V14I4 (Aug/Sep 2019)

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Display until September 30, 2019 VOLUME 14 ISSUE 4

$5.95 USA/Canada

August/September 2019

Fe ell Hollow Farm

Find out how this sanctuary is changing the lives of senior and special needs horses — and cats! EquineWellnessMagazine.com


Equine Wellness


Dawn Cumby-Dallin


Elisabeth Dunphy

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Kimberly Smithson

COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Laura Boynton Taron Carruthers, BA Kin (Hons), DC, CAC Sarah Czerwinski, DVM Diplomate ACVO W. Jean Dodds, DVM Melanie Falls Jason Fowler Eleanor Kellon, VMD Wendy Murdoch Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Virginia Slachman, PhD Amy Snow Glenn Stewart Anna Twinney Diana Wanamaker Erin Zamzow, DVM Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION


Aimee Smith

SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Emily Watson, Associate Editor, at Emily@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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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/Editorial Associate: Kat Shaw (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Multimedia Specialist: Jamie McClure, (866) 764-1212 ext. 227 Jamie@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Editorial & Multimedia Specialist: Rebecca Bloom, (866) 764-1212 ext. 224 Rebecca@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $20.00 including taxes for five 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


PHOTO BY: Kimberly Smithson

CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published five times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2019. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: July 2019.

improving the lives of animals...one reader at a time. PROUD PARTNER OF

This handsome senior, Henry, was rescued from a kill pen in 2013 by horse enthusiast Cindy Myers. He was among the first equines to arrive at her Tennessee-based sanctuary, Ferrell Hollow Farm, a boarding facility turned non-profit refuge for senior and special needs horses… and cats! Flip to page 40 to read more.

Equine Wellness


CONTENTS August/September 2019


Features 10

1 0 ways to support your senior horse’s joints As your horse ages, he becomes more susceptible to arthritis and other joint issues. Here are 10 ways you can maintain his mobility well into his senior years.


Ferrell Hollow Farm

Founded to provide a permanent sanctuary for animals in need, this organization is making the world a better place for senior and special needs horses…and cats!



16 4

Equine Wellness

N ATURAL HORSEMANSHIP How trail walks can improve your horsemanship

Trail walks are an enjoyable way to develop your horse and test some of the skills you’ve been working on in the corral.

Social Media Tips, contests and more! /EquineWellnessMagazine News, events, and tips! @ EquineWellness Tips, pet photos, and more! EquineWellness


W ELL-GROOMED The ultimate guide to growing your horse’s mane and tail Tips on taking her mane and tail from mediocre to marvelous!

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Understanding heart murmurs from both a conventional and TCVM perspective will help you make the best decisions for your horse’s health.



G OLDEN YEARS Feeding senior horses

There's no shortage of senior horse feeds on the market, but does every horse eventually need one? And if so, when?


H EALTH WATCH Preventing eye disease in horses


F UN AND GAMES Horseplay for senior equines

We consider what “horseplay” is and how it benefits the senior horse, along with some practical ideas on how to incorporate play into your routine.


N EED TO KNOW An update on equine vaccine issues

When it comes to vaccines, the needs and requirements of horses are always changing. Learn what’s shifted over the past few years and how to best protect your equine companion.

A basic understanding of the most common equine eye conditions can help you take steps to prevent them.


M IND, BODY, SPIRIT “Love lessons” — incorporating energy work into your horse’s training sessions

Learn how the art of equine energy exchange can enhance the development of your horse’s skills and improve his well-being.

E ATING WELL Top tips for managing your pastures

You’ve taken the time to plan and plant your pastures — now you need to manage them. Here’s how certain measures such as rotational grazing and dry lots can help.

S POTLIGHT Dental care for senior horses

A look at how regular checkups and preventative care early in life can keep your equine’s mouth healthy as he ages.

I NTEGRATIVE APPROACHES Heart murmurs in horses

Departments 6 Editorial 8 Neighborhood news 14 Herb blurb 31 Product picks 44 Bridle fit 45 Heads up 49 To the rescue 55 Equine Wellness resource guide

60 Acupressure-at-a-glance 61 Events 64 Marketplace 65 Classifieds 66 Rider fitness



H OLISTIC HEALING Clay poultices have many uses for horses

Learn how these therapeutic fusions can be customized with natural ingredients to address your horse’s needs.

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his sage piece of advice applies just as much to the animals in our lives as to the human citizens. With age comes experience, wisdom, and empathy — traits that many of us, especially those still caught up in the hustle and bustle of youth, tend to overlook. But whether they have two legs or four, the seniors in our lives have so much to offer us. When I was a young girl, my family adopted a retired Standardbred named Sally. She’d spent most of her life as a cart racer before being passed from adopter to adopter, eventually finding her way to us. Sally was our first horse, so our experience with mucking stalls and tacking up was limited. But her own experiences — some of which we would never know — kept her level-headed amid the chaos of our new farm. She’d been through much worse, as you could tell from the timeworn whip marks on her rump, and that lifetime of “learning” gave her the patience to put up with our greenness. If you’ve spent any amount of time with an aging horse lately, you’re probably familiar with this incredible fortitude I’m talking about. All horses possess it, but there’s something about looking into the eyes of the eldest herd member that’s always given me pause. They seem to reflect back on the past, while expressing a readiness to take on what lies ahead. They also remind me just how important it is to give our equines the best possible care as they live out their final years. As horses age, they become more susceptible to issues affecting their bodies — their joints and teeth, for instance.


Equine Wellness

We address these health concerns — and many more! — in this issue of Equine Wellness, and we hope it helps you keep your aging equine in peak physical condition. For those of you who have horses like Sally, who remained in good shape well into her 30s, I’m sure you’ll especially enjoy Anna Twinney’s article on using energy work to build the bond you share with your horse (page 36), and Jason Fowler’s guide to playing with senior horses (page 52). And no matter what stage of life your equine partner is currently in, Glenn Stewart’s article on page 16 outlines the benefits you can both reap just by walking in nature together. Of course, the Equine Wellness I know and love wouldn’t be complete without a few quintessential nutrition tips, masterfully covered in this issue by Dr. Eleanor Kellon in her article on feeding senior horses, and Virginia Slachman in the third and final installment of her pasture series. There’s a great deal more content contained within these pages, but I’ll leave it up to you to flip through and discover. As any senior can attest — the joy is in the journey!

Yours naturally,

Emily Watson, Associate Editor

Equine Wellness


NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS 27-YEAR-OLD HORSE SETS RECORD The Tevis Cup is a challenging endurance race held annually in California. Riders train their horses intensively to prepare for the 100-mile course, and many still aren’t able to complete it. In 2018, only 64 of 149 entrants crossed the finish line. Among the victors were veterinarian Dr. Claire Godwin and her horse, PL Mercury. Affectionately known as “Merc”, he’s 27 years old, and the oldest horse to complete the Tevis Cup.

When Dr. Godwin first purchased Merc as a hobby horse for her kids, she never imagined he would become a record-setting endurance champion. “I'm so glad I was able to finish, especially so strongly, on this wonderful ride with Merc,” says Claire. “It meant everything to me.” teviscup.org

Merc and Claire crossing the finish line.

“WITHER DROP” REVEALS ASYMMETRY IN HORSES In a recent study published by PLOS One, researchers discovered that some horses drop their withers further when stepping with a certain foreleg. Typically, when assessing the symmetry of a horse, equestrians assess gait and saddle fit. But this new evaluation of unevenness looks at up-and-down wither movement (as opposed to side-to-side), which makes assessing lateral asymmetries — and ultimately striving for straightness — much easier.


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“This is likely of benefit both for the trainer who tries to increase symmetry while training the horse, as well as for the clinician trying to determine if a slight asymmetry is lameness or ‘only laterality’,” says Dr. Agneta Egenvall, a professor in veterinary epidemiology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Egenvall and her team used treadmills to measure wither drop in seven sound dressage horses. They predicted that wither drop could be related to the length of the horse’s forelimb stride, or the distance between the forelimbs. It could also be the result of a variety of other factors including stiffness or hoof shape. journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/ journal.pone.0204548

Photo courtesy of Gore/Baylor

This isn’t the first time Merc has set a Tevis Cup record. The 14-hand Arabian gelding became the oldest horse to complete the race in 2017 as well, finishing in just under 22 hours. Last year, he and Dr. Godwin crossed the finish line in 13th place, four hours and 19 minutes sooner than his previous time. Merc broke his own record, and secured his position as the oldest equine finisher for another year.

RESEARCHERS WEIGH PROS AND CONS OF BANDAGING HORSE WOUNDS If your horse has a wound, should you bandage it or not? Until now, equestrians have relied on their own instincts and the advice of their veterinarians to determine whether or not to bandage equine wounds. While this approach is still wise, a new study is aiming to create a more researchbased standard for when bandages should be used.

between wounds in these locations result in different healing times (limb wounds take longer to heal). The team hopes to use these findings to further explore best wound management practices. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6261015/

“There’s still a long way to go before we can make recommendations about what’s better, but at this stage we’ve been able to complete a descriptive study, showing what’s going on in these wounds during healing,” says veterinarian Dr. Marcio Costa, one of the researchers. Dr. Costa and his colleagues evaluated wounds in four horses, with and without bandaging. The bandaged wounds developed soft moist tissue (known as proud flesh) and consequently took about a week longer to heal that those that were unbandaged. However, the bandaged wounds had less contamination from environmental bacteria. The difference in healing times between limb and body wounds was also assessed. The physiological differences

Equine Wellness




Photo courtesy of Doug Burlock

Ways To Support Your Senior Horse’s



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Routine veterinary care Ensure your senior horse has routine veterinary care to monitor organ function and identify any treatable health concerns before they escalate. Older horses tend to require more consistent dental care and may need modifications to their diet based on dentition and changes in energy Equine Wellness

expenditure. Maintaining an optimal body weight is crucial for joint health. Excess weight gain places undue stress on joints, which perpetuates the symptoms of arthritis.


Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care is not just for the young equine athlete. It can keep your senior horse comfortable in his old age, and lengthen his athletic career. Chiropractic adjustments help maintain joint and intervertebral disc health and ensure the nervous system functions optimally. Animal chiropractors deliver gentle yet specific adjustments to the joints of your horse’s spine and/or extremities that are not moving optimally. These adjustments maintain proper spinal/joint motion, allowing for optimal functioning of the nerves, muscles and soft tissues surrounding the joints; this results in pain relief and improved movement, stance and flexibility.

Photo courtesy of Doug Burlock


omesticated horses are living longer than ever before — well into their late 20s and early 30s in some cases. This increase in life expectancy can be attributed to advances in veterinary medicine and nutrition, as well as a rise in alternative healthcare options being used by more informed and proactive owners. But with increased age comes additional wear and tear in the joints, which can lead to the development of arthritis, a common obstacle faced by those with senior horses. While existing arthritis cannot be reversed, the simple strategies outlined here will help ease symptoms and delay progression in your aging equine partner.

When choosing an equine chiropractor, ensure he/she is fully certified through The College of Animal Chiropractors and/or The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.


Joint support supplements

There are hundreds of supplements on the market for geriatric horses, designed to promote joint health and reduce inflammation. Research on the clinical efficacy of these joint supplements varies, although the general consensus is that the benefits outweigh the risks. While these supplements cannot reverse existing joint damage, they may help slow the progression of arthritis by optimizing the production of fluid within the joint, and nourishing articular cartilage. Two of the most commonly-used ingredients in joint support supplements are glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate. Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of cartilage and a component of synovial fluid — the lubricating “oil” within the joint. Chondroitin sulphate is an important structural component of cartilage that attracts and holds water and helps the cartilage resist compression. When shopping for a well-rounded joint support supplement, look for one that also contains hyaluronic acid and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM); these compounds are also important for joint lubrication and for protecting intra-articular cartilage.


Starting about 3" on either side of your horse’s dock, press your fingers into his rump and run them up towards the croup — he will tuck his pelvis and round through the back as you do this. Those who are comfortable standing behind their horses can do two or three pelvic tucks prior to tacking him up. This will warm up his back and mobilize his spine prior to riding.


Reverse walking

Backing up is a safe and easy exercise with plenty of benefits. Not only does it enhance hind-end awareness/proprioception, but it also strengthens the muscles of the topline/core while simultaneously mobilizing the spine and sacropelvic joints. Pay attention to your horse’s topline as he backs up. You will notice that he actually rounds through the spine as he engages the hindquarters to step back. If he drifts to one side, place that side against the long-side of the ring to ensure he tracks straight through the hind end. Continued on page 12.

Pelvic tucks

When it comes to equine back health and mobility, a pelvic tuck (“bum tuck”) is a simple exercise with several benefits. This reflex-like movement mobilizes the spine and stretches the paraspinal muscles of the back, while also strengthening the abdominal muscles and topline. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 11.

Much like senior humans, older horses tend to be stiff at the onset of activity. Joint stiffness and short-striding that improves with exercise is typically indicative of stiffness caused by arthritis. Allowing your older horse to warm up slowly with plenty of time at the walk will help decrease joint stiffness, prevent injury, and allow the cardiovascular system to gear up for exercise. Senior horses who are retired from undersaddle work can still benefit from a structured hand-walking exercise regime to maintain joint health and overall well-being.


Cavaletti/pole work

If your horse is sound, walking and trotting over ground poles, and/or raised cavaletti once he is thoroughly warmed up, is a fabulous way to increase muscular strength and endurance. Additionally, this exercise promotes full range of motion for the joints in the extremities.

•B ringing the forelimb forward in front of the body •B ringing the hind limb forward towards the back of the front leg •B ringing the hind leg back behind the horse. These stretching exercises are not recommended prior to activity as it can actually increase the risk of injury. Instead, opt for slow and steady warm-ups while under saddle, and follow up with a stretching session after the ride is done.


Heat and cold therapies

Applying heat to arthritic joints prior to exercise can help ease chronic stiffness associated with arthritis. Leg wraps and quarter-sheets with ceramic textiles woven into the fabric are an easy strategy for applying heat to arthritic joints. Cold therapy such as cold hosing or ice wrap application can be beneficial during acute episodes of joint pain and inflammation, or after strenuous exercise.


Stretch it out

Stretching your horse’s limbs can help ease muscular tightness, maintain or even enhance range of motion, assist with exercise recovery, and keep him supple. Three common extremity stretches involve:

THE ROLE OF SOFT TISSUES Along with the bones, soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons and fascia comprise the supportive framework of the body and the dynamic platform from which movement can occur. Ligaments connect bones; tendons connect muscles to bones; and fascia is the collagen sleeve that interconnects it all. When the framework of the body is aligned and in balance, it allows for efficient biomechanics, reducing the rate of wear and tear in the joints over time, prolonging joint health, and delaying the onset of arthritis. Optimizing biomechanical efficiency is essential, which is why animal chiropractors incorporate adjustments, soft tissue therapy, rehabilitation exercises and stretching into their comprehensive treatment approach. 12

Equine Wellness



Horses are genetically programmed to move and forage up to 17 hours a day. Not only is turnout important for mental health, social interaction, and a healthy respiratory system, but the movement it provides is paramount for maintaining optimal synovial fluid lubrication inside the joints. Motion is lotion; joints are self-lubricating and require fluctuations in the mechanical pressure caused by movement to facilitate the production of synovial fluid and the subsequent nourishment of articular cartilage. Active movement helps promote joint health while optimizing the extensibility of supportive soft tissues (see sidebar at left). While arthritis tends to be an ominous diagnosis, plenty of strategies and treatment options — in addition the ones outlined in this article — can keep your equine partner comfortable and productive throughout his golden years.

Dr. Taron Carruthers is a COAC Certified Animal Chiropractor providing mobile chiropractic services throughout Central and Northern Ontario. As an avid equestrian and lifelong horse owner, she continues to be amazed at the value chiropractic care offers our equine athletes. In fact, her interest in chiropractic began when she had her senior horse adjusted by an animal chiropractor and found herself astounded by the results. Dr. Carruthers and her current horse, Weldon, have successfully competed in eventing, as well as in the 1.0m jumpers on the Ontario Trillium Hunter Jumper circuit.

Photo courtesy of Doug Burlock


Slow and steady warm-ups

Equine Wellness



Rosehips (Rosa rugosa) By Melanie Falls

Rosehips are a “false” fruit that come from the ever-popular rose plant. This tart little berry is not only delicious in jams, but can also provide some great benefits to your horse’s immune system and overall health. Rosehips are an equine superfood, offering a whole host of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids, and are especially helpful for senior horses.

PLANT PARTS AND USES Rosehips can be found on many species of wild roses throughout North America. They are the fruit produced by the successful pollination of some species of wild roses, the most common being Rosa rugosa. Once the petals wilt and fall off, the rosehips start to grow and encapsulate the rose’s seeds. The medicinal benefits of the fruit is found in the flesh, which can be eaten raw (de-seeded), dried, or steeped in a tea. Rosehips are a potent source of vitamins C, A and K, several minerals, and have strong anti-inflammatory benefits that can ease arthritis symptoms.

MOST COMMON USES FOR HORSES Rosehips are a popular supplement for immunity and joint support in

horses. Because they contain several antioxidants and minerals that support the immune system, they are believed to help horses recover from illness. Note that healthy horses produce their own vitamin C, so rosehips are more effective for helping a horse return to his natural balance, or to support older horses that can no longer produce enough of their own vitamins. As for joint health, rosehips have been shown to slow the degeneration of joint tissues and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. You can supplement your horse’s diet with rosehips by sprinkling the dried or fresh fruit on his feed. The fresh fruit will have much more vitamin C than the dried form. Be sure to remove the seeds from the fruit if feeding fresh, as they could irritate his digestive system.

HOME GROWN Rosa rugosa prefers sunny locations with well-draining soil and limited competition from other shrubs and bushes. It is used as a very popular hedge in North America, since it is quite hardy, pest-resistant, and only requires annual pruning. Rosehips are typically harvested in the late summer or fall as the flowers are pollinated and wilt.

Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 24-year-old Desario, with natural methods. She writes articles for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalogue of top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid, and much more. Contact wholeequine.com, info@wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378.


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How trail walks can improve your horsemanship

Trail walks are an enjoyable way to develop your horse and test some of the skills you’ve By Glenn Stewart been working on in the corral. 16

Equine Wellness

A trail walk is just what it sounds like: walking your horse online on a trail. The purpose is to ask him to do things you might want him to do when you’re riding on the trail, and to see what his behavior is going to be like while you’re not on his back. Many people compete in horse shows but can’t actually lead their horses through the trees. Chances are, their performance in the corral would improve if they could practice leading and riding their horses out on the trails.

Goals and benefits Regular trail walks will help you develop a mentally and emotionally fit horse that can adapt to any situation. A horse that’s mentally fit is able to think through situations, while emotional fitness refers to his ability to use reasoning and problem-solving skills so he doesn’t get emotional. Ideally, you want a horse that will calmly understand and follow your requests even if he’s in an unfamiliar situation. A safe horse is ready, willing and responsive, and always says “yes, ma’am” and “yes, sir”. The second goal of trail walking is to develop yourself into a calm, rational and responsive handler/rider. Leading your horse on the trail will help you discover your own mental

and emotional fitness, and give you a chance to push your limits. Pick something easy to start with — whatever that means for you and your horse. Maybe it means choosing a short trail with only one tree and no hills — however, you must be able to do much more than that as your skills improve. You should be able to go all day long and deal with any number of obstacles. If that’s not possible at this time, don’t fret — just continue working toward your goal.

Before you head out At our farm, we use what we call “the seven patterns” to help a horse develop some basic ground skills prior to going on a trail walk. This method involves seven basic steps

BACKING AND HIND QUARTER CONTROL As with any form of training, variety is beneficial for trail walking. Instead of always leading your horse forward down the trail, back him up every once in a while. Set a pace, difficulty level and destination that’s going to challenge your horse without asking too much of him. For example, if he’s new to trail walking, stop once or twice on your walk and back him up a few steps. If he’s been at it for a while, try to back him without stopping down a twisty trail, using hind quarter yields — both left and right — to maneuver through the trees.

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that help the handler gain control over the horse’s movements. Here’s a quick breakdown:

a full arm’s length away from him, but even further is better.

Working with obstacles

Build your horse’s

Once your horse is familiar with the basics of trail walking, you can start introducing some obstacles. This will add more depth to your abilities and your horse’s, making your trail walk easier, not harder.

confidence. Make sure movement and noise don’t bother your horse by using sticks, strings, flags and other items. You should be able to rub these items all over your horse, and wave them around, without frightening him.

Apply steady pressure.

Touch your horse using different phases of pressure to back him up, and ask him to perform hind quarter and four quarter yields turning on the correct foot.

Apply rhythmic pressure.

This is similar to step two, but you’re using rhythm to ask your horse to back up and perform yields.

Ask your horse to do simple tasks while you stand. Back him up and bring him forward using your lead line while you stand still.

Lunge your horse. Without

bothering him, ask your horse to move in a circle while you stand still. Being able to send your horse somewhere without chasing him (i.e. encouraging him with a lunge whip or stick) is an important step in his training.

Ask him to move sideways. Have him go sideways along a fence line at the end of his lead line, in both directions.

Send him out. Without moving your feet, ask him to walk to the end of his 12' lead, then have him turn and face you.


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These are very basic skills, but should be accomplished before heading out on the trail. Of course, the better you are at groundwork, the easier trail walking — and other activities — will be.

On the trail — things to keep in mind Congratulations — you and your horse are ready to go on your first trail walk. Now the real work begins! The first thing to consider is the pace you’ll be walking at. Pace is something you should ideally be teaching your horse during groundwork exercises in the corral — if you haven’t been, it will be quite evident on the trail. Ask your horse to walk up and down hills at your speed, not his. He should also stop on both flat and elevated terrain if asked, and back up and down hills (see sidebar on page 17). Try varying your pace, and have him follow on a loose line. Just as you set the pace, it’s also up to you to choose the distance you want your horse to be from you. It should be further than you think. If you’re hanging onto the clip on the bottom of his halter, that’s way too close for both of you. You should be at least

• Use ditches and fallen trees to jump your horse online. Do this by standing still and sending your horse over the obstacle. Develop your send to the point where you have multiple speeds and distances you can ask of your horse. • If you can find puddles, creeks and shallow mud holes, ask your horse to calmly walk through them. • A row of trees provides a great opportunity for you to practice weaving with your horse. He’ll learn to move thoughtfully and pay attention to your subtle direction without bumping into you. Exposing your horse to the different landscapes that trails have to offer will help him become more relaxed and thoughtful in all aspects of your training. A trail walk is also a great way to spend an afternoon with your horse and develop the bond you share. Happy trail walking!

Glenn Stewart uses his 30 years of experience to provide horses with a solid foundation. He works with young horses, and restarts and challenges horses from all over North and South America. Glenn teaches horsemanship at his home, The Horse Ranch in Baldonnel, BC, Canada, and travels around the globe for clinics, colt starting and demonstrations. Glenn participated in 2012 Road to The Horse and is a former champion of the Cowboy Up Challenge at The Calgary Stampede.

Equine Wellness




mane and tail

By Laura Boynton

TIPS ON TAKING HER MANE AND TAIL FROM MEDIOCRE TO MARVELOUS! The sight of a shiny flowing mane and tail is sure to capture the attention of any equine lover. With some diligence and knowledge of nutrition, environment, care and genetics, you’ll be able to maintain your own horse’s lustrous locks, or succeed in growing the mane and tail of your dreams.

latches and gates, protruding nails or screws, torn buckets and feed tubs, and even trees and bushes. A little preventative maintenance in the area your horse is spending her time in will help you avoid major mane and tail misery.


That frizzy ratted mess of broken hair at your horse’s dock or mane base is a clear sign she’s itchy. Horses will find a way to self-soothe and scratch the itch by rubbing, causing hair and skin damage in a very short time. Inspect your horse’s underbelly, sheath (in males) or udder area, and the fold of skin between the hind legs up to the anus — these are all areas that can cause tail rubbing when not kept clean and moisturized. Next, help her fend off annoying biting flies with a wide-coverage fly spray applied liberally and often.

No quantity of product potions will improve your horse’s hair condition if he’s not receiving proper nutrition. By feeding him a quality diet that meets his nutritional requirements, you’ll naturally enhance his mane and tail. Like hooves, hair needs a certain balance of nutrients in order to flourish. Certain supplements are designed to support both these structures, and include the B vitamin biotin, the essential amino acids lysine and methionine, and the trace minerals zinc, copper and iodine.

TAKE A LOOK Inspect your horse’s living spaces for potential mane, tail and forelock hazards that could cause her hair to become caught and torn out. A lot of hair damage can be done by a loose or splintered board, broken wire and fencing, metal hardware like hinges, 20

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If her itching persists, there are topical treatments you can try. But if you can’t identify the root of the problem, you’ll need to consult your veterinarian.

BECOME WASH WISE Never use dish or laundry soap or any harsh cleaning products that aren’t designed for skin or hair. Bathe your horse often enough to keep his hair

from becoming filthy, at which point it will just tangle into knots and break off. Make sure you rinse the suds from top to bottom, and devote most of your time to rinsing the tail bone and mane scalp. Using a conditioner and finishing up with a detangling product will leave your horse’s mane and tail moisturized and silky, and less prone to knots.

BAN THE BRUSH Many equestrians outlaw any type of combing until their horse’s hair is dry from a conditioned wash and glossy with a detangling spray. This is an excellent practice to uphold. Between washes, use your fingers to sort out any tangles and free the hair of any debris. If you have a knotted mess on your hands, apply a detangler product directly on the matted hair, massage it in slowly, and lightly use your fingers to unravel the hair. Be patient and allow yourself plenty of time to tackle tangles. Rushing will cause severe damage that takes months — even years — for your horse to regrow. When you do reach for the brush, begin at the bottom of the tail and brush upwards, holding the hair tightly where you are brushing to prevent pulling.

FIND AID IN A BRAID Braids are a great way to prevent tangles and snags, but it’s important to be braid your horse’s hair safely and correctly. Start braiding below the tail bone so you don’t risk cutting off blood circulation. If you stay low and loose, you won’t have issues. Braiding your horse’s tail, inserting it in a tail bag, and tying the fabric straps below the tail bone is an easy way to keep her hair protected and free of manure and dirt. Re-do the tail bag every two months to re-wash and condition the hair and evaluate progress.

Many horses will rub out uncomfortably tight mane braids. Keep the first four or five crosses in each braid looser so it stretches as your horse moves her neck. Continue crossing the sections of the braid, applying downward pressure to tighten each crossover for a clean neat braid. Use a hair-friendly elastic to close the braids.

GET THE FIT A poorly-fitting blanket will cause friction on your horse’s withers, neck and mane as she moves. A loose or tight fit will rub manes off in noticeable spots and cause inches of hair loss.

Laura Boynton’s steadfast love for animals started as a young child and continues to be a big part of her life today. After working as a veterinary technician for over 15 years, she now spends her days at an equine boarding, instructional, training and show facility in Traverse City, Michigan, where she was born and raised. She has a breeding program at home with her future husband, where they work together to pair AQHA show pleasure bloodlines with their handsome foundation stud. Laura enjoys showing in the allaround classes with her AQHA horses. 1. Wind knots can be avoided by keeping manes clean and moisturized, and by using a detangler. 2. A blanket that doesn't fit your horse correctly could rub off portions of hair and leave a noticeable hole in the mane. 3. A small nail or splintered board in a stall or on a fence can easily snag and rip out mane and tail hair. 4. This tail from a summer-pastured gelding had to be completely cut off right below the tail bone due to a 10" piece of broken wire stuck in the middle of his tail. This happened over the course of three days when the horse was fighting off flies and switching his tail. 5. Learn to identify and treat the many different skin and health conditions that cause itchy skin and tail docks, and hair damage and loss. Consult your veterinarian and gain the skills to make your horse more comfortable. 6. Start to braid tail hair by crossing the first few sections of hair looser at the tail bone, then tighten up your braid to the bottom and secure with a hairfriendly band. A trail braid that’s too tight can cut off blood circulation to the tail bone and cause pain. 7. Horses will rub to try and relieve the nagging pull of tight braids that haven’t been started loosely. This can cause severe breakage and hair root loss. 8. DNA and inherited genes will only provide you with the mane and tail your horse is capable of growing. By giving him beneficial nutrition, your time and consistent care, and by maintaining a safe environment, you can overcome some of your horse’s DNA challenges and help him grow some lovely long locks.


The only way to recover from this is to trim the full mane to the length of the damage and restart the growing process. This is a painful setback that can be prevented simply by knowing your horse’s correct measurements. In some cases, horses with the ability to grow long beautiful manes and tails just naturally “have it”. You can’t change your horse’s DNA, but you can ensure safe environments, take control over nutrition, add supplements that assist in hair growth, and use skill and care to support and encourage the best mane and tail she’s capable of growing.


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Equine Wellness





“Can we make an appointment to have our older horse’s teeth looked at? He’s losing weight and dropping food out of his mouth, so we figured it was time for a float.” When I graduated from vet school in 1990, this was a common request from horse clients. Most people now know that dental care should start before a horse starts showing signs of poor dental health. Yet I still routinely see horses in their late teens or 20s that have had infrequent to no dental care. Here’s why a preventative approach to your horse’s dental health is best.

THE ANATOMY OF YOUR HORSE’S MOUTH When we look at how a horse’s teeth function and change over his lifetime, it becomes clearer why they need to be checked early in life and treated in a timely manner. A horse’s teeth are designed to erupt throughout his life, and wear as he chews, but by the time he reaches 20 years of age, he has used 22

Equine Wellness

up most of the reserve crown stored under the gum, and the teeth wear down from that point on. The enamel that remains (see Image 1) is brittle yet very sharp in older horses. These “rims” need to be smoothed off as the softer dentin and cementum wear away, in order to reduce soft tissue trauma and pain. Dentin

Horse Tooth ― Top View

are plenty of opportunities for uneven wear, and thus uneven molar arcade surfaces. It is so common for horses to have uneven grinding surfaces (molar occlusion) and biting surfaces (incisors) that I am pleasantly surprised when I examine a horse with an optimally functional mouth! If the uneven tooth wear is not addressed in a timely fashion, malnutrition, pain, periodontal (gum) disease, early tooth loss, choke and colic can result.

Enamel Cementum Image 1 — Horse teeth have three main components or layers: cementum, dentin and enamel. This diagram shows the arrangement of these layers on the chewing surface of a horse’s tooth (a premolar or molar).

Enamel-to-enamel contact is important for the proper grinding of feedstuffs. But because the horse’s teeth are continually erupting, there

Above: Uneven surfaces and overgrown teeth are referred to as “waves”, “steps”, “hooks” and “ramps” in equine dental terminology. Spaces between the cheek teeth that develop from uneven pressure are referred to as “diastema” (pictured here); this issue must be addressed as feed will get stuck in the spaces, leading to local infection and further soft tissue damage and decay.

Photo courtesy of Bayard A. Rucker DVM, Southwest Virginia Veterinary Service

The best way to attack dental issues in older horses is with a defensive approach, not an offensive one. Take a look at how regular checkups and preventative care early in life can keep your equine’s mouth healthy as he ages.

TIPS TO HELP YOUR HORSE The genetics and environment of each individual equine play a role in how much dental correcting he needs in order to maintain healthy and functional teeth. “Environment” includes any non-genetic/ conformational factors, including how the horse is fed and housed and his nutritional status both in utero and after birth. That said, there are some important things to keep in mind when considering dental care for every senior horse, regardless of the level of dental correcting he requires:


Do what you can Dental care in senior horses is often more about soft tissue health, eliminating pain, and formulating a proper diet than it is about creating a functional chewing surface. In other words, minimizing pain and implementing an appropriate feeding program are often the most we can do for these horses. Beyond that, talk to your vet to determine if molar occlusion can be achieved. If so, ask whether the incisors need to be adjusted to allow the upper and lower jaw to move more freely. The bones and soft tissues of older animals lose their ability to remodel and shift as compared to younger horses, so drastic changes in the length of teeth and how they come together will be less tolerated. Adapting the diet and providing pain control post-dentistry can be very helpful.


Power tools or hand tools? The fragility of teeth and the strength of the soft tissues holding

the teeth in place need to be considered when working on older horses. Properly-used rotary power tools can often be gentler and less jarring than hand floats, and allow for more precise and focused shaping of the teeth. Of course, as with all dental power tools, they must be used judiciously and heat production must be controlled. Again, raise these points at your horse’s next checkup.


Look at the whole horse What other conditions does your senior horse have? Arthritis, compromised immunity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and Cushing’s disease are just some of the conditions that will impact digestion and dental disease, and shouldn’t be overlooked.


Consider his diet Long-stem fiber is important to gut microbiome health, so if it’s possible to keep the horse on some hay without risking choke or colic, this is ideal. A slow feeder bag with small holes filled with soft (not stemmy) hay can be very beneficial to these horses if they have some chewing ability. Grazing is also helpful as long as the horse doesn’t have metabolic issues that preclude this, since small amounts of feed several hours a day is ideal for the equine digestive system. Supplements to support digestive function and detoxification processes, and to supply extra antioxidants, can be very helpful when it comes to the dental health as well as the overall well-being of an older horse. There comes a point in many horses’ lives when hay is simply no longer a safe option and they must be switched Equine Wellness


Equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis (EOTRH) EOTRH is not uncommon, and generally appears in horses in their late teens to early 20s. It is a painful condition in which the roots of the canine and incisor teeth start to resorb and odontoclast cells lay down cementum to stabilize the teeth.

Photo courtesy of Erin Zamzow

An exam and x-rays can help identify the extent of the disease process. The extra cementum will often appear as a swelling or “bulb” under the gums. The gums will become inflamed and recede, and eventually the teeth will loosen. Eating becomes very painful, so pain medication with NSAIDs such as Equioxx as well as antioxidant and nutritional support in the form of soft feeds can be helpful. But ultimately, the most humane treatment is to remove all affected teeth in one surgical session and follow up with a soft diet and pain management as the horse’s gums heal. It seems extreme, but most horses do surprisingly well once these painful teeth are removed.

to a “mash” of moist pelleted feeds. My preference is for a grass hay pellet (or low-starch for horses with metabolic challenges), a bit of alfalfa pellets to help with muscle retention, an added pelleted non-GMO grain blend, vitamin/mineral supplement and extra antioxidant support.

Preventative dental care is very important and many problems can be avoided with age-appropriate procedures. Dental care that is neither too aggressive nor too minimal, and is tailored to the individual horse’s needs, can help him live a long and comfortable life.

BELLE: A CASE STUDY I was called to examine Belle, a 20something Quarter Horse cross mare who had a hard time keeping weight on over the winter, and would drop ropes of partially chewed hay out of her mouth (also known as “quidding”). Pieces of hay over 1" long appeared in her manure, and she was sensitive to having her mouth touched or looked at.

Image 2

On examination, the inside of Belle’s mouth looked very similar to Image 2, except that the very front tooth in the frame was even longer, sharp at the tip, and was digging into the gum tissue of her lower bar. The client told me they adopted Belle the previous fall from an older couple who didn’t know that horses needed regular dental care. Her teeth became more and more uneven with every passing year until she could no longer chew and was suffering from advanced dental disease. Horses chew in a circular motion, gradually grinding feed and moving it further back along their dental arcades. When the teeth are as out of sync as Belle’s were, there is no functional chewing surface and no ability to properly process anything but a mash-type diet — hence Belle’s inability to gain weight. Her incisors were also very uneven, which made the circular jaw motion even more difficult. The first step for a vet assessing a horse like Belle is to determine how much you can correct and what you are trying to achieve. In Belle’s case, while I couldn’t create a perfect mouth for her, I was able to remove the sharp points cutting into her cheeks, clean out the stuck feed, reduce the high teeth, and adjust her incisor length so she was more comfortable and had at least some molar occlusion. She still needed to be supplemented with moist pellets when she couldn’t graze, but with diet management and reduced pain, she was given a chance of several more years of quality life.

Dr. Erin Zamzow graduated from Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1990 and has made equine dentistry a large part of her practice since 1996, caring for hundreds of horses from foalhood to old age. Dr. Zamzow lives with her husband, Jeff Alm, in Ellensburg, Washington with their adopted cats, horses, dogs, potbellied pigs and a couple of pretty cool human offspring. In addition to being a mom and running her veterinary practice, Dr. Zamzow is co-founder and president of VivoAnimals, LLC (vivoanimals.com) and enjoys being the veterinarian for the chimps and cows at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (chimpsnw.org).


Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness




SENIOR HORSES By Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

There's no shortage of senior horse feeds on the market, but does every horse eventually need one? And if so, when? Articles from the 1980s and 90s stated that senior horses experienced reduced fiber fermentation with poor absorption of phosphorus and protein. Therefore, these horses needed higher calories, protein and phosphorus in their diets. Later studies confirmed this to

be true — but it’s now thought the problem was caused by chronic parasite damage to the horses’ intestinal tracts, since modern effective paste de-wormers were not available during the lifetimes of most of these horses. In fact, subsequent studies have shown

When is a horse a senior? Back in the days before safe and effective de-wormers, antibiotics and vaccines, when horses worked hard on the roads and in the fields, they were considered aged by the time they were ten. In the early 1970s, show horses were still being called aged when they were over ten. Today, the terms “aged” or “senior” usually mean a horse over 15, though it is not unusual for a horse to live 25 or 30+ years, and remain active long past these milestones. The label alone doesn't mean anything. 26

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that the nutritional requirements of older horses are actually identical to those of younger adults. As a general rule of thumb, this means that as long as your senior horse is in good health, with adequate weight, a nice coat and hooves, no diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues, there is no reason to change the way you feed him. However, there are things that come into play with many seniors which may require you to make some changes. The most common indicator that something has changed is weight loss, and an inability to hold a normal weight on the usual amount of food. If your horse develops this problem,

it's usually a good idea to have a veterinary evaluation done to rule out a serious underlying medical condition. For instance, older horses are at risk of developing Cushing's disease. Weight loss and muscle wasting are common signs of this disorder. Older horses may also have a weakened resistance to intestinal parasites, even becoming susceptible to parasites that are normally only a problem for foals, such as Ascarids (roundworms). Much less common, but also possible, are things like liver or kidney disease and malignancy. If the horse is free of any of the above causes of weight loss, attention then turns to management and digestion.

MANAGEMENT CONCERNS GROUP DYNAMICS If the horse is being maintained in a herd situation, the first step is to spend some time observing interactions in the group. As horses age, they may lose status and be prevented from eating their share by stronger, more aggressive horses. Even if there seems to be enough food available for all, the older horse may have to make do with the less palatable and less nutritious portions — e.g. more stemmy portions of hay — that remain after the others have picked out what they want. PAIN Pain from chronic conditions like arthritis or old tendon/ muscle injuries may also be a factor. Pain itself can reduce appetite. It may also keep the horse from moving around to reach food or water. Inadequate drinking will reduce how much food the horse eats. TEMPERATURE Older horses may have more trouble regulating their body temperature — either cooling off in heat or keeping warm in winter, or both! If they sweat more in summer, they will have higher salt and water requirements. When keeping warm is the challenge, they need more calories.

ISSUES WITH EATING AND DIGESTION DENTAL ISSUES On the digestion end of things, the place to start is the mouth. Routine dental care can help with uneven wear and sharp points, which are issues a horse of any age may have. As he ages, the raised ridges on his molar surfaces wear down, impairing his ability to grind food. Teeth are narrower close to the root, and as this Equine Wellness


Checking hydration The skin pinch test for hydration involves picking up a fold of neck skin and watching how long it takes to return to its normal position. This is not reliable in older horses because they have less skin elasticity. A better way to check hydration is to insert a finger into the horse's mouth in the space where the bit normally sits. The tissues should feel moist. progresses, gaps called diastemas develop between the teeth at gum level. These can trap food and become inflamed. Cavities, cracks and loose teeth can also be an issue, as well as periodontal disease and root abscesses. Horses with Cushing’s are more susceptible to infections of the tongue or bone caused by unusual organisms from the oral cavity. Frequent regular exams are needed to keep on top of these issues. Problems with ineffective chewing can occur even if the mouth looks to be in good condition. This is because the alignment of chewing surfaces changes with age. As a result, the force generated during chewing is reduced, leading to less efficient maceration of the food. Poor chewing reduces the efficiency of digestion and fermentation in the intestinal tract. CHOKE Choke is an impaction of material in the esophagus. It can happen at any age, but risk is increased in older horses. Choke can be caused by bolting food, which leads to larger

particles and less saliva production. It may also be caused by age-related loss of the nerve control involved in swallowing. MICROBIOME Age has additionally been associated with changes in the intestines. The number and diversity of organisms in the microbiome is reduced. Why this happens is unknown, but the result is that the older horse is often less tolerant of diet changes and may not be able to eat fibrous hays without getting either obvious diarrhea or increased amounts of free fluid around manure balls. A very common history is that the horse does fine on pasture but loses weight and gets diarrhea when put on hay. INNERVATION Innervation (nerve supply) of the intestines is also reduced in older horses. This can predispose the horse to impaction (which is more common in older horses) and colic in general. Altered nerve supply may also be behind the aged horse's increased risk of choke.

ROUTINE FEEDING An older horse's nutritional requirements do not change, but his tolerance of deficiencies or excesses might. For example, a horse whose diet has always had periods of copper deficiency has been dealing with this over the years by drawing on tissue stores. As time goes on, those stores become deficient and he is now at risk of copper deficiency problems like tendon/ligament breakdown, anemia, or aneurysm and rupture of blood vessels — all common issues in older horses. Mineral supplementation should ideally be based on hay analysis or best estimate of regional dietary levels done by a professional. Guidelines for mineral supplementation for the average-sized horse are as follows:

· Calcium — only as needed to meet · · · · ·

requirements; excess increases risk of kidney and bladder stones and sludge Iron — avoid added iron M anganese — low Copper — minimum 150 mg Z inc — minimum 450 mg Selenium — as the region requires Continued on page 30.


Equine Wellness

Continued from page 28.

· All horses need a minimum of 1

ounce of salt daily — 2 to 3 ounces in hot weather and an extra ounce per hour when worked. If the horse is not on fresh grass, feed him 2,000 IU/day of vitamin E in oil and 4 ounces of flax or chia seed for Omega-3 fatty acids.

· B vitamin supplementation is wise since the aging intestinal tract may not support normal numbers of microorganisms, which are a major source of B vitamins for horses.

· Most equine diets contain

adequate crude protein for seniors, but can be lacking in key essential amino acids. It is wise to supplement with L-lysine (10 grams), D,L-methionine (5 grams) and L-threonine (2 grams) daily.

· Older horses with Cushing’s may

develop insulin resistance and require a special diet low in sugar and starch to avoid laminitis. Most commercial feeds that claim to be “low” or “safe” are not low enough. For details, visit ecirhorse.org.

TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS It's possible a horse could live out his entire life without needing any changes to how he is fed. Others will develop one or more of the issues mentioned above. Being proactive will help you catch things early. 1. CAREFULLY EXAMINE YOUR SENIOR AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH. Note general body condition and coat quality. Record weight from a weight tape as an objective measure you can use to track trends. Keep an eye on muscle bulk by palpating along the spine and measuring the circumference of the widest part of the forearm with a tape measure. There is very little fat in that area. 2. MONITOR HIS INTAKE AND OUTPUT. If you begin to see losses, check manure quality and look for undigested food in the manure. Watch the horse eat. Does he chew and swallow normally?

Does food ever fall from his mouth? Does he finish his food in a normal length of time? If being fed in a group setting, is he able to effectively compete for food and water? Does he get enough salt? 3. BE WARY OF WEIGHT LOSS. A senior horse losing weight and/or muscle mass should be checked by your veterinarian, especially if the loss is sudden. If no underlying medical condition is found, the first thing to check is the hay, especially if the horse does fine on grass. The hay should be soft and leafy without tough stems. You can try soaking it to make it easier to chew and digest, but be aware that this will lower calories. An alternative is to provide at least half the daily calories from soaked grass hay pellets or cubes, or a soaked complete feed with high fiber (20% or higher). Seniors have the same nutritional requirements as younger adult horses, but may run into issues that interfere with their ability to efficiently process and digest their food, or be kept from eating and drinking by younger herd mates. Older horses are also less tolerant of deficiencies or excesses. If you monitor your horse’s weight and muscle carefully, and take advantage of the help available from your vet and nutrition experts, you can avoid any diet-related problems throughout his senior years. Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has been an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years. She is a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via the integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal (ecirhorse.org).


Equine Wellness



What we love:

Healthier stables = healthier horses

A therapeutic blanket for your horse The energetic signal emitted by the BEMER blanket has a positive influence on your horse’s entire body, and effectively stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. It is also responsible for the stimulation of “rest and digestive” activities. The application of BEMER before training, competitive riding or transportation aids in the tranquility and comfort your horse experiences. Through the use of the BEMER equine products, your horse will benefit from faster recovery, regeneration of muscle tissue, and more efficient hydration. saddleandsage.com

The impermeable top cover prevents the production of ammonia, improving the air quality in your barn.

The right riding surface is a critical component of equestrian sports. Less-discussed but equally important is the surface horses stand on. Some lucky horses live as nature intended: outdoors with ample opportunity to move on varied terrain. Most, however, spend much of their day confined to stalls. ComfortStall Sealed Orthopedic Flooring is designed to greatly improve the quality of these horses’ lives, with benefits to joint, respiratory and overall health, while boosting the odds of a good night’s sleep. A sealed top cover protects a layer of orthopedic foam that provides the perfect degree of cushion and greatly reduces the need for bedding. haygain.us

What we love:

It’s safe for most horses with a history of digestive problems.

What we love:

It contains a high-quality battery that lasts for approximately 15 applications.

Hair, hoof and joint support — all in one!

Farrier’s Formula® DS Plus Joint is a pelleted formula that delivers active ingredients to repair your horse’s hooves and joints, while also helping restore skin condition and hair/coat color. It contains ornithine, proline, glucosamine, manganese and sulfur to provide targeted joint repair and support. The product works to eliminate the excessive sulfur supplementation that usually occurs when supplementing other hoof and joint products separately. It also provides Omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, zinc and copper to rebuild skin, hair and coat to a healthy and vibrant condition. lifedatalabs.com

Top his feed!

This feed topper from Grace’s Abundance is made with certified organic, grain-free, gluten-free whole foods. It offers naturallyoccurring vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, all 20 amino acids, and prebiotics that support the gut microbiome and immune system. It’s very low in sugar and starch and high in fiber, protein, healthy fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory GLA Omega-6 and Omega-9. The carefully-chosen ingredients provide natural anti-parasitic compounds and balanced mineral ratios, and help support a normal inflammatory response, digestion, balanced pH and more! yuccitup.com

What we love:

It’s suitable for horses of all ages and work levels.

Equine Wellness




eye disease in horses


By Sarah Czerwinski, DVM Diplomate ACVO

Good vision is critical for all horses, whatever their discipline. From a cutting horse working cows or an eventer navigating a cross-country course, to a trail horse crossing creeks or a school horse used for riding lessons — all these equines need optimal eyesight in order to do their jobs properly. Alterations in vision may affect their performance, and increase risk of injury to the humans riding, driving or handling them, since 32

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horses can react unpredictably as a result of changes in their eyesight.

these eye conditions, the first step is learning what they are and how they can affect your horse.

Unfortunately, ophthalmic (eye) disease is quite common in horses. This is partially due to the prominent profile of their eyes, their flighty nature as a prey species, and the environments in which they are kept. Autoimmune disease of the equine eye is also common and can be blinding. When it comes to preventing and managing

COMMON EYE CONDITIONS: CAUSES AND OUTCOMES TRAUMA Many ophthalmic problems in horses are due to trauma — scratching or wounding of the cornea, the normally clear windshield of the eye. Bacteria,

fungi and yeast normally present in the environment can cause infection of the cornea. These infections can rapidly progress, leading to vision loss or even eye loss in severe cases. In older horses, or those with Cushing’s disease, “indolent” corneal ulcers can take months to heal. This delayed healing is not due to infection, but continued treatment is nonetheless required to prevent infection, and the horse will be uncomfortable. These indolent ulcers often require a minor surgical procedure to heal, and your veterinarian may recommend testing and treating for Cushing’s disease. AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE Horses also suffer from autoimmune diseases of the eye. Similar to autoimmune diseases in humans, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks its own cells as if they were foreign, like bacteria or viruses. Autoimmune eye diseases can be difficult to predict and treat, and may have a significant impact on vision.

cornea, and can progress to cover 100% of the corneal surface. The presence of blood vessels and abnormal cells affects vision; because the normally clear cornea becomes cloudy and opaque, vision is impaired. Horses with IMMK are mildly painful to non-painful. Diagnosis is based on response to treatment or in cases that involve surgery, biopsy of corneal samples. Treatment includes suppressing the local immune response with topical steroids and nonsteroidal medications. A topical immune-modulating medication (cyclosporine) can be used as a mainstay of therapy. This medication is

The right eye of a horse with immunemediated keratitis (IMMK). Note the whitish-yellow haze and linear red blood vessels in the cornea.

Equine recurrent uveitis Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is the most common cause of blindness in horses. “Uveitis” is inflammation within the eye, and occurs when the blood vessels inside the eye become damaged and leaky. ERU, also known as moon blindness, is an autoimmune disease in which the eye is the target of repeated attacks by the immune system. An initial episode of uveitis from any cause — trauma, corneal ulceration with secondary uveitis, infection with leptospirosis — is necessary for the development of ERU, which occurs usually months to years later. With each attack of uveitis, the eye is damaged. Cataract formation in the lens, retinal inflammation and retinal detachment eventually cause vision loss. The clinical signs can be as subtle as mild tearing and squinting of the affected eye. Treatment during a flare-up involves topical and systemic anti-inflammatories. It is important to continue medications beyond the resolution of clinical signs. Some horses are candidates for the surgical placement of an implant that gradually secretes a medication (cyclosporine) to suppress the local immune system. This implant significantly reduces the frequency and severity of uveitis flare-ups. Immune-mediated keratitis Immune-mediated keratitis (IMMK) is a disease in which the cornea is targeted by an autoimmune attack. Whitish spots or haze and red blood vessels develop within the Equine Wellness


The importance of reducing inflammation Inflammation plays an important role in eye diseases, whether they are traumatic, due to infection, or autoimmune in nature. Reducing this inflammation and supporting the healing response may result in improved visual outcome. In horses being treated for ophthalmic disease, adjunctive therapy with antioxidant supplementation may assist in controlling inflammation, protecting against damage from free radicals, and decreasing the growth of blood vessels. These effects may be especially useful in horses with autoimmune diseases such as ERU and IMMK.

also available as a surgically-placed slow-release implant, which can decrease the frequency and number of medications needed to control the disease. In some cases, topical medications are no longer required once the implant has been inserted.

PREVENTING EQUINE EYE DISEASE Preventing eye problems is ideal, but not always possible. Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to prevent ocular disease in horses — but there are ways to potentially minimize occurrence. 34

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• Keep pastures trimmed below eye level to prevent corneal ulceration. If possible, remove burdock plants from pastures. The bristles can get in the eye and cause corneal ulceration. • Do not allow horses to put their heads outside the trailer window while traveling. Debris, dust and insects may cause irritation to the eyes.

• Consider using a fly mask for turnout. Fly masks may be beneficial for preventing eye irritation from debris and dust when windy, or in horses that are irritated by flies. It is important to remove the mask daily to ensure there are no signs of irritation. It is also important to keep the fly mask clean — a mask caked in dried mud may cause more irritation than not using it at all.

• Use your veterinarian as a resource. Supporting your horse’s overall health with a good management program is critical, so the importance of yearly veterinary examinations, and a specific de-worming and vaccination program, should not be overlooked. Ensure a good plane of nutrition and an exercise program that supports healthy body condition. • Minimize stress. Some stress is inevitable, especially in performance horses that are often traveling and competing, but you should always take steps to reduce stress where possible. Even if your horse’s eyes look normal, consider a yearly screening examination performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist, similar to your own annual check-up with an optometrist. This examination detects any abnormalities that have the potential to progress and cause a problem. It’s also important for breeding animals, as it identifies ocular abnormalities, most notably cataracts, that may be inherited by offspring. If your horse displays any signs of ocular abnormalities, including squinting, tearing, discharge, redness or color changes to the surface of the eye, contact your veterinarian. Many eye problems can quickly worsen, so prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical to ensuring the most successful outcome for your horse. Dr. Sarah Czerwinski received her veterinary degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Canada. Following an internship in equine medicine and surgery in Alberta, and an equine internal medicine Fellowship in Lexington, KY, she completed a residency in comparative ophthalmology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. During her residency, she gained extensive experience in the medical and surgical treatment of ophthalmic disease in horses and other animals. Following her residency, Dr. Czerwinski practiced at a private small animal ophthalmology practice in Dallas, TX where she also examined and treated horses at surrounding equine referral hospitals. She is currently a clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.


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“Love lessons”

Photos courtesy of Anna Twinney

Incorporating energy work into your horse’s training sessions

A student begins a Reiki session on a horse.

Learn how the art of equine energy exchange can enhance the development of your horse’s skills and improve his well-being. By Anna Twinney

Many people look for a catch-all approach when it comes to training horses. They want a quick and easy fix that will work for all horses. Unfortunately, despite what you might have heard, an easy fix doesn’t exist. But there is one commonly overlooked and simple step we can take as we work with our horses — simply to share space with them. Finding time to “be” with your horse works wonders and pays dividends. It’s the pause between activities that brings us understanding, trust, and ultimately clarity for the way forward. Dropping from your head 36

Equine Wellness

into your heart allows you to feel instead of formulate, and uses energy to shape the horse’s behavior and mental state.

Taking the time to connect We often come to our horses with little time to spare. The majority of us are under some kind of time pressure from a busy schedule or a full calendar of horse performance commitments. We are a nation of agenda-driven individuals, hard pressed to justify taking time for ourselves let alone our horses.

But without this attention and time wisely spent with our equine companions, they become yet another neglected obligation — a burden to be carried instead of the joy and gift they were meant to be. And in turn, their own lives become void of the very things we admire about them in the first place. So how can you maximize on the time you share with your horse? “Love lessons” refers to a language based on energy and communication, and is a great way to connect with your horse at any time. It will change

the way you approach your training sessions, making you feel less goaldriven, and more able to bond on a deeper level. To get started, try moving through the following steps with your horse. As you proceed, take note of how his mood — and your own — starts to shift.

he sees beyond your physical presence. To deepen this connection, remove your gloves so you can feel one another’s skin. This, combined with eye contact, will help him realize your intentions. As the old adage goes — your eyes are the windows to the soul.

BREATHE In the presence of your horse, take some deep belly breaths. Allow all of your thoughts to dissolve. Put the past behind you and let your worries drift away. Center yourself by connecting to the earth, releasing tension, and encouraging both your your body and mind to feel more relaxed. Bring yourself into the present moment by aligning your body, mind and spirit, and focusing on your surroundings. Remember that only when your mind is quiet can you meet your horse and access his silent language.

As you continue to connect through your breath, make an effort to drop into your heart. You can do this by focusing your attention on your heart or placing your hands over your heart. At this point, you can use color visualizations (close your eyes and imagine colors in your mind’s eye) and imagine positive energy running through both you and your horse. Throughout this exercise, come from a place of love and be prepared to share this love with your equine companion.


Making sure your horse can see your eyes will help him understand and connect with your thought process. He will gain insights and comfort as

horse’s heart chakra. When riding, you find yourself seated on this area and thus horses can feel not only every nuance of your body movement, but also the flow of your energy. Allow your hand to rest there as you bring yourself back into the present moment. Stand so that your own heart chakra (the middle of your chest) is facing his, and bask in the heart-to-heart connection that’s created between you. You may choose to:

✦ Visualize light going through your crown (the top of your head) and through the palms of your hands to your horse. ✦ Say a mantra or prayer in your mind. ✦ Simply “be”. Continued on page 38.


ESTABLISH A HEARTTO-HEART CONNECTION Ask to step into your horse’s nearside (left) shoulder before placing your right hand, palm open, at the base of the withers. This is known as the

Anna at Bitterroot Ranch conducting love lessons.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 37.

Benefits of using energy work in training sessions Connecting with your horse by using “love lessons” before or after a training session has been known to: ✦S upport connection, communication, and collaboration with your horse ✦ Release stress and tension ✦C reate energetic space for the body to heal itself ✦O ffer mental and emotional relief ✦M inimize behavioral concerns ✦L essen physical pain and discomfort ✦ Reduce feelings of fear You will also be amazed at how you feel as you recognize how your horse responds to energy work.


CONNECT WITH HIS SECOND HEART CHAKRA Place your second hand on your horse’s brachial chakra, which is located on his scapula (shoulder blade — see chart below). Take your time to feel the energy flow, and allow a minute for both of you to adjust to each other’s unique energies. Watch as he softens and shows you signs of relaxation such as:

✦ Blinking and closing eyes ✦ Floppy ears ✦ Licking and chewing ✦ Yawning ✦ Drooling ✦ Snorting ✦ Head dropping and relaxation ✦ Skin softening ✦ Relaxed hind foot ✦ Tummy gurgling ✦ Passing gas ✦ Falling asleep ✦ Rocking ✦ Stretching

When the time feels “right”, gently and slowly move your hand towards the second heart chakra located between your horse’s shoulder blades. You will find a divot there for your hand to rest on. By moving your hand toward this area at a relaxed pace, you naturally ask for your horse’s permission. If he declines, simply return to the brachial chakra. Wherever your hand lands, stand in silence and strive to connect with him on a deeper level. Ultimately, this silent language of love sets the stage for a genuine partnership between you and your horse. It will help you both be more receptive to training, and deepen the connection you share. Try using energy work in your next session and see how he responds!


SIGNS OF IMBALANCE Depression, withdrawn, lacking joy, undefined purpose Glazed, distant or distracted eyes, likely headaches & teeth issues Uncommunicative or excessively noisy, lacking expression, feeling as if they aren't heard, shut down, unable to listen or process clearly, likely to cough, crib, wind suck or self soothe Sad, silent, lack of hope, disconnected, grief, concern, loss, isolation, overly possessive, jealous, unable to interact around other animals, heart guards & walls Fears touch, acts withdrawn, refuses to connect or bond Dejected, withdrawn, aggressive, unenthusiastic, dominating, metabolic & emotional issues Relationship challenges, lacks partnership/ connection, breeding issues, overly emotional, boundaries blurred, potential aggression, weakness, confidence questioned & addictive behaviors Spooky or sluggish, high alert, very fearful (with possible bolting), underweight, greedy, fight/flight, trust & potential hind-end issues


Equine Wellness


Oneness with spirit


Creative process, relationships, sexuality & procreation


Love, healer

Third eye, intuition, self acceptance & conscious mind



Communication, choice, expression, speaking truth & vulnerability

Anna Twinney is the founder of Reach Out to Horses®, a comprehensive natural horsemanship program leading the next generation into collaborative horse whispering, animal communication and energy healing. She is a Karuna Holy Fire Reiki® Master and the originator of the Reiki: Energy Healing for Horses™ workshop and companion DVD set. reachouttohorses.com


Center for animal/human interaction, bonding, vitality & well-being

Security, grounding & survival


Personal power, will, determination & fear

Diagram info courtesy of Anna Twinney

HOW THE NASC IS PROTECTING EQUINE HEALTH, ONE SUPPLEMENT COMPANY AT A TIME The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is improving and standardizing the animal supplement industry by awarding their Quality Seal to companies that meet their rigorous standards.

Walk into any feed store or tack shop, and you’re likely to find a selection of equine supplements designed to help your horse live her best life. Whether you want to help her move better, feel calmer, or look like a million bucks, the product selection can be vast and often reflects trends in human dietary supplements. Today’s animal supplement industry is valued at nearly $2 billion. What you may not realize is that animal health supplements were once in grave danger of being removed from the marketplace entirely, potentially leaving horse owners unable to obtain the products their animals relied on. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) is a statute of U.S. federal legislation that defines and regulates human dietary supplements. But the FDA declared that DSHEA didn’t apply to animal supplements despite their similarity to human products. Dietary supplements for companion animals weren’t recognized by the FDA as a class of products and instead had to be classified either as food or drugs, depending on their intended use. Products that were improperly marketed as animal food were at risk of being pulled from store shelves.

Concerned that horse owners and pet parents would soon lose access to animal health supplements, a group of small business owners in the animal supplement industry banded together in 2001 to form the non-profit National Animal Supplement Council. The NASC’s mission is to promote the health and well-being of horses and companion animals that consume supplements, and to protect and enhance the animal health supplement industry as a whole. What is the National Animal Supplement Council? Through close collaboration with The NASC is a nonprofit industry association federal and state regulators, the NASC dedicated to promoting the health and wellbeing of companion animals and horses given animal successfully achieves self-regulation health supplements by their owners, and to and provides a complete protecting and enhancingregulatory the animal health supplement industry. Members of the NASC roadmapare for members. responsible suppliers of these products, committed to attaining the highest standards of quality and vigilance in the industry today.

NASC members are responsible suppliers Central to our efforts is the NASC Quality Seal of animalprogram, health supplements from which provides a roadmap to quality and consistency for our members. To earn around the globe, and are committed permission to display the Quality Seal on their products, NASC members must successfully to quality, vigilance and continuous complete an independent facility audit and maintainwithin ongoing compliance with our stringent improvement their companies requirements. and the industry. The NASC Quality program How provides strict guidelines for You Can Help You can support NASC members by product quality assurance, adverse purchasing animal health supplements event reporting and labeling standards. that display the Quality Seal on the Memberspackage. must earn permission tosold in You’ll find it on products display the Quality Seal by passing vet clinics, pet specialty stores, farm aand tack stores, supermarkets, box stores, comprehensive facility audit big every two and online. years, maintaining ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality standards, Visit animalsupplements.org for a complete list of and passing random testing NASC members that independent have earned permission to display the Quality Seal on their products. of their products to help ensure they are meeting label claims. (760) 751-3360 • info@nasc.cc PO Box 5168, Sun City West, AZ 85376 Connect with us on

The next time you’re shopping for supplements for your horse, look for the NASC Quality Seal to know you’re purchasing from a responsible supplier. A commitment to attaining the highest standards of quality and vigilance shouldn’t be an option when it comes to your horse’s health!

Look for the quality seal,

Look for the Quality Seal, and of find mind. peace of mind. and find peace TheNASC NASC Quality quality visible. The QualitySeal Sealmakes makes quality visible. When you see the Quality Seal on a product, you When you see the Quality Seal on a product, can trust it comes from a reputable company you can trust itcompliance comes from a reputable that has achieved with our rigorous quality standards. company that has achieved compliance with our rigorous quality standards.

Stringent Stringent labeling labeling compliance compliance

Random Random producttesting testing product

Ingredients reviewed Ingredients by NASC reviewed by NASC Scientific Scientific Advisory Advisory Committee Committee

Documented Documented quality quality control&& control production production procedures procedures

Real-time product monitoring in NASC Real-time product monitoring in Adverse Event Reporting Systems (NAERS™)

NASC Adverse Event Reporting System (NAERS™)


Look for the NASCEquine Quality Seal whenever you 39 Wellness buy supplements for your dog, cat, or horse!



Equine Wellness

Left and far right: Photos courtesy of Kimberly Smithson.


Photo courtesy of Sage Sohier

Opposite page: Spirit, age 25. Above: Henry at age 40. Henry was a very inquisitive horse and the photographer wanted to see cat-horse interaction. Pookie was a special needs senior cat.


enry was in the kill pen at an equine auction in Pennsylvania when Cindy Myers discovered him online. As she scrolled through photos of the ill-fated draft, cringing at the yellow slaughter tags on his hips, she knew he was older than the listing claimed. Judging by Henry’s thin stature, ragged hooves and timeworn harness scars, she placed him in his early 30s. He was a senior, and in desperate need of sanctuary. Despite her reservations about contributing to the horse slaughter industry by paying Henry’s bail, Cindy decided his life was worth saving. She alerted her supporters, and together they raised the funds needed to transport Henry to the safety of Ferrell Hollow Farm.

with her childhood horse. Four years later, she decided to turn her hobby farm into a boarding facility for other senior equines like her own. From there, her passion for older horses snowballed, and she began taking in equines that needed rescuing. “I realized there were many senior horses in auctions and other less-than-desirable situations who had no one to advocate for them,” says Cindy. “I found the work to be fulfilling. In 2012, Ferrell Hollow farm was established as 501c3 in order to assist more horses who needed rescue and retirement care.”

To help end this cycle — at least for some equines — Cindy and her volunteers provide a place for senior horses to live out their final years in peace. Henry arrived at the farm in the spring of 2013 — four years after the organization opened its gates. Cindy originally purchased the 50-acre Tennessee farm back in 1996 when she was seeking a place to put down roots

Like Henry, most of the equines at Ferrell Hollow are draft horses — and they’re all over the age of 20. Because of their age, many have special needs, and part of Cindy’s mission has always been to advocate for their care. Continued on page 42.

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“Senior animals are an overlooked population, often requiring a higher level of care and expense due to age-related issues,” she says. “Many people don’t want the additional financial burden or increased time commitment required to properly care for them.” Unfortunately, this means many aged horses are discarded at auctions, eventually finding themselves on death row. To help end this cycle — at least for some equines — Cindy and her volunteers provide a place for senior horses to live out their final years in peace.

Geronimo spent 14 months at the rescue after being saved from a life of abuse and neglect as a carriage horse in the city. By the time he arrived at Ferrell Hollow, he was in a despondent state and in much need of TLC. The volunteers gave him constant loving care until he breathed his last. Siegfried (below right) was rescued at the age of 22 when he could no longer work. He became an ambassador for Ferrell Hollow Farm, exemplifying dignity and grace. He passed unexpectedly at age 29 after receiving amazing retirement care from Cindy and her volunteers for almost seven years.


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Currently, there are 11 horses living at Ferrell Hollow, and five volunteers help care for them. Another three volunteers work elsewhere on the premises — caring for 25 senior cats! Launched in 2017 as a way to help geriatric felines in need, this division of the farm is situated in a large building that Cindy remodeled with the cats’ well-being in mind. “I love creating and designing sanctuary spaces for the cats, giving them enrichment options so their days can be spent feeling loved and safe,” says Cindy. “This allows us to serve yet another population that is often overlooked, rarely adopted, and at risk of euthanasia in shelters.” For both the horses and cats at Ferrell Hollow, life is as carefree as it gets. This has always been Cindy’s goal. But offering this level of care means a great deal of hard work, sacrifice and, of course, expense. “Providing care for the animals is costly, and we routinely try to find fun and unique ways to fundraise,” she says. “We open the Sanctuary to the public twice a year, in May and November. People can bring Wish List items, give donations, and purchase items from our gift shop.” This bi-annual event is also a great opportunity for locals and tourists to see how the farm operates. It’s also a chance for them to witness firsthand how much work senior animals require — and how much love they offer in return.

Photos courtesy of Cindy E. Myers.


Continued from page 41.

Ellie was a stunning white 18-hand Shire draft horse who arrived at Ferrell Hollow Farm after being rescued from slaughter. She was thin and had issues with her legs and feet being handled, but Cindy and her volunteers were able to restore her to her glory. Ellie passed away from an auto-immune disorder at the age of 28, but not before receiving loving care for four wonderful years.

Cindy hopes to weave this element of education into the future of Ferrell Hollow Farm. In fact, one of her biggest goals is to create awareness of the various challenges that both senior horses and senior cats face. She plans to save as many as she can, make their final years their best ones, and give them a voice by sharing their stories. “We believe that senior animals matter and their lives are worth saving,” she says. “When a new animal comes to the sanctuary, whether a horse or a cat, it’s so rewarding to give them time to let their personalities unfold, and to see them come to life again with the appropriate level of care and management.”

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Smithson. It doesn’t matter to kill buyers whether the horses they’re auctioning are killed or saved. To them, the goal is to make the money they need to keep this inhumane cycle going. More horses sold mean more horses bought — and this culture of greed is what motivates Cindy and her volunteers to provide a safe harbor to as many equines as they can.

To date, Ferrell Hollow has taken in 26 horses — and they fondly remember each and every one. For example, there was Geronimo, a 32-year-old Percheron with a sweet gentle spirit who arrived with severely foundered feet. Siegfried, a 22-year-old draft, spent his life performing in medieval jousting tournaments before retiring at the farm, where he charmed everyone with his good looks and playful ways. His best companion, Ellie, was a stunning white Shire who was saved from slaughter to live out her final four years at the farm. As for Henry, he passed away peacefully on February 15, 2019 at the age of 41. “He enjoyed six incredible years with us,” says Cindy. “He was the horse who started opening our eyes to the plight of discarded draft horses fated for slaughter at auctions, and it was our pleasure to give him the end-of-life care he so deserved.”

To learn more about Ferrell Hollow Farm, or to make a donation, visit: ferrellhollowfarm.org facebook.com/Ferrell-Hollow-Farm-Senior-Horse -Cat-Sanctuary-126374340760220 instagram.com/ferrellhollowfarm



By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE

Infraorbital Foramen

1-3 - Branches of the trieminal nerve 1 - Opthalmic nerve 2 - Maxillary nerve 3 - Mandibular nerve 4 - Branches of the infraorbital nerve


Mental Foramen

A properly-fitted bridle promotes optimal comfort and performance, whereas one that fits poorly can negatively impact your horse’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Let’s look at the consequences of riding and training with a poorly-fitted bridle, along with some preventative tips. The lower jaw — Many nerve insertion points are easily seen on the naked skull of a horse. A key point exits at the lower jaw at the “foramen mentale” close to the horse’s mouth (see image). If the chain on your horse’s bridle is attached too tightly, it will put pressure on this nerve, causing pain. This may cause him to toss his head, or respond jerkily to rein direction. Ear salivary gland — Pressure here will enhance saliva production, cause stress and muscle tightening, and result in the chewing motion sometimes seen in horses. Saliva will simply drip out of the horse’s mouth.

can close the nostrils and impact his breathing, causing heat buildup in the lungs. The Hanoverian-style bridle is notorious for this. Stress indicators of a too-tight noseband are increased heartbeat and higher eye temperatures. The cheeks — The noseband and flash can also cause problems with the mucous membranes in the mouth, causing the edges of the upper teeth to press against the inside of the cheeks. This is particularly painful if the teeth have hooks or spurs. Ensure that two fingers can be inserted in between these straps, and always use flash nosebands if there is an issue with an open mouth or tongue over the bit. Additional tips • There should be two to three fingers of space between your horse’s face and his throatlatch — it shouldn’t be flush with the cheek.

The hyoid — The hyoid bone lies at the base of your horse’s skull and is connected to a nerve in the ear. Too much pressure on this bone impacts the horse’s ability to maintain proper balance.

• Additional padding doesn’t make a difference under the noseband and headpieces. In fact, pressure actually increases with extra padding — especially at the headpiece. Additional noseband padding is better; many manufacturers build the extra padding into their bridles.

The nostrils — Nosebands and flashes that are too low on a horse’s face

• Stimulating acupuncture points at the base of the ears at the browband helps


Equine Wellness




Souces: Anatomical Skull (Shutterstock); Nerves an adaptation referencing imagery from Anatomy of the Horse by Klaus-Dieter Budras, W.O. Sack and Sabine Rock by Michelle J Powell.

If you know what to look for, a poorly-fitted bridle isn’t hard to recognize. The key is to understand how it will affect your horse, so you can address the problem sooner rather than later.

ensure that both the jaw and the SI joint remain mobile, and influences the meridians for the bladder, gall bladder and small intestine — all further influencing movement of the legs. • Always try several bridles on your horse to determine what works best. Combining pieces and sizes could be the best solution. Keep in mind that anything new may cause different behavior, so monitor your horse as he adjusts. • Consider the bit as another important variable! The bridle may fit perfectly, but his bit might be bothering him. • Head-restraining devices in every discipline are meant to control and communicate to the horse what the rider wants. Give the horse the freedom to communicate using his mouth — comfort will result in a quiet relaxed jaw and mouth and help achieve optimum performance.

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



This year, PURICA celebrates their 20th anniversary and the launch of their first product, Recovery EQ (now PURICA Equine Recovery), back in 1999. After being invited into trials by the Horse Journal and named the top performer overall, Recovery EQ quickly became the top choice for equine athletes across North America. To this day, PURICA is known for its high quality and uncompromised standards. purica.com

For pushy or heavy cycling mares, Mare Support balances the whole horse nutritionally while helping her feel more comfortable and willing to work. This Canadian-made supplement has shown to increase top line, reduce hay belly, and improve feet, GI health and mobility. Best suited for non-breeding horses on grass hays and less than six hours of pasture a day. pureformequinehealth.com; 1-877-533-9163

BETTER SADDLE FIT = BETTER HEALTH Let’s Dance — an exquisite new dressage saddle by Schleese — combines stunning craftsmanship with extreme comfort and performance. The saddle features the industry’s first innovative NW-Twist, an extremely narrow twist that promotes ultimate contact between horse and rider, while simultaneously providing the horse with a wide twist to ensure maximum weight distribution and freedom of movement. Its innovative shock-absorbing tree points provide shoulder freedom, and the LightWeight3D-AdapTree™ can be adjusted as needed. Try one today! schleese.com

OMEGA-3 AND VITAMIN E Omega-E from Custom Equine Nutrition provides your horse with Omega 3 fatty acids and natural vitamin E. Omega 3s help support the immune system, reduce inflammation and improve skin, coat and hoof quality. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that plays a role in a multitude of functions such as immunity, sperm quality and athletic performance. Natural vitamin E has been proven twice as bioavailable as synthetic. CustomEquineNutrition.com

HEALING WITH LASER THERAPY For horse owners dealing with stubborn wounds and sores, laser therapy may provide a solution. Whether the wound is acute or chronic, deep or superficial, laser therapy can help accelerate the healing process, typically with just a handful of short treatments. Learn more about how laser therapy works, get recommended treatment protocols, and see the impressive results of two case studies in this short article: litecureinfo.com/LaserTherapyForWoundsEW

THE ULTIMATE IMMUNE BOOSTER Animal Necessity’s Imuno-2865™ is a mixture of hemicellulose and fatty acids extracted from rice bran, flowering plants and mushrooms. During digestion, these ingredients are broken down to produce betaglucan and arabinoxylan, two natural sugars that work together to support a strong and healthy immune system. Find more information at animalnecessity.com. Equine Wellness



Normal heart sounds are created when the valves close.



Researchers estimate that anywhere from 3% to 81% of horses may have a heart murmur. These statistics demonstrate quite a spread. This huge range may be due to different populations of different types of horses being evaluated between multiple studies around the world. Regardless, the point is that heart murmurs are a common finding in horses. While most of the horses studied had no performance detriments, early identification of heart murmurs may help with longevity and quality of life, 46

Equine Wellness

especially when the heart’s function is understood from both a conventional and alternative medical perspective.

Understanding heart sounds Understanding heart murmurs in horses means first understanding the heart and the sounds it makes as part of its normal function. It’s fairly common knowledge that the heart is a four-chambered organ. Between each chamber are valves that keep blood moving forward through the heart.

Typically, the healthy heart makes two sounds which often sound like “lubbdupp”. The first sound is associated with the valves at the top of the heart closing. The second sound is associated with the lower valves closing. Technically, each valve makes its own sound when it closes; simultaneous closing makes it difficult to hear each sound. Some people are surprised to learn that it’s common to hear three hearts sounds in the very athletic horse. This third sound is associated with the wave of blood moving into the chamber and hitting the wall of the heart muscle. When there are three heart sounds present, it sounds like “lubb-dupp-dupp.“ The third sound will be low in pitch like the other normal heart sounds. All these heart sounds can be heard through auscultation with a stethoscope over different areas of the chest wall.

So what is a heart murmur? By definition, heart “murmur” means there are extra heart sounds. Heart murmurs are not only associated with age changes; in some horses, especially young foals, the heart may not have completed its formation, or may not have formed correctly, and may have extra sounds — murmurs. Sometimes these foals outgrow the condition, sometimes it persists. In a retired pasture horse, it would be unusual to hear extra heart sounds. As just suggested, the presence of a heart murmur does not always indicate problems. In cases of problematic heart murmurs, the sounds will be higherpitched, less uniform, and the horse

may suffer from reduced performance. In some extreme cases, the heart may sound like a top-loading washing machine sloshing its water around. The washing machine sound comes from an inability of the heart valves to prevent a backflow of blood between the chambers as it squeezes. In these horses, a jugular pulse is often present. It is normal to see a little bit of pulse in the neck when a horse puts his head down. However, a jugular pulse will travel more than halfway up the neck in a heart murmur patient who is experiencing difficulties, even when the horse’s head is up. The murmur, its associated sounds, and the jugular pulse all occur due to inefficiencies in the heart’s ability to pump blood forward. Inefficiencies can be due to leaky valves, a damaged heart muscle, or even a hole in the heart muscle. A heart murmur can become a sign of a failing heart, especially in aging horses. While potentially a serious medical condition, many things can be done to help the horse with a heart murmur if it’s detected early enough. Understanding the heart’s function from an alternative perspective provides valuable insight.

Using TCVM for diagnosis and support Interestingly, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) not only evaluates health or dysfunction based on heart sounds, but further differentiates abnormalities by TCVM patterns. Through auscultation, attention to other clinical signs such as tongue color and size, as well as pulse quality, the TCVM practitioner further differentiates heart murmur cases to determine exact treatment protocols. By contrast, conventional medicine tends to lump all clinical heart murmur cases into only a few groups and treat them accordingly; heart murmurs are graded on a scale of I to VI, with I being very difficult to hear and VI being the washing machine sound discussed previously. The TCVM view of the Heart is different than the conventional view. As you’ll see, the word “Heart” is capitalized to indicate the TCVM organ which does not entirely correlate to the structural organ, the heart. The Heart is connected to its related organ, the Small Intestine via acupuncture meridians; there are times when addressing the Small Intestine can help the Heart function. The Heart is considered to be the king of the internal organs because it plays the most important function. Not only does the Heart propel blood through the Equine Wellness


blood vessels, it also houses the Shen (basically, the mind), controls sweat and has an opening to the tongue according to TCVM theory. BLOOD It is said that the Heart dominates Blood contained in blood vessels, meaning it governs the circulation of Blood. The Heart is the machine that propels blood forward, which is similar to the conventional concept of the heart as a pump. The Heart’s ability to maintain Blood flow depends on the energy or Qi (pronounced chee) of the Heart. When the Qi is strong, the Blood will circulate through the vessels, supplying nutrients to the body. When the Heart’s Qi and/or its Blood is weak (deficient), there will be a weak pulse and tongue color. In cases where a heart murmur is present, the Heart Qi is weak and often Heart Blood is deficient. BEHAVIOR In Chinese medicine, a weak or deficient Heart will also lead to disturbances in mental or emotional aspects. The weak Heart Blood does not anchor the mind (Shen), thus it’s at the mercy of the outside environment, like a dinghy in a windstorm. Some horses with heart conditions may undergo behavior changes; this correlation

is explained in TCVM but not directly recognized in conventional medicine. Because the two can be explained through TCVM theory, it makes treatment logical as the entire issue is addressed together, rather than as two separate conditions. BODILY FLUIDS Body fluids are derived from the Blood, according to TCVM theory. Because the Heart drives the Blood, it also drives perspiration or sweat; body fluids move between the Blood and the body surface to balance fluidity in the vessels. Abnormal sweating can relate to an imbalanced Heart. Some horses may experience either an increased or decreased ability to sweat depending on their progression of the heart condition. TONGUE Centuries ago, Chinese physicians noticed a correlation between the health of the tongue and the heart. In those with a deficient Heart, the tongue may be shriveled and small, and can even have a notch or discoloration at the tip. When the Heart is healthy, the tongue is moist, movable and peachy red. Often, an astute owner and/or TCVM practitioner will notice changes in the horse’s tongue before there is any indication of heart dysfunction.

HEART ARRHYTHMIAS In addition to heart murmurs, arrhythmias are another abnormality of the horse’s heart. An arrhythmia is an abnormal beat pattern and suggests problems in the electrical conduction through the heart. Murmurs and arrhythmias can occur separately or together.


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As the external opening to the Heart, the tongue is a great early indicator of the internal condition of the heart.

Conclusion Together, conventional and TCVM theory can be used to help the horse owner detect early changes that can suggest a horse with an asymptomatic heart murmur may be progressing in symptomology. Furthermore, while conventional medicine often leaves asymptomatic heart murmurs untreated, TCVM theory would identify the horse’s underlying pattern and work to maintain heart health before failure begins. In symptomatic cases, TCVM treatment may be sufficient, or a combination of therapies may work best to extend quality of life. For this reason, working with an integrative equine practitioner may provide for the best equine health.

Dr. Cathy Alinovi is a retired holistic veterinarian, animal lover, frequent media guest and nationally celebrated author. She is quickly gaining national recognition for her natural approach to animal health. After graduating from veterinary school, she realized conventional medicine did not meet enough of her patients' needs, and became certified in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation, Veterinary Acupuncture and other alternative modalities. While in practice, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door — not with expensive prescriptions, but with quality nutrition. Now retired from private practice, she gives consultations for people on how to feed and care for their animals for best performance. healthypawsibilities.com


HORSE NORTH RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code HNR to Horse North Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2005 LOCATION: Lake Ann, Michigan TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Horse North Rescue works with all equines. “We have had draft horses, minis, and just about every breed of horse at our facility,” says Anne Keith, a Board Member at Large. “We provide Animal Control agencies and Sheriff Departments a safe place to relocate abused, neglected and abandoned horses.” NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: Currently, this 501c3 organization has approximately 45 active volunteers, five board members, a barn manager, a training coordinator, and a volunteer coordinator. All positions are voluntary.

Left: Trader at intake. Below: Trader after four months of rehab.

“We have nine animals at the present time, with eight housed at our Lake Ann Facility,” says Anne. “One is fostered at a nearby volunteer's farm.”

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: Horse North Rescue operates entirely on donations. They generate funds through events such as tack sales and their annual Open Barn, and participate in community events where they run booths and educate the community on the importance of rehoming and rehabilitating neglected and abused horses. They also receive grants, and earn money through adoption fees. “We put 100% of all funds collected into helping the horses, whether directly for veterinary, farrier, dental or training help, as well as feed, hay or stable supplies; or indirectly with things like pasture and barn maintenance, and marketing merchandise such as T-shirts and sweatshirts,” says Anne.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “It is impossible to single out one animal's story and say it is a favorite,” says Anne. “Every time a new rescue animal enters our gates, he or she becomes one of our beloved animals.” The goal at Horse North Rescue is to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome these equines, and ultimately keep them out of kill pens. The organization also assists owners in need whenever possible in order to improve the lives of horses in poor living situations. All in all, the organization has encountered hundreds of horses, and each and every one is a favorite. “We sometimes cry over the conditions a horse endured prior to arriving at our barn,” Anne says. “But we cry for joy when each individual finds his or her forever home.” horsenorthrescue.org

Equine Wellness




for managing your pastures You’ve taken the time to plan and plant your pastures — now you need to manage them. Here’s how certain measures such as rotational grazing and dry lots can help. By Virginia Slachman, PhD

Grazing on highly nutritious pasture optimizes the mental and physical health of your horses. But knowing what to plant isn’t quite enough — you also need to care for your pastures throughout the year. You can manage this most easily by implementing rotational grazing in the spring and summer, and dry lots or stall boarding in the dead of winter.

ROTATIONAL GRAZING During the growing and grazing seasons, if you’re fortunate enough to have more than one pasture, rotational grazing is a must. Move your herd from one pasture to the next as you notice the first one being grazed down, and never let the grasses get below 3". Overgrazing 50

Equine Wellness

puts pressure on the grasses’ root systems by eliminating leaves needed for photosynthesis. Without taking preventative measures, you’ll eventually have no pasture at all. If you don’t have more than one pasture, consider dividing the one you have. Even a month of keeping your horses off a hard-grazed stand of grass will be of enormous benefit to leaf production and the overall health of the pasture.

WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE SPACE: USING A DRY LOT In some climates and pastures, horses do fine all year round on pasture, though they may need supplemental

hay, and perhaps grain. But if horses are left to graze all year, you’ll notice they tend to compact the soil and tear up the ground, especially in winter. A dry lot or sacrifice lot during the coldest months might be a solution for preserving your pasture. Dry lots (where horses are most often fed round bales or flakes in hay feeders

throughout the year), and stalls (where horses are turned out in small or large dry lots for exercise and are usually fed square bales) are both good solutions, especially when space is an issue. Many farm owners don’t have the acreage to support multiple horses on pasture alone. Stall- and dry lot-boarded horses should be supplemented with grain to make sure their nutritional needs are met. Tim Kraus, hay production manager at Kraus Equestrian Center, uses dry lots and stall boarding to maintain the quality of his pastures. “We have about 140 stall-boarded horses and between 40 and 48 horses on dry lots,” he says. “To get through a year, we need around 14,000 square bales and 520 or so round bales.” That’s more hay than some of us will use in several years. But since Tim caters primarily to pleasure horses, the Center can focus on hay production to support these sorts of horses, whose needs are far less demanding in terms of protein count than those of performance horses. Tim manages the high demand for hay by growing grasses that extend his yield, and letting the pastures grow high. “If I cut our orchard grass at knee height, I get about 30 50-pound square bales, and that works out to less than a ton an acre over the growing season,” he says. But quality is also important. Tim makes sure there are no weeds in his pasture; this focus on clean production ensures the nutritional value of the hay he feeds the horses isn’t diluted with empty calories.

CONSIDER YOUR HORSES’ NEEDS Whether you opt to use a dry lot or stall, or practice rotational grazing, it’s

important to think about your horses. What are their breeds and ages? What condition are they in? What type of work are they put to and how heavy is the workload? Once you have a clear idea about your horses’ profiles, you can determine how best to meet their nutritional needs, either in terms of growing your own hay or buying round or square bales from your local provider. Tim’s brother, Jay Kraus, manages the barn’s horses. He carefully assesses the horses’ condition — their breeds, uses, ages or medical needs — and provides sweet feed, senior feed or other feeds to meet each need. As well, he adds in extra hay for hard keepers such as Thoroughbreds. While keeping the horses’ breeds and ages in mind, remember that high performance horses, older horses, those with medical needs, and hard keepers also all result in unique nutritional needs. You can support your horses without pasture, as Kraus Equestrian Center demonstrates. But successfully stall boarding and drylotting involves special needs that you must be aware of and plan for.

HOW MANY HORSES PER ACRE? The truth is, there’s no easy answer. The ideal number of horses per acre of land varies depending on climate and soil. Texas, for example, has a completely different horse-to-pasture ratio than more temperate regions of the US, where pastures flourish on highly nutritious cool season grasses. Steve Jackson, president of Bluegrass Equine Nutrition and an international Thoroughbred consultant for 28 years, has a warning for those with lush pasture production. “Just because a pasture is green, doesn’t mean it’s nutritious,” he says. In other words,

don’t feel you can add in more horses just because of the pasture’s appearance. Overstocking a pasture is one of the quickest ways to diminish available nutrition, even in a sound pasture plan. Let’s get specific: Steve notes that a mare, foal and yearling need five acres. For adult horses, he prefers one to three acres per horse, but one to two acres will suffice. Unfortunately, as we all know, many people only have space for one horse per acre. If that’s your situation, monitor the herd and add in hay or grain if needed. It’s also important to keep in mind that your entire pasture won’t be productive if horses are turned out in it regularly. You lose ground where horses gather or are active, such as at gates or water troughs. As you see, creating a sustainable highly-nutritious pasture takes both knowledge and work. But that serene picture we’d all love to see — content and healthy horses in a field of green grass — can be accomplished. Understanding your herd, your climate, your land capacity, and the grasses that do well in your region allow you to create a unique feeding regimen just right for your situation. Once in place, maintaining a nutritionally-rich pasture is a practice all of us can achieve.

Virginia Slachman became a devoted advocate for retired racehorses after conducting research for her first novel at a Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding and training farm. In addition to her writing and university teaching career, Slachman has worked for years with ex-racehorses — caring for them, rehabilitating or retraining them for new careers, and writing about them. Her work in rescue led her to adopt her own ex-racehorse, Corredor dela Isla, who continues to be her beloved companion. Virginia is the author of three collections of poetry and her memoir as well as two novels; Blood in the Bluegrass, her second novel, is due out soon. virginiaslachman.com.

Equine Wellness



A senior horse may mean different things to different people. To some, it’s a horse over the age of 30. To others, it’s a horse retired by injury, or semi-retired but still in light work. Whatever your horse’s age, and whether or not she’s showing signs of aging either physically or mentally, stimulation through horseplay can benefit her health and longevity.



By Jason Fowler

We consider what “horseplay” is and how it benefits the senior horse, along with some practical ideas on how to incorporate play into your routine.


Equine Wellness

Activity through “horseplay” promotes well-being via the regular production of dopamine1,2 (the neurotransmitter associated with motor movement and emotional response). As dopamine is such an important factor in your horse’s daily health,1,2,3,4 it’s important you step in to ensure dopamine production remains active. Lack of dopamine can lead to feelings of depression and affect your horse’s digestion, so even if her riding days are over, regular dopamine production is crucial. Play is one way to accomplish this, while also deepening the bond you have with your equine companion.

BENEFITS OF PLAY AND LEARNING Mental Recent research1,2,5 has demonstrated that horses encouraged to problem-solve have increased dopamine production and greater mental flexibility. In other words, playing with your horse helps maintain mental and physical dexterity. Physical These activities have digestive benefits too, since dopamine affects the endocrine system. So play helps your horse receive more nutritional advantage from her diet, setting her up for a healthier retirement. Up to 15% to 30%2 of older horses and ponies suffer from Cushing’s disease, often caused by the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain3,4. Regular play helps counteract this too. Emotional It almost goes without saying that engaging in play with your horse is a wonderful bonding activity that benefits both of you. In the process of learning, she will come to see you as a herd leader she can trust. Keep in mind that play should never be rushed. Dedicate a chunk of quality time to engage with her, and put aside mental distractions (like friends and phones). Your horse will be able to sense if your mind is elsewhere!

Tip Horses are skilfully sensitive at reading body language, so being a successful leader is all about being consistent with your cues and body positioning.

SOME IDEAS FOR PLAY One of the most common mistakes when it comes to play and learning is asking for too much too soon. Instead, enjoy working together step-by-step. Play has the capacity to build your horse’s confidence, so create a fun, easy-going environment and let her learn gradually while enjoying the session.


If your primary goal is to facilitate learning through play, be quick to reward good behavior by letting your horse relax immediately after she does something correctly. She will have more difficulty making the connection if there is too long a gap between action and reward.

Language and leadership The goal of this game is to get your horse’s feet moving without pulling on her head. Using your directional hand (the hand closest to the horse), point in the direction you would like her to go. Your driving hand is the one closest to the tail end of the rope. Use this hand as the accelerator pedal and drive your horse by twirling a length of rope that measures from the ground to your waist overhand. If your horse is moving, do not chase her with the twirling rope. Instead, keep twirling at the same spot you started at to avoid confusion. Once she’s mastered this, try adding in a few cones for her to weave through, or invite her to kick a large ball as she moves.

Drive and draw This is a fun and simple game that requires no equipment! Draw a straight line in the sand (or use a lead line to make a straight line on the grass) and teach your horse to come toward you when you beckon her (then relax), and back away from you in a straight line (then relax). If she spent her life training, chances are she’s already mastered this skill — but it doesn’t hurt to maintain it. How it benefits your senior: Teaches her to trust and respond to your signals while improving balance and engaging her back and core.


Make it easy for your horse to relax by adopting a “neutral” stance that involves dropping your eye contact (wearing a hat with a brim is good, but avoid sunglasses) and relaxing one leg by “slipping” your hip and bending a knee…and don’t forget to smile!

Teach your horse to touch an object This activity is sometimes called an “intention game”. You can use a single object (e.g. a ball on a cone) or, when she becomes good at it, a sequence of objects that you point to. This is a gentle exercise but great for learning. How it benefits your senior: It keeps your horse mentally fit and decreases boredom by supplying a flow of dopamine. Continued on page 54.

How it benefits your senior: Besides sharpening her ability to read your body language and expressions, this activity strengthens her mental dexterity and physical coordination.

Equine Wellness


What is play?

Play is generally considered a juvenile pursuit. So how does it benefit a senior horse? Envisage foals engaging in mock fights — they’re judging where their feet are in order to develop motor skills, or honing complex social skills. So play actually equals learning; and when a horse goes through a learning process, she produces dopamine. As a horse ages, the importance of producing that “feel good” chemical doesn’t diminish. In fact, she still gets her kicks through the release of dopamine following an adrenaline rush. In the wild, this dopamine release usually follows flight from a perceived threat. In a domestic environment, this could be a plastic bag.

Tip Use this natural instinct to your advantage by asking your horse to run a few laps in the round pen before a training session. When she gets into an “alert” state and then rests in a safe place, dopamine is produced, creating the perfect neurochemical state for learning.

However, your senior horse doesn’t have the same physical capabilities she once did, and retirement may not bring about the same number of opportunities to become alert before being able to relax. For this reason, it’s important to incorporate another source of stimulating enjoyment into her routine — play.

Tip Whether you’re training your horse or playing with her, avoid doing the same thing over and over. Just like humans, horses benefit from variety. By continually providing new play experiences (and therefore new learning situations), you ultimately create a constant flow of dopamine.


Equine Wellness

Continued from page 53. Copycat Teach your horse to be in sync with you when you walk forwards and backwards. Eventually, you can train her to step with the same leg, and stop when you stop. How it benefits your senior: The backwards movement is great for the core and back muscles as well as general movement for digestion. Pole games Using ground poles, teach your horse to touch one foot to the pole. Another use for the pole is to ask her to straddle it and walk parallel with it while it’s between her front and back legs. When she has mastered this, you could progress to a polypipe with a larger circumference. This is quite a difficult task for the

horse as she cannot physically see where her legs are. How it benefits your senior: It offers plenty of mental stimulation and physical coordination, combined with core strength, to keep her back in good shape. When it comes to horseplay, the main goal is dopamine production for your horse’s mental and physical well-being. Don’t be too focused on the end result. The joy should be in the journey of spending time with your horse, ensuring a healthy retirement, and strengthening the bond between you both.

Having had horses in his life for 30 years, Jason Fowler was always convinced there was a “softer” way. He was inspired by Tom Dorrance’s style of passive leadership and went on to study natural horsemanship. Following success working with classical Spanish dressage horses and eventing disciplines, he decided to make his career in horses full-time to educate owners that there is a better way to train. He uses psychology to address problems by providing a horse with a language and choice to resolve issues. His specialty is working with competition horses, particularly polo. Equine-Empathy.com 1 S.D. McBride et al. “Applied neurophysiology of the horse; implications for training, husbandry and welfare”. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 190 (2017) 90–101 Sebastian D. McBridea, Matthew O. Parkerb, Kirsty Robertsc, Andrew Hemmings. 2 S.D. McBride. “Dopamine in Equine Brains — Plenary Lecture”, Aug. 6–9, 2014, International Society of Equitation Science Conference, Denmark. 3







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

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

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The Masterson Method®, Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork Weekend Seminars, Advanced, and Certification Courses Worldwide Phone: 641-472-1312 Email: seminars@mastersonmethod.com Website: www.MastersonMethod.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: acupressure4all@earthlink.net Website: www.animalacupressure.com Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 953-3360 Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com Website: www.NaturalHorseTraining.com Healing Touch for Animals Drea Robertson Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com

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Equine Wellness 55 Equine Wellness 55




When it comes to vaccines, the needs and requirements of horses are always changing. Learn what’s shifted over the past few years and how you can protect your equine companion without over-vaccinating. By W. Jean Dodds, DVM

Articles on equine vaccines authored by myself and a colleague first appeared in Equine Wellness in early 2014. Since then, both veterinary communities and the public have become increasingly aware of the potential risks associated with companion animal and livestock vaccines. The accumulated evidence indicates that vaccination protocols should no longer be considered a “one size fits all” program. At the same time, the risk of disease has been effectively reduced by the widespread use of vaccination programs. So how can you ensure your horse is protected without risking over-vaccination?


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Alternatives to annual boosters Appropriate alternative options to routinely giving booster vaccinations include: easuring serum antibody titers +M + Avoiding unnecessary vaccines or over-vaccinating + Deferring vaccination of sick or febrile individuals + Tailoring specific minimal vaccination protocols for equine breed types or families known to be at increased risk for vaccinosis + Starting the vaccination series later when the immune system is more robust

onitoring behavior and overall +M health after boosters + Avoiding revaccination of individuals already experiencing a significant adverse event. A recent landmark study of rabies vaccine serological immunity in horses found that a rabies vaccination interval of more than a year should be protective, but not for horses vaccinated only once. In this study from 2016, 48 horses had blood samples collected prior to vaccination, three to seven weeks after vaccination, and at six-month intervals for two to three years. Serum rabies virusneutralizing antibody (RVNA)

values were measured, and a value of ≥ 0.5 IU/mL was used to define a predicted protective immune response on the basis of the World Health Organization recommendations for humans. Values were compared between horses over 20 years of age and those 20 or younger, and between horses believed to be previously vaccinated and those inferred to be immunologically naïve. Protective RVNA titers were maintained for two to three years in the horses previously vaccinated on the basis of pre-vaccination RVNA values. No significant difference in horse ages was evident in response to rabies vaccination or duration of protective RVNA values. Seven horses were poor responders to the vaccination. There were significant differences between the previously vaccinated horses and those inferred to be naïve prior to the study.

Current AAEP equine vaccination guidelines (extracted from 2012 and 2015) The professional judgment of those involved with developing these guidelines may differ from the manufacturer’s recommendation. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your veterinarian to decide on vaccine usage based on his/her professional experience, and the circumstances of each unique situation. The information provided herein addresses only those products licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Agriculture Canada for use in horses (including draft and pony breeds). Data regarding the use of vaccines in other Equidae (i.e. asses, donkeys, mules, miniature

horses and zebra) is limited; vaccination of these animals is left to the discretion of the attending veterinarian. Injection site selection should include a consideration of potential adverse reactions (see sidebar at right). Injection in the gluteal muscles/hip region is not recommended, as gravitational drainage along fascial planes can be obscured. Should an abscess develop, considerable tissue damage can occur, resulting in eruptions in undesirable locations with lesions that require a prolonged time to heal.

Core equine vaccination guidelines — tetanus, EEE/WEE, WNV and rabies TETANUS TOXOID Adult horses: An initial two-dose series at a three- to four-week interval followed by a yearly booster. Horses that sustain a wound or undergo surgery six or more months after their previous tetanus booster should be revaccinated with tetanus toxoid immediately at the time of injury or surgery. Foals of mares vaccinated against tetanus in prepartum period: A three-dose series beginning at four to six months of age with a four- to six-week interval between the first and second doses and the third dose administered at ten to 12 months of age. Foals of unvaccinated mares or unknown vaccination history: A three-dose series beginning at one to four months of age with a four-week interval between doses.

DEALING WITH ADVERSE REACTIONS After receiving a vaccine(s), some horses experience local muscular swelling and soreness or transient self-limiting signs including fever, anorexia and lethargy. Severe reactions at sites of injection can be particularly troublesome, requiring prolonged treatment and convalescence. Systemic adverse reactions (such as urticaria, purpura hemorrhagica colic or anaphylaxis) can also occur. Other systemic adverse reactions have been anecdotally reported. Adverse reactions are not always predictable and are inherent risks of vaccination. Therefore, it is recommended that horses not be vaccinated in the two weeks prior to shows, performance events, sales or domestic shipment. Some veterinarians may elect not to vaccinate horses within three weeks of international shipment. Encourage your vet to report all adverse reactions to the vaccine’s manufacturer. Adverse events should also be reported to the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics or Agriculture Canada. Vaccine lot and serial numbers should be noted in the horse’s vaccination records. Providing this information when reporting an adverse reaction facilitates an investigation.

Continued on page 58. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 57.

VACCINATING BROODMARES AND FOALS The AAEP guidelines state the importance of vaccinating broodmares four to six weeks before foaling for their own protection, as well as to maximize concentrations of immunoglobulins in their colostrum, which is passively transferred to their foals. This was an accepted and considered safe practice in 2012 to 2015. However, vaccinating pregnant animals incurs a risk of adverse reactions in the mother and fetus. The risk-benefit equation should be assessed in each case, especially when the majority of vaccines administered to broodmares during late gestation, to maximize immunoglobulin transfer via the colostrum, do not carry a “safe for use in pregnant mare” claim. Further, vaccinating foals in the presence of colostral antibodies can negatively impact vaccine efficacy because of maternal antibody interference. Some veterinarians give foals with residual maternal antibodies an initial series of three vaccine doses — rather than the two-dose series recommended by most manufacturers — in the hopes of producing a greater serologic response to killed vaccines. 58

Equine Wellness

EEE/WEE Adult horses: An initial two-dose series at a four- to six-week interval, followed by a yearly booster prior to the vector season. In high-risk animals, and in areas with year-round vectors, more frequent vaccination is recommended during periods of likely exposure (twice yearly). Foals of mares vaccinated against EEE/WEE in prepartum period: A three-dose series beginning at four to six months of age with a fourto six-week interval between the first and second dose. The third dose is administered at ten to 12 months of age. Foals of unvaccinated mares or having unknown vaccinal history: A primary series of three doses beginning at three to four months of age, with a 30-day interval between the first and second doses and a 60-day interval between the second and third doses. If the primary series is initiated during the mosquito vector season, an interval of three to four weeks between the second and third doses is preferable to the above interval of eight weeks. WEST NILE VIRUS Adult horses: An initial two-dose series at a three- to six-week interval is recommended with a yearly booster prior to the vector season. In high-risk animals, and in areas with year-round vectors, more frequent vaccination (with any currently licensed product)

may be needed to meet the vaccination needs of these horses. Foals of vaccinated mares: A primary three-dose series beginning at four to six months of age with four to six-week interval between the first and second dose. The third dose should be administered at ten to 12 months of age prior to the onset of the next mosquito season. Foals of unvaccinated mares or having unknown vaccinal history: A primary series of three doses beginning at three to four months of age, with a 30-day interval between the first and second dose and a 60-day interval between the second and third dose. If the primary series is initiated during the mosquito vector season, an interval of three to four weeks between the second and third dose is preferable to the above interval of eight weeks. RABIES Rabies virus vaccine is an excellent immunogen; these vaccines typically induce a strong serologic response after just a single dose. (Note the more recent 2016 paper, which differs as discussed above.) Adult horses: Following an initial single-dose administration, rabies vaccines are administered as a yearly booster. Foals of mares vaccinated against rabies: A primary two-dose series. The first dose of vaccine should be

administered no earlier than six months of age. The second dose should be given four to six weeks later. The recommendation is to revaccinate annually thereafter, although the more recent 2016 paper cited below indicates sustained protection beyond a year, if more than one dose of rabies vaccine has been given.

by the attending veterinarian. Their use may vary regionally, from population to population within an area, or between individual horses within a given population.

Veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds received her veterinary degree in 1964 from the Ontario Veterinary College. In 1986, she established Hemopet, the first non-profit national blood bank program for animals. Dr. Dodds has been a member of many committees on hematology, animal models of human disease and veterinary medicine. She received the Holistic Veterinarian of the Year Award from the AHVMA in 1994.

Foals of mares not vaccinated against rabies: Should be administered according to label directions. The first dose should be administered at three to four months of age. Revaccinate at least once and annually thereafter, but see above comments with regard to frequency of subsequent boosters.

Risk-based equine vaccination guidelines — anthrax, botulism, EHV, EVA, equine influenza, Potomac horse fever, rotaviral diarrhea and strangles These vaccine products are used following a risk-benefit appraisal

vaccines. By measuring serum antibody titers triennially or more often, as needed or desired, your vet can assess whether your horse needs a vaccine booster.

References American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). Vaccination Guidelines Review Group, 2015 and Executive Summary, 2012. aaep.org/guidelines/vaccination-guidelines

Summary Based on published literature and clinical experience to date, there is little scientific and medical reason to introduce unnecessary antigen, adjuvant and other excipients (fetal calf serum, egg protein, tissue culture remnants) as well as preservatives (aluminum and thimerosal salts) by routinely administering booster

Dodds WJ. “Vaccine issues and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) guidelines (2015-2017)”. Israel J Vet Med 2018; 73(2): 3-10. Dodds WJ. Rabies virus protection issues and therapy. Global Vaccines Immunol 2016; 1: 51-54. Harvey AM, Watson JL, Brault SA et al. Duration of serum antibody response to rabies vaccination in horses. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2016;249:411–418. equinewellnessmagazine.com/vaccines-titertesting-update/ equinewellnessmagazine.com/vaccinations/ equinewellnessmagazine.com/viruses-vaccines/ equinewellnessmagazine.com/vaccine-protocols/

Equine Wellness



HAPPY JOINTS = HAPPY RIDING By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis


Acupoints for Equine Joint Health Bai Hui


One half inch lateral to the tibial crest of the lateral side of the tibia.

SI 4

Found on lateral surface of the forelimb at the level of the lateral splint bone.

GB 34

In the space between the tibia and fibula, below the head of the fibula.

Bai Hui

Found on the dorsal midline at the lumbosacral space.

GB 34 St 36 SI 4

© Copyright Tallgrass Publishers, LLC. All Rights Reserved 1995-current animalacupressure.com | 303-681-3030


All equine movement depends on the health of the horse’s joints. Horses have three main types of joints: fibrous, cartilaginous and synovial. In this column, we’ll focus on synovial joints in both the forelegs and hind legs — the complex levers that create movement and the absorption of concussive force. The horse’s legs were designed to work best in a straight line on relatively flat terrain, which means they’re very prone to injury and degradation. As caregivers, it’s our job to take preventative measures against these problems.

to stabilize the joints, and keep them in the proper alignment.

JOINT HEALTH Good conformation helps prevent joint injury and disease. However, factors such as wear and tear from repetitive movement, trauma and aging can all lead to osteoarthritis, bone fragmentation or fracture, synovitis, capsulitis and other issues. A horse’s ability to perform can become either slowly or suddenly compromised as a result of these issues, and permanently when the damage is catastrophic.


HIND LIMBS Horses use their hind legs more for propulsion than shock absorption. On the hind leg, the hock and stifle are the two main synovial joints. Neither of these joints has the range of motion of the foreleg joints. However, the stifle joint is the largest joint in the horse’s body and, like the carpus, it has tough ligaments for stabilization. When a horse places his foot on the ground, the stifle becomes rigid due to the contraction of muscles above the stifle and patella. This releases the stay apparatus — a group of ligaments, tendons and muscles that lock a horse’s major joints, allowing him to stand with minimal muscular effort.

Lateral View

Synovial joints are responsible for the articulation of the legs. For instance, the carpus (knee) has eight bones arranged in three joints, all of which are covered in cartilage to create a smooth tough surface for frictionless movement. Within the joint capsule, there’s a lining of synovial membrane that secretes synovial fluid to lubricate the joint when the horse is in motion. When the joint is not moving, the synovial fluid is reabsorbed. The joints in the legs are held together by strong fibrous ligaments that work 60

Equine Wellness

FORELIMBS It’s estimated that 60% to 65% of the horse’s weight is carried on the forelimbs. This is why horses are more prone to foreleg joint injury and disease, especially those involved in sports requiring jumping, racing and other strenuous concussive activities. The repetitive force these horses endure places a huge amount of stress on their forelegs, affecting the angle of the fetlock joints on the lower segment of the legs.


ACUPRESSURE SESSION FOR JOINT HEALTH An acupressure session for joint health focuses on bringing chi (life-promoting energy) and nourishing blood to the joints and soft tissues surrounding the joints. Watching for swelling or a feeling of heat around the joints, while giving your horse weekly joint-health acupressure sessions, can add years to comfortable performance and pleasure riding. Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure, ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure and ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources, which offers books, manuals, DVDs, apps, meridian charts and many more acupressure learning tools. Online home-study courses are approved by NCCAOM (#1181Approved Provider) Continuing Education. Contact 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com.

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

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

World’s Championship Horse Show August 17–24, 2019 — Louisville, KY The world’s richest and most prestigious Saddlebred horse show attracts spectators and competitors from across the world. More than 2,000 horses compete for over $1 million in awards during this seven-day event. For more information: (502) 367-5300 horse.show@kyvenues.com www.kystatefair.org/wchs/index.html

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course September 6–8, 2019 — San Diego, CA Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm – 10:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am – 6:00pm This class is a prerequisite for the Large Animal Class. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am – 6:00pm This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals ® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses' large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and a well-rounded experience. For more information: Debbie Abshire (513) 382-4951 Cincinnati@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

2018 International Dressage at Devon Horse Show September 24–29, 2019 — Devon, PA

Exhibitors and buyers will spend three days viewing English and Western merchandise, networking with each other and learning the latest in equestrian products and services at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center!

This event opens with the 3-day Breed Division which judges horses on movement and conformation. More than 29 breeds will be represented. The combination of breed classes and performance classes should not be missed! As well, the festival shops offer exclusive apparel, fine arts, antiques and collectibles from more than 65 vendors. Families can enjoy the weekend, with plenty of activities for the youngsters! This is an event you won’t want to miss!

For more information: events@aeta.us www.aeta.us

For more information: tickets@dressageatdevon.org www.dressageatdevon.org

AETA International Trade Show August 10–12, 2019 — Oaks, PA

This show features exhibits, a market party, educational roundtables and much more!

Horse Speak for Equine Bodyworkers Webinar September 25, 2019 — 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Horse Speak can greatly enhance an equine bodywork session by enabling you to quickly create rapport, make the horse feel safe with you and show the horse that you are listening to what he has to say. This webinar is created for the Equine Bodyworker but will provide insight into activities such as grooming, entering a stall, and other common activities. For more information or to register, visit: www.horsespeakeducation.com

The Mane Event: Chilliwack October 25–27, 2019 — Chilliwack, BC Some of North America's top clinicians provide quality information on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers. For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com https://chilliwack.maneeventexpo.com/

Equine Affaire November 7–10, 2019 — West Springfield, MA Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of this event. Soak up information and advice at more than 230 clinics, seminars, and demonstrations on a wide variety of equestrian sports and horse training, management, health, and business topics. Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation's leading equine-related retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and organizations. For more information: (740) 845-0085 info@equineaffaire.com www.equineaffaire.com

Email your event to info@equinewellnessmagazine.com

Equine Wellness




have many uses for horses By Diana Wanamaker

Clay poultices are used to target a variety of equine ailments. Learn how these therapeutic fusions can be customized with natural ingredients to address your horse’s needs. The use of clay for healing dates back to 60 BC, when the Romans used it for intestinal issues. Years later, a famous Greek physician named Galen was the first to use clay for sick and injured animals. Today, clay is often used as an ingredient in poultices, which can be created at home or in the barn for the benefit of your equine companions. Making your own clay poultices ensures ingredient quality and allows you to customize the blend specifically for your horse. This article outlines a few benefits of clay poultices (see sidebar on page 63) along with steps to make your own!



Buy the ingredients The first and most important thing to note is that not all clays are 100% pure. When sourcing ingredients for your poultice, be sure to find a clay that’s not adulterated (many brands contain lead and other harmful substances), and that offers third party lab testing results. Do your research to find a quality supplier. Calcium bentonite clay is a popular choice for poultices. You can find it in powder form online or in most health food stores. To make your poultice, 62

Equine Wellness

you’ll also need spring, distilled or filtered tap water. Pure high quality essential oils can also be added depending on the ailment you’re treating, as well as Manuka honey, which boasts antibacterial properties. Witch hazel, tea (instead of water), colloidal silver, apple cider vinegar and carrier oils also make good additions to your blend.


Create your blend After you’ve carefully selected each ingredient, it’s time to mix your poultice. Combine half a cup of clay with a cup of cold water, and choose any additional ingredient(s) specific to the health issue you are addressing. Do not mix your poultice in a metal container or with metal utensils. Metal reacts with the clay, reducing its effectiveness. Make as much as you need, keeping in mind that perishable ingredients have a shorter shelf life. Store in an airtight glass container in a dry cool place.


Apply to your horse Apply the poultice to your horse using positive intention. Each custom blend offers a unique healing energy and experience for him — and for you! Use a wooden spoon, tongue depressor

or non-metal utensil to apply the clay liberally to the site, and leave it to set. When the clay becomes dry and flaky, it’s time to reapply it. Keep in mind that you do not want to place a contaminated dispenser (or fingers) back into your poultice if you are dealing with wounds and/or infection. Use one end of the utensil, then the other, and then dispose of it. Wear rubber gloves when applying.

COMMON USES FOR CLAY POULTICES Below are some of the most common ways you can use clay poultices on your equine companion. Just remember that the first step in addressing any ailment or injury should be to contact your vet. Ask him or her if a clay poultice might help supplement the care your horse is receiving, and if there are any specific ingredients you should add to the clay/water mix. Chronic flare-ups and inflammation Apply (in order) poultice, cotton wrap, saran wrap or damp paper bag, no-bow wrap and a bandage. Apply on and off until the inflammation disappears, then continue applying just the clay poultice until healed.

Injury prevention Cold poultices can be used on your horse’s legs prior to and following exercise to assist in preventing injury. A cold wrap can help prevent inflammation, increase blood flow and help with stiff joints. Infection Do not place clay over an infected wound, or any wound that is draining. Place a gauze pad that is larger than the wound over the infection, and hold it in place by applying clay to the edges. Follow with a sweat wrap to pull out the infection. When the infection has dissipated and inflammation is gone,

you can cover the wound with the poultice. This also prevents flies from agitating the wound. Adding colloidal silver, Manuka honey, activated black charcoal and/or an essential oil will offer extra support for infections, and can also help prevent proud flesh. Bug bites and stings Cover the bite and surrounding area with your poultice. For tick bites, start by dropping peppermint or Palo Santo essential oil directly on the tick to remove it. It should release within 30 seconds. Place a charcoal clay poultice over the tick site to draw out any poisons. Skin conditions Clay poultices can help speed the healing of mud fever, rain rot, allergies, rashes, hives and other common skin conditions. Add chamomile tea, herbal tinctures and infused water to your poultice to create a customized remedy. Apple cider vinegar balances pH levels and is a top choice for skin conditions, while honey offers an antibacterial remedy and softens scabs.

(From top to bottom) Bug bite reaction. Inflammation and fluid on side of jaw. Lavender essential oil and bentonite clay poultice applied to entire area. The site was cleaned with saline solution before applying the poultice, and homeopathic Apis was given on the first day. Three days later, the inflammation is gone. There is still some fluid near the site of the bug bite and at the bottom of the jaw. At this point, the poultice should be applied for another day or two to clear up remaining fluid, along with a daily cleaning using saline solution. A lavender essential oil and water spray could also be applied to support the healing process.

Hoof conditions Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, flaxseed, castor oil, sugar (organic) and plantain leaves can be added to a clay poultice to aid in the healing of thrush, hoof abscesses, white line disease, puncture wounds and other hoof ailments. All ingredients should be natural in order to prevent infection. Internal usage In the wild, many animals eat soil and clay to help remove toxic elements from their systems. Because clay has absorbent properties, it draws toxins, chemicals, heavy metals, poisons and parasites toward it. Offering

clay to your horse in edible form is detoxifying and can help prevent illness. It can also be used to help get rid of internal parasites and ulcers. Of course, speak with your vet before feeding anything new to your horse.

Benefits of clay poultices Clay poultices have a wide variety of uses and benefits for both people and horses. They have been shown to: ejuvenate and cleanse •R the skin educe inflammation, •R irritation, itching, swelling and hot spots • Detoxify ull metal toxins, impurities •P and chemicals out of the body • Improve cellular respiration • Reduce free radical damage • Relieve itching elp destroy unhealthy cells •H and activate the rebuilding of healthy cells ave a cooling or •H warming effect • I ncrease circulation and oxygen to the area of need • Alkalize the body oast antibacterial and •B antifungal properties ssist in the relaxation •A of muscles and tendons, reduce tension, and increase flexibility for injury prevention.

Diana Wanamaker is a writer, natural health educator and consultant with a special interest in CBD and essential oils. Also an Animal Communicator, she has been offering a deeper connection between pets and their people for over 13 years. She has spent the past two decades studying and utilizing a variety of alternative remedies, as well as providing guidance and natural health solutions that have helped many people save on vet bills and restore their animals to optimum health.

Equine Wellness




Equine Wellness


EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com NATURAL PRODUCTS EQUIMEDIC — The world leader in Equine First Aid is committed to the safety and well-being of your equine partner. Choose from a variety of complete kits, or design your own. All refill, restocking, and other optional products are available on our website. (866) 211-1269; equimed@equimedic.com; www.equimedic.com FOXDEN EQUINE — Producing premium equine nutritional and health products since 1996. Our staff has over 100 combined years of horse management and competition experience, and each proudly and confidently use Foxden Equine products for our equine and canine companions. We are dedicated to the research, development and marketing of high-quality supplements that benefit the health and well being of equines. (540) 337-5450; www.foxdenequine.com THE HOLISTIC HORSE — We understand how important optimal health is, this is why we are committed to providing the very best all-natural holistic products for your animals and take great pride in helping provide a healthy lifestyle and sense of well being. Products ranging from digestive care and pain relief to joint care, breath freshener, flea and insect control and much more. For more information or questions: (877) 774-0594; info@theholistichorse.com; www.theholistichorse.com WHOLE EQUINE — Is your online resource for natural horse care products and equipment. We are proud to offer an array of natural horse care products, including supplements, first aid, cleaning, equipment and other items that help horses reach their optimal physical and mental health. (884) 946-5378; info@wholeequine.com; www.wholeequine.com

HORSE CARE EQUI-LIBRIA — Integrated Performance Bodywork is very effective since the horse actively participates in their treatment, thereby maximizing its benefit. A preliminary assessment of key areas starts the session, but then the horse guides the treatment with physical displays and indications of where they need the attention. Effective for all disciplines. For more information: (647) 633-2113; www.equi-libria.com HARMANY EQUINE CLINIC, LTD — Bringing holistic healing to horses from all walks of life, backyard retirees to Olympic

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

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

SCHOOLS & TRAINING EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE — Learn to assess & resolve your horse’s issues — Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, & Apps. www.animalacupressure.com; tallgrass@animalacupressure.com EQUISSAGE — Since 1991, our Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification program has certified over 20,000 students from every state and over 20 countries in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. And since 2000, we have certified Equine and Canine Sports Massage Therapists from across the country and worldwide through our home study programs. Equissage is an Approved Provider with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage Bodyworkers (NCBTMB) to offer 50 hours of Continuing Education units through any of our programs. To view available courses, please visit our website. (800) 843-0224; info@equissage.com; www.equissage.com

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

Equine Wellness





Do you tense your shoulders when you’re riding? Do you stiffen them when you ask for a transition? This quick warm-up exercise will mobilize and relax your shoulders, and ultimately improve your ride. By Wendy Murdoch

Your shoulders are ball-and-socket joints — similar to your hips, only the sockets are much smaller. The shoulder joint is stabilized by a complex interaction of ligaments, tendons and muscles. Riders often use too much muscle to keep their shoulders in the correct position. This makes rein contact with the horse’s mouth uncomfortable and unyielding — and it’s not easy on your body, either. In order to improve communication with your horse and prevent injury, you need to let your shoulder girdle (the set of bones that connects your arms to your torso), rest on top of your ribcage. In other words, you need to learn how to release shoulder tension.

USING THE CLOCK EXERCISE Try the following exercise. Sit comfortably, and imagine the face of a clock with your left shoulder joint at the center when viewed from the side (see image). Six o’clock is towards the ground, 12 o’clock is towards the ceiling, 3 o’clock is towards the back of your body while 9 o’clock is towards the front. Begin to move your shoulder from 6 to 12 o’clock (up and down) making very small movements. Do not go to your limit, as it requires too much 66

Equine Wellness

on until you can smoothly and easily go across the clock on each line. Finally, make small slow movements around the entire circumference of the clock both clockwise and counterclockwise. Pause, and once again notice your resting position. Does your left shoulder feel less tense? Repeat the same exercise on the right shoulder. If you want to challenge yourself, do one shoulder clockwise while the other goes counterclockwise. You can also try this exercise while mounted, rotating your shoulders at a walk, trot and canter. Let your shoulders rest and feel how the shoulder girdle sits on the ribcage. During transitions, allow your shoulders to rest. muscular effort and defeats the purpose of the exercise. You want to explore the range that comes easily. Go slow enough that the movement is smooth, without any jerking or jumping. Avoid holding your breath as you do this. After a minute, stop the movement and notice if the resting position of your shoulder feels different from when you started. Next, move your shoulder from 3 to 9 o’clock. Again, make gentle movements. Start to switch up the movement, going from 11 to 5 o’clock, 10 to 4 o’clock, 3 to 9 o’clock and so

Practice relaxing your shoulders and allow them to rest in the correct position rather than trying to hold them in place. When you eliminate the excess tension, your contact with the horse’s mouth will be much softer and he will be able to respond to your aids more easily. 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, allow her to show riders how to exceed their own expectations.

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness