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April/May 2017 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Kelly Howling EDITOR: Ann Brightman STAFF WRITER: Emily Watson 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 Gore/Baylor Photography COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Laura Batts Valeria Breiten, NMD Melanie Falls Joyce C. Harman DVM, MRCVS Eleanor Kellon, VMD Alexandra Kurland Hannah Mueller, DVM Anne Riddell Hilary Self, BSc, Medical Herbalist, MNIMH Amy Snow Madalyn Ward, DVM Richard Winters Nancy Zidonis

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Photo by Diana Hiiesalu of Gore/Baylor Photography


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© 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: March 2017.


This issue’s cover pair is JayaMae Gregory and her Missouri Fox Trotter mare, Asali. A friendly dare put JayaMae and Asali on the path to participate in one of endurance riding’s toughest events – the Tevis Cup – while barefoot and bitless. Check out their story on page 38.

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If you’re moving your horse to a different facility, or purchasing a place of your own, you need to make sure his new pasture is going to measure up nutritionally.


As the number of horses with Cushing’s continues to rise, we need to keep building on our understanding of the disease, as well as how to recognize and treat it.

22 FEEDING HORSES BY TCM TEMPERAMENT TYPE Your horse’s personality as defined by Five Element theory could be the key to determining his dietary needs.

30 SCENAR THERAPY AND YOUR HORSE An emerging equine therapy, SCENAR may offer natural pain relief for your horse.

34 HERBS TO BOOST YOUR HORSE’S IMMUNITY These herbs can protect your horse from illness and infection by helping his immune system stay strong and resilient.



You understand the importance of proper hydration for your horse, so you always make sure he gets the right amount of water and electrolytes – but it’s just as vital to pay attention to your own hydration needs!

How a friendly dare led one woman and her horse on a journey towards the most challenging ride in endurance – barefoot and bitless!

42 PICA IN HORSES Does your horse seem fixated on eating strange things? There may be much more to this behavior than you realize!


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48 WHY PERIPHERAL LOADING IN THE HOOF IS BAD FOR YOUR HORSE Shoeing and some trimming methods force a horse to bear all his weight on the hoof walls. This causes peripheral loading, along with negative effects on his comfort and movement.

51 DOES SPRING-FRESH GRASS DISTRACT YOUR HORSE FROM TRAINING? Turn your horse’s obsession with spring grass into a reinforcement opportunity by using clicker training and focusing on what you want from him.

nts 10

48 DEPARTMENTS 6 Editorial

COLUMNS 8 Neighborhood news

33 Product picks

28 Green acres

41 Heads up

45 Herb blurb

46 Equine Wellness resource guide

54 Minute horsemanship

59 Social media corner

56 To the rescue

60 Marketplace

58 Acupressure at-a-glance

61 Classifieds 61 Book review 62 Events



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EDITORIAL If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it We love to show our horses how much we care for them. But we’re sometimes guilty of displaying our affection in ways we would appreciate more than our horses do. When it comes to nutrition, many people feel they are showing love by showering their horses with treats and all the latest supplements. But is this actually benefitting our horses; or is it just making us feel good? I’ve noticed a certain mindset among some horse folk: they believe that if something is “natural”, it’s okay to feed it on a whim, no matter how many other supplements or feedstuffs the horse is on. “It’s natural, so it can’t hurt,” is what I often hear as another herbal product is added to a horse’s already impressive collection of supplements and nutrients. Even in the “natural” horse world, people fall prey to the latest feed fads. One month it’s coconut meal, and the next it’s kelp or hemp. It’s as if we are always searching for something better for our horses. But what could be better than a truly natural foragebased diet? This isn’t to say the aforementioned feedstuffs can’t be beneficial for many horses – they certainly have their place. If your horse has specific challenge you’re looking to resolve, nutrition is always a good place to start. However…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say: “I want to start my horse on X because so-and-so’s horse is on it.” I used to be guilty of this practice myself, before I knew very much about nutrition (and horses!). I would watch people I considered more knowledgeable than I was, and feed what they fed. It’s no wonder my first little Thoroughbred was so jumpy all the time; I was giving him the same diet as my coaches’ mid-level show jumpers! Many horses today are overfed and over-supplemented. Yet horses are pretty simple creatures with pretty simple needs. Next time you hear a fellow horseperson enthusing about the benefits of the latest feed trend, ask yourself: does my horse really need that? When you go to pick up a supplement off the shelf, consider what you are trying to address in your horse. If you are trying to solve a true challenge or deficiency in your horse’s diet, some of the articles in this issue will be helpful. Hilary Self’s comprehensive look at immune-boosting herbs on page 34 is an excellent read. Dr. Harman joins us with an update on Cushing’s disease (page 14), which is often managed largely through nutrition. If your horse is eating odd things, Dr. Alinovi’s article on pica (page 42) will certainly be of interest. On page 10, Dr. Kellon talks about how to evaluate the nutrition of new pastures. And your own health is just as important as your horse’s, so as we head into warmer weather, be sure to check out Dr. Breiten’s article on rider hydration (page 18). Naturally, Kelly Howling 6

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Host city candidates

Horse welfare

Two cities have been announced as potential hosts for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2022 – Lexington, Kentucky in the US, and Samorin in Slovakia.

Recently, seven horses died in the United Arab Emirates within the space of four weeks – six at national endurance competitions and one at an FEI event. To address these horse welfare issues, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez requested immediate action from the UAE National Federation by providing an overview of measures to be implemented by both the FEI and the UAE Equestrian Federation.


“We are very happy to have two such strong official candidates,” says FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “Both the Kentucky and Samorin venues already have the infrastructure in place to host the Games.” The next phase in the decision-making process, already underway, involves visits to the two sites. June is the deadline month for submission of the candidates’ complete bids and signed host agreements.

Retired Racehorse Project – OFF AND RUNNING

Photo by Sarah K. Andrew

Several well-known names are among the 578 trainers who will be competing at the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover this year. Running from October 5 to 8, the event takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park and features $100,000 in prize money. The trainers approved to compete include some of the most highly respected in their disciplines. Among the best-known entries are Hollywood’s leading horse trainer Rex Peterson, Show Hunter Hall of Fame’s Lois Serio, Canadian Olympians Ian Roberts and Kelly Plitz, America’s top female jockey Rosie Napravnik, Rolex CCI winner Nick Larkin, and World Equestrian Games Silver Medalist Dorothy Crowell. Each trainer was approved based on evidence of his/her ability to introduce an off-track Thoroughbred with no experience outside racing, to one or two of the ten Thoroughbred Makeover disciplines, thereby demonstrating that horse’s talent and trainability. 8

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“I asked the UAE National Federation to urgently put in place measures that would specifically address the situation in the UAE, and we welcome the speed with which they have responded to these very serious issues,” Ibáñez said. “The studies the FEI is undertaking, which will be first presented to the Sports Forum and then in more depth during the Endurance Forum in Barcelona on May 23 and 24, will help determine the causes so that actions can be taken to prevent similar tragedies in the future.” In addition, the FEI will host a series of meetings with trainers and team veterinarians in the UAE to address the high level of catastrophic injuries in the region.



In the continued fight against horse slaughter, federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the US. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would also end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The legislation was introduced by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).

The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System has released the first report from its 2015 equine study. The Baseline Reference of Equine Health and Management in the United States 2015 had originally been postponed due to the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak that occurred that year.


Approximately 130,000 American horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico each year to be slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. The animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants without adequate food, water or rest. “The bipartisan SAFE Act isn’t just the humane thing to do for horses, it also shields the American people from the significant risks that come with consuming horsemeat,” said Rep. Royce. “This is an opportunity to both bolster consumer safeguards and protect America’s horses; it’s a win-win.”




The study provides participants, industry and animal-health officials with information on the nation’s equine population. This information serves as a basis for education, service and research related to equine health and management, as well as industry trends. www.aphis. usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/ equine/downloads/equine15/ Eq2015_Rept1.pdf

The brick-making industry is the backbone of urban development throughout South Asia. It employs between 4.4 and 5.2 million people, and over 500,000 working animals. But traditional brick kilns negatively impact the health of people, animals and the environment.

Photo courtesy of TheBrooke.org

Donkeys, mules and horses provide their owners and handlers with an income by transporting bricks within the kilns as well as to various locations for use in the construction industry. Yet these animals don’t have access to nutritious food or clean water and suffer wounds from overloading, overworking, beating, inadequate harnessing and general poor care. Until now, the brick-making industry has been largely invisible to policymakers, and the few organizations working to address the issues have primarily done so in isolation. Bucking this trend is Brooke – Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, The Donkey Sanctuary, and the International Labor Organization. These groups have come together to form Brick by Brick, a report that raises the visibility of brick kilns in the region, and tackles the harmful and often illegal practices that affect millions of people and the working conditions of hundreds of thousands of animals. See the full report at thebrooke.org Equine Wellness


Assessing the


of a new pasture

If you’re moving your horse to a different facility, or purchasing a place of your own, you need to make sure his new pasture is going to measure up nutritionally. By Eleanor Kellon, VMD


hether you’re switching to a different horse-boarding barn, or buying your own farm, it’s sometimes necessary to move your horse to a new location. One of the many things you need to consider is the quality of your horse’s new pasture. What condition is it in? Is it going to be a good source of nutrition for him? How many months out of the year will you be able to rely on it?

INITIAL NUTRITIONAL ASSESSMENTS If there are already horses on the pasture, you can get some information about the area through observation. Do you see spots that are eaten down to the ground, and others where the grass is tall? This condition is called “greens and roughs”. When management does not involve rotating horses through different parts of the pasture, it is normal for “greens and roughs” to develop; horses will not graze where they pass their manure, and may choose less desirable grazing spots for manure depots. However, if the greens are heavily grazed down, the density of horses per acre is too high to allow for good plant growth, either simply because there are too many horses or because the grasses are not the best choice. 10

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THE POSSIBLE PRESENCE OF POISONOUS PLANTS Plant poisonings rarely occur when there is a healthy stand of good grasses in a pasture. But there is always the odd horse that develops a taste for something he shouldn’t eat, and severe weather can inhibit good grass growth in any pasture. Spring and fall are particularly dangerous times if you don’t feed enough supplemental hay. Hungry horses will eat things they would normally ignore. Walk your pastures regularly and note any odd plant growth.

SOIL ANALYSIS A soil analysis is valuable if you own the land, or the owner is open to input. By optimizing growing conditions, you can guarantee good protein levels, reduce the risk of harmful nitrates or excessively high sugar content, and even alter the mineral profile. When submitting the sample, be sure to note the grass species in the pasture, and any special goals such as limiting iron and manganese levels.

As a rule of thumb, when the stand of plants is healthy it can support one horse per acre during the grazing season. The grazing season depends partially on your location and weather, and partially on the grasses in the field. Clover and cool season grasses like Timothy or ryegrass will thrive in the early spring and fall, while warm seasonal grasses like Bermuda are well suited to summer heat, which can slow the growth of other species.

DETERMINING DEFICIENCIES AND IMBALANCES Once you’re decided that the pasture has the potential to meet your specific needs, it’s a good idea to have it analyzed to confirm good energy and protein levels, as well as determine the mineral profile. Mineral deficiencies and imbalances, especially of important trace minerals like iron, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium, are extremely common. A common profile in grasses is high iron and/or manganese with low zinc and copper (low selenium is also common in many areas). Since certain minerals can compete with each other for absorption, providing more iron and manganese will cancel out copper and zinc. When you know the issues specific to your pasture, you can choose a product or design a custom supplement program that eliminates what you don’t need and provides the correct levels of what you do need. Locate an independent nutritional consultant to help you with this. Continued on page 12.

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Continued from page 11.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOCAL DATA It’s a good idea to get in touch with your local state agricultural extension agent to discuss your new pastures. Their services are free and they will have a wealth of information on topics such as soil types, soil treatments that may be needed, the best grasses to grow for the longest grazing season and how to establish them, as well as poisonous plants local to the area and how to identify them. Your extension agent will also have general data on the energy/calorie and protein levels in the various grass options, as well as any special considerations. For example, fescue is a hardy and nutritious pasture grass, but should be avoided for broodmares. It commonly has an endophytic fungus that strengthens the grass but can cause problems with foaling and udder development in mares. Bermuda has great heat and drought tolerance but is often very low protein unless the fields are fertilized. 12

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ANALYSIS RESULTS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE SAMPLES When collecting pasture samples, use stainless steel scissors to cut the grass off at the same height as the horses do, and put the samples in a paper bag. In a case of obvious greens and roughs, sample only the greens. If you have a mixture of growing conditions, such as slopes and low-lying wet or boggy areas, these should be sampled separately. As a general guide, you want to collect about 20 samples per acre. Your agricultural extension office probably has a publication that gives detailed instructions for pasture sampling. There will be some variation in protein levels, and to a lesser extent mineral levels, depending on the season and the growth stage of the plants. For most situations, however, you will get good results by sampling the pasture around midseason to get a representative average. There may be exceptions depending on the precise species in your pasture – for example, a field with a heavy growth of clover early in the season that switches to a predominantly warm-season grass as temperatures heat up. Discuss this with your extension agent. There is more to assessing the nutritional value of a new pasture than noting how pretty it looks, but information and experienced help is readily available. If you invest the time and take advantage of resources, you can generate a detailed profile of your pasture, then make a plan to supplement your horse and amend the soil for the best possible outcome.

Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has been an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and is a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via the integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Preventing laminitis is the ultimate goal. ecirhorse.org

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Cushing’s SYNDROME in horses – an update

part 1

By Joyce C. Harman, DVM, MRCVS

As the number of horses with Cushing’s continues to rise, we need to keep building on our understanding of the disease, as well as how to recognize and treat it.


ushing’s syndrome has become one of the most common diagnoses in equine practice. There are several reasons why. Perhaps a major one is that we keep our horses going for a greater number of years than we did in the past, and Cushing’s tends to more commonly affect elderly horses. Veterinarians and horse owners are also much better informed about the condition and are knowledgeable about symptoms. In addition, our ability to test for the Cushing’s has improved, and the main drug prescribed for it has been approved for use in horses, leading to easy conventional treatment.

What is Cushing’s syndrome? A more correct term for Cushing’s among researchers is PPID (Pituitary Par Intermedia Dysfunction). This is because Cushing’s in humans and dogs affects a different part of the pituitary gland than it does in equines. PPID is a more correct functional term for the disease in horses, and should be adapted to describe this condition. Pituitary adenomas (tumors) of the pars intermedia part of the pituitary gland have been considered an almost normal part of aging in horses. However, tests show conflicting reports about how common the true adenoma tumor is. About half 14

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the sources feel an actual adenoma is less common, and that hyperplasia (abnormal and overactive, but not tumorous growth of cells) occurs instead. Both adenomas and hyperplasia cause similar sets of symptoms, but hyperplasia, being a functional disturbance rather than a tumor, is easier to treat. Many horses respond well to treatment; in these cases, the condition is probably more functional than cancerous. Older horses that do not respond well to treatment may have actual tumors.

A holistic perspective Looking at this condition from a holistic perspective, the primary issue is basically that the pituitary gland is aging and becoming less functional. The AAEP description of PPID supports this thinking by defining it as a condition that arises because the hypothalamus is no longer properly regulating the pituitary gland. Since the pituitary acts as the “grandmother” or master gland for the entire hormonal system, the entire system becomes dysfunctional as it loses function (see Fig. 1). Damage to any part of the system can affect other hormonal pathways. PPID has a large group of possible symptoms, depending on which system is most affected in an individual horse. Since natural medicine is generally tailored to the individual, it


Thyroid gland

Thyroid stimulating hormone

Regulates pituitary, uses dopamine


Folicle stimulating hormone


Luteinizing hormone Insulin

Pituitary gland

Carries glucose to cells, muscle, etc.

Young body – growth

Growth hormone Adult – bones, muscle, fat

Pancreas Prolactin Glucagon

Milk for foal

Raises blood sugar if needed

Carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism Cortisol (glucocorticoids)


Mineral balance Anti-inflammatory

Adrenals Anti-diuretic hormone

Stress, epinephrine, etc.

Kidneys, water regulation

Figure 1: The pituitary is the master gland for the entire hormonal system.

becomes possible to support each horse. Younger horses with a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease have most likely been stressed, often by a show or competitive career. There is also evidence that the inflammation caused by imbalances in the hormones contributes to tissue oxidation and breakdown. Laminitis remains one of the more frustrating complications of Cushing’s disease. Chronic cases can take a significant amount of time and energy to treat, and still yield unsatisfactory results.

Natural medicine provides a different and more diverse toolbox of treatments for the spectrum of symptoms collected under the title of Cushing’s disease.

Clinical signs The clinical signs most commonly associated with Cushing’s syndrome in horses are hirsutism (long hair that does not shed out in the summer), difficult-to-treat laminitis, and weight problems (over- or underweight). Many other symptoms appear

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of Cushing’s syndrome • Hirsutism (long hair) • Hair not shed out in summer • Refractory laminitis

in certain individuals, with some horses exhibiting very few clinical signs, and others exhibiting many (see sidebar at left). Laminitis with no outward reason for its occurrence is one of the most serious symptoms of Cushing’s. Some of the most refractory cases of Cushing’s-based laminitis occur in the winter, an uncommon season for typical cases. Even the more common summer laminitis, which appears to be caused by overeating grass, can be quite difficult to treat, especially when the horse has other clinical signs of Cushing’s.

• Winter laminitis • Weight problems (over- or underweight) • Sluggish thyroid gland • Insulin resistance • Thyroid dysfunction • Muscle soreness • Diabetes • Polyuria/polydipsia (drinking and peeing excessively) • Collagen breakdown (back sags, tendons and ligaments may stretch) • Poor hair coat • Frequent infections of the skin or other organs • Colic • Poor teeth • Multiple dental abnormalities • Lowered immunity to intestinal parasites • Decreased intestinal wall integrity • Infertility • Muscle wasting

Many horses diagnosed with Cushing’s laminitis are overweight and very easy keepers, sometimes unable to eat more than a small amount of hay each day to control their weight. In some cases, horses that were previously easy keepers suddenly start requiring more food to maintain their body weight. The overweight horses generally have fat pads in specific places, along with cresty necks. The fat pads are generally behind the shoulder blades, on each side of the tail, and along the lumbar area. In addition, the fat on the horse’s body is often visibly lumpy. Some horses that are beginning to lose weight nevertheless maintain their fat pads. Research is showing that horses with insulin resistance and a high body condition score may also have pituitary lesions, and are more prone to internal lipomas, which can be fatal. The immune system is often weak, so many of the symptoms are related to infections or parasites taking over the body.

Diagnosing Cushing’s The most important diagnostic tool for identifying Cushing’s as the primary problem is the history and clinical signs discussed above. A thorough physical exam may reveal some of the less obvious signs, such as poor teeth or reproductive problems. Supporting lab work can be inconclusive, but can still be helpful and should be performed if possible. Continued on page 17.

INSULIN RESISTANCE and Cushing’s Cushing’s syndrome in horses has many of the same characteristics as insulin resistance. Many Cushing’s horses have elevated insulin levels in their blood. The reason insulin is elevated is because it is not able to get into the cells. Normally, when a sugar or carbohydrate is eaten, blood sugar levels increase, the pancreas secretes insulin, glucose is carried into the cells by the insulin, and blood sugar goes back to normal. In insulin resistance, the cell walls are too stiff to let the insulin do its job properly. So instead of providing energy for the cells, the glucose gets stored as fat.


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Testing for Cushing’s syndrome • To test for Cushing’s, insulin levels, ACTH and glucose are usually checked. ACTH remains a useful test, though there is a normal rise in levels during the fall, so tests must be interpreted carefully at that time of year. A single-sample thyroid test does not give a true picture of thyroid function, as there is a significant variation in thyroid levels in even normal horses.

• A low dose dexamethasone suppression test (LDDS) can be useful, but it is falling out of favor. I would personally avoid using it since dexamethasone is a steroid and sensitive horses can get laminitis from steroids. I have seen a number of serious cases of laminitis in Cushing’s horses following steroid injections.

• The TRH response test is the latest to be added. It involves taking a blood sample, giving a dose of thyroid stimulating hormone, and taking a second blood sample 15 or so minutes later. Normal horses will only have a small rise in ACTH, while horses with Cushing’s will show a much more significant rise on the second test. Though this is a new test and we need to evaluate it over time, it makes sense to stimulate the system to see how it is responding.

• Leptin testing is also being done. Leptins are hormones produced by the fat cells. This test appears to help separate out horses that are just stressed from those with significant insulin resistance. It is not a specific Cushing’s test. Leptin does undergo a daily variation, which means if you want to compare results, it’s best to have the vet collect blood samples at the same time of day on follow-up visits. Fasting for the purpose of testing, whether for insulin, glucose, leptin or anything else, is stressful to a horse. Personally, I do not think it is wise to fast a horse, unless he is basically healthy and you want to see a baseline. A horse that is showing clinical signs does not need the additional stress for the sake of a blood sample, in my opinion. In addition, have your veterinarian collect a complete blood count (CBC) to examine your horse’s immune system status, and a chemistry screen to check organ function. Continued from page 16. Part of the problem with lab work in the equine Cushing’s patient is that single blood samples are taken whenever the practitioner is at the farm, so there is little standardization in the timing of samples. Many parameters have daily variations and may change due to stress or other factors, including the amount of exercise a horse has had before the blood was drawn. For example, elevated blood cortisol can indicate high levels of stress in the body. But is the high cortisol coming from Cushing’s, or has the Cushing’s come from the chronic stress of something like laminitis? Cortisol as a single sample appears to be an inaccurate test for Cushing’s syndrome. High cortisol levels suppress the immune system and are the reason for higher levels of infection in these horses. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so past (horse showing, overwork, abuse) and present stressors all contribute. Now that we have an overall understanding of how to recognize and test for Cushing’s, we can take a look at how to support and treat these horses with integrative options. Be sure to follow along next issue as we look at managing this common condition through nutrition and integrative therapies. Dr. Joyce C Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Her practice in Virginia uses holistic medicine to treat horses. Her publications include The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book – the most complete source of information about English saddles. harmanyequine.com

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hydration for equestrians


By Valeria Breiten, NMD

You understand the importance of proper hydration for your horse, so you always make sure he gets the right amount of water and electrolytes – but it’s just as vital to pay attention to your own hydration needs!


roper hydration is as important for yourself as it is

(dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, headache), we are already fairly

for your horse. Being dehydrated can impair your

dehydrated. Constant attention to hydration – not just during

thinking and affect the ability of your organs to

physical activity – is important. Having all your cells plump

work properly. Excess hydration, on the other hand, increases

and hydrated before you start any exercise will help your body

the need for toilet facilities! Proper hydration involves not only

tolerate conditions that could cause dehydration.

adequate water intake – it also means avoiding dehydrating fluids or substances, and getting enough electrolytes.

Some people find measuring out how much they want to drink in the morning helps them keep an eye on the total volume of


fluid to finish during the day. Others use a phone app to keep

Unfortunately, many people are mildly dehydrated most of the

track of their fluid intake. Find what works for you. Water,

time. By the time we may recognize the signs of dehydration

mineral water and herbal teas all count toward the total. I do


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not recommend exceeding a gallon per day except in cases of excess heat and perspiration, because the cells in your body will be sloshing around in too much fluid and unable to function

By the time many of us recognize the signs of dehydration (dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, headache), we are already fairly dehydrated.

properly; contrary to dehydration, in which there is so little fluid the cells start shriveling up. When you are well hydrated, you can go for a time without fluids and your body will adjust without moving into a dangerous range. The human body is about 60% water weight, so it can move fluids around as needed, for a while. When you are drinking enough fluids that your urine is clear and copious, your intake is probably good.

ELECTROLYTE BALANCE Another aspect of hydration involves electrolytes. You are probably checking and making sure your horse has adequate electrolytes, but are you thinking about your own? Electrolytes are essential for the proper function of the heart and every cell in the body. Calcium and magnesium are especially important for the heart, but sodium and potassium are important for all cells in your body, including the heart. If you drink reverse osmosis water, know that it has all the minerals taken out. You need to add the minerals back in, either through drops in the water, or rocks in a water dispenser. Packets of a product like Emergen-C, added to your water bottle, work well while out riding. They contain a mineral ascorbate of vitamin C in addition to other minerals, so they also boost your system with antioxidants. Here in Arizona, people occasionally drink too much water (over a gallon a day) and are on a very low sodium and/or potassium diet. This can lead to serious heart symptoms. People working outdoors in the summer desert will take salt tablets to keep their sodium levels up as their bodies sweat profusely in the heat. On the other hand, too much salt in a sedentary elderly person with a weakened heart can create edema, raise blood pressure and put extra stress on the heart. Continued on page 20. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 19.

Heat stroke

In these situations, moderation can be important

I was hiking in Arizona one day when I came across a woman lying unconscious by the side of the trail. Her friends didn’t know what to do. It was a warm day and the group had been on their way back to the car when the woman collapsed.


Her pulse was rapid, and the skin on the back of her hand came up and tented when gently pinched, and was very slow going down – a sign of dehydration. Fortunately, there was a stream nearby, and I had her friends bring water to pour on her. The woman became more conscious and I asked her if she would like a homeopathic remedy for heat stroke (Glonoine), which I had in my pack. She said yes, and after taking the remedy, her pulse slowed down and she started feeling better.

Urgent or frequent urination has a variety of

We talked as she rapidly recovered, and it turned out she and her friends had consumed a lot of alcohol the night before and had not brought much water along on their hike. I told her to drink no more alcohol for a couple of days, and to rest a little longer. She was instructed to drink lots of water with electrolytes, and stay cool until she was completely recovered. The alcohol had dehydrated the woman, and sweating had compounded the problem; when her body was too dehydrated, it lost the ability to compensate for the heat and she went into heat stroke.

when dealing with electrolytes and water intake.

I have talked to people who rarely drink a lot of water because they are concerned about not being able to find a restroom in case of urinary urgency. causes, and are a good reason for a visit to your physician. Sometimes these symptoms are caused by foods that irritate the bladder. In my experience, dairy products are a frequent culprit. These issues can also be caused by eating many different foods or taking many vitamin supplements, but without much water. You also want to watch out for diuretic beverages such as coffee, or alcoholic beverages like wine and beer. These beverages cause the body to dehydrate and lose the fluids it needs for cell function and heat management. If the need to urinate comes on suddenly, it could be a low-grade urinary tract infection. Whatever the reason, investigate the cause with your doctor so you can resume drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and functioning well! In summary, adequate water intake is very important for your body. Be sure to maintain a balance of mineral electrolytes in whatever you are hydrating with, and beware of beverages or foods that may inhibit or reverse your hydration efforts.

Special note: People on diuretic drugs need to discuss their hydration needs for riding with their prescribing physician.

Dr. Valeria Breiten is a practicing Naturopathic Physician, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Classical Homeopath. She is currently on sabbatical and moving back to Ashland, Oregon. DrValeria.net 20

Equine Wellness

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Feeding horses by


temperament type Your horse’s personality as defined by Five Element theory could be the key to determining his dietary needs. By Madalyn Ward, DVM


ave you ever wondered why your favorite snack is salty chips but your best friend prefers cake? Do you crave sweet fruits and salads in the summer but prefer citrus fruits and hearty soups in the winter? There’s a reason for food preferences based on individual constitution and season – and these principles apply to horses as well as people. In fact, knowing your horse’s temperament type can help you figure out his dietary requirements.

The energetic properties of food We commonly evaluate foods for their nutritional value only, but they also have energetic properties. These properties include a food’s ability to build Yin or Yang energy; balance cooling or heating; disperse or contract energy; and move energy inward or outward in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) bases the energetic property of a food on its flavor or combination of flavors. Going by nutritional value alone, a particular food would be expected to act the same way for every horse. But when viewed energetically, the food will have different effects on different horses, depending on their Five Element temperament type. 22

Equine Wellness

In addition to looking at foods from the standpoint of different equine temperament types, we should also look at what we feed our horses during different seasons of the year. However, it is important to first balance the horse’s diet according to his Five Element type, and then if needed, to the season. Never go to extremes with any flavor because too much can cause the opposite effect and weaken the organ you want to support.


1. BITTER Element: Fire

Properties: Horses with excessive energy and impulsive behavior benefit from bitter foods because they have the centering effect of bringing energy deeper into the body. The bitter flavor will also drain dampness, so it is good for slow-moving lethargic horses that have damp conditions such as stocking up, or are just generally overfed and under-exercised. Uses: Very helpful in horses with inflammation, infections and damp skin conditions.

Organ functions: Helps support the heart and blood vessels. Bitter foods like celery can be given to help clear heat and inflammation from the liver after overeating. They also help drain damp conditions such as yeast infections, parasites, moist skin eruptions, abscesses, tumors, cysts (including the aggravating ovarian types) and swellings. Bitter foods help with intestinal function by increasing motility. Along with the liver and gallbladder, the lungs and kidneys also benefit from the bitter flavor. Any condition that shows thick yellow discharges suggests dampness and heat, and the bitter flavor is perfect to break this up and get it moving out of the body. Season: Increase bitter foods throughout the fall and winter to pull energy in and protect the body from cold temperatures, or during any season when heat symptoms appear. Cautions: Horses that are weak, thin, nervous and/or dehydrated should be given bitter foods only sparingly. Examples: Bitter herbs include dandelion leaf or root, burdock leaf or root, yarrow, chamomile, hops, valerian, chaparral, Echinacea and pau d’arco. Alfalfa is a strictly bitter food, celery and papaya are bitter and sweet, citrus peel is bitter and pungent, and apple cider vinegar is bitter and sour.

2. sweet Element: Earth

Properties: The sweet flavor is important in horse feed – if not overdone. According to TCM, sweet is a harmonizing flavor that helps slow and relax the body. This is the opposite of what most people see when they put their horses on significant amounts of typical “sweet feeds”. Grain’s bad reputation comes from the fact that it is a concentrated source of calories and not always balanced in micronutrients. The extra calories over and above the needs of the horse, combined with the lack of nutrients, create a hyperactive horse with little ability to focus. Any flavor in excess can cause the opposite effect of what it’s supposed to. The sweet flavor can moisten and lubricate the connective tissues, and helps form a thin, healthy mucus coating on membranes in the respiratory and digestive tracts. The sweet flavor also activates the amylase enzyme in saliva and stimulates insulin production by the pancreas. Uses: Whole grains and other sweet-flavored foods in moderation can energize and relax the body. This may seem contradictory, but because the sweet flavor relaxes the nerves

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Benefits of

pungent flavors • Clears mucus out of the lungs, but should be used with caution if heat is present in the form of an active infection.

• Improves digestion and helps expel gas from the intestines.

• Warms and relaxes the kidneys, increases the production of saliva and sweat.

• Increases circulation and supports the heart.

• Improves sluggish liver function.

and supports good brain function, the energy from proper amounts of sweet foods can give energy and still allow the horse to stay relaxed. Again, the emphasis is on whole foods that include micronutrients as well as calories. The correct balance of sugar in the blood increases amounts of the calming amino acid tryptophan, which is able to go to the brain. Organ functions: The sweet flavor strengthens the spleen/ pancreas, and soothes aggressive liver emotions such as anger and impatience. It moistens dry conditions in the lungs and slows an overactive heart and mind. Season: The sweet flavor is good for any season and helps the body transition from one season to another. Cautions: Overweight, sluggish horses, or any horse with excessive mucus/dampness, should avoid foods with sweet flavor. Examples: Several sweet foods that can be used for horses include apples, papaya, carrots, celery, seeds, rice bran, and grains such as oats, barley and corn.

3. pungent (includes acrid, spicy, hot and aromatic flavors)

Element: Metal Properties: The pungent flavor stimulates the circulation of energy and blood, and moves energy upwards and outwards to the periphery of the body. Uses: This flavor stimulates digestion and disperses mucus. Horses that are sluggish, lethargic and overweight, or that have mucus/damp conditions of the lungs and large intestine, can benefit from the pungent flavor. Conditions that would fit this description include chronic moist coughs or intestinal parasites. Certain horses with wind conditions, such as nervous, restless behavior, can benefit from the pungent flavor because it relaxes the nervous system. Horses with digestive issues benefit from pungent-flavored seeds, such as fennel, dill, caraway, anise, coriander and cumin. Season: The pungent flavor along with sweet flavor helps attune the horse’s body to spring. Hot pungent flavors such as cayenne and fresh ginger are helpful in the summer. Dried ginger and cinnamon can be used for overcoming signs of coldness because they warm the body for an extended period. Cautions: Very dehydrated, thin horses may not be able to handle much pungent flavor and should avoid spices such as 24

Equine Wellness

sage, cayenne, or any hot pepper. Foods with a hot pungent flavor should be avoided in the case of heat conditions anywhere in the body, such as abscesses or active infections of any kind. For example, cinnamon can help lower high blood glucose levels in a horse with Cushing’s, but if he has an active hoof abscess, secondary to laminitis, cinnamon would be contraindicated. Examples: Warming pungent foods that might be used for horses include rosemary, garlic, cinnamon bark, fresh and dried ginger root, cayenne, fennel, anise, dill, basil and nutmeg. Cooling pungent foods include peppermint and marjoram.

4. salty Element: Water

Properties: The salty flavor moves energy down and inward to help center it deep within the body. Salty foods moisten dryness, soften hardened lumps and loosen stiffness. They support digestion and help detoxify the horse’s body. Uses: The salty flavor helps soften hardened lymph nodes, glands and muscles. Salt breaks down toxins in the body and stimulates appetite. Good quality salt or salty foods are best, but overuse of poor quality table salt or cheap electrolytes can cause problems. The salty flavor helps calm thin, nervous horses. Organ functions: The salty flavor supports healthy kidney function and strengthens digestive function. Season: The salty flavor brings energy away from the body’s surface and helps keeps the interior of the horse warm during cold weather. Cautions: It is best to avoid excessive use of salt, including electrolytes, for horses that are overweight, lethargic or have damp conditions such as stocking up. Salty seaweeds can be used in these horses because their iodine and trace mineral content supports the metabolism. Examples: Salt, seaweeds, barley and millet are examples of salty foods that can be fed to horses.

5. sour Element: Wood

Properties: The sour flavor has a Yin cooling effect; and although Yin is usually considered moistening, sour foods have a drying or astringent action on the tissues (think of the way your mouth feels when you suck on a lemon or lime). Equine Wellness


THERAPEUTIC use of the

Five Flavors BITTER (Fire) – heart and small intestine, Yin, cooling, moves energy inward SWEET (Earth) – spleen/pancreas and stomach, Yang, warming, moves energy outward PUNGENT (Metal) – lungs and large intestine, Yang, warming, moves energy outward SALTY (Water) – kidneys and bladder, Yin, cooling, moves energy inward SOUR (Wood) – liver and gallbladder, Yin, cooling, moves energy inward


Equine Wellness

Uses: Horses that sweat excessively or have a tendency to hold fluid in their tissues can benefit from the sour flavor. Loose manure may also firm up with a bit of sour flavor added to the horse’s food. Organ functions: The sour flavor helps support the liver, especially if the horse is on a high fat and protein diet, since it helps the liver break down these nutrients. The acid content of most sour foods is helpful in dissolving minerals so they can be assimilated more easily. The sour flavor helps strengthen weak lungs. Interestingly, the sour flavor can also help with mental focus. Season: The contracting quality of this flavor helps the horse prepare for the cooler months, so fall is the perfect time to add some sour foods to his diet. Cautions: If there are already signs of tightness in the body, such as constipation or tight muscles and ligaments, the sour flavor should be used cautiously. Examples: The most common examples of sour foods for horses would be those containing vitamin C. Natural foods such as rose hips are the best sources of vitamin C. Hawthorn berry is a nutritional herb with sour flavor that can be given safely to horses. Vinegar is considered sour and bitter, which makes it a good supplement for cleansing and tightening tissues. Apples are sour and sweet. Each Element in TCM has a flavor associated with it (see sidebar) and this flavor is often needed for the associated temperament type when it gets out of balance. For example, a Fire horse benefits from a bitter food such as alfalfa on a regular basis, but the amount could be increased in the winter. This is because the cooling effect is offset by the bitter food’s property of moving energy inward to keep the body’s core protected during cold weather. During the summer, the Fire horse needs some sweet, warming foods to help his energy move outward to the periphery of the body, dispersing the heat from the environment. Thinking about your horse’s Five Element temperament, along with the season of the year, will help you design a feeding program that will help keep him balanced year round.

Madalyn Ward is trained in Veterinary Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, Network Chiropractic and Equine Osteopathy. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Ward has authored three books: Holistic Horsekeeping, Horse Harmony, Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. Holistichorsekeeping.com, Horseharmony.com.


THE POWER OF ENZYMES Spring is here, and with it comes mud and dampness. These conditions are perfect for breeding fungus and bacteria, which can plague our horses in the form of skin and hoof problems like scratches, rain rot, white line disease and thrush. Most of us would prefer to treat our horses with natural products rather than reaching straightaway for antibiotics or steroids. Enzymes have proven effective in managing thrush, scratches, wounds, cuts, rain rot, ringworm, girth sores, and more. They are naturally-occurring proteins that increase the rate of chemical reactions, and act as a natural defense against harmful microbes. Enzymes won’t irritate a horse’s sensitive or raw skin or affect surrounding healthy tissues, and are very safe and non-toxic for animals, people and the environment. Most importantly, bacteria won’t develop resistance against enzymes, so they are always efficient.

TOPICAL NATURAL ENZYME PRODUCTS ZYMOX Equine Defense offers a line of topical easy-toapply products that utilize enzymes rather than antibiotics or steroids. This line has built a reputation for working when other products have failed, and has demonstrated impressive effectiveness against some of the most resistant microbes.

All ZYMOX branded products feature the patented LP3 Enzyme System, a combination of naturally-derived enzymes that work synergistically to form potent antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. This combination of enzymes has very specific jobs: to inhibit, split and destroy offending bacteria, fungi, and even some viruses, making it antibacterial as well as anti-fungal. The enzymes only target invading single-celled organisms – healthy cells are unaffected. ZYMOX Skin Guard can also be used as a preventative for conditions like rain rot. Simply apply the product full strength to areas where conditions are prime for bacterial growth, such as under the saddle pad. The once-a-day application requires no pre-disinfecting, making ZYMOX one of the easiest options to use. Other products may require more handling or applications than the horse will tolerate. The ZYMOX Equine Defense line includes a shampoo, skin guard, topical cream, and a spray. All the products are water-based and non-toxic.


Equine Wellness


GREEN By Laura Batts

Slow down with slow feeders The use of a slow feeder in your sacrifice paddock or stall reduces waste because the horse cannot paw through the hay and waste it. He is more likely to eat all of it, even the little bit of chaff at the bottom. There is also evidence that a slow feeder can decrease the occurrence of ulcers. Horses salivate only when they are chewing and eating, and under natural circumstances they produce up to 30 liters of saliva per day! Saliva is an acid buffer and neutralizes the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Since a horse constantly produces stomach acid (even if he is not eating) the more often this acid is buffered the better. Slow feeders allow this buffering saliva to be produced for longer periods, potentially helping to prevent ulcers. As a certified equine nutrition expert, I can tell you this: slow feeders are awesome! In general, slow feeders offer a more natural way for your horse to consume his feed – both hay and grain. The benefits include better equine health and farm management along with monetary savings.

HAY SLOW FEEDERS Hay slow feeders involve either a net or grid system placed over your horse’s hay. The net or grid has holes that are fairly small, usually just less than 2” square. There are many different styles and sizes to fit all kinds of needs – from feeding big round bales using a net system, to feeding flakes of hay using a box system or bag. These forage feeders are designed to mimic grazing; pulling the hay through the net or grate imitates the way a horse would pull and then chew a mouthful of grass. Simulating a more natural method of “grazing” can mean your horse takes hours to consume a few flakes of hay. Not only does this help you feed him less, but it also helps manage boredom and associated vices, like cribbing and fence or tree chewing. Slow feeders can also reduce feed-related anxiety in horses on restricted diets. Because they can take hours to eat a few flakes, they do not feel they are being “starved”. 28

Equine Wellness

GRAIN SLOW FEEDERS Grain slow feeders are not as well known, but have the same benefits as hay feeders. They are designed on the same principles as a forage slow feeder – to slow down the eating process. Featuring holes, obstacles or divots in the bottom of the feeder, they encourage the horse to use his lips and work to get his food, much like he would in the wild. Slowing down the rate that grain products flow through his GI tract allows for better digestion and nutrient absorption. Grain slow feeders are a must for horses that bolt their food and choke. The more they chew, the more saliva they create. Add that to the smaller amounts of feed they can actually get from the feeder at one time, and you could possibly eliminate the horrible experience of choking from his life! Slow feeders are a win-win for you and your horse. For you, they save money because they reduce waste, destructive boredom habits, and potential health-related vet bills. For your horse, slow feeders help with his digestion and nutrient absorption, and reduce boredom and stress. If you would like more details on any of these ideas, contact Laura@horsehippie.com and check out her blog EcoEquine (ecoequine.wordpress.com).

Equine Wellness


SCENAR and your horse

An emerging equine therapy, SCENAR may offer natural pain relief for your horse.


By Hannah Mueller, DVM ain profoundly affects a horse’s performance and

Overcoming skepticism about SCENAR

quality of life, so finding effective natural ways

There are a lot of therapeutic devices out there, some of which

to relieve the discomfort is paramount. Originally

are ineffective or marginally effective, so I maintain a healthy

developed in Russia for cosmonauts in space,

margin of skepticism when looking at new things. When I

SCENAR (Self-Controlled Energy Neuro Adaptive Regulation)

first learned about the SCENAR device from a friend who’s

is now emerging as a natural pain relief therapy for horses.

a naturopathic doctor, I was therefore skeptical. It sounded similar to an E-stim or Tens unit, both of which I already had in

As an equine veterinarian, I specialize in rehabilitation in

my bag of tricks. But my uncertainty turned into a second look

addition to equine medicine, surgery and dentistry work. I also

when I experienced SCENAR firsthand. My friend treated me

am heavily involved in the horse rescue community, so I see

for two separate acute injuries, and with each treatment I was

both ends of the rehabilitation spectrum. My day ranges from

significantly better the next day.

dealing with severe neglect/emaciation cases, to fine-tuning upper level performance horses that just seem off their game.

From there, I set up an introductory training session to see how

Veterinary rehabilitation is challenging yet rewarding work, and

the SCENAR device could be used on animals, and started my

I am always looking for new techniques or healing devices for

own clinical trials to see for myself what it was capable of. I

natural pain relief that are effective and can help me do a better

found that most of my patients liked the SCENAR because it’s

job for my patients.

minimally invasive, and that allowed me to treat areas that are


Equine Wellness

Photos courtesy of Cedarbrook Veterinary Care.


Many horses enjoy SCENAR therapy because it is non-invasive.

difficult to treat with acupuncture. I also found I could use the device in conjunction with acupuncture treatments to make them more effective and last longer; or use it as a stand-alone treatment, with good results. It didn’t fix everything every time, but it seemed to come close!

Benefits of SCENAR Three years later, and with hundreds of SCENAR treatments under my belt, I rely heavily on the device for many of my rehabilitation cases. I’ve used it for laminitis, navicular syndrome, arthritis, tendon and ligament injuries, back and neck pain, and sacroiliac injuries, to name a few. In some cases, I even use SCENAR to help with wound healing or post-op surgery site recovery. One thing I like about SCENAR is that it is user-friendly, so in cases that would benefit from frequent ongoing treatments, I can teach clients how to use the device at home and successfully treat patients by renting or selling home unit devices. I can also refer clients with pain issues of their own to my naturopath, so they can learn how to use the device on themselves as well as on their animals, and maximize the benefits of purchasing the device.

How does SCENAR work? Are you curious enough to get into the science behind SCENAR and how it works? A lot goes on behind the scenes in this simple-looking device. It’s similar to a Tens unit or E-stim in that it emits an electrical signal that creates a tingling sensation on your skin. But the SCENAR device is made with a more advanced technology – hence the name Self-Controlled Electro/Neuro Adaptive Regulation. “Self-Controlled” means that the signal it emits is based on biofeedback technology, a two-way street of information between the skin and the central nervous system. One sensor sends out carefully modulated electrical signals while the other sensor reads the electrical impedance of the cutaneous nerves (skin). Continued on page 32.

Equine Wellness


Spreading the word about

SCENAR If you are interested in seeing what SCENAR can do for your horse (or pet) firsthand, feel free to schedule an appointment with me. If you don’t live near Monroe, Washington, share this article with your local veterinary acupuncturist – I would be happy to bring him/her up to speed on how to get started with SCENAR in his/her practice.

as though there was acute pain to stimulate the body’s natural pain control cascade. This is really helpful for chronic injuries that the body has stopped working to repair/heal, because it gets that repair cycle going again. If you want to get even more technical, the basic signal component is a bipolar pulse, consisting of a negative squarewave followed by a positive saw-tooth, starting and finishing at zero and lasting a few microseconds. A number of these pulses

Continued from page 31.

may be packaged into a discrete burst (intensity) which itself

“Adaptive Regulation” refers to the device’s ability to modulate

may be repeated at a fixed default frequency. The individual

the signal it emits, based on what it is reading, in order to

pulses in these bursts (intensity more than 1) can themselves

reset the pain cycle. In technical terms, it is constantly using

be spaced out (Z=10/close together, to 80/wide apart) to give a

information from the body to find the waveform needed to

concentrated (deep) or diffuse (shallow) penetration, depending

stimulate the nervous system’s “fast” pain-blocking A-fibers

on local body density or the depth of pain location.

and “slow” pain-producing and peptide-generating C-fibers in the nervous system. When the pain fibers are stimulated with

That was probably a bit too technical for our discussion here,

the device it starts the cascade of events that occur when there

and likely a bit above all our heads, but my point is to show you

is a painful stimulus, without actually causing pain or damage.

that SCENAR features much more advanced technology than

This stimulation activates the right and left anterior insula in

E-stim or Tens and is actually quite different. I look forward to

the brain – the part responsible for homeostasis and where the

seeing this technology advance and become more popular for

brain perceives pain. In addition to resetting the pain cycle,

both people and animals!

it also causes a local release of endorphins and other sensory

Hannah Mueller, DVM is a 2004 graduate of Oregon State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. She strives to provide the best care possible for her patients and believes her unique holistic approach allows her to do so. Dr. Hannah has a solid foundation in sports medicine and lameness. Along with her training in acupuncture, chiropractic, stretch exercises, massage techniques and other hands-on healing modalities, this allows her to rehabilitate horses to their fullest potential. Cedarbrookvet.com

neuropeptides such as Substance P and Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide. This makes the treatment feel good and have a relaxing effect on the patient. It’s kind of like tricking the body to react 32

Equine Wellness

Performance One is the All-In-One formula to improve the body and mind of the performance horse like no other supplement. For 20 years, top international riders have enjoyed the benefits to their horses’ joint integrity, muscle suppleness, mental focus, hoof thickening and electrolyte balance, and now it is recommended for equine athletes suffering from Insulin Resistance.

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HEAVY-DUTY HAY NETS! EcoNets responded to feedback from customers having issues with other net brands by offering heavier netting to help deter aggressive horses and relax concerned owners. Using a 50% bigger twine that makes up the HD netting gives customers more options based on their individual feeding needs and an “added deterrent” to net chewing and aggressive playing.

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Herbs to boost your

HORSE’S IMMUNITY By Hilary Self, BSc, Medical Herbalist, MNIMH

These herbs can protect your horse from illness and infection by helping his immune system stay strong and resilient.


our horse’s immune system defends him against the toxins and pathogens that lead to illness and disease. Instead of reaching for antibiotics when your horse gets sick, take a look at how you can help him fight infections with immunestrengthening herbs from Nature’s medicine cabinet.

NATURAL IMMUNITY When a foal is born, he obtains his first antibodies (which attack and destroy pathogens before they can cause disease) by drinking his mother’s colostrum. This colostrum is packed with the antibodies the mother has built up in her own body. Throughout his life, a horse will continue to build up various antibodies to the pathogens he encounters, helping to develop a strong immune response. Unfortunately, if an animal is in poor health, rundown, malnourished, stressed, or has had his immunity weakened by chronic use of certain medications or antibiotics, his body may struggle to mount an effective defence against infection, whether viral, bacterial, protozoal or fungal. The overuse of antibiotics has played a significant role in creating antibioticresistant pathogens. These pathogens have learned to adapt and mutate in order to overcome destruction by antibiotics.

HERBAL MEDICINE Herbal medicine has much to offer in this respect, because medicinal herbs possess a variety of actions – antibiotic, antifungal, anti-viral, antiseptic and anti-protozoal. Medicinal herbs can be regarded as “active” medicines. They contain multiple constituents, giving them actions that pathogens are unable to “read” the same way they do the isolated chemicals in conventional antibiotics. 34

Equine Wellness

Herbal medicine is infinitely adaptive – because an herb has such a broad range of active constituents, they can “multi-task”, helping the horse’s immune system respond to attack in a variety of ways.

Eyebright eyebath

TYPES OF MEDICINAL HERBS Anti-infective, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-protozoal

To make an eyebath, put approximately

These plants have active constituents that are destructive to harmful bacteria, fungus or protozoa.

for three to five minutes. Allow to cool and

3g of dried eyebright and 100ml of water


in a small saucepan. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then simmer gently with the lid on then strain. The strained liquid (tea) can be stored in an airtight sterilized container in

• Garlic (Allium sativum) – Garlic is antifungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and immune-enhancing. It contains volatile oil compounds thought to be responsible for most of the herb’s properties. Garlic was used widely as an antiseptic before the discovery of modern antibiotics, and was the main course of treatment for preventing gangrene in the trenches during the two World Wars. Its antiseptic action was subsequently confirmed in modern clinical studies, which showed it will inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Bacillus, Brucella, E.coli, Salmonella, Klebsiella and Mycobacteria. Studies have also confirmed garlic’s antibacterial effects and have demonstrated that it can effectively inhibit the growth of some of the bacterial strains that have become resistant to one or more modern antibiotics! Garlic has also been shown to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans and to be more effective as an anti-fungal than orthodox anti-fungal preparations. • Burdock (Arctium lappa) – This plant is known as the “Power Digger” of the herb world because of its ability to remove toxins from cells and encourage their removal from the body. It is particularly effective for skin conditions, septic disorders and any chronic inflammatory condition. Burdock is absolutely safe to use long-term, and combines particularly well with garlic for any chronic infective condition. • Marigold (Calendula officinalis) – Marigold is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-protozoal and immune-stimulatory. All these actions have been confirmed by research in which tinctures of calendula showed

the refrigerator for up to two days. Don’t waste the herb you have used to make the tea – just add it to your horse’s food.

activity against E.coli, Staph aureus and Strep feacali. The anti-viral and anti-protozoal action comes from the resins and volatile oil contained in the plant, while the antibacterial action is due to marigold’s water-soluble glycoside constituents. Calendula is known as the supreme herb for the skin, and can be used either internally or topically as an oil, decoction, compress or tincture. • Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) – Containing the glycoside, aucubin (as does plantain), this herb has been shown to have an antiseptic action on the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. When used externally as an eyebath (see sidebar above) or compress, it can help control eye infections and ulceration. • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – Thyme is both an astringent and disinfectant. It contains thymol, which is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal and antiseptic. It can be used both internally and externally. Thyme is excellent when used as an antiseptic expectorant for the respiratory system, and as a disinfectant for the urinary system. Externally, it can be used for bathing wounds and as a skin wash.


Alteratives, depuratives, and detoxers

These plants contain constituents that, rather than having a direct effect on pathogens (although some do), support and restore the normal functions of the affected organ or system, helping to remove toxic waste and improve overall immunity and resistance to infection. • Kidneys and urinary system – dandelion leaf, couch grass, bearberry (Uva ursi), celery seed, horseradish • Liver – milk thistle, dandelion root, yellow dock • Lymphatic system – cleaver, poke root, marigold, Echinacea, burdock Equine Wellness


The following herbs can be utilized for their antiseptic action on specific physiological systems: • Urinary – juniper, bearberry, buchu, celery seed, couch grass

• Respiratory – garlic, plantain,

eyebright, sage, thyme, Echinacea

• Digestive – goldenseal, chamomile, garlic

• Respiratory – Echinacea, thyme, garlic, eyebright

• Lymphatic – cleaver, poke root, burdock

• Respiratory system – garlic, elecampane, thyme, liquorice, plantain, horseradish • Skin – cleaver, marigold, burdock, red clover, yellow dock • Digestive system – Goldenseal, sarsaparilla



Adaptogens have been shown to help the body “adapt” and mobilise its own defence systems to reduce the effects of stress on the body (stress can further deplete the immune system). They are concerned with the action of the whole plant rather than individual constituents, which can affect different types of cells. Adaptogens exert influence on many different types of cells in the body – this is in contrast to chemical drugs which tend to have a direct action on particular tissues or systems. Adaptogens include gotu kola, Siberian ginseng, don quai, borage, sarsaparilla, withania, and various medicinal mushrooms.


Immune activators, immune-stimulants, and immune-modulators

These plants don’t target specific pathogens, but work by strengthening non-specific immunity; they do this by stimulating and enhancing the body’s overall immune response. The body’s natural resistance to infection is boosted by the increased production of cells responsible for attacking bacteria and invading pathogens. • Plantain (Plantago major) – This plant contains polysaccharides, which increase phagocytosis (the immune cells 36

Equine Wellness

responsible for removing pathogens from the body), producing an immunestimulating action. • Purple coneflower (Echinacea spp. purpurea, angustifolia, pallida) – No article on immunity would be complete without mentioning Echinacea! This herb has immunemodulating, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antibiotic effects. Knowledge on the use of Echinacea first came from the Native Americans, who used it for varied conditions such as snakebite, septic wounds, syphilis, typhus, dysentery and even cancer. It is generally accepted that the antibacterial and anti-viral activities of the plant result from the individual’s enhanced immunity. Both the aerial parts and the roots are used in herbal medicine, although my personal preference is to use the roots of Echinacea purpurea. This plant is particularly effective for any upper respiratory tract infection such as colds or flu, and I have used it with great success for horses with URT infection. Echinacea has been the subject of a great deal of research, much of which confirms its immune-modulatory action. This action can increase phagocytosis while also stimulating the production of lymphocytes, including natural killer cells, T cells and B cells, all of which are found in the lymph and are responsible for the body’s cell-mediated immune response. Extracts from the roots of various Echinacea species have been shown to have an antiviral effect against the herpes simplex and influenza virus. • Pau d’arco (Tabebuia spp) – This herb is immuno-stimulating, anti-tumor, antimicrobial, anti-parasitic, antiviral and depurative. The inner bark of the tree contains lapachol, which is thought to possess significant immune-enhancing and anti-tumor activities. Pau d’arco tincture can be used internally for digestive infections, and topically for skin diseases, fungal infections such as ringworm, and candida albicans. It should be noted, however, that because of the bark’s napathaquinone content (which has a warfarin-like action), this herb is contraindicated for individuals on anti-coagulants. Hopefully, this foray into the wonderful and powerful world of herbal medicine has given you some insight into how something as simple as a plant can have a prolonged and dramatic effect on something as complex as immunity! Hilary Self is cofounder of Hilton Herbs Ltd., a company that manufactures and formulates herbal supplements for animals. She is a Medical Herbalist, a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, and a member of the NASC Scientific Advisory Committee. Hilary is the author of two books: A Modern Horse Herbal and A Veteran Horse Herbal. hiltonherbsusa.com

Equine Wellness


Photo by Johanna Danehy

Adventures i n ENDURANCE RIDING How a friendly dare led one woman and her horse on a journey towards the most challenging ride in endurance – barefoot and bitless!

T 38

By Kelly Howling he sport of endurance may not be as intensely popular as


other equine disciplines, but it’s often described as one of

JayaMae grew up as a hunter/jumper rider, and found that she

the most challenging and rewarding. JayaMae Gregory, a

missed riding while at college to pursue her nursing degree. After

registered nurse from California, discovered endurance

searching for a horse she could ride occasionally, she found Asali,

riding on a dare, and it quickly became a defining point

a nine-year-old palomino Missouri Fox Trotter mare. JayaMae

in her life.

would ride Asali bareback and in a halter because, as a college

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student, she was unable to afford tack. “Shortly after I began exercising Asali, I made a deal with her owner and purchased her for $500,” says JayaMae. “One day, I was out on the trail riding with a friend and I happened to comment that I missed competition, but

What is


wasn’t sure what kind of competition I could do with

“Endurance riding is a team sport in which

Asali. My friend dared me to ride her in the Tevis Cup.

both rider and equine must complete

I really had no idea what I was getting into when I first

a course of a certain distance on the

accepted the dare – 100 miles in 24 hours through the

trail, in the allotted amount of time,”

Sierra Nevadas – and we had to qualify!”

explains JayaMae. “The horse must pass

JayaMae didn’t know it at the time, but that moment

all veterinary checkpoints and be ‘fit to

would become a turning point in her life. “A few

continue’ at the end of the race. Endurance

days later, I joined the American Endurance Ride

involves distances of 50, 75 or 100 miles.

Conference; and a couple months after that Asali

The same horse and rider team have 12

and I went to (and finished) our first 25-mile limited distance ride,” she says. “We moved up to 50-milers

hours to complete a 50-mile course, while

later that year and were qualified for Tevis two-and-

24 hours is the cutoff for a 100-mile course.

a-half years later. We first attempted Tevis in 2013,

The Western States Trail Ride (also known

but didn’t finish. We did finish in 2014 – and Asali

as the Tevis Cup) is what some consider the

became the first Missouri Fox Trotter since 1979 to

Olympics of our sport. It’s 100 miles through

do so!” Initially, JayaMae thought she would complete her

the Sierra Nevada Mountains, beginning in Tahoe and ending in Auburn.”

dare, receive her Tevis buckle, and go back to the hunter/jumpers. But that was far from the case. “In the process, endurance hooked me, and it’s now my

JayaMae and Asali proudly display their Tevis Cup buckle, signifying their completion of the ride.

primary discipline,” she says. She has even taken it Photo by Lisa Chadwick @ bootsnbloomers.com

a step further by conditioning horses for the sport, and teaching students at her facility, Lightfoot Horse Farm. She also manages an endurance ride each fall.

THE NATURAL ENDURANCE HORSE Endurance horses have to be tough, levelheaded, and full of stamina. A more natural lifestyle suits many of these horses and improves their ability to do well. It is not uncommon to see endurance horses competing with less equipment than other disciplines. “I think the motto of almost every endurance rider is ‘less is more’,” explains JayaMae. “We don’t put on more than we need to because over a distance of 50 miles or more, all those ‘extras’ or ‘gimmicks’ just become a burden.” JayaMae rides her own mare bitless, and Asali is either barefoot or wears boots. “Riding bitless in endurance is helpful because I can stop anywhere on Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy of Gore/Baylor photography

Endurance riding is a fun sport that anyone can get involved in! Riders build strong bonds with their horses as they log miles and conquer obstacles on the trails.

the trail and let my horse graze without having to drop a bit.

The sport of endurance is about more than just riding the

I also don’t have to drop a bit right before the vet check. And

trails. It challenges your very core – physically, mentally and

I have had a lot of success with barefoot horses. I like to keep

emotionally – and JayaMae has learned a lot of life lessons

my horses in a ‘natural’ state as much as possible. I use boots

as she has logged hundreds of miles on the trails. “Endurance

as they can be taken on and off, so the horses only wear them

taught me to overcome the elements of the backcountry, to

when they’re really needed.”

learn to be alone and comfortable in silence, to trust my mount and to trust myself,” she shares. “It taught me to take things

Success goes beyond the equipment, though. JayaMae also

as they come, that the best fun in the sport is when – despite

attributes her horses’ ability to compete in such long rides and stay

a fall or a runaway horse or getting lost on the trail – you can

healthy to the way she keeps and trains them. “I house my horses

smile through it all and keep riding anyway. The rides we did

in a Paddock Paradise,” she says. “It’s really important for horses

not complete forced me to reevaluate my training, my riding

to be able to eat all day (in the wild they spend an average of 14

ability, and my horse’s ability. Each non-completion taught me

hours foraging and often walk 20 miles a day). Having the setup

that change is okay. And it was in those failures that I was hit

that I do promotes a healthy gut, and this is essential to keeping

with something very valuable, in the name of humility.”

endurance horses healthy.” JayaMae also works with her horses using natural horsemanship, which she views as a partnership,


with herself as the leader and the horse as the follower.

If you are interested in trying endurance, you’ll find your fellow competitors to be very welcoming and helpful. You


don’t need much to get started, as JayaMae discovered early

Endurance riders have a pretty amazing bond with their horses.

on. “Endurance riding is the only equine sport I’ve experienced

“Endurance is a sport that stretches beyond just knowing how

where juniors and seniors can ride side by side,” she says. “It’s

to ride,” explains JayaMae. “It requires a true partnership with

one of the only equine sports where you don’t need a $100,000

an animal ten times your own size. My husband jokes that I

mount, or to meet specific (expensive!) tack requirements. It

spend more time with my horse than I do with him – and he

really is a sport for everyone!” If you would like something fun

actually may not be too far off in his claim. Asali and I have

to do with your horse that will challenge you both and build

covered 1,225 endurance miles and 305 limited distance miles

your bond, consider heading out to an endurance ride – you

together.” It is impossible not to form a strong bond when you

might have such a good time that, like JayaMae, you won’t

spend that much time with your horse!

want to do anything else!


Equine Wellness

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Pica in HORSES

Does your horse seem fixated on eating strange things? There may be much more to this behavior than you realize!

By Cathy Alinovi, DVM


ating inappropriate objects is called pica, and it’s common in many species, including horses. It’s normal for a young foal to explore his environment with his mouth, but once he has grown, it’s no longer appropriate for him to eat things that do not provide nutrition. Some horses never experience pica, but others are avid eaters of “strange things”.

THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND PICA Pica in an animal, especially a horse, was once thought to be caused by nutritional imbalance. Other theories to explain the behavior include stress, resource allocation or guarding, intestinal parasites, or even imbalances in the parasympathetic nervous system (pain). Scientists once believed that only humans experienced mental disorders that caused them to eat substances without nutritional value, but recent studies have demonstrated that other mammals, not just humans, can develop mental problems leading to pica. Modern research has shown that pica in horses isn’t always caused by a nutritional imbalance or deficiency. Interestingly, studies have suggested that mental imbalances can be related to imbalances in intestinal microflora. This new line of research makes great sense – the neurochemicals 42

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At home ulcer test A “quick and dirty” method to evaluate your horse for possible stomach ulcers is to firmly rub under the zygomatic arch on the jaw, and on the midline of the belly at the lowest point. If your horse flinches at these locations, chances are high he has gastric ulcers. that help the intestines function are the exact same neurochemicals operating the brain. In fact, many seizure patients experience fewer or even no seizures when their intestines are treated/healed; this same approach may be very appropriate for treating otherwise unexplained pica.

WHY IS YOUR HORSE EATING WEIRD THINGS? While it may be challenging to determine why a horse is engaging in pica, persistence can get to the underlying root of the problem. The first steps include reducing environmental stress. Reduce stress in the “pica guilty” horse by separating him from more dominant horses, adding a water or feeding location (if there isn’t one already) and adding a calming herb to his feed. Because horses are easily stressed, have your equine evaluated for ulcers (see sidebar above). Pain from an undiagnosed/untreated stomach ulcer is enough to cause pica. Pain is another factor that’s frequently cited as a cause of pica in horses. Eating (even strange things) can provide comfort, because it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system will block some of the pain signals coming from the sympathetic nervous system. Chiropractic, exercise, equine massage, and/or acupuncture can all be helpful in reducing pain and alleviating pica in these situations.

EVALUATING NUTRITIONAL BALANCE Nutritional balance is the next major contributor to pica. An equine nutritionist or equine diet balance calculator can provide important and helpful information (see horsemath.com/horse-feed-calculator or desertequinebalance.com/Files/spreadsheets-for-ration-balancing). Because food cravings occur when food is plentiful, scientists do not think pica is due to a macroscale nutrient shortage problem. To prevent pica, environmental enrichment, low stress, and a diet of fresh grass are ideal. Horses, more than any species, are very food driven. In their natural environment, they spend over 70% of their waking hours grazing, so correct eating behaviors may calm an imbalance. As well, the horse may potentially stumble on the Equine Wellness


microflora Managing

Because horses are hindgut fermenters, and rely on the presence of many microflora (bacteria and other microorganisms) in the cecum, they are able to digest grass and hay. This information is common knowledge to most horse-people; what’s less commonly known is that the species of organisms living in the cecum are related to the horse’s diet, and may impact physiology and possibly even mentation. Equine diets high in carbohydrates will allow an overgrowth of carbohydrate-loving organisms. Those microorganisms will drive the host to support their environment by seeking more dietary carbohydrates. Sugar cravings result, and the horse will inappropriately seek out anything to satisfy these cravings. Sometimes the solution is as easy as removing carbohydrates from the diet to rebalance the microflora in the horse’s intestines. Other times it may be necessary to give him probiotics. In extreme cases a fecal transplant may be most appropriate.

solution to the intestinal imbalance. Many horses do not live where fresh grass is available year-round. Instead, they must be fed hay. Unfortunately, hay is deficient in the vitamins present in fresh grass – vitamins A and E being the most obvious. Horses on a hay-based diet therefore need supplemental trace nutrients. Wheat germ oil may help provide the missing fat-soluble vitamins like A and E. If your horse’s nutritional level is good, his stress levels are minimal, and parasites and pain are addressed, then some creative detective work is the next step to determining the cause of his pica.

THE EFFECT OF GUT FLORA ON BEHAVIOR Digestive by-products can affect mood – they can even lead to anxiety and abnormal behavior (perhaps even pica) when the bacteria are out of balance. Many recent studies into the relationship between intestinal microflora and behavior were performed in mice, but we can logically apply the same information to any mammalian species, since the general biology of mammals is the same. On the one hand, the presence of inappropriate microflora can cause a histamine release, and histamine can cause itching, if not anxiety. On the flipside, some beneficial gut microorganisms can stimulate the release of dopamine, a calming neurochemical found in the brain and intestines. The implication is that a gut full of healthy intestinal microorganisms can lead to calmness, and hopefully treat pica. This means it’s crucial to make sure the horse’s intestines are as healthy as possible! Probiotics may be a simple solution to balancing your horse’s gut. For some horses with persistent pica, a fecal transplant from a healthy horse may also do the trick by reinstating balance. Regardless, reducing carbohydrates in the diet will create a more favorable environment for microorganisms in the intestines, especially the cecum. Reducing stress, relieving pain, and a healthy dose of probiotics may go a long way to helping horses with inappropriate dietary behaviors. Dr. Cathy Alinovi is a retired holistic veterinarian, animal lover, frequent media guest and nationally celebrated author. She is quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. After graduating from veterinary school, she realized conventional medicine did not meet enough of her patients’ needs, and became certified in Animal Chiropractic, Veterinary Acupuncture and other alternative modalities. While in practice, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door – not with expensive prescriptions, but with adequate nutrition. Now retired from private practice, she spends her time writing and helping pet owners feed their animals the best food for best health. DrCathyVet.com


Equine Wellness

HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls


– a healthy treat for horses!

Before you pull all the dandelions out of your lawn, know that this hardy little plant packs a real nutritional punch for your horse. Also called “horse lettuce”, dandelion is an irresistible treat for equines and a potent source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K as well as potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium. The dandelion is also a powerful diuretic, detoxifier and liver tonic.

Precautions and final thoughts While the benefits of dandelion are many, it also has some properties that are not ideal for horses with certain conditions.

• Horses enjoy the taste of dandelions because they are very high in fructan. However, fructan is not recommended for horses with sugar sensitivities, such as those prone to laminitis, founder, equine metabolic syndrome, and Cushing’s.

Dandelions are easily recognizable by their jagged-edged hairless leaves, stems that emit a milky latex when broken, and brilliant yellow flowers that turn into silver tufts and blow away in the wind. They are perennial weeds found in all temperate regions of the world, and can grow in both full sun and shade.

• Dandelions encourage the production of stomach acid, which

Plant parts and benefits

• If

The dandelion is highly efficient as a medicinal plant – the roots, leaves and flowers can all be fed to horses and have beneficial effects.




Leaves can be fed fresh or dried and are most effective for increasing urination and flushing the body. Fresh leaves are best fed in handfuls as a snack, with no more than 1.7 ounces for a 1,100-pound horse. One teaspoon of dried leaves can be fed per 20 pounds of the horse’s body weight. Leaves are best harvested in the early spring when they are tender and less bitter. Dandelion root is often fed dried and ground, or as a tea, and is most potent as a liver and kidney tonic, and detoxifier. High in magnesium and potassium, the root is good for cleansing the horse’s system after the use of pharmaceutical drugs, or following vaccination or illness. Dandelion roots are best harvested in the late fall through early spring, when they have stored up a maximum amount of nutrients. The flowers are commonly used to make honey, tea and wine. You can feed horses fresh dandelion flowers, or make a tea from them and pour it over grain or forage pellets.

is good for moving through undigested material, but can exacerbate any issues associated with ulcers. you are going to harvest your own dandelions, please familiarize yourself with the difference between dandelions and other lookalike plants. Cat’s ear, also known as flatweed, is commonly mistaken for dandelion, but can be toxic to horses. Cat’s ear has hairy round-lobed leaves and forked stems, but its flowers are very similar to dandelions. In contrast, dandelions have smooth, jagged-edged leaves with only one stem per flower.

Overall, dandelions are a superfood that will immensely enhance your horse’s overall health and nutrition profile. Happy harvesting!

HOME GROWN DANDELIONS Dandelions are very hardy perennial plants that can grow almost anywhere, but prefer rich soil and full or partial sun. They are a great addition to any garden as they pull nutrients from deeper soils and replenish the topsoil. Be sure to plant some of your dandelions in partial shade; their leaves will be less bitter than those in full sun.

Common uses for dandelion in horses Dandelions are a great treatment for horses with stomach upsets caused by intestinal blockage. They increase bile and encourage movement in the digestive tract. Dandelions also encourage urination, and are a very effective detoxifying healing agent after illness. More generally, dandelions can be fed as a general source of key nutrients often lacking in a hay-only diet.

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).

Equine Wellness


RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Chiropractors

• Communicators • Insurance • Integrative Therapies

ASSOCIATIONS Equinextion - EQ Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: equinextion@gmail.com Website: www.equinextion.com Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Website: www.cdnbha.ca American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Website: www.americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org Equine Science Academy - ESA Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Website: www.equinesciencesacademy.com Liberated Horsemanship - CHCP Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Email: BruceNock@mac.com Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com

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

• Massage • Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training

Anne Riddell - AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net 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: info@barnboots.ca Website: www.barnboots.ca Natural horse care services, education and resources Certified Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Website: www.chevalbarefoot.com Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO USA Phone: (719) 557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cynthia Niemela - Barefoot Hoof Trimming Minneapolis, MN USA Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Jeannean Mercuri - The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: neanpiggy@me.com Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served. Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com

46 Wellness ViewEquine the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com 46 Equine Wellness

• Thermography • Yoga

Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com Horsense Natural Hoof Care Cori Brennan Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Hoofmaiden Performance Barefoot Hoof Care Elizabeth TeSelle, EQ Leipers Fork, TN USA Phone: (615) 300-6917 Email: hoof_maiden@hotmail.com Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/hoofmaiden Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 765-9632 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Icicle Equine Services Katie Garrett Leavenworth, WA USA Phone: (425) 422-4799 Email: Kegarrett88@yahoo.com

Equine Wellness



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

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


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




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

Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC USA Phone: (604) 902-4556 Email: yogawithhorses@gmail.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: office@equinology.com Website: www.equinology.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: acupressure4all@earthlink.net Website: www.animalacupressure.com

INTEGRATIVE THERAPIES The Happy Natural Horse Lorrie Bracaloni Boonsboro, MD USA Phone: (301) 432-6216 Email: naturalhorselb@gmail.com 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: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com Double Check Inspections Inc. Ottawa, ON USA Phone: (613) 322-3682 Website: www.doublecheckinspections.ca

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

ADVERTISE your business in the

WELLNESS RESOURCE GUIDE Call TODAY! 1-866-764-1212 Equine Wellness Equine Wellness 4747




in the hoof is bad for your horse By Anne Riddell

Shoeing and some trimming methods force a horse to bear all his weight on the hoof walls. This causes peripheral loading, along with negative effects on his comfort and movement. NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF PERIPHERAL LOADING Because the hoof is concave, peripheral loading causes tremendous tension on the bones inside the hoof capsule. A non-conforming steel shoe adds the most insult because it not only causes serious peripheral loading and tension, but does not allow the hoof to flex. This lack of expansion and flexion reduces blood flow into the foot, which impedes shock absorption and Photo courtesy of Anne Riddell


he horse’s hoof has evolved so that all parts are used synergistically when he moves and loads the foot. The sole, bars, frog, walls and back of the hoof all work together – or are supposed to – when he lands and puts weight on the foot. In a natural barefoot hoof, thanks to the elastic and supple makeup of the hoof capsule, the foot expands and flexes when loading, particularly when over uneven ground. The healthy barefoot hoof adapts to the terrain it is negotiating, and with every stride the horse takes, its mechanism works perfectly the way nature intended.

WHAT IS PERIPHERAL LOADING? Shoeing, along with some trimming methods, leave the hoof walls long or higher than the sole, forcing the horse to bear all his weight on his hoof walls. This causes peripheral loading. Horses were never intended to carry their weight directly on their hoof walls. Even a barefoot horse that has been trimmed where the wall is removed to just above live sole is susceptible to peripheral loading, especially when housed on hard surfaces like wood floors, or worse, cement. He too is being forced to hold his entire weight on his hoof walls, and over time, the foot will lose concavity. 48

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Ask yourself – how does a shoe protect this hoof?

starves the blood vessels and nerves. The long term effects of this tension contribute to navicular changes like bone loss in the coffin and navicular bones. It also causes the development of bone spurs and lesions, inflammation of the bursas and coriums, calcification of cartilage and ossification of the bones. All this pushes the horse further into moving incorrectly and loading the hoof improperly, which leads to more damage to the internal structures. When the connection between the epidermal and dermal laminae are weakened through toxic insults to the horse’s system, placing him in metal shoes and causing peripheral loading with no support under the internal structures forces his weight to push the internal structures down, tearing the two laminae apart. Supporting the internal bones and laminae with something like a clog or boots with pads can alleviate so much pain and suffering when a horse is experiencing a severe laminitic attack.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT LOCOMOTION The hoof was designed to land heel first. This type of landing contributes to over 80% of the shock-absorbing mechanics of the hoof, and ensures proper blood flow to the entire hoof. Peripheral loading causes the horse to land toe first, setting the hoof up for developing many of the pathologies we see today. When the hoof lands toe first, the deep digital flexor tendon slackens. Rather than experiencing a smooth sliding action over the navicular bone, the horse instead slams the heel down, which slaps the tendon into the navicular bone. Over time, this constant abrasive insult causes lesions and changes in the navicular bone and bursa, leading to pain with every step. Continued on page 50.

Photos courtesy of Marjorie Smith, barefoothorse.com

Healthy locomotion – heel first landing.

Unhealthy locomotion – toe first landing.

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Continued from page 49.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE Occasionally, there are situations in which an individual horse may need more hoof wall on the ground in order to be comfortable. Horses with soles damaged by founder, years of shoes, or being housed in small environments, will sometimes need their hoof walls left higher. In these cases, I highly recommend boots with pads, or placing the horse in an area of pea gravel that will support the internal structures of the hoof and allow him to find comfort.

A poor diet with too much sugar from grains or grass causes inflammation inside the hoof capsule, particularly in the back of the hoof/ heel region. Severe thrush is directly caused by poor diet and lack of movement – especially incorrect movement. The thrush infection causes pain in the horse’s heel and central sulcus of the frog, forcing him to land toe first in an effort to get off the painful caudal foot. This leads to a weak digital cushion, contracted heels, and more toe first landing. It becomes a vicious cycle.

DEVELOPING A HEEL FIRST LANDING One of the ways to determine if your horse is landing toe first is to take him into a firm sandy arena and watch as he walks forward. Do you see his foot kicking dirt in front of the hoof as it loads? If the answer is yes, then chances are your horse is landing toe first. Better yet, have someone videotape your horse in motion. Very rarely will you see a heel first landing in a shoed horse, or in a barefoot horse that doesn’t have a healthy, well-developed back of the hoof. In this case, lifestyle and diet are usually the cause of the problem. Horses are meant to move 24/7, at their leisure. Improper movement will lead to contracted and internally damaged hooves, and ultimately lameness. In order to achieve a heel first landing, the horse must be allowed to live and eat as naturally as possible so he can grow and develop a healthy, well-connected hoof capsule. A healthy caudal hoof includes a well-developed frog, a large firm digital cushion, and strong lateral cartilage. Removing peripheral loading devices, such as metal horseshoes, is a start. Placing the hoof in boots with pads will make loading the back of the foot more comfortable, and begin the healing process. Locating a natural hoof care practitioner who can trim to the wild horse model, and is trained to assess each horse as an individual, will ensure greater success in eliminating peripheral loading and transitioning your horse to become comfortably barefoot. References: Dr. Robert Bowker, Pete Ramey, Geri White, Cindy Sullivan, Marjorie Smith

Anne Riddell is a Certified Natural Hoof Care Practitioner and a Board Certified member of the American Hoof Association. barefoothorsecanada.com 50

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distract your horse from training? Turn your horse’s obsession with spring grass into a reinforcement opportunity by using clicker training and focusing on what you want from him. By Alexandra Kurland


t’s spring, and the grass is growing. Sweet and juicy, it’s a major distraction for our horses. During training, you may find yourself on the losing end of a wrestling match as your horse plunges his head down for yet another mouthful. Instead of fighting the temptation of fresh grass, you can turn it into an opportunity for reinforcement, using clicker training.

CHANGING DON’Ts INTO DO’s Whether it’s in training our horses, or in our everyday lives, many of our interactions are focused on stopping behaviors we don’t want. From getting your dog to walk on a leash, to dealing with government regulations, it’s all about “don’t do”. When it comes to our horses, clicker training changes the “don’t do” approach. Instead, we focus on what we want our horses to do. Some interesting studies in neuroscience explain why this is so important. When you reach for an object, certain neurons in your brain are activated. When you are told not to grasp the object, most of those neurons will be inhibited, but some will still fire. In other words, when you think about not grasping an object, you first have to think about what it means to grasp the object. Continued on page 52. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 51. Think of it this way. You’re trying to watch your weight, so you resist reaching into the cookie jar. The problem is, every time you think about not taking a cookie, you are activating the neural circuitry for taking the cookie. The more a circuit is fired, the stronger it gets. So the more you resist taking a cookie, the more you are going to want one!

Your horse wants it. Great! Instead of fighting against it, let’s use it to reinforce behavior you do want. Now you won’t be trying to stop him from diving for the grass. Instead, you’ll be looking for opportunities to let him graze. You’re no longer fighting against the grass. You’re focusing instead on all the good things your horse is doing, and reinforcing him with something you know he really wants.

FOCUSING ON POSITIVE BEHAVIORS How do you get out of this conundrum with a grass-focused horse? In clicker training, you shift the focus from what you don’t want from him, and ask instead what you would like him to do. That’s the power of clicker training. You aren’t trying to stop unwanted behavior. Instead, you are forming a very clear picture of what you would like your horse to do. That’s what you teach. This can be harder than it sounds. I might start out by saying I would like my horse to be able to walk beside me with slack in the lead (so far so good), but without diving down for a mouthful of grass (oops – I’m still focusing on what I don’t want).

For this lesson, I’m going to assume you have a basic understanding of clicker training. Let’s see how this works! If you have to hand-graze your horse to acclimate him to spring grass, this is the perfect time for a lesson. (If you need an easier starting point, you can begin in a paddock and use small piles of hay.) The idea is that you are going to teach your horse to leave food in order to get food. Begin by taking your horse out to graze. Don’t try to keep him from the grass. (If you are using hay piles scattered around your training space, let him take you to the hay. Don’t resist.) Let him eat for a couple of minutes. As he begins to settle and relax, you can start the lesson.

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Kurland.

None of us enjoys being dragged to grass. So how do we get out of it? One answer is to change how we view the grass.


Note the slack in the lead as this pair walks across the grass. Using grazing as a reinforcer means the horse can relax and stay engaged with his handler.


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1. Use your lead to bring the horse’s head up. He may resist at first, but do the best you can. As soon as he starts to lift his head, click and offer him a treat.

together at your waist so you can anchor the lead to your body. Your horse is going to try and drop his head back down to the grass. With your hands anchoring the lead, you are essentially holding him as if he was tied to a post. As soon as he stops trying to pull down (even for an instant), click and treat.

3. Repeat this several times. When your horse is

keeping slack in the lead after he gets his treat, click, and let him drop his head down to graze.

4. Let

him eat a few mouthfuls, then ask him to lift his head again, click and treat. Repeat the whole pattern, releasing him to the grass whenever you see a noticeable improvement in his behavior.

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Kurland.

2. Keeping the lead fairly short, fold your hands

There may be tempting grass under this horse’s feet, but she’s not diving down to get it. Instead she’s earning clicks and treats for keeping her head up. As she continues to show these good manners, she’ll be given opportunities to graze.

Instead of fighting the grass, you are now using it to reinforce the behavior you want. Your horse will quickly learn that it’s okay to leave the grass. Not only does he get clicked and reinforced with other treats, he also gets to return to his grazing. Once he’s coming up readily, you can ask him to walk beside you. At first, just go a couple of steps, then stop. Have him stand beside you, still keeping slack in the line. Click, and let him graze. Turn it into a game in which you are helping him find the best grass. It’s a wonderful way to connect deeply with your equine partner. As you build on this basic lesson, you’ll be able train on grass without it becoming a distraction. In fact, when your horse does something you especially like, you’ll be able to thank him by letting him graze. When you’re ready to continue, he’ll come away from the grass without a fuss. Your horse will be relaxed and ready for more work, and you’ll have a great new way to say “thank you” to him for a job well done!

Alexandra Kurland is the author of Clicker Training for your Horse, The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures, The Click That Teaches: Riding with the Clicker and The Click That Teaches Video Lesson Series. She earned her degree from Cornell University where she specialized in animal behavior. Alexandra has been teaching and training horses since the mid-1980s. A pioneer in the development of humane training methods, she began clicker training in the early 1990s. She very quickly recognized the power of clicker training for improving performance, enhancing the relationship people have with their horses, and for putting fun back into training. theclickercenter.com; theclickercenterblog.com

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From to




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arn-sour, gate-sour or buddy-sour – no matter the label, it’s no

You’re probably getting the idea! As with any training

fun! Here are some ideas about what causes these behaviors

scenario, you simply make the right thing easy and the

and how you can try to counteract them.

wrong thing difficult. If your horse wants to go to the gate, make him work at the gate. If he doesn’t want

A horse is a creature of habit, and quickly picks up on routine. He

to leave the barnyard, make your horse work at the

soon realizes where he experiences discomfort and where he can be

barnyard. Rest where your horse thinks he should be

comfortable. He understands that the arena means work and the gate

working, and work where your horse would generally

leads back to comfort. He learns that heading back home from a trail

rest. Whenever you feel a “magnet” drawing your

ride means the work is about to come to an end. Of course, he is right!

horse to a certain spot, begin using reverse psychology to reprogram him and get him mentally in balance.

Training tips for the sour horse The following suggested training tips probably aren’t the most

Paying attention and taking a little extra time can

convenient from the rider’s perspective. However, they are simple.

turn your sour horse back into one that’s sweet and

Using them can go a long way toward balancing your horse’s response

pleasant to ride!

to you against the natural pull of the barn, a gate or an equine buddy.


Don’t make a habit of riding out the arena gate after a workout and going directly to the barn. At the end of your training session, ride to the far end of the arena, stop, dismount, loosen your cinch and lead your horse back to the barn.


If your arena has more than one gate, exit from a different gate


When completing a ride, continue past the point where you

than the one through which you entered.

normally dismount and unsaddle. Keep riding well past that area, then dismount and lead your horse back to the barn. If your horse increases his speed when going toward the arena gate, trot multiple figure eights in front of the gate. Then trot to the other end of the arena. At the far end, stop and rest your horse there for a few moments.


If your horse resists leaving the barn area, begin a training session right there. Trot around the barn, trailers and hitching rail, then walk quietly away from the barn. If you encounter resistance, trot more circles around the barnyard and walk away

Photo courtesy of Ross Hecox


again. When your horse leaves the barn area willingly, ride out a distance and then dismount. Walk him back to the barnyard.


When your horse starts looking for his stable mate, head right over to his pal and trot about a dozen tight circles around the other horse. Then trot away and rest your horse somewhere else. Repeat as often as necessary. After a while, your horse won’t be quite so inclined to be with his buddy.

For over 35 years Richard Winters has dedicated himself to honing his horsemanship skills and to passing this knowledge on to others. Richard’s horsemanship journey has earned him Colt Starting and Horse Showing Championship titles. Obtaining his goal of a World Championship in the National Reined Cow Horse Association became a reality in 2005. He is an AA rated judge. Another of Richard’s horsemanship goals was realized with his 2009 Road to the Horse Colt Starting Championship. Richard has returned as the Horseman’s Host for five consecutive years. Being a Top Five Finalist at the Cowboy Dressage World Finals was a great way to end his 2015 show season. wintersranch.com

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MARYLAND HORSE RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA230 to Maryland Horse Rescue.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: “We are currently planning our Spring Fest/Open House at the farm in May, as well as an exclusive wine tasting, and a ‘Hops for Horses’ event at a local tavern.”

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “On July 14, 2016, Maryland Horse Rescue received a phone call from a gentleman who had recently purchased a farm in Virginia. After the sellers moved out and he moved in, he discovered that an older horse and two miniature donkeys had been left behind.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2000 LOCATION: Mount Airy, MD TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “We accept horses in any condition, but specialize in blind horses and seniors,” says Melanie Biemiller, the rescue’s executive director.

STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: “We are volunteer only, and have about 15 regularly-scheduled volunteers for daily chores. We also host groups and have occasional volunteers who come on the weekends or whenever they can. “We currently have about ten horses in foster homes, but our foster program differs from others. It is similar to an adoption, where the foster home provides permanent residence for the horse and receives tax deductions for the life of the horse, for all care associated with him or her. We feel it’s a win-win – the horse gets a home, the people get a tax deduction, and we make room for one more rescue.”

“The man called everyone he could think of, including his local animal shelter. The donkeys were rehomed immediately, but the old blind horse was another story. We immediately agreed to take Tucker (pictured at left), since we specialize in the care of blind horses. “The minute Tucker got off the trailer at the rescue, we could smell him. He was covered in feces, mud and who knows what else. We let him walk around on a lead, graze a bit, and just gave him some love. He was the sweetest, calmest, most cooperative new rescue we ever met. “We took Tucker into his freshly-bedded, comfy quarantine stall, and two of our volunteers got to work cleaning him up with buckets of warm water and soft brushes. We then posted his story on our rescue’s Faceook page and the love started pouring in. After his initial vet exam, we discovered he was indeed blind, but aside from being filthy and thin, he was otherwise in good shape. We determined that Tucker was around 20 years old. “Tucker now resides with our blind herd and continues to be sweet as can be. He is so easygoing and just loves attention, snuggles and kisses. We appreciate the value of all horses whether they are old, blind or lame, and are dedicated to providing them with a life of love and dignity.”

MDhorserescue.net • facebook.com/MdHorseRescue/ 56

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



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

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

Balancing your horse’s digestion with acupressure

You can lead a horse to high quality grass hay – but you can’t assume he’ll be able to metabolize it. It’s not exactly the old saying about leading a horse to water, but it’s just as true. Offering your horse top quality feed is wonderful. However, his body must be able to create absorbable nutrients and circulate them effectively to nourish his muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and organs. This is where acupressure can help.

THE BALANCED HORSE From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, the horse’s body needs to function optimally within his environment in order to be well nourished. What this means is that the quality of the feed is as important as a balanced, healthy lifestyle. For a horse to break down forage into absorbable nutrients, he needs enough exercise to support the motility of his digestive system. Rest is just as necessary as activity to build the strength needed for the entire digestion process to function properly. Other factors contributing to a horse’s sense of well-being and balanced health are social interaction and mental challenges. And every horse benefits from attention to hoof and dental care as well as integrative healthcare.

ACUPRESSURE FOR BALANCED DIGESTION To help your horse maintain balance and enhance his digestion, you can offer a brief acupressure session along with supporting his other lifestyle needs. The intent of this session is to provide both comfort and a harmonious flow of chi and other vital substances. Stomach 36 (St 36) is considered the Master point for the gastrointestinal tract. It is commonly used to support all the processes needed to digest forage and promote the harmonious flow of Stomach chi. Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12) is often stimulated to strengthen and harmonize chi related to the organ systems most engaged in the process of digestion – the Stomach and Spleen, according to Chinese medicine. Additionally, CV 12 can have a calming effect, which is essential for healthy digestion. Bladder 20 (Bl 20) is directly connected to the Spleen. In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is responsible for creating the nutrients in the blood, which nourishes all the body tissues and organs. Stimulating these three acupressure points helps you enhance your horse’s digestion while strengthening the connection between you.


THE IMPORTANCE OF OPTIMAL DIGESTION When a horse’s basic needs are not being met, his lifepromoting energy (chi) and other vital substances such as body fluids and blood can be impeded. If the circulation of these vital substances is compromised, the horse’s body will not receive the nourishment it needs to support health.

CV 12


We can offer the best feed in the world, but if a horse is stressed by being confined or socially isolated, for example, his digestive system may not be able to do its job. As horsepeople know, any stress factor can throw off a horse’s gastrointestinal system.


St 36





BI 20

Found 3 cun lateral to the dorsal midline in the last (17th) intercostal space.

CV 12

Located on the outside of the hind leg, below the patella.

St 36

Located on the ventral midline halfway between the diploid process and the umbilicus.

Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of Acu-Horse: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides a 300-hour hands-on and online training program worldwide. It is an approved school for the Department of Higher Education Vocational Schools through the State of Colorado, and an approved provider of NCBTMB and NCCAOM Continuing Education courses. Contact 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com or tallgrass@animalacupressure.com. 58

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GREEN HORSE ORGANICS - Hand crafts outstanding equine products Powered by Mother Nature. Go Green from head to tail for a healthier horse. Home of Total Horse Protection-The Finest Natural Fly Spray on Earth. Visit: www.GreenHorseOrganics.org

EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE – Learn to assess & resolve your horse’s issues – Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, & Apps. www.animalacupressure.com; tallgrass@animalacupressure.com

WHOLE EQUINE – Is your online resource for natural horse care products and equipment. We are proud to offer an array of natural horse care products, including supplements, first aid, cleaning, equipment and other items that help horses reach their optimal physical and mental health. (884) 946-5378; info@ wholeequine.com; www.wholeequine.com

EVAMAR FARMS EQUESTRIAN CENTRE – This is a quiet, family run equestrian centre focused on providing high-quality services and horse satisfaction. Lessons are offered from beginner to advanced riders with an emphasis on correct balance, and quiet, effective aids. Clinics are held bi-monthly on the premises with external clinics and dismounted workshops available. (705) 654-4781; evamarfarms@hotmail.com; www.evamarfarms.com

FOR SALE – Profitable/Positive Cash Flow Animal Health Company, proprietary products. 17 years in business: National/International Sales. Average annual sales for 2014 & 2015, $380,000 plus. Location: Anywhere. Owner Retiring. Contact Owner: (905) 684-2375; rjhoffman.rhgi@gmail.com; PO Box 771117, Memphis, TN 38177.

NUTRITION & SUPPLEMENTS DANAMAY SUPPLEMENT COMPANY – Every product was designed to improve the most commonly known abnormalities of the Horse. For improving the digestive



NEED MONEY FOR YOUR RESCUE? Contact@RedstoneMediaGroup.com

T TITLE: Open Heart, Open Mind O AUTHOR: Heidi Potter A H Heidi Potter is an accomplished horsewoman who believes in a mindful, h natural approach to training and teaching. n IIn her new book, Open Heart, Open Mind, she s shares the journey that has made her the horsewoman she is today. As she is quick to emphasize, however, she’s not done learning yet: “One of the beauties of working with horses is that we get to be a student forever. We can never know it all or have all the answers. As soon as we think we know something, the horse will prove us wrong.” Being a constant student is something Heidi has certainly taken to heart. An avid student of the martial arts, she relates many of the lessons she learns in the dojo to the work we do with horses. The book begins by focusing on the student, covering the importance of proper breathing, finding your center, grounding

BOOK REVIEW and mindfulness, as well as self-awareness and your outlook on life. Heidi then moves on to discuss natural horsemanship, common problem behaviors in horses, and training techniques. She incorporates philosophies and exercises learned from the martial arts and her work in Centered Riding, blended with her experiences in horsemanship, clicker training and horse agility/obstacle work. Sprinkled throughout the book are step-by-step exercises for you to try, as well as personal stories from Heidi detailing experiences she has had with various horses and the lessons they have taught her. Her humble, down-to-earth approach and writing style make this a book for any horseperson. Whether you are a beginner or more technical rider, you will be able to take away some positive points to continue your learning.

PUBLISHER: Hoofbeats Press Equine Wellness



EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Affaire April 6-9, 2017 – Columbus, OH Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of this 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: (740) 845-0085 info@equineaffaire.com www.equineaffaire.com

These 3-day groundwork clinics include discussions, interactive exercises with humans and playing with horses, primarily at liberty. Improve your selfawareness and learn the subtleties of body language needed to truly understand and communicate mindfully with your equine partner.

For more information: (802) 380-3268 heidi@heidipotter.com www.heidipotter.com

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is coming to Florida in the summer of 2017! This wild horse training competition will offer two divisions: Youth (ages 8-17) can compete with a mustang they adopt in-hand and adults (ages 18 and over) will ride their assigned mustang in preliminary classes to compete for a spot in the top-10 freestyle finals. This event will award $25,000 in cash and prizes. Preliminary classes are free to attend and all adult competing mustangs will be available for adoption after the event.

138th Kentucky Derby May 6, 2017 – Louisville, KY

For more information: (888) 695-0888 www.extrememustangmakeover.com

Don’t miss this chance to discover “the missing link” in your horsemanship and forever change the relationship you share with your equine partner.

With a crowd of more than 150,000 people, unparalleled history and tradition and its unique spectacle, the Kentucky Derby is unlike any other sporting event! The Midwest Horse Fair® is one of the top Every year, on the first Saturday in May, thousands of guests gather to create 3-day horse fairs in America. Hundreds lifelong memories with their friends and of clinics, seminars and educational family. events are presented by some of the top horse professionals from around the For more information: country. Over 500 vendor booths offer (502) 636-4400 shopping opportunities with something www.kentuckyderby.com for everyone.

Midwest Horse Fair April 21-23, 2017 – Madison, WI

For more information: (920) 623-5515 info@midwesthorsefair.com www.midwesthorsefair.com

The Mane Event: Red Deer April 21-23, 2017 – Red Deer, AB Some of North America’s top clinicians provide quality information on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers.

For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com https://red-deer.maneeventexpo.com/

Piet Nibblelink Relationship Clinic May 3-5, 2017 – Guilford, VT Piet travels from his native Netherlands to spend 6 days of relationship training with us. Both clinics are full for participating with a horse but open to two forms of auditing.


Equine Wellness

Extreme Mustang Makeover May 18-20, 2017 – Jacksonville, FL

The Mane Event: London May 12-14, 2017 – London, ON For over 13 years, The Mane Event has hosted some of the best and most knowledgeable horse trainers and educators from North America and beyond! With the help of our trade show exhibitors and attendees, we have become Canada’s largest horse expo. We pride ourselves on providing education on cutting edge training methods, equine health, equine entertainment and of course the largest and most diverse equine only trade show in Canada.

The Mane Event: Scottsdale May 26-28, 2017 – Scottsdale, AZ The Mane Event Scottsdale will be the first annual event at this location. We are very excited to be able to host this event at the world-class facility of WestWorld at Scottsdale. This venue allows the all equine trade show, one arena, the lecture/demo area and the Round Pen to be under one air-conditioned roof. While we do have one arena outside it is also under a roof where water misters will help keep the attendees cool. Don’t forget the 3.5 acre outdoor display area of trucks, trailers, and tractors!

For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com https://scottsdale.maneeventexpo.com/

Western States Horse Expo June 9-11, 2017 – Sacramento, CA

Come and experience what our attendees call “The Mane Event”.

Come join the fun! You will find many demonstrations, lectures, and competitions, as well as plenty of shopping! Find saddles, horse sales, trailers, trucks – it’s all here in sunny California!

For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com https://london.maneeventexpo.com/

For more information: (800) 352-2411 www.horsexpo.com

WANTED Rescues & Shelters.

We want to give away $100,000 through our Ambassador program.

REGISTER NOW! Maddie@RedstoneMediaGroup.com

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness