V13I4 (Aug/Sep 2018)

Page 1

MUSCLE PAIN IN HORSES – how to spot and treat it




– for a more positive relationship with your horse

How to work with a





Pine Nut

How these wild horse advocates are fighting to keep horses safe in their natural habitat.

$5.95 USA/Canada

August/September 2018



Equine Wellness

August/September 2018

COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Batts Melanie Falls Cheryl Detamore, DVM Virginia C. Lauridsen Michael l. Lindinger, PhD Jennifer McDonald, BVetMed Wendy Murdoch Lindsey Partridge Debra J. Pearse, RMT-RP, CCMP, CESMT Joan Ranquet Karen Rohlf Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSE, CSFT Jeff Smith, DVM Brenda Thompson Judi Whipple Geri White ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES MANAGER: Brittany Sillaots 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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 Multimedia Specialist: Kristen McCollam (866) 764-1212 ext. 220 kristen@redstonemediagroup.com Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@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 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON Canada K9J 2T8

IN THIS ISSUE: PINE NUT Photos by: J.T. Humphrey, G. Reiboldt Photography, Cheryl Broumley

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.

Photo Courtesy of J.T. Humphrey


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


Wild horses struggle to survive the changes in the political landscape. Thankfully, horse advocates and organizations are helping their voices be heard. Turn to page 24 to find out how Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates works collaboratively with the BLM and the local community to save these majestic equines. Equine Wellness




Conte 24 26 THE DO’S AND DON’TS

48 THE ICELANDIC – OF REHABILITATING YOUR “HORSE OF THE GODS” INJURED HORSE Injuries happen, The Icelandic is an important part of

Is your horse suffering from primary or secondary muscle pain? Learn the difference between the two, know what signs to look for, and what the treatment options are.

and getting your horse back into work as soon as possible depends on implementing and carrying through with a good rehabilitation program.

Iceland’s history and culture. Learn about the origins of the breed and its special qualities.






Here’s how to use tricks to develop a positive relationship with your horse.

20 WOUND CARE FOR YOUR HORSE Accidents can and do

happen – these basic wound care tips for your horse will help you be better prepared.


This organization pairs up with local residents and the BLM to protect wild horses.

Overgrown hooves are a common problem in rescue horses that have not been cared for properly. If you have adopted such a horse, here’s what can be done to fix his hoof health.


SYNDROME – PART 2 A leaky gut allows undesirable molecules into your horse’s body. In part two of this series, we highlight nutrients important to GIT barrier function and health, including specific amino and fatty acids.

44 WORKING WITH A TIMID HORSE Building trust is the key to rehabilitating timid horses.


Equine Wellness

52 4 IMPORTANT THINGS Laser therapy is a popular and effective treatment option for horses. Here’s what you need to know.


horses live in dire straits. You may not be in a position to adopt, but you can still help rescue a horse from a life of neglect.

nts Photo courtesy of Lloyd Notley




8 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

40 Herb blurb

33 Product picks

42 Equine chakras

41 Equine Wellness resource guide

47 Saddle fit

43 Business profile: Purica

50 Rider fitness

51 Heads up

57 To the rescue

59 Events

58 Natural horsemanship

60 Marketplace

62 Green acres

61 Classifieds


CMYK / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

CMYK / .ai

Facebook Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine


Twitter @ EquineWellness Instagram EquineWellness

Equine Wellness




from the brink


everal rescued horses are a permanent part of our herd. One mare was a paranoid bag of bones from neglect, abuse and starvation; it took years for her to learn to trust again. Another was given up by her breeder as an “ugly duckling” because a non-purebred stallion had bred with the dam. A gelding sent for halter “breaking” and castration by his original owner was returned dangerous and unmanageable. He was extremely scared and sensitive, and when startled, would instinctively kick out with his hind legs before racing away. We were his second “rescue” relocation. He also brought a lice infestation with him. One pony turned out to have Cushing’s disease. Another, abused horrifically for the first eight years of his life, is sweet and lovable, but remains very nervous and cautious. The white Quarab in the photo with me is our lead gelding, Mystery. He came from an auction and seemed like a willing, nice guy. As he settled in and gained confidence, he became very aggressive – rearing at people and biting them hard with no warning. Ten years later, Mystery is much improved but still tests us daily to see if we deserve his respect. I owe him a debt of gratitude for teaching me to be a strong but fair leader. Countless more horses await rescuing and rehoming with loving, attentive people of their own. But rescuing is not for the faint of heart. Many physical and emotional issues are involved. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Our herd is healthy and happy in their Paddock Paradise. All are approachable, enjoy attention and adore getting scratched. They are a delight to watch and a joy to hang out with.


Equine Wellness

This issue provides you with a whole tack box of information on rescuing horses in need. Being prepared in case of emergency is paramount, so Dr. Cheryl Detamore offers first aid and wound care tips. Dr. Jen McDonald offers insight on how to recognize types of muscle soreness and their potential causes. Equine injuries, particularly muscular or skeletal, often require long-term rehab, so we also provide a list of rehabilitation do’s and don’ts. When rescuing a horse, there’s a lot to consider beyond the physical. You don’t know what a horse may have endured before finding his forever home. It’s important to learn how to bond and develop a sense of trust with horses who may not have had the best experiences in these areas. To help, Lindsey Partridge, president of the Natural Horsemanship Association, teaches you how to work with timid horses. I know many of you may want to rescue a horse, but simply can’t take one home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help. Brenda Thompson, owner of Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue, offers seven ways to help horses in need without adopting one. Follow your heart and you’ll know what to do. Naturally,

Cindy MacDonald

Equine Wellness




Archaeologists from UC-Santa Barbara-Purdue University old tomb at the site of Tombos (in current-day Sudan). While the tomb’s chambers contained evidence of high-status human burials, archaeologists were surprised to discover the remains of a Nubian chariot horse in a shaft under the chapel complex. Wrapped in a shroud, the horse, too, showed evidence of having received a formal burial, with a reverence reserved for the era’s wealthy, royal and elite. Pieces of iron, likely from the horse’s bridle, also were found. Authorities say these pieces represent the oldest examples of worked iron to be found in Africa to date. After an examination of the bones, bioarchaeologist Michelle Buzon of Purdue concluded the horse was a mare who died between the ages of 12 and 15. The stress on her ribs and spine indicate she wore a chariot harness for much of her life, leading Buzon to conclude the mare was a chariot horse. The nature of her burial, though, reveals she wasn’t just any chariot horse. archaeology.org/news/6577-180427-tombos-chariot-horse

Photo courtesy of Stuart Tyson Smith


made a remarkable discovery while excavating a 3,000-year-

Communities in Guatemala have been devastated by the eruption of the Fuego volcano. Over 100 deaths have been reported, and the number of missing persons continues to rise. Ash, which has travelled as far as 40 km, now covers the crops in the surrounding area. These contaminated crops are not only the main source of income for this rural community, but are the only source of food for the thousands of working horses stranded in the area. They are in urgent need of medical care for malnutrition, eye infections and respiratory problems. The horses are also at an increased risk of influenza, tetanus and colic, as food sources become more scarce. UK-based charity World Horse Welfare and co-ordinating equine welfare organizations are working to provide immediate emergency veterinary care, vital supplies of hay, grass and nutrients and information for local horse owners on continuing first aid care. To donate and support the ongoing rescue efforts, visit: worldhorsewelfare.org/Appeal/Emergencyhelp-for-horses-affected-by-guatemala-fuegovolcano-eruption

CANADIAN WOMEN’S PRISON INITIATES HORSE THERAPY PROGRAM Spirit Horse, a charity from Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, has begun offering therapy to inmates at the Clarenville Correctional Centre for women, using horses. The pilot project, which began June 26, will operate once a week for four months. Two specially trained horses will participate. The program is designed as a form of mental health therapy, while offering tools to prepare for life beyond prison. Erin Gallant, the owner and operator of Spirit Horse says, “Let’s not just do correction, let’s put some compassion into it too...because a lot of the reasons they’re there is because of mental health and addiction issues. So let’s treat them as humans first, like the horses do.” Gallant believes in the healing power of horses. “It’s a fact that they’re large animals but they don’t judge and they give off this huge energy field... people just feel safe, they feel calm, they feel like they can talk about what their root issue is of why they are where they are, what brought them there.” As the pilot project unfolds, it may be extended. cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/spirit-horse-program-womens-prisonclarenville-1.4704406 8

Equine Wellness


A behavioral assessment has examined the pain signals of ridden horses who have transitioned to bitless. Using six years of feedback from riders who have switched from a bitted to a bit-free bridle, researchers have developed a questionnaire as a method for recognizing, quantifying and comparing signals of pain. Sixty-nine behavioral signs were distinguished, including: resentment of bridling, stiff neck, failing to stand still, and dropping food. Using the questionnaire, the 69 signs of pain were counted and compared in 66 horses who have multiple years of bit usage. The time spent bit-free ranged from one to 1,095 days (median 35). The pain signals were observed and calculated. The study concluded that there was an 87% reduction in pain signals by the whole population when bitless. “The term ‘bit lameness’ was proposed to describe a syndrome of lameness caused by the bit. Bit pain had a negative effect on proprioception, i.e. balance, posture, coordination and movement. Only one horse showed no reduction in pain signals when bit-free. The welfare of 65 of 66 horses was enhanced by removing the bit; reducing negative emotions (pain) and increasing the potential to experience positive emotions (pleasure).” (W.R. Cook and M.Kibler, 2018) onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/eve.12916

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness



By Jennifer McDonald, BVetMed



Is your horse suffering from primary or secondary muscle pain? Learn the difference between the two, know what signs to look for, and what the treatment options are. Many of us consider muscle pain to be normal after a long ride – but what about our horses? Do they feel the same muscle soreness we do? How do they display this discomfort, and how can it be treated?

Symptoms and causes of equine muscle pain A variety of problems can contribute to muscle pain in horses. As a start, observe and differentiate between primary and secondary muscle problems. • Primary muscle soreness will usually present itself quite dramatically. Symptoms can include muscle stiffness, sweating, reluctance to move, violent tremors, tucked-up abdomen, or even collapse. Primary muscle problems are often due to an improper function of muscle metabolism, sometimes linked to a genetic component. • Secondary muscle pain can stem from improperly-fitting equipment, foot soreness or arthritis. Symptoms can be seen in behavioral changes such as a reluctance to go forward, bucking, tail swishing, and changes in overall demeanor.

What causes primary muscle soreness? Primary muscle soreness can be due to a muscle condition such as Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM) Type 1 or 2, or Equine Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP).

PSSM PSSM has been documented in over 20 breeds in the last couple of years. It occurs when there is an improper buildup of excess glycogen (the stored version of sugar) in the muscles. Signs of PSSM Type 1 or 2 include muscle stiffness, sweating, reluctance to move, tremors, and a tucked-up abdomen. These symptoms usually occur ten to 20 minutes into a ride. A blood test by your veterinarian will usually reveal an elevated CK level, and a muscle biopsy will show excess glycogen storage. A genetic test is also available using hair roots and blood. PSSM2 affects horses in the same manner, but these horses will not test positive for the gene found in PSSM1. Muscle biopsy is still the most effective way to diagnose both PSSM1 and 2.

HYPP HYPP is caused by a genetic defect seen in relatives of Impressive, the quarter horse sire. Excessive potassium levels or stress can cause a dysfunction within sodium channels in the muscle, causing dramatic tremors, weakness or even collapse. Unlike PSSM, these symptoms do not come after exercise but can manifest while the horse is at rest, during transport or a stressful event. Genetic testing is available and treatment includes dietary reduction of potassium, routine turnout, and possible drugs to stabilize potassium and glucose levels.

Secondary muscle pain can stem from several issues While secondary muscle pain is more common than primary, it can be frustrating to diagnose its exact cause (see sidebar on page 12). The multitude of contributing factors include, but are not limited to: poor fitness, dietary deficiencies, improper saddle Equine Wellness



SECONDARY MUSCLE PAIN 1. SADDLE FIT Improper saddle fit can be a major contributing factor to muscle pain along the back, withers and shoulders. Has your horse recently lost or gained weight and muscle, or had a change in fitness level? This alters how your saddle fits and can cause pinching under the seat, at the withers, and along the stirrup bars. Symmetry over the shoulders and back can be altered due to poor saddle fit and pinching. Frequently, clients will say, “It’s the same saddle I have always ridden in!” As riders, we have to understand that horses will continually change their shape and muscle tone, making saddle fit an ongoing battle. Compounding this task is the variation between saddle styles. In both English and Western saddles, you can have endless options of tree sizes, shapes, flocking type and seat styles. When purchasing a saddle, you should look for one that can be altered if your horse changes shape. This may include a yearly visit from the saddle fitter to ensure no changes need to be made. Creating a custom saddle that fits your horse – and fits with your horse – is a preventative step against muscle pain.

2. DIETARY DEFICIENCIES Dietary deficiencies in horses are more common than you might think. Our four-legged athletes need a balanced vitamin and mineral diet to recover and heal properly. A poorly-balanced diet is always contrary to horse health and can be a contributor to post-ride muscle soreness. You may think that because your horse’s weight is perfect, his diet is surely correct. Not in every case. Feedbags containing complete feed will have a reference chart with the amount necessary to get a balanced diet, including proper vitamins and minerals. Using a weight tape, measure and calculate how much feed your horse will need to achieve a balanced diet with your particular grain. A luggage scale or home food scale is a great way to weigh out the appropriate amount of feed. If your horse is getting less than the recommended amount of feed, and maintains an ideal weight, you should look into adding a daily ration balancer or vitamin-mineral supplement to his diet. Many feed companies will be happy to guide you through their recommendations for your own horse’s needs.

3. COMPENSATORY MOVEMENT Pain related to compensation for a musculoskeletal issue lower in the leg is, by far, one of the main causes of secondary muscle pain. A compensatory movement will alter your horse’s gait, causing muscle soreness in areas of the lower back, deltoids, pectorals and gluteal region. Muscles in this region will either be enlarged from overuse during compensation, or reduced due to muscle wastage from disuse, due to pain lower in the leg. One of the main complaints from clients is that the saddle slips when they ride. This can be a sign that the horse is having a musculoskeletal issue lower in his leg, causing him to throw his weight to one side when you ride. Stand back, square your horse up and look for symmetry in these areas. If any of these things sound familiar, you should have a soundness examination done by your veterinarian. 12

Equine Wellness

fit, shoeing problems, or altered movement due to joint pain. This type of pain usually presents as a mild reluctance to go forward; behavioral changes under saddle, such as bucking, spooking or excessive tail swishing; or behavioral changes while being groomed or shod. Keeping this in mind, you can often address and correct some of these problems prior to a veterinarian visit.

Treating muscle soreness Treatment for PSSM is mainly environmentbased, involving strict dietary changes, including high-fat low-starch feeds; exercise routines; turnout; and ration balancer supplements containing high levels of vitamin E. With proper management, a return to work is seen in over 75% of horses diagnosed with PSSM1 or 2. Treating secondary muscle pain includes finding the source of the problem and alleviating it. This can be followed by spinal manipulation/ chiropractic, acupuncture, massage or muscle relaxants. Once the problem has been identified, treatment is critical to reduce pain and prevent its return. Non-invasive options like spinal manipulation/chiropractic and acupuncture will allow your horse to move through his normal range of motion again, and open pathways that allow for healing. Muscle relaxants can be used in combination with these therapies to break the pain cycle in the horse. Remember, these treatments are used to heal and maintain a healthy horse, but will not fix the problem if there is still an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Whether he’s suffering from primary or secondary muscle soreness, every horse has a different pain tolerance and can display discomfort in a variety of ways. Listen to what your horse is telling you. Notice his behavioral changes and get to the root of the problem.

Dr. Jennifer McDonald is an equine veterinarian at The Equine Clinic at OakenCroft. She graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in London, England and is certified in both spinal manipulation and acupuncture. Dr. Jen specializes in lameness and sport horse medicine. oakencroft.org

Equine Wellness


Judi’s Azteca mare, Sombra, performs some tricks for the camera.

By Judi Whipple



Here’s how to use tricks to develop a positive relationship with your horse.


Equine Wellness

Photos courtesy of Jade Premont


eaching your horse some simple tricks can bring many benefits to both of you. By using tricks, you can engage your horse’s brain, gymnastisize his body and begin his life of learning. Most importantly, trick training helps you both relax, and builds a fun and positive connection between you and your equine partner!

TRICKS MAKE LEARNING EXCITING FOR YOUR HORSE Horses learn by association. Trick training requires plenty of positive reinforcement so your horse associates you with good things. Because trick training is not usually competitive in nature, your horse will most likely respond to it in a positive manner. Learning actually becomes more of a game than a necessity, and that removes the anxiety. Without this pressure, you’re apt to slow down, observe the horse and interact with him in a way that clarifies your own body language. This clarification helps the horse understand your request. Most animals, including humans, are nervous when meeting new people, or when they don’t know what is expected of them. Teaching a simple trick is a way of breaking the ice. Once your horse realizes he can please you, he begins to relax and try even harder. Continued on page 16.

Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy of Jade Premont

Continued from page 15. Recent research has proven that horses recognize human expression. You can’t help but smile when your horse suddenly “gets” what you’ve asked him to do. He recognizes your approval, and voila – you have stimulated in him a desire to learn more!

TRICK LEARNING IS A STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS The author’s gelding, Remembrance, demonstrates the “smile” trick.


Many horses demonstrate the Flehmen reflex, curling back the upper lip and exposing the teeth while raising the head to inhale a smell. Horses that exhibit this behavior are more inclined to quickly learn how to smile on cue. Start by using your index finger to place Vicks VapoRub on the tip of your horse’s nose. The tiniest lift of the upper lip should get a reward from you. Remember to keep your training sessions short and frequent, and be consistent with the reward.

Positive reinforcement is used to shape the end behavior. A reward for a successful trick creates an inclination in your horse to repeat and remember the movement. Think of this as teaching in steps, with prerequisites. When you first discovered language and reading, you initially learned the alphabet, then simple words, followed by sentences, and finally paragraphs. Horses learn in sequence as well. For example, getting the horse to want to work with you is the first step. The second step is getting him to stay with you – the “whoa”. From there, once you’ve decided on the trick you want to teach your horse, break it down into small pieces. Your reward for each step is a clear “yes” that helps develop trust and solidify the response. The first trick is always the hardest. In the beginning, pick something simple. I suggest observing your horse to get an idea of what he enjoys. Make your work sessions frequent and short, always rewarding the slightest evidence of a final result. This steady progress is called “shaping”. By working with your horse, you’re learning what’s involved in teaching him anything from “whoa” to “Piaffe”. You’ll develop your own style – picking an exercise, breaking it down into steps, and shaping behavior for the desired end result. Some horses catch on quicker than others, and that’s okay. It is part of the fun. In my experience, just when you think the horse will never understand something, he suddenly gets it!

“YES” OR “NO” A clear “yes” and “no” are necessary to shaping equine behavior. If you spend time developing a positive relationship with your horse, and he enjoys working with you, the main form of correction is often the absence of reward. Your horse begins to learn that when he gets it right, he gets a reward. If he doesn’t get the reward, he’ll start to try harder. Every time you interact with your horse, you are teaching him something. If you take time in the beginning to help him understand the reward, he will become less flighty and more amiable for safe handling by people like your vet or farrier.

TRUST AND CONSISTENCY Through trick training and shaping, you are establishing trust. Your horse’s confidence will increase as he begins to trust that your reactions will be consistent. Then he will begin to rely on you more. Without trust, we can’t proceed with any training. About 20 years ago, I acquired a young and extremely fearful Hanoverian gelding. During one of our first training sessions, he knocked me out and sent me to the emergency room. His reactions created such a lack of trust in me that I became fearful just handling him on the ground. Continued on page 18. 16

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 16. Knowing I had to take the lead, I began spending time simply observing and being around him. I began working with tricks, not expecting anything in particular, and was pleasantly surprised that his eyes began to brighten, and he would actually lift his head in response to my voice. We began to establish a constructive relationship. It didn’t happen overnight, but today he is a solid citizen and one of my best lesson horses.

TRICK TRAINING CAN BE REHABILITATION FOR YOUR HORSE Trick training can function as both physical and mental rehabilitation for your horse. I currently have a boarded horse on stall rest, recovering from an injury. He is allowed out for only short walks. This lack of exercise and stimulation was causing evidence of depression and muscle wasting.

Photo courtesy of Jade Premont

His owner wanted to do something more with him, so she began working on teaching him to “smile” (see sidebar on page 16). Seeing how much they were both enjoying themselves, I suggested the “hug” and the “curtsy bow”. These tricks stretch the muscles laterally and longitudinally, much like yoga does. The curtsy bow is similar to the “downward dog” stretch. The effort involved in teaching these tricks caused the horse’s owner to spend more time with him. The horse seemed more mentally relaxed when he left his stall, and from practicing his stretches, the wobbly gait he had demonstrated when he first stepped out disappeared.

EXPERIMENT WITH TRICKS YOU FEEL WILL WORK BEST Now that you know the basics, go out and try your hand at teaching some tricks to your own horse. There are many to choose from. Those involving the horse’s head are the easiest and safest, but maybe he needs confidence in following you, especially onto the trailer. Working on getting your horse to step up on a low block or bridge can help create that confidence.

Moondance was extremely fearful when he first came to Judi, but after trick training, he became one of her best lesson horses.

Whatever trick you choose, make it your own unique time together. Emphasize your horse’s strong points and individual personality. Be amazed that you are able to communicate with him on this level. I challenge you not to smile! Even if you don’t, I guarantee you will deepen your connection with your horse.

Judi Whipple has been working in various aspects of the horse industry since 1970. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with an Associates Degree in Sociology. She currently owns and operates Breckenridge Farm in Barre, VT. Judi has been instructing for over 40 years and was named one of The American Riding Instructors Association’s (ARIA) “Top 50 Instructors” in 2007. Her trick minis have performed for schools and nursing homes, and she now holds monthly trick performances on her farm, featuring tricks that her students and their horses have recently learned. Follow Judi on Facebook, her animals on Instagram @notaponypepperoni, and Breckenridge Farm on Twitter. 18

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness




Injuries, wounds and lacerations can be frightening for both you and your horse. Learning about basic first aid wound care will give you the tools you need to come to your horse’s rescue if he gets injured.

KNOWING YOUR HORSE’S ANATOMY To begin, familiarize yourself with the basics of equine anatomy. Detailed study is not necessary, but attention to detail is essential. • Look at your horse and take note of obvious blood vessels. Some of the more prominent vessels are on the upper legs, chest and abdominal areas. • The location of these vessels, combined with the nature of horses (especially when panicked), makes them particularly vulnerable to injury.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED TO CALL THE VET? A veterinarian should always be called to examine the following types of wounds: • Gaping wounds or areas where patches of skin are peeled away or missing. Even if you suspect the wound cannot be sutured, a vet can assess complications and make treatment recommendations. • Older wounds with devitalized tissue. Dead tissue may need to be removed to facilitate healing. A professional should always perform this initially, but further debridement can be performed at home as directed. 20

Equine Wellness

• Lacerations to the face, which should always be sutured to prevent infection and to preserve esthetic appearance.

WHAT CAN I DO WHILE WAITING FOR THE VET? Control the bleeding: • Apply pressure immediately to bleeding areas. If you suspect a major vessel has been damaged, call your veterinarian while you apply compression. When applying pressure, do not assess your progress before 20 minutes of compression are up. Removing pressure will disrupt the clotting cascade and may necessitate starting over. • If the material you placed over the bleeding is saturated, quickly add more. It is okay to add layers, as long as the bulk doesn’t make it difficult to apply direct pressure. • While you can hold compression in place on areas of the body using your hand, you can apply pressure dressings relatively easily to the legs. Wrap them snugly, but not too tight. If swelling occurs below the bandage, loosen immediately. • Severed blood vessels on the feet and lower extremities often bleed profusely, especially if the horse is moving around. Keep the horse as still as possible. Apply a pressure bandage over the wound. If you are unable to keep your horse from moving in order to apply a dressing, a slow stream of cold water from a hose directed at the wound can assist in clotting. • If gauze or other material is stuck to the surface of the wound, do not peel it off! Bleeding can resume. Saturate the material with water to facilitate removal.

Use a tourniquet: Apply a tourniquet to the tail and extremities in emergencies only. • A tourniquet can be made of many different materials, but a strip of cloth, roll of gauze, or piece of rubber tubing work best. • Place the tourniquet “above” the wound, between the injury and heart. Tighten it by hand or use a stick as a lever. Loosen the tourniquet briefly every 20 minutes and massage the area to prevent tissue death.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I CAN CARE FOR THE WOUND? • Clip the hair away from the margins of the wound, taking care to protect the wound and sweeping loose hair away. Clipped hair sticks to exposed tissue and is difficult to remove later. • Clean the area. The wound is already contaminated, so tap water is acceptable. Resist the urge to scrub. Abrasive treatment will worsen trauma and disrupt clotting. Lavage with pressure is most beneficial. A water hose with an adjustable spray nozzle works well; use moderate pressure. • Once visible contamination and debris have been washed away, gently clean the wound with an antimicrobial solution. Do not use peroxide, as it can exacerbate bleeding and damage delicate tissues. Povidone iodine or chlorhexidine are the most commonly used antimicrobial solutions. You can use either solution undiluted on intact skin. When cleansing delicate or exposed tissues, dilute them with water. • Don’t forget tetanus immunization. Continued on page 22.

Equine Wellness




Have an emergency first aid kit convenient at all times. Make sure it is well stocked, easily accessible and centrally located. Keep a first aid kit in multiple locations, including the barn and trailer, and put together a portable one for the trail. A wellstocked first-aid kit should include: • Items to stabilize and treat wounds, including a tourniquet, hemostat, bandage scissors, antimicrobial solution, gauze pads and rolls, elastic adhesive wrap, cotton roll, and an all-purpose healing salve like MeliHeal or a wound spray such as Banixx • An Easyboot for injuries to the foot • A roll of duct tape to secure and waterproof bandages • Additionally, don’t forget to keep an extra Tetanus toxoid on hand in the refrigerator.

Continued from page 21.

WHEN IS A BANDAGE NECESSARY? Bandaging is not usually necessary, as long as the wound is kept clean. Applying a topical antimicrobial twice daily for several days should suffice. However, when bandaging a leg is necessary, it is vital to follow appropriate wrapping protocol: • Apply a nonstick pad to the area and secure with gauze. • Pad the leg with cotton, and wrap with cohesive bandage. Always wrap front to back and inside to out, overlapping the material evenly. Elastic wraps have a cumulative effect when layered, so avoid stretching the material as you go. Improperly wrapping a leg can result in damage to tendons and other soft tissues. • Unless otherwise instructed by your vet, assess the wound and apply fresh dressing daily. Any bandage or wrap that appears overly tight or sagging should be removed immediately.

ARE PUNCTURE WOUNDS A BIG DEAL? Puncture wounds may not appear significant, but they can result in a serious infection. This is because bacteria are deposited into underlying tissues and then become trapped as the skin heals. Because certain bacteria, such as the causative agent of tetanus, thrive in this kind of oxygen-deprived environment, it is imperative that the injured horse receives a tetanus toxoid booster if more than three months have lapsed since the last immunization. If your horse hasn’t been previously vaccinated for the disease, or the status is unknown, both toxoid and antitoxin (the antitoxin will offer temporary protection until the toxoid takes full effect) should be administered, along with a toxoid booster in two weeks. Early signs of tetanus include: • Difficulty swallowing • Prolapse of the third eyelid and generalized stiffness • Those affected are often sensitive to light and sound, and adopt the “sawhorse” stance. Because the incubation period for the disease varies, it can take days or weeks to develop. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect tetanus in your horse. If you’re in doubt about a wound your horse has suffered, get your veterinarian to look at it as soon as possible. In the meantime, following the tips in this article will help keep the wound clean, prevent complications and promote healing.

Dr. Cheryl L. Detamore has practiced equine integrative medicine for 20 years in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Dr. Detamore now resides in Kansas, where she produces her honey-based healing salve, MeliHeal (MeliHeal.com). (MeliHeal.com MeliHeal.com


Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy of G. Reiboldt Photography

By Sariana Burnet


Samson, a young stallion and son of Blue, gathers with his mares. Most important to our wild horses is family and freedom.

This organization pairs up with local residents and the BLM to protect wild horses.


hen it comes to preserving and protecting wild horses, activist organizations and supporters, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and government legislation each have a part to play. If the channels of communication between these bodies are open, wild horses stand a better chance of remaining safe, free and able to live in harmony with the area’s other residents. Just ask Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates (PNWHA). PNWHA is named after Nevada’s Pine Nut mountain range, a wild, majestic and relatively undisturbed region that makes a picturesque backdrop for the bands of wild horses and burros that roam there. The land is rugged, but not barren; thick brush covers the lower slopes while the higher elevations are awash with the pinyon pine trees that inspired the range’s name.

PINE NUT AND THE BLM – PARTNERS IN PROGRESS “Pine Nut was founded specifically to partner with the BLM, to humanely manage the wild horses living in our local hills,” says PNWHA’s active president, Deborah Walker. It’s true 24

Equine Wellness

that the BLM and wild horse advocates have not always seen “eye to eye”. In Pine Nut’s experience, however, working collaboratively with the BLM helps ensure the voices of wild horse advocates are heard when the BLM faces pressure from ranchers or Congress. “Five years ago, the BLM planned to remove most of our horses,” says Deborah. “But at their public meetings, our local community came and spoke out loudly against removing our beloved horses. Thankfully, the BLM listened and instead began to work with us to address horses coming into neighborhoods, and to start our humane birth control program.”

PLAYING AN ACTIVE ROLE IN COMMUNITY IS KEY Pine Nut’s goal to safely and successfully keep horses in their native wild habitat means working closely with the community to provide education, outreach and intervention, on both a practical and political level.

Community outreach programs teach residents how to safely live alongside wild horses. By avoiding interaction and refraining from leaving out food and water, people help the horses run a smaller risk of being injured or rounded up. When it comes to politics, Pine Nut encourages residents and wild horse advocates everywhere to get involved. “Each voice is needed,” Deborah says. “I suggest signing up for action alerts (we support the American Wild Horse Campaign), voicing your opinion to your legislators, and voting for candidates who will protect our wild horses and burros.” Partnerships and collaborations aside, the BLM is still a government agency, which means they are at the mercy of budgetary constraints and the existing legal framework.

Photo courtesy of J.T. Humphrey

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Broumley

Photo courtesy of G. Reiboldt Photography

Pine Nut stresses that political activism is one of the best ways to initiate change in the welfare of wild horses. See what you can do in the sidebar at top right.


The U.S Congress is in the middle of the 2019 Fiscal Year appropriations process. The good news: The Senate’s FY (2019) Interior Department has passed a spending bill that continues to prohibit the slaughter and mass sterilization of wild horses and burros. The bad news: While the House’s FY (2019) Interior Appropriations bill maintains prohibitions on culling healthy horses and burros, and selling them for slaughter, an amendment put forth by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) added language that would explicitly allow the BLM to use chemical or surgical sterilization to manage growing populations. Both bills await final approval by a full floor vote. Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s FY 2019 budget calls for eliminating the rider that prevents both the sale and killing of horses, and giving the BLM a “full suite of tools” to manage the herds. So what can you do? Call your senator to voice your support of the 2019 bill that prohibits the mass slaughter and sterilization. Follow up in writing and continue to spread the word. You can also sign petitions at wildhorseadvocates.org/ take-action.html.

Mystique and his son JT “horsing” around.



1. They are “over-populated”. “There is no ‘over-population’ of wild horses,” says Deborah. “As we speak, there are still more cows than horses on Congressionally-designated wild horse habitats.”

The world famous stallion, Blue, takes time out of his stallion duties to be with Noel, the mother of their young colt Bolt.

A serene moment at the watering pond with Shorty and his beautiful band of bay mares, and one lovely solid black mare who is the mother of famed stallion, Blue.

2. Wild horses have no natural predators. “Mountain lions and even coyotes are known to kill wild horses, especially foals,” says Deborah. “Wild horses are prey animals; stopping the routine killing of predators would enable them to play the important role they have in natural ecology.” 3. PZP birth control is bad for wild horses. “PZP has been safely and effectively used to manage wild horse populations for 30 years; it’s completely organic and safe. When we look for humane birth control we look for three things: safety, that it doesn’t alter natural hormone production, and reversibility.” Sterilizing a horse is not like de-sexing a dog or cat. It’s a brutish process which removes the hormones that drive the behaviors necessary for horses to survive in the wild. It is also permanent. Reversible birth control allows for more control over the population, as its numbers wax and wane. Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy of Devon Lappano


do’s and



Using PEMF therapy to treat a front limb injury.

By Debra Pearse, RMT-RP, CCMP, CESMT

Injuries happen, and getting your horse back into work as soon as possible depends on implementing and carrying through with a good rehabilitation program. Whether you’re the new owner of a rescue horse, an experienced horse caretaker, or anything in between, facing the challenges of rehabilitating an injured equine can seem daunting. It can be a long process, which requires a serious commitment of both time and financial resources. Attention to detail and having a clear vision of your “do’s and don’ts” can improve your horse’s chance for a successful recovery.


DO BUILD A LIST OF TRUSTED PROFESSIONALS It’s always important to foster a strong relationship with your veterinarian. When dealing with an equine injury requiring ongoing rehabilitation, be sure to keep the lines of communication open. Ask questions about: • Diagnosis • Treatment options 26

Equine Wellness

• Response time to phone calls and appointment availability • The cost of follow-up visits, medications and procedures • Estimated timelines for recovery Most veterinarians will happily discuss your horse’s prognosis and treatment plan. Having a definitive plan will help with your own peace of mind, and your ability to stay focused on a positive outcome. For the best outcome, be open to integrative healthcare. Resources such as nutraceuticals, supplementation and holistic therapies will support your horse on her healing journey. Massage, chiropractic, acupuncture or acupressure, photonic or laser therapy, craniosacral therapy, Reiki, T-Touch, shockwave therapy and PEMF (Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field) therapy can all prove extremely beneficial to your horse’s recovery. Your farrier or barefoot trimmer is also an important part of your horse’s healthcare team and should be kept informed of her injury and recovery plan.

DO CREATE A HEALING SPACE While your horse convalesces, provide an environment that’s conducive to healing. If your horse is confined to stall rest, try to relocate him to a quiet dustfree stall that offers safe footing. Ensure your horse is comfortable by providing extra cushioning with deep non-slip bedding. Be vigilant with stall cleanliness to prevent infection and the build-up of bacteria from dirty bedding. If possible, avoid straw bedding to eliminate the likelihood of mold, mildew and allergens that could be detrimental to your horse’s respiratory health. Once your horse receives the “all-clear” for limited movement, consider moving her to a small paddock. Ensure the area is quiet, clean and secure. It should allow for easy visibility, so you can monitor your horse’s activity. She will need access to fresh hay, water and shelter from the weather. Consider the footing not only in the paddock, but also on the way to the paddock. The footing should be soft but firm, and as dry as possible. Turning an injured horse out in mud or slippery conditions should be avoided at all costs, as she could end up further injuring herself and delaying the healing process.


Radiographs (x-rays) are recommended if a horse’s injury is related to bony structures. For soft tissue injuries such as damage to ligaments and tendons, ultrasound is commonly used. Thermographic monitoring is similar to ultrasound, but as an added bonus, it can identify lesions to soft tissue two weeks earlier than traditional ultrasound can. More advanced diagnostic imaging tools include MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT scans (Computed Tomography) and bone scans (Nuclear Scintigraphy).

It’s essential to stay up-to-date with where your horse is at on her healing journey, and when she can safely return to her regular activities. Followup appointments with your veterinarian will likely include diagnostic monitoring, based on the type of injury sustained. In between appointments, consider regular use of video recording to help track your horse’s progress on the road to recovery. Most of us have smartphones with a built-in camera, so it’s simple to do and invaluable for recordkeeping. Your veterinarian or other healthcare providers cannot see your horse in person every day, but by watching the videos, they can share in her important milestones. Continued on page 28.

Creating a healing space includes relieving boredom.

Photo courtesy of Debra Pearse


Equine Wellness


Continued from page 27.


DON’T RUSH RECOVERY Recognize that rest is essential to recovery and that it takes time to heal. Every horse is unique and recovery times will vary based on the nature of the injury, the horse’s age, her pre-injury condition, and whether or not she required surgery. If you rush your horse back into work too early, you create a significant risk of re-injury. You will have to start all over again, and this will prolong recovery time. Don’t rush it. Ensure your horse has fully recovered before returning her to regular activities.

DON’T FORGET YOUR HORSE’S EMOTIONAL NEEDS Standing in a stall for extended periods of time, separated from paddock mates, can become boring, monotonous and lonely for your horse. Provide her with enrichment activities to reduce the likelihood that she’ll develop undesirable habits, such as weaving or cribbing. Enrichment activities such as a slow feeder hay net, food puzzles, hanging balls and other food-dispensing toys such as lickable stall snacks will help keep your horse happy and occupied. You can also teach your horse some simple tricks she can perform to earn rewards. The stretching and physical therapy exercises included in your horse’s treatment protocol can also be taught as tricks. Your horse will enjoy the time she gets to spend with you, and recovery time will speed up – a win-win for both of you!

DON’T DISMISS YOUR INTUITION If something doesn’t feel right, or you get a hunch that something is “off” with your horse’s recovery, don’t ignore your instincts. Our intuition is often overlooked, but it is of great value and we need to pay attention. Sometimes, time is of the essence; it is much more important to err on the side of caution and make a call to your vet based on a “hunch”. Things can be prevented by early intervention. Don’t regret ignoring your intuition. Many rehabilitated horses will be able to return to work and live long comfortable lives. Stay focused on a positive outcome, and honor the journey as you help your horse return to health.

Debra Pearse, RMT-RP, CCMP, CESMT has specialized in alternative equine therapies since 1979. She is certified in both canine and equine Massage Therapy, is a registered animal Reiki Master/Teacher and one of the first registered animal Reiki practitioners in the world. Debra is also trained in Small Animal and Equine Acupressure, CranioSacral Therapy, MyoFascial and Trigger Point Release, Photonic Therapy and Medical Intuition for Animals. She is a certified animal PEMF specialist and is currently developing an international certification program for small animal and equine PEMF Therapy. Debra is located in Barrie, Ontario and can be reached through her websites AnimalPemfTherapy.com and PawsitiveSpirit.com. 28

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


Overgrown hooves are a common problem in rescue horses that have not been cared for properly. If you have adopted such a horse, here’s what can be done to fix his hoof health.

How to rehabilitate overgrown hooves


By Geri White

eglected and overgrown hooves are some of the most common pathologies I encounter in newly arrived rescue horses, and horses purchased at auction. By definition, pathology is “the science of the causes and effects of diseases”. I consider troubled hooves pathology because the problem has both cause and effect. For example, thrush, wall cracks and a stretched white line all compromise the health of the hoof, and the horse as a whole. So what happens when the hoof wall overgrows? How can it affect your horse? And what can you do about it?


Equine Wellness

The pictures below show examples of extreme cases. Fortunately, I don’t see them too often. For each horse, walking was compensatory and painful. Holding up any one hoof to trim was difficult. I used a saw on some of them, with the horses’ feet on the ground. In cases like these, some hooves became overgrown because no one worked with the horses to pick up their feet for trimming. Other horses had clearly lost their trust in humans due to unkind or disrespectful past experiences. This is common among horses arriving at rescues. It’s my belief that the horse, the caregiver and I must work as a team, developing an approach that builds trust, and paves the way to a healthy horse and hoof.

SEVERE CASES OF OVERGROWN HOOVES REQUIRE A VETERINARIAN I make it a point to work with a veterinarian in the beginning, especially with extreme cases. We start with radiographs to assess the distal bones for alignment, possible damage, and any limitations so we can set realistic expectations. Often, we need to use sedation, so we can trim the bulk of the overgrown hoof material. My goal is to use sedation minimally, yet ensure the horse feels safe and protected. I use only what’s required to get the initial job done, and reduce the amount each time until we no longer need it. We are all working to create the best experience possible for the horse, and often by the fourth trim or sooner, he no longer needs sedation. I visit these horses every two weeks. Between visits, I encourage caregivers to continue to work on building trust and handling the horse’s feet every day.

COMFORT AND CALM YOUR HORSE During hoof treatments, I also use various essential oils, and look for the horse’s feedback on which one she likes best (lavender is the most common). I associate the oil’s scent with good experiences and bring it with me to every visit. To further make the experience a positive one, I always take my time with the horse, releasing her hoof when she asks. I also use photonic light therapy on acupuncture points to calm and relieve pain. It doesn’t take long for a horse to know when you are really listening to her. I work slowly and within the horse’s comfort zone. Sometimes, we don’t accomplish everything we intended during a session. If the horse says, “I’m finished today”, then we are finished today. I have found that when I honor that decision, and return two weeks later, the horse will allow me to handle her for longer, become more communicative, and allow me to begin building a bond that will last for the duration of our course of treatment, and beyond.

HOOF HEALTH AFFECTS THE ENTIRE BODY Rehabilitating severely overgrown hooves requires a serious and committed caregiver. From a holistic viewpoint, the whole body is in trouble. When hooves become overgrown, it alters the biomechanics of the entire body, causing arthritis, bone loss, muscle and soft tissue atrophy. When I see horses for the first time, I have already reviewed an information sheet I emailed to the caregiver to fill out in advance, providing a detailed history of the horse. I look at the entire horse during my assessment, checking for imbalances in the body, especially in the face, head and teeth. Once I have a more complete story, I can create a customized action plan appropriate to the horse that is also within the means of the caregiver. See the sidebar about Levi (on page 32) for an example. Continued on page 32. Equine Wellness


Photos courtesy of Geri White



Let’s look at one of my previous cases involving a horse named Levi. His veterinarian had recommended euthanasia due to his longstanding lameness, but his caregivers were three women who weren’t ready to give up. They contacted me to help with a holistic hoof care approach. Levi’s toes were very long and his heels were underrun. He walked like a robot up front. His cervical trapezius muscles were overdeveloped and very sore. His teeth were unbalanced. We examined Levi’s feed and supplements and made some changes. We fit him with boots and pads and arranged for alternative therapies, including chiropractic, acupuncture and massage. The most important parts of his treatment were daily exercise such as handwalking, and the care the women gave him. He was on a four-week trim cycle so we could sustain all his biomechanical improvements.

Levi’s progress in less than a year.

Levi’s caregivers and I made an excellent team that functioned harmoniously and in tandem. Eventually, Levi could be comfortably ridden on trails with padded hoof boots, three times a week.

Continued from page 31.

DEDICATION IS KEY TO HOOF REHABILITATION Hoof overgrowth has serious body, mind and emotional consequences for your horse. Rehabilitating these horses is very rewarding, but can also be costly and time-consuming. You must be serious, dedicated and willing to work with a team of professionals who are passionate in their fields of expertise. To get the best results possible, this team may include practitioners of other modalities, so try to keep your mind open. Horses spend nearly their entire lives standing, walking and running on the four feet they were born with. Far too many horses are euthanized due to lameness problems that were not their fault. Let’s make sure our equine friends enjoy feet of comfort, not pain; feet of health, not sickness; and feet that grow from a healthy mind, body and spirit – these are the feet that will carry our horses through a happy life.

Geri White has an Equine Sciences Degree and Natural Hoof Care Certification and is a Field Instructor for the Equine Sciences Academy. She is a Certified Hoof Care Professional with the American Hoof Association, and currently serves as President. 32

Equine Wellness

A Synergist saddle uses the patented EQUImeasure Kit to achieve an unprecedented level of custom fit for your horse or mule. Each saddle is also custom fit to the rider. Your individual measurements will guide them in creating the perfect seat for you. No one gets a better fit than Synergist! Endurance racing has taught them exactly what it takes to keep a horse and rider comfortable for 100 miles. Each Custom Synergist Saddle is sculpted out for the rider’s thighs with specific seat bone depressions for a custom shaped seat creating the most comfortable seat possible. Also, design features like free-swinging fenders and padded stirrups alleviate joint pain on longer rides and provide extra comfort while trail riding.


Purina® Strategy® GX Horse Feed

Purina is continually researching, testing and developing the industry’s finest equine nutrition products. Backed by extensive growth, physiology and palatability studies at their Equine Research Facility in Gray Summit, MO and rigorous feeding trials across the U.S., the Ph.D. Equine Nutritionists at Purina developed Strategy® GX Horse Feed. It provides optimal nutrition for any horse at any life stage, whether growing, breeding, show, performance or recreational horses. This specially formulated, nutrient-dense horse feed includes highly digestible ingredients that provide balanced nutrition, eliminating the need for expensive supplements and time-consuming mixing, while supporting proper digestion.



Custom fit saddles

Authentic essential oils

Essential oils are a great addition to your horse’s health maintenance. Young Living provides authentic essential oils, which are free of harmful chemicals, pesticides, or additives, making for a quality product. Use daily for health upkeep, both physically and emotionally. Focus on overall health or a specific system; Young Living offers expert assistance in designing a regimen tailored specifically for your horse. Available are oils and supplements geared towards promoting healthy bodily systems.

YLVetsAndPets.com 630-205-6226

Portable and powerful laser therapy

The Pegasus Therapy Compact (PTC) Laser is a portable therapeutic laser unit, designed to provide powerful laser therapy sessions whenever and wherever they may be needed to reduce pain, minimize inflammation, hasten healing and maintain peak performance. Featuring an intuitive touch screen and SmartCoat® Plus Technology, the PTC enables beginner and advanced laser therapy users alike to achieve reliable results, every treatment, every time. This product is the only one of its kind available with a patented deep tissue applicator, which allows the provider to perform manual therapy while ensuring an appropriate dose is delivered, even to the deepest tissues.


Equine Wellness


EQUINE LEAKY GUT SYNDROME – part 2 By Michael I. Lindinger, PhD

A leaky gut allows undesirable molecules into your horse’s body. In part two of this series, we highlight nutrients important to GIT barrier function and health, including specific amino and fatty acids. A healthy gastrointestinal tract (GIT) provides a true physical barrier that keeps out harmful compounds either ingested by your horse, or produced by pathogenic bacteria. Failure to maintain barrier function results in a leaky gut (increased permeability) and contributes to several diseases. In the second part of this series, we’ll focus on nutrients important to GIT barrier health, such as certain amino and fatty acids. The best way to correct a leaky gut is through good nutrition. If you and your vet have determined that your horse suffers from leaky gut syndrome (LGS), examine his diet carefully. You may think your horse already enjoys good nutrition, but his diet may actually be deficient in certain nutrients. 34

Equine Wellness

LUMINAL NUTRIENTS FEED THE GIT Luminal nutrients have positive effects on your horse’s GIT, without being absorbed into the blood (see Figure 1). Their benefits include: • Providing fuel (glutamine) to intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) • Stimulating the growth and proliferation of new IECs • Stimulating the release of gut hormones • Acting as molecular signals to increase or decrease nutrient transport • Stimulating intestinal mucus production. Vitamins, amino acids, nucleic acids, carbohydrates (sugars) and fatty acids all have beneficial effects on GIT mucosa and

epithelial cell growth and proliferation. While many of these are included

Figures courtesy of Michael Lindinger

Figure 1. The GIT receives nutrients from within the intestinal lumen and from the blood supply.

Figure 2. Key sites of action of specific GITbeneficial nutrients.

within complete feeds, there are still nutritional gaps that cannot be met from feeds alone. Let’s take a closer look at the roles of key amino acids, butyrate and long-chain fatty acids in enhancing adaptive responses in the GIT.

A. Amino acids Amino acids normally come from the breakdown of dietary protein, but you can supplement to meet specific amino acid needs. Intestinal epithelial cells use 20% of luminal amino acids for the mucous barrier, and the remainder for other IEC processes. Three amino acids are important for GIT health and barrier function: glutamine, arginine, and threonine.

1. Glutamine Glutamine is highly digestible and can be considered “essential” in GIT regulation of gene expression, protein synthesis and turnover, IEC growth and repair, neuronal excitability, cellular metabolism and immunity. Dietary glutamine is transported into IECs along the entire length of the GIT, with up to two-thirds entering the small intestine, to be used as fuel. Inadequate

WHY PERFORMANCE HORSES MAY SUFFER FROM GASTROINTESTINAL ISSUES Performance horses are subjected to periods of training, transport and competition. Stress from the heat and exercise related to these activities may contribute to intestinal dysfunction. These stressors result in a loss of barrier function, and compromised immune responses. Arginine supplementation in mice subjected to exercise and heat stress prevented increases in intestinal permeability and bacterial translocation; the researchers concluded that “dietary l-arginine supplementation preserves the integrity of the intestinal epithelium during exercise under heat stress.” Arginine is used by the IECs lining the large intestine to produce polyamines required for maintaining barrier function and for repairing impaired barrier function. Arginine also stimulates intestinal immune system activity, which combats inflammation.

Equine Wellness


glutamine impairs cell growth and proliferation, resulting in a breakdown of tight junctions with loss of barrier function, leading to a leaky gut.

2. Arginine Arginine is also highly digestible. It is metabolized within IECs and absorbed into the blood. When arginine is low (less than 1% of the diet), supplementary arginine (up to 2%) may stimulate growth of IECs, and preserve or restore intestinal barrier function.

3. Threonine Threonine – one of nine indispensable amino acids – cannot be synthesized, so animals must get it from their diets. It is highly digestible, metabolized within IECs, specifically used for mucin production, and actively absorbed into the blood. A threonine imbalance reduces the growth of the small intestine, liver and skeletal muscle in young animals, and reduces protein synthesis and mucin production in the GIT. Mucin forms an essential part of the intestinal immune system that’s responsible for protecting the organism from physical and chemical attack. Optimum dietary threonine is about 1% of the digestible protein. Providing supplementary threonine results in improved growth performance, health, immunity and gastrointestinal function.

B. Free fatty acids Horses don’t normally consume much fat. However, dietary fat intake is closely associated with immunological function of the intestinal mucosa. Since intestinal barrier function is directly modified by cell membrane lipid content, providing beneficial dietary lipids is important. These may take the form of certain short chain fatty acids, as well as saturated and unsaturated free fatty acids, including those below:

1. Butyrate Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) produced by microbial fermentation of dietary fibers (complex carbohydrates) within feedstuffs. Butyrate contributes to: • IEC and whole-body glucose and energy homeostasis • Regulation of IEC barrier function • Regulation of immune responses and epithelial cell growth • Modulation of nervous system activities. Practitioners consider a butyrate deficiency (measured through feces) as an indirect indicator of altered barrier function. A high abundance of beneficial GIT microbiota (Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Clostridium leptum) results in the healthy production of butyrate and other SCFAs. However, in many situations, such as stress and high-carbohydrate 36

Equine Wellness

Continued on page 38.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 36.

Several studies indicate that butyrate plays a primary role in reinforcing epithelial barrier function. It also contributes to the energetic balance of IECs, and is involved in the regulation of oxidative stress and the inflammatory status of cells. Because of butyrate’s recognized importance in many aspects of healthy GIT function, researchers have found ways to increase cecal and hindgut butyrate levels through dietary supplementation. Butyrate is rapidly taken up by IECs, however, so it is necessary to encapsulate the butyrate to protect it as it travels with digesta into the cecum and hindgut.

High IgA protects against pathogenic microorganisms by preventing their attachment to, and entrance into, IECs, and by neutralizing their toxins. Clinical trials showed that dietary polyunsaturated free fatty acids reduced GIT inflammatory activity in ulcerative colitis patients by generating and maintaining a protective layer overlying IECs, which helps reestablish an effective mucosal barrier.

Figures courtesy of Michael Lindinger

feeding, the number of SCFA-producing microorganisms decreases, and that of pathogenic bacteria increases. This leads to poor epithelial barrier integrity, and a reduced ability to repair epithelial lesions and combat exercise-associated GIT barrier problems.

Benefits of Butyrate: • Upregulates the expression of tight junction proteins in the intestines • Increases antioxidant levels to promote healing in the GI tract • Increases epithelial proliferation • Increases host defence peptides • Reduces inflammation Figure 3. Sites of action and benefits of butyrate within the GIT.

Oat and sunflower oils are rich sources of palmitic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid. Horses may also be fed Omega-3 PUFAs in the form of fish oil, but it is very important that the oil has been minimally oxidized by exposure to air. You may safely feed these dietary fats in a ratio of as much as 10% of the diet, but start with minimal amounts and gradually increase over a three-week period.


Figure 4. Triglycerides and free fatty acids.

Taking an educated role in your horse’s nutrition will help keep him healthy and protected from many avoidable conditions associated with leaky gut. Remember, balance is key. Being in the right (beneficial) range for the amount of each nutrient type is important. Carefully read labels and remember to consult with your veterinarian and other highlytrained professionals. Treatment is great – but prevention is better!

2. Oleic, linoleic and palmitic acids As dietary supplements, unsaturated free fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acid) and the saturated free fatty acid (palmitic acid) are highly digestible in the small intestine. They can have a positive effect on intestinal microbiota, and help restore and maintain intestinal health and immunity in the face of pathogens.

In Part 3 of this series (EW V13I5), we will consider probiotics and prebiotics.

Oleic acid contributes to IEC growth and increased mucosal mass, as well as immunoglobulin A (IgA) production.

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. Contact michael@nutraceuticalalliance.ca. 38

Equine Wellness



Get North America’s top natural health and lifestyle magazine for horses delivered to your home!

EQUINE WELLNESS PACKAGE DEALS Print or digital – the choice is yours! Print & digital subscription:

1 year (6 print & digital issues) only $24 2 year (12 print & digital issues) only $44


✓Natural Health Reports ✓LifeFORCE Halter Essential Oil Diffuser with Nature Horse EO

Digital subscription only:

1 year (6 digital issues) only $13.99 6 month (3 digital issues) only $8.49



B onus!

✓Natural Health Reports

equinewellnessmagazine.com/subscribe 1-866-764-1212 | or mail the form below

Mail to: Equine Wellness Magazine US: 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155, Centennial, CO 80122 | Canada: 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8

❏ 2 yrs. ❏ 1 yr. ❏ 1 yr. ❏ 6 mo.

(12 issues)

Print & Digital $44 U.S/CAN.

(6 issues)

Print & Digital $24 U.S/CAN.

(6 issues)

Digital $13.99 U.S/CAN.

(3 issues)

VISA/MC* ❏ ❏ Check/money order ❏ Bill me by email *Email address required below

Digital $8.49 U.S/CAN.



Address City


Card No.


Zip/Postal Exp. Date


*This charge may appear as Redstone Media Group Inc. on your statement.

EW 13:4


HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang is a lovely star-shaped yellow flower that grows on the Cananga tree. Known for its use in aromatherapy as a perfume and relaxant, this delightfully-smelling flower is typically administered as an essential oil – one that offers calming and healing benefits to your horse.

EXTRACTING THE HEALING POWER OF YLANG YLANG The Cananga tree is native to the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is also grown in regions of the world with similar tropical climates. The medicinal properties of the Ylang Ylang flower are extracted via steam distillation to make essential oil. The oil can be used in a spray, applied topically with dilution, or in a diffuser. Ylang Ylang essential oil is most commonly used in perfumes for its delicate smell, and as a relaxant, eczema treatment, antiseptic, and a remedy for high blood pressure.

USING YLANG YLANG FOR YOUR HORSE In equines, Ylang Ylang is most commonly used as a calming essential oil blend, spray, or in an herbal liniment. Consider turning to Ylang Ylang when your horse is facing stressful events, such as trailering, shows, or while recovering from an injury. You can always add Ylang Ylang to other essential oils to create your own calming blend: lavender, tangerine, sandalwood, grapefruit and clary sage are popular mates to Ylang Ylang.

If you do create your own blend for topical application, please take care to dilute the oils with a carrier such as aloe vera or fractionated coconut oil, so as not to irritate your horse’s skin. You can also mix several drops of essential oil in water, or water and witch hazel, for a pleasant antiseptic calming spray. Ylang Ylang is also a popular ingredient in herbal liniments; add a few drops to yours for a calming effect on your horse, as he cools down from a workout.

WHERE TO ACCESS YLANG YLANG Unless you are blessed to live in a tropical environment, growing a Cananga tree will be very difficult. In North America, these trees have only been grown in indoor greenhouses designed to replicate their native tropical habitat. If you don’t live in the tropics but wish to obtain the benefits of Ylang Ylang, your best bet is to purchase a bottle of therapeutic grade essential oil from a reputable essential oil company.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY Ylang Ylang essential oil comes in five different grades. The highest quality oil is produced from flowers that are picked in the early morning. The therapeutic effectiveness of the oil depends on the grade of oil purchased. Lower grade essential oils may not offer therapeutic benefits.

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, info@wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378. 40

Equine Wellness

RESOURCE GUIDE ASSOCIATIONS Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Website: www.cdnbha.ca Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org Equine Science Academy - ESA Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Website: www.equinesciencesacademy.com

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING Anne Riddell - AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com Barefoot Hoofcare Specialist Kate Romanenko Woodville ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456

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


Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO USA Phone: (719) 557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cynthia Niemela - Barefoot Hoof Trimming Minneapolis, MN USA Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com


NATURE’S RUN EQUESTRIAN Lessons, training and camp for all ages. Specializing in confidence building for horse and rider in all disciplines - from the ground to the saddle.

Jesse Cassidy-Skof Port Perry, ON • (226)236-8510 Jesse@naturesrunequestrian.com

NaturesRunEquestrian.com Make good choices, play with horses! The Masterson Method®, Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork Weekend Seminars, Advanced, and Certification Courses Worldwide Phone: 641-472-1312 Email: seminars@mastersonmethod.com Website: www.MastersonMethod.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: acupressure4all@earthlink.net Website: www.animalacupressure.com Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 953-3360 Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com Website: www.NaturalHorseTraining.com

Equinology, Inc. & Caninology Gualala, CA USA Phone: (707) 884-9963 Email: office@equinology.com Website: www.equinology.com

Jeannean Mercuri - The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: neanpiggy@me.com Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served.

Equine Wellness 41 View theWellness Wellness ResourceGuide Guideonline onlineat: at:EquineWellnessMagazine.com EquineWellnessMagazine.com View the Resource

Healing Touch for Animals Drea Robertson Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com

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

Equine Wellness 41 Equine Wellness 41


demystifying the


People often toss around the word “chakra” without necessarily understanding what it means. They may not fully comprehend the emotional/energetic significance of a horse’s chakras, and how they relate to her physiology. A baseline understanding of the equine chakra system can give you a window into your horse’s behavior, wellness and relationships with others.

This chakra sits on the withers going down through the chest, and houses the heart and lungs.

There are seven main equine chakras. They exist in the auric field while also penetrating the physical body. The chakras themselves are wheel-shaped and have different colors associated with them. Each was given a name in the Hindu tradition.

The fifth chakra is associated with the throat, thyroid and other glands, teeth, gums, parathyroid, trachea, hypothalamus, esophagus and the vertebrae of the neck.

First Chakra, or Root Chakra – Survival: Located on the hind end. The color is red. The Root Chakra represents survival, instinct and security, as well as the horse’s connection to the herd (horse and non-horse members). The first chakra governs the immune system, hind legs and feet. It is also home to the female sexual organs. Second Chakra, or Sacral Chakra – Power: Associated with the color orange. It represents sexual energy, creativity, birth, one-on-one relationships, emotion and power.

Fifth Chakra, or Throat Chakra – Expression: This chakra’s color is blue. It represents self-expression, creativity or spiritual expression.

Sixth Chakra, or Third Eye – Intuition: Associated with the color indigo (deep purplish blue). This chakra is all about intuition. The sixth chakra governs the pineal and pituitary glands, the brain, eyes, ears, nose and nervous system. It is concerned with neurological disorders, learning disabilities, tumors, strokes and seizures. Seventh Chakra, or Crown Chakra – Connection to the Divine: This chakra is white, and sits on the top of the head. It’s about connection to the Divine or One Mind. This chakra governs the muscular/skeletal system.

Photo courtesy of © Joan Ranquet

The male sexual and female reproductive organs sit in this chakra. The second chakra also governs the hips, sacrum, teats, lower vertebrae and lower intestine. Third Chakra, or Solar Plexus – Self-Esteem: The color for this chakra is yellow. This chakra is related to self-esteem, control and the “gut instinct”. The third chakra sits mid-back on the horse and governs the stomach, liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen, adrenals, digestive system, filtering organs and glands. Fourth Chakra, or Heart Chakra – Unconditional Love: Associated with the color green. In both horses and humans, this chakra is connected to devotion, compassion and universal or unconditional love. 42

Equine Wellness

In Part 2 of this six-part column, we’ll examine the first chakra in detail.

Joan Ranquet is an animal communicator, energy healer, author and founder of Communication with all Life University (CWALU). She offers weekend workshops and home study courses as well as certification programs in animal communication and energy healing for animals. joanranquet.com

Business Profile


Inspired by nature and backed by science, this company offers wholesome supplements that promote whole body health in horses.


n the late 1990s, brothers Jason and Trevor Watkin set out on a philanthropic mission. Guided by their respective backgrounds, they began brainstorming how they could help people cope with pain in a natural way. Their initial plan was to use their passion and knowledge to educate and inspire others. But, as an integrative pharmacy manager, Jason was able to turn their ideas into something more concrete. He developed Jason’s Formula – a product that has since helped thousands of people and animals. By the turn of the century, Jason’s Formula was rebranded as Recovery, and became the flagship product for the Watkin brothers’ new company, Purica. Though Recovery was intended for human use, studies gave Jason and Trevor the insight to tweak it for horses. Recovery EQ, a powder that promotes surgical and injury recovery in equines, made its first appearance in veterinary clinics. It was designed to inhibit damage to cells, curb inflammation, relax tension, increase a cell’s ability to receive hormones and, ultimately, improve the body’s ability to heal. After witnessing the product’s success, Trevor and Jason were eager to help even more horses. So, when an opportunity to participate in a research study presented itself, they decided to accept. “Veterinarians do field trials on products and then publish them no matter what,” explains Trevor. “In accepting, you are risking a good or bad outcome so you must be confident – which we were.” A year and a half later, the results were in. Recovery EQ was named the top product overall for equine arthritis and back pain, turning their handcrafted creation into a must-have sensation. This monumental landmark in the company’s history was just the beginning. Purica has since launched an entire line of products for horses, humans and companion animals, all designed to enhance health. The first line of their mission, “inspired by nature and backed by science”, is evident in everything they produce. Each of their supplements is designed with organic, vegan, non-GMO ingredients straight from the Earth. They’ve also been licensed by Health Canada. Indeed, this Canadian-owned and operated company is dedicated to offering only the best to their two- and four-legged customers. Though they brought different skills to the table, Trevor and Jason shared a very similar vision from the start. They wanted to help shape a world where people and animals could achieve their fullest potential, create new horizons in health and wellness, and empower people with the finest whole foods, supplements and lifestyle solutions. As Purica approaches its 20th anniversary, it’s safe to say they’ve done just that. “I personally look forward to coming to work every day,” says Trevor. “We have incredible employees on our team, and it truly is like a family that is working together to help humans and animals live better lives.”

Equine Wellness


timid HORSE By Lindsey Partridge



Meeting Kalila for the first time.

imid horses are my favorites to work with. Once you show them you are trustworthy, they become willing to do anything for you. This article will look at ways you can build trust in a scared or overwhelmed horse, and set him on the road to becoming a calm and confident performer.

of spiders) and you’re alone, you’ll probably take a long time to reason out the situation. If you imagine being with someone you don’t trust, it will take even longer because you will resist this person and question her advice. If you are with someone you do trust, however, you can relax and calmly come to a desired resolution without all the panic.

I’ve worked with my fair share of timid horses. I was warned that one of my new horses, a three-year-old APHA filly, was a kicker and hard to catch. It didn’t take me long to realize Kalila wasn’t actually a “kicker”. She was a timid horse, and was likely kicking out in fear of being trapped.

2.The second key is recognizing when tension is building,

Kalila’s story isn’t uncommon. Often, when horses become scared or overwhelmed, it triggers their fight or flight response. Unfortunately, a lot of timid horses get a bad reputation, and are often labeled as unpredictable, explosive, hard to catch or even dangerous. Fortunately, it is possible to earn the trust of a timid horse, and they can make amazing partners.

TWO KEYS TO UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF A TIMID HORSE 1. Trust is the first key to unlocking any horse – especially a timid one. Think of it this way. If you imagine yourself in a scary situation (for me, that might be in a room full 44

Equine Wellness

and stopping it before the horse goes “red” (see sidebar at right). Imagine the same scary situation as before, but this time you’re being pushed to face your fear before you are ready. What happens? Snap! The fight or flight response gets triggered. You panic and will do anything to get away.

BUILDING TRUST THROUGH PASSIVE DOMINANCE Earning a horse’s trust might seem like an impossible task, but it isn’t. It also doesn’t take as long as you might think. To earn a horse’s trust, you need to show him you understand him. You want him to look to you for direction, and demonstrate in return that you are capable of giving it. The calm connection exercises I use are designed to mimic herd behavior by moving together and seizing opportunities for the human to exert passive dominance.

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Partridge




Timid horses are usually quick to turn “red”, so it’s important to know what this means and what to do. I use the same energy colors for horses that schools use for children when talking about self-regulation (the ability to recognize and control emotions). Red is a high-energy or anxious state, yellow is a low-energy depressive state, and green is the calm alert state. It’s important to know that we can only learn if we are in the green calm alert state. Try putting yourself in your horse’s hooves; imagine trying to learn a new language with people you don’t understand. Pretend you are shy, the type who steps back and thinks things through. How would you feel if you didn’t understand what was being asked of you, and the person started adding more pressure? Would you snap? Before a horse becomes overwhelmed, he’ll display important signals that indicate he’s leaving the green state and is starting to go red. Here are some things to look for: • • • • • •

The horse is “stuck” and seems unable to move. He is tense and stiff through his body. He’s taking shallow breaths or holding his breath. His movements are quick and rigid. His eyes are wide and looking around. The horse is calling.

When you notice these warning signs, it’s a good idea to do one of three things: 1. Wait for the horse to settle and just take a deep breath. 2. Try a calm connection exercise. 3. Try a simple task that is easy for the horse to say “yes” to. This allows him to retreat into a calmer frame of mind.

Passive dominance is when you engage in body language movements that suggest you are a leader – without making an active dominant move, such as biting or kicking. In human terms, if you initiate a handshake with another person and take your hand away first, it signals to both parties that you are the more dominant one in the relationship. Horses are very aware of passive dominance, and through subtle behaviors, you can become the leader. Continued on page 46. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 45.

USE MIRRORING TO ESTABLISH LEADERSHIP Have you ever watched a herd of new horses? They move like a school of fish, all together. Eventually, one emerges as the leader; s/he will start to make changes before the others, perhaps in direction or speed. Humans can experience this with horses in a liberty game we call “mirroring”. Mirroring works if you have an anxious or high-energy horse. The human mirrors the horse by running around or looking out. The horse then notices the human and is drawn to her.

EXERCISES THAT TEACH YOU TO MOVE TOGETHER Learning to move together with a calm connection goes a long way to building trust. One exercise that facilitates this is called “Square”, and can be done on the ground or on the horse.

Square: a calm connection exercise At first glance, “Square” looks simple enough, but it has many pieces that make it a powerful exercise.

Kalila saying hi to the camera – “We want to encourage that curiosity.”

Photo courtesy of Michael Brown

On the ground:

For more info on Kalila’s story, check out the author’s online course “Starting from Scratch – Kalila the Timid Horse”. It documents the filly’s journey, showing every session in full (including the first time the author tried to catch her out in the field). Spoiler – after a few sessions, Kalila was easy to catch and start under saddle! Visit harmonyhorsemanship.teachable.com to learn more. 46

Equine Wellness

• Lead your horse in a square pattern – the straight lines and 90° corners help make it clear that neither human nor horse is pushing the other. The corners help the horse shape around the human. • Change up the size and shape of the square, making it smaller, larger or rectangular. • Start by matching your horse’s energy, but try to be one shade closer to “green” (see sidebar on page 45). • Make turns on the square if your horse is too fast or distracted. • You can politely press on your horse’s shoulder to ask him to shape out around you. • Always turn away from your horse (so you are on the inside of the square).

Riding: • Choose one rein and stick with it until the horse settles. • If using the left rein, turn only to the left; if using the right, turn right. • Make turns on the square if your horse is too fast or distracted, or when you choose to turn. • It’s okay if your square shape becomes more of a circle. There isn’t the same worry of being pushed or pushing as compared to leading on the ground. • Allow the horse to pop his shoulder to the outside; this allows him to feel less trapped. The purpose of this exercise is to simply show the horse that you can move together at the energy level he needs to move at, without judgment, punishment or a need for perfection.

STAY OPEN TO COMMUNICATION Horses are like humans; they have complex personalities and emotions. Observing and learning from them helps us communicate in our shared language, and this is especially true of timid horses. Lindsey Partridge is the founder of Harmony Horsemanship and President of the Natural Horsemanship Association. She is a clinician, horse trainer, judge, horse wrangler (for movies) and competitor. Nicknamed “Canada’s Horse Whisperer”, she has top three placings with all six Thoroughbreds she has competed with at the International Thoroughbred Makeover. Learn more at LindseyPartridge.com For more information about the calm connection exercises, the Harmony Training Continuum and Harmony Horsemanship please visit HarmonyHorsemanship.ca.

By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSE, CSFT


In Part 1 of this article (EW V13I3), we discussed one theory on saddle fit. Now we’ll look at an alternative view. In the first saddle fit theory, covered in detail in the previous issue, the saddle sits on the spine with limited contact on the back muscle. The horse may continue going, but it will take a toll on his body. Incorrect muscling occurs, and deformities become more visible. Eventually, the atrophy in the back muscles and compression of the spine can lead to permanent damage. In contrast, the second saddle fit theory dictates that the saddle needs to stay off the spine, lumbar vertebrae and shoulders, while maximizing surface area where the saddle sits. The saddle support area (SSA) is on the weight-bearing longissimus dorsi (back muscle). The advantage of having the saddle on the SSA muscle is that it stays away from the reflex points that create negative behavior or negative conformation and health issues. It will also keep the back muscles loose and supple. Your horse can then articulate through the SI joint, using his haunches better by stretching his gluteus maximus and hamstring. In Theory 1, the saddle sits on the ligaments. This can cause involuntary contractions (e.g. cramping), and impede correct coordination of muscle contractions, thus preventing a full range of motion. Theory 2 allows the muscles to stretch and contract fully. Efficient training maximizes flexion (contraction) and


extension (stretching). To achieve this, full range of motion is required. Reducing pressure on the shoulder allows your horse to lift the base of his neck and become supple through the poll. Allowing him to fully engage his muscles and lift his ribcage will make him more uphill. The balance of the saddle will need to be readdressed many times throughout his career, because the horse’s conformation changes.

ADJUSTING TO CHANGE Be prepared – the increased range of motion may cause temporary soreness due to a build-up of lactic acid (just as in humans after a new workout). This is nature’s way of recovering muscle fiber, and it results in greater muscle formation and increased circulation. During acute soreness, keeping pressure off the muscle is logical, so take one or two days off to allow for recovery, or continue with light exercise the next day. If your horse previously had ill-fitting saddles that resulted in back pain, you may see signs of muscle soreness after switching to a differently-fitted saddle. This is normal as he adjusts. Help him in the meantime by changing up the V webbing back clip of the saddle, to loosen it slightly. This will make the saddle move more in the back, which can be misinterpreted as bouncing or an ill-fitting saddle; however, you will know this is part of the process to assist your horse. It will help him heal, get stronger and develop correctly.


Several major problems have arisen in modern saddle construction, because: a) People are heavier

Age 3

Age 5

Age 8

Training during these times will affect the muscular conformation and, as a result, the three-dimensional back shape and its saddle support area (SSA) will change. Photo: Schleese Saddlery

b) There appear to be more horse “owners” rather than horsemen and horsewomen c) The horse’s saddle support area is getting smaller d) Panels are too soft for real support The end result is more back issues – for horse and rider!

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

Equine Wellness


By Virginia Croskery Lauridsen

IcelandiC THE

“Horse of the Gods”

The Icelandic is an important part of Iceland’s history and culture. Learn about the origins of the breed and its special qualities. Hardy, willing, friendly, versatile and sure-footed – these are just a few characteristics that put the Icelandic horse in a category all its own. It’s no wonder that this unique breed, which remained isolated for almost 1,000 years, is quickly growing in popularity around the globe. But how did the Icelandic get its start?

these areas in 800 AD. Logic dictates that only the strongest and best of their stock would have survived these difficult journeys. No equine breeding stock has been permitted to enter Iceland for almost 1,000 years, so the purity and unique characteristics of the Icelandic horse remain perfectly preserved.



DNA evidence shows that Icelandic horses are genetically linked to the Mongolian horse, the Norwegian Lyng horse and the Shetland pony. How did they all get to Iceland? Archaeologists believe humans from Central Asia (including Mongolia) likely brought their horses with them when they migrated to Northern Europe. These animals bred with the local horses, and their progeny traveled with the Norwegian Vikings when they explored Iceland during the 9th century. The Shetland ponies likely arrived with Celtic monks in the 7th century, or came directly from the Shetland Islands after the Vikings conquered

In its native country, the Icelandic lives a very natural lifestyle. Iceland is rugged and has highly variegated terrain, with many volcanoes, glaciers, geysers and inland waterways. The summer grass is lush and nutritious for horses, but in the winter, forage is thin and winds can reach gale force intensity. Horses have traditionally lived outside, left to hone their survival instincts within a herd. The Icelandic has no natural predators in Iceland, which likely contributes to its friendly and trusting temperament. After weaning, horses are left to mature within a herd in the mountains; in other words, to “be a horse”. Young


Equine Wellness

WHY THE “TÖLT” IS THE “GAIT OF THE GODS” The Icelandic has five natural gaits: walk, Photo courtesy of Susy Oliver

trot, tölt, canter and pace. Not all horses exhibit five gaits, but most have walk, trot, canter and tölt. Riders prize the tölt above all the others, and even refer to this exceptionally smooth four-beat trot as the “gait of the gods”. A natural tölter is an absolute joy to ride! Skeið, or “flying pace”, Virginia Lauridsen riding her Icelandic stallion, Gosi frá Lambastöðum.

is a very lateral gait with suspension. Horses can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour in pace. It feels like you are flying!

horses are not handled at all until training begins at the age of four. Icelanders believe that growing up in a natural environment – struggling for food and walking long distances on difficult terrain in harsh weather – creates strong, willing and respectful horses. My experience only confirms this theory!

THE ICELANDIC WORK ETHIC Until the late 19th century, Icelandic horses were used for transport and work on the farm, as well as pleasure riding;

Iceland simply could not have been settled without the horse. With such an important historical role, horses are a national treasure and an important part of the country’s culture. There is one horse for every fourth person in Iceland! Icelandic mares are very fertile, maintaining their estrus cycle throughout the entire year. In order to preserve the Icelandic’s special qualities, breeding is now closely monitored by the world governing association. To learn more, visit icelandics.org.

Virginia Croskery Lauridsen owns and operates Harmony Icelandics in Truro, Iowa, where she breeds, sells and trains Icelandic horses. For more than 20 years, she has been actively involved in equine activities. She owned and managed a large hunter/jumper facility and United States Pony Club Riding Center; competed on the “A” circuit in show jumping; trained in dressage; and earned her colors with the Moingona Hunt. Since her introduction to the Icelandic horse, Virginia has become an active competitor, winning the gold medal at the 2017 World Ranking Show in T1 (Advanced Tölt) and T2 (Advanced Loose Rein Tölt) at Léttleiki Icelandics in Kentucky. An accomplished classical singer, she has performed internationally and has a solo recording of songs by Victor Herbert under the Naxos label. She currently serves on the faculty at Simpson College and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa.

Equine Wellness




Riding horses brings the risk of injuries. I have certainly had my share. But we don’t want to let injuries dampen our passion for riding, and hinder us from doing what we love.


As an example, here is an exercise of brain retraining therapy for the ankle:

 Sit in a chair with a dressing mirror between your legs. Have the mirror face the “good” ankle.

The first questions I ask my students are about their injuries, old or new. Students wonder why I ask. During the lesson, as I work with their bodies, they remember old injuries from years before, which they had since forgotten but that were still affecting their riding.

 Slowly move your ankle while watching the mirror.

Your injuries, both old and new, also impact your horse. Loss of movement from sprained ankles, broken collarbones, skiing or car accidents cause your body to compensate while healing. This pattern becomes habitual – an unconscious altering of your balance and weight in the saddle. This impacts how your horse moves while you ride.

 Continue moving the ankle for a few more minutes. The

USE IT OR LOSE IT Limited motion or immobilization of the injured area allows your body to heal. For example, you hurt your ankle so you hobble around for a month. When your ankle is healed, this hobbling pattern may feel normal. The problem is, this new pattern limits your mobility in the saddle.

 Continue making small gentle movements until you see both a “left” and “right” ankle in the mirror. This might take a few minutes.

brain wants body symmetry. Seeing both feet, reflected in the mirror, moving in tandem, trains your brain to “mirror” the action with your other ankle.

 Set the mirror down and go for a walk. Notice the improvements…it’s like magic! Find out more about this technique in my book 50 5-Minute Fixes to Improve Your Riding.

The simple expression “use it or lose it” applies so well to injuries. The brain map of an injured area becomes smudged and/or shrunken. To regain function, we have to remap the brain!

RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN WITH A MIRROR Here’s a simple but powerful technique to rehabilitate an area of injury by retraining your brain. With new injuries, use the mirror during initial healing, and keep the sessions short. The “mirror technique” helps you visualize proper movements, regain function and achieve body balance.

Wendy Murdoch has been recognized internationally for over 30 years as an equestrian instructor and clinician. Author of several books and DVDs, creator of the Ride Like A Natural®, SURE FOOT® Equine Stability Program and Effortless Rider® courses, she is an innovator in her field. Wendy’s desire to understand the function of both horse and human, along with her curiosity and love of teaching, capitalized on the most current learning theories in order to show riders how to exceed their own expectations. 50

Equine Wellness



ChavaNaturals.com/collections/harmonious info@chavanaturals.com Facebook/Instagram: chavanaturals



Slow Bale Buddys are made of 100% knotless netting, the softest and strongest netting materials, plus it will not cause wear to the teeth. The patented safety fastener eliminates unsafe drawstring closures and the 11/2” openings ensure satisfaction without overeating or waste. All seams are double reinforced and all Bale Buddy feeders come with a one-year warranty. If you prefer to free feed, Big Bale Buddy feeders are a safe and affordable option.

Harmony Icelandics is proud to provide the Midwest with high quality Icelandic Horses. Located on 800 acres of rolling hills, woodlands and plains in central Iowa, Harmony Icelandics boasts an intimate stable setting with indoor and outdoor riding arenas, a track, lush pastures and miles of trail riding.



PUREFORM Performance ONE – The advanced All-InOne Performance supplement has truly become the benchmark of all performance supplements. Except salt, there is no need to add other vitamin/minerals. This supplement is guaranteed to increase shine, muscle, stamina, mobility, hoof quality and work ethic without hot energy. There is a reason why professional riders of all disciplines choose to travel, compete and rely on Performance One’s consistency and effectiveness. Join the PUREFORM Performance Team and see the difference for yourself.

The herbal ingredients in the Harmonious and Harmonious Valerian Free contain “nervines” which support the nervous system. Horses that respond to calming herbs may not need them for life; they may only need them during stressful events - a change in barns, owners or during the fireworks season.



Back on Track’s Royal Quick Wraps are easy to put on and remove, making them a convenient favorite for many horse owners to use after a strenuous ride or when shipping your horse. Made with state-of-the-art Welltex technology, this product uses the horse’s own body energy to create a soothing far infrared thermal effect which may decrease swelling and increase blood circulation, helping your horse’s muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments to feel relaxed.



The SURE FOOT® Equine Stability Program improves behavior, posture and performance, while creating a deeper connection between you and your horse. Standing on specifically designed SURE FOOT Equine pads for a few minutes, provides your horse with sensory information through his hooves, resulting in greater self-awareness, improved balance and more confidence.


PureformEquineHealth.com Equine Wellness



Photo courtesy of Lloyd Notley


Laser therapy for horses is a drug-free, surgery-free, noninvasive therapy that can be applied to most conditions that are painful, swollen or not healing. Here are some things to keep in mind about this increasingly popular treatment option.


effectively utilized for the following common applications: • Injury prevention/intervention • Post-exercise recovery • Post-surgical care • Treatment for acute injuries and wounds • Treatment for chronic conditions and joint problems

Laser therapy stimulates tissue changes through a process known as photobiomodulation (PBM). Infrared light is absorbed by the part of the cell that produces energy, thereby up-regulating the cells and stimulating them to do their jobs more effectively. Improvements in blood supply (vasodilation and new blood vessel growth), as well as changes in pain perception (decreased nerve conduction and pain mediators), can also be observed. The end result of effective PBM is a reduction in pain and inflammation and an acceleration of the healing process.




Non-pharmaceutical modalities like laser therapy are now considered the standard of care rather than “alternative” or “optional” parts of a treatment plan. Laser therapy is being 52

Equine Wellness

Laser therapy is an effective treatment for a wide range of clinical conditions, including: • Bowed tendons and suspensory injuries • Sore backs • Hock, knee, stifle and fetlock problems • Sutured or granulating wounds • Laminitis (founder) • Anything painful, swollen or not healing

Laser energy is best introduced into deep tissues with an on-contact applicator, and into superficial tissues with a non-contact treatment applicator. Most horses experience a pleasant massaging, warming sensation and do not require

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND PRECAUTIONS Laser therapy is a safe, effective and easy-toadminister modality, with a wide range of clinical applications. As with any medical treatment, there are a several contraindications and precautions of which therapists should be aware. • Follow administration, dosing and delivery technique protocols as recommended by the manufacturer for maximum effectiveness and patient comfort. • Do not apply laser energy to actively hemorrhaging sites. • Always wear the eye protection provided by the manufacturer for the patient, therapist and any bystanders. • Do not treat suspected tumors or cancer, like melanomas or sarcoids. • Use a low dose and administer a minimal number of treatments for epiphysitis. • Do not apply laser energy over recently injected medications. • Do not treat the testicles or ovaries of breeding animals. • Do not apply to the uterus of pregnant patients.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Notley

• Do not apply laser energy to IR reactive medications.

sedation. It is common for horses to lick, chew and even fall asleep during laser therapy treatments. Individual equine joints require five to ten minutes to treat while a large area of the back can take 30 minutes. Most conditions require six to 12 treatments applied three times per week. The majority of cases show significant improvement in three treatments, and dramatic improvement in six treatments. To learn more about laser therapy, please contact Pegasus Therapy at 302-709-0408, or visit us online at PegasusTherapy.com. Equine Wellness


Milagro (which means “miracle” in Spanish) after receiving plenty of TLC at Whispering Hearts. (See his before picture onpage 56.)



– even if you can’t adopt By Brenda Thompson

Too many horses live in dire straits. You may not be in a position to adopt, but you can still help rescue a horse from a life of neglect.

Horse rescues rely on public support to “keep the barn doors open”. Many people believe that the only way to help is to adopt a horse, but that’s not the sole option. In fact, if someone takes on a horse without being in a position to meet the animal’s needs, it can be detrimental to the horse’s well-being. A lack of finances, space and especially education can make a bad situation worse. But here’s the good news – there are many other ways to support horse rescues!

1. DONATE CASH One of the biggest challenges for start-up horse rescues, and the individuals behind them, is a lack of resources, both financial and educational. It requires much more than a caring heart to operate an efficient non-profit organization. Horse rescues rely on public funding and support in order to operate. Making donations is one of the best ways you can help them provide


Equine Wellness

the necessary care to the horses they take in. Before you give your hard-earned money to any organization, though, do your homework to make sure they’re legitimate and reputable. If possible, visit the facility. Bring a questionnaire to help you with your research (see sidebar at right). Think about whether a monthly or one-time donation is right for you. Remember, if the organization is a registered charity, you should get a tax receipt.

2. BECOME A FOSTER “PARENT” If you have some space on your property, keep in mind that many horse rescue organizations offer foster programs with varying degrees of duration and responsibility. If you are not in a financial position to take on a horse of your own, fostering is a way to help without committing to the long-term responsibility of horse ownership. This can be a win-win situation for both horse lovers and rescues. As with donating, do your homework to find a reputable rescue facility that will provide the necessary support you need, both financial and educational. It is not in anyone’s best interest if you take on a horse without proper support in place.

3. SPONSOR A HORSE Sponsoring a horse can be a very rewarding option for those who don’t have the space or time for a horse of their own.

Charity checkl ist Before supporting a rescue, ask these questions:

3 Are you a registered charity? (If they

are, be sure to get a donation rece ipt to offset your taxes at the end of the year.) How long have you been in operatio n?

3 3How does your organization operate? 3 Do you adopt horses out? How are homes found?

3 What type of care is provided to new horse arrivals, and by whom?

Also, consider the following:

3 Are there many malnourished or injured horses on the property? If so, ask why and when they arrived.

3Is the facility over-populated? 3 Is the facility well kept? Does it have proper fencing, bedding and hay?

Continued on page 56.

Equine Wellness


Milagro when he first arrived at Whispering Hearts. His transformation is one of the organization’s many success stories. Continued from page 55. Sponsoring provides much-needed financial support to the rescue, while giving you a sense of pride and responsibility. You are able to witness the effect your sponsorship has on your horse, as you keep yourself updated on his journey. There are varying degrees of sponsorship available, so seek out what’s best for you. Sponsoring a horse on someone else’s behalf is a great gift idea for any horse lover!

4. ATTEND OR HOST A FUNDRAISER Attending or hosting fundraisers that benefit an equine rescue is another great way to “step up”. It requires many hours to organize and put on a successful and profitable event. Without volunteers, it wouldn’t be possible. There are many types of fundraising activities, including concerts, farm visits, bake sales, garage sales, etc. Subscribe to a rescue’s newsletter or mailing list to stay informed of upcoming fundraisers. If you like to plan, why not host one of your own?

5. DONATE SUPPLIES Horse rescue organizations require lots of supplies. Make an inkind donation of hay, feed, tack or other supplies. If you have the resources, you can purchase much-needed provisions. Some rescues even have “wish lists”, where you can see specifically what supplies they lack, and donate accordingly. Donating supplies, instead of the money to buy them, provides assurance that your money goes directly to the horses in need.

6. VOLUNTEER It’s true what they say – many hands make light work! Volunteering at a horse rescue facility is one of the most rewarding ways you can contribute. If you do not have the knowledge or experience to work directly with horses, it’s okay. There is so much else to be done on a daily basis – stalls and paddocks to clean, hay to be distributed, etc. The list can seem endless, and that’s why rescues need your help. Volunteers are one the most valuable resources to a properly-run horse rescue facility. If you have a special skill or area of expertise, such as marketing or design or website maintenance, you may lend your talents in other ways too.

7. SPREAD THE WORD Last but not least, if you are not in a position to help in any of the above ways, there is still another option…educate! Educate yourself about equine welfare and spread the word. Choose a legitimate horse rescue organization, learn as much as you can about it, and share the great work they do. Word of mouth, social media, websites and blogs are all effective ways you can spread the word. Remember, one person’s power to effect change is often underestimated. Helping any way you can, whether financially or through your time and talents, can make all the difference to horses in need.

Brenda Thompson is president and founder of Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue Center, a federally-registered non-profit organization with charitable status that was established in 2007. A volunteer-based equine welfare organization, their goal is to ensure quality care and treatment of horses through intervention, education and outreach. Their mandate is to provide care and rehabilitation to abused and neglected horses. Brenda also authored the Ontario Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue, Retirement, and Adoption/Rehoming Facilities. For more information about WHHR, what they do, the horses and ways you can help, visit whhrescue.com. 56

Equine Wellness

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rollins.


WEST VIRGINIA HORSE NETWORK Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA194 to West Virginia Horse Network.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2015 LOCATION: Kanawha County, West Virginia TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Horses and ponies NUMBER




“Our organization is operated exclusively by volunteers and we have no paid staff,” says Nicky Walters, West Virginia Horse Network (WVHN) President. “We have close to 40 active volunteers.”

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: The organization’s largest annual fundraisers include their “Hayghetti Dinner and Hoedown” – a spaghetti dinner with music and a silent auction – and a “Barnbeque” at their local feed store. They also host an event called Projects for Ponies, where donors create mixed media art projects with the help of an instructor. “We also raise funds by seeking monthly sponsorships of our horses,” says Nicky.

Megan and Major meeting for the first time on adoption day.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: In the summer of 2017, Humane officers in Jackson County found a three-year-old stallion named Major tied up with no shelter. He was visibly starving. After a legal battle with his owners, the county won the case and asked WVHN if they could take him in. They agreed, eager to rehabilitate Major and find him a new home. Major was initially too thin to undergo the gelding procedure, but it wasn’t long before he was strong enough to have the surgery. Major then began to learn all the basic skills required to lead a safe and productive life. Through WVHN’s Barn Buddies program, he learned to lead safely, load safely and to stand for the farrier. “He also knows how to back up, side pass, ground tie, yield and other wonderful skills,” says Nicky. “He has a silly personality and loves to do fun obstacle courses.”

WVHT President Nicky Walters with Bourbon, a special needs horse that will require a very special adopter.

Due to his sense of humor and gentle demeanor, Major was a favorite among all the young Barn Buddy volunteers. But before long, he developed a special relationship with a young girl named Megan. “I remember seeing him for the first time,” says Megan. “I instantly knew there was something special about him. We’ve had a bond from the start.” Prior to joining the Barn Buddies Program, Megan had no experience with horses. “Major has given me more patience, drive and confidence,” she says. “He’s brought out the best in me, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.” Luckily, their story has a happy ending. Earlier in 2018, a WVHN Facebook follower named Brandy offered to pay Major’s adoption fee on Megan’s behalf. Thanks to Brandy, Megan is now the proud owner of her first horse.

Adoptable horse Arabella with Kadence (right) and Kenzie (left). Both children are part of the WVHN Barn Buddies Program.

Follow them on Facebook! facebook.com/wvhorsenet/ Equine Wellness



Rehabilitating a dressage horse Rehabilitating a dressage horse, or a horse from any other discipline, can be incredibly rewarding. The horses I have returned to wholeness have taught me valuable lessons that benefit my entire herd. In order to be successful, you must commit to the process, without worrying about the outcome. The key is to focus on what your horse can do, and strengthen that ability in as many ways as possible. This will give you the necessary optimism and positivity to succeed, while remaining firmly grounded in reality. Below are some guidelines for the three pillars of recovery:



Wait and watch: Don’t jump in too fast. Give the horse time to feel safe with you. Diagnostics: Understand any existing injuries or afflictions. Help him feel safe: Dramatic changes can be traumatic. Ease him into his new healthy lifestyle. For example, a horse that has been stalled alone may initially feel stressed if thrown out in a big herd 24/7. Answer basic needs: Freedom, forage and friends. You can solve many training and health problems simply by getting the horse back to a more natural lifestyle.

Photo courtesy of Dana Rasmussen

Nurture curiosity: Beware of learned helplessness, give the horse options, and allow him to choose. You want him to work with you. To do this, he must feel free to make choices and express what he wants or needs.



Be clear: Solve communication issues that lead to brace or contortion. Many mental, emotional and physical injuries can be traced to conflicting aids and/or confusion. Dissolve negative tension: In my “Moving Massage” technique, you dissolve excess muscle tension through gentle touch while walking next to your horse. Find the “Sweet Spot”: Experiment to find the place of easy movement. I call this technique “Finding The Sweet Spot of Healthy Biomechanics”. Play with different areas of balance to find where the horse feels the most comfortable, relaxed and balanced. For example, I worked with a horse who, due to former adhesions, had one leg that moved short. In response, I shortened the stride in general to match the short-moving leg. This created evenness, ease and symmetry – our therapeutic building blocks.



Do what he CAN do: I knew a horse that limped only when going track right. I exercised him on straight lines and turns to the left only. I taught another horse with front-end lameness a technique called school halts, where the horse “sits” on his hindquarters. Strengthen the place of ease: When you find your “Sweet Spot” of movement, strengthen it. If you do so wisely, dressage can be considered physical therapy. This is my process for all horses, whether dressage or not. When you are able to rehabilitate a horse, it feels like a gift. Then again, every day with every horse is a gift!

Hot Shot and Atomic are practicing the Spanish walk in unison.

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 58

Equine Wellness


EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com AETA International Trade Show August 11–13, 2018 – Oaks, PA This show features exhibits, a market party, educational roundtables and much more! Exhibitors and buyers will spend 3 days viewing English and Western merchandise, networking with each other and learning the latest in equestrian products and services at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center! For more information: events@aeta.us www.aeta.us

American Saddlebred World’s Championship Horse Show August 16–25, 2018 – Louisville, KY This 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. Horses compete in divisions such as Three-Gaited, Five-Gaited, Fine Harness, Saddlebred Pleasure and more. Horses and riders who win earn the title of world’s champion, and second place duos earn the title of reserve world’s champion. For more information: (270) 547-8664 horseshow@ksfb.ky.gov www.kystatefair.org/wchs/index.html

Healing Touch for Animals Level 1 Course August 24–26, 2018 — San Diego, CA ®

Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6pm – 10pm This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9am – 6pm This class is a prerequisite for the Large Animal Class. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9am – 6pm 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 program@highhorses.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 www.extrememustangmakeover.com

Canadian Equestrian Equipment & Apparel Show September 8–10, 2018 – Ancaster, ON Established in 1972, the Canadian Equestrian Equipment and Apparel Association is Eastern Canada’s premier trade event for Equestrian Retailers. With both Spring (February) and Fall (September) markets, the CEEAA offers retailers a chance to connect with over 40 specialized equestrian wholesalers in one easy-to-access venue. CEEAA markets are a great opportunity to speak directly with manufacturers and their representatives, to see what’s new and exciting in the industry and to pick up new merchandising tips and techniques. Additionally, store owners and their staff members are invited to take advantage of the on-site seminars and training opportunities.

For more information: (519) 821-9207 info@ceeaamarket.ca www.ceeaamarket.ca

2018 International Dressage at Devon Horse Show September 25–30, 2018 – Devon, PA This event opens with the 3-Day Breed Division which judges horses on movement and conformation. More than 29 breeds will be represented. The combination of breed classes and performance classes should not be missed! As well, the festival shops offer exclusive apparel, fine arts, antiques and collectibles from more than 65 vendors. Families can enjoy the weekend, with plenty of activities for the youngsters! This is an event you won’t want to miss! For more information: tickets@dressageatdevon.org www.dressageatdevon.org

The Mane Event: Chilliwack October 19–21, 2018 – Chilliwack, BC Some of North America’s top clinicians provide quality information on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers. For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com https://chilliwack.maneeventexpo.com/

Equine Affaire November 9–11, 2018 – West Springfield, MA Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of this event. Soak up information and advice at more than 230 clinics, seminars, and demonstrations on a wide variety of equestrian sports and horse training, management, health, and business topics. Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation’s leading equinerelated retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and organizations. For more information: (740) 845-0085 info@equineaffaire.com www.equineaffaire.com

Equine Wellness




Equine Wellness

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

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

NATURAL PRODUCTS FOR LOVE OF THE HORSE – Our Herbal Solutions are derived from the integration of Contemporary Chinese herbalism and Equine pathophysiology. Each Solution has been precisely formulated by Dr. Thomas and every formula is comprised of herb groupings chosen to target the root of the underlying problem. We only use the highest quality, authentic, and safest herbs in every one of our herbal solutions. All herbs are NOT created equal. (866) 537-7336; www.forloveofthehorse.com HOOFJUNKIE – We are proud to be a family operation located in the small, quiet town of Cottonwood, California. Horses are our life... we want to help you and your herd be its best. Our products are handmade using only the best USA sourced ingredients in the manufacturing and packaging processes. All other products on our site have been thoroughly tested and received the Hoofjunkie Herd’s approval. (530) 921-3480; www.hoofjunkie.com WHOLE EQUINE – Is your online resource for natural horse care products and equipment. We are proud to offer an array of natural horse care products, including supplements, first aid, cleaning, equipment and other items that help horses reach their optimal physical and mental health. (884) 946-5378; info@wholeequine.com; www.wholeequine.com

EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com

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

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

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

Equine Wellness




By Laura Batts


horse’s immune system is critical to his health. It helps him eliminate toxins and pathogens from his body, so it can function at its highest level. Many rescue horses are not in great health, which means their immune systems require extra support.


I’m a big believer in using only ecofriendly supplements and alternative treatments for my horses. This is even more important when the immune system is compromised. Supporting the immune system helps fight free radicals, reduces the effects of environmental stress, and helps with appetite and maintaining a healthy weight.

Before you use any herbs with your horse, make sure you: • Check with your veterinarian to rule out a problem that needs conventional treatment. • Feed the recommended dose, and no more. Some plants used in herbal formulas have toxic properties. • Buy only formulas designed for horses. Horses and people react differently to many herbs. • Look for the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal. Members of this group agree to follow certain standards in manufacturing and labeling.

Before you look to any supplement to “fix” a health issue, always start with a visit from your veterinarian, and work with him/her to find out what the issues are to develop a plan to resolve them. The natural supplements I use fall into three categories: herbs, essential oils and whole foods.

Horses are herbivores so it’s natural for them to seek out and eat herbs. Generally speaking, herbs are used for chronic longstanding problems, and can often allow your vet to reduce the dosage of any pharmaceutical drugs your horse might be taking.

2. ESSENTIAL OILS When using essential oils with your horse, let him choose the oils. Hold the

open bottle (or some oil dabbed on a cotton ball) close to his nose so he can sniff it. His reaction to the oil will let you know whether you should use it or not. There are two basic ways you can use essential oils with your horse: aromatherapy and topical application.

3. WHOLE FOODS I use whole foods, vitamins and minerals to help with equine immunity. They trigger the body to eliminate toxins and motivate cells to boost the immune system. Rescue horses especially can benefit from a diet that includes vitamin E, rice bran, flax seed, pure bentonite clay, bee pollen, apple cider vinegar and spirulina. When we talk about the equine immune system, we are usually worried about a horse that is already sick. But it also helps horses defend against disease. Natural supplements are a great way to support this important function of the immune system – to prevent illness and promote a healthier horse.

essential oils

Essential oils are terrific for immune issues involving your horse’s skin. My “go-to” oils are: • Cedarwood – has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties • Chamomile – can soothe skin and coat condition • Tea tree – has many medicinal properties; is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, antioxidant, and an overall immune stimulant


Herbs to consider for your rescue horse include garlic to help fight off infection; red clover if he’s recovering from illness; rose hips, which are loaded with vitamin C; and Echinacea to stimulate the production of white blood cells. 62

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness