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Volume 11 Issue 3 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Kelly Howling EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Sylvia Lisi WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Brad Vader SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Kyle Dupont COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Dana Rasmussen COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Karin Apfel Brittany Cameron, REMT Janet Edgette, PsyD Amy Hayek, DVM, MA, CVA, CVC Leah Hurrell Tim Kempton, PhD Jessica Lynn Jennifer Miller, DVM William Ormston, DVM, CAC Sherri Pennanen Scott R. Reiners, DVM Karen Rohlf Amy Snow Anna Twinney Madalyn Ward, DVM Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Karen Tice SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Kelly Howling, Editor, at Kelly@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. You can also mail submissions to: Equine Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to info@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com.

ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager: Tim Hockley (705) 741-0817 ext. 110 Tim@RedstoneMediaGroup.com National Accounts Manager: Ann Beacom, (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 AnnBeacom@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Multimedia Specialist: Kat Shaw, (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Subscription Services Manager: Brittany Tufts, (866) 764-1212 ext. 115 brittany@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext.315 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON Canada K9J 2T8 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2016. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: May 2016.

Improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.


Dana Rasmussen Accomplished horsewoman Karen Rohlf blends her traditional dressage background with natural horsemanship in her Dressage Naturally program. The result is a picture of trust, harmony, and communication. She joins us this issue to discuss the topic of developing good hands (page 24).

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Is your performance horse lacking in the show ring, or in his training? Here are the top three reasons your wellbred and well-trained horse may not be living up to his potential.

Good hands are the hallmark of a great rider. Take a look at how you can build this trait.

This colorful therapy can help your equine through rehabilitation, training and injury prevention.






A closer look at the effects of feeding oils to horses.

Your horse’s hoof care needs change with the seasons. Keep him sound and healthy this summer with these tips.




Are you struggling with show nerves, or disheartened because the perfect performance you envisioned isn’t materializing? The solution could be as simple as changing the way you think.

Keeping the equine lung healthy.




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How to safely and happily introduce predator (your dog) and prey (your horse) to one another.

Whole body vibration therapy for horses.


Understanding how your horse perceives pain helps with diagnosis and treatment planning.

nts 36 COLUMNS


8 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

22 Herb blurb

23 Product picks

30 Minute horsemanship

40 Equine Wellness resource guide

39 Business profile:

45 Heads up

The Hay Pillow

51 Social media corner

46 Holistic veterinary Q&A

58 Marketplace

52 To the rescue

60 Events

62 Acupressure at a glance

61 Classifieds



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team player

I overheard a conversation between a father and daughter while visiting a barn the other day, and it really made me think. While trying to be supportive of the daughter’s passion for riding, the parent was stating how he wished she would show some interest in participating in a team sport, like soccer or baseball. At first I could see where the parent was coming from – we all want our children to learn how to be team players. But as I gave it more thought, I didn’t see how equestrian activities couldn’t be counted as a team sport. For starters, there is the obvious partnership between horse and rider – you are a team, albeit an interspecies one. But you are still most certainly learning the skills of communication and teamwork. Riding, training and caring for a horse is a huge responsibility that promotes many of the same positive qualities team sports do – being active, setting goals, building confidence, learning how to deal with setbacks (with horses it is often two steps forward, one step back), hard work, self-discipline, cooperation with others and a respect for authority (coaches, judges), sportsmanship and more. Whenever I have competed, I have been part of a barn where several others competed at the same shows, and I definitely recommend this experience. I found it to be much more fun than going it alone. Your barn becomes your team. While you may compete against each other, you also work together and help one another (and the team) excel. You cheer for each other, look after each other and the horses, share the workload around the barn, and help one another in warm-ups or during schooling sessions. At shows, high-point awards are often given to the barn whose horse/rider combinations receive the most points. In Pony Club, you compete as a team of riders to complete different races and courses. You have to work together! So to any parents out there fretting that a focus on equestrian sports will turn their children into socially-challenged hermits, I’d say: relax! I know many amazing young riders who are fabulous people, both at the showground and away from it. The experiences shared at the barn and at shows, and the friends you make, will last a lifetime. If you haven’t already guessed, our theme this issue is Performance Horses. Keep everyone on your team happy and healthy with our articles on maintaining a balanced performer (page 10), vibration therapy (page 48), therapeutic taping (page 42), and hot weather hoof care (page 28). Our cover features Karen Rohlf, a successful competitive dressage rider who works to blend horsemanship and harmony into her riding and training. See her article on developing good hands on page 24. Naturally,

Kelly Howling 6

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious problem in military veterans returning from duty. The University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Veterinary Medicine, has reported their findings on research they conducted relating to military veterans with symptoms of PTSD. The study looked at whether participation in a structured, six-week therapeutic horseback riding (THR) program decreased PTSD symptoms, and improved self-efficacy, emotion regulation, and social engagement among veterans. Thirty-eight veterans were randomly assigned to participate in the program. The results provide clear evidence that THR contributed to a decrease in PTSD symptoms. Veterans participating in the program had statistically significant decreases in their symptoms throughout the study period, and the benefits increased the longer an individual was in the program. Veterans also expressed great enjoyment when interacting with the horses and learning to ride.




Horses can distinguish between angry and happy human facial expressions, according to a landmark study published in Biology Letters. Psychologists studied how 28 horses reacted to photographs of positive versus negative human facial expressions. When viewing angry faces, horses looked more with their left eyes, a behavior associated with the perception

of negative stimuli. Their heart rates increased more quickly and they showed more stress-related behaviors. The study says this response indicates the horses have a functionally relevant understanding of the angry faces they were seeing. The effect of facial expressions on heart rate has not been seen before in interactions between animals and humans. “What’s really interesting about this research is that it shows horses have the ability to read emotions across the species barrier,” says study co-leader Amy Smith, a doctoral student in the Mammal Vocal Communication and Cognition Research Group at the University of Sussex. “We have known for a long time that horses are a socially sophisticated species, but this is the first time we have seen that they can distinguish between positive and negative human facial expressions. “It’s interesting to note that the horses had a strong reaction to the negative expressions but less so to the positive,” she continues. “This may be because it is particularly important for animals to recognize threats in their environment. In this context, recognizing angry faces may act as a warning system, allowing horses to anticipate negative human behavior such as rough handling.”


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The Time to Ride Challenge is taking place from June 1 to September 30. This annual contest, which offers $100,000 in cash and prizes, provides incentives to stables, clubs and businesses to focus on outreach to new riders. Participants win cash and prizes by introducing new “non-riders” to riding and other horse activities, and simultaneously benefit by growing their businesses and organizations. Since its launch in 2014, the Challenge has introduced over 60,000 new people to horses through fun beginner-friendly horse experiences. The 2015 contest saw more than a 60% increase in the number of newcomers compared to 2014, due to the hard work and enthusiasm of event hosts eager to share the joy of horses with new people. “The Challenge puts real rewards behind a cause that’s critical to our industry,” says Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokesperson. “These new horse enthusiasts are becoming the next




Heartening news! The Jockey Club announces that an analysis of data from the Equine Injury Database, comparing 2015 statistics with figures from 2014, shows a 14% decrease in the frequency of fatal injuries in racehorses.

generation of riding students, clients and customers; they will eventually be owning horses, competing in shows, using the services of veterinarians, and growing our entire industry.” Timetoride.com

wild horse

The Bureau of Land Management has announced appointments for three open positions on its nine-member National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. • Ginger Kathrens was appointed for the humane advocacy category. She is founder and executive director of the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of wild horses on public lands. She is also the Emmy award-winning creator of the acclaimed PBS series documenting the life of a Pryor Mountains wild stallion called Cloud.

Across all surfaces, ages and distances, the fatality rate dropped from 1.89 per 1,000 starts in 2014, to 1.62 per 1,000 starts in 2015. The overall fatality rate of 1.62 per 1,000 starts is the lowest since the Equine Injury Database started publishing annual statistics in 2009. “When we first starting collecting data in 2007, we realized the more data we obtained and analyzed, the more we would learn,” says Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a consultant to the EID. “These improving fatality rates are clear evidence that we can move the needle and that the efforts of so many are truly bearing fruit.”

• Ben Masters was selected for the wildlife management category. The founder and CEO of Fin & Fur Films, LLC, he is best known for his successful documentary Unbranded, an account of a 3,000-mile ride on wild horses to raise awareness of the BLM’s adoption program and the myriad challenges facing public land managers. • Steven Yardley was chosen for the livestock management category. He is the vice president of Yardley Cattle Company, and a public land rancher and private landowner who holds grazing permits from the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service. Currently, Mr. Yardley serves as vice president of the Western Rangelands Conservation Association. Equine Wellness


The BALANCED PERFORMER Is your performance horse lacking in the show ring, or in his training? Here are the top three reasons your well-bred and well-trained horse may not be living up to his potential.


by Madalyn Ward, DVM

ou have saved up and bought a very well-bred performance horse. You have invested in a proven and successful trainer. But your horse is not “living up to his potential”. Your trainer tells you he has the ability but is just not advancing. She wants to send him home unless you can find a way to help him improve. Let’s take a look at the top three reasons why your wonderful horse may not be thriving in his performance!

1. NUTRITION Most performance horse owners and trainers know that commercial bagged feeds and grass hay don’t provide all the nutrients required to support high level equine athletes. Based on this knowledge, performance horses are often given multiple supplements in an effort to enhance their performance. These supplements often contain many varied ingredients in an effort to support hoof, joint, digestive and immune health. The challenge with this approach is that your horse is getting more than he needs of some nutrients and not enough of the ones that could potentially help him. Your best plan is to start from scratch and design a program specifically for your horse. Start with what your horse is eating the most of, which is hay. Start with the best quality grass hay you can buy and feed it in a slow feed hay net so your 10

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horse will have hay in front of him for as much of the day as possible. Plan to use the least amount of grain or bagged feed needed to maintain your horse’s weight and energy. Horses have very small stomachs so keeping bagged feed under one pound per feeding is best. If your horse does not keep his weight on with lower amounts of bagged feeds and quality grass hay, you can consider adding some alfalfa hay to his diet. Good alfalfa is easier to digest and gives more nutrition per pound than grass hay. Additional vitamins and minerals may be needed for a performance horse, especially if he is still growing. It is better to get these nutrients from whole foods, such as algae, rather than from formulated supplements using synthetic or inorganic ingredients. Good quality whole foods will support healthy hooves, joints, digestion and immunity in most horses.

Good quality whole foods will support healthy hooves, joints, digestion and immunity in most horses. 2. PAIN Acute pain is easily recognized but chronic, low grade pain can hurt the performance of any great athlete. Digestive and musculoskeletal pain can both fall into the chronic, low grade category. Digestive pain can come from ulcers or simply an upset stomach caused by stress. Hay access 24/7 is one of the best ways to avoid ulcers and upset stomachs. Pre and probiotics can also support healthy digestion by keeping the horse’s gut bacteria balanced. Feed that is too high in sugar and/or starch will damage healthy bacteria and encourage the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeast. Poor digestion can lead to more than gut pain. Damage to the intestinal lining can lead to toxins moving into the blood where they are deposited around joints or ligaments. These toxins can cause pain and stiffness. Stomach pain can also interfere with deep breathing. If a performance horse can’t inhale without discomfort he will take shallow breaths. Full, deep breaths are needed to bring in adequate oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the bloodstream. Higher levels of circulating carbon dioxide cause the kidneys to work harder Equine Wellness


to produce buffering agents. Sore kidneys can cause low back pain, and if acid levels remain high then calcium will be pulled from bones leading to bone and joint damage. By supporting good digestion you are also supporting healthy connective tissues, but additional joint support may be needed for horses that work very hard. Again, it is better to pick a targeted joint supplement with fewer ingredients than use a shotgun type product. Injectable joint support products may be better in some cases than oral supplements. Regular bodywork is a great way to help or avoid musculoskeletal pain. Osteopathy, Bowen, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and acupressure are all modalities that support the body and help it compensate for low grade injuries, and overcome soreness.

Horses have very small stomachs so keeping bagged feed under one pound per feeding is best. 3. TEMPERAMENT Your horse may be bred for a particular event but that does not mean he has the right temperament for it. There are many different ways to temperament-type your horse. One option is found at horsetemperament.com. Competitive events that require a horse to be focused, obedient and precise take a different temperament than those that require strength, speed and boldness. Some temperament types are not suited for the stress of long road trips on the rodeo circuit, but may do well in the same event in a less rigorous show schedule or atmosphere. Knowing your horse’s temperament can help you anticipate his needs so he has the best chance of success; trying to force a horse to work in a discipline he is totally unsuited for can lead to disaster. A successful performance horse is a dream come true for many horsepeople. Every good horse also wants live up to his potential, be pain-free and appreciated for who he is. When you take into consideration the three reasons your well-bred and trained horse may not be performing, you can overcome almost all obstacles holding your horse back. You, your trainer and your horse will all benefit. Madalyn Ward is trained in Veterinary Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, Network Chiropractic and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. She has authored three books, Holistic Horsekeeping, Horse Harmony, Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. Holistichorsekeeping.com, Horseharmony.com 12

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Chia Seeds

Feeding quality fats If your horse still needs additional weight or energy, you may want to look at adding some fat to his diet. Most horses don’t need much fat, so be careful about jumping to high-fat bagged feeds promoted for performance horses. A better plan is to provide quality fat in the form of rice bran, coconut meal, flax or chia seeds in the least amount needed to meet the needs of your horse. By choosing whole food sources of fat, you include vitamins and minerals rather than the empty calories supplied by processed oils.

Rice Bran Oil

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Supplementing with


A closer look at the effects of feeding oils to horses. By Dr. Tim Kempton, PhD

Horse diets have always contained small amounts of oil. But plenty of research and anecdotal evidence suggests horses can utilize higher levels of oil than what they’ve traditionally received. Horses that are adapted to higher-oil diets are able to digest and transport this extra oil. The evidence lies in increased bile production and elevated levels of lipoproteins in their blood serum (lipoproteins are the proteins in blood that carry oil molecules). Unlike other animals, a horse’s bile is secreted fairly continuously from the liver and passes via a bile duct directly into the duodenum (bile is a salt solution that helps in the digestion and absorption of oils). Horses can then metabolize oils as an energy source through a process called fatty acid oxidation. Hence, horses can efficiently digest, metabolize and utilize quite high levels of oils. So, what are the effects of oil supplementation in horse diets?


Oil is energy dense

Oil is very energy dense. It yields about 2Âź times more energy than starch or protein. This may be useful for a number of reasons, including reduction in gut fill and the reduction in feed intake required to sustain maintenance and exercise.


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It benefits horses in hot climates The total amount of heat waste produced per unit of energy is different for different feeds, with oils producing significantly less heat waste than fermentable carbohydrates, roughages and proteins. Oil-supplemented horses in hot conditions have been reported to have lower mean body temperatures than those consuming high roughage and high grain diets.


Further, oil metabolism yields almost twice the water of protein and carbohydrate metabolism. This may benefit horses that sweat profusely.


The combined effects of oil feeding involves reducing thermal load and increasing water production in horses working in hot environments.

Oil is a “non-fizzy” feed When starch (typically in the form of grain) is fed to horses in large quantities, there is a risk of starch overload into the hindgut. This can culminate in “fizzy” or “hot” behavior, which can result in stressful and dangerous situations for both the horse and rider. Replacing some of the grain in feed with oil to provide energy can minimize the risk of starch overload. Oil provides a source of “cool” energy, which is not associated with “fizzy” behavior.

Oil-supplemented horses in hot conditions have been reported to have lower mean body temperatures than those consuming


It helps in the management of equine rhabdomyolysis (tying-up) Equine rhabdomyolysis (tying-up) is a broad term used to describe muscle disorders including EPSM and RER. Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM) has been associated with dysfunctional carbohydrate metabolism. Horses suffering from this condition must be provided with non-carbohydrate energy sources such as oil. Results indicate a reduction in clinical signs in EPSM horses consuming a high oil, low carbohydrate diet. Recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) is another form of tying-up. Sufferers are frequently fillies, and tend to be nervous. Starch feeding and excitement are both implicated as “triggers” in RER; the partial replacement of grains with oil in the diet may aid in the management of this condition.

Oil positively affects glycogen stores Once adapted to higher levels of dietary oil, horses can utilize oil for energy during submaximal/aerobic1 exercise. This is achieved via fatty acid oxidation and has the effect of sparing muscle glycogen2 stores. Subsequently, horses appear able to utilize the greater muscle glycogen stores during high intensity/anaerobic3 activity. This phenomenon has positive implications, such as delaying time to the onset of fatigue and increasing the horse’s capacity for high intensity exercise.

high roughage and high grain diets. Continued on page 16.

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Continued from page 15.

The total amount of heat waste


produced per unit

Coconut and soy oils are both “cool and safe� sources of concentrated energy and are fed for conditioning, coat shine and weight gain, or to supply extra energy to the diets of hardworking horses.

of energy is different for different feeds, with oils producing significantly less

Coconut oil

heat waste than

Coconut oil is a highly stable tropical oil, meaning that it’s not prone to rancidity and maintains its nutrient status over long periods. It contains mainly saturated fatty acids of short and medium chain length, which are quickly metabolized and available for use as ready energy for high intensity work. Lauric acid (the main fatty acid in coconut oil) is also associated with having antiviral, antibacterial and immune-boosting properties.

fermentable carbohydrates, roughages and proteins.

Soy oil Produced from soybeans, commercially available soy oils are often highly refined and have usually been chemically extracted. Soy oil is rich in long chain fatty acids and contains predominantly polyunsaturated fatty acids, making it prone to rancidity. Most sources of soy oil are derived from GMO soybeans. Soy oil provides a high ration of Omega 6 to Omega 3.


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Oil is very energy dense – it yields about 2¼ times more energy than starch or protein.

IN SUMMARY Both coconut and soy oils are used to maintain condition, encourage weight gain and improve coat condition without making horses “hot or fizzy” in temperament. The composition of coconut oil is very different to soy oil. Where coconut oil is rich in saturated, short and medium chain fatty acids (which are stable and can be rapidly metabolized), soy oil contains higher levels of polyunsaturated, long chain fatty acids (which are less stable and more slowly metabolized). Both soy and coconut oil can be fed with other hard feeds (i.e. grains). However, they should always be fed in conjunction with ample fiber/roughage feeds (feed at least 1% of bodyweight/ day of hay, chaff, etc.). The benefits of supplemental oil for horses extend beyond their use as a grain alternative. Oil supplementation can help prevent fizzy behavior and various types of tying-up, and reduce the thermal load on horses in hot climates. It can even provide energy for submaximal work and may increase capacity for high intensity exercise. High oil feeds such as Cool Stance are a palatable and no-mess way of providing horses with supplemental oil and gaining the subsequent advantages associated with oil feeding.


Submaximal/aerobic exercise is associated with heart rates <160 beats per minute and does not result in reliance on anaerobic energy production.


Glycogen is the form in which animals store carbohydrates in their bodies, for later use as energy. High intensity/anaerobic exercise occurs at heart rates >160 beats per minute. During anaerobic activity, the horse derives some of his energy via processes that do not require oxygen (i.e. anaerobic energy production).


Dr. Tim Kempton is a nutritional biochemist and an equine enthusiast who understands the practical aspects of the effect of a good diet on performance horses. His philosophy is that since horses don’t read nutrition books, they can only eat what humans think they need. Horses can tell us if their diet is suitable through their coat, eyes, behavior, performance, and onset of more serious metabolic disorders. Grain based feeds with a high sugar and starch content may be convenient for us, but they are not suitable for horses. Dr. Kempton pioneered the development of equine feeding systems based on the unique benefits of coconut oil. stanceequine.com

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Dealing with

performance anxiety Are you struggling with show nerves, or disheartened because the perfect performance you envisioned isn’t materializing? The solution could be as simple as changing the way you think. By Janet Edgette, PsyD A dad phones me, worried about his daughter. He has spent several weeks helplessly watching Liz shake and jitter and hyperventilate on the eve of her equitation classes. She always places well, but then needs three days to settle her somersaulting stomach. Dad wants Liz to feel more confident and less nervous. Could I teach her some relaxation techniques or something?

THE CONSULT I meet with Liz and her dad and learn that she worries a lot – about how many classes to enter at each show; about disappointing her trainer and parents; and about doing at least as well as she did the last time she competed – which, because she usually does very well, means she has to do better than very well every time she goes out! I was beginning to understand why Liz spent her pre-show days all aquiver. Does Liz’s dad know why his daughter is always raising the bar on herself? “No,” he replies, sadly. “Her mom and I have been trying to help her appreciate her efforts more than her placings. 18

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We tell her just to do the best she can, and that we most love seeing her enjoy riding. Isn’t there some kind of technique she can learn to relax?” Relax? I think to myself. Relaxing to a tape at home the evening before a show isn’t going to help this kid manage what’s going on in her mind the next day. “It’s really not about relaxing,” I begin to explain. “Liz doesn’t need to learn how to relax. She needs to learn how to problemsolve about her show program, and how to let ‘good’ be good enough. She’s nervous as all heck because she demands the world and then some from herself.”

SPORT PSYCH ISN’T RELAXATION! Sport psychology has been yoked to relaxation techniques for longer than I can stand to think about. Some people think teaching relaxation is all a sport psychologist does. But I can’t even remember the last time I did anything remotely like that with a client. Why? Because, as I explained to Liz and her dad, there are so many better things to do – such as helping you:

• Appreciate that maybe you’re not supposed to be all that relaxed for a competitive event. Shows do involve riding in front of a lot of people, with only two or so minutes to do it right, with no “do-overs”, and with a judge watching. I know being nervous doesn’t feel good, but I’ve always found it easier to accept show nerves as a part of the predictable show experience. A cop-out? No way. Know why? Pretty soon being nervous becomes like background “white noise”. You know it’s there, but don’t let it get to you. • Direct your attention to learning to ride well in spite of your show nerves. If being nervous makes you tight, try practicing staying loose in one critical part of your body (e.g. shoulders, elbows). Don’t try to “relax” your whole body; that’s too much. Save it for the spa. If being nervous makes you timid and tentative, make a point to keep reminding yourself to ride more aggressively. “Keep your leg on yourself!” I told one rider who rode too quietly whenever her nerves got the best of her. • Make changes in how you manage your show day, or in how you think about winning and losing. In Liz’s case, problem-solving meant approaching her trainer and coming up with a better plan for showing. And letting “good” be good enough meant that she learned to measure her worth as a rider – not just by her last class, but by everything she’s ever put into her riding.


ARE NORMAL The only riders I’ve known who were really “relaxed” while competing got there by accident – either they were thrown into a class at the last minute or are riding under some other unforeseen circumstances that made their expectations, well, soft. But once something matters, everything changes – including your anxiety level. This isn’t odd; it’s human nature. And the less we fight it, the less it interferes with our riding. The funny thing about show nerves is that they’re only a problem if you think you shouldn’t have them.

DAYDREAMING DOESN’T WORK Many riders think visualization techniques will help with nerves and prevent anxiety in the show ring. I don’t ever recommend visualization techniques to

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riders, for a number of reasons I’ll explain below. That’s not to say riders who benefit from visualization techniques shouldn’t keep using them (“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”), but most people who try them experience disappointment and frustration. There are a few reasons why some people struggle with visualization techniques: • First of all, any mental exercise that idealizes the notion of “perfect” is a deal-breaker in my book. Being perfect belongs in romance novels and beauty contests; it has nothing to do with riding horses, whose energies are far too dynamic to be bound up in such a term as “perfect”. “Perfect” is not a living term. Table settings are perfect. People and animals are not. People who try to make themselves perfect drive themselves (and those around them, including their horses) crazy. • Trying to recapture in real life the “perfect” visualization you imagined the evening before is a perfect (ha!) setup for frustration. You’re chasing a dream. Inspiration is one thing, but to me this dream is more like a tantalizing nightmare. Meanwhile, you’re forgetting to ride the horse you have under you at that moment! • Want a great formula for non-spontaneous, non-free riding? Tell yourself to replicate a previous ride; any one will do, real or imagined. Ride it exactly the same way. I mean exactly. Having a little trouble? Are you getting so wrapped up in

The funny thing about show nerves is that they’re only a problem if you think you shouldn’t have them.


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trying to copy yourself that you’re distracted from your better, freer, more spontaneous riding ability? Of course!

COMPENSATE FOR YOUR ANXIETY If performing causes you to freeze up in the ring, consider trying to compensate for the ways in which the anxiety/freezing up affects your riding rather than trying to ride more perfectly (too abstract a goal). You probably wind up “under-riding” – unsure of your decisions, inactive and unclear in your aids, you “go along for the ride” and your horse makes up his own test. If you were to aim instead toward maintaining a more active stance, even if it meant you “over-rode” in your first few shows, I believe you would be able to break the habit. Doing something different in your riding – even one thing – during those anxious moments can be the trick to triggering a different response to your performance nerves. For many riders, it beats dreaming! And learning to accept your show nerves as something natural and normal can leave you in a better place to focus on your riding, and have fun! Credit: Primedia Equine Network

Janet Edgette is a clinical and sport psychologist practicing in the Philadelphia suburbs and the author of six books on equestrian sport psychology, parenting teens, and counseling teens and families. She showed extensively as a junior, competing in the Medal and Maclay Finals. As an adult, Janet spent ten years training with George Morris and competing in the higher level jumper divisions of major shows on the east coast. Her two books for riders are Heads Up!: Practical Sports Psychology for Riders, Their Parents and Their Trainers and The Rider’s Edge: Overcoming the Psychological Challenges of Riding. sportpsychforriders.com.

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HERB BLURB by Jessica Lynn

ALOE for the performance horse Many studies have been done on ulcers in horses, from Thoroughbreds on the track to backyard trail horses. These studies showed that “performance” horses, including show horses, race horses, et al are the most likely to develop or have ulcers. This is due to several factors, including the stress of travel and performing. Another likely factor is that horses being shown, campaigned, or evented in some form are not allowed to eat in a natural manner (i.e. frequent grazing of small amounts). This causes concentrated stomach acids to splash through the digestive tract, resulting in ulcers from those acids eroding the lining in the stomach and other areas of the digestive tract. Aloe Vera can help soothe these issues if fed regularly to these horses. Aloe gel can also help poor digestion.

Aloe Vera is a spiny, cactus-type plant, rich in nutrients, antioxidants and moisture. For horses that are shown or travel often, Aloe Vera gel can be given in their bucket feed to help cool any inflammation in the digestive tract, and increase digestion as well as nutrient absorption. It has also been shown to be beneficial for other inflammatory conditions, including overall body inflammation. Regular use of Aloe Vera can reduce inflammation in the tissues and joints, making it ideal for horses that may suffer from arthritis, or any other disease or problem that causes stiffness in the body. While Aloe Vera will not cure these conditions, it can help provide some relief. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Aloe Vera is prescribed when there is excessive heat in the liver, which can be caused by digestive upsets since secretions from the liver are part of the digestive process. Aloe Vera gel can also be used topically to help heal and soothe skin irritations, including fungal conditions, bug bites, scratches and much more. Aloe Vera is a natural bacteria killer, and has also been shown to be effective in killing viruses and fungal infections, with regular use. Aloe Vera is a natural defender of the blood, providing the body with three different plant sterols. These plant sterols can also help reduce the effects of some allergies caused by airborne irritants like pollens, dust and mold that also cause inflammation. Some research has shown that Aloe Vera may improve oxygen transportation throughout the body which then helps the heart and all the other organs and in turn can help a horse perform at his peak. The juice or gel form of Aloe Vera is readily available at most health food stores in quart and gallon sizes. I prefer the gel for my horses, and when needed feed ¼ to ½ cup one to two times per day, especially if my horses are traveling or might be competing during those times. The gel is also best used for topical applications.

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.


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Speedi-Beet is a versatile high digestible fiber feed. 95% sugar free and with no starch, it provides slow release energy and can help reduce dietary starch levels. Fed wet (ready in just ten minutes!) it holds 5x its own weight of water for rapid rehydration. It offers improved nutrient availability due to the unique, patented cooking process, and prebiotic effects due to beet fiber. Ideal fiber source for equines prone to laminitis.



The Wood Horse formula is based on the unique needs of this temperament type. It contains cleansing herbs to offset the tendency of the Wood horse to build up toxins in his tissues. Specific amino acids and minerals are included to help the Wood horse build strong connective tissues and hooves. Additional amino acids are used to support the attitude of the Wood horse to help him be more forgiving and less inclined to be angry.



This formula is specifically designed to maintain balance in the Wood horse but it can also be used in other temperament types experiencing imbalance in the Wood element due to exposure to windy weather conditions.


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HANDS Good hands are the hallmark of a great rider. Take a look at how you can build this trait. by Karen Rohlf

Riders with excellent hands have trained themselves to use their hands to feel more, and do less.

Photos courtesy of Dana Rasmussen


Having “good hands” is a sign of riding excellence. However, it doesn’t come from just working on your hands – it comes from working on all the other things that allow you to have good hands. In fact, in order to get good hands, we often have to forget our hands! There are many different styles of riding but I’ll focus here on what we all can agree on. A definition of good hands is hands that the horse trusts and understands, and that don’t conflict with what he has been asked to do.


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There are three things we can analyze about hands: look, feel and function.

THE LOOK OF GOOD HANDS This is the easiest quality to observe. Good hands look like they are a part of the arm and the reins. There will be a smooth transition from arm to rein without any zigzags when viewed from the side or top. “A straight line from the elbow to the horse’s mouth” is a good rule of thumb. It’s not a crime if the hands float up or down from there, and the distance between the hands can change depending on the situation, because different positions will have different effects. You want to have conscious control of where your hands go. Think of the hand as a doorway that messages must travel through to move between the horse and rider. Twisting wrists, dangling fingers or over-gripping fists can confuse the message, like a bad cellphone connection. The message we send to the horse will be less clear, and so will the information we receive back from him. Good hands look “steady”, but not in a fixed way. They need to be in a consistent place with respect to the horse’s mouth, especially when riding in connection with the reins. The look of hands is not as important as their feel and function. If you try to make your hands look good without addressing the necessary feel and functioning, you will struggle.

THE FEEL OF GOOD HANDS Good hands feel information coming from the horse’s whole body and mind. They can feel every problem in his mind and body, when riding in connection. However, not every problem needs to be solved by our hands! It is human nature to want to fix things with our hands. Riders with excellent hands have trained themselves to use their hands to feel more, and do less. Most issues we feel through the reins are balance issues, and most imbalances start somewhere else in the body (crookedness, lack of engagement, lack of speed regulation) or the mind (confusion, anxiety).

THE FUNCTION OF GOOD HANDS So far we have seen that hands are part of our connection to the horse, and that they receive information. Those are both fairly passive activities. The key to having good hands is to make sure we aren’t using them too much. Their only active job is to give subtle communications about the position of the horse’s head and neck. The general positions of his head and neck are a Continued on page 27.

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TRY THESE EXERCISES 1. Closed and relaxed Put your left hand on your right forearm so you can feel the fleshy part of your arm.

Bend the fingers of your right hand at only the first big knuckle, with relaxed fingertips. Your fingers will now be at about a 90° angle off the back of your hand. You should feel that your forearm muscles stay fairly relaxed. This is because the muscles that are bending your fingers from the first joint live in your hand only.

Now, curl your fingertips all the way in, as if you are making a fist. Notice the tension in your forearm. This happens even if you try to make a really relaxed fist! That’s because the muscles for your fingers live in your arm!

When you hold the reins in your hand, bury the rein deep in your fingers, bend at the first joint then close your fingers as if you have long fingernails. Your hand will look like a box, rather than a fist.

Some riders think they are being soft by holding the rein in open fingers, but as soon as you employ your fingertips you will cause tension in your forearm. This will affect your elbow joint, which will affect your ability to follow the horse’s mouth.

2. Passively feeling Get a partner and stand facing each other with closed eyes, holding a pair of reins between you as if you are riding. Partner 1 will keep her hands still and see what it feels like when Partner 2 takes a connection in two different ways.


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First, have Partner 2 shorten her reins while thinking I am taking a contact and I am going to make you round. Then have her try shortening her reins again while thinking I am taking the slack out of the reins so I can feel you. How do these two approaches feel?

3. Soft and allowing Hold a full glass of water in each hand, then simulate posting the trot without spilling the water. Or stand facing a wall as if you are riding, placing your closed hand on the wall, and simulate trotting. Notice how your elbow and shoulder joints need to be free to allow that movement. You aren’t actively moving your elbow and shoulder joints, but they are moving! Purposely tense your arms and notice how the tension works against you.

Continued from page 25.

reflection of the balance of the rest of his body and his mental state. So if you need a big change in the head and neck, it’s better to look to his mind and body first. If you feel you need complicated rein aids, then there is likely another issue that needs to be addressed. In order to make those subtle communications, the hands need to be still with respect to the horse’s mouth. We can’t do that if our hands jump around. The elbow and shoulder joints need to be relaxed and allowing, so the seat can swing and your body can move with the horse’s body while letting the hands float with the mouth.

TO HAVE GOOD HANDS, STRIVE FOR BALANCE Notice all the places where you or your horse are out of balance, and solve them. Eliminate all the reasons you are using the reins other than what they are for: to connect a circuit of energy, to receive information, for subtle positioning of the head and neck. The fewer things you need the reins for, the more your hands are free. When you do this, you will end up with excellent hands that look good, feel wisely, and function well!

Karen Rohlf, creator of the Dressage Naturally program, is an internationally-recognized clinician who is changing the equestrian educational paradigm.She is well known for her student-empowering approach to teaching, her ability to connect with a wide range of horses, her virtual courses, and her positive and balanced point of view. Karen believes in getting to the heart of our mental, emotional and physical partnership with our horses by bringing together the best of dressage and partnership-based training. She is happy to speak to your dressage club or organization. Learn more about Dressage Naturally and how it can help you at dressagenaturally.net.

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Hot weather guidelines for

HEALTHY HOOVES By Sherri Pennanen

M Your horse’s hoof care needs change with the seasons. Keep him sound and healthy this summer with these tips.

ost of us wait anxiously for winter to end so we can look forward to long trail rides, horse shows, parades, rodeos, and all those special activities we enjoy during the summer. It’s important to know that just as you planned for your horse’s hoof care when it was cold and wet out, you also need to plan for it when it’s hot and dry. So let’s talk summer hoof care.

HOT AND DRY If you live in an area where sizzling summer days bring dry conditions, you will need to focus on adequate nutrition and water intake for your horse, plenty of turnout and exercise, and supplementation with electrolytes when necessary. You also need to make sure he not only drinks plenty of water, but that his hooves are exposed to moisture.

• Loss of elasticity and resilience in the hoof • The loss of optimal hoof shape as a result of shrinkage (which in turn changes contact with the ground) • The loss of the hoof’s ability to serve as a “shock absorber” • Open spaces where healthy tissues once were, enabling the invasion of bacteria, fungus, and parasites • Chips and cracks becoming more prominent due to the loss of elasticity and structure. Many horse owners try to treat dry hooves with a painton dressing. It is important to recognize that no topical 28

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Photos courtesy of Beth Hall Thomas

Any time the hoof does not have routine contact with water, contraction becomes a risk. Hoof contraction is a shrinking of structures with a corresponding potential for loss of function and greater exposure to injury or infection. The frog, bulb and white line, which contain large amounts of water, can dry out quickly. The drying of these structures results in:

BAND-AID OR SOLUTION? Ironically, some people try to treat chips and cracks by applying shoes. Shoes actually make the problem worse by restricting the movement of the hoof, altering contact with the nourishing ground, and creating even more avenues for the invasion of bacteria and other pathogens through nail holes. Shoes and commercial hoof dressings will not solve the problem of a dry and contracted hoof. The focus must be on hydration and circulation.

application will take the place of natural moisture. There are some simple steps you can take during very dry conditions that will help keep your horse’s hooves adequately hydrated so you can avoid contraction and other associated perils: • When trail riding, let your horse stand in a stream or pond when crossing or stopping to drink. Those few extra moments give the hoof structures an opportunity to hydrate. • When filling water tanks, let the tank “overflow” and leave some standing water. When the horse drinks, his hooves can also rehydrate. • When hosing your horse to cool him, do so in an area where water can collect around his feet. • Allow hooves to be exposed to water past the coronet band for at least 15 minutes each day during dry seasons. This is key. You could even use a “kiddie pool” during arena obstacle work – this is a two-in-one solution offering sensory work and hoof hydration! • Avoid areas that will “suck” moisture out of hooves such as dry stalls or excessive bedding (shavings, sawdust). • Know that horses who live or event primarily on sand may have a need for more moisture than those who stand or work in grass or soil. Sand tends to wick moisture away. • If you boot your horse for events, remember to take the boots off when the activity is over to permit hydration of the hoof. • Don’t forget the importance of providing your horses with unlimited clean drinking water! This is moisture from the “inside out”! In addition to these steps, assuring optimal circulation to the hoof is also important. Turnout, exercise, and regular balanced trims contribute to the overall well-being of the hoof.

HOT AND WET There will be some summers when conditions never seem to dry out! Or perhaps you live in an inherently warm, wet climate. While many of us plan for adequate hydration of

hooves during dry spells, others are experiencing persistently wet conditions. Too much water can also create problems. Hoof structures can swell, become super-saturated and lose their integrity. Waterlogged structures are prone to peeling cracks. Warm, wet conditions promote the growth of bacteria, fungus and molds, and favor parasites and insects. This is similar to the problems we have with horses that live in stalls. They stand in moisture from urine and manure where all kinds of bacteria and germs prosper. If the environment is hot, these conditions create a virtual “incubator” for thrush and various infections. The hoof can wick these infections into the horn, and this can lead to disease that affects integrity and function. If your horse lives in these types of conditions: • Provide areas where he can be in “less wet” footing. But beware! Constant transitions from very wet to very dry (such as deep, dry bedding) can be very stressful on the hoof and may actually work against you. Instead, provide an area where your horse can simply get out of standing water or deep mud. It need only be a patch of higher ground. • Clean his feet routinely. The accumulation of manure, urine, mud or any combination of these around the frog or packed into the hoof will predispose the horse to disease. • Provide exercise to promote circulation and function in the hooves. • Treat specific diseases such as thrush. • Use barriers as recommended by your farrier. • Feed for general health.

A FINAL WORD Regardless of environmental conditions during the summer, our horses are remarkably adaptable. The road, however, can be a bumpy one if we don’t do our best to maintain hoof health and stability. Warm weather signals the beginning of many great equine activities. We want to spend that time enjoying our horses, not treating a hoof condition that can lead to lameness or pain. Your barefoot trim specialist is a great resource for you. He or she can assess your horse’s hoof condition and make recommendations to you. Solutions and suggestions are only a phone call and a visit away!

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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iders aren’t the only ones with big dreams for themselves and their horses. If horses could talk they would tell us that they too have hopes, dreams, and desires. Although it’s popularly believed that horses are purely interested in survival and reproduction, they may have their own destinies to fulfill and life lessons to live. It is quite possible that as you meet different horses, you will experience contrasting desires – from horses that prefer freedom in nature with their herds, all the way to driven athletes that wish to perform at an Olympic level. Be open to the idea that you are their voices and are providing them with platforms of opportunity. Despite the fact that wild horses do not have body workers, coaches or pedicures while they roam freely in nature, our domestic counterparts require emotional, mental, and physical support as they venture into show

mout h

season. Have a team of experts on hand to support your horse’s health and well-being both pre and post performance. In addition to veterinary expertise, complementary therapies are essential, with a focus on maximizing health instead of simply treating sickness.

In domestication, inappropriate habits and vices not found in wild horse bands can rear their ugly heads. In cases such as these, it seems human intervention negatively affects some horses’ lifestyles. Assess your horse’s living arrangements and make the adjustments needed for him to live as naturally as possible, ensuring optimal health. Although people may shy away from the idea of horses living in open spaces (particularly high-level performance horses), access to a regular source of food and socialization provides them with basic natural needs, prevents inappropriate behavior and optimizes health. This helps create a more positive and powerful performance in the show ring.

Anna Twinney is the founder of Reach Out to Horses® – the most unique and comprehensive equine training program in the world. She is known around the globe for her highly acclaimed work as an Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Karuna Reiki Master. Anna has an extensive library of instructional DVDs and offers exclusive equine experiences at ReachOutToHorses.com.


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fresh air

by Leah Hurrell

Keeping the equine lung healthy. The quality of air your horse breathes, and the health of his lungs, play a huge role in his ability to perform and be competitive. The equine respiratory system is what provides him with his tremendous power and performance. Keeping this vital system robust is critical to maintaining quality of life and longevity. Small irritants in the respiratory system can cause inflammation and lead to minor symptoms such as 32

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a cough and phlegm. Left unchecked, this can lead to serious chronic conditions. You need to be proactive and reduce dust and irritants in the environment to reduce your horse’s exposure to lung irritation and damage. If your horse has been diagnosed with allergies or a condition that affects his lungs, or you want to maintain air quality in your barn, here are some practical solutions.

HAY HANDLING One of the most common feeds for horses, hay is also the biggest source of dust in the equine environment. Even the finest, freshest hay has dust. The horse’s anatomy places his nostrils directly near the food he is eating. Protect him by fluffing the hay in a well-ventilated space away from where he eats. You can also consider soaking or steaming the hay. Soaking hay can eliminate much of the dust, but soak it for less than 30 minutes to prevent vitamins and trace minerals from leaching out. Fairly new on the North American market, but more common in Europe, are hay steamers. Steaming not only eliminates dust, but many of the mycotoxins that can lurk within the hay. Steamers produce hay that is warm and silky, with a fresh grass aroma that horses find irresistible. Feed hay in a low feeder or manger, or on the ground if there are no loose contaminants (like sand) that your horse could consume. A horse bends his head down to eat, and this natural position allows for clearer airways as he ingests the food. Round bales are a popular choice for feeding, but come with their own hazards. Avoid round bales as much as possible because horses will often burrow a hole in them and put their muzzles right into the dusty crevices to pull hay out. Never move hay from a loft or storage area into a barn when horses are present. Tossing and moving hay creates tremendous quantities of dust particles in the barn. Make sure the horses are well clear of the barn on hauling day and allow several hours for the dust to settle before giving them access to their stalls.

BE CAREFUL WITH BEDDING Remove horses from the barn to clean stalls or replace bedding. In the stalls, use dust-free bedding. Bedding that has larger chip sizes and absorbs more water will produce less dust. A freshly-opened bag of bedding may smell good, but creates dust when dumped into a stall. Bedding replacement and other chores are best done when the stall is empty.

KEEPING THINGS DUST-FREE Sweeping up loose hay and debris in the barn is a dusty proposition. If possible, sprinkle the floor surface with water first (watering cans are great for this!), then use a push broom to remove hay and other debris. Leaf blowers are becoming a popular method of clearing hay and debris from a barn, but you can imagine how much dust this blows up into the air and how far it spreads. Consider other methods of clearing the floors, and if a high-powered machine must be used, keep the horses far away. Continued on page 34.

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RECURRENT AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) or heaves is an incurable chronic respiratory condition. The first symptoms are a persistent cough, sometimes accompanied by nasal discharge, which will typically show up after exercise. Other visible signs may include increased abdominal movement and flared nostrils, indicating an increased effort to breathe. Diagnosis of RAO is done by sampling tissue from the airways and testing for inflammation. Medication can reduce symptoms and increase breathing capability, but there is no permanent cure. Long-term strategies include reducing dust and particulates in the environment and feeding soaked hay or cubes.

MONITORING RESPIRATION Learn how to monitor the equine respiratory rate, check it frequently and record what is average for your horse. A typical rate will be between ten to 24 breaths per minute. Recording your horse’s rate is done by watching his flank movement or using a stethoscope. Elevated resting respiratory rates may be an indicator of early inflammation in the lungs. Understand the relationship between respiration rates and exercise or stress. Ask your veterinarian to assist you in understanding the rates if you are not certain.

Continued from page 33.

Once or twice a year, make a project out of clearing away the cobwebs, sweeping up all the corners and hosing down the surfaces of the stalls. Over time, surface dust builds up in a barn, and doing an annual clean sweep will remove a lot of it. Tack on a small task each week during your regular maintenance, such as sweeping off light fixtures, wiping down ledges and cleaning behind bins and feeders. These small chores will positively impact the atmosphere.

Riding arenas can be very dusty environments, especially if built with connecting stalls. This configuration may be convenient for taking horses in for exercise, but think about the dust that will migrate into those stalls from the arena. Ask about maintenance and cleaning routines and make sure your horse’s lung health is not compromised. Large arenas are prone to becoming dusty during dry seasons and should have watering systems or dust palliative application plans.



When considering stable and arena facilities, take a close look at the ventilation of the building and study the fresh air access. Spend some time in the stall and study the ventilation and airflow carefully. Ideally, a barn would have air exchange at the ridge and sidewalls that provides fresh air to the horses. A wellventilated stall has open grillwork on the sides and front of the stall, is open right to the ceiling and has no overhead storage immediately above. Doors and windows that bring fresh air directly into the barn are ideal.

How often is your horse in a trailer, and have you considered the air quality when travelling? Any breeze or movement within the trailer will pick up dust, so spray the bedding down with water to prevent dust. Do not use an elevated hay feeder, which puts your horse’s head at a higher angle in addition to creating more dust. If horses must be fed when trailering, soak the hay to reduce dust and lower the hay feeder as much as possible, or use the feed mangers if the trailer is equipped with them.


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LOOK AFTER YOURSELF, TOO! It is not just your horse you need to think about protecting – you need to consider yourself and your own fresh air as well. Health conditions arising from poor air quality are a very real risk for farmers and equestrians. Wear a dust mask when you haul hay or are moving large quantities of hay in the barn. You will be shocked to see how much dust the mask captures. When you walk into the barn, pause for a moment and consider the air quality. Does it smell fresh? Is there enough fresh air? Be an advocate for your horse. Speak up when you observe practices that create an unhealthy atmosphere for you and your horses. Educate the people in your barn about the activities that cause dusty conditions. Set an example for barn cleanliness and feeding habits. Small changes can have big results – your horse will thank you with strong, healthy lungs performing at top condition.

Leah Hurrell has loved and owned horses for many years. She is currently a student at the University of Guelph Equine Diploma program, where she follows her passion of equine health care and behavior. One of her favorite pastimes is trail riding with her horse on Vancouver Island.

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dog and pony


How to safely and happily introduce predator (your dog) and prey (your horse) to one another. by Karin Apfel

Do you have both a horse and a dog? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they got along well so you could bring your dog to the barn (if allowed) and hit the trails with both your furry companions? It can be done, but given that horses and dogs are naturally antagonistic species – one is prey and one is predator – you may need to put in some time to make it all work. Luckily, both species are social and can extend their relationships outside their own species, most notably to human beings. “Horses have a good reputation for developing buddy relationships with a variety of species other than their own,” states Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVB, professor 36

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of veterinary behavior at the University of Georgia. “Dogs are the same way. However, it depends on the individuals.”

HOW SOCIAL ARE THEY? The more “social” each animal is, the more likely they are to successfully acclimate to one another. It depends on genetic potential as well as early experiences. Genetically, some dogs are more inclined to chasing or herding livestock, while others may be more placid. Herding dogs in particular (e.g. border collies, Australian cattle dogs) are born with an innate desire to control moving things. For these breeds, you may need to use a leash to control access to your horse for a longer period than

you would with, say, a Bernese mountain dog. Small dogs such as pugs and hunting breeds such as retrievers are often naturally uninterested in livestock, so less inclined to chase or nip. Horses and dogs share similar peak socialization periods during which novel experiences are most easily accepted. This is about three to 16 weeks of age in dogs and four to 12 weeks for horses. Exposure to other species during this socialization period can be extremely beneficial for increasing the animal’s acceptance of alternate species as companions. All these factors can play into the length of time it takes for interactions to become relaxed and friendly.

PUPPIES AND FOALS If you are starting with a new puppy, just carrying him up to a friendly horse and letting them sniff one another is a great start. Take your pup with you to the barn and let him watch you interact with your horse from the safety of a kennel or someone’s lap, or have a friend hold the leash while offering the pup treats for good behavior. This will not only make introductions less dramatic, but will reduce the chances of the dog developing a desire to chase the horse. It also reduces the likelihood of injury to the pup as he bumbles about between the horse’s feet. The latter could result not only in a hefty vet bill, but also a traumatized puppy that will forever mistrust horses and may act out fearfully or aggressively in self defence. It can also be extremely unnerving for the horse. Cassandra Levy of Nobleton, Ontario, owns two horses and three dogs, one of which is a ten-week-old German shepherd puppy. “I do not believe in ‘letting them figure out’ how to behave on their own or letting the horses teach them,” she says. “My dogs and horses mean too much to me for accidents.” Similarly, horses that became familiar with dogs at a young age will be much more

tolerant of new dogs. Even the presence of barn cats can help horses perceive other predatory animals as non-threatening. The more they’ve been exposed in a positive way to novel stimuli, the more likely they are to maximize their genetic potential to be accepting of new experiences, particularly those related to those experiences.

The more “social” each animal is, the more likely they will successfully acclimate to one another. Equine Wellness


TRAINING IS KEY If you are introducing adult animals, both will require some basic but reliable skills so you can manage them effectively and prevent problems from arising. This is even more crucial if you are performing the introductions by yourself. Your horse should be able to stand quietly, back up on command and be responsive to lead pressure. Your dog should be able to sit and hold that position for several moments, and have a solid come-when-called. Ideally, you will have also taught him a “leave it” cue so that the dog happily ignores things (horses, barn cats, feed, etc.) when asked. Fido should also be able to walk on a leash without frantically pulling. In the beginning, you will have your dog on leash most of the time, but a tight leash is not only frustrating for the dog, but the added excitement it creates can be disturbing to the horse. These skills should be fluent in more places than just your living room or backyard before you take your dog to the barn. Andrea Harrison, a dog trainer and dressage rider in Picton, Ontario, owns several horses and dogs and also fosters both, so she is often performing introductions. “Dogs should have a very reliable recall in the face of temptation before being off leash anywhere near the horses,” she says. The smallest and oldest dogs are not ever allowed loose with the horses. “It’s just too easy for them to get hurt.”

Horses and dogs share similar peak socialization periods during which novel experiences are most easily accepted.


“When first introducing dogs to horses, it is ideal if the horses have something to focus on; that way, they aren’t too interested in the dog even if the dog is interested in them,” says Andrea. Other ways to ensure calm include: • Approach your horse from an angle. Straight lines, especially towards a horse’s head, can be perceived as threatening. • Keep meetings relatively short to start with until both animals are completely relaxed with one another. Call the dog away from the horse first. A horse may feel uncomfortable turning his back on a potential threat. • Keep movement to a minimum at first, then start moving the animals parallel to one another. This avoids the appearance of the predator/prey dynamic. • Take frequent pauses once you are moving together, allowing the horse to graze and stroking or giving the dog treats to interrupt rising excitement.

Leash manners are important too. “Space is your friend…the dog should be on leash and a fair distance at first,” says Andrea. Keep him at a distance and “under threshold” (the spot where he is aware of the horse but is calm and not overly interested). You can move closer if you see that both animals are neither nervous nor overly excited. Feeding small treats (to either animal) can add positive associations. “My puppy is tied in the barn where she can see the horses and get to their doors, but not get into their stalls beyond the threshold of the door,” says Cassandra. She also uses props to keep everyone safe once the pup is given some freedom. “She met my horse Caesar over a muck bucket in the open door; he could reach over and sniff her, but there was a safe barrier.” If you have any concerns that your dog or horse will be frightened and act out, make sure you have a helper to assist in the introductions. Take things slowly and watch for signs of anxiety or over-arousal in either animal. It is far better to err on the side of caution and end up with a peaceful relationship than to problem-solve after a negative experience. Karin Apfel has been training dogs as DogSmart Training for over 20 years and is the president of the Sporting Detection Dogs Association. She rode both event and dressage horses in her misspent youth.


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The slow feeding movement has been quick to catch on, thanks to pioneers like Monique Warren.

The concept of slow feeding has quickly moved from “out there” to commonplace over the last several years. And there’s really no question why – it makes sense for horses and guardians alike, from many standpoints. The question now becomes less about whether or not use a slow feeder, and more about what slow feeder to choose.

INNOVATION IS BORN OUT OF NECESSITY Monique Warren, owner of Hay Pillow Inc., was dealing with the latter question when she decided to make the switch to slow feeding with her own horses. “After learning the importance of slow feeding, a natural lifestyle, and eating from ground level, I could not purchase a product that slowed down my horse’s consumption rate enough to be confident about offering free choice hay 24/7,” says Monique. “In addition, ease of loading, the feeder’s weight (to offer multiple locations), durability and closures became key challenges. I invented the Standard Hay Pillow in August of 2011. My intention was to meet my own needs; when my invention was complete I knew other equine guardians would love it as much as I did!” And indeed, the response has been very positive. “TheHayPillow.com website was launched in April 2012 with the Standard and Hanging Hay Pillow available in four mesh sizes,” says Monique. “Since then, we have designed and added six additional products in five mesh sizes, totaling 26 products (all made in the USA).”

BENEFITS OF SLOW FEEDING The science behind slow feeding is vast, and the benefits are usually immediately obvious. Monique explains some of the main benefits of feeding horses this way: • Eating from the ground enables the mandible (jaw bone) to come down and forward in the atlantoaxial and temporomandibular joints. This allows the mandible to move up and down, side to side, forward and back, without any restriction, facilitating the natural wear of teeth along with optimum mastication, reduction of particle size, and increased saliva-to-dry forage ratio. • A natural grazing position permits nasal passages to drain effectively, thereby minimizing the inhalation of dust and particles. • A horse’s emotional state is reflected in body position and posture. Feeding from ground level encourages a more relaxed state, and puts less strain on the skeletal system and soft tissues. • It reduces the risk of ulcers and colic. • Slow feeding allows for weight management. • There is little to no wasted hay, and it discourages vices. • It reduces stress in your life and helps save money (less wasted hay). Thanks to horse guardians like Monique, who have paved the road for the slow feeding movement, making the switch to slow feeding means you don’t have to go through the process of trying to create the ideal feeder. There are plenty to choose from that suit every horse and situation. And with all the benefits for your horses and yourself, how could you not be convinced to give it a try?

TheHayPillow.com Equine Wellness


RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Chiropractors

• Communicators • Integrative Therapies • Massage

• 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

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

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

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

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 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

Equine Wellness



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

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


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

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

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

The Oasis Farm Cavan, ON Canada Phone: (705) 742-3297 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com


Healing Touch for Animals Drea Robertson Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com Double Check Inspections Inc. Ottawa, ON USA Phone: (613) 322-3682 Website: www.doublecheckinspections.ca

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


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

Equine IR Bonsall, CA USA (888) 762-2547 Phone: info@equineIR.com Website: www.equineIR.com

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

Thermal Equine Eric Flavin New Paltz, NY USA Phone: (845) 222-4286 Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

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


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

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

THERAPEUTIC TAPING This colorful therapy can help your equine through rehabilitation, training and injury prevention. by Brittany Cameron, REMT


ou’ve probably seen horses with colorful tape applied to their bodies, either in pictures or at your barn. Called therapeutic elastic tape, this tape is much more than decoration. It was only brought to the forefront of athletic therapy during the 2012 summer Olympics, but therapeutic taping has been successfully used in rehabilitation, training and injury prevention for more than 20 years.

movement. Muscles also control the circulation of the venous and lymphatic flows. If the muscles fail to function properly, it causes various kinds of symptoms beyond muscle tenderness. Hypertonicity of muscle tissue can increase fatigue; reduce the ability of the lymphatic system to remove toxins and metabolic by-products from the tissues; reduce joint range of motion; cause body misalignment; and predispose an athlete to strain and injury.

WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC ELASTIC TAPE? Dr. Kenzo Kase is a chiropractor and acupuncturist who wanted something for his human clients to use between appointments to increase the efficacy of manual therapy and create lasting results. He developed the therapeutic taping method in 1979. First introduced to North America and Europe in the 1990s, therapeutic taping has become a staple in many massage and physical therapy practices, and is widely used by athletes and healthcare professionals. In more recent years, therapeutic taping has made its way into the equestrian community.

Therapeutic elastic tape is a latex-free elastic tape designed to provide soft tissue and joint support, without restricting range of motion. It is designed to work with the body’s own natural healing mechanisms through activation of the neurological and circulatory systems. Unlike other athletic tapes, therapeutic taping does not compress the tissue, but instead works by lifting and stretching the tissues, thereby decompressing, facilitating circulation, reducing inflammation, impacting pain receptors under the skin, and assisting movement.

When we look at the body from a physiological perspective, we can understand that the function of muscles doesn’t end with

When properly applied, therapeutic taping can be used for a multitude of purposes, from reducing chronic pain to tendon strain recovery.

Circulation taping reduces fluid accumulation after a hock injury. 42

Equine Wellness

Stifle joint support and hip extensor assist taping.

Gluteal muscle assist, paired with fascial stretch taping, decreases adhesions through the hip flexors.

CONDITIONS THAT BENEFIT FROM THERAPEUTIC TAPING • Bowed tendon • Suspensory strain • Impact injuries • Bruising • Muscle hypertension • Crookedness • Tension through jaw or poll • Back pain (possible head tossing, tail swishing, reluctance to engage hindquarters, difficulty with certain lateral movements, “girthy”, generally tense)

• Collateral ligament injury • Osteoarthritis • Performance issues • Sacro-iliac pain • Scar tissue proliferation • Surgery recovery • Muscle spasm • Nerve paralysis • Muscle soreness from increased training demands • General swelling • Lymphedema

USES AND EFFECTS OF THERAPEUTIC TAPING Swelling After an injury, vascular channels become compromised by the pressure caused by inflammation, bruising, edema accumulation, and fluid stasis. The lifting action of therapeutic tape, when properly applied, decompresses these vascular channels, providing a continuous enhancing effect on the circulatory system, increasing lymphatic drainage, and reducing inflammation. This lifting action also decreases the pressure on pain and sensory receptors under the skin, providing much-needed pain relief.

Muscle and joint support During a therapeutic tape application, the mechanical lift provided by the elasticity of the tape is used to encourage muscle relaxation, strengthening and support. This benefits muscles that are hypertonic, tense or atrophied, as well as the joints the target muscles are responsible for engaging.

Fascial restrictions and trigger points Fascia is the connective tissue webbing that is found on and within skin, muscle, tendon, ligament, nerves and organs. It’s like a glue connecting all the tissues within the body. The fascia itself may easily develop restrictions that lead to hypertension of the underlying muscle tissue, along with pain and tenderness. A trained therapeutic taping practitioner can use the recoil and lifting properties of the tape to move and reposition fascia, and to create a pull and release where the fascia is tight.

Injury prevention and performance enhancement Therapeutic taping increases blood flow and circulation. Blood is the transport system of our bodies and delivers much-needed nutrients and oxygen to our tissues so they can thrive and function. During exercise, demands on muscle and tendon structures are increased, thereby increasing the oxygen requirements of the tissues. Continued on page 44.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 43.

The increased circulation effects of a therapeutic tape application gives the body the ability to more efficiently deliver necessary oxygen to tissues, and provides more effective removal of the metabolic wastes that build up within the tissue during exercise. This enhancement of the body’s natural biological processes increases the working capacity of the muscles, promotes greater endurance, reduces post-exercise fatigue, lessens recovery time after an event, and prevents muscle and tendon strain or re-injury.

Rehabilitation As with any athletes, horses will at some point experience lameness caused by accidents, overuse or fatigue. Rehabilitation is needed in the form of carefully monitored stall rest, hand walking, hydrotherapy, and physical therapy. Therapeutic taping provides the damaged tissue with a consistent level of stabilization and support, giving muscles and ligaments a chance to rebuild and restore by taking pressure off those areas that have been worked on manually. Choosing the right person to apply this technique to your horse is very important. Your therapeutic taping practitioner should have a strong background in equine health and wellness (most courses require you to have a related degree or license in order to become certified in this technique). Visit equi-tape.com or equinology.com for practitioners or course information in your area.

Brittany Cameron is a lifelong horse enthusiast and rider who turned her passion and love of horses into a career through equine massage therapy. With a solid foundation of training through the D’arcy Lane School of Equine Massage Therapy, Brittany was able to achieve acceptance into the International Federation of Registered Equine Massage Therapists in 2012. She is based in Truro, Nova Scotia, and provides service to clients throughout the Canadian Maritime provinces. 902-957-1667, EasternEquineDynamics.com


By Kinesio Equine

Research on Kinesio Taping in horses is still in its relative infancy. The most promising areas of research involve gait and post-surgical edema, but there are countless other therapeutic techniques in the mix. The recent Kinesio Taping Association International Research Symposium in Tokyo included a variety of preliminary and continuing studies on equine treatment topics such as: • “Use of Kinesio Taping For the Treatment of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction in the Horse,” in Italy, by Sybille Molle, DVM, CERT, CKTI • “The Effects Of Kinesio® Taping on the Gait Characteristics of Horses,” in the UK, by Lee Clark CKTI/E, M.C.S.P. S.R.P. Memb ACPAT, Chartered Physiotherapist • “Equine Lymphoedema,” in the UK, by Gudrun Collins, CLT, CKTI, CKTI/E • “Effects of EDF Taping on Wound Healing and Edema Control after Castration Surgery in Stallions,” in Turkey, by Nihan Ozunlu Pekyavas, PhD, CKTI, PT, Soner Cagatay, DVM, MSc, PhD, Eylul Akpinar, DVM, and Gul Baltacı, Prof. CKTI, PT • “The use of Kinesio Taping in the management of swelling following arthroscopic surgery in horses, at the Department of Veterinary Surgery and Anesthesiology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science – UNESP, Botucatu,” SP, Brazil, by Luiz Henrique Lima de Mattos, DVM, CKTI/E. More research is in the pipeline and we look forward to more results!

KinesioEquine.com 44

Equine Wellness

Hull was a talented, generous-hearted horse, and a hard keeper with poor hoof condition. When the right micronutrients were added to his diet, he began to thrive. Hull became USCTA Reserve Horse of the Year in the U.S.A. So began the legendary SOURCE® micronutrients. In the decades since, SOURCE has helped thousands of horses reach their potential and thrive, all thanks to Hull. Every product that SOURCE, INC. makes (SOURCE, Nuggets and FOCUS for horses, SOURCE PLUS! for Dogs and Micro-Max for people) contains the unique micronutrients that made such a difference for Hull.

800-232-2365 4source.com


This “new” medicine has been around for over 5,000 years. Modern science now proves essential oils work. The quality and purity of the oils are as critical to their safety and effectiveness as their proper use. We have the knowledge and professional experience to discuss your needs and provide recommendations. With over 60+ years of combined experience and using many holistic modalities in our daily veterinary practices, we can incorporate essential oils into any and all wellness programs. Young Living Essential Oils are the only brand we trust for our clinic and our own animals.



630-205-6226 YLvetsandpets.com


NAG Bag Trailer Bags are a perfect addition to any trailer! Keeps horses content during horse shows without the risk of ulcers and colic; it’s wonderful knowing your horse is always performance ready. Available in 1”, 1.5” and 2” knot-less netting. Add our new NAG Tag to help identify your bags at shows!



EquiCrown compression wraps help a horse’s lymphatic system function properly. They promote the drainage of lymphatic fluid, resulting in a thinner and healthier leg. The product is sold in pairs for hind and fore (EquiCrownFIT) and a made-to-measure version (EquiCrownMED) for post-surgical or wound management, or chronic conditions such as lymphangitis. Washer/dryer safe, durable, breathable and tough. A must for your equine toolbox to keep your horse’s legs slim and healthy.

888-913-3150 EquiCrownCanada.com

Equine Wellness



Dr. Jennifer Miller DVM, CVSMT, CVA owns Prairie Rivers Holistic Veterinary Service in Byron, Georgia. After practicing conventional equine veterinary medicine for a number of years, she came to realize it did not offer all the answers to her patients’ needs. In an effort to provide well-rounded, excellent care she chose to expand her education. She obtained certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy from the Healing Oasis Wellness Center, and in Veterinary Acupuncture from the Chi Institute. She has also studied Applied Kinesiology and Craniosacral Therapy. Dr. Jennifer is herself a student of the horse and studies classical dressage, lessoning as often as she can. She has a passion for functional neurology and loves being able to integrate functional neurology concepts with classical dressage. She lectures to groups on how understanding the neurology of the horse can make all of us more empathetic riders. 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.


I have been following my veterinarian’s plan of treatment for my horse with little improvement. I would like to get a second opinion but I’m afraid my veterinarian will be upset. From a veterinarian’s perspective, what is the best way for a horse owner to handle this type of situation?

A: This can always be a sensitive subject, although it shouldn’t be. As an alternative medicine practitioner, I am often the second (or third or fourth) opinion on a case. However, when I practiced traditional Western medicine, I was always open to owners wanting second opinions and often suggested referrals to a specialist when the case wasn’t progressing the way I thought it should.

veterinarian know that there is nothing personal involved in the decision – you are only trying to do what is best for your horse. You don’t say if the problem is related to internal medicine, lameness, eyes or skin, but depending on the condition, you may seek out a veterinary school or specialty hospital depending on where you are located. You will need your veterinarian to refer your horse to the specialist and also provide the treatment records so the referral veterinarian knows what tests have been run, the results of those tests, and what treatments have been tried. In closing, treat your veterinarian like a human being; open and honest dialogue will ease the process and maintain a healthy relationship with your horse’s primary care provider.


I think there are two scenarios that can lead to an owner wanting a second opinion. Either you have confidence in your veterinarian’s diagnosis and treatment plan yet it just isn’t working, or you don’t have confidence. If you have confidence in your veterinarian, then you should know that they are doing the very best they can and are likely as frustrated as you are. At this stage, you should approach your veterinarian in an honest and open discussion. Ask if referral to a specialist is indicated in your horse’s case and whom they would recommend.

If you do not have confidence in your veterinarian, the situation can be a little trickier from a human nature perspective. You will need to approach your veterinarian in the same manner as above, but be careful not to imply that you think they are wrong in their treatment plan. Either way, make sure you let the 46

Equine Wellness

How do you determine when a wound actually requires stitches?


Great question! And in this modern era of text messages, I often have clients text me pictures of wounds which can help with the decision. Basically, any wound that goes full thickness through the skin can be sutured. Suturing helps achieve faster healing and a more cosmetic outcome. Any wound that goes full thickness through the skin and into deeper tissue should be sutured. This will prevent any bacterial infection from setting up and maintains a clean environment for healing. Your veterinarian must examine any wound located over or close to a joint! Even if it looks small, contamination of a

joint can be career-ending or life-threatening if not treated early and appropriately. Other wounds that should always be examined immediately are those to the eyelid. These are often my favorite to suture. Even when it looks like the eyelid might be beyond saving – when they are swollen and caked with debris – most times they can be packed overnight and sutured the next day with great results! So basically – for the best results, anything that is full thickness through the skin needs to be examined and sutured by your veterinarian.


My mare has been diagnosed with chronic conjunctivitis due to allergies (to what, we don’t know). Her eyes swell up and run a few days every week. I’ve been given a steroid ointment to put in when this happens. Is there anything else I could try to help her (especially preventative)?


Oh dear – poor mare! My first question is, did you rule our chronic uveitis? This is a vision-threatening condition that can present as intermittently swollen, runny eyes. As long as you are certain she is not suffering from uveitis, let’s move to conjunctivitis prevention. Most likely she has an allergy to something in the environment – pollen, dust or bugs. So an easy thing to do is have her wear a fine mesh fly mask 24/7. Be sure to have a few on hand; as her eyes are runny, you will need to launder them often. You can use a sterile eye flush solution – ask your veterinarian for a recommendation – to rinse the eyes every day. This way, if pollen or dust is the cause it will help her react less and less. If you think bugs are involved, the fly mask should still help. You can also find a holistic fly repellent formulated for use on the face to help repel insects. Allergies are an indication that the body’s immune system is overreacting to a stimulus. Work with your veterinarian to determine why your mare’s immune system is overreacting. Look at what you are feeding her, and all the elements in her environment – housing, topical creams, ointments and sprays, etc., to see if any could be triggering her immune system to overreact. If you have a veterinarian in your area who practices Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, make an appointment. Often, acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can help tremendously with allergies. Treatment is very specific to each horse and not specific to condition, so I cannot recommend which herbal would be needed in your horse’s case. Good luck!

Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy Erin Finlay, used with permission by EquiVibe.

GOOD VIBRATIONS Whole body vibration therapy for horses. by Scott R. Reiners, DVM

Vibration therapy is a new trend in the equine world. If you’ve ever seen a horse standing on one of these large vibrating platforms, or perhaps tried one yourself, you’ve likely wondered how they work.


Equine Wellness

This type of therapy is termed whole body vibration therapy (WBVT). Vibration plates are becoming very popular in both the human and equine athletic worlds, and range in size, magnitude, frequency and duration. • Size – for equine use, the plate needs to be large enough to accommodate a whole horse. • Magnitude – measured in g-force, which is the acceleration of 9.8 meters per second (1g is equal to the earth’s gravitational field). Most equine WBVT plates have a built-in magnitude. The magnitude has more to do with the up and down vibration than the side to side or forward to back. •F requency (Hz) – the cycles per second, or how many times the plate moves per second. Frequency is normally adjustable on WBVT plates. •D uration – the time spent vibrating; this is also adjustable.

VIBRATION BENEFITS Indications for WBVT are numerous. In horses, they include tendon and ligament injuries, laminitis, arthritis, bucked shins, decreased bone density, navicular syndrome, cellulitis, colic, and more. We use WBVT for horses that are stalled and cannot exercise properly, such as those on limited exercise or stall rest. We find that some horses with arthritic joints, muscle soreness or painful feet feel better after WBVT. Horses with tendon and ligament injuries are normally on limited exercise, so we use WBVT to stimulate those tendons and ligaments without the impact of trotting or cantering. Horses that are stalled or on limited turnout are stressed, and we can use WBVT to relieve that stress (we have had horses fall asleep while receiving WBVT!). We also use it for pre-exercise warmups for horses on limited exercise. Some horses receive post-exercise WBVT to calm them, but it depends on their individual temperaments.

WHEN VIBRATION BECOMES DANGEROUS “Too much of a good thing” can be bad, and vibration has the potential to be hazardous. People have careers built on trying to eliminate or control vibrations in the workplace. Hazardous vibrations, sometimes called “occupational vibrations”, can cause low back pain, neurovestibular disorders and vascular problems. Magnitude is probably the most hazardous vibrational direction for horses because it’s more involved with up and down motion – for example, a jackhammer motion. WBVT plates should have an up and down, side to side, and back and forth motion, which decreases the vibration hazard.

numerous contraindications in human literature, but I have not found many in equine literature. Our contraindications include horses with bone implants, fractures of any kind (including bucked shins and “hairline” fractures), acute laminitis, extensive ligament or tendon lesions (depending on type), post-colic surgery, lacerations (depending on type), ataxia, or horses with proprioceptive deficiencies, narcolepsy, blood clots, severe dental or sinus problems, infections, head trauma, ethmoid hematomas, vertebral disc problems, osteochondral defects, post-arthroscopy surgery and more. We also do not use WBVT if the horse does not like it. Some horses have to be slowly trained to stand on the vibration plate. If they do not accept WBVT we do not force them to stay on the plate. We have a ramp built around the plate and no stocks, so the horse can get off at any time.


Whole body vibration therapy has been coined as passive exercise. Exercise is being applied to the horse – he just has to stand on a plate and is exercising through whole body stimulation without exertion. Very limited research is available in the equine industry on the effectiveness of WBVT; most Even though there are numerous indications for WBVT, the research has been done in the human medical field and even contraindications are probably most important. There are that is limited. Continued on page 50.

Equine Wellness


MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED Conflicting research is found in the human medical field when it comes to increasing bone density through WBVT. Horses and humans, of course, have a different bone structure. Bone constantly remodels to the stresses placed upon it. Stalled horses or those with a limb that is less weight-bearing can lose bone density or bone mineral content. In a study at Middle Tennessee State University, it was found that stalled horses receiving light exercise or WBVT had no loss of bone mineral content. It would seem that WBVT probably has an effect on bone in horses. A separate equine study showed a reduction in cortisol levels in the blood after WBVT. This decrease could arise in part from the decrease in stress, but there could also be other reasons. Continued from page 49.

WBVT works (in my opinion) by sending vibrations up from the plate and through the whole body. If you stand on the plate and turn it to a certain frequency, you can feel the vibration in your ears. The vibrations going though the bones mimic the microforces you would receive if you exercised (e.g. ground concussion). Osteocytes (bone cells) like exercise, so they do a better job of keeping the bone in good condition. The vibrations traveling through muscles, tendons and ligaments cause muscles to experience micro-contractions, probably stimulating all muscle type fibers (i.e. type I, IIA, IIX, IIAX) early in the treatment cycles. Later on, after the horse is comfortable with WBVT, more type I fibers are probably being used. Type I fibers are more for maintenance and posture, while the type II groups are for strength and movement. The micro-contractions are caused by the body sensing the movement and trying to stabilize and balance itself. Thus, the horse is exercising without exercising. WBVT is reported to increase blood and lymphatic flow, bone density, flexibility and range of motion, muscle strength, balance and hoof growth, and reduce muscle response time, inflammation, and relieve soreness.

DEVELOPING A TREATMENT PLAN The settings we use on our vibration plate vary between horses. Our vibration plate has only two adjustable settings – frequency (Hz) and off and on. All horses start at a 10 Hz setting and slowly move up to the desired setting over a two to three minute time period. We stop increasing frequency if the horse becomes anxious. Some horses never reach the desired settings, but even at the low frequency they are benefitting from it. More is not always better. We like to treat most horses at around 25 Hz to 45 Hz for strengthening and stretching, and 40 Hz to 55 Hz for a massage. The duration of a session is ten to 20 minutes. Shorter times and higher frequencies are for preexercise. Strengthening is done with longer times and lower frequencies. WBVT is done at least three times a week. For some horses that are stalled, we will do daily sessions at low frequencies and longer durations. We feel that whole body vibration therapy has many benefits when used appropriately. We use it in conjunction with other rehabilitation therapies. However, more research is needed to prove WBVT’s efficacy and benefits. Dr. Scott Reiners is a native of South Dakota and completed his DVM in 1996 from Kansas State University. He completed an ambulatory internship at the Ohio State University and his surgical residency at Oklahoma State University. From there he went to work at Southwest Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Scottsdale, AZ as a surgeon. In 2003 he came to Virginia with his wife Dr. Wynne DiGrassie to start Mountain View Equine Hospital. His special areas of interest are in orthopedic surgery, fracture/tendon repair, laser surgery, shockwave therapy, and sport horse lameness and rehabilitation. mveh.com 50

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KINDRED FARM RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA201 to Kindred Farm Rescue.

Ellie Mae showing off her jumping skills.

Ellie Mae as a baby.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2012 LOCATION: North Gower, ON TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “We save horses that show a potential for being re-homed from being slaughtered for meat,” says KFR board member Kevin Colwell. “These horses are bought directly from the kill buyer, through purchase at auction, or through purchase from owners when there is a threat of the horses being sent to auction.”

STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: 25 volunteers, including a Board of Directors, and two off-site foster homes.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: “KFR relies on individual and corporate donations as well as other fundraising activities, including rescue horse sponsorship, sale of horse hair jewelry and hand-dyed silk scarves, donations online and at local events, and the annual sale of calendars featuring rescued horses.”

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “Ellie Mae was rescue number six for Kindred Farm,” says founder Tanya Boyd. “She was at a farm auction site, waiting to go to slaughter after having been purchased by a kill buyer. She was badly injured while at the lot. A recentlyweaned baby, she had no understanding of danger or fences. As a result, she ended up with significant puncture wounds to her front legs. The wounds went unnoticed until they had become badly infected and her legs were so swollen she had difficulty moving. A vet was asked to determine how significant the infection was, in terms of the impact it would have on the meat. “I was called because the vet ordered that Ellie Mae either be treated with drugs that would have made her inadmissible for slaughter, or be put down. I picked her up at the lot and brought her home to Kindred Farm. I spent many hours working to control and eliminate the infection. Ellie Mae had never been handled but was incredibly easy to care for, no doubt because she was sick, exhausted and about ready to give up. “We found a home for her some months later, where she acted as a babysitter for someone’s high-priced sport horse baby. She was well cared for and loved, and did her job very well, but earlier this year, they asked me to take her back. Her job was done and she was no longer needed. Of course, I said ‘yes’ in a heartbeat. So she came back to me and has proven to be as amazing now as she was as a baby.”

kindredfarmrescue.com 52

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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

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 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

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

BIT O’ LUCK HORSE RESCUE Huntersville, NC Rescue Code: EWA053 www.bitoluck.org

PAINTED ACRES RESCUE & SANCTUARY, INC Winchester, VA Rescue Code: EWA075 www.paintedacresrescue.web.net

STAMP OUT STARVATION OF HORSES INC. Clarksville, GA Rescue Code: EWA033 www.sosofhorses.com

LIVE AND LET LIVE FARM RESCUE Chichester, NH Rescue Code: EWA187 www.liveandletlivefarm.org

SERENITY EQUINE RESCUE & REHABILITATION Maple Valley, WA Rescue Code: EWA028 www.serenityequinerescue.com

BLACK HILLS WILD HORSE SANCTUARY Hot Springs, ID Rescue Code: EWA085 www.wildmustangs.com

HORSE RESCUE UNITED Howell, NJ Rescue Code: EWA049 www.horserescueunited.org/

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

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



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



equine pain RESPONSE

By Amy Hayek, DVM, MA, CVA, CVC


any people report their horses are in pain, and often think their discomfort is far greater than is evident on veterinary examination. Before we look at pain from the equine perspective, we should explore what pain really is, and what it is not. From a neurologic standpoint, all stimuli are received and interpreted by the brain. For instance, we feel a warm breeze as the small hairs on our skin move; the brain combines the warmth, hair signals, and the location on the skin and reports the sensation as being caused by a breeze and not something else, such as a small bug.


Understanding how your horse perceives pain helps with diagnosis and treatment planning. 54

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All pain is perceived in the brain. What is experienced as painful is usually a sensation that is simply too much beyond normal. For example, too much touch, stretch, heat, cold, or any number of other things. Humans identify pain as stimuli causing a level of discomfort we are not willing to tolerate. The horse’s perception of pain can be similar, but humans may interpret a horse’s behavior as a response to pain, when it is not painful. From a cortical perspective, pain is not only felt but also enhanced by the chemical situation of the brain at the time. For instance, some stimuli may only be painful when the horse is under stress. As with humans, the horse’s brain generates the sensation of pain felt in the body. However, unlike us, the depth of that feeling changes based on the horse’s hierarchy of needs. We will look at a few of these, along with some of the areas of the brain that decode painful stimulation from the body.

HORSES DO FEEL PAIN When horses are wounded, they feel pain. The first thing felt when skin is cut is an intense pain at the moment of injury. The

signal for this pain is conducted rapidly by the nervous system. The pain is followed by a slower, prolonged, dull ache, which is conducted by the slower nerve fibers. These stimuli help recruit a normal immune response to the wound. Using chemical anesthetics, scientists can block one type of neuron and separate the two types of pain.

Several factors contribute to the recognition of pain: • Mechanical stimulation from the sharp object • Potassium released from the insides of damaged cells • Prostaglandins, histamines and bradykinin from immune cells that invade the area during inflammation • Increases in temperatures that cause action potentials at sensory neurons • Substance P from nearby nerve fibers. In human brains, frontal lobe decision skills can influence pain recognition. The pain from a cut on your hand eventually subsides or moves to a lower intensity. If you consciously distract yourself, it bothers you less. People given placebos for pain control often report that the pain ceases or diminishes. Horses have smaller frontal lobes in their brains, although they are excellent at creating distractions from pain. We often notice these behaviors and label them as vices. Examples are horses that weave in their stalls, chew their limbs, or crib. Horses are good at distracting themselves from pain because, as prey animals, other functions take precedence over pain perception. Survival takes priority over pain if the horse is running from a predator that is likely to eat him.

Pain fibers The larger the nerve fiber entering the spine, the more likely it will be able to inhibit pain sensations at the level of the spine. Information coming from large muscles that are moving is more likely to inhibit pain than information from muscles that are standing still. Small pain fibers require a larger number of neurons to fire in order to cause pain. If you rub or shake your hand after you bang your finger, you stimulate larger fiber input to the neurons. This reduces the perception of pain. Equine Wellness


MOTIVATION CAN ELICIT BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH PAIN When humans are anxious, their pain levels increase because they are already primed by the hippocampus, which helps with emotions and decision-making skills. With horses, their surroundings, peers, or both can increase anxiety. The food horses eat and the water they drink can contribute to their level of inflammation, which heightens their level of anxiety. But they don’t generally worry, the way we do, which means their threshold to pain is not as close to action potential on a day-to-day basis, as would be a human in the same state. Their brains don’t tend to make their pain worse, the way ours do. Motivation is thought to be controlled in an important way by basic regulatory processes essential for survival – feeding, respiration, sex, self-protection, and temperature regulation. It varies as a function of deprivation – for example, deprivation of food (hunger), water (thirst), or sex. There is a great natural urge to repeat these behaviors. Motivational states have general effects: they increase the horse’s level of attention, make him more sensitive and enhance his ability to act. Motivational states, like thought processes, are internal ideas thought to explain the intensity and direction of a variety of behaviors, such as temperature regulation, feeding, thirst and sex. This is why we are able to use heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature as a measure of pain versus a measure of motivation. A horse’s respiratory

Horses don’t look for pity Humans often elicit pain behaviors in search of comfort from others. In other words, the heightened sensation of pain is elicited to achieve comfort or pity from fellow human beings. Sometimes, this occurs as a result of depression or poor planning in the form of a failure to take care of oneself, resulting in illness or pain. By contrast, horses will hide pain or what we interpret as pain in order to retain their pecking order. They may even endure severe trauma in order to remain in the herd, because being in the herd is more favorable for longer life than being alone. 56

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rate might increase with pain, but it can also increase with excitement; it only indicates pain when compared to the other two parameters, heart rate and temperature.

FROM THE BRAIN DOWN Anything the horse does that makes him feel good actually reduces pain. Opioid receptors reduce pain and make horses feel friendly. When these are stimulated, either because of an activity or by drugs, the horse responds by behaving more normally. Pain relief can be achieved when opioid receptors are stimulated. They in turn stimulate other parts of the brain that turn on the thalamus. Eventually, the pain is relieved. This comes in the way of neurotransmitters, such as endorphins. Normal movement is a means by which horses can dampen or reduce painful sensations because it turns on opioid receptors. When horses are placed on stall rest, it becomes difficult for them to inhibit pain signals to their brains and can even cause them to become more painful. This is also why horses fidget. Movement can relieve pain coming from sources not easily identified by a horse’s owner. By moving, the horse inhibits the pain fibers from firing and makes himself more comfortable.

OTHER FACTORS IN PAIN PERCEPTION Damage to the brain or spinal cord can cause the sensation of pain from non-painful stimulation. The extent of the damage may limit the reaction of the brain’s pathways. The influences of the descending pathways might also be responsible for pain perception with no obvious physical cause. Thoughts, emotions and neuro-circuitry can affect both ascending and descending pain pathways. Scientists are uncertain to what extent horses can experience neuropathic pain. Physiological and psychological factors can influence pain perception: Age – Brain circuitry accumulates waste products over time and with age, so older horses have lower pain thresholds and more problems dealing with pain, in part due to inflammation affecting the hypothalamus. Gender – Because females tend to be more prone to hypothyroidism than males, they are more prone to pain sensitivity. In males, the protective effects of testosterone on the metabolic system help reduce their response to environmental toxins. Fatigue – Lack of appropriate serotonin levels causes the sensation of more pain when the body is stressed from lack of sleep.

Trained behavior or pain response? Humans often interpret horse behavior as pain when the behavior may actually be a response to a new stimulus. A horse that does not know what a halter is, or that the pressure from it is short-lived, may throw himself on the ground or thrash around trying to remove it. Not because the halter hurts him, but because it is new and unfamiliar. As prey animals, being cornered or restrained in the wild would be dangerous for horses. Domestic horses learn to dampen the desire to move out of enclosed situations. They learn to accept confinement. Humans sometimes interpret a flight response that has not been inhibited as pain.

Memory – How a horse has experienced pain in the past can influence his neural responses (memory is influenced by the amygdala and learning processes come from the limbic system). As you can see, a lot goes into your horse’s perception of pain. Horses already know that movement helps them address their pain. When your horse is in pain, look for an AVCA certified animal chiropractor

to help with better movement. While your veterinarian will be able to help stitch the wounds, your animal chiropractor will align the nervous system that is responding to the painful stimulation. Your horse will be able to heal once his nervous system can do its job. REFERENCES A Primate Memoirs, R. Sapolsky Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, R. Sapolsky Essentials of Neural Science and Behavior, Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell Neurobehavioral Disorders of Childhood, Mellillo

Dr. Hayek is a veterinarian who has been using Animal Chiropractic in her practice for over 13 years. She uses Functional Neurology to find windows into the brain to change the way horses respond to their pain. She practices in five states and lives in Meridian, Texas where she and her husband teach Animal Chiropractic to veterinarians and chiropractors. allcreatureseveryspine.com

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EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com Western States Horse Expo June 10-12, 2016 – Sacramento, CA

Centered Riding Open Clinic June 25-26, 2016 – Bloomfield, NY

World’s Championship Horse Show August 20-27, 2016 – Louisville, KY

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Riders of every discipline and level are welcomed to participate in this open clinic. Walk/trot riders to seasoned competitors will benefit from obtaining a thorough understanding of the centered riding basics. Participants will learn how to communicate more clearly through their bodies, leading to a more relaxed, trusting and enjoyable relationship with their horse.

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NEED MONEY FOR YOUR RESCUE? Contact@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Equine Wellness



Four points by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

to performance

Our horses have an amazing willingness to participate in sports. We rely on their good nature, curiosity, and athletic abilities to propel us into the world of equine shows and events. It’s exhilarating when your horse is in super condition and as excited to perform as you are. To make that happen, you must both train and work in concert to arrive at peak performance.

Safeguarding your horse’s health is a key component in achieving the type of conditioning necessary to build performance-ready muscles, tendons and ligaments. To help, you can stimulate specific acupressure points (also called “acupoints”) on your horse after training or performance, to support his health and ability to avoid sudden or repetitive injuries. By including a brief acupressure session after exercise while your horse is cooling down, you can give him what he needs to be your companion in sport. The intent underlying this session is to nourish his bodily tissues by supporting digestion, blood circulation and respiration. The following are acupoints selected to provide health and well-being for the equine athlete. Stomach 36 (St 36), Leg 3 Miles, is one of the most powerful acupoints on the horse’s body. It regulates and strengthens the entire gastrointestinal tract. It’s the go-to point for helping derive nutrients from the rough cellulose in grass hay while also enhancing nutrient absorption. By stimulating St 36 on both sides of your horse, you are supporting his ability to feed the nutrients needed to strengthen his muscles, tendons and ligaments. Lung 9 (Lu 9), Great Abyss, supports the horse’s lung function. It’s an acupoint that’s known to enable the lungs to convert air into bio-available oxygen. When stimulated, Lu 9 benefits the circulation of vital energy throughout the horse’s body. An equine athlete’s lungs must function at tiptop capacity.

Spleen 6 (Sp 6), 3 Yin Meeting, ensures that the horse’s muscles, bones and other tissues receive and absorb the nutrients needed to maintain and build strength and flexibility. Sp 6 also enhances the essence or substance of the body by facilitating blood flow. Gall Bladder 34 (GB 34), Yang Mound Spring, nourishes and strengthens tendons, ligaments and joints. For these tissues to be strong, they must be supple enough to be flexible. GB 34 facilitates the flow of blood, body fluids and vital energy for strengthening and movement.

These four acupoints combine to create an acupressure session that contributes to all your efforts in training and conditioning. Use the soft tip of your thumb or forefinger to gently press the acupoint and count slowly to 20 or 30 before going to the next point. Remember to stimulate the acupoints on both sides of your horse.


GB 34 Sp 6

ST 36

Lu 9






Lu 9

ound on the radial side of the carpus, between F the 1st and 2nd row of carpal bone, cranial to the accessory carpal bone.

St 36 One finger width from the head of the fibula, on the lateral side of the tibia.

Sp 6 3 cun above tip of medial malleolus, 1/2 cun behind the saphenous vein.

GB 34 Located on the outside of the hind leg,

at the space bwtween the tibia and fibula.

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, as well as 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. 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com 62

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness