V11I6 (Dec/Jan 2016-17)

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AMERICA’S WILD HORSES How international eventer


Elisa Wallace is making an impact


equine companionship





Life in a

PASTURE PALS Adorable alternatives for

$5.95 USA/Canada


December 2016/January 2017

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COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Laura Batts, MS, PAS Audi Donamor Beth Glosten, MD Jessica Lynn William Ormston, DVM, CAC Anne Riddell Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CEE Karen Scholl Amy Snow Anna Twinney Richard Winters Nancy Zidonis

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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: November 2016.

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

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Arrowood Photography

International eventer Elisa Wallace won the 2012 Extreme Mustang Makeover competition with Fledge, a 13.2hh three-year-old wild horse from the Medicine Maverick herd in Nevada. Fledge is now part of the growing herd of Mustangs that Elisa works with, showcasing their trainability and versatility. Read more on page 30.

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“Neurologic” doesn’t have to be scary! Take a look at how chiropractic care can help with nervous system interference in horses.


If your horse is coming off an injury, or can’t be turned out with other horses, he might be feeling a bit lonely. Take a look at some alternatives for equine companionship!


50 LIVING IN A PADDOCK HORSE TO HANDLE A ROPE PARADISE Getting your horse used to having a rope thrown around is a helpful trustbuilding tool that helps teach him not to panic in certain situations.

The Paddock Paradise system provides horses with a more natural lifestyle.


Does your horse paw, kick, or thrash around while he’s in the trailer? This destructive behavior can be reshaped with a little time, effort and understanding.

56 RETRAINING THE 30 PRESERVING AMERICA’S TRAILER-TRASHING HORSE Elisa Wallace demonstrates how one person can have a big impact in the effort to bring awareness to the challenges facing our wild horses.

36 PILATES FOR RIDERS 17 SELECTING A SADDLE PAD – POSTURAL AWARENESS Your saddle pad is meant to give the horse’s back comfort and protection. But with so many choices out there, how do you know which one is best?

22 HOLIDAY HORSE TREATS These apple butter crunch treats are easy to bake – they’ll be a holiday hit for your horses and are a great gift idea too!


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Good posture is essential to good riding, and it prolongs the health of your back! Pilates can help you achieve and maintain correct posture in the saddle.


Cardiac disease may not occur in horses as often as other health conditions, but the effects can be devastating when it does. Take a look at several common heart conditions and what to watch out for.


6 Editorial 25 Holiday gift guide

8 Neighborhood news 20 A cupressure at a glance

33 Product picks

34 M inute horsemanship

44 Equine Wellness resource guide

42 Green acres

49 Heads up

54 Herb blurb

59 Social media corner


60 Marketplace 61 Classifieds 61 Book review 62 Events


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EDITORIAL The gift of


Most people are all about spring cleaning, but for some reason that urge doesn’t seem to hit me until the fall. This is probably because part of me knows that once the cold weather starts I’ll be in “hibernation mode”, and won’t have the slightest inclination to organize or clean until things warm up again! But as I sort through mounds of old clothes, warm jackets, and used tack, a seasonal feeling of gratitude begins to sweep over me. My family is fortunate enough to have all the things we need for daily life. This includes my pets and horses, who certainly don’t go without either. I carry that thankfulness with me as I drop off outgrown jackets at coat drives, horse blankets at horse rescues, and excess tack at the therapeutic riding program. We are lucky to be able to offer these things to people and horses who might need them. Even in years when this wasn’t a possibility, we’ve always tried to contribute time to organizations that could use an additional hand, especially at this busy time of year. In a world where getting “likes” for posting beautiful pictures of glamorous lifestyles is becoming uncomfortably popular and trendy, I think it’s grounding to be reminded of what is really important. That’s why I so love the message of some of the articles in this Holiday issue! For some neat decorating and gift-giving ideas, check out Laura Batts’ article on upcycling (page 42). Wouldn’t it be neat if you could make all your gifts this season, with supplies you have on hand? And for another homemade gift option, the horses in the barn will go wild for the apple butter crunch treats on page 22! Our cover story (page 30) features international eventer Elisa Wallace, who has been using her platform and experience to bring awareness to the plight of the American Mustang. Winner of the 2012 Extreme Mustang Makeover, Elisa has since added more Mustangs to her herd, and performs with them at demonstrations (bareback and bridleless!) to showcase the versatility and trainability of these amazing horses. In addition to these articles, we also cover off advice on how to retrain the trailertrashing horse (page 56), and Richard Winters joins us with tips on starting your horse for roping (page 26). In the spirit of keeping everyone healthy and happy this season, be sure to check out the Pilates exercises for good posture on page 36 and the benefits of the Paddock Paradise system (page 50), and brush up on equine heart conditions on page 46. Happy holidays,

Kelly Howling 6

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Known as “The Man Who Listens to Horses”, Monty Roberts has led an extraordinary life. One of his passions is raising champion Thoroughbred racehorses. Recently, he issued a statement in support of WHOA (Water, Hay, Oats Alliance). Founded in 2012, WHOA is a group of like-minded owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, equine practitioners, industry professionals, handicappers and racing fans who stand against the permissive use of performance-enhancing drugs in American horseracing. “Lasix sits at the heart of drug use with Thoroughbred horses in the United States,” says Monty. “Those of us who travel the world in this industry realize that virtually all other racing countries execute their racing under the guidelines proposed by WHOA. “My goal is for us to be as fair with the horses as we possibly can. After decades of studying the issue and listening to knowledgeable veterinary experts, I have looked at both sides of this issue and am hereby casting my support to WHOA and its efforts to bring about medication reform…. For the health and welfare of our horses, I ask people to study the issues and support WHOA’s efforts to improve our industry and the lives of our partners, the horses.” waterhayoatsalliance.com


For years, scientists have been studying the refined talents of primates. But innovative research has revealed that horses, too, have the ability to communicate with humans. Scientists taught 23 riding horses to look at three icons displaying different images representing “blanket on”, “blanket off”, and “no change”. Within two weeks, every horse learned to point to these symbols to communicate a specific decision, demonstrating an aptitude for language that few species have achieved, as well as an ability not only to follow signals, but to understand the meanings behind them. Testing in various weather conditions showed that the horses did not touch the symbols randomly, but understood the consequences of their choices insofar as they indicated blanket preference based on environmental factors. The full report in Applied Animal Behaviour Science emphasizes the scientists’ hope that their method will inspire deeper exploration of the findings.

coach horses

On October 14, Last Chance Corral Rescue Group rescued two retired Percheron coach horses that were found in an emaciated state. The organization works to alleviate the suffering and senseless slaughter of domestic equines, provides an environment for rehabilitation, and carefully selects adoptive homes appropriate for each horse’s individual needs and abilities. Thanks to Uckele Health & Nutrition, the two coach horses, named Luke and Ike, have also been given nutritional help. The company donated a product called CocoSoya, a concentrated fatty acid energy source for healthy weight gain and improved coat and hoof condition. Additional products were sent to help shore up the horses’ nutritional losses, improve their body, hoof, skin and coat condition, and alleviate the digestive issues associated with starvation. lastchancecorral.org 8

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Luke and Ike were severely emaciated when Last Chance Corral rescued them.

Photo courtesy of Last Chance Corral


Photo courtesy of Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc.




Photos courtesy of Return to Freedom


A stunning Palomino Mustang Stallion named Sutter has been named ASPCA Horse of the Year for 2016. Born in northwestern Nevada, Sutter was captured from public lands when he was barely two years old. Immediately following his capture, he was adopted out to a private party through the Bureau of Land Management’s horse adoption program. During that time, Sutter endured tremendous abuse: he was whipped, left tied up under a hot tarp, and kept from food and water. Traumatized by this experience, Sutter was deemed “dangerous” and returned to the BLM, marked to be destroyed.

Thankfully, Sutter was rescued and cared for by the Heritage Discovery Center (HDC), a future colleague of Return to Freedom. With time, patience and loving care, Sutter learned to trust humans again, and appeared at events such as the Rose Bowl Parade, as well as in a number of educational documentaries and clinics. When the HDC was forced to move and downsize in 2002, they contacted Neda DeMayo, founder of Return to Freedom, so that Sutter would find a safe forever home where he could continue being ambassador for wild horses through programs, clinics and events. Sutter loves to connect with people, and is a stirring ambassador for the dwindling number of horses who deserve our promised protection on public lands. Sutter also reminds us that when we extend love to animals, we receive it back, multiplied.


THE NUMBER ONE HEALTH ISSUE During this year’s National Equine Health Survey (NEHS), 38% of horses were recorded as suffering from health problems. And of these, one-third (32.9%) were categorized as lame. Consistent with previous surveys, lameness was shown to be more likely caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis in the limb, rather than problems in the foot. It was also seen as the most common syndrome affecting horses. A breakdown of the types of lameness revealed that 47.4% were suffering from proximal limb lameness (the limb above the foot); 31.9% from causes of foot lameness other than laminitis; and 20.7% from laminitis. Degenerative joint disease (including foot and proximal limb) was the most frequently reported single cause of lameness (41.2% of all lameness). The most frequently reported joint affected by DJD was the hock (15.3% of all lameness). Blue Cross carries out the NEHS each year in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA). This year saw a 14% increase in participation compared to 2015, with survey records returned for almost 16,751 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, and with 5,635 people taking part. Equine Wellness











n, D

VM ,


issues IN HORSES


“Neurologic” doesn’t have to be . Everything has its roots in the nervous system. Take a look at how chiropractic care can help with nervous system interference in horses.

When I first graduated from veterinary school, I would get chills down my spine if someone asked me if her horse might have a neurologic condition. Answering “yes” to this question usually meant signing a death certificate for the horse, because it involved diagnoses like wobbler’s, EPM, West Nile, brain tumors, and traumatic injuries to the spinal cord. There was little in my truck that could be used to cure these problems. Anti-inflammatories and stall rest were often used to mask the symptoms and to see if the animal would get better.

that is now your horse is the same power that controls every reaction that occurs in his body. Chiropractic care is not about curing your horse’s disease; it is about helping restore normal communication between his brain and every part of his body. Restoring this communication allows the brain to resume appropriate control and guide the organs to function at optimal levels.

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE After practicing veterinary medicine for 28 years, and animal chiropractic for 18, this question still sends chills down my spine, but for a different reason. Over time, I have learned that everything is neurologic, and that chiropractic care can help these horses. The nervous system is the first bodily system that forms after two cells come together to eventually develop into the majestic being known as your horse. This is because the nervous system is needed to control every other organ and tissue in the body. The power that turned those two cells into the mass of cells 10

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Everything has its roots in the nervous system. Your horse’s chiropractor can work to help restore the body’s ability to heal itself.

The root cause

Many different issues can be rooted in nervous system interference. • The Harvard School of Medicine recently released a study that recognized chiropractic care as a viable treatment for pain. When your horse is consumed with pain, it is difficult for him to relax and allow the sympathetic nervous system to do things like digest food, heal damaged tissue and eliminate toxins. It is a neurologic issue. • A horse with a subluxated rib will experience an inability to breathe deeply. This inability to control oxygen and carbon dioxide levels will alter the pH of his blood. An altered blood pH will change the way his brain controls some bodily functions, leading to conditions like gastric ulcers, kidney problems and muscle fatigue. Again, it’s neurologic. • Chiropractic care helps the body resume normal motion. When one area of your horse’s body can’t move properly, compensations must be made in other areas. This abnormal motion leads to altered function of the limb. If left uncorrected, this altered motion can lead to tendon and ligament injuries and chronic joint changes. Evidence-based medicine proves that chiropractic care helps restore a more normal movement in the horse prior to these careerending problems. Altered motion is neurologic.

EVERYTHING BEGINS IN THE NERVOUS SYSTEM A horse with a subluxation will experience improper nerve flow to and from his bodily organs. Without this power, cellular dysfunction begins to occur. Cellular nutrition requires glucose and insulin levels to be in balance. For example, diabetes occurs when cells and hormones are not working together to control and provide appropriate nutrition to the cells of the body. Inappropriate responses cause the cells to be resistant to insulin, which causes glucose and cortisol levels to be elevated all the time. What we call Cushing’s, meanwhile, arises from an inappropriate level of cortisol. Metabolic disease syndrome occurs and causes severe debilitating problems for your horse. It is, essentially, neurologic.

CHIROPRACTIC IMPROVES IMMUNE COMPETENCE Chiropractic care has been proven by Dr. Ron Pero to improve immune competence in adjusted individuals by 200% when compared to non-adjusted individuals, and 400% when compared to individuals who were known to be sick. Studies Equine Wellness



Chiropractic care is not about curing

Cervical Thoracic

Sacral Coccygeal


your horse’s disease; it is about helping restore normal

communication between his brain and every part of his body. have shown that chiropractic care may influence T and B-lymphocytes, natural killer cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and plasma bet-endorphin levels. The nervous system regulates all functions throughout the body; the production of immune cells is no exception. An efficiently functioning immune system protects your horse from all sorts of bacterial and viral challenges.

A horse that doesn’t receive regular chiropractic care can be more susceptible to contracting an opportunistic viral infection (i.e. West Nile), or symptoms of a parasite that enters the central nervous system (i.e. EPM). This leads to a need for medications to help the horse clear an infection that he wouldn’t have been fazed by if he had a functioning immune system. Louis Pastueur once said, “In a state of health, the body is shut off from the invasion of germs.” All these things have their roots in nervous system interference. Giving medications to resolve an issue created by nervous system interference will do nothing more than manage the symptoms, generating a false sense of health. Until the cause (nervous system interference) is addressed, health will continue to dwindle, leading to more symptoms and more medications. The chiropractic adjustment is about restoring the power that made the body. Equine chiropractors focus on restoring life, not eliminating symptoms or curing disease. The reason is simple – only the power that made the body can heal the body. With life restored via the chiropractic adjustment, the body is free to work as intended, curing disease and eliminating symptoms on its own!

Horses that receive regular chiropractic adjustments may be better able to stave off opportunistic viral infections due to an improved immune system.


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Dr. William Ormston graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. He received certification from the AVCA and began using chiropractic to treat his animal patients. Jubilee Animal Health is a mobile practice in the Dallas Metroplex area where Dr. Ormston cares for animals using mostly alternative methods. animalchiropracticeducation.com

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pasture pals By Kelly Howling

IF YOUR HORSE IS COMING OFF AN INJURY, OR CAN’T BE TURNED OUT WITH OTHER HORSES, HE MIGHT BE FEELING A BIT LONELY. TAKE A LOOK AT SOME ALTERNATIVES FOR EQUINE COMPANIONSHIP! The best thing for most horses is to be turned out in a herd. But in some scenarios this may not be possible. If you have a small farm with limited space, a horse coming off an injury, or even an equine that lacks the social skills for getting along with other horses, you may find yourself seeking alternative companionship options for him. Horses are herd animals, and do best in a herd with friends. For many, though, the “herd” extends beyond just horses. Let’s take a look at some other pasture pal options for your horse.

MINIATURE HORSES These pint-sized packages of the horse world are adorable and feisty. It may seem like a no-brainer to get a Miniature to help keep your horse company. And while this partnership typically goes well, there are a few things to take into consideration. Some people mistakenly think that just because Miniatures are smaller, they are less expensive. While they will certainly eat less, in most other areas they cost just as much as a full-sized horse. They need their feet done on a regular schedule, and must have their teeth floated, necessary vaccines, and deworming. If 14

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you are boarding your Miniature, know that most barns do not give discounts for smaller horses. In addition, due to their size and metabolism, this breed often requires special dietary considerations. Prone to founder and laminitis, a Miniature’s weight should be monitored and he should be kept away from lush pastures, or may require a grazing muzzle. Miniatures are also adept at escaping from enclosures that were not made with their smaller size in mind. While they may be smaller than their full-sized counterparts, Miniatures like to run and play just as much as any other horse. Be watchful of how your horse interacts with his smaller friend – a well-placed kick or shove will do much more damage due to the size and strength difference.

DONKEYS, MULES AND HINNIES Often forgotten as members of the equine family, donkeys, hinnies and mules can make excellent herd mates for your horse. While they may require the same upkeep as a Miniature in terms of care, they tend to be a bit larger and sturdier, and more able to keep up with any antics or roughhousing.

Donkeys are also well-known for their protective instincts, keeping predators at bay. If you are considering adding one of these animals to your herd, be sure to check out our story on the Donkey Sanctuary that appeared in EW V11I4. It is packed with plenty of information on caring for donkeys, hinnies and mules, as well as how you can become a foster home to help out the Sanctuary.

GOATS We’ve all heard stories of racehorses that travel around with goat companions to keep them company. Popular around the racetrack, goats can be a good choice for helping to keep your equine company. Goats also come with the bonus that they love to help out, and will eat many of the weeds in and around your pastures that your horses won’t touch, keeping unwanted plant growth at bay. They also typically do not share communicable diseases or parasites with equines. The occasional downsides to having goats around usually become quickly obvious. These mischievous critters love to climb, jump, explore and play. They are known as escape artists, and you will either need an excellent goat-proof enclosure for them, or learn to accept that your goats are just going to be everywhere, and on everything. One must also taken into consideration the size difference between goats and horses – an overly playful horse could do considerable damage to a goat, given their strength and size difference. Continued on page 16.

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Continued from page 15.

SHEEP When I went to pick up my very first horse, he was being kept out with a large flock of sheep. Acting as their protector, he seemed to get along quite well with them, but I’m not sure the situation was overly fulfilling in terms of companionship. Sheep are typically not very social or playful. There is also the size difference to keep in mind, and sheep will require some upkeep when it comes to their wool.

LLAMAS AND ALPACAS A few years ago, I boarded at a facility that adopted an orphaned llama. While many farms do indeed keep llamas or alpacas in with their horses (and this can be very handy since they are guardian animals with good protective instincts), I’m a little biased on the subject. This particular llama terrified all the horses on the farm. The scent and appearance of llamas can be a bit off-putting for many horses, and I have heard countless reports of horses not wanting anything to do with their long-necked companions. Llamas and alpacas will require some upkeep in terms of their wool, and will need their feet trimmed regularly, along with appropriate vaccines.

CATTLE It is easy to assume that horses would naturally get along with cattle – especially when you picture western ranges. However, cattle are typically not the best choice when it comes to companions for equines. Many horses have a tendency to bully these animals, and cattle and horses also require fairly different diets that can be difficult to safely maintain in a mixed herd environment. At the end of the day, there are always exceptions in the animal kingdom – animals you never thought would get along do, while animals you were certain would make good friends may not! If you know your horse well and do your research, you should be able to come up with some good options for alternative company for your horse. Miniatures, donkeys, mules and goats will typically be your best options, but you just never know who your horse might get along with! 16

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Sel e cting A SADDLE PAD By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CEE

Your saddle pad is meant to give the horse’s back comfort and protection. But with so many choices out there, how do you know which one is best?


he modern saddle pad comes in a variety of colors and materials. That sometimes makes it difficult for people to choose the right option for their particular horse. Many people simply select the pad that looks prettiest on their horses – but saddle pads are much more than just a fashion accessory!

the saddle pad is meant to absorb moisture and dirt and protects the saddle from the horse’s sweat. The panel on an English saddle is the interface between horse and rider and needs to be smooth and firm, while remaining as thin as possible to help the rider communicate with the horse.


While in general the saddle pad for an English saddle should be used to protect the saddle, some horses need the extra protection for their back. However, often the force and pressure can actually be increased by the use of a saddle pad that is too thick. Thick pads elevate the saddle above the horse’s back and create a lengthened lever to apply force against his spine. When impact absorption is combined with a thin adherent pad, it creates the ultimate in what you need in a saddle pad. Putting an extra pad on a saddle that is already too tight is akin to putting on an extra pair of socks to make a small pair of shoes more comfortable – it simply doesn’t work! Continued on page 18.

Saddle pads are used to provide cushioning under the saddle, thus distributing and lessening impact between the spines of horse and rider. A successful saddle pad makes equitation possible by keeping the saddle properly positioned beneath the rider. Navajo pads act like panels and cooling pads for Western saddles and they are made in various materials and thicknesses. Shim pads should only be used as interim solutions until the saddle – Western or English – can be fitted properly. For English saddles

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Continued from page 17.

SADDLE PAD MATERIALS Pads made of natural products are best and do more to absorb and wick moisture, keeping it away from the horse’s skin. Sheepskin and wool offer shock absorption and wicking but can be expensive, hard to maintain and have a habit of compressing over time. Cotton is a serviceable moisture-absorbing product and is easy to clean, but offers no protection in shock absorption or saddle fit.

Examples of ideal thin cotton wither relief saddle pads.

An assortment of foam and gel riser pads and keyhole pads made of artificial materials.

Shock absorbers such as gel, thick foams, air and neoprene each carry their own drawbacks. Gel moves away from pressure points, is hot and heavy, and because of its thickness tends to move the rider. Foams and neoprene tend to compress rapidly; while they may feel good in the hand, when you add a rider’s weight the cushion bottoms out or creates a rebound effect. Air is the biggest culprit, causing excessive rebound and lack of communication with the horse, but it does distribute pressure well. Neoprene on the other hand retains heat and bacteria and breaks down rapidly. There are a few high tech foams on the market that are extremely thin, provide maximum shock absorption, breathe (providing a cooling effect), and are treated with antibacterial agents. These foams have an extremely long lifespan, but do not wick moisture. When sewn onto moisture wicking materials, these high tech foams (against the saddle) combined with natural materials (such as felt, cotton or sheepskin) on the horse, provide everything essential in a saddle pad with no drawbacks.


Examples of ideally thin memory foam pads encased by a thin cotton wither relief saddle pad shell, providing maximum shock absorption while maintaining moisturewicking action away from the skin.

On round horses, lateral stability is important for the horse’s back health and the rider’s security. If you don’t get an appropriately shaped tree on a round-backed horse, you need a special pad to stop the saddle from slipping around. These saddle-pads can ‘stick’ to the coat of the horse and they are not the ideal for the long run. The goal is to get the tree fitted properly for any type of horse, so no special pads are needed.

A bit about shims

Most saddle pad shims are created from available saddle pad products: lightweight foams (which compress and bottom out, leaving you with virtually no shimming once weight is applied); gels, which move and generate heat; and neoprene, which retains heat, moisture and bacteria and has no ability to distribute weight. Air pocket shims are easy to over- or under-inflate and provide a high rebound effect. Wool works well, but compresses after use and is difficult to make stay in place in a saddle pad. A shim needs to have several key characteristics: it must distribute weight, be beveled to ensure there are no pressure points, and be nonslip. It must not compress – once the saddle fitter has fitted the shims correctly, they must stay at the same thickness and in the same place.


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Growth in young horses is unpredictable, and a developing back can be protected while keeping the saddle balanced with a pad that uses the appropriate shims. This can help avoid having to change the flocking in the saddle every few months. While you should have your saddle properly refitted once or twice a year, shims can sometimes be a useful tool to help with fitting, especially with young horses or when riding more than one horse in a saddle. This should only be an interim solution until a saddle fitter can properly adjust the saddle. As with your saddle pad selection, the materials used for shims are critical. Rolled up towels are never a good choice!

THE RIGHT SADDLE PAD FOR YOU AND YOUR HORSE How can you tell if a saddle pad is right for you and your horse? Consider your care requirements – can you wash a saddle pad every day? Can you afford to have several good saddle pads, or should you work with a half pad so you can use it on top of a thin saddle pad? The right saddle pad should provide closeness to your horse, offer shock absorbency and weight distribution, and absorb excess moisture while retaining airflow. Closeness and fit provide the necessary components for comfort and protection

of your horse’s back. A proper saddle pad can make a big difference in the health of your horse’s back, as well as in your riding experience. Jochen Schleese came to Canada in 1986 to establish and register the trade of saddlery in North America, operating the only authorized saddlery training facility in Ontario. Schleese is the world-leading manufacturer of saddles designed for women, specializing in the unique anatomical requirements of female riders. Schleese provides diagnostic saddle fit analysis and saddle fitting services across North America to maintain optimal saddle fit to horse and rider. Saddlefit 4 Life educational programs and certification courses are held throughout the world. His first book “Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses”, is available from HorseBooksetc. and through Amazon.com in hard cover or e-format. Saddlesforwomen.com ; Saddlefit4life.com ; Schleese.com ; 800-225-2242 ©2016 Saddlefit 4 Life® All Rights Reserved

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

warm your horse

Acupressure to


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very single horse has her own personal furnace. Horses in the wild spend the winter clearing snow and consuming as much forage as they possibly can to keep those internal fires burning. A healthy digestive system is critical to their survival during the winter. Our domesticated horses are equally dependent on good quality grass hay to stoke their internal furnaces. One way to be sure your horse stays healthy through the winter is to offer an acupressure session that focuses on optimal digestion; it’s his capacity to digest rough grass hay that is essential to keeping him warm.

WARMING ACUPRESSURE From a Chinese medicine perspective, the Stomach and Spleen are responsible for the “rotting and ripening” of food substances, the important fermentation process that occurs throughout the horse’s gastrointestinal tract. It’s the actual fermentation that creates the horse’s internal heat. The digestion process is like an internal combustion engine that heats up while fuel is being consumed.

During the winter, the goal is to keep Stomach and Spleen chi flowing harmoniously through the horse’s body. When Stomach and Spleen chi are strong, the horse is able to break down fibrous hay into bio-absorbable nutrients. These nutrients serve to nourish his bones, muscles and all his soft tissues, and keep his heat-generating digestion going smoothly. A brief acupressure session offered along with your winter grooming routine can ensure that your horse is able to create his own warmth. These acupressure points are known to support equine digestion: • Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12) is the Alarm or Gathering point that strengthens Stomach and Spleen chi. •S tomach 36 (St 36) is the Master or Command point for the gastrointestinal tract, and enhances digestion. •S tomach 42 (St 42) is the Source point, the acupoint that brings original essence chi to the Stomach organ system to help maintain a harmonious flow of Stomach and Spleen chi energy. Make your horse’s winter warm and comfy by sharing this acupressure session a few times a week. Remember, acupoints are located on both sides of the horse (bilaterally); stimulate these points on both sides for maximum benefit. Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of Acu-Horse: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides a 300-hour hands-on and online training program worldwide. It is an approved school for the Department of Higher Education Vocational Schools through the State of Colorado, and an approved provider of NCBTMB and NCCAOM Continuing Education courses. Contact 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com or tallgrass@animalacupressure.com.

Equine Wellness


Holiday horse treats


By Audi Donamor


verybody loves special treats during the holidays, but they’re not always very healthy. Treat your horses well this season with these wholesome homemade apple butter crunch treats!


• 6 cups quick oat flakes •

1/ 2

cup chia seeds

• 1 cup apple butter (no added sugar) •

1/ 3

cup unsulphured blackstrap molasses

• 1 cup grated carrot • 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon


• Choose organic ingredients whenever possible. • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Convection is great if you have that option. • Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, but don’t trim the paper until after your mix has been pressed into the sheet. • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. This can easily be done by hand or in a mixer or blender. • Turn mix onto the cookie sheet, spreading it to make sure it reaches all the corners and is as even as possible. • Trim the excess parchment paper, press down the mix with the back of a big spoon, and lightly score with a sharp knife. This recipe can also be rolled out and cut into any shape you like. You can even make truffles. • Pop the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, for a “chewy” treat or “truffles.” • For more “crunch,” turn the oven down to 175°F (80°C), and bake for a further 30 minutes. • Allow to cool completely before storing in a jar or Ziploc bag. Use a decorative box for gift-giving. Read about the ingredients on page 24.


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Yum! Audi Donamor has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College.

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About the ingredients CHIA Chia is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. It has a long, storied history, going all the way back to 3500 BC. Chia seeds are a rich source of B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and zinc, and they are packed with antioxidants. Chia is a valuable source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based form of Omega 3. They are gluten-free and a great alternative to flax seeds. These amazing tiny seeds help support healthy skin, coat and hooves. OATS Oats are a strength-giving cereal. They contain 20 unique polyphenols called avenanthramides, which have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-itching properties. Scandinavian researchers found that adding oats to a gluten-free diet may enhance the nutritional values of the diet’s vitamins and minerals, as well as its antioxidant levels, including bilirubin, which helps in the elimination of free radicals and protects the brain from oxidative damage. Oats support the gastrointestinal system by helping to remove toxins from the body. Research reported by the American Institute for Cancer Research showed that whole grains, like oats, contain many phytonutrients whose healing and preventive properties have gone unrecognized, simply because research methods have overlooked them. Incidentally, oats are also a very good source of selenium, which is a cofactor to the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase. RED APPLES Red apples are a rich source of antioxidants. They are heart smart, and studies have demonstrated that they help inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Red apples contain the phytochemicals, lycopene and anthocyanins, along with lots of vitamin C, calcium, chlorine, fluorine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon and sulphur. Red Delicious, Northern Spy and Ida Red apples have more potent disease-fighting antioxidants than other apples. This is reflected in their higher levels of polyphenol activity.


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CARROTS One of the kings of the vegetable patch is the carrot. Its history takes us back thousands of years, to Central Asia and the Middle East. Roman writings dating back to the third century make reference to this nutrient-dense root vegetable that is related to fennel, parsnips, cumin and dill. There are over 100 varieties of carrot, from the deepest purple and white, to the brilliant orange we are most accustomed to seeing, and each is a storehouse of nutrient power. Carrots contain provitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamins B, C, D, E and K, and riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, copper and iodine. Carrots support the immune system, aid digestion, and are also recognized as a glandular tonic, skin cleanser and eye conditioner. CINNAMON Cinnamon’s history can be traced all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, and ancient Chinese herbal references cite its use as early as 2700 BC, when it was recommended for the treatment of nausea, fever and diarrhea. Cinnamon was also added to food to prevent spoilage. During the Bubonic Plague, sponges soaked in cinnamon and cloves were put in sickrooms. Native American Indians used cinnamon for diarrhea, chills and even to freshen breath. Today it is used in much the same way, treating a variety of gastrointestinal problems, including nausea and flatulence. The oil found in cinnamon has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is also a carminative and used as a digestive tonic when prepared as a tea. BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES Blackstrap molasses is a valuable source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and vitamin B6. It is also a source of chromium, which plays a role in insulin-signaling pathways, helping to balance blood glucose levels. Blackstrap molasses contains lactic acid, helping to promote healthy skin and wound healing.



Speciiasilng advertture fea


Hydration is the key for the equine athlete to maintain top physical condition during sporting events and even more importantly when recovering from strenuous exercise. The Performance XL: Electrolytes formula from Mad Barn is scientifically formulated to replace exactly what the horse loses through sweat during heat stress or strenuous exercise. Don’t accept substitutes, go with the one that is based on science and proven!

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Slow feeding is quickly being accepted as a common sense way to feed horses, as it comes closer to how nature intended. This healthier system regulates feed consumption while making sure feed is continually available. It reduces waste, herd issues, and health problems. Slow Feed Netting uses commercial-grade black impregnated knotless nylon webbing on all of our products. We now use 3/8” braided nylon rope on all of our bags. Custom sizes are available.


Photo courtesy of Gutierrez Photography

Introducing essential winter riding gear: the gorgeous, incredibly warm, breathable, waterproof, easy to put on/ off, Arctic Horse Arctic Full Riding Skirt! These winter riding skirts will change your life and keep you warm and dry on and off your horse. Wear over your riding breeches or jeans. Our warmest, insulated, waterproof riding skirt, made for extreme cold/wet conditions. Think a sleeping bag you can ride in (and still look good walking around in)! This skirt is very full, designed to act as a quarter sheet on the


Enviro Equine’s GastroBalance features a unique combination of Bentonite clay, unrefined salt, and trace minerals to provide hydration, gastrointestinal and growth support, and detoxification. This sugar free all natural blend will help your horse manage his stomach acid content, increase his water consumption, support bone growth, and includes a balanced blend of minerals to support vital metabolic functions.



back of the horse as well.


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Here are four things you can do to start the process of getting your horse comfortable with the lariat rope around him.

1. Become handy with a rope How well do you handle a rope? Are you comfortable with it in your hands? Are you able to build a loop? Can you coil up a rope, naturally and smoothly, without kinks in it? I’m not insisting that you have to be a great roper. However, you should get handy and comfortable with the rope in your hands. If you are not able to handle a rope well, it will be difficult to get your horse comfortable with it.



pe By R


e int W rd a h c



ndle a ro TO

Getting your horse used to having a rope thrown around is a helpful trust-building tool that helps teach your horse not to panic in certain situations.


ntroducing your saddle horse to a lariat rope and getting him comfortable with it can go a long way in training him to be a safe, solid equine citizen. Even if you don’t plan on roping off of your horse, having him desensitized and comfortable with the rope around his body could keep you out of trouble. It can also be helpful when attempting to pony another horse, or even if your lead rope or mecate falls down around your horse’s legs while riding.


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2. Introduce the rope with groundwork You’ll want to begin by desensitizing your horse to the feel and sound of the rope on his body. Begin to use the rope on your horse’s body just like you would a brush. It would be as if you are grooming your horse with the rope. Be smooth and use rhythm with your movements. Start at a part of his body where he is comfortable and work toward those areas where he might be more ticklish. If he is touchy about the rope around his legs, rub him on the shoulder with the rope and move down his leg and back up again – before he gets bothered. This method of approach and retreat in these areas helps a horse grow braver and more confident. Take your time – these are things you want to check out and make sure your horse can handle. You can also build a big loop, drape it over your horse’s hindquarters and lunge him in a circle. You want to make sure your horse is not worried and is comfortable with a rope dangling around his hind legs. This is where it becomes very important to be organized – you need to be able to handle your lead rope and lariat rope efficiently to keep your horse out of trouble. If he gets scared with this exercise, jerks away from you and runs off with a lariat rope around his legs, you’ll shatter what little

confidence you established with him. Be sure and do all this groundwork equally on both sides. You want your horse to be comfortable dealing with the rope out of his right eye as well as his left.

3. Handling the rope while mounted For the novice rider, just managing the reins and controlling the horse is a fulltime job. You need to be able to control your horse and handle the lariat rope simultaneously if you are going to carry it while riding. If your horse is apprehensive, you might find it beneficial to be in a smaller area, such as a round pen, during the initial stages. If your horse feels he needs to move his feet, you should direct him in small circles while moving the rope across his body smoothly and with rhythm, rather than pull back on the reins. Allowing him to move his feet will help him feel less trapped and get comfortable.

4. Building a loop When your horse is comfortable with a coiled rope while mounted, you can build a small loop in it to show him that the rope can potentially grow. Hold the coils in your left hand, along with your reins, and build a small

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DRAGGING OBJECTS WHILE MOUNTED When your horse is completely comfortable with all the steps

in this article, you might consider teaching him to drag a small, light object. This might be a tire, a pole or something similar. If the object is too heavy to pull with just your hand, it is

probably too heavy to begin this part of the training. Never,

ever tie the rope to your saddle while asking your horse to drag an object. This is a recipe for disaster. As mentioned in

the article, it’s important that you can let go of the rope and regain control of your horse at any time.

Follow the same procedure you did when you were introducing

your horse to the end of the rope on the ground. Walk him in a circle around the object, allowing him to see its movement as

you give and take the slack out of the rope. At this preliminary stage, this circling method will keep the rope from getting behind your horse’s rump and scaring him. As your horse

becomes more confident, you can begin to travel in straighter

lines and eventually start moving in the opposite direction with the rope rubbing against his rump.

When your horse sees the object move on the ground, he can become very apprehensive and scared. It is certainly

appropriate to go back to groundwork and acclimate your horse to the object’s movement before you get back on. Remember, this is a building process. Each step should be thoroughly

mastered before attempting the next. Some horses become acclimated and comfortable with the roping procedure very

loop in your right hand. Passing the loop from the right to the left and back again is important. Begin to extend your arm out to the side and back again so your horse can get comfortable with the varied movements of your body and the rope. Now begin to swing the rope just a time or two. Not over your head, but off to the side and back behind your body. He’ll be less bothered if the loop is not swinging up by his eye. You can also place the loop right over his rump and allow him to walk in a few circles.

to walk a circle around the rope, allowing your horse to look at it with his inside eye and get comfortable with its movement. Now you want to be able to coil your rope back up while mounted and build another small loop. Swing the rope once or twice and toss it out on the ground again. You need to do these things repeatedly until your horse becomes acclimated and comfortable with all kinds of movement with the rope.

Again, it’s important to stay organized. You need to make sure you can remove the rope at any point and that you don’t get it up under his tail. Throw a few feet of your rope on the ground while holding the remainder in your hand. Begin

While using the rope mounted, it’s important that you’re able to let go and get free of the rope at any time. If

quickly. Others take much longer and numerous sessions are needed to get to that place.


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your horse gets scared and you feel he’s panicking, drop the entire rope to the ground and regain control of him. If this happens, it’s possible you got ahead of the game and asked for too much too soon. Now you need to go back a few steps and rebuild your horse’s confidence. This might mean revisiting some of the groundwork you did at the beginning. As one horseman said, “Take the time it takes and it will take less time.” As mentioned earlier, you might not have any intention of actually roping off of your horse. However, there are many competitions that might ask you to pick up a rope, build a loop and swing it over your head. There are also classes that ask you to drag an object 20 or 30 feet. Whether you are a competitor or not, these lessons can pay big dividends. Mastering these techniques will build confidence and trustworthiness and make your horse a better-rounded equine partner you can count on. For over 35 years Richard Winters has dedicated himself to honing his horsemanship skills and to passing this knowledge on to others. Richard’s horsemanship journey has earned him Colt Starting and Horse Showing Championship titles. Obtaining his goal of a World Championship in the National Reined Cow Horse Association became a reality in 2005. He is an AA rated judge. Another of Richard’s horsemanship goals was realized with his 2009 Road to the Horse Colt Starting Championship. Richard has returned as the Horseman’s Host for five consecutive years. Being a Top Five Finalist at the Cowboy Dressage World Finals was a great way to end the 2015 show season. wintersranch.com.

Equine Wellness


Preserving America’s

wild horses By Kelly Howling




Equine Wellness

merica’s wild horses and those who manage them are facing an uphill battle. In 2016, approximately 67,000 wild horses and burros were recorded to be living on public land, with 46,000 in off-range corrals and pastures. And while the Bureau of Land Management has successfully adopted out 235,000 wild horses and burros since 1971, they now find themselves dealing with a growing dilemma. As populations continue to increase, adoption rates have been falling rapidly. Last year a mere 2,600 of these animals found homes. That’s an almost 70% decrease in adoption rates over the last decade.

MANAGING THE WILD HORSE PROBLEM So what do we do? The BLM is scrambling to effectively manage populations through various methods of contraception, and by promoting adoption. They have also been placing small herds in off-range pastures. Unfortunately, things seem to have reached a stage where no single method will solve the problem at hand – if people want to see these great horses continue existing, everyone will need to pull together. You might think you are just one person, and that there isn’t much you can do. But there is! Just look at Elisa Wallace, a young international eventer from Georgia. Elisa has successfully competed at three-day events in North America and Europe, her results at events like Rolex in Kentucky landing her on the short list for the Olympics. Her talent for working with and developing off-the-track Thoroughbreds and “quirky” horses has gotten her noticed as a young horsewoman to watch. Elisa is always looking for diamonds in the rough, and this led her to enter the Extreme Mustang Makeover in 2012. The EMM was created by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to showcase the American Mustang and increase adoptions.

Photo courtesy of Aly Rattazzi

Continued on page 32.

Emit is a four-year-old Mustang owned by Ellie Price, in training with Elisa. Mustangs come in all shapes and colors – Emit is an eyecatching palomino.

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Photo courtesy of Arrowood Photography

Photo courtesy of Theresa Marie Bender

Left: Elisa with Fledge (2012 Mustang Makeover), and Rune (2013 Mustang Million) performing at the 2014 Red Hills International Horse Trials. Right: Elisa and Rune showing off in Wellington, Florida.

Continued from page 31. Trainers are given 100 days to successfully train an untouched Mustang and compete with them in a variety of events to show their trainability and versatility.

MEETING A MUSTANG Elisa was assigned a Mustang she named Fledge, after the winged horse in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This 13.2hh three-year-old horse from the Medicine Maverick herd in Nevada would go on to change Elisa’s life. Their partnership developed rapidly, and Elisa and Fledge were the winners of the Mustang Makeover that year. Elisa put in the highest bid at the auction after the event, and took Fledge home. She continued to compete in Mustang events in 2013 and 2014, adding Rune and Hwin to her growing herd of “wild” horses. “I’ve always been one to root for the underdog,” explains Elisa. “They are often stereotyped, discarded and discredited. I have found that I like to prove people wrong. For me, the reward is experiencing the ‘change’ in a horse, whether it’s in body condition, more of a more mental shift, or in his or her education. Being able to look back on the journey and experiencing all the failures and successes that come with training horses is what I get addicted to. That’s why it’s so rewarding working with Thoroughbreds and Mustangs.”

MUSTANGS – FOR MORE THAN JUST COWBOYS Elisa has been using her platform as an upper level eventer to showcase her Mustangs in a variety of situations and disciplines, demonstrating that the American Mustang isn’t just meant to be a cowboy’s horse. Her herd often travels with her to big events, where she shows them off in clinics and demonstrations. Her horses can be ridden bareback and bridleless, and perform tricks, dressage maneuvers and jumping. Hwin and one of her client’s Mustangs, Arlequin, are also competing successfully in eventing. “I want to show that anything is possible with horses, 32

Equine Wellness

and working with them should be fun. Oftentimes in my demos I just try to play with the horses. People need to see and understand that just because it’s a Mustang, that doesn’t mean he’s not a ‘sport horse’. They can do anything!” While some purists feel that “natural horsemanship” has no place in the world of competitive sport horses, Elisa bucks this trend with all her horses. “I believe firmly in developing my relationships with my horses. Thus, they give me better performances. Groundwork helps me communicate and build relationships with my horses. Each horse is different, but to me it is very important in building trust and confidence, which then carry over to when you are riding them.”

PRESERVING WILD HORSES The Mustangs Elisa works with and showcases are all different sizes, shapes and colors, and have different breeding. But they all have wonderful, friendly personalities, and are clearly extremely trainable and willing. Raised on the range, these horses are typically very sturdy and hardy, with excellent feet – perfect candidates for people looking for horses they can keep in a more natural lifestyle. Many people would argue that wild horses don’t need saving – some even say they’re a nuisance, or not useful. But Elisa begs to differ. “I don’t want to lose these horses,” she says. “It’s amazing to see a wild horse in the wild. It is my hope we can discover a solution so these horses can be managed harmoniously. I want to keep doing the work I am doing so more people can learn about how amazing these horses are, and that they are worth keeping around.” For more information on the work Elisa does, visit wallaceeventing.com.

ZYMOX® Equine Defense not only brings relief to horses but to their owners as well. The proven Equine Defense product line utilizes the LP3 Enzyme System for the care and management of wounds and problematic skin conditions and irritations. Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that increase the rate of chemical reactions. They are natural defenses against harmful microbes. Enzymes won’t irritate a pet’s sensitive or raw skin, are very safe, non-toxic for pets, people and the environment and most importantly, bacteria won’t develop resistance against enzymes, so they are always efficient.


FLAXSEED – ONE OF MOTHER NATURE’S MOST PERFECT FOODS The Omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseed promote a nice shiny coat and enhance overall health in horses by reducing inflammation and relieving symptoms associated with sweet itch and other skin conditions. Flax contains mucilage and works well for sand removal, eliminating the need to feed psyllium. Flaxseed’s anti-inflammatory properties also assist with arthritis and joint stiffness. Flax boosts the immune system and helps regulate thyroid function, making it an ideal supplement for metabolic and aging horses.

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Equine Wellness





for you and your horse By Anna Twinney


Equine Wellness

Springtime finds most people getting back in the saddle and preparing horses for trails and competition. The winter, on the other hand, is usually a very different story. As the snow, ice and cold settle in, it can often spoil our best-laid plans. But with a positive attitude and a little creativity, we can continue to connect with our equine partners. Five minutes is all it takes! Here are some boredom busting bonding ideas for you and your horse this winter:

•C OMPANION WALKING – We all benefit from a breath of fresh air. As you embrace the outdoors with your dog at least twice a day, consider taking your equine partner with you. Make exploring and venturing into nature a family affair.

• GROOMING – Instead of mindless grooming, focus on mindful grooming; it’ll help you connect to one another on a deeper level.

•B AREBACK AND BRIDLELESS – When the weather inhibits trail riding, challenge yourself to return to a true trust-based relationship by removing tack. For effective communication, connect with your horse through your mind and body instead of artificial aids. Explore the power of animal communication and experience the subtleties of a flowing connection. •T EACH YOUR HORSE A TRICK OR TWO – A fun way to communicate and connect is to train your horse using enjoyable activities that naturally complement your training program. Think about the value of teaching him to come when you call, pick up a hoof when you click your fingers, or stretch his front legs (girth stretch) with a mere hand signal.

A chilly time can become a cherished time, and a relationshipchanging experience, as introspection brings forth unexpected gifts and paves the way for New Year’s resolutions that will blossom in the spring. 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.

Equine Wellness


By Beth Glosten, MD



– postural awareness and support Good posture is essential to good riding, and it prolongs the health of your back! Pilates can help you achieve and maintain correct posture in the saddle.


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o you often hear corrections while you’re riding? “Sit up straight!” or “Keep your shoulders back, chest up!” You believe these cues are meant to correct your posture. But do you really understand good posture? Do you know what it feels like in your body? Let’s take a look at rider posture and some Pilates-based exercises for postural awareness and support.

POSTURE AND ALIGNMENT Good posture is the proper alignment of the vertebrae in your spine. Figure 1 shows that the spine is a series of stacked bones or vertebrae. These bones are not stacked in a straight line, but form curves at the neck (or cervical spine), the mid-back (or thoracic spine), at the low back (or lumbar spine), and at the sacrum. These curves promote shock absorption and mobility of the spine. The lowest part of the pelvis, the ischial tuberosities or seat bones, is the part we feel when seated in the saddle or on a firm surface. Good posture is when the spine exhibits its normal curves; this position is called “neutral spine” or “neutral pelvis” (Figure 2).


Figures by Sandy Johnson

Awareness of optimal spine and pelvic alignment is important for two reasons.

Figure 1

Figure 2

1. Neutral spine is the position of most efficient balance. In fact, in the absence of spinal or muscular abnormalities, while at rest, the position of proper posture can be achieved with minimal muscle work. Once we start moving, however, the preservation of posture requires muscle activity, especially while on the back of a horse. Activating the deep muscles of the abdomen and back are vital to supporting good posture. These muscles work cooperatively to keep the trunk upright and balanced by creating a deep, elastic corset for the spine. Without these muscles for support, it is common for riders to grip with their leg muscles or have tension in the shoulder girdle as they struggle for balance and stability on the horse. This leg and shoulder tension then interferes with the horse’s movement and the rider’s communication with the horse. 2. T he second reason neutral spine, or correct posture, is best for riding is Equine Wellness


t hat it is the healthiest position of the spine. Correct spine alignment minimizes excessive movement, stress and strain on the ligaments and intervertebral discs of the spine.

the body (a fetal position). This posture is often paired with excessive tension in the gluteal (butt) muscles. Again, balance is precarious, and excess tension in the shoulder and hip joint regions preclude moving freely with the horse.


Figures by Sandy Johnson

Notice in Figure 1 that since the spine is connected to both pelvis and ribcage, the position of the spine, rib cage and pelvis are all related and affect each other. When the spine is arched or extended, either the top of the pelvis tips forward and/or the sternum lifts up – the distance between the pelvis and ribcage in front increases (Figure 3). When the spine is rounded or flexed, the top of the pelvis tips back and/or the sternum dips down – the distance between the ribs and pelvis in front decreases (Figure 4).

• A rider with stable and balanced posture while riding looks graceful and supple. I would suggest, however, that like a ballerina, that pleasing look of balance and effortlessness is not easy and takes body awareness, muscle activity and control. With focus on balance and posture, the rider becomes more attuned to the movement of the horse and can influence that movement in subtle ways. In the end, good riding becomes energy management of the horse. The horse puts energy into the rider; the rider must not be put off balance by this energy, but channel it in the desired way (forward, upward, through transitions, etc.). Considering that the bulk of this energy management occurs in the rider’s trunk or torso, awareness and support of posture and alignment is necessary for efficient and beautiful riding.


Figure 3

Figure 4

• The arched or extended posture is seen in about 35% of riders I have worked with. These riders tend to seek support and balance from their arms and shoulders rather than their center. As a result, balance may be precarious. The muscles of the upper back and shoulder tend to be stiff and tight, hence elastic contact with the horse is difficult. This posture is often accompanied by a thigh that grips up and in on the saddle knee rolls. Clearly, arm and leg suppleness and movability are compromised, so giving clear aids is difficult. • The rounded or flexed posture is seen in about 15% of riders I have worked with. These riders also lack awareness of and stability at their center, but the excess tightness tends to round the shoulders forward and close off the front of 38

Equine Wellness

Core exercises work the deep muscles of the abdomen and back, creating a deep elastic corset for your spine. Some people need emphasis on abdominal muscle work. If you tend towards an arched posture, active engagement of the abdominal muscles will pull the rib cage and pelvis closer together and bring the spine into alignment (changing Figure 3 to Figure 2). If you are someone with a rounded posture, active engagement of the muscles of your back will pull the rib cage and pelvis apart to better spine alignment (changing Figure 4 to Figure 2). Offhorse exercise is extremely useful to help you develop body awareness, strength and connection of your core muscles so you can put them to work to keep you in good posture and balance in the saddle. Includes excerpts from Beth’s book The Riding Doctor: A Prescription for Healthy, Balanced, Beautiful Riding Now and for Years to Come. Trafalgar Square Books, 2014. See sidebar on page 39 for Pilates exercises for postural support and awareness.


postural support AND AWARENESS

1. POSTURAL AWARENESS – finding neutral alignment

Objective: To feel the alignment of the vertebrae and perceive the normal curves in your spine. • Lie on the floor or a mat, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip-joint width apart. • Release the muscles of your back and let the weight of your body sink onto the floor (without pressing or forcing any part of your back onto the floor). • Note where you feel the weight of your body touching the floor. When the spine is in neutral alignment with its normal curves, the weight contacts the floor in three places: at the back of your pelvis (sacrum), around your shoulder and shoulder blades, and at the back of your head. There is usually little weight contacting the floor behind your waist and your neck. This exercise describes the normal curves of your spine. Everyone is slightly different, but the point is that your back is not completely flat.

2. PELVIC ROCKING Objective: To explore how spine alignment changes with small movements of your pelvis. • Lie on the floor or a mat, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip-joint width apart, in neutral alignment. • Take an easy inhale breath, breathing into your lateral rib cage. • On the exhale breath, scoop in your abdominal muscles to move the top of your pelvis toward the floor (posterior pelvic tilt or pelvic tuck), flattening your lower back. • On the next inhale breath, move the top of your pelvis away from the floor (anterior pelvic tilt), arching your back slightly so your lower back comes off the floor. • Slowly alternate flattening and arching your lower back six to eight times, inhaling as you arch your spine, exhaling as you flatten your spine onto the floor. • Gradually decrease your range of motion until, like a pendulum moving more and more slowly, your lower back comes to rest. This position is likely very close to your neutral spine alignment. When your spine is in neutral alignment, the plane defined by three bony points — your pubic bone and the prominent bones on the right and left sides of your pelvis — will be parallel to the floor. When you stand, or sit in the saddle, this plane is perpendicular to the floor. Once you have found neutral spine alignment, you need to keep your spine in this position despite being on a moving horse! Support of good posture on horseback not only keeps your spine in a healthy position but also provides the most efficient position from which to achieve balance. Sidebar continued on page 40. Equine Wellness


Sidebar continued from page 39.

3. ABDOMINAL CURLS ON THE MAT Objective: To strengthen your deep abdominal muscles • Lie on the floor in neutral spine alignment, knees bent, feet flat on the floor hip-joint width apart. • Place your hands behind your head or neck. • Take a normal breath in and as you exhale, scoop in your lower abdomen, and peel your upper body off the floor in a curl. Inhale as you roll back down. • Repeat eight to ten times. Keep your abdominal muscles scooped in as you curl up. Keep your fingers soft behind your head; don’t pull yourself up with your arms. Avoid pushing your lower back into the mat by tucking your pelvis. Allow your back to lengthen. Feel your neck lengthen as you round your head forward in the curl, leading with your forehead. Curl up until just the bottom of your shoulder blades touches the floor. Keep the movement smooth, not jerky.

on the mat Objective: To strengthen the deep muscles of your mid and upper back. • Lie on the floor on your stomach, resting your forehead on a towel if needed for comfort. • Place your arms by your sides with palms up. • Take an easy inhale breath, and on the exhale breath, pull your abdominal wall up off the floor (this should not be a visible movement – just a pulling in of your abdomen to support your lumbar spine). • On the next inhale breath, bring your shoulder blades together and slowly lift your upper body off the floor. The muscles to lift your upper body should be the deep mid and upper back muscles. • Exhale as you rest your upper body back down. • Repeat four to six times. Initiate the movement with your shoulder blades coming down your back toward the center of your body, not from your neck. Feel that you are keeping your head and neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. Also feel as if your back is getting longer, reaching away from your pelvis. If this exercise causes low back pain, reduce the range of motion and seek support from your scooped-in, deep abdominal muscles, or avoid the exercise until you can get expert feedback. Follow the exercise set with the child’s pose back stretch (next).

Photos by Audrey Guidi

Continue breathing throughout the movement. Feel how your ribcage comes closer to your pelvis during the exercise. Done this way, the exercise strengthens the deep abdominal muscles. If your abdominal muscles bulge out, you are using the more superficial muscles, making the exercise less useful.

4. BACK MUSCLE STRENGTHENING – spine extension

5. CHILD’S POSE BACK STRETCH Objective: To be done after each spine extension or strengthening exercise sequence. • Start on your hands and knees. Sit back toward your heels and lower your forehead toward the mat. • Either reach your arms “overhead”, resting your hands on the floor, or keep them by your sides. • Use your breath to stretch your back muscles. As you breathe in, feel how expanding your ribcage stretches your back muscles. As you exhale, focus on scooping in the abdominal muscles to support the stretch of your lower back muscles. Hold for several breaths. • Walk your hands over to your right side, stretching the left side of your body. Breathe into the left ribcage two to three times to facilitate the stretch. 40

Equine Wellness

• Walk your hands over to your left side, stretching the right side of your ribcage. Breathe into the right ribcage two or three times to facilitate the stretch.

6. PLANK ON KNEES OR FEET Objective: To integrate abdominal and back muscles. • Lie on your stomach on a mat. • Bend your elbows and keep them by your sides and place your forearms on the mat. • Bend your knees so your lower legs are off the floor (plank on knees), or keep your legs straight (plank on feet). • While keeping your shoulders anchored, lift yourself onto your forearms, and onto either your knees or feet, into a suspended plank position. Seek a long and neutral spine position and avoid pulling your shoulders up around your ears. Try to keep your pelvis level, not pushed up to the ceiling. • Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. If plank on your feet is too challenging, alternate between your feet and knees for the 30 to 60 seconds of the exercise. Gradually build up the time you can hold the position on your feet.

Beth Glosten, MD is a certified Pilates instructor through the Pilates Method Alliance. She is also a “certified” dressage geek: she is a graduate of the USDF “L” judge training program, and has earned her USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. Beth owns and operates RiderPilates, LLC in Redmond, WA where she provides mindful Pilates-based exercise group classes and private Pilates sessions. She also teaches rider position-focused riding lessons and clinics. Beth’s book The Riding Doctor – A Prescription for Healthy, Balanced, Beautiful Riding, Now and for Years to Come is available through Horse and Rider books (horseandriderbooks.com). Her exercise DVD, Ride in Balance with RiderPilates, is available through her website at riderpilates.com.

Equine Wellness



UPCYCLING ideas for the

holidays By Laura Batts, MS, PAS

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with ideas for decorating and gift-giving. I can’t help but think of all the extra waste that will be generated this season, and the impact it will have on our planet. So what can we do about it? This question always stimulates my creative juices and helps me think of ways to reuse, recycle and reduce. From festively decorating your house and barn to hand-making the perfect gift, there are many ways to reduce your ecological impact this season when you upcycle.


Wreaths are the easiest way to add a holiday touch. Starting with leftover chicken wire or a base made of upcycled wood, you can add all kinds of festive decorations to express holiday cheer.


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Angels always add a touch of holiday warmth; by using old shutters you can create an angel decoration that also sends the positive message of reuse. You can even use an old boot or skate to add a holiday touch to your décor.


My gift list mostly includes horse people, so that makes it easy to create something special with upcycling! Most farms have pallets or wood scraps from previous projects. Gift ideas made from upcycled wood could include a brush box, saddle rack and boot scraper. Look around your barn and home and you will be surprised by how much “waste” you can reuse to whittle down your gift list! For example, custom lead ropes can be made from baling twine. If your gift list includes a wine lover (a staple in the horse world!) what about a wine rack made from upcycled wood and horse shoes? To an eco-friendly horse lover, seeing all those piles of wrapping paper, boxes and “new” stuff can put a damper on the holidays. Making your gifts and decorations by upcycling can help counter that. Now look around, get creative and get busy! If you would like details on how to make any of these ideas, please contact Laura@horsehippie.com and check out her blog EcoEquine (ecoequine.wordpress.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

44 Wellness ViewEquine the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com 44 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

CO M M U N I C ATO R S Claudia Hehr Animal Communicator To truly know and understand animals. Georgetown, ON Canada Phone: (519) 833-2382 Website: www.claudiahehr.com

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


T HE RMOGRAPHY Equine IR Bonsall, CA USA (888) 762-2547 Phone: info@equineIR.com Website: www.equineIR.com Thermal Equine Eric Flavin New Paltz, NY USA Phone: (845) 222-4286 Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

YO G A 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

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

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com


your business in the


Equine Wellness Equine Wellness 4545

HEART disease in HORSES By Cathy Alinovi, DVM

Cardiac disease may not occur in horses as often as other health conditions, but the effects can be devastating when it does. Take a look at several common heart conditions and what to watch out for.

While heart disease is not as common as other health conditions in horses, it’s the third most common cause of performance issues in horses. That alone justifies the diagnosis of any heart abnormality in a horse. A normal, healthy heart beats over 630 million times in the average horse’s life and weighs close to ten pounds in the adult equine. This vital organ is tucked up under the horse’s left elbow, making it hard to access when he’s standing. The normal resting heart rate for an adult horse is between 25 and 50 beats per minute (bpm). The heart rate will increase to 80 to 120 bpm at the trot, 120 to 150 bpm at the canter, 150 to 180 at the gallop, and can be as high as 240 beats per minute when a horse is running all out. Within five minutes of stopping exercise, the heart rate should drop back below 100 bpm. A fit horse will have three clearly audible heart sounds when the heart is at rest; the third beat is a “physiologic” murmur and is not audible when the horse begins exercise. (Each heart sound is the noise made when a valve closes. Technically, there should be four sounds, as there are four heart valves, but the sound of two of the beats is usually obscured by the sound of the louder, bigger valves closing.) EQUINE HEART CONDITIONS The range and type of heart conditions horses suffer from can be fairly similar to those we experience as humans, with some variations.


Equine Wellness


Just as with any other species, foals can be born with heart defects – this is called congenital heart disease. A heart defect will make vigorous physical exercise difficult for a growing foal and is one clue the foal needs medical evaluation.


Dysrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) are common in horses; however, most are physiologic and happen at rest. These must be differentiated from true dysrhythmias – a brief stretch of exercise should remove the irregular sounds, in most cases. If the heart murmur remains, then causes to consider would be AV block or atrial fibrillation. Both indicate a problem with the electrical conduction of the heartbeat’s symbol signal, which disallows the beat to progress across the heart as normal. An electrocardiogram can diagnose these heart conditions.


There are seven general categories of cardiac dysfunction: 1. Valvular disease – Heart valves fail to open or close properly. 2. Myocardial disease -- Heart muscle either pumps inefficiently or inadequately relaxes for proper filling. 3. Arrhythmia – Heartbeats are either too slow, too fast or are irregular. 4. Vascular disease – The blood vessels in the body interfere with blood flow. 5. Extracardiac shunts – Essentially, there are bypasses in the normal blood flow system, resulting in inefficient blood flow. 6. Incorrect blood volume – Too little or too much blood as compared with storage capabilities of the blood vessels. 7. Parasitism – In the cardiovascular system (more common in dogs and cats than horses).


Valvular heart disease can lead to heart murmurs, which in advanced cases may sound like a washing machine. Essentially, one of the heart valves does not close properly, either due to genetic defect, trauma from health issues (infection), or aging. This can lead to right- or left-sided heart failure, depending on which valve is involved. Right-sided heart failure may lead to ascites and/or edema, especially in the lower legs and abdomen. Left-sided heart failure can lead to low blood volume and buildup of fluid in the lungs, which can potentially develop into pneumonia.


Myocardial disease is a disease of the heart muscle itself. While horses don’t usually get hardening of the arteries like humans do, the result of disease in the heart muscle is just like when a blood vessel to the human heart is occluded – the heart muscle dies and the horse suffers an event just like a heart attack in humans. Once there is a failure of the heart muscle to contract, blood will not flow, resulting in a grave prognosis.


Horses can also develop pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the pericardium, a thin fibrous sack surrounding the heart. Pericarditis is most common after respiratory disease and some viruses, and can be associated with heart failure. It can be diagnosed with ultrasound. These horses have chest pain and do not take deep breaths. Continued on page 50. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 49.


Aortic disease includes aneurysms and fistulas, which can be just as fatal in horses as in humans. In either case, the result is a tear in the aorta (the primary outflow from the heart). This causes sudden death as all the blood leaves the heart and drains into the chest cavity. These horses die suddenly, which is very traumatic to the owners, especially since the animals never display any signs of a problem prior to death.

THE EQUINE HEART IN TRADITIONAL CHINESE VETERINARY MEDICINE (TCVM) In TCVM, the Heart is the Emperor of the organ systems and is closely related to the Blood, vessels, and other organs of the body (capitalization denotes the Chinese organs – not necessarily the same as in conventional medical systems). The Heart uses Qi to pump and move the Blood, thereby circulating nutrients to all parts of the body. Working with the other organs, the Heart regulates the volume of Body Fluids to keep the Blood in optimal condition. Additionally, the Heart houses the Shen (spirit). When a horse has good Shen, he has bright eyes, is alert and feels well; poor Shen results in dull eyes, droopy ears and poor performance. A stall walker or a cribber has a disturbance of the Shen.

SIGNS YOUR HORSE MAY HAVE A CARDIAC DISORDER Top symptoms/clinical signs that may alert you to the presence of cardiac problems include: •C hange in performance – May indicate the development of a cardiac disorder. •W eight loss – In advanced heart disease, the body will consume muscle mass; this is called cardiac cachexia. •E dema – Swelling of legs and lower body, especially with right-sided heart failure; fluid will pool in the tissues. Lasix, a diuretic, is a common treatment. • J ugular distention – A jugular pulse traveling up more than one-third of the jugular vein indicates a problem, often with the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart. 48

Equine Wellness

The Heart also controls the sweat. Body Fluids and Heart Blood are interchangeably related – deficiency of either will decrease production of sweat. Similarly, excess sweat can deplete Body Fluids and Heart Blood. Abnormal sweat can be an early indicator of heart issues. This is important, as most horse owners would prefer to know their horses have heart issues as early as possible, when the chances for treatment are better. Early detection is a great strength of TCVM. Finally, the Heart in TCVM opens to the tongue. The tongue gives a good view to Heart function. A pale tongue suggests a weakness (deficiency) of the Heart, a red tongue is an excess condition and suggests Heat (Heat sometimes relates to infection). A small or enlarged tongue also suggests changes in blood volume or Heart Qi and warrants further investigation. Not only can medical conditions of the heart be treated with TCVM, but so can heart conditions that may manifest as Shen disorders. TCVM treatment for horses includes acupuncture (including Moxa), Tui-na (massage), herbal therapy and food therapy. Because Chinese theory addresses the whole body, all organ systems can be addressed to aid the Heart in better function and improve quality of life for the horse. Just as in humans, heart disease in horses is nothing to mess around with. Know and understand the basic signs of heart disease and involve your veterinarian straight away if you have reason to suspect your horse has, or is developing, a cardiac issue. Thankfully, in many cases, early detection and treatment can go a long way to ensuring these horses have long and healthy lives. Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM – retired holistic veterinarian, animal lover, frequent media guest and nationally-celebrated author – is quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. After graduating from veterinary school, she quickly realized that conventional medicine did not meet enough of her patients’ needs and became certified in Animal Chiropractic care, Veterinary Acupuncture and other very effective alternative modalities. In her practice, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door – not with expensive prescriptions – but with adequate nutrition. Now retired from private practice, Dr. Cathy spends her time writing and helping pet owners feed their pets the best food possible for best heath. DrCathyVet.com

Sleek and effortlessly modern, Steel-Craft’s Contemporary Series offers the look, feel, and texture of real wood without the maintenance issues. The door’s clean “plank-style” finish fills a growing demand in the market for designer-inspired products. The Contemporary Series features Steel-Craft’s uncompromising durability and function. This climateready insulated steel door has an exterior that won’t require staining or painting. Unlike real wood, it will not warp, shrink, peel or crack, making it ideal for the Canadian climate.



Interested in learning more about Horse Temperament Typing? Then we have a class for you! This online course has been created to share information about the eleven Horse Temperament Types as explained by Madalyn Ward, DVM. This online class is self-paced (once you are enrolled you have four months to complete it), and it is open to anyone interested in learning about Horse Temperament Types. This class is designed to be the first step towards becoming a Certified Horse Temperament Typologist.



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Equine Wellness


Paddock Paradise LIVING IN A

The Paddock Paradise system provides horses with a more natural lifestyle. By Anne Riddell


e all would like our horses to lead happy, healthy lives. To achieve this, more and more people are looking for ways to return their horses to a more natural lifestyle. In 2006, Jaime Jackson released his book Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding. The book was based on his 20 years of research following the wild horses of the Great Basin of Northern California and Nevada. It is a guide to natural boarding that simulates the wild horse’s lifestyle and how he lives and navigates in his environment. Jaime studied the natural biological and physiological needs of wild horses and applied them to the domestic horse in an effort to bring our modern equines closer to their natural way of living. The Paddock Paradise concept offers a whole horse approach to a natural diet, lifestyle and environment.

PADDOCK PARADISE BENEFITS The Paddock Paradise design encourages horses to move in groups or small herds all the time (24/7), which is what nature intended for them. This constant movement not only keeps a horse’s 50

Equine Wellness

musculoskeletal system fit, limber and ready to sprint at any threat (in the case of the wild horse), but it reduces the time needed for warmup exercises in high performance domestic horses. Horses that have traditionally been boarded in small paddocks with round bales, or kept in stalls, often show great physical improvement in a Paddock Paradise setup. In a short time, horses that were always bloated from too much feed/grass coupled with lack of movement lose the bloat and take on a more sleek and muscled appearance. It is an ingenious way to manage feeding practices and keep overweight or metabolic horses in check and moving. I remember when we took our young racehorses to the sale to qualify for the breeders’ stakes; people asked us if we were exercising them because they looked so fit. Of course we weren’t – it’s just that they lived outside 24/7 with constant movement! Any horse housed in a Paddock Paradise will develop magnificent, well-manicured hooves that can negotiate any terrain thrown at them – providing his diet is kept free of too much sugar (in the form of grain and green grass) and he is free to move all the time. Continued on page 52.

The horses seen in this photo are constantly on the move. There are six living comfortably in this one acre Paddock Paradise. They can often be found dispersed around the track, but will come together to rest or sleep throughout the day. Four of the horses in this herd are not seriously metabolic and can be put into the center, where they can have access to grass in the early morning when the sugar is at its lowest.

PADDOCK PARADISE (based on 1 acre)

Electric fencing

Pasture River rock

30’ 20–30’

Shelter with pea gravel

Exterior fencing



Mineral sand Equine Wellness


PREVENTION AND HEALING When given the opportunity to move and forage, as in a Paddock Paradise track system, the sick, laminitic or foundered horse can heal very quickly. I have seen horses go from chronic lameness to soundness in less than two weeks. The changes are remarkable; within no time, chronic lameness subsides and changes in the hooves can be dramatic. For horses with serious metabolic issues, a Paddock Paradise is a life changer and saver. The track system is both preventive and healing.



Continued from page 50. The equine hoof was designed to undergo constant movement. This ensures constant pressure and release in the back of the hoof, which pumps blood into the hoof, nourishing the microscopic blood vessels and providing shock absorption. We see horses improve mentally and become much happier when housed with herd mates in a Paddock Paradise. We’ve also witnessed horses that were unable to relax become calmer and less stressed. This is important, because stress increases your horse’s cortisol levels, which in turn increases insulin levels. This can trigger a laminitic response or episode.

INSTALLING A PADDOCK PARADISE While the thought of changing around your pastures may seem daunting, a Paddock Paradise is easy to install and keep clean. It


Equine Wellness

also reduces overall boarding costs since the barn manager does not need to buy expensive bedding, the manure can be cleaned up with a tractor, and hay wastage is kept to a minimum. Horses in this natural boarding situation may require less veterinary intervention since they are eating, moving and living closer to their natural environment. We do not see the pathologies or lamenesses in wild horses that we encounter in domesticated horses. The track system can be inexpensive and easy to set up. It can also be as elaborate or creative as you want to get and can be adapted to any size of property. The first one I set up at my farm is just over an acre and remains in place today, helping to heal compromised horses and prevent those who live there from becoming laminitic. Initially, I set it up for about $200 using electric fencing and wooden posts for the center fencing, with the existing outer fence already in place. Or you can really dress it up by using System Fencing’s 4” Flex Rail, which is safer and looks nicer. Pea gravel can be used at watering holes and in shelters to help condition and exfoliate the hooves. Many horses with navicular like to stand inside the shelter with their back feet immersed in the pea gravel. This natural habitat for boarding domestic horses of any breed or discipline will ensure healthy and happy equines. I highly recommend reading Jaime’s book; it provides great insight into horses and how they live naturally. Your horses will thank you!

Anne Riddell is a certified natural hoof care practitioner who specializes in founder, laminitis, navicular lameness, and high performance barefoot horses. She offers trimming instruction to horse owners and other professionals. barefoothorsecanada.com



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


Equine Wellness supports horse rescue efforts across North America. When you buy a subscription to Equine Wellness we’ll donate 25% of the cost to any of the rescues and shelters below. Please make sure you use the appropriate rescue code below:

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

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HERBS for the holidays By Jessica Lynn


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we shift our thoughts to fall and winter, we often start to think about the holidays, and doing some traditional baking. While going through my own baking ingredients, my mind turns to the herbs that will help my horses get through the colder nights and shifting seasons. The herbs that usually come to mind include

cinnamon and peppermint. Tummy troubles are always a concern as the weather changes, and if horses are stalled more in cooler weather there can be an increased risk of colic. I’m especially apt to keep a couple of pounds of peppermint leaf on hand to offer my horses during changing weather conditions.


A particular type of cinnamon, called cassia cinnamon, has been successfully used to help maintain horses with Insulin Resistance. Feeding this type of cinnamon, or the more common variety found at the store, at the rate of one tablespoon per day, has been shown to lower blood sugar in those with diabetes or pre-diabetes conditions. Recent lab studies indicate that cinnamon may reduce inflammation; they have also found that cinnamon can have antioxidant and antibacterial effects. Extracts from the bark of cinnamon trees have also been used medicinally for humans, most notably in Chinese medicine. I know my acupuncturist loves cinnamon and has given it to me in an herbal mix when I have gone to him with a virus.


This traditional candy cane ingredient is also a helpful treat for horses, not only in its herb form, but also in candy form, or even as an essential oil. One of the staples in my barn is a bottle of peppermint essential oil – I always keep it handy. If a horse is having a bit of gassiness, rub a few drops of the essential oil on his belly button and put a couple of drops in his mouth to help ease the gas while you walk him, or if you are waiting for the vet. Cut and sifted peppermint is easy and inexpensive to find, and can be a nice warming addition to a mash on a cold winter night. Add ¼ cup of the herb to a Mason jar and pour boiling water over it, letting it steep until warm, then pour it over your horse’s bucket feed. Or, add a handful of cut and sifted dried peppermint to his bucket. I do not keep much candy around, but all my horses enjoy wrapped peppermint candy as an occasional treat.

Jessica Lynn has written more than 25 articles for various national and international horse publications on horse health, over the past 15 years. She is an equine nutritionist, and the owner of Earth Song Ranch, a feed additive and supplement manufacturer based in Southern California that uses herbal blends, probiotics and digestive enzymes for horse immune health, and distributes Horse Tech and Mushroom Matrix Products. Jessica has been involved in alternative health care, herbs, homeopathy and nutrition for animals and humans for almost five decades. She is available for nutritional consultations – jessica@earthsongranch.com, 951-514-9700, earthsongranch.com.

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trailer-trashing HORSE By Karen Scholl

Most horse trailers receive some damage when we haul our precious equine cargo. The extent of the damage varies from small dents across the wall caused by pawing or kicking, to broken-out windows or bent divider bars. Some horses can outright trash a trailer. Owners usually end up living with the damage rather than spend good money for repairs, only to have their horses tear it all up again on the very next trip! The greatest disappointment is missing out on an equine event with friends because you don’t want your horse to trash someone else’s trailer. Worse, you may not even get invited because no one is willing to risk their trailer even if you offer to pay for any damages!


As a horse behaviorist for more than 20 years, I’ve coached owners and their horses in every kind of trailering scenario you can imagine – with high level performance or recreational horses, untouched mustangs, ponies, mules, you name it, and with every kind of horse trailer. My conclusion from these experiences is that regardless of the horse, trailer or severity of behavior, trailer-trashing can most effectively be turned around by expanding our foundation of communication with horses! Whether the horse is lightly pawing or throwing himself on the floor, the message is the same – he simply doesn’t want to be in the trailer. It’s an opportunity, and dare I say it, our obligation to help him gain confidence so we can build a happy hauling environment.


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I want to stress that a magazine article cannot possibly explain the extent of the techniques required to fully change the mind of a horse committed to trailer trashing. What can be explained is the origin of this behavior, how common approaches contribute to it, how we can begin to shift the behavior by looking at it a little differently, and go from there.


That being said, it’s my opinion that trailer trashing is fairly common because most instruction is focused on trailer loading. We can’t go anywhere if we can’t get the horse into the trailer, so every approach under the sun is geared to resolving the initial problem of getting that rascal into the trailer. When the horse finally does load, we quickly close the doors and we’re done, right? Then the pawing starts and we don’t really know what to do except get to our destination quickly to keep damage to a minimum! Even the horse that walks right into the trailer and seems completely okay might become a huge trailer trasher once everything goes into motion. “Good” loaders might scramble in every turn or start pawing or rocking when the trailer stops, simply expressing that they want out. Owners often brag that a horse is “perfect” in the trailer, but you’d better be out of the way when you go to unload and the horse blasts out backward or slams through dividers or people on the way! Continued on page 58.

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can be expressed in degrees ranging from mild, uneasy pawing to extreme panic with the most horrific efforts to exit the trailer. If I had a nickel for every time an owner came running to shut a trailer door the instant the horse’s back hooves disappeared into the trailer during a demo or clinic, I’d have my own island! Leaving the door open and allowing the horse to back out or turn around and walk out leaves both owner and horse with a funny look on their faces. But I like to give the horse a minute to think about what just happened, and begin my loading routine again. Something as simple as allowing a horse to come out of a trailer, and reloading enough times that he proves to himself there’s no danger, can become a real turning point for even the most committed trailer trasher! What really surprises folks is how quickly most horses make their own decision to stay in the trailer, because getting out only leads to getting back in, and hey, nothing’s hurting them in there anyway. It’s common to think we don’t have that kind of time and that the horse should just get used to the trailer as we roll down the road. Luckily, many horses do get used to things and seem to “get over it”, but some don’t and then we’re dealing with irritating, costly, even dangerous behavior, while blaming the horse all the way down the road.

Continued from page 57.

TRAILER LOADING WITH CONFIDENCE It’s important to consider what all these behaviors have in common. The horse is either confident and relaxed in the trailer, or he isn’t. When “training” is focused only on getting the horse in the trailer, we need to keep in mind that while his body might be inside, his mind is still outside. Every undesirable behavior is an expression of the horse wanting to be outside the trailer. The approach I find most effective for both owners and horses is to think about loading the “mind” of the horse, because the body will follow the mind. And yes, the horse is a living, breathing, thinking, feeling creature that certainly has opinions and the raw physical power to express them! When we recognize that the mind of a prey animal is designed by nature to avoid anything that restricts flight from perceived danger – it’s his number one survival mechanism – it’s pretty amazing that horses load into moving metal “caves” at all, and is a true testament to their ability to adapt to our world! Conversely, it’s human nature to think that shutting a horse in right away is only logical – like catching our prey – so it’s easy to see how he might respond by feeling trapped. This feeling 58

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The loading techniques I’m describing are pretty extensive and best learned in stages, beginning with groundwork, moving to obstacles to create simulations, and then to the trailer. Of all my instructional DVDs, Trailer Loading for Women (and men, of course) gets the most feedback. Trailer loading and trailer trashing are common struggles. Folks from all over the world email to tell me how their impossible-to-load, trailer-trashing horse now calmly steps into the trailer with relaxation and confidence – and in only a few, or even one, session! These are horses that have had trouble for years; but with clear communication that makes sense to a prey animal, they now happily roll down the road behind the owners and fully enjoy their next adventure. So you see, you don’t have to just grit your teeth and live with the behavior of a trailer trasher. With a little time, effort and understanding, you and your horse can both have an enjoyable trailering experience!

NOTE: As with any approach to shaping horse behavior, safety is

the highest priority! I cannot emphasize this enough: if you do NOT feel confident at any time, please hire a professional who understands this approach and will take the time to help you and your horse to a stage where you feel confident enough to take over.

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

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BOOK REVIEW TITLE: The Tale of the Dancing Slaughter Horse AUTHOR: Victoria Shade In a world where so much focus is placed on the glitz and glamor of the upper levels of equestrian sport, it’s refreshing to find a book as relatable as the true tale of Victoria Shade and her gritty mount, Moonshine. The story begins with a theme many of us know all too well – young Victoria is bitten by the horse bug and is determined to do anything to gain time and experience in the saddle. The trail barn near her house becomes a refuge when her home life becomes increasingly difficult. Victoria dedicates herself to working hard in the barn, guiding trail rides and riding as many horses as possible.

As the journey continues, Victoria’s growing interest in dressage leads her to a more competitive farm, where she continues to gain skill on different horses. While her mother is dedicated to seeing her succeed, her absent and somewhat eccentric father makes things difficult and limits Victoria’s riding opportunities. When Victoria is given a ride on a grumpy and quirky Thoroughbred gelding named Moonshine, her life begins to take a direction she couldn’t have predicted. Rescued from slaughter and abuse, Moonshine makes Victoria work for every ride. Through perseverance and determination, she forges a trusting relationship with her unlikely mount that eventually sees the two of them reach their goals and become an admired pair at the Young Rider level. Full of inspiration, grit and humor, The Tale of the Dancing Slaughter Horse is the perfect fireside read this winter.

PUBLISHER: Amberjack Publishing Equine Wellness



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Winter Equestrian Festival January 11 – April 2, 2017 – Palm Beach, FL This festival is the largest and longestrunning circuit in the sports horse world. It is a 12-week show jumping competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation and includes riders from 33 countries and all U.S. States. For more information: info@equestriansport.com http://pbiec.coth.com/

January Thaw Expo January 21, 2017 – Fredericton, NB Celebrating 10 years! All are welcome to this public event at the Fredericton Exhibition Center! Featuring over 70 exhibits to view and explore as well many presentations. For more information: www.januarythaw.com

AETA International Trade Show January 28-30, 2017 – Oaks, PA Spend 3 days viewing English and Western merchandise, networking with each other, exchanging ideas on marketing and learning the latest in equestrian products and services at this year’s AETA International Trade Show. This equestrian event is specifically for equestrian trade exhibitors and buyers and is not open to the general public. For more information: (717) 724-0204 www.aeta.us

Western States Horse Expo - Pomona February 3-5, 2017 - Pomona, CA

21st Annual Horse World Expo January 20-22, 2017 - Timonium, MD This event features demonstrations,

shopping, lectures, competitions, and You will find top quality seminars and breeds as well as saddles, horses, trailers clinics. Different mounted demonstrations. and trucks for sale. Come on out and You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue enjoy the fun! and of course there is plenty of shopping! For more information: letters@horseexpoevents.com Great family fun and entertainment! www.horseexpoevents.com For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com North American Vet Conference www.horseworldexpo.com

February 4-8, 2017 – Orlando, FL

The North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) is a non-profit organization that provides world-class continuing education to all members of the veterinary healthcare team.

Held in Orlando, Florida, the NAVC Conference welcomes over 15,000 attendees from over 70 countries. We offer 50 intensive Hands-on Laboratories, over 350 speakers, dozens of different daily lecture tracks, the largest meeting of exotics practitioners in the world and the largest exhibit halls in the industry. An excellent opportunity to socialize and network with other industry professionals at our evening entertainment programs. For more information: (800) 756-3446 info@navc.com www.navc.com

Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show February 16-26, 2017 – Scottsdale, AZ In its 62nd year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win. For more information: (480) 515-1500 info@scottsdaleshow.com www.scottsdaleshow.com

15th Annual Horse World Expo March 2-5, 2017 – Harrisburg, PA You will find top quality seminars and clinics. Different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and of course there is plenty of shopping! Great family fun and entertainment! For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com www.horseworldexpo.com

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