V11I1 (Feb/Mar 2016)

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How to assess your horse’s






Equine Dentistry —

when LESS is MORE

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LEADERSHIP The pros & cons of



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COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Matt Dickson Lu Ann Groves, DVM Joyce Harman DVM, MRCVS Amy Hayek, DVM, CAC, CVA Kathryn King Johnson, MEd Jessica Lynn Jessica McLoughlin, REMT William Ormston, DVM, CAC Sherri Pennanen Deborah Powell Mandy Pretty Amy Snow Kelli Taylor, DVM Anna Twinney Nancy Zidonis

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Megan Stapley Photography Thoroughbreds that have been retired from racing love to have second careers — just look how enthusiastic Real Bigwig, owned by Shannon Smith and ridden by Andrea Volasko, looks! The team is participating in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover. Race on over to page 24 to learn more!

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Conte 24 55 FEATURES 10 YOUR HORSE’S HAY Assessing hay types and how they fit his needs.


Many people love to put hoof dressing on their horses’ hooves – it makes them feel like they are doing something good for their horses, and the hooves look nice after. But is it beneficial or detrimental?


The general rule is that a horse’s teeth should be floated every year. But this may not always apply – your individual horse, as well as who is doing the floating, are big factors in how often his teeth need to be done.


This ages-old therapy uses subtle electrical current to help with a wide variety of ailments and injuries.


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Helping Thoroughbred ex-racehorses launch successful second careers.

These gentle, non-invasive exercises can offer your horse relief from minor digestive issues, improve his digestion, or reduce his discomfort while waiting for the vet in colic situations.



Understanding how horses interact with one another, and how you interact with them, can help you determine and develop your leadership style in the workplace.


Swimming as therapy can help your equine recover faster and with less stress.


Treating symptoms rather than the cause of disease may help in the short term, but can negatively affect your horse’s health in the long run.



We seem to automatically assume that all horses have to eat grain. Let’s look at what your horse really needs to stay healthy!

nts 32 COLUMNS


8 Neighborhood news 39 Green acres

23 Product picks

42 To the rescue

31 Business profile: The Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage

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EDITORIAL Too much of a

good thing

When introducing a new staff member to the barn’s feed room the other day, I saw a look of surprise on her face. It didn’t come across as unusual. The room contains bins with several types of base feeds, and the shelves are filled with supplements – and as I’ve come to discover, this is what you will find at most large horse farms across North America. It’s no wonder there is such a market for different types of specialty grains and additives for horses.

What I had a more difficult time explaining was why each horse needed a particular item or ingredient. We put a lot of effort into harvesting excellent hay and developing good pastures, so the majority of our horses’ base needs will be met by that. And while some horses do benefit from some supplementation, there is no denying a good deal of overkill goes on, with not enough research into what each horse really needs in his diet. Hay isn’t tested as often as it should be. Supplements are purchased without being balanced to the rest of the horse’s diet, often because of a lack of knowledge or research. People buy things because a friend’s horse is on it, or because someone suggested them without knowing or understanding the rest of the horse’s feed program. We seem to need to show our love for horses by giving them everything they could possibly ever need or want. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad quality. But at times, we need to find a balance, because too much of certain things can actually be detrimental. Just because it makes us feel good to do something for our horses, it doesn’t mean it’s helping or making our horse feel better in the long run. In most barns, it tends to be standard practice to feed grain meals two or three times per day to each horse. But is it really necessary, and how do you determine what to feed? Dr. Alinovi joins us on page 55 to take a look at this dilemma, and offers some suggestions on how to determine your own horse’s grain needs when he’s fed a good, forage-based diet. And speaking of forage, Dr. Harman’s article about hay types on page 10 will lead you through finding the best forage for your herd. Our third article on the “how much is too much” theme discusses the pros and cons of hoof dressing on page 14. If you’d really like to do something to help a horse, be sure to check out our cover story (page 24), which explores the Retired Racehorse Project. It’s making big changes in the Thoroughbred world by helping ex-racehorses find homes through events, education and awareness.


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NEW STUDY EXPLORES THE HORSE’S ABILITY TO “The metaphor of the horse as a ‘mirror’ for humans is often assumed by those who work with horses, yet there is little to no research that explores this idea from the horse’s perspective,” says Paul Haefner, president of the Horses and Humans Research Foundation. HHRF has consequently awarded its first ever Innovation Research Grant to a team from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada to study this topic. The team’s project, entitled “Can Horses Distinguish Between Neurotypical and Mentally Traumatized Humans?”, will be led by Principal Investigator Katrina Merkies, PhD. The study will expose 20 horses to four neurotypical humans [control] and four humans diagnosed with PTSD [treatment]. Both horses and humans will be outfitted with heart rate monitors, and horse salivary samples will be collected before and after each test to calculate cortisol concentrations as a measure of stress.





Dr. Merkies and her team believe the results will significantly contribute to the direction and validation of future research into the impact of horse-human interactions. Understanding the horse’s role in equineassisted therapy is essential for furthering research into EAA, not only from the human perspective, but from the perspective of horse welfare, in order to minimize horse stress and ensure participant safety.


Doctors and staff at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, California, are excited about the addition of computed tomography (CT or cat scan) to their advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities. They are currently one of only two clinics in North America successfully performing standing CT scans of the equine skull – and the first veterinary hospital in the world to make use of this type of revolutionary portable CT unit. CT technology uses very small x-ray beams from many different angles around the body (called a slice). These are transmitted to a computer program that produces an image of the highest quality. Images can be manipulated to render 3D reconstructions from 2D slices, producing not only exceptional images, but also opening up whole new areas of diagnosis and treatment. Given the portability and size of this CT system, San Luis Rey Equine Hospital is in the unique position of being able to image very large anatomical regions such as the entire equine neck, which until now has been almost exclusively limited to radiography due to patient size. slreh.com Image courtesy of San Luis Rey Equine Hospital

The capabilities of standing CT scans include visualization of the brain, sinuses, nasal cavities, and teeth, all without the superimposition which greatly hampers standard radiography, or the need for general anaesthesia. Orthopedic imaging is also readily performed using computed tomography. 8

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PROGRAM REAUTHORIZED Photo courtosy of AAEP.org press release.

Trail riders rejoice! Congress has passed, and the President has signed, a multi-year national highway bill known as Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for the next five years and provides $85 million annually for the program. The last highway bill was set to expire this past December, and Congress had been working on various versions of a national surface transportation bill for most of last year. During the Congressional process, several attempts were made to eliminate the RTP program from the bill. “We are very pleased RTP was included in the FAST Act,” says American Horse Council vice president of government affairs, Ben Pendergrass. “Every time a multiyear national highway bill is debated, there is always an attempt to eliminate the program and this time was no different. Grassroots support from recreational trail users, including many equestrians, played an important role in making sure RTP was included in the bill.” Since its inception, RTP has provided money for thousands of state and local trail projects across the country, including many that benefit equestrians. RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities, for all recreational trail users.




Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest challenges facing veterinary and medical professions today. Yet many equine veterinary practices still don’t seem to fully recognize the daily challenges of treating multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Practices need to change their prescribing protocols, and horse owners need to become more educated on appropriate antibiotic use. BEVA has produced a range of tools under the PROTECT ME brand (beva.org.uk/ protectme), aimed at veterinary surgeons and horse owners. This year, BEVA is focusing on education by providing resources for owners and veterinary surgeons.

40,000+ NEW HORSE


The Time to Ride Challenge is a grassroots competition offering $100,000 in cash and prizes to stables, clubs and businesses that introduce new people to horses. In 2015, it reached a grand total of 41,428 new horse enthusiasts throughout the program. Participants in 49 states hosted beginner-friendly horse events to stimulate interest in riding and grow their businesses. In only its second year, the Challenge experienced an amazing 63% increase in reach beyond the 2014 program. Participants planned, promoted and hosted events designed for newcomers who are interested in horses but have minimal riding or hands-on experience. “Research suggests that as many as 30% of Americans have positive feelings about horses or riding, but that doesn’t mean they are currently involved with horses,” states Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokesperson. “Our hosts do a fantastic job of bridging that gap.”



Ultrasound is a valuable and commonly used technology in equine medicine. For her work in this field, veterinarian Dr. Virginia Reef, the director of large animal cardiology and diagnostic ultrasonography at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet), has received the American Association of Equine Practitioners 2015 Distinguished Educator Academic Award. The award honors an individual who, by his/her actions and commitment, has made a significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners. A pioneer in the diagnostic use of ultrasonographic technology, Dr. Reef perfected it in clinical use, then set out to teach it to students and practitioners. Many practitioners who use musculoskeletal or cardiovascular ultrasound, or who teach its use in an academic setting, have been influenced by Dr. Reef, whether in the classroom, lab, or through her hundreds of publications.

While the majority of competing hosts were riding stables and instructors, other participants such as trail ride businesses, 4-H and regional clubs, rescues, youth camps and veterinarians also took up the cause. Equine Wellness



YOUR HORSE’S H Y Assessing hay types and how they fit his needs. By Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS

Hay is a major part of a horse’s feed intake. This means particular attention needs to be paid to its selection and feeding. Hay does not come in a fancy bag with lots of marketing (though this is changing a bit with the advent of prepackaged hay products), so in many horse-keeping situations, it is not given too much thought, except to ensure it isn’t moldy. Harvesting, storage and testing can all play important roles in determining whether your hay supplies the necessary nutrients for your horse.


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HAY QUALITY Hay quality is subject to many factors that are beyond the control of average horse owners who don’t harvest their own hay. And even if hay is harvested on the farm, weather conditions vary from year to year and from first to second or third cuttings. Entire regions of the country can experience poor harvesting conditions (from drought to floods), making locally-sourced quality hay impossible to find and expensive to import. If your barn has enough storage space and you can afford to fill it with an entire season’s supply, it is possible to test the hay and really know its quality and nutrient content. Each type of grass has an optimum stage of growth that makes the most nutritious hay. Hay can be grown as a monoculture, in which the entire field is all the same species, or a mixture of grasses can be grown together. The prettiest hay might be uniform, but the healthiest hays are often a mix of grasses. Horses naturally select a variety of plants to eat, so it is best for a horse to eat a mix of hay when fresh grass is not available. However, a mixture of grasses might be harder to harvest at an optimum time, since grasses mature at different times. Depending on where you live and the local grasses grown there, it might be more difficult to get a quality mixed hay. The real key to good hay is the stage of growth the plant is at when harvested. For grasses, how mature is the seed head? Once the head is mature and seeds are forming, the stem may be coarse and less nutritious, but if your horse is an easy keeper that needs mostly fiber to munch on, this might be acceptable. Soft hay with minimal fiber in the stems might be best for an older horse with poor teeth. Legumes such as alfalfa are most nutritious when the flowers are in the pre- or early bloom stages, and may be too coarse in the later stages. To determine the quality and nutrient content of the hay, you can analyze it, especially if you buy most of what you need for the year at one time. However, regular analysis through your county extension agent will not give the sugar content – for that you need to use a lab such as Equi-Analytic (see sidebar on page 12).

FIRST AND SECOND CUTTING CONSIDERATIONS There are many “religions” surrounding whether to feed a first or second cutting (or third, fourth, etc.). Certain environmental conditions and some types of hay can validate these concerns and unwritten rules, especially when it comes to alfalfa mineral ratios. But in reality, it still boils down to the plants’ growing conditions and the maturity of the plant at harvest. You don’t have to rule out a crop of hay just because it is from a “second cutting” – upon evaluation, it may meet your horse’s needs well, depending on the types of grass it contains and how it was harvested. Generally speaking, the first cuttings of hay consist of plants that grow faster (due to early spring’s rapid growth) and can contain Equine Wellness


more stem and fiber. Later in the season, the grass may grow more slowly and be finer in texture. You typically also see more alfalfa content in later cuttings.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STORAGE Brome Bluestem Warm season grasses (lower protein, higher fiber, lower sugar content) • Indian grass • Bluestem (big and little) • Bahia grass • Bermuda grass • Teff Cool season grasses (higher protein, contain fructans, fiber varies) • Timothy • Brome • Orchard grass • Bluegrass • Fescue • Reed canary grass • Ryegrass • Sudan grass

TYPES OF GRASS/HAY Hay and grass types vary across the country, though it is possible (and expensive) to ship hay to places where it is difficult to harvest. Also, in years of poor local growing conditions, higher quality forage can be provided in other ways, rather than shipping it across the country. Some hay is harvested, dried and processed into cubes or pellets, or chopped and fermented into haylage. Transport is easier, but some of the long stem fiber benefit is lost. Horses with poor teeth or those that need dust-free hay can benefit greatly from these options.


Legumes (higher energy, protein, calcium) • Alfalfa • Clovers (red, crimson, alsike and ladino) • Lespedeza • Birdsfoot trefoil • Vetch

Birdsfoot trefoil


• C ontact your local county extension agent for grasses local to your area • Safergrass.org • D airyone.com (Equi-Analytical hay analysis)

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The local climate will determine what forage grows best. Hot climates are better for coastal Bermuda grass, brome or orchard grass, while Timothy grows better in cooler climates. Oat hay is often used as an annual crop, cut before it matures into grain (do check it for high nitrate levels in drought conditions). Many western states only grow alfalfa, which has a higher level of digestible energy, vitamin A and calcium than grass hay. But alfalfa may have twice the protein when compared to grass hay, making it too rich for many horses. Warm season grasses, many native, are being grown more often for hay in recent years. They can be higher in fiber, and may not be as palatable since they contain starches instead of fructans. These grasses may also have a low sugar content (but during drought stress they can make fructo-oligosaccarides, which affect laminitic horses). They do grow well during July and August, even in drought conditions. Hays such as teff are often touted as perfect for horses at risk for laminitis, but as with all hays, analysis shows that the growing and harvest conditions vary dramatically, and so does the nutrient content of all hay.



Once the hay is harvested and purchased, storage becomes important. Hay must be kept under cover, dry and off the ground in most parts of the country, though in some arid western states hay can be safely stored outside. When storing hay for an entire season in damp climates, bales on the bottom row of a ground floor (stall or shed) can easily become moldy even when stacked on pallets that should allow for air circulation. It may be necessary to add a plastic vapor barrier to save those lower bales. Moldy hay can cause serious illnesses, from colic to allergic respiratory disease leading to COPD and heaves. Handling moldy hay can aggravate your own allergies, too.

FEEDING HAY Horses should have forage available most of the day. If you have a horse with obesity or laminitis problems, or one that just eats too fast, there are many slow feeders on the market. It is also possible to use a grazing muzzle to slow the eating, but many muzzle designs fail to allow enough hay to get through the holes. Hay is much harder to eat through a muzzle than grass, so you may need more openings in the bottom. Round bales are frequently used with a feeder or net around them to slow eating and decrease waste. Dr. Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certifi ed in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Her practice in Virginia uses holistic medicine to treat horses. Her publications include The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book – the most complete source of information about English saddles. harmanyequine.com

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I am often asked by my trim clients if they should use hoof dressing on their horses. For many, it has always been a part of grooming. They seem to like the shine and claim it is “good for their horses”, though they may not be exactly sure what it might do for them. For others with horses that have hoof problems such as cracks, chips, or fungal/bacterial issues, hoof dressing is often a go-to for prevention and treatment.

FOUR FACTORS THAT AFFECT HOOF HEALTH Let me begin by saying that hoof dressing won’t cure anything on its own. In some cases, it may even be detrimental. Let’s first look at the factors that do significantly contribute to hoof health.


Diet is a mainstay in overall hoof health. The hoof is not static. It is an adaptive, growing and vital tissue that requires maintenance by way of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Without the proper building blocks, hoof integrity can be compromised. Good quality forage, supplements as needed (after hay testing), and any feeds are all factored in. Changes in diet take time to impact hoof health, but maintaining good nutrition is essential.



HOOF D ESSING by Sherri Pennanen

Many people love to put hoof dressing on their horses’

hooves – it makes them feel like they are doing something good for their horses, and the hooves look nice after. But is it beneficial or detrimental?


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Activity and exercise are critical for hoof health. Standing in a stall is one of the main contributors to hoof demise. Horses should be turned out as much as possible (24/7 is ideal), but daily exercise in addition to turnout will help promote hoof growth and health. In this regard, hooves are like muscle. They grow better and develop more when they are used. Circulation is enhanced by activity and exercise and is essential for the growth of healthy tissues.


Genetics also play a part in hoof health, but we cannot do much to change this aspect. The important thing to remember here is that if your horse has genetic contributors to hoof problems, you must remain diligent in controlling the factors you can. Being aware of tendencies and doing what you can as early as possible in the horse’s life can make genetics less of a problem. Trims and regular farrier care are essential in maintaining a hoof that can support the horse. Poor balance or irregular surfaces can lead to

These are the four cornerstones for healthy hooves. There are factors that will serve to compromise the integrity of the hoof. Prolonged exposure to urine and manure will eat away at tissues and damage the hoof. For this reason, I discourage stall life. Nail holes are a direct line into the soft tissues of the hoof. For this reason (and others), I discourage shoes. Shoes can also limit the movement of the hoof wall, making it less adaptive to surfaces and being under the load of the horse. Exclusive exposure to either excessively dry or excessively wet conditions can promote fungal or bacterial growth.

HOOF DRESSING – PROS AND CONS So is hoof dressing ever a good option? When determining if it will be of benefit, consider the following: • The healthy hoof wall will resist moisture, but the sole, frog and coronet can absorb moisture. If you apply hoof dressing to a healthy hoof wall, you will get a shiny hoof. But nothing else will change. Any applications you want “absorbed” must be applied to the parts that possess that function. • Hoof dressing used on a poor quality hoof horn can help create a barrier, but the more essential building blocks of a healthy hoof should also be promptly considered and addressed. Just providing a barrier will not cure any problems. • If the hoof has been invaded by bacteria or fungus, specific treatments must be undertaken and applied to the frog, sole and coronet as indicated. Old holes from shoes can also be treated. But do not rely on “absorption” from the hoof wall. Read directions and use antimicrobials as directed by your farrier to address specific issues such as thrush, white line disease, etc.

• Chipping or cracking hooves generally require a full approach to healthy tissue and keratin production. Hoof dressing alone will generally not fix much. Some hoof dressings can even be more drying. • While a lot of hoof dressings claim to promote hoof growth and circulation, they do not. To promote healthy hoof growth and circulation, the horse must eat well, drink well, and move. Plain and simple. No topical application will fix growth or circulation. • There are disinfectants and barrier products as well as antimicrobials that can be applied in the form of a hoof dressing, but rarely will they be effective unless used as just one pillar of an overall approach to a healthier horse. • Making a hoof look shiny does not make it healthy. The old expression “beauty is only skin deep” is so true. A shiny hoof does not a healthy hoof make.


cracks and chips and poor alignment overall. Legs and hips can suffer as a result of hoof problems. Going too long between trims or “do it yourself” rasping or trimming can contribute to some real problems if we are not watchful.

Simple measures can be undertaken to address some of the factors that will compromise your horse’s hoof quality. • Adequate turnout or having your horse live outside makes him far less likely to stand in manure or urine. • By letting the water run over when filling troughs, your horse will have a source of moisture for his feet when he comes to drink. • By building up areas when fields are wet, or creating drainage in a run-in area, he might have a dry place to stand if conditions are excessively wet. • With natural trims and the judicious use of boots, we can avoid nailing into the hoof wall.

Your farrier is happy to advise you on the use of hoof dressings specific to your horse’s needs! Don’t fall prey to labels. Ask your professional farrier for advice on the need or desirability for hoof dressing. 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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dentistry: less is more


How often should you get your horse’s teeth floated The standard answer is once a year. But there are several things to take into consideration. The most important factor is who you get to float his teeth. This is a very important choice and can have an impact on not only your horse’s teeth, but also on how long he will live. If you have someone working on his mouth who is not specifically trained to float teeth, the result could have negative health effects for your horse.

By Lu Ann Groves, DVM

The general rule is that a horse’s teeth should be floated every year. But this may not always apply – your individual horse, as well as who is doing the floating, are big factors in how often his teeth need to be done.

DENTISTRY NEEDS IN THE OLDER HORSE If you over-float an older horse’s teeth, you can loosen them and they will fall out sooner. When a horse is young, the roots of his teeth are very long. As he ages, he wears his teeth down, and more of the roots erupt into the mouth. By the time the horse is 20 years old, most of the tooth has erupted and there is very little root left to anchor it to the gums. If the dentist you choose to work on your horse’s mouth is too aggressive, the dental floats will loosen the teeth. When the teeth fall out, it makes it difficult for the horse to chew his food, thus shortening his life. Because of this, a horse over the age of 20 may only need his teeth floated every two or three years. It is important to have an equine dentist check your older horse’s mouth every year for loose teeth, which can get an infection underneath them if left in the mouth. The dentist will also check for sharp points that can cut into your horse’s gums; pockets of skin that can get infected; and teeth that get long because the opposing tooth is missing. A good equine dentist will not float your horse’s teeth if they do not need it. Many older horses suffer from over-floating, just like over-vaccinating. I once had an older horse come into my clinic with a bloody mouth, and upon further inspection the veterinarian had floated the gums of the horse and caused a lot of bleeding. The horse had nothing left but the very ends of his teeth, right up to his gums. His teeth had already fully erupted – there was nothing left to float. A good equine dentist will have a full mouth speculum, a good light to see into the horse’s mouth, and many different types of floats to reach into different parts of the mouth. If the above horse’s mouth had been examined with a full mouth speculum and a good light, the poor


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animal would not have had his gums floated. Be sure and ask to feel in your horse’s mouth both before and after he is floated. If the dentist refuses, take your horse to someone else. You are feeling for sharp edges on the outside of the upper molars in his top jaw and the inside of the lower molars in his lower jaw. Sometimes there is a really long point in the very back and the very front of your horse’s mouth, and both need to be reduced. Some dentists are not sure how to work in the back of the horse’s mouth where the last tooth is very close to the curve of the jaw. A well-trained dentist knows how to reduce this long point without damaging the back of the mouth.

THE YOUNGER HORSE Young horses with new teeth erupting every year need to be checked every six to 12 months until they are five and have a full set of permanent teeth. By managing a young horse’s mouth while the teeth are erupting, you avoid the creation of a wave mouth, which happens when the upper or lower baby tooth remains on top of the permanent tooth, and the opposing tooth gets worn down more than it should. Now you have some teeth that are longer than others, and the opposing teeth on the other half of the mouth get worn to match. Since a horse chews his food by moving his mouth in an elliptical motion, like a side-toside figure eight, these uneven teeth will block the possibilities of motion, preventing your horse from chewing his food properly, which can cause both colic and poor digestion of nutrients. Continued on page 18.

Resting the horse’s head on a stand while doing his teeth, rather than “hanging” or tying his head up, can be more comfortable for him.

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Continued from page 17.

A good dentist can modify a wave mouth, but it is better not to let it start in the first place. If someone tries to modify a wave mouth in an older horse, they can loosen the teeth because of the short roots. A wave mouth can also shorten your younger horse’s life, because in order to take out the wave, you must file down a tooth that will be needed later in his life, so you have again reduced the time he will have good teeth to chew with. Young horses have a pulp chamber that lies just under the crown of the tooth. If the person floating the young horse’s teeth is not well trained, they could shorten the teeth too much, getting into the pulp chamber and killing the tooth. As the horse ages, the pulp chamber is not so close to the surface.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS In summary, always ask questions. Where did your equine dentist get their dental training? How many hours did they train for? Do they hold a state certification? Can you feel in your horse’s mouth before and after the floating? Check out the dentist’s instruments – are they clean and well cared for? If you are using a veterinarian to float your horse’s teeth, ask them if they have taken advanced training. A well-trained and competent professional will respect your questions and should be willing to provide you with the necessary information to guarantee they have your horse’s best interests in mind.

how to choose an equine dentist Equine dentistry is not a standardized subset of veterinary medicine, and is not offered as a required subject by any veterinary school in the US. Most offer some form of supplemental session on equine dentistry, often ten hours in length. Although this is considered an introduction to equine dentistry, it is often the only training most large animal vets will receive. Many veterinary schools offer ongoing sessions on more advanced topics. The alternative to having a veterinarian float your horse’s teeth is to choose a dental technician. These individuals usually attend a school that specializes in equine dentistry. The course length normally varies between 200 to 500 hours of specialized training and may require some form of apprenticeship. The critical point about this type of training is that students must complete a curriculum and pass exams for successful completion. The result of this training is not just knowing how to do procedures, but rather knowing the background and pathology that make the work necessary. One must know why they are doing a procedure, not just how to do it. This format usually results in some form of certification. There should be some type of competence testing before the equine dentist receives a state-issued certification. You must also consider the dentist’s attitude, horsemanship, the instruments and their condition, and how they handle your horse. In our practice, we do not like to “hang heads” (tying the horse’s head up high so the dentist can be comfortable standing and looking into the mouth). This type of “head hanging” results in pinching of the nerves in the top of the poll of the head and top of the neck, and is undesirable.

Dr. Groves owns and operates The Whole Horse Veterinary Clinic in San Marcos, Texas. She is a graduate of Colorado State University, receiving her degree in Veterinary Medicine in 1981. She is certified in Equine Osteopathy by the Vluggen Institute. She has been trained in Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and Homeopathy, Bio Energetic Stimulation, Laser Therapy,and Ozone Therapy as well. She can be reached at 512-396-2234 or luanngroves@yahoo.com. 18

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Microcurrent Therapy This ages-old therapy uses subtle electrical current to help with a wide variety of ailments and injuries. by Deborah Powell


e all know that “aha!” moment when discovering something special. Microcurrent is an ages-old therapy that can change the quality of your life, and the lives of your loved ones and cherished animals. Microcurrent seems to trump other therapies for muscle, tendon, ligament and nerve damage when compared to the costs and outcomes reported from other types of therapies. Even EIPH (bleeders) and bowel impaction colic are often alleviated by microcurrent. The current is delivered through applicators called electrodes, similar to other TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units. Microcurrent electrode accessories for animal application come in the form of small pads, combs, massage rollers, stylish pens or probes, gloves, body wraps, and clips for electro-acupuncture.

HOW IT BEGAN It’s impossible to know who was first to use microcurrent as a therapy. Years ago, for fun, old electrotherapy boxes found at garage sales were tested at various microcurrent training sessions. It was discovered that some electrotherapy boxes dating from

Photo courtesy of Tarah Reghitto

Some of the various accessories that can be used with a microcurrent device. The low-level current applied topically through these stimulation devices mimics the body’s production of electrical current.


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the 1800s and earlier were, in part, crude microcurrent devices from Asia, Europe and the Americas. Microcurrent became recognized as such when Thomas Wing, DC, LAc, ND introduced his own inventions in the late 1970s to chiropractors and physiotherapists. Dr. Bjorn Nordenstrom (Biologically Closed Electric Circuits, 1983), a brilliant pioneer of diagnostic radiology, furthered the idea of microcurrent when he proposed that an electrical current flows through the body as a complete network, connecting entire biological systems (picture a series of electrical cables coursing throughout every cell in the body). Dr. Nordenstrom’s theory has been compared to Chi (Qi) energy in Chinese medicine. Another medical practitioner, Dr. Robert O Becker (BodyElectric, 1985), an orthopedic surgeon, turned to a life of research after becoming frustrated by the medical establishment’s approach to the body as a collection of primarily individual parts. Working with salamanders and frogs, Becker showed that limbs would re-attach with a tiny current jumping to the severed part. He

called this the “current of injury”. In 1984, Dr. Becker and a co-researcher used tiny levels of current to regenerate a child’s amputated fingertip.

HOW IT WORKS Microcurrent therapy (MCT) is low-level electrical stimulation therapy. It is similar to other topically applied stimulation devices, with one huge exception – the output of current from MCT is 1,000 times lower than the majority of TENS devices sold for pain. This very low-level current mimics the body’s production of electrical current, with an added boost. The slightly higher current of MCT, as compared to that produced naturally by the body, has been shown to increase cellular energy or ATP (adenosine triphosphate) by up to 500% in rat studies. This means that damage, whether in nerves, tendons, ligaments or muscles, can be repaired with less scar tissue and inflammation than when the body heals on its own. It takes a series of treatments to restore integrity to the damaged tissues. With MCT, it is about treating the body as a whole entity. In practice, it incorporates the drawing of current to specific areas in the body affected by injury, while also using acupuncture points to boost the meridians for good energy flow (Chi) throughout.

Amperes Scales Pico (micromicro)


1,000,000,000,000 (10-12)/1 micro

Human body range

Nano (millimicro)


1,000/1 micro

Human body range



1,000,000/1 ampere

Just above human range



1,000/1 ampere

Stuns human nerve sheath

Continued on page 22.

FINDING A GOOD MICROCURRENT THERAPIST Some equine massage therapists and rehab facilities offer microcurrent sessions. Ask your veterinarian if they know someone they are comfortable referring you to. Your friends may also be able to recommend a therapist they have used and liked. If you are not using a recommended source, be sure to ask for client references. Equine Wellness



Horse owners from the mid-80s may recall therapists with large equipment that looked like a rack home stereo system with coiled wires reaching to the horse, connected to brass plates. They were considered revolutionary at the time, but the cost scared most people away from even considering owning or using the equipment. Continued from page 21.


Photo courtesy of Deborah Powell

Today’s options for microcurrent therapy are numerous, and many devices are quite small, making them easy for storage and travel. There are topically applied disposable patches; machines similar to other TENS devices; and sophisticated biofeedback devices that allow the user to locate problems and track progress. Some of the latest versions are able to track changes and treat with microcurrent simultaneously. These choices enable you to select specific treatment styles that make sense in terms of time management and efficacy, while providing spa-like pleasure for your horse.

Microcurrent electrode accessories come in many forms, like this back pad that connects to a microcurrent device.

SUGGESTED TREATMENT FOR A LEG INJURY • Treat with microcurrent three times a week – two treatments on the leg to address the injury, and one all-body treatment to relieve compensating soreness and open the meridians. • As improvement occurs, reduce the treatment sessions. • Continue with maintenance treatments if the condition is chronic, or if the horse is experiencing a high workload and/or is competing.

Deborah Powell is the founder of Matrix Therapy Products, author of MicroCurrent for Horses (2008) and MicroCurrent for Dogs (2014). therapyproducts.net. 22

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SIGNATURE SUPPLEMENTS When choosing supplements for your horse it’s very important to select ones that are free of harmful chemicals, pesticides, additives and fillers. The Holistic Horse Signature Line offers 10 different amazing herbal formulas containing only the finest certified organic herbs. Designed exclusively for The Holistic Horse by a leading equine veterinarian specializing in endocrinology, herbs and nutrition. These non-GMO formulas provide effective, reliable results.

The Matrix Best Vet III is a biofeedback microcurrent device with four programs. While simultaneously delivering a therapeutic treatment the Matrix BV III alerts the user to compromised areas. Training is included with the purchase of the Matrix BV III. For more information contact Matrix Therapy Products by phone or go online.




TherapyProducts.net 503-632-7187

H2O TO GO! No water source available? The H2Go Bag lets you easily transport water wherever you need it! Fits any wheelbarrow and folds away for easy space savings storage! It has a unique design spout to make pouring easier, and an antislide mat to secure bladder in the wheelbarrow. Holds up to 21 gallons of water. MRSP $38.00.

GRAZING NATURALLY WITH HAY The Hay Pillow’s Standard and Mini Hay Pillows are the only slow feed hay bags designed for use on the ground with a solid back. Visit our website to view a variety of innovative slow feed creations and products to enrich and enhance the life of your herd. Proudly made in the USA!

TheHayPillow.com shop.h2gobag.com

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Photos courtesy of Megan Stapley Photography

Hundreds of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses will meet at the Kentucky Horse Park this year from October 27 to 30 to participate in the Thoroughbred Makeover.


Racehorse PROJECT

HELPING THOROUGHBRED EX-RACEHORSES LAUNCH SUCCESSFUL SECOND CAREERS. In an effort to help curb the unwanted horse population in North America, many people are coming up with creative options and opportunities to help horses find homes. One rapidly-growing organization is the Retired Racehorse Project. Its mission is to help Thoroughbred ex-racehorses find second homes and careers through retraining, education and awareness. by Kelly Howling


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FILLING A NEED Steuart Pittman, the organization’s founder, and a group of friends who believe strongly in the abilities of off-the-track Thoroughbreds as performance horses, came together in 2009 to host the Retired Racehorse Training Symposium. The event not only promoted these horses for riding and performance, but offered much-needed insight and information on their care and training needs. “We filed for nonprofit status in 2010 after the symposium drew 350 people from ten states, with very little marketing,” says Steuart. “We realized that the demand for information about transitioning these horses from racing was huge!” Indeed, one of the biggest obstacles for people taking horses from the track for riding is likely a lack of experience, knowledge, and resources, in addition to the negative stereotypes. The Retired Racehorse Project is working to fill that gap and dispel many ex-racehorse myths.

A NEED FOR SPEED Photo courtesy of Megan Stapley Photography

Finding homes for these horses is a priority. “Fifteen thousand or so Thoroughbreds are retired from racing each year,” says Steuart. “If demand for them is weak in the riding markets, they become a part of America’s unwanted horse population. If the demand is strong, they not only find homes but people pay enough money for them that racing owners and trainers get a


Interested in adding an ex-racehorse to your barn? Part of the Retired Racehorse Project’s mission is to make it easier for people to find and purchase or adopt these horses. “Retired Racehorse Project always has well over 100 horses listed at various stages of training on its horse listings,” says Steuart. “Our online and printed resource directory identifies 300 farms and organizations, as well as racetracks, where people can shop both online and in person. CANTER affiliates across the country are great sources as are their Facebook groups, all of which are linked from RetiredRacehorseProject.org.”

Amy Lent on Face of Glory participates in Competitive Trail at the Thoroughbred Makeover.

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Photos courtesy of Sarah K. Andrew

Alluring Punch being ridden by Steuart Pittman during the PA Horse World Expo.

SUCCESS IS SWEET Steuart’s favorite success story involves four Thoroughbreds that he and his staff retrained together at his Dodon Farm Training Center in Maryland. “We replicated the 100-Day Stallion Test in which stallion prospects are trained together on a single farm to assess their talents,” says Steuart. “We had Gunport, Suave Jazz, Declan’s Moon, and Alluring Punch. All were from major Maryland racing operations and all were magnificent. Presenting them at the Maryland and Pennsylvania Horse World Expos in front of huge crowds was a blast, and having the public follow online videos and then vote for the horse best suited to each of four disciplines was perfect. “Each one was an ambassador for his breed and each one taught those of us lucky enough to work with them some great lessons.”

financial reward for retiring their horses sound.” It’s a win-win for everyone! Ex-racehorses are often stereotyped as “hot”, crazy and unsuitable for all but experienced riders. However, as with any horse/rider combination, you need to look at the individuals involved. “Lots of ex-racehorses that have had time to mature and settled into new careers are suitable for learning to ride on,” explains Steuart, who has a long-term love affair with the Thoroughbred breed and has retrained several ex-racehorses for upper-level eventing. “Most horses fresh off the track are better suited to people who have enough balance and tact to stay relaxed on the horse and allow him to go forward. So it’s not technical knowledge that’s needed – it’s the ability to trust the horse and work with him rather than against him. Thoroughbreds love to work and play. They are young and athletic when they leave racing. They are not for everyone. “They have a flight instinct that makes them responsive and they enjoy moving,” Steuart continues. “One could call that ‘hot’, but certainly not difficult. They tend to be brave and willing to go forward. To me, that makes them easier to ride and train than other breeds. They come from racing with professional training. My homebred horses used to take two years to get to novice eventing. Ex-racehorses took me six months, and they were ready to go training and preliminary [eventing levels] sooner as well. Every breed has its characteristics, and with Thoroughbreds the primary ones are intelligence and trainability.”

A HORSE FOR EVERYONE There is a common misconception that Thoroughbreds off the track are only good for performance events that involve speed. However, this doesn’t tend to be the case – once again, you have to look at each horse as an individual. This is displayed in events like the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover, which will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park from October 27 to 30, 2016. Three hundred and fifty Thoroughbreds from North America will participate in different disciplines, competing for $100,000 in prize money which will be distributed to the top competitors in each discipline and specialty awards, including Top Junior, Top Amateur, and America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred. The event will also offer seminars and clinics on topics related to Thoroughbred health, wellness and training. “The ten disciplines we picked for the Thoroughbred Makeover are those at which lots of Thoroughbreds excel: eventing, dressage, barrel racing, competitive trails, show hunter, show jumper, field hunter, polo, working ranch and freestyle,” shares


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Phot courtosy of: Sarah K. Andrew

Declan’s Moon, one of the four Thoroughbred stallions that participated in the replicated 100-day Stallion Test, showing off at the PA Horse World Expo Steuart. “Freestyle can be anything. I know Thoroughbreds that drive, do police work, and participate in therapeutic riding, safaris and falconry. The easier question is – what can’t Thoroughbreds do?” And that’s the moral of the story – each Thoroughbred is an individual, and can excel in different areas. Don’t rule these horses out just because of stereotypes. With the support of organizations like the Retired Racehorse Project, education and resources are more available to those wanting learn about and take on ex-racehorses. When looking for your next riding partner, examine your local Thoroughbred listings. You just might find your next performance partner and help ease the unwanted horse population all in one go!


Even if you aren’t in a position to take on an ex-racehorse, you can help out with the Retired Racehorse Project. By signing up for their e-mail list, you will be notified of opportunities to volunteer at events. You can also join as a member. For $45 per year, you get a subscription to the quarterly Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, a copy of the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, and free or discounted access to events like the Thoroughbred Makeover.

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Understanding how horses interact with one another, and how you interact with them, can help you determine and develop your leadership style in the workplace.

Lessons in

LEADERSHIP By Kathryn King Johnson, MEd

A long time ago, when I first started taking in horses to board, I noticed something strange. Every woman who brought in a mare for boarding claimed the horse was the alpha mare in the herd. How could this possibly be? Not every mare is alpha. At first, I considered all the human foibles – projection, pride, a thousand possibilities. But could all those women be wrong? I began to look very closely at herd dynamics in groups of horses. Who was really the leader, the “boss hoss”, the alpha? Who fell in the middle? Who was last in the pecking order?

THE HAPPY HERD I learned that a well run and happy herd is amorphous. Leadership changes constantly, as horses are needed for their skills in different areas. It’s not as simple as the lead mare 28

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leading the horses to food and the lead stallion fighting off invaders or chasing the stragglers. Horses who live in the same herd for a long time develop relationships. They have friends, enemies and “frenemies”. They have besties. Some bully the weak. Some protect the weak. Some are loners. Some are social. But they all have one overriding instinct: to survive in a herd.

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES Because of this, horses respect leaders who are sane, sensible and strong. They avoid the “bowling ball” – horses that smash into the herd with the intention of breaking them up and taking control. Those who kick and bite, trying to get to the top, are shunned. No horse wants a violent herd in which they have to constantly look over their shoulder to avoid being hurt. Horses

Photos courtesy of Tony Johnson

Not every herd has a clear leader. This photo shows the Medicine Horse Program’s HopeFoals, out for a gallop. aren’t going to follow someone who overreacts to every threat; they’d spend their lives spooking. Most horses don’t want to live in violence and fear. They seek peace, calm, friendship, entertainment and exercise. Leaders emerge because of their intelligence and willingness to calm the others. But there often isn’t just one leader. It’s too hard a job for one horse. Horses take turns leading, according to their strengths. Some are, as Mark Rashid calls them, passive

leaders. They stay behind the scenes, quietly surveying, usually while eating. They will alert the herd if either danger or dinner appears. They never fight because they are too smart for that and don’t want to be hurt. Some are active leaders, taking over when there are social issues that need to be resolved, a new horse in the herd, or someone making advances on their best friends. Another horse might take over when it’s time for entertainment, instigating races or play fights, or a round of pretty prancing. A good horse herd is a productive, peaceful

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Leading from behind fosters teamwork and instills confidence. Kathy Johnson ground drives Ponyo from behind.

Confronting obstacles without fear inspires courage in others. Jena Reddy and Aladdin succeed at this. team, led by consensus and multiple individuals with different styles of leadership.

APPLYING HERD LESSONS TO HUMANS What I learned from watching the herd, I applied to the human world in the areas of teambuilding and leadership. Human leadership styles vary wildly, and strategies depend on the task at hand. In The 8 Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela,* Richard Stengel explores leadership techniques that correlate strongly with the art of leading horses. • Mandela’s first rule of leadership: “Courage is not the absence of fear – it’s inspiring others to move beyond it.” If you are leading a horse that spooks at an object, what is the first thing you do? Act calm. If you feed from your horse’s fear, you compound the cycle of fear. If you act brave and confront the obstacle with confidence, you can move the horse beyond it. • Mandela’s second rule of leadership: “Lead from the front – but don’t leave your base behind.” If, when leading a horse, you get too far out in front of him, you lose sight of him. He loses confidence in a leader who is not paying attention to him. How can he pay attention to you if you are not paying attention to him? You have dropped the connection and the horse is no longer walking with you. 30

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• Mandela’s third lesson of leadership: “You can only lead them from behind.” He draws this teaching from his childhood herding cattle. The lesson is to lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front. As horse people, we know that you can’t drag a horse anywhere; but if you send him forward from behind, he will go. Ground driving or long lining, in the right hands, is a good way to teach people about leading from behind. Without the energy to inspire the horse, it’s like pushing a rope up the street. With too much pressure from behind, it’s arena skiing. But a horse that goes freely in front develops confidence while still listening to the person behind him, and teamwork ensues. I learned from horses that leadership is a big part of both herd dynamics and teambuilding. People, like horses, respond differently to leadership styles, and good leaders use a variety of styles to accomplish the task at hand.

* Stengel, Richard. 8 Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela. time.com/time/world/ article/0,8599,1821467-1,00.html.

Kathy Johnson is executive director of Medicine Horse Program, a 501c3 charity specializing in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Medicine Horse Program also offers equine assisted teambuilding, leadership, and women’s and girls’ empowerment groups. medicinehorse.org


Back to school

The Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage is giving animal lovers the opportunity to pursue their dream jobs. In 2003, Lisa Speaker’s basset hound, Betty, started her on a journey that would lead to the development of one of the most recognized schools for complementary therapies for animals.

working to build its online program, in order to make education on these modalities available to everyone.

APPROVED AND REGULATED “Lisa dedicated herself to giving Betty a fabulous life, but the breed is predisposed to joint and skin issues, and Betty was aging,” says Jenny Rukavina, Executive Director of RMSAAM. “Lisa flew to California with Betty to attend animal massage and acupressure courses, and noticed a difference in Betty’s mobility and skin/coat health before they even came home. Betty inspired Lisa to take massage courses; later, the dog helped her teach massage to other pet owners, and she was by Lisa’s side when she founded the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage.” Twelve years later, the school has grown and is well respected for animal massage and acupressure certification.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE The school has grown tremendously since its inception. With three campuses (Longmont, CO, Elizabeth, CO, and Fort Myers, FL), RMSAAM has become one of the world’s best known schools in the industry, with students coming from all over the world.

In a world where certifications and regulations are king, especially when it comes to areas that regularly come under scrutiny, such as complementary therapies, RMSAAM can hold its head high. “There are lots of things we are proud of,” says Sarah. “We are approved and regulated through the Colorado Department of Higher Education Private Occupational School Board, are an approved provider through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork, and the Registry for Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Education, to name a few. Our massage programs recently received approval from the Washington State Department of Health granting our graduates the opportunity to receive licensure in the State of Washington. We pride ourselves on supporting our students through the whole process, not just while they are attending a class. Our instructors are all working practitioners who offer our students real-world, diverse experience and knowledge.”

“RMSAAM is proud to offer fantastic programs, and give people the career they have always dreamed of,” says Sarah Gonzales, Assistant to the Director. “We have had people with many different backgrounds come through our school, and each one just wants to do what they love.” “We offer Canine and Equine Massage programs in Colorado, Florida, or online,” continues Sarah. “These programs consist of three levels that will give the student well-rounded knowledge and allow them to become certified to start their career.” RMSAAM also offers Equine and Canine Acupressure programs in Colorado. Students looking for shorter courses can attend one or two-day workshops in areas like Animal Communication, Laser Therapy, and Essential Oils for Animals. If you aren’t able to attend classes at one of their locations, RMSAAM has been


Equine Wellness


Swimming can help your equine recover faster and with less stress.

By Jessica McLoughlin, REMT

Swim therapy for your horse 32

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wimming is the only aerobic exercise that engages all the body’s systems without requiring the limbs to bear weight. But did you know it’s as good for your horse as it is for yourself?

Horses and humans are not as dissimilar in their body structure as you might think. Our musculoskeletal systems, joints, tendons, ligaments and dynamics of locomotion are all very similar. Just as a doctor might prescribe swimming as a form of rehabilitation exercise for a human, a veterinarian may prescribe the same treatment for a horse. Swimming benefits multiple systems in the horse’s body. Let’s take a look!

MUSCLES AND TENDONS A typical exercise routine for horses has them utilizing only 60% to 70% of their maximum muscle length. This is often due to the demands we make on them in order to achieve a desirable performance (e.g. collection, speed control). Repeated workouts that do not allow the muscles to fully lengthen cause contractures, spasms and general stiffness. When a horse is swimming, the length of the stride increases in order to keep his body afloat. This elongation of the muscles allows for a lengthened stride in the water. So by swimming, the horse’s muscles are stretching freely, thereby increasing the range of motion of his limbs, preventing muscle contractures and spasms, and at the same time promoting muscle symmetry, flexibility and core balance. A horse that is exercised in a swimming pool will gain muscle strength, tone and endurance more quickly than one working on the ground. This is partly because water resistance is greater than air resistance. Tendons are made of strong, fibrous tissue, which connect muscles to bones. They act like springs within the body as they transmit mechanical force from muscle contractions to the bones during movement. Their role is to absorb energy and provide suspension for the horse in motion. Because tendons carry the weight of the horse, they are prone to injury. Swimming is one treatment option for a tendon injury. It allows the horse to maintain his muscle tone and flexibility, due to the absence of concussive forces, while the injured structure rehabilitates.

CARDIOVASCULAR AND RESPIRATORY SYSTEMS Swimming is an aerobic exercise, meaning that it requires a lot of oxygen to meet the energy demands of the body. Under normal circumstances, the only way to build cardiovascular fitness in a horse is with regular exercise. Continued on page 34.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 33.

Swimming has been proven to increase the contractility of the heart, meaning that the heart is able to contract and relax more efficiently. By increasing the efficiency of the heart, you are increasing systemic circulation. When the heart is being exercised via “cardio” workouts such as swimming, the lungs are required to take in more oxygen. This is achieved by increasing the rate of respiration. When systemic circulation improves, so does oxygen supply to the tissues. The presence of lactic acid in the muscles is what causes the painful sensation you experience following excessive exercise, and is the primary cause of muscle fatigue. Horses produce lactic acid in the same manner as humans. Lactic acid forms as a by-product when the body is working anaerobically, meaning without oxygen. Under normal circumstances, the body can deal with the lactic acid build-up by slowly ridding itself of the waste product via the kidneys. By increasing oxygen supply to the tissues, we can decrease lactic acid production, reducing muscle fatigue more quickly and efficiently. This decreases recovery time following strenuous exercise. The respiratory and cardiovascular systems compliment each other. By increasing the efficiency of one system, you increase the efficiency of the other. At rest, the body has enough oxygen to adequately supply the tissues. When the horse starts to exercise, the heart rate goes from a resting rate of 25 to 40 beats per minute to 150 to 200 beats per minute, and he will inhale in as much as 90 liters of oxygen per minute to meet the tissue demands.

When swimming is not an option

• The locomotion of a horse under water differs from normal movement, which means swimming is contraindicated when certain joints are injured. Horses with stifle or hock injuries should not be swimming because the movement of the joint can cause further damage. Exercising on an underwater treadmill may be a better option for horses with these ailments. • Never swim a horse with a compromised cardiovascular or respiratory system. • Horses suffering from skin conditions should not be swimming since the chemicals can further irritate the problem. • As swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise, not much thought goes into what the bones are doing. All bones in the body are in use when the horse is swimming, but evidence suggests that swimming is not the most beneficial form of exercise for building bone strength. In order to develop strong healthy bones, a well-balanced diet and lots of traditional exercise is your best bet. • If you have ever had the opportunity to see a horse submerged in water, you may notice that the position of his body is completely opposite to what we typically try to achieve. When a horse swims, his back and neck is inverted and the abdominal muscles are dropped. If swimming is the only form of exercise he gets, the horse will undoubtedly build and develop muscle in areas that are considered undesirable.

Swimming has been proven to increase the contractility of the heart, meaning that the heart is able to contract and relax more efficiently.


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Swimming allows the horse to build a strong heart and lungs, without the upward concussive forces applied to soft tissues, bones and joints while exercising in the traditional manner.



PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS Following injury, the prescribed treatment is often medication and limited movement (stall rest). Plenty of performance horses are conditioned to life in a stall, but are exercised daily to compensate for the time spent inside. Horses recovering from an injury are typically only allowed to leave their stalls for brief periods of hand-walking. During the recovery period, the horse is confined to a stall, all the while losing muscle tone and often developing undesirable vices and going a little stir crazy. Horses require movement and stimulation for the health of both body and mind. Swimming a horse on lay-up is a great way to provide him with the stimulation he needs, while still allowing the body to heal from injury. Of course, no one treatment works for all ailments. Careful consideration and veterinary consultation must be done prior to constructing an exercise or rehabilitation regime involving swimming. There are instances when swimming is not the best mode of exercise or rehabilitation (see sidebar). For the healthy horse, a well-balanced, diverse exercise regime that includes swimming is a fabulous way to condition him and build overall muscle strength and stamina while developing a healthy heart and lungs. For horses recovering from an injury, swimming is a beneficial treatment option. Again, in all cases, a veterinarian must be consulted before swimming is added to the horse’s exercise program.

Jessica McLoughlin graduated from D’Arcy Lane School of Equine Massage Therapy in London, ON in 2003. She is an active member of the International Federation of Registered Equine Massage Therapists and completed a four-month internship, followed by a one-year work term, at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center (KES MARC) in Lexington. Jess returned to Nova Scotia as an enthusiastic advocate for equine rehabilitation. She established Atlantic Equine Massage in 2007, and serves Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. (902) 275-7972



he slow feeding movement has gained great momentum over the past few years as more and more people (and horses!) discover its benefits. Feeding hay with a slow feeder causes your horse to have to take five to seven nibbles when he would normally grab one big bite of hay. This is great not only for those horses that “vacuum” up their feed, but for almost every horse out there (the exception would be older horses or picky eaters whose consumption levels should not be limited). Horses in nature browse and graze throughout the day, a practice that best utilizes their digestive systems. Horses in stalls or pens are usually fed two or three times a day, and this taxes their digestive systems. By using a slow feeder, you extend the time it takes the horse to consume his ration (up to 50%), without using more hay, thus feeding in a more natural way. Slow feeding is also perfect for horses that worry about feed time or have vices such as weaving or cribbing. By keeping hay in front of them all day you can diminish their stress levels, and the resulting behaviors. There are benefits for you, too! Hay will last longer, so it means less work at feeding time. The horses waste less, creating less work for you and less strain on your wallet (especially important in areas where hay is difficult to get). The savings in hay wastage will cover the cost of your new slow feeders in no time, and your horses will have something that keeps them engaged, happy and healthy!


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M 36

Equine Wellness

by William Ormston, DVM, CAC, and Amy Hayek, DVM, CAC, CVA

odern technology has given us some amazing tools. We have radiographs, bone scans, MRIs, CT scans, thermography and ultrasound. When coupled with a good old-fashioned exam, these technologies can, in most cases, help us arrive at a diagnosis.

LONG TERM HELP FOR ARTHRITIS A lot of horses that come to see us have been diagnosed with arthritis in the joints of their lower limbs. Arthritis is simply an inflammation of the joint, yet we have talked to owners who have spent thousands of dollars to receive this diagnosis. For example, there was heat on the thermograph and the lameness got better when the nerves to the joint were blocked. This was followed by x-rays, an ultrasound, and sometimes bone and CT scans. The joints were then injected to make them feel

better and an anti-inflammatory of some sort was offered, with the prognosis that therapeutic shoes or retirement might be in the horse’s future. Everyone feels better – or do they?

will treat the original cause of the hypermobility that led to arthritis and the formation of painful joint spurs.

UNDERSTANDING STRESS HORMONES The most common reason for arthritis to develop is hypermobility in the joint. The body sees this as a structural weakness and starts to add extra calcium to the location in an attempt to strengthen the area. The calcium becomes a bone spur and, like any spur, can cause pain. Treating this area with injections, supplements, and altered biomechanics is simply putting a Band-aid on the symptom. We must find the original cause of the hypermobile joint in order to have a horse that truly feels better. Joint tension is determined by the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint capsule. When the muscles attached to the tendons get tight and spasm, the joint will not move well. When the muscles become lax, the tendons lose tension and the joint will become hypermobile. There are two ways for a muscle to lose mass and become weaker: either it is not being used, or its nerve supply is hindered. When a horse moves, he requires every muscle in order to take one step, so the probabilities of a muscle not being used are fairly slim. This leaves decreased nerve supply as the main reason for muscle loss in the horse. The weight of a dime placed on a nerve will decrease transmission by over 50%, and will cause a noticeable loss of muscle mass within six days! Subluxations in the spine at any level between the muscle problem and the brain can cause swelling and place pressure on the nerve. Adjustment and removal of the spinal subluxation

We have recently seen an increase of several metabolic diseases in some of our new patients. These include insulin-resistant diabetes, metabolic syndrome, laminitis and Cushing’s, as well as Lyme disease and EPM. Blood tests have been done on these horses, sometimes repeatedly. Dietary restrictions have been implemented, sometimes in the form of a grazing muzzle or restricted access to hay. Antibiotics may have been given, and supplements added. Again, everyone feels better – or do they? When animals are stressed, they react in the way evolution has given them to protect themselves. They respond with increased liver and muscle glycolysis, increased blood glucose levels and cellular insulin resistance, and increased cellular metabolism throughout the body, allowing for

The weight of a dime placed on a nerve will transmission by over





Equine Wellness


enhanced muscle contraction and strength. When appropriate, this allows the animal to “flee the lion”. When inappropriate, we call it diabetes or a metabolic syndrome. The heart rate increases, causing elevated blood pressure and vasoconstriction in the viscera. Lowered blood levels in the gut allow more blood to be available for the skeletal muscles. This leads to poor digestion and altered gastrointestinal tract function. The animal will have decreased serotonin levels with immediately enhanced mental function and clarity, but impaired short-term memory, concentration and learning ability. There is an emotional increase in fear, anxiety and depression, and in sensory sensitivity, especially to pain. When appropriate, this allows the animal to escape to live another day. When inappropriate, it leads to easy keepers, poor doers, and training issues. Stress also causes decreased immune function, and a reduction in anabolic hormones like HGH, testosterone and LH, which are necessary for appropriate bodily functions. Blood coagulation rates speed up as the horse’s body increases clotting factors like fibrin, fibrinogen, plasmin and platelets. Protein degradation in organs, muscle, fascia and connective tissue speeds up. When appropriate, these responses allow the animal to stop bleeding and maintain bodily functions until the perceived danger is past. When inappropriate, the horse becomes sensitive to opportunistic invaders like Lyme, EPM and gastrointestinal parasites. He is more likely to have systemic problems like laminitis and founder.

The most common reason for arthritis to develop is

hypermobility in the joint.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BALANCE Subluxations in the spinal column will cause imbalances in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Balance between the protection and maintenance parts of the nervous system is important for long-term health in the horse. Stress causes the protection part to be turned on full-time. In these cases, it is important to give the horse non-inflammatory feeds, reduce noise and contaminants in the barn, increase exercise levels and maintain feet and teeth at angles that allow normal function. Drugs and a restricted diet often add to the horse’s stress. Chiropractic adjustments and a proper diet are aimed at decreasing this stress. The nervous system controls all the other organs and tissues in the body. If the brain can’t communicate with the distal tissues, disease will result. However, the body has the power to heal itself. The more things your horse has going for him, the better his chances of maintaining health. Chiropractic care, proper foot trimming, adequate exercise and an appropriate diet are all geared towards helping your horse heal. Are you helping or hindering his health?

William Ormston, DVM, and Amy Hayek, DVM, have a combined experience of 40 years, allowing them to teach movement to other veterinarians. Dr. Ormston owns Jubilee Animal Health in Celina, Texas and Dr. Hayek owns East Coast Equine in Summerville, South Carolina. In addition to practicing, both doctors are well known lecturers and travel extensively all over the US and internationally. They can be reached via HYHH.TV or AnimalChiropracticEducation.com 38

Equine Wellness

GREEN ACRES by Matt Dickson



Canada’s food system is a result of the “green revolution”. Increased crop yields result from the use of large quantities of fossil-fuel energy in the form of diesel-powered machinery. This heavy reliance on fossil fuels means our food system is dependent on non-renewable resources that are becoming increasingly scarce and volatile. This dependence poses a growing threat to both our food sovereignty and future energy supply. The idea of reverting Canadian agricultural practices back to those used before the green revolution, when machinery such as ploughs, binders and threshing machines were pulled by horses or oxen, is unrealistic. Not only are average Canadian farms much larger and rural populations much smaller than they were before, but it simply wouldn’t be possible to produce enough calories to feed the world’s hugely increased population at a reasonable price.

MODERN ALTERNATIVES Thankfully, modern day alternatives can help us overcome our heavy reliance on fossil fuels. One alternative to replacing the machinery so ubiquitous on today’s Canadian farms is to substitute the diesel used to power the machinery with cleaner, renewable sources, such as electricity produced using a multitude of different technologies, including anaerobic digesters, wind turbines, solar panels, and small, run-of-the-river hydroelectric dams. One way to wean agriculture off its fossil fuel addiction is to use electric tractors plugged into the grid. While the idea of using plugged-in tractors may sound ludicrous at first, research to date has proven surprisingly positive. For example, in one recent study undertaken in Sweden, it was found that using mains-operated, electrically-powered tractors to carry out even heavy fieldwork, such as ploughing and harrowing, was not only possible, but the cost was lower than using conventional diesel machines; and this is based on today’s cost of fossil fuels.

ELECTRIC TRACTORS The idea behind electric tractors involves using a constant cabled power supply; the tractor carries a cable reel and plugs in to fixed connection points around the field. Technology and a special driving pattern are then used to avoid damaging the cable when the tractor carries out the fieldwork. While a cable and connection points are unavoidable, the avoidance of expensive and heavy batteries greatly reduces both the cost and weight of the tractor. With Canada’s abundant and growing supply of clean, renewable electricity from hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, anaerobic digesters and solar panels throughout the country, the electrification of agriculture will enable a more sustainable food system by shielding farmers from increasingly scarce and volatile fossil fuels.

With over ten years of experience, Matt Dickson’s education and experience in agricultural biomass technology research, assessment and analysis, coupled with his connections to biomass waste management and renewable energy research organizations in Europe, enable him to provide clients with the highest-quality consultant services based on their specific biomass needs and priorities. hallbarconsulting.com

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 Icicle Equine Services Katie Garrett Leavenworth, WA USA Phone: (425) 422-4799 Email: Kegarrett88@yahoo.com

Kathleen Berard San Antonio, TX USA Phone: (210) 402-1220 Email: kat@katberard.com Website: www.katberard.com Animal Paradise Communication & Healing, LLC Janet Dobbs Oak Hill, VA USA Phone: (703) 648-1866 Email: janet@animalparadisecommunication.com Website: www.animalparadisecommunication.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

Dr. Bonnie Harder, D.C. Ogle, IL USA Phone: (815) 757-0425 Email: drbonniedc@hbac4all.com Website: www.holisticbalanceanimalchiro.com

Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 953-3360 Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com Website: www.NaturalHorseTraining.com Healing Touch for Animals Drea Robertson Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com

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

Claudia Hehr Animal Communicator To truly know and understand animals. Georgetown, ON Canada Phone: (519) 833-2382 Website: www.claudiahehr.com

Communicate With Animals Kristin Thompson Newfane, NY USA Phone: (716) 778-6233 Email: kristen@communicatewithanimals.com Website: www.communicatewithanimals.com

Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: acupressure4all@earthlink.net Website: www.animalacupressure.com



Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com

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

Double Check Inspections Inc. Ottawa, ON USA Phone: (613) 322-3682 Website: www.doublecheckinspections.ca


The Oasis Farm Cavan, ON Canada Phone: (705) 742-3297 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com


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

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

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

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com


your business in the


Equine Wellness Equine Wellness 4141


LIVE AND LET LIVE FARMS RESCUE AND SANCTUARY Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA187 to Live and Let Live Farms Rescue and Sanctuary.

Normandy (right) and Rosie (below), two of the five horses that were recovered by Live and Let Live Farm after being confined to a barn without appropriate care, are now thriving.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 1996 LOCATION: Chichester, NH TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Horses and at-risk pregnant dogs from many areas of the country.

STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: All volunteers. FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: “We rely on the great hearts and giving hands of generous supporters and great volunteers,” says founder Teresa Paradis. “Our main fundraiser is our bi-yearly mailing and the sale of our beautiful rescue calendar, featuring our own rescue horses and other animals.”

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “On June 6, 2014, Teresa and a group of about 20 volunteers wound their way up interstate 93 to Northfield, New Hampshire,” says volunteer Scott Philbrick. “The convoy of trucks, horse trailers and volunteers was en route to facilitate the rescue of several horses that had been living in unimaginable conditions for years. Once on site, Teresa met with local law enforcement, the NH Department of Agriculture, and state veterinarians. “Inside the barn, the heat was oppressive, and the stench of urine and waste so strong you could taste it. Walking was difficult, because of the decades of accumulated manure. The five horses to be rescued, once sentenced to a life of solitary confinement in tiny stalls with no doors or windows, were freed from their crypts. Deep, raw score marks were revealed near the fetlocks of the one mare’s rear legs – the apparent result of having her legs shackled. Eventually, all five horses were loaded into trailers and taken to their new home at Live and Let Live Farm to begin their recovery and new life. “More than a year-and-a-half has passed since this rescue. Except for the most immediate vetting, additional much-needed veterinary care and surgeries were delayed due to the myriad of legal issues surrounding this complex and ugly situation. Happily, we can now report that while there are still some minor legal encumbrances, the surgeries have been completed. Internal and external parasites have been cleared, the horses’ structure and musculature have been strengthened and toned, and their socialization with other equines has grown in leaps and bounds – in short, they are thriving.”

liveandletlivefarm.org 42

Equine Wellness


BEAR VALLEY RESCUE Sundre, AB Rescue Code: EWA038 www.bearvalleyab.org

JOURNEY’S END RANCH ANIMAL RESCUE Kingman, AZ Rescue Code: EWA021 www.jersanctuary.org

BC INTERIOR HORSE RESCUE SOCIETY Kelowna, BC Rescue Code: EWA086 www.bcihrs.ca OLD FRIENDS CANADA SOCIETY Lake Country, BC Rescue Code: EWA087 www.oldfriendscanada.org GO AND PLAY STABLES Douro, ON Rescue Code: EWA101 www.goandplaystables.org PRIDE THERAPEUTIC RIDING STABLES Kitchener, ON Rescue Code: EWA026 www.pridestables.com SUNRISE THERAPEUTIC & LEARNING CENTRE Puslinch, ON Rescue Code: EWA011 www.sunrise-therapeutic.ca THE DONKEY SANCTUARY Guelph, ON Rescue Code: EWA012 www.thedonkeysanctuary.ca WHISPERING HEARTS HORSE RESCUE Hagersville, ON Rescue Code: EWA050 www.whhrescue.com WIND DANCER PONY RESCUE FOUNDATION Sheffield, ON Rescue Code: EWA070 www.winddancerponies.org SADIE’S PLACE HORSE RESCUE Brookfield, PEI Rescue Code: EWA057 www.sadiesplace.ca

FORGOTTEN HORSES RESCUE INC Homeland, CA Rescue Code: EWA056 www.forgottenhorsesrescue.org NATIONAL EQUINE RESOURCE NETWORK Encinitas, CA Rescue Code: EWA030 www.nationalequine.org THE GENTLE BARN Santa Clarita, CA Rescue Code: EWA180 www.gentlebarn.org DREAMCATCHERS EQUINE RESCUE Fountain, CO Rescue Code: EWA059 www.dcerinc.org SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE Farmington, CT Rescue Code: EWA067 www.KomenCT.org HORSE RESCUE RELIEF & RETIREMENT FUND INC. Cumming, GA Rescue Code: EWA060 www.SaveTheHorses.org STAMP OUT STARVATION OF HORSES INC. Clarksville, GA Rescue Code: EWA033 www.sosofhorses.com BLACK HILLS WILD HORSE SANCTUARY Hot Springs, ID Rescue Code: EWA085 www.wildmustangs.com SOCIETY FOR HOOVED ANIMAL’S RESCUE & EMERGENCY Champaign, IL Rescue Code: EWA018 www.s-h-a-r-e.net/ SOUTHERN WINDS EQUINE RESCUE & RECOVERY CENTER Udall, KS Rescue Code: EWA010 www.southernwindsequinerescue.org/

OUR MIMS RETIREMENT HAVEN Paris, KY Rescue Code: EWA184 www.OurMims.org RAINHILL EQUINE FACILITY INC Bowling Green, KY Rescue Code: EWA095 www.rainhillequinefacili.wix.com BLUE STAR EQUICULTURE St. Palmer, MA Rescue Code: EWA027 www.equiculture.org EQUINE RESCUE NETWORK Boxford, MA Rescue Code: EWA093 www.equinerescuenetwork.com GENTLE GIANTS DRAFT HORSE RESCUE Mount Alry, MD Rescue Code: EWA094 www.gentlegiantsdrafthorserescue. com SAND STONE FARMS RESCUE EFFORT Ortonville, MI Rescue Code: EWA062 www.sandstonefarm.info SAVING GRACE MINIATURE HORSE RESCUE Emmett, MI Rescue Code: EWA196 www.sgminihorserescue.com BIT O’ LUCK HORSE RESCUE Huntersville, NC Rescue Code: EWA053 www.bitoluck.org LIVE AND LET LIVE FARM RESCUE Chichester, NH Rescue Code: EWA187 www.liveandletlivefarm.org HORSE RESCUE UNITED Howell, NJ Rescue Code: EWA049 www.horserescueunited.org/ AMARYLLIS FARM EQUINE RESCUE Bridgehampton, NY Rescue Code: EWA005 www.amaryllisfarm.com ANOTHER CHANCE EQUINE RESCUE Columbia Station, OH Rescue Code: EWA022 www.acerescue.org

PASO BY PASO EQUINE REHABILITATION Bend, OR Rescue Code: EWA055 www.pasobypaso.org L.E.A.R.N. HORSE RESCUE Ravenel, SC Rescue Code: EWA190 www.learnhorserescue.org FERRELL HOLLOW FARM Readyville, TN Rescue Code: EWA054 www.ferrellhollowfarm.org CROSSFIRE RESCUE Bacliffe, TX Rescue Code: EWA052 www.crossfirerescue.org



EQUINE CANCER SOCIETY Mansfield, TX Rescue Code: EWA182 www.equinecancersociety.com THE PEGASUS PROJECT Ben Wheeler, TX Rescue Code: EWA002 www.mypegasusproject.org CENTRAL VIRGINIA HORSE RESCUE Brodnax, VA Rescue Code: EWA058 www.centralvahorserescue.com PAINTED ACRES RESCUE & SANCTUARY, INC Winchester, VA Rescue Code: EWA075 www.paintedacresrescue.web.net SERENITY EQUINE RESCUE & REHABILITATION Maple Valley, WA Rescue Code: EWA028 www.serenityequinerescue.com THE DAVEY JONES EQUINE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION Seattle, WA Rescue Code: EWA064 www.djemf.com SPIRIT HORSE EQUINE RESCUE Janesville, WI Rescue Code: EWA083 www.spirithorseequinerescue.org HEART OF PHOENIX Shoals, WV Rescue Code: EWA096 www.wvhorserescue.org

Equine Wellness


HERB BLURB by Jessica Lynn

the benefits of

Rose hips Rose hips are the seedpods or fruit of the rose. We don’t often see them anymore, because we tend to prune faded rose blossoms to encourage more flowers, or too readily cut the flowers to bring them inside. Once the flower stem is cut, no rose hip will be produced. However, if you leave the spent flowers on the bush towards the end of the growing/flowering season, which in most areas is late fall, you should see these small, berry-sized, reddish seed balls, which will be left on the tips/ends of the stems once the rose petals fall.

Roses belong to the same family as the apple and crabapple, so it is no coincidence that rose hips look like tiny apples. Rose hips can be a bit tart, similar to crabapples, but horses do not seem to mind the flavor.

HEALTH BENEFITS Rose hips are one of the richest sources of vitamin C and also contain vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin K. They can help any horse fight off infections and boost his immune health. By feeding your horse a tablespoon or two of rose hip powder, you’re giving him his daily ration of vitamin C in a natural, more useable form. Feeding rose hips on a regular basis will also help encourage hoof growth due to its naturally-occurring biotin content coupled with its flavonoid and copper content. In nursing foals, feeding rose hips to the mare and foal has also proven helpful in preventing scouring on the mare’s cycle.

FEEDING AND DOSAGE Dried rose hips are readily available from commercial herbal companies and come in several forms, including the whole rose hip, cut and sifted rose hips, and ground rose hip powder. I feed my Miniatures a level tablespoon per day, and my horses receive two rounded tablespoons mixed in their bucket/supplement feed. I feed it not only for the vitamin C content, but also for the copper content, since my well water is deficient in copper. On occasion, for a treat, I give the horses a handful of cut and sifted rose hips sprinkled on top of their bucket feed, which they all seem to enjoy crunching on!

Jessica Lynn is a writer, equine nutritionist, and the owner of Earth Song Ranch, an herbal blend, natural feed and supplement manufacturer based in Southern California. She has been involved in alternative health care, homeopathy and nutrition for almost five decades and uses it for her family, horses, border collies and cats. She personally formulates and tests all of the Earth Song Ranch nutritional products. Jessica@earthsongranch. com; 1-951-514-9700; earthsongranch.com; facebook.com/earthsongranch. 44

Equine Wellness


Sole-Guard is a fast (30 sec) setting liquid urethane material that provides durable protection and support and retains its shape and flexibility indefinitely. Sole-Guard is designed for use without shoes and adheres to the sole sealing out moisture and debris, protecting the frog and sole. Sole-Guard leaves the sole in excellent condition.

Farrier’s Finish® by Life Data Labs Inc. is a liquid topical hoof dressing that combats the “hoof eating” microbial invasions that lead to white line disease, thrush, and poor hoof quality. Farrier’s Finish® also supports correct moisture balance in the hoof capsule during excessively wet or dry conditions. Unlike other hoof care products, Farrier’s Finish® does not utilize tar, petroleum or other harsh chemicals.



LifeDataLabs.com cservice@lifedatalabs.com Product of the USA




Back on Track has added to their amazing lineup of products by introducing the Turnout Sheet. This terrific sheet comes with a tail flap, adjustable surcingles, rugged, adjustable chest buckles, elastic leg ties to ensure positioning during rolling and playing, and a shoulder gusset for the utmost freedom of movement. The unique fabric helps muscles feel loose, supple and comfortable. Even after years of regular washing, our products still perform like new! The 1680 Denier Fabric is extremely strong and durable, waterproof, and made with Back on Track’s signature Welltex material.

Feeding hay without waste has always been an issue, and with the advent of large round and square bales the problem has grown. SLOW BALE BUDDY Feeders have 1 1/2” openings and a patented safety fastener that keeps your hay contained until it is eaten. They are available in all bale sizes, eliminate waste while reducing boredom and anxiety, and are great for horses with respiration or obesity issues.


BackOnTrackProducts.com 1-888-758-9836 Equine Wellness



Dr. Kelli Taylor is a 2008 summa cum laude graduate of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She was born with a love of horses and has striven to be near them her entire life, even when it was impossible for her to have her own. Just after graduation, she completed an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital and has been practicing integrative medicine in Washington state ever since. She is certified in animal chiropractic, veterinary acupuncture, and equine rehabilitation therapy with certifications in Chinese herbal medicine and food therapy pending. When not working, you can find Dr.Taylor trail riding with her gelding, Flash, or hiking and climbing with her husband in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. She can be reached via e-mail at drkelli@mindfulhealingvet.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.


We are seeing the first cases of rabies in our area in over ten years. Is there anything we should be doing to protect our horses?

A: Rabies is an acute viral infection of the nervous system that mainly affects carnivores and bats. It is an infrequent cause of neurologic disease in horses, but once symptoms develop, it is invariably fatal. Rabies has considerable public health significance as it is a zoonotic disease (can be transmitted to humans). Exposure occurs through the bite of an animal already infected with the rabies virus, typically a wild animal such as a raccoon, fox, skunk or bat. Because horses are curious creatures, bites occur most often on the muzzle, face and lower limbs. The virus then migrates via peripheral nerves to the central nervous system, and eventually the brain where it initiates rapidly progressive and fatal encephalitis. It is important to realize that the signs of rabies can vary, and early stages of the disease can be easily confused with other neurologic or toxin-induced diseases. Diagnosis cannot be confirmed in a live animal and there is no effective treatment once clinical signs have appeared. Therefore, it is best to prevent exposure to the virus.


Equine Wellness

Since rabies has recently become a problem in your area, I would recommend discussing vaccination with your veterinarian especially if your horse has never been vaccinated against the rabies virus before. Several vaccinations are available for horses that appear to be safe and effective in preventing rabies. Remember to vaccinate your barn cats as well, as they are more likely to encounter an infected wild animal before your horses. The rabies vaccines tend to induce a strong serologic response, and are typically recommended to be boostered annually, though the duration of immunity likely lasts somewhere in the three to five year range. If you prefer not to booster vaccinations annually, rabies antibody titer testing is available through the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Besides vaccination, other preventative care measures include attempting to reduce interaction between your horses and wildlife. Do not intentionally or unintentionally feed wildlife, i.e. secure all grain containers and their lids. If bats have taken up roost in your barn, try to relocate them to bat boxes on the outskirts of your property.


My mare has been itching her neck like crazy, and my coach thinks it might be threadworms. How can my horse have worms if she is on a regular deworming program?


A: If your horse has been routinely dewormed with an ivermectin or moxidection product, the cause of her neck itchiness is not likely due to neck threadworm. Adult neck threadworms, also known as filarial parasite Onchocerca cervicalis, can live for many years in or around the large nuchal ligament of the neck, but no clinical signs have been associated with the presence of the adult worms. The adult worms do release microfilariae, which are microscopic parasite stages, in the loose connective tissue under the skin of the neck or ventral midline, and the clinical signs of neck threadworm (dermatitis with itching and swelling) are due to these microfilariae. The microfilariae are quite susceptible to avermectin containing products however, and marked clinical improvement in horses with onchocercal dermatitis is seen following administration.


My gelding had an encounter with a T-post and needed stitches in his face. It has been a week, and I was wondering if there was anything I could do to help speed healing and reduce scarring?

A: It is important to keep the wound clean and protected from further trauma. As the wound heals, the suture site may become itchy, so try to remove any objects from your gelding’s stall, paddock or pasture that he may be able to rub his face on. I have started using regular cold laser treatments to speed the healing of wounds with great success. If you decide to pursue this treatment, please keep in mind that over-stimulation of a wound can actually delay healing however, so it is best to use a trained professional. An acupuncture technique called “surround the dragon” can also be very helpful in improving circulation and sensation in the damaged tissues.

Is it safe to feed horses bales of hay with some moldy spots in them out in the pasture? Will the horses just pick out the good hay, or will they eat the moldy hay as well?

A: Moldy hay tends to smell musty and has a whitish to grayish dusty coating. It is best to avoid feeding any moldy hay to horses, as spores from the moldy portion often contaminate the non-moldy portion and can be inhaled during feeding leading to respiratory disease. Some molds can also produce poisons called mycotoxins which can cause a variety of symptoms including: inappetence or refusal of feed, reduced nutrient absorption and impaired metabolism, altered digestion and microbial growth, diarrhea, intestinal irritation, immune system suppression, lower fertility, abortions, lethargy, organ damage and even death. Horses, unlike ruminants who can handle moldy forage better, have simple stomachs. By design, most absorption of nutrients and therefore also mycotoxins, occurs in the small intestines. Though horses have a portion of intestines in which an active microbial population helps to digest forage via fermentation, it is in the large intestine. In ruminants, the fermentation process occurs in the series of stomachs just prior to entering the small intestine. Degradation of mycotoxins present in the feed therefore occurs in the rumen and other stomachs allowing less of the active toxins to be absorbed into the blood stream. This is what makes ruminants less susceptible to mycotoxin poisoning. The good news is that moldy forages are generally less palatable, so horses typically refuse to eat the hay prior to ingesting enough feed to cause severe intestinal tract damage, though mild colic may still be noted. To be safe, just don’t feed it to horses!

If the wound is unable to be bandaged, I prefer to use an herbal cream or ointment to help keep the healing skin moist. Look for a human grade product that contains comfrey (reduces scarring), wheat germ oil (rich in vitamin A, D & E), and calendula (increases blood flow to the wound site) or seek out a veterinarian whom has been trained in Traditional Chinese herbal medicine for a healing salve specific for your horse.

Equine Wellness



master teachers

by Anna Twinney

Horses as

Horses are masters at assessing your body language. They are also able to read your thoughts, intentions, and ultimately the energy surrounding your very being. Even before your arrival at the barn, they can sense how you feel and often reflect it back to you through their being and actions. Horses don’t ask much of us, but the most important thing they do ask is that you are present in their presence.

YOU CAN DO THIS BY: • Taking a moment to unwind and ground yourself with deep breathing before you visit your horse. • Being aware of your emotions and making the decision to leave your worries at home. Give yourself permission to enjoy your time together with your horse.

• Removing any time pressures. You have the choice to either rush through your experience together, or to truly be present and enjoy every moment.

• Realizing that strong agendas, focus and clarity are all good things, but when you refuse to be flexible and these things rule your life, you lose sight of what is important. Being mindful of your thoughts will change the whole relationship with your horse. Notice how much more he connects with you as you share in his silent language. As you quiet your mind, you will create space to capture your horse’s whispers through a deeper connection, greater understanding, and more subtle communication. If you find your mind wandering into the past or future, simply acknowledge the thought and bring yourself back to the present moment.

Anna Twinney is known around the globe for her highly acclaimed work as an Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Karuna Reiki Master. Based in Elizabeth, Colorado, she is the founder of Reach Out to Horses®– the most unique and complete equine training program in the world. Her gentle methodologies and unique perspectives create a stress-free, trust-based, true partnership between horse and human. reachouttohorses.com


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TTouch for digestive health

by Mandy Pretty

These gentle, non-invasive exercises can offer your horse relief from minor digestive issues, improve his digestion, or reduce his discomfort while waiting for the vet in colic situations.


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Our equine friends are good examples of size, power, strength and resiliency. Yet they are surprisingly sensitive and sometimes even delicate when it comes to their digestive systems. The Tellington TTouch® Method offers many gentle, non-invasive and effective exercises to reduce the discomfort associated with digestive issues while awaiting veterinary care. They can also help alleviate many common digestive upsets or simply enhance overall digestive function.

Photo courtesy of Robyn Hood


Photo courtesy of Tina Constance

Whether it’s a case of gassiness and slight lethargy, or a full blown colic, the TTouch Ear Slides are one of the most effective and fast acting exercises you can use to help balance your horse’s digestive upsets. Ear Slides are a great tool to use when travelling to help stimulate appetite and encourage water consumption.

Ear Slides are a great tool for reducing heart rate and respiration as well as enhancing overall digestive well being.

MOUTH WORK If you find your horse does not immediately drink when the temperature changes or when traveling to new places, TTouch mouth work can be a very useful exercise.

Before you begin the Ear Slides work around the ear to give your horse a chance to relax and trust in what you are doing.

Once you have given your horse a chance to relax with your hand around his ears and poll, you can start the Ear Slides. Begin by facing the horse and standing slightly off to the side you will be working on. Gently place your hand over the top of one ear with your thumb pointing towards the poll, and stroke the ear outward and slightly forward, base to tip. Your opposite hand may want to stabilize the motion by resting gently on the noseband of the halter. Make several stroking motions on one ear, then switch to the other, alternating until the horse becomes more alert, or veterinary assistance arrives.

Photo courtesy Robyn Hood

Doing Ear Slides is easy. To prepare the horse to be touched around and on the ear, begin by gently moving the skin around the poll and ears in a small circular motion – the pressure should be as light as you would comfortably press on your own eyelid. If your horse is concerned about having his ears touched, begin by making the circles with the back of your hand, near the ears but where he is still comfortable, and work your way towards the more sensitive area.

Work around the outside of the muzzle before working the inside of the mouth.

The mouth is closely associated with the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotion and the parasympathetic nervous system. Refusing to drink can often be a result of emotional imbalance, a change in location, or the stress of travel. Continued on page 52.

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Photos courtesy of Rebecca Booth

Working the inside of the mouth can help encourage water consumption and reduce overall stress. Do not attempt if you are very inexperienced or nervous around a horse’s mouth.

Continued from page 51.

Activating the limbic system helps to steady a horse that is feeling emotional – this will speed up his adjustment to a new situation. Begin by making large circular motions around your horse’s nostril and muzzle with the flat of your hand while standing to the side of him. As with the ears, start with the back of your hand if your horse is unsure about being touched here. Once he is comfortable being touched around the mouth, steady the noseband of the halter with your hand closest to the horse. With your free hand, flatten out your palm with your fingers pressed together while your thumb points upward. With the side of your index finger, separate your horse’s lips and slide your fingers underneath the upper lip, pressing against the gums. It is important to keep all your fingers together and your thumb out of the mouth. Use a slight upward pressure to keep your fingers in contact with where the gums and upper lip meet. Rub your hand back and forth a couple of times and then remove your hand. It is not uncommon for horses to raise their heads or seem surprised by this technique at first. Always introduce this technique in small steps, only rubbing the gums a couple of times before removing your hand and then repeating the process. Most horses enjoy this once they have an idea of what to expect. Very few pleasant things are associated with working around a horse’s mouth, besides feeding him, so this exercise can come as a pleasant surprise.

THE EARS HAVE IT The ear is home to an acupuncture point map of the entire body, and can greatly affect digestion. The tip of the ear has a point for shock, making Ear Slides a great tool to use while waiting for your veterinarian, not only in times of colic but also with other serious conditions that might lead to shock. It should be noted that the Ear Slides can lower heart rate and respiration, so it is important not to do them while vital signs are being taken. 52

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BELLY LIFTS One of the most direct ways you can support your horse’s digestive health is through Belly Lifts. These are a great tool to use for cases of colic, mild gas discomfort or bloating, and any time your horse seems a bit “off his feed”. Like Ear Slides, Belly Lifts are ideal for use while awaiting veterinary care. Belly Lifts can be done with a girth, folded up towel, old sheet, surcingle, or even your hands. In a pinch you can even use a shirt. A second person can make this exercise easier, but it is also very doable on your own. If you have a second person, stand on either side of your horse, at the elbow. Take the girth or towel and pass it

Belly Lifts are an excellent exercise to encourage movement through the digestive system or relieve discomfort.

under the horse’s belly so that each person has an end. (If you are on your own, use a large bath towel or sheet, folded into an 8” to 12” wide section. Hold one end steadied at the withers while the other hand holds the end coming up from the belly.) Starting at the heart girth, slowly begin to lift to the count of four, hold for a few seconds, and then Equine Wellness


When you are on your own Belly Lifts can be done with a large bath towel or sheet.

slowly release for a count of six to eight. It is very important to watch your horse. It is best to go lighter and more slowly than you think you should, and always remember to pause for a moment before slowly releasing down. Continue this sequence of lift, pause, and slow release along the length of the barrel until you get near the flank. As you move further back, be sure to stand towards the shoulder so you are not in a kick zone. For many horses, discomfort will increase the further back you go, so lighten the lifting pressure as you move back. Repeat several times as necessary. In cases of colic or serious distress, while awaiting veterinary care, alternate between Ear Slides and Belly Lifts. Belly Lifts will often illicit a release of gas or even the passing of manure. They are great to do if your horse seems to be a bit uncomfortable in his belly or flank area or if he is lacking gut sounds. Like all TTouch work, they should never be done in lieu of veterinary care. Adding these simple exercises to your toolbox can go a long way to helping your equine partner stay happy, comfortable and healthy. They will also strengthen your relationship and build trust between you, whether in times of sickness or health.

Note: None of these techniques are designed to replace veterinary care. They are tools to use while awaiting veterinary assistance in serious cases, and to enhance the well-being of your horse by supporting digestive function.

Mandy Pretty is a certified Tellington TTouch and Connected RidingÂŽ practitioner based in Vernon, British Columbia. She teaches lessons and workshops throughout the year. ttouch.ca 54

Equine Wellness

by Cathy Alinovi, DVM



We seem to automatically assume that all horses have to eat grain. Let’s look at what your horse really needs to stay healthy!


any people believe that horses and grain go hand-in-hand. Most barns feed grain meals to their horses two to three times a day. But does your horse actually need it?

Whether he truly needs grain depends quite a bit on what function he serves, as well as your personal philosophy. There are many reasons people give their horses grain: it could be as a treat, added to feed supplements, just in case they ever have to give medication, or because they think horses need grain for nutrition. Other reasons to feed grain, especially for high performance horses, are to avoid “hay belly”, and for calories.

There are three things to consider when analyzing a horse’s ration: caloric needs, calcium/phosphorus ratio, and protein content of the diet.


Caloric needs

If the average horse weighs 1,000 pounds (455 kg), he needs to eat 15,000 Kcal a day to maintain his body weight. This average horse eats 2% of his body weight daily in hay, which amounts to about 20 pounds (9 kg). One pound of grass hay provides 800 to 1000 Kcal of energy. A horse in high levels Equine Wellness


of work will eat twice that – that’s 40 pounds of hay a day! Depending on where you live, a flake of hay can range from three to eight pounds – east coast hay being lighter than west coast hay. This means the high performance horse would need to eat over 10 flakes of average hay daily for enough calories to maintain body weight at high levels of work. For this reason, owners of high performance horses look to other diets for energy-rich compact feeds. Grain is the usual choice as it provides 1.5 times more energy per pound than hay; a pound of grain is much smaller than a pound of hay. Diets high in grains can lead to digestive issues – to prevent stomach ulcers and colic, a horse’s ration should be less than 25% grain. For the average horse, this means 15 pounds of hay and five pounds of grain spread throughout the day; double that for the high performance horse. Pasture horses have very little need for extra calories from grain. The pasture horse needs 20 pounds of hay only when grass isn’t available. Remember the rule of thumb – one horse per acre of grass. One acre of rich, well-growing grass will produce 28 acres of grass in a year. Given sufficient acreage, a pasture horse doesn’t need grain, only pampering. When grass is not available and hay is fed, it can be a good idea to supplement with a ration balancer, as hay does not have the same nutrition as grass.

Activity level

Daily calories

Moderate work

Approximately 25,000 Kcal

Heavy work

Approximately 33,000 Kcal



Equine Wellness

Approximately 15,000 Kcal

Mature horses need to eat a minimum of 8% protein; the active horse can do well with a 12% protein diet.


The calcium/phosphorous ratio

Thus far, our discussion has only looked at caloric needs. Different grains are better balanced nutritionally than others. Some horse owners feed whole oats because that is what their families have done for generations. Other owners feed corn-based sweet feed, while still others seek out whole grain concentrates. Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) are important nutrients to consider in the equine diet. (Other nutrients are also important, but calcium and phosphorus are critical.) A good Ca:P ratio should range from 1:1 to 2:1. The entire diet (grass, hay, grain and supplements) should favor more calcium than phosphorus. Different hays do a decent job of staying close to the healthy range. Grass hay tends to be quite close to the ideal ratio of 1:1 (everyone’s hay/grass is different and will vary by year, season, weather and soil). Alfalfa will have higher calcium levels (4.7:1) than grass hay, which is why experts do not recommend feeding strictly alfalfa to horses. However, as shown above, hay does not provide enough calories for high-level athletes. Grains are a great source of calories, but pure grains can unbalance the diet. For example, oats and barley have an inverted Ca:P ratio of 1:5, while corn runs 1:15! Owners could argue that a handful of grain won’t make a large impact on an otherwise balanced diet. However, thanks to portion size creep or increasing portion frequency, grain meals often turn into a large portion of the horse’s ration.


KCal per pound

Ca:P ratio

Protein concentration

Green pasture




Orchard grass hay




Timothy hay




Alfalfa pellets








Premium oats




Beet pulp




THREE: Protein needs

Protein is the third factor to consider in a haybased diet. Mature horses need to eat a minimum of 8% protein; the active horse can do well with a 12% protein diet. Too much dietary protein may lead to respiratory illness in stabled horses as a result of excess protein excreted through the urine. Average hay can range from 7% to 10% protein concentration. Thus, whether or not your horse needs protein supplementation depends on the protein content of the hay. For this reason, many horse owners have their hay tested. Unless your horse is a high performance athlete, grass and/or hay and an appropriate serving of a whole food supplement is plenty of nutrition for good health. The hardworking horse’s diet should be less than 25% grain to prevent colic. Careful selection of supplemental feeds must meet caloric needs as

well as keep the Ca:P ratio balanced, and provide the right amount of protein. For most horses, grain is best as a treat, a little snack that creates a bonding experience with the owner. By keeping the above pointers in mind, this little snack does not need to disrupt the diet.

Dr. Cathy Alinovi is a holistic veterinarian, animal lover, frequent media guest and nationally-celebrated author, and is quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. After graduating from veterinary school, she quickly realized that conventional medicine did not meet enough of her patients’ needs and became certified in Animal Chiropractic care, Veterinary Acupuncture and other alternative modalities. Dr. Cathy treats 80% of what walks in the door – not with expensive prescriptions – but with adequate nutrition. She is owner/veterinarian of Healthy PAWsibilities (formerly Hoofstock Veterinary Services) in rural Pine Village, IN. HealthyPawsibilities.com


TITLE: The Power of the Herd AUTHOR: Linda Kohanov Linda Kohanov, author of the bestselling Tao of Equus, has returned with another thought-provoking and insightful book. The Power of the Herd: A Nonpredatory Approach to Social Intelligence, Leadership, and Innovation will challenge your thinking on what makes a good leader. It offers tools to help improve your leadership skills and assess these qualities in others. “If you’re interested in boosting the nonverbal skills associated with leadership, social intelligence, assertiveness, and mutually supportive relationships, working with horses is an incredibly efficient, empowering, and fun way to master the elusive “other 90 percent” that distinguishes truly great leaders, innovators, and communicators,” says Linda. The book begins by exploring various leaders through history and the type of leaders/ leadership qualities we typically seek out, in addition to the trends and progress we have made as a species by changing the way we see and interact with each other. Linda goes on to offer insights into how to be a better leader through the horse-inspired Twelve Guiding Principles of nonpredatory leadership, while avoiding the four Stone Age Power Tools. She examines predatory vs. nonpredatory power and characteristics, making us rethink traditional views and placing emphasis on the positive leadership qualities of prey animals, which were previously thought of as weak or inferior.

PUBLISHER: New World Library Equine Wellness



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EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show February 11-21, 2016 – Scottsdale, AZ In its 61st year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win. For more information: (480) 515-1500 info@scottsdaleshow.com www.scottsdaleshow.com

Illinois Horse Fair March 4-6, 2016 – Springfield, IL At this annual event you will find clinics, demonstrations and over 140 commercial vendors open for the entire day. Tickets are now available and children under the age of 8 may enter for free when accompanied by an adult. For more information: (217) 529-6503 IHF@horsemenscouncil.org www.illinoishorsefair.com

Road to the Horse March 18-20, 2016 – Lexington, KY Annual Washington State Horse Expo Road to the Horse is a one-of-a-kind February 19-21, 2016 – Ridgefield, WA experience that combines education and entertainment for an amazing This year’s event will feature horsemanship experience. The goal of performances by the Black Pearl Friesians, Marvin Pierce’s Cowdogs, and Road to the Horse is to teach horsemen and women that natural horsemanship The Minis at Liberty. Additionally there will be a variety of national and regional is a kinder, gentler way of working with horses. Don’t miss this year’s 10th professional horse trainers such as Nick Anniversary Celebration Party! Karazissis, Sharon Camarillo, Craig Cameron, Steve Rother, Kyle Kelmer, For more information: Jessica Wisdom and more! (325) 736-5000 You won’t want to miss out on the Equine Extravaganza, the Extreme Cowboy Race and so many other events and demonstrations!


13th Annual Horse World Expo March 3-6, 2016 – Harrisburg, PA You will find top quality seminars and clinics. Different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and of course there is plenty of shopping!

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.

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course March 18-20, 2016 – $2,500 in CASH and PRIZES awarded to Denver, CO the top three riders in the Craig Cameron Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm - 10:00pm. This class is a EXTREME COWBOY RACE. prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. For more information: Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am info@wastatehorseexpo.com - 6:00pm. This class is a prerequisite www.wastatehorseexpo.com of the Large Animal Class.

Great family fun and entertainment! For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com www.horseworldexpo.com

Registrations & payments in full must be received and/or postmarked by February 21, 2016, to qualify for the Early Bird Tuition prices.

All Equine Show March 25-27, 2016 – London, ON The All Equine Show is dedicated to Equine enthusiasts. With demonstrations, live entertainment, educational clinics and shopping, there is plenty to see and do! For more information: contact@westernfairdistrict.com www.westernfairdistrict.com

Can-Am Equine All Breeds Emporium April 1-3, 2016 – Markham, ON Can-Am is Canada’s largest Equine education and recognition Event, creating awareness of the Horse Industry through educational seminars and clinics, breed recognition and trade events. This year you find appearances from Guy McLean (2012 Road to the Horse Champion), Jonathan Field (2012 Road to the Horse Finalist) as well as Stacy Westfall, the only female winner from Road to the Horse. For more information: (519) 942-3011 rmillar@rmillargroup.com www.canamequine.com

Virginia Horse Festival April 1-3, 2016 – Doswell, VA Mark your calendars for this year’s event! Some features include many vendors, clinics, demonstrations and much more. Interested in participating in a clinic? Join the industry’s top experts for engaging and educational clinics, demonstrations and seminars. Topics will appeal to new horse owners as well as seasoned riders. And don’t forget about the Breed Parade! Come out and experience some incredible horses. For more information: (804) 994-2800 www.virginiahorsefestival.com

For more information: Vicki Dunbar (303) 947-5455 Denver@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

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ASSOCIATIONS INTERNATIONAL ASSOC. OF ANIMAL MASSAGE & BODYWORK/ ASSOC. OF CANINE WATER THERAPY – Welcome trained practitioners of Animal Massage & Bodywork. The IAAMB/ACWT supports and promotes the practitioners of complementary care for animals through networking, continuing education, website, online referrals, newsletters, insurance, annual educational conferences, lobbying and credentialing of schools. www.IAAMB.org

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CHIROPRACTORS ANIMAL CHIROPRACTIC – Contact Dr. Pip Penrose for your large and small animal’s chiropractic care at pip@drpip.ca, (519) 276-8800, www.drpip.ca. Caring chiropractic for animals and humans in Stratford and surrounding area.

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

NATURAL PRODUCTS CALIFORNIA TRACE – Is a concentrated trace mineral supplement designed for horses on west coast forage diets. In addition to the balanced trace minerals, each serving contains biotin, vitamin A, vitamin E, lysine and methionine. California Trace supports optimal hoof growth and healthy coats that resist sun bleaching and fading. A common comment from customers after just a few months of feeding California Trace is that their horses seem to “glow.” It’s not unusual to see the incidence of skin problems and allergies decrease over time while feeding California Trace. www.californiatrace.com or (877) 632-3939

RIVA’S REMEDIES – Distributors required for Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan. Distributors provide products to tack and feed stores and horse health practitioners. Applicants should have sales experience with equine products, be knowledgeable about horse health and enjoy working with people (and horses). Please send resume to: info@rivasremedies.com ● www.rivasremedies.com THE PERFECT HORSE™ - Organic Blue Green Algae is the single most nutrient dense food on the planet with naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals and amino acids; all are provided in The Perfect Horse (E3Live® FOR HORSES) Our product sells itself; other make claims, we guarantee results. Join a winning team at www.The-Perfect-Horse.com ● (877) 357-7187 ● sales@e3liveforhorses.com

SADDLE FITTERS SCHLEESE – Ride pain free. For you. For your horse.80 point Diagnostic Saddle Fit Evaluation. Re-flocking and adjustments on site. Servicing most brands. Education and Videos. SaddlesforWomen.com and Guys too! (800) 225-2242 SOFT TREE SADDLES – Vogue SoftTree Saddle, Memory Foam Core, Dressage and GP Models. Provides optimized strength and flexibility, for unmatched freedom of movement. Customizable panels. Adapts to horse’s changing shape! 7 day Trial. (360) 295-3338 ● info@SoftTreeSaddles.com ● www. SoftTreeSaddles.com

SCHOOLS & TRAINING EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE – Learn to assess & resolve your horse’s issues – Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, & Apps. www.animalacupressure. com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com INTEGRATED TOUCH THERAPY, INC. – Has taught animal massage to thousands of students from all over the world for over 17 years. Offering intensive, hands-on workshops. Free brochure: (800) 251-0007, wshaw1@ bright.net, www.integratedtouchtherapy.com UC DAVIS EXTENSION – Take your learning beyond the classroom with equine outdoor adventures and educational trips from UC Davis Extension, offering continuing education courses for more than 50 years. (800) 757-0881, extension@ucdavis.edu, www.extension.ucdavis.edu

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

HORSE CARE BARNBOOTS – Dedicated to equine wellness from a balanced and holistic approach. Offering Barefoot and holistic horse care, natural resources and networking. www.barnboots.ca, info@barnboots.ca

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

Enhancing equine digestion

Watching your horses graze can be mesmerizing. What we don’t usually think about in those moments is what an anatomical marvel their digestive systems are! A long evolutionary process created the modern day horse’s ability to graze on tough, low-nutrient forage. Grasses are composed of cellulose. The nutrients in cellulose are contained in the walls of the plant cell. The horse’s teeth and powerful jaws are capable of grinding tough grasses, an important aspect of his ability to derive nutrients from the grass. The horse’s stomach is relatively small for the size of the animal, but the length of the rest of his digestive tract makes up for it. The equine small intestine is approximately 70 feet long. The masticated plant matter is further bathed in enzymes in the cecum, which is the beginning of the large intestine (four feet long). The waste matter then passes on to the large and small colons (20 to 28 feet long combined). The small intestine and cecum are where most of the nutrients are extracted from the roughage the horse has consumed.

EQUINE DIGESTION In the wild, horses travel anywhere from 20 to 30 miles in a day in search of forage. Physical exercise enhances the motility of the digestive process. Having sufficient water is also critical to the digestive process. The grasses cannot pass through the horse’s stomach and intestines without a significant amount of fluid. As every horse guardian knows, equine digestion can be tricky at times. To further assist in the digestive process and increase bioavailability of nutrients, you can offer your horse an acupressure session with acupoints specifically selected to enhance the balance and flow of energy in the entire gastrointestinal tract. By providing your horse with the acupressure session shown in the chart every five or six days, you are supporting his ability to create absorbable nutrients to nourish his body.


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ST 36

Sp 3







St 36 One finger width from the head of the fibula, on the lateral side of the tibia. Sp 3 Medial aspect of hind leg, at the thinnest part of the hock. CV 12 Found on ventral midline, halfway between xiphoid process and umbilicus.


• Stomach 36 (St 36) is a powerful acupoint known as the Master point for the gastrointestinal system. It helps maintain the balance of energy for digestion. • Spleen 3 (Sp 3) benefits the Stomach and Spleen and can reduce the possibility of food stagnation along the gastrointestinal tract. • Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12) regulates, strengthens and harmonizes the energy of the Stomach and Spleen/Pancreas.

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. 303681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com 62

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness