V10I1 (Feb/Mar 2015)

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Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 1 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Kelly Howling EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Natasha Roulston SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR: Jasmine Cabanaw COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Medieval Times COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Susan L. Guran Susan E. Harris Eleanor Kellon, VMD Michael Lindinger, PhD Laurie Loveman Jennifer L. Miller, DVM, CVSMT, CVA Alison Montgomery Clay Nelson Wendy Pearson, PhD Mandy Pretty Anne Riddell Amy Snow Anna Twinney Madalyn Ward, DVM Erin Zamzow, DVM Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Karen Tice WEB DEVELOPER: Brad Vader

SUBMISSIONS Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to Equine Wellness Magazine, 202-160 Charlotte Street, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi.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. Email your articles to: Submissions@EquineWellnessMagazine.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: Tim Hockley (705) 741-0817 ext. 110 Tim@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Director of Equine Partnerships: Tom Philp (866) 764-1212 ext. 413 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext.315 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON Canada K9J 2T8 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2015. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: January 2015.



The Medieval Times dinner and tournament is about more than just entertainment. The organization has become one of the biggest breeders and supporters of the Andalusian horse in North America, in addition to working hard to preserve the medieval traditions of knighthood. Check out the full story on page 30.

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Contents 30 30






age, they may need some special considerations and diet changes to help them maintain optimal health.

his balance.


themselves, especially at play. When is an injury to the head cause for concern?

All horses, by nature, are claustrophobic to some degree. Understanding why will help you make him feel more comfortable in tight situations.



and mysteries surround these teeth. Here’s how to separate fact from fiction.

Restricting blood flow within a horse’s feet can negatively affect every system in his body.


Understanding the mechanics of good movement is crucial to helping your horse achieve his full potential while remaining sound and happy.


Understanding and meeting your horse’s electrolyte needs.



Medieval Times is not just entertaining – the organization also works to preserve the bloodlines of the Andalusian horse, and the medieval traditions of knighthood.


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TRAUMA Horses are forever hurting


It could save your horse’s life.

POSTURE, CHANGE THE HORSE Four easy tips for improving

52 IS HE



Your horse’s tongue can tell you more about his health and well-being than you may think!


25 COLUMNS 8 Neighborhood news 24 It’s elemental! 28 Green acres 46 Holistic veterinary Q&A 48 Homeopathy

DEPARTMENTS 6 Editorial 29 Product picks 40 Equine Wellness resource guide 49 Heads up 58 Social media corner 60 Marketplace

50 To the rescue

61 Classifieds

59 Herb blurb

62 Events



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Tips, contests and more! Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine Updates, news, events @ EquineWellnessMagazine Product reviews and tutorials EquineWellnessTV

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EDITORIAL Assessing situation


Horses are such large animals that I think on some occasions we overestimate their toughness. (Though there are plenty of kind-hearted owners who also tend to underestimate their horses’ ability to sustain any kind of nick or scrape!) When determining the severity of a situation, it is up to us as caretakers to keep our horses’ general comfort and well-being in mind, while maintaining a balanced perspective. This can be very difficult at times, when you are dealing with a being that cannot speak to you in the same language. More than once I’ve been assisting an injured, ill, or just “not acting quite right” equine, and found myself chattering away to him, wishing he could answer me. “What happened?” I’ll ask, or “Where does it hurt?”, “Do you need to see the vet?” and “How the heck did you manage to do that?!” We all muddle through and do the best we can with what we know and the resources we have available to us. If you are paying attention to what your horse is trying to tell you and the little signs he displays, eventually you will come to an answer. Which is where Equine Wellness comes in – we’re all about helping provide you with information you need to maintain and care for your equine partner! This particular issue is dedicated to equine dentistry, but includes some interesting articles that encompass many different aspects of the horse’s head. Within them may be some answers to help narrow down what your horse is trying to tell you. Dr. Zamzow joins us on page 10 to take the mystery out of wolf teeth. Many a training or behavioral issue has been resolved by detection and removal of these little teeth. And you’ll want to be sure to check out the article on tongue assessment with Tallgrass Animal Acupressure – who knew your horse’s tongue had that much to say! Another article I’d like to put focus on is handling head trauma (page 34) with Dr. Miller. Over the years, I’ve seen many cringe-worthy head knocks in horses – people trying to load problem loaders; horses at play falling in the field; or head shy horses that rear or fly back in a low-ceilinged area. If there is no physical mark left on the horse, many people assume he couldn’t have some type of head injury. Again, I’m not sure if this is because we have a mentality that horses are bigger and tougher, or because there may be a lack of knowledge and understanding about whether horses can actually sustain a head injury. Dr. Miller describes the various types of head injuries your horse can sustain, and what to watch for. Naturally,

Kelly Howling 6

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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS QUEEN RECEIVES INAUGURAL FEI AWARD Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the first recipient of the FEI

Prince Phillip, and Keith Taylor, Chairman of the British Equestrian

Lifetime Achievement Award. It was given in recognition of her


leading role as a supporter of equestrian sport during her reign as

Horses played a role in The Queen’s life from a very young age. She

British monarch.

had her first riding lesson in the private riding school at Buckingham

The award was presented by FEI President and humanitarian HRH

Palace Mews when she was just three years old, and was given

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace,

her first pony, the Shetland mare Peggy, by her grandfather King

in the presence of former FEI President the Duke of Edinburgh

George V, on her fourth birthday.

Photo credit PA, FEI.org

Thoroughbred horses bred by The Queen have won more than 1,600 races. She also breeds Shetland, Highland and Fell ponies to ensure that traditional bloodlines in these native breeds are preserved and enhanced. The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, interviewed last year for a BBC documentary, The Queen: A Passion For Horses, believes the importance of horses in Her Majesty’s life cannot be overestimated: “When she became Queen, she had to sacrifice an awful lot of emotions and thoughts of the future, but with horses it’s another world in that it reduces you to just the person in relation to the animal, and you’re not a Queen, you’re just a human being.”

RACEHORSE WELFARE AND SAFETY SUMMIT It brings together a cross-section of the breeding, racing and veterinary communities. The sixth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit will be held on July 8 in Lexington, Kentucky, according to the Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, which are underwriting the event. The summit will be hosted by the Keeneland Association. Among the major accomplishments that evolved from the previous four summits are: • The Equine Injury Database • The Jockey Injury Database • The Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, which provides science-based testing of racing surfaces to enhance safety for horse and rider • A uniform trainer test and study guide • A racing surfaces white paper and publication of educational bulleting for track maintenance


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• The publication of stallion durability statistics • A hoof DVD, available in English and Spanish • A model rule banning toe grabs greater than 2 mm, and elimination of all traction devices on front shoes approved and passed in August of 2008 • A movement by state racing commissions to create regulations that void the claim of horses suffering fatalities during a race.

WHAT IS YOUR DONKEY THINKING? Yawning, sighing and stretching are just

There has long been a lack of scientific

three donkey behaviors that have been

evidence relating to donkey behavior, which

evaluated in a newly published study

is very different from that of horses or other

led by academics from the University of

equines. This lack of evidence can make

Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, and

it difficult to reliably address a donkey’s

funded by global equine welfare charity

welfare needs. The study findings will be

The Brooke.

used to investigate how to analyze the

The research paper focuses on the behavior

different behavior traits, identify emotional

patterns of working donkeys in Lahore, Pakistan, and the consistency of those

states, and most importantly, to determine whether or not a donkey might be in pain.

behaviors. It confirms that the donkey, which has a reputation as one of the most stoic of animals, actually has a large behavioral repertoire.

PREVENT THEFT AND SPEED RECOVERY “NetPosse” is a good nickname for Stolen Horse International, founded by Debi Metcalfe (NetPosse.com). The goal of this nationwide partnership of animal enthusiasts is to help spot and recover stolen horses. Now, after 11 years’ experience helping people track down their beloved mounts, NetPosse has the wisdom and resources to help prevent thefts. While the organization will continue to track down missing horses, it’s now focused on teaching horse caretakers how to deter theft, and to ID their animals with microchips so they can be easily tracked. The website offers the first all-equine ID microchip registry – the NetPosse Identification Program (NIP). NIP members register their horses and tack, and add identifying photos for easy access when needed. They can register all their horses in one database and update the records at any time. NIP members also receive free NetPosse.com listing reports if their horses or tack are ever missing.

HELMET CAMERAS PROHIBITED The use of helmet cameras is now prohibited at all USEF licensed and/or endorsed competitions, pending the completion of an independent expert report on the safety of these devices. For more information, visit USEF.org.

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WOLF teeth Wolf teeth are often a source of mystery. Why would equines have teeth they don’t need? The most common question I am asked is where “wolf teeth” got their name. The reason isn’t clear to me, but one explanation is that the word “wolf” has a negative connotation to some people, so was used to identify these tiny premolars as “bad”.

CANINE TEETH Wolf teeth are often confused with canines, but it’s important to know that while male equines generally get canines, mares rarely do, or else develop only very small ones. Canines are also known as “bridle teeth”. They erupt at four to five years of age and are situated further forward on the bars of the mouth, between the premolars and incisors. 10

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By Erin Zamzow, DVM


Unless there is pathology, such as a fracture and infection below the gum surface, canine teeth should not be extracted. They have very long roots, and due to their more rostral location on the bars, they don’t interfere with the function and comfort of a bit if it is correctly positioned in the horse’s mouth. Canines can create a problem if they are left very sharp, or if the bit is pulled out of the horse’s mouth without taking care that it does not catch on these long, standalone teeth.

THE PREVALENCE OF WOLF TEETH In my practice, about 50% of the young horses I see, as well as those that have never had dental work, have one or more wolf teeth. The teeth can be on one or both sides of the mouth and are almost always in the upper jaw. I have seen only a couple of horses with a lower (mandibular) wolf tooth, but I have seen them in several donkeys.

As most people now know, wolf teeth occur in females as often as males. In my opinion, wolf teeth should always be extracted if a horse is going to be ridden or driven at any time in his life. I have had people tell me their horses have never had bits in their mouths, so there is no need to remove their wolf teeth. However, having seen older horses that had their comfort compromised by a wolf tooth that was left in, I prefer to always advocate for the horse. A horse’s life path may not always follow the route we think it will. The owner could move or even pass away, and horses change homes even when we think they never will. So unless a horse is un-rideable or un-driveable for some permanent physical reason, I feel the wolf teeth should be removed. It is possible for them to fall out on their own, either because of contact with the bit or a natural shedding (due to the teeth being small or shallow), but this does not seem to be a common occurrence in my experience.

REASONS FOR REMOVAL Why remove wolf teeth if they are a normal part of a horse’s dental anatomy? Well, once again, “natural” is not always best if we aren’t going to leave the horse in his natural state, which certainly does not include having a bit in his mouth and a rider on his back. Because of their location, wolf teeth can create discomfort in the horse and be a disrupting factor in rider/mount communication. It is also beneficial to be able to sculpt a gentle “bit seat” or do a soft rounding of the premolars so that soft tissue is not drawn over the sharp rostral edges of these teeth when the bit is moved during work. I have worked on hundreds of horses whose movement, performance and focus drastically improved after having their wolf teeth removed.

REMOVAL PROCESS Wolf teeth are what I refer to as “evolutionarily on their way out”. They are a vestigial structure, similar to a chestnut on the inside of the front leg. The chestnut is the remnant of a toe that was present in early equines millions of years ago, and the wolf tooth is a remnant of a functional tooth found in these same ancestors. These ancient horses were very small and ate a different diet, and the wolf tooth was part of their functional dental arcade. Wolf teeth generally have a short root, unlike the other premolars and molars which have a deep reserve crown below the gumline that erupts as the horse ages and wears his teeth. Wolf teeth and the surrounding soft tissues are innervated, and horses should be appropriately sedated by a veterinarian for tooth removal, and pain relief provided. I always use a sedative that also provides pain relief, and will often give the horse an injection of an NSAID such as phenylbutazone or banamine to help with post-procedure pain. Arnica or Traumeel can be helpful, topically Equine Wellness


BLIND WOLF TEETH When a wolf tooth is present but does not erupt through the gum, it is called a “blind” wolf tooth. I have found many of these in horses. It creates a problem with the bit, and can even be an issue when a bit isn’t present. People are often surprised at how sharp blind wolf teeth are when I show them how the points have been pressing against the horse’s gums. I imagine it’s like having a sharp rock in your shoe – painful and distracting. It is very important to always look and palpate for these teeth when a dental exam is done on any horse. Also, if a tooth was removed and broke during the procedure, the remaining piece can migrate down to the gumline over time. It is always ideal to remove the entire tooth but the root can sometimes break off in an older horse. Most of the time, this poses no problem, but given the possibility of a migrating fragment, I check this area during every equine dental exam.

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If a tooth-like fragment appears after a complete extraction was done at a young age, it is also possible that a bit of the deciduous second premolar broke off and lodged in the gumline. Baby teeth fragments can also be a problem, so they should be extracted as well.

or internally. Wolf teeth with long roots or significant soft tissue attachments may also benefit from a local anesthetic. Extractions can take one minute or 20, depending on the size and attachment of the tooth. Sometimes, wolf teeth are very close to the second premolars and are difficult to elevate. I find the ideal time to extract wolf teeth is around one year of age. The teeth erupt at six to 12 months in most horses, if they are going to show up, and are much easier to get out in one piece when newly erupted. We ask a lot of our horses, and we owe it to them to make sure all their dental needs are met to ensure their comfort and health, and a fun, willing partnership with their human caretakers.

PrairieRiversHolistics.com drmiller@prairieriversequine.com 1-866-779-7737 Facebook.com/JenniferMillerDVM Twitter.com/Prholistics


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Dr. Erin Zamzow graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. Her passion is understanding the solid foundations for health that are often overlooked in Western medicine, and addressing the root causes of disease and imbalance in the body. In 2006 Dr. Zamzow was approached to be a consultant and co-formulator for a product line designed to support healthy, normal detoxification for animals. Vivo Animals was born and has been helping empower the immune systems of animals ever since! Dr. Zamzow continues her veterinary practice, and lives in Ellensburg, Washington. Ellensburgholisticanimalwellness.com

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Image by J.A.W. Dollars, 1898

HEART of the

Vascular interior of the hoof.

By Anne Riddell

Restricting blood flow within a horse’s feet can negatively affect every system in his body.


Through most of human history, people believed the horse’s hoof was nothing more than a solid block with little, if any, feeling in it. In medieval times, for example, horses were brought into captivity, placed in small areas and forced to stand around in their own urine and feces. Within weeks of this domestic confinement, the integrity of the hoof began to break down and disintegrate, often leading to lameness.

The band-aid solution was to nail a piece of steel on the hoof to prevent it from falling apart. People subsequently came to believe that horses could not function or perform without the protection of these metal shoes, which also became fashionable and a sign of wealth. This practice was challenged over 200 years ago by Dr. Bracy Clark of the Royal Academy of Veterinarians in London, England. But up to around ten years ago, the practice of nailing metal to the bottom of a horse’s hooves has persisted. Today, we have exceptional diagnostic equipment that supports the scientific research proving horses should not have steel nailed to their hooves. Most horse


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THE RESTRICTED HOOF When a blacksmith nails a metal shoe to the bottom of a hoof, the foot is lifted up and in a contracted state while the shoe is being attached. When the now restricted hoof is placed back down and returned to its load-bearing state, it can no longer flex open and fill with blood. Because blood flow into the hoof is diminished, the necessary diffusion of nutrient-rich blood and oxygen can’t enter and gain access to the microscopic nerves and blood vessels in the hoof. The hoof soon becomes numb or anaesthetized with reduced sensation, falsely leading us to believe that the unsound horse is now sound. Since the horse no longer has optimal feeling in the hoof, he now loads it without truly knowing what’s under it, all the while inflicting damage on it.

NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF DIMINISHED HOOF MECHANICS Dr. Robert Bowker’s research on hoof mechanics further demonstrates the detrimental effects on locking the foot down and not allowing it to function properly. Correct hoof mechanics are only achieved when the horse lands heel first. Think of blood perfusion into the hoof as being like a garden soaker hose, which emits a fine spray along its length, nourishing the tissues and nerves as it goes. When we inhibit the correct action and mechanics of a hoof, the blood shoots into the foot and right back out without reaching the microvessels. This lack of blood flow results in nerve damage and the horse loses feeling in the foot. The natural perfusion of blood into the hoof also plays a large role in shock absorption. As the hoof loads and fills fully with blood, it dissipates the energy and shock of the landing. As the hoof lifts off the ground, the blood leaves the hoof and circulates back up the legs and through the body and heart. Without this blood cushion, the shock is absorbed by the ligaments, tendons and joints. We don’t really know the overall effects this lack of circulation has on the rest of the horse’s body, such as his kidney, liver, heart, etc. In humans, hypoxia occurs when one or more regions of the body are cut off from blood flow and deprived of oxygen, leading to gangrene or necrosis of the affected limb; generalized hypoxia mostly affects the brain, heart, pulmonary vessels and liver. Could that same generalized hypoxia be occurring in horses with diminished hoof mechanics?

Image courtesy of Dr. Strasser

people would now agree that the hoof is a highly vascular construction, and pumps blood very much like the heart does.

The right front hoof is shod. Notice the restricted circulation in the hoof and up the leg. When the shoe was removed, the circulation returned. World Hoof Conference, 2003, Germany.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER BLOOD FLOW IN THE FOOT When I first began studying the negative effects of shutting down hoof mechanism, I witnessed something I will never forget. I was trimming at a client’s farm on a cold winter day. Out in the paddock was a horse that was shod on all four feet. He was noticeably very uncomfortable and distressed as he shifted from foot to foot, continuously lying down and getting up (it was not colic). The thing that stuck in my mind to this day was how the horse’s hair was frosted with ice from the hooves all the way up to the middle of his belly. My heart sank with despair as I watched, unable to help this poor horse who was obviously in pain. The horse’s hooves have shunts in them that open and close on demand to regulate the foot’s temperature. When we interfere with the hoof’s mechanism, we prevent those shunts from working correctly and the horse can no longer regulate his overall temperature. In conclusion, whenever we impair hoof mechanism and reduce blood flow into the foot, 80% of its shock absorption is lost, placing stress on the ligaments, joints, heart, lungs and other organs. This loss of shock absorption increases impact on the front legs, and those forces acting on the hoof and body, and is one of the direct contributors to EIPH (ExerciseInduced Pulmonary Hemorrhage) in racehorses. In order for the horse to function and perform at his optimal and healthiest level, the mechanics of his hooves need to be operating fully and correctly. REFERENCES: Jaime Jackson, Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, Dr. Robert Bowker, Dr. Robert Schroter, Dr. J. Rooney

Anne Riddell is an AHA Certified Natural Hoof Care Practitioner. BareFootHorseCanada.com.

Equine Wellness


By Susan E. Harris




ovement is what horses are all about. In fact, they evolved from the fox terriersized Eohippus of 55 million years ago mostly because of their ability to move. Movement is still essential to every horse’s nature and even his life. A horse that cannot move is a horse in trouble.

THE ANATOMY OF GOOD MOVEMENT Understanding the mechanics of good movement is crucial to helping your horse achieve his full potential while remaining sound and happy.


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In order to understand the basics of good movement, it helps to know a bit about the horse’s anatomy. All horses –Thoroughbreds, draft horses, ponies, or even zebras – have the same anatomy and locomotion, although their conformation and action are quite different. The skeleton is the horse’s framework. The bones support him and act as levers to move the body. The skeletal muscles move the bones; various muscle groups each have their role to play, and the entire muscular system works together in a coordinated effort, in a “circle of muscles” around the body. In good movement, muscle groups work in harmony and balance, and no single muscle or group is overstressed or left out of the picture. Poor movement overstresses some muscle groups and underutilizes others, resulting in incorrect muscle development, such as a neck that bulges on the underside, lack of muscle over the back and loin, or hollow areas behind and in front of the shoulder blades.

THE CIRCLE OF MUSCLES The hindquarters

Movement begins in the hindquarters. The muscles that run from hip to stifle and down the front of the thigh bone (quadriceps, vastus, tensor fascia latae, and the iliopsoas), flex each hind leg in turn, pick it up, bring it forward during the “swing phase” of the stride, and set it on the ground (impact or grounding). The degree to which the hind leg reaches forward under the body is called “reach”. The farther the horse reaches under himself, the greater his power, speed, thrust, and balance control. This also affects the way he uses the rest of his body in movement. Good hind leg reach is the hallmark of a good athlete. Once the hind leg is on the ground, the powerful muscles of the croup, hip, and the back of the hindquarters (the hamstrings, biceps femoris, semitendinosis and gluteals) tighten during the stance or support phase, straightening the hind leg and acting against the ground to push the horse’s body forward and upward, as the hoof breaks over and leaves the ground. This provides power and thrust at every stride.

Swing Phase (in the air)

Impact Support Thrust (Grounding)

Phases of the stride.

The back

The gluteal muscles of the hip tie into the long muscles of the back (longissimus dorsi and latissimus dorsi) and the deep muscles of the spine (multifidus). (See illustration on page 18). These in turn connect to the muscles of the top and sides of the torso and upper neck. They form a chain of muscles that goes all the way from the hind legs to the poll, on each side of the spine. At every stride, this upper muscle chain moves and stretches; we sit on it as we ride. Anything that interferes with this, such as a pinching saddle, an unbalanced rider, or hands that force the neck to stiffen and contort, can cause the horse to drop his back, making him stiff and hollow, and trapping his hind legs out behind so he cannot reach under himself. This is the most common cause of poor movement in ridden horses. The head, neck and jaw

The horse’s tongue attaches to the hyoid bone at the back of the jaw. At the back of the hyoid bone, a slender group of muscles (omohyoid and omothyroid) extends from the throat Continued on page 18.

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Continued from page 17.

to the top of the forelegs, and connects to the breastbone and pectoral muscles. This muscle chain connects through the pectoral muscles and abdominal muscles to the pelvis – the “power plant” – creating a direct muscular connection between the horse’s mouth and his hind legs. When the horse stretches his head, neck and mouth, and chews softly, he is activating the “under muscle chain”. Fear or discomfort from severe bits, rough hands, or sharp teeth can all but paralyze a horse’s movement. In order to move well, a horse must have a relaxed, happy mouth and some degree of freedom to use his neck and head. Also, excessive tension on one rein inhibits the muscle chain, and therefore, the movement of the hind leg on that side.

are attached to the neck and rib cage by a sling of muscles between the shoulders and ribs. This “shoulder sling” (ventral and cervical part of serratus ventralis, scaleneus, longus colli, rhomboideus and ascending pectoral muscles) helps the forelegs reach forward and upward, and enables the horse to raise his withers and the base of his neck, in order to shift his balance. This gesture, along with engaging the hindquarters, is essential for balance and collection. Training techniques that force the horse’s nose in and down do not necessarily cause him to engage his hindquarters and lift his withers; more often, they trap him into remaining on the forehand, even though his head may be forced into a pseudo-collected position. Techniques like this can teach a horse to go in a “false frame”, obediently “setting his head” in the required position but stressing his back, neck, and hind legs as he moves incorrectly. The abdominal muscles

Upper and lower muscle chains.

The forelegs and shoulders

Horses do not have collarbones or a ball-and-socket joint at the forelimb as we do; instead, their forelegs and shoulders

The circle of muscles is completed by the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus, transvers abdominus and external abdominal oblique), which run from the floor of the pelvis to the breastbone and the bottom edge of the ribs. They support the horse’s inner organs and aid in breathing. In movement, they act as powerful flexors of the pelvis, bringing the hindquarters under the horse and raising his back. They are aided by the psoas muscles, which run from the underside of the spine to the pelvis and each thighbone. Horses that move well have strong, well-developed abdominal and psoas muscles; in those that move hollow, these muscles are unfit and flabby, the equine version of a “beer belly.” Continued on page 20.

Some of the major muscles used in movement

Major muscle groups in motion, with muscles labeled.


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Continued from page 18.

HELPING YOUR HORSE MOVE BETTER Here are some practical tips for enabling your horse to use his circle of muscles better, and to move as well as he is able:

1 2

3 4

Check saddle fit and placement. Saddles that pinch, rock and twist, or are set too far forward, inhibit the free movement of the shoulder blades. A saddle should be balanced, to make it easy for you to ride in balance. Ride in balance! This is the best gift you can give your horse. Riding in balance with your horse, with your weight evenly balanced, and your feet directly under your center of balance, enables your horse to carry you more easily, move more freely and in comfort, and keep his own balance under you. Studies using a saddle scanner (a computer-operated device that measures pressure under the saddle) have shown that a heavier person who rides in good balance stresses the horse’s back less than a lighter rider who is stiff, bouncing and out of balance. Warm up and cool down. Horses are athletes; they need a proper warmup before serious work begins in order to loosen up and increase circulation in the muscles. Warming down, or gradually decreasing the level of work before stopping, is also important, as is proper cooling out after work. Consider rhythm and relaxation. To move well, the muscles must be free of excess tension or stiffness, and the mind must be calm enough to concentrate. Working at a steady rhythm and tempo allows the muscles to contract and relax in a regular rhythm. A tempo that’s too quick or inconsistent causes tension and rough, unbalanced movements, and make it impossible to predict what the horse will do next. Try counting, chanting, humming or even singing along with your horse’s strides; this tends to relax the rider, too.

Good vs. Poor movement

The quality of a horse’s movement is determined by his conformation and genetic heritage, but it is also greatly affected by his training, development, soundness, and the way he is ridden. Good movement makes a horse stronger, more efficient, and better balanced and able to do his job. He’s easier to ride and beautiful to watch. A horse that uses himself well becomes better developed and more pleasing to the eye, and is likely to stay sound. Poor movement is unbalanced, hard to ride, ugly and damaging; it wastes energy and brings on premature fatigue, aches and pains, and breakdowns. Horses that use themselves poorly are unhappy in their work. Poor attitudes and behavior problems are often caused by the chronic pain they endure. Every horse deserves to be ridden so he can move at his best. 20

Equine Wellness

Go with the flow. Stiff riders who grip and tighten up inhibit 5 the horse’s movement, as well as suffer discomfort and insecurity. Their horses are no more comfortable than they are. Riding in balance lessens the need for muscle grip to stay secure. Deep breathing, a supple seat, and working in rhythm help the rider release excess tension and allow the movement of the horse to flow smoothly through elastic joints and muscles. This frees the horse to engage his hind legs, swing through his back, and move with freedom and grace. Straighten up! Most riders are more uneven than they realize. 6 We all have a dominant eye, hand, and leg, and unconscious habit patterns that we bring to our riding. Many riders who sit more heavily on one seat bone, collapse a hip, drop a shoulder, or use one hand more strongly than the other, cannot understand why their horses have difficulty taking the canter on a given leg, or bending in one direction. Their horses could tell them! This is a difficult issue for most people to deal with because such habits are unconscious and feel normal and natural to us. Improvement is often a long-term process rather than an instant fix. Body awareness techniques such as Centered Riding can help riders develop awareness of their individual body patterns, and learn techniques for improving their balance, security, body freedom and use of self.

There are many other factors that contribute to good movement, but understanding your horse’s anatomy and the principles of good movement will help you make a good start. As you ride and watch horses move, you’ll become increasingly aware of good and poor movement, and can subsequently enjoy better movement in your horses. RESOURCES Book: Horse Gaits, Balance and Movement by Susan E. Harris (Howell Book House) DVD: Anatomy in Motion I: The Visible Horse, Susan E. Harris (Trafalgar Square Publishing) anatomyinmotion.com

Graphics and art by Susan E. Harris ©Susan E. Harris 2014 (First North American Rights)

Susan E. Harris is an international Centered Riding clinician, who teaches Centered Riding, Centered Jumping, Anatomy in Motion /the Visible Horse and equine biomechanics to riders, trainers and instructors around the world. She was one of Sally Swift’s original Centered Riding apprentices, and wrote the Centered Jumping chapter in Sally Swift’s book, Centered Riding II: Further Exploration. Visit her website at Anatomyinmotion.com.

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


IT’S ELEMENTAL The Five Elements Theory is a significant part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been in use for thousands of years. It is believed that the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) can be related to different aspects of the body and surrounding natural world. This issue’s column is all about the Wood horse — see if you can recognize any of these traits in your horse!


By Madalyn Ward, DVM


Wood is a symbol of life. We use it to build our homes and the furniture inside them. It’s strong yet flexible, and creates heat to warm us. When forests are cleared of heavy underbrush, they make wonderful shaded home sites. Conversely, if they are left to grow wild they can become the fuel for massive forest fires. The Wood horse is also full of life. He is strong and athletic, and loves to run and play hard. He likes to work but also wants his work to challenge him. The Wood horse has a self-assured presence that makes him stand out in a crowd. When his energy is directed towards competition, it can produce a breathtaking performance. If the Wood horse is allowed to grow restless and is not given a goal, he can easily become a dangerous outlaw.

TRAINING The Wood horse is born bold and willful. He is not only competitive, but also wants to dominate his opponent. He is the horse that plays roughest with others. When the young Wood horse is turned out with older horses, he will often receive multiple kick and bite injuries as his pasture mates attempt to discipline him. He is not one to back down or take no for an answer. When working with a Wood horse, you may not want to stay focused too long on a solid foundation. He will learn best within the context of a challenging job. Perfect his stopping and turning skills by following a cow or negotiating a jump course. The Wood horse gets bored very easily, so be sure and take him to new places and teach him new things on a regular basis. You never want to fight with him, but be prepared to stand your ground when differences of opinion occur. The Wood horse does not enjoy working harder than needed, so make extra work a consequence of bad behavior. Let him learn patience by standing tied to an overhead tree branch, where he can stay occupied by watching other horses work.


Madalyn Ward is trained in Veterinary Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, Network Chiropractic and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. She has authored three books, Holistic Horsekeeping, Horse Harmony, Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. Holistichorsekeeping.com, Horseharmony.com. 24

Equine Wellness

Wood needs just the right amount of moisture to maintain its usefulness. Too much and it will rot; too little and it becomes brittle. If the Wood horse is fed too much rich food he will build up dampness in his system, which shows as stocking up in the legs. He can also become hard to handle if excess rich food causes his system to overheat. At the same time, he needs plenty of blood to nourish his connective tissues and keep them supple. Chlorophyll is a tree’s blood and chlorophyll-rich foods, such as blue green algae and alfalfa hay, are very beneficial. The liver is potentially the weakest organ in the Wood horse. It is responsible for detoxifying the body and maintaining steady sugar levels in the blood. To make the liver’s job easier, feed the Wood horse a simple low carbohydrate diet. Avoid multiple formulated supplements or herbal mixes. Milk thistle on its own is good for liver support.

all about Understanding and meeting your horse’s electrolyte needs. By Michael Lindinger, PhD

You know your horse needs salts. But what kinds of salts, and how much does he really need to maintain and promote his health and well-being? More and more people are providing their horses with exotic salts, and are sometimes giving them too much. Salts are important nutrients. But when any nutrient is given to horses in excess, it can be toxic. For example, most of us know that dietary starch is needed to provide energy, but that too much can cause laminitis. The same is true with salts. Horses need dietary salts for many beneficial reasons. But it is also easy to give them too much of one or more of the nutrients found in the various salt mixtures you can buy at the tack store.

WHAT IS SALT? It is important to understand how salts exist within the horse’s body. A salt is formed when a negatively charged element (anion) bonds with a positively charged element (cation); this happens when the solute (e.g., water) is unable to keep the salt dissolved. For example, table salt is sodium chloride. The sodium carries a positive charge (Na+) and the chloride a negative charge (Cl -). When in solution, such as water or body fluids, the elements within salts exist as individual ions, or electrolytes. The other main electrolytes found in body fluids

are potassium (K+), calcium (Ca++) and magnesium (Mg++). There are many others, but these are present in much lower concentrations in the body.

UNDERSTANDING ELECTROLYTES Electrolytes, which come from the salts we eat, play important roles because they make every cell and organ in your horse’s body work. Their main functions include the transmission of electrical signals from the brain to the spinal cord, and the transmission of signals from the spinal cord to the muscles. Electrolytes are needed to make the muscles contract and relax when the horse moves and breathes, and for the normal function of every cell in the body. They are also what help keep water within the body; they maintain the correct balance of water inside and outside the cells. The cells also recognize each of the different electrolytes found in the body fluids surrounding them; they do not function properly when any one of these is too much out of balance. Too much or too little of any one electrolyte will result in clinical signs. Balance is key.

FINDING A BALANCE So what is the right balance of salts for your horse? The NRC’s 2007 Nutrient Requirements of Horses states that it depends on what your horse does on a regular basis. If you have a leisure Equine Wellness


horse that receives infrequent amounts of light exercise, then the electrolytes and minerals consumed in forage, concentrates and ration balancer will provide everything he needs in close to the right balance. Forage is relatively high in chloride (50 to 70 grams/day) and potassium (60 to 90 grams/day) but low in sodium (1 to 3 grams/day). While grain is a poor dietary source of electrolytes, sodium (15 to 20 grams/day) and other minerals are added to concentrates to meet dietary needs. When there is a little too much of one or more electrolytes, the excess will easily be eliminated by the kidneys in the urine, thus maintaining balance within the horse. If there aren’t enough electrolytes, and this continues for a long time, the horse will become deficient, and may eventually show clinical signs. In contrast, horses in heavy and regular exercise training, and/or running at moderate to high speeds, sweat a lot. The evaporation of this sweat has a cooling effect. But sweat is very rich in electrolytes, and heavy sweating for more than an hour causes dehydration and electrolyte loss. Big losses of electrolytes cannot be quickly replaced by eating forage, grain rations, and ration balancers; several days are required to replace the losses caused by prolonged periods of sweating. Also, giving a dehydrated horse dry feed is dangerous. A dehydrated horse must be given adequate water, with the right balance of dissolved salts, to rapidly restore the proper balance of water and electrolytes in the body. The right balance will be an electrolyte mixture that mimics the composition of electrolytes lost in sweat. One should not use a “natural” salt mixture to replace electrolytes lost by heavy sweating, because its composition is very different from that of horse sweat and will not provide salts in the proper balance.

THE BODY KNOWS WHAT IT NEEDS We also provide salt blocks for the 30 to 40 horses on our farm, both blue and red, even though according to our nutrition balance program they do not need it. We know each horse is consuming adequate salt from the forage, grain ration, and ration balancer he receives. The horse’s body also has a way of sensing what he needs or is deficient in, and he will lick the salt block if he needs to. We also provide the blocks for some of the trace minerals that may not be adequately supplied by a ration balancer. In closing, balance is crucial. Consider your horse’s needs (not yours!) by considering the quality and quantity of his diet, how much and what kind of exercise he receives, and how the time of year impacts electrolyte loss due to sweating. If you 26

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I don’t know why people feed their horses exotic salts, because their composition is very different from what is found in the equine body. Sea salt is for seahorses. It’s rich in a variety of electrolytes and trace minerals – but it also contains contaminants arising from nearly 200 years of industrial pollution. The internet provides many examples of the benefits of “natural” sea salt, Himalayan salt, and ancient sea salt from mined deposits. These all contain many other elements than necessary dietary salts do, and when dissolved in body fluids, may not be in the right balance for your horse. Some are toxic when too much is consumed. In addition to getting electrolytes and other minerals from dietary salts, your horse also gets them from forage and various grain rations and ration balancers.

are still not sure what your horse needs, or would like confirmation, knowledgeable veterinarians and equine specialists will be happy to help you out!

Dr. Mike Lindinger has been studying hydration and electrolyte balance in horses for 20 years. He has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters on tequine physiology and nutrition. He is presently co-owner /operator of the Nutraceutical Alliance and Lindenfarne Horse Park.

Equine Show

CANAM ALL BREED NEW LOCATION, SAME GREAT EXPERIENCE The Can-Am All Breed Equine Expo is moving to the Markham Fairgrounds for this year’s event, which runs April 3 to 5. As Eastern Canada’s premier equine event, it brings together thousands of horse lovers and industry partners and has become a hub for networking since its inception 12 years ago. The Expo caters to everyone from the seasoned horse person to the weekend rider. Here is what you can expect to see this year: • Sunday is Kid’s Day at the Can-Am! Enjoy an Easter egg hunt, pony rides, Equine Guelph’s award-winning Equimania display with interactive activities, and an afternoon performance of Horsepower Live! • Get to know Amber Marshall, the star of CBC’s Heartland, during an intimate meet and greet • Guy McLean, two-time Road to the Horse Champion, returns with Jonathan Field for entertaining and educational performances. • Shop Ontario’s largest tack and trailer sale, featuring onestop shopping for new/used trailers, tractors and RAM Trucks, along with 60,000 square feet of tack and country lifestyle shopping. • For horse owners, riders and equine enthusiasts, there are 35 professional seminars, educational demonstrations and clinics all weekend long. • Check out the RAM Parade of Breeds, showcasing ten top breeds and demonstrating Ontario’s world-caliber horsebreeding programs. All this and more only at the 2015 Can-Am Equine Expo! Come and join us for a weekend of fun and family entertainment, and get in touch with your country roots! Canamequine.com Equine Wellness 27

GREEN ACRES By Alison Montgomery and Clay Nelson

Pasture planning - beyond grasses W

hen planning or renovating horse pastures, we understandably focus our attention on grasses. While clearly important, grasses are not the only plant we should think about. With careful planning and management, incorporating trees in and around pasture areas can provide numerous aesthetic, environmental, and even equine health benefits.

SHADE TREES Shade is an obvious benefit of trees. Barns and run-ins can certainly provide shade, but as prey animals that evolved to see predatory threats over great distances across open spaces, horses will often prefer the shade of trees versus that of a confined structure. A potential health benefit trees offer is that they lower the sugar content in the pasture grasses under their shade. Research has shown that grasses grown in shade generally have a lower sugar content than those grown in full sun, which can reduce the risk of a horse developing laminitis from grazing sugar-rich grasses. Plant shade-tolerant grasses, such as orchard grass, around these areas. When taking advantage of these shaded areas, you may need to use electric fencing to confine your horses there, since they tend to selectively graze the most sugar-rich grasses in a pasture, even if it is not in their best interests.

GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT From an environmental perspective, trees provide important habitats to the wildlife that call our farms home. They also play a vital role in protecting soil and water quality, especially when incorporated into a riparian buffer, a fancy term for a stand of trees adjacent to a stream or creek. The trees filter any runoff, soaking up excess nutrients before they can pollute the water. It is critical that horses be fenced completely out of these buffer strips.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANTING TREES Important considerations must be made when incorporating trees into or adjacent to a horse pasture. The first and most immediate concern is toxicity. While many trees are generally safe for horses, a single toxic tree can have a costly and sometimes deadly impact. An internet search can help you identify which trees are toxic to horses and should be avoided. Your conservation district or Ag extension agent should also be able to assist with tree ID in your area. Horses can also damage or kill trees by stripping their bark, a behavior known as girdling, or through soil compaction around the base of the trees. Any new plantings within a field should be fenced off for protection, as should any trees showing signs of abuse. Fencing should be placed far enough from the tree to keep a horse from reaching it with an outstretched neck. Trees provide a wide array of benefits to a pasture. They provide shade, habitat for wildlife and help filter water. However, care must be taken to ensure that the species you choose are safe for horses and that your equines do not damage or kill them.

Clay Nelson is an expert on the planning, design and management of sustainable, eco-friendly equestrian facilities through his organization Sustainable Stables, LLC– SustainableStables.com. 28

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Slow feeding is quickly being accepted as a commonsense way to feed horses, as it comes closer to how nature intended. This healthier system regulates feed consumption while making sure feed is continually available. It reduces waste, herd issues, and health problems. With Slow Feed Nets, any size of bag can be custom made for the customer. The webbing won’t shrink when left in the rain or snow, and the nets have an added UV inhibitor.





The Nurtural Dressage Bridle is made of the finest American Wickets & Craig leather and incorporates new features like a padded poll and brow, and sculpts at the ears. It is called “The Nurtural Harmonie” – en français to honor the roots of dressage, and the word “harmony” to express the ultimate goal of dressage, one that has been made possible for many people and horses thanks to the bitless bridle.

Great Lakes Agra BIO-BITE treats are the Natural Treat – it’s candy from the horse’s most essential food group without the addition of sugar. BIO-BITE treats are a highly palatable treat containing alfalfa, timothy, canola oil and flavorings. All ingredients are natural, providing a premium treat in three flavors – apple, peppermint, and anise.

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Equine Wellness


Photos courtesy Medieval Times

The Andalusian is the main featured breed at Medieval Times. These horses make fantastic performers due to their intelligence, agility, and presence.

A history

of entertainment

Medieval Times is more than just family entertainment – the organization also works to preserve the bloodlines of the Andalusian horse, and the ancient traditions of knighthood. By Kelly Howling

Knights. White horses. Princesses

. These elements of medieval history continue to fascinate children and adults alike. Many books, movies, and TV shows are set in this time period, and events such as jousting and Renaissance fairs are becoming increasingly popular. 30

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One such attraction, the Medieval Times dinner and tournament, got its start in Benidorn, Spain, and travelled to North America where it has expanded to nine locations. The dinner is an authentic medieval-style meal – you even get to eat with your hands! While you enjoy the meal, a competition takes place between six knights vying to become the King’s Champion. The audience is encouraged to cheer on their favorite knights and participate in the action. And the wonderful horses are just as much the stars as their human counterparts!

THE HORSES OF MEDIEVAL TIMES The show prominently features Andalusian horses – in fact, Medieval Times has become the leader in North America when it comes to preserving this breed. The Andalusian was considered a horse of royalty, and is authentic to the period portrayed by Medieval Times. These horses are also great performance animals due to their intelligence, responsiveness and agility, not to mention their beauty and presence. Approximately 22 horses are involved in the show. Other featured breeds include the Friesian, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse. “The Andalusian horses in our show are bred by Medieval Times at our ranch, Chapel Creek Ranch, in Sanger, Texas,” says trainer Javier Ortiz. “Our breeding farm is the largest PRE (Pura Raza Espanola) breeding facility in the U.S. All our horses are

The Medieval Times has its breeding program at Chapel Creek Ranch in Sanger, Texas. The 240-acre ranch also houses their retired equine performers.

PRE, which means they are of pure Spanish descent. Andalusian horses are known for their elevation, intelligence, and long, flowing manes. These horses are not only fantastic to work with; they are beautiful to watch perform. “We also purchase horses for our shows. We usually use Quarter Horses or Quarter Horse crosses for our gaming horses. These types are bred for running short, fast distances. They are agile and quick on their feet and are usually accustomed to the lights and loud noises of a Medieval Times show.”

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The Medieval Times horses are carefully and specifically trained and developed to perform in the show. “Our horses begin their career around the age of three,” says Javier. “This is when they are called upon to perform before our thousands of royal guests at our various castles. When the horses arrive at the castles, we begin setting the basic foundation for them. This consists of a solid and balanced walk, trot and canter. We then follow the Training Pyramid. The horses are all ‘worked’ or trained once a day. Those that are currently a part of the show may possibly perform three times a day during our busy season. We rotate the horses so they are not overworked, but during our busy season both our riders and horses all become very fit because of the large number of shows per week.”

The senior horses in the show are trained to a high level, and are able to perform breathtaking movements such as you would see in the dressage ring, or at the Spanish Riding School. “Our horses are trained using the Doma Classica (Classical Dressage) method of training,” says Javier. “All of our head trainers at the various castles have been trained in the style of the Spanish Riding School. We follow the Dressage Pyramid of training to implement the various levels of training and to ensure the proper steps are mastered so that our horses are properly groomed for success. It is very important that each and every horse gets a solid foundation before he is asked to do anything that involves a lot of collection, stamina or strength. Once the horses have established this, we can start the upper levels of training – called Alta Escuela (High School). These maneuvers include, but are not limited to, the passage, piaffe, Spanish walk, Spanish trot, levade, and capriole.”

THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN A KNIGHT AND HIS STEED Building a trusting relationship with the horses is critical for the knights and for performance success. “Because of the multitude of different roles in the show, and the fact that our horses are always in varying stages of development, most senior knights will be required to ride virtually all the horses in our stables,” explains Nathan “Crew” Wiard, one of the show’s senior noble knights. “We train vigilantly to ensure we all ride in as similar a manner as possible to one another. This consistency plays a large part in the horses developing a trusting and productive relationship with all the various riders. “That being said, the senior knights often develop particular attachments to certain horses and we encourage these close bonds,” he admits. “I have a specific affinity with a horse named Lynx. He is very athletic and a bit ‘hot’ sometimes, but I enjoy the challenge and thrill of his strength and speed.”


The noble knights “All knights performing at Medieval Times uphold a two-decade tradition of beginning as squires, enduring up to 500 hours of rigorous training, before achieving knighthood,” explains Nathan. “The knights fight with genuine titanium and wooden weaponry and require hours of intense daily practice with trainers and horses prior to going before a live audience. Knightly competitions, contests and duels enacted during a performance are authentically choreographed to match the medieval traditions of knighthood.” For more information, visit MedievalTimes.com 32

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The Medieval Times organization places great value on their performers, and looks after its horses from their young years all the way through to retirement. “Our horses usually perform in the show until they are in their late teens,” Javier says. “At this time, we retire them to the 240 rolling acres at Chapel Creek, or donate them to organizations that will allow them to retire comfortably and happily. We also sometimes find them private homes with a single owner who will be able to properly care for and appreciate them.”

Chewing challenges in the

senior horse

As horses age, they may need some special considerations and diet changes to help them maintain optimal health.

By Dr. Eleanor Kellon, VMD At the time they erupt, a horse’s cheek teeth are approximately 4” in length (including the exposed/erupted part and the portion within the jaw). These teeth wear down over time, but will last the horse between 20 and 25 years.

CHANGES IN THE OLDER HORSE The senior horse may have issues chewing even when his teeth appear to be in good shape. This is due to changes in the “Curve of Spee”. The Curve of Spee refers to the angle of chewing surfaces in the teeth of the mandible (the lower jaw). As the teeth wear, the angle changes and chewing forces become less powerful. The classic sign of ineffective chewing is quidding – the formation of wads of partially chewed hay that are too large to be swallowed and drop out of the mouth when the horse tries to eat. However, quidding is a rather advanced sign and may not always appear. A more reliable indication of poor chewing is a horse that begins to lose weight despite getting adequate calories. These horses also typically do much better on pasture, which is high in moisture and easier to chew, than they do on hays.

DIET CHANGES Once it’s determined that the horse needs a diet change, there are several options to choose from. Some horses will be fine on a chopped bagged hay. Some people buy or borrow a chipping machine and make their own chopped hay. Chopped hay pieces are at least 1” long; this removes some of the work needed for chewing, but not all. It isn’t a substitute for the crushing, mashing and mixing with saliva that normal

chewing accomplishes. If dry chopped hay is not working to keep the horse’s weight up, switch to hay pellets or cubes, and serve them soaked. Horses vary in how wet they like these pellets or cubes. Some like them just moist enough to barely crumble, while others will eat/drink their hay in soup consistency. As a general rule, the more water the better. This makes the feed similar to pasture and improves digestibility. It also helps protect against choking. Another alternative is to add beet pulp to the diet and substitute it for a portion of the hay – either the original hay, or a substitute as above. A veterinarian or nutritionist can help you work out the most effective plan. Beet pulp has the caloric equivalent of plain oats, and roughly twice that of hay. You need to figure out your horse’s current weight, versus the weight the quantity of hay he’s eating would normally support. Beet pulp is then added, or substituted for part of the hay, to make up the difference. The most expensive option is to switch completely to a senior or regular complete feed, or to substitute it for at least part of the hay. A complete feed is one that can be fed without hay, if necessary. The final consideration is to make sure the horse has sufficient time to consume his meals, in an environment where he will be protected from other horses. As they age, horses tend to fall to lower positions of status within the herd. If you protect your chewing challenged senior from competition and provide a diet he can digest well, he will thrive.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD, currently serves as the Staff Veterinary Specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition. An established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, Dr. Kellon is a valuable resource in the field of applications and nutraceuticals in horses. Founded in 1962, Uckele Health & Nutrition has been a trusted leader in the formulation, development and manufacture of quality nutritional supplements for 50 years. uckele.com

Equine Wellness




Any asymmetry (such as a drooping ear) following head trauma is a red flag, and reason to call your veterinarian immediately.

trauma By Jennifer L. Miller, DVM, CVSMT, CVA

Horses are forever hurting themselves, especially at play. When is an injury to the head cause for concern? Horses are fairly unique in the animal world, in that they have a long neck with a rather heavy head at the end. Most other creatures with heavy heads have short, thick necks – like cattle. The horse’s head also has many prominent bony projections – namely the orbit, which protects the eyes, and the poll. As we know, horses are prey animals and tend to react first and think later. This reaction to stimuli can cause them to bolt, spin around in very tight spaces, or even worse, rear up and fall over. In these cases, it is often the head that hits the wall, fence or ground first. To call or not to call the vet – isn’t that always the question?

ANATOMY OF THE HEAD We can divide the head up into four basic sections: 1. The front (in front of the ears to the nose) 2. The sides (left and right) 3. The “chin” 4. The poll/behind the ears Understanding the anatomy of the underlying structures can help you decide if head trauma is serious enough to warrant immediate veterinary attention.

The front of the head The area of your horse’s face from in front of his ears down to the nose is basically composed of a thin layer of skin covering bone. There is little muscle here, and virtually no fat. The cranial bones in this area are the frontal bone, nasal bone, and the bony orbit. The critical structures in this area are the eyes, the sinuses that underlie the thin frontal and nasal bone, and the conchae that line the nasal passage.


Due to the lack of muscle in this area, direct trauma to the front of a horse’s head can cause fractures of the nasal and frontal bones. If these fractures include a laceration through the skin, bone chips and 34

Equine Wellness

other debris can end up in the sinuses, causing infection. Even if the skin is intact, fracturing of these bones can lead to a depressed area after it heals. If the nasal conchae are damaged, swelling and bleeding can occur. Swelling of the conchae can impede airflow through the nasal passages. Because of their position on the sides of the skull, a horse’s eyes are in a very precarious position. Horses are one of the few animals with a complete bony orbit. This helps protect the eyeball itself, but leads to potential fractures of this bony arch. Fractures of the orbit can result in pieces of the displaced bone damaging the eyeball or the vessels or nerves surrounding the eye, potentially resulting in vision damage.

The sides of the head The sides of the horse’s head present a slightly different issue besides bony fractures, although with a hard enough blow, fractures of the bones and teeth can occur. However, the masseter muscle covers a large portion of the cheek and many other small muscles also cover the bone in this area. These muscles are used for chewing and also to move the horse’s prehensile lips. What does exist superficially is the facial nerve and prominent facial vessels. This cranial nerve is almost directly under the skin and on top of the muscle. Trauma to the side of the horse’s head can cause damage to this nerve, which can lead to drooping lips and a horse with an inability to chew normally. Damage to the vessels in the area can cause hematomas. If the blood supply is completely severed, tissue damage can occur.

2 3

The chin

The “chin” of the horse is similar to the front of the head in that it consists of a thin layer of skin over bone with little to no muscle in between. Trauma to this area can easily cause skin lacerations, and because the nerves and blood supply are superficial, vessel and nerve damage leading to hematomas and a drooping lower lip.

The poll The most dangerous part of the head for a horse to damage is the poll. The poll overlies the brain and brainstem and is made up of a cranial bone called the occipital bone. This bone is directly attached to the sphenoid bone. Together, these two bones make up the top, back and bottom of the boney vault that protects the brain. The blood supply to the brain comes from vessels that run between the brain and the sphenoid bone, and most of the cranial nerves exit the brainstem through foramina in the sphenoid bone.


Direct trauma to the poll is usually caused when a horse rears and falls over backwards. Because of the prominence of the occipital bone, it is often the first part of the horse to impact the ground. This is especially dangerous if the surface is concrete or a similar hard material. Impact can lead to a fracture of the occipital bone and/or the sphenoid bone. Because of the proximity to the brain, direct trauma to the poll can lead to instant death. In less severe cases, because the blood supply and nerves exiting the sphenoid bone are often damaged, as is the brainstem, horses can be left with permanent neurological damage and may unable to rise or, if they can get up, cannot walk.

WHEN TO SEEK HELP No matter what, cases of direct trauma to the poll require immediate veterinary intervention. If nervous system damage is minimal, early and aggressive treatment with medications to stop brain swelling and limit inflammation may save a horse’s life.

The other three areas of the head are not usually as black and white. So how do you decide if you should call your vet? A good motto is: if in doubt, call. If nothing else, speaking to someone can ease your mind. Also, if your veterinarian does not practice chiropractic, it is important to have your horse examined by a veterinary chiropractor once any critical neurologic and medical issues have been addressed. He or she can assess and correct any subluxations in the joints of the head.

Seek immediate veterinary care for head trauma if your horse displays any of the following: • Bleeding from the nose, eyes, or ears • Your horse fell to the ground and did not immediately get up, or will not get up • When he does get up, he acts stunned or cannot seem to walk normally or “get his bearing” • There’s a laceration through the skin, with or without bleeding • You notice any swelling • You notice an area of the skull or orbit that appears sunken or misshapen • Your horse is holding his head in a funny position • Any part of your horse’s head is not the same from left to right– an ear droops, a lip droops, one eye doesn’t blink like the other. Jennifer L. Miller, DVM, CVSMT, CVA owns Prairie Rivers Holistic Veterinary Service in Byron, Georgia. After practicing conventional equine veterinary medicine for a number of years, she came to realize it did not offer all the answers to her patients’ needs. In an effort to provide well-rounded, excellent care she chose to expand her education. She obtained certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy from the Healing Oasis Wellness Center, and in Veterinary Acupuncture from the Chi Institute. She has also studied Applied Kinesiology and Craniosacral Therapy. Prairieriverholistics.com

Equine Wellness



It could save your horse’s life All too often, barn fires are spotted by passersby in the middle of the night, when the people who actually live on the property are asleep in their beds. By this time, tragically, the animals in the barn are usually already dead. All the owners can do is stand by and watch as the structure is devoured by flames and firefighters work to keep the blaze from spreading to other buildings.

SPRINKLER SYSTEMS ARE A MUST This horrifying scenario is why I am a firm believer in having sprinkler systems installed in every facility where humans or animals live or work. Alerting systems alone cannot save your horse’s life if there is no one in the barn to start evacuation; even with the most advanced systems available today, too much time is lost. When the alarm is activated, it must first be relayed to the monitoring station, which in turn alerts the local fire department, which must then dispatch the assigned crews and apparatus out to your farm. In even that short time – maybe 15 minutes or less – your horses will already be dead from smoke inhalation and half the barn may have burned down. It takes only a few minutes for horses to be overcome by the toxic smoke produced by burning objects, so one of the major 36

Equine Wellness

By Laurie Loveman

benefits of having a sprinkler system is that it can extinguish the fire before enough toxic fumes can accumulate in the smoke to cause death. “No building with a properly designed, installed and operating sprinkler system has ever been lost,” says First Responder Irv Lichtenstein, who has more than 40 years of experience in the fire service. “It is interesting to note that the worst high-rise fire in Philadelphia’s modern history was reportedly extinguished by fewer than ten sprinkler heads opening up when the fire finally reached a sprinklered floor. That was after it had killed three firefighters and destroyed about $150 million of the building that was not sprinklered.”

WET AND DRY SYSTEMS There are two main types of automatic sprinkler systems in general use today: 1. Wet type sprinkler systems have water in their pipes all the time. A wax seal or fusible link (purposely made of a metal that deforms when heated) in the sprinkler head keeps the water from discharging unless heat generated by a fire melts

the seal or deforms the link. Water is then dispersed by the sprinkler heads opened by the heat of the fire. 2. Dry type sprinkler systems are more useful in northern climates where water cannot be maintained in the pipes because of freezing temperatures. They therefore operate on a slightly different principle. Water is not maintained in the pipes, but in a 250- to 500-gallon tank pressurized with nitrogen gas kept at above-freezing temperatures. The water is held back by compressed air in the pipes, until the air is released by the opening of a sprinkler head. Dry type systems are just as effective as wet systems. They do, however, cost more to install and maintain because they are more complex. Also, the pipes need to be completely drained after use to prevent corrosion. As well, there may be up to 60 seconds’ delay until water reaches the activated sprinkler head. Don’t let that dissuade you from considering a dry type sprinkler system, though. Paul Sincaglia, PE, of Hughes Associates, Inc., one of the world’s leading fire protection engineering and code consulting firms, sent me a news story in June of 2007 about a fire in a barn near Philadelphia that was housing $25 million worth of horses. A cheap box fan hanging in a stall caught fire due to an overheated fan motor. The plastic melted, the

burning fan motor fell off the unit into the straw on the floor, and a fire started. A sprinkler head from the dry system went off, putting the blaze out before the fire department arrived. One horse suffered a singed tail and a blister on the back of one leg. Along with some slight charring of a stall wall, the only other damage was to the straw on the floor.

DISPELLING SPRINKLER MYTHS As the two examples above illustrate, sprinkler systems are effective suppression devices. And contrary to some commonly held notions, no person or animal has drowned under the spray nor panicked as a result of the shower. Only the sprinkler heads activated by heat from a fire will discharge water; all the others remain closed. One argument against sprinklers is lack of water supply. However, a single sprinkler head discharges very little water (ten to 25 gallons per minute) compared to a fire hose (125 to 250 gallons per minute). A 1,000-gallon cistern and a fire pump can supply plenty of water for one or more activated sprinkler heads to either extinguish a fire or keep it in check until the fire department arrives. Continued on page 38.

Alerting systems alone cannot save your horse’s life if there is no one in the barn to start evacuation.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 37.

PEACE OF MIND IS PRICELESS Finally, we come to the other popular argument against installing a new or retrofit sprinkler system – the cost involved. Recent costs for installing a sprinkler system in new construction ranges from $1 to $2 per square foot of sprinklered area. The average cost, as reported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is $1.35 per square foot. Retrofitting is more expensive, ranging from $2 to $7 per square foot of sprinklered area. This is because the installer must sometimes place pipes without disturbing finished interiors, such as in a house, historic structure, or office building. Since most barns are fairly “open”, however, the costs for retrofitting would be at the low end, perhaps even as low as installation for new construction. Along with the tremendous emotional impact of a barn fire, consider the economic impact. For example, if your horse barn is occupied by ten show horses, each worth $10,000 or more, it would be extremely shortsighted to not protect your investment with a completely sprinklered structure. That’s not taking into account the cost of replacing the physical structure that almost certainly would be destroyed in a fire. Incidentally, insurance discounts on sprinklered structures are sometimes as high as 60%! If you are planning to spend some extra dollars on amenities to make your barn a little more attractive, think safety first. By installing a sprinkler system, you will be buying tremendous peace of mind for yourself. And if you want to entice boarders, you’ll be offering them peace of mind when you tell them: “We have a sprinkler system in our barn to protect your horse’s life.”




VFP Fire Systems, Inc.*

Mainstream Dry Hydrants, Inc.

National Fire Protection Association

751 Moon Branch Drive Dadeville AL 36853 (256) 307-1433 ettfire.com

47 Daniel Street, South Arnprior, Ontario Canada K7S 2L5 (613)622-0990 dryhydrants.com

301 York Avenue St. Paul MN 55130 vfpfire.com



It is extremely important that a sprinkler system have an adequate year-round water supply. If municipal hydrants are available, there will be plenty of water, but in most rural or semi-rural areas this is not an option. If you don’t have a municipal water supply, but have a pond on your property, installing a dry hydrant is a wise decision. A dry hydrant is a water delivery system that uses 6” or larger PVC pipe with a standard fire department connection. One end, with a strainer attached, is placed in a deep area of the pond that doesn’t freeze in winter. The land end has a fire department connection that allows a pumper to hook up to the hydrant and draw water from the pond. If you don’t have a pond, but are planning to have one constructed, install a dry hydrant at the same time. In either case, consult your fire department about the best placement for the hydrant so it will be easily accessible. You might have to contact your state Department of Natural Resources or Soil Conservation Service for requirements, permits, or further information. If permits are required, don’t start work without them, and be sure to notify your utility companies before excavation begins.

(NFPA) 1 Batterymarch Park Quincy MA 02169-7471 (617) 770-3000 nfpa.org/safety-information/forconsumers/fire-and-safety

Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition

212 S. LaGrange Road Box 300 Frankfort IL 60423 (877) 550-4372

* This website has a good comparison between wet and dry systems


Equine Wellness

Laurie Loveman is an author, fire department officer, and a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) technical committee on fire and life safety in animal housing facilities. She has a degree in fire and safety engineering technology from the University of Cincinnati and is a consultant on fire safety in equine facilities. With more than 40 years experience in the horse industry, Laurie has written many articles for equine and fire service publications, and her Firehouse Family novels, set in the 1930s, reflect her interest not just in horses, but on topics relevant to firefighting, such as stress, medical ethics and arson. Firesafetyinbarns.com

Equine Wellness



RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators

• Chiropractors • Integrative Therapies • Resource Directory

• Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training

• Thermography • Yoga

AS SO C I AT I O N S American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Carolyn Myre Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Equinextion - EQ Lisa Huhn Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: equinextion@gmail.com Equine Science Academy - ESA Derry McCormick Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Liberated Horsemanship - CHCP Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Email: BruceNock@mac.com Natures Barefoot Hoofcare Guild Inc. NBHG Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Email: kate@natureshoofcare.com Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Sossity Gargiulo Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com

Anne Riddell - AHA Anne Riddell, Certified Natural Hoofcare Practitioner Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net

Cynthia Niemela Rapid City, SD USA Toll Free: (612) 481-3036 Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com

Barefoot Horse Canada.com Anne Riddell, Certified Natural Hoofcare Practitioner Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net

G & G Farrier Service London, TX USA Phone: (325) 265-4250

Becky Goumaz Tulsa, OK USA Phone: (918) 493-2782 Email: pulltheshoes@yahoo.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: bruce@father-and-son.net Certified Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Cori Brennan Horsense - Hoof/Horse care that makes sense Sharon, SC USA Toll Free: (704) 517-8321 Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Cottonwood Stables Chantelle Barrett - Natural Farrier Elora, ON Canada Phone: (519) 803-8434 Email: cottonwood_stables@hotmail.com

40 Wellness ViewEquine the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250 Gudrun Buchhofer Judique, NS Canada Phone: (902) 787-2292 Email: gudrun@go-natural.ca Hoofmaiden Performance Barefoot Hoof Care Elizabeth TeSelle, EQ Leipers Fork, TN USA Phone: (615) 300-6917 Email: hoof_maiden@hotmail.com Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/hoofmaiden HossHoofHo Sandra Judy, Hoof Care Professional Gibsonville, NC USA Phone: (336) 380-5543 Website: www.hosshoofho.com Jeannean Mercuri - PHCP Ridge, NY USA Phone: (631) 345-2644 Email: info@gotreeless.com Website: www.horseguard-canada.ca Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 579-4102 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: 902-665-2151 Email: nina@lostjuly.ca

Equine Wellness


Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com

Kathleen Berard San Antonio, TX USA (210) 402-1220 Email: kat@katberard.com Website: www.katberard.com The Oasis Farm Ingrid Brammer Cavan, ON Canada (705) 742-329 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com

C H I RO P R AC TO R S Dr. Bonnie Harder, D.C. Ogle, IL USA (815) 757-0425 Email: drbonniedc@hbac4all.com Website: www.holisticbalanceanimalchiro.com


Natural Hooves Ben Fortkamp Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Email: ben@naturalhooves.com Website: www.naturalhooves.com

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

Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO 81025 Phone: (719)557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com

Healfast Therapy North Caldwell, NJ USA Phone: (551) 200-5586 Email: support@healfasttherapy.com Website: www.healfasttherapy.com

The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com


SCHOOLS AND TRAINING Equinology, Inc. Gualala, CA USA Phone: (707) 884-9963 Email: office@equinology.com Website: www.equinology.com Healing Touch for Animals Highland Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: info@animalacupressure.com Website: www.animalacupressure.com Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com

T HE RMOGRA PHY Thermal Equine New Paltz, NY USA Toll Free: (845) 222-4286 Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

YO G A Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC Canada Toll Free: (604) 902-4556 Email: yogawithhorses@gmail.com Website: www.yogawithhorse s.com

COMMUNICATORS Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com Animal Paradise Communcations & Healing Janet Dobbs Oak Hill, VA Canada (703) 648-1866 Email: janet@animalparadisecommunication.com Website: www.animalparadisecommunication.com Communication with Animals Kristin Thompson Newfane, NY USA (716) 778-6233 Email: kristen@communicationwithanimals.com Website: www.communicatewithanimals.com Claudia Hehr Georgetown, ON Canada (519) 833-2382 Email: talk@claudiahehr.com Website: www.claudiaherh.com



your business in the

Action Rider Tack Medford, OR USA (877) 865-2467 Website: www.actionridertack.com Happy


Horseback Saddles Vernon, BC Canada (250) 542-5091 Website: www.happyhorsebacksaddles.ca



View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

Equine Wellness Equine Wellness 4141

By Mandy Pretty




epending on where you live, winter often means spending less time in the saddle. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive and productive in the quest to improve your horse’s well-being. Paying more attention to how you affect his posture on the ground can make a huge difference in his levels of relaxation and trust, and in his behavior, leading to better performance under saddle.

very educated guesses as to what issues the owner or handler may typically have to deal with on a regular basis.


One of the most important aspects of a horse’s overall functioning and well-being is his habitual posture. Posture has a huge impact on how an animal balances himself, responds to external signals, interprets information, and even sees and feels things. The Tellington TTouch™ method places a lot of emphasis on the intrinsic nature of physical, emotional and mental balance. A horse that comes into a session high-headed, tight-backed and short-strided will often be “spooky”, “reactive”, “flighty” or “explosive”. He is likely in “flight” mode, where the instinctive sympathetic nervous system takes over and the “thinking” parasympathetic nervous system takes a back seat. With enough experience, one look at a horse’s posture may give you some 42

Equine Wellness

1A 1A. Attaching the lead under the chin can encourage a horse to raise his head or jam through the poll when asked to go forward.


1B 1B. With a good fitting flat halter and lead rope with a light snap, leading your horse from the side can encourage a more relaxed head carriage and give you more lateral influence.


Anytime you handle your horse, you have an opportunity to affect his posture, hopefully in a positive way. Leading him

mindfully is a great starting point for changing deep-set, postural habits that lend themselves to unwanted behavioral patterns. Remember that muscle memory is a very powerful thing, and the posture you ask your horse to have on the ground should be the same as what you would want under saddle. A few simple changes to your everyday handling can go a long way to changing your horse’s habitual posture into a more functional, healthy state. One of the easiest ways to start helping your horse lower his head on the ground is to clip your lead line to the side hardware of the halter. Having the lead clipped under the chin is the most common way to attach it, but it can have drawbacks. Applying pressure under the chin on a stuck or tight horse will often result in his raising his head and jamming through the poll, becoming even more braced before he is able to let go and move forward. Attaching the lead to the side hardware, assuming the halter is well fitted and the lead does not have an excessively heavy snap, will often encourage him to lower his head and relax at the poll more easily. This can be a very useful hint to remember when asking a horse to walk up to a trailer. An interesting exercise to try is to “wear” a halter yourself and have a friend lead you, with the lead attached underneath and then on the side. The underside attachment often gives the wearer the sense of having to lift away from the weight of the lead rather than relaxing to the signal. Having the lead on the side feels easier to follow and does not encourage the chin to lift up.


2A 2A. A fixed hand will often send a horse into a pulling reflex or cause him to raise his head.

2B 2B. Allowing the lead to stay soft and using a sliding pressure when giving a signal helps keep horses in a more balanced head carriage, and improves responsiveness.


When handling any horse, especially a high-headed, unbalanced one, it is incredibly important to remember the concept of the “opposition reflex”. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, it is up to us to disrupt this reflex. If you pull, the horse pulls – and often, if the horse pulls, we pull back. This does not mean letting your horse go wherever he pleases; it means refining the way you make a signal on the lead. This will go a long way to reducing opposition and bracing in your horse. A simple way to ask or direct without opposition is to allow a little slide on the lead. As you signal your horse, instead of keeping your hand tightly closed or fixed on the lead, allow for the line to slide slightly through your hand. This will create a softer, more elastic cue that is actually easier for any horse, especially a braced one, to respond to. It usually results in a more relaxed posture with a lower head carriage. Continued on page 44.

Equine Wellness


3A 3A. Leading at a horse’s shoulder limits how clearly you can use your body language. If your horse is rushy and out of balance it will often cause you to inadvertently pull back, sending him further on the forehand.

3B 3B. Walking level with your horse’s head keeps the lead soft and allows you to use your entire body to guide the horse.

3C 3C. As you halt, try making a quarter turn towards the horse to help shift his weight back and keep you in better balance.

Continued from page 43.



Most of us were taught to stand at the horse’s shoulder as we lead him. While this is easy to do with a laidback, well-balanced horse, this position is not always very helpful or effective with a horse that is very out of balance and/or braced. For a horse that is not well-balanced or is very high-headed and rushy, try walking level with his head. In this position, you as the leader are less likely to accidentally pull back and trigger the opposition reflex while you’re walking along. It also provides you with the opportunity to use more body language to influence your horse. Using your entire body rather than just your arm or voice to signal your horse provides a much clearer, more subtle yet powerful cue. For instance, if you want to halt him rather than just stopping your feet and pulling back on the line, start to ask for a halt with a slight signal on the lead as you step ahead and take a quarter turn towards your horse. The quarter turn helps shift the horse’s weight back to his hind end and maintain his own balance.

4A 4A. Many people habitually stand with locked joints and a tight lower back which puts them slightly out of balance and creates more pressure on the lead.


4B 4B. Staying soft through the joints and aligned through your skeleton will help you stay in better balance and able to move easily with your horse.


“Relaxed erectness” is a description of human posture that comes from the original residential riding instructor school Linda Tellington Jones ran in the 1960s. It still 44

Equine Wellness

holds true today. Your own posture is just as important as your horse’s when influencing him in or out of the saddle! Many people are habitually bracing through their lower backs, knees or hips, which makes signals feel more rigid and actually inhibits your own balance. Practice standing squarely with soft knees, released hip flexors and a soft, long lower back, with your weight over the middles of your feet. You may notice you feel less stress on your joints and can even breathe and see more easily. Finding that middle spot where you are not slumped or rigid will make a huge difference to your effectiveness as a horse handler and rider. Staying released through your joints will allow you to give clearer and more subtle signals to your horse, without inadvertently pulling or pushing. These basic principles of handling an out-of-balance horse can help start shifting his habitual posture and change the way he thinks and trusts you. It can also give you new insights into the root of some behaviors. The Tellington TTouch™ Method adds bodywork, groundwork, and riding exercises to these foundational ideas, enhancing cooperation between horse and handler by getting to the basic cause of behaviors rather than simply addressing the symptoms.

Mandy Pretty is a certified practitioner of the Tellington TTouch® and Connected Riding®. She lives in British Columbia where she trains and teaches both modalities. For more information please visit ttouch.ca

DYSFUNCTIONAL POSTURE Why is a high-headed horse so often spooky? Does the posture come first, or does the behavior create the posture? When a horse is out of balance physically, he will likely be extremely on the forehand and sending most of his weight “base down”, leading through his chest. To counteract this, he will likely raise his head, which in turn drops the back and makes it more difficult for the hind legs to catch up with the front, pushing him even more out of balance and making him feel unsafe when control of his movement is taken out of his hooves. This horse may be able to get along fine in the pasture without any external pressure – but add a leader and a line and he suddenly turns “bargey” or “balky”, “rude”, “disrespectful” or even “explosive”. In all likelihood, this horse is not “trying” to be dominant or disrespectful. He was simply falling out of balance in the first place, and this is being exacerbated by a human on the end of a lead. To make matters more complicated, these dysfunctional habitual postures often lead to tension patterns that can cause discomfort and bracing through the soft tissue.

Equine Wellness


HOLISTIC VETERINARY ADVICE TALKING WITH DR. CATHY ALINOVI Dr. Cathy Alinovi – veterinarian, animal lover, and nationally celebrated author – knew she wanted to be an animal doctor since she was nine years old. Her mission then was simple: to make the world safe for animals. Relentlessly committed to her patients’ care, Dr. Cathy is quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. She began her veterinary education at the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and also holds a Master of Science in Epidemiology from Purdue, but quickly realized that conventional medicine didn’t meet all her patients’ needs. She went back to school and became certified in animal chiropractic. Since then, she has also been certified in Veterinary Food Therapy, Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Therapy, and Aromatherapy. Dr. Cathy is the owner of Healthy PAWsibilities in rural Pine Village, Indiana, and Hoopeston Veterinary Service in Hoopeston, Illinois. HealthyPawsibilities.com Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com. Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. This column is for information purposes only. It is not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian before giving your horse any remedies.


My mare was recently diagnosed with ringbone. The traditional treatment options seem somewhat limited. What integrative options might be helpful for her her?

and joints. The same thing happens to our horses on stall rest.

Ringbone is osteoarthritis of the fetlock or coffin joint.

pain, without the potential side effects of NSAIDs, include devil’s

Conventional medical treatment consists of nonsteroidal anti-

claw and boswellia. Herbal salves, like Jing Tang’s Relief Salve,

inflammatories (NSAIDs). Surgical treatment involves fusing the

can work well too.

joint. However, these treatments only alleviate the discomfort

Furthermore, some arthritis symptoms improve with application

due to bony arthritis. Ringbone reduces mobility in the joint, and can cause limping, may be painful, and reduces the horse’s quality of life. As this condition tends to occur in older horses,

that decreases inflammation and increases mobility of the affected There are some great alternative treatments.

• Therapeutic laser increases blood flow to the region, helps cells function better and faster, and can slow the formation of the arthritis (ringbone).

Some great herbal medications that can help with swelling and

of heat, some with cold, some with dry, and some with moist treatments. Working with a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practitioner who understands these things will help


they likely already have some other signs of arthritis. Anything joint will make your mare feel better.

Therefore treatments that increase mobility also reduce pain.

• Acupuncture can also stimulate healing, increasing blood flow and decreasing pain, and making the arthritic horse feel better. • Veterinary spinal manipulation therapy (animal chiropractic) works in a similar way to restore motion to the joints. As a horse is so muscular, the most important thing is to maintain

provide the most comfort to your aging horse.

I recently moved my horse to a farm that buys carrots in bulk, and feeds a fair number of them to each horse with every grain meal (two to three times a day). They claim this helps prevent colic. Is there any danger in feeding my horse large quantities of carrots daily daily? There are several things to think about here. First, let’s look at why people feed grain. The answer definitely depends on what the horse’s workload is. For some, grain is for added calories; for others, it is a treat. Grain is a carbohydrate that is rapidly converted to sugar in the intestines, giving the horse short bursts of energy. Carrots are also fairly rich in carbohydrates and sugar.

motion. Muscle movement blocks pain from the joints, never

Carrots provide beta-carotene and are known to help with eye

allowing the pain signal to get to the brain. If a horse is placed

health and night vision. Using carrots as a colic prevention strategy

on stall rest, he does not move and his pain actually increases.

is not commonly reported. However, if eating whole carrots helps

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a chair and cannot

the horse slow down while eating his grain then it may have some

move for eight hours. Your hind end will have a lot more pain

nice side benefits to colic prevention.

than if you are allowed to walk around and move your muscles 46

Equine Wellness

More common colic preventatives include the use of probiotics, aloe, marshmallow root, increased use of whole grains versus processed grains, high quality hay, and good exercise. One final point to make about feeding carrots and grain: horses that are Cushingoid or insulin resistant should not be eating either. While one carrot seems like a drop in the bucket compared to a scoop of grain, it is still a source of sugar and can stress the insulin resistant horse. At most, these horses should receive a baby carrot no more than once a day.


This way, they still receive treats without putting extra stress on their endocrine systems.

My elderly gelding has developed a large lump under his jaw over his lymph node. The lump has a scab on it that occasionally opens and drains. The vet has been out several times to see him and is stumped. My horse tested negative for strangles, his teeth seem fine, and we have been unable to discover a foreign body (but have not gone as far as to do x-rays yet). The lump does not seem to cause him any discomfort, and has not changed in months. Any ideas? The problem with this kind of lump is that you will be left with 100 “what ifs” if you do not find the cause. What if it’s cancer deep down, and you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg? What if there is a foreign body deep inside, like a grass awn or stick? What if there is a deep infection that needs culture and antibiotics? What if he has an infected tooth that’s draining? What if the lymph node is actually a salivary gland? What if…? It’s probably a good idea to have your horse’s cheek teeth x-rayed to be sure there is not a crack or foreign body below the gum line. If there isn’t, then the only way to truly know what’s going on is to remove the lump. Histopathology will reveal if it’s a lymph node or salivary gland. It will also show if there is a hidden foreign body, cancer, or infection in there. Culture and sensitivity of a portion of a mass will show if there’s infection, and which antibiotics to use. It is ideal to address what appear to be small issues with non-invasive means. Unfortunately, since this has been going on for awhile without resolution, the next step is to be more aggressive, as outlined above. The sooner you find out what the problem is,


the sooner you can take action so things do not get worse.

My horse just had to have an ultrasound on her leg for a lameness evaluation. In order to do so, the leg was clipped quite close. Do I need to be worried about turning her out in cold weather/snow? Can it make her more prone to frostbite, or do horses not get frostbite? You are right to be concerned about exposure to the weather. No one likes their bare skin being exposed to brutal winds and chilling temperatures, including our horses. Frostbite can be a concern for some exposed body parts. It occurs when extremities, especially the ears, nose and tail, are wet, then exposed to rapidly chilling temperatures and bitter winds. Horses most commonly affected by frostbite are unexpected foals born outside when it is raining and temperatures are dropping. If the foal does not get warm and dry quickly, then frostbite forms, especially on the ear tips. Frostbite is less likely to occur on main body parts because they are better protected and have more temperature control. While the leg seems fragile, it still has amazing blood flow and good support, so the risk of frostbite is less than it is for ears. However, this does not mean your horse cannot get windburn and feel uncomfortable due to her exposed skin. While you wait for the hair to grow back in, a light leg wrap over the area will protect the skin from bitter winds. Because balance is so important in horses, wrap the other leg too, if not all four.

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Many readers recognize their own horses in my articles and often contact me for dosing instructions. Though there’s a lot to understand about dosing, I give them a simple pattern to follow that I know will be successful. This pattern is either 12c, 2x/day for two weeks or 30c, 2x/day for three days. The first is generally for use alongside other medications (to avoid antidoting). The second is for horses that are medication-free, where we are fairly confident of the remedy choice.

UNDERSTANDING POTENCIES But what do the above numbers and dosing frequencies mean? Basically, higher numbers are a higher potency. High potencies elicit big responses right away. As I have learned through experience, big responses can be dangerous. Because of the reactive nature of horses, low repeated doses are the best approach.

LESS IS MORE I favor 12c doses whenever possible. The advantage to using a 12c potency is that you can “test” the reaction. If, after several doses, the remedy appears to aggravate rather than aid the situation, it will “wear off” more quickly if not repeated. Lower potencies only “last” if they are repeated over days or weeks. More importantly, the reaction(s) will be more subtle. When high doses (200c) are used, they are given only once and, because of this, can easily be antidoted or relapsed by other (often unknown) influences. Low repeated doses prevent these scenarios.

EVALUATING TREATMENT What should you look for after dosing? Mind symptoms are resolved first, which means the horse will demonstrate an improved mental state. He could seem calmer and more settled, or demonstrate “frisky” behavior if he was previously in a dull or weakened state. Aggressive behavior would indicate an aggravation. If a remedy is successful, its action will continue after the dosing ends. You may realize three to six months later that issues you had learned to live with have simply vanished. The most important thing to know about dosing is that more is not better. Ever. You should not consider re-dosing unless you see clear regression or a resurgence of symptoms after a long symptom-free period. This is because repeating doses too early can re-ignite the original symptoms! (And at that point, the remedy is of no use in resolving them.) There are many details to consider when treating a horse and then evaluating that treatment. But overall, your approach should be to use conservative dosing and intense observation in the days during and following treatment.

Another reason for low doses is that the first remedy is not always the right one. Because remedies can share some of the same symptoms in various systems, the process of elimination can still leave you with five to 12 promising remedies to choose from. If you “miss” your mark, the symptoms unique to the remedy the horse really needs will be temporarily enhanced, and/or new ones may appear. This allows you to narrow your choices further by working off these symptoms. Susan L. Guran is a Homeopathic Practitioner treating animals in Vermont. She owns and operates The Horse’s Touch as a PATH certified instructor. homeopathyhorse.com 48

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Colic is the number one killer of horses and far too often it starts with a simple fecal impaction. SayWhoa! by Stops Colic, LLC is an evolutionary product that uses the power of osmosis (sending water back into the digestive system) to clear potentially deadly impactions. No drugs, no probiotics, no waiting for help – the horse just swallows it. All natural and holistic. It’s what you do first!



Handy Hay Nets helps you optimize your horse’s health by providing him with a steady yet controlled supply of hay. The slow feeder hay bags are made with the highest quality nylon knotless netting in 1½”, 1” and ½” mesh. Veterinarian recommended and used.

Traditional commercial wormers contain toxic chemicals like Ivermectin (a neurotoxin) and can cause serious health consequences for horses and companion animals. Using these products causes mild to severe side effects, including allergic reactions, intestinal disturbances, laminitis, and damage to the immune system, liver and kidneys, whose job involves filtering toxins from the body. Continuous exposure to these chemicals also contributes to the ever-growing problem of parasite resistance. WormGuard Plus is a natural, safe and effective wormer that kills intestinal parasites by a mechanical rather than chemical process. It also contains probiotics for digestive health and grapeseed extract for immune system support. Keep your animals safe, healthy and parasite-free!


handyhaynets.com handyhaynets@gmail.com


We all dread colic. The cost of surgery and related medical expenses can reach five figures. When you purchase horse mortality insurance, you can add a surgical endorsement that covers treatment under general anesthesia for injury or illness. It’s available regardless of the amount of mortality insurance on your horse. This is especially important if your horse is no longer eligible for major medical due to his insurable value.

BlueBridle.com 800-526-1711


SoundHorse Viscosity is a comprehensive, glucosamine-based joint support supplement that also includes MSM, HA, chondroitin, and herbs. It aids in joint support by maintaining the normal viscosity of joint fluid while managing aches and discomfort. The glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid in the formula help promote thick and viscous joint fluid to absorb concussion within the body or joint, while MSM helps to manage aches and discomfort. Other ingredients such as yucca, curcumin, corydalis and boswellia maintain joint, bone, and supporting soft tissue health while managing discomfort caused by riding, training, competition and other normal, everyday activities.


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Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA188 to the Equine Rescue Center & Sanctuary.

Location: Paicines, CA Year established: 2009 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: Two staff, 17 volunteers (including board members), and six foster homes. Types of animals they work with: “We rescue horses, donkeys, ponies and mules from auctions and intake from animal control,” says Monica Hardeman, president and founder. Fundraising targets: “ERC is in need of shelters to protect our animals from the sun and rain, as well as a hay barn and arena.”

Favorite rescue story: “We rescued ten emaciated horses from Morgan Hill, California, on September 24, 2014. All the horses had a body score of 1-2. After two months at ERC, all have gained 100 to 150 pounds. Many are being adopted and fostered. They were severely neglected, and now they have a second chance at a real life where they can be appreciated and cared for properly.”



Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA189 to DonkeyLand Rescue.

Location: Spring Hills, CA Year established: 2011 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “We are a 100% volunteer organization,” says founder Amber Levonne. “We have 12 volunteers, however two are full time.” Types of animals they work with: Donkeys, wild burros, and a few horses.

Fundraising targets: “We desperately need our own trailer. We have many projects that require ongoing funds – our Wild Burro Emergency Fund, a castration program, our newborn orphan rescues, permanent residents that need sponsors, and our hay fund.”

Favorite rescue story: “I love it when we rescue orphans who would not have had a chance had they not moved into DonkeyLand. The first few months of an orphan’s life are the most critical and can mean life or death. We watch over them and feed them around the clock for the first four months of their life.”

Donkeyland.org 50

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Equine Wellness is committed to donating $100,000 to rescues and shelters through our Ambassador Program. When you subscribe, you support the rescue of your choice by using the unique promotion code assigned to each organization, and we will donate 40% of your subscription directly to the cause. To become an Ambassador and be featured in our magazine, please have your organization contact Natasha@EquineWellnessMagazine.com.


Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA027 to Blue Star Equiculture.

Location: Palmer, MA

“What was most amazing about Bud was how much he loved his job. He couldn’t stand having days off, and when he went on his Year established: 2009 mandatory vacation for a couple of months, there would always be Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “There are three full time staff reports of him misbehaving and needing something to do. and around 30 part time volunteers who help with managing and “I met Bud when he was in his late teens and learned so much from handling the horses and the work around the farm,” says president him while I worked at the Carriage Co. One day, he foundered Pamela Rickenbach. while on turnout vacation, and was sent back to the city to recover Types of animals they work with: “We specialize in ‘work’ under the care of the vets who oversee the 76 Carriage horses. He horses. We have many draft horses of all sizes, as well as smaller had the best care and recovered slowly. breeds.” “He absolutely hated not working and we believe the stress of Fundraising targets: “Our primary fundraiser is a program watching all the other horses go to work each day triggered his called Herd Membership, or Join the Herd. Supporters can choose idiopathic epilepsy. He had one mild seizure and got diagnosed any amount they are comfortable with to give on a monthly basis. with the disorder. That diagnosis officially ended his career as a We also have an online store where we carry specialty goods carriage horse. like T-shirts, art, photos and other items. In addition, we have “Everyone who loved Bud began trying to find him a home. He was ten working horse ‘ambassadors’ that are young and strong and going to need expensive medicine each month and a quiet place to trained by us in harness to do all kinds of work on and off the retire. At first I thought there would be no problem finding a home farm. All the money raised through the work our horses do goes for a horse as amazing as Bud, but when months passed I began to to their care – there are no paid staff. look more closely at the homeless horse crisis in America. I learned “We are also the official retirement facility for NYC carriage horses – about the shipping of homeless horses to slaughter and all the other they hold a benefit for us every year called ClipClopNYC.” many ways they are suffering from neglect and hardship.

Favorite rescue story: “I would say the most important story would be of Bud, the horse that inspired our work. He was a carriage horse in Philadelphia at the 76 Carriage Co., and grew up, after being bought at an auction in New Holland, pulling a carriage around the most historic mile in America.

“Having learned about our shared history with horses while working with them in Philadelphia, and wanting to give them something in return out of gratitude for all they have shared, I created a retirement farm for working class horses.”

“Bud was beloved by everyone, including the Park Rangers in the Independence Park area. He was an amazing teacher to new drivers and he knew every single tour route through the city better than anyone, horse or human!


Equine Wellness


By Anna Twinney

Is he Claustrophobic? All horses, by nature, are claustrophobic to some degree. Understanding why your equine partner reacts this way will help you develop a program to make him feel more comfortable in tight situations.


ecause they’ve evolved to be free-roaming beings,


most horses have claustrophobic tendencies. But

I began the loading lesson by showing my horse the entrance to

some display it more than others. At times, it can

the trailer. Our style of training includes leading the horse into the

be difficult to determine what’s happening with a

trailer; if he has trouble entering, you remain in the trailer, asking

particular horse – whether it’s a phobia or behavioral

him to step forward towards you. It can be an extremely effective

issue. If you know what you are looking at, though, certain situations

method, but precision of body language, posture, feel, and timing

will highlight the horse’s reaction and give you very specific insights

are crucial. Given the voice and the opportunity, the horse I was

into which it could be.

working with eventually began to load, albeit reluctantly.

It’s important we take the whole horse into consideration, including

My methods include unloading horses once they have offered to

his breed, personality, environment, history, and handling. To

load, thereby giving them instant rewards through the release of

understand our horses’ needs, we must first understand them.

pressure within the trailer itself, and the freedom to walk away.


Pressure is not only created through direct manipulation of the halter, but also through situations, environments and locations. A trailer is

More than a decade ago, I was training a horse to load during a natural

an enclosed space and allowing the horse to exit, breathe, and reenter

horsemanship clinic at Monty Roberts’ Flag Is Up Farms in California.

multiple times is empowering for him.

I didn’t know my equine partner intimately, so I began our session,

It took approximately 30 minutes to load the first time. During

first in the round pen to gain a connection, and then with some halter

that time, every “try” had been rewarded in multiple ways. This

work. We used the Dually halter, which is one I still use today. It is a

was followed by a second and then a third lesson, each taking

very effective pressure halter specifically designed to teach horses to

approximately 20 minutes.

come off pressure. Common “non-loaders” will typically improve dramatically, loading Horses are innately “into pressure” species. It is a well known fact

with rhythm and ease, constantly building on their previous experiences

that you have to teach them not to lean into pressure, but instead

to the point of eventually loading themselves. This, however, was not

“come off pressure” by moving away from it. With a little coaxing

the case on that particular day. This horse voiced his concerns without

and correct timing, they learn very quickly to move out of discomfort

extreme panic. He would load, but remained “sticky” and resistant, trying

and into comfort.

to share his story in the only way he knew how – through his actions.


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So I voiced my thoughts. “This horse is trying his best,” I said, “but something doesn’t add up.” My student finally revealed a key piece of the puzzle. “We drove here from Arizona,” she stated. “The temperatures were soaring. The butt bar burned his rear on the way here – those are the marks you can see.” It had not dawned on my student to share this crucial piece of information prior to the lesson. How precious this horse was for putting up with our training session and expressing his fear the way he did! It was just another example of how forgiving horses can be, and a great lesson in recognizing equine behavior. Although known to be naturally claustrophobic, this horse was not displaying claustrophobic tendencies – he was simply telling his own story.

LEILA’S STORY Leila, on the other hand, was a completely different situation. During the Reach Out to Horses Holistic Horsemanship Certification Course this past summer, this Spanish Mustang’s guardian expressed concerns about her horse entering shelters, arenas, and trailers. Despite years of habituation and good handling, Leila was exhibiting classic signs of claustrophobia and there had been little improvement. We prepared Leila with a week of Reach Out methodology, which included roundpenning, T.L.C. halter work, in-hand obstacle course work, spook-busting, ground-driving, and loading experiences. We also supported her specifically through her intense fear of enclosures during the behavioral modification day of the course. I set up a threepaneled round-pen stall in the indoor arena with the fourth panel acting as a potential gate if all went well. I knew Leila was familiar with these particular panels, as we had restarted her under saddle in the very same environment the previous year. I then began to instruct students to lead her in and out on a loose line, giving her plenty of room for expression. Continued on page 54.


We have found the following to be quite helpful in supporting horses in claustrophobic situations. All these are offered at ROTH. • Hands-on energy healing • Tranquil or Relax sprays from Dynamite Specialty Products act as a natural calming element

• Food for comfort and/ or reward (see my Horse Whispering Defined DVD to correctly incorporate food into training)

• Animal communication

• Another reliable horse!

• Therapeutic oils such as Lavender, Peace, and Calming or Grounding Equine Wellness



In my experience, if there is little to no improvement during a training session, and a potentially violent outbreak from the horse is still possible, it’s worth considering his past. It may have included abuse, PTSD, or claustrophobic tendencies. In such cases, it’s advisable to go slow and build in a particularly compassionate and alternative approach.

Continued from page 53. Maintaining pure intention, clear focus, and soft guidance, Leila accepted her task quite naturally. We incorporated praise and she expressed her recognition and appreciation of this praise throughout the entire experience. The stimulus was gradually strengthened with added parachutes to the sides of the panels, thereby removing Leila’s vision and slowly enclosing her. With clarity and consistency, she continued to accept our requests. The roof was added in stages and the gate closed once she was ready. It proved to be a highly successful training session. As simple as it may sound, this single session helped Leila comfortably frequent her outside shelter. And the lesson stayed with her as she loaded into the trailer to go home! Sometimes all that’s needed to change a horse’s life is creativity and patience.

How and when CLAUSTROPHOBIA MAY SHOW ITSELF • Pulling back on halters during leading, ponying, or when tied

• Entering narrow spaces, stalls, barns, enclosures, and trailers • Unprovoked flying back out of a trailer, chute, stands, or other restrictive spaces • Freezing, bracing, and rigid responses when restrained Anna Twinney is the founder of Reach Out to Horses® – the most unique and comprehensive equine training program in the world. She is known around the globe for her highly acclaimed work as an Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Karuna Reiki Master. Anna has an extensive library of instructional DVDs and offers exclusive equine experiences at ReachOutToHorses.com. 54

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our mare cannot help being cranky at times, especially if her body is not nutritionally balanced to suit her specific needs. Or, if she’s in physical pain and your veterinarian has diagnosed a hormonal imbalance, or something like Kissing Spine. In these cases, your mare will have no choice but to be out of sorts, and emotionally and physically uncomfortable in her own skin.

Balancing nutritional deficiencies can help improve her happiness and comfort. By Shelley Nyuli

BALANCED NUTRITION There is a better way to care for your mare from the inside out, and it doesn’t necessarily mean adding more supplements to ease a symptom of discomfort. It means using the right supplement designed to nutritionally balance the deficient macro-nutrients (calcium/phosphorous/chloride, etc.) in your grass hay or mixed grass hays. SciencePure Nutraceuticals Inc., the makers of Canada’s PUREFORM Equine Health Supplements, has developed an effective all-in-one supplement called MARE SUPPORT. It has turned around the attitudes of many cranky mares. In most cases, calmness and willingness to work become more normal behaviors in as little as two weeks, and certainly within a month. PUREFORM MARE SUPPORT offers joint and tissue recovery, circulation and digestive support, and essential amino acids for hoof wall thickness and a silky coat. It reduces the inflammation she may feel during her season, and delivers a full and highly absorbable vitamin and mineral complex with the proper ratio of calcium and phosphorous not supplied by grass and timothy hay. This year, the formula will be brought up a notch by incorporating chasteberry to decrease any symptoms during a mare’s heat cycle.

Pureformequinehealth.com, info@sciencepure.com, Toll Free: 877-533-9163 Equine Wellness


Your horse’s tongue can you more about his and than you may think!


health well-being

By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis


& the equine tongue

Have you ever really looked at your horse’s tongue? It can be a challenging task if he’s private about his mouth, but it can also be important. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the tongue’s appearance – including its shape, color, thickness, movement and coating – tells a story about what’s going on inside the body. The Chinese medicine art of tongue assessment is complex and can be a lifelong study. It’s an effective way to confirm a horse’s condition when considered along with other indicators. Let’s cover a few basics to get a sense of what tongue assessment is all about.

THE HEART AND TONGUE As a whole, the tongue is said to have a special relationship with the heart. When the heart is functioning optimally, the vessels in the tongue indicate that the blood is circulating properly – that is, the tongue is nice and full and pleasantly pink. In TCM, heart health manifests in the tongue because that’s where you can see the blood vessels being nourished. 56

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UNDERSTANDING TONGUE COLOR If the horse’s tongue is unusually red, the animal may be experiencing “Heat Pattern of Disharmony”. For there to be a “pattern”, there needs to be a few indicators. The tongue is only one indicator and is usually used to confirm the pattern of disharmony. For instance, if the horse is restless, overly anxious, and his tongue is red, the TCM practitioner’s assessment of his condition is clearly Heat Pattern of Disharmony. If the horse’s tongue appears pale, his eyes are dull, and he is lethargic, his condition is said to be a “Cold Pattern of Disharmony”. This pattern of indicators lets the practitioner know the animal is suffering from a lack of healthy blood or chi (life-promoting energy) circulation, or both. Chi is responsible for the movement of blood, and blood nourishes the vessels. When blood and/or chi are not vital enough, the tongue will be pale and this is interpreted as a “Cold” syndrome. Red or pale tongue colors are the two most basic observations leading to an evaluation of the horse’s health. Other colors

indicate other health issues. For instance, a purple tongue means blood is stagnating in the tongue. This is related to a Cold syndrome because the blood is stuck and not circulating properly. If the tongue has a redder cast to the purple, it indicates Heat stagnation. The stagnation is more extreme when the tongue is gray or black; this can indicate the horse is in shock.

SIZE MATTERS The size and thickness of the tongue is also meaningful. If the tongue is narrow and thin, the horse may be dehydrated, which in TCM terms means he may not have enough yin body fluids and/or the volume of blood he needs. A full, flabby tongue can indicate a stagnation of fluids and not enough Heart and Spleen chi to keep them moving. These are just a few examples of how the TCM practitioner can gain an understanding of what’s happening internally. But ancient Chinese medicine practitioners didn’t stop there. They took tongue observation to an even more refined level of detail.

TONGUE TOPOGRAPHY After thousands of years of clinical observation, Chinese doctors saw that the tongue is actually a reflection of the trunk of the body. The tip of the tongue corresponds to the upper

Spleen Stomach

Liver /Gallbladder

Liver / Gallbladder

Kidney, Bladder, Intestines

Lung Heart The tongue’s topography is a reflection of the trunk of the body, which houses the internal organs. The tip of the tongue relates to the upper portion of the trunk where the heart and lung reside. The center of the tongue is like the center of the body where the stomach and spleen/pancreas are located. The sides of the tongue’s center are similar to where the liver and gall bladder channels flow on the sides of the horse’s trunk. The lower portion of the abdomen is reflected in the furthest back part of the tongue.

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part of the body which houses the heart and lungs. In TCM terms, the upper portion of the body is called the “Upper Jiao”. When the tip of the tongue is red and swollen, it most likely indicates the horse is suffering from an Excess Heat Pattern of Disharmony related to the heart. Here’s another example: the horse has nasal discharge, his breathing sounds congested, and the next section back from the tip of the tongue appears pale with a white coating. This horse is probably experiencing a Cold Pattern of Disharmony related to the lungs. The center of the tongue corresponds to the internal organs in the center of the body, also called the “Middle Jiao”, where the stomach and spleen/pancreas reside. If the center of the horse’s tongue appears pale purple, for instance, he may be experiencing digestive issues of a Cold Stagnant nature. When the sides of the middle section of the tongue are red, there could be Heat Pattern of Disharmony related to the liver and/or gall bladder (Note: though horses to do not have a gall bladder, the energy of the gall bladder still exists in TCM.) Other indicators combined with a red coloration on the sides of tongue would lead to an assessment that the liver and/or gall bladder are not functioning properly.


In heart health manifests in the tongue because that’s where you can see the blood vessels being nourished. The back section of the tongue is related to the lower abdomen or “Lower Jiao”. The health of the bladder, kidney, small and large intestines can be seen by observing that portion of the tongue. If the very back of the tongue is red and has a yellow coating, the practitioner will suspect a Heat syndrome related to the kidney and look for other indicators to confirm the suspicion. In other words, the topography of the tongue provides a fairly detailed assessment tool to assist in determining the horse’s condition. Trained TCM practitioners become astute at observing the subtle signs of tongue color variation, shape, coating, and movement as part of their assessment process. You can also become more aware of your horse’s health by using some of these techniques when examining his tongue. Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow are the authors of Acu-Horse: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass,which offers books, manuals, DVDs, apps and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides hands-on and online training courses worldwide, including a 300-hour Practitioner Certification Program. Tallgrass is an approved school for the Dept. of Higher Education through the State of Colorado, an approved provider of NCBTMB CEs, and is accepted by NCCAOM. 888-841-7211, AnimalAcupressure.com or Tallgrass@animalacupressure.com.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SOCIAL MEDIA! CONGRATS TO OUR RESCUES OF THE MONTH! NOVEMBER: Sunshine Horses, Inc. is a non-profit rehoming and rescue facility for horses located in Syracuse, NY. Founded by Kate Starr in 2003, Sunshine has found loving homes for more than 150 horses. Learn more about them at facebook.com/SunshineHorses. DECEMBER: Blue Star Equiculture is a working horse rescue and

sanctuary committed to helping horses, humans and Mother Earth. In concert with the community, we help working horses live out their days in comfort and dignity. Learn more at facebook.com/ equiculture and see their profile on page 51.

Thank you to COLDFLEX Self-Cooling Products and Ascenta Equine Omega3 for donating to our Rescues of the Month!

We want your horse to be our Valentine Submit a photo of your horse by posting a photo and a comment to facebook.com/EquineWellnessMagazine for a chance to be featured in our Valentine’s card and to WIN a 1 year subscription!


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Spirulina HERB BLURB By Wendy Pearson, PhD


A few billion years ago, there were stirrings in the womb of our brand new planet. Earth was coming of age and producing her very first lifeforms. It is difficult to imagine how scientists learned of Earth’s microscopic firstborn, but somehow under the dust and rock of more than 3.6 billion years, the ancient little graves of Spirulina were uncovered.

But far from being an extinct historical landmark, Spirulina (or blue-green algae as it is also known) exists in an almost unaltered state to this very day, growing quietly in fresh and salt water, tropical springs, and most notably, Spirulina farming ponds. Spirulina advocates claim this “superfood” is so nutritionally complete that one can live on it alone and be completely healthy. Its many reported benefits have precipitated extensive scientific investigations into this miniature nutraceutical.

HELP FOR ALLERGIES Perhaps the most commonly encountered clinical claim for Spirulina is as an immunomodulating agent. Spirulina completely inhibited systemic allergic reactions in rats at a dose of 100ug/g BW (i.p.), and also inhibited local allergic reactions at a dose of 10ug/g BW (Kim et al, 1998). These doses are reported to reduce serum histamine and serum TNF-α (Kim et al, 1998). Other authors have reported that Spirulina does not affect IgE levels in allergy-challenged mice, suggesting that the plant should at least not adversely influence allergies dependent on IgE. It also increases IgA, which may help protect animals against allergic reactions (Hayashi et al, 1994 and 1998).

A POTENT ANTIOXIDANT Spirulina is a strong antioxidant. It increases activity of the body’s innate antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase and catalase, while limiting the oxidation of nonenzymatic antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and reduced glutathione (Farooq et al, 2004). The protective mechanism is not completely understood, but it does not appear that Spirulina is a particularly good source of dietary antioxidants like vitamin E (Gomez-Coronado et al, 2004). Spirulina is reportedly without toxic side effects when fed to animals at many times the dosage recommended for consumption (Chamorro et al, 1996). However, it is possible that it may exacerbate pre-existing autoimmune disease (Lee and Werth, 2004), and may be contraindicated in chronic viral liver disease (Baicus and Tanasescu, 2002).

REFERENCES Hayashi O et al. (1998) J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 44(6):841-51. Hayashi O et al. (1994) J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 40(5):431-41. Chamorro G et al. (1996) Rev Invest Clin, 48(5):389-99. Kim HM et al. (1998) Biochem Pharmacol, 55(7):1071-6. Lee AN and Werth VP (2004) Arch Dermatol, 140(6):723-7. Farooq SM et al. (2004a) Clin Chim Acta, 348(1-2):199-205. Baicus C and Tanasescu C. (2002) Rom J Intern Med, 40(1-4):89-94. Gomez-Coronado DJ et al. (2004) J Chromatogr A, 1054(1-2):227-33.

Dr. Wendy Pearson is a research scientist at the Nutraceutical Alliance in Campbellville, Ontario. She co-owns Canada’s only contract research facilities specializing in equine research, and teaches courses in equine management and physiology at the University of Guelph. Wendy has published more than 20 peer reviewed research papers on nutraceuticals and medicinal plants in horses. She resides in Campbellville, Ontario with her husband, two children, four cats, three dogs and eight horses.

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Equine Wellness

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CLASSIFIEDS BITLESS BRIDLES Have you wished for a more relaxed, more responsive ride? Less head tossing, bit chewing, face wiping? With a Nurtural Bitless Bridle you can have all this and more. Your horse CAN go bitless without loss of control for you!! With a Nurtural you can provide greater comfort and thereby gain greater relaxation, greater responsiveness and performance! info@nurturalhorse.com or toll free: 877-877-5845

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

NATURAL PRODUCTS ECOLICIOUS EQUESTRIAN – Detox your grooming routine with natural earth friendly horse care products so delicious, you’ll want to borrow them from your horse. 100% Free of Nasty Chemicals, Silicones & Parabens. 100% Naturally Derived & Organic Human Grade Ingredients, Plant Extracts & Essential Oils. www.ecoliciousequestrian.com letusknow@ ecoliciousequestrian.com (877) 317-2572

RETAILERS & DISTRIBUTORS WANTED EQUINE LIGHT THERAPY – Many veterinarians and therapists offer their clients the healing benefits of photonic energy with our Equine Light Therapy Pads! Contact us to learn more about the advantages of offering them through your practice! According to “Gospel”… Equine Light Therapy/Canine Light Therapy. www.equinelighttherapy.com, questions@ equinelighttherapy.com, (615) 293-3025 THE PERFECT HORSE™ - Organic Blue Green Algae is the single most nutrient dense food on the planet with naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals and amino acids; all are provided in The Perfect Horse (E3Live® FOR HORSES) Our product sells itself; other make claims, we guarantee results. Join a winning team at www.The-Perfect-Horse.com (877) 357-7187 sales@e3liveforhorses.com

SADDLE FITTERS SCHLEESE – Ride pain free. For you. For your horse.80 point Diagnostic Saddle Fit Evaluation. Re-flocking and adjustments on site. Servicing most brands. Education and Videos. SaddlesforWomen.com and Guys too! (800) 225-2242

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 INTEGRATED TOUCH THERAPY, INC. – Has taught animal massage to thousands of students from all over the world for over 17 years. Offering intensive, hands-on workshops. Free brochure: (800) 251-0007, wshaw1@ bright.net, www.integratedtouchtherapy.com


Rescues & Shelters. We want to give away


through our Ambassador program.

Need money for your rescue? Contact Natasha@RedstoneMediaGroup.com

ORDER YOUR CLASSIFIED AD 1-866-764-1212 ext100 or Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com



Equine Wellness Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising submitted, make stylistic changes or cancel any advertising accepted upon refund of payment made.

Equine Wellness


EVENTS Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show February 12-22, 2015 – Scottsdale, AZ

Illinois Horse Fair March 6-8, 2015 – Springfield, IL

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course March 27-29, 2015 – Phoenix, AZ

In its 60th year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win.

At this 25th annual event you will find clinics, demonstrations and over 140 commercial vendors open for the entire day. Tickets are now available and children under the age of 8 may enter for free when accompanied by an adult.

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 of the Large Animal Class.

For more information: (480) 515-1500

For more information: (217) 529-6503

info@scottsdaleshow.com www.scottsdaleshow.com

HCI@horsemenscouncil.org www.horsemenscouncil.org/HorseFair/

5th Annual Washington State Horse Expo February 20-22, 2015 – Ridgefield, WA

Road to the Horse March 26-29, 2015 – Lexington, KY

This year’s event will feature performances by the Black Pearl Friesians, Marvin Pierce’s Cowdogs, and The Minis at Liberty. Additionally there will be a variety of national and regional professionals horse trainers such as Nick Karazissis, Sharon Camarillo, Craig Cameron, Steve Rother, Kyle Kelmer, Jessica Wisdom and more!

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.

Road to the Horse is a one-of-a-kind experience that combines education and entertainment for an amazing horsemanship experience. The goal of Road to the Horse is to teach horsemen and women that natural horsemanship is a kinder, gentler way of working with horses. Don’t miss this year’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Party!

You won’t want to miss out on the Equine Extravaganza, the Extreme Cowboy Race and so many other events and demonstrations! $2,500 in CASH and PRIZES awarded to the top three riders in the Craig Cameron EXTREME COWBOY RACE. For more information: info@wastatehorseexpo.com www.wastatehorseexpo.com 13th Annual Horse World Expo March 5-8, 2015 – Harrisburg, PA You will find top quality seminars and clinics. Different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and of course there is plenty of shopping! Great family fun and entertainment! For more information: (301) 916-0852

info@horseworldexpo.com www.horseworldexpo.com




Equine Wellness

For more information: (325) 736-5000

www.roadtothehorse.com All Equine Show March 27-29, 2015 – London, ON The All Equine Show is dedicated to Equine enthusiasts. With demonstrations, live entertainment, educational clinics and shopping there is plenty to see and do. For more information: contact@westernfairdistrict.com www.westernfairdistrict.com

Registrations & payments in full must be received and/or postmarked by March 1, 2015, to qualify for the Early Bird Tuition prices. For more information: (303) 470-6572

Phoenix@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com Can-Am Equine All Breeds Emporium April 3-5, 2015 –Markham, ON Can-Am is Canada’s largest Equine education and recognition Event. Creating awareness of the Horse Industry through educational seminars and clinics, breed recognition and trade events. This year you find appearances from Guy McLean (2012 Road to the Horse Champion), Jonathan Field (2012 Road to the Horse Finalist) as well as Stacy Westfall, the only female winner from Road to the Horse. For more information: (519) 942-3011

rmillar@rmillargroup.com www.canamequine.ca

Equine Wellness