Tips p to REDUCE
VACCINATION SIDE EFFECTS
Essential oils for the
ANXIOUS OUS H HORSE O
What to watch for
nutritious HORSE ORSE TREATS S
THE ROLE OF CURIOSITY IN
for ARTHRITIS VOLUME 12 ISSUE 1
DISPLAY UNTIL MARCH 2017
HOW TO SELECT
Last Chance RANCH
Clarissaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tale of survival is a heartwarming testament to the spectacular efforts of this equine rescue ranch.
EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Eq E qu uiin ne e Wellness We elllln lln ness es e ss 1
February/March 2017 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Kelly Howling EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Sylvia Flegg SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Brad Vader SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Maddie Maillet COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtesy of Last Chance Ranch
ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager: Kat Shaw (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com
COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Susan Albright, DVM Cathy Alinovi, DVM Laura Batts Brittany Cameron, REMT Audi Donamor Melanie Falls Brian C. Gilger, DVM, Ms, Dipl. ACVO, Dipl. ABT Heather Hoyns, DVM Lori McCutcheon Sherri Pennanen Karen Rohlf Amy Snow Anna Twinney Madalyn Ward, DVM Richard Winters Nancy Zidonis
Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com
ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Karen Jeffries
SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Kelly Howling, Editor, at Kelly@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. You can also mail submissions to: Equine Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to info@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com.
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Subscription Services Manager: Brittany Tufts, (866) 764-1212 ext. 115 Brittany@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext.115 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON Canada K9J 2T8 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.
EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2016. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: November 2016.
IMPROVING THE LIVES OF ANIMALS... ONE READER AT A TIME.
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Photo courtesy of Last Chance Ranch. This issue’s cover horse, Clarissa, overcame all odds to survive with the help of rescue efforts by Last Chance Ranch. So emaciated and weak that she couldn’t even stand without the help of a sling, Clarissa’s will to survive helped her persevere, and her tale has a very happy ending! Read more about her story and the work that Last Chance Ranch does on page 24.
Conte Cont 10
FEATURES 10 WINTER HOOF CARE AND HORSE HEALTH
The onset of winter often means changes in horsekeeping practices. These changes can have both positive and negative effects on your horse’s hoof quality – and on his overall health and well-being.
14 HELP YOUR HORSE
There are times when you will need to vaccinate your horse. Knowing how to support him and his immune system will help prevent side effects.
20 TRAINING YOUR HORSE
28 SELECTING (OR BAKING!) NUTRITIOUS HORSE TREATS There are hundreds of horse treats out there to choose from, but many commercial products just aren’t good for him. Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for or making the perfect treats for your horse.
32 ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE ANXIOUS HORSE Essential oils are a natural, effective way to help alleviate stress and anxiety in our equine friends.
– HOW CURIOSITY PLAYS A PART
36 ACUPUNCTURE FOR
An attitude of curiosity is of vital importance to your horse’s trainability and willingness to learn. Let’s take a look at how you can nurture this trait in your horse, and yourself!
A sore back is a common complaint in horses, and can occur for a variety of reasons. Acupuncture can be a helpful therapy for the cold-backed horse.
24 LAST CHANCE RANCH Clarissa’s tale of survival is a heartwarming testament to the spectacular efforts of this equine rescue ranch.
THE COLD-BACKED HORSE
40 EQUINE UVEITIS Uveitis in horses can be difficult to diagnose, but early detection is important in order to preserve your horse’s eyesight.
44 OVERSEEDING PASTURES The thought of seeding pastures may seem preposterous – after all, grass just grows! But for stressed or overgrazed pastures, overseeding may be just what the doctor ordered.
46 MASSAGE THERAPY FOR THE ARTHRITIC HORSE Arthritis doesn’t just affect your horse’s joints. Because he compensates in other areas of his body as well, pain and discomfort can occur there too. Here is how massage therapy can help.
58 HANDLING COMMON HERD DYNAMICS Developing herds for domesticated horses can come with its own set of unique challenges. Let’s take a look at the factors that can affect herd dynamics, and how to create the ideal herd situation.
nts 24 DEPARTMENTS COLUMNS 8 Neighborhood news
6 Editorial 34 Business profile: Razerhorse
17 Herb blurb
39 Product picks
18 Acupressure at-a-glance
48 Heads up
49 Green acres
51 Social media corner
50 Minute horsemanship
52 Equine Wellness resource guide
54 Holistic veterinary Q&A
56 To the rescue
61 Classifieds 61 Book review 62 Events
SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine Twitter @ EquineWellness
Times are a-changin’
It has been really neat to watch the progression of “alternative” or integrative therapies over the last decade. Equine Wellness has gone from being considered a rather alternative publication to a more mainstream equine health magazine, as people’s views and acceptance regarding holistic modalities have changed. Therapies once considered extremely alternative (such as chiropractic, massage or acupuncture) are now widely accepted and quite mainstream in most barns. And modalities that many equestrians used to widen their eyes at (like Reiki or animal communication) have gained a much wider audience. The barn where I keep my horses has a fairly “traditional” group of owners/riders, yet the chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist and saddle fitter all regularly visit us. The use of herbs, natural feeding products, and alternatives to vaccines and deworming are also considered more mainstream and “commonsense” these days. People don’t like what they don’t understand, and this tends to be especially true for horse people. That’s why education is so important, and why our goal as a publication is to push the boundaries and try to open people’s minds a little with each issue, particularly in the area of integrative therapies. This particular issue is dedicated to these therapies, and includes articles on massage for the arthritic horse (page 46), essential oils for anxiety (page 32), and acupuncture for the cold-backed horse (page 36). We also take a look at equine uveitis (page 40), a challenging condition that can often lead to blindness in horses. Learn what to watch out for and what treatment options you can explore. And if you find yourself having to vaccinate your horses this spring, be sure to check out Dr. Madalyn Ward’s article on how to prepare your horse for vaccinations – see page 14. We’re also excited to announce that horseman Richard Winters will be with us for the year to write our “Minute Horsemanship” column – be sure to check out his first installment on page 50! And if you’re experiencing any unrest or challenges in your herd’s dynamics, take a look at Anna Twinney’s article on common herd problems (page 58). Meanwhile, Karen Rohlf joins us on page 20 to explore the important role curiosity plays in training. Horses, like people, are individuals that vary vastly from one another. What works for one horse may not work for another. There is no harm in exploring and educating yourself on different treatment or training options for your equine friend. Trying out integrative therapies isn’t “weird” – what you’re actually doing is developing a betterrounded toolbox that offers more care options to your horse! Naturally,
Kelly Howling 6
FEI GAMES TO BE HELD IN
MORE DOORS TO THE 2020 OLYMPICS
Mark your calendars! The FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 will be held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina from September 10 to 23 of that year. The FEI Bureau unanimously agreed that the Games should be awarded to Tryon; this means the FEI’s flagship event remains in North America after the withdrawal of Bromont, Quebec earlier this year.
To solve the issue, it has been proposed that the number of athletes in national teams be reduced to three. “Reducing team members to three per nation was probably the only way to boost the number of flags,” says De Vos. “Of course this now has to be approved by the IOC, but it opens the door to countries that previously could only see the Olympics as a distant dream.” Another proposal is to remove the drop score, which previously allowed a team’s worst score to be discarded. The use of a reserve combination for teams will remain in place, but will become even more important and will be a key element in ensuring horse welfare.
Though the Games were previously awarded to Bromont, a lack of secure funding led to a mutual agreement between the FEI and the Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM) to terminate the host contract.
The FEI General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed format changes, which will now go to the IOC Executive Board for final approval.
Horseback riding is a high-risk sport, and of those risks, head injuries are near the top of the list. The Fifth International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport was held in Berlin, Germany late last year; this annual event provides recommendations for the improvement of athlete safety and health. During the conference, delegates were shown the latest research about concussions, including the definition of what a concussion is, along with presentations about technologies and biomarkers that could aid onsite medical staff to diagnose a concussion near the field of play.
More countries may have the opportunity to participate on the world stage at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. “We need to increase the number of participating nations at the Olympic Games, yet stay within our existing quota of 200,” says FEI President Ingmar De Vos.
FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, a leading figure from the international sports world, joined some of the world’s foremost medical experts at the event. “The FEI is honored to support the ICCCS and be a part of the debate that will improve athlete safety across the sports world,” she said. “It is essential that there is an increased awareness of the safety issues we face in equestrian and other sports, and we owe a big debt of thanks to the scientific communities for the research that will help us improve risk management protocols for athlete safety.”
Przewalski’s horse is a species of wild horse native to the Gobi Desert. They went extinct in the wild in 1968, but successful breeding programs at zoos around the world helped reintroduce them to the Great Gobi B protected area in southwestern Mongolia in 1992. These horses share the extreme habitat of the Gobi Desert with two other equid species: the Asiatic wild ass, also called the khulan, and the free-ranging domestic horses of local nomads. To help preserve the Przewalski’s horse, it is important to understand if and how the three species compete for food within the protected area. A scarcity of food could lead to competition among the different species, especially if they make the same dietary choices. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, a team led by researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna chemically analyzed the tail
Universit y of Wyoming BLM PARTNERING WITH THE
hairs of all three species to determine their seasonal dietary habits. While the wild ass switches from grazing in the summer to also browsing in the winter, the wild and domestic horses eat exclusively grass all year round. In the lean winter months, this leads to increased food competition between the wild and domestic horses. This new information could help improve wildlife management measures for the Przewalski’s horse. The long-term goal of international research teams and Vetmeduni Vienna, in close cooperation with the Great Gobi B protected area, is to establish a self-sustaining and viable population of Przewalski’s horses, while also protecting other key species such as the khulan.
The Bureau of Land Management and the University of Wyoming are launching a new study to explore the movement and habitat selection of wild horses in Adobe Town Herd Management Area (HMA). The research will involve using radio collars on the horses to learn more about seasonal use, migration patterns, and herd movements in the area. No horses will be removed from the range during the research. “The study will last about a year and will involve collaring 30 wild mares and monitoring their movements across the range,” says BLM Rawlins Field Manager, Dennis Carpenter. “We are happy to be working with the University of Wyoming on this study to provide more information about how these horses interact with their environment, and to ensure BLM continues to have healthy horses living on healthy rangelands.” “The use of GPS collars on the Adobe Town mares will provide us with insight on how these horses move into, through and across the public-private land matrix, how horses select rangeland resources across seasons, and how porous or non-porous the Colorado-Wyoming border really is for horses,” adds Derek Scasta, PhD, Assistant Professor and Extension Rangeland Specialist with the University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. “Our experience with U.S. Geological Survey researchers shows that these collars can be safely used on horses with a very low risk of injury.” Equine Wellness
Winter HOOF CARE AND HORSE HEALTH
The onset of winter often means changes in horsekeeping practices. These changes can have both positive and negative effects on your horse’s hoof quality – and on his overall health and well-being. By Sherri Pennanen
inter is here, and with it comes snow, mud and cold. All these factors pose challenges to good hoof care and your horse’s general well-being. But even more challenging is the additional stall confinement many horses experience during inclement weather. Many barns and owners limit winter turnout because of ice, snow or cold temperatures,
and that poses a different set of concerns for your horse’s feet and overall health.
HORSES ON THE MOVE Horses accustomed to ample turnout do what they do best when outside – they graze and move freely over the paddock
or pasture. If you were to count the number of steps your horse takes in an eight- or ten-hour day outside, it would probably surprise you. The bigger the area for turnout, the more steps he will take. Horses in the wild can cover many miles in a single day. Most domestic horses live in smaller areas and have planted pastures and supplied hay. But they will still follow their instincts and move around as freely as the area permits. Once confined to a stall for hours at a time, however, this nomadic tendency is squelched and the horse is left to stand in one place for long periods. The potential effects of this immobility can be staggering. You may notice swelling in his legs. You may also notice that the natural wear you typically see on his hooves is not taking place. And too much stall time can cause other problems as well.
THE STALL-BOUND HORSE Stalls that are not thoroughly cleaned generate additional hazards for a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feet, as well as his overall health and well-being. Standing in damp bedding promotes thrush and abscess formation as well as other maladies. Bedding that contains manure or urine can take a toll on hoof wall integrity and lead to an invasion of bacteria into the hoof structures. There is little moisture available for the hooves when the horse is kept inside, so the hoof soaks up all the moisture Continued on page 12.
Bedding that contains manure or urine can take a toll on hoof wall integrity and lead to an invasion of bacteria into the hoof structures. Equine Wellness
Continued from page 11. it can – and if that moisture is in the form of urine, the result is surely less than optimal. Indoor arenas are also generally dry, so there is no help to be had there. Meanwhile, those dark damp areas in barn corners become breeding grounds for worms. Lots of people don’t deworm frequently when their horses are inside because they think he won’t be outside gathering them. But in fact, they are growing close by. Mental tolerance is another consideration in the stallbound horse. Bored horses can be destructive. They can chew, rub, paw and roughhouse trying to escape. They may take to weaving or eating furnishings. They may crib and wind suck. Escape tactics can also be mastered when the motivation to relieve boredom is high.
TRIMMING IS NECCESSARY You may have heard that hooves don’t grow as much in the winter so trims are not important. But remember that good hoof balance is always “in season”, so regular appointments with the farrier are still essential. Hoof growth is constant, and while the rate of growth varies from time to time for many reasons, they don’t just stop growing. The more the horse moves, the more his hooves will grow. Your farrier can also check for any signs of thrush or abscessing, and can detect any problems that may be developing from too much stall time. Balanced barefoot trims also limit “snowballs” from building up in his feet and help your horse enjoy the wintertime as much as a good pair of boots helps you. The snow (and yes, even the winter mud) can provide essential moisture for the hoof and regular turnout where he can move freely is the best option. 12
Even if you often ride or routinely work with your horse during the winter, his constant desire to move and graze and roll is put on hold when poor weather takes away his outdoor play. This can result in your horse gaining weight, and not in a good way. His muscle tone and topline can suffer. He may develop more fat, but the lack of work will make him sluggish and he will sport less muscle. His metabolism will change and he may even be more prone to maladies like colic because his GI tract is not accustomed to so much time spent standing still. Think how you would feel if you were confined to a small powder room all day!
BEATING THE WINTER BLUES So what is a horse owner to do? Ask for turnout! Take your horse for long snowy walks and rides – let him play and roll in the snow. Horses enjoy the cooler temperatures. We have all seen pictures of playful horses dodging and diving in the snow with the wind in their manes and tails. Horses rarely require the blankets we so love to adorn them with, and as we have talked about in other articles, blankets can actually make a horse feel colder. Your horse is built to be an all-weather machine. When we tamper, he loses some of his talents, natural defenses and abilities. If you are searching for the perfect boarding facility, don’t forget to ask about winter turnout. If all else fails, snowy playtimes on a lead line are just what the doctor ordered for stall-bound horses. The more your horse can move and run and play during the winter, the better – not just for his feet, but for his overall health and happiness.
Sherri Pennanen of Better Be Barefoot is a veteran natural trim farrier serving western New York and southern Ontario. She offers balanced barefoot trims, lameness evaluations, and holistic/rehabilitation services on her farm (betterbebarefoot.com).
YOUR HORSE HANDLE
By Madalyn Ward, DVM
There are times when you will need to vaccinate your horse. Knowing how to support him and his immune system will help prevent side effects.
ttitudes about vaccination have changed in the last 20 years. Vaccines were once seen as the best way to prevent many diseases in horses, and their disadvantages werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t often considered. Now we are looking harder at vaccines and understanding the risks of overvaccination. Ideally, vaccination protocols should be tailored to the individual horse. The vaccines for that horse can then be based on likely exposure to the disease in question, and his ability to mount an adequate response. Titers may be used to assess response to previous vaccines or natural exposure. However, the decision to vaccinate is sometimes forced on us since many boarding facilities and horse shows require horses to receive vaccines. 14
Things to think about before vaccinating your horse If you are facing the need to vaccinate your horse, there are things you can do to make the process successful, with minimal negative effects. Vaccines are designed to be given to healthy horses; many of the negative effects occur in animals that are not in full health. The goal of a vaccine is to stimulate your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immune system to mount an immune response to the injected disease antigen, so he will quickly respond in the case of a natural infection. If the horse does not have a strong immune system, the vaccine will not be protective. Ultimately, the protection from disease must come from your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s response to the vaccine, not the vaccine itself.
Keep a close watch on
SUPPORT FOR THE VACCINATED HORSE
your horse for several
Even when you have determined your horse is
healthy enough for vaccines, there are still some
vaccines to check
best response with the fewest negative reactions.
for deeper negative
STEP 1 – Give your horse 5 grams of a natural
steps you can take to help him experience the
vitamin C product for ten days following his shots.
reactions that indicate damage to his immune
STEP 2 – Give him prebiotics to support his good gut bacteria as he goes through the feverish
period following vaccines.
STEP 3 – Watch for pain and swelling near the vaccine site and apply warm or cold packs to decrease the inflammation. Homeopathic remedies such as Apis or Ledum may help with immediate post-vaccine discomfort. Fever or pain at vaccine sites is part of a healthy immune response and does not disqualify a horse from future vaccines unless the reaction is extreme. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Banamine can be given to your horse at the time of vaccination if he has become sore in the past. These drugs will not interfere with the vaccine response, but do have other side effects, so they should not be used unless needed. STEP 4 – Keep a close watch on your horse for several months following vaccination to check for deeper negative reactions that indicate
Chronic conditions such as laminitis, uveitis, allergies, tendency to colic, cancerous tumors and old age are all signs that a horse is not healthy enough to be given vaccines. Cushing’s and insulin-resistant horses may also react poorly to vaccination. These conditions should be resolved before vaccines are given.
Factors that weaken your horse’s immune system
to a condition of health, but future vaccines
Inadequate nutrition can also weaken your horse’s immune system. Diets low in trace minerals, such as zinc, can result in a weak immune system. Horses that are thin and undernourished should be allowed to gain
should be avoided unless the threat of exposure
systems. Changes in the quality of his hair and hooves, behavior changes, exercise intolerance or weight loss are signs you need to address the condition of vaccinosis. The homeopathic remedy Thuja will often bring your horse back
to a fatal disease is imminent.
condition before being vaccinated. If possible, hay should be tested to make sure it provides adequate levels of protein and minerals to support a healthy immune system in your horse. If your hay is low in minerals, then a whole food (such as blue-green algae) may provide the missing trace elements. Stress is probably one of the biggest enemies of your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immune system. Weaning, moving from one barn to another, hard training, showing, inclement weather and poor herd dynamics can all cause enough stress to lower a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to respond well to vaccines. It is best to vaccinate your horse at a time when he can be in his normal surroundings, have a week or so off from training, and when weather conditions are not extreme. Vaccines can help prevent disease in healthy horses, but they are not without possible negative effects. Unhealthy horses should not be vaccinated. Healthy horses can be assisted to respond well to vaccines, and treatments can be given to counter bad reactions. Use titers to avoid additional vaccines whenever possible. Kansas State University will do rabies titers and the USDA lab will test for Eastern, Western, Venezuelan and West Nile encephalitis. Your vet should be able to do these tests if you ask for them. Madalyn Ward is trained in Veterinary Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, Network Chiropractic and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Holistic Veterinary Medical
Association. She has authored three books, Holistic Horsekeeping, Horse Harmony, Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. Holistichorsekeeping.com, Horseharmony.com.
Marshmallow By Melanie Falls
’mores for horses, anyone? Just kidding! Although today’s grocery store marshmallows don’t include any Althaea officinalis, they were once made from a mixture of sugar, egg whites, and ground marshmallow root. The plant contains mucilage with emollient and demulcent properties, so marshmallow is more than just a sweet campfire treat! It is also an effective treatment for digestive ulcers, urinary tract irritations, and respiratory issues. The marshmallow plant can be identified by its wide fanlike leaves and light pink flowers that grow on 3’ to 4’ stalks. A perennial that’s native to Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, it typically likes to grow in damp areas near rivers, lakes and the sea – hence the name “marshmallow”. The generic name, Althaea, was derived from the Greek word althea, which means “to heal or cure”.
Common uses for horses Marshmallow root is a great for treating and preventing gastric ulcers in horses. Add three teaspoons of marshmallow root powder or ¼ cup of root pieces to your horse’s feed every day. Marshmallow leaves can be used to make a tea or tincture for topical skin treatment or to assist with respiratory issues.
A BIT OF HISTORY Mallow was a common dish in Rome, Syria, China and Egypt, where it was made into sweet delicacies, boiled and fried with other vegetables, and used as a general foodstuff in times of scarcity. The first known use of the plant in a confection similar to today’s marshmallows was in France around 1850.
PLANT PARTS AND USES The root and leaves of the marshmallow plant are the parts that contain mucilage, a gel-like substance with medicinal properties. The leaves are generally suggested for use as a respiratory treatment, due to their expectorant qualities, and they’re especially effective for dry coughs and irritated airways. The root is most commonly used for digestive upset, thanks to the higher mucilage content that soothes both irritation and inflammation. You can also use ground marshmallow root topically to form a poultice, while the leaves can be used to make a tea; both provide effective relief for skin irritated from insect bites and lacerations.
Marshmallows can be relatively easy to grow, as long as you have very wet soil with full sun and cool weather. The plant is easily grown from cuttings, but it can also be grown from seed. Marshmallow leaves should be harvested in the summer, after the flowers have bloomed. The roots should be harvested in late fall just before the ground freezes, when they yield the highest mucilage content. Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 21-year-old Desario, using natural methods. She writes articles for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid, and more. Melanie offers free nutritional consultations to her customers and is passionate about improving the lives and health of horses (wholeequine.com, info@ wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378).
ACUPRESSURE AT-A-GLANCE By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis
to support l a ctati o n in your mare ACUPRESSURE
he sight of a mare and foal nuzzling each other in the meadow can take your breath away. It seems so natural, so serene. The foal is born with an innate desire to nurse. As soon as his gangly legs support him, he searches for the dam’s udder. A healthy foal will begin to suckle within two hours of birth and will continue to nurse for 45 to 50 seconds four times an hour for the next few days.
LACTATION FOR FOAL NOURISHMENT AND BONDING The mare’s ability to nourish her foal is critical for his young life. The foal needs to receive essential proteins and colostrum from his mother’s rich, nourishing milk. This is how he obtains the initial antibodies to build his immune system. The balance of fats, proteins and lactose (sugar) in the mare’s milk is perfect for the foal’s growth and development. A sufficient quantity of milk is also essential to maintain the dam-foal bonding process.
Keep a close eye on mare and foal and consult your holistic veterinarian if you suspect nursing is not going well. Watch for indications that the mare is struggling, such as a significant weight loss, weakness or sickness, avoiding the foal or acting aggressive toward him. Indications that the foal may not be receiving enough milk are infrequent urination, general dehydration, lack of interest in nursing, or lethargy. The situation can quickly deteriorate and become dangerous, so contact your veterinarian immediately if any of these indicators arise. Specific acupressure points are known to support the mare’s capacity to produce a sufficient quantity of milk for as long as her foal needs to nurse. A few days after giving birth, the mare often appreciates some personal attention. Take the opportunity to offer her a few acupressure points along with a relaxed grooming session.
ACUPRESSURE TO ENHANCE LACTATION When the dam is calm, accepting, and protective of her foal, all will likely go well. The availability of milk is a matter of demand and supply. That is, the more the foal bumps the mare’s two teats and suckles, the more milk her four mammary glands will produce. 18
Acupressure is a powerful, non-invasive, hands-on method of supporting equine health and well-being. This healing art and science is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The brief acupressure session presented in the accompanying chart shows acupressure points, also called “acupoints”, that
have been used to enhance equine lactation for thousands of years. Follow the chart and place the soft tip of your thumb on the first acupoint, Gall Bladder 21 (GB 21), at a 45° angle to the mare’s body. Place your other hand comfortably on the horse. Breathe evenly and deeply while counting slowly to 30 before moving on to the second acupoint. Repeat this procedure on each of the acupoints presented in the chart. When you have completed the points on one side, perform the same procedure on the opposite side of your mare to complete the acupressure session. You can offer this acupressure session during the entire time the foal is nursing. As he moves on to eating grass hay, it’s time to let the mare cease lactating, so allow nature to take its course. 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 email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of Dana Rasmussen
urturing curiosity in your horse is the quickest way to build confidence, dissolve frustration, and solve problems in training. This is true for you, too, as the one training and working with your horse.
even trying? If you assume you already know what is going to happen, you become â&#x20AC;&#x153;committed to the inevitableâ&#x20AC;?, and so it is difficult to change behavior and outcomes. This almost guarantees that the problem will persist.
Why is curiosity important?
Asking high quality questions
A curious mind is a mind that is asking questions. The brain loves to be right, so when you ask it a question, or encourage it to ask questions, it will find an answer. The key is to ask high quality questions of yourself and your horse.
This downward spiral can be changed in an instant if you can shift to a state of curiosity by asking high quality questions. For example:
The opposite of curiosity is mental disengagement, apathy and indifference. In that state it is impossible to solve a problem, and this leads to frustration, boredom or assumption. If you are sure that things will never change or improve, why bother 20
Recall a time when you were really frustrated by a problem you were having with your horse. Chances are your brain was saying some version of: This is impossible, I am terrible at this! or He never picks up the correct lead! But what if you instead asked a high quality question such as: What is one thing I could do a little
better today? or What else could I try to help him pick up that lead? I guarantee your brain will come up with an answer! This is why curiosity and confidence go together. If you train yourself to become curious, you will become more confident. When you ask yourself a question, it is implied that you are the one with the answer! And as you become more confident, you will become even more curious. That will put you on an upward spiral of success.
Making curiosity a habit Form the habit of asking high quality questions. Here are some questions I make a habit of asking in order to happily move through difficult moments:
QUESTIONS I ASK MYSELF: ✓ What’s one thing I could improve right now? ✓ How could I be clearer? ✓ What’s working well? QUESTIONS I ASK MY HORSE:
When a horse is feeling safer and calmer he will start to investigate what he was afraid of, until he ultimately touches it with his nose. That is when he begins the process of trying to answer the question: What is that? Often, a horse will put his nose on a scary thing, give it a sniff, and then go completely calm as if saying: Oh, it’s just a dumb chair, I knew that. It is important to allow this process. This is what helps the horse gain confidence. Horses are often reprimanded for putting their noses on things or investigating their surroundings. I met a horse that was very nervous in the barn. I observed him pawing anxiously while on crossties. I took him off the crossties and he immediately went to sniff at the wall beside him, where some equipment was hanging. But the owner reflexively blocked and reprimanded him. “The bridle is expensive!” she exclaimed. I suggested she just watch for a moment, and added that if he went to chew on the bridle we would take it away. He sniffed it, then turned around. As I followed him, he spent about five minutes sniffing and investigating everything on the wall behind him, then he turned back around and sighed. I dropped the lead rope and he stood quietly where just minutes ago he had been anxious. His owner had not allowed him to answer the question: What is that? Continued on page 22.
✓ How can I help you with this? ✓ What do you need to know?
Photo courtesy of Pawel Siwek
✓ What else could you try?
Horses are curious by nature, and they really do want to figure out what we are asking of them. Unfortunately, if we don’t make a point of nurturing their curiosity, it is possible to train it right out of them. We do this by not allowing them to ask and explore questions of their own.
QUESTIONS YOU WANT YOUR HORSE TO BE ASKING: ✓ What is that? ✓ Where are you? ✓ What are we doing? ✓ How about this?
When a horse is frustrated or afraid of something he will zone out, freak out, or act out. In those states he is not mentally engaged. Control may temporarily get you through a difficult moment, but triggering curiosity is what will solve the problem. Equine Wellness
Continued from page 21.
Nurturing curiosity through choices
If you TRAIN yourself to become curious, you will become more CONFIDENT. Control may temporarily get you through a diďŹ&#x192;cult moment, but triggering curiosity is what will solve the problem.
Photo courtesy of Dana Rasmussen
We also want our horses to be asking questions about their training, and we need to be able to answer them. Many training methods are based purely on control. We can build the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s confidence by allowing him to make choices and explore several options in order to discover the answer. Focus on targeting and rewarding effort and a willingness to try something, rather than just end results. For example, instead of trying to keep your horse on the rail with strong aids, focus on the rail, then allow him some freedom to choose where to go. If he comes off the rail, steer him back, then allow him freedom again. This creates a puzzle for him. It will cause him to ask the question: What are we doing? or How about this? Doing it this way will cause him to figure out that the easiest path is to choose to stay on the rail. The act of having to figure something out will engage his curiosity and result in a more confident horse.
If the horse has no sense of choice, he will stop being curious and communicative and instead will helplessly disconnect from the process. He could eventually stop trying altogether. Even if what he offers isn’t immediately what you want, allow him some room to investigate his options. How curious are you? Are you reading this article thinking: This won’t work, or are you wondering How can this help me? If you need help being more curious, then just start by wondering. You may be surprised how the trait of curiosity can help you and your horse!
Curiosity is one of Karen’s nine Habits of Excellent Horsemanship. You can learn more about her Habits of Excellent Horsemanship course at do.dressagenaturally.net/horsemanship. Karen Rohlf, creator of the Dressage Naturally program, is an internationally recognized clinician who is changing the equestrian educational paradigm. She is well known for her student-empowering approach to teaching, her ability to connect with a wide range of horses, her virtual courses, and her positive and balanced point of view. dressagenaturally.net
Photo courtesy of Dana Rasmussen
Clarissa looking happy and healthy after many months of rehabilitation efforts by Last Chance Ranch.
arly last year, a tip called in to police reported a dead horse on a property near Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The caller also reported several
emaciated horses roaming the same property. On January 22, 2016, police searched the property and found nine out of 16 horses in critical condition, as well as 18 sheep, two goats and three dogs. They also found the remains of at least five dead horses. Five of the most critically injured horses – one adult
By Lori McCutcheon
Clarissa’s tale of survival is a heartwarming testament to the spectacular eﬀorts of this equine rescue ranch.
male, one adult female, one juvenile female and two juvenile males – were taken from the property and transported to a veterinarian. Only three would survive; two had to be euthanized. This particular incident became one of the worst cases of animal abuse to hit our area in years. What was especially shocking is that the property belonged to a veterinarian. Dr. Clyde Shoop and his now ex-wife Kim had dozens of horses and other animals entrusted to their care – only to allow them to be neglected, abused and forgotten.
Saving Clarissa Two of the remaining critically ill horses came to us at Last Chance Ranch (LCR), here in Quakertown. One of these horses, Clarissa, was an emaciated seven-year-old Thoroughbred cross who gave us many challenges. For
Too emaciated and weak to be able to support herself, Clarissa required the help of a sling to rise and stand.
a while, she literally hung in the balance between life and death. Over 300 pounds underweight, Clarissa was extremely thin and unable to stand during the trailer ride to our facility. Our volunteers were able to carry her off the trailer, staff and volu Richlandtown Fire Company and neighboring rescue but we required the help of the Richlan departments to lift her back to her feet. The first 48 hours were difficult, but Clarissa proved to be a fighter. With the help of a rented Anderson sling, we were able to support her for over a month until she could stand on her own. Continued on page 26.
Continued from page 25. “Once she was able to stand without the use of the sling, we had her blanketed to keep her warm and fed her lots of small meals,” says Jackie Burke, our equine health manager. “We had to put standing wraps on so her legs didn’t swell, as she still wasn’t strong enough to walk around. Soon, she was able to go for short walks down our nine-stall barn aisle, and eventually she was strong enough to go out in a small paddock for a few hours. As she got stronger she was allowed to stay outside longer. She certainly let us know when she was feeling better – she is a typical red mare, opinionated and strong-willed – but those traits are certainly what got her to pull through and survive!”
A fresh start During five long months of rehabilitation, with worried volunteers rallying to keep her spirits up, Clarissa started to flourish, eventually gaining over 300 pounds and blossoming into a wonderful young mare. Our volunteer trainers started working with her under saddle to prepare her for a new life.
Just some of Clarissa’s helpers and supporters at Last Chance Ranch.
How you can help Without assistance from the public, we could not continue to help horses and other animals in need of rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming. Donations are needed, and all go directly into helping these and future animals. We can’t thank everyone enough for their outpouring of assistance at this critical time! For more information, visit LastChanceRanch.org.
Last summer, a young woman named Taylor came out to meet Clarissa. The two instantly formed a partnership, and this once abused and neglected horse left for her new home. We regularly receive wonderful updates about how she is doing. Otto is another horse we rescued from the Shoops. He’s a buckskin, approximately 25 years old. He was hidden behind the Shoops’ house and was so skinny you could see his hips from a mile away. When he came to live with us at the ranch, his gentle whinny and big brown eyes soon wooed me into giving him anything he wants! His perkiness and will to get better gives me strength to go on. The sleepless nights I’ve spent watching over Otto, Clarissa and the other horses in our care are nothing compared to what these poor animals had to endure in their past lives. Happily, they are now all on the path to recovery.
It takes a village As I look into these horses’ soulful eyes, and they look back at me, I can’t help wondering what they’re thinking. Do they realize they now
have unlimited food, or are they still scared they won’t get another meal? After years of torment and neglect, how can they possibly trust us enough to let us help them? I have been asked multiple times: “What if LCR was not here? Where would they have gone?” There is such a great need for more places like Last Chance Ranch, where animals rescued from neglect and abuse can be rehabilitated and rehomed. There are some bad people out there, but I have found the number of good individuals far outweighs them. Thanks to the many caring people associated with LCR, Clarissa, Otto and all their friends are now healthy and happy and ready for their new families. It takes a lot of tireless effort, but the results are very rewarding. We hope to continue this work for as long as there’s a need for it!
One she was rehabilitated, Clarissa was able to begin her career as a riding horse and was later adopted.
Lori McCutcheon graduated from Delaware Valley College in 1988 with a BS degree in Animal Science/Husbandry, working along the way in many aspects of animal care from veterinary clinics and rehab facilities, to stable hand and training of all types of horses. Lori is an appointment Humane Police Officer of Pennsylvania and helped out with the rescue of animals during major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. She has recently started volunteering with a spay and neuter project in the Caribbean.
nutritious horse By Audi Donamor
There are hundreds of horse treats out there to choose from, but many commercial products just arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t good for him. Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for or making the perfect treats for your horse.
Equine Eq E qui uine ne Wellness We elllln lne ln es ss
learned to ride not long after I learned to walk, and one of my most treasured memories is of my father scooping me up to give out horse treats when we got back to the barn. It may have been a freshly cut apple, or a big orange carrot, and sometimes my father would reach into his jacket and pull out a sugar cube or even a roll of peppermints. Times have sure changed. Now, there are well over 50 companies in the United States alone that produce commercial horse treats! With so many to choose from, how do you know what is best for your horse? We can learn how to select the best treats by following a few important steps.
10 tips for selecting nutritious treats 1. Read the labels before you buy, and identify all ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it!
2. Know the source of all ingredients when purchasing commercial treats. Look for “Made in Canada” or “Made in the US.”
3. Say no to chemicals and preservatives. If you see BHA or BHT, put the treats back on the shelf, and look instead for products that use vitamin E as a preservative.
horse feed recalls. They don’t happen often, but they do – and if it can happen to a feed product, it can happen to treats too, just as with dogs and cats. An example is the monensin sodium recently found in a 14% equine feed. This is a potentially fatal drug for horses that is often found in cattle feeds. The Western College of Veterinary Medicine receives at least one call about monensin poisoning nearly every month.
5. Be aware that there are some things horses simply can’t have, like chocolate. Just like our canine companions, horses are sensitive to theobromine. Stay away from regular milk products as well, because lactose intolerance can lead to loose stools and even diarrhea. Continued on page 30.
Design your own
HEALTHY horse treats IN THREE EASY STEPS This “make your own treat adventure” allows you to choose from a variety of ingredients to suit your horse. Choose organic products whenever possible.
Ingredients Step one: 4 cups whole flour. You can choose from oats, barley, corn, hemp or chia, or a combination.
Step two: 1 cup filling. Choose a filling for your special treats, including fresh fruits and vegetables. There are a number of possibilities. Select from applesauce, puréed organic canned pumpkin, shredded carrots, banana, berries, or a vegetable/fruit blend. Step three: Choose a sweet accent like 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses or Manuka honey, and then spice it up with 2 teaspoons of Saigon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of carob powder.
Now, get ready to put it all together!
Instructions • Preheat oven to 325°F. • Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, for easy cleanup. Parchment paper can be used over again. • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Continued from page 29.
6. Choose to treat your horse with whole foods, like apple slices and carrot chunks, or get more adventurous with pitted apricots, bananas, melon, squash, sweet potatoes, and even roasted peanuts.
that some horses have special needs. If your horse has been diagnosed with insulin resistance or Cushing’s, choose treats with a low sugar and starch content. Try an alfalfa cube or apple peels, or even watermelon rinds. If you are making your own treats, it is easy to choose hemp or chia over whole cereal grains, and go for the sweetness of cinnamon instead of sugar.
treats for herbs, because some herbs can change substance test results for competitive horses. In 2010, the USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) stated: “Trainers, owners, exhibitors are cautioned against the use of medicinal preparations, tonics, pastes, powders, and products of any kind, including those used topically, the ingredients and quantitative analysis of which are not specifically known, as they might contain a forbidden substance. This is especially true of those containing plant ingredients. The plant origin of any ingredient does not preclude its containing a pharmacologically potent and readily detectable forbidden substance.”
9. Maintain the 10% rule for treats. Treats aren’t a replacement for a balanced diet, so don’t overfeed them!
• Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well. Cut into desired shapes or squares and place on cookie sheet or form the dough into a ball and place it in the center of your cookie sheet. Using a rolling pin (a mug or glass works well too), roll out dough to the edges of the cookie sheet, then score with a sharp knife.
• Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 175°F and bake for 40 more minutes. Turn oven off and allow the biscuits to cool in the oven.
Treating your horse is easy – he doesn’t even need commercial treats. Whole foods like apples and carrots will do just fine! However, if you do want to purchase treats, be sure to follow the tips above. Or just make your own – it’s easy and fun, and you’ll know exactly what is going into your horse’s treat bag!
• Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
the best tip – make the treats yourself (see sidebar)! There is nothing better than homemade treats filled with ingredients you could feed to any member of your family.
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, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. 30
Equine ne Wellness Wel elln lln nes ess ess
Essential Oils FOR THE ANXIOUS HORSE By Susan Albright, DVM
Horses can experience anxiety in many situations – from their daily activities up to the highest levels of competition. To make human-equine interactions pleasant, safe and rewarding for “both ends of the lead”, we must understand the horse’s needs. Many of the activities we regularly ask horses to perform go against their natural instincts. While most adapt, others may experience anxiety, and that impedes their connection to the humans around them. Essential oils can be a useful modality for the anxious horse, and work well to help calm and de-stress him.
THE ROOT OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are a natural, eﬀective way to help alleviate stress and anxiety in our equine friends.
Forages make up the majority of an equine diet. Horses have been observed consuming particular plants at different times of the year, or migrating to areas where a specific plant is available. This selection of certain types of vegetation demonstrates the horse’s instinctual use of plants. Essential oils come from various plant parts and are up to 70 times more concentrated than dried herbal equivalents. Studies have shown that therapeutic quality essential oils can elicit particular physical and psychological responses at the cellular level. This offers us a unique opportunity to take advantage of a horse’s plant-based nature by incorporating essential oils into his care regimen to facilitate both emotional and physical health.
USING ESSENTIAL OILS Quality essential oils can be used topically, aromatically, and as dietary supplements. Before introducing essential oils to a horse’s diet, it’s best to consult with an experienced practitioner. Horses frequently experience their first essential oil through inhalation, with often immediate and dramatic effects. Remember, a horse’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than a human’s. To begin offering an essential oil aromatically, unscrew the bottle cap and offer it to his nose. Observe the horse’s reaction. Ideally, he should soften his eyes, drop his head, and demonstrate other relaxing behaviors such as licking, chewing, and even sighing. Alternatively, apply one or two drops of the oil to the palm of your hand, rub your palms together, then slowly approach the horse’s nostrils in a non-threatening manner. Prolong his exposure to the oil by adding it to your own body or clothing; you’ll benefit as well. Common areas for topical oil application include the poll and chakra points of the horse’s body. Essential oils may also be administered using massage techniques. Apply a drop or two directly to the horse’s body or put a couple of drops on your hands, then massage the oil into his coat. The horse’s hair will actually help transfer the oil into his body. A few drops of therapeutic quality oils will go a long way – don’t overuse the oil in expectation of seeing a more significant response.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY Introduce essential oils slowly, and most importantly, before the horse experiences anxiety. Avoid using or introducing an oil to a horse in a highly agitated state. If used again later, the oil could be associated with the 32
initial traumatic anxiety-producing scenario and provoke an adverse response. Recalled memories could cause the horse to relive and reenact similar behaviors. Instead, begin using oils when the horse is relaxed and calm; he will associate the oils with positive feelings, and that will enhance their soothing effects when they’re used again later.
To mitigate equine anxiety, consider these essential oils: • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is universally known for its relaxing properties. If the body needs a more calming or grounding inﬂuence, this may be a good choice. It can also intensify focus and concentration. Lavender may be used with other oils to create a custom blend for the desired eﬀect. Most commonly, lavender works well when oﬀered aromatically or applied topically to the poll and chakra areas. • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) comes from cold pressing the rind of the bergamot orange. Its relaxing and calming properties are well known in the equine world. One note of caution: this oil contains furocoumarins, which can be photosensitizing. Be careful of applying it to areas that will be exposed to direct sunlight. Using bergamot through inhalation or topical application can be very eﬀective. It is most commonly combined with lavender, yielding excellent results. • Basil (Ocimum basilicum) has a fresh herbaceous scent and is steam distilled from the leaves, stems and ﬂowers of basil. With its muscle-relaxing eﬀects, basil can successfully reduce associated tension when applied to chakra points. Because of its chemical constituents, basil is considered a “hot” oil. When ﬁrst working topically with basil, use a dilution of one part essential oil and four parts carrier oil. Inhalation remains an appropriate way to use this often overlooked essential oil. • Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) helps support the body when dealing with emotions of anxiety, irritability, anger and nervousness. Customarily, it works well when applied through inhalation or topically to the poll. • German chamomile (Matricaria recutita ﬂower) comes from a completely diﬀerent plant, and has a sweeter smell and a deep blue color. It can be used in the same fashion as Roman chamomile. • Valerian (Valeriana oﬃcinalis), distilled from the plant’s root, has a very earthy aroma. This oil oﬀers a profound grounding eﬀect in addition to its calming properties. For an “energetic grounding” (reconnecting the horse to the earth), apply this oil around the coronary bands and to the cannon bones, ﬁnishing with a sweeping motion from the knee or hock downward. • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) is another root-distilled oil with similar eﬀects to valerian. Whether used alone or in a layering fashion with valerian on the extremities, as described above, this oil can be grounding, stabilizing and helpful for releasing past emotional traumas. • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) is steam distilled from the resin of the tree. Application of this “holy anointing” oil to the chakras and poll and over the heart may help improve attitude and promote muscle relaxation. Often used with meditation, this oil is excellent for both horses and humans, particularly prior to competition.
Essential oils can be a natural and effective way to alleviate stress and anxiety in our equine friends. Using them on a daily basis can help forge a partnership with a horse that’s based on trust and confidence.
Dr. Susan Albright (University of Illinois Veterinary Medicine, 1985) has practiced in Chenoa, IL for over 30 years, using integrative modalities to provide many healthcare options to her clients and their pet families. Essential oils were introduced into her practice in 2001 and have become an integral part of her work to facilitate optimal health for her animal patients. Dr. Albright has lectured throughout the United States on the appropriate use of quality essential oils, and encourages fellow veterinarians to learn about this exceptional adjunct to traditional veterinary medicine.
RAZERHORSE – on the cutting edge of hoof care These products aim to match the form and function of the natural hoof with the extra protection today’s modern horses sometimes need.
our horse has been perfectly designed by nature. re. However, we often ask more of our horses than they were designed for, and that requires additional support. When it comes to your horse’s feet, this is often when horseshoes come into play. In an effort to help their horses stand up to the rigors of competitive events like racing and jumping, or even just trail riding over rocky terrain, many owners shoe their horses. More and more evidence has shown that shoeing is detrimental to a horse’s overall health and well-being. So what can you do for the horse that sometimes needs a bit of extra support, such as during a transition to barefoot?
NATURAL HOOF FUNCTION Your horse’s natural hoof has several functions that are vital to his health and soundness, and his ability to perform. The hoof capsule moves in multiple directions (up and down, in and out) to balance uneven ground and absorb concussion, and the hoof has a narrow wall that easily sinks into the ground, which transfers weight throughout the entire hoof, sole and frog, thus relieving the hoof capsule. Your horse’s wedge-shaped toe allows him to slide upon impact, reducing horizontal shock force.
A NATURAL SUPPORT SYSTEM Razerhorse, a hoof care company based in Texas, has been working hard to offer horse owners an alternative solution in the shod-versus-barefoot debate. Founder Erik Lundquist started the company after battling lameness issues with his own horse. Searching for an alternative to traditional shoes, he worked with top research institutes, farriers and veterinarians to develop Razer shoes and Propads. The shoes made by Razerhorse are a tempered tool steel horseshoe. The tempering allows the shoe to flex, mimicking 34
barefoot movement with the wear protection and traction of a shoe. The shoes can be used with or without a hoof pad. The Propad (a shock-absorbing polyurethane hoof pad with an accordion-like feature) was created to mimic the function of the frog and can be used with any open heeled shoe. Any time you shoe your horse, you diminish the frog’s ability to do its job, because you raise it up off the ground. In order to function properly, the frog needs to contact the ground – Propads allow the frog to regain proper function. The horse’s weight is then appropriately distributed across the entire foot and the frog acts as a pump, promoting healthy blood flow and hoof growth. We’ve all heard the old saying, “No foot, no horse.” Razerhorse’s goal is to reduce injuries and increase performance by giving horses the most natural function possible through research, innovation and support.
Acupuncture for the
A sore back is a common complaint in horses, and can occur for a variety of reasons. Acupuncture can be a helpful therapy for the cold-backed horse. By Heather Hoyns, DVM
he term “cold-backed” is often used to describe horses with a variety of conditions that cause a sore or tight back. The reason your horse has a “cold back” could range from poor saddle fit or lack of proper conditioning, to arthritis, hoof imbalances and hind leg issues. Regardless of the cause, once a thorough veterinary exam has been performed and a diagnosis made, acupuncture can be a valuable modality to add to your horse’s treatment plan.
HOW ACUPUNCTURE WORKS Acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 3,000 years, and is currently used as the primary medical system for about one-quarter of the world’s population. Today, many veterinarians and horse owners find acupuncture a valuable 36
option for treating chronic conditions that can limit an animal’s enjoyment of life. Acupuncture works on the principle that there is an additional system in the body similar to the nervous system. Energy, called Qi (or chi), moves along pathways called meridians. Acupuncture points are located along these meridians. When a point is treated with an acupuncture needle, Qi that has been blocked begins to flow, relieving pain and helping restore normal function. Microscopically, there are more small blood vessels and capillaries at each acupuncture point than in the surrounding tissue. From a more conventional medical standpoint, acupuncture has been shown to treat pain through its effects on the peripheral, central and autonomic nervous
Photo courtesy of Evergreen Equine.
GETTING STARTED It is very important to have a complete veterinary exam performed on your horse, along with a working diagnosis, prior to initiating any form of complementary therapy. Acupuncture This photo shows the reaction of this horse’s back to an acupuncture treatment, with raised bumps at each of the Bladder Meridian points on his back.
treatments are safe, but should only be practiced by certified veterinarians familiar with underlying disease processes. Treatments can then be
systems. In addition to treating painful conditions, acupuncture may also have a positive effect on organ function, immune function and circulation.
tailored to specific problems in the
ACUPUNCTURE AND YOUR HORSE
positive response is usually seen within
Most animals tolerate acupuncture well. Needles are inserted into acupuncture points based on examination and history. Electro-acupuncture, aqua-puncture, moxa or laser point stimulation may also be used. A treatment typically lasts ten to 30 minutes, depending on the animal’s size, age and condition. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatments may be done every one to four weeks.
individual horse. If the animal’s condition is amenable to acupuncture treatment, a the first three treatments. Long-standing conditions may take longer to respond.
A typical first acupuncture treatment for a “cold-backed” or painful-backed horse would start with a physical exam, including a dental exam. This would include a careful palpation of the horse’s muscles, especially through the back. An evaluation of his soundness would follow, and this may include flexion of all four limbs. Then the veterinarian would check the horse for any painful or reactive acupuncture points along the Bladder Meridian (which runs along either side of the spine and has points that reference body systems and areas). The veterinarian would then “scan” the horse with fingertips or a needle cap to look for painful points that would indicate the involvement of a particular area of the body causing your horse’s challenges. A pulse and tongue diagnosis may also follow. After all these have been completed, the veterinarian will then come up with a treatment plan and only then proceed to needle the horse.
TREATING THE COLD-BACKED HORSE A typical acupuncture treatment for a cold-backed horse would most likely include acupuncture points for pain (like BL 60, also known as the “Aspirin Point”), master points for the back and hindquarters, as well as for the muscles, tendons and ligaments. To many people’s surprise, some of these points may seem very Equine Wellness
TONGUE AND PULSE DIAGNOSIS In tongue diagnosis, the tongue is examined for color, moistness and tone. A pale, wet, ﬂaccid tongue indicates weak Qi, whereas a dry, red tongue with cracked edges indicates heat. A swollen tongue can indicate excess. Each of these would be treated with needles placed in diﬀerent locations to help with the underlying condition. For instance, a horse with weak Qi could have a sore back because of having a weak back and points to tonify would be used. A horse that has excess might have a “cold” back because he has an excess and is tight, so points to relax or dispel could be used. Pulse diagnosis in horses is more diﬃcult than in people or small animals and can take a lifetime to fully learn. The pulse in horses is assessed using the carotid artery on the left and right sides of the neck, just lateral to the trachea. It is assessed for rate, equality from side to side, strength, size, and depth. Irregularities in pulse can indicate underlying conditions (such as a liver imbalance, Qi, blood or Yin deﬁciency), which should be addressed.
distant from the actual problem area, but that is the beauty of acupuncture – the whole system works together. While many of these points are commonly used, there is no “cookbook” of points that will treat all back issues. This is why it is important to use a good veterinary acupuncturist who will assess your horse as a whole, and develop an individual treatment plan for him. While acupuncture is certainly not a cure-all for all conditions, it can be an excellent therapy, alone or along with conventional medical therapies. If your horse is suffering from a sore back, acupuncture, combined with his conventional treatment plan, could be just the ticket to help get him “back” on track! Heather Hoyns is a graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and was certified in Veterinary Acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 1996. She owns Evergreen Equine of Vermont, located in West Windsor, Vermont , where she practices general Equine medicine with a special interest in Equine Dentistry. She is also a certified in Animal Chiropractic. She competes in Endurance and Competitive trail riding with her Arabians and part-Arabians. evergreenequinevt.com
Photo courtesy of Evergreen Equine.
There is no “cookbook” of points that will treat all back issues. This is why it is important to use a good veterinary acupuncturist who will assess your horse as a whole, and develop an individual treatment plan for him.
AQUA LOGIC TITANIUM WATER CHILLERS
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Easily maintain cold water temperature for therapy and healing. Veterinarian recommended Hydrotherapy promotes faster healing and recovery from leg injury, fatigue, and foot disease. Aqua Logic chillers are available in a range of sizes, from simple drop-in coil style to large-scale commercial units for horse pools. Can also be used for water troughs to ward off nuisance insects and keep those fussy drinkers happy. Proudly manufactured in the USA!
FOR YOUR WOOD HORSE The Wood Horse Formula uses cleansing herbs to offset the tendency of this horse temperament type to build up toxins in his tissues. Specific amino acids and minerals included help Wood horses build strong connective tissues and hooves and help them be more forgiving and less inclined to be angry. Other horse temperament types also find this formula useful when experiencing imbalance in the Wood element due to exposure to windy weather conditions.
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A horse with chronic recurrent uveitis with scarring and early cataract formation. Photo courtesy of Brian Gilger.
Uveitis in horses can be difficult to diagnose, but early detection is important in order to preserve your horse’s eyesight.
By Brian C. Gilger, DVM, Ms, Dipl. ACVO, Dipl. ABT
o say a horse has uveitis is like saying he’s lame. In both cases, there are many types, causes, treatments and outcomes of and for the condition. Uveitis simply means there is inflammation inside the eye; specifically, inflammation of the uveal tract, an anatomical section that lines the entire inside of the eye and includes the iris (and pupil). Uveitis is associated with ocular pain, watery discharge, swelling, and a cloudy or red eye. If you look closely, you may notice that a horse with uveitis commonly has a very small or constricted pupil; and usually, horses with uveitis keep the eye tightly closed.
What causes uveitis? Causes are varied, but include trauma, corneal ulcers, infections, and some systemic illnesses. Often, the cause is not known 40
or ever determined. In most horses, uveitis resolves over the course of two to three weeks, a process that is hastened by the use of medications. Very commonly, however, when horse owners talk about “uveitis”, they are referring to a special type called Equine Recurrent Uveitis or ERU. Other names include “moon blindness”, “periodic ophthalmia”, and “swamp eye”. ERU is different from regular uveitis because it recurs spontaneously after resolution of the first bout of ocular inflammation, generally at two- to four-month intervals. Although these intervals can be quite variable, and during the quiet time the eyes can seem normal, each flare-up is associated with more damage to the eye. Eventually, the eye may lose vision. In fact, ERU is the leading cause of blindness in horses worldwide.
Uveitis is associated with ocular pain, watery discharge, swelling, and a cloudy or red eye.
Recent studies have determined that ERU is caused by an autoimmune reaction between the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immune system and eye tissue. However, we also now know that certain horse breeds may be genetically predisposed to the condition, especially the Appaloosa and Warmblood. Furthermore, exposure to the bacteria Leptospira may help set off this autoimmune reaction. If your horse is in an environment that can predispose him to leptospiral infections (flooded pastures, access to wildlife or livestock, etc.), please discuss with your veterinarian how you can prevent this disease. A new vaccine against Leptospira pomona, marketed by Zoetis Inc., may help prevent the most common leptospiral infection associated with equine uveitis in the United States.
Traditional and integrative treatment options The first treatment for uveitis is to treat the underlying cause, if it can be identified. Your veterinarian may take some blood samples for testing, and in some cases remove some fluid (aqueous humor) from the eye to submit to the lab. Depending on the cause of the uveitis, treatment may involve the use of an oral or injectable antibiotic, such as doxycycline. Generally, for most cases of uveitis, anti-inflammatory medications, both topical (to the eye) and systemic (orally or by injection), are most commonly used. Drugs such as topical corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone) and oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., flunixin meglumine; Banamine) are very commonly used and are effective for uveitis. In severe cases, injections of these medications into Equine Wellness
PREVENTING EYE INJURY AND UVEITIS General good farm practices can help prevent eye injury, including the development of uveitis. Remove sharp objects from the barn (old nails are a common culprit), feed loose hay (not directly from a round bale that encourages “head burrowing”), remove low-hanging branches from trees, and cut high weeds in the pasture. Anything with sharp or pointed ends against which a horse can rub his head should be removed from the barn or pasture. Good general healthcare, such as routine deworming, vaccination, and hoof care may also decrease the development of ERU.
the eye or systemically (under the skin or into the muscle) may also be required. These medications lower inflammation in the eye and help to make it more comfortable. If the pupil is constricted, topical atropine is generally recommended to decrease pain and minimize scarring. Alternative medications such as herbal therapy or acupuncture are not recommended as the sole mode of treatment for uveitis, but may be helpful in combination with traditional anti-inflammatory medications. New therapies, such as sustained release drug devices (of cyclosporine, for example), stem cell therapy, and gene therapy, are being studied and show great promise for long-term treatment or prevention of new bouts of uveitis and blindness.
Prognosis and the importance of prompt treatment Despite advances in medical treatment, long-term prognosis for maintaining vision in horses with ERU remains poor. A recent study by our group here at North Carolina State University found that five years after diagnosis, over 46% of horses with ERU had gone blind in the affected eye, and many had lost the eye because of the development of cataracts or glaucoma. Therefore, early recognition and prompt therapy is essential to manage uveitis in horses. Because of these findings, and the poor prognosis once ERU has developed, you’re encouraged to have your horse examined by an experienced veterinarian if you notice any ocular pain, cloudiness, redness, and/or ocular discharge, especially if they persist longer than six to eight hours, and if you have a Warmblood or Appaloosa horse. Early and aggressive treatment of uveitis may minimize ocular damage and decrease the development or frequency of recurrent episodes. Furthermore, prevention is important and a thorough examination of your barn and pasture is needed to remove even the smallest sharp objects – horses have a unique habit of finding these! Please consult your veterinarian for the latest in preventing and treating this common and devastating eye disease. At North Carolina State University, the Equine Ophthalmology service is one of the few services in the world dedicated to the care and research of eye diseases in horses. We have studied specifically the cause and treatment of ERU for the past 20 years. In addition, we are leaders in the treatment of equine corneal disease, glaucoma, cataracts, and other causes of blindness. For more information, please visit cvm.ncsu.edu/nc-state-vet-hospital/ equine/ophthalmology/.
Dr. Brian Gilger received his veterinary degree from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. After an ophthalmology residency and masters degree at Auburn University, Dr. Gilger returned to The Ohio State University as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology in 1992. In October 1995, Dr. Gilger joined the faculty at North Carolina State University where he is now a Professor of Ophthalmology. Dr. Gilger has been president of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and is the President of the International Equine Ophthalmology Consortium. He is the head of the Equine Ophthalmology Service at North Carolina State University and has authored over 130 peerreviewed scientific manuscripts, written over 30 book chapters, and is the editor of five books, including the 2017 publication Equine Ophthalmology, Third Edition.
pastures By Kelly Howling
The thought of seeding pastures may seem preposterous – after all, grass just grows! But for stressed or overgrazed pastures, overseeding may be just what the doctor ordered.
remember the first time I got to bring my horses home. We had spent ages renovating the barn, building fences, and getting everything ready. We didn’t have a lot of space for pasture, but had followed what was the general rule back then of one horse per acre. There was just a single pasture, but we figured that was all they could need, right? As you’ve probably guessed, the horses made quick work of the grass in their pasture, reducing it to nibbles. I didn’t think much of it – I was used to seeing horses on scarce pasture. We just supplemented with hay. I never gave a thought to the impact the horses were having on the land and environment, or how long it would take the pasture to recover. Eventually I moved the horses back to a boarding farm, and the pasture (by then pretty much bare dirt) was given an opportunity to recover. What I thought would take no time at all in fact took years – the opportunistic weeds had taken over, and the grass was non-existent. A drainage ditch had also developed all the way through the pasture, running into a nearby pond. Even ten years later, the grass in the pasture is very different from that on the rest of the property. I share this story because it is probably all too familiar to many horse owners, especially those who keep their horses at boarding barns where it’s considered more feasible to stretch the available pasture space to contain as many horses as possible. In these situations, the pastures suffer. 44
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF OVERGRAZING Treating pastures in this manner has many negative effects that become increasingly obvious over time. These include: • Diminished grazing for your horses. This leaves you with bored horses that are not grazing constantly as nature intended; or with the need to supplement with hay, an added effort and expense. • Overgrowth of opportunistic weeds. • Erosion due to lack of ground cover. • Increased runoff into surrounding water sources, and potential for contamination. • Stressed, overgrazed grasses increase your horse’s risk of laminitis, due to a higher sugar to fiber ratio. There are many ways to prevent these things from happening, including pasture rotation, use of a Paddock Paradise, and overseeding.
OVERSEEDING YOUR PASTURES I was shocked when I first moved to a facility where the owner overseeded the pastures. The grass was already there – what would overseeding do? Grass just grows, doesn’t it? Why would you need to plant it? We started off by cutting back weed growth and harrowing the fields to break up the manure. Using a small seed drill (you can also use a broadcast seeder, but it is more effective to get the seeds ¼” to ½” into the soil), the pastures were covered with a
TOP TIPS FOR OVERSEEDING • Contact your local Ag extension oﬃce for assistance on the best type of grass/mix for your pasture, and the best time of year to plant for your area. • Remove weeds from the pasture before you start. • Harrow the pasture to break up manure, old hay piles, etc. (Bonus points for ﬁnding lost shoes, ﬂy masks and halters!) • Test your soil to determine pH and nutrient levels. Balance your soil as needed with fertilizer and/or lime. • Use a method (i.e. seed drill) that will place the seeds into the soil at a depth of approximately ¼” to ½”. • Be sure to keep horses oﬀ the pastures until the new grass has time to establish itself. Turning your horses out too soon will undo all your hard work. Creating sacriﬁce areas will allow you to still turn your horses out while keeping them oﬀ the pastures. • Rotate and rest your pastures, if possible, so there is less stress on them in the future.
mixed grass seed. What you plant and when you plant it will depend on your location, soil type, and seasons – if you contact your local agriculture extension office they can often offer tips and guidance. It is also suggested that you test your soil prior to seeding to determine pH levels and nutrient content. There is no point in planting if your soil is poor. The information provided by soil testing will allow you to amend your pastures with fertilizer and/or lime as needed. The most difficult part after seeding was keeping the horses off the pasture until the new grass had an opportunity to become established. We created sacrifice areas to keep the horses in until the fields were ready. While general advice is to keep horses off the fields for six to eight months after overseeding, this is not a possibility for us, so we overseed yearly and make sure each pasture gets a rest for at least a few months. Many people will opt to overseed and rest half their pastures one year, and do the other half next year, so they always have use of pasture space. The results have spoken for themselves. Our horses have adequate grazing from spring until the snow flies. While we do have some bare areas around gates and troughs, they are minimal and our horses are not standing around in mud, even when we have heavy rains. We get some unwanted weeds growing around fencelines, but rarely inside the pastures. Runoff during spring melt or heavy rain is minimal, and our fields are able to absorb moisture quickly. Most importantly, we are lessening our negative impact on the environment. Equine Wellness
Massage Therapy FOR THE
ARTHRITIC HORSE By Brittany Cameron, REMT
Arthritis doesn’t just affect your horse’s joints. Because he compensates in other areas of his body as well, pain and discomfort can occur there too. Here is how massage therapy can help.
rthritis is a fairly common condition in the horse world. After all, horses are large animals and many of us ask a lot of them. There are plenty of injections, supplements, products, lotions and potions on the market to help with arthritis. But did you know that massage therapy could also be beneficial for this condition?
What is arthritis? Most of us hear the term “arthritis” and understand that it means inflammation and deterioration of a joint. To fully comprehend how this affects a horse, however, we must first investigate more thoroughly what the disease is, and how it affects the body. Arthritis is a general term encompassing dozens of inflammatory joint diseases. The most common type of arthritis we see in the equine industry is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a progressive degeneration of the articular cartilage within the joint. Articular cartilage exists between the bones in a joint to provide shock absorption, cushioning, and a smooth gliding surface when the joint is in motion. The breakdown of this cartilage and the underlying bone creates a rough and abrasive surface, which 46
causes significant pain, inflammation, swelling, and decreased range of motion. In addition, consider that the movement of a joint is controlled by the surrounding muscle and tendon structure. As the body acts to guard against the pain associated with arthritis within the joint, the muscle and supporting soft tissue shorten, further reducing range of motion and leading to disuse atrophy, restriction of circulation and blood flow, and muscle pain and weakness. We most commonly see arthritis in the hock joint, knee and fetlock joints, though it can develop in other joints throughout the body, such as the shoulder, elbow and stifle.
Causes of equine arthritis Many internal and external factors lead to a horse developing arthritis. Some common causes and contributing factors are:
✓ Conformational predisposition ✓ General “wear and tear” ✓ Age ✓ Weight ✓ Repetitive overexertion at a young age ✓ Improper fitness training throughout
a horse’s career, leading to increased stress on joints and soft tissue
of activity/discipline performed throughout the horse’s life
✓ Trauma or infection Your horse does not have to be considered “aged” or “senior” to develop arthritis. Careful monitoring throughout his life and career will allow you to identify and treat arthritis as early as possible, prolonging your horse’s active lifestyle and improving performance.
What can massage do to help my arthritic horse? Using massage and bodywork, a certified therapist can improve your arthritic horse’s athletic ability and quality of life. Through careful, specific manipulation of the soft tissue, a qualified equine massage therapist works to reduce or eliminate pain, improve circulation, decrease muscular tension, improve joint mobility, and increase lymphatic drainage. By targeting the existing tension that develops in supporting soft tissue as a result of arthritis pain, we’re not just addressing the discomfort of muscle tension. This relaxation and elongation of the muscle reduces the compression of blood and lymph channels, thereby increasing circulation and delivery of necessary nutrients and oxygen, and removing fluid waste within the joint capsule. It also frees up the body, increasing
SIGNS YOUR HORSE MAY BE DEVELOPING ARTHRITIS
Evolution of Osteoarthritis
The early onset of arthritis can be easily overlooked in our equine athletes, so we often don’t have them assessed or diagnosed by a veterinarian until more significant lameness symptoms appear. Some subtle signs that your horse may be developing arthritis include: • Shortening of the stride. • Slight hollowing of the back.
q w e
Bone Cartilage Thinning of cartilage
Cartilage remnants Destruction of cartilage
range of motion of the arthritic joint, as well as other joints in the body that are affected by pain.
• Mild “stiffness” when you first begin to warm up your horse. • Reluctance to perform tasks that were once considered easy, such as canter transitions, backing up, jumping, etc. • Mild fluid accumulation within a joint. Note that fluid may accumulate in the lower limb in joints not specifically affected by arthritis, as a result of excess swelling higher up in the limb. Fluid stasis also occurs as a result of decreased range of motion and circulation.
Compensatory change The development of restriction and pain elsewhere in the body as a result of specific injury is referred to as “compensatory change”. For example, say you injured your right knee. After several days of favoring it, you begin to develop fatigue in your left leg and hip, as well as pain in your lower and middle back as your body tries to adjust your movement and compensate for that right knee. By addressing these compensatory changes in the body through massage therapy, we are able to stabilize and correct asymmetry in the muscle tone (minimizing or eliminating imbalanced movement), reduce pain, and prevent the horse from developing other injuries as a result of these imbalances. A Registered Equine Massage Therapist will work with your veterinarian to determine the extent of your horse’s condition, as well as identify any external factors contributing to the condition. He or she will create a treatment plan that may include bodywork, stretches, hydrotherapy, supplementation, dietary changes, or under-saddle exercises, and will help you find a workload balance that can help improve your horse’s wellbeing and athletic ability, despite the challenges of arthritis. Brittany Cameron is a lifelong horse enthusiast and rider who turned her passion and love of horses into a career through equine massage therapy. With a solid foundation of training through the D’arcy Lane School of Equine Massage Therapy, Brittany was able to achieve acceptance into the International Federation of Registered Equine Massage Therapists in 2012. She is based in Truro, Nova Scotia, and provides service to clients throughout the Canadian Maritime provinces. 902-957-1667, EasternEquineDynamics.com
LEARN SOMETHING NEW!
When Victoria meets Moonshine, an ex-racehorse saved from slaughter and abuse, she has no idea that they will become inseparable. Victoria teaches Moonshine to dance, and Moony teaches Victoria the importance of heart and perseverance as the two come of age and work miracles together. Holistic Animal Studies offers on-line holistic animal bodywork courses for both professionals and owners. Our main courses are the Equine and Canine kinesiology taping courses. We also offer an equine massage certification program (will be launching a canine massage certification program soon) and an Animal Neuromyofascial Release Technique course for animal health professionals. Our courses can be completed without deadlines and at the student’s convenience.
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THE TALE OF THE DANCING SLAUGHTERHORSE
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Greener Spring Cleaning By Laura Batts
It’s finally time to start thinking about spring and the freshness that comes with the season. And that includes spring cleaning! I absolutely love the idea of “clean”, but I don’t love the chemicals usually found in typical cleaners. Luckily, there are many ways to clean in an environmentally-friendly way. Over-the-counter green cleaning products are out there, but you can easily make your own cleaning solutions using different combinations of a few common ingredients – baking soda, Dawn dishwashing liquid, white vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. 1. Let’s start in the barn. Strip the stalls completely, then let them air out. While they’re airing, tackle the stall fronts and walls. Combine one cup of vinegar, one cup of baking soda, and ¼ cup of Dawn in a bucket of warm water. Scrub the surfaces really well, then rinse with either a rag or a spray bottle of warm water. After the wood is dry, you can rub the stall fronts with some olive oil to condition the wood. When the stall floors are dry, sprinkle them liberally with baking soda to help reduce any lingering odors. 2. Now let’s move into the tack room and wash stall. For countertops and sinks, make a paste out of baking soda and a bit of vinegar. Scrub the surfaces with a sponge, leaving the paste to sit on any stains for a while so the vinegar can “bleach” them out.
against each other to clean and loosen the dirt. Rinse them well and lay them in the sun until they are really dry. Before re-loading the trunk, clean your tack. Use your baking soda and vinegar paste to clean bits and stirrup irons using a toothbrush. Vinegar will remove rust, too! For leather tack, just use warm water and a washcloth to clean, then add a small amount of leather conditioner. 3. Now that your barn and tack are clean, let’s turn to your horse. There are plenty of great over-the-counter natural products you can use; just make sure they are plant-based so they are biodegradable. Look at labels and use shampoos and coat conditioners without harsh chemicals, silicones or parabens. Use those with plant-based oils like tea tree, lavender, peppermint and coconut, to name a few. There is no reason to expose yourself or your horse to harmful chemicals. Go green and be healthy! If you would like more details on any of these ideas, contact Laura@horsehippie.com and check out her blog EcoEquine (ecoequine.wordpress.com).
Pull everything out of your tack trunk and run all the fabrics (like wraps and pads) through the wash using ½ cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle to eliminate odors. For cleaning horse brushes, try using a cup of baking soda, ½ cup of vinegar, lemon juice and warm water in a bucket. Swish the brushes around, then brush them Equine Wellness
MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP By Richard Winters
motivates them, and how they respond, the better equipped we’ll be to communicate with them effectively. My goal is to make this column very practical. We’ll look at topics such as horses that won’t stand still when you’re mounting, or barn sour horses that won’t leave the stable area. What about horses with terrible ground manners? And let’s not forget the horses that buck every time we ask them to pick up their right lead. As I address topics like the ones mentioned above, I’m going to give you very practical steps you can implement to help improve the situation. I’m also going to talk about the psychology behind what you’re doing, and the principles of good horsemanship that should be applied in every training scenario. What are these principles of good horsemanship?
1. 2. 3.
A NEW YEAR OF EQUINE
Photo courtesy of Ross Hecox
hen I was a little boy, I never wanted to be a policeman or fireman. All I wanted to be was a cowboy and horseman. Now in my mid-50s, I’ve invested over 40 years in trying to gain some equine insight. I’ve figured out a few things and have a few answers. And yes, I still have a lot of questions. In each issue of Equine Wellness this year, I hope to address topics we have all had to deal with at some point during our horsemanship journeys. Whether we ride English or Western, competitive or just for fun, we are all trying to communicate ideas to our horses. I believe that the more understanding we have of how our horses think, what 50
Make the right things easy and the wrong things difficult. Be firm as necessary, and as gentle as possible. Reward the slightest try.
These three principles really constitute the answer to every equine “problem” we encounter. I will help you fill in the blanks with some ideas of how these principles can be applied in very practical ways. Hopefully, I will be able to strike a good balance between mechanics and psychology: the “how to’s” and the “why’s”. For four decades, I’ve been working to be the leader my horses need me to be. I want to be more than a horseback rider. Riding is just the art of not falling off! Almost anyone can be part of the horseback riding club. I aspire to something greater. And perhaps you do too. I’m striving for horsemanship. That’s a more elite club. No, I’ve certainly not arrived yet, but I’m dedicated to getting as far along on my horsemanship journey as I possibly can during the healthy years I have left. Look for your next issue of Equine Wellness and I’ll do my best to share with you a little equine insight! Richard Winters has dedicated himself to honing his horsemanship skills and to passing this knowledge on to others for over 35 years. 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 his 2015 show season. wintersranch.com.
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RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Chiropractors
• Communicators • Integrative Therapies • Massage
AS SO C I AT I O N S Equinextion - EQ Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.equinextion.com Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cdnbha.ca American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: email@example.com Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Ventura, CA USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org Equine Science Academy - ESA Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.go-natural.ca Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: (902) 665-2151 Email: email@example.com
• Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training
Anne Riddell - AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com Barefoot Hoofcare Specialist Kate Romanenko Woodville ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Barefoot with BarnBoots Johanna Neuteboom Port Sydney, ON Canada Phone: (705) 385-9086 Email: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Jeannean Mercuri - The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served. Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: email@example.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com
52 Wellness ViewEquine the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com 52 Equine Wellness
• Thermography • Yoga
Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.barefoottrimming.com ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: email@example.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Horsense Natural Hoof Care Cori Brennan Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/hoofmaiden Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 765-9632 Email: email@example.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Icicle Equine Services Katie Garrett Leavenworth, WA USA Phone: (425) 422-4799 Email: Kegarrett88@yahoo.com
C H I RO P R AC TO R S
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: email@example.com Website: www.thermalequine.com
CO M M U N I C ATO R S To truly know and understand animals. Georgetown, ON Canada Phone: (519) 833-2382 Website: www.claudiahehr.com
YO G A
The Oasis Farm Cavan, ON Canada Phone: (705) 742-3297 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.animalillumination.com Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (928) 282-9800 Email: email@example.com Website: www.animalenergy.com
T HE RMO RMOGRAPHY GRA PHY
M AS S AG E
Dr. Bonnie Harder, D.C. Ogle, IL USA Phone: (815) 757-0425 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.holisticbalanceanimalchiro.com Claudia Hehr Animal Communicator
Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC USA Phone: (604) 902-4556 Email: email@example.com Website: www.yogawithhorses.com
SADDLE FITTERS Happy Horseback Saddles Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 542-5091 Website: www.happyhorsebacksaddles.ca Action Rider Tack Medford, OR USA Phone: (877) 865-2467 Website: www.actionridertack.com
SCHOOLS AND TRAINING Equinology, Inc. & Caninology Gualala, CA USA Phone: (707) 884-9963 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.equinology.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: email@example.com Website: www.animalacupressure.com
INTEGRATIVE THERAPIES The Happy Natural Horse Lorrie Bracaloni Boonsboro, MD USA Phone: (301) 432-6216 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.happynaturalhorse.com
Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 953-3360 Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com Website: www.NaturalHorseTraining.com Healing Touch for Animals Drea Robertson Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: email@example.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com Double Check Inspections Inc. Ottawa, ON USA Phone: (613) 322-3682 Website: www.doublecheckinspections.ca
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HOLISTIC VETERINARY Q&A Talking with Dr. Cathy Alinovi 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 health. DrCathyVet.com
My mare has begun exhibiting some odd head-tilting behaviors when we feed her. It almost seems as if she cannot see things on the ground, and is trying to adjust herself to view things better. Could this be a sign of vision loss? What should I be watching for?
A: If the head-tilting behavior was occurring all the time, not just with feeding, then I would be inclined to think vision issues. Because it happens mostly at feeding time, I’m more inclined to
think something is wrong with her teeth, jaw or TMJ. It could be as simple as a need to have her teeth floated. She may have some sharp points, or she may have ramps at the very back of her mouth which are making it very difficult for her to grind her teeth. It is even possible she has an infected tooth. A certified equine dentist/veterinarian will be able to help you uncover any oral issues in your horse. Make sure whoever you hire uses an oral speculum to hold the jaws open; a hand examination will not be enough to fully examine her mouth. If her teeth are fine, then consider chiropractic care; even if her teeth need to be floated, consider chiropractic care after the procedure. Anything that interferes with jaw movement will affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Horses gather over 60% of the sense of where they are in space (proprioception) based on positioning of the body structures forward of the shoulder girdle – the TMJ and the teeth play a huge role in this sense. Chiropractic helps bring the entire body back into balance, compensating for imbalances in the dental arcades, TMJ, and the rest of the stomatognathic system. Therefore, even if the teeth are addressed, it’s still a very good idea to get chiropractic care for your horse after dentistry.
Can horses diagnosed with kissing spines still be ridden, or is it career-ending?
A: The answer to this question depends on two factors: how bad the case of kissing spines is, and the use/function of your horse. Kissing spines is a degenerative condition of the muscles below (ventral to) the lateral spinous processes of the vertebrae. Weakness of these muscles causes a contraction of the dorsal muscles, resulting in a drawing together of the dorsal spinous processes. This is referred to as kissing spines.
Are his hooves long and/or an improper angulation for his breed? Is he over-rotating his feet to midline in his stride, thereby kicking his hocks (perhaps requiring a chiropractic adjustment)? In the meantime, as you consider these questions, DermaGel is an effective product to help speed skin healing. Consider adding laser therapy and purchasing hock protectors – these are neoprene bandages that attach around the hock to prevent continued trauma.
The horses at our farm all seem to get stocked up at certain times of the year, particularly if we switch hay or pasture. Why would this be?
This muscle contracture is an attempt by the body to provide stabilization for the back, in compensation to weakness in the deeper muscles. Ultimately, lack of movement in the vertebrae leads to arthritis, and potentially pain. This weakness/pain cycle leads to further reduction in movement, increased pain, and worsening of the clinical presentation. Currently, there is little conventional treatment for this condition. Some surgeons advocate cutting the ligaments between the dorsal spinous processes – this procedure would further destabilize the vertebrae and ultimately be life-ending for the horse. Instead, consider therapies that will strengthen your horse’s back: from weight loss to massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, light and laser therapies. All these modalities can help the horse strengthen his back, while fitness exercises can help build the deeper back muscles. High performance horses with kissing spines should not be continued in high performance work until the condition is addressed. Pleasure horses may be able to return to light work once their core muscles are strengthened. Regardless, the horse with kissing spines is weak and potentially in pain. Your horse will benefit from the physical therapies mentioned above.
I have a gelding that is prone to hock sores, despite our attempts at prevention (extra bedding, topical applications daily of DermaGel). I can never get the sores to heal because he keeps opening them up again. Any tips to help get these to heal?
The biggest trick is probably going to be to keep him from opening up the sores. This means figuring out what movement he’s doing to open them back up. Is it when he’s sleeping, or because he’s scratching his belly, or is it when he moves at a trot?
You’re not the first horseperson to notice these changes with the weather, or to be frustrated by the lack of explanation by conventional medicine. If you have made sure everyone is properly dewormed and their teeth are taken care of, then there really is not a good conventional explanation. However, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) theory can offer a possible explanation. According to TCVM, most ill health can be explained via Yin/ Yang theory. Many people are familiar with the interrelationship between Yin and Yang as pictured by the traditional symbol: black is Yin and white is Yang. But there is Yang within Yin and Yin within Yang as represented by the small oppositely-colored circles within the swirls (white within black and vice versa). Summer is a predominantly Yang (warm and sunny) season, while some days are more Yin (cloudy, rainy and cooler) than others. As summer moves into fall and winter, the weather becomes more Yin. A Yang (young) horse in Yang condition (active work/exercise) eating Yang food (sweet feed) will have excess Yang in relation to the Yin environment as summer becomes fall, and thus be predisposed to illness. The imbalance between Yin and Yang allows for invasion of one of several pathogenic factors: Wind, Heat, Cold, Summer Heat, and Damp. In some environments, where relative humidity tends to be high, Damp will be a constant concern. Therefore, in humid environments, horses will be at risk of an invasion of Damp, which could look like swollen legs, with seasonal changes. Balancing these disharmonies means looking at the training schedules, feed, and general constitution of the horses. Sometimes it’s as easy as switching from sweet feed to rice bran and beet pulp as supplements, along with high quality grass hay. Sometimes, additional probiotics are needed in the spring and fall. A holistic equine veterinarian can help address these imbalances in your barn’s horses. Equine Wellness
HICALIBER HORSE RESCUE
TO THE RESCUE
Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA221 to HiCaliber Horse Rescue.
LOCATION: Valley Center, CA TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Horses STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: One paid staff member, 250 volunteers, and 65 foster homes.
FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: “We conduct a weekly online fundraiser every Tuesday to save slaughter-bound horses,” says CEO Romney Snyder.
FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “On September 1, we were contacted by a hauler wanting to sell us six rental string horses. The price being asked was higher than the local market value and we were not in a position to purchase the horses. After some discussion, HiCaliber left a voicemail next morning offering the hauler $400 per horse. Nearly eight hours later, the hauler returned the message informing us it was “too late”. Confused, we asked for an explanation. He finally admitted he had left Los Angeles en route for El Paso, Texas where the
horses would be sold for slaughter. At the time of the call, he was already in Tucson, Arizona. “We begged him to turn around. ‘It’s too late, my boss won’t permit it,’ he replied. But we pushed and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Finally, he agreed to turn the truck around and drive the ten hours back to San Diego if we agreed to buy not six, but nine, horses. We had just hours to raise $11,000. “To our amazement, the funds came in -- more than $18,000 in 24 hours! We purchased not just nine, but 11 horses off the truck. They were exhausted from their almost 24-hour hauling trip, with two collapsing upon arrival at HiCaliber. The reality of their treacherous journey became clear when Lazarus, a skinny Paint, looked as if he was going to pass away. The team pleaded with him to come back, and after a few terrifying moments, he stood up and was able to rejoin the herd. Saving ‘Slaughter Truck 11’ became a pivotal moment for us, and showed us the power, compassion and generosity of our global village.”
HiCaliber.org • facebook.com/HiCaliberHorseRescue 56
BEAR VALLEY RESCUE Sundre, AB Rescue Code: EWA038 www.bearvalleyab.org
JOURNEY’S END RANCH ANIMAL RESCUE Kingman, AZ Rescue Code: EWA021 www.jersanctuary.org
BC INTERIOR HORSE RESCUE SOCIETY Kelowna, BC Rescue Code: EWA086 www.bcihrs.ca OLD FRIENDS CANADA SOCIETY Lake Country, BC Rescue Code: EWA087 www.oldfriendscanada.org GO AND PLAY STABLES Douro, ON Rescue Code: EWA101 www.goandplaystables.org PRIDE THERAPEUTIC RIDING STABLES Kitchener, ON Rescue Code: EWA026 www.pridestables.com SUNRISE THERAPEUTIC & LEARNING CENTRE Puslinch, ON Rescue Code: EWA011 www.sunrise-therapeutic.ca THE DONKEY SANCTUARY Guelph, ON Rescue Code: EWA012 www.thedonkeysanctuary.ca WHISPERING HEARTS HORSE RESCUE Hagersville, ON Rescue Code: EWA050 www.whhrescue.com WIND DANCER PONY RESCUE FOUNDATION Sheffield, ON Rescue Code: EWA070 www.winddancerponies.org SADIE’S PLACE HORSE RESCUE Brookfield, PEI Rescue Code: EWA057 www.sadiesplace.ca
FORGOTTEN HORSES RESCUE INC Homeland, CA Rescue Code: EWA056 www.forgottenhorsesrescue.org NATIONAL EQUINE RESOURCE NETWORK Encinitas, CA Rescue Code: EWA030 www.nationalequine.org THE GENTLE BARN Santa Clarita, CA Rescue Code: EWA180 www.gentlebarn.org DREAMCATCHERS EQUINE RESCUE Fountain, CO Rescue Code: EWA059 www.dcerinc.org SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE Farmington, CT Rescue Code: EWA067 www.KomenCT.org HORSE RESCUE RELIEF & RETIREMENT FUND INC. Cumming, GA Rescue Code: EWA060 www.SaveTheHorses.org
OUR MIMS RETIREMENT HAVEN Paris, KY Rescue Code: EWA184 www.OurMims.org RAINHILL EQUINE FACILITY INC Bowling Green, KY Rescue Code: EWA095 www.rainhillequinefacili.wix.com BLUE STAR EQUICULTURE St. Palmer, MA Rescue Code: EWA027 www.equiculture.org EQUINE RESCUE NETWORK Boxford, MA Rescue Code: EWA093 www.equinerescuenetwork.com GENTLE GIANTS DRAFT HORSE RESCUE Mount Alry, MD Rescue Code: EWA094 GentleGiantsDraftHorseRescue.com SAND STONE FARMS RESCUE EFFORT Ortonville, MI Rescue Code: EWA062 www.sandstonefarm.info SAVING GRACE MINIATURE HORSE RESCUE Emmett, MI Rescue Code: EWA196 www.sgminihorserescue.com
PASO BY PASO EQUINE REHABILITATION Bend, OR Rescue Code: EWA055 www.pasobypaso.org L.E.A.R.N. HORSE RESCUE Ravenel, SC Rescue Code: EWA190 www.learnhorserescue.org FERRELL HOLLOW FARM Readyville, TN Rescue Code: EWA054 www.ferrellhollowfarm.org CROSSFIRE RESCUE Bacliffe, TX Rescue Code: EWA052 www.crossfirerescue.org EQUINE CANCER SOCIETY Mansfield, TX Rescue Code: EWA182 www.equinecancersociety.com THE PEGASUS PROJECT Ben Wheeler, TX Rescue Code: EWA002 www.mypegasusproject.org CENTRAL VIRGINIA HORSE RESCUE Brodnax, VA Rescue Code: EWA058 www.centralvahorserescue.com
BIT O’ LUCK HORSE RESCUE Huntersville, NC Rescue Code: EWA053 www.bitoluck.org
PAINTED ACRES RESCUE & SANCTUARY, INC Winchester, VA Rescue Code: EWA075 www.paintedacresrescue.web.net
STAMP OUT STARVATION OF HORSES INC. Clarksville, GA Rescue Code: EWA033 www.sosofhorses.com
LIVE AND LET LIVE FARM RESCUE Chichester, NH Rescue Code: EWA187 www.liveandletlivefarm.org
SERENITY EQUINE RESCUE & REHABILITATION Maple Valley, WA Rescue Code: EWA028 www.serenityequinerescue.com
BLACK HILLS WILD HORSE SANCTUARY Hot Springs, ID Rescue Code: EWA085 www.wildmustangs.com
HORSE RESCUE UNITED Howell, NJ Rescue Code: EWA049 www.horserescueunited.org/
SOCIETY FOR HOOVED ANIMAL’S RESCUE & EMERGENCY Champaign, IL Rescue Code: EWA018 www.s-h-a-r-e.net/ SOUTHERN WINDS EQUINE RESCUE & RECOVERY CENTER Udall, KS Rescue Code: EWA010 www.southernwindsequinerescue.org
AMARYLLIS FARM EQUINE RESCUE Bridgehampton, NY Rescue Code: EWA005 www.amaryllisfarm.com ANOTHER CHANCE EQUINE RESCUE Columbia Station, OH Rescue Code: EWA022 www.acerescue.org
THE DAVEY JONES EQUINE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION Seattle, WA Rescue Code: EWA064 www.djemf.com SPIRIT HORSE EQUINE RESCUE Janesville, WI Rescue Code: EWA083 www.spirithorseequinerescue.org HEART OF PHOENIX Shoals, WV Rescue Code: EWA096 www.wvhorserescue.org
HERD DYNAMICS By Anna Twinney
Developing herds for domesticated horses can come with its own set of unique challenges. Let’s take a look at the factors that can aﬀect herd dynamics, and how to create the ideal herd situation. Put a group of horses together and you will witness herd dynamics unfold before your eyes. Within moments, the dance of establishing leadership and other roles within the herd will begin. The horses will become extremely “vocal”, and will establish rank through challenging behavior that can be as subtle as a glance or ear movement, or as bold as moving the other horses’ feet, charging, biting, kicking and squealing.
THE NATURAL HERD Under more natural conditions, individual horses adopt very specific roles to secure a safe and harmonious herd environment. Some horses can be born into leadership positions, groomed by their parents over time to become all they can be. These “heir apparents” usually display a more passive form of leadership, while other horses fight their way to the top, bringing forth a dominant style of leadership. A common misconception is that the alpha mare rules through dominance. Often, the leader is not the most aggressive horse, but instead leads by strong example, by simply “being”, observing all, and acting only when needed. The dominant mare is commonly the second in command, ensuring much of the discipline is enforced, and displaying her emotions freely.
As we find both loners and socialites among people, we find them in the horse world too. Those seeking adventure balance out those seeking a simple life. There are natural born leaders and natural born followers.
FORCED HERD DYNAMICS Under unnatural circumstances, however, these healthy relationships can go awry. This often happens in our attempts to develop small herds of horses in pastures and paddocks, either at home or in boarding barn situations. Think about a classroom of juveniles ruling themselves, or of adolescents without parental guidance – where would this lead? To the very same place it takes foals who find themselves orphaned, or yearlings allowed to frolic without supervision – a misguided place that often causes future behavioral challenges or social ineptitude. Without the wisdom of their elders, the young are at a severe disadvantage as they venture into unchartered territory. While wild horses will gather cordially during daily waterhole rituals, isolated non-socialized stallions may have a propensity for extreme violence and even potentially life-threatening injury, when forced into interaction.
UNDERSTANDING DISRUPTIVE HERD BEHAVIOR Equine personalities and behaviors are similar to human characteristics, and various types can be found within the herd. 58
It would be remiss to overlook our horses’ environment as a reason for possible disruptions in herd behavior, since space
is a distinctive concern for these animals. Behavior is often accentuated in small enclosures, and we often see this in situations where horses are confined to smaller paddocks and pastures. Space is crucially important for your horse’s health and well-being; it gives horses an opportunity to get away from one another, or from the herd, if necessary. This helps prevent negative interactions and injuries. The ability to move around freely is a must!
THE EFFECTS OF POOR TRAINING OR SOCIALIZATION ON HERD BEHAVIOR AND DYNAMICS
Another obvious behavior influencer for domesticated horses is the introduction or removal of food. Horses are natural born grazers and are used to being surrounded by an abundance of food. Fighting often occurs when there is a lack of food. Remove the lack of food (by providing adequate pasture or hay) and harmony is reintroduced to the herd. If you don’t have the means to create the ideal feeding scenario, slow feeders are essential.
horse crossing boundaries and displaying aggressive tendencies with his herd mates.
If you and your horses are happy and healthy, then keep up the good work. If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it! However, if you are concerned with the dynamics of the herd or your horses have incurred physical injuries, it may be time to consider making some changes and reviewing your horse-keeping methods and circumstances. Take time to review your habits and patterns to find an all-around better solution.
• Lack of socialization can develop into social ineptness. • Lack of knowledge and boundaries can show up as a
• Incorrect hand-feeding can create crowding, mugging and biting behaviors.
• The stall-bound horse will have pent-up energy, vices/habits, physical issues, lack of socialization and possible dangerous behaviors.
• Horses kept in a stressful environment display vices/ habits and emotional, mental and physical issues.
• Horses that have experienced fear-based training show displacement/depression and aggressive tendencies.
Photos courtesy of Reach Out to Horses
ADJUSTING HABITS AND PATTERNS FOR A HAPPY HERD
• Over-handling foals can result in crowding and
If your horse(s): ❖ Has been moved recently – Try accommodating for this time of transition and be the support he needs during this adjustment period. ❖ Is not accepted in the herd – Evaluate his personality, role, and past and current mental, emotional and physical health. Try building him up (through physical and complementary therapies and nutritional support). ❖ Is crowding the gate – Try training him to take a step back and create a safe entrance space, or organize feeders from the outside of the paddocks for your own safety. ❖ Has a sudden behavior change – Try reviewing all recent changes to determine the cause and have him checked physically. ❖ Does not want to be caught – Try to discover the true cause of this behavior, be it pain-related, ill-fitting tack, your relationship, his activities/discipline, or simply a lack of motivation and energy or his strong desire to be with his family herd. ❖ Is classed as herd-bound –Try building a stronger partnership through a trust-based connection while discovering his motivation. While we certainly do our best to develop herd situations that will work well for our domesticated horses, it can be a
challenging feat at times. Each horse is an individual, and things can constantly shift and change with each horse and the herd as a whole. Provide your horses with as much pasture space and food resources as possible to help prevent disagreements and injuries. With a little understanding and observation you will be able to help create the best possible herd situation for your horses. Anna Twinney is an International Equine Linguist, Natural Horsewoman, Clinician, Animal Communicator and Holy-Fire Reiki Master. She is the founder of Reach Out to Horses® – a comprehensive, trust-based, equine training program, recognized around the world for its unique and highly effective training methodologies. In addition, Anna has an extensive library of instructional DVDs and offers exclusive equine experiences at ReachOutToHorses.com.
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BOOK REVIEW TITLE: The Rider’s Edge AUTHOR: Janet Sasson Edgette Equestrian sport psychologist Dr. Janet Sasson Edgette is widely respected in the equine industry for her approach and philosophy towards the challenges many riders face. And she knows these challenges are not just limited to performance anxiety. “Riders and trainers often assume that equestrian sport psychology concerns itself only with performance nerves,” writes Janet in her
book The Rider’s Edge – Overcoming the Psychological Challenges of Riding. “They overlook many of the other issues this sport can bring up…. The issues include a rider’s fear of ruining a new horse or of getting injured, rebuilding confidence after a bad fall, sportsmanship, trainer-rider relationships, finally finding but then losing a good horse, and dealing with training setbacks. They also include figuring out how to balance a sport as time-intensive as riding with making a living or building a career, raising children…. Riding is not a simple activity.” The Rider’s Edge is a collection of real-life issues riders have faced, presented in a question and answer format. Covering everything from show nerves and confidence issues to relationships and life balance, this book is bound to offer something helpful for every rider – because we’ve all been there!
PUBLISHER: Primedia Equine Network Equine Wellness
EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Massage Correspondence Program On Demand - Online Course This is a non-certificate program for animal owners and lovers. You will learn about the anatomy of a horse, pre-massage considerations, recommendations, and contra-indications as well as massage strokes, pressure, techniques, and sequence. Manual and lessons are PDF downloads upon registration. For more information: (303) 660-9390 firstname.lastname@example.org www.rmsaam.com
The Western States Horse Expo February 3-5, 2017 Pomona, CA Western States Horse Expo in Pomona is a must-attend event for any horse owner. For three days, you can catch up on the latest training and education, shop the nation’s premier equine vendors and connect with your horse friends.
15th Annual Horse World Expo March 2-5, 2017 – Harrisburg, PA
Virginia Horse Festival March 24- 26, 2017 – Richmond, VA
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!
Mark your calendars for this year’s event! Join the industry’s top experts for engaging and educational clinics, demonstrations and seminars. Topics will appeal to new horse owners as well as seasoned riders. Browse vendors selling the latest in equine equipment, supplies, and clothing and don’t forget about the Breed Parade! Come out and experience some incredible horses.
Great family fun and entertainment! For more information: (301) 916-0852 email@example.com www.horseworldexpo.com
Annual Washington State Horse Expo March 3-5, 2017 – Ridgefield, WA This Expo has something for everyone, whether you are a horse owner looking for training tips, the most current information to care for your horse or someone who just loves horses.
Stay engaged in the horse industry, making sure you have the tools, knowledge, and products to help make the most of your investment in the horse owning lifestyle year round.
You won’t want to miss the demonstrations featuring nationally ranked clinicians, educational Seminars, a Mountain Trail Course, entertaining performances throughout the day by talented horses & riders and Special activities for children. Plus a Marketplace with over 100 vendors for a fun shopping experience!
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org www.horseexpoevents.com
For more information: email@example.com www.wastatehorseexpo.com
Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show Road to the Horse February 16-22, 2017 – Scottsdale, AZ March 23-26, 2017 – Lexington, KY 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.scottsdaleshow.com
Road to the Horse is a one-of-a-kind experience that combines education and entertainment for an amazing horsemanship experience. The goal of Road to the Horse is to teach horsemen and women that natural horsemanship is a kinder, gentler way of working with horses. Don’t miss this year’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Party! For more information: (325) 736-5000 www.roadtothehorse.com
For more information: (804) 994-2800 www.virginiahorsefestival.com
Can-Am Equine All Breed Equine Expo March 31 – April 2, 2017 – Markham, ON Can-Am is Canada’s largest Equine education and recognition Event, creating awareness of the Horse Industry through educational seminars and clinics, breed recognition and trade events. This year you find appearances from Guy McLean (2012 Road to the Horse Champion), Jonathan Field (2012 Road to the Horse Finalist) as well as Stacy Westfall, the only female winner from Road to the Horse. For more information: (519) 942-3011 email@example.com www.canamequine.com
Equine Affaire April 6-9, 2017 – Columbus, OH Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of the event. Soak up information and advice at more than 230 clinics, seminars, and demonstrations on a wide variety of equestrian sports and horse training, management, health, and business topics. Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation’s leading equinerelated retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and organizations. For more information: (301) 916-0852 firstname.lastname@example.org www.horseworldexpo.com
WANTED Rescues & Shelters. We want to give away $100,000
through our Ambassador program. REGISTER NOW! Maddie@RedstoneMediaGroup.com 62