V13I6 (Dec/Jan 2018-19)

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Equine Wellness

December 2018/January 2019 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Cindy MacDonald ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Sariana Burnet ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Emily Watson EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Anna Dezsi WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Lace Insom SOCIAL/DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER: Theresa Gannon COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Sherman Cahal COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Laura Batts Sariana Burnet Paige Cerulli Audi Donamor Melanie Falls Heather Hoyns, DVM Carlin Jones, VMD Wendy Murdoch Wendy Pearson, PhD Joan Ranquet Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSE, SCFT Amy Snow Tamara Thomas, PT Anna Twinney Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES MANAGER: Ericka Carbonneau 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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 Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Editorial & Multimedia Specialist: Carlisle Froese, (866) 764-1212 ext. 224 carlisle@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

ON THE COVER Photo by: Sherman Cahal

Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

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


Agile and athletic, the Thoroughbred is in a league of its own. What you may not know is that this incredible breed is remarkably versatile. Just look at our hot-blooded cover star enjoying a cold-winded winter! Turn to page 32 to read our coverage of the Thoroughbred Makeover and learn about this horse’s many offtrack talents. Equine Wellness



When clarity and compassion replace fear and frustration, you will achieve better communication – and a deeper bond – with your horse.

12 PLANNING YOUR HORSE’S WINTER DIET It’s time to think about

your horse’s dietary needs for the winter months. Here are a few tips to ensure he gets the nutrients he requires.


related activities to enjoy this holiday season!

KEEPER If your horse is a hard keeper, he’ll likely require special attention during the winter months. These tips will help keep him healthy.




This popular event helps transition retired horses into second careers – and in some cases, find them forever homes.



RECIPE These delicious holiday hemp treats are healthy, easy to make, and your equine family member will love them.

during the winter, be sure to take steps to protect her respiratory health.

42 14 FIRST AID KIT ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR EQUINE Horses are notorious for

HORSE’S RESPIRATORY HEALTH If your horse is staying indoors


Going for a bareback ride is a great way to improve your riding skills. But before you mount up, make sure you know how to do so safely.

throwing us curve balls. Having a wellstocked first aid kit can make all the difference in an emergency.


MYOFASCIAL RELEASE FOR HORSES Myofascial release is gaining

traction as an integral part of equine healthcare. Learn about fascia and its role in protecting your horse’s body. 4

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WITH YOUR HORSE THIS WINTER Here’s a flurry of horse-


Warming up and cooling down should be an integral part of your horse’s training routine, especially during the winter.


nts 42



8 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

16 Herb blurb

27 Product picks

26 Green acres

36 Holiday gift guide

48 Acupressure at-a-glance

41 Business profile: Omega Alpha

50 Saddle fit

51 Heads up

56 Equine chakras

57 Equine Wellness resource guide

62 To the rescue

63 Events

66 Rider fitness

64 Marketplace 65 Classifieds


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EDITORIAL An attitude of



o me, cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” is never cliché or overdone. On the contrary, it’s a daily practice – and never more than at this time of year, when the old winds down and a fresh breath of the new appears on the horizon.

As one year ends and another begins, I stand firmly in the present, while looking back with an open mind to learn from my mistakes and looking forward with intention to create a better world for all, including our amazing equines.

As we head into winter, I give thanks for an abundant local harvest. For our horses, that means nutritious hay, enough to last until the pasture greens again, as well as crops of carrots, apples, oats, beets, herbs and myriad other plants loved by equines, whether they’re fed raw or made into treats like the yummy hemp cookies featured on page 38.

Speaking of “the present”, our holiday issue is loaded with gifts to nurture your horse, your fellow horse lovers – and yourself! Our gift guide on page 36 will help you find the perfect way to spoil your loved ones, whether equine or human.

I’m grateful for the excellent health of our horses, who live outside as a herd 24/7. They are sassy and fuzzy, not minding the cold – it’s an excuse for them to cavort and play, saucy heads swinging and tails a’flying. Always living in the moment, they seem to say: “Nothing like a break from heat, humidity and flies!” On page 28, we show you five fun winter activities to enjoy with your own horses while you celebrate the splendor of the season. I’m also thankful for our herd’s very existence! Watching or spending time with them brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Learn how this kind of gentle observation and appreciation of the nature of horses can help you develop a greater bond with your own herd – turn to page 10. I feel gratitude is a two-way street with horses. I know they appreciate being respected and well cared for. They show it in their emotional balance and willingness to interact.


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With “the present” also comes “the practical”. As winter arrives, you must make certain preparations to ensure your horse’s health and happiness. On page 12, we help you plan a winter diet for your horse to ensure he’s getting the nutrients he needs to thrive. For equines that spend extra time indoors during the winter, respiratory health is an important consideration. Turn to page 18 for strategies to preserve air quality so everyone can breathe easy. With that, I wish you all a safe and joyous holiday season. May we take stock of our many blessings, and look forward to welcoming the challenges and triumphs that the coming year will bring.


Cindy MacDonald

Equine Wellness



RESEARCH INTO EQUINE VISION COULD IMPROVE RACECOURSE SAFETY A study carried out by the University of Exeter that examined equine vision may result in the improved safety of British racecourses. The object of the study was to enhance obstacle visibility for the equine athlete and improve the safety of both horse and rider. The research concluded



How humans perceive an orange fence compared to horses.

that the colors currently used on hurdles and fences

and humans. “From riding over the different colored

(mostly orange) are based on human vision, and that

fences it was clear to me that over some colors the

safer alternatives should be used. Horses have reduced

horses reacted differently and showed the obstacle

color perception and can only differentiate objects in

more respect,” says Ian Popham, a former jockey

palettes of blues and yellows. To horses, the orange

involved in the trial. “This feels like a great idea and

markers appear as a shade of green that dangerously

opportunity to make the sport safer for both horses

blends in with the grass.

and jockeys.” The results of this study will hopefully

It has been recommended that a trial be carried out using fluorescent yellow for all hurdles and guardrails,

be translated into other disciplines and countries to improve the safety of equine athletes worldwide.

and fluorescent white for take-off boards at fences.


These colors have maximum visibility for both horses


REMAINS REVEAL EVIDENCE OF ANCIENT EQUINE DENTISTRY Archeologist William Taylor was studying horse bones

primitive barbarity of this practice, it sparked Taylor’s

at the National Museum of Mongolia when local

curiosity. He wondered whether more ancient versions

researchers told him about a form of oral health care

of equine dentistry might help explain some of the

that modern-day Mongolian herders administer to

“funky specimens we’re finding in the museum”. Along

their horses. They extract premolars called “wolf teeth”

with his colleagues, Taylor began examining specimens

from a horse’s mouth before they turn two years old,

found at 29 different sites across Mongolia.

usually with a screwdriver. The intent of this dental ritual is to make the bit more comfortable. Despite the

Two different dental procedures were revealed. A specimen dated to 1150 BCE indicated that the horse’s milk teeth had been sawed down, probably with a stone instrument. A form of this practice still exists in modern dentistry, where these baby teeth are extracted to allow for the unobstructed development of permanent teeth and the use of a bit. This is considered one of the earliest known instances of a veterinary dental procedure. The second procedure was noted on a horse skull from around 750 BCE, which indicated that the first premolar tooth on either side of the upper jaw had been extracted – the same practice carried out by modern herders today. These findings are an important reminder of the longstanding relationship between horse and humans, and help us understand the origins of veterinary dental practices. https://the-scientist.com/notebook/ancient-teeth-tellthe-history-of-equine-dentistry-64801


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Horse and livestock farm

The 2018-2019 Veterans Administration Adaptive Sports Grant



(ASG) has distributed $1 million to equine-assisted mental health.

experienced at least one

This is the first year the ASG has allotted funds specifically



for an equine-assisted program, most likely in response to the

in the last ten years are

increasing demand for such programs, and the growing mound

eligible to participate in

of evidence indicating this form of therapy yields positive and

an important University

long-lasting results.

who in

of California survey. The survey will assess the impact of wildfires on production and feed losses, evacuation procedures and the availability and cost of wildfire insurance, thereby aiming to quantify the impact of wildfires in different livestock production systems. Once this is accomplished, UC wants to use the data to create a risk map, indicating the areas in California most likely to experience wildfires with a high and lasting economic impact.

One of two national organizations to receive a share of the grant is Eagala (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association), a leading nonprofit association that incorporates horses when addressing mental health and personal development needs. An Eagala military services program designation indicates that certified professionals have had specialized training and experience in the military community. 25 programs in the United States have earned the Eagala military designation, and

The goal is to achieve a better understanding and more accurate

CEO Lynn Thomas expects the number to grow. “This grant will

calculation of the immediate and long-term cost of wildfires, and

enable us to grow the programs providing this effective approach

improve on the allocation of funds for post-fire programs.

to serving veterans,� she says.

To participate in the survey, visit http://bit.ly/FIREsurvey.


Equine Wellness


a guide to better


By Anna Twinney

When clarity and compassion replace fear and frustration, you will achieve better communication – and a deeper bond – with your horse.


hen we work with our horses, we often make decisions based on our own human perspective. But if we take a moment to look through our horses’ eyes, we will gain a new and intimate viewpoint. We will come to understand more about the way they see the world, which will ultimately improve the connection we share with them. Through improved communication, connection and collaboration, we can transform our less-than-effective leadership and invite our horses to be more responsive to what we’re asking of them. Here’s how to make it happen.

1. Recognize his gestures Your horse communicates through body language. The gestures he makes are nearly undetectable and require a keen eye to be noticed, but even the slightest movements – a subtle shift in weight distribution, the look in his eye, the direction of his ears – are his way of creating a dialogue. Do your best to pick up on his signals and respond to them.

2. Familiarize yourself with his culture Horses work together in a herd hierarchy, where each individual has a place and purpose. They come together to achieve mutual goals and gain strength in their community. 10

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For instance, certain rituals have lasted for centuries, such as gathering at the waterhole, sharing protective spaces, and eating as a group. By paying closer attention to these herd dynamics, you can gain a greater understanding of your horse’s needs.

3. Ground yourself Next time you’re with your horse, take a moment to let the stresses of your day dissolve. Take some deep breaths, and allow the flow of your breathing to release any tension you might be carrying. Envision love flowing through your heart into your hands, then bring that energy and intention to the horse during your session. When your horse senses your attitude is positive, his will be too!

4. Achieve your goals organically This happens naturally as your partnership evolves. Keep your intentions pure, and focus on taking your training one step at a time. Every horse learns at his own pace, so patience is key.

5. Celebrate every success Praise your horse in the manner he understands and embraces. He may appreciate a light touch, a rub on the neck or shoulder, or a short break. Remember to breathe and smile

as you acknowledge his attempts, and never punish his failures.

6. Encourage your horse’s individual character Let his personality develop and shine through. If your horse feels as though he has a voice, he’ll be more motivated to do right by you. Eventually, this will translate into a well-behaved partner who picks up on what you want him to do even before you ask, and vice versa.

7. Be driven by exploration and creativity When you’re task-oriented, it’s easy to become dominant. Make your training sessions and everyday engagement more interactive and playful, and watch how quickly you and your horse begin to bond.

8. Take note of his learning style Figure out the length of lesson he appreciates, and plan your sessions at the right time of day. You might have a busy schedule, but working with your horse when he’s most focused will allow him to process and retain the information much more effectively.

9. Keep variety in your sessions Training shouldn’t be a chore. Your horse should look forward to spending time with you, and that means making sessions as positive as possible! Pay attention to his signals and use that awareness to create a productive learning environment. Repeat aspects of your repertoire when necessary, and know when enough is enough. Working in reciprocity will always yield better results than imposing your will on him. Learning to speak your horse’s language is, without a doubt, a difficult journey. It can be more challenging than simply demanding that he meet you where you are, or forcing him to abide by a systemized approach. But if you expect him to always try his best, you must do the same for him! Replace force, dominance and compliance with compassion, communication and collaboration – and your bond will automatically deepen.

Anna Twinney is the Founder of Reach Out to Horses®, a unique program of horsemanship based entirely on a stress-free, gentle methodology of collaboration between horse and human. She is known around the globe for her highly acclaimed work as an equine linguist, natural horsewoman, clinician, coach and animal communicator. Her work has been featured on U.S. and international television, radio and online programs. For more information about Anna and the Reach Out to Horses® program visit ReachOutToHorses.com.

Putting yourself in his shoes

When you consider things from your horse’s perspective, his resistance won’t be so perplexing. For example, if your horse is responding negatively to his halter, it might be that a history of abuse taught him to protect his head from handling. As a prey animal, it is natural for your horse to be driven by fear – to hide, disassociate, flee or fight. Before you blame him for his behavior, put yourself in his shoes, and give him the compassion he deserves.

Equine Wellness




winter diet

By Heather Hoyns, DVM

s the beautiful days of fall turn short and cold, it’s time to think about your horse’s dietary needs for the winter months. Here are a few tips to ensure he gets the nutrients he requires all season long.

Horses are temperate climate animals and handle cooler weather well. But cold temperatures require nutritional change, and for some horses, this can be challenging. During the harsh months of winter, horses need more calories to maintain body condition and keep warm. On the other hand, if they are ridden less during the winter, their caloric requirements may actually decrease. Many horses go from pasture to hay as their primary forage source, and those that live primarily outdoors will require more


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calories than horses that spend most of their time blanketed and living in a barn. These are all factors to consider when planning your own horse’s winter diet.

GETTING STARTED When considering feed adjustments for your horse this winter, start by recording his current weight. Using a weight tape, measure and record how much he weighs. Monitor your horse’s body condition weekly to see if he is losing or gaining

weight throughout the season, and adjust his feed accordingly.

If you’re worried about planning his winter diet, talk to your veterinarian now about any concerns you may have, before the cold weather sets in.

HYDRATION IS ESSENTIAL TO PROPER DIGESTION Supplying your horse with clean water should always be a priority – even in the winter. Drier feed such as hay contains less water than grass, so horses need to make up the difference in water content. Frozen water doesn’t do your horse any good, and snow is a poor substitute, since warming it to body temperature requires a lot of energy. To ensure he’s staying hydrated, provide warm water several times a day; or ideally, use a heated stock tank or water bucket. A horse requires five to ten gallons of water per day and will consume about 30% more if it’s warmed. Making loose salt available will also help prevent dehydration, which can lead to an impaction colic.

FEED YOUR HORSE QUALITY HAY When increasing feed, many caretakers turn to grain to keep their horses warm – but this isn’t ideal. Digesting grain produces very little heat, so it does little to keep him warm. Hay, on the other hand, produces a great deal of heat. Providing a bit of extra hay, especially in a slow-feeder bag, will keep your horse’s body temperature up when the weather is bitter. It’ll also keep him occupied when grazing isn’t an option, making him less likely to chew on your barn! In most cases, hay should be the basis of a winter diet. But quality is key. Hay that is too coarse is harder to chew and will usually supply less nutrition per pound than a finer, more leafy variety. Conversely, very rich leafy hay may provide too many calories for an easy keeper. Having your hay analyzed will provide you with some direction. Continued on page 14.

HOW MUCH HAY DOES HE NEED? A run of cold, wet weather

wilsignificantlyincrease yourhorse’s caloric requirements. Providing extra hay will help keep him warm, and be much appreciated. Generally, a horse should consume 1½ lbs to 2 lbs pounds of hay/forage per 100 lbs of body weight. An easy keeper should consume 1½ lbs, and a harder keeper should be close to 2 lbs.

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Additional tips for

winter feeding • Consider your horse’s individual needs.

Pregnant mares, as well as young, growing and old horses require closer monitoring and specialized feeding programs that include a higher plane of nutrition.

• Make sure his teeth are in good shape. If he has a “smooth mouth” due to advanced age, providing forage or grain in the form of senior feed, pellets or mashes may be necessary. • Talk to your vet about a de-worming program. Your horse should be on a targeted deworming program, so consult your veterinarian to set one up. No need to “feed the worms” this winter. • Supplement with vitamin E. Vitamin E degrades rapidly in stored hay, so supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily is a good idea in the winter.

Continued from page 13

ADDING BALANCER RATION AND FAT TO FEED Most horses that are fed an adequate amount of hay don’t need a lot of extra calories. But what if your horse isn’t getting the nutrients he needs? In these cases, the addition of a “balancer" ration, fed at the recommended rate, can help supply adequate and balanced nutrition to your horse’s winter diet without packing on the pounds. If you do need to increase your horse’s grain to maintain body condition or weight, make sure you don’t feed too much at one time. Do not give him any more than five pounds in one feeding, and be sure to check the label or feed tag for the recommended amount. In some instances, as with a very hard keeper, feeding adequate calories in the winter is a challenge. One way to increase a horse’s caloric intake without spending a fortune is to add fats or oils to his diet. Give him a high fat feed (some can be as high as 12% fat) or add a healthy high quality oil, such as flaxseed, directly to his grain ration. Fats/oils work well because they provide 2.5 times more calories than proteins or carbohydrates. They are more “calorie dense” meaning they supply more calories in a smaller volume of feed. Following these general guidelines will help you plan your horse’s winter diet before the snow falls, so you can spend time enjoying the season!

• Feed him warming foods. A warm mash, beet pulp and/or bran will be very welcome on a really cold night. (See our holiday treat article on page 38 for our delicious hemp treat recipe).

Providing a bit of extra hay, especially in a slow-feeder bag, will keep your horse’s body temperature up when the weather is bitter.


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Dr. Heather Hoyns has had a lifelong interest in horses. As a teenager, she was an active 4-H member. As an active endurance competitor, she has competed from the local level up to the FEI level. She is an FEI veterinarian for endurance, dressage and combined driving. After graduating with a BS in Animal Science from Cook College, Rutgers University with a special interest in Nutrition, Dr. Hoyns went on to Cornell University where she received her DVM. She is a member of several associations, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, and the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.

Equine Wellness



HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls

((Glycyrrhiza glabra)

According to the ancient Egyptians, licorice root was a magical cure that would protect you in the afterlife. Here’s how it can protect your horse! Caution: Licorice should not be fed to pregnant mares or as longterm support as it may cause birth defects or hypertension.


hile licorice is not quite a cure-all, it is truly a medicinal gift from nature – for horses and humans alike. This hardy perennial is native to parts of the Middle East, Asia, the Mediterranean and Northern China. While best known for its flavoring in candy, licorice boasts an abundance of health benefits you can share with your horse.

PLANT PARTS AND USES The root of the licorice plant is typically dried and shredded or made into a powder, which can then be made into a tea or tincture. The root contains glycyrrhizic acid, which gives licorice its primary medicinal properties. Its scientific name comes from the ancient Greek word for “sweet root”, as it is thought to be 30 to 50 times sweeter than sugar, thus giving it superior palatability. Beyond giving licorice its sweet taste, glycyrrhizic acid is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is also an effective eczema remedy, a bronchial soother, stress reliever and ulcer remedy.

HOME GROWN Though not native to North America, licorice is a relatively easy plant to cultivate. It grows into a 5’ shrub with pale yellow and purple flowers in the summer. To grow licorice, plant it in moist well-draining soil in an area with direct sunlight and moderate temperatures. This plant has extensive root system that can grow 3’ to 4’, and can be harvested in the fall after two full years of growth. Remove with a sharp spade and dry for later use, or use the stems to make a tasty tea.

MOST COMMON USES FOR HORSES It’s generally recommended that licorice root be used to treat acute issues, as it’s not ideal for long-term application. Because licorice is actually a legume, like alfalfa, horses generally accept it with enthusiasm. Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is effective at healing most digestive upsets caused by bacterial infections and can promote good bacterial balance in the intestines. The herb’s anti-inflammatory qualities can also soothe a horse’s airways, reduce throat soreness, and relax bronchial spasms – making it a great treatment for equines with heaves or other respiratory issues. For more info on respiratory issues, turn to page 18.


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Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, inspired by healing her own horse, 23-year-old Desario, using 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 much more. She offers free nutritional consultations to all her customers and is passionate about improving the lives and health of our large four-legged friends. wholeequine.com, info@wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378

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Equine Wellness


Protecting your horse’s


E HUMANS TEND TO STAY INDOORS DURING THE WINTER. IF YOUR HORSE IS DOING THE SAME, BE SURE TO TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT HER RESPIRATORY HEALTH. By Wendy Pearson, PhD While I am admittedly not a winter person, I have spent many years watching horses enjoying wintery weather. It seems there are some perks to being a horse in winter – you get to grow your own warm coat, your feet don’t seem to get cold, and your humans put you in a nice cozy stall with windows and doors between you and the grim weather. Unfortunately, it’s the inclination to stall our horses, however well-intentioned, that contributes to the abrupt increase in equine respiratory problems in winter.

HEAVES CAN RESULT FROM POOR AIR QUALITY Poor air quality inside barns can arise from increased levels of ammonia, dust and mold, as well as reduced ventilation. Not surprisingly, this can result in the onset of clinical upper and lower respiratory problems. Horses with “heaves”, for instance, may show no symptoms in the summer, but become very symptomatic once the cold weather hits and they’re confined to a stable. Also known as Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO), heaves is the most common respiratory disease in horses. It is thought to be caused mainly by an allergy to dust and mold, and unfortunately, there is no cure. Once heaves is established, the best we can hope for is to control the clinical signs, which include increased respiratory rate, wheezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and reduced exercise tolerance. Heaves can become very severe in some horses, causing them to visibly struggle to get sufficient airflow – a symptom that is typically exacerbated by an indoor environment. It can also make horses vulnerable to secondary respiratory infections, which further contribute to compromised lung function. Continued on page 20 Equine Wellness


Continued from page 19

Tips to improve air quality and reduce winter respiratory problems The most effective option for reducing the severity of winterborne respiratory problems is to increase the amount of turnout as much as possible. Turnout 24 hours a day is the preferred situation – particularly for horses already diagnosed with heaves – but this may not always be possible. If a stall is necessary, time inside should be kept to a minimum. Other strategies can limit the negative impact of an indoor environment on your horse. If her respiratory health is suffering this winter, give the following a try: • I ncrease ventilation by opening doors and windows. A barn with horses should never be fully closed for a prolonged period of time.

• Feed hay as low to the ground as possible to minimize inhalable dust particles. • Avoid feeding hay that is visibly moldy or excessively dusty. • S teamed hay, or hay that has been soaked for 12 to 16 hours, can be useful for reducing symptoms in horses with heaves. A stable can be a warm and cozy place on a bitter winter night. But this indoor environment has the potential to contribute to a loss of normal respiratory function in horses, particularly those with recurrent airway obstruction. Implementing a few sensible strategies that reduce the potentially negative effects of indoor air pollution can help support a healthy respiratory system in your equine companion, so you can both breathe a big healthy sigh of relief when spring arrives!

• Store hay and loose bedding material somewhere away from stalls where horses live. • U se bedding that is as low-dust as possible. A couple of great low-dust bedding options include chopped flax and screened “mini-chip” wood shavings. Dr. Wendy Pearson lived in several countries as a child, but there was always one constant in her life: horses. No matter where her family moved, she always found a place where she could ride. She now lives with her family on a 50-acre horse farm near Campbellville, Ontario, and continues to participate in dressage competitions. Prior to joining the University of Guelph as an assistant professor of equine physiology in 2016, she worked at the Equine Research Centre for six years, where she studied plant-based treatments for horse health problems.


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Equine Wellness



– it’s all about balance By Paige Cerulli



Equine Wellness


iding bareback isn’t just fun – it can help make you a better rider and improve communication between you and your horse. When riding bareback, you can no longer depend on your saddle and stirrups to keep you centered. Instead, you have to rely on your balance. Periodic bareback rides can help develop and improve your balance, which will benefit your stability in the saddle.

BAREBACK BENEFITS FOR HORSE AND RIDER When it comes to riding successfully, communication is key. Bareback riding helps you learn more about your horse’s movement and become more aware of what’s going on beneath you. When you remove the saddle and go for a ride, you can feel every change in movement as your horse walks, trots or canters. This awareness can help you learn to use your body more effectively – both to communicate with your horse and to avoid interfering with her movement.

EQUIPMENT CHOICES A bareback pad can make bareback riding more comfortable for both you and your horse. Bareback pads come in many different styles, so as you shop, look for one that’s thick enough to offer quality shock absorption. Many pads have a sticky underside to help keep them from sliding, while others have breastplate attachments to further keep them in place. Fleece pads tend to be a little more slippery, so a pad made out of a felt or wool material may be a better choice. Many bareback pads feature stirrups, which can be dangerous. Because the bareback pad is treeless, it’s possible for the pad to slip down around the horse if you fall off, and you could get hung up in the stirrup. Because of the lack of tree, the stirrups also put direct pressure on your horse’s spine. If you’re going to ride bareback, go all the way – no stirrups.


If you don’t have access to a bareback pad, your clothes may feel unusually slippery against your horse’s hair. Wearing fullseat breeches can help give you a little more stick and security. Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t wear spurs when riding bareback.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS • Riding bareback makes for an unusual sensation and will quickly expose your bad habits. Before you consider riding bareback, make sure you have an independent seat and don’t rely on the reins to keep your balance. Without an independent seat, you may accidentally pull on the reins to keep yourself balanced, which can result in an unhappy horse and possibly a fall for you. Continued on page 24.

AnimalWellnessMagazine.com/free-issue Equine Wellness


Top 5 tips

for a great bareback ride 1




Invest in a quality bareback pad. This can help keep you and your horse comfortable and give you a better grip. Grab some mane, but focus on sitting upright and don’t allow yourself to lean forward. Drape your legs down and around your horse. Keep your toes up or level with your heel, and don’t clamp your legs against her sides. Relax. The more you tense your legs, the more difficult it will be to move with your horse. Instead, rely on your balance rather than your strength.

ˮ ˮ 5

Watch your horse’s body language for signs that she’s uncomfortable, like hollowing her back or raising her head.

For the first few bareback rides, stick to an enclosed ring or round pen...and don’t forget your helmet!

Continued from page 23. • Try to take your first ride on a horse who has been ridden bareback many times before. More sensitive horses might react differently when you mount up without a saddle. It’s also a good idea to enlist a friend to help hold the horse, and possibly even lunge her while you ride. • Start your ride with the horse saddled. This will give you a chance to get her focused on the task at hand, while also achieving a sense of her mental state. If your horse is having an “off” day and is unusually spooky or reactive, then reschedule your bareback ride for when she’s calmer. • Last but not least, don’t forget your helmet! Riding bareback may be a freeing experience, but if your horse spooks or stumbles and you fall off, a helmet will protect you from serious head injuries.

GETTING STARTED Before you head out for your first bareback ride, practice riding without stirrups. This will help to refine your balance, which you’ll need to rely on when riding without a saddle. For the first few bareback rides, stick to an enclosed ring or round pen. These safe spaces will lend a bit more structure to your ride, and will give you an opportunity to brush up on your horse’s halt. Make sure she’ll readily stop or slow down when you ask her to, even if you’re off-balance at the time. Start by walking in a straight line to develop your skills. Then, add some turns, circles and even some backing up. As you develop your balance and confidence, progress to the trot. Much as when you ride the sitting trot, resist the urge to bump up and down. Instead, visualize your hips swinging forward and backward in a figure-eight motion with your horse’s body. Feel free to grab hold of the mane with one hand if you’re feeling unsteady, but don’t forget to keep your shoulders back and your torso upright. It will take some time before you learn to ride bareback confidently, so be patient with yourself and your horse. Keep your bareback sessions short and focus on staying relaxed and in balance – and most importantly, have fun!

Paige Cerulli has ridden and owned horses for over 20 years. A certified equine massage therapist, she lives in Western Massachusetts with two Thoroughbreds and a mini named Mozart. Paige rode hunters growing up, and is now exploring both trail riding and equine agility. She works as a copywriter specializing in the equine industry and enjoys practicing equine photography on the side.


Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


GREEN ACRES By Laura Batts

GREEN ACRES By Laura Batts


GOING ON VACATION THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? KNOWING YOUR HORSE IS SAFE WILL GIVE YOU THE PEACE OF MIND YOU NEED TO RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF. The holiday season has arrived, and like many horse owners, you’ve booked a much-needed vacation! The last thing you want is to spend the whole trip worrying about your horse, so take steps to prepare for his safety and well-being ahead of time.

R The first step is to get your farm in order. Go through the

barn and make sure all systems are in working order. Check that your gutters are clean, the light bulbs aren’t burnt out, the hoses aren’t leaking, and the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are operational.


Next, check your tack and equipment, especially if someone will be riding your horse while you are away.

R Stock your barn’s first aid kit (see article on page 42) and leave

contact information for your vet and blacksmith where it’s visible and accessible.

R Check

your hay, feed and supplement supply. Order any necessary feedstuffs well in advance of your departure.

R Finding a trustworthy farm sitter is one of the most important

considerations. Reach out to your friends and veterinarian for recommendations, and be sure to check the references of whoever you hire. Ideally, you want someone who has experience dealing with equine injuries. Make sure your insurance will cover a sitter, or add a rider to your policy for the duration of your trip.

R Identify a “go to” person for your horse sitter to contact if she is unable to reach you in an emergency. This can be your vet, but


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it’s best to have someone else, like a neighbor or friend who can come quickly or cover for the sitter if necessary.

R Have your sitter come for a tour of the barn and property.

Emphasize the location of first aid supplies, emergency equipment, the electrical panel, and water shutoff valves. Introduce the sitter to your horses and any other animals you have. Walk the sitter through your daily routine, and leave written instructions.

R Inform your vet that you will be out of town. Leave written

authorization for your sitter and “go to” person to make medical decisions for you. Leave notes in writing of what actions (e.g. colic surgery, euthanasia) may be taken in the event of a medical emergency.

R Write out the feed schedule and rations for each horse. Better yet – pre-portion, package and label your grain and supplements.

R If you keep your horse at a facility that offers full board, inform

the stable owner and staff that you will be away. Give them the dates of your trip and provide them with a way to reach you in case of an emergency.

Give yourself plenty of time to go through this checklist, and you can enjoy your holidays with the assurance that your horse is receiving the best possible care in your absence. Bon voyage!

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

Classic jacket

Made with love and full of flavor, Manna Pro BiteSize Nuggets will make your horse happy this holiday! Choose between alfalfa and molasses, apple, peppermint or carrots and spice. Why not spoil him and try all four? With the Happy Horse Great Taste Guarantee, you can trust they’re irresistible!

The new concealed carry bonded jacket from CINCH features an innovative textured fabric, waterresistant finish and a waffle-backed fleece lining. The adjustable cuffs and dual concealed carry pockets accommodate both left- and right-handed shooters. Khaki logo embroidery and a pewter zipper give the jacket an eye-catching accent. Give the gift of style this holiday season.

mannapro.com/products/equine/ horse-treats/bite-size-nuggets

Cinchjeans.com 866-545-7034

Protect and condition your horse’s coat

Convenient quick wraps

Use Ricochet Horse Spray to keep that beautiful healthy shine in your horse’s coat this winter. Made of an essential oil blend in a witch hazel base, this gentle, all-natural spray will keep your horse’s coat resilient through changes in weather, and resistant to the fungal and bacterial infections that are common during wetter months.



Bite-size treats with big-time flavor

Back on Track’s Royal Quick Wraps are easy to put on and remove, making them a convenient favorite for many horse owners after strenuous rides or when shipping horses. Made with state-ofthe-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 his muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments to feel relaxed.


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5 FUN things to do with


this winter By Sariana Burnet

It’s time to have some fun with your horse and give yourself a break from the stress of the holidays. Give some of these activities a try and you may find you’re more of a winter person than you thought!


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ere’s a flurry of horse-related activities to enjoy this

holiday season.

Many of us tend to either migrate or hibernate during the winter months. But winter can be an incredibly useful time to accomplish some of the tasks we’ve been putting off all year (why not spring clean your tack room early?) and an even better time to go back to the basics and bond with your horse. Take a break from rigorous training and enjoy the splendor of the season with these fun ideas.

Teach him some tricks

Teaching your horse some new tricks offers many benefits, all year long. You’ll keep him engaged and entertained, help him maintain flexibility, improve his circulation, and build your relationship. Try teaching him to kiss, bow, fetch and smile. Be patient, consistent and offer plenty of praise and treats (try our holiday treat recipe on page 38). You’ll find you can have as much fun on the ground as in the saddle, and one will benefit the other!


Take a walk

2 Invest in his


A leisurely stroll through the scenic winter landscape can be calming and enjoyable for both you and your horse. Be sure to check the conditions before you venture out, as ice and snow can make for very dangerous terrain. You’ll also need to take proper precautions to keep him steady on his hooves. Outfit him with proper winter shoes for extra traction or let him go barefoot! Talk to your farrier about making some trimming adjustments for the season. Horses do very well in snow and, in fact, seem to enjoy it (perhaps more than humans). Just keep in mind that walking through deep snow is hard work! Your horse will tire more quickly, so shorter adventures are best until he’s more conditioned. Also, he’ll probably work up a sweat, so be sure to dry him off and keep him warm when you return to the barn. Continued on page 30.

Harsh winters can take a toll on horses, despite their resilience; this is especially true for seniors and foals. If you’ve been planning to take advantage of the many alternative health services available for equines, now is the time to do it! Book an acupressure appointment for your horse to maintain his energy during the winter season (learn more about winter acupressure on page 48), or a chiropractic session to keep his muscles and joints from getting stiff. Specialists are a wonderful resource that’ll help you make sure your horse is in good condition once competition season starts. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 29

Go for a sleigh ride

We all know the carol…so let those sleigh bells ring! There’s likely a horse-drawn sleigh service offered right in your neighborhood, so don’t worry if your horse doesn’t drive. Wish he could? Incorporate long lining into your groundwork as a start to the training process. Sleigh rides are a great way to get the whole family into the spirit of the holidays – and harnesses make an easy gift to put under the tree!

Take it easy



Winter can be a great time to give your horse a rest from riding. Choose activities that will entertain him and strengthen the bond between horse and human – rather than horse and rider. Offer special care and attention during grooming sessions (this is a prime opportunity to practice your braiding skills!) and spend some extra time brushing his “favorite” spots. Feeling antsy? Exercise is still important during the winter, but it doesn’t have to be intense. Keep things simple with a lead line lesson. Refresh his basic skills and commands, assess problem areas and set goals for the spring. But remember, it’s not all about work! Enjoying the company of your four-legged friends is one of the best parts of the holidays.

Take some pictures

There’s nothing quite like watching your horse romp and play in a field of fresh snow. Why not make the most of the picturesque backdrop? Grab a camera or your phone and snap some photos of your beautiful companion, so you’ll have memories that’ll last season after season. Photography and videography are also great ways to improve your posture in the saddle, so enlist a friend to take some shots of you riding. Then curl up with some cocoa and spend a few hours assessing your skills.


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Equine Wellness



Makeover By Sariana Burnet

It’s much more than just an event. The Thoroughbred Makeover helps transition retired horses into second careers, while offering education and outreach for the care, training and sale of these athletes to responsible owners.


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Photo courtesy of Kathleen Palma, Forestbird Photography



nce a year, hundreds of retired horses, trainers and spectators travel from near and far to attend one of the largest non-profit events in the country – the Thoroughbred Makeover. The three-day competition features off-track Thoroughbreds – each with no more than ten months of retraining – who compete for their share of $100,000 in prize money and the title of “America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred”. But the cash isn’t the best reward, nor is the prestigious title. For many horses, participating in the competition means finding a new home, a second career, or both – and that’s the prize of a lifetime.

a frustrating observation, since he knew firsthand the value and versatility that Thoroughbreds offered. After a few years of planning, the first competition was held in 2013 on the Pimlico Race Track. Nearly 800 spectators were in attendance, and invited to participate in a variety of seminars, demonstrations and a sponsor fair. “The inaugural Thoroughbred Makeover was widely hailed as a landmark event for the Thoroughbred industry, and the RRP was honored with the Thoroughbred Charities of America Industry Service Award that year,” says Jen Roytz, RRP’s Executive Director.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MAKEOVER The Thoroughbred Makeover is a competition organized by the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), a charitable organization dedicated to transitioning Thoroughbred ex-racehorses into successful second careers. The idea for the makeover was conceived in 2010 by RRP’s founder, Steuart Pittman. He noticed that Thoroughbreds often fell out of favor with equestrians as they opted for Warmbloods or other breeds for the show ring –

In the five years since its official launch, the Thoroughbred Makeover has gained remarkable momentum. There has been a 152% increase in the number of horses entered since 2015, and 7,000 people tuned in to watch the live stream finale last year. In fact, the event grew so quickly, that it had to be relocated to a larger venue – the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington – where it has been held for the last four years. Continued on page 34.


Disciplines Offered

Disciplines: Ten different disciplines are offered at the Makeover. Horses can compete in up to two (see chart at right). Height: A full two-thirds of horses entered in the Makeover fall between 16 and 16.3 hands. The shortest entries (there are three) are 14.3 hands; the tallest (four) are 17.3 hands (see pie chart below). Color: Two out of every three horses you’ll see at the Makeover will be bays. Riders on chestnuts and grays are easy to pick out in a crowd! (See pie chart below.) Gender: Almost three-quarters of the entries are geldings, with five stallions also entered (see pie chart below).

Highest Auction Prices Paid

Where entrants were bred: Kentucky tops the list of states/provinces where Makeover entrants were bred, representing one-third of the entire field. Twenty-nine states are represented along with four Canadian provinces, as well as Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Mexico (see chart at right). Auction prices paid for entrants: About 36% of Makeover entrants were sold at public auction, at an average price of $12,153 (see chart at right). *Stats based on the 2018 competition, provided by the Thoroughbred Makeover. Where Entrants were Bred

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Photo courtesy of the Retired Racehorse Project

Pictured left to right: 2019’s America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred, Reloaded with rider and trainer Elisa Wallace, Michelle Chisholm (owner of Reloaded), Madison Chisholm, Rowland Hawthorne from Nationwide Insurance Private Client and NFP Insurance – sponsors of the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred award and Erin Crady from Thoroughbred Charities of America, the title sponsor of the Thoroughbred Makeover.

For many horses, participating in the competition means finding a new home, a second career, or both.

Continued from page 33.

THIS YEAR’S EVENT AND WINNER The fifth annual Thoroughbred Makeover ran October 4 to 7, 2018. The event was a smashing success. After multiple years of competing, Elisa Wallace and her equine partner, Reloaded, were crowned this year’s “most wanted”. Elisa, a professional event rider and trainer who also competes in Mustang training competitions, has been a close contender to winning the competition in the past. This year, she doubled her chances of winning by qualifying two horses for the finale – and it paid off! Elisa was first asked to judge the freestyle division in 2015, but decided she had to participate. “I think it’s a great place to train,” she says. “On top of that, people like to watch the transformation from racehorse to sport horse, and it gets the word out about Thoroughbreds.” Reloaded, who competes under the show name Sniper, belongs to Michelle Chisholm. But Elisa grew to love the horse as her own during the training process – a bond that came easy, given her love of Thoroughbreds. When she’s not training for the annual Thoroughbred Makeover, Elisa competes with her own off-track Thoroughbred, Simply Priceless. “Thoroughbreds are amazing horses; my four-star horse will do anything for me,” she says. “Give them something to go do, and they take that deep breath and do it.”

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE COMPETITION? Thoroughbreds are incredible athletes with an aptitude that stretches far beyond racing. “So much consideration and effort goes into every aspect of these horses’ lives, from the planning and research behind the mating of a stallion and mare, to how they are raised, cared for, handled and trained at the track,” says Jen. “Everything is done with the mindset of creating an elite equine athlete.” While every horse is different, most Thoroughbreds love to train and learn new skills. In fact, they 34

Equine Wellness

thrive on it. And one of the Makeover’s goals is to harvest those natural abilities. Another goal, of course, is to build bridges for the equine competitors, enabling them to start second careers. Many trainers attending the event are inspired by the potential they see, and end up taking on off-track Thoroughbreds as resale projects. After this year’s completion, for instance, approximately 200 of the 500 horses competing were offered for sale through the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace. As part of the Makeover, a sale catalog is produced and an arena is set aside for horses to be test ridden, inspected and vetted. All sale contracts are private but are required to include no-slaughter and notification of resale restrictions. A wonderful opportunity for Thoroughbreds, trainers, owners and horse lovers everywhere, the Thoroughbred Makeover is changing the narrative that paints Thoroughbreds as strictly race horses. It demonstrates their continued value on and off the track, and reminds us that these horses, just like us, have colorful pasts and bright futures. According to Jen, one of the most heart-warming parts of the competition is seeing so many people from the racing industry come to cheer on the horses they once owned, bred, groomed or rode. “Pat Chapman, who bred and owns Kentucky Derby winner, Smarty Jones, came out to cheer on a son of Smarty Jones that was competing in the Thoroughbred Makeover,” she says with a smile. Without a doubt, these horses are well-loved, well-trained – and welldeserving of a second chance. Thoroughbreds might be a challenge to train, but the payoff is well worth it. They’re smart, talented horses with a strong work ethic – and the Thoroughbred Makeover is proof of that. For complete results from the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover, visit TBMakeover.org.

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Holiday GIFT GUIDE Get organized this winter

Give your equine friend the gift of health and wellness this season with CannaDrops! Made by Healthy Hemp Pet Company, Equine CannaDrops are known to help with trailer anxiety and occasional stiffness, while easing movement and calming nerves. The drops are made with chemical-free, organic PCR hemp oil grown in Colorado. HealthyHempPet.com/equine

The new Silverline Folding Saddle Caddy is great for around the barn, or on the go. Light and extremely easy to use, the caddy can store two saddles, bridles, brushes and more! It boasts four sturdy wheels that will tackle the toughest terrain with ease. If you purchase from Eaglewood Equestrian Supplies, the Saddle Caddy will ship free to your door anywhere in North America! EaglewoodEquestrian.ca

Healthy treats for the holidays Yucc’ It Up! nuggets are made with organic super-foods, medicinal spices, wild-crafted herbs and GC/MS tested essential oils. Each custom formula is created to gently detox and support normal inflammatory response and whole-body function in your horse. Whether he needs support for gastric and joint health, Cushing’s, IR, mood, performance or other health issues, it’s a great choice to support his needs! YuccItUp.com

Improve his overall well-being

Cut shedding time in half Remove dead hair, dirt, dust and dander without stress or discomfort associated with standard shedding blades. The short, fine teeth of the EquiGroomer grab loose, dead hair with ease, while removing any dirt and dander that can dull a horse’s coat. It’s more than just a shedding blade; it’s a grooming tool you’ll use all year long. A great stocking stuffer for any horse lover, too! Equigroomer.com

Give his gut the gift it needs Winter is tough on your horse’s gut. With limited fresh forage and reduced water intake, your horse’s digestive system needs all the support it can get. Pureform’s Prebiotic Enzymes will provide your horse’s gut bacteria with the fuel it needs to continue to flourish and function in a challenging climate, all while supporting his immune system! WholeEquine.com/products/prebiotic-enzymes

Keep bugs away, naturally! The LifeFORCE halter diffuser uses a blend of therapeutic grade essential oils to create a pesticide and chemical free insect repellant. Keep flies from bugging your horse safely, naturally and with style! LifeForcePet.com/product/essential-oil-halter-diffuser/


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Speciiasilng advertture fea Pain relief with laser therapy Give your horse the gift of pain relief with a Pegasus Therapy Laser! Pegasus is the preferred laser therapy brand of veterinarians, therapists and equestrians such as Olympic Gold Medalist, Will Simpson, to quickly and non-invasively resolve lameness and restore performance. LiteCure.com

Happy holiday hooves! SURE FOOT Equine Stability Pads bring balance, grounding and connection – both to your horse and to your partnership with him. When you practice the stability program, you can adjust your horse’s posture, find better balance and help him move with greater ease in just minutes! For more info, visit the YouTube channel “murdochmethod” or search “surefoot equine”…your horse will thank you! SureFootEquine.com

Quality helmets for maximum safety Back on Track carries equine riding helmets that keep you safe while horseback riding. Their helmets are from Trauma Void, the leader in high-quality equine riding helmets. These helmets have been engineered with cutting-edge protective technology, such as the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), which is designed to reduce the rotational force exerted on the brain during crashes. When it comes to safety, you want the best. BackOnTrackProducts.com/Riding-Helmets-c16/

The preferred choice in pasture management Give the gift of optimal wellness and knowledge Share your passion for all things equine! A digital or print subscription to Equine Wellness Magazine is a gift that gives all year long. Hoping to land yourself on the “nice list”? When you subscribe, you can select a rescue organization from our Ambassador program and give them 25% of the proceeds. EquineWellnessMagazine.com/subscribe/

USA made, Greystone’s paddock vacuums are powered by easy-to-start Honda 4 stroke motors. They are reliable, efficient and will save you time and effort in the never-ending task of manure collection. Their vacuums work in grass that is long, short, wet or dry. Simply tow behind a riding mower or four-wheeler. This multipurpose tool can be used all over the farm – to empty water troughs, gather leaves and stable shavings. GreystoneVacuums.com/usa/paddockvac Equine Wellness


Holiday HEMP TREATS for horses By Audi Donamor

The holidays are a time for friends, family and FOOD! As you prepare and share your favorite meals, don’t forget about your horse. These delicious holiday hemp treats are healthy, easy to make, and your equine family member will love them.


t feels a lifetime ago that I first began tucking treats in my pockets before visiting the stables where my father rode, and where I rode soon after. That was 60 years ago! Back then, there was certainly not the variety of hemp-based products available today. Now, we can choose from a variety of hemp products – flours, hearts, milk and more. With the festive season upon us, it’s the perfect time to revisit the many benefits hemp has to offer. These hearty treats are a great way to toast our horses, and the holidays – and they make a great gift for humans, too! See sidebar on beneficial ingredients on page 40.


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Holiday hemp & almond crunch

This recipe can be served as a tasty topper, a chewy treat, or a biscuit with lots of crunch. INGREDIENTS • 4 cups extra-thick freshly-milled oats • ½ cup hemp hearts • 1 teaspoon sea salt • 1 cup apples, grated or whirled in a food processor or blender; filtered water can be added to the food processor or blender, as needed • 1 cup carrots, grated, or whirled in a food processor or blender; filtered water can be added to the food processor or blender, as needed • ¼ cup almond butter with the oil drained off, ¼ cup ground almonds OR ¼ cup hemp seed butter • 2 tablespoons unsulphured blackstrap molasses Optional: For extra zip, add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil or 1 tablespoon of fresh mint leaves, finely minced. Want some more crunch? Add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut. INSTRUCTIONS

 Choose organic ingredients whenever possible.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

 Preheat oven to 350˚ F (176˚ C) on the convection setting.  Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add filtered water as needed to ensure all ingredients are

thoroughly combined. (If you wish to use this recipe as a tasty topper or mash, it can be easily doubled or tripled. The mash can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.)

 Press mixture onto cookie sheet and lightly score with a sharp knife before baking.

 Place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Then decrease heat

to 200˚ F (93˚ C) on regular bake setting and bake for one hour. For a chewy treat, omit the second baking.

 Cool treats completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Audi Donamor has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Pets + Us Canada Community Outreach Champion Award. She was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College.

Equine Wellness


WHY THESE INGREDIENTS ARE BENEFICIAL TO YOUR HORSE OATS Oats are a nutrient-dense, strength-giving cereal that provide sustained energy. They have a high silicon content, which makes them good for bones and connective tissues, and are a great dietary addition for the support of strong teeth, hooves and mane. Oats are beneficial to the digestive tract and can even help cleanse impurities from the intestines. Oats, oat bran and oatmeal contain a special type of fiber called betaglucan, which is shown to lower cholesterol, helping reduce the risk of heart disease while also supporting the immune system’s response to bacterial infections, viruses, fungi and parasites. HEMP Hemp is classified as a member of the cannabis family, but cannabis is a diverse plant species with over 500 different varieties. Though hemp is a distant cousin of marijuana, it contains less than 0.3% THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Hemp is recognized as a superfood. For our horses, it can ease joint pain and inflammation, support cardiovascular health, improve the condition of your horse’s skin, coat, hooves, mane and tail, and act as a digestive aid. It’s also a very rich source of essential fatty acids. In fact, hemp’s fatty acid profile is closer to fish oil than any other vegetable oil. Hemp is also a valuable source of gluten-free protein. It’s high in vitamins C and E as well as chlorophyll, and contains a wealth of amino acids. Unlike soy and other legumes that can cause gas, hemp does not contain trypsin inhibitors and oligosaccharides, a gas-producing substance, and it’s never genetically modified. ALMONDS Almonds are an excellent source of monounsaturated and unsaturated fats. They contain E and B vitamins, bioflavonoids, copper, manganese and zinc. The magnesium found in almonds supports healthy nervous system function and the production of “happy” chemicals in the brain, helping our horses to be more resilient during bouts of stress. These delicious nuts also contain anti-inflammatory compounds that support the immune system and intestinal microbiome, and are a great choice for insulin resistant and metabolic horses because they’re low on the glycemic index. APPLES Apples are a rich source of antioxidants. They contain vitamin C, calcium, choline, fluorine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium and sulphur, as well as many trace minerals. Red Delicious, Northern Spy and Ida Red have more potent disease-fighting antioxidants than other apples, which is reflected in their higher levels of polyphenol activity. UNSULPHURED BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES This is the finest quality of blackstrap molasses, containing the lowest sugar content of cane products. It contains many nutrients, including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, copper and selenium. The most important ingredient, of course, is love! Have a happy holiday season, and enjoy sharing these treats with your family – both two- and four-legged!


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Omega Alpha founder, Dr. Gordon Chang, introduced the concept of strict manufacturing guidelines for natural products.

OMEGA ALPHA AN UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO QUALITY, RESEARCH AND RIGOROUS TESTING MAKES THIS BRAND A NATURAL CHOICE FOR HORSES Natural health for horses began taking off in the early 1990s. Despite the popularity of natural products, however, there was a huge lack of regulation in the industry. Consumers had no idea if the ingredients listed on labels were actually in the bottles of supplements they were buying. Enter Dr. Gordon Chang. In 1992, after receiving his PhD in physiology, Dr. Chang founded a new company called Omega Alpha, with the intent of supplying natural health products using the same rigorous scientific quality and manufacturing practices as are utilized for pharmaceutical products. Within months of its launch, Omega Alpha earned the trust of naturalminded shoppers across Canada. Inspired to make a difference in the market, Dr. Chang grew Omega Alpha into a well-known herbal-based, nutritional supplement manufacturing company. But unlike most companies of its time, Omega Alpha was GMP-certified, which required that all the products it made conformed to strict manufacturing guidelines, equivalent to those followed by pharmaceutical companies. “This was more than a decade before these standards were required,” says Dr. Chang. In the early days, Omega Alpha made just a few products. Dr. Chang and his sales staff worked around the clock to convince retailers that their products would sell due to their efficacy. “I insisted that we only use ingredients that had scientific research

backing up any claims made about them,” says Dr. Chang. “At times, it was a hard to get the products to move off the shelves and into consumers’ hands, but people soon found out something important about Omega Alpha products – they work!” Today, the company manufactures hundreds of products bearing the Omega Alpha brand for humans, horses and pets. Omega Alpha’s large team of trained staff members manufacture nutraceutical complexes and non-GMO herbal formulations out of their own facility in Toronto, Ontario. Their equine line offers support for both physical and mental well-being, and is available in liquid, capsule and powder forms. Made with allnatural ingredients, these products are uniquely formulated to improve the health of your horse’s skin and coat, digestion, joints, immunity, respiratory health and more. When they’re not making and selling products, the Omega Alpha team donate their time and knowledge to a variety of equine initiatives. Dr. Chang and his researchers have also been involved with several research and development projects, as well as equine case studies, working alongside veterinarians. On top of that, he’s a regular guest for the monthly Q&A radio program, “Horses in the Morning”. But above all his other accomplishments, Dr. Chang is most proud of the feedback he gets from consumers who have reported how their health (or the health of their horses or pets) has greatly improved due to his products. Omega Alpha’s slogan, “Effective Supplements Through Science”, is what Dr. Chang and his team strive to achieve every day – and it has paid off!

Equine Wellness





For Your Equine

By Carlin Jones, VMD



An equine first aid kit stocked with all the essentials.

10 Photo courtesy of Carlin Jones, VMD




5 8

11 9



13 12

hen it comes to horses, we can learn something from the US Coast Guard’s motto “Semper Paratus – Always Ready”. Keep your first aid kit stocked with these basic supplies and prepare for accidents before they happen.

1. Thermometer: You do not need to have a special large animal thermometer – a digital thermometer like the one you have at home is fine. Just make sure everyone knows it’s for horse use only. Ideally, keep two on hand, in case one doesn’t work or loses battery. Any time a horse is not acting like himself, take his temperature. One of the most common reasons a horse will go off his feed is a fever.



Equine Wellness

2. Stethoscope: Again, you do not need an expensive specialized version of this tool. A farm catalog stethoscope will give you an accurate heart and respiratory rate, and let you listen for gut sounds.

3. Wound cleansing solution: Saline is a good option that’s easily accessible. Plain saline solutions made for contact lenses are easy to buy and store; just be sure to avoid products with additional chemicals. It’s available in handy squirt bottles that are perfect for rinsing the eyes and small wounds. Keep a few on hand and be sure to check their expiration date. 4. Chlorhexidine scrub: This is the safest scrub for wounds in horses. Keep gauze squares and a small plastic bowl nearby for adding the scrub to the gauze. Remember to rinse the wound thoroughly after use. 5. Clean wound dressings: These can be sterile gauze squares, women’s sanitary pads, or sterile non-stick pads. The important thing is that they are clean and big enough to cover larger wounds. 6. Enough bandaging material for all four legs: You can use quilts and track wraps, disposable cottons with a self-adhesive bandage, or a combination of these materials. You need enough to make thick tight bandages that may need to go above the knee and hock. These bandages should be clean and dedicated to first aid use only.

7. Antibacterial or antibiotic ointment: Ointment should only be used on a wound after a thorough assessment. If you are unsure, ask your veterinarian first. Do not use anything caustic, drying or sealing without discussing it with your veterinarian. Many of these products inhibit healing and are not suitable for initial wound care. 8. Duct tape: There are endless uses for this item. Duct tape comes in handy whether you’re at the farm or on the road.

9. Flashlight: A small LED flashlight is great for assessing wounds, looking into the eyes, testing pupil reaction, and much more. Check the batteries at least twice a year. Continued on page 44.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 43. 10. Towels: Large, thick bath towels can dry off a chilled horse. They can also be used as extra bandage padding or to apply pressure to a wound that can’t be bandaged. 11. Triple antibiotic eye ointment: This item must be obtained from your veterinarian. It is often used to treat eye injuries and is safe to use on skin wounds around the eye, but always consult with your vet first.

12. Pen and paper: These items are simple but important. You may need to jot down phone numbers, your horse’s vital signs, and other pieces of crucial information to relay to your vet once he or she arrives.

Go through your kit at least twice a year, and add to it depending on your horse’s needs. Make sure your ointments and solutions are up to date, your phone numbers are current, and your bandages are stocked, clean and ready to go. Any time you use something, replace it immediately so you’re never in a jam when emergency strikes. We can’t predict everything our horses will do, but by beingprepared, we can help protect them. !

Semper Paratus!

First Aid Kits For Travel When you travel with your horses, make sure to take your first aid kit with you. If you travel often, consider a second first aid kit for your trailer, but keep in mind it should still be stored at room temperature. Some additional items to pack in case of emergency include an extra halter, extra

13. Information card: This card should include names and contact information for your vet, an emergency shipper and emergency contacts, as well as the normal vital signs for the horse. Laminate or cover in clear packing tape to protectit,and be sure to keep the information up to date. 14. Big plastic tub: This tub will keep all your supplies together, clean, organized and accessible. It should be clearly labeled and located where everyone in your barn can find it, ideally in a space that is temperature controlled. Do not be tempted to pilfer from your box unless absolutely necessary, or you will regret it in a true emergency.


Equine Wellness

lead and a multi-tool.

Dr. Carlin Jones took her first riding lesson shortly before her eighth birthday. She became an active member of the United States Pony Clubs, graduating as an HA in 1996. She earned her Bachelors in Biology from Lake Erie College in 1998, and graduated from The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She practices as an associate at The Equine Clinic at Oakencroft, where her focus is reproduction and general medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Jones spends time with her husband, daughter, her daughter’s pony, many pets, and a small herd of dairy goats.



he equine body is composed of many systems, each with its own function. Recently, one of these systems has been receiving a great deal of attention, and rightfully so. It’s the fascial system – a web-like, continuous structure

composed of collagen, elastin and a ground substance –

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FASCIAL SYSTEM Every nerve, blood vessel, bone, organ, muscle and cell lies within the fascia. This connective tissue simultaneously joins and separates every part of the

that surrounds, connects and protects everything within

body, creating a vital framework that helps support

the body. Myofascial release (MFR) is a manual therapy

and stabilize your horse, and allows all his bodily

technique that directly targets this system and the

systems and structures to work in synergy. If you’ve

problems associated with fascial restriction.

ever seen an open wound, you may have seen fascia. Continued on page 46. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 45. It’s the thin, smooth, slick tissue covering muscles, tendons and bones. (See image on right)

EACH COMPONENT OF FASCIA HAS A SPECIFIC PURPOSE: • Collagen fibers are tough. They provide shape, strength and support. • Elastin allows for stretch and shock absorption. • Ground substance is a viscous fluid that surrounds the cells in the body, creating space for them to get nutrients and oxygen.

MIRRORED DYSFUNCTION Often, a horse and rider influence each other through the imbalances in their bodies. If your seat bones are uneven in the saddle, you’re causing your pelvis and spine to tilt. The difference in pressure will ask your horse to bend and lift his back asymmetrically, creating torsion in his body. Over time, his fascia will restrict and lead to training difficulties. As a rider, you should consider booking your own myofascial release session. Doing so will benefit both you and your horse!

3D Illustration of fascia

WHAT CAN GO WRONG WITH FASCIA? Fascial tissue can become restricted as a result of trauma or inflammation. As it restricts, the fascia begins to change. The elastin component is overstretched and loses its resilience. Collagen can become too dense and fibrous, while the ground substance within the fascial system begins to dehydrate and harden, which places enormous pressure on the surrounding structures. Since fascia is a single system, the pulling caused by restriction begins to affect remote areas of the body, which can lead to numbness or pain from nerves being stretched or compressed; ischemia from decreased blood flow; decreased strength and endurance of the muscle; and an altered structural alignment.

WHAT CAUSES FASCIAL RESTRICTION? Fascial restriction can result from many equine issues. The most common include: • Trauma (physical or emotional) • Inflammation • Overuse • Repetitive training • Poor saddle fit • Mirrored dysfunction of the horse and rider (see sidebar above left) • Surgery • Direct injury • Stress and strain of athletic activities • Poor nutrition • Bad footing To visualize fascial restriction, imagine a snag in a knitted sweater – the snag pulls throughout the entire garment. If a horse has an injury, the fascia will begin to tighten and pull throughout his whole body, resulting in multiple symptoms. Since everything is surrounded by fascia, these symptoms can be wide-ranging, and often don’t follow any specific pattern. The problem cannot be seen through medical imaging, which makes diagnosis difficult, while compensatory movements make it more difficult still. If your vet is stumped, she might request a myofascial release treatment. 46

Equine Wellness

WHAT IS MYOFASCIAL RELEASE (MFR)? Myofascial release is a hands-on, whole body technique. It applies gentle sustained pressure on the myofascial connective tissue to follow and release barriers of restriction. A flow of bioenergy through the body, known as the piezoelectric phenomenon, will allow viscoelastic tissue to elongate with a low load over an extended period of time. It takes 90 to 120 seconds to release into the first barrier of restriction, and a minimum of five minutes for a full release in one area. Only then will the tissue begin to change.

HOW CAN MYOFASCIAL RELEASE THERAPY HELP YOUR HORSE? A horse’s structural alignment can be altered by fascial restrictions. This can lead to difficulties maintaining a gait, a loss of power, or lack of flexibility. Fascial restrictions also commonly create lameness, pain, behavioral changes and fatigue. MFR can help prevent and treat all these issues, while regular treats can help your horse stay healthier and recover from injury faster.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TYPICAL MFR TREATMENT SESSION? To start, a myofascial release practitioner will evaluate the movement of your horse without a rider influencing his body. She will also assess the static position of your horse, checking for structural alignment and palpation. The therapist will then feel for restrictions, which can feel fibrous, immobile, hot, hard or tender. The therapist will generally begin treating in the area of greatest restriction. Sessions may last 60 to 90 minutes. The horse will show signs of release throughout the treatment by licking, chewing, yawning, and releasing gas, gut sounds or bowel movements. Patches of sweat or hives may appear. Sometimes a horse will experience a healing crisis (a temporary worsening of symptoms) for a few minutes, or even a few days after a treatment. If this occurs, his discomfort can intensify before declining, and he may display some short-term behavioral changes. Caretakers, veterinarians, farriers, equine dentists, chiropractors, nutritionists and MFR practitioners should all work together as part of your horse’s healthcare team in order to maintain his health and well-being.

Tamara Thomas began her study of myofascial release with John Barnes in 1989, and is a senior assistant to him for his human seminars. In 2001, she began teaching Mark Barnes Equine Myofascial Release Seminars, based on the John F. Barnes myofascial release approach. The feel of this work can only be learned in a classroom and not from a book or a video. Tamara also travels around the country treating horses of all disciplines. Courses and extensive information are available at myofascialrelease.com. Human MFR courses can be taken by practitioners with a license to touch. Equine seminars are listed at equinemyofascialrelease.com.

Equine Wellness


ACUPRESSURE AT-A-GLANCE By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis



Offer your horse this “winterizing”acupressure session twice a week throughout the season. Remember to stimulate the acupoints on both sides of your horse as this will help her feel more comfortable during the frigid winter months.

When cold weather arrives, everything — including your horse — slows down and contracts. Acupressure can help her cope with these adjustments. During the cold months, as movement and activity decrease, your horse’s blood and chi (life-promoting energy) are not circulating as vitally as they do in the warmer months. This winter “slowdown” can lead to loss of muscle tone, poor digestion, achy joints and low spirits. The good news is that acupressure can help stave off these issues by enhancing the circulation of blood and energy in your horse’s body. The first step in helping your horse thrive during the winter is to ensure her digestive system is strong. Offering good quality grass hay and constant access to fresh water is important because the digestion process acts to keep your horse warm – it’s much like her own internal furnace. The next step is to enhance the circulation of blood, chi and other vital substances that nourish your horse’s bones, joints, muscles, organs and all her bodily tissues. Because your horse is less active in winter, she risks a loss of muscle tone, flexibility and a general sense of well-being. In older horses, these losses can be even more dramatic.

The last suggested acupoint is Gall Bladder 34 (GB 34), which will address the possible stiffness of your horse’s joints when her extremities are cold. GB 34 is considered the influential point for tendons and ligaments. This point influences the suppleness of these particular tissues in order to maintain their flexibility. Offer your horse this “winterizing” acupressure session twice a week throughout the season, remembering to stimulate the acupoints on both sides of your horse. It will help her feel more comfortable during the frigid winter months, and aid in making sure she’s in good shape when spring arrives!

"Winterizing” Acupressure Session

Winter is the perfect time to offer your horse an acupressure session that will help support her gastrointestinal tract and maintain circulation to her entire body. The intent of a brief wintertime acupressure session is to enhance the motility of forage through the horse’s digestive system so it can function to warm her body. It also helps ensure that all vital substances such as chi, blood and bodily fluids are nourishing her entire body. You can stimulate specific acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” to help “winterize” your horse. Making sure your horse’s digestion is functioning optimally to sustain her body temperature is the critical measure to combat the cold. Stomach 36 (St 36) is the acupoint known as the master point for the gastrointestinal tract. This is a powerful point commonly used to circulate blood and chi to support digestion as well as provide energy for activity. The next acupoint that can be included in a winter session is Heart 7 (Ht 7). This point also helps with the circulation of blood and chi necessary for muscles and joints to receive the nutrients needed for mobility. Additionally, Ht 7 has the attribute of supporting the spirit of the animal, which is important during the darker days of winter. 48

Equine Wellness

Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides a 300-hour hands-on and online training program worldwide. It is an approved school for the Department of Private Occupational Schools through the State of Colorado, and an Approved Provider of NCCAOM (#1181) Continuing Education courses. Contact: 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com



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EW 13:6


SADDLE FIT By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSE, CSFT

SADDLE CARE By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE

LEARNING ABOUT PROPER SADDLE CARE WILL HELP YOU MAINTAIN YOUR SADDLE AND OTHER LEATHER GOODS, WHETHER THEY’RE NEW OR USED. Many of you may have a new saddle on your wish list this holiday season. If that’s the case, what better time to learn how to properly care for it? Taking steps to look after your saddle will enhance its appearance and lifespan, no matter the brand.

Using saddle soap

When it comes to cleaning your saddle, only saddle soaps should be used. Other soaps (usually basic in pH) and sweat (more acidic) are leather’s two greatest enemies. If left to sit, these substances will negatively impact its longevity and appearance. Saddle soap, on the other hand, gets rid of accumulated sweat and grime. Just be sure to find a product that doesn’t irritate your horse’s skin, and rinse properly to prevent the leather from becoming brittle and cracking.

Moisturizing your saddle

After rinsing your saddle, it’s best to apply moisturizer. Since leather is no longer alive, it cannot replenish its own moisture content. Better yet, use a soap containing built-in moisturizers to remove less of the leather’s natural lubricants during washing. When shopping for a moisturizer, look for a leather cream without any cleaning ingredients. Leather oil should be used sparingly to darken the original color, and only on the saddle panel. If applied to the seat, it will soak through into the laminated glued layers of the tree and may eventually cause tree breakage. Oil should also not be used anywhere the 50

Equine Wellness

leather comes into contact with you (breeches, gloves) as it will discolor them, while oiled flaps can soften the leather, making them too flexible.

Other considerations for saddle care

Wipe down tack and saddles after every use and clean thoroughly once a week if you’re using them regularly. When storing your saddle for longer periods of time, keep it at room temperature – never below 41°F (5°C) – in an area with moderate humidity to retain leather suppleness. Mildew is sometimes an unpleasant by-product of storage, but mildew development indicates the leather is still alive with adequate moisture.

This is just one variety of saddle rack that supports the saddle through the gullet area only. This prevents pressure or indentations on the wool panels.

Choose a saddle rack that’s the same length at the gullet. To maintain their form, the panels of the saddle should not touch the saddle rack. Add a saddle cover to help protect it from excess dirt and moisture, and your saddle will be safe until it’s time to use it again! By following these few simple steps, you can keep your saddle looking brand new for years. However, be mindful that saddle maintenance goes beyond looks. Saddle fit is even more crucial in ensuring you get the maximum use and enjoyment out of your investment! Visit equinewellnessmagazine.com/ signs-poor-saddle-fit to learn more.

Examples of popular tack cleaning products: Passier Cream and Soap and Fiebing’s 100% Neafoot Oil.

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

The ever-popular trouser fit joins the CINCH ladies’ lineup with their Lynden jean. The slim-fit, flare leg trouser jean features a 21” bottom leg opening, a moderate rise and 11oz stretch denim. Sporting a deep rinse finish, squared front pockets and back welt pockets, the Lynden is tailormade for women who dress for style and class.


A stocking stuffer favorite for horse owners, this brand new all-natural mud is infused with bacteria-fighting essential oils. It will become your horse’s new best friend during wet season. Designed to naturally fight thrush and other bacterial hoof infections, this sticky mud is a must-have in everyone’s barn.


Cinchjeans.com 866-545-7034


Many mainstream products designed to kill ticks can take up to several days to actually kill a tick. Yet in as little as only one to 12 hours, a biting tick can infect your horse with deadly diseases such as Lyme, Powassan virus, and many other. This residue-free, wax-based spray from LifeForce creates a barrier on your horses’ hair that’s too slick for ticks to stick to, preventing them from getting on your horse in the first place. It’s also a natural coat conditioner. After one application, your horse is immediately ready to effectively deflect ticks for up to one week!



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

Schleese.com 800-225-2242




Love your hay bags, but hate filling them? NAG Bags aspires to make this daily chore quick and easy, giving you more time to enjoy what you love most – your horses! Dedicated to making your life easier, the company is proud to offer the solution to all your filling needs. NAG Bags’ new loading racks can be mounted anywhere, or hung on almost every fence. These racks fit all flake feeding bags and remove the hassle of filling!

Slowfeeder.com 250-295-5052


Last issue, we reported that the AHC is teaming up with the Jockey Club Technology Services to build a single-source, universal microchip look-up tool. Backed by a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the website is now operational. The AHC is continuing to encourage collaboration from any US organization that houses microchip information in order to build the database. For a list of supporting organizations, and to see the resource in action, visit:


Equine Wellness


Feeding the



ard keepers are horses that have difficulty putting on weight and are prone to losing it quickly. They are heavily affected by cold weather and experience the greatest weight loss in the winter. Not only is it crucial to know how to maintain the hard keeper’s body mass as best you can, it’s important to start the season off right! The following suggestions will help you get off on the right foot.


Equine Wellness

CARING FOR THE HARD KEEPER Before addressing diets, horse caretakers should take the following steps to stave off wintertime weight loss.



Horses are known to harbor intestinal parasites. Most horses are on some kind of regimen to prevent parasite buildup, but many on a “preventative” program are still infested with intestinal parasites. In fact, some horses on daily prevention programs will actually develop parasite infections that are resistant to the de-wormers. Similarly, horses on a routine de-worming regimen, regardless of whether it’s the same de-wormer or a rotational program, can also have parasite loads. It’s much more common than you might think. The trouble with intestinal parasites in the equine species is that they’re usually microscopic. Fecal flotation is required to find evidence of parasites, which means no worms will be seen in or on the stool. It’s only when the unsightly tapeworm passes through the stool that we see occult evidence of parasitism. For peace of mind, it’s an excellent idea to have both a fecal parasite evaluation, and an egg count, done before the end of fall. Most intestinal parasites are aware of the changes in day length and will hibernate (encyst) in the horse’s intestines through the winter. These encysted larvae will decrease the horse’s ability to utilize his food.


In addition to checking for a hidden intestinal parasite infection, it’s important to evaluate your horse’s teeth. For some horses, floating the teeth once a year is sufficient. For others, especially older horses that may have imbalances in the mouth, twice a year may be beneficial, especially for hard keepers. A well-trained equine dental professional will use a light and speculum to open the horse’s mouth so that, using her eyes and fingers, she can evaluate all the way to the back of the horse’s mouth. All hooks and points need to be removed to prevent pain. A horse’s jaw moves freely in a figure eight pattern, but not so aggressively that the teeth are smooth of grinding surfaces. Ramps and waves should be adjusted so the mouth is balanced. A balanced mouth has grind on either side of the cheek teeth as well as contact with the incisors, rather than being floated smooth. In the aged horse, balance may be a difficult goal to achieve.


Continued on page 55. Equine Wellness




hen reactive, acupressure points Stomach-7 (ST-7) and Conception Vessel-12 (CV-12) are excellent indicators that gastric ulcers may be present. Reactive means the horse pulls away or “flinches” when the points are evaluated. If the horse is only reactive at ST-7, or on only one side, it suggests a possible TMJ issue and indicates a good reason to consult an equine dentist. But if the horse is also reactive on CV-12, ulcers might be the culprit. To test for reactivity on these three spots, apply as much pressure as possible with your thumb, as you would to scratch an itch on your leg through your jeans. The following signs might indicate the presence of an ulcer: • At ST-7, the horse pulls his head away. • At CV-12, he draws his abdomen up, moves away from your scratch, and possibly even grunts. If the results of this acupressure session are unclear, try applying pressure to BL20 and 21. Reactivity at these points will cause the horse to ripple his back under and away from your thumb. If these points are reactive along with ST-7 and CV-12, it’s a very good idea to proceed with ulcer treatment. For the most accurate results, a TCVMtrained veterinarian should perform these tests.


Equine Wellness

Ulcers CV-12

CV-12 (Zhong-wan) - located midway between the xiphoid and umbilicus or 4 cun cranial to umbilicus.

BL–20 (P-shu) and B L-2 1 (Wei-shu) - located caudal to the last rib, 3 cun lateral to the dorsal midline (in the iliocostal muscle groove).


BL-20 & BL-21

ST-7 (Xia guan) - located in a depression ventral to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).


Continued from page 53.


The third thing to address before looking at how to feed a hard keeper is potential stomach ulcers. It’s possible to take your horse to an equine referral center and have him “’scoped” via an endoscopy. However, for those who don’t have the service or funds available, or if the horse is unable to travel, there are a few other indicators that can suggest the presence of gastric ulcers – for example, being “cinchy” when the girth strap is tightened. Two acupressure points can also help you indicate any potential issues (see sidebar on previous page). Methods for addressing ulcers range from conventional treatment with omeprazole, to alternative treatment with aloe, marshmallow root, slippery elm and Chinese herbal formulas such as Happy Earth. Some horses do best with ongoing herbal support to prevent recurrence.

Feeding the hard keeper for winter Once you’ve addressed the above points, you’re ready to look at feeding your hard keeper for winter. From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective, a balanced diet starts with ample grass/hay and a mixture of rice bran, freshly ground flaxseed and beet pulp. A great starting point is to use two cups of rice bran, two tablespoons of flaxseed powder and two cups of beet pulp at each meal. For some horses, this is enough to maintain good body weight through the winter. For others, the amount of beet pulp will need to be gradually increased. Keep in mind that beet pulp should be soaked for 30 minutes before feeding. Ideally, flaxseeds should be freshly ground to take advantage of the Omega fatty acids they contain. A mash or complete pelleted feed (preferably sourced from whole grains) may be required for the elderly horse whose cheek teeth do not meet to grind, or who is missing most of his teeth. This is where the importance of semi-annual dental evaluations comes in! The mash can be made with rice bran and flaxseed, as mentioned above. You can also try a warm oatmeal mixture, which can include other whole ingredients such as barley, squash, pumpkin and fruits. Apples, carrots, peaches, eggplants and tomatoes can also be added to a mash, and a few sprinkles of cinnamon can add flavor and help stimulate appetite and digestion. Feeding the hard keeper over winter is primarily about ensuring the horse’s basic systems are functioning optimally so that food is well absorbed and digested. With good teeth to grind the food, and healthy intestines free of ulcers and parasites to digest and absorb nutrients, your hard keeper is set up as well as possible for the cold weather months. Provide him with quality whole foods and he’ll be ready to take on the long winter that lies ahead.

Dr. Cathy Alinovi is a retired holistic veterinarian and now serves pet owners (including horses) all over the world as a natural pet wellness advisor. She is the owner of Healthy PAWsibilities in Clearwater, Florida. healthypawsibilities.com

Equine Wellness



demystifying the



very tail tells a tale. In fact, your horse’s tail can indicate whether he’s at ease, in distress or discomfort, or is simply irritated by a pesky fly. Believe it or not, each of these emotional states is governed by your horse’s first chakra. Otherwise known as the Root Chakra, it’s located at the hind end of your horse, at the base of his tail, and is associated with the color red. Knowing something about this chakra can lead to a better understanding of your horse’s complexities.

Understanding the Root Chakra The Root Chakra governs the immune system, the hind legs, feet, blood, bones, joints and even the skin. It is also the home of male hormones and female sexual organs. The first chakra also rules reproduction. In humans and animals, the Root Chakra represents survival, instinct, security and the herd/family. For humans, our instinct can be overruled by reason. But animals – both predator and prey alike – have a keen awareness of what’s behind them, as if the hind has literal roots, reaching out like sensors to check for safety. The hind is their protection, and a balanced Root Chakra offers a sense of safety.

Balancing his Root Chakra When interacting with a less confident or fearful horse, spend time quietly brushing his tail or massaging his hind end to reassure him. Mindfully reaching down to his hooves to remind him of the perimeters of his body is another powerful tool. Energetic body work can also help ground the fearful “first chakra horse” and deepen the bond you share. When you have a horse that doesn’t seem present in his body or tends to spook easily, it can be very soothing to reach your hand back to his tail the minute you get into the saddle. Whisper something encouraging to him as you stroke the spine from the saddle to the dock. By employing these simple gestures and paying attention to the subtle energies of your horse’s Root Chakra, you’ll be better equipped to tell if all is well with your equine companion. \

How does the Root Chakra affect your horse? When it comes to riding and training, the hind/root is seen as the engine. A horse comes “through” when he’s engaged from behind – which can be dangerous if his fight or flight response is engaged during a session. If his Root Chakra is balanced, your horse will perform with more trust and confidence. In severe weather, horses will huddle together with their rear ends to the wind, while horses that have had enough of another herd member will turn tail as if to say, “Talk to the butt.” This is their way of protecting themselves, both physically and energetically.


Equine Wellness

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

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


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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

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Equine Wellness 57 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

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Equine Wellness 57 Equine Wellness 57

This column features articles from our library at AnimalWellnessMagazine.com

Back to Basics

A guide to warming up and cooling down By Sigle Skeries


arming up and cooling down should be an integral part of your horse’s training routine, especially during the winter. Try these techniques to minimize injury and keep him sound.

If you exercise, you know how important it is to warm up properly before you start, and to cool down when you’re finished. In all athletic endeavors, in fact, coaches spend a great deal of time focusing on effective warm-up and cool-down routines. These routines are just as important to your horse’s physical and mental well-being as they are for yours, especially when the weather turns colder.

WHAT ARE THE GOALS? • The warm-up routine prepares the mind and body for physically and mentally strenuous activity. It ensures the mind is focused on the activities to come. It also increases blood flow to the extremities and raises body temperature and oxygen and nutrient supplies to the limbs, allowing them to function efficiently, painlessly, and with minimal risk of injury. 58

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• The cool-down routine lowers body temperature, reduces cardiovascular and respiratory output, stretches and relaxes the muscles, and returns the body and mind to a resting state.

TAKING THE TIME An effective warm-up routine doesn’t start when the rider is in the saddle. It should start from the moment you fetch your horse from his paddock or stall and begin the process of grooming and saddling up. The horse’s mindset changes from a resting state to a state of alertness and anticipation, because he knows that once he is groomed he will be tacked up and the adventure of a ride will begin. Unfortunately, in this age of hustle and bustle, many riders are so pressed for time that they miss out on the opportunity to effectively warm up their horses from stall to saddle and better the odds of a positive and happy riding experience.

Often, people only give their equine partners a quick going-over with the brushes to remove the worst of the dirt before saddling up and heading out on the trails. Once in the saddle, many find their horses are inattentive, stiff, and reluctant to move down the trail or around the ring. What horse wouldn’t be when a mere ten minutes has passed from the time he was fetched up to the time his rider dropped into the saddle?

The first step is to increase circulation and slightly raise cardiovascular and respiratory output by giving the horse a vigorous and thorough grooming. This essentially involves giving him a mini-massage from head to tail. It will not only effectively increase circulation, especially to the extremities, but it also allows you to do a thorough head to tail check to ensure your horse is in good health before saddling up. Lastly, it’s an excellent opportunity to work on ground manners and help the horse become mentally alert and focused.



A first-rate warm-up routine helps the horse become more attentive and the rider let go of her day’s distractions, thereby ensuring a positive riding outcome. The process should start from the moment the horse leaves his stall or paddock and enters the grooming area.

Here’s a simple routine that starts with a grooming approach: • Use the palm of your hand, a rubber curry comb or grooming mitt in large circular motions, starting with light pressure and moving deeper into the large muscles of the neck, shoulder, back and hindquarters. Continued on page 60.




1. Neck stretch laterally – using a treat, slowly encourage the horse to look around to the side. Keep the nose in line with the elbow first then, if thehorse is able to, gradually draw him towards his stifle. 2. N eck bowing stretch – take a treat and slowly entice the horse to stretch between his front legs. 3. Foreleg flex forward.



4. Foreleg flex backward, aim to draw the leg back towards the hind fetlock in order to keep the stretch straight and in line with the body. 5. Foreleg extended forward. 6. Hindleg extend forward, aim the toe of the hind hoof towards the front fetlock to keep the stretch straight and in line with the body.



7. Hindleg extend backward. With stretches 6 and 7 you’ll need to support the hind fetlock with both hands to draw the leg forward and backward.



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RING LEADER Start your ride in the ring for the first ten minutes to fully assess the horse’s attitude and soundness before heading out on the trails. This part of the warm-up asks the horse to move forward at a strong walk, encouraging him to gradually increase the length of his stride and reach down into the bridle.

Continued on from page 59 • If your horse leans in at any particular point, work in deeper and with smaller circular strokes until he lets out a big sigh or begins to yawn. • If he moves away at any given point, ease up your pressure and move to larger circular strokes. • Follow with quick short firm strokes using the dandy brush. Put your back into each stroke, flicking dirt and hair well away from the body. • Finish with long deep strokes with the body brush or rag. Again, put your back into each stroke. If your horse is sensitive to stiff bristled brushes, use softer, longer bristled brushes or towels of varying textures. Start with a rough textured towel or rag (burlap or cactus cloth is very durable), then move to a terry cloth towel and finish off using a polar fleece towel or flannel sham to put the final polish on the coat.

HINT: The most effective way to ensure you are using your back is to assume a Tai chi stance with feet and legs firmly planted shoulder width apart. This stabilizes your lower body so you can lean well into each stroke without losing your balance.

This grooming routine should not take longer than 15 minutes. Your horse will be clean from head to tail and you’ll feel warm and slightly out of breath! In cold weather, immediately put a wool cooler or quarter sheet on the horse to keep this warmth in while you tack up. Keep it on for the first ten minutes of your ride.


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Next, begin doing large circles and serpentines. As the horse develops a nice swinging gait with ears forward and a little chewing going on, move into smaller serpentines and spiralling circles to encourage greater reaching under of the hind end and more lateral bending. Make sure to work both sides of the horse equally, or if a horse is stiffer in one direction than the other, work the stiffer side 10% more than the flexible side. Once you’ve made certain the horse is mentally focused and physically comfortable, hop off, pull off the wool cooler or quarter sheet and stretch out his limbs – holding each stretch for ten seconds .

HINT: Never stretch a horse prior to his walking warm-up. Stretching out cold limbs can microtear the muscle fibers and lead to unsoundness issues in a matter of weeks. without losing your balance.

AFTER THE RIDE When you return from your ride, immediately replace the wool cooler or quarter sheet to keep the horse’s muscles warm and help draw away from his body any sweat that has built up in his winter coat. This will minimize his chances of getting a chill across his loins and coming out next day stiff and sore. With the horse untacked and warm under the cooler, complete the stretch routine as you did after your ten-minute warm-up walk. This time, hold the stretches for 20 seconds. Now proceed with your cool-down grooming. The aim here is to lift the coat so air can freely circulate through the hair fibers and thoroughly dry out the coat. Use only your rubber curry comb or mitt (I like to use my fingertips and rake the body in a “W” pattern; this helps me locate any areas of significant temperature change and small areas of injury or soreness that may have developed on the ride).

Work the coat in large circular strokes, gradually getting deeper with each circle until the horse is settled and leaning in. Then use the polishing towel, again working in large circular motions against the grain or lay of the coat to remove any residue dampness. Finish by using the body brush in long, slow deep strokes to lay the coat back into place. Finally, put your horse’s blanket back on or simply let him back out to frolic in the snow. An appropriate warm-up and cool-down routine will help your horse have a happy healthy career. It also alerts you to any problems he may be experiencing before you head out on your ride. Develop one that works for you and your horse – it won’t take that much time, and the benefits are worth it. A thorough grooming can be accomplished in 15 minutes. Add a simple walking warm-up followed by effective stretches and you’ll have a sound equine partner who will work with you on the trail or in the ring for years to come.

Sigle (Sheila) Skeries has an Honors Bachelor of Arts in educational psychology with 25 years of teaching experience and over 35 years of experience in the animal industry. Her qualifications in therapeutic massage and herbal remedies have been secured through training in England and successful completion of the ITEC licensing examinations. She is also qualified as a British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor, and has managed equine facilities in breeding, racing, training and showing. This ensures a well-rounded and knowledgeable approach not only to rehabilitation but the specific needs and demands of a wide variety of disciplines.

BE ATTENTIVE Don’t dismiss something unusual that crops up in your grooming routine. If your horse normally loves to have his withers rubbed deeply but now can’t tolerate even moderate pressure, or if he starts to get worried about being cinched up, then something is clearly amiss. Investigate further to make sure trouble isn’t brewing, such as a saddle sore, pasture injury, or the early stages of a more serious back problem. Seek veterinarian input before heading out on the trail. It’s better to catch a small problem that can be easily remedied before it becomes a fullblown lameness requiring extensive layoff and rehab work.

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BLUEBONNET EQUINE HUMANE SOCIETY Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code BEHS to the Equine Rescue League.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2005 LOCATION: College Station, Texas TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Horses, primarily law enforcement cases

NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/OR FOSTER HOMES: Bluebonnet has one full-time staff member – the Executive Director (also known as the “Jack of all trades”). They are supported by about 100 volunteers who work through foster homes spread across Texas.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: In October, BEHS hosted the Bluebonnet Horse Expo at the Travis County Exposition Center in Austin, Texas. This one-day event brought together regionally, nationally and internationally-recognized equine professionals who donated their time for clinics and demos.

Photos courtesy of Dr. Jennifer Williams

Above: Dr. Jennifer saying farewell (for now) to Easter, prior to his first adoption.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: Bluebonnet president Dr. Jennifer Williams, along with other volunteers, were working with law enforcement to seize ten mares and foals from a negligent owner. One of the mares, Twizzler, came to Jennifer’s home for fostering because she was pregnant. “She had her foal, Easter, a few minutes after midnight on Easter Sunday,” says Jennifer. “He was the first foal born at our place and I loved him from the second I saw him.” Unfortunately, Jennifer had many horses of her own and couldn’t take on another one. So when Easter was old enough to wean, they found him a home. But over the years, Easter was relinquished not once, but twice – the second time at the age of five. “I was living out of state and in no position to go get him, and I thought I would lose him again,” says Jennifer. Instead, she enrolled Easter in the Bluebonnet Rescue Horse Training Challenge with a youth rider, in the hopes he would later be adopted by the rider. Again, no such luck. Finally, the stars aligned. At the next Bluebonnet Horse Expo, Jennifer was reunited with Easter once again. This time, she was prepared to adopt him. “He’s just six years old now, but he’s such a sensible horse,” she says. “He is good with my four-year-old daughter and has given her a few lead line lessons. Last weekend, he and I went on our first trail ride together and he was perfect. I think Easter was always meant to be ours; we just had to go through some road bumps to get there.”

Above: Reunited at last! Jennifer and Easter’s paths cross again. 62

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Follow BEHS on Facebook! facebook.com/BluebonnetEquineHumaneSociety/


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

make HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida, a prime winter destination.

Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show February 14–24, 2019 – Scottsdale, AZ

The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit culminates each March with the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.

In its 63rd year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2,400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers, and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win.

For more information: www.hitsshows.com/ocala/hits-ocalawinter-circuit

North American Veterinary Conference January 19–23, 2019 – Orlando, FL

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

The North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) is a non-profit organization that provides world-class continuing education to all members of the veterinary healthcare team.

Desert Classic Horse Show December 6–9, 2018 – Scottsdale, AZ

Held each January in Orlando, Florida, the NAVC Conference welcomes over 15,000 attendees from over 70 countries.

The Desert Classic Show is the third largest show in Region VII and has a reputation for being one of the most exhibitor friendly shows in the nation. We invite you to bring your horses and enjoy the experience. Sit in the comfortable, climatecontrolled Equidome, and watch classes in English Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Halter and the everpopular Native Costume Class, where the horses and riders show in authentic Arabian costume. For more information: www.desertclassicshow.com

Winter Equestrian Festival January 9 – March 31, 2019 – Palm Beach, FL This festival is the largest and longestrunning circuit in the sports horse world. It is a 12-week show jumping competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation and includes riders from 33 countries and all American states. For more information: info@equestriansport.com http://pbiec.coth.com/

HITS Ocala Winter Circuit January 15 – March 24, 2019 – Ocala, FL The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit offers exhibitors 10 consecutive weeks of shows with two additional weeks of USEF-Rated shows – the Ocala Holiday Series – in mid-December. The extensive range of classes, offering over $4 million in prize money and abundant show opportunities,

We offer 50 intensive Hands-on Laboratories, over 350 speakers, dozens of different daily lecture tracks, the largest meeting of exotics practitioners in the world and the largest exhibit halls in the industry. This is an excellent opportunity to socialize and network with other industry professionals at our evening entertainment programs. For more information: (800) 756-3446 info@navc.com www.navc.com

EQ900: Anatomy Discovery Workshop Clay & Hands On January 20–26, 2019 – Petaluma, CA The difference between the average equine bodyworker and a great one is accuracy. Anyone in the equine health care profession; whether you use your hands, tools, or machines, will find this is a great opportunity to expand and enhance skills. This course is also useful for the trainer or rider because analytical skills are honed after understanding the structure of the horse. This knowledge improves your riding and teaching skills.

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

17th Annual Horse World Expo February 28 – March 3, 2019 – Timonium, MD You will find top quality seminars and clinics, and many different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and, of course, there is plenty of shopping! Great family fun and entertainment! For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com http://www.horseworldexpo.com/pashow/

Theatre Equus March 1–2, 2019 – Harrisburg, PA Are you ready to be thrilled, have fun, and fall in love with the beauty of the horse all over again? Then you are ready for Theatre Equus! Professionally choreographed and scripted, this new event promises to be entertaining, exciting and something you don’t want to miss. Theatre Equus is held only in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo. Separate ticket required. For more information: http://www.horseworldexpo.com/ theatre-equus/

This seven-day course is taught in a study group format with a hands-on approach. This course runs in three day increments, with a one day break in between for self-study. For more information: (707) 377-4313 equinologyoffice@gmail.com www.equinology.com

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Knowing where your hip joints are can significantly improve the smoothness of your ride. Most people think the hips are where their belts rest – at the top of the pelvis. In reality, the hip joint is a lot lower, where your leg attaches to your body. Let’s try a few exercises to locate this ball and socket joint, and learn how a deeper awareness of its whereabouts will improve your comfort in the saddle and the ease of your horse’s movement.

LOCATING YOUR HIP JOINTS Place your hands where you think your hip joints are located. Most likely, you’ve placed your hands on your pelvis. Find your hips by bending one knee slightly so your big toe is balancing on the ground. Take your index finger and follow the crease of your pants towards your groin area. Slowly turn your knee left and right feeling for joint movement. Do this slowly so that you only move your leg, not your whole body. Obviously, you can’t touch the joint, but you should be able to feel movement in the crease of your leg – your hip joint.


All images courtesy of Wendy Murdoch

Let’s try another exercise. Place your index finger on the area that you now know to be your hip joint, then slowly begin

By Wendy Murdoch

to walk around the room. As you walk, notice how your hip is moving. Visualize it, like a well-greased ball gliding in the socket. Observe what happens to your movement when you’re more aware of your hips. Do your legs swing more freely? Do you move with greater ease?

LOCATING YOUR HIPS WHILE IN THE SADDLE Mount your horse. While standing in the stirrups, locate your hip joint with one hand. Once you’ve found it, slowly sit down, and begin to make small changes in the angle of your pelvis by tilting it forward and back. This works to loosen up the hip joints, which will increase your mobility in the saddle. When your sit bones are pointing down, ask your horse to walk. Watch how he moves more freely at all gaits when you let your hips move freely as well. Remapping your postural patterns by being mindful of your hip joints has many benefits, both on and off the saddle. Learn to feel a greater ease and range of motion in your hips, and you will notice a stronger connection between you and your horse – where two can ride as one.



Figure 1: The hip socket is part of the pelvis. The ball is the top of the femur (thighbone).



Photo 1: Point one toe with knee bent. Slide your index finger along the crease of your pants while slowly turning your knee left and right to locate the hip joint. Photo 2: Walk while identifying the location of one hip joint.



Photo 3 (a-c): While in the saddle, open and close the angle of your hips until your seat bones are pointing down. As you begin to ride, allow your hip joints to move freely.

Your horse’s hip joint is deep within his body. You can get an idea of the location by lifting your horse’s hind leg off the ground. Observe the triangle formed between the stifle, point of the hip and greater trochanter. The hip joint is deep inside the body from this point. Locate your horse’s hip joint by lifting one leg and identifying the triangle between the point of the hip, stifle and greater trochanter, which is part of the femur.

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. 66

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Equine Wellness