V10I4 (Aug/Sep 2015)

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The slow feeding







Treat allergies with




The Canadian Horse




$5.95 USA/Canada

August /September 2015

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Volume 10 Issue 4 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Kelly Howling EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Brad Vader SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Natasha Roulston SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR: Libby Sinden COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Tina Morrison COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dagmar Caramello Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. Susan L. Guran Jim Hamilton, DVM Donna Kelleher, DVM Jennifer Miller, DVM Jane Myers Stuart Myers Clay Nelson Sherri Pennanen Karen Rohlf Neva Scheve Tom Scheve Karen Scholl Amy Snow Clair Thunes, Ph.D. Madalyn Ward, DVM Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Karen Tice

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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi.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 National Sales Manager: Chantell Draayer (866) 764-1212 ext 220 Chantell@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext.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: August 2015.


ON THE COVER Photograph By: Tina Morrison, morrmcnaughtonstables.com Pineview Velour Magic # 11060 is a 15hh blueblack Canadian mare owned by breeders John and Tina Morrison of Morr-McNaughton Stables. She has been trained to drive and ride, and is Tina’s “go to” horse. She goes to fall fairs to educate people about the Canadian Horse as she is great with the crowd and loves attention. To read more about Canada’s national horse, head over to page 20.

Equine Wellness




What and how you feed your horse can either increase or decrease his stress levels, and affect how his body functions.

Nambudiprad’s Allergy Elimination Technique could be what you’re looking for to alleviate your horse’s allergy symptoms.




A sustainable approach to your equine lifestyle.


Through this innovative program, the Unwanted Horse Coalition gives groups a way to host low-cost gelding clinics and help prevent the problem of unwanted horses.


In the same year the Canadian Horse celebrates its 350th anniversary, it also finds itself listed as critical by The Livestock Conservancy. Find out why this breed is worth saving, and how to help.


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Help your horse navigate water obstacles with ease by increasing his trust in you, and preparing for positive progress.




Trailering long distances can be stressful for horses and people alike – learn how to keep your horse healthy and be prepared for any emergencies along the way.

Sooner is better than later.


It’s rapidly gaining in popularity, and no wonder. These tips will get you started and help you select the best slow feeder method for your horses.


Acupressure for equine hospice and grief care.



Are you feeling stuck? Here are some tips to help you become a better student, and move forward with your riding.

nts 46



8 Neighborhood news 24 Green acres

23 Product picks

25 Business profile:

31 Special advertising feature

The Bare Hoof School

40 Equine Wellness resource guide

32 It’s elemental!

45 Heads up

33 Business profile:

53 DVD review

SciencePure Nutraceuticals Inc.

53 Social media corner

34 Holistic veterinary Q&A

60 Marketplace

54 To the rescue

61 Classifieds

56 Homeopathic column

62 Events



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Expl or ing

Alternative Therapies When I was growing up, integrative or alternative therapies were still quite new and rather “hushhush” when it came to horses. Chiropractic and massage were barely accepted, and acupuncture was considered rather “out there”. It has been very interesting for me to watch these therapies come into vogue and gain popularity and acceptance as people become more open-minded and educated. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to walk into a barn and see a list of therapists offering everything from laser and acupressure to Reiki, craniosacral and osteopathy. Enter the feed room and you’ll find herbal products, essences and homeopathic remedies. The possibilities for jobs within the equine industry have become quite vast and specialized, from saddle fitting and hoof trimming to veterinary acupuncture, dentistry, and much more. There is something for every horse, and it can get almost overwhelming at times. The core message of most of these modalities is to try to get back to nature and keep it simple. That’s an important moral to keep in mind. My introduction to many of these therapies was literally a crash course. I had dabbled in, read about, and educated myself in several areas; but wanting to know more, I signed myself up for a two-week course designed to give horse people a jumpstart on a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their equine friends. I learned a lot in those two weeks, and came back wanting to apply everything to my horses. But where to start? I could try a homeopathic remedy for this, aromatherapy for that, and don’t forget about the craniosacral, TTouch, and light therapy! And remember to call out the nutritionist, barefoot trimmer, equine

dentist, and saddle fitter. I drove myself crazy at first, trying to do way too much of everything. I have since witnessed this many times in other people. We can get so caught up in all the different options and what people are saying is “best” for our horses that we forget to listen to and trust our own horses and ourselves. It becomes what I call a state of “perpetual rehab”. I’ve seen people stop riding their horses for years in attempt to get things “perfect”. But with horses, as with people, there is no “perfect” – it is a constant journey. To help you on your journey, this issue is dedicated to integrative therapies. Our hope is that you find some new knowledge and tools to add to your balanced approach to equine wellness. A fun discovery for me was NAET (Nambudiprad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) as explained by Dr. Kelleher on page 26. Also be sure to check out the Tallgrass acupressure article on page 42. And if your horses are getting fat on their summer pasture, you’ll want to read our articles on slow feeding (page 36), the Equicentral pasture management system (page 14), and nutrition to regulate hormones (page 10). Naturally,

Kelly Howling 6

Equine Wellness



Return to Freedom, the founding organization of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), has signed a cooperative agreement with the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) to humanely manage more than 1,500 horses in the Virginia Range, which encompasses more than 280,000 acres. This precedent-setting agreement launches the largest ever private-public partnership to manage wild horses, while at the same time improving public safety and benefiting Nevada taxpayers. AWHPC coalition partner, the ASPCA, has generously provided much-needed resources to launch the management agreement. “Return to Freedom has been honored to umbrella this precedentsetting project and looks forward to working with the state, local horse organizations and the ASPCA to humanely manage these beloved horses in the wild, and prevent removing them from their family bands and homes on the range,” says Neda DeMayo, founder and CEO of Return to Freedom.




Federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the US; end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad; and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942, was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.). The ASPCA, Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Humane Society of the United States, and The Humane Society Legislative Fund announced their enthusiastic support for the legislation. Last year, more than 140,000 American horses were slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. These animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico without adequate food, water or rest.



“For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” says Rep. Guinta. “To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product. This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.” The SAFE Act would also protect consumers from dangerous American horse meat, which can be toxic to humans due to the unregulated administration of drugs to horses. Because horses are not raised for food, they are routinely given hundreds of toxic drugs and chemical treatments that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.


The FEI has launched its free RuleApp. Available on the Apple Store and Google Play, the app allows users to easily view all the latest FEI rules and regulations using a “virtual bookshelf” approach, both online and offline, on mobile devices. Users will be kept up to date on any changes to rules and regulations with instant notifications, and thanks to automatic updates by the FEI, access to the very latest info is guaranteed.


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PROMOTING IN THE HORSE INDUSTRY The Time to Ride Challenge has returned. It’s a grassroots campaign to grow the horse industry by introducing new enthusiasts to equine activities. Taking place May 30 to September 30, the challenge offers a unique opportunity for horse professionals to grow their business while competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes. In 2014, its inaugural year, the challenge provided more than 25,000 people with firsttime horse experiences through 702 beginnerfriendly Time to Ride Hosts in 49 states. Registration began March 1 at timetoridechallenge.com and is open to stables, clubs, veterinarians, feed stores, businesses, and organizations dedicated to welcoming newcomers to horse activities. “Hosts” are organized into Small, Medium, and Large divisions and are encouraged to be creative in providing fun, safe, and educational horse events that encourage attendees to become further involved in horse activities. The Hosts who provide the greatest number of newcomers an introductory horse experience, as calculated by contact information collected, will win awards. A post-challenge survey in 2014 found that 92% of the 25,281 newcomers who attended a Time to Ride event said they wanted to participate in more equine activities.



Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, Kentucky will be the recipient of a $50,000 donation from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and his wife, Jill. Baffert’s American Pharoah swept the coveted Triple Crown – the first in 37 years – when he won the Belmont Stakes on June 6. Immediately following the horse’s victory, the Bafferts pledged a $50,000 donation to four charitable organizations each: Old Friends, The Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund, The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and CARMAcares. Old Friends is the retirement home of three of Baffert’s former trainees: Derby contender Danthebluegrassman, multiple grade 1 winning fan favorite Game On Dude, and 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm. “I want to share this, I want to make sure those horses we really love – we have to take care of them,” Baffert said following American Pharoah’s Belmont victory. “Win, lose, or draw, I was going to do it.”

Photo courtesy of Tim Wilson

Old Friends is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that cares for 150 retired racehorses.

Trainer Bob Baffert and his son, Bode, visit with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm at Old Friends.

Equine Wellness


WHAT EXACTLY DOES “METABOLISM” MEAN? By definition, it encompasses a wide range of biochemical processes involving nutrients and energy. Metabolism is influenced by hormones – most commonly, insulin (from the pancreas), cortisol (from the adrenal gland), thyroxine (from the thyroid), and leptin (from fat tissue). Survival depends on metabolic hormones. Some correct blood disparities, others support the body’s adjustment to environmental changes. What we feed our horses, and the way we feed it, can either align with or run counter to what they instinctually know. The goal is to strive toward feeding horses in sync with their physical and emotional nature, thereby allowing for hormonal balance.

HORSES HAVE A UNIQUE ISSUE The equine digestive tract cannot tolerate periods of time without forage; it requires a steady flow of hay and/or pasture. There are several reasons for this: • The constant secretion of stomach acid increases the potential for ulcers. • The cecum must be full for digested feed and indigestible material (e.g. sand) to exit at the top. • The gastrointestinal musculature must exercise continually to prevent certain types of colic. Horses who experience times with nothing to eat are in physical and emotional distress. Forage restriction is incredibly stressful.1



By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

FOR HORMONAL BALANCE What and how you feed your horse can either increase or decrease his stress levels, and affect how his body functions.


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Stress causes the adrenal gland to release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol tells the tissues to ignore insulin’s attempts to get glucose into the cells.2 Insulin increases to try to overcome this, but not very successfully (i.e. insulin resistance). When insulin is elevated, inflammation increases, and the cells hold on to body fat. And when body fat increases, it releases a hormone called leptin. Normally, leptin is a good thing, but not in this case. The brain can become resistant to leptin. Under normal circumstances, leptin (secreted from fat tissue) goes to the satiety center in the hypothalamus portion of the brain to tell it that the horse’s appetite is satisfied.3 This is the body’s way of maintaining normal weight: fat increases, leptin rises, the brain says the body has had enough to eat, and weight stays within a normal range. The excess body fat of obese horses promotes inflammation through the secretion of substances known as cytokines.4 Cytokines can damage the areas within the hypothalamus that recognize leptin.5 Leptin levels are high, but the brain is not responding (i.e. leptin resistance). Consequently, the horse keeps eating, getting more obese, producing more cytokines, increasing inflammatory damage to the hypothalamus, resulting in greater leptin resistance.

Reducing inflammation helps hypothalamus regain sensitivity to leptin To do this: • Never let your horse run out of forage, even for a few minutes. Not only is free-choice forage feeding critical to his overall health,6 it also increases the metabolic rate.7 Feed appropriate hay and/or pasture that is low in calories, sugar, and starch.8 • Add a comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement to haybased diets. This fills in nutritional gaps and reduces the horse’s drive to overeat simply to obtain enough nutrients. • Feed whole foods free of additives and toxins.9 Whole foods can include beet pulp, alfalfa, hay pellets, copra meal, split peas, hemp seeds, ground flaxseeds, moistened chia seeds, blue-green algae, and various fruits and vegetables. Limit soybean meal – the long term impact of isoflavones (the phytoestrogen found in soy) on the thyroid gland is controversial. •F eed a variety of protein sources by mixing grasses and adding whole foods. When only one or two protein sources are fed, the excess amino acids can be converted to glucose, potentially increasing insulin. •E liminate excess sugar and starch. These are found in sweetened feeds, cereal grains, wheat middlings, and rice bran. They raise insulin as well as triglycerides. Triglycerides can bind to leptin in the blood stream and prevent it from signaling satiety to the brain.10 •A void high levels of Omega 6 oils. These are highly inflammatory (e.g. soybean, vegetable, corn, wheat germ and safflower oils). • Increase Omega 3s. Feed ground flaxseeds or moistened chia seeds. Fish oils can be included in cases of high inflammation levels. Continued on page 12.

Avoid thyroid medication

Elevated cortisol (from stress or pain) can reduce thyroxine (T4) levels, leading one to believe that thyroid medication is necessary. But reduced T4 in these circumstances is not an indication of an underactive thyroid gland. Furthermore, adding T4 will not do any good if the horse is stressed, because excess cortisol interferes with the conversion of T4 to T3, the active hormonal form.

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Continued from page 11.

• Add antioxidants. These include vitamins E and C, beta carotene (vitamin A), lipoic acid, grapeseed extract, green tea extract and spirulina, as well as herbs including turmeric, boswellia and ashwaghanda (which is particularly useful in combatting stress).11

Living, healthy grass is the best whole food Grazing in the open air is the greatest stress reducer. The

• Avoid prolonged use of H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors for ulcers. They can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and create rebound acid production upon removal. • Add a probiotic for hay-based diets. Horses who graze on pasture will naturally consume a variety of microbes. • Allow for movement. Exercise increases insulin and leptin sensitivity and lessens inflammatory cytokines.12 It has also been shown to directly reduce hypothalamic inflammation.13 Keep stall confinement to a minimum. • Limit grazing muzzles. They can defeat the purpose if they cause stress. Limit their use to no more than three hours per day because the digestive tract needs more forage than they allow. • Consider slow feeders. Several should be placed in a variety of locations.14

amount of grazing depends on your horse’s individual condition. If he is currently in a dry lot with hay, and not doing well, and you have access to pasture (especially one with a variety of plants and that isn’t over-grazed, or heat- or drought-stressed), you might consider gradually switching him to the pasture over a three-week period. It is best to test your pasture first.15 Start the transition in the early morning hours when the sugar/starch level is at its lowest.

BOTTOM LINE Stress launches your horse’s hormonal response into a state of imbalance. First, reduce his stress: unrestricted grazing on appropriate forage is paramount. (If necessary, use a slow feeder.) Second, feed him an anti-inflammatory diet; and third, increase his movement. Your horse’s brain and body will regain health. This is the formula for success.

Getty JM. “Restricting forage is incredibly stressful. Choose a different method to help your horse lose weight”. gettyequinenutrition.biz/library/restrictingforageisincrediblystressful.htm, 2014. 2 Tiley HA, Geor RJ, McCutcheon LJ. “Effects of dexamethasone on glucose dynamics and insulin sensitivity in healthy horses”. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 2014, 68(7), 753-759. 3 Freidman J, Halaas J. “Leptin and the regulation of body weight in mammals”. Nature, 1998, 395, 763-770. 4 Wisse B. “The inflammatory syndrome: The roles of adipose tissue cytokines in metabolic disorders linked to obesity”. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2004, 15(11), 2792-2800. 5 De Git KC, Adan, RA. “Leptin resistance in diet-induced obesity: The role of hypothalamic inflammation”. World Obesity, 2015, 16(3), 207-224. 6 Getty, JM. “Equine Digestion – It’s Decidedly Different”. gettyequinenutrition.biz/TeleSeminars/TeleseminarBooks/ SpotlightonEquineNutritionTeleseminarSeries.htm, 2014. 7 Lestelle LR, Earl LR, Thompson, Jr., et al. “Insulin-glucose dose response curves in insulin sensitive and insensitive mares and effect of overnight and long-term feeding regimen”. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 2011, 31, 285-286. 8 Getty JM. “Do you need to analyze your hay?” gettyequinenutrition.biz/library/doyouneedtoanalyzeyourhay.htm, 2015. 9 Berkseth KE, Guyenet SJ, Melhorn SJ, et al. “Hypothalamic gliosis associated with high-fat diet feeding is reversible in mice: A combined immunohistochemical and magnetic resonance imaging study”. Endocrinology, 2014, 155(8), 2858-2867. 10 Banks WA, Coon AB, Robinson SM, et. al. “Triglycerides induce leptin resistance at the blood-brain barrier”. Diabetes, 2014, 53(5), 1253-1260. 11 Schell T, DVM. “Reducing the effects of stress and anxiety of health with ashwaghanda”. Nouvelle Research nouvelleresearch. com, 2015. 12 Liburt NR, Fugaro MN, Wunderlich EK, et al. “The effect of exercise training on insulin sensitivity and fat and muscle tissue cytokine profiles of old and young Standardbred mares”. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 2011, 31(5-6), 237-238. 13 Yi CX, Al-Massadi O, Donelan E, et al. “Exercise protects against high-fat diet-induced hypothalamic inflammation”. Physiology & Behavior, 2012, 106(4), 485-490. 14 Getty JM. “The correct way to use slow-feeders”. gettyequinenutrition.biz/library/thecorrectwaytouseslowfeeders.htm, 2014. 15 Directions for testing pasture can be found at equi-analytical.com. Order their “Equi-Tech #601” test. 1

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Author of the comprehensive resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse and the topiccentered Spotlight on Equine Nutrition series, available through her website GettyEquineNutrition.com. 12

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Equine Wellness


A sustainable approach to your equine lifestyle.

Heal t hy Land, Healthy Horses Part 1

By Stuart and Jane Myers, MSc (Equine)

Did you know you can use equine behavior to produce a healthy sustainable lifestyle? It will have benefits for you, your horses, your pasture and your pocket. It will also save you time and create a healthy environment for your horses while taking care of the wider environment. By using some of the natural and domesticated behaviors and characteristics of the horse to work for you rather than against you, your whole property management system becomes more efficient.

UNDERSTANDING GRAZING BEHAVIOR A horse is a mono-gastric (single stomached) herbivore, unlike most herbivores, like cattle and sheep, which are ruminants. They have several chambers to their stomachs that thoroughly process their food. A horse has a different grazing strategy from that of ruminants in that he gets fewer nutrients out of each mouthful, but grazes for longer periods. In fact, the whole physiology of the horse has evolved to ideally have fiber passing through the stomach for a minimum of 12 hours a day. The horse has evolved to eat a diet consisting mainly of high fiber, low sugar, and low protein grasses or forage, but he will also browse on leaves, twigs, herbs, berries and bushes. Horses naturally survive on this low calorie, high fiber diet, yet at the same time they have lots of demands on their energy. Wild and feral horses cover many miles to gather their food. Seasonal variations in temperature and resource quality, and factors such as breeding and raising foals, all use up some of this stored energy. 14

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THE DAILY ROUTINE Many animal species have been studied in their natural habitats to find out what their daily “time budget” is. An understanding of how horses naturally use their time helps with grazing management, and therefore land management. • The behavior that takes up most of a horse’s day is grazing. Horses graze in what are termed “bouts”, which typically last around three hours at a time. They usually carry out their grazing bouts throughout the day and night, with periods of sleeping and loafing (being social) in between. When feed is plentiful, horses will spend less total time grazing (approximately 12 to 14 hours a day) and more time sleeping and loafing. In harsher conditions when the pasture is “poor” quality, horses will spend up to 20 hours a day grazing/browsing, if necessary. In this case, social behavior becomes a low priority and they do little more than sleep and eat in order to survive. • The next most important behavior is sleeping. Adult horses sleep/ snooze about four hours a day. This total time is split into bouts of around 15 minutes at a time throughout the day and night.

HERD LIVING Horses are herd animals. They never live alone by choice because they rely on each other for various important functions. Despite this, many horse owners still separate their horses. This can lead to land degradation problems because a separated horse will usually walk (or run) the fence lines in an attempt to

get to other horses. Quieter horses will just stand next to each other on either side of a fence, or play together over the fence, but all these scenarios lead to an increased risk of fence injuries. Some horses that are kept alone may appear to accept the situation, but remember that they have no choice and may develop a condition called “learned helplessness” – in order to reduce their stress, their brains learn they have no choice but to accept the situation. Keeping horses in herds acknowledges their natural behavior, reduces the risk of fence injuries, and enables better pasture management. Horses can be moved around the property as a herd, paddocks can be rested between grazing periods, and pastures allowed time to regrow. This results in more biodiversity (a larger variety of plants), more pasture over time, better parasitic “worm” management, and many other benefits that will be explained later in this series. This is also important for when we talk about management systems in our next article because whatever system you use, it has to be replicated for each group of horses; so if you can reduce the number of herds you have, your land management will become much easier.

GRAZING PRESSURES Other facts to be acknowledged is that horses have two sets of very sharp incisor teeth, and are able to graze pasture plants extremely short. If horses are allowed to continuously graze an area, they can eat the plants out completely. Horses are also very selective grazers, which means they will choose certain plants and ignore others. This results in areas of paddock becoming even more overgrazed if the horses are not regularly moved to other areas. A combination of the above facts coupled with your horses’ hard hooves means they are able to exert a high level of “grazing pressure” on land. As you’ve already seen, the natural and domesticated behavior of horses can have a huge impact on your property if it’s poorly managed. But with some basic knowledge of your horse’s relationship with his pasture, and some simple systems in place, everything can become self-sustaining, creating healthy horses and healthy land.


Another important equine behavior that only occurs in domestic situations is when horses hang around in high traffic areas, such as gates. This behavior happens for one reason – because we feed them. Feeding is often necessary in a domestic situation, but as soon as we feed our horses we create this behavior. Horses very quickly learn where and when the feed is coming from, and stand in a position closest to where this occurs. This causes wear and erosion around gateways and other access points. Jane Myers MSc (Equine) has been involved in the horse industry for over 30 years and is the author of two books: Managing Horses on Small Properties and Horse Safe. She is also co-author of Horse Sense, and has written a series called Sustainable Horse Keeping. Her business Equiculture with Stuart Myers promotes responsible horse ownership through education and workshops. www.equiculture.com.au

Equine Wellness


Operation Gelding By Dagmar Caramello

Through this

innovative program, the UNWANTED

HORSE COALITION gives groups a way to host low-cost gelding clinics and help

prevent the problem

of unwanted horses.


Equine Wellness

Unwanted horses, rescues…they’re hotly debated topics in

the equine industry. As the cost of horse-keeping rises, and the industry continues feeling negative economic effects, the issue of overbreeding and “surplus” horses has reared its ugly head. The options for dealing with an excess of horses after the fact is not always so pretty, so solutions involve horse owners and breeders taking responsibility and looking in their own backyards to improve the situation. Meanwhile, recentlyformed organizations like the Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) help educate equestrians and prevent “unwanted” horses from happening. The UHC is a broad alliance of equine organizations that have joined together under the American Horse Council. Their mission is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety, and responsible care and disposition of these horses. The UHC seeks to provide education for existing and prospective owners, breeders, sellers, and horse organizations about the long-term responsibilities of owning and caring for horses, as well as focusing on the opportunities available for these horses. So-called “unwanted horses” may be sick, injured or old. They may be unmanageable, unridable or dangerous, or may have otherwise failed to meet their owner’s expectations. In many cases, unwanted horses are healthy horses that become more burden than blessing to their owners because of financial limitations, time constraints, or other factors. Continued on page 18.

Grady was gelded with assistan program. He and his owner now pece from the Operation Gelding rform bridleless demonstrations. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 17.

ADDRESSING THE ISSUE Over the last decade, the horse industry has undertaken many new and successful initiatives to address the issue of unwanted horses. Adoption programs, education about responsible ownership, and increased rescue and retirement options have all helped create a better life for horses that were previously without a caregiver. However, despite the equine industry’s best efforts to educate its members, tens of thousands of horses end their days without a job, unneeded, unusable and unwanted. Although no one knows for certain exactly how many unwanted horses currently exist in the United States, we do know the number is too high for the resources available for them. The biggest challenge the equine industry faces is involving all equine-related organizations, associations and events in the effort to solve the unwanted horse issue. The UHC’s current efforts in spreading the word through educational materials, news and programs is an attempt to get more organizations thinking about and understanding the issues at hand.

THE OPERATION GELDING PROGRAM One way the UHC does this is through its highly successful Operation Gelding program. Initiated in August 2010, Operation Gelding provides funds and materials to assist organizations and groups that wish to host low-cost or free clinics where horse owners can have their stallions castrated by a certified veterinarian. The impetus for these clinics is that

Happy endings Now in its fifth year, Operation Gelding has helped castrate over 1,000 horses in more than 90 clinics nationwide. Two of those horses, Grady and Jace, were gelded during an August 2014 clinic hosted by a North Carolina rescue called Helping Hands, Hearts, and Hooves, as part of their Leap of Faith Feral Horse Makeover. The two stallions came from a large herd of over 80 horses, 24 of which were gelded with the help of the Operation Gelding program. Today, Grady and Jace are successfully competing in western disciplines with their respective owners. Grady performs bridleless demonstrations and Jace recently carried the American flag during the National Anthem at a local horse show.


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local Jace carrying the American flag during the National Anthem at a e horse show with his owner. Jace was able to find such a great hom after being gelded with the help of Operation Gelding. the castration of a stallion will help prevent overbreeding, reducing the number of unwanted horses being bred. Castration also produces a gentler horse that is more ridable, trainable, salable, and adoptable, which means they can be used in several careers. Gelding is critical in controlling the equine population and should be considered for that reason alone. In addition to preventing overbreeding, gelding is a practice that has long been used to improve breed quality and correct behavioral issues.

TO GELD OR NOT TO GELD? Responsible breeders carefully consider multiple factors when selecting horses for breeding. These include health, soundness, conformation, athletic ability or performance history, disposition and pedigree. Not all horses should be bred. In gelding a horse, the veterinarian removes the testicles which produce the hormone testosterone. This is the hormone responsible for sperm production as well as aggressive, sometimes dangerous behavior, including fighting and mounting. Left intact, a mature stallion may become progressively more difficult to manage and train as he gets older. In most cases, geldings are preferred over stallions for pleasure riding and competition because they are typically calmer, easier to handle, and more tractable. It is for these reasons that a gelding is also more likely to be adopted out of a care facility. Gelding a horse that isn’t an attractive commercial breeding prospect may ensure his viability in an alternate career. A stallion or

colt with no commercial use as a breeding animal is an unattractive proposition for a new owner for several reasons: • The owner faces the costs of gelding surgery in addition to the other expenses required to prepare the horse for a new career. • Stallions require specialized housing, fencing and turnout. • Farm owners and individual horse owners have potential legal exposure for the actions of their animals. Many prospective buyers are not equipped to house or manage a stallion and therefore may overlook an otherwise suitable horse.

HOSTING A GELDING CLINIC The UHC provides the information and forms necessary to conduct a clinic, along with seed money to defray the costs. Funds of $50 per horse gelded, with a maximum of $1,000, will be awarded to participating groups once in a 12-month period. Any organization or group is invited to participate in the Operation Gelding program. The UHC wants to involve as many people as possible. Past groups have included veterinary schools, equine rescues, and 4-H clubs, among others. Kaye Garrison of the Denton County Veterinary Science 4-H Club, along with her daughter Lacey, have hosted five Operation Gelding clinics since the program began in 2010. “Operation Gelding has given us the means to assist stallion owners in North Texas who cannot afford the cost of castration,” says Kaye. “With over 50 stallions gelded, we believe we have had an impact on unwanted horses in our area, and saved them, in some cases, from the heartache of neglect and abuse.” When it comes to unwanted horses, gelding is an important solution for everyone to consider. Responsible horse owners who prevent their animals from reproducing can significantly reduce the number of unwanted horses, resulting in improved welfare and resources for the entire equine population.

For more information about conducting a clinic and getting involved in Operation Gelding, contact Dagmar at dcaramello@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031, or visit unwantedhorsecoalition.org.

Dagmar Caramello has a lifelong passion for horses. In 2011, she graduated from Penn State, majoring in English and minoring in Equine Science. In addition to training and competing her own horse, Dagmar took on a fulltime position galloping racehorses at the Bowie, Laurel and Pimlico racetracks. In May 2014, she joined the American Horse Council as the Director of the Unwanted Horse Coalition. Her responsibilities include overseeing communication efforts between the UHC and the greater equine community, working closely with UHC members to enhance the organization’s current and future efforts, and establishing and cultivating relationships with new UHC members and donors. Dagmar continues to train her four-year-old retired racehorse and is an advocate of the Thoroughbred breed.

Equine Wellness


The Canadian Horse


IS ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION In the same year the Canadian Horse celebrates its 350th anniversary, the breed also finds itself

listed as critical by The Livestock Conservancy. Find out why this horse is worth saving, and how to help.

By Kelly Howling


adore my little Canadian mare, and so does pretty much everyone else who comes into contact with her. She is a very sturdy, low-maintenance horse, whose athleticism and level-headedness make her adaptable for many riders, from children to experienced adults. So I was quite shocked earlier this year when I learned that the Canadian Horse breed has been declared critical by The Livestock Conservancy in the same year that it celebrates its 350th anniversary. For a breed to be listed as critical it must have an estimated global population of less than 2,000, and fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States.

A LONG RIDE TO DISCOVERY Rick Blackburn, a documentary producer and owner of three Canadian Horses who has been a big champion for the breed, has similar views. “I found it ironic that although the Canadian was officially recognized as Québec’s Heritage Breed in 1998, and Canada’s National Horse in 2002, in recognition of its vital role in the economic and social development of North America, it was listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Conservancy,” he says. The discovery prompted Rick to do some research, leading him to Dr. Gus Cothran, head of the Equine Genetics Laboratory at Texas A&M University. Dr. Cothran was studying horse breeds in North America and their genealogy. “I called [Dr. Cothran] to see if he could tell me where the Canadian fit in,” says Rick. “Gus informed me that he too was very interested in the Canadian’s genetic history, because 20

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preliminary testing by his lab indicated that the Canadian horse was likely the foundation stock to most American bred horses, and likely the true ancestor of the Morgan horse, but he needed more DNA samples to be sure. I earn my living producing documentaries for Canadian television, and this was a great Canadian story with international scope. Rick then rode his Canadian Horses 2,700 miles from Quebec to Texas (and documented the journey in the film The Legend of the Canadian Horse) to deliver the necessary DNA samples to Dr. Cothran, not only to aid with the study, but also in an effort to promote awareness of the breed and its temperament and durability. The resulting study (“Legend of the Canadian Horse: Genetic Diversity and Breed Origin”, Anas Khanshour, Rytis Juras, Rick Blackburn and E. Gus Cothran) did indeed show that the Canadian Horse is the foundation horse of North America.

A BIT OF HISTORY The Canadian Horse has stayed true to its roots, which is why the horses have remained so hardy with the ability to do things such as cross-country treks. “When you understand the history, you realize how much the breed itself is a product of its environment,” explains Rick. “The original horses imported from France 350 years ago were immediately confronted with one of North America’s harshest climates – far different from continental Europe. Only the hardiest survived and their descendants were much smaller due to the lack of natural forage and harvested grain.” “This breed enabled the habitants of New France to not only stay, but survive here,” adds Tina Morrison, breeder and Ontario Director of the Canadian Horse Breeders Association. “They are also our forgotten war heroes. We have an entire country because of them.” The breed itself is often referred to as a compact Draft, and it was interesting to learn how the breed originated in France. “It is not truly possible to establish exactly what breeds were the source of the Canadian horse but what we did see was that French Draft breeds such as the Breton and Percheron show close resemblance to the Canadian, indicating that something of this type was a major contributor to the origin,” says Dr. Cothran, who piloted the Texas A&M genetic study on the breed. “These breeds per se did not really exist as breeds and the ancestral forms were likely smaller than the modern animals.”

Continued on page 22.

Everything about the Canadian Horse lends to it being an excellent candidate for those interested in a more natural way of horse keeping. The horses are easy keepers, are often happy to live outside with appropriate shelter, and have excellent feet. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 21.

The Canadian Horse


The legal breed standard height set by the Canadian Horse Association is 14HH to 16HH.

It is more than just the rich heritage of the breed that makes it worth preserving, though. “The quality of its genetics alone make it worth preserving due to the Canadian’s prepotency and its ancestral ranking as the foundation bloodstock for most North American breeds,” says Rick. Many feel that these genetics could be useful towards improving shortcomings in some of our modern competitive breeds, caused by tunnel vision breeding.

Photo courtesy of ©shootfilms

“Canadian Horses have a muscular body, sturdy legs and the neck is muscled but elegant,” describes Tina. “The head is broad and flat. Ears are small, and well set and the face and head give an impression of kindness, alertness and intelligence. The mane and tail are thick, long and often wavy. The knees are flat and broad. Their hooves are known for their strength.”

Photo courtesy of Adam Fraser

The Canadian Horse is vastly versatile and competitive in-hand, under saddle, and in driving disciplines. These horses also willingly accept new challenges – at left, Rick Blackburn and his Canadian Horses Hannah and Galopin cross the Mississippi River on a raft during their ride to Texas.

So how can we go about bringing this amazing breed back from the brink of extinction? “Heritage breeds as critically threatened as the Canadian is can only realistically be saved through a coordinated preservationist-breeding program designed to increase the population to a realistically sustainable number,” continues Rick. “The numbers are currently too low to rely solely on market demand. Industry forces tend to specialize breeding, not diversify it. A heritage breed is always a cultural product, and needs to be considered part of a country’s social economy.” “Also, getting our Canadian Horses out to all-breed shows will help,” adds Tina. “It’s fantastic that we have our own Futurities and Canadian Horse shows, but we as owners already know and love this breed. We need to show other horse lovers what the Canadian Horse is capable of!”

Photo courtesy of Joh

n Morrison

The Canadian Horse is worth preserving – not only because of its rich history and solid genetics, but also simply because they are great horses to own and ride. So if you are looking for your next dream horse, consider helping to preserve a piece of history!

LEARN MORE: The Canadian Horse Breeders Association – lechevalcanadian.ca Canadian Livestock Records Corporation – clrc.ca 22

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Pasture management & HERBICIDE USE By Clay Nelson


o environmentally conscious horse owner likes the idea of spraying herbicides on their pastures. However, keeping your pastures free of weeds is an important and worthwhile goal. Weeds are not only unsightly, but they also pose a number of health risks to horses. Many weeds are toxic, while others can be high in sugars and non-structural carbohydrates that can create health concerns such as laminitis. It can be extremely difficult to correctly ID all the weeds in our pastures to determine their potential risk. For example, where I live in the Southeastern United States, many horse owners mistakenly identify flat weed as dandelion. Flat weed is extremely high in fructan and other sugars and non-structural carbohydrates. It presents a laminitis risk, especially as it is an attractive grazing choice for horses, given its high sugar content. It’s not uncommon to drive by a horse pasture in the spring and see it covered with little yellow flat weed flowers; ask the owner, and he’ll incorrectly tell you they’re just dandelions.

MANAGING HERBICIDE USE Considering the risks posed by weeds in horse pastures, what is the best way to minimize or eliminate herbicide use? While completely eliminating herbicide use may be preferable, this may not be the best option for most horse owners – at least in the short term – especially if the pastures are currently overgrazed and weeds are present. Hand pulling weeds is an option, but extremely labor intensive. Most horse pastures are simply too large for this to be a realistic option. The only viable long-term herbicide reduction strategy is to maintain a healthy, dense stand of pasture grasses. Healthy grasses are better equipped to outcompete weeds, whereas stressed, poor or overgrazed grasses are sure recipes for weeds to take over. If weeds are present, then an initial round of herbicide application may be your best option to eliminate the existing weed stand. Contact your local agriculture extension agent to get free assistance with choosing the best and safest herbicide to use, based on the weeds that are present.

INHIBITING WEED GROWTH Once the weeds have been killed, you can start to improve how your pastures are managed and significantly reduce or eliminate the need for future herbicide applications. Maintaining good soil health is also critical, and this means testing the soils every three years for pH and nutrient levels, and applying lime and fertilizer as recommended in the soils report. Not only will this reduce weed infestation, but the properly fertilized pasture grasses will also tend to be lower in sugar content. Another often-overlooked issue that can lead to weed growth is soil compaction. If your soil feels hard or dense, aerating it and topdressing with compost (ideally provided by your horses) can alleviate compaction and reduce weed growth. 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. 24

Equine Wellness

Learning to go barefoot This school takes a whole-horse approach to education and hoof care.


hris Jonason first tried bare hoof trimming 11 years ago, after purchasing a Kiger Mustang. The AFA certified farrier started by shoeing her horse, but the quality of his feet, which had never previously been shod, went from great to poor. Chris tried other shoes and a few new farrier styles in an effort to achieve a better hoof, but she eventually returned him to barefoot. Once the shoes were pulled and the barefoot trimming began, the mustang’s feet started to regain their original shape, density and hardness. After witnessing such a successful transformation, Chris decided to transition her entire herd of horses to barefoot, and they’ve remained that way ever since, even for endurance rides.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING Inspired by her success with her own horses, Chris participated in clinics with Pete Ramey and other practitioners and soon had four apprentices of her own. She began to realize there was a need for a more comprehensive trimming program that would be similar to a traditional farrier program.

A WHOLE HORSE APPROACH The school doesn’t just teach trimming, because a whole horse approach is necessary for the successful barefoot horse. “Barefoot or Natural Hoof Care is essentially the art and science of trimming horses’ hooves to a state close to how they would be in the wild,” explains Chris. “The starting point to going barefoot is maintaining healthy, well-functioning and properlyformed feet, free from nail-on shoes. From there we can move forward to establishing a holistic discipline, which considers diet, pasturing, equipment, training and bodywork. Barefoot trimming is also used to assist in rehabilitating horses with postural and structural problems. Going barefoot requires both commitment from owners and education from well-trained practitioners.”

In addition to teaching the most up-to-date



and standards, the school educates students on safe tool use, horse handling




to set up a small business. “We Chris founded the Bare Hoof School (BareHoofSchool.com) in 2013 on her 80-acre Rendezvous Ranch in Cashmere, Washington. It sits at the base of the Cascade Mountains and provides a beautiful scenic environment in which to enjoy all types of programs. The ranch hosts the five-week Bare Hoof School, Mountain Trail clinics, Women In The Wilderness clinics, Dressage clinics and lessons. Chris is a certified Mountain Trail Instructor and loves to guide clients through any of the experiences at the ranch.

use a holistic approach to equine care which seeks to respect and mimic the horse’s natural setting in the wild as the focal point of our curriculum,” says Chris. As such, the five-week course also focuses on homeopathy, herbal remedies, bodywork,



and environmental considerations. Chris works with other instructors and professionals to offer students a broad education on trimming and training, and incorporates field trips and guest lectures. Equine Wellness



for his al lergies

Nambudiprad’s Allergy Elimination Technique could be what you’re looking for to alleviate your horse’s allergy symptoms. By Donna Kelleher, DVM


ou may have heard of NAET, but don’t know much about it or how it works. Short for Nambudiprad’s Allergy Elimination Technique, it’s an energetic method of identifying and treating individual allergens with the combined use of chiropractic and acupuncture. The chiropractic involved with NAET is not standard chiropractic and does not diagnose or fix subluxations – rather, it involves the energetic opening of spinal segments.

I use NAET as part of a holistic program, and often achieve fast results with additional balancing herbal therapies. Horses are very responsive to this approach. Relief often occurs within a few months, and sometimes with just a few treatments, depending on the duration of symptoms and the age of the animal. The best time to address seasonal allergies to grasses or insects is in the winter, in order to be preventative. For example, if you have a horse with increasing symptoms during every summer’s rush of allergens, why not think ahead and prevent them a few months sooner?

Learning, understanding and using NAET effectively takes time to cultivate. It’s considered by some as fringe, or even more unusual than other more accepted forms of holistic medicine (such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal therapy and homeopathy). Therefore, very few practitioners utilize it for animals. I have found it invaluable in treating the exponentially growing tidal wave of food and inhalant allergies.


AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO ALLERGIES In horses, both food allergies and inhalant or contact allergies can cause hives and extreme pruritus or itching. We tend to think these symptoms are an insect bite reaction, for example from culicoides or oncocerca (no-see-ums) as well as mosquitoes and other biting insects. While this is indeed often part of the problem, and NAET certainly helps identify the culprits, the horse’s immune system has to be already in a compromised or weakened state in order to be so highly reactive. Food allergies can also give rise to non-seasonal or year-round hives. Alterative and allergy-clearing herbs like burdock root, dandelion root, yellow dock root and nettle leaf, as well as bioflavinoidrich foods and supplements (quercitin, bromelain, rutin, vitamin C) can help prevent the release of excess histamine. Regular medicated shampoo or those with essential oils can be very helpful in protecting against secondary bacterial or yeast infections as well as repelling insects. 26

Equine Wellness

When using NAET, the allergen identification process is performed through muscle testing, but when working with animals (or human infants) a surrogate is used. The surrogate is most often the horse’s guardian. During the allergen identification process, the surrogate holds a small glass vial of an allergen sample that consists of water and the allergen’s energetic vibration, which is more or less like its signature. Muscle testing is performed while the surrogate holds the vial anywhere on the horse’s skin with one hand, and extends his or her free arm towards the practitioner. The surrogate is asked to keep the arm extended as the practitioner gently tries to push the arm down, and to exert the same upward force the practitioner is using. If the surrogate’s arm becomes weak under the gentle downward pressure, this indicates sensitivity to the allergen contained within that particular vial. This sequence is repeated with several different vials of individual allergens. Typical allergens tested might include different types of hay, grass, grain or pellets, vitamins or herbs, bedding, and a vast array of insects.

THE ALLERGEN CLEARING PROCESS During the allergen treatment or clearing process, the glass vial containing the identified allergen is secured to make tight contact with the horse’s skin. The practitioner then uses a massage tool or activator along the spine of the animal, gently tapping the spinal nerve segments along each side of the spine.

Mick the Mustang Mick was a two-year-old Mustang adopted from the BLM. One day in July, he woke up with hives – his entire body swollen from head to toe. He also had fluid in his ears and his muzzle was so swollen he had trouble eating. Along with homeopathic Apis and herbs to help with Mick’s acute symptoms, I used NAET to treat his allergy, which we determined was to mosquitos and no-see-ums. Keep in mind that once acute symptoms are cleared, there’s a danger of chronic recurrence to certain allergens, but NAET is great for preventing this. Using steroids or antihistamines does not teach the body how to “self heal”. NAET and other holistic approaches teach the body that the pathway to homeostasis can be followed and memorized in case of a later disruption. If you don’t have a holistic veterinarian skilled in acupuncture, you can use Western medicine to quell a horse’s acute symptoms. But it’s very important to understand that without help, the body will often recreate the symptoms if you do not work on prevention. NAET is a wonderful tool for this.

Afterwards, acupuncture or acupressure is used to open the immune gates or immune points. Stimulating points like Spleen 6, Liver 3, Large Intestine 11, Large Intestine 4, and sometimes Heart 7 can eliminate allergens. Dr. Nambudiprad chose these immune points because of their long-term use in Chinese medicine, and because she realized treatments would not hold unless the animal’s root core or immune system could be accessed in a reliable way. These points are all located on the legs, aside from LI 11, which is below the knee or hock joints. Most horses allow needling of these points, but if that isn’t an option, acupressure or gentle clockwise circles for 30 seconds per point can be just as long-lasting. Sometimes animals with skin inflammation have particularly reactive points at first, and will not allow needling. But after improvement, the skin is cooler to the touch and less inflamed, and the horse allows needling. Donna Kelleher, DVM graduated from Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. During her senior year at WSU, following an internship with Dr. Allen Schoen, she received the Grady Young Scholarship for the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society course. In 1997, she was certified in veterinary chiropractic through the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. In 1998 she began training in herbal medicine through the American Herbalist Guild and focused her studies on the use of Western herbs. In 2000 Dr. Donna began receiving NAET twice a week to identify and clear countless individual allergens. The experience led her to take the NAET course and become certified. Wholepetvet.com

Equine Wellness


Corrective trimming in foals sooner is better than later

By Sherri Pennanen


hen does my foal need his first hoof trim?” The answer can vary considerably. Most people are concerned first and foremost with getting a healthy foal on the ground and caring for the mare. But once those first few days are behind you, it’s important to pay attention to the steps that will give you a sound, growing foal. One of these steps is proper early hoof trimming. I like to see foals for their first trim as early as six months, but some prefer to do it even earlier, at three to four weeks, particularly if corrective measures are required. Many of my colleagues agree and offer reduced rates for minimal early handling and trimming while the foal is still by the mare’s side.

of birth. But once the foal is born, these pointed feet can actually become a hindrance.


It is also important that foals have a heel that’s low enough to promote development of the digital cushion and hoof cartilage. Without this development, lameness can result when the horse

When foals are born, their feet are pointed. This helps them travel through the birth canal and is important in the mechanics


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The pointed toe will stop your foal from being able to break over the front of the hoof, which can lead to tracking to the outside or inside, making him either splay-footed or pigeontoed. The more this is neglected, the more even the most normal and straight legs can be stressed. So the goal of our first trim is always to provide a straight breakover point on the hoof to limit the potential for deviation in leg structure. This is, in essence, a squaring of the toe. Generally, we pay more attention to the balance between toe and heels in a normal-appearing foal than from side to side, though a full evaluation is certainly beneficial.

becomes an adult. If these structures do not get a good start from the beginning, the weakness can be permanent. Additionally, if the foal is able to fully use his hoof, particularly the back of it, he will develop nerve endings to help him know where his feet are. His stride will be more secure and he’ll have better circulation. If toe-first landings result from a lack of trimming early on, the horse may develop navicular issues later in life. Having your farrier work with your foal every few weeks while he’s at the mare’s side can not only help get him off to a good start from a behavioral perspective, but can prevent soundness problems with just a few passes of the rasp.

EARLY CORRECTIONS For foals that have hoof and leg deviations when they are born, early hoof trimming may be pivotal. Correction becomes increasingly difficult if too much time is allowed to go by. Veterinary care and surgery may be required in more extreme cases, but proper early hoof trimming done within three to four weeks of birth, and then on a consistent basis, can improve minor problems and help maintain correct leg and hoof structure. Solid, straight legs are the goal. Also keep in mind that as a foal matures, his bones will harden and his joints will mature. The longer we wait to do any corrective trimming, the more the hardened bones and

formalized joints will prevent subtle corrections from being effective. Once the horse is older, corrections will need to be more invasive and dramatic. If subtle, less traumatic correction is possible, the early trim route is the most desirable course. As noted above, the squaring of the toe to allow breakover often helps maintain correct legs and assists with minor leg and hoof deviations. But it is also possible to further adjust this trim to correct the toed-in or toed-out foal. By making the breakover off-center, we can encourage the horse to turn his foot and gradually correct the bony leg deformity. Generally, for the foal who “toes out”, we can lower the outside half of the hoof wall with our tools and adjust the square toe slightly off center to the outside. For the foal that toes in, we will lower the inside of the hoof wall on the bottom of the hoof and place the squared toe slightly to the inside. In many cases, these corrections allow the leg to be gently corrected.

I LIKE TO SEE FOALS FOR THEIR FIRST TRIM AS EARLY AS SIX MONTHS, BUT SOME PREFER TO DO IT EVEN EARLIER, AT THREE TO FOUR WEEKS, PARTICULARLY IF CORRECTIVE MEASURES ARE REQUIRED. Correcting major deformities will require a vet, but providing an accentuated breakover point for the youngster early in life will

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Bringing up


Let horses be horses. The best place for a foal, weanling and yearling is in an environment he will enjoy as he grows. Keeping him in a small pen with soft dirt will not help or protect him. Foals should be turned out with their mothers to learn about fences and various ground surfaces. They can also learn to be part of the herd, and will develop their social skills.


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It is important to understand that ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bone develop (and heal) better if they are weightbearing and have normal movement. If a foal is kept in a soft, confined environment, his bony structures and everything that supports them will not become as strong as they would if the foal was allowed to run free. A foal can initially be trimmed at his mother’s side, but he should learn that he will be handled by lots of people. As he grows, he will experience periods of separation and will be expected to act appropriately. He should accept touch all over his body and become accustomed to lifting each foot (standing solidly on the other three) as early as possible. The foal should learn what the rasp feels like early on, and should become accustomed to being haltered and controlled with a rope, though it is not good practice to tie foals. These socialization skills will get your foal ready for the world and promote his physical, mental and social health.

go a long ways towards helping his legs. Those not willing to undertake this early intervention may find themselves with a much longer and harder road ahead to reach soundness and prevent longlasting issues.

PART OF THE TEAM Farriers are almost never at the top of the list when it comes to foaling considerations. But surely, once the first few critical hours have passed, the concepts of imprinting and handling the foal rise to the top of the “to do” list. Important in this phase is having the foal develop well, both physically and mentally. Providing an opportunity for the development of strong, straight legs is crucial, as is making sure the frog and hoof wall develop well. By assuring that the hoof is properly shaped, these goals can be met well – and met early. Share the good news about your new foal with your farrier! You’ll be surprised how s/he can help you guide and shape your new arrival into a sound and playful youngster.

Sherri Pennanen is the owner of Better Be Barefoot Natural Trim, Rehabilitation, and Education Center in Lockport, NY. She has been certified as a natural trim specialist for almost 20 years and has over 45 years of horse experience. She is committed to herd-based living for horses in a chemical-free environment. betterbebarefoot.com





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AS NATURE INTENDED Slow feeding is quickly being accepted as a common sense 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. Slow Feed Netting uses commercial-grade black impregnated knotless nylon webbing on all of our products. We now use 3/8” braided nylon rope on all of our bags. Custom sizes are available.



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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’s believed that the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) can be related to different aspects of the body and the surrounding natural world. This issue’s column is all about the Fire horse - see if you can recognize any of these traits in your own equine!


By Madalyn Ward, DVM

Horse Fire is beautiful, but must be handled with care. Most of us had to learn the hard way that even though fire looks beautiful and inviting, it is hot and should not be played with. The Fire horse temperament is beautiful and energetic and wonderful for a show animal. But his spirit can make him too hot for someone who does not have the experience to deal with emotional outbursts.

TRAINING THE FIRE HORSE The young Fire horse in training needs gentler handling than other types. Too much of a workload too soon will overwhelm him. Harsh words or insensitivity will hurt his feelings and he will shut down emotionally. The emotionally deprived Fire horse will lose his joyful nature and refuse to work, or work without his normal brilliance. Fire, when properly managed, provides warmth and comfort. It cooks our food and provides us with light. But if allowed to burn out of control, it is devastating. Too much fuel and oxygen turns a simple flame into a raging inferno that burns everything in its path. A Fire horse, when properly trained and handled, can be a true pleasure to be around. The balanced Fire horse can be great around kids and beginner adults. His spirit is kept burning with gentle love and attention. He loves to be admired and to show off his beauty. This same horse, when fed a high-energy ration and kept in fit condition, can be extremely dangerous except in the hands of a professional horseman. There is never any ill intent in the actions of a Fire horse, but he can kick or strike out and injure unsuspecting bystanders.

FUELING THE FIRE HORSE The internal combustion engine relies on a single spark to bring it to life. Once running, the engine requires the correct temperature to run smoothly, and the correct fuelto-oxygen ratio to produce energy efficiently. Incorrect temperature and poor fuel quality will give poor service at best and create a toxic by-product at worst. The Fire horse temperament has a similar sensitive digestive process. Too hot or cold a ration will upset him, leading to colic or diarrhea. The healthy heart of a well-loved Fire horse properly pumps oxygen, but emotional upset affects the delicate balance of his internal engine, resulting in weight loss or painful ulcers. Pain from any source is intolerable for the Fire horse, contributing to digestive upset. Fire is beautiful, full of energy, and sensitive to fuel and oxygen. When nurtured, properly fueled and controlled, it’s warm, loving and bright. Poorly managed, it burns inefficiently or out of control. So it is with the Fire horse. Dr. 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 & temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. Holistichorsekeeping.com, Horseharmony.com.


Equine Wellness


HUMANS TO HORSES Recognizing that equine athletes have nutritional needs as specific as their human counterparts, this company expanded its focus from people to horses.

Jill Henselwood at Spruce Meadows during the National Tournament. Jill and her Ontario Young Riders Team all use SciencePure’s products for their equine athletes.

As with many things, we often develop nutritional ideas and theories for humans, then realize they apply to our four-legged friends as well. Founded by Shelley Nyuli in 1986, SciencePure (SciencePure.com) began as a human nutritional company based on a passion for bodybuilding. “We lived in the Okanagan and owned a Centurion Fitness Centre,” says Shelley. “My prime products were being sold to professional sports people; this market was big for us because of our Canadian Bodybuilding titles, competing internationally and giving advanced nutritional seminars.”

OFF TO THE RACES Sometimes life has a way of nudging us in a new direction. A move to a more horse-oriented region, along with a few other factors, moved SciencePure in an equestrian direction. “During my husband Calvin’s last year completing his biochemistry degree at UBC in 1995, I packed up from the Okanagan and rented a home one block from Fraser Downs Racetrack in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada,” shares Shelley. “For the last 15 years, we have been involved in the Standardbred racing industry, breeding, raising and racing horses under the farm name of PUREFORM. “Once finishing his degree, Calvin worked as a nutritional and technical advisor for a human nutritional supplement company,” continues Shelley. “Every day he would receive at least one telephone call from a racehorse trainer or owner with questions about human products and boosting racehorse performance.

“Taking this information to the company’s product developers, Calvin was met with reluctance to consider products for the equine market. This was the start to SciencePure Nutraceuticals, because this type of response is what sends a scientist into a research frenzy, as it did Calvin.”

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Just as Shelley and Calvin studied to keep their Canadian Bodybuilding titles and train other champions of sport, they did a lot of research in the field of performance horse nutrition. Shelley says that Calvin was like a dog with a bone. His discussions with trainers about the horse’s most important needs led him to develop and test ingredients for improved joint mobility, breathing and pain reduction. “Our first product was Curcuzone, with a combination of nutraceuticals (MSM, glucosamine HCl) and botanical standardized extracts (curcumin, boswellia, bromelain, ginger), with significant Vitamin C to increase absorption and effectiveness,” says Shelley. “This product has been phenomenal as an anti-inflammatory supplement but is a little expensive for everyday use, so a concentrated, effective joint formula was developed (Glucosamine PLUS) and is now the benchmark for all joint formulas today.” From there, SciencePure’s natural health and performance products have expanded into a full line of equine, pet, veterinary and human nutritional supplements with a focus on safe, naturally effective ingredients and guaranteed analyses. Equine Wellness


HOLISTIC VETERINARY ADVICE TALKING WITH DR. JENNIFER MILLER 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. Dr. Jennifer is herself a student of the horse and studies classical dressage, lessoning as often as she can. She has a passion for functional neurology and loves being able to integrate functional neurology concepts with classical dressage. She lectures to groups on how understanding the neurology of the horse can make all of us more empathetic riders. prairieriverholistics.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.


Q: What does edema on the belly of an older horse usually mean? A: Great question – and it can be a frustrating one to answer from both a Western and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine viewpoint. In general, edema means fluid is leaking out of blood vessels into the surrounding tissues and not being drained away. So it is a twopart problem. Edema on the belly is referred to as ventral edema. I think the first way to address this problem in your horse is to run a Complete Blood Count and Serum Chemistry to check for infection, liver disease, kidney disease and what his total blood protein is. A normal blood protein is needed to hold fluid in the blood vessels. If it is low, fluid can leak out. Infection, liver and kidney disease can affect total protein and other blood constituents, which can result in ventral edema and often edema of the lower limbs. If the blood work comes back as normal then the issue can be a draining problem. The lymphatic system drains fluid in the tissues. As animals age, this system can become less efficient. Also, because older animals tend to move around less than their younger counterparts, the lymphatics don’t function optimally. The standard veterinary answer to this edema is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (banamine or phenylbutazone) and corticosteroids (dexamethasone or prednisolone). While these might help with the symptom, however, they don’t necessarily address the problem.

If we look at ventral edema from a TCVM point of view, the most likely cause is Spleen Qi deficiency. Qi is known as life force in TCVM, and is what makes us recognize that an organism is alive. It also refers to the physiological activity of an organ. The Spleen in TCVM is recognized as the organ system responsible for digestion. It is also responsible for “holding in”. Spleen Qi holds the organs in place, holds the lips together, and holds the blood in the vessel. It is also responsible for fluid metabolism in the body. Therefore, if Spleen Qi is deficient, fluid can leak from the vessels and cause edema. The great thing is, if you can find a veterinarian who uses acupuncture and Chinese herbs there’s a treatment! Practitioners can use acupuncture and Chinese herbals to help increase Spleen Qi. Spleen Qi is often deficient in older animals that are not processing their food as well. If the digestive system is not as efficient as it once was, the nutrition needed from food might not be absorbed as well. Often, switching to a higher quality, easy to digest food will help ventral edema. As always, a combination of Western and complementary medicine can offer the best care for horses.



Equine Wellness

Q: My gelding was trimmed much too short by the farrier, and has been quite lame for a week. Is there anything I can do to help him, and do I need to be worried about any long-lasting damage? A: This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as I am married to a farrier! One thing that frustrates me as both a veterinarian

and farrier’s wife is when clients’ horses go lame for one or two weeks every time the trimmer/farrier works on them. This is crazy and should not be the norm! Let’s look at hoof anatomy. The coffin bone is attached to the hoof by the lamina. It is suspended inside the hoof capsule by these finger-like projections. The bottom of the coffin bone rests on the lamina between it and the sole of the hoof. The solar lamina and the sole are the only structures that separate the coffin bone from the outside world. Sole depth is a measurement of the distance from the bottom of the coffin bone to the solar surface of the hoof.

are also boots that can be used to provide cushioned support to the hoof – the most well known is the Soft-Ride. After an exam and radiographs by your veterinarian, you can discuss pain control. The normal course of treatment is phenylbutazone, which is indicated to help take the inflammation out of the hooves. There are also other IV medications that can be used as determined by your veterinarian. If you have a vet who also practices TCVM, there are acupuncture points to help with the pain and Chinese herbal blends to help with hoof inflammation. Generally, if the damage is not severe and treatment is initiated early, you can head off any lasting damage. However, depending on how short the horse was trimmed, it may be months before he is back to normal, and if he develops laminitis the road to recovery will be long.

Most veterinarians agree that 10 mm is the minimum sole depth measurement for a horse to be comfortable and sound. When a horse is trimmed too short and the sole depth is less than 10 mm, the coffin bone and its surrounding tissue can become inflamed and cause tremendous pain.

Q: I’ve heard that some de-wormers can be toxic to other farm animals, such as dogs and cats. Is this true?

The only way to measure the horse’s sole depth is with radiographs. These allow your veterinarian to assess the health of the horse’s hooves and formulate a treatment plan. If the sole depth is shallow enough, the coffin bone can pinch the circumflex artery that supplies blood to the distal portion of the hoof. If the blood supply is sufficiently interrupted and the inflammation in the hooves is severe enough, laminitis can result.

A: Yes and no! Most of the drugs used to de-worm horses also have formulations for dogs and sometimes for cats. So the drugs themselves are not toxic if used in an appropriate dose. However, the equine formulas are so concentrated that if a dog or cat eats a “blob” that falls out of your horse’s mouth, he will receive many, many times the dog or cat dose. This can lead to signs of poisoning ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to ataxia (unsteadiness), tremors and seizures.

At a minimum, a horse that has been trimmed too short should be on stall rest in a deeply bedded stall. This will encourage him to lie down and take some weight off his feet. It will also provide cushioning to the hooves. If there is enough hoof wall left, a talented farrier may be able to apply a shoe that will help support the coffin bone without increasing pressure on it. There

Ivermectin and Moxidectin are especially toxic, even deadly, to herding breed dogs with the MDR-1 mutation, which allows more of these drugs to cross into the brain. If your dog or cat eats a “blob” of horse de-wormer, call your veterinarian immediately so he/she can help you decide on an appropriate treatment plan.


Equine Wellness


The slow feeding

MOVEMENT By Clair Thunes, Ph.D.

It’s rapidly gaining in popularity, and no wonder. These tips will get you started and help you select the

best slow feeder method

The slow feeding movement has come a long way in the last several years. Many horse owners and veterinarians are now familiar with the concept. Today’s market offers a range of nets in various sizes as well as solid feeders with grates, so you have a wide array of options to choose from. “Seven years ago, I was really a pioneer, and there were very few other options available,” says Melissa Auman, President of Horses of Course and manufacturer of Freedom Feeder nets. “It has been satisfying to see the movement expand and become more mainstream.” This sentiment is echoed by Erin Olson, owner of Hay Chix: “When we started out as Cinch Chix in 2009, there was a lot of skepticism, but now that the concept has been proven with research and customer satisfaction, the concept of slow feeding has become more commonplace.” 36

Equine Wellness

for your horses.

UNDERSTANDING GRAZING BEHAVIOR Despite growing acceptance, there are still many people who are not familiar with the idea of slow feeding, or else consider it something for easy keepers only. In fact, the majority of stall and dirt lot kept horses can benefit from this feeding approach. In their natural setting, horses would be eating for about 14 to 16 hours a day, so they constantly secrete stomach acid whether they are eating or not. While chewing, they release saliva, which is high in bicarbonate and calcium – both are buffers, helping to keep the stomach’s acidity in check. Today, many horses have limited access to forage and therefore spend much less time eating and creating saliva. Meanwhile, acid release goes on; less forage in the stomach combined with reduced buffering increases the risk of gastric ulcers. The risk

of other health conditions, such as colic and behavioral issues like wood chewing, cribbing and stall walking, is also increased due to modern day feeding management practices. When grazing naturally, horses eat only a few blades of grass at a time, using their lips to work the blades into their mouths. This is identical to how horses work hay out of a small-hole slow feeding net. “Really, it’s like pasture in a net,” explains Melissa. “When horses are given hay loose in feeders or on the ground, they take in large mouthfuls at a time. The nets simulate natural grazing behaviors. I hear from owners all the time that when given the choice, their horses prefer to eat from a net versus eating loose hay. Clearly, something about it feels right to them.”

THE SCIENCE BEHIND SELECTING A SLOW FEEDING NET In a study from the University of Minnesota, published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Medicine in 2014, researchers investigated the impact of various hay net hole sizes on the rate of hay consumption. Horses were fed 1% of their body weight in mostly grass hay at 7am and 4pm, either loose on the floor or from hay nets with large (6”), medium (1.7”) or small (1.3”) openings. The horses were found to consume 95%, 95%, 89% and 72% of their hay (for each of the four scenarios respectively), within four hours. Most of the horses being fed from the medium and small nets were unable to finish their hay within the four-hour testing window. In other words, rates of intake gradually decreased with decreasing hole size, with those eating from the small hole net consuming 2 lbs of dry matter per hour versus 3.3 lbs per hour for the horses fed loose hay. When allowed to eat from medium and small hole nets until all hay was consumed, horses took 5.12 and 6.5 hours respectively,



Travelling away from home adds an additional level of stress that can increase ulcer risk. This is why slow feeders are often being used at competition venues. In fact, using them while travelling is often the first step to more regular use. “I started using slow feeders when we took horses to the fair,” explains Mary Busse Livingood of Wisconsin. “The goal was to make their hay ration last longer. It worked so well that I now use them at home.” With a herd of eight, Mary is well aware of the varying personalities she has in her barn. “I have horses aged 11 to 30 years old, and while most are now fed using slow feed nets, I don’t use them for the oldest horses who are not very food motivated and have a harder time maintaining weight. The nets create one too many layers of frustration, and I need them to eat well,” she explains.

Equine Wellness


versus the control and large hole net groups, who finished their hay in 3.1 and 3.4 hours. At the start of the trial, some of the horses shook and bit at the nets, suggesting a level of frustration. This observation led the researchers to caution that nets with medium and small holes may not be suitable for horses with little incentive to eat, since the frustration of getting the hay out of the net may discourage them from eating. With this in mind, Erin and Melissa have recommendations on how to introduce horses to slow feeding nets. “When feeding a group of horses together, I recommend selecting an introductory hole size that will avoid frustration in the least motivated horse in the group,” explains Erin. “With our nets, people can typically start out with the 1.75” hole nets, unless they have horses that will not work for food, such as some seniors. I then recommend selecting nets with 2.5” holes. Over time, as the easily frustrated horses learn to adapt to the nets, the size of the holes can be reduced.” The research from University of Minnesota found that, on average, it takes four feedings for horses to feel comfortable eating from the nets. Both Erin and Melissa recommend using the nets initially as a source of additional hay. “I recommend that owners feed their regular hay just as they have been doing, loose on the ground or in regular feeders, and provide additional hay in slow feeders,” says Melissa. “Once a horse is choosing to eat hay in the net and is leaving the loose hay, the latter can be removed.” These measures will go a long way to reducing frustration and ensuring success. When using nets in a group setting, it is important to always set out more nets than there are horses; this has the added benefit of encouraging movement.

THE BENEFITS OF SLOW FEEDING The advantages of using slow feeders go beyond the potential impact on a horse’s health. A reduction in waste is common since the hay is less easy to distribute and therefore less likely to be trampled, urinated or defecated on. Feeders are available for entire bales, which can cut down on time spent feeding. In fact, moving towards what some term “restricted free access feeding” is perhaps the ultimate goal of slow feeding. “It really is possible to feed the majority of horses this way,” explains Melissa. “If owners keep their nets full at all times with low calorie high fiber forage, they can retrain their horses to regulate their intake. It takes time for horses to adjust and often 38

Equine Wellness

owners give up too quickly. They see their horses consuming a large amount of forage, more than they might have when they were meal fed, but this is the horse’s initial response and arises from historically having limited available forage.” Give it time, she advises. “I’ve had owners tell me it has taken their horses from as little as a day to as long as three months to self-regulate, but on average it seems to take about three to four weeks.” Once self-regulated, horses typically eat approximately the same amount of hay as they did when fed in meals, but they consume it slowly throughout the day. Feeding this way can have unexpected benefits too. Reducing angst around feeding translates to a more relaxed horse, which may lead to a change in work ethic under saddle. For horses kept in groups, less stress changes herd dynamics for the better. And when forage is available, feeding at precise times becomes less important, a nice bonus if you want to sleep in on Saturday morning. “Most of my customers think they are buying their horses freedom, and are surprised when they end up gaining just as much freedom themselves,” laughs Melissa.

SLOWING DOWN GRAIN AND PELLET CONSUMPTION Slow feeding isn’t just about hay, though. Slowing down the consumption of other feeds can also be of benefit. When her horse was diagnosed with chronic colitis, Liv Gude, founder


For easy keepers or horses with metabolic conditions that require limited sugar consumption, pasture can pose a frustrating challenge. On the one hand, it is the most natural feeding method we have; yet many pastures are too high in sugar or provide too many calories for easy keepers. So how do you reap the benefits that come with pasture turnout while managing your horse’s waistline?

The answer is a grazing muzzle. Found to reduce pasture intake in ponies by as much as 80% (by researchers at the University of Virginia), muzzles do a far better job of restricting intake than limiting turnout time does. It turns out that ponies are just as smart as we guessed; when turned out for less time, they increase their rate of intake, which means reducing hours in turnout doesn’t have the effect we would like. Using a properly fitted grazing muzzle reduces intake while allowing extended periods of pasture time, which offers additional health benefits.

of Professional Equine Grooms, made the switch from hay to a completely pelleted diet. “Initially, it was easy as we were just switching from hay to the same type of hay in a pellet,” Liv explains. However, she was soon witnessing the big issue with pellets, which is that they don’t take as long to eat as long stem hay. “It became apparent that if I wanted to keep forage in front of my horse, I was going to have to feed six to eight meals a day rather than the more typical two or three.” This is not very practical, but there are a number of automatic feeders on the market that dispense pellets or grain at set intervals during the day. A more affordable option is to use a toy such as the Nose-It!® Ball, which the horse has to push along the floor with his nose, allowing pellets to dribble out. Another affordable option that Liv shares is to put large smooth rocks in the bottom of the feed container. “The horses have to eat around the rocks,” she explains. She cautions that horses like to tip feeders over to speed things up, so the feeder should be secured to prevent this while also preventing a leg from getting caught. Liv says she hears from grooms who are frustrated with managers who do not want to implement slow feeding practices because they will take too much time. “I think this is short sighted because the opposite is true. Even the smallest of hay nets can hold several flakes of hay, usually good for a full day of chewing. In a barn situation, hanging one day’s worth of forage in the morning is faster (and healthier) than making several trips throughout the day. For barns that feed using a tractor or utility vehicles, you are saving roughly two-thirds of your fuel costs for the day. Using slow feeders also virtually eliminates wasted hay, so you may find that four flakes of hay on the ground is equivalent to three flakes of hay in a net and more money in your pocket.” Whatever you feed your horse, there are many options you can use to help your horse mimic a more natural eating style. Doing so honors the anatomy and physiology of his digestive tract and will help keep problems such as colic, ulcers, obesity and laminitis at bay while potentially giving you more free time and even saving you money.

Dr. Clair Thunes, PhD takes the guesswork out of feeding horses by helping horse owners create personalized diet plans optimized for health and performance. As an independent equine nutritionist and owner of Summit Equine Nutrition LLC, an equine nutrition consulting company, she has clients across North America including breeders and performance horse owners. She is available for personal consultations either by phone, email or in person. You can find Dr. Thunes online at summit-equine.com, or on Facebook by searching for “SummitEquineNutrition”.

Equine Wellness



RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming

• Chiropractors • Communicators

• Integrative Therapies • Saddle Fitters

• Schools and Training • Thermography • Yoga

AS SO C I AT I O N S Equinextion - EQ Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: equinextion@gmail.com Website: www.equinextion.com

Anne Riddell - AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com

Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com

Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Website: www.cdnbha.ca

Barefoot Hoofcare Specialist Kate Romanenko Woodville ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456

Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Website: www.naturalhoofconcepts.com

American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Website: www.americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org Equine Science Academy - ESA Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Website: www.equinesciencesacademy.com Liberated Horsemanship - CHCP Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Email: BruceNock@mac.com Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING Gudrun Buchhofer Judique, NS Canada Phone: (902) 787-2292 Email: gudrun@go-natural.ca Website: www.go-natural.ca Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: (902) 665-2151 Email: nina@lostjuly.ca

Barefoot with BarnBoots Johanna Neuteboom Port Sydney, ON Canada Phone: (705) 385-9086 Email: info@barnboots.ca Website: www.barnboots.ca Natural horse care services, education and resources Cottonwood Stables Chantelle Barrett - Natural Farrier Elora, ON Canada Phone: (519) 803-8434 Email: cottonwood_stables@hotmail.com Certified Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Website: www.chevalbarefoot.com Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO USA Phone: (719) 557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cynthia Niemela - Barefoot Hoof Trimming Minneapolis, MN USA Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Jeannean Mercuri - The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: neanpiggy@me.com Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served.

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

Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: bruce@father-and-son.net Website: www.father-and-son.net G & G Farrier Service Gill Goodin Moravian, NC Phone: (325) 265-4250 HossHoofHo Sandra Judy, Hoof Care Professional Gibsonville, NC Phone: (336) 380-5543 Website: www.hosshoofho.com Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com Horsense Natural Hoof Care Cori Brennan Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com

Equine Wellness


Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Hoofmaiden Performance Barefoot Hoof Care Elizabeth TeSelle, EQ Leipers Fork, TN USA Phone: (615) 300-6917 Email: hoof_maiden@hotmail.com Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/hoofmaiden Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 765-9632 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Natural Hooves Ben Fortkamp Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Email: ben@naturalhooves.com Website: www.naturalhooves.com

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

Kathleen Berard San Antonio, TX USA Phone: (210) 402-1220 Email: kat@katberard.com Website: www.katberard.com

Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 953-3360 Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com Website: www.NaturalHorseTraining.com

Animal Paradise Communication & Healing, LLC Janet Dobbs Oak Hill, VA USA Phone: (703) 648-1866 Email: janet@animalparadisecommunication.com Website: www.animalparadisecommunication.com

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

INTEGRATIVE THERAPIES The Happy Natural Horse Lorrie Bracaloni Boonsboro, MD USA Phone: (301) 432-6216 Email: naturalhorselb@gmail.com Website: www.happynaturalhorse.com Healfast Therapy Mary Whelan North Caldwell, NJ USA Phone: (551) 200-5586 Email: support@healfasttherapy.com Website: www.healfasttherapy.com

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

T HE RMOGRAPHY Double Check Inspections Inc. Ottawa, ON USA Phone: (613) 322-3682 Website: www.doublecheckinspections.ca Equine IR Bonsall, CA USA (888) 762-2547 Phone: info@equineIR.com Website: www.equineIR.com Thermal Equine Eric Flavin New Paltz, NY USA Phone: (845) 222-4286 Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

YO G A Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC USA Phone: (604) 902-4556 Email: yogawithhorses@gmail.com Website: www.yogawithhorses.com

CO M M U N I C ATO R S Claudia Hehr Animal Communicator To truly know and understand animals. Georgetown, ON Canada Phone: (519) 833-2382 Website: www.claudiahehr.com The Oasis Farm Cavan, ON Canada Phone: (705) 742-3297 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com Communicate With Animals Kristin Thompson Newfane, NY USA Phone: (716) 778-6233 Email: kristen@communicatewithanimals.com Website: www.communicatewithanimals.com

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

SCHOOLS AND TRAINING Equinology, Inc. & Caninology Gualala, CA USA Phone: (707) 884-9963 Email: office@equinology.com Website: www.equinology.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: acupressure4all@earthlink.net Website: www.animalacupressure.com

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com


your business in the



Equine Wellness Equine Wellness 4141



By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Acupressure for equine hospice and grief care.


t’s not easy to watch your horses as they age, fail, and ultimately pass on. It doesn’t matter if they’re 35 years old – it’s still tough to see them go. Throughout their lives, most horses give of themselves freely and without judgment. If you love them and treat them with respect, they whole-heartedly love you back. So when it’s time to say goodbye, we must do our best to let them die with honor, dignity and love.

EQUINE HOSPICE CARE The hospice and palliative care movement began with humans over 40 years ago, and is also an increasingly desired choice among those who care deeply for their companion animals. Horse owners and equine healthcare practitioners alike see the value in making the horse’s transition as comfortable as possible. “A major goal of hospice care is to neither hasten nor prolong the dying process, while providing for the greatest possible comfort of the dying individual,” wrote holistic veterinarian and animal hospice specialist, Ella Bittel, in “Hospice for Horses” (Equine Wellness, Vol 4, Issue 4). “This requires that the horse’s condition is correctly recognized as being terminal, and that medical goals are 42

Equine Wellness

redirected from treatment for a cure to supportive or comfort care.” We all want the best for our animals, and seeking the best for your horse during the final stage of his life is important. Until recently, euthanasia has been the go-to resolution, even when horses are simply elderly, as opposed to letting them pass naturally. Of course, if your horse is in extreme pain due to injury or illness, and has been deemed terminal with no way to mitigate his pain, you don’t want him to suffer and euthanasia may be indicated. However, there are still ways to ease your horse’s transition and provide comfort. Hospice care for a horse could entail being out in a grassy field or paddock enjoying the sun, and being free to graze and wander happily all day. If his owner takes the time to groom him and walk with him, while not making any demands, that would also be beneficial for his well-being. This image of equine hospice care is ideal – but the ideal is not always possible for a host of reasons. Horses are large animals, making the logistics of death difficult to manage. There could be financial issues keeping you from being able to provide lengthy hospice care. Life and death decisions

are difficult no matter what. However, when approaching your horse’s end-of-life care, you need to feel you are giving him the best you can offer.

SUPPORT THE HERD’S GRIEF If you have other horses and they appear to be grieving the loss of one of their herd, you can offer them a short acupressure session to help them move through it. Harboring grief can lead to respiratory problems because grief affects the lungs. The tissues of the lungs actually become constricted and thicken when the animal is experiencing grief. Two specific acupressure points are known to balance the energy of the horse’s lungs. Lung 9 (Lu 9) supports Lung chi. Heart 7 (Ht 7) and Pericardium 7 (Pe 7) provide your horse with a sense of calm and a feeling of being centered, when they’re stimulated simultaneously.

THE ROLE OF ACUPRESSURE Chinese medicine practitioners have used acupressure for centuries to ease pain and allow the animal’s body to die comfortably. You can participate in making your horse’s transition as best it can be by stimulating a few specific acupressure points, also called acupoints, on his body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Kidney organ system is known as the “Root of Life”. Kidney energy, or chi, is responsible for the essence of the body. When there’s not enough Kidney chi to sustain life, death ensues. The last acupoint on the Kidney meridian, or the energetic pathway, is Kidney 27 (Ki 27). This is a very special point on the human and equine body. It connects the chi of the entire body and serves as a calming point. When stimulated, Ki 27 offers the body a choice to either continue with life or else close down and pass on. There is a saying related to Ki 27: “If the body can, it will live; if it can’t, it won’t.” Chinese medicine has a way of making life and death very clear and simple. If you stimulate Ki 27 then, you are helping your horse choose whether to continue living, or die peacefully. The other two acupoints often used during the end-of-life stage, to support and comfort, are Pericardium 6 (Pe 6) and Triple

Equine Wellness


Acupressure Points for Grief

Hospice Ki 27

Kidney 27 (Ki 27) is located on each side of the horse’s manubrium. This acupoint is commonly used in hospice situations because it’s known for calming, and for allowing the horse to choose whether he is able to live or ready to pass on. Place your palm on the dent at the top of the manubrium and count slowly to 30 before repeating on the other side.

Hospice Pe 6 & TH 5

Pericardium 6 (Pe 6) is on the horse’s foreleg just in front of and in the middle of the chestnut, while Triple Heater 5 (TH 5) is on the opposite side of the foreleg between the radius and ulna bones above the carpels. Stimulated simultaneously, these points provide a sense of energetic balance and comfort. Place your thumb gently on the lateral acupoint and your pointer finger on the medial point, then count slowly to 30. Repeat on the other foreleg.

Herd Grieving

Lung 9 (Lu 9) helps during the grieving process because it supports vital energy and benefits lung health. This point is located on the medial aspect of the horse’s foreleg in front of the accessory carpal bone, on the radial side of the carpus (wrist/knee) between the first and second rows of carpal bones. Lightly place the soft tip of your thumb on Lu 9 and count slowly to 30 before moving to the next acupoints. Pericardium 7 (Pe 7) is found at the level of the accessory carpal bone on the medial aspect of the horse’s foreleg. Pe 7 calms the spirit and helps with heart function. Heart 7 (Ht 7) is located on the opposite (lateral) side of the horse’s foreleg and can be stimulated at the same time using your thumb and pointer finger to provide the maximum benefit. These two acupoints together offer the horse a sense of calm and grounding.

Heater 5 (TH 5). These two points can be stimulated simultaneously because Pe 6 is on the medial side (inside) of the front leg and TH 5 is directly opposite on the lateral side (outside) of the front leg. These two points together provide physical and emotional energetic balance. Your horse has served you and loved you all this life. Helping him transition by using acupressure means you are offering him, and yourself, a parting gift.

Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of: Acu-Horse: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides a 300-hour hands-on and online training program worldwide. It is an approved school for the Department of Higher Education Vocational Schools through the State of Colorado, and an approved provider of NCBTMB and NCCAOM Continuing Education. Contact 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, or tallgrass@animalacupressure.com. 44

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We’ve all been there. Our riding group is on the other side of a stream waiting for us to cross and continue the ride. The more pressure we feel, the worse the situation can become. Safely crossing water is a subject not commonly addressed in traditional riding lessons, so many people are left with one of the following: • Hoping they bought a horse that’s already confident crossing water • Developing various strategies such as following another horse across the water or dismounting and leading the horse through it (very dangerous) • Getting really good at hanging on as the horse makes a giant leap into or over the water • Avoiding rides that require crossing water! None of these are ideal options, but most folks don’t know what else to do. Fortunately, there’s an approach I’ve found to be both highly effective and lasting, with notable improvement in a relatively short period, depending on the skill level of the person and patterned behavior of the horse. The first thing to consider is how we view the frustrating behavior of a horse who refuses to cross water.

THROUGH YOUR HORSE’S EYES Horses are living, breathing, thinking, feeling creatures, and their behavior reflects their viewpoint in any given situation. Being prey animals, they are designed by nature to be wary of environments and situations that may pose a threat to their survival. Because flight is their primary survival mechanism, solid footing is crucial to them. In the wild, watering holes are the ideal hunting location for predators for two reasons. First, every animal is drawn there for water, especially in arid climates; and second, hungry predators gain a slight advantage around slick footing. By knowing that survival is at the root of this behavior, we can shape new behavior using natural herd dynamics.

DEVELOPING YOUR HORSE’S TRUST In a natural herd environment, horses follow the movement of the herd. But they don’t just follow any individual – they follow those considered to be “alpha” among the group. This is why following another horse through water might work one time and not another, because the horse evaluates who they are going to trust in any given situation. The real answer to this dilemma is to become the type of leader that a horse would confidently follow as their “alpha” in situations that might trigger their survival instinct. Continued on page 48. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 47. This is a big statement, but it can be broken down into achievable steps with astounding results. I’ve seen entire groups of people establish this kind of leadership over a clinic weekend, and it improved everything they did with their horses. When a horse views you as that highlyvalued “alpha” individual, he instinctively looks to you for direction when he becomes uncertain or confused. This means he’ll be confident with you wherever you go!

PREPARE FOR SUCCESS In any endeavor, success is all about preparation. Before you even go out on your next trail ride, spend some time developing a higher level of confident communication by simulating various challenges back at the barn. I like to use plastic as one of the early simulations because it is similar to water in movement, noise and touch, and is readily available and inexpensive. Begin with a grocery bag wadded small in your hand. You can’t start too small, but you can start too big and trigger a fearful reaction, which takes more time to overcome than gradually introducing small objects. Begin by making the plastic as small as possible, and see if you can get a slight rub along your horse’s shoulder, enough that when he smells the plastic he picks up his own scent. If the horse moves backwards or sideways, just “drift” with him and take the item away when he stops moving his feet. Remember that every horse has different responses, but if we understand that even the most sensitive horse can gain confidence from a patient approach, most people are genuinely surprised how quickly the horse progresses when they learn to avoid triggering a fear response. Use your judgment to assess the response from the horse as you both relax, and allow the plastic to open up and get bigger. Expand your touch to various areas of the horse’s body. Use plastic tied to the end of a long stick to touch around the legs and under the belly, as I’ve seen even gentle horses kick at plastic in those areas if they’ve never experienced it before.

CREATING A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE If everything’s going well, continue approaching new areas of the body with larger areas of plastic, allowing the horse to drift and relax, stopping long enough to reward his efforts, and even waiting to observe him drop his head, lick his lips, blink his eyes, and waggle his ears. You might want to take a nice, big relaxing breath too. We often don’t realize we’re holding our breath while concentrating on doing something new, and this can cause the horse to be wary too. Remember that your goal is to create a positive experience for the horse to build confidence, but without boring him. Don’t worry that you might go too far too fast; if your horse gets worried, just go back to a level he can handle and begin again. Most people are very surprised at how rapidly their horses can develop a new pattern of relaxation, so also remember to keep advancing the level of challenge so he doesn’t have time to get bored. End the session when you feel you’ve reached a new level of success for that day. It’s going to be different for everyone, so use your judgment as to how much the horse (and you) can handle, and come back another time to continue. As you continue to see progress in ongoing sessions, use your imagination to expand the level of challenge in the simulations. Graduate to tarps on the ground and ride the horse over them. Use hula-hoops, old tires, pool floaties, blown up inner tube tires – anything you can find that won’t cause injury but will stretch the level of challenge for your horse. Eventually, you can use a garden hose to create mud and small puddles to go through, and then graduate to finding a small pond with a gradual slope where the horse can build confidence and even become playful in the water.

PATIENT PROGRESS You may be wondering how long this is all going to take, and my short answer is – it depends! Horses are highly adaptable when

Begin by using obstacles or challenges that are small and simple, and gradually step it up as the horse’s confidence grows. At the beginning of each simulation, I strongly suggest being on the ground. Use a halter and lead in an area where the horse can safely “drift” while you hold light tension (or “drag”) on the lead, allowing his feet 48

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Getting started

to move laterally or backwards until he relaxes. If he moves forward, use the lead to tip his nose back toward you, allowing the hip to move away. This position disengages the hindquarters and though he can still “drift” quite a distance in this position, it’s more physically challenging and he’ll soon find it easier to stand and relax.

they recognize, respect and willingly respond to what’s being asked of them. The time it takes lies in your ability to develop new habits of communication with a confused horse, using patience and understanding. As you progress, you’ll see a distinct change in your horse. He will show more relaxation, greater respect for personal space, and you’ll experience a sense of stronger mutual trust between you. With continued use of this approach, you’ll one day be riding along with your group of friends and realize that dread has shifted to enthusiasm as you approach a water crossing and your horse steps in without hesitation. You might even be the one to turn back and help someone having trouble with their own horse!

Understanding pressure and release

A key ingredient for success when riding your horse through the challenges is to relax or release your pressure the instant he begins to move toward your goal. It seems that adding pressure to keep him moving toward the challenge would work, but actually, it works against you. Think of this way - the horse moves closer to the goal and feels an increase in pressure. If you were the horse, it would become confusing that the closer to a particular object you get, the more pressure you feel. This is a very common habit, so just be aware of this tendency.

Karen Scholl is a horse behaviorist and educator, and presents her approach “Horsemanship for Women” at Horse Expos in the U.S., Canada and Brazil. Though she has recently retired from conducting hands-on clinics to dedicate herself to expanding her library of resources, extensive information is available at KarenScholl.com or by calling 888-238-3447.

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Photo courtesy of EquiSpirit

Long distance hauling Trailering long distances can be stressful for horses and people alike – learn how to keep your horse healthy and be prepared for any emergencies along the way. By Tom & Neva Scheve, with Jim Hamilton, DVM When trailering your horses, a lot of things can potentially go wrong. It’s actually a bit terrifying, if you think about it too much. The good news is that preparation can prevent problems. The goal is to take a step-by-step approach to the most common problems that can occur when taking horses on the road. The most important of these steps is to think about preventive measures you should take, how you would respond to certain situations, and what to discuss with your veterinarian.

RISKY BUSINESS Each time a horse enters a trailer he is at risk. He may receive minor bumps and bruises just from being loaded. He may injure himself during the trip because he becomes frightened or loses balance. Illness or a trailer accident can create a life-threatening situation. Most of these problems can be avoided just by taking suitable precautions. Some horse people like to boast about how many successful trips they’ve taken without “all the extra fuss”; but when those same people finally experience being on the road with a sick or injured horse, they don’t forget their hard-earned lesson. Any time your horse is loaded into a trailer, whether for a short or long trip, these fundamental measures should be taken: • Training – Train your horse to load calmly and accept the trailer as non-threatening. Forceful training will only teach 50

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him that the trailer is a bad thing and he will never be able to completely trust it. • Maintain a safe trailer – Only use the proper hitch, and make sure your brakes and lights are working and conform to legal safety standards. Check the trailer floor and frame. Look for sharp edges and potential hazards inside and out. • Drive carefully – Accelerate and decelerate slowly so your horse can keep his balance. Also, if your trailer is not level, he will always be fighting for balance and his movement can interfere with your driving, • Inoculations – Current inoculations will protect your horse from exposure to other horses. Have a current health certificate if you are crossing state lines, and a current certificate of negative EIA (Coggins). • Wrap his legs – An improperly wrapped bandage can cause injury or come undone in the trailer. Make sure you know how to wrap correctly. • Ventilation – Open the trailer vents and windows. If you are afraid your horse will get cold, put a blanket on him that is appropriate for the temperature. Do not let him get too hot. • First aid kit – Keep one in your trailer and make sure it is always ready and up-to-date. A proper first aid kit includes an adequate water supply. Learn how to bandage wounds in various locations, control blood loss, and recognize signs of dehydration/heat exhaustion, and colic. Your veterinarian is your best source of information.

•V ital signs – Practice taking your horse’s temperature, pulse, and respiration rate when you are both relaxed at home, so you know what is normal. If your horse is sick or hurt, you can give the veterinarian his current vital signs when you call. •B ackup supplies for long trips – Pack plenty of water (for drinking and cleaning), ample hay and grain, blankets, etc. Having an auxiliary light that plugs into the cigarette lighter and a backup flashlight with working batteries is a good idea. •M edical ID – Always carry a durable, visible, medical ID that lists your doctor, veterinarian, and a contact person. If you are incapacitated in an accident, it can be important to contact someone who knows you and your horses.

PREPARING FOR LONGER TRIPS As a general rule, when the trip is 12 hours or longer, more aggressive precautions should be taken to avoid “shipping fever” and other stressrelated problems for your horse. In a stressed body, nutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals and water) are used up at a much higher rate. Therefore, we must preload the horse’s system if we are to help him at all. For instance, if your horse will not drink on the trailer, you may have to schedule stops along the way where you can safely take him off the trailer for a rest and a drink. The following are guidelines, not absolutes. Use them as a starting point for a discussion between you and your veterinarian.

Trailer environment Improve the trailer environment for longer trips by taking a few extra minutes to do the following: • Open the vents and windows. Ventilation also removes hay dust. • Soak hay for at least ten minutes (up to 12 hours) before putting it in the trailer; this will greatly reduce the amount of spores floating around in the trailer. • Remove urine and manure frequently. On long trips, ammonia and other noxious gasses can build up in the trailer and cause respiratory stress. • If you normally use bedding to soften the ride for your horse, use good, thick rubber mats instead, and consider a trailer with better suspension.

Continued on page 52.

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Continued from page 51. • Electrolytes – Increase two to three days prior to shipping. This is most important when traveling in warm regions. • Vitamins – Add extra for a week prior to shipping. • Antibiotics – When the trip will be longer than 12 hours, discuss the administration of antibiotics with your veterinarian. • Body clip – When taking your horse from a cold climate to a warm one, a body clip is recommended. Since this is a source of stress for the horse, clip at least a week before departure – no sooner.

EN ROUTE EMERGENCIES Despite your best efforts, problems can still arise on the road. If you have assembled your emergency kit, and have discussed how to use the items with your veterinarian, you will be in a much better position to handle a crisis.

If water loss is extreme, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and even circulatory “shock”. Initial symptoms are increased body temperature and sweating. These may progress to include increased respiratory rate and, in severe stages, weakness and incoordination. If you suspect your horse is suffering from this condition, take his temperature, check his heart (or pulse) and respiratory rate, do the skin pinch test, and check capillary refill time (CRT). Convey these vital signs to the vet on the phone. A cold water bath (or alcohol and water) is an appropriate treatment until the vet arrives.

Colic This is a condition made worse by being on the road. Recognizing the early symptoms – pawing, increased respiratory rate, lip flipping, looking at sides – will aid you in getting help before the problem gets too severe. If colic arises, you can only help with symptomatic treatment – a veterinarian should always be called. 52

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Occasionally, life-threatening lacerations occur. You must act calmly and quickly to get blood loss under control. A wellapplied pressure bandage is usually the best response. Take a stack of 4”x4” gauze squares and put them directly over the wound. Hold them in place by wrapping with your roll gauze. Firmly apply a quilt and outer wrap (standing bandage) over the top. If the wound location prevents the use of roll gauze and an outer bandage then you must utilize a tape-like bandage.


Three of the most common life-threatening problems encountered on a trip are dehydration/heat exhaustion, colic, and major cuts with blood loss. If you take precautions, hopefully you will have a happy, healthy horse when you reach your destination. But accidents happen, and sometimes horses get sick no matter what we do!

Dehydration / heat exhaustion


A little knowledge and preparation can go a long way in preventing and managing potentially disastrous situations for your horses and yourself. Armed with the right equipment and know-how, you’ll have a much better chance of making sure everyone arrives at their destination safe and healthy!



Equine health and safety while trailering is important, but we must also mention the issue of human safety in an emergency. An injured, panicky horse can create a very dangerous situation for the people around him. In order to protect yourself and others, you must keep your own safety in mind if faced with the kind of emergencies we have discussed in this article. If you have prepared yourself, and are confident in your knowledge, your chances of handling any situation without injury to yourself will be greatly increased.

Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve are researchers and authors of the nationally recognized textbook The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer. They have also published two other horse trailer books including Equine Emergencies on the Road with Jim Hamilton DVM. Tom is also a clinician and writer of numerous published horse trailer safety articles and both Tom and Neva give safety clinics across the country. Both Tom and Neva have designed and developed the EquiSpirit, EquiBreeze and ThoroSport, an SoleMate line of horse trailers. For more info, contact Tom: 1-877-575-1771, tom@equispirit.com or visit them online at equispirit.com.

DVD REVIEW TITLE: Whispers from the Wild Ones – Mustangs as Our Master TeachersTM Anna Twinney of Reach Out to Horses® is well known in the horse community as a specialist in equine behavior, problem solving, and animal communication. Her particular interest in working with rescues and wild horses has given her special insight into the needs of untouched or traumatized horses. Whispers from the Wild Ones is filmed in the wilds of Wyoming, and follows the mustangs of the Pryor Mountains, Dakotas, and McCullough Peaks. With her keen understanding that wild horses are very different from your typical domestic horse, Anna takes you on a journey to discover the mind, heart and needs of these wild horses. For anyone who is thinking of adopting or working with a wild mustang, this two-DVD set offers a step-by-step approach to working with these special animals. Topics covered include: introducing your horse to the halter; leading and bathing; gentling him in a calm, safe and stress-free manner; understanding the difference between desensitizing and “flooding”; and building trust and respect. The skills you’ll learn in Whispers from the Wild Ones do not pertain to wild horses alone; they can be applied to any horse. This set of DVDs would be an asset to any horse owner for building a better horse-human relationship and helping with struggles such as spooking and sensitivity.

PUBLISHER: Black Friar Pictures


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Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA050 to Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue.

Location: Hagersville, ON Year established: 2007 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: 30 weekly volunteers,

and three foster homes. Types of animals they work with: Horses, donkeys,

and ponies. Fundraising projects: An annual open house fundraiser, horse sponsorship, memberships, calendar sponsorship and purchase, and merchandise. Favorite rescue story: “Milagro came to us as one of the most emaciated horses we had taken in,” writes Brenda Thompson, the rescue’s founder. “He was 500 lbs underweight,

had a severe skin infection, and was infested with internal parasites. The next morning when I went to check on him, he was down and could not get up. When the vet arrived she stated that it didn’t look good. It was at that point Milagro tried hard to get up, but did not have the strength. We realized he had a strong will to live and decided to see if we could save him. We put the electric blanket from our bed on him and gave him warm IV fluids to bring his body temp up. My husband and I then made a makeshift harness to lift him with the skid steer. He has held his head proud ever since and made a full recovery. That where his name came from – Milagro means “miracle” in Spanish. Milagro has taught us to never give up! He is my hero and inspiration each and every day.”



Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA196 to Saving Grace Miniature Horse Rescue. Location: Emmett, MI Year established:

2014 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “We are an all-volunteer organization consisting of three board members, two of whom are full-time staff,” says president and founder Tammie Miller. “Since we are a relatively new organization we currently have only a few part-time volunteers but would love to have more!” Types of animals they work with: Miniature horses. Fundraising projects: “We operate solely on donations. To aid in our fundraising efforts we participate in the AmazonSmile program and Kroger Community Rewards where a percentage of qualifying purchases are donated to our organization. We also carry a line of Red Haute Horse brand halters in many designs with all proceeds to benefit the horses in our care. We are currently holding an online Yankee Candle fundraiser with 40% of sales donated directly to our organization. We have a sponsorship program, which allows donors to select one of our horses to sponsor monthly for a low monthly fee or an amount of their choice.” Favorite rescue story: “In late January 2014 we were alerted to an urgent situation in Missouri involving several minis and ponies that had been purchased from a feedlot by a kill buyer. We only had photos and vague 54

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descriptions to go on, provided by a kindhearted woman trying diligently to raise bail and find homes before their fate was sealed and they were headed to Mexico. We chose a very emaciated gelding and a pint-sized filly whose ages were unknown to us at the time. Both horses had bad legs and horribly neglected hooves. “After only three months in our care, both horses, now known and loved by many as Cooper and Callie, are thriving. Although both still have a long road to recovery, they have been given a second chance for a happily ever after.”



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 EWA065 to Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue.

Location: South Acworth, NH Year established: 2007 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “We have one paid, part-time handyman,

and the whole board of directors is made up of volunteers. For events there are quite a few loyal volunteers that help out – they sell SYA merchandise, t-shirts, etc.,” writes volunteer Annie Kellam. Types of animals they work with: Donkeys, mules, hinnies, and zebra

crosses. Fundraising projects: “We just had our annual online Cabin Fever auction,”

says president Ann Firestone. “ We also have a donkey and mule fun show once a year, this year it will be in August in Alstead, NH, and we have a booth at Equine Affaire in Springfield, MA every November.” Favorite rescue story: “Two and a half years ago I agreed to take in an

emaciated mammoth jennet from an auction,” writes Ann. “She was a ‘one’ on the Henneke scale. She was so weak the night she arrived that she fell several times on the way from the trailer to her new yard. I was very concerned that she would not be alive in the morning. She was crawling with lice and had open, bleeding sores on her legs. She was a mess and had the most forlorn, vacant look in her eyes. I had our vet out that morning. He determined her to be a relatively young donkey. We formulated a plan of feeding, getting rid of the lice, and treating the sores on her legs. He palpated her for pregnancy and found nothing. She ate well and as weeks went by I got rid of the lice and her legs were healing up nicely. She had a blanket on since she arrived and it was not for about five weeks that I took it off and stood back to look at her. She looked a lot fatter in the tummy – I had our vet back out for another pregnancy check and lo and behold our Paloma was carrying a foal! He was born on Easter Sunday, so I named him E.B. for Easter Bunny. Once Paloma was in good physical health she and E.B. were adopted by a wonderful woman.”


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deepdoes it go?

often get questions like: “My horse has this problem or engages in this behavior. Is there a remedy you can recommend for him?” The expectation is that I can offer an exact remedy for a vaguely described condition. It’s likely the person has had some experience with homeopathic first aid, because first aid remedies can create the misperception that homeopathic prescribing is similar to choosing OTC drugs. Choosing “first aid” remedies works well for the layperson because they address “acute” situations. The body provides a strong, clear response that is relatively similar from individual to individual, and therefore one can get by with a minimum of information. For instance, we all know and recognize reactions to bee stings (Apis) and tissue trauma (Arnica). For issues that are chronic, long-standing, or reveal new or unusual behaviors, much more information is needed to find an appropriate remedy. More specifically, state of mind or character/personality must “fit in” with the physical symptoms, and plays a large role. Here are examples that demonstrate the role of personality or state of mind in choosing a remedy:

Staphysagria – Cuts and lacerations that are slow to heal or prone to reopening bring this remedy to mind. But there are at least 45 other remedies that list this same symptom. I would use the horse’s personality to understand the bigger picture – how does he usually behave, what is different about his behavior now, and what other things do we notice about him (habits,

etc.)? The Staphysagria candidate has hidden resentment or a tendency to suppress normal responses. On the outside, the horse appears to be extremely compliant, but illness or injury may reveal an unhealthy habit of excessive restraint (“festering wounds” are a physical display of resentment).

Kali Phosphorica – A horse I worked on looked like he needed Phosphorous, a remedy we have highlighted in a past article. Some signs we have mentioned are large, child-like eyes, being easy to handle, an overall willingness and desire to connect, long delicate legs on a strong body. This horse was hyper-vigilant, but not in all contexts. I would have chosen Phosphorous, except that his energy was subdued by comparison to a typical Phosphorous personality, which reaches out for love and attention rather than merely accepting it easily. Kali (potassium) has the characteristic of turning down the energy. Where you might be expecting a big response (that seems warranted), you get a puzzling, low-key response. A few subtle differences in personality from a typical Phosphorous were enough to indicate that a different remedy should be considered. If you are going beyond first aid to treat your horse with homeopathy, you can consult a homeopath who is willing to share his/her process with you. This will help you learn more about what to pay attention to. As you go along, you will develop a better and better “feel” for different remedies and the role that personality/mind symptoms play. This is all part of what makes homeopathy fun, as well as effective!

Susan Guran is a Homeopathic Practitioner and Therapeutic Riding Instructor living and working in Vermont. Homeopathyhorse.com 56

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How’s your


Are you feeling stuck? Here are some to help you become a better student, and move forward with your riding.


Why do some riding students move ahead more quickly than others? People often think it’s all about taking lots of lessons. But what if your ability to progress wasn’t actually dependent on instruction? During my career, I have seen many cases in which having the best horse and the best trainer didn’t always guarantee success. I have also seen students without access to regular training make huge progress and become amazing riders. How does this happen, and how can you set yourself up for success? Let’s begin by looking at a few common ways students hold themselves back.

LEARNING TYPES Students who feel stuck often fall into one of two categories: The “good student”: These are the students who want really clear instructions and constant supervision. When on their own, they can become paralyzed by the fear of doing something “wrong”. Being “good students” translates into not doing anything until told to. This doubt in their own instincts prevents them from being able to offer real communication with their horses in the moment; their responses are always delayed, so a disconnect grows. They may take many lessons and become more and more dependent on their instructors.

Their confidence decreases as time goes by, and they will eventually hit a wall of frustration. The “controller”: These are students who often ride in highly competitive or critical environments (and by the way, the environment may be coming from within, since self-criticism is often worse than what anyone else can say). “Looking good” is prioritized over harmonious communication. These students get stuck holding everything together in an effort to make it look like things are working when they aren’t. Working too hard to make a horse do simple things means it’s impossible to develop more complicated movements later. A fear of “messy moments” prevents students from experimenting to find really amazing results. There will always be a point at which holding things together no longer works. Either tension builds up and you can no longer control it, or dullness and desensitization set in and you are stuck carrying your horse around the arena. If a student is stuck in either of these modes, it doesn’t matter if she is in professional training with the best trainer in the world – she will still end up stuck. I have seen many examples of capable students riding excellent horses, but who were unable to advance. On the other hand, I have met students with very ordinary horses who realize amazing results in spite of little access to instruction. Continued on page 58. Equine Wellness


Successful students take full responsibility for their riding. Continued from page 57.

THE SUCCESSFUL STUDENT Successful students take full responsibility for their riding. This means they have a clear vision of what they want to create. They seek resources that serve them, put high priority on communication with their horses, and allow themselves the freedom of trial and error. These riders show up for lessons knowing what they want to learn. They realize that they need to communicate with their horses and have a keen awareness of the cause and effect of their aids. These students don’t just want to be told to “put their leg on”. They want to know why,, they want it to feel good, and they are willing to experiment to find that harmony. Of course, some styles of instruction will push students into being afraid to experiment. They don’t care how hard a student is working as long as she “gets the horse to do it”.

KNOW YOUR VISION If you take care of your vision and communication, then a whole world of resources opens up. It allows you to play freely and become better rounded. The clearer you are on the theme, the more you can play with the variety within it, and create a more solid base for your development. If you stay too single-focused, the risk is tunnel vision and limitation. Conversely, if there is too much variety, training can get scattered and you lose track of where you are heading. The ideal is to find resources that have a 58

Equine Wellness

You know more than you think

The biggest breakthroughs don’t come from teaching students a fancy new technique. They come from empowering students to take responsibility for their riding. Here’s my best advice to students – start every day by reminding yourself of your vision with your horse. In every moment, make clarity of communication the top priority. They say the best-kept secret is between a rider and her horse. Only the rider can really be successful in assessing her vision and communication. When I ask students, “Did your horse really understand you just now?” they know the answer. It doesn’t matter what I think it looks like if the student knows she and her horse aren’t communicating. I like to give students the freedom to experiment with how to talk with their horses, and to follow through if they know their horses didn’t apply themselves. This is what excellent riders are doing all the time, instantaneously.

clear alignment with your vision and offer some variety on that theme. For example, my vision is excellence in gymnastic development while deepening the partnership between horse and rider so both can have a lifetime of harmonious results (and have fun doing it!). Everything I do and offer points to that, and I share a wide range of topics with students –from liberty and long lining, to meditation and shoulder-ins. You may have to create your own team of resources, but with a clear vision you can do it. Make sure your instructor and resources are working for you! No matter where you are right now in your riding ability, you are the one sitting on your horse – only you can feel what he is doing. Only you know what you really asked. Only you know how your horse answered you. With effective communication and a clear vision, you will be able to confidently tell your horse what you want to happen, and make adjustments in the moment to help him do just that. You will also know what you need to practice so you can get it right in the future. This empowering approach will help you and your horse progress in a way that is a win-win for everyone.

Karen Rohlf is an international clinician and author/creator of Dressage, Naturally...Results in Harmony. With over 30 years’ experience, she combines the art of dressage with the principles of partnership-based horsemanship to help students around the world live their dreams with their horses. Her book sells around the world and has been translated into German and Polish. Karen offers in-depth six-month virtual training in her Virtual Arena, as well as a Video Classroom that gives immediate access to hundreds of training videos and free articles. You can get a free starter kit by visiting DressageNaturally.net. You will receive a Happy Athlete Assessment, three free videos and an excerpt from her book.

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EVENTS Clinical Reasoning for Equine Healthcare Professionals: Addressing the Musculoskeletal System August 11-14, 2015 – Petaluma, CA Dr. Kerry Ridgeway, DVM presents this unique clinic which has been developed specifically for the advanced equine health care provider. This four day course focuses on the musculoskeletal system; a system often overlooked in the wellbeing of the horse. Dr. Ridgeway has had repeatable successful results using acupoints and advanced soft tissue mobilization techniques to investigate musculoskeletal issues on horses, especially the performance horse. In this 4 day course, a portion of the course will focus on equine laterality, from the perspective of the treating veterinary clinician; the focus will be on the manifestations and pathology that the syndrome creates. Gait aberrations, muscle and myofascial patterns, tendonitis, desmitis, foot balance, saddle fit, degenerative joint disease, including facet joint pathology are all critical aspects of the “nonstraightened” horse. The lectures will discuss therapies that best address the root causes of this condition. As always, Dr. Ridgeway and his wife, Christine, share insights and latest soft tissue techniques with the participants. For more information and full course details: (707) 884-9963 Equinologyoffice@gmail.com www.equinology.com

Reach out to the Untouched Horse Clinic August 15-21, 2015 – Cody, WY Immerse yourself in a 6-day workshop. This is a unique opportunity to observe wild horses in their natural habitat. You will begin to understand non-verbal communication with the natural world, be introduced to herd dynamics and develop a bond through building a trust-based relationship. The young horses being socialized in this clinic have come to the class through various rescue situations. They have shown a natural desire to relate to humans. To make their futures less traumatic for veterinary care, foster homes etc, these young horses will be your teachers. Prerequisite: Graduate of the ROTH Holistic Horse Foundation Certification Course and/or permission from Anna directly. For more information: Anna Twinney info@reachouttohorses.com www.reachouttohorses.com

EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com AETA International Trade Show August 15-17, 2015 – Oaks, PA This show features exhibits, a market party, educational roundtables and much more! Exhibitors and Buyers will spend 3 days viewing English and Western merchandise, networking with each other and learning the latest in equestrian products and services at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center! For more information: events@aeta.us www.aeta.us

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 2 Course September 11-13, 2015 – Phoenix, AZ Fundamentals Class: 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. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am 6:00pm. This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses’ large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and a well-rounded experience. For more information: Gretchen Bickert (602) 570-3375 Phoenix@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

Horse Agility Training Clinic September 19, 2015 – Guilford, VT This new equine sport focuses on positive reinforcement and developing a better understanding of your horse. Clinic begins with basic handling skills, progresses to obstacle play and concludes with a fun, tenobstacle competition. Lessons learned will help improve communication and confidence, leading to a more safe, trusting and enjoyable relationship on the ground and under saddle. All breeds and ages welcomed! For more information: (802) 380-3268 Heidi@heidipotter.com www.heidipotter.com

Big Sky Draft Horse Expo September 19-20, 2015 – Deer Lodge, MT This Expo is a fun, family show with a small town atmosphere, providing an opportunity to view and purchase items ranging from draft horse harnesses to art and books. Also, showing many breeds of horses and mules from singles to six ups in friendly competition. Visit www.bitterrootranch.com and click on “Riding Programs” For more information: info@drafthorseexpo.com www.drafthorseexpo.com

Canadian Equestrian Equipment & Apparel Show September 20-22, 2015 – Toronto, ON Established in 1972, the Canadian Equestrian Equipment and Apparel Association is eastern Canada’s premier trade event for Equestrian Retailers. With both Spring (February) and Fall (September) markets, the CEEAA offers retailers a chance to connect with over 40 specialized equestrian wholesalers in one easy-to-access venue. CEEAA markets are a great opportunity to speak directly with manufacturers and their representatives, to see what’s new and exciting in the industry and to pick up new merchandising tips and techniques. Additionally, store owners and their staff members are invited to take advantage of the on-site seminars and training opportunities. For more information: (519) 821-9207 info@ceeaamarket.ca www.ceeaamarket.ca

2015 International Dressage at Devon Horse Show September 29 – October 4, 2015 – Devon, PA This event opens with the 3-Day Breed Division which judges horses on movement and conformation. More than 29 breeds will be represented. The combination of breed classes and performance classes should not be missed! As well, the festival shops offer exclusive apparel, fine arts, antiques and collectibles from more than 65 vendors. Families can enjoy the weekend, with plenty of activities for the youngsters! This is an event you won’t want to miss! For more information: tickets@dressageatdevon.org www.dressageatdevon.org

WANTED Rescues & Shelters. We want to give away $100,000

through our Ambassador program. REGISTER NOW! Natasha@EquineWellnessMagazine.com 62

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