The latest info on and
TACK ROOM MAKEOVER
Check out these money–saving tips
CROSS TRAIN YOUR HORSE’S MIND
Tips on making the perfect
SUMMER READS THE TRUTH ABOUT
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Healthy Hooves Learn how to balance riding surfaces 80% 1.5 BWR PD
Why frame of BODY equals frame of MIND 5.95CN / 5.95 US
VOLUME 13 ISSUE 3
DISPLAY UNTIL JULY 23, 2018
How this global approach applies to us and our horses.
June/July 2018 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Cindy MacDonald EDITOR: Ann Brightman ASSOCIATE EDITOR: 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: Gloria Ann Roberson COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Batts Mark H. Bolender Lindsay Day, MSc, REMT Melanie Falls Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS Chris Irwin Catherine Larose Michael I. Lindinger, PhD Wendy Murdoch Jazmine Oliver Sherri Pennanen April Reeves Karen Rohlf Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Bryan (Bj) Smith Amy Snow Shannon Stanley, MSc Michelle Staples 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Photo by: Gloria Ann Roberson
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: May 2018.
Improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.
Horses deserve to be healthy and happy, secure and safe, just like this contented young buckskin on our cover. Our barn and farm issue is loaded with helpful advice on environmentally and horse-friendly practices for your horse’s mind, body and soul. Equine Wellness
10 HOOF BOOTS FOR A
26 HOW RIDING SURFACES
a lifesaver for rehabilitating a sore horse. Know their benefits and challenges.
hooves are resilient and adaptable, and can handle varied riding surfaces – as long as you pay proper attention to basic hoof care, conditioning and a balance between wet and dry surfaces.
top 10 horse books for your summer reading pleasure covers a wide variety of genres, from love to war to the classics.
30 SHADE AND SHELTER
MAKEOVER Check out these
SORE HORSE Hoof boots can be
14 CROSS TRAIN YOUR
HORSE’S MIND WITH MOUNTAIN TRAIL Physical
conditioning is important for your horse, but cross training his mind may be even more critical. Here’s how the exciting discipline of Mountain Trail can help.
18 SPECIAL REPORT: TICKS
44 SUMMER READS FOR IMPACT THE HOOF Your horse’s HORSE LOVERS Our list of
FOR YOUR HORSE Protecting
your horse from sun, wind and storms can be as simple as giving him access to a hedge, trees or hillside – or building a shelter for more complete coverage.
AND LYME DISEASE IN THE EQUINE Caused by ticks, Lyme
34 ONE PLANET, ONE
22 EQUINE LEAKY GUT
When we consider the connections between human, equine and ecosystem health, a more holistic, integrated understanding of wellness emerges. The “One Health” approach is gaining momentum in veterinary medicine and beyond.
disease can have serious consequences for your horse. Protect him by arming yourself with the latest information.
SYNDROME – PART 1
A leaky gut allows undesirable molecules into your horse’s body, adversely affects her nutrient absorption, causes inflammation, and may seriously impair her bodily functions.
HEALTH – HUMAN, EQUINE AND ECOSYSTEM WELLNESS
40 YOUR HORSE: THE FRAME OF HIS BODY = THE FRAME OF HIS MIND Learn to use your own body language to shape your horse’s body, so he feels good mentally and wants to be with you.
48 TACK ROOM
eco-friendly and affordable tips for transforming your tack room.
52 RESPONSIBLE HORSE
BREEDING Mass versus selective
breeding – we take a hard look at the ethical and financial aspects of the horse breeding industry.
56 DISASTERS: ARE
YOU AND YOUR HORSE READY? When dealing with
disasters, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. Learn how to prepare yourself and your horses, come what may.
8 Neighborhood news
43 Saddle fit
33 Product picks
46 To the rescue
37 Business profile: SciencePure
47 Herb blurb
38 Equine Wellness resource guide
50 Natural horsemanship
51 Heads up
55 Rider fitness
62 Acupressure at-a-glance
60 Marketplace 61 Classifieds
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up your farm and barn
love this quote by John Muir: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” I’ve found this to be true in my home, around the farm, in our community and the world at large. It motivates me to think globally and act locally. It means we practice integrative care for our herd of equines (five horses, a mini donkey, a mini horse and a Welsh pony). What goes in and on their bodies affects their health first, and then the environment, since some of what goes in them comes out the other end, and what goes on their coats is washed away by rain or rolled off on the ground. Therefore, we use organic, eco-friendly products everywhere possible – from homemade hoof sprays to natural remedies for illness and wounds. We feed hay cubes soaked in organic, immune-supporting ginger tea or cinnamon/garlic, as a base for nutritional supplements including kelp, loose salt and hemp fines. For our horses, beet pulp as a base isn’t an option because most sugar beets (around 95%) are genetically modified, which means they’re engineered to withstand copious pesticide applications (they also contain unwanted sugar that’s not good for our laminitis-prone herd members). Corn and soy are also primarily GMO. When pesticides and chemical fertilizers have been used on what you feed or put on your horses, you’re adding to their chemical burden – and the world’s. Source organically whenever possible.
And then there are drug residues. When illness or injury occurs in our herd, we treat the problem naturally if it makes sense, and only give our equines prescription medications when necessary, if it’s what’s best for them. After all, where do drugs and chemicals go? They accumulate in your horse’s tissues and/or leave his body via excretions, ending up in the soil and eventually our waterways. For all these reasons and more, I’m thrilled to share Lindsay Day’s eye-opening “One Health, One Planet” article (page 34) in our barn and farm issue. You can also look at natural or repurposed materials for shade and shelter (page 30) and give your tack room a green makeover (page 48). Speaking of shade, it’s summer, and that means ticks. On page 18, Dr. Joyce Harman reports on the latest natural treatments for Lyme disease – including CBD, a cannabinoid in hemp. Our “one planet” theme also encompasses April Reeves’ article (page 52) on responsible horse breeding. Beyond her well-made points, consider all the drug- and chemical-laden manure that arises from breeding for quantity versus quality, as well as all that excessive water usage. Meanwhile, unwanted horses go by truck to auction, the lucky ones to homes and the rest to slaughter, creating a lot of extra air pollution and greenhouse gases. The interconnectedness of all things is truly amazing. It is a small world, after all. Good health to you, your horses and your environment! Naturally, Cindy MacDonald
RIDING PROGRAM REDUCES MILITARY PTSD
Recent research has indicated that aspirin may not be an
It’s no secret that horseback riding is therapeutic.
effective blood thinner for some horses.
Ten horses took part in the five-day study. Each was
therapeutic riding lowers the effects of PTSD in
administered an initial 4.7mg-5mg/kg dose of aspirin the
first morning, with a follow-up dose of 1mg-1.3mg/kg on the
The standardized “PTSD Checklist – Military
remaining four days.
Version” was used along with three other tests
After the first dose, seven horses showed a reduction in clotting
to measure the overall well-being of US military
that ranged from 37% to 100%. However, the following four
veterans and their PTSD symptoms. Veterans
days revealed much less reduction along with a huge variation,
were randomly selected to participate in a six-
ranging from zero to 98%. As for the other three horses, there
week therapeutic horseback riding program.
was no sign of clot reduction after the first dose, and only a
The results showed a statistically significant
maximum of 22% reduction over the next four days. This could be an indication of aspirin resistance.
decrease in PTSD scores after three weeks in the program, with a 66.7% likelihood of lower
These study results indicate a recommendation to test the efficacy
PTSD scores. After six weeks in the program,
of aspirin on your horse before relying on it as a prescription.
the results showed statistically and clinically significant decreases in PTSD scores, with an 87.5% likelihood of lower PTSD scores. Based on these results, therapeutic horseback riding may be a viable clinical therapy alternative for military veterans with PTSD.
HIGH-STARCH DIET INFLUENCES ACTH TESTS Diet should always be considered when diagnosing disease in a horse. For example, a high-starch diet can influence results when testing for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This could lead to an incorrect diagnosis when ACTH is being tested for suspected Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID). Sixteen horses – eight seniors and eight adults – were part of a seven-week study. They were all fed the same grass hay, with a rotation of feed options ranging in sugar, starch and fiber levels. The results showed that high-starch feed raised ACTH levels. They also confirmed that ACTH levels are higher in senior horses, and are also higher in the autumn months. The findings of this research underscore the importance of factoring in diet, as well as age and season, when testing ACTH in horses.
sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0739724017300887 8 Equine Wellness
THE ORIGIN OF MODERN HORSES HAS A TWIST
GRANTS TO INVESTIGATE THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF HORSES The Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF) is accepting proposals to investigate the therapeutic effects of horses on humans. The Foundation will provide up to $50,000 in research funding over a maximum of 1.5 years. Grants will be awarded competitively based on scientific merit; scientific and clinical
For some time now, we’ve believed Przewalski’s horses were the last wild
significance and relevance; and the credentials
horses before humankind domesticated these animals. But new research has
and research experience of the investigators.
challenged existing thought on the origin of our modern equines. It suggests
The submission deadline is June 30.
that Przewalski’s horses may actually be the descendants of the first-ever domesticated horses.
The competition seeks to identify the highest priority needs and gaps in our knowledge of
Genome data analysis has revealed that Przewalski’s horses probably escaped
equine-assisted therapy and activities. The
humans and became feral, rather than being wild to start with. While it’s
HHRF Board believes that the shared knowledge,
impossible to locate the original source of modern horses using current genome
creation, application and dissemination of peer-
data, they could possibly have come from outside Central Asia. The earliest
reviewed research benefits everyone.
fossils presently sequenced have come from Hungary, Romania and the Pontic Caspian steppe.
funded projects, review guidelines and more are available at horsesandhumans.org.
HOOF BOOTS FOR A SORE HORSE
HOOF BOOTS CAN BE A LIFESAVER FOR REHABILITATING A SORE HORSE. KNOW THEIR BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES.
By Catherine Larose
s a professional trimmer, I often encounter sore horses. Many have problems such as abscesses and founder. Hoof boots and pads can make sore horses feel instantly better, and can literally be a lifesaver in founder cases. Long-term booting does present challenges, but I greatly prefer it over more permanent options such as glued-on composite shoes or casts. I will share with you the boot/pad combinations that have given me the most successful outcomes in horses that needed to wear boots for extended periods.
BOOT SELECTION I can’t claim to have tried every boot on the market, but over the years I have experimented with many different options. When dealing with foot pain, I have multiple goals: giving the hoof a break from compression forces with the ground, offering support and possibly protecting any open sores. As I don’t manage a client’s horse on a daily basis, I also have 10
to think of the owner or barn manager, so ease of use is an important consideration. Hoofs are three-dimensional. The angle of the hoof and its height from coronet band to the ground may vary from one hoof to the next, especially in founder cases. Sizing charts only take into consideration two of the three dimensions – length and width. The sizing also doesn’t factor in added padding, so you may need to go up a size in order to accommodate thick padding. Keep this in mind when making a purchase. Ideally, work with a trimmer who has the experience to ensure proper fit. The boot must be loose enough to put on and take off easily, but you should not be able to rotate it independently once it has been properly secured. In most cases, my boot of choice is among the Cavallo brand. I love their boots for many reasons. First, they’re easy to use.
No matter how good a boot is, if the owner can’t get it on or off easily, they won’t use it, especially if the horse is sore and struggles to lift his feet. Second, these boots allow for a lot of padding, which is the key to relieving a sore horse. Third, they stay on incredibly well. Should one ever pop off the hoof, the entire boot comes off, unlike models that have a strap around the pastern. This strap can be dangerous for a horse that is turned out unattended. I have experienced cases in which a boot was pulled off from the hoof but the pastern strap stayed attached. This can cause the horse to panic, risking further injury and destroying the gaiter, which is costly to repair. Never turn out a horse with boots that attach around the pastern. Cavallo boots come in two widths (regular or slim). For front hooves, any of their models work fine, but my favorites are the Trek or ELB. They open wide across the front and are very easy to secure in place with their large Velcro closure. Best of all, they stay on. I prefer the Sport model for hind feet as the upper seems to be better adapted to their angle. Finally, Cavallos are affordable, extremely durable, safe for unsupervised turnout, and once the founder or abscess is resolved, they can be used for riding. If the hoof has a very abnormal shape, with significant deviation at the toe combined with high contracted heels, as we may encounter with severe founder, I work with the Cloud boot model made by Easycare. It has loads of room for padding and is very easy to apply. The downside is the boot can be less stable on the foot, and tends to rotate. Easycare just introduced a new model, the Stratus, which they say will address this issue with a built-in stabilizing strap. I have not had a chance to try it. The Cloud is a pure rehab boot, so it’s rather clunky and not
Boots give access to the hoof at any time, thereby allowing frequent trims to correct a badly foundered foot, or soaking in the case of an abscess. Studies by Dr. Robert Bowker, a leading researcher in hoof function, have shown that compression and decompression of the hoof are key factors in the promotion of healing because they increase blood circulation. Boots and pads allow for this as the horse lifts his foot; they therefore play an important role in rehabilitation.
WITH LONG-TERM HOOF BOOT USE
Problems can arise when horses wear boots for extended periods. Rubbing at the heel bulbs or excessive moisture buildup can cause fungal issues such as white line disease or thrush. The best way to counter this is by adding baby diapers and powder to your boot management regime. Wrap the diaper around the hoof and use its Velcro attachments around the pastern to keep it in place. A bit of masking tape overtop can help as well. Be certain you don’t wrap too tightly; you should be able to insert a finger behind the tape. Size five diapers accommodate most hooves. The diaper wicks away moisture and will keep the foot dry while protecting the sensitive heel bulb area from rubs. It will also keep the foot clean, which is very important if you’re dealing with an abscess. You can see if the abscess is still draining, as any pus will stain the diaper. Once you have ascertained the boot fits correctly, you can generally change the diaper every second day unless the horse has been out in very wet conditions such as deep snow or rain. When the turnout environment is wet, sprinkle the bottom of the foot and heel bulbs with baby powder or an anti-fungal powder (such as Gold Bond) before applying the diaper. You can also add a thin layer directly in the boots. All this takes less than ten minutes once you and your horse have the routine down.
1 Powder on the hoof
3 Diaper taped into position
2 Diaper position before tape
4 Cavallo boot in place over top of diaper
designed for any type of riding. As many horses require hoof protection, at least for a little while following a bad abscess or founder, owners will need to purchase another pair of boots for riding, increasing the overall cost.
CHOOSING PADS Over the years, I have tried many different pads, from dollar-store floor pads to various saddle pads that I cut into shape. In the end, I always come back to the Easycare comfort pads. They are very durable, maintain their shape and retain some “bounce’’ for extended periods, even when boots are worn 24/7. They come in three different densities and varying thicknesses. For sore horses, the thicker the better, so the 12mm is my pad of choice. I have found the medium density (black pads) seems to please almost all horses. Booting your horse is an important part of his rehabilitation. When he is more comfortable, he will move more, promoting blood circulation and speeding up the healing process. Should you need to care for your horse after an abscess or founder, following these guidelines will help him get back on his feet. For information on using boots for purposes other than rehabilitation, see a previous Equine Wellness article at equinewellnessmagazine.com/hoof-boots-help/. Catherine Larose (servicesequus.com) has been trimming professionally for 12 years in the Montreal, Quebec area. Along with her friend, trimmer Maia Chaput, they have created Metta Equus, teaching horse owners to identify, understand and prevent precursors to lameness. They offer theory and practical clinics and are currently working on developing online courses. Metta Equus aims to increase your understanding and awareness of your horse’s needs, thereby empowering you to participate in raising standards of care and quality of life through a preventive, whole-picture perspective. By providing these resources, Metta Equus empowers people to make educated and informed decisions about the care of their horses. To organize a clinic in your area, visit mettaequus.com.
Photos courtesy of Catherine Larose.
Photos courtesy of Photos by Hal Cook
PHYSICAL CONDITIONING IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR HORSE, BUT CROSS TRAINING HIS MIND MAY BE EVEN MORE CRITICAL. HERE’S HOW THE EXCITING DISCIPLINE OF MOUNTAIN TRAIL CAN HELP.
CROSS TRAIN your horse’s mind with Mountain Trail By Mark H. Bolender When we condition and cross train horses, we canter or lope (cantaloupe) in a way that builds muscle and improves performance. While physical conditioning is vital for any horse, training the mind is even more critical – and often the least addressed. Cross training using the discipline of Mountain Trail is a great way to build a horse’s mind. Mountain Trail, founded in 2000, challenges horse and rider to become partners in order to navigate obstacles of varying difficulty. If you and your horse specialize in other disciplines, 14
cross training with Mountain Trail can benefit you both in myriad ways. At our facility, we build boldness and confidence through Mountain Trail, using many obstacles to get into a horse’s mind. We find that most of the four-bar jumpers or dressage horses coming to the facility lack confidence, and many are nervous wrecks with very poor ground manners. Since these horses, for the most part, are 17 to 18/2 hands, manners are a must and need to be corrected on the first day by properly establishing
ourselves in their world (see sidebar on page 16). This must be done before cross training really starts.
MOUNTAIN TRAIL – LET THE CROSS TRAINING BEGIN
Start with simple obstacles
Once we have established that we are above a horse in the pecking order, cross training work can begin, using Mountain Trail. I start by introducing the horse to simple obstacles, such as a few logs to step over. I do this from the ground; I never begin with riding because this time belongs to the horse and I want my own heartbeat out of the equation. After the horse has navigated (not mastered, but willingly walked through) the first obstacle, I move to the next one. The second obstacle could be a small bridge that does not move. I simply let the horse walk over it. I don’t lead him because this wouldn’t build the boldness and confidence I am looking for. I want the horse to begin to look to himself and hunt the obstacle. That means he is dropping his head and thinking his way through it. If you force the horse, he will not buy in, meaning you will always need a “tune-up” and he will not have that quiet, bold, confident look. If your horse is given time to process and think things through, he will “own the obstacle”. Once he develops this attitude, the obstacles will become easier to teach, even though they become more difficult. A good indication that the horse is buying into learning the obstacles is a dropped head; he will often also chew on or paw at them.
Cowboy Poet Extraordinaire
Our final goal is to be able to cantaloupe between obstacles, then break to a walk and step into the obstacles.
All this behavior is positive and appears to be a sign of acceptance and learning. I find that the majority of horses will begin to seek the next obstacle. If a horse doesn’t do this, you will need to back up what you are doing and change the program slightly. The final obstacles at our facility, such as the suspension, rolling bridge and balance beams, are the last things we teach. A normal horse will take approximately five to ten minutes to learn an obstacle. We know, for example, that 50% of horses will be able to do a 180° turn and walk off within ten minutes. At this point, we are ready to ride, for these horses are now learning what to do with their feet. The most critical thing at this point is to relax. Allow the horse to do what he knows, and get out of his way. When you approach the obstacle, allow him to naturally drop his head and step into the obstacle. Use your legs to keep him straight and work with him. Continued on page 16.
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For More Information Contact 403.317.4918
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Continued from page 15.
Moving up the Mountain Trail Once the horse can navigate the obstacles, the real cross training begins. It will take time for the horse to move up and master the levels of difficulty (Mountain Trail). Our final goal is to be able to cantaloupe between obstacles, then break to a walk and step into the obstacles. Often, transitions have little meaning when we ride. What I mean by that is if we drag a lead in reining, we may have a deduction to our score or miss a change in dressage. However, transitions have real meaning in Mountain Trail; if you cantaloupe up to the cross buck and fail to break to a walk, something will go very wrong. Recently, at a clinic, we had an event rider who failed to transition to a walk at an obstacle. Fortunately, it was not a wreck, but from that point in the clinic the rider concentrated on the transitions. These are methods you can try with your own horse. Begin with simple obstacles, take your time, and follow my tips. I suggest obtaining Mountain Trail training materials to help you on your journey. Once a horse buys into Mountain Trail, he is never the same. The boldness and confidence it brings to any horse in any discipline is amazing. For example, a horse that isn’t afraid of a water obstacle will jump over it very differently than a horse with this fear. Mountain Trail often brings new life into a show horse that has soured to the ring. It brings back meaning to cues from the rider. Cross training in Mountain Trail will bring back and/or teach a crispness to transitions as no other training tool can. The confidence it brings to the rider is equally amazing. A confident rider is a happy rider and a happy rider leads to a happy horse!
ESTABLISH YOURSELF IN THE HORSE’S WORLD Before cross training with Mountain Trail, we start with a few short ground exercises to establish ourselves in the horse’s world. This is critical, for horses do not think like us and their world is very different from ours. Theirs is a majestic and beautiful world, but it’s very black and white, and in some ways barbaric and brutal. When you take a place in this world, the horse has a full right to find out where you stand in his view of things, so you will often see surprising behaviors. You need to establish your place – which must be above the horse in his perceived pecking order. This is not about respect, domination or who is boss; these are just pieces of the larger puzzle. It’s about who is worthy of a leadership role, and that will be determined by the horse’s instinct. Instinct is a different type of intelligence from what humans possess and one we can’t scientifically explain or duplicate. Instinct is not right or wrong; it just is. Your horse will have an instinct to please; he will please those he perceives to be above him in the pecking order, but have very little regard for those he perceives to be below him. We humans may not like this impolite and unequal view of the world, but I am not one to try and change the horse’s world. I don’t want to humanize the horse and make him like us because we’re completely different. Let’s simply accept this world and bring forth what it can do for us and our horses.
A horse and rider navigate a Mountain Trail obstacle at Bolender Horse Park.
Mark Bolender’s name has become synonymous on an international level with an exciting new equine discipline called “Mountain Trail”. He is the author of Bolender’s Guide to Mastering Mountain and Extreme Trail Riding and has produced Mountain Trail training DVDs. Mark and his wife Lee own and operate Bolender Horse Park in Washington state, which houses one of the finest Mountain Trail courses in the world. They founded the International Mountain Trail Challenge Association (IMTCA) to promote the sport of Mountain Trail, with the goal of bringing this discipline to the Olympic Games. Mark has designed and built Mountain Trail courses around the globe. He says that activating key instincts in the horse, along with good horsemanship, results in real equine magic. bolenderhorsepark.com
TICKS & LYME DISEASE IN THE EQUINE By Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS
CAUSED BY TICKS, LYME DISEASE CAN HAVE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR YOUR HORSE. PROTECT HIM BY ARMING YOURSELF WITH THE LATEST INFORMATION. Lyme disease (LD) has been on our radar for 40 to 50 years. It is now the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the US and Europe, and is also found in Asia, Australia and Canada. Since LD can be found in so many locations, it should be part of a rule-out list for horses when a diagnosis is not clear.
and dogs. Fleas, spiders, mosquitoes and mites are also possibly part of the tick life cycle, though available research has not defined their exact role.
Tiny nymph stage ticks are the source of most infections. The adult tick, which is a little larger and easier to see, may be less important but potentially infective.
The Lyme spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) is a very mobile, corkscrew-shaped bacterium. Its life cycle involves the deer tick or black-legged tick on the east coast, with other tick species involved in other places. Contrary to popular belief, deer are far from the only hosts for infected ticks, since different species prefer different hosts. Many small mammals are part of the host cycle, from white-footed mice (mainly in the northeast) to chipmunks, hedgehogs, squirrels and rats, along with humans
The difficulty with this organism is that it is incredibly smart (it talks to other spirochetes) and very adaptable. It can change shape and evade the immune system, and go dormant while waiting for an opportunity to reactivate. Its outer surface protein coats (Osp) change as the tick attaches and begins to suck the hostâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blood. This and many other adaptations allow it to become resistant to antibiotics, herbs and the hostâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immune system.
SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS
The characteristic bull’s-eye skin lesion is not seen in horses, most likely because of the hair coat. One of the most common signs is lameness or arthritis that is difficult to identify and may change locations. Other symptoms are anterior uveitis, neurologic signs, low grade fever, sensitivity to touch, lameness, weight loss, tremors, neck pain, lethargy and laminitis. Importantly, there is usually some degree of behavior change.
There is no magic bullet in treating LD. The best approach is multi-systemic, using a combination of conventional, complementary and alternative medicine. Successful treatment includes support for the immune system, not just during the immediate treatment period but over the long term. Due to the spirochete’s ability to “recur”, the immune system must be prepared to respond at a moment’s notice.
ANTIBIOTICS Antibiotics are useful, especially in freshly diagnosed horses. However, repeated courses, or use spanning two to three months or more, usually produce resistance and are detrimental. It is better to change to herbs and keep the spirochete guessing. Continued on page 20.
About 10% to 15% of the horses in my practice area become dangerously spooky when infected with Lyme. The exact reason is unknown but it may be due to one of the different strains. Sometimes Lyme appears along with or before/after cases of equine protozoal myelitis (EPM), particularly in older horses. Sometimes Lyme presents with neurological symptoms that look like EPM, but test positive for Lyme.
LABORATORY DIAGNOSIS Diagnosis of LD can be very difficult, partly due to the cleverness and changeability of the spirochete, and partly because tests are not good enough yet. The main test, performed by Cornell University, is called the Lyme Disease Multiplex Test. It measures different stages of the disease but does not correlate perfectly with clinical signs. The test can be negative, yet a horse can still respond to treatment and behave as if he has LD.
VACCINATION There are no LD vaccines approved for horses, so canine vaccines are used. Vaccination can be stressful to the immune system and has led to relapses. A recent study showed that current canine vaccines produced only short-term responses in horses. It is important to note that many, but not all, of these horses have negative responses to other vaccines, such as rabies, West Nile Virus and others, once they have had LD. Equine Wellness
Continued from page 19. Antibiotics suppress the immune system in the gut, so the rest of the plan needs to support it.
NATURAL TREATMENTS • The microbiome is the DNA of the microbes living in the gut. Probiotics are an absolute necessity and should continue being given for many months after antibiotic therapy is finished. The purpose of long-term probiotics is to restore the health of the microbiome. • Vitamin C is well known for its action in the immune system and collagen. (4g to 6g twice a day). • Noni (Morinda citrifolia) is an herb that supports the immune system and has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. In fruit leather form, it is relatively inexpensive and concentrated; the juice form can be quite expensive, more dilute and contains significant sugar. • Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and supportive to the immune system. They can be obtained by feeding whole flaxseed, naturally stabilized ground flax, hemp seeds or chia seeds (a very stable Omega-3 source). Flax or hemp oils can be used but must be refrigerated during warm or hot weather. Three to six ounces twice a day is the usual dose for seeds; less volume is needed with oils. Blue-green algae also contains significant Omega-3 fatty acids.
Preventing LYME DISEASE
Prevention is difficult if you live in an LD-endemic area. Topical anti-parasitics are toxic to animals and the environment (if they are washed off by rain and get into waterways). In some cases, it is easier to support the horse’s immune system to deal with the drugs than it is to treat chronic LD. In other cases, it is beneficial to use a more natural approach. For example, Guinea hens are effective at removing ticks from the environment, though they are noisy and may not fit into the farm environment. Keeping grass mowed in the pasture is also helpful. Topical essential oils and various insect-repellent sprays can be helpful, but need to be applied frequently. Japanese knotweed root appears to be helpful in endemic areas, but does not guarantee protection. Feeding garlic or apple cider vinegar can be useful. A new topical spray called Ticks-Off® prevents ticks from adhering to the hair and is an exciting addition to LD prevention protocols. It’s non-toxic and therefore safe to add to a prevention program. 20
• Medicinal mushrooms are backed by excellent research showing positive effects on the immune system, and are beneficial for various arthritic conditions. They are safe and can be used over the long term in a tincture or powder. • Joint supplements are important for any horse with signs of joint-related discomfort. They include glucosaminebased supplements, hyaluronic acid, glycosaminoglycans and green-lipped mussel, as well as Western and Chinese herbal preparations.
HEMP, CANNABIS AND CBD The use of hemp with cannabinoids (CBD) for equine LD is new, but early clinical use is showing excellent results. In humans, CBDs are being used successfully for LD. The effects of cannabinoids on the immune system, arthritis, pain relief and inflammation are among the reasons they are useful for LD. CBD is usually available as an oil extract. This is an expensive way to give it to horses, since the dose that seems to have the best clinical effect is about 25mg twice a day. Poor quality CBD is a common problem, and products with low concentration likely have less effect. Hemp will grow anywhere, and extracts toxins from the soil, so it’s important to use organic, traceable products. Recently, a hemp leaf extract has been used. Cannabis with a THC component is not legal in most states, so has not been researched for use in horses. It would likely have an overly sedating effect in horses, making them unsafe to ride.
PRIMARY TREATMENTS • Homeopathics should be prescribed constitutionally, based on presenting signs. Several medicines fit many LD symptoms quite well. Ledum palustre is a major homeopathic for LD; its symptoms include effects from toxic puncture wounds as well as insect bites. A tick bite is both. Rhododendron and Kalmia latifolia are worth considering. Based on the constitution, other medicines have helped individual cases including, but not limited to, Sulphur, Arsenicum album and Rhus toxicodendron. • Western herbal protocols have also been used successfully. In general, herbal formulas should not be used on a continuous basis using the same herbs, since the spirochete is capable of developing a tolerance to them. Formulas should be rotated every month. • Acupuncture is excellent for pain control, immune stimulation and tonifying Qi or energy. There is no one-point prescription since each horse is an individual. • Chinese herbal medicines are effective in both the early and late stages of LD, depending on the pattern presented. Current thinking again suggests changing formulas on a regular basis. Herbs should be prescribed by trained Chinese
herbalists, since herb choice and type are based on a correct Chinese diagnosis.
OTHER TREATMENT SUGGESTIONS Additional compounds can be helpful depending on the signs the horse is showing. Magnesium is frequently deficient in human LD patients, and it is easy to supplement horses with magnesium citrate (1g to 3g per day). Topical preparations of magnesium are beneficial if oral supplements cause any intestinal upset; however, the actual dose absorbed is difficult to calculate. Herbs to support general gut health can be beneficial, especially after prolonged courses of antibiotics. Marshmallow leaf and meadowsweet are examples. Turmeric root shows excellent anti-inflammatory effects for joints and supportive properties for the liver. Garlic may be beneficial; it may also help keep some ticks away and is a good tonic herb. Coenzyme Q-10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant that may help as well. Resveratrol is another antioxidant that can be used in LD cases. Exercise at the level the horse is comfortable with is an important part of recovery. It’s good for the immune system and helpful for the horse mentally. There is no benefit in pushing the horse beyond what is comfortable, so if he is having a bad day, a short walk will suffice. Stress relief is an important factor in recovery. It’s beneficial to maintain horses on adaptogenic, stress-relieving herbs such as Siberian ginseng root (Eleutherococcus senticosus), once they have recovered and gone back to competition. It’s also important to note the amount of rest the horse gets at the barn. It has been shown that horses actually get very little rest and sleep at many busy barns. This adds to the horse’s stress, which suppresses the immune system.
CONCLUSION Treating LD is complex and requires a willingness to keep reevaluating the horse’s progress and make changes based on current symptoms. To prevent relapses and maintain optimal health, stress needs to be managed, the immune system needs support, and the way your horse feels needs to be considered. Tick and insect control is always challenging, but needs to be an important part of managing LD. Most horses can return to full performance even with chronic LD, but many will require ongoing maintenance. Joyce Harman graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Her practice is 100% holistic, using acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine and homeopathy to treat horses to enhance performance, as well as those with a variety of chronic conditions, with an emphasis on Lyme Disease. Her publications include the Pain Free Back and Saddle Fit Books, the only books written independently of a saddle company. Dr. Harman maintains an informative website at harmanyequine.com.
EQUINE LEAKY GUT
SYNDROME PART 1
By Michael I. Lindinger, PhD, and Shannon Stanley, MSc
Does your horse seem “off”? Perhaps her manure is loose and she seems
A LEAKY GUT ALLOWS UNDESIRABLE MOLECULES INTO YOUR HORSE’S BODY, ADVERSELY AFFECTS HER NUTRIENT ABSORPTION, CAUSES INFLAMMATION, AND MAY SERIOUSLY IMPAIR HER BODILY FUNCTIONS.
a little colicky. Her performance is not at its usual level, her behavior is iffy, and she’s not interested in finishing her feed. These sometimes subtle signs may be associated with sub-clinical leaks within the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). The first part of this article describes leaky gut syndrome (LGS) in horses, and subsequent articles will address how nutrients, probiotics and prebiotics can help maintain and repair healthy barrier function. LGS occurs when GIT barrier functions have been compromised, causing the intestinal tract to leak molecules and other substances that should not enter the interior of the body. The entire digestive system keeps exterior matter outside the horse even though the GIT is within the body. A healthy GIT only allows beneficial molecules across the barrier. With a leaky GIT, pathogens invade and cross the barrier, resulting in inflammation and impaired function. Equine LGS resembles irritable bowel syndrome in humans and other animals.
WHY THE HEALTHY GIT IS NOT LEAKY The complex processes of nutrient absorption cannot occur effectively when the GIT becomes leaky. This is because effective nutrient absorption requires a tight
barrier. In addition, the barrier is supposed to keep pathogens out of the body. The intestinal barrier is made up of intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), along with a mucosal layer lying over the villi and produced by IECs. The IECs are connected to each other by a network of tight junctions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; adherens junctions, desmosomes and other connector proteins. Molecules cross the intestinal barrier in two ways: through cells (the transcellular pathway) or between cells (the paracellular pathway). In a normal healthy GIT, the paracellular movement of molecules is what prevents the passage of pathogens from within the intestine into the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body. Images courtesy of Michael Lindinger
The junctional proteins can be disrupted by intestinal pathogens or mechanical damage, resulting in leakage. One challenge to maintaining barrier function occurs when damaged or aged cells are being shed, because the adjacent cells must try to maintain barrier function. Any step in the process can be disrupted by pathogens, leading to a leaky barrier and intestinal inflammation. Leakiness typically occurs in relatively small regions of the GIT, but prolonged exposure to toxic materials or chronic suppression of intestinal immune health can lead to large regions of leakiness, as seen with advanced colitis or colonic ulcers. Continued on page 24.
FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO LEAKY GUT IN HORSES
Continued from page 23
BARRIER DISRUPTION Injury to the mucosal layer or underlying IECs can be caused by drugs routinely used in equine medicine; by ingestion of plant and bacterial toxins; or by mechanical damage from foreign material or colic. The mucous layer is the first barrier, and pathogens must penetrate it to reach the epithelial cells during infection. Pathogenic microorganisms have developed diverse ways to invade and degrade the mucosal barrier – a thinned mucosal barrier allows pathogens to more easily reach the IECs. Many pathogens interfere with the mucosal layer and the junctional proteins, resulting in a widened intercellular paracellular pathway, and allowing pathogens into the IECs and body. An inflammatory response will be directed towards pathogens, but inflammation can also result in increased IEC damage and leakiness until repair occurs. The inflammatory response to injury is intended as a controlled mechanism that initiates and accompanies wound repair and the healing process. This is characterized by an infiltration of immune response cells, increased local blood flow and increased IEC metabolism leading to the controlled repair of damaged areas. The inflammation may become uncontrolled when injury is severe or prolonged, and can contribute to massive tissue destruction requiring medical intervention. An immune response begins whenever a foreign or pathogenic substance enters a part of the body it shouldn’t. Cells within the immune system are able to sense and recognize these substances as foreign, and in response, they signal other immune system cells to deal with them. The dendritic cells of the innate immune system actually penetrate the IEC barrier from the inside of the horse, providing an early warning and detection system for immune response. Macrophages are large cells capable of surrounding and “eating” foreign matter. They can be recruited from elsewhere in the body to come to the injury site, and are produced in large numbers in response to the injury. Other pathogenic molecules are transported to the liver by the bloodstream, where de-toxifying systems within the liver break them down into less toxic or non-toxic molecules. These responses can also be accompanied by inflammatory responses with increased local blood flow and cellular metabolism. When the site of injury is large, inflammatory and immune responses will be large. Unfortunately, it’s often not until a large response has occurred that the problem becomes obvious to the horse owner. By this time, the severity of the lesion(s) can be such that inflammatory and immune responses have progressed from local to whole body or systemic, and are accompanied by increased body temperature, heart and respiratory rates, and a rise in the indices of immune cells in the hematology profile.
Stressors and intestinal pathogens contribute to a leaky gut in the horse. Common stressors include seasonal changes in forage type and quality; the quantity and frequency of grain feeding; the presence of mycotoxins and other pathogens within forage and feeds; types and amounts of supplements used; medications; exercise and training stress; transport stress; heat stress; excessive time spent in stalls; and mistreatment by people or other horses. You may be able to control some stressors (e.g. forage and feed quality, supplements, medications, horse handling practices), while others are “normal” (i.e. exercise, training, transport) or only poorly controlled (environmental stresses, forage). Nutrition and other aspects of horse care work hand in hand to maintain a healthy GIT barrier. The GIT possesses defenses to deal with the vast array of ingested pathogens; these include stomach acidity, antimicrobials within the mucous barrier lining the inside of the GIT, beneficial microbes within the GIT, and the physical barriers of both the mucous layer and underlying intestinal epithelial cells (IECs).
At this point, it is very desirable to do everything reasonable to protect and maintain barrier and digestive functions in the GIT. It is also evident that if we don’t do anything when we know barrier function has been compromised, the situation can get worse in a hurry. We therefore need to provide nutritive and medical support that work together, in an integrative way, to promote rapid pain relief and healing. Nutritive approaches to maintaining healthy barrier function will be the topic of the next two parts of this article.
Dr. Michael Lindinger is President of the Nutraceutical Alliance, former professor at the University of Guelph, and is involved in animal health research and nutraceutical product development. Shannon Stanley (MSc) is an animal biosciences and nutrition graduate. 24
Your horse’s hooves are resilient and adaptable, and can handle varied riding surfaces – as long as you pay proper attention to basic hoof care, conditioning and a balance between wet and dry surfaces.
HOW RIDING IMPACT THE HOOF By Sherry Pennanen
Where do you ride your horse?
Are you spending most of your time in arenas doing dressage, reining or jumping? Do you ride hunt courses? Do you ride in rocky canyons or mountains, or traverse grassy hills and dales? Are you often on pavement or gravel roads? The surfaces our horses spend time on are important considerations when we are trimming and caring for their hooves.
FIVE KEY POINTS FOR ADAPTABLE HOOVES The hoof is a remarkably resilient and adaptable structure. To make sure you get the most out of your horse’s hooves, and be able to do what you want, when you want, on many different surfaces, factor in these key points. 1. It starts with the basics: good forage, fresh clean water and movement. Simple as it sounds, I nevertheless often see poor quality hay in stalls, dirty water buckets and horses standing in stalls. If you want your horse to be able to move the way you wish, you have to give him the building blocks for healthy hooves, and allow him to move for himself. If you 26
leave him standing in a stall, his hooves cannot respond to the environment. They will experience increased exposure to manure and urine, and their circulation will suffer from standing still on a single surface. 2. Conditioning your horse for the use you have in mind will prepare him not only for the exercise, but for the surfaces he’ll be on. For example, if your horse is in a pasture five days a week, where the grass is thick and the ground is soft, but you want to trail ride him on gravel roads during the weekend, he may tell you he doesn’t like the gravel surface. He may step gingerly, act sore and refuse to go. It’s the equivalent of you going barefoot after wearing shoes most of the time. Your feet are tender and unaccustomed to the change. Since your horse can’t tell you what his complaint is, he will act out. 3. Supplements may help at times, but there is no substitute for giving your horse the opportunity to live like the equine he is. He needs fresh air, multiple surfaces, varying moisture for his feet, proper nutrition and hydration, and exercise.
4. If you plan an unusual or short-term change in the surfaces you will expose your horse to, condition him gradually for that surface or use a boot to offer temporary protection. Shoeing your horse for that one big trail ride will disrupt his routine and his normal adaptability. In other words, use a shortterm fix for a short-term problem. If you want to condition your horse to a surface, start slow and increase exposure time. I advise my clients to take their horses for walks on the new surface, slowly building up the time and movement spent on that surface. They can then move on to riding on that surface. 5. If your horse has “terrible feet”, you need to go back to the basics. Don’t just give up! Why is he not growing hard solid hooves? Talk to your farrier and vet. Look at your routines. Are you making the most of his natural ability to grow good hoof? Don’t fall into the common trap of being told, “Oh, this particular breed always has bad feet.” Whether we’re talking about feeding, horsekeeping or riding, we have to strike a balance and give the horse an opportunity to use his natural tools. Equine hooves are amazing and resilient structures, and as long as we are giving them what they need, all we usually have to do is get out of the horse’s way. His feet will adjust to almost anything we have to offer.
DRY AND WET SURFACES
It’s important to remember that your horse’s hooves will interact with the surfaces on which he lives and over which he is used. A healthy hoof will offer the best defense against extreme conditions. • DRY surfaces will suck moisture out of hooves. These surfaces include sand, arena dirt, some synthetic surfaces, desert conditions and drought-stricken ground. The hoof will lose moisture to the environment, which can make it more brittle and less elastic. Moisture is necessary for healthy hooves, so if a horse is kept in constantly dry environments, his hooves may suffer if provisions are not made to provide that moisture. A horse living in a stall with deep bedding may suffer from this same issue if the shavings or bedding are dry. In these dry environments, it is important to find a good moisture source. Let your horse linger in the creek a bit, even making it part of your ride. You can also let the water tub “run over” so your horse has to stand in a wet area to drink. • WET environments will naturally make moisture available to the hoof, but too much wetness will also cause problems. From dew on grass to standing water in the habitat, horses that spend too much time in very wet conditions may have problems with hoof integrity, fungal infections or bacterial exposure. While moisture is essential in the hoof environment, standing endlessly in mud or water is not beneficial. Horses who are asked to travel muddy trails should be allowed to take their time so they don’t pull on tendons and ligaments as they remove their hooves from the suction caused by mud. It is also important to give your horse a dry or higher place to stand if his paddock or pasture is muddy. Sherri Pennanen of Better Be Barefoot is a veteran natural-trim farrier serving western New York and southern Ontario. She offers balanced barefoot trims, lameness evaluations and holistic/rehabilitation services on her farm. betterbebarefoot.com
d n a s h e e d l t a er h S for your horse Protecting your horse from sun, wind and storms can be as simple as giving him access to a hedge, trees or hillside â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or building a shelter for more complete coverage.
By Bryan (Bj) Smith
ome argue that shelter is as important to proper horse care as water and feed. Yet shelter is often far down the list of considerations when building a new facility or renewing an old one for a horse herd. Unprotected exposure to wind and sun in all seasons can make a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life miserable, but more importantly, can compromise the health of our equine friends. Therefore, serious thought should be given to five factors concerning shade and shelter.
1. Prevailing wind and storm patterns: Before fence and shelter construction begins, consider the prevailing wind direction and how a typical summer or winter storm approaches. This is easily discovered through researching your areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weather history and consulting neighbors familiar with local weather. In most of south-central Alberta, for instance, the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains create a prevailing flow from the west, while storms usually approach from the north or east. Shelters that give protection from these directions are quite effective for the most part, but this is not always the case. There are pockets of localized systems that can alter weather patterns, both here and elsewhere, so researching your geographical area is always best.
2. Use of existing topography and vegetation: Ravines, hills, trees and shrubs on a property can be used to take advantage of the shelter they might provide. These naturally-occurring changes in terrain, however, present problems of their own, especially during winter months, when the lee sides of slopes accumulate with snow and can become inhospitable for animals. Shrubs and trees can offer great protection, but the continual presence of livestock will damage and sometimes destroy the vegetation altogether. Some very hardy varieties will hold up well, though, and the best is likely the caragana. 30
If a mature hedge of caragana exists on the property, it can be quite an asset in pasture planning. Incorporate these hedges as much as possible in the enclosure where horses will be located. In addition to winter protection, these hedges provide effective relief during fly and mosquito season.
3. Damage control: Building a shelter to withstand strong winds means paying attention to design as well as the material used in its construction. If there is an opening only at the front of the shelter, it will act as a huge parachute when facing a strong wind. This force can be powerful enough to lift and overturn very large and heavy structures, especially in the fury of a summer storm or winter blizzard. Therefore, it’s wise to leave a large gap near the top of the side and back walls to allow a release of airflow. Also question if it is necessary to enclose all three sides; consider leaving one or all sides open, especially if your goal is simply to provide shade. I have a simple shelter with only a roof for protection from sun, rain and snow. The shelter is located next to a mature and extensive caragana hedge which provides ample protection from north and west winds. There is little or no danger of this shelter being lifted off the ground by the scoop effect of a strong south wind.
4. Portability: It is often desirable to have a shelter that can be moved. It means you can move it to the most effective location for maximum protection. It can also cut down on clean-up as the shelter is simply moved away from manure as it accumulates. These shelters are best constructed of metal on 3” or 4” pipe skids. Used drill stem is ideal. Panels of corrugated steel are best for the roof and sides. A “lazy A” frame shelter, which incorporates a steep-sloping rather than vertical side, can also be very effective for a portable shelter. Keep in mind that the danger of portable shelters becoming kites is considerable; stake them securely to the ground each time they are moved. Again, allow for air release by not fully enclosing the shelter. Continued on page 32.
TO BLANKET OR NOT
I am not a big fan of horse blankets. With shelter when needed, I believe it is far better for horses to gain the toughness it takes to brave inclement weather and cold – as long as they have free-choice access to good nutritious food and clean water. There is an exception in my books, however, and that’s during fly season in spring and summer when mosquitoes, blackflies, horse flies and other biting insects are at their peak. A light fly sheet and mask has a lot of utility and can reduce a horse’s anxiety considerably.
SHELTER IN SUMMER AND WINTER SUMMER:
Hydration is foremost in maintaining good horse health during the hot dry months of summer. A breeze on an 86°F (30°C) day is like a clothes dryer and sucks moisture from the horse’s body at an alarming rate, especially in regions where humidity is low. In addition to a free-choice supply of clean water, protection from warm winds contributes a lot to conserving body hydration. As the sun travels higher in the sky during summer months, heat and glare are other factors that seriously affect a horse’s comfort. Left to their own devices, horses will seek out a shady spot to rest between grazing sessions as best they can. A roofed shelter is not only kindness to these animals, it is essential to their health.
I lived for a time in the central part of the Yukon, and observed firsthand a large herd of horses that wintered on the windwardside hill of the Pelly River. This region often recorded prolonged
temperatures of -76°F (-60°C) or lower during winter months. Snowfall was not considerable and a reliable spring of water made the hills a good place for these horses, who rarely came in for supplemental feed or shelter. While I do not recommend this, I am of the view that as long as horses can be protected from wind, and have a continual source of good feed and water, they can withstand extreme cold. Their bodies are capable of generating a lot of heat. Therefore, I concentrate my efforts in the winter on making sure the horses’ feed is freechoice and of superior quality, and that the stock fountains are open and clean. With the shelter of a large caragana hedge and single pitched pole shed, my horses winter happily with shiny, healthy full coats to prove it. The barn is reserved for sick bay, giving foals a few days’ start with their moms, and storing feed and tack. I don’t recommend stabling horses in dry regions, as is necessary in places where humidity is a much greater factor.
Continued from page 31. 5. Cost: As long as a shelter is effective, the cost of construction does not have to be a huge factor. Recycled materials can be employed. Used power poles, old barn siding, discarded plywood cement forms, and retired steel grain bin panels are examples of cost-effective recycled materials for shelter construction. Rough lumber is all that’s needed for framing and roofing; in fact, it is superior in strength since the dimensions are greater than comparable finished lumber; 2” by 6” rough lumber is fine for the frame and rafters, spaced no more than two feet apart. The beams holding the roof should be bolted to the pole legs and laminated for strength. It is important that material used for framing, rafters and beams is new or inspected carefully for soundness. Instead of fencing out a hedge or row of mature trees, consider fencing these potential shelters inside the enclosure. There will be some damage, however, so if the trees are ornamental or esthetically valuable, it may be best to exclude them from the pasture, but allow the fence to pass by close enough to take advantage of the shade and shelter they can provide. Bryan (Bj) Smith is an experienced horse trainer, riding coach, packer, mountain guide, clinician, survival expert and Canadian Ski Patrol instructor. Following a full career in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Bj supervised criminal investigations for the Government of Alberta and sat as president for the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association. He routinely guides groups of wilderness travelers on horseback through the Rockies, often on week-long trips of 100 miles or more. Bj’s professional and comical performances have been featured at Cowboy Poetry Gatherings and Festivals across western Canada, the US and on cruise liners, radio and TV. He is the author of three books and two CDs. As a comedian, he offers his services as a speaker and presenter at events seeking clean authentic western entertainment. BjSmith.ca 32
Ranch Hand bar soap is made with all-natural ingredients, including a flea and tick killer. Inserts into a handy burlap pouch that acts as a scrub brush. The pouch has two handles, one of which is for your wrist, so if your horse moves you don’t have to put the soap down. Just get the product wet, start scrubbing your horse, and suds will begin to come out. The rough burlap gets through hair and down to the skin. After each use, take the bar out and put the pouch in the washing machine.
Herbal solution for laminitis
Laminitis is a consequence of insulin resistance (IR). Without effective intervention, IR will progress and the horse will have more frequent and severe episodes of laminitis. You can stop this progression with the EMS/ Cushing’s/IR Herbal Solution from For Love of the Horse. This solution lowers elevated insulin and ACTH levels while increasing the cells’ ability to utilize glucose. By regulating the glucose/insulin relationship, your horse will recover from laminitis.
Back on Track’s certified organic Rosehip can benefit all horses at any stage of their lives. Administered daily as part of your horse’s health care regimen, it can help support a healthy immune system; relieve inflammation associated with normal daily exercise and activity, training and competition; maintain healthy and resilient skin; and keep the digestive tract functioning properly. Available in 1.5 lb and 3 lb standup pouches from backontrackproducts.com or your local tack shop.
Natural bar soap for your horse
The SmartTag Mini Data microchip is not only a smaller 15-gauge needle, it’s also the only read/write microchip on the market. It allows you to store and program any information on the actual microchip, and can be updated at any time with our scanner. You can store pet owner contact information, pet licensing numbers, medical records, etc. Free Lifetime Registration and metal ID tag always included!
By Lindsay Day, MSc, REMT
ONE PLANET ONE HEALTH A closer look at human, equine and ecosystem wellness
In a time of unprecedented environmental change, the interconnections between our health and that of our planet are becoming increasingly evident. This goes for our horses too. From extreme weather events to the emergence of infectious diseases like West Nile virus, the changes taking place on a local to global scale are impacting our horses and their well-being. One Health, a new way of thinking about the health of humans, animals and the Earth, can help get us back on the right track.
A SHIFTING PARADIGM One Health is an overarching concept and approach that’s grounded in the recognition that the health of people, animals and the environment all depend on one another. Traditionally, human healthcare, veterinary medicine and environmental sciences have all operated independently of each other. One Health bridges these diverse fields and seeks to foster communication and collaboration among them. While the ideas behind One Health aren’t new, it’s an approach of growing importance in today’s world. This is because many factors – including population growth, increasing global travel and trade, climate change and pollution – are contributing to changing interactions among people, animals and ecosystems. This impacts the patterns of health and disease we see today. For example, infectious diseases – whether in people or horses – may travel quickly across regions and borders. Human activities impact the environment, which in turn impacts our health 34
When we consider the connections between human, equine and ecosystem health, a more holistic, integrated understanding of wellness emerges. The “One Health” approach is gaining momentum in veterinary medicine and beyond.
(think air pollution and respiratory issues, and the role trees play in absorbing C02 from the atmosphere). We live in a web of intricate interconnections between all life forms. One Health recognizes this and facilitates a more holistic approach to health.
THE HORSE-HUMAN CONNECTION Horsepeople are no strangers to the ways in which human and equine health are connected. Time with our horses can produce a multitude of health benefits – from mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, to the physical activities of riding and working in and around the barn. We also know that horses can play a valuable role in a range of therapeutic settings. Equine-assisted therapies provide profound benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, in prisoner rehabilitation programs, and for children and adults with learning or physical disabilities. In addition, many of these programs provide meaningful work and a good home for horses that might otherwise be at risk. For example, researchers at UC Davis are exploring the benefits for both horses and humans of a program that uses equine-guided work for people living with dementia, and their caregivers. This study grew out of a collaboration between the UC Davis School of Medicine and The Connected Horse Project, as well as the
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Center for Equine Health. Closer cooperation among human and veterinary medicine also facilitates advances through a One Health approach. Horses face a number of health issues that are similar enough to disease processes in people to provide valuable insights when novel treatments or genetic studies are explored. Equine arthritis, respiratory conditions and insulin resistance are just some examples where this is already happening. And the benefits can go both ways. The model for back pain in people, for instance, has been used to guide research on physiotherapybased approaches for back issues in horses.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES The spread of infectious diseases is another area where a One Health approach has much to offer – by providing a better understanding of the interactions at play, and by developing more effective prevention strategies. The study of diseases transmitted between animals and people (zoonoses) is bringing human and veterinary medicine together. Climate and environmental change can further the spread of infectious diseases by influencing wildlife and insect populations. Lyme disease, transmitted through ticks carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, is a primary example. Ticks normally go dormant in the winter, but a warming climate means ticks are active for longer periods of time. In addition, they are expanding their geographic range northward into regions where they hadn’t previously been present. These factors are contributing to an upward trend in Lyme disease cases in people and animals, both in the US and Canada. Environmental changes that impact the life-cycle of mosquitoes, as well as their interaction with birds infected with West Nile virus, have similar consequences for the incidence of West Nile virus in people and horses. Globally, nearly three-quarters of emerging diseases are either zoonotic (animal-human transmitted) or vector-borne (e.g. by insects). This underscores the need for collaborative One Health approaches that span veterinary, medical and environmental fields of research and practice. Continued on page 36.
How to reduce YOUR HORSE’S ENVIRONMENTAL HOOF-PRINT • Ensure proper manure management. • Protect waterways with natural buffers. • Use refillable containers, and recycle to reduce plastics and other waste. • Dispose of hazardous waste (e.g. old medications, paint, batteries) appropriately.
Image courtesy of Lindsay Day
Continued from page 35.
HORSES AND THE ENVIRONMENT Healthy ecosystems that provide clean water, food and biological diversity are essential for the health of our horses. The way we manage our horses and farms, in turn, can have important implications for the health of the environment – both positive and negative. Horse farms contribute to the amount of green space in our neighborhoods, providing important natural habitat for a range of plant, animal and healthy microbial species. Healthy pastures and soils can absorb water during heavy rains, lessening the runoff that can carry away soil, manure, and nutrients to nearby waterways. Trees provide natural shade and shelter for horses while helping to remove harmful C02 from the atmosphere. Time spent in these natural spaces has physical and mental health benefits for horse and human alike. However, horses produce a lot of manure, therefore it’s important that it be managed properly so it doesn’t become an environmental pollutant. Excess nutrients from manure that get carried away by rainwater runoff are harmful for freshwater ecosystems. Bacteria and parasites are also a concern, as are the medications or de-worming products horse manure and urine can contain. Vegetation buffers along waterways provide a natural solution by trapping and filtering these potential contaminants, while the roots of plants help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. For farms with manure piles, a concrete storage pad with walls or other container can prevent leachate (the brownish liquid that seeps out of manure and bedding waste) from seeping into local ground or surface water sources. Avoid spreading manure on fields, frozen ground and areas close to waterways.
A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY Taking care of the world we live in is a shared responsibility. The decisions we make today will shape the future we create for generations to come. Today, the need for an integrated, holistic approach to health – one that honors the interconnectedness of all life – is more important than ever.
The One Health triad The One Health approach recognizes the inherent interdependence of human, animal and environmental health. It calls for collaboration across many sectors, scientific disciplines, and communities of practice.
Lindsay Day is a Registered Equine Massage Therapist and holds a Masters of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of Guelph.
HELPING YOU DEVELOP A
EQUINE NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR YOUR HORSE
Photo courtesy of Shelley Nyuli
By Cindy MacDonald
hat if you were told to stop feeding your horse bagged feed mixes? Or that “simplifying” his meals is easy and may be better for his gastrointestinal (GI) tract and mind? Think about what simplifying your horse’s nutrition would mean to you both. What would the meal in your horse’s feed bucket look like? SciencePure, a supplements manufacturer in western Canada that has been developing nutraceuticals since 1998, offers a simplified equine feeding plan that’s balanced, easy and cost effective, especially for those who are competing with their horses and purchasing other supplements (e.g., joint, muscle enhancing or digestive). “Many horse people supplement and choose feed mixes for the symptoms their horses are showing, instead of scaling back,” says SciencePure president and nutritional advisor, Shelley Nyuli. “Some of the symptoms your horse is showing could dissipate or disappear in a matter of one month if you use equine common sense to clean up his diet.” To simplify his diet, you must understand the three basic “needs” for his body and mind: 1. Hay or pasture – horses naturally graze 20 hours per day, with their heads low. 2. Water – horses should drink five to eight gallons of water every day, no matter the weather, so should ingest salt to encourage thirst.
These basic needs are essential to protecting your horse’s health and having a vibrant, willing animal. “The SciencePure simplified diet is so easy that clients can’t believe it, and the thanks we get later is the best part,” says Shelley. “The trick is to remove every variety of bagged feed (extruded, cob, sweet-feed, high fat/fiber, senior ration, foal growth, performance plus, etc.) and move to a ration of alfalfa or timothy pellets, golden stable milled flax (which is 38% fat and the highest in Omega-3) and even a small amount of whole oats. Top dress with one ounce of salt. “Also add a vitamin/mineral formula to balance the nutritional deficiencies of your hay,” Shelley continues. Almost 20 years ago, SciencePure developed the PUREFORM Equine Health Line of nutritional concentrates, formulated to easily balance nutritional deficiencies in the most important part of your horse’s diet – forage (whether hay or pasture grass). These complete, balanced, easy-to-use, all-in-one formulas provide the nutrients your horse’s body needs and are guaranteed to contain standardized levels of pharmacologically-active substances. Quality assurance and physical testing of each product means you are receiving an FEI legal supplement that works as intended. For personal advice on simplifying your horse’s feeding regimen, contact Shelley at 604-856-6996 or toll free 877-533-9163, email email@example.com or visit pureformequinehealth.com
3. Calcium and phosphorus – the only way to determine if your horse is getting the proper ratio of two parts calcium to one part phosphorus is to ask for a crop analysis from your hay supplier, or take a sample to a lab.
RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Chiropractors
• Communicators • Insurance • Integrative Therapies
ASSOCIATIONS Equinextion - EQ Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.equinextion.com Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cdnbha.ca American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: email@example.com Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Ventura, CA USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org Equine Science Academy - ESA Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.go-natural.ca Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: (902) 665-2151 Email: email@example.com
• Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training • Thermography
Anne Riddell - AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Jeannean Mercuri - The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served. Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: email@example.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com
38 Equine Wellness View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com 38 Equine Equine Wellness Wellness
Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.barefoottrimming.com ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: email@example.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Horsense Natural Hoof Care Cori Brennan Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/hoofmaiden Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 765-9632 Email: email@example.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Icicle Equine Services Katie Garrett Leavenworth, WA USA Phone: (425) 422-4799 Email: Kegarrett88@yahoo.com
Equine Wellness 38
CHIROPRACTORS Dr. Bonnie Harder, D.C. Ogle, IL USA Phone: (815) 757-0425 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.animalillumination.com Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (928) 282-9800 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.yogawithhorses.com
SCHOOLS AND TRAINING Equinology, Inc. & Caninology Gualala, CA USA Phone: (707) 884-9963 Email: email@example.com Website: www.equinology.com The Masterson MethodÂ®, Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork Weekend Seminars, Advanced, and Certification Courses Worldwide Phone: 641-472-1312 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.MastersonMethod.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com Double Check Inspections Inc. Ottawa, ON USA Phone: (613) 322-3682 Website: www.doublecheckinspections.ca
ADVERTISE your business in the
WELLNESS RESOURCE GUIDE
THERMOGRAPHY INTEGRATIVE THERAPIES The Happy Natural Horse Lorrie Bracaloni Boonsboro, MD USA Phone: (301) 432-6216 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.thermalequine.com
View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com
Equine Wellness Wellness 3939 Equine
YOUR HORSE: the frame of his body =
the frame of his mind
orses are physiologically hardwired so their bodies, minds and spirits work together as one. Simply put, the frame of a horse’s body is also his frame of mind. The truest definition of horse training literally means using your body language to shape the horse into a frame of body that corresponds to a good mental feeling. Some equine body shapes feel better than others. In fact, some feel wonderful because their physiology creates endorphins and oxytocin that move through the central nervous system. But other shapes produce adrenaline and cortisol, which cause the horse to feel horrible. The vast majority of both positive and negative behavior and performance is a direct reflection of how our own body language affects the horse’s body shape, which in turn affects his biochemistry, which then affects his behavior. Training your horse to maximize his potential during both groundwork and riding means you must clearly communicate through your aids, body shape and gestures, at every moment you are with your horse. This way, you can work his frame of body into shapes and movements that make him feel good. 40
Learn to use your own body language to shape your horse’s body, so he feels good mentally and wants to be with you. By Chris Irwin When a horse consistently experiences that you make him feel better than he does on his own, then he focuses on you and wants to be with you. In the most logical definition of what might be called “natural”, this is how you tap into the horse’s intuitive need for survival of the fittest. It needs to be that simple – does your horse feel better with you than he does on his own or when he’s with other horses? If he doesn’t feel better with you, why would he want to be with you? Why would he want you to take him away from the other horses and allow you to ride him?
FOUR FACTORS TO KEEP IN MIND These are the most important factors to be aware of when working with your horse:
here now. Consistent self-awareness, every single moment, helps you stay mindful of the most subtle body language from both you and your horse. People usually cause or contribute to problems with their horses due to a lack of awareness of their own body language.
2 Only control how you respond to your horse. The only two Olympic sports in which men and women compete against each other are sailing and equestrian. What both these sports have in common is that men do not have an advantage over women when it comes to controlling the wind, the waves or the horses. Both sailing and equestrian disciplines require working with natural forces beyond our control. A sailor can’t hope to control the wind or waves, so he controls how he responds to the changes in these elements. So it is with people and horses. Horses respond much better to people who do not try to control them, but instead control how they respond to the horses. An example of this is the use of contact.
contact instead of pulling. Block the directions you don’t want the horse to move in by using contact instead of pulling. Sure, you can use your right hand to try and control a horse by pulling his head to the right. Most people do. Or you can control your responses, and instead of attempting to control the horse by pulling right, only use the right rein as a blocking boundary, preventing an unwanted left turn. Conversely, only use the left rein to block an unwanted right turn – don’t use it to pull left. Think of a horse moving through a stock chute – two narrow parallel fences. The fences do not pull the horse’s face in
the direction you want him to go. The fences only block the directions you don’t want him to go. A horse needs to be like a river flowing between the riverbanks of the blocking energy provided by your legs and reins. The chute does not tell the horse where to go by pulling on his face; it tells him where not to go by blocking unwanted turns. Further, when was the last time you saw a horse pull another horse by the neck or head? Never!
4 Ride the bend. Another factor requiring critical awareness is controlling how you respond to a counter-bent horse. We’ve all heard that “your horse must respect your inside leg!” Some trainers say this as a justification for aggressively kicking and spurring the sides of a horse. Yet kicking and spurring is a blatant contradiction of the warm and fuzzy empathy trainers talk about with words such as “harmony”, “willingness”, “respect”, “love” and “leadership”. It’s bullying and abuse to kick horses. My point is that it is vital for you to define inside and outside legs and reins as the bend in the horse, instead of the direction you are riding. Just because you are riding a horse in a turn or circle to the left, does not guarantee that your left leg or rein is the inside. The vast majority of horses go into counter- or
The challenge for many people lies in balancing focus with selfawareness. That’s because understanding something theoretically in the mind using awareness is no guarantee that knowledge will be demonstrated appropriately and consistently through behavior. For instance, we are aware that it is both illegal and dangerous to drive through a red light. But human beings can become so distracted that we may drive through the red light anyway when we are not completely aware and focused on what we’re doing in the moment.
Photo courtesy of Chris Irwin.
BALANCING FOCUS WITH SELF-AWARENESS
Chris Irwin trains a horse at Stal Aarderhoeve in the Netherlands.
contra-bend away from arena walls or corners. It very much stresses a horse when a rider attempts to turn left while he is flexed to the right. Use your awareness to respond differently to a horse in counter-bend with a dropped shoulder: Picture a horse being ridden in an open space away from any walls or fences. Look at his spinal column. Without the distraction of the arena, you will define inside and outside as the bend in the spine and which way the horse is flexing his neck. But when most people ride in arenas and near fences they automatically – without thinking, awareness or mindfulness – assume that inside and outside are defined by the walls. In fact, you may have heard the saying “rise and fall with the leg on the wall” when it comes to posting at the trot. But you are not riding the walls – you are riding the horse’s spinal column! hen trotting, adjust your posting-diagonals according to the bend of the W horse. Just because you’re trotting your horse into a left turn or circle does not necessarily mean you should be posting up and down with the right shoulder. Consider this: if your horse is bending the correct way at the trot, then the correct diagonal is the correct diagonal. But if your horse is bending the wrong way at the trot, then you must ride the wrong diagonal in order for him to be balanced. It makes no sense to ride the wrong bend on the correct diagonal. If your horse is looking left, create balance by posting up and down with the right shoulder. If your horse is looking right, post up and down with the left shoulder. I f you think you need to turn right – but your horse is flexed left in the corner – don’t kick him with your right leg trying to force a change of bend, or pull on the right rein to make him look into the turn. Instead, just do a left leg yield and your horse will move so much better and be more relaxed. And once your horse relaxes his body because you are working with him instead of against him, then he will allow you to change the bend! Be aware. Be mindful. Be the horse you want to see!
Chris Irwin is an internationally-renowned horseman, best-selling author of Horses Don’t Lie and Dancing With Your Dark Horse, and a leading pioneer in the evolution of horse training and Equine Assisted Personal Development. The FEI recently asked Chris for consultation by saying: “We are reaching out to you based on your tremendous experience and reputation as a horseman. It would be an honor to receive your thoughts and opinions on developing the necessary skills and attributes for competence to improve the screening and education of FEI officials.” From transforming wild mustangs in America into 18 National Championships in riding and driving, to becoming the trainer of trainers in Europe, Chris is boldly going where horsemanship has never gone before. chrisirwin.com 42
By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSE, CSFT
DIVERGENT THEORIES on saddle fitting
Several problems arise in modern saddle construction. To begin with, people are heavier than they used to be. There are more horse owners than horsemen/women around. The horse’s saddle support area is getting smaller, and the panels are too soft for real support. The result? Back issues for both horse and rider! “But I have been using my saddle for x number of years,” you might say. “It fits me perfectly, and fits every horse I ride.” However, you may not realize the possible damage you are doing to yourself and your horse. There are still saddles on the market that inhibit the horse’s development, so your saddle may still fit the same way it did when you bought it. But these saddles are analogous of the Chinese custom of binding human feet so they won’t grow. The horse changes conformation as she matures, especially at ages three, five and eight (see diagram below), so you need to adjust her saddle at least annually to ensure her health, comfort and performance.
The saddle doesn’t need adjustment – the horse doesn’t change because she can’t. The spine and ligaments can’t tolerate prolonged compression, however, and the horse’s back movement is restricted. To protect the shoulder, lumbar and spine, the horse tightens her back (especially in the lumbar area), leading to cramping in the gluteus maximus. The horse develops a dip in front of her sacroiliac joint (SI) and the glutes seize up. Between the SI joint and the tail, the gluteus will become atrophied (see photos below). The front end of the horse will then “break” over C3 in order to get on the bit. At this point, it becomes difficult for the rider to get the horse supple through the poll, with her highest point at the poll and not at C3.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THEORY ONE Some saddle manufacturers and fitters insist a saddle is fine with a narrow channel (one to two fingers) sitting on spinal processes and ligaments. The long, flat tree rests on the shoulder and lumbar area, with a minimal weight-bearing surface on the musculature. The saddle barely moves because it is sitting on the spine. It rarely needs adjustment because the horse’s bone structure and ligaments do not adapt and change their conformation through training the way muscles do – and the muscles won’t change much because the horse cannot use them properly with a saddle that fits like this. People who say “my saddle always fits” or “my saddle fits any horse” are semi-right.
In the next issue, we’ll look at Theory Two. Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese came to Canada in 1986 as Official Saddler for the World Dressage Cup. Schleese is the world leading manufacturer of saddles designed for women, specializing in the unique anatomical requirements of female riders. saddlesforwomen.com
FOR HORSE LOVERS
OUR LIST OF TOP 10 HORSE BOOKS FOR YOUR SUMMER READING PLEASURE COVERS A WIDE VARIETY OF GENRES, FROM LOVE TO WAR TO THE CLASSICS.
By Jazmine Oliver re you a horse lover who also enjoys a good read? Check out this list of top ten horse books that should be on your radar this summer.
3. A merican Horse by D.A. Michaels captures the attention of horse lovers through poetry and imagery. Patience is required, though – you can pre-order this book now, but it doesn’t come out until October 30.
1. Lost Rider (2017) by Harper Sloan is the first of three in the Coming Home series. An injured rodeo star is forced to return home and take over the family business – horse farming. He encounters a girl from his childhood who used to have a crush on him. He didn’t return her feelings back then, but he’s taking notice now.
4. L ast Chance Mustang (2015) by Mitchell Bornstein is a story about redemption. A mustang named Samson, who was taken from the wild and abused for years, finally winds up on Bornstein’s farm. As he tries to tame the beast, the beast does some teaching of his own.
2. Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul II: Inspirational Tales of Passion, Achievement and Devotion (2012) by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, DVM, and more, is a collection of inspiring horse stories.
5. T he Perfect Horse (2016) by Elizabeth Letts tells a tale for war buffs and animal lovers alike. A group of soldiers are on a mission to rescue a herd of magnificent white horses that Hitler has hidden to breed a master race. Can they
rescue the horses before the Russians add them to their menu? 6. H orse: A Novel by Talley English will tug on your heartstrings. Teagan’s life is turned upside down when her father abandons her and their farm. She starts to train and bond with the headstrong horse her father also left behind. Enjoy English’s take on family, friendship, loss and forgiveness in this new novel coming out on August 7. 7. O ut of the Wild (2009) by Mark Rashid tells the story about a forgiving ranch owner, a broken cowboy and a wounded mustang. Just as their bond starts the healing process, someone from the past threatens everything. A movie based on this book came out in 2017. 8. T he Wake (2017) by Connie Johnson Hambley is the third in a thrilling series called The Jessica Trilogy. Jessica is a worldclass equestrian trapped in geopolitical warfare, and must keep her family history a secret, at all costs. When a bomb goes off at the Atlanta-based Summer Olympic Games, she is forced to fight for her life. You’ll want to read the first two books before starting this one! 9. A Whisper of Horses by Zillah Bethell should be on your list, whether you have a child, or are still a child at heart (like me). Coming out on July 3, it’s a story of a futuristic world with no horses, and a girl who dreams of finding the last existing ones. 10. Black Beauty (1877) by Anna Sewell is a must-have this summer if you’re never read it before. If you have read it, then perhaps it’s time to revisit it. It’s a classic story about a working horse’s life told from his perspective. Suitable for all ages, this book touches on valuable lessons about the treatment of animals, which in turn can be lessons on how to treat other people. I believe there’s a book on this list for every horse lover. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to curl up on a lawn chair and soak up some summer rays with Black Beauty, while I wait eagerly for Horse: A Novel to come out in August!
Jazmine Oliver is a self-proclaimed hippie. She lives outside of Lindsay, Ontario, Canada, on a community farm called Greenshire Eco Farms. She is a graduate of the Outdoor Adventure and Education program at Fleming College. Jazmine is a cat mom to a curious, long-haired cat named Shadowfox, and co-owner of Mystery, a moody Quarab gelding whose gift is teaching people to stay in the moment and on their toes. greenshireecofarms.com
MEADOW HAVEN HORSE RESCUE AND SANCTUARY
TO THE RESCUE
Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code MHHR to Meadow Haven Horse Rescue.
YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2004 LOCATION: Smiley, Texas TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Though they primarily rescue horses, Meadow Haven Horse Rescue (MHHR) won’t turn down an animal in need. “We have taken in horses, donkeys, minis, pot-bellied pigs, chickens, cows, dogs, and even people who just needed a helping hand until they get back on their feet,” says Darla Cherry, MHHR President and Director. At this present time, we are caring for 200 horses.”
NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: MHHR has no paid employees. Darla and her husband, Todd, work full-time at the farm, and have a handful of volunteers who help out on weekends. “We have a wonderful volunteer staff,” says Darla. “They make this organization even more amazing.”
FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: In the past, most of MHHR’s fundraising has been done through local businesses. This year marks their first time partnering with the ASPCA’s “Help a Horse Day”, as a way to bring awareness to their available horses.
FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: MHHR has found forever homes Bella Gray (above) and Jitterbug (at left) are two of 700 horses that have been rehabilitated and rehomed by MHHR.
The loving staff and volunteers at MHHR keep the rescue going.
for over 700 horses since 2004, so Darla says that choosing a favorite story is difficult. “They are all amazing,” she says. “Some have sad outcomes, but we provided great starts for so many. If I had to pick one, it would be an ongoing case that we took in four years ago. His name is Bon Jovi, a sweet, beautiful six-year-old bay gelding.” Bon Jovi was brought to the rescue as a stray with scars covering his legs. A stallion at intake, he was hostile toward the rest of the herd and required his own separate paddock. Not long after being gelded, however, his temperament began to improve. Today, Darla is still actively working with Bon Jovi, and he’s continuing to progress in leaps and bounds. “Hopefully we can keep him moving forward.”
Follow MHHR on Facebook! facebook.com/MeadowHavenHorseRescueTX/
HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls
Rosemary Rosemary is one of the most popular culinary herbs, but did you know it also has great uses around the barn? A shrub
in the mint family, rosemary is native to the Mediterranean. In Latin, its name means “dew of the sea”, because of its
propensity to grow in dry coastal climates. Rosemary has long been a historical darling and was commonly used at major life events such as weddings (in bouquets to represent love and the memory of who the bride was before getting married)
and burial rites, as a powerful symbol of remembrance. Beyond its symbolic value, rosemary also has a long history
of medicinal use as an anti-microbial; it was believed to be so powerful that Europeans in the 14th century would hold and wear the herb as protection against the Black Plague. While carrying the plant does nothing medicinally, modern research indicates that rosemary actually does contain antibacterial and anti-microbial compounds.
PLANT PARTS AND USES The medicinal properties of rosemary come from the leaves and flowers. Rosemary is typically administered via essential oil, which is distilled from the leaves and flowers. Rosemary sprigs can be boiled in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes to make a basic insect repellent or antimicrobial spray, but will not be as potent as essential oil added to vinegar and water. Rosemary is also an effective anti-inflammatory as it includes salicylic acid, the precursor to aspirin.
MOST COMMON USES FOR HORSES Rosemary is most commonly administered to equines as an ingredient in insect repellent and in natural antiviral and anti-fungal salves and sprays. Rosemary is especially effective against mosquitoes. You can add the essential oil to your fly spray to boost its effectiveness, or boil lemons, water and several rosemary sprigs to make a light mosquito repellent. Rosemary is safe to feed, but
given its pungent smell, it’s unlikely that horses will eat it. It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and cleansing coat wash – boil a few handfuls of crushed leaves in water, let cool and rinse your horse with this rosemary water to soothe her muscles and add an extra shine to her coat.
GROWING AT HOME Rosemary is a hardy plant that’s easy to grow indoors, outdoors and in pots. It prefers well-drained soil and full to partial sun. Rosemary will only withstand above-freezing temperatures, so it needs to be wintered indoors. Be careful not to water it too much. If your rosemary is outside, rainfall will water it; if you water it yourself, wait until the soil is completely dry. You can plant rosemary from a cutting or buy a small plant from the nursery; growing from seed can be difficult.
Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 23-year-old Desario, with natural methods. She writes articles 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 more. She offers free nutritional consultations to her customers and is passionate about improving the lives and health of horses. wholeequine.com, email@example.com, 844-946-5378.
By Laura Batts
Considering changes to your tack room? Maybe you want to get more organized, or do a green makeover, eliminating as many chemicals as you can from your tack box and horse-care cabinet. There are many ways you can do this without breaking your budget. Having a good plan, using re-purposed items, and utilizing your DIY skills will help you get the job done efficiently and inexpensively, in as little as one weekend. The first step in any project is to identify and make a list of your needs, wants and limitations. Before you fill your list, first check out your friends’ tack rooms or visit a site like Pinterest for design ideas. What is it you want in your tack room? What are your space limitations? Measure doors and windows. Make note of walls that have plenty of space for saddle, blanket and bridle racks. Think about storage for blankets and medical supplies – will there be trunks or cabinets? You want your items to be easy to reach, so you won’t be lifting heavy saddles onto high racks, or searching for emergency supplies when you’re in a panic. 48
When you’re ready, remove everything from your tack room. Look at each item with the thought of either keeping, donating or tossing it. Pay special attention to your grooming and medicine products, since many are full of chemicals that are harmful to you and your horse. Next, clean the room from top to bottom using an eco-friendly mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda mixed into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Now that you have your layout, and a clean space, let’s look at organization. Finding creative ways to store and hang things will help. Using re-purposed materials and items is the best way to do this in an eco-friendly way.
SADDLE AND BRIDLE RACKS Let’s start with tack. Saddle and bridle racks can be made from scrap lumber, so see if you have any lying around, or find a local construction site and ask them for what you need. They are often happy to share leftover materials because it reduces what they have to haul away. There are two types of saddle racks you can make from lumber – free-standing or collapsible wall-hanging. You can Google the instructions on how to make these, or find them ready to order on Etsy.
Photo courtesy of The Budget Equestrian
Bridle racks can be made from re-purposed wooden material, scrap PVC, tin cans, horseshoes and even broken Breyer Horses! If you are looking for saddle racks with storage, try re-purposed supplement buckets, or large mailboxes.
STORAGE IDEAS Storage for brushes and blankets should be high on your list, as we all know how these items can accumulate! Blankets can be hung from re-purposed wood racks similar to your collapsible saddle racks, or else kept in bins. Allow plenty of wall space if you hang blankets, and remember to have them cleaned before storing them in a bin. Brushes and grooming supplies can be organized in either a movable tote or in a permanent location. I like an up-cycled shutter grooming box as it’s simple to make and easy to clean. If you have a permanent location in mind, you can use shoe cubbies for your grooming supplies.
PRODUCTS IN, PRODUCTS OUT The last area of concern in our makeover is the cleaning, grooming and health products we use in the barn and on our horses. Certain products in our grooming totes can be outright hazardous to the health of our animals, our Earth and ourselves. To stop the toxic overload, we need to become more aware of our everyday choices surrounding our horses and barns. Now is a great time to get rid of half-empty bottles of harsh chemicals (take them to a hazardous waste depot rather than putting them in the garbage or dumping them down a drain). Switch to more environmentally-conscious products. You can certainly make your own tack-cleaning and horse-grooming products if you like, but there are so many companies on the “green” bandwagon now that you don’t really need to anymore. If you want to make your own horse shampoo, for example, I suggest Googling “ecofriendly horse shampoo” to find recipes. If you are buying pre-made, look for products with ingredients you recognize and can pronounce. Words like “biodegradable”, “natural” and “earth-friendly” are often used on product labels, but be sure to carefully read the ingredients list to rule out undesirable substances, since some companies use these words as marketing ploys. I hope this article inspired you, and provided plenty of ideas for your own eco-friendly tack room makeover.
For Your Eco-Friendly Tack Room
• Having a first aid kit on hand for your horse is essential for do-it-yourself treatments or in case of emergency while you await the veterinarian or need to stabilize your horse for transport to an equine hospital. EquiMedic (equimedic.com) offers multiple sizes of Equine First Aid Kits containing from 35 to 88 different products. • Equaide (equaide.com) is an effective treatment for cuts, wounds, abrasions and proud flesh. o Prevents the formation of excessive granulation tissue o Dissolves proud flesh without harming healthy tissue o Speeds healing and prevents infection o Won’t burn (water-based), blister, slough or scar o Promotes hair growth o Repels insects and won’t drip off wounds
Laura Batts is the owner of Horse Hippie, an environmentally-conscious lifestyle brand that embraces horses, Mother Earth and good vibes. HorseHippie.com
NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP By Karen Rohlf
Horsemanship – PART 3
It takes years to become 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 last issue (EW, V13I2), we examined Curiosity, Timing and Communication. Now let’s look at Feel, Consistency and Variety, and Sense of Humor.
Feel for your horse. He will tell you everything you need to know. There are so many choices we can make when we are with our horses. Our ability to feel what they need helps us make the best choices. Having feel means you are able to interpret the sensations your horse gives you, and are aware of the sensations you are giving him. Openness to change goes along with having feel. Having feel is useless if you are unwilling to change your mind based on what you feel. In order to feel, you must be balanced, centered, calm and open. Over-thinking blocks feeling.
Photo courtesy of Dana Rasmussen
In every moment with your horse, can you trust what you feel, and be willing to adjust?
2. Consistency and Variety Be consistent without being boring. Offer variety without being random.
Consistency used well creates confidence. Consistency overused can lead to assumption and boredom. Variety used well creates mental and physical engagement. Variety overused may lead to confusion and anxiety. Excellent horsepeople are aware of their patterns; they know when to slow down and be more methodical, and when to change it up and be more provocative. In every moment with your horse, can you be aware of how you are using consistency and variety in a way that benefits him?
3. Sense of Humor
Horsemanship and life are lessons in lightness: you can get serious results without being so serious. If it stops being fun for you, it probably stopped being fun for your horse a long time ago. Having a sense of humor means you don’t take what your horse does personally. You are able to see every situation for what it is, and not worse than what it is. Having a sense of humor doesn’t mean you overlook important things; it means you are forgiving and non-judgmental of yourself and your horse. When I lose my sense of humor, it is often because I am being way too hard on myself or my horse. Be unafraid to experiment and forgive “mistakes”. Curiosity is the antidote to frustration. In every moment with your horse, can you stay light-hearted, curious and playful?
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 doing dressage with a priority of partnership, her student-empowering approach to teaching, her virtual courses, and her positive and balanced point of view. For her online course, Habits For Excellent Horsemanship, visit do.dressagenaturally.net/heh 50
You have a financial and emotional investment in your equine partner, so you need insurance. This kit is your basic ROI (Return On Investment). Protect your horse’s future, and be prepared if your veterinarian needs you to bring the patient to him. Be ready to stabilize your injured horse until you can transport him.
The TurfMaster Sweep-All is a self-powered sweeper capable of collecting horse manure and other materials from paddocks, pastures and pavement. It can be pulled by an ATV, UTV or small tractor. Hours of backbreaking work spent hand-picking manure can be reduced to minutes. Electrically-controlled brush height and dump make the Sweep-All simple and easy to use. Several models to choose from.
540-675-2492, cpmvirginia.com equimedic.com
SUMMER STYLES FOR HORSEWOMEN
This CINCH Ladies Pink Striped ButtonUp Shirt is perfect for summer in a timeless bright pink with eye-catching geometric contrast trim on the cuffs and collar. Pair this one-of-a-kind shirt with best-selling Ada Jean. The Ada has a mid-rise relaxed fit through the thigh, and a boot cut, which makes it perfect for riding.
BASIC EQUINE FIRST AID KIT
PORTABLE GROOMING ORGANIZER What to do with all your grooming products? The Tough-1 Portable Grooming Organizer is the answer. When not hanging off your stall, it can be used in your trailer or on a fence at a show. It boasts ample room for brushes, sprays, topicals, treats and gloves. The main zippered pocket can even be locked for safekeeping. Plain or fun colors available.
LOW PROFILE WESTERN HELMET
You’ll stand out in a crowd with the bold graphics of the fully-ventilated and lightweight Rebel helmet. With built-in comfort features like the SureFit™ Pro system that adjusts to the shape of your head, you’ll see why this helmet has become a favorite among riding enthusiasts Available in a variety of sizes.
TWO NEW SUPPLEMENTS FOR SENIORS
Farnam® Senior Health & Wellness is for senior horses that are in light or no work. Contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; provides nutrients to support a healthy digestive system. Amino acids support intestinal health and digestive function. Farnam® Senior Active Performance ASU, for horses that are working or in competition, helps maintain healthy cartilage and joint function and eases stiffness.
farnam.com Equine Wellness
Mass versus selective breeding – we take a hard look at the ethical and financial aspects of the horse breeding industry.
By April Reeves
ighly controversial and difficult to change, the horse breeding industry is sitting on a precipice between human freedoms and rights, and animal welfare. This article looks at the problems of overbreeding, and how selective horse breeding is less costly and more humane. Let’s break down the argument that calls for mass breeding to get one good horse. To understand how top-quality foals are acquired, you start with a quality mare and stallion. Preferably, both parents must have a show or performance record, and the same applies to their parents and grandparents. Both have to be models of great conformation and type for their breed. Finally, both parents should have already produced quality foals that showcase the best of both parents. These are the minimum qualifications. Given that the above requirements are sound and sensible, let’s now consider that overbreeding is argued to be necessary in order to get lucky, because that’s exactly what this is about. It can involve breeding 100 horses to get one perfect foal. Think of a single farm stallion used in such a manner. That one lovely foal would not likely come from the stallion, since his inconsistency is obvious – he was bred to 100 mares with only one good foal. The odds are that his genetics and bloodlines are not high, considering he had 99 other chances and failed. If any of the mares he is bred with throws consistent, reasonable foals, breeders consider them keepers if their lineage and performance is significant. 52
But what about the other 99 mares? The genetics of each mare should be looked at individually to ensure a decent stallion match, both in DNA and bloodlines. However, it is unlikely that anyone breeding 100 to get one worth keeping has taken time to study the genetics of each mare to ensure a quality fit with the stallion. But sadly, this is the questionable state of many nonprofessional breeding farms. This is where poor animal welfare exists – because the inevitable outcome to this style of horse management is poor performance, lack of sales and eventually slaughter, as cheap horses are expendable. In the sidebar on page 54, I present a financial comparison of breeding 100 mares to one stallion, versus breeding one exceptional mare to outside stallions.
PREVENTING SLAUGHTER The most pressing point here is that selective breeding keeps 99 of 100 horses out of slaughterhouses and away from cheap buyers who often cannot afford a horse long-term. Selective breeding also saves wear and tear on your time and energy. Other factors to consider with the 100-horse scenario include economics, recessions and feed price fluctuations. Here is where a single quality mare increases in value. You can sell great foals in poor economies easier than you can sell mediocre foals. During economic downturns, the average foal value can drop to meat prices of around $150. The ethics of breeding must be considered. Stallion owners need to be highly selective with the mares in order to maintain quality and pricing. They should be experts, turning down
unsuitable mares. The standards in the registries must be tight as well (Germany currently leads the world for high standards). Many other factors play a part in overbreeding. Tax breaks and incentives in the racing industry mean a proliferation of unwanted young horses that have little value if they cannot run. These youngsters end up going for meat long before they get a chance to be homed with a suitable family; they are pawns in an industry that favors greed and profit over life. The Quarter Horse Association record for quarter horses sent to auction, from where many are purchased for meat and shipped for slaughter, ranks the highest (51% of all quarter horses born end up at auctions, Freedom of Information Act, USA, 2004). In other words, for every two quarter horses born, one will be shipped to auction. Unfortunately, this is another multibillion-dollar industry that may never change. Horse rescues work tirelessly at acquiring funds to maintain unwanted horses until they find homes. These homes are not always in the horses’ best interests, regardless of the scrutiny given to buyers. Many come from auctions, the dumping ground for horses with imperfect conformation and temperaments. Rescue buyers with the ability to see quality are few and far between, and some rescues use horses for financial gain.
Selective breeding keeps
99 of 100
horses out of slaughterhouses and away from cheap buyers who often cannot afford a horse long-term.
Irresponsible breeding of pasturing marginal mares and stallions, and the hoarding of horses, almost always ends up poorly for the animals. Breeding for color often clouds the judgment of the breeder, and this nullifies breeding up for better traits and increases the dumping of incorrectly-colored foals (called “cleansing”). Many politicians are demanding the return of U.S. slaughterhouses, but this is not a fix for the problem; it’s only a way to keep horses away from Mexico’s horrendous slaughter techniques, or the long arduous haul to Canada. The consumption of horse meat, called hippophagy, has not waned; in fact, it has spawned a large number of breeders who rip twomonth-old foals from their mothers and ship them to Japan. Some of these foals don’t live through the entire trip, due to the absence of water and feed. Continued on page 54.
COST OF MASS BREEDING
SELECTIVE BREEDING Breeding 100 mares to the same stallion Round bale (1,200 lb @ $80*), 30 lbs per horse/day @100 horses = 3,000 lbs hay/ day (2.5 bales x $80) = $200/day x 180 days = $36,000.00 (winter hay costs only). Add vet bills, farrier and other expenses: approximately $40,000 minimum annual cost (including hay). 100 foals: 99 @ $750 average (cheaper sales and auction prices combined) = $74,250. Top weanling @ $3,000. $74,250 + $3,000 (top weanling) = $77,250 revenue minus yearly costs of $40,000 = $37,250 annual profit (this does not cover the initial cost of the mares and stallion, as in the example below).
This figure of $37,250 CDN translates to approximately $47,307.50 US.
Selective breeding Now let’s breed selectively for a top performance horse. We will use the Hanoverian (warmblood) as an example, along with the same hay costs. Proven broodmare (with show record and top genetics, $30,000 avg. foal sale price): $40,000. Stud fee: $3,500. Shipping costs, annual care and feed: $2,000. Foaling potential of mare: eight foals @ $30,000 = $240,000. Subtract costs (mare, care, fees over eight years: $10,500/year x 8) = $84,000. $240,000 $84,000 = $156,000 revenue over eight yrs. ($19,500/year). Given that mass breeders feed their own hay based on $36,000, add this to the Hanoverian annual revenue ($36,000 + $19,500) = $55,500 CDN ($70,485 US). You have only one horse to deal with, and you get hay sales. If you keep the foal and raise it to potential, you may see higher profits. *Costs are based on Canadian dollars
Continued from page 53.
OVERPOPULATION ENCOURAGES DEVALUATION I know one thing for sure: overpopulation encourages devaluation, which increases the problem. We have far too many horses and far too few good trainers. It takes years to become a good trainer; you need to have ridden hundreds of horses, done many hours of study, participated in and audited good clinics, and have a desire to be one of the best. For some reason, however, horses don’t always attract such quality people, at least not en masse. Horses have been mankind’s crutch since the industrial age, when they moved from a necessity to a luxury. So, what can be done? I am not sure you can legislate responsibility. Whether you are at the height of racing, or own a backyard equine pet, the welfare of horses rests on every decision you make. I stare at my own Hanoverian mare and hay fields every day, and know my horse will always recognize the scent of the show ring over the stink of the slaughterhouse.
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.
AVOIDING SORENESS IN THE SADDLE Like many of you, my horse and I take the winter off from riding, so we have to ease back in over the spring in order to avoid soreness and injury. This year, I’ve had the added complication of surgery; a tendon that was almost severed had to be reattached with two screws. Those two little screws have added a lot of time to my overall recovery. Two months later, I am just starting to feel like myself, although I still walk with a limp. The doctor still says “no riding” for another month. How I am looking forward to climbing back on my horse!
GETTING BACK ON AFTER A HIATUS If you’ve had time out of the saddle for any reason, how can you avoid being sore when you get back on? • Make sure you are sitting in line with gravity, not working against yourself with inefficient patterns. • Be realistic about how long the first few rides should be. Keep in mind that if your horse is also unfit, he is going to have to adjust to being ridden again. You don’t want him to be back sore because you decided to ride for an hour after he has had an extended time off.
By Wendy Murdoch
• Another key to avoiding soreness is to check that your saddle is balanced and fits both you and your horse. You wouldn’t go hiking in a pair of shoes that are too small, so why ride like that? Saddles that are too small, unlevel or ill-fitting cause pain for horse and rider. Seat size for the rider is determined by thigh length and depth of pelvic region (front to back). A too-short saddle causes you to hollow and brace because there is no place to sit. A saddle that’s too large is less problematic, but if you have a shorter thigh it puts you in a chair seat. You will fight to “sit up”, get your leg underneath you and keep your hands steady when the saddle is too big or the stirrup bar is too far forward. • Finally, before you start riding, start moving. Gentle yoga, Feldenkrais® lessons, Bones for Life® and dynamic stretching are good ways to get moving before you get on your horse. When mounted, begin each ride with simple warm-up exercises such as reaching for your horse’s ears and croup, and letting your legs hang down while allowing him to warm up at the walk. Remember it’s just as important for your horse to warm up as it is for you! For more ideas and exercises to get you moving, visit my website at murdochmethod.com or go to Facebook: Murdoch Method LLC, for tips to improve your riding.
Photos courtesy of Wendy Murdoch.
Wendy Murdoch has been an internationally-recognized equestrian instructor and clinician for over 30 years. She has authored books and DVDs, and created the SURE FOOT® Equine Stability Program and Effortless Rider® Courses. Wendy’s desire to understand the function of both horse and human, and her curiosity and love of teaching, meld with the most current learning theories in order to show riders how to exceed their own expectations.
DISASTERS: ARE YOU AND YOUR HORSE
READY? By Michelle Staples
As a horse “safety specialist” and instructor, the most common question I hear from horse owners is: “What’s the best thing I can do for my horse in a disaster?” Unfortunately, there is no one right answer, since disaster situations are as individual as the spots on an Appy. But taking steps to prepare you and your horse before disaster strikes can help ensure that you both stay safe.
MITIGATION IS THE KEY Mitigation is vital to surviving disasters. But what does that mean, exactly? Mitigation is defined by FEMA as “the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters.”
FUTURE OR IMMINENT DISASTER? It’s a good idea to develop a plan that works for more than one type of disaster. Divide typical disasters into imminent and future: an “imminent” disaster, such as a tornado, earthquake or derailed train, requires action “as you stand”, with no time to gather belongings or supplies. These are often “shelter in place” incidents. A “future disaster”, such as an ice storm or hurricane, is an event that could be approaching but is not yet actually on your doorstep, thereby giving you time to evacuate. Flooding can be either imminent (a flash flood) or future (a rising river). Barn fires also can be either imminent (an electrical short) or future (a wildfire starting miles away).
TAKING THE FIRST STEP My favorite first step is to take a chair and notebook into my stable yard and visualize a disaster striking. I picture the earthquake shaking the earth; the black/green sky of an approaching tornado; the distant hills on fire. Then I run scenarios through my head, 56
step by step. What is the first thing I need to do? What are the subsequent actions I’ll have to take? Can I stay home or will I have to leave? Where will I go? If you think through your actions to their logical conclusions, you’ll find that not all of them will work or are practical, so be prepared to back up a step or two, then go down another path. When you hit roadblocks, list these as areas that need work, then find ways to make them disappear. Typical roadblocks include horses that won’t load in all circumstances; debris in pastures that can become projectiles in high winds; missing medical records for both humans and horses; a barn that isn’t sturdy; lack of agreement with evacuation sites for your horses; hay stored in your stable; long grass and combustible material around your barn; and using electric fencing as your principal containment.
EVACUATION KIT OR “GO BAG” Every person and critter should have a “go bag” – with ID, medication, a change of clothes (for people) and a snack – kept in a central location. Kids should also have a bag at school, since they may have to spend unexpected time in lockdown. A horse’s “go bag” should contain ID, medication, some feed, an extra halter and lead, a hoof pick, etc. If you are taking your horse to an official gathering spot or boarding stable, as opposed to your cousin’s field, he may require proof of vaccination and possibly an up-to-date Coggins. Some people will write their contact information on their horses with a livestock crayon, but this is a temporary fix. I prefer Equestrisafe’s collars and fetlock bands (equestrisafe.com). Put your information on them ahead of time, then attach them to your horse when needed. The information doesn’t wash off like a crayon.
Everyone’s ID should have at least one picture with yourself in it. You and your dog, you and your horse, you and your child, you and your parent. You should also have a good first aid kit. Make sure everyone has more than one way to reach each other, including cellphones and landlines, as well as texting, message boards and walkie-talkies. Young children should have contact information in their “go bags” at school; older children will probably have an iPod or cellphone. When networks are overloaded, text messages are more likely to get through than phone calls. Your “go bags” should also include a solar charger, since power could be compromised.
PLANNING AN EVACUATION • Plan more than one route off your property. Figure out how you will evacuate if your main exit is closed off. If you live in the wilderness, figure out how long it will take to open all pasture gates so your horses can run to safety. That pathway should never open onto a road where they could be injured or killed, or cause a fatal accident. Build these factors into your evacuation plan in case you can’t get out. • If you don’t have a trailer, make arrangements for someone to pick up your horses. This person will need the best conditions at your property for getting the horses out expeditiously. This means your
WHAT TO TAKE? Sit down with your family and decide what needs to go with you should you have to evacuate. All horses should have a paper trail: bills of sale, Coggins, rabies certificate and record of vaccinations, medical records, and pictures that clearly show the animal’s markings and include you in them. These documents can be stored on a USB key along with other valuables such as your “life history” items – photos, wills, birth certificates, mortgages, medical records, your insurance inventory with pictures, tax returns, bills of sale. Whatever paper record you’ll need to rebuild your life can go on a USB key. Once made, give a copy to an out-of-area contact, and keep one in your evacuation kit. Also print out each horse’s information and put it in his “go bag”.
dog must be contained, and your horses ready to go and willing to load obediently. You need to have made out a document stating that the individual with the trailer has your permission to travel with your horses. Most importantly, be sure to arrange all this ahead of time. At the moment of evacuation is not the time to call around for help. • Evacuate early – at the first hint of trouble. If you’re hauling a trailer, be off the roads when the general evacuation order is given. You can always go back to your evacuation destination and get your horses if the disaster doesn’t hit you. At the very least, it’s good practice of your evacuation drill. Part of a good evacuation plan is to make sure your vehicles are full of fuel. Rule of thumb is if the gauge says half full, it’s time to fill up. • Be sure you have done your research well in advance so you know where horses from your area can go in the event of an evacuation. There may already be a community plan in place, which means your destination could be a fairground or a farmer’s field. Have two evacuation destinations – one near and one far, and in opposite directions. • Horses must load under any conditions, and that takes practice. Practice at night; practice when a friend’s horse is already in the trailer; practice in the rain. Practice, practice, practice! There’s no excuse for a horse being left behind because he won’t load. Before you load, or if you can’t get out, attach his ID. If you do paint your phone number on your horse, make sure it’s your cell number, not your house landline. • If the disaster is a wildfire and you have to drive through smoke, close everything up and don’t dawdle. Then open everything up once you’re past the danger. You can put a rag over your own face, but horses are obligate nose breathers, and you can suffocate them by covering their noses. • Don’t drive in high winds. A horse trailer is a tall blank wall and the wind will batter it. Even a 35mph wind broadsiding your trailer can push it into the next lane or off the road. As the sun rises and warms the earth, winds pick up. After sunset, the earth cools and winds die down. So if you are planning on hauling your horses somewhere, head out in the morning or evening. Being prepared for disasters is not difficult. It’s a bit timeconsuming, but that time is well spent and will help you sleep at night.
Michelle Staples has been involved in animal and human safety since 2001. Her book, Save Your Horse! A Horse Owner’s Guide to Large Animal Rescue (amazon.com/Horse-Owners-Guide-Animal-Rescue-ebook/dp/ B00OSWTUZW/) was the first written on the subject. Along with its Australian counterpart, Equine Emergency Rescue (with MaryAnne Leighton, equineer.com), this classic is still the only non-textbook on LAR. Some of Michelle’s accomplishments include EMT, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team with FEMA) instructor, CPR/first aid instructor, university instructor (University of Guelph and Breyer State), NDART (National Disaster Animal Response Team with the HSUS), rehoming and retraining horses, especially Standardbreds, and Special Olympics riding coach. redjeansink.com 58
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.
It is a prerequisite to purchase and review the Book and/or DVD: Beyond Horse Massage before attending the seminarworkshop.
For more information: (641) 472-1312 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mastersonmethod.com/training
BreyerFest 2018 July 13–15, 2018 Lexington, KY Come out to the Kentucky Horse Park for the 29th Annual BreyerFest and enjoy a unique experience!
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.
BreyerFest offers workshops, free seminars and many Hands-On-Hobby demos that bring together all areas of the model horse world. Spend the day meeting horses, taking pony rides, painting your very own Stablemates® model or petting exotic animals in the petting zoo!
For more information: email@example.com www.animalacupressure.com
And don’t forget about the endless shopping in The Marketplace, the Artisans’ Gallery, and the Swap Meet!
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org www.breyerhorses.com
Western States Horse Expo June 8–10, 2018 Sacramento, CA Come join the fun! You will many demonstrations, lectures, competitions, and enjoy shopping! saddles, horse sales, trailers, trucks all here in sunny California!
find and Find – it’s
For more information: (800) 352-2411 www.horsexpo.com
Beyond Horse Massage Seminar-Workshop July 7–8, 2018 Littleton, CO The Masterson Method® Weekend Seminar is the next practical step to take after reading/viewing the Beyond Horse Massage Book/DVD. In these hands-on workshops, you’ll learn how to recognize and use the visual responses of the horse to your touch to find and release accumulated stress in key junctions of the body that most affect performance. Jim Masterson has successfully taught these techniques to hundreds of owners, therapists, and trainers worldwide, enabling them to open new levels of communication and relationship with their horses.
World’s Championship Horse Show August 16–25, 2018 Louisville, KY The world’s richest and most prestigious Saddlebred horse show attracts spectators and competitors from across the world. More than 2,000 horses compete for over $1 million in awards during this seven-day event.
For more information: (502) 367-5300 email@example.com www.kystatefair.org/wchs/index.html
Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course August 24–26, 2018 San Diego, CA Introduction to Healing Friday/6:00pm – 10:00pm
This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. Small Animal Class: Saturday/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. Registrations and payments must be received in full and/or postmarked by July 29, 2018, to qualify for the Early Bird Tuition prices.
For more information: Jayme Hardyman (858) 284-0119 SanDiego@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com
Heidi Potter Centered Riding Clinic – Open to All August 25–26, 2018 Sharon, VT Open to riders of all disciplines and skill levels, Centered Riding techniques connect the mind, center, and body in riding. This clinic will help you use your body correctly and more effectively. Horses respond by becoming more responsive, balanced and relaxed, allowing them to perform with greater freedom of movement. The techniques of Centered Riding can be applied to any discipline and will improve your overall comfort, confidence, and communication with your horse.
For more information or to register: Sue Miller (802) 763-3280 firstname.lastname@example.org www.heidipotter.com
Extreme Mustang Makeover September 6–8, 2018 Fort Worth, TX This event will feature an exciting format called Player’s Choice. Eligible adult trainers will be allowed to bid on the Mustang of their choice for use in competition from a selection of approximately 300 mares and geldings and compete for their chance to win the top prize of $50,000. A Youth Division and Mustang Open Show will also be held in conjunction with the EMM.
For more information: (512) 869-3225 This class is a prerequisite for the Large www.extrememustangmakeover.com Animal Class.
Large Animal Class: Sunday/9:00am–6:00pm
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EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com
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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
ACUPRESSURE AT-A-GLANCE By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis
Acupressure EASES EQUINE STRESS
Horses are highly sensitive animals. As our companions in sport and work, they probably these basic needs and help them experience stress on a daily basis. And that takes a toll on them, physically and psychologically. enjoy physical and psychological well-being. Your horse is a prey animal whose strongest survival instinct is to take flight as fast as she can when any perceived threat presents itself. In the wild, horses have a herd to protect Preventing all stressful situations is them, and they know to get away when scared. Our domesticated horses have to contend impossible, but we can do our best with human restrictions and expectations. to mitigate them. Combining good horse management with twiceWe can only guess how stressful it is for a horse to load and ride in a fast-moving trailer. weekly calming and grounding How stressful is it for her to have farrier work done; experience a change in routine; train for acupressure sessions will definitely a show; or endure harsh and painful training? Lack of social interaction, not enough exercise reduce your horse’s stress level. and insufficient rest can also lead to emotional and physical stress. Horses express physical and psychological stress in many ways. Common indicators of ACUPRESSURE stress include cribbing (also called “wind sucking”), weaving, tooth grinding, stall walking, FOR CALMING excessive or loose manure, colic and developing gastric ulcers. Horses also have any number AND GROUNDING of ways of acting out, such as pawing the ground, sweating, bucking, bolting and rearing. Specific acupressure points, also called Before assuming these behaviors are stress-related alone, however, it’s wise to have a “acupoints”, are commonly used to holistic veterinarian check your horse to be sure there’s no underlying health or pain issues. help relieve stress. The acupoints promote the release of endorphins Equine behaviorists suggest making your horse’s environment and routine as natural and (hormones secreted within the brain consistent as possible. Horses are more content when turned out among other horses they and nervous system). These hormones are comfortable with. Additionally, horses stress less when they have access to food and are neuropeptides that interact with the water, and don’t have to compete for resources. It’s up to us to provide our horses with body’s opiate receptors, thus providing the horse with a general sense of wellCALMING & GROUNDING ACUPRESSURE SESSION being. When you boost your horse’s endorphins, she will be less stressed and can be the curious, active, positive animal she’s meant to be.
POINT LOCATION LI 4 Found distal and medial to the head of the medial splint bone. St 36 Found one half inch lateral to the tibial crest on the lateral side of the tibia. Ht 7 Found on caudolateral aspect of the radius, just above the accessory carpal bone. Opposite Pe 7. Pe 7 At the level of the accessory carpal bone on the medial aspect of the foreleg. Opposite Ht 7. Ki 27 Found between the sternum and the 1st rib, 2 cun lateral to the ventral midline.
You will know when your horse is responding to an acupressure session intended to enhance the production and circulation of endorphins. Yawning, shaking, rolling and even falling asleep during the session are signs of stress release. Another important indicator of reduced stress is the cessation of destructive and negative behaviors. These are positive and healthy signs that your horse is feeling the endorphins flowing throughout her body.
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 (#1181) Continuing Education courses. 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. 62