you do for his aftercare?

DENTAL PROBLEMS IN HORSES In horses, the upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw, so they develop sharp points on the outside of the upper cheek teeth and on the inside of the lower cheek teeth. As horses age, they can develop dental issues such as loose teeth, spaces between teeth (diastema) that pack feed, wave mouth, and fractured, expired or “worn out” teeth. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of horses with Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis (EOTRH), a disease primarily affecting the incisors and surrounding tissues. All these issues require a complete oral exam and varying levels of treatment and aftercare. In most cases, a complete oral exam entails sedation and the use of an oral speculum and mirror or oral scope. This allows your veterinarian to thoroughly examine the teeth and surrounding tissue and to ascertain what treatment is needed.


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For horses whose teeth only require floating (filing off sharp points), aftercare is minimal. There is no pain associated with the procedure. Aftercare simply consists of keeping the horse from eating until he is awake enough to remember to chew his food thoroughly before swallowing, generally about one hour, and keeping him confined for about three hours to make sure he is completely awake before he is turned out with his friends.

2. E XTRACTIONS If your young horse has had his wolf teeth extracted, he will have already had some local anesthesia in addition to sedation. Since most wolf teeth are in the upper jaw, there is little chance of feed packing into the extraction site. Aftercare is the same as with floating, with the added difference that you should avoid putting a bit in the horse’s mouth for about ten days, until the sites heal.

Photos courtesy of Heather Hoyns.


The inside of a horse’s mouth as seen with an oral speculum and a good light.

Dr. Hoyns examines a horse’s teeth using a light and mirror.

Horses who have had cheek teeth (molars or premolars) extracted require a higher level of aftercare. They will have had both regional and local anesthesia in addition to sedation, as well as IV pain medication, at the time of the extraction. Continuing care usually consists of antibiotics for a number of days, and several more days of pain medication. Often, your veterinarian will want to see the horse in two to four weeks for a re-check examination. If the alveolus was packed, your veterinarian will most likely remove it at this time.

3. E QUINE ODONTOCLASTIC TOOTH RESORPTION AND HYPERCEMENTOSIS EOTRH is a painful disease primarily involving the incisors and canine teeth. The bone and surrounding gums become inflamed and infected. Treatment involves extracting the affected teeth, which often means extracting all of the incisors in the arcade. There is often not enough gum tissue to completely close the surgery site, so healing is by second intention. It will take several weeks for the area to heal completely. Sedation, regional and local anesthesia are used, along with IV pain medication. Aftercare includes flushing the extraction sites, since they tend to accumulate feed particles. The horse will also receive antibiotics and pain medication for a number of days. Again, your veterinarian may want to see the horse for a re-check examination. Keep in mind that each horse is an individual, and the recommendations for dental aftercare will reflect this individuality.

Dr. Heather Hoyns owns Evergreen Equine of Vermont, located in West Windsor, Vermont, where she practices general equine medicine. A graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, she places special emphasis on basic and referral equine dentistry. Contact her via phone at 802-484-9100, email office@ EvergreenEquineVT.com, or visit EvergreenEquineVT.com.

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These tools have many uses but are not without their limitations. Learn the ins and outs of heart rate monitors so you can make the best decision for your horse.



f you have never used an equine heart rate monitor (HRM), you could be missing out on essential information about your horse and her heart. Understanding more about them, and what they can and can’t do, is the best way to optimize their use.

YOUR HORSE’S HEART Hickstead was a champion jumper whose sudden death in 2011 from an aortic rupture1 had equestrians concerned about their horses’ hearts. But the equine heart bears little similarity to the human heart and its conditions. 12

Horses do not live as long as we do (horses live 20 to 25 years, humans up to 85 years). The equine diet tends to be cleaner than ours, with fewer chemicals and preservatives. In addition, horses eat few to no fats (they’re the only mammal without a gallbladder, and can be considered super-vegans). So horses bypass common long-term diseases often found in humans. Heart failure is relatively uncommon in horses. To say that a horse died of a heart attack is making a generic statement, since the most common heart-related death in equines is caused by an aortic rupture that leads to heart failure (Hickstead’s diagnosis).

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WHAT IS AN EQUINE HEART RATE MONITOR? An equine heart rate monitor (HRM) is a device that monitors your horse’s heart during exercise. They range from simple minimal buttons to extravagant GPS systems, and come in hand-held, girth belt and electrode models, all equipped with an electronic training record. They give riders a scientific look at their horses. HRMs reference the ups and downs of a horse as you work him, and are valuable when used to chart him through strenuous training. GPS systems with sophisticated performance indicators store information that can be downloaded to your computer for complete high-resolution analysis of the training session. Prices: A stethoscope costs around $250. A basic HRM runs from $150 to $250, while a device with all the bells and whistles can cost up to $500.

HRM USES AND ADVANTAGES Most HRM use is specific to conditioning, mostly for racing, eventing, endurance, dressage, treadmills and in conditioning/ medical facilities. • HRMs take the guesswork out of whether or not you are putting too much stress on your horse. They help avoid physical wear and tear, inform you of training plateaus, and help tailor programs such as interval training, altitude or swimming. HRM information is indisputable, avoids assumptions, and is a valuable tool for conditioning. • When horses act out, they are often diagnosed as “bad” or “spoiled” when, in reality, they could be in pain. However, heart rates can spike during movements such as gait and directional changes, signaling pain or injury. Use of a monitor alerts you to these spikes, thereby preventing your horse from further suffering. Continued on page 14.

Photo courtesy of April Reeves.

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Continued from page 13.

Heart conditions in horses

Equine hearts are highly effective organs. Horses rarely suffer coronary artery disease, and heart attacks are rare. Heart issues in horses range from having no significance, to mildly limiting, to lifethreatening. Disease can develop rapidly (acute) or slowly (chronic). Very few horses have problems, but tests can determine extremely variable underlying causes. History is always part of diagnosing heart disease, but there is still much to learn about the equine heart. Normal hearts beat evenly, although murmurs and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) are common. Congenital anomalies remain infrequent. The most common heart condition affecting performance is atrial fibrillation, in which the upper chambers can beat up to 400 bpm. Swale (sudden death syndrome) is more prevalent in race horses. Other contributing factors that can damage the equine heart include trauma, congenital malformation, toxic insult, neoplasia, degeneration, inflammation, lesions, infection, fever, anorexia, low body score, vessel laceration, vitamin toxicity and bacteria colonization, or disease in other organs. Calming agents and various drugs can alter the heartbeat. Call your vet if you detect a weak rapid pulse or erratic, unstable and/or muffled heart sounds.


• HRMs can monitor emotional states such as excitement, fear or anxiety, and help solve issues in jumping performance (e.g. sudden refusals or rushing). • They signal early lameness, colic and depression, declines in performance, and changes in fitness. • Monitors are invaluable for tracking recovery and physical improvements, and changes in therapy (massage, chiropractic). • HRMs allow you to track the effects of weather extremes, especially heat, and changing terrain, which quickly trigger higher bpm (beats per minute). • Non-performance horses (light pleasure) can also take advantage of an HRM, as can foals (from birth), especially if they are bred to achieve high levels of performance.

OTHER USES • Good for pre-purchase exams. • An HRM can be used by a veterinarian to diagnose a heart flutter. Not all flutters are life-threatening. • These devices can uncover the effects of poor body condition. During heavier states of conditioning (endurance, eventing, polo, cutting), often the horse is pushed from anaerobic threshold to anaerobic metabolism, which uses carbohydrates for fast energy, minus the use of oxygen. This produces lactic acid in the muscles and pushes the heart threshold over 160. Pushing the heart rate of an unconditioned horse over 160 too often could lead to heart trauma. Wearing a heart monitor at these times can show the rider instantly where harm may be occurring by indicating that threshold before damage occurs. In addition, honest horses (that give their all when asked) may hide the internal effects of intermittent heavy use, but a heart monitor can assess the situation quickly, especially in heart trauma.

HRM LIMITATIONS It is important to remember that the HRM is a tool. It does not take the place of learning all you can about health issues and conditioning; your horse’s legs, skeleton and mental capacity must also be taken into account during training. An HRM is not used to monitor speed, nor is it a tachometer. These devices are not advisable for horses with heart murmurs, as they are incapable of specifically locating and recording the murmur, and could bypass vital health information. As with any device, an equine heart monitor is only as useful as the person using it. Knowing what an HRM is most effective for is vital for getting the most out of it. 1


April Reeves began teaching in 1971. Today, she owns Horseman’s Park Alberta; teaches clinics and private lessons to students in western Canada; and lectures, writes, shows and breeds warmbloods and quarter horses. She is a multi-discipline rider and CHA Level 3 instructor for English, Western and Jumping.

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true partnership between horse and human is a beautiful thing. And to be part of that partnership is an honor and privilege – anyone who’s been there would agree. For thousands of years, humans have forged strong partnerships with horses to accomplish amazing things – to “pave the way for society”, as it were. For many of us today, sharing a special relationship with a horse is its own reward. Over the decades, I’ve learned that if my horsemanship is consistent with and complementary to certain key principles of natural equine behavior, I can bring out the very best in my horse, and forge a true partnership. Knowing how your horse sees leadership, acceptance, emotions and relationships is key to making that partnership.

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SHIP 1. LEADERSHIP Horse herds, domestic and feral, have a linear hierarchy, with one horse at the top of the pecking order and one at the bottom – the alpha and the omega. Even among two bonded individuals, one is dominant over the other. There’s no equality in a horse herd. Horses establish dominance in the herd by controlling the space of other individuals as well as the resources (food, water, shade, etc.). When a herd is led by a true alpha horse with strong leadership skills, the others look up to her, obey her every command, and always try to stay on her good side for the Equine Wellness

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perks it will bring. This is the frame of mind I want a horse to be in as we build a partnership together – I want her to look up to me and take comfort from being with me. Being a strong and competent leader to my horse is a big job, and I take it seriously.

MEETING YOUR HORSE’S NEEDS Understanding a horse’s natural behavior, her motivations, psychology and the way her brain works, means I can conduct myself in a way she understands. Your horse’s needs are simple: she wants safety and comfort. But meeting those needs is decidedly

The leader of the herd is responsible for guiding the other horses to food and water, maintaining discipline, and motivating the herd to flight if necessary. To be the leader my horse wants me to be is not always easy. It means I have an obligation to keep her safe at all times, to reward her and make her comfortable when she deserves it, and to enforce the rules when necessary. Horses love consistency, routines and authority because it makes them feel safe. Being a good leader to my horse and forging a strong partnership is not just about doing ground work or practicing riding skills. It’s about good horse-husbandry, the 24/7 lifestyle you give your horse, and paying attention to your horse’s needs above your own.

2. ACCEPTANCE Horses are instinctively drawn to the herd – behaviorists call it “gregarious behavior” (one of seven categories of instinctive behaviors in horses). Often maligned by horse people, gregarious (or herd-bound) behavior is quite natural and is one of the most defining characteristics of the horse, second only to the flight response. Your horse feels dependent on the herd for her survival; there’s no natural situation in which a horse would live alone. There’s safety in numbers when it comes to these prey animals. In a natural setting, horses control the membership of a given herd. They don’t choose the herd as much as the herd chooses its members. Horses will always seek acceptance into a herd; any herd is better than being alone. No matter how mean and ugly the horses in the new herd are, that lonesome horse will beg for acceptance by acting contrite, respectful and humble. Eventually, the horse is granted provisional membership in the herd, but he will tread lightly so as not to make waves. The terrifying memory of being herd-less is still fresh in his mind.

not simple and presents a constant challenge. Keeping in mind these important aspects of equine behavior helps me connect with a horse on a more meaningful level, to bring out the very best in both of us.

To me, a horse is at her best when she’s seeking acceptance into my herd. If I can provide the same level of comfort and security to my horse that she gets from the herd, she will yearn to be with me. It’s not hard to foster this eager-to-please attitude in a horse, since it is literally instinctive behavior. Combining my lofty expectations of my horse with rest and praise when those expectations are met, and with admonishment when the horse falls short, keeps her trying hard and seeking my approval.

3. E MOTIONALITY Horses feel the same basic emotions we do – anger, frustration, fear, jealousy, humiliation, contentment, depression, excitement. I think some horses also have a distinct sense of humor, while others decidedly do not. Horses at various stages of life experience varying levels of confidence, bravery and stoicism, just as humans do. “Reading the horse”, or being aware of her emotional state, is important for successful handling and training. Once a horse becomes overly emotional, she has difficulty thinking; once her emotions boil over, she’s downright dangerous. Training can only occur when a horse is quiet in the mind and able to think about what I am asking. Keeping a horse mentally relaxed and engaged can be a challenge, but it makes an enormous impact on how fast she learns. Because horses are prey, flight and herd animals, they tend to adopt the emotions of those around them. A lifetime of working with horses has taught me to be aware and in control


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of my emotions at all times when I’m around a horse. If a rider is angry, scared or frustrated, the horse feels it too.

I’ve learned that if my horsemanship is consistent with and complementary to certain key principles of natural horse behavior, I can bring out the very best in my horse and forge a true partnership.

4. RELATIONSHIPS While mares may be slightly more relationship-oriented, all horses have relationships within the herd. Usually, a horse will form a special bonded relationship with one other horse in the herd. Often called “buddies” by horse owners, two bonded horses are referred to as “associates” by behaviorists. Only associates will mutually groom each other; they hang out together, they play together and they watch each other’s backs.

new level of significance to the endeavor. To be the kind of leader my horse chooses and believes in requires a lot of hard work and dedication on my part. But what that horse gives me in return is invaluable – a true partnership between horse and human, and the feeling that together we can accomplish anything. Julie Goodnight is from Salida, Colorado, and is best known for her weekly RFD-TV show Horse Master, and for her no-nonsense training for riders of all disciplines. Her methods are grounded in natural horsemanship, classical riding and understanding horse behavior. She teaches at clinics and expos everywhere and offers online education, how-to DVDs, and her own tack and training tools at JulieGoodnight.com.

Between two associates in a herd, one is dominant and one is subordinate – that part of the relationship is usually clear and uncontested. While I am not naïve enough to think I can replace my horse’s associate in the herd, this kind of relationship sets a gold standard for what I want with my horse. I want to be her friend, but I also want her to look up to me as the leader, the one in charge. Because horses naturally crave relationships, they can also be controlling and manipulative. Horses love to play games and control the actions of others in the herd. In theory, humans are much smarter than horses, so it’s a little embarrassing how often I see horses manipulating humans. Having the sense to know when you are being played like a fiddle by your horse is important. I like to think of action/reaction. If I make an action to which my horse reacts, I am in control. If the horse makes an action, to which I react, the horse is controlling me.

BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN BOTH OF US Without question, horses make us better people, if we let them. Going beyond the sporting and recreational opportunities horses offer, delving deep into their behavior and adopting the principles that make us better humans brings a whole Equine Wellness

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Photos courtesy of Stephanie Reeves.

equine massage FOR TMJ PROBLEMS By Ania Drygalski


An aligned and flexible temporomandibular joint is vital for your horse’s overall health, impacting his digestion, neck, back, balance and more. Massage can be a useful tool to restore proper function in your horse’s TMJ. correctly-functioning temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is essential to your horse’s overall well-being. Any misalignment, trauma, inflammation or other

problem in his TMJ affects not only his ability to chew, but also his digestion, his balance, the function of his neck and back, and much more. Equine massage is an effective way to help your horse’s TMJ get back to normal function.


To understand your horse’s TMJ and how it impacts his health, it’s important to be familiar with its basic anatomy. 20

In the simplest of terms, the TMJ connects the mandible (jawbone) to the temporal bone (which forms the forehead). The joint is made up of two compartments separated by an articular disc. The lower portion is a hinge joint that allows the horse to open and close his mouth. The upper portion is a sliding joint that allows him to move his jaw from side to side as well as forward and backward. Like most joints, the TMJ is surrounded by a joint capsule filled with synovial fluid, and mobilized and stabilized by tendons and ligaments. These, in turn, rely on proper muscle contraction and relaxation in order to work correctly. This area, along with

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the joint itself, has many nerves running through it. The TMJ is packed very tightly, so any inflammation can cause extreme pain because there is no extra room for swelling. Depending on the cause, TMJ issues can start as minor discomfort and progress to a constant and severe headache.

TMJ ISSUES – CAUSES AND EFFECTS Problems with a horse’s TMJ can have more than one cause.

• Trauma is certainly one, and can result in subluxation (misalignment) or sepsis (infection) in the joint. • Horses can get arthritis in the TMJ as a result of dental issues. Horses spend many hours a day grazing and chewing, and if there is a constant imbalance in the mouth, it will put undue stress on the TMJ. • Issues such as a bit that doesn’t fit properly, incorrect balance in the feet, and poor saddle fit can also cause problems in the TMJ over time. TMJ dysfunction is believed to be more common than we realize, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the symptoms and communicate them to your veterinarian if you suspect a problem. Common clinical signs include pain on palpation of the TMJ or manipulation of the jaw, an enlargement of the joint (which can most easily be observed from the front) and atrophy of one or both masseter muscles. It is also wise to periodically observe your horse as he eats. Horses chew in a very rhythmic, smooth manner. If you hear any irregularities while your horse chews, or see him dropping feed or tilting his head while eating, or if you find any asymmetries when looking at the teeth, definitely have your veterinarian investigate. If your horse suddenly starts to shake his head, carries his head differently or becomes resistant to the bit, TMJ issues need to be ruled out.


Once a diagnosis is made by your veterinarian, there are a few ways to address the issue, depending partly on the cause. If a dental imbalance is the culprit, rectifying it is the top priority; anything else will only act as a temporary band-aid. If there’s a lot of inflammation, anti-inflammatories can be given temporarily to help reduce discomfort. In cases of arthritis, corticosteroid injections can be administered into the joint to reduce inflammation. If there is a subluxation, a qualified chiropractor can help resolve it. Continued on page 22.

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Continued from page 21. Addressing the teeth and TMJ itself may not completely resolve the problem, however. As mentioned previously, soft tissues are associated with healthy TMJ function, and these can remain tight and cause problems on their own.

Temporomandibular Joint


Massage can be a very useful tool for helping to restore proper function to the TMJ, as well as addressing the compensatory issues that occur as a result of any issues. Gentle work right around the joint, as well as jaw mobilizations (carefully moving the jaw side to side), can help release a lot of the tension that builds up in the area. Horses usually lower their heads, blink more, or lick and chew when this area is addressed. Some will even slide their jaws side to side on their own before mobilizations are performed. Many of the muscles in the face, primarily the masseter, can be quite tight and harbor trigger points that need to be released in order for chewing to return to normal. Tension in the jaw can travel further down the body, since a rigid jaw prevents the horse from being loose and supple and from bending correctly. The neck (particularly the poll) and back (all the way to the sacrum) are often also affected. This is the reason why a full body massage is recommended to address TMJ problems as thoroughly as possible, even when the area of concern is quite small. I personally also use a cold laser on any areas of concern at the end of a treatment. Keeping your horse’s TMJ working properly entails knowing the signs of a potential problem, having the cause correctly diagnosed and treated – and including massage as a way to help restore correct function in any affected areas. Ania works on the TMJ, doing gentle jaw mobilizations.

Ania Drygalski is a Registered Equine Massage Therapist and owner of EquiKneads. In 2004, she graduated from the intensive two-year, 2,200-hour equine massage therapy program at the D’Arcy Lane Institute in London, Ontario, Canada. Since then, she has been massaging horses in all disciplines in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. Whether the horse is a backyard pet or a Grand Prix mount, Ania enjoys helping them all feel their best. equikneads.ca 22


It can be easy to overlook just how important the TMJ is to your horse’s overall health. We already know how vital it is for a horse to have a properly functioning digestive tract, but correct mastication is a crucial first step in this process. Horses spend much of their time grazing and chewing. Not only does TMJ pain prevent them from chewing correctly, it can also cause quite a bit of stress and affect their quality of life in a significant way. Having a horse who softly accepts a bit and flexes comfortably to either side is extremely important no matter what discipline you focus on. A locked jaw also has a terrible effect on the entire body, stiffening it up. It doesn’t matter how much leg you add on, or how closely you as a rider try to micromanage the horse’s body – if the TMJ is locked on one side, your horse will never be truly straight or use his body correctly. Due to its location, its innervation, and its proximity to the brainstem, dysfunction in the TMJ can also cause balance and body awareness issues, since this area has functions similar to the human ear. For all these reasons, the TMJ is a very important body part to be aware of!

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WRITING HORSE STORIES Like everyone else, horsepeople love a good story. Some of us go a step further and yearn to tell our own stories or write our own books. Like riding, however, writing takes a disciplined approach to master, along with lots of practice. Fortunately, we can build on what we already know to make the overall learning process go smoothly. The course stretches in front of you. You plan your approach, seeing the obstacle, knowing more hurdles are ahead. You soar over the first and then stumble, hoping to recover enough to cross the finish clean. Each barrier grows in size and complexity, when, finally, in one last Herculean effort, you land clear, the test of your skills complete. Are you riding a Grand Prix?

By Connie Johnson Hambley

Here’s the key. Knowing you want to write a children’s book is great, but the best books tell more than a simple story. They have a message. A little boy may learn to care for a pony, but the message is what gels the story together. This message may be as basic as how mastering a task builds self-esteem, or how caring for a living thing nurtures empathy. You have to know the bigger picture in order to guide your story over the inevitable hurdles.

2. PLAN YOUR APPROACH You might be able to approach an obstacle or story point straight on, but does that strategy set you up for the next turn? In writing your story, you must approach the plot – and the characters who bring it to life – with clarity and a keen strategy.

No. You’re writing a novel!

1. KNOW THE COURSE What story do you want to tell? Is it a children’s book about how a pony changed a little boy’s life? Was there something in your grandmother’s equine life that you found particularly universal and inspiring? Do you fantasize about that hunky stable guy, or are you planning out a perfect crime with a horse as the getaway ride? Knowing what story you want to bring to life is important, but that task can be as amorphous as looking at a Grand Prix arena filled with jumps and not knowing where to begin. 24

I write suspense novels, so my approach is particularly important. I need to keep my reader engaged and guessing. Writing a character who is clearly the bad guy will make for a boring story. I like my villains to look like nice people. Maybe I introduce a character by showing her feeding a stray puppy with the last half of her sandwich. Aww…good person! But, chapters later, I show her robbing a bank while expertly wielding an antique rifle. Wait, what? My approach to this character gives me a lot to work with as a writer. Is she desperate? Cold and calculating? Unfolding those answers will give the story complexity and depth.

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Oh, and Grand Prix arenas don’t allow winged horses and unicorns. Grounding the completion of the story with wellplaced and well-paced turns knits it together in a way that looks effortless and easy – but we writers know better.

3. CLEAR THE HURDLES You’re mid-story and have approached all the obstacles perfectly. Then, at the peak of a scene’s arc, you see a landing that puts your story in jeopardy. Do you grab a fistful of mane, close your eyes and let gravity do the work? Or is it time to bail? Neither. The reader has knowledge you did not put on the page and may see the obstacle differently than you have described. Gravity puts inevitable force on the direction of your story, and you can use this to your advantage by creating questions. Letting your reader anticipate the perils increases their suspense. Little boys might not realize that putting electric clippers next to a water bucket is dangerous, for example, but the reader does. As another example, a reader can worry that an animal lover made homeless may take desperate actions. A good story has more triple combinations than Oxers. Multiple and varied obstacles make for a more satisfying reading experience.

4. LAND THE BEAST Being off-kilter when landing, even by a little, is frightening. This is where grit kicks in. Tighten your core, take a deep breath and project confidence. Your off-balance landing may be exactly what you needed to set you up correctly for the next obstacle. The crowd may gasp as you slip around a hairpin turn, but you know where you’re going. Show them the little boy reaching for the clippers after spilling the water bucket. As a writer, you need to trust yourself. This is your story and you’re the only person who can see it through to the end.

5. FINISH STRONG Did you veer off course or drop a rail? Is the story from your head now on the page? Every Grand Prix rider has a coach. Seek advice. Edit. Ride the course again and make adjustments. After all, you know the clippers were unplugged and that all ends well! So raise your crop-shaped pen above your head and take that victory lap. Connie Johnson Hambley grew up riding horses on her family’s New York dairy farm. She applies her law degree to writing high-concept thrillers featuring women entangled in modern-day crimes. Volunteering at a therapeutic riding center inspired her to write about the human stories surrounding horses’ power to heal. Her short stories, Giving Voice and Black Ice, won acceptance in Best New England Crime Stories published by Level Best Books. The third book in The Jessica Trilogy, The Wake, joins The Charity and The Troubles. Connie is a twotime winner of Best English Fiction literary award at the EQUUS International Film Festival in New York City. She is Vice President and Featured Speaker of Sisters in Crime New England. Learn more at conniejohnsonhambley. com and follow her at bit.ly/facebookcjhambley and twitter.com/ConnieHambley.

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Choosing the right bit and noseband for your horse can be a process of trial and error. But it’s worth it, since how they fit affects his comfort level – and the prevalence of oral lesions.


By Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Diplomate ACVSMR, MRCVS

If you’re purchasing a bit and noseband, you need to ensure you’re choosing what’s right for your horse. Your decision should be based on what’s comfortable for him, what fits him well and affords an appropriate level of control without putting undue pressure on him. Every horse is different and it may require a certain amount of trial and error to find the equipment that works best. In this article we’ll look at the results of some recent studies related to the selection and adjustment of nosebands and bits, and their association with oral lesions.

CHEEK BITING HAPPENS The most frequent sites for oral abrasions or ulcers in horses are the insides of the cheeks and the corners of the lips. Lesions inside the cheeks occur when the loose, flabby cheek tissue rubs against or is accidentally bitten by the horse’s premolar teeth. The upper premolars tend 26

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to develop sharp enamel points on their outer edges which are liable to abrade the cheeks as they rub against the teeth. This isn’t a problem limited only to ridden horses. In a group of brood mares that had not been ridden for at least 11 months, and that had their teeth floated regularly, more than half had oral ulcers, indicating that even unridden horses can accidentally bite their own cheeks. However, research has shown that oral ulcers occur in over 90% of horses ridden regularly with a bit and bridle, demonstrating that the prevalence of oral ulcers is higher in ridden horses than in those with a sedentary lifestyle.

ADJUSTING THE NOSEBAND The traditional recommendation is that it should be possible to insert two fingers between the noseband and the horse’s face. It’s safest to check this on the side of the face, just behind the headpiece of the noseband, as recommended in the USEF rule book (see illustration on page 28). On no account should you put your fingers between the noseband and the bridge of the horse’s nose – if the horse opens his mouth, your fingers could be crushed. The International Society for Equitation Science markets a taper gauge that can be used to measure tightness of the noseband at the bridge of the nose. When the noseband is adjusted as recommended above, it acts as a training aid. If the horse opens his mouth, the noseband automatically tightens and applies pressure to his face. When the mouth closes, the pressure is immediately relieved. This applies the principle of negative reinforcement; noseband pressure is relieved when the horse closes his mouth. On the contrary, when the noseband is over-tightened to prevent the horse from resisting the action of the bit by opening his mouth, it applies pressure continuously with no relief for good behavior. The areas of highest pressure under the noseband are at the edges of the nasal bones and under the jaw where the noseband crosses the mandibles. High pressure is also applied to these areas when using bitless bridles. It is beneficial for the noseband to have soft padding in areas where it crosses the bony parts of the face.

BIT SELECTION The bit lies in the oral diastema, the toothless area of the bars in front of the premolar teeth. The tongue usually acts as a cushion between the bit and the bars of the mouth (see photo on page 28). Depending on the type of bit, it may apply pressure to the bars, palate, tongue or lips. Bit selection, therefore, affects the parts of the mouth that are susceptible to injury. In a study of Icelandic horses, lesions around the corners of the lips were associated specifically with the use of a snaffle bit, especially if the mouthpiece was either too wide or too narrow Equine Wellness

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Photo courtesy of Hilary Clayton.

What kind of noseband?

A tight noseband compresses the cheeks and may increase the likelihood that the teeth will injure the cheeks. The risk of injury varies, however, according to the position of the noseband strap. A cavesson noseband, or the upper strap of the crossed noseband or Micklem bridle, encircles the head directly over the premolars. When these straps are tightened, the cheeks are pressed more firmly against the teeth, which facilitates abrasions of the cheeks.

Parting the horse’s lips shows the tongue between the bars of the mouth and the bit.

for the size of the horse’s mouth. On the other hand, damage to the bars of the mouth was associated with the use of a ported curb bit due to the leverage effect; when tension is applied to the reins, the port presses forward against the horse’s palate and the mouthpiece presses against the bars. Bit-related lesions of the tongue are not common but have been reported in polo ponies ridden with a gag bit.

Generally, a drop noseband, a flash noseband or the lower strap of a crossed (Mexican) noseband or Micklem bridle fit in front of the premolar teeth and do not squeeze the cheeks against the teeth. Diagram from USEF rule book showing how to check that a noseband is not too tight.

A study of Danish sport horses that were examined during competitions revealed oral lesions or blood at the corners of the lips in 9% of horses, with more lesions in horses competing at higher levels. There was no difference in the prevalence of lesions between different bits or with bitless bridles.

REDUCING THE RISK What can we do to reduce the risk of oral lesions related to training and riding? First, we must realize that horses have oral ulcers even without being ridden and that regular dental care does not prevent these ulcers from developing. However, regular dental care should be part of our preventative medicine program to maintain oral health and to minimize the number and severity of ulcers. We should take care that our tack and equipment, especially the bit and upper noseband strap, are correctly fitted and adjusted; the bit should be just a little wider than the distance between the corners of the lips, and thin enough to fit within the oral cavity. Very fat bits may be uncomfortable because there isn’t room for the horse to accommodate the bit with the jaws closed. The noseband should not be over-tightened. Finally, although the bit and the noseband affect the prevalence of oral lesions, neither riding bitless nor removing the noseband will protect the horse against the development of oral ulcers. 28

© 2018 United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. (USEF) Reprinted with the permission of USEF. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited by law. USEF is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the publication or for the use of its copyrighted materials in any unauthorized manner.

Dr. Hilary M. Clayton is a veterinarian, researcher and horsewoman. For the past 40 years she has performed innovative research in the areas of locomotor biomechanics, lameness, physical therapy and rehabilitation, conditioning programs for equine athletes, and the interaction between rider, tack and horse. She has published seven books and over 200 scientific articles on these topics. Since retiring from academia in 2014, she has applied the results of her scientific research to the development of practical techniques to help riders, trainers and veterinarians. She continues to perform collaborative research with colleagues in universities around the world. Dr. Clayton is a lifelong rider and has competed in many equestrian sports, most recently focusing on dressage, in which she trains through the Grand Prix level and has earned US Dressage Federation bronze, silver and gold medals.

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for eye health Antioxidants offer a range of health benefits to you and your horse. Did you know they can also be helpful for his eye health? Horses are exposed to the same oxidative stress as the rest of us, and they develop very unique eye problems that can be devastating to their vision as well as their careers. These problems include Equine Recurrent Uveitis (aka Moonblindness), Immune Mediated Keratitis, corneal ulcers with secondary bacterial or fungal infection, and squamous cell carcinoma (cancer eye), as well as other conditions.

MOST COMMON EYE CONDITIONS • Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU) and its complications are the leading cause of blindness in horses, incurring costs of up to $1 billion per year. In the United States, 8% to 25% of horses are estimated to be affected.

OPTIMAL SUPPORT FOR EQUINE VISION Formulated By Board Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists

• Corneal ulcers are traumatic in origin, and even a small ulcer or erosion can become infected with bacteria, or worse, fungi. Without aggressive and rapid treatment, the ulcers can quickly progress.

Based On Clinical Research

• Cancer eye is more common in horses with white eyelids and is due to excessive exposure to sunlight.

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ANTIOXIDANTS COMBAT OXIDATIVE STRESS Normal daily living, as well as all these diseases, results in many different types of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress generates free radicals (aka reactive oxygen species), unstable molecules that wreak havoc on the tissues where they are made. This in turn can affect neighboring normal cells, continuing the snowball effect of damage. The addition of a variety of antioxidants to your horse’s daily supplement regimen diminishes the damage caused by daily living and disease. Antioxidants complement the traditional therapies used to fight infection and inflammation in common eye conditions, and can be used as a potential preventative as well.

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21% 2/3+ PEOPLE

Feelin’ GOOD!


More than 80% feel considerably more “cheerful”, “relaxed” or “active” after horse riding.2




Of the respondents, 69% achieved intensity and frequency through horse riding and the other 21% did so through associated activities such as mucking out stalls and grooming.1

Riding gives you a strong core but did you know:

Achieve the government guidelines for exercise intensity and frequency from horse riding and associated activities alone.

Riding = Fitness


You know you feel good when you ride. Did you know that the majority of studies back up what you’re feeling?

Gentle Riding = a game

of badminton or dancing – expending 5.5 METs (Metabolic Equivalent Tasks).

Galloping is the same as playing squash – 7.3 METs.

Jumping requires 9 METs – more than football or basketball.2

1 2

“The Health Benefits of Riding in the UK” (PDF), 2011, 5, bhs.org.uk/enjoy-riding/health-benefits health-n-life.com/healthy-lifestyle/fitness-and-exercise/fitness-inspiration/the-holistic-benefits-of-horse-riding/


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Check out the stats that showcase the physical, behavioral and psychological beneďŹ ts of being around horses.


HEALING THROUGH HORSES Qualitative data suggests that the physical or mental condition of some people with long-standing illnesses or disabilities actually improves from horse riding.1

= 220 Mucking out a stall for half an hour burns 220 Calories.


IMPROVED WELL-BEING Horse riders point to the sense of wellbeing they gain as a motivator to interacting with horses. This beneďŹ cial psychological interaction with an animal occurs in very few sports.1

45+ One survey indicates that 37% of all female riders are over 45 years old, suggesting that horse riding can play a valuable role in initiatives to encourage increased activity in women of all ages. 1



Age appropriate

Schooling a horse for an hour burns 360 calories.3


80% of people rate time with horses as an important way to escape, develop skills, challenge oneself, and experience excitement.1


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Curiosity, timing and communication


t 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. It doesn’t matter what discipline or program you are in; your horse will immediately feel the difference. I call them the “9 Habits For Excellent Horsemanship”. In the first part of this article (EW, V13I1), we covered Partnership, Clarity and the Reflex to Relax. Now let’s look at Curiosity, Timing and Communication.

1. CURIOSITY Every time you nurture curiosity, you open wider the doorway to all possibilities.

Photos courtesy of Dana Rasmussen.

Curiosity goes hand in hand with confidence, and is the opposite of fear. Actively nurturing curiosity moves you from fear to confidence, and asking questions is the quickest way to do it. When you ask yourself an empowering question such as “How can I make this better?” you will be helping your horse and yourself.


Learning happens by exploring possibilities, looking for answers and being unafraid of making “mistakes”. Without curiosity, we limit our chances of success. In every moment with your horse, can you stay curious by asking empowering questions? Can you recognize and nurture curiosity in your horse?

2. TIME & TIMING The only time to act is now, but there are lots of nows to choose from.

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Horsemanship – PART 2

What we choose to do in this moment can lead to success or struggle. If my horse has trouble, the first question I ask is: “Does he need to do this now?” Ego often makes us stick to our plans, but there are always choices for what we could be doing in this “now”. If we have full awareness of time and how we choose to use it, we can become masters of our choices. We can choose when we apply and release our aids, and choose our degree of patience in the process. In every moment with your horse, can you be aware of the choices you make about when you do what you do?

3. COMMUNICATION Seek communication, but be able to control. Communication is the language of leadership. For safety, we need to be able to control our horses. Yet the more we use control, the more we become dependent on it. Communication requires trust, but gives your horse the opportunity to willingly learn and participate. The more willing you are to listen, the more interested your horse will be in the conversation, and the more eager he will be to offer the best answer. To communicate clearly, have a picture of what you are asking your horse to do, make sure your body language matches it, and give him some time to answer you. In every moment with your horse, can you clearly embody your intention? Are you willing to listen to his answer? Watch for Part 3 in the next issue where I will talk about the habits of Feel, Consistency and Variety, and having a Sense of Humor.

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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Photos courtesy of Rein Photo.

All western riding disciplines, from gymkhana and barrel racing to jumping and pleasure riding, can benefit from dressage’s time-honored lessons.

By Jeff Wilson




veryone should have access to the highest level of horsemanship they desire, regardless of the saddle they ride in, the clothes they wear or the horses they ride. That opportunity has never been more available to you than right now, so giddy-up! I’m talking about Cowboy and Western Dressage.

The truth is – and I’m staring at all you western riders – is that principles of riding that are older than dirt have been locked away from you. I’m talking about a riding foundation called dressage. As a western rider, I have a culture. It includes my cowboy hat, my boots and all my western tchotchkes. It’s the decor and ambience of my house and barn – from the wagon-wheel chandelier swinging in my arena to the maneless, flea-bitten blue, happy Appy in the barn. In other words, my identity as an equestrian lies in the western world. The world of dressage was off my radar because 34

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I blazingly rode with a lariat. The thought that I might have to give up my western saddle, my daisy-clipper and my cowboy hat for duds that would be too tight was preposterous to me. But the good news is that the world of dressage has finally come to us western riders.

THE EVOLUTION OF DRESSAGE Horsemanship has a history that dates back much further than what we do here in America. In fact, it’s thousands of years old. Techniques born out of military function – battle maneuvers and quests for survival – evolved to an age in which horsemanship developed to its highest form of art. These developments are very much alive and available to us today through the discipline of dressage. Most western horsemen will not give up their western lifestyle to embrace breeches and formal attire. There is no appeal for a discipline that doesn’t seem to agree with the work ethic of the western horse. But the age-old foundation of dressage is so much bigger than the stadiums we see dressage horses compete in today. All these years of horsemanship, called dressage, have now come to us in the form of Western and Cowboy Dressage – two practical but distinct applications of biomechanically engineered foundations that bring the highest level of horsemanship from the ages to you. And it means you can still ride in your comfy jeans, in your beat-up western saddle, with ole Thunder. Western Dressage truly allows you to “come as you are”.

THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK As most of us know, western horsemanship and its contributions have made a significant mark in the world of horsemanship – we have amazing ways to gently start horses now. But the other truth is that multiple generations of western riders, trying to harness the power of the horse, are still tryin’ to pull the cat out from under the porch. I’m talking about understanding movements like shoulder-in, which helps teach a horse to stay balanced under you. Many competent horsemen miss what dressage did for the horse, because if you ride western pleasure or any other discipline, dressage is something they do in the other ring, over there, with other breeds, and vice versa. Since dressage has been around for millennia, the important truth is that we should have been taught those basics regardless of the discipline we ride. Take it from me. I’m a Catskill Mountain cowboy, training horses and teaching riders in upstate New York, and I’m here to tell you that a gymkhana horse needs dressage, a pleasure horse needs dressage, and so does a jumper – all saddle horses do. An influential dash of dressage, for every western rider, is what the next chapter of American horsemanship might look Equine Wellness

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Since dressage has been around for millennia, the important truth is that we should have been taught those basics regardless of the discipline we ride.

Western and Cowboy Dressage are great opportunities for riders who want to do more with their horses but don’t necessarily want to compete in shows anymore. Many riders just want safer horses, and to have an experience with the horses they own. Western and Cowboy Dressage offer that opportunity.

like. Whatever western discipline you adhere to, it might very well be reshaped with the current smash of “dressage meets western”. Create a potent cross-blend of dressage with America’s own fine western hossmanship and you have something to make a cluster of barn cats purr.

WHAT DOES THIS TRAIL LOOK LIKE? Let me give you some background. As the highest expression of horse training, classical dressage is a progressive system designed to produce a horse’s maximum riding potential. Both Cowboy and Western Dressage have progressive goals of achieving lightness, balance and looseness as overall partnership goals, similar to traditional dressage. One important difference is that the western horse is being enhanced to better perform his current job, not being reshaped into a dressage horse. American horsemanship was built on necessity and utility. There were jobs that needed to be done – cattle to move, people to defend, and westward travel. Both disciplines have a competitive aspect featuring individual progressive tests. Western Dressage uses the standard dressage court, while Cowboy


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Dressage uses a 20m x 40m arena by adjusting the distances between the letters to 5m; this accommodates the smaller-strided gaits of typical western breeds. “When dressage suits your needs but a Stetson suits your lifestyle” – this is the slogan that sums up Cowboy Dressage. One important concept designed into the tests for Cowboy Dressage is soft feel – a western tradition based on the release of the rein rather than the emphasis on contact. Furthermore, terms and ideas found in the classical dressage world have been “re-termed” to match the western feel of Cowboy Dressage, and to help the western world embrace dressage.

WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED Although both Western and Cowboy Dressage are new disciplines, there are more and more places offering training and schooling shows. Look around for one that fits you. Start discovering new ways to school your horse. Again, these disciplines are not there to replace what you are already doing with your horse (barrels, roping, trail riding, etc.), but to build a foundation into your daily riding habits that will help your horse make his job easier. To contact the governing bodies of each, visit WesternDressageAssociation.org and CowboyDressageWorld.com. Dressage for the western horse? Your friends might think your cornbread isn’t done in the middle, but pull your cowboy hat down over your head and go find a chance to experience this beautiful blend of cross disciplines. American horsemanship has never been better. Oh, I haven’t even mentioned the best part – you’ll have fun!

Jeff Wilson has been training horses for over 35 years and values the western horse lifestyle in his approach to training. Giving clinics and seminars on how to reach your full potential with your horse through the training foundation of Cowboy Dressage keeps him young. Follow Jeff at facebook.com/Jeff-Wilson-Cowboy-Dressage.


So why do I need dressage? If your nose runs and your feet

smell, you may have been built upside down. Some horses have training foundations like that – upside down. The chief training conundrum (western) people struggle with is based, I believe, on horses ridden in tension – with a lack

of balance and suppleness, poor rhythm, etc. Folks don’t

realize their horses are leaning into the corners when they ride, or are drifting away. They may have learned to control the shoulders, but miss how the body shapes the movement when riding in a court.

I’ve ridden some western champion horses trained only in their specific discipline, a form-to-function program; these wonderful horses would have seriously benefited by truly becoming supple. For riders who don’t ride in a ring,

establishing a reason to further educate their horses means showing them the benefits of collection to produce lighter, sounder horses. To experience being carried in the most

optimum frame, regardless of the current speed, turn or gait

transition you are riding, is to ride a light horse – something most people have never done.

The list of behavior problems based on a horse being braced or behind the bit is endless. I’m also talking about the “woes” folks are aware of but don’t know how to solve

– for example, trail horses that are spooky, ring horses that

are stiff, or working horses that struggle to stay balanced. Dressage principles can help with these.

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By Nicole Watts


efore you and your horses embark on a road trip, give your trailer some TLC. Following these maintenance tips on a regular basis will give you peace of mind – and add years to your trailer’s life. 1. Keep your trailer clean, both inside and out. This will help prolong the life of your trailer and ensure it maintains its value. Thoroughly wash your entire trailer immediately after exposure to road salt and de-icer fluid during the winter months – this will help prevent the aluminum from corroding.

2. Clean mats, walls and floor. Horse trailer floors are subjected to corrosive urine and manure. Every three months (or more often, with heavy usage), remove the floor mats. Wash them 38

Photo courtesy Featherlite Trailers.

Doing regular maintenance on your trailer ensures you and your horses stay safe while on the road.

on both sides, and the floor underneath, with soap and water. Thoroughly wash the walls. Be sure the mats and floor are completely dry before replacing the mats.

3. Examine doors, hardware, roof and windows. Ensure the feed doors close and fit securely. Clean and lubricate the latches before the first use after storage, at least every three months during use, and at the end of the season. Some trailer manufacturers recommend a spray lubricant containing Teflon®. Depending on the wear on your latches, you may need to see a dealer for replacement. Also inspect hinges, doors and dividers every three months, and repair or replace if damaged. Remove dirt or build-up in your sliding windows and roof vents every six months.

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4. Inflate your tires. Well-maintained tires improve the steering, stopping, traction and load-carrying capability of your trailer. Underinflated tires are a major factor in tire failure, which can lead to breakdowns or an accident. Tire information placards should be attached to your trailer or found in your owner’s manual. Rotate trailer tires every 5,000 miles; thoroughly inspect the treads and sidewalls every six months. Don’t forget to check your spare tire as well. 5. Check the lights. Before each trip, check that all taillights, stop lights, clearance lights and turn signals are operating properly. Verify that the connection to your vehicle for the lights is clean and tight. 6. Test your brakes. Properly functioning brake shoes and drums are essential to safety. Test your brakes before each trip, and visit your dealer for a full brake inspection; check your owner’s manual for the recommended frequency. 7. Inspect the breakaway battery and switch. Your trailer’s breakaway battery supplies the power to operate the trailer brakes if it uncouples from your tow vehicle; the breakaway switch causes the breakaway battery to operate the electric brakes in the event of an uncoupling. Check the breakaway brake system before each trip. Make sure the battery is fully charged, connections are clean, and test the switch operation. 8. Check the wheels. Consult your owner’s manual as to when wheel bearings or hubs should be inspected. Lug nuts or bolts should be checked for tightness before each use – especially on a new trailer, or if a wheel has just been remounted. 9. Grease the ball hitch, landing leg and jack. Before each tow, coat the trailer’s ball hitch with a thin layer of automotive bearing grease to reduce wear and ensure proper operation. If you see any cracks, flat spots or corrosion on the ball or coupler, see a dealer to determine the proper action. You should also grease the landing leg or jack at least once a year. As you get ready to head out on the road with your horses this spring and summer, safety should always be top priority. Take the time to tune up your trailer, then enjoy the ride!

Nicole Watts is the communications manager at Featherlite Trailers in Cresco, Iowa. The original aluminum specialty trailer manufacturer, Featherlite offers a diversified product line of horse, livestock, car, recreational and utility trailers available through a dealer network in the US and Canada. Contact 800-800-1230 or fthr.com

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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

40 Equine Wellness View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com 40 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 The Masterson Method®, Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork Weekend Seminars, Advanced, and Certification Courses Worldwide Phone: 641-472-1312 Email: seminars@mastersonmethod.com Website: www.MastersonMethod.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

ADVERTISE your business in the


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

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

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

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SADDLE FIT By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE



uscle atrophy occurs in a horse when an unbalanced saddle puts too much pressure on a muscle, and he tenses to avoid the pressure. He goes into “defensive mode” by contracting the muscle in the area, and alters his gaits. Because circulation is impacted by the pressure (reducing nutrients and oxygen to the affected area), the muscle will “undevelop” or atrophy. The first sign of atrophy caused by constant pressure is damaged hair follicles, resulting in hair loss and/or white hair. This can be reversed only when the cause is addressed, allowing the muscle to regrow; however, the white hairs will remain. Muscle memory will help in the faster rebuilding of properly trained atrophied muscles. 42

An incorrectly fitted gullet plate puts constant pressure on the side of the withers. This results in the formation of a stress line due to the “defensive” contraction of the trapezius muscle.

Photos courtesy of Jochen Schleese.


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Muscle definition can actually be a negative form of atrophy. Positive muscle definition is the development of muscular conformation during proper training; negative muscle definition happens when defensive contraction occurs to counteract a poorly fitting saddle. This negative muscle definition is “hypertonic” – the contraction phase of the muscle(s) is unnaturally long and abnormally tense, resulting in tight, cramped muscle development – resembling atrophy. Physical signs of saddle fit trauma are more apparent than psychological signs. Head tossing, bucking, stumbling, tongue issues, rearing and resistance all indicate pain. White hair, dry spots and muscle atrophy are visual signs. Each of these issues originates from a saddle that doesn’t fit the horse properly – the gullet channel may be too narrow, the saddle pinches at the withers and/or the tree width and angle are incorrect. Spinal issues, nerve damage or cartilage injuries also result from poorly fitting saddles. The horse may be “girthy”, anticipating pain. If your horse seems to be narrowing behind the shoulder area, it is not necessarily due to muscle atrophy. These muscles lengthen during use (here’s an analogy – flex your arm and watch the bicep contract and lengthen). As your horse’s back supples, the longissimus dorsi lengthens (often mistaken for atrophy).

The trapezius muscle can become inflamed from an incorrectly angled tree point/gullet, resulting in the bulge and nearby hollow behind the withers of this horse.

Understanding muscle definition and biomechanics explains why certain parts of the body become bulky, while others become more defined and slimmer. After working out for a year, a bodybuilder probably needs a new jacket for his larger upper body, and new pants for his smaller waist – not because of atrophy but rather due to pressure from his belt. Horses do not consciously behave badly, and really want nothing more than to please their leaders. Horses value their bonds with their riders; and as a rider, you intuitively know when something is wrong. You see it in your horse’s eyes, his ears, his tongue, and you feel it when you ride. When the horse expresses himself to extremes, you know he is suffering. Don’t exacerbate the problem. Instead, address the root cause – your saddle may need to be adjusted – but also consider the possibility that there could be other issues contributing to his back problems. Involve your equine professionals to help determine what’s going on.

This photo shows muscle atrophy at the loin area – paradoxically caused by an incorrectly fitted gullet plate, which seated the rider too far back and created excessive pressure in the area.

Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese came to Canada in 1986 as Official Saddler for the World Dressage Cup. He is the world leading manufacturer of saddles designed for women, specializing in the unique anatomical requirements of female riders. His team has worked with over 150,000 horses over the past 35+ years. Jochen is the author of the best-selling Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses. saddlesforwomen.com

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By John Blackburn

Whether you’re building a new barn or adapting an existing facility, carefully managing your water drainage means you’ll minimize mud problems – and help keep you and your horses healthy and safe.


o matter where you live, mud is a hassle during certain times of the year, especially the spring. Horseshoesucking, thrush-causing, foundation-wrecking mud can potentially be life-threatening to your horse. So it’s important to take steps to minimize it, whether you’re building a new facility or making changes to an existing one.

If you’re lucky enough to be building a new barn, begin by studying your site’s topography to identify a location that’s dry or at least easy to drain. Avoid steep slopes, areas that are consistently wet, and locations that are subject to water runoff during heavy rains or snowmelt. Lay out the plan so there will be drainage away from all structures.


Of course, best case scenarios rarely happen, and not every barn can be positioned in a perfect location. Sometimes, the barn will be downhill from your residence and pastures. To compensate, it’s usually possible to modify a site by adding diversionary drains and grating to push the water away from, and around, the barn. For efficient drainage, paved surfaces should have a minimum 1% slope. Grass or landscaped areas should have a minimum slope of 2%. In the long run, water/mud management affects the soundness of the facility, the wellness of the occupants, and environmental sustainability.

Water = mud. This means drainage issues are always at the heart of mud problems. For this reason, managing water should be a high priority when planning any new barn. Solutions begin with properly planning a site. Of primary importance is how and where to locate the barn, paddocks, lead paths, roadways – all structural and natural elements – to reduce drainage problems. The correct decisions increase the retention of ground cover, whether grass or stone dust. 44

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Also keep in mind that siting a barn is not just a drainage issue. Placement decisions affect ventilation, light, access from the barn to the paddocks, etc. – all those components that are part of having a barn that’s healthy for your horses and yourself.

ADAPTING AN EXISTING FACILITY TO KEEP WATER OUT When adapting or renovating an existing older barn, water and mud issues can be one of the top annoyances you need to address. In such instances, you can begin by re-grading around the barn as much as the natural grade will allow. Downspouts can be positioned to pipe water away from the barn to prevent further erosion or ponding. Drainage swales can be placed 8’ to 10’ away from any structures, depending on the slope of the land. These swales will force water to flow downwards, to a pond or low-lying area away from the barn, and from there allow it to seep back into the soil. Continued on page 46.

TACKLING CLEANLINESS ISSUES INSIDE THE BARN If mud comes into the barn on hooves, boots or is carried by water, it becomes a cleanliness issue. If there’s dirt, you’re going to clean the barn – with more water – so the drainage problem gets worse. Circle back to the drainage solutions offered in this article. While every barn owner would like to find the perfect solution to dirt and mud, there is no magic wand. However, moisture mitigation surfaces and “walk–off” mats help keep surfaces dry. Interlocking rubber brick on a “slopeup” entrance to the barn can be very helpful. Other good options include stone dust or popcorn asphalt. It’s important not to use concrete or regular asphalt, because water freezes on these surfaces and black ice can form, which of course is quite treacherous. That’s a bad solution to a mud problem.

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Good manufactured products can also help. One useful item is a “stabilization grid” – a draining, interlocking polypropylene flooring system that can withstand thousands of pounds of pressure. Use these grids for gate areas, horse paths, barn aisles and indoor wash stalls, as well as for ramp or slope soil stabilization. Clearly, mud is always about drainage. Understanding your site, starting with the slope, carefully controlling any run-off, and allowing for retention and natural re-absorption are the best strategies for minimizing problems. Dry, light and air-filled facilities are the goal, and are always a pleasure for both equine and human occupants.

Photo courtesy of Cesar Lujan for Blackburn Architects.

Continued from page 45. Collecting the water underground and piping it away can be the best way to maintain the integrity and beauty of your barn and landscape. But on a natural open site, a ground swale is the cheapest and best drainage solution.

A barn properly sited for the “lay” of the land (the land rolls down and away from the structure).


Arenas also require good drainage to be successful. When tackling existing problems in these areas, first elevate the arena surface so it’s above the site’s natural grade. As a general rule, any good arena footing consists of at least three layers: a sub-base, a footing base and the footing. I suggest removing topsoil and footing in a problematic arena to get down to a clay base, or failing that, the existing solid soil below the arena. Dig between 16” and 18” below grade if possible (this assumes the riding surface will be between 2” to 4” above the existing grade).

Basic re-install steps 1. Install preservative-treated (PT) timbers (8” x 8” timbers/landscaping ties, stacked and pinned together) around the perimeter to the desired height of the footing, or just above it (most of the wood being installed will be below grade, meaning you will need at least three or four courses of timber, and only the top timber will be above grade). This will help to “retain” your sub-base, footing base and footing within the arena. Be sure to allow intermittent gaps at the ends of the timbers/landscape tie openings for ground water to drain away (gaps between 1” to 4”, sized as needed, depending on the size of sub-base and footing base materials used). You can also use PT wood posts and 2x PT lumber in lieu of heavy timbers or landscaping ties; posts should occur between every 4’ to 6’ in this instance. Cover the interior perimeter of the timbers/ties with landscaping fabric to help retain rock when installed. Install about 12” of crushed rock (road-base grade, foundation-drainage grade) as a sub-base. Make the surface smooth and level, and compact sub-base thoroughly. 2. Install a layer of filter fabric over the gravel. 3. Install 2” to 6” of stone dust over the top of the filter fabric. Roll smooth and slope/crown to drain to one side, two sides or all four depending on your desired drainage design. 4. Install 2” to 4” of sand footing, or other desired footing type. Keep in mind that specific types of footing are very specialized, and may require a different composition of sub-base and footing base. Make your footing selection in advance of constructing the arena in the event there are other requirements specific to the footing you desire. The tops of the timbers at the arena’s perimeter should be about 2” above the top of the footing. Top of timbers should be above the natural grade of grass around the area so any surface water is blocked from draining onto the arena. Re-grade the grassy area around the arena as required, by sloping away from the arena to drainage swales that will take water away from the arena.

Award-winning architect John Blackburn is a world-renowned industry thought leader when it comes to creating safe and healthy spaces for equines. With over 40 years of experience in the practice of architecture and 30 years as an equestrian designer, John’s designs rely on natural light and ventilation to encourage equine health and safety as well as environmental conscientiousness. His equestrian projects range from polo barns and Thoroughbred-training facilities to therapeutic riding centers and private ranches. John authored the highly lauded book, Healthy Stables by Design. He is a passionate advocate for equine welfare and a member of many equine-focused organizations, including State Horse Councils in Maryland, New York and Virginia, and the Equine Land Conservation Resource, where he is a board member. blackburnarch.com 46

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to work for all horses. Order custom sizes at no extra charge.

Nicker Treats created the first crunchy, low-carb, sugar-free treats on the equine market. Today, they remain the most trusted and enjoyed low-sugar horse treat. With lab-verified low glycemic index, as well as superior, guaranteed palatability, their products are safe for horses with insulin resistance, Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy, and Cushing’s Disease. Made with all-natural, organic ingredients.

877-617-8787, SlowFeedNetting.com

404-312-9623, nickertreats.com


Knowledge and expertise within the netting industry make Slow Feed Netting a great choice for horse owners who are new to the slow feed concept. Durable and Canadian-made, their feed bags are available in various sizes, and are proven


Banixx is a powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial agent designed to treat wounds, infections, rain rot, fungus, scratches, ringworm and thrush. This unique, effective pH solution has zero sting or odor, and is safe for use around eyes. Boasting non-toxic and antibioticfree ingredients, Banixx is an excellent tool to keep in your equine first aid kit!




Hull was a talented, kind-hearted horse – but he was also a hard keeper with poor hoof condition. When SOURCE was added to his diet, he began to thrive, and was named the USCTA Reserve Horse of the Year. In the decades since, SOURCE micronutrients have helped thousands of horses achieve their potential and thrive.

1-877-944-0795, banixx.com 800-232-2365 4source.com



Keep your horse’s hooves healthy with this powerful, long-lasting solution to thrush and white line disease. Scrape out dirt and debris from your horse’s hooves using the built-in hoof pick, then easily apply Grooms Hand Thrush Solution with the convenient aerosol can. It’s an affordable, efficient and effective answer to common hoof problems.

Back on Track® introduces their newest product – Certified Organic Rosehip. This product should be administered daily as part of your horse’s health care regimen and can benefit all horses at any stage of their lives. Rosehip can help support a healthy immune system, relieve inflammation, maintain healthy skin, reduce the possibility of colic, and keep the digestive tract functioning properly.


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andy Fellow, Gwenn’s big young Thoroughbred, is due for his dental checkup and the Certified Equine

By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

GENERAL CALMING ACUPRESSURE A day prior to the dentist’s visit, offer your horse a brief calming

Dentist is booked. However, the last time the dentist

acupressure session during his grooming regimen. The acupressure

was there, Randy wouldn’t stand still for a second,

points selected for this session have been used for thousands of years

making it a lengthy ordeal and no fun for anyone. His anxiety and

to reduce anxiety and fear. By gently placing your thumb or forefinger

fear were both dangerous and hard to see. Gwenn wants a way

on the points shown on the General Calming Acupressure Session,

to help Randy calm down. This is how acupressure can come to

you will help the horse settle and increase his sense of well-being.

the rescue.

RELAXING THE JAW A horse like Randy would benefit from acupressure sessions before

Any horse that’s as dangerously resistant to dental checkups as Randy

the dentist comes to work with him. Specific acupressure points

will receive further benefit from an acupressure session right before

are known to help horses relax and feel less fearful in general;

the dentist arrives. This session addresses the muscles and tension in

there are also points for relaxing their massively powerful jaws.

the horse’s jaw. A horse is a lot more comfortable and much easier to handle when his jaw muscles, tendons and ligaments are supple

Horses can have numerous dental issues. Having a Certified Equine

and relaxed. The acupressure points in the Jaw Releasing Acupressure

Dentist regularly check your horse’s teeth is essential. Unless a

Session can make the dental visit calmer and safer for all concerned.

horse has specific dental issues, equine dentists suggest a checkup every six months until the age of five, and then once a year until the

It will be a relief for you, your horse and his dentist when the

age of 20. When the horse is around 20, it is prudent to have the

visit goes smoothly and easily. No one wants a dental visit to

dentist out every six months again. Given the frequency of dental

be traumatic. A calming acupressure session the day prior, and a

visits, it’s so much better for your horse – as well as you and the

jaw-relaxing session right before the visit help make it a happier

dentist – if he’s calm and comfortable during the procedure.

experience for everyone.


POINT LOCATION Ht 7 Located on the caudolateral aspect of the front let just above the accessory carpal bone. Pe 7 Found on the caudomedial aspect of the front leg, directly opposite Ht 7. Instructions: Using your thumb and forefinger, gently hold Ht 7 & Pe 7, found on the lateral & medial side of the foreleg, just above the carpus. Bai Hui On the dorsal midline, at the lumbosacral space. You can activate this point by light scratching in the area.


POINT LOCATION SI 19 Located in a depressiion at the lateral corner of the ear base. TH 16 Found between the 1st and 2nd cervical vertebrae, at the caudal border of the brachiocephalicus muscle. GV 14 On the dorsal midline, in depression between the 7th cervical and 1st thoracic vertebrae, just in front of the withers.

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. 48

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IMPORTANCE OF Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen Pierce.

The length and angle of your horse’s incisors must stay consistent throughout his life because they affect the TMJ and molars, which in turn impact topline and muscle mass, brain function, agility, emotions and more.




he importance of your horse’s incisors goes far beyond eating – the health of these teeth is necessary for his overall well-being. Unfortunately, incisors may not always get the care they need. Consequently, improper length and angle, and a lack of anatomically correct rotation/guidance of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), can cause pathologies that include hooks, ramps, waves and other irregularities on the molar table surfaces.


What do we mean by proper incisor length and angle? If you look at the aging chart for horses (theedgeequine.com/equine-dental-aging-chart), you will notice a commonality – the length and angle of Equine Wellness

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Does the type of float make any difference to your horse’s oral health? In my opinion, power floats eliminate edges and points, thus reducing the natural inclination of the molar arcades. The heat from power floats polishes the surface of the molars, removing the natural texture of enamel folds across the entire surface of the teeth. In some cases, the heat may morph the tooth substance and the horse may be unable to lay down secondary dentin, the main component in a tooth’s strength. Depending on the age of the horse, teeth may take years to recover, or may never return to their natural state. The lack of texture and stability in the molars will impact the horse’s ability to maintain body mass and perform to his full potential. When molar surfaces no longer make contact due to improper inclination, they move vertically instead of laterally. This causes the temporalis muscles to enlarge due to the excessive vertical motion of the mandible. Commonly, the left temporal muscle is more enlarged than the right, due to over-floating by right-handed dentists or vets. After a period of repeated power floats, there is a good possibility that the horse will develop hypercementosis, the hyper-eruption of incisors due to a lack of stability in the molars. If you research this on the web, you will find there is no known cure, only damage control using pain killers until the teeth become too loose and need to be extracted. Extraction can be highly detrimental to a horse’s health, since I believe there are neuroreceptors in the dentition surrounding the incisors. Instead of extraction, I use a procedure in which the upper incisors are gapped from the lower incisors by 2mm. This eliminates contact and stops hyper-eruption of the incisors. The incisors will then tighten up, and the molars will return to contact. Hypercementosis has been around for about 20 years, and coincidentally, so have power floats. While extracting the incisors treats the symptom, perhaps looking at the cause will help reduce the epidemic of this dysfunction.


Horse owners would never let a horse get “long in the hoof”. We understand that the foot needs to be trimmed to provide and maintain balance and function to the whole horse. But when it comes to dentition, this concept is misunderstood and often overlooked. Incisor length and angle must be consistent throughout the horse’s life because they dictate TMJ rotation. The angle in the TMJ mirrors that of the molar table, and thus controls the balance on the surface of the teeth. As the aging chart has consistently shown for a few hundred years, if the length and the angle of the incisors are correct, eruption and wear should be equal. An older horse who is “long in the tooth” is merely the result of eruption without equal wear.

HOW DOES BALANCING THE INCISORS AFFECT THE WHOLE HORSE? Balancing incisors to be anatomically correct for each individual horse affects his whole body, starting with proper rotation of the TMJ. In a study performed on dude ranch horses from 12 to 20 years of age, researchers used a balanced dentistry paradigm* to attempt to restore each horse’s muscle mass to that of a more youthful animal. To measure the results, they utilized terrestrial photogrammetry, a science used in human medicine to document tumors and aneurysms, and which can detect changes within 5 microns (less than the thickness of a human hair). No feed or

Photos courtesy of Montana Harman.


the incisors should never change throughout a horse’s life, just like a properly balanced foot.

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Proprioception means “sense of self”. In the limbs, the proprioceptors are sensors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length and muscle tension; this information tells the brain about the positions of the horse’s limbs in space. Proprioception is the process by which the body can vary muscle contractions in immediate response to incoming information about external forces, by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of joint positions in the body. In the TMJ, a group of enteroreceptors provides information about the position of parts of the body in space – they are the receptors of posture and movement. They are highly specialized types of mechanoreceptors (consisting of the terminal dendrites of sensory neurons encapsulated in structures of connective tissue) that respond to tension or movement included by associated structures. The proprioceptors of the musculoskeletal system are found in the tendons and muscle fibers. These proprioceptors include: 1. The muscle spindles (stretch receptors): these are the primary proprioceptors in the muscles and are sensitive to changes in muscle length. Found in the body of the muscle, they allow a horse to know when to stretch his legs while in motion. 2. The Golgi tendon organ: this proprioceptor in the tendon near the end of the muscle fiber is sensitive to changes in muscle tension. For example, for a weight lifter, the Golgi tendon organ senses how much tension the arm muscles are exerting. If the muscle has too much tension, the Golgi tendon organ will prevent it from creating any force (it’s at this point that the weight lifter would probably drop the weight or realize he has to put it down). This helps prevent injury. 3. T he Pacinian corpuscle (PC): PCs are encapsulated end organs of peripheral nerves. This proprioceptor is responsible for detecting changes in movement and pressure within the body. In joints, they are activated under compression through angle changes in the joint capsule. PCs are also the most sensitive mechanoreceptors and play a significant role in haptic perception, the tactile sense that provides animals with vital information about their immediate environment, such as object location and surface properties.

environmental changes took place over the length of the study. Within two months, there was an average overall gain of 69.3% in the horses’ topline mass. How were these changes achieved? When a horse’s TMJ is able to properly rotate, the anterior/posterior motion of its mandible is increased, which in turn increases the range of motion in the horse’s entire body. Increased range of motion leads to increased muscle stretch, stimulating the local release of hormones allied to the insulin-related growth factor. The result is an increase in the number and length of sarcomeres, the basic element of a striated muscle fiber. The ability to move and therefore stretch through the topline stimulates the development of these muscles.

PROPRIOCEPTION AND NEUROLOGICAL FUNCTION The importance of the TMJ isn’t limited to just movement and muscle mass gain – it also has huge neurological significance. Continued on page 52. Equine Wellness

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Photos courtesy of Brittany Granitsas.

Continued from page 51. The TMJ in a horse’s body is the joint that’s closest to the brain and brainstem, and the most proprioceptive. Correct rotation of the TMJ is the cornerstone of your horse’s neurological function. Neurological function starts with proprioception. The constant stream of proprioceptive information from the muscle spindles and the Golgi tendon organs (see sidebar on previous page), which occurs as the joints are moved and the muscles change in length, provides the central nervous system with detailed information concerning the body’s current position and changes in its orientation.

THE FINAL ANALYSIS By balancing the teeth, we allow the TMJ to function properly, thus allowing the horse to receive maximum proprioceptive information. To the average horse owner, this translates into a horse with an awareness of his surroundings and the ability to adapt to changing situations, whether they occur in the environment or on terrain. To a performance horse owner, this translates into increased stride length and power, diminished risk of injury, more agility, greater ability to learn, increased calmness, improved anaerobic threshold, and the list goes on. Through research and continuing education, we can continue to move towards a more precise understanding of the interconnection between a horse’s neurology and his teeth. *Based on the Natural Balance Dentistry approach.

Spencer LaFlure, founder of Natural Balance Dentistry (NBD), is director of Dental Studies at the Center for Natural Balance Horse Dentistry in Athol, NY. For more information visit centerfornaturalbalancehorsedentistry.com or email us at 4thorse@gmail.com. 52

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GREEN ACRES By Laura Batts

Spring is the perfect time to evaluate your barn’s eco-friendliness. Whether you’ve been an environmentallyconscious horse keeper for a while, or are just starting out, regular Best Management Practice (BMP) assessments help keep you ahead of the game. A great way to begin is to write a list of all the inputs and outputs that take place at your barn. Inputs would be things you bring into the barn/farm, such as electricity, water, bedding, hay, feed and medication. Outputs are things that need to “leave” the barn/farm, including manure, empty containers, empty feed sacks, baling twine, plastic and old tack and blankets. Using this assessment checklist, you will begin to see where you can improve and how you can practice the three “R”s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reducing means acquiring or using less. Do you really need another piece of tack? Are you watching your use of electricity, water and shavings?

Electricity is an easy resource to reduce. Switching to solar fans, lights and water heaters offers huge reductions. Timers on fans and motion detection lights also help. Water is another easy-to-reduce-use resource. Rethink how you use water, where you get it from and how to protect the natural sources you have. Look at how often you use water and if there are other ways to do things without using (wasting) so much water. Using dry shampoos, rain barrel collection systems and even filters for your tap water can make a difference in the amount of water you use. Others materials that can be reduced are bedding, hay and feed. Adding stall mats will reduce the amount of shavings and bedding you need to use. Pelleted bedding is usually made from re-purposed materials and expands when used, so you start by using a smaller amount. Hay nets and slow feeders help reduce hay waste. Giving your horses a diet with a foundation of good quality forage

helps reduce the amount of grain you use. Both are also a healthier way to feed your horse! Reusing around the barn can include repurposing supplement tubs, scrap wood, tack, hay strings, pallets and feed bags. When you reuse items, you reduce the volume of trash you create. Get your checklist out and review your barn with an eye for reusing as much as you can. Recycling gets the most attention in the eco-friendly world. When you create your output list, make sure you add manure, as it’s the largest output. On a farm, we can recycle manure into fertilizer through composting. Rainwater from your roof can be recycled and used for plants. Another sustainable practice for your farm is to set up a recycling bin in your barn for plastic containers, water bottles and paper products. This spring, make a commitment to Mother Earth by creating a barn/farm BMP checklist to see where you can add more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

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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Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA246 to Begin Again Horse Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2009 LOCATION: Lima, New York TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Horses of all breeds – from miniatures to drafts – are welcome at Begin Again Horse Rescue (BAHR). Sometimes donkeys and mules also need help, and they aren’t turned away. “We have taken in horses as young as eight months old and as elderly as 30 years,” says Jennifer Lilly, Vice President and Co-founder. The rescue rehabilitates and re-homes equines at risk of neglect, abuse and possible slaughter. In many cases, horses are victims of local surrender; other times, they’re legally seized from situations of neglect with the help of local law enforcement authorities. If space allows, BAHR goes directly to kill pen auctions to save equines from an unpleasant fate.

NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: BAHR rescues and rehabilitates horses like Whisper, offering them a second chance at a happy, healthy life.

BAHR is an entirely volunteer-operated 501c3 charity that cares for all their horses on-site. “We can comfortably house 12 to 14 horses at any time, although emergency accommodations can be made for more horses if needed,” says Jennifer.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: BAHR typically holds a Before

fundraiser every month, with more running throughout the summer. Their bigger annual events include the ASPCA Help a Horse Day Celebration in April, used tack sales in June and October, and a brunch and silent auction in December.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “Over the years we have had many special horses with tragic backstories cross our threshold, where they bloomed under the love and care of our volunteers,” says Jennifer. “One of our current special cases is Whisper, a beautiful paint mare who came to us through a letter from the county jail.” Whisper at time of intake, fall 2016.


After her owner was arrested, Whisper was left without a home. BAHR responded to the cry for help, and found the mare to be poorly socialized and untrained. “She had lived alone in a small barn and paddock all her life, and had developed aggressive territorial behaviors,” says Jennifer. A year later, Whisper is happy, healthy and training under saddle. “This is a goal we doubted we would ever achieve with her,” says Jennifer. “Now her future looks much brighter!”

Whisper today, with volunteer trainer Hanna Blain.


Follow us on Facebook! Facebook.com/beginagainrescue.org/

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BEAR VALLEY RESCUE Sundre, AB Rescue Code: EWA038 www.bearvalleyab.org

JOURNEY’S END RANCH ANIMAL RESCUE Kingman, AZ Rescue Code: EWA021 www.jersanctuary.org

BC INTERIOR HORSE RESCUE SOCIETY Kelowna, BC Rescue Code: EWA086 www.bcihrs.ca

ALL ABOUT EQUINE El Dorado Hills, CA Rescue Code: EWA220 www.allaboutequine.org

OLD FRIENDS CANADA SOCIETY Lake Country, BC Rescue Code: EWA087 www.oldfriendscanada.org

FORGOTTEN HORSES RESCUE INC Homeland, CA Rescue Code: EWA056 www.forgottenhorsesrescue.org

GO AND PLAY STABLES Douro, ON Rescue Code: EWA101 www.goandplaystables.org

NATIONAL EQUINE RESOURCE NETWORK Encinitas, CA Rescue Code: EWA030 www.nationalequine.org

PRIDE THERAPEUTIC RIDING STABLES Kitchener, ON Rescue Code: EWA026 www.pridestables.com

THE GENTLE BARN Santa Clarita, CA Rescue Code: EWA180 www.gentlebarn.org

SUNRISE THERAPEUTIC & LEARNING CENTRE Puslinch, ON Rescue Code: EWA011 www.sunrise-therapeutic.ca

DREAMCATCHERS EQUINE RESCUE Fountain, CO Rescue Code: EWA059 www.dcerinc.org

THE DONKEY SANCTUARY Guelph, ON Rescue Code: EWA012 www.thedonkeysanctuary.ca

OFF TRACK THOROUGHBRED RESCUE Indiantown, FL Rescue Code: EWA205 www.floridatrac.org

WHISPERING HEARTS HORSE RESCUE Hagersville, ON Rescue Code: EWA050 www.whhrescue.com WIND DANCER PONY RESCUE FOUNDATION Sheffield, ON Rescue Code: EWA070 www.winddancerponies.org SADIE’S PLACE HORSE RESCUE Brookfield, PEI Rescue Code: EWA057 www.sadiesplace.ca

HORSE RESCUE RELIEF & RETIREMENT FUND INC. Cumming, GA Rescue Code: EWA060 www.SaveTheHorses.org BLACK HILLS WILD HORSE SANCTUARY Hot Springs, ID Rescue Code: EWA085 www.wildmustangs.com SOCIETY FOR HOOVED ANIMALS’ RESCUE & EMERGENCY Champaign, IL Rescue Code: EWA018 www.s-h-a-r-e.net/ SOUTHERN WINDS EQUINE RESCUE & RECOVERY CENTER Udall, KS Rescue Code: EWA010 www.southernwindsequinerescue.org

RAINHILL EQUINE FACILITY INC. Bowling Green, KY Rescue Code: EWA095 www.rainhillequinefacili.wix.com EQUINE RESCUE NETWORK Boxford, MA Rescue Code: EWA093 www.equinerescuenetwork.com DAYS END FARM HORSE RESCUE Woodbine, MD Rescue Code: EWA200 www.defhr.org GENTLE GIANTS DRAFT HORSE RESCUE Mount Alry, MD Rescue Code: EWA094 www.GentleGiantsDraftHorse Rescue.com MARYLAND HORSE RESCUE Mount Airy, MD Rescue Code:EWA230 www.mdhorserescue.net SAND STONE FARMS RESCUE EFFORT Ortonville, MI Rescue Code: EWA062 www.sandstonefarm.info SAVING GRACE MINIATURE HORSE RESCUE Emmett, MI Rescue Code: EWA196 www.sgminihorserescue.com STARRY SKIES EQUINE RESCUE AND SANCTUARY Ann Arbor, MI Rescue Code: EWA216 www.starryskiesequinerescueandsanctuary.com LIVE AND LET LIVE FARM RESCUE Chichester, NH Rescue Code: EWA187 www.liveandletlivefarm.org HORSE RESCUE UNITED Howell, NJ Rescue Code: EWA049 www.horserescueunited.org AMARYLLIS FARM EQUINE RESCUE Bridgehampton, NY Rescue Code: EWA005 www.amaryllisfarm.com FOREVER MORGANS West Monroe, NY Rescue Code: EWA225 www.forevermorgans.org

ANOTHER CHANCE EQUINE RESCUE Columbia Station, OH Rescue Code: EWA022 www.acerescue.org



HORSE FEATHERS EQUINE CENTER Guthrie, OK Rescue Code: EWA236 www.horsefeathersequinecenter.org L.E.A.R.N. HORSE RESCUE Ravenel, SC Rescue Code: EWA190 www.learnhorserescue.org FERRELL HOLLOW FARM Readyville, TN Rescue Code: EWA054 www.ferrellhollowfarm.org CROSSFIRE RESCUE Bacliffe, TX Rescue Code: EWA052 www.crossfirerescue.org EQUINE CANCER SOCIETY Mansfield, TX Rescue Code: EWA182 www.equinecancersociety.com CENTRAL VIRGINIA HORSE RESCUE Brodnax, VA Rescue Code: EWA058 www.centralvahorserescue.com PAINTED ACRES RESCUE & SANCTUARY, INC Winchester, VA Rescue Code: EWA075 www.paintedacresrescue.web.net SERENITY EQUINE RESCUE & REHABILITATION Maple Valley, WA Rescue Code: EWA028 www.serenityequinerescue.com THE DAVEY JONES EQUINE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION Seattle, WA Rescue Code: EWA064 www.djemf.com SPIRIT HORSE EQUINE RESCUE Janesville, WI Rescue Code: EWA083 www.spirithorseequinerescue.org HEART OF PHOENIX Shoals, WV Rescue Code: EWA096 www.wvhorserescue.org

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By Cathy Alinovi, DVM

Complementary Therapies for the Allergic Horse


Equine allergies present a complex problem. Fortunately for your horse, a multi-pronged holistic approach can treat the underlying cause.

llergies are a manifestation of an out-of-balance immune system. A healthy immune system can recognize the difference between itself and outside invaders. But the out-of-balance system will attack itself because it cannot differentiate between itself and these invaders; it actually thinks of “self” as the invader. Typically, the “invader” is pollen or some other trigger. A multi-faceted holistic approach is the best way to get to the root of your horse’s allergies. Typical allergic presentations in horses include hives in the skin, asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in the lungs, swollen eyes and eyelids (which may turn into ulceration from trauma), and even diarrhea in the case of inflammatory bowel disease, if the allergies affect the intestinal system. In holistic veterinary medicine, the goal of any treatment is to find the underlying cause of the clinical symptoms. By addressing/ treating the underlying cause, the clinical symptoms are not only treated but don’t return. This is why holistic medicine is so successful; it’s much more humane (and ultimately less expensive) to correct the issue rather than constantly cover up the symptoms.

MAIN AVENUES OF ALLERGY TREATMENT IN HORSES There are three main avenues to address in order to treat equine allergies with holistic medicine: nutrition, detoxification, and using chiropractic for physical well-being/performance. Step one: nutrition What to feed horses is one of the most controversial subjects. In many cases, convenient sourcing and years of habit are difficult to overcome. However, a few points should clarify the importance of optimal nutrition and changing the status quo. Most equine pelleted feeds are made with by-products of the human food industry (wheat middlings are one example). These by-products are over-processed, potentially causing inflammation

due to their quality and handling, and often result in leaky gut. That horses experience intestinal inflammation is undeniable – gastric ulcers occur in 60% to 90% of performance horses, and they’re simply the tip of the iceberg. Inflamed intestines have poor/leaky filtering ability – a condition called leaky gut or dysbiosis. Feeding inflammatory feeds/by-products does not help a horse’s intestines to heal. Instead, free access to pasture along with whole food-based feeds will make great strides toward improving his intestinal health. Not all horse owners have access to fresh pasture, so the highest quality ingredients for both hay and feed are even more important for good intestinal health, and for reducing allergic inflammation. Step two: detoxification The second step in aiding the allergic horse is to cleanse the liver. It is common knowledge that horses do not have gallbladders; however, they do have bile-producing ability and their liver functions the same as in many other species. In fact, the liver has seven major detoxification pathways. An overwhelmed liver cannot detoxify the body; toxic substances give false signals to the immune system causing some branches to be hypervigilant and others to under-function. The resultant imbalance can lead to allergic conditions. These are often horses whose allergies do not develop until they’re older. The most common way to detoxify the liver is through use of herbals and nutritional supplements. While milk thistle is best known, there are other great detoxifiers. Dandelion, beets, Indian barberry and andrographis are several commonly-used liver detoxification herbs. An important focus of liver detoxification should include the elimination of heavy metal buildup. Our equine friends are terribly over-vaccinated, and this leads to greater exposure to heavy metals. That’s because the vaccine adjuvants, immune system stimulants,

Leaky gut

A leaky gut allows for the absorption of substances that should not be absorbed (pollens and other allergens) while interfering with the absorption of necessary nutrients. The pollens and other allergens immediately enter the bloodstream and are filtered through the GALT (gutassociated lymphoid tissue), the largest immune organ in the body. Intestinal presentation of allergens to the GALT results in systemic allergies that may manifest as symptoms anywhere in the body, including the skin, lungs, intestines or elsewhere. 56


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Charcoalized Bamboo

often contain mercury as well as other toxic chemicals. Other heavy metal exposures include water sources, environmental chemicals and more. Homeopathic remedies (Aurum and Veratrum are two examples) and charcoalized bamboo are great ways to detoxify a horse’s liver. Traditionally, intravenous EDTA has been used by allopathic veterinarians to remove lead and similar metals from horses. DMSA is a similar, over-the-counter supplement, and may also be helpful. Don’t forget to cleanse the lymphatics once the metals are mobilized out of the fat. An herbalist or integrative veterinarian would be a good person to consult when performing heavy metal detoxification with an allergic horse; surprisingly, horse doses for herbal supplements are not very different from those for humans. Step three: chiropractic for physical well-being The third treatment modality for addressing the allergic horse is, surprisingly, chiropractic. It may seem illogical at first glance; however, chiropractic adjustment of the spine results in functional improvement in four body systems – the immune, emotional, musculoskeletal and internal organ systems. It’s easy to see the correlation between chiropractic care and improvement in the musculoskeletal system. But what most people don’t realize, unless they experience it firsthand in their own well-adjusted horses, is that because the brain and central nervous system are well-balanced after good chiropractic care, the entire horse functions better. This improved function is noticed through better emotional, immune and internal organ health. Using a holistic approach by changing your horse’s feed, reducing his vaccine load, detoxifying his liver, and having him adjusted with chiropractic will go a long way towards getting rid of his allergies. Cathy Alinovi, DVM, is a retired holistic veterinarian and now serves pet owners all over the world as a natural pet wellness advisor. She is the owner of Healthy PAWsibilities in Clearwater, Florida. healthypawsibilities.com

Allergies from a TCVM perspective

TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) eloquently ties seemingly disparate allergic symptoms together. The skin is nourished by the Lung. The Large Intestine is the husband of the Lung in TCVM, and is responsible for “taking out the trash”. Through this beautiful interrelationship of organ systems, TCVM has linked together the different clinical presentations of the allergic patient; asthma, hives and intestinal symptoms link together under the rules of TCVM. Acupuncture can be used to treat the Lung meridian, directly or indirectly, by treating its parent, the Heart. In practical application, we can see that the Heart controls the Lung. For example, many red horses have a Fire personality, a manifestation of the Heart, and red horses tend to experience hives more than any other color of horse. A properly balanced Heart will balance/control the Lung and Large Intestine. This simple and direct approach works in a few cases, but we often find a more complex interrelationship with the other organs of the body – regardless of whether we are looking at equine allergies from a TCVM perspective or simply a holistic view.

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EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com Overview of TCM — Equine or Small Animal Online Course This Overview covers the basic underlying concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Yin/Yang Theory in relation to the animal body and assessment of conditions; Meridian Theory and the meridian system; The Five-Element Theory; the internal organ systems, zang-fu organs in relation to the body; and, how the vital substances function within the body. This course provides an understanding of how the Chinese perceived the living body and offers tools for assessment and session work. This course is required for the Practitioner Certificate Program. A Certificate of Completion for 20 LUs is available upon completion of the online quizzes following each of the eight units, and a two-part final examination.

For more information: tallgrass@animalacupressure.com www.animalacupressure.com

Equine Affaire April 12–15, 2018 Columbus, OH

Some of North America’s top clinicians provide quality information on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers.

For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com https://red-deer.maneeventexpo.com/

Kentucky Derby April 28–May 5, 2018 Louisville, KY With a crowd of more than 150,000 people, unparalleled history and tradition and its unique spectacle, the Kentucky Derby is unlike any other sporting event! Every year, on the first Saturday in May, thousands of guests gather to create lifelong memories with their friends and family.

For more information: (502) 636-4400 www.kentuckyderby.com

2018 Heidi Potter Spring Tune-up Clinic May 18–20, 2018 Mason, NH Get ready to ride — improve comfort, confidence and communication! This unique 3- day clinic is designed to help create a more mutually respectful, safe, enjoyable relationship with your equine partner. Friday and Saturday include classroom theory, interactive exercises, in-hand skill building and mounted application. Sunday is a “Riders Choice” day consisting of individual mounted or unmounted sessions. This progressive format allows for true growth and positive changes.

For more information or to register: Jody Pellecchia JodyMacPell@gmail.com www.heidipotter.com

Western States Horse Expo June 8–10, 2018 Sacramento, CA Come join the fun! You will find many demonstrations, lectures, and competitions, as well as plenty of shopping! Find saddles, horse sales, trailers, trucks — it’s all here in sunny California!

Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of this 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.

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course May 18–20, 2018 Minneapolis, MN Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm – 10:00pm. This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class.

For more information: (800) 352-2411 www.horsexpo.com

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.

Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am – 6:00pm. This class is a prerequisite for the Large Animal Class.

Extreme Mustang Makeover June 21–23, 2018 Lexington, KY

Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am – 6:00pm. This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses’ large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and a well-rounded experience.

This wild horse training competition will offer two divisions. Youth (ages 8–17) can compete with a mustang they adopt in-hand and adults (ages 18 and over) will ride their assigned mustang in preliminary classes to compete for a spot in the top-10 freestyle finals. This event will award $25,000 in cash and prizes. Preliminary classes are free to attend and all adult competing mustangs will be available for adoption after the event.

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

Midwest Horse Fair April 20–22, 2018 Madison, WI The Midwest Horse Fair® is one of the top 3-day horse fairs in America. Hundreds of clinics, seminars and educational events are presented by some of the top horse professionals from around the country. Over 500 vendor booths offer shopping opportunities with something for everyone.

For more information: (920) 623-5515 info@midwesthorsefair.com www.midwesthorsefair.com 58

The Mane Event: Red Deer April 27–29, 2018 Red Deer, AB

Registrations and payments must be received in full and/or postmarked by April 22, 2018, to qualify for the Early Bird Tuition prices.

For more information: Lauri Wollner (612) 384-4025 Minneapolis@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

For more information: (888) 695-0888 www.extrememustangmakeover.com

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ADVERTISE IN CLASSIFIEDS! 1.866.764.1212 ext 315



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

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

NATURAL PRODUCTS DAILY DOSE EQUINE – Non-GMO horse feed and herbal equine supplements. vOur 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) 6388262; 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

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


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 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 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

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If you would like to advertise in Marketplace, please call: 1-866-764-1212 ext 315

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HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls

Thuja Thuja occidentalis


huja is that funny, conical decorative evergreen tree you see lining people’s yards. Known as the wonder tree, and also called Arborvitae or the Tree of Life, it’s not just a privacy screen – it can also be a lifesaver. Thuja is a coniferous tree in the Cypress family, native to Canada as well as Central and Northeastern United States. Its branches and leaves are known for their potent antiviral, immunity-boosting effects in both horses and humans. Most popularly used as a sarcoid treatment, Thuja can also become your go-to natural remedy next time a virus is at play.

Tree parts and uses The oil extracted from the bark, branches and leaves of the Thuja tree is high in a compound called Thujone, which carries the plant’s anti-viral properties. Twigs and leaves are the most commonly used parts for medicine. Thuja can be very potent, so distilling and diluting it properly is of utmost importance. That’s why it’s generally safer to use a homeopathic pill dose than a distilled essential oil, although the essential oil is the most effective way to administer Thuja.

Most common uses for horses Thuja is often used as a treatment for equine sarcoids. A type of skin tumor, sarcoids are thought to be caused by Bovine papillomavirus, which may be transferred by insects as well as

contaminated tack and living spaces. There are several different types of sarcoids, and they can spread, ulcerate and otherwise turn into a serious disease, so it’s recommended that you discuss treatment options with your veterinarian before immediately turning to a Thuja-based product. Thuja most often comes in cream or tablet form. Both forms contain small amounts of Thuja which means it’s not too potent, yet it’s strong enough to support the horse’s immune response. Thuja is also used, typically in homeopathic form, for immune support after horses receive their vaccinations. Caution: It is not advisable to feed Thuja alongside mint or garlic.

Homegrown The Thuja tree is very hardy, tolerant and easy to grow. Resistant to ice and snow, as well as drought, you can pretty much plant these trees in any type of soil where they will receive partial sun. They are very popular as decorative privacy hedges and windscreens. Be patient, though, as these trees are slow growers, although they can reach heights of up to 200 feet. If you wish to harvest Thuja for medicinal uses, be sure to consult an expert. The dilution and extraction need to be done carefully in order for the extract to be safe and effective.

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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